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& lsquo;Lack of planning caused snafus& rsquo;

President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday that the mishaps and shortcomings in the country’s hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games could have been avoided if the P6-billion fund was used “correctly.”.....»»

Category: newsSource: thestandard thestandardDec 3rd, 2019

LeBron James keeping Father Time at bay in LA

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com The bearded man in a robe who walks with a slight hunch and carries an hourglass always lurks in the shadows, almost out of view. Nobody is paying him much mind or cares what he has to say -- at least not initially. He’s not on anyone’s radar until he appears and applies a gentle tap on the shoulder (or a violent shove in the back) of the unsuspecting. And that’s when they realize they’ve been paid a visit by someone whom Charles Barkley always says is undefeated. Yes, it is “Father Time,” the mythical creation of the ancient Greeks whose clock is more pronounced than any made in Switzerland. He is, by every metric, always on time, although that seems to vary, depending on his mood. He is gracious and respectful in some cases, unforgiving in others. Ultimately, he and only he decides when your time in sports is up. And so, it’s a matter of when, not if, he’ll throw LeBron James in reverse. But where other stars became role players or transformed into shells of their former selves, LeBron is playing at a high level. He turns 35 later this month and because he’s delivering Kia MVP-quality results here in his 17th NBA season, he is winning against time, and therefore, he is … cheating time. He’s almost at 57,000 minutes played in the regular season and playoffs combined, which ranks fourth behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone and Kobe Bryant. He should pass Kobe for No. 3 in career scoring (33,643 points) by the All-Star break. The all-time scoring mark and a high ranking on the all-time assists list are in sight, too. Ask him why and how he’s doing it and LeBron is playfully coy and quick to say “fine wine.” He’ll also often credit the extra motivation he acquired last summer, when he watched the playoffs from his sofa, not far removed from a groin injury and a dreadful first season with the Lakers. Those things caused him grief and fueled his desire to reclaim his place. "I put in the work and I trust everything that I’ve done, especially this offseason," James said. "I’ve come in with a great mindset, with a healthy mindset and a healthy body." Considering his middle age, LeBron is putting together a masterful season (25.6 ppg, 7.1 rpg) while excelling as a volume 3-point shooter. His 10.8 apg leads the NBA and his effort defensively -- which was laughable last season -- is laudable now. Nobody at 35 has assembled such numbers in league history. “He’s LeBron James,” said Clippers coach Doc Rivers. “Until he isn’t.” What’s age got to do with it? Well, nothing right now. LeBron is still capable of unleashing a facial dunk, as he did with a smirk against the Kings’ Nemanja Bjelica, who perhaps wisely never bothered to challenge it. He also covers all the court rather than, as some aging players are wont to do, play between the free throw lines. It’s true that soon enough he will wear longer shorts than anyone in the game -- not from faulty tailoring, but from constant pulling and tugging. And while the ball is in play, he will someday hear squeaking on the court and suddenly notice that sound is coming from his joints. “Nobody knows when it’ll happen to him because he’s still playing in the air,” said Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins. “And even when that goes, his basketball IQ will allow him to stay great on the ground. I mean, who gets triple doubles at his age? Only he knows when his time is up.” When that day arrives -- and assuming he doesn’t first quit while he’s ahead -- how big of a decline will it be for LeBron (and, by extension, for us) to witness? Will he fall prey to nagging injuries, get torched nightly by previously inferior players, or quit playing defense? Here’s how “Father Time” diminished six greats who came before LeBron: 1. Michael Jordan: When he retired for the second time, after his last season with the Bulls, Jordan was still very much a physical marvel and the reigning MVP and Finals MVP (he won five MVPs and six Finals MVPs). He was certifiably great for 13 of his 15 seasons and could’ve been longer if not for three years of college ball, an injury-shortened 1985-86 season and 1.5 missed seasons due to baseball. His body only began to betray him when he un-retired in 2001 to play for the Wizards. At 38, Jordan rarely dunked, wasn’t as sharp defensively and knee issues limited him to 60 games in 2001-02. 2. Jerry West: “The Logo” never had a down year in his 14-year career. He was First-Team All-Defense in 1972-73 as a 34-year-old and was solid in his final season (20.3 ppg, 6.6 apg, 2.6 spg). But he wasn’t at his peak of the late 1960s and opted to quit over pride (and money, when Lakers owner Jack Kent Cooke refused to renegotiate his contract). 3. Bill Russell: His career ended mainly because he ran out of psychological fuel. Russell lost his passion to play at 35, even after winning championship No. 11 in his final season (1968-69). That season, he played 46.1 mpg in the playoffs, averaging 10.8 ppg, 20.5 rpg and 5.4 apg. While those numbers are perhaps skewed by the way the game was played back then, they’re still remarkable. 4. Wilt Chamberlain: A man of astonishing stats, Chamberlain averaged a league-leading 18.6 rpg and shot 72.7% overall in his final season (1972-73). Knee issues had long forced Wilt into being a statue in the paint and a third option on offense. After that final NBA season, he jumped from the Lakers to the ABA for money. San Diego offered him $600,000 to be a player-coach, but his Lakers contract prevented him from playing. Wilt coached instead, doing so with disinterest, often not showing up for games or practice. He quit basketball completely after that season. 5. Kobe Bryant: Those roundtrip flights to Germany to get oil for his knees managed to delay the obvious for a few years, but a torn Achilles in 2013 at 35 was the killer. Kobe, much like Jordan and LeBron, was elite into his 30s. And he’ll always have that 60-point send-off. 6. Karl Malone: He won his final MVP at 35 and was built for durability, never suffering a serious injury. He averaged 20.6 ppg in his final season with Utah (2002-03) as he approached 40. By then, he had morphed into a jump shooter and lost his instincts for offensive rebounding. He bowed out as a ring-chasing role player with the Lakers in ‘03-04. Larry Bird was ruined by debilitating back issues at 32. Abdul-Jabbar often only jogged downcourt his last six seasons. Tim Duncan became a secondary option in his last four seasons while Dirk Nowitzki averaged more than 20 ppg once over his final five seasons. Vince Carter is 42 and proudly still playing, but clearly is 10 years beyond his prime. Allen Iverson was the last to know his quickness was gone. “For me, it was Year 12 when it hit me,” said Lakers great James Worthy, who had knee issues. “My patented move was taking off from somewhere inside the free throw line. I found myself halfway there once and I started to descend before I got close to the rim. I had to do a George Gervin flip instead of a dunk. “It’s different now, with this generation of players. I was eating Burger King before games and working out on Nautilus machines. I went to college with Lawrence Taylor and I remember him telling me, ‘I don’t wanna get hit anymore.’ And he’s a reckless guy. LeBron will wake up one day and he won’t have that drive. He’ll be tired and while physically he’s in such great shape, something will go away, either a move or speed.” LeBron seems determined to be the outlier. He spends, by various estimations, more than $1 million on his body for round the clock therapy and a personal trainer. Last summer, he refused to allow the shooting schedule for the movie “Space Jam 2” to interfere with his schedule, rising at 3:30 a.m. to train before heading to the set. He has more than once fantasized about staying in the league long enough to possibly play against or alongside his son, Bronny (now a high school freshman). “LeBron is not only a great player but a physical marvel,” said Warriors coach Steve Kerr. “Probably the best athlete to ever walk this planet. I’ve never seen anybody in my lifetime in any sport whom I would consider a better athlete. It’s one of his best attributes and the one that goes the least noticed. You just take it for granted that he’s out there every night and still doing his things.” LeBron exchanged playful tweets with Tom Brady last month, with LeBron saying the two are “one in the same.” Brady is a tame comparison to LeBron. Brady doesn’t run 94 feet and back for nine months (playoffs included) and when tired can simply hand off to the running back. Same for NFL legend Joe Montana, who made the Pro Bowl at 37. MLB legend Nolan Ryan threw once every four or five days. Maybe tennis star Roger Federer, who won Wimbledon at 36 and still reaches finals at 38, comes closest. “It wouldn’t shock me if LeBron played until he was 40,” West said. “He’s such a great athlete and knows enough about his body that he’ll probably leave before he declines.” After watching Robert Parish waste away on the Bulls’ bench, Jordan said he’d never allow himself to stay in the game that long. His pride and unwillingness to be seen as hanging on meant he’d walk away first. LeBron doesn’t think of the twilight and given how he’s playing now, that doesn’t appear to be in the future, anyway. “I was with the Nuggets late in my career and the funny thing is I was leading the league in assists,” said Mark Jackson, fourth on the all-time assists list. “There was a loose ball, a deflection, and it’s right here, and I can go get it. I made the move to go get it, and before I could get anywhere near it, a kid out of nowhere, and in a blur, snatched it. Gets the ball, by the time I get to the spot where the ball is, he’d already dunked it. Young kid by the name of Allen Iverson. I knew it would never be the same.” Jackson says LeBron is so multi-gifted that he can endure decline in one area and still flourish in another. “He also has the knowledge, pace and understanding that he’ll still be able to be effective even when he slows down,” Jackson said. “I don’t think it’ll be drastic. He can average a triple-double for the next five years.” LeBron is taking great satisfaction in fighting age while tweaking skeptics, both real and imagined, who wondered if decline was imminent. He cites that “Washed King” nickname -- did somebody actually call him that? -- as motivation. “It’s the personal pressure I put on myself,” LeBron said. Eventually, like everyone, he’ll take the L from “Father Time.” Until then, LeBron is making us wonder if that mythical man exists. Shaun Powell has covered the NBA for more than 25 years. 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 NewsDec 5th, 2019

SEA Games 2019: Gold medalist Carlos Yulo relishes support from Pinoy crowd

Pinoy gymnast Carlos Yulo was no doubt one of the biggest stars on the first official day of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.  The 19-year old was nothing short of impressive in his SEA Games debut, clinching gold in the Men's Individual All-Around category of the Artistic Gymnastics competition, Sunday afternoon at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum in Manila.  Podium finishes are nothing new for Yulo, who recently captured gold in the Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany back in October, as well as a handful of bronze medal finishes in the Artistic Gymnastics World Cup.  What made this SEA Games gold a bit sweeter however, was having the full support of the partisan Filipino crowd at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum.  Yulo secured top-three finishes in each of the six events in the Men's Individual All-Around category en route to the gold medal, and with every flip, every twist, and every landing stuck, the Pinoy crowd cheered Yulo on, wildly.  #SEAGames2019 I Gymnastics - Artistic RMS erupts as Caloy Yulo finishes his Horizontal Bars routine pic.twitter.com/eEo2RkOGot — Santino Honasan???? (@honasantino) December 1, 2019 After completing his final routine on the Horizontal Bar event, Yulo couldn't help but pump his fist in excitement as the fans nearly blew the roof off the modest arena. He too, could feel the energy coming from the crowd.  "Grabe, nakaka-hype. Ako ‘yung kinakabahan," Yulo said of the crowd after the competition. "Maraming-maraming salamat sa support niyo sa amin dito. Grabe, wala akong masabi." Being able to compete on this level, in front of a Filipino crowd was a different experience for Yulo, whose biggest win so far - his gold medal at the World Championships in Stuttgart - was away from home. Yulo admits that the lack of hype surrounding him in Germany helped in relieving the pressure.  "Actually, it's quite different. Here, like, I'd say the crowd gives more attention to Philippine team. In Germany it's like nobody knows me, so I'm just doing my thing. I'm not even scared." Now, with the nation's eyes firmly on him during these next few days and presumably for the rest of his career, Yulo hopes that his success and his newfound popularity can help encourage even more aspiring gymnasts to follow in his footsteps and the footsteps of the ones that have come before him.  "I want Philippine gymnastics to build Olympians," he said.  #SEAGames | Gymnastics - Artistic Caloy Yulo of the Philippines captures GOLD in the Men’s Individual All-Around category pic.twitter.com/YT3V9GuEUi — Santino Honasan???? (@honasantino) December 1, 2019 Yulo has the chance to capture even more gold for the Philippines in the coming days, as he's set to compete in six more events in the Men's Gymnastics competition. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 1st, 2019

Suns look to prove mettle after buzz cools down

By Michael C. Wright, NBA.com Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams challenged his squad Thursday night (Friday, PHL time) in the wake of a third consecutive loss, falling 124-121 to the New Orleans Pelicans. “I told our guys, ‘Look, we had a nice run. We got hit in the mouth with injuries. Let’s see what we’re made of,’” he said. Phoenix caught the basketball world by surprise early this season with a 5-2 start, which included wins over the LA Clippers and Philadelphia 76ers, but the Suns have since fallen on hard times. Having lost three consecutive games, in part due to injuries to point guard Ricky Rubio (back) and center Aron Baynes (hip) altering the club’s style of play, the early-season buzz generated by the team is gone. But the truth is we haven’t seen the Suns at full strength since their season-opening 124-95 win over the Sacramento Kings, a game in which Deandre Ayton registered a double-double (18 points and 11 rebounds) along with four blocks in his only game this season. Ayton received a 25-game suspension by the league after that game for violating the NBA/NBPA anti-drug policy for testing positive for a diuretic. Ayton won’t be eligible to return to action until Dec. 17 (Dec. 18, PHL time), when Phoenix meets the LA Clippers at the Staples Center. So, it’s tough to gauge at this point whether the Suns are indeed the real deal. But Williams isn’t concerned. He prefers that the Suns fly under the radar. “The buzz will die down a bit, and now we can just focus on getting better,” Williams told his team after Thursday’s (Friday, PHL time) loss. “This is the NBA. Our guys are more than able to do what they need to do to get better.” The Suns aren’t sure when Rubio and Baynes will be set to return to action. Rubio has missed two of the team’s last three games, and when he tried to play Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time) at Sacramento, the point guard could only will himself through 16 minutes in the first half, shooting 0-for-7 from the field. Baynes has missed two games in a row with Phoenix mired in its first three-game skid of the season. Two of Phoenix’s last three losses came by single-digit margins. “This is kind of our first time hitting adversity, losing three in a row, and now we’re on the road for two tough games back to back, so we’re going to see how we’re going to go out there and play,” said Mikal Bridges, who contributed 12 points to go with six rebounds and three steals in the loss to New Orleans. “I think we’re mentally strong, and we’re together as a team. So, I think we’re going to push through and play hard the next few games, and try to leave out of there with a W. But it’s going to test our mentality to see what we’re going to be right now.” The Suns have struggled defensively over the past two games, most notably at defending the 3-point line. Sacramento knocked down 41.9% from deep on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time) against the Suns, while the Pelicans on Thursday (Friday, PHL time) hit on 45.7% from range. Baynes had been filling in during Ayton’s suspension, but Frank Kaminsky has replaced Baynes the last two games as he’s dealt with a strained right hip flexor. Going into the loss to New Orleans, Kaminsky (hip) was listed on the injury report along with Dario Saric (knee) and Cam Johnson (knee). Williams said “you hope” Rubio and Baynes return for the start of Phoenix’s upcoming back-to-back set on the road that starts Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) in Minnesota and concludes Sunday (Monday, PHL time) at Denver. But the team has “got to start planning as if they’re not,” Williams said. Those contests wrap up a stretch of five games in seven nights. “It’s next man up mentality,” said guard Devin Booker, who has connected on 50% or better from the field in 11 of the team’s 14 games. “We’re dealing with a couple injuries right now, and for guys to come in who have just been on the practice court the whole season and get an opportunity to perform it’s a very big time. It’s professionalism at its finest. It says a lot about a person’s character.” As for Ayton, who anxiously awaits his return for suspension, the center can only watch and wait. Provisions of the suspension allow Ayton to practice and travel with the team, but he can’t be in an arena -- home or away -- two hours before game. During the down time, Ayton has been working to refine his shot; most notably his 3-point shot with Suns assistant Mark Bryant. After this latest road trek, the Suns come back home to host Washington and Dallas before hitting the road for four consecutive outings over five nights to start the month of December. So surely, there’s more adversity to come for the young, upstart Suns. “We don’t quit. We compete,” Williams said. “That’s one of our values, our core values. We compete every possession. Sometimes, you can’t always dictate whether the ball goes in, but you can compete every night. I always tell the guys if you do the right thing it will come back to you. It may not come back to you in this game, but over the long haul, you’ll be better for it.” Michael C. Wright is a senior writer for NBA.com. 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 NewsNov 24th, 2019

ONE Championship: Brandon Vera super excited for matchup with Aung La N Sang

The world will soon witness potentially one of the greatest bouts in ONE Championship history when two of the greatest warriors, ONE Heavyweight World Champion Brandon “The Truth” Vera and two-division ONE World Champion Aung La N Sang, square off at ONE: CENTURY in October for the light heavyweight title.   Vera made a decision to challenge Aung La earlier this year, so he sought the permission of ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong.   Aung La successfully defended his title against Ken Hasegawa at ONE: A NEW ERA last March. Vera congratulated him on his win before humbly and respectfully challenging “The Burmese Python” for the light heavyweight title.   “I wasn’t very comfortable doing that inside the cage. It was Aung La N Sang‘s time to shine, but I’ve been wanting to become a double titleholder – a champ-champ – and I’ve always wanted to challenge for the ONE Light Heavyweight World Title,” said Vera.    “I just happened to be in Tokyo, the next event I wanted to compete on is in Tokyo, and I think it would be a beautiful main event or co-main event.”     “When I went in there, I was very nervous – not about challenging, but doing it in the most respectful way that Aung La deserves – especially after he just won his ONE Middleweight World Championship bout against Ken Hasegawa,” he explained.    “It was super weird and super nerve-wracking – kind of awkward, but kind of awesome at the same time. I got to talk to Aung La after we got out of the cage and now I’m feeling more comfortable about challenging him like that.”   During that moment, Vera referred to Aung La as a “man among men,” describing him as a father, a good role model, and a true martial artist -- a person everyone can look up to and aspire to become.   “Aung La is younger than me, but as a whole, he is a man among men, and I do put him in a different category to other people. He’s very well-rounded in life. He’s an alpha male in the most respectful and polite manner. If the world was full of Aung Las, the world would be a better place,” said Vera.   The Filipino-American heavyweight is looking forward to his match with Aung La in October if they’re both healthy. Vera, who is on a four-bout winning streak, shared that he is excited to next face Aung La, whom he believes can take him past the first round.     With a professional record of 25-10-1, Myanmar’s hero is currently enjoying a six-bout winning streak through five knockouts and a submission. Vera respects Aung La’s power, skill, and heart and has studied and analyzed his fighting style.   “This is really hard to break down because I can’t really pick apart Aung La’s game. We’re almost related. His coach came from my coach. We train the same, we know the same hardships, we’ve been through that grind,” Vera said.  “His new coach [Henri Hooft] was training with my former head kickboxing coach Rob Kaman – they’ve been sparring with each other since they were 17 – so our style is almost the same.”   A win means Vera will hold both the light heavyweight and heavyweight championship titles. Having fought some of the biggest names in martial arts, he is confident that he has the upper hand in the upcoming bout.   “I think the biggest difference between us is our experience,” he said.    “During his matches, I look for those little holes he still has because of his lack of experience. I’m not going to outpace Aung La, I’m not going to outwork Aung La. I’m not going to be a bully because that’s impossible. He’s been through the same system.”   “I have to find holes in Aung La’s game and exploit them while he’s doing the same thing to me. We come from the same school, the same train of thought, so this is why I’m super excited for this match,” he added.     ONE: CENTURY will be available on multiple platforms for every Kapamilya viewer!  Catch ONE: CENTURY in it’s entirety on LIVESTREAMING on Sunday, October 13 starting at 8:00 AM (Part 1) and 4:00 PM (Part 2) via sports.abs-cbn.com/livestream/one and on iWant Sports as well as on the ABS-CBN Sports Facebook Page and the ABS-CBN Sports YouTube Page! Catch ONE: CENTURY Part 2 LIVE at 6:30 PM on ABS-CBN S+A channel 23! ONE: CENTURY Part 2 will air on Friday, October 18 at 8:30 PM on ABS-CBN S+A channel 23!.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 20th, 2019

SEA GAMES: Phisgoc, LVPI to sit down on hosting ASEAN Grand Prix leg

It’s like hitting two birds with one stone.   Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee chief operating officer Ramon ‘Tats’ Suzara will sit down with Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. to discuss the country’s possible hosting of the second leg of the planned inaugural ASEAN Grand Prix. Suzara, who is also the chairman of the powerful marketing and development committee of the Asian Volleyball Confederation, told ABS-CBN Sports that Phisgoc is planning to use the four-nation tournament hosting as one of the eight test events for the 2019 Southeast Asian Games. The ASEAN Grand Prix is tentatively scheduled late next month or early October. “We will ask LVPI to use the ASEAN Grand Prix as test event for volleyball because it involves four countries,” said Suzara on Thursday. “This is also the request from the Asian Volleyball Confederation. We will call on LVPI to consider doing a test event.” The official added that it is a good opportunity to expose the national women's team against squads from Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia and at the same time serve as a dry run for the country’s hosting of the biennial meet in November.  Phisgoc, according to Suzara, will take care of the needed equipment and logistics of the Grand Prix leg as it will fall under the country’s SEA Games hosting test event. "I have to call [LVPI president] Mr. [Joey] Romasanta to consider the ASEAN Grand Prix second leg to be a test event for Phisgoc," Suzara said. Thailand will host the opening leg and Suzara wants to suggest LVPI to take care of the next stop of the home and away tournament.  “I asked AVC that we might be able to use one leg of the ASEAN Grand Prix because right now kasi ang magho-host pa lang Thailand,” he said. "They’re asking Philippines but hindi pa maka-commit ang LVPI because it needs funding.” “But now Phisgoc is giving the funding as the official test event so why not? It’s also good for the national team,” Suzara added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 15th, 2019

PBA: Terrence Jones pinpoints defense as main issue in TNT collapse

Talk N' Text was essentially 12 minutes away from holding a 3-2 lead in the 2019 PBA Commissioner's Cup Finals.  The KaTropa had a commanding 16-point advantage in the opening moments of fourth quarter and appeared primed to regain the advantage in the conference-ending series.  Instead, Talk N' Text saw that advantage disappear, allowing the San Miguel Beermen to steal Game 5, 99-94, and move one win away from yet another championship.  In the final stretch of the game, with the Beermen breathing down their necks, the KaTropa had a number of chances to create a bit of separation but just couldn't convert on their chances.  What's more is that they could not stop the SMB onslaught on the defensive end, which was the main concern for KaTropa import Terrence Jones.  "We just didn’t get stops when we needed to," Jones said following the loss. "We needed two more stops and we didn’t, so that’s what happens. We lost." Jones, the newly-crowned Best Import of the conference, was his usual dominant self, putting up 35 points, pulling down 17 rebounds, and dishing out eight assists.  In crunch time however, Jones was unable to finish on a couple of chances that could have swung the game in their favor.  "It was a well-fought game. They made their runs and we made ours, we just got to try to make sure we take care of business next game," he added.  When the question of fatigue was brought up, Jones maintained that it was simply all about getting the necessary stops to close out the game.  "I’m not a person that makes excuses, so, it just comes down to stops to win the game, and they scored and we didn’t." "We just didn’t score, man. I mean, I got to where I wanted to, where I’ve been shooting my lay-ups from, on the left side, most of the series, it just didn’t go in, and we didn’t get stops. Winning championships is about defense. We had the lead, and we gave it up by not getting stops. I think that’s what it boils down to, and we got to make sure we take care of that in the entire fourth quarter so it doesn’t come down to that," he continued. In the final period, Jones was held to just three points, and while he did credit the Beermen for their defense, it was the KaTropa's defense, or lack thereof, during the closing sequences that Jones feels needs to be addressed.  "Mainly, importantly to me is our defense. We were up with a double-digit lead in the fourth and gave that away, which even caused us to be in that situation, which is more of the bigger standpoint to me, and hopefully we can take care of that." Now down in a 3-2 hole, the KaTropa are in do-or-die mode from here on out, and the former Houston Rocket made it clear that he wasn't ready to go down.  "Exactly like you said, either win or be done, and I’m not ready to be done. I hope my teammates aren’t ready to be done, and we come in and we play with that attitude," Game 6 will be on Friday at the Araneta Coliseum. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 14th, 2019

SEA Games: NLEX to close section near Philippine Arena for SEA Games opening ceremony

Organizers of the 30th Southeast Asian Games are looking at a 12-hour closure of a section of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) near the Philippine Arena on November 30. The 55,000-seater indoor Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan will be hosting the biennial meet’s opening ceremony that will land on a Saturday and on Bonifacio Day.   “We are doing a thorough planning of the opening ceremony. You can imagine we have an opening ceremony on Nov. 30. Although that's a holiday, if we close NLEX for 12 hours, malaking ano yun [traffic],” said Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc), Foundation chief operating officer Ramon ‘Tats’ Suzara. Phisgoc is working with the Philippine National Police and the NLEX management on the details of the closure with thousands of fans, athletes, officials and delegates from the 11 participating countries trooping the arena for opening ceremony.    “People have to plan from now on, na pagdating ng Nov. 29, magbiyahe na sila ng Baguio or somewhere north. Kasi pagdating ng Nov. 30 ng 12:00 noon, sarado na ang NLEX hanggang midnight. That's a 12-hour window. After nun, aalis na ang lahat ng tao na manonood ng opening ceremony,” Suzara said. “These things will be convenient for us. This is the suggestion of the Iglesia ni Cristo. Kasi alam mo naman yung likod ng Philippine Arena, masikip. Main highway lang talaga tayo, NLEX lang. This takes a lot of planning with the PNP and NLEX also,” he added. The SEA Games will last until December 11 with 530 events across a record 56 sports to be held in venues in Manila, Clark, Subic, Tagaytay, Laguna, La Union and Batangas.     Concerns of traffic congestions has been raised with the country’s hosting of the biennial meet especially with it landing near the Christmas season. “We are trying to solve this,” said Suzara.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 24th, 2019

Five things we learned from Game 1 of the 2019 Finals

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com TORONTO – Five things we learned from the Toronto Raptors’ 118-109 victory over the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of The Finals Thursday (Friday, PHL time) at Scotiabank Arena ... 1. So much for ‘glad to be here’ If we thought we had learned one thing about the Toronto Raptors when it comes to the NBA playoffs, it was this: They back their way into most series. Losing the opener was a tradition for this franchise -- they were 3-15 in Game 1s prior to Thursday (Friday, PHL time), dating back to their inaugural playoff run in 2000. Nothing shoves a team closer to elimination in a best-of-seven showdown than a lousy start. That’s why grabbing the opener against Golden State was so essential. Had the Raptors squandered their home-court advantage on the first night, we all would be assuming the worst for these Finals in competitive, stylistic and entertainment terms. Only by rocking the Warriors in Game 1 -- and most impressively, by refusing to cough up all of their 12-point lead in the second half -- could the Raptors generate legitimate excitement for Game 2 and beyond. Had we all been honest (and able to pull this off), we would have begun this series by spotting Toronto to a 1-0 lead -- just to handicap the defending champions and force them to show us something they haven’t in their four previous Finals trips. But such a move would have been demeaning, of course, to the Raptors. Instead, coach Nick Nurse and his affable newbies seized early control themselves. How Portland looked in the Western Conference finals, as if the Trail Blazers had maxed out and were just happy to still be involved? Toronto wanted none of that. It found a way to win when Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry were ordinary at best. And now we have a series worthy of the Larry O’Brien Trophy. 2. Triple-doubles continue to decline in value It’s fun as a game progresses to track stats, whether it’s Pascal Siakam’s absurd 11 consecutive field goals or Stephen Curry’s refusal to miss a free throw. We’re always aware of the leading scorer and his growing point total, particularly as it passes the big round numbers (30, 40, 50…). But Draymond Green’s latest triple-double was a reminder that the bar has been set too low for that stat from its inception. Green finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, which makes it a minimalist’s triple-double at best and more of a statistical fluke than an achievement. Ten assists? That’s strong any night. Ten rebounds? Solid, and necessary if no one else on your roster is claiming more than six. Ten points, though? Come on now. Green had a Jason Kidd triple-double, which isn’t mean to disparage the Hall of Fame point guard but speaks to Kidd’s limitations as a scorer for most of his career. Heck, the Warriors’ versatile forward had six turnovers, inspiring the bad “quadruple-double watch” that Kidd sparked on occasion. What Green didn’t do was put the ball through the net effectively, shooting 2-for-9 overall and 0-for-2 on three-pointers. Yes, his value to Golden State usually doesn’t rise or fall on his scoring, but he could have been more helpful in that area Thursday. When Oscar Robertson averaged a triple-double in 1961-62 (and cumulatively did it over his first six NBA seasons), he was scoring 30 points per game. When Russell Westbrook matched what had been a rare feat two years ago, he too was up above 30 points nightly. But Westbrook has done it the past two seasons as well, with his scoring average dipping below 23 this season. That would seem to be near the minimum -- say, 20 points -- to gush over a player’s triple-double on a given night. We get it, double figures means 10 or more. But 10 points is no big deal at all in the NBA, so it seems silly to celebrate it when it’s the free rider on the triple-double quirk. 3. Don’t double-dawg dare an NBA player Warriors coach Steve Kerr admitted after Game 1 that, by mistake more than by design, his team didn’t defensively do its job well in the early minutes against center Marc Gasol. “Gasol we left a couple times early in the game and didn't rotate, we just gave him a couple of dare shots and he knocked them down,” Kerr said. Daring is not defending, and the Warriors would be well-advised not to do that again to a player as proud and as accomplished as Gasol. He’s struggled at times as a shooter in these playoffs, shooting 34 percent in the Eastern Conference finals while going 2-for-9 on three-pointers in Games 1 and 2 of that series (both losses). It was embarrassing at times to see the affable 7'1" Spaniard miss shots badly, whether he felt that way or not. But Gasol was 10-for-20 on three-pointers entering The Finals, all during the Raptors’ four consecutive victories to eliminate the Bucks. He went 2-for-4 in Game 1 of The Finals, scoring a playoff-high 20 points to help compensate for Leonard’s and Lowry’s muted firepower. Asked about it afterward, on taking such a “dare” personally, the big man shrugged. “If you're open, you got to shoot them. Dare, no dare,” he said. “And then we go from there. If they go in, great. If not you keep taking them with confidence.” That’s speaking truth to a dare. 4. The ratings for Game 1 will soar… … if they can somehow count the number of times the Warriors and the Raptors watch and re-watch the video tape. A big theme heading into this series was the relative lack of familiarity the teams had with each other. Now, that’s a common aspect of The Finals, pitting the champs of opposite conferences and all. But given Golden State’s knowledge of the Cleveland Cavaliers after four consecutive Finals, Toronto is a relative stranger. Beyond that, key players from both sides were absent in the two regular-season meetings. But now they have a whole 48 minutes to dissect, digest and learn from. For the Warriors, who spoke about it the most, they saw things they might not have expected and things they definitely did not like. Such as? Try Siakam’s attacks on the basket (in transition and otherwise), their own inability to be the team that pushes pace and Fred VanVleet as the game’s essential reserve (15 points on a night when his three-point shot was MIA). Green, in particular, sounded as if he was going to binge-watch Siakam’s romp and figure a way to thwart the unorthodox flip shots the forward from Cameroon deployed. “He's become ‘a guy,’” Green said phrasing that as a nod of respect. “He put a lot of work into get there and I respect that. But like I said, I got to take him out of the series and that's on me.” Toronto can make use of the video for as long as the Warriors roster stays the way it is, which means sans Kevin Durant. Which leads into … 5. Who's here (and who isn't)? (And no, we don’t mean LeBron James.) Durant’s continued absence with a calf injury since Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals became an official problem in Game 1 of The Finals (the team’s first loss without him). Questions that had been bottled up for a couple weeks -- What did you miss most without Durant? How might he have changed your offense or defense? -- came spilling out from the large media crew that covers the NBA’s glamour team. Neither Kerr nor his players took the bait, which was smart. Not only would it look like excuse-making (considering how they hadn’t needed those before), it might have opened a crack of vulnerability into something wider and more troublesome. Durant is out for Game 2, but per a Yahoo Sports report is expected back at the series’ midway point (read: Game 3 or Game 4).  “KD's an all-time great player on both ends of the floor,” Curry said, “so I could sit here and talk for days about what he adds to our roster.  We obviously have proven that when he's out we can have guys step up, and that's going to be the case until he gets back.” Rushing him back would seem desperate, something the Warriors aren’t and shouldn’t be. Plus, it is early in a long series. And it really is irrelevant: NBA players and teams’ medical staffs don’t “rush back” anyone these days. Then again, once they’re ready to play -- as Golden State showed in using DeMarcus Cousins in Game 1 -- there’s no sense in letting talent help languish in street clothes. No time too, either. Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. 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 NewsJun 1st, 2019

BLOGTABLE: Will Kyrie Irving leave the Celtics?

NBA.com blogtable Do you think Kyrie Irving has played his last game with the Boston Celtics? * * * Steve Aschburner: He is outta there. This is one of those rare occasions when a perennial All-Star might leave a team and the guy’s teammates -- and their fans -- might pack his bags and drive him to the airport. This is a bad fit in need of a breakup. That’s more on Irving than it is on the Celtics or the folks at TD Garden because he’s the one who wanted to drive his own team. And crafting a “team” is what at least some of the $20 million annually is supposed to buy. Irving’s ego might not like reading this, but he should not be the No. 1 guy for any franchise with legitimate championship aspirations. [Watch the Playoffs on NBA League Pass for 30% less with this limited time offer! Select Annual package and use code SAVE30 at checkout to redeem] John Schuhmann: Irving's departure this summer certainly feels a lot more likely than it did six months ago. But Irving could tell us right now what he's planning to do on July 1 and I probably wouldn't believe him. It's also valid to wonder if the Celtics want him back given the disappointment of this season, the lack of cohesion the team showed on both ends of the floor, and Irving's handling of his "leadership" responsibilities. There's baggage that comes with some of this year's free agents, and there are obviously teams that will be desperate enough for the talent upgrade that they'll be willing to take on that baggage. Sekou Smith: I'm guessing, based on the way things ended, that he has indeed played his last game in a Celtics uniform. I'd hate to see the results of a Celtics fan poll asking if they want Kyrie back, because I don't think it would be pretty. Boston's youngsters, who looked ready to take on the world last season when Kyrie and Gordon Hayward were out with injuries during the playoffs, never showed up with the veteran stars healthy this time around. I don't know if you can put it all on Kyrie and Hayward. But they're the only significant difference from one season to the next. Kyrie's never seemed like a great fit in Boston. As talented as he is, though, I'd find it hard to part ways with him like this if I'm Danny Ainge......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 10th, 2019

Bucks loathe to adjust gameplan after season-long success

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com MILWAUKEE — Just one game removed from one of the most marvelous seasons of basketball in Milwaukee Bucks history – 60 victories in the regular season, a sweep of Detroit in the first round, the debut of a dazzling new arena – the team is loathe to let all that go and overreact to 48 minutes that didn’t go their way in Sunday's (Monday, PHL time) Game 1 loss to the Celtics. But if they underreact in Game 2 Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time) at Fiserv Forum, it will be at their own peril. [Watch the Playoffs on NBA League Pass for 30% less with this limited time offer! Select Annual package and use code SAVE30 at checkout to redeem] Adjustments – from game-to-game, at halftime, even on the fly during live action – are as much a part of the NBA postseason as podium interviews. The reason is simple: Strategic mistakes, small failings and tendencies you can get away with facing teams randomly across a six-month canvas are sniffed out and exploited by an opponent you see as many as seven times in a two-week span. You can stubbornly stick with a pat hand, but most coaches and players would rather change things up to minimize what didn’t work last time and might, if repeated, prove fatal again. The Bucks, though, sounded a little clingy Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) in the wake of their 112-90 defeat. Wanting to hold on to everything that worked so well from October until, well, noon on April 28 (April 29, PHL time). “No, no. Definitely not,” forward Giannis Antetokounmpo said. “We’re just going to keep doing what we’ve been doing all year.” You might be inclined to read that quote assuming sarcasm, as in: Oh right, we’re just going to keep doing exactly what got us blown out and stripped of home-court advantage. Sure. After all, Antetokounmpo had one of his worst performances of the season (7-for-21 FGs, a minus-24 rating). But no, the Greek Freak was sincere. “I don’t think there should be no change at all,” he said. “Why should there be a change after a game that we lost, like … we should not be the team that makes the adjustments.” Antetokounmpo was not alone. “The way we’ve been playing all season has been just letting it fly,” center Brook Lopez said. “So even if we miss it 10-out-of-10 times, just keep [shooting].” The Bucks made 13 of their 39 three-point shots Sunday (Monday, PHL time), well off their regular-season rate of 38.2 percent. Lopez was 1-for-4 on three's and 1-for-5 overall, combining with fellow Bucks starters Sterling Brown and Eric Bledsoe to shoot 3-for-17 from the floor. Said Milwaukee coach Mike Budenholzer: “I think adjustments and all those things are sometimes overrated.” So unless the Bucks are trying to snooker the Celtics with some tweaks they weren’t willing to share, we’ll get to see how that pat hand plays out. Milwaukee did get serious mileage out of its formulas prior to Game 1. Offensively, they’ve surrounded Antetokounmpo with potent three-point shooters, relying on his drives into the lane to draw defenders and offer them unobstructed views from the arc. Defensively, they committed to defending the other guys’ three-pointers, protecting the rim and keeping foes off the foul line. What did that leave? Contested two-pointers and mid-range jumpers – so ugly and out-of-style in the NBA of 2019. It all worked tremendously – until the Celtics shot 15-of-27 on mid-range attempts in their rout. Suddenly, the Bucks’ sagging defense against pick-and-rolls looked as gimmicky and ineffective as that tactic deployed late this season of guarding Houston scorer James Harden from behind. Once the prolific Rockets scorer got over his shock at the unusual method, he was able to pick it apart. Ditto for the Celtics' shooters. Kyrie Irving is one of the most dangerous scorers from any place on the floor but particularly inventing ways to put the ball in the hoop in the mid-range. Celtics veteran Al Horford savored his looks inside the arc, as did Gordon Hayward. The Bucks, meanwhile, were 5-of-12 from mid-range. They try to avoid those shots for the same reasons they encourage opponents to take them. Never mind that the same dynamic was in play in the Houston-Golden State opener later in the day: the Rockets took only four mid-range shots, were 14-of-47 on three's and lost, because the Warriors were 10-of-23 on mid-range attempts and 31-of-53 on two-pointers overall. There is one area in which the Bucks believe they can adjust without, y’know, adjusting. They can play harder. A pervasive lack of hustle and urgency was apparent in real time at Fiserv but was undeniable when Budenholzer and his staff went to “the truth machine” before practice Monday (Tuesday, PHL time). That would be the video the Bucks reviewed before Monday's (Tuesday, PHL time) workout. “He chewed us out. And like I say, ‘Film don’t lie,’” Bledsoe said. “It was effort, man. We weren’t playing our game.” Antetokounmpo said he got scolded on that front in a postgame phone call from his older brother Thanasis. “No. 1, I play for my family,” he said. “So when he’s like, ‘C’mon man. Giannis! You’ve got to go, you’ve got to go. You’ve got to still be aggressive. You’ve got to make the right pass,’ it stabs you in your heart. But at the end of the day, I know it’s the truth.” The Bucks appeared a step slow on both ends. It showed when they went after loose balls or closed out on Celtics shooters. And it showed when lollygagging, relatively, in getting to their spots on offense. Boston already was sending extra defenders at Antetokounmpo, and the Bucks not being crisp in their execution never made them pay. “We weren’t as quick in transition,” Lopez said. “Our pace wasn’t great … We can be better at getting it out. Everyone running the floor, finding their spots. Keeping the spacing wide.” It should be noted the Bucks only lost two games in a row one time all season (March 2-4 against the Jazz and Suns). They’re proud of that resiliency. Of course, in the regular season, they only played the same opponent in consecutive games one time (New York, Dec. 26-28, PHL time). The Bucks never had to react after losses to specific things the other guys did. They merely had to be themselves, only better. “Even though we lost the first game, we’re just gonna come out and play our hardest and see how Game 2 goes,” Antetokounmpo said. “If it doesn’t go well for us, then you can think about adjusting. But right now, we’re not adjusting nothing.” Fine. But unless someone rattles Boston out of its comfort zone in the mid-range, Milwaukee’s adherence to its style of play could contribute to its undoing. Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. 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 NewsApr 30th, 2019

Eagerness to bounce back backfires on Rain or Shine

Losing a heavyweight bout to San Miguel exactly a week ago, Rain or Shine was obviously pumped to bounce back. The Elasto Painters looked like they had the perfect opportunity to do so as they were matched up with Meralco, a team coming in with six straight defeats Friday. However, their eagerness backfired as the Bolts scored an 82-72 upset, dropping ROS to a 5-4 record in the Philippine Cup. Now, instead of solo second, the Elasto Painters figure in a tie with at least two teams in the standings. 'Medyo nag-lack kami sa pag-follow sa sistema ni coach Caloy. Medyo gigil din kami sa talo namin sa San Miguel. Sobrang gusto namin mag-bounce back, bumaligtad,' Jerico Cruz said who was one of ROS' key pieces that struggled all game. 'Like I said after our loss to San Miguel, ang worry ko is who we will come out. And we came out flat. Give credit to Meralco. They played a great game and they play different when they’re complete. We just have to correct the wrong things we had tonight,' head coacj Caloy Garcia added. While they still have a fighting chance to make the top 2, Rain or Shine is more worried on actually staying in the playoff picture more than trying to get a twice-to-beat bonus in the quarterfinals. With teams piling up in the middle of the standings separated by only one game or so, winning out might be the only option right now for the Elasto Painters to avoid a sudden collapse. 'Ang crucial dito, hindi pa kami sure sa quarterfinals. Kapag natalo kami nang dalawang straight, baka malaglag pa,' James Yap, the only ROS player to actually play decent to finish with 17 points, said. 'As much as possible, we want to be in the Top 6. Yung Top 2, saka na ‘yan. If we have a chance, why not? Pero ngayon we’re just looking forward on winning another game first,' Garcia added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 20th, 2017

Flood be damned

A scavenger collects plastic bottles and trash despite wading through waist-high floods caused by an overflow of the Tumana-Marikina River during Typhoon ‘Nina’s’ onslaught over Metro Manila on Monday. Manny Palmero.....»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsDec 26th, 2016

Graft, infra lack make PH ‘less competitive’

Graft, infra lack make PH ‘less competitive’.....»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsOct 25th, 2016

‘Yellows’ lack the numbers

‘Yellows’ lack the numbers.....»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsSep 13th, 2016

Damian Lillard s creative identity highlighted in new sneaker

Manila, Philippines — All-Star, rapper, father, brother and son. Designed to embody all facets of Damian Lillard’s creativity and persona, adidas Basketball today officially unveils Dame 6. The latest edition of Dame’s signature line introduces a variety of energetic colorways, including “Ruthless” and “Hecklers,” which tell the story of Lillard’s dichotomy on-and-off the court.  “I come out to compete against people, but I don’t say a whole lot. I don’t talk trash, I just go at them every opportunity I get,” said Lillard. “There’s a way to go about it in life and in basketball, being compassionate and ruthless. It’s important to have both; I was raised that way.”  When it’s ‘Dame Time,’ Lillard is known for his tenacity. The first colorway in the collection features the word “Ruthless” proudly painted in bold script on the medial midsole. The black textile mesh upper, providing breathability, is highlighted with split hues of neon pink and green and accented with a black suede overlay on the toe box.  Drawing inspiration from Dame's ability to quiet the opposition when he knocks down a big shot in the clutch, the "Hecklers” pack is centered around four team colors and features a graphic print with zipped up emojis. Each colorway is designed with a “Get Dealt With" message and the final touch includes the word “Hecklers” strategically placed on the heel tab for all to see as Lillard walks off the court.  “Early in the design process, the many sides of Dame’s personality emerged during our conversations with Dame – he’s a leader, a family man, a businessman and more, but when he hits the court, a different side comes out,” explained Jimi Taylor, Senior Footwear Designer for adidas Basketball. “The silhouette embodies Dame’s multi-dimensional persona from both sides of the shoe. The outside speaks to Dame’s focus, while the interior peels back the layers to showcase the inner workings of the shoe and celebrates Dame’s ruthless mindset on the court.”  This is the first model in the Dame series to feature LIGHTSTRIKE technology, the super-light midsole that provides the perfect balance of lightweight cushioning and on-court responsiveness. LIGHTSTRIKE ensures enhanced full-length comfort, support and response – perfect for Lillard’s lethal combination of relentless drives to the hoop, or sudden step-back threes.  Crafted for a precision fit and lateral support, Dame 6 delivers a lock-down feel through an anatomical webbed lacing system. The comfortable, breathable upper is powered by a translucent outsole that emphasizes the new traction pattern, dynamic heel edge and rounded edges that have been designed for unparalleled traction and multidirectional movements.  Dame 6 “Ruthless” officially drops November 29, followed by “Hecklers” on January 18. Additional colorways will be announced at a later date, all available for P6,000 at adidas.com and select retailers. Follow the conversation @adidashoops on Twitter and Instagram with #Dame6.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News7 hr. 25 min. ago

LeBron James, Anthony Davis bring new Heat to L.A.

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com The relationship they formed, nurtured and maximized to the championship fullest was captured in all its glory nine years ago this month on a sensational play that took maybe six seconds. Dwyane Wade grabbed a loose ball and ran up court, leading a rather routine fast break and then, chemistry happened. He gently tossed a short, no-look bounce pass that for a microsecond went to a ghost, at least until LeBron James, trailing the play in full sprint, appeared and scooped the ball. Wade didn’t see LeBron behind him … he just knew. LeBron didn’t call for the ball … he just knew. As LeBron elevated and cupped the ball for a tomahawk dunk, Wade kept running forward and spread his arms before the crowd, as if to say: This is how we do it. That finish was immortalized by an Associated Press photographer seated underneath the rim named Morry Gash. The image instantly went viral, causing witnesses to gasp at the image’s snarky, arrogant and amazing glory. Mostly, though, that sequence symbolized the blossoming bond between LeBron and Wade early in their time together with the Miami Heat. 9 years ago today. #L3GENDARY pic.twitter.com/Yc7iQDezlM — Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) December 6, 2019 And, it suggests what’s currently percolating in Los Angeles with the Lakers. LeBron has a new basketball boo, and the process with Anthony Davis is starting to look strikingly familiar. Theirs is an already devastating combo that has the Lakers scorching through the early NBA season with the best record in the West. ‘Bron and The Brow are both entertaining and effective, a combination that certainly works in L.A. (which expects both). This is more of the peanut butter-and-jelly variety than fingernail meets blackboard in terms of two forces blending in beautifully. They share the same ideas about how to play the game as one, when to defer (and when take over) and why there’s no need for ego or one-upmanship. It’s a tag-team, your-turn-my-turn type of existence, sprinkled with an ability to recognize each other’s tendencies. Oh, and it helps that they like each other as people. Longtime Laker witnesses might feel the urge to compare this to Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant, but a more apt linkage is LeBron and Wade, whose on-court kinship spilled over into their personal lives, and to this day they still refer to each other as brothers from other mothers. “We had something special,” James said. And now, with Davis? “Everything’s coming along great, maybe even quicker than we thought.” As the Lakers prepare to play Friday in Miami (Saturday, PHL time) -- the site of so many LeBron-Wade connections -- the NBA’s new combo is just getting ramped up. No All-Star duo in the league is generating more wins, sizzle and per-game production than LeBron and Davis, who average a combined 53.6 points, 15.8 rebounds and 14.1 assists per game. They’re durable, too: LeBron has played in every game while Davis has missed only one. Much of this was expected when the Lakers traded for Davis and gave LeBron someone who was arguably his equal in terms of talent. The pairing seemed ideal because Davis is a low-maintenance star who doesn’t always demand the ball and keeps his ego hidden -- necessary tools when one plays in LeBron’s orbit. They also tend to cover each other’s weaknesses. For example, Davis is a superior defender while LeBron, who turns 35 in a few weeks, picks his spots defensively. Davis took the Pelicans to the semifinals once, while LeBron has played in eight of the last nine Finals. One other critical element worth noting is this: LeBron is anxious to grab at least another title here with his third team, which would be unprecedented. Davis is hungry for his first. They share the same quest, then, but approach it from different angles. Given where they are in their careers, there was a hunch they were made for each other. After 25 games, this notion has proven correct. “They hit the ground running right from the start of training camp,” said Lakers coach Frank Vogel. “Both on and off the basketball court, their chemistry has been seamless.” LeBron seemed determined to make this work after his first season in L.A. lacked a true co-star and was slowed by a groin injury. His basketball relationship with Kyrie Irving in Cleveland took a sharp turn three years ago when Irving demanded a trade, mainly to escape LeBron’s enormity and strike out on his own. LeBron, like almost everyone else, was stunned as to why someone was so willing to bail on an all-time great. That raised this issue: while LeBron is one of the most accommodating superstars in NBA history, other stars in their prime would rather be the lead singer on another team. Davis seems cut from another cloth, however. And besides, when LeBron eventually retires (he has two seasons left on his contract), Davis will become a solo king if he so desires. This process was months in the making as LeBron made a point to align himself with Davis off the court since last summer. He welcomed him into his home, inviting him to events and generally magnetizing himself to Davis, who in turn did the same. This same approach worked for LeBron and Wade in 2010, but back then, LeBron was joining Wade’s team and was careful not to overstep any boundaries. “What I’m seeing here is how much time they spent together away from the court last summer and how that has impacted what’s going on right now,” Vogel said. “Even in film sessions the two are always together. They’re just building that friendship that LeBron and Dwyane had. LeBron has done everything in his power to make sure he’s going out of his way to make Anthony comfortable.” Wade and LeBron became fast friends because their personalities were similar and therefore clicked. Wade admitted that, at times, it was difficult to ride shotgun that first season together. But he respected LeBron’s talents too much to make that an issue. It all worked as they won two championships and made four Finals together. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra recognizes what’s developing in L.A. and says about LeBron: “He’s able to morph into whatever he needs to be to bring out the best from other players. This just fits like a glove with LeBron and AD, the way they work well together. Their skill sets compliment each other.” The Bron-Brow combo is causing defensive hell for teams: Which one gets a double team? Do you put a big player on LeBron and a shorter one on Davis or vice versa? Last Sunday (Monday, PHL time), the two combined for 82 points against the Timberwolves, which came two nights after they dropped 70 on the Blazers. Scoring only tells so much, but the way they compliment each other is nearly perfect. LeBron handles the ball, Davis impacts the rebounding and defense. They can almost sense where the other is without looking. Together, their sneaker prints are all over the floor. “The more time you spend together, if you have the same goals in mind and you have the same drive, then organically it happens,” LeBron said. Much of this is new to Davis, who only got a half-season’s worth of playing time with an All-Star (DeMarcus Cousins) his six seasons with New Orleans. He welcomes the change of synergy because playing next to LeBron ups his championship odds. “I mean, he’s a tremendous teammate, great talent and takes a lot of pressure off not only me, but everyone else,” Davis said. “It’s fun to be on the floor with him.” That’s evident from everyone who has watched this relationship take root and grow. “It’s there, and I think it’s genuine, too, from what I can see,” said former Lakers great and James Worthy, now a TV analyst for the club. “They’ve known each other for a while now, and they have that same drive and vision about the game and how it’s played. I think they know how to monitor each other and the team constructively to where the cohesiveness remains tight.” What’s frightening is the process hasn’t even reached a half-season. The wavelength LeBron and Wade once enjoyed can be matched with Davis, and it’s on pace to be fully maximized by the playoffs. The better it gets for Bron and Brow, the better it is for their supporting cast. “For me and AD, it starts with us,” LeBron said. “If we’re on the same page it makes it easier for the rest of the ball club.” There’s an important duplication taking place in Los Angeles, from LeBron-Wade to LeBron-Davis. The initial results are decisively promising. If this all keeps up, might multiple championships also follow? Shaun Powell has covered the NBA for more than 25 years. 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 News7 hr. 25 min. ago

Dwight Howard thriving in his smallest role yet

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — There were still a few boos when Dwight Howard checked into the game in Orlando for the first time, a few reminders of how every Magic fan still hasn’t forgotten or forgiven him for the way his stint with his first team ended. He doesn’t mind anymore. There was a time when these things would have bothered him. No more. He just turned 34. He’s in his 16th season. And by all accounts, Howard — in his second stint with the Los Angeles Lakers, his sixth different franchise — has finally seen the light. “This is a new day. This is a new moment,” Howard said. “I think it’s best if we all get out the past and focus on the moments we have in front of us.” There’s a maturity to Howard now that frankly hasn’t always been there throughout his career. He’s on a team expected to compete for an NBA title. He’s earned the trust of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the stars who collaborated in a quest to bring the Lakers back to prominence. He’s a role player, averaging career lows in minutes, points and rebounds. He’s handled it perfectly. This isn’t his second chance. It’s more like a sixth chance. “He’s thriving,” James said. “He’s thriving. It’s going to add more years on his career and it’s going to add an ingredient to our team for success because of the role that he’s accepting and he’s just making the most of it every single night. Defending at a high level, rebounding, blocking shots, catching lobs and with zero ego. Zero ego.” This is Howard’s role now. He played in Orlando for the 10th time as an opponent on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time), he and the Lakers coming in and beating the Magic 96-87. Howard wasn’t called upon to do much; the Lakers were up 26-9 when he checked in for the first time, and he finished with two points and six rebounds in 18 minutes. The other 30 minutes he spent on the bench, cheering and coaching. Past versions of Howard wouldn’t have done that. “I never would have been the person I am today if I would have stayed here,” Howard said, sitting at his locker. “So I’m very thankful that everything that has transpired has transpired and it’s made me the best version of Dwight Howard.” James and Davis will be the primary focus of this Lakers season, of course. Howard is one of many subplots, but so far, he’s been exactly what the Lakers wanted. He’s not a star anymore; he’s a guy who does dirty work. “He’s at a place in his career where he had to adjust some things with regard to the role that he’s going to play on a team,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “To me, it really fit what we were looking for. Had a great meeting in the summer. He’s really bought in and (is) bringing a seriousness about his business and his approach.” Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) was a homecoming of sorts for Vogel, too, his first time back in Orlando since the Magic fired him after two seasons where the team had just about as many injuries as wins. Vogel said he hadn’t set foot in the arena since; he’s not bitter, he just turned the page. Howard is taking the same tact. The Lakers are his fifth team in five years — Houston, then Atlanta, then Charlotte with current Magic coach Steve Clifford, then Washington for nine games in what became a lost season a year ago, and now back in Los Angeles. Howard says he’s loved every place where he’s played. And he still has an affinity for Orlando. But he said it took him until this past summer — seven years after his Magic tenure, which some still call ‘the Dwightmare’ ended — to get past the anger of things that were said once he basically forced the team’s hand into a trade. “I never bashed or talked anything bad about this team,” Howard said. “But I did have a lot of bitterness in my heart towards the organization and even the fans of how they treated me when I came back. But I let it go. I was super bitter, but I let it go. And by letting it go, it just dropped all the weight that I had and it just made me a better person.” The Lakers are 22-3. No team in the NBA has a better record. They look every bit like a title contender. Howard wanted to win a title in Orlando as a star. He might win one in L.A. as a backup, and is perfectly fine with that notion. “I’m staying in this moment,” Howard said. “It’s the only moment that matters.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News7 hr. 25 min. ago

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Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsDec 12th, 2019

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Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsDec 12th, 2019

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Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsDec 12th, 2019