Despite flaws, NU Pep Squad banked on difficulty to get three-peat
Much of the record crowd at Mall of Asia Arena celebrated as National University Pep Squad tumbled, then tumbled again.
It clearly wasn’t a flawless routine but it was enough for the defending champion to win its third UAAP Cheerdance Competition title in a row Saturday in front of 25,388 screaming fans.
“Somehow, I was bothered by the mistakes we made but I suddenly remembered that of all he universities, we were the only one who made four pyramids and we knew that even if we made a mistake and had a minor or major flaw, we had the highest level of difficulty in terms of our stunts,” NU Pep Squad coach Ghicka Bernabe told reporters.
“It felt like this was our first championship because we feel very challenged. We made mistakes but it showed that maybe our skills didn’t let other teams catch us,” said Bernabe, who has been a major part of NU’s rise in the midseason spectacle.
Bernabe felt her team would be crowned champions anew the moment University of Santo Tomas’ Salinggawi Dance Troupe were announced as the 1st runner-up.
“To be honest, of course, I had the feeling that it was already us because we didn’t play safe and we took the big risks,” she admitted.
NU’s team captain Claire Cristobal was part of the pyramid that fell apart early in the performance.
But she, too, didn’t show any signs of weakness that would’ve rubbed off on her teammates.
“As what our coaches have been reminding us, we can’t give up in the middle of the fight and we must finish what we started,” Cristobal said. “As a performer, you should know that you can still bounce back when you commit a mistake.”
“We also know that we’re the ones who have control over our routine and not them (other schools).”
Bernabe also revealed that her team had to undergo a major change just a month before the competition.
NU had initially planned on going with an Africa-inspired theme before learning that UST had the same idea.
“A month ago we changed our theme and it turned out well because the crowd liked it and it brought us to a three-peat,” Bernabe said.
NU became just the third school to win three consecutive Cheerdance titles after UST and UP, which was visibly stunned by winding up as the 2nd runner-up this year.
“This championship is very gratifying for us because it puts us in a position where only few universities have been to as a three-peat champion and considering where we came from,” Bernabe said.
Get the hottest sports news straight into your inbox
For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.