Playoff or layoff: Dogie gets real on the challenges in running a pro MLBB team

Naser “Dogie” Mollazehi announced that if Minana EVOS did not qualify for the MPL Philippines Season 13 playoffs, this... Paolo | 15. April 2024

Naser “Dogie” Mollazehi announced that if Minana EVOS did not qualify for the MPL Philippines Season 13 playoffs, this might be his last foray into esports.

Speaking to reporters on the heels of their match against ECHO last Saturday, Dogie said that if the Minana EVOS players did not qualify for a seed in the playoffs, he intends to disband his entire esports division.

Playoff sa MPL, ayun lang talaga ang hinihingi ko. And ginagawa nila yun. Gusto kong madala nila yung MINANA sa playoff. It’s not me that they’re representing. It’s them,” Dogie told reporters.

[TRANSLATION: Playoffs in the MPL – its the only thing I ask for. And they’re doing it. I want to bring Minana to the playoffs.]



He added, “This is my last hurrah. Like, if they didn’t perform, I will disband my entire esports side.”

Minana EVOS is recently experiencing a surge in their performances following consecutive seasons in the bottom position. Just recently, they are 5th in the current standings – their best performance ever in four seasons.

Dogie also goes on to explain the financial strain on running the Minana esports ecosystem.

“That’s why I called it a last hurrah because budget wise, I pay for the salaries of half the entire team. In the MDL, I also cover all salaries, bootcamp, electricity, everything,” he says.

From shouldering around PHP100,000 or around US$1,760 monthly only for power, to buying top-of-the-line iPhones for the team, as well as a PHP30,000 or US$520 weekly budget for food, Dogie says, he spends around US$5,000 to US$7,000 – roughly PHP 300,000-400,000 monthly just to sustain the entire Minana esports ecosystem for both their main Minana EVOS team and the Minana Archives team.

He says, while he misses the feeling of being an MPL Philippines player, he says he took various deals – including those not normally allowed for MPL players such as gambling and betting – in order to sustain his entire team.


“The income I earn from vlogging on YouTube and Facebook, I save it for my own, for my family. The income I get from my brand deals, that’s for them,” he says. “I want them to feel the sensation when they’re on stage. It’s the best sensation ever when you’re in the MPL stage. I’ve tried it before, I want them to try it as well.” 

And part of that decision, he says, is that their company needs to show numbers in order to sustain its operations. Dogie revealed to the press that 5 players were supposed to be let go.

“During the media day, five were supposed to be laid off. I saw everyone crying – even the coach – when I went to the bootcamp. For me, I do not want their futures to be ruined. They took a gamble here, I’ll take a gamble for them. That’s for me,” Dogie says.

Despite the risks, he admitted that he is a team owner who runs teams based on emotions – valuing the connections he’s had with the players he pays for.

However, despite the odds, he says he’s willing to risk more financially as long as Minana proves they are a force to be reckoned with in the strongest MPL scene worldwide.


“I’ve been in the esports industry since 2012 so I know the struggle of people in esports, especially now. It’s even worse now. We’re seeing esports organizations laying off people, just like the ones in NA and EU,” Dogie says, adding how the Philippine market can be challenging for companies like Minana.

The veteran roamer had been a mainstay of the MPL Philippines community since its inception and maintains close friendships with current MPL stars such as Blacklist International’s Renejay “Renejay” Barcarse, Smart Omega’s John Paul “H2WO” Salonga and AURA Fire’s Tristan “Yawi” Cabrera.