2014 PSL Grand Prix men’s division preview (a pre-tournament power rankings)

The men’s division of the 2014 Philippine SuperLiga Grand Prix presented by Asics plays its first game on October 22. We still have time to quickly pore through the five teams before action kicks off.

PLDT Home Telpad-Air Force

Considering how they blasted through the competition at the 2014 PSL All-Filipino Conference and how little has changed in their roster (Kheeno Franco’s back, that’s that), it won’t be a surprise if they lord it over the men’s division this season.
So, we put up that thought bubble on our social media pages regarding the conundrum of Generika, and we’ll post the same question here: If the PLDT roster that won in last year’s PSL Grand Prix was vastly different from the one that swept the PSL AFC, how come it’s generally considered that that team achieved a back-to-back championship? Or it’s just me?

Cignal HD Spikers

The main crew from last conference is back. Adam Daquer, Jay dela Cruz, Ralph Diezmo, Edmar Sanchez, Dexter Clamor, Gilbert Ablan. Those are names you have associated with the orange-clad HD Spikers after their attention-grabbing second place finish at the All-Filipino Conference. Now add the dynamic Alexis Faytaren of Instituto Estetico Manila to that mix. Cignal just got more formidable.

Bench-Systema

Whatever changes this team went during the break is more cosmetic as it added another sponsor in front of its shirt. It’s the same old squad from last conference sans the Pareja siblings as Chris Macasaet, Rocky Honrade, Myco Antonio, Mark Lee, John Depante, and Angelo Espiritu are still there. And yes, that’s John Angelo Macalma of IEM added there. Them being ranked third based on strength on paper just shows how deceptively competitive the PSL men’s division is.

Fourbees Cavite Patriots

The new kid on the block was getting raves on social media, and it’s up to them to prove that they belong in the big league. It’s pretty much obvious where majority of the players come from just based on their team name. Read our feature on the Patriots and the Tigers rosters to know more about them.
Note to casual fans: the CALABARZON region is an underrated volleyball hotbed. Ask a diehard volleyball follower who knows player bios on where most spikers hail from, and they’ll tell you a number of them are from Region IV-A.

Maybank Tigers

The Tigers pretty much stayed at the bottom of the standings in last year’s PSL GP save for that fluke win against Giligan’s in the battle for third. This is the reason why I am pegging them here. Add the fact that fervent Mohammed Ali Hamzah Bin won’t be suiting up this time, that’s less firepower in a club that already had difficulty in finishing close matches.