Ghicka Bernabe on NU Pep Squad victory in wake of UP boycott: 'UAAP is still UAAP'
NU coach Ghicka Bernabe with team manager Jun Gaw. Jaime Campos

NATIONAL University coach Ghicka Bernabe hesitated to talk about the University of the Philippines' boycott of the 2016 UAAP Cheerdance Competition after the NU Pep Squad romped to a fourth successive title on Sunday.

UP, an eight-time Cheerdance champion and NU's perennial rival for the title, chose not to compete this year, saying issues it raised over NU's victory last year 'weren't properly addressed' by organizers.

In the din of the NU victory, Bernabe had little to say about the UP boycott other than say officials made what they felt was the 'best' decision for the Diliman-based pep squad.

"Its their choice and we can't say anything about it," she said. "I know, as a coach, I know their coach did the best for their team. Napagusapan naman nila mabuti yun before sila mag-decide."

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Without UP, the NU Pep Squad was hardly challenged. Its 711 points was unreachable for Far Eastern surprise runner-up University (658.5) and third placer Adamson (655).

But Bernabe, a former FEU Cheering Squad member, said that doesn't take the luster away from NU's four-peat romp.

"Pero UAAP is still UAAP, meron pa ring willing mag-perform nang maganda, willing mag-perform nang patas," she said. "Im thankful sa other six teams na nag-upgrade din."

NU owner and team patron Hans Sy said said he was elated by the pep squad's feat but kept mum on the bonus awaiting the cheerleaders.

Sy told management will have to talk about what incentive to give the team.

"We will talk about it," he said. "The performance was electrifying, it was very good. They deserved it because they worked hard for it."

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