IBK Altos replace foreign player a week before V League season starts

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IBK Altos replace foreign player a week before V League season starts

Daly Santana of Puerto Rico plays the ball during a 2021-22 V League match between the Hwaseong Industrial Bank of Korea Altos and GS Caltex Kixx at Hwaseong Indoor Arena in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi. [NEWS1]

Daly Santana of Puerto Rico plays the ball during a 2021-22 V League match between the Hwaseong Industrial Bank of Korea Altos and GS Caltex Kixx at Hwaseong Indoor Arena in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi. [NEWS1]

 
Hwaseong Industrial Bank of Korea Altos have dropped foreign player Anastasiya Gurbanova without her ever actually playing a V League game, instead opting to bring back Daly Santana with just over a week to go before the 2022-23 season begins.
 
IBK had recruited Gurbanova at the foreign player draft in April as the fourth pick. She was under an eight-month contract from August to March next year with the option to continue until April.
 
Gurbanova had initially drawn attention as a versatile player who could play both as the opposite spiker and outside hitter. However, after six months of training and the KOVO Cup last month, IBK opted to drop Gurbanova with just over a week to go before the 2022-23 season begins on Oct. 22. 
 
The club instead decided to bring back Santana, who played as a substitute for the team last season. Each V-League club is allowed one foreign player.
 
Anastasiya Gurbanova of Azerbaijan is named as Hwaseong Industrial Bank of Korea Altos' pick at the V League foreign player draft held at the Riviera Hotel in Cheongdam, southern Seoul on April 28. [YONHAP]

Anastasiya Gurbanova of Azerbaijan is named as Hwaseong Industrial Bank of Korea Altos' pick at the V League foreign player draft held at the Riviera Hotel in Cheongdam, southern Seoul on April 28. [YONHAP]

 
"We hoped for improvement after changing positions and training in that format for a while but we decided that it's not possible," Altos head coach Kim Ho-chul said.
 
"Santana went along well with our players last season. That was the most important thing for us. We also took into consideration that she has the ability to receive." 
 
Santana scored 187 points in 16 games last season.  
 
"Santana is on pretty good form right now because she has been playing in the Puerto Rican league," said Kim. "It will be different from when she had to join in the middle of the season last season, but she didn't train with the ball for the last two months so she will need some time to settle in here."
 
Santana will fly back from playing in the United States to play IBK's opening match of the season against the GS Caltex Seoul Kixx on Oct. 23.  
 
The 2022-23 V League season kicks off on Oct. 22 and will continue until April 7, 2023.

BY YUN SO-HYANG AND KIM HYO-KYUNG [yun.sohyang@joongang.co.kr]
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