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Cheerping Cardinals claim fourth spot in NCAA 98 Cheerleading Competition

Article by: Alyanna Ysabelle A. Faustino
Photo by: Angelica Stacy D. de Guzman

Raring to showcase their fierce Mapúan spirit, the Mapúa Cheerping Cardinals (MCC) impressed the crowd with a fiery routine to nab fourth place, amassing a total of 210.5 points in their comeback in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Season 98 Cheerleading Competition, held last April 30, at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum.  

Guided by Coaches Anthony Ombac and Francis Obenario, the Cheerping Cardinals consisted of Team Captain Glenn Patrick M. Ignacio, along with eight other seniors Stacy Valerie P. Alcausin, Angelique D. Café, Zteifany Anne B. Decena, Ross Angelika B. Fernandez, Matalam U. Masbod, Maui P. Mingcay, Mike Gerald V. Ocay, and Mark Jayson O. Thalla. Rookies Gian Louise M. Aggabao, Reginald R. Balajadia, Chazziea Mae R. Bartolome, Kevin Mondejar Buslon, Jerson A. Dadulla, Jimmuel S. Flores, Heinrich Ace C. Fortes, Jodel E. Galvan, Patrick Jake M. Gulle, Divo Jazz R. Joson, Rona A. Masukat, and Celestino Jose V. Quilisadio also joined to complete the roster.

NCAA 98 was the first season that the current team returned to the competition scene following a three-year hiatus. In fact, 12 performers in the ensemble were rookies. Performing second out of 10 participating teams, the 21-man red and gold squad left no stone unturned and gave it their all with only five points short of the podium scores. 

Fresh from the pandemic, it was no secret that the Intramuros-based squad’s preparations were full of ups and downs. In an interview with MCC Team Captain Ignacio, he shared that the rookie-laden team had struggled with training opportunities, maintaining their fitness, and building competition experience amidst the uncertainties of the pandemic. 

However, the hunger and excitement to perform drove the team's persistence throughout the off-season. The Cheerping Cardinals’ routine was sparked by the pursuit to showcase Mapúa’s transition from old to new, symbolizing a fresh start post-pandemic. The troop’s blazing red and gold costumes with the MU insignia made quite the first impression, as they quickly got the crowd going when they hit the hard court. 

To Ignacio, the MCC owed its success to their coaches, alumni, and the Department of Physical Education and Athletics, who have supported the team in every step of the way. “Isa ‘yun sa mga bagay na grateful din yung squad namin, ‘yung support na nararamdaman namin, kaya gusto namin ibalik sa Mapúa kung anuman ‘yung kaya namin maibalik sa kanila, ibabalik namin. ‘Yun ‘yung pinasasalamatan namin sa inyo, sa community,” the Team Captain shared. 

In the aftermath of their feat, the Cheerping Cardinals are hungrier than ever to get back to work and train for the next season. Using their momentum and new-found experience, they expressed their excitement to make a statement. Thankful for the support of the community, Ignacio expressed his utmost gratitude and promised that they will come back stronger, “pinopromise namin sainyo, Mapúan community, na sa bawat laban kasama namin kayo, and sa next season na prineprepare namin is, for sure, magugulat nalang ang lahat,” he emphasized.

Meanwhile, on the upper echelon of the NCAA cheerleading realm, three-time defending champions Arellano University Chiefs Pepsquad completed its four-peat after the competition with 245.5 points, while the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Perpsquad and Colegio de San Juan de Letran Cheering Squad placed second and third with 227.5 and 215.5 points, respectively.  This year, all squads from the 10 NCAA schools participated in the event.
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