Filipino student receives scholarship from US for League of Legends

All that work in front of the computer has earned Michael James "Maykel" Gonzales a full scholarship at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology in Pennsylvania, USA.

Maykel was a member of the University of Santo Tomas Teletigers Esports Club, who competed in the AcadArena campus gaming environment. With the urging of a buddy, the Teletiger jungler, now bot laner for Harrisburg University Storm Esports, applied for tryouts. Of course, his illustrious competitive past with the Teletigers only served to strengthen his argument.

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The war cry of Filipino mothers everywhere is "Kaka-kompyuter mo yan," but for Michael James "Maykel" Gonzales, all that time in front of the computer has earned him a full scholarship to Harrisburg University of Science and Technology in Pennsylvania, USA.

Maykel was a member of the University of Santo Tomas Teletigers Esports Club, who competed in the AcadArena campus gaming environment. With the urging of a buddy, the Teletiger jungler, now bot laner for Harrisburg University Storm Esports, applied for tryouts. Of course, his illustrious competitive past with the Teletigers only served to strengthen his argument.

Maykel, on the other hand, had been wreaking havoc on the rift for at least six years before joining the squad in Grade 12. He was introduced to League of Legends by a friend in elementary school, and it's easy to say he was hooked.

“It was the gameplay,” says the narrator. Maykel explained, "It was like DoTA, and I liked DoTA." The only catch was that everyone else had started playing League, so he couldn't play DoTA. “It's more enjoyable when you have someone to play with.”


Maykel seems to constantly be connecting with someone when playing any game, proving his statements. His elder brother and cousin introduced him to video games when he was younger, and later it was buddies from school who gave him a sense of belonging. “I thank them a lot,” he says of the Teletigers, who have been his community, support system, and family for the past three years.

Maykel says that the spirit of competitiveness keeps him going back for more after nine years and still being devoted to the same game. He recalls his first competition, which was a local tournament held in his region, and how it created a hungry competitive desire in him. “It was a victory, and that makes me happy.”

Maykel and the Teletigers have remained a powerful League of Legends squad in the college Philippine esports scene, with one of his teammates, Jan Edward “Cresho” Hortizuela, being signed to a professional club in the process. Maykel isn't trailing behind in his quest of the victory screen, having represented the Philippines at the IEF for three years in a row and becoming the 2021 Philippine champion and representative for Team Liquid IMC 2021.

Maykel stated, "If [Teletigers] had not [recruit] me, I would not be able to have this chance." “I gained abilities from the game, but they also helped me grow as a person. [Playing in AcadArena] provided me with several opportunity to demonstrate my worth.”

Theo “Uomi” Ignacio, founder of the Teletigers Esports Club, said, “Maykel" was always passionate about winning.” “During his time with the Teletigers, I always regarded him as a player motivated by a desire to win, and he would go to any length to help his team win.”

Maykel said, "I'm excited and nervous at the same time." “You never know, maybe I'll fail.” Maykel is dealing with a lot of changes, including new teammates, a new nation, and a new type of pressure to represent his compatriots, which warrants a weak laugh at the prospect of failure. But if his previous triumphs show anything, it's that he has a strong mindset.

“The most important development I noticed when he competed in AcadArena events was that he learnt to take responsibility in the end,” Uomi adds. “I believe that is what prepares him for his next chapter as a student-athlete at a foreign university.”
 

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