NU Pep Squad puts on amazing show
Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - September 16, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The National U Pep Squad ushered in a changing of the guard in the UAAP Cheer Dance Competition.

Completing its metamorphosis from a “lightweight” to a heavy, the Bulldogs pulled off an enthralling performance to win a breakthrough Samsung UAAP CDC crown before a jampacked crowd at Mall of Asia Arena yesterday.

Using an Arabian Nights theme with matching shaved heads and braids and “genie” lamps as props, the Bulldogs executed their routine cleanly and impressed the judges to romp off with their first-ever CDC title.

The Bulldogs logged 696.5 points to handily beat the field and break the stranglehold of the party-themed UP Pep Squad (620.5) whose bid for a “four-peat” was spoiled. La Salle Animo Squad, utilizing a military peg, took third place honors with 596.5 points.

“Gusto namin yung performance, yung routine, very precious, very unique and very strong. Plano talaga namin na mabilis ang pacing, from zero seconds to six minutes, dapat lahat excited, ayaw namin ng may dead air. (We wanted our routine to be very precious, very unique and very strong, our pacing to be fast from the first moment on to keep everyone glued and excited),” NU coach Ghika Bernabe.

With their fluid movements and jaw-dropping routine, NU emerged as the top dog in all aspects of the competition – tumbling (85), stunts (74), tosses (90), pyramids (88.5) and dance (360) while getting only one penalty/deduction.

“Yung mga bata palaban talaga. Ayaw nilang naiiwan ang NU. Sa lahat ng sports umaangat ang NU, ayaw naman naming napag-iiwanan kami. (Credit the team’s fighting spirit. They know NU’s sports teams are peaking and they don’t want the Pep Squad to be left behind),” said Bernabe.

It was also a validation of NU’s status as a topnotch cheerdance group after winning the National Cheerleading Championship.

“Yung iba sinasabi pang- NCC lang kami, at least ngayon napatunayan na pang-UAAP rin (They said we’re just good for cheerleading, now we’ve proven we also excel in UAAP cheerdance),” said Bernabe, a former cheerdancer for FEU.

NU was also triumphant in the Group Stunts, trumpeting the arrival of a new superpower in the competition that was witnessed by a 20,830-strong crowd on a rainy Sunday.

UP, donning curled ‘dos and in a “party” mood, did considerably well in all aspects but was hurt by an 18-point deduction for errors/falls. La Salle returned to the podium after missing last year.

The FEU Cheering Squad, one of the pre-tourney favorites, settled for fourth with its “metallic Tamaraw” routine with 589. 5 points. Host Adamson with its “burlesque” peg was good for fifth with 559.5 points, followed by University of the East and its “fire” concept with 559 points.

University of Santo Tomas’ Salinggawi Dance Troupe, once the toast of the CDC, bombed with an erratic Egyptian number and finished seventh with 546 points. Owner of a five-peat and league best eight titles overall in a tie with UP, UST’s Egyptian dancers fumbled in making pyramids and got 41 penalties-deductions to plummet to their worst finish.

Ateneo Blue Babble and its sports-themed performance wound up eighth overall with 514.

FEU and UST consoled themselves with podium finishes in the Group Stunts side event. The Tams placed second to NU while UST placed third. Anna de Leon of DLSU won the Samsung Stunner award.

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