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    THE STAKES are now much higher for Work Auster Force. They are no longer the rookie team standing in the land of giants — they are now part of the TNC brand, one of the biggest names in Southeast Asian esports.

    To bring their game to the next level, the team acquired at least one foreign player, as well as local veterans in the scene.

    So far the foreign player is still a big mystery. But the local veterans — Adrian “Toshi” Bacallo and Douglas Joseph Bondoc “ImbaDeejay” Astibe II — are taking their talents to TNC Pro Team for the upcoming eighth season of the MPL.

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    Toshi, who came from Omega Esports, a team filled with veterans, said that playing under TNC offers a different feeling.

    “So far, masaya ako sa team kase. Mostly kasing edad ko sila so same vibes kami,” the 19-year-old said as TNC revealed their full Pinoy roster in a press conference yesterday, July 18, in TNC Premium Cafe along Recto Avenue.

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    The transition from a veteran team to an up-and-coming contender may seem like a new experience for Toshi. However, he reiterated the importance of adaptation when it comes to esports.

    “Part ng buhay bilang pro-player ang mag-adjust and natuto naman ako,” he said.

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      TNC Pro Team fielding a diverse team

      His fellow teammate, ImbaDeejay, also has his own thoughts on his shift to a new organization.

      Astibe, who experienced the pain of consecutive early exits in the MPL, was determined to finally end his frustrations in his career.

      In his previous stint with Cignal Ultra, he was able to reach the playoffs in Season 6, only for them to be eliminated in the early stages. The following season was a catastrophe, as his team failed to qualify in the playoff rounds, ending their season with an abysmal 0-13 match record.

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      “Yung pinagdaanan ko sa MPL, parang mas ganado akong manalo,” said ImbaDeejay.

      Though he’s not part of the frontline, Astibe hinted that he’s more than just a substitute player, as he can offer additional tactical insights for the team alongside head coach, John Laurence “Lift” Ruiz.

      Ruiz is now leading a diverse set of players, consisting of rookies, imports, mainstays, and veterans — offering both advantages and disadvantages.

      "Yung negative, would be yung desisyon kung sino yung papalaruin mo. Baka kase may magtampo e,” he said. “Pero yung positive naman, maraming kang kapalit. Kung sakaling magkasakit yung isa, at least may option.”

      In fact, one of his first decisions would be to address the dilemma between choosing Toshi and Clarense Jay “Kousei” Camilo, who have both been the main non-turtle laners for their respective teams in the previous season.

      “Napag-usapan namin ito with management and kahit si Toshi or Kousei magaling naman e,” debated Lift.

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      More options, after all, are better than less.

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