UST Salinggawi rues penalty-hit performance but still happy with third place

UST Salinggawi UAAP

UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe during the UAAP Cheerdance Competition.–MARLO CUETO/

MANILA, Philippines — University of Santo Tomas Salinggawi Dance Troupe would have won second place if not for its 15-point deduction and penalty in the UAAP Season 86 Cheerdance Competition on Saturday at Mall of Asia Arena. 

But winning the bronze for the second straight year still made coach Mark Chaiwalla proud after saving the best for last in the competition with their performance inspired by K-pop group BLACKPINK.

“Siyempre nandun ‘yung parang ‘sayang,’ pero after that performance, that kind of feeling was really out of the window. What matters at this point for me of course is everyone is safe and seeing them really happy after they performed. And for me as their coach, to be honest, it’s what matters.  That’s what I’ve always been telling them to really get out of the mats standing on their own feet and that they’re really happy,”  said Chaiwalla.  “That 15 points (hurt) again at the time, but again it doesn’t matter as much anymore. We’re really happy that we were able to defend that bronze.”

UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe UAAP Cheerdance

UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe.–MARLO CUETO/

The Salinggawi Dance Troupe had the most deductions and penalties in the tournament but it topped the dance category with 374 points, entertaining the crowd with the music of BLACKPINK.

“We really have very strict dance training. We really focus on technique. Basta hindi namin pinapabayaan. The training for dance is intensive in Salinggawi. It’s also one thing that we see, that we look at when it comes to our athletes – it’s the performance which we evaluate. It’s not just the cheering skills but also the dance skills,” said Chaiwalla. “So for us in Salinggawi, dance is really a very big thing. That’s why you’d see our routines, you can see the dance element is really up there.”

Chaiwalla vows to continue working hard until they earn the school’s elusive ninth crown as it last won a cheerdance title in 2006.

“For sure, we’re really going to work even harder – not just to get a bronze or a silver but to really bring back that title to España,” he said. “At this point, it’s really just gratitude. It was a very tough journey for Salinggawi. The circumstances that they experience throughout Season 86, it was very hard. I actually see their struggles but I am very happy that they fought and they were able to defend their podium finish from last year.”

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