Smart Omega will be one of the professional teams representing the Philippines in the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (MLBB) M2 World Championships in Singapore. Happening on Jan. 18-24, 2021, the M2 World Championships will be the first in-person competition for MLBB since the pandemic began.
Smart Omega is the official esports team supported by leading mobile services provider Smart Communications. It is composed of six professional Filipino MLBB athletes: Kenneth Jiane “Kenji” Villa, Jeniel “Haze” Bata-anon, Salic “Hadji” Imam, Earin John “Heath” Esperana, Jankurt Russel “Kurttzy” Matira, and Adrian “Toshi” Bacallo.
Competing with world’s best
“There are over 43 million gamers in the Philippines’ growing esports industry. This global competition would mean a lot to our mobile esports community and we could not be prouder to support our very own Smart Omega team as they represent our flag in the world stage,” said Smart President and CEO Alfredo S. Panlilio in a press statement.
Professional teams from Japan, Brazil, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Russia, and the Philippines will battle it out in the biggest MLBB competition in the world.
“Our support for Filipino esports athletes through the years is rooted in our firm belief that our players have the skills, talent, and dedication to be at par with the world’s best players. We hope that Smart Omega can be an inspiration to Filipino casual players and fans to help them realize and pursue their passion for esports,” said Smart SVP and Head of Consumer Wireless Business Jane J. Basas.
Apart from Smart Omega, Bren Esports will also represent the Philippines. Both teams are members of the Smart-backed Philippine Esports Organization (PESO), the official National Sports Association that governs and develops esports in the country.
Ensuring safety amid pandemic
Esports athletes and management teams who will participate in the tournament will follow strict public health protocols during the games. There will be no live audience to ensure the safety of the participants.
The young and talented Smart Omega team already has several awards under its belt, including multiple championships and top awards for The Nationals, Just ML competition, Juicy Legends Pro Division, and top awards during various MPL-PH Series.
Two of the players have also represented the country in several global tournaments. Kenji and Haze both won gold for the Philippines under the Smart-powered Team Sibol during the debut of the multi-platform esports category in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games. Haze also has the Challenger Summit Singapore Champion and the 2018 Southeast Asia Cyber Arena titles on his resume, among others.
Supporting Filipino esports athletes
Smart has always been active in the promotion of esports in the Philippines. Aside from supporting Smart Omega, the telco company has also mounted multiple MLBB competitions nationwide. This massive support for esports has been made possible by PLDT and Smart’s integrated network.
As of November, Smart has also increased the number of its base stations to over 58,000, while also rolling out additional 5G base stations as it accelerates its 5G commercial services nationwide.
In July, the telco unveiled the nation’s first-ever 5G-powered gaming hub and hosted the first mobile phone vs PC crossplay exhibition match via cloud gaming.
The mobile telco firm also teamed up with PESO and the ESports National Association of the Philippines to support the Philippine team in the very first Pacific Pro-Am NBA 2K20 Tournament, soon after their successful stint at the FIBA Esports Open.
More importantly, Smart also poured its support for Filipino esports athletes during the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.