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Polaris avenges TI11 SEA Qualifier heartbreak, rules Predator League PH Qualifiers

Polaris bounced back from a tough loss on Saturday night to win the Asia Pacific Predator League Philippine Qualifiers. Ivan Saldajeno
By Ivan Saldajeno

PASAY—Polaris Esports reigned supreme in the Philippine Qualifiers of the Asia Pacific Predator League, sweeping Grindsky Esports, 2-0, in the championship series on Sunday night at the SM Mall of Asia Atrium.

The veteran smarts of Nico Barcelon, Marvin Rushton, John Vargas, and Mac Villanueva coupled with the youthful energy of Nikko Bilocura proved crucial as the Cebu City-based squad upended the gritty Grindsky quintet for PHP200,000.

Patience was indeed a virtue for Polaris in both games as Grindsky could not capitalize on a solid opening and failed to finish Polaris off in quick fashion.

Vargas found his groove as Faceless Void midway through Game 1 and went on a Godlike streak that helped Polaris overturn the game in its favor despite Grindsky's interesting move of a hard carry Undying.

Barcelon, despite playing the support role as Clockwerk, played as if he is a core player as he went 9-1-12 in kills, deaths, and assists in Game 1.

Polaris struggled a bit in Game 2 after Morphling was off to a hot start as the middle laner, but him converting into a decoy later in the game turned out to be a bust as Polaris' map control-oriented roster of Oracle, Pangolier, Beastmaster, Undying, and Doom came alive in crunch time and forced Grindsky to call GG in the 47th minute.

It was a vindication of sorts for Polaris, which suffered a heartbreaking 2-3 loss to Talon in the finals of the The International 2022 Southeast Asian Qualifiers the previous night.

With the TI11 qualifiers done entirely online, Polaris stayed in its home base in Cebu City, but the team had to fly quickly to Pasay for the offline Predator League Philippine Qualifier playoffs.

Polaris completed a 7-0 sweep of the tournament as they went 3-0 in the group stages and swept Atomic, 2-0, in the semis.

Grindsky, which stunned Execration, 2-1, in their own semifinal tie, walked home with PHP100,000 runner-up prize.

Both Polaris and Grindsky will travel to Japan to play in the Asia Pacific Predator League Main Tournament, where they will face the qualified teams from eight other countries.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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