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Mark Sangiao hopes for 'continuous growth' on Eduard Folayang as long-time partnership ends

Team Lakay head coach Mark Sangiao is grateful for his partnership with Eduard Folayang, which spanned two decades. Rick Dela Cruz (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Eduard Folayang and Mark Sangiao have come a long way as a tandem.

Both pugilists became teammates with the national wushu team during the early 2000s, and the alliance continued when Sangiao founded Team Lakay in 2006 and eventually decided to retire as a fighter and concentrate into coaching full-time.

However, what seemed like an inseparable pair broke up on Friday when Folayang announced that he is leaving the now fabled mixed martial arts stable.

Despite the working relationship coming to an end, the friendship remains for both Folayang and Sangiao as the latter penned a simple yet heartfelt farewell to the former.

"Eduard 'The Landslide' Folayang, wishing you all the best and good luck on your next venture and adventure. I pray that this will lead you to continuous growth and to be a better individual for His glory, for the sports that we both love, for the country and for the generations after us. So long Lakay, see you on the road," Sangiao said moments after Folayang announced his departure.

[Related Story: Eduard Folayang bids goodbye to Team Lakay]

Sangiao concluded his short statement by saying "Iyaman," which means "I am so grateful" in Kankana-ey, the native dialect within the Cordillera Administrative Region.

In a separate statement, the entire Team Lakay management said that Folayang will always be the face of Philippine MMA even if he ends up with another stable.

"Champ Eduard, you are the epitome of what a great warrior is. You are and forever will be the face of Philippine MMA. You have motivated athletes around you and inspired the younger generation. From the Team Lakay Family, we wish you all the best for what's ahead of you. Thank you," Team Lakay said.

The Folayang departure marked the end of an era for the La Trinidad-based stable, which will now bank on the likes of former world champions Stephen Loman and Joshua Pacio to continue its legacy.

Following a challenge from no less than newly-crowned champion Fabricio Andrade, Loman, once the longest reigning Brave Combat Federation bantamweight champ, could be the next in line to contend for the ONE bantamweight belt, while Pacio is preparing to begin his road to reclaiming the ONE strawweight title.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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