Meet the UAAP CDC 2016 captains ft. USTís Benjo Gutierrez

Barry Viloria on Nov 19, 2016 02:05 PM
Meet the UAAP CDC 2016 captains ft. USTís Benjo Gutierrez
The powerhouse team is back with a vengeance, with this year's routine in the name of family and faith. (Photos courtesy of Gutierrez)

The year was 2014, when for the first time in three years, the UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe found themselves again on the podium. They only landed third place, but the España crowd burst in a mix of tears and jubilation as if they had won the championship that season, which of course fell to the NU Pep Squad for the latter’s first back-to-back championship. “Pare, surreal. It was our big comeback after the 2013 upset, recalls Salinggawi captain Benjo Gutierrez. “Hanggang ngayon, kinikilabutan parin ako pag naaalala ko.” But the dramatic scene wasn’t momentary for the eight-time champs; the decorated, 1968-established team furthered its goal in claiming its once astray “powerhouse” badge as it moved one rank up in the year that followed. Gutierrez is first-hand witness to Coach Ramon Pagaduan IV’s no-joke trainings. He himself keeps himself Salinggawi fit by playing ball—“I make jump shots on the court whenever stressed or need to relax. Cheer is life, but ball is heart!” Under Gutierrez’ steering, will UST finally get hold of that trophy after a nine-year drought?

How has your training been for UAAP CDC?
“Usually, we train everyday of the week unless we don't have a venue. And it also depends when we have a piece to work on. But as a Salinggawi member, we always expect to have one. Our coach always pushes us beyond our limits and helps us grow as a athlete and as person… Training has been rocky. We had to make adjustments to certain parts of it to make the blocking more suave. But so far, it's good. Lumalaban!”

How do you bond in the team?
“Inside and outside of training, we spend a lot of time with each other, in between classes and breaks. We are each other’s support system not only with training but with academics, family, and other matters as well… Despite the hard trainings, we also make sure to check on each other and ask them how their day was. If one had a bad day, we would know and immediately give them a pat!”

What do you love about your team?
“I think the thing that separates us from others is our six core values passed on from generation to generation. This includes discipline, respect, honesty, integrity, loyalty, and gratitude. And if there's a seventh, it must be heart because we always make sure to extend our school spirit through our piece!”

What inspires Salinggawi?
“Siguro, most of us make our families as inspiration since we often go home to bond with them. It's sad. But it is part of being an athlete—the commitment in what you are doing and being passionate about it.”

Tease us about your theme later.
“We aim to keep the podium finish and continue the winning tradition we started.”


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