(Photo from Letran Official)
After a series of setbacks that hobbled their campaign in the past seasons, the Letran Cheering Squad (formerly known as Lakas Arriba Cheerleading Team) is starting the season on the right track, as members of the team will now be offered additional benefits for this academic year.
“Last year, our athletes only enjoy tuition fee discounts ranging from 50 to 100 percent, nothing more than that,” coach Arnold Villanueva explained. “Matagal na naming proposal ‘yun so we can recruit better athletes. Kasi the previous years, umaasa tayo sa homegrown talents which was a huge handicap as compared with our competitors,” he added.
Through the initiative and efforts of Office of Student and Welfare Development Director Asst. Prof. Catherine Sanchez, the team’s proposal finally materialized. “She made sure that LACT (now LCS), will be given an audience with the Letran management to present our development plan for the team,” Villanueva said, acknowledging Sanchez’ role in the project.
In package one, players who are recruited by the team are entitled to full scholarships, free dormitory, food, shoes, and uniforms. This year, only 10 members will be accommodated for package one. Meanwhile, package two will be given to the rest of the members as it includes tuition fee discounts ranging from 50, 70, and 100 percent. The percentage will be given based on the members’ performance and the coaching staff’s discretion.
From 10 members this year, Villanueva assures that by next year, an additional 15 members will be accommodated in package one. Villanueva believes that through this, Letran will be able to get blue-chip recruits from all over the Philippines.
In fact, the former Adamson Pep Squad mentor started his recruitment program and landed three new members from different parts of the country. “Our recruits this year came from Leyte, Davao, and Lanao del Norte,” he shared. Aside from getting quality members for the team, Villanueva also hopes that through this, Letran will be able to go toe-to-toe against our National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) rivals.
“Few weeks back, we presented our plans to our Academics, Finance, and Athletics heads and we made them realize where the Letran cheer program stands in relation with our NCAA counterparts,” he bared, noting the LCS’s subpar performances in the previous seasons.
“We made them realize that our sport is a progressive sport and the only way to better our chances to climb up the rankings is to get the best athletes available,” he added.
With a full load of help being handed to him and co-mentor Anthony Sinen, the pressure is now on their shoulders to lift the LCS back on the Philippine cheerleading map.
Despite the pressure, Villanueva expects his LCS to be vying for a podium finish in the next season.
(First published on The LANCE's June-July 2018 Issue)