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Eight collegiate teams from Hawaiʻi and the Pacific will battle it out in Hawaiʻi’s first ever Mobile Legends: Bang Bang tournament to become the winner of the Aloha Collegiate Cup.

Hosted by the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa esports program, the event is April 21, from noon–4 p.m., at the UH Mānoa iLab. Participating institutions include UH Mānoa, the University of Guam, Northern Marianas College and another Hawaiʻi university.

Traditionally thought of as PC games, esports has recently shifted to be played on mobile phones, which has been critical to closing the gap around the accessibility and affordability of technologies for students. UH Mānoa esports Program Director Nyle Sky Kauweloa said mobile esports is the future of collegiate esports, and UH Mānoa’s location in the Pacific and Asia-Pacific ties have allowed the program to pivot to mobile games that not all programs in the U.S. are able to.

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The UH Mānoa esports program launched the first varsity Mobile Legends: Bang Bang team for North America in fall 2023, giving students who have been brought up in a mobile-first environment more opportunities to join the team. This tournament is one of the ways Kauweloa is expanding participation across Hawaiʻi and the Pacific.

“I’m cognizant of how important this game is to our own players in Hawaiʻi,” Kauweloa said. “This is a game that is deeply embedded into the local Filipino community as a means of fostering relationships and connections. In our recent local Mobile Legends: Bang Bang meet-up, we had players who ranged in backgrounds from middle school to medical professionals. This is extremely unusual to find in most esports environments, and thus why I want UH Esports to be supportive of what is taking place with mobile esports.”

In Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, players compete in teams of five to defeat the opposing team’s base while controlling their own hero character. Each hero has unique abilities and characteristics, and players can choose from a wide variety of heroes to suit their play style. Mobile Legends: Bang Bang was the second and third most watched esports tournament in 2023 with a peak viewership count of more than five million.

If you are planning to watch the matches in person, you are asked to RSVP using this form. If you are unable to make it out to the iLab for the tournament, you can watch the livestream on YouTube.

UH Esports receives funding from the Academy for Creative Media System. Visit the UH Esports team’s X and Discord pages.

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