Mobile Legends meets Filipino basketball ‘liga’ in new esports tournament

November 20, 2018 - 2:59 PM
Mobile Legends Bang Bang Liga
Mobile Legends meets street culture in a new tournament. (Photo release from Mobile Legends: Bang Bang LIGA)

An ongoing mobile gaming tournament seeks to introduce a new twist to the local multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) scene by combining street basketball culture with mobile gaming.

Mobile Legends: Bang Bang is holding MLBB: LIGA in the last quarter of 2018, a three-part MOBA tournament held in various neighborhoods across Metro Manila.

The tournament borrows the “liga” basketball system that facilitates clashes between community-based teams playing at local barangay basketball courts. MLBB: LIGA borrows this by pitting competing teams against each other at barangay function halls.

64 teams were pre-selected to join the tournament. The 17 cities and municipalities of the metropolis will be divided into three competition windows.

The first leg of the tournament was held on November 17 and 18 at Barangay 159 Multi-Purpose Plaza in Malibay, Pasay City. Competitors from the southern part of Metro Manila including the cities of Makati, Pasay, Pasig, Pateros, and Taguig were invited.

The second part of the tournament will be held on November 24 and 25 in Barangay Doña Imelda, Quezon City. Competitors from the cities of Caloocan, Mandaluyong, Marikina, Quezon City, San Juan are expected to join the second leg.

The third leg of the tournament will take place at Seaside Boulevard near the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay and will cover competitors from  Las Piñas, Malabon, Manila, Muntinlupa, Navotas, Parañaque, Valenzuela.

MOBA players from around Metro Manila are gearing up to join the competition.

‘Liga’ culture meeting MOBA craze?

The ‘liga’ system is commonly seen in the Philippines’ basketball scene. Small, community-based teams who manage their own logistics participate in tournaments comprised of teams from nearby residential communities.

Some small leagues are known to offer bigger prizes as well as cash compensation for players, attracting players who are talented enough to join bigger professional or semi-professional leagues.

The rise of ‘liga’-inspired gaming tournaments also shows the continued rise of the MOBA genre in the Philippines’ esports scene due to the popularity of “Mobile Legends.”

Once dismissed as an inferior discipline to MOBA games on the PC platform such as DOTA, the popularity of MOBA on the mobile platform has pushed industry names to find a way to professionalize MOBA gaming in the Philippines’ esports.

Esports organizer Mineski Events Team announced in April 2018 that it would be forming the Mobile Legends Professional League Philippines, the first professional league for “Mobile Legends.”

The group Aether Main won $32,084 (P1,686,174) in the league’s first championship in July 2018.