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After NCC title, NU guns for UAAP CDC crown

By Josiah Albelda Posted Sep 15th 2013

After a third place finish last year, the NU Pep Squad will be gunning for their first ever UAAP Cheerdance crown.

They've been named the national champions. Now, the National University Pep Squad wants to finally be called the UAAP Cheerdance Competition champions.

Two years ago, it might have been nothing more than a pipe dream. Come September 15, though, it is a distinct possibility.

Backed by the war chest of its managers, the NU Pep Squad -- like its basketball and volleyball counterparts -- has transformed into one of the most formidable cheering teams in the country, emerging from obscurity to prominence in so short a time.

Just last March, NU topped the National Cheerleading Championship in record fashion, amassing a competition-record 331 points en route to unseating NCC powerhouse Central Colleges of the Philippines.

And after a third place finish in the 2012 UAAP Cheerdance Competition, this Sampaloc-based athletes that it is now their turn to take the UAAP by storm.

"Because we have won the nationals already, there is pressure to perform better in other competitions," said team captain Adrian Alban.

"That pressure inspires us to do harder."

Better routine

After finishing fifth in 2011, the NU Pep Squad surprised the huge crowd at the Mall of Asia Arena last year with flawless execution of a Disney-inspired theme.

This year, coach Ghicka Bernabe, the audience at the venue is in for a bigger surprise.

"We're going to showcase good stunts," the former FEU Cheering Squad member said. "If it was sweet last year, it will be fierce and strong this time."

Bernabe, who constantly looks for gymnasts to as far as the Palarong Pambansa to form her team, said that they are going to dazzle the judges with their costume and choreography.

Her assistant coach, Gabriel Bajacan, seconds that.

"We have stronger movements now," he said. "We upgraded our stunts and pyramids."

Bajacan added they've had more time to prepare their routine and, thus, had more opportunities to polish it as they attempt to make history with a first-ever UAAP Cheerdance Competition title.

Casual cheerdance fans might think that NU isn't in the level of UP, FEU and UST yet.

But make no mistake: this crew has earned its stripes, toiled at the doormat for so long and has risen to prominence through sheer desire, hard work and skill.

So come Sunday, expect the NU Pep Squad not only to make a run at a second straight podium finish, but also give both UP and FEU chills shivering down their spines with a perfectly-executed routine.