STA. ROSA, Laguna — Majoy Baron put the icing on the cake in the Philippines’ three-set victory over Vietnam, 25-21, 25-23, 25-21, in the ASEAN Grand Prix on Friday at Sta. Rosa Sports Complex.
Already ahead by two sets, the 23-year-old middle gave the Philippines a 20-17 lead after she scored on a drop ball, staring down Vietnam libero Le Thi Yen before making a fierce model-like strut to the delight of the jampacked arena.
Out of the 2,500 volleyball fans who trooped the venue, it was team captain Aby Maraño who was the happiest about Baron’s spur-of-the-moment play.
“Actually naisip ko siya before ko siya gawin," said the multi-awarded middle blocker. "Parang feeling ko makakapuntos ako kung ida-drop ko sa gilid kasi nakita ko ‘yung libero hindi siya nakasaksak doon sa area. So nung nagawa ko siya tuwang-tuwa ako.
“Tapos nakita ko si Tyang [Aby] nagse-celebrate sa labas [ng court], so naisip ko na ‘Shocks parang signature [swag] ni Tyang ‘yun ah!’ Kaya natawa lang din ako. Parang proud mama si Tyang.”
Turning serious, Baron, who had nine points from four attacks, three blocks and two service aces, shared that their main goal was to execute a much-better performance.
It was an easier match this time unlike their match in the first leg in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand two weeks ago, where the Philippines had to survive Vietnam in five sets.
“Actually pinaghandaan talaga namin ang Vietnam, may mga strategy kaming ginawa, pinanood namin ‘yung mga games namin sa Leg One so mas nakita namin ‘yung mga kailangan i-improve [sa team namin] and ‘yung mga set play nila so mas naging effective ‘yung blocking namin,” said Baron.
“'Yun din naman talaga ang game plan eh [dominate blocking], kung hindi mo makuha sa taas, sa floor defense mo kunin,” added the Leg One best middle blocker.
It was a good start for the Philippines, which goes up against powerhouse Thailand on Saturday.