After playing just one series in Season 10, RSG PH jungler John “Irrad” Tuazon was given the chance to lead the team’s campaign in the ONE Esports MPL Invitational after a couple of the team’s starters decided to rest and sit out the tournament.
There, Irrad showcased his worth and put on an impressive performance, steering RSG PH to a surprising bronze finish despite missing key players such as Jhonard “Demonkite” Caranto, Arvie “Aqua” Calderon, and Eman “EMANN” Sangco.
Without a doubt, the former Z4 Esports standout made a case for himself to be included in the team’s starting unit for Season 11. And with Demonkite opting to skip the season, an Irrad takeover is almost imminent.
Unfortunately, the organization decided to go in a different direction, picking up former Nexplay EVOS star John Paul “H2wo” Salonga to fill the role left by the former Rookie of the Season.
Heartbroken was Irrad upon learning the news. But what came next crushed him even more.
“Nung una kasi ‘di ko matanggap na MDL lang ako kasi yun nga, nakakuha ako ng magandang exposure sa MPLI tapos bumaba ako ng MDL,” Irrad told reporters.
Irrad recalled the tear-jerking conversation he had with RSG PH head coach Brian “Panda” Lim prior to the start of the season.
“Basta sinabi niya [Coach Panda] sakin nung time na yun… kasi ano e, nung inannounce na MDL lang ako tapos MPL si H2, hindi ko matanggap sa sarili ko,” he shared.
“Kinausap niya ako ng 1v1 tapos yung huli niyang sinabi sakin, dalawa lang daw yung pagpipilian ko. I have two choices kung gagalingan ko lalo or magiging wala akong kwentang player tapos [binagsak] niya yung pinto kaya mas na-motivate ako na galingan pa lalo para makaakyat ako,” Irrad added.
Though devastated by what transpired, Irrad quickly rallied himself and took the second option. He refused to see his relegation to the MDL as a demotion and instead used it as motivation to better himself, which eventually landed him a promotion to the big leagues.
And on Saturday afternoon, the pride of Balanga, Bataan, made sure to seize the opportunity. In his first game back in the MPL Philippines, Irrad immediately made his presence felt and helped RSG PH clinch a playoff spot with a 2-0 win over Nexplay EVOS.
He was named the match MVP in both games, finishing with a 5-3-10 KDA line on Lancelot in Game One before capping the series off with eight kills and seven assists against three deaths on Joy in Game Two.
After the win, Irrad made sure to thank his teammates in RSG Ignite who, according to him, played a big role in his MPL return.
“Actually kasi mas nakatulong sakin yung pagbaba ko sa MDL and ayun, parang na-motivate talaga ako kasi sobrang nag-breakdown talaga ako sa nangyari sakin. Tapos binigay ko lang yung best ko sa MDL tapos ‘di ako natatakot magkamali kasi may sarili akong mindset na kapag takot kang magkamali, mahina kang player,” said Irrad.
“Hanggang sa ayon, nakitaan ako ng potential ni coach na kaya ko na sa MPL. Ginrab ko na rin, pero nakakalungkot lang kasi naiwan ko yung mga kakampi ko na talagang tumulong sa akin. Kapag nanonood ako ng mga tournaments tapos may gusto akong gawin, sila yung ginagawa kong practice-an kaya nakatulong talaga sa akin yung mga teammates ko dati,” he added.
Panda, who expressed his disappointment towards his team in their previous outings, gave his stamp of approval to 1rrad. The two-time MPL Philippines champion coach also revealed that the young jungler is being considered for the main jungler spot in the team’s upcoming playoffs campaign.
“For the playoffs, we will try H2 and 1rrad at the same time in our preparation and see if I could balance their playstyle so they can learn from each other. Overall, I could have the best lineup possible.”