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2016 was a roller coaster ride for sports fans. The basketball world was shaken when Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors broke the league’s single season record for wins, which was previously held by Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls. However, LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers rained on the Warriors’ parade by beating them in the NBA Finals, lifting the Cleveland Sports Curse. The Chicago Cubs then proved that 2016 was a good year for ending curses, as they also put an end to their 108-year championship drought by finally winning the World Series.

You might think that these—together with the rest of last year’s major sporting events—cannot be topped, but we encourage you to reconsider. 2017 has a lot in store for sports fans everywhere.

Here are E-Sports’ Seven Sports Events to look forward to this year:

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February – 2017 UEFA Champion’s League

Real Madrid capped last season with a sweet victory: beating their intercity rivals Atletico to win the UEFA Champions League. This year, the Blancos are looking to defend their title against powerhouses in excellent form, including Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and Juventus. There’s far more drama to come as teams set out to prove that they are Europe’s best.

April – Opening of the new Philippines Football League

2017 is the year Philippine football takes a huge step forward. Nine teams already confirmed to play in the Philippines Football League, while an additional two may still join. Finally, old vanguards such as Global, Ceres, Loyola, Kaya, and Stallion will now get to play official matches in venues outside of Metro Manila. The details about the inaugural season are scant as of the moment, but with international football competitions around the corner, the Azkals could use the league to keep themselves in top shape.

June – The 2017 NBA Finals

The Cleveland Cavaliers-Golden State Warriors rivalry is in contention for the most hotly anticipated rematch in NBA history, especially after Cleveland’s thrilling comeback victory in last year’s Finals. But the rematch is certainly not guaranteed. The San Antonio Spurs continue to quietly dominate, while the Houston Rockets are stirring up a storm out West. No team outside the Toronto Raptors can legitimately challenge the Cavaliers in the East, but there may be surprises. Curry-Durant vs LeBron-Kyrie match-ups have been hot tickets all season long, and we can only expect the games to get more intense as we approach the post-season.

June and September – Philippine NCAA Season 92 and 93 & UAAP Season 79 and 80

There’s a reason why some sportscasters claim that there’s no greater display of passion in sports than college basketball. This season, collegiate athletes play their hearts out once more for their schools. While we do want to catch a few more Ateneo-La Salle games, the other stories are equally intriguing. Can the UP Fighting Maroons build on the gains they made in the last basketball tournament? Can Arellano University rise from the ashes and wrest the championship away from San Beda? Will the UP Pep Squad compete again despite their cheer dance competition protest?

June to July – The Championships, Wimbledon

The drama in the tennis world has begun: Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray were knocked out of the Australian Open by Denis Istomin (world number 117) and Mischa Zeverev (world number 50) respectively, and Roger Federer, the 17th seed, beat his long-time rival Rafael Nadal in the Final to win his first grand slam since 2012. And we’re hoping that we get even juicier narratives as the tennis season moves along. Can Serena Williams solidify her spot as one of the best players in history with a victory in the Championships, or will Angelique Kerber or Simona Halep rain on her parade?  Will Federer produce even more magic by contending for a record breaking 8th Wimbledon Title before leaving the game? With the likelihood of more upsets happening, we’re looking forward to more exciting match-ups this season.

August – 2017 Asia Women’s Volleyball Championship

After a landmark year for volleyball, the Philippines is preparing to host another major international tournament. It’s high time for the sport’s popularity to expand beyond the college and club ranks. We see a promising national team led by international showstopper Alyssa Valdez and stars Rachel Anne Daquis and the Santiago sisters. Look for our players to go all-out against juggernauts China, Korea, Japan, and our neighbors, Thailand and Vietnam.

August – 2017 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

There’s no better time to show support for the national team. The road to the 2020 Olympics continues with this biannual meet, with the Philippine delegation looking to improve on the nation’s 6th place finish in 2015. A recent petition to add new sports such as judo, wrestling and baseball to the current competition slate can increase the odds of the Philippines winning more medals.

***

It’s the beginning of the year, and it’s a great time to get into a new sport—whether as an observer or a practitioner. With options such as on-demand video and social media, there are so many new avenues through which you can catch these big sporting events. And there is also an increasing number of venues where you can actually try and learn a new sport, or simply just begin your fitness journey.

We here at E-Sports are big fans of all kinds of sports. We are hopeful that through our commitment to building quality sports and training facilities, we can enrich the Philippine sporting landscape even more by providing more venues and opportunities for people to hone their craft, and perhaps one day even participate as players in these major sporting events.

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