Now that his stint with UST has come to a close, Ramon Pagaduan IV is taking the helm for the DLSU Animo Squad anew in time for UAAP Season 80, in the hopes of bringing a cheerdance title to Taft. The new head coach of the Animo Squad talks about his transfer and his ambitions for a championship this upcoming season.
Timeline of success
With around 20 years of coaching experience, Pagaduan has had his share of awards. As the main choreographer for the UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe from 2012 until recently, he led the Thomasians to second and third-place finishes in 2015 and 2014, respectively.
Alongside coaching collegiate teams, he has also been the head coach of the St. Paul College Pasig (SPCP) Pep Varsity for 10 years. Just last February, Pagaduan and the SPCP Pep achieved an impressive fourth consecutive title in the Women’s National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (WNCAA) high school division.
In addition, he was also part of the coaching staff for the Team Pilipinas All Girls Elite. The Philippines has been marking its place in the International Cheer Union World Cheerleading Championships as it placed third in 2014, and second in 2015.
Working with the Animo Squad
Having to juggle all the teams he is handling, Pagaduan tries his best to manage what he has on his plate. “Okay naman yung management [of both teams], pero usually malalate ako dito [La Salle] kasi galing pa ako [sa] St. Paul, and it takes me one hour to [come] here [to Taft]. Pero there are days naman na nandito ako ng maaga,” Pagaduan explains.
(It’s okay managing both teams, but usually, I’ll be late for training in La Salle because I’ll be coming from St. Paul and it takes me one hour to come to Taft. Although on some days, I’m early.)
He explains that he no longer renewed his contract with UST and coincidentally, an opportunity to work with the Animo Squad arose. Nonetheless, even before transferring to UST, he was the Green-and-White’s first pep squad coach and had already gained UAAP coaching experience.
However, a series of unfortunate events took place in a routine performed in the cheerdance competition back in 2007 that resulted in his withdrawal from DLSU. He shares, “It was a command responsibility kind of thing, so that’s why I wasn’t renewed.”
Ultimately, Pagaduan said that ideally, there should not be a difference in the way he handles the Salinggawi and the Animo Squad. Though he mentions that the process of recruitment of both schools are different, their standing is separately distinct from each other.
“Pero kasi magkaiba sila ng situation ng Salinggawi sa Animo Squad. Dito kasi, walang talagang recruitment, sa UST kasi kahit papano meron, parang may screening. Dito kasi basta able and wants to join the Animo Squad, okay lang,” he explains.
(The situation of Salinggawi is different from that of the Animo Squad. Here, there’s no recruitment while in UST, there is a screening process. Here, as long they’re able and are willing to join, it’s okay.)
Coaching techniques and strategies
When coaching in cheerdance, Pagaduan seeks to be fair to all members and utilizes the team’s strengths to its advantage. “Tapos pagdating sa routine, I just concentrate on what I have, then from there, I try to concentrate on the highest point that we can get,” he mentions.
The Animo Squad has not been attaining favorable results, having consistently placed sixth place overall for the past three UAAP seasons, and an approach that Pagaduan will focus on is getting the dance elements right to hit the needed criterion. He explains, “Yung mga routine kasi ngayon, dapat balance siya, so hindi ka pwepwede talagang magconcetrate sa isang lugar. Although half of the score is on dance, siguro, yun yung alam nila sa dance, dadagdagan ko.”
(Routines now have to be balanced so you can’t concentrate on one category, although, half the score is on dance so I will add to whatever they know about dance.)
With Pagaduan back at the helm, a new chapter awaits the Animo Squad come the UAAP Season 80 Cheerdance Competition as the Green-and-White will seek to bring glory to Taft in the latter months of this year. Although he still does not have any recent insights on the upcoming competition itself, he is clearly intent on improving La Salle’s ranking.