Team Lakay founder and head coach Mark “The Machine” Sangiao is currently in Singapore. He has been helping his wards prepare for their matches while traversing various health and safety protocols put in place by ONE Championship in partnership with the Singaporean government.
“I am thankful and glad with the way ONE Championship has handled the operations in Singapore,” Sangiao commented. “It’s very professional and they really place a lot of importance on following health and safety protocols. I think it’s great for our athletes because they have that peace of mind that they are being well taken care of.”
“We have everything we need during quarantine and all very happy to be back in Singapore,” Sangiao continued. “I am so happy and grateful that even in this pandemic, our athletes are still able to showcase their skills and what they’ve been working on.”
According to Sangiao, it was challenging trying to find productive alternative training methods to keep the Team Lakay athletes well-conditioned. For him, there is a hard balance to strike because it was about facing not only a health crisis but also an economic crisis.
Team Lakay is based in La Trinidad, Benguet, Philippines. Most of its athletes are based in the nearby Baguio City, Philippines.
“Our athletes had to find a way to survive and so did our gym,” Sangiao shared. “The first thing I told my fighters was to be careful and to take care of themselves and follow the government’s regulations. It’s so tempting being in Baguio City to go out and explore nature and train outdoors but it’s important that we abide by the rules and stay inside our own homes.”
For Sangiao, it was hard spending time away from his protégés and not being able to guide them personally. Still, they managed to constantly communicate online and he always checked up on them during their home training.
“I also asked them to post their training regimens online for accountability,” Sangiao said. “Now, the moment we’ve been waiting for has finally arrived. They all have appearances in the circle lined up.”
“Of course, we still strictly comply with all health protocols being implemented,” Sangiao continued. “Right now, it’s about being smart and training smart.”
The training of the Team Lakay athletes and they are more eager than before, Sangiao assured. He said, “We’re all excited to head back to action after a long hiatus.”
“It was fun to train at home when early in the lockdowns but as soon as regulations eased, we went back to the gym,” Sangiao continued. “Working as a team, developing our skills together, that’s when we are the strongest. We can conduct our regular sparring sessions, which is a crucial component of our training.”
Three Team Lakay athletes are on the card of “ONE: Inside the Matrix 3,” which was pre-taped at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang, Singapore and is set to be aired on November 13, 2020 on various platforms. In the first bout of the evening, Lito “Thunder Kid” Adiwang, 27, will fight ONE Championship debutante Koha “Hiroba” Minowa, 21, of Saitama, Japan.
In the co-main event of the evening, Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio, 31, of the Philippines will fight “The Running Man” Song Min Jong, 28, of South Korea, also a ONE Championship debutante. In the main event, Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon, 32, will face John “Hands of Stone” Lineker, 30, of Parana, Brazil in the bantamweight division.
“This event is a great sign that slowly, things are getting back to normal, not the usual normal but still, we can see significant progress away from this pandemic,” Sangiao concluded. “It is great news indeed for ONE Championship and for our athletes. We are hoping that more events will be staged and gradually will be held in more countries around the world.”