MVP Baron played for teammates, Lasallian community – not to prove self

Alyssa Rola
MVP Baron played for teammates, Lasallian community – not to prove self
For Baron, the MVP plum was an additional reward for the amazing season that was

MANILA, Philippines – Chants of “MVP” reverberated around the Big Dome as Mary Joy Baron prepared to serve the ball for championship point. Her team’s rivals, the Ateneo Lady Eagles, then set up a kill for the high-flying Jhoana Maraguinot from the other side. 

But as the ball flew out, De La Salle University Lady Spikers head coach Ramil de Jesus rushed to the court and joined the Taft crew in celebration of winning their 5th championship in 7 years, and their 10th title in the UAAP.  

Tears were shed as the Lady Spikers exchanged embraces, knowing that their patience, hard work, and resiliency all paid off in the end.

Most importantly, they were able to hand their “KAFtain,” setter and skipper Kim Fajardo, the rightful exit she deserved after 5 fruitful years of serving – in all aspects-for La Salle. 

“Sobrang saya po, kasi nabigay namin kay Ate Kim [Fajardo] ‘yung deserve niya na exit,” shared the Season 79 MVP Baron. “Sobrang memorable and sobrang saya ko talaga. Masaya rin kami for Coach [Ramil], and sa lahat ng teammates ko na hardworking po.” 

(We’re really happy because we were able to give Ate Kim the exit she deserves. It was really memorable and I’m really happy. We’re also happy for Coach, and for all my hardworking teammates.) 

“This finals, pinakita po namin kung sino talaga ‘yung team namin. And for Ate Kim din po kaya naglaro kami nang maayos.” 

(This finals, we showed who we really are as a team. And this one’s for Ate Kim, that’s why we played with all we’ve got.) 

For Baron, the MVP plum was an additional reward for the amazing season that was. Speaking to the media the day she received both her personal trophy and the team’s championship, the Tarlac native admitted that she too was surprised to hear the announcement of her achievement. 

“Surprised din po ako,” said Baron as she stepped away from the dugout to talk to reporters. “I feel blessed na nakuha ko ‘yung award na ‘to.” 

“Sobrang saya po siyempre, hindi naman ako forever na nasa La Salle. In the future, makikita po ‘yung pangalan ko sa history. And that’s very overwhelming.” 

(I was also surprised, I feel blessed that I got this award. I’m really happy of course, since I won’t be in La Salle forever. In the future, people will see my name in [UAAP] history, and that’s very overwhelming.) 

She may not be the highest point-getter or have the most animated personality on court, but Baron’s presence in the middle proved to go a long way for La Salle as she stood her ground against the league’s elite blockers. 

That doesn’t mean, however, that everyone warmed up to the idea of her winning the MVP crown. 

“Gaya po ng sabi ko, nire-respect ko naman po ‘yung opinyon ng mga tao,” said the middle blocker. “Iniisip ko na lang po na mas marami ‘yung mga masaya na nakuha ko ‘to (MVP) kesa ‘yung mga hindi masaya.” 

(Like what I said before, I respect everyone’s opinions. I just try to think that more people are happy that I got this award.) 

Did the coveted individual title put a little bit of pressure on her, playing in Game 2? 

It didn’t seem likely, as Baron felt she had no need to prove herself to spectators or to get everyone’s approval.

Instead, the back-to-back UAAP champion directed her focus to the things that mattered – playing her heart out for La Salle and retaining the title for her “Ate Kim.” 

“Wala naman po akong kailangang i-prove,” noted Baron, who contributed 10 markers in the Lady Spikers’ title-clincher. “Naglalaro [lang] po ako para sa teammates ko, para sa buong Lasallian community, and para po sa coach ko.” 

“Sila po ‘yung mga taong nag-ma-matter sa akin. Inaalis ko na lang po ‘yung mga negative sides.” 

(I don’t need to prove anything. I just play for my teammates, for the whole Lasallian community, for my coach. Those are the people who matter to me. I just try to ignore the negative sides.)

Her mentor De Jesus also took time to congratulate his ward.

“Lagi ko namang sinasabi sa kanila na give your 100%,” said De Jesus. Siguro reward na lang ‘yun (MVP), bonus na lang ‘yun. Happy ako para sa kanya.” 

(I always tell them to just give their 100%. Getting named MVP was just a reward, a bonus. I’m happy for her.) –

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