From the past and into the future, one team proved they are light years away from the competition.
The three-time defending champions National University Pep Squad dominated the seven-team field by a huge margin to win their fourth straight title at the packed SMART-Araneta Coliseum, Saturday afternoon.
NU lorded it over in two of the gymnastics or cheer skills, getting 711 points total. The Bustillos squad clinched top scores in tumbling with 89 and stunts with 87 markers. They also polished their choreography to lead the competition with 370 points.
NU Pep head coach Ghicka Bernabe had instilled in her team that, first and foremost, a clean run is important.
“Itong competition na ito sinabi ko sa mga members ko just i-polish the routines, make it perfect and everything will follow,” she said. “I don’t pray for a four-peat championship, just told them make it polish, smooth and safe para sa safety ng mga estudyante ko.
“Aanhin ko pa championship na isang member ko nasa ospital. I just prayed for a very smooth and safe routine.”
The Far Eastern University Cheering Squad amazed the crowd with a Broadway-themed show to finish as runners-up. The podium returnees banked on their solid tosses, which garnered points to claim the silver trophy this season.
FEU scored 84 from this element, and got respectable scores in tumbling with 82 and pyramids with 83.5.
The Adamson University Pep Squad stunned the crowd with an energetic Polynesian-inspired routine to cop third place with points. The San Marcelino squad returned to the podium after 15 years, when they had ended up as runners-up to the University of the Philippines Pep Squad.
Adamson leaned on their dance to end the drought, getting second-best 353 points. However, their 64.5 markers in tumbling doomed the surprise third placers.
Adamson Pep team captain Carlo Estellita shared that they would work on it for next year.
“I-improve pa po namin yung mga kulang namin, yung mga dapat pa pong i-improve,” he said.
Season hosts University of Santo Tomas Salinggawi Dance Troupe finished in fourth with 650 points, closely followed by University of the East Pep Squad with 645.
The De La Salle University Animo Squad and the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Babble Battalion rounded up the order of finish with 560 and 512 points, respectively.
In the Group Stunts competition, the Bulldogs also claimed gold. UST and FEU rounded up the podium in the category.
The now four-time champions NU also swept the special awards Yamaha Best Toss and Jollibee Over the Top Pyramid.