MANILA, Philippines — Imee Hernandez is forgoing her remaining playing years in the UAAP with University of Santo Tomas and opted to turn professional.
The Tigresses’ middle blocker on Thursday made a surprising announcement on Instagram that she will enter the next chapter of her volleyball career.
“Now that I am done with my studies, with you (UST community) by my side, I am more than ready to face the bigger challenges that lie ahead as I continue to pursue my passion for the game of volleyball on a grander stage and under brighter lights. I have decided to go professional,” wrote Hernandez.
The 22-year-old student-athlete has at least two playing years remaining before she decided to take her act to the Premier Volleyball League but didn’t disclose her club team.
Hernandez expressed her unending gratitude to the UST community after playing volleyball from high school to college.
“It seems like only yesterday when a skinny little girl from Baliwag came to España, Manila, filled with uncertainty and excitement. But that was way back in 2014. My knowledge of the game, which eventually changed the course of my life, was very simple. I had nothing to offer, yet you embraced me without hesitation. You saw in me the potential I never recognized,” Hernandez said.
“This community believed in me, and because of your unwavering love and support throughout the years, I reached new heights and achieved many personal goals,” she added.
The 5-foot-10 middle blocker started her collegiate career in 2020 but the Season 82 was wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic after four playdates.
Hernandez made two semifinal appearances as the Tigresses clinched the third seed in Season 84 last year but lost to the No.4 Ateneo team in the stepladder round.
Hernandez unleashed her best collegiate season this year, including a career-high 24 points against Ateneo last April.
But UST was eliminated by the twice-to-beat and eventual champion La Salle in the Final Four.
UST will lose the senior middle blocker along with graduating spiker Milena Alessandrini. Star Eya Laure has yet to announce her decision whether she will return or turn pro.
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