"E-Gilas" Mineski feels pressure ahead of first huge home stand

Ivan Saldajeno

By Ivan Saldajeno

MAKATI—Mineski recently won the Philippine qualifier of ESL One, earning the team the right to represent the nation in the major DOTA 2 tournament on April 23-24 at the Mall of Asia Arena.

"Honored kami na i-represent ang Pilipinas para sa e-sports," skipper Jay Qui told Dugout Philippines during ESL One's press conference at the Museum Cafe on Thursday.

With online gaming now fast gaining interest in the sporting world, Mineski is even being likened to football squads Kaya and Ceres, which are in the AFC Cup, and the national teams like Gilas. Interestingly, it was former Gilas gaffer Chot Reyes, now heading the digital arm of TV5, who drew the comparison, calling Qui's club "E-Gilas".

"OK sa amin yung tawag sa amin ni Coach Chot, but at the same time, nandoon yung pressure," Qui reacted to his club's new "moniker".

But there is one thing that the Mineski captain is more concerned about.

Qui revealed, "Mas nakaka-pressure yung homecourt advantage. Mas gusto ko pa na nasa outside the country kami kasi iba yung ambience at aura. Saka mas gigil talaga. Dito, mahirap maglaro. May mga taong umaasa na mag-champion kami. Then televised pa. Buksan mo lang yung TV, ilipat mo sa [Aksyon TV o] TV5, makikita mo na yung mga games namin."

The late rebuild of the squad, which only locked its roster just a couple of days before e-sports' own version of the trade deadline, also hampered the club's preparation for the tournament as per the skipper.

"Kinailangan naming mag-exert ng extra effort sa training, pero gagawin namin ang best namin within the coming tournaments," Qui further said.

He also said that ESL One will start what would be a busy spring season for the team as they vie for a spot in the Manila Major in June.

"Siguro magiging stepping stone [namin] ang ESL One para mas lalong mag-build up ang team," Qui said.

He, on the other hand, honestly thinks Mineski will be lucky enough if they score two wins in the tournament.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno