In the recently concluded NBA 2K League Asia Pacific Invitational, held in Seoul, South Korea, three of the Philippines’ best and brightest players competed to show the world what they got.
Our ballers PBE_Clark, PBE_Rial, and PBE_Custer all flew out to represent the country in two days worth of games, scrimmages and a tournament with the goal of wowing the team scouts and league representatives and hopefully secure a spot within the prestigious NBA 2K League Draft Class of 2020.
We got a chance to briefly talk to our representatives Aminolah “PBE_Rial” Polog Jr., Custer “PBE_Custer” George Galas, and Lynard “PBE_Clark” Clark Banzon about the competition, the stakes, and their experience immediately after the entire NBA 2K League APAC invitational.
How was your whole experience with the NBA 2K Asia Pacific Invitational? How is it in Korea and what’s the crowd and the competition like?
RIAL: I love the weather here in Korea. It’s so cold it got to -1 degree [Celsius]
CLARK: “Medyo serious [yung event] kasi iniiscout yung mga games and yung players kaya medyo intense. Kasi competition siya eh lahat nag-tatryout and everyone wants to be drafted kaya ganun yung atmosphere and ambiance. Much of the people in the stands were people’s families looking to support their representative.”
([The event] was kind of serious because the games and the players are all being scouted so it’s kind of intense. It’s a competition and everyone’s trying out and everyone wants to be drafted that’s why the atmosphere and the ambiance feel that way. Much of the people in the stands were people’s families looking to support there representative.)
Since you all would be competing with the best of the best in the region, you must have put in a lot of time in practice. What was your preparation like for the NBA 2k APAC Invitational?
CUSTER: Actually, we weren’t able to prepare that much for the Draft Combine game mode because back home in the Philippines it’s hard to find players to play against in that game mode. However, we did do what we usually do, we play [NBA 2K] every day. Our practice is we play for 9 hours every day and it’s basically our job.
How was it like to play with and against the other experienced players within the region?
CUSTER: It’s fun and at the same time challenging siya because it’s 20 of the best players in the Asia Pacific Region tapos kasama ka. So medyo yung level ng competition talagang mataas. Fun siya kasi may makikita kang mga bagong galaw at marami kang matututunan pero the same time, gusto mong mag stand out for the draft.
(It’s fun and at the same time challenging because it’s 20 of the best players in the Asia Pacific Region and you’re one of them. So the level of competition is really high. It’s fun because you’ll be able to see new moves and strategies that you can learn but the same time, you want to stand out in the draft)
RIAL: Lahat sila competitive so nahahasa yung skills namin dito to the next level. So far in the region ang nakita naming malakas is yung Australia at New Zealand so magandang nakalaro namin sila.
(Everyone’s just really competitive so our skills get really sharpened out here to the next level. So far, in the region, what we found out to be the strong entrants are the ones from Australia and New Zealand so it’s great we got to play with them.)
CLARK: It was fun. As expected it was competitive. That’s what we were looking for and that’s what we were expecting to find here. Me, Custer and Rial learned a lot in this competition hopefully we eventually get drafted.
Speaking of the draft, are you guys looking towards any specific teams to pick you up in 2020?
CLARK: For me personally, no. I just want them to give me a chance to showcase our skills and represent the country.
RIAL: Actually, any team would be good. Ang importante is makapasok tayo sa NBA 2K League kasi dream natin yan e.
(Actually, any team would be good. What’s important is we get in the NBA 2K League because that’s always been our dream.)
CUSTER: Ganun din ako. Pero siyempre dun din sana kung saan may mga makakasama akong magagaling. Ok naman din kahit saang team basta mabigyan ka ng chance mapakita kung ano macocontribute mo sa team nila.
(It’s the same for me. But of course, I also was to go where there are good players. Although, I would really take any team as long as they’d give me a chance to show what I can contribute.)
What do you think are the aspect of your game that will make you an asset to these teams?
RIAL: As a player, I will do whatever my teammates need me to do for the team. Willing akong magadjust sa laro [ng teammates’ ko] and willing din akong may matutunang bago.
(As a player, I will do whatever my teammates need me to do for the team. I’m also willing to adjust to [my teammates’] game and I’m willing to learn something new.)
CLARK: Para sa akin yung overall knowledge ko about the game, yung ugali ko, and yung pakikitungo ko sa tao. At saka willing ako to play any role kung ano man makakaya ko.
(“For me, it’s my overall knowledge about the game, it’s my attitude and how I treat and get along with other people well. I’m also willing to play any role, however way I can do it.”)
CUSTER: Ako yung overall flexibility ko. Kaya kong mag play ng any position from point guard to center. I can also be a team roleplayer din. Anything na gustong ibigay sakin nung coach tatanggapin ko sir.
(“For me, it’s my overall flexibility. I can play any position from guard to center. I can also be a team roleplayer. Anything that the coach wants to give me I will take it.”)
The 2K League is a prestigious competition with many of the top players in the entire world, including you guys, working extremely hard and giving all they have for a spot. With that in mind, can you tell us what earning a spot in the league would mean to you? Basically how important is this to you.
RIAL: It means everything sakin to e. Simula bata talaga dream ko na makapasok at mag compete sa organization na malalaki like the NBA. Dream ko talaga siya.
(“This means everything to me. Even as a child I always dreamed of getting into and competing in a big basketball organization like the NBA. It’s always been my dream.”)
CLARK: It would be a dream come true to get a job that you love. Personally, my life revolves around basketball. When I found out I can join the NBA playing NBA 2k, then that’s the dream I want to pursue.
CUSTER: It will be a dream come true for me as well. Pero para sakin magiging malaking honor din siya para sa Philippines. Kung ma-draft ako, I would be the very first Filipino NBA 2k League player. In terms of pag-grind, pinagtrabahuhan naman namin to and feeling ko sobrang deserve namin ma-draft at makapasok sa 2K League.
(“It will be a dream come true for me as well but it will also be a huge honor for the Philippines. If I get drafted, I would be the first Filipino NBA 2K League player. In terms of grinding, we worked really hard for this and I feel we absolutely deserve to be drafted in the 2K League.”)
We’d like to thank the fine folks from the NBA and NBA 2K League for making this interview happen. We also want to wish the guys, PBE_Rial, PBE_Clark, and PBE_Custer the best of luck with the NBA 2K League Draft and thank them for representing the country in such fine fashion.
About the NBA 2K League
The NBA 2K League, a professional esports league co-founded by the NBA and Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ:TTWO), launched in 2018 and features the best NBA 2K players in the world. Each of the league’s 23 teams features six players who compete as unique characters in 5-on-5 play against the other teams in a mix of regular-season games, tournaments, and playoffs. For more information about the NBA 2K League, visit NBA2KLeague.com.
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