WHEN Setsuna “Akosi Dogie” Ignacio announced in his vlogs that Tristan “Yawi” Cabrera was being poached by various teams around the league, some members from the community ridiculed him, saying that he was just creating an issue for content.
But when the announcements became official, it was clear that Dogie wasn’t making up stories. Nexplay’s big three, who have long been loyal to Dogie because the opportunities the MPL-PH mainstay provided, was finally dismantled.
Even ECHO PH country manager, Mitch Liwanag, never expected that the trio would separate, especially when she was scouting for prospects.
“Minessage ko si Dogie, sabi ko available ba si Yawi?" she recalled. "Nagulat ako na open siya for buyout.”
How ECHO managed to acquire Yawi
Throughout his career, Yawi has always been known for his tank play. Though he doesn’t boast the insane surprise factor that Joshua “Ch4knu” Mangilog has, he still manages to be a pest with his random setups.
But unlike Ch4knu, Yawi has yet to prove that he is capable of transitioning to support heroes, and this was one concern that Liwanag had.
“I told Coach Arc(adia), “Sure ka bang kukunin mo si Yawi?” Nakikita ko na picks niya is hard tank and I think mahihirapan siyang gumamit ng supports," she said.
But Arcadia didn’t budge. He had his eyes set on the the Nexplay roamer, and so Liwanag asked her boss, Aura Esports' Christopher Djaja, to proceed.
“So kinausap ko si boss, ganito ganyan. Kunin natin si Yawi and sabi niya, ‘O sige, wala namang problema may budget naman tayo for this year,” she recalled. "So ayun. In-all out niya. Si boss kase hindi niya kami tinitipid sa players.
And that’s how Yawi ended up with the Orcas.
More than just a tank player
Still the concerns centered on his hero pool remained, given Yawi’s preference to play the likes of Khufra, Akai, and Jawhead — all of which were his main heroes during Season 8.
But during the first day that the team gelled together, Liwanag was surprised that Yawi wasn’t the one trick pony she once thought he was.
“And I was shocked na on the first day he said na he wants to try different heroes. And for the first day he didn’t use Khufra, Akai, Grock. He used Rafa, Mathilda, Floryn, and other supports and I was shocked that Yawi was open for it,” she said.
Amid the larger-than-life personality he brings from his Nexplay days, Liwanag realized that the misconceptions she once had were debunked.
“Akala ko siya (Yawi) yung pinakamaarte kase galing siya sa NXP. He’s a big star. [Pero] nung pagdating sa bootcamp wala naman siyang arte, go naman siya,” said ECHO's manager.
She added: “Also Yawi, makikita niyo si Yawi na hindi humahawak ng Khufra. Kaya naman niya na mag-OhMyV33nus na hero.”
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