MANILA - Very rarely do players above the age of 25 shine in the current ML:BB scene.
There are MPL legends Johnmar “OhMyV33nus” Villaluna and Carlito “Ribo” Ribo, who cemented their name in the game’s long history.
But 29-year-old MPL Philippines rookie Jem Lañojan of Onic Philippines is just getting started, as one of the team's most consistent presence.
The former IT manager finds himself going toe to toe with young players such as Edward “Edward” Jay Dapadap, Sanford “Sanford” Vinuya, and Nathanael "Nathzzz" Estrologo, just to name a few, silently contributing to Onic Philippines’ rise and earning for himself the title, “hidden Jem.”
"Noong sa amateur scene, iniwan ko na 'yung trabaho ko, nagbabakasakali na kaya pa. Kasi nami-miss ko rin maglaro, hindi ko nagawa sa past games ko. Marami na kong responsibilidad na dumating so nag-focus sa work. Sakto nung COVID, naisip kong maglaro ng ML and sabi ko sa sarili ko 'try ko mag-esports.' Pinalad naman," Jem told ABS-CBN News.
With his passion for esports, his coworkers were unsurprised as he filed his resignation. From there, Jem was bent on answering an “unfulfilled destiny.”
“Sabi ko sa sarili ko na parang hindi pa ko destiny fulfilled na iniwan ko esports. Parang nakukulangan ako na kaya pa at pwede pang bumalik. Wala yan sa edad eh,” Jem shared.
Jem started his career in Albay, until the late MPL shoutcaster Rob Luna prodded him to take his talents to Manila, describing Luna as one of his inspirations to go all in in his esports career.
“Sa amateur scene isa siya sa mga natulak sakin. Ang sabi niya sa’kin join kayo ng amateur league doon sa Manila kasi doon ang tunay na liga,” he shared.
Jem also drew strength from MPL legend OhMyV33nus, who remains one of the biggest figures in the scene today, even as she decided to rest this season.
He joined Onic Arsenals when they made their MDL run earlier this year, before being promoted to the professional scene.
The stats are a testament to his performance as Jem chalked up a 6.91 kill-death-assist (KDA) tally, the 4th highest across playersthis season.
"Sa’min kasi lagi kong sinasabi sa kanila yung mga titles na ganiyan, makikilala na kayo, kumbaga marami nang tao na makakatanda ng pangalan niyo. Ang sa’kin lang kasi gusto namin maglaro ng buong team ang bawat isa as a team player. Yung presence niya is nagbibigay sa’min ng confidence, na kahit sino sa kanila ni Kramm ang ilagay, maganda ang ilalaban,” head coach Mark “Bluffzy” Reyes said.
With his entry to the professional scene, the UST - Albay graduate is determined to prove that despite his age, he is a force to be reckoned with.
“Wala naman sa edad ang pag-ML basta alam ko masaya ako sa ginagawa ko, na hindi ako yung tao na dapat minamaliit,” Jem said.