After failing to make the top three in last year's competition, the UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe clawed their way to a first-runner up finish in the 2017 UAAP Cheerdance Competition, Saturday afternoon at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The tiger-inspired routine, according to team captain Benjo Gutierrez, was a nod to UST's glory days.
"We wanted to bring back the glory days, we wanted to bring back the five-peat, yun naman yung original goal, makuha yung championship,"
From 2002 to 2006, Salinggawi dominated the UAAP CDC, putting together a historic five-peat run that remains unmatched to this day.
Since that unprecedented run of UAAP Cheerance dominance, the UST Salinggawi managed to remain among the CDC elite, with constant podium finishes, save for a handful of years, including last-season's fourth-place finish.
"Yung last year na UAAP Cheerdance kasi, sobrang heartbreak for us, kasi we delivered a good routine, pero hindi pa pala kami enough," said the graduating Gutierrez.
Last season also marked the last year for Ramon Pagaduan, who served as the Saliggawi Dance Troupe's mentor since 2012.
Taking Pagaduan's place was Mark Anthony Chaiwalla, who took over last June.
While Gutierrez said that there was a bit of an adjustment period, he says that Chaiwalla challenged them and pushed them to their limits.
"Nung nagpalit ng management, our coach challenged us to be more fearless and to be more bold, chinallenge niya kami na mag-exceed pa than sa makakaya namin, and pinush niya kami sa capabilities na hindi namin kaya."
Saturday night, it paid off, and UST claimed their sixth silver finish, and their 17th podium finish overall.
"Ngayon na nasa podium kami, sobrang saya, grabe, sobrang saya talaga." said Gutierrez.