Blacklist stays true to promise as Hadji captures first MPL title

Published October 25, 2021, 11:38 AM

by Reynald I. Magallon

It was no secret that aside from defending its crown, Blacklist International had another mission to accomplish heading to MPL Philippines Season 8 — to give prized acquisition Salic “Hadji” Imam his very first MPL championship.

Photo from MPL Philippines

On Sunday, Hadji and the rest of the Blacklist squad did just that after toppling the Onic Philippines, 4-1, in their best-of-7 Grand Finals series at the World Trade Center.

Hadji, after six seasons, finally got to raise a trophy, not just one, but two as he was also hailed the Finals MVP. His Blacklist family was as ecstatic to finally see the 18-year-old tank/support to finally capture the elusive crown.

“Si Hadji since Season 2 pa siya kahit napakabait na player nya di pa sya nakakapagchampion pero ngayon nakapag champion na siya,” said an emotional Blacklist jungler Danerie “Wise” Del Rosario, moments after their game.

For Hadji, he was just glad to finally see the fruit of his labor and sacrifices with his very first championship, something he has been eyeing since joining the league in its second season with Sxc Imbalance.

“Sobrang saya ko po simula Season 2 matagal ko nang pangarap kaya di ako nahinto sa pagsali sa MPL kasi gusto ko po talagang magchampion,” said Hadji.

Hadji’s career also came full circle as he also got to celebrate his first set of trophies with Coach Bonn “Bon Chan” Ricaplaza and Dexter “Dexstar” Alaba who were his first teammates in the MPL.

Hadji first came close to the MPL title when he towed the Omega Esports to a Grand Finals appearance in Season 6. Bren Esports however spoiled Hadji’s plans as Omega fell to the MPL S6 champions and eventual M2 World Championship titlists

“Lahat sila pwede maging MVP pero siya kasi yung bagong pasok sa amin prinomise namin na bibigyan namin sya ng trophy. Ayan dalawa pa,” said Bon Chan.

Hadji was acquired by Blacklist after his release from Omega prior to Season 8. The former Omega jungler however had to adjust his role to tank/support to fit to the Season 7 champions.

The transition proved to be seamless for Hadji as he strived in his new role and flexed his versatility with 19 heroes used throughout the season. He was even hailed as the Regular Season MVP.

Hadji made sure to leave his mark in Blacklist’s S8 title run as he served his bests against Omega Esports on his Tank Chou in the lower bracket finals.

Hadji continued to roll in the Grand Finals as he put up an average of 9.4 assists, 2.8 kills and 5.5 KDA on his Yve, Grock and signature Tank Chou picks in the four-game stretch against Onic.

He is also the only player to get the chance to return to the Mobile Legends Bang Bang World Championship after donning the country’s colors back when he was with Omega in M2.