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16 M failed to vote for party-list, missed names on back of ballot

Failed to pick a party-list group in the last elections? .....»»

Category: newsSource: philstar philstarAug 14th, 2019

16 M failed to vote for party-list, missed names on back of ballot

Failed to pick a party-list group in the last elections? .....»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsAug 14th, 2019

McLaren s failed Indy 500 effort was a comedy of errors

By Jenna Fryer, Associated Press INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The comedy of errors that doomed McLaren's disastrous return to the Indianapolis 500 began months before Fernando Alonso failed to qualify for the race. How bad was it? A week before Alonso's first test in the car, the team realized it didn't even have a steering wheel. McLaren CEO Zak Brown acknowledged Monday the team was woefully unprepared and small oversights snowballed into the final result. Bob Fernley, the head of the operation, was fired hours after Alonso missed the race and Brown returned to England to digest the embarrassment of his venture. Brown on Monday provided The Associated Press a detailed timeline of the bloopers and blunders that led to Alonso missing the race, the last piece the two-time Formula One champion needs in his quest to win motorsports' version of the Triple Crown. "I don't think we came into this arrogant, I think we were unprepared," Brown said. "We didn't deserve to be in the race and it's our own fault. It's not like we showed up and gave our best. We defeated ourselves." The path to missing the 33-driver field began when the car was not ready the moment Texas Motor Speedway opened for the April test. Brown had personally secured a steering wheel the previous week from Cosworth to use for the test, and the mistakes piled up from there. "We didn't get out until midday, our steering wheel was not done on time, that's just lack of preparation and project management organizational skills," Brown said. "That's where this whole thing fell down, in the project management. Zak Brown should not be digging around for steering wheels." A cosmetic issue at the Texas test haunted McLaren deep into last week at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. McLaren purchased a car from technical partner Carlin, and though the car was orange when McLaren received it, it was not the proper McLaren "papaya orange." It had to be repainted after the test, and that still had not been completed when Alonso crashed his McLaren-built car last Wednesday. The Carlin spare was in a paint shop 30 minutes from the track, more than a month after McLaren complained about the color, and it ultimately cost McLaren almost two full days of track time. The team looked foolish as other teams were able to move into backup cars in mere hours; James Hinchcliffe crashed in Saturday qualifying and was back on track in his spare that afternoon. Carlin was a two-car team when McLaren made its alliance but expanded to three for the Indy 500. Once Carlin took on the extra work, Brown said, the team had few resources to give McLaren. "It was clear they weren't capable of running three cars and serving us," he said. Carlin entrants Max Chilton and Patricio O'Ward were the two other drivers who failed to qualify. McLaren's poor showing is one of the biggest failures in Indy 500 history. Roger Penske missed the show with Al Unser Jr. and Emerson Fittipaldi in 1995, a year after dominating the race. Reigning CART champion Bobby Rahal missed it in 1993, and two-time Indy winner Rodger Ward never got up to speed to make the 1965 field. The McLaren budget for this Indy 500 was strong, every sponsorship opportunity had been sold and the venture was a guaranteed commercial success for McLaren. Brown was somewhat hands-off and focused on the critical rebuild of the Formula One part of the program. He now laments waiting too long to become heavily involved with the Indy 500 effort. He also believes he was too slow in assigning McLaren sporting director Gil de Ferran, a former Indy 500 winner, oversight of the program. "I should have been closer to Indy but I could never compromise Formula One," Brown said. "At 9:01 in the morning when we weren't on track at the first test, that's when we failed to qualify for the Indianapolis 500. We didn't ring the fire alarm quick enough because we could have recovered after the first test. "I am angry at myself because I was uncomfortable all the way up to the first test and I should have followed my instinct to get more involved." Many of the issues were beyond Brown's control. The car had an electrical issue in last month's test at Indy and an employee was taken off the team for the error. Alonso had another electrical issue on opening day for the 500 and the alternator and wiring loom had to be replaced. Alonso crashed on the second day, and McLaren missed all of Day 3 rebuilding the spare from Carlin that was finally the proper shade of orange. Fast Friday showed the car still needed speed, and Alonso went into qualifying on shaky ground. His first qualifying run was sabotaged by a tire puncture — which wasn't detected beforehand because Brown said the team had purchased incorrect tire sensors. Alonso wound up one of six drivers in the "Last Row Shootout" on Sunday and the panicked McLaren team begged and borrowed across the paddock for any assistance available. Alonso went out to practice Sunday with an entirely new setup, but in the frantic changeover a mistake was made in converting inches to the metric system the English team uses and the car scraped and sparked on his first lap. It had to be fixed and Alonso got in just five more laps before rain ended the session. When it came time for Alonso to make his final last-gasp qualifying attempt late Sunday afternoon, the Spaniard was given a car that Brown and de Ferran were concerned might not perform. "Gil and I went to the motorhome and told Fernando: 'We are going to try this, but this could go well or really wrong. Are you comfortable?'" Brown said. "And Fernando said, 'Let's go for it.'" Alonso agreed that he never backed away from the challenge. "We went out with an experiment that we did overnight. We changed everything on the car because we thought that maybe we need something from the mental side different to go into the race with some confidence," Alonso said. "We went out not knowing what the car will do in Turn 1, but you're still flat. So we tried." The new setup and assistance from other teams indeed got the car up to speed, but Alonso was knocked from the field by 23-year-old Kyle Kaiser of tiny Juncos Racing. McLaren discovered after the qualifying run that the car had the wrong gear ratio setup. "We actually had a 229 (mph) car but we had 227.5 gearing, so we beat ourselves again while we almost made it," Brown said. "We really did put it all on the line and you could feel the anxiety. There was some real heroism in that. I don't want the world to think McLaren is a bunch of idiots because while we did have a few, we had some real stars." Alonso has rejected an offer from the team to purchase a seat in the Indy 500 field for him. What's next is a careful lookback as Brown figures out McLaren's future at both the Indy 500 and the IndyCar Series. He still wants to field two full-time entries in the series but isn't sure yet how much of a setback this has been. He believes McLaren will be back next year at Indy for a second chance. "I feel an obligation to the fans and sponsors, we let them down. We didn't fulfill our promise and I think they need more than just an apology," Brown said. "There will be repercussions for those who don't deserve to work for a great team like McLaren. We will look at what we learned here and the list is a mile long. I hope people appreciate that we go for it, we are racers, and Fernando is a star and we are not quitters. We want to come back.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 21st, 2019

Bagwell, Raines, Ivan Rodriguez elected to Hall of Fame

RONALD BLUM, AP Baseball Writer br /> NEW YORK (AP) — Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez were elected to baseball's Hall of Fame on Wednesday, earning the honor as Trevor Hoffman and Vladimir Guerrero fell just short. Steroids-tainted stars Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were passed over for the fifth straight year by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. But they received a majority of votes for the first time and could be in position to gain election in coming years. Bagwell, on the ballot for the seventh time after falling 15 votes short last year, received 381 of 442 votes for 86.2 percent. Players needed 75 percent, which came to 332 votes this year. 'Anxiety was very, very high,' Bagwell said. 'I wrote it on a ball tonight. It was kind of cool.' In his 10th and final year of eligibility, Raines was on 380 ballots (86 percent). He started at 24.3 percent in 2008 and jumped from 55 percent in 2015 to 69.8 percent last year. 'Last night probably the worst night I've had out of the 10 years,' he said. 'I knew I was close, but I wasn't sure.' Rodriguez , at 45 the youngest current Hall member, received 336 votes (76 percent) to join Johnny Bench in 1989 as the only catchers elected on the first ballot. '''I've been having trouble sleeping for three days,' the popular Pudge said. 'Johnny Bench was my favorite player growing up.' Hoffman was five votes shy and Guerrero 15 short. 'Falling short of this class is disappointing,' Hoffman said in a statement. 'I am truly humbled to have come so close. I hope to one day soon share a Hall of Fame celebration with my family, friends, teammates and all of San Diego.' Edgar Martinez was next at 58.6 percent, followed by Clemens at 54.1 percent, Bonds at 53.8 percent, Mike Mussina at 51.8 percent, Curt Schilling at 45 percent, Lee Smith at 34.2 percent and Manny Ramirez at 23.8 percent. Players will be inducted July 30 during ceremonies at Cooperstown along with former Commissioner Bud Selig and retired Kansas City and Atlanta executive John Schuerholz, both elected last month by a veterans committee. Bagwell was a four-time All-Star for Houston, finishing with a .297 batting average, 401 homers and 1,401 RBIs. Among 220 Hall of Fame players, he is the 50th who spent his entire career with one big league team. Raines, fifth in career stolen bases, is just the fifth player elected in his final year of eligibility after Red Ruffing (1967), Joe Medwick (1968), Ralph Kiner (1975) and Jim Rice (2009). Raines was a seven-time All-Star and the 1986 NL batting champion. Raines hit .294 with a .385 on-base percentage. He spent 13 of 23 big league seasons with the Montreal Expos, who left Canada to become the Washington Nationals for the 2005 season, and joins Andre Dawson and Gary Carter as the only players to enter the Hall representing the Expos. Rodriguez, a 14-time All-Star who hit .296 with 311 homers and 1,332 RBIs, was never disciplined for PEDs but former Texas teammate Jose Canseco alleged in a 2005 book that he injected the catcher with steroids. Asked whether he was on the list of players who allegedly tested positive for steroids during baseball's 2003 survey, Rodriguez said in 2009: 'Only God knows.' Bonds, a seven-time MVP who holds the season and career home run records, again saw his vote percentage climb, as did Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner. Bonds was indicted on charges he lied to a grand jury in 2003 when he denied using PEDs, but a jury failed to reach a verdict on three counts he made false statements and convicted him on one obstruction of justice count, finding he gave an evasive answer. The conviction was overturned on appeal in 2015. Clemens was acquitted on one count of obstruction of Congress, three counts of making false statements to Congress and two counts of perjury, all stemming from his denials of drug use. 'Barry Bonds was the best player I played against in my entire life,' Bagwell said. Several notable players will join them in the competition for votes in upcoming years: Chipper Jones and Jim Thome in 2018, Mariano Rivera and Roy Halladay in 2019, and Derek Jeter in 2020. Lee Smith, who had 478 saves, got 34 percent in his final time on the ballot. Jorge Posada, Tim Wakefield and Magglio Ordonez were among the players who got under 5 percent and fell off future ballots. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 19th, 2017

All-Decade Team: Some names to watch in 2020s

By Sekou Smith, NBA.com Picking the best players of the past decade can be a delightful process, a walk down memory lane that highlights the best of the NBA’s best from the most recently completed era. We took care of that for you earlier this week with NBA.com's All-Decade Team for the 2010s. Data and established success provide the context needed to make a strong case when you're looking back. But you can't rely on those conventions when trying to decide what, and perhaps more appropriately, who, comes next. Questions linger for the big stars of the 2010s who would normally transition into the next decade with similar status. How will Kevin Durant look when he comes back from a season lost to an Achilles injury? What will Klay Thompson’s game look like post-ACL injury? There’s no saying how the summer’s superstar free agent and trade shuffle will impact career trajectories for older stars like Durant (going from Golden State to Brooklyn) and Russell Westbrook (going from Oklahoma City to Houston). Young stars just entering the league (or still finding their way) are bound to emerge in the coming years. On the other hand, established veterans will see the inevitable fading of their star status. That uncertain future for so many is part of what makes today’s exercise so much fun. We are peering into our crystal ball and projecting the future, identifying the stars who, a decade from now, might find their names on the best-of-the best list for the 2020s. * * * * = players who made a 2010s All-Decade Team Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks * "The Greek Freak" finished off the 2010s with his first Kia MVP and should be poised to compete for more this decade. He’s only scratched the surface of his immense potential and should be in the thick of the race for best player of the decade. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors * One half of the sweetest shooting backcourts in NBA history, Curry and his fellow Splash Brother, Thompson, could make the next All-Decade Team, too. That would require them to prove they’re still playing championship-level basketball in the Bay Area post-Durant. Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers * Davis is finally positioned to chase championships and will do so as he enters the physical prime of his career. With Davis and LeBron James leading the way, the Lakers begin the next decade poised for a return to legitimate contender status. Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks The reigning Kia Rookie of the Year gave us all a preview of what’s to come. Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis are the foundational players expected to fuel the Mavericks the way Dirk Nowitzki did the past two decades. Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers If Embiid stays healthy, he’s good enough to challenge for the unofficial title of best player of the 2020s. His availability is the most critical component for a Sixers organization that believes it is on the cusp of championship contention. Paul George, LA Clippers * George has fully bounced back from his devastating leg injury in 2014, earning a place among the NBA’s elite by finishing third in the Kia MVP voting to close out the 2010s. The only thing left on his to-do-list is to make the championship dreams of Clippers fans a reality. James Harden, Houston Rockets * Finding a new groove alongside Westbrook will determine the Rockets’ championship fate and perhaps Harden’s legacy. Harden’s Hall of Fame status is secured. He just needs a title to complete his trophy case.   LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers * Could he win a Kia MVP in three different decades? LeBron has broken the mold in just about every way imaginable to this point of his career, so it would be foolish to doubt him. He’s also got a chance to add to his title haul in the next decade as well. As for Father Time … what does that matter? Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets After winning a title as the supporting star in LeBron’s homecoming story in Cleveland, Irving hopes to revisit that magic in Brooklyn once Durant is healthy again. While Irving has some repair to do to his reputation after his final season in Boston, his talent remains undeniable. Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets Some would argue that Jokic (and not Embiid) finished the decade as the NBA’s best big man. The Nuggets are banking on it, as they’ve built their operation around the triple-double versatility of the 24-year-old All-Star known as “The Joker.” Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers * Leonard load managed his way to a title in Toronto but has already declared himself ready to play without limitations as he attempts to bring a championship parade to his hometown. He’s at the height of his powers right now and, with good health, will be for the foreseeable future. Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers Lillard was noticeably absent from the 2010s All-Decade Team, but he shouldn’t have to worry about that happening in the 2020s. The face and soul of the franchise in Portland, Lillard knows that the next step for he and CJ McCollum is a Finals berth. Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz If the addition of veteran Mike Conley has the impact Utah’s braintrust expects, Mitchell is primed to rise any ranking of the West’s (and NBA’s) top players. Don’t be surprised if he snags a scoring title (or two) in the next decade. Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics With Kyrie Irving gone, Tatum and the Celtics can get back to the performances he provided during the 2018 playoffs as a rookie. The Celtics have refused to trade Tatum for a reason. He’s got the array of skills that a team values in a wing scorer. Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks Any pre-Draft trepidation about Young was overturned after his strong finish to his rookie season. A splendid passer with Splash Bros.-type range, Young will grow and mature physically into the leader of a franchise revival in Atlanta. Sekou Smith is a veteran NBA reporter and NBA TV analyst. 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, 2019

Ligue 1 2019-20: PSG set to dominate once again

By Samuel Petrequin, Associated Press PARIS (AP) — After winning its sixth French championship in seven years last season, Paris Saint-Germain is expected to continue its dominance in what at times can look like a one-team league. For the Qatari-backed PSG, the minimum requirement remains the same: win the French league. PSG's ultimate goal is also unchanged: win the Champions League after years of repeated failures. With its 500-million euro budget — more than five times that of last season runner-up Lille — huge sponsorship deals and top-class players, PSG simply has no rival in a league lacking strength in depth. On paper, Thomas Tuchel's team looks even stronger than last season, when it was crowned champion with five games to spare despite a late dip of form. Amid persistent rumors that Neymar will leave the club and return to Barcelona, PSG remains a formidable attacking force with the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Edinson Cavani and Angel Di Maria. It also strengthened its backline this summer with the addition of Dortmund defender and France Under-21 international Abdou Diallo, while recruits Idrissa Gueye, Ander Herrera and Pablo Sarabia will provide midfield stability and experience. Sarabia, Herrera and Diallo were included in Tuchel's starting XI last weekend as PSG sealed a seventh consecutive Trophee des Champions — the French equivalent of the Charity Shield — with a 2-1 win over Rennes. PSG took pride in the win, insisting on the importance of the trophy, the 40th since the club's inception back in 1970. But in reality, the only title that really matters in the French capital is the Champions League. Success in Europe's top competition has so far proved elusive for PSG, which has never been beyond the quarterfinals since Qatari backers QSI started funding the club with huge investment eight years ago. In the past three seasons PSG has gone out in the Round of 16, twice wasting strong first-leg leads. The last time it was against Manchester United in March, when PSG became the first team to be eliminated from the competition after winning the away leg 2-0. "We need to carry on in the league, we need to extend our domination," Mbappe said. "We lost two national Cups (last season), we will try to recover them. And there is the Champions League. We have come to a halt in recent years, it's up to us to find a solution and reach a new milestone." More than the offseason recruits, Leonardo's return as sporting director could be the decisive ingredient that was missing in PSG's quest for European glory. Leonardo, who became PSG's sporting director for the first time in July 2011 and held his role until May 2013, has been given full powers by club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi. At a club where star individuals often appear more important than the team itself, Leonardo's return will mark a change of style in the players' management. A disciplinarian, Leonardo has warned Neymar that he would not let him go unless a juicy offer arrived and has reportedly criticized the Brazil star in front of his teammates after he reported late for PSG's pre-season training. "I don't have the key that is going to open the door to the Champions League," Leonardo said in an interview with Le Parisien newspaper. "Who has it? Not me. I just want to be clear about our goal: the club is THE great institution at the heart of the entire project." PSG starts the defense of its title on Sunday at the Parc des Princes against Nimes. Lille hosts Nantes, Marseille plays Reims at home and Lyon travels to Monaco on Friday night in the season's opening game. NO MONEY, BIG GOALS After a calamitous season, Marseille's main goal is to return to the Champions League under new coach Andre Villas-Boas. Three years after American billionaire Frank McCourt pledged to revive the 1993 Champions League winners, Marseille failed in its bid to qualify for Europe's top competition and did not even get a spot in the Europa League. Villas-Boas subsequently replaced Rudi Garcia and, despite very limited funds to spend on new players, has promised to deliver quickly in his bid to restore Marseille's past luster. "I don't want to lose time with excuses," he said. "I'm hoping for a podium finish." Villas-Boas has lured 29-year-old forward Dario Benedetto from Boca Juniors and hopes he will be able to keep Valere Germain, Florian Thauvin, Dimitri Payet and Luis Gustavo at the southern club. "We don't have money, it's a shame but it's a reality," Villas-Boas said. "We have some problems related to Financial Fair Play regulations. Now I'm waiting anxiously for the end of the English transfer market because that could change everything for the other teams." STARS' EXILE Nicolas Pepe and Nabil Fekir have become the latest big names to depart the French league as the talent exodus to foreign clubs continues. After scoring 22 league goals for Lille, Pepe left for Arsenal while World Cup winner Nabil Fekir joined Real Betis from Lyon. Lyon's new coaching setup of sporting director Juninho and coach Sylvinho have yet to find a replacement for Fekir, who left in the wake of other top players including Tanguy Ndombele and Ferland Mendy......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 7th, 2019

A US Open, and a summer of stress for Gary Woodland

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) — Gary Woodland made sure plans were in place for him to leave tournaments before he even arrived. And when he did show up, just the sight of officials in a golf cart made him nervous. Most of the time, they were on their way to administer a ruling. Woodland always assumed they were coming to tell him his wife had gone into labor. It was like that for the last six weeks. So the smile that never left him Tuesday at Liberty National Golf Club had nothing to do with the $15 million prize at stake as the FedEx Cup playoffs begin. It was all about his twin daughters Maddox and Lennox born Thursday, making his best year in golf the greatest year of his life. "I feel 100 pounds lighter," Woodland said as he walked off the course during a weather delay in a practice round Tuesday for The Northern Trust. "Obviously, I had a huge win and that was great. But it's been stressful every week because every cart I see ... 'Are they coming to get me? Is Gabby going into labor?' The last month has been stressful for both of us." That huge win was the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, which was filled with plenty of tense moments. Woodland handled those with ease, no small task with two-time defending champion Brooks Koepka chasing him all the way to the finish line. He drilled a 3-wood from 263 yards onto the 14th green to set up a pivotal birdie, and then turned to another high-risk shot by using a 64-degree wedge to pitch the ball off one end of the green to a pin some 90 feet away on No. 17, a shot that will take its place in U.S. Open lore. That still didn't equip him for six weeks of nerves that followed. "At Pebble, I felt in control. The last month, I've had no control," Woodland said. "That was the hardest part for Gabby and I, the uncertainty." It was at the Dell Match Play two years ago when Woodland learned that one of the twins his wife Gabby was carrying had died. Their son, Jax, was born at 30 weeks and spent six weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit. The following April, she had a miscarriage. So imagine the surprise — and trepidation — when they learned in January that she was pregnant with twins. "One, they told us she couldn't get pregnant," Woodland said. "Two, they didn't think there was any chance she'd make it to 36 weeks. That was almost as much a miracle as her getting pregnant." Her last trip was to the PGA Championship at Bethpage, where she was sick and never made it out to the golf course. She stayed up late at home in Florida to watch Woodland hold off Koepka at Pebble Beach, and she saw that rare burst of emotion when he made a 30-foot birdie putt on the 18th to win by three. With the silver trophy at his side that evening, Woodland thought about the next two months and said life was about to get real. The U.S. Open, his greatest achievement in golf, didn't feel real at all. Woodland went home to Florida, and soon thereafter brought his family to Kansas, where Jax had been born. He went to Topeka, Kansas, so his hometown could celebrate his U.S. Open victory with a block party. Gabby was in the hospital that day and couldn't make it. "It was awesome to win," Woodland said, "but I haven't really enjoyed it." That was a time to wait and to hope. Woodland anticipated the twins being born prematurely and having to spend a month or two in the neonatal intensive care. He tried to keep playing, and golf never felt so hard. He missed the cut in Detroit. He missed the cut in the British Open. There was no cut at the FedEx St. Jude Invitational, where Woodland failed to break par in any round and tied for 55th. "Detroit, I shouldn't have played. I wasn't ready to go and I got into bad habits," Woodland said. "The British, and even Memphis, it was like I wasn't there." He had a plane ready to go in Memphis that would have taken him the just over an hour to get to the hospital in Kansas. Woodland saw plenty of carts at that week on the golf course and held his breath as they drove past. No news was good news. The best news was four days after he got home. The twins were born Thursday, 15 seconds apart. His wife was released from the hospital on Sunday. If all goes well, the twins will be ready to come home by the end of the week. Woodland spent five hours on the range with Pete Cowen when he arrived at Liberty National — the first time in more than a month that he didn't make arrangements for a quick exit — and said Tuesday was the best he has hit the ball since he won the U.S. Open. He never looked happier. Woodland has three FedEx Cup events to play, and then he'll be home with his wife, his son, his twins, the U.S. Open trophy, everything he could want. "I can enjoy it now," he said of his major victory. "I think it will hit me more after I get home from East Lake, not having to think about the stress and everything. I'm excited to play these three weeks. I'm excited to have three kids at home.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 7th, 2019

Astros ace Greinke deal; 2 dozen trades on deadline day

By Ben Walker, Associated Press Out of nowhere, the Houston Astros got a huge head start on October. On a dizzying day that featured two dozen trades, the Astros pulled off the biggest and most startling deal, adding ace Zack Greinke to an imposing rotation already loaded with All-Stars Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole. Plenty of familiar names were on the go Wednesday — Shane Greene and Mark Melancon boosted the Braves’ bullpen, with Scooter Gennett, Jesús Aguilar, Mike Leake and Tanner Roark among those also moving. But it was the Astros’ acquisition of Greinke from Arizona for four minor leaguers that quickly became the talk of baseball. The deal came right before the deadline for swapping players to still have them eligible for the postseason. “We had him high on our list and we didn’t know this was even remotely possible and it really wasn’t until the last 48 hours and really the last 24 hours that we started to get traction on something,” Houston general manager Jeff Luhnow said. The AL West leaders and 2017 World Series champions added two other pitchers, too, getting starter Aaron Sanchez and reliever Joe Biagini from Toronto. “Houston made some big deals. They’re really good. They were good before,” Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski said. A lot of contenders were busy. The Chicago Cubs added Detroit’s Nicholas Castellanos to their lineup, the Phillies got outfielder Corey Dickerson from Pittsburgh and the Washington Nationals acquired relievers Daniel Hudson, Roenis Elías and Hunter Strickland. In most cases, major leaguers were swapped for minor leaguers. “When it comes to trades, one thing I’ve learned is, just wait,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “You’ve got to wait until the very end and it plays itself out. The 11th hour is the most powerful hour there is. To get things done before that, it normally doesn’t work to get what you want. There’s the 11th hour at work.” Several players whose names swirled in the tradewinds stayed put. Giants ace Madison Bumgarner, Mets starters Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler and Pirates closer Felipe Vázquez remained in place. So did Mets closer Edwin Díaz and Texas starter Mike Minor. “Nothing changed for me. I never expected to be somewhere else until that happened,” Bumgarner said. “I just have a job to do and I’m going to do it. We’re going to miss a few guys we got rid of. That’s going to be tough.” Major League Baseball made July 31 a hard deadline this year for trades. Now, no deals can be made until after the World Series. “This was a unique deadline, it felt,” said Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, whose AL East-leading team didn’t make any significant moves. Pitchers Marcus Stroman, Andrew Cashner, Homer Bailey and Jason Vargas were among the players who were traded in recent weeks. And on Tuesday night, the Cleveland Indians agreed to send pitcher Trevor Bauer to Cincinnati in a three-team swap that brought back outfielder Yasiel Puig. That trade became official Wednesday, setting off a full morning and afternoon of swaps. Wheeler heard the speculation involving him. “It’s almost happened several times and never did. I’m happy to be here and I’m concentrating on producing and doing well here,” he said. “It was all there for it to happen and just didn’t. I was ready for it, especially with me being a free agent after the season.” Atlanta concentrated its effort on padding its bullpen. A day after getting reliever Chris Martin from Texas, the Braves got Greene from Detroit and Melancon from the Giants. “We engaged everything — position players, starting pitchers, the bullpen — right up until the end,” general manager Alex Anthopoulos said. “At the end of the day, where we thought there were deals that made sense for us and what we had to give up and so on, the bullpen made the most sense. But we definitely tried some other areas. We just couldn’t wind up with a deal that made sense to our organization.” The 30-year-old Greene has 22 saves and 1.18 ERA and was an All-Star this season. He’s likely to take over the closer’s role — Luke Jackson had been the latest to try it for the Braves, and was just 17 for 25 in save chances. “They’re excited, I’m excited,” Greene said in Anaheim, where the Tigers played the Los Angeles Angels. “I’m starting a new chapter and going to a contender.” At Yankee Stadium, Greinke had been pulled after five innings because of a rain delay and was watching video of his start when manager Torey Lovullo interrupted — GM Mike Hazen wanted to break the news. Hazen said the trade was finished in a hurry, in the final 20 minutes before the 4 p.m. deadline. Soon, word reached Progressive Field in Cleveland, where Houston was preparing to play the Indians. Cole said the Astros did “a lot of hooting and hollering” about “getting a Hall of Fame pitcher, a craftsman.” “We are just really shocked and ecstatic,” Cole said. The 35-year-old Greinke is 10-4 with a 2.90 ERA this season. The Astros now have four starters with ERAs in the top 15 in the majors this year — Verlander is fifth with a 2.73 ERA, Greinke is ninth, Cole is 11th at 2.94 and Wade Miley ranks 14th at 3.06. Verlander leads the AL in wins (14) and ERA, and Cole tops the majors with 212 strikeouts. “If we stay healthy,” Luhnow said, “this team is as good as any team I’ve ever seen.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 1st, 2019

Spieth back to playing some good golf at British Open

By Chris Lehourites, Associated Press PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland (AP) — Jordan Spieth knows he can win the big ones. Perhaps that's why he saves his best golf for them. The three-time major winner, still only 25, moved his name up the leaderboard at the British Open on Friday with a superb four-hole run near the end of the front nine. He birdied the fifth and sixth, made eagle on the seventh and birdie on the eighth to take him to 6 under, briefly tied for the lead. He ended up with a 4-under 67 at Royal Portrush to bring him to 5-under 137 on a mild morning on the Dunluce Links. "I always get pumped up for major championships," Spieth said. "Clearly I try to peak for majors. And then this style of golf I always — I've always found to fit my game pretty well." That game really started to shine in 2015 when Spieth won the Masters and U.S. Open. He then finished a stroke out of a playoff in the British Open at St. Andrews. He capped his major season with a second-place finish at the PGA Championship. In 2017, he won the British Open, finishing three strokes ahead of Matt Kuchar at Royal Birkdale. That was his last victory. Spieth had an up-and-down day in the first round this year, but with the improved weather on Day 2 came a better score. "I putted a bit better. Different wind change so certain holes played harder than others and others became easier," said Spieth, who finished his round about an hour before the rain started to fall. "I felt like I played the easy holes well and then I avoided the pot bunkers today more than I did yesterday. But I certainly found the rough more today than I did yesterday. "At some point I hope to be playing off the short grass this week." Although he failed to improve his score late in the round, he did manage to make par on some of the toughest holes on the course. The par-3 16th and par-4 18th are rated as two of the hardest. Spieth landed his tee shot just right of the green on 16, chipped up the sharp slope and nailed a short putt for par. On the 18th, he drove down the middle of the fairway, one of the few he hit Friday, put his approach on the green and just missed his birdie putt. "I'm in contention," Spieth said. "I feel like if I can continue to improve each day, hit the ball better tomorrow than I did today, and better on Sunday than Saturday, then I should have a chance with how I'd feel on and around the greens.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 20th, 2019

Lowry, Holmes share Open lead as McIlroy leaves with cheers

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland (AP) — Everyone in the massive grandstand rose to cheer and celebrate a bold performance by Rory McIlroy, who longed for such support and affection on his walk toward his final hole at Royal Portrush in the British Open. Except this was Friday. And now McIlroy can only watch on the weekend as one of his best friends, Shane Lowry of Ireland, goes after the claret jug. Lowry birdied four of his opening five holes on his way to a 4-under 67 and shared the 36-hole lead with J.B. Holmes, who had a 68. Lee Westwood and Tommy Fleetwood were one shot behind. Brooks Koepka and Jordan Spieth were three back. That can wait. This day was all about McIlroy, who kept the sellout crowd on edge as he tried to make the cut after opening with a 79. The roars had the intensity of a final round as McIlroy ran off five birdies in seven holes to brighten a gloomy sky over the North Atlantic. Needing one last birdie, his approach took a wrong turn along the humps left of the 18th green. He made par for a 65. "It's a moment I envisaged for the last few years," McIlroy said. "It just happened two days early." He was disappointed. He was proud of his play. Mostly, though, he said he was "full of gratitude toward every single one of the people that followed me to the very end and was willing me on." "As much as I came here at the start of the week saying I wanted to do it for me, by the end of the round there today I was doing it just as much for them," he said. Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson won't be around, either. It was the first time in 77 majors they have played as professionals that both missed the cut in the same major. Darren Clarke, who honed his game on the Dunluce Links as a junior and now calls Portrush home, missed the cut in a most cruel fashion with a triple bogey on his final hole. And now the first British Open in Northern Ireland since 1951 moves on without them, still with the promise of a great show. Lowry was so nervous he was shaking on the tee when the tournament began Thursday, swept up in the emotion of an Open on the Emerald Isle, and on a course he knows. He gave fans plenty to cheer when he opened his second round with three straight birdies, added a birdie on the fifth and holed a 40-foot birdie putt on No. 10 to reach 10 under, making him the only player this week to reach double figures under par. The cheers were as loud as he has heard. "Just incredible," Lowry said. "You can't but smile, but can't but laugh how it is. There's no point trying to shy away from it. It's an incredible feeling getting applauded on every green, every tee box. I'm out there giving my best, trying to do my best for everyone." He three-putted the 14th, saved par on the next three holes with his deft touch around the greens, and closed with a bogey to fall back into a tie with Holmes, who played earlier in the day and was the first to post at 8-under 134. Holmes won at Riviera earlier this year, and then failed to make the cut in eight of his next 12 tournaments as he battled a two-way miss off the tee and felt so bad that he never thought he'd recover. But he did enough in Detroit three weeks ago to regain some confidence, and he has been in a groove at Portrush. "You can have that great round and that day where everything goes right. But it's nice to get two rounds in a row," Holmes said. "It shows a little consistency. And two days in a row I've hit the ball really well and putted well." Fleetwood and Westwood, two Englishmen at different stages in their careers, each had a 67 and will play in the group ahead of Lowry and Holmes. Westwood is 46 and can make a case as the best active player without a major considering his status — a former No. 1 in the world and on the European Tour — and the number of near misses in the majors, such as Muirfield and Turnberry at the Open, Torrey Pines in the U.S. Open and Augusta National when Mickelson out played him in 2010. Is it too late? Westwood wasn't willing to look that far ahead. "There's too much ground to cover before Sunday night," Westwood said. "There's a long way to go in this tournament. I've never felt under that much pressure, to be honest. You lads write about it. I've always gone out and done my best. If it's going to happen, it's going to happen, and if it doesn't, it doesn't." The experience of winning majors was behind them. Justin Rose had a 67 and was two shots behind, along with Cameron Smith of Australia and Justin Harding of South Africa. Another shot back was a group that included Koepka, who has won three of the last six majors. He was in a tie for eighth, the 16th time in his last 17 rounds at the majors he has ended a round in the top 10. Koepka wasn't happy with much about his 2-under 69, calling it "a little bit disappointing," perhaps because he played in dry weather and only a mild wind. "But at the same time, I'm close enough where I play a good weekend, I'll be in good shape," he said. Spieth hasn't quite figured out how to get the ball in play more often — too many bunkers on Thursday, too much high grass on Friday. But that putter is not a problem, and it carried him to a collection of mid-range birdie and par putts for a 67. "I'm in contention. I feel good," Spieth said, winless since his Open title at Royal Birkdale two years ago. "I feel like if I can continue to improve each day, hit the ball better tomorrow than I did today, and better on Sunday than Saturday, then I should have a chance with how I feel on and around the greens." Graeme McDowell, born and raised in Portrush, played well enough to make the weekend. He finished with four straight pars for a 70 to make the cut on the number at 1-over 143, and felt the pressure of sticking around for the home crowd. Woods, meanwhile, began this major championship season as the Masters champion, ended it as a mystery. He missed the cut in two of the next three majors, and never seemed fully fit or engaged at the British Open. He was 3 under for his round through 11 holes with hopes of making it to the weekend, but he had no more birdies and finished with two bogeys for a 70 to miss by five shots. "I'm going to have my hot weeks. I'm going to be there in contention with a chance to win, and I will win tournaments," Woods said, facing the reality of a 43-year-old who has gone through eight surgeries on his knee and back. "But there are times when I'm just not going to be there.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 20th, 2019

PBA: Terrence Jones new tropa wants to send him back to the NBA

Over the last couple of seasons, the PBA has seen its share of super imports. Ginebra’s Justin Brownlee immediately comes to mind. Meralco’s Allen Durham and Phoenix’s Eugene Phelps fit in that mold too. Alaska’s Mike Harris is in that list as well. The uber-talented Glen Rice Jr. could have made it if he just got it together. But for the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup, TNT brought not just any other import. Tired of underperforming for the past few conferences, the KaTropa went ahead and signed former Houston Rockets forward Terrence Jones for the mid-season joust. With Jones, TNT went the super — SUPER — import route and it has been worth every penny for the KaTropa, at least so far.   ROCKET MAN Many former NBA players have played in the PBA before, that’s not a new thing. But what makes Jones special is that he’s at his peak of his powers now as he plays his first stint in the PBA. Jones is a former first-round pick and was a legitimate NBA contributor. In his best NBA season, in 2013-2014 for Houston, Jones started 71 games and had career-high numbers of 12.1 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. This dude is legit. “Oo iba, iba siya talaga,” guard RR Pogoy said of Jones. (Yes, he’s really different). In just one conference, Pogoy and Jones have clicked as teammates. Terrence has admitted that RR is one of his favorite local targets when he’s trying to spot an open teammate when opposing teams double on him. Pogoy admits that Jones is one of the best, if not the best, import he’s ever played with. “Pwedeng-pwede pa siya talaga sa NBA eh. Iba yung skills niya,” he added. (He could still play in the NBA. His skills are just different).   THE DIFFERENCE TNT has ran pretty much the same system for years. Whether you like this team or now, they know what style they want to play andd they identify players that fit that system well. The KaTropa have dominated the PBA without a traditional big man. Ask other teams, they’ve been blindsided and bamboozled by a TNT offense led by diminutive point guards like Jimmy Alapag and Jayson Castro. However, the KaTropa have hit another rough patch. The team hasn’t made it to the PBA semifinals since 2017. Their 2018 campaign was a lot like the horror 2016 year with the only difference being three seasons ago, they actually made it to the semifinals of the Governors’ Cup as a no. 1 seed. Last year, they won zero playoff games and missed the playoffs altogether once so in essence, 2018 was a worse nightmare for the KaTropa. It didn’t help that in the previous All-Filipino, they were practically a missed 24-second violation away from ending the San Miguel Beer Philippine Cup dynasty. The winning formula no longer works for TNT. Or at the very least, it’s not as effective. Enter Terrence Jones. “Malaking tulong talaga siya sa team namin. Kung ano yung kulang samin, parang fit na fit talaga siya eh. Napa-dali na lang yung mga buhay namin sa basketball,” Pogoy said of Jones. (He’s a big help to our team. What we lack, he fits right in. Our basketball lives are easier with him). “Yung rebounding tsaka yung pagka-shot blocker niya [malaking tulong]. Naiilang din yun kalaban namin eh, sa rebound naman naco-control namin kasi may malaki na kami, yun naman talaga kulang namin,” Pogoy added. (His rebounding and his presence as a shot blocker is a huge help). In 10 games so far, Jones is averaging 14.9 rebounds per game. That may not seem much for an import but he’s never had fewer than 10 in a game and has hit a high 22 rebounds. His shot blocking has helped TNT shore up its overall defense as well with Jones averaging 2.9 rejections a game with his three best performances coming against Columbian (7 blocks), Ginebra (6 blocks), and San Miguel (5 blocks). The last two teams feature perhaps the two best frontlines in the league today by a wide margin. Aside from his defensive presences, Jones is a force on offense as well, averaging 34.5 points on close to 50 percent shooting. He’s hit over 30 points eight times and over 40 points four times. Scoring will be a given for a player of his caliber but what sets him apart is his ability to locate open teammates and willingly pass the ball to them. Jones is good for at least four assists in every game and he’s topped out at 16 dimes so far. In 10 games, he’s rounding up to 7.7 assists per outing which leads all imports, and the whole league actually. “Talagang willing passer siya, hinahanap din niya talaga yung mga kasama niya. Kumbaga di niya inaako lahat yung scoring load,” forward Troy Rosario said of his new frontcourt tandem in Jones. (He’s a willing passer. He really tries to find his teammates and he’s not trying to shoulder all the scoring load). “Kami ready pa rin kami lagi. Syempre yung experience niya sa NBA talagang pinapakita niya dito, natutulungan din niya kami kung saan kami dapat lumugar sa plays kasi advanced na siya eh, kahit di na sabihin ni coach alam na niya dapat gawin,” he added. (We’re just ready as locals. He’s really showing his NBA experience here, he’s helping us to where we need to be on plays because he’s so advanced he knows what to do even before coach tells us).   THE LEADER Aside from putting up big numbers across the board, there’s one underrated factor about Terrence Jones that has led to him making a positive impact on TNT. Jones made an effort to be a leader for the KaTropa and his teammates have rallied behind him for sure. The result is in the way they play and the way they win in the Commissioner’s Cup. “I think it’s come to them [TNT locals] listening and understanding that I have a little experience on what it takes to try to win and be a good teammate,” Jones said of his leadership role with the KaTropa and how it worked out. “They listened and understood that and we’ve been having fun ever since,” he added. TNT is full of alpha-level players but Jones’ NBA resume has certainly helped in making them line up behin their import and provide support. The the KaTropa have been running like a well-oiled machince with that set up. “Leadership pa lang niya ang laking tulong na samin. As locals, ginagawa lang namin kung ano dapat namin gawin para maka-contribute din and para matulungan din siya,” Rosario said. (His leadership alone is a big help for us. As locals, we just try to do what we need to do to contribute and to help him out). “Magaling siya, isa talaga siya mga leader namin ngayon. Talagang nili-lift up niya kami, di lang sa salita pati sa gawa,” Pogoy added. (He’s great, he’s one of our leaders now. He really lifts us up not just with words but with action as well)   THE LONG ROAD BACK TO THE ASSOCIATION It would be incredible if TNT ends up having Terrence Jones as a resident import the same way Ginebra has Justin Brownlee or Phoenix has Eugene Phelps or Meralco having Allen Durham. However, the KaTropa know that their super import still has a good shot of returning to the NBA and they plan on helping him get back there. “Syempre goal namin makapasok sa playoffs, nagawa na namin yun. Ang susunod na step is next round sa playoffs. Malaking tulong din yun sa kanya kasi yung pangalan niya bumabango ulit,” Rosario said. (Our goal is to make the playoffs and we did that. Now the next step is to get to the next round of the playoffs. That’s a big help for him to get his name out there again). “Preparation na rin kasi alam namin na after dito, meron siyang invites sa mga training camps,” he added. (It’s also good preparation because we know after this, he has some invites to camps). With TNT at 9-1 and a top-2 seed in the playoffs, the team is certainly favored to win in the Commissioner’s Cup. And perhaps one of Jones’ best ways to once again get some traction is to put up great numbers for a championship team in a big league like the PBA. There’s a big check mark on the numbers part and while he can’t win a title by his lonesome, Jones has an entire tropa that has his back. “Lalo na kung mag-champion kami, mabango yung pangalan niya di ba?” Pogoy said. (If we win the championship, that’s good for his name, right?). “Marami naman nags-scout diyan, nakikita siya and maganda pinapakita niya. Feel ko [kaya bumalik sa NBA],” he added. (There’s people that scout him, seeing him and how good he’s been performing. I feel [he can make it back to the NBA]). Of course, winning a PBA championship does not directly award Jones and NBA roster spot. However, he appreciates that his team backs him up in that regard. Right now TNT’s super import is just concerned about playing well with his team and winning more games. “I appreciate it, I wish nothing but the best for all my teammates as well,” Jones said. “I hope you guys see that while we’re playing, we’re smiling and enjoying one another when anybody scores. It’s just like a family atmosphere,” he added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 16th, 2019

EDITORIAL - The arrogance of power

At a time when people are starting to see the party-list system as a failed experiment in marginalized representation, here comes Alfred delos Santos to reinforce that perception......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJul 14th, 2019

11 years after epic, Federer tops Nadal in Wimbledon semis

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — After waiting 11 years to get another shot against Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon, Roger Federer was so, so close to the finish line. One match point slipped away when Federer missed a forehand return. A second came and went on a backhand return. Later, serving for a spot in a record 12th final at the All England Club, Federer shanked a leaping overhead off the top edge of his racket frame, giving Nadal a break point. After Nadal wasted that chance, Federer earned two more match points — and failed to convert those, either, as his wife, Mirka, peeked through the fingers covering her face. Federer knew it wouldn't be easy against his great rival. Never is, really, no matter where they play. Eventually, Nadal pushed a backhand long on match point No. 5, bringing an anticlimactic close to the otherwise classic contest and allowing Federer to win their semifinal 7-6 (3), 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 on Friday. "I'm exhausted. It was tough at the end," Federer said. "I'm just very relieved it's all over." Federer closed in on a ninth championship at the All England Club and 21st Grand Slam trophy in all. To get to those numbers in Sunday's final, Federer must get past Novak Djokovic, who is the defending champion and seeded No. 1. "We all know how good he is anywhere," Djokovic said about Federer, "but especially here." Djokovic isn't too shabby himself. He reached his sixth final at the grass-court major by beating 23rd-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 earlier Friday. Djokovic is eyeing a fifth championship at Wimbledon and 16th major title. As entertaining as that first semifinal was — including a 45-stroke point won by Djokovic — it was merely a tasty appetizer ahead of the day's delectable main course. Not only was this the 40th installment of Federer vs. Nadal, but it also was their first meeting at Wimbledon since the 2008 final. In a match many consider the best in the sport's lengthy annals, Nadal edged Federer 9-7 in a fifth set that ended after 9 p.m., as any trace of daylight disappeared. How excited, then, were the spectators for the rematch? When Federer and Nadal strode out into the sunshine at 4:30 p.m. Friday, they were welcomed by a standing ovation before ever swinging a racket. Quickly, that greeting was justified. These are, of course, two of the greats of all-time — maybe the two greatest — and they lived up to that status for stretches. One key, for Federer, was that his rebuilt backhand, hit strong and flat more frequently than it used to be, held steady against Nadal's bullwhip of a lefty forehand. Another was that Federer was able to withstand Nadal's serve, which has improved a ton over the years. Federer amassed 10 break points, and though he succeeded on just two, that was enough, with the last, vital conversion making it 2-1 in the fourth set. And then there was this: Federer won 25 of the 33 points when he went to the net. "I didn't play well enough," said Nadal, who lost a five-set semifinal to Djokovic a year ago at Wimbledon. There was something of an "Anything you can do, I can do, too" vibe to Friday's proceedings. Federer would kick up chalk with an ace to a corner, and Nadal would do the same in the next game. When Nadal jumped out to a 3-2 lead in the first-set tiebreaker, Federer used sublime returning to reel off five points in a row to claim it. Who else but Federer could strike a serve so well that Nadal's wild reply would be caught by someone in the Royal Box behind him, as happened early in the second set? Who else but Nadal could attack Federer's generally unassailable forehand in such a manner as to draw one so off the mark that it landed in the third row? "I thought probably the biggest points in the match went my way. There were some tight ones and long rallies," Federer said. "He plays with such velocity and spins and everything, you're not always sure you're going to connect the right way." No one ever has managed to reduce Federer to mid-match mediocrity quite the way Nadal can, part of why the Spaniard entered Friday with a 24-15 overall lead head-to-head, including 10-3 at Grand Slam tournaments. This was the second major in a row where they've faced off: Nadal won their windy French Open semifinal last month en route to his 12th championship on the red clay and 18th Slam overall. But Wimbledon is Federer's dominion: He's won 101 matches at the place — more than any other man at any other Slam, even Nadal at Roland Garros — and all of those trophies. Djokovic, meanwhile, leads his series with Federer 25-22, including 9-6 in Grand Slam matches. "I hope I can push him to the brink and hopefully beat him. But it's going to be very difficult, as we know," Federer said. "He's not No. 1 just by chance." On Friday, Djokovic was as animated as ever. When Bautista Agut's shot hit the net tape, popped in the air and slid over for a winner that tied their semifinal at a set apiece, Djokovic motioned to the roaring fans, sarcastically encouraging folks to get louder. When Djokovic ended that 45-stroke point — the longest on record at Wimbledon, where such stats date to 2005 — with a backhand winner, he cupped his ear while glaring into the stands. "I had," Djokovic said, "to dig deep." Even Bautista Agut didn't really expect his visit to the All England Club to last this long: The Spaniard was supposed to meet a half-dozen of his buddies on the island of Ibiza this weekend for his bachelor party. Instead, those pals were sitting in a guest box at Centre Court on Friday. Eventually, Djokovic took control with his enviable ability to return serves, track down balls and go from defense to offense. Now he's Federer's problem......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 12th, 2019

Bottas, Verstappen crashes overshadow Austrian GP practice

By Eric Willemsen, Associated Press SPIELBERG, Austria (AP) — Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen both crashed and seriously damaged their cars during the second practice ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix as the high-altitude track in the Alps showed its perilous side on Friday. Mercedes and Red Bull blamed gusty winds in the montane surroundings for the incidents, which caused the 90-minute session to be red-flagged twice. A third big-name driver narrowly avoided a similar crash as Sebastian Vettel also spun off the track but his Ferrari came to a standstill just before the barriers, limiting damage to his tires only. Before his crash, Bottas posted the second fastest time of the session, trailing Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc by 0.331 seconds. Championship leader Lewis Hamilton, who led the first session in his Mercedes, had the fourth best time, 0.443 behind Leclerc. Bottas slammed his Mercedes into the barriers after he lost control of the rear and spun off the track at Turn 6, leaving the front of his car heavily damaged. The mishap came less than 15 minutes after Verstappen slid off the track backward in Turn 10, badly damaging the right rear of his Red Bull. "Hard to say what happened, maybe it was the wind," Verstappen said. "It's still only Friday so we have time to repair everything for tomorrow." Bottas and Verstappen are the last two winners of the race, in 2017 and 2018, respectively. Neither was hurt in the crashes. Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said Bottas couldn't be blamed. "Suddenly you have three, four kph more and you are beyond the limit," Wolff said about the strong wind affecting the drivers. Red Bull motorsport adviser Helmut Marko added that Verstappen "wasn't driving faster as before in that turn but the gust just swept away the rear." The incidents made for probably the most eventful practice of the season, hours after Hamilton posted the fastest time in the first practice. The British five-time world champion led Vettel by 0.144 seconds, with Mercedes teammate Bottas 0.161 slower in third. Bottas, who earned his first career podium on this track in 2014 and started the last two years from pole, had missed the first half hour as his power unit had to be replaced to fix an oil leak. Leclerc and Verstappen were ranked fourth and fifth, respectively. Practice was cut short after Niko Hulkenberg lost the left front wing of his Renault on the curb. Many racers, including Hamilton, damaged their front wing on the high edges of the track, called "yellow sausages" by many. TIRED OF TIRES While the opening practice showed Mercedes' unbeaten streak might continue this weekend, an attempt from various teams to create a more level playing field failed earlier in the day. At the center of the discussion was the new type of tires introduced by supplier Pirelli this season. They have a reduced tread gauge which should cut down on blistering. While most teams have found them unpredictable and have struggled to adapt to them, the new tires seem to perfectly fit the strategy of Mercedes, which has won all eight races this season, including six 1-2 finishes. To open up the battle for victories and make the races more appealing again, various teams, led by Red Bull, have been suggesting a midseason return to last year's rubber. But in a meeting with all team principals, Pirelli, and governing body FIA, the proposal failed to get the mandatory support of at least seven of the 10 teams. Apart from Mercedes, the idea was also rejected by Williams, Racing Point, McLaren and Renault. One of the reasons for the dismissal was the lack of data, as teams could only guess how the 2018 tires would work under the 2019 cars. Hamilton initially had been critical of the new tires during preseason testing, but has meanwhile slammed the idea of switching back to the old ones. "Last year you had to manage the tires to a temperature, which means you had to do more lifting and coasting. It was a lot worse," said Hamilton, who attended Friday's meeting. "That's an example again of different teams pushing for different things for their own personal goals rather than for the sport's." Tire management will become a key factor during Sunday's race with temperatures expected to rise up to 33 degrees Celsius (91 F) in thin air......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 29th, 2019

Brazil beats Paraguay in shootout in Copa América quarters

By Eric Nunez, Associated Press PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil (AP) — Facing early elimination in the Copa América at home, Brazil finally found a way to get past Paraguay in a penalty shootout. After two consecutive eliminations against its southern neighbor, Brazil came out on top on penalties on Thursday to avoid an embarrassing elimination in the quarterfinals of the South American tournament. Goalkeeper Alisson made a save and Gabriel Jesus scored the decisive penalty as Brazil defeated Paraguay 4-3 in the shootout to return to the semifinals for the first time since 2007. Alisson dived to his left to stop the initial penalty by defender Gustavo Gómez, and Gabriel Jesus sealed the victory to keep Brazil on track for its first Copa América title since 2007. Brazil will next face either Venezuela or Argentina, which play on Friday in Rio de Janeiro. Brazil had lost to Paraguay the last two times the teams met in the Copa América quarterfinals, in 2011 and 2015, both times in penalty shootouts. Derlis González also missed from the spot for Paraguay, while Roberto Firmino failed to score for Brazil. Both players sent their shots wide. González, who also missed a penalty in Paraguay's 1-1 draw against Argentina in the group stage, had scored the decisive goal in the 2015 shootout. He was one of the five players back from that team that eliminated Brazil. Willian, Marquinhos and Philippe Coutinho converted their penalties for Brazil, while Miguel Almirón, Bruno Valdez and Rodrigo Rojas netted for Paraguay. "My teammates did their part, they took on the responsibility and succeeded. That was crucial," Alisson said. "This was an important step toward our goal of winning the South American title." Gabriel Jesus had missed a late penalty in Brazil's 5-0 rout of Peru in its last group game, but calmly found the net with his shot from the spot as Paraguay goalkeeper Roberto "Gatito" Fernández went the other way, igniting the Brazilian crowd of more than 48,000 at the Arena Grêmio. "I was confident, I knew that if I took the penalty the way I'm used to taking it, I would have more chances of scoring," Gabriel Jesus said. "I was upset after the other match because I didn't take the shot my own way. This time I waited for the goalkeeper to move and just sent the ball the other way." Gatito had been key in regulation as the visitors held on to a 0-0 draw despite having a defender sent off in the 58th minute. In the Copa America quarterfinals, extra time is not played and the match proceeded straight to penalties. Paraguay played with 10 men after Fabián Balbuena was sent off for a foul that was initially called a penalty kick but was reversed after video review determined the foul happened outside the area. "We have to be proud of the character shown by this team," said Paraguay coach Eduardo Berizzo, an Argentine. "We could have been rewarded with a wonderful and heroic triumph in the penalty shootout, but that doesn't take anything away from my players' great performance." Brazil controlled possession but struggled to create scoring opportunities against Paraguay's solid defensive system. The visitors had one of the best chances of the first half when González's close-range shot was saved by Alisson. Brazil pressed nearly full-time after Balbuena was sent off, but couldn't capitalize on its many opportunities. Gabriel Jesus, Coutinho, Everton and Firmino all missed great chances in front of the goal. Fernández made a great reflex save on a close-range header by Alex Sandro near the end of the match, and in the 90th Fernández could only watch as a low shot by Willian struck the post. Brazil coach Tite said the poor field conditions didn't help Brazil's attack. "It's absurd to have to play on a field where it's difficult to exchange passes," Tite said. Despite reaching the semifinals in 2015 and finishing runner-up in 2011, Paraguay has won only one of its last 21 matches in the Copa América, taking advantage of penalty shootouts to advance. Paraguay reached the last eight this year with only two points, finishing as one of the two best third-place teams from the three groups. Paraguay and Brazil failed to make it out of the group stage in the 2016 Copa América. An eight-time South American champion, Brazil has won the tournament all four previous times it hosted the event, the last time in 1989. Brazil's Neymar, dropped from the squad because of an ankle injury sustained just before the tournament, watched from the tribunes at the Arena Grêmio......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 28th, 2019

Iniyayabang na 61 solid party-list solons fake news, unity vote wasak!

WALANG nangyari, bigo, at sumemplang ang nakatakdang pagpili ng grupo ng party-list solons noong Miyerkoles kung sino ang susuportahan nilang kandidato bilang speaker. Ibig sabihin, puro ingay lang ang ginawa ng PBA Party-list congressman na si Jericho Nograles na pipili sila kina Rep. Martin Romualdez at Cong. Lord Allan Velasco. Anyare? Bakit walang napili? Nagkaatrasan ........»»

Category: filipinoSource:  hatawtabloidRelated NewsJun 21st, 2019

The ten most intriguing NBA free agents for 2019

By John Schuhmann, NBA.com We knew that the postseason would affect free agency. But the idea was that the success or failure of certain teams would affect what their free agents' thoughts about staying or leaving. Unfortunately, the last two games of The Finals brought devastating injuries to two of the three most coveted free agents on the market. Kevin Durant, arguably the best player in the world, tore his Achilles in Game 5, just 12 minutes into his return from a calf injury. And Klay Thompson tore his ACL in Game 6. The two injuries will certainly have repercussions beyond the two players and the Golden State Warriors. Maybe they already have. With the Western Conference seemingly wide open next season, the Los Angeles Lakers have reportedly made a deal for Anthony Davis, sending a bevy of young players and future picks to New Orleans so they can team the 26-year-old star with 34-year-old LeBron James ... and maybe another star added in free agency. As always, the free agent market and the trade market are tied together. The pending Davis trade could affect the decisions of players and teams come July 1. And if teams miss out on the free agents they're seeking, they could always fill their cap space by making a trade. With all that in mind, the players listed below aren't necessarily the 10 best free agents (or potential free agents). They're the 10 (actually 12) most interesting in regard to where they're going and what kind of contract they get. For players to be on this list, there needs to be some intrigue regarding their (and/or their team's) decision this summer. That's why Thompson isn't included. 1. Kawhi Leonard, Toronto (Player option) Whether he leaves or not, trading for Leonard last summer was well worth it for the Raptors, who won their first championship, with Leonard averaging 30.5 points per game in the postseason. The Raptors' "load management" program (which limited Leonard to just 60 games in the regular season) clearly worked, and director of sports science Alex McKechnie should be seen as a major asset in the quest to keep Leonard in Toronto. There should be a "run-it-back" sentiment for the new champs, with Danny Green also a free agent and Marc Gasol holding a player option this summer. A short-term deal would make sense, unless Leonard is looking for long-term security, having missed almost all of the 2017-18 season with a leg injury. It's all up to Leonard, maybe the toughest player in the league to read. If he takes his two-way talent elsewhere, the Raptors may have to go in a new direction. Number to know: In the postseason, Leonard had a true shooting percentage of 69.1 percent, the highest mark for a player that averaged at least 30 points per game in the playoffs and won the championship. 2. Kevin Durant, Golden State (Player option) Durant's torn Achilles probably won't scare any team, including the Warriors, from paying him as much as possible. As deep and talented as this free agent class is, the top two guys on this list are in a class by themselves. Rumors have long had Durant ready to leave Golden State and even with his injury, he seems more likely than Thompson to find a new home. But an ESPN report had Thompson's father talking about "unfinished business" after overhearing a conversation between the two injured Warriors. Durant could always put free agency off for a year by exercising his player option and remaining on the Warriors' payroll through his rehab. Number to know: Durant was the first player in NBA history to average 30 points per game in at least 10 playoff games while shooting at least 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from three-point range and 90 percent from the free throw line. 3. Kyrie Irving, Boston The disappointment of the Celtics' season, along with Irving's questionable leadership with a group that underachieved, has taken some of the shine off his star. Irving's injury history also must be taken into consideration. But talent is the most important thing in this league and Irving is one of its most talented players. He's still just 27-years-old and he can still get buckets when buckets are needed. A return to Boston appears far less likely than it did six months ago (especially with Davis being traded elsewhere) and there have been a lot of signals that Irving is bound for Brooklyn. Number to know: In the regular season, Irving had an effective field goal percentage of 56.1 percent with the score within five points in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime, the second-best mark among player with at least 50 clutch field goal attempts. 4. Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris, Philadelphia The Sixers lost to the eventual NBA champions on a Game 7 buzzer-beater that bounced on the rim four times before falling through. They're right there. But their starting lineup, which outscored its opponents by more than 21 points per 100 possessions in 334 total minutes (regular season and playoffs), includes three free agents. In regard to future assets, the Sixers didn't give up as much for Butler as they did for Harris. And of course, Butler has more baggage in regard to accepting his role. But, with his defense and his ability to get his own shot, he's is the most important of the three. Harris struggled a bit in the conference semifinals against Toronto and is the least important of the Sixers' three free-agent starters; J.J. Redick's shooting was clearly more critical in the postseason. But Harris isn't easily replaceable and he appears to be the most likely to leave, with a lot of teams looking for versatile forwards. Number to know: In the regular season, Harris shot 41.3 percent on pull-up three-pointers, the second-best mark among 69 players who attempted at least 100. 5. Kemba Walker, Charlotte Walker has expressed some level of loyalty to the Hornets. But immediately after the Davis trade was agreed to, there was a report that Walker would be a "top target" of the Lakers with their cap space. Walker would be an ideal offensive complement to James and Davis, in that he can play off the ball (though he shot less than 35 percent on catch-and-shoot three-pointers last season) and take some of the playmaking burden off of James' shoulders. The Hornets, meanwhile, would likely have a tough time upgrading their roster around Walker, with Nicolas Batum, Bismack Biyombo, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Marvin Williams and Cody Zeller all under contract next season for a total of $85 million. Number to know: Walker led the league with 126 field goal attempts with the score within five points in the last five minutes. That was 43 percent of the Hornets' total (295). His effective field goal percentage on those shots (49.6 percent) ranked 15th among 45 players with at least 50 clutch field goal attempts. 6. D'Angelo Russell, Brooklyn (Restricted) A finalist for the Most Improved award, Russell took a big step forward this season, both in regard to his production and his maturity. He earned himself an All-Star appearance and helped the Nets reach the playoffs with a 14-win increase from last season. He's only 23-years-old and is one of the league's most flammable shooters. But because he doesn't get to the basket or the free throw line very often, Russell is neither all that efficient (his true shooting percentage of 53.3 percent ranked 66th among 94 guards with at least 500 field goal attempts) nor consistent, and he struggled (shooting 36 percent) in Brooklyn's first-round loss to Philadelphia. If the Nets are targeting another ball-handler in free agency (with Caris LeVert and Spencer Dinwiddie already under contract), they'll probably let Russell head elsewhere. Number to know: In the regular season, Russell ranked second with 11.4 pick-and-roll ball-handler possessions per game. He scored 0.89 points per possession as a pick-and-roll ball-handler, the 26th best mark among 44 players that averaged at least five ball-handler possessions. 7. DeMarcus Cousins and Kevon Looney, Golden State Cousins hadn't made it back to 100 percent from his Achilles tear before he suffered a torn quad in his second career playoff game. He made it back for The Finals from that injury and showed flashes of his old self with 14 important points in the Warriors' Game 5 win and a big bucket in the final minute of Game 6. But he also struggled on both ends of the floor at times, and the Warriors were outscored with him on the floor in seven of his eight playoff games. Now he goes back on the free agent market with teams still not sure of what they're getting. Looney is an unrestricted free agent at 23-years-old, and he was the Warriors' most important center this season. The Western Conference champs have Looney's Bird rights, but they could also be spending a lot of money to retain Durant and Thompson (and possibly extend Draymond Green). Another team might have a larger role and more money for an improving young big. Number to know: In the regular season, the Warriors' lineup of Curry, Thompson, Durant, Green and Looney scored 121.5 points per 100 possessions and outscored opponents by 18.7 per 100. Those were the best marks for points scored and point differential per 100 possessions among 40 league-wide lineups that played at least 200 minutes together. 8. Malcolm Brogdon, Milwaukee (Restricted) The Milwaukee Bucks were the best team in the league through the first two games of the Eastern Conference finals. But, with four of their top eight players being free agents (or potential free agents) this summer, they have a lot of work to do if they want to keep Giannis Antetokounmpo surrounded by players who can get it done on both ends of the floor. Brogdon, Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez are the three key pieces. They're all due a pay raise and they all belong on this list. Brogdon is the restricted free agent, but he's also the youngest of the three (he'll be 27 in December) and the one that could be projected into a larger role on another team. Number to know: Brogdon shot 47.5 percent on catch-and-shoot three-pointers, the third-best mark among 223 players who attempted at least 100. 9. Julius Randle, New Orleans (Player option) After five years in the league, Randle is still just 24-years-old. So he's not necessarily a bad fit for David Griffin's plans for the future in New Orleans. But the Pelicans might not be ready to commit the money Randle is seeking (should he opt out of the final year of his contract) after averaging a career-high 21.4 points per game. Defense remains an issue, but Randle has expanded his offensive skill set; he was a respectable 34.4 percent from three-point range this season, taking 18 percent of his shots from beyond the arc (up from six percent over his three previous full seasons). Number to know: Randle averaged 13.2 points in the paint per game, seventh most in the league, and he made more three-pointers (67) than all but one of the six players in front of him. 10. Ricky Rubio, Utah According to Rubio himself, he's not Utah's top priority in free agency. He remains a good defender and one of the league's best passers, but the Jazz need to get more potent offensively if they're going to take the next step. At 31.1 percent, Rubio ranked 153rd in three-point percentage among 163 players with at least 200 attempts. There could be as many as 10 teams (not including the Jazz) in need of a starting point guard this summer, and Rubio could have more value on a team more in need of a distributor. Number to know: The Jazz were 5.8 points per 100 possessions better offensively with both Rubio and Donovan Mitchell on the floor (scoring 110.4 per 100) than they were with Mitchell on the floor without Rubio (104.6). John Schuhmann is a senior stats analyst 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 NewsJun 17th, 2019

Party-list coalition to vote as one

The 54 members of the Party-list Coalition in the House of Representatives reiterated yesterday their commitment to vote as one in the election of the next speaker......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJun 15th, 2019

Fowler and the USGA off to a good start at US Open

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Rickie Fowler had an ideal start Thursday in the U.S. Open, and so did the USGA. Pebble Beach was as gentle as could be in the opening round, and Fowler was among those who took advantage with six birdies for a 5-under 66, giving him a share of the early lead with Xander Schauffele and Louis Oosthuizen. The notorious wind off the Pacific coast was little more than a breeze. The course was lush green and relatively soft. The USGA wanted to start conservatively and make it progressively more difficult, a forecast of dry weather gives officials a lot more control. This was the day to take advantage. Schauffele, who keeps showing up in golf's biggest events, holed a 12-foot eagle putt on the par-5 18th to join Fowler at 66. Oosthuizen holed out for eagle from 95 yards at No. 11, his second hole of the day. "It's a very soft start to a U.S. Open, which is a good thing," Rory McIlroy said after a 68, his first sub-70 round at the U.S. Open since he won at Congressional in 2011. "They can do whatever they want with from here. It's not as if you're starting with a course that's in the condition like a Sunday, and then you get three days and it sort of starts to get away from you." Two-time defending champion Brooks Koepka and Tiger Woods played in the afternoon. Koepka reached 4 under through seven holes until a bogey on No. 8, while Woods had three birdies to atone for a double bogey on par-3 fifth. He was 1 under through seven. Scott Piercy made bogey on the 18th for a 67. He was the first player to get everyone's attention when he made three birdies and an eagle through the opening six holes — the scoring holes at Pebble — and was 5 under. Graeme McDowell saw the score when he walked off the 10th green at the start of his round and quipped to his caddie, "All the USGA radios are going off and they're saying, 'Turn off the water — NOW!'" McDowell won the last U.S. Open at Pebble Beach in 2010 when it was so difficult he made only one birdie in the final round and no one broke par for the week. Even as he saw low scores on the board — he had a bogey-free 69, one of 16 rounds in the 60s among the early starters — McDowell feared what was to come. What really got his attention was Phil Mickelson being some 30 feet above the hole at No. 1, which should ordinarily have been a lightning fast putt. Mickelson left it short. "I don't think level par wins this week," he said. "Careful what you wish for, because I think we're going to see it come the weekend." Mickelson, in his fifth attempt at the career Grand Slam, opened with a 72 that certainly didn't hurt him, but only two birdies held him back. Two of his bogeys came from missing the fairway with an iron off the tee. The other was a careless three-putt — he missed from 22 inches. Dustin Johnson was only one shot better, and he could have been a lot worse except for a magnificent short game, no shot better than his flop shop from well behind the eighth green to 2 feet. He nearly drove the green on No. 4, a dangerous shot because the coast line hugs the right side. Why driver? "Because I'd bogeyed the last two holes," Johnson said with a wry smile. "I needed a birdie." That wasn't impatience that often dooms chances at a U.S. Open. That was recognition that scores were to be had, and this might be the best day. Fowler picked up three birdies in seven holes, dropped a shot at the turn and added three birdies on the back. It's the second time in three years at the U.S. Open he has started well — he had a 65 in the first round at Erin Hills — but the focus is on how he finishes. Even though he's 30, with seven victories on the PGA Tour and European Tour combined, Fowler is on that list of best without a major, perhaps because he's had so many top finishes. So the start was important. "It was very stress free," Fowler said. "You never feel in cruise control at a major, especially a U.S. Open, but the execution was very good today. ... It was the worst I could have shot, so that's a good thing. I'm happy with the start. You can't go out and win it up the first day, but you can obviously take yourself out of it and you're having to fight back." Schauffele also appears poised to break through in his third full year on tour. He first gained attention with his tie for fifth in his U.S. Open debut two years ago, and he tied for sixth last year at Shinnecock Hills. He also has runner-up finishes in the British Open and the Masters. His big break came at the end when he caught his drive off the toe and it hit off a rock framing the left side, bounding down the fairway. From there, he only had 8-iron to set up his eagle. "Very fortunate, and happy we capitalized on a really lucky break," he said......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 14th, 2019

Durant s return looms large heading into potential clincher

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com TORONTO — Let us dismiss the tasty-yet-faulty comparison folks will try to make regarding Game 5 and Kevin Durant and the fate of the Warriors in these NBA Finals: In 1970, when Knicks center Willis Reed famously limped out of the tunnel at Madison Square Garden for Game 7, he only hit two jumpers and was done, too gimpy to go any further. The Warriors, starved for points against a toothy Raptors defense, will require plenty more than that from Durant before he’s done. Back then, it was winner-take-all, New York vs. L.A. Durant and the Warriors are trailing 3-1 and face elimination at Scotiabank Arena. They’re staring down a far deeper and darker tunnel. This is the stark reality for a would-be savior and his recuperating calf and the desperate two-time defending champions. Durant was upgraded to questionable for Monday (Tuesday, PHL time), which means it's likely he’ll at least be on the floor. Whether he stays long enough to break a sweat or plays well enough to make the Raptors perspire is the real issue. Perhaps never before has an injury to a superstar of this magnitude been this mysterious – and perhaps costly – in the history of The Finals. Remember, with Reed, the Knicks won at the end. Maybe there's more in common with Magic Johnson pulling a hamstring in 1989 during Game 1, but again, Magic was finished for the series, and so were the Lakers, swept by the Pistons. Durant is trying to return and in the process squelch the innuendo swirling about his recovery and also trigger a historic comeback. Can he pull this off after not playing since May 8 (May 9, PHL time), and practicing for the first time only Sunday? It was a practice, but only in the tamest sense. Durant joined his teammates and took part after the media was hustled off the court, leaving no outside witnesses or sneaky TMZ footage. The Warriors, this time of year, only conduct light drills. And it was over within an hour. To recap: Durant is supposed to step into an intense basketball game after missing a month, and battle a Toronto defense led by Kawhi Leonard, and thwart a championship bid by a team and city bracing for a maddening celebration around midnight, and … rescue the Warriors? OK, then. “I think it’s pretty easy to realize we obviously miss him out there and he’s propelled us to two championships in two years,” said Warriors guard Klay Thompson. “So it would be pretty storybook if he could come back and help us do the same.” If it sounds like the Warriors are so stretched for answers and solutions that they’re banking on Durant being close to normal after a lengthy layoff, well … maybe they are. When you’re facing elimination, there’s really no other choice. And the Warriors haven’t been able to solve the Raptors without him. Yet Durant has set himself a high bar. Before his injury, which occurred in the conference semifinals against Houston, he was on another level, nearly galactic. He averaged 34 points, five rebounds and five assists in 11 games and was a finalist for everyone’s “best player in the playoffs" honors with Giannis Antetokounmpo. Since then Leonard, the postseason leader in points, and rebounds, and minutes, has yanked that praise for himself. The Raptors, as a result, are heavy favorites to lift the trophy. Durant may not be 100 percent, leaving what he can possibly do an open question: Will he be more of a decoy than a legitimate offensive threat? And on defense, how can the Warriors cover for him, since the Raptors will surely try to exploit the situation by running Durant through screens? Without Durant, the scoring burden had to be carried by Thompson and Steph Curry, and while both have done fairly well, the Warriors have had little margin for error. Whenever Draymond Green or Andre Iguodala or DeMarcus Cousins failed to lend support for Thompson and Curry, the results have been disastrous for Golden State. Coach Steve Kerr feels Durant’s presence will be enough to cause a ripple effect that influences what both teams do when he’s on the floor. “The game plan changes if Kevin is out there, or if he’s not,” Kerr said. “So you adapt accordingly. It changes matchups, it changes rotations, all that stuff.” It’ll be a surprise if Durant’s return causes issues within the Warriors and the system that was tweaked in his absence. Although they’ve been without him for nine games, he did play three seasons with the club, so there shouldn’t be any adjustment problems. Quite the contrary, says Curry. “We’ll be able to adjust in transition pretty smoothly,” said Curry. “He’s been in plenty of Finals and has played well. No matter what the percentage he’s at, I’m sure he’ll be impactful and effective.” It’s always tricky to play doctor and determine how much time Durant should’ve missed, although that never deters anyone from doing so. Taking it a step further, while none of his teammates or coaches publicly questioned the depths of Durant’s injury, dealing with the daily dose of “is he or isn’t he?” became tiring to some. They all suspect that if Durant could’ve played, he would. What possible motive would encourage him to stay out longer than necessary? To show everyone how much the Warriors need him? That seems a stretch for someone who craves a championship. Possibly not his pending free agency either; if anything Durant would get bonus points for playing through pain and would have all summer to recover in the event of re-injuring the calf, which is not considered career-threatening. Injured players have no obligation to speak to the media, and Durant hasn’t, with his silence only feeding speculation. “I feel for Kevin,” Thompson said. “I know what type of competitor he is and we obviously miss him dearly. But whether it’s tomorrow or Game 6, we just have to do everything in our power to help him get back. He will be very welcome, I’ll say that much. Kevin’s (injury) is serious and I know how badly he wants to be out there. He’s one of the best competitors I’ve been around.” The stretchy shooting range, the high release of a shot that’s nearly impossible to block or discourage, the energy and determination and ability to make plays in tense moments, those are the elements Durant brings and the Warriors have missed in The Finals. They’ll take whatever he can give, whatever that might be.   “I would like to think he would make a difference,” Shaun Livingston said. “Again, it’s just any time a player of that caliber comes back or goes out of the lineup, it’s going to be felt certain ways. We’ll see what happens.” And if Durant is unable to play extended minutes or sputters around the floor, making mistakes and dogged by rust and fatigue and inefficiency? Then it’ll fall on his teammates, a group that couldn’t beat the Raptors in two games at Oracle Arena yet somehow must thrive in a Canadian madhouse that awaits Monday (Tuesday, PHL time). “You’re going to see a resilient Warriors team,” Thompson said. “We’ve had our backs against the wall with this same group. Obviously, it’s a little more daunting being down 3-1 but usually when our backs are against the wall, we respond the best.” Question is, will Durant have their back? Or will he and that wall crumble under pressure from these hungry Raptors and the long odds? 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: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 10th, 2019

Championship in sight, Raptors control Oracle Arena endgame

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com OAKLAND, Calif. — What once began as a fantasy, then progressed as hope and then grew to a reasonable wish has now evolved and crystalized once again. And this time, everyone south of Saskatoon can begin to see it and maybe even buy in. The Toronto Raptors have the scent of a champion. This may come as a surprise to the nostrils of anyone who saw them crumble in past postseasons or figured their chances of getting out of the East this season were dicey … but Toronto just took a pair of NBA Finals games at Oracle Arena — and maybe closed it down in the process. The Raptors are headed home with one game to win and history on their side. Thirty-four times in The Finals have teams taken 3-1 leads, and they sipped champagne all but once. (Let’s not discuss that lone team to lose; the Warriors are suffering enough.) This latest Raptors victory was impressively convincing, especially considering the circumstances. They stared at a desperate home team, one that welcomed back Klay Thompson after a one-game injury absence … a two-time defending champion known for rising to the occasion … and the Raptors dusted them anyway. You understand exactly what the Raptors did Friday (Saturday, PHL time) and how it was done? They emerged from the halftime locker room with fire and outclassed a team known for championship pedigree and owning third quarters in the postseason. Kawhi Leonard, who’s uplifting a team and a country, began the onslaught with a pair of three-point jumpers. The Toronto defense, relentless most of the night and throughout the series as well, squeezed the Warriors and especially Steph Curry. Time after time, Serge Ibaka delivered a counter punch with a key jumper off the pick and roll or a defensive stop. Ibaka had 20 points in 21 minutes in what was his first strong outing from jump to buzzer. Fred VanVleet, felled by a stray Shaun Livingston elbow to the chops in the third quarter, was left bloodied and missing a tooth in a scene that embodied Toronto's grit. The Raptors simply wore down the more experienced Warriors and Golden State never came up with an answer. Toronto stole the atmosphere — a smattering of red-garbed Raptors fans suddenly cheered louder and stomped harder and stayed buzzed long after the buzzer — and sent the Warriors off the court with heads bowed and egos deflated. Oh, something else: Nick Nurse, the first-year Toronto coach, kept pressing the right buttons with his various defensive schemes and substitutions as Golden State failed to break 100 for the first time this postseason. And the Raptors seized control of the series, ensuring that Scotiabank Arena will be a mixture of tense and hysterical Monday for Game 5 (Tuesday, PHL time). And that’s just from Drake. The crowd will be hyped, too. This is the moment that the basketball population in Toronto has long awaited, to get a sense something special is about to happen, or at least could. And this was made possible by a former Finals MVP who, this time last summer, was in exile with his reputation, at least in San Antonio, in tatters. By November, in Toronto, none of that mattered. “Once we saw him early in the year, your team’s vision of who they can become changes,” said Nurse. Leonard is a victory away from another Finals MVP and trophy, and mostly a sense of redemption. His passion and championship drive was evident Friday in two stages, both influential to his team. He set an example early by showing pep from the opening tip, carrying the Raptors with 14 of their 17 points over the first 12 minutes. And then, coming out of halftime, Leonard went scorched Earth once again. He posted 17 points and five rebounds in the third, and this time the Raptors lent support. Toronto outscored the Warriors, 37-21, and spent the rest of the game keeping a sneaker pressed on the Warriors’ throat. Kawhi tore through the Warriors constantly, totaling 36 points and 12 rebounds. Yet it was his tone that influenced the game just as much, if not more. “He imposed his will on the game and his team followed him,” said Draymond Green. “He gets the job done.” This is why Kawhi’s value to the Raptors is priceless. Until now, Toronto lacked a player with his presence, someone who forced other teams to gameplan differently, someone who seems to thrive when the stakes are highest and is driven in these situations. They didn’t have that with DeMar DeRozan or Kyle Lowry, the leaders and best players of those teams that flourished in the regular season and failed in the postseason. Leonard clearly has the Warriors rattled and their defense stressed whenever he’s in isolation or bracing to attack. “He hit every big shot, every big momentum shot,” said Curry. Just the same, the Kawhi-inspired defense weighed heavily not only in this game but for much of the series. With the exception of Curry’s monstrous 47-point outburst in Game 3, Toronto hasn’t yielded much from the Warriors — surely, Kevin Durant’s absence and Thompson’s missed game contributed. Yet the Raptors are floating Leonard around the floor, sneaking in doubles on Thompson and Curry, leaving Green open and encouraging him to shoot, and essentially making it tough for the Warriors to go on a big scoring spree. Toronto has outscored the Warriors in 13 of the 16 quarters of this series. Hounded by the Raptors’ perimeter defense, and maybe gassed from two nights earlier, Curry made only a pair of three-pointers Friday (Saturday, PHL time) and never developed a rhythm. And while Thompson returned from his injury with 28 points, he was harmless in the fourth quarter and his team quiet. “They’ve been aggressive all series in trying to take space away from me and Klay,” Curry said. As the Warriors and the crowd disappeared from the arena, there was a sense of finality in the air inside Oracle. If the Warriors don’t win Monday (Tuesday, PHL time), then the last memory of their home of nearly six decades will be a deflating one. Instead of dreamy visions of Curry and Thompson and Durant spraying jumpers, it will be Leonard punishing the Warriors and the home team powerless to stop him or from being pushed to the brink. And speaking of Durant: Coach Steve Kerr has now gone radio silent about his superstar’s availability for Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) or beyond. The subject has become tiresome because there’s no resolution regarding someone who hasn’t played in a month. And so the Warriors have twin motivations for Monday (Tuesday, PHL time): Win to stay alive and also to play once more at Oracle for a Game 6. Yet at this point, with the dynasty showing cracks, that might be a lost cause. “I know we’re capable,” said Kerr. “We’ve got a lot of talent and got a lot of pride and these guys have been to The Finals five straight years for a reason. They’re going to fight the whole way.” Green added: “I’ve been on the wrong side of 3-1 before, so why not make our own history?” Well, that now-or-never talk is fine. Yet it’s all about the Raptors making history now, and stopping the Warriors’ streak in the process. It’s all there for the taking for Toronto: One win, a chance to celebrate on the home floor, and a marvelous and striking professional rebound for Kawhi Leonard, who surely will be named Finals MVP should all of the above happen. Dare we say, it’s the Raptors title to lose now. A title anointed to the Warriors even before the season began. Well, plenty has happened in the last seven months. And especially the last seven days. 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 NewsJun 8th, 2019