ONE Apprentice: Oklahoman with Pinoy connection gets ax

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ROMAN Wilson, a Oklahoma, USA born and married to  a Filipina contestant, was booted from further competing in The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition during Episode 2, aired last Monday, March 29 at ONE sports.

The American was fell victim to a double-Elimination at The Boardroom. Three of their team, Eugene Chung, Alvin Ang, and Wilson were sent by ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong to the chopping block and Chung was the only one who avoid the boot.

Martial arts legends Georges St-Pierre and Renzo Gracie appeared in the episode and participated in a difficult physical task with the candidates. Catcha Group Co-Founder and Group CEO Patrick Grove later joined Sityodtong and Advisor Niharika Singh in the boardroom.

Physical Challenge: Fort Siloso Skywalk on Sentosa Island

Candidates had to rappel down an 11-story structure and quickly climb back up via rope ladder for the physical challenge. The team with the shortest combined time from all candidates would earn a victory celebration at Bar Square and receive an advantage in the next business challenge.

St-Pierre and Gracie surprised the cast by performing the task first, and Task Captain Dom Lau briefed the group shortly afterward.

Candidates from both teams experienced difficulty rappelling down the skywalk and struggled to maneuver their way up the dangling ladder. Japanese candidate Sho Takei struggled with his fear of heights but ultimately willed himself through the challenge.

Despite Sho’s tough time, his teammates pulled through, and Team Valor captured the victory behind a strong group effort.

Business Challenge: Seven-Day Social Media Campaign

Teams had to create an engaging seven-day social media campaign, choosing between influencers Yumika Hoskin and Justin Bratton to promote Andaz Singapore’s designer hotel experience.

Because Team Valor won the physical challenge, the group had first pick.

With Filipino candidate Louie Sangalang as Project Manager for Team Valor, the unit mostly worked together in harmony while preventing Clinton Tudor from disrupting the productivity.

Meanwhile, Eugene Chung’s inexperience as a leader for Team Conquest resulted in a disorganized mess.

Both teams delivered solid presentations, but it quickly became clear which side had created the more robust campaign.

The Pitches

With ONE’s Siyodtong, Singh, and Catcha Group’s Grove examining every aspect of both marketing plans, the atmosphere was intense.

Sho, Kexin Ye, and Monica Millington led the presentation for Team Valor, impressing Sityodtong by combining analytics with creative ideas. However, Grove pointed out the lack of a clear seven-day plan, which the challenge required.

In contrast, Niraj Puran Rao and Paulina Purnomowati presented a clear plan for Team Conquest, but the campaign was bland and unoriginal. Singh criticized Alvin Ang for not contributing to his team enough and Roman Wilson for his PowerPoint design flaws.

With vastly different approaches, both teams headed to the boardroom.

Team Valor once again emerged victorious in the business challenge. Sityodtong credited the win to a superior concept and praised Millington’s ability to build brand identity.

Conversely, Ang, Chung, and Wilson from Team Conquest were named as possibly the first to be eliminated.

Chung delivered a passionate speech about changing his life and the inspiration he took from Sityodtong’s own rags-to-riches life story, which moved the ONE CEO.

That kept Chung on the show, but Wilson’s passiveness and Ang’s lack of contribution saw both of them eliminated from the competition.

Pinoy Connection

Wilson may be born in Oklahoma, but he was bred by his experiences all across Asia.

Having that background is something the former American football stud made his dent as one of the 16 candidates in The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition.

“I have worked in many different countries with many different people,” he said. “So I think the ability, in The Apprentice setting, to be able to work and get along with people from other countries, is crucial.”

Wilson could be considered as a globe-trotter, leaving the United States to go to Japan as he advanced in his athletic career after his days for Princeton.

But his daring persona, one who’s willing to go out of his comfort zone, was greatly helped by the presence of his Filipina wife Carmina Mancenon-Wilson.

“I like to be in a place I don’t quite understand, where people are speaking a language I do not know, and everything’s operating a bit differently,” he said.

Carmina, of course, was with Roman’s side all the way.

It was she who exposed Wilson to the Filipino’s way of life starting from the time Roman was still wooing her.

“The first week we met, she was visiting her parents in Japan when I was living there. We only had about a week of time to get to know each other before she had to fly back to graduate school in the US. She was only there for a week, but a week was enough time for me to know that I wanted to be with her. That’s when we started to discuss if we want to start dating and pursue our relationship,” Roman shared.

As relentless as Wilson was in the gridiron, he’s just as intense in his pursuit of Carmina.

It didn’t matter that they’re miles apart from each other. Roman still found a way to Carmina’s heart — one he found through her parents who are living in Japan.

“After she went back to the US, I started the ligaw process with her parents,” he said.

“I spent every weekend at her parents’ house in Japan, having lunch and dinner with them, talking to them, going to church with them, just actually spending time with her parents. It was a chance for me to understand her from the perspective of the people who have essentially formed who she is, who Carmina is today. And I sang Tagalog songs in front of the entire family and ate balut.”

Once Wilson’s playing career was over, he went back home and worked in the banking industry in New York City. It was in the Big Apple where he continued his courtship of Carmina and where the couple eventually got married.

Being the brazen warrior that Roman is, it was only a matter of time before the newly-weds sought another challenge: on to where they decide to head next. “We were deciding where we wanted to live, in New York or Asia? But we decided that we want to live and work in the Philippines since my wife and I are very passionate about the development in the country.”

Soon, the Wilsons went to Carmina’s home country and lived there for a few years, knowing more about each other while understanding the Philippine way of life.

“For me, the idea of moving to the Philippines was exciting because I got to know Carmina’s family, spend time with them, and visit destinations in the Philippines,” Roman said.

In Manila, he worked in the healthcare industry and Roman had a first-hand look at the Filipinos’ way of comradeship — one that was in stark contrast to what he saw back in New York.

“I was familiar with Filipino social culture which is so jovial, friendly, upbeat, positive with so many jokes and so much laughing. And then you get into the work culture and much of that social culture translates over to the work culture,” said Roman, who fell in love with lechon, the roasted suckling pig, back in his time in the Philippines.

“Before when I was working in New York, everything was direct, cutthroat, and fast-paced. But when I was working in Manila, things operates more slowly and you have to be more patient, I learned a lot about that. I learned how to socialize at work. There’s less of a balance between social life and work life and that was quite a big adjustment for me.”

The Wilsons soon left Manila for Singapore, but Roman could say that the lessons he got in his stay in the Philippines left a huge imprint in him — one he finds beneficial in his quest at The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition.

Of course, a big chunk of that comes from Carmina herself.

“She works in private equity, which is very demanding and an intellectually stimulating job,” Roman said. “She’s able to give me insight on business, how to think about businesses and business problems, so from a technical standpoint, she gives me so much advice and help. And the biggest thing she provides is emotional support, encouraging me, and giving me the words of encouragement that I need.”

That’s why Wilson is counting on that adaptability in this high-stakes game of the business competitions and physical challenges offered by The Apprentice.

“I think my biggest edge is that I have a unique combination of work experience, fast-paced work experience doing banking and finance, coupled with my athletic experience, playing college and professional football, on top of my international experience,” he said.

By Armando M. Bolislis
ONE Championship photo