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    Bren Esports out to defend their 'Mobile Legends' throne

    Jun 21, 2019

    “Lahat kami magaling. Yun ang maganda sa team namin, kasi yung iba may star player, sa’min walang ganun. Kumbaga lahat kami may nako-contribute.”

    This was team captain Renz “Pein” Reyes’ quick response when asked who he thinks is the best player in the group. In a world where most competitive teams rely on one player to carry them to victory, members of the Bren Esports Mobile Legends Team had to depend on one another to win games and reach the top.

    A lot has changed since last year’s winner of the inaugural Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Professional League Philippines (MPL) tournament finished the regular season with just a single loss.

    Bren Esports’ ML squad, formerly known as Aether Main, went on to represent the country at the Mobile Legends Southeast Asia Cup 2018 (MSC) in Jakarta, Indonesia and took home the trophy.

    Unfortunately, this was the last time they found themselves in first place, after losing to Cignal Ultra and ArkAngel in the finals of MPL Seasons 2 and 3, respectively.

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    This year, the team composed of Reyes, Yuji Aizawa, CJ Ribo, Jeniel Bata-anon, Mico Sampang, and Efphraim Sambrano, will don the national colors (along with rivals ArkAngel) against 10 teams from eight other different countries. And they will have home court advantage at MSC 2019, which opened last Wednesday and will end on June 23 at the iconic Smart Araneta Coliseum.

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    For the defending champions, though, the ultimate goal is to defend the throne and reclaim their former glory — even if it means beating their fellow Pinoys. Bren Esports will need every member to bring his A-game against pro-gamers from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos.

    Spin Life spoke to some of the team members about their journey to esports success and the climb back to the top prior to the biggest Mobile Legends tournament in the region.

    Renz Reyes aka Pein (Age: 26; Position: All-around)

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    How was life as a gamer before Mobile Legends?

    Nung wala pang ML, Dota 2 yung nilalaro ko. Nagku-compete na rin ako sa mga tournaments. Yung highest achievement ko, maging representative ng San Beda College sa National Cyber Collegiate League. Actually mas favorable sa dating Dota 2 players ang ML kasi halos same ang gameplay. Meron kang advantage kasi may idea ka na kung paano lalaruin yung game.

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    What struggles did the team face when you were just starting out?

    Dati kinukulang kami ng oras sa practice kasi di kami magkakasama, kumabaga nagkakatamaran. Umabot din kami sa point na parang gusto na naming mabuwag, pero may dumating na sponsor tapos pinagsama-sama kami sa isang boot camp. Dun kami mas naging solid tsaka na-hone yung skills.

    How would you describe the current state of local esports?

    Sobrang laki ng changes, kasi nung nagsisimula kami, nagpapakamatay kami para sa P5,000 na prize, ha ha! Ngayon P5 million na lagi, kumabaga from 5K to 5M, ganun na kalaki yung pinagkaiba. Tapos hindi lang siya every year, quarterly na yung ganung tournaments.

    Any advice for aspiring professional gamers?

    Minsan kahit gusto mong maging pro-gamer, depende pa rin talaga, sa IQ mo sa paglalaro, for example. Kasi minsan gusto mo yung laro, pero ayaw ka ng laro. Nandun din yung passion at diskarte, pero kahit maglaro ka ng 15 hours a day, mag-practice ka nang sobra-sobra, pero kung wala kang IQ sa laro, mahirap.

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    Yuji Aizawa aka Yuji (Age: 24; Position: Mage)

    What has been the difference between playing ML then and now?

    Napansin ko nung nagsisimula pa lang kami, puro laro lang, enjoyment ,and entertainment. Ngayon may sinusunod na kaming schedule, medyo istrikto na. Hindi na pwedeng pa-easy-easy lang tulad dati, ngayon di na dapat kami magkamali during our practices. Mas disciplined na yung laro, mas on-point na yung galawan.

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    Give a rough estimate of how much have you earned so far.

    Nakapag-invest na ako sa maraming bagay at panggastos sa ospital, kasi nanganak yung asawa ko. Nagkasakit yung anak ko. Proud ako kasi sarili kong pera yung ginamit ko, di ko na kailangang manghingi ng tulong sa magulang. Nag-iipon na rin ako para sa future naman at education ng anak ko.

    Any advice for aspiring professional gamers?

    Dapat maging responsible ka talaga. Halimbawa, kung nag-aaral ka, wag mong pabayaan. Ganun din kung may pamilya ka na. Wag ka masyadong mag-focus sa laro, lalo na yung buhay mo di lang naman nakaikot sa Mobile Legends.

    Efphraim Sambrano aka Ejhay (Age: 23; Position: Tank)

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    What were you doing before you pursued gaming as a career?

    Tambay lang ako bago mag-ML. Waiter ako dati, tapos nagpahinga sa trabaho. Kaya nakakapaglaro ako nun, walang ginagawa sa bahay.

    How was life as a gamer before Mobile Legends?

    GTA San Andreas lang yung nilalaro ko dati eh, ha ha! Nagdo-Dota rin ako, kaso yung unang version lang. Di na ako umabot sa Dota 2 kasi busy, nagwo-work din kasi ako nun.

    Does each player have a specific game hero to practice?

    Usually rotation, kung ano yung effective ngayon kasi paiba-iba eh. Kailangang mag-adjust kasi nag-iiba-iba yung heroes, may bina-buff, may nine-nerf. May pinapalakas, may pinapahina, kaya dapat ma-adapt mo agad yun. Kasi pag na-delay ka, mahihirapan ka. Pag nauna yung ibang players na mag-adjust sa change, tapos ikaw di pa, matatalo ka.

    Describe your “Kaka-computer-mo-yan-puro- ka-cellphone-moment with family and parents.

    Wala naman siguro rin talagang matutuwang magulang pag panay ka lang cellphone. Pero wala ka namang tinatapakan o sinaktang tao, naglalaro ka lang sa bahay. At mas maganda yun kaysa nag-a-adik ka sa kalsada. Sa bandang huli, sinuportahan pa rin naman ako ng mga magulang ko, kasi maganda naman yung kita sa esports

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    CJ Ribo aka Ribo (Age: 23; Position: Assassin)

    How long does a pro-gamer actually play?

    Nung umpisa pa lang, yun talaga, siguro 14 to 16 hours kami naglalaro. May one-hour break lang para kumain, ha ha! Nung nagsama-sama na kami, ini-i-schedule talaga namin yung practice, eight hours a day.

    Give a rough estimate of how much have you earned so far.

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    Marami na rin akong napundar, tulad ng sasakyan at napaayos ko na rin yung bahay namin. Ngayong school year, ako yung nagbayad ng tuition ng kapatid ko. Nakatulong na rin ako sa pamilya ng nanay ko, yung mga kapatid niya.

    What are your thoughts on the cancerous reputation of Pinoy gamers?

    Totoo naman eh, haha. Kasi may mga tao na di nirerespeto yung laro, pinagti-trip-an tapos sinisira yung game. Kaya tinatawag siyang cancer. Imbes na seryoso kayong lima ng mga kakampi mo nagpapapatay ka lagi, tinatapon mo yung laro.

    Jeniel Bata-anon aka Yellyhaze (Age: 22; Position: Tank)

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    How was life as a gamer before Mobile Legends?

    League of Legends yung nilalaro ko dati. Madalas mini-tournaments lang, pero di kami umabot sa malalaking competition kasi hobby ko lang siya. Student ako sa TIP, mechanical engineering. Last semester ko na, pero napilitan akong huminto dahil dito.

    Describe your Kaka-computer-mo-yan-puro-ka-cellphone-moment with family and parents.

    Nagalit din sa’kin, lalo na't nag-aaral pa ko nun. Sinabi ko sa tatay ko na ako na ang bahalang magpaaral sa sarili ko. Napapakita ko naman sa kanya na may patutunguhan itong ganitong career eh. Nandito na yung opportunity ng esports eh, kaya kailangan ko munang gawin ito. Kung anuman, itutuloy ko na lang yung pag-aaral ko. At least nakaipon na ko para sa future.

    Give a rough estimate of how much have you earned so far.

    Napaayos ko na yung bahay namin. Napag-aral ko na yung mga kapatid ko dahil sa kaka-ML. Nagbunga rin yung puyat at pagod.

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    What have you learned from all those runner-up finishes?

    Nung time kasi na nag-champion kami, parang sumobra yung kumpyansa sa sarili, nawala na yung gutom manalo. Pag nag-e-ML kami tamang laro lang, di na seryoso, di mo na ramdam na gusto mong manalo. Madalas nang di nagpa-practice. Nung natalo kami, mas naging eager kami, tapos inayos naming yung communication kasi yun ang unang nasira.

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