The dream for the gold at the 30th Southeast Asian Games continues for Sibol - Dota 2, while it went to shambles for Sibol - Arena of Valor after the group stage concluded on Saturday at the San Juan Arena.
Sibol had a rough start to Day 3 of the esports competition. The Arena of Valor squad opened the day with a devastating loss to Vietnam in Group A. Sibol - Arena of Valor bounced back to get a sweep of their own against Myanmar. This, however, was followed by yet another sweep at the hands of Thailand which ended their hopes for a podium finish.
It wasn't all losses for Sibol though. Sibol - Dota 2 were drawn into Group B alongside Laos, Indonesia, and Myanmar. The Filipinos swept Laos to open their Group Stage. This was followed by another 2-nil victory over Indonesia, a team that was expected to be one of the stronger teams in the Dota 2 discipline.
Sibol faced Myanmar in the last match of the day. Myanmar drew first blood in the series after showing control and constant pressure. Despite the best efforts from Sibol to defend its base, it just wasn't enough to stop the snowball from Myanmar.
Sibol refused to go down without a fight in the second game, starting with a deficit but found a couple of picks to get the momentum back in its favor. With more confidence and coordination, Sibol was able to rack up an unsurmountable lead. Myanmar was forced to call "gg" and settle with a draw.
"We had a pick in the first game against Myanmar that we deferred in the draft but then got banned. This led to us having to decide on the fly. We decided to try the heroes with new changes in the patch, that's why we there was some hesitation. We pulled it back in Game 2 and executed what we practiced," recalled Sibol - Dota 2 Coach Paolo Bago on how the new patch released mid-tournament affected their series against Myanmar.
With the win, Sibol - Dota 2 avoided the tiebreaker against Laos and more importantly, topped Group B. They will be facing Vietnam in the upper bracket finals in Day 4 of the esports competition.
"We practiced a lot of stuff, talked about a lot of strategies, and we have an idea of what we want to bring tomorrow. As long as we play the game correctly and do the things that we said we were going to do or things that we practiced, I'm going to be happy. For me, it's all about the process. I don't want to change the game plan immediately just because there were new changes," said Bago.