For much of the AVC Senior Women’s Championship, South Korean superstar Kim Yeon-koung stood on the bench and watched as her team soared to an undefeated record without her. The Koreans only needed KYK at the tail end of their final match in the pool stage against Vietnam.
The 2012 London Olympics Most Valuable Player did not expect to play against the hosts Philippines in their first match of the second pool round.
But Kim Yeoun Koung wanted to be prepared.
“I spoke with the coach and he said to be ready for today. The game was close in the first and second set so I expected to play,” the 29-year old shared.
It turns out, the hosts were not planning on letting the Koreans get by without a challenge.
The Philippines pushed Korea at different points of the match.
In the first set, the Pinays nearly forced a deuce before Kim was subbed in and scored Korea’s last point. The second set was more dire, as the Philippines took an 14-11 lead, prompting an earlier appearance from KYK. To close out the match, the visitors opted to start KYK for the first time in the third set.
More than the National Team, it was the ear-shattering noise from the home crowd that unsettled the Koreans.
“I think the gym, the crowd was really really good.
“Our team was really pressured because of the people. After first and second set, we had our rhythm. It was better so we won today,” said the six-foot-five open hitter, who currently plays for Turkish club team Fenerbahçe, as she tallied 12 points on a nine-for-12 attacking clip.
This is not to take away from the Philippines. In fact, KYK noticed drastic improvements from the Philippines since she had last played against them in the same tournament two years ago.
“I think they are so much better right now. I saw them like two to three years ago. They did not play like that.
“I mean they improved a lot especially that they are very young so they can improve more than this,” the 2014 Asean Games gold medalist affirmed.