PRX coach, alecks: “Whatever we do, we’re going to try our best and I think it’s showing.”

paper rex 2021

Last Updated on: 11th September 2021, 10:32 pm

Alexandre “alecks” Sallé, the head coach of Paper Rex, watched from the sideline as his team began their Masters: Berlin participation in a losing effort to Korea’s Vision Strikers, falling 0-2 with both games becoming airtight affairs. Less than two days into the event, PRX suddenly finds themselves in a critical situation where they must defeat SuperMassive Blaze in their next series to stay in contention of progressing to the knockout stage.

Despite the loss, Paper Rex can hold their heads high in pride as their performance against VS defied expectations that originally saw them fold to the Korean first seed in an overwhelming fashion. Many believed PRX wouldn’t put up much of a fight against VS, but through the work of players like Jason “f0rsakeN” Susanto going 48/37/5 on Jett, the team garnered praise from fans and analysts alike, providing some solace for them while nursing the grueling pain of defeat.

For alecks, considering the loads of Southeast Asian support beckoning their only representative, which happened as a result of Bren Esports (now Team Secret) failing to travel to Berlin through encountering visa issues, to continue fighting, he feels the only way his team can really go is forward. It’s the team’s responsibility to oblige with what their audience is clamoring for: achieving success.

Following the series with VS, alecks spoke with The Click in an exclusive interview to discuss the result, the burgeoning popularity of Valorant in SEA, the effect X10 gave to the region from their participation in Masters: Reykjavik, the notable absence of Bren, and much more.

Thanks for the time to speak with me, alecks. I’d first like to know your thoughts about your current stay in Berlin, the hotel stay, the prep work, and other stuff of that nature.

alecks: Berlin is a very nice city from what I’ve seen. We really didn’t have enough time to go out and explore because we’re trying to prepare for the tournament, but by and large, the hotel stay is pretty amazing. We are all enjoying it. The practice room is great for us at least. I’ve heard some people say they were not happy about the tables, but for us, we’ve had the ideal conditions.

In regards to preparation, it’s a bit difficult because we had some visa issues since we had players coming from different countries at different times so we couldn’t get practice going until the last two days. But aside from that, it’s going well and we’re all very happy.

Looking into the game, although the team lost, people are going to say that they put up a valiant showing against VS, particularly in f0rsakeN who pretty much popped off in Jett. What do you have to say about his performance in light of the defeat?

alecks: It was a great performance. I do think that we probably should’ve won that map. He played really well. I mean, we were really worried because this is his first international LAN and there’s a little bit of pressure because people think he’s one of the best players in SEA and Asia alone. There was a lot of pressure on his shoulders but he handled himself well.

paper rex berlin
Credit: Paper Rex/Twitter

Looking outwards to the rest of the team, you talked about the pressure of performing in this very LAN. What have you seen from your players so far? Are they handling the pressure as well since, like ForsakeN, are basically debuting in this tournament?

alecks: It’s a bit different for us, I guess. I know we’re representing SEA and it’s also our first international LAN and we want to do well, but we just so happen to be in the Group of Death with VS, SuperMassive Blaze, and Acend. That’s a hard group to come out of so we’re pretty much underdogs and because of that, the pressure is off, in my opinion. Whatever we do, we’re going to try our best and I think it’s showing. We’re playing better than most people think.

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So are you treating this as a “let’s just see how it goes” kind of deal?

alecks: I mean, we would love to come out of groups, but I think we’re being realistic in the sense that we have a hard group. More than anything, I think we’re just trying our best, so maybe yes, maybe you’re right. We’re just going to try our best and show what SEA Valorant has to offer.

Of course. Looking into your career, you transitioned from CS:GO to Valorant with your team earlier in the year and since that move, your success has paid off dividends. How did the transition come to be which made you believe that Valorant was the game to go?

alecks: Generally in SEA, it’s actually really hard to be a professional CS player. The opportunities are few and far between. For us, it was a no-brainer [to switch]. Coming into that point, we’ve won a SEA online tournament in CS and we looked at the future and told ourselves, “We can’t really continue being in the dark.”

On the other end, Valorant just came out and Riot was super clear as to [what] the [competitive] calendar [was going to look like]. It’s all laid out for you. You know when all the tournaments are [going to happen]. It’s very easy to plan your year around it.

For CS:GO, we attracted the Chinese circuit from SEA, and as it goes, you pretty much have to know people there to be able to play and then tournaments would come out a week before you get informed. There’s no clarity and it’s very difficult. But for us in Valorant, we can tell what’s going on and what to work towards so it was pretty much a no-brainer for us [to switch].

alecks coaching paper rex
Credit: Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games

Sure enough, Valorant is continuing to grow its popularity throughout the world. Specifically in SEA, it was sparked through X10’s participation in Masters: Reykjavik, so how has their performance affected the region’s popularity for this time around?

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alecks: I guess X10 doing well in Reykjavik–since they beat the Brazilians (Sharks Esports)–is encouraging and people have an example to work towards, right? “If these guys can do it, we can do it as well” and we took the same motivation because we played some of the X10 players in CS before. We know that we traded games with each other, so we know our level, you know? We feel that we can do it.

We came to Valorant rather late, right? We pretty much had six months of practice before starting in Challengers Stage 3 and we managed to qualify. I think we overachieved a little bit, to be honest, because it’s not easy coming from SEA to Valorant and having to relearn everything such as learning new habits. We had to work really hard and X10 was a very good example of “Look, they’re just across the road from Thailand. We practiced against them in the CS circuit” and it was mainly our motivation.

I mentioned Bren Esports in the previous question but had to clarify. They couldn’t attend the event, but nevertheless, how would they have fared in their specific group? Would it be the same situation as you guys are facing right now in your group, since they would have faced G2, Sentinels, and F4Q?

alecks: I would like to think that we are of equal level as Bren, so seeing that we managed to give a decent performance against VS, which I feel is one of the better teams in the world, and having practice against them constantly, I think they would have had the potential to do damage in their group. At the very least, I think they might have had a good chance against F4Q, and with regards to G2 and Sentinels, they are probably two of the best teams in the world. That’s down to the game itself. If they play well, I think they have a shot, you know?

I suppose more than anything else, it’s a pity they couldn’t get to experience the whole event and learn from better teams around the world. It’s a bit like wasted effort for them and I hope they can perform in either Champions or the Last Chance qualifiers and try their best there.

Thanks for the interview, alecks. Do you have any final words to share?

alecks: Thanks to all the fans. Thanks to everyone who has supported us along the way. Big shoutouts to Paper Rex. The people behind PRX have done a great job with our transition and helping us. Also, our hearts go out to the Philippines fans. I know they really wanted to watch Bren–now Team Secret–and I hope they support us and we’ll try our best to make everyone proud.

That’s everything we discussed in this interview. If you’d be interested in more, you can click here for more Valorant articles, or visit our homepage here and see what else catches your interest.