The destiny is real.
The National University Pep Squad stunned the 25,000 spectators at the Mall of Asia Arena, Saturday, with jaw-dropping tosses and stunts to claim their third consecutive UAAP Cheerdance Competition plum.
Telling the story of the evolution of man and claiming a “NU Era”, the now three-time champions banked on their superior gymnastics skills to top all of the four cheer categories: stunts (70.5), tosses (84), pyramids (88), and tumbling (91.5). The NU Pep Squad also impressed the judges with rhythmic dances reminiscent of early cavemen. With that, and despite some deductions, NU secured the title with a whopping 668 points.
NU Head Coach Ghicka Bernabe shared that she told her wards not to be wary of the other teams, but instead focus on their own routine and emphasize that they are the defending champions. Bernabe exclaimed to the team and its coaches that, “Last year sino ba ang nagchampion? Tayo ‘di ba? Yung sarili nating score, yung sarili nating standard yung ibibeat natin. Bakit mo tatalunin yung mas mababa sa ‘yo? Tatalunin mo yung mataas. Alam nila yan.”
Former five-time champions University of Santo Tomas Salinggawi Dance Troupe snared the runner-up finish with a safari-themed routine, which copped 651.5 points. UST leaned on their strength in dance to improve on their ranking for this year, scoring a tournament-best 354.
Salinggawi also executed almost flawlessly on their cheer skills, which the squad is slowly regaining ground on. UST finished second on tosses (69) and tumbling (85.5) to power them to their second straight podium appearance after missing for three years from 2011 to 2013.
Long-time choreographer Ramon Pagaduan IV expressed that his team is blessed to finish as first runners-up. Pagaduan was pleased that Salinggawi performed a routine that is “deserving of the love and respect of the Thomasian community.” When asked of their next year’s aspirations being the season hosts, the mentor exclaimed that, “Every year we aim to win the championship. Every team naman sumasali dito are thinking of that (pressure).”
Season hosts and eight-time champions University of the Philippines Pep Squad showcased their wide array of newfound gymnastics skills to round up the podium for the 20th straight time with 610.5 total points. The UP Pep Squad showed several gravity-defying pyramids throughout their routine – the most notable of which is the heart-shaped pyramid at the end of the whole performance. With this, the Diliman-based squad landed at second at the pyramids category at 85, to fuel their score on their own tribute to the school’s student-athletes.
Cheerdance powerhouse FEU Cheering Squad landed at fourth with magical performance, highlighted by a magic trick that turned ribbons into batons to close it out. FEU scored 583.5 points. UE Pep Squad settled for fifth with a circus-themed act that showed their improvement on their mountings and tosses, copping a mere 0.5 points less than FEU at 583. De La Salle Animo Squad’s heavy metal routine finished at a distant fifth with 538.5. Adamson Pep Squad’s fashionista and Ateneo Blue Babble Battalion’s espionage performances completed the order of finish with 513.5 and 412 points, respectively.
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