To say that the esports industry took greater strides in the Philippines in 2021 is an understatement.

The Philippine esports squads shine bright on the world stage in 2021

Year 2021 showed more than just a huge leap of the industry in terms of growth, popularity and relevance in the country. The past 12 months also revealed that the Filipinos can conquer the world with sheer talent and determination.

Starting and ending the year as world champion

It’s easy to say that it was a great season for Philippine esports especially when the country started out the year with a title and ended it with the crown still on its hands.

That was exactly the scene for the Mobile Legends Bang Bang, with the Filipino bets from MPL Season 6 champions Bren Esports climbing their way from the lower bracket to the Grand Finals of M2 World Championship last January. The crew led by Karl “Karltzy” Nepomuceno went on to win the title in the world tilt.

READ: Bren is king of Mobile Legends

Eleven months after, Blacklist International replicated the feat and won the M3 World Championship on a similar fashion – from the lower bracket up to the finale where they dominated fellow Filipino contenders Onic PH. The crew capped a year-long dominance that saw them win back-to-back titles in the MPL PH Seasons 7 and 8, and runners-up finishes in MPL Invitational and MLBB Southeast Asia Cup (MSC).

READ: Blacklist International pounces on Onic PH, wins M3 World Championship crown

And if that’s not enough to show how dominant the Filipinos in this game, two All-Filipino Grand Finals happened in the international stage this year. First in the MSC where Execration (now Omega Esports) clinched the title at the expense of Blacklist, and second in the M3 where Onic PH challenged the eventual M3 champions.

PH snipers on target

Adding to PH’s triumph this year was Blacklist International.Ultimate which topped the East Finals of the Call of Duty: Mobile World Championship. The Pinoy players initially missed their chance to don the PH colors at the world stage after finishing just third in the Garena Qualifiers.

A change in tournament format however allowed the team to qualify – a chance that the Filipinos surely didn’t waste as they shocked the Asia’s best teams to claim the world title. Blacklist even completed its redemption as it beat ALMGHTY in the Grand Finals, the same team that eliminated them in the qualifying tournament.

READ: Blacklist Ultimate rules CODM World Championship East Finals

Going in to the West, it was still the Filipinos who reigned supreme. Tribe Gaming led by its Filipino player Kent “Banned” Nerves and coach Carl “Image” Butalid won the CODM West Finals title. Image, in fact, coached both Blacklist and Tribe during their respective tourneys and became a two-time world champion in a span of weeks.

READ: Meet the Filipino coach behind the success of Blacklist and Tribe Gaming

Filipino players are world class—it’s no Secret

Although Team Secret, a Europe-based esports organization, didn’t get to raise a trophy this year, its All-Filipino crews in League of Legends: Wild Rift and Valorant put the world on notice.

Secret’s Filipino Wild Rift team finished 3rd-4th in the first ever Wild Rift Horizon Cup in Singapore. The crew reached the playoffs after a solid showing in the group stages, only losing once before dispatching its old nemesis SBTC Esports to reach the semifinals.

READ: Team Secret earns sweet revenge, sends SBTC packing in Horizon Cup

Meanwhile, its Valorant team turned heads in the inaugural Valorant Champions 2021 in Berlin, Germany. It was a run to remember for the squad, who was viewed as heavy underdogs but managed to pull off upsets after upsets to reach the tournament playoffs. The crew may fallen after losing to eventual champions Acend in the quarterfinals, but its unexpected run was enough to prove that the Filipinos belong in the world stage.

READ: Team Secret thumps Team Vikings to reach Valorant champions playoffs

Keeping its relevance

There was no PH squad that qualified in this year’s The International 10, but the country was no way lacking in terms of representation. In fact, Filipino Dota 2 stars Carlo “Kuku” Palad and Karl “Karl” Jayme of T1, Djardel “DJ” Mampusti and Marco Polo “Raven” Fausto and Abed “Abed” Yusop of Evil Geniuses maded their presecnece felt for their respective teams during TI10.

Kuku, even led his young T1 squad to a respectable 7th-8th place finish that also won them a whopping $1,000,500.

READ: T1 sends Alliance packing, keeps TI10 campaign alive

As the new DPC season starts before the year ends, Filipino players remain to be one of the sought-after talents in the SEA region taking a 55 percent (22/40) representation in the Division 1 and 28 percent (11/40) in Division II, both the highest in each groups.

Source: Manila Bulletin (