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MMA: Father-son bonding of Team Lakay’s coach Mark and Jhanlo Sangiao

By Jan Carlo Anolin

Having a champion athlete as a father and coach probably puts a lot of pressure on a son.

A throwback photo of Team Lakay's coach Mark and son Jhanlo (Photo from Jhanlo Sangiao's Instagram account @itsjhanlo)

A throwback photo of Team Lakay’s coach Mark and son Jhanlo (Photo from Jhanlo Sangiao’s Instagram account @itsjhanlo)

That was the case for Jhanlo Sangiao, who at a young age felt that same sensation for his father Mark, the famed coach of Benguet’s Team Lakay.

Despite that, Jhanlo saw the silver lining and used it to his advantage for achieving his dream of becoming one of the top martial artists in the Philippines.

“Nakikita ko kasi siyang hardworking [as coach and father],” the 17-year-old Jhanlo told Manila Bulletin. “Gagawin niya lahat para lang matapos yung isang bagay.”

The older Sangiao juggles his time managing paper work from his gym office based in La Trinidad, conducting trainings with Lakay athletes, documenting their adventures through vlogging and being a doting father to his sons Jhanlo and three-year-old Marko.

That feat, Jhanlo said, is something to look up to. “Lagi siyang nagiging busy pero naaalagaan niya kaming magkapatid nang mabuti.”

Last week was Father’s day, but the Sangiao family wasn’t able to celebrate. Instead, the father-son duo continued working on pads, a usual routine for them as athletes.

Besides, for Jhanlo, everyday felt like Father’s day.

Marko and Jhanlo Sangiao, sons of Team Lakay coach Mark (Photo from Jhanlo Sangiao's Instagram account @itsjhanlo)

Marko and Jhanlo Sangiao, sons of Team Lakay coach Mark (Photo from Jhanlo Sangiao’s Instagram account @itsjhanlo)

“Parang bonding na rin po namin yung training ‘pag nagpa-pad [work] siya. Father and son bonding, ganun na rin po,” Jhanlo, a Grade 11 student in Benguet State University, said.

Is there a key to finding that balance in the life of an athlete, mentor and a father? Coach Mark, a former wushu gold medalist in the Southeast Asian Games, believes it’s all about the responsibility.

“Responsibilidad natin as tatay at iba pa rin naman pag nasa work,” the 41-year old Sangiao said. “Kung nandyan si Jhanlo, kasama sa training pag nasa gym, athletes pa rin sila. Pag nasa bahay, tatay pa rin tayo sa kanila.”

Coach Mark, oftentimes cool-headed during training and actual fights, is a lot stricter than what people think.

Were it not for that element, “The Machine” wouldn’t be able to establish a 7-2 professional mixed martial arts record and dominate the UFCC and FFC at his prime.

“Ipu-push ka po niya [to do your best]. Gagawin niya lahat para maturuan kaming [Lakay athletes] mabuti. Hindi lang sa training pero as a son,” the younger Sangiao said.

Jhanlo still has a long way to go in the martial arts scene but his father can see a lot of potential from the young fighter, vowing that he’ll give full support for his sons’ future.

Over the weekend, the Sangiao family is somewhere gathered in a peaceful place for quality time, perhaps their home or a park, celebrating Father’s day a week late amid these trying times. (Jan Carlo Anolin) ###

Source: Manila Bulletin (

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