February 21, 2024

Esports Bakbakan: PBA merges basketball and esports with 70 draftees

Esports Bakbakan: PBA merges basketball and esports with 70 draftees

The PBA is fully embracing esports, as it announced 70 draftees for its inaugural Esports Bakbakan tournament, which will start later this March.

Asia's oldest professional basketball league, represented by its 12 franchises, will be competing in various online games starting with Mobile Legends: Bang Bang for Season 1.

Pro ballers will not be completely abandoning their hard court game though. Two to three PBA players will be chosen to represent their team, along with two gaming influencers, a student, and three fans.

They will be picked via drafting system on February 13. Among the 4,000 applicants, 70 have been announced for the event.


At least three squads have announced the players who will join the tournament: Christian Standhardinger, Jared Dillinger, and Scottie Thompson for Barangay Ginebra San Miguel; Jaydee Tungcab and Kib Montalbo for TNT Tropang Giga; and Jerrick Ahanmisi and James Laput for Magnolia Chicken Timplados Hotshots.

Some of the influencers who will compete are Eric "Eruption" Tai, Raven "L3bron" Alonzo, Naser Ignacio "Akosi Dogie" Mollazehi of Nexplay EVOS, and Elyson "Ghost Wrecker" Caranza of RSG Slate Philippines.

The tournament is made in collaboration with Dark League Studios, backed by PBA Vice Chairman Bobby Rosales of Terrafirma Dyip and PBA Governor Alfrancis Chua of Ginebra.

The twelve teams will be competing in a single round robin every Monday, with the top four competing in a best-of-five playoff series. Up for grabs is a total of one million pesos, with the champion squad getting P750,000.

This is the first time that a professional basketball league in the Philippines launched an esports tournament. But the opposite has actually happened before, with Indonesia-based esports organization EVOS Esports supporting a basketball team, the EVOS Thunder Bogor.