Sangalang in the Finale of The Apprentice

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Filipino and lone Asian bet Louie Sangalang came through his toughest week on Episode 10 and survived the penultimate cut on Episode 11 to reach the finale of The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition.

The Final Four candidates did not have to deal with back-breaking physical challenges in Episode 11 as they were immediately whisked off instead into arguably the toughest business challenge of the entire season.

The candidates worked in pairs to help non-profit organizations with their communication strategies, aided by special guest Jeff Lawson, CEO of Twilio, the  leading cloud communication platform that engages customers across various channels like SMS, voice, video, email, WhatsApp and more.

Sanagalang, with partner Venezuelan Jessica Ramella outgunned American Monica Millington had Russian Irina Chadsey to advance to the finale.

Episode 11 can be viewed in full on 9:00 PM Monday  at on One Sports. It was originally was aired on AXN last Thursday.

Sangalang, the only remaining male participant since Niraj Puran Rao was fired in Episode 8, was placed on the chopping block for the first time in the unscripted reality series in Episode 10.

Sangalang also dealt with hostility from some of his female co-candidates who questioned his moves and criticized him for not contributing as much as he was expected to.

The usually unflappable and stoic Pinoy, felt the pressure, however, as he broke down on their way to a soccer game with the children of Boys Town Singapore, one of Chatri Sityodtong’s favorite beneficiaries. Sangalang’s human side was not lost on the ONE founder, chairman and CEO who listened to Sangalang’s revelations.

Sangalang said the tribulations he’s had in life, from his battle with cancer to previous personal issues that almost cost him his marriage, fuel him to give his all in The Apprentice and to make the most of second chances.

“I came into this competition with an all or nothing mindset. If I have to start from nothing again, I know my wife will be there for me. At a point in my life, I made a very huge mistake against my wife. But we saved our marriage. That’s what really gets me, that someone can wholeheartedly support you in spite of you having hurt that person in the past. Our relationship is what inspires me to be The Apprentice. There’s so many things that I’ve done wrong in my life and I just want to fix it. I just want to be a much better person. That’s the reason why I am so driven by this. I just want to be able to kind of give back,” he said.

In the business task, Sangalang was the only candidate who did not volunteer to become project manager in the trade event that would attract clients for the Jakarta International Expo. He vouched instead for Indonesian Paulina Purnomowati to take the lead given her familiarity with the place.

He took the backseat anew and handled research, prompting American candidate Monica Millington to say “Louie might be playing it safe again. I think he can organize and research, but as for the main stuff we’ve been doing, he can’t do most of it. I don’t think he’s got the creativity.”

Russian Irina Chadsey chimed in, “Louie is the weakest link. When the time comes in the boardroom, we’ll have to highlight that at the appropriate moment.”

In his defense, Sangalang argued that team performance was paramount. “If you asked me to do creatives, I could have, but it’s a matter of who is doing it better than myself, right?”

Sangalang’s worries did manifest as the judges, which included Sityodtong, ONE Senior Vice President of Corporate Development and Strategy Niharika Singh, CCM Group director Prajna Murdaya, and Jakarta International Expo director Karuna Murdaya, observed his sales pitch to be “very flat, nervous, and a bit stiff.”

Thus Sangalang found himself in the bottom three for the first time in the competition, alongside Paulina and Irina. But Louie avoided elimination as it was Paulina who was sent home.

“God or the universe gives the toughest battles to the strongest warriors. Whatever your past is has nothing to do with your future. So dream the biggest dream no matter how crazy it is that you want to do in your life,” Sityodtong had told the group at Boys Town.

“You need to shine,” other judge Niharika Singh said. “We want somebody who has a clear spike, but who also shows his ability to try out different things that they’ve not done in the past.”

The winner of the reality series will win the the top prize of a $250,000 job offer as Sityodtong’s protégé and chief of staff at the ONE Championship Global Headquarters in Singapore.

The Final Four candidates were rewarded being the brightest and toughest of the lot with a treat composed of a shopping spree at Hugo Boss, a fancy dinner feast, and a one-of-a-kind experience at a live ONE Championship event in Singapore from Sityodtong.

By Armando M. Bolislis

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