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Los Angeles, California - It was the start of the VCT 2023: Americas League Super week as fans had trickled into the studio to watch the highly-anticipated Sentinels vs. LOUD matchup.

Going into the series, several questions ran through every VALORANT viewer's mind.

“Is TenZ alright,” One fan questioned. “Can sacy and pANcada beat their former team,” Another fan thought to themselves.

Yet, despite all these varying storylines between Sentinels and LOUD, all eyes were ready to watch Sentinels’ sixth man Jimmy “Marved” Nguyen, who stood behind the VCT stage awaiting this moment for quite some time.

The past week for Sentinels sixth man Marved felt like it was pulled straight out of a movie ahead of his VCT 2023: Americas debut against the undefeated LOUD.

It had been 200-plus days since Sentinels sixth man Jimmy “Marved” Nguyen had played in a competitive VALORANT match during the VCT Champions 2022 Grand Final. He had been in Los Angeles for less than 24 hours with little time to breathe, let alone adjust back into pro play after a long break.

Yet, when Marved walked out onto that VCT 2023: Americas League stage to an uproar of North American fans cheering for him, only one thought ran through his mind.

“It felt like home,” Marved said.

Break away from competitive VALORANT

VCT 2023: Americas League Sentinels vs LOUD

Sentinels vs. LOUD on stage during VCT 2023: Americas League week four.

Marved’s moment in the VCT 2023: Americas League spotlight had been one that was overdue. When the franchised league was first revealed, Marved was assumed to be a lock for one of the spots in the league. Instead, he was without a team going into the VCT 2023 season. While he shared that he had “offers” going into the 2023 season, “the break” was his choice.

Instead of competitive VALORANT, Marved took that opportunity to recollect himself and reset. While he wasn’t completely shut away from the competitive aspect of VALORANT, he used that extra time to hang out with loved ones and have more of a balance with everything.

This balance is what specifically drew Marved to the Sentinels' sixth-man offer.

“The Sentinels’ offer really drew my attention because it allowed me to have one foot in the door and one foot out,” Marved said. “When they called me this week, I was so excited to make it happen, and I just felt ready because of that break.”

There was a lot of stress on the Sentinels’ side going into this super week. They had just announced a coaching switch before revealing they would be without longtime Sentinels’ star TenZ due to health conditions, resulting in Marved’s VCT 2023 debut.  While it was an exciting time for Marved, other things derailed their practice from being perfect. Yet, it was an unplanned issue that happened one day before their match against LOUD that really made things more complicated.

Straight from Toronto to VCT Americas

VCT Americas Sentinels Marved

Marved in his VCT 2023: Americas League debut

The initial plan was set for Marved to fly in at 8am Eastern time on Thursday and jump straight into scrims at 12pm Pacific time. However, a missed flight derailed those plans, leaving him with just “two scrims” left in the day.

“I missed three hours of prep work yesterday because I missed my flight at 8 am ET and flew at 12pm ET instead," Marved explained. “We only had two scrims left at that point, so we had just to make do with what we could.”

While Marved had been practicing with the team remotely from Toronto, Canada, for the past four days, there were some natural difficulties.

Thursday's practice was meant to be an opportunity to make their most significant strides. Instead, he arrived at the Sentinels practice facility around 4:30 pm, fresh off the plane with only two practice scrims in person.

Despite these setbacks, Sentinels looked strong in their series against LOUD. On Pearl, Marved acted as a piece that enabled Gustavo “sacy” Rossi and Bryan “pANcada” Luna to perform fully as Sentinels shocked viewers by solidifying a first-map victory with a 13-6 scoreline.

It was the same formula for Sentinels on Haven to where the team stood two round wins away from being able to hand LOUD their first series loss of the VCT 2023: Americas League.

Despite loss to LOUD, SEN Marved still happy

VCT Americas Marved Sentinels

Marved during series against LOUD.

While Sentinels could not close out the series against LOUD, Sentinels looked impressive despite the roster changes and limited practice time. While he highlighted mistakes on his own end that he plans to work on, it was a performance he was proud of.

“All things considered, I am really happy with our performance today,” Marved said. “Despite the circumstances, we performed our best, and I think we were close to 2-0ing them.”

One of the biggest credits to the team’s success that he noted was Sentinels coach Kaplan, who helped him feel well-adjusted into the three maps they played today.

“All the maps that we played today are all maps that we had been scrimming on, so Kaplan did a really good job helping me feel prepared as much as possible,” Marved shared.

One of the biggest credits to Marved’s success in his competitive career is his mindset and willingness to be open in a team setting. And despite how up and down this entire stretch of time was for himself, he still held the mindset that he was “thankful.”

“There are always people going through worse,” Marved said. “I just know that you should only control what you can control and don’t try to control more than that. Today, I just wanted to play my best and not be scared or hesitant to do anything. I just live in the moment.”

With a sharpened perspective on everything, it’s “only up” from here for Sentinels fans, Marved shared. After a strong showing against LOUD, there wasn’t much else left to say apart from learning from their mistakes and improving. Still, he took his final moments to thank the fans for their support in his return.

“Thank you for the continuous support. I tried my best today,” Marved said in his closing remarks. “Against the best team, I feel like we really competed, and it’s only going to go up from here, in my opinion. I love you guys.”

Sentinels and Marved will look to grab their second win of the VCT 2023: Americas League season when they take on MIBR tomorrow at 3pm PT.