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Notable Pinoy MLBB pro players in 2023: Where are they now?

by Joanna Deala

TROOPS have been deployed to the battleground of Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (MLBB) as Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Professional League Philippines (MPL PH) season 13 kicked off on March 15.

MPL is considered to be “the largest and most prestigious” mobile games competition in Southeast Asia. It began in the Philippines in 2018, with Aether Main being the first-ever winner. 

Eight teams are competing for the 2024 season: Blacklist International, ECHO, ONIC PH, RSG PH, Minana EVOS, TNC Pro Team, Smart Omega, and the defending champion AP.Bren.

The stakes are higher for season 13 because the champion will take home the lion’s share of the USD $150,000 prize pool. The top two teams in the tournament will also represent the country in the upcoming MLBB Mid-Season Cup 2024 (MSC 2024) which will feature a hefty USD $3 million prize pool. The MSC 2024 will be held in Saudi Arabia, the first MSC tournament to be held outside of Southeast Asia as part of its rebranding.

MLBB, a mobile multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game developed by Shanghai-based developer and publisher Moonton, is indeed one of the most popular mobile games among the young generation. We have witnessed millennials and Gen Z pro players building their names in the esports scene and here are some of them:


2023 was a memorable year for Kairi “Kairi” Rayosdelsol as he won his first international title at the MSC 2023, held in Cambodia. ONIC Esports, Kairi’s team, bested Blacklist International in the grand finals, with a 4-2 score. The 18-year-old jungler joined ONIC Esports, the sister company of ONIC Philippines, in 2022, becoming the first Filipino import in MPL Indonesia.

Kairi is leading ONIC Esports, the reigning three-time champion, in the MPL Indonesia (MPL ID) season 13. The team did not change their lineup for the 2024 edition of the tournament.


Kairi’s fellow jungler, Jonard Cedrix “Demonkite” Caranto, also brought his talents to the international esports scene as he transferred to RSG Malaysia from RSG Philippines. 

Despite his team ending its campaign in fourth place, the 21-year-old MLBB pro player made history last year as he became the first Filipino to bag the regular season MVP award in MPL Malaysia.

Demonkite recently made headlines when he returned to RSG Philippines for MPL PH season 13, playing as the jungler of the team. He returned to RSG Philippines, along with gold laner Clarence “Kousei” Camilo. Aside from his comeback, Demonkite got engaged to his fiancée Angel Seiyuu in February.


MLBB fans were surprised by the news that Blacklist International would compete in the MPL PH season 12 without Johnmar “OhMyV33nus” Villaluna and Danerie James “Wise” del Rosario. This is because the team’s dynamic duo, popularly known as V33wise, wanted to take a break in MSC 2023. The Esports tandem went back to their roots by joining a League of Legends show match.

OhMyV33nus, along with Wise, still didn’t make a comeback in the season 13 lineup of Blacklist International. However, the 29-year-old roamer is active on YouTube, where he uploads a variety of content like game analysis.


Another Blacklist International key player is missing from the season 13 lineup: Renejay “Renejay” Barcarse. The team’s roamer made his debut in the M5 World Championship stage last year, where he was hailed the MVP for games two and four. He also bagged the Sportsmanship award in MPL PH season 12.

His team announced in February that he would skip the competitive MPL PH season 13 “to focus on professional commitments and other personal matters.”


Last year, Edward “EDWARD” Dapadap added a new feather to his cap when he became the newest inductee to the MPL PH’s Hall of Legends for his contributions in positioning the Philippines in the mobile esports map. Among his accolades are MPL PH Season 7 champion, MPL PH Season 7 grand final MVP, MPL PH Season 8 champion, M3 World champion, MPL PH Season 10 champion, and MPL PH Season 10 grand final MVP.

EDWARD is competing in this year’s MPL PH tournament as Blacklist International’s EXP laner. Joining the 19-year-old pro player in the roster are: Stephen “Sensui” Castillo, Kenneth “Yue” Tadeo, Kiel “OHEB” Soriano, Salic “Hadji” Imam, Kim “Kimpoy” dela Cruz, and Mark “ESON” Gerardo.


The season 12 of MPL PH did not witness Jeniel “YellyHaze” Bata-Anon as a player but as an analyst of Minana EVOS, after 11 seasons in the tournament. The 27-year-old Southeast Asian Games gold medalist said that he took up the role to “step up” for his team.

But for the 2024 edition of MPL PH, YellyHaze decided to return to his mid-laner position under Minana EVOS. He is with Jann Kirk “Kirk” Solcruz Gutierrez, Kyle “Koyl” Reyes, Lance Walter “ Lancecy” Cunanan, Oscar “Sumpak” Romero, John “Perkz” Sumawan, Mark Vincent “Vane” Dasig, Ken “Kzen” Pile, Jan Dominic “Domeng” Del Delmundo, and Brain “SpiderMillez” Millez.


19-year-old ECHO jungler Karl “KarlTzy” Nepomuceno added another recognition to his list of accolades when he was crowned as the Regular Season MVP in the 2023 MPL PH. This was not the first time he bagged such an award as he was named MVP in Season 6 and the M2 World Championship.

KarlTzy is also competing in MPL PH season 13 as ECHO’s jungler. He is joined by Sanford Marin “Sanford” Vinuya, Alston “Sanji” Pabico, Benedict “Bennyqt” Gonzales, Jaypee “Jaypee” Dela Cruz, Jhonville “Outplayed” Villar, Justine “Zaida” Palma, and Edmar John “EJJJ” Clementier in the lineup.


John Paul “H2wo” Salonga was also absent from the battlefield last year. RSG Philippines did not include him in their season 12 lineup as the 21-year-old jungler requested a rest. But while Salonga was on the bench, RSG Philippines confirmed that he would continue his deals and projects.

After a one-season break, H2wo returned to the battlefield but now represents Smart Omega in the MPL PH season 13, along with Nowee “Ryota” Macasa, Dexter “Exort” Martinez, Jomari “Jowm” Pingol, Carlito “Ribo” Ribo Jr, Louis Gabriel “Louis” Ariola, Ron Matthew “Matt” Papag, Ryan Michi “RAYL” Asaoka, Christian “Westtt” Mangabay, and Mark Glenn “Marked” Florencio.


24-year-old mid laner Angelo Kyle “Pheww” Arcangel was among the players who led to the victory of AP.Bren in MPL PH season 12. He was also among the nominees for Moonton’s 10 Greatest Players list, along with Karltzy, CJ “Ribo” Ribo, ECHO’s dynamic duo Tristan “Yawi” Cabrera and Benedict “BennyQT” Gonzales, and Blacklist International’s EDWARD and Salic “Hadji” Imam.

The seasoned player is still part of the M5 World champion’s roster for MPL PH season 13. On Friday, AP.Bren announced that Pheww was named Athlete of the Year at the 2023 Philippine Esports Awards. AP.Bren, on the other hand, won two awards: 2023 Esports Organization of the Year and 2023 Esports Team of the Year.


The 22-year-old roamer was one of ECHO’s key members that contributed to the victory of the team in the M4 World Championship in 2023, defeating Blacklist International with a 4-0 score. But Yawi remained on the bench as ECHO opened its season 12 campaign. He was replaced by Jaypee “Jaypee” dela Cruz as the team’s roamer, which elicited uproar among fans. Some of them speculated that Jaypee was chosen over Yawi because he is the husband of ECHO’s team manager.

In January, Yawi announced his departure from ECHO through a Facebook video where he thanked ECHO for believing in him. Yawi took his talents to Indonesia and signed with Aura Fire for MPL ID season 13. He was recently spotted in the ECHO and Blacklist International match in Makati City. Yawi clarified his departure from ECHO and said that he just wanted to “explore” his career, according to a report by One Sports.



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