Filipino powerhouse Bren Esports have staked their claim as the best VALORANT team in Southeast Asia after they soundly swept Singapore's Paper Rex 3-0 to claim the championship of the 2021 VALORANT Champions Tour (VCT) SEA Stage 3 Challengers Playoffs on Sunday (22 August).
Bren Esports and Paper Rex topped their respective groups during the tournament's group stage then swept through the first two rounds of the playoffs to meet in the upper bracket finals.
Paper Rex defeated Bren Esports 2-1 to become the first team in the grand finals and send their opponents down to the lower bracket finals. Bren Esports managed to bounce back from their previous loss to sweep Indonesia's Alter Ego 2-0 and force a rematch with Paper Rex for the championship.
While the best-of-five grand finals ended up being a 3-0 sweep for Bren Esports, the end result belied how the eventual champions had to fight tooth and nail for their title. The first two games, in particular, were closely-contested nail-biters that could only be decided in overtime.
Game one in Bind saw both teams look as evenly matched as they could be all throughout regulation. Both halves ended with both teams notching six rounds apiece, forcing the first overtime period of the finals.
The stalemate remained unbroken through four more rounds until the Filipinos managed to win string together back-to-back wins to eventually claim the first map of the finals 16-14.
Bren Esports looked like they were starting to gain momentum over their opponents in game two in Split, as they ended the first half with a 7-5 round lead. However, Paper Rex struck back after the side switch and went on a 7-5 run of their own to force the second-straight overtime period of the series.
The Filipinos proved they could handle the pressures of overtime better than their opponents, as they notched two unanswered rounds to claim victory in game two, 14-12, and come within match point.
Despite having battling through two-straight hard-fought games that went into overtime, Bren Esports didn't seem to have lost any steam heading into game three in Icebox. The Filipinos dominated the first half 9-3 and only needed four more rounds to claim the title.
However, Paper Rex managed to put up a valiant last stand after the side switch and steal away three rounds before Bren Esports took care of business and secured the series sweep with a 13-6 win.
With their victory, Bren Esports claimed the grand prize of US$25,000 and the right to call themselves the best VALORANT team in Southeast Asia. Paper Rex take home US$15,000 in consolation.
As the top two teams of the VCT SEA Stage 3 Challengers Playoffs, both Bren Esports and Paper Rex also earned the right to represent their region in the VCT Stage 3 Masters tournament in Berlin, Germany.
VCT Masters Berlin will take place from 9 to 19 September and will feature 16 of the best VALORANT teams from all around the world fighting for the chance to claim a direct seed to the VALORANT Champions tournament — the final and marquee event of the 2021 VCT — at the end of the year.
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