After dropping the opener, Work Auster Force clinched the next three games to boot out fan-favorites Nexplay Esports via a 3-1 victory in the lower bracket of the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Professional League-Philippines Season Seven playoffs, Wednesday evening.
The indestructible Esmeralda of Clarense “Kousei” Camilo proved to be the difference-maker in the series-clinching Game Four, putting up six kills and four assists against just three deaths including a game-changing pickoff on Dexter “Exort” Martinez’s Chang’e late in the 19-14 victory.
After the kill on Exort, Work Auster Force was able to take down four of Nexplay Esports’ members to try and seal the game. But a minion wave cut from Renejay “RENEJAY” Barcarse’s Chou, who also fell right after the stunt, managed to buy enough time for Exort to try and defend.
Patrick “rTzy” Ibarra’s Kagura finished with six kills and four assists against two deaths for Work in Game Four while jungler Daniel “Chuuu” Chu’s Hayabusa had two kills, two deaths, and 11 assists.
John Paul “H2wo” Salonga led Nexplay in the loss with four kills, three deaths, and eight assists on his Ling while Exort, who was having an excellent series, had three kills, three deaths, and six assists.
“Sobrang saya kasi hindi kami umuwi kaagad. Masasabi ko lang sa [doon] sa 95 percent na bumoto [sa Nexplay Esports], sana okay lang kayo. Tapos sa five percent na bumoto, Salamat sa suporta,” said Work coach Laurence “Lift” Ruiz in the post-match interview.
Back in the opener, a crucial Luminous Lord steal by Exort’s Lunox late in the match propelled Nexplay Esports’ tight 25-20 Game One win. The former Geek Fam PH core was named the SMART MVP in the opener with 10 kills and eight assists against just five deaths in the 21:52-minute match.
Down by a game, Work Auster Force capitalized on their early game advantage in Game Two to take a dominant 15-3 Game Two win to tie the series. Chuuu’s Ling nabbed the SMART MVP honors with eight kills and five assists without a single death.
The rookies then leaned on Frediemar “3MarTzy” Serafico’s Benedetta to overcome Nexplay Esports’ Gusion cheese pick in Game Three. He finished with nine kills, four deaths, and three assists en route to the SMART MVP plum in the 18-14 victory which lasted for just 16 minutes and 36 seconds.
This is Nexplay Esports’ second-straight first round exit in the playoffs, losing via a 3-0 sweep against eventual champions Bren Esports in the quarterfinals. The Setsuna “Akosi Dogie” Ignacio-coached squad ended the regular season at the fourth spot in Group B with a 6-7 standing.
Work Auster Force will take on the loser between the Blacklist-Bren upper bracket match on Friday.