Iris Tolenada ‘excited, grateful’ to join Korean V-League as import
MANILA, Philippines — Iris Tolenada vows to make the most of her second opportunity given by GS Caltex Seoul as their Asian quota import in the Korean V-League.
The Korean squad made the announcement that it is tapping the F2 Logistics setter as a replacement for Thai setter Soraya Phomla.
“It’s kinda crazy. I was part of KOVO Draft and I didn’t get chosen. That was okay with me. You’re going to these things, hoping for the best and being okay if you aren’t chosen. It’s just not your time,” said Tolenada, who wasn’t drafted in the first-ever 2023 KOVO Women’s Asian Quota last April.
“I got a text saying that a team in Korea wants me. I was very fortunate enough to be selected. I’m excited and grateful.”
Tolenada joins fellow Filipino import MJ Phillips in the Korean V-League. Phillips was the lone player from the country to be picked in the draft, joining the Gwangju AI Peppers.
The Petro Gazz middle blocker already departed for South Korea last month and did not participate in any of Petro Gazz’s games in the PVL Invitationals.
Seoul, a three-time champion, ranked fifth in the previous V-League season with a 16-20 record.
Tolenada’s teammate Majoy Baron, who likewise wasn’t drafted, said she is happy for the veteran playmaker.
“I’m very happy and inggit ako kay Iris because what a great opportunity to play overseas. Wish you luck,” said Baron in Filipino.
F2 Logistics coach Regine Diego agreed with Baron, expressing how proud the team is for Tolenada
“The team and the management are very proud of what Iris received, playing outside the country. It will be a big boost for our younger players, too. So everybody wants to be next. Why not? It will level up Philippine volleyball,” Diego said.
The 5-foot-9 setter will start fixing her papers before heading out of the country and training with her new team.
Tolenada, who is listed as part of the F2 Logistics’ roster in the PVL Invitational Conference but did not suit up in any of the Cargo Movers’ games, is proud of her team after getting another chance for bronze against Cignal on Sunday.
“I’m really proud of this team. No one really sees all the preparations that happen behind the scenes. From coaches to meetings to management, to us players what we do on our own, how we work together. We produce a culture of working hard and pushing each other to be great,” said Tolenada.
“Whether people are able to get on the court or not, it doesn’t matter, we trust everyone who makes plays happen. As ate of the team, I’m really proud of my sisters. We fight for each other and our coaches too.”