Marck Espejo made history on Christmas day as the first Filipino to compete in the V.League All-Star Game.
Making it more special, the 6-foot-3 open hitter was named starter for Team Kota and drilled the first point of the match.
The Filipino import led Team Kota to a straight-set win over Team Shirasawa, 25-22, 25-22, 26-24, at the Tokorozawa Municipal Gymnasium.
“I’m so glad to be part of this league,” said Espejo. “Like Hideyuki Kuriyama said this may be the last we are gonna represent FC Tokyo and we’ll do our best until the end.”
His squad, FC Tokyo announced earlier this month that it will suspend its V.League operations after the season.
Espejo did not have any rest time in the All-Star game as Takahiko Imamura of Panasonic was injured while Takahiro Tozaki of VC Nagano did not play.
Sharing the taraflex as the starters for team Kota Yamamura were Kunihiro Shimizu (Panasonic), Kenyu Nakamoto (Panasonic), Taichi Fukuyama (JTEKT), Taishi Onodera (Hiroshima), Masaki Oya (Suntory), and Tomohiro Yamamoto (Sakai) as the libero.
Rounding out the team were Sharone Vernon-Evans (Sakai), Haruki Ono (Suntory), Kuriyama (FC Tokyo), Yudai Kato (VC Nagano), and Ryuta Homma (JTEKT).
The regular season returns on January 8, Saturday, when Espejo’s FC Tokyo faces the Panthers at 2 pm at the Panasonic Arena.
Also making its return after a month-long break is Bryan Bagunas’ Oita Miyoshi vs the Tridents at 2 pm as well at the Cycle Shop Kodama Osu Arena.
Meanwhile, lone Filipina import in the league in Jaja Santiago and her Saitama plays on January 15 against Kurobe.