Michelle Lojo – Philstar.com
August 25, 2021 | 11:02am
MANILA, Philippines — Since the end of 7th season of the Mobile Legends Professional League Philippines (MPL PH), there have been many talks and rumors about major changes starting to surface.
It was only a month ago that Moonton officially announced the league’s shift to a franchise model, adapting the same model that MPL Indonesia uses.
But prior to the official announcements, shakeups already made headlines as different esports organizations released left and right their ML rosters, most giving the same reason of giving their former players a better chance for their continued development.
With all the reshuffles, rebranding, and some new-formed alliances, here are the eight teams competing in the debut franchise model of MPL PH Season 8.
Roster: Johnmar “OhMyV33nus” Villaluna
Danerie “Wise” Del Rosario
Kiel “OHEB” Soriano
Mark “ESON” Gerardo
Dexter “DEX STAR” Alaba
Edward “EDWARD” Dapadap
Salic “Hadjizy” Iman (formerly Omega PH)
Kristoffer “BON CHAN” Ricaplaza (team coach)
The Season 7 champions that hope to defend their title, Blacklist International retained their six-man team from the last season with only one change. This coming season, Blacklist International just made themselves stronger with the addition of former Smart Omega player Salic “Hadjizy” Iman, reuniting him with former teammates Ricaplaza and Alaba. Iman, who according to reports was also courted by veteran team BREN Esports but ultimately joined the reigning champs.
Roster: Billy “Z4pnu” Alfonso (formerly Execration)
Duane “Kelra” Pillas (formerly Execration)
Joshua “Ch4knu” Mangilog (formerly Execration)
Renz “Renzio” Cadua (formerly Execration)
Patrick “E2MAX” Caidic (formerly Execration)
Kielvj “Kielvj” Hernandez (formerly Execration)
Dian “Dian” Cruz (former ULVL player – MPL PH Season 4)
Romeire “Allidap” Padilla (former Reech Apex player)
Dean “Raizen” Sumagui (former Reech Apex player)
Robert “Hito” Candoy (new player)
Jomie “P4kbet” Abalos (former Execration team coach)
The initial news that Execreation was releasing its MPL roster had been a shock to fans, especially since the news was announced a couple of weeks after their comeback win against Blacklist International during the Mobile Legends Southeast Asia Cup (MSC) 2021. Execration had failed to secure one of the eight slots in the new franchise-based model and opted to give their players a better future. Many went into talks but eventually, the former Execration roster found a new home with Smart Omega who had announced the release of their previous roster at the start of July. Besides the South-East Asian champs, Smart Omega features former ULVL player Dian “Dian” Cruz and rookies Romeire “Allidap” Padilla, Dean “Raizen” Sumagui, and Robert “Hito” Candoy.
Duane “Kelra” Pillas was given a 14-day suspension for violating the league’s rules against sexual harassment and discrimination. Smart Omega announced on their page that they will be issuing a penalty of a month’s salary on Kelra but it looks like he is still included in the team’s roster for Season 8.
Roster: Ejhay “Ejhay” Sambrano
David “Flaptzy” Canon
Karl “Karltzy” Nepomuceno
Allan “Lusty” Castromayor
Angelo “Pheww” Arcangel
Cartilo “Ribo” Jagdon
Ralph “Coco” Mico Sampang (last appearance – MPL PH Season 5)
Raven “L3bron” Alonzo (formerly Aether Valkyrie – MPL PH Season 3)
Muj “Malik” Malik (new player)
Dwine “Rimuru” Enriquez (new player)
Francis “Ducky” Glidro (team coach)
The reigning M2 World Champions, BREN Esports is setting their eyes on the top prize once again as they failed to defend their Season 6 title against when they were eliminated by Execration during season 7’s lower bracket semifinals. BREN’s old roster remained intact with key additions like former Aether Main player turned streamer Raven “L3bron” Alonzo and BREN mainstay Ralph “Coco” Mico Sampang who took a step back in 2020 and became the team’s analyst. Completing the team are rookies Maj “Malik” Malik and Dwine “Rimuru” Enriquez.
The International Rivals
Roster: Tristan “Yawi” Cabrera
Renejay “Renejay” Barcarse
John Paul “H2Wo” Salonga
James “Jeymz” Gloria
Jeniel “Haze” Bata-anon (former Omega PH player)
Sanford “Sanford” Vinuya (new player)
Jhonwin “Hesa” Vergara (new player)
Setsuna “Akosi Dogie” Ignacio (new player, former team coach)
John Michael “Zico” Dizon (team coach)
Making a return to the Philippine shores, Indonesia-based organization EVOS had initially competed in MPL PH Seasons 3 and 4, but EVOS PH met an early demise in the same year. This time they have partnered with Nexplay Esports and are hoping to make it big in the PH esports scene. Nexplay’s James “Jeymz” Gloria and its big three — Yawi, Renejay, H2Wo — will be joined by Southeast Asian Games gold medalist and former Omega Esports member Jeniel “Haze” Bata-anon; and two rookies Sanford “Sanford” Vinuya and Hesa. Notably, former Nexplay coach, Setsuna “Akosi Dogie” Ignacio will be suiting up for Nexplay EVOS this coming season.
Roster: John Cedrix “Demonkite” Caranto (former JNA Esports)
Dexter “Exort” Martinez (former Nexplay player)
Kenneth “Kenji” Villa (former Omega PH player)
Eman “EMANN” Sangco (former Amihan Esports player)
Nathanael “Nathzz” Estrologo (former Work Aerial PH player)
Christian “Iy4knu” Manaog (former ONIC PH player)
Arvie “Aqua” Calderon (former Cignal Ultra player)
EJ “Heath” Esperanza (former Omega PH player)
Elyson Edouard “GHOST Wrecker” Caranza (famous MLBB streamer)
Brian “Panda” Lim (team coach)
Singapore-based organization, RSG has also entered the Philippine esports scene with RSG PH. Making up the ten-man roster are former Omega Esports players Kenneth “Kenji” Villa and EJ “Heath” Esperanza, former Nexplay Esports player Dexter “Exort” Martinez, former ONIC PH player Christian “Iy4knu” Manaog, former Cignal player Arvie “Aqua” Calderon and rookies Eman ‘EMANN’ Sangco previously from Amihan Esports, John Cedrix “Demonkite” Caranto previously of JNA Esports, and Nathanael “Nathzz” Estrologo previously of Work Aerial PH. Rounding up the team is popular streamer turning pro-player Elyson Edouard “GHOST Wrecker” Caranza and veteran coach Brian “Panda” Lim, who led Sibol to gold during the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
The Dark Horses
Roster: Marky “Markyyyy” Capacio
Kairi “Kairi” Ygnacio Rayosdelsol
Gerald “Dlar” Trinchera
Jaylord “Hate” Gonzales
Nowee “Ryota” Macasa (former Laus Playbook player)
Ian “Beemo” Sergio (former Laus Playbook player)
Mico “miicoo” Quitlong (new player)
Allen “Greed_” Baloy (ONIC PH Season 4, Sunsparks turned Aura PH Season 5)
Denver “Yebmaester” Mirando (team coach)
Onic PH has been part of MPL PH since Season 4 and has missed the title twice, after settling for a runner-up finish in Seasons 4 and 5. Four of the six-man team of the previous season remained, with players previously Laus Playbook Nowee “Ryota” Macasa and Ian “Beemo” Sergio. They also have rookie Mico “miicoo” Quitlong and veteran Allen “Greed_” Baloy makes his return to the team after playing for Onic in season 4 but moved to Aura PH in season 5.
TNC Pro Team (in partnership with Work Auster Force)
Roster: Frediemar “3MarTzy” Serafico
Daniel “Chuuu” Chu
Clarense “Kousei” Guzman
Dylan “Light” Catipon
Patrick “P-GOD” Ibarra
Douglas “ImbaDeejay” Astibe (former Cignal Ultra player)
Adrian “Toshi” Bacallo (former Smart Omega player)
Ben “Benthings” Maglaque (new player)
Lander “Der” San Gabriel (new player)
A yet to be revealed Singaporean player
Laurence “Lift” Ruiz (team coach)
Known for its dominance of the DOTA2, TNC Predator set out to enter the Mobile Legends scene with a partnership with Work Auster Force. Featuring core Work Auster Force former players Daniel “Chuuu” Chu, Dylan “Light” Catipon, Frediemar “3MarTzy” Serafico, Clarense “Kousei” Guzman, and Patrick “P-GOD” Ibarra, the TNC Pro Team ML is set to be joined by former Cignal Ultra player Douglas “ImbaDeejay” Astibe and former Smart Omega player Adrian “Toshi” Bacallo. Completing the roster are rookies Ben “Benthings” Maglaque and Lander “Der” San Gabriel and a yet-to-be-named Singaporean player.
Echo (formerly Aura PH)
Roster: Christian “Rafflesia” Fajura
Benedict “Bennyqt” Gonzales
Aaron “AaronQT” Lim (former Blu Fire player-S6)
Rion Manalo “RK3” Kudo (new player)
Jankurt “KurTzy” Matira (former Omega PH player)
Jay “Jaymeister” Torculas (new player and IGN)
Samuel Josef “Invoker” Reyes Cruz (new player)
Mark “Hadess” Lazaro
Kenneth “FlySolo” Coloma (new player)
Joshua “Aspect” Tating (former Laus Playbook player)
Indonesia-based Aura Esports had given Aura PH its owns Filipino standalone organization. Rebranding to Echo, the former Aura PH is setting their eyes on victory. Last 2020, Aura PH acquired the roster of Sunsparks, the team that had back-to-back MPL titles in Seasons 4 and 5. Echo’s Season 8 roster consists of former Aura PH core players Christian “Rafflesia” Fajura, Mark “Hadess” Lazaro, and Benedict “Bennyqt” Gonzales with former Laus Playbook Esports player Joshua “Aspect” Tating and former BNK Blufire Aaron “AaronQT” Lim. Completing the 10-man team are rookies Rion Manalo “RK3” Kudo and Samuel Josef “Invoker” Reyes Cruz, as well as DOTA2 veteran Kenneth “FlySolo” Coloma.
MPL PH Season 8 is set to begin on August 27.