NU Pep Squad coach Ghicka Bernabe retires after 7th UAAP Cheerdance title
MANILA, Philippines—Ghicka Bernabe, the architect behind the National University Pep Squad’s rapid rise to success, is leaving her post as coach.
Bernabe announced her retirement on Saturday after steering NU to its seventh championship in the UAAP Cheerdance Competition at Mall of Asia Arena.
“Siguro wala nang mas ibang emosyon ako na mailalabas ngayon kundi happiness kasi since ito yung last season ko and I’ve been working with the NU Pep Squad for 12 years, and with the 12 years, nine seasons out of nine seasons, nakakuha tayo ng seven championships and may two podium finishes tayo,” Bernabe said.
(I guess there’s no other feeling for me right now other than happiness since this is my last season and I’ve been working with the NU Pep Squad for 12 years and with the 12 years, we were able to claim seven championships and two podium finishes).
“Siguro yung happiness ko ngayon mas malaki pa sa arena. Ganun siya. Kasi parang at least kung last season ko man, hindi ko nabigo ang bawat supporters and lahat ng umaasa sa NU Pep Squad na kayang kaya ibalik ang trophy na ito sa NU Pep Squad,” she added.
(I feel like my happiness is bigger than this arena because I know that if this is really my last season, I did not let the supporters of NU Pep Squad down that we can easily bring the title back to us.)
When asked how she wants her legacy to be remembered, Bernabe turned emotional.
“Maybe I’m not the right person to tell what legacy I would leave. Maybe with my members and coaches, they are the ones who can tell what coach Ghicka left behind,” she said while tearing up.
“But if I am to be asked, my whole stay in NU is memorable and very important. For me, it’s emotional because I’m happy for the team but technically it’s my last day,” she added.
Bernabe began handling NU in 2010 after competing for the Far Eastern University Cheering Squad from 2005-2009.
Coaching, however, wasn’t really part of her initial plans.
“Before, I didn’t consider myself as someone who would work as a coach. I just didn’t see it but when I saw the improvement and our capability of being champions, I saw it. I’m grateful to the management that trusted me.”
NU Pep Squad team captain Daniela Silos described Bernabe as a “life coach.”
“Coach is not just a team coach but she’s also a life coach. There are times when our training is two hours while her sermon is also two hours because she gives so many examples and experiences that always leave marks in our hearts and minds,” Silos said.