Looking to find some answers for its losing streak, Nexplay EVOS decided to insert rookie jungler Ken “Kzen” Pile, Setsuna “Batute” Ignacio, and Lance “LanceCy” Cunanan in the starting lineup against the league-leading Blacklist International last Friday.
Unfortunately, the move failed to give the team the elusive win as it dropped its sixth consecutive game – leaving them winless after almost four weeks of action in the MPL Philippines Season 10 regular season.
Indeed, it was a tough, tough loss for an already deflated Nexplay EVOS side. To make matters worse, they only had less than 24 hours to prepare for their next match against TNC.
Still, despite the fatigue and of course, the emotions that they have to deal with after the embarrassing loss to Blacklist International, the rest of Nexplay EVOS soldiered on and brainstormed immediately after the match.
Against TNC, Renejay “Renejay” Barcarse and Mariusz “Donut” Tan retained their EXP and gold spots in the main five while Mico “Micophobia” Quitlong and Jeniel “YellyHaze” Bata-anon, who both sat out the previous game, were inserted back to the middle lane.
Lastly, Kzen was given a second chance by coach Pao. And he made sure to make the most out of it – leading Nexplay EVOS’ bounce back 2-1 win against the struggling TNC on Saturday night.
“True ‘yon, it was formed last night lang. Nagscrim lang kami just last night but yung tiwala namin sa isa’t isa parang majority decision na e. Yung iba nagparaya, yung iba talaga nagtiwala sa five namin today so it was a team decision,” said Nexplay EVOS head coach Paolo “Pao” Villanueva.
For his part, Kzen, who revealed that he has been working on his game day in and day out, was just glad to finally be able to contribute to his team.
“Syempre po sobrang saya po lalo na kailangan na kailangan po namin ng panalo, sobrang saya po talaga. Actually sumisigaw nga po kami kanina sa stage sa sobrang saya, sobrang happy po talaga,” said Kzen after notching his first win as a pro.
“Galing nga po kami sa talo kaya sobrang pinagsisipagan ko pa talaga, as in umaga na po ako nakakatulog para lang mag-batak talaga. All day, all night naglalaro po ako para maka-contribute po sa team. Yung losses po namin yung naging motivation ko po,” he continued.
After losing Game One, Kzen stepped up in the second match and delivered a crucial Heavy Spin play using Akai during the 21st minute of Game Two that helped his squad tie the series and, eventually, bag their second victory of the tournament.
The pressure was definitely there as Kzen, for the second straight game, replaced long-time jungler John Paul “H2wo” Salonga in the starting lineup. But his baptism of fire which came at the hands of Blacklist International proved to be what he needed to shake off the jitters.
“Syempre medyo mabigay yung pressure kasi nga medyo baon po kami sa talo, kailangan po naming mag-bounce back kaya medyo may kaba po pero ngayon po, nung second game ko parang nasasanay na po ako sa pressure na yun,” said Kzen, who first played for Nexplay EVOS during the MPL Invitational last year.
Nexplay EVOS, who is now standing at 2-7 at the seventh spot, will take on another struggling squad in ONIC PH on Saturday at 2:30 PM.