MANILA, Philippines — The National University Pep Squad silenced its doubters with a near-perfect performance to take its fourth straight UAAP Cheerdance Competition title on Saturday.
The Sampaloc-based squad had the crowd at the Araneta Coliseum spellbound with a science-fiction-inspired dance, complete with robot-themed costumes.
The “futuristic” routine that NU executed to perfection was more than enough to assure its fourth straight title, bringing the NU Pep Squad within a victory of tying University of Santo Tomas’ five-peat record.
NU scored 711 points to beat second-place Far Eastern University (FEU) Cheering Squad, which got 658.5 points.
“We were really overwhelmed because not a lot of teams have experienced winning consecutive championships,” NU coach Ghicka Bernabe said.
“We're very grateful with whatever we have now. We're really, really blessed."
True to its promise, the NU Pep Squad deviated from the usual Disney-themed routines it used in past performances.
The squad also wanted to silence critics who doubted its win last season, which was marred by a protest and eventual boycott this year of the University of the Philippines (UP) Pep Squad.
NU team captain Amanda Louise Alejandrino said that victory was sweet because they were able to "beat last year's champion" in her final year.
"The thing about cheerleading is you're competing against yourself," she said.
"We wanted to beat the champion from last year, that was us."
The Adamson University Pep Squad provided the shocker of the competition with a tribal-themed performance. The team finished third with 655 points for its first podium finish in 15 years.
The UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe, which finished second last year, tumbled out of the top three as it settled for fourth place with 650 points.
University of the East, De La Salle and Ateneo settled for fifth to seventh places, respectively.
The UE Pep Squad collected 645 points, followed by La Salle’s 560.5 and Ateneo’s 512.
NU, which also won the group stunts competition, ranks third on the list of all-time titles with four championships.
UST and UP have won eight titles each.
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