AIDED by a sports psychologist, NU has taken a new approach to training as it tries to recover from a huge nosedive after the four-time champions fell short of a podium place last year.
Coach Ghika Bernabe believes there is less pressure this time and co-captains Trexei Marei Delos Santos and Kevin Lacbonf say the National University PEP Squad is feeling better and more confident heading to the UAAP Cheerdance Competition 2018 on Saturday at MOA Arena in Pasay City.
“The past years pressured kami to defend the title ang hirap magchampion tapos mag back to back, three-peat hanggang sa mag four-peat every,” Bernabe said of the squad, raring to earn a medal after finishing joint fourth.
“This time na nawala kami sa top three, siguro pressured pa rin kami yun kasi yung way para gumalaw yung team pero in a good way. Mas mahirap yung nasa top three iba yung pressure than doon sa wala ka sa podium finish pero gusto ng tao na makabalik ka doon sa top. So yun yung pressure sa amin and actually it’s a challenge for us na bumalik sa top from nothing.”
Although they won four straight title, Bernabe says the cheerdancers still get bothered by jeering fans and it cost them last year.
NU believes sports psychology has been a big help for the performers.
The team started from the basics performing every halftime show in UAAP Season 81 basketball tournament to feel the vibe at the big venues, and coaches also brought spectators during practices to cheer and boo.
“Sometimes hindi namin sila chinicheer or binuboost, minsan may training kami na we pretend na kami yung audience ng kalaban so hindi bago sa amin kung merong magboo sa kanila para maiwasan nila yung distraction para alam nila kung paano ihahandle yung mga ganoong scenario,” Bernabe shared.
“Meron silang sports psychologist ngayon yun kasi yung skills nakikita ng coaches kung ano yung strengths ng bata ano yung weaknesses niya. Pero pagdating doon sa iniisip ng bata yung nararamdaman ng bata ang hirap pasukin kumbaga hindi yun yung line namin so we hired kung sino yung professional and alam kung anong gagawin sa mga ganoong scenario.”
Delos Santos declared the team ready for the performance.
“Ngayong taon niready nila kami, pinagperform nila kami ng halftime, sinanay sa amin nila coach yung practicing kami sa lahat ng maraming tao na magperform para masanay kami kasi one factor kung bakit ka kinakabahan is the people na nanonood sayo,” said Delos Santos, a former member of NU’s Group stunts team who will be making a debut in the main competition. “I think yun yung one thing na nakatulong sa amin para magperform ng ready this year.”
Lacbong, who was part of last year’s setback, agreed.
“Lahat inimprove namin spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically. Yung pagkatalo last year yun yung nagsilbing daan para tumibay kami this year,” he said.
“Goal namin is makuha yung korona ulit, maibalik namin dito sa school namin. Expectations namin ma-hit namin yung routine namin and ma-hit namin yung expectations ng bawat isa most especially sa sarili namin, the coaches, the managers NU community and gusto po talaga namin magchampion this year.”