IT feels like the first time for the NU PEP Squad after reclaiming its lost glory and ruling the UAAP Cheerdance Competition 2018 on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The NU PEP Squad rose from the grave from last year’s fourth place finish with a flawless and jaw-dropping Coco-inspired routine to bring back the championship to Jhocson Street.
And for head coach Ghicka Bernabe, it felt like their first championship.
“Parang ito yung first time championship namin para kaming nasa cloud nine,” said Bernabe after the school won its fifth title in six years.
After failing to achieve its fifth straight championship last year, revenge was not in the minds of the NU PEP Squad.
“Actually sa team di namin ginagamit yung frustration kasi for us, yung word na frustration sometimes may galit yan, may gigil yan na gawin mo,” Bernabe expressed. “Siguro sa amin, determination and eagerness para mabuo lahat ng stunts and pyramids namin. Sabi nga nila yung performance kanina, gutom na gutom, uhaw na uhaw gustong bumawi.”
They used that setback as a huge lesson to heal their wounds from a heartbreak.
“Last year’s experience was very memorable, siguro bago kami nag aral ng bagong stunts, pyramids and tosses, lahat ng skills na yun,” the NU coach shared. “Ang una naming inaral after that scenario, how to move on and yung acceptance kasi mas mahirap gumawa ng bagong routine, mas mahirap ibahin yung mindset kung in denial kami tapos may questions kung bakit kami natalo. tapos magda-doubt kami sa kakayahan ng coaches and members.”
“For how many months before nag conceptualize ng routine together with coaches siguro hineal muna namin mga sarili namin mentally and emotionally kasi alam kong physically kaya namin silang i-prepare. No doubt sa skills yung NU pep squad whether senior member or new member,” she added.
Learning their lesson from the heartbreak, Bernabe said that the team was too eager not to experience the same setback again.
“Ayaw na namin maramdaman nangyari last year, it’s really painful, but right now since nandito na kami ulit ngayon, we’ll do better and better and better,” she said. “Kasi wala namang the best sa NU pep squad, we never use the best, we never use 'I', we always use 'we,' and there’s always a room for improvement para hindi kami nalilimitahan kung ano lang ang kaya namin.“
And the NU PEP Squad accomplished it flawlessly and in entertaining fashion winning this year’s tournament with 711 points with no deductions, 55.5 points ahead of silver medalist FEU Cheering Squad.
“That’s the main goal, hindi kami magcommit ng any deduction kasi malaking bagay. sometimes yung one point malaki yung nagagawa nun eh sa buong routine,” she said. “For us, bago namin hilingin na mag-champion kami ulit, we prayed for a clean, safe, and flawless routine. after ng routine na to masaya na ako, kahit di ko na marinig yung awarding, after that performance, sobrang minahal ko yung team ngayon.”
After proving that they can defend the title year after year and showing that they can rise from a heartbreak, NU team captain Kevin Lacbong, who couldn’t contain his happiness, said that they proved that they are the best team not just in the country but also in Asia.
“Itong team na to, the best in the Philippines, di lang sa Philippines para sa Asia na rin. Sobrang lakas ng team na ‘to, yung teammates ko ang gagaling tapos nahasa ng coaches,” the graduating cheerleader said. “Akala mo magaling ka pa sila coach na dapat nasa paa lang di pwedeng lumutang dapat eagerness maka achieve pa ng skills tapos dapat humble ka pag nakuha.”