San Beda University’s rebuilding efforts for its volleyball program is getting a boost with the commitment of Palarong Pambansa gold medalist Patricia Grace Hiponia.
The Silay City native will take her talents to the Mendiola-based squad when she becomes eligible for the NCAA centennial season.
San Beda Lady Red Lions Assistant Coach Ray Anthony Rosales went all the way to Negros Occidental to recruit the Bacolod Tay Tung High School (BTTHS) setter.
“Wala ko nag-expect nga kadtuan gid ko ni Coach Ray, nga storyahon gid ko sa Silay with my mother kay layo mo. Nag-travel gid sila para i-explain ang tanan-tanan,” Hiponia told GMA Regional TV News.
Hiponia was part of the Western Visayas secondary girls volleyball team who snapped powerhouse National Capital Region’s three-peat bid in a come-from-behind five-set victory in August 2023 in Marikina City.
“Ang pina-kamindset lang gid namon, kinanglang gid namon ibaylo ang tanan nga blood, sweat, and tears especially sang pandemic nga wala kami rest. Sige-sige kami training bisan wala kasiguraduhan nga san-o mabalik ang mga leagues,” Hiponia said of their historic win.
The Western Visayas side was composed of players from BTTHS.
In her upcoming rookie season, Hiponia hopes to bring her game to another level and develop familiarity and chemistry with her future teammates.
“Gusto ko lang ma-improve po po yung game ko and makasama ko yung mga teammates ko na mas maging comfortable akong maglaro.
“Determination lang gid namon nga gusto gid namon malab-ot ang gold and as seniors may mabilin man kami na legacy sa amon nga school,” she added.
Asked what the Bedan community can expect from her, the proud Negrense only has a short but meaningful answer.
“I will play every game as a championship game,” she said.
She will join fellow Negrenses Sophie Cagalawan, Gwen Bañas, and Amber Lily Biong in the Red Lions’ den.
In the last season, San Beda finished ninth with a gloomy 1-8 win-loss record.
The school tapped Edgar Barroga to spearhead the women’s volleyball program ahead of the NCAA Season 99.