Pablo spent four years in a convent

ABS-CBN Sports on Jul 22, 2016 12:55 AM
Pablo spent four years in a convent
Myla Pablo bestows the sweetest of kisses on her MVP trophy.

Every time Myla Pablo, 22, receives an award, there’s one person she profusely and reverently thanks in her heart.    

He’s none other than Fr. Ricky Barayoga, the parish priest in her hometown of Gerona, Tarlac, who adopted her in the town convent in all her four years in high school and who later brought her to National University, where her volleyball career started to blossom.   

On TV interviews she may not mention Fr. Barayoga among the litany of persons she publicly thanks for what she has become, but the priest, who occupies a special place  in her heart, is the first person besides her family she remembers each time she accepts an award.

Like recently when she was picked 2nd Best Spiker and finals MVP in the Shakey’s V-League Season 13-Open Conference at Philsports Arena in Pasig.

“I spent my high school years in our town convent under the spiritual guidance of Fr. Ricky,” disclosed Pablo moments after Pocari Sweat beat Philippine Air Force, 29-27, 18-25, 25-21, 25-19. “After graduation he saw to it that I would finish college. He recommended me to NU for a place on its varsity squad. I was taken in and given full athletic scholarships.”      

Pablo, a daughter of a restaurant cook, hopes to finish her marketing studies this school year. Whenever she visits home she would always drop by first at the town convent to see the man in cloth responsible, she says, for her humble ways and ‘manang’ looks.

“Fr. Ricky taught me to be humble at all times, not to gloat over someone else’s misfortunes. He’d tell me now and then while living with him in the convent to always aspire to be beautiful inside that flashy clothes do not make a woman.”

That should explain why this quiet, beautiful woman, who metamorphoses into a virago on the court, goes for simple clothes and abhors too much makeup. And she won’t be caught dead bad-mouthing or staring down at an opponent, much less behaving scandalously.

Once in a while, though, Pablo lets her hair down. In the euphoria over Pocari Sweat’s title triumph last Monday, she pumped her fist, repeatedly jumped in joy, then embraced everyone who came near her on the floor, male or female, friend, acquaintance, or not.      

Myla Pablo may not be as popular as the other few volleyball players hereabouts, but those who know their volleyball like the palms of their hands are one in saying that she is either the country’s No. 1 or No. 2 spiker now. 

Take your pick.



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