The Asian quota is a system that allows sports leagues to register additional players with Asian nationality apart from restrictions on foreign players. In the K-League, Asian quotas have already been introduced since 2009, and players from various nationalities such as Japan, China, Australia, and Uzbekistan are active. In 2020, the ‘Southeast Asia Quarter’ was newly established, and players from Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam are also entering the K-League.안전놀이터
In professional basketball, the Asian Quarter was born through an agreement between the KBL and the Japanese B. League in 2020. Last year, Filipino players were also included in the Asian quota, and many Filipino players with good athletic ability and excellent skills are playing an active role on the KBL stage. Lands Armando of KGC Ginseng Corporation, who won the dunk contest last season and recorded 0.90 blocked shots per game (4th place) despite being a 188cm guard, became a sensation.
In the first V-League Asia Quarter Draft held in April, all 14 clubs in the men’s and women’s divisions selected players. Many volleyball fans expect the Asian Quarter players to breathe new life into the V-League, but they agree that it will take at least one to two years for these players to play an active role in the league. However, while spending the off-season, various variables arose for domestic players, and accordingly, the role of Asian quarter players in each club is gradually increasing.
Thailand national team setter, IBK strikers lead
▲ Thai national team starter Ponpun, who bullied Korea in international competitions, is expected to play in the V-League wearing the IBK uniform for the new season.
ⓒ International Volleyball Federation
Unlike the foreign player draft and the rookie draft, in the Asian Quarter Draft, where all clubs decided their order with equal probability, the club that won first place in the women’s division was IBK Industrial Bank Altos. Director Kim Ho-chul of Industrial Bank of Korea nominated Thai national setter Phonpun Gedpard, who was called the biggest player of this Asian quota, without the slightest hesitation. Ponpun is a veteran setter resource with rich experience in overseas leagues, playing not only in Thailand but also in Japan, Poland, and Romania.
After appointing Phonpun, head coach Kim Ho-cheol announced that he would be a player suitable for the low and fast volleyball that IBK pursues, and expressed his intention to use Phonpun as the IBK’s main setter. Industrial Bank of Korea has an existing setter Kim Ha-gyeong, but as backup setter Lee Jin (Daegu City Hall) moved to the unemployment team, setter resources are somewhat weakened. If Ponpun, who was active as Thailand’s main setter in last year’s and this year’s VNL tournament and harassed Korea, is active as IBK’s field commander, IBK can expect a large power increase effect.
Hyundai Engineering & Construction Hillstate, which won the second place in the Asian Quarter Draft, failed to advance to the championship by losing to Korea Expressway Corporation High Pass in the playoffs even after taking second place in the regular league for the 2022-2023 season. And after the season ended, Hwang Min-kyung “Minky” (Ipbank) obtained FA status and left the team, and Go Ye-rim underwent knee surgery after the season. Appointing outside hitter Kim Joo-hyang as a compensation player for Hwang Min-gyeong was also a preparation for the weakening of the outside hitter position.
In response, Hyundai E&C used the second-place nomination in the Asian Quarter to nominate Wipawi Sitong, an outside hitter from Thailand. Wipawi, who also participated in the cup competition held in Boryeong as a member of the Thai allied team in 2018, played as the Thai national team in this VNL competition and scored 50 points in 12 games. In particular, he has shown excellent offensive power, scoring 18 points in the game against Canada, so if his serve-receive is not greatly shaken, he is highly likely to play an active role as Hyundai Engineering & Construction’s main outside hitter along with Jung Ji-yoon.
The team that made the most unexpected choice was Ginseng Corporation, which had the 3rd place nomination. Ginseng Corporation nominated Indonesia’s Megawatti Puttywi, not the Thai or Japanese players familiar to Korea. Standing 185cm tall, Apogee Spiker Puttywe participated in the Southeast Asian Games as Indonesia’s representative last May and defeated the Philippines in the 3rd and 4th place matches, contributing to Indonesia’s bronze medal win. Of course, Ginseng Corporation has to solve the problem of overlapping positions with foreign players such as Giovanna Milana and Lee Seon-woo.
Gaeun Choi leaves Pepper, AQ Phillips must play
The busiest team in this Asian quarter was definitely GS Caltex KIXX. GS Caltex, which won the 6th pick in the Asian Quarter Draft, nominated Indonesia’s outside hitter Medi Yoku. However, at GS Caltex, which has Kang So-hui, Yoo Seo-yeon, Choi Eun-ji, and Kwon Min-ji, there was criticism that the outside hitter nomination was ‘duplicate recruitment’, and on June 21, GS Caltex replaced the Asian quarter player with Thai setter Soraya Pomra.
However, there was a different reason why GS Caltex replaced the Asian quarter player from outside heater to setter. It is because of the operation of Ahn Hye-jin, the main setter. Setter Ahn Hye-jin, who had a chronically bad left shoulder, underwent an operation that took about eight months to rehabilitate. If Ahn Hye-jin leaves, only Kim Ji-won will remain as a setter in the GS Caltex team. In response, GS Caltex replaced the Asian quota player with Soraya, who played in four games as a backup setter for Phonpun in the VNL this year.
Pepper Savings Bank AI Peppers, which suffered from the trade of free agent Park Jung-ah and compensation player Lee Go-eun, sent the starting middle blocker Choi Ga-eun to road construction in the process of re-recruiting Lee Go-eun setter. Currently, at the center of Pepper Savings Bank is Seo Chae-won, who gained experience as a starter last season but has not yet been able to take off the new yeti, Ha Hye-jin, whose recovery after surgery is unclear, Yeom Er-Hung, who ended the season after undergoing knee surgery without even scoring his first professional goal, and Only 176 cm short middle blocker Park Yeon-hwa.
In response, Pepper Savings Bank nominated MJ Phillips, a mixed American and Filipino player, as a middle blocker resource through the Asian Quarter. Phillips, who played in the Philippine League after graduating from college in the United States, is 182cm tall, considering his middle blocker position, but is known as a player with excellent athletic ability. Pepper Savings Bank is looking forward to Phillips, an Asian quota player, taking a spot as the team’s middle blocker and showing good performance.
Heungkuk Life Insurance Pink Spiders, who are preparing for their first full-time season with coach Marcello Avandanza, selected Reina Dokoku, a mixed-race player with a Ghanaian father and a Japanese mother, as the Asian quarter. Of course, Heungkuk Life Insurance has relatively abundant resources for outside hitters such as ‘Volleyball Empress’ Kim Yeon-kyung, captain Kim Mi-yeon, and ‘VNL Star’ Kim Da-eun. However, if Asian Quarter Reina adds tension to the team’s main competition, Heungkuk Life Insurance’s power in the upcoming 2023-2024 season will become even stronger.