by Ernest Leo Hernandez
Being branded as the premier MMA stable in the Philippines, founder and head coach Mark Sangiao is reaping the fruits of labor upon seeing his students dominate even in the international scene.
In the latest One Championship fight card in Manila, Team Lakay swept their competition with victories from Danny Kingad, Gina Iniong, Honorio Banario, Kevin Belingon and the defending One Lightweight Champion Eduard Folayang.
With the increasing popularity of MMA and success of Team Lakay, aspiring fighters go through a pilgrimage just to visit Sangiao’s gym which is located in the mountains of Cordillera.
Experiencing the cool weather and undergoing altitude training in the slopes of Baguio and Benguet– which even Manny Pacquiao sometimes goes through before his fights – MMA practitioners and enthusiasts are wondering if Team Lakay has plans to expand in Metro Manila so that they would not take much time from their daily routines.
“Gustong-gusto ko yun siyempre, pero sa future,” said Sangiao.”Now, siguro naka-focus lang kami sa training, development ng mga athletes natin pero sa future, alam ko meron yan.”
Team Lakay has come up with different programs that would help blossom their students to become world-class fighters. That includes organizing their own fight cards with the Grappler’s Cup and Team Lakay Championships.
Sangiao also emphasized that they always had the idea starting a gym in the Metro in mind. But finding the right trainer who would commit to staying in the gym to carry on the discipline and tradition of what Team Lakay built is a tough task.
“Ayaw naming yung parang magiging ‘ano’ lang siya. Pero I believe na mangyayari yan since naka tatlo na kaming gym.”
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