Dogie fined, suspended over 'cut throat' row; says to accept sanctions
Z4pnu says no intent to throw game vs Nexplay
MANILA (UPDATED) - Smart Omega Esports and Nexplay EVOS will face sanctions, including a fine amounting to almost P150,000 after allegations of violating the "competitive integrity" of their match during the last day of the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Professional League Season 8 last October 10.
Smart Omega and Nexplay EVOS were slapped with a $3,000 fine (approximately P150,000) after both teams committed violations regarding "competitive integrity" and playing "in a professional manner," the MPL-Philippines Operations Committee said Sunday.
Aside from this, those who played during Games 1 and 2, of which include a mix of starting and reserve players, are no longer part of Season 8's personal awards selection, and will be issued a serious warning.
These cover players Robert Remar "Hito" Candoy, Dean Christian "Raizen" Sumagui, Dian "Dian" Felix Cruz, Romiere "Allidap" Padilla, and Billy Jazha "Z4pnu" Alfonso for Smart Omega and players Tristan "YAWI" Cabrera, Renejay, famed streamer Setsuna "Dogie" Ignacio, John Paul "H2wo" Salonga and team captain Jeniel "YellyHaze" from Nexplay EVOS.
Dogie will also face a two-game suspension for making a prohibited pose - after doing a cut-throat pose after they won over Smart Omega.
The MPL reminded players and teams that they are subject to and are accountable for guidelines in the rulebook.
"We want to reinforce that competitive integrity is one of our core values as a league. Any team or player is subject to the rulebook and guidelines as stipulated within, and they must take full ownership and accountability of what they've done," MPL said.
In Sunday's match, both teams were accused of throwing Games 1 and 2, as they made decisions such as using all flame-shots or allegedly not making any effort to kill minion waves taking down their own base, to come to a decider match.
The match paraded a mix of new players and veterans who played as early as the league's inaugural season, dubbed as the "Battle of the OGs."
In a vlog dated Monday, Z4pnu said the squad had no intention to throw the match.
"About sa nangyari kahapon. Kitang kita niyo na ang ganda ng performance namin noong game 1. Excited pa ako noon may coaching-coaching pa kami. Sobrang ganda ng ano natin draft, tapos nagtaka kami ba't ganoon ang nangyari. Pati yung flame shot meta ngayon ang layo noon p're. Kapag nagja-jungle ka kailangan ng retri. Meron kaming strat strat kahit sinong kalaban namin," Z4pnu said in a vlog before they left the boot camp.
Rule 22.214.171.124.9 of the MPL handbook reads: "Players are expected to compete in a professional manner. Throwing a match, halting play without cause, or showing a flagrant lack of effort will be construed as a violation of player conduct, and will result in match penalties, forfeit and disqualification from the League."
The alleged match-throwing by both teams were met with divided takes in various online communities, with others citing the need to embrace the MPL's shift towards a more "formalized" franchise-based format this season instead of treating it like a showmatch.
Other netizens, however, urged viewers to "move on" from the results of Sunday's match, claiming it was supposed to be entertainment with the presence of veteran players and hype on social media.
After both teams apparently shifted to a more serious mode in Game 3, in which Nexplay won, Dogie was seen doing a cut-throat pose after the match.
In a separate vlog also posted Monday, Dogie admitted he got carried away, and said he will accept the sanctions to be given to him.
"I will accept that. Nadala ako ng emosyon, hindi ko napigilan emosyon ko. Chill lang. S*** happens. Hindi na mauulit," he said.
This is not the first time Smart Omega players have faced sanctions this season, as their teammate, Grant Duane "Kelra" Pillas faced a 2-week suspension over remarks made towards a couple of league players and a female Thai player before the season.
This will also be the second time a player will be sanctioned for making a prohibited pose, as Blacklist's Kiel Calvin "OHEB" Soriano was also fined and suspended for flashing his middle finger after a Smart Omega match this Saturday.