schoolscolleges2020 hed news

By Alyxis Gabeligno and Stacy Mendoza

Teams from the Xavier Campus Esports and Entertainment Development (XCEED), namely PORO, KURZO, and HITS-V, earned the championship title after defeating 15 schools and over 45 teams during the Alliance Games Mindanao - Regional Qualifiers held Robinsons Valencia, Bukidnon last 20-21 January 2024.

Owned by AcadArena, the Alliance Games (AllG) is an annual collegiate tournament to showcase the skills, teamwork, and strategies and management of student-athletes through esports. AcadArena and other esports organizations share the same advocacy to make Campus Esports a norm in all forms of education with #NotJustPlay as their main slogan.

The event caters to all ages - including aspiring esports talents, avid esports fans, or just casual watchers who wish to see what the world of competitive gaming looks like at face value. This year, Valorant, League of Legends, Mobile Legends, and Call of Duty: Mobile (CODM) are catered for this tournament.

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Conquering the Nexus: The Summoners’ Victory

The event kicked off with the League of Legends Grand Finals featuring Xavier Ateneo vs Central Mindanao University. Conquering the representatives of the universities across Mindanao, XCEED PORO showed its dominance by sweeping the eliminations and group stages and securing the spot in the semi-finals where they faced the Balanghais of Caraga State University in the upper bracket. PORO successfully secured its ticket to the finals against Calayo Esports in a best-of-three series where they dominated 2-0.

The team, consisting of Jerggy “Joggy” Pelaez, Carlo “Sentinels’” Madrid, Reymark Ian “Mako” Dumagtoy, North “Luma” Fernandez, and Keanu “Kaiser” Paredes, had to adjust to in-game changes. Team manager Tyreece “CrimsonTyrant” Fernandez's initiative to adjust to drastic meta changes proved critical to the team’s success.

There are notable players on every winning team, and PORO was no different. Jerggy “Joggy” Pelaez, the team’s designated bottom lane, shares that their edge against the other teams is their extraordinary decision-making.

“The key consideration in making a play is if we can win the fight or not based on many factors such as items, positioning, and if we have the main advantage in a fight. We adapt based on our strengths and weaknesses in our comp or game state, if we are losing in gold, we place our vision close to our base likewise if we are winning, we go for more aggressive control for vision in the map,”

Meanwhile, Carlo “Sentinels’” Madrid shined the brightest and was hailed the Most Valuable Player, ending the series in a remarkable 17-1-15 KDA.

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“Since it’s a ‘competitive play’, I should really know how to play around my team and use characters that synergize with their characters. There are characters in the game that we should consider that it's a good pick for competitive play and I should also know that I’m not only playing for myself but as well as playing for my team to win,”

One particularly memorable play that demonstrated the team's exceptional talent and ability to swing the tide in their favor was Sentinels’ remarkable damage during the match’s five-minute mark.  He said that it was his first time stepping on a stage to play in front of a live audience.

The team won the championship making a lasting impression on the Mindanao collegiate esports scene.

Clean Slate: Sweeping Tournaments as Practice

The second day kicked off with Call of Duty: Mobile with XCEED’s KURZO winning by yet again another landslide with a score of 3-0 against the University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines’s TRACE being Hardpoint, Search & Destroy and Team Deathmatch in a best-of-five, counting it as their fifth consecutive tournament win as a team, and their first as official representatives of Xavier Ateneo.

With Adrian “ADR” Gulle, Minrey “Tails” Malinis, Veonne “Bimbo” Bahian, Robby “Robby” Soliva, Mohammad “Moyy” Mocsana, and Anicco “Sora” Micabalo, the team’s coordination further clinched the win as they emerged strong both individually and as a team, solidifying wins all throughout the series. ADR was deemed the Most Valuable Player, evident that he exemplified the core value of Magis through his performance throughout the tournament.

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In a one-on-one interview with XCEED’s Tails, he stated that their routine as a team involved inter-team practice and map strategizing which involved scrimmaging and mapping. It has been given that despite the momentum they gained through winning the first point of the game, they still relied on their aggressive strategy to further push through the wins and make up for their difficulties in certain situations of the game.

“For me, the most challenging team that we faced throughout our journey was USTP’s TRACE, as some of the players I know are really good,” XCD Tails explained further.

The player himself is proud that he was representing XCEED and at the same time, upholding the school’s pride and dignity through balancing his academics and play, further paying homage to the advocacy that XCEED upholds.

Marking Hits with Confidence: HITS-V’s Tips on How to Incorporate Teamwork

XCEED’s MLBB Team, Hits-V, secured the final championship match, enabling 3 out of 3 teams of Xavier Ateneo to proceed to Nationals. With players consisting of Brent “Shelbai'' Pagara, Dan “Chad” Ruzgal, Tristan “Yukii” Daroy, Kryssan “KeyG but Diff” Molion, Nathaniel “Clyden” Estipona, and Arl “Kidd” Abonitalla, they have jousted their way towards the finals, scoring a 3 – 1 against University of Southeastern Philippines’ Agila Esports in a best-of-five. Despite having one loss against the opposing team, they believed that through their chemistry, coordination, and strategies, they were confident that they would represent Mindanao for the upcoming nationals. The player who shone throughout the tournament was Chad due to his astounding performance in the event proper.

According to Shelbai, aside from practice and role awareness, the scrims were also a huge part of their ways to improve team chemistry. With every individual player, they were also aware that their designated role as well as their map awareness was also one big factor that contributed to their team successfully claiming their win. During the finals, they were able to detect the opposing team’s blind spots throughout the games – from their draft picks to their strategies, they were able to counter such and grab the last win of the tournament overall.

“With this win, we were inspired to excel ourselves in our academics as this gave us inspiration to do better,” stated Kidd.

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As a team of student-athletes, his statement proves that even the smallest wins can mean something else entirely for the student’s performance in their academics. For some students who thrive in the world of gaming, most people question how they can balance both their academics and their hobbies altogether for a much better flow on how they want to decide their path, and at the same time, enjoy their time in leisure through gaming to rejuvenate themselves before embarking onto much more serious paths.

XCEED prides itself in honing its own players’ talents – not just through practicing their craft as players, but also by achieving a sense of friendship, sportsmanship, and camaraderie. By upholding the values of competition, community, and careers, the organization further “XCEEDs” its limits, believing that these values incorporate the embodiment of Magis. More than that, XCEED members have etched their names in the collegiate esports scene in Mindanao, leaving a dominant legacy that radiates beyond the virtual battlegrounds and even classrooms. These student-athletes are competitive in the soul, passionate at heart, and truly #NotJustPlay.

PORO, KURZO, and HITS-V will play once again in the Alliance Games Nationals.