Neon crushes Kuku, T1 in two straight games to take Major group stage spot

Published February 27, 2021, 11:22 PM

by Jeremiah Sevilla

Neon Esports came back roaring from a series opening loss to trample on T1, 2-1, in the Dota Pro Circuit (DPC)-Southeast Asia Upper Division tiebreaker for the Singapore Major group stage spot on Saturday night, Feb. 27. 

With its back against the wall after the Game 1 defeat, Neon went to the deadly duo of 10K MMR midlaner Erin Jasper “Yopaj” Ferrer’s Void Spirit and 11K MMR carry John Anthony “Natsumi-” Vargas’ Io to score a 40-13 victory in 47 minutes in Game 2. 

Yopaj slashed his way to 20 kills and 14 assists against four deaths while Natsumi finished with 10 kills and 18 assists with only a single death. 

Neon then unleashed a “dual carry” lineup in the winner-take-all Game 3 featuring the Razor of Natsumi and Wraith King of Andrei “debil_2000” Ong (also known as “Skem”), who played as the offlaner in this crucial series. 

Yopaj’s Queen of Pain, position-4 support Prieme “PlayHard” Maque’s Lina and position-5 Jaunuel “Jaunuel” Arcilla’s Disruptor were equally impressive as Neon showed its signature aggression to obliterate T1, 36-8, in 43 minutes. 

With the come-from-behind series win, Neon clinched a spot in the group stage of the first Dota 2 Major tournament of 2021 which will be hosted by ONE Esports and PGL on March 27 to April 4. 

T1, which suffered from an unlikely lackluster performance by veteran Filipino offlaner Carlo “Kuku” Palad, settled for a seat in the Major wild card phase where it is set to face the TI7 winning team Nigma (formerly Team Liquid) and possibly the two-time TI champion OG. 

Kuku went on a combined record of zero kills and 26 deaths in Games 2 and 3. He was 0-16 on his Venomancer in the second game and 0-10 on his Legion Commander in the do-or-die game. 

T1 was not able to replicate its 2-1 stunner over Neon last Thursday, Feb. 25 which secured them a spot in the Major and forced the best-of-three tiebreaker. 

Fnatic already bagged the top spot that guarantees a ticket to the Major playoffs after amassing a 6-1 record. 

Filipino powerhouse TNC Predator (4-3), the last SEA team to win a Major, missed out on the SG tourney but remained in the Upper Division for next season nonetheless.