By Tracy Cabrera
MANILA — It was a flawless record for the country’s SIBOL Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (MLBB) team as it dominated the competition and grabbed the top plum for the country’s second gold medal in e-sports at the 31st SEA Games.
The team is made up of Blacklist International’s Jonmar ‘OhMyV33NUS’ Villaluna, Danerie James ‘Wise’ Del Rosario, Kyle Dominic ‘Dominic’ Soto, Lee Howard ‘Owl’ Gonzales, Salic ‘Hadji’ Imam, Russel Aaron ‘Eyon’ Usi, Dexter Louise ‘Dex Star’ Alaba, Aniel ‘Master the Basics’ Jiandani and Krisstoffer ‘Bon Chan’ Ricaplaza, who also stands as the team’s coach.
They were immediately tested in their first match against the combined forces of Todak and Geek Fam from Malaysia and almost lost their first game but were, fortunately, able to force a comeback via a crucial lord steal by Wise that lead to a siege that ended the game.
In the second game with Malaysia, the intensity only went up as both teams went for each other’s bases but the UBE strat prevailed as they wiped out the Malaysians one last time before the game went to SIBOL’s hands.
In their second matchup against Nightmare Esports from Laos, there were similarities to their first game against Malaysia and the Pinoy team initially had trouble for the first few minutes of Game 1 before drawing all their skills to eventually turn the tide in their favor.
By Game 2 in the match-up, SIBOL had already figured out the Laotians’ playing style and with this at hand, they were able to close the series out in flashy style. A new UBE was served too, featuring a double fighter composition with Wise on Akai, OhMyV33NUS on Estes, Owl on Grock, Hadji on Xavier, Dominic on Pacquito and a sixth-man opponent who was unexpectedly trapped.
Following these two matches, the Pinoys then simply took their ease with Myanmar. Game 1 saw nothing standing in their way as even Myanmar’s vaunted Khant Kyaw “OHMYJ3NNIE” Zay tried his best to recoup their defenses and attack strategies. SIBOL swiftly ended the game in 14 minutes and 4 seconds with an interesting final kill score of 14-4.
In Game 2, they swapped Eyon in place of Hadji for a spicy shakeup but initially, it looked like a loss for the Filipino squad until they were able to force a comeback in the late game through a final lord take that resulted in a base siege.
After sweeping into the semi-finals while carrying a flawless record, the Philippines rode high on succeeding victories to barge into the finals to beat Indonesia 3-1 to win the championship and the gold medal to boot as well as earn bragging rights as the region’s team-to-beat titlists. (ai/mtvn)