ECHO added another feather in its cap when it beat powerhouse Blacklist International, 4-0, to rule the Mobile Legends Professional League Season 11 late Sunday at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.
After losing its opening upper bracket match in the Playoffs to RSG Slate PH, 2-3, ECHO bounced back as it shocked regular season top seed Bren Esports before beating RSG in a rematch in the lower bracket finals.
There was no stopping ECHO from there as it trampled three-time MPL champion Blacklist in the finals and claimed the lion’s share in the P8.3 million cash prize while Sanford “Sanford” Vinuya emerged as Most Valuable Player.
But more than that, ECHO also booked a slot in the Mobile Legends: Southeast Asia Cup 2023 that will be held in Cambodia from 10 to 18 June.
Blacklist, for its part, pocketed a consolation prize of P1.5 million and a slot in the MSC.
“Their heroes and play style are the same so the match boils down to team fights and Wise’s retribution,” ECHO team captain Tristan “Yawi” Cabrera told Daily Tribune in an interview.
“I feel like they are just as strong even without Hadji (Salic Imam) and OHEB (Kiel Soriano). They have a strong lineup — both old and new.”
ECHO’s triumph over Blacklist — an M3 Mobile Legends world champion
— was a vindication of sorts as the latter emerged victorious over the former, 4-2, in the finals of Season 10 last October.
Then, they squared off anew in the M4 Mobile Legends World Championship in which ECHO booked a shocking 4-0 sweep.
Still, Yawi claimed that Blacklist was a tough nut to crack.
“It is an advantage to have matched up with them thrice in a grand final setting. They really did not do anything different, so now that we have played them a third time in the finals, we already have a good read of them,” Yawi said.