#ForYoro: UP MFT honors fallen teammate, ends season with emotional draw vs FEU

The UP Fighting Maroons played their heavy hearts out against Far Eastern University (FEU) last May 4, eventually settling for a 2-2 draw which formally eliminated the team from semifinal contention in the UAAP Men’s Football tournament. 

State U wrapped up the season in fifth place with 16 points from three wins, seven draws and two losses.

With the win-loss tally, UP ends their nine-year streak of Final Four appearances, the tournament-best in over 18 years.


Before kickoff, players and spectators alike took a moment of silence to honor the maroons’ team forward Yoro Sangare who tragically passed away Thursday afternoon. He was 22 years old.

A Malian recruit, Sangare was sidelined this season after sustaining an injury from a preseason friendly. The cause of his death has yet to be determined as the autopsy is still ongoing as of press time.

The UP Fighting Maroons pose with a jersey sporting No. 61, a nod to their fallen teammate.
Photo by Ronin Baustista

“We gave everything for Yoro to be able to celebrate his life,” said UP assistant coach Popoy Clarino.

“He was very driven, hardworking, and very kind. He was the kindest person I’ve ever met.”

With the unfortunate news, UAAP officials allowed the maroons to decide whether to push through with the game or not. For the team, the show must go on.

“The players fought for him as we wanted to share the experience with him inside the field,” Clarino said.

Fellow strikers Arturo Alleje and Anton Guariña atoned for their seemingly lacking chemistry in past games as they put the Tamaraw Booters on backfoot early on. 

The dynamic duo fired multiple shots from inside the box in the 13th and 15th minute to test FEU’s goalie Jetrick Fabrigas.

Francis Tacardon continued UP’s surging offense with strikes of his own, but Fabrigas proved resilient in keeping the ball away from the post.

While the maroons played with high tempo, it was FEU’s Khent Valenzuela who broke the deadlock first in the 38th minute.

However, just when the Tamaraws looked poised to dominate, Alleje bulldozed his way past two defenders to draw level for State U in stoppage time, 1-1.

Changes after the break saw the green-and-black shirts take control of the midfield for a dominant possession.

UP substitute playmaker Vincent Parpan had a sniff at goal deep in the second half, which was quickly handled by the FEU goalie.

With the Tamaraws relishing possession, Sherwin Basindanan found an opening for a close-range strike in the 78th minute to propel FEU to another breakaway.

The away side’s stingy and compact defense maintained the scoreline until stoppage time when Alleje came up clutch anew and buried a long-range goal to salvage a 2-2 draw for his mourning team.

Despite Alleje’s late-game heroics, a single point awarded from the draw wasn’t enough to book UP a final four ticket.

“We gave up two goals. We needed to win and didn’t get it but at least we didn’t stop pushing until the end,” said Alleje. He scored both goals for UP. 

“We were a young team. With that, we needed to find a way to bond more, connect more in order to play as if we were an experienced team.”

After playing inspired ball, the UP football team and maroon faithful gathered near the corner of the Diliman Football Field to offer a prayer for Yoro.

With emotions on a high from yesterday, graduating striker Guariña shared a message for his fallen teammate. 

“Mon ami! It’s hard to put into words the pain and sorrow I feel knowing that you’re no longer with us. Your loss has left a void in my life that can never be filled,” said Guariña through Instagram.

“You touched so many lives, and your legacy will live on in the hearts of everyone you touched. Your spirit lives on, and I know that you’re watching over us, guiding us from above,” he continued.

“Rest in peace, my dear friend.”