ONE Apprentice finalist Sangalang, Venezuelan partner outwits American, Russian duo to reach finale

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Filipino bet Louie Sangalang and Venezuelan sales director Jessica Ramella had to outwit rivals Monica Millington of the U.S. and Irina Chadsey of Russia in Episode 11’s business challenge to reach the finals of The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition.

The two bested Millington and Chadsey in the challenge that required the last two pairs to work on concepts that would improve the way non-governmental organizations (NGOs) could connect with donors and volunteers.

Sangalang and Ramella’s presentation to benefit LOVE, NILS, an international organization that supports children with cancer and their caregivers, bested the Habitat for Humanity concept of Chadsey and Millington.

Both pairs used Twilio’s technology to connect with target audiences, with guest judge Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson showing them the way. Twilio is an American cloud communications platform that facilitates communication functions across various channels.

Sangalang and Ramella crafted an AI chatbot using Twilio’s technology to provide emotional and social support to the patients and their families and also interact with prospective donors. The chatbot enabled the patients and parents to connect with each other and the donors themselves. They named their program Nils’ Pals and gave the name Claire to the chatbot. Nils and Clare are the twin children of LOVE, NILS founder Lesli Berggren.

The cause of the NGO hit home for Sangalang, who dealt with and survived cancer but lost friends and colleagues to the dreaded illness. “Towards my last year in the university, that’s when they found out I had cancer. After surgeries, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, I started getting better. So this particular business challenge is quite close to my heart because it’s about helping all these cancer patients and cancer survivors. I just want to give back,” he said.

Sangalang and Ramella’s powerful pitch touched the hearts of judges ONE Championship chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong, ONE Championship senior vice president Niharika Singh, ONE Group President Hua Fung Teh, and Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson. The authenticity of the pitch left an indelible mark, although the judges still raised concerns on the concept’s financial aspect.

“Louie has that grit, that resilience, and that calmness about him. And clearly he’s very, very competent if you look at everything he does,” noted Sityodtong.

“He’s very good at problem solving, very good with numbers, very analytical,” added Niharika Singh “But I have also seen his energy go up and down. He has stuck to one role primarily throughout and I’m also wondering if he’s going to be the right fit at ONE Championship.”

Such high standards are what’s demanded especially in this high-stakes game of business competitions and physical challenges all for the prize of a $250,000 job offer as Sityodtong’s protégé and chief of staff at the ONE Championship Global Headquarters in Singapore.

He will be up against an equally hot Ramella in the one business challenge left. Sangalang needs to come up with his absolute best as the Venezuelan also came up big in the board room, showing her honest but passionate resolve during a question fired at her Sityodtong and came up with a perfect defense when Millington brought up a data privacy issue during the presentation.

The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition is showing across Asia on AXN, the show’s official Asian broadcast partner, with Philippine broadcasts at 8:50 p.m. on Thursdays. The show is also shown on One Sports every Monday at 9 p.m.

By Armando M. Bolislis

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