Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Filipinos excel in the "Olympics of Cheerleading"

The NU Pep Squad snagging bronze at the ICU Cheerleading World Championships
After making a splash in the local cheerdance scene by snagging the last two UAAP CDC titles, the National University Pep Squad impressed at the International Cheer Union (ICU) World Cheerleading Championships, held last April 23-24 at Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

Considered as the premier cheerleading competition in the world, 70 countries, including the Philippines, sent delegates to participate in eight different divisions. Gabriel Bajacan (NU Pep coach), in fact, believes that the ICU WCC is "its version of the Olympics for cheerleading".

Armed with just over two months of preparation, NU Pep managed to finish in third place at the Coed Elite Division, with their "bone-bending gymnastics" and a routine laced with a high degree of difficulty, that impressed their peers, including US coach Joe Jackson (best known as the stunt choreographer for "Bring It On").

Only Mexico and Chile had a better performance than the Pinoys, something that NCC National Director and Philippine Cheerleading Association Vice President Paula Nunag views as a victory for Asia. She adds that participating in the ICU CWC is "the dream of every single Filipino cheerleader."

NU Pep Team Manager Jun Gaw is thankful for the experience, knowing that they "gave it their all and did their best." He adds...
They showed that the Philippines is a competitor to keep an eye on in the world of cheerleading. They were against powerhouse teams some of whom were veteran world champions. These teams were composed of handpicked cheerleaders selected to represent their respective national all-star teams. On the other hand, the Team Pilipinas National University Pep Squad, a university-based team, consists of athletes who are newcomers to the sport and who have had to build their skills from scratch. They are the underdogs here, and have taken the cheerleading world by surprise.
NU academic coordinator for athletes, Ms. Clara Manzano-Lacson, also expressed her pride with the squad...
"It is our aim in NU to balance the academic and athletic talents and skills of our students, and the NU Pep Squad has always been good at doing this. They manage their schooling and practices well. The NU cheerleaders are world champion medalists and we could not be more proud of them. We know that through our customized program, which looks out for the welfare of our athletes, NU’s Teams will continue to succeed both locally and abroad."

The efforts of the NU Pep Squad at ICU CWC is the latest success story of the SM Group's academic-athletics program in national and international competitions. Concurrent NU Chairman and SM Prime Holdings, Inc. President Hans Sy has personally provided words of encouragement towards the student-athletes, as well as the coaches and managers, in ensuring an environment that can hone their skills, talents, and capacities.

Also snagging awards in the ICU CWC are Miriam High School's Team Sayawatha with their bronze  in the Team Cheer Hip Hop Division, while an all-star group of Pinay cheerleaders joined forces in the All-Girl Elite Division to finish second to New Zealand.