OB.Neon Esports’ woes in the ONE Esports Singapore Major continued as stand-in offlaner Rafael “Rappy” Sicat Palo was ruled out of the tournament on Tuesday, March 30, due to having close contact with a COVID-19 positive case.
The decision was made by Singapore’s Ministry of Health as a precaution.
Neon CEO Robert Campbell announced the development through a statement wherein he also clarified that Rappy tested negative of the virus in his four previous tests.
“Rappy tested before he came to camp, was tested again before he was allowed to fly, was tested he landed and was also tested at the hotel. All four tests were negative. Rappy’s flights were booked separately to the rest of the team,” said Campbell.
Campbell said the team decided to continue with its campaign, tapping Singaporean offlaner Yang “Deth” Wu Heng as a substitute.
“Since we do not believe in giving up, we have found a replacement,” he said.
“While this situation is far from ideal, we will do our best to make the playoffs.”
Even before the year’s first Major started, Neon already encountered a problem as star carry John Anthony “Natsumi” Vargas was deemed “unfit to travel” to Singapore, prompting the team to tap its former player Rappy.
Without Natsumi, Neon struggled in the first day of the group stage on Monday, winning only a single game out of eight in four best-of-two series to end up dead last among eight teams.
Only the top seven teams will advance to the playoffs on March 31-April 4.
The Filipino squad lost 2-0 to Quincy Crew, Vici Gaming and PSG.LGD while forcing a 1-1 draw with Team Aster in the opening day of the group phase.
Neon is seeking to stay alive in the as it takes on the unbeaten Thunder Predator, Alliance and Team Liquid today.