|RSG Philippines. Photo from ONE Esports|
by Drew Malihan
MANILA - With one sure Filipino contingent bidding goodbye, both teams delivered, one stood better than the other, and a new rivalry was born.
MPL PH newcomers RSG Philippines inched closer to glory 2-1 as they went all out with fellow Filipino side Echo in a three-game series to start Round 2 of ONE Esports MPL Invitational.
Still fielding Emann and captain Kenji in the mix, RSG withstood three long, low-scoring games to get the victory and continue the quest for their MPLI championship.
Echo went for a jungle Benedetta and a side lane Barats along with Kagura, Karrie, and Mathilda while RSG fielded a signature Kenji Thamus and a gold lane Aldous together with Yve, Lancelot, and Angela.
The orcas went to a good start in the first game, getting early pickoffs to the RSG PH mid laners and getting significant advantage in the economy despite a low scoring early to mid game.
With a huge lead and momentum in their side. Echo went for the lord and tried to call GGs but to no avail as Aqua's Real World Manipulation from the Yve proved to be fatal for three Echo members.
From there, RSG Philippines capitalized, and with Demonkite respawned in time, go for the exposed Echo based for a Game 1 turnaround with Aqua's 4/2/7 leading the team.
The orcas went with a gold lane Chou and a roaming Mathilda together with Pharsa, Lapu lapu, and Yi Sun-shin, while RSG go with Ling and two mages in Esmeralda and Yve with sustains Phoveus and Ruby.
RSG PH arrived in Game 2 with a better early game start with Rafflesia's two early deaths thanks to Demonkite, but Bennyqt's Chou made amends with a push in the bottom lane with the roamers beside.
From there, Echo went with the Bennyqt momentum while Rk3's Pharsa made abuse of the quick cooldown of the Feathered Airstrike, forcing Demonkite's Tempest of Blades to activate and gave Hadess' Yi Sun-shin space to farm including crucial turtle takes.
In yet another long, low scoring game, Bennyqt made an opening in the bottom lane despite Demonkite's defense, while Rk3 and Yu Sun-shin's range proved to be fatal for the rather melee-oriented RSG PH quintet, getting the crucial death on Demonkite in the 24th minute, and Echo taking a comfortable lord take.
With the lord in their side, Echo called GGs and forced a third game with a low-scoring 10-5 result with Rk3's 4/1/4 display on the Pharsa.
Echo go with now the roaming Chou and two mages in Kagura anf Yve with Lancelot and Lapu lapu, while RSG PH fielded a five of Esmeralda, Ruby, Lylia, Claude, and Benedetta.
The boys in purple went to pressure Emann thanks to Bennyqt's Kagura but Panda's men went to give more space for Demonkite's Benedetta to get his farm.
With KurtTzy being pressured by former Omega teammate Kenji in the turtle lane, that gave Demonkite the space he needed for two of three turtles taken compared to Hadess' one.
A lord contest in the 17th minute proved the be the last hurrah for Echo as with Bennyqt down and the rest of the team less than 50 percent HP full, they forced the lord take but to no avail as Demonkite quickly secured the lord then they went to neutralize all but Rk3 in the process.
Rk3 and the newly-respawned Bennyqt did little effect to clear the wave as the rest of the RSG PH boys locked the tower to secure the series led by Demonkite's 5/1/2.
RSG Philippines will now head to the quarterfinals against MPL Indonesia Champions ONIC Esports.
Follow him on Twitter: @drewmalihan