Friday, May 29, 2020

BREN eSports, Sunsparks advance in MPL-PH Season 5 Upper Bracket

BREN eSports and Sunsparks took contrasting routes heading into their upcoming matchup in the upper bracket portion of the SMART-Mobile Legends Bang Bang Professional League-Philippines Season 5 postseason on Friday.

BREN eSports escaped a scare from fourth seeds Execration, almost losing Game 1 and losing Game 2, before claiming the Game 3 decider.

Ch4knu (Grock) proved to be a major thorn for the top seeds, continuously invading BREN's jungle to provide the fourth seeds the upper hand initially.

Execration would then establish a 28,482 to 21,403 edge in gold at the nine-minute mark, as well as a 10-5 kill advantage, while also securing the lord in their favor.

However, the BREN quintet of KarlTzy (Ling), Ribo (Angela), Lastii (Atlas), Coco (Carmilla), and Pheww (Kaja) put up a huge defensive stand in the middle lane, erasing E2MAX (Selena), Z4pnu (Uranus), Hate (Lancelot), Bennyqt (Helcurt), and Ch4knu to neutralize Execration's kill advantage.

BREN would then slowly tilt the matchup in their favor, although Execration did not make that easy with Z4pnu and Ch4knu cutting the lanes. BREN would secure the matchup after Lastii performed a four-man fatal link to counter Execration's initiation.

KarlTzy finished with 24 kills, eleven assists and two deaths, while Ribo tacked on three kills and 28 assists.

Karl "KarlTzy" Nepomuceno shared afterwards, "Siguro [lamang] lang kami sa disiplina, saka sa decision making at experience na lang din po kaya kami naka-lamang sa kanila."

Hate led the way for Execration with nine kills, three assists, and eight deaths.

As for Sunsparks, they continued their mastery of ONIC PH, dispatching them 2-1 in their matchup.

The defending champions dropped the opening game, but they managed to bounce back by taking the next two games to book a seat in the upper bracket finals.

Jaypee (Ling) led the way for Sunsparks with five kills and four assists. Killuash added a couple of kills and assists.

The BREN eSports vs Sunsparks matchup will take place tomorrow at 5pm, while both Execration and ONIC PH await their lower bracket opposition. The former will face the winner of BSB and Blacklist International at 2pm, while the latter will face the winner of SGD-Omega and ULVL at 330pm.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

MPL-PH Champions Invitational set for June

Even with the cancellation of the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Southeast Asia Cup, ML:BB will still have a special competition in the Philippines this coming June.

Called the MPL-PH Champions Invitational, it is an online exhibition tournament scheduled on June 20-21 and 27-28.

It features the champions of all five MPL-PH seasons, and their original rosters, as they battle amongst themselves for the right and privilege to be the all-time best team in the country. An undisclosed prize pool is also at stake in this competition.

Postseason for MPL-PH Season 5, ready for takeoff

MPL-PH Season 5 participating teams

An exciting weekend awaits for eSports fans this weekend, with the eight participating teams in Season 5 of the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Professional League - Philippines heading into the postseason.

Not even the presence of COVID-19 could completely put the MPL-PH to a grinding halt, with the playoffs set to take place starting May 29.

Defending champions Sunsparks seek to retain the title against the likes of Bren Esports, Execration, and ONIC PH in the upper bracket, while the other four participating teams (ULVL, SGD Omega, BSB, and Blacklist International) are in "win-or-go-home" mode at the lower bracket.

MPL-PH playoff format

The champion gets rewarded with $25,000.

The tournament is powered by SMART Telecommunications, Inc. and supported by realme.

Fans can watch the tournament online through these links:

Facebook Live

YouTube Gaming

Tagalog Stream -
English Stream -

In addition, lucky viewers get a chance to win special prizes in the Mythical Raffle Draw. All they need to do is register via the link provided on the livestream. Nine in-game Legendary Prize packs (each pack includes ten EPIC skins and five Lightborn skins) and one in-game Mythical Prize pack (includes four Legend skins, five Lightborn skins, and 36 Epic skins) await the winners.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Nike release LeBron James-voiced ad inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic

Overcoming the odds: Cleveland won its championship overcoming a 3-1 deficit.

"Even against the toughest odds, hope remains connected to our sporting spirit."

That is the theme that Nike wants to remind us all about, with the very slow grind back to how it almost was before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"As professional competition slowly returns around the world, we at Nike are reminded of the feeling of fandom. The thrill of experiencing disbelief, with all its reawakening power. And, more over, the joy of collective celebration."

To highlight it, Nike released a short video, called “Never Too Far Down.” Narrated by LeBron James, it was first aired during The Match II, a charity golf event that featured Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Peyton Manning, and Tom Brady. It was also posted on Nike's social media platforms.

The video is an extension of their "You Can’t Stop Us" campaign.

To mark the occasion, James, Woods and Serena Williams offer their thoughts on the power of sport:

"Even if basketball looks different for a while, I’m excited about the possibility of getting back in the game, because I know how inspiring and powerful sports can be. I think the lessons we learn from sport can inspire us all.” — LeBron James

“Sport can still be a positive force for so many people. I am looking forward to [the charity match] this weekend and creating a platform to raise money for Covid relief and hopefully remind folks of the levity and joy that golf and other sports can bring to the world.” — Tiger Woods

“Sport is the one thing that’s true, it doesn’t matter what you look like, where you’re from. Everything is left out in the arena. For me, I put it all out there on the court as a player, but it also feels that way as a fan. You feel that joy when someone you’re rooting for wins. That’s because of the unity that sports bring us.” — Serena Williams

The short video can be seen below.

Friday, May 22, 2020

LaLiga releases Phase Three training protocols

Spanish football creeps closer and closer to its return, as the 42 teams comprising LaLiga Santander (top-flight) and LaLiga SmartBank (formerly known as Segunda Division) have stepped up their efforts with regards to training, in compliance to the Phase Three protocols the league devised alongside club health experts, as well as in consultation with the Spanish government and its health authorities.

The league still has eleven matchdays left on its 2019/20 calendar, and is targeting resumption of action by mid-June. In the process, they are slated to take every possible precaution necessary in order to reduce the potential spread of the pandemic within its parameters.

The first two protocol Phases centered on guidelines with regards to preparation and individualized training within club facilities. Phase Three, centers on the introduction of training by groups of up to ten players, in order to get the sides ready when the time comes that it is already safe to restart the season. Aside from that, there are nine other points of emphasis LaLiga wants to highlight in Phase Three:

1. Training in groups of ten

At this third stage of the protocol, players can now take part in group training. Squads are divided into three groups of ten players, which enter the club facilities at minimum 15-minute intervals.  If only two training fields are available, one is split into two, with one group on either side. All players in the group can use the gym at the same time, provided they respect social distancing of at least two metres. During this third stage, a physiotherapist is assigned to each group of ten players.

2. Stay at home as much as possible

At this stage players live in their own residences and are advised to seriously limit the number of times they go anywhere other than the training ground. The biggest chance of contagion lies in trips to shops or any other public places where the environment is less controlled.

3. Personal behaviour

The health habits and social distancing rules learned during confinement remain vital. These include handwashing, taking care never to cough or sneeze without covering the mouth and nose, aiming to touch eyes, nose and mouth as little as possible, and maintaining a distance of at least two metres from team-mates and club staff.

4. Mask and gloves

Players are told to always wear a mask and gloves whenever they leave their homes, including when moving around club facilities or the team hotel. They may remove the mask and gloves during physical exercise.

4. Eating at the training ground

Players who have breakfast, lunch or an evening meal in the club canteen will always do so only in the company of their assigned training group. They each get their own container and personal bag of food and must remain at least two metres from their teammates at all times.

6. Changing rooms
Players are not permitted to use communal changing rooms. They must instead change into their training gear before arriving at club facilities, and shower at home afterwards. Only coaches and technical staff are allowed use of the changing rooms, after training and in case of inclement weather.

7. Precautions on returning home

When entering their home, players must remove their shoes and take off all outdoor clothes for washing, then carefully remove their gloves and throw them away safely. They should try not to touch anything and shower immediately. Anything brought in from outside, including keys, mobile phone and glasses, should be cleaned with soap and water or alcohol solution.

8. Precautions when leaving the house

When leaving home for any reason other than training, players are advised to wear long sleeves, avoid using public transport and never pay in cash. They are reminded that when visiting a shop, hairdresser, café/terrace or supermarket they could come into close contact with people who may be carriers of COVID-19.

9. Contact club immediately if any potential symptoms appear

Any player who believes they may be experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, such as a high temperature, dry cough, sore throat, headache, difficulty in breathing, or even tiredness, must call their coach immediately. They must stay away from the training facility and instead self-isolate until they receive further instructions.

10. Quarantine/self-isolating protocol

Players who are self-isolating at home are in constant contact with medical staff. They are advised to sleep in separate bedrooms and use separate bathrooms where possible, to not share cutlery or kitchenware, clean all surfaces regularly, and wash clothes, towels and bedding as often as possible.

Monday, May 18, 2020

LaLiga given green light to proceed with Return to Play protocol

Top-flight Spanish football got a major boost, with the Spanish government allowing teams in LaLiga Santander and LaLiga Smartbank to commence with group training sessions comprising of up to ten players.

Such sessions can begin on May 18, just over a couple of months since the season was paused as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision allows teams to train despite whatever protocols their respective local governments have in place.

LaLiga president Javier Tebas made an appearance on Movistar's El Partidazo #BackToWin to help expound on this particular development.

About the CSD (Spain's High Sports Council)'s decision, he shares, "The start of the next phase in LaLiga’s Return to Training protocol is another step towards the restarting of the competition. It will be good to be able to set all training routines on an equal footing. It’s very important that every club have the same chance to be in good shape. It’s not essential, but it’s very important and we’re grateful that it will be like that."

About the likelihood of playing everyday to get through the eleven matchdays still on the schedule, he says, "That’s what I hope. We shouldn’t have any problems playing on Mondays across the eleven rounds of matches we have left to play. I hope for some sense from the Spanish Football Federation on this, because it’s very important for us to be able to give both our national and international broadcasters, and fans across the world, football on as many days as possible to ensure as little disruption as possible."

Aside from the CSD's decision, the weekend was significant for sports as top-flight football finally resumed in Germany. Tebas shared his delight about the Bundesliga resuming play, "I’m very happy, and I’ve congratulated them because they’ve taken a very important step. We’ve worked hard on this together over the past months, we’ve exchanged protocols, ideas… we spoke once or twice every week. I’m very proud of the Bundesliga. It wasn’t easy; they were the first to get up and running and they’re an example to follow."

Thursday, May 14, 2020

LaLiga supports societal development via football

With the cononavirus pandemic forcing LaLiga to pause since mid-March, the league has continued its societal development efforts, including some high-profile solidarity actions whilst in quarantine.

Among such efforts is the "LaLiga se juega en casa" (LaLiga is played at home) campaign, which raised 1.2 million euros for the purchase of medical equipment and other key items. Also drawing attention for the league is the LaLiga Santander Fest, a macro charity music concert, as well as the LaLiga Santander Challenge, an eSports tournament that drew over 61 million fans around the world.

LaLiga has also conducted activities that are mainly for those who are affected by the pandemic the most in Spain and the rest of world, including societal and sporting projects for youth development, permanent academies, the establishment of socio-educational schools, social intervention projects and activities. Other additional actions include local scouting projects with high performance visits to Spain, collaborations with national teams, training sessions for coaches and managers, annual Spanish Academies Meetings, and crafting MoUs with national leagues and federations.

As a result of these efforts, LaLiga has been able to run 313 projects across 35 countries since September 2015, with 645 league coaches training two hundred thousand children and twenty thousand coaches and educators. In addition, 284 socio-educational schools have been established, with 32 MoUs crafted with leagues and federations in 26 countries. Such effort open the possibilities of future sporting and social projects down the line.

With the slogan, "We have an obligation to give back to society what society has given us," LaLiga views the values borne out of football as an ideal means of building a better society. With that in mind, the league has utilized its influence and experience to establish means to spread these elements, especially in these current times.

Monday, May 11, 2020

One Championship establishes new partnerships

The biggest global sports media property in Asian history is set for additional expansion.

ONE Championship added to its portfolio with its new strategic partnerships, with tech firms HP, Intel, Logitech, and Xiaomi being roped in to help leverage multiple ONE content stacks and platforms, including ONE Championship's assets in mixed martial arts and eSports, as well as ONE Studios. It will also include the upcoming The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition.

ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong shares, "The announcement of these partnerships is a testament to our team’s exceptional work alongside global brands to solve their marketing and business needs. We believe that by harnessing the power and reach of our content stacks and platforms, brands can benefit from engaging with our millions of fans across the globe."

Xiaomi's President of International Shou Zi Chew adds, "As Xiaomi continues to grow its presence globally, we are thrilled at this opportunity to partner with ONE Championship - a world-class sports property. This major initiative will provide a valuable platform to cross-pollinate the fanbase of ONE Championship with Mi Fans around the world. Through this, we can work in tandem to grow a shared passion for Xiaomi’s amazing products and sports, further ignite dreams, inspire nations, and change the world through real-life superheroes."