When Aether Main figurehead and Nexplay Evos assistant coach Setsuna “Dogie” Ignacio shared his opinion on the chances of the Philippine team in retaining its gold medal in the Southeast Asian Games, not a few raised their eyebrows especially after how Blacklist International dominated the international scene last year.
According to Dogie, the PH bets will struggle against Indonesian teams - a claim that triggered various reactions - both positive and negative and were blown out of proportion after a few more Mobile Legends Filipino personalities also threw their comments.
The discussion went on and also generated response from the international community with Indonesian English shoutcaster Frederick Handy "Mirko" Loho also weighing in on which team has the advantage in the regional meet and in the upcoming Mobile Legends Southeast Asia Cup.
While the Philippines and Indonesia are undoubtedly the powerhouse teams, squads from other countries also have the capability to pull off their own surprises.
The biggest threats to PH’s gold bid
Indonesia has been the rival of the Philippines in the Mobile Legends professional scene. Although the PH representatives has Indonesia’s number in top tier tournaments like M2 and M3 World Championship, MSC and in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, it seems like the Indonesians are eager to snap the PH dominance with its star-studded cast for this year’s biennial meet.
Rivaldi “R7” Fatah, Albert “Alberttt” Neilsen Iskandar and Calvin “Vynn” of RRQ Hoshi, Ihsan “Luminaire” Besari Kusudana of Evos Legends, and Calvin “CW” Winata of Onic Esports — all of them are very experienced players — will be bannering the Indonesian squad and are expected to pose a huge threat to the Sibol MLBB team’s title retention bid.
Even the Malaysian and Singaporean teams are no pushovers since they are also composed of players from their own MPL teams. The Malaysian team, for one, will be bannered by the Todak team which has been seen as a darkhorse in the international scenes due to its unconventional picks and its explosive jungler in Muhammad "CikuGais" Danial.
Singapore for its part has the core of the EVOS SG team which finished fourth in M3.
Also out to prove their worth are the teams from Vietnam and Laos where the esport title has also seen a significant growth.
Whether the Sibol MLBB team can retain the gold and prove that the PH is still the top region or not, it will depend on how the dynamic duo of Jonmar “OhmyV33nus” Villaluna and Danerie “Wise” Del Rosario would fare in the current META especially after sitting out the MPL PH Season 9. How the rookies in Dominic "Dominic" Soto and Lee Howard "Owl" Gonzales will perform in their first foray in internationals scene will also be crucial for the Philippine representatives.
SEA Games Mobile Legends action fires off May 21 while the Grand Finals will be on May 22.