FEU Cheering Squad takes shot at historic back-to-back titles in one year
MANILA, Philippines — The possibility of becoming the back-to-back UAAP Cheerdance Competition champion in the same year energizes the Far Eastern University Cheering Squad to execute another show-stopping performance on Saturday at Mall of Asia Arena.
But FEU Cheering Squad coach Randell San Gregorio admitted that competing twice with just a few months of training in between is a daunting task, especially coming in as defending champions of Season 84 last May.
“It’s very hard for us because you will go through a burnout phase. From someone who has competed in several local and international competitions, the UAAP has a different level of pressure. After the bubble, we needed to start preparing again,” said San Gregorio in Filipino.
“But at the same time, as defending champions, we also have an opportunity to make history because if we win again, we win two in a row in one year. That will never happen again.”
FEU is set to pay homage to the songs of legendary rapper Francis Magalona as performs sixth out of the eight schools.
“We’re holding onto the opportunity to win two in a row because we never had back-to-back wins. That possibility motivates us to give our all. But win or lose, we have to execute a beautiful routine for FEU,” said San Gregorio, who ended the school’s 13-year title drought after bringing home their third overall cheerdance championship.
Despite being limited to a three-minute performance and 15 performers without the presence of drums last May, the FEU Cheering Squad shone the brightest with a near-flawless performance that honored the band Queen and end a 13-year title drought.
San Gregorio admitted there are advantages and disadvantages to the league reverting to the pre-pandemic tournament format with a maximum of 25 performers and a 5-6 minute routine including the presence of drums before a full-capacity arena.
“We lost three cheerleaders from our previous team. Half of our team came from the pandemic so we started from zero because our recruits are not yet used to lifting and dancing a long routine. It’s 50:50 for us,” he said. “The bubble also gave us an advantage before because we had all the time in the world together under one roof.”
The FEU coach is raring to see his team perform and chase the title under the traditional UAAP Cheerdance rules.
“Compressing our routine in three minutes (last season) was stressful,” he said. “I’m just super excited because I’m a fan of the sport whether I watch or compete, the excitement is the same. The pressure is just different this time because it’s our first time to defend a title.”
“I just wish everyone the best performance possible and may the best teams win. Sana kami pa rin (I hope we still win),” he said. “We thanked the FEU supporters. We hope to continue to pray for us, as well as the seven other schools that we can all complete our routine without injuries so everyone will go home with smiles on their faces.”