Advertisements


Almazan injury was turning point of PBA Finals, says coach Norman

Meralco just had no answer for Ginebra in the last three games of the 2019 PBA Governors' Cup Finals. After a convincing victory in Game 2 that evened the race-to-four series at 1-all, the Bolts lost three in a row to the Gin Kings. The crowd favorites, led by resident import Justin Brownlee and Finals MVP Japeth Aguilar, just ran roughshod over Meralco. And unfortunately, it didn't help matters that the Bolts were far from full power. "We lost our big men in the third game, first quarter and we never seemed to be the same team again," head coach Norman Black said. "I think, before Raymond got hurt, (the series) was tied at 1-1 and the first quarter (of Game 3) was a close quarter. We were competitive, but once he got hurt, everything changed." Indeed, the two teams split the first two games of the series before Raymond Almazan injured his left knee halfway through the opening period of Game 3. Almazan played through the pain in Game 4, but was, without a doubt, not 100 percent. "I'm not blaming it on Raymond not being there, but that was a big factor," coach Norman said. He then continued, "Certainly, we faced a team that's quite big and quite talented and without Raymond in the middle, we suffered. A lot of credit should go to Ginebra - they took advantage of the situation." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnJan 17th, 2020

Still some positives for Meralco even though third time wasn t the charm

Meralco has now been at the losing end in all three of its matchups in its PBA Governors' Cup Finals trilogy opposite Ginebra. The Bolts' hearts were broken by Justin Brownlee in 2016 before falling short once more a year later. Now, head coach Norman Black and his wards lost the last three games to surrender yet another title to the Gin Kings. Nonetheless, the fact that Meralco is even here is actually something to celebrate. "We came in 11th- and eighth-place before the third conference so the addition of Raymond [Almazan], the addition of Allein [Maliksi], and of course, the return of AD (Allen Durham) have us a more competitive team and gave us a chance to win a championship," Coach Norman said. Indeed, the Bolts finished 11th at 3-8 in the Philippine Cup and then ended ninth at 4-7 in the Commissioner's Cup. With Almazan and Maliksi, as well as rookie Bong Quinto, reinforcing a core comprised of Durham, Baser Amer, Cliff Hodge, and Chris Newsome, though, they seemed to have the best shot at the franchise's first title. Unfortunately for them, it wasn't meant to be - especially after Almazan's knee injury in Game 3. Nonetheless, Meralco still scored a trophy - its third in the last four seasons. As Coach Norman put it, "The positive side is we made it to the championship which means we started the league with 12 teams and there were only two left and we were one of them." He then continued, "While that's not something that's gonna make you happy, at the same time, it's better than coming in third or fourth or fifth or sixth." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 17th, 2020

PBA Finals By the Numbers: Halfway there for Ginebra

Things are heating up in the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals between Ginebra and Meralco. The back-and-forth continues with the barangay regaining series lead with Sunday’s Game 3 win. While it was a strong performance for the Gin Kings, it wasn’t all smooth sailing in the end. Before Game 4 comes around, a quick By the Numbers look in Game 3 of “The Trilogy.”   17 Total points for Stanley Pringle in the third quarter. Now we see why the Gin Kings added a super weapon in Pringle. To start the second half of Game 3, Stanley outscored the Bolts by himself, 17-16, as Ginebra took control of the game and the series. Ginebra’s 35-16 third quarter pretty much carried the team to a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7.   7 Total blocks for Japeth Aguilar in Game 3, second-most in his PBA career. Japeth’s defense has been crucial for Ginebra in this series. His game-saving block in Game 1 got the Gin Kings a win and his seven blocks in Game 3 also got his team a victory.   9 Total assists for Justin Brownlee. After having just one assist for the first two games of the Finals, Brownlee was dropping dimes all over in Game 3 as he once again flirted with another triple-double. Two of his assists were crucial, with the Bolts in the middle of a comeback, JB found LA Tenorio for a booming three that gave Ginebra a 90-82 lead. In the final 30 seconds, Brownlee also found Japeth Aguilar off a pick-and-roll for the game’s final score.   6 Total points from Meralco’s three key additions in the Finals against Ginebra. Raymond Almazan, Allein Maliksi, and Bong Quinto all scored two points each in Game 3, which is obviously not enough for the Bolts. Quinto and Maliksi are struggling putting the ball through the hoop while Almazan, a big contributor in the first two games, left Game 3 early with a knee injury. Meralco is having surprise spot productions from guys like John Pinto, Nico Salva, Brian Faundo, and Trevis Jackson but getting buckets from guys playing actual heavy minutes would be nice.   23 Largest lead for Ginebra in Game 3, which is largest in this series so far as well. The Gin Kings’ offense was cooking in the third quarter of Game 3, turning a one-point defensive slugfest into a blowout. Ginebra slowed down in the fourth as Meralco’s defense kicked in but the Gin Kings’ explosion is still proof that great offense can and will get buckets on a great defense.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 13th, 2020

PBA Finals: Meralco hopes for the best as Almazan injures knee during Game 3

After their Game 3 loss, the Meralco Bolts are now down 1-2 to Ginebra in the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup Finals. To make matters worse, the Bolts could be without top center Raymond Almazan for Game 4 and perhaps the rest of the series. Almazan made his exit halfway through the opening period Sunday after hurting his knee. He was out of the Big Dome by halftime. The initial word is that he has a strained knee and is set to undergo further tests to determine the severity of his injury. “When I talked to him at halftime of the game, he couldn't move his leg. And being a former player myself, that's never a good sign,” Meralco head coach Norman Black said of Almazan. “I'll try to be as positive as possible, and hopefully he'll be okay, but from being a player myself, having a swollen knee in the middle of a championship series is not something you can just bounce back from that easily,” he added. As they hold their breath regarding Almazan’s condition, the Bolts will also try to figure out how to make do if Raymond can’t go. Almazan was seen as Meralco’s biggest missing piece and if he’s not healthy enough to play, that’s a big hole in the middle for the Bolts. “Our biggest concern, obviously, is the fact that when Raymond's not around, you saw what happened with Japeth, right? He pretty much ran wild out there on the court. So what he has done this conference is giving us an opportunity to match up with the big men of the other teams,” Black said. “And without him, we almost got a little bit of a hole in the middle. So we just have to try to find a way to camouflage or at least try to fix it,” coach Norman added. — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 12th, 2020

Five things we learned from Game 3 of the 2019 Finals

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com OAKLAND – Five things we learned from the Toronto Raptors’ 123-109 victory over the Golden State Warriors in Game 3 of the 2019 Finals Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) at Oracle Arena: 1. What Stephen Curry learned … Curry was remarkable in Game 3, consciously seizing more of Golden State’s offensive burden to make up for Klay Thompson’s and Kevin Durant’s absences and turning that desperation into something historic. With 47 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, the Warriors point guard became only the ninth man to score at least 45 points in a Finals game. The lesson in that? Curry learned for a night what it has felt like for LeBron James on many such occasions. James put himself on that specific list a year ago when he logged 51 points, eight board and eight assists against Curry’s team in Game 1, same court. Like Curry, James’ team lost that night as well. Struggling mightily in something of a one-against-five predicament is the sort of things James has done often, while Curry never had faced it during Golden State’s five-year run to The Finals. They both -- James in the past and Curry on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) -- had legit NBA players around them. But the responsibility to put up points fell in both cases mostly on their shoulders. This was even a chance to revisit the 2015 Finals MVP selection, which attracted some attention on social media Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time) over bogus speculation about the voting process. Andre Iguodala won the award that June, getting seven votes from the panel of media reps to James’ four. Curry got no votes. The point was, Curry had as a single game Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) what James had as an entire series in ’15. He averaged 35.8 points, 13.3 rebounds and 8.8 assists, scoring 38.5 percent of Cleveland’s points (215-of-561) while assisting on 52.7 percent of his teammates’ baskets while he was on the court. Now Curry is the guy in position, if Golden State loses the series, to get a few MVP votes in a losing effort. By the way, Jerry West is the only player to win the Finals MVP trophy in a losing effort. And West is one of the nine to score 45 or more – he did it three times, but his Lakers teams went 1-2 in those games. (The others: Michael Jordan three times, Bob Pettit, Elgin Baylor, Rick Barry, Wilt Chamberlain and Allen Iverson once each. Their teams all won on their big scoring nights.) 2. Is the scoreboard broken? It’s tempting to say that the Warriors’ attack is in broken-record mode, except the resurgence of vinyl might not be sufficient yet to bring that phrase back into the mainstream. So we’ll go with a cultural reference that’s more classic than archaic. Think of The Beatles’ “Revolution 9,” but substitute “109… 109… 109…” Yeah, it’s been about as monotonous and unsatisfying for Golden State as it was on the White Album. At least Warriors coach Steve Kerr was somewhat bemused by his team’s scoreboard consistency. In each game of these Finals, Golden State has scored 109 points. “I just knew we were going to score 109 points because that’s all we’re going to do the rest of this series,” Kerr said. “So if we’re going to keep scoring 109, we got to keep them to 108.” The Warriors kept Toronto to 104 points in Game 2. Some of that was to their credit, some to the Raptors’ misfires and mid-game chill. The simplest stat? Toronto launched 38 three-pointers in both games. The night the Raptors made 11, they lost. When they made 17, they won. Getting Thompson back for Game 4 could make a big difference there. He is one of Golden State’s best defenders. For that matter, Durant’s length could assert itself as a defensive weapon, too, if he comes back later in the series. As for 109 being a winning points total, here is some background: taken in isolation, averaged over a full Finals, that would have been plenty to win 19 of the past 20 championships. The lone exception? In 2017, when Cleveland averaged 114.8 ppg yet lost because Golden State was putting up 121.6 nightly. In 2018, the Warriors averaged 116 points to the Cavaliers’ 101. The only other times a Finals team in the past 20 years averaged within five points of 109 were the Spurs in 2015 (105.6) and in 2007 (104.4) and the Lakers in 2002 (106.0) and 2000 (104.8). Obviously, a few of those were in the game’s relative “dark ages” for use of the 3-ball, but all four won championships. The Warriors are scoring enough points to win. 3. ‘Boogie’ fever has broken   DeMarcus Cousins called his decision to sign with Golden State for a cut-rate contract, while rehabbing from an Achilles injury, his “chess move.” He wound up joining the defending champions and favorite to three-peat, and got his game back in time to contribute. Cousins subsequently suffered a quadriceps injury but returned in time to participate in The Finals. Only thing is, he looked like he was back playing checkers in Game 3. The Warriors center stood out Sunday (Monday, PHL time), scoring 11 points with 10 rebounds, six assists and two blocks. But those numbers drooped to four points, three boards, three turnovers and 1-for-7 shooting in Game 3. Cousins went from plus-12 impact in Game 2 to minus-12 Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time). The big man looked a step slow and appeared to be bothered by Toronto’s length, in the forms of Marc Gasol, Pascal Siakam and Serge Ibaka. With little lift these days, he’s playing a little smaller than his 6'11", 270-pound specs. And given how long he was off and the mere eight minutes he got in Game 1, what Cousins did in Game 2 was starting to look more adrenaline-fueled than a reliable return to form. Since Curry handled just about everything else for Golden State in Game 3, he was asked afterward about Cousins’ “regression.” The point guard handled the awkward moment well -- being asked a critical question about a teammate might have tempted Curry to blow it off or lie. Instead, he talked of the Warriors’ shared responsibility on defense and noted a few calls offensively that didn't go Cousins' way. Then Curry added: “Like any great player, if you have a rough game, that resiliency to bounce back and the confidence to know that you can still go out there and impact the game, that’s something that he’ll bring, and we all will follow suit for sure.” 4. Danny Green’s big moment Understandably, when an All-Star and potential Kia MVP candidate gets traded, the deal becomes all about him. Next, folks focus on the key player or players swapped out and how the move might work for the other team. Only then do we play much attention to the guy or guys accompanying the All-Star to his new destination. That’s how it’s been for Danny Green for much of the 2018-19 season. Green and Kawhi Leonard were teammates in San Antonio for seven seasons. They went to two Finals together with the Spurs, winning rings in 2014. But when Leonard wanted out after an injured and rancorous 2017-18, the deal the Spurs put together with Toronto shipped out Danny Green, too. The reality of NBA trades is that salaries must match up, so teammates often become collateral damage to even up the dollar sufficiently to satisfy league rules. Sometimes, a teammate is thrown into a deal because he and the star are chums. A familiar face gives the featured guy some comfort -- or someone to carry his bags. But Green was a helpful playoff performer in his own right with the Spurs -- in his 12 Finals games before this year, he had made 52 percent of his three-pointers. And in 2013 he made 27 of them against the Miami Heat, a Finals record that was his for all of three years until Curry drained 32 in 2016. Green struggled with his shot in the Eastern Conference finals against the Milwaukee Bucks, going 4-for-23 on three-pointers. But his marksmanship early in Game 3 and against near the end of the third quarter propelled the Raptors’ victory. 5. Those rebounds are offensive   Toronto dominated on the offensive glass 15-6 in Game 2 and lost. Golden State dominated on the offensive glass 13-5 in Game 3 and lost. Typically, that’s a positive category for the team that wins it, something coaches hate when the other guys are reclaiming their own misses time and again. But lately, the demerits associated with offensive rebounds have loomed larger than the benefits. You grab a shot you or your teammate missed, that ought to be a good thing. But the Raptors in Game 2 (37.2 percent) and the Warriors in Game 3 (39.6 percent) were beset by inaccuracy, so there were more offensive rebounds to be had, period. The other down side of a generally positive stat is how you go about getting them. If you get overeager and the defense controls the errant shot, you might denude your transition defense. Both the Raptors and the Warriors in Games 2 and 3 respectively built considerable edges in second-chance points off their offensive rebound totals. Toronto had a 23-0 scoring advantage Sunday (Monday, PHL time), yet lost by five. Golden State held it 23-12 Wednesday, yet lost by 14. The losing team in both cases slightly won the battle of fast-break points, but offensive-rebounding strategy still forces a choice on teams. “We have a general kind of rule of thumb that once a shot goes up, we tell our guys to make a really quick, good decision,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said before Game 3. “Either they're going hard to the offensive rebound or they're going hard to defense transition. … There's certain moments of the game – I mean, some of those late are almost scrambles, right, you're behind five and you're throwing it up there and everybody's trying to rebound, just to keep the game alive as well.” It’s a stat worth watching, even if it’s inversely related lately to the games’ outcomes. Sing it loud, sing it proud ???????? #WeTheNorth pic.twitter.com/8HfjoM9Cht — Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) June 6, 2019 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 NewsJun 7th, 2019

Film Study: Little room for Leonard to move in Game 2

By John Schuhmann, NBA.com OAKLAND -- The Golden State Warriors got what they needed out of their trip to Toronto. With their Game 2 victory, they took home-court advantage in The Finals from the Toronto Raptors as the series moves to Oakland for what could be the final two games at Oracle Arena. The Warriors are banged up. Kevon Looney is likely done for the season with a cartilage fracture in his chest, Klay Thompson is questionable for Game 3 with a strained left hamstring, and, as of Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time), Kevin Durant's will not play in Game 3. But the champs are 45-8 in playoff home games over the last five years and they were able to put together one of their best defensive games of the postseason on Sunday. After the Raptors scored 118 points on 97 possessions in Game 1 (their third-best offensive game of the postseason), the the Warriors held them to just 104 points on 101 possessions in Game 2. That was done with Toronto registering a playoff-high 23 second-chance points (so the Raptors scored just 81 points on their 101 initial offensive possessions). The Eastern Conference champions were bound for some regression. In Game 1, the Raptors shot a remarkable 15-for-23 (including 5-for-9 from three-point range) in the last six seconds of the shot clock, according to Second Spectrum tracking. That was unsustainable and, indeed, they shot just 5-for-20 (0-for-6 from three-point range) in the last six seconds of the shot clock in Game 2. If 43 shots in the last six seconds of the shot clock over two seems like a lot, well, it is. In the regular season, no team averaged more than 17.5 field goal attempts in the last six seconds. The Raptors averaged the fifth most, but that was just 14.3 per game. With better defenses and slower pace in the playoffs, that number was at 17.3 through the first three rounds. In this series, with the Raptors working their offense late into the clock even more, it's at 21.5 per game. While Toronto has 43 shots in the last six seconds of the shot clock, Golden State has just 16. On one hand, playing late in the clock slows the overall pace against an opponent that can hurt you in transition. In the regular season, the Warriors' effective field goal percentage of 64.2 percent in the first six seconds was the best mark for any team in any portion of the shot clock. On the other hand, playing late into the clock puts pressure on a team's offense. For every team in the league, effective field goal percentage is lowest in those last six seconds of the clock. In most instances, the Raptors would probably like to get something earlier in the clock. But getting a good shot early in a possession has proven to be difficult. The Raptors have been moving the ball. Their 330 passes in Game 2 were the most they've had in a game since the first round (if you don't count the 349 they had in their double-overtime win in Game 3 of the conference finals). But all those passes mean that Kawhi Leonard, the Raptors' best player and most efficient scorer, isn't getting his in-rhythm shots off the dribble, via pick-and-rolls or isolations. Leonard has been forced to give up the ball more than the Raptors would probably like. All eyes on Kawhi The Warriors have obviously been defending Leonard aggressively. The second defender on pick-and-rolls has generally stayed with Leonard until he has given up the ball. They've doubled him in the post and even sent a second defender at him before he can get into an isolation situation. When Leonard has managed to get into the paint, he's been met by a crowd of defenders. All that attention has resulted in a lot of trips to the line. He's drawn 22 fouls (nine more than any other player in the series) and, with 28 free throw attempts in two games, Leonard's free throw rate (FTA/FGA) in The Finals (0.824) is more than double his rate through the first three rounds (0.397). The attention should also result in some open shots just one or two passes away. But Leonard's teammates have attempted only 25 shots off his passes. That accounts for just 23 percent of the 108 shots his teammates have taken while he's been on the floor, a rate almost in line with his rate from the regular season (22 percent). For context, Giannis Antetokounmpo and LeBron James had rates of *42 percent and 51 percent in the regular season, respectively. * In case that last part was a little confusing, here's the math: Antetokounmpo's teammates took 3,184 shots while he was on the floor. Of those 3,184, 1,133 (42 percent) were off his passes. Leonard is one of the most complete players in the league, but playmaking is his shortcoming. When he had nine assists in Game 5 of the conference finals, it was a career high ... for both the regular season and playoffs (now 574 total games). A look at the film from Game 2 of this series can show us why a guy who has the ball as much as he does and who draws so much attention from opposing defenses is averaging less than four assists per game. It also shows us how the Raptors continue to get stuck in late-clock situations. Dribbling out of the double Leonard's reaction when he's double-teamed is often to dribble out of it. If he can attack quickly and get one defender to screen the other, he can get an open shot ... Leonard did the Michael Jordan trick of attacking the doubling big in the direction from which he came & having the big screen his own teammate. pic.twitter.com/fEVle6tXE4 — John Schuhmann (@johnschuhmann) May 10, 2019 Dribbling out of the double-team could also get him a better angle to make a pass or allow him to attack again, like he did in the second quarter on a play that led to an open Norman Powell three-pointer (with some help from Marc Gasol's screen on Andre Iguodala)... But often, the results aren't so great. Here's a first-quarter play where he dribbled out of a double team, couldn't get the ball to any of the teammates that popped open, and had to take a tough shot with one second left on the clock ... In the second quarter, after dribbling out of a double-team, he was unable to get the ball to an open Pascal Siakam on the baseline ... A couple of Leonard's five turnovers were a result of him driving too deep into a crowd. "I thought we hit an action and something would be there," Raptors coach Nick Nurse said after Game 2, "and they would cover it up with some help defense. Well, when there's help, there's got to be somebody else probably open on the other side of the floor, and I thought we kind of shot a few too many into multiple defenders or two defenders around the basket, where those probably should have been maybe swung to the other side." Unable to deliver Leonard's inability to get the ball to the open man on Sunday wasn't just about passing out of double-teams. Here was Leonard collapsing the Golden State defense with a drive and Kyle Lowry popping open on the left wing ... But Leonard didn't deliver the ball right away and by the time he got it to Lowry, the Raptors had lost the advantage they had gained from the paint attack ... Here was an opportunity to deliver a pick-and-roll pocket pass to a rolling Gasol for a four-on-three situation, with Klay Thompson trailing the play ... But Leonard couldn't make the pass (credit DeMarcus Cousins' defense to some extent), Thompson got back in the play, and Siakam was eventually smothered by Iguodala ... Bad spacing The Raptors' inability to take advantage of the attention paid to Leonard in Game 2 wasn't just about Leonard himself. There were also a few cases of bad spacing, where he was doubled and just didn't have sufficient outlets with which to make a play ... Example 1, which led to a turnover ... Example 2, which led to a Fred VanVleet miss from 3-point range ... Working off the ball Leonard still managed to work his way to 34 points in Game 2. Sometimes, the Warriors gave him a little space to operate. There were multiple occasions in which he bullied his way to the basket (see the Looney injury noted above). There were also a couple of nice off-ball cuts and duck-ins. A need to be better It's tough to nitpick Leonard's performance in these playoffs. He's averaged 30.9 points per game on a true shooting percentage of 62.3 percent (the fifth-best mark among players with at least 100 postseason field goal attempts). He has hit some huge shots and he has played some stifling defense himself. While he can save his team some precious seconds on a lot of these possessions by making better and quicker decisions, Leonard's teammates must ensure the floor is properly spaced around him. Furthermore, Nurse and his staff have to find ways to loosen up the Golden State defense, which will continue to make Leonard play in a crowd in Game 3 on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time). John Schuhmann is a senior stats analyst for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 5th, 2019

Raptors dominate without super performance from Kawhi

By John Schuhmann, NBA.com TORONTO -- Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse didn't believe his team needed another huge performance from Kawhi Leonard to win Game 5 of of his team's Eastern Conference semifinals series against the Philadelphia 76ers. The Raptors were 17-5 without Leonard in the regular season. Kyle Lowry is an All-Star, Pascal Siakam is the next big thing, and the Raptors' go eight deep with capable NBA players with postseason experience. But that 17-5 record without Leonard broke down to 13-0 against non-playoff teams and 4-5 against playoff teams. And in this series, Leonard simply wasn't getting a lot of help. His 68 points over Games 2 and 3 weren't enough, and the Raptors needed every bit of his 39 to win Game 4 in Philadelphia on Sunday (Monday, PHL time) and essentially keep their season alive. The guy was averaging 38 points on 62 percent shooting, and they were a possession or two from being down 3-1. [Watch the Playoffs on NBA League Pass for 30% less with this limited time offer! Select Annual package and use code SAVE30 at checkout to redeem] So yeah, to have Leonard come back down to earth somewhat and still get a blowout, 125-89 victory on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time) to take a 3-2 series lead? It was somewhat comforting, as you might imagine. "It was good to prove it a little bit in the playoffs," Nurse said of winning without a superhuman performance from Leonard. "I don't know if 'relief' is the right word, but it's nice to see other guys pick it up." "We needed this type of game where everyone played well," Lowry added. "I don't think we had a game like this in a while. We've still got another level that I think we can play at offensively and defensively. But it was a good team win. We needed that type of win just for our team." Leonard began the game by stripping Ben Simmons on Philly's first two possessions. He had two spectacular dunks, one over multiple Sixers at the end of the first half and another on Joel Embiid's head in the third quarter. He scored 21 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and dished out four assists. But he missed more than half of his shots for just the second time in 10 postseason games, and he did not need to carry his team like he did through the first four games of this series. He was more of a "normal" All-Star than the relentless machine that was shooting a seemingly unsustainable 57 percent from outside the paint prior to Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time). With Leonard missing his first four shots of Game 4, the Raptors were in a little bit of a hole. The Sixers scored on nine straight possessions and led by seven midway through the first quarter. But after the last of those nine straight Philly scores, Lowry took the inbounds pass, pushed the ball up the floor, and drew a foul on Greg Monroe. On the next possession, Lowry stripped Monroe, leading to a fast break where Leonard found Siakam for a corner three. Two possessions later, a Lowry/Siakam pick-and-pop resulted in another Siakam three-pointer that tied the game. Two possessions after that, Siakam tipped out a Leonard miss and Norman Powell fed Fred VanVleet, who had missed 12 straight shots in the series, for a triple that put the Raptors up four. It was a 12-1 run that gave the Raptors the lead for good, and Leonard was just a cog in the machine, instead of being the entire machine himself. Leonard shot 7-for-16 and missed all four of his three-point attempts. But every other Raptors shot with the confidence that he had earlier in the series. Long gone was the hesitancy which plagued them in Game 3. And Nurse believes his team started to find itself in Game 4, when the Raptors got just enough support from Lowry, Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka to even the series. "I thought I sensed a little bit better rhythm the other night," Nurse said. "There's three things: You gotta get your feet ready, you gotta get your hands ready, and you gotta between your ears ready to know you're going to pull the trigger and know that you're going to do it. I thought it showed the other night that we were a little bit less hesitant and that again puts you in rhythm." Earlier in this series, ball movement wasn't necessarily a good thing for the Raptors, because Leonard was scoring more efficiently by calling his own number than his teammates were when he was forced to give up the ball. But his off-the-dribble efficiency was bound to regress, and the tide may have turned in regard to his teammates' ability to support him. For the first time in this postseason, six different Raptors scored in double figures in Game 5. The seven rotation players not named Leonard shot 14-for-32 (44 percent) from three-point range. "I think the version of us you saw tonight is probably the best version and a little bit more balanced," VanVleet said. "[Leonard] did a great job of spreading it around a little bit. They showed some more bodies, as you would expect for a guy averaging 40. They were sending more bodies at him and he was moving it pretty well. That was good for us." The Raptors certainly benefited from another sluggish performance from Embiid, who was still suffering from the illness that slowed him down in Game 4. If possible, he looked even more disengaged on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time), scoring just 13 points on 5-for-10 shooting and turning the ball over eight times. Embiid couldn't put the ball on the floor without losing control of it, and he didn't have the energy to get in the post, too often settling for three-point attempts that the Raptors were happy to have him shoot. But the Raptors had a lot to do with the Sixers scoring just 73 points on 80 possessions before garbage time set in. They cut off Ben Simmons' drives to the basket, crowded the Sixers in the paint, and were more active on the perimeter, picking up 12 steals. Some of that improved offensive rhythm was a product of what has been the No. 1-ranked defense in the postseason. So after Game 5, there was no "Kyle Lowry struggles to score in the playoffs" narrative. There was no wondering if the Sixers were just too big for VanVleet or if Gasol needed to be more aggressive. There was just a return to what the Raptors had been for most of this season, which is a lot more than a one-man show. "We're a team," Siakam said. "All year, that's what we've done. Even times when Kawhi didn't play, we always came together. "Kawhi's an amazing player. And when there's nights where he's going the way he's going, and he's scoring 40, and shooting fadeaways, and making all those shots, it's kind of amazing to see. But at the same time, we know we're a team, and we always have each other's back. And at the end of the day, we have to keep playing." One more win and they'll keep playing into the conference finals. John Schuhmann is a senior stats analyst for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 8th, 2019

PBA: Japeth Aguilar is Brgy. Ginebra s new 'Batman'

2020 is poised to be the year of Japeth Aguilar, that is, when the PBA resumes play following the COVID-19 outbreak. Aguilar is flying high at the end of his 2019 season, winning a SEA Games gold medal in the SEA Games and taking his first Finals MVP award after another Ginebra championships. Recent developments, mainly the injury to six-time MVP June Mar Fajardo and the sabbatical of teammate Greg Slaughter, further open the opportunity for Japeth to fly even higher. Ginebra coach Tim Cone feels like his top big man is ready for primetime. "Not having to split time with Greg, he’s going to be able to spread his wings and really say, ‘This is my team,’" Cone said of Japeth. "It’s usually, between the two of them, one’s the Batman, one’s the Robin. It’s kind of like game to game, we don’t know who’s the Batman and who’s the Robin. But now, Japeth is going to be Batman," the multi-titled mentor added. Over the course of his career, Japeth has had his faults. But following a strong end to his 2019 season, Aguilar appears to be at the peak of his powers and is just ready to dominate, at least that's the hope. "He’s in a really good place mentally and physically at this point in his career. I think he’s really going to take off," Cone said of Japeth. "We’re going to live with him as our star. He’s going to have Stanley there, he’s going to have LA there and others, but I think Japeth will be the key guy for us," he added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 25th, 2020

Bullpups send statement at Baby Tams expense, sweep UAAP 82 elims

STANDINGS Bullpups 14-0 (Finals) Baby Tamaraws 12-2 (twice-to-beat) Blue Eaglets 8-6 (semifinals) Baby Falcons 8-6 (semifinals) Tiger Cubs 7-7 Jr. Warriors 3-11 Jr. Archers 3-11 Jr. Maroons 1-13 Nazareth School of National University broke no sweat facing its toughest test in the UAAP 82 Boys Basketball Tournament, having all the answers against second-running Far Eastern University-Diliman for an 80-73 win, Wednesday at Filoil Flying V Centre. Needing just one more win to sweep the elimination round, the Bullpups took control right from tip-off and never let it go. Terrence Fortea was online all game long and wound up with 17 points while Reyland Torres was the workhorse as always and had for himself 16 markers, nine rebounds, and three assists. The defending champions dominated the first three quarters and were up 71-40 entering the final frame. The Baby Tamaraws kept coming, however, and battled back to within six, 71-77, inside the last three minutes. "Medyo may lapses nung fourth quarter. We had 27 turnovers and gust ko nga malaman ilan dun yung sa fourth," head coach Goldwin Monteverde said. National U just went back to basics, however, as all five players on the floor touched the ball before Ernest Felicilda hit a booming triple that silenced the green and gold. They had no more makes from that point, but their defense stood strong and ultimately raised their record to a perfect 14-0 at the end of elims. "It's an accomplishment, siyempre, pero yung importante pa rin naman, yung dulo. We have to finish what we started," coach Gold said of the accomplishment they just missed on in their title run a year ago. With that, the Bullpups automatically advance into the Finals where they will await the ultimate winner in the ensuing stepladder playoffs. FEU-Diliman will still have a twice-to-beat advantage in the next round and will first await the victor in the knockout bout between third-seed Ateneo de Manila High School and fourth-seed Adamson High School a week from now. Patrick Sleat fronted their effort in this one with 17 points, five rebounds, and four assists as top gun Penny Estacio was held in check for only 12 markers in 4-of-14 shooting. It also didn't help the Baby Tams that Cholo Anonuevo left the game in the first half due to an apparent leg injury. BOX SCORES FOURTH GAME NU 80 - Fortea 17, Torres 16, Abadiano 11, Alarcon 9, Felicilda 7, Quiambao 7, Tamayo 5, Enriquez 4, Buensalida 2, Tulabut 2, Duremdes 0, Laure 0, Mailim 0 FEU-DILIMAN 73 - Sleat 17, Estacio 12, Padrones 11, Bagunu 8, Pasaol 7, Saldua 7, Bautista 6, Libago 5, Anonuevo 0, Basilio 0, Mantua 0, Remogat 0 QUARTER SCORES: 24-13, 43-12, 71-40, 80-73 --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 5th, 2020

PBA 44 review: Northport grinds out best year

You thought the PBA's 43rd season was a long one?  Yeah, the PBA's 44th season had it beat. The 2019 PBA season started at the Philippine Arena on January 13, 2019. It officially ended January 17, 2020 when Barangay Ginebra won the Governors' Cup Finals. Ironically, the Gin Kings won the first and last games of the 2019 season. Anyway, the point is the PBA's 44th season was a marathon. And before a new one starts, it's time to take a look at how all 12 teams fared in the past year. Today, we look at the Northport Batang Pier.   GRIT 'N GRIND Looks like Northport finally found an identity it can embrace in the PBA. All it took was a litte Puso, a little Pride, and a dash of Palaban. The Batang Pier took after their head coach in Pido Jarencio and proceeded to grind out a rather solid season in 2019. Northport was in the playoffs for all three conferences, and if the Batang Pier had some breaks go on their side, they would have been the legitimate surprise team of the year. The Batang Pier snuck into the playoffs in the Philippine Cup, giving no. 2 Rain or Shine a great fight before bowing out. In the Commissioner's Cup, Northport took over the no. 2 seed with a breakout performance, but a bad draw saw them get eliminated by eventual champion San Miguel in the quarterfinals. The true breakout performance came in the Governors' Cup as the Batang Pier once again snuck into the playoffs and became just the fourth no. 8 team to upset a top-ranked squad in the quarterfinals in PBA history. Northport's magical run ended in the semis however, losing in four games to eventual champion Ginebra.   Northport BATANG PIER in the PBA's 44th season Philippine Cup: 5-6 (7th place, lost in Quarterfinals) Commissioner's Cup: 9-2 (2nd place, lost in Quarterfinals) Governors' Cup: 5-6 (8th place, lost in Semifinals) Overall: 19 wins and 14 losses. Three playoff appearances, one semifinals appearance.   OUTLOOK: Northport has one big piece in Christian Standhardinger. As long as the Batang Pier keep him, they'll be contending in the upper half of the standings. Sean Anthony is Northport's heart and soul while Robert Bolick will be a good wildcard for the team. Bolick was a leading Rookie of the Year candidate last season until he injured his knee in the Governors' Cup. His injury coincided with Standhardinger's first game with Northport and so the Batang Pier never really had a chance to see how that combo played out for the rest of the year. Once Bolick comes back healthy, Northport should just get better.     — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 4th, 2020

PBA Finals: Busy season ends with sweet title for Ginebra

It's been a pretty incredible last few months for head coach Time Cone and Barangay Ginebra. With the core of the Gin Kings on deck, coach Tim led Gilas Pilipinas to a gold medal in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games last December. With all of the Gin Kings, Coach Tim led the barangay to another PBA Governors' Cup title to start the year 2020 right. "It was nice because there was a lot on our plates as a Ginebra team," Cone said after Ginebra beat Meralco in Game 5 Friday to win the Governors' Cup Finals. "But you know I think, in many ways, the schedules kinda favored us because each time we had a break to kinda gather ourselves and get back. We were fortunate to have a favored schedule," he added. True enough, the Gin Kings got a favorable schedule on their way to a latest title despite literally being the busiest team all conference long. The PBA took a break to give way for the SEA Games. After the semis, where Ginebra beat Northport after four games, the league took another break for Christmas and New Year. In the actual Governors' Cup Finals, Ginebra also got some lucky breaks, with Meralco's star center Raymond Almazan going down with an injury in Game 3. Ginebra got its breaks and the Gin Kings took advantage of every single one of them. "But then again, you need those kind of things to win a championship," Coach Tim said, who should know since he now has 22 PBA titles. "You need those little breaks to happen for you," he added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 17th, 2020

PBA Finals: Almazan delays surgery as he vows to finish series against Ginebra

Heading into Game 4 of the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals against Barangay Ginebra, the main question was the status of star center Raymond Almazan. Almazan left Game 3 early with an injury and was later diagnosed with a lateral meniscal tear on his left knee. Questions were answered Wednesday when Almazan started for the Bolts. He scored 12 points in 28 minutes. But that hardly mattered as the Gin Kings rolled to a 94-72 win and a 3-1 series lead. “Tinanong ako ni coach kung gusto ko maglaro eh, sabi ko kaya ko. Tapos uminom nalang akong pain killers,” Almazan said. “So yun, three times a day, di ko siya masyadong maramdaman. Pero meron parin siyang kaunting [kirot] alam mo yung parang may needle ka sa daliri na sumasabit. At first time kong maglaro nang may nararamdaman,” he added. Almazan says he’s good to play now but he will have surgery once the season is over. He’s pretty much day-to-day as he tries to feel his knee out. Almazan is hopeful to play again in Game 5. “Pagkatapos ng checkup ko, tinanong ako kung gusto ko ilaro, talagang 100% gusto ko siyang ilaro. And then ooperahan siya after ng series. Six weeks akong pahinga,” Almazan said. “Gusto kong tapusin yung series. Di ko sinasabing bayani ako, pero gusto ko talagang manalo eh. Eh yun yung way para makatulong ako sa team,” he added. — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 15th, 2020

PBA Finals: Cone, Ginebra wary of Meralco comeback

Barangay Ginebra is on the cusp of claiming its third PBA Governors’ Cup in four years. But Gin Kings coach Tim Cone knows too well that Meralco won’t just bow down and give up just like in their past two meetings in the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals. Closing the best-of-seven Finals in Game 5 on Friday is easier said than done.   “I would love it if it did, but no, I don't think so,” said Cone when asked of the possibility of finishing off the Bolts in their next game after Ginebra took a 3-1 series lead following an emphatic 94-72 rout on Wednesday at the Big Dome. The Gin Kings beat Meralco in the 2016 and 2017 editions of the season-ending conference in six and seven games, respectively, and judging from experience, Cone pointed out that it will take a lot of effort to take down the Bolts. “I mean, we will try our best, obviously, but you know, this team has shown a lot of character in the past when we played them,” said Cone. “We got up 2-0 on them and they came back and beat us two straight in one series. So we know they're capable of coming back.” Game 4 began as a tight match before Ginebra found its rhythm in the second quarter and took advantage of Meralco’s woeful shooting and lack of energy except for its workhorse Best Import winner Allen Durham, who toiled for 21 points, 27 rebounds and seven assists only to see his effort come into waste. The Gin Kings also exploited the fact that Bolts big man Raymond Almazan wasn’t 100% and still recovering from a left knee injury he sustained in Game 3. Almazan showed great heart playing through pain and limping as he scored 12 points and grabbed nine boards. “I think a lot of it is gonna depend on, again on Almazan's injury. But you know, I mean, it'll be silly for us to say that we think it's gonna be over,” said Cone. “But it's also silly for us to say if we don't think we're gonna try our best to make it over, to get it over, I should say.” Still, Cone is aware that they still need to win one more. And that could be a challenging task. “I have lost a 3-1 lead before, in a series. I lost it to Ryan Gregorio and Purefoods, and I'll never forget that,” Cone recalled. “It was in the semifinals, we were up 3-1, and I think that's only happened a few times in PBA history, and it happened to the team I coached.” “So I'm well aware that a team can come back. You just can't give them the momentum and the confidence that they'll be searching for,” he said. So, we're gonna have to go out and try to make a statement early in Game 5.”     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 15th, 2020

PBA Finals: We got our game going tonight -- Cone

Barangay Ginebra came out of the locker room after the halftime break on a tear as the Gin Kings caught Meralco flat-footed to take a 2-1 series lead in the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup Finals on Sunday at the Big Dome. The Gin Kings pounced on the Bolts, who lost big man Raymond Almazan to a knee injury early in the opening period, with a third quarter eruption to carve out a 92-84 victory to get back on the winning track. “For the most part, we were able to get our game going tonight,” said Gin Kings coach Tim Cone, relieved that his squad was quick to bounce back from a sorry loss in Game 2 in Lucena City in Quezon last Friday. Taking advantage of Meralco missing a vital cog in the paint, the Gin Kings blasted 35 points in the third quarter while limiting the Bolts to only 16 for a 78-58 cushion heading into the payoff period. The Gin Kings held a 43-42 lead after the first two quarters. Ginebra was lights out on offense in that period as it hit 14 of its 23 attempts in the field including four triples. The Gin Kings forced Meralco to commit eight turnovers that they converted to 14 points while taking care of their possession as Ginebra cruised in the third without an error. “That's the way we play. We got some stops and got on the open court,” Cone said.  Stanley Pringle anchored the Gin Kings explosion in the third with 17 points off 7-of-9 shooting clip from the field including three treys. He closed his night with 21 points behind Justin Brownlee’s 24 and Japeth Aguilar’s 23 markers. “Stanley had a bunch of spectacular plays that really revved up the crowd,” Cone said. “And I thought just defensively, we did a much better job tonight in terms of controlling some of the guys we wanted to control.”  Ginebra’s third quarter spurt was enough insurance to stave off Meralco’s desparate push late in the fourth canto as LA Tenorio and Japeth Aguilar put the finishing touches to preserve the victory.         --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 12th, 2020

PBA Finals By the Numbers: Electrifying answer

You think “The Trilogy” is living up to expectations so far? Yes, the answer is yes. Meralco and Ginebra delivered another great game in the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals, this time in Lucena as both teams went all the way to Quezon province for Game 2. The series is now tied at one game each following the Bolts’ electrifying answer and here’s some numbers from that Game 2 win before a pivotal Game 3 tips off Sunday.   16 Total 3-pointers fired by the Meralco Bolts, a franchise-high for a Finals game. In a game that was pretty much dead even across all categories, Meralco’s three-point shooting, which was not present in the series opener, was the key difference in the Game 2 win.   7 Total Meralco players that scored at least one 3-point shot. Baser Amer led the way with five triples while John Pinto added four, all in the opening period. Even import Allen Durham had a good shooting night from deep, nailing three triples.   0 Number of assists for Justin Brownlee. All of a sudden, JB can’t drop dimes which is weird because he pretty much led the league in assists all conference long. Game 2 would have been a the second straight Finals game where Brownlee had zero assists but a stats error in Game 1 awarded one assist to Japeth Aguilar. That was it though. Brownlee, who averages almost seven assists per game in the Governors’ Cup, has one assist in two Finals games.   19 Largest lead of the night for Meralco in Game 2. Game 2 marked the second straight game that the Bolts held a double-digit lead against Ginebra in the second half. They also almost blew one for a second straight game. However, Meralco learned its lesson from Game 1 and they take a crucial win to make the series tied at 1-1.   29 Total bench points for Meralco in Game 2. The Bolts got big games from their starters but it was the bench that pushed them to victory with John Pinto sparking a first-quarter run with 12 points on four triples. With the Gin Kings coming back to start the second half, Nico Salva was a good pick for coach Norman Black from his bench as he dropped nine points in the quarter. Anjo Caram and Brian Faundo also had quality minutes from the Bolts as the Meralco bench outscored that of Ginebra, 29-12.   329 Total 3-point shots for Justin Brownlee in his PBA career, most for any import. Brownlee’s make 54 seconds into the first quarter put him at 326, which passed Lamont Strother’s mark of 325 to break the record. JB finished Game 2 with four triples for 35 points.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 11th, 2020

PBA Finals: Baser finally gets big game vs. Ginebra in Bolts win

LUCENA — Meralco head coach Norman Black wanted a big game from no. 1 point guard Baser Amer in the Governors’ Cup Finals against Ginebra and with Game 2 Friday here, he got one. Amer played a key role in the Bolts’ series-tying victory, coming up with 17 points and hit five triples on over 50 percent shooting from the field. With the Gin Kings coming back from a 19-point deficit, Amer hit two crucial triples that put the Bolts back up by 10 with two minutes to go. Meralco ended up needing both of those shots as they only managed to win by two in the end. “There's nobody happier than me to see Baser really break out and explode against Ginebra,” Black said of Amer. “A lot of those shots were some long-range threes. I hope he can continue to do that on Sunday, when we play them again in Game 3. I think it will give him a lot of confidence going forward,” coach Norman added. For Baser, it was important for him to finally get the ball rolling in a playoff game against Ginebra. “Finally. Gusto ko pag patapos na laro, gusto ko nasa laro ako. Yun naging mindset ko na kailangan ko mag-bounce back,” he said. “Yung mga teammates ko and coaches, espcially si coach Norman, mino-motivate nila ako. Everytime pag Ginebra kasi, medyo down laro ko. Nandiyan sila lagi para i-motivate ako. Sobrang appreciate ko yun. Breaking out of his Ginebra slump, the key now is to do it consistently for Baser. “Sobrang challenge sakin, kasi once na maganda laro ko talagang malaki chance manalo sabi ni coach,” he said. “I take that responsibility. Hindi na ako yung dati na pasundut-sundot lang. Malaki na responsibility ko sa team,” Amer added. — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 11th, 2020

Lakers block 20 shots, hold off Pistons 106-99 in wild 4th

By Greg Beacham, Associated Press LOS ANGELES (AP) — LeBron James had 21 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists, and Anthony Davis had eight of the Los Angeles Lakers' 20 blocked shots in their fifth straight victory, 106-99 over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday night (Monday, PHL time). Davis scored 11 of his 24 points in the final 3:40 and added 11 rebounds for the Lakers, who blew a late 11-point lead in a wild fourth quarter and nearly lost to a team with a losing record for the first time all season. Instead, Alex Caruso scored 13 points and the Lakers finished one blocked shot short of their franchise record while they hung on to remain unbeaten since Christmas, when they had a four-game skid. Los Angeles had 21 blocks against Denver in April 1982. James finished with his 90th career triple-double, his ninth of the season and his second in five days. Derrick Rose scored 28 points and former Lakers guard Svi Mykhailiuk had 14 — one off his career high — for the Pistons, who have lost nine of 11 despite a strong effort against the Western Conference leaders. Andre Drummond added 12 points on 2-of-13 shooting and 18 rebounds before fouling out late, and the Pistons finished the California portion of their six-game road trip with a heartbreaker. The Lakers scored the first 15 points of the fourth quarter in a rally spearheaded by James and Caruso, turning a four-point deficit into a 90-79 lead. After finally scoring nearly five minutes into the quarter, Detroit strung together nine straight points and a 13-1 run to reclaim the lead with 4:51 left. James' driving, two-handed dunk put the Lakers up 96-92 with 3:22 left, and Davis was unstoppable down the stretch. After Rose hit a 3-pointer with 1:52 left to trim LA's lead to one point, Davis replied with a corner 3, and Dwight Howard got the Lakers' 20th blocked shot moments later. Howard finished with 11 points, nine rebounds and five blocks. Avery Bradley sprained his right ankle shortly before halftime and didn't return for the Lakers. The starting guard missed 13 games earlier in this season with a hairline fracture in his leg. The Lakers blocked eight shots in the first quarter alone, including four by Davis and three by JaVale McGee, who finished with six. Los Angeles blocked 12 shots and held Detroit to 35% shooting in the first half, but Rose and Drummond still kept the Pistons close. Detroit also stayed in it by making its first 21 consecutive free throws until Drummond missed midway through the third quarter. The Pistons still took their first lead late in the third on back-to-back 3-pointers by Mykhailiuk and Langston Galloway. TIP-INS Pistons: Blake Griffin missed his fourth straight game with knee soreness. The injury forced the longtime Clippers star to miss both of Detroit's games at Staples Center this season. ... Coach Dwane Casey got a technical foul in the third quarter for arguing the severity of a foul call against James. ... Detroit again had five players out with injuries, leaving an 11-man active roster. Lakers: Caruso had a strong game off the bench after missing Friday's (Saturday, PHL time) game with tightness in his right calf. ... Ohio State defensive end Chase Young watched the game from courtside next to agent Rich Paul, who represents Davis and James. Young announced Friday (Saturday, PHL time) he'll enter the NFL draft, where he could be the first overall pick. ... Coach Frank Vogel got a technical foul between the third and fourth quarters. INJURED LAKERS Bradley and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope both went to the Lakers' locker room shortly before halftime after apparently rolling their ankles. Caldwell-Pope walked it off and returned in the third quarter, while Bradley's sprain raised worries about the Lakers' perimeter depth, although X-rays were negative. UP NEXT Pistons: Visit Cleveland on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time) to begin a home-and-home set with the Cavaliers. Lakers: Host the New York Knicks on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 6th, 2020

PBA Finals: “Stronger” Meralco ready to challenge Ginebra anew

With another Ginebra-Meralco Finals in the PBA Governors’ Cup set, everyone has pretty much reminded the Bolts that they already lost two titles to the Gin Kings. In the team’s first-ever Finals in 2016, the Bolts lost in six games after “The Shot” from Justin Brownlee. One year later, Meralco lost again but this time, in front of a record Game 7 crowd and the Philippine Arena. The Bolts are well aware of their history with the Gin Kings and they’ve had enough. Meralco wants a title bad as both teams engage in a Finals trilogy starting next week. “While we do recognize that we lost to Ginebra twice — and we've been reminded of that over and over again — we're hoping it would be a different result this time around,” head coach Norman Black said. “We have a different team,” he added. Meralco still has key pieces from the previous Finals like two-time Best Import Allen Durham, Chris Newsome, and Baser Amer. However, the Bolts have now also added players like Raymond Almazan, Allein Maliksi, and rookie Bong Quinto. Whether those additions lead to a title remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure: Meralco is a much better team now compared to 2016 and 2017. “We're probably more balanced this team, a little bit stronger,” Coach Norman said. “We know we're up against tough competition. The Ginebra team is not only talented, they're big and they're well-coached. But at the same time, I think we're up for the challenge and we'll be ready to go in the first game,” he added. Game 1 of the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup Finals tips off Tuesday live from the Big Dome.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 4th, 2020

Lowry scores 24 points, Raptors beat Cavaliers 117-97

TORONTO (AP) - Kyle Lowry kept injury-ravaged Toronto rolling along by finishing off 2019 with another 20-point performance. Lowry scored 24 points, Terence Davis matched his career high with 19 and the Raptors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 117-97 on Tuesday night. Serge Ibaka had 20 points and 10 rebounds and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson scored 14 points in his first start with Toronto as the Raptors recorded their fifth straight home win over the Cavaliers. Toronto won for the fourth time in seven games since losing starters Pascal Siakam (groin), Marc Gasol (left hamstring) and Norman Powell (left shoulder) to injury. Lowry, who did not speak to reporters, has scored 20 or more in eight of his past nine games. He had 14 in a Christmas Day loss to Boston. "Kyle Lowry is a Hall of Famer," Cleveland's Tristan Thompson said. "He's a five-time All-Star, Olympic gold medalist, an NBA champ. He's their backbone. "He keeps this ship running and he's playing at a high level. Kyle's a bulldog, he's going to compete every night. That's why his teammates always love him." Collin Sexton scored 22 points and Thompson had 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Cavaliers, who had won four of five. Kevin Love returned to the starting lineup with 10 points and 11 rebounds and Cedi Osman scored 14 points for Cleveland. Cleveland coach John Beilein said Lowry and Fred VanVleet deserved most of the credit for Toronto's latest triumph. "In today's game, two guards like that, despite their size, can dominate," Beilein said. "They really dominated the game today." The Raptors are 13-1 when they lead through three quarters at home. Toronto lost 98-97 to Oklahoma City on Sunday despite taking an 80-76 lead into the fourth. Sexton said the Raptors seemed intent on wiping away the memories of Sunday's defeat. "They had a chip on their shoulder," Sexton said. "They wanted to pretty much just beat us. You could tell from the very start of the game that they had a different type of energy." OG Anunoby and VanVleet each scored 12 points in the Raptors' second 20-point win over Cleveland this season. The Cavaliers lost 133-113 at Toronto on Dec. 16. Toronto had lost three of four, but won for the 14th time in 19 home games. The Raptors went 9-7 in December, their busiest month of the season. Hollis-Jefferson started in place of Anunoby, who shot 0 for 7 from 3-point range in Sunday's loss to Oklahoma City and had missed 17 of 19 from distance over his previous five games. "Seemed like it worked out OK, they both played really well tonight," Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. "I liked the energy from both of them." The Raptors recorded an assist on nine of their 10 baskets in the opening quarter. Lowry fed Anunoby for a 3-pointer with 1.8 seconds left to give Toronto a 27-25 lead after one. The lead changed 10 times in the opening quarter, but didn't change again the rest of the way. Lowry scored 11 points in the second and Toronto used six 3-pointers to outscore Cleveland 32-18, scoring the final seven points of the quarter to take a 59-43 lead at halftime. "We just buried ourselves at the end of that first half," Beilein said. Cleveland shot 2 for 12 from 3-point range in the second. Toronto led 86-69 through three quarters. TIP-INS Cavaliers: Love sat out Saturday's win at Minnesota because of a sore right hip. . The Cavs shot 10 for 38 from 3-point range. . Cleveland is 4-13 on the road. . The Cavs were 5-9 in December after going 3-12 in November. Raptors: Before the game, Nurse said his injured starters are still "a ways away" from returning. All three were injured in a Dec. 18 win at Detroit. . F Patrick McCaw left early in the first quarter after injuring his left leg but returned in the second. . Toronto held a 15-2 edge in bench scoring at halftime. WINNING MONTHS Toronto has posted a winning record in 20 consecutive calendar months, the longest streak in franchise history and the longest active streak in the NBA. The Raptors last had a losing record in a single month when they went 8-9 in January 2017. DOUBLE YOUR PLEASURE Toronto led by double digits for the entire second half. DECEMBER DOUBLES All seven of Ibaka's double-doubles this season came in December. UP NEXT Cavaliers: Host Charlotte on Thursday night. Raptors: Visit Miami on Thursday night......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 1st, 2020

Russell scores 30 as Warriors top T-Wolves, 113-104

By Gideon Rubin, Associated Press SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — D’Angelo Russell scored 30 points, Alec Burks had 25 points and eight assists, and the Golden State Warriors beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 113-104 on Monday night (Tuesday, PHL time). Draymond Green added 14 rebounds and nine points and Damion Lee had 14 points for Golden State, which won consecutive games for the first time since last season’s Western Conference finals. Andrew Wiggins scored 22 points and Jordan McLaughlin had 19 for the Timberwolves, who dropped their 11th straight. Jeff Teague added 12 points for Minnesota. The Warriors broke open a tied game midway through the second quarter with an 18-3 run to take a 53-38 lead. Green scored on a hook shot with 2:30 left in the first half to cap the run. The Warriors opened up a 64-47 lead after starting the third quarter on a 7-0 run. The Warriors led 82-58 late in the third quarter on Omari Spellman's layup. Minnesota went on a 14-2 run to close within 84-72 early in the fourth quarter. The Timberwolves closed to 109-104 with 22 seconds left when McLaughlin was fouled on a dunk and completed the three-point play with a free throw. The Timberwolves are 5-19 since a 125-119 win over Golden State on Nov. 8 (Nov. 9, PHL time) in which Russell scored 52 points and Wiggins had 40. TIP-INS Timberwolves: G Shabazz Napier was held out of Monday’s (Tuesday, PHL time) game due to illness. … Jake Layman missed his 15th straight game with a left toe sprain. … Karl-Anthony Towns (left knee sprain) missed his fourth straight game. Warriors: F Glenn Robinson III missed Monday’s (Tuesday, PHL time) game with a right ankle injury. Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Robinson rolled his ankle in practice on Sunday (Monday, PHL time). Robinson had started 30 straight games. He’s probable for the Christmas (Dec. 26, PHL time) game against Houston, Kerr said. … F Eric Paschall played for the first time since leaving Friday’s (Saturday, PHL time) game against New Orleans late in the first quarter with a knee injury. … The Warriors activated G Ky Bowman and F Alen Smailagic. UP NEXT Timberwolves: Play at Sacramento on Thursday (Friday, PHL time). Minnesota’s 141-130 loss to the Kings the last time it played in Sacramento on Dec. 12, 2018, ended as the third-highest scoring game in Timberwolves history. Warriors: Host Houston on Christmas Day (Dec. 26, PHL time). The Rockets defeated Golden State 129-112 on Nov. 6 (Nov. 7, PHL time) in Houston......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 24th, 2019

PBA: Meralco’s composure prevails in huge Game 4 victory

ANTIPOLO — Meralco could have easily lost badly in Game 4 Saturday here. Up 2-1 in the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals, TNT dropped a quick 15-0 run to take a 14-point lead in the opening period. But the Bolts would recover, essentially saving their season after beating the 10-count from the KaTropa’s first haymaker. “We seemed a little nervous at the start. But I told the players before the game that no matter what happens we just need to stay together because the game might go down to a last-second shot and you always wanna keep your composure, even when you're down,” head coach Norman Black said. “You stick together, pick each other up and encourage each other. They did not get discouraged with our slow start and slowly we were able to grind our way back into the game,” he added. Down to a deciding Game 5, Meralco looks forward figuring out how to become the first team to win back-to-back games in this series. Doing so will send the Bolts back to the Governors’ Cup Finals for the third time in four seasons. “We can look forward to a knockout game on Monday. So far this series has been a game of adjustments, and obviously TNT won the first game so they've been a little bit ahead as far as that concerned,” Coach Norman said. “Now we just have to figure out what to do in Game 5 and how we can adjust to make sure we can get a victory,” Black added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 21st, 2019