Just an hour before Neon Esports was set to continue its group stage run at the ONE Esports Singapore Major, the team announced it would need to replace its original stand-in with another substitute player.
Before its day two matches, Neon confirmed Rafael “Rappy” Palo had been in “close contact” with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 and would need to be removed from the team’s roster for the remainder of the Major.
Neon’s statement said Rappy tested negative each of the four times he was tested in conjunction with the Major, but sources close to the tournament organizers have said the contact tracing was conducted because of someone on his flight to Singapore. Due to that and government protocol, he must be separated from the rest of the team.
Rappy was playing as a substitute for John “Natsumi-” Vargas, who was unable to travel to the Major because he was “unfit,” and had his flights booked separately from the rest of the team.
He played on and off for Neon from 2018 until last July when the team released him. Yang “Deth” Wu Heng will stand-in for Neon for the remainder of the team’s matches, and because Rappy tested negative four separate times, there is a chance that no further COVID-19 protocols will need to be enacted.
Neon started day two of the group stage in a tie for last place at 1-7, with only three matches to try and get out of that spot and qualify for the playoffs.