Fresh from winning a championship, TNC Predator started its redemption bid in the Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) Season 2-Southeast Asia Upper Division with a 2-0 sweep of Execration on Wednesday night, April 14.
Star midlaner Armel “Armel” Tabios’ Beastmaster went ham in the series opener while ace carry Kim “Gabbi” Santos’ Luna spearheaded TNC’s come-from-behind victory in the second game.
TNC, a few days removed from its run to back-to-back titles in the APAC Predator League with its all-Filipino roster, seized an early joint leadership with Smart Omega which beat Lilgun, 2-1, earlier.
The Filipino powerhouse team, which opted to banner an all-Pinoy roster anew by getting Marvin “Boomy” Rushton and Jun “Bok” Kanehara to replace Kim “Febby” Yong Min and Damien “kpii” Chok, is seeking to make it to the Major this season after failing to qualify for the ONE Esports Singapore Major.
And it was a great head start for the TI veteran squad as it exacted revenge on the Execration squad that swept them 2-0 early in the previous season and eventually affected their chances to enter the SG Major.
Armel was able to secure an Aghanim’s Scepter on his Beastmaster just 12 minutes into Game 1 and with the hero’s heavily-buffed Wild Axes, the 11K MMR midlaner cut his way to 14 kills and 19 assists against a death in the 34-minute 40-17 victory.
Execration seemed poised to force a do-or-die game with Yuri Dave “Yowe” Pacaña’s Invoker and Nikko “Nikko” Bilocura’s Mars leading the team’s early aggression in Game 2.
But TNC was able to buy time and space for Gabbi’s Luna to farm his core items Black King Bar, Manta Style, Hurricane Pike and Daedalus for him to take matters into his own hands in the closing stretch.
Gabbi came through with 14 kills and nine assists against five deaths to lead TNC to a 39-minute triumph while Timothy “Tims” Randrup on his signature Mirana also stepped up with well-placed Sacred Arrows en route to 21 assists.
TNC will next face fellow opening day winner Omega on April 21 even as Execration will try to bounce back immediately on Thursday, April 15 against Boom Esports of Indonesia.