AFTER playing two conferences in the Philippine Super Liga (PSL), former Holy Cross of Davao College (HCDC) towering spiker Mary Grace "Shang" Necesario Berte awaits for a brighter future as a professional volleyball player.
The five-foot-ten Berte, who resides at Raphael Castillo Street in Agdao, Davao City, has indeed come a long way since she tested her raw volleyball talent during a High School intramurals at Holy Cross of Davao College (HCDC) at J.P. Laurel Avenue. She was about 13 or 14 years old then.
"Actually, elementary palang gusto nako mudula og volleyball kaya lang wala ko kabalo kinsa pwede duulan, kinsa ang coach i-approach (I wanted to play volleyball since elementary but I did not know who to approach)," she shared during a recent interview in Manila.
She played for her school team during a Davao Association of Catholic Schools (Dacs) Meet where she was discovered by HCDC (Sta. Ana Avenue campus) women's varsity coach Exequiel "Iking" Tomines but the latter had to wait a year later after Berte graduated from High School in 2010.
Berte is the eldest among two children of Gregorio, a former HCDC basketball varsity player and works as a lumber dealer, and Mercedita, a housewife. While she wanted to take Accountancy, she ended up taking Hotel and Restaurant Management (HRM) instead when she decided to join the women's volleyball varsity team upon her father's encouragement.
She first joined summer training of the HCDC women's volleyball varsity team before she saw action in the Davao City Private Schools Athletic Association (Prisaa) Meet in her freshman year. Their team placed third while Jose Maria College (JMC) emerged champion at that time.
But since JMC had the option to beef up their squad, Berte was tapped to reinforce them. She did not disappoint though having helped the city team win the gold in the Southern Mindanao Prisaa Meet. She, however, no longer played in the national championships held in Zamboanga City as her parents did not allow her.
When HCDC withdrew its membership with Prisaa, Berte and her team played in the Dacs Sportsfest then in Ceap Mindanao where she was hailed as best attacker. She also played in the Kadayawan Abreeza Volleyball Tournament.
Berte was recruited to play for the PSL after her college graduation in 2015. Before that, while working at the Department of Public Works and Highways, she formed part of the Davao Optima, composed of former volleyball standouts who are alumni of different colleges and universities, and won the championship of the 2nd Kadayawan Abreeza volleyfest.
She is but one of the very few Dabawenyos who are making a name for themselves in volleyball's pro league.