by Yski Rualo
The University of the Philippines Pep Squad “made eight happen” as they scored their eighth title and third consecutive win with a freedom-inspired routine at the 2012 UAAP Cheer dance Competition, Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The shaven-headed Pep Squad now ties with UST for having the most number of CDC championships. The championship trophy also marks UP’s fifth title in six years.
Despite a major fall during the finale, the routine’s creativity, technicality, and level of difficulty carried the UP Pep Squad all the way to the top spot.
“Siyempre nakaka-dishearten ‘yung fall pero I think we remained strong. Parang kumapit lang kami sa idea na kaya naming manalo [dahil sa] difficulty [ng] stunts,” said former co-captain Laurence Bautista.
For the first time in the history of the UAAP CDC, the judges ranked the squads from first to eighth instead of giving them numerical scores.
The Far Eastern University Cheering Squad attained its tenth consecutive top three finish as it placed second. Ranking third is the host team, the National University Pep Squad, surprising the audience with its first top three finish.
For the second consecutive year, eight-time champion University of Santo Tomas Salinggawi Dance Troupe failed to make it into the top three.
In front of a record crowd of 19,509, the UP Pep Squad went three-for-three in Cheer dance festivities for the second straight year – also retaining the Group Stunts crown and the Samsung UAAP Stunner award.
Going back-to-back since the category was introduced in the 2011 UAAP Cheer dance Competition, UP bested five other teams to bag the Group Stunts title. FEU and NU placed as the first runner-up and second runner-up, respectively.
Nicolette Erika Ambulo, meanwhile, bested two other finalists from UST and DLSU for the special UAAP Cheerdance Stunner Award.
Coach Lalaine Pereña of the UP Pep Squad dubbed this past year as their “most difficult year” and “most difficult time spent preparing for a competition”.
“In achieving honor and excellence, all of us are given freedom to be able to serve the University and sacrifice in any way we can para mapakita namin kung paano kami ka-proud at ka-privileged to be a UP student or a UP professor,” said Coach Pereña.
Contrary to initial reports, Coach Pereña clarified that although their original plan was to donate their hair to cancer patients, they were unable to do so because their hair was deemed too short to qualify for donating.