MANILA - Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Professional League will be starting its 10th season in the Philippines tonight, after a roller-coaster ride of a pre-season.
The upcoming regular season is expected to bring a much different atmosphere as it welcomes back audiences to the playing site after barring crowds since Season 6 due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) threat, and roster revamps affected by the influx of talents overseas.
The regular season will open with a rematch of last season's Grand Finals between RSG Philippines and Omega Esports.
Reigning local champs RSG Philippines will reinforce their roster with newbies John "Perkz" Sumawan and John "1rrad" Tuazon, while keeping their MSC-winning main five intact, as the Kingslayers will now and try to secure a slot to the world stage.
Omega will add academy standout Deomark "Mikko" Tabangay to its lineup while Omega's Kiel "KielVJ" Cruzem is expected to be a more active presence this season with his shift to the midlane although it remains unclear if he will play in the opening match.
This will be followed by a match between a new-look Nexplay EVOS and Blacklist International, who welcome back Johnmar "OhMyV33nus" Villaluna and Danerie James "Wise" Del Rosario - after they sat out Season 9 to rest. Blacklist will try to bounce back from a last-place finish, after securing back-to-back titles in Season 7 and Season 8.
Nexplay EVOS is set to return Setsuna "BATUTE" Ignacio - also known by many as Dogie to its roster, along with James "Jeymz" Gloria. Mico "Micophobia" Quitlong will also debut as a Nexplay player after leaving Onic Philippines early July.
A new-look Onic PH, which saw more than half of its former roster flying to various teams overseas, will face a young Bren Esports squad, reinforced by rookies Kyletzy and Owgwen, on Saturday.
Bren will open the season without SEA Games gold medalists Carlito "Ribo" Ribo and Allan "Lusty" Castromayor. Kyle "Phewwww" Arcangel and David "FlapTzy" Canon will continue to lead the young squad consisting of standouts such as Kenneth "Saxa" Fedelin and Vincent "Joy Boy" De Guzman.
Onic, who left Nowee "Ryota" Caballo from its old lineup, now also consists of former Monster Anarchy players, and was reinforced by Edgar Dumali -- also known as YouTube superstar ChooxTV -- and former TNC player Landher "Der" San Gabriel.
Nexplay will face TNC, who did not make changes to its lean powerhouse lineup, save for Coach 413 who replaced coach Vrendon "V" Lin.
Omega will face Blacklist to end Saturday's matches in one of the biggest "El Clasico" league showdowns.
Echo Philippines, reeling from a heartbreaking 4th place finish last season, will try and start their campaign against Onic Philippines to close the weekend's matches on Sunday. They will be reinforced by a mix of new and returning players.
The regular season will conclude on October 2, through a clash between RSG Philippines and Blacklist International, before the league heads into the playoffs.
MPL - Philippines will also induct 10 players into the "Hall of Legends" -- voted by fans, athletes, media, and organizers, to commemorate its 10th season.
The country's representatives to the next world championships is expected to be determined this season, with Blacklist International eager to secure a slot to defend their throne.