MANILA - Blacklist International are through to their second straight Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Professional League finals appearance after sinking rivals Smart Omega in the Season 8 lower bracket finals.
This means Blacklist also booked their first team appearance in the world championships, with Johnmar "OhMyV33nus" Villaluna and Danerie James "Wise" Del Rosario making their second appearance after M1 during their time at Onic PH.
Clipping damage dealer Dean Christian "Raizen" Sumagui from his tracks through bans and in-game strats, Blacklist found their way towards their next finals appearance after taking down Omega in three straight games.
Pinning down off Omega's biggest damage dealers Grant Duane "Kelra" Pillas and Raizen, Blacklist dominated Game 1, capping it off in a team fight down the bottom lane that wiped off four of Omega's players from the map.
Kelra's Aldous ended the set with 5 deaths, no kills and no assists while Raizen ended up with just two kills, two deaths, and two assists.
Regular season MVP Salic "Hadji" Imam took the MVP recognition in Game 1, logging 3 kills, one death, and 6 assists with his signature Chou.
Game 2 saw the return of OhMV33nus' signature Mathilda, whose vital plays and shotcalling set the dominant tempo for Blacklist.
Blacklist ended Game 2 in dominant fashion, after a team fight capped off by Kiel "OHEB" Soriano's Alice doing a flowing Blood through the base pillars and dealing a final blow on Kelra's Claude.
OhMV33nus emerged the MVP for Game 2 behind 11 assists, 1 kill, and 1 death.
OHEB's Natan gave Omega a hard time to start Game 3, taking solo kill after solo kill to contain their rivals.
But mirroring Blacklist's "UBE" strategy proved to be the answer for Omega when they tried to stop the defending champions from taking the Lord in Game 3.
Omega captain Patrick James "E2MAX" Caidic then set up a Demonic Force with his Phoveous, and allowed Kelra to eke out a triple kill which gave them enough opening to destroy Blacklist's base and survive the series.
E2MAX's heroics gave him the MVP recognition in Game 3, behind a 3/3/7 kill-death-assist record.
E2MAX's Selena gave Blacklist's players a hard time early into Game 4, but a team fight 12 minutes in allowed the defending champions to regain momentum, as Hadji's Chou went online.
Blacklist then put the nail in the coffin with a wipeout by the base 20 minutes in to secure their second straight MPL Philippines finals appearance.
Hadji took the MVP recognition anew in Game 4, as crucial plays against Selena's Abyssal Arrows delivered. Hadji ended the series with 10 assists, and 5 deaths.
Smart Omega went through an overhaul to start the season, releasing its M2 qualifying team (including Hadji) and taking in Execration's Southeast Asia cup-winning squad.
After a regular season rocked with controversies and with some changes to their lineup highlighted by rookie Raizen, Smart Omega started strong in the playoffs, even sinking an OHEB-less Blacklist to the lower bracket.
Blacklist will have a few hours of rest before facing Onic PH at 6 p.m this Sunday.
COACH: Kristoffer Ed "BON CHAN" Ricaplaza
Johnmar "OhMyV33nus" Villaluna (captain)
Danerie James "Wise" Del Rosario
Kiel Calvin "OHEB" Soriano
Salic A "Hadji" Imam
Edward "EDWARD" Jay Dapadap
Mark Jayson "ESON" Gerardo
Dexter Louise "DEX STAR" Alaba
SMART OMEGA roster
COACH: Jomie "Pakbet" Abalos
Patrick James "E2MAX" Caidic (captain)
Kiel VJ "Kielvj" Cruzem
Renz Errol "Renzio" Cadua
Joshua "Ch4knu" Mangilog
Grant Duane "Kelra" Pillas
Billy Jazha "Z4pnu" Alfonso
Romiere "Allidap" Padilla
Dian Felix "Dian" Cruz
Dean Christian "Raizen" Sumagui
Robert Remar "Hito" Candoy