MANILA - Onic Philippines crashed out of the qualifier pool for Sibol's Mobile Legends: Bang Bang team in the Southeast Asian Games, slipping 2-3 against Nexplay EVOS.
The M3 finalists fought hard but fell short as Nexplay EVOS' rookies propelled the squad to their statement win.
Nexplay EVOS controlled the tempo in the mid-game of Game 1, which helped them take the long match against Onic PH.
They looked to draw match point in Game 2, with URESHIII's Gloo and 2019 SEA Games Gold medalist Jeniel "Yellyhaze" Bata-anon packing up the kills for Nexplay EVOS.
But Flick's signature Fanny sliced and diced through Nexplay's players, paired with Greed and Markyyyy connection helping them through team fights.
Onic made yet another role switch in Game 4 with Hatred on the Rafaela and Baloyskie on the Lylia. This later on paid off as they dominated the low-scoring Game 4 and forced a rubber match.
Nexplay put out pressure in the top lane early into Game 5, with first and second tier turrets being taken down, and keeping Onic PH without a kill within 6 minutes of play.
Onic then were showing signs of life as Dlarskie and Flick drew kills off a skirmish in the 7th minute mark, and eventually securing turtles as buffs for the squad.
The pace became slower after that, with Nexplay EVOS respecting Onic PH's comeback abilities and Flick's massive damage dealing with his Paquito. But later on they were able to find an opening as Yellyhaze shut down Flick, allowing Nexplay EVOS to wipe out the M3 runners-up from the map.
Flick came alive just in time but it was too late as Nexplay was too deep into Onic PH's base.
Nexplay EVOS will face RSG Philippines for the last grand finals slot on Sunday. The winner will be facing Blacklist International in a match which will determine the Philippines' representatives to the Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam in May.
Onic PH, as MPL - Season 8's runners-up, received a direct invite to the qualifiers. However, they had to trudge on without main jungler Kairi "Kairi" Rayosdesol who was barred from competing because of the SEA Games' age limit.