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Sports

Players find extra drive with overwhelming fan support at M4 Mobile Legends tourney

Michelle Lojo - Philstar.com
Players find extra drive with overwhelming fan support at M4 Mobile Legends tourney
Blacklist International fans arrive at the Tennis Indoor Stadium Senayan as they watch their team face ECHO Philippines in the upper bracket finals.
Moonton Games

JAKARTA — In the M4 World Championships, Indonesian team RRQ Hoshi and its fanbase RRQ Kingdom arrived at the venue — the latter with banners, flags and a marching band performing a choreographed entrance on their way either to the main hall at the Tennis Indoor Stadium Senayan or to the watch party at the Tennis Outdoor Stadium Senayan in support of their team.

Members of ONIC Esports, the MPL Indonesia champion, also have drums, horns and a flag, and were providing cheering kits to their fans as the team competed in the tournament.

The overwhelming support of a crowd can turn the tides in a very intense matchup.

According to Blacklist International's Johnmar “OhMyV33NUS” Villaluna's, after winning against RRQ, they had already expected a hostile crowd, especially since they were up against the home team.

"Expected naman namin na magiging ganun yung crowd and I think isa yun sa mga kailangan talaga naming kaharapin especially if we’re up against Indonesian teams, especially RRQ. Syempre at first, sobrang intense as in sobrang intense talaga. I think dahil doon kaya kami natalo [sa Game One]. Pero syempre hindi naman kami naging world champion nang matatalo lang kami dahil sa crowd. Moving forward, it’s a very good experience," said Villaluna.

For his part, Coach Kristoffer "Bon Chan" Ricaplaza, sees the presence of the huge crowds as a means to add thrill to matchups. 

"I think it’s also a good addition that they have huge fans and maybe it’s also a big factor that’s why it went to Game Five. We’re thankful to the RRQ fans because it became an exciting, thrilling match. Let’s just keep this healthy rivalry," shared Ricaplaza.

Having experienced the Indonesia crowd since they became part of the coaching staff of RRQ Hoshi and ONIC Esports, respectively, coaches Michael "Arcadia" Bocado and Paul Denver "Yeb" Miranda cited similarities and differences between the fan culture in Indonesia and back home in the Philippines.

"[Yung fans] same rin sa Philippines na marami ring sumusuporta sa Mobile Legends. Ang difference lang talaga is dito may mga chants, organized na yung cheers," pointed out Bocado.

Miranda agrees, comparing Indonesia’s organized esports fan community to the country’s football fan base.

"Parehas naman dedicated [ang Indonesian and Filipino fans]. I mean yung supporta nila sa bawat team nila, pareho naman. Medyo wild lang yung fans dito. Kasi yung culture nila dito, sa football. So kung paano sila mag cheer sa football ganun rin sila mag cheer sa ML," explained Miranda.

As the tournament progressed, attending fans of Filipino teams Blacklist International and ECHO Philippines were soon following the trend of having megaphones, flags, banners and drums — a culture that Bocado thinks will be replicated in MPL Philippines very soon.

"Eventually magkakaroon rin [drums, flags and chants] sa Philippines. Kailangan lang ng cooperation ng [teams] at [ng MPL] kasi kailangan mo ma-build at ma-organize yung ganun. Actually, ine-encourage ko yun with [MPL Philippines], sabi ko gawin niyo ito sa Pinas maganda for the [MPL] community," said Bocado.

The M4 World Championship continues with the final matches in the lower bracket among Indonesian teams RRQ Hoshi, ONIC Esports and ECHO Philippines. The winner will move on to the Grand Finals and will face Blacklist International for the crown at 6:30 p.m. Sunday (Manila time.)

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