MANILA - Echo Philippines, TNC Pro Team, and RSG Philippines secured the first three playoff slots in the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Professional League Season 9, at the expense of Smart Omega, which lost 1-2 against RSG Philippines in Saturday's matchup.
The game also marked the return of Eman "Emann" Songco, who suffered an injury and had to sit out last week's games.
RSG Philippines stopped a rally by Dean Christian "Raizen" Sumagui's Ling in the mid-game moments to go ahead, 1-0 in Game 1.
Patrick James "E2MAX" Caidic's Selena, paired with a good early game for Grant Duane "Kelra" Pillas' Beatrix, helped Omega force a deciding match.
E2MAX, whose "Abyssal Arrows" went off in all the right places to set up team fights, was the MVP in Game 2 with a 4/1/3 kill-death-assist record.
Emann became the difference-maker in Game 3 with his Melissa, after a double kill that let the Kingslayers pull away from an Omega squad already starting to pack up aggression.
Emann became the MVP in Games 1 and 3 with his Beatrix (6/1/3) and Melissa (4/1/6).
With the results, Omega remains at 6th place, behind world champions Blacklist International who have 11 points. RSG Philippines and TNC Pro Team are now tied at 21 points. Echo currently has 22 points.
Echo, which ended the last season at 5th place, acquired the services of veterans Karl "KarlTzy" Nepomuceno, Frediemar "3MarTzy" Serafico, and Tristan "Yawi" Cabrera in their campaign to take the MPL throne with a superteam.
TNC and RSG were considered dark horses ahead of the season after overhauling their lineups, banking on performances by league rookies and sophomores such as Jojo "Escalera" Delos Santos, Jonard "Demonkite" Caranto, and Dylan "Light" Catipon, among others.
SEA Games gold medallist Kenji Jiane "Kenji" Villanueva also returned to RSG Philippines' main five in the Kingslayers' recent matches.
TNC's new coach Vrendon Lin had to assume his coaching duties in the hospital as he recuperated from Potts' Disease - or tuberculosis of the spine.
MPL-Philippines league operations manager Joy "Hymnrael" Calulo earlier said a loss for Omega would mean that Echo, RSG, and TNC Pro Team will secure playoff spots, depending on the results of today's matches. Rankings of each team at the end of the season will determine the playoff bracket picture.
MPL's guidelines for Season 9 indicate that the first seed will decide on the placement of the 3rd and 4th ranked team in the first round of the playoffs.
The 3rd seed will determine the placement of the 5th and 6th ranked team in the first round. First and second-seeded teams automatically secure slots in round 2 of the playoffs.