Team Lakay has temporarily closed its training facilities in La Trinidad, Benguet after the Philippine government implemented a month-long enhanced community quarantine in the country’s northernmost island of Luzon due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

President Rodrigo Duterte last Monday announced a lockdown of the entire Luzon region to contain the outbreak that has claimed the lives of 18 Filipinos so far. Meanwhile, local cases soared to 202.

The prominent Filipino MMA stable’s home base in La Trinidad, Benguet remains free from the virus, but head coach Mark Sangiao is not about to take his chances,

“Luckily for us, we don’t have it yet here. There have been slight adjustments to our routine. For our training and to all our athletes, we advise them to disinfect before entering the gym. The equipment will also be cleaner this time, and general cleaning will be frequent,” he revealed.

“The best way to stay away from the virus is to stay fit and stay clean.”

Striking based

Former ONE Championship lightweight titlist Eduard Folayang confirmed that they are moving to a more striking-based training to curtail contact among his teammates,

“We had to reduce close contact at the moment. It’s very difficult for us because we have to do sparring and grappling. Now, we have to rely on our creativity and resourcefulness to cope in our training,” Folayang said.

It may be business as usual for Team Lakay, but Sangiao disclosed that they would not accept regular clients at the moment and training would be exclusive for his professional athletes. In times like these, he is delighted with the fact they are putting their recently-inaugurated modern gym into good use,

“I am very happy. What if we don’t have this facility like before? It would definitely be a struggle for the members of the team. It’s truly a blessing for all of us. Truly, our hard work paid off. We would continue to exert effort in the coming days,” he stated.

Local cases

While there are three to four patients who manifest the classic symptoms of Covid-19 in Baguio City, all towns in Benguet have taken great measures to avoid it from spreading.

Being an attraction for its mountainous terrain and cold weather, the province has tentatively closed tourist spots to the public while putting up checkpoints for vehicles entering the landlocked area to check passengers’ travel histories and temperature.

Folayang lauded the action done by the local government, and he does his part by staying fit and clean,

“We’re still training so we can strengthen our immune system, but we’re much more careful with our movement and there’s added focus on sanitation. We also avoid crowd gatherings. So far, our routine is strictly home, gym and train,” Folayang shared.

The Team Lakay captain also urged everyone to stay informed during the ongoing global occurrence.

“As a concerned citizen, the tips coming from the Department of Health are very useful. We should always stay hydrated, stay away from crowds in the meantime, strengthen the immune system, and we should be properly informed when it comes to facts, so we won’t panic easily,” the two-time ONE champion advised.

Coronavirus crisis

The coronavirus crisis had compelled MMA organizations to cancel and postpone events. ONE Championship is holding a series of shows behind closed doors while Shooto 0329 is still scheduled for next Sunday.

Though travel restrictions have been tightened significantly across the Asian region, Sangiao stressed that he and his team would be keeping their lines open for match offers.

“Yes, we will be accepting fight offers from our mother promotions if there’s any. In spite of our current situation, our pursuit to hold our flag high in combat is consistently calling. We have to be ready,” the trainer explained.

Despite the preventive measures that they have to abide by, Sangiao is keen that his squad can stay motivated and committed to honing their craft as mixed martial artists.

“We have to keep moving forward and think of what our athletes need. At the end of the day, they’re the ones who are standing in the cage and we need to give them everything they need, both physically and mentally.”