On Friday afternoon, Gwangju made a bold move by selecting Filipino-American middle blocker MJ Phillips fifth overall in the 2023 KOVO Asian Quota Draft.
This selection made her the lone player from the Philippines to be drafted, and she will now be joining the Korean V-League in pursuit of her lifelong dream.
Phillips expressed her gratitude towards the Peppers for taking a chance on her and stated that she is excited to start the season with her new squad.
"Maraming salamat for picking me. Thank you Peppers family," said the reigning PVL Best Middle Blocker. "I’m just very excited, this has been my dream since I was a little girl so I’m just very excited to start the season and yeah, I hope the Peppers fans are excited as well."
Joining the Korean V-League is a significant move for Phillips, who will be playing against some of the best volleyball players in Asia. The league is considered one of the toughest and most competitive in the region, with a large following of passionate fans.
The selection of Phillips by the Peppers is also a reflection of her skill and potential as a volleyball player. Her dominance as a middle blocker in the PVLearned her the Best Middle Blocker award in the All-Filipino Conference.
Phillips will be facing tough competition in the league, as other teams have also drafted skilled players from across Asia.
Hwaseong IBK went with Thai star Pornpun Guedpard as the number one pick, while Suwon Hyundai and Daejeon KGC picked up Wipawee Srithong and Megawati Pertiwi with the second and third picks, respectively. Indonesia’s Mediol Yoku was selected sixth by the GS Caltex Seoul, while Reina Tokoku of Japan was nabbed by Incheon Heungkuk Life with the last pick.
Despite the tough competition, Phillips is determined to showcase her skills and make an impact in the league. Her selection in the draft is a testament to her hard work and dedication, and she will undoubtedly inspire aspiring volleyball players, especially those from the Philippines.
Phillips of Petro Gazz was the lone player from the Philippines that got selected as Dindin Santiago-Manabat of Akari, F2 Logistics’ Majoy Baron and Iris Tolenada, Mylene Paat of Chery Tiggo, and Creamline’s Jia De Guzman went undrafted.