MANILA—Sibol's organizing committee explained its side as it apologized over confusion sowed in the delayed qualifier match between Blacklist and Nexplay EVOS last Friday.
Originally slated to start at 11 a.m. last Friday, the match between Blacklist and Nexplay opened some 40 minutes, with the delays initially going unexplained and causing confusion on the side of the viewers.
Later on, Nexplay coach John Michael "Zico" Dizon confirmed their star jungler, John Paul "H2wo" Salonga, who was part of the lineup against Blacklist, was rushed to hospital.
In a statement issued Saturday, Sibol's organizing committee said the nature of the situation "caused a significant overload of communication as Sibol League Ops scrambled to coordinate with NXPE regarding H2wo’s status as well as inform the opposing team, Blacklist International of the situation."
"This process resulted in a significant delay to the tournament schedule which caused Nexplay EVOS to, unfortunately, miss the scheduled match start time," organizers added.
As a result, organizers agreed to award Game 1 to Blacklist, which Sibol said was a more lenient ruling than what was written in the rulebook, but the ruling was only handed down right before the game started, which the organizers apologized for.
"Understanding that the reason for the delay concerns the health of an individual, Sibol Management chose to show leniency by softening the sanction prescribed by the Official Rulebook to a simple one (1) game penalty instead of a full-on disqualification," Sibol said.
"Unfortunately, due to the delay of communication, the ruling was relayed to the NXPE and BLCK just as they were about to begin their rescheduled match at around 11:40 GMT+8 . . . This understandably caused a lot of confusion and disappointment to all the parties involved and for that we sincerely apologize."
Blacklist went on to win Games 2 and 3 with H2wo returning in time for Game 3.
One of Nexplay's coaches, Setsuna "Dogie" Ignacio, earlier slammed Sibol's ruling, saying in a vlog that the move did not take the player's health and welfare into consideration.
"Sana naman, i-consider na nila ’yung health nu’ng tao," Dogie said, earlier citing that the Mobile Legends pro scene allows 10 players per team instead of the 6-player rule prescribed in Sibol's rulebook.