For the last two months, we have witnessed, by far, the most competitive season of Mobile Legends Bang Bang Professional League Philippines since Season 5 in 2020.
No clear-cut champions. No sensational win streaks. And after eight weeks of nerve-racking team fights and insane backdoor plays, Echo, Blacklist International, ONIC Philippines, Bren Esports, Smart Omega, and RSG Philippines have booked their tickets to the MPL-PH Season 10 Playoffs.
Reaching the Grand Finals will not just give these teams a shot for greatness, but it will also guarantee them a slot in the M4 World Championship in January in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Just before the clash for the coveted title starts, here are the storylines to watch out for in the Playoffs.
A title to seal a legacy
Winning the Season 10 crown means cementing their legacy for Blacklist International’s royal duo Jonmar “OhMyV33NUS” Villaluna and Danerie James “Wise” Del Rosario.
V33Wise is currently next in line to Karlito “Ribo” Ribo Jr., said to be MPL-PH Greatest of All-time, in most tournament championships. Claiming their third MPL-PH championship this season and successfully defending the country’s title in the M4 World Championship will set OhMyV33NUS and Wise as the winningest players in the MLBB scene.
However, that will be a tall order for the Tier One-backed squad as their Regular Season performance wasn’t that dominant compared to their run in Seasons 7 and 8. After sitting out for a season, OhMyV33NUS’ shot calling on the most crucial moments and Wise’s capacity as a utility type of jungler will again be tested.
Earning more than just respect
No one expected them to be here, but ONIC Philippines has been the tournament’s dark horse.
The rookie-laden squad took MPL-PH Season 10 by storm and defeated powerhouse teams such as Blacklist International, RSG Philippines, and Smart Omega.
During post-game interviews Coach Mark Kevin “Bluffzy” Deloy Reyes would often say the phrases “bibigyan namin sila ng magandang laban” and “gusto lang namin makuha yung respeto nila.” But now that the team has proven their place in the league, ONIC PH is looking more than just earning the respect they deserve.
Who would have thought that a team mainly composed of players from the amateur scene would be the league leader at some point during the Regular Season?
Definitely, surpassing the success of ONIC PH legends Allen “Baloyskie” Baloy and Gerald “Dlarskie” Trinchera would be difficult for a bunch of rookies. But one thing’s for sure, all teams should watch out for the new kids on the block.
If not now, then when?
Billy “Z4pnu” Alfonso, Joshua “Ch4knu” Mangilog, and the rest of the gang were already considered the uncrowned kings of MPL-PH even before Smart Omega acquired them in Season 8.
The fan favorites have been consistent podium finishers for the last three seasons, and even though they have conquered the region in MSC 2021 title back in Execration, the MPL-PH title is still elusive to the team.
If not now, then when?
While veterans Renz “Renzio” Cadua, team captain Patrick “E2MAX” Caidic, and Ch4knu are still undeniably deadly in the Land of Dawn, they are already past their prime form. Meanwhile, young stars Duane “Kelra” Pillas and Dean “Raizen” Sumagui are already approaching the peak of their careers which means they need teammates who can keep pace with them.
Besides, V33Wise, their rival, has returned and there’s no better way than winning their first MPL-PH championship while beating the royal duo at the same time.
Road to world domination
After conquering MPL-PH last season and Southeast Asia in MSC 2022, there’s no way to go up for the reigning champion RSG Philippines. And for them to do it, the raiders have to reach the Grand Finals once again.
Coach Brian “Panda” Lim has been experimental with his approach this Season 10. After being dealt with a sweep to start their title defense bid, the decorated mentor shared that a combine system was implemented to eliminate complacency and spark motivation in his 10-man roster.
Unfortunately, it resulted only in a roller coaster ride for RSG PH. Just by the time the team has started to find its rhythm after a three-match winning streak, they suffered back-to-back losses in the hands of ONIC PH and Bren Esports.
The journey to the top may be grueling for RSG PH for now but it is expected that come playoff time, Coach Panda would once again field in the lineup that gave him his second MPL-PH title.
With Blacklist International, RSG Philippines, ONIC Philippines, Echo, Smart Omega, and Bren Esports vying for the coveted MPL-PH Season 10 title, the upcoming playoffs is bound to be toughest road to be legendary in league history.