Geje Eustaquio became the lone Filipino and Team Lakay fighter to take home a win in ONE Championship held at the Singapore Indoor Stadium recently.
Eduard Folayang, Lito Adiwang and Kevin Belingon of Team Lakay and Kyokushin Karate Champion Ramon Gonzales all lost to their respective opponents in different installments of ONE: Inside the Matrix.
Calling themselves as “VIP prisoners,” Team Lakay coach Mark Sangiao vowed to come back stronger in the Circle and considered the Singapore stint a learning experience for himself and his stalwarts.
In all of the fights, Sangiao single-handedly supported the Team Lakay fighters from the sidelines — from holding their team banner, giving on-the-spot advice, and hydrating his wards.
“Syempre nakakapanibago rin kasi sanay tayo na meron tayong kasama,” said the Team Lakay mentor amid the strict protocols due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“May mga point din na hindi mo na nagawa. Pero babalik tayo, sabi nga, ‘We are the kings of rematch.’ Siguro nabigla lang tayo roon sa mga adjustment na ginawa nila.”
Eustaquio, for his part, lauded the Singapore government for instilling discipline among its citizen which is key to going back to normalcy such as holding sporting events like ONE Championship.
The Team Lakay flyweight contender urged the public to keep the same level of discipline especially in these trying times.
“As in, from airport to the hotels, to the stadium, going back to the hotel. Sabi nga ni coach, VIP prisoner kami,” said Eustaquio.
“Everytime we go out of the room talagang meron kaming liason officer to take good care of us and to make sure that we will not mingle and encounter anybody along the way to prevent yung spread nitong si COVID na ito.”
These events wouldn’t be successful without the coordination between ONE Championship and the Singapore government. For Eustaquio, this basis and experience could pave the way for sporting events in the Philippines as well.
ONE Championship chief Chatri Sityodtong, together with his team, had prepared such protocols, such as mandatory swab tests and room quarantine,for the safety of their athletes and staff.
“I hope and I believe in due time, in God’s perfect time, ‘pag na maintain natin yung discipline like the Singaporeans do, aangat din tayo. Sana tularan din natin yun,” added Eustaquio.