Sangiao happy for 'brother' Folayang, but knows work doesn't stop with title win
Team Lakay head coach Mark Sangiao holding Eduard Folayang’s new ONE Championship lightweight belt
If there’s anyone that has seen the progression of Eduard Folayang as a mixed martial artist, it’s Team Lakay head coach Mark Sangiao.
Once teammates with the Philippine national wushu team, Sangiao and Folayang were the cornerstones of the formation of what can be considered as the premiere mixed martial arts stable in the Philippines in Team Lakay.
Since day one, Sangiao has been with Folayang. He saw his fellow Benguet native tear through the URCC ranks, and he was also there when Folayang suffered his most brutal defeats.
Friday night in Singapore however, Sangiao was there to see Folayang score his biggest win ever and realize a nine year-long dream: to become a world champion.
“We were on the brink of tears with the result,” Sangiao said after watching Folayang knock out Japanese MMA legend Shinya Aoki in the third round to become the new ONE lightweight champion. “I consider Eduard a brother, and right now we’re just really happy. I can’t explain it.”
Sangiao added that the big win wasn’t just for the team, but it was also for their families, and of course, the Philippines.
“We’re just really happy, but not just for the team, but also for our families, and our country.”
Folayang one of only two current world MMA champions that represent the Philippines, the other being ONE heavyweight king Brandon Vera.
And while it has been a long journey to the title for Eduard, coach Mark knows that the real work starts in keeping the title in La Trinidad.
“Yes, we’re going to celebrate now, but with great power comes great responsibility, and the hard part is maintaining the title.”
Sangiao also knows that it doesn’t stop with Folayang. The Team Lakay team is lined with potential world champions, and coach Mark wants to be able to bring more titles back home.
“We’ll keep doing our job. We’ve already shown that we can produce world champions, so we’ll just keep doing what we need to do.”
When coach Mark, Eduard, and the rest of Team Lakay get back home, no doubt there will be a big celebration, but you can also bet that they’ll be back to work sooner, rather than later.