MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – The University of the Philippines (UP) Pep Squad has won the Samsung UAAP Cheerdance Competition for the third straight year.
Sporting shaved heads, the UP cheering team bested the 7 other UAAP pep squads in front of nearly 20,000 spectators at the SM Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena on Saturday.
The Far Eastern University (FEU) Cheering Squad settled for 1st-runner up, while the National University (NU) Cheer Squadron ended up winning 2nd-runner up honors.
"We prayed so hard for the past 4 to 5 months and maraming-maraming sinakripisyo, para sa UP to," said Kiko Cortez, one of the squad's co-captains.
UP pulled off a surprise when they emerged with shaved heads.
Save for an error in the final lift, the Diliman-based pep squad had the cleanest routine, using eye-pleasing “Oblation lifts” and tosses during the dance.
They also displayed clear groupings and superb formations while running their gymnastics on the floor.
During their final Oblation lift, a cheerdancer in one of their “towers” lost her balance and tumbled down. Fortunately, she was not injured.
UP took home the P340,000 top prize and a trophy.
FEU settled for the P200,000 second place prize, while 3rd placer NU pocketed P140,000.
The University of Sto. Tomas (UST) Salinggawi Dance Troupe was ranked 4th, followed by the De La Salle Animo Squad at 5th.
Ateneo’s Babble Battalion (6th), the University of the East (UE) Pep Squad (7th) and the Adamson Pep Squad (8th) completed the cast.
Making a statement
Trixie Segundo, another co-captain of the UP Pep Squad, said that it was a big sacrifice for the team, especially the women, to cut their hair short.
"It's a big sacrifice for the team but we got it,” said Segundo.
UP Pep Squad captain Irish Planes said this year’s routine aimed to make a statement.
"We just wanted to let everybody feel free, feel free to express themselves, their thoughts, their actions. And through our dance we just wanted to free everyone," she said.
This is the third time UP won the cheerdance competition. The state university also took home the titles in the 2010 and 2011 editions of the tournament.
The UP Pep Squad also swept the competition as it won the top title in the UAAP Cheerdance Stunts competition and the Samsung Cheerdance Stunner plum.
UP Pep Squad’s Nicolette Erika Ambulo was chosen as the prettiest of the cheerdancers in the Samsung Stunner competition.
Meanwhile, the Far Eastern University (FEU) Cheering Squad came in as 1st-runner up in the Stunts competition, while NU settled for 2nd-runner up.