The UAAP Season 85 Men’s Football Tournament kicked off with an emotional tribute to a fallen hero.
As perennial favorites Far Eastern University took on University of Santo Tomas, a familiar name rose to the scoresheet, breaking through with a goal that would eventually lead to a win for the Tamaraws.
Karl Absalon, a first-year forward from FEU’s high school program, showed poise and skill as he calmly chipped the ball over the Thomasian goalkeeper in the 65th minute to break the deadlock.
For Karl, it was a moment of triumph and a testament to his dedication to the sport he and his brother loved.
Karl’s brother, Kieth Absalon, was a former U-19 national squad standout and UAAP Season 78 High School Football Most Valuable Player. Tragically, Kieth passed away in a landmine or improvised explosive device explosion claimed by the New People’s Army.
Karl admitted that it was hard to accept what had happened, but as time passed, he learned to cope with his brother’s loss.
“Nung una, hindi namin ma-accept kasi hindi talaga expected na nangyari ‘yon. Pero ngayon na nagtagal na rin, medyo naging OK, pero namimiss pa rin namin si kuya,” Karl admitted.
One thing that he remembered from his brother was to enjoy the game and not let the heat of the moment get to him. He and his teammates took this lesson to heart, playing with fair play and sportsmanship in honor of Kieth.
He said, “Yung natutunan ko lang kay kuya, i-enjoy ‘yung laro at huwag maging mainit sa game. Laro lang, huwag maging mainit ‘yung ulo. Fair play.”
As the Tamaraws push for the championship this season, they dedicate their efforts to Kieth.
“Ngayong season na ‘to, binibigay po namin yung season na ‘to para kay kuya. Kasi kung buhay lang s’ya, gusto rin niyang mag-champion. Kaya ibibigay naming mag-champion para sa kanya,” the Youth Football League’s Malaya FC upstart shared.
Karl and his teammates want to achieve what his brother would have wanted if he were still alive, to be a champion.
It is a touching tribute to a young man who lived and breathed football and a reminder of the importance of sportsmanship and brotherhood in the world of sports.