By JONAS TERRADO
The local football community is mourning the loss of Far Eastern University’s Kieth Absalon, who was killed Sunday, June 6 while riding a bicycle with his relatives in Masbate City.
The Philippine Football Federation (FEU), FEU’s athletics department and his non-professional club Malaya FC were among those who paid tribute to Absalon, who was only 21 years old.
A report by the Philippine News Agency (PNA) said Absalon and his cousin Nolven, 40, were believed to have died from an explosive device planted by members of the New People’s Army (NPA).
A third victim, Nolven’s 16-year-old son Chrisbin Daniel, survived the incident and is being treated at a local hospital.
“It is heartbreaking to see a promising player’s future in Kieth Absalon cut short due to a terrible incident” said PFF president Nonong Araneta. “We pray that his soul rest in peace.”
The PFF also said that it will provide financial assistance to the family of Absalon, who represented the country in the 2018 AFF U-19 Championship in Surabaya, Indonesia.
Absalon made his mark at FEU where he was named Most Valuable Player for leading the Baby Tamaraws to the 2016 UAAP juniors football crown.
His rookie season in the seniors division with FEU was cut short last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The FEU Tamaraw Community is deeply saddened by the passing away of Kieth Absalon of the FEU Men’s Football Team,” the school’s athletic department said.
“Kieth’s toughness on the field and constant smiles off it will truly be missed by his brothers in the men’s football team and the entire FEU community.”
Absalon also played for Malaya FC in several tournaments, the last in 2019 when he bagged MVP honors in the club’s victory in the Youth Football League U-19 division.
“Our hearts are broken as we bid farewell to a brilliant player of Malaya FC and FEU men’s football team,” Malaya FC said on its social media accounts.
“A born leader, follower of the highest order, a kind, gentle, and respectful soul. Thank you for everything, Kieth Absalon. Rest easy in that big football pitch in the sky.”