MANILA—TNC Predator clinched a spot in the upper bracket of the playoffs of The International 9 after sweeping Liquid in their final group stage match at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai on Sunday.
Needing a full 2-0 dominance in its last two-leg series to make the Top 4 in Group A, the all-Filipino squad did just so as they posted contrasting wins against Liquid.
In the first match, TNC Predator needed a mid-game comeback anchored by Kim Villafuerte's crucial acquisition of Radiance and Heart of Tarrasque on his Lifestealer and Tims Randrup's great play as Skywrath Mage to take the 1-0 lead.
Smelling blood already, TNC Predator quickly went for the jugular as Villafuerte played decoy in his Sven, letting Randrup, now playing Earthshaker, and Armel Tabios, taking control of a dominant Death Prophet, take over en route to a 36-minute finish.
By clinching a spot in the Upper Bracket Playoffs, TNC Predator is now assured of at least a joint ninth-place finish, earning the team, which also has skipper Nico Barcelon and offlaner Carlo Palad, US$666,751 or nearly PHP34.9 million.
TNC will face Vici, which finished second in Group B, in the Upper Bracket Quarterfinals in the first day of the playoffs on Tuesday.
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