Team Secret seeks redemption in VCT Pacific League

Michelle Lojo - Philstar.com
Team Secret seeks redemption in VCT Pacific League

MANILA, Philippines — Team Secret, the Philippines’ representatives to the Valorant Challengers Tour (VCT) Pacific League, is ready to leave the past behind them as they keep their eyes on the prize: qualifying for Valorant Masters and eventually stepping back to the world stage in Valorant Champions.

"[The main goal is to win and] to qualify [for] masters and eventually champions league. Obviously we were lacking so much last year and we want to prove to everyone else that last year was last year and this year is this year," Team Secret's Jaybee "DubsteP" Paguirigan said during VCT Pacific's media face-off.

VCT Pacific League is the new format of Valorant's Esports Tournament in which three leagues have been set-up across different regions all over the world: Pacific, EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) and Americas (Brazil, North and Latin America). Each league will have eight weeks of League Play (Regular Stage). Only the top six teams will advance to the playoffs, and the top three teams overall will qualify for Valorant Masters Tokyo happening in June.

During last year's VCT season, Team Secret failed to qualify for Valorant Champions, finishing fourth during the 2022 Last Chance Qualifiers and third in the second stage of VCT Challengers and missing out on Valorant Masters Copenhagen.

Hoping for redemption, Team Secret started the season with a huge upset, winning against Netherland's Team Liquid, 2-0, in their opening match at the VCT LOCK//IN held in São Paulo, Brazil last February. But the squad was eliminated by Ukraine's NAVI Esports.

"I think the key learning from LOCK//IN is that we must play hard, play smart and also have fun because [when] facing NAVI I think everyone in the team didn't show the a-game that we wanted. So we have to live with it and we learn a lot from it," admitted Jim "BORKUM" Timbreza.

Looking ahead to their matches in the coming weeks, Timbreza shares that the team has made adjustments in and off game as the team are currently having their boot camp in South Korea.

"[Adjusting to the new boot camp], the team is [already] used to the new set up. [The main difference] is just the environment because of its cozy weather. [The bigger adjustment is how we play] as adjusting to the Pacific League is more like adjusting to more different play styles." said Timbreza. 

When Riot Games' announced the revamped format of VCT, Team Secret was also announced as the sole team raising the banner of the Philippines as other dominant Valorant squad, RRQ, will now represent Indonesia, even with Filipinos still in their roster.

Team Secret has been the leading Filipino Valorant team since 2021. They reached the quarterfinals of the 2021 Valorant Champions after ruling the Philippine qualifiers and reaching the Southeast Asia knockouts thrice. 

Besides their performance in Valorant earning them their slot in VCT Pacific, Riot Games Philippines country manager Joel Guzman believes that Team Secret embodies the Philippine Valorant scene.

"I think their level of play excites a lot of Filipinos. The way they do their aggressive plays surprises a lot of fans all over the globe. Other teams in the league want to take it slow and steady and Team Secret surprises them with their high intensity play. The energy level that they bring is one of the key factors as to why they represent the Philippines in VCT Pacific. Plus the fact that they are super-duper good," said Guzman during the local kickoff of VCT Pacific held last March 17 in Mandaluyong.

Team Secret will open their ampaign against Talon Esports of Thailand on March 26 at 8 p.m. (Manila time).



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