Filipino boxer Carlo Paalam joined three other Filipino athletes with an Olympic medal on Tuesday, August 3 inspiring puns on his surname on local social media.
Paalam defeated reigning Olympic champion Shakhobidin Zoirov via a split decision at the Olympic men’s flyweight quarterfinals during the Tokyo Olympics 2020 on Tuesday, August 3.
His win guaranteed him a bronze medal and the country’s fourth one, which makes it the highest medal haul of the Philippines to date.
Paalam’s name immediately dominated conversations on Twitter and Facebook as Filipinos expressed their pride and congratulated him.
His name also scaled the top of Twitter’s trending list with 26,400 tweets.
Unavoidably, given Paalam’s surname, which translates to “goodbye” in English, Filipinos played with the pun to relay their cheer and congratulations.
“Imbyerna si Zoirov! Kung sino pa ung Paalam siya pa yung nagstay!” comedian Vice Ganda also quipped.
“NO GOODBYES JUST YET!” one user also commented.
Some media outlets also had their own versions for their social media captions.
“NO GOODBYES YET FOR PAALAM!” from Interaksyon.
NO GOODBYES YET FOR PAALAM!
Boxer Carlo Paalam is now assured of a bronze medal after defeating reigning Olympic champion Shakhobidin Zoirov in the flyweight quarterfinals.🥉 #Boxing
📷: REUTERS/Carl Recine
— Interaksyon (@interaksyon) August 3, 2021
“Goodbye reigning champ, hello another Olympic medal: Paalam beats Uzbek to enter boxing semis,” Philstar.com’s Sports Hub stated.
Analyst Edson Guido, meanwhile, took a cleverer route and formed “pinapaalam” which translates to “letting people be aware or know.”
“Marami pa tayong atletang lumalaban pero ngayon palang, nakakaproud na! Ito na talaga ang best Olympic performance ng Pilipinas! At muli, mabuhay kayong lahat na patuloy na pina-PAALAM sa mundo ang galing ng mga Pilipino. Congratulations, Carlo Paalam,” analyst Edson Guido said with emojis of the Philippine flag and prayers.
Marami pa tayong atletang lumalaban pero ngayon palang, nakakaproud na! Ito na talaga ang best Olympic performance ng Pilipinas!
At muli, mabuhay kayong lahat na patuloy na pina-PAALAM sa mundo ang galing ng mga Pilipino. Congratulations, Carlo Paalam 🇵🇭🙏🏻
— Edson C. Guido (@EdsonCGuido) August 3, 2021
In a brief interview with reporters, Paalam bared that he suffered from an accidental head butt in the second round.
“Matigas talaga ulo ko,” he said.
Paalam also admitted that his opponent was skillful and a veteran in boxing. He attributed his win to his faith in himself and God.
“Talino, tiwala sa sarili saka sa Panginoon po ang nagbigay ng panalo satin,” he said.
The Cagayan de Oro native also thanked his supporters.
“Thank you din sainyong mga prayers,” he said.
Prior to competing at the prestigious Olympic Games, Paalam was a scavenger of recyclable materials in his hometown in province.
He trained at the grassroots boxing program of Cagayan de Oro Mayor Oscar Moreno called “Boxing at the Park.”
Paalam got his big break after two-time SEA Games silver winner Elmer Pamisa, who is also a coach at the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines, spotted him back in 2010.