UAAP 80 Menís Football: A storybook ending for UP captain Ian Clarino

A storybook ending for UP captain Ian Clarino
ďIan is such a nice guy, he is so selfless. He keeps on working, he doesnít stop working to help the team more, so itís a fitting culmination of Ianís service to UP, this championship and the MVP award.Ē - UP Head Coach Anto Gonzales on Ian Clarino

Thursday afternoon at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium, University of the Philippines team captain Ian Clarino closed out his UAAP career on a definite high note after helping the Fighting Maroons capture the UAAP Season 80 Men’s Football championship.

Clarino scored the lone goal to give UP the 1-0 win and the championship over University of Santo Tomas.

It was UP’s second championship in the past three seasons, and it was also title number two for Clarino in his career. The first came back in Season 78 in an emotionally charged season that saw both the UP Men’s and UP Women’s Football teams capture championships in honor of Rogie Maglinas, a mens’ team member that passed away after a battle with a rare form of Cancer back in 2016.

For the exiting defender, the second title was just as sweet as the first.

“Feeling ko wala siyang difference. Ginagawa namin ito para sa lahat ng mga tumutulong sa amin, and siyempre para kay Rogie. So walang difference talaga, lalaban kami para kay Rogie and sa lahat ng mga sumusuporta sa amin.”

Aside form a championship, Clarino capped off his senior year with Most Valuable Player honors and a Best Defender nod.

But arguably more important for Ian’s growth as a player this season was his role as the team captain for the Maroons.

With Clarino leading the team on the pitch, the Maroons orchestrated an unbeaten season that saw them win twelve matches and draw four times.

UP Head Coach Anto Gonzales described Clarino as the team’s ‘heart and soul’ and had nothing but praise for his captain’s leadership after the title clinching match.

“Ian is such a nice guy, he is so selfless. He keeps on working, he doesn’t stop working to help the team more, so it’s a fitting culmination of Ian’s service to UP, this championship and the MVP award.”

Gonzales also touched on Clarino’s leadership. Following in the footsteps Daniel Gadia, Clarino had some pretty big shoes to fill, and he delievered.

“Ian’s maturity and leadership has tremendously improved from the last year. I think he learned a lot from last year, he was also helped by a lot of his former seniors, Daniel, Patxi, dinala lang niya lahat ngayon.” Gonzales added.

For Clarino, it was all about being the best that he could be, not just for himself but also for his brothers on the pitch. .

“Lagi kong sinasabi sa mga teammates ko, every game, and nung nag-start yung season na ‘to, lagi kong sinasabi sa sarili ko bago ako matulog, gagawn ko yung best ko, and sasaluhin ko kahit alam ko pagod na ako. Yun lang, paulit-ulit, sabi ko sasaluhin ko kayo kahit anong mangyari, sasaluhin ko kayo kahit na anong mang-yari.”

As Coach Anto said, it was Clarino’s selflessness that stood out, the captain says that it was the biggest thing he learned during his final season.

“Yung pagiging selfless. Sa akin, kasi, na-feel ko sila coach talaga, di nila iniisip sarili nila eh, every time na nagsasalita sila, lagi silang nag-iisip sa ibang tao, so yun yung natutunan ko talaga. So everytime na nakikita ko bad mood yung team, nagagalit sila, inaapproach ko na sila.

“Bago ako mag-exit ng UP, natutunan ko talaga yung pagiging selfless, kung paano mag-approach ng mga tao.” Clarino added.

After seeing a handful of seniors off during his UAAP career, it was Clarino’s turn to enter the pitch for one final match.

After years of trying to win championships for the seniors of the team, this time around, the team worked hard to win one for Clarino and the rest of the out-going Fighting Maroons.

Knowing that his juniors played their hearts out gives Clarino sense of pride and a confidence that next season, UP is once again a legitimate title contender.

“Siyempre, sobrang proud na proud talaga ako sa mga teammates ko, nakikita ko naman talaga kung paano sila mag-work dito, kahit anong sakit ng katawan, pinipilit nila. Yung pag-exit ko dito, I know, for the next season magiging proud talaga ako sa kanila kasi alam ko bibigay parin nila yung best nila, sa mga next seniors.”

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