THE STIGMA that gaming will never yield to something beneficial has slowly been debunked over the years, as the growth of the esports industry led to massive prize pools and viable professional careers for gamers, which ultimately allowed them to help their families.
However, other means for helping gamers were introduced.
A Grade 11 student named Israel was able to receive a scholarship program all thanks to Mobile Legends. He currently studies in Liceo de Cagayan University in Misamis Oriental, taking up a track related to computer engineering.
But of course none of this would've happened had Israel not ventured into the Land of Dawn.
"Nagsimula ako maglaro around Grade 8 po, tapos for fun lang dapat yun. Sama-sama sa mga cousin ko tapos pinagtatawanan po nila ako noon kase hindi ako marunong maglaro," related Israel to Spin.ph. "Tapos dumating yung quarantine, yung COVID, doon nakapaglaro ako [nang] walang sagabal. Wala kasing school noon, tapos nakapagbatak ako, hanggang na-reach ko yung rank na Mythic."
Upon reaching that rank, Israel decided to test the waters by joining tournaments.
"Hero ko pa noon, ano pa lang, Aldous pala yung main hero ko," he remembered. "First kong sinalihan [na tournament], nag-champion agad."
It was a nerve-wracking experience for the young player. "Nanginginig pa yung kamay ko kasi first time ko nga, kinakabahan ako habang naglalaro. Hanggang sa nagbatak ako ng nagbatak, hanggang sa school namin may nagpa-tourna na.
"Parang ano lang siya yung intrams...tapos nag-champion yung team na makakasama ko lang, mga ka-strand ko lang."
This led to him being discovered by a third-party organization, who offered him a scholarship program.
It would provide him a school subsidy as well as other benefits. Of course, he would have to work hard to maintain it, and to coninue his ML career, which he happily did.
"Patuloy lang ako mag-ML tapos magsali-sali ng mga tournament," said Israel.
How ML has changed his life?
But besides the discount in his education, Israel recounted how MLBB has changed his life.
Like most gamers, Israel received the usual negative stigma about gaming from his parents.
"Against po sila sa paglalaro ko ng ML kasi hindi maiwasan magpuyat, tapos minsan nag-skip ako ng kain," he said.
He added: "Diba naiiba yung pagtulog ko? Morning natutulog ako tapos gabi gising ako. Nasasabihan pa nga nila ako na 'aswang' kaso baliktad nga yung pagtulog ko. Tapos yung pagkain ko, minsan isang beses lang, dalawa, ganun."
But as he slowly garnered success through his passion for gaming, his parents became slowly convinced that, indeed, gaming was good for him.
"Hanggang nag-support na lang sila kasi may nage-gain na kasi ako, may nauuwi na ako. Minsan nauuwi ako, isang week hindi ako napapauwi, tapos pagbalik ko, may dala ng trophy," said Israel.
"Tapos yun, last year lang, ok na sa kanila kase may nage-gain na ako."
But beyond the parental support, Israel also gained new peers... as well as a boost in their MLBB careers as they were tapped by managers.
Will Israel end up in the pro scene?
With the benefits that he received from Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, will this mean that Israel will have a lot of time to grind and perhaps follow all that with a pro esports career? Given the academic requirements needed, it would be difficult to balance both.
"Gusto kong sumali sa pro-scene, kaso mahirap kasi ang laki ng requirements tapos mababa lang yung rank ko. At the same time, hindi ako pwede mag-focus sa ML lang kasi nag-aaral din ako," said Israel.
He's keeping all his options open. "In the future if ever hindi ako maging pro player, yung dream probably is computer engineering pero hindi pa rin sure yung desisyon ko kase marami pang pwedeng pagpipiliin."
But if he ever does break into the pro ranks, he'll be very happy to encounter his idol Sanford "SanFord" Vinuya, who serves as his inspiration.
"Nakaka-inspire lang po yung si SanFord. Idol na idol ko kasi yun, ang bata-bata pa niya tapos World Champion. Syempre nakaka-inspire kase nagbunga yung mga sacrifice [niya] tapos makakatulong siya sa father niya na na-stroke."
Sanford's team ECHO PH is also a undeniable inspiration, especially after an impressive 4-0 masterclass.
"Syempre na-amaze kasi yung kalaban nila Blacklist, malakas yun e! Tapos yung mga players sa ECHO, bago pa lang sila nabuo e, tapos yung Blacklist matagal na, malakas na yung chemistry nila. Yung ECHO bago pa lang, tapos ang nakakaangas pa dun, may mga bata pa lang, tapos nakakagulat 4-0 pa nila."
"Pero expected ko na iyon, sa kanila ako naka-support e," said the young scholar.
Perhaps, in this young team, he also sees a little of himself: the fire and energy of youth, transformed by an undeniable passion for gaming.
This article was written by CARLOS PINEDA and came out in https://www.spin.ph/esports/how-mobile-legends-gave-this-grade-11-student-an-esports-scholarship-a4858-20230126?ref=home_feed_1