The excitement for the sport of basketball extends beyond the court and into the virtual space. Given how the Philippines boasts a highly passionate fanbase for both gaming and sports, there’s no better place to host the NBA 2K League APAC Invitational presented by Cignal at High Grounds Cafe, Quezon City. It will take place from Friday, Nov 17 to Saturday, Nov. 18.
40 players from 8 teams from the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, and China will be competing in a best-of-three, 5v5 single elimination bracket, in NBA 2K24 Pro-Am mode. All for the grand price of $5,000 and the opportunity to be made eligible for the 2024 NBA 2K League Draft.
What is the NBA 2K League?
A joint venture between the NBA and Take-Two Interactive, the NBA 2K League is the official esports league that features the best NBA 2K players worldwide. NBA 2K League CEO Andrew Perlmutter oversees all league operations.
What started from 17 rosters back in the inaugural season in May 2018, has now expanded to 25 teams, 22 of which are officially affiliated with NBA franchises. Matches are played either in 3v3 or 5v5 games using unique characters that the players themselves create.
The 25 NBA 2K League teams are:
- 76ers GC
- Blazer5 Gaming
- Bucks Gaming
- Celtics Crossover Gaming
- Cavs GT
- Jazz Gaming
- Kings Guard Gaming
- Knicks Gaming
- Lakers Gaming
- Magic Gaming
- Mavs Gaming
- NBL Oz Gaming
- Nets GC
- Pacers Gaming
- Pistons GT
- Raptors Uprising GC
- T-Wolves Gaming
- Warriors Gaming Squad
- Wizards District Gaming
Game on at Day 1
High Grounds Cafe was bustling with NBA fans, esports enthusiasts, and loud supporters of their respective teams. Even when practice scrimmages were happening, players were already high with energy, screaming from their seats, celebrating clutch plays. The passion was undeniable. You could tell each of the players were hungry to prove their worth and equally just as excited that they get to show off their in-game skills.
NBA 2K League APAC Invitational Teams:
APAC North Qualifying Teams (Philippines)
- Laus Group Eagles
- LGE LeSocial – Julian Mallillin
- LGE JMac – Joshua Machado
- LGE ZaavaLCB – Lynard Clark Banzon
- LGE ice2fast – Isaiah Vincent Alindada
- LGE DonPriich – Prich Jayrald Soco Diez
- LGE Agila
- LGE Rial – Rial D.R. Polog
- LGE Shintarou – Angelico John Bongalon Cruzin
- LGE Judee – Jude Bladimare Louise D. Rabang
- LGE Clue – Kenneth Charles Gutierrez
- LGE Vio – Chris Briones
APAC South Qualifying Teams (Australia & New Zealand)
- No Way Out
- xBaldinho – Eugene Denzel Pillai
- Jxhnno – Dylan Murry Johnson
- Dqnnis – Dennis Ameti
- DLaey – Dylan Lay
- Monuhh – Soloma Faitaua-Nanai
- Cheezetootuff – Finn Hosking
- willmovin – William Mackay
- LokaiAU – Andrew Loka
- Lacln – Lachlan Torbey
- Dollaa – Logan Miller
NBA 2K League Invited Teams (Indonesia & China)
- Aegis Indonesia Patriots
- INA Fuego – Ren Lukas Hashiholan Tambunan
- INA Miracle – Dewantara Ersaputra
- INA Sicko – Nicko Laus Tangar Irawan
- INA Hezyn – Davvin Sean Oliver
- INA vertinho – Muhammad Ikram Setiadi
- Lucky Yi Wesley – Hu Yi
- FUCU – Liao Xiao Yong
- JDub IQ – Huang Yi Cong
- A-Kodak – Ke Da
- KKhalifa – Shi Zi Yang
Cignal Invited Teams (Philippines)
- Naos Esports
- NAOS Youngimba – Enzell Neojhed Socrates
- NAOS Vvvnce – Vvince Ivan Jon Montilla
- NAOS SpamGod – Juan Gabriel Dela Pena
- NAOS Tondo – Renz Ruiz Reyes
- NAOS LikeMike – Michael Daniel Villegas
- LGE 45ers
- LGE EL-Chapo – Arnie Sison
- LGE Juaan – Emile Bengy Anthony Juansengpue
- LGE CstR- Custer George Galas
- LGE miguelcarlo – Miguel Carlo Salvador Hubillar
- LGE Papa – Paolo Jerard Madronio
Laus Group Eagles, considered to be one of the best teams in the tournament, took Game 1 against NAOS Esports with a final score of 61-52. However, NAOS tied the series with a 43-34 Game 2. Ultimately, NAOS Esports came out on top with a 57-45 win at Game 3.
NAOS Esports Team Captain Youngimba spoke about how much the win meant for them. “Everyone favored Laus to win. They’re one of if not, the best 2K team in the Philippines so we were the underdogs going into this. It felt great to go out there, play our game, and show what we can do. We’re here to play and we’re here to prove why we deserve it.”
Trapper won a commanding 2-0 series win over Unknown with a close Game 2 score of 59-56, sending the New Zealand team home.
NO WAY OUT made their presence known with a dominant 51-30 win over LGE 45ers in Game 1. However, the 45ers kept their tournament run alive with a close 63-59 win in Game 2 in which they continued the momentum leading into Game 3 with a 52-44 win, taking the series 2-1 against NO WAY OUT.
And last but definitely not the least, the Aegis Indonesia Patriots went head-to-head against LGE Agila, a match filled with shouting and cheers from both players and the audience. You can’t deny how passionate Pinoys get when it comes to competition. Despite being the last match of Day 1, the competitive energy was at an all-time high. LGE Agila took Game 1 with an impressive 47-28 win. Aegis, however, tied the series 1-1 with a close 38-33 win. Not wanting to bow out from the finals, Aegis took Game 3 with a 55-32 win over LGE Agila.
That was just Day 1 of the NBA 2K League APAC Invitational. Day 2 is shaping up to be an even more intense time. Tune in to NBA 2K League’s Twitch and YouTube channels, NBA TV Philippines, and Cignal’s over-the-top streaming service Pilipinas Live to see it for yourself.