Three groups will fight it out for the title in Singtel's inaugural e-sports PVP Inter-Campus League after a series of games that initially involved around 450 players in 91 teams from local tertiary institutions.
The top three emerged after a series of showdowns between the 14 remaining teams at the revamped Funan mall yesterday.
They will now go on to the grand finals in December and battle it out for $20,000 on the sidelines of the Singapore Comic Con.
Two of the five-man teams - called Serpentine and Holy - are from the Institute of Technical Education (ITE), while Unstable Network is from the Singapore Institute of Management.
They were playing the popular multi-player online battle arena game Mobile Legends.
"We only started to train together in the past few days because everyone has their own commitments. But our teamwork was very good today and we made very few mistakes," said Serpentine captain Glenn Hong, 18, a second-year digital and precision engineering student at ITE College Central.
Education Minister Ong Ye Kung told people at the event that gaming's increasing popularity can be harnessed as a tool to engage the young, encourage social interactions and deliver creative lessons.
"Initiatives such as Singtel's PVP Inter-Campus League are a step in a positive direction," he added.
Mr Arthur Lang, chief executive of Singtel's international group, said the telco was encouraged by the response to its league and hopes to do more to support the fledgling e-sports scene here.
Singtel launched its e-sports arm with a PVP Esports Championship last year that featured top professionals in the region but opted for a more community-centric approach this year with its campus league and a corporate league for companies.
"Instead of inviting the pros, we wanted to find potential pros from the community. We were surprised by the number of teams that signed up with players from all walks of life," said Mr Lang.
He added that Singtel employees have identified 10 to 15 promising players who could receive financial support for their budding e-sport careers.
The telco handed out one-year sponsorship deals to local e-sports organisations Resurgence and Asterisk, and Street Fighter world champion Ho Kun Xian in March, with the trio serving as PVP brand ambassadors.