MPL Season 9: What's on the line for playoff teams

Angela Coloma, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 28 2022 02:44 PM

MANILA – A new Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Professional League champion will be crowned in Season 9. 

Six teams will fight for supremacy as the country’s best ML:BB team when the playoffs start on Thursday, April 28, with back-to-back champions Blacklist International shown the door at the end of the regular season. 

RSG Philippines, TNC Pro Team, Echo PH, ONIC PH, Nexplay EVOS, and Omega Esports will fight for the crown, the lion’s share of a $150,000 prize pool. 

The finalists will represent the Philippines in the ML:BB Southeast Asia Cup (MSC) this June in Malaysia as the Philippines guns for back-to-back titles as the sub-region’s best. 

Due to pandemic restrictions, live audiences will be limited to watch parties at select SM cinemas, while teams will compete offline in a separate location. Selected fans earned chances to watch the games live through a contest in MPL Philippines' Facebook page. 

TNC Pro Team and RSG Philippines secured slots in the upper bracket semifinals. 

Meanwhile, Echo will face Omega Esports to open the playoffs at 4 p.m., while Nexplay EVOS will face Onic PH in the next match at 7 p.m. 

Playoff games will be played in a best of five format, except for the Grand Finals where teams will compete in a best of seven showdown. 

Courtesy: MPL Philippines
Courtesy: MPL Philippines

RSG wants to prove doubters wrong in quest for crown

  • Kenneth Jiane "Kenji" Villa    
  • Nathanael "Nathzz" Estrologo    
  • Jonard Cedrix "Demonkite" Caranto
  • Arvie "Aqua" Antonio
  • Dexter "Exort" Martinez
  • Dylan Aaron "Light" Catipon
  • Eman "EMANN" Sangco    Gold Lane    
  • Clarense "Kousei" Camilo
  • Earvin John "Heath" Esperanza
  • Elyson Edouard "Wrecker" Caranza

RSG Philippines didn’t fare high in power rankings ahead of the MPL Philippines season, as they struggled to close out long-haul games. Not to mention veteran Joshwell "Iy4knu" Christian Manaog going on a hiatus. 

But the acquisition of Dylan “Light” Catipon turned out to be the light at the end of the tunnel. Averaging 6.97 dimes per game, Light closed out RSG’s games by providing crucial set-ups. 

Arvee “Aqua” Antonio and Eman “EMANN” Sangco emerged as standouts in the Kingslayers’ breakout season, which resulted in them ending the season at the top of the league. 

Courtesy: MPL Philippines
Courtesy: MPL Philippines

TNC continues rise from the ashes 

  • Mark Genzon "Kramm" Rustana
  • Daniel "SDzyz" Chu
  • Salman "KingSalman" Macarambon
  • Jomearie "Escalera" Delos Santos
  • Robee Bryan "Yasuwo" Pormocille
  • Ben "Benthings" Maglaque

After ending Season 8 at the end of the league standings, TNC Pro Team might have risen from the ashes by ending the regular season as the second seed. 

With a leaner lineup and amateur standouts such as Mark "Kramm" Genzon Rustana and Jomearie "Escalera" Delos Santos contributing to the roster revamp, TNC turned back doubters and emerged as a title threat. 

Despite overcoming odds, TNC refuses to be overconfident. 

"Magiging mahirap din, kasi lahat ng team may chance na makapasok sa finals. Lahat parang walang nasa ilalim," jungler Daniel "SDZYz" Chu said. 

Courtesy: MPL Philippines
Courtesy: MPL Philippines

Onic strives to bounce back 

  • Allen Jedric "Baloyskie" Baloy (captain) 
  • Kairi "Kairi" Rayosdelsol
  • Gerald "Dlarskie" Trinchera
  • Karl Mico "Micophobia" Quitlong
  • Mark Christian "Markyyyyy" Etcobañez
  • Jaylord "Hatred" Gonzales
  • Nowee "Ryota" Cabailo
  • Paul Ian "Beemo" Sergio

One of the teams favored to win the title ahead of Season 9, Onic PH's ended their regular season at fifth place, but the M3 world championship finalists aren't backing down. 

Season 8's finalists showed glimpses of returning to their former glory as they handed Echo PH their first loss of the season, after spending the first half of the season using their world championship roster. 

Now, they will have to face Nexplay EVOS to start their playoff campaign. 

Courtesy: MPL Philippines
Courtesy: MPL Philippines

'Superteam' Echo to keep finding groove 

  • Tristan "Yawi" Cabrera
  • Karl Gabriel "KarlTzy" Nepomuceno
  • Frediemar "3MarTzy" Serafico
  • Jankurt Russel "KurTzy" Matira
  • Frederic Benedict "Bennyqt" Gonzales    
  • Aaron "Aaronqt" Lim
  • Rion "Rk3" Kudo
  • Christian "Rafflesia" Fajura
  • Ashley Marco "Killuash" Cruz
  • Jaymark Aaron "Hadess" Lazaro

Acquiring world championship MVP Karl “KarlTzy” Nepomuceno, and veterans Tristan “Yawi” Cabrera and Frediemar “3MarTzy” Serafico established Echo PH as a super-team in the local ML:BB scene. 

But after a dominant start, they lost four of their last six games in the regular season, which Tristan “Yawi” Cabrera attributed to adjusting in the current patch. 

“We’re fortunate na we have these three weeks before the playoffs. So we could do a 'hard reset' naman para sa team natin,” head coach Michael “Arcadia” Bocado told reporters after their 0-2 loss against Nexplay EVOS.

Echo vowed to regain their composure, as they take on Omega Esports in Day 1 of the playoffs. 

Courtesy: MPL Philippines
Courtesy: MPL Philippines

Omega continues run for MSC title defense

  • Dean Christian "Raizen" Sumagui
  • Patrick James "E2MAX" Caidic
  • Joshua "Ch4knu" Mangilog
  • Grant Duane "Kelra" Pillas
  • Romiere "Allidap" Padilla
  • Renz Errol "Renzio" Cadua
  • Billy Jazha "Z4pnu" Alfonso
  • Jhonville "Outplayed" Villar
  • Cesar "Amethyst" Jefferson Santos
  • Kiel VJ "KielVJ" Cruzem

After recovering from a rough patch that saw them qualify for the playoffs by a hairline, the former boys of MSC champions Execration seek to reestablish their reputation as the comeback kings, in the same manner that brought them the title as Southeast Asia's best. 

Omega found themselves at a similar situation from Season 8, when they had to fight for their life for a playoff spot, and whipped up a storm in the lower bracket, only to settle for 3rd place and face defeat against eventual champions Blacklist International. 

They will face Echo PH to open the playoffs. 

Courtesy: MPL Philippines
Courtesy: MPL Philippines

How will Nexplay's lineup depth hold up? 

  • Renejay "RENEJAY" Barcase
  • Jeff "S4gitnu" Subang
  • Raniel "URESHIII" Logronio
  • John Paul "H2wo" Salonga
  • Michael "MP the King" Endino
  • Jeniel "YellyHaze" Bata-Anon
  • Emanuel "Elpizo" Candelaria
  • Jhonwin "Hesa" Vergara
  • Mariusz "Donut" Tan
  • Kenneth "CADENZA" Castro

With a team full of new players, Nexplay EVOS flexed their depth towards the season, but doubts were cast on whether or not this versatility will work out for them in the long run. 

Not to mention that a traffic jam made a mess of their momentum, as streamer and Nexplay coach Setsuna “Dogie” Ignacio admitted in a past interview. 

Ending their season on a high note when it toppled “super team” Echo PH in their final regular season match, Nexplay will now try and win that elusive championship for the squad.