True Filipino Pride
On Friday, eight professional DOTA 2 teams will duke it out in the Manila Masters, arguably the biggest eSports event to be held in the Philippines to date. At stake is a combined prize pool of $250,000 (12.5 million pesos) and the bragging rights of beating 7 of the world’s best professional DOTA 2 teams.
While the spotlight will be on top-tier teams like OG, Team Secret, Evil Geniuses and Newbee, Philippine fans will definitely be rooting for the all-Filipino team Clutch Gamers as they battle it out with the best on the 26th.
Composed of Rapy (Rafeal Palo), boombacs (Marvin Rushton), FlySolo (Kenneth Coloma), Armel (Armel Paul Tabios) and Gabbi (Kim Villafuerte Santos), Clutch Gamers have already managed to earn impressive victories on the road to the Manila Masters despite being a relatively new team, formed just 6 months ago for the Kiev Major.
They’ve already managed to score silver and gold victories in the ProDota Cup Southeast Asia #4 and #5 respectively, and placed 3rd in the Mr. Cat Invitational Season 2. Clutch Gamers qualified for the Manila Masters by beating TnC, the same team that managed to win the World Electronic Sports Games back in January. They’ve also earned victories against high-profile DOTA 2 teams like Faceless, WG.Unity, Geek Fam, Mineski, HappyFeet, and Fnatic.
Even David “Luminous” Zhang, a well-respected DOTA 2 shoutcaster, is betting on Clutch Gamers to win the day when the Manila Masters begins.
“Without a doubt, it’s going to be Clutch Gamers. And I’m not just saying this because I’m going to be in front of a Filipino crowd. I really think they’re actually pretty good. I mean, they’ve recently qualified for four top LANs, beating out the best SEA teams (and I’ve casted three of these events),” he said.
“I’ve seen their evolution in both individual plays as well as draft and I feel like they have a lot of strengths going up against other international teams. I think they adapt very quickly in-game and their teamfight is some of the best coming from the SEA region. Sometimes it seems they’re behind on net worth but then they walk into a teamfight – and I have no idea how they do it – and they just win. I think they would get far in this tournament,” he adds.