WITH A RECORD BREAKING 4.27 million peak viewers, of which 2.69 million came from the Indonesian community, Blacklist International vs. RRQ Hoshi felt like a grand finals affair.
But it wasn't just the numbers that defined the series, as both teams traded wins en route to a five-game spectacle.
Even if you weren't watching from the venue, the crashing sounds of drums and RRQ chants from the Indonesian MLBB crowd were audible even from the livestream.
It was an intimidating prospect for a team like Blacklist International. Given their history of bestingg RRQ in most international tournaments and their current status as the most dominant team in MLBB history, the crowd would rally against them, hoping that their strength in numbers would "break the code."
Initially it worked, as Johnmar "OhMyV33nus" Villaluna admitted in a press conference that the hostile crowd was a factor in their Game 1 loss.
"Sobrang intense talaga. And I think dahil doon, kaya kami natalo. It's one of the major factor kung bakit kami natalo noong Game 1. Pero syempre, hindi kami naging world champion na matatalo lang kami dahil sa crowd. Pero moving forward, it's a very good experience," said the Blacklist shotcaller.
Inside an environment that wanted nothing more than to see the Codebreakers fail, Coach Kristoffer "BON CHAN" Ricaplaza had to rally the troops and ease the tension.
How the crowd motivated Blacklist International
After their Game 1 loss, BON CHAN told Spin.ph what he exactly told the team. To ease the pressure, BON CHAN joked about the Indonesian chants.
"Sabi ko i-pretend na lang nila na yung naririnig nilang drums at cheer, para sa amin yun e. (laughs) Hindi namin alam kung ano yung sinasabi nila e, iba naman yung language e," revealed the Blacklist head coach.
While BON CHAN's motivational methods were helpful, the hostile crowd was actually something that pushed Blacklist to fight back.
For Kiel "Oheb" Soriano, facing a hostile crowd means the opportunity to silence them.
"I think the crowd excites us, and it's more fun to win so you can shut up the crowd, especially the crowds that trash talk us. So it's very fun and thrilling. It motivates us so much."
And Blacklist could potentially face more of them in the upcoming weeks. Onic Indonesia might be their next opponent in the upper bracket finals, while RRQ could be determined to seek their revenge, sneaking up from the lower bracket to deal a vengeful blow.
If so, the Codebreakers could then expect the drums and the crowd and the chants to once again be against them.
"Actually expected naman namin na magiging ganun yung crowd. Isa yun sa mga kailangan talaga namin kaharap especially we're up against Indonesian teams, especially RRQ," said V33nus.