MMA: Louie Sangalang continues to shine in 'The Apprentice: ONE Championship'


Posted at May 04 2021 07:02 PM

Filipino candidate Louie Sangalang during the business challenge of the latest episode of The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition. Handout photo.

MANILA, Philippines -- Filipino candidate Louie Sangalang pushed Team Valor colleague Eugene Chung to the forefront in both the physical and boardroom challenges in Episode 7 of "The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition," and his other teammates took notice.

Sangalang, a trained mixed martial artist and former champion, baffled the field as he pushed Chung in his stead in the one-on-one grappling match overseen by ONE women’s strawweight world champion Xiong Jing Nan and ONE women’s atomweight contender Ritu "The Indian Tigress" Phogat.

In the business task where the candidates were challenged to create an advertorial for wildlife awareness, the Filipino candidate deferred to Chung anew.

Sangalang said he saw the eagerness of his teammate Chung to join the grappling challenge so he allowed the 23-year-old digital marketer to face off against the bigger, heftier Niraj Puran Rao of Team Conquest -- a decision which raised eyebrows from both teams.

"I appreciated that Eugene stepped up, but when I tried to reflect on the logic, (it looked like) a strategic move. I know that Louie's a smart and strategic competitor," said Irina Chadsey of Team Valor. 

Sangalang, for his part, reasoned it was a matter of martial arts honor, citing the opponent’s white belt ranking.

More than his decision to sit out the grappling task, Sangalang's motives were further questioned when he proposed that Chung take on the role of project manager for the business task to promote awareness for the contributions of Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS).

"You were able to redeem yourself with the physical task and you're riding that very high morale. It's time for you to unleash your greatness," Sangalang told Chung.

"I think Louie just wanted to put Eugene in a position where he's either gonna make it or break it, and I truly believe that Louie thinks Eugene is going to break it," remarked Team Valor colleague Monica Millington.

"I'm still not 100% confident he's telling me the truth," added Chadsey. "I have all the respect for Louie, but in a strategic perspective, he's very clever. I'm not accusing Louie doing something wrong but perhaps I would not play mind games like he does."

In the end, Team Valor lost the business tasks, evidently due to Chung's poor leadership skills.

"It was actually the three of us working together and caring for a child," Sangalang said in a bitter realization of his wrong judgment in entrusting the reins to Chung. 

"Eugene has been through a lot of rough times starting from the first week. To be honest, I really wanted Eugene to redeem himself and prove that he's not a quitter," he explained.

However, Sangalang's gamble wound up costing Chung his spot in the competition.

It was an eye-opener not just for Sangalang, but for the seven other remaining candidates.

"Leadership has everything to do with serving your team to the best of your ability, and most importantly, doing what is right. I strongly encourage you to reflect on this lesson, that a leader must serve his or her team's needs by doing what is right. Not what is easiest, but what is right," said ONE Championship chairman Chatri Sityodtong.

At stake in the competition is a prize of USD250,000, as well as the opportunity to work as Sityodtong's protégé and chief of staff at the ONE Championship global headquarters in Singapore for a year.