Filipino Dota 2 team TNC Predator swept North American squad VGJ.Storm to secure a podium finish at the MDL Chengdu Major in China.
The group of Kim "Gabbi" Villafuente, Timothy "Tims" Randrup, Armel "Armel" Tabios, Damien "Kpii" Chok, and Park "March" Tae-won have guaranteed themselves at least 2,100 Dota 2 Pro Circuit (DPC) points and USD 110,000 (more than PHP 5.2 million) in cash prize.
TNC dominated the initial part of the tournament, becoming the first team to qualify for the Upper Bracket after getting out of Group A unscathed. The Philippine-based squad started the next round a bit shaky, as they dropped the opening game of their best-of-three series against Alliance of Europe before pulling off the reverse sweep.
The second match saw the Pinoys — and Australian and Korean — regaining their composure with a heavy push and pick-off lineup to take the game in 36 minutes. They carried the momentum into the decider, where their carry Phantom Assassin snowballIed its way to a 27-minute victory.
The opener versus J.Storm turned out to be a slugfest, as crucial pick-offs prevented TNC from sieging the opposing based despite a 70,000 gold lead. The latter needed 70 minutes of gameplay and a botched teamfight in their base to force the Americans to surrender.
The Southeast Asian squad was more under control in the follow-up, utilizing their Naga Siren and Disruptor combo to the fullest and ending J.Storm in convincing fashion.
TNC is set to face Chinese squad Vici Gaming in the Upper Bracket Final on November 23, with the winner heading straight to the championship series of MDL Chengdu Major.
Meanwhile, fellow PH team Adroit bombed out with a 13th-16th finish after failing to win a single match in their brief stint.
The Cebu-based group drew the short straw and was placed in the same group as Team Liquid, Evil Geniuses, and a revamped Team Aster. Adroit went on to lose all of their games, finding themselves fighting for their tournament lives in the Lower Bracket against Peru's beastcoast.
The Pinoys looked poised for triumph in the midgame, going as high as 23K in gold advantage, before a siege error swung the momentum back to the Peruvians. After losing multiple key teamfights, beastcoast managed to recover their gold deficit and eventually end the match in 48 minutes.
Despite the heartbreaking campaign, the all-Cebuano crew of MC Nicholson "Mac" Villanueva, Marvin "Boomy" Rushton, Bryle "CML" Jacob Alvizo, Jun "Bok" Kanehara, and John Anthony "Natsumi-" Vargas will still take home USD 12,500 (more than PHP 600,000) and 100 DPC Points.
Adriot also earned some much-needed experience versus some of the world's best Dota 2 teams just in time for the SEA Games.