Petecio remembers late best friend after earning Tokyo berth

Published March 20, 2021, 2:03 PM

by Kristel Satumbaga-Villar

Nesthy Petecio, right, with her late best friend, Alexcel Dargantes (Photo from Nesthy Petecio’s Facebook account)

World champion boxer Nesthy Petecio believes she got plenty of divine help from her late best friend, Alexcel Dargantes, in getting a berth to this year’s Tokyo Olympics.

Petecio paid tribute to Dargantes, a former national boxer who passed away last month, shortly after she and Carlo Paalam earned slots to the Summer Games.

“Bago siya nawala, sabi niya sa akin na gusto niya akong makita na maglaro sa Olympics… at ito na po yun. Ginabayan niya ako at si Lord po,” said Petecio.

The Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) announced Friday afternoon, March 19, that Petecio and Carlo Paalam secured tickets to the Olympics after receiving confirmatory notices from the International Olympic Committee Boxing Task Force (IOC-BTF).

Petecio and Paalam qualified by virtue of their highest standing in their respective weight categories – women’s featherweight (57kg) and men’s flyweight (52kg) – after the final Olympic qualifying tournament scheduled in Paris, France in June was scrapped due to the pandemic.

They join Eumir Felix Marcial and Irish Magno, who qualified last year, as well as pole vaulter EJ Obiena and world champion gymnast Carlos Yulo.

Petecio couldn’t hide her excitement upon receiving the news from coaches Nolito Velasco and Reynaldo Galido.

“Sobrang sayo po. Sobrang blessed and grateful po ako,” she said.

She admitted she couldn’t help but cry when she relayed the news to her family, who has been her constant motivation in her career.

“Umiiyak po sa saya nung tumawag po ako agad sa pamilya ko,” Petecio said.

Petecio and select national team members are currently training in Thailand in preparation for future tournaments as well as the Olympics.