Even after 10 years, the monster-like power is still there. Professional volleyball OK Savings Bank Leonardo Leyva Martinez (32, Cuba, registered name Leo) is commanding the V-League court.
In the first set of the match against KEPCO held at Sangnoksu Gymnasium in Ansan on the 11th, Leo recorded 3 blocks, 3 serve points, and 7 back attacks. In the V-League, a triple crown (prize of 1 million won) is awarded to players who record three or more in three categories in one game. It is the second time in the history of the V-League that it has been achieved in the first set after Mitcha Gasparini of Korean Air in the 2017-18 season.
Leo showed his strength by scoring 19 out of 25 points in the first set. Head coach Kwon Young-min, the head coach of the opposing team, couldn’t help but admire, saying, “As an ace, I hit every time an attack came up, and the serve was good.” OK Financial Group caught the first game of the 3rd round and rose to 3rd place (7 wins, 6 losses, 21 points).
The top scorer (365 points) this season is also Leo. The total attack success rate (53.42%) is second only to KEPCO TICE (54.84%). He also ranks first with one serve per set. Leo explained, “Because I can score consecutively, I practiced serving a lot before the season. Last year, I stepped on the line a lot, so I tried to fix it.”
Leo runs more than anyone else, hits a lot, but doesn’t get tired. In fact, he was like that when he first set foot on Korean soil 10 years ago. Compared to his height (2m6cm), Leo, who weighed only about 83kg, grew rapidly through systematic training at Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance. As a result, he was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the regular league for three consecutive years from the 2012-13 season. After earning $10 a month, Leo achieved his Korean dream and blossomed as a volleyball player while playing in China, Turkey and the Middle East.
Leo, who returned to the Korean stage through tryouts last season, also had a question mark. This is because he is in his 30s and his weight is over 100 kg. Fortunately, he had a good season without major injuries, but regrets remained. The team did not make it to the postseason. After deciding to renew his contract, head coach Seok Jin-wook urged Leo to “exercise well during the off-season.”
Even Leo himself said, “I liked to play when I was young”, but things have changed now. Take care of his self-care. He reduced his weight by more than 7kg from last season. Leo also cited his weight as the reason for his improved performance this season. Leo explained, “Last season, I played with the heaviest weight in my career. This year, I am adjusting my diet and paying attention to weight training. I have to maintain my stamina to hit the ball a lot.”
His sharp and blunt personality has also changed. He encourages the young players and celebrates with his teammates in the warm-up zone. Seok Jin-wook, manager of OK Financial Group, who was a colleague during the Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance era, and Riverman Agamez (now Woori Card), who played for rival Hyundai Capital, all said, “Leo has changed.”
Director Seok Jin-wook laughed and said, “I think I should buy some food for Leo’s wife.” This is because her wife, who got married last summer, 메이저놀이터 is taking care of Leo in Korea. Her wife and daughter Daniela (6) always come to the stadium to support her. Leo’s mother, who is the greatest source of strength, is also scheduled to return from Cuba soon. Although they are not together, they have their son Antoine’s name engraved on their sneakers. Leo said, “I have a wife who takes care of me a lot. Having a daughter and a wife gives me a sense of security. Family is the most important thing to me.”
Leo will challenge the grand record at the KB Insurance Exhibition held at the Uijeongbu Gymnasium on the 16th. It is the first triple crown in the history of the V-League in four consecutive games. Leo said, “The priority is to focus on the game rather than the record. If I play well, good results will follow. Whether I set a record or not, I will do my best.”