Sanford “Sanford” Vinuya turned heads in his debut as he helped Nexplay Evos beat the Omega Esports, 2-1, to claim the third seed at the end of the regular season in the MPL Philippines Season 8, on Sunday October 10.
After experimenting on their compositions in Games 1 and 2, the two teams took Game 3 seriously with the 15-year-old rookie making the big plays for his NXPE.
Substituting for Tristan “Yawi” Cabre, a who played in the first two games, Sanford, on his signature Benedetta, made immediate impact securing the first blood in Game 3.
He made another clutch play stealing Lord from Omega during a messy clash at the 11-minute mark of the game.
That Lord fight also allowed NXPE to complete a four-man wipe of Omega.
The team, led by Setsuna “Dogie” Ignacio on his Hylos, then went for a one-lane push to end the series with a 9-6 tally and in 11 minutes of play.
Sanford took the Game 3 MVP honors with a 2-0-5 KDA while John Paul Salonga added a 4-2-3 scoreline.
NXPE played Game 1 with an unusual five flameshot spells on all of their heroes.
Omega, who played its second group led by Billy “Z4pnu” Alfonso, made NXPE pay for that ploy, taking a 39-4 victory to open the series.
It was Omega’s turn to experiment in Game 2, this time, using the feeding Diggie strat. It failed to work though as NXPE took a 61-26 win to tie the series.
With the win, NXPE will be facing No. 6 RSG Philippines in the play-in.
The winner will have the right to face No.2 Onic Philippines in the upper bracket.
Omega, meanwhile, will lock horns with ECHO in the play-in with the chance to face defending champions Blacklist International in upper bracket at stake.