MANILA - After dominating the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang scene locally and internationally last year, world champions Blacklist International have found themselves winless in their first week in MPL Season 9.
Head coach Kristoffer "Bon Chan" Ricaplaza admitted that this was expected, as their players continue to adjust to lineup changes.
"Nasa period pa kami ng adjustment and pati ako so kung dati ako nasa UBE meta tayo ngayon pati ako nag-a-adjust sa assassin [playstyle]," Bon Chan said in a post-match press conference following their loss to TNC Pro Team.
Two of the UBE strategy's main cogs, Johnmar "OhMyV33nus" Villaluna and
Danerie James "Wise" Del Rosario, sat out Season 9 to take a hiatus and shift their focus towards the Southeast Asian Games this May.
Kent Xavier “Kevier” Lopez assumed Wise's jungler role, while MPL veteral Marc Jayson "Eson" Gerardo filled in for OhMyV33nus in the support role.
Blacklist in earlier interviews admitted needing to fill the gaps with the absence of both players. But Bon Chan said they will "hopefully" bounce back as their players adjust to their roles, and the meta.
He cited their experience during the Juicy Legends tournament, where they struggled before eventually taking the title.
"Makakabangon tayo. Bigyan niyo kami ng one week. Worst na po 'yung two weeks para mag-struggle kami and hopefully wag na po umabot nang ganun," Bon Chan said.
For assistant coach Aniel "Master the Basics" Jiandani, Blacklist will shift its focus towards improving first, instead of winning.
'Pag dumating tayo sa time na okay na lahat saka sila na makakaexpect ng mga panalo," Jiandani said.
Blacklist will try to bounce back as they face Nexplay EVOS on Friday.