Pangasinense ‘esports’ athlete to compete in 30th SEA Games

SEA GAMES ESPORT PLAYER. Pangasinense Kyle Jepherson ‘Vindicated’ Padlan is one of the seven players who made the final roster of the Sibol Philippine Esports Team to play Arena of Valor (AoV) tournament in the 30th Southeast Asian Games on Nov. 30, 2019. This year’s SEA Games will be the first time esports will be integrated as a medal sport. (Photo courtesy of Kyle Padlan’s Facebook account)

DAGUPAN CITY — A 24-year-old Pangasinense is set to represent the Philippines in the esports category, a form of competition using video games, in the 30th Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) on November 30.

Kyle Jefferson ‘Vindiicated’ Padlan, a member of the Sibol, the Philippine Esports Team, is one of the seven players who made the final roster to compete in Arena of Valor (AoV).

The Sibol Team is the country’s newest brand of athletes to be fielded by the Philippines in the biennial event.

Padlan is set to take the role of Dark Slayer (DS) Lane, also called the solo/side lane.

Born and raised in Calasiao town, he now works as a network engineer in Metro Manila and who has found himself immersed in esports for the past two years.

In an interview Monday, Padlan said he has participated in a lot of tournaments since his days in Bren Esports, a Philippine-based Southeast Asian professional esports team, most notably for garnering fourth place in the Valor Cup Road to AoV World Cup.

Padlan has been passionate about video games since childhood that drove him to play AoV, and eventually turn it into his sporting career.

“For me it’s just my passion since I was a kid, I just like playing games on every platform I get my hands on,” he recalled.

Being drawn into AoV, his current squad Oro-Digitos breezed through the qualifiers for Sibol AoV, making him eligible to take a shot at the SEA Games.

This year’s SEA Games will be the first time esports will be integrated as a medal sport.

Post SEA Games, win or lose, Padlan has decided to continue engaging in esports both for fun and as a career, while doing his job as a network engineer in Metro Manila.

For their preparations for the upcoming event, the seven-man roster trains for eight grueling hours a day, analyzing hero picks and counterpicks, lane tactics, team strategies, and lane rotation.

“Akala kasi ng iba porke video games, casual na talaga. Hindi. Strategy ito. Ginagamitan ng utak (Other might think this is just video games, its casual but it’s not. This requires strategy. We need to use minds here,” Padlan said.

Padlan shares responsibility with his team in redefining video games and esports in the country, as esports is still being frowned upon by other Filipinos, especially older ones.

“There will always be a negative stigma in esports but in the end, time can only tell how esports will grow here in the country. It will depend on how esports will be marketed,” he added.

Meanwhile, Padlan urged parents to support their children in whatever path they choose, including esports.

Padlan also initially suffered prejudice from his parents due to his indulgence in video games.

“At first they have doubts. But when I started getting recognition, traveling to other places to represent the country in tournaments, they became proud. Eventually, they began supporting me and giving me 100-percent (support),” he disclosed.

However, Padlan reminded the youth to focus and finish their studies.

“Set your priorities straight, if you can make a job out of your passion then go for it, just make sure you won’t regret choosing the path you wanted,” he added.

Padlan graduated from Creative Montessori Center and Francisco Q. Duque Medical Foundation Special Science High School and Saint Louis University in Baguio City in college.

Aside from Padlan, the Sibol Arena of Valor squad consists of Jeremiah ‘1717’ Camarillo, Jevan Lorenzo ‘Bents’ delos Santos, Kevin Kio ‘Gambit’ Dizon, Miguel Klarenz ‘Miggie’ Banaag, Lawrence Anthony ‘Rubixx’ Gatmaitan and Bradie Ryan ‘Yats’ Velasquez. They are coached by Rafael ‘Cyriux’ Albert.

Prior to the SEA Games, members of the Sibol AoV Squad are set for Thailand this October to represent the country in the AoV International Championship (AIC).

AoV is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game played through the smartphone.

Published by Tencent games and launched in the Philippines in 2017, AoV has grossed over USD140 million outside China. Ahikam Pasion/PNA-