Retired PBA star Vince Hizon is one of the most recognizable faces in Barangay Ginebra's club history.
Recalling the days before turning pro, Hizon said he first encountered the team he would be forever associated with during a practice session he attended at PhilSports Arena in Pasig.
He was still in university then.
"I was in Ateneo and Dodot (Jaworski) was my (Blue Eagles) teammate, we're joining one of the practices that (Ginebra) had," Hizon said in an interview on "The Link" podcast.
"They said, 'Hey, do you want to join us in the scrimmage?' I said, 'Sure.' I'd never forget, I got the ball on the left side, I remember Macky de Joya guarding me, so I went down the middle," he recounted.
There, Hizon was met by Ginebra's 6-foot-5 enforcer Sonny Cabatu and one of the Loyzaga brothers, who slammed him.
"I was sandwiched there. I got up and was like, 'Wow'," he said.
Hizon said at first he felt offended by the hit, but later he understood that was just Ginebra's rough style of play.
"At first parang pikon ako, pero OK lang. I learned that's how it is. And if you're not going to be physical, you're going to have a hard time," he said.
When he eventually played in the PBA, he first suited up for the star-studded Purefoods squad for a year.
He asked to be traded to Ginebra, where he flourished as a versatile scorer and became known as "the Prince."
Hizon made it to the 1997 PBA Mythical First team and won 4 league championships before moving to the Metropolitan Basketball Association.
"It was sort of a homecoming because that's where really I started practicing in the first place. I know it's going to be rugged, so I said let's go," said Hizon, now a team consultant for Blackwater.
For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.