ONE OF the biggest criticisms that Nexplay EVOS endured during the regular season took aim at their constant player rotations. Even Jomie “Pakbet” Abalos and Patrick James “E2MAX” Caidic criticized their roster shuffles every week as ill-advised, with the latter saying that it would hamper the team’s momentum.
In light of these criticisms, Setsuna “Akosi Dogie” Ignacio explained to Spin.ph on why the team would rotate their roster every week.
“On this side sa playoffs, I think hindi pa namin napag-usapan kung sino yung final roster namin pero ang gusto kase namin is give chance to others," said the ML veteran. "Kahit si URESHIII sinabi naman niya na gusto niyang palaruin si S4gitnu.”
He later discussed the importance of these player shuffles, which allow them to assess the strengths and weaknesses of each member.
“Makita namin kung ano playstyle nila sa tournament mismo. Ano yung gigil nila. Baka magaling sila sa scrim pero mahina sa tournament o malakas sa tournament pero mahina sa scrim. Makita lang namin,” he said.
But that wasn’t the only reason revealed. In their last match against ECHO PH, Nexplay didn’t field mainstays John Paul “H2wo” Salonga and Renejay “RENEJAY” Barcarse in a crucial must-win game that saw them going up against former teammate Tristan “Yawi” Cabrera.
“Pagkatapos ng game namin against TNC, gumawa kaagad kami ng plan ni Zico kase nakita namin na kaka-post ni H2wo kay MobaZane na ‘Welcome to the Philippines.’ Nakita namin doon na kasama ni H2wo si Yawi,” he recounted.
“So at that point sabi ko, crucial ito. Kabisado ni Yawi yung laro ni H2wo pero never nakasama ni Yawi si MP.”
Yawi, thought Dogie, would also surely be familiar with the moves and hero pool of RENEJAY, who formed the team's previous "Big Three" in seasons past.
So, to catch ECHO off guard, the team decided to call up Michael “MP The King” Endino and Kenneth “CADENZA” Castro. The latter was lauded by the MLBB sensation.
“Gusto ko si CADENZA matching up against Yawi because I think CADENZA has a lot of potential against Yawi. I think kaya niyang sabayan.”
Will Nexplay feature a 5-man AP Esports roster?
Nexplay’s roster rotations in Season 8 have always featured a mixed bag of veterans and AP Esports prospects. The most number of AP Esports members in the starting lineup was four, which happened in their last series against ECHO PH.
When asked about why the organization was hesitant to field all five AP members despite their chemistry and popularity in the amateur scene, Dogie said:
“Paglima kase sila, comportable sila, baka magalit sila sa isa’t isa kapag natalo. Kase kapag naglagay ka ng isang NXP dun, hindi ka magiging comportable na mangsisisi ka eh.
“Ayun yung kinagandahan sa bagong lineup ayun yung kinapangitan sa matatagal sa lineup na pwedeng magsisisihan. Ayun yung iniiwasan namin.”
But even with the team’s logic, he was still open on the risk of fielding the entire AP roster in the playoffs.
“But if I would put 5-AP Esports players, it might this playoffs kase yung playstyle nila is super good kaya namin sila kinuha. Basically, magagaling yung limang taga-AP. Ang galing ng ginawa ni Sir AJ doon na he gave a lot to these kids na ngayon nasa MPL na. "