Ten months ago, BREN Esports shocked the local Mobile Legends scene when they revealed a star-studded roster composed of players from the Philippine national team for the fifth edition of MPL-Philippines.
Southeast Asian Games gold medalists Karl “KarlTzy” Nepomuceno, Bords “Lusty” Castromayor, Angelo Kyle “Pheww” Arcangel — who came from different organizations prior to the season — joined forces with fellow Sibol athlete CJ “Ribo” Ribo, along with BREN holdovers Mico “Coco” Sampang and Efphraim “Ejhay” Sambrano.
And despite failing to reach expectations during their debut season, the star-studded squad was finally able to redeem themselves in the following season by winning the elusive championship.
So, one might wonder, who was really the one responsible for assembling this super team?
All fingers point to Ribo in the recent episode of Tiebreaker Times vodcasts’ Beyond the Meta, presented by SMART Sports.
“Si Ribo may pakana niyan!
“He was thinking of putting up the team together kasi they were achieving so much, and I think nakita niyo naman ‘yung synergy,” revealed BREN Esports coach Francis “Duckeyyy” Glindro.
Right after Season Four, BREN Esports found itself in limbo. Half of its roster had parted ways with the organization following a disappointing fifth to sixth-place finish.
Ribo — who was the last remnant of the fabled Aether Main squad — was dead-set on delivering the franchise its first-ever title under its name. So the pride of Imus took it upon himself to scour for players whom he believes possesses the same passion as him.
At the time, Sibol went on to top the Mobile Legends event in the 30th SEA Games. And by then, after seeing the endless amount of potential of the team, Ribo already knew in his mind who he wants to play with come Season Five.
He started the recruitment process.
With ArkAngel and Cignal Ultra finishing dead-last in Season Four, both teams have to go through the qualifiers once again to reach the MPL-PH main draw. Only the top eight teams receive direct invites for the following season, leaving the last two spots for the teams in the qualifying round. This scenario put former MPL-PH champions Lusty and Pheww in unfamiliar territory.
Having faced both players in the grand finals of seasons two and three, respectively — together with the chemistry that they built during their SEA Games run — Ribo is already well-aware of their capabilities. And for him, getting their services will be a huge boost to what he is trying to build.
“Kasi ‘yung dalawa si Lusty saka si Pheww, ‘yung dati nilang team nung Season Four nalaglag agad. Ao next season, wala silang direct invite, so mag-qualifiers pa sila, susugal sila, kung sakaling matalo sila pahinga talaga sila,” explained Ribo.
“Kaya kinuha ko na sila kasi matagal na rin sila sa pro scene, may experience na sila.”
With only one slot left to fill, the MPL-PH veteran turned to the young KarlTzy, whom he believes has the potential to be one of the best players in the country but was not being utilized properly by his former team.
“Si Karl naman, ginagawang sixth man nung dati niyang team, kaya pinilit ko talaga siyang kunin,” shared Ribo, who has been with the team since Season Two.
“Nagbunga naman ‘yung pagkuha ko sa kanila kasi nakuha rin namin ‘yung championship na gusto rin nila.”
Considered one of the league’s stars for a long time now, Ribo is well aware that playing with such talented players comes with a price.
He knew that he had to take a step back and adjust to different roles for the team to work. Still, he did it anyway without hesitations because for him, nothing is more important than giving BREN Esports its much-deserved championship.
And it’s safe to say that this championship would not have been possible if not for Ribo’s selfless act.