Can ONIC Philippines 'finish the story?'

Photo from Moonton

By Drew Malihan

“HARD times breed better men.”

The road to MPL Philippines glory cannot be more painful for ONIC Philippines.

Since entering the Filipino MLBB scene in Season 4, they saw themselves enter the playoffs every time and have come close to their first championship on three separate occasions in Seasons 4 and 5, and lastly in Season 8.

That is, just come close. The yellow hedgehogs never saw themselves lift the trophy as they witnessed two dominant runs in MPL Philippines. The first is with Sunsparks and another with Blacklist International. Then there was the rebuild era where they saw themselves finishing in 5th-6th place three times in a row.

And now with the AP.Bren dynasty looming before their eyes, they have decided to make some drastic changes and rewrite their story again.

The arrival of the Double K Konnection

From their eight-man roster last Season 12, ONIC PH had a massive rebuild like what they did in Season 10. The men in yellow let go of Mark Genzon “Kramm” Rusiana to Selangor Red Giants, John “Perkziva” Sumawan to Minana EVOS, and the duo of Dean “Raizen” Sumagui and Czedrick “ Super Yoshi” Romero to TNC Pro Team.

They also made significant changes in the dugout as they parted ways with Jeffrey “Jeff” Manforte, who is now with HomeBois, and the duo of Mark Kevin “Bluffzy” Reyes and Hans “Wuraaaah” Solano, who both joined Geek Fam. All three of them only suited up for ONIC PH for one season.

With coach Abraham “Bam” Unida being the holdover from last season’s coaching staff, they have added former Smart Omega coach Anthony “Ynot” Senedrin, alongside former player Patrick “E2MAX” Caidic, who played under Ynot for several seasons.

The playing roster also was trimmed down to six when they acquired just two players to boost their Season 13 chances.

Photo from Moonton

King Cyric “K1NGKONG” Perez, who was a standout for TNC Pro Team last Season 12, saw himself switch places with Raizen as he found himself now wearing the yellow-and-black. Meanwhile, Duane “Kelra” Pillas parted ways with a rebuilding Smart Omega side and joined Ynot and E2MAX in the Sonics territory.

The arrival of the two players sparked interest in the Hedgehogs, and has seen themselves in the championship talks once more, and perhaps can win it all for the first time in the franchise’s history.

'Now you bow to me'

Despite losing their first series of the season against ECHO 2-0, the Sonics went guns blazing after the setback. They found themselves in a seven-series win streak as they gave sweep after sweep to their opponents.

Kelra and K1NGKONG immediately went to work and showed that they were worth every penny and hope as they led the Hedgehogs to a 14-0 run, without conceding a single game. They capped their run giving a 2-0 back to their first tormentors ECHO to end Week 4 leading the MPL Philippines table with a 7-1 record and 14-2 game record, slightly ahead of AP.Bren’s 14-3.

One of the players who stepped up for the team was Jomearie “Escalera” delos Santos, who rose to prominence as TNC’s midlaner last Season 9. Now being the designated roamer, he led all players this season in unique heroes played with 14, while maintaining a respectable 180 total assists, 12th among all players.

However, they saw themselves slowed down from Week 5, going 2-4 in their matches, winning only against Smart Omega in Week 5 and TNC in Week 7, both of whom were struggling teams. They even figured in a shock 0-2 loss against Minana EVOS, and a 1-2 reverse sweep versus Blacklist, both in Week 6.

Then there was Frince “Super Frince” Ramirez, who was among the best midlaners in the country right now. The midlaner has shown 12 unique heroes in the season, among the most in the league, and has an absurd 7.06 KDA in 29 games while also falling down only 33 times, the fourth least among mainstays.

The shining Jem

Photo from Moonton

One of the less-talked-about players for literally his entire MPL Philippines stint, Jem “Jem” Lanojan put the MPL Philippines on notice after a modest showing in both MDL Philippines Season 1 and MPL Philippines Season 12.

Now in his second full season, the EXP laner saw himself among the top of his peers, having an average KDA of 3.15 while playing all 29 games for ONIC PH.

Despite having a considerably low hero pool at 7, joint-lowest with Nathanael “Nathzz” Estrologo of RSG, Jem make use of high-sustain heroes. He was the most prolific Terizla user of Season 13, appearing in all game weeks but one and in 11 matches, tallying an absurd 4.44 KDA with the hero, the highest among all Terizla users.

He is also among the best Cici users in town, while having good games with the Barats and Edith. And oh, do not forget about that Uranus he used twice. That tank is yet to be taken down under Jem’s control.

What lies ahead?

ONIC PH will also see action on May 22, but they will have to wait for the winner of the Minana EVOS versus Blacklist matchup. With that in mind, ONIC had to prepare several plans once they determine who they take on inside SM Southmall.

The Hedgehogs must also consider that they have not yet subbed any players for the past season, prompting the main five to sit out the Snapdragon Pro Series and let ONIC Arsenals play under the ONIC PH banner. However, this may also come into play as not subbing out or reshuffling their main five means they have the maximum chemistry they need entering the postseason.

Now the playoffs are here, and the crowd is about to blow, ONIC PH must channel the adrenaline in their souls and give it all to build their kingdom once and for all.

And just like Cody Rhodes in Wrestlemania 40, only then they will finish the story.