If Team Lakay coach Mark Sangiao would have his way, the only thing he would have wanted to see in Jeremy “The Juggernaut” Pacatiw’s ONE Championship debut was their desired finish.
“I would have wanted everyone to see his finishing prowess,” the decorated mentor stated on the heels of his ward’s unanimous decision win against “The Ghost” Chen Rui at ONE: BATTLEGROUND on Friday.
Pacatiw surely desired that finish in his promotional debut, repeatedly going for takedowns as he actively hunted for submissions, attempting rear-naked chokes, guillotines, and even heel hooks against his Chinese foe.
“We really wanted to submit Chen Rui in that match but The Ghost is not that easy to be submitted. If you watch the fight history of Chen Rui, you’ll see that he never submitted. But no question, it would have been a remarkable performance for Jeremy if he made him cave in,” Sangiao said.
Though nothing of his submissions came through, Pacatiw’s hyperactivity truly worked in his favor, proving that he belonged in The Home of Martial Arts.
Other than that, it was an exceptional performance for the 24-year-old, one Sangiao is happy to give his stamp of approval.
“He measured up to the expectations. He did great and his performance is commendable,” said the Baguio-based mentor.
As stellar as that debut in ONE Championship was, Sangiao doesn’t want Pacatiw to feel complacent at all, knowing that everyone else in the bantamweight division are all aching to prove themselves worthy of a future title shot against the reigning ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano Fernandes.
And it doesn’t matter if Pacatiw is only getting his feet wet now.
Proving yourself here knows no day-offs.
That’s why the multi-awarded head coach is keeping his young turk in check, giving him a decent yet still not perfect grade in his first fight inside the ONE Circle.
“I would give him a solid eight out 10,” he said with his legendary cheeky smile.
“Let’s apply the universal 80/20 rule here. The 20-percent goes to the small but very important facets that he still needs to work on. It’s always good to have something left to polish and train on when he goes back to the gym. That lacking factor is a crucial force to keep refining.”
Pressed more on the things he felt Pacatiw should work on more, Sangiao didn’t really go into details on what he thought lacked on his stud’s showing. However, he elaborated that these minute factors are what would turn him from good to great and from solid to elite.
“The only thing that I want him to take from this fight were the small essential details, like what could he have done more. These details will depend on who he faces, so it’s a fight-to-fight thing,” he said. “If he’s to stand toe-to-toe with a grappler, then we have to work more on that. If his next opponent will be a striker, then we have to be a better striker as well.”
What Sangiao really liked, though, was Pacatiw following their gameplan to a tee, being active on the stand-up game while being bullish in brandishing that improved ground game from the Igorot warriors.
And it truly is a glimpse on what the next generation of the vaunted Team Lakay looks like, still as lethal as ever when it comes to striking, but now can hold a candle with the best grapplers in ONE Championship.
“I’m really happy that Jeremy followed the game plan we prepared, and yes, this is also the new breed that we have been talking about,” Sangiao said proudly. “There is no special ingredient there but endless training, repetition and consistency.”
More than giving that first look on what the future of Team Lakay is, Pacatiw also made believers out of those who saw him in the flesh live, Sangiao believed.
“It was really a statement win for Jeremy. He showed everyone that ‘The Juggernaut’ is a name they should remember and he’s here to stay.”