IT’S that time of the year again when basketball action briefly gives way to the highly-awaited UAAP Cheerdance Competition.
This year, National University will be going for a third straight championship while seven other teams try to play the spoilers’ role amid a festive atmosphere at the Mall of Asia Arena on Saturday.
University of Santo Tomas and University of the Philippines are the winningest teams with eight titles each in the 21-year history of the cheerdance competition, but NU has established itself as the team to beat this year.
Let's take a look at the competition in this eight-part series:
National University Pep Squad
Defending the title is harder than getting a first championship. That was what NU coach Ghicka Bernabe realized after the Bulldogs' hard-won title repeat last year.
Bernabe now figures completing a hat-trick of titles will be a far more difficult task, especially with the highly decorated squad now relying on a rookie-laden lineup.
“Mas mahirap mag-defend ng title kesa kunin ang first title,” Bernabe told Spin.ph. “Lalo pa ngayon na half ng team baguhan tapos three-peat pa ang gusto namin.”
Although she’s aware of the pressure on their shoulders, the 27-year old NU Pep Squad coach vowed to top the team's best performances in recent years.
“Lagi naman nandyan ‘yung pressure,” she said.
From their Indian-inspired, stunt-filled routine which NU delivered almost flawlessly last year aon the way to garnering 677.5 points, Bernabe said fans can expect a whole new act from the champions.
“(Kung) bigay todo ‘yung last year, buwis buhay naman ngayon,” she said with a laugh. “Maraming bago, now pa lang talaga nila makikita.”
With all eyes set on them, Bernabe expects nothing less than perfection from her young squad.
“(Expected ko na) ma-perfect (namin) ‘yung routine, more supporters and syempre mag three-peat,” she said.
The former Far Eastern University pep squad member said she expects tough opposition as usual.
“’Di ko masabi sa ngayon (kung sino ang matinding kalaban),” she said. “Kasi alam ko lahat nag-improve and all are prepared.”