Lakay patriarch Sangiao joins PH kickboxing team coaches
Choosing Mark Sangiao as one of Philippine kickboxing team’s coaches was such an easy decision federation’s leadership to make.
But such was not a move solely hinged on the mentor’s illustrious career as a fighter, neither on his track record as a kingmaker.
“He typifies this certain kind of discipline,” Samahang Kickboxing ng Pilipinas secretary-general Atty. Wharton Chan told the Inquirer on Thursday.
“He exudes this kind of confidence that we want to tap into,” he added.
Sangiao joins a crop of decorated mentors in Glenn Mondol and Olympian Donald Geisler in preparing the Philippine’s eight-man contingent set to see action in the Southeast Asian Games here next week.
Making up the squad are Ruel Catalan, Karol Maguire, Rex De Lara, Jomar Balaguid, Jean Claude Saclag, and Jerry Olsim; along with women’s bets Renz Daquel and Gina Iniong who will be competing from Dec. 6 through 10 at Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay.
Sangiao, who traces his fighting roots to kickboxing and tae kwon do, brought gold to the Philippines as a wushu athlete in the games’ 2001 iteration in Malaysia, and then as a coach a decade later in Jakarta.
“I’ll be taking care of the all-around aspect of preparations,” the soft-spoken mentor told the Inquirer. “The other coaches will be focusing on fists and feet.”
“We don’t know yet the caliber of our opponents, but we’ve been preparing the athletes well,” Sangiao said of the team’s training which has been in full swing since October.
The Nationals have had training sessions in Taiwan and Cambodia before moving to La Trinidad in Benguet.
Sangiao admitted to having jitters leading a kickboxing squad for the first time. Fortunately, Iniong, Olsim, and Saclag all trained under him, giving him relative ease in coaching
The 40-year-old mentor has produced champions in Asian mixed martial arts promotions like ONE Championship and Brave FC, but Chan stressed that’s not Sangiao’s biggest asset.
“In Philippine basketball, you somedbody like Chot Reyes who [is revered]. Over at combat sports, we have Mark Sangiao,” he added.
“When we were putting together the coaching staff, we felt like we have found a leader in him,” Chan said.
“Who wouldn’t want to be coached by Mark Sangiao?”
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