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Category: entertainmentSource: thestandard thestandardNov 6th, 2018

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Category: entertainmentSource:  thestandardRelated NewsOct 28th, 2018

DA s 2018 NBA Offseason Rankings: The Top 10

By David Aldridge, TNT Analyst Wonder what the rental market is like in San Luis Obispo, Calif. San Luis Obispo is, give or take a few miles, one of the closest cities that is near the midway point between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Given the events of the NBA’s offseason, it’s not hare to imagine national reporters are going to be spending a lot of time in California next season, bouncing back and forth between the Bay and L.A. Catch LeBron James and the Lakers on Wednesday and then, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and the Warriors on Thursday. The Western Conference only got stronger and deeper with James leaving Cleveland for a second time, this time to go to the Lakers. Add four of the top five Draft picks -- including No. 1 overall selection Deandre Ayton (Phoenix Suns), No. 2 pick Marvin Bagley III (Sacramento Kings) and international phenom Luka Doncic (No. 3 pick, acquired by Dallas Mavericks) -- going to Western Conference teams, and the talent disparity between conferences only seems greater. But did Eastern Conference teams take advantage of Cleveland deflating to make their teams better? And how effective were West teams in making their teams better prepared to at least compete with the Warriors? That’s where this year’s Offseason Rankings come in -- big, bold, definitive. You love them, if the amount of hate tweets and e-mails I get after they’re published are any indication. Every year, we rank how all 30 teams have done since the end of their respective seasons. We look at everything -- how they drafted, what trades they made, what players they signed in free agency, and for how much -- or if they didn’t participate in free agency much at all. We look at if they’ve changed coaches, executives, owners, or if they’re moving into a new building that can generate big revenues. And you have to decide which ones you liked the most. Here's what these rankings ARE NOT: A predicted order of finish for next season. It's an opinion that seeks to answer a question: is the team better now than at the end of last season? The ranking reflects the belief on whether, and how much, that is so. (I liked certain guys who were in the Draft more than others, so if your team took them, I probably weighed it more positively. Doesn't mean I'm right.) I do not expect the Suns, for example, to have a better record than the Celtics, just because they had a better summer. It is not a ranking of the teams in order from 1 through 30 right now; I do not believe the Mavericks are now a better team than Rockets. This is just one person’s opinion about offseason moves -- offseason moves only. Is your team better now than it was before? - If your team is ranked in the top 10, it doesn't mean I love your team.       - If your team is ranked in the bottom 10, it doesn't mean I hate your team. It's an opinion that seeks to answer a question: is the team better now than at the end of last season? The ranking reflects the belief on whether, and how much, that is so. (I liked certain guys who were in the Draft more than others, so if your team took them, I probably weighed it more positively. Doesn't mean I'm right.) What plays into the rankings: - This isn’t science. It’s an educated guess, weighing the impact both of the Draft and free agency, but also assessing whether teams got value in their free-agent signings. Overpaying the right player is as much a sin as signing the wrong player. A good new coach can coax some more wins out of a roster. But if a team’s players don’t believe in the system their team uses, the best Xs and Os on earth don’t matter.       - Teams that are rebuilding obviously have different priorities than teams making a championship push. That's factored in. So Chicago, for example, gets credit for adding young, affordable players as it stockpiles its talent -- but that talent has to fit together, as Wendell Carter Jr. does with Lauri Markannen. And a team like the Warriors that shows it’s willing to go deep into the luxury tax -- which most teams try to avoid -- in order to keep winning has to be commended, and its rankings reflect that commendation.       - Continuity matters here as well. The most successful teams usually not only identify a core group of players, they keep them together for a while, finding that sweet spot: everyone doesn’t get a max contract, but most get paid well enough to keep the train moving down the tracks. That reflects both good roster construction and good financial management -- and, again, is rewarded. The explosion in the cap means everyone has to spend; keeping your powder dry for another day doesn’t have as much cache as it used to. But you still have to manage your money wisely. Salary numbers, with a couple of exceptions, come from Basketball Insiders, whose Eric Pincus does the best job of anyone in the game of keeping track of all the moving financial parts, quickly and accurately -- which is why we use him at NBA TV during the Draft and free agency to tell us what the hell this all means. The Top 10 * * * 1. OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER 2017-18 RECORD: 48-34; lost in first round ADDED: G/F Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot (acquired from Sixers); G Hamidou Diallo (No. 45 pick, 2018 Draft); G Devon Hall (No. 53 pick, 2018 Draft); F Kevin Hervey (No. 57 pick, 2018 Draft); F Abdel Nader (acquired from Celtics); C Nerlens Noel (two years, $3.7 million); G Dennis Schröder (acquired from Hawks) LOST: F Carmelo Anthony (traded to Hawks); F Nick Collison (retired); C Dakari Johnson (traded to Magic); G Rodney Purvis (traded to Celtics) RETAINED: G Raymond Felton (one year, $2.3 million); F Paul George (four years, $136.9 million); F Jerami Grant (three years, $27.3 million) THE KEY MAN: G Andre Roberson. This is real simple: with Roberson on the court last year, OKC’s opponent offensive rating was 99.2; when he was off, it was 110.7. The Thunder was a near-elite defensive unit when Roberson played and was awful when he didn’t. His Real Defensive Plus-Minus, per ESPN.com, was 4.34, second only to Utah’s Rudy Gobert (5.06). So when Roberson ruptured his patellar tendon in late January, the Thunder’s ability to use George as a weakside defender who could freelance and use his length to create deflections and turnovers (because Roberson had the strong side absolutely locked down) went away. Any chance the Thunder has next season to compete at the highest levels in the West will depend on the 26-year-old Roberson’s recovery and return to the lineup. THE SKINNY: None of us -- none -- thought George was going to stay in OKC. And we all thought Sam Presti and the Thunder were crazy for trading for him last year, because it was just going to be a one-year rental and he was going to be off to the Lakers in 12 months, and OKC would have nothing to show for its deal. But George’s presence helped convince Russell Westbrook -- also long rumored to eventually head back to Cali -- to sign a long-term deal with the Thunder. And OKC’s acquisition of Carmelo Anthony helped convince George that the Thunder was all in on competing. And even though OKC went out in the first round of the playoffs to Utah, its year-long courtship of George and his family paid off when PG-13 spurned L.A. once and for all to stay in the 405. Anthony ultimately wasn’t a good fit, but he brought back Schroder, who will give Billy Donovan a dynamic scorer off the bench that can give Westbrook a blow and keep OKC’s offense from immolating when Westbrook is on the bench, a common malady the last two years. The Thunder has been relevant in an incredibly small market now for almost a decade. With George and Westbrook and Steven Adams and, now, Schroder, all signed up through 2021, that remarkable run will continue for some time. 2. LOS ANGELES LAKERS 2017-18 RECORD: 35-47; missed playoffs ADDED: F Michael Beasley (one year, $3.5 million); F Joel Berry II; F Issac Bonga (No. 39 pick, 2018 Draft); G Jeffrey Carroll; F LeBron James (four years, $153 million); C JaVale McGee (one year, $1.4 million); G Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (No. 47 pick, 2018 Draft); G Rajon Rondo (one year, $9 million); G Lance Stephenson; F Mo Wagner (No. 25 pick, 2018 Draft) LOST: C Thomas Bryant (waived); G Tyler Ennis (waived); F/C Channing Frye (signed with Cavs); C Brook Lopez (signed with Bucks); F Julius Randle (signed with Pelicans); G Isaiah Thomas (signed with Nuggets) RETAINED: G Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (one year, $12 million); G Travis Wear THE KEY MAN: F Brandon Ingram. The third-year man should be the major beneficiary of James’ presence going forward. Driving lanes previously clogged with defenders should now be runway clear. Opponents who previously could close out strong on Ingram will now have their attention elsewhere. Ingram need only look at James’ last stop: per NBA.com/Stats, among players leaguewide who appeared in at least 60 games last season, three Cavaliers -- Kyle Korver, J.R. Smith and Cedi Osman -- were among the top 20 in the league in lowest frequency of having their closest defenders within two feet of them, meaning James created many wide open looks for teammates all season. Ingram vastly improved his range last season over his rookie one, shooting 39 percent on 3-pointers. But he only attempted 1.8 threes per game last season. That number will surely skyrocket in 2018. Ingram must ready to take advantage. That will make him that much more deadly as a driver. THE SKINNY: Team president Magic Johnson was tasked with landing a whale in free agency, and he and GM Rob Pelinka bagged Moby Dick in James. Their subsequent free agent moves once Paul George opted to stay in Oklahoma City were all short-term plays with an eye toward the promising 2019 free agent class, which include the likes of All-Stars Klay Thompson, Kemba Walker and DeMarcus Cousins. But that doesn’t mean Lake Show ’18 isn’t going to be the rip-roaringest circus this side of your standard Ozzy Ozbourne tour. What’s the over-under on the first time Rondo cusses out coach Luke Walton, or when we hear of a “spirited practice” that is code for “Lance ‘bowed ‘Bron in the neck and Walton sent everyone home”? The Lakers could be in The Finals or out in the first round, but what they decidedly will not be is boring. 3. DENVER NUGGETS 2017-18 RECORD: 46-36; missed playoffs ADDED: F Michael Porter Jr. (No. 14 pick, 2018 Draft); G Isaiah Thomas (one year, $2 million); F Jarred Vanderbilt (No. 41 pick, 2018 Draft); C Thomas Welsh (No. 58 pick, 2018 Draft) LOST: F Darrell Arthur (traded to Nets); F Wilson Chandler (traded to 76ers); F Kenneth Faried (traded to Nets); G Isaiah Whitehead (waived) RETAINED: G Will Barton (four years, $53 million); G/F Torrey Craig (two years, $4 million); C Nikola Jokic (five-year, $147.7 million contract extension) THE KEY MAN: G Jamal Murray. Denver ended all pretense that the full-time point guard job wasn’t his last season and his second-year numbers were very encouraging. Among regularly playing (60+ games) floor generals, per NBA.com/Stats, Murray’s .577 True Shooting Percentage ranked only behind D.J. Augustin, Kyrie Irving, Darren Collison and Kyle Lowry. No one doubts the still-just-21-year-old Murray can fill it up, and that the Nuggets don’t need a classic ball distributor to light up the Pepsi Center scoreboard. But they do need to get more credible defensively. So does he. THE SKINNY: A great offseason for the Nuggets, who did what they said they would -- keep Jokic off the market next summer -- while clearing roster spots and minutes with two trades, and simultaneously reducing their luxury tax bill for 2019. (The Chandler trade to the Sixers also created an enormous $12.8 million trade exception for Denver through August of 2019.) Jokic should anchor one of the most athletic starting quintets in the game -- along with Jamal Murray, Gary Harris, the re-signed Barton (penciled in for now as the starting three) and Paul Millsap. the Nuggets didn’t add much at the defensive end, which was their Achilles’ heel the last couple of seasons and the main reason they didn’t make the playoffs in 2017-18. Denver opted to strengthen a strength by bringing in Thomas, who’ll be in prove-it mode next season on a short deal with a coach that he knows from their Sacramento days in Mike Malone. Look for Malone to unleash Thomas on second units throughout the West. Porter Jr. was worth a flier at 14; he was the consensus likely first pick in the Draft a year ago, before his back injury took him out of all but a couple of games in his one season at Missouri. Denver can give him the entire year to rehab from two surgeries, the latest last week, and reset his clock for 2019-20. 4. GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS 2017-18 RECORD: 58-24; won NBA Finals ADDED: C DeMarcus Cousins (one year, $5.3 million); F Jacob Evans (No. 28 pick, 2018 Draft); F Jonas Jerebko (one year, $2.1 million); G Damion Lee LOST: C JaVale McGee (signed with Lakers); C Zaza Pachulia (signed with Pistons); Head of Physical Performance and Sports Medicine Chelsea Lane (went to Hawks) RETAINED: F Kevin Durant (two years, $61.5 million); F Kevon Looney THE KEY MAN: Brett Yamaguchi, Director of Game Operations/Entertainment, Oracle Arena. One doesn’t envy Yamaguchi, whose tasks will be twofold next season: create lifetime memories for the loudest and most loyal fanbase in the league, as the Warriors play their final season at Oracle Arena (aka Roaracle) -- they’re moving into the Chase Center, their tony new digs across the Bay in downtown San Francisco, come 2019-20. And, provide atmosphere and sizzle that will help coach Steve Kerr keep his veteran core from being bored out of its collective mind during the regular season while it waits for the playoffs and a chance at a three-peat. THE SKINNY: So, sure, the best team in the league adds one of the top two or three big men in the game in Cousins. But that’s the ancillary benefit of having such a dominant organization; everyone wants to figure out a way to get to the Bay. Cousins took less money to do so; now he can take his time rehabbing his torn Achilles tendon. If that means he’s not all the way back until All-Star, who cares? The Warriors will roll Kevon Looney, Jordan Bell and Jonas Jerebko out at the five in non-Death lineups until Cousins is ready. Meanwhile, Kerr has to keep his vets, but especially Andre Iguodala and Shawn Livingston, off their feet as much as possible during the regular season so they’ll be good to go from April through June. Losing Iguodala for the bulk of the 2018 Western finals was almost the Warriors’ downfall. 5. MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES 2017-18 RECORD: 22-60; missed playoffs ADDED: F Kyle Anderson (four years, $37 million); G Jevon Carter (No. 32 pick, 2018 Draft); F Omri Casspi (one year, $2.3 million); F Jaren Jackson Jr. (No. 4 pick, 2018 Draft); C Dakari Johnson (acquired from Magic); G Garrett Temple (acquired from Kings) LOST: C/F Deyonta Davis (traded to Kings); G Tyreke Evans (signed with Pacers); F Jarell Martin (traded to Magic); G Ben McLemore (traded to Kings) RETAINED: Coach J.B. Bickerstaff THE KEY MAN: G Mike Conley. It’s no secret how vital Conley is to the franchise, so a return to form is vital for the veteran point, who’ll be 31 on opening night and who missed 70 games last season with a heel injury. Next season will be the third of Conley’s five-year, $150 million deal signed in 2016; remember when so many people thought the world would end when a small market like Memphis invested so much in him? Well, Conley has already dropped to fifth in the league in salary among point guards, behind Stephen Curry Curry, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook and Kyle Lowry. He’ll fall even further down the list next season, when John Wall’s massive extension kicks in, and Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker each get new contracts that could leap his. THE SKINNY: Memphis couldn’t have had a worse 2017-18 if it tried, and the Grizzlies compounded their on-court implosion by not trading Evans when everyone in the league -- seemingly, except for them -- knew he was going to walk in the summer if they didn’t. But, the Grizzlies’ front office recovered in a big way, selling the 18-year-old Jackson that he would fit right in despite not working out for the Grizz before the Draft, then doubling up on “Grit And Grind 2.0” by taking Carter, college basketball’s fiercest on-ball defender, in the second. Ownership was willing to let the front office use the full mid-level exception on Anderson, who isn’t the sexiest pickup to many fans but whose defensive numbers in San Antonio were outstanding. Temple is the ultimate good vet and locker room guy who will get a chance to play for Bickerstaff after the Kings opted to go with their young guys and he was likely out of the rotation. GM Chris Wallace was adamant that the Grizzlies could rebuild again around the aging Conley and Marc Gasol and that they wouldn’t trade Gasol after the latter’s difficult relationship with former coach David Fizdale. They did, and they didn’t. 6. PHOENIX SUNS 2017-18 RECORD: 21-61; missed playoffs ADDED: Coach Igor Kokoskov; F Trevor Ariza (one year, $15 million); F Darrell Arthur (acquired from Nets); C Deandre Ayton (No. 1 pick, 2018 Draft); F Mikal Bridges (No. 10 pick, 2018 Draft); F Richaun Holmes (acquired from 76ers); G George King (No. 59 pick, 2018 Draft); G Elie Okobo (No. 31 pick, 2018 Draft) LOST: Former interim coach Jay Triano; F Jared Dudley (traded to Nets); C Alex Len (signed with Hawks); G Elfrid Payton (signed with Pelicans); G Tyler Ulis (waived); F/C Alan Williams (waived) RETAINED: G Devin Booker (contract extension) THE KEY MAN: Ayton. Let’s not bury the lead here: he was the first pick overall for a reason, because he has franchise-turning capability. The Suns don’t need singles or the occasional double any more; they need someone to put them back on the map with big, sweaty, nasty four-baggers, night after night. (cc: mixed metaphor police.) It’s been a minute since Amar’e Stoudemire was at his destructive best, and the list of impactful bigs in franchise history is thin: Connie Hawkins, Alvan Adams, Tom Chambers, Charles Barkley, Stoudemire. Ayton has a chance to be as good as any of them, and better, and he’s a potential stash of Kryptonite down the pike to the Warriors dynasty. THE SKINNY: There’s the makings of a Jazz-like reimaging of the franchise in short order. Kokoskov not only comes from Utah’s staff, but has significant coaching chops outside of Salt Lake City. He’s been coaching since he was 24, and that was 22 years ago. He’s coached both around the world and around the NBA as an assistant and development maven, and he’ll be great at bolstering the confidence of the Suns’ young guys -- including Bridges, a mature and solid rook with collegiate titles from Villianova who’ll be able to grow quietly outside the huge media shadow cast on Ayton. Kokoskov will also make things a lot easier for Devin Booker offensively. But GM Ryan McDonough was also smart enough to surround the kids with some solid vets, starting with Ariza, who will help the Suns again become acquainted with a long-honored NBA concept called “defense.” 7. DALLAS MAVERICKS 2017-18 RECORD: 24-58; missed playoffs ADDED: F Kostas Antetokounmpo (No. 60 pick, 2018 Draft); G Jalen Brunson (No. 33 pick, 2018 Draft); G Luka Doncic (No. 3 pick, 2018 Draft); C DeAndre Jordan (one year, $22 million); C Chinanu Onuaku (acquired from Rockets); F Ray Spalding (No. 56 pick, 2018 Draft); F Ding Yanyuhang; LOST: G Kyle Collinsworth (waived); G Seth Curry (signed with Blazers); G Yogi Ferrell (signed with Kings); F Doug McDermott (signed with Pacers); F Jonathan Motley (traded to Clippers); C Nerlens Noel (signed with Thunder) RETAINED: G/F Wesley Matthews (picked up player option); F Dirk Nowitzki (one year, $5 million) THE KEY MAN: CEO Cynthia Marshall. The former AT&T executive was put in charge after Sports Illustrated’s explosive story last February detailing a toxic workplace for female employees on the team’s business side, with sexual harassment rampant and no relief forthcoming from the supervisors who should have provided it. Marshall has been fast at work changing the business side culture, as separate investigations of who was responsible for allowing the previous environment to fester wind down. After their results are made public, it will be Marshall who will have to both enact their recommendations and sell the public that owner Mark Cuban’s organization has been fumigated for good. THE SKINNY: Dallas is banking that the 19-year-old Doncic is not only the real deal, but that he can come out of the gate in the NBA after starring in Europe and immediately give the Mavs a boost. There’s a large body of work suggesting Doncic will do just that, and accelerate the Mavs’ rebuild. Second-year guard Dennis Smith Jr.’s improvements should also speed up, and Jordan’s presence should start to close the sieve that has plagued Dallas’s defense the last couple of years. Losing both Curry and Ferrell will hurt the Mavs’ guard depth, though, and Brunson won’t be able to work in slowly. 8. INDIANA PACERS 2017-18 RECORD: 48-34; lost in first round ADDED: G/F Tyreke Evans (one year, $12 million); G Aaron Holiday (No. 23 pick, 2018 Draft); F Alize Johnson (No. 50 pick, 2018 Draft); F Doug McDermott; C/F Kyle O'Quinn LOST: C Al Jefferson (waived); G/F Glenn Robinson III (signed with Pistons); G Lance Stephenson (signed with Lakers) RETAINED: G Cory Joseph (picked up player option); F Thaddeus Young (picked up player option) THE KEY MAN: Kevin Pritchard, president of basketball operations. He’s been instrumental in putting this team together -- first as Larry Bird’s assistant, but on his own the last year-plus since Bird left. Now Pritchard will have to deal with not just the expectations last season’s surprising turnaround season will create with fans, but with the incessant calls and texts one receives when one has a team in which six players among the team’s core are on one-year deals and free agents next summer. It is extremely difficult for a team so constituted to stay unified and keep pulling on the rope together. Human nature is human nature, and players (and their families, and their agents) need reassurances they’re part of the organization’s future, just like any drone from Sector 7G would. It’s hard to think about sacrificing minutes and shots when almost players are judged by are their numbers. Nate McMillan, meanwhile, is only concerned, as any coach is, with the game in front of him, tonight. Pritchard’s phone will rarely have an hour off next season. THE SKINNY: What does a team that surprised so many last season need? More depth, because there aren’t going to be a lot of nights off going forward. The Pacers filled in nicely with a bunch of under-the-radar players, getting Evans after a bounce-back season in Memphis and O’Quinn after good years in New York. McBuckets is running out of stops to show he can be a key contributor in the NBA, but everything is tailor made for him to succeed here: he’ll have all the space in the world playing alongside Victor Oladipo, Bogdanovic and/or Myles Turner, depending on the lineup. Holiday was very good value at 23 in the first round. And Oladipo is on his grind. The Pacers are as big a threat as anyone to Boston’s assumed ascension in the post-LeBron East. 9. NEW YORK KNICKS 2017-18 RECORD: 29-53; missed playoffs ADDED: Coach David Fizdale; G Mario Hezonja (one year, $6.5 million); G Kevin Knox (No. 9 pick, 2018 Draft); C Mitchell Robinson (No. 36 pick, 2018 Draft); F Noah Vonleh (one year) LOST: Former coach Jeff Hornacek; F Michael Beasley (signed with Lakers); C/F Kyle O'Quinn (signed with Pacers); F Troy Williams (waived) RETAINED: G Ron Baker (picked up player option); F/C Luke Kornet; C Enes Kanter (picked up player option); THE KEY MAN: F Kristaps Porzingis. It’s unlikely Porzingis will play much, if at all, next season, as he rehabs his torn ACL suffered in February. New York will be extremely cautious with a timeline, and in Porzingis’ absence, if more losing brings more figurative ping pong balls the Knicks’ way … well, they won’t complain about that, either. None if it matters if “The Unicorn” doesn’t regain his form, though. So much of the Knicks’ 2018-19 improvement, or regression, will take place off camera. THE SKINNY: Fizdale won’t have a mandate to try and win with a veteran team in his first season in New York, as was the case in his year-plus in Memphis. So he can implement his position-less/fitness regimen with the young Knicks without looking over his shoulder. New York’s planning for 2019, when it hopes to strike in a big way in free agency, but that doesn’t mean next season won’t be important. Knox will have a lot of light on him, especially after playing well during NBA Summer League, but the Knicks truly believe Robinson will make some contributions this season with his significant physical gifts. Both must continue changing the narrative in Gotham that the team’s new braintrust is rebuilding the brand the right way -- slowly, and correctly. Hezonja was a good low-cost flier for New York who’ll give Fizdale some small ball options. Hezonja came on strong the second half of last season for the Magic, who hadn’t picked up his third-year option and were hamstrung in what they could offer him as a result. 10. SAN ANTONIO SPURS 2017-18 RECORD: 47-35; lost in first round ADDED: G Marco Belinelli (two years, $12 million); F Dante Cunningham (one year, $2.5 million); G DeMar DeRozan (acquired from Raptors); C Jakob Poeltl (acquired from Raptors); G Lonnie Walker IV (No. 18 pick, 2018 Draft); F Chimezie Metu (No. 49 pick, 2018 Draft) LOST: F Kyle Anderson (signed with Grizzlies); G Danny Green (traded to Raptors); F Kawhi Leonard (traded to Raptors); F Joffrey Lauvergne (signed with Fenerbahce); G Tony Parker (signed with Hornets); G Brandon Paul (waived) RETAINED: C/F Davis Bertans (two years, $14.5 million); G Bryn Forbes (two years, $6 million); F Rudy Gay (one year, $10 million) THE KEY MAN: Coach Gregg Popovich. There is no way to tell, nor is it really anyone’s business, how Pop will cope with the loss of his wife Erin, who died in April during the Spurs’ first-round series with Golden State. But the NBA grind is an unforgiving one, and Popovich is adding Olympic team coach duties to an already taxing schedule. He knows best how he’s doing and you can only hope he listens to himself when or if he needs time away. THE SKINNY: Backed up against it with Leonard’s still-murky insistence for a divorce, the Spurs did as well as could be expected in getting a four-time All-Star who’ll play with a huge chip on his shoulder next season. DeRozan will certainly help San Antonio extinguish the offensive droughts that came when teams loaded up on LaMarcus Aldridge defensively. LA was sensational for long stretches last season, making second team All-NBA for the second time in his career. Belinelli, rookie Walker and Poeltl should lengthen San Antonio’s bench significantly and reduce the Spurs’ dependence on nightly brilliance from 40-year-old Manu Ginobili, if he comes back for a 17th season. Longtime NBA reporter, columnist and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer David Aldridge is an analyst for TNT. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 8th, 2018

Wendell Carter Jr. brings all-around package to Bulls

NBA.com staff report Wendell Carter Jr. had his plan in place from a young age, as early as the third grade. His hoop dreams always centered on fulfilling a destiny his father, a professional player overseas, never did. So when NBA Commissioner Adam Silver called his name early during Thursday's draft (Friday, PHL time), it was the culmination of a family project years in the making. Carter, who joins an up and coming young cast in Chicago, arrives with a focus and attention to detail that puts the emphasis on professional in professional ballplayer. As Malika Andrews of the Chicago Tribune points out, Carter has spent his young life preparing for the opportunity that is being presented to him now with the Bulls: At Pace Academy, Carter was also one of the highest-ranked basketball prospects in the country. He scored 30 points and grabbed 20 rebounds to lead Pace to the Georgia Class AA state championship in 2016. Pace coach Demetrius Smith made sure to tune in to the draft after a staff meeting Thursday night. “As far as a big man, he’s probably the best from Georgia since Dwight Howard,” Smith said. ”There never has been another guy like him at our school.” Carter sacrificed some of his own offense on a Duke team that also had Marvin Bagley III and Grayson Allen — two other first-round picks. Carter averaged 13.5 points and 9.1 rebounds for the Blue Devils, serving as a more physical complement to the sinewy Bagley, whom the Kings selected at No. 2. “The beautiful thing about Wendell is that he doesn’t have to be the featured guy to have an impact,” Carter’s performance coach, Sekou Walton, said. “Wendell can actually help you out defensively, he can get your rebounds. His assist ratio is pretty high as well. He can work well with someone who has to have touches. Wendell is that perfect support guy, and the NBA needs more people like Wendell.” Indeed, Carter’s potential lies not only in his physical gifts and scoring ability but also his unselfishness and commitment to team play. Kylia describes her son as “unselfish to a fault.” Sommerville called him the “quarterback that makes everybody’s life easier.” Throughout high school, Carter kept a comprehensive training program that reflects his attention to detail: He practiced, lifted weights, stuck to a healthy diet and even carried a water jug everywhere he went to ensure he was properly hydrated. One of Smith’s favorite memories took place immediately after Carter’s sensational championship game performance in 2016. After Pace beat Manchester High 65-43 in the state final, the team celebrated with burgers, fries and milkshakes from Chick-fil-A on the bus ride back from Macon to Atlanta. When the bus pulled up at the school and Carter’s teammates rushed to go celebrate, Carter stayed behind to pick up the napkins, bags and cups. “We always say, ‘Leave it better than you found it,’ ” Smith said in a phone interview from his Atlanta home. “I have seen him do it after games too — picking up Gatorade cups and stuff like that. You just don’t find too many kids that are that humble and are willing to do all the dirty work, the little stuff.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 25th, 2018

Paul Zamar proving full-blooded Filipinos can be world-class reinforcements

STA. ROSA, LAGUNA – Paul Zamar was playing with a black eye in Game 1 of the 2017-2018 Asean Basketball League Finals. And yet, he turned in one of his best games of the season, scoring 25 points and helping Thailand’s Mono Vampire almost steal homecourt advantage. Zamar, Mono’s Asean Heritage import from the Philippines, had his right eye all black now, four days after it got up close and personal with the elbow of Chong Son Kung Fu slotman Justin Howard. “Ang liit kasi niya e,” the Mono guard jokes now. That didn’t stop him, or even slow him down, in Game 1 of the championship round, though. “Hindi ko iniinda. Pinoy tayo, hindi tayo aatras sa laban,” he said. Of course, the fact that he was playing in his native land and with his family, including coach Boycie Zamar, in attendance also motivated Zamar. “Inspired lang ako kasi nandito yung family ko. Tapos siyempre, nandito tayo sa Pilipinas,” he shared. He then continued, “Taga-rito ako e so itotodo ko.” The now 29-year-old has been pushing it to the limit all throughout the season and not just whenever he is in the Philippines. He, along with Filipino-American Jason Brickman, have formed a potent backcourt that has been a big part of Vampire’s surprising Finals run. For him, it’s all about living up to the Filipino fighting spirit. “Hindi ko lang nire-represent yung Mono at Thailand. Nire-represent ko rito yung lahat ng Pilipino,” he said. He then continued, “Pinapatunayan natin na pang-world class tayo. ‘Di lang tayo pang-Pilipinas, kaya nating mag-import sa ibang bansa as pure Filipino.” Well aware of that Filipino fighting spirit, however, Zamar also saw Alab Pilipinas erase a two-point lead in the last two four seconds of regulation and ultimately come away with a 143-130 overtime win in Game 1. “Never say die talaga e. (Ang) Pilipino, ‘di titigil hanggang mag-buzzer,” he said post-game, after he and the rest of Vampire now find themselves in a 0-1 hole in the best-of-five series. He then continued, “Pero siyempre, lesson learned na sa amin. Dapat matuto kaming mag-concentrate lalo na sa dying moments.” Nonetheless, the former University of the East star is relishing facing off with his kababayans for all the glory in the ABL. Asked about how it feels to playing in the Philippines again, he answered, “Ang sarap. Ito yung the best feeling ever.” And along with that, spending time with the family whom he hadn’t been with for almost half a year now. “May team policy kami na siyempre, dapat magkakasama kami sa hotel (in Alabang), pero during free time, umuuwi ako sa amin (sa Paranaque),” he shared. With his family still behind him and his kababayans still proud of him even though he’s at the opposing side, Zamar vowed to only be better as the series goes along. “I can still be better in the coming games. As a basketball player, hindi ka dapat makukuntento sa laro mo kasi you can always do better,” he said. He then continued, “And as a team, alam naming we came up short this game, but we can also do better. Of course, they’re (Alab) also gonna do better, may the best team win na lang.” --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 23rd, 2018

Paul Zamar proving full-flooded Filipinos can be world-class reinforcements

STA. ROSA, LAGUNA – Paul Zamar was playing with a black eye in Game 1 of the 2017-2018 Asean Basketball League Finals. And yet, he turned in one of his best games of the season, scoring 25 points and helping Thailand’s Mono Vampire almost steal homecourt advantage. Zamar, Mono’s Asean Heritage import from the Philippines, had his right eye all black now, four days after it got up close and personal with the elbow of Chong Son Kung Fu slotman Justin Howard. “Ang liit kasi niya e,” the Mono guard jokes now. That didn’t stop him, or even slow him down, in Game 1 of the championship round, though. “Hindi ko iniinda. Pinoy tayo, hindi tayo aatras sa laban,” he said. Of course, the fact that he was playing in his native land and with his family, including coach Boycie Zamar, in attendance also motivated Zamar. “Inspired lang ako kasi nandito yung family ko. Tapos siyempre, nandito tayo sa Pilipinas,” he shared. He then continued, “Taga-rito ako e so itotodo ko.” The now 29-year-old has been pushing it to the limit all throughout the season and not just whenever he is in the Philippines. He, along with Filipino-American Jason Brickman, have formed a potent backcourt that has been a big part of Vampire’s surprising Finals run. For him, it’s all about living up to the Filipino fighting spirit. “Hindi ko lang nire-represent yung Mono at Thailand. Nire-represent ko rito yung lahat ng Pilipino,” he said. He then continued, “Pinapatunayan natin na pang-world class tayo. ‘Di lang tayo pang-Pilipinas, kaya nating mag-import sa ibang bansa as pure Filipino.” Well aware of that Filipino fighting spirit, however, Zamar also saw Alab Pilipinas erase a two-point lead in the last two four seconds of regulation and ultimately come away with a 143-130 overtime win in Game 1. “Never say die talaga e. (Ang) Pilipino, ‘di titigil hanggang mag-buzzer,” he said post-game, after he and the rest of Vampire now find themselves in a 0-1 hole in the best-of-five series. He then continued, “Pero siyempre, lesson learned na sa amin. Dapat matuto kaming mag-concentrate lalo na sa dying moments.” Nonetheless, the former University of the East star is relishing facing off with his kababayans for all the glory in the ABL. Asked about how it feels to playing in the Philippines again, he answered, “Ang sarap. Ito yung the best feeling ever.” And along with that, spending time with the family whom he hadn’t been with for almost half a year now. “May team policy kami na siyempre, dapat magkakasama kami sa hotel (in Alabang), pero during free time, umuuwi ako sa amin (sa Paranaque),” he shared. With his family still behind him and his kababayans still proud of him even though he’s at the opposing side, Zamar vowed to only be better as the series goes along. “I can still be better in the coming games. As a basketball player, hindi ka dapat makukuntento sa laro mo kasi you can always do better,” he said. He then continued, “And as a team, alam naming we came up short this game, but we can also do better. Of course, they’re (Alab) also gonna do better, may the best team win na lang.” --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 23rd, 2018

Morning Tip Q& A: DeMar DeRozan

By David Aldridge, TNT Analyst The tweet was posted at 6:06 a.m. on Feb. 17 (7:06pm, PHL time), and while there have occasionally been positive tweets sent out at that hour, this one got people’s attention for the wrong reasons. This depression get the best of me... — DeMar DeRozan (@DeMar_DeRozan) February 17, 2018 That it came from the Twitter account of a four-time NBA All-Star, whose team was en route to the best season in franchise history, only added to the confusion. But there it was. “This depression get the best of me...” DeMar DeRozan tweeted, and it surprised just about everyone, because the 28-year-old is pretty quiet most of the time. But DeRozan has been carrying a lot on his plate. Not only is trying to lead Toronto somewhere it’s never been before, but has never has as a good a chance before, either -- The Finals -- but he’s been doing it while going back and forth between Toronto and Los Angeles, where his father, Frank DeRozan, has been hospitalized for weeks. Frank DeRozan has been DeMar’s biggest coach, biggest critic and biggest champion his whole life, never being satisfied as his son rose through the ranks of basketball, from Compton High to USC to the NBA. But Frank DeRozan has suffered health setbacks in recent years -- a stroke and significant kidney problems, per the Toronto Sun -- and DeMar has gone bicoastal multiple times to be with his dad, never missing a game in the process. (Frank DeRozan was able, though, to temporarily leave the hospital last month in L.A. to go to Staples Center to see DeMar play for Team Stephen in the All-Star Game.) In his ninth season in Toronto -- he’s never asked for a trade and agreed almost immediately to a $139 million extension with the Raptors in 2016, never even looking at free agency -- DeRozan has scored less than he did last season, but is averaging a career-high 5.2 assists and gone all in on Toronto’s “culture reset,” as GM Masai Ujiri put it after the Raptors went out again in the playoffs last year. After years of resisting, arguing not without merit that he was a master of the mid-range game, DeRozan has embraced the three-pointer this season, obliterating his previous highs for attempts and makes behind the arc, and keeping the ball moving both to fellow All-Star Kyle Lowry and to the team’s emerging cast of young, talented players, who’ve helped carry the load all season. After winning Sunday (Monday, PHL time), the Raptors are an Eastern Conference best 45-17, and are closing in on home court throughout the playoffs in the East. All would seem to be great. But, as DeRozan’s social media statement made clear (and, to his credit, he acknowledged it was him and that he wasn’t hacked, and he hasn’t taken the Tweet down), life sometimes gets in the way of all our dreams. David Aldridge: So, your dad was able to come to Staples Center to see you at the All-Star Game. How was that for him? DeMar DeRozan: It was good. It was real good. He had a good time. It was cool for him to be able to come out and experience it and enjoy it. It made me feel good. He was happy about it. DA: And how is he doing? DD: Every day is one of them things where you just don’t know until he’s home. Until he gets home, that’s when I think I’ll be more comfortable, knowing, cool, you’re out of there. He’s been in there since Dec. 23. It’s March 2nd. I know just that is bothering him, being in there and wanting to get out. Just on top of that, my mom, when I was home the other day, my mom was telling me ‘this is the longest I’ve been without my husband in 30-plus years.’ Stuff like that, that’s the rough part of it. DA: So is that where your head’s at right now? DD: Without a doubt. For sure. One thing I always try to do whenever I go out there and play is try to do whatever I can, knowing I’m so far, doing something I know will make them proud, make them feel good, give them a kind of energy. That’s kind of where I’ll be with it. DA: Is it hard to compartmentalize? So many people say the court is their refuge? DD: For me, it’s easy to do, from the moment of playing to kind of lock in and focus and kind of indulge in that moment. It’s crazy you say that, because Kyle, he’s one of my closest friends, he knows me so well. A lot of times after the game, the first thing he’ll say to me is ‘back to reality.’ He knows now our night is over. Now I have to go back and get into the reality of DeMar. It’s crazy. DA: What have you heard from folks since you sent that tweet out? DD: Man, where haven’t I heard from? Honestly, the response, I can honestly say that I wouldn’t have even thought how the response, how it came out, I wouldn’t have thought I’d ever gotten anything like that. Especially me. I’ve never been one who wanted any type of attention, good nor bad. The response I got from people was so uplifting, positive, refreshing. It’s crazy. It’s crazy. But it made me feel good. You just look at certain things. People say ‘you helped me. Because if you’re going through something like this, I can get through it.’ It’s incredible. By far one of the most incredible things in my career that I’ve witnessed outside of basketball. DA: So you could be a role model in a whole different way. DD: For sure. I never looked at myself and said ‘man, I want to be a role model.’ But something like that is extremely important. It’s all walks of life. I done had high school players, college players, older people. I had one older coach that I’ve known text me and tell me, ‘if there was a player when I was young that I’d seen or witnessed who was going through something (like this), it would have helped me -- then -- not be an alcoholic.’ It was incredible to hear words like that. It’s been one of them things where I’m like, ‘damn, I’m just speaking the truth.’ It’s crazy. DA: Is there anything you’re doing formally or officially now to deal with it? DD: Nah. I think I’m going to definitely, once we’re all said and done, probably the summertime for sure, I’ll be open arms about it without a doubt. At the end of the day, it’s like it’s one of them things where you can’t play basketball forever, but if there’s something I can do that will outlast it and be helpful, be bigger than basketball, I’m all for it. It’s life. DA: So y’all are in this new position on top of the East. You’ve been good for a minute over the years, but this is the top of the top. Is the vibe different in the locker room? DD: Definitely. It’s more, we have fun with one another, but we understand it’s bigger than us all. We, all of us -- young guys, all of me. Me and Kyle always tell the young guys, ‘this opportunity doesn’t always come around that often. Take advantage of this and be all for it. Before you know it, you’re going to be 10 years in, and the opportunity may not come again. Take full advantage of it.’ And everybody understands that. We see it now, especially when we have games where we lose a game. We think we’re on a 10-game losing streak. That’s how we approach coming in the next day at practice, or the next game. It’s great to have that kind of feeling and vibe. DA: How do you know when you’re all locked in? DD: You just know. I always look at my guy Kyle, and you know he’s gonna ride or die with you. But it’s crazy when you’re able to look over at a guy like Pascal (Siakam), or Freddie (Van Vleet), or Delon (Wright), these young guys who only have a couple of years in the league, they’ve got the same look that Kyle’s got. That says a lot about the team. Because you know when those young guys go in, they’re some dogs, too. That’s the beauty of it, and it shows. DA: So, about those young guys. You know what you’re gonna do in the playoffs, and you know what Kyle’s gonna do, and Jo. But if you’re going to beat an elite team in the playoffs, the young guys are gonna have to perform. DD: Yeah. And they have. I lost count of how many games our starters haven’t even played in the fourth quarter. Against good teams, not just lower teams. There have been times where we’re playing some great teams, and the coaches come in and look at us, and we’re like, ‘nah, let them finish out the game. They’ve got this.’ It’s great to have that type of confidence in the young guys. It’s amazing. I know we get a lot of credit, but they deserve just as much credit. DA: So is this the most optimistic you’ve been going into the postseason? DD: Yeah. Because we’ve done felt the fails. We’ve been at the top, and we fell all the way to the bottom. We know what that feels like. We know what it feels like getting closer and closer. We understand the moments. That’s the beauty of failing sometimes. Nobody wants to fail, but you have to to understand what it takes to succeed. And I think that’s where we’re at mentally, and we understand what we have to do. Longtime NBA reporter, columnist and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer David Aldridge is an analyst for TNT. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 6th, 2018

Michael Carter-Williams remains optimistic after uneven start to career

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The 2013-14 home opener of the Philadelphia 76ers drew a large and hyper crowd for a game against LeBron James and the Miami Heat, not necessarily because of who was playing; actually, the object of the affection was someone who wasn’t. There he stood in baggy jeans, a jacket one size too big, a do-rag defiantly wrapped around his head and showing puppy eyes that lied about his image and age. Allen Iverson was approaching his 40s and uncomfortably retired. Based on his outfit, he couldn’t let go of yesterday. Nor could nostalgic Philly fans who applauded and shouted during a ceremony to honor the iconic former Sixer, who playfully cupped his ear with his hand to encourage the love. Then, something unexpected happened: Philly honored a second Sixers point guard that same night. Much like Iverson well before him, Michael Carter-Williams buzzed around the floor, getting buckets, attacking the rim, finding the open man and cutting off Miami passing lanes. If he couldn’t upstage Iverson, he certainly outdid LeBron by scoring 22 points with 12 assists, seven rebounds and nine steals in a Sixers’ upset win. It was his first game as a pro, with his misty-eyed family in the stands, with Iverson pumping a fist, with LeBron feeling flat, and the night felt surreal, dreamy, galactic. How could he or anyone not see that this was the beginning of something special? “A great night,” Carter-Williams recalled the other day. “I always wanted to play that way, against guys like LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. After I had, like, seven points, my mom told someone that she’d be happy if the game ended right now.” That smash opening act led to the Kia Rookie of the Year award, which of course then led to a series of injuries, trades, bad fits, false starts, airballs, benchings and a failure to secure the kind of blockbuster contract that allows you to live XXL. Four years and four teams later, Carter-Williams is the backup point guard for the Charlotte Hornets with a career creeping down the path of the unknown, already sitting at the crossroads at age 26. This wasn’t a totally self-created spiral. His body betrayed him as much as his jump shot. He found himself trapped in situations that ranged from weird to woeful. He had the timing of a fake Rolex. An award-winning rookie was put through the NBA wringer and fell through the cracks and has now landed a few seats down the bench from Michael Jordan, although symbolically, he’s worlds away from the Hornets owner. Bitter? Angry? Confused? Yeah, just a bit. “It was tough, given the situations I’ve been in,” he said, “and the backlash I received wasn’t worthy or fair to what I’d been going through. I was in tough situations with injuries and being traded and it affected my performance on the floor. I got real low, with everybody asking, `What happened to him?’ It wasn’t right.” He’s on a one-year deal with the Hornets, which he hopes to leverage into security next summer in free agency, though the big-paycheck prospects are hardly encouraging so far. Still searching for durability with his body and respectability for his game, Carter-Williams is averaging 17.3 minutes in role-playing duty. And he’s once again haunted by his faulty shooting, now dragging at 27 percent, deadly for a guard. It’s a cautionary tale about fate and the curvy nature of pro sports, and about the 2013 NBA Draft, headlined by the one and only Anthony Bennett. From almost every conceivable measuring tool and metric, that class lurks as perhaps the quietest in NBA history. The only All-Star is Giannis Antetokounmpo, who went 15th, and he, Rudy Gobert and CJ McCollum are the only franchise cornerstones. Half of the top 10 are already on different teams. Another way to apply context is with money. Only Giannis, McCollum, Gobert, Otto Porter Jr. and Steven Adams received max contracts, and half of the top 10 didn’t see multi-year extensions. Several players sat on the free-agent market last summer for weeks and even months, collecting cobwebs as they nervously stared at a market that turned chilly a year after doling out millions. They begrudgingly settled for qualifying offers that amounted to pocket change: one year and $4 million for Nerlens Noel (the No. 6 pick), one year and $4.2 million for Alex Len (No. 5). The No. 9 pick and consensus college player of the year, Trey Burke, is playing for the Knicks. The Westchester Knicks of the G League. As a whole, that class was astonishingly light at the top, lacked any second-round surprises (besides Allen Crabbe) and quickly became a wash. And of course, the No. 1 pick is already out of the league. Bennett wasn’t even the consensus top choice prior to the Draft among NBA talent scouts, some of whom had Noel rated higher, even though Noel was coming off knee surgery. That said plenty about the class and also Bennett, who leveraged a decent stretch at UNLV to hear his name called first by Cleveland. That joy didn’t last long; Bennett was a hopeless ‘tweener at forward in his pitstop NBA career and instantly exposed for his lack of shooting and low-post grit. He quickly became a throw-in for the Kevin Love trade but couldn’t salvage his career in Minnesota, Toronto or Brooklyn. He currently plays for the Northern Arizona Suns in the G League. It’s a fate that the most celebrated rookie of that class hopes to avoid, and praying he isn’t running out of chances. Carter-Williams, the 11th pick, was consistent and steady that first season. A 6'6" guard who caused matchup problems and brought good vision and defensive instincts, he averaged 16.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 1.9 steals. He led all rookies in points, rebounds, assists and steals. Only Magic Johnson and Oscar Robertson did that, although for the sake of context, Magic’s competition in his first year was fellow Hall of Famer Larry Bird, and Oscar came in with Hall of Famers Jerry West and Lenny Wilkens. Carter-Williams became the lowest-drafted player to win Rookie of the Year since Mark Jackson in 1987. But coming from that 2013 Draft, it was like winning a sack race without using a sack. After that, he was no longer blessed by the basketball gods; he still hasn’t matched the numbers or impact he had as a rookie. The Sixers were in the early stages of a crash-and-burn rebuilding philosophy managed by former GM Sam Hinkie. Rather than having the chance one day to throw lobs to Joel Embiid, who was drafted a year later but sat with a foot injury, Carter-Williams was dealt midway through his second season by Hinkie. Carter-Williams was exchanged right before the 2015 trade deadline for a package that included three picks (a first-rounder belonging to the Lakers is now property of the Celtics and unprotected for 2018). “Being traded was hard for me,” he said. “I didn’t see that coming. To this day, I still don’t understand it. I never got any answers and never went to ask for any. Of course I felt pretty bad but I was fine with it once I realized the situation I was going into — or thought I was going into.” He was in Milwaukee to be coached and tutored by Jason Kidd, one of the all-time great point guards. Carter-Williams gave Milwaukee a big backcourt with Khris Middleton and the Bucks had a long and lean starting five. He scored 30 against the Cavs and another 30 in his first game back in Philly, and in the playoffs went for 22 points and nine assists in a game against the Bulls. The next season he looked forward once again to feeding passes to Giannis, until Kidd had another idea: Giannis would take Carter-Williams’ position and do the feeding to others. Suddenly and once again, an ideal situation turned sour quickly for Carter-Williams, who couldn’t believe the sharp turn his career took. “I don’t know how to describe it,” he said about his relationship with Kidd. “We didn’t see eye to eye on different things. He was a great player but he hadn’t been coaching for that long and he was still learning. I learned from him but my expectations going there were high and it wasn’t the situation I thought I was going to be in.” On one hand, Kidd and Milwaukee put Carter-Williams out of his misery by trading him; on the other, Carter-Williams went to the struggling, chaotic Chicago Bulls, who were in the process of being stripped to the bone, at the start of the 2016-17 season. Once again, Carter-Williams was swept up by the winds of change and spit out. Not only did his teams change, so did the league, which gravitated to players and especially guards who brought shooting range and consistency. Then and now, that’s his biggest flaw. He’s a career 25-percent shooter from deep (just 40 percent overall), and in a three-point league, that’s a deal breaker. Also, injuries didn’t help. The last three years he has played only 165 out of 246 games due to shoulder, ankle and hip conditions. He needed platelet-rich injections in both knees last summer to quicken the healing process of his patella tendons. “He’s had some difficult injuries and it has clearly hampered his development,” said Jim Boeheim, his college coach at Syracuse. “Let me tell you, he knows how to play. He’s always been a good passer and defender. But the injuries, especially with the shoulder, have held him back in his shooting development. I told him to keep playing and hope the ball goes in.” Those circumstances both within and beyond his control have prevented Carter-Williams from cashing in. He was the first Rookie of the Year in NBA history to fail to have his rookie contract extended and is on a one-year deal with the Hornets for $2.7 million. “You know what? I’m in a good place now,” he said. “It took me a while to regroup and restart and resurface and get healthy, which I’m still trying to do. I’m still young and my game is still growing. I haven’t reached my potential. I still believe I’m a starter in this league. I’ll play a role right now, because that’s what my team needs to win, but I want to lead a team. “Each game I go out and play with a chip on my shoulder. I probably lost some respect from some guys in the league. But ultimately my goal is to make all the teams that gave up on me say, `We had him once.’ I’m going forward.” He’ll always have that opening night with Iverson leading the cheers, that near triple-double against LeBron, and that Rookie of the Year hardware. But that’s the thing, you see. After that launch, Michael Carter-Williams expected more. For one year, he was the king of that 2013 draft. Four years later, he’d rather not become a symbol of what that draft became. Veteran NBA writer Shaun Powell has worked for newspapers and other publications for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here or follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 14th, 2017

NCAA: Dagger Dan Arches does not let Escamis, Red Robins down

No longer with all of Warren Bonifacio, Mike Enriquez, Will Gozum, the spotlight shone on Clint Escamis to lead Mapua High School in the NCAA 94 Juniors Basketball Tournament. Only, Escamis was not at full strength to lead the Red Robins in their biggest game thus far. Still slowed down by his ailing left leg, the graduating guard was not on the floor as his team was protecting a four-point lead against modern-day rival San Beda High School in their knockout bout last Monday. And so, another player had to step up to shoot Mapua to the Finals. Like he had already proven many, many times in the tournament, Dan Arches was more than up to the challenge. “Wala kasi si Clint e. Kung nandyan siya, siya tumitira nang mga ganun. So kinuha ko na lang kasi nasa game plan pa rin naman siya,” he said. With the shot clock winding down and with bigger Red Cub Tony Ynot right in front of him, Arches squared up and launched a triple try. The ball soared through the air before falling into the net – and ultimately, transformed into a dagger that struck the heart of San Beda. “Yung confidence ko po sa sarili ko, galing po kay coach [Randy Alcantara]. Yung kumpyansa na binibigay niya, ‘di ko talaga sinasayang,” he said after the win for him and the Red Robins. Indeed, the 18-year-old is just giving back to the head coach who discovered him in Roxas City, Capiz and then developed him in Intramuros. “Galing po akong probinsya tapos na-scout at na-recruit ni coach Randy. Tinanggap ko na po kasi sayang yung opportunity,” he shared. He then continued, “Maraming batang gustong maglaro sa Maynila at pinapangarap maglaro sa NCAA.” It wasn’t always this way, however, as in his rookie season a year ago, Arches played sparingly and only had per game counts of 2.2 points and 1.3 rebounds in 7.1 minutes. “Dumating po sa point na na-down ako, pero sabi po ng magulang ko, lumaban lang. Ginawa ko po silang motivation,” he said. From there, he just kept working and working. “Pinapakita ko lang po lagi sa training yung kaya ko kasi alam ko sa sarili ko na may ibubuga ako,” he said. The wait finally came to an end this year as, with the graduation of Bonifacio, Enriquez, and Gozum, Mapua needed new weapons to wield. The 6-foot-1 guard has been just that for them, averaging 17.5 points, 4.4 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 1.5 steals in a team-high 29.4 minutes. And if not for the even more meteoric rise of Jose Rizal University High School’s John Amores, he may have very well been the league’s Most Improved Player. For now, though, all that matters for Arches is the championship – making sure the Red Robins get back at College of St. Benilde-La Salle Greenhills and making sure that he and good pal Escamis go out on a high. Main man @EscamisClint still not at full strength for Mapua? Dagger Dan Arches gotchu. #NCAASeason94 pic.twitter.com/MkMAJc8rtk — Normie Riego (@riegogogo) Oktubre 29, 2018 Asked about that moment, he answered, “Nagpasalamat lang siya sa akin kasi (last Sunday), sa training, humingi siya ng favor na makapasok ulit ng Finals kasi gusto pa niya maglaro.” And while it’s yet to be determined if Escamis will now be at full strength come Game 1 of the championship round on Tuesday, Mapua need not worry. After all, they still have “Dagger” Dan Arches. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogog......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 31st, 2018

PVL: Lady Eagles stomp class over Lady Warriors

IMUS --- Ateneo-Motolite proved that its first round win over Pocari Sweat-Air Force was no fluke as the Lady Eagles crushed the Lady Warriors, 27-25, 25-21, 25-21, Saturday in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Open Conference at the Imus Sports Complex here. The trio of Maddie Madayag, Ponggay Gaston and Kat Tolentino returned to action after skipping the Lady Eagles’ end of first round loss to Creamline to help power the Ateneo-Motolite to its sixth win in eight games. Unlike in their first meeting that went to four sets, the Lady Eagles submitted the Lady Warriors in an emphatic fashion to move up at second spot tied with idle BanKo. Ateneo-Motolite came back from a 19-21 deficit with a 4-0 blitz to take a 23-21 advantage in the third set. Bea De Leon pushed the Lady Eagles at match point with a power tip before the Lady Warriors were called for an error that sealed the 92-minute match. “What I’m telling my players, ‘we have to do more of what we did during the first round.’ Sabi ko naman every game is a learning day,” said Ateneo-Motolite head coach Oliver Almadro. “I guess yung ginawa ng team ko is (ipinakita nila) ‘yung resiliency.”        De Leon and Tolentino led the way for the Lady Eagles as the veterans scored 12 each and combining for 18 of the team’s 32 attack points. Madayag, Gaston and rookie Vanessa Gandler added six each for the Katipunan-based squad, which will take on league-leading Creamline on Sunday in Batangas.    Ateneo-Motolite used its morale-boosting comeback in the first set from a 20-22 deficit to dictate the tempo of the game. The Lady Eagles controlled the second frame early to cruise to a 2-0 match lead.     Myla Pablo was the only Lady Warrior in double figures with 15 points while Jeannete Panaga and Del Palomata finished with eight each for Pocari Sweat, which suffered its second straight defeat to slide down to 4-5 mark.         --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 27th, 2018

PVL: I feel bad kasi may nasaktan ako eh -- Pacres

Dimdim Pacres is known for her heavy and powerful hits. Pocari Sweat-Air Force’s middle hitter Jeanette Panaga can attest to that. The Tacloban opposite hitter not only delivered the knockout blow in the tight fifth set to give the Fighting Warays their second straight win in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Open Conference but Pacres also scored a knockdown to go with her 17 points Wednesday. Down by a set, Pacres wanted to spark Tacloban’s rally in the fourth frame and boy she did. The former University of Sto. Tomas star hammered down heavy artillery down the line to extend the Fighting Warays’ lead to 6-3 in the fourth. Unfortunately, Panaga’s face absorbed the brunt of the impact as it knocked down the Lady Warrior. Panaga stayed on the floor for a few seconds and was approached by a very apologetic Pacres.          Dimdim Pacres (@marypacres1) unintentionally gives Jeanette Panaga (@panagaj) a facial. pic.twitter.com/j71ti113m0 — PINOY BALIBOLISTA (@pinoybalibol) October 24, 2018 “I feel bad kasi may nasaktan ako eh. Ayokong makasakit,” said Pacres after helping Tacloban escape with a 20-25, 25-13, 24-26, 25-16, 15-13 for a 4-4 slate tied with their victim. Panaga needed to put ice on the left side of her face and was spitting blood after sustaining a cut inside her lip. #PVLonABSCBN Open Conference: @panagaj putting ice on the left side of her face after getting hit in the face by @marypacres1' powerful down the line hit. Panaga's mouth was also bloodied pic.twitter.com/KnyIaeFiey — Mark Escarlote (@fromtheriles) October 24, 2018 “Tumama kasi sa braces ko,” said Panaga when approached by reporters at the bench during the fourth set. A few plays later Pacres downed Lady Warriors’ top hitter Myla Pablo, who tried to dig her spike and was hit on the chest. Pablo took some time to get up and needed to have her back attended by team therapist after scooping up Pacres’ attack. Both Pocari Sweat players were able to get back in the game. “Sabi ko naman na parte ng game yan ayaw nating manakit pero nangyayari talaga yan eh,” said Tacloban mentor Nes Pamilar. “So kailangan ituloy lang natin kung ano ang role natin sa team.” Despite knocking down two players from the opposing team, Pacres kept her composure and focus on the game as she delivered the crucial hits in the deciding frame including the match-clinching hit through a two-man block by the Lady Warriors.   “Pero kasi game po yun. Sabi ng mga teammates ko wala akong kasalanan doon kasi naglalaro lang naman ako nagpe-perform lang ako. Pero ‘yun nakokonsensiya ako bakit ganoon, pero di ako nagpadala,” she said.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 24th, 2018

Warriors dominance in the West shows no sign of relenting

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com We have reached the point in this Golden State Warriors’ chokehold on the Western Conference where it turns spooky: The last team out West to deny the Warriors (technically) no longer exists. Yes, the LA Clippers are still right where they’ve always been. But all other traces of May 3, 2014, when they beat the Warriors in the first round of the playoffs, have turned to dust. Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, JJ Redick, DeAndre Jordan, Jamal Crawford -- they’re all gone. Usually, it’s the loser who feels the cold repercussions and fallout of a first-round defeat in the playoffs. But what’s often lost as the Warriors run the table in the West is how they’ve shattered so many teams, schemes and dreams along the way. In hindsight, four years ago was not the beginning of “Lob City” and the Clippers. It was the beginning of their end. The wreckage left behind by the Warriors over the ensuing 53 months underlines the undeniable truth: They’ve taken ownership of their very own West Side Story. They had a record-setting 73-win regular season. They’ve won 12 straight West payoff series (and 15 of 16 playoff series overall). Only twice – the West finals in 2016 and '18 -- did they endure the indignity of needing to survive Game 7 in the West playoffs. In short, this dynasty shows no signs of dying this season. If anything, the argument can be made -- even before it’s proven as fact -- that the 2018-19 Warriors are their most talented team yet. All-Stars Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson welcomed a fifth, DeMarcus Cousins, to their mix this summer. That is not typical in the NBA, folks. “This," Durant said, "is going to be an exciting season. Fun.” The Warriors’ five All-Stars (two of whom are former Kia MVPs) are still in their prime. And given that Andre Iguodala tends to transform from a fossil to an X-factor when spring arrives, perhaps only injury or another uncontrollable circumstance will keep the Warriors from making it an NBA-record five straight Western Conference crowns. “In terms of encouraging each other, being in tune with some of the things that might be thrown at you, whether it's injuries, whether it's a couple of slumps on the court, whatever the case is, we adapt really well and we don't stay down for too long,” Curry said. The Rockets, who won 65 games a season ago, are perhaps the most realistic challenger to the Warriors out West. But it's quite possible that Houston is weaker than it was in 2017-18. To understand how high the Warriors are sitting on the throne, you must survey what they’ve left behind. Just look at how the biggest threats in the West have either hit dead ends or maxed themselves out trying to chase the Warriors since 2014. Memphis Grizzlies: At one point, they were considered the toughest matchup for the Warriors because they were polar opposite in style. Half-court and methodical, the Grizzlies took a switchblade to the basketball, slowing the tempo. And they exploited Golden State’s lone weaknesses: Interior size and overall strength. They physically beat up the Warriors in the paint (Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol) and on the perimeter (Tony Allen). Additionally, Mike Conley was at times a handful at point guard at a time when Curry was winning MVP awards. But health and age wore the Grizzlies down and eventually forced them into a current reinvention that likely won’t reap benefits until after the Warriors are finished. Oklahoma City Thunder: As one of only two West teams (Houston being the other) to force the Warriors into a seventh game, OKC was prime for a takeover in 2016. That season, OKC eliminated a 67-win San Antonio Spurs team in the West semfinals. Durant and Russell Westbrook were healthy, humming and helping the Thunder to a 3-1 lead in the West finals. That, however, was their apex, and the costly collapse was heightened by the “Klay Game” (41 points in Game 6). Imagine, if not for a fateful turn of events -- Klay’s 3-point rampage, KD’s second-half Game 7 vapor and the Warriors losing the 2016 Finals to Cleveland -- maybe Durant sticks around in OKC. At any rate, the post-2016 West finals reconstruction being done by the Thunder (Exhibit A: The short-lived Carmelo Anthony experience) is falling short so far. Portland Trail Blazers: They were never seriously considered a thorn to the Warriors, and still aren’t. It’s just that they played themselves. They were fooled by the events in 2016, when they beat the injury-hampered Clippers in the first round. They were then somewhat competitive against the Warriors in the West semifinals (winning one game by 12, losing another in OT and the elimination game by just four). Flushed with false hope, that summer the Blazers handed out rich extensions to rotational players and, unfortunately, locked themselves into a team that hasn’t won a playoff game since. San Antonio Spurs: Like the Grizzlies, the Spurs caused trouble for the Warriors because of their disciplined style that put the brakes on the pace. San Antonio ruled the West just prior to the Warriors’ run and the proud franchise wasn’t willing to relinquish its hold so easily, causing the Warriors to shiver by winning the regular season matchup from 2014-16. Still, like Memphis, the Spurs turned gray almost overnight. Tim Duncan retired, Tony Parker lost some zip and then, of course, came the sneaky Zaza Pachulia foot plant that KO’d Kawhi Leonard in the first game of their 2017 series. It hasn’t been the same for the Spurs, who shipped off the disgruntled Leonard this summer. Houston Rockets: While the Warriors were able to build around Curry to create a dynasty, the Rockets are in their third attempt to do likewise with James Harden. The Dwight Howard experiment was an exploding cigar, and then the strategy of turning Harden into a point guard failed to draw blood. Chris Paul arrived last season and the best record in the West followed, but Paul has always limped at the wrong time. True to form, his body failed him in the conference finals, just when the Rockets were up 3-2 on the Warriors and primed to issue a stunning statement. The conference-wide process of teams searching for the formula to bring an end to this “Golden” era has taken on an interesting twist. Except for the Rockets, who shuffled their deck slightly this summer, other West contenders are on a semi-defeatist two-year plan. As in: We’re not ready now, but look out in a coupla years! LeBron James joined the Lakers this summer, but it’s hard to take them seriously when LeBron himself says his new team isn’t breathing the same air as the defending champs. His supporting cast is a mix of pups with no playoff experience and vets who’ve seen better days. It’s foolhardy to doubt the potential of any team with LeBron — eight straight trips to the championship round is no joke, even if it came through the East. But they’ll stand a better chance next season, especially if they’re bringing Kawhi or Jimmy Butler by then. There’s also the Utah Jazz, a Spurs-like operation led by a pair of Spurs alums in GM Dennis Lindsey and coach Quin Snyder. Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell is a star in the making, but you need more than one of those to match Golden State. Perhaps in time, Mitchell will get a shotgun rider, but Utah is a tough sell for A-list free agents. Houston stands out from the pack with Harden, Paul and center Clint Capela, who gave the Warriors fits last spring. They’re still an attractive, turnkey team. Adding Anthony provides scoring, but does he impact a potential West finals rematch in 2019? With Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute gone, where is the perimeter defense coming from? Is it possible that Houston, with Paul aging, had its best chance last spring and didn’t cash in? It’s also possible the Warriors will do everyone in the West a favor and destroy themselves in the very near future. Durant can become a free agent next summer. Thompson’s contract is up, too, although he’s been very clear about his preference to stay even if that means making below market value. “What’s happening right now is going to be really tough to replicate for anybody,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “You have the proverbial window, however you want to put it. We have an incredible opportunity that’s just not always going to be here. We want to take full advantage not only from a success standpoint but from an enjoyment standpoint. “We’re well aware that it’s not going to last forever.” But that’s getting ahead of the story here, which is whether the Warriors will fall shy of The Finals for the first time since 2014. A three-time champion is bringing everyone back and will add a bonus whenever the healing Cousins returns. Basketball can sometimes be a funny game and anything can happen to throw this scenario for a loop. Until then, however, it's hard to imagine anything derailing another season of Warriors dominance. Veteran NBA writer Shaun Powell has worked for newspapers and other publications for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here or follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 16th, 2018

Catching Up with The Truth: ONE Heavyweight World Champion Brandon Vera talks BuyBust experience

It’s been a while since we’ve seen ONE Heavyweight World Champion Brandon “The Truth” Vera compete inside the ONE Championship cage. The last time Vera was in action was back in December of 2016 when he defended his title against Japanese challenger Hideki Sekine in Manila, winning via first round-TKO. And while “The Truth” hasn’t been active in mixed martial arts competition, that doesn’t mean that he’s been just sitting around, chilling. Far from it, in fact. Aside from getting married and taking care of some outside-competition matters, Vera has been quite busy on the silver screen. The 41-year old Fil-American booked his first major movie gig as part of the highly-successful action movie BuyBust, where he plays Rico Yatco, a member of an anti-narcotics squad in the Philippines. For Vera, the whole experience of being part of a movie is something that he says he looks forward to doing more in the future. “It was amazing, definitely something I look forward to doing after I’m finished with my competition side of martial arts, I absolutely loved it,” Vera shared with ABS-CBN Sports. Directed by famed Filipino movie director Erik Matti, BuyBust also features veteran actors such as Anne Curtis and Victor Neri among others. The experience, Vera says, is a ‘dream come true’ for him. “Working with Direk Erik, Ms. Anne Curtis, Victor Neri, Tito Levi [Ignacio], you know just working with that group of people and seeing the level of where I want to be, projects are coming my way now, it’s, I don’t know how to describe it, I don’t know how to explain it,” he said, “it’s beyond a dream. Most people dream to just get into a movie, I was put into a movie with all of those superstars. All I can do is thank my blessings everyday that I was able to do something like that.” Being a life-long mixed martial artist, Vera is no stranger to pressure and performing in front of large audiences. Having to “perform” so to say, for his BuyBust director and co-stars however, he admits, was a different beast altogether. “What do you think?” Vera responded with a chuckle. “First movie out? Okay, the lead is Anne Curtis. The director is Erik Matti. Then the names just kept on rolling. The pressure was definitely there, but Direk Erik said I did really good with the pressure, I just didn’t want to let the team down, that’s how I felt the whole time, I just didn’t want to let anybody down. From the directors, to the production, the cast, the crew that was working on set, I didn’t want to mess up for anyone. Definitely pressure, but I think that’s what helped us get through it,” he continued. Asked if he expected BuyBust to be as big as it was, Vera admitted that he didn’t know what to expect. “I had no idea. This was my first anything, so I had no idea. I didn’t get nervous, I wasn’t nervous for the world premiere in New York, I wasn’t nervous about that until before we left. We might have been already on the plane when I asked Anne, ‘Is this your first one?’ and she was like ‘Yeah, this is my first one.’ When she said that, it’s like it hit me in the face. ‘Oh my God, oh my God this is a big deal!’ That’s when I started getting nervous. I couldn’t believe what was going on,” he said. The experience as a whole, Vera says, was not simply a reason to be thankful, but rather a reason to keep working and keep striving to get better. “I’m just lucky, I’m lucky and blessed, that’s why I don’t complain about anything, just keep going forward and I keep training hard,” Vera added, “I keep going to Tagalog classes, I keep going to acting workshops, I have no right to complain, all I can do is get better. There’s too many people who put their faith in me for me to fail, and I just wanna keep grinding and getting better, and I realized all of this before, during, and after the shoot.” For now, however, Vera says that he’s more than excited to make his long-awaited return to the ONE Championship stage. While there’s no announcement yet with regards to his next title defense, the champ hopes to be able to do it on the upcoming ONE: CONQUEST OF CHAMPIONS card in Manila on November 23rd at the Mall of Asia Arena. The card also features a highly-anticipated ONE Lightweight World Championship bout between Filipino martial arts hero Eduard “Landslide” Folayang of Team Lakay and Singaporean knockout artist Amir Khan......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 15th, 2018

PBA: Phoenix takes down Meralco for solo third

Phoenix finally ended a long drought in an import-laden conference against Meralco with a 96-86 victory Friday to move up at solo third in the 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup at the Big Dome. The Fuel Masters kept their fire burning with their second straight win for a 4-1 win-loss record and first victory over the Bolts in a reinforced tournament in six meetings. “Before the game lumapit sa akin si (statistician) Fidel (Mangonon) di pa raw kami nananalo with an import against Meralco. So sinabi ko sa team before the game para added motivation and si Eugene (Phelps) medyo na-inspire,” said Phoenix coach Louie Alas. “Sabi niya, ‘coach I’m not included in that import-laden team because last year I was here but I was injured. I’ll make it sure that we will win today,” Alas added. And win they did. Phelps delivered 24 points and plucked 19 rebounds to lead the Fuel Masters. Calvin Abueva and Matthew Wright added 16 markers each while Jason Perkins has 13 for Phoenix. The Fuel Masters dropped 53 points in the middle quarters to take an 11-point lead heading into the payoff period after trailing 21-22 after the first 12 minutes. Phoenix broke the game wide-open, 91-72, with 5:49 left and held on to hand Meralco its third loss in four outings. Chris Newsome led the Bolts with 18 points while Allen Durham posted 16 markers, pulled down 13 rebounds and dished out nine assists for the Bolts.   The scores:  Phoenix 96 - Phelps 24, Abueva 16, Wright 16, Perkins 13, Chua 9, Revilla 8, Intal 6, Jazul 4, Wilson 0, Mendoza 0. Meralco 86 - Newsome 18, Durham 16, Lanete 11, Hugnatan 10, Jamito 8, Caram 7, Salva 6, Amer 5, Sedurifa 3, Hodge 2, Canaleta 0, Atkins 0, Faundo 0. Quarters: 21-22, 47-42, 74-63, 96-86.     .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 19th, 2018

PVL Finals By The Numbers: Atin ‘To

The University of the Philippines Lady Fighting Maroons made history on a rainy Wednesday evening after capturing their first major title since 1982. The Diliman-based squad survived a wild match and Finals series against a hobbled yet determined Far Eastern University squad to clinch the Premier Volleyball League season 2 Collegiate Conference championship. While the title showdown was epic in itself, the Lady Maroons’ journey to supremacy, and the numbers behind it will speak about their long, hard road to ending an extended drought. As the Diliman volleybelles celebrate their hard-earned title, let’s take a look at some interesting statistics from their championship run. 0-3 The Lady Maroons’ record against UAAP teams in the elimination round. UP was always on the brink of getting kicked off the Final Four race after failing to beat any of its fellow UAAP-based squads. All of their wins came at the expense of NCAA teams, but they were just enough to lift them to the semis, where they eventually showed what the Utak-Puso spirit is all about. 10  Number of sets played in the Finals. UP’s run to the title was nothing short of astounding. All two matches went the distance, and then some. Standing toe-to-toe against FEU, a squad that flee under the radar, all the way to the Finals of the UAAP season 80 volleyball tournament, the Lady Maroons fought tooth-and-nail to the very last point. In the series opener, UP climbed back from down two sets to steal the advantage from the George Pascua-led Lady Tamaraws. In the second game, UP came oh so close to surrendering their two-set advantage after a meltdown of epic proportions caused by FEU’s proven spirit. But the Lady Maroons somehow survived.  8-0 UP’s opening lead in the third set. FEU was in shambles after the Lady Maroons flew to a 2-0 match lead in Game 2. In the third, and what many believed was the final set, UP zoomed to a commanding 8-0 advantage, prompting fans in the arena to already start celebrating. UP fans starting to feel it 👀 #PVLonABSCBN pic.twitter.com/2k0MbNaNLk — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) September 12, 2018 But Coach Pascua pleaded to the Lady Tams during a timeout to continue fighting. And they did, eventually erasing UP’s lead late in the set to stay alive. Rejuvenated by that enthralling comeback in Set 3, FEU claimed the fourth frame, and then took a commanding lead in the final set to make the hopes of a rubber match for all the marbles possible. 13-7 FEU’s lead in the fifth and final set. Stunned after giving up two sets, UP was at the wrong end of a historic comeback. Now facing a six-point deficit in a deciding point in the series, UP unloaded a spirited 8-0 run to once again stun FEU, and to snap a 36-year drought for UP volleyball. 6  Combined points for Finals MVP Isa Molde and team captain Ayel Estrañero in that final 8-0 burst. 🏆 Moment for the UP Lady Fighting Maroons!!! #PVLonABSCBN pic.twitter.com/91vPP5TsCG — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) September 12, 2018 Once again, the Lady Maroons’ veterans came through. After willing the squad through the Final Four and the Finals, it was Molde who led the fightback with emphatic hits before Estrañero‘s steady serve clinched the championship. 19 Isa Molde’s scoring average in the Finals. MVP ✅ Finals MVP ✅@IsaMolde10, everyone 👏 #PVLonABSCBN pic.twitter.com/EZnfeo6jjD — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) September 12, 2018 With everything on the line, UP’s golden girl stepped it up. After earning the MVP award after norming 15.14 points in the elimination round, Molde came through in the championship series, dropping 16 and 22 points respectively to finally deliver a long-awaited volleyball title to Diliman......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 13th, 2018

PBA: SMB’s first loss no laughing matter for AZ Reid

Up by ten in the third quarter of their 2018 PBA Governor’s Cup matchup against the Blackwater Elite, Wedenesday, San Miguel committed the mortal sin of coasting. As they would come to learn the hard way, a ten point lead with more than a quarter left in the game isn’t always the safest cushion. The Beermen would go on to lose, 103-100 for their first loss of the conference, and for import AZ Reid, that first notch on their loss column is no laughing matter. Speaking to the media following their defeat at the Big Dome, the six-foot-five forward expressed his dissatisfaction with how they approached their opponents. “We took ‘em lightly.” Reid said. “We didn’t play the way we normally play, like the way we played in the first game. We played around, a lot of smiling, a lot of joking, so we lost.” While Reid finished with a team-high 26 markers to go with 12 boards, he feels that as the import, he needs to be the one shouldering the blame. In fact, Reid says he relishes the pressure. “Give me the blame, I like the pressure, it’s fine. Just give it to me, put the loss on AZ. It’s fine.” With about 29 seconds left in the third quarter, the Beermen had their biggest lead of the game, 82-72. Four minutes into the fourth quarter, the Elite were back on top after going on a 14-3 run. For Reid, the blown lead was simply a result of a decline in play as the game progressed. “We stopped doing what got us the lead. We started relaxing, chilling and thinking it’s funny, laughing around and joking.” “It’s unbelievable, man.” Reid added. As Reid and the Beermen head to the two-week break coming off their first loss of the conference, the Carolinian hopes that they can maintain a level of mental toughness and a sense of urgency the next time that they take to the courts. “We lost, okay, cool. It’s tough, it’s a very tough loss, we’ve got a long break, coming in 1-1, this game that we need, we lost. We just gotta regroup and hopefully everyone take it serious next time. We gotta stay tough, mentally tough, get a lead and not fold, not break. We broke tonight, and it resulted in a loss.” Reid added that inside the court, he isn’t about playing games, so to say. “Just play more serious. You saw the game, you see people were laughing and joking, it’s not a laughing and joking matter. If you wanna laugh and joke, you can laugh whenever you go home, but in between them lines, it’s not a game, it’s serious. I’m not gonna play around and joke and laugh with you when I’m out there.” “Like I said, put the blame on AZ. I’m the import, I take the blame, I’m used to it. I can handle it. Give it to me.” he stated......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 5th, 2018

Boxing: Donnie Nietes, Aston Palicte face off ahead of world title bout

With roughly a month to go before fight night, Filipino contenders Donnie ‘Ahas’ Nietes and Aston ‘Mighty’ Palicte faced off for the first time ahead of their highly-anticipated all-Filipino title bout.  Hollywood face off. Donnie Nietes and Aston Palicte join #Superfly3 presscon in LA. They fight for the vacant WBO World Title Sept 8 on @HBOboxing @360BoxingPromos @ALAPromotions1 @RoyJonesJrFA pic.twitter.com/2bmF5yQVME — Steve Angeles (@StevieAngeles) August 9, 2018 Nietes and Palicte are scheduled to fight for the vacant WBO Super Flyweight World Championship on the upcoming HBO and 360 Promotions-presented SuperFly 3 card at The Forum in Los Angeles, California this September 8th (September 9th, Manila time). Three-division world champion Nietes will be making his much-awaited debut in the super flyweight division. For the 36-year old Murcia, Negros Occidental native, who still holds the distinction for being the longest-reigning Filipino boxing world champion during his undisputed reign in the light flyweight division, his bout with Palicte serves as another opportunity to showcase his world-class talents to a much bigger audience. “Excited na excited kasi nabigyan ulit ako ng opportunity na makapag-laban dito sa SuperFly,” Nietes told ABS-CBN News’ Steve Angeles during the SuperFly 3 press conference in Hollywood, Wednesday evening. “This is a bug card, malaking tuwa ko na lalaban ako ulit dito sa US, ipapakita ko naman yung talent namin dito sa US." This will be Nietes’ second consecutive fight in the United States, coming off a successful IBF Flyweight World Championship defense against Juan Carlos Reveco at SuperFly 2 back in February, also at The Forum. While Nietes has long been a household name in the Philippines, many saw the ALA Promotions star’s dominant performance as a coming out party of sorts. This time, Nietes finds himself matched up agaisnt a fellow Filipino, who’s hungry for a world championship as well, in Palicte. Originally scheduled to be the headliner for a Pinoy Pride card in Cebu this August, 360 Promotions founder Tom Loeffler saw the opportunity to bring a pair of world-class Pinoy boxers on a much bigger stage. “When we had an opportunity in September 8th to put on a triple-header on HBO, I told peter Nelson of HBO that this is one of the best fights in the super flyweight division, for a WBO world championship and he agreed,” Loeffler said. “Donnie had a great performance in SuperFly 2. Aston now has the opportunity to fight for a world title at 115-pounds. I think it’s a tremendous matchup for these two great Filipino fighters.” Aside from the obvious prestige that comes with fighting for a world title, Palicte also has the opportunity to face off against not only a kababayan, but also someone he’s looked up. “Dati, bata pa ako, siya medyo matanda na sa akin, nakikita ko na sila, ina-idolize ko na sila. Hanggang ngayon, magkalaban na kami.” For the 27-year old Bago,Negros Occidental-native, it’s purely business. “Trabaho yan, part ng trabaho. Sa taas ng ring siguro iba, at pagkatapos ng laban, iba rin. Magkaibigan, pero wala eh, wala tayong magagawa, trabaho lang. Sports lang.” This will be the second all-Filipino world title fight this year, five months after reigning champion Jerwin Ancajas defended his IBF Super Flyweight World Championship against Nietes’ ALA Promotions stablemate Jonas Sultan. And while Nietes would rather not have to face a compatriot, like Palicte said, it’s simply business. “Filipino versus Filipino ang laban, so wala tayong magagawa dun kasi mandatory, so dapat maglaban. Ang sa amin lang, ipakita lang namin yung talento namin, yung galing namin atsaka yung magandang laban namin, ipakita namin sa mga tao, sa mga boxing fans dito sa US.”   H/T: Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN News.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 9th, 2018

PBA: SMB blowout loss dampens Fajardo s milestone night

San Miguel Beer big man June Mar Fajardo reached a couple of milestones Friday in Game 4 of the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals at the Big Dome. The behemoth snagged his seventh Best Player of the Conference award before tipoff and then joined the elite 5,000-point club. But his supposedly celebratory mood was dampened with the Beermen being on the receiving end of the unusual blowout trend of the best-of-seven Finals series, now tied at two games apiece. Fajardo finished with 15 points and 14 rebounds but even his inspired effort was not enough to save SMB from a 100-130 revenge beating at the hands of the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings. “Wala ang isip ko doon (sa award) pero blessed ako na nanalo ako ng BPC,” said the 28-year old Fajardo. “Thankful ako kay God, thankful ako sa teammates ko, sa coaching staff, credit ko sa kanila yun kasi di ko naman yun magagawa kung di dahil sa kanila,” added Fajardo. The big man also tallied his 5,001 points after making a layup with just 7:54 left in the fourth period. Unfortunately, Fajardo’s last marker of the night all but chipped a morsel of the Gin Kings’ 111-85 lead before head coach Leo Austria waived the white flag by pulling out his center.         “Tapos na ‘yun talo kami sa game kailangan mag-regroup, kailangan bounce back next game,” said Fajardo. Game 5 is on Sunday. “Kailangan naming manalo next game kasi mahirap kasi best-of-3 na lang yung series,” Fajardo said.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 3rd, 2018

PBA: Ginusto ko ang bola –- Thompson on nasty rebound over Johnson

It’s rare to hear the crowd roar over a rebound play. And fans inside the Big Dome, especially the Barangay Ginebra faithful, just witnessed one of those moments when Scottie Thompson, a 6-foot-1 guard, soared up high to snatch the rock over a wide-bodied, nine inch taller Rain or Shine import Reggie Johnson. It was a play deserving of a spot in a highlight countdown. Thompson grabbed 10 rebounds including the nasty one with just 1:37 left in the fourth quarter Monday in the Gin Kings’ Finals spot-clinching 96-94 Game 4 nail-biter over Rain or Shine that sealed the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup best-of-five semifinals series at the Big Dome. With the Ginebra protecting a 93-90 lead, Elasto Painters gunner Chris Tiu shot a triple that bounced off the rim. The 290 lbs. Johnson successfully boxed out Gin Kings’ Japeth Aguilar for a spot under the basket to collar the rebound. Just when Johnson thought that he got the ball, Thompson came running down, jumped over his back and snatched the rock with one hand. One could just hear the loud collective ‘oohs’ from the crowd.                 “’Yun lang talagang tinalon ko lang ang bola kasi crucial,” said Thompson, who in the series averaged nine rebounds per game. “Ginusto ko ang bola so buti nakuha ko.” That was his ninth board. A minute after, Thompson again plucked another crucial offensive rebound that led to an LA Tenorio floater that put the Gin Kings up, 95-90. To cap up his night, Thompson sealed the win with a steal off the Elasto Painters’ inbound with just 1.4 ticks left. Thompson may have sacrificed his offense with his effort on the boards and on defense but it’s a role the University of Perpetual Help product learned to embrace. He averaged only 5.4 points in the semis series but his defensive effort earned him a norm of 1.25 steals per game.       “Ang sabi sa amin ni coach Tim (Cone) na be the aggressor lagi kasi kailangan sila ang mag-react sa amin,” said Thompson. “’Yun ang ginagawa namin especially ako, talagang yun ang ginawa ko para makatulong sa team.” And Cone praised Thompson for his work. “A few? It seemed like he was grabbing everything and jumping over everybody, jumping over Johnson, jumping over Almazan. I mean, my gosh, getting that offensive rebound. He is just... he makes me speechless, he really does,” said Cone when asked about his reaction on Thompson’s rebounding. “Those were the plays of the game,” he added. “Joe (Devance) played great, but I thought Scottie was gonna get the Player of the Game just because of the rebounds he got, because they were all super clutch. And if he hadn't gotten a couple of those rebounds, Johnson would have gotten really easy putbacks.” “He did not only denied (Johnson) the rebound, but he denied the easy putback. So he just leaves me speechless some times,” Cone continued. “His timing is otherworldly. That's the only way I can explain that, I've never seen anybody with that kind of timing. Amazing.” Now, playing against a tough opponent in sister-team San Miguel Beer in the best-of-seven Finals starting Friday, Thompson just want to focus on the thing he does best. “Ang akin lang naman stay aggressive lang. Gusto ko lang maging aggressive lagi sa offense, defense especially sa defense kasi yun ang role ko para sa team,” he said.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 23rd, 2018

PBA: Arwind Santos predicts a San Miguel-Ginebra Finals

San Miguel is through to the Finals of the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup. Ginebra can join them there by taking care of business against Rain or Shine on Monday. Of course, the Elasto Painters still have a fighting chance even though they are down 1-2 in the race-to-three semifinals series. Arwind Santos, however, doesn’t think that will be the case. “Tingin ko, sila na kaya sila na siguro ang paghahandaan namin. ‘Di namin nakikitang tatalunin sila ng Rain or Shine e,” he told reporters after the Beermen booked a ticket to the Finals by finishing off Alaska on Sunday. In case it wasn’t clear just yet, the “sila” Santos was referring to was Ginebra. And so, if the 37-year veteran will have his way, the defending champions will have at least three days to prepare for the Finals – a Finals opposite the Gin Kings. For his part, however, San Miguel head coach Leo Austria said it’s definitely difficult to predict what will happen. “It’s always 50-50. The last time, sinabi ko maybe we’ll be in the Finals against Ginebra, but I made a mistake,” he shared. He then continued, “There was a question na sino gusto (naming) makalaban and wala akong pinipili, but I said na probably Ginebra because they’re playing well. But the following game, they were beaten by Rain or Shine.” In Game 2 of the Beermen versus the Aces, coach Leo said that if Beermen do down the Aces, then they would most probably be facing Ginebra in the Finals. Then, the Gin Kings were up 1-0 in their own semifinals series. After coach Leo’s claim, though, Ginebra was defeated by the Elasto Painters before winning Game 3 and taking a 2-1 series lead. Now, San Miguel’s always amiable mentor would prefer to keep mum about the other semifinals series. All that matters for him is that he and his boys must be raring and ready. “You can never know what will happen, but whoever will be our opponent, I think the team is ready,” he said. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 22nd, 2018

PBA: Lalaban tayo hanggang sa huli -- Aces coach Compton

ANTIPOLO -- Down 0-2 in a best-of-five semifinals series against the best and most star-studded team in the league, Alaska could’ve waived the white flag. But the Aces aren’t going down without a fight. Faced against overwhelming odds, Alaska stood its ground and made giant San Miguel Beer know that if it wants to advance into the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals the Beermen must go through them first. Even with their import Diamon Simpson playing hurt, the Aces blew out San Miguel, 125-104, to deny the Beermen a series sweep and live to fight another day Friday at the Ynares Sports Center here. “I thought everybody contributed at a time where, obviously, we’re still down, at a time we’re very down,” said Alaska coach Alex Compton, whose bench produced 71 points. “To tell you what guys, I love my guys. You heard me say it before I love my guys they don’t give up.” “We’re down 2-0 against the best team in the league, there’s every possibility to give up but they didn’t,” he added. The Aces dropped the series’ first two games including a painful Game 2 loss where Alaska squandered a 16-point lead. Ahead by nine points in at the half in Game 3, Alaska this time kept its hold of the lead and even extended it to 17 heading into the payoff period for a comfortable cushion. “Yun ang hiningi ko sa kanila, ‘lalaban tayo hanggang sa huli’. Lumaban sila,” said Compton. “You know we have to play great to beat San Miguel, I thought we played great tonight.” The mentor also praised his wards for stepping up as Simpson played with a sprained ankle he sustained in Game 2.     “I’m really proud of the guys when I had to sub him out when he looked like he was really hurt in the second quarter,” Compton said. “They were able to maintain and even at point extend our lead a little bit.” Vic Manuel delivered 24 points while Simpson still managed to score 21 markers and grab 13 boards. JV Casio also contributed with 15 markers while Simon Enciso flirted with a double-double with 10 points and eight assists in a time Alaska need all the help it could get. “It just feels like it was one of our days. Alam naman naming na doon sa kabila hindi biro ang bigat ng kalaban but we got one and we needed to get one,” said Compton. Now Alaska has a chance to get back in the series and take an equalizer on Sunday in Game 4.         ---   Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles      .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 20th, 2018