Petro Gazz middle blocker Mar-Jana 'MJ' Phillips got picked fifth overall by the Gwangju AI Peppers on Friday, April 21 in the first-ever 2023 KOVO Women's Asian Quota Draft of the Korean V-League.
Phillips, the second best middle blocker of the 2023 PVL All-Filipino Conference, is the first and lone Filipino to have been picked in the said draft.
The other Filipino volleybelles who also threw their names in the draft were Creamline's Jia De Guzman, Akari's Dindin-Santiago Manabat, Chery Tiggo's Mylene Paat, and F2 Logistics' Majoy Baron and Iris Tolenada.
“Thank you (Gwangju) for picking me. Thank you. It's been a dream since I was a little girl, so I'm very excited to start the season and yeah, I hope the Peppers' fans are excited as well,” said the Filipino-American Phillips, who witnessed herself being drafted via live streaming.
“So far, it's just the Philippines I've been in. It's a pretty fast-paced type of play as well. I'm excited. You'll see a lot of grit, of passion, and a lot of hard hitting balls [from me].”
Phillips, who helped lead Petro Gazz to a 2022 PVL Reinforced Conference championship and a 2023 All-Filipino Conference runner-up finish, is set to join a Gwangju team that finished deadlast in the 2023 Korean V-League season.
The AI Peppers tallied a 5-31 win-loss card with 14 points in the seven-team league.
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