The return of the University of the Philippines Pep Squad to the UAAP cheerdance competition may not have resulted in a higher finish, but the crowd favorite and the winningest team in the competition's history remained upbeat after missing the podium at Mall of Asia Arena Saturday.
UP's "kuwentong isko"-inspired routine was good only for sixth place, the first time the school missed the podium in the past 20 appearances.
"Sa totoo lang, magaan iyong feeling namin because we worked really hard and binigay talaga namin iyong best namin," UP Pep co-captain Megan Mendoza said. "It still feels great to perform for the UP community because they’ve always, always been there for us."
According to Mendoza, the performance was made out of countless setbacks and was designed for the UP community and not just for winning a championship.
"Ginagawa namin lahat iyon para sa UP community. If sila, proud pa rin sila sa amin, we could say na masaya pa rin kami whether we win or lose kasi para sa kanila naman to. This is not for the title," Mendoza said.
UP Pep co-captain Thea Obanil echoed Mendoza's sentiment.
"Hinding-hindi maalis iyong pagmamahal ng UP Pep Squad para sa UP community at ng UP community para sa UP Pep Squad," said Obanil.
Mendoza acknowledged the vast improvement of other competing universities and vowed to bounce back in next year's competition.
Meanwhile, Mendoza and Obanil explained that UP's theme was rooted in the hardships that a UP student faces. The two linked it to the journey being taken by the Pep Squad, which skipped last season's tournament to protest the results at the time.
"Iyon ang kwento ng isang college student sa UP – go through heartbreaks, go through very sad and trying times, but at the end of the day, kailangan mo pa ring lumaban. Just like us, sa routine na 'to, naging mahirap iyong journey namin, but at the end of the day, we are here and we showed what we could," Mendoza concluded.
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