THEY were, once again, close enough to the podium.
The Salinggawi Dance Troupe placed fourth for the second consecutive year in the annual Samsung Cheerdance Competition held yesterday, September 22, at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
Entering the Top 3 this year were fairy tale-themed NU Pep Squad for second runner up, jungle-themed FEU Cheering Squad for first runner up, and freedom-themed UP Pep Squad for their third consecutive championship.
UP Pep now ties with Salinggawi with eight overall wins in the cheerdance competition, which started in 1994.
Salinggawi’s Rio Carnival theme, according to new coach Ramon Pagaduan, is an existing theme by the dance troupe’s previous coach, Ryan Silva.
Their performance this year was highlighted by various tumblings and three-level pyramids. Also worth noting was their ballroom dance accompanied with gymnastic moves.
Pagaduan said that he mostly just let the dancers be themselves for this competition. “Hindi pa sila sanay sa style of coaching ko,” he said to TomasinoWeb.
This year’s cheering team is composed of 10 rookies and 8 seniors, the rest are juniors.
According to UP Pep Squad’s former team captain Lawrence Bautista, their freedom theme showed that the iskolar ng bayan are not afraid of anything. He also said that the theme was dedicated to all students of the University of the Philippines.
Bautista and his teammates surprised everyone with their shaved heads, an idea presented by their coach, Lala Parena. And to give more meaning to it, their shaved hairs was donated to cancer patients.
According to Pagaduan, Salinggawi really needs to have a good schedule first for it was difficult for them to be complete in their trainings.
Asked to give a message to UP’s win this year, Pagaduan said, “They deserve it and we will try next year.”
First runner up for 2011, La Salle Animo Squad, toppled to fifth this year with their sporty boxing theme. Ranking sixth, seventh, and eighth, respectively, were anime-themed Ateneo Blue Babble Battalion, K-pop-themed Adamson Pep Squad, and mythology-themed UE Pep Squad.
By Juan Miguel G. Villon
Photo taken by Jenzine Inah M. Alcantara