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Nick Baldwin chases Ironman supremacy in Subic

Seychelles’ Nick Baldwin, who ruled the first-ever full Ironman last year, returns to Subic this week, aiming for another endurance feat in the Century Tuna Ironman 70.3 Subic Bay on June 2......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsMay 25th, 2019

Warriors break ground on San Francisco arena with fanfare

em>By Janie McCauley, Associated Press /em> SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Hard hats on, Steve Kerr and Kevin Durant lifted their golden shovels filled with dirt in a ceremonial moment for the Warriors franchise as it broke ground on snazzy new San Francisco digs at long last. And keeping KD in a Golden State uniform to see it through is a key part of the grand plan. This project has already been 4.5 years in the making. 'Honestly, a relief to some extent,' owner and CEO Joe Lacob said. Kerr is campaigning for the Golden State name to stay put along with his superstar players. 'We are the Golden State Warriors and it's not up to me, but I don't want it to change,' Kerr said. 'It's a unique name. It's the only one like it in the league. I would like to see that remain. I fully believe we are still the Bay Area's team, no matter whether we're playing in Oakland or San Jose or San Francisco. The name Golden State Warriors, there's too much history, there's too much tradition to change.' Even if in a success-oriented business like the NBA, nobody knows who will still be around when 18,000-seat Chase Center is complete. Kerr has no idea if he will even still be on the sidelines then. 'If you're lucky enough in life, like I've been, you reach a point where you get to choose who you work with, you get to choose where you live and you get to choose where you work,' Kerr said. 'By those metrics, I want to stay here forever. I'm also an NBA coach and I'm well aware that this building is going to take about three years to build, so the chances of me standing on the sidelines for the Warriors are slim to hopeful. Maybe as, like, the coach of another team. 'So far, so good, so hopefully I'll still be here.' Next, Golden State will likely work to keep both two-time reigning MVP Stephen Curry and Durant for the long haul by negotiating new deals this year. Kerr speaks to Durant daily and knows he is happy with his new Bay Area surroundings. 'We're going to win for a long time. ... We'll do whatever it takes to be champions again,' Lacob said of spending on players. He even publicly put KD on the spot: 'Kevin Durant came here without a new arena. Thank you, Kevin ... and also for agreeing to re-sign this summer. I have no idea how he's going to respond to that.' The Warriors did a little bit of everything to showcase how this will be far more than just a sports venue: The over-the-top groundbreaking featured a trio of songs by a gospel choir to kick off festivities, included a performance by the San Francisco Symphony and even acrobatic dancers dressed as construction workers for a grand finale of sorts that included beach balls dropping from an excavator before the equipment rigs moved in synchronization to the music in an extravagant routine featuring trampolines. Only boosting the mood was the California Supreme Court's decision earlier in the day to deny a petition by arena opponents seeking to overturn the Warriors' entitlements, further clearing the way for the project to move ahead — 'so we're totally good to go here,' Lacob noted. 'Wow, what a day!' said Warriors COO Rick Welts, noting the team will boast one of the world's premier 'gathering places' — for concerts and conventions, political events and more. 'Every city needs it. We need it. It will be great for San Francisco,' co-owner Peter Guber said. 'We now have proof, not just promises.' Curry got a break from public duties this time, a day after the Warriors pulled off a stunning 126-91 rout of LeBron James and the defending champion Cavaliers. Golden State hosts Oklahoma City on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time). San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee — among dozens of dignitaries in attendance — hollered, 'finally welcoming the Golden State Warriors home to San Francisco!' He rattled off the Warriors' star-studded roster and the energy around the franchise and its long-term mission. 'What's not to love?' he said. Lacob can't wait — and realizes how many people will miss the great vibe at the team's current home of Oracle Arena, an atmosphere the Warriors hope to replicate in many ways. Not only will the 11 acres include restaurants, cafes, businesses and other new additions to add vitality to the neighborhood, there will be a 51.5-acre bay-front park across from the arena. 'It is going to sing,' he said. 'It takes my breath away when we look at the renderings.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 18th, 2017

6-time champs Djokovic, Williams post Australian Open wins

JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer   MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The record will show that six-time Australian Open champions Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic each had straight-set wins. It may seem straight-forward, but it was not routine. Newly-engaged Williams, aiming for an Open-era record 23rd major title, and Djokovic, bidding to become the first man to win seven Australian titles, confronted former top-10 players in the first round at Melbourne Park. And so there was no chance for the No. 2-ranked players, in the recently unaccustomed position at the foot of the draw, to feel their way into the season's first major. Djokovic faced Fernando Verdasco, who beat Rafael Nadal in the first round last year and who had five match points in their last head-to-head encounter — only 10 days earlier. Djokovic held off the Spanish lefthander in a 71-minute, momentum-swinging second set before winning 6-1, 7-6 (4), 6-2 on Tuesday. The first and third sets were great, he said, but the second was 'a gamble.' 'I'm very pleased with the first round, considering I had one of the toughest first-round draws, definitely considering his form,' Djokovic said. 'He's a quality player. He's a big match, big-time player.' The 33-year-old Verdasco peaked at No. 7 in the rankings in 2009, not long after he pushed eventual champion Nadal in five sets in one of the best and latest-finishing semifinals ever at the Australian Open. 'From one perspective it was good that I got to have the very tough first-round match, because it made me prepare better and kind of approach the tournament with the right intensity, right from the first point,' Djokovic said. Williams, on the comeback after a stint on the sidelines following a U.S. Open semifinal loss, took a 5-0 lead in the second set against Belinda Bencic. But Bencic has been ranked in the top 10, and was seeded 12th in Melbourne last year. She applied pressure on Williams, who made mistakes on key points — including a double-fault to give Bencic a break point, and another on her first match point — before recovering to win 6-4, 6-3. Williams became engaged to Alexis Ohanian during the holiday break, and the Reddit co-founder was in the crowd at Rod Laver Arena. She has been asked repeatedly about her wedding plans since arriving in Australia, but only gave a time frame for that discussion after her opening match. 'February I'll start looking at the bigger picture of my life,' she said. 'Right now, I'm just so focused that this is kind of all I can think about.' Williams made a big statement, though, by walking into her news conference wearing a shirt with the word 'Equality' emblazoned across the front. It was still before midnight Monday in the United States, where the holiday in honor of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was nearly ending. 'It's important to spread the message,' she said. Asked if she was concerned about the future of equality in the United States, Williams declined to comment apart from saying it was 'a concern for just everyone in general.' After improving her record in the first round of majors to 65-1, Williams will play Lucie Safarova, who saved nine match points before beating Yanina Wickmayer 3-6, 7-6 (7), 6-1. Nadal, also returning from a couple of months on the sidelines following the U.S. Open with an injured left wrist, has already improved on 2016. 'I'm happy to do an interview with you — last year, I didn't have the chance!' Nadal said in his on-court interview after a 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 win over Florian Mayer. As usual at Melbourne Park, the heat was a factor. The thermostat reached almost 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit) on a day when Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic beat Dustin Brown and No. 11 David Goffin beat 19-year-old qualifier Reilly Opelka 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4. Ivo Karlovic was thankful that it was cooler at night, when the 37-year-old Croat fired 75 aces and held off Horacio Zeballos 6-7 (6), 3-6, 7-5, 6-2, 22-20 in a match that set a record for most number of games (84) at the Australian Open in the tiebreak era. No. 6 Gael Monfils, No. 8 Dominic Thiem, No. 13 Roberto Bautista Agut, No. 15 Grigor Dimitrov and No. 18 Richard Gasquet were among the other seeded players to advance. Heather Watson beat No. 18 Sam Stosur, extending the 2011 U.S. Open champion's drought on home soil. U.S. Open finalist Karolina Pliskova, 2016 Australian Open semifinalist Johanna Konta, No. 6 Dominika Cibulkova, former top-ranked Caroline Wozniacki, No. 14 Elena Vesnina, No. 21 Caroline Garcia and No. 28 Alize Cornet all advanced before third-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska finished off her 6-1, 4-6, 6-1 win over Tsvetana Pironkova just before midnight. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 18th, 2017

Rooney equals record as United beats Reading 4-0 in FA Cup

JUSTIN PALMER, Associated Press br /> LONDON (AP) — Wayne Rooney stands one goal away from becoming Manchester United's outright record goal-scorer after equaling club great Bobby Charlton's mark of 249 on Saturday. With the 79-year-old Charlton watching from the stands, Rooney guided in Juan Mata's cross after seven minutes as the defending FA Cup champion swept aside second-tier Reading 4-0 in the third round. English Premier League teams Bournemouth, West Bromwich Albion and Stoke City all bowed out to lower-league opponents while Arsenal needed second-half goals from Aaron Ramsey and Oliver Giroud, the Frenchman netting late on, to wipe out Preston North End's halftime lead. Third-tier Millwall, Cup finalist in 2004, caused the biggest shock by thumping a much-changed Bournemouth 3-0, West Brom went down at home to Championship team Derby County 2-1, while Wolverhampton Wanderers, also from the second tier, ensured Stoke lost in the third round for the first time since 2009 by winning at Britannia Stadium 2-0. In all-Premier League matches, Ahmed Musa scored twice as Leicester fought back from a goal down to defeat Everton 2-1, while in the battle of the new managers, Marco Silva saw his Hull side get the better of Paul Clement's Swansea 2-0. Silva, appointed on Tuesday in place of the fired Mike Phelan, would have noted the large number of empty seats at Hull's KCOM Stadium with home fans staying away in protest against the club's owners. Non-league sides Sutton United and Lincoln City earned replays but there was no fairytale for the lowest-ranked team in the competition Stourbridge as it went down at Wycombe 2-1. ___ MANCHESTER UNITED 4, READING 0 Rooney's latest milestone — he is the record scorer for England — came in front of Old Trafford fans who have adored him, on and off, since he joined as a teenage prodigy from Everton in 2004. 'It is a really proud moment for me,' Rooney said. 'It was not something I could have imagined. You don't think that far ahead, but I have been at this club a long time, it is a huge part of my life, and it is an honor to be up there alongside Sir Bobby.' United manager Jose Mourinho, who won the FA Cup when in charge of Chelsea in 2007, was effusive in his praise of Rooney. 'A more special day will arrive,' he said. 'It was great but I want one more goal. He is an amazing guy in the group and we all want him to do that. To have Wayne as the top scorer in a club like this is magnificent for him.' The game will be not be so fondly remembered by former United defender Jaap Stam, whose Reading side he coaches was outclassed. Rooney set up Anthony Martial for 2-0 not long after he scored the opener. United, winning for the eighth consecutive game in all competitions, added two more in quick succession after the break through Marcus Rashford, his second coming after a mistake from goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi. PRESTON NORTH END 1, ARSENAL 2 Arsenal preserved manager Arsene Wenger's feat of never having lost a third-round match, but the Gunners did it the hard way. After their dramatic comeback from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 at Bournemouth in midweek, Arsenal started slow again as second-tier Preston fully deserved its halftime lead. But whatever words Wenger barked during the break, they had an immediate effect with Ramsey rifling in an equalizer 50 seconds after the restart. Arsenal, 11-times FA Cup winners, six of which have come under Wenger's long reign, dominated after that but had to wait until two minutes from time to seal victory through Giroud. EVERTON 1, LEICESTER 2 A turgid first half at Goodison Park was followed by an entertaining second as Leicester showed the mettle that made it English champion last season. It fell behind to Romelu Lukaku's goal on 53 minutes but Musa's equalizer was a rebound after he struck the post, and his second goal five minutes later was a fine finish after he played a one-two with Danny Drinkwater. WEST BROMWICH ALBION 1, DERBY COUNTY 2 Tom Ince, son of former England midfielder Paul Ince, struck a fine winner to upset top-flight West Brom. The hosts led through a Matt Phillips long-range strike but Derby hit back in the second half as Darren Bent levelled and Ince curled home a superb free kick. MILLWALL 3, BOURNEMOUTH 0 Bournemouth made 11 changes from its last game and suffered an embarrassing defeat against a side in ninth place in League One. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 7th, 2017

Thirdy Ravena flies high as 2019 Collegiate Player of the Year

In a season of excellent individual performers, Ateneo’s Thirdy Ravena was second to none. After bannering the Blue Eagles to their second-straight UAAP title, Ravena is set to be named the Collegiate Player of the Year in the 2019 Chooks-To-Go Collegiate Press Corps Awards Night presented by SportsVision on Monday at Amelie Hotel Manila in Ermita. By snagging the top individual plum given by the reporters covering the beat, Ravena joined the likes of his brother Kiefer, Mac Belo, Jeron Teng, Robert Bolick and Ben Mbala in the list of the players who have taken home the coveted award. The second-generation star particularly put up a finals series to remember, averaging 29.5 points, eight rebounds, and 7.5 assists as the Blue Eagles waylaid the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons - an affair which looked more like a coronation for the newest King Eagle. Ravena will be joined by San Beda’s Robert Bolick, Perpetual’s Prince Eze, and the UP pair of Bright Akhuetie and Paul Desiderio in this year’s All-Collegiate team. Ravena’s coach, Tab Baldwin will also be named the UAAP Coach of the Year while San Beda’s Boyet Fernandez will be named the NCAA Coach of the Year for the record-tying fifth time in the annual festivities also supported by Amelie Hotel Manila, Rain or Shine, NorthPort, World Balance, Arellano University and AXA Team Eds. For the first time in history, the Collegiate Press Corps will also be giving out the SportsVision Volleyball Players of the Year award to the standout performers of the UAAP and the NCAA. University of Santo Tomas’ Sisi Rondina will get the distinction as the first-ever UAAP Volleyball Player of the Year for willing the Golden Tigresses to the Finals. Arellano’s Regine Arocha, on the other hand, will be named the NCAA Volleyball Player of the Year after winning back the trophy for the Lady Chiefs. The 2019 Chooks-to-Go Collegiate Press Corps Awards presented by SportsVision will be aired live over the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas and Tiebreaker Times Facebook accounts......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News18 hr. 57 min. ago

Raptors on brink of first Finals berth in franchise history

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com TORONTO -- Twenty-one would be a very cool number for the Toronto Raptors. Before they get it, though, they’ll need to get one. And one would be beyond cool. Off the charts, historic, potentially transformative and largely indescribable. Twenty-one: That’s how many teams in NBA playoff history will have overcome an 0-2 start to win a best-of-seven series, if the Raptors manage to close out the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference finals. Whether it happens in Game 6 Saturday night (Sunday, PHL time) at Scotiabank Arena or in Game 7 back in Milwaukee Monday (Tuesday, PHL time), Toronto would buck outlandish odds -- this is the 289th series to begin with the same team winning the first two games, so we’re talking a seven percent likelihood (20-of-288). [Watch the Playoffs on NBA League Pass for 30% less with this limited time offer! Select Annual package and use code SAVE30 at checkout to redeem] One: That’s all that stands between the Raptors and the first NBA Final appearance in Toronto franchise history. One more victory in the next three days would validate the risks and twists of this 2018-19 season for the Raptors, while exorcising nearly a quarter century’s worth of demons. One little win and Toronto finally will break through, capping a stellar six-year run of promising regular seasons and heartbreaking postseasons. They will have earned, in the face of so much uncertainty, their best shot yet at a championship, even if it means going through the mighty Golden State Warriors. When Raptors president Masai Ujiri traded for star forward Kawhi Leonard, he was gambling not just that Leonard could recover from the right quadriceps injury that scuttled his 2017-18. He was guessing that swapping in Leonard for former All-Star wing DeMar DeRozan could push Toronto to, well, right where they’re at. And he was hoping Leonard, a rent-a-player able to leave this summer in free agency, would enjoy the whole experience enough to let Ujiri pay him $220 million over the next five seasons. It’s impossible to know where things stand on that last front, owing to Leonard’s inscrutability and a decision that’s still six weeks away. But the Raptors never have gotten this far, so there is an opportunity here to be savored, with more potentially to come. “It would be a very, very long summer thinking about what could have been or what you could have done,” guard Fred VanVleet said, framing things a bit negatively after raining 7-of-9 three-pointers on Milwaukee in the 105-99 Game 5 victory. “So we've just got to go out there and have no regrets. … One win away from the Finals sounds pretty good to me.” Sounds a little easier, maybe, than it actually will be. The Raptors are at home for Game 6 and the crowd at Scotiabank crowd, already dialed high, will be able to let it rip without any fear -- immediate fear, anyway -- of failure. But Milwaukee will be desperate. Giannis Antetokounmpo has pledged that his team will not “fold.” And the Bucks have zero interest in a knock-knock year, believing all season that they were good enough to reach and win the championship. They wouldn’t be human if they weren’t shaken by the three consecutive defeats Toronto has dealt them. The Raptors have managed to surround and partially stifle Antetokounmpo, while still firing out enough to bother Milwaukee’s three-point shooters into repeated misfires. The Bucks’ defense has been probed and poked like a cut-rate steak. They resorted again to some uncharacteristic switching in Game 5 but had most of their success inside the arc. Late in the pivotal loss, they got beat for five offensive rebounds, when grabbing two or three might have swung the outcome. “It's win or lose,” coach Mike Budenholzer said Friday (Saturday, PHL time) in a conference call with reporters. “When you win, there are things that [still] are concerning and unsettling that you need to work on and improve. I think there's just enough possessions where there's a couple of rebounds that stand out. “Can we do a little bit better job in some of our activity in certain situations. Offensively, I think at times can our spacing be better and our ball movement be better? But I would say it's like a lot of games. We didn't get it done.” One area in which Budenholzer refuses to budge, dire circumstances be darned, is in his use vs. overuse of Antetokounmpo. The load the Greek Freak carries when he’s on the floor, the activity he generates, leads to fatigue and wear-and-tear that requires regular breathers. Extending his star’s minutes, Budenholzer believes, would lead to less “peak Giannis” rather than more, an inevitable tradeoff of quality over quantity. And the Bucks need every bit of Antetokounmpo’s best, or what’s left of it in their 97th game of the season. “Giannis, it's so impressive what he does and how important he is,” Budenholzer said. “I maintain that him getting appropriate rest, appropriate kind of just a chance to catch his breath, refuel… At the end of the day, you need to be able to produce and perform, including in the fourth quarter.” At the possible end of your season, though, you’ll have plenty of time to refuel if the opponent pounces while your star sits. Said Raptors coach Nick Nurse, in his own teleconference: “It's a ‘whatever it takes’ game. It's an unlimited-minutes night. This is just like any other critical must-win game.” Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 25th, 2019

Ex-La Salle, Ateneo stars lead Katayama to victory in PBL opener

Former DLSU Green Batter Carlos Munoz and ex-Ateneo Blue Eagle Matt Laurel made a triumphant return to the diamond last weekend. Behind the two stalwarts, the Katayama Baseball Academy Stars trashed the young Rizal Technological University Thunder in just five innings, 13-0, during the opening weekend of the 2019 Philippine Baseball League Open Conference. "I made the team because I wanted to give an opportunity to the players who graduated from the UAAP," said KBA head coach Keiji Katayama. In his very first at-bat after a year-long absence from the game, right fielder Munoz slammed a deep home run to right field for a quick 2-0 lead. "I'm happy to have a baseball team with Carlos, Matt, and SJ [San Juan]. I hope they return to the game because they still have a chance to make it to the National Team," added Katayama about having the trio in this tournament organized by the Philippine Amateur Baseball Association with the support of the Philippine Sports Commission. Munoz had three RBIs in the game while ex-UP shortstop Mark Tuballas and former Adamson third baseman Kyle Villafana had three and two RBIs, respectively. UAAP Season 81 Finals MVP Kiko Gesmundo led the pitching staff with three hitless innings while striking out four batters. After their quick game, KBA also played an exhibition contest against South Korean weekend warriors from the Jeju Province. "It's very, very nice because this is a goodwill game," said PABA secretary-general Pepe Munoz. "At first I was unsure about it because we are very busy in trying to fix baseball in the Philippines. Secondly, we don't know them at all. "When they showed up, they were very good. We were hoping to give them a series of games but time would not allow it," he added. Also last Saturday, Jerome Ponce connected on the first home run of the conference that led the way for the Thunder's 8-2 whipping of the Philippine Air Force. National team standout Aids Bernardo pitched all seven innings for Thunder, allowing just seven hits while fanning five Lawins. Air Force bounced back a day later with an 8-3 victory over the UST Golden Sox. In other games, the Adamson Soaring Falcons opened the conference by eking out a 3-1 win over the NU Bulldogs, the IPPC Nationals thrashed the Ateneo Blue Eagles 7-3, and the DLSU Green Batters escaping RTU-Alums 11-6......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 25th, 2019

UST s Sisi Rondina, AU s Regine Arocha are first-ever Volleyball Players of the Year

Volleyball has made its mark as one the biggest collegiate spectator sports in the country next to basketball. With the sport’s impact and huge following especially in the women’s division, it is just fitting that the best and brightest volleyball student-athletes share the spotlight with the collegiate basketball’s finest.   For the first time, a pair of volleyball stars will be feted in the 2019 Chooks-to-Go Collegiate Press Corps Awards presented by SportsVision to be held at the Amelie Hotel in Malate, Manila on Monday. University of Sto. Tomas’ Sisi Rondina and Regine Arocha of Arellano University will be the recipients of the Volleyball Player of the Year awards in the annual event organized by the Collegiate Press Corps, composed of scribes from print and online outfits covering the NCAA and UAAP. The graduating hitter Rondina wrapped her fifth and last playing year as a Tigress by completing an amazing three-peat in beach volleyball, giving UST its first gold medal in UAAP Season 81. Rondina delivered the Espana-based squad’s fourth sand court crown in five years while bagging for herself four Most Valuable Player awards. The 5-foot-6 Cebuana then turned her focus on indoor volleyball as she led the rookie-laden Tigresses back to the Finals for the first time in eight years in a showdown with a well-experienced Ateneo de Manila University side. UST came a win away from ending a nine-year title drought but eventually bowed down to the Lady Eagles in three exciting games. Nevertheless, Rondina’s heroics all season long earned her the MVP award, UST’s first in 12 years, to become the second person to capture the highest individual recognition in beach and indoor volleyball on the same season since Far Eastern University’s Wendy Semana did the feat 11 years ago.               Meanwhile, Arocha delivered the goods when needed the most for the Lady Chiefs in NCAA Season 94. Arocha played clutch in the Finals, leading Arellano to a thrilling series comeback win over Perpetual Help to complete the Lady Chiefs’ three-peat and winning her second straight Finals MVP award. Rondina and Arocha will be joined by the National University women’s basketball team (Award of Excellence), Ateneo's Angelo Kouame and San Beda's Javee Mocon (Pivotal Players), Lyceum's CJ Perez and Adamson's Sean Manganti (Impact Players) in the awards night supported by Amelie Hotel, Rain or Shine, NorthPort, World Balance, Arellano, and AXA Team EDS. The 2019 Chooks-to-Go Collegiate Press Corps Awards presented by SportsVision will be aired live over Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas and Tiebreaker Times on Facebook......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 23rd, 2019

Take part in YouthWorks PH, Filipino youth urged

The US government and the Philippine Business for Education (PBEd) is urging Filipino youth aged 18-24 to take part in the YouthWorks PH, a five-year program that aims to help address unemployment in the country......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsMay 22nd, 2019

Trail Blazers cohesiveness helped them to conference finals

By Anne M. Peterson, Associated Press PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Portland Trail Blazers faced a number of challenges on the journey to their first Western Conference finals in 19 years. But there was one they couldn’t overcome: The Golden State Warriors. Portland’s run in the playoffs, which captured fans’ imaginations after Damian Lillard’s buzzer-beating three-pointer to clinch the opening-round series over the Thunder, ended with a sweep by the defending champions. [Watch the Playoffs on NBA League Pass for 30% less with this limited time offer! Select Annual package and use code SAVE30 at checkout to redeem] “We put together a great season and we put ourselves in position to go to the Finals,” Lillard said. “I think every other team in the league would wish they could be in our shoes; not only making the playoffs but playing for an opportunity to get a chance to go to the Finals. We just ran up on a team who has been there the last four years.” Portland was coming off two straight seasons that ended with first-round playoff sweeps. The team, which had surprisingly little turnover over those years, came into the season unified and determined to take the next step. But before the first game was played, the Blazers were hit by the death of owner Paul Allen after a battle with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. The co-founder of Microsoft was a hands-on owner and a familiar face at the Moda Center, and Portland dedicated its season to him. Injuries would challenge the Blazers down the stretch. Lillard’s backcourt partner CJ McCollum missed 10 games with a knee injury. But it was center Jusuf Nurkic’s injury that caused the most concern going into the playoffs. Portland’s seven-foot big man broke his left leg after crashing awkwardly in an overtime victory at home over the Brooklyn Nets on March 25 (Mar. 26, PHL time). Nurkic was averaging 15.6 points and 10.4 rebounds a game and many considered Portland’s playoff prospects dim without him. Fortunately, the Blazers were able to turn to Enes Kanter, who was waived by the New York Knicks following the trade deadline and signed by Portland for the rest of the season. Kanter averaged 13.1 points and 8.6 rebounds in 23 regular-season games with the Blazers, including eight starts. Portland finished 53-29 and clinched the third seed in the Western Conference, earning home court for the first round — and a series with the Thunder. The Blazers wrapped that series up in five games — capped by Lillard’s walkoff three-pointer. But even in the playoffs the Blazers couldn’t escape misfortune. Kanter separated his left shoulder in the final game against Oklahoma City. He was questionable for the conference semifinals against Denver but played, although he often winced in pain. Jonathan Yim, Portland’s video coordinator and player development coach, was in a serious car accident before the series with the Nuggets. The Blazers coaching staff wore bow ties in his honor in Game 2. That series went to seven games, with the Blazers sealing their date with Golden State on Denver’s home court. The Warriors were simply too much for the Blazers, climbing back from double-digit deficits in each of the final three games. Lillard played with separated ribs in the final two. The team’s on-court leader, Lillard averaged 25.8 points and 6.9 assists and earned his fourth All-Star nod during the regular season. He averaged 33 points in the opening round against the Thunder, but his production fell against Denver and Golden State when he was double-teamed. Lillard said the past few seasons of relative stability — after four of Portland’s five starters moved on to other teams in 2015 — have bonded the team. “Each year we’ve come back with the right attitude,” Lillard said Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time). “We’ve been able to stick together through a lot of adversity and I think just what we’ve hung our hats on, what we’ve believed in, our culture, the togetherness, we’ve been able to truly build on that. And I think we should be encouraged.” Lillard could be in line for a hefty raise in the offseason. If he is named to one of the postseason’s All-NBA teams, he’ll qualify for a supermax contract extension worth $191 million. Lillard has two years remaining on his current contract. Asked about the prospects of a big extension, Lillard laughed and said: “I don’t understand why that’s even a question.” Coach Terry Stotts already benefited from the team’s run in the playoffs, signing a multi-year contract with the team that was announced at exit interviews. Terms of the deal were not released. “The guys in the locker room are special, it’s been a special season,” Stotts said. “Always tough to lose the last game of the year, but I couldn’t be more proud of the group that we’ve had.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 22nd, 2019

UST is UAAP double general champion once more in Season 81

The UAAP’s general championships are staying in Espana. University of Sto. Tomas was officially named the General Champions of the Collegiate Division in the Season 81 closing ceremony, Tuesday at MOA Arena. The black and gold wound up with 279 points built on titles in Men’s and Women’s Beach Volleyball, Men’s and Women’s Judo, and Men’s and Women’s Table Tennis. That was more than enough to edge out closest competitor De La Salle University’s 260-point total. Then at joint third are Ateneo de Manila University and the University of the Philippines. This is the third straight year that the Seniors trophy will be coming home to Espana. That is also where the High School Division trophy is headed as the Tiger Cubs were also recognized as General Champions. This is their fifth straight year alone atop the leaderboard in the Juniors. —— Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 21st, 2019

Real Madrid extends Kroos contract until 2023

MADRID (AP) — Real Madrid says it has extended Toni Kroos' contract until the end of the 2023 season. The 29-year-old midfielder, whose contract was to expire at the end of the 2022 season, joined from Bayern Munich after winning the World Cup with Germany in 2014. He has helped Real Madrid win 11 titles, including three Champions Leagues and a Spanish league. Madrid just completed one of its worst seasons in recent years with a 2-0 home loss to Real Betis. The club finished third, eight points behind Atletico Madrid and 19 points behind champion Barcelona. Madrid is expected to revamp most of its squad under Zinedine Zidane, who returned as coach near the end of the season......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 21st, 2019

Season over, Real Madrid faces turbulent summer

By Joseph Wilson, Associated Press BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — The best thing for Real Madrid about this season is that it is finally over. A humiliating 2-0 loss at home to Real Betis on the last day of the Spanish league on Sunday brought to a close one of the most disappointing seasons in years for the most successful team in European club competition. Madrid's last match exemplified the collective decline of a group of players who had won four of the previous five Champions League titles but found themselves practically out of the running for any major trophies months ago. Defenders often a step too slow, midfielders unable to maintain ball possession, and forwards incapable of producing sufficient scoring chances, much less put the ball in the net. Madrid finished in third place and 19 points adrift of champion Barcelona, the largest-ever deficit with its fiercest rival by the end of a season. Madrid was effectively out of the league title race by January and was eliminated from the Champions League and Copa del Rey in early March, leaving the club with nothing to play for other than pride. And pride couldn't stop the team from failing to get a win in its last five away matches, or ending the season with back-to-back losses. Coach Zinedine Zidane wants his players to remember this feeling. "When you want to try harder and you can't even achieve the smallest little thing, it is complicated," Zidane said. "We have to accept that it has been a bad season. We can't forget it; we have to have it very present in the future so it can help us improve." Now Zidane and club president Florentino Pérez can finally put in motion their plans to breathe some life into a squad that performed far below what its fans expect. "Football is motivation ... Next season this is going to change," Zidane said. WHO'S OUT? Candidate No. 1 to leave is Gareth Bale. Bale arrived at Madrid in 2013 as the biggest signing in football history. Six years, multiple titles and more than 100 goals later, Zidane looks more than ready to part ways with the Wales winger. Zidane has rarely counted on Bale since he returned to the club in March nine months after stepping down, becoming Madrid's third manager of the season following the failures of Julen Lopetegui and Santiago Solari. Bale didn't leave the bench on Sunday in what many believed was his last game for Madrid. But with Bale under contract until 2022, his exit may hinge on finding a club that can cope with the 29-year-old winger's salary of a reported 15 million euros a season. Goalkeeper Keylor Navas is reported to be unwanted after he became a second-choice player following the signing of Thibaut Courtois. The future of midfielders Toni Kroos and Francisco "Isco" Alarcon and defender Marcelo are also in doubt after their sub-par campaigns, while Zidane has shown little interest in playing midfielders Dani Ceballos, Marcos Llorente and left back Sergio Reguilón. "Nobody is going to take away what these players did for five years," Zidane said. "(But) we don't have excuses. We ask our fans for forgiveness because we have the obligation to give it our all." WHO'S IN? Of all the names floated, Belgium midfielder Eden Hazard's is the most commonly heard. His contract with Chelsea expires in 2020 and he may be ready before then for a change after seven years in London. The other major name is Manchester United star Paul Pogba, who Zidane has said he admires. But unless Madrid can somehow succeed in prying Kylian Mbappé away from Paris Saint-Germain, then the goals that went missing when Cristiano Ronaldo left last year won't be found in a single player. Zidane will still have to solve the pending problem of retooling a team that spent most of the last decade feeding that goal-scoring machine called Ronaldo. If not, then next season may not be much better......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 21st, 2019

Lillard, Blazers clinging to pride at playoffs edge

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com PORTLAND, Ore. — He’s top-10 in the NBA in talent, perhaps top-five in likability and there’s no question where Damian Lillard ranks in the only place he has ever called home in the NBA. Taken as a bundle, the Trail Blazers guard presents an impressive case for himself as a player worthy of your respect, something he craves and certainly deserves to a large degree. [Watch the Playoffs on NBA League Pass for 30% less with this limited time offer! Select Annual package and use code SAVE30 at checkout to redeem] Lillard had his Playoff Moment when he sank the buzzer-and-series-winning shot from nearly half-court to erase Oklahoma City and his nemesis, Russell Westbrook, from the first round. It was the kind of play that separates the truly great players from the very good. It was as if the casual basketball fan discovered Lillard overnight, or rather, the next morning on social media and TV highlight replays, since that game ended well past bedtime for much of the country. But as Kenny Smith, the former player and popular commentator on TNT once said: “The regular season is when you make your fame. The playoffs is when you make your name.” And so, with that in mind: Since Lillard has since been unable to duplicate those heroics of three weeks ago and is struggling mightily here in his first taste of the Western Conference finals, what do we call him in this, his seventh season? Great? Or very good? Right now he gives the appearance of a marathon runner who wheezes toward the finish line only to see someone cruelly push it forward another mile. His ribcage might not be totally intact (to what extent only he knows) after Warriors forward Kevon Looney fell on Lillard while they chased a loose ball in Game 2. The Warriors are causing additional problems for Lillard by trapping him constantly with elite defenders Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala, making him work for shots and space. "I'm seeing Draymond Green, and he's behind that kind of like tracking my movements," Lillard explained. "So it's like a next layer of defense that I'm paying attention to... I'm not, I guess, wanting to explode and get around that guy because I see what's waiting for me, and then just the crowd, and I put myself in a tough position." Clearly, he’s not right physically. The Warriors are singling him out defensively, and the Blazers are one loss from elimination partly, if not mainly, because Lillard’s impact has been minimized. His pain goes beyond his ribs and frustration. To know Lillard is to know his pride is certainly aching as well. This is his chance to get his due, to shine deep into May for once, and do that against the two-time defending champions, and yet it’s all going wrong for him. Even if healthy, Lillard lacks a high level of championship savvy talent around him, and elimination from the conference finals was probably destined to happen regardless of Golden State riding without Kevin Durant. The Warriors are that good and the Blazers are that raw. But with Lillard shooting 33 percent in the series, they might get swept, and that’s too bitter of a pill for any player with Lillard’s credentials. He’s one of the most complete shooters in the game, someone who mixes three-pointers, mid-range jumpers and rim attacks to rank annually among the top scorers in the NBA. He’s also smart with the dribble and deadly in isolation. This season was one of his best, when he averaged nearly 26 points and helped the Blazers to a No. 3 seed. This will surely place Lillard on one of the All-NBA teams, perhaps even First Team, which is difficult to do in a league rich with standout combo guards. Even more admirable is Lillard doing this on a team largely of role players, with the exception of CJ McCollum. Even including the other half of their backcourt, the Blazers have only one player with All-Star honors: Lillard. He’s the rare player under 6'4" who carries a team. On that note, Lillard always bristled when he felt he wasn’t getting his proper respect, be it All-Star mentions or MVP discussions. And most of the time, he had a point. Lillard suffers from two issues: his regular season games tip at 10:30 ET and, until now, he never took the Blazers beyond the second round. His playoff record is 19-31. Last spring was especially agonizing: Lillard was outplayed by Jrue Holiday and the Blazers were swept by the Pelicans in the first round. He made redemption a goal and this year’s first round was a smashing success made sweeter by the series-winning shot. And yet, did the grueling seven-game second round against Denver drain the energy from Lillard? Including the last game of that series, he’s shooting just above 30 percent in his last four games. Against the Warriors, he has one more basket than turnovers (15 to 14). The rib injury certainly hasn’t helped (although Lillard downplayed it). "It's there, but it's not something that's affecting anything that I'm doing,” he insisted. “Obviously you feel it, but that's it." Although he’s averaging more career points against the Warriors than any other team, those were mainly regular-season numbers. It’s an entirely different level in the postseason and particularly this deep into it. The Warriors are forcing the ball from his hands, daring other Blazers to take shots, and when Lillard does keep the ball, his looks aren’t always clean. "It's tough,” he admitted. “They're doing a good job in their coverages.” So what’s left of the Blazers? Unless there’s a premium performance coming from Lillard and McCollum in Game 4, their season is likely done after Monday night (Tuesday, PHL time). With Green and Stephen Curry looking nostalgic, the Warriors have that 2015 feeling when they won a title without Durant. The Warriors also know they’ll get nine days’ rest with a sweep, as if they need any further motivation. At this point, all the Blazers have is their pride, with none bigger than Lillard’s. 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 NewsMay 20th, 2019

EJ Laure hopes to be back for UST in UAAP Season 82 - Inquirer Sports

MANILA, PhilippinesEJ Laure aims to finally return to University of Santo Tomas come UAAP Season 82. Hopefully, next year Im back, said Laure after the Golden Tigresses Game 3 loss to Ateneo, 25-17, 2.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philippinetimesRelated NewsMay 19th, 2019

Financial case a cloud over unprecedented City titles feat

By Rob Harris, Associated Press LONDON (AP) — After the FA Cup was raised aloft by Manchester City's players, the Wembley Stadium pyrotechnics didn't cast a cloud over the team's unprecedented sweep of English soccer's men's trophies. The only shadow came from the investigations by soccer authorities into leaked documents that allegedly show the game's costliest squad was assembled thanks to mechanisms employed to try to circumvent spending regulations. A 6-0 rout of Watford on Saturday, delivered by players who cost more than $200 million in transfer fees, ensured the FA Cup joined the Premier League trophy, League Cup and Community Shield already in City's possession. The only piece of silverware missing is from the competition City could be banned from next season: the Champions League. City arrived at Wembley reeling from UEFA investigators last week sending the governing body's judges a file into how the Abu Dhabi-owned club sought to allegedly dupe the governing body to comply with Financial Fair Play. And the team left the national stadium with manager Pep Guardiola seething to face questions about the cloud over City's feat. "We are not guilty (until) proven," Guardiola said. "Would I say this club makes a step forward from the big investment from Sheikh Mansour? Definitely. Can you do that without top players? No way. That money helps to buy the incredible players we have? Yes. "After that we wait. If we are punished, we will accept it. But I listen to my chairman and my CEO, they give me the arguments for why they are under investigation and I trust them. When they tell me we were fair, we did it absolutely following the rules, I'm sorry, I believe them. If the opponents and contenders believe that's it's just the money ... it is OK they will be a problem." Guardiola is the only City figure publicly responding to questions about the FFP investigation, despite not being a director. Leaving Wembley, City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak only gave a thumb's up when asked about the club's potential Champions League ban. Leaks of internal correspondence published by German outlet Der Spiegel last year showed how City used companies linked to the Abu Dhabi ownership to boost revenue in an attempt to curb losses and comply with UEFA regulations. City hasn't disputed the authenticity of the documents. The Football Leaks group also published details showing how Roberto Mancini, who managed City from 2009 to 2013, received more pay from a team Sheikh Mansour owns in Abu Dhabi to work as a consultant than from the Manchester club. Mancini was the last City manager to win the FA Cup in 2012. City hasn't responded to questions sent by The Associated Press in November asking if Guardiola had any similar arrangements to Mancini, and the manager was infuriated to be asked Saturday if he received any payments from Abu Dhabi. "Do you know the question you are asking me — if I receive money from another situation today?" Guardiola said. "Do you think I deserve to make this kind of question ... the day I won the treble, if I received money from another situations?" Guardiola is yet to provide an answer. City did not respond to a follow-up text message on the issue......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 19th, 2019

Raptors running out of options as series shifts to Toronto

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com MILWAUKEE – The Toronto Raptors are two bounces on the rim into their Eastern Conference championship series against Milwaukee. Two more and – unless things change radically for the Raptors in every phase of the game from what we’ve seen – the basketball metaphor of their 2019 postseason is going to fall harmlessly to the side. No points, no buzzer-beater, no victory, no nothing. [Watch the Playoffs on NBA League Pass for 30% less with this limited time offer! Select Annual package and use code SAVE30 at checkout to redeem] Two games into this best-of-seven series, it’s already hard to see a way out for the Raptors that doesn’t include Hefty bags, cleaned-out lockers and a wide-open month of June. Toronto played well enough to win in Game 1, yet managed to lose it anyway thanks to an open elevator shaft of a fourth quarter that qualified instantly as something that would haunt them. Then they played miserably in Friday's (Saturday, PHL time) Game 2, save for a stretch in the third quarter when slippage in Milwaukee’s focus appeared as culpable as anything Raptors-related. Kyle Lowry, Toronto’s veteran point guard, is wandering around these days with a modified blue oven mitt on his left hand. It’s there to protect the thumb he sprained in Game 7 against Philadelphia. That’s the game that got the Raptors here, the one decided by Kawhi Leonard’s eternal-highlight shot at the end that bounced four times on the rim before dropping through the net. It’s been kind of downhill for their crew since then. Anyway, Lowry was asked a series of questions after Milwaukee's 125-103 triumph at Fiserv Forum about the defense, about the rebounding, about the shift from the Bucks’ floor to the Raptors’ for Games 3 and 4 beginning Sunday (Monday, PHL time). And Lowry earnestly answered by saying, yes, they have to defend better, they have to rebound better and they definitely have to assert themselves more to defend their Scotiabank Arena home court. Lowry said the right things. Problem is, that’s a lot of things. The Raptors don’t appear to have the wherewithal – or even the duct tape, if you prefer – to fix so many flaws at once. They have been outrebounded 113-86, a major factor in the Bucks’ 41-20 advantage in second-chance points. They have been outscored by 30 points in the two games and most of the difference has come from the bench (76-51), adding to the sense that Milwaukee isn’t just beating Toronto, it’s ganging up on them. Defensively, the Raptors haven’t been nearly good enough and their coach, Nick Nurse, put the blame squarely on them. He went into detail – both before and after Game 2 – to explain the difference between a good contest of a jump shot and a great, playoffs-worthy contest. After talking at length before tipoff about needing and hoping to see effort from his players as a sign they grasped the urgency involved, it had to be embarrassing for Nurse to acknowledge afterward that, no, that effort in fact was not there. “We were just a step too slow on just about everything,” he observed. To illustrate how casually his players closed on Bucks’ shooters, Nurse did a deep dive on a play in which center Marc Gasol needed to get out to Nikola Mirotic. “It was a good contest, but it wasn't a full-out contest,” the Toronto coach said. “We know the level of contest is going to affect these shots or not, and if you don't go with everything you've got and jump high and really try to let them know you're right pressed up against them, then the chances of [the shots] going in are pretty good.” Poor Gasol. This supremely skilled big man who was so valuable to the Memphis Grizzlies in numerous playoff wars is an early nominee for series scapegoat here. He at least had 12 rebounds and five assists in the opener, but his contributions and minutes fizzled in Game 2. By the time he got to 1-for-9 (3-for-20 in the series), the 34-year-old Gasol was looking creakier than his brother Pau, 38, who was wheeling himself through the halls on a scooter Friday night (Saturday, PHL time) after undergoing foot surgery this week. Then there’s Danny Green, a helpful 3-and-D guy with tons of postseason experience from his San Antonio days. Green’s challenge has been touching the ball enough to make a difference; he’s 3-for-11, getting about two thirds as many shots as he’d expect. But as he noted, Toronto’s ball movement has been spotty, the Bucks’ top-ranked defense stingy and little has been done to alter either from one game to the next. “Our offense was out of whack a little bit tonight, and we didn’t tighten it up,” Green said. A little more Norman Powell, a little less Gasol going forward? Doesn’t seem like it’ll be enough. Now take Pascal Siakam and Lowry from the margin for error that Toronto really doesn’t have. They were good for 45 points in the opener but scored a total of 23 Friday (Saturday, PHL time), each burdened with foul trouble from daring to mess with Milwaukee’s gears. Siakam, a favorite to be named the NBA’s Most Improved Player, wound up as the night’s most removed player, his minutes dropping from more than 42 on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) to 26 on Friday (Saturday, PHL time). There’s no reason to let Leonard off the hook, either. The Raptors’ best player has scored 31 points in each game, but they’ve been about as quiet as 62 points can be, coming almost from a bubble that has nothing in common with the rest of Toronto’s attack. Sometimes Leonard is bailing them out, sure, but many times the ball and the possession stop with him. The Bucks are OK with that, defending him with Khris Middleton, Eric Bledsoe and helpers. Leonard has taken 20 of his team’s 45 free throws, but dished only four assists in the two games. That’s one area in which Leonard is so different from – and so far in this series, lacking when compared to – Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Bucks’ star, with his gravitational pull on defenders, creates a bounty of opportunities for others. Leonard isn’t making any of his teammates better at this stage. And let’s not forget the intangibles. Antetokounmpo is the catalyst for Milwaukee’s superior team chemistry, a top-five talent who is all in on the Bucks’ ambitions and the players corralled around him. Leonard? For all anyone knows, he still has one foot out the door to free agency. His laconic nature doesn’t lend itself to firing up others, and it’s difficult to see how he leads by anything other than example. The cloud of Leonard’s future has been squatting over Toronto’s whole season. Every game is a referendum on whether he feels he has enough help or not. Does Nurse or another Raptors coach dare to challenge him, for fear he’ll start packing his bags immediately? Did anyone object to his “load management” nights off this season? It has been a tough way to grind through a long year, held hostage by your star’s inscrutability. But it’s what they signed up for when GM Masai Ujiri traded for him with just one season to woo and recruit. Compare that to what Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer was sharing about Antetokounmpo, as far as pushing him to greater heights. “We're coaching him and we're on him,” Budenholzer said. “We think he can be doing more, and he just soaks it up.” As the series shifts to Canada, the Raptors will look to Friday’s (Saturday, PHL time) third quarter as quickly as the Bucks will dismiss it. Toronto outscored Milwaukee 39-31 over those 12 minutes, the only portion of the game in which they managed to send a ripple of nervousness through the building. OK, well, maybe not quite that, but a few fans surely noticed that what had been a 28-point lead soon after halftime got chiseled down to 13. Not once, but twice. But Malcolm Brogdon and George Hill went to work off the Bucks’ bench, Giannis came back mean-muggin’ to start the fourth and that most definitely was that. Playoff protocol says we must give the Raptors their home games to demonstrate a difference. But they need to know that 0-2 is a gaping hole, from which only 20 teams in NBA history have come back in a seven-game series. Two more bounces on the rim, and we’ll see which way the Raptors fall. Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 18th, 2019

Warriors miss Kevin Durant, but do they need him?

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com PORTLAND, Ore. — Along with the equipment, uniforms, basketballs and the confidence that comes with being up 2-0 in the Western Conference finals, the Warriors brought along another piece of cargo to Portland and it is the heaviest of them all. It didn’t come packed in luggage or a box; instead, it’s just wrapped in a hunch and tied with a question mark, and it is this: When do the Warriors start missing Kevin Durant? [Watch the Playoffs on NBA League Pass for 30% less with this limited time offer! Select Annual package and use code SAVE30 at checkout to redeem] The back-to-back champs are now 3-0 in these playoffs without their superstar and his aching calf. And 4-0 overall in games in which Durant didn’t finish. That probably says something about the Rockets, and so far about the Trail Blazers — two teams unable to exploit his absence. However, while the (bleeping) Giants — Steve Kerr’s description of his undermanned team — are honorably playing with a sense of urgency, they aren’t buying the notion that they don’t need Durant. It’s an easy trap to fall into, to believe the outside chatter that they’re better off without him. The next two games, both at Moda Center, will either feed that belief or destroy it. Yes, because the Blazers must beat the Warriors four out of five to advance, there’s little to no chance of them denying Golden State a fifth trip to the Finals regardless of whether Durant shows up in this series or not. And that’s good for the visitors, since Durant didn’t make the trip for Games 3 and 4. “There's no mental adjustment,” said Kerr. “You just play. You go out there with what you have, and this is our third game, 3 1/2 games, really without him, and so we're just trying to hold down the fort. Hopefully he continues to progress and he has made progress, but it's a little more serious than we thought at the very beginning. So we'll see where it all goes, but he's in there all day long getting treatment. He's done a great job of committing himself to that process.” There’s a thought that, even if Durant was 80 percent, the Warriors will keep him benched to prevent a chance of re-injury, and that’s a wise decision with wide-ranging ramifications. By protecting Durant’s best interest here in this free agent year, the Warriors score big points with him and his camp less than two months before Durant must make a decision on his future. That said, what are the Warriors doing right to remain unharmed by his absence? The easy answer is they won championships without Durant and so this is more of the same-old, same-old. Except it isn’t. This actually might be more impressive. Understand that Golden State's system had to be changed here on the fly and in the middle of the postseason, not only to compensate for Durant’s 37 points per game in these playoffs, but also his defense. Once Durant was lost late in the third quarter of the fifth game of the second round, Kerr had to reach down his bench and rely on players who weren’t thrust into roles of significance and seldom saw fourth-quarter minutes up until this point. Meaning, Jonas Jerebko, Quinn Cook, Kevon Looney, Jordan Bell and Alfonzo McKinnie have either seen their minutes rise and/or their roles inflated in the process. Of course, most of the burden fell on the proven core: Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala. Each of those four, in his own way, is playing at a premium, even if it’s a small sample size. “That’s what it takes in the playoffs," said Kerr. "You have to have guys playing at a really high level.” Curry seems reborn or at least sprung free of a playoff fog where his numbers and production didn’t match his regular season. He finished strong in a pair of fourth quarters while closing out the Rockets and is the most impactful player in this series so far. He’s averaging 35 points on 51 percent shooting in the three games without KD. It wouldn’t be a stretch to suspect Curry is getting a charge out of this, and his ego, which he keeps hidden, is being fed. Thompson is now clearly the second option, whereas before he was often No. 3 and often only if his shot was falling. The green light never turns yellow without Durant around, like Curry, Thompson is working without handcuffs or a leash. After hitting 20 shot attempts once in the playoffs before Durant’s injury, Thompson is now hoisting 22 a game, good for a respectable 25-point average. The Warriors are constantly feeding him and running screens for him and urging him to take the shot, even if it’s contested. For a player who insists he’ll re-sign with Golden State this summer, Thompson is getting a taste of what life must be like if he played for, let’s say, the Clippers and was the focal point of the offense. “This team's been together a long time and they trust each other,” said Kerr. “When the ball starts moving, that's when we're tough to guard.” Green has never been better this season than in the last few weeks. Recharged after losing weight immediately following the All-Star break and no longer feeling pain in his previously-injured shoulder, Green is menacing on the defensive end where once again he’s guarding all positions except point guard and doing it marvelously. In addition, he’s pushing the ball up court to help Curry and Thompson stay as fresh as possible and directing the offense from the high post. He’s averaging 10 rebounds, 6.5 assists and three blocks without KD. “You know, we can't sit and look over our shoulder and say, `Hey, man, when is K going to be back?’ We just got to play with whatever we got,” Green said. “We got to play and give him an opportunity to get back, and I think that's what really falls on our shoulders. We're a very confident group. Hopefully he's back sooner than later, but as a guy who is in the battle every night, we can't sit and look over our shoulder and wonder when he or DeMarcus [Cousins] is coming back. We have to assume they are not coming back and play with what we got. Obviously, we are hoping that they do. But while they are not out there, we just got to play.” Finally, there’s Iguodala. He stayed hibernated all regular season while averaging career lows across the board. At age 35, it appeared time had finally caught up. Instead, this was a case of a crafty veteran preserving himself for springtime, and with the amount of talent on the Warriors, he could afford to do so. Iguodala had solid moments guarding James Harden in the second round and is among those trapping Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum this round. One of the signature plays of the series was Iguodala coming up with a walk-off strip of Lillard as time expired in Game 2. “You're kind of in awe of it because not many guys can make plays like that consistently,” said Curry. So this is where the Warriors are without Durant and also DeMarcus Cousins. They were good enough to stump the Rockets (again), then proved too much for the Blazers in a pair of home games. Nobody would be shocked if they take a game in Portland or maybe finish the sweep. It’s a luxury that few teams have or could pull off even if they did. This comes from a core that’s been together for six years, a coach pulling the proper strings and a bench that isn’t shrinking in the moment. “We feel like we can still win no matter who is out there on the floor, and that's why we're in the position that we’re in and have won championships with all the injuries and all types of stuff,” said Curry. “We know what the mission is, and we're on it right now.” These Warriors are playing flashback basketball to the time before Durant came aboard — and prepping themselves for next season, when and if Durant jumps overboard this summer. 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 NewsMay 18th, 2019

Despite title chances, Bayern coach Kovac s future uncertain

By Ciaran Fahey, Associated Press BERLIN (AP) — Despite leading Bayern Munich to the verge of two titles, Niko Kovac's future as coach remains up in the air. Bayern can clinch the Bundesliga title at home against Eintracht Frankfurt — Kovac's former team — on Saturday, one week before the team's German Cup final against Leipzig in Berlin. But with persistent doubts over his authority and experience dogging his first season in charge, even a domestic double might not be enough. Bayern's management has been less than convincing in its support for the 47-year-old Croat after a season in which the team hasn't displayed the authority of before. "We'll see," Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic said earlier this month to repeated questions about Kovac's future, adding that the club had bigger priorities for now. "At this time when we can achieve a lot and win two titles, we'd be well advised not to waste our energy on questions of personnel." Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz-Rummenigge was also less than forthcoming in defending Kovac, saying he had "no problem with him" and warning, "at Bayern Munich, players, management and coaches have to deliver." Kovac has struggled for authority since Bayern went four games without a win in late September-early October. The club lashed out at the media on Oct. 19 for "derogatory, slanderous reporting" of its bad run, and felt compelled to address an Instagram post criticizing Kovac from Lisa Mueller, forward Thomas Mueller's wife, for only using her husband as a substitute. Kovac, who led Frankfurt to victory over his future club in last season's German Cup final, is going for his first league title as coach. But his team missed the chance to clinch it in a scoreless draw at Leipzig last weekend and dropped points at relegated Nuremberg two weeks before. That Bayern is still in contention has more to do with rival Borussia Dortmund's inability to defend a lead. Dortmund led Bayern by nine points earlier in the season and has developed an inopportune habit of conceding late goals. Dortmund could yet win the Bundesliga title with a victory at Borussia Moenchengladbach if Frankfurt beats Bayern in Munich at the same time. Kovac, who played as a defensive midfielder for Bayern from 2001-03, said Thursday he was uninterested in the speculation over his coaching future. "I'm totally independent. I don't need to earn millions. Money is not my primary concern. Whatever comes, comes," said Kovac, who has a contract at Bayern through 2021. "I like this job and would like to fulfill my contract," Kovac said. "And I've never given up on anything in my life - never.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 18th, 2019

PBA Finals: 5-peat is forever for San Miguel Beer

In the PBA, San Miguel Beer’s All-Filipino dynasty will come to an end at some point. The Beermen will eventually lose and they don’t even have to be in the Finals to do so. Nothing in the world lasts forever. Except for San Miguel’s unprecedented record of five straight Philippine Cup titles. The Beermen can never win an All-Filipino title ever but their streak of five straight titles may never get matched much less broken. “This championship is really special because a lot of people thought na the dynasty will be broken. Sabi nga nila, there’s no forever at itong dynasty will not be forever eh,” head coach Leo Austria said. “But we’re so thankful to get this 5-peat. This is the legacy of our team. I cannot explain how happy we are,” he added. The Beermen’s huge feat will be hard to match and surpass but it’s totally not impossible. However, it could take a while and this San Miguel team is perfectly happy to take in all the bragging rights of being a five-peat champion until they  do it again next year and become a 6-peat champ. “Anything could be possible, alam naman natin miracles could happen anytime and I think happened [in Game 7] is really for us,” Austria said. “I don’t think this will be broken in the near future but sabi ko nga eh, a record is there to be broken. But I hope na habang nabubuhay kami, huwag na muna,” Coach Leo added with a laugh.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 17th, 2019