NU pulls off 3-peat in UAAP Cheerdance

The National University took home its third straight title in the UAAP Cheerdance Competition on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena. Philstar.com/Emjae Villarey, file

MANILA, Philippines - It's not as flawless as before but the National U Pep Squad still dished out a solid overall performance to complete its dance to "HISTO3" in the UAAP Season 78 Cheerdance Competitions Saturday before a record crowd 25,388 at the MOA Arena.

Using a "caveman" theme to signify "a NU era," the NU Pep Squad skillfully showcased their skills and topped the competition in tumbling, stunts, tosses, and pyramids and placed second in dance to romp off with its third straight diadem with 668 points.

African-themed University of Santo Tomas Salinggawi Dance Troupe, making the most out of its dancing ability, took second place with 651.5 points while the University of the Philippines Pep Squad, with its "Utak-Puso" settled for third with 610.5.

FEU Cheering Squad finished fourth with 583.5 followed by UE Pep Squad (583), La Salle Animo Squad (538.5), Adamson Pep Squad (513.5) and Ateneo Blue Babble Battalion (412).
NU became only the third after UST SDT and UP Pep Squad to win a treble.

"Looking back, NU used to be call a 'water break' but after we won our first championship, people started looking forward to our performances. It was a blessing to get a first title, then a back-to-back. Now we made history and joined UST and UP (as the teams to win a three-peat),' said NU coach Ghicka Bernabe.

"Whatever UP and Salinggawi can do for their school, I was confident my team can do the same for NU. And now that we're three-peat champs, I believe my team will do its best to prevent other teams from taking this title away from us," she added.

Known for its clean executions, NU suffered a mishap in a pyramid formation early in their performance but instead of losing heart, the players went on with the rest of routine with more determination to do the succeeding without miscues. NU received a six-point deduction/penalties in the final tally.

"When we made a mistake in one pyramid, I told the students to just go on, we has a total of four difficult pyramids anyway. So we weren't quite worried that we'd lose the championship," said Bernabe.

"I'm part of the group that committed a flaw but following our coach reminders, we didn't give up in the middle of the performance. If you make a mistake, you can always do better and bounce back in the next sequence," said team captain Claire Cristobal.

NU's original theme was African but it was similar to the one UST intended to use, forcing Bernabe and her coaching staff to alter 70 percent of the team's routine one month before the competition.

UST SDT made a killing in the dance segment and did well in tumbling and pyramids to get the silver.

"We just maximized the strengths of the team," said coach Ramon Pagaduan.

UST SDT, meanwhile, beat NU Pep Squad for the Group Stunts plum. FEU Cheering Squad settled for third.

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