ONE Championship: Best yet to come from Team Lakay, says head coach
ABS-CBN Sports on Nov 18, 2019 12:29 PM
“Our athletes, I believe they have yet to peak. They have a lot to learn. Give us three to five more years ‘til you see our [true potential] and prove that we are indeed one of the best in the world.” - Mark Sangiao
Team Lakay may be the most famous stable in in Philippine mixed martial arts scene today, but head coach Mark Sangiao believes they still have a long way to go in unmasking their true potential.
As successful as they are now, the soft-spoken head coach knows the team has yet to reach their ceiling yet – and that is what makes them dangerous.
“Now you’ll see the new generation, they are very complete. They bring it each night and you’ll see that they have very few weaknesses,” Sangiao said.
“Our athletes, I believe they have yet to peak. They have a lot to learn. Give us three to five more years ‘til you see our [true potential] and prove that we are indeed one of the best in the world.”
One of the things they need to work on moving forward is consistency, as they have been brilliant most times, but have fallen short on a few occasions.
This year may be the perfect microcosm of that as they lost three of their four World Titles this year, with Joshua "The Passion" Pacio remaining as their lone World Champion after defending the ONE Strawweight World Title against Rene "The Challenger" Catalan at ONE: MASTERS OF FATE.
Former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard "Landslide" Folayang and former ONE Flyweight World Champion Geje "Gravity" Eustaquio both won their respective bouts on that night as well to make up for earlier struggles this year.
While the 39-year-old is happy with how they ended the year, he hopes to stay consistent next year.
“We’re certainly happy with the result. This is what we prepared and prayed for. We really wanted to end the year right,” Sangiao said.
“We learned a lot of lessons this year. It was a terrible first to third quarter of the year and we hope that we win at least more than 70 percent of our matches next year.”
“But we’re happy that we ended the year right.”
It has certainly been a tumultuous year for Team Lakay, and Sangiao cannot wait for the turn of the year where new opportunities await the fabled team out of the mountains of Baguio City.
“This cannot happen next year. We had a great 2018, and I can’t really explain what happened [in 2019] – we lost everything,” Sangiao said.
“We have to try and improve for next year.”