BREN Esports went on a roller-coaster ride before finally hoisting the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Professional League-Philippines championship trophy.
According to head coach Ralph “Leathergoods” Llabres, BREN Esports had already acquired the Aether Main roster during the league’s inaugural season. But a certain league rule prevented them from carrying the BREN banner, which is why the Season One championship was attributed to the Aether franchise.
The quest for taking one under the storied organization continued in Season Two, but the roster composed of Renz “Pein” Reyes, Mico “Coco” Sampang, CJ “Ribo” Ribo, Yuji “Yuji” Aizawa, Jeniel “Haze” Bata-anon, and Matthew “666” Mandilag failed to work their magic again. They eventually fell to arch-rival Cignal Ultra in the Season Two finals.
BREN Esports had another shot at the title in the third season, but once again, they found themselves at the losing end. This time, ArkAngel went on to win the championship.
The following season then became the organization’s lowest point.
After two failed runs at the title, team captain Pein decided to move on from the team to focus on his family and streaming career.
BREN, for the first time in league history, wasn’t in the top two spots at the end of the season. They ended with a franchise-worst fourth-to-sixth place finish.
A glimmer of hope came in during Season Five with Southeast Asian Games gold medalists and former rivals Angelo Kyle “Pheww” Arcangel, Bords “Lusty” Castromayor, and Karl Gabriel “KarlTzy” Nepomuceno joining forces with BREN mainstays Coco, Ribo, and Efphraim “Ejhay” Sambrano.
But an unfortunate incident impeded the team’s dream of finally giving the franchise its title.
“Medyo heart-breaking actually ‘yung Season Five because the whole team felt like it was supposed to be ours. It just so happened na ‘yung regular season kasi was cut in the middle because of the pandemic. Nahinto kasi ‘yung training for two months and we couldn’t really train, like train-train,” shared BREN Esports MLBB coach Francis “Duckey” Glindro during an appearance in Tiebreaker Vodcasts’ Beyond The Meta, presented by SMART Sports.
“Based on ‘yung sa character ng team, we had this parang meron kaming momentum. The momentum was really great so the swing was there.”
And the team really did exceed expectations in the regular season, winning all of their games but one to claim the top spot heading into the playoffs.
But the team’s lack of preparation due to the pandemic showed.
Despite winning their first-round match-up against Execration, BREN Esports suffered two consecutive losses against Sunsparks and Aura PH in the winners’ final and the losers’ final, respectively, which booted them out of the tournament.
That Season Five loss proved to be the push that they needed to finally bring the trophy home.
BREN Esports flat-out dominated the regular season, once again winning all of their match-ups but one to replicate their feat in the previous season.
The team then swept NXP Solid in the quarterfinals and ONIC PH in the semis. They finally claimed the title at Smart Omega’s expense, 4-2, in the best-of-seven grand finals.
At last, after four seasons of chasing that elusive championship, long-time BREN Esports members Ribo and Coco — who is now serving as the team’s analyst — finally gave the organization its first official championship under its banner.
“Sa wakas, kasi parang ‘yung Season One and Two nga parang sobrang lapit na eh, tapos dalawang season ‘yun. ‘Yung Three and Four medyo hinanap namin ‘yung… kasi nagkakabuwag-buwag na kami noon eh, so hinanap namin ‘yung chemistry as a team. ‘Yung Season Five sana din kaso nagkaroon kasi ng break eh, halos two months ‘yung hinto ng MPL,” said Coco, who was replaced by Charles “FlapTzy” Canon, this season.
“Ngayon ayun, buti naman kasi sabi namin dati pa kailangan muna mag-champion para sa Bren kasi lagi namin sinasabi sa mga boss namin ‘yun eh.”
“Nagre-roster na lang ulit kami, tapos ako na lang ‘yung natira sa Bren kasi parang gusto ko ipakita sa kanila na mag-champion ulit under Bren,” added Ribo.
Even though the squad is different now compared to two years ago, the two remnants of the Aether Main squad cannot forget their former teammates whom they started the dream with.
And that is why they are dedicating this championship to them.
“Siguro achievement na rin namin lahat ‘yun kasi parang part sila ng mga career namin, parte na sila ng career namin. So siguro kung ano ‘yung ma-achieve ng isa sa amin, parang masaya kami para sa kanila na, “Uy, teammate ko ‘yan!’ Parang ganon ‘di ba?” ended Coco.