UE Pep Squad confident the time is now to end 14-year podium absence

Alvin Laqui on Nov 15, 2016 08:49 AM
UE confident the time is now to end 14-year podium absence
THE TIME IS NOW. After a humble breakthrough last season, the UE Pep Squad believes now's the time to see red on top.

How did the UE Pep Squad do last year? Fifth.

It was in 2002 when the UE Pep Squad last stepped onto the UAAP Cheerdance Competition podium. There, they finished second-place – a finish that, to this day, remains their best-ever.

After 14 long years of dwelling in the cellars of the tilt, UE believes the time is now for them to plant their red banner at the mountaintop of the CDC anew.

“Time naman namin ngayong season na ‘to,” declared team captain JP Santiago. “Ang gusto naming by this time, parang pula naman yung nasa taas.”

UE Pep has gotten tired of hearing the same schools get lauded year after year after year and that prompted them towards an improved showing in Season 78 where they finished fifth-place. “Lagi namin sinasabi na there will come a time na hindi lang lagi sila yung magaling, hindi lang laging sila yung mananalo. By this time, gusto namin i-assure na kami naman.” Santiago said.

Motivated by their better finish, the squad only put even more work this offseason – and by offseason, they mean a day right after last year’s competition concluded. Also, they have had a complete routine since July.

“Kinabukasan [ng competition] preparation na yun, so it's a one-year preparation,” Santiago shared. “By July kailangan tapos na yung routine namin so yung from July, the rest ng months na yun mostly puro run-throughs na lang kami.”

After fielding mostly rookies last year, UE’s now battle-hardened lineup steps onto the mat a year wiser. And they want everyone to expect a better run compared to last year's fifth-place finishers. “Nag-improve na lahat ng players namin ngayon so mas solid lineup namin ngayong season. I-eexpect niyo yung mas solid na routine,” Santiago exclaimed.

But they’re not just training their stunts and tosses. With the stress of four-hour sessions every single day, they have added a new dimension to their preparations which they believe may be the key for them to cheer Recto back onto the podium.

“Mas importante na sa amin yung character, hindi lang yung skills kasi yung skills almost the same na lang pinapakita ng mga schools,” Santiago said. “So yung ipapakita namin ngayon, yung puso – yun yung magde-determine kung sino yung mananalo ngayong season.”

After finishing just .6 points behind fourth-place Far Eastern University last year, the close finish taught UE to take a hard look at themselves first and clean up their routine as they finished with three deductions more than their Morayta counterparts. “Ang gusto lang namin, makapag-perform kami ng sarili namin. Yung target namin ngayon, gumawa ng sariling standards,” Santiago said.


Follow this writer on Twitter, @alvinlaqui.

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