Espejo from the ‘basketball powerhouse’ Philippines

농구 강국 필리핀에서 온 에스페호 배구, 너무 재밌더라고요 | 한국경제

Men’s professional volleyball’s Espejo Mark (registered name Espejo-Philippines) is looking to break two barriers in the V-League.

One is to prove his competitiveness as an Asian-quota player, which was introduced for the first time this season, and the other is to change the image of the Philippines as a men’s volleyball backwater.

“I want to be a tool for the development of men’s volleyball in the Philippines,” he said when he was selected by Korean Air with the third overall pick in last April’s draft, “and I want to show that there are people in the Philippines who are good at it.

But the opportunity didn’t come easily.

When the 2023-2024 season opened and Korean Air played 14 matches, he only played in eight and started once.

With main outside hitter Jeong Ji-seok still recovering from injury and Jeong Jung-yong struggling, Espejo seized the opportunity to shine.

In his second career start against Korea on Nov. 13, Espejo scored 19 points (55.56% attack percentage), including four service aces, to help the team snap a three-game losing streak.

She set new personal records for kills, digs, and attack percentage, as well as attack percentage (29.03%), blocks (2), and digs (10).

Espejo, who clinched the match with a service ace at 23-22 in the second set, followed it up with two service points in the third set to take a 10-1 lead.

“I think it’s an opportunity and a privilege,” Espejo said after the match, admitting that she was feeling the pressure of being the first Asian quarterfinalist. I’m going to try to smile and enjoy the match as much as I can and get through it,” he said confidently.

“I didn’t play well in my first start. I told myself that if I get another chance, I’ll do my best.” “Last night, I told myself, ‘I’m going to win today’s match. I’ll be confident,'” he said.

“I was thinking about why it was working in training but not in practice, but today I got my chance and I’m glad it worked out,” he said.

She also shared how she got into volleyball in the Philippines, where basketball is a popular sport.

“I used to play basketball in high school, but I hurt my arm dunking, so I quit,” Espejo said. “In college, I tried to focus on my studies, but then I discovered volleyball and kept winning, so at some point I just kept going. It was so much fun,” he laughs.


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