Outside hitter Mark Espeho (26, 191cm) from the Philippines, wearing a professional volleyball men’s Korean Air uniform, expressed his strong determination.
Espeho was nominated third by Korean Air at the 2023 Korean Volleyball Federation (KOVO) Men’s Asian Quarter Draft held at the Sun Hotel in Jeju on the 27th. Through two practice matches held on the 25th and 26th at Halla Gymnasium in Jeju, Korean Air coach Tommy Tilikhainen made his mark and stepped on the V-League stage.
Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance, which had previously secured the lucky first place nomination, nominated Mongolian Apogee Spiker Eddy (24, 198cm). KEPCO chose Japanese libero Iga Ryohei (29, 171cm) as the second choice.
While the name of Mongolian middle blocker Bayarsaihan (25, 197cm), who was the leading candidate in the first place, was not named, Korean Air won the third place nomination, and coach Tillikainen chose Espeho. Bayarsaihan was nominated by OK Financial Group in fourth place, after Espeho.
It was also an unexpected nomination. Espejo said, “I didn’t really expect Korean Air to be the defending champion. I knew they would pick a libero.”
Then, looking at the star engraved on the Korean Air logo, he expressed his confidence, “It feels heavy, but I think it is a new challenge. I am always ready.” Korean Air has three stars drawn on its logo as it has won the combined championship for the last three seasons in a row.
Regarding the reason for applying for this tryout, he explained, “I like challenges. I wanted to learn through overseas experience and wanted to exercise under pressure.” He continued, “I want to be a tool for volleyball in the Philippines. I want to let people know that there are people who are good at volleyball in the Philippines.”
He has to compete with Jeong Ji-seok (28) and Kwak Seung-seok (35) for a spot as an outside heater. In response, Espeho said, “I am also a national team player. I have to help and compete with the players,” and promised, “I will do my best to help the team.”
I have a special relationship with Jeong Ji-seok. Espeho said, “I met Jeong Ji-seok in Myanmar when I was called up to the 23-year-old national team.” 먹튀검증
Earlier, in the women’s draft, a player from the Philippines was nominated. Middle blocker MJ Phillips (28, 182cm), who will play for Pepper Savings Bank from next season, is the main character. When asked about Phillips, Espejo said, “I know who he is, but I’m not close with him. But I think I’ll get to know him through this opportunity.”
The most popular sport in the Philippines is basketball. Espejo introduced, “Basketball is the most popular, followed by women’s volleyball.” He also first encountered basketball when he was young, but he injured his left hand and switched to volleyball.
Although men’s volleyball is somewhat less popular, Espejo has a firm goal. He expressed his ambition, saying, “I will become an icon of men’s volleyball in the Philippines. I will work hard to develop volleyball.”