Sibol's Dota 2 team has proven haters wrong by coming out on top of Group B Saturday and thus securing the country its third podium finish in the esports competitions of the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
The mostly Cebuano squad of MC Nicholson "Mc" Villanueva, John Anthony "Natsumi" Vargas, Jun "Bok" Kanehara, Martin Salvador "Boomy" Rushton, Bryle Jacob "CML" Alvizo, Van Jerico "Van" Manalaysay, and James Erice "Erice" Guerra only dropped a single game in the group stage (2-1-0 win-draw-loss record) to earn an outright upper bracket finals slot.
Sibol entered the final matchup as the heavy favorites, after sweeping Laos and Indonesia earlier in the day. What they didn't expect was that a resilient Myanmar crew was about to snatch the opening match away from them using great teamfight composition.
"Yung draft nila gusto nila clash palagi, 'yung sa amin gusto namin mag-late game parati. Kumbaga sa early (game), gusto nilang makipaglaban sa amin," captain Boomy explained in the postgame interview.
The Filipinos retooled for the next outing, drafting an early Naga Siren to counter the Burmese Undying. The opposing team went with a carry Phantom Lancer, the perfect counter pick against the Pinoy hard carry. Boomy said, "Alam namin na id-draft nila 'yun kaya na-prepare namin 'yung sarili namin."
True enough, Myanmar's PL made zero impact, falling to sixth in net worth by the 20-minute mark and failing to reach crucial item timing. The Cebuanos would end Game 2 in 33 minutes with a 31k gold lead and 29-16 kill score. Sibol will face a tough Vietnamese side in the winners' final on Sunday morning. Vietnam topped Group A after a hard-fought tiebreaker versus other SEAG favorites Thailand.
Meanwhile, Sibol's Arena of Valor team didn't get past the preliminary round after a couple of sweeps at the hands of Vietnam (0-2) and Thailand (0-2) in what was undoubtedly the event's group of death.
The squad of Kevin Kio "Gambit" Dizon, Jeremiah "1717" Camarillo, Jevan Lorenzo "Bents' Delos Santos, Lawrence Anthony "Rubixx" Gatmaitan, Miguel Klarenz "Miggie" Banaag, Bradie Ryan "Yats" Velasquez, Kyle Jepherson "Vindiicated" Padlan placed third in Group A with a 1-0-2 record.
Sibol lost its first matchup against the Viets, but bounced back versus Myanmar. The eventual top-seeded Thais then gave the Pinoys a rude wake-up call.