For 31-year-old Nureddy "DaddyHood" Nursal, esports was an opportunity he had been looking for.
The Johor-born skater turned entrepreneur had been busy with his merchandise and clothing business MEDANCALLINGKIDS since 2010. Two years ago, he smelled something in the air..
In 2019, he rebranded his business, calling it HomeBois. Then, seizing the moment provided by the COVID-19 pandemic, DaddyHood decided to add another arm to his business resume.
He started a new esports team named after his business, HomeBois, a Mobile Legends: Bang Bang squad for MPL MY, currently competing after entering through the qualifiers.
After all, as an MLBB player himself who spent most of his free time playing it, why not?
"MLBB is like the main gaming medium for all of us, and we spend our free time playing it. It then made sense to compete and sign up as an esports team given that we spend so much of our time playing it," said DaddyHood.
"An esports team is like skateboarding in a way. You fall down, but learn how to stand up by yourself and master it. The most important thing is learning mistakes as a team, and overcoming them together."
With the help from Orange Esports who gave him advice, and the blessing of Team BossKurr, who he had been helping out with production and merchandise, DaddyHood added 23-year-old Tuan Azrin Izzuddin "Avaa" Tuan Abu Bakar to his crew to start on this new venture as team manager.
"DaddyHood was the real OG for us, and he helped to train and develop the team. Bosskurr was quite supportive of our transition from a production company, to an esports team," said Avaa.
Another aspect that HomeBois provide for the team, is to ensure that they have proper training facilities and coaching, added Avaa.
Picking up talents such as Muhammad Saiful "Inferni" Aujang, Homebois have since emerged as a force to be reckoned with even in a tough bracket against teams like Todak and Team SMG.
It's still early stages for their first-ever season, but with a bit of luck and skill, Homebois could possibly make playoffs for a dream finish.
From Dota to Mobile Legends
To do that, they will have to rely on the support skills of the 26-year-old Inferni, a part-time professional player with a day job.
Inferni's journey into professional MLBB wasn't an easy one. He had originally wanted to be a professional Dota 2 player, and was one of the top MMR players from Malaysia.
However, his mother felt he was spending too much time gaming and wanted him to focus on his studies instead.
To allay her fears, Inferni took on part time jobs such as being a barista and worked in a factory to earn enough to be independent, while also working on his degree in IT from the UiTM Puncak Perdana Campus.
Now as a full-time programmer, he turns into a serious pro-gamer after office hours and during the weekends, when the whole squad gathers at the HomeBois team house to compete and scrim against the other teams.
"The reason why I worked part-time was so I could arrange my time accordingly to play after work and spend time training. Doing part time gigs helped me manage those playing hours," said Inferni.
"I prefer playing support as you are not required to move around too much. As a support, you also need to designate or be more strategic about the way you play on the “back lines”, and going in as a jungler would require me to move out front too much as well. Hence, the role of a support suits me much more".
Interestingly, he now has the support of his family, including his brother and cousin, who are on the same team as him (Sepat and Ijat).
Inferni says his family is now proud of him joining a professional team, but feels a certain sense of pressure now to perform and succeed.
"This MPL season is a sort of testing ground for me, as I personally feel that I’m quite old," said Inferni.
Whether it will be his first and last season, or the start of something great, one thing is for sure. the HomeBois and crew will be there for him on his epic esports adventure.
Aloysius Low is an ex-CNET editor with more than 15 years of experience. He's really into cats and is currently reviewing products at canbuyornot.com
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