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A gold, silver, and bronze on the last day of SEA Games esports

MANILA, Philippines – Caviar "EnDerr" Acampado added another gold to the Philippines' esports haul on Tuesday, December 10. The 27-year-old defeated Singapore's Thomas "Blysk" Kopankiewicz in dominating fashion for the Starcraft II leg of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, winning 4 games to 1 in their best-of-7 series. 

There were a few moments when Kopankiewicz managed to deal some damage to Acampado's base, especially in game 3 when he managed to amass enough units to win. But most of the time, Acampado appeared to be in control, successfully countering the Singaporean's attacks, with highlights including the use of Nydus canals that allowed him to tranport units close to the opponent's base, and actions that fended off the opponent's attempts to expand in the last game. 

Acampado was a heavy favorite in the tournament, and a heavy favorite against Kopankiewicz. The most drama we saw was from the upper bracket finals against his biggest nemesis, Vietnam's Tran "MeomaikA" Hong Phuc, which went to a do-or-die game 5. Tran had a chance to get back to the grand finals but was defeated by Kopankiewicz in the lower bracket finals. 

Tekken 7

Both Filipino contenders, Andreij Hosea "Doujin" Albar and Alexandre Gabrielle "AK" Laverez, made their way to the upper bracket playoffs as expected – both going against Thai players in the opening round. Laverez dropped his series, 0-3, and fell to the lower bracket against Nopparut "Book" Hempamorn, possibly the toughest non-Filipino combatant in the tourney.

Albar got revenge for his teammate in the next matchup, sweeping his opponent, and proceeding to the next round of the upper bracket playoffs. 

In round 2 of the lower bracket, Laverez beat Malaysia's Abdul Shukor Abdul Rahim, 3-1. Laverez won the first 2 games with Akuma before Malaysia's Bryan finally got one over Akuma. Laverez finished off Malaysia in the last game with one of his favorite picks, Shaheen. Laverez won against Thailand's Tanasoontornngoon Rachawin in the semis, 3-1, to proceed to the lower bracket finals.

There, he faced his Philippine teammate Albar, who fell to the lower bracket finals after losing to Thailand's Hempamorn in the upper bracket finals. At that point, both players were assured of at least a bronze medal. 

It was Laverez though that who'd proceed to the grand finals, after a lower bracket finals that went the entire 5 games. Game 5 was intense as both players were down to their last health, but Laverez got the better of the exchanges, knocking off Albar's Panda with his Shaheen. Albar won the bronze for his efforts.

In the grand finals, Laverez drew first blood beating Hempamorn 3-2 in game 1, with both players picking Akuma. Akuma gave Laverez trouble in the first upper bracket meeting with Hempamorn but seemed to be more accustomed to the character in the finals. But Hempamorn adjusted quickly in the next game, and swept Laverez 3-0, both players sticking to their Akuma. AK recovered from the sweep in game 3, taking the 1st match, but Hempamorn proved too strong, eventually taking the game in 5 matches. 

Laverez switched to his pet pick Shaheen in game 4, his back against the wall, and he quickly got the first win of the match. The two traded wins in the next 3 matches. In Game 5, Laverez, facing defeat, won the game via time-out, getting in a few more hits, and ended with more health than Hempamorn. 

The game came down to the final game again just like in Mobile Legends and Dota 2. But the ending wouldn't favor the Philippines this time. Hempamorn defeated Laverez handily in the last game, winning 3-1, including a perfect second match. 

Laverez was shown on camera with his hand in his face, dejected, after the match, but the Filipino gave it his all, and that's just how sports is sometimes. Whether it's a traditional sport or an electronic one, the emotions are all real. 

The Philippines finishes with 3 gold medals (Mobile Legends, Dota 2, Starcraft II), 1 silver (Tekken 7) and 1 bronze (Tekken 7). – Rappler.com

Gelo Gonzales

Gelo Gonzales is Rappler’s technology editor. He covers consumer electronics, social media, emerging tech, and video games.

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