'Tataas pa 'yan at gagaling pa 'yan'- Mark Sangiao on Joshua Pacio
Santino Honasan on Nov 14, 2019 02:45 PM
“Kung kahit hindi ako coach pero makikita mo yung work ethic niya sa training, tapos kung paano siya mag-isip, yung discipline niya, andun talaga sa kanya yung values ng martial arts. Yun yung nakita ko sa kanya, na kahit wala ako doon, makikita mo sa kanya. Tataas at tataas pa yan, gagaling at gagaling pa yan,” - Mark Sangiao on Joshua Pacio (Photo courtesy of ONE Championship)
Arguably the brightest spot on an otherwise rough year for Team Lakay has been none other than the continuous rise of reigning ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua “The Passion” Pacio.
The 23-year old Pacio was one of the La Trinidad, Benguet-based team’s four world champions coming into 2019, and he was also the first to relinquish the title, losing a controversial split decision to Japan’s Yosuke Saruta in January.
Fortunately for Pacio, ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong believed that the young star from Team Lakay was the deserving winner and was granted an immediate rematch. Pacio would go on to reclaim his title with one of the most iconic knockouts in ONE history, putting Saruta to sleep in the rematch with a well-timed head kick knockout that sent the Mall of Asia Arena crowd in a frenzy.
Pacio would go on to close out 2019 with yet another masterful performance, this time flexing his grappling muscles and forcing fellow Filipino Rene Catalan to tap out to an arm-triangle submission in the second round.
It was Pacio’s first successful title defense, erasing the bitter memory of his failed title defense begin the year.
“Siyempre, napaka-saya kasi gaya nga nung sabi ko nung sa unang interview you're not a champion until you defend your belt,” Pacio said during the post-fight presser. “So napaka-saya ko kasi na-defend ko successfully.”
The dominant win was yet another display of overall dominance for Pacio, who, apart from being able to dominate on the ground, was also a step ahead on the feet, and that led to Catalan looking to take the action to the ground.
“Yun talaga naman yung, isa yun sa gameplan ni Joshua. Yun lang, si Catalan yung nag-initiate na mag-takedown,” Sangiao explained. “Ine-expect namin na si Joshua yung [mag-shushoot], pero tumama yung back roundhouse ni Joshua nung first round na, yung naka smile [si Catalan] pero sira yung smile niya, na bodega siya, tapos siya na yung nag-initiate ng takedown para siya yung nasa baba, supposedly ang gameplan doon, isusubmit talaga ni Joshua.”
The submission, Pacio says, was in fact the target. “Oo, submission talaga, pero hindi ko ine-expect na siya yung mag-aattempt ng takedown, kasi nung nag-back kick ako nung round one, nginitian ako, tapos biglang nag-takedown. Ay, alam ko na 'to. Wrestler ka na ngayon. Na-feel ko eh. 'Yes, dito na.' sabi ko, siya yung nag-takedown, nag-initiate, mas gusto ko yun, kasi dun pupunta yung gameplan ko.”
With Pacio’s win over Catalan, he has effectively cleaned out the division, with wins over former champions Yoshitaka Naito and Saruta, as well as top-contender Catalan, who came in to the fight riding an impressive six-fight winning streak.
Already at the pinnacle of the division at such a young age, Pacio’s mentor Sangiao believes that “The Passion” still has more heights to reach in his mixed martial arts career.
Speaking not as Team Lakay’s head coach but as an expert in the martial arts industry, Sangiao is confident that we’ve yet to see the best that Pacio can offer.
“Kung wala ako doon at nakikita ko kung paano siya mag-work, kung nakikita mo kung paano mag-work yung bata, kung paano mag-isip yung bata, ma-aappreciate niyo siya. Kahit hindi ako coach. Yung talagang masasabi mo sa kanya na tatagal at successful na siya sa ngayon, at tatagal pa yung pagiging champion niya.”
“Kung kahit hindi ako coach pero makikita mo yung work ethic niya sa training, tapos kung paano siya mag-isip, yung discipline niya, andun talaga sa kanya yung values ng martial arts. Yun yung nakita ko sa kanya, na kahit wala ako doon, makikita mo sa kanya. Tataas at tataas pa yan, gagaling at gagaling pa yan,” Sangiao concluded.