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Folayang leads exodus of top Team Lakay fighters

ALL MUST END. Four of Team Lakay’s most stalwart fighters Eduard Folayang, Honorio Banario, Kevin Belingon and Joshua Pacio in their mural done by fellow Team Lakay fighter Harold Banario at the Baguio athletic bowl. PML

More than 20 years of close association that yielded the biggest triumphs came to an abrupt end leaving what could be the most lauded mixed martial arts team in Asia in tatters.

Eduard Folayang caused a literal earthquake after he announced his departure from the team as three of his fellow former champions also called it quits after more than a decade of breaking sweat together.

Folayang said “all good things must come an end” as stalwarts Honorio Banario, Kevin Belingon and recently ONE strawweight champion followed suit and join the Landslide in the exodus.

Folayang and the three bid farewell to head coach Mark Sangiao and their teammates as the top man of Team Lakay wished the four the best of luck in their future undertakings.

Folayang and Sangiao were together as early as 2000 and were two of the four members of the Philippine Wushu Sanshuo (Sanda) team which won two gold and silver medals in the 2001 Southeast Asian Games.

Sangiao accounted for one of the gold medals, 2019 muay Thai  waikru gold medalist Jearome Calica provided the second mint, while the late Rexel Nganhayna added a silver. The then 18 year old Folayang went home empty handed.

From there, Sangiao became a coach and helped Folayang reach the apex of his wushu sanda career when he finally won in 2005 in Manila and followed it up with mints in the 2007 and 2011.

The two would be the foundation of Team Lakay along with Belingon, Banario and the remaining former champion Geje Eustaquio in flyweight.

Fans of Team Lakay were shocked with the news of the departure of the four stalwarts where three of them became ONE champions in 2018.

With their departure, Eustaquio is expected to help lead a new generation of fighters led by Stephen Loman, Danny Kingad, Lito Adiwang and young guns Jeremy Pacatiw and Sangiao’s son and namesake Jhanlo Mark, who will fight next week. Pigeon Lobien

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