Fresh off their nail-biting victory over Budapest5 in Sunday's ESNL S6 Grand Final, I had the chance to sit down with Granit Gaming in-game leader Kaloyan "POP0V" Popov to discuss the victory and his team as a whole.
In the pre-match interview, you seemed very confident. Did you always know that you'd get the victory in the final? How proud are you win ESNL two seasons in a row, the first team to do so?
I'm always confident when I play with my team! I had no doubt that we would win it once again for the 2nd time in a row. Even when we were down 6-13, I knew we just needed a few rounds to get it going. All of us feel happy and especially the core of the players who have won it for the 2nd time!
On Vertigo, you nearly managed a late comeback but fell 16-11 in the end. What went wrong? Do you think you could have done better?
We had a rough start, especially me. We just lost a stupid eco on 13-10 or we would have won that map no doubt.
You picked Mirage after destroying Famous5 on it in the semi-finals, and beat Budapest5 on it fairly easily, especially on the CT-side. Would you say that Mirage is your best map? Are you a team that prefers playing on the CT-side?
We were just confident on Mirage, we don't have a best map since we didn't have a lot of time to practice from all of our officials. We just know how Mirage works versus teams that depend on teamwork and executes. I have no problem reading their game there and what to do and where to stack.
After losing 16-5 on Overpass to Famous5 in the semi-finals, the overtime win must have felt all the sweeter. Did you keep the faith to come back from 13-6 all the way to overtime?
It was just one of those days that nothing works on a map and you can't fix it. The win versus Budapest5 was so sweet it almost tasted like honey. We always think of the win even if its 14-1, doesn't matter to us.
You went into this final with two different players than last season's final, steffe and Expr4ind, who undoubtedly performed well. How have the new guys fit in with the team? Are you happy with the way the team is now?
They fit perfectly and are very talented and hard-working players that only want to succeed. I was surprised at how well they were handling the adaptation to their roles in the team.
shaiK kept your team in the game with an amazing AWP hold on A-site in the last round of double overtime. At just 17, he's a great young Bulgarian prospect. How far can he go in his career? How refreshing is it to see new talent like him coming through?
He is such a talented player that he amazes me every day. He sustains the team spirit and is constantly trying to improve. I have no doubt that he will be a top player one day if he keeps going in the right direction.
How much of a better team are you than after Season 5's final? What are your next steps as a team to improve?
We have better players and more team morale, every single one of our players is talented in his role and we are trying to strive in our environment. We will continue to work on ourselves so we can keep improving.