Members of Team Lakay started strong this year as they found their rhythm early and asserted dominance in the cage, finishing in lopsided fights or submission.
When Team Lakay’s hopes of title redemption slowly saw the light of day, COVID-19 suddenly entered the picture and gave new challenges to the team.
“The main challenge that we are having now due to the lockdown is that we can’t have our regular training at the gym and outdoor,” Team Lakay’s coach, Mark Sangiao said. “Our communication is limited and you know, communication over cups of coffee or simply in the sauna room after training is very important for a team like us. That’s the downside.”
In the ONE Fire & Fury held in Manila last January, four Team Lakay bets won their respective fights, with reigning ONE Strawweight champion, Joshua Pacio winning via a split decision, Danny Kingad and Gina Iniong taking unanimous decisions, and Lito Adiwang submitting his opponent in only three minutes.
To preserve the team’s winning momentum, Sangiao said that he still mentors the team and constantly gives reminders in a group chat.
“We have our group chat and we constantly discuss there if needed and I give my reminders there, too. For home training routines, they are all professionals, so they know what to work on unless I need to give them specific orders or they ask me to,” he said.
This year has been a rollercoaster ride so far as disasters struck one after another, but Team Lakay fighter and former ONE Flyweight Champion, Geje Eustaquio remains hopeful this year will be better and perhaps add more championship belts to the team.
“The year 2020 is not yet over, I want to stay positive. Half of the year is not yet done, I believe this year will end with fireworks. I am looking forward to more competition before the year ends if God permits, we will have more championship belts in the mountains,” Eustaquio said.
Team Lakay’s rising star Danny Kingad echoed the same sentiment and said he will seize every opportunity for a title fight.
“Team Lakay will always look forward to have the belts back again. Personally, if ONE Championship will let me or schedule me for a title fight this 2020, I would really feel grateful. I once tried to get the belt, I am looking forward to have it soon. For now, I have to train harder,” Kingad said.
Sangiao concluded that the team is determined to reclaim the belts and that has been the team’s goal all the time.
“It was a very good start and we look forward to keep that this year, next year and in the years to come. We are always aiming for wins and definitely, more belts for Team Lakay. At this point in time, we are very resolute to get the belts back. It’s not ABC to do that, but we have to set a goal firmly and that is our goal,” he said.