- February 28, 2020 13:47
By Aimerose C. Atienza
After 13 long years, the Queen-inspired performance of the Far Eastern University Cheering Squad (FEUCS) sought its way back to clinch the top podium finish and rocked the stage of the highly anticipated University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) season 84 cheerdance competition last May 22 at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena in Pasay City.
FEU settled for runner-up finishes to the back-to-back champions National University (NU) Pep Squad in the last two seasons. However, the Morayta-based squad finally made the leap towards gold to stop the three-peat hopes of NU.
“Syempre, it feels good. Ilan taon na kaming runner[s]-up. Finally, naka-isa [championship] rin kami (Of course, it feels good. We have been runners up for how many years already. Finally, we got one championship),” Head Coach Randell San Gregorio said.
FEU’s Queen-themed routine garnered a total of 727.5 points that came off as a huge 39-point gap from the second placer Adamson University (AdU) Pep Squad with 688.5 total markers who performed a western country-themed cheerdance. The defending champions NU Pep Squad who went back in time with a 90s-inspired routine managed to land on the bronze podium with 681 points.
Moreover, the team proved to be a clear standout as they placed first in all categories with 91.5 points in the tumbling category, 93 points for their stunts, 90.5 markers in tosses, and 91 points in the pyramids category, and 361.5 points for dance.
Following the health protocols due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the UAAP adapted changes for the competition, limiting each team to 15 participants and a maximum of a three-minute performance as compared to the usual six-minute presentation.
“Mahirap talaga ‘yung preparation kasi unang-una, 15 people lang ta’s three minutes [of performance]... Sabi nga nila, struggle is real, so we’re just so happy that finally, we got over the hump (The preparation is really hard since first of all, there are only 15 people and three minutes of performance… Just like what they say, struggle is real so we’re just so happy that finally, we got over the hump),” San Gregorio added.
Co-captains Johnry Alpay and Monica Leila Belo also expressed their joy after clinching the victory for the green-and-gold amid struggles brought by the pandemic and the sudden changes in the guidelines.
“Sobrang saya namin ngayon kasi after many years na pinagdaanan po namin, ‘yung struggle[s] po namin, na-overcome po namin ‘yun (We are so happy right now because after many years of going through a lot, our struggles, we overcame all of those),” Alpay said.
Belo added, “Sobrang happy po… Sobrang nag-effort lang din kami. Syempre, ‘di rin madali maging captain lalo na galing ka sa online training ([I feel] very happy… we really just exerted so much effort. Of course, it is not easy to be a captain, especially when you came from online training).”
Despite the adversities, FEUCS had surely come prepared as Coach Randell told how the theme centered on the iconic British rock band was already decided even before the COVID-19 lockdown.
FEU is already eyeing to defend the title for next season as they announced that they will be reinforcing a cheerdance routine dedicated to the late Filipino hip-hop icon, Francis Magalona.
“Next year, we’ll do Francis M,” the winning coach San Gregorio said.
(Photo by Juan Pablo Parian/FEU Advocate)