Moments after ONE: Hero’s Ascent, Geje Eustaquio could not help but be overcome with emotion.
“Sorry Pilipinas, we could not take this one,” he quipped.
“But I thought I was winning the fight. I thought I won the fight.”
After round 12 of this epic rivalry, the whole SM Mall of Asia Arena was in anticipation for the ring announcer to announce Eustaquio’s name as the victor.
“After five rounds, we go to the judges scorecards. All three judges have scored the contest for your winner,” the announcer paused.
“Still!” the crowd shouted in unison.
“New ONE Flyweight World Champion, Adriano Moraes,” the barker declared much to the dismay of the sold out crowd.
“We thought that we won but we have to respect the decision of the judges,” a disappointed Sangiao shared.
Clearly, Eustaquio had Moraes’ number Friday evening as he was able to outstrike the Brazilian on the feet while surviving numerous scrambles on the ground. The Team Lakay young gun was also active on the ground.
Still, it was not enough to sway the judges.
But for Eustaquio, who fell to 11-7, he knows that this is just another obstacle he must overcome.
“But it’s part of the ups and downs. Maybe, tonight was not my night. The road doesn’t stop there. I’ve been in this before. Remember when we went 0-5 then won four titles last year?” reflected Eustaquio.
“It hurts to smile but we are from the mountains — there’s no mountain we cannot conquer.”
Eustaquio though is not asking for an immediate rematch. Well for the last five years, they have already squared off thrice.
“I though the same. Things happen. The problem with immediate rematch is that we met three times already,” he pondered.
“If you think that the fourth time is worth it, then please ask the boss [Chatri Sityodtong]. I’m willing to do it.
“If it’s not, as I said, I’m a man of the mountains — there’s no mountain we can’t conquer,” he reitirated.
The former champion though does not know where his future lies.
“I can go with the Grand Prix or maybe I have better opportunities in other divisions.”
For now, Eustaquio could only help but lament what had just happened.