The Filipino Tekken Prodigy Returns to the World Stage
There’s only a week left until the first ever global tournament for Tekken 7. The King of Iron Fist Tournament (KoIFT) 2015 will be featuring 27 players from all over the world. They were invited to join the tournament or were winners in their region’s respective qualifier. Among those 27 players, the Philippines was fortunate enough to have one of our players invited to compete in the tournament.
Alexandre “AK” Laverez, a 15-year-old player from Paranaque city, was called a child prodigy when he first made his mark on the international Tekken scene with his amazing performance during the Global Championship for Tekken Tag Tournament 2 in Seoul, South Korea back in 2013. With all eyes on him, he left the world in awe by placing 3rd in the competition, just below top Korean players Saint and JDCR. It was this accomplishment that got AK invited to compete in the KoIFT.
Though one might say that the kid is a genius for being so strong for someone of his age, AK wasn’t simply born skilled in Tekken. His well honed instinct and execution in the game is a product of years and years of passion, hard work, and experience.
AK started playing Tekken at the very young age of four when his Uncle Joshua Orobia introduced him to Tekken Tag Tournament 1 in the arcades. As if inherited from his Tekken-playing parents, he grew passionate about the game as well. It was only when Tekken 6 came out that AK first participated in a tournament and just like any tournament first-timer, AK was faced with defeat. However, with an admirable mindset of learning from every single loss, he continuously, without wavering, kept practicing and improved his game. By 2012, he had won his first tournament during the Pinoy Gaming Festival, and continued to dominate succeeding local tournaments like Timezone’s TTT2U 2012 tournament, Genesis 2013, and Brawlfest 2013.
Eventually, AK started making his presence known overseas. After he placed 3rd in the Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Global Championship 2013, he then flew to Singapore for the Southeast Asia Majors in 2014 where he placed 2nd overall next to top Thai player Book.
A while after that, AK was invited to Japan for the celebration of Tekken’s 20th anniversary where he competed against top players from Japan (Nobi, Take, Gen, Tanukana), Korea (JDCR, Saint), and USA (Mr. Naps) in an exhibition tournament featuring the latest installment in the Tekken series, Tekken 7.
Aside from being an amazing Tekken player, AK is also an incredibly responsible gamer. Though he has achieved so much in the field of Tekken at only 15 years of age, the young prodigy never let his passion for gaming have a negative effect on his life. As a student, AK was not one to neglect his responsibilities in St. Paul’s College in Paranaque. Apparently, his parents allow him to play Tekken as long as he does alright in school. His admirable balance of fun and responsibility had Mineski name him as Tekken’s youngest responsible gamer.
In just about a week, AK will be flying over to Tokyo, Japan, and returning to the international stage to represent the Philippines in the first global tournament for Tekken 7, KoIFT 2015. There he will compete against top players from around the world including EVO 2015 Tekken 7 champion Nobi from Japan, EVO 2013 Tekken Tag Tournament 2 champion Knee from Korea, Europe qualifier champion Tissuemon, and Global Championship 2013 American Representative Jimmy “Mr. Naps” Tran.
During Esports and Gaming Summit(ESGS) 2015 at the SMX Convention center, I was able to speak to AK about his thoughts on the upcoming competition. He said that at first, he was quite surprised when he found out that he was invited to compete in the global tournament, but he was happy for the opportunity.
At that time, Tekken 7 was just released in the Philippines, but AK felt confident that he would be competition ready by the time he flies to Japan. He planned to just keep playing as much as he can while he’s still here in the country. As for his thoughts on the different competitors that he will be facing in the tournament, he said that he plans on facing them just like how he does in every single game of his Tekken career, always in anticipation of a good fight.
KoIFT 2015 will be held on December 12, at Tokyo Japan. Competing in the tournament are players who recently won major tournaments for Tekken 7, qualifiers in their respective regions, or were invited to compete. The Top 2 placers in Tekken 7 at EVO 2015 were automatically qualified for KoIFT, AK was invited for his accomplishment in the last global tournament, and the rest were winners of the qualifiers held in Japan, Korea, USA, and Europe.
Japan (13 players in total)
Nobi – EVO 2015 1st Place
AO – EVO 2015 2nd Place
Yuuyuu – Osaka Challenge Female division 3rd place (1st placer Yurisan no Hou and 2nd placer unavailable)
Maxi – Tokyo Challenge Female divison 1st place
S.H.O.W. – Japan Round 1 on 1 1st Place
Fukamichi Quest – Japan Round 1 on 1 2nd Place
Taaku – Japan Round 1 on 1 3rd Place
Shudy – Japan Round 3 on 3 students division winning team
Karei – Japan Round 3 on 3 students division winning team
Gen – Japan Round 3 on 3 students division winning team
Okaty – Japan Round 3 on 3 tournament winning team
Dandy – Japan Round 3 on 3 tournament winning team
Double – Japan Round 3 on 3 tournament winning team
Korea (8 players in total)
Henboku Hejoporuka – Female division 1st place
Silika – Female division 2nd place
Secret – ‘For anyone’ division 1st place
Help Me – ‘For anyone’ division 2nd place
Knee – ‘For anyone’ division 3rd place
Murugold – Students division 1st place
Zeneral – Students division 2nd place
Tondaku Lab – Students division 3rd place
Europe (3 players in total)
Tissuemon – European qualifiers 1st place
Vanex – European qualifiers 2nd place
Devil – European qualifiers 3rd place
USA (2 players in total)
Mr. Naps – West Coast USA qualifier 1st place
Bloodhawk – East Coast USA qualifier 1st place
AK – Invitational competitor
The top placers in the tournament will get a portion of the 10 million yen (Php 3.8 million~) prize money, as well as exclusive in game items for Tekken 7. KoIFT 2015 can be viewed live on niconico for the Japanese audience, and on the official Tekken twitch channel for the English audience. Aside from the tournament itself, Katsuhiro Harada of the Tekken Project also teased about some big news that will be revealed during the tournament, so be sure not to miss it.
The competition is fierce and high-level with all the known players included in the tournament, but if AK feels that he’s ready, then all we can do is believe in him. I know I do.
Good luck to you Alexandre “AK” Laverez. Do your best, fight hard and have fun.
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