SINGAPORE - A Singapore e-sports team has placed third in the world's biggest Fifa Online 3 tournament, bringing home US$60,000 (S$86,700) in prize money.
Last Sunday (Dec 18), the three-man Team Impunity defeated European squad United Console at the EA Champions Cup (EACC) Winter tournament in Bangkok, Thailand, to clinch bronze.
The EACC is organised by Electronic Arts, the developer and publisher of the Fifa football game series. It has two yearly editions: Summer and Winter. The recently concluded Winter tournament had a record prize pool of US$500,000 (S$722,100), up from US$300,000 at the Summer edition, which was held in Shanghai in July.
Singapore's winning trio comprised: Chiang "hibidi" Wen Jun, 26; Amraan Gani "Amraan" Musa Bakar, 22 and Joseph "Zarate" Yeo Jia Hui, 23.
They also competed at EACC Summer earlier this year, but were knocked out in the first round. Mr Yeo said that the team's dismal performance then spurred them on to work harder.
"I think all three of us trained harder, and wanted it more," said Mr Yeo, who just completed his national service last week. "Our performance in the last tournament was disappointing, and we really wanted to prove ourselves."
The trio battled their way through the group stage, beating FSL from China, TNP Team A from Thailand and the Vietnam Dragons to make it to the semi-finals.
Mr Amraan, who is currently a student, said he was "crushed" when they lost to the Korean Team Adidas A in the semis.
"I was really demoralised, because I didn't perform well compared to my teammates. But we consoled each other, and motivated each other to at least get a podium finish."
Their third place match was against United Console, the tournament favourites who had topped their group the previous day.
However, team captain Chiang said that their opponent's reputation did not faze them. "As long as you play well on the day itself, at our standard, we can pretty much beat anyone," said the corporate banker. "I just thought of them as normal people."
He then went on to single-handedly demolish United Console 3-0, guaranteeing the squad a podium finish. The trio, who are not under any organisation, will split the prize money three ways, earning US$20,000 each.
They also plan to stay together for the next EACC Summer, which will take place some time mid-2017. "We're always aiming for gold, but because we placed third this time, the other countries will be watching us, and will be more prepared for us and how we play," said Mr Chiang.
"We will need to put in more effort to achieve better results."