While the Asian quota was introduced for the first time in Korean professional volleyball, the seven women’s clubs were eager to reinforce their weak positions.

The Korean Volleyball Federation (KOVO) held a non-face-to-face Asian Quarter Draft for women at the Grand Ballroom of the Stanford Hotel in Sangam-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul on the 21st. While most clubs nominated wing strikers such as apposite spikers and outside heaters, IBK Industrial Bank, which obtained the first choice, selected a setter.

The player named by IBK Industrial Bank of Korea is Phonpun Gedpard (30, 173cm), who is captain of the Thailand national team. He debuted as a professional with Nakhon Nonthaburi, which belongs to his home league in the 2009-2010 season, and experienced overseas leagues such as Japan, Poland, and Romania.

Just before the 2022-2023 season, he ate a bowl of rice with Lee Da-young in the Romanian League Rapid Bucharest. Lee Da-young is a player who was expelled from the V-League in 2021 after being named as a perpetrator of school violence along with his twin sister Lee Jae-young.

Ponpun left a strong impression in the 2022 International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) Volleyball Nations League (VNL) Korea match. At that time, a low and fast toss led Thailand to a set score of 3 to 0 victory. For this reason, he applied for this draft and was considered the biggest player early on. 

IBK Industrial Bank manager Kim Ho-cheol, who made a name for himself as a great setter during his active career, pointed it out without hesitation when he received the first nomination. After appointing Phonpun, coach Kim explained, “We needed a player who can attack the fast pattern that our team is pursuing.” 메이저사이트

Since Ponpun has to digest the tight schedule of the national team, voices of concern are emerging as it seems that the time to join the team will be delayed. It is expected that he will join his team from October after completing the schedule of international competitions such as the 2023 Hangzhou Asian Games, which will be held in September.

However, coach Kim calmly said, “I don’t think I need to touch Ponpun much because he has a volleyball he wants to do in his own way.” He added, “Once, (Kim) Ha-kyung does the whole thing until Phonpun joins.”

Ha-gyeong Kim (27, 174cm), the existing main setter, is about to compete with Ponpun. Starting from the 2021-2022 season, the starting position that had been kept for two seasons was at stake.

In November 2021, Kim Ha-kyung suddenly had to fill the vacancy after Cho Song-hwa, who was the main setter, left the team after causing controversy over unauthorized departure and protest. After former head coach Seo Nam-won, who was holding the baton at the time, resigned after taking responsibility for internal conflict, the team showed rapid growth under the guidance of newly appointed head coach Kim. He played an active part in the 2021-2022 season set 3rd (9.94 per set) and the 2022-2023 season set 3rd (10.24 per set).

In the next season, Kim Ha-gyeong was expected to be the starting pitcher, but with the addition of Fontun, competition became inevitable. As such, with the introduction of the Asian Quarter, domestic players who played an active role until last season are no longer certain of their position.

This is expected to have a significant impact on the upcoming rookie draft. Clubs that have reinforced the necessary positions through the Asian quota may not bother to nominate many new players. In the rookie draft of the previous year, 21 players were nominated, the most since 2005 when the V-League was launched, and the nomination rate was 43%, lower than the previous season (44%).

Hyundai E&C, who received the second pick in this draft, chose Wipawi Sitong (24, 174cm) from Thailand to reinforce the outside heater position. This is because Hwang Min-kyung was released as a free agent (FA) and left for IBK Industrial Bank, and Go Ye-rim has to leave for a long time due to knee surgery. 

Subsequently, KGC Ginseng Corporation nominated Indonesia’s Apogee Spiker Megawati Puttywi (24, 185cm) in third place, and Korea Expressway Corporation nominated Thailand’s Apposite Spiker Tanacha Suksot (23, 180cm) in fourth place. 

The youngest team, Pepper Savings Bank, ranked Filipino middle blocker MJ Phillips (28, 182cm) in 5th place, and GS Caltex ranked 6th, catching Indonesian outside hitter Medi Yoku (24, 170cm). Heungkuk Life Insurance had Reina Tokoku (24, 177cm) from Japan, who is capable of both an outside heater and an apositive spiker, in the last 7th place. 

The Asian Quarter, introduced for the first time, aims to enhance international competitiveness and increase the popularity of professional volleyball. There are certainly concerns that domestic players will be deprived of opportunities, but it may be an opportunity to raise the level of the league to the next level. It remains to be seen whether the introduction of the Asian quota system will have a positive effect as intended.

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