There was an intense atmosphere at TNC Cebu on Oct. 29, 2023. as four teams battled it out to punch their tickets to the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) Esports League (CEL) Valorant finals.
Among the four teams who gave their very best to represent their schools, only two rose to the occasion as they became one step closer to the championship: the University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R) Adelante and the University of Cebu (UC) Webmasters.
The USJ-R Adelante topped its lower-bracket match-up against the University of Cebu-Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue (UCLM) Webmasters with a hard-fought victory as they grabbed a 2-1 series win.
The first game for the USJ-R Adelante was rough as the team slipped through the hands of the Webmasters, 10-13. Nevertheless, USJ-R regained momentum and won the second game to tie the series 1-1. It was a neck-to-neck battle in Game 3 as USJ-R and UCLM headed to overtime. Despite the extra rounds, USJ-R Adelante became victorious and bagged the series 2-1. USJ-R in-game leader, John Michael “Kel” Canoy, played a crucial role in leading their team to victory as he racked up an average of 25 kills and four assists throughout this series.
The UC Webmasters proved its ground and demonstrated that its players are the “comeback kings” of this tournament as the team swept the Cebu Institute of Technology-University (CIT-U) Wildcats in a 2-0 series game.
The outcome of the first game came without warning as the Webmasters returned from a 1-11 first-half score, leading the game to overtime. UC Webmasters kept its composure during the overtime rounds, bringing home the victory, 16-14. The same thing also happened in the second game as the Webmasters were down by 3-9 in the first half. The Webmasters took the game to new heights in the second half and sent CIT-U to the lower bracket in a comeback victory, 13-11, to win the series and punch their ticket to the finals. Elevating his team to the finals was Dante “neekzera” Tumulak, who averaged 27 kills and five assists. He was also the match MVP for both matches in this series against CIT-U.
Moving on to the final match was the lower bracket semi-finals, wherein USJ-R and CIT-U went head-to-head to determine who will face the UC Webmasters in the final stage of the tournament. CIT-U took over the first game despite being close to another comeback by the USJ-R. USJ-R sent the game to overtime but the Wildcats put an end to its opponent’s hopes of winning, taking Game 1 with a score of 14-12.
Things got intense in the second game as USJ-R dominated the entire game with a 12-7 victory and evened the series 1-1. The deciding match for this series was as intense, if not for both teams, as they faced another overtime game. Adelante dominated the first half, but things took a significant turn in the second half as the Wildcats kept their hopes up and brought the game to overtime. Nonetheless, USJ-R won Game 3, 15-13, taking the last finals spot. Canoy again showed off in their close-out victory against CIT-U, bagging 26 kills and nine assists.
With the final picture all set, both teams are ready to take on one another to become the first-ever CEL Valorant division champions. The CEL Valorant Finals will be held at the IEC Convention Center on Nov. 19.