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    Chemistry vs. star power? ESON, BON CHAN skeptical about IESF Sibol selection

    Jul 13, 2022
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    PHOTO: Sibol/Facebook

    BLACKLIST International’s victory in the IESF PH Qualifiers was a show of dominance for the Codebreakers. And while the vast majority of Blacklist Agents are celebrating their victory, questions have also been raised about how Sibol is assembling its national team for the upcoming tournament.

    According to Sibol's rules, the national team for the IESF would combine the players from the two finalists (Blacklist International and Maharlika Esports), which could potentially hamper the team’s chemistry while overloading the pro squad's Season 10 campaign.

    There would be a combine for both Blacklist in Maharlika this coming week — an event that became a topic of discussion in Kristoffer “BON CHAN” Ricaplaza's new vlog. Mark Jayson “ESON” Gerardo and the coach discussed their thoughts on Sibol's ruling.

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      ESON looks back at 2019 Sibol Qualifiers

      Back in 2019, Sibol’s lineup featured an all-star cast consisting of the likes of Karl “KarlTzy” Nepomuceno, Allan “Lusty” Castromayor Jr., Jason Rafael “Jay” Torculas, Carlito “Ribo” Ribo Jr., Kenneth Jiane “Kenji” Villa, Kyle Angelo “Pheww” Arcangel, and Jeniel “YellyHaze” Bata-anon.

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      How were they selected? This is how ESON described it.

      “Ilang weeks ata yung noong pinag-rumble-rumble yung mga members per team. Bale kasama sixth-man noon. Five teams times six, bale 30 players. Lahat kami pina-rumble-rumble. Iba-iba kasama namin. May pointing system per win, kada player,” he recalled.

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      But it wasn’t just limited to a point system as ESON recalled that an interview process was done to find out the overall commitment of the players.

      He added: “Diba nag-rumble-rumble yung mga players? [Tinanong sila], 'Sa experience mo sa pag-shuffle, sino yung pinakagusto mong kakampi, sino pinaka ayaw mong kakampi? Tapos yung commitment, kung sakaling gusto mo mag-SEA Games or priority mo mag-MPL.”

      BON CHAN compares the past with the present

      If Sibol’s 2019 system was centered on a selection of the best players, the recent approach is more reliant on team chemistry.

      As revealed by BON CHAN, “Dahil noong panahon kase noon, pili pa yung malalakas na players tapos magkakahiwalay ng team. Unlike sa panahon ngayon hindi na palakasan ng players kundi palakasan ng buong team.”

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      He added: “Sa panahon na iyon, alam mo na kung sino malalakas na players and ideal talagang gawin yung training pool na iyon para mapagsama-sama mo yung malalakas na iyon.”

      As proof of the wisdom of Sibol's approach, he pointed to his own squad, who, as Sibol MLBB, won the gold medal against a star-studded Indonesian squad in the 31st SEA Games.

      “Pero ngayon sa era natin [...] talagang pagalingan ng team e. Magandang example ngayon Indonesia, pinagsama-sama nila all-star nila. Anong nangyari?”

      So with the current IESF ruling, BON CHAN is less than happy about Sibol's volte-face.

      He gave a hypothetical scenario: What if Maharlika’s support player, Yue, would go head-to-head against Blacklist’s Salic “Hadji” Imam in the three-day combine?

      “Halimbawa si Yue, yung POS 4. So maganda yung naging winrate sa training pool and then si Hadji pangit. Ano mas may timbang? Yung three days na data o yung two years na pinagsamahan at achievements, yung proven and tested na?

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      "Like for example pangit yung stats ni Hadji, pangit yung naging stats ni V33. So mas ideal bang kunin yung three days na magaganda yung stats kumpara sa isa o dalawang taon na binuo at pinatunayan yung limang yun?”

      While some might speculate that BON CHAN might look down on Maharlika, he reiterated that he bears no ill will against the amateur team.

      “Hindi kami swapang. Kung gusto nila Maharlika main five, ok lang, basta huwag nilang chop-chop-in ying bawat team. Mapagbigay naman kami. Ayaw namin masira yung nabuo ng Maharlika at kung ano yung nabuo namin.”

      Mental exhaustion also a concern for Blacklist, Sibol coach

      But that isn’t the only concern that BON CHAN had, as he also felt like the added workload of balancing between two tournaments with different rosters could take a toll on his team.

      “Kase mahirap talaga pagsabayin, mangyayari yung nangyari sa amin noong Season 9 na kasabay sa SEA Games,” he explained.

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      And this was something that bothered Hadji, as well as the Blacklist coaching staff.

      “Ang pinaka nabugbog noon si Hadji at yung mga coaching staff kase walang pahinga. Si Hadji nga muntikan na ayaw dumiretso sa SEA Games dahil dire-diretso yung practice niya tapos galing pa sa puro talo, tapos isasabak ko pa sa panibagong practice which is walang kasiraduhan kung magfi-fit siya doon sa bagong teammates niya.”

      He added: "I’m telling you guys, puro talo kami noong simula na iyon. Nalulumo si Hadji sa sarili niya dahil puro talo ka nga sa S9 tapos pagdating sa SEA Games puro talo nanaman. So talagang mentally and physically pagod, pati na rin sa coaching staff.”

      BON CHAN brought up a Pacquiao analogy to prove his point.

      “Si Pacquiao noong nag-focus sa boxing, talagang dominated niya lahat kaso noong nagkahati-hati na oras niya like pinasok na niya yung singer, basketball, and politics, so medyo nag-decline pa rin yung performance niya pero nandun pa rin naman. Isa yun sa patunay na yung katawang-tao natin ay limited yung kayang gawin.”

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      PHOTO: Sibol/Facebook
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