Move over, basketball, cheerdance is now the most famous competition in the UAAP Season 75.
My officemate and I were fortunate enough to get exclusive IDs to cover the 2012 UAAP Samsung Cheerdance Competition (CDC) last Sept 22, 2012 at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena.
Many thanks to the UP College of Human Kinetics Varsity Office for securing our seats during the competition.
It was a pandemonium outside the MOA Arena prior to the start of the competition. Contingents from each school, particularly the National University contingent, were already draining half of their energies by indefatigably cheering for their respective pep squads. I couldn’t help but smile and get excited just like everybody else.
The CDC is like the world cup of the UAAP. Days before the event, tickets were already sold out and I’m sure, some people resorted to buying tickets from scalpers just to get inside the MOA Arena and witness history unfold before their eyes.
Boom Gonzales, CDC’s perennial host, was right. If athletes lose a game, they can shape up and win the next game. But for the pep squads, they only have 6 minutes per year to prove themselves worthy of the most coveted CDC championship crown.
As we entered the arena, one of the technical staff escorted us to our assigned seats at the Lower Box-B. That spot was perfect because we were able to clearly witness the entire performances of the pep squads of the eight universities. However, since the judges were seated directly behind us, we were asked by an ABS-CBN crew to hold our breath and die watching. Nah. Just kidding. Ha-ha!
We were told to control our emotions to avoid influencing the scores of the judges. That’s why, my officemate and I settled for biting our fingernails or pinching each other’s shoulders whenever we feel that some of the competing teams were really impressive with their stunts and choreography.
Yes, indeed! We were so damn lucky to have witnessed the super amazing performances of our beloved UP Pep Squad! But, just imagine how we feel when the UP Pep Squad were already performing. I had to go to the other side of Lower Box B, away from the judges’ eyes, to release the tension and shout and cheer for our school’s pride.
After reinventing pop icon Madonna in the 2011 UAAP CDC, this year, the Pep Squad shaved their heads to pay homage to ‘freedom and equality.’ I was told that most members literally cried when Coach Lala Parena asked them to shave their heads for this year’s competition which was a radical change from their blonde hairdos last year.
Anyway, when all the teams finished their performances, my heart probably palpitated a million times already trying to suppress my jolted adrenaline and gag my mouth to prevent myself from screaming our school cheers!
Now came the announcement of winners.
Before Boom announced the winners in this year’s competition, the UP Fighting Maroons crowd, including me and my officemate, noticeably fell silent and were literally on the edge of our seats, silently praying that the UP Pep Squad win their 8th CDC title.
Lo and behold! ‘8’ happened! The UP Varsity Pep Squad not only scored a grand slam but also notched their second three-peat last September 22. The last time they won for three-consecutive years was from 1999 to 2001.
Ending up in the 1st and 2nd runner-up spots were the Far Eastern University Cheering Squad with their jungle-inspired routine and the National University Pep Squad with their Disney-inspired routine, respectively.
Aside from winning the championship, the UP Pep Squad also won the Samsung Group Stunts award while cheerdancer Nicolette Erika Ambulo bagged the 2012 Samsung Stunner award.
I almost cried because of extreme happiness! What a wonderful Saturday!
Congratulations, UP Pep Squad! We are so proud of you!
Click for the Photo Gallery–> UAAP Samsung Cheerdance Competition 2012