The University of the Philippines Pep Squad continued its mastery of UAAP Cheerdance, winning its third straight title and eighth overall in the competition Saturday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
With a simple theme of Freedom, UP executed a gimmick-free but technically-difficult routine that emphasized unity among the eight UAAP member schools.
Like last year, when members of the squad came out in bleached blonde hair to a Madonna theme, UP retained its androgynous look, with both men and women sporting buzz-cuts for their performance.
Despite a late spill in its routine, UP wowed the mammoth crowd with an ambitious performance highlighted by several difficult stunts, including triple cupies and inverted splits atop pyramids.
The FEU Cheering Squad bagged second place on a flawless routine with an animal theme, mimicking snakes, frogs, and tamaraws in its masterfully-choreographed performance. It was the 10th straight season for FEU in the top three of the contest.
The National University Cheer Squadron broke into the podium, finishing third with a Disney-inspired routine.
UP also won in the Samsung group stunts competition for the second straight year. FEU placed second, while NU bagged third.
Nicolette Erika Ambulo made it a complete sweep from the UP Pep Squad as she was named Samsung’s Stunner.
Cheerleading teams were judged according to dance technique (10 to 20 points), jumps and tumbling (10 to 15), tosses (10 to 15), lifts and stunts (10 to 15), pyramids (10 to 15), choreography and synchronization (six to 10), audibility and clarity (three to five), and audience impact (three to five) for a total of 100 points. A point is deducted from the groups for minor errors, while major errors are penalized five points.
The competition’s judges came from various international bodies such as the Asian Federation of Cheerleading and cheerleading officials from Chinese Taipei, Romania, Indonesia and the United States.