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UP Pep Squad dominates 2013 PNG Cheerleading Competition

Cheerdance group

(May 31) — After ranking among the best in Asia in the recent Cheerleading Asia International Open Championships in Tokyo, Japan, the UP Varsity Pep Squad (UP Pep) once again displayed its virtuosity on the floor by winning the top awards in all the categories it joined in the 2013 Philippine National Games (PNG) Cheerleading Competition at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex on May 26.

The UP Pep, an eight-time UAAP Cheerdance Competition champion, bagged the gold medals in the cheerdance, mixed group stunts, mixed team cheer, and partner stunts categories.

Mixed group stunts

In the cheerdance category, the UP Pep bested the University of Santo Tomas (UST) and Miriam College, which placed second and third, respectively. UP Pep Squad’s cheerdance team was composed of Nicolette Ambulo, Marielle Barraza, Chelsea Cacho, Aya Casim, Sarah Esguerra, Noelynne Figueroa, Lara Limjap, Lian Melegrito, Ella Mendoza, Audrey Muñoz, Nesza Salvador, Trixie Segundo, Abby Tuazon and Zsarinah Yu.

Meanwhile, the team of Kiko Cortez, Nil Patrick Costales, Christian Gorgonia, Lara Limjap and Nesza Salvador, took the crown in the mixed group stunts category by beating UST and Centro Escolastica University (CEU).

UP Pep also topped the mixed team cheer category. The team was composed of Marielle Barraza, Louie Castro, Kiko Cortez, Nil Patrick Costales, Noelynne Figueroa, Meliton Gerona, Christian Gorgonia, Bien Insigne, Lara Limjap, Audrey Muñoz, Pio Niño Opinaldo, Nesza Salvador, Raymond Santos, Leo Segundo, Trixie Segundo, and Carlos Soriano. CEU placed second while Lyceum of the Philippines took the third place.

Mixed team cheers

The duo of Marielle Barraza and Louie Castro, with Carlos Soriano as spotter, captured the gold in the partner stunts category, with the Zamboanga Red Bombers and Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) coming in as second and third place, respectively.

Other than the four categories won by the UP Pep, there were four other categories for the taking in the 2013 PNG Cheerleading Competition. These were: all female group stunts, all female team cheer, all male group stunts, and team acrobatics.

An annual competition organized by the Philippine Olympic Committee and the Philippine Sports Commission, the PNG aims to “assess the expanse of athletic potentials as by-product of national programs, serve as the ultimate challenge grounds to bring out the best of the national crop and the emerging ones, and finally, serve as the final ‘ranking and selection ground’ for possible composition of the national pool, and from which the team for future international competitions.”

Partner stunts

This year, two cheerdance clubs and 16 schools participated in the competition. The clubs were Rhufa’s Army and Zamboanga Red Bombers.  The schools included Ateneo De Manila University, CEU, Emilio Aguinaldo College, Letran College, Lyceum of the Philippines, Miriam College, Miriam High School, Philippine Normal University, Philippine Women’s University, PUP, Saint Scholastica College Manila, San Beda College Alabang, Santa Elena High School (Marikina), UP Diliman, UST and Saint Pedro Poveda.

The UP Pep first participated in the PNG Cheerleading Competition in Bacolod in 2011 and swept all the three competition events. The Squad’s winning performance earned it the right to represent the country in the 6th World Cheerleading Championships held in Hong Kong on November 26 to 27, 2011, where it placed third in the cheer mixed category.

Coaching the UP Pep is Prof. Lalaine Juarez-Pereña of the College of Human Kinetics, with the tandem assistance of Niño Jose Antonio and Pio Niño Opinaldo. — ACG

Photo credit: Prof. Eloi Hernandez