In a dazzling display of athleticism and creativity, the FEU Cheering Squad transported the crowd at the SM Mall of Asia Arena to the whimsical world of Super Mario.
After two years of wait, the star was undeniably back in Morayta as FEU meticulously executed a six-minute routine that left the 18,122 fans inside the venue and the millions watching at home on the edge of their seats en route to winning the UAAP Season 86 Cheerdance Competition on Saturday.
FEU showed its versatility after trekking unfamiliar territory with its video game-inspired performance, far from their previous themes that highlighted pop culture, garnering 702.5 points by topping the categories tumbling, tosses, and pyramids.
“Honestly, hindi ito yung goal namin eh. Ang goal lang talaga namin makabuo and to give justice to Super Mario kasi last year hindi namin nabigyan ng justice si Francis M,” said FEU head coach Randell San Gregorio, recalling their “Man from Manila” routine a year ago.
“This year, ang mindset talaga namin was galingan lang natin then let’s see what happens. Sobrang blessed namin kasi nakuha namin ulit.”
As the performance reached its crescendo, the protagonists like Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Bowser, and Toad embarked on a mesmerizing journey through a Super Mario World-themed routine.
The routine seamlessly blended flips, jumps, and pyramids, mirroring the challenges and excitement of navigating the Mushroom Kingdom while also integrating the universally acclaimed game Mario Kart.
Definitely, FEU raced with second performer National University Pep Squad zooming to an early lead with 697 points before sliding to second place in their first hurrah without decorated mentor Ghicka Bernabe.
NU ruled the stunts department with its high-risk, high-reward performance inspired by the King of Rock and Roll himself, Elvis Presley, with all-time classic “Blue Suede Shoes” closing their act.
“To be honest, it’s sad. Kasi bago kami pumasok sa mats na yan we’re well-prepared talaga,” said first-year NU Pep head coach Gab Bajacan.
UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe, performing last, had its work cut out for them as they danced to K-Pop group Blackpink for 684 points for their second straight bronze finish, swaying to the tune of BOOMBAYAH, DDU-DU DDU-DU, and Kill This Love among others.
The “Gawi” reigned in the dance category but it also had the biggest penalty among the performers with 15.
Morayta’s Cheering Squad also swept the special awards, bagging the Skechers Stylish Performance Team award (P30,000), Yamaha Most Unique Dance Move (P30,000), BYS Best Toss (P30,000), Juicy Cologne Juicy-fied Pyramid (P30,000), and Silka Best Dance Move (P30,000) for a total of P150,000 in cash prize. This was aside from the P100,000 they received from the league and Dunkin’ for being the titleholders
NU and UST won P60,000 and P40,000 from the league and Dunkin’ for being the first and second runner-up, respectively.
Adamson Pep Squad just missed the podium at fourth followed by UP Pep Squad, UE Pep Squad, DLSU Animo Squad, and Ateneo Blue Eagles, in that order.