MMA: Sangiao cites Pacquiao's influence on Team Lakay

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 08 2021 07:53 PM

MMA: Sangiao cites Pacquiao's influence on Team Lakay



Team Lakay head coach Mark Sangiao could only feel pride knowing that once in his life, he had a chance to meet a legend like Manny Pacquiao.

The boxing icon from Sarangani proudly hoisted the Philippine flag inside the ring and etched his name among the sport's greats.

"I have met him several times in different occasions like in sports conventions and events, as well as in public hearings," said Sangiao.

But what stood out for Sangiao was Pacquiao's humility.

"He's very amiable. At his current life and career status, you can still feel that raw humbleness in him," said Sangiao.

"What endears me the most from him was his rags-to-riches story, that you can be someone who came from nothing if you really want to and still, keep that attitude amidst all the success that you have accomplished."

Truth be told, Pacquiao's success was also fuel for Team Lakay in its formative years, with Sangiao using him as a motivation for his fighters to do well whenever they fight.

"In the early days of our international fights, Pacquiao was one of the few figures that drove us to also bring honor back to our country," he said. 

"Don't get me wrong: when we fight abroad we are more driven to give our best to serve as an inspiration to our young athletes and people to dream as well and achieve. But having Manny as our inspiration is really big for us because we want to emulate the glory he brings to our country."

Sangiao attributed Pacquiao's resilience as a key lesson his fighters have absorbed over the years.

"Manny bears the Philippines' colors proudly in all of his fights, and his achievement is every Filipinos' achievement. So for us, we emulated that, that every fight of Pacquiao and of our Team Lakay athletes in the ring and in the cage further cements the fact that we Filipinos should be taken seriously in the arena of combat sports," he said.

Like Pacquiao, Team Lakay has also done its part in the world of MMA. At one point they had four champions led by two-time ONE lightweight champion Eduard "Landslide" Folayang.

Other Baguio-based fighters have followed suit, from former ONE bantamweight champion Kevin "The Silencer" Belingon and ex-ONE flyweight champion Geje "Gravity" Eustaquio, to the reigning ONE strawweight champion Joshua "The Passion" Pacio.

The curtain, however, has closed on Pacquiao's boxing career as he announced his decision to retire last week.

For Sangiao, he deeply respects this decision. "He knows his self best and when he says it's time to pull the curtain down, then that's it," he said.

It was a great run for Pacquiao's boxing career nonetheless, and Sangiao chooses to look back on Pacquiao's legacy.

"That's what Pacquiao's legacy is to me: that attaining greatness is a product of your hard work."

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