FAR Eastern University men's varsity player Kieth Absalon was killed in a landmine explosion on Sunday morning in Masbate.
He was 21.
Police reports said Absalon and his cousin Nolven, 40, perished after being hit by sharpnels from an improvised explosive device (IED) that exploded in Purok 4, Brgy. Anas, Masbate.
The Philippine National Police-Bicol accused the New People's Army (NPA) of being responsible for planting the IED.
Chrisbin, who is Nolven's son, also sustained injuries but survived the blast. He is now confined in a hospital.
Absalon was named UAAP Season 78 juniors MVP back in 2016 after helping sustain the Baby Tamaraws' dynastic run in high school football, where he was also named the Best Midfielder before joining FEU's seniors team.
Thanks to that performance, he was called up to be a part of the Philippine Under-19 team that competed in the 2018 AFF Under-19 Championship in Indonesia.
Aside from FEU, Absalon has also saw action for Malaya FC.
The club extended its condolences to the family, writing, "Our hearts are broken as we bid farewell to a brilliant player of #MalayaFC and FEU men’s football team. A born leader, follower of the highest order, a kind, gentle, and respectful soul. Thank you for everything, #KiethAbsalon. Rest easy in that big football pitch in the sky."
The UAAP has also paid its tribute on the young booter.
"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 statement read.
"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. He had a bright future ahead of him in the sport that he loved. May his soul rest in peace."