MANILA, Philippines -- The UAAP on Sunday expressed its grief at the tragic passing of Kieth Absalon, a football player for Far Eastern University (FEU).
Absalon, 21, and his cousin, Nolven Absalon died in an IED blast in Masbate City on Sunday morning.
"The UAAP family's heart goes out to the Absalon family including Kieth’s sister Nathalie of the University of Santo Tomas women’s team and younger brother Karl who is part of FEU’s high school football program," the league said in a statement.
"We are also grieving with FEU which molded Kieth into a model student-athlete," it added.
Absalon was an outstanding product of FEU's famed football program. He won Most Valuable Player honors in the juniors division in Season 78, and represented the country in the 2018 AFF Under-19 Championships.
He was already playing for the FEU senior team in Season 82 when their campaign was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic last year.
The league said that Absalon brought pride not just to his university, but the UAAP as a whole.
"The tributes for him showed how he has touched lives not just for his athletic gifts, but for his kindness and easygoing personality. His passion and enthusiasm always rubbed off on his teammates and fellow athletes," the UAAP said.
"He had a bright future ahead of him in the sport that he loved. May his soul rest in peace."
The Philippine Football Federation (PFF) has also offered their condolences to the family and said they will provide financial assistance.
"It is heartbreaking to see a promising player’s future in Kieth Absalon cut short due to a terrible incident," PFF president Mariano "Nonong" Araneta said.
"As one of the national youth team players privileged to have represented the country, it pains us to see Kieth miss out on what could have been an even brighter future for him," said PFF general-secretary Atty. Edwin Gastanes. "May he rest in peace and his bereaved family be blessed with courage in their time of sadness."
The Absalon family on Monday demanded justice for Kieth and his cousin Nolven, as they believe that the victims were shot by the New People's Army.