Gamers got to experience what it's like being part of the PBA Draft.
Basketball and esports joined hands in an interesting marriage on Monday: all the pomp and circumstance of a draft ceremony, basketball players formally announcing their picks, gamers and streamers coming up on stage to get their team jackets, narrated and explained by esports analysts.
The PBA concluded its draft for the 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.
On Monday, each franchise picked up two gaming influencers, a student, and three fans among 4,000 applicants to join two to three players to form their ML team.
2022 Commissioner's Cup Finals MVP Christian Standhardinger kicked off the show by announcing Nexplay EVOS mid laner Setsuna "Akosi Dogie" Ignacio as the first-ever top draft pick for the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel.
"First pick, first season, siyempre champion agad. 'Di ko bibiguin ang Ginebra," the self-confessed Gin Kings super fan said after the selection, "Naluluha ako. 'Yung mga kalaban ko, wasak kayong lahat promise!"
"Wala man, champion na! 'Wag na natin tuloy 'to, champion na, bigay na trophy!" He added.
Other players weren't just about to let Akosi Dogie get away with it.
Eric "Eruption" Tai of the "Ting Ting Tang" fame, can claim many titles: host, rugby player, model, dancer, content creator, and an ML gamer. Now, he can say he is also a member of the Magnolia Chicken Timplados Hotshots.
"Mommy, nasa PBA na ako! Grabe, a dream come true!" Eruption posted on Facebook after he was picked fourth, "Bakbakan na! Kembutan pa!"
Gamer and influencer Lhea Bernardino or Lhea B, who played with Eruption during the 515 All Stars 2022 Philippines, is selected next by the Terrafirma Dyip. She is the first female gamer to be picked in the draft.
Renz "Pein" Reyes, who played for Bren Esports, was selected seventh by the NLEX Road Warriors.
Reiniel Causing "Honda Beast" Encisa was picked up by the Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters as the eighth overall draftee. He didn't waste his chance to get a snap with his favorite PBA player.
Streamer YuriGaming also joined the Esports Bakbakan the second female pick, selected ninth by the NorthPort Batang Pier.
"Sina Akosi Dogie, natalo ko na 'yan!" She said.
Another Bren player, Mico "Coco" Sampang, got into the first round as he was picked tenth by the Meralco Bolts.
Bitoy "Hypebits" Ferrer, who was picked in the second round to join Elyson "Ghost Wrecker" Caranza with the San Miguel Beermen, was just enjoying the food.
The 12 teams will be competing in a single round robin every Monday starting this March, with the top four competing in a best-of-five playoff series. Up for grabs is a total of P1 million, with the champion squad getting P750,000.