SHE was a like The Great Wall at the center of a volleyball court.
Thin and lanky, her height complemented her strength that made her a powerful force in the middle and earned her titles such as Best Blocker and Most Valuable Player in both collegiate and commercial leagues as well as international tournaments held in the country.
Her name is Mary Joy Baron.
Because of her feats, the 24-year-old Baron became the latest Philippine volleyball player to be featured on the website of FIVB, the world volleyball federation, after Jaja Santiago, Cherry Rondina and Marck Espejo.
Silent yet dangerously effective, Baron was also a member of the national women’s team that played in the Asian Games, Southeast Asian Games and the ASEAN Grand Prix where she was twice named as Best Middle Blocker.
In an interview with FIVB.com, Baron said that outside of the court and apart from her exploits in the Philippine scene, there’s also nothing more satisfying than walking down the runway.
Baron confessed that she isn’t satisfied with her volleyball accolades as she has another passion than just being an athlete.
“There was a rush every time I would put on a beautiful designer garment and walk down an elevated ramp in front of an audience. What I enjoyed the most was transforming into a different person that was totally removed from my real self even just for a few minutes,” Baron said.
Baron, who started playing volleyball for Concepcion Catholic School in Concepcion, Tarlac before seeing action for De La Salle University in the UAAP, said it also takes hard work in honing a craft and pursuing a career.
“Before I became a volleyball player, I used to enjoy joining beauty pageants. In the Philippines, beauty pageants are very popular. Miss Universe is our Super Bowl and is one of the major events the Filipinos look forward to every year. Growing up with that energy and enthusiasm, pageants and modeling easily became my first love,” said Baron.
With volleyball tournaments indefinitely out due to the coronavirus pandemic, Baron definitely finds time to practice and pursue her passion and first love. – Ann Encarnacion