Though finishing second in the UAAP Season 86 Cheerdance Competition, National University Pep Squad are already looking to go one better next season.
NU, which had an Elvis Presley theme, surrendered the crown to Far Eastern University and is using this loss as motivation for its Season 87 campaign.
“To be honest, it’s sad,” said coach Gabriel Bajacan, who replaced Ghicka Bernabe. “Bago kami pumasok sa mats na yan, we’re prepared talaga. Di naman talaga natin maiiwasan na may mga bagay na to na nangyayari. Iba talaga pag nasa blue mats talaga. It’s the main competition.
“That will be one thing that we will prepare for next year. We will make sure na we will be strong mentally. Yun yung aming next goal talaga… It’s my first time to be head coach na nakakaisip ako while the competition is ongoing. Nag-jo-jot down talaga ako sa notes.”
“Siguro, yun po yung sinabi ni Coach Gabs na kinapos pero alam ko po na ginawa ng team yung best namin and alam ko na may reason sa lahat ng nangyari ngayon. Sure po next year na babawi kami. Alam namin na gold kami next year,” said team captain Neo Espiritu.
To which Bajacan quickly replied, “Yes!”
It is never easy for someone to replace a successful coach like Bernabe, who led NU to seven championships in nine seasons as head coach. However, someone had to take the job and it just had to be Bajacan.
NU has been synonymous with the gold medal in the Cheerdance Competition. Going second, while still an achievement on its own, also brings with it a sense of frustration. However, that is how sports is — one wins and one loses and for this season, it was FEU’s turn to come out on top.
“Bago ka maging NU pep, talagang yan yung standard namin. Yun yung tinuro sa amin ng management namin. Yun yung tinuro sa amin ng NU community namin — to strive hard at mag-excel talaga sa craft na ginagawa namin,” said Bajacan.
“Di namin makuha yung gold, laking bagay sa amin. Yung silver, sad kami. It’s silver, second yun. May podium finish kami pero ganun talaga… Ganun kasi eh. Hindi pwede maging competition kung hindi ka nag-go-gold sa itaas.Yun lagi naming fini-feed sa kanila na kailangan natin maging magaling sa lahat ng bagay,” the youthful mentor continued.
“Again, we all know na maganda ang support ng aming management and NU community hindi lang sa academics but also sa benefits at lahat. We wanted to give back yung binibigay nila sa amin through our performance. Nakaka-sad lang na di kami nanalo but that’s part of the competition.”
This season, NU fielded a student-athlete who lost her father recently as well as another who is a person with a disability who, despite having a deformity in his hands, lifted his teammates when they were performing on the blue mats.
If there was one thing that went well for NU, it was the team that had the least deductions. NU will look to reclaim the championship next season and it will use this as a platform to create a better performance.
“Parang siya nung 2017 namin na despite having errors, may positive kami nakuha dun and yun yung dadalhin namin for the next competition,” said Bajacan. “Yun yung panghahawakan namin to bring the crown back to Jhocson and we want to stay that way.
“We want maintain that brand of the NU Pep Squad na maging competitive sa larangan ng cheerleading.”