WHEN Blacklist International and Onic PH last met in the MPL-PH Season 8 finals, it ended up as a one-sided affair as the latter struggled to match the former's tactical prowess.
Now that these two teams will once again meet in the grand finale of the world stage, but Blacklist is bracing themselves for a better-than-ever Onic.
After all, Onic PH has breezed past every powerhouse from Indonesia, Singapore, as well as North America with a flawless 9-0 upper bracket record. Blacklist head coach Kristoffer "BON CHAN" Ricaplaza has admitted that this version of the Filipino Hedgehog are now much stronger.
“Yes I think this is their strongest form compared to their MPL Season 8 finals. I think they’ve improved more compared to when we face them," he said.
Besides praising their performances, Ricaplaza also nodded to Onic's onstage energy.
“Sa disadvantage namin sa Onic? Siguro mas malakas sila sumigaw sa stage," said the coach.
He added: "I-enjoy natin yung laro, throughout the M3 naging close kaming lahat. Kung gusto niyo trashtalkan, go!"
Blacklist aiming to be the next Bren Esports?
Besides talking about Onic PH's evolution from their MPL-PH S8 loss, he also brought up the idea of following Bren Esports' M2 footsteps of crawling their way to a championship run in the lower bracket.
“Sobrang saya namin dahil mukhang mare-replicate namin yung ginawa ng Bren kung saan napunta sila sa lower and sana ma-replicate namin yung championship na nanggaling din sa lower bracket," said the 'UBE' strat practitioner.
To be there in the lower bracket actually turned out to be a surprise for the Codebreakers.
"Never namin ine-expect na mapupunta kami sa mas mahabang route. Ang akala namin, doon kami sa shortcut hanggang sa grand finals," said BON CHAN.
But the eye-opening loss against BTK shook the team hard... and motivated them not to get complacent.
"Very thankful kami na natalo kami sa BTK sa first day of playoffs dahil doon nagising kami."