EXPECT a very emotional performance from the Far Eastern University Tamaraw Pep Squad when the UAAP Cheerdance Championships unfolds on September 14 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Morayta-based squad found itself out of the Top 3 last year for the first time since 2002. Worse FEU Green Bisons coach Jacqueline Alota was upstaged by his former students.
“I really want to bring this team back to the podium. Masakit sa akin kasi first time kami ma-boot out sa top three since I became the coach of this team,” Alota said.
“Pero what really motivates me is the fact that I don’t want to suffer back-to-back losses at the hands of my former students,” she said.
Alota was referring to his former star flyers at FEU - Ghicka Bernabe and assistants Ernesto Ocampo, Karl Pabillona and Gabs Bajacan - who are now at the forefront of defending champions National University Bulldogs Cheer Squadron’s campaign.
“Mga former players ko ang coaching staff nila. And although I am proud to see them succeed, of course, gusto kong ipakita na lamang pa rin ang mentor sa mga student,” she said.
“Mga kasama ko sila dati at alam ko very creative ang mga 'yun, kasi nung dancers ko pa lang sila tumutulong na ang mga yun sa pag-design ng performance namin,” Alota revealed.
“Syempre, isa talaga ang NU sa favorites pero sinasabi ko sa team ko, kung nagpapakamatay ang NU (sa stunt nila), magpapakamatay rin kami this time,” she vowed.
The NU Pep Squad is undoubtedly still the team to beat having recorded an impressive 696.5-point score to become the runaway winner of last year’s UAAP cheerdance tilt.
Even veteran cheerdancing judge Paula Nunag believes NU, backed by the SM Group of Companies, will be the team to beat owing to the innovative and thrilling stunts that the Bulldogs performed last year.
“They had a very entertaining routine last year. It was very innovative. Hindi ako pwedeng mag-forecast kasi magja-judge ako pero the challenge now is for the other teams to match that this year,” Nunag said.
“And the pressure also for NU is to come up with a more exciting and interesting routine, a different twist to what they did last year. Yun ang aabangan ng audience,” she added.
However, perennial UAAP cheerdance champion Lala Perena, whose UP team was denied a four-peat by NU last year, is not yet ready to concede the trophy to the Bulldogs squadron.
“Wala akong tinitignang favorite this time, not even NU. Sa akin kasi lahat I consider a threat, kasi every year we are always surprised with any team, kasi anybody can just come up,” she said.
“Even UST can do a comeback,” added Perena.