PBA joining the esports scene may not be something basketball fans and OKBET veterans expected to hear. However, the Kings League Season One (which concluded in late December 2022) teased the PBA Esports Bakbakan that is set to happen in early 2023.
The Philippines’ premier professional basketball league will enter the esports scene with the help of Dark League Studios. Alfrancis Chua and Bobby Rosales, two of the most influential names in Philippine basketball, support the tournament organizers.
PBA players Jherrick Ahanmisi, Allen Mina, and Joseph Gabayani MLBB streamer Setsuna “Dogie” Ignacio during an exhibition match against Mirana Esports. According to Dark League Studio Head AC Valendor, the PBA players had a great time playing the popular MOBA in front of an adoring crowd.
“The PBA players who participated told us that it was a great experience talaga,” he told Spin.PH. “Nakakabitin! Nakaka-excite daw to play these games in front of the fans! The show match proved that esports is for everyone. We were able to bridge two different worlds: basketball and esports.”
The plan for the competition will have at least seven members, according to Carlo Giron, Dark League’s head of operations. Each participating team will feature two PBA stars, an ML streamer, three basketball fans/grassroots players, and one player from the academe.
While there’s no exact date when the PBA Esports Bakbakan will occur, Dark League’s top brass are confident of an early 2023 launch for this PBA initiative.
The PBA’s Fight to Stay Relevant in 2023
As the top professional basketball league in the Philippines, the PBA will always have a supply of eyes interested in their games. While arena attendance over the past couple of years made the league’s bigwigs sweat, television and social media viewership paint an encouraging picture.
The PBA Esports Bakbakan is the latest in the league’s efforts to stay relevant among younger audiences. They understand how enthralled younger Filipinos are with Mobile Legends, and not addressing this may pose a problem for their future viewership.
This competition is a great way to boost the marketability of the league and its players. Moreover, the PBA isn’t the first professional sports organization to dabble in esports. What the PBA is doing is a tried-and-tested formula that can help boost its brand awareness.