Louie Sangalang, in his wildest dreams, never thought he’d cross paths with MMA superstar Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson, let alone face off against him.
Jiu-jitsu purple belt Sangalang was just a fan who witnessed Johnson’s ascent as one of the best fighters the world has ever seen.
But in Episode 9 of The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition, the 43-year-old procurement consultant from the Philippines got the chance to face the MMA legend — not in the Circle, but in a trampoline arena where the seven remaining candidates played trampoline dodgeball with DJ.
Lucky for Louie, he played dodgeball growing up and had confidence in his game. Sangalang’s shining moment came when he eliminated Johnson in the clincher, leading to his teammate Monica Millington delivering Team Valor’s game-winning hit on Irina Chadsey.
“Getting to hit a world champion — that’s going to be something for the books in my life,” Sangalang commented as he flashed a winning smile and did backflips on the trampoline.
Staying with the youthful vibe of the episode, the candidates next created a campaign promoting Alpha Bravo e-sports Pro, TUMI’s first gaming bag collection, in the boardroom challenge.
Still riding high from the physical task victory, Sangalang was quick to vouch for Millington to take the lead for Team Valor. It was a strategic move, since he wanted to see the 30-year-old fashion entrepreneur from the United States rise to the occasion.
“I have a very high regard for Monica’s capabilities when it comes to competencies in these fields,” he said.
Team Valor came up with its “Journey of a Champion” campaign, a tournament of champions that would launch the ultimate sling bag for e-sports athletes. ONE Championship chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong was all praises — with a few tweaks here and here.
“I thought your execution plan was believable, but you just chose everyday heroes. I think that’s an almost impossible concept,” the executive pointed out. “But if you choose someone who’s on the cusp of being professional, it’ll get a lot of credibility in the gaming community. A little bit of a tweak and this concept can be explosive.”
It wasn’t long before Chatri gave Team Valor the victory, a testament to the cohesiveness Louie, Monica, and Paulina have fostered. Germany’s Kexin Ye and Nazee Sajedi of the United States suffered elimination in this episode.
Now only five candidates remain — with just Sangalang and Indonesia’s Paulina Purnomowati the only Asians in the competition. They fight for the prize of a US$250,000 job offer as Sityodtong’s protégé, chief of staff, and head of a business development unit at the ONE Championship Global Headquarters in Singapore.