Day 2 of the NBA 2K League APAC Invitational was jam-packed with esports action as Australia and New Zealand team No Way Out were crowned winners of the tournament. However, the championship didn’t come easy and was definitely unexpected. Even No Way Out themselves had no idea it was gonna happen.
The semifinals and finals had no shortage of high-octane energy from both the players and spectators. Every shot thrown, every point scored, and every ball stolen was greeted with roaring screams. The remaining 4 teams were fighting for $5,000 but more importantly, an opportunity to be drafted into the 2024 NBA 2K League. The stakes were high, and the players made sure that their opponents felt it.
No Way Out’s Power from down under
The interesting thing about No Way Out was that they were actually already out (of the tournament). The LGE 45ers already beat them in a 2-1 series during day 1 of the tournament. Aegis Indonesia Patriots were supposed to be the ones facing off against the 45ers in the semifinals. However, the Indonesian NBA 2K team got disqualified due to health protocol-related issues. The No Way Out team was just on their way to their hotels from a shopping trip when they got the call that they were back in the tournament. Every star had to align for No Way Out, and you best believe this was a one-in-a-million opportunity they did not waste.
No Way Out came out running (and screaming) during their match against the LGE 45ers. A relentless 64-37 victory in Game 1 turned everyone’s heads as Monuhh (Soloma Faitaua-Nanai) wasted no time getting up from his chair, shouting at the opposing team with every chance he got. The 45ers had inklings of fighting back during Game 2 but ultimately fell short as No Way Out won 50-42, taking the series in a 2-0 sweep.
On the other side of the venue, the last remaining Philippine team, NAOS Esports was going up against Trapper, a Chinese team that dominated their Day 1 matches. Game 1 looked like a one-sided beating in favor of Trapper as they held a significant lead for the majority of the match. However, NAOS wasn’t going down without a fight and slowly but surely, inched their way back until they were able to force an OT. NAOS Esports eventually won Game 1 69-66.
Not wanting to bow out of the tournament, Trapper tied the series 1-1 with a 64-52 Game 2 win over NAOS. But the competitiveness of Pinoys is second to none and NAOS Esports was able to take Game 3 with a 59-56 win, securing their spot in the Grand Finals against No Way Out.
It was a very exciting matchup. No Way Out who somehow found their way back into the tournament after being eliminated were going up against the Pinoys who were considered to be underdogs leading into the event. However, No Way Out’s determination to fully maximize the crazy second chance they were given proved to be too powerful as they took the Grand Finals 2-0 with a 52-35 final score.
“The entire journey [of the NBA 2K League APAC Invitational] was surreal – from getting a last-minute invitation to the semifinals to overcoming various challenges and finally emerging victorious. Our initial games were indeed tough and when we realized that we got a second chance, we used that as fuel for the tournament and that belief is what led us to victory.” said Solomona “Monuhh” Faitaua-Nanai; No Way Out, NBA 2K League APAC Invitational Tournament Champion.
As for NAOS Esports, the loss was a hard pill to swallow but the tournament was still very special to the Filipino team. “Despite falling short, we’re still thankful for all of this. Never in our lives, had we expected to be here and to get as far as the Finals even. We consider this as a privilege rather than a loss. The experience was more than enough to be a core memory for all of us,” said Juan “SpamGod” Gabriel Dela Pena.