Once considered not a real sport a few years back, the competitive esports scene in the Philippines has rapidly grown.
The past year saw local esports stars such as Carlo “Kuku” Palad, Marc Polo “Raven” Fausto, Timothy “Tims” Randrup, and Abed “Abed” Yusop of Dota 2, and Karl “KarlTzy” Nepomuceno of Mobile Legends, to name a few, gather massive followings that can even rival some of the biggest names in traditional sports.
Unfortunately, though, the same cannot be said for the up-and-coming industry’s head tacticians a few years back.
Back in the day, some esports teams did not feel the need for coaches. Mentors, unlike in traditional sports, cannot have any input during play. So the responsibility of creating strategies and keeping players in line mostly falls to the team’s captain and manager.
But as the scene grew bigger, the responsibility of coaches expanded alongside it. Suddenly, the role of coaches became much clearer to the community.
BREN Esports coach Francis “Duckeyyy” Glindro vindicated the position by leading a star-studded cast of Mobile Legends professionals to the top of the M2 World Championship last January. This is one of the best achievements for a local esports team.
Duckeyyy’s feat proved that having a hard-working, proficient leader can take a team to greater heights.
Months after, Aura PH’s Mobile Legends squad made a move that can revolutionize not just the MPL-Philippines landscape but the entire local esports community as well.
The organization signed former Omega Esports and Sibol national team coach Steven “DaleDalus” Vitug as its strategic coach, pairing him with another great mind in Michael “Arcadia” Bocado in a bid to lead the new-look Aura PH squad to the MPL-Philippines Season Seven title.
“We believe that investing in coaches is a really good thing. We have faith in what they can bring to the table and how they mold the players into really great ones that we know today,” shared Aura PH manager Mitch Liwanag.
“Getting a Strategic Coach was a decision we had made a long time ago. Having Dale take that spot was just very recent but it felt right. Yup, we are just looking for the right person to fill that position and Coach Dale just clicks,” added Liwanag, who worked with DaleDalus before during their time with the Philippine national team.
Having two coaches has already been done in the past seasons, but this is the first time in MPL history that two established coaches joined forces and took active roles in one franchise.
Arcadia spearheaded the Sunsparks squad that won it all back in Season Five, while DaleDalus led Omega Esports to the grand finals of both the MPL-Philippines Season Six and The Nationals Season Two before steering the team to a 5th-6th place finish in the M2 World Championship.
At last, gone are the days that signing up a coach was deemed as a waste of money. Hopefully, this move can open more opportunities for coaches in the near future.