Far Eastern University Cheering Squad hoped to make history with two titles in the same calendar year in the UAAP Cheerdance Competition when it stepped on the mats on Saturday at the SM Mall of Asia.
Donned with a routine that paid tribute to the one and only Francis Magalona, they were on the cusp of doing so after the very final note and final move of their piece.
But the then-six-time UAAP champions National University followed.
It made a run for the Tamaraws’ money, and, as the judges would have it, claimed the biggest prize of the day.
FEU’s Cheering Squad, though, proved one thing with the runner-up finish: the squad is indeed one of the best cheerdance teams in the league. Twenty podium finishes spanning the four decades of the competition – only the team from Morayta can claim that.
“Not bad kasi first runner-up pa rin kami, hindi kami nawala sa podium. A little back story lang no, siguro ito yung worst preparation namin. Ako, as a coach, ito yung worst sa prep time kasi andami naming struggles na na-encounter — injuries, issues left and right, mga hindi maipaliwanag na mga engkanto. So, ang daming talaga naming struggles, itong seasion na ito,” head coach Randell San Gregorio admitted. “As in sobrang heavy ng prep, yun nga kaliwa’t kanan. Parang hindi meant to be na mag-defend.
“So yung fact na nag first runner-up kami, malaking bonus na lang para sa ‘min.”
Make no mistake, though, but despite the hardships during the months between that Season 84 title and the Season 85 competition, San Gregorio and the rest of the squad really wanted to make a milestone in these extraordinary times.
“Syempre kanina, kung nakikita niyo mukha ko, hindi ako makangiti, syempre gusto natin mag-back-to-back eh. Hindi man binigay, ok pa rin. At least, nasa podium pa rin kami, hindi kami nalaglag sa podium,” the former University of the Philippine Pep Squad standout said.
The squad came agonizingly close to doing such a feat as they were just four points behind eventual champions NU, which is something FEU CS could build on in the coming years.
San Gregorio said, “Yeah, four points, pero may 14-point deduction si NU eh, tapos meron kaming six. So, kung isa-sum up natin yon, lamang pa rin sila ng less than 10. OK pa rin kasi, at least, we can go toe-to-toe with them.
“Kasi dati pag nabuo nila, parang ‘uwian na,’ parang ganon. At least, ngayon, kumbaga kaya na naming sumabay sa kanila. So, yun naman yung goal. Kasi ever since no, yung magkaroon ng fighting chance. So at least ngayon, may window na na bumubukas.”
With that in mind and with the issues cleared, San Gregorio and his wards set their sights on getting the record 21st podium finish and, of course, their fourth CDC crown.
“We’ll keep pushing. Ganon lang talaga eh. Yun nga, back to the drawing board, training ulit para hopefully manalo ulit next year.”