From Jeepney Driver to Esports, Escalera Says MLBB Was His Way Out of Poverty


From Jeepney Driver to Esports, Escalera Says MLBB Was His Way Out of Poverty

John Dave Rossel
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TNC Pro Team's MLBB pro player Escalera shared his success story.
Escalera started off as a Jeepney driver before joining ArkAngel esports as an amateur pro player.
When TNC Pro Team announced open tryouts for the MPL PH Season 9, Escalera took the opportunity and applied which led to him getting signed as the team's new Roamer.

The Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (MLBB) Professional League (MPL) Philippines (PH) Season 9 rookie of the season Joemarie "Escalera" Delos Santos shared how he went from being a Jeepney driver to an esports pro player. He recalled the days when he used to spend his pass time playing MLBB before being acquired by ArkAngel Esports as an amateur player. Escalera’s perseverance led him to tryout for TNC Pro Team where he was recruited as a Roamer. He also revealed that his career as an MLBB pro player has helped him escape poverty and help his father who suffered a stroke.

TNC Escalera’s humble beginnings

Through an interview with News5’s news session titled “Frontline sa Umaga” (Frontline in the Morning), TNC Pro Team’s star rookie Escalera shared his story of becoming one of the most promising rookies in the MLBB competitive scene.

According to him, playing the mobile MOBA title was simply a pass time for him back when he used to drive Jeepney’s for a living. “When I was driving, I would park [my jeepney] at the side near Cignal [building] and I would play there,” Escalera recalled.

He started his career as an amateur player under ArkAngel Esports. When TNC Pro Team announced open tryouts for the 9th Season of the MPL PH, Escalera took the opportunity and passed the test to become the team’s new Roamer.

Escalera also revealed that his career as a pro player helped him and his family a lot, especially with his father’s treatment for the stroke. “I’m now the one who is helping my family. My job is now easier unlike before when I drove a Jeepney, where it’s so tiring for my body. In here [as a pro player], I can also do what I want, my dream, and my passion,” Escalera explained.

According to the host of Frontline sa Umaga, Gretchen Ho, the base salary for a pro player is quite low and may depend on a player's experience. However, as explained by Blacklist International’s EXP Laner Edward Jay “EDWARD” Dapadap in the News5 interview, there are other factors such as livestreaming and sponsorships that help increase the overall income of a pro player.

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John is a mobile esports writer for AFK Gaming that specializes in Wild Rift and Mobile Legends, whilst also maintaining an overview of the Free Fire, COD Mobile and PUBG Mobile esports scenes.