Updated on December 22, 1 p.m. (GMT+8): Added relevant guides and improved relevancy.

While many esports players have hobbies outside of online gaming to help them relax and unwind, Filipino pro player John “Irrad” Abarquez‘s side hobby is as challenging as Mobile Legends: Bang Bang.

When he’s not gaming, he turns his attention to solving the Rubik’s Cube, a puzzle that is just as complex and demanding as the game he competes in.

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Irrad showed just how good he is during a press conference at the MPL PH Season 11 playoffs. It all started when his attention was drawn to a journalist holding a Rubik’s Cube.

When asked if he could solve the puzzle on camera, he eagerly accepted the challenge. To the surprise of everyone present, Irrad solved it in under a minute — which is an extraordinary feat.

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After surprising everyone in the room, ONE Esports seized the opportunity to catch up with him. In an exclusive interview, he discussed how he came to love the toy puzzle.

Irrad had been playing with Rubik’s Cube ever since he was young, and it’s still a part of his everyday life

RSG Slate PH John "Irrad" Abarquez solving a Rubik's Cube
Credit: Nosaido

“I first started playing with Rubik’s Cube when I was in eighth grade. My school had a tournament, and I wanted to participate, but I wasn’t very skilled at it at the time,” he said.

Although he didn’t perform well in the competition, he was still determined to improve his skills and solve the puzzle even faster.

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He even took down detailed notes on various patterns and strategies to achieve his goal.

“As I continued to practice, I became quite skilled,” he said, fondly recalling his best time. “When I was at my peak and still recording my scores, I remembered back then that my fastest time was 14 seconds.”

To put it into perspective, it takes an average person about three hours to complete a cube for the first time, according to the Netflix documentary The Speed Cubers.

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Now a professional player for Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, Irrad said that he’s not as quick at solving Rubik’s Cubes like before.

Nevertheless, he still manages to find some time to play with his favorite puzzle toy every now and then.

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“I would play with my cube during scrims and practices,” he shared. “Cubing will always be a part of my life no matter what.”

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