UAAP Cheerdance

NU pep coach Bernabe left ‘confused’ with cheerdance judging system

JR Isaga
NU pep coach Bernabe left ‘confused’ with cheerdance judging system

PODIUM FINISH. The NU Pep Squad settles for second runner-up honors.

UAAP Season 84 Media Team

Denied of a new UAAP cheerdance title three-peat, NU Pep Squad coach Ghicka Bernabe questions the judging process while clarifying she's not protesting the results

MANILA, Philippines – NU Pep Squad head coach Ghicka Bernabe was left searching for answers after her squad settled for second runner-up honors at the UAAP Season 84 Cheerdance Competition last Sunday, May 22.

Although the 11-year tactician clarified she was not protesting the results that saw the FEU Cheering Squad win their first cheerdance title since 2009, she did question the judging process that led to such results.

“As much as we want to give you breathtaking performances – buwis-buhay (life-risking), like our supporters always say – I think recently, there have been changes with the system or where our basis will be,” she said in Filipino.

“Now I am analyzing what should I do, should we still give top-level, risky stunts and pyramids? Or will we just somehow do something where we’re sure it will be solid?”

NU, which clearly went back to its usual fast-paced and high-risk, high-reward routine pumped up this year by ’90s throwback music, only finished second in all categories – tumbling, stunts, tosses, and pyramids – except in dance where they finished third.

Meanwhile the Adamson Pep Squad, which squeaked by NU for a first-runner up finish, finished third in all categories except dance, where they landed in second. FEU, however, left no doubt with its routine as it swept all five judging criteria despite having a slower, but clearly cleaner overall performance.

Although Bernabe did point out that there were errors from NU’s side – 6 deducted points, in fact – but she also noted that they packed in more stunts to make up for the miscues.

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Historically, the NU cheerdance dynasty had indeed been built off faster and more complex routines so far ahead of the rest of the competition that the deductions hardly even mattered.

But now, the fact remains that NU failed in its new three-peat bid, and is back to the drawing board. Bernabe remains upbeat that her squad can learn from this development, and likely tweak their mindset heading to their Season 85 comeback attempt.

“Maybe next plan, first step is to analyze. Let’s analyze our routine, let’s see what’s new with the UAAP CDC in the pandemic, and see where we’re more okay – risky [routines] with a bit of wobble, or just routines where we will be solid? Maybe let’s stop with the fast-paced routines?” she said.

“After all, the only goal of the NU Pep Squad is to win a championship.” –

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