Team Lakay, the famed mixed martial arts team based in Baguio City, Philippines, had a rollercoaster ride in 2017. Keeping the team strong and intact amid the highs and lows is its founder and head coach, Mark “The Machine” Sangiao.
Just a day before 2018, ONE Championship released a list of Asia’s top five coaches in martial arts. One of them is Sangiao, the mentor of former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang and former ONE Featherweight World Champion Honorio “The Rock” Banario, among others.
Sangiao started with kickboxing in 1995 and transitioned to taekwondo in 1998. In 2001, he joined the Philippine Wushu Team and won a gold medal at the Southeast Asia Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
After a successful career as an MMA fighter, Sangiao had to hang up the gloves so he could be a full-time head coach to Team Lakay, which is currently the top MMA team in the Philippines. On April 21, 2017, the team pulled off a perfect score 5-0 at “ONE: Kings of Destiny” at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines.
At “ONE: Kings of Destiny,” Folayang successfully defended his ONE Lightweight World Champion belt from his Kiwi-Malaysian opponent Ev Ting. Moreover, Banario, Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon, Danny “The King” Kingad and Gina “Conviction” Iniong defeated their respective opponents Jaroslav Jartim, Toni Tauru, Muhammad Aiman and Natalie Gonzales Hills.
On November 10, 2017, however, Team Lakay was not able to repeat the same feat at “ONE: Legends of the World” at the Mall of Asia Arena as Folayang lost his belt to Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen and Kingad’s undefeated record was broken by ONE Flyweight World Champion Adriano Moraes. At the same event, Belingon, Iniong and Joshua “The Passion” Pacio defeated their respective opponents Kevin Chung, Priscilla Lumban Gaol and Roy Doliguez.
It was a redemptive win for Pacio. He won at “ONE: Warrior Kingdom” against Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke on March 11, 2017 but lost to Hayato Suzuki at “ONE: Kings and Conquerors” on August 5, 2017.
Between “ONE: Kings of Destiny” and “ONE: Legends of the World,” Team Lakay had other victories and setbacks including Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio’s win over Anatpong Bunrad at “ONE: Dynasty of Heroes” on May 26, 2017 and loss to Kairat Akhtemov at “ONE: Total Victory” on September 16, 2017. At “ONE: Quest for Greatness” on August 18, 2017, Edward “The Ferocious” Kelly lost to Emilio Urrutia while Belingon won by knocking out Reece McLaren.
On November 24, 2017, Iniong lost to Mei Yamaguchi in their rematch at “ONE: Immortal Pursuit.” The last Team Lakay fighter to be in the ONE Championship cage in 2017 was April Osenio, who lost to Xiong Jing Nan at “ONE: Warriors of the World” on December 9, 2017.
But with Sangiao behind the Team Lakay fighters, they do not really lose. Either they win or they learn a lesson and come back stronger. Here is a short interview with the Team Lakay founder and head coach: