Esports.gg meets with BOOM Esports CEO Gary “natshuba” Ongko Putera to talk about the team’s success and future plans for Dota.
BOOM Esports have seen numerous successes since the team's inception. However, it was in 2022 that they far surpassed all expectations. They ranked first in two out of three DPC seasons, won first place at Gamers Galaxy Invitational Dubai, and are qualified for both Arlington Major and ESL One Malaysia.
They also currently stand on a nine win streak in recent official matches. With all their achievements, it is not an overstatement to consider BOOM Esports as one of the greats.
The founding of BOOM Esports and their success story
To learn more about the team and their success, Esports.gg spoke with BOOM Esports founder and CEO, Gary "natshuba" Ongko Putera.
Tell us about yourself and how you founded BOOM Esports?
Gary: My name is Gary Ongko. I'm the CEO and founder of BOOM. I founded BOOM on December 15, 2016. I grew up as a gamer and used to play Counter-Strike competitively in high school so I always have followed esports even when it was still relatively small back then.
After completing my studies in the US, I went back to my hometown in Indonesia and reached out to my connections who I used to play competitive CS with to start an esports team. I first started with a CS:GO team, but I knew I always wanted to create a Dota team as well since it's one of the most popular games in Indonesia
What is your goal for BOOM and what will help you achieve success?
Gary: Dota is like the football of sports. My goal since day one is to make BOOM the biggest team in the world. I want us to be the Real Madrid of Dota. Since 2017, we've kept on building the team. I personally believe a successful team is built not bought. If you can build a good chemistry for your team within and outside of the game, you will find success.
My goal since day one is to make BOOM the biggest team in the world. I want us to be the Real Madrid of Dota.
The making of a dream team
Tell us how you were able to find and develop BOOM's latest roster?
Skem the captain figure
Gary: The first person I identified was skem. I place a lot of value in a captain figure and I thought skem would make a very good captain. I also thought he was the most versatile as he have played pretty much all positions throughout his career.
The dynamic duo Tims and Yopaj
I then found out that TNC contracts were expiring and the players were looking to move on to new teams. So I reached out to Tims and he told me he and Yopaj wanted to try playing together. Yopaj was pretty well sought out at the time, but long story short I was able to convince him to join as well.
Getting an approval from fbz
After recruiting those three, I checked with fbz to see if he would be comfortable playing with them by playing some scrims. As it turned out, fbz enjoyed playing with them and said that he would commit to this brand new roster.
A lucky break with one of the best coaches, Mushi
Next, Mushi came into the picture. He came highly recommended by Team SMG owner, Kenchi. Mushi spent a lot of time with Tims during his stint in TNC. He apparently also spoke a lot with skem. I had a lucky break getting Mushi to join since he received a lot of invitations to coach tier one Chinese teams.
JaCkky, the carry that perfectly fits the puzzle
Finally, JaCkky. I always held him with high regard because of his performance in MTG. There was a period when they were the best team in SEA. And everyone knew that their strategy was four-protect-one. This meant that their carry [JaCkky] must be very strong and trustworthy. MTG wasn't willing to let him go at first, but after they were relegated in season one I tried asking again and managed to work out a deal.
These five players along with the coach are the dream team for BOOM. These are the people I originally wanted and finally got.
BOOM's biggest strength lies in their humility
Why are they the dream team? What makes them gel well together?
Gary: Everyone's very humble. There is no ego. They're all down to earth and they're all willing to learn. When we won Gamers Galaxy Dubai, I don't think anyone felt like we were the best. You know how easy it is for a young player to go to an international event to win it all and then go "Yo! We're the best. We don't need to do anything and just smash everyone!"
Everyone's very humble. There is no ego. They're all down to earth and they're all willing to learn. When we won Gamers Galaxy Dubai, I don't think anyone felt like we were the best.
But the first day after Dubai, they flew back to their gaming house in Philippines and they already have a bunch of scrims lined up. It's just back to work from them. The greatest thing is that everyone is like-minded. They knew that the job's not done and that they still have TI.
They don't want to waste any opportunity. This kind of moment might not happen again for BOOM. They know how easy it is for teams to go astray and that they do not want to take things for granted when they have a real shot.
BOOM plans to win all of Arlington Major
How confident is BOOM feeling about Arlington Major?
Gary: The boys have been putting in a lot of work for this upcoming Major and have been so absorbed in Dota. We want to prove a point because we all felt we underperformed at the last Major, which is why we want to win it all this time.
How far do you think you'll go?
Gary: The team's form is insane right now. I think we haven't lost any games in a very long time and we're filled with confidence. We can hit top four realistically speaking. To be honest, anything top eight is a win because that will guarantee us TI. But we will definitely aim to win it all.
Which teams do you think will be your biggest competition?
Gary: If PSG LGD takes things seriously, they will be the ones to beat. For us personally, we love to beat OG because they were the ones who knocked us out last Major and they were the winners. Talon too. It's always fun to beat Talon. There's just a lot of history between us. All friendly banter though!
Which teams do you think will struggle?
Gary: Unfortunately, I think Fnatic is going to have a hard time since they will be playing with three stand-ins. I think Aster will struggle as well because they always dominate locally but bomb internationally. I also want to beat Spirit though since they sort of talked shit about us. Again, just friendly banter!
At the end of the day every team that attends the Major are the strongest. I mean how can you really rank anyone at the event?
A message to all the fans
Gary: A big shoutout to all our fans. You've put up with us being third or fourth for awhile. Hopefully this year we will take the next step and make you proud. To all our Filipino fans, thank you for supporting us even though we are not TNC or a team from your region. But trust me, I take good care of all the players.
And to all the SEA fans in general, we hope to do well this Major and in any upcoming tournaments. We hope to not disappoint you ever again in international tournaments like we did in Stockholm.
You guys are the biggest reason we do this. We were able to come up with this BOOM lineup and make everything work out, and it is all because of you. We will continue to work hard and grind.
We hope that you have enjoyed learning about BOOM Esports and we look forward to catching BOOM at the Arlington Major. Please give them your support and follow them on:
If you enjoyed this interview, check out our other interview with Sophy from Talon Esports.