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2015 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix: Booster Pack

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[nextpage title = “PSL GP 2015”]
After successfully hosting the All-Filipino Conference and Beach Volleyball Challenge Cup, the Philippine Superliga (PSL) will now end its season with a bang with the annual import-laden Grand Prix. It kicks off this coming Saturday at the Alonte Sports Arena in Binan, Laguna.

The following teams will battle it out in this conference.

2015 PSL Grand Prix
PETRONPHILIPS GOLD
Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix: Booster Pack    Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix: Booster Pack
MERALCORC COLA
Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix: Booster Pack    Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix: Booster Pack
FOTONCIGNAL
Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix: Booster Pack    Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix: Booster Pack

[/nextpage]
[nextpage title = “Petron”]

Petron Blaze SpikersPhilippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix: Booster Pack

2014 Grand Prix finish: Champion (8-2)
2015 All-Filipino Conference finish: Champion (10-0)

Team Captain: Maica Morada
Head Coach: George Pascu

Losses: Alexa Micek, Ivy Perez, Alaina Bergsma (2014 GP import)
Additions: N/A
Imports: Rupia Inck, Erica Adachi
Holdovers: Acy Masangkay, Abigail Marano, Rachel Ann Daquis, Mina Aganon, Mayette Zapanta, Jozza Cabalsa, Ces Molina, Ana Del Mundo (L), Jen Reyes (L), Maica Morada, Fille Cainglet Cayetano, Dindin Santiago Manabat.

Fielding the same core players from the past two conferences, the Petron Blaze Spikers have been one of the steadier teams in the PSL. The defending Grand Prix champions have also impressively swept the entire 2015 All-Filipino Conference.

For this conference, a familiar face will appear again as last Grand Prix’s Best Setter, Erica Adachi, will make her return in Petron’s title defense. Meanwhile, the team is set to replace last year’s MVP, Alaina Bergsma, with new Brazilian import Rupia Inck. They may have lost their two draft picks in Micek and Perez, but the team’s foreign reinforcements will surely make up for it.

In terms of cohesion, Petron has the upper hand over other clubs since they started playing together earlier this year during the 2015 AVC Club Volleyball Championship. Moreover, Petron boasts some of the stronger local players, such aa power hitters Manabat, Marano and Daquis. The three were part of the 10 best spikers of the All-Filipino Conference. Completing the team’s core of local players are the likes of Cayetano, Molina, Morada, Reyes and Masangkay.

For the team’s losses, sparingly-used players in Micek and Perez are now gone with the team. The good thing is that it opens up a chance for Petron’s other players to get more playing time.

With a team heavily stacked like Petron, expect every team they face to play their best game against the league’s powerhouse. Going up against this team is no easy task. They are the defending Grand Prix champions for a reason.

2015 PSL Grand Prix
PETRONPHILIPS GOLD
Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix: Booster Pack    Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix: Booster Pack
MERALCORC COLA
Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix: Booster Pack    Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix: Booster Pack
FOTONCIGNAL
Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix: Booster Pack    Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix: Booster Pack

[/nextpage] [nextpage title = “Philips Gold”]

Philips Gold Lady SlammersPhilippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix: Booster Pack

2014 Grand Prix finish: 6th place (3-7)
2015 All-Filipino Conference finish: 2nd runner-up (5-5)

Team Captain: Michele Gumabao
Head Coach: Francis Vicente

Losses: Iris Tolenada, Shaya Adorador, Rossan Fajardo, Leuseht Dawis, Kristy Jaeckel (2014 GP import), Kaylee Manns (2014 GP import).
Additions: Lindsay Dowd, Iumi Yongco, Gyzelle Sy, Maricar Nepomuceno
Imports: Alexis Olgard, Bojana Todorovic
Holdovers: Myla Pablo, Melissa Gohing (L), Mae Crisostomo (L), Sarah Jane Espelita, Maureen Loren, Lutgarda Malaluan, Desiree Dadang, Michele Gumabao

Just like their All-Filipino Conference campaign, the Philips Gold Lady Slammers once again had a busy off-season. They have smartly signed players who can easily replace the ones now gone from the team.

Looking at Philips Gold’s revamped lineup, they now have more depth compared to their previous campaign. They have quality outside spikers in Pablo, Todorovic and Yongco; a proven leader and defensive-minded utility spiker in Gumabao; a seasoned middle blocker in Dadang; and a libero extraordinaire in Gohing. Moreover, the team was able to replace last conference’s top pick and Best Setter, Tolenada, with another quality setter in Dowd.

Additionally, theiir imports will surely pack a punch come the Grand Prix. Olgard, an alumnae from the University of Souther California, manning the middle will immediately complement the defensive prowess of Gumabao, making it hard for opposing teams to score easily on them.

On the other hand, Todorovic, an alumnae from UCLA, will fit in nicely with the team given her versatility. Her ability to play as an open hitter coupled with her excellent floor defense will surely add to a back row that already features Gohing as libero.

Expect this version of Philips Gold to make a lot of noise in the upcoming Grand Prix given their luxury of fielding in three NCAA Division I volleybelles alongside their veteran local players. And with the international experience added in past months, the sky is the limit for them.

2015 PSL Grand Prix
PETRONPHILIPS GOLD
Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix: Booster Pack    Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix: Booster Pack
MERALCORC COLA
Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix: Booster Pack    Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix: Booster Pack
FOTONCIGNAL
Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix: Booster Pack    Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix: Booster Pack

[/nextpage] [nextpage title = “Meralco”]

Meralco Power SpikersPhilippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix: Booster Pack

2014 Grand Prix finish: 1st runner-up (7-3)
2015 All-Filipino Conference finish: 1st runner-up (6-4)

Team Captain: Cha Cruz
Head Coach: Ramil de Jesu

Losses: Wensh Tiu, April Ross Hingpit, Arianna Angustia, Michelle Laborte, Rizza Mandapat, Djanel Cheng, Faye Guevara, Denice Tan, Divine Eguia, Bia General (L), Miyo Shinohara (2014 GP import), Natalia Korobkova (2014 GP import)
Additions: Kim Fajardo, Carol Cerveza, Cyd Demecillo, Celine Hernandez, Dawn Macandili (L), Joy Baron, Mika Reyes, Mika Esperanza.
Imports: Liis Kullerkann, Christina Alessi
Holdovers: Cha Cruz, Kim Dy, Stephanie Mercado, Rochelle Sison (L)

Despite constant changes in management over the past two conferences, Ramil de Jesus’ resiliency proves to be his ultimate strength.

Entering the All-Filipino Conference earlier this year sans reliable veterans Marano, Gumabao and Gohing, De Jesus still found a way to steer his ragtag and rookie-laden Shopinas team to the championship round by putting a premium on defense. But during the championship series, their shallow depth was exposed and Petron proved to be too much for them handle.

Now, with the Grand Prix just around the corner, De Jesus will once again field an entirely new team under a new management. His team has lost 10 players with only 4 of them (Cruz, Dy, Mercado and Sison) remaining from its All-Filipino campaign. To make up for it, he tapped the services of his reliable De La Salle seniors to fill in the void.

No strangers to competitive volleyball, the DLSU seniors will surely make their mark in a semi-professional league like the PSL. They have fought against UAAP powerhouse teams like the Ateneo Lady Eagles, the National University Bulldogs and the University of Santo Tomas Tigresses. They also have some of the taller players in the collegiate leagues with the likes of Reyes, Fajardo, Cerveza and Baron aboard. And people forget that Dy gained international experience as she was part of the PSL selection who competed in the AVC Seniors Volleyball Tournament in China.

With their last Grand Prix campaign fortified by Korobkova (last GP’s best opposite spiker) and Shinohara, Meralco will attempt to replicate that kind of two-way play with new imports Kullerkann and Alessi manning the helm. Having those two play well is a must for Meralco to lessen the load on their main offensive weapons Cruz and Mercado.

Expect this scrappy Meralco team to thrive in the league despite more amateur players in their lineup. With a smart tactician in De Jesus, this team can make their mark through their defense and all-around effort.

2015 PSL Grand Prix
PETRONPHILIPS GOLD
Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix: Booster Pack    Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix: Booster Pack
MERALCORC COLA
Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix: Booster Pack    Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix: Booster Pack
FOTONCIGNAL
Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix: Booster Pack    Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix: Booster Pack

[/nextpage] [nextpage title = “RC Cola”]

RC Cola Air Force RaidersPhilippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix: Booster Pack

2014 Grand Prix finish: 2nd runner-up (5-5)
2015 All-Filipino Conference finish: N/A

Team Captain: Wendy Semana
Head Coach: Rhovyl Veray

Losses: Liza De Ramos, Angel Mae Antipuesto, Emily Brown (2014 GP import), Bonita Wise (2014 GP import).
Additions: Sheryl Denila, Jennifer Manzano
Imports: Lynda Morales, Sarah McClinton
Holdovers: Rhea Dimaculangan, Iari Yongco, Mary Ann Balmaceda (L), Anna Abanto (L), May Pantino, Wendy Semana, Maika Ortiz, Judy Caballejo, Joy Cases, Jocemer Tapic

After a year of absence, the RC Cola Air Force Raiders are now back in action.

For their upcoming Grand Prix campaign, they will be fielding almost the same lineup as last year. There are minor additions but the key for their season will be the performance of their new imports Morales and McClinton.

Previously, RC Cola had the likes of former imports Brown and Wise in their third place finish. Those two volleybelles provided the height for a team not as tall as the other squads. Wise was a solid middle hitter possessing a thunderous running attack, while Brown provided the necessary offensive punch.

But now, Morales and McClinton are entirely new imports for the Air Force Raiders. Taking over Wise is middle blocker Morales, a player of the Puerto Rico national team who has played in numerous FIVB tournaments. At 6-foot-2, RC Cola can make her their defensive anchor and can now go against the tougher teams in the league. On the other hand, McClinton, an alumnae from the University of Kansas, is an open spiker who is also 6-foot-2. She is needed for scoring over long stretches and defending at the same time.

As for local players, the team still has veterans Ortiz, Dimaculangan, Yongco, and Caballejo. They were the linchpins of RC Cola’s campaign last season. Their experience helps weather the storm against tougher opponents.

The key for this team to get going is teamwork. They may be not have an explosive spiker to break through defenses, but their collective effort can work for them. Having personally watched them played in last year’s Grand Prix, what stood out from them was their impeccable teamwork and the way their communication on the court.

2015 PSL Grand Prix
PETRONPHILIPS GOLD
Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix: Booster Pack    Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix: Booster Pack
MERALCORC COLA
Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix: Booster Pack    Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix: Booster Pack
FOTONCIGNAL
Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix: Booster Pack    Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix: Booster Pack

[/nextpage] [nextpage title = “Foton”]

Foton TornadoesPhilippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix: Booster Pack

2014 Grand Prix finish: 5th place (3-7)
2015 All-Filipino Conference Finish: 4th place (5-5)

Team Captain: Ivy Remulla
Head Coach: Vilet Ponce De Leo

Losses: Nicole Tiamzon, Pam Lastimosa, Dzi Gervacio, Cindy Velasquez, Dona Mae Factor, Kimberly Mendez, Bea Tan (L), Irina Tarasova (2014 GP import), Elena Tarasova (2014 GP import).
Additions: Kayla Tiangco-Williams, Jeannie Delos Reyes, Fiola Ceballos, Bia General (L), Jaja Santiago, Ivy Perez
Imports: Katie Messing, Lindsay Stalzer
Holdovers: Angeli Araneta, Ivy Remulla, Patty Orendain, May Macatuno, Royce Estampa, Kara Acevedo (L).

The Foton Tornadoes were one of the surprise teams last conference with collegiate standouts like Nicole Tiamzon and Pam Lastimosa providing notable offensive power. But with both going back to their respective schools, Foton must find a way to replace them.

During the offseason, they recruited key players in National University’s Jaja Santiago and Bia General. They also landed the services of Kayla Tiangco-Williams, Jeannie Delos Reyes, Fiola Ceballos and Ivy Perez. Furthermore, Foton will feature Stalzer and Messing as their imports.

Foton’s retooled roster features key upgrades, particularly in their offense-defense combo. With aninternationally-experiences middle blocker in Santiago, Foton can now rely on her powerful quick attacks and her reliable net defense. On the other hand, General, coming off a championship campaign in the recently concluded Shakey’s V-League Collegiate Conference, crucially strengthens Foton’s floor defense in a conference that features hard-hitting imports.

Tiangco-Williams and Ceballos give the team additional firepower on the wings which could take off the burden from open hitter Patty Orendain. For their imports, Stalzer’s two-way play further strengthens Foton’s net defense while Messing offers another offensive option for the Tornadoes.

In sum, with a huge frontline that features Santiago, Stalzer and Messing, and with the backrow armed with the likes of General, Ceballos and Tiangco-Williams, we are in for a vastly-improved and highly entertaining Foton team for the upcoming Grand Prix.

2015 PSL Grand Prix
PETRONPHILIPS GOLD
Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix: Booster Pack    Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix: Booster Pack
MERALCORC COLA
Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix: Booster Pack    Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix: Booster Pack
FOTONCIGNAL
Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix: Booster Pack    Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix: Booster Pack

[/nextpage] [nextpage title = “Cignal”]

Cignal HD SpikersPhilippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix: Booster Pack

2014 Grand Prix finish: 4th place (4-6)
2015 All-Filipino Conference finish: 5th place (2-8)

Team captain: Michelle Laborte
Head Coach: Sammy Acaylar

Losses: Jeanette Panaga, Jannine Navarro, Lourdes Clemente, Mervic Mangui, Coleen Bravo, Maricar Nepomuceno, Jana Sta. Maria, Michelle Segodine, Mela Tunay, Mary Jane Ticar, Sarah Ammerman (2014 GP import), Lindsay Stalzer (2014 GP import).
Additions: April Ross Hingpit, Wensh Tiu, Arianna Angustia, Michelle Laborte, Rizza Mandapat, Fritz Gallenero, Rapril Aguilar, Amanda Anderson.
Imports: Neome Mullenberg, Arielle Usher
Holdovers: Cherry May Vivas, Jheck Dionela (L), Rica Enclona (L), Charisse Ancheta.

With most of their All-Filipino Conference core gone, the Cignal HD Spikers had a lot of offseason action, with most new players coming from the now-defunct Shopinas team.

Since Jeanette Panaga, Mela Tunay and Jannine Navarro returned to their respective schools, Cignal HD recruited Tiu, Angustia, Hingpit, Laborte and Mandapat to replace them. In addition, the team will bring in Mullenberg and Usher as their imports for the upcoming Grand Prix.

During their All-Filipino Conference campaign, a lot of positives surrounded Cignal. Despite multiple losses, the team constantly put up a good fight against their opponents. They also managed to maximize their wing spikers in Tunay and Navarro to perform well game in and game out.

And with a lot of former Shopinas players climbing aboard, Cignal can finally address defensive deficiencies. In previous campaign, they were a few defensive stops away from winning games consistently. They are loaded with powerful hitters but sometimes defensive shortcomings undid positive effort.

Aside from their liberos Dionela and Enclona, expect this retooled Cignal team to increase effort in their floor defense. If they get things right, they could definitely be at par among the other competing teams in the PSL.

2015 PSL Grand Prix
PETRONPHILIPS GOLD
Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix: Booster Pack    Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix: Booster Pack
MERALCORC COLA
Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix: Booster Pack    Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix: Booster Pack
FOTONCIGNAL
Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix: Booster Pack    Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix: Booster Pack

[/nextpage]

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