TNC pulled off a shocker when it disbanded its entire DOTA 2 squad following a botched attempt at seeing action in The International (TI) 10 from 7 to 17 in Bucharest.
Composed of Kim “Gabbi” Villafuerte, Armel Paul “Armel” Tabios, Jun “Bok” Kanehara, Timothy John “Tims” Randrup, and Marvin “Boomy” Rushton, TNC suffered a major blow when it lost a five-game series to Fnatic in the TI10 Southeast Asia Qualifier grand finals that doomed their chances to see action in the world’s biggest DOTA 2 event.
Although they were able to qualify in the WePlay Animajor early this year, their failure to make it to the TI10 ultimately led to their disbandment.
“It has been quite the journey these past three to four years, especially with Tims, Armel and Gabbi. TNC has broken several barriers and overcome many obstacles during this period and we are grateful to have such talented players spearheading the growth of Philippine Esports on a global scale,” TNC said in a statement.
The organization also made special mention of Bok and skipper Boomy, who are leaving after a very short stint.
“As for Bok and Boomy, you were both essential to our TI run this year and the victories we picked up along the way could not have been done without you,” the organization said.
“Thank you for sharing your skills and personalities with TNC Predator. You will always be part of our family wherever you go.”
TNC said the released players are free to join other organizations starting 15 September.
“We would like to formally announce that the full roster of TNC will be free agents on 15 September 2021. The organization and its players have discussed in terms of individual growth and have come to an agreement that this would be the best decision moving forward.”
The disbandment was such a bold move by TNC, which is regarded as one of the top professional Esports teams in the Southeast Asian region.
In fact, they ruled the MDL Chengdu Major and the World Electronic Sports Games in 2018 to assert themselves as the top DOTA 2 pro team in the country.
But missing out on TI 10 — the grandest stage of all Esports with a prize pool of $40,000,000 — has sent all of its players to a long hiatus.
“At the end of the day, the organization needs to plan. We have to make some adjustments and we need to rebuild the team. We want to come back stronger,” TNC owner and chief executive officer Eric Redulfin said.
“Our big three in Armel, Tims and Gabbi have been with us for five years. But as much as we would want them to stay in TNC, we do not want to stop them from growing.”
“If they excel elsewhere, it will make me happy if they get better and be more well-known in the world of DOTA 2. We would not stop that from happening. Since they want to explore their talent in other organizations, we are also open to that because that is what we also want.”
Still, the players remain grateful to the opportunity that TNC had given them.
Tims said the organization vowed to go as far as helping them establish a livelihood when they decide to walk away from competitive gaming while Gabbi said he will remain focused on getting better in preparation for the next phase of his professional career.
“What I am thinking is how to improve step by step because we did not qualify for TI,” Gabbi said.
“I do not feel good enough and I want to grow for the next season. I did not know what was lacking but for sure there is still plenty more to learn.”
With its DOTA 2 team gone, TNC may very well turn its focus for now on its Mobile Legends pro team since it bought a Mobile Legends: Professional League franchise and have mostly acquired former Work Auster Force players in its roster.
Redulfin, however, vowed that he will always be there for his players come what may.
“You’re always welcome in TNC, just say the word. Even if it is not DOTA you can approach me about anything,” he said.