STA. ROSA, Laguna — Majoy Baron didn't expect to win a Best Blocker Award in the Asean Grand Prix, let alone two.
“Parang deja vu. Nangyari ulit kung ano yung nangyari sa Thailand," said Baron at the end of the second leg of the women's volleyball tournament where host Philippines finished third behind Thailand and Indonesia.
"Syempre, super happy pa rin na na-recognize yung effort,” she added.
The former La Salle standout averaged 12.3 points per game behind a total of 15 kill blocks in the first leg in Thailand and proved it was no fluke in the second leg where she averaged 6.7 points per game.
The 5-foot-11 national player is understandably proud of her twin achievements.
“International (tournament) naman pa rin ito eh, kahit nasa Pilipinas tayo. Masaya kasi nakuha ko dito sa country natin ulit,” said Baron, who was joined in the honor roll by teammate Dawn Macandili (Best Libero).
But more than the individual awards, the former De La Salle star values the lessons the national team picked up in the back-to-back bronze finishes which she's sure will serve them well at the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
Becoming familiar with their regional rivals is also a major plus, she added.
“As long as natuto kami as a team and nakikita naman na may improvement,” Baron said. “Kailangan pa namin mag-training as a team para mas ma-improve pa namin yung mga naging lapses, para mas maging cohesive pa kami as a team.”
“Parang yung feels nung SEA Games parang konti-konti namin nakukuha. Personally, ang gandang exposure na makalaban mo sila preseason kasi hindi ka na magugulat sa kaya nilang gawin. And mas nakikilala mo yung team mo kung ano yung strengths and weaknesses at kung saan kami pwede mag-focus.”
Baron admitted the Filipina Spikers’ lack of preparation and conflicts in schedule weighed them down in the two legs.
“This tournament kasi medyo tight, tapos yung schedule, may mga games na hindi kami kumpleto,” she said. “Siyempre we want sa SEA Games, mas committed ang bawat isa, mas kumpleto kami.”