And we retained the championship! UP Pep Squad is love!

I think even the heavens were not that happy with  the competition being held at SM MOA’s Arena. I thought I was in San Juan’s fiesta because the sky was throwing buckets of water with a wind machine. Good thing I had an extra shirt with me because I was quite drenched when we reached the Arena.

Outside the gate that is not Blue (I forgot the name), I saw some of my former teammates:

With my former teammates - UP Pep Squad alumni

Inside the Arena, I did not feel the usual goosebumps from anticipation and the infectious crowd I get from Araneta. It was that bad that I did not even notice the competition has already started.

The Arena - SM Mall of Asia - 2012 UAAP Cheerdance Competition

Mon and I - very blurry

I would not go on and on about the routines of all the schools but I had the general impression that it was not that of a strong competition. I just waited for FEU’s routine because that was what I thought to be the potential competition for the squad.

It was quite sad because I entered the squad in the middle of the stiff rivalry between UP and UST and left it without getting the championship back — but now it was barely existing. FEU gave an almost flawless routine but I was put-off by the dance at the last part (with the tails and headgears and all).

Then for my squad, it was my first time to see the routine during the competition. I really love how minimal and cerebral everything was. The music was unconventional and the stunts were death-defying. It was something I would expect from the brains of this routine. The fall during the last part was bad but not bad enough for us to lose the crown. I think people should start recognizing that fact. 🙂

UP Pep Tanders

(Photo courtesy of Ma’am Eloi Hernandez)

But what I love most during every competition was the chance to see my former teammates. I don’t get to see them unlike before when we constantly spend time during and even after training. I was really happy to talk to them and I can’t count how many people I had kissed on the cheek and hugged because I really missed them so much.

My first competition way back was really one of the happiest moment in my life. And everytime I read that ‘Patronus’ section in HP3, all I could think of was that moment of competing would be enough to produce a Patronus (forgive the sudden manifestation of being a Potterhead). I felt really proud singing ‘UP Naming Mahal’ while the kids were on the podium, and felt more proud of my friend and batchmate Pio who eventually became an assistant coach of the squad, especially as I found out he had overseen the pyramid sequence. Ayos! Level up!

It’s our 8th championship and 17th consecutive title since the competition started. And with the pressure of the competition, it still amazes me how our coaches are able to think of ways to reinvent and innovate.  I’m just so proud of the UP Pep Squad, especially the ladies who shaved their heads — just looking at their brave faces on Instagram while being given the radical hairstyle.  FREEDOM! <3


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