Team Lakay, Stronger and Better We Rise! :By Mark Sangiao

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It was another disappointing night for Team Lakay last Saturday night at the ONE FC 9: Rise to Power. It was even worse than the last event that we had been to.

Again, we went home frustrated, disappointed, dismayed and heart-broken. We lost, not just one but all of our fights. But as for me and our team, we thought some of our fighters should have won that night. At least we should have made our supporters proud, even if we did not win it all, we should have won some, especially if it was clear that we really deserve those wins. We thought that we disappointed the whole country. We apologize to the people who believed in us for not getting the wins. But we thank them for being there to support us.

However, this is not the end of everything, instead, it is just the beginning. The start of a new chapter of our lives as a team and as fighters. We were tested as to up to what point we are capable of. We are considered as the best in the country, these fighters are the best among the best and yet these happened. Questions arise in our mind and some answers came up too. A lot of facts were given, but one thing is for sure, that the Philippine MMA is still young compared to other countries especially Japan.

Japan has been in the fight business for so many years. When the UFC held its first event on November of 1993 in the U.S, Japan back in that year have already doing a lot of local MMA shows. In other words, before UFC, Bellator, Strikeforce, ONE FC, URCC and PXC came into the scene, Japanese MMA is already having a blast. In my opinion, Japan, it is even where MMA was born, it is where some of the greatest MMA fighters made their name, and it is where the greatest in MMA memories were captured. Now, as the western MMA came, it’s when the downfall of Asian MMA happened, or maybe not the downfall, but the decline due to some conflicts with the organizers, the politics inside it and the increase of even more innovations from other minds who are engaged in this kind of business.

Nevertheless, MMA in Asia, especially in Japan has not died, it was always there, it was just there, while others are so intense in the promotion and in their popularity, Japan never stopped producing some of the best fighters in the world.

The younger generations of fighters from Japan were students, sons and, children of the greatest fighters and teachers of MMA or Martial Arts in their country. With the evolution of techniques and other disciplines, they kept their young ones in Martial Arts schools, aside from bringing them in regular educational schools.

Now the Philippines has reached a point of another chapter; the realization of where we are at right now. Our assessment? Philippine MMA is still so young. Of course we see a lot of MMA gyms popping out right now all over the country. But we have to develop well-rounded gyms, camps and teams.

After the event, many saw our weaknesses; everybody became experts in this field by saying a lot of things. We had our game plans; we went to the event without the so called “zero-knowledge” in grappling, take-downs, or wrestling. Yes these are our weaknesses, but we can’t say that we don’t have knowledge about it. Experts can be the one to attest to that, they are the ones who can see what we lack. And yes, we admit and accept that we still have a lot to improve. But these are the best, so what’s good here is that it is not only us who learned from this experience. Other gyms and teams should also learn from these. In order to be the best, you have to beat the best. And as they say, you are not called to be a great fighter if you have not fought the best.

You can never learn your weaknesses unless you have not dealt with the strongest.

The bottom line is we are still young and the best is yet to come. Give us more time and you will see the best in us yet. As I always say, these experiences are all lessons to learn from. Like in life, as we grow older, we become wiser, we become better, we become what we intend to be, especially if we are willing to learn and apply these lessons in order to reach whatever our ultimate goal is.

These are all part of the game-winning, losing, criticisms, praises, challenges, laughter, tears, pain and relief. Without these, fighting is nothing. The most important thing is that we strive to become better in every experience that we have until we achieve excellence. We don’t claim perfection; we’d rather go for excellence.

We would like to thank the following for supporting and assisting us during the ONE FC: Rise to Power event: Havokk Clothing Company, Hayabusa Philippines, Head Hunting Heritage, Tiong San Department Store, Calajo Restaurant, Catering and Bakery, 50’s Diner, Tatak Maharlikano, Jun and Rosy Car Sales, Vicious Circle, Goshen Land, Atty. Dante Bagsan, Dr. Dave Taclobao, Arch. Lehman Cosalan, Gov. Nestor Fongwan, Cong, Teddy Baguilat, Jr., Jone Lapicto, Patrick Mariano, Marlyn Tafaleng, Jethro Chungalao, Ariel Corpuz, Franklin Pagnas, Cacay Baltazar, our trainers, training partners and all the others who had been there with us before, during and after the fights.

On behalf of the team, I would like to thank all our supporters, families, relatives and friends for believing in us and for being with us all throughout.

Most of all To God Be the Glory and Praises. Team Lakay will rise again Better and Stronger!

Matago tago tako am-in. Mabuhay tayong lahat!

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