Mark and Jhanlo Sangiao poised to be elite father-son duo of Philippine MMA
Coach Mark Sangiao (R) and son Jhanlo (C) are poised to become an impressive father-son duo in Philippine mixed martial arts
Courtesy of Mark Sangiao and Mary Jude

Mark and Jhanlo Sangiao poised to be elite father-son duo of Philippine MMA

Luisa Morales (Philstar.com) - June 20, 2021 - 2:01pm

MANILA, Philippines — There are a number of impressive father-son duos in Philippine sports — the Ravenas, the Tengs and the Ildefonsos to name a few.

But one of the newer pairs is Team Lakay coach Mark Sangiao and his son Jhanlo, who are eager to make their mark as elite first- and second-generation athletes in mixed martial arts.

As Jhanlo recently signed a contract with Singapore promotion ONE Championship, Coach Mark raved about the progress of his 19-year-old son — one which he thinks has already surpassed his own.

"Masayang masaya [ako] para sa kanya kasi naabot niya yung level na hindi ko naabot which is yung sa MMA sa international," the Team Lakay mentor told Philstar.com in an interview.

"Though nakipaglaro rin ako sa amateuer [na] international, sa kanya, sa professional level," the Sangiao patriarch added.

As the coach of the storied Team Lakay stable in Baguio, Coach Mark had often brought Jhanlo to his lessons with athletes, which eventually drove the teen to fall in love with the sport as well.

Mark and Jhanlo Sangiao (R) training

"Lagi ako sinasama ng father ko kapag nagtuturo siya sa gym," Jhanlo recalled.

And while Coach Mark never really pressured his son into following his footsteps, he was delightfully surprised when the interest came from Jhanlo naturally.

"Nung bata pa siya, syempre ang gusto natin maglaro lang siya and pineprepare lang natin siya sa school, not knowing that susunod din pala siya sa yapak ko at saka sa mga kuya niya," said Coach Mark.

Now that Jhanlo's here — at the top level of MMA — the Sangiao patriarch only wants to make sure that his son doesn't lose sight of what he wants to do and his love for the sport.

"I'm always telling him to enjoy no matter what," said Coach Mark.

"Sometimes you win, sometimes we learn, but [he must] try to enjoy while going on [his] journey hanggang maabot [niya] yung gusto [niya] maabot diyan sa career," he added.

Following up an act like his father may seem like a tall task for Jhanlo, but the teenage MMA star is up to the challenge.

Coach Mark (R) and Jhanlo Sangiao

And his goal? Make a name for himself as Jhanlo Sangiao, not Jhanlo, son of Mark Sangiao.

"Gusto ko rin bumuo [ng image], hindi yung nakikilala ako kasi father ko siya. Gusto ko rin yung makilala ako kung sino ako, yung Jhanlo," said the 19-year-old.

To achieve this, Jhanlo aims to be the best of the best every time he comes out to the ONE Circle.

"Every match na panalo, yun ang pinaghahahandaan ko and to get the title soon," said the bantamweight competitor.

He even issued a warning to his future opponents in ONE Championship's stacked bantamweight class, which include his senior Kevin Belingon, top contender John Lineker, and defending titlist Bibiano Fernandes.

"Watch out," quipped Jhanlo.

As for Coach Mark, he's just here to make sure that Jhanlo remembers that it will all come down to him on whether or not he gets to reach his dreams.

"It takes two to tango, hindi pwedeng isa lang yung gagawa, gagalaw para makamit mo yung gusto mo," the patriarch told his son.

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