MPL PH Season 7 Preview: Smart Omega remains intact for another title chase

Published March 19, 2021, 1:56 PM

by Jeremiah Sevilla

Screenshot from MPL Philippines

Jeniel “Haze” Bata-anon
Salic “Hadjizy” Imam
EJ “Heath” Esperanza
Jankurt “KurtTzy” Matira
Adrian “Toshi” Bacallo
Kenneth Jiane “Kenji” Villa

Coach: Anthony “Ynot” Senedrin

Season 6 finish: Runner-up

Holdovers: Haze, Hadjizy, Heath, KurtTzy, Toshi, Kenji

Departures: Steven “DaleDalus” Vitug (Coach Dale)

Additions: N/A

Unlike most of the other teams, Smart Omega kept its roster solid heading to the MPL Philippines Season 7.

After all, that same lineup brought the team to a runner-up finish in Season 6 behind Bren Esports and a 5th-6th finish in the M2 World Championship two months ago.

Veteran campaigners and SEA Games gold winners Jeniel “Haze” Bata-anon (mage/support) and Kenneth Jiane “Kenji” Villa (side laner) are still tasked to lead the Omega squad along with another seasoned player in EJ “Heath” Esperanza (tank).

Salic “Hadjizy” Imam (jungler/core), tagged as the “KDA machine”, remains with the team together with fellow young stars Jankurt “KurtTzy” Matira (side laner) and Adrian “Toshi” Bacallo (side laner).

While Omega opted to maintain an intact lineup, the organization made significant changes to its coaching staff.

In a surprising turn of events, Omega parted ways with Steven “DaleDalus” Vitug (Coach Dale), one of the coaches of the national esports team Sibol that won gold in the SEA Games.

Omega nevertheless had seasoned player-turned-coach Anthony “Ynot” Senedrin to steer its ship to the MPL championship.

Ynot, a former Dota 2 professional player, stressed that the players remained hungry to show their skills despite a few tweaks in the coaching staff.

“Coach Dale was here, he was great, we thank him for lots of things but don’t forget that the players also did their work and they’re really looking forward to showing everyone that they’re here to compete,” he said in Omega’s appearance in the Beyond the Meta vodcast.

Smart Omega will take on Execration, Blacklist International, Nexplay Solid and league rookie Laus Playbook Esports in Group B.

Omega is slated to battle Execration in the fitting Season 7 opener on Friday, March 19, at 4 p.m.