On Sunday, the University of the Philippines Pep Squad will be putting everything on the line as it vies for its ninth championship title and fourth consecutive win in the UAAP Season 76 Cheerdance Competition.
The UP Pep Squad, which is celebrating its 15th year, is no stranger to victory—it has never walked out of the cheerdance arena empty-handed.
Formed in 1994, it caught attention when it landed in the top three a year later.
After a year of suspension in 1998, the UAAP Cheerdance Competition resumed. In the same year, the UP Pep Squad added a new member to the team, head coach Lalaine Pereña, an alumna of the UP Filipiniana Dance Group.
In 1999, the UP Pep Squad landed its first UAAP Cheerdance championship.
Even as pressure is mounting, the team continues to improve with constant training. At the 7th Cheerleading Asia International Open Championships (CAIOC) held in Tokyo last May, the UP Pep Squad bagged second place in Partner Stunts and won third place in the Group Stunts Mixed categories.
For this year’s UAAP Cheerdance Competition, the team will add a surprise to its routine—something totally unexpected like when its members shaved their heads for the freedom theme of last year’s contest.
Aside from training hard, the members of the UP Pep Squad also follow a strict diet program, and don’t mind losing sleep so as not to neglect their academics.
The team does what it does best not only for the love of cheerdancing, but also for the sake of the UP community, their fellow students and athletes, families, friends and supporters.
In a recent blog post, the team said: “Without all of you who inspire us to keep on facing our challenges every day, every competition, every year, we would never have been able to cross boundaries… It is a cycle of inspiration… ”