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THE GAME - MPL Hall of Legends

Grit and Glory: What makes the first 10 legends in MPL Philippines history undisputedly legendary

Ten chapters of the biggest professional esports league in the country have concluded. Like all great stories, this epic tale of elite-level competition came with great characters, each of whom rose, thrived, and conquered the Land of Dawn in their own unique ways. 

As they etch their IGNs in esports history as the inaugural inductees of the MPL Philippines’ Hall of Legends, what fabric are their legacies made of that allowed each one to stand the test of time? We sat with these mythical figures to narrow down the main ingredients that truly make them legendary.

The moments that made them

Like all sports leagues, the MPL Philippines tells an enduring story of high-level competition and the exhilarating drama that comes with that. Whether it’s a championship-winning play or a quotable quote, all of the ten legends have each contributed an iconic moment to the league’s history.

One player that has been at the center of the league’s greatest moments is none other than Christian “Rafflesia” Fajura. Apart from his pivotal role in the “isang one hit na lang” play of Season 4, the back-to-back champion was an innovator of brand-new eye-catching approaches to the game of MLBB, such as the iconic Diggie feeding strategy of Season 6.

MPL Philippines
Image from Darryl Lozares

Whether they’re together or apart, Karl Gabriel “KarlTzy” Nepomuceno, Carlito “Ribo” Jr, and Angelo “Pheww” Arcangel have always found ways to mesmerize fans with both their skills and their words. Apart from delivering some of the most memorable lines in MPL-PH history, Bren Esports’ inimitable championship trio have also served a combined number of six whopping savages throughout their careers.

“Masaya, kasi nakasama ko ‘tong mga legends na player din kahit hindi na ako naglalaro [sa MPL-PH].”

Carlito “Ribo” Jr is glad his legacy still lives on despite having left the league
Personalities you can’t miss

As mentioned, the MPL-PH wouldn’t be the blockbusting program that it has become without its must-see characters. Beyond being comical or brash, these Ten Legends showcased the untamed, raw humanity that esports has to offer.

MPL Philippines
Image from Darryl Lozares

Unsurprisingly, Nexplay Evos icon Naser “Dogie” Ignacio Mollazehi and Smart Omega roamer Joshua “Ch4knu” Mangilog are two of the rawest personalities you will get a chance to discover in MPL-PH. As household names in the MLBB community, much of the young talent we see in the league today either idolized or was inspired by the legacies these names hold.

Relatable yet larger-than-life, Ch4knu’s humble, boyish charm and Dogie’s unapologetic quips have taught fans around the country the importance of authenticity and being themselves.

“He treats everyone with respect, including his opponents. This is why Coach Panda will always be a good fit for any team trying to win or build.”

MPL-PH shoutcaster Theo “Uomi” Ignacio highlights Coach Panda’s character as a coach

On the flip side, two-time champion Coach Im “Panda” Chang-rok and 10 season veteran Jeniel “YellyHaze” Bata-Anon’s down-to-earth demeanor only gives us a glimpse of their greatness as professionals. Embodying the phrase “their work speaks for themselves,” the two legends are humble but highly-respected figures by both peers and fans. When Coach Panda himself learned that he too was to be inducted in the Hall of Legends, even his disbelief glowed with grace and gratitude.

@mplph_official

Surprise! Coach Panda learns that he will be a 10 Legends inductee 💙 #GGRSG #LakasNa10to #MPLPH #MPLPhilippines

♬ original sound – MPLPH_Official – MPLPH_Official
The power of grit
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Image from Darryl Lozares

If there is a single defining trait that all of the Ten Legends share, it is having an indestructible grit. Perhaps the most important ingredient for the recipe of a legend, each of the inductees have displayed a burning passion for MLBB even in the face of adversity.

As both the voice—and face—of the MPL-PH since its inaugural season, shoutcaster Manjean Faldas is both a witness and an example to the spirit of determination that lives within the league. In becoming the sole surprise honorary inductee, Manjean found the values of patience and discipline as the key ingredients to his 10-season strong longevity in the league, explaining: “You need to have the patience and discipline kasi first of all, hindi ito career na magiging successful ka agad financially.”

Furthermore, the shoutcaster also reiterated being a good people person as an essential element for success in his profession: “Kasama sa disiplina ay ang pag-practice ng sarili mong techniques, pag-aral ng game at pagiging mabuting teammate sa lahat ng ka-trabaho mo, mapa-caster man yan o production.”

MPL Philippines
Image from Darryl Lozares

Apart from Manjean, not many can embody grit like Johnmar “Ohmyv33nus” Villaluna and Danerie “Wise” Del Rosario can. All of us laughed, cried, and sat in awe at the highlight reel of a career that the Royal Duo has had so far. After falling short in two consecutive MPL-Philippines championship finals, not many players would have the fight in them to reinvent and recuperate; but that’s what separates the Royal Duo from everyone else.

“Dumating din sa point na akala ko ako yung tipong pro-player na hindi magchachampion. Pero noong sumali kami sa Blacklist [International], wala naging champion kami.”

Danerie “Wise” Del Rosario reflects on his career as a professional MLBB player

Five seasons later, and the “VeeWise” tandem would go on to become the winningest players in the league’s history after securing their third MPL-PH championship in Season 10, making the duo a testament to the hard determination that only legends can exemplify.

To have memorable icons in a sports league is one thing. To be able to honor ten of them with pageantry and ceremony—while also being one of the first professional esports leagues to do it—is another. When someone asks how prevalent MLBB has become in the Philippines, one can certainly point to these Ten Legends as living monuments to our heritage in the game thus far.

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Text JERONNE DE VILLA
Photography MPL PHILIPPINES
Art Direction ISSY SADORRA

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