For Team Secret captain, age is just a number

Michelle Lojo - Philstar.com
For Team Secret captain, age is just a number
Jessie "JessieVash" Cuyco
VCT Pacific

MANILA, Philippines – Team Secret's captain, Jessie "JessieVash" Cuyco, has been in the Philippine esports scene way before Valorant came to be.

Cuyco has professional experience in other games like CS: GO, League of Legends, Mobile Legends Bang Bang (as a coach), Overwatch and Dota2, wherein he competed in the first iteration of The International back in 2011.

In an episode of VCT Pacific’s “Know Your Enemy” series that gathered members of different teams to discuss their Valorant journey, the 34-year-old Cuyco was joined by other veteran players of other VCT Pacific squads, and talking about their experiences being the eldest of the team.

"We are the most handsome players," joked Cuyco when the players were asked why the specific players were gathered, when in fact it was their esports professional experience, ranging from eight to ten years, that was to be discussed.

Recalling his first ever professional game, Cuyco remembered how it was at an internet cafe with shoutcasters using megaphones to call the game, using infrared mice and having monitors that were 17 to 19 inches.

Noting how they all became the in-game leader due to their age, Cuyco shared how he would guide and coach his younger teammates.

He said, "Sometimes, I use the tournament to actually point out the problem. They need to experience these things, where it hurts the most."

But Cuyco has also shown that it's not just his experience as a pro player that he contributes to Team Secret.

Last Sunday, Team Secret delivered one of the biggest upsets of the tournament as they swept 2023 champions Paper Rex, 2-0, to book their spot in the VCT Pacific 2024 Stage 1 Playoffs. 

In both maps, Cuyco scored crucial triple kills that gave Team Secret the momentum to finish off the games. 

It was a performance that caught the attention of Paper Rex' coach Alexandre "alecks" Sallé.

"The guy is always in the right place at the right time, knows all of our plans, perfect darts, super brave, runs in for his teammates, kills three every now and then. He's my MVP for today. I think invy and Jremy played really well but without Uncle behind them, it would have been a different story," said Sallé.

Asked how he wanted to be remembered, Cuyco said that he would prefer being known as someone who brought Filipinos to the bigger stages and not actually having a title. Cuyco previously said he prefers not being noticed for a title or a moniker but for what he contributed to the game.

He adds, "Ayaw ko napapansin ako sa title, hangga't maaari gusto ko mapansin ako sa game, sa performance ko as a player."

Even at 34 years old, Cuyco shows no sign of hanging up his computer gear and retiring.

"I will try my best to keep winning against these guys so they don't have any excuse to stop playing Valorant and retire," Cuyco told his fellow veterans in VCT Pacific.

Team Secret will finish their Group Stage run against Talon Esports on Sunday, April 28, at 7 p.m. (Manila time). Regardless of the result, the Adobo Gang is already assured of a spot in the playoffs, which will begin on May 3.

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