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Filipino underdogs Team Secret have emerged as one of the biggest surprises of VALORANT Champions 2021 after a spirited run in Group C saw them eliminate Japan's Crazy Raccoon and Brazil's Team Vikings to secure a spot in the Playoffs.
Secret's debut in VALORANT Champions was notably a trial by fire against Masters Berlin champions Gambit Esports in the opening match of Group C, with the Filipino squad turning heads after a dominant 13-6 victory in game one.
However, Gambit completely shut them down with a 13-0 sweep in game two before claiming the 2-1 series victory with a 13-6 showing in game three.
With their loss to Gambit, Secret were then pit against Crazy Raccoon — who were swept in their own opening series against Team Vikings — in Group C's first elimination match.
Secret looked dominant against their Japanese opponents, starting the series strong with a 8-4 showing in the first half of game one in Split. The Filipinos then went on a 5-1 run after the side switch to take a comfortable 13-5 win to open the match.
Game two in Haven was an absolute stomp, with Secret blitzing Crazy Raccoon and taking a 10-2 lead heading into halftime. The Filipinos didn't take their foot off the gas in the second half, scoring the three-straight rounds they needed to claim the series sweep.
— VALORANT Champions Tour (@ValorantEsports) December 5, 2021
Secret were then pit against Team Vikings, who narrowly lost the winner's match to Gambit in a 2-1 thriller, for the last spot in the Playoffs for Group C.
Much like the previous series, the Filipinos started the match strong by taking a 9-3 lead heading into halftime of game one on Haven. Team Vikings came out swinging after the side switch, managing to steal three rounds away before Secret locked up the four rounds they needed to take a 13-6 victory in game one.
Team Vikings then flipped the script in game two at Icebox, as they looked to be in control early in the first half with a 3-1 lead. Secret struck back hard by going on a 7-1 run and headed into the second half with momentum on their side.
Team Vikings didn't go down without a fight, managing to steal away three rounds after the side switch. However, Secret could not be denied as they finished game two with a commanding 13-7 showing to secure the series sweep.
— VALORANT Champions Tour (@ValorantEsports) December 7, 2021
Jayvee "DubsteP" Paguirigan was the man of the hour for Secret as they locked up a spot in the Playoffs, notching the highest kill-death ratio of the match with 1.73 off of 45 kills and four assists against 26 deaths across two dominant games on Jett.
With their victories over Crazy Raccoon and Team Vikings, Secret are heading to the Playoffs as the second seed of Group C behind Gambit. The Filipino hopefuls have also secured at least a Top 8 finish and US$40,000 in winnings.
Secret will be facing European powerhouse Acend in the quarterfinals on Thursday (9 December).
Prior to their unprecedented run to the VALORANT Champions Playoffs, Secret's roster went through a lot on their way to their tournament.
After spending much of the year with Filipino organisation Bren Esports, the roster missed out on attending Masters Berlin tournament back in September due to visa issues.
The players parted ways with their former organisation not long after, eventually finding a new home in renown international organisation Team Secret and qualifying for VALORANT Champions while they watched Masters Berlin play out from home.
For everything you need to know about VALORANT Champions 2021, check here.