The Road to The Nationals qualifiers has seen teams from different parts of the country compete for an opportunity to step closer towards the dream of becoming professional esports players. With the chance of being recruited into one of the teams competing in The Nationals next year, the pressure of winning the qualifiers and taking the stage at the Road to The Nationals finals at the Esports and Gaming Summit in October is expectedly high.
The latest team to secure their spot in the finals, Davao’s Pride, traveled across Mindanao to Cagayan de Oro not only for a chance at the Road to The Nationals finals but also to show the talent of their hometown. Davao’s Pride was was formed from the remnants of the NCGC Esports Dota 2 squad with the addition of Mid player Joshua “Akashi” Bayron who was a free agent at the time. The team then began preparing for the Cagayan de Oro qualifier.
The rest of the roster includes team captain Cedric Jay “gk” Paches (Support), Erin Jasper “Japoy.spg” Ferrer (Carry), Jerry “Saii” Laxamana Jr. (Offlane), and Christian Lou “CL” Paig (Support).
According to Paches, the team was confident going into the CDO qualifier as they felt the amount of time the squad has played together gives them a better understanding of not just the game but also each other’s strengths and weaknesses. He also cited their preparedness coming into the qualifier, citing the team’s daily practice before the qualifier, despite having one high school student in the roster.
Their dedication eventually paid off for them as they were able to dominate the CDO qualifier quite handily, winning their finals match against Goliath Gaming with a 2-0 sweep.
When asked about the competitive Dota 2 scene in Davao, Paches said that while there are a lot of tournaments in the city, they’re mostly limited to amateur players. This means professional and organized teams usually aren’t allowed to compete. He adds that the mentality of creating teams and building up players to become pro players and compete higher tier tournaments is lacking, especially when compared with Manila, Visayas, and even CDO.
The success of Davao’s Pride in the Road to the Nationals qualifiers will hopefully bring more attention to the talent in the region and encourage growth in the city’s competitive Dota 2 scene.
Now that their slot in the finals of the Road to The Nationals has been secured, Davao’s Pride is stepping back from the daily practices they held before the qualifier, due in part to scheduling conflicts and having at least one student in the team. The squad plans to prepare for the finals of the Road to The Nationals at ESGS 2018 through weekend practice sessions coupled with daily practice individually.
The team will have some time on their hands as the finals of the Road to The Nationals is still more than a month away, with three more qualifiers still set for this and next month. Specifically, in Bacolod, Iloilo City, and Cavite.