One of the greatest Dota 2 trios in the Philippines finally bid its goodbye to the organization that they helped build.
And for Kim “Gabbi” Villafuerte, Timothy “Tims” Randrup, and Armel “Armel” Tabios, they have nothing but gratitude to the TNC brass for everything that they have done for them in the past five years.
“’Yun nga, dito na rin ako nag-improve. Dito na rin ako maraming natutunan,” said Gabbi. “Siyempre, dito na rin ako naging ano… Parang lumaki ‘yung career ko, ganun.
“Never ko talagang makakalimutan ‘yung TNC.”
Aside from the lessons, Tims, Gabbi, and Armel were also thankful to TNC for helping them build a future outside of Dota 2.
“Ganun din, ‘yung natuto ko sa buhay tapos nag-improve din ako at lumakas,” expressed Tims. “Tapos at the same time, dito na rin nagkapera. Kasi dati sa mga ibang teams, kumbaga hindi clear ‘yung future e. Pero ‘pag nakapasok ka kasi sa TNC, kumbaga ipapakita nila sa inyo ‘yung future na maganda. Ayun, nabigay naman.”
“Same lang din sa mga sinabi nila. Kumbaga dito ka na talaga natuto,” echoed Armel. “Iisipin mo na lang kung hindi ka napunta sa TNC, sa’n ka na kaya napadpad? Baka hindi ka na Dota player ngayon. Parang ganun.
“Kumbaga, super thankful talaga sa TNC kasi nga marami silang natulong eh. Financially, sa future ko, saka kung paano ako as a person ngayon. Malaking factor sila doon.”
Last Monday, TNC – the winningest Dota 2 team in the Philippines – sent shockwaves all over the Filipino esports community after announcing its franchise players along with newcomers Marvin “Boomy” Rushton and Jun “Bok” Kanehara, will be officially free agents on Wednesday, September 15.
According to TNC owner Eric Redulfin, he had no problems with whatever decision that his players-turned-sons might come up with. Though it will be hard to see them go, he bared that the three have his full support for their future endeavors.
“Yung big three namin, si Tims, si Armel, Si Gabbi they have been with us for five years, four years, so ang tagal na,” said TNC owner Eric Redulfin.
“But as much as [we want them] to stay dito sa TNC, ayaw din namin silang pigilan growth.
“So, it’s their choice, if they want to stay with TNC, e ‘di happy ako dun siyempre. Family na kami e. But since baka gusto rin nilang mag explore, yung talent nila with other organizations open din kami don kasi yun naman yung gusto namin e kung alam nila na mage-excel sila with other organizations,” he added.
With Armel, Tims, Gabbi the face of TNC, the franchise managed to win its first-ever Dota Pro Circuit Major in the MDL Chengdu Major back in 2019. They also became the first Southeast Asian squad to win an ESL One event in Hamburg.
These two monumental victories put TNC at the top of the Dota Pro Circuit 2019-2020 season rankings, but everything went down the drain after the COVID-19 pandemic scrapped the entire season.
The team then had a disastrous comeback in the DPC Southeast Asia Season One, finishing at fourth which caused them to miss the ONE Esports Singapore Major. TNC then rejigged its roster for Season Two to finish at second place and qualify for the WePlay AniMajor.
The team, however, failed to salvage enough points to get a direct invitation at TI10 after ending the major at seventh-to-eight place.
TNC then came to a win away from securing a berth in TI10 through the SEA Regional Qualifiers, but suffered a reverse sweep from regional rival Fnatic to surrender the lone TI seat.