July 24, 2024

Words are not enough to justify Team Lakay Chair Mark Sangiao’s pride seeing his 18-year-old son take his act with the big boys and sign with ONE Championship this early in his career.

“We’ve been preparing Jhanlo for this moment for many years and now, the wait is over. We are seeing Jhanlo join the roster of ONE Championship’s athletes,” Sangiao said.

It truly is a realization of a dream for the younger Sangiao who grew up watching his father tears it up with some of the toughest mixed martial arts fighters in the country.

As dangerous as the sport of MMA is, there’s really nothing that could compare to having one’s arms raised at the end of the match. Understanding that indescribable high is one of the multitude of reasons why Sangiao never hindered his son from treading the same path.

“I never forced him to do MMA and I never told him not to. I left the decision up to him, to do what he wants and to navigate what he is really passionate about. And he found MMA, which made me more than proud,” said the elder Sangiao.

Everyone knows the quality of being a Team Lakay fighter, with the Cordillera-based stable cementing itself as the best mixed martial arts gym in the country.

“They all have that passion and absolutely, these young generation has that raw appetite to get to as far as where their older brothers have come to,” said coach Mark.

“These brothers’ achievements are motivation-feeder to our younger generation of fighters and I always tell them to stay driven, to train to improve, to always carry the right attitude and good character,” he added.

Of course, one can’t blame coach Mark for being a little bit more detailed when he is at the corner of Jhanlo. After all, he couldn’t help his fatherly instincts from inevitably kicking in whenever he sees his son fight.

“When our fighters fight, I see them as professional athletes and I am their coach. That is our relationship and this applies to everyone. But the only thing with Jhanlo is I feel more edgy. I guess that’s the father feeling kicking in, but that’s it,” he said.

That’s not to say that coach Mark does not trust his son’s abilities as he actually believes that the years of preparation has readied Jhanlo for this leap of faith. And that includes dealing with the immense pressure that he has on his back as he carries their proud surname Sangiao.

“I have no worries. I believe we got him armed physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually for this moment. We did the groundwork and let him not forget to always stay focused and to always carry humility whenever he enters that ONE circle,” he added. – ONE release