MANILA, Philippines -- Defending champion Lyceum of the Philippines University regained its spot on top, sweeping the rest of the elimination round to buck off a shaky start in the Collegiate Center for Esports (CCE) Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Season 2.
The Pirates stumbled against the Arellano Chiefs in their opening salvo, but swept all their six matches in the next two weeks to seize the No. 1 seed with an 8-1 card entering the playoffs of the country's newest esports league, with MPL-Philippines serving as an official partner.
Reigning CCE MVP Mark Kenneth "Mark" Delos Reyes once again flashed his brilliance in the nick of time, capturing all the MVP citations for the Pirates as they dominated Emilio Aguinaldo College (EAC), Jose Rizal University (JRU) and San Beda University entering the playoffs.
Delos Reyes was lethal with his perfect Hayabusa (9/0/9) outing in Lyceum's easy win against San Beda before putting up equally impressive campaigns with Lunox (9/2/8) against JRU, and Gusion (9/1/15) against EAC.
Sharing the top spot with Lyceum was Colegio de San Juan de Letran, which also took care of business in the last two weeks for a similar 8-1 slate after the single-round robin elimination among the 10 established universities and colleges as pioneering members of CCE.
Letran's lone loss came against Lyceum but stole the spotlight in Week 2 by handing a defeat to the previously unbeaten Arellano, paving the way for its run to the top of the CCE rankings.
Surprise squads Arellano (7-2) and JRU (6-3) followed suit to complete the top four and secure their places in the upper bracket.
In a wild CCE turnaround for its stacked Season 2, Season 1 runner-up San Sebastian College-Recoletos (5-4), De La Salle-College of St. Benilde (5-4) and Mapua University (4-5) – which all finished in the Final 4 last season – settled for lower bracket spots this time around.
EAC (2-7) completed the playoff picture as San Beda (1-8) and winless University of Perpetual Help System Dalta (0-9) crashed out of contention.
With little to no break, the eight remaining squads plunge back to action in the Land of Dawn this week for the playoffs, starting with upper bracket duels featuring Lyceum against JRU, and Letran versus Arellano.
Winners advance in the upper bracket finals to zero in on a finale ticket, with the losers still waiting for counterparts from the survivors of the lower bracket pitting San Sebastian against EAC and CSB against Mapua.
The grand finals is slated in the first week of December at a still-to-be-announced venue following the Season 1 finale at the SM Mall of Asia Arena Music Hall for the prestigious Season 2 crown of CCE led by president Stanley Lao and commissioner Waiyip Chong.