New Challenges Arise For Team Lakay Following Back To Back World Title Loses
ABS-CBN Sports on Jan 31, 2019 11:58 AM
"I myself always motivate the team. What they're doing is for their family and the country. This is not the end, our athletes are young. This is just a challenge on how we can get back on top." - Mark Sangiao
Expect more intense training sessions for Team Lakay after the premiere mixed martial arts camp from Baguio City lost two of its World Titles in a span of six days in ONE Championship.
Joshua "The Passion" Pacio took the first major setback for the team when he lost his then ONE Strawweight World Title to Yosuke "Tobizaru" Saruta by way of razor-thin split decision in the main event of ONE: ETERNAL GLORY on 19 January at the Istora Senayan in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Six days later, Geje "Gravity" Eustaquio surrendered the ONE Flyweight World Title to his longtime rival Adriano "Mikinho" Moraes of Brazil by unanimous decision in the main event of ONE: HERO'S ASCENT at the Mall Of Asia Arena in Manila.
Team Lakay's head coach, Mark Sangiao, reiterated that the team has been through worse in the past. However, he believes that the two world titles should have remained in the Philippines.
"We've experienced losing five fights in one night. We can take being defeated, but hopefully in a way that is fair and square. ONE Chairman [Chatri Sityodtong] himself said that Pacio won over Saruta," Sangiao said.
"Most recently it's Eustaquio. We're not new to this sport. We all say we're positive, but again, we hope that things turn out to be fair. Let's consider the sacrifices of our athletes. It's all their hard work together with their family and supporters."
While he has no qualms with the decision on the Pacio bout, he remains baffled with how the judges scored the Eustaquio title match.
"To the judges, we're not new to this game. We all know who really won the fight. All I can say is we've gone through worse times. We could have given up back then. We've grown and there's no giving up now," explained Sangiao
"I myself always motivate the team. What they're doing is for their family and the country. This is not the end, our athletes are young. This is just a challenge on how we can get back on top."
It took 365 days for Team Lakay to build an empire with four ONE World Titleholders, yet it merely took six days for him to see half of their hard work crumble.
Though it's a tough pill to swallow, the highly respected trainer believes the team will bounce back like they always do.
"We've been through a lot," said Sangiao. "But we proved that we can bounce back.