Unlimited support from patrons propels NU Pep Squad back to top
National University had won the UAAP Cheerdance Competition title for four straight years from 2013 to 2016 that when the title suddenly disappeared from its grasp in 2017, it bore a hole that took a year to be filled back.
But in just a year, NU Pep Squad was finally able to return to the top and team captain Kevin Lacbong said it was the product of the unwavering support their coaches and management gave them.
Lacbong said the higher-ups in the team made sure to tend to their every need and it was up to them to return the favor and ultimately win the prize that has left them in 2017.
“They’ve supported us all the way through, they made sure that our everyday needs were met, they made sure we were eating right, they housed us in a condominium and not a lot of athletes are given that privilege,” said Lacbong in Filipino Saturday at Mall of Asia Arena.
“Whatever skill we had, they made sure that we will improve on that.”
Lacbong, a fourth year student in NU’s Bachelor of Physical Education, Sports and Wellness Management program, even said that they can confidently say that the program has grown to be the best in the country.
“I can say that this is the best team in the Philippines, and probably in Asia because this is such a strong team,” said Lacbong, who is also a Dean’s Lister in NU.
Team Manager Mark Gaw said half the team is comprised of Dean’s Listers in their respective majors.
Head coach Ghicka Bernabe added that they’re focusing on the team not just in the level of the players’ physical prowess but also in their capabilities in the classroom.
“We always monitor their grades, we have academic coaches, we have tutors for them and we don’t tolerate bad grades,” said Bernabe in Filipino. “It’s a competition to the team they make sure their grades are high and we really appreciate that they’re putting a priority on their studies.”
Gaw said that their first focus in helping the players is the student part of the “student-athlete.”
“Our emphasis on an NU student-athlete is the student part and we make sure to give them time off from training to ponder on things and of course we make sure that they have the resources,” said Gaw.
Lacbong added that even though they’ve received great support from their coaches and the team’s management, they made sure to stay grounded and continue improving.
“The coaches taught us that our feet should always be on the ground and that we should always be eager in improving our skills,” said Lacbong.