Angelie Sabanal magpapakitang gilas ulit sa Jakarta

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“Sino si Angelie Sabanal?” Iyan ang nakakaintrigang tanong sa ONE: IRON WILL in Bangkok, Thailand nitong nakaraang Marso nang talunin niya si Rika “Tinydoll” Ishige sa isang three-round atomweight encounter.

Angelie Sabanal

Angelie Sabanal

Si Ishige ay paborito ng mga tao at inaasahang manalo laban sa isang hindi kilalang Pilipina na martial artist, ngunit pinakita ni Sabanal kung sino siya at kung ano ang kaya niyang gawin.

Nagpakitang gilas si Sabanal sa kanyang ONE Championship debut, na tanging umaasa sa kanyang Muay Thai background laban sa Thai rising star sa pamamagitan ng unanimous decision.

Ang 29 anyos na National Muay Thai Silver Medalist ay nagpakita na agad ng lakas at galing sa umpisa pa lamang ng laban na naging dahilan upang magulat at di makalaban ng maayos si Ishige.

Bagaman nagpalitan ng suntok at sipa ang dalawa, mas nanaig si Sabanal sa final round.

Sa dulo, nakuha ni Sabanal ang atensiyon ng tatlong hurado sa cageside.

Matapos makuha ni Sabanal ang pagkapanalo mula kay Ishige nang gabing iyon ay agad naging matunog ang pangalang Angelie Sabanal sa lahat ng nanood sa Impact Arena.

“I did not know what to do. Do I celebrate or do I cry? I was really surprised because I did not expect the outcome,” sabi niya. “I couldn’t explain the feeling at the exact moment my name was announced as the winner.”

Sa kabila ng kanyang nakakagulat na pagkakapanalo laban kay Ishige ay kailangan pa masanay si Sabanal sa atensiyong nakukuha niya lalo’t isa siyang mahiyain at tahimik na Math teacher galing sa Cagayan de Oro, Philippines.

Ang 29 anyos na si Sabanal ay nagtuturo sa University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines. Kilala rin siya sa tawag na as “The Art of Eight Limbs”.

Hindi alam ng nakararami na si Sabanal ay isang late bloomer sa martial arts at nagumpisa lamang siya mag-training sa Muay Thai ilang taon bago niya makuha ang kanyang college diploma.

“I never thought that I would be a martial artist because I didn’t have the interest to try it back then. I was a volleyball player in grade school. Maybe, it’s my competitive spirit that brought me into this position right now,” pagbabahagi niya.

“I enrolled in Muay Thai classes purely for fitness and self-defense. It took me five years to finally try to compete in Muay Thai because it never crossed my mind to compete nor become a fighter,” dagdag ni Sabanal.

Sa edad na 22 ay natutunan na ni Sabanal ang Muay Thai sa Thai at Mindanao Ultimate Mixed Martial Arts, lugar kung saan makikita ang mahuhusay na atleta  sa southernmost major island ng Mindanao

Umabot ng limang taon bago magkaroon ng lakas ng loob si Belingon upang umakyat ng stage, pagkatapos niya mismo makuha ang kanyang master’s degree sa parehong unibersidad.

“I was busy finishing my dissertation paper for my master’s degree. My priority at that time was to graduate, if not with honors. Although I was really progressing in Muay Thai, my focus was still fixed on getting a diploma,” paliwanag ni Sabanal.

“After I earned my master’s degree, my coaches were the first ones who congratulated me, but after that, they asked me if I wanted to join the team. It was in 2017 when I accepted the offer. Well, the rest is history,” pagpapatuloy niya.

Hindi rin nagtagal at nakakuha rin ng mga gintong medalya si Sabanal sa provincial level na nagbigay daan sa kanya sa 2017 Philippine National Muay Thai Championship kung saan nakakuha siya ng silver medal sa 57-kilogram category

“I got silver, despite the fact that I am naturally a 49-kilogram competitor. I was supposed to fight in the 50-kilogram category, but unfortunately, I didn’t have any opponent. I decided to fight in a higher weight class. Fortunately, I finished the tourney with a silver medal in hand,” Skuwento ni Sabanal.

Ang tagumay ni Sabanal sa Muay Thai ang nagbigay ng interes sa ONE Championship upang mabigyan siya ng pagkakataon upang makasali sa pinakamalaking martial arts promotion sa buong mundo.

“I could not believe it because people were telling me that I should compete in the local scene first before I get my chance in ONE Championship. Aside from that, my opponent was clearly more experienced than me. Getting the victory over Rika is like winning a world championship,” paliwanag niya.

Magbabalik si Sabanal sa Sabado, ika-7 ng Nobyembre kung saan makakalaban niya si SEA Games Wushu Bronze Medalist Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaol sa ONE WARRIOR’S DREAM, na gaganapin sa Jakarta Convention Center sa Indonesia.

Malakas ang loob ni Sabanal na muli siyang magwawagi laban kay Lumban Gaol, na apat na beses nang nanalo mula sa lima niyang laban nitong 2018.

“I want to win again because I want to give back to my gym and the people who love and support me. I am competing for my country. Everything I do is for all of them and as long as I can do this, I will keep doing this,” paglalahad niya.

Sinisiguro ni Sabanal na makikilala muli ng lahat kung sino siya pagkalabas niya ng arena.

“I don’t mind if they have no idea who I am before the fight. What matters most is that the fans in Jakarta will remember me after the match. Surely, I will do my best in my upcoming bout this Saturday,” pagtatapos ni Sabanal.