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ESL One Manila on site day one recap

Dota 2 Robert “Midnight_97” De Guzman

The long awaited day has come and ESL One has finally opened their doors to the Philippines. The very long line at the entrance of SM Mall of Asia Arena was proof of how anticipated this event was. The noise coming from the crowd signals the start of something important. The emotion of the people when they entered the arena was wonderful and it brought a lively aura to the whole place.

First thing to notice after entering is the ambience of the environment. ESL and the staff respected the Filipino culture, arranging the lights so that they reflect the Philippine flag. It is refreshing to see that cultures still matter even when different regions are fighting for the prize. Even the players expressed their interest in the country, praising the food and the people.

The day started with a visit from Senator Bam Aquino offering some encouraging words to the teams, and especially to the Filipino Pride, Mineski. This signifies the rise of eSports in the Philippines, having support and recognition from the government. 

The arena was filled with enthusiastic spectators, shouting here and there, cheering for their beloved teams while waving their banners to show their support. The first game of the day was a thrilling series even with Mineski facing compLexity. The home crowd was a visible support for Mineski, being so aggressive on the early stages of game one. Although, they ended up losing their advantage and calling out "GG", they found revenge in the form of game two. At the end of the day, coL took the series 2-1, eliminating Mineski from the tournament. The casters highlighted their respect to Mineski, putting up such a good fight while being under pressure.

After the bloodbath of Mineski and coL, everyone had to take a break to eat and rest. Some of the players sat down for lunch with the crew while some ordered other foods. The aura these players brought to the eating area was heavy and light at the same time. It is nice to eat with such superstars but we all know that some of them are fighting each other to survive.

At every big tournament we can't leave out the costumes. Cosplaying is a phenomenal sensation and ESL is no exception. The audience had the chance to admire amazingly crafted costumes for Templar Assassin, Drow Ranger, Windranger, Medusa, Queen of Pain, and more. This also helps influence the growth of eSports in Dota 2 as cosplaying is a way to express interest. It is a nice addition to the flavor of the already entertaining games that are happening.

Time goes by fast when you're having fun, but that didn't stop the spectators from showing up early to witness the standoff between two powerhouses. It was probably the most hyped, anticipated, and entertaining game of the day. EHOME and Secret faced off in an elimination match to determine who would go against Team Empire. While the teams walked towards the stage, the crowd chanted so loudly that the casters were almost inaudible in the arena.

After two short games, Secret eliminated EHOME with ease in a dominant fashion, taking the series 2-0. Eri Neeman invited Puppey in front of the stage for one moment that we would all remember, a fairy tale story in ESL One Manila

The day continued with coL vs Wings Gaming matchup, an equally important series for determining the playoffs bracket. Game one looked like it was going the wrong way for both teams, being called a pub match. It was entertaining to see the pocket strategy that coL kept, the "Gary" strat as so called by SirActionSlacks. Wings never left their base without any TPs because of the threat that the enemy Lifestealer brought, running around the map and annoying the Radiant heroes. It was dead even between these two teams but in the end, Wings persevered and made their way into the semi-finals where they will be facing Fmatic.

The last game of the day saw two teams having a grudge match as Secret faced the team that defeated them yesterday, Team Empire. With the good start they made after defeating EHOME, Team Secret looked good in game one and managed to push Team Empire over the edge. Everyone was rooting for Team Secret to close the series 2-0 but Empire came back with a splash in game two on the back of amazing plays of KingR on Rubick, stealing black holes here and there and dealing massive amounts of damage. Unshaken and composed, Empire managed to claim the series 2-1 and surprised everyone with a huge comeback. They pushed their way forward, into the semi-finals where they will be facing Team Liquid.

We look forward to seeing the second day to determine who will take home the ESL Trophy. Join us tomorrow for some more on site content here at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

Fun Facts:

  • Puppey is afraid of Balot
  • Iceiceice loves Filipinos
  • KingR dealt 5996 damage with his stolen Black Holes, 5219 more than Puppey
  • Bokerino loves Cliffs
  • Doom is loved by everone
  • Eri Neeman can speak "Half" Chinese
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Robert “Midnight_97” De Guzman
<p>I am a dedicated, passionate, and cheerful Dota 2 Player and Content Creator. I like playing games, chatting with friends and doing anything related to Dota 2. Follow me on Twitter: @ndguzman97</p>

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