Advertisements


Action meets comedy on & lsquo;Switch& rsquo;

Action meets comedy on & lsquo;Switch& rsquo;.....»»

Category: entertainmentSource: thestandard thestandardOct 11th, 2018

ONE Championship: A win away from a second title run, greatness once again within reach for Eduard Folayang

Eduard Folayang’s mixed martial arts career can best be described as ‘up-and-down.’ Throughout his eleven year career as a professional MMA fighter, Folayang has reached the highest of highs and has fallen to the lowest of lows, and his current run in ONE Championship is no different. In 2016, following a run that saw him go 6-3 in the promotion, Folayang reached pinnacle of his career after dethroning Japanese MMA legend Shinya Aoki to become the ONE Lightweight World Champion. Another high in the career of the Baguio City native, who many considered to be the face of Philippine MMA at that point. Then, a year later, as the trend in his career goes, Folayang was knocked off from his spot at the top and was sent crashing down courtesy of a right hand from Martin Nguyen. Just like that, Folayang was again in a valley. The 35-year old is no stranger to adversity. He was able to rise back up in 2016, and now, he’s done just that again. A little over a year after losing the belt to Nguyen in Manila, Folayang gets a shot at history, but more importantly, he gets a shot at redemption. At ONE: Conquest of Champions in Manila, Folayang has the opportunity to become a two-time world champion when he meets Singapore’s Amir Khan for the vacant ONE Lightweight World Champion. If Folayang pull it off, he becomes the first two-time ONE Lightweight World Champion in the promotion’s history. If Folayang pulls it off, he recaptures the crown in the very same arena that he lost it in, just twelve months prior. “Siyempre masayang-masaya ako, kasi it took me one year ulit para maka-balik sa title picture, and pinag-hirapan naman natin,” Folayang told ABS-CBN Sports. “We faced two undefeated Russians and naging dominant naman yung performance natin, and for sure, napaka-exciting yung magiging laban na ito, especially since tinalo ni Amir Khan yung teammate natin na si Honorio Banario, so it will be a good fight for both of us.” Folayang knows all too well how his career has gone, and the former Wushu standout says that in order to be able to keep moving forward, one must not keep himself in the past. Whether wins or losses, “Landslide” says that he does not dwell on them too much. “Hindi tayo nagde-dwell sa past, kasi kung magde-dwell ako sa mga past victories tsaka mga defeat, parang hindi ako magmo-move on.” “ Kaya dun natin na-aappreciate ang martial arts, it’s really a journey kung saan sasabihin natin na tapos na tayo or na-achieve na natin yung highest na standard kasi in some ways, we will win some and some ways we will lose, pero  yung napaka-ganda doon ay kapag natatalo tayo, mayroon at mayroon tayong chance para ayusin yung areas na nagkamali tayo at magkaroon ng chance para manalo ulit and as much as possible maibalik natin yung nawala sa atin,” he continued. As far as second chances go, Folayang has had his fair share. Now, he gets another chance at being the top lightweight in the promotion, and he believes it’s all because he never quit, even after all the adversity he has faced in his career. “Yun yung pinaka-masaya dito sa pagiging isang martial artist, we are given a second chance as long as we are breathing and as long as we never give up.” Folayang’s road back to the championship picture took him a little over 365 days. In that period, Folayang proved that he was still a top-tier lightweight after defeating a pair of undefeated Russian grapplers in Kharun Atlangeriev and Aziz Pahrudinov. When Martin Nguyen vacated the belt back in September, immediately, Folayang was in the front of the line in terms of contenders. In that 12-month period, Folayang admits that it wasn’t the easiest. Having to deal with such a loss and then having to work your way back isn’t a walk in the park. But the former champion believes that it was necessary for him to go through that in order to evolve even more. “Yung journey, every day talaga, kailangan mo din mag-struggle, mag-struggle na kung saan you will always aim to improve, you will always aim to learn kung ano yung strengths and weaknesses ng kalaban mo until you will go on that day na parang mag-eexam ka ulit and you will see na if you have improved after a year or not,” he shared. 378 days removed from his title loss, Folayang gets to test himself again, and if he passes, he becomes the top dog in the lightweight division. “Yung pinaka-test ko ulit after losing that belt is this coming November 23, and I’m excited going into that battle again. Sana maging two-time world champion.” Very rarely do fighters go undefeated in their professional careers, and they say that the true test of a champion is how he or she bounces back from adversity or defeat. Time and time again, Folayang has managed to bounce back. When people thought that he would never reach the top, he proved them wrong by becoming a champion. When people thought that he was done, he again proved them wrong by being where he is now. It’s through these kinds of struggles, Folayang says, that one learns about himself. It’s this kind of pressure that molds one to become a champion. “I believe na nakakatulong din [yung mga setbacks], although as much as possible din, ayaw natin ng ganun,” he said. “Pero siguro sa buhay hindi mo talaga masasabing upward palagi yung improvement, minsan talaga madudulas ka para makita mo yung space kung saan mag-iimprove ka pa, and makikita din talaga natin na everyone is improving, hindi lang tayo yung nag-iimprove tapos tapos na, no. “Everybody is chasing greatness, and kapag nagkamali tayo, maabutan tayo, pero we need to come up stronger ulit,” he added. At ONE: Conquest of Champions, Folayang once again finds himself one win away from a second run as the ONE Lightweight World Champion. Once again, greatness is within reach for Eduard Folayang.   Eduard Folayang meets Amir Khan for the vacant ONE Lightweight World Championship at ONE: Conquest of Champions this Friday, November 23rd at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila. Catch the action LIVE on ABS-CBN S+A channel 23 beginning at 8:30 PM! .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 23rd, 2018

Draw of another title lights postseason path of Warriors

By David Aldridge, TNT Analyst One of the Golden State Warriors’ people, walking out of Smoothie King Center Sunday (Monday, PHL time), summarized the team’s season so far in detailing Kevin Durant’s 38-point performance against the Pelicans in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals. “Sometimes, people forget,” he said, a wry smile on his face -- and, yes, they do. With all that has gone on around the league this season, the Warriors’ storyline hasn’t been quite as eyeballed nationally this season compared with previous years. (Not that they should care. It’s just an observation.) The Cleveland Cavaliers blew things up last summer and reformed in the fall, blew it up again in the winter and reformed again in the spring. The Boston Celtics are displaying amazing resilience through seemingly devastating injuries to put themselves on the brink of another conference finals. The Philadelphia 76ers have their Fun Bunch. There was Paul George’s trade to Oklahoma City (and all that entailed, now and later) and the Toronto Raptors’ dramatic and successful changes throughout the year. And, at the forefront, there was the Houston Rockets’ rise as a legit and serious challenger to the Warriors in the Western Conference. During the regular season, the Warriors’ energy and productivity dropped off ever so slightly, like the planet killer in “The Doomsday Machine,” one of the all-time best original “Star Trek” episodes, after the doomed Commodore Decker drove a Shuttlecraft right down its throat. (Of course, Captain Kirk figured out to destroy it. Dude, come on. This is James Tiberius Kirk we’re talking about.) And at the end of the regular season, they were hit with a series of body shot injuries: Stephen Curry’s MCL strain, Durant’s ribs, Klay Thompson’s thumb injury, Draymond Green’s hip, and on and on. Those all sapped their continuity and made them look mortal down the stretch of the 2017-18 season, and the Warriors went 7-10 as the season waned. But, after dispatching the Kawhi Leonard-less Spurs in five games in the first round, and taking a 3-1 lead on the Pelicans now, they’re again on the precipice of the Western Conference finals. A date with Houston is looming and a chance at a third title in four seasons is still on their racket. “I think as the playoffs go on, every series requires a different intensity level,” Green said last week. “I think we met that standard that it takes to win playoff games at the level we’re at right now, which is the second round. It’s not our first rodeo. We’ve been here a lot of times and we know what it takes.” Steve Kerr rolled the “Hamptons Five” lineup out Sunday (Monday, PHL time), the Lineup Formally Known as Death -- Curry, Thompson, Andre Iguodala, Green and Durant. It’s been their trump card for almost two years, the lineup that can’t be solved by the opposition, even as it’s chipped away at most of Golden State’s other conventional units. Durant went for 38, and the Warriors rolled to a 118-92 win and a 3-1 series lead. They didn’t use it much this season -- that quintet only played 127 minutes together this season, after logging 224 minutes last season -- because of all the injuries, because they tried to limit their biggest players’ minutes and because using Iguodala as a starter thins out Golden State’s bench. The Warriors’ most frequently used five-man unit this season featured Zaza Pachulia at center; among five-man units leaguewide that played 200 minutes or more together this season, per NBA.com/Stats, that quintet was third in the league in Offensive Rating, at 118.6. But Pachulia hasn’t played a minute in the playoffs, and if the Rockets are the Warriors’ next opponent, he may not play much then, either, against Clint Capela. Kerr often points out that the Warriors have six centers on the current roster, and most of them have gotten at least a little run at various points. But after JaVale McGee was ineffective in Game 3 against New Orleans Friday (Saturday, PHL time), Kerr pulled his trump card. It’s still a game-changer, and when a season comes down to a best-of-seven series, one game can be the difference. “We all bring the best of each other,” Curry said of the Hamptons unit. “We increase the pace of the game, but the versatility [is] at the defensive end -- Andre, Draymond, KD shoring up the paint, switching a lot of the screens and the action from the offense and Klay doing what he does on the perimeter. I think the biggest thing offensively is that we’re all playmakers, try to look for the best shot, stay within ourselves and just make the right play.” Going back to the old playlist may give the Warriors comfort in what has been another drama-filled season, with the contretemps about being disinvited from the White House by President Trump in September getting things off to a rollicking start. But the end of the season was what raised eyebrows around the league. Curry’s absence down the stretch combined with a teamwide ennui -- “I really don’t like talking about it,” Thompson said -- that gave potential playoff opponents hope they might be able to catch Golden State napping. The Warriors’ boredom showed up most at the defensive end. After being in the top seven in both unadjusted and adjusted Defensive Rating in each of the last four seasons -- including first in the league in both categories in the first championship season of 2014-15 -- Golden State fell to 11th and 12th, respectively, in the regular season. They came out of the All-Star break focused -- they were fifth in the league in Defensive Rating on March 1. But all the injuries blunted their momentum, and the scariest of all -- a serious injury to second-year guard Patrick McCaw in Sacramento March 31 (April 1, PHL time) -- shook the team more than people on the outside realized. “Throughout that time, we had spurts,” Durant said. “We played a great OKC team. We went in there and won. Then we lost to Indiana by 20, and then it’s like, when you’re riding just on emotion a lot, you tend to go up and down. It’s like a roller coaster. I think that’s what it was. We had those spurts where we played well and played a focused game, but then Patty goes out, boom, and there was just so much that went on with that. Then Steph goes out with a freak injury. So much went on with that. I think we were just so up and down emotionally it kind of blinded us from our goal, which was to be good every single night as basketball players.” McCaw’s injury -- a bone bruise suffered when he fell after a dunk attempt against the Kings, which required him to be carried off the court in Sacramento on a stretcher -- hit everyone hard. “When Pat got injured, I think that took a little bit out of us,” Durant said. “It took a little bit out of Steve as well. You could just feel it, when Steph went out, then I went out, then Draymond, then Klay. Our emotions were so up and down. When your emotions are, you have too many emotions in the game of basketball, it can kind of blind you from what you really have to do. This is a technical game. So when you put too many emotions into it, it kind of took us away from what we wanted to do.” McCaw, who played in 57 games this season, was not only a part of Kerr’s rotation. He is also a well-liked person who was getting better on the floor. He was re-evaluated last week and will be checked out again in a month. Though he’s been traveling with the team during the playoffs, his season is almost certainly over. And as his injury came during the Warriors’ many injuries down the stretch, its chilling effect was multiplied. “It definitely got to everybody,” Green said. “Kind of the uncertainty of not knowing what’s going on with him. The rotations. Everybody’s like, ahh, kind of tiptoeing around, trying to make sure you get to the playoffs healthy. A lot of that makes a difference. I mean, that’s our brother. To see him down like that, not be able to walk off the court under his own power, him not being around us for two or three weeks, it was kind of like the unknown. It sucked. And I think it definitely had an effect on everything.” But Durant doesn’t like the metaphor of the proverbial switch being turned on at playoff time explaining the team’s improvement the last couple of weeks. “I don’t like when you call it a switch,” he said. “Because guys come in and get extra work in every single day. They work on their bodies every day, they get treatment. You come in here any time, you see guys in here working on their games. I think when you say ‘a switch turned on,’ if guys went cold turkey on everything as professionals during the season, and just tried to pick it up in the playoffs, I think that’s turning on a switch. Mentally, focus-wise, game plan-wise, I think you can turn on a switch, because you can lock in on an opponent, you know their tendencies, you can just focus in on one group of players instead of one day it’s San Antonio, the next day it’s Phoenix, next day it’s Sacramento. You’re going so up and down. If that makes sense. “So I think everybody’s putting in that work individually all year, and as a team, you know, stuff has to come together. We have to focus in on what we need to do, game plan wise, tendency wise, just try to take away things. I think that’s where you kind of turn it up just a bit.” Golden State has performed in fits and starts in the first two rounds. The Spurs didn’t have enough firepower to be a serious threat, but they played hard and were increasingly effectively on defense as the series went on. The Warriors didn’t really have an answer for LaMarcus Aldridge after Game 1. New Orleans had, until Sunday (Monday, PHL time), been more and more successful at making the Warriors shoot contested shots. That certainly gibes with Curry’s return after five weeks. He’s healthy, but rusty. After his adrenaline-filled return last Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time) in Game 2 against the Pelicans, he made just 14-of-33 from the floor in the two games in New Orleans. There was talk afterward about breakthroughs for Curry cardiovascularly. The next few games will tell whether Curry is truly recovered and ready to be two-time Kia MVP Steph … or will he just be on the floor (as he was for long and important stretches in the 2016 playoffs after returning from a Grade 1 knee sprain). The Warriors still made The Finals, but Curry wasn’t Curry against Cleveland, and everyone, starting and ending with LeBron James, knew it. No one in NBA history has changed the geometry of basketball more than Curry, and when he’s on the floor, the ball starts flying around. “Our formula is simple: if we out-pass people, we win,” Warriors forward David West said. “Ball movement. With guys going in and out of the lineup, it causes moments where guys try to carry the load, maybe try to shoulder the load individually. But the strength of the group is the group.” But the Warriors can still throw so many different things and people at you. Iguodala shot a career-worst 28.2 percent on three-pointers in the regular season. He’s at 39.3 percent in the 2018 playoffs. Does anyone doubt he was biding his time until the postseason? No one wearing an NBA uniform is in better shape than the 34-year-old Iguodala, no one is smarter about the game or matchups, and no one is a prouder, fiercer competitor. The 2015 Finals MVP brings his bag of intangibles with him on the road even more than at home, as he did Sunday. In that game, he was making life miserable for the Pelicans’ Nikola Mirotic, creating deflections, making the right reads and impacting the game despite scoring just six points. Kerr likened him to Scottie Pippen after Game 4, but Iggy wasn’t buying it -- “Steve just does that to make sure I don’t get mad ‘cause I don’t shots,” Iguodala quipped. He may be right. But Iguodala and Green have a mind meld defensively that’s at the heart of the Hamptons’ effectiveness. “Andre and I, we’re usually on the same page,” Green said. “Two guys who really think the game, especially on that side of the ball. Sometimes we can talk things out and it works perfect and not say a word, and know what each other’s going to do. It definitely helps our team out defensively kind of having two coaches out there on the floor on that side of the ball.” Whether it’s switching to guard each other’s man, running at an open shooter to close before the ball gets there with the other man rotating, they know what the other guy is going to do. And that second or so the Warriors save defensively keeps them from being broken down. “How fast can you make that decision?,” Green says. “How demonstrative are you going to be about that decision? Are you going to second guess that decision? That’s usually when it doesn’t work; if you’re going to go, just go. That’s kind of the motto that Andre and I go by. If you’re going to go, just go; everybody else fall in line and rotate, and we’ll work it out from there.” And while Green and Rajon Rondo have been exchanging pleasantries throughout this series, Green didn’t pick up his first postseason technical foul until Sunday (Monday, PHL time). He’s been under control, coming up to the edge without going over. Someone without access to the internet asked Kerr if he’d ever played with anyone who instigated or tried to get under the skin of opponents. It’s a testament to Kerr’s comic timing that he actually did wait a beat before answering. “I did play with Dennis Rodman,” he said. Never be fooled by Kerr’s overall pleasant disposition and quick-with-a-quip acuity, though. He is a fierce competitor that wants to win big, the same as his current point guard, who is similarly underrated on the competition scale. Kerr has seven rings as a player and coach, and it’s not a coincidence he’s frequently been around teams that got it done in June. But the Warriors are playing for even bigger stakes than just winning the 2018 title. Legacies are created this time of year. A third title in four seasons, with four straight Finals appearances, would put Golden State in very rarified air in the modern game. San Antonio won three titles from 2002-07. But the Spurs, famously, never have won back-to-back titles. The Kobe Bryant-Shaquille O’Neal-led Lakers, which won three straight from 2000-02, are the closest modern-day team to pulling off what the Warriors are trying to accomplish. Before then, you’re talking about the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls, with six titles in eight seasons -- the two non-title seasons coinciding with Jordan’s sojourn to the minor leagues of baseball. Moreover, the Warriors are the hub around which the modern NBA now spins. And that is an even bigger legacy. Almost everyone (hi, Thibs!) tries to play the way Golden State does now -- the quick hitters, ball movement, pace. Teams do it in different ways. The 76ers look very different than the Warriors, with Joel Embiid their centerpiece of operations, and with 6'10" Ben Simmons taking up so much space with the ball in the halfcourt. The Rockets look different still as there’s not a ton of ball movement. There’s just an unending series of screen and rolls with Chris Paul and James Harden with the rock, looking for the inevitable open man in the corner or way, way behind the three-point line. A lot of things have happened the last 15 years to lead us where we are now. The league changed almost all the rules regarding zone defense, and got rid of almost all defensive contact on the perimeter. Rockets GM Daryl Morey and others led the burgeoning analytics movement, which championed shooting more and more three-pointers as a primary means of scoring, not as a novelty. Mike D’Antoni’s Phoenix Suns went with Amar’e Stoudemire at center, surrounding him with four smalls that could all shoot it from deep, and scoring came out of its coma leaguewide. Kerr and Pelicans Coach Alvin Gentry have always been quick to credit D’Antoni’s influence on the modern game, starting in Phoenix and working through his current team in Houston. “He’s the guy that just eliminated the center position -- let’s just go small and fast and shoot more threes,” Kerr said of D’Antoni. “I was inspired by Mike, but I was also inspired by Pop (the Spurs’ Gregg Popovich) and Phil Jackson in terms of basic ball movement, screening. But pace is the name of the game these days, and people go about it in different ways. Ironically, Mike’s team (in Houston) is the slowest team in the league now. I didn’t see that coming.” But no one has put all of it together -- pace, small ball, shooting and defense -- like the Warriors have the last four seasons. The Rockets are the closest thing we’ve seen to Golden State, and they’re hungry, and they’re coming. And the Warriors and Rockets are just a win apiece away from seeing the clash of the Western Conference titans. They are in the middle of it, so they can’t stop and think about what it all means. We get that. But everyone wants to put a marker out there that’s hard to catch. LeBron is chasing a ghost. The Warriors have already made their mark on the game. They’re almost in position to do more. History is forever. “It’s important, because it’s what’s right in front of us,” Curry said Sunday. “We don’t think about the historical context of anything. For us, we have an amazing group of guys, amazing coaches sitting behind us. We’re appreciating the moment. That’s really all it is. You have tunnel vision for Game 5 at home, then a new series, hopefully (after that). The historic context doesn’t really seep into the locker room when it comes to what that means. It’s just about this year.” Longtime NBA reporter, columnist and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer David Aldridge is an analyst for TNT. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 8th, 2018

Harden, Rockets pass first postseason test

By Sekou Smith, NBA.com HOUSTON — If the long road to June basketball is to come to fruition for the best regular-season team in basketball, it had to start like this for the Houston Rockets. That first step, that first foray into the great postseason abyss, required this sort of confirmation from the No. 1 overall seed in the entire tournament, so to speak. There’s no room for Cinderellas around here, no slaying of Goliath, not on Clint Capela’s watch. Not with James Harden on the case when the Rockets needed it most, and especially at crunch time. And not with Chris Paul, chip planted firmly on his shoulder as always, eyeballing bigger and better things than being the best from late October to mid-April. So it won’t be easy. Nobody said it would be. And let’s be clear, the Minnesota Timberwolves are not a normal eight seed. Not really. A healthy Jimmy Butler and the infusion of veteran talent that helped end the second longest playoff drought in NBA history this season makes that big a difference. They certainly did Sunday night (Monday, PHL time) at Toyota Center, when the Rockets were forced to battle until the very end for a 104-101 win despite a 44-point masterpiece from Harden. But like everyone else who dealt with these juggernaut Rockets all season long, Harden and his crew proved to be too much with the game on the line. With Harden on the bench and the game tied at 85 with 6:49 to play, the script was already written. He came in for Paul with 6:07 to play and the Rockets up a point, and promptly scored on a driving layup. He stole the ball and then scored on a driving floater. After a Capela block, he scored on a driving layup. By the time he knocked down a three-pointer with 4:27 left, the Rockets’ lead was back up to eight points, 94-86, and it was clear that Harden was going to do whatever it took — scoring, playmaking and even defending — to keep Game 1 from going awry. It was vintage work from the maestro who has owned the floor most every night since the season opener, when Harden and the Rockets went into Oracle Arena as the reigning champion Golden State Warriors hung another banner and collected those diamond-laced title rings and walked off the floor winners. “Another day for James,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said after Harden finished one point shy of his playoff career-high. “He’s done it all year and he really stepped up. We were struggling to make shots, struggling to really have any kind of rhythm of play and James put us on his back and he’s been doing it for a while now.” D’Antoni will have to forgive the rest of us, including the frontrunner for the Kia MVP this season, for not digesting his theory about the playoffs being something other than a referendum on his team’s magical regular season. Harden operated like someone keenly aware of what was at stake with the Timberwolves, each and every one of them, trying in vain to slow him down. “Honestly, I just try to be aggressive and make the right play,” Harden said. “Things got slowed up a little bit, just try to be aggressive with my shot and fortunately it went in.” Jimmy Butler is an All-Star and one of the league’s best two-way players. Derrick Rose is a former Kia MVP himself, and still has enough juice left to make things difficult for someone when he locks in the way he did on this night. And neither one of them had any luck slowing Harden down during his second-half blitz. He scored 25 of his points in the final 18 minutes, making play after play when the Timberwolves appeared to be on the verge of potentially pulling off a shocker. “There were several plays in which I thought we defended well and he made shots,” Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau said. “James is that type of player and we’ve seen it all year, [he’s] very difficult to guard. Basically, you have to guard him with your whole team. And it’s not just his scoring, but his playmaking and all the things that he does.” The Rockets won on a night when they shot a brutal 27 percent (10-for-37) from beyond the three-point line, where they’ve feasted on the opposition all season. They roasted the Timberwolves from distance during their regular season match ups to the tune of 43.4 percent and more than doubled them up in three-point makes during those games, but made just two more Sunday night (Monday, PHL time). Harden was 7-for-12 from deep, a playoff career-high for makes, while the rest of the Rockets shot a combined 3-for-25. And he was draining his shots with hands in his face routinely. “He’s an MVP candidate and you know why,” said Timberwolves big man Taj Gibson. “Every time the game was ‘mono e mono’ and they were in a tight spot, he just took over the game. He made some tough shots, he played phenomenal tonight. We were trying to throw everything at him, he’s a talented player.” He’s clearly much more than that. “I mean yeah, he’s a hell of a player,” Butler said. “Everyone knows that. But you don’t just guard him with one guy. It’s everybody out there, everybody has to be in the correct position. Challenge shots; contest them at the rim, but more than anything, if there is a miss we’ve got to get the rebound and take off the other way. But we didn’t do any of that tonight, we’ve got to be better [in Game 2] on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time).” Thibodeau had to turn to his bench to stay in the game before halftime and they delivered, scoring 19 points and playing with an energy level that matched what the Rockets did regardless of who was on the floor. Rose (nine points), Jamal Crawford (seven) and Gorgui Dieng (three) did all that bench scoring, which was the only way to offset the furious 49 points Capela and Harden combined for before the break. Jeff Teague’s three fouls and Butler’s defensive task, trying to keep Harden under wraps, required so much of his attention that the scoring load had to be picked up by someone else. He went scoreless in the first quarter and just never seemed to get untracked early on, finishing with just 13 points on 4-for-11 shooting. It’s an issue the Timberwolves won’t be able to scheme their way out of in this series, not as long as Capela is the most energetic and effective young big man on either team. He outscored the All-Star Towns 20-3 before the break and out rebounded him 10-5, adding two blocks and a steal to drive home the point that he’s up for this challenge all series long. “Man, Clint was all over the place, both ends of the court offensively and defensively,” Paul said. “You see him defending KAT, who’s a tough cover in the post. You know I’m low, and I weak side and I’m watching him go up for the hook, and then I’m watching Clint block it, and then he’s running. he was unbelievable tonight and we’re going to need that all season.” Capela finished his night with 24 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks while Towns didn’t crack double digits in the scoring column (eight points on 3-for-9 shooting, 12 rebounds in a team-high 40 minutes of action). Chalk it up as a lesson learned for the playoff rookie. That must-win game the Timberwolves won at home over Denver Wednesday night had all the hype and intensity of a playoff game, only it wasn’t. Thibodeau credited the Rockets’ defense, the swarming and double-teaming of Towns, for slowing the big man down. “He has to be more active,” Thibodeau said, before praising the Rockets for perhaps their most underrated trait this season: The ability to lock down defensively. “They’re good, they’re very good. They’re tied together, they do a lot of switching and after the switch they read the ball extremely well. They react, they swarm, and so you have ti make good decisions, you have to make good plays. You have to have the ability to read and react.” Funny, that’s what the Rockets’ best player does perhaps as well as any other player in the league right now. Harden reads and reacts accordingly, always seemingly coming up with the right play at the right time. That’s how you know he’s in the moment right now, as are the rest of the Rockets. No matter how many times and how many different ways anyone tries to deflect attention from the obvious, they comprehend every bit of what lies ahead for a team riding into the postseason on the strength of a 65-win regular season that saw them run away from the competition. They wouldn’t have souls if they didn’t. They wouldn’t be human if they hadn’t already calculated the weight of the best regular season in franchise history times a wide-open postseason equaling something that’s never been done here, which says a lot for a franchise that has two Larry O’Brien trophies to show off. They know how important each and every step on this current journey is, starting with Sunday night’s very first choppy ones. Any suggestion to the contrary is, shall we say, a distant cousin of the truth. But we’ll play along for now, at the beginning. Sekou Smith is a veteran NBA reporter and NBA TV analyst. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 16th, 2018

Warriors keep evolving in rivalry with Cavs

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com CLEVELAND -- You might expect, given the familiarity from what’s gone on for four years now, that the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers have worked up some serious mutual contempt. They both covet what the other wants -- in fact, the Warriors or the Cavs could make a persuasive case that, if not for the other guys, one already would have notched a three-peat and be chasing Bill Russell’s Celtics in pursuit of a fourth consecutive championship. They both have poured buckets of blood, sweat, tears, money, Gatorade and offseason counter moves into their nouveau NBA rivalry. And they both, well, as Golden State coach Steve Kerr phrased it to the San Jose Mercury News Sunday (Monday, PHL time), “We just want to kick each other’s ass.” And yet the Warriors and the Cavaliers -- who play again Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) at Quicken Loans Arena in the NBA’s prime-time MLK showdown -- have more in common with each other than they do with any of the league’s other 28 teams. Playing 100 games or so every year. Locking in mentally and surviving physically longer than anyone else. Showing up each night targeted as a measuring stick, even a season maker, by the opponents. While trying like heck to keep things fresh. Renew. Find and tap into a new source of energy, because old ones wane over time. “It’s the biggest challenge of this whole season,” Kerr told NBA.com late last week, with the Warriors starting a back-to-back in Milwaukee and Toronto on their way back to The Land. Even if it were possible -- and it realistically is not, given free agency, injuries, trades, the salary cap, luxury taxes, hirings and firings each NBA offseason -- playing a pat hand from one championship-level season to the next isn’t desirable. Voices, locker rooms, relationships get stale. Rivals adjust and escalate in the arms race. Some players ebb in the pecking order, others flow. It’s important to inject new faces, add skills and even find fresh themes to fend off monotony, even boredom, through the 82-game slogs. The Warriors, in winning 20 of 23 games over the past seven weeks, largely have managed to do that. The Cavaliers, at 26-15 after 2-7 stretch that started at Golden State on Christmas (Dec. 26, PHL time)? Not so much. Golden State shifts gears after each season It’s easy to think of Golden State’s success since Kerr’s hiring before the 2014-15 season as one uninterrupted run of excellence. Three-pointers, “death lineups,” and the rest. But the differences from one year to the next have been fairly pronounced. “In Year 1, we were trying to prove ourselves to the world,” Kerr said. “Then we win the championship -- it was all so fresh. There were no letdowns at all that year. It was the most exciting, it was the most energized, it was the most refreshing. It was brand new to all of us. It felt like we were riding this wave all year -- we were all giddy, like, ‘Oh my God, we’re really good!’ We didn’t know we could be like that. And for me, it was my first year coaching.” Steph Curry won his first MVP award. He and Klay Thompson generated considerable conversation about the best shooting backcourts in league history. Draymond Green forever changed the old NBA notion of “’tweeners.” The Warriors finished 67-15, ranked second in the league in offense (111.6) and first in defense (101.4) and beat Cleveland in the Finals in six games. “It was maybe like the first stages when you fall in love,” Kerr said. “You’re just on Cloud 9 and she can’t do anything wrong. There’s infatuation and then you truly fall in love, and it’s amazing. “The second year, we sort of rode that wave of euphoria of being the best team in the league and having won the title. The next thing you know, we’re 24-0 and we’ve got a chance to set an all-time record. That 73-win mark carried us all year. We were going to prove that, not only were we the champs but we were one of the best teams ever.” The Warriors were -- by regular season standards. Curry won his second MVP award. Kerr missed the first 43 games due to health issues but assistant coach Luke Walton steered them to a 39-4 mark. They bought into the chase for 73 victories fairly late, but instead of a 16-5 playoff run like the previous spring’s, the Warriors went 15-9 -- coming up one victory short when the Cavaliers became the first team to claw back from a 3-1 deficit. That led directly to Golden State’s next new wrinkle, a reconfiguration that came close to buckling the league’s knees. “We got KD,” Kerr said. “Now we’re changing our team, right? Last year was about incorporating KD, welcoming this incredible player into our organization and our roster. Figuring how to do it, how we were going to adjust. I felt like there were times last year that were tiring, where our guys were done a little bit. But it was ‘new’ again.” Even the challenges were fresh, like counting Curry’s or Klay Thompson’s touches relative to Durant’s or closing ranks around Golden State’s thin man as his reputation took blows for the first time in his NBA career. Not interested in shooting for 74 victories, the Warriors simply took care of business and stayed coiled for the postseason. Then it was a 16-1 dash to title No. 2, Durant snagging the Finals MVP trophy after the five-game dispatching of the Cavs. All of which just set the Warriors’ bar higher, requiring them to search for something new, somebody borrowed, presumably nothing blue. “This year it’s just survive and advance,” Kerr said. “It’s ‘let’s get to April, May, June in one piece.’ There’s a reason we’ve lost six home games already. We don’t have the driving force that we had the last few years. We’re dealing with what any team in NBA history that’s tried to do this has dealt with. The Lakers (1982-85), the Celtics (1984-87, 1957-66)... It’s just really hard and you need that driving force.” Said Warriors vet Andre Iguodala: “Your body is mindful of it, because it hurts.” A couple of young guys -- Patrick McCaw, Kevon Looney -- have taken on bigger roles. Nick Young brings some sort of buzz into any locker room that will have him. Still, as veteran guard Shaun Livingston said: “We’re not chasing any records. We’re not adding another All Star. We’re just trying to make it through the marathon.” Cavs' challenges mount during 2017-18 The Cavaliers are just trying to make it through the marathon, too. But if they could, they might do it like Rosie Ruiz, the 1980 women’s “winner” of the Boston Marathon who perpetrated a hoax by hopping the subway and running only the final mile of Beantown’s famous race. The 2017-18 has been anything but fun for Cleveland so far. It began with the departure of All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, a not-so-funhouse mirror image of Durant’s arrival a year earlier in the Bay Area. Irving, for reasons still not quite explained, made it known in the offseason that he wanted out. He wanted to be the man on his own team. Or he didn’t want to be left in the lurch if (when?) LeBron James took his talents elsewhere again. Or both. Or neither. Regardless, once the Cavaliers made his request come true by dealing him to Boston for All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas and Brooklyn’s coveted first-round pick this June, their task got tougher and their season longer. Losing one of the league’s best ball handlers and shot makers doesn’t qualify as “renewal” any more than what went on in Oklahoma City when Durant packed up. There’s been more. Shooting guard J.R. Smith seemingly got old overnight. Jae Crowder, who came from the Celtics in the Irving deal, hasn’t meshed with the Cavs’ style. Kevin Love has been moved to center but hasn’t done anything to satisfy the Cavs’ need for rim protection. Thomas only returned to action from a hip injury as the calendar turned to 2018 and has played only four games in these two weeks. Even with so many new faces -- seven of the top 12 in coach Tyronn Lue’s rotation weren’t here 12 months ago -- it’s a group heavy on veterans, players a little too established or mature to naturally instill raw energy. James said recently that none of this is new, it’s another case of the Cavs biding their time for the “second” season that means everything. But Lue also introduced the topic of “agendas,” suggesting that some of his guys were looking out for their own responsibilities and performances -- particularly on defense -- rather than the group’s. At best, this is another dose of the midseason blahs, the Cavs in their doldrums in need of an All-Star break. At worst, though, they might be honing some bad habits that won’t be so easy to break in May or June. Especially if East rivals such as Toronto, Boston or Washington are emboldened after witnessing or administering some of the Cavs’ more embarrassing beat downs this season. Will any of this matter come spring? It will if the switch each team is minding stubbornly decides not to flip. “That’s the key. You’ve got to find that balance,” Kerr said. “Are you flipping the switch or are you navigating? The idea is, don’t let bad habits slip in. Right now, this moment, we’re into some bad habits. Our defensive efforts  the last five, six games [before the weekend] were awful. We got away with it because Steph was going nuts.” The Cavaliers repeatedly have not gotten away with bad defensive habits, even on nights when James has been dominant. “It’s tough,” Livingston said. “They’re a team that’s built for the playoffs. But our core guys still are in there prime. Their core guys are still good. But we’re talking about ‘prime.’” Most still would pick both Golden State and Cleveland to advance all the way to a “Finals Four” (after last year’s “Rubber Match” series). But one of these years, most will be wrong -- about one or both. That alone might be motivation enough. 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 NewsJan 15th, 2018

It took literally a minute to book Askren versus Aoki superfight

On Friday night, fans at the Singapore Indoor Stadium will have the fortune of witnessing two legends in the sport of mixed martial arts collide when Ben Askren meets Shinya Aoki for the ONE welterweight world championship.  At 17-0 in his professional career and with two lengthy world championship runs under his belt, Askren will be taking to the cage one last time.  Standing opposite him will be former long-time ONE lightweight world champion Aoki, who's already considered a legend in the sport because of his deadly submission skills.  This is a superfight in every sense of the world.  A fight of this magnitude, one would assume, would have taken weeks, probably even months to book, given that they both represent EVOLVE MMA, and that Aoki would have to move up in weight, right?  Not quite.  According to ONE Championship chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong, the Askren-Aoki superfight was booked in 'literally a minute'.  "You know how long it took me to get this fight together? It took me literally one minute." Sityodtong told the media present at the ONE: Immortal Pursuit pre-fight press conference at the Marina Bay Sands.  "I was messaging Ben, Ben said ‘Chatri, I want to have my retirement bout.’ I was like ‘Wow, really?’" Sityodtong continued, saying that Askren wanted 'the biggest name possible'. When offered to fight Aoki, Askren's response was quick and simple.  "Yeah, let’s do it." As for Aoki's side, accepting to fight Askren was easy as well, said Sityodtong.  For the ONE boss, this was a perfect example of the true spirit of martial arts. No need for trash talk, no need for drama. It was simply two warriors wanting to test themselves against each other.  "This is martial arts, right? It’s not about beating each other up, these guys wanted to prove to themselves that their life journey of being martial artists, they wanted to be the best versions of themselves, and they wanna test themselves against the best." Friday night, MMA fans in Singapore and all over the world will get to see two of the best ever, test themselves against each other.    Legends collide as Ben Askren defends his ONE welterweight championship against former ONE lightweight champion Shinya Aoki at ONE: Immortal Pursuit.  Catch the exciting MMA action LIVE on Friday, November 24th, 8:30 PM on S+A channel 23!   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 22nd, 2017

Foregoing PBA Draft all worth it for UAAP 81 Finals-bound Desiderio

Paul Desiderio is playing his last year for the University of the Philippines in the UAAP Season 81 Men’s Basketball Tournament. A year from now, the top gun of the Fighting Maroons may very well be seeing action in the PBA – as a surefire first round draft pick, no less. That’s not happening just yet, however, as Desiderio has led State U into the Finals with games scheduled for December 1 and December 5 as well as December 8, if necessary. The deadline for applications in the 2018 PBA Draft? December 3. “Wala. ‘Di aabot,” he candidly told reporters after shooting his squad over Adamson on Wednesday and into the championship round. Desiderio isn’t sweating at all, however, as he has no regrets in leading UP in continuing to make history. “Actually, gusto ko nan gang magpa-draft kaso ‘di ako aabot sa deadline,” he said. He then continued, “Okay na okay lang din naman kasi ang tagal-tagal na ‘tong inantay ng UP community.” After all, sacrifice has been the signature of the Fighting Maroons in the season – sacrifice best encapsulated by their new mantra of “16 Strong.” Of course, it was the skipper himself who came up with the mantra. “Sobrang proud ako sa ginawa naming ’16 Strong.’ Ako talaga, sinacrifice ko lahat, pero para sa UP lahat ng sakripisyong ‘to,” he shared. Indeed, throughout the tournament, Desiderio has allowed Nigerian transferee Bright Akhuetie and second-year stud Juan Gomez de Liano to shine under the spotlight. And yet, whenever it matters most for the Fighting Maroons, it’s their graduating captain who has the ball. That’s the way it should be for Desiderio who will live on in history as the player who guaranteed all of this for State U. What did he say then? “Atin ‘to, papasok ‘to.” --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 28th, 2018

& lsquo;Saxophone Idols Live in Action& rsquo; at Music Museum

& lsquo;Saxophone Idols Live in Action& rsquo; at Music Museum.....»»

Category: entertainmentSource:  thestandardRelated NewsNov 19th, 2018

How could La Salle still make the UAAP 81 Final Four?

De La Salle University assured itself of at least a playoff for a Final Four berth in UAAP 81 last Wednesday. A week later, however, they are in danger of missing the playoffs entirely. Losing by double-digits to the University of the Philippines on Wednesday at the MOA Arena, the Green Archers ended the elimination round at 8-6. Technically, they are tied with the Fighting Maroons in the standings and Far Eastern University still has a chance to join them there if it downs Adamson University on Sunday. In case of that three-way tie, though, UP has the highest quotient among the three teams and has therefore taken the third-seed. Meaning, La Salle and FEU will have to figure in a playoff for the fourth and final playoff berth in such scenario. That is if, and only if, the Tamaraws triumph over the already second-seed Soaring Falcons. Whatever it is, it’s safe to say that the Taft-based team has no idea what will happen in the coming four days. Nonetheless, whether there will be a knockout bout with FEU or not, head coach Louie Gonzalez isn’t sweating. “Sa akin, ‘di naman problema yung kalaban,” he told reporters after their loss to the Fighting Maroons – their second straight to end the eliminations. He then continued, “Ang problema sa ngayon, yung team ko e. Yung integration namin.” Coach Louie was talking about the chemistry his wards will have to work on with returning reinforcement Taane Samuel. As he put it, “Kahit na wala kaming (reinforcement), nagko-compete yung team ko. Dapat ngayong may (reinformcent) na ako, dapat mas lumakas.” He then continued, “Kailangan naming ma-integrate si Taane and use it to our advantage, not to our disadvantage. Once naglalaro siya, dapat mas lumalakas kami.” Samuel missed 12 games of the season due to a Jones fracture on his left foot. He was back in action for the green and white up against archrival Ateneo de Manila University and then versus the Fighting Maroons – both matchups ending in losses. “The four guys around him need to figure out also kung ano yung adjustment,” coach Louie said. The good news is that he and his wards have more than enough time to figure things out. The possible playoff between La Salle and FEU is scheduled next Wednesday. And if the Tamaraws lose, they will have even more time to figure things out as by then, they will be the fourth-seed and will take on the top-seed Blue Eagles the Saturday after next. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 14th, 2018

PVL: I don’t care –- Almadro on bashers

Ateneo-Motolite head coach Oliver Almadro isn’t bothered with the flak he received from fans on social media after giving Deanna Wong a tongue-lashing Saturday in a straight sets loss to BanKo in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Open Conference. “I don’t care!” Almadro quickly answered even before reporters could finish their question about him trending on social media as he entered the pressroom for a post-game interview Sunday. Twitter went abuzz Saturday night following a clip during Ateneo-Motolite’s timeout where the very animated Almadro lashed out at Wong as the Lady Eagles trailed the Perlas Spikers, 7-11, in the third set with BanKo controlling the match, 2-0. Grabe naman. pic.twitter.com/H3CtjifrnI — PINOY BALIBOLISTA (@pinoybalibol) November 10, 2018 Fans went to social media to express their criticisms on Almadro. But the mentor, who steered the Blue Eagles to three straight UAAP titles, just brushed everything off.      “Few people don’t matter for me, what’s important for me is I use them as our strength,” said Almadro, whose squad recovered from a 24-26, 22-25, 16-25 loss to the Perlas Spikers with a 25-23, 16-25, 25-14, 25-20 win over Adamson-Akari. “I use them as a creative criticism for me and of course I don’t put energy in the things I don’t have control rather I put all my energy at things I have control, which is my team so yun ang importante.” Almadro said that even before the game his team was already dealing with off-court issues. “Natatawa ako kasi hindi naman nila alam ‘yung problema namin e, we have internal problems prior to the match medyo pagod kasi kami. Maraming players ang hindi dapat a-attend yesterday because of biglaang ‘Binhi’ it’s a school activity so talaga three players, four players will not come yesterday so everybody’s bothered,” he explained. “So they don’t know Deanna is bothered, everybody’s bothered pero good thing, Ateneo community, Ateneo professors, Binhi for mentors are really supporting the program so they opted to finish the Binhi earlier so nakapunta lahat pero of course bothered.” The mentor admitted that he took some time reading the fans’ reactions but kept firm on his action to discipline the UAAP Season 80 Best Setter.    “I read all of that but what matters for me sabi ko nga I will sacrifice my kindness so that my players will know what is right or wrong because life is cruel if you will just be kind all the time, they will not understand what is right or wrong,” he said. “As a parent sometimes I have to sacrifice kindness because life is cruel in the end because they have to know is right or wrong.” He scolded Wong, Almadro added, so that the playmaker will know her mistakes for her to address it. Wong only had 13 excellent sets out of 64 attempts against BanKo with five markers and seven digs. To make amends for her subpar performance, Wong tallied 28 excellent sets with four markers against the Lady Falcons. “Now Deanna is in the right position now. Deanna is gambling with the set now. We are receiving right today, so ibig sabihin we learned yesterday,” Almadro pointed out. Upon learning about the bashing he received, Wong apologized to Almadro, who then told his ward not to worry about it. “Deanna cried to me ‘coach sorry’. Bakit ka magso-sorry? It's my job,” he said. “And it’s your job to play now what's important is kaya mong bitbitin yun kaya mong dalhin.” “And what did she do now? She played well, it’s because hindi kami nagpapa-bother sa mga nandiyan. What’s important for us are those who believe in us, those who fight for us win or lose,” Almadro added. “I will always reiterate to my players right motivation, right motivation every time because ‘pag pinasukan ng wrong motivation ang utak mawawala sa pwesto, hindi kikilos. It’s because walang meaning sa ginagawa so kailangan talaga right motivation.” Almadro still gave some kind words to his bashers.   “Those who do not support us when we lose, it’s okay with us. We still pray for them,” he said.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 11th, 2018

Non-stop action in & lsquo;Hunter Killer& rsquo;

Non-stop action in & lsquo;Hunter Killer& rsquo;.....»»

Category: entertainmentSource:  thestandardRelated NewsNov 2nd, 2018

BLOGTABLE: What s the secret behind Warriors hot start?

NBA.com blogtable The 7-1 Warriors seem refreshed and rejuvenated, more so than they were at this time last season. What can you attribute to this near-perfect start? * * * Steve Aschburner: How ‘bout a sense of gratitude and the realization that this incredible experience they’re all enjoying isn’t going to last forever? It’d be nice to think the Warriors all realize their specialness is temporary and inevitably will end, either fractiously or through sports’ natural life cycle. These teams that think the expectations and pressure to win represents some sort of burden, well, they haven’t lost in a while and have forgotten what that is like. My sense is Golden State went through the anticipated, earthly challenges of managing their collective greatness and has come out the other side, where they get to enjoy this until, one day, it ends. Because it always ends (aside from Gregg Popovich’s obvious deal with the devil). Shaun Powell: Perhaps deep down, the Warriors realize that there's a decent possibility of change next summer so they're showing a sense of purpose a little earlier than usual. Or maybe the boredom stretch is right around the corner. Also: They're getting a kick out of taking turns lighting up the league. First Steph, then KD, then Klay, each trying to one-up the other. All in fun, of course (at least for the Warriors). John Schuhmann: Talent, of course. At times this season, the Warriors haven't looked that sharp, but Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant have the ability to make something out of nothing more than anybody else in the league. They would have lost in Utah had Durant not kept them close in the first half with his unparalleled ability to simply get buckets. Still, they are defending better than they did last season, when they ranked 28th defensively in October. There's an understanding that they let things slip a little too much last season and Draymond Green said earlier this month that, with the departures of their veteran bigs, there's more to "make work" this year. At the same time, this group knows who they are and how to win. Sekou Smith: Superior talent and exquisite team chemistry make it much easier for the Warriors to flip the switch and remember that they are the universe's best basketball outfit. The moves made around them, however, served as the perfect reminder to coach Steve Kerr's crew that their margin for error isn't as great as it should be. They had to dig out a Game 7 win on the road in the Western Conference finals last season to collect that second straight title and third in the last four seasons. That danger was real. The Warriors don't look like a team interested in testing that fate again. They recognize the importance of controlling their own destiny in their chase for another ring. When you have the firepower they possess in Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, why not let it loose as early and often as possible, just so there is no doubt as to who is running the league right now. This hot start is a reminder that the dynasty will not slow down anytime soon (at least until there is another parade in Oakland)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 1st, 2018

Iba ang ambience and level -- Espejo on playing in Japan

Marck Espejo is having the best time of his volleyball career playing for Oita Miyoshi in the Japan V. Premier League. Despite falling short in his first two outings, the Ateneo de Manila University product made his presence felt in the top tier league in one of Asia’s volleyball giants.  “Sobrang saya siyempre pero mahirap din, first international club league ko,” said Espejo in an interview coursed through Virtual Playground volleyball talent head Mark Salamat. The five-time UAAP Most Valuable Player and three-time UAAP champion welcomes the big challenge of playing against the best players and teams in Japan.   “Sobrang iba yung ambience and level nu’ng league if i-compare sa Philippines,” said Espejo, who was feted as the first-ever Philippine Sportswriters Association’s Mr. Volleyball. Espejo debuted with 16 points off 12 kills and four kill blocks in the Weisse Adler’s 15-25, 20-25, 19-25, to Toray Arrows last Saturday. Oita Miyoshi dropped its second game the following day to the Nagano Tridents, 25-21, 25-23, 25-21. Playing for a full season abroad, Espejo admitted that it takes a little time for him to fully adjust not only in the level of play but also with the culture. “Sa pag-adjust naman siyempre mahirap sa start pero kung gusto mo naman ginagawa mo makaka-adjust ka naman kaagad di ba?” he said. “Masaya and very approachable ang team.” Back in the Philippines, his former Ateneo head coach Oliver Almadro has nothing but praises to his protégé from Marikina.  “Dumating man sa kanya ‘to, we’re very proud of him. Goosebumps kami sa ginagawa niya,” he said. “Inspiration ng women’s team ko si Marck Espejo,” added Almadro, who is now calling the shot for the Lady Eagles. “We’re watching his highlights, we’re watching his videos.” “Marck you’re doing a good job and we’re proud of you.” Espejo and Oita Miyoshi will march into action on Saturday against the Toyota Gosei Trefuerza, on the same day sisters Jaja Santiago and Dindin Santiago-Manabat will make their debut in the women’s division for Ageo Medics and Toray Arrows, respectively.     ---  Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 30th, 2018

PVL: Lady Eagles stomp class over Lady Warriors

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 27th, 2018

UAAP: In SJ Belangel, the next man up just keeps coming for Ateneo

SJ Belangel was a one-time champion and two-time Mythical selection when he played for Ateneo de Manila High School in the UAAP Juniors. After a stellar stint in the high school ranks, Belangel only decided to stay and committed to the Ateneo Seniors squad. This, even though Gilas cadet Matt Nieto and one-time Xavier School standout Tyler Tio were well entrenched ahead of him in the depth chart. For the 6-foot court general, it was all about believing that patience is a virtue. “You just have to be ready palagi, yun lang iniisip ko. Kahit ilang minutes ibigay sa akin, everybody just needs to step up,” he said. After nine games, his per game counts have been far from what he has been used to at just 2.4 points in nine minutes of play. With Nieto sitting out his fourth game in a row on Sunday, however, Belangel found an opening to break through. “Kung ano lang matutulong ko sa team, yun lang ipo-produce ko. Kuya Ty needs a backup so ginrab ko lang yung opportunity,” he said. He did just that, turning in much-welcome contributions of a career-high 11 points to go along with three assists, and two rebounds. More than doing it for himself, though, the 19-year-old made it clear that all he did was for his veterans. “Wala si Kuya Matt so kailangan ko talagang mag-double time. Si Kuya Ty, kailangan na ‘di siya napapagod so palagi lang talaga akong ready,” he said. He then continued, “Luckily, I had a chance to get a career-high.” In the end, just as he did it for Nieto and Tio, Belangel’s breakthrough was also helped by those two. Asked what his veterans have been teaching him, he answered, “Be who you are lang. Palagi nilang sinasabi sa akin na laruin mo lang laro mo.” Now, whenever Nieto gets back to action, he will have a Tio who has broken through as well as a Belangel who has broken through backstopping him. Talk about an embarrassment of riches for the defending champions. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 27th, 2018

NCAA: With JP Calvo at full strength, would LPU have beaten Letran?

Colegio de San Juan de Letran’s return to the playoffs lasted one game. Unable to keep up with Lyceum of the Philippines University on Friday, the Knights were quickly dispatched just in their first Final Four game since their 2015 championship. Of course, head coach Jeff Napa did nothing but give credit to the Pirates. “Give credit sa Lyceum kasi they gave their best. Kami, medyo nagmalamya kami pumasok,” he told reporters after they were beaten down by 24 points, 85-109. He, however, also added, “Mabigat din kasi yung pagka-down ni Toto e. Dun kami nagkaroon ng problema. Yun yung naging story of the game – we lost our point guard.” Coach Jeff was referring to JP Calvo who suffered an apparent left leg injury early in the third quarter. LPU only exploited his absence and put their opponents inside a pressure cooker and went on a 15-0 tear to turn a one-point deficit into a 70-56 advantage. In the eyes of the Letran head coach, that was the turning point of the game. “Nakakuha na ng kumpyansa yung mga bata nun e. Yung momentum na hinahanap namin, nandun na tapos biglang may nangyaring aksidente na ‘di naman sadya,” he said. Indeed, they were dominated by a score of 38-58 with their court general out of action. And while Calvo was willing to play through the injury, his mentor was not risking doing more damage to his left leg. “Pinu-push niya sarili niya, pero ayaw rin naman naming i-abrupt (end) yung career ni JP dahil actually, siya yung pinakamagaling na point guard ngayon kahit UAAP (or NCAA),” coach Jeff shared. He then continued, “Ayokong sirain yung career niya ngayon. Malaki pa (chance) ni JP sa PBA.” Indeed, the graduating guard only understood their head coach. “Kung ako ang tatanungin, maglalaro pa talaga ako para sa Letran lalo na last year ko na ‘to e. Wala na akong next year pa,” he said. He then continued, “Pero sinabihan ako ni coach Jeff na wag ko na pilitin so tinanggap ko na lang.” And so, Calvo’s last game in blue and red was far from his best – with just nine points in just 19 minutes of play. Now, all he could do is make sure his now-substitutes and future-replacements will do much better than they did on this day. “Sa mga kapalitan ko, sina Fran Yu, [Jason] Celis, [Bonbon] Batiller, sinasabihan ko sila na dapat, wag mag-relax at kung anong dapat nilang i-improve, i-improve nila. Yun ang key sa isang player e,” he said. For his part, coach Jeff also said he will do his all to make sure the point guards he has left will be better prepared without Calvo. “Siguro, kasalanan ko na ‘di ko sila na-ready sa ganung situation, pero nandun na, wala na tayong magagawa. It’s a matter of kailangan kong paghandaan pa siguro,” he said. He then continued, “Siguro, kaya ‘di ako pinalad at saka yung team kasi kailangang magsumikap pa talaga kami.” --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 26th, 2018

PVL: Valdez not closing doors on politics

Alyssa Valdez could be looking at running for public position in the future. With the local elections just a few months away and following volleyball legend Leila Barros being elected as a senator in Brazil, Valdez said that she’s ‘not closing her doors’ to politics.      In fact, she and some local volleyball stars are now in the process of conceptualizing a partylist that aim to promote the welfare of Filipino athletes and nation building through sports.     “You know honestly kami talaga nina Ate Cha (Soriano), mga teammates ko from Ateneo, we really wanted to (form) a partylist,” said the Creamline power hitter. “Gusto talaga namin ang ibang tao na mag-support talaga sa sports. ‘Yun pa lang parang may concept na.” A representation in the House of Representatives, according to Valdez, will give athletes a voice in the government.  “We really wanted to help not just volleyball, siyempre we want the support talaga sa lahat ng sports,” added the three-time UAAP Most Valuable Player.  “Lalo na ako na nakikita ko whenever I go out of the country like Asian Games grabe talaga ang support ng bawat country na nakakalaban namin. So I wanted also na ganoon ang mangyari sa Philippines,” added the national team member.  However, the possibility of running for a position could take a few more years to materialize as Valdez is still enjoying her peak in the sport.  "We are trying to conceptualize pa lang naman,” explained Valdez. “We’re serious but as of now marami pa rin naman nangyayari sa amin sa volleyball kung na-settle muna lahat, so why not di ba?”     Barros a hero Barros endeared herself among the Filipino fans when the talented Brazilian opposite spiker strutted her wares during the country’s hosting of the FIVB Grand Prix in the late 90s early 2000s. With her charm, beauty and incredible power and skill, the 5-foot-10 hitter received a rock star status among adoring fans and became a hero among local volleyball players including most of the country’s stars today. One of them is Valdez.      “Leila Barros siguro is one of the heroes of Philippine volleyball. Isa siya sa talagan hinangaan ng lahat ng tao that’s why we’re all here,” said Valdez, who was just eight years old when Barros last saw action in the country during the 2000 World Grand Prix. “As a volleyball player I’m just really proud na may someone na very strong and brave enough to face another chapter of her life,” she added. Valdez herself has been actively doing civic works through her clinics and support to other foundations.  And her following Barros’ footsteps in public service is not far-fetched. "Siguro hindi naman sa ayaw kong magsalita ng tapos, mga councilor muna, hindi just kidding,” she said. “I really want to help not just volleyball in general but siguro sa nakukuha kong responsibility ko ay hindi lang din naman nali-limit sa volleyball. “Siyempre kailangan mo rin namang maka-experience ng mas madami, si Leila Barros nga ilang taon na rin naman then dun lang din nya na-realize na she’s ready to serve,” Valdez continued. “Hindi naman sa hinihintay ko siguro darating naman ang point na may mag-snap dyan na ‘you really have to serve (the country) after na lang ng volleyball siguro." “I’m not closing my doors but im really happy to help anyone din naman so who knows,” she said.       --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 15th, 2018

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

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 15th, 2018

Nevada regulator suspends Khabib, McGregor for UFC brawl

By Ken Ritter, Associated Press LAS VEGAS (AP) — UFC fighters Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor are being suspended by the Nevada Athletic Commission for a brawl that erupted inside and outside the octagon after their lightweight title fight last weekend in Las Vegas, an official said. Letters were sent Wednesday informing both mixed martial arts fighters that they will be suspended for at least 10 days effective Oct. 15, commission executive Bob Bennett said Thursday. A commission investigation is pending and the panel can extend the temporary suspension when it meets Oct. 24, Bennett said. Nurmagomedov and McGregor could also appeal Bennett's executive action at that time. Nurmagomedov, who was praised by Russian President Vladimir Putin during a meeting Wednesday in Moscow, responded with an angry Instagram post saying he was being unfairly punished.         View this post on Instagram                   I would like to address @ufc Why didn't you fire anyone when their team attacked the bus and injured a couple of people? They could have killed someone there, why no one says anything about insulting my homeland, religion, nation, family? Why do you have to punish my team, when both teams fought. If you say that I started it, then I do not agree, I finished what he had started. In any case, punish me, @zubairatukhugov has nothing to do with that. If you think that I’ll keep silent then you are mistaken. You canceled Zubaira’s fight and you want to dismiss him just because he hit Conor. But don’t forget that it was Conor who had hit my another Brother FIRST, just check the video. if you decide to fire him, you should know that you’ll lose me too. We never give up on our brothers in Russia and I will go to the end for my Brother. If you still decide to fire him, don’t forget to send me my broken contract, otherwise I'll break it myself. And one more thing, you can keep my money that you are withholding. You are pretty busy with that, I hope it won’t get stuck in your throat. We have defended our honor and this is the most important thing. We intend to go to the end. #Brothers A post shared by Khabib Nurmagomedov (@khabib_nurmagomedov) on Oct 11, 2018 at 6:32am PDT The fighter complained that discipline didn't follow an incident last April in Brooklyn, New York, when McGregor shattered windows of Nurmagomedov's bus with a hand truck after Nurmagomedov confronted one of McGregor's teammates days earlier. "They could have killed someone there, why no one says anything about insulting my homeland, religion, nation, family?" Nurmagomedov posted. "We have defended our honor and this is the most important thing. We intend to go to the end." McGregor's manager, Audie Attar at Paradigm Sports Management, said he was confident the investigation will clear McGregor. "It will be clear who and where the blame lies," Attar said in a statement. "We are focused on the future." Nurmagomedov's manager, Ali Abdelaziz at Dominance MMA Management, did not immediately respond to emails. Abdelaziz's telephone was not accepting messages. However, Fighting erupted outside the octagon late Saturday, after McGregor (21-4) tapped out during a chokehold by Nurmagomedov (27-0) in the fourth round of UFC 229 at T-Mobile Arena. The Russian champion from Dagestan then stepped away from McGregor, climbed over the cage and scuffled with a fighter in the Irishman's corner. Members of Nurmagomedov's entourage climbed into the octagon and attacked McGregor, and McGregor also tried to climb out of the cage during the brawl. Nurmagomedov's $2 million for the fight has been withheld by the commission pending the outcome of the investigation, Bennett said. McGregor received his $3 million purse. "You can keep my money that you are withholding," Nurmagomedov posted. "I hope it won't get stuck in your throat." UFC President Dana White said three members of Nurmagomedov's camp were detained by police but released because McGregor refused to press criminal charges. White said the UFC might strip the lightweight title from Nurmagomedov......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 11th, 2018

Jr. Altas now featuring their new super scorer in Emman Galman

After a 3-0 start in the NCAA 94 Juniors Basketball Tournament, University of Perpetual Help lost nine of its next 11 games. Still, they remain in contention after a much-needed victory versus San Sebastian College-Recoletos on Thursday. That wouldn’t have been so, however, if not for the efforts of rookie Emman Galman who scattered a career-best 30 points. “Ni-motivate lang po ako ni coach na tumira lang nang tumira,” he said about his breakout game. All throughout, Galman showcased all of his scoring skills – drilling threes, doing damage inside, and going to the line and converting his chances there. A long-limbed, 6-foot-2 swingman, he is now taking full advantage of all the chances granted to him – especially as he has now been thrust into the spotlight following the forcing out of former main man Joshua Gallano. “Mahirap din po nung nawala sila, pero unti-unti, naka-adjust din po ako, naka-adjust din po kami,” he shared. Gallano had per game counts of 15.3 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 1.7 assists in 29.2 minutes of action before being let go due to a disciplinary action. From there, the Junior Altas put the scoring load on the shoulders of 16-year-old Galman – a responsibility he only welcomed with open arms. “Kailangan po naming mag-step up. Kailangan po naming magtiwala pa rin sa isa’t-isa,” he said. After all, it wasn’t that too long ago when he was far from the NCAA – and therefore, far from his dream. Galman was just a tantalizing talent playing in the Central Luzon Regional Athletic Association (CLARAA) when Perps assistant coach Ferdinand Ali-Ali found him and offered him a roster spot. The Bulacan native did nothing but grab the opportunity – not only for himself, but also for his family. As he put it, “Gusto ko rin po kasi matupad pangarap ko tsaka makatulong sa pamilya ko balang-araw. Mahirap lang yung buhay namin dun (sa Bulacan) – driver papa ko at housewife mama ko.” He then continued, “Nagba-basketball pa nga po ako para magkapera lang at makatulong sa mama ko.” Now, Galman is shining bright under the bright lights and on the big stage of the NCAA. And while he and Perpetual only have a boxer’s chance at the next round, he has vowed to just keep going. “Tuloy-tuloy na po ‘to,” he remarked. Even better for Las Pinas? That statement may be not just for this season, but also for the next two seasons he is still eligible to play. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 4th, 2018

Bigger, better & lsquo;The Score& rsquo; on ABS-CBN& rsquo;s Sports+Action

Bigger, better & lsquo;The Score& rsquo; on ABS-CBN& rsquo;s Sports+Action.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsSep 28th, 2018