TNC Predator star midlaner Armel “Armel” Tabios is eager to go up against their fierce rival Fnatic in an all-important series in the Dota Pro Circuit (DPC)-Southeast Asia upper division.
Dubbed as the “SEA El Clasico,” the much-awaited match between the two powerhouse teams is slated on Wednesday, February 24, at 7 p.m.
“I’m really looking forward to that match. We’re training really hard these days,” said Armel, who is part of the elite 11K MMR club and currently ranked No. 6 in the SEA leaderboard.
“We’re kind of rivals. So we’re gonna do our best against those guys,” added the 21-year-old pro.
Stakes could not get higher as both TNC and Fnatic are on a must-win scenario to secure their place in the Singapore Major–the first Dota 2 Major tournament this year–that will be hosted by ONE Esports and PGL next month.
TNC, currently tied with T1 at No. 3 on a similar 4-2 record, needs to emerge victorious and hope that the Carlo “Kuku” Palad and Karl “Karl” Baldovino-led T1 will lose to Neon Esports (5-1) on Thursday, February 25, to avoid any complications.
On the other hand, the league-leading Fnatic (5-1) will punch a ticket straight to the Major playoffs with a victory over the Filipino powerhouse squad.
Only the top three teams in the SEA upper division will make it to the Singapore Major, with the No. 1 getting a spot in the playoffs, the No. 2 taking a seat in the group stage and the No. 3 settling for a slot in the wildcard phase.
TNC is coming off a 2-0 sweep of Vietnam’s 496 Gaming behind Armel’s Death Prophet in Game 2 and 11K MMR carry Kim “Gabbi” Santos’ Alchemist in the Game 1 comeback on Saturday night, February 20.
Fnatic, for its part, is fresh from a massive triumph after dealing former leader Neon its first defeat, 2-1, with 11K MMR Filipino carry Polo “Raven” Fausto’s Wraith King leading the charge together with Malaysian mid laner Kam “Moon” Boon Seng’s Death Prophet in the deciding Game 3.