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    What 'Clutch-time Kenji' brings to RSG PH

    Aug 19, 2022
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    EVER SINCE the MPL: Invitational, RSG PH has proven time and time again that their reserve players are more than just additional players off the bench.

    It was Kenneth Jiane “Kenji” Villa and former backup player Eman “EMANN” Sangco who took the centerstage during the MPL: Invitational, with the latter transitioning to a regular starter role in Season 9.

    And even when EMANN was unavailable in Season 9, Clarense Jay “Kousei” Camilo would serve as a reliable second option.

    Even Dexter “Exort” Martinez became a key player in their Championship run during the absence of Arvie “Aqua” Antonio.

    And now, in Season 10, Kenji once again proved that Coach Brian “Panda” Lim’s faith in his reserves makes a real difference, especially with how he performed against TNC.

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      Why RSG PH chose Kenji over Nathzz

      Coach Panda believed that the MPL mainstay's utility-esque playstyle would benefit the team.

      “Currently in RSG, there’s Team A and Team B. We don’t really have a main five. So Team A has their own scrims, Team B has their own scrims, and dahil we’re still adapting to the meta pa like using the sustain heroes like Esme (signature hero ni Nathzz), it’s not always the priority pick anymore.

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      “So we said, how about we use Kenji na because he can use a lot of utility heroes like Ruby, Phoveus, Gloo, Hylos, etcetera. So we said, let’s put Kenji in this week,” explained the two-time MPL-PH champ.

      To Kenji, his sudden call-up was a shocker, especially given how Nathzz has been heavily praised for his recent performances.

      “Medyo biglaan kase three days pa lang kami nagpra-practice at may kaunting kaba kase hindi pa sync na sync kaming lima,” he said.

      Upon learning that he was a starter, Kenji diligently studied his opponents, as well as the previous matches.

      And his performance against TNC left Coach Panda with nothing but high praises.

      “Of course, it’s malaking tulong sa morale boost because we no longer have one piece to work on," said Panda. "We didn’t win because one player was overpowered, we didn’t win because the coaches were overworking, all are teamwork talaga.”

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      He added: “Yes we have strong individual players but we are stronger when we are five and Kenji today proved that he is also part of the five.”

      Kenji the captain

      Panda even joked about Kenji’s impact as a captain.

      “Well, as you can all see, Kenji looks scary. Even sa mga players who came to our team like Kousei, our two new players 1rrad and Perkz, when they first came in, they were like, ‘Oh sh*t he is scary.'”

      On a more serious note, Kenji’s leadership was crucial for the Raiders. Coach Panda even considered making him into an in-game shotcaller.

      “But the thing is, [si] Kenji, galing siya from team B, he was really a good captain material. He tells them to do this, to do that. 'You guys need to have this discipline.' Then [...] he came to Team A, so right now he is adjusting to the team,” he said.

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      “Right now we’re in the process of letting him find his own voice because I feel like he is not only a captain outside but also in-game din. Lots of work to do pa but it’s a good start and I’m very proud of what he accomplished today.”

      We could certainly expect more from Kenji in his next appearance, especially now that live fans are back in the building.

      “Parang naalala ko yung Season 1 dati, ang daming fans, nakakaboost ng confidence. Gusto kong patunayan na kahit sinasabi nilang matanda ako, kaya ko pa rin," he said.

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