Five athletes from the fabled gym from the mountains of Baguio entered the ring last Friday at the Mall Of Asia Arena in Manila, but Kingad was the lone man standing. And he eked out a narrow split decision win over Reece “Lightning” McLaren.
Never the type to frown after losing, Sangiao focused on Kingad’s performance, which brought him to the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix final where he will meet Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson.
“Danny saved the night, but it would have been better if Eduard Folayang won,” Sangiao said before bursting into laughter.
“It would have erased the previous losses, but then again Danny really saved the night.”
The night was not turning out the way Team Lakay hoped it would before Kingad entered the ring.
The string of losses started after Edward “The Ferocious” Kelly suffered a second-round technical decision loss to China’s “The Stalker” Xie Bin.
Former ONE Featherweight World Champion Honorio “The Rock” Banario gave a valiant effort against “Crazy Dog” Dae Sung Park, but it was not enough as he lost by unanimous decision after three rounds of back and forth action.
Former ONE Flyweight World Champion Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio, meanwhile, suffered the first knockout of his professional career after Japanese athlete Yuya “Little Piranha” Wakamatsu dropped him at the 1:59 mark of round one.
After Kingad bagged Team Lakay’s first win that night, former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang was up next but suffered his second consecutive defeat by first-round submission against Eddie “The Underground King” Alvarez.
“Still it was a very lonely night. We wanted a 5–0, but the results came tumbling down one by one,” Sangiao admitted.
“We did not expect the results. But again, either we win or we learn. We really saw what needs to be improved.”
For Sangiao, it is all about the finer details that separate the world class from the rest.
“We have to be much more detailed now. We have seen their weaknesses and we won’t stop until we work on it, because the level of competition is so high,” Sangiao admitted.
“If it’s grappling, then we should focus on grappling. It’s mixed martial arts. You have to be complete. Cause they’ll look for your weakness and pound for it.”
Four out of five results were far from what they trained and hoped for, but Team Lakay is still coming home with smiles on their faces and their spirits intact.
“Regardless of the results, we remain in high spirits now. But yes, I’m sad for the team because we came in with a goal of getting the sweep,” Sangiao said.
“I never expected that the results would be like this, but as I’ve always said, either we win or we learn. It only showed us that there is still a lot to learn.”