Wednesday, February 14, 2024

15 Questions with Smart Omega Empress

Fresh from winning the recently concluded Liga Adarna Season 7 Charity Tournament, Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart)-backed Smart Omega Empress is gearing up for their next goal in 2024: qualifying for the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Women’s Invitational set to happen in Saudi Arabia in July.

These five young ladies -- Gwen “Not Ayanami” Diagon, Kaye Maerylle “Keishi” Alpuerto, Mery Christine “Meraay” Vivero, Rica Fatima “Amore” Amores, and Sheen “Shinoa” Perez – are no stranger to the intense MLBB competitions here or abroad, and even had the opportunity to represent the country in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games last year, where they bagged the silver medal for the Philippines.


These national athletes look back at how far they’ve come and share with their fans what’s next for the team.


1. How did you first encounter esports?


Shinoa: I was looking after my grandmother in the hospital when I saw someone playing Mobile Legends. I downloaded the game, and the rest is history. I was also classmates with Meraay, so we joined tournaments in our school.


Amore: I’ve encountered games and esports at a young age because we have a computer shop. I’m surrounded by gamers.


2. What made you decide to join your team?


Meraay: I realized that I liked what I was doing – playing ML. I did not hesitate in joining a team back in Cebu.


Not Ayanami: I’m the newest member of Omega Empress. It has been about a year since I joined them, while the rest have been together for a longer time. I went to their team because they were recruiting, and I thought it wouldn’t hurt to try.


3. What’s the best thing about being a professional esports athlete?


Not Ayanami: For me, the best thing is that we got a chance to represent our country.

Keishi: Meeting new people.


Meraay: The chance to show to everyone that we can dominate games whether in female or male tournaments.


Amore: Personally, it’s the fact that we can do something we love.


Shinoa: The chance to explore other countries and places.


4. What’s the hardest thing about being a professional esports athlete?


Meraay: Meeting the expectations of people, and the pressure.


Amore: The hardest thing for us is when we sometimes lose in tournaments.


Not Ayanami: It’s quite hard when people close to us undermine and not appreciate gaming, saying phrases like, “pindot-pindot lang yan, kaya ko rin yan.” But there’s so much more to gaming than pindot-pindot lang.


5. Do you think the perception of female esports players and esports in general have changed?


Amore: It has, in the way that esports has grown in the Philippines. Before, parents are not so supportive, gamers had to play in secret.


Meraay: Especially for women’s. Before, there used to be small tournaments with small prize pool for female esports athletes. But now, there’s more exposure and bigger tournaments for women.


Not Ayanami: I think a lot of people nowadays appreciate and respect professional esports players compared to before. Now, they see it as a proper job.


6. How did your family react when you said you wanted to be an esports athlete?


Keishi: At first, my mom was against it because I used to play all the time. But when they saw that it was what I wanted to do, they eventually became supportive.


Meraay: Before, when my mom watched the live tournaments, she had no clue what was happening. But now, she understands how ML is played. She even sends me a message after tournaments to say, “Congrats, anak, maganda yung hero na gamit mo.


Amore: Kulang na lang po mag-coach!


7. What’s the most unforgettable experience that has happened to you as an esports player?


Not Ayanami: It was during the SEA Games -- that feeling when we were onstage, carrying the flag, representing the Philippines.


8. What’s your next goal after winning several tournaments?


Amore: Our goal this 2024 is to qualify for the Women’s International in Saudi. Hopefully we can represent the Philippines again this year.


Shinoa: I want our team to have a win streak in female tournaments, while my personal goal is to catch up with the mechanics of men’s.


9. Can you describe to us a day in the life of an Omega Empress?


Keishi: Most of our time is spent playing ranked games as a team and individually on a regular day.


Not Ayanami: On rest days, I sleep, read, watch, or play other games.


10. If you were not an esports athlete, what would you be?


Keishi: A badminton player.


Amore: Probably done with college with a normal job.


Not Ayanami: Maybe a student, but I feel I would still be playing other games.


11. What’s your favorite food?


Not Ayanami: At the moment, polvoron.


Keishi: Egg.


Meraay: When we get tired of eggs, we just scramble it with canned tuna.


Amore: Corned beef with egg.


Shinoa: Shrimp, even if I’m allergic.


12. What’s on your playlist?


Keishi: Bags by Clairo


Shinoa: Daylight by Taylor Swift


Meraay: Giliw by Mayo Marte


13. What do you think made you stronger as a team?


Not Ayanami: Our dedication individually and as a team.


Meraay: We are really competitive.


Shinoa: We trust each other, that’s important.


14. What’s your advice to aspiring esports athletes?


Meraay: For those who dream of entering this industry, especially for women, just do what you want. But you have to put in the hard work.


Keishi: Don’t be afraid to give it a try.


15. What’s your message to your fans and to those who support you?


Meraay: To our fans, thank you because you continue to support us no matter if we win or lose. To our families in Cebu, thank you so much for supporting us here in Manila. Even though we are far apart, we could still feel your presence through your steadfast support. Thank you.


A staunch supporter of esports in the Philippines, Smart enables not only esports athletes, but gamers of all levels through the Smart GIGA Arena, the country's first all-in-one esports platform that offers tournament experience to amateur players of popular games including Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, Call of Duty Mobile, Player’s Unknown Battleground, and League of Legends Wild Rift. Since its launch in 2022, Smart GIGA Arena has hosted over 2 million users in nearly 1,000 tournaments, offering more than PHP 4.2 million in prizes.


Learn how Smart empowers subscribers to elevate their gameplay and embark on their esports journey by exploring GIGA Arena. Smart and TNT subscribers can effortlessly participate in any GIGA Arena tournament with Giga Arena 20, offering two GIGA Arena tickets and 100MB for all apps, valid for one day at just Php20. To find out more, visit


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