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Valorant's 'Zekken' reflects on losses in VCT America

MANILA, Philippines – Top North American team Sentinels suffered tough losses in the Valorant Champions Tour (VCT) Americas, crashing out of the tournament even before the playoffs.

"Valorant is a very momentum-based game, so whichever team has the momentum, they tend to run with it and they can get a lot of [wins] in a row. That's just what Valorant is about, trying to grab the momentum, trying to steal it away from the other team, and trying to snowball as many [wins] as you can, because you can see how quickly a game can shift," said Sentinel's duelist Zachary "Zekken" Patrone.

The 19-year-old Filipino-American has been with the Masters Madrid champions since 2022. He was part of the squad that won the 2024 VCT Americas Kick-Off and Masters Madrid, where he made 101 kills in a single VCT international series — a record he shares with NRG's Max "Demon1" Mazanov.

"Usually what happens is the team will win and because they're the best in the world, they kind of take their foot off the gas a bit. They get a bit lazy and that's why I think teams usually fall off after they win. We [ourselves] haven't had the best time doing it, but we are still working very hard and we're trying our best," Patrone added.

Though never having been to the Philippines, Patrone shared that his Filipino roots has been with him from the very beginning.

"I've been around Filipino people, Filipino food all my life. I just wish I spoke the language. It's a nice feeling to have all those people behind me cheering regardless of a win or a loss. It's really nice to be able to have a home country behind me. It's a lot of pressure, too. I want to try and play well for them," shared Patrone.

But living in an Asian-American household with the hopes of being a professional esports player, Patrone had to defend his case to his parents to let him play at the beginning of his career.

"It was tough. It was hard to convince them at first. My mom wasn't a big fan of me playing games because she thought it was gonna impact my school. Grades were always number one, so as long as my grades were good, I could play games," shared Patrone.

Making sure he got good grades was high on Patrone's list and when he