Blacklist International head coach Kristoffer "Bon Chan" Ricaplaza and captain Jonmar "OhmyV33nus" Villaluna were under no illusions that facing Bren Esports in the upper bracket semifinals of the MPL Philippines Season 10 playoffs would be a walk in the park.
As much as Bren head coach Francis "Duckeyy" Glindro wanted to call his team as the antidote to the 'poisons' of last season after eliminating Smart Omega in the first round, the M3 World Champions believed that Bren is the 'new lason' of MPL PH Season 10.
"Kaya sinasabi namin na Bren ang lason ngayong season dahil yung ineexpect ng karamihan ng fans ngayon iba ang inaasahan nila na top teams, like inaasahan nila yung Omega, ECHO, RSG pero itong Bren kasi underdogs sila na alam natin na kaya nila tumalo ng top teams," said Bon Chan after Blacklist outlasted Bren 3-2 to move one win closer from a return trip to the M-series World Championships.
Indeed, the boys from the beehive came out swinging with their poison stings, even shoving the defending M-series champs to the ropes after taking a 2-1 series lead.
"Kita niyo naman yung performance nila kahit natalo talagang napaabot ng Game 5 umaabot ng 25 minutes, 30 minutes, grabe yung performance nila ngayong season, grabe yung inimprove nila," added Bon Chan.
OhmyV33nus echoed the same sentiments as she felt that if not for their vast experience coming from their title runs last year, they could have faltered against the hungry and gritty Bren team.
"Siguro yung pinaka number one edge namin sa kanila is yung mental fortitude talaga namin regardless if down kami ng 2-1. Alam pa rin namin, nasa composure pa rin kami kung paano manalo," said the Codebreakers skipper.
"Yung pangalawang edge namin is yung tournament experience talaga kasi sobrang batak din kami mag-laro sa mga ganitong klaseng ambiance and ganito karaming audience," she added.
Nonetheless, Bren earned the respect from the queen as OhmyV33nus hopes their paths will not cross again for the rest of the playoffs
"Actually more than sa ineexpect pa namin yung pinakita nila kaya sobrang saludo ako sa Bren ngayon. Sobrang legit. Feeling ko sobrang mahihirapan yung mga susunod na makakalaban nila and sana hindi na namin sila makatapat ulit," she added.