[nextpage title=”UAAP CDC 2014″]
The Wolf-themed NU squad finished with a total of 677.5 points to take home the 2014 title. NU also finished as the second runner-up in the group stunts competition. Despite coming in with simple costumes and very few props, the defending champions would wow the crowd with their well-executed stunts, successful pyramids, and dazzling choreography.
The University of the Philippines Pep Squad finished first runner-up for the second straight year with 658 points. The eight-time CDC winners gained acclaim for their gender equality-themed performance, which included passing around a massive rainbow-pattered flag for the eight schools’ cheering galleries to hold on to.
UP’s rival the University of Santo Tomas Salinggawi Dance Troupe meanwhile made their return to the Top 3, finishing at second runner-up with 625 points. The eight-time champions also finished first runner-up in the group stunts competition, stunning the UST faithful with their martial-arts themed performance.
The pirate-themed Adamson University Pep Squad finished fourth overall with 600 points. Two-time winners Far Eastern University finished just a shade below Adamson with 599.5. The Morayta-based pep squad took the stage with an Oriental martial arts themed performance. The science fiction themed-De La Salle University Animo Squad finished six with 557 points. The University of the East Red Squad was seventh with 503 points after paying tribute to indigenous peoples of the Philippines in their performance. The sailor themed-Ateneo de Manila Blue Babble Battalion finished last with 494.5.
Next up, our staff and guest-writers share their thoughts on the schools’ performances:
[nextpage title=”Sail, Ateneo, Sail”]
Sail, Ateneo, Sail
By: Aidan Manglinong
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Things opened on a high note for the Blue Babble Battalion. A successful toss to open the performance, a couple preps accompanied by the fearsome and thundering ‘Go Ateneo, One big fight!’ chant would rouse the Ateneo faithful.
All seemed well in the first few minutes of the routine. Another successful pyramid in the opening minutes would keep the temperature on high for the Ateneo crowd. But moments later, a failed stand would mark the Ateneans’ first noticeable error. Sadly, this wasn’t the only big error for the Blue Babble Batallion, as an awkward pyramid attempt and another failed stand would come in the next minutes.
The Babble’s main stunt involved the dancers hoisting up high two members of the crew as if to emulate seafarers on a boat while below them another group of dancers formed ‘waves’ by carrying other members horizontally on their shoulders and bobbing up and down. Despite managing to execute the tricky stunt the Babble could only hold on for a couple of seconds.
To cap things off, the Babble would finish with a simple routine involving placards designed to look like a blue ship, surrounded by dancers saluting the Ateneo crowd, while another group of dancers held up placards forming the words ‘Go Ateneo.’, a quiet and simple but poignant way to close out the day.
Despite the errors and spotty stunts, the Ateneo routine did have those ‘uy astig naisip nila yun’ moments. The bit where the BBB swung to Christina Aguilera’s ‘Candy Man’ was one of my favorite moments from this year’s CDC. And while it wasn’t as smoothly executed as I hoped it would be, the boat-riding-the-waves stunt was still a pretty clever and gutsy move. Major props to the Babble for that.
Yes, they placed last, but all in all, this year’s routine was one of the most interesting performances from the past few years. Kudos to the Babble for trying their best to draw as much as they could from their chosen theme. As with all things, we try and bounce back stronger and harder on our next shot.
[nextpage title=”Of hype and misery”]
Of hype and misery
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Coming in to the competition, the UE Red Squad managed to generate substantial buzz from social media as to how they would dismantle their reputation of yearly bottom feeding. It turned-out, our expectations were set straight from the start.
Sporting a team composed of mostly rookies, UE wilted beneath the bright Araneta lights and the stinging stares of the whole UAAP community.
They were on to something with their performance; their Moro theme was executed seamlessly with their flashy costume and choreography. But it was in their execution of cheering fundamentals where UE met their demise.
It seemed that as UE transitioned from toss to pyramid to stunt, they were bound to commit an error, and they did so as their foundations were shaky. UE was second in penalties with 19, second only to DLSU’s 26.
Perhaps, UE’s time at the podium will come sometime in the near future as they continue to mature as a cheering program. But that time was certainly not yesterday.
[nextpage title=”Animo Squad out-of-this-world routine misses out on podium finish”]
Animo Squad out-of-this-world routine misses out on podium finish
By: Brian Tamayao, DLSU Sports
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Last year’s third best group, the DLSU Animo Squad was considered the dark horses for this season as they have continued to excel under the guidance of Rhufa Rosario. In their collaboration’s debut in 2011, the Animo Squad surprised everyone by finishing second behind cheerdancing powerhouse UP. Two years after, the team rejoined the top three by landing in third place.
However, their routine for this season was not enough for La Salle to keep their place at the podium. The Animo Squad went home knowing they finished three notches below last season after garnering 577 points. The competition’s top three–NU, UP, and UST– finished with at least 625 points in the day.
The Lasallians embedded their school’s tagline The Future Begins Here with an intergalactic-inspired performance; which included iconic extraterrestrial references such as the Signum Fidei star, planets and the lightsaber swords made popular by the Star Wars franchise. It was opened with Rektikano, La Salle’s staple cheer often barked by the squad’s members during halftime performances in men’s basketball games. A showcase of skills on the cheerdancing aspect then ensued with the audience witnessing an array of gymnastic skills and daring stunts the team had in store.
The final breakdown of scores revealed that the Animo Squad was among the best performers in the stunts and pyramids categories but was leapfrogged by the other teams in the tumbling, tosses, and dance components, with dance occupying about 40% of the total score. The top two from last season was intact with NU successfully defending their title and UP following suit at second. UST revived their cheerdancing prowess this year to claim third place while Adamson bumped FEU out of the top four. UE and Ateneo finished behind the Animo Squad.
There was also the group stunts competition where groups of five from all schools except Ateneo delivered a sumptuous sequence of skills. Blips in the Animo Squad’s short routine derailed their bid of sneaking into the event’s top three where FEU ended on top while UST and NU finishing in second and third respectively.
[nextpage title=”FEUCS slides to fifth; post worst placing since ‘03″]
FEUCS slides to fifth; post worst placing since ‘03
By: Eryl Justine L. Bacnis, the FEU Advocate
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Their primary focus was to finish atop the ranks, but things did not go the way they wanted it to be.
The Far Eastern University Cheering Squad (FEUCS) tried to bring themselves in the upper echelon of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 77 Cheerdance Competition, but their effort was not enough to translate into a podium finish.
FEUCS ended the competition in fifth place, a stride lower than last season’s fourth. Their lowly finish this year was unexpected by them, even by the fans.
However, despite the dismal showing, FEUCS still managed to own the Group Stunts competition as they amassed 258.5 points.
The squad from Morayta were still able to please the twenty thousand plus crowd inside the Coliseum and with their pyramids and tosses, but failure to pull off such feats without any errors and discrepancies cost them the title. But their floor work earned great feedbacks from those watching as they performed it flawlessly.
Their Chinese warrior-inspired routine collected 326 points in the dance category. They were awarded 76 points for tumbling, enough for them to rank third in the said department. They also acquired 69.5 points for stunts, 64 points for tosses, and 69 points for pyramids from the judges.
FEU had a total of 599.5 points; .5 short of finishing fourth yet again. Adamson University Pep Squad took over the fourth place with 600 points.
[nextpage title=”Fourth never felt so good”]
Fourth never felt so good
By: Migs Flores
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Last year, when I was still writing for The Adamson Chronicle, Adamson U’s Official Student Publication, I drew the ire of the entire Adamson Pep Squad with an article I wrote.
In theory, it was just supposed to be a simple recap of their fifth place finish last season, but I felt that mentioning that they placed at the bottom of the standings in the previous competition was of relevance, enough to write it at the beginning of the article. Several members of the squad viewed it as unnecessary, that I was somehow implicating that the team was not very good, which was true. It WAS a fact that the AdU Pep Squad was a perpetual bummer to watch; that finishing not in last place was somehow the goal.
It was still the case in Season 75 when they came in second to last place with their K-Pop atrocity of a performance. It became less of a fact last season when their feathery performance was deemed decent not only by the judges but also by the Adamsonians like me who had almost lost hope.
Yesterday, I knew there were many like me who were praying, by the grace of St. Vincent De Paul, to please be decent again. And wouldn’t you know it, we were actually pretty damn good.
The choreography was cool and smooth. The stunts were at a level of difficulty never before seen in an Adamson CDC performance. Sure, the performance still lacked an awe-inspiring moment, but there weren’t any major falls either except for a few miscues in the tumbling part of the performance. The squad has slowly progressed to the point where they execute their pyramids and throws without choking; all that’s left is smoothening out the corners for them to be solid podium contenders.
The theme execution could have been better, the costumes lacked scurvy, and the performance itself lacked the “shiver-me-timbers!” feel of a pirate themed affair; but, as how the judging with UP went, theme execution is like a dunk in basketball, it might be fun to watch, but it doesn’t really count for extra points.
It’s only fitting for one of the small schools, whose pep squad practices in the smallest of facilities, with little funding, would best it’s competition by the tiniest of margins (just 0.5 points better than the perennial podium contenders, FEU).
Now I get why the Pep Squad was so upset that I brought up their past terrible performance. It might exceed most of our memories when Adamson’s last podium finish was (2001, when AdU placed second in one of the most error plagued competitions in the history of the competition). It is now apparent to me that the goal of the Pep Squad is to bury their horrid past and usher in a new era of excellence for Adamsonians like me to revel in. Let’s just hope they do not melt under the pressure and continue to trend upward unlike the Men’s Basketball program.
[nextpage title=”Worth the wait for the UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe”]
Worth the wait for the UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe
By: Karl Cedrick G. Basco and Delfin Ray Dioquino, the Varsitarian
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They may not have a mind-blowing concept like the UP Pep Squad or a jaw-dropping performance as NU Bulldogs but the Salinggawi Dance Troupe (SDT) made sure that this time there would be no fallen pyramids, no poor tosses – only an almost perfect routine.
With their Chinese dynasty-inspired performance, “Gawi” finished third in this year’s edition of CDC, which is four years in the making. The last time SDT landed on the podium was in 2010.
UST was fourth to perform following their rival UP Pep Squad, which set the bars high. Intending to avenge their worst-finish ever last year, Salinggawi opened the routine forming their trademark caterpillar-like line before throwing away colorful cloths with their outstretched arms that made the Thomasians in the Big Dome up on their feet.
As if everyone was expecting that they will again stumble in their performance, UST assured that it was not going to happen, building their pyramids and stunts like the real UST – clean and perfect. They also amazed their viewers with their tosses especially with the one catching the two girls thrown almost eight-feet away.
UST capitalized on their main weapon every year, the choreography. They just pulled out its oriental-themed routine with their flexibility and synchronization. Gawi ranked third in dance and tosses based on the judges’ score.
From a 44-point deduction last year, SDT trimmed it down to only four points, finishing with 625 points behind the back-to-back champions and second place NU and UP.
UST ended their performance with umbrellas painted to create a face of a tiger, covering the letters U-S-T which was formed by the boys.
However, despite a well-executed routine, UST could not exceed the difficulty of stunts, tosses and pyramids of NU and UP. They lacked some death-defying stunts that may constitute for higher points.
UST also managed to secure the second place in the group stunts with 251 points.
But UST-SDT has sent a statement to everyone, they are back and still have a chance to revive their lost glory.
[nextpage title=”Equality, not a theme, but a vision”]
Equality, not a theme, but a vision
By: Bea Quintos
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Cheerdance is certainly one sport where the University of the Philippines is not the underdog. The UP Pep Squad came into the UAAP Season 77 Cheerdance Competition gunning for nothing less than the top-prize as they were looking to add to their league-record of 8 championships.
Having dyed their hair blonde in Season 74 and then coming out the following year with shaved heads, the Diliman-based contingent known for surprises pulled out all the stops for this year’s competiton. Under the banner of Equality, the team known as the Pep Squad ng Bayan surprised again as they decidedly turned their theme into an advocacy.
“Kasarian, Lahi, Kulay, Antas ng Buhay—lahat pantay-pantay! Hey! Ba-A-Ha-A-Ga-Ha-A-Ra!” was the cheer chanted by the squad’s legions of supporters present at the Big Dome; while #TeamUPforEquality #EqualiTeam #Bahaghari were among the many social media permutations of the theme chosen by the group.
The UP Pep Squad started their routine on a strong note as they executed complex stunts and performed various somersaults, flips, and cartwheels to the delight of the crowd. With cornrows in their red hair and clad in form-ftting black and maroon costumes, the squad complemented their stunts’ high-level of difficulty with energetic dance moves set to a mix of OPM, Daft Punk and Beyonce. As if to further illustrate their commitment to their vision of equality, the team chose to play the song “Run the World (Girls)” promptly before setting up their pyramids with the female members of the team carrying their male counterparts.
Equality—not a theme, but a vision.
The squad smoothly transitioned between the elements of cheer and dance and maintained high levels of energy all through-out their performance. Two notable lapses occurred in the stunts, however, effectively denying the UP Pep Squad an otherwise perfect run of their routine in this season’s Cheerdance Competition.
The UP Pep Squad signed off on the UAAP Season 77 Cheerdance Competition with an homage to the UP Oblation
The Diliman-based squad came in at second place garnering 658 points over-all. Only the National University scored higher than the the UP Pep Squad with 677.5 points.
Elsewhere in the stadium UP’s rainbow flag for equality was being passed around by the supporters of the different schools.
[nextpage title=”Flawless: NU Pep Squad #barktoback”]
Flawless: NU Pep Squad #barktoback
By: Matthew Gana
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Boy, have they come a long way.
UAAP Season 76 Cheerdance champs National University Pep Squad are, again, on top of the world. NU flashed its title-winning swagger with a confident, American Indian-inspired performance at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, earning 677 points en route to a hard-fought second consecutive championship.
The defending champs were the last to perform in front of a 22,000-strong crowd, but placed themselves in pole position for a 1st-place finish after a rousing, almost flawless performance. Their error-free routine was further burnished by the impressive difficulty of their stunts, which largely showcased the gravity-defying strength of the NU Pep Squad lifters.
NU’s dance routine, highlighted by the donning of traditional Indian headdresses, was on the short side, especially compared to rivals and traditional powerhouses UP and UST, but the execution and synchronization of the choreography was flawless.
They may not have finished with the loudest bang, they may not have had the gaudiest props, but at the end of the day the championship was theirs. Their spotless performance shows how far you can go with some well-timed execution.
NU fans will indeed be savouring their “bark-to-back” Cheerdance win, and, more importantly, the establishment of what looks to be a long reign of success in the competition. Let’s see if NU can make it three in a row next year. Congrats and see you next year, National U.
[nextpage title=”Awarding Ceremony”]
After the conclusion of the UAAP Cheerdance Competition, a ceremony was held to award the top 3 cheer squads and group stunt teams for this season.
Group Stunt Competition
Congratulations to the National U Pep Squad, UP Pep Squad, UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe, Adamson Pep Squad, FEU Cheering Squad, DLSU Animo Squad, UE Red Squad and Ateneo Blue Babble Battlalion for an amazing show!
*All photos by Zeke Alonzo and Dominic Lim