August 3, 2021 (10:46 AM)

5 min read


ACE. SS Dragons player HotPapi won an ace against the NSMxSOE team during the overtime round in the first Palarong Atenista 2021 Valorant match yesterday. Photo credits to Son Roy Almerol

Igniting the fire of sportsmanship and camaraderie among participants, the annual Palarong Atenista finally makes its comeback on the virtual scene, setting the stage for Esports in the first-ever fully online competition, with selected matches streamed via Discord.

Despite already being in the second year of online classes, SAMAHAN President Karlo Torreon expressed how there is still a need for competition and interaction among students to reignite their passion for sports. 

“I am an athlete myself, and I know the feeling of reminiscing [about] our former face-to-face games. We pushed for Palarong Atenista this year because of that need for competition and camaraderie in the Ateneo through E-Sports,” Torreon said.

Like the previous 72nd Ateneo Fiesta, this year’s first fully online Palarong Atenista hopes to offer more spaces for Ateneans to thrive and showcase their talents beyond academics and create an environment where everyone can participate. 

“These spaces become important in the long haul of our journey in the student body because we need to make the students feel this SAMAHAN is also our SAMAHAN and that there is a shared university experience where everyone can enjoy,” Torreon added.

The SAMAHAN President also shared the challenges the organization has faced in preparing for the Esports competition. According to Torreon, the constraints of the online platform and the lack of human resources made it difficult to plan and actualize the event. 

However, because of the numerous student-gamers-leaders who helped, the Esports competition was made possible.

“Most of the TWG (technical working group) consists of volunteers who we personally tapped to help us, and others also offered their service as well in hopes of highlighting the E-Sports scene in Davao City. Despite it being online, these leaders attended every meeting, participated, and now we’re finally here ready for Palaro Day One,” Torreon said.

“At the end of the day, just like last Palaro’s 2019 tagline —— Win the Dream. Remember why sports are worth playing and why we play it,” he added.

Opening of games

As one of the highly anticipated Esports tournaments in this year’s Palarong Atenista, various clusters compete against each other in a Valorant tournament with a double-elimination structure. 

Since all games leading to the semifinals follow the “best of one” format, players from different teams must achieve winning streaks to secure their spot. For Valorant, the semifinal and final matches will follow the “best of three” format.

Among the eight clusters, the Natural Science and Mathematics along with the School of Education (NSMxSOE), School of Engineering and Architecture (SEA), Business and Management (B&M), and Computer Science (CS) clusters attained the winning title for their first games. 

SEA team captain Miguel Clavero mentioned that juggling academics and practices were a struggle for the entire team. Even then, their cluster was able to triumph over the Accountancy Griffins. 

“There was [a] conflict with academics and the schedule of our scrims. But it is not really that much of an issue since it is our job as students to balance school and gaming,” he said. 

CS team captain Reginald Falgui also shared the same challenge about managing time between classes and preparation for the competition, considering the number of workloads being senior students. Nevertheless, the CS cluster won over the Humanities and Letters Wolves.

“Most of us competing are already very busy with our academic works, most especially with our thesis since we are already 3rd and 4th-year students. So we have little to no time to play, practice, and prepare as a team for the upcoming competition,” Falgui said.

Moreover, Falgui highlighted that the win is not just for the team players themselves but also for the entire CS cluster, which is the very goal at the end of the day. 

“It is very important para maka-build ng momentum and para ma-boost ang morale namin individually, and as a team. It is also very important to our cluster since we are representing them, and we don’t want to fail them. We want to make them proud and try to win it all,” he added. 

On the other hand, Rafael Tan, the Business and Management team captain, asserted how their team might have a chance to advance to the semifinals even though they still lack chemistry and communication as a team. Concluding the match, the B&M cluster conquered the School of Nursing Panthers. 

Meanwhile, Lee Tanquin of the NSMxSOE cluster expressed how their team initially came to enjoy the game, whether they end up winning or losing. Even though it was challenging to find a mutual time to practice, they claimed victory over the Social Sciences Dragons after 36 rounds of play in their first game.

“Maybe the real prize of the tournament is the friends we made along the way. It’s also a big win for the cluster since we’re generally considered as underdogs, and winning that first game gave us hope that we might be able to go big, even if it’s just for Valorant,” Tanquin said.

The Palarong Atenista is available for live viewing on its Discord server starting on August 2 until August 14. 

End the silence of the gagged!

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