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Pinoy bets stay in The Apprentice as season opens with non-elim leg

By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Filipino mixed martial arts practitioners Lara Alvarez and Louie Sangalang stayed put in The Apprentice: One Championship Edition as host Chatri Sityodtong announced at the end of the season premiere on Thursday night that the first phase was a non-elimination leg.

The twist was a sigh of relief for Alvarez, who was placed in the "Bottom 3" along with American contenders Nazee Sajedi and Roman Wilson.

Alvarez, Sajedi, and Wilson were all grouped to Team Conquest, which struggled during the first leg.

Sangalang's team, Team Valor, first won in the relay race, the first of many physical challenges which make this The Apprentice season unique from the more well-known franchises hosted by the likes of Former US President Donald Trump and Martha Stewart.

Valor then got the nod of Sityodtong and fellow judge Niharika Singh in the first business challenge, which is making a One Championship kit for fans to still enjoy the fights despite having to stay at home due to the pandemic.

Valor, which pitched a "One at Home" kit with raffle entries for a chance to win VIP tickets for the next One Championship live event, prevailed over that of Conquest, which mainly relied on unique items such as a powerbank.

Valor won despite Jessica Ramella actually leading the way instead of designated project manager Clinton Tudor, who introduced the kit to Sityodtong and Singh while reading everything in his cellphone.

Tudor was also seen texting at his during Conquest's pitch, which was a cause of major concern when the judges made their feedback.

The quest of Alvarez, a member of the fabled Team Lakay, and Sangalang, a former URCC champion, to become part of Sityodtong's team at the One Championship front office is being aired on Thursday night at 9 p.m. on AXN with a Philippine free television replay on Monday at 9 p.m. on One Sports.

A special Philippine TV premiere is set on Saturday at 11 p.m. on TV5.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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