DURING THE culmination of the MPL-PH's tenth season, ECHO PH team manager Mitch Liwanag couldn't hold her tears the moment when her team garnered their M4 World Championship slot.
In fact, during a press conference at the season's end, she looked back on the struggles that the team endured, and how appreciative she was of her boss' loyalty.
"Sobrang na-appreciate ko yung mga boss ko," she said. "Lahat ng suporta, ang tagal namin hindi nananalo, kahit hindi kami nakapagbigay ng placement, minsan 6th place pa and never silang nagsawa na bitawan kami, pero lagi na lang positive words ang ibinibigay sa amin."
Then, when ECHO's sibling org, Aura Fire secured a painful third place finish in MPL Indonesia Season 10 to put an end to their M4 dream, Mitch promised that her team would avenge their defeat.
"Kanina nakita namin na natalo ang Aura and nangako kami sa isa't isa, bibigyan namin ng trophy sina boss. Gusto ko lang sabihin thank you boss for everything. I know we have so much struggles here in the Philippines and here we go we got the M4 slot for you."
Aura Fire returns the favor in M4
During ECHO PH's match vs. Malaysia's Team Haq, the atmosphere was against the Orcas. The stadium was surrounded with THQ fans, while ECHO only had a handful of supporters who occupied one section.
With only a few ECHO fans in the arena, the meme "Limang ECHO fans" became nearly literal.
In an interview segment between Clara Mongstar and Mara Aquino with ECHO supporters, it was revealed that the handful of ECHO fans cheering for their team were from Indonesia, specifically from Aura Fire.
Some might think that this was a planned attempt to further boost ECHO's presence in the area, but Mitch Liwanag told Spin.ph that it wasn't the case.
"Umpisa pa lang yung Aura fans, sinusuportahan nila kami. So parang alam nila na sister company kami, so that's the reason why they're here. They wanted to support, of course bilang Aura fans sila, ECHO fans sila," she said.
And while there could be sibling rivaly between Aura Fire and ECHO PH, these two teams are united with the same end goal.
"Actually iisa lang kami, so kumbaga panalo namin, panalo din nila!"
With the unity displayed by Aura and ECHO, it didn't matter if the Malaysian crowd had the numerical advantage. The ECHO PH supporters tried their best to heckle back the opposition and show their support to the team.
Banter was volleyed back-and-forth, but for Liwanag, everything is done in good faith.
"Actually yung nakikita namin sa TV, sobrang tawa namin kase it's the first time we saw them dancing. However, yun nga parang friendly banter, nakakatuwa silang both. Ok naman kung mang-trash talk sina THQ, kasi normal naman sa game yun."
With such a huge level of support from the international org, ECHO PH roamer Tristan "Yawi" Cabrera expressed how grateful he was with their presence.
"Sobrang saya po sa feeling kase syempre hindi po sila Pinoy so lahat ng supporters namin [taga-]Philippines," he said. "Gusto po kaming suportahan pero syempre malayo. So yun po, pero nakakatuwa na may taga ibang bansa na sumusuporta sa amin."
And Mitch wanted to share her message to the so-called "limang ECHO fans."
"Hi guys nandito kami sa Indo, para sa inyo ito."