Nexplay Evos is bringing in rising talents from the amateur team AP Esports to reinforce its roster for the upcoming MPL Philippines Season 9, the team announced on Saturday, Jan 15.
The AP Esports quintet of Michael “MP the King” Endino, Kennenth “Cadenza” Castro, Mariusz “Donut” Tan, Emanuel “Elpizo” Candelaria and Renren “Ureshi” Nitsuga will comprise the new-look NXPE squad.
Aside from the five, the squad also welcomed the returning Jeff “S4gitnu” Subang after a two-season break from the professional scene.
With its famous NXP Big 3 now broken after the departure of Tristan “Yawi” Cabrera, all eyes are now on the mainstays Renejay “RENEJAY” Barcase and John Paul “H2Wo” Salonga to lead the squad. Veteran roam/support Jeniel “Yellyhaze” Bata-anon and last season’s best rookie candidate Jhonwin “Hesa” Vergara were the other two holdovers from the its Season 8 squad.
Notable omissions in the lineup were Sanford “Sanford” Vinuya, James “Jeymz” Gloria and Setsuna “Dogie” Ignacio who is now returning to a coaching role together with head coach John Michael “Zico” Dizon.
NXPE was coming off a breakout performance in Season 8 that saw the squad finally get over the series of early exits dubbed by MPL fans as the ‘eighth place’ curse. NXPE finished third at the end of the regular season with a 7-7 win-loss record.
NXPE made quick work of RSG Philippines with a 3-0 sweep in the upper-bracket to arrange a match against MPL S8 runner-up Onic Philippines. NXPE suffered two 3-0 sweeps from that point as Onic PH dropped them to the lower bracket before eventual champions Blacklist International eliminated the squad to finish fourth in S8.