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ONIC Esports vs. AP.Bren in M5 Finals: Here's what to know

Photo from Moonton

by Drew Malihan

MANILA - All roads lead to Rizal Memorial Coliseum, as it will be the first time in any M-Series that a historic Filipino team will stand against an Indonesian juggernaut in the Grand Finals of the M5 World Championships this Sunday.

It will be the fifth time they will meet in such competitive stage, with ONIC historically ahead of the competition with three series wins to just one from AP.Bren.

AP.Bren's lone win came in the ESL Snapdragon Pro Series Challenge Finals Group Stage last July 17, exactly five months ago, where they handled a 2-1 win over the yellow porcupines.

However, ONIC ID had defeated them twice in a row in head-to-head, including a sound 3-0 beatdown yesterday in the upper bracket finals, which forced AP.Bren to play an all-Filipino lower bracket finals against Blacklist International.

ONIC is also in their most dominant run in their history as they are currently on a 16-series win streak, dating back from August 20, where only Bigetron Alpha, Geek Fam ID, and most recently Blacklist International gave them a run of their money.

Battle of the OGs

Both teams will feature the so-called old guards in their squad, as they each have both two players who were donning, coincidentally, the yellow and black since the pandemic broke out.

For ONIC Indonesia, gold laner Calvin "CW" Winata was the first of the active M5 roster to join the squad on February 26, 2020 before the fifth season of MPL Indonesia, while EXP laner Muhammad Satrya "Butss" Sanubari joined him one season later on June 6 after a one-season stint with EVOS Legends.

It must be noted that Adriand Larsen "Drian" Wong, who was one of the original "Kage" of ONIC Esports joining in 2018, had a brief stint with their MDL team ONIC Prodigy in 2022, and is also not on the active M5 roster for ONIC Esports.

Meanwhile, the Bees had Angelo "Pheww" Arcangel, who joined the team in Season 5 of MPL Philippines after three seasons with Cignal Ultra, with former CIG teammate David "FlapTzy" Canon going to the beehive in Season 6.

The two were part of the Bren Esports' M2 World Championship title run where they had a 2-3 series comeback against the famed five of Burmese Ghouls.

Chasing history

For AP.Bren, they are currently in the chase for their second M-Series title, which they first won in 2020 (technically 2021 but eh), something that no other team had done in the history of the competition, with the only team close to doing the same fate was Blacklist International in M4.

The main five of AP.Bren will also be looking to add one more medal to their already historied careers, as they were the main five representing the Philippines in the 2023 Southeast Asian Games and the 2023 IESF World Esports Championships, both winning the gold.

ONIC on the other hand, is one step closer to their first M-Series trophy, already overtaking their M4 run in which they finished fourth after an all-Indonesia lower bracket semifinals loss to RRQ Hoshi.

The current MPL Indonesia champions, should they win the elusive trophy, will also be the only team in history to win all Moonton major competitions in a calendar year, with them already having MPL Indonesia Seasons 11 and 12 titles as well as the MSC 2023 championship.

Dominance or defiance

ONIC will try to have a perfect M5 run, something only one other team had done in the history of the competition, that being EVOS Legends in M1, who had not lose a single series in Malaysia.

The yellow porcupines will also try to have the most dominant run by any team in the M-Series, currently running in a 15-2 game win-loss record, amounting to 88.24 win percentage, surpassing Blacklist International's M3 run where the Codebreakers tallied 23-5, or 82.14 win percentage.

With the tides shifting to the Indonesians in winning major international MLBB tournaments, AP.Bren was also winning things in the international stage, as the current five enjoyed two runs in IESF and the SEA Games, and looking forward to a win in M5 to tell everyone that the era of Filipino teams in MLBB competitions is not over just yet.

Players to watch

ONIC Indonesia has been dubbed as the Kairi show but this M5 reveals the dominance of the midlanes, with Gilang "Sanz" leading all the mage mains in the tournament.

SANZ, currently having 17 games, has amassed an average KDA of 14.9, thanks to him only dying 12 times in the entire tournament so far, while also tallying 65 kills and 114 assists.

CW was also near SANZ's insane record as he currenlty rides on an average KDA of 14.1 while also falling down just 13 times in 17 games.

Rowgien "Owgwen" Unigo meanwhile has lead all roamers in average KDA with 6.30, with a considerable gap to the nearest competition while having the least deaths of all roamers playing in more than 15 games with 29.

Pheww was also having a phenomenal run in the M5, with the captain being second in the assists leaderboard with 147 and fourth among mid laners in current KDA with 8.80.

Follow him on X: @drew_corner

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