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When both winners, losers take the stage

by Izel Abanilla

BEHIND that towering feeling of the victors are controversies. It is in any competition. So it is with the Cheerdance competition of the UAAP.

The UAAP Season 85 Cheerdance Competition (CDC) officially takes center stage once again as participating universities battle out death-defying routines for the coveted championship. 

But just like in any industry, the CDC, too, was marred with notable controversies through the years. 

One of these happened in 2015 when fans and supporters peppered social media with posts about the controversial victory of the NU Pep Squad.

Just as many rejoiced, others questioned NU’s win arguing that the UP Pep Squad that finished third place or the UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe who came in second should have been the winner. 

The University of the Philippines argued that there was prejudice in the scoring process. The UAAP CDC however stood firm that the results were valid. 

This year, controversy hit the competition anew following serious accusations against UP Pep Squad coaches over alleged physical and emotional abuse on top of supposed collection of unauthorized fees. 

Former UP Pep Squad head coach Lalaine Perena went under fire for allegedly fining her athletes without UP’s knowledge. 

According to reports, the supposed extortion went as far as Penena allegedly having fined an athlete P150,000 as consequence for missing a 2018 midterm training, cutting off from athletes meal allowances and meddling with the team’s finance streams during non-UAAP competitions. 

Other coaches were involved as well. Perena however denied the allegations but eventually resigned her post. 

Apart from controversial teams and personalities, changes were also introduced to the competition as a result of the league’s adjustments to the pandemic. 

This May, the UAAP CDC returned for the first time since 2019 but with the cheering squads performing shortened routines and fewer personnel. 

The biggest post-pandemic change, however, was the decision to have no live drums allowed in the competitions and teams performing with canned music. 

But as university drummers made a plea via a joint statement from member schools last May 19,  they were allowed to perform again. 

But for today’s competition, the CDC is back to its pre-pandemic format. 

Photo credit: UAAP Manila



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