THE FIRST runner-up finish in the UAAP Season 80 Cheerdance Competition tasted so sweet for University of Santo Tomas Salinggawi Dance Troupe coach Mark Anthony Chaiwalla.
The España-based squad made a return to the podium after missing out on the top three in last year’s competition, but the silver medal glittered like gold for the rookie Gawi coach.
In front of 19,851 fans at the MOA Arena on Saturday, the former Gawi dancer-turned-coach Chaiwalla felt like he redeemed himself from four years ago, when Gawi finished seventh with an Egyptian inspired routine but no human pyramid was formed.
“Ako kasi I’ve been through the highest and lowest of Gawi, last year ko lowest place ng Gawi,” he said.
Despite his personal goal, Chaiwalla did not put pressure on his wards.
“Syempre goal namin mag-podium pero parang throughout the days, wish ko na lang ay maging ligtas lahat ng bata, maging masaya lang sila sa performance nila that’s more than enough for me,” he said.
“What matters is ibigay (nila ang) lahat, leave no regrets on the floor and mag enjoy lang kayo, the place is more than enough to be thankful,” he added.
Meanwhile, UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe still holds the longest winning streak in the competition with five after Adamson University Pep Squad dethroned former four-time champion National University Pep Squad.
On a lighter note, Chaiwalla, who's a nurse by profession, turned heads online as he was tagged the most handsome coach in the competition. As of posting time, this tweet has reached nearly 10,000 likes and 2,000 retweets.