Korean Air’s first AQUA player, Espejo, “will bring goodwill and win to the team”
“I think Korean Air is an amazing team and they play smart volleyball.”
Mark Espejo (Philippines) was selected by Korean Air at No. 3 in the first-ever Korean Volleyball Organization (KOVO) 2023 Men’s Asian Quarterfinal. He has experience in the Japanese V.League and has been on the radar of head coach Tommy Tilikainen since he was a player in the Japanese league. He has also been a regular for the Philippines national team since 2015.메이저놀이터
After becoming Korean Air’s first Asian quarterback, Espejo recently told us, “I’m very happy. I can’t wait to play in the V-League. I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time,” he said of his V-League debut.
For Espejo, the V-League was something he wanted to try, so when the Asian Quarter was introduced, he immediately applied. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to try,” said Espejo. Thanks to this year’s Asia Quarter, I was able to do it,” he said.
Espejo touched down on Korean soil at Incheon Airport on March 3, and has been with the team for about two weeks. He’s been with the team for two weeks now. “Everything is so nice and comfortable. Everyone is very supportive. I’m very lucky to be here,” she says.
He does have some concerns. “But with the outside heaters, you have to talk a lot and be loud on the court. I think there will be a language barrier,” she admitted, but she is determined to overcome it, saying, “I’m going to do my best.”
Espejo watched Korean Air play from the stands at the 2023 Gumi Dodram Cup professional volleyball tournament, which lasted 13 days. Despite playing with 10 players due to the absence of the national team, the team finished the preliminary round undefeated and reached the semifinals. “It was an amazing team,” says Espejo, who saw the team play for the first time. They played smart volleyball, and I’m very excited. I can’t wait to play,” she said.
Espejo joins Pepper Savings Bank’s MJ Phillips (USA/Philippines) as two Filipinos competing in Korea this season. I also asked her about volleyball in the Philippines, which is not well known in Korea compared to Japan, China, and Thailand.
“Actually, volleyball in the Philippines is limited to women’s volleyball. There is a professional league for women, but there is only one small league for men. We just love to play volleyball. It’s not just for us. We do it for the fans of men’s volleyball. The fans are crazy in a good way. They always give us good energy. Philippine volleyball isn’t great internationally yet, but we’re doing our best to take it to the next level.”
Korean Air has an abundance of competitive outside hitters, including national team members Jung Seung-seok and Goo Seung-seok, as well as Jung Jung-yong and Lee Jun. Espejo was well aware of this. “It’s probably going to be very tough,” he admitted, “but it’s going to be a healthy competition,” he said.
“I’m going to compete hard with the guys, whether I play or not. Obviously, I want to play, but I want to be a player that helps the team. With this competition, only strong players will be selected to enter the game and help the team win.”
Espejo’s days in the V-League are numbered. Looking forward to the upcoming 2023-2024 season, he clenches his fist in anticipation: “When I get to play, I want to give it my all. I want to help the team win and try to win a fifth title.”
“Thank you for your support, and I can’t wait to see all the Korean Air fans on the court. Please support us until the end and love Korean Air Volleyball,” she concluded.