Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Pro League (MPL) Philippines Season 8 runners-up ONIC Philippines have secured an upper bracket berth in the M3 World Championship Playoffs after a 2-1 run in Group B of the tournament's Group Stage.
The Filipinos will be joined by Malaysian underdogs TODAK Stars, who scored an upset win against tournament favourites ONIC Esports from Indonesia to send them to the lower bracket.
ONIC PH met their Indonesian counterparts, ONIC Esports, in the opening match of their group. The Filipinos held map control and dominated teamfights for most of the game, but the Indonesians were able to slow the game's pace down and allow their champions to scale.
At the 19-minute mark, ONIC PH was thrown off by their opponent's late-game damage. Despite a 13-7 kill lead and a 10,000 gold lead, the Filipinos were shut down by ONIC Esports in a crucial teamfight for control of the Lord and were forced to concede after 21 minutes of action.
ONIC PH bounced back in the next match against TODAK, where they made adjustments to their draft to include a marksman in the composition.
Both teams had a heated exchange in the early game; however, the Filipinos managed to come out on top in the teamfights to take important map objectives. After a 16-minute encounter, ONIC PH took the game with a 12-10 kill lead and improved their score to 1-1.
ONIC PH's Support Allen "Baloyskie" Jedric Baloy notably took the game's MVP honours with 11 assists and a 92 per cent kill participation rate on his Rafaela.
The Filipino team then dominated their last match of the Group stage against Brazilian team Keyd Stars. They implemented a split push strategy that resulted in a 10-1 kill lead, ending the encounter in just 12 minutes.
Gerald "Dlarskie" Trinchera's was named the MVP for fueling his team's split-push strategy, effectively pushing the side lanes and distracting the Brazilians to allow ONIC PH to open up other areas on the map.
But while ONIC PH bounced back from their loss in the opener, ONIC Esports struggled after their victory and fell victim to two consecutive upsets against Keyd Stars and TODAK.
Despite having total control for most of their game against Keyd Stars, ONIC fell to the Brazilian team after a last-minute mistake was punished in the worst way possible.
The Indonesians then put up a valiant effort in a tense encounter against TODAK, who found a backdoor into their opponents' base to take the upset.
ONIC PH and TODAK will start the M3 World Championship Playoffs in the upper bracket as the first and second seeds of Group B, respectively. Meanwhile, ONIC Esports and Keyd Stars will be starting in the lower bracket.
The two Filipino teams in the M3 World Championship have notably excelled thus far, with MPL Philippines S8 champions Blacklist International taking the top seed of Group A with a clean sweep of their group.
The Group Stage will continue in the next two days, with Group C playing on 8 December and Group D on 9 December.
All 16 of the best MLBB teams from around the world will continue to compete in a battle for the lion's share of US$800,000 prize pool and the M3 World Championship title.
For everything you need to know about the M3 World Championship, check here.
Anna is a freelance writer and photographer. She is a gamer who loves RPGs and platformers, and is a League of Legends geek. She's also a food enthusiast who loves a good cup of black coffee.