M4 world champion ECHO fell short, settling for a third-place finish in the Mobile Legends Southeast Asia Cup 2023 over the weekend at the Aeon Mall Mean Chey in Phnom Penh.
Composed of its world championship roster of Tristan “Yawi” Cabrera, Karl “KarlTzy” Nepomuceno, Benedict “Bennyqt” Gonzales, Sanford Maruya, and Alston “Sanji” Placibo, ECHO suffered a 0-3 sweep in the semifinals at the hands of Indonesian powerhouse ONIC Esports led by Filipino star jungler Kairi “Kairi” Rayosdelsol.
ECHO had to recompose itself after the heartbreaking defeat in a battle for third where it met hometown favorite Burn X Flash, winning the showdown with a hard-fought 3-2 decision to bring home $30,000.
“We had to reset and move on from the loss. We had to focus on Burn X Flash because it was not yet over and we still had a battle for third,” ECHO country manager Mitch Liwanag said.
“We talked to the players and told them that we have to move on and plan again for Burn X Flash. For me, it is not always about winning.”
Liwanag said they will continue hunting for the elusive MSC title.
“The boys are still hungry to win upcoming tournaments. We learned a lot and we will apply those in the coming games,” she said.
“We may have disappointed the fans, but we will do better moving forward. We have plenty of room for improvement so we will make sure to polish those in the coming games.”
ECHO coach Robert “Trebor” Sanchez, meanwhile, admitted that the predictions of an all-Filipino grand finals showdown with Blacklist International had an added weight to their shoulders.
“The team was tired and very sad after losing,” Trebor said.
“We thought that we could beat ONIC Esports so that it would be the Philippines versus the Philippines (in the grand finals). A lot of fans hoped for that and it really exhausted our players.”
ECHO had all the reasons to fight and win this year’s edition of MSC.
Aside from winning it for the team, the players wanted to cop the title to cement KarlTzy’s status as the greatest player in competitive Mobile Legends: Bang Bang history.
But the title proved hard to reach for the lone two-time Mobile Legends world champion KarlTzy as he stressed that the Indonesian squad was simply the better and hungrier team that day.
“ONIC Esports was more confident and hungrier to win than us,” KarlTzy said.