NU Pep Squad cements ‘L3GACY’
It certainly wasn’t the easiest of title defense as the National University Pep Squad faced a tough crowd that celebrated its every miscue.
Any faint-hearted cheerdancer could have buckled under pressure, but this NU crew just kept going to complete one of the field’s toughest routines on the way to capturing its third straight UAAP Cheerdance championship.
“I was part of the group that had a flaw [in a pyramid sequence],” admitted NU team captain Claire Cristobal.
“But coach kept reminding us even in practice that we can’t give up, that we still have to do something next. That encouragement helped. So when it happened during our performance, we just remembered what our coach said. We kept the energy.”
And in doing so, they fulfilled their “L3GACY” battle cry, a play on the word “legacy” and their goal of a “three-peat” in the event.
NU got the expected penalties for their errors—a total of six—but the Bulldogs just pulled ahead in virtually every category for a league-best 668 points.
“Honestly, we wondered what would happen in the judging,” said NU coach Ghicka Bernabe after her squad celebrated in front of a record crowd of 25,388 yesterday at Mall of Asia Arena.
“Our members are known to show flawless routines. So when we made a mistake, we knew we have more in store. Not all universities risked to have four pyramids. We also made sure to hit No. 1 in every segment.”
NU did almost just that as it topped the tumbling (91.5 points), stunts (70.5), tosses (84) and pyramids (88) while placing second in dance (340).
A story in itself was how stunned the favored University of the Philippines Pep Squad looked after the hosts announced that it wound up third place.
The UP Pep Squad executed a clean number—getting zero penalty in fact—but the team ranked only fifth in tumbling and tosses that hurt its total output of 610.5 points.
Another crowd favorite, the University of Santo Tomas Salinggawi Dance Troupe wound up second with a total of 651.5 points.
Despite what some perceived an an upset loss, UP maintained that it is proud of its number that showcased a heart-shaped pyramid as a finale to its utak at puso (mind and heart) theme.
“I was really, really shocked,” admitted UP Pep Squad captain Cam Lagmay as some of her teammates cried during the awarding ceremony.
“Right after we finished our routine, I already knew we will be number one. That’s why it took us so long to react when the announcement of winners happened.” With a report from Jun Veloira
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.