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From CounterStrike to VALORANT, DubsteP has seen the highs and lows of PH esports

Aug 12, 2022

It’s a little shocking to learn that Jayvee “DubsteP” Paguirigan was more of a console guy while he was growing up playing video games than he was a PC guy, despite being regarded as one of the finest athletes to ever man a keyboard and mouse in the history of Philippine esports.

In an interview with Spin.ph, one of the top VALORANT professionals in the nation noted, “Mas nakakatuwang hawakan yung controller kaysa sa keyboard and mouse. Kasi yung mga mouse before may mga bola yun tapos ang bibigat e.”

[In an interview with Spin.ph, one of the top VALORANT professionals in the nation noted, “It’s more fun to hold the controller than the keyboard and mouse. Because the mouse before had balls and then the weight.”]

Paguirigan developed a tremendous enthusiasm for basketball while growing up in Iligan.

“Lumaki ako na mga idol ko are basketball players. Varsity ako nung high school, tapos gusto ko maging varsity noong college. Pagkatapos naman nun, pinangarap ko din maging player sa PBA,” remarked DubsteP.

[“I grew up with basketball players as my idols. I was on varsity in high school, then I wanted to be on varsity in college. After that, I also dreamed of becoming a player in the PBA,” remarked DubsteP.]

He attributes his competitiveness in computer games to his basketball experience, even though he would eventually turn pro in a completely other sport.

“Sa basketball nag-grow yung pagiging competitive ko. Before you know it, sa computer games na pala ako naging competitive.”

[“My competitiveness grew in basketball. Before you know it, I became competitive in computer games.”]

The game is on

Jayvee began his career as a semi-professional Dota 2 player, similar to many other veteran esports competitors in the nation. Ironically, in those long-gone Dota days, he was just playing CounterStrike, the game where he would become famous.

“After ko mag solo-rank sa Dota 2, maglalaro ako ng CSGO pang de-stress kasi I feel at home sa game na yun. Tapos after mga four to five months, before you know it, CSGO na yung mas nilalaro ko. So parang nakakagulat din siya sa akin dahil mas na-in love ako sa FPS kaysa sa MOBA,” confessed Paguirigan.

[“After I solo-rank in Dota 2, I will play CSGO to de-stress because I feel at home in that game. Then after about four to five months, before you know it, CSGO is what I play the most. So it was surprising to me because I fell in love with FPS more than MOBA,” confessed Paguirigan.]

He entered multiple open events with various teams in an effort to launch his CSGO career. He created his own highlight reels off the field and posted them on Facebook groups. His notoriety began to spread.

He was still working for IBM at the time, manning the desks as an IT drone. DubsteP hesitated when Mineski offered him a seat on their CSGO lineup.

“Nung una, sabi ko di ko ata kaya kasi may work ako: five days a week, eight hours a day. Tapos corporate company pa siya. So doon palang, talo na ako sa oras e. Breadwinner din ako ng family ko so kailangan kong mag-provide ng food on the table. So mahirap siya talaga kung pure esports ka lang dati.”

[“At first, I said I can’t because I have work: five days a week, eight hours a day. And it is still a corporate company. So right there, I already lost when it came to time. I am also the breadwinner of my family so I have to provide food on the table. So it is really difficult if you were just doing pure esports before.”]

But DubsteP managed to pull it out by working closely with Mineski. Paguirigan continued to work in the corporate sector for another year while Mineski was his rival.

The young Paguirigan ultimately made the decision to quit his day job and devote all of his concentration to becoming a professional CSGO player after experiencing the strain of holding down two jobs at once.

“Nag-agree kami noon ng Mineski na ipapantay nila yung sahod ko sa work ko. So after that moment, hindi na ako bumalik sa IT industry,” he said. “Doon na [talaga] nagsimula yung esports journey ko.”

[“Mineski and I agreed that they would match my salary with my work. So after that moment, I never went back to the IT industry,” he said. “That’s where my esports journey [really] started.”]

The rise, then the fall

Jayvee was having a ball while working with Mineski, but he quickly ran into the difficulties of being a professional esports player.

“Syempre as a Filipino, super honored ako maging part ng Mineski dahil isa yun sa one of the best Philippine esports organization at that time. Nakakatuwa din kasi ikaw yung one of the first CSGO players na nabayaran sa Pilipinas,” he said.

[“Of course as a Filipino, I am super honored to be a part of Mineski because it is one of the best Philippine esports organizations at that time. It’s also funny because you become one of the first CSGO players to get paid in the Philippines,” he said.]

“Habang nagko-compete kami may salary kami, may allowance kami, tapos may boot camp pa kami. So parang super grateful ako na naging part ako ng organization na yun.”

[“While we compete, we have a salary, we have an allowance, and then we have a boot camp. So I’m super grateful that I was part of that organization.”]

He continued by saying that even if you stream, it may not appear to have many people because the audience was so limited at the time. People tend to just respond with a question mark when you mention esports. He claimed that this was the challenging part since it is similar to competing outside the radar; you are not actually on the world arena. Everything stems from the fact that esports was not yet well-known in the Philippines at the time.

Nevertheless, Jayvee played CSGO with Mineski gaming throughout his greatest times. Along with earning him tickets to Indonesia, Malaysia, Korea, and China for playing CSGO, he consistently took first place during the Philippine qualifiers for the two years he was with the company.

After working for the renowned Philippine esports group for two years, Paguirigan decided it would be best for him to learn and develop in a different setting.

But that choice would set him off on an exhilarating esports trip.

DubsteP left Mineski after two years and began the difficult life of an esports journeyman, spending ten months in Indonesia with the Rex Regum Qeon CSGO team before moving on to local teams like ArkAngel and Audacity Gaming. Over the course of his last two CSGO years, Jayvee switched teams a total of seven times.

Because his future was uncertain, Paguirigan questioned whether quitting his corporate career was the right move.

“Nasa mid-20s na ako nun eh. So parang, eto nga, sa 20s ko, medyo nagkaroon ako ng doubt na mali ata yung desisyon ko. Pero, I’m glad na doubts lang yung nangyari at hindi ako sumuko.”

[“I was in my mid-20s then. So it’s like, in my 20s, I had a little doubt that my decision was wrong. But, I’m glad that only doubts happened and I didn’t give up.”]

DubsteP reflected on his CSGO career and remarked that despite how it ended, he was still extremely appreciative of the possibilities the game provided for him.

“Isa ako sa lucky na people na ginagawa to. So parang super grateful yung feeling ko. Sa dami ng taong gustong maging professional gamer, isa ako dun na nakagawa maging player. Ang humbling ng feeling,”  he stated.

[“I am one of the lucky people who do this. So I’m feeling super grateful. Among the many people who want to become a professional gamer, I am one of them who managed to become a player. The feeling is humbling,” he stated.]

‘You only live once’

Everyone was in a state of transition in the year 2020. The outbreak made it seem as though everything was on hold while still changing quickly.

DubsteP began playing a new game during the lockdown.

“Nung nag-move ako sa VALORANT, it was like a Hail Mary for me. Five to six years of experience yung dinadala ko from CSGO going into VALORANT. So parang ‘YOLO’ kumbaga; bahala na kung anong mangyari sa game na to, pero I decided na I will move na talaga,”  he explained.

[“When I moved to VALORANT, it was like a Hail Mary for me. I bring five to six years of experience from CSGO going into VALORANT. So it’s like ‘YOLO’; It depends on what happens in this game, but I decided that I will move,” he explained.]

The recently released free-to-play shooter was his first experience with it. But with the support of his teammate Kevin “Dispenser” Te and former coach Gilbert “Gibo” Sales Jr., Jayvee’s decision to transfer from CSGO to VALORANT went pretty well.

The Bren VALORANT team was created by Dispenser, Riley “Witz” Go, Jessie “JessieVash” Cuyco, and Jim “Borkum” Timbreza.

Funny enough, Paguirigan’s position on the squad has changed from when it was first formed.

He remarked that he was playing the Sentinel position with Cypher and Killjoy when they initially practiced. His coach then realized that he was utilizing the Operator with the Agent, which led to him suggesting the idea of playing Jett if he is using the Operator. That is when their role switch commenced.

The team dominated the local scene from 2020 to 2021 as a result of the role transition. However, their greatest accomplishment was taking first place in the 2021 VCT Southeast Asia Stage 3 Challengers Playoffs, which earned them a spot at the Berlin VALORANT Masters.

Bren VALORANT was unable to travel to Germany due to visa issues, which was unfortunate for the team. However, BREN was able to accumulate enough circuit points to earn a spot in VALORANT’s main competition: Champions.

Another issue? The roster’s BREN esports contract was coming to an end. The core five of the most successful Philippine team, VALORANT, were able to keep together in spite of this and were recruited by the worldwide esports organization Team Secret. After dealing with their contract and visa issues, Paguirigan and the rest of Team Secret were on their way to Champions 2021.

In all of his years as an esports athlete, Jayvee claimed that his Champions experience was one of the finest.

He recalled the treatment that the team got in Riot. “Feeling namin na superstar na superstar kami. Tapos nandun pa lahat ng mga players na madalas pinapanood lang natin on-stream. So nakaka-overwhelm siya kasi yung experience na maging part ka ng ‘one of the best teams in the world,’ iba na yun.”

[He recalled the treatment that the team received in Riot. “We felt like we were superstars. Then there are all the players that we often only watch on-stream. So it is overwhelming because the experience of being part of ‘one of the best teams in the world,’ it’s a different feeling.”]

Playing Jett throughout the competition, Jayvee helped his team to a top eight finish, exceeding everyone’s expectations for the Filipino team. With everything coming together, Jayvee thrived under the spotlight. Because of his incredible teammates, the world was introduced to DubsteP.

When asked how he was able to play at such a level during Champions, Paguirigan immediately gave credit to his four teammates.

“I have Witz, Vash, Jim and Dispenser. Kumabaga, sila yung apat yung parang pillars na nag-aangat lagi saakin. Napupunta lang saakin yung glory because of the stats pero dapat hindi ma-ooverlook yung teammates ko kasi sila din yung reason na nakakapag perform ako at my highest level.”

[“I have Witz, Vash, Jim and Dispenser. So, the four of them are like pillars that always lift me up. The glory only goes to me because of the stats, but my teammates must not be overlooked because they are also the reason I can perform at my highest level.”]

What is next for Team Secret and DubsteP?

Seven months into the new VCT season in 2022, Team Secret is now vying for a spot in the final APAC ticket to this year’s Champions in the Last Chance Qualifiers in August.

Despite his poor showing in Stage 1 Challengers and subsequent comeback in Stage 2, Paguirigan claims he will exert every effort to make it to Valorant’s largest event yet again.

He remarked that people can count on him and his team to make every effort. “Please don’t forget to support us and thank you so much for believing in us. Even though we lost Challengers, everyone was still happy with our performance and we think we will do even better in the LCQ,” he said.

Jayvee “DubsteP” Paguirigan, who is currently 29 years old, has experienced both the highs and lows of the esports industry. His words of wisdom for the younger generation trying to get into the scene? Move forward… despite how difficult it becomes.

“Whatever you do in life, it’s never too late. Tingnan mo nga ako eh 29, mag-LCQ pa ako. Kaya yun nga, it’s never too late to chase your dreams.”

[“Whatever you do in life, it’s never too late. Look at me, I’m 29, I’m still going to participate in LCQ. That’s why, it’s never too late to chase your dreams.”]

What about him? He is moving with the current. “I am happy where I am right now.”

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