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Former TNC Predator stars reunite at newly-formed Blacklist DOTA 2 squad

By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—The players that led TNC Predator's rise to the top of the Southeast Asian DOTA 2 ladder during the late 2010s are with one club again as they were signed to the newly formed Blacklist International DOTA 2 quintet.

Tier One Entertainment, which bankrolls Blacklist, announced on Thursday night that Marc Fausto, Nico Barcelon, Carlo Palad, and Tims Randrup, who all had a role in TNC Predator's ascent, will have a grand reunion with Blacklist.

Fausto, Barcelon, and Palad were part of the TNC squad that made a Cinderella run in The International 2016, highlighted by the team's major shocker over heavy favorite OG, which still stands as the biggest upset ever in TI history.

When Barcelon left for Southeast Asian rival Fnatic, Randrup joined Fausto and Palad as well as Sam Hidalgo at TNC Predator for TI7 even as the team signed Theeban Sivanathapillai, the first time the club recruited a foreign reinforcement.

Barcelon was fresh from helping Polaris Esports rule the Asia Pacific Predator League in Tokyo, leading what would be a "grand slam" for the Filipino squads as all the four Philippine representatives to the tournament, also including Execration, GrindSky, and TNC Predator, finished inside the Top 4.

However, Polaris suddenly disbanded its entire roster afterward, paving the way for Blacklist to get a shot at signing Barcelon, which was eventually successful.

The only non-former TNC Predator guy signed into Blacklist is carry player Karl Baldovino, who was Palad's teammate at T1.

"We opted to go for a full Filipino squad because we believe in the value of communication in a team game like DOTA 2. The players from the Philippines have had a long history of success in this game and for me, I'm just excited to have the opportunity to see some of the best players in SEA assemble under the Blacklist Rivalry banner and compete against the best in the world," said Tier One Entertainment co-founder Tryke Gutierrez.

Known for its Mobile Legends Bang Bang quintet that won it all in the M3 World Championship and the Southeast Asian Games earlier this year, Blacklist begins its own quest for DOTA 2 glory right at the start of the 2023 DOTA Pro Circuit season.

Blacklist also confirmed on Thursday night that it will take over the spot relinquished by RSG, making the team eligible to play in the first division.

The first conference of the season, the "Winter Tour", runs from Jan. 9-29, where four spots n the winter Major set from Feb. 24-Mar. 5 are at stake.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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