Posted Feb 16th 2014
FEU Cheering Squad eyes no.1 spot -- no less
By Anthony Divinagracia Posted Sep 14th 2013
Just a shade under a point, Far Eastern University (FEU) narrowly missed everyone’s target in last year’s UAAP Cheerdance competition: the University of the Philippines (UP) Pep Squad’s title.
FEU’s Cheering Squad though kept its lofty place in the Top 3 but wounded up bridesmaids yet again to – guess who – the Pep Squad ng Bayan in Season 75.
Losing a possible third title by a hairline was not what coach Jackie Alolor’s wards expected.
“We were so relaxed and excited to show the routine to everyone. Right after we performed, it was so fulfilling and the team was really happy because we felt it was almost perfect,” Alolor recalled.
But their “almost perfect” Jungle routine paled in contrast to the edgy shaven-head look of the UP Pep Squad’s female performers, who dazzled the crowd with their Freedom-inspired ensemble.
“We felt that it was our time. We were just happy to do it well. In reality medyo nalungkot yung mga bata but I tried to convince them to respect the decision of the judges,” Alolor said of FEU’s second place finish last year.
For the record, UP tallied 92.26 percent to nip FEU, which logged in 91.36, and complete a second three-peat for the Pep Squad ng Bayan. More importantly, UP already tied University of Santo Tomas’ number of titles at eight – the most in cheerdance history.
And FEU? It remained at far third with only two championships to boot so far.
“Kailangan talaga malinaw yung edge namin. Medyo lumamang ang UP sa halos lahat ng elements,” Alolor said. “It’s not only the concept, but how you execute it as well. It’s a lesson for all of us na hindi lang kami dapat makuntento sa ganito.”
Now on the cusp of another showdown with the league’s best, FEU shifts its expectations outside of Morayta.
“Every year we expect the other teams to perform well, especially the other teams na hindi pa pumapasok sa Top 3. For our part, we always try our best not just to make it to the Top 3 with a better performance this year,” Alolor said.
Teamwork and familiarity with Alolor’s system are FEU’s clear-cut advantages despite having more rookies in its line-up.
“I have 13 rookies but there are my 12 veterans to guide them. Yung jungle routine namin (last year) marami ring rookie so what’s the difference now?,” Alolor said.
Preparation-wise, FEU has been right on schedule since summer when it began its meticulous grind for this year’s competition.
Overtraining though is out of the question, but injuries are, Alolor stressed.
“Injuries in the middle of our training have been a major concern for us. Siyempre how can you perform well kung may masakit sa’yo? But we’ve managed to overcome that. Generally the team is healthy.”
So how does FEU look to perform on Sunday?
“We will be more creative. Our routine will be better, wilder, and fiercer. Of course, we’re aim again for number 1. Every year naman yun ang aim namin.”