MANILA, Philippines -- The stage is set for the finale of "The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition," with the last two candidates battling for a lucrative job offer to work directly under the chief executive of the promotion.
After 11 weeks of intense physical tasks, demanding business challenges, and high drama in the boardroom, the competition is down to Singapore-based sales director Jessica Ramella from Venezuela and former mixed martial arts champion Louie Sangalang from the Philippines.
One of the two will win the US$250,000 job offer and get the chance to work for ONE Championship chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong.
Both Ramella and Sangalang have made it this far through sheer determination, true grit, and hard work. But they took different paths to get here.
Get to know: Filipino candidate Louie Sangalang
Born in Baguio City, Philippines, Sangalang was once a struggling alcoholic and a rebellious teenager who got into fistfights. He became a father at the tender age of 21.
Then at 23, Louie was diagnosed with appendiceal cancer. He survived the ordeal and was given a second lease on life – and that’s when he discovered martial arts.
Eventually, Sangalang became a professional mixed martial artist. He even captured the URCC featherweight championship and held the belt from 2003-05. In 2005, he became a semifinalist on "Kamao: Matira ang Matibay," the first boxing reality TV show in the Philippines.
After his professional fighting career ended, Sangalang turned his attention to business, working in several industries, including microfinance, entertainment, hospitality, casinos, business process outsourcing, and insurance.
In 2018, he became the first Filipino cancer survivor to finish the North Pole Marathon. That same year, he completed the inaugural Ironman Philippines and was promoted to a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu by Professor Fernando Salvador under the Pedro Sauer BJJ Association.
On "The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition," Sangalang built his reputation as being a "silent assassin," a strong strategic threat, and a capable executive.
Throughout the season, he put in the work and shone from the sidelines. While other candidates engaged in corporate politicking, he meticulously crafted his competition strategy, which focused on strong execution and sly tactical decisions.
Irina Chadsey was the first to really catch wind of Sangalang’s game plan, but it was too late, and he had already established himself as a front-runner in the competition.
One final interview is all that stands between Sangalang and victory.
Get to know: Venezuela's Jessica Ramella
Born and raised in Venezuela, Ramella left her family in a difficult situation at 18 years old to carve her own path through life. She traveled from country to country, chasing her professional dreams in the cutthroat corporate world.
Eventually, she landed a job as a sales director at a leading international software company in Singapore, where she also auditioned for “The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition.”
Throughout the show’s inaugural season, Ramella has showcased her resourcefulness and superior problem-solving skills. Whenever she’s been given a task, she’s executed her role to near-perfection. Without a doubt, she has proven herself one of the most capable candidates in the competition.
As an executive, Ramella has a tremendous amount of experience. Still, she describes her greatest asset as being her biggest flaw. She is a perfectionist, and oftentimes, she comes off as too perfect, which is something Sityodtong has been wary of from the start.
Strategically, Ramella took very few calculated risks. She was only her team’s project manager once on the show, and she preferred to let others take the brunt of the pressure in the hot seat. This led to a clash with Nazee Sajedi, who felt Ramella wasn’t stepping up to the plate enough. The two went back and forth for several episodes.
She also earned the distinction of being the only candidate who never appeared in the bottom three of a business challenge. As a result, Sityodtong did not get to know her as well as the others. However, Ramella feels that shouldn’t be held against her.
As one of two candidates in the season finale, Ramella just needs to nail the final interview in order to become "The ONE."
Finale is anyone's game
Both Ramella and Sangalang are formidable competitors in their own right, each with their own set of strengths and weaknesses. They’ve both succeeded and failed in this competition, but above all, they’ve displayed their impressive skills and set themselves apart from the other global candidates.
In the finale, Sityodtong and special guest Anthony Tan, CEO of Grab, will put amella and Sangalang through an intense interview -- perhaps the toughest job interview of their lives -- to discover who they really are.
The two CEOs will attempt to break down their walls and get to the core of their personalities in order to make the final decision and crown "The ONE."