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Tight battle seen as UP eyes 4-peat in UAAP Cheerdance Competition

By Josiah Albelda Posted Sep 15th 2013

Three-time defending champion University of the Philippines goes for a record ninth overall UAAP Cheerdance title.

All eyes will be on three-peat champion University of the Philippines when the 2013 UAAP Cheerdance Competition takes centerstage Sunday at 1:30 p.m. before an expected jam-packed crowd at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Winners in five of the last six years, the UP Pep Squad will be gunning for an unprecedented fourth straight title and a record ninth overall when they go up against seven other teams in the UAAP's most-awaited event of the year.

And with their opponents ready to take the battle to greater heights, the so-called Pep Squad ng Bayan has also upped its game in the hopes of making history anew.

"Everything is new," said assistant coach NJ Antonio, who took over while head coach Lala Perena was in Europe for two months. "We won't repeat any stunts and it is totally different in terms of choreography."

Toughest challengers to the Diliman-based crew's reign are 2012 runners-up Far Eastern University and National University -- teams who have vowed not to settle for anything less than the crown in this year's competition.

The FEU Cheering Squad lost by a mere 0.9 points to UP last year and head coach Jacqueline Alolor-Alolta said that they have addressed whatever lacked of their routine last year and will be coming out with a "wilder and fiercer" piece this time.

On the other hand, the NU Pep Squad will be bringing with them the confidence boost they got from winning the 2013 National Cheerleading Championship in record fashion.

For the first time, the NCC will be part of handling the UAAP Cheerdance Competition and with a new criteria of judging, the battle is just about to get tougher for all squads.

Routines will be scored in two parts: Cheer and Dance, both of which will amount to 400 points, bringing the maximum score a team can get to 800 points.

Four judges in the Cheer area will score squads based on the following: Stunts (100 points), Pyramid (100 points), Tumbling (100 points) and Toss (100 points).

Meanwhile, four judges will also give scores in the Dance part and will be basing their marks on the following: Overall Effect (20 points), Choreography (30 points), Technique (20 points) and Group Execution (30 points).

It is the first time that the UAAP will use such criteria for judging.

Eight-time champion University of Santo Tomas Salinggawi Dance Troupe is also expected to make its mark even as 2011 second-placer De La Salle University Animo Squad is tipped to figure in the race for a podium finish.

La Salle coach Rhufa Rosario is well-versed in the NCC competitions, having steered University of Perpetual Help System Dalta to six titles in the NCC-run NCAA Cheerleading Competition and to the NCC title in 2009.

Ateneo de Manila University pins it hopes on former UST SDT coach Ryan Silva while University of the East and Adamson University are out to redeem themselves after forgettable performances in the last few years.

The 2013 UAAP Cheerdance competition will air live over Studio 23, BALLS HD 167 and with a same day replay starting 7:30 p.m. on BALLS SkyCable channel 34 or Destiny Cable channel 36.