MANILA, Philippines -- Filipina boxer Nesthy Petecio made her Twitter account only last month and sent her first tweet on July 29 -- a photo of herself posing in front of the Olympic rings.
In just days, she has amassed over 18,000 followers and her posts regularly go viral, starting with an earnest tweet asking for prayers ahead of her semifinal match in the women's featherweight division in the Tokyo Olympics.
"First gawa ko po, kahit isang gabi pa lang po sa Twitter, grabe na po nag-follow. Nagpapasalamat po ako sa sumusuporta sa akin doon," Petecio told reporters in a press conference, Wednesday.
She is still a newbie on the social media platform -- in one tweet, she apologized for not being able to "follow back" quickly -- but Petecio is grateful for the support that Filipinos have shown her during her Olympic campaign.
In particular, she was touched by the response of her countrymen after she posted following her loss to Japan's Irie Sena in the gold medal match.
In her tweet, Petecio apologized, saying: "Pasensya na po kayo, silver lang nakayanan ko."
She was immediately inundated by fellow Filipinos who told her that there was no need for her to apologize -- including Karylle and Regine Velasquez.
"Noong nag-post po ako ng, humingi po ako ng pasensya sa lahat po, silver lang po. Sinabihan po nila ako lahat na hindi lang silver 'yan, hindi lang. So 'yan ang itatak mo sa isipan mo, hindi lang," Petecio said.
"So doon po, medyo nabuhayan po ako. Ang sarap po sa pakiramdam na ramdam ko 'yung suporta ng mga Pilipino po, hindi lang po ng POC, PSC. Lahat po ng sambayanang Pilipino po," she added.
"Sobrang grabe, grabe. Blessed po ako at thankful po ako kay Lord sa pinaparamdam niya sa akin ngayon."
Petecio is the first Filipina boxer to win an Olympic boxing medal, and her silver is the country's first in the sport since Mansueto "Onyok" Velasco also won silver in the 1996 Atlanta Games.
Her achievement is also part of Team Philippines' record haul from Tokyo, as the country has won four medals -- the most in a single Games. Hidilyn Diaz delivered the first gold, and Petecio the first silver. Another boxer, Eumir Marcial, is coming home with bronze, while Carlo Paalam is still in the hunt for a gold medal in the men's flyweight division.
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