A rare esports feat, fitting for a stellar player.
Angelo “Pheww” Arcangel may be enjoying the celebrations right now, as the SIBOL Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (MLBB) men’s squad is basking in the glory of being three-time Southeast Asian (SEA) Games gold medalists after sweeping Malaysia on Sunday.
But just a little a week ago, Pheww and the rest of the Bren Esports squad were on the other side of the fence, bowing down to RSG in the pro ranks of the MPL Philippines Season 11 playoffs and settling for a fourth-place finish.
What makes the defeat more painful is they were the league’s no. 1 seed, primed for a deep run but got booted out early.
Like clockwork, when Bren faltered, the bashers came barging in. And the criticisms only kept becoming pointed—after all, the national team representatives just got beat.
Only that it didn’t bring down Arcangel and his teammates when they set foot in Cambodia for the SEA Games.
“Para sa amin ginawa naming motivation ‘yung doubts nung after nung MPL Season 11,” said Arcangel. “Nung nalaglag kami ng playoffs, ang dami kasing nag-expect sa amin noon e, tapos natalo kami.”
They used the criticisms as motivation on the way to winning a gold in the biennial meet, the second for Pheww. The mid laner is the only Filipino MLBB pro who has two gold medals in his trophy case.
“Lahat ng pagkakamali namin noon, inaral talaga namin. Ipinangako namin na i-aapply namin lahat ng natutunan namin dito,” said Arcangel about his teammates, which include Bren fixtures David “FlapTzy” Canon, Kyle Angelo “KyleTzy” Sayson, Marco “Super Marco” Requitano, Rowgien Stimpson “Owgwen” Unigo, and ONIC Philippines’ Nowee “Ryota” Macasa. They are coached by Francis “Duckeyyy” Glindro.
The two-time SEA Games champ, who won his first SEA games gold in 2019, recalled how this return journey started out with low expectations, as they didn’t even have a stable internet connection during the qualifiers—where the best of the best battled for rights to represent the country.
“Nung qualifier, naka-data lang kami nag-try noon e. Hindi talaga namin inexpect na mananalo kami nung qualifier. Nilaro lang namin kasi naka-register na kami,” said Arcangel.
“Sobrang saya na kapag nag-lookback ka doon [sa qualifiers], tinry lang naming laruin, tapos ngayon nakuha na namin ang gold medal,” he added.
Perhaps bashers can now zip their lips—or restrain their keyboard fingers, Coach Duckeyy says.
“Salamat sa lahat ng fans ng Team Philippines, mapa-basher man. ’Yung mga basher d’yan, magbago na kayo," the mentor said. "Magsimba-simba kaya kayo. Pagnilayan n’yo ‘yan.”
Or maybe it's best they keep talking, so the SIBOL MLBB squad will never run out of fuel.