Jinggoy's Last Stand

Santino Honasan on Mar 02, 2015 03:18 PM
Jinggoy's Last Stand
"Binigay ko lahat. Sana hindi ko last game 'to, pero...binigay ko lahat, tinry ko lahat."

As the final whistle went off, it was over.

A mass of green and gold stormed the pitch in jubilation as the Far Eastern University Tamaraws, defending UAAP Men’s Football Champions charged their way back into the finals thanks to Arnel Amita’s heroics in added extra time.

The final whistle also signaled the end of the season for the University of the Philippines, more importantly, it signaled the end of the UAAP careers of a handful of Maroons, including star-striker Jinggoy Valmayor.

As tears streamed down the faces of the dejected Maroons, it was Jinggoy who took it the hardest. The team huddled one last time on the pitch, with the seniors essentially saying their goodbyes and and congratulating each other for the season that was.

For the last five years, Jinggoy was a major cog in the UP Men’s Football program. With Rookie of the Year Honors in Season 73, back-to-back titles his first two seasons and four straight finals appearances, he helped his Maroons squad establish itself as a perennial power in local collegiate football.

Painfully though for the Bacolod-born striker, his final playing year would be the only time when they would not make it to the finals.

“Of course, I’m sad.” Valmayor told ABS-CBN Sports, with a crackle in his voice. “Binigay ko lahat. Sana hindi ko last game ‘to, pero…binigay ko lahat, tinry ko lahat.”

The last five years in the UAAP was a learning process for Valmayor. According to him, he learned a lot because of the experience, and was especially happy with himself this season, stating that he did not get carded even once, and that he has been able to keep his temper in check and his work ethic has improved.

During the final minutes of extra time, many expected Jinggoy to bail UP out at least one more time, something that he had done over and over again, something that he had done earlier in the season with a last minute equalizer against the very same FEU team that now had just booted them out of the semifinals. Something that he says is his most memorable moment in the UAAP.

“Siguro yun yung pinaka-masaya ko na moment, kasi akala ko talo na kami, pero hindi kami nag-give up hanggang sa final whistle. Pinakita namin yung fighting spirit namin at yung puso.”

This time however, there were no heroics, no last minute goal, no draw. There was just the scoreboard that read “FEU 1 – 0 UP”.

While Jinggoy may have seen his last minutes as a UP Maroon last Sunday, there’s still more football in his horizon, as he is set to join Pachanga Diliman in the United Football League.

As he leaves behind his UP Maroons, he believes that he’ll be leaving the team in good hands. “Yung mga bata, ok sila. Mataas yung potential nila. Si Coach Anto [Gonzales] nandiyan pa din, mentor namin siya. May tiwala naman kami sa kanya at sa programs niya.”

When asked how he’d describe his UAAP career in one word, Jinggoy’s response came with little hesitation. “Unpredictable.”

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