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A guide to FIFA's options for expanding the 2026 World Cup

GRAHAM DUNBAR, AP Sports Writer   FIFA is preparing to decide Tuesday on adding 16 more teams to the 2026 World Cup for a 48-team tournament. President Gianni Infantino's favored format would break with soccer tradition to play in groups of only three teams. Two would advance from each group to a Round of 32 knockout bracket. If agreed by the Infantino-chaired FIFA Council in Zurich, the 2026 hosting contest could formally open in weeks. A co-hosted North American bid is widely seen as the best option. Here are some things to know about overhauling the greatest competition in the world's most popular sport: ___ WHY EXPAND? A bigger World Cup was an Infantino campaign promise before his election last February, when his plan was 40 teams. It might have been key. Infantino's momentum for victory in a second-round poll was a three-vote lead over Sheik Salman of Bahrain in the first. Sheik Salman had promised only to review if more World Cup teams were wanted. Infantino also pledged to give more of FIFA's money to member federations — all 211 are now entitled to $5 million from each World Cup — and send more to continental and regional soccer bodies. So, more teams also had to mean more games, earning more revenue from broadcasters and sponsors. The '16x3' format arguably works better with only group winners advancing. But that would leave total matches unchanged at 64. Infantino also wants to create fervor in the extra countries which would qualify. In the short-term, competing national teams attract more sponsors. The long-term goal is appealing to more young people who are the future players, fans and officials. Expect to hear much FIFA talk of helping the next Costa Rica or Iceland — feelgood stories at the 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016 — by inviting 16 more teams to the party. ___ 48-TEAM OPTIONS A near-consensus is growing around the '16x3' option revealed just one month ago. All 80 games would be played in exclusive time slots. That's more hours of TV exposure for sponsors and sales time for broadcasters in the same 32-day tournament period. By advancing two teams from each group, a Round of 32 ensures most teams still play at least three matches. FIFA's own analysis predicts this format will raise revenue by 20 percent from the equivalent $5.5 billion forecast from the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The flaw for purists is planning for penalty shootouts to settle drawn group matches. If each game has a 'winner' that guards against teams colluding on a mutually favorable result in the last group games. Previously, Infantino suggested an opening playoff round of 16 matches to decide who would join 16 seeded teams in a traditional 32-team group phase. That was unacceptable to many FIFA members federations who said 'one-and-done' teams were not part of a real World Cup. It also would stretch the tournament to 39 days. ___ 40-TEAM OPTIONS Infantino's plan from one year ago is now almost friendless. Either of two options, 10 groups of four teams or eight five-team groups, gives lopsided or weak match schedules, FIFA judged. In '10x4,' only 76 matches are played and only six group runners-up advance from a muddled tiebreaker process to a Round of 16. In '8x5,' the 88 matches include meaningless ones in a flabby group phase ripe for collusion. Also, the four semifinalists would play eight matches and that workload is unacceptable to European clubs releasing employees to national-team duty. ___ PROVEN 32-TEAM FORMAT Why fix something that is not broken? Germany, the defending champion, has publicly asked this question. The 32-team format and perfect 64-match bracket has worked well since being introduced at the 1998 World Cup in France (where Europe had 15 teams). FIFA acknowledged that it produces the best soccer — 'the highest absolute quality' of games pitting high-ranked teams against each other. Recall that former winners Italy, England and Uruguay were drawn in the same 2014 World Cup group — and yet Costa Rica finished top. Still, enough of FIFA's 211 members want change and their chance to play. ___ WHO WILL PLAY? A big question is likely not being resolved Tuesday. FIFA has yet to announce exactly how many entry slots each of six confederations would get for their own qualifying program. Quotas for a 40-team World Cup were proposed in December 2015 by a FIFA advisory group that included Infantino, then UEFA's general secretary. Some saw a cynical move to sweeten skeptical FIFA voters who were being asked to vote through modernizing and anti-corruption reforms on the same day they picked a new president. Then, assuming a single host nation would get automatic entry, the proposal for sharing 39 qualifying slots was: Europe 14; Africa 7; Asia 6; South America 5; North, Central America and Caribbean 5; Oceania 1; plus a final slot awarded 'based on sporting merits using a method yet to be defined.' Going from 40 to 48 can add at least one more from each continent. Who could those new teams be? On current form, maybe Wales and Panama, Congo and Burkina Faso, Uzbekistan and Oman, will bring something new to the 2026 World Cup. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 9th, 2017

BEST Center: Double finals

The age-old rivalry between the Big City and the Visayas heats up anew at the national finals of the 2016 SBP Passerelle Twin Tournament backed by Milo as they forged a double face-off for the championships of both the SBP and Passerelle divisions at the .....»»

Category: newsSource:  tempoRelated NewsDec 6th, 2016

Tabal completes 4-peat in Milo Marathon finals

Tabal completes 4-peat in Milo Marathon finals.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsDec 4th, 2016

Iloilo gears up for National Milo Marathon

Iloilo gears up for National Milo Marathon.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsDec 2nd, 2016

Poliquit, Tabal lead Milo national marathon cast

MANILA, Philippines - Two-time champion Rafael Poliquit and three-time winner Mary Joy Tabal brace for a fierce showdown with a slew of rivals in their respe.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsDec 1st, 2016

Tabal 90 percent ready for National Milo Marathon

Tabal 90 percent ready for National Milo Marathon.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsNov 16th, 2016

Air Force member, student top Davao City-leg of 40th Milo Marathon

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 06 November) &'8212;&'160; Philippine Air Force (PAF) member Sonny Wagdos and senior college student Mae Barit emerged as the 21K winners in the Davao leg of the 40th National Milo Marathon&'160;on Sunday&'160;morning. Veteran race.....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanewsRelated NewsNov 6th, 2016

Pescos, Sorongon top Milo Cebu run

MANILA, Philippines – National Milo Marathon regulars Rafael Pescos and Ruffa Sorongon topped their respective divisions in emphatic fashions as they led the.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsSep 27th, 2016

READY, SET, GO!

BUMUHOS ang mga mananakbong lumahok sa 21K sa pagsisimula ng 40th National Milo Marathon Manila Elimination Leg  kahapon sa Mall of Asia Pasay City. REY NILLAMA.....»»

Category: newsSource:  remateRelated NewsAug 1st, 2016

Vertek reigns anew; son also rises

MANILA, Philippines – Olympian Eduardo “Vertek” Buenavista achieved his goal to strike gold again in the 40th National Milo Marathon Manila qualifying coming.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJul 31st, 2016

James Spencer ready, raring to don different kind of Pilipinas

James Spencer was made to wait a little longer for the golden opportunity to represent the Philippines. The Filipino-Australian came to the Philippines last year with the primary purpose of suiting up for Gilas Youth - then still known as Batang Gilas. "I've been eyeing the (youth) team since before I was even thinking to play college basketball out here. Batang Gilas was my first connection to the Philippines," he shared. However, he fell short of being eligible for the 2018 FIBA Asia Under-18 Championship in Thailand. "I got to practice with the team a bit before they went to the qualifiers. Unfortunately, my Filipino passport, basically, wasn't in line then," he recalled. Spencer made it clear, however, that his Filipino passport was actually good to go before that regional meet, but some complications apparently arose when it was forwarded to FIBA. The 6-foot-3 promising prospect would have been a much welcome addition to a Batang Gilas side that reached the semifinals of the qualifiers. Not only is he a big-bodied guard, he is also a knockdown shooter. He showed that sort of promise in last season's UAAP where he was part of the University of the Philippines' Cinderella run to the Finals. Spencer totaled two points, 10 rebounds, and 40 minutes in nine games that gave him a taste of how it feels like to have "Pilipinas" on his jersey. Fast forward a year and now, he is all set to contribute to Gilas Youth who will wage war in the 2019 FIBA Under-19 World Cup as he has been named into the 14-man pool going to Qatar for training camp and then to Greece for the tournament proper. For that, the 19-year-old is nothing but thankful. "Once the new coaching staff was in place, coach Sandy [Arespacochaga] gave me a call and said I should try out with my team. That's what I did and I've been given an opportunity to play in Qatar to play in a few tuneup games and participate in training camp," he said. He then continued, "From there, they're gonna make a decision on who will play in Greece. I'm just glad to be part of it all and I'm just excited to play for the country." And so, Spencer is now cherishing the golden opportunity to wear "Pilipinas" in international competition - "Pilipinas" without "Unibersidad ng" accompanying it. If and when he makes the cut for the national youth team, he hopes he can be part of the process that will smooth over relations between the Philippines and Australia. After all, a Fil-Aussie is the ideal candidate to prove that Filipinos and Australians can play nice once more. "I don't think people outside the Philippines understand Filipino hoops properly. I think it's something they really have to experience firsthand to appreciate how we play," he said. He then continued, "There might be that stereotype that we're rough players who are not skillful and just wanna be rough. But really, we're just physical." Whatever it is, Spencer promises to go all out for his family who have roots in Fairview, Quezon City. "I'm just happy for all of this and thankful my family is with me for all of this," he said. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News19 hr. 59 min. ago

Del Rosario, Philippines teammates clash in PIO finals

Defending champion Liza del Rosario sees her teammates in the national team as the worthy challengers for the women’s open title in the Philippine International Open Tenpin Bowling Championships at the Coronado Lane at Starmall, Mandaluyong City......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJun 13th, 2019

Even being injured, Durant leads free-agent pack

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — This was already going to be a summer filled with fireworks in the NBA. Nothing has changed. Kevin Durant’s Achilles injury, the severity of which isn’t yet confirmed, means he probably won’t be able to play much — if any — next season. But this is a testament to how much he overshadows much of the NBA landscape: Durant will still likely dictate how the free-agency dominoes fall this summer. Durant could exercise his $31.5 million player option and stay with the Warriors, and that’s likely going to be his worst-case financial scenario. He could opt out and sign a longer deal to stay in the Bay. Or he could opt out, sign elsewhere and start collecting massive checks from either the New York Knicks or Brooklyn Nets or Los Angeles Clippers or someone else. Kyrie Irving’s decision could hinge on what Durant does. Kawhi Leonard’s decision could be affected by what Durant does. How the Knicks, Nets, Clippers, Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Lakers, Atlanta Hawks and all the other teams who have cap space will start spending their money on June 30 ... it all will be determined, at least on some level, by what Durant does. If he stays in Golden State, that’s more money for everyone else. If he hits the open market, it’ll be about what team wants to gamble. Here’s a tip to those teams that wanted Durant before he got hurt again in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. If the opportunity presents itself, sign him. Free agency usually isn’t about just one year. It’s about the long haul. Durant is only 30-years-old. He’s not a high-flyer who plays above the rim all the time. He’s not a plodding big man. He’s not someone with a lot of gray in the goatee. He’s a world-class scorer and jump-shooter in his prime. A year from now, if the recovery from the Achilles injury indeed takes that long, he’ll be far from over the hill. “This is a devastating injury for a basketball player, but Durant can return to be the same or very close,” Dr. David Chao, a longtime NFL team physician, practicing orthopedic surgeon and now a sports medical analyst with a large following wrote Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time). “This does not mark his downfall as an elite player.” In the short term, it just means Durant’s NBA Finals are over. Game 6 is Thursday night (Friday, PHL time), and the Warriors trail the Toronto Raptors 3-2 in the title series. In the long term, it might mean so much more — including the possibility that his time playing for Golden State is over. Achilles recoveries for basketball players have typically taken about a full year. Even if it turns out to be a partial tear, it’s still a tear. Some team was going to pay Durant a lot of money in 2019-20 and some team still will, probably without the immediate on-court services of perhaps the best player in the world in return. The first decision is the medical course of action. The financial course of action will be decided soon after. All will not be lost next season for the team that has Durant on its roster. That team will apply for, and get, a disabled player exception that will allow them to sign someone else for probably about $9 million and not have that count toward the team’s cap. That player won’t be of Durant’s caliber, because so few players are. But a year or so later, the team would have Durant. There’s risk with any signing. And signing any player that will command so much of a team’s salary cap while facing a grueling rehab would seem particularly risky. “He’s going to come back stronger though,” Warriors guard Klay Thompson said. “That’s the kind of fighter he is.” The Nets swung a trade earlier this month to clear enough cap space for two max contracts this summer — and there’s no doubt that they would love Durant to take one of those spots, possibly alongside Irving. The Knicks have been mentioned as a hopeful in the Durant sweepstakes for months. The Clippers were expected to make a pitch for him as well. The Warriors surely want to keep him. The chatter about Durant’s injury indicates it’s all a mystery now, although it really shouldn’t be. Players have made comebacks off Achilles surgery, with relative levels of success. DeMarcus Cousins, Kobe Bryant, and Rudy Gay all came back; Cousins hasn’t regained past form yet. Dominique Wilkins had an Achilles tear happen to him at the peak of his career and he arguably was good as ever afterward. Elton Brand, now leading the Philadelphia 76ers’ front office, had it as a player and said he was never the same. Christian Laettner went from a star to a role player when his Achilles ripped. “I’ve been there,” 15-time golf major winner Tiger Woods said Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time) at the U.S. Open. “I’ve had it to my own Achilles. I’ve had it to my own back. I know what it feels like. It’s an awful feeling. And no one can help you. That’s the hard part.” Woods fought his way back toward the top of his sport, and is the reigning Masters champion. Durant isn’t going to let an Achilles injury end his reign as one of the game’s best. Teams would be foolish to think otherwise. ___ Tim Reynolds is a national basketball writer for The Associated Press. Write to him at treynolds@ap.org.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 12th, 2019

MPBL: Bacoor s Gab Banal eyeing a different MVP trophy in Lakan Cup

Talk about an impressive maiden season.  Bacoor City Strikers main gunner Gab Banal not only led the expansion team to the Southern Division semifinals, but he was also able to claim Most Valuable Player honors with an impressive 18.2 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 6.4 assists.  Heading into the 2019 Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Lakan Cup, Banal isn't resting on his laurels and is planning on getting even better.  p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica; color: #454545} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica; color: #454545; min-height: 14.0px} "It’s hard to get at the top, and it’s even harder to stay at the top. Everyone’s coming after you," said Banal. "Personally, I made the decision to work harder and work smarter than the previous season. It’s going to be tough, the pressure is on me since I’m the reigning MVP, but I’m just going to focus on the task at hand and enjoy playing the game of basketball and not let other factors affect my game." Banal knows fully well that he will be the primary target for the other teams this coming conference, but with a number of key additions, the reigning MVP is expecting other players to step up.  "It’s going to be there, the pressure, Im going to be on the hit list of the other teams, the number one scouting report is going to be me, but I just have to involve my teammates better and sometimes I just have to be a decoy, because now we have deeper players and even more talented than the last time, so I just have to involve my teammates more, so when you say Bacoor, it’s not just me, but the whole team." For the upcoming season, Banal maintains that the focus is on making it past the Southern Division semifinals and hopefully making the National Finals, and even possibly taking home the title.  "Of course, for me that’s to win a championship. An individual award is a nice feeling, but at the end of the day, when you join a tournament, your focus is to win a championship, not to win the MVP. For me, it’s just a bonus. Right now, our team is really aiming for the championship, so I’ll just do my best to help the team win and if I win another MVP, it’s just a bonus." While being hailed as the league's best player is definitely an amazing achievement, Banal has his sights set on an even more prestigious sort of MVP honor. "I’m aiming for the Finals MVP because that means we’re in the championship. That means that we won, so I’m aiming for that," he concluded. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 11th, 2019

MPBL: Manila Stars aiming for better finish in Lakan Cup

All things considered, the Manila Stars had a pretty good campaign in the 2018-2019 Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Datu Cup.  The Stars finished the elimination round with a 20-5 slate and went as far as the Divisional Finals, where they fell to eventual National Champions San Juan Knights in three games.  With their maiden season in the books, Manila is now looking to put on an even better showing in the upcoming MPBL Lakan Cup.  "It was good season for the Manila Stars, lalong-lalo na sa akin, kasi siyempre may Divisional Finals appearance," said Stars playmaker Chris Bitoon. "Makikita mo talaga yung players na gumagaling sa Divisional Finals eh, yung mga nag-iisip." "Sana ngayong dadating na MPBL, makakapag-laro ulit kami sa Divisional Finals, para yung bawat isa sa amin, mag-improve pa," he continued.  Bitoon himself had a pretty good maiden season in the league, averaging just under 15 points, nearly four rebounds, and four assists per game, good for a spot in the All-MPBL First Team.  And while an individual achievement is always nice, Bitoon maintains that it's just a bonus. The main goal remains the same, and that's to go far into the postseason.  "Sa akin, yung pagiging kasama ko sa First Team, bonus na lang ‘yun, talagang ginawa ko lang yung trabaho ko, pero sana ngayon yung expectation is makapag-laro muli kami sa Divisional Finals, ma-feel yung crowd na ganun ka-lakas yung sigawan, sana ma-bless kami ni God na makapag-laro ulit doon." With another Divisional Finals, and even a National Finals stint on their crosshairs, Bitoon says that a 'more organized' Manila Stars squad plans on taking things step by step, and among those steps is adding some depth in their roster.  "Siguro yung Manila Stars ngayon, mas naging-organized, naging organized, nag-recruit din kami ng mga bagong players, mga potential players na alam naman namin na makaka-tulong sa team namin," Bitoon shared. Among those new recruits include former PBA All-Star Carlo Lastimosa, former Mandaluyong standout Gian Abrigo, and former De La Salle Green Archers Jollo Go and Mark Dyke, and former UST Growling Tiger Marvin Lee.  The Stars hope that these additions will more than make up for the loss of forward Riel Cervantes.  "Sana, ngayong darating na season, siyempre step-by-step, makapag-laro kami ng Finals, pero ang nasa isip muna namin ngayon ay bawat game eh, elimination, Divisional Finals, then yung National Finals," Bitoon added.  With so much new blood injected into the Stars' system, Bitoon is confident that he and fellow All-MPBL First Teamer Aris Dioniso will have a lot of help in the coming conference.  "Laging sinasabi ng coach namin na kahit sinong pwedeng ipasok, makaka-contribute eh. Siguro sa amin ngayon, kailangan lang namin na mag-tiwala sa isa’t-isa eh, hindi pwedeng kami lang ni Aris Dionisio, Chris Bitoon. Kailangan lang namin mag-tiwala sa isa’t-isa. Andiyan naman yung mga ex-pro pa namin na maasahan." Right now, Bitoon is relishing the opportunity that the MPBL has given him, and playing for the capital city's home team has given him the perfect avenue to showcase his skills.  "Sobrang saya kasi ultimo mga bata, hanggang sa mga matatanda, mga nanay, talagang naka-support sa amin eh. Pag pumupunta kami sa venue namin sa practice, may mga ‘Idol, idol!’, magpapa-picture sila, kaya sobrang nakaka-proud kasi kahit hindi ka kilala, kahit hindi ka galing sa malaking school, nabibigyan ka ng halaga sa Manila."   The 2019-2020 MPBL Lakan Cup begins on Wednesday, June 12, 4:00 PM at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. Catch it LIVE on ABS-CBN S+A channel 23!   .....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJun 10th, 2019

MPBL: Manila Stars aiming for better finish in Lakan Cup

All things considered, the Manila Stars had a pretty good campaign in the 2018-2019 Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Datu Cup.  The Stars finished the elimination round with a 20-5 slate and went as far as the Divisional Finals, where they fell to eventual National Champions San Juan Knights in three games.  With their maiden season in the books, Manila is now looking to put on an even better showing in the upcoming MPBL Lakan Cup.  "It was good season for the Manila Stars, lalong-lalo na sa akin, kasi siyempre may Divisional Finals appearance," said Stars playmaker Chris Bitoon. "Makikita mo talaga yung players na gumagaling sa Divisional Finals eh, yung mga nag-iisip." "Sana ngayong dadating na MPBL, makakapag-laro ulit kami sa Divisional Finals, para yung bawat isa sa amin, mag-improve pa," he continued.  Bitoon himself had a pretty good maiden season in the league, averaging just under 15 points, nearly four rebounds, and four assists per game, good for a spot in the All-MPBL First Team.  And while an individual achievement is always nice, Bitoon maintains that it's just a bonus. The main goal remains the same, and that's to go far into the postseason.  "Sa akin, yung pagiging kasama ko sa First Team, bonus na lang ‘yun, talagang ginawa ko lang yung trabaho ko, pero sana ngayon yung expectation is makapag-laro muli kami sa Divisional Finals, ma-feel yung crowd na ganun ka-lakas yung sigawan, sana ma-bless kami ni God na makapag-laro ulit doon." With another Divisional Finals, and even a National Finals stint on their crosshairs, Bitoon says that a 'more organized' Manila Stars squad plans on taking things step by step, and among those steps is adding some depth in their roster.  "Siguro yung Manila Stars ngayon, mas naging-organized, naging organized, nag-recruit din kami ng mga bagong players, mga potential players na alam naman namin na makaka-tulong sa team namin," Bitoon shared. Among those new recruits include former PBA All-Star Carlo Lastimosa, former Mandaluyong standout Gian Abrigo, and former De La Salle Green Archers Jollo Go and Mark Dyke, and former UST Growling Tiger Marvin Lee.  The Stars hope that these additions will more than make up for the loss of forward Riel Cervantes.  "Sana, ngayong darating na season, siyempre step-by-step, makapag-laro kami ng Finals, pero ang nasa isip muna namin ngayon ay bawat game eh, elimination, Divisional Finals, then yung National Finals," Bitoon added.  With so much new blood injected into the Stars' system, Bitoon is confident that he and fellow All-MPBL First Teamer Aris Dioniso will have a lot of help in the coming conference.  "Laging sinasabi ng coach namin na kahit sinong pwedeng ipasok, makaka-contribute eh. Siguro sa amin ngayon, kailangan lang namin na mag-tiwala sa isa’t-isa eh, hindi pwedeng kami lang ni Aris Dionisio, Chris Bitoon. Kailangan lang namin mag-tiwala sa isa’t-isa. Andiyan naman yung mga ex-pro pa namin na maasahan." Right now, Bitoon is relishing the opportunity that the MPBL has given him, and playing for the capital city's home team has given him the perfect avenue to showcase his skills.  "Sobrang saya kasi ultimo mga bata, hanggang sa mga matatanda, mga nanay, talagang naka-support sa amin eh. Pag pumupunta kami sa venue namin sa practice, may mga ‘Idol, idol!’, magpapa-picture sila, kaya sobrang nakaka-proud kasi kahit hindi ka kilala, kahit hindi ka galing sa malaking school, nabibigyan ka ng halaga sa Manila."   The 2019-2020 MPBL Lakan Cup begins on Wednesday, June 12, 4:00 PM at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. Catch it LIVE on ABS-CBN S+A channel 23!   .....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJun 10th, 2019

Kenneth Chua, Lara Posadas-Wong advance to PIO bowling finals

National bowlers Kenneth Chua and Lara Posadas-Wong have positioned themselves as the biggest threats to defending champions Liza del Rosario and Australian Sam Cooley in the Philippine International Open Tenpin Bowling Championships......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJun 10th, 2019

Phuket marathon: Cebu’s Lee 2nd in 21K; Davao’s Pagay 3rd in 42K

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Runners Prince Joey Lee and Azlan Pagay are making not only Cebu proud but the whole Philippines as well after entering the top 3 in their respective distance categories in the Laguna Phuket Marathon 2019, Sunday, June 9, 2019. Cebu’s very own Prince Joey Lee finished second in the 21-kilometer men’s […] The post Phuket marathon: Cebu’s Lee 2nd in 21K; Davao’s Pagay 3rd in 42K appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJun 9th, 2019

Ronaldo and Van Dijk face off in Nations League final

By Tales Azzoni, Associated Press PORTO, Portugal (AP) — The final of UEFA's newest competition will feature another clash between Cristiano Ronaldo and Virgil van Dijk, two players likely to be competing for the world player of the year award this year. The inaugural Nations League will come to an end on Sunday in Porto with Ronaldo's Portugal taking on the Netherlands of Van Dijk. The Portuguese superstar and the thriving Dutch defender haven't met since last year's Champions League final, when Ronaldo's former team Real Madrid came out on top of Van Dijk's Liverpool. Ronaldo will try to lead Portugal to its first title since the 2016 European Championship, while Van Dijk will look to help the Netherlands lift its first international trophy since the 1988 European Championship. Victory at Estadio do Dragao will give the Dutch some redemption after failing to qualify for the last two major tournaments, the 2018 World Cup and the 2016 European Championship. Van Dijk, touted as one of the best central defenders in the world, called Ronaldo "a fantastic player" but downplayed their matchup. "We play Portugal, we are not playing Cristiano Ronaldo," he said. "They have a very good team. It's going to be tough. We need to be ready." Van Dijk, who hasn't allowed anyone to dribble past him in more than 60 consecutive matches, lifted the Champions League trophy last week with Liverpool, being voted the man of the match in the final against Tottenham in Madrid. He is expected to be in the running for the world player of the year award for the first time. He has already been named player of the year in the English Premier League. Ronaldo has won the world player of the year award five times. "He's already had a really good season," Dutch midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum said of his teammate. "I think he's been trying to stop everyone he plays against. But it's not up to us to decide if he wins the Ballon d'Or. For us, he's the best defender in the world, and if you look at his season, he definitely deserves the Ballon d'Or, but it's not up to us, it's up to other people to decide." Van Dijk also was voted man of the match in the Netherlands' 3-1 win over England on Thursday in the Nations League semifinals. Ronaldo was man of the match for Portugal when it defeated Switzerland 3-1 on Wednesday in the other semifinal. Ronaldo scored a hat trick, with two of his goals coming in the final minutes. "The Netherlands are an excellent team," Ronaldo told UEFA's website. "They have been playing pretty well. I've been watching them in recent matches and they have an excellent squad with great players — young players and more experienced players, which makes their team even stronger." Netherlands manager Ronald Koeman said he is not planning to change his defense plans to adapt to Ronaldo's threat. "We know he's one of the best," Koeman said. "And the nicest thing in football is that you cannot stop (a player like him) 100 percent (of the time) because sometimes he's too good. We know the qualities of that player, and of course we need to defend well when we have the ball, we need good defensive organization, but it's not a special marking (system), one on one, because we don't like that." The Netherlands eliminated the last two World Cup winners in the qualification round of the Nations League, Germany and France. Portugal reached the semis by getting past Italy and Poland. On Sunday, the hosts will be without veteran central defender Pepe, who broke his right shoulder against Switzerland. Koeman, who played at the 1988 Euros, said he should have all of his players available even though the Netherlands had one less day to rest for the final. The winner on Sunday will be crowned the first champion of the competition UEFA created to give national teams more meaningful games and reduce the number of friendlies. The winner receives 10.5 million euros ($11.8 million). The runner-up will get 9 million euros. The amounts include the 4.5 million euros all four semifinalists have already secured. The final marks the swansong of 45-year-old Spanish referee Alberto Undiano Mallenco. England and Switzerland will play the third-place match in Guimaraes earlier on Sunday......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 9th, 2019

Raptors coach Nick Nurse making the right moves

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Toronto coach Nick Nurse plays to the beats to his own drum. And that’s not even one of the instruments that he’s messing around with these days. Nurse’s office in Toronto has a guitar stand on one side of his desk and a piano on the other. He’s trying to master both; the guitar travels with him on the road and he’s been known to strum it while studying film. The piano doesn’t exactly fit in the overhead storage bin of the plane so it stays behind. Nurse says he’s not any good yet. His team, however, is making plenty of beautiful music so far in these NBA Finals. The moment has not been too big for Nurse or the Raptors. They lead the title series 2-1 after a 123-109 win over injury-depleted Golden State on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time), an outcome that puts the two-time defending NBA champions in trouble. The maestro of the best season in Toronto history is a 51-year-old NBA coaching rookie, one who’s making plenty of right moves. “He looks young,” Raptors guard Kyle Lowry said. “But he’s pretty old.” Nurse might have been an unknown to casual NBA fans when he got the job a year ago following the firing of his former boss in Toronto, Dwane Casey. Nurse was an assistant on Casey’s staff, largely credited with running things on the offensive side of the ball. He had good relationships with players, but the task of replacing someone who was the NBA’s coach of the year and got fired anyway was daunting nonetheless. He has handled it with ease. “Each game’s critical, and the next one will be as critical as (Game 3) was,” Nurse said. “So it’s been like that all through the playoffs, and we just got to guard and play who is out there. That’s all we can do.” The guy he’s going against has eight rings already. Steve Kerr won five as a player, has three more from his first four seasons as coach of the Warriors and still very much has a chance at a fourth in five seasons. But this is no coaching mismatch. “I’ve watched Nick closely,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle, the president of the National Basketball Coaches Association, said earlier in the series. “We played against him twice this year. He’s terrific in making adjustments and I love the way he’s approached the entire season. They have set up the entire season to work to get to this point and for a first-time NBA head coach, that’s not easy to do.” For a first-timer, no, it wouldn’t be easy. Thing is, Nurse is no ordinary rookie. He’s won championships — four of them, two in the British league, two more in what’s now called the G League. That’s not the NBA, of course, but there’s a progression that he’s followed, a long slow path that saw him coaching teams most people have never heard of like the NAIA’s Grand View University, Telindus Oostende in Belgium, the Oklahoma Storm of the USBL. “Some pretty remote places,” Nurse said. He got tons of attention for throwing a box-and-one on Warriors star Stephen Curry late in Game 2 of this series. Some would say that’s an unconventional move. Not for Nurse. He spent one season basically full-court pressing the whole time so he could collect the data. He’s been known to count certain shots in practice as 4-pointers, to emphasize the need for proper spacing. He’s part-coach, part-chemist. “Like a laboratory,” Nurse said. The lab on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time) was Oracle Arena. The Raptors survived a 47-point night from Curry and prevailed over a Golden State team without Kevin Durant, Kevon Looney and Klay Thompson. Looney’s season is over. Durant may be back for Game 4. Thompson figures to be back. The Warriors are almost certainly going to get boosts. “Five guys are going to be out there,” Nurse said. “You really can’t worry about that.” It’s still too early to tell whether Nurse and the Raptors can pull this off. But Lowry knows his coach will be ready. “His mind for the game has been special, and the growth throughout the year has been pretty good for him,” Lowry said. “He’s not a first-time head coach — he’s a first-time NBA head coach. But the experience that he’s had in his many leagues and teams that he’s been a head coach before, he’s kind of just kind of stepped up and continued to grow with that.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 6th, 2019