Green gallery: MaJoy Baron proves it’s harder than it looks

For athletes, the grind is true. Although people rarely see it, it exists. After the lights go down, behind the flashes of cameras and with the absence of the wandering eyes of the public, they say the real grind begins. It isn’t easy—in fact, most walk away from it. For the few who embrace it, however, the grind is never fleeting; especially for DLSU Lady Spiker MaJoy Baron, who has come a long way.

Playing for one of the more prestigious volleyball teams in the country while being a student of one of the most renowned universities in the country, Baron is living the dream. Throughout the DLSU Lady Spikers’ campaign towards the championship in UAAP Season 78, she showcased her stifling defense which proved her worthy to be named the league’s Best Blocker.

In the elimination round of the UAAP Season 79 Women’s Volleyball Tournament, Baron recorded a total of 34 blocks and is one of the top players in the category.

One of those blocks was a single-handedly swat against NU Lady Bulldog Jaja Santiago, league leader in spikes, blocks, and service aces, and arguably the UAAP’s most talented individual in the league since the departure of ADMU Lady Eagle Alyssa Valdez. This typifies her skill and prowess defensively.

If one, however, told Baron a few years back that she would get out of her quiet life in her simple town in Tarlac, that she would travel more than 200 kilometers south to study and play, and that she would achieve all that she has achieved now, she would giggle at the thought.


MaJoy Baron - Lance


Harder than it looks

Fate is what brought the Tarlac native to the bustling streets of Manila.

Ayaw ko na mag-volleyball kasi sobrang iksi ng shorts,” Baron initially thought. She disliked the sport and originally wanted to play basketball back in Baguio City National High School. However, when she arrived at the gym to try out for the team, they weren’t there. Baron convinced herself that it was not “meant to be”. Eventually, she got to play volleyball for intramurals in her second year and everything from then on followed.

One might think that she would say how much of a natural she was, how quickly the game embraced her. Baron stood taller than everyone since high school up until the college level, and volleyball seemed to be the perfect sport for her. Despite this, however, things did not come easy.
Mahirap siya. Sobrang wala akong basics tapos ang hina pa ng katawan ko.” Baron was young, and hitting the ball with her hands rather than dribbling was new to her. Her camaraderie with her teammates soon made her stay, however, as she started to enjoy the sport as much as she enjoyed their company.

In due course, they qualified to the Palarong Pambansa where the start of the next chapter was awaiting her.

Baron admits, “‘Di ko alam kung paano nila [the scouts] ako nakita.” As cliché as it may sound, a phone call changed her life. La Salle invited her to train with the Lady Spikers and to study in Taft. Surprised and overwhelmed would be an understatement to describe the feeling Baron had.

One may think that with DLSU going out of its way to grab a player from Baguio, Baron already had a paved path up ahead. She would seemingly click with the team back then instantly, and go on to play alongside the likes of Mika Reyes. However, in her first year in La Salle, she was cut from the team.

Although she was dominant during high school, she went back to zero when she stepped on the 9th floor of the Enrique Razon Sports Center. “Yung first year ko, sobrang hina ng katawan ko, sobrang hirap ako maka-perform.” She continues, saying, “Hirap ako makasabay sa teammates ko, tapos sa mga drills, hirap na hirap ako. Yung endurance ko, sobrang hina, tapos di ko magawa yung mga ginagawa nila.

She was pushed to overhaul her game when she began training with the Lady Spikers. Although she played middle spiker in high school, she struggled in getting decent hits as her timing was drastically off. “Sobrang dami talagang binago,” she reiterates.

Her teammates would help her step by step along the way. Through their example, Baron slowly improved. She drew inspiration from head coach Ramil De Jesus as well throughout her journey. She says, “Siya yung nagturo saakin from the start so parang lahat ng natutunan ko ngayon, kung ano ako ngayon, sakanya ko natutunan.



MaJoy Baron - Renz 2


Taking over the reigns

After the departure of her seniors from last season, all eyes are now on Baron. She thrives on pressure, something which normally breaks others down.

Baron is keen on leading by example to carry her into the latter part of the season. She stresses on putting the team over individual accolades. “Wala akong pakialam sa awards na yan,” she implies. “Gusto ko manalo kami, mas maganda yung ipakita namin as a team.”

It is hard not to notice the level of intensity brought by Baron into games. With every attack she rejects, her opponents receive an unkind stare down, allowing her to make her presence felt. “Kailangan mapakita ko na ‘beast mode’, kailangan ‘beast mode’ tayo.” True enough, the 21-year-old has exemplified her eagerness to propel the team forward.

Things have certainly changed for Baron over the years. The grind of every single training session has taken its toll on her body and will continue to do so. She is continuing her studies while driving her team to back-to-back titles. The girl from Tarlac embraced the grind with open arms and it has greatly repaid her in volumes.

Patrick Quintero

By Patrick Quintero

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