TWO DAYS before the news broke that Bren Esports’ Valorant squad would have to miss the Berlin leg of the Valorant Champions Tour, their coach, Gilbert “Gibo” Sales Jr., already alluded to their visa problems in an interview with Spin.ph.
They had already completed all their documentation to travel abroad. “Waiting game na lang kami ngayon,” he said. And then, when we ended the interview and wished him luck in Berlin, he said in reply, “Good luck sa visa!”
Late yesterday night, Riot Games made the announcement official: Due to unsurmountable visa roadblocks, Bren Esports would be unable to play in the VCT. The show, though, must go on — Group D, where the Pinoy squad was originally slotted, would shift to a double round robin format.
“This was a tough decision and we share in the disappointment of our players and fans,” said Riot’s Alex Francois. “Despite this setback, we are proud of Bren Esports’ achievements in VCT so far and look forward to their participation in future events.”
It was a crushing blow for an organization that had made history by being the first Philippine squad to qualify for a Valorant major, after they emerged as regional champions in the recently concluded VCT SEA Stage 3 Challengers.
According to Riot, "tightening travel restrictions" were to blame for the visa trouble.“Over the past month our global mobility teams in North America, Europe, and Asia explored multiple avenues to find a solution, including engaging with relevant governmental agencies in the Philippines and Germany,” said Francois's statement.
Team receives messages of support over Bren Valorant visa issue
As the hashtag #BringBrenToBerlin trended on Twitter, many of the game’s most prominent teams, players, and personalities tweeted out messages of support — including the Singaporean rivals they had just bested, Paper Rex, as well as Michael "dapr" Gulino, playing for the top-rated Sentinels who were slated to face Bren in Group D.
The Philippine Pro Gaming League, which holds the exclusive rights to stream Valorant pro competition in the country, said that they remained “proud of our PH reps.”
In their own statement, Bren thanked everyone for their heartfelt messages.
Meanwhile, one of the team’s mainstays, Jessie “JessieVash” Cuyco, stayed upbeat.
“Lez go NEXT!” he said, after retweeting Riot’s statement.
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