MANILA -- RRQ Philippines emerged as the dark horse in the inaugural Wild Rift Champions SEA (WCS) - Philippines tournament, winning its lower bracket matches and eventually securing the title.
Odds were stacked against them, as the scene boasted of powerhouses such as Fennel Adversity, Horizon Cup 3rd-4th placer Team Secret, and the Pacquiao-backed Team Underground that dominated the early stages of the season. They even found themselves on the brink of elimination after a 3-1 loss to Team Secret in their first playoff game.
But from there, RRQ Philippines never looked back, rallying from the lower bracket matches to secure a grand finals ticket, and thwarting Fennel Adversity for the Filipino Wild Rift crown.
In an interview with ABS-CBN News, RRQ COO and co-owner Calvin Thenderan shared that they made a lineup switch at the start of the season to unleash the team's potential, after seeing some cracks in their first lineup.
“With this new lineup we were able to improve as we progress into the group stages, eventually having closer games with the top teams of PH,” Thenderan said in an e-mail exchange.
Their Baron laner, Sean Khierby “Helios” Palisoc shifted to the mid-lane role, while Eric Allen “Exosen” Gubatan moved to the support role from the mid-lane, while reserve Keith Janold Gonzales assumed the Baron laner role, Thenderan said.
With their goal of securing a playoff seat already ticked off from the list, RRQ wanted to solve its woes on closing out games, so the squad hired a psychologist, which Thenderan said was a "big help" to the players' mentality in-game.
“We feel the psychologist helps big time for us as it helps instill a healthy mindset and build the mentality for the players, as shown it has definitely made improvements to our players,” Thenderan said.
RRQ steamrolled through the lower bracket in near-sweeps, eliminating top-seeded Team Underground and eventually securing the championship with a 4-1 win against powerhouse Fennel Adversity.
After securing an outright slot in the WCS Championship - Playoffs proper, they will now compete against other Asia-Pacific teams for one of four slots in the inaugural Wild Rift Icons Global Championship to be held in Madrid, Spain later this year.
For Thenderan, Taiwan's ONE Team and Flash Esports are the squad's biggest threats entering the competition.
“They have historically proven themselves to be a strong candidate and have shown how strong they are in the Masters final," Thenderan said, adding that the squad has been doing scrimmages non-stop to beef up for the tournament.
The WCS Championship - Playoffs will run from April 23 to May 8.