A former Team Lakay trainee is this year’s male Athletic Saber awardee for the Mandirigmang may Dangal Simbolo ng Galing at Pagbangon (Madasigon) Class 2023 of the Philippine Military Academy.
Cadet First Class John Rozz Oggang of Tinglayan, Kalinga has always been active in all kinds of sports ever since he was young. Oggang, who was announced as part of the top performing cadets on May 8, said Team Lakay has inspired him to also aspire to become a professional mixed martial artist.
Prior to entering the academy in 2018, he trained with Team Lakay at their gym in Km. 4 for more than three months.
Before he entered PMA, he took up an engineering course at Saint Louis University.
Becoming an engineer was a natural path for him to take as his late father was an electrical engineer at Philex Mines while his two older brothers are geological and mining engineers, also working at the mining firm.
He decided to deviate from that path when the opportunity of entering the academy presented itself, which he said, was the best choice he made.
Due to his short stint with Team Lakay, he gravitated towards combative sports where he excelled in judo, jiu jitsu, wushu, Muay Thai, and boxing.
He was also under the tutelage of one of Team Lakay’s original fighters and now coach, Jerome Wanawan, as part of PMA Academia Militar Philippines athletes where Oggang won silver during the Road to 150th Anniversary of Tarlac International Jiu Jitsu Games 2023 on Jan. 14 and 15.
Acknowledged alongside Oggang was Cadet 1CL Aaliyah Lopinac of Bataan as the female Athletic Saber awardee.
The Athletic Saber award lauds PMA cadets who have shown prowess in their physical education grades and athleticism throughout their stay in the academy.
Athletic Director, Lt. Commander Jermaine Dacanay, glowed with pride for the achievement of both athletes stating they are the strongest cadets in their batch.
“Out of the cream of the crop, they are the icing on top because they have shown excellence when it comes to their grades and in sports with no contest,” Dacanay said.
He said Lopinac excelled in ball games and team sports while Oggang topped the combative sports.
Oggang and Lopinac are set to join the Air Force upon graduation, which was temporarily set on May 21 with President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. as guest of honor and speaker. – Ofelia C. Empian