Eighth place no more.

John Paul “H2wo” Salonga was glad that Nexplay Evos finally overcame the first-round hump as his team marched to the Final Four following its 3-0 victory over RSG Philippines in the MPL Philippines Season 8 playoffs on Thursday, October 21.

Photo from Nexplay Evos

In the team’s two playoff appearances since joining the league in Season 6, NXPE got booted out of contention in the first round of the playoffs and finished at eighth place twice which was dubbed by fans as the ‘8th place curse’.

The string of misery, however, ended on Thursday as NXP Evos dismantled RSG to advance to the next round of the playoffs.

“Natanggal na rin yung sumpa sa first-round exit kasi since last season six, natatangal kami ng first round top 4 na. Let’s go,” said H2wo after the game.

The NXPE star jungler keyed his team’s sweep of RSG with solid performances on his Yi Sun-shin in Games 1 and 2 with 3-1-3 and 5-1-4 KDAs respectively. H2wo, however, shone the brightest in Game 3 when his jungle Paquito powered NXP to a 16-15 comeback win finishing with 6-3-6 score line.

NXP’s Exp laner Renejay “RENEJAY” Barcase later admitted that the team took a gamble when it picked the Paquito for H2wo in Game 3. RENEJAY explained that the ploy was done just to deny Demonkite his jungle Paquito.

“Di po namin bibigay yung Paquito ni Demonkite, di po talaga kami masyado nagpa-Paquito parang sinugal na lang rin po naming. Si H2 naman tiwala naman kami, kaya H2 pinag paquito naming. Mahirap din kasi kalaban si Demonkite pag nag Paquito e,” explained the Nexplay shot caller.

With first round hump now past NXP, the team now has a bigger mountain to climb, this time against the No. 2 seed, Onic Philippines.

Nexplay has less than 24 hours to device a plan to put a stop on Onic’s patented ‘Split Strat’.

“Di pa po namin alam sa ngayon (plans vs Onic). Ang pinagpapraktisan po kasi namin ay RSG eh kasi sila ‘yung first game, eh di pa kami sure na makakapasok kami dito sa Top 4. Siguro mamaya po magpapractice kami paano,” said RENEJAY.