Rising Dark Horse and VALORANT Pros Clashing in CESAFI Esports League Playoffs
After an eventful start to their playoffs, CESAFI Esports League’s (CEL) VALORANT playoffs commenced yesterday, October 22, 2023, which saw a dark horse in University of Cebu’s (UC) Webmasters continuing their ascent to the top while a budding rivalry between the University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R) and the University of Southern Philippines Foundation (USPF) had former pros going head-to-head in the lower bracket.
To start the playoffs, the relatively unknown roster of UC Webmasters dropped the tournament favorites, USJ-R’s Adelante Esports, to the lower bracket after winning their series via a 2-0 sweep.
The team’s spectacular performance this season caught many by surprise as the UC Webmasters also went undefeated in the prior group stages where they never dropped a game in Group A against the likes of the Wildcats from Cebu Institute of Technology – University (CIT-U), Cobra Esports from Southwestern University PHINMA (SWU), and the Blue Dragons from Cebu Eastern College. As the league’s dark horse, Jhanel “𝐒𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐨𝐛𝐢𝟐𝐊” Arranchado of UC’s Webmasters admitted that they did expect to be one of the sleeper teams in the entirety of the league.
“We expect[ed] na kami jud ang dark horse sa [CEL] since wala man juy nagexpect na mapildi namo ang USJ-R or any other teams since dili kaayo mi known as individual players (We really expected to be the dark horse in CEL since no one really expected for us to defeat USJ-R or any of the other teams [we defeated] since we aren’t known for our individual players),” Shinobi2k confessed in a post-match interview. “It feels so good,” he added as he expressed his gratification upon defeating a team of USJ-R’s caliber.
Unfortunately, UC’s win earlier in the day didn’t grant their sister team, their fellow Webmasters from the University of Cebu – Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue (UCLM) campus, any luck in the playoffs. The UCLM Webmasters dropped to the lower bracket as they lost to the Wildcats from CIT-U in their respective match. Luckily for them, they managed to hold on to a playoff spot after they reaped a win from SWU’s forfeiture for what was supposedly the day’s last series.
Meanwhile, the last series that actually played out during the day featured the budding rivalry between the Adelantes from USJ-R and the Panthers from USPF in an intense do-or-die elimination in the lower bracket. The two teams built their rosters centered around their respective VALORANT Challenger Tour (VCT) professionals this season: USJ-R’s duo of Jon Michael “𝐊𝐞𝐥” Canoy (formerly MVP Esports) and Kurt Stanley “Asta” Laurido (formerly Abaddon Abyss); Shaun Matthew “𝐛𝐥𝐮𝐫𝐫𝐞𝐝” Maglasang (formerly Action PH and NAOS) for USPF.
USJ-R and USPF initially faced each other in the group stages wherein USJ-R prevailed, a tell-tale sign of what was to come if they met again in the playoffs. During their rematch in the playoffs, the two games they played in Split and Ascent would start on an equal footing up until the second half where USJ-R would proceed to end both games with a 13-7 scoreline, resulting in USPF’s exit in the tournament while USJ-R will live on to see another week.
CESAFI Esports League will return next weekend, October 28-29, 2023, for the continuation of the matches in the playoffs. Mobile Legends: Bang Bang matches will be played at the University of Southern Philippines Foundation’s iLab while the VALORANT matches are set to occur at TNC Cebu HQ.
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