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Virtual Grounds wants to put Mindanao on esports map with Predator League win

MANILA, Philippines – The quest of Virtual Grounds Esports’ for success in the Predator League Philippines goes beyond personal glory.

Having qualified for the Predator League Philippines 2024, the team wanted to bring home the bacon. But more than the personal fame and recognition, they want to put the spotlight on something much bigger — Mindanao and their hometown of Cagayan de Oro.

The esports scene in the region and in Cagayan de Oro is still young, as local tournaments can only be accessed from far-away places.

“We just have to win. Us winning will be like a valuable learning opportunity as opposed to losing. If the players here see us win against teams from Luzon, we can become role models to players in our region,” said Christian Rey “sang” Portillas, the duelist of Virtual Grounds Esports.

“To motivate and mentor them, especially since other people see Mindanao as a weak region. We just want to win,” he added.

Vince Llamis, or “DOGi,” the team’s controller, acknowledged that the esports scene in the region is still “premature,” no thanks to the coronavirus disease pandemic.

“In our city, there were some small tournaments but they are not connected to Manila. Usually, high-end and top-tier tournaments like the Predator League, we have to travel,” he said.

The team participated in the first LAN qualifier for the Predator League 2024 Philippines Valorant. But before doing so, they had to travel for eight hours, for about 300 kilometers, by land to TNC Digos.

The squad, however, was defeated by NAOS Esports and Valhalla in their group, giving them the boot.

While this was the end, so far, for the team, they are hoping that their performance was enough to bring more opportunities to their local scene.
“I hope we can (become the beacon of hope) for Mindanao,... We just need more polishing because we are still new,” sang said.

The team said that they are hoping with more wins, they were able to put Cagayan de Oro on the map, and would give them more qualifiers.

This, they added, would give local players more opportunities to showcase their talents.

"There are a lot of individual players hailing from Mindanao. There are EJAY, kellyS, Markyyy, JRemy - all of