E-sports: M3 Mobile Legends World Championship off to an exciting start

SINGAPORE – The Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (MLBB) World Championship returned to Singapore with a bang on Monday (Dec 6), 11 months after its debut here as the first day of the M3 saw tournament favourites Blacklist International cruising to the upper bracket play-offs.

The Filipino team showed why they are among the favourites to win the US$800,000 (S$1.1 million) M3 World Championship as they won all three of their games to top Group A on the first day of the competition.

The MLBB Professional League (MPL) Philippines Season 8 winners were largely untroubled in each of their encounters at the Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre, beating Latin America’s (Latam) Malvinas Gaming, Brazil’s Red Canids Kalunga and Turkey’s Bedel.

While the players admitted there was pressure going into the Dec 6-19 tournament with a target on their backs, they have learned to deal with it.

Johnmar “OhMyV33nus” Villaluna said: “We accept this pressure because it’s something that we cannot avoid.

“We are the team that everyone is looking out for and we’ve been used to the it since we won MPL Philippines Season 7.”

With the upper bracket play-offs scheduled for Saturday, the One Esports Mobile Legends Invitational (MPLI) 2021 runners-up will be making use of the next few days to prepare for their next match.

Danerie James “Wise” Del Rosario said: “It’s an advantage for us that we have a long break because we have more time to prepare.

“We will use the time to scrimmage and practise because we’re here to compete and win the tournament.”

While Blacklist made it through to the upper bracket easily, securing the remaining spot proved to be more challenging for the other three teams in the group.

Malvinas Gaming, Red Canids Kalunga and Bedel were tied on one point each after the round robin contest and two tie-breakers had to be played to decide which other team would join Blacklist in the upper bracket play-offs.

Red Canids beat Malvinas Gaming in the first game, but lost to Bedel, who clinched the last upper bracket spot.

The other two teams will compete in the lower bracket play-offs, which they have to win to remain in the competition. Teams who are beaten in the upper bracket will drop to the lower tier.

Bedel’s Osman “Paranoid” Karademir said the team will be looking to take the next few days to improve after mistakes in the earlier games on Monday cost the team, who are making their debut at the world championships.

He said: “We’re motivated and we’re going to follow other group’s matches while focusing on preparing for other future matches.”

Tuesday’s competition will see Group B teams ONIC Esports (Indonesia), ONIC PH (Philippines), Todak (Malaysia) and Vivo Keyd (Brazil) in action.

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