BOTH esports and traditional sports obviously share a lot of similarities: the competition, the skill level, the storylines. In fact, for many sports fans, the skills and stories they see in the esports squads they follow echo the struggles and triumphs of historic organizations in sports.
T1's dominance in League of Legends, for example, can be compared to the dynasty that the Boston Celtics carved in the '50s and '60s, while the truckload of statistical data that Dota 2 teams have at their disposal can be likened to the Oakland Athletics and their moneyball approach.
And even in the MPL scene, we've spotted some comparisons that we think are very valid.
When UBE meets Tiki-Taka: Blacklist International is 2010-2011 FC Barcelona
A common denominator between Pep Guardiola’s Tiki-Taka antics and Coach Kristoffer “BON CHAN” Ricaplaza’s UBE strategy is that these two tactics have revolutionized their respective scenes.
Heck, they even have the same philosophy of grouping up together just to create an advantage.
But the similarities go beyond the coaches and their tactics as the players from both squads bare a lot of resemblances.
Both team captain’s Johnmar “OhMyV33nus” Villaluna and Carles Puyol provide that calming presence with their vocal leadership. The way Kiel “OHEB” Soriano and Edward “Edward” Jay Dapadap dictate the team’s offense are similar to Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez.
Plus you have Danerie James “Wise” Del Rosario, who could be a potential sparkplug, similar to David Villa.
And to further enhance the tactics of both teams is theall-around offensive and supporting threat, courtesy of both Salic “Hadji” Imam and Lionel Messi, as their rotations and sudden outburst have been a key cog for their team’s success.
Organized Chaos: Onic PH is 2018-2019 Liverpool F.C.
Jurgen Klopp’s Gegenpressing approach and Coach Paul Denver “Yeb” Miranda’s Banana Split are known to rattle their foes.
For Klopp, it’s all about utilizing his front three of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, and Mo Salah to harass the team’s possession game. For Yeb, it’s about acquiring heroes with strong wave clear and tower pushing capabilities.
And they certainly love to use their width to their advantage. With Firmino’s role as a false-9, Liverpool would overload one flank to create spaces for their wide players, Salah and Mane. Onic follows a similar gameplan where 4 members would try to create havoc on one lane, while either Marky “Markyyyyy” Ectobanez or Kairi “Kairi” Rayosdelsol would push the other lane.
But besides their tactical similarities, the personalities of Jurgen Klopp and Coach Yeb are worth highlighting as these two individuals are known for their down-to-earth demeanor and their strong player relationship skills. (Not to mention their fascination with beards.)
Even their careers have some uncanny coincidences. Klopp’s torturous last season with Borussia Dortmund can be compared to Yeb’s disastrous 0-13 record, forcing the former to let go of the yellow colors to don the red, and the latter to go for the opposite.
Never Say Die: Omega Esports are Barangay Ginebra
If OBS Gaming/Execration from Seasons 1-4 can be compared to the Portland Jail-blazers given their talent wasted by their inner demons, the championship-winning Omega Esports squad could be compared to the Gin Kings.
Whatever era of Ginebra you choose, the famous Filipino basketball squad’s “Never Say Die!” battlecry has always lived on.
And it's one that can similary apply for Omega Esports. Once that 18th minute mark is up, their “Never Say Die” spirit starts to manifest.
Through grit and determination against all odds, they served as an inspiration for those struggling in life, perhaps explaining why these two teams are considered to be local favorites.
A Coming of Age Story: Nexplay EVOS are the 2011-2013 Miami Heat
When you have a villainous big three, expect the whole world to go against you.
Just look at the time when LeBron James arrogantly said that the Miami Heat would win “Not one, not two, not three, not four...” Or how about the time Dwyane Wade mocked Dirk Nowitzki during the 2011 NBA Finals?
Then take a look at Renejay “RENEJAY” Barcarse’s infamous TikTok dancing during Season 6’s drafting phase, or the never-ending vlogs from the other members of Nexplay.
For both teams came the painful losses and hateful comments, which fueled both teams to change their methods, as well as provide the humbling lesson that a talented big three isn’t enough to become a winner.
Adding veterans like Shane Battier and Jeniel “YellyHaze” Bata-Anon and solid contributors like Norris Cole and Jhonwin “Hesa” Dela Merced Vergara was a good way to shape the team for a winning formula.
Meanwhile, just as Erik Spoelstra did for the Heat, Nexplay needed John Michael “Zico” Dizon to re-energize them and reach the next level.
Supporting both of these teams are two slicked back, dapper men: Pat Riley and Setsuna “Akosi Dogie” Ignacio.
The Intersection and The Greek Freak: ECHO PH are the Milwaukee Bucks
Consider Giannis Antetokounmpo’s freakish physique and unique playstyle for a 7-footer who starts making his moves from the perimeter. Also consider Christian “Rafflesia” Fajura’s timely setups. It's just right that both the Bucks and ECHO PH would treat these players as the focal points of their offense.
Giannis becomes a double team magnet due to his athleticism, ultimately creating opportunities for him to be a playmaker for the likes of Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez.
Rafflesia’s setups have also given the likes of Frederic Benedict “Bennyqt” Gonzales and Jaymark Aaron “Hadess” Lazaro the window to shine.
All eyes are definitely on them.
Fundamentals and Discipline: RSG PH are the San Antonio Spurs
Similar to the comparison between Omega Esports and the Gin Kings, it was difficult to select which among the Spurs teams could equally match RSG PH. However, it can be noted that Coach Gregg Popovich and Coach Brian “Panda” Lim are known for their fundamentals, their discipline, and most notably, their ability to develop players.
Just look at the list of names that Popovich developed: Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and most recently, Kawhi Leonard.
Then we shift to Panda, who honed the skills of Allan “Lusty” Castromayor Jr., Ashley Marco “Killuash” Dungo Cruz and most recently, Jonard Cedrix “Demonkite” Caranto and Nathanael “Nathzz” Estrologo.
And the similarities even extend to their players as well. There’s a reason why Tim Duncan is nicknamed as “The Big Fundamental” while Earvin John “Heath” Esperanza has a similar monicker as “Mr. Fundamental.”
Then you have the blistering speed of Tony Parker and Demonkite, which ultimately leaves their foes to dust, as well as the surprise package from Manu Ginobili and Joshwell Christian “Iy4knu” Manaog.
In Need of an Answer: Bren Esports are the Allen Iverson-era Philadelphia 76ers
There was a time when Allen Iverson single-handedly carried the Philadelphia 76ers to the finals, thus earning the nickname, “The Answer.” There was even a moment when funneling every resource to Karl “KarlTzy” Nepomuceno was “The Answer” to Bren’s success.
Unfortunately for these two individuals, the one-man brigade could only reach a certain peak and things started crashing down afterwards.
The burden became too much for Iverson to carry which ultimately led to his departure to the Denver Nuggets. Perhaps the same can be said to KarlTzy after a disappointing Season 8 campaign. Bren fans are hoping he doesn’t jump ship given the immense talent he possesses.
And this could only be addressed if a plethora of young superstars and explosive veterans could freshen the squad... unless Bren’s management follows the same mistake that Philadelphia did by acquiring a washed-up Chris Webber from the Sacramento Kings.
Youth Lacking in Experience: TNC Pro Team are the 2017-2018 Los Angeles Lakers
With the likes of Frediemar “3MarTzy” Serafico, Daniel “Chuuu” Chu, Clarense “Kousei” Camilo, Patrick “P-GOD” Grecia, and Dylan “Unravel” Catipon for TNC and the likes of Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram, Ivica Zubac, and Julius Randle for the Lakers, one could argue that these two teams have a young talented core brimming with potential.
And they’re even blessed with young coaches like Luke Walton and John Laurence “Lift” Ruiz who are viewed as a rising sensation.
But that’s where the problem lies: Too much potential, too little experience. TNC are hoping that they acquire key veterans that could shape their fortunes. They were forced to let go of P-GOD and Unravel, hoping that their own version of LeBron James and Anthony Davis could arrive.