Day three of the ONE Esports MPL Invitational featured a roaring battle between MPL PH champions Bren Esports (S6) and Aura PH (S4/S5). While Aura was already returning to form with some impressive matches in the MPLI, Bren Esports was able to shut down their friendly rivals in a 2-1 victory.

After the Bren win, ONE Esports asked coach Francis “Duckey” Glindro about his thoughts on the all-Filipino showdown.

Bren Esports took a hard-fought loss in game one due to Aura PH’s out-of-nowhere Diggie pick. Despite the Diggie strategy being nerfed, Jaypee’s Diggie with retribution managed to halt Bren’s carries from farming.

“We basically didn’t anticipate that they would actually pick Diggie because he was nerfed and we haven’t really seen them play in the lower part of our bracket,” said the Bren coach. “As far as errors go, it was basically our draft.”

Heading into game two, Duckey realized that Diggie was an easy one-trick for his opponents and opted to perma-ban the character for the rest of the series.

“So the idea was that we perma-ban Diggie,” stated Duckey. “It seems that they’re finding success with the character so the plan was ‘ban Diggie [and] even out the playing field.”

KarlTzy is known to be a master assassin with the likes of Ling and Lancelot, but the hypercarry took marksman Claude into game two.

Asked about this rare pick, Duckey said that the hero was recently buffed in favor of their game style and it conveniently fit into what they were trying to show and hide during the drafting phase.

As for game three, KarlTzy wasn’t able to shine as much on the Brody pick, but Ribo’s Pharsa and FlapTzy’s Lapu-Lapu were critical factors in closing out teamfights. Duckey saw it as their plan from the beginning to have people focus on KarlTzy.

“We were actually baiting the Yu Zhong pick because most teams focus on KarlTzy without even realizing it’s actually a 5v5 game,” said Duckey. “Eventually it was a success because Yu Zhong as well as a majority of their heroes were just focusing on him and did not notice that 8/10 of our firepower came from three different heroes.”

Bren Esports fielded a utility-heavy team composition with Luo Yi and Pharsa. Duckey shared that they would always have the advantage as far as range is concerned.

“They’d be so focused on getting into a clash, but getting out is a different story,” explained Duckey. “For Aura, it was easy to get in, hard to get out.”

With the two teams being friendly local rivals and frequent contenders in the international scene, getting the victory meant a lot to Duckey and the rest of the Bren squad.

“We really want to win the MPLI so we can keep the momentum going into M2, which is going to happen next year,” said Duckey. “I do hope we win in an Indonesia vs Philippines final because I think that most fans are looking forward to seeing who’s actually the better country when it comes to MLBB.”

When Bren won the series against Aura PH, many viewers saw its team members doing the choking celebration on-screen. While many believe that it comes from Execration’s insane reverse-sweep in the MPL PH S6 finals, Duckey said the celebration has its origins in Bren’s Season 5 run.

“It actually started back in Season 5 when Bren owned the regular season but failed to win the championship,” elaborated the coach. “Everyone was saying that Bren could not win a championship and that we’d always choke when it comes to the playoffs. Season 6 came and everyone was still saying the same thing, but we proved them wrong. I know FlapTzy did it on camera one time. I didn’t tell him to do it, but he actually did it and now everyone is doing the choke pose.”

Bren Esports heads into the semifinals to battle against MPL MM champions Burmese Ghouls. While the team is seen as a dark horse in the competition, Duckey found that this reputation will always be in favor of Burmese Ghouls.

“We don’t underestimate anyone in this tournament and I personally think that Myanmar is a very good region,” said Duckey. “They actually have the advantage of coming into the MPLI because their region does not have that much exposure. Most tournaments looking for high viewership tend to look at PH, ID, and MY/SG without even realizing that Myanmar is a really good country and it shows.”

With the two heading into battle in just a few hours, Duckey challenged Burmese Ghouls coach PVNDV to see who’s the better animal coach.

“Good luck to you, PVNDV,” said Duckey. “It’s going to be a duck vs. panda semifinal.”

READ MORE: Burmese Ghouls coach PVNDV to Bren Esports: ‘Don’t underestimate us’