AFTER securing two runner-up finishes in the 8th Season of the MPL and the M3 World Championship, many argued that Onic’s time to shine could happen in Season 9. With the loss of the iconic V33Wise tandem, it was expected that they would capitalize on their absence and finally slay their demons.
Unfortunately, that didn't happen.
If last season saw the Filipino Hedgehogs rely on their ‘Banana Split’ to win games, this season saw them transitioning to a more teamfight-oriented approach.
To further complement their new system is another tactical change.
While Gerald “Dlarskie” Trinchera remains an iconic figure due to his spacemaking capabilities and his "CEO" status in the team, Coach Paul Denver “Yeb” Miranda wasn’t afraid to drop him in favor of Nowee “Ryota” Cabailo.
“Ginamit ko si Ryota para makapagpakita ng playstyle sa kalaban which is more team fight oriented," he told Spin.ph, "and of course mataas yung potential ni Ryota para makita din ng lahat gaano sya kalupet.”
While this might have caused friction given Dlarskie’s prominent stature as one of the best EXP laners in the scene, this wasn’t the case for Onic PH.
“[Dlarskie was] happy and excited, lahat naman sila willing mabigyan ng chance ibang teammates nila everyday sa practice nagtutulungan sila,” he said. “So every day, may friendly competition parin dito sa team.”
Explaining struggles of Onic PH this season
Coach Yeb also explained to Spin.ph why he thought Onic PH wasn’t as dominant as it was once during Season 8 and the M3 World Championship.
According to him, teams are getting stronger this season. “Unang-una lahat ng teams lumakas talaga tapos different meta of course," he said.
He also explained how he prepared his team for the trials that await them this season.
"Ang ginawa namin sa season is mahanap yung mga problems, kung paano kalabanin iba’t ibang teams, i-manage yung feeling and emotions,” he reflected. “This way slowly nagma-mature yung team and also para makapaghanda ng maige sa playoffs.”
And speaking of the playoffs, Coach Yeb admitted that his team doesn’t have the upper bracket advantage that they once had, but he is still hoping for the best.
“Ang wala lang is yung momentum kapag nasa upper bracket. Pero twice na nangyari nasa upper bracket kami kinapos parin so tingin ko mas mahirap na daan mas malaking tulong para sa team kapag na-convert namin lahat ng natutunan.”
Onic PH is currently at the 4th spot, clinging on to a playoff berth, but of course this could change depending on the outcome of Week 8.