T1 Pinoy captain Kuku Palad arrives in Bucharest for DOTA 2’s The International

Kennedy Caacbay, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 19 2021 03:31 AM | Updated as of Aug 19 2021 11:32 AM

Carlo “Kuku” Palad is one of the players who worked hard to qualify for The International this year, Dota 2’s biggest annual tournament, which will also showcase purportedly the highest prize pool in esports history with $40 million.

At about 9 p.m. (Manila time), Kuku shared on Facebook some photos of his room in Bucharest, Romania, host of the 10th iteration of The International (TI10).


Kuku is the captain of T1, a Southeast Asian professional esports team that secured enough Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) points to qualify for TI10 by placing sixth in the DPC.

T1 also houses another Filipino player, Karl Matthew “Karl” Baldovino (also known as Karl Jayme), who plays position 2/middle role for the team. On August 13, he shared on Facebook that he was able to secure his visa.


Karl reached 11,000 matchmaking rank (MMR) on October 9, 2020, an elite squad of high-ranking players in Dota 2.

T1 were also the winners of the ESL One Summer 2021, which concluded in June, with Kuku playing a key role as the team captain in the championship.

He and his team will also play for ESL One Fall 2021, which will commence on August 21. This will also serve as a preparation for TI10.

Three other Filipinos from different teams have also qualified for TI10. 

Evil Geniuses’ Abed Azel “Abed” Yusop, and Fnatic’s Marc Polo Luis "Raven" Fausto and Djardel Jicko B. "DJ" Mampusti were able to carry their respective teams to the event.

They will compete against the best crews of other regions for the heavily sought Aegis of Champions, the trophy of the TI winners.

Unfortunately, no Filipino team qualified for the tournament. 

TNC Predator, arguably the Philippines’ best Dota 2 team, was a game away from clinching a TI spot but was denied by co-SEA team Fnatic in a best-of-5 series in the grand finals of the regional qualifiers.


The 10th iteration of The International (TI10) will take place on October 7 to 17 later this year in Bucharest, Romania. Previously, the venue was supposed to be in Sweden, but in June this year, Valve explained that they faced issues with the Swedish Sports Federation.

In a blog, Valve said that “the Swedish Sports Federation had just voted not to accept esports into the sports federation,” and “the request to reclassify The International Dota 2 Championships as an elite sporting event was immediately denied.”

On July 8, they finally announced that the widely anticipated tournament will take place at Arena Națională in Bucharest.