Sanford “Sanford” Vinuya put up a performance to remember in his young career, spearheading ECHO to a dominant 3-1 victory over RRQ Hoshi in the lower bracket finals to forge another PH vs PH finale in the M4 World Championship at the Tennis Indoor Stadium Senayan in Jakarta, Indonesia on Saturday, Jan. 14.
The young EXP laner capped a stellar performance with a back-to-back MVP performance in Games 3 and 4, even scoring a Maniac on his signature Lapu-Lapu pick in the series-clinching win to seal the last spot in the grand finals and set up a rematch against defending champion Blacklist International.
Sanford put on the pressure on the RRQ’s main damage dealers with daredevil dives on the backlines to finish with a 7-3-6. Fellow young gun Alston “Sanji” Pabico provided the follow up from the distance to the setups with a 6-2-7 KDA on the Pharsa.
Karl “Karltzy” Nepomuceno also outplayed Albert “Alberttt” Iskandar in their jungle matchup, veering away from his usual shifty and dazzling assassin picks with utility junglers that proved to be pivotal on his return to the grand stage for the first time since winning in the M2 Worlds.
It was the Orcas which drew the series first blood with a 17-6 victory in Game 1 behind an impressive start from Sanford on the Yu Zhong pick who anchored the Crowd Control composition of the Philippine representatives.
RRQ didn’t go down without a fight as a Diggie pick answered irs problems to ECHO’s CC, allowing Alberttt to unleash a perfect 6-0-6 KDA to power a 15-6 Game 2 retaliation.
The loss, however, didn’t bother ECHO as Yawi on the signature Atlas, Sanford on the Lapu Lapu and Karltzy on the Akai showed the way in the 18-11 win to move to the series match point in Game 3.