The Philippine Basketball Federation launches the Esports Bakbakan competition.

Photo Credit: PBA/Dark League Studios

The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), the premier basketball league in the Philippines, has partnered with Dark League Studios to launch the PBA Esports Bakbakan, a Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (MLBB) competition.

Esports Bakbakan begins in March after a basketball-style draft on February 13th. It is unclear how long the competition will run.

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The 12 PBA teams each have their own MLBB team. Each team consists of a total of eight players – two PBA players, three fans, two influencers or ex-pro players and one student. 70 out of 3,000 students who applied were successful.

Esports Bakbakan prize pool is 1,000,000 Philippine Pesos (~£15,000).

MLBB is one of the most popular esports titles in the world. The M4 World Championship, which ended earlier this month, drew a peak viewership of 4.27 million, the third-highest all-time for an esports event, according to Esports Charts. Esports Charts does not contain Chinese data.

The Philippine Basketball Federation launches the Esports Bakbakan competition.Esports Insider has partnered with the University of Warwick for ESI Next Gen. To learn more, click here.

Dark League Studios, the Philippine agency behind the deal, told Spin.ph last October that it wanted to bridge the gap between e-sports and professional basketball in the Philippines. According to the article, sport has grown rapidly in the country since the first COVID-related global lockdown.

Earlier this month, MLBB editor Moonton announced that this year’s M5 World Championship will be held in the Philippines. The competitive season begins in February and ends with the M5 championship in December.

Unsurprisingly, this isn’t the first collaboration between basketball and esports, particularly in Southeast Asia. Last year, EVOS Esports expanded into traditional sports following the announcement of an Indonesian basketball team, EVOS Thunder Bogor.

Billy Studholme

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