To prepare you for the upcoming UAAP Cheerdance Competition this weekend, let’s look at some of the memorable highlights of the league in its 28-year history.
After its limited return last year, the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) brings back its full athletic calendar for the first time following the pandemic. From holding just seven events in the previous season, the much-anticipated collegiate league comes back in full glory with a total of 60 events in 21 sports for its Season 85. With its tournaments continuing to heat up, especially the basketball championship, which at some point, gathered thousands of supporters in the Battle of Katipunan game, you can say that the UAAP is back, indeed.
Also returning in full gear is the UAAP Cheerdance Competition, a yearly tradition where universities bring their best gymnastics, stunts, and dance ensembles to the stage and where students, alumni, and enthusiasts gather to scream their lungs out in support. For a day, Maroons, Eagles, Archers, Falcons, Warriors, Tigers, Tamaraws, and Bulldogs suit up and flex their athletic muscle, ready to give their all and bring pride to their beloved schools. And as the competition returns this coming Saturday (December 10) to the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena with full squads, drums, and six-minute routines, let’s look at some of the remarkable UAAP Cheerdance Competition moments from past seasons.
UP PEP SQUAD FREEDOM ROUTINE
The most decorated team in the cheerdance competition, the University of the Philippines Pep Squad has always been the most exciting squad in the league especially with the innovative and creative themes of its routines. From their Madonna-inspired routine in Season 74 where they shone with blonde hairdos, to their unforgettable “Utak at Puso” presentation in Season 85, the Maroons had always pushed the envelope with their performances.
This daring was also on full display when the shaven-headed UP Pep Squad astonished the MOA Arena with their “freedom” routine in 2012. Despite a major fall in the finale, the stunning creativity of the iskolars ng bayan earned them their eighth championship and made a three-peat win possible. This iconic performance in the UAAP Season 75 Cheerdance Competition was UP’s last championship title.
ATENEO BLUE BABBLE BATTALION’S RUNNER-UP PLACEMENT
The Ateneo de Manila’s Blue Babble Battalion has been humbly settling at the lower half of the UAAP CDC rankings. But did you know that ADMU was once hailed as the runner-up in the competition? In 2009, the Blue Babble Battalion nabbed their first-ever (and only) top three appearance with their performance that’s partly inspired Michael Jackson. And ICYDK, as a tribute to the “King of Pop” who had passed just months before their performance, the Ateneans executed an impressive moonwalk stunt complete with hats and tulle skirts, much to the enjoyment of the audience.
UE PEP SQUAD’S BRONZE FINISH
The UAAP Season 80 Cheerdance Competition was a special year for the underdogs. And it was undoubtedly an even more remarkable time for the University of the East as they reached their first podium finish after fifteen years. Imbibing the Red Warriors spirit, the UE Pep Squad gave a fiery performance, leveling up their stunts, pyramids, and tosses while looking like blazing phoenixes. It was a victorious night for the warriors who emerged as the bronze medallists that season.
UST SALINGGAWI’S 2015 PERFORMANCE
With eight championships and a total of 17 trophies under its belt, the University of Santo Tomas Salinggawi Dance Troupe has always been the squad to look out for. For emphasis, Salinggawi is the only team in the UAAP Cheerdance Competition to muster a historic five-peat win. Go USTe indeed. Fans and enthusiasts also know that the Growling Tigers always kill the stage with their choreography. And in 2015, the Salinggawi upped the ante to much greater heights with their safari-themed performance, scoring their tournament-best dance average and snatching the silver trophy.
DLSU ANIMO SQUAD LAST PODIUM FINISH
The last time that De La Salle University’s Animo Squad reached the podium was at the UAAP Season 76 where they finished second runner-up. The Green Archers improved their fifth-ranked placement the previous season and gave a military-themed performance. Dressed in camouflage uniform, the rifle and nunchuck-wielding squad saw a generally clean performance enough to bring home the bronze trophy to Taft and a UAAP CDC Stunner award to boot.
NU PEP SQUAD’S FLAWLESS PINOY PRIDE ROUTINE
Ever since the National University Pep Squad got their first championship title in 2013, the Bulldogs never stopped elevating the standards, not just of the UAAP Cheerdance Competition, but of Filipino cheerleading as well. This is very much foregrounded in their 2019 routine where NU Pep Squad really said world-class. In their Sarimanok-inspired performance, the pride of Sampaloc casually and breezily presented their spot-on choreography, satisfying synchronicity, and death-defying stunts, which made them clinch the Season 82 crown.
ADAMSON PEP SQUAD’S FIRST CHAMPIONSHIP TITLE
Adamson University joined the roster of champions as the Falcons soared to its first championship trophy in UAAP Season 80 Cheerdance Competition after 16 years of being in the league. And what a much-deserved victory as the Adamson Pep Squad gave a spotless and groovy 80s-inspired performance, which ultimately, made the Falcons from being an unsuspecting opponent to a legitimate threat in the competition. Ever since bagging its first cheerdance championship in 2017, the San Marcelino-based squad has consistently been finishing at the top-three podium.
FEU CHEERING SQUAD COMEBACK WIN
Perhaps the most consistent team in the league, the Far Eastern University Cheering Squad has never placed below top five and with 19 trophies so far, ranks second with the most number of UAAP Cheerdance Competition wins. And even amid restrictions and limitations of the previous season, the Tamaraws never lost their triumphant motion, captivating the judges and the audience with their rock’n’roll and Queen-inspired performance and earning their third championship after 16 years. Will the defending champs strike a back-to-back win this weekend?