New Normal UAAP Cheerdance: 15 participants, 3-minute performance

File-2019 UAAP Cheerdance Competition.  Photo by Tristan Tamayo /

File —2019 UAAP Cheerdance Contest. Photo by Tristan Tamayo /

MANILA, Philippines – The UAAP Cheerdance Competition is finally back in action for the first time in this pandemic on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

But the Midseason Extravaganza offers a unique setup to come back after three years.

All eight schools will have only 15 participants, in contrast to last season’s 25-member composition, and each team will have a three-minute performance, reducing the previous six-minute show due to long trimming.

“These kids haven’t competed for two years. We can’t force them to do all the stunts and tumbling. We need to consider their body conditioning, (their limited) preparation and even their mental state, “said Gigi Camus, chair of UAAP’s special event at a press conference on Wednesday.

Cheerleaders and fans may also miss the drum beat, but the UAAP board will hold a meeting on the joint application of all school drums.

National University Pep Squad coach Ghika Bernabe, who has ruled six of the last seven seasons, admits it is difficult to adapt to the new-normal competition.

“We have no choice, we have to adjust,” said Bernabe in Filipino language. “When we started face-to-face training last February, we trained twice. It is difficult to regain their stamina but I think we are physically, mentally and emotionally ready for the upcoming competition. “

“Limiting performance to three minutes is a blessing in disguise. Because of the situation, it is really difficult to bring these kids back to their peak, ”he added.

Adamson Pep Squad coach Jam Lorenzo, who won the cheerleader crown in 2017, has made the most of their unique preparation even during the epidemic.

“My main goal was to keep the cheerleaders going. Because it is difficult to train your cheerleaders when they gain weight. I have also focused on their mental health as they have been adjusting to the absence of competition for two years, “said Lorenzo. “Two years was enough for us to prepare.”

Atenio Blue Eagles, formerly Babel Battalion, will be the first squad to perform, followed by defending champion NU Pep Squad, University of the Philippines Pep Squad, back-to-back runner-up for Eastern University Cheering Squad, Adamson Pep Squad, , The University of East Pep Squad and the University of Santo Thomas Salingaui Dance Troupe, which has been ranked fourth in the last two seasons.

The champion will bring home a Php 50,000 cash prize. Runner-up will get 30,000 Php, and third place will get Php 20,000.

The panel of judges for the Season 84 Cheerdance Competition will be led by Chief Justice Paula de Lana-Nunag, a Level 2 International Cheer Union-recognized judge and National Director of the National Cheerleading Championship (NCC).

NCC Instructor and Judge Carla Rosales-Torres Technical Judge, the other judges are led by Lemuel Ebeo Jr. (stunt), Patricia Bianca Valencia (Toses), Michael Paul Bustamante (Pyramid), Chester Carlos (Tamboling), for Chester Carlos (Tumbling), Nash Wilson Wong and Ida Ramos.

Cheerdance tickets will be available online at 10 a.m. Friday through all SM ticket outlets, Eastwood Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall Concierge, SM Mall of Asia Arena Coral Ticket Booth and

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