AKA Esports: Cautiously climbing to the top of PMPL MY/SG S2
After missing out on last season’s PUBG Mobile Professional League Malaysia/Singapore (PMPL MY/SG) due to unforeseen circumstances, AKA Esports has finally gotten their golden tickets to enter PMPL MY/SG Season 2. The Malaysian team qualified for the pro leagues by placing in the top 5 of the PUBG Mobile National Championship (PMNC) 2020, with two Winner Winner Chicken Dinners (WWCDs) and 43 kill volumes.
These six lads make up AKA Esports, along with their manager and coach:
- Loo “Looyu” Tze You (Captain/in-game leader & support)
- Koh “Snap” Wen Hong (Scouter & flanker)
- Mohd Shamry “Kicap” bin Hanaefyrulizm (Sniper & grenadier)
- Ahmad Miqdad "Miq" Bin Ridhwansjah (Support & grenadier)
- Cheah “Qroux” Boon Liang (Rusher & fragger)
- Wong “WOLFZ” Kok Jian (Support & grenadier)
- Gary Liang Ming Qian (Coach)
- Jack Wong Jing Feng (Manager)
“It’s still unbelievable for us to accept that we got this far,” said captain Looyu, admitting that it was both luck and effort - a lot of it, which goes without saying - that got them to this stage. “We’re grateful for what we have now.”
When the rules for PMPL changed to allow six slots for each team, AKA Esports took in more players that have “better tournament experiences” to realise their dream of becoming the top Malaysian PUBG Mobile team, particularly Looyu, Snap and Qroux. The former was a member of last season’s finalist Team No Recoil, whilst the latter two won second place in the PUBG Mobile Campus Championship (PMCC) Malaysia 2019. “We want to ensure that we always perform better and shine on as we continue our esports journey,” explained team manager, Jack Wong.
Even though they couldn’t make it for PMPL MY/SG Season 1, training never stopped for the Malaysian team. “We refused to give up, because we want to achieve more than we could for the next season,” Jack revealed. Training usually takes place at night, for six days every week - or seven if there were an upcoming tournament - with each session lasting for five to six hours on average. “We rarely have breaks, unless there were no scrims or if it’s a public holiday.”
On top of scrims, the players engage in discussions on strategies, as well as replay past tournament broadcasts to analyse team strategies. “We even play Team Deathmatch mode on PUBG Mobile to train our reflexes,” said Looyu, who was a member of Team No Recoil last season, later adding that they “sometimes train in Classic mode too”. Although having a coach on the team isn’t mandatory, it works wonders when the right one is guiding the team, especially when that same coach happens to be the founder of said team, just like Gary Liang is with AKA Esports.
“Having a good coach like Gary does help the team a lot, in terms of strategies and mentality,” professed Jack, saying that Gary’s wealth of experience as a player in the PUBG Mobile esports scene greatly contributes to the players’ performance. Two of his greatest achievements include being the grand finalists of PMNC 2019, in addition to placing fourth in Selangor Cyber Games 2019. “His mere existence brings out a lot of confidence from within the team.”
Gary actually formed AKA Esports two years ago, initially as an esports team for Peacekeeper Elite, the Chinese version of PUBG Mobile when it didn't exist yet. But, once the global version of the mobile game was released, he moved the clan’s focus towards PUBG Mobile instead. “The community has grown so much since then, which means more talented, younger players with better reflexes are competing,” said Gary. “I feel I can’t keep up with them anymore, so I chose to become a coach.”
There’s a standard to AKA Esports that Gary is determined to uphold, a testament to how seriously he takes PUBG Mobile esports. Players are chosen based on their general skills, scrim performances, plus punctuality, attitude and discipline. And that level of calibre is evident in how Looyu described the team’s playstyle, “We will play slightly defensive this time because we know that we lack the same tournament experience as the 16 invited teams of PMPL MY/SG Season 1. Our objective is to play consistently and get as many kills as possible in the final circle.”
Even though there are a few exceptional teams competing in PMPL MY/SG, AKA Esports isn’t singling out anyone as threats to the throne. “Regardless of who we face, we will put aside any fears and focus on doing our best.” If there’s anything that AKA Esports has learnt from PMNC 2020, it’s to “always be humble, whatever the results end up being. Just do our best, and God will take care of the rest.”