With all the success they’ve accomplished this year, the city of Baguio organized a much deserved Champions Parade in their honor on Sunday, originating from SM Baguio before ending at People’s Park.
It’s the season of harvest for the Philippines’ Team Lakay, as its seeds of hard work and passion are now being materialized.
The gym had itself a year to remember.
The decorated stable of fighters from the northern province of Benguet grabbed four of the 11 major ONE Championship titles in a span of 12 months and additionally brought home four more awards (Martial Arts Hero of the Year: Eduard Folayang, Submission of the Year: Joshua Pacio via “The Passion Lock”, Gym of the Year: Team Lakay, Coach of the Year: Mark Sangiao) from the 2018 Global Martial Arts Awards.
Each mixed martial arts champion gave words of gratitude to everyone who have supported their journey:
“We always say at Team Lakay that champions are not born, they are made. But we were made because of the people of Baguio City. We never claim victory as our own. This has always been the fruit of teamwork — the people behind the scenes: our family, our fans and supporters, sponsors and Filipinos all over the world. We feed off your positive energy and it serves as inspiration for us. We would never be able to achieve all that we have without your support. There are more victories to come, and together, we can reach all of our goals.”
– Geje Estaquio, won the ONE Flyweight title over Adriano Moraes via split decision on June 23 at ONE Championship: Pinnacle of Power.
“Thank you everyone for all the support and prayers. It’s a happy time in Baguio City, where we can celebrate all our victories as one. This isn’t just our triumphs, but also the triumph of the entire Cordilleras. We pour in all the hard work, to improve and to keep getting better. We train during holidays, weekends, and sacrifice so much to bring glory to our country and to our city. But we could never have any success without your love and support. This year, we proved that the Philippines is world-class in martial arts. Next year, we plan to do the same again.”
– Joshua Pacio, won the ONE Strawweight title over Yoshitaka Naito via unanimous decision on September 22 at ONE: Conquest of Heroes.
“I just want to thank everyone for the support. It means a lot to the team, and it means a lot to me. Thank you to the city of Baguio for organizing this motorcade for us. Thank you for the continued support for all martial artists and athletes here in Baguio and the Cordilleras. It is an honor to hold this belt in front of you all. It is an honor to be your champion.”
– Kevin Belingon, won the ONE Bantamweight title over Bibiano Fernandes via split decision on November 9 at ONE: Heart of the Lion.
“We are just normal citizens of Baguio City with big dreams. We worked hard to achieve our goals and now we’re here. We believe the Cordilleran can compete with anyone in the world and we have what it takes to be the best in our chosen field. Hard work and dedication is all it takes to achieve success. The great thing about martial arts is that it’s not just about fighting, it’s about living. Martial arts is a way of life. It’s our way of life. It’s pushing through adversity, taking on any challenge and using the human spirit to achieve victory.”
– Eduard Folayang, won the ONE Lightweight title over Amir Khan via unanimous decision on November 23 at ONE: Conquest of Champions.