THE University of the Philippines football teams offered their double title victories to the late Rogie Maglinas, who died earlier in the year due to a cancer.
Maglinas, only 19 and a member of the men’s football team, passed away last February due to rhabdomyosarcoma, a form of cancer affecting the skeletal muscles.
Banners of ‘For Rogie’ were unfurled during the men’s and women’s teams’ celebration after both came out as winners in Thursday’s UAAP finals matches.
After the victory by the men’s team, the UP football players, coaches, staff, and some fans gathered around in one area of the Rizal Memorial Stadium field to offer a prayer for Maglinas.
Kintaro Miyagi, who scored three goals in UP’s 4-1 win over Ateneo in the men’s final, said they played inspired ball, determined to win the crown for their fallen teammate.
“Laro lang talaga para kay Rogie,” said Miyagi. “Sobrang emotional itong season kasi our brother passed away. Para mawala ‘yung sadness, laro lang kami. ‘Yung championship, gift namin sa kanya.”
UP men’s and women’s team coach Anto Gonzales admitted Maglinas’ death became the rallying point of the team, as support snowballed following the untimely passing of one of their players.
“We appreciate the support of everyone, especially the UP community. May mga teachers na nag-cancel ng klase nila para makapanood mga students nila. The support this year has been tremendous across all borders — admin, outsiders — maraming tumulong,” said Gonzales.
“And I think ‘yung death ni Rogie brought us all together towards one goal which is to win the title,” he added.
Gonzales said even the women’s team offered the title to Maglinas, who they become close to.
“He has a lot of friends sa girls team. While he was in the hospital, the girls made sure to visit him. The win is dedicated to him,” said Gonzales.
As the title victories sank in, Gonzales has a message for Maglinas.
“Rogie, salamat sa lahat. Sana kasama ka namin ngayon para makita mong lumaban ‘yung team,” said Gonzales as he struggled to keep his emotions in check in an interview with reporters.
“’Yung iniwan niya, mananatili sa amin ‘yung fight, ‘yung appreciation sa maliliit na bagay. Sana masaya siya kung nasaan siya ngayon,” he added.