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Action meets comedy on & lsquo;Switch& rsquo;

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

Category: entertainmentSource: thestandard thestandardOct 11th, 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

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

PVL: Nakaka-proud siya -- Myla Pablo on sister Marites

Pocari Sweat-Air Force top hitter Myla Pablo has nothing but praises for her sister PetroGazz new recruit Marites after the siblings’ first encounter in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Open Conference. “Nakaka-proud, sobra kasi first time ko siya makalaban sa PVL, professional league nga,” said Pablo of her young sister Wednesday night as the Lady Warriors notched its first win in two matches in the season-ending tournament at the Malolos Sports and Convention Center here.     “Nakitaan ko siya ng potential sa loob ng court, medyo parang isa siya sa mga senior na din na nagsasalita na napapansin ko,” added Pablo. “Binibigay naman niya ‘yung best niya kaya sobrang happy ako na kahit papaano nakakatulong siya sa team niya.” But it was the two-time conference Most Valuable Player and the Lady Warriors who walked away with a hard-fought 25-20, 29-31, 25-15, 17-25, 15-5 victory. Myla Pablo registered a game-high 22 points to carry her team into the win column after a four-set defeat at the hands of Ateneo de Manila University.  The Pablo sisters last played together back in 2016 in Myla’s last year with National University in the UAAP. The following year Marites transferred to College of St. Benilde and is set to see action wearing the Lady Blazers jersey this NCAA Season 94. While Myla is vocal with her praises for her sister, Marites shares how her ‘ate’ helps her develop into a better volleyball player.  “First of all po, I always look up to her kasi magaling talaga siya tapos sobrang bait niya as a sister,” said the younger Pablo, who scored six markers. “Tapos lagi niya po akong ina-advice and ‘yung mga talagang words of wisdom niya shine-share niya sa akin.” “I’m so proud of her and sobrang exciting yung game kasi first time talaga namin naglaro na magkalaban,” added the 21-year old Marites. Myla is always generous with her advices for her sister.   “Minsan ‘pag may mga tune up games siya sinasabi niya sa akin, ‘Ate ang panget ng laro ko. Anong gagawin ko?’Tinuturuan ko naman siya na parang unang-una ‘wag siyang sisimangot sa loob ng court and then ‘yun nga bigay lang niya ‘yung best niya sa team, alam kong kailangan siya ng coach niya,” she said. “Isa siya sa mga ha-handle ng team niya so ayun sabi ko lang ibigay mo yung best mo na hanggat kaya mo.” The Pablo sisters will again meet at the court in Pocari Sweat and PetroGazz’s elimination round rematch on Nov. 7 at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 26th, 2018

PBA: Asian Games break not a factor in loss, says Rain or Shine s Caloy Garcia

Two games into the 2018 PBA Governor's Cup, the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters find themselves 0-2 in their first two games after a 92-76 loss to the Magnolia Hotshots, Wednesday evening at the Araneta Coliseum.  While all the other teams in the league already found their groove with at least four games each, the Elasto Painters had an extended break that carried over until after the Asian Games, with six of their players being called up to represent the Philippines in the month-long Asian tournament.  The ElastoPainters made their debut last Sunday with a loss to Talk N' Text.  While it would be easy to say that the Asian Games could be a reason for Rain or Shine's rocky start, head coach Caloy Garcia doesn't see it that way.  "Wala," Garcia replied when asked if there was an Asian Games hangover of sorts, "Like I said, after the Talk N’ Text game, I feel that we played well against Talk N’ Text despite the loss."  Garcia continued by saying that this was a very different team that challenged the KaTropa.  "But in today’s game, it’s a totally different team, hindi ganun ang laro namin, even in practice, I think our preparation was good, but I think we just have to learn how to play against the pressure ng defense ng kalaban because we couldn’t excute anything today. [Magnolia] did a good job. They did the better job on defense." "We just have to find ways to win." he added.  In fact, Garcia stands by the belief that his six Asiad representatives should even be stepping up more, given the fact that they saw action against some of the best basketball squads in Asia.  "Dapat nga pagbalik nila galing Asian Games, they should be performing better, better than how they’re playing right now." Looking forward, Garcia relishes the fact they they'll be having a free day on Friday to be able to fine tune the things that need to be addressed in practice.  The next assignment for Rain or Shine will be against Alaska, and Garcia knows that they'll be in for another tough night.  "It’s good that we don’t have a game on Friday, at least we have more time prepare, especially since we play against Alaska," he explained, "and we know that Alaska will pressure us the same way that Magnolia pressured us today. I think we just have to prepare for that." The rest of the season doesn't get any easier for Garcia and the ElastoPainters, but Garcia maintains that all they need to do is focusing on what they need to do to get the win.  "Okay lang ‘yun. Makakalaban mo din sila sooner or later so, I think it’s just about us coming into the game and focusing ourselves on what we have to do to win.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 26th, 2018

PBA: On bad knees and feet, Joe Devance still stood tall against San Miguel

If it weren't for the persistence of Joe Devance, Ginebra would have only Prince Caperal as their only big man. The crowd darlings had a glaring shortage of centers and power forwards. Japeth Aguilar and Greg Slaughter, the famed Ginebra twin towers, were missing in action due to injury. Jervy Cruz was also not on the active list as he continues his recovery. Palms sweating, knees weak, Joe Devance provided a huge spark for Ginebra. If it were not for his 17 points, 4 rebounds, and 7 assists, things might have gone differently for the defending champions. Devance was not really going to play, but after Aguilar went down, he came at a crossroads. "It was a few days ago, Japeth got hurt in practice. He got hurt so I was like, ‘Oh man we don’t have any bigs, it’s just Prince’ so I just tried in practice and see how I feel. I just told coach that if I can get through it, I’ll do whatever I can to get through it," the burly big man shared after the game. Facing an equally-hobbled team in San Miguel, who were without four-time reigning MVP June Mar Fajardo and Marcio Lassiter, Devance stood in awe on how his team managed to score their fourth win of the conference. "It feels good to get a win especially against San Miguel. I know they have some guys that are hurt too but, it’s pretty crazy how many injuries we have right now. I think it’s like six or seven or something like that. It’s pretty amazing with just the things we are able to do right now." Despite not having a very positive assessment of his own knees -- which he said was 60 percent fine -- Devance maintained that he will do everything just to help the team, even at the expense of his own body. At 36 years old, the number 1 pick of the 2007 PBA draft is nearing the twilight of his career, and just elects to savor every moment he can while he's playing. "I don’t know if it’s my age or what it is but, I’m just trying to hang on and just keep up with these young guys, you know. I’m still having fun, it’s just when the pain is really bad, that’s when it gets tough." "Now again, it’s kinda hard but I’m hoping I can get back to just at least playing a little bit better. But I’m just proud of the guys. It’s all about the guys stepping up and they have been."   __   Follow this writer on Twitter, @philipptionary......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 24th, 2018

ONE Championship: New dad Danny Kingad balancing life as a fighter, a father, and a student

They say that when you become a father, everything changes. Such is the case for Team Lakay flyweight start Danny Kingad. Kingad and his girlfriend Jannine welcomed a bouncing baby boy into the world last August 14th, and safe to say, it’s given the 22-year old a new source of motivation. “Parang nadoble ‘yung sipag,” Kingad shared. “Everytime na nagte-train ako, nakikita ko siya, naeexcite ako.” The timing couldn’t be more perfect, as Kingad makes his return to action at ONE Championship: Conquest of Heroes on Saturday, September 22nd in Jakarta, Indonesia against Japanese newcomer Yuya Wakamatsu. The proud new father said that even though Jannine went into labor during his fight camp, never was it a distraction from preparing for the fight, rather it served as motivation. “Hindi distraction, kundi mas namomotivate ako.” Kingad expressed. “Mas excited na ako, excited na akong lumabas ‘yung baby. Dagdag sipag sakin eh.” Kingad explains that with the birth of his son Gleuordan Adrian, he’s gotten a new outlook on life and a renewed sense of responsibility. “Oo, nagbago na lahat. Wala na yung lakwatsa. dapat andun ka palagi para sa kanya, inaalagaan mo siya, tapos ayun, pagkatapos alagaan, training.” Now, Kingad faces the challenge of juggling the life of being a father, a fighter, and for the moment, a college student. Currently a third-year Education student at the University of the Cordilleras, Kingad says he’s managing to balance all three roles in his life. “Binabalance ko,” he proudly shared. "Meron naman si mother niya na nagbabantay sa kanya pag may training ako. Pag may time ako punta ako sa kanya tapos inaalagaan ko siya.”   Catch ONE Championship: Conquest of Heroes on Saturday, September 22nd at 10:30 PM LIVE on ABS-CBN S+A channel 23!   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 21st, 2018

Q& A: Hall of Fame Bob Lanier

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com Bob Lanier turned 70 Monday, a big number for a big man. In fact, that number can be linked to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer in several ways. It was in 1970 that Lanier was the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft, selected out of St. Bonaventure by the Detroit Pistons. And it was the 70s as the decade in which Lanier excelled, earning seven of his eight All-Star appearances while averaging 22.7 points and 11.8 rebounds for the Pistons. Dinosaurs ruled the NBA landscape back then, with Lanier achieving his success against the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Walton, Dave Cowens, Willis Reed, Nate Thurmond, Elvin Hayes, Artis Gilmore and other legendary big men. Yet it was Lanier who was the MVP of the 1974 All-Star Game, who won the one-off, 32-contestant 1-on-1 championship tournament run by ABC in 1973 as part of its national broadcast schedule and who (with Walton) got name-dropped by Abdul-Jabbar in the 1980 Hollywood comedy “Airplane!” [“I'm out there busting my buns every night!” he tells a kid as “co-pilot Roger Murdock.” “Tell your old man to drag Walton and Lanier up and down the court for 48 minutes!”] Lanier’s Detroit teams never got beyond the conference semifinals, though, so in 1979-80 he asked to be traded. In February 1980, the Pistons dealt him to Milwaukee for Kent Benson and a future draft pick. With the Bucks, who averaged 59 victories in Lanier’s four full seasons there, Lanier flirted with his greatest team success, yet never reached The Finals. He was 36 when bad knees and other injuries forced him to retire. Those knees still are trouble, preventing Lanier from attending this year’s Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony -- he was elected in 1992 -- and limiting his ability to travel from his home in Arizona to catch his daughter Khalia’s volleyball games at USC. But the man nicknamed “The Dobber” was as chatty and opinionated as ever in a phone conversation last week with NBA.com: NBA.com: The league still keeps you busy, doesn’t it? Bob Lanier: Well, it did. But about 15 months ago, I had knee replacement surgery on my right leg and that is not going very well. It still aches and it gets me unbalanced. That’s what I was trying to get away from. The surgeon said mine was the most difficult one he’d ever done. I was supposed to get the left one done but I couldn’t, because the right one was bothering me so much. I can’t even stand to hit a golf ball. NBA.com: You were part of the original Stay In School initiative, if I recall correctly. BL: I was involved with a little bit of everything from the time David [Stern, longtime NBA commissioner] first called me in 1988. It started off with wanting me to do something for kids who stayed in school. We did “P-R-I-D-E,” with P for positive mental attitude, R for respect, I for intelligent choice-making, D for dreaming and setting goals, and E for effort and education. It was really amazing. The first year, we were talking about giving out 25,000 Starter jackets for kids who came to the rally. Shoot, we needed double that amount, the numbers we got. Everything is kind of under the same umbrella now with NBA Cares. Kathy Behrens [president, social responsibility and player programs] has done a wonderful job of taking this to a whole ‘nother level, her and Adam [Silver, NBA commissioner]. NBA.com: Have you ever had one of those kids whose lives you touched reach out to you years later? BL: [Laughs]. You know what, I’m laughing because you don’t expect to hear from anybody. The only time that somebody really validated something we were doing was when I wrote those books. (The “Hey, Li’l D!” series of kids books, loosely based on Lanier’s childhood adventures. Co-authored with Heather Goodyear in 2003, the Scholastic Paperbacks books still are available.) I was on a plane and one of the passengers asked me to sign the book for her, for her child. I was so taken aback by that, I was shaking while I was signing the autograph. That was really good -- I thought, maybe I did something right. NBA.com: But none of the Stay In School kids? BL: Look, in our business, in community relations and social responsibility areas, you don’t really … when you’re building houses for people, the folks who work with you side by side give you a thumbs up and say thank you before it’s over. When we do the playgrounds, we use kids in the neighborhood who are going to enjoy playing in it and having dreams -- they’re thankful. But there’s so much need out here. When you’re traveling around to different cities and different countries, you see there are so many people in dire straits that the NBA can only do so much. We make a vast, vast difference, but there’s always so much more to do. NBA.com: I know you’re not in it for the thank yous. BL: No. The only thing that stands out to me is from when I was still playing in Milwaukee and I was getting gas at a station on, I think it was Center St. A guy came up to me and said, “My dad is sick. And you’re his favorite player. Could you come up to the house and say hello to him? The house is right next door.” So I went over, I went upstairs. The guy was laying there in his bed. His son said, “This is Bob,” and he was like, “I know.” And he just had a little smile, a twinkle in his eye. And he grabbed my hand and squeezed it. And we said a little prayer. About two weeks later, his dad had died. And he left a card at the Bucks office, just saying “Thank you for making one of my dad’s final days into a good day.” NBA.com: It probably wasn’t, and isn’t, uncommon for you to be spotted out in public like that. At your size (6-foot-11, 250 pounds as a player). BL: As time passes on, people know you at first because you’re a player. Then you stop playing. And 10 years after, when a player like Shaquille O’Neal comes along, they know him and figure you must be Shaq’s dad. “You’re wearing them big shoes.” I just go along with it. “Yeah, I’m Shaq’s dad!” NBA.com: That has to sting, seeing as how Shaq took your title for the NBA’s biggest sneakers. You were famous for your size-22s. BL: Yeah, he sent me a pair one time and I think they were 23s. For some reason, I recall he would wear 23s and three pairs of socks or something instead of the 22s. NBA.com: Isn’t it sobering how quickly sports fans forget even distinctive-looking players such as yourself? BL: Absolutely correct. But that’s why we in the NBA and at the players association have to do a better job of passing down the history of our game. In a way that they’ll absorb it. Not necessarily that they’ll have to read it – it could be in a video game form, because that seems to hold interest a lot. NBA.com: You have been as busy in your post-playing career for the NBA as you ever were while playing, right? BL: I’ve really been blessed. You know this story: I started serving people with my mother [Nattie Mae] at church. Getting food to people who were sick or needy, taking it to the hospital, taking it to people’s houses or feeding them right after church. My mother was a Seventh Day Adventist and she was in the church all the time. She had me and my sister and a bunch of kids, we would all be there every Saturday. You start off doing it not only because your mother tells you to, but the food was good. Then David asked me to come help with the Stay In School, which was the start of it all. If I hadn’t graduated from college, I probably would never have gotten an opportunity to do that with the NBA. Plus, the amazing number of young people I’ve met around the country, around the world, that I think I’ve touched … some lives. I can’t say I touched everybody, but some. I always had a knack of selecting -- when I’d call up kids to help me with the presentation -- a girl or a boy who needed it. It’s amazing how many times a teacher has said to me, “You picked Joe” or “You picked Dorothy, and that’s a really difficult kid. You made them feel good.” You never let a kid fail. NBA.com: You never were a shy and retiring type. What do you think of the NBA these days? BL: I’ll tell you what, I wish that I were playing now. It’s not as physical a sport. You can do stuff anywhere in the world. You can make tons of money off the court -- I can’t imagine how much I’d make with a speaker deal and those big-ass sneakers of mine. The only thing I would not like about this era is that you’ve got to be so conscious of social media. And people taking photos of you when you don’t know they’re taking them. And having those things that zoom over your home and take pictures of your house. That part I wouldn’t like at all. NBA.com: It’s hard enough to avoid the public eye at your size. By the way, are you as tall as you used to be? BL: No, no. I remember standing next to Magic [Johnson] last year at some function we had, and I was looking at him eye-to-eye. I said, “Damn, I thought I was 6-11 and you were 6-9. You look like you’re taller than me now.” NBA.com: You might have fared well today, with the range you had on your jump shot. A big man like you or Bob McAdoo would fit right in. BL: But Mac was a true forward and I was a true center. With the game the way it is now, I think guys like he or I -- Dave Cowens, too -- could shoot from outside, inside, open up the lanes, make good passes. I say that gingerly with Mac, because every time it touched his hands it was going up. He’s my boy but that’s the truth. NBA.com: Wayne Embry, the NBA lifer as a player and executive, recently said to me about the current style of play, “C’mon, the big man likes to play too.” The game has gotten so much smaller. BL: I kind of like this game a little bit. If you’re a big who has skills, it helps to stretch the floor. You can always post up, if you’ve got a big can post up. But now you’ve got these bigs who are elongated forwards. Boogie Cousins is probably our last post-up big that I’m aware of. I think I just saw him on TV somewhere making about 10 3-pointers in a row. NBA.com: Any team or individuals to whom you pay particular attention? BL: I like watching ‘Bron [LeBron James], obviously. I like this Golden State team, too, because they play so well together. I like the kid [Anthony] Davis. With Boogie, my concern is whether he’ll be healthy this season. NBA.com: What’s your take on the “super team” approach of the past few years? BL: I think both of ‘em have their sides. Back in the day, we would never do that. There wasn’t a lot of huggin’ and kissin’, all that stuff, when you were competing. You were out there to kick each other’s butt. But with AAU ball, it’s become guys playing together on these premier teams at all these tournaments around the country. So they get to know each before they ever go to college. NBA.com: Do you think today’s players appreciate the work you and other alumni did to build the league? BL: I think everything evolves. The best thing I could say as a player is, you want to leave the game in better shape than when you came into it. You want to leave a legacy, a better brand. You want players to be making more money. You want the league to be stronger. And since we’re partner in this, it’s important that those kinds of things happen. NBA.com: The 1970s seems to be pretty neglected, as far as NBA memories and highlights. At times it’s as if the league went from Bill Russell’s Boston Celtics dynasty to Magic Johnson and Larry Bird carrying the NBA into the 80s. The league had some popularity and PR issues back then, but eight different franchises won championships that decade. BL: Back in the 70s, a lot of people were feeling that the NBA was drug-infested. Too black. That’s one of the reasons the league came up with its substance abuse program, one of the first in sports to do that. The point was not to punish guys but to help guys who needed it to get clean. As that passed, then Larry and Magic came in. The media money started going up, and then Michael [Jordan] came in in ’84 and everything took off from there. So I can see how you could kind of forget about the 70s. NBA.com: And yet now folks complain that each season starts with only three or four teams seen as capable of winning the title. Why was it different then? BL: I think everybody competed a lot. And guys didn’t change teams as much, so when you were facing the Bulls or the Bucks or New York, you had all these rivalries. Lanier against Jabbar! Jabbar against Willis Reed! And then [Wilt] Chamberlain, and Artis Gilmore, and Bill Walton! You had all these great big men and the game was played from inside out. It was a rougher game, a much more physical game that we played in the 70s. You could steer people with elbows. They started cutting down on the number of fights by fining people more. Oh, it was a rough ‘n’ tumble game. NBA.com: There were, of course, fewer teams. Seventeen when you arrived, for instance. BL: There was so much talent on every team. Every night you were playing against somebody really damn good, and if you didn’t come to play, they’d whip your behind. NBA.com: You know, I’m surprised I never heard about you being the target of a bidding war with the old ABA? Did they ever come after you? BL: Got approached at the end of my junior year at St. Bonaventure. They offered me a nice contract. But I wanted to stay in school because I thought we had a real chance at winning the NCAA title. NBA.com: Gee, that almost sounds quaint by today’s get-the-money standards. BL: Yeah. Well, I trusted them as a league -- it was the New York Nets, a guy named Roy Boe -- but I knew we had a really good team. And we did. We got to the Final Four. Then I got hurt. NBA.com: You went down against Villanova, your tournament ended by a torn ligament. I’m surprised, looking back, you were considered healthy enough to get drafted No. 1 and have a pretty strong rookie season. BL: I wasn’t healthy when I got to the league. I shouldn’t have played my first year. But there was so much pressure from them to play, I would have been much better off -- and our team would have been much better served -- if I had just sat out that year and worked on my knee. NBA.com: From the Final Four to the start of the NBA season isn’t much time to rehab a knee injury. Then you played 82 games, averaging 15.6 points and 8.1 rebounds in 24.6 minutes. BL: That was stupid. My knee was so sore every single day that it was ludicrous to be doing what I was doing. I wanted to play, but I was smart and the team was smart, everybody would have benefited. NBA.com: Did you ever fully recover? I know your later years were hampered by knee pain. BL: Oh, I fully recovered. Going into my third year, I think I had my legs underneath me a lot. NBA.com: Your coach as a rookie was Butch van Breda Kolff, who had butted heads with Wilt Chamberlain in Los Angeles. Did you have any issues with him? BL: He was a pretty tough coach, but he was a good-hearted person. As a matter of fact, he had a place down on the Jersey shore where he invited me to come and run on the beach to help strengthen my leg. I went there for about 2 1/2 weeks. I liked Butch a lot. NBA.com: Your Detroit teams had you as an All-Star nearly every season and of course Hall of Fame guard Dave Bing. Did you think you’d achieve more? BL: I think ’73-74 was our best team [52-30]. We had Dave, Stu Lantz, John Mengelt, Chris Ford, Don Adams, Curtis Rowe, George Trapp. But then for some reason, they traded six guys off that team before the following year. I just didn’t feel we ever had the leadership. I think we had [seven] head coaches in my 10 years there. That was a rough time, because at the end of every year, you’d be so despondent. NBA.com: So by the time you were traded to Milwaukee, you were ready to go? BL: I wanted the trade. But until you start getting on that plane and leaving your family and start crying, you don’t realize it’s a part of your life you’re leaving. I got to Milwaukee and it was freezing outside. But the people gave me a standing ovation and really made me feel welcome. It was the start of a positive change. I just wish I had played with that kind of talent around me when I was young. The only time I thought I had it was that ’73-74 team they messed up. But if I had had Marques [Johnson] and Sidney [Moncrief] and all of them around me? Damn. NBA.com: I got my start around those Bucks teams, and feel I often have to remind people how good they were deep into the ‘80s. You just couldn’t get past the Celtics and the Sixers in the same year, in a loaded Eastern Conference. BL: They were always a man better than us. We had to play our best to beat them and they didn’t have to play their best to beat us. It haunts me to this day. NBA.com: How did you like playing for Bucks coach Don Nelson? BL: Loved him. It was just like playing for your big brother. He was a player’s coach, for sure. He’d been through it, won championships. Knew what it was like to be a role player, knew what it took to be a prime-time player. Didn’t get upset over pressure. He was just a stand-up guy. NBA.com: As we talk, I’m looking at my office wall and I have that famous All-Star poster from 1977, painted by Leroy Neiman. That game was notable, too, because it was the first one after the NBA/ABA merger. So you had Julius Erving, George Gervin, Dan Issel and those other ABA stars flooding their talent into the league. BL: You know what? I think you could put 10 players from the 70s into the league today and be as competitive as anybody. Think of the guys who could really play and were athletic. And with the rule changes, that would make us even more effective. “Ice’ [Gervin]. Julius. David Thompson, a huge athlete. I don’t know who could mess with Kareem at all. NBA.com: What about Nate Archibald? BL: You took the words right out of my mouth. Tiny! He could scoot up and down and do what he needed to do. These guys knew the game, they played the basics of it so well. NBA.com: No one disputes the advances in training, nutrition, travel and rest. But in raw ability, you think it was close to today? BL: One thing I will say about this group of young men, they seem to be more athletic than we were. They seem to be able to cover so much more ground. Whatever that new step is, the Eurostep? And another thing they do differently know is, they brush-pick. They brush and then they pop. You rarely see a guy do a solid pick and then roll with the guy on his back to cause a mismatch. Everybody’s looking to open the floor to shoot 3’s. This has become the weapon of choice now. NBA.com: No rings for that Milwaukee team from which you retired has meant, so far, no Hall of Fame for Marques Johnson or Sidney Moncrief, the two stars.   BL: That’s what rings hollow in your ears. You hear people saying, “Where’s the ring? The ring!” And we don’t have any rings. That’s what we play for. NBA.com: Didn’t stop your enshrinement though. BL: They must have been blind, crippled and crazy, huh? It’s a short crop of brotherhood that gets in there. I just wish there was more time on those weekends where we could spend time just talking with one another. You rarely see each other, and it would be nice to have a quiet room where you could just re-hash old times and plays, and maybe have your family so your grandkids could listen to Earl the Pearl tell about this or [Bill] Walton tell about that. Just rehashing stuff that brought people a lot of joy. 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 NewsSep 11th, 2018

UAAP: Don t worry, Eagles youngsters will only be better

Ateneo de Manila University is mostly intact for its title defense. That didn’t stop them from adding a few more weapons, however, in UAAP Juniors champion SJ Belangel, 6-10 Ivorian Angelo Kouame, and former San Beda University forward William Navarro. Come the first game of the Blue Eagles in the UAAP 81 Men’s Basketball Tournament, however, the youngsters all showed rookie jitters and ultimately saw their squad fall to Adamson University, 70-74. Kouame only had a solitary point and 11 rebounds to go along with four turnovers in 19 minutes of play. Navarro, for his part, had five points in 2-of-8 shooting on top of six boards and three errors in 21 minutes of action. The most trying time on the floor, however, had to be that of Belangel who was scoreless in one and a half minutes while also turning the ball over twice. It was when Belangel was on the floor right before halftime that Jerom Lastimosa turned up the pressure and forced three turnovers that led to an 11-0 run that erased a 10-point deficit and erected a 40-39 confidence-boosting lead in favor of the Soaring Falcons. With that, Ateneo head coach Tab Baldwin could do nothing but acknowledge that those three indeed showed their youth. “I thought that some of our younger players played like deer (caught) in the headlights. They needed to settle into the job quicker and I don’t think Adamson allowed them to,” he shared. He then continued, “I think there was a little bit of blood in the water and they were the sharks. They really went after them and they were effective doing that.” Still, coach Tab only believes that his youngsters will bounce back. As he put it, “We know our young players are good players. We know that they will learn from that experience.” He then continued, “They feel bad. They feel that maybe, some of this is on their shoulders. I told them, ‘No, it’s not.’” In the end, the always amiable mentor said that all of the Blue Eagles have some bouncing back to do. “When we give up 14 offensive rebounds and 17 second chance points, it has got nothing to do with rookies. It has something to do with defense and boxing out – all of which we failed to do. That ain’t a rookie issue,” he remarked. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 9th, 2018

PVL: Alessandrini drops 31 despite shoulder pain

University of Sto. Tomas hitter Milena Alessandrini played her best game so far in a Tigresses uniform. The sophomore was all over that stat sheet in the Tigresses’ 25-20, 27-29, 13-25, 25-19, 17-15, win over Adamson University in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Collegiate Conference battle for third. Alessandrini registered a personal-best 31 points on 24 kills, six kill blocks and an ace to lead UST’s offense. The Fil-Italian did it all while nursing a lingering shoulder injury. “Masakit pa rin ng konti siyempre sumusumpong-sumpong pa rin pero nato-tolerate naman niya, kaya okay lang,” said Alessandrini’s Tita Cora, who served as a translator for the spiker who is still struggling with English and Filipino.   The Tigress suffered a right shoulder injury during UST’s campaign in UAAP Season 80 that forced her to miss the squad’s last four games in the elimination round. Alessandrini did return to action during that season but struggled in form as the Tigresses bombed out in the Final Four race. Months into her recovery, Alessandrini slowly regained her form and played a vital role on offense together with rookie Eya Laure for UST.    “Very happy siya nagpapasalamat siya sa kanyang mga coaches na na-reach niya ‘yan (career-high) so ngayon nakaka-adjust adjust siya,” said Tita Cora. “‘Yun lang very happy siya, satisfied naman siya sa naging laro niya.” Aside from playing great on offense in the Tigresses’ revenge win over their elimination round tormentor, 6-foot-2 Alessandrini also churned up impressive numbers on floor defense. She had 13 digs and 11 excellent receptions for UST. With the bronze medal within reach, expect Alessandrini to once again lead the charge of the Tigresses on Wednesday in Game 2.   ---     Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 9th, 2018

PVL: FEU, UP start Finals series

Two very hungry teams square off for crown and glory in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Collegiate Conference. Far Eastern University hopes to settle an unfinished business when it meets a title-parched University of the Philippines Sunday in Game 1 of the best-of-three series at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Action begins at 6:30 p.m. and will air live on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166 and via livestream. The Lady Tamaraws will get another shot at the elusive title after falling short in last year’s edition. FEU is in its third straight title appearance after runner-up finishes in the inaugural PVL Collegiate Conference and in UAAP Season 80. The Morayta-based squad look to cling on its championship experience and veteran crew to take down the Lady Maroons, which the Lady Tams defeated in their elims meeting. “Malaking advantage ang experience namin sa championship and experienced na rin ang mga players ko compared sa kanila,” said FEU coach George Pascua. While the Lady Tams see experience as their edge, UP head coach Godfrey Okumu believes that the thirst of the Lady Maroons for glory will fuel their desire to win it all.    “They have waited for this for a long time,” said Okumu. FEU will bank on seasoned players Jerrili Malabanan, top setter Kyle Negrito, Heather Guino-o, Jeanette Villareal and rookie Lycha Ebon. Isa Molde, Marian Buitre, Rosely Rosier, Marist Layug and Ayel Estranero will banner UP’s fight. The Lady Tams advanced to the Finals after defeating University of Sto. Tomas while the Lady Maroons booted out Adamson University in their semis showdown.     ---    Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles    .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 9th, 2018

NCAA: Knights, Squires win the day for ailing birthday boy Balanza

As always, Colegio de San Juan de Letran’s got the back of Jerrick Balanza. “Right now, naka-admit na siya e, pero nag-request siya na i-dedicate sa kanya ‘to kasi birthday niya,” head coach Jeff Napa told reporters after the Knights dropped Arellano University for a third win in a row on Thursday. Just two days ago, Balanza was diagnosed with a tumor in the temporal lobe of his brain and will have to undergo surgery on Friday. With that, he is not out for the season. Before his operation, the fourth-year swingman celebrated his 22nd birthday. And so, those left playing for Letran gifted him with a big-time win. Even though he will no longer see action, coach Jeff said that Balanza will always be part of the team. “’Di naman mawawala si Jerrick sa team. He’s still part of the team kaya yung presence niya sa dugout sa ensayo, andun pa rin yan,” the former said. And with that, the Knights will always be behind their ailing teammate. “Kami ni coach Jeff, ‘di naman kami nagkukulang sa pag-encourage sa kanya. Sabi ko nga sa kanya, kahit anong mangyari, wag niya isipin ang team namin,” team captain Bong Quinto shared. He then continued, “Ang isipin niya, sarili niya. Kung kailangan niya kami, nandito kami para sa kanya.” Along with the all-out support from Letran, Quinto said they are nothing but thankful for all the love from the rest of the NCAA and the basketball community at large. As he put it, “Good thing naman, buong NCAA, kahit mga kalaban namin, nagkakaisa para makatulong kay Jerrick.” In the end, Balanza will be the rallying point as the Knights try to return to the Final Four for the first time since their champion season in 2015. “At least, dagdag motivation din sa amin para magtrabaho lalo,” coach Jeff remarked. It isn’t just the Knights who are being motivated by Balanza either. Earlier in the day, Letran High School dropped an upset ax on Arellano HS. With the win, the Squires fanned the flames of their playoff hopes. More importantly, however, they also dedicated their biggest win of the season to Letran-lifer Balanza. “Yung isa sa (inspiration) namin, yung nangyari kay Jerrick. Talagang pinu-push ng mga bata na lumaban para sa Letran at para kay Jerrick,” head coach Raymond Valenzona said. Balanza was a start for the Squires before moving up to Intramuros’ Seniors squad. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 6th, 2018

Pangarap ko ito nung college pa lang -- Paat on national team stint

Cignal middle Mylene Paat is looking forward for her first stint with the national team. The former Adamson University star was elevated into the main 14-woman roster that will see action in the Jakarta Palembang Asian Games next month after Petron hitter Ces Molina withdrew due to an injury last Tuesday.      “Na-excite, sobrang excited ko kasi sobrang pangarap ko ‘to nung nasa college pa lang ako,” said Paat, who had 15 points in the HD Spikers’ 25-15, 22-25, 25-20, 25-18, win over Smart-Army Thursday in the Philippine Superliga Invitational battle for third. She added that playing for the tri-colors alongside the country’s best players is a dream come true. “Though, college talaga ako nag-start mag-volleyball sobrang nilu-look up ko ‘yung mga players sa national team,” Paat said. Paat, actually, got a call up for the national squad back in 2015 for the Asian U-23 Championship held in Manila but differences with her college team and the then-newly formed national squad under Roger Gorayeb barred her from suiting up alongside the likes of Alyssa Valdez and Jaja Santiago.     “Naudlot lang kasi nagka-misunderstanding ‘yung Adamson tsaka ‘yung magiging coach ng Under 23 Pool,” she recalled. Given a second chance, Paat was one the most dedicated players that heeded the call of the Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. She was present in almost all of the scheduled national team tryouts last May. Her talent and sacrifice didn’t go unnoticed as she was named in the 20-woman national pool under head coach Shaq Delos Santos.     “’Yung pagpasok ko sa pool sobrang blessing na ‘yun sa akin parang sabi ko ito na ‘yung umpisa ng paghihirap na ginawa ko, lahat ng pagpupursigeng ginawa ko,” she said. Fate again smiled on Paat. “And then, biglang binalita sa akin na ako nga daw ‘yung papalit kay Ate Ces sabi ko sobrang na-excite ako kasi first time ko mapunta sa pool tapos first time ko rin mapabilang sa Top 14,” said Paat, who was called to replace Molina after the Blaze Spiker suffered a stress fracture on her shin. Now part of the country’s representative to the quadrennial continental sports meet, Paat wants to prove that she deserved her spot. “Kailangan lang talaga mag-focus kasi siyempre yung mga kasabayan ko doon alam naman nating mga star ‘yung nandoon so kailangan ko makipagsabayan sa kung ano mang ability na meron sila,” she said. “Kailangan ko magsipag talaga at magpurisge para makasabay ako kahit papaano.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 26th, 2018

ONE: Former champion Eduard Folayang is fighting his way back to main event status

On Friday night at ONE Championship: Reign of Kings at the Mall of Asia Arena, former ONE Lightweight world champion Eduard ‘The Landslide’ Folayang will be taking on undefeated Russian Aziz Pahrudinov. It will be the second straight time that Folayang will be pitted against an undefeated Russian grappler, but it’ll also be the second time in as many fights that he faces a relative unknown who’s set to make their ONE Championship debut. Back in May, Folayang rudely welcomed Kharun Atlangeriev to ONE Championship with a dominant beatdown in Singapore for the Unanimous Decision win. It was his first time back since losing his championship to Martin Nguyen in Manila back in November of 2017. After headlining his last two business trips in Manila, Folayang now finds himself in the middle of the card, and while others may see that as a relegation, the former champion sees it as just another challenge to go through as he works his way back up ONE Championship’s lightweight ranks. “As a martial artist, you need to face the challenges that come to you.” Folayang said during Tuesday’s Reign of Kings Press Conference at the City of Dreams Grand Ballroom. “You lose on Monday, but it’s up to us if we will be losing on Tuesday and the other days of the week, so I think being a martial artist, you need to do your part and keep improving so that whatever opponent you’ll be facing, you know that you’ll be able to give the very best that you have.” A win against Pahrudinov on Friday will definitely push Folayang back into the title picture, says ONE Championship founder and chairman Chatri Sityodtong. “For the record, Eduard is not a gatekeeper, I still consider Eduard very much a title contender. Of course, we gave him two tough fights, two undefeated Russian contenders, especially Aziz, who’s a Combat Sambo world champion, this is no walk in the park.” “Eduard’s not a gatekeeper. If he wins this fight, he’s very much back in the title picture.” “It’s great that he beat an undefeated Russian in his last fight. This fight, again with Aziz, is going to be a very tough fight, but again, if he beats a Combat Sambo world champion from Dagestan, Russia, who’s undefeated, 20-0, it says something about who he is a as a warrior.” Sityodtong continued. Sityodtong has always been vocal about his belief in Folayang. When the Pinoy MMA icon lost his title back in November, Sityodtong was one of the first to say that he believes Folayang will bounce back. The ONE Championship head honcho even took offense to people who thought that Folayang’s days as a competitor were over. “When Eduard lost, everyone wrote him off, I remember a lot of people saying he should retire. I said bullsh*t, because they don’t know what they’re talking about, they don’t know martial arts.” “I said Eduard’s gonna come back, watch.” Sityodtong added. Now, eight months later, Eduard Folayang is indeed back, and could be taking another step back towards redemption after Friday's fight night.   Former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard 'The Landslide' Folayang meets unbeaten Russian Aziz Pahrudinov at ONE: Reign of Kings on Friday, July 27th at the Mall of Asia Arena. Catch it LIVE starting at 8:30 PM on ABS-CBN S+A channel 23!.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 24th, 2018