Team Lakay head coach Mark Sangiao has added his voice to the possible scenario of stablemates Joshua Pacio, ONE strawweight champion, and Lito Adiwang clashing in the Circle.
Although the question has been raised several times, Sangiao wants to leave the decision to both Lakay stalwarts if the time comes.
“Sa ngayon, ‘di namin iniisip ‘yun, ‘di pa namin pinag-uusapan,” the 41-year-old Sangiao said in Team Lakay’s latest vlog dated July 4. “Pero kung sakali man na darating ‘yung time na magdedesisyon na sila, sa kanila [ko ibibigay] ‘yung desisyon.”
Sangiao, however, has the final say should ONE Championship throw the deal to the famed Igorot warriors.
It wasn’t the first time Team Lakay faced such a dilemma.
Sangiao recalled the same scenario happened between lightweight prospects Eduard Folayang and Honorio Banario and flyweights Danny Kingad and Geje Eustaquio.
The Team Lakay mentor stressed that having such what-if matchups proved to be good news to the team and that there is nothing to worry about.
“Ibig sabihin nasa top tayo [at] competitive talaga. Andon tayo sa mataas na level kung may mga point na ganyan,” said the Southeast Asian Games gold medalist in wushu.
“Kung darating ‘yung time na ganyan magme-meet tayo sa championship, ‘di tayo dapat mag-aalala. Ibig sabihin niyan magagaling ‘yung mga athletes natin.”
The last time “The Passion” and the “Thunder Kid” saw action in the Circle was in January during ONE: Fire & Fury at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.
Pacio (17-3) successfully defended his strawweight title against former champion Alex Silva of Brazil in a split decision win while Adiwang (11-2) submitted Thai foe Pongsiri Mitsatit via kimura lock in the first round.
In previous interviews, Adiwang said he wants to face the top contenders in the division first before discussing a possible fight with Pacio. His answer this time remains the same.
“Ang dami nating next in line. I need to prove myself,” said Adiwang, who rides a five-match win streak since rising in ONE Warrior Series. “Ang daming magandang opponent sa ibang bansa. We’ll let the future decide for that.”
For now, Sangiao wants to focus his attention on training the Lakay fighters until ONE Championship calls them for the next matchup.
“We have to consider ‘yung sa atin, martial artists tayo. It’s not just a sport but we’re martial artists.”
Last week, ONE Championship announced the return of its flagship event on July 31 titled ONE: No Surrender after a four-month hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Lakay’s Banario (15-10) won against Shannon Wiratchai via split decision in ONE: King of the Jungle last February before the promotion decided to freeze its events.