Omega Esports, Nexplay EVOS secure last 2 playoff spots
MANILA (UPDATED) - Blacklist International failed in their bid for their third straight Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Professional League (MPL) title after being swept by Omega Esports, 2-0 in a must-win regular season match, Saturday.
Coming off a world championship campaign and back-to-back titles in Season 7 and Season 8, Blacklist will end the season at 7th place with a 3-11 win-loss record.
Omega Esports and Nexplay EVOS will be completing the playoff teams for Season 9 as a result, as Blacklist's points are not enough to secure 6th place in the league standings.
Pick-offs on Blacklist's Kiel "OHEB" Soriano and Kent Xavier "Kevier" Lopez in the 17th minute allowed Omega Esports to come from behind and penetrate the Codebreakers' base in Game 1, drawing the game point that would secure them the playoff seat.
Joshua "Ch4knu" Mangilog, whose Lolita set-up the crucial "Nouminon Blast" and disrupted Blacklist in a team fight leading to the crucial pick-offs emerged as the MVP in Game 1 with a 2/1/9 kill-death-assist (KDA) card.
Blacklist took control of the early stages of Game 2, with Edward "EDWARD" Jay Dapadap clearing minion waves, and helping his teammates apply pressure on the map using his Benedetta.
But as the game dragged on, Omega's players started scaling up, with Patrick "E2MAX" Caidic's Xavier dealing heavy damage from the bushes to disrupt Blacklist.
Blacklist captain Salic "Hadji" Imam's Yve converted base defenses into counter-initiations, to keep the Codebreakers alive and prolong the series.
But Ch4knu's pick-off on him, followed by a double kill by E2MAX helped Omega boot Blacklist off playoff contention.
E2MAX emerged the MVP in Game 2 behind a 7/4/6 KDA.
After helping steer Blacklist to back-to-back local titles and the M3 world championship in 2021, Johnmar "OhMyV33nus" Villaluna and Danerie James "Wise" Del Rosario sat out Season 9 to rest and focus on the upcoming SEA Games this May.
This left Blacklist's three-peat bid in the hands of M3 MVP Kiel "OHEB" Soriano, Season 7 and 8 MVPs Edward "EDWARD" Jay Dapadap and Salic "Hadji" Imam, veterans Mark Jayson "ESON" Gerardo and Dexter "DEX STAR" Alaba, and rookie Kent Xavier "Kevier" Lopez, who filled in for Wise in the jungler role.
Towards the start of Season 9, Blacklist went winless for four straight games, ending their losing skid with a 2-0 win against Bren Esports.
Citing inevitable struggles in building chemistry among his wards, head coach Kristoffer "Bon Chan" Ricaplaza urged fans to wait for two weeks to expect better results.
But their woes piled on, capping off their Season 9 run with a dismal sweep by rivals Omega.
With the results, RSG Philippines, Echo Philippines, TNC Pro Team, Onic PH, Omega Esports, and Nexplay EVOS complete Season 9's playoff teams.