It was the Christmas break of 2016 and Jam Lorenzo was at home. Like most people on vacation, Adamson’s Pep Squad head coach was lounging and trying to pass the free time.
Adamson and Lorenzo, a Pep Squad alumnus himself, just came off a historic win that previous November at the 2016 UAAP Cheerdance Competition by capturing the bronze medal and breaking a 15-year podium finish drought. Fueled by the victory and the doubts surrounding it, Lorenzo was quick to prepare for 2017’s edition of the competition. As early as 2016, he already had a slight feel for what Adamson’s theme was going to be.
“Last year, ‘di agad agad e, pero last year (pa) nung naisip ko na ‘yung mag-retro,” shared Lorenzo. “Una sa lahat ‘di naman mabubuo yung routine without a theme, kailangan mo ng source of inspiration. So ang source of inspiration ko is Original Pinoy Music and sobrang inspired ako kasi gustong-gusto ko gumamit ng 80’s na music.”
Even with the creative foundations for his routine already set though, during that holiday break, the Pep Squad mentor was still at a standstill on the specifics of their performance. For Lorenzo, a theme was crucial, especially to him and his squad.
As he puts it, “It’s not just about how intense, how serious your theme is, it’s about how you win the hearts of the people. ‘Yun ‘yung pinaka-goal and pinaka-motto ng Adamson– to win hearts.”
And so, Lorenzo, on a mental block, tried to pass the duration of that season but at the same time was looking for ideas. “Christmas break ‘yun so hilata lang sa bahay, rest lang talaga. Pero ayun, nagpla-planning na ako that time.”
“I waited for some signs,” he shared.
And then, one afternoon, something peaked his interest. “Nag-umpisa ‘yun nung nanunuod ako ng Eat Bulaga,” shared Lorenzo.
The noon-time variety show sparked his creative juices not only because of its throwback segments but also because how its core cast of Vic Sotto, Joey De Leon and Tito Sotto made up one of the 80’s era’s most iconic music groups: VST & Co.
“Nung mga time na ‘yun nag-hanap ako ng pwede kong gamitin na music and sobrang daming signs. And ‘yung signs na ‘yun VST.” Lorenzo said. “And then, pag tuwing nagbro-browse ako sa feed sa FB talgang puro retro, puro ganon and then sabi ko why not ‘yung VST nalang. Total very iconic siya sa Philippines and kilalang-kilala and pianaka-sure ako na makakar-elate talaga lahat and mapapa-groove talaga lahat.”
“Mapa-bata mapa-matanda alam ‘yung kantahan nila e. So ‘yun dun ako nagstart.” Lorenzo said.
From there, it was off to the practice mats for Lorenzo and his squad. It was not a walk in the park either as majority of the team were new to the lineup.
“Madaming gumraduate last year then siyempre kailangan mong i-mold ‘yung mga natirang Team B tsaka kailangan mong magpa-tryout ng mga bago,” Lorenzo said. “Kalahati talaga ng team this year was newbies. Talagang hinulma namin sila e and ang pinaka-top of the goal was higitan yung routine last year.”
Fast forward a year later, the goal of surpassing last year’s routine was greatly exceeded. Lorenzo, still teary-eyed moments after his squad was crowned as champions of the 2017 UAAP Cheerdance Competition, recalled what he felt during the announcement.
“Speechless talaga. Lumuhod talaga ako dun sa side ng Adamson crowd. Sabi ko, ‘Lord nana-naginip ba ako? Gisingin mo ako.’ Tapos umiiyak talaga ako, humahagulgol ako, kasi sinisigaw ng buong crowd, ‘Adamson!'” he said of how the team captured the hearts of the Mall of Asia arena crowd. “Talagang ine-expect lang talaga namin is mabuo yung routine.”
Now, with the dust settled, Lorenzo is back again to a familiar setting; he’s back to the drawing board for next season’s edition of the competition. As for his preparations, Lorenzo says,”We’ll work hard for more, papatunayan namin na hindi tsamba ‘yung championship and papatunayan naming kung ano ‘yung talent meron ang mga Adamsonian.”
And, with the Christmas break coming soon, the Adamson community is hoping that Jam Lorenzo birth’s another masterful idea for the Adamson Pep Squad.