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Almazan& rsquo;s inclusion to Bolts& rsquo; roster excites Black

Almazan& rsquo;s inclusion to Bolts& rsquo; roster excites Black.....»»

Category: sportsSource: thestandard thestandardMay 15th, 2019

PBA: “Nakakainip” says Almazan as he waits for Meralco debut

Raymond Almazan’s on-court debut for Meralco is coming very soon. The Bolts acquired the star big man during the conference break in a trade with Rain or Shine, giving up two first round picks in the process. However, with Almazan bothered by ankle injuries that limited him in the All-Filipino, Meralco is letting him fully recover before making him suit up in an actual game. That and the Bolts just want to incorporate Almazan better in their system. “There’s no set time for him to come back yet. He had a realy strenuous workout two days ago, and I think he proved to the doctor that he could play already,” Meralco head coach Norman Black said. “So now it’s just a matter of getting him in shape and getting him used to our system. So it maybe another two games at least before he comes back. But he’ll be back soon,” he added. For Almazan, he’s just doing his due diligence and getting into game shape. He’s also working on being the anchor of the defense for Meralco once he actually plays. “Nakakainip. Nagpapa-kundisyon na ako for almost two weeks so sana next week, makasabay na ako sa kanila ng five-on-five,” Almazan said. “Defense-first ako bago shoot. I started with defense bago pa ako makarating sa liga, so sana madala ko yung intensity sa defense and then makatulong ako sa team, rebounding, blocking, at helping sa weak side,” he added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 24th, 2019

Arsenal s 2019/20 home kit launched

adidas Football and Arsenal launched a progressive new era for the London club. Revealing a fresh new home strip design that nods to the iconic adidas shirts of the past with a distinctively modern twist, the debut collection sets the tone for an innovative new partnership. The all-new kit design for the 2019/20 season features a classic all-over red body, complimented by popping white sleeves and contrasting collar. The white high collar design is emblazoned with a central red stripe and black trimming. This design is repeated on both sleeves and the distinctive three stripes run across the shoulder in a bright white. The 2019/20 home kit kicks off the brand-new partnership between adidas and Arsenal, which aims to push the club forward both on and off the pitch. adidas Football General Manager Nick Craggs commented; “Arsenal has always had a unique culture that has seen them at the forefront of innovation, redefining the game, whilst staying true to their core values. We’re excited to be a part of that and, of course, delivering iconic kits that Arsenal fans love”. Managing Director of Arsenal, Vinai Venkatesham, said, “adidas’ core values mirror ours, they’re progressive and innovative and their bold ambitions for the club and the partnership are aligned with our own. We’re excited to have adidas by our side as we continue to develop and push boundaries together both on and off the field, the Arsenal way”. “The release is accompanied by a film ‘This is home’, which explores a timely and powerful message of inclusion; showing how first team players from around the world feel so at home in London and at Arsenal, they’ve become part of the fabric of the club and the community, adopting accents of North London and real Arsenal fans. The spot features players past and present alongside fans including Idris Elba, Ian Wright, Tony Adams, Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Mesut Ozil, Vivianne Miedema and Mattéo Guendouzi.” The Arsenal home kit, which includes the home jersey (Php3,300), shorts (Php1,600), and socks (Php800) is now available at the Arsenal.com, adidas.com.ph and in stores. For further information please visit adidas.com.ph/football or follow @adidasfootball on Instagram or twitter to join the conversation......»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 9th, 2019

Arsenal s 2019/20 home kit launched

adidas Football and Arsenal launched a progressive new era for the London club. Revealing a fresh new home strip design that nods to the iconic adidas shirts of the past with a distinctively modern twist, the debut collection sets the tone for an innovative new partnership. The all-new kit design for the 2019/20 season features a classic all-over red body, complimented by popping white sleeves and contrasting collar. The white high collar design is emblazoned with a central red stripe and black trimming. This design is repeated on both sleeves and the distinctive three stripes run across the shoulder in a bright white. The 2019/20 home kit kicks off the brand-new partnership between adidas and Arsenal, which aims to push the club forward both on and off the pitch. adidas Football General Manager Nick Craggs commented; “Arsenal has always had a unique culture that has seen them at the forefront of innovation, redefining the game, whilst staying true to their core values. We’re excited to be a part of that and, of course, delivering iconic kits that Arsenal fans love”. Managing Director of Arsenal, Vinai Venkatesham, said, “adidas’ core values mirror ours, they’re progressive and innovative and their bold ambitions for the club and the partnership are aligned with our own. We’re excited to have adidas by our side as we continue to develop and push boundaries together both on and off the field, the Arsenal way”. “The release is accompanied by a film ‘This is home’, which explores a timely and powerful message of inclusion; showing how first team players from around the world feel so at home in London and at Arsenal, they’ve become part of the fabric of the club and the community, adopting accents of North London and real Arsenal fans. The spot features players past and present alongside fans including Idris Elba, Ian Wright, Tony Adams, Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Mesut Ozil, Vivianne Miedema and Mattéo Guendouzi.” The Arsenal home kit, which includes the home jersey (Php3,300), shorts (Php1,600), and socks (Php800) is now available at the Arsenal.com, adidas.com.ph and in stores. For further information please visit adidas.com.ph/football or follow @adidasfootball on Instagram or twitter to join the conversation......»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 9th, 2019

PBA: Shock move to Ginebra has Meralco a little disappointed in Dillinger

One of the big surprises in the PBA Friday was Brgy. Ginebra actually landing the services of now former Meralco forward Jared Dillinger. The Bolts put the injured Dillinger in their unrestricted free agent list and the Gin Kings just signed him up since he was free. However, Meralco says that the whole Dillinger situation could have been handled way better. “I was a little bit surprised because we allowed Jared to go to the States for treatment. Before the season started he came back and he said, ‘I can’t start running for at least two months’ so since we knew he couldn’t play, we had a gentleman’s agreement with him that we can put him in the unrestricted list and as soon as he’s ready to play, we’ll just place him back to the lineup again,” head coach Norman Black said. “Let some of the other guys contribute to the team. Anyway, as soon you’re ready you’re one of our main guys you’ll be back in the mix again,” he added. Coach Norman admits to being shocked by the move but he understands and is ready to move on because Dillinger was actually an unrestricted free agent. He was basically allowed to do anything he wanted anyway. “I was a little bit shocked when I heard today that he has signed with Ginebra,” Black said. “But it’s his prerogative. It’s an unrestricted free agent, he can basically do what he wants to do. It’s just our point of view and the fact the we talked to him and he did not talk to us before he actually signed with Ginebra. That’s where the disappointment comes in,” he added. Dillinger is out of action due to a recurring quad injury. The Gin Kings will be his third team in the PBA after TNT and Meralco. Dillinger was the Tropang Texters’ no. 2 pick in the 2008 Draft behind Gabe Norwood and just before Jason Castro. He was sent to Meralco in 2013 after winning five titles with TNT, including the Perpetual Championship. “It’s his choice,” coach Norman said. “We’ll move one. I’ll just develop some of my younger guys,” he added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 31st, 2019

We played bad the whole game -- Meralco coach Black

Meralco coach Norman Black described the Bolts’ performance in the pivotal Game 5 of the 2016 PBA Governors’ Cup best-of-seven Finals series as bad. As simple as that. Just bad.     “It.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 16th, 2016

Mighty-GFG returns Jones Cup crown to Philippines

Perfection is still the name of the game for Mighty Sports-Go for Gold Philippines as it blasted Chinese Taipei-Blue, 97-74, in the penultimate game day of the 2019 William Jones Cup, Saturday inside Changhua Gym in Taiwan. Renaldo Balkman showed the Filipino side the way to yet another win with 21 points while fellow reinforcement Eugene Phelps and Filipino-American Roosevelt Adams also added 17 and 13 markers, respectively. With their seventh win in as many games in the regional tournament, Team Philippines is now assured of the championship whatever happens in their last assignment tomorrow against Chinese Taipei-White. Mighty-GFG Philippines reclaims the crown it last wore back in 2016. This is also the country's sixth championship overall in the Jones Cup. BOX SCORES MIGHTY-GFG PHILIPPINES 97 – Balkman 21, Phelps 17, Adams 13, Moore 10, Gray 8, Williams 8, Yeo 6, Graham 4, Banal 3, Black 3, Brickman 2, N’Diaye 2. CHINESE TAIPEI-BLUE 74 – Chen 19, Lee C 13, Florveus 8, Chou 7, Hu 7, Chou 5, Liu 4, Kuo 3, Wen 2, Lee W 0, Su 0. QUARTER SCORES: 24-14, 50-32, 72-49, 97-74......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 20th, 2019

Mighty-GFG Philippines closes in on 2019 Jones Cup championship

Mighty Sports-Go for Gold Philippines is now one win away from the title in the 2019 William Jones Cup after a 28-point destruction of Indonesia, 94-66, Friday inside Changhua Gym in Taiwan. As always, reinforcements Eugene Phelps and Renaldo Balkman showed the way with 19 and 17 points, respectively. They were backstopped by ex-pro Joseph Yeo who turned in his best game of the tournament with 14 points, all but two coming from triples. Filipino-Americans Aaron Black and Jeremiah Gray also added eight and seven points, respectively. With their sixth win in as many games in the regional tournament, the Filipinos need just one more win to reclaim the crown they last wore back in 2016. They will get two cracks at that - first against Chinese Taipei Blue on Saturday and then second against Chinese Taipei White on Sunday. BOX SCORES MIGHTY-GFG PHILIPPINES 94 - Phelps 19, Balkman 17, Yeo 14, Moore 8, Black 8, Gray 7, Williams 6, N’Diaye 6, Wongchuking 5, Banal 4, Adams 0, Brickman 0. INDONESIA 66 - Kokodiputra 21, Muhammad 11, Gemilang 7, Sanjaya 7, Joni 6, Hartanto 4, Noor 2, Priasmoro 2, Wijaya 2, Wicaksono 2, Teja 2, Hidayat 0. QUARTER SCORES: 27-13, 45-30, 71-43, 94-66......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 19th, 2019

PBA: Aces shut down Bolts in OT to complete playoff cast

The 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup playoffs is finally set. Alaska got the 8th and final spot Friday, scoring a gutsy 108-103 overtime win over Meralco at the MOA Arena. The Aces needed the heroics of guard Chris Banchero, who buried two clutch jumpers late, to force OT. Once in extra time, Alaska continued with its momentum to fully shut the Bolts down. Alaska’s prize in winning this tough game is a Sunday meeting against top seed TNT. The KaTropa hold a twice-to-beat advantage and also enter the quarterfinals with an eight-game winning streak.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 19th, 2019

PBA: Muscle Man ready to rock as he makes return to playoffs

A healthy Vic Manuel is a dangerous Vic Manuel. Meralco found out how tough the Muscle Man is Friday in the one-game knockout for 8th place in the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup. Manuel torched the Bolts for 23 points, 15 in the fourth quarter and overtime, to lead Alaska back to the playoffs. “Last opportunity na sa amin ito. Yung last three games namin, parang binibigay na sa amin para makapasok kami sa playoffs, hindi namin nakukuha,” Manuel said. “Binigyan pa kami ng isang pagkakataon, so ngayong gabi, na-grab namin,” he added. Manuel came back for the Aces this conference after a long recovery from injury. While he’s been playing well, he wouldn’t say he’s regained his previous peak condition but he is healthy enough to play. Manuel played almost 25 minutes Friday against Meralco. “Ayun nga yung hindi ko masabi kasi minsan naninigas pa yung likod ko. Ako laro lang ako, laro nang laro kasi ayaw ko din i-pahinga eh,” Manuel said. “Pag pina-pahinga ko, parang lalo siyang sumasakit so nilalaro ko nang nilalaro,” he added. Ahead of his first playoff game this season, the Muscle Man will be ready to rock for Alaska. “Oo naman syempre,” he said as the Aces take on no. 1 TNT on Sunday. “Bibigay ko pa rin lahat ng best ko kahit na may nararamdaman pa ako, lalaro ko pa rin. Importante sa amin yung laro eh,” Manuel added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 19th, 2019

Team Lakay s Gina Iniong and Joshua Pacio: Two paths, one goal

Lakay. It is the Ilocano word for old man.   But when you go up to Baguio, it has an altogether different meaning. You cannot miss that word when you drive down Benguet road, on a nifty sign attached to a normal-looking office building: Team Lakay.   The home of the best Philippine mixed martial arts team in history. Almost all of the big names local fight fans have come to cheer and love as our modern-day heroes trace their roots to the relatively small, packed training room down Benguet road, where mats are soaked with the sweat of the fighters.   Eduard Folayang, Kevin Belingon, Geje Eustaquio, Honorio Banario, Rey Docyogen, Roldan Sangcha-an, and Mark Eddiva are all hallowed names in the annals of Philippine mixed martial arts, disciples of Mark “The Machine” Sangiao, who established, and groomed Team Lakay to the fearsome fighting factory that it is today.   While all the names above have ensconced themselves on pedestals, Team Lakay’s pipeline includes two more who have been fighting for recognition in recent fights: lone female fighter Gina Iniong, and ONE’s current Strawweight lynchpin and youngest champion, Joshua Pacio.   Both fighters may have started their professional fighting careers for different reasons, but Iniong and Pacio still have a lot to offer and prove for mixed martial arts in the country and in the international stage, such as being prominent fighters in the prestigious cage of ONE Championship.   CHANCE OF A LIFETIME   Gina, the first female Filipino mixed martial artist to fight and win abroad, started boxing back in high school as part of her after-school activities. When she was about to graduate, she actively sought scholarships in order to finish her education. One such opportunity presented itself in the form of an athletic scholarship, concentrating on the martial art of Wushu, which has a huge following in her hometown of Baguio City, with the University of the Cordilleras having a team of its own.   “Our former boxing coach, who was a former student of Coach Mark (Sangiao), approached me one day, telling me to join the upcoming wushu competition then for the college scholarship. So I joined it, and took a chance,” Iniong shared, recounting how she got into the world of combat sports as a young lady.   However, it was too good to be true, as she had to hurdle quite a huge problem if she wants that scholarship: a fight record. Sangiao told the young Iniong it would be difficult to get her a scholarship if she does not have a record to show in active combat in Wushu.   “I was lucky because there was a Wushu National Games here in Manila and we immediately went down and made our way there. Thankfully, I got the gold after the competition, and that paved the way for my scholarship,” said Iniong.   From there, the “Conviction” was born. After competing in numerous Wushu tournaments, Iniong finally caught the eye of Sangiao, who decided to take her under his wings and train her to be his female version inside the MMA cage.   After debuting in the Universal Reality Combat Championship in 2010, Iniong hasn’t looked back in the 12 bouts she has figured in, compiling a professional record of 8-4.  As the lone female representative of the most-successful mixed martial arts team in the Philippines, she has displayed that trademark fearsome striking prowess of fighters coming from the Lakay camp.   When asked about the fact that she is one of the only five Filipinas making the country proud inside the ONE cage, the 29-year old’s face lit up, in disbelief, in honor, in humility, for she cannot believe it herself.   “I’m very proud, and humbled, of the fact that I am the lone female fighter representing Team Lakay in ONE Championship. Many very skilled female fighters dream of being part of ONE Championship, and fight under Team Lakay, yet I am the one that Coach Mark has seen with the most potential to carry the flag inside the cage,” she said.   However, what drives Gina to fight, and it has been a well-known fact, is her mother, diagnosed with a stage 5 chronic kidney disease. In her fight against Jihin Radzuan last February, Iniong dedicated the fight to her mother, who to this day, is scared of seeing her daughter mix it up in the ring.   “To this day, she hasn’t watched me fight live, not even on TV because she is quite the nervous person, and she would only watch if she knew I won, during replays. She is very unlike my dad, who has fully supported my life as an athlete, after being a boxer himself in his younger days,” she shared.   CHALLENGE ACCEPTED   Joshua “The Passion” Pacio never intended to make mixed martial arts fighting a career growing up. The 23-year old fighter deemed it impossible back then, to reach a stage as huge as ONE Championship, due to the excellence of the fighters that he used to watch with his uncle through videos.   Add to the fact that Pacio was overweight. Obese, specifically. It made it all the more difficult for the kid to follow his dream and passion to be a fighter.   It all changed when his uncle started training him in Muay Thai, the art of the eight limbs that originated from Thailand, and considered one of the deadliest forms of combat striking. It started out as training just for fitness, but as if seeing a tiny ray of light in a dark tunnel, Pacio wanted more.   “At first, it was only for fitness, with my uncle training me, and watching videos of various MMA fights, which really inspired me to push myself harder. I really wanted to test myself, compete with the best, and it all seemed impossible when I was out of shape. My uncle really pushed me starting with Muay Thai. I started competing a few months after that, but I suffered defeat after defeat in amateur competitions. I questioned myself why I still trained afterwards. But at the same time, that’s when I realized that this is really my passion, that even if I lost my last fight,” shared the ONE Championship Strawweight king, who has not looked back since then.   “The goal for me has ever been to prove to myself that I have improved in skills, and be the best fighter I can be,” Pacio added.   He made his ONE debut three years ago, finally fulfilling his lifelong dream of professional mixed martial arts, facing a more experienced Filipino fighter in Robin Catalan at the age of 20, one of the youngest to enter ONE’s cage.   “Before I got to represent Team Lakay in ONE Championship, the roster spot was actually up for grabs. Fighters of the team figured in a Team Lakay Championship, a grand-prix style tournament within the team, for the ONE Championship contract. I fought twice victoriously in one night to get it. Two weeks later, with a ONE Championship event in Manila, that’s when I found out I am making my professional debut,” said an astounded Pacio.   Everything about the man they call “The Passion” has been hard earned. He finally tasted gold last 2018 when he decisioned the famed Yoshitaka Naito, a Japanese ground and wrestling master that forced Pacio to tap via a rear-naked choke when they first met. Facing, and losing to Naito, according to Pacio, was a revelation that he has to improve his overall skills, especially his ground game in order to play with the big boys of the cage.   Striking will definitely get you somewhere, as is with Pacio’s base as a martial artist, but one has to have more tricks up his sleeve when they aspire for the pinnacle of the competition. Joshua came back with a vengeance in 2018 to show “Nobita” that “The Passion” is no longer the young kid who will be submitted easily.   However, 2019 did not start of great for Pacio and Team Lakay, after he lost the belt in January to Naito’s contemporary in Yosuke “Tobizaru” Saruta in a questionable split decision. But that did not deter the young man, who has made it his personal goal to continue improving and treat each loss as a lesson, in ONE Championship’s “Roots of Honor” fight card, where he faced Saruta once more.   This time, in front of a racous Filipino crowd inside the Mall of Asia Arena, Pacio did not let the judges’ cards decide as he detonated a right knee to the side of Saruta’s head late in the fourth round to reclaim his throne. The dreaded Team Lakay striking power knocked the lights out from the Japanese fighter as Baguio’s young lion let out a furious roar to celebrate his redemption.   TWO PATHS, ONE GOAL   One did it for education, the other for health. Nowadays, however, MMA means more to Iniong and Pacio than just a stepping stone to something else. It is their passion, their advocacy, their bread and butter.   They continue to grind each day, waiting for another opportunity to show what they got and get the win, not just for personal glory, but also for the country and their family.   Inspired by her ailing mother, the “Conviction” promises to keep her current winning streak up despite being up against a formidable foe in her next match. After tasting defeat from Brazilian Istela Nunes, Iniong bounced back with a split decision over Radzuan last February to get herself back on track. Right now, Gina has one thing in mind with their goal: chase that ONE Women’s Atomweight division title, currently held by Angela Lee, and become the Philippines’ very first female ONE world champion.   However, Iniong acknowledges that the path towards the gold may not be easy, as she is currently eyeing a rematch with Japanese tormentor Mei Yamaguchi, the number one-ranked Atomweight fighter whom she has fought with twice, in order to settle who the rightful challenger to Lee’s belt is.   “Everyone has gotten belts. My big brothers in the team have tasted championship. I felt jealous because I do not have a belt, and lost my fight that would have given me a title shot. This time, I will make sure that I will do my best to secure a title fight,” rued Iniong in a previous interview with ONE Championship prior to fighting Radzuan.   While Iniong wants hit paydirt, it’s all about keeping the belt on his waist for Pacio, the reigning ONE Strawweight champion. His most probable foe is his nemesis Yoshitaka Naito who he does not have a problem with facing for the third time.   “I really want to prove I am the champion, and if it’s by facing him (Naito), so be it. I also want to prove that I have greatly improved as well from the last time we fought,” he shared.   While Iniong and Pacio await their next fighting assignment, their teammates are in the thick of training for the upcoming “Dawn of Heroes” megafight card happening on August 2 at the Mall of Asia Arena. It features Team Lakay members, led by Edward “Landslide” Folayang, Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio, and Danny “The King” Kingad, who will face the best of the world as represented by Eddie Alvarez, Reece McLaren, and Yuya Wakamatsu.   The entire country will be cheering on them as the whole world watches. And maybe somehow, somewhere there will be new blood encouraged and inspired by them to take on the challenge of continuing the legacy of the nation’s best fighting team alongside Iniong and Pacio.   After all, Sangiao did not establish Team Lakay just to be some Bagiuo-based fitness gym down Benguet road. He made Team Lakay to provide a home, a family, for young Filipinos who have the heart to fight for their dream, their family, and the country.     Watch “ONE: Dawn of Heroes” on August 2 at the Mall of Asia Arena, to be broadcast LIVE on ABS-CBN S+A and S+A HD with livestreaming on iWant for all the Pinoy fight fans to see. For more stories and news one ONE Championship, follow @ABSCBNSports on Twitter and Facebook or visit sports.abs-cbn.com. For updates, follow @ABSCBNPR on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram or visit www.abs-cbn.com/newsroom......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 18th, 2019

PBA: Terrence Jones new tropa wants to send him back to the NBA

Over the last couple of seasons, the PBA has seen its share of super imports. Ginebra’s Justin Brownlee immediately comes to mind. Meralco’s Allen Durham and Phoenix’s Eugene Phelps fit in that mold too. Alaska’s Mike Harris is in that list as well. The uber-talented Glen Rice Jr. could have made it if he just got it together. But for the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup, TNT brought not just any other import. Tired of underperforming for the past few conferences, the KaTropa went ahead and signed former Houston Rockets forward Terrence Jones for the mid-season joust. With Jones, TNT went the super — SUPER — import route and it has been worth every penny for the KaTropa, at least so far.   ROCKET MAN Many former NBA players have played in the PBA before, that’s not a new thing. But what makes Jones special is that he’s at his peak of his powers now as he plays his first stint in the PBA. Jones is a former first-round pick and was a legitimate NBA contributor. In his best NBA season, in 2013-2014 for Houston, Jones started 71 games and had career-high numbers of 12.1 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. This dude is legit. “Oo iba, iba siya talaga,” guard RR Pogoy said of Jones. (Yes, he’s really different). In just one conference, Pogoy and Jones have clicked as teammates. Terrence has admitted that RR is one of his favorite local targets when he’s trying to spot an open teammate when opposing teams double on him. Pogoy admits that Jones is one of the best, if not the best, import he’s ever played with. “Pwedeng-pwede pa siya talaga sa NBA eh. Iba yung skills niya,” he added. (He could still play in the NBA. His skills are just different).   THE DIFFERENCE TNT has ran pretty much the same system for years. Whether you like this team or now, they know what style they want to play andd they identify players that fit that system well. The KaTropa have dominated the PBA without a traditional big man. Ask other teams, they’ve been blindsided and bamboozled by a TNT offense led by diminutive point guards like Jimmy Alapag and Jayson Castro. However, the KaTropa have hit another rough patch. The team hasn’t made it to the PBA semifinals since 2017. Their 2018 campaign was a lot like the horror 2016 year with the only difference being three seasons ago, they actually made it to the semifinals of the Governors’ Cup as a no. 1 seed. Last year, they won zero playoff games and missed the playoffs altogether once so in essence, 2018 was a worse nightmare for the KaTropa. It didn’t help that in the previous All-Filipino, they were practically a missed 24-second violation away from ending the San Miguel Beer Philippine Cup dynasty. The winning formula no longer works for TNT. Or at the very least, it’s not as effective. Enter Terrence Jones. “Malaking tulong talaga siya sa team namin. Kung ano yung kulang samin, parang fit na fit talaga siya eh. Napa-dali na lang yung mga buhay namin sa basketball,” Pogoy said of Jones. (He’s a big help to our team. What we lack, he fits right in. Our basketball lives are easier with him). “Yung rebounding tsaka yung pagka-shot blocker niya [malaking tulong]. Naiilang din yun kalaban namin eh, sa rebound naman naco-control namin kasi may malaki na kami, yun naman talaga kulang namin,” Pogoy added. (His rebounding and his presence as a shot blocker is a huge help). In 10 games so far, Jones is averaging 14.9 rebounds per game. That may not seem much for an import but he’s never had fewer than 10 in a game and has hit a high 22 rebounds. His shot blocking has helped TNT shore up its overall defense as well with Jones averaging 2.9 rejections a game with his three best performances coming against Columbian (7 blocks), Ginebra (6 blocks), and San Miguel (5 blocks). The last two teams feature perhaps the two best frontlines in the league today by a wide margin. Aside from his defensive presences, Jones is a force on offense as well, averaging 34.5 points on close to 50 percent shooting. He’s hit over 30 points eight times and over 40 points four times. Scoring will be a given for a player of his caliber but what sets him apart is his ability to locate open teammates and willingly pass the ball to them. Jones is good for at least four assists in every game and he’s topped out at 16 dimes so far. In 10 games, he’s rounding up to 7.7 assists per outing which leads all imports, and the whole league actually. “Talagang willing passer siya, hinahanap din niya talaga yung mga kasama niya. Kumbaga di niya inaako lahat yung scoring load,” forward Troy Rosario said of his new frontcourt tandem in Jones. (He’s a willing passer. He really tries to find his teammates and he’s not trying to shoulder all the scoring load). “Kami ready pa rin kami lagi. Syempre yung experience niya sa NBA talagang pinapakita niya dito, natutulungan din niya kami kung saan kami dapat lumugar sa plays kasi advanced na siya eh, kahit di na sabihin ni coach alam na niya dapat gawin,” he added. (We’re just ready as locals. He’s really showing his NBA experience here, he’s helping us to where we need to be on plays because he’s so advanced he knows what to do even before coach tells us).   THE LEADER Aside from putting up big numbers across the board, there’s one underrated factor about Terrence Jones that has led to him making a positive impact on TNT. Jones made an effort to be a leader for the KaTropa and his teammates have rallied behind him for sure. The result is in the way they play and the way they win in the Commissioner’s Cup. “I think it’s come to them [TNT locals] listening and understanding that I have a little experience on what it takes to try to win and be a good teammate,” Jones said of his leadership role with the KaTropa and how it worked out. “They listened and understood that and we’ve been having fun ever since,” he added. TNT is full of alpha-level players but Jones’ NBA resume has certainly helped in making them line up behin their import and provide support. The the KaTropa have been running like a well-oiled machince with that set up. “Leadership pa lang niya ang laking tulong na samin. As locals, ginagawa lang namin kung ano dapat namin gawin para maka-contribute din and para matulungan din siya,” Rosario said. (His leadership alone is a big help for us. As locals, we just try to do what we need to do to contribute and to help him out). “Magaling siya, isa talaga siya mga leader namin ngayon. Talagang nili-lift up niya kami, di lang sa salita pati sa gawa,” Pogoy added. (He’s great, he’s one of our leaders now. He really lifts us up not just with words but with action as well)   THE LONG ROAD BACK TO THE ASSOCIATION It would be incredible if TNT ends up having Terrence Jones as a resident import the same way Ginebra has Justin Brownlee or Phoenix has Eugene Phelps or Meralco having Allen Durham. However, the KaTropa know that their super import still has a good shot of returning to the NBA and they plan on helping him get back there. “Syempre goal namin makapasok sa playoffs, nagawa na namin yun. Ang susunod na step is next round sa playoffs. Malaking tulong din yun sa kanya kasi yung pangalan niya bumabango ulit,” Rosario said. (Our goal is to make the playoffs and we did that. Now the next step is to get to the next round of the playoffs. That’s a big help for him to get his name out there again). “Preparation na rin kasi alam namin na after dito, meron siyang invites sa mga training camps,” he added. (It’s also good preparation because we know after this, he has some invites to camps). With TNT at 9-1 and a top-2 seed in the playoffs, the team is certainly favored to win in the Commissioner’s Cup. And perhaps one of Jones’ best ways to once again get some traction is to put up great numbers for a championship team in a big league like the PBA. There’s a big check mark on the numbers part and while he can’t win a title by his lonesome, Jones has an entire tropa that has his back. “Lalo na kung mag-champion kami, mabango yung pangalan niya di ba?” Pogoy said. (If we win the championship, that’s good for his name, right?). “Marami naman nags-scout diyan, nakikita siya and maganda pinapakita niya. Feel ko [kaya bumalik sa NBA],” he added. (There’s people that scout him, seeing him and how good he’s been performing. I feel [he can make it back to the NBA]). Of course, winning a PBA championship does not directly award Jones and NBA roster spot. However, he appreciates that his team backs him up in that regard. Right now TNT’s super import is just concerned about playing well with his team and winning more games. “I appreciate it, I wish nothing but the best for all my teammates as well,” Jones said. “I hope you guys see that while we’re playing, we’re smiling and enjoying one another when anybody scores. It’s just like a family atmosphere,” he added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 16th, 2019

Lonzo Ball eager for fresh start with Pelicans

New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball wasn't surprised when he was traded by the Los Angeles Lakers earlier this summer. "I was kind of excited, honestly," Ball told ESPN on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). "I kind of figured someone was going to get moved soon enough. I knew Anthony Davis wanted to come bad. Anytime you can get a guy like that, you are going to have to do what you have to do to get him. So I was kind of already just waiting for it, honestly, and I was happy to go with two guys I am comfortable with in B.I. [Brandon Ingram] and JHart [Josh Hart]. I am excited to see what we can do. Get your first look at the NBA’s top Rookies during NBA Summer League LIVE on NBA League Pass! "I tell people when I was a rookie, I probably would have been sad," Ball continued on being traded. "Just being from L.A., having my whole family here and wanting to be a Laker. But being in the league for two years, knowing it's a business, as long you get to play, that's a blessing in itself. I'm excited to get started." Ball, who has been sidelined since January with an ankle injury, is expected to be cleared for full contact in two weeks. When he returns, he will join a talented Pelicans squad that will feature Jrue Holiday, JJ Redick (reportedly) and first overall pick Zion Williamson -- an explosive big man who could be the perfect compliment to Ball's pass-first game. "Man, I've never seen somebody that size move like him," Ball said of Williamson. "He's only 19, right? He's definitely a freak. I've never seen nothing like it. With his game and with him getting a full head of steam, it's going to be very tough to stop him. So I think we play fast and get out on the break as soon as possible." With so much talent on the roster, the Pelicans could be ready to compete earlier than many expected after being forced to trade Davis. Ball believes the team is the perfect opportunity for him to remind the NBA world about his skills. "Obviously, injuries kind of messed up things a little bit," Ball said of his time in L.A. "But you take the bumps with the bruises and keep moving forward. Only been in the league for two years and looking forward to this third year in New Orleans, get a fresh start and show people what I can do. "I know New Orleans is excited to have me, and I'm excited to get started," Ball added. "Moving to a new team, a new situation, a new organization, new coaches, new everything -- it's a refresh, getting back to playing basketball how I know I can play." Coming soon to the #Pelicans: @ZO2_ ???? pic.twitter.com/FJLwFaFK1q — New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) July 7, 2019.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 15th, 2019

Mighty-GFG Philippines makes it two routs in a row in 2019 Jones Cup

Mighty Sports-Go for Gold Philippines had no problems whatsoever for the second straight game in the 2019 William Jones Cup, powering right through world no. 49 Jordan, 90-74, Saturday inside Changhua Gym in Taiwan. Roosevelt Adams yet again waxed hot from the get go, dropping all but three of his 11 total points in the first half. Reinforcements Eugene Phelps and Renaldo Balkman then joined in on the fun in the second half as the former finished with 20 points while the latter ended with 17 markers, seven rebounds, and two blocks. The Filipinos will now turn their attention to another national team in world no. 48 Japan on Sunday. BOX SCORES MIGHTY-GFG PHILIPPINES 90 – Phelps 20, Balkman 17, Adams 11, Williams 9, Graham 9, Moore 9, Gray 8, N’Diaye 2, Yeo 2, Black 2, Brickman 1, Banal 0. JORDAN 74 – Fadi 13, Abbas 12, Wazzaneh 11, Hawwas 9, Najdawi 7, Alhamarsheh 7, Dasuqi 5, Alhendi 5, Obeid 2, Kanaan 0. QUARTER SCORES: 21-16, 44-29, 68-44, 90-74......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 13th, 2019

ONE Championship: Jihin Radzuan hopes for a finish against Jomary Torres

Malaysian superstar Jihin "Shadow Cat" Radzuan hopes for an emphatic finish when she steps into the ring with Philippines' very own Jomary "The Zamboanginian Figher" Torres.   The pair of well-rounded female mixed martial artists is set to collide on the undercard of ONE: MASTERS OF DESTINY on Friday, 12 July at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.   Eager to prove that she is one of the most exciting athletes in the ONE Championship roster, Radzuan promises that she will be the aggressor against Torres.    "I’ve worked hard, and I believe I can finish Jomary off in the Axiata Arena. It could be a knockout or a submission. I’m confident in my abilities," Radzuan said.   "I don’t want to come out as another boring athlete, and I want to show the Malaysian fans why I’m one of the most exciting martial artists in ONE."   In her latest outing, Radzuan fell short by way of split decision against Team Lakay’s Gina "Conviction" Iniong on the undercard of ONE: CLASH OF LEGENDS this past February.   Wanting to prove that she is more than just a one-dimensional striker, "Shadow Cat" shared that she worked on every facet of her game in preparation for Torres.   "I’m pretty well-equipped going into this match against Jomary, and I know there’s something extra I need to do to get a win through submission or knockout," stated the former Wushu World Champion.   "It’s been a long but rewarding training camp. I’ve sharpened my striking and worked hard on the mats too. There have been days where I feel so tired, but I know I cannot quit."   Not one to overlook an opponent, Radzuan acknowledges that Torres is a capable martial artist herself, having defeated the likes Rika "Tiny Doll" Ishige and Team Lakay's April Osenio.   At the end of the day, it’s all about being confident and cautious at the same time.    "My head coach Melvin Yeoh told me that I can defeat Torres, but we’re not going to underestimate what she can bring in the fight.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 11th, 2019

ONE Championship: With title shot in mind, Danny Kingad unaffected by change of foe

Flyweight prospect Danny "The King" Kingad is too focused in training to get bothered by a replacement of opponent ahead of the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix semifinals.   The 23-year-old from Baguio City was originally scheduled to square off against former ONE Flyweight World Champion Kairat "The Kazakh" Akhmetov, but the latter had to withdraw from the tournament after he suffered an injury.   The recent development led "The King" to receiving former ONE Bantamweight World Title challenger Reece "Lightning" McLaren as his new adversary, and he has no problems facing the Australian sensation.   “I don’t think there’s much difference in training. It’s pretty much the same, they’re good wrestlers and in jiu-jitsu,” said Kingad.    “The game plan is to strike and to defend the ground well. I’ll try to keep the fight standing, there’s little changes I made in my gameplan.”  McLaren, an Australian with Filipino roots himself, was eliminated from the prestigious tournament when he lost a unanimous decision against Akhmetov in the quarterfinals.    Despite the loss, Kingad is convinced his new opponent is just as good as Akhmetov, as he knows better than to underestimate the challenge in front of him.   “I think they’re on the same level. Just for me, they’re pretty much the same," he explained.   “Reece is very technical in the ground and that’s what I’m trying to avoid. I don’t think I’ll have a problem in the striking department cause that’s my game plan.” Kingad has nothing but high regards for McLaren, who has faced some of the best and biggest names on the ONE Championship roster. A former bantamweight contender, Kingad, however, feels that McLaren was a better athlete in the upper weight class.   “He was strong in bantamweight, but I feel like when he moved to flyweight, I have the upper hand now,” Kingad stressed.    “That’s my advantage over him. In case the match goes to the ground, I have something to show for, something he won’t expect.”  In his past few bouts, "The King" was bent on getting a knockout.   He is willing to let it slide against McLaren, as he stressed the importance of getting a win over a highlight-reel finish.   “Whether it be by knockout, submission or decision, my target is to win.” .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 10th, 2019

Leonard-George tandem turns Clippers into legit contender

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com At the moment of truth, Kawhi Leonard went against his persona and caused a shakeup that wasn’t so quiet after all. Quite stunning, actually, was the Friday (Saturday, PHL time) series of events that directly affected four teams, caused a major trade of unprecedented details, and influenced the NBA Finals MVP to sign a free agent contract with the Clippers and instantly turning a franchise without a banner into a hardcore contender. Get your first look at the NBA’s top Rookies during NBA Summer League LIVE on NBA League Pass! Leonard is now joined by Paul George, who finished third in the 2018-19 MVP balloting and who requested a trade from Oklahoma City at the 11th hour to essentially swap Russell Westbrook for Leonard. The Clippers are now bringing a pair of swingman who excel on both ends of the floor, giving them the sort of dynamic tandem that’s almost required to win a title these days. The price for George was steep — basically, the Clippers surrendered more for George than the Lakers did for Anthony Davis. They handed over a chunk of their future, with three unprotected first-round picks (2022, 2024 and 2026) belonging to the Clippers, a pair of coveted Heat first rounders (2021 unprotected and 2023 protected 1-14) that were owned by LA, and the option to swap first-rounders with the Clippers in 2023 and 2025. OKC also gets 20-year-old point guard Shai-Gilgeous Alexander and veteran shooter Danilo Gallinari. And so the Clippers drastically changed their personality in the span of a few years, replacing the “Lob City” era of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan with a feisty defensive club led by Kawhi, George, Pat Beverley and Montrezl Harrell. It’s also a team with three reputable scorers as well: Kawhi, George and Lou Williams. Imagine: The Clippers just upstaged the Lakers in an offseason where the Lakers added Davis to join LeBron James. Adding to the intrigue is the presence of Jerry West, the Laker Hall of Famer whose reign as general manager helped raise multiple banners, but whose touch as a consultant with the Clippers in this process is undeniable. Two summers ago when he joined the Clippers after serving the same role with the Warriors, it was West who persuaded the Clippers to trade Griffin, whom they just gave a maximum contract, to the Pistons. West believed Griffin’s best years were behind him and thought the Clippers would be better as a team with more salary cap flexibility going forward. Plus, West and GM Lawrence Frank traded Tobias Harris, the team’s leading scorer, to Philly at the February deadline rather than re-sign Harris this summer in free agency. All of this was done with the idea of signing an impact player in mind, and Leonard was that player and the Clippers’ top target over the last year. Leonard’s appeal to the Clippers was evident and easy to understand. He’s a player who can score 25 points and grab 7-8 rebounds and lock down his man on the other end of the floor. And of course, he just led the Raptors to a championship without being generously helped by a fellow superstar. Interestingly, Leonard had the option of having not just one, but two fellow superstars this summer had he chosen the Lakers. LeBron and Davis and Leonard would make for a championship favorite, especially when you add Kyle Kuzma to the mix. In the end, Leonard wanted to beat the Lakers, not join them. The Lakers still bring those three players, though, and will now garnish the team with minimum-waged players to fill out the roster. Already, Danny Green announced he’ll sign a two-year, $15 million deal with the Lakers, and Rajon Rondo is perhaps not far behind. Both the Lakers and Clippers could compete in the coming days for DeMarcus Cousins as well. The team harmed the most, at least in the immediate sense, is OKC. With the amount of top competitors in the West — Clippers, Lakers, Rockets, Nuggets, Jazz and Blazers among others — the Thunder likely will take a step back and could enter a semi-rebounding phase without George. Also: Could OKC be forced to part ways with Westbrook? The former MVP struggled at times last season and especially in the playoffs, and turns 31 in November, and is on a max contract. It’s not the type of atmosphere that fits Westbrook, who’ll soon enter his twilight. Thunder GM Sam Presti, if nothing else, has shown a willingness to do whatever it takes if it works for OKC. Lastly, there’s the Raptors, who must now go forward without their lone superstar. There are no other players on the level of Leonard that Toronto can chase this offseason. In addition, the core of their rotation is on expiring contracts — Marc Gasol, Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka. The Raptors will surely groom Pascal Siakam to take a lead role with Leonard gone, yet will face major decisions next summer as they attempt to reshape the team. All of this is because Leonard caused a domino effect that ultimately moved mountains. Something of this nature and this magnitude doesn’t happen often in the NBA and is never done virtually overnight, given the amount of pieces involved and teams who put their existence on hold while Leonard stretched his decision nearly a week since free agency began. Evidently there was a reason for that. He wanted the Clippers but only if they could add another major piece. When other options dried up — Jimmy Butler unexpectedly signing with Miami and Kevin Durant with Brooklyn, for instance — the Clippers had to go the trade route. And George had to be convinced by Kawhi to force a trade. And OKC had to agree to that, rather than risk going through a season with an unhappy player. When the Clippers coughed up a bevy for draft picks, that put the entire process in motion. And in the end, basketball in LA became the big winner. It would not be unusual or unexpected if the road to the next conference championship goes through Staples Center and gets decided by one of its two home teams. Shaun Powell has covered the NBA for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here, and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 6th, 2019

China, Croatia fall in NBA summer league debuts

By Steve Reed, Associated Press The Chinese and Croatian national teams both lost in their NBA Summer League debuts on Friday (Saturday, PHL time). Both teams are competing with NBA teams in Las Vegas, marking the first time the league will feature two international teams. China previously played in the summer league in 2007. The Miami Heat had no troubles with China, jumping out to a 34-point halftime lead and cruising to a 103-62 victory behind 23 points from Tyler Herro and 20 points from Nick Mayo. Miami held China to 26.7 percent shooting in the first half, and outrebounded the Chinese 25-15 before intermission. Kendrick Nunn added 15 points and Duncan Robinson 14 for Miami (1-0). Zhelin Wang had 12 points and 14 rebounds for China (0-1), which shot just 23 percent from 3-point range. Detroit (1-0) got seven three-pointers and 26 points from Khyri Thomas and pulled away from Croatia in the fourth quarter for a 96-80 win. Svi Mykhailiuk from Ukraine added 17 points and five assists, and Todd Withers had 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting for the Pistons. Croatia (0-1) was outrebounded 37-26. 76ERS 107, BUCKS 106 The 76ers (1-0) jumped out to 17-point lead at halftime and held on to beat the Bucks behind 19 points from Marial Shayok and 16 from Jalen Jones. Christ Koumadje had 11 points, seven rebounds and seven blocks in 14 minutes, an encouraging start for the 76ers’ 7'4" rookie center from Florida State. The Bucks (0-1) got 25 points and 10 rebounds from Jock Landale, and Bonzie Colson chipped in with 22 points. Division II player of the year Daulton Hommes led the Bucks’ fourth-quarter comeback, as the former Point Loma star scored 18 points of 6-of-8 shooting off the bench. But two late turnovers by the Bucks sealed their fate. TIMBERWOLVES 85, CAVALIERS 75 Keita Bates-Diop scored 17 points and Kelan Murphy had 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Timberwolves (1-0). Josh Okogie added 14 points, making all 10 free throw attempts. Jarrett Culver, whose draft rights were acquired by Minnesota in a trade, isn’t allowed to join the team until after Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) when the trade is made official. Dylan Windler, one of three first-round 2019 draft picks for the Cavaliers (0-1) on the roster, was 6 of 13 from the floor and had 15 points and eight rebounds. Cleveland’s other two first-round picks, Darius Garland and Kevin Porter Jr., did not play while recovering from injuries. Naz Mitrou-Long had 14 points for Cleveland (0-1)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 6th, 2019

Alapag learning a lot with 'first class organization' Kings

Jimmy Alapag says he continues to learn a lot in his role as a coaching assistant on the Summer League team of the "first class organization" Sacramento Kings. In an interview with ABS-CBN North America bureau chief TJ Manotoc, the San Miguel Beermen assistant and Alab Pilipinas head coach said his first week with the NBA team has been "amazing," adding, "I've been amazed at how efficient everything is run, from the preparation, from practice, leading all the way up to the games. .@JAlapag3 is loving his stint as part of the @SacramentoKings coaching staff in #NBASummerLeague ???????? (????: @tjmanotoc) pic.twitter.com/TgF8Knc19p — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) July 4, 2019 "It's really a science in terms of the assistants and even us helping in our own way." Alapag got the opportunity from Kings president Vlade Divac, as the two are both members of the FIBA Players Commission. Get your first look at the NBA’s top Rookies during NBA Summer League LIVE on NBA League Pass! "Whether you're a player or a coach, you're always learning something," said Alapag. "I think this opportunity will let me continue to grow and stretch as a coach, now that I'm making this transition." Sacramento finished with a 1-2 record in the California Classic, which they hosted at the Golden One Center. Up next for the team is the Las Vegas Summer League, which will feature all 30 NBA teams, plus the national squads of China and Croatia. "Obviously it's a much bigger pool with all the NBA teams involved," Alapag acknowledged. "Again I'm just excited to see these people continue to grow...fighting for a spot in training camp, and ultimately, fighting for a spot on an NBA roster. So to be able to help in that capacity, it's a lot of fun." Luckily for Alapag, it turned out he's not the only Pinoy there, as one of the other invited coaches is Fil-Am Jessica Roque, an assistant for the Ryerson University women's basketball team. "I was shocked [to see here], but again, us Filipinos represent all over the world," exclaimed Alapag. "It's awesome to have Jessica here. She's a great young coach as well...so it's cool to have a fellow kababayan here in Sacramento to just go through this experience.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 4th, 2019

Summer of 2020 takes on added importance for Bucks

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com As important as the 2019-20 season and postseason are to the Milwaukee Bucks, in proving to themselves and to the basketball world they can take that next step (Finals) or two (championship), they pale next to the significance of the summer of 2020. That’s when Giannis Antetokounmpo, the NBA’s newly minted Kia Most Valuable Player, can sign a “supermax” contract extension worth approximately $254 million over five years. Or not. And the “or not” might have gotten a nudge on the first day of 2019 free agency Sunday (Monday, PHL time). The Bucks were in a tough situation as it was, with three free agents among the top five players from last season’s 60-22 team. Keeping all of them – wing Khris Middleton, center Brook Lopez and guard Malcolm Brogdon – was going to be a challenge, financially and realistically, given how much demand was outstripping supply in the marketplace (nearly $500 million in available cap space plus exceptions burning holes in 30 teams’ pockets). Milwaukee started scrambling in the days heading toward June 30 (July 1, PHL time) by moving or trying to move pieces such as Tony Snell, George Hill and Ersan Ilyasova for payroll and roster flexibility. Snell’s contract was traded to Detroit along with the No. 30 pick in the 2019 Draft, Hill was waived and Ilyasova essentially was sitting at the curb with a “Free” sign on him and his $7 million salary. It wasn’t enough. The free agent-palooza started well enough for the Bucks when reports leaked early that Lopez would be retained on a four-year, $52 million deal. Frankly, that’s a bargain -- $55 million over five years – if you add Lopez’s 2019-20 salary of $3.4 million, a ridiculously low rate for what wound up as a career-redefining season for the veteran big man. After taking a mere 0.5 percent of his 6,826 field goal attempts from 3-point range through his first eight seasons, Lopez let fly 65 percent of his shots from beyond the arc in his 11th. In hard numbers, that’s 31 attempts over eight years compared to 512 in 81 appearances for the Bucks. Factor in Lopez’s underrated defense and rim protection, and his free-spirit calm in the locker room, and he ranked arguably as the Bucks’ next most valuable player after Antetokounmpo. Soon thereafter, Milwaukee’s next move was reported: Middleton re-upping on an enormous five-year, $178 deal. The soft-spoken 6-foot-7 was named an East All-Star reserve en route to averaging 18.3 points and shifting even more of his offensive game to 3-point territory. But Middleton’s greatest leverage was being viewed as the Bucks’ No. 2 player overall and Antetokounmpo’s Scottie Pippen (relatively) for the past six seasons. And hey, his contract represents a $12 million discount from the $190 million “max” Middleton could have demanded. As it is, starting at an estimated $30.6 million salary, he’ll be getting about $5 million more than Antetokounmpo both this season and next. So two done and one … not done. Not done at all. Just when it appeared the Bucks would take care of their most pressing free-agency issues, the news came: Brogdon to Indiana on an $85 million deal over four seasons. In a sign-and-trade, which meant Milwaukee facilitated the restricted free agent’s departure, rather than match the Pacers’ offer and keep him. Brogdon’s value last season, to a team that got within two victories of The Finals, was evident analytically and by most eye tests. He became only the eighth shooter in NBA history to hit 50 percent of his shots overall, 40 percent of 3s and 90 percent of his free throws. He also showed an uncanny ability to take over for minutes at a time when the Bucks were desperate to generate offense. Brogdon’s threat as shooter enabled him to attack the rim at a high percentage, stopping opponents’ runs or sparking them for his side. Brogdon’s relationship with the Bucks seemed to get strained two years ago, when his reward for being named an unlikely Kia NBA Rookie of the Year was 20 bench appearances in the team’s first 37 games. Here Brogdon had won the award over the likes of Dario Saric, Buddy Hield, Jamal Murray and Jaylen Brown (Joel Embiid only made 31 appearances in 2016-17), yet his role was unclear once Phoenix made Eric Bledsoe available and Milwaukee pounced. Bledsoe pre-empting his own free agency by signing a four-year, $70 million deal with the Bucks raised questions about Brogdon’s spot in their pecking order again. So too, it appears, did Milwaukee nailing down the East’s No. 1 seed, then going 7-1 in the first two playoff rounds while Brogdon nursed a plantar fascia foot injury from mid-March into May. All of a sudden Brogdon’s deal was looking like the one to blame for pushing Milwaukee’s payroll up, up, up into luxury-tax range. And so he was sacrificed to Indiana, an Eastern Conference rival, for a reported first-round draft pick and a couple second-rounders, protections and years still not known. Bucks GM Jon Horst made a nice save in pulling back Hill from the free-agent pool, to the tune of a three-year, $29 million deal. But losing Brogdon was a considerable step backward for a team determined to go forward. Shedding Snell and having Nikola Mirotic head off to the Euroleague to play in Barcelona doesn’t help. As for the draft picks from Indiana and the $12 million trade exception the Bucks might have gained in the trade, the former are out of sync with the team’s life cycle – namely, Antetokounmpo’s ambitions and contract status – and the latter only matters if it’s used smartly. Everything Milwaukee does – has done, actually, since those four staggered defeats against Toronto in the conference finals – has to be about giving Antetokounmpo reasons to stay. That means improving, that means winning, that means at least being in the building when the championship is decided next June. The clock is ticking. The social media vultures will be circling for "The Greek Freak" soon. There is only one way to fend them off, and a part of that now will be playing for the Pacers. Horst, 2019 NBA Executive of the Year, and Mike Budenholzer, NBA Coach of the Year, might need to repeat if they and their team are going to chase the trophies – the Larry and the Giannis – that matter most. 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 NewsJul 2nd, 2019

AP source: Lakers trading Wagner, 2 others to Wizards for cap space

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press The Los Angeles Lakers’ price tag for Anthony Davis got a little steeper on Thursday (Friday, PHL time), with the tradeoff being that the team now has the flexibility to bring another max-contract star to play alongside him and LeBron James next season. A person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press that the Lakers will send Moritz Wagner, Issac Bonga, Jemerrio Jones and a future second-round pick to the Washington Wizards as part of the deal that will bring Davis to Los Angeles. The Wizards will send cash to the New Orleans Pelicans in the deal, said the person who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the agreement cannot be finalized until July 6. The trade was first reported by ESPN, and the cash element was first reported by The Washington Post. Shedding those contracts — along with Davis waiving his $4 million trade kicker, as ESPN reported — will give the Lakers enough cap space to sign a max player, if they are so inclined. They could also spread that cap space out among multiple players, which could be the more prudent move considering the Lakers have virtually an entire roster to fill. Once this trade is executed, the Lakers will have only James, Davis and Kyle Kuzma under contract for next season, not counting a pair of restricted free agents. The Lakers agreed earlier this month to acquire Davis from New Orleans for Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram and three first-round draft picks — one of them being De’Andre Hunter, who was chosen by the Lakers on draft night and will then be traded to New Orleans and flipped from there to the Atlanta Hawks. Thursday’s agreement means six players and four picks were the price the Lakers paid for Davis. It technically is not a 10-for-1 move, because the newfound cap space will bring at least one other player to Los Angeles. Wagner, Jones and Bonga were rookies last season. Wagner averaged 4.8 points in 43 games, Jones scored a total of 27 points in six games and Bonga scored 19 points in 22 appearances with the Lakers......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 27th, 2019