UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas' Imee Hernandez has decided to forgo her remaining years of eligibility in the UAAP to play in the professional ranks.
In a heartfelt post on Instagram on Thursday, the middle blocker bid UST goodbye and expressed her gratitude to the Thomasian community whom she played for since high school.
"UST community, you have been with me through all the battles and I am forever grateful. Now that I am done with my studies, with you 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," she wrote.
"I feel it in my heart that I must take this step for my own growth not just as an athlete, but as an individual."
The 2019 PVL Collegiate Conference's 2nd Best Middle Blocker's much-awaited debut for the Golden Tigresses was cut short after UAAP Season 82 was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hernandez continued to play for UST in Seasons 84 and 85, where the squad finished at fourth place.
In what turned out to be her final season for the Golden Tigresses, Hernandez averaged 11.35 points per game during the elimination round and scored 12 markers on nine attacks, two blocks and an ace in UST's four-set semifinal loss to eventual champion De La Salle.
Although Hernandez remained mum on which pro team she intends to join, she is expected to debut in the upcoming 2023 PVL Invitational Conference slated on June 29.