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Philippine Esports: The Best of 2016

Remember TNC's magical run through TI6?

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Editorial Team


For consecutive years, the Philippines has failed to reach the League of Legends World Championships ever since Mineski-LoL did it in season 3, all the way back in 2013.

The closest we've ever gotten since then was earlier this year, when then-Pro Gaming Series champions Imperium Pro Team came within two series wins from becoming the first Filipino team to reach the International Wildcards as they found themselves in the Garena Pro League playoffs in almost two years.

Unfortunately, it was not meant to be as they were eliminated in the semifinals. With their Summer counterparts, Acclaim ExmpireX, failing to even make it to the playoffs, it looks like it's back to square one for our country's mightiest summoners.

HONORABLE MENTION: 2016 Esports and Gaming Summit (ESGS)

Slowly, but surely, the ESGS is starting to carve its own niche that makes it less dependent on esports as it was in the past, with this year's edition focusing more on the general gaming aspect of its name as opposed to esports itself, to much success.

Still, having hosted a host of well-organized esports events such as the MPGL8 Grand Finals, the VainGlory StormGuard Finals and the FGC's very own Brawl Fest, as well as viewing parties for the final legs of theBoston Major SEA Regionals and the 2016 LoL World Championships, the ESGS deserves more than just a shoutout.

10. CFS Invitational Manila


History was made October 15-16 when SMX hosted the CrossFire Invitational Manila, the very first CF event featuring international players to take place on Philippine soil.

Unfortunately, the hometown heroes Pacific Macta finished last, otherwise this event would have proven to be more iconic (read: higher up this list).

9. Mski-CS:GO 2nd Place @ BenQ SEA Invitational

The only other FPS entry in our top 10, this one is also a last-minute heart breaker.

Despite easily being PH CS:GO's best finish in an international tournament, the accomplishment takes a dip when you take into account the fact that Mineski CS:GO had a 1-0 cushion (by virtue of winning the UB) heading into the bo3 grand finals, where they would be easily dealt with by JYP, a team they had beaten earlier in the tournament.

Narrative-wise, though, things are looking up for the Philippines' most accomplished CS:GO team of 2016, as the BenQ Invitational in Malaysia was their first run with recent addition Ronard 'Yonggi' Tecson.

8. Manila Cup

The biggest international Fighting Game Event in the Philippines returns for its second year, once again bringing with it a slew of international fighers, including one of the FGC's biggest icons in Justin Wong.

With such a successful event, we're looking forward to what the boys from IPT are dishing out for 2017.

7. AcA 2nd Place @ IESF

Banner Photo © Acion Arena Twitter

READ MORE ABOUT IT HERE: It's a Silver Finish for Acion Arena at IeSF Indonesia

Despite being a largely overlooked event due to its insistence in obsolete nationality-locked tournament formats, the International eSports Festival (IeSF) in Indonesia last October saw what was easily PH LoL's greatest achievement of the year.

Acion Arena did the country proud as they raced to a second place finish, losing out only to the esports juggernauts of South Korea. All this while failing to qualify for the PGS, the Philippines' official road to Worlds.

6. PH Triumph in WESG APAC Finals: s1 Lykos (3rd), TNC, Staz

© s1 Lykos manager Jhake Santos

READ MORE ABOUT IT HERE: PH Delegates win over 500,000 PHP in the WESG 2016 APAC Finals

Dota teams s1 Lykos, TNC Pro Team, and Hearthstone pro Euneil 'Staz' Javiñas of the Philippine Alliance PHA) all secured their spots in the WESG World Championships by making deep runs in the Asia and Pacific finals, held in South Korea earlier just a month ago.

s1 Lykos themselves rose from the competition as they bagged third place despite playing with a relatively new roster.

5. Mineski-Dota's Scorching Summer: Qualifying for ESL One Manila and Manila Major


While Mineski-Dota mostly flew in the shadows of TNC Pro Team and Execration during the latter portions of 2016, fans with longer memories will still remember their dominance from the first half of the year.

The red and black waxed its hottest as the Philippines entered the Summer, bagging the right to represent the Philippines in the first global Dota LANs to be hosted in the country: ESL One Manila and the Manila Major.

4. Dj's Return to the PH: Execration closes 2016 on top


2016 saw Djardel Jicko 'Dj' Mampusti becoming the consensus number one Filipino Dota player, becoming the first Pinoy to reach the top four of Valve's annual main event, The International Dota 2 Championships, on top off attending all Valve events for the 2015-2016 season.

However, the bigger story here is his subsequent return to the Philippines, looking to use his knowledge of what it takes to be truly elite in order to take Pinoy Dota to new heights. Chock in the middle of the Post-TI6 shuffle, Execration quickly picked up the region's hottest free agent, and hasn't looked back since.

Execration since the Dj Acquisition:

Despite suffering a Major setback with their Visas not being processed in time for them to make it to the Bostosn Major, the Cavite-based group finishes the year on top of the Southeast Asian Dota hierarchy, with a recent 3-2 win over a slumping Team Faceless to win the ASUS ROG SEA Cup erasing all doubt otherwise.



2016 is also the year where the Philippine esports organizing made its global debut, hosting two of the year's biggest Dota 2 events in ESL One Manila (Apr 22-24) and the Manila Major (June 3-12).

And so the world saw just how passionate Pinoy Dota fans can be, with the international players and talents that flew all the way here getting wowed by the loud and crazy crowed that refused to stay silent, begging the question if there is any other fanbase in the world that could rock a stadium the way Filipinos do?

2. Ending the Philippines' TI Drought


We don't know what got us going more: TNC Pro Team winning the TI6 SEA Qualifiers, Execration earning the region's spot to the Wildcards in Seattle, or both teams hammering out a nail-biting victory in their duel against Visa woes.

Whatever. All these together comprise perhaps one of the most magical sagas ever in the entire history of Philippine esports: the end of the country's 5-year TI drought. Thanks to TNC and XctN, the Philippines, one of the most passionate Dota fanbases in the world, finally had home-grown teams to root for on the biggest stage of them all.

This was #LabanPinas at its hypest. Or so we thought at the time.

In any other year, this would have easily been the number one entry. However, we have...

1. TNC's Magical Journey @ TI6


TNC are perhaps responsible for the single greatest upset in TI history: the elimination of tournament-favorites OG just outside the top 8 mark.

But while the orange boys' triumphant 2-0 conquest of the (then) two-time Major champions may have been the crowning moment of their TI6 campaign, their short but worthwhile stay in Seattle was so much more than just that.

They immediately wowed the world by showcasing just what Pinoy Dota is capable of, finishing the group stage with a respectable 7-7 record (for a .500 winrate), and earning the distinction of being one of only two teams to have taken series wins against eventual world champions Wings Gaming as they went undefeated against Chinese teams.

Despite starting the main event in the lower bracket, it is clear that TNC's run played a big part in the shaping of the TI6 landscape, thanks to their shocking elimination of the #DreamGreen gang. They would then take eventual second placers Digital Chaos to a game three before getting eliminated and ending what was easily one of PH esports' greatest runs in history.

Do you agree with our choices? What are some highlights that you think should be in our list as well? Comment below!