FEU coach lauds team for ‘keeping up’ with NU after close second finish in UAAP Cheerdance
MANILA, Philippines — Far Eastern University (FEU) Cheering Squad may have fallen short by four points to the National University (NU) Pep Squad but coach Randell San Gregorio was proud of his team for keeping up to the standards set by the seven-time champion in the UAAP Cheerdance Competition.
FEU Cheering Squad, the sixth performer, got the crowd going with their clean routine, grooving to the music of legendary Filipino rapper Francis Magalona. But after they performed, the NU Pep Squad stole the show with a ‘cheer-obics’ performance, energizing the 18,029 fans on Saturday at Mall of Asia Arena to dethrone the former and reclaim the title.
FEU garnered a total of 719 points just behind NU’s 723 points. San Gregorio commended his team for coming through despite their injuries and struggles due to the compressed schedule.
“Not bad because we’re still the first runner-up and we’re still on the podium. I think this is our worst preparation time because we had a lot of struggles, injuries left and right, and issues. It was heavy for us. It’s not meant for us to defend the title,” said San Gregorio in Filipino. “We may not be smiling upon receiving the second place trophy earlier because we really wanted to win back-to-back but at least we still made it to the podium.”
“I salute my members. They are the center of this team. Like what I always tell them, you can compete without a coach but a coach can never compete without a team,” he added.
Instead of taking the loss as a heartbreaker, San Gregorio is sticking to the positives that they are already coming close to NU’s dominant program, which won seven of the last nine tournaments.
“[We lost by] four points but NU had a 14-point deduction, while we had six so if you sum it up they are still ahead. It’s okay for us. At least we can go toe-to-toe with them because in the past years that they completed a routine, it’s over. At least now we’re keeping up with them. That’s the goal ever since to have a fighting chance against them. At least we opened a window.”
Before winning the crown in Season 84 last May, FEU was also the bridesmaid to NU in the 2018 and 2019 editions but the former was far behind the scores of the Ghicka Bernabe-coached squad.
San Gregorio added he also enjoyed performing before NU as both squads treated the fans with back-to-back stunning and energizing performances.
“This is my dream to perform back-to-back with NU. You can compare it quickly. It could have been a better match-up if both teams had perfect routines. But for me, I prefer performing next or before podium contenders because it adds excitement and competition,” he said.
Unlike last season when he revealed his theme right after winning the title, San Gregorio has yet to come up with a concept yet as they will rest first before planning their next move in their bid to reclaim the title next year.
“We’ll keep pushing. Back to the drawing board so hopefully, we can win again next year,” said San Gregorio. “To be honest it’s really hard to compete twice in one year. If you can notice, nobody had a perfect run. Half of our team were burned out from the bubble, while the other half had to double time in catching up to the skill level and conditioning of the holdovers.”
“Our main concern now. Almost half of my members, less than 10, will graduate. Our holdovers are the new performers this season and the cheerleaders from team b. We hope to recruit the right people we need for next season,” he added.