UP team–their heads shaved–winsBy Marize Moreno
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Considered the most important contest after the basketball tilt, the UAAP cheerdance competition proved why it’s the most prestigious in the country
You always see them in the sidelines during basketball games, cheering their hearts out, and performing during halftime. They are the unsung heroes of the game, and now it was their time to be in the spotlight.
The UAAP cheerdance competition has been considered one of the most sought-after titles, after the basketball crown.
“If other athletes, such as those in basketball and volleyball, got defeated, they still had Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and so on for the remaining games to get back the glory. But for cheerleaders, once they lose in the competition, the only chance to rebound is the next season. The eight teams trained hard the whole year, and they have only five precious minutes to execute the routine. They are the role models of true athletes,” said Boom Gonzales, the UAAP cheerdance host, before announcing the winners.
With the most dramatic performance from start to finish, the state university showed the crowd what they had up their sleeves this year—all with shaved heads (including the girls), conveying a message of gender equality and courage to stand out.
They really showed how determined they were as a squad. When the emcees asked the three captains the reason behind their shaven hairstyle, they answered that it’s all about how we can act and feel free, an expression of freedom.
Out of the box
The squad won a whopping cash prize of P340,000 and Samsung cellular phones. The UP Pep Squad has always been synonymous with creativity, and out-of-the-box and death-defying stunts.
The FEU Cheering Squad was first runner-up with its jungle-inspired theme. The FEU Cheering Squad had a flawless routine with dance techniques portraying a snake, frog and tamaraw. For 10 consecutive years, FEU has always landed in the top three.
Among the eight universities, the National University Cheer Squadron was second runner-up and won P140,000. The glittery blue top and white costume indicated the theme of the routine, which was Disney-inspired.
UP also got two more awards—first place in the group stunts category, and member Nicolette Erika Ambulo was chosen as the Samsung Stunner.
Determination, discipline, passion: that’s what every cheerleader who performed in the prestigious competition embodied. One could not focus on just one element. One could not just be good at gymnastics or dance alone. Every cheerleader had to be determined to train in all the elements needed for the sport. Practicing several hours each day and balancing one’s studies are no easy task. No matter how tough it is, passion and love for the sport make it easy for them. They are all real athletes.