Some cheered for joy, others let out a sigh of relief. On the 27th, at the Sun Hotel in Jeju Island, joys and sorrows were mixed.
The 2023 Korea Volleyball Federation (KOVO) Men’s Asian Quarter Draft was held on the 27th at the Jeju Sun Hotel Ballroom Hall. On the 25th and 26th, after examining the players’ skills, physical condition, and communication skills, the 7 V-League men’s clubs gathered at the draft site to select the final players for the upcoming season. From the moment of the tense ball lottery to the end of the draft, we gathered the little stories that were hidden all over the ballroom hall.
The ‘taste of pecking’ of the lottery that director Kim Sang-woo also acknowledged, the ‘taste of death’ for KB Insurance and Woori Card?
The event started with a random lottery. The method of putting marbles into a machine and randomly drawing a lottery with a button was the same as in the existing foreign player draft or new player draft. However, the number of marbles was different. Unlike the existing method of differentiating the number of marbles in the reverse order of the final ranking of the previous season, in the Asian Quarter Draft, all teams put 10 marbles in a lottery. The odds of first-place luck coming to any team were fair. Thanks to this, the ‘pecking taste’ in the vulgar language was greater than the existing lottery. Director Kim Sang-woo also said, “The taste of pecking is better.”
Officials from the 7 clubs shared various stories about the lottery before the official event began. There was also a story about a dream spot that is always mentioned at each such spot, and there was an official who said that the color of the beads is the same as the color of the club’s symbol, so it seems to be lucky. Coincidentally, this luck worked for Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance. After the full-fledged lottery began, Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance clenched their fists and shouted cheers when their blue bead came out first. Officials from other clubs looked at the table on the side of Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance with eyes full of envy.
On the other hand, there were also teams that felt the ‘taste to die’ rather than the ‘taste to peck’. It was KB Insurance in 6th place and Woori Card in 7th place. Since it was a situation where four or five leading candidates were being selected, most clubs had the idea that ‘it’s not bad if it’s only in the top 5’. For the convenience of the lottery, after completing the selection up to the 3rd place, while the marbles of the 1st to 3rd teams were taken out again, all the other 4 teams eagerly hoped to be in the 5th place. Afterwards, when OK Financial Group was assigned the 4th priority and Hyundai Capital was assigned the 5th priority, the atmosphere at the table on the side of KB Insurance and Woori Card rapidly darkened. Even in the last lottery, where the 6th and 7th ranks had to be covered, there was a ‘laughing’ situation in which the marbles of the two teams were turned away several times.
The moment Korean Air called Espejo, many people were happy
. It was the order of nomination for Korean Air in the third place. Head coach Tommy Tilikayinen took the podium and called out the name of Philippine outside hitter Mark Espejo without much hesitation. Then cheers came out from the tables of the lower ranked teams along with a buzz.
This was because Korean Air’s nomination was a bit unexpected. Bayarsaihan (Mongolia, MB), who was mentioned as a potential first-choice candidate from the time the list of tryout applicants was released, Chai Peichang (Taiwan, MB), the tallest applicant with a height of 203 cm, Issey Ohtake (Japan), a striker with experience in the Japanese national team. , OP), etc., when Korean Air picked Espeho, a golden opportunity opened up for the lower ranked teams. In fact, the three players will be selected for OK Financial Group, Hyundai Capital, and Woori Card, respectively, and all will be able to meet in the V-League next season ㅋㅋㅋ벳.
Of course, no matter how many people were happy at the table of other teams, the person who was the happiest at this moment was definitely Mark Espejo. Espejo said in an interview after the draft, “I was so nervous that my heart felt like it would explode. I didn’t expect Korean Air to pick me because they were the defending champions. I am so honored to have chosen you. I am ready for a new challenge,” he said without hiding his joy. In addition, he said, “The moment I was selected, the first thing that came to my mind was my agent, CEO Jin Yong-joo. It is because of him that I am where I am now.”
Fortunately, announcer Shin Seung-jun, who was Ki-woo, was worried.
After the introduction of the Asian Quarter was finalized, many officials and fans were worried about whether all teams would select players. Concerns have emerged that teams with already strong domestic players or teams that are not satisfied with the level of applicants may not exercise their nomination right. Fortunately, in the women’s draft, which took place before the men’s division, all clubs exercised their nomination rights and 7 players entered the V-League, but there was no guarantee that the men’s division would do the same, so there were still some concerns.
It was not only the federations, clubs, and applicants who worked hard to ensure that the Asian Quarter Draft was successfully completed. KBSN Sports Announcer Shin Seung-joon, who conducted the men’s Asia Quarter Draft, worked hard to ensure that 24 players from distant countries get as many opportunities as possible to achieve their dream of entering the V-League. “I expect all clubs to nominate players,” he continued to throw out nuanced comments, encouraging clubs and managers. Fortunately, the new announcer’s worries were unfounded. Woori Card’s manager Shin Young-chul, who was assigned the 7th rank, was a manager with a high eye for volleyball, so he couldn’t relax until the end. However, as the name of Issey Otake came out of Shin’s mouth, the draft ended with a ‘happy ending’ in which all clubs nominated players in the men’s division as well as in the women’s division.