CEBU CITY – The man at the center of the maelstrom that stemmed from a free-for-all in a youth football game has broken his silence, expressing remorse as well as his desire for reconciliation in the wake of the ugly events that happened in the 16th Aboitiz Football Cup last Sunday.
Enrico Mongaya, the man who was captured hitting the 17-year-old goalkeeper of Alcoy FC during a match against a player of Ateneo de Cebu, said in his statement that “neither did he desire nor feel happy” about his involvement in the brawl that marred the Under-18 game.
The photos can be viewed on Sun.Star Cebu's Facebook page.
His statement, given in an interview with Michelle P. So published on Sun.Star Cebu on Thursday, added he was “exerting all efforts for reconciliation.”
Mongaya, a member of the Customs police, explained that he came to the rescue of the Ateneo de Cebu player to “prevent further harm or eventual death” after he saw that the Alcoy FC goalie had the former in a headlock.
Contrary to popular belief, Mongaya was not the parent of the Ateneo player but is his godfather.
The Ateneo de Cebu player, meanwhile, expressed his gratitude for the "timely intervention" of Mongaya as he narrated his ordeal in his post on the social networking site Facebook.
“I'm the guy who was being headlocked by the Alcoy FC goalie. I'm the small player being pinned down by this 5'7 footer goalie. I'm the player whose neck was about to snap, anytime. At this point, I was struggling, doing whatever I could do to get out of that situation,” the Ateneo de Cebu player said.
“But then the goalie was just too much for me. I couldn't breathe anymore. Suddenly the grip on my neck loosened up. I was able to breathe. Then, I realized that somebody saved me. I would like to thank Tito Rico for saving my life,” the youngster continued.
On Wednesday, nine players and two coaches were slapped six-month suspensions and the two teams were disqualified from the tournament by the Cebu Football Association in the wake of the brawl.