MANILA, Philippines — Marck Espejo wasn’t satisfied with his performance in the Asian Games but he heaped praise on his teammates for stepping up in the Philippine men’s volleyball team’s brief but fruitful campaign in Hangzhou, China.
Espejo only scored a total of 22 points in three games with reduced playing time, admitting his late arrival affected his showing in the Philippines’ first participation in the Asiad men’s volleyball in 49 years.
“Hindi ako satisfied sa performance ko since nawala ako sa team. Galing korea tas dumeretso ako dito parang nawala siguro yung connection ko with the team and familiarity,” said Espejo after scoring eight points in their 19-25, 14-25, 23-25 loss to Japan on Thursday at Deqing Sports Centre Gymnasium.
(I’m not satisfied with my performance since I haven’t been with the team. I was in Korea before going here and I guess I lost my connection and familiarity with the team.)
The Incheon Korean Air Jumbos joined the national team on Sunday coming from South Korea in preparation for the season. He had a limited preparation with the squad but he remained proud of his teammates, led by Bryan Bagunas, Steve Rotter, and Jau Umandal.
“Proud ako sa team na ito kasi nung nawala ako kahit papano may nagbago sa performance,” Espejo said.
(I’m proud of this team because I saw improvement in the performance.)
Although they didn’t face the top players of Japan, who won bronze in the Volleyball Nations League, the five-time UAAP MVP out of Ateneo still relished their experience of playing against the World No.5 country.
“I hope na kahit sabihin nating team B ito ng Japa, Japan is Japan and although malayo yung skills pero alam ko darating din yung time na I hope kahit papaano makasabay tayo sa high international teams,” Espejo said.
(Even though we faced Japan’s Team B, Japan is Japan and although we’re still not at par with their skills, I know that the time will come when we’re able to fight toe-to-toe against top international teams.)
Despite his struggles, Espejo is bringing with him the learnings and honor from representing the country in the Asian Games as he flies to South Korea — his fourth overseas stint after playing in Japan, Thailand, and Bahrain.
“Super thankful po kami nabigyan ng opportunity and chance na i-represent yung Philippine men’s volleyball dito sa Asian Games and I hope na magtuloy tuloy sa mga susunod na taon,” Espejo said.
(I’m very thankful that we’re given the opportunity to represent Philippine men’s volleyball here in the Asian Games and I hope that this will continue in the coming years.)
Espejo will be debuting as the lone Filipino men’s volleyball player to see action in the Korean V-League next month.