Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (MLBB) developer Moonton Games announced on Thursday (5 August) that Season 8 of the MLBB Professional League (MPL) Philippines has been postponed.
The Philippines' capital of Metro Manila, where the league is being hosted, is currently preparing to go into lockdown as the situation with the coronavirus pandemic in the country continues to worsen.
The Philippine government announced at the end of June that Metro Manila will be placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from 6 to 20 August to prepare for a surge of new COVID-19 cases brought about by the virus' Delta variant.
While under ECQ, only essential services and establishments such as hospitals and groceries will be allowed to remain fully operational in Metro Manila.
MPL Philippines Season 8 was originally slated to begin on 13 August and end some time in October. While Moonton has yet to give a new start date for the league's latest season, the developer confirmed that both the regular season and playoffs will start on a later date as a result of the lockdown in Metro Manila.
"The health and safety of the teams, partners, local staff, and communities is of utmost priority. The MPL Philippines team will adhere to all government guidelines and safety protocols and take extra precautions during the tournament to ensure the players' wellness," Moonton said in a press release.
MPL Philippines Season 8 will notably see the implementation of a new franchise league system, Moonton formally announced back in mid-July.
The new system, first implemented by Moonton in MPL Indonesia in 2019, is aimed at establishing a sustainable esports ecosystem for MPL Philippines and eliminate the need to eliminate teams and hold qualifiers with every season.
The eight initial franchise teams for MPL PH Season 8 include: Season 7 champions Blacklist International, M2 World Champions Bren Esports, ECHO, ONIC PH, Smart Omega, Nexplay EVOS, RSG PH, and TNC Pro Team. They will be competing for their cut of a total prize pool of US$150,000.