THE 2013 UAAP season should be the best ever for National University in decades.
So far, the Hans Sy-owned academe has two championships—one in volleyball and another in cheerdance.
NU is looking forward to the biggest catch: The coveted UAAP men’s basketball title, where the top-seeded Bulldogs have the twice-to-beat edge against University of Santo Tomas in their Final Four showdown. La Salle and FEU will battle in the other half of the Final Four, with the Archers owning the twice-to-beat edge.
“We’re making headway,” said NU athletic director Junel Baculi, who coaches Globalport in the PBA.
“Nobody used to pay much attention to us before, but now the Bulldogs are starting to bark and bite; the opponents are advised to take their anti-rabies shots,” said Junel. NU will be joining the D-League next month, carrying the colors of BDO, a banking network owned by Hans’ father Henry Sy.
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“Is the Henry Sy group getting ready to move up to the PBA?” The Inquirer asked Junel.
“Not in the near future,” he said. “Joining the PBA is not among our short term plans, or even our medium range plans. Maybe in the distant future, we might consider.”
“We joined the D-League to keep our collegiate players in shape and to prepare them for the next season.”
According to Junel, their focus next year will still be on the UAAP.
“We want to develop our athletes in other sports,” he said. “We plan to form a competitive team in swimming and in track and field.”
“Of course we aim to continue to excel in volleyball and cheerdance , where we reaped the fruits of our hard work this season.
“Our cheerdance coach Chicka Bernabe, who led the team to a modest 6th place in 2011, then to third last year, is confident that her pep squad is ready for international competition. Chicka said winning the UAAP cheerdance title has in turn given her squad the confidence and momentum to compete in a world event.”
Junel said all the members of the NU pep squad are gymnasts.
“They worked very hard for that championship, practicing their routine a minimum of four hours a day, late into the night.”
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With cheerdance patron Pocholo Chumsim giving the team the OK to participate in the 7th World Cheerleading Championship, the group is indeed eager to prove that it is world class. The competition is set on Nov. 23 and 24 in Bangkok, Thailand.
“If you think their star Claire Cristobal is awesome, let me tell you this: they have more cheerdancers in the team just as talented and skillful as she is,” said PTV 4’s Snow Badua, who documented the preparations of the team for the UAAP competition.
Claire, said to be more of a contortionist than a cheerdancer, was discovered in the Palarong Pambansa. The accountancy student said she was only the third choice for her role in the team, after the first two begged off for one reason or another.
The NU Pep Squad also bagged the national cheerdance championship last March, where all schools participated, according to Junel, except University of the Philippines.