By Kevin Estrada
It was not the return that Team Lakay wanted at the ONE Championship, but there are surely lessons to be learned from their sojourn in Singapore in order to contend with the world’s best mixed martial artists.
That was the admission of Mark Sangiao as they went 1-3 in two instalments of Inside the Matrix, with former flyweight king Geje Eustaquio the lone winner in their comeback, more than nine months since they last fought at Fire and Fury.
“Masakit yung loob nila sa mga result pero as a coach yun yung naramdaman ko after nung event,” remarked the famed trainer when they met the press Monday afternoon.
But I know we’ll be back stronger than ever. As they say, we are the ‘Kings of Rematch’,” said Sangiao, head coach of Team Lakay.
For them, the ring rust was shaken owing to a long layoff contributed to those three losses to Eduard Folayang, Lito Adiwang and Kevin Belingon.
“Hindi lang sa atleta natin kundi sa lahat pero siguro mas maganda yung adjustments nila. Yun yung isang factor na alam ko kung bakit ganun yung results natin,” he added.
But that rust was not visible for Gravity who clocked up a dominant win over Song Min Jong, yet he was not satisfied owing that the South Korean was a late replacement for Gary Mangat who contracted the coronavirus
“We didn’t expect things to happen that way,” replied Eustaquio when asked about his win, saying that the late change have thrown off everything they planned for the Canadian sensation.
On the other hand, the Silencer was bummed that his immediate plans for a shot at a world title belt were put into a screeching halt when he was knocked out by John Lineker.
“Siguro may purpose yong nangyari na maghaharap sila ni John,” said the former bantamweight titleholder, who despite his devastating loss, was all positive vibes.
To him, he cannot wait to fight for either Lineker or current ONE World Champion Bibiano Fernades, whoever gets the better in an all-Brazilian tiff.
“In the future, baka ako yong ano makakaagaw ng belt sa mananalo doon.”
Furthermore with the layoff long scratched off their backs, Belingon looks forward for a return to the gym to get back into their usual fighting form.
“Magrestart ulit, magtrain ulit, balik sa training. Then review lahat nong mga mali na dapat maayos para pagbalik namin, nakaset na lahat, maganda na yong kondisyon namin.”
For Sangiao, there will be a lot of man-to-man talk for his wards.
He said, “Bring out everything that you want to bring out. Para pag-uwi natin, pag-start natin ng training focused na ulit.”
Follow the writer on Twitter: @kevinlestrada