MJ Phillips confirms Korean Volleyball League tryout invite

Petro Gazz Angels' MJ Philips. –PVL PHOTO

Petro Gazz Angels’ MJ Philips. –PVL PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — MJ Phillips is set to  try out in the Korean V-League in April but her focus remains on Petro Gazz’s Premier Volleyball League All-Filipino Conference Finals rematch against defending champion Creamline.

Phillips confirmed the report by Naver Sports that she is among the six PVL players who were invited to try out for the Korean Volleyball Federation (KOVO) on April 21.

The Korean website reported that Creamline setter Jia De Guzman, Akari star Dindin Santiago-Manabat, Chery Tiggo skipper Mylene Paat, and F2 Logistics pair Majoy Baron and Iris Tolenada were among the 24 Asian aspirants.

Phillips said she got an opportunity through her handler Vania Edralin.

“The opportunity came about Vania Edralin. She spoke to me and she said ‘Hey, they’re looking for a [player] for the Asian Quota in the Korean League’ and I figured I’d shoot my shot,” said the Filipino-American middle blocker on the heels of Petro Gazz’s 25-17, 25-23, 25-15 win over PLDT in semifinals Game 3 on Thursday at Mall of Asia Arena.

“I’m looking forward to high-level volleyball. Not to say that this isn’t, I’m just saying that Korea is just on a different level and I just want to see how my skills level up to that,” she added.

But before that, Phillips will first try to help Petro Gazz shoot for its maiden All-Filipino title against last year’s tormentor Creamline in a best-of-three series starting on Sunday.

“They supported me all the way. Of course, I asked the management because there’s a possibility that It’ll come in the middle of the season so they just were proud of me and they encouraged me to try out internationally,” she said.

Inquirer Sports first reported that Manabat will try her luck in South Korea before joining Akari.

Chery Tiggo’s Mylene Paat. –PVL PHOTO

Meanwhile, Paat played coy and shared laughter with the reporter when asked about the report.

“I don’t know yet. One at a time. Hopefully, kung ano ibigay ni Lord sobrang matutuwa talaga ako, family ko, and sana pati Pilipinas matuwa,” Paat said.

KOVO also invited four Filipino men’s players out of 32 Asian players for a chance to play in the Korean V-League.

Marck Espejo eyes his fourth overseas country to play as an import after his campaigns in Japan, Thailand, and Bahrain. His Cignal teammates JP Bugaoan, and Manuel Sumanguid were also invited.

National team star Jau Umandal, who played in Bahrain last year, will also try to earn his second overseas stint.