The Sibol Mobile Legends: Bang Bang team overcame defending world champion Indonesia to win the Philippines its first-ever gold medal for esports in the 30th Southeast Asian Games at the Filoil Flying V Center on Sunday.
The squad of Jeniel "Haze" Bata-Anon, Angelo Kyle "Pheww" Arcangel, Allan Sancio "Lusty" Castromayor, Karl Gabriel "KarlTzy" Nepomuceno, Kenneth Jiane "Kenji" Villa, Carlito "Ribo" Jr., and Jason Rafael "Jay" Torculas was down 1-2 to start the best-of-five grand finals series between the game's biggest regional rivals.
It was KarlTzy and his Esmeralda who carried the team on their shoulders, blitzing the Indonesians with a 7-0 kill score in the fourth match as the team snowballed and forced a rubber match. The youngest Sibol member ended with a 9-2-4 record.
Nepomoceno once again put the squad on his back in the decider, finishing the game with nine kills to a single death and helping Sibol amass a 12K gold lead to seal the deal in 15 minutes.
The Pinoys looked dominant in the opening match, putting the world champs on the back foot. Sibol managed to counter Indonesia's aggression with a crucial teamfight at the six-minute mark. The visitors would slowly find their groove, though, taking pick-offs and eventually the Lord.
It was Kenji's heroics that saved the game, when he took the top turret while the Indonesians were trying to control of the Lord. He followed the feat with a massive outplay on Indonesia's Julianto, before joining forces with KarlTzy to break the opponent's base in a 13-minute victory.
The reigning Mobile Legends: Bang Bang world and SEA champion would regain composure and take back-to-back matches, before getting reverse swept.