Paper Rex coach opens up on team’s mental state after 3rd place finish at the Masters, says it was an “uphill battle”

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Paper Rex (PRX) bowed out of VCT Masters Madrid after a tough 3-1 loss to the eventual champions, Sentinels (SEN) in the Lower Bracket Finals, ending the tournament with a third place finish.

While the Southeast Asian team had a deep run in the tournament, their coach, Alexandre “alecks” Sallé, admitted that their mental state got in the way.

Before coming into VCT Masters Madrid, the team had just come off of a 3-1 loss against their Pacific rivals, Gen.G (GEN) in the VCT Pacific Kickoff Finals.

“Losing the grand final of Pacific (Kickoff) bothered us a little bit. Sometimes your head isn’t the right space. We told ourselves it doesn’t matter, that we qualified for Madrid, but we realised we really wanted to win. When you lose these kinds of games you feel like you have something to work for,” said alecks in a post-match press conference.

Despite their new-found motivation, PRX lost their opening match against Edward Gaming (EDG) during the Swiss Stage of Masters Madrid, which affected their mental state at the start.

“We didn’t feel very good,” said alecks. “After that it was an uphill battle of trying to make ourselves feel better, trying to assure ourselves that we are still a top team in the world.” 

The team was also struggling with finding their footing with this new roster. 

In August of last year, PRX had lost a key player in Wang “Jinggg” Jing Jie, having to depart from the team to fulfil his mandatory National Service (NS). All Singaporean males are conscripted to the army for a period of about two years.

He was then replaced by Cahya “Monyet” Nugraha from Global Esports (GE), who struggled to fit in PRX’s aggressive play style. As such, the team suffered. 

“I’ve never had to deal with a roster change this big before. Losing one of the best players on the team, which meant we had to bring a new player in,” alecks said in a separate interview with EsportsGG. “This new guy comes in and he’s expected to do as well as JJ (Jinggg) can, but he can’t because of time.” 

Moving forward, PRX are looking to head home for a short break, before continuing the season in VCT Pacific Split 1, where they are looking to qualify for the next Masters event in Shanghai.

“That’s probably our main takeaway, that we have work to do,” said alecks.

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