NU Pep Squad goes three-peat in UAAP Cheerdance; UP finishes third

NU bagged their three-consecutive championship titles in the UAAP Cheerdance competition. Judges gave them 688 points. The National University Pep Squad completed a grand slam conquest in front of a record 25, 388 people in attendance during the 2015 UAAP Cheerdance Competition (CDC) held at the SM Mall of Asia Arena, Saturday.

by John Remil Isaga

NU bagged their three-consecutive championship titles in the UAAP Cheerdance competition. Judges gave them 688 points.
NU bagged their three-consecutive championship titles in the UAAP Cheerdance competition. Judges gave them 688 points.

NU bagged their three-consecutive championship titles in the UAAP Cheerdance competition. Judges gave them 688 points.

The National University Pep Squad completed a grand slam conquest in front of a record 25, 388 people in attendance during the 2015 UAAP Cheerdance Competition (CDC) held at the SM Mall of Asia Arena, Saturday.

While their caveman-themed performance was marred with a glaring error in one of their pyramid formations, the squad finished strong with a dazzling display of fast-paced acrobatic mastery to top the competition with 668 points.

Meanwhile, the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Salinggawi Dance Troupe and University of the Philippines (UP) Pep Squad maintained their podium finishes from last year.

The UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe finished second to the NU Pep Squad with 651.5 points.
The UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe finished second to the NU Pep Squad with 651.5 points.

UST improved from their third place finish last year, grabbing the first runner-up plum this time with 651.5 points.

The crowd favorite UP Pep Squad, meanwhile, slipped down to second runner-up, from a bridesmaid finish last year, with 610.5 points.

Both UST and UP tallied their 20th podium finish and are still tied for the most podium finishes in UAAP Cheerdance history.

An emotional NU head coach Ghicka Bernabe thanked all who supported her and the pep squad, including the school management and her fellow coaches.

Bernabe, now on her fourth year as mentor of the Sampaloc-based cheerdancers, admitted that she started worrying about the judgment of her squad when NU started committing errors. However, she remained confident, assuring her performers and students that the four pyramids they executed were outstanding enough.

The UP Pep Squad placed third in this year's UAAP Cheerdance competition with 610.5 points.
The UP Pep Squad placed third in this year’s UAAP Cheerdance competition with 610.5 points.

Nung nagkamali yung performers ko sa isang pyramid, ang pumasok sa isip ko, ‘Teka lang, apat na pyramid yung nilaban ko eh. Not all the universities [ay] naglabas at nag-risk ng apat na mahirap na pyramid. So hindi kami naging worried na mabilis na maaagaw sa amin ‘yung championship na ‘to (When my performers missed a perfect pyramid, I thought about the four stunts we prepared. Not everyone risked to perform the same number and difficulty. We were not worried that the championship will be taken from us),’” stressed Bernabe.

Bernabe, an alumnus of the Far Eastern University (FEU) Cheering Squad, shared their biggest threat was themselves. “Last year, sino ba yung nag-champion?” she asked her dancers. “Sabi ko, ‘Tayo, ‘di ba (We won the championship last year, right)?”

She added, “Yung sarili nating standards ang tatalunin natin, walang iba. Bakit mo tatalunin yung mas mababa sa’yo (We should beat our own standards, and none else. Why would you defeat someone worse)?”

NU team manager Jun Gaw applauded the cheerdancers for raising the degree of difficulty of their gravity-defying stunts and breathtaking pyramids, despite having fifteen rookies on the team.

The NU Pep Squad now has three podium finishes, all of which are gold. They are also the third school to record a three-peat in the competition, after perennial contenders UP and UST.

NU also finished first runner-up at the Group Stunts Competition, with UST nabbing the gold and FEU finishing second runner-up.

Consolations for the UP Pep Squad were the best toss and best pyramid awards.

The FEU Cheering Squad placed fourth with 583.5 points, University of the East Pep Squad finished fifth with 583 points, De La Salle University Animo Squad was at sixth place with 538.5, Adamson University Pep Squad landed in seventh place with 513.5 points, and Ateneo de Manila University Blue Babble Battalion at eighth with 412 points.

NU dethrones UP; bags 1st cheerdance crown

The National University notched a historic first-ever UAAP Cheerdance Competition championship title as they bested three-peat defending champion University of the Philippines, in front of 20, 830 spectators, Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

by Anton Onato

Photos by Marlon Nombrado and Luis Adrian Hidalgo

UPDATED Sept. 16, 11:46 p.m.

The National University notched a historic first-ever UAAP Cheerdance Competition championship title as they bested three-peat defending champion University of the Philippines, in front of 20, 830 spectators, Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

NU Pep Squad tallied 696.5 points with their Sahara-themed routine, while UP Pep Squad’s party-themed routine fell behind with 620.5 points. De La Salle University finished third with their Army-themed routine, garnering 596.5 points.

The Bulldogs, who improved to a third place finish last year from a measly sixth place performance in 2011, dominated and topped almost all the  technical departments (tumbling, stunts, tosses, and pyramids). They placed second in dance behind UP Pep Squad.

“Dun talaga kami nagfocus sa dance kasi dun kami mahina last year. However, magaling talaga ang UP sa sayaw. Hands down ng sobra (We really focused on dance because that’s our weakness last year. UP is really good in dancing. Hands down,” said Adrian Alban, NU’s team captain.

Alban also thanked the UP crowd who cheered for their victory during the event.

“Kahit na hindi kami taga UP, naramdaman pa din namin ‘yung pagmamahal ninyo at pagsuporta sa amin. Alam kong competition ‘to pero pinakita ninyo na marunong kayong umappreciate ng ibang school (Even though we’re not from UP, we still felt your love and support for us. I know this is a competition, but you showed us that you know how to appreciate other schools),” said Alban.

Despite four major falls in their routine, the UP Pep Squad remained positive that they will pull off another podium finish. “Iba kasi ‘yung degree of difficulty ng mga stunts namin (Our stunts are on a different degree of difficulty),” said captain Lian Melegrito.

Meanwhile, NU also topped the Group Stunt competition while Far Eastern University and University of Santo Tomas finished second and third, respectively. La Salle’s Ana De Leon was named this year’s Samsung Stunner.

The top three teams received P340,000, P200,000 and P140,000 respectively. Rounding up the competition were last year’s runner-up FEU, Adamson University, University of the East, UST and Ateneo de Manila University finishing fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth place.

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