IT WAS the much awaited spectacle that Mobile Legends: Bang Bang fans have been craving for. Billy “Z4pnu” Alfonso and Dian “Dian” Felix Cruz vs. Setsuna “Akosi Dogie” Ignacio and Jeniel “YellyHaze” Bata-Anon — the OGs who have been a part of the scene since Season 1.
Ah the memories! It would have brought back the old Aether Main vs. OBS Gaming rivalry that captured the hearts of the community in the early days.
And this match was also Dogie’s first game as a professional player in the MPL. His previous MPL runs were centered on coaching and managing the team, while his previous professional playing experience came in The Nationals.
The storylines were perfect, the hype was real. Even the rookies who have never played a single game, like Romiere “Allidap” Padilla and Sanford “SanFord” Marin Vinuya, were finally given a milestone moment of playing their first MPL match.
But sadly, the end product was flat. Even Dogie’s much-hyped trashtalking versus Z4pnu didn’t have any weight compared to Tristan “Yawi” Cabrera’s savage yet iconic farewell to TNC. You can read our recap of the match, as well as the ensuing fallout, below.
To add more disappointment are the comments from the community defending the match… most of which were extremely closed minded and myopic.
“Katuwaan lang naman eh!”
Tell that to Dota 2’s OG who made questionable lineups yet they somehow made a miracle out of it from carry/offlane Io, support Legion Commander, picking Axe against Tusk, bringing back the Spectre from the dead, Diffusal Blade on Gyrocopter, and more.
And you know what, they were able to bring smiles to the community. Why? Because they’ve proven to their doubters and skeptics that these so-called laughable antics could revolutionize the scene. Contrast this with Nexplay’s decision to have a 5-man flameshot lineup — meme-worthy, yes, but useless in the current meta given the impact of retribution.
A 39-4 scoreline, within 13 minutes? Yeah, that could definitely rival OG’s gameplan.
Even glancing at the Twittersphere, the MPL-PH’s caster talent pool are struggling to maintain their composure. I was surprised none of them walked off the broadcast desk, and I commend them for maintaining their sense of professionalism amid the ludicrous situation.
I haven’t even included some of the league operators who took to social media to express their annoyance of the situation. Remember that these guys have burned the midnight oil and sacrificed their weekends to hype storylines, build marketing campaigns, and ensure that the broadcasts and matches run smoothly.
With all the time and effort that they’ve exhibited, wasn’t this match disrespectful for them?
Many other members of the community were also visibly disgusted with what happened. This means that, no, it wasn’t fun.
If the matchup between Nexplay and Omega is your definition of fun, perhaps Andrea Brillantes, Yael Yuzon, Daniel Padilla, and Joross Gamboa should be professional players. Or maybe we should change the word “professional” in the MPL to “entertainment”, just like the WWE.
“Nonbearing naman yung match eh!”
Remember that Galaxy Battles tournament in the Philippines? That was a massive disaster, coming from being a major tournament in the Dota scene to a nonbearing series.
But even with the downgrade, even if OG, TNC, and Evil Geniuses knew that they were never going to earn points, they still traveled all the way to the Philippine Arena and played their hearts out. Why? Because they do so for the community and they likewise pride themselves on being called professionals.
And I haven’t even mentioned a team like PSG.LGD, who already dominated the group stages in TI10, but still played the rest of their matches with grit and heart, because deep inside they wanted to prove their doubters that they’re no longer the team that choked in the TI8 finals or the team that disappointed in front of their home crowd in TI9.
I was expecting Nexplay to follow in their footsteps, given their redemption story — from being branded as the “8th placer” in the MPL to being a top 4 finisher who could potentially surprise their foes when the playoffs come.
But that wasn’t the case. And I don’t recall Sunsparks, ArkAngel, Bren, and Onic PH throwing away their remaining matches just because nothing is at stake.
“Ang OA niyo naman!”
The Mobile Legends scene is already on the verge of making the leap to the global stage. There’s already the MPL Brazil, as well as tournaments in the Middle East and North American regions.
Imagine if these other regions found out what happened between Nexplay and Omega. Would they then conclude from the Philippine example that Moonton doesn’t value competitive integrity?
I’m haunted by the words of my friend who told me that Mobile Legends is a trash game because only Filipinos and Indonesians care about the game and there are others who remain skeptical of its value in esports. So yes, I think we have the right to act OA.
Moving away from the Nexplay-Omega controversy for a moment, I’d also like to address the match between Blacklist and Bren, which was also shrouded with controversy. In Game 2, Bren Esports — already booted out of playoff contention at this point — decided to skip out on the ban phase. Blacklist skipper Johnmar “OhMyV33nus” Villaluna felt that Bren’s decision was disrespectful.
“Ang arte naman ni V33nus, wala namang pag-asa yung Bren!”
Yes, the marshal agreed to accept Bren’s request. There’s nothing we can do about it at this point. But people should likewise understand V33nus’ side.
If you watch Episode 3 of Legacies, the MPL-PH’s video profile series, Blacklist life coach Boss Rada spoke about breaking the mindset of complacency — perhaps explaining why V33nus took this match seriously, even if Bren posed absolutely no threat to the top-ranked team.
It is this mindset that separates a Michael Jordan or a Kobe Bryant from an average NBA player. And this is exactly the mindset that’s needed in the esports scene.
I will not give Bren a pass on this one. If Man U’s legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson would take his talents from Manchester United to Bren Esports, he would’ve said something like this:
“You guys are no longer part of the playoffs, but you are the M2 World Champions for a reason. We have a passionate fanbase who have supported us from our ups and downs and they are dying to see you bounce back. We owe this to them! And as for your bashers, this is your moment to shut them up!”
He would likely add, perhaps already foaming at the mouth in rage, “And since all of you are just second stringers, perhaps this is your time to prove that you deserve to be here. Now is your time to shine!”
People who mention these comments should look at the bigger picture. The MPL has already reached the franchise system. Teams have invested millions to secure a spot in the MPL. Players have guaranteed salaries. These are all signs that Mobile Legends isn’t just a game. It is now a profession.
And because it’s a profession, it needs to be treated with a high degree of respect.
We are now on Quento! Download the app to enjoy more articles and videos from SPIN.ph and other Summit Media websites.