After an unfortunate farewell to last year’s finals stint in the Palarong Atenista, the Business and Management (BM) Vipers finally came back with a sweeping 3-0 victory against School of Engineering (SEA) Tigers in the Palarong Atenista 2022 Valorant Championship series.
Behind the Viper dream team that took back the title to where it belongs are team captain Kiefer “kaifuuu” Lao, along with the rest of his den, Rafael “Rapyboi” Tan, Xerxes “Flevscko” Obed, Angelo “basic” Pahl, Clyde “GODTIERCLYDED” Amistad, and Sid “Sid” Gatmaitan.
Meanwhile, the Tigers, who are now two-time first runner-ups, were Miguel “gigz” Clavero, Jovit “jov” Leopoldo, Marco “dixie normous” Paco, John Carlo “downbad” Cerdiña, Angel “geeel” Cortez, Reymart “Iskwala” Soriano, and Ian “Kisshot” Vasquez.
SEA opened the series with a strong start at their first pick map, Haven, as the defenders. Gigz (KAY/O) broke the ice with four frags in round 1, subsequently giving SEA a 4-0 lead in the first half of the game.
SEA Team captain Miguel Clavero shared that their defense strategy was to go aggressively into their opponent’s faces, take gun fights, and fight for map control.
As BM struggled to find their footing in the SEA’s map pick early on, SEA took advantage and secured a big lead, 9-2, only to find BM activating the infamous “9-3” curse at the end of the first half.
“We somewhat have a really tensed communication and unsynchronized abilities. But as we went through the second half, everything was really smooth, and we were really confident that we could still come back and win the first map,” BM Team Captain Kiefer Lao said.
The curse choked the Tigers, only for the Vipers to make a comeback and take the 12-7 lead by SEA into overtime at 12 all.
“Our main strategy during the championship was to play aggressively and play just like how we practiced during our scrims. The first half went well, especially during our first game on the first map,” Clavero pointed out.
Reflecting on the match-up, he added that they were unable to adapt to BM’s gameplay during the 2nd half of the first game.
The first game was considered “chaotic” by the casters, as it was extended to three overtimes and BM took the first win of the series, 16-14. Gigz of the SEA was the match Most Valuable Player (MVP) with a 32-22-18 Kills, Deaths, and Assists (KDA), while BM’s top player was Lil bih stfu (Astra) with a 27-21-6 record.
Aggressive plays were then followed by BM in Ascent, their map of choice, giving the Tigers no room for a comeback in game 2 of the finals with their 6-0 run. Their aggressive and unpredictable plays destroyed the Tigers’ hopes of getting a comeback despite the 9-3 curse back on track, but now in their favor.
BM didn’t take on the curse as Rapyboi (Fade) of the Vipers led the team to their second win with a 23/10/10 KDA, while SEA’s downbad (Jett) was hailed their team MVP on 15/16/2. The second game ended with a score of 13-4.
The SEA Tigers struggled to secure a win as they failed to show up and clutch vital rounds, which caused them the game and eventually the series.
Looking to claim the championship, BM became much more aggressive in the last match at Icebox, putting much more pressure on the SEA attackers.
Kaifuuu (Sova) dominated the game with his one-tap headshots at off-angle hits, completely destroying the team’s action plan.
Along with him was Rapyboi (Chamber), who domineered game 3 for BM with his crucial clutches midgame and eventually brought the championships with the final kill, 13-10. He went home with a 26-16-3 record. SEA’s Jov, however, was declared match MVP with a 31/19/2 KDA.
Redeeming last year’s demise
Due to rule violations, the Vipers were disqualified from playing in the finals last year, where the Tigers competed in their stead. BM only finished in third place.
“Last year’s disqualification was really unfortunate for the team, but this year’s Palaro, we wanted to bounce back and redeem ourselves in getting that title. We are very happy that we succeeded and won against the SEA cluster,” Lao explained.
He added that the team would like to thank the people who believed in them since last year and is grateful to have finally redeemed themselves with the pride of the BM Vipers. The team looks forward to dominating once again next year.
Clavero shared that having to spend time with his team was their highlight of the tournament. He also acknowledges the people who helped them get to the finals.
“We, as a team, appreciate the people who helped set up everything for us for this event, from guiding us through the orientation to encouraging us to do our best, from arranging our scrims to supporting our every game,” he said.
Both teams went to the finals with an almost clean record, only a single defeat against reigning champions, the Computer Studies (CS) Chameleons, who only placed third in this year’s bout.