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Petecio still a winner despite Olympic finals loss to Japanese

FOR THE WIN. University of Baguio staff await for the declaration of winner in the Nesthy Petecio – Sena Irie fight Tuesday where the Japanese won via split decision. The UB staff watched to cheer for their student-athlete, one of the four who went to the Tokyo Olympics. Pigeon Lobien / RNG Luzon

Nesthy Petecio came short of winning the Olympic gold in women’s featherweight when she fell to local Sena Irie today, August 3, at the Kokugikan Arena.

After battling from a 9-10 in all the five judges card to register 10 in four of them in the second round, Petecio fell short of impressing the judges in the third canto to lose in all the judges card as she formalized her silver medal finish.

It was a gallant stand for the Davao native who now studies in Baguio at the University of Baguio as she was outhustled by the Japanese in the three round contest punctuated with too much holding.

“She gave a good fight. In my card she won,” summed former UB coach Glicerio Catolico, Jr. after the fight.

Catolico joined UB officials including athletic director Alan Elegado who came to watch the championship fight and cheered for Petecio and Carlo Paalam, who earlier won his quarterfinal match against erstwhile Olympic champion Shakhobidin Zoirov to assure himself of a bronze medal.

“But then it is homecourt,” added Catolico during a post-game interview with local mediamen.

“Malaki pa pagasa natin, may Carlo at may Eumir (Marcial) pa naman tayo (We have a big chance [of winning a gold], we still have Carlo and Eumir,” added Catolico, who brought the boxers to UB for them to get their education for free.

Petecio earned an associate degree in hotel and restaurant management course at UB, a two year course she finished in 2018 and went on to get a four year degree after. She was enrolled at the same college of UB where she is now on leave, along with Irish Magno, who is taking up a degree in criminology.

Paalam, on the other hand, was enrolled at UB’s senior high school program. Two other boxers are enrolled at UB, former world champion and 2019 Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Josie Gabuco and Aira Villegas, who won bronze in the 2019 SEAG in Manila.

Marcial had just one college he calls home, UB, where he was enrolled in 2015.

Petecio, Paalam, Magno and Villegas were recognized by Baguio as its athletes in a resolution passed last January 11 where they were also given incentives as winners of international events.

Petecio and Paalam took PhP30,000 for their gold medal winners, PjP for Magno and PhP 10,000 for Villegas.

That recognition may see Petecio getting PhP400,000 for her silver medal feat and assuring PhP300,000 for Paalam for his bronze medal, for now.

Petecio stands to get PhP17 million from the government and various private entities who promised millions to winning athletes.

Petecio, Paalam, Marcial and Magno stand to get PhP250,000 from the PhP1 million pledged by former Baguio mayor Peter Rey Bautista, Jr. from Naktaynay, which is owned by his family along with UB.

Petecio will be able to get a house and lot in Claveria, Quezon and PhP10 million condominium in Davao from Suntrust. She was also assured a lifetime 60,000 kilometer free flight from Philippine Airlines.

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