MANILA, Philippines – In a stunning development for the NU Pep Squad, multi-titled head coach Ghicka Bernabe announced her resignation shortly after her team completed its redemption tour by winning the UAAP Season 85 Cheerdance Competition championship on Saturday, December 10.
Actively fighting back tears in her post-event press conference, the decorated FEU alumna revealed that she is stepping down to get married, and specifically noted that there are no issues between her and the university she called home for the last 12 years.
“My entire stay in NU has been memorable, it’s very important. I’m just happy that many are happy for me. It’s just making me emotional because I’m happy for the team that got a championship technically on my last day,” she said in Filipino.
“I don’t think anyone will bear grudges against me – aside maybe from the ones who found me strict in practice – but I think I did my part as a coach. I never aspired before to win a championship, but now, the blessings are overflowing with seven championships. Imagine that.”
In what turned out to be Bernabe’s swan song from the sidelines, NU Pep gave its coach one last breathtaking performance in signature Bernabe fashion: with high-risk, high-reward stunt work hyped up this season by a “cheer-obic” beat of disco remixes and ’80s/’90s pop hits.
Once a program that finished in last place in seven consecutive years from 2002 to 2008, NU rose to relevance in the 2010s under Bernabe’s leadership, and the program eventually grew to a formidable powerhouse that won seven championships in the last nine seasons.
“Even me, I never thought I could give a championship to a school that was always forgotten, always an afterthought, and which others thought had no talent, but they’re really all good,” she continued, still fighting back tears.
“Really, on the topic of legacy, those who have worked with me – the coaches and players – can tell a better story than I ever can.”
Under Bernabe, the NU Pep Squad won a total of seven golds and two bronzes – with a fifth-place finish in 2017 as the lone outlier in her unparalleled coaching resumé. – Rappler.com