JAKARTA -- Team Lakay coach Mark Sangiao is optimistic of Joshua Pacio's chances when he takes a second crack at the ONE Strawweight Championship against Yoshitaka Naito in the main event of ONE: Conquest of Heroes at Jakarta Convention center on Saturday.
"Tingin ko, ngayon ang right time para makuha ni Joshua yung title," he said.
A lot of observers back in 2016 felt that Pacio was hot-shotted to the title picture when he first met Naito in Yangon, Myanmar.
But for Sangiao, though the La Trinidad, Benguet failed on that challenge, it gave the young fighter the much-needed experience -- one which he could bank on in his second chance at the throne.
"Nung huli, nakita natin na nanalo siya sa first and second rounds. Yun nga lang, gawa ng pagkabata niya, masyado siyang hilaw para sa championship," he said, looking back to that first duel where Pacio submitted to Naito's rear-naked choke in the third round.
"At least nung natalo siya, nakita natin kung ano yung kulang sa kanya. Nasukat natin kung ano pa yung kailangan niya baguhin at i-develop. Sa akin, maganda na nakita natin yung kulang sa kanya."
Sangiao, however, acknowledged the enormity of this fight for the 22-year-old Pacio's career -- one which he thinks could make or break him moving forward.
"Kailangan niya manalo," he said. "Malaki yung chance natin makuha. Sana kunin na ni Joshua yung title kasi mahirap na pag natalo pa siya dito. Mahihirapan na siya makakuha ulit ng chance para sa title shot."
Despite that, Sangiao is booming with confidence seeing how hard Pacio has worked for this fight, something which he can attest is the best version of "The Passion."
"Yung bata na yan, si Joshua, tingin ko sa kanya gigil na gigil siya at hungry. Tinitignan ko pag nagte-training si Joshua, talagang nakikita ko na taglay niya rin yung quality ng isang champion. Napakasipag na bata at matalino," he remarked of his ward.
"Mas makita nila yung mas matured at technical na Joshua Pacio."