Filipino hopefuls Team Secret's journey at VALORANT Champions 2021 has come to an end, after they fell to Europe's Acend in a 2-0 sweep in the Playoff quarterfinals on Thursday (9 December).
Secret qualified for the VALORANT Champions Playoffs by taking the second seed of Group C, where they lost their opening match to Gambit Esports.
The team then bounced back and scored back-to-back sweeps over Crazy Raccoon and Team Vikings to punch their ticket to the quarterfinals.
Meanwhile, Acend entered the Playoffs as the unlikely first seed of Group A, but now without having to go through some controversy.
The European squad initially lost their opening match of the group against Brazilian team Keyd Stars, 2-1. Shortly after that match, VALORANT developer Riot Games announced that they found Keyd Stars were using an in-game exploit in game three and thus decided to take away rounds from the Brazilian team, which ultimately resulted with Acend taking the series victory instead.
The developer then later retracted its earlier decision, instead forcing both teams to replay the third game of their series with Acend being given a 7-0 advantage to account for the round that Keyd Stars were using the exploit.
Despite starting the game down 0-7, Keyd Stars still managed to take 10 rounds before ultimately losing to Acend. The European squad then swept Team Envy in the Group A winner's match to lock up their spot in the Playoffs.
Acend had a strong start in the quarterfinals against Secret, opening the first half of game one in Icebox with a 5-0 run before taking a 8-4 lead into halftime.
The Filipino squad looked to strike back after the side switch and managed to win four rounds before the Europeans eventually won the map with a 13-8 score.
Game two in Breeze started out the same as game one, with Acend going on another 5-0 run to kick things off before closing the half with a 8-4 lead.
Despite Secret's best efforts to mount a comeback, they only managed to steal away two rounds as Acend secured the 2-0 sweep with a commanding 13-6 showing.
Acend are through to the Playoff semi-finals and will be facing fellow Europeans Team Liquid.
With their loss, Secret bow out of VALORANT Champions 2021 in 5th-8th place and with US$40,000 in consolation.
While the Filipinos fall well short of the championship, it is still an admirable performance when considering this was their first-ever international VALORANT LAN tournament.
Secret's roster had a whirlwind journey to VALORANT Champions. After spending much of the year with Filipino organisation Bren Esports, the roster missed out on attending Masters Berlin tournament back in September due to visa issues.
The players parted ways with their former organisation not long after, eventually finding a new home in renowned international organisation Team Secret and qualifying for VALORANT Champions while they watched Masters Berlin play out from home.
For everything you need to know about VALORANT Champions 2021, check here.