SEA Games: Blacklist off to commanding start in ML:BB group stages

Angela Coloma, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 19 2022 12:43 AM

Blacklist International shake hands with Laos after winning in their Southeast Asian Games group stage match. Courtesy: SEA Games 
Blacklist International shake hands with Laos after winning in their Southeast Asian Games group stage match. Courtesy: SEA Games 

MANILA -Sibol's Mobile Legends: Bang Bang squad are through to the semifinals of the Southeast Asian Games Mobile Legends: Bang Bang tournament after sweeping the group stages, Wednesday. 

Sibol's team, bannered by world champions Blacklist International, swept their matches against Malaysia, Laos, and Myanmar to end Group A on top with 9 points. 

The biennial meet marked Johnmar "OhMyV33nus" Villaluna and Danerie James "Wise" Del Rosario's return to ML:BB professional play, after sitting out MPL - Philippines Season 9 to rest. 

Blacklist opened their group stage campaign against SEA powerhouse Malaysia, bannered by mostly players from their MPL champions Todak, staving them off in two nail-biting games to get the first win of the day. 

Swift hands from rookies Lee Howard "Owl" Gonzales and Dominic "Dominic" Soto turned the game around for Blacklist against Malaysia, as they banked on the passive effects of "Immortality" and "Winter Truncheon" to buy more time before they killed off two Malaysian players, en route to the death march. 

They then trampled over Laos, escaping them in Game 1 after a dominant game by Salic "Hadji" Imam. 

With OhMyV33nus' Estes left unbanned or undrafted, Blacklist then picked their signature hero to dominate over Laos in Game 2, as the codebreakers assaulted their opponents through a different take of their signature "Ultimate Bonding Experience" strategy, with Hadji's Xavier and Wise's surprise jungle Akai pick adding spice to the world championship-winning tactic. 

A come-from-behind victory in Game 2 against Myanmar helped Blacklist secure the sweep. Down by as much as 12 kills, Blacklist focused on securing objectives to eventually climb back into the game and take the group stage sweep. 

The game against Myanmar marked Russel Aaron “Eyon” Usi's SEA Games debut, subbing in for Hadji. 

Blacklist's opponent in the semi-finals is yet to be determined.