There was a time when kids couldn’t just say that what they wanted to do when they grow up was play games. In a traditional country like the Philippines, success and gaming are not exactly two words you would often see in one sentence. But that was a time before people like DJ Mampusti.
Now the highest-earning gamer in the Philippines and arguably the best player South East Asia has ever produced, Djardel Jicko “DJ” Mampusti is somewhat a self-made legend. From starting out with gaming in first year high school to playing for the world-renowned, UK-based Fnatic, DJ has certainly come a long way in the world of professional gaming.
While DJ’s DotA beginnings are humble and mirrors typical youths of today—he learned the game to keep up with his classmates, played small-time matches after school, initially picked Sniper because the alternate name, Kardel, was similar to his own—the rest of his story proves that DJ is no stranger to going against the grain.
Continuing DotA throughout high school and quickly realizing his potential at the game, DJ decided to go professional. After joining Marikina-based Pag-Ibig and subsequently participating in his first local match, DJ entered a new high in his budding professional career when he joined Korean team EoT Hammer (later known as Rave). Slowly gaining popularity for being one of the best and most versatile players in South East Asia, DJ powered through to win tournaments with Rave, as well as in his later stints with MSI-Evolution Gaming Team, and his current team, the best SEA team yet, Fnatic. Since then, DJ has been raking up Match Making Rank points (MMR) and win-streaks, as well as adding all five roles to his arsenal.
DJ charged boldly ahead in pursuing professional gaming. He definitely had the skills and the drive, as well as the experience, but achieving his dreams wasn’t always easy. There were challenges that came with moving from country to country to pursue his career at a young age. Then, there were also pressures and expectations he had to overcome to reach the top. Still, DJ forged his own way, and is now recognized among the best DotA 2 players in the world.
Even now that he’s made a name for himself, there’s a certain stigma surrounding DJ and his profession. Today, gamers, even the ones who have gone pro, still face the question, “anong mapapala mo diyan? (what would you gain from it?)” Clearly—according to DJ Mampusti’s story—a lot.
Why gaming, when it was such an unconventional and risky path? Precisely because he could. Whenever people tried to convince him otherwise, DJ stood firm in his belief to #ChallengetheNorm. For DJ, it’s important to do what you want to do—whatever it may be—in spite of societal expectations and pressures, because you should have nothing to hide in doing what you love and being who you are.
Like DJ, young, fearless and driven individuals are challenging norms every day by being themselves. Artists and influencers James Reid, Yam Concepcion, and Jess Connelly are just a few big names who are out doing their own thing—and you should, too. Clear joins in celebrating your individuality, no matter how offbeat and unconventional. With Clear, you have nothing to hide. INQUIRER.net BrandRoom/MF