TEAM Lakay head coach Mark Sangiao could have decided to focus on his fighting career, but ultimately decided to hang up his gloves to focus on coaching.
Eight years later, Sangiao is reaping the rewards of his leap of faith.
Team Lakay will be ending 2018 with four champions after Eduard Folayang regained the ONE Lightweight title on Friday with a win over Amir Khan in Conquest of Champions.
Folayang joined Strawweight champion Joshua Pacio, Flyweight kingpin Geje Eustaquio and Bantamweight titlist Kevin Belingon as ONE champions in the fabled camp from Baguio.
Sangiao, who retired with a 7-2 record, didn’t expect that his coaching career would be this successful but he had no regrets either way.
“Positive naman akong tao, wala akong pinagsisisihan and I’m very happy with the result of my decision,” said the 39-year-old Sangiao.
If there’s one guy who knows Sangiao, it’s Folayang as the two go way back even before MMA as training parters in Wushu.
Still going strong at age 35, Folayang is the perfect testament to what Sangiao could have been had he continued to pursue fighting.
That’s why on the night he became the first two-time champion in ONE history, he still opted to honor his coach.
“We have a good team, a good coach, and brilliant people who support us,” Folayang said. “Dapat may belt si coach eh,” he added.
But for Sangiao, he doesn’t need a belt or a trophy to get his validation. He sees it in his fighters who’ve represented the stable well both in regional and international organizations. But more than that, it’s how his stable has represented Benguet not only in the Philippines but to the rest of Asia as well.
“Oo, nakikita ko lang ang belts worth it na,” said Sangiao. “Feeling ko champion na rin ako.”