Mark Sangiao, The Man Planning Team Lakay’s Success In 2019
By Dan Paulo Errazo
The Team Lakay Gym is filled with talent whether they harbor World Titles or they are in line for one. This is the training ground for the current four ONE World Champions Eduard “Landslide” Folayang, Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon, Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio, and Joshua “The Passion” Pacio.
All these accolades were undoubtedly borne from the hard work and sacrifice of these champions. But little to everyone else’s knowledge, there’s a man behind it all who had to sacrifice a little bit more for the sake of his wards. He is Mark Sangiao, the current head coach of Team Lakay.
“I gave up a lot in my personal fight career to be able to lead my brothers and the next generation of Team Lakay athletes. The success of the team is a validation of my decision eight years ago to hang up my gloves and be a full-time coach. Where my athletes are positioned now is my biggest achievement. They are a reflection of myself,” Sangiao told ONE Championship.
Prior to his position as head coach and founder of the most prolific martial arts outfit in the Philippines, Sangiao was a professional mixed martial artist who went by the alias “The Machine.”
With a record of 7-2, as a man who once wore the shoes of his own athletes, he is no stranger when it comes to adversity, especially coming from a simple gym situated on top of a mountain where weather and the elements can sometimes come between the team and their and training.
“One example was when the Philippines, particularly Baguio City, was hit with big storms. Roads were closed, and it was difficult to get in and out of the city. There were landslides and flash floods. Power outages were rampant,” Sangiao enumerated.
“For an entire week, the Team Lakay gym was without electricity, and we had to train in the pitch darkness. This was during Joshua Pacio’s training camp for the Yoshitaka Naito rematch. But whatever hurdles we faced, we always adjusted.”
But there are some perks given their location. The pristine rawness of mother nature also has its advantages.
“Fortunately, we are in an area surrounded by beautiful nature, and the outdoors always served well as the best training ground. Together, we were able to overcome adversity. We’ll do the same in 2019.”
The head coach of Team Lakay is still letting the success of 2018 sink in.
“I really have the best group of guys. They achieve so much and are laser-focused. Yes, we aren’t without obstacles, but I think it doesn’t matter what we are faced with. These guys power through everything with their positivity and energy. It’s awesome to witness, and I have the best seat in the house,” Sangiao said
Despite the team’s success in 2018, Sangiao stresses that 2019 is poised to be even bigger, with an even more challenging set of challenges. Sangiao, and the entire Team Lakay, are certainly up for it.
“If we trained hard in 2018, you can be sure we are doubling up on that and working twice as hard. The work we put into training camp will dictate our success in 2019. I have the utmost confidence in my team. There is no doubt that we are up for the challenge. We will do our best.
“As for my personal goals, I just want the whole team and all our athletes to press forward, and to keep winning and defending [the titles]. I also want to teach more athletes, especially the next generation. Of course, it wouldn’t hurt to have a better gym and better facilities. That’s something we are currently working on,” Sangiao admitted.
With the highly-anticipated ONE Lightweight and Flyweight World Grand Prix tournaments coming up, both Eustaquio and Folayang’s titles are on the line. Sangiao feels confident with achieving the desired results.
“Geje and Eduard are incredible athletes and tremendous martial artists. They are the hardest workers on the team and are a real inspiration, especially to the younger generation who wish to follow in their footsteps. They serve as role models to the youth.” – Sangiao mentioned.
“That being said, they are doing everything they can to be able to give the best performance in their upcoming bouts. The tournament format is a very interesting one, and I think it’s a good way to determine who is the best in the division.”
No matter where Team Lakay is headed in 2019, you can be sure that Sangiao is steering the ship in the right direction.