ONE Dreams Put On Hold For Three Team Lakay Athletes After Shooto Heartbreak

ABS-CBN Sports on May 07, 2019 02:14 PM
ONE Dreams Put On Hold For Team Lakay Athletes
(Photo courtesy of Eduard Folayang on Facebook)

Three mixed martial artists from Team Lakay will have to put their ONE Championship dreams on hold following their respective setbacks in Shooto last Monday, 6 May at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan.

Jerome "Torogi" Wanawan was on the wrong end of a stoppage, as he lost to Ryohei Kurosawa via knockout in the first round.

Jared Almazan was defeated by Koha Minowa via third-round submission, and Jean Claude Saclag lost to Ryo Okada via unanimous decision.

Despite the losses, Team Lakay head coach Mark Sangiao sees this as a perfect opportunity for their stalwarts to get accustomed to the level of competition on the international level.

"This is only the beginning, and we are hoping that we can develop a very good relationship with Shooto, like what we have with ONE, so we can continuously send athletes abroad,” Sangiao explained.

ONE and Shooto inked an agreement last January where the Japanese promotion’s World Champions will be given an automatic spot on the world’s largest martial arts organization’s talent-filled roster.

It was a welcome development in the Asian mixed martial arts scene, and according to Sangiao, it’s also a huge opportunity for Filipino mixed martial artists to strut their wares internationally before making their way into The Home Of Martial Arts.

“It’s always about growth and opportunities for our athletes. At the same time, we push them even further, both physically and mentally so they’ll be ready,” the head coach said.

“It was a beautiful event. All the Japanese athletes from ONE Championship were there, and Eduard Folayang even gave a short speech after the event.”

While the team failed to get a single win, Sangiao remains laser-focused on his goal of producing world-class athletes. He understands losses are part of it, and he vows that Team Lakay will continue to push forward.

“That’s our goal — for our athletes to reach the international stage,” he said. “Once they get there, it’s all about polishing their skills further so they’ll be ready for the bigger stage.”

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