THE MPL-PH is rolling out a whole bunch of goodies for the Season 9 qualifiers next week – including movie screenings at SM malls and free tickets to the live event for lucky fans. But for the casters who’ve spent eight weeks calling the plays behind the broadcast desk, nothing says “PLAYOFFS SZN” more than the return of the infamous Rap Battle caster.

As Dan “Leo” Cubangay remembers, the first Rap Battle wasn’t just one person’s idea.

“We’re all a little musically inclined, as a group,” the former radio DJ told “Manjean [Faldas] has a rap group, Uomi [Theodore Ignacio] writes and records music – so writing verses and staging a rap battle for S8 playoff teams came naturally. Brainstorming for hot playoff content, I guess, that’s how it went.

It was a resounding success. The video, which saw the casters take on playoff team personas and go head-to-head with the sickest bars, has been viewed almost half a million times on Facebook.

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“I’ve been writing and recording music since high school, so that part was familiar to me,” Leo recalled. “Pero yung maangas for the camera? A kind of dance and atmosphere on my verse, while being filmed in front of the camera? It was new and very fun.

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And if Leo was proud to spit out verses on Blacklist for Season 8, he thinks it’s only fair that he now takes the rap cudgels for Nexplay EVOS in Rap Battle Vol. II, which will drop soon.

“It’s a team that is not afraid to reinvent itself, and I vibrate strongly with that. Expect variety and referrals! he said.

Plus, it helped that Nexplay EVOS’ mascot was a roaring cat – just like its own beloved pet Cups (short for Copernicus), who also featured in the Rap Battle II poster starring Mara Aquino’s Rizla.

“It’s nice that our fur kids can be a part of it.”

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Meanwhile, Uomi said (answering our questions while taking part in a livestream) that he would be doing something a little different for Vol. II.

“Honestly Hindi ako nag-rap doon its na ire-release track,” he admitted. “They made me sing” – something he wasn’t too comfortable with, “kasi feeling ko maangas yung rap na ginawa ko”.

But still, according to Uomi, “Rapping and singing isn’t our day job, but being able to perform in a different scenario with my co-hosts is just…I like the feeling.”

Lucky fans will also be able to watch the MPL-PH qualifiers live

Besides the rap battle, the league announced that it is also holding a ticket giveaway for fans to watch the playoffs live at their SMX Convention Center venue.

They will have to tell the world why they are MPL-PH’s biggest fans in the league’s official Facebook post. Eight fans will win two general public tickets, while one lucky fan will receive two VIP tickets.

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“We are thrilled to finally welcome our fans to the MPL-PH Season 9 Playoffs. We hope to provide our loyal fans with action-packed live matches and a chance to see their favorite teams, while strictly respecting health and safety protocols,” said Tonyo Silva, senior esports marketing manager for Moonton Philippines, in a statement.

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