After months of preparation, team manager Jab Escutin's perseverance in bringing together the strongest Filipino Mobile Legends: Bang Bang lineup was rewarded with a gold medal finish at the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
The Sibol Mobile Legends roster was made up of the top players from four different organizations, with some still pulling double duty for their mother squads a week before the biennial multi-sport event began. Yet when the all-star group took the main stage, it was as if its members had been playing together for years.
Jab, who is also the COO of Bren Esports, admitted that assembling a crew of this talent level was a tough grind. Sibol had to gather owners and discuss how they can unite on the multiplayer online battle arena mobile game for the Philippine flag.
In an interview with SPIN Life, he explained, "Basically, we just had to work heavily with the other teams. We met and we figured that this is the most important competition for all the players. All of us agreed to work together and it worked out."
But forming the star-studded team was only the beginning.
"We wanted the players to understand that, in the first place, this is history being made. None of the personal stuff will be more important than actually winning," Jab said. "So, gelling with one another [had to become] second [nature]. It does not really matter who they are as an individual, as long as they coexist."
Despite being esports superstars in their respective organizations, he credited Jeniel "Haze" Bata-Anon, Angelo Kyle "Pheww" Arcangel, Allan Sancio "Lusty" Castromayor, Karl Gabriel "KarlTzy" Nepomuceno, Kenneth Jiane "Kenji" Villa, Carlito "Ribo" Jr., and Jason Rafael "Jay" Torculas for putting ego aside to bring the country pride.
"One of the things that amazes us is that these youngsters — even minors — are very professional... They will never compete at the highest level if they are not professionals in the first place," he attested.
Working at this level allowed them to keep their eyes on the goal and focus on coming up with strategies for the event. Jab added, "We never gave attention to [issues between players] because these guys are disciplined and locked in."
The vocal team manager is still in awe of the gold medal and everything else that Sibol Mobile Legends has accomplished with "two months of practice, compared to the all-star Indonesian team that probably had a year or so knowing each other so. They understand that this was history being made, so they put in the effort."