June 1, 2023

Two months before her 16th birthday, Philippine Women’s National Football Team and Pilipinas U16 Girls Team member Celestina Beatrice Luna passed on to the great beyond on May 26.

The homegrown athlete complained waking up with a headache on May 23 and was rushed by her family to the hospital where she was comatose until she passed away.

Her long-time coach Ariston Bocalan of the Cordillera Binnadang Football Club (CBFC) and also coach to Baguio City National High School Football club where Luna originally belonged said the young athlete suffered from arteriovenous malformation or AVM, an abnormal tangle of blood vessels connecting arteries and veins, disrupting normal blood flow and oxygen circulation.

Bocalan remembered Luna as a jolly and friendly person to all players. 

She is the example she truly was, as tributes from her classmates and teammates flooded her Facebook account, all describing her ability to smile and be an encouragement to everyone around her despite her own struggles. 

“Victory is the goal, determination is what you need,” reads Luna’s Facebook introduction.

Determined was another word used by her two coaches in the national team in describing her in a tribute video for the athlete.

“This is certainly not a message that you would expect to be making to someone who is just turning 16 years old this year. Bea Luna isn’t your ordinary teenager. In the past two years, we had the pleasure of mentoring her. She showed extreme dedication and commitment to the sport that she truly love, even if it meant long bus rides from Baguio to Manila and the sacrifice of waking up early and going back that same day in time for school. She did everything with a smile,” said coach Candice Grey del Rosario of FF Advanced Supplementary Training Girls Team and Futbol Funatics Women’s Team. 

Coach Elyo Dillera of Forza FC Team agreed with the observation, admiring Luna’s level of commitment to be able to play the sport.

Filipino football superstar James Younghusband Twitted to his legions of followers about Luna’s passing while other football organizations and clubs, such as the Philippine Azkals also expressed their condolences to the family of Luna.

Luna was part of the Philippine U15 Girls National Team that finished fourth place in the AFF U15 Girls’ Championship 2019 in Chonburi, Thailand under head coach Rachelle delos Reyes. The Cordilleran athlete scored in her only appearance for the country in the 12-0 win over Timor-Leste.

She was exposed during her elementary years to the CBFC tournaments organized in Baguio, where they saw her potential in the sport.

Luna’s remains were transferred to Victoria, Tarlac on May 29. 

The CBFC has mounted a fund-raising drive to help the Luna family in paying for the bill incurred during her  hospitalization.

Those who wish to help the Luna family may deposit donations through Banco de Oro account 000940344750 under the name of Katrina B. Pablo, the mother of deceased athlete. – Ofelia C. Empian