As the Dota Pro Circuit (DPC)-Southeast Asia upper division goes on a crucial stretch, veteran offlaner Damien "kpii" Chok stressed that TNC Predator is now playing with laser-sharp focus to remain in the race for a spot in the first Dota 2 Major of the year.
TNC tightened its hold of No. 3 in the eight-team standings with a 3-2 record after its 2-0 sweep of Boom Esports on Wednesday night highlighted by a comeback Game 1 win behind the destructive duo of Morphling and Earthshaker with Aghanim's Shard.
TNC is just behind surprising leader Neon Esports which has a pristine 4-0 slate and Fnatic with a 3-1 card, but has T1 and Boom hot on its heels with a 2-2 and 2-3 records, respectively.
Only the top three teams will advance to the Singapore Major next month, with the No. 1 getting a ticket straight to the Major playoffs, the No. 2 taking a spot in the group stage and the No. 3 settling for the wild card phase.
Although kpii said that the team's all-out mentality stayed the same, the one-time The International (TI) runner-up emphasized the Filipino squad's solid concentration following a shaky start to the season.
"We're still kind of just the same old 'try our best'. But I guess we're extremely, extremely focused right now compared to our very first match," said kpii during the post-match interview livestreamed by PGL.
"It kinda sucks that we lost our first match but you know, it is what it is," he added.
The 27-year-old pro was referring to the shocking 2-0 defeat that TNC suffered at the hands of qualifier Execration last January 23.
The Filipino powerhouse team bounced back with a 2-0 beating of Vice Esports four days later, but then lost 2-1 to Neon on January 30.
It was only on Wednesday that TNC managed to post a winning streak, with its victory over Boom serving as a fitting follow-up to its thrilling 2-1 win against T1 last February 6.
And that's thanks to the overpowering combo of 11k MMR carry Kim "Gabbi" Santos' Morphling and 10k MMR position-four support Timothy "Tims" Randrup's Earthshaker, which baffled a lot including kpii himself.
"To be honest, I don't recall a game where we practiced that specific combo. So I think we were kind of shocked, at least I was a little bit shocked," said the former Newbee and Mineski standout.
"But I think maybe Gabbi or Tims might have seen it before so for them it was just another day in the office."
As satisfying was its victory over Boom, TNC still cannot let its guard down with only two weeks of action left in the SEA Regional League.