Mobile Legends: 15 year old SanFord shines as Nexplay upend Omega in 'Battle of the OGs'

Angela Coloma, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 10 2021 10:36 PM | Updated as of Oct 11 2021 12:07 AM

Sanford
Sanford "SanFord" Marin Vinuya.  Courtesy: MPL Philippines

MANILA (UPDATE) - Nexplay EVOS on Sunday trampled Smart Omega, in "The Battle of OGs" 2-1 to close off a Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Philippines Professional League finale weekend described as nowhere near ordinary. 

Setsuna "Dogie" Ignacio and Billy "Z4pnu" Alfonso, who squabbled in the Land of Dawn as early as the MPL's inaugural season, suited up for Nexplay EVOS and Smart Omega, respectively. 

But even with familiar faces parading both teams' rosters, it was 15 year old rookie Sanford "SanFord" Marin Vinuya that stole the show to cap off the entire season. 

SanFord stole the Lord in a hotly-contested Game 3 match - a far cry from the showmatch-esque first two games - giving Nexplay EVOS the extra boost to clinch the series. 

He even won the MVP accolade to end Game 2, behind a 2-0-5 kill death assist ratio. 

Nexplay won Game 2, thanks to a minion wave, and them banking on 61 kills, to force a decider. 

Smart Omega ended the set with a whopping 38 kills, as Nexplay EVOS' used a "flame shot" strat. 

Dogie mentored Aether Main, which included SEA Games medallist and Nexplay newbie Jeniel "Yellyhaze" Bata-anon, en route to winning the inaugural MPL championship. Billy "Z4pnu" Alfonso suited up for OBS Gaming in Season 1, before entering Execration and being taken in by Smart Omega. 

Meanwhile, TNC Pro Team and Blacklist International swept their respective opponents in Sunday's earlier matchups. 

Meanwhile, Blacklist International ended their MPL campaign on top of the standings after upending a Bren Esports lineup that employed a tactic that later gained traction for "disrespect." 

Blacklist were dominant in Game 1, containing Bren to just four kills. 

With unconventional picks such as starting hero Zilong and human-car hybrid Johnson in Game 2, Bren managed to react to Blacklist's pick-offs - even as the squad waived ban picks from the get-go. 

But ultimately it was the defending champs that pulled through after a split push courtesy of Danerie James "Wise" Del Rosario. 

In a post-match interview, Blacklist team captain Johnmar "OhMyV33nus" Villaluna said the tactic was "disrespectful" and the move gained negative traction online. 

"Nakakatawa siya sa paningin ng manonood, pero for me disrespecting siya in a way. Puwedeng magkaroon ng impact sa susunod na matches na pwede siyang gayahin ng ibang teams. And parang una pa lang siyang ginawa even sa MPL leagues," OhMyV33nus said. 

Bren has since apologized and said they asked permission from the game organizers. 

Kiel "OHEB" Soriano missed the match as his 2 game suspension over an obscene gesture after a match immediately took effect. Blacklist 6th man Mark Jayson "ESON" Gerardo replaced him. 

Last-seeded TNC swept 2nd seeded Onic Philippines in the first matchup. 

Onic were kept to just 9 kills in game 1 behind a stellar performance by TNC rookies Landher "Der" San Gabriel and Ben Seloe "Benthings" Dizon Maglaque, who combined for 19 assists. 

It was a long matchup between TNC and Onic in Game 2, with Onic banking on their Mark Christian "Markyyyyy" Etcobañez and Allen Jedric "Baloyskie" Baloy's Change-Yve connection. 

But it was TNC that ultimately took the game, as a lord take during the 41st minute capped off the season's longest set. 

With the results, Blacklist keep top seed with 34 points, followed by Onic Philippines with 37. 

Even with the win, TNC remain at 8th place with 14 points. Bren Esports also have 14 points but enjoy a higher game win-loss record to rank at 7th place. 

Nexplay will end the season at 3rd place with 23 points, while Omega Esports will end the season with 20 points.