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An activist’s intention this Ramadan – to fight for Moro people’s right to return to their lands

On June 15, Muslims all over the world will celebrate the Eid’l Fitr, the end of the fasting month, the holy month of Ramadan. Muslims all over the world will break the 30 day fast and pray, rain or shine, the Eid’l Fitr congregational prayer with the hopes that Allah(subhanahu wa ta’ala) will receive all our prayers and struggle during the fasting month......»»

Category: newsSource: davaotoday davaotodayJun 14th, 2018

Libyan-Canadian cleric linked to Manchester bomber plans return to Canada to clear his name – CBC News

A Libyan-Canadian cleric linked in U.S. and British media reports to Manchester bomber Salman Abedi says he will return to Canada in weeks with the intention of clearing his name. Abdul Baset Egwilla was an Ottawa-based imam until his return to Libya in 2007. In an exclusive interview with CBC News over Skype, Egwilla denied any connection to Abedi. &'8220;I challenge whoever accuses me of such a connection to produce evidence, such as a time, date and place where I met with the suicide bomber,&'8221; Egwilla said. CBC News has agreed not to disclose Egwilla's current location due to concerns for his safety, as he is the subject of death threats in Libya. Salman Abedi, 22, was identified on May 23 as the suicide bomber who killed 22 people and wounded more than 60 others, including children, at a pop concert in Manchester. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack. The bomber's father, Ramadan Abedi, who denies his son was a member of ISIS, has since been arrested by Libyan counter-terrorism officers. U.S. and British media reports, citing anonymous sources, have claimed a link between Salman, his father and Libyan-Canadian cleric Egwilla. A senior American official told the New York Times on May 24 that Salman Abedi &'8220;had links to a radical preacher in Libya&'8221; identified as Abdul Baset Egwilla, and that Egwilla's son had died fighting for ISIS. Egwilla's son did die in 2016, but Libyan news reports and a martyrdom notice at the time said he was killed fighting for the Omar Mukhtar Brigade, a Libyan Islamist militia that is not a listed terrorist organization. The Times newspaper in the U.K. reported May 27 that Ramadan Abedi was an associate of &'8220;extremist Canadian-Libyan preacher&'8221; Egwilla, and that the Libyan-Canadian is believed to have radicalized Ramadan's son, Salman Abedi. The father would regularly meet with Egwilla at Friday prayers in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, in 2015, added the Times, citing a resident of the city who asked not to be named. The Greater Manchester Police Force would neither confirm nor deny to CBC News that Egwilla is under investigation for possible involvement in the Manchester bombing. Egwilla, who has been absent from Libya for several months since fleeing a plot to assassinate him, said he has never, to his knowledge, met either Salman or Ramadan Abedi. &'8220;I am a public figure, I appear in the media. I show up in mosques and preach to a multitude of people. People know me, but I do not know them,&'8221; Egwilla said. &'8220;And if I met him once or twice before, it could be that he changed his beliefs later on, but I never met him in the first place,&'8221; Egwilla said of the Manchester bomber. Declassified documents released by Canada's Integrated Terrorism Assessment Centre in 2014 flagged a YouTube video in which Egwilla is seen &'8220;promoting violent jihad in Libya.&'8221; &'8220;In the video, Egwilla urged an audience of Libyan Islamist fighters to take part in jihad, stating that 'jihad is simply and easily accessible, and does not require moving as in the past, as it was for Afghanistan and Iraq,'&'8221; the report said. Egwilla says that call to jihad was made to recruit people to fight specifically against a militia led by a former general in Moammar Gadhafi's regime, and not a call to support the global jihadi movement. &'8220;I spoke about jihad only through Fajr Libya Dawn (a rebel militia alliance) and only when [Moammar Gadhafi] suppressed peaceful demonstrators and bombed them with anti-aircraft weaponry,&'8221; said Egwilla. &'8220;This was unjust and an act of tyranny.&'8221; Egwilla said people claiming to be with the government of Canada have attempted to reach out to him using the app Viber, though he says he has never agreed to an interview. Egwilla said he intends to speak to authorities to clear his name when he returns to Canada. After seven years in Ottawa, Egwilla left Canada for Libya in 2007, when Gadhafi's regime began sending signals that it would not persecute returning dissidents. ​ He began working at a Tripoli religious radio station and associated with a group of clerics that included Sadiq al-Ghariani, who today is the country's Grand Mufti, the top religious leader, and a strong supporter of Islamist militias. When rebellion broke out in 2011, Egwilla was a prominent supporter, and after the fall of Gadhafi's regime, was promoted to be the administrative director for the mosques in Tripoli. He said he became a prominent imam and broadcaster. In 2014, as splits emerged between liberals and Islamists over the direction post-Gadhafi Libya should take, Egwilla identified with the &'8220;Libya Dawn&'8221; coalition of Islamist militias that seized Tripoli from the UN-backed government. Libya Dawn soon found itself involved in a war with the secular forces of Gadhafi-era general Khalifa Haftar, and Egwilla's Ottawa-raised son Owais joined one of the Islamist militias battling Haftar. Owais died in combat in March last year. It was reported in some quarters that Owais Egwilla had died fighting for Islamic State. In fact, martyrdom notices posted at the time of his death show him as a member of the Omar Mukhtar Brigade, an Islamist militia that was part of the coalition that fought Islamic State and drove it out of its Libyan stronghold in Sirte. Egwilla says he fled Libya eight months ago following the kidnapping and murder of fellow cleric Nadir al-Omrani by assassins of the Madkhali sect of Sunni Islam. Madkhalis, followers of a school of thought founded by a Saudi cleric, have become increasingly active in Libya. Like Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Madkhalis in Libya have destroyed ancient shrines and manuscripts they deem un-Islamic and they consider voting to be heresy. In a videotaped confession seen by CBC News, one of [&'].....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanaoexaminerRelated NewsJun 5th, 2017

Marawi war victims unite, threaten to launch ‘holy war’

&'160; MARAWI CITY – A shadowy group calling itself the “Meranaw Victims Movement” has threatened to launch its own jihad or holy war if a set of demands, among them government compensation for the destruction of Marawi and the victims of war between security forces and local IS militants in the besieged city in southern Philippines. Speaking in Arabic, the group &'' comprising about 3 dozen masked gunmen &'' released a 14-minute video and statement on social media and stated the following demands: First, we would like to ask our kinsfolk from among the so-called ISIS/Maute Group to leave Marawi City at once and free their hostages, Muslims and Christians alike; Second, we would like to ask the Philippine Government, especially President Rodrigo Duterte, the following – to allow the civilians to return to their homes in areas in Marawi City that were already cleared by the military; stop the aerial bombings of Marawi City if only to salvage houses or buildings that may not have been destroyed yet; stop the abuses of some military and police personnel at checkpoints and accord respect to civilians, especially the women. And ease the access to and from Marawi City, especially the roads through the village of Maliwanag so that people in the 1st District of Lanao del Sur would have better and convenient road access; secure the remains of civilians so they may not be mixed with the garbage in the process of military clearing operations and so that they may be given proper burial even if only skeletons are left of them; to provide immediate appropriate material and financial support to all wounded civilian victims similar to the support being provided by the government to wounded military and police personnel; compensate for the damaged houses and buildings, wasted goods and merchandise of civilians and provide for their livelihood as well. And to rebuild or rehabilitate the mosques and madrasahs and other destroyed structures that represented the Meranao culture and heritage; importantly, the government should not make any hint that it would occupy the land of the Meranaws on the basis of military reservation, instead it should help legitimate owners to have their respective land titles; and for the military and police personnel to avoid occupying mosques and madrasahs. It also demanded from local politicians to account for all the relevant government funds such as the Calamity Fund and all other assistance and donations, and ensure transparent and equitable implementation or spending of the same. And has urged the rebel group Moro Islamic Liberation Front to support its demands by ensuring that these reach all those concerned. The Meranaw Victims Movement strongly denied that locals &'' whom the government and authorities blamed for allowing militants to build up forces and occupy the city &'' condone the violence and said it is willing to face off with IS fighters in an effort to drive out the gunmen. It also blamed local leaders as responsible for failing to prevent the IS attacks. “First, we did not conform with the using of Marawi City as sanctuary neither did we approve of what some of our kinsfolk who claimed to be ISIS/Maute Group did which ignited the war in Marawi City that has brought about grave sufferings to the Meranaw people. Second, we deem unacceptable the actions of the Government that caused the displacement of tens of thousands and deaths of several civilians due to the aerial bombings and use of heavy armaments in Marawi City which are among those prohibited under International Humanitarian Law.” “Third, we hold our local leaders, past and present alike, responsible for failing to prevent the ISIS/Maute Group from carrying out their plan since they were fully aware of the group’s presence in the city prior to the siege, and for literally forsaking the civilians like orphans in the midst of great danger during the onset of the siege on May 23, 2017. Fourth, we are dismayed with the MILF since, until now, nothing was heard of them, let alone have they made a categorical position on the current Marawi crisis,” it said. If all the demands are not met, the group said it will take actions not only against IS militants, but the Duterte government as well. “To our ISIS/Maute Group kinsfolk, if you would not heed our call, we would be compelled to face you because by then you no longer care for the welfare of the people and you did not only fail to realize but have violated the essence of Jihad in Islam. To the Government, this will be the last time that we will ask in relation to previous demands of various sectors of the Meranaw society, and that if the foregoing demands will fall to deaf ears, likewise, we will be compelled to fight for our rights that have been trampled upon and that Jihad becomes our legitimate recourse.” “To our leaders, should we find out that you defraud or corrupt the assistance and support intended for the evacuees, we will unrelentingly pursue until we take them for the people in whatever means possible. To the MILF, take note that the demand for the approval of the BBL becomes irrelevant if the key area where it should be implemented would no longer be in the hands of the Meranaw, and that by then the support of the people of Lanao becomes weak in time that [&'].....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanaoexaminerRelated NewsSep 20th, 2017

ONE: At 51 years old, martial arts legend Renzo Gracie believes he s at his best

Martial arts legend Renzo Gracie is set to make his return to MMA on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena when he takes on fellow veteran Yuki Kondo at ONE Championship: Reign of Kings. At 51 years old, many would argue that Gracie is way past his prime, but the sixth-degree Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt believes that age is really just what you make of it. “The funny thing is, if you believe you are old at 30, or if you believe that you are very young at 30, both ways, you are right. So you are what you believe.” Gracie said during the Reign of Kings Press Launch, Tuesday afternoon at the City of Dreams Grand Ballroom. Eight years removed from his last professional MMA bout, Gracie believes that he’s even in better shape now than he was during his supposed peak years. “I believe that I’m better now than I was when I was 25.” Gracie then shared an interesting outlook on being considered as ‘over the hill’ so to say. “Most people say, ‘You know, you’re getting over the hill,’ What they don’t understand is that climbing the hill is the tough part. You have no view, you’re just pushing yourself up. When you get to what they call ‘over the hill’, that’s where you pick up the speed, and the view, it’s wonderful.” Truth be told, Gracie didn’t need to come back. It’s not as if he needed to fight. For the MMA legend, it’s about loving the fight, and wanting to be part of something as big as ONE Championship. “I’m at the best time of my life, I have everything, I didn’t need to be here, but how could I miss the opportunity to be part of something as great as this amazing sport? I had to embrace this, I had to push myself, I had to be in shape. “ “I honestly believe that I’m in my best right now. Mentally, the way that I prepared was very smart, I was completely injury-free, I’m feeling like a check for a million dollars that didn’t bounce.” Gracie added.   Renzo Gracie takes on Yuki Kondo in a legend-versus-legend fight at ONE Championship: Reign of Kings on Friday, July 27th at 8:30 PM on ABS-CBN S+A channel 23! .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 25th, 2018

Ramadan ends with thousands of Moro evacuees

MAGUINDANAO, Philippines- As the Moro people celebrated Eid-ul-Fitr or the end of the Holy Ramadan on Friday, thousands of Moro........»»

Category: newsSource:  davaotodayRelated NewsJun 17th, 2018

Eduard Folayang and his familiar path to glory

Eduard Folayang has been here before. Back in 2014, after racking up back-to-back wins in in a span of half a year, the Team Lakay star was slowly building a name for himself as a top-tier contender in ONE Championship’s lightweight division. A third straight win would have possibly put him in the title picture. And then, he ran into Russian Timofey Nastyukhin. A sequence that will forever be burned in the minds of Filipino MMA fans, Nasytukhin dropped Folayang with a well-timed flying knee to the jaw, and then finished it off with a crushing soccer kick, back when soccer kicks were allowed. While it wasn’t Folayang’s first stoppage loss, it was arguably his most violent to date. The Filipino MMA star lay motionless in front of a Filipino crowd at the Mall of Asia Arena. It took Folayang over a year before he made his return, a decision win over Tetsuya Yamada. That win would set Folayang on his path to the ONE Lightweight Word Championship, one of the most celebrated stories in MMA in the past couple of years. Roughly three years removed since his knockout loss to Nastyukhin at the Mall of Asia Arena, it would seem like a cruel repetition of history, as Folayang would once again find himself staring up at the MoA Arena lights in late 2017. Folayang, a single day away from celebrating his one-year anniversary of being a ONE world champion, saw his spot at the top of the lightweight division taken away with one, well-timed overhand right, courtesy of Martin Nguyen. Nguyen made history that night at the expense of Folayang, becoming ONE Championship’s first ever two-division world champion. For the Pinoy MMA hero, it was another setback, not unlike the many he’s faced through the course of his career.   The Road to Redemption No matter what other people said, those who knew him knew he’d be back, and one of those whose believe never wavered was that of ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong, saying that this is just the start of Folayang's journey.  So finally, when it was announced that Folayang would indeed be coming back to the cage, it was a big deal. Immediately, it was clear that redemption was on the former champion’s mind. “Yun naman ang nagpapa-sarap sa isang life story, yung paano ka mag-rise after you fall, and it adds a lot of spices sa life if ganun ulit yung mangyayari, although syempre may different versions yung story ng bawat isa sa atin, and I’m still looking forward on my redemption in this upcoming fight.” Folayang said. Folayang’s return was set for May, in one of the most-stacked ONE cards of the year, and even with three world title bouts featuring the biggest ONE Championship stars also on the card, Filipino fight fans’ eyes were on Folayang’s highly-anticipated return.   Parallel Experiences With 25 professional bouts under his belt, Eduard Folayang isn’t new to the game, by any means. From fighting in front of small crowds to main eventing a packed Singapore Indoor Stadium for the world title, Folayang has seen it all and done it all, that’s why pre-fight jitters isn’t expected to be an issue for a fighter the caliber and experience of ‘The Landslide.’ And while it wasn’t so much as jitters, Folayang admits that he had a lot going through his head in the days leading up to his comeback fight. “Yung siguro sa akin lang, andaming pumapasok sa isipan ko, hindi mo maiiwasan yung mga ‘what ifs’ mga paano kung natalo ulit ako dito, ganun,” Folayang told ABS-CBN Sports. Having already been in this situation before, Folayang added that it was indeed a big help being able to look back at a parallel experience. “Oo naman, nakatulong, kasi looking back noong 2014, nung na-knockout din ako kay Timofey, tapos yung same feeling nung kakalabanin ko ulit nung 2016 si Tetsuya Yamada, andaming tumatakbo sa utak, mas lalo na since naging champion ako, syempre hindi mawawala yung expectations ng tao and andyan na yung mga bashers e, naka-ready na sila. So the best thing to do is dapat maging mentally strong and accurate sa pagpapatupad ng gameplan para manalo.” And implement a gameplan successfully, he did.   The Comeback Against an undefeated grappler in Russian Kharun Atlangeriev, Folayang was visibily patient and picked his shots while shrugging off takedown attempts to earn the unanimous decision win. “Yun yung isa sa mga nakita ko na parang naging cautious ako, siguro yung thinking na talagang parang masyadong worth yung game, as much as possible talaga, hindi mo na iniisip na maging fancy  yung fight, mas nananaig yung goal mo na manalo.” Folayang said of his performance against Atlangeriev. “Siguro yun yung isa sa mga pinaka-reason kung bakit medyo naging conservative yung approach ko sa fight, at saka napansin ko din, although gusto ko mag-all out, very passive yung kalaban eh, hindi mo alam kung ano yung iniisip niya, yun din yung isa sa mga naging reason.” Folayang went on record and gave himself a three out of five rating in his comeback fight. While ultimately he was happy with the result, the Baguio City native believes that he could have done way more, and that’s what he intends to do in the future. “Masaya, although sa akin I believe I can do much better, syempre ngayon comeback fight kasi kaya andyan palagi yung pressure, the more we learn a lot of lessons, the more na magiging maganda yung adjustment natin for the upcoming bouts na dadating.” Step one of the comeback was complete.   Second Shot at Glory And again, Eduard Folayang finds himself on the comeback trail. The 34-year old Team Lakay star has successfully bounced back from a loss, but arguably more important now is what lies ahead. With the win, Folayang is on his way, if not already back in the title picture, and if you ask him, he’ll be the first to tell you that he’s ready to get back what was once his. “Parang more na na-boost yung desire ulit para makabalik dun sa nawala sa atin, and hopefully this year, magkaroon ulit ng opportunity para maka-laban for the title.” Fueling the fire even more for Folayang is the fact that after seeing Nguyen’s last two bouts - a unanimous decision loss to ONE Bantamweight World champion Bibiano Fernandes and a split decision win over Christian Lee - he feels he can perform better if given a second go-around. “Especially after panoorin yung last two fights nung tumalo sa akin, parang nasasayangan ba. Feeling ko talaga, mas deserving na ako yung nakahawak, parang ganun yung pakiramdam ko.” Folayang shared. “Parang I could have done better kung hindi lang ako naging careless on one point, and kung na-oversee ko lang talaga na yung strength ko, dun ako papasukin.” While only time will tell whether or not Folayang does get a shot at the title again, whether a rematch or be it against someone else, the former champ is certain that he’s still in this, and he’s hungrier than ever for another taste of glory. “Malakas pa rin eh [yung hunger], it’s just a matter of paano natin alagaan yung career natin, yung health natin, iba kasi, yun din yung kagandahan ng mixed martial arts eh, the more na pumupunta yung age mo, the more na mas nagiging cautious ka, hindi na lang puro lakas yung ilalaban mo kundi parang nagiging wiser ka na din sa approach mo.” “I think yung hunger ko andun parin, I’m still hungry.” Folayang adds. When it’s all said and done, Folayang won’t be happy with just being at the top once and then crashing down after. For the Team Lakay star, there are still chapters to be written as he begins what is hopefully another run towards the pinnacle of the sport. “Yun naman yung gusto natin, hindi yung natapos na yung end ng chapter ng story natin, kundi may mga magaganda and exciting stories pa na maisusulat in that book.” After all, “multi-time world champion” Eduard Folayang has better ring to it, no? “Yun yung gusto natin, mas magandang pakinggan.” Eduard Folayang’s been here before, and if you’ve been paying attention, you know that this is just the start of great things to come......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 28th, 2018

Pacquiao dismisses rumors, says fight vs Matthysse will happen

Manny Pacquiao dismissed rumors that his title fight against Argentine champion Lucas Matthysse is in limbo. A report on TyC Sports, a broadcast channel in Buenos Aires, Argentina claimed the bout slated on July 15 at Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia could be headed toward postponement due to disagreements between promoters and a group based in Kuala Lumpur. "That is malicious and untrue," Pacquiao said in a press release. The eight-division champion also described the people involved in spreading the rumors as "saboteurs." Pacquiao, who is making his ring return a year after yielding the WBO welterweight title to Jeff Horn in a controversial decision in Brisbane, Australia, ...Keep on reading: Pacquiao dismisses rumors, says fight vs Matthysse will happen.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsMay 20th, 2018

At 37, Fil-Am boxer Brian Viloria eyeing fifth world title

In 2005, Filipino-American boxer Brian ‘The Hawaiian Punch’ Viloria captured his first world championship, knocking out Eric Ortiz in the first round to become the new WBC Light Flyweight world champion. Now, thirteen years later, Viloria is hunting for his fifth world championship, and at 37 years old, Viloria is still as explosive as ever. “I've had a kid so I thought it’d be opposite.” Viloria told ABS-CBN’s Steve Angeles. “It’s all about taking care of yourself, whether you’re fighting or not fighting. I always tell people boxing is a lifestyle, just staying in shape.” Following his 2015 loss to then-pound for pound king Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzales for the WBC Flyweight world title, Viloria revealed that he thought long and hard about his future. After sitting out 2016, Viloria made his return to action in 2017, stringing together a couple of victories that has earned him a shot at the vacant VBA Flyweight world title. Viloria has relatively flown under the radar in the past few years, but a look at this record will show that the Waipahu native has won six of his last seven fights. “I feel like this is my first world title fight. There’s a lot to prove, a lot of people tell me ‘You’re getting old blah blah blah, do you still have what it takes?’” said Viloria. “A lot of those questions come up to me, but for me I have to prove it in February 24th, and for me that’s what’s motivating me. I think I’m still capable of competing at the top level.” On February 24th, Viloria goes toe to toe with Ukraine’s Artem Dalakian, an unbeaten opponent who’s seven years Viloria’s junior. And while Dalakian may have the edge on youth, experience will definitely be on the side of Viloria. This will be Dalakian’s first chance at a world championship and his first fight outside of Ukraine. Still, Viloria believes that Dalakian will be coming in hungry and ready. “I know how he feels. I still know the feeling of fighting for my first world title and you get up for that and knowing your against a guy that’s proven himself in the division.” “Kids get up for that. They come up with their A-game for that.” Viloria added. Nearly seventeen years after his professional debut, Viloria finds himself still fighting at the highest level of the sport with a fifth world title in his sights. It isn’t lost on him however, that he could be on the tail-end of his career. “I wish I could do it forever but I can see the bridge coming up and right now, I’ll take it from fight to fight.” But for now, the focus is on the WBA Flyweight crown. “Right now I feel great but we have to see. We’ll wait when that time comes and we’ll make a decision.” Viloria says.   Viloria and Dalakian battle for the vacant WBA Flyweight world championship at the Superfly 2 card at The Forum in Los Angeles, California on February 24th. Also fighting on the same card is reigning and defending IBF Flyweight world champion Donnie ‘Ahas’ Nietes.   H/T: Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 6th, 2018

Duterte Order: ‘Shoot to Kill’

DAVAO CITY – President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered soldiers to shoot and kill armed communist rebels as security forces are readying to fight the New People’s Army following the total collapse of the peace talks. Duterte, who previously supported the rebel group when he was mayor of Davao City, gave the order recently and assured members of the armed forces that he shall take sole responsibility for it. He tagged the NPA as a terrorist group and vows to finish off the rebels who are fighting to overthrow the democratic government and install its own. “So what will be my orders to the? Shoot them, they will kill you anyway. So if there is an armed NPA there or terrorists, if he’s holding any firearms, shoot and tell any…ako na ang magsagot, you just shut up. Do not answer if that issue of human rights, you say, go to Duterte. It is and was his order para tumahimik ka, sabihin mo. And so? You are destroying my country, you expect me to pat you in the back and say, dahan-dahan ka lang,” Duterte told soldiers. He said an executive order declaring the NPA as terrorist group would be out soon. He said human rights organizations and fronts allied with the communist rebels would also be branded as terrorists. “I am preparing now. They are preparing the executive order declaring them to be terrorists and they will be afforded the treatment of being criminals. There will be no filing of cases under the public security like rebellion because rebellion is considered sometimes a noble undertaking, it’s only because you want your country to do better,” the tough-talking President said. Duterte said he would no longer negotiate peace the communist rebels, who also vowed to intensify their attacks on government and military targets. No. 1 Terrorist Communist rebel chieftain Jose Maria Sison also branded Duterte as the “No. 1 terrorist” in the country and accused him of mass murder after the President scrapped the peace talks. “Duterte is the No. 1 terrorist in the Philippines. He is culpable for the abduction, torture and mass murder of an increasing large number of poor people suspected drug users and pushers, peasants and indigenous people in suspected guerrilla fronts and Moro people suspected of aiding the Dawlah Islamiyah from the time of the indiscriminate bombing of Marawi City to the present in several Bangsamoro areas,” Sison, who is self-exile in The Netherlands since 1987, said in a statement sent to the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner. Duterte has threatened to outlaw the Communist Party of the Philippines, which Sison founded; and its political wing, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and jail its leaders, including leftist and human rights organizations conniving with them. He scrapped the peace talks after rebels declined to sign a ceasefire accord and continue attacking government and civilian targets despite on-going negotiations. Sison called Duterte as a “bloodlust” politician whose mania for mass murder are boundless. “Duterte´s blood lust and mania for mass murder are boundless. He expects to wipe out through arbitrary arrests, torture, indefinite detention and massacre of suspected revolutionaries and legal social activists both the armed revolutionary movement and the legal democratic movement in order to set up a fascist dictatorship in the service of US imperialism and his fellow oligarchs among the big compradors, landlords and corrupt bureaucrats,” he said. “And yet Duterte is utterly malicious and shameless in threatening and scheming to label and outlaw as terrorists the suspected members and entireties of such revolutionary organizations as the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People´s Army and even such legal patriotic and progressive organizations as BAYAN and its affiliates,” added Sison, a former university professor. He said the Duterte administration, backed by the United States, is hell-bent on frustrating the people´s clamor for peace negotiations to address the roots of the civil war through the adoption and implementation of social, economic, political and constitutional reforms as the basis of a just and lasting peace. Sison said the Duterte government is striving to intimidate the people with its own terrorist scheme and crimes in order to seize absolute autocratic power for the President and limitless opportunity for the bureaucratic corruption of his family and ruling clique. He said the rebel forces now have no choice, but to wage all forms of resistance and fight for national sovereignty, democracy, economic development, social and cultural progress and independent foreign policy. “The Filipino people and revolutionary forces waging the people´s democratic revolution have no choice but to intensify the people´s war through an extensive and intensive guerrilla warfare in rural areas and partisan or commando operations in urban areas. The legal democratic forces and broad opposition have no choice but to develop the underground and encourage endangered activists to become fighters in the people´s army.” “Duterte is already discredited as a mass murderer, political swindler, a sycophant to foreign powers and a corrupt bureaucrat. These characteristics of his and the ever worsening chronic crisis of the semi-colonial and semi-feudal ruling system will surely limit his ability to stay in power and accelerate the growth and rise of a revolutionary united front against his rule of greed and terror,” Sison said. He said even within the armed forces and police, there are already rumblings against the “despotic, criminal and corrupt character of […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanaoexaminerRelated NewsDec 2nd, 2017

NBA players Marcus and Markieff Morris acquitted of assault

em>By Clarice Silber, Associated Press /em> PHOENIX (AP) — A Phoenix jury acquitted NBA players Marcus and Markieff Morris in their aggravated assault trial Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time). The twin brothers were accused of helping three other people beat 36-year-old Erik Hood in January 2015 outside a high school basketball game in Phoenix. At that time, the 28-year-old brothers played for the Phoenix Suns. Marcus now plays for the Boston Celtics and Markieff is with the Washington Wizards. After the verdict was read in Maricopa County Superior Court, the Morris brothers said they were relieved and ready to get back to their teams. They have missed the start of the NBA preseason because of the trial. Another defendant, Gerald Bowman, also was found not guilty on two counts of aggravated assault. Two other co-defendants pleaded guilty to the charges on Sept. 13. Jurors got the case Monday afternoon (Tuesday, PHL time). They began hearing testimony Sept. 18 (Sept. 19, PHL time). Defense attorney James Belanger said in closing arguments that the case was inexcusably tainted by Hood’s mentor trying to solicit two witnesses to implicate the Morris brothers for a cash payment in return. Two witnesses testified about the mentor’s attempt and their refusal to lie. They both went to break up the fight and placed the Morris twins near the site but not as part of the altercation. Prosecutor Daniel Fisher had urged jurors to convict the brothers, saying Marcus Morris kicked Hood in the head and Markieff Morris acted as an accomplice because “they had an axe to grind” with him. Defense attorneys pressed Hood during his testimony about his financial motives in the case and his knowledge of the NBA players’ substantial financial assets. They also repeatedly said Hood lied to police nine times when he said both twins were involved in the assault. Hood later changed his statement to say Markieff did not beat him but had been in the vicinity. Timothy Eckstein, a lawyer for Marcus Morris, said Hood knew he had to “double down on Marcus” beating him because the case wouldn’t be worth anything without one of the brothers involved. Hood testified he wanted justice for the incident that left him with a broken nose and other injuries. He said he has known the Morris brothers since their youth basketball days, but they had a falling out in 2011. Hood testified that his relationship with the twins became strained because of a misinterpreted text message he sent their mother. But he said there was nothing “improper” happening with him and their mother. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 3rd, 2017

Return lands to Maranao people, Duterte urged

Return lands to Maranao people, Duterte urged.....»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsSep 25th, 2017

Addressing historical injustice against Moro people is key to fight extremism, radicalism – Adiong

Addressing historical injustice against Moro people is key to fight extremism, radicalism – Adiong.....»»

Category: newsSource:  davaotodayRelated NewsJun 23rd, 2017

Lopez vows to return lumad lands

MANILA, Philippines – Environment Secretary Gina Lopez has vowed to return the ancestral lands of the indigenous people of Mindanao, which are reportedly bei.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsAug 7th, 2016

Federer wins, Serena loses in Cincy tourney

MASON, Ohio (AP) — Roger Federer made a successful return to the Western & Southern Open on Tuesday. The day wasn't so great for Serena Williams. Federer advanced to the third round with a 6-4, 6-4 victory against Peter Gojowczyk, and Williams was eliminated by eighth-seeded Petra Kvitova in a 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 second-round loss. Federer and Williams were making their first appearance at the tournament since they each won the title in 2015. Williams opened with a straight-set victory against Daria Gavrilova. After a first-round bye, Federer extended his Cincinnati winning streak to 11 matches since losing to Rafael Nadal in the 2013 quarterfinals. "It doesn't feel like I have been away for so long here from Cincinnati," Federer said. "I guess the wheel keeps turning. It's not like I missed two years of tennis. It was a great pleasure to be back." The second-seeded Federer, refreshed from a month off after losing in the Wimbledon quarterfinals, became the tournament favorite when Nadal withdrew on Sunday night. Williams also was knocked out in her last tournament at San Jose two weeks ago after reaching the Wimbledon final. Cincinnati was her fifth tournament since she had a baby last September. She has dealt with blood clots and recently said she has been struggling with postpartum emotions. "You know, this is a long comeback," she said. "I just began. I just started — definitely at the very, very beginning. I'm getting there, and I'm going to just continue to work hard, and hopefully, I'll start winning more matches." Karolina Pliskova and Nick Kyrgios also advanced Tuesday in early tournament action. Pliskova moved into the second round by snapping a seven-match losing streak against Agnieszka Radwanska with a 6-3, 6-3 win. "It means a lot because it was against her, and, like, you know, I never beat her," Pliskova said. "We played so many times. I think I always played her at her best level the matches before, so it was always tough." Kyrgios, a finalist last year in Cincinnati, overcame physical problems to fight off qualifier Denis Kudla for a 6-7 (2), 7-5, 7-6 (9) victory. "This year has been tough," Kyrgios said. "I started the year very well. Then, obviously, I hurt my elbow. Then I had an ongoing hip injury. We have been definitely thinking about the options with my hip. You know, there is only so much you can do before you have to, you know, I guess, get surgery or something like that. You know, right now I'm just managing it." No. 11 seed David Goffin advanced with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Stefanos Tsitsipas, and Leonardo Mayer became the first player to reach the third round on the men's side with a 7-6 (7), 6-4 victory over 16th-seeded Lucas Pouille. Denis Shapovalov also reached the third round with an upset, knocking off 14th-seeded Kyle Edmund, 6-4, 7-5. Australian Open semifinalist Hyeon Chung won the last five games to beat Jack Sock 2-6, 6-1, 6-2. Sock has lost eight straight matches since winning in Rome on May 13. Two-time Cincinnati semifinalist Milos Raonic advanced with a 6-3, 6-3 win over qualifier Dusan Lajovic. Robin Haase also made it to the second round, defeating Filip Krajinovic 4-6, 6-2, 6-3. Fifth-seeded Elina Svitolina was tested by wild card Svetlana Kuznetsova before reaching the third round with a gritty 7-6 (1), 4-6, 6-4 win. Sixth-seeded Caroline Garcia also reached the third round with a 6-4, 6-5 win over wild card Victoria Azarenka, but 12th-seeded Daria Kasatkina suffered a first-round upset at the hands of qualifier Petra Martic, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. Elise Mertens scored a 6-4, 6-2 first-round win over Magdalena Rybarikova. Ashleigh Barty stopped wild card Marketa Vondrousova 6-3, 7-5. Maria Sakkari upset Indian Wells champion Naomi Osaka 6-3, 7-6 (8). Ekaterina Makarova cruised past qualifier Ana Bogdan 6-3, 6-2......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News5 hr. 13 min. ago

Uproar as politican praises White Australia policy, urges Muslim ban

An Australian politician was widely condemned Wednesday after demanding “a final solution” to immigration and calling for a return to the White Australia policy which favored “European Christians.” Queensland senator Fraser Anning stunned lawmakers when he invoked during his maiden speech the infamous Nazi phrase used under Adolf Hitler in reference to annihilating Jewish people [...] The post Uproar as politican praises White Australia policy, urges Muslim ban appeared first on The Manila Times Online......»»

Category: newsSource:  manilatimes_netRelated News9 hr. 52 min. ago

Stanley Pringle finally gets to represent PH in a 5-on-5 game

Stanley Pringle has always been a sought-after prospect for the national team ever since he joined the PBA in 2014 as the top overall pick of Globalport. After four years plying his trade in the pro league, Pringle final gets his shot to represent the Philippines in a 5-on-5 basketball game. Pringle is part of Yeng Guiao's 12-man team that will play in the Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia starting next week. READ:Even without Clarkson in lineup, Philippines ready to fight in Asian Games "I'm feeling great and like I said to a lot of people who have always asked me that it was always an honor when they [the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas] gave me that call and play for t...Keep on reading: Stanley Pringle finally gets to represent PH in a 5-on-5 game.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsAug 11th, 2018

BLOGTABLE: Team with the biggest turnaround in 2018-19 will be?

NBA.com blogtable Which team do you predict will have the biggest turnaround in 2018-19? * * * David Aldridge: Memphis. The Grizzlies had a great offseason (as I detailed in my 1-30 summer rankings) and they could easily double their 22 wins from last season. Mike Conley, Jr.'s return is most important of course, but the infusion of both talent and toughness from both the Draft and free agency/trades will revitalize the team just as much. The Grizz no longer will be held hostage by Chandler Parsons' status on a given night; they should be able to go eight deep with ease going forward whether or not he can contribute. Tas Melas: The Grizzlies. They had a very solid under-the-radar offseason, adding Kyle Anderson, Garrett Temple, and Jaren Jackson Jr. But more importantly, they are getting back two of the best at their positions: Marc Gasol and Mike Conley. Yes, Gasol was there last season, but he was not himself with all the “T-word” that was going on. And Conley is one of the best guards in the game. The Grizz were 5-2 to start 2017-18 with Conley. Are you seriously bringing up the Grizzlies’ record after seven games?! I gotta remind people of how good their core is after a 22-win season. Before whatever last year was, Memphis made the playoffs seven straight seasons. Shaun Powell: The Memphis Grizzlies, by a hair over the Lakers. How can they not distance themselves from a 22-win season, especially with a healthy Mike Conley and a much better performance from Marc Gasol? And that doesn't mean the Grizzlies will make the playoffs, so let's keep it in the right context. But a leap of 15 or 17 wins sounds reasonable for a team that was a mess a year ago without Conley. John Schuhmann: LeBron James' last two moves produced win increases of 11 games with Miami in 2010-11 and 20 games with Cleveland in 2014-15, but those teams (were in the East and) added additional All-Stars (Chris Bosh and Kevin Love) who fit better with James than any of the other players that the Lakers added this summer. Still, L.A. has a young core that should be improved and is the only team that looks 10 wins better than it was last season. Memphis, with a healthy Mike Conley and the addition of some vets that will defend, has a chance. Sekou Smith: The Lakers.No one signals a shift in a team's fortunes the way LeBron James does. And adding him to the mix in Lakerland means the bottom line in L.A. is at least a double-digit improvement in the win column, if we're going by LeBron's track record when he relocates. The scrutiny on these Lakers should be epic, rivaling the traveling circus that was the Miami Heat in the first year of the "Heatles" (LeBron, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh) era. Think about the mix of youngsters and veterans the Lakers have put together and tell me they wouldn't make up the cast of the best reality show of all time. The drama should be non-stop and as robust as we've seen in any training camp in years. But if things hold true to the way LeBron has navigated both of his previous relocations, there's at least a 10-game improvement in the win column on the way as well......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 11th, 2018

NFL preseason games see players demonstrate during anthem

By The Associated Press Player demonstrations took place during the national anthem at several early NFL preseason games Thursday night. In Philadelphia, Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins and cornerback De'Vante Bausby raised their fists during the anthem, and defensive end Chris Long placed his arm around Jenkins' shoulder. Jenkins had stopped his demonstration last December. Defensive end Michael Bennett walked out of the tunnel during the anthem and walked toward the bench while it played. It appeared all the Steelers stood. "Everybody is waiting for what the league is going to do," Jenkins said. "We won't let it stop what we stand for. I was very encouraged last year with the direction and that obviously took a different turn. "I think it's important to utilize the platform as we can because for whatever reason, we have framed this demonstration in a negative light, and often players have to defend why we feel the need to fight for everyday Americans, and in actuality we're doing the right thing." At Miami, Dolphins receivers Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson and defensive end Robert Quinn protested during the anthem. Stills and Wilson kneeled behind teammates lined up standing along the sideline. Quinn stood and raised his right fist. There were no apparent protests by the Buccaneers. Stills kneeled during the anthem during the 2016-17 seasons and has been vocal discussing social injustice issues that inspired the protest movement by NFL players. Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, a leader of the movement, tweeted support for Stills and Wilson. "My brother @kstills continued his protest of systemic oppression tonight by taking a knee," the tweet said. "Albert Wilson joined him in protest. Stay strong brothers!" And in Seattle, three Seahawks players ran into the tunnel leading to the team's locker room prior to the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner." Defensive linemen Branden Jackson and Quinton Jefferson, and offensive lineman Duane Brown left the field following team introductions and before the start of the anthem. They returned to the sideline immediately after it concluded. All three were among a group of Seattle players that sat during the anthem last season. In Jacksonville, four Jaguars remained in the locker room during the national anthem, and team officials said it would be up to the players to explain why they weren't on the field. Cornerback Jalen Ramsey, linebacker Telvin Smith, and running backs Leonard Fournette and T.J. Yeldon joined teammates on the sideline after the anthem. "As a man, I got certain beliefs," said Smith, who wore "Salute the Service" cleats. "You know what I mean? This is not going to become a distraction, and Jacksonville's not going to become a distraction for this team. I got beliefs. I did what I did. I don't know if it's going to be every week, can't answer if it's going to be every week. "But as a man I've got to stand for something. I love my team, I'm dedicated to my teammates, and that's what we're talking about. I did what I did. It was love. I hope people see it and respect it. I respect views." At Baltimore, both teams stood, but while most of the Ravens lined up shoulder to shoulder on the sideline, second-year linebacker Tim Williams stood alone in front of the bench with his back toward the field. All of the players on each team at New England appeared to stand for the national anthem, some bowing their heads and others placing their hands on their hearts. The Patriots observed a moment of silence beforehand for Weymouth, Massachusetts, police officer Michael Chesna, who was killed last month in the line of duty. The league and the players' union have yet to announce a policy for this season regarding demonstrations during the anthem after the league initially ordered everyone to stand on the sideline when "The Star-Spangled Banner" is played, or remain in the locker room. "The NFL has been engaged in constructive discussions with the NFL Players Association regarding the anthem and issues of equality and social justice that are of concern to many Americans," league spokesman Brian McCarthy said in an email. "While those discussions continue, the NFL has agreed to delay implementing or enforcing any club work rules that could result in players being disciplined for their conduct during the performance of the anthem. "Meanwhile, there has been no change in the NFL's policy regarding the national anthem. The anthem will continue to be played before every game, and all player and non-player personnel on the field at that time are expected to stand during the presentation of the flag and performance of the anthem. Personnel who do not wish to do so can choose to remain in the locker room. "We remain committed to working with the players to identify solutions and to continue making progress on important social issues affecting our communities."  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 10th, 2018

ASEAN insight: A glimpse in the eyes of a youth leader

ASEAN insight: A glimpse in the eyes of a youth leader Vox Bikol Sat, 12/09/2017 - 01:35 PILI, Camarines Sur, Dec.06 (PIA) ---  “It’s unbelievable! The experience seemed so surreal but I was there, flesh and body, and have represented the Philippines as one of the delegates to the #NOWASEAN 2017Conference, promoting among others, the significant role of the youth in understanding climate change and disaster resilience in ASEAN countries.” Emman Cleodoro, Coordinator of El Verde Youth for Climate Action and  Environment, Disaster Management and Emergency Response Office (EDMERO) Environmental Advocacy Officer  of the Provincial government of Camarines Sur was the lone representative of the country and was among the youth leaders from different countries chosen to participate in the conference in commemoration of the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of ASEAN and the Philippines’ National Day for Youth in Climate Action  held at Sofitel Philippine Plaza, Manila last November 23 to 26. “It’s an honor and a privilege to be the representative of the Philippines in the ASEAN conference in Manila. This conference taught me a lot of things, most especially what can the youth do to create a significant impact on the country’s campaign on climate change and disaster risk reduction management. This experience is something that I will treasure for the rest of my life,” Cleodoro humbly stated. At the prime of his youth at 27, Emman as he is fondly called by friends and colleagues had been advocating a cleaner and greener environment for the past 5 years under the helm of EDMERO. He owed his achievements to his mentors and points to EDMERO Chief Lucena “Che” Bermeo and the dynamic and young Camarines Sur Governor Migz Villafuerte as the source of his fervor to passionately pursue his environmental advocacy and share it with the young crowd. One of the highlights of the conference, Emman narrated was the adoption of the Southeast Asian Youth in Climate Action and Disaster Resilience Network (SAYCAN) Framework Agreement. The agreement binds the youth in a commitment to advocate youth empowerment on climate action and disaster resilience by promoting education and capacity building, engaging champions and strengthening partnership with other environmental stakeholders through online and on-ground strategies. ““The NowASEAN Conference is an initiative of the Filipino youth-led climate action undertaking dubbed as #NowPH or Not on our Watch Philippines. One of their outputs is the adoption of the SAYCAN Framework agreement.  It played a significant role in gathering signatures for the adoption of the Paris agreement held in France in 2015,” Emman elaborated. SAYCAN hopes to bring young people towards a common understanding of the ill effects of climate change and what the community can do to alleviate the impact of any catastrophe in their areas.  To do this, education and capacity building, including engaging environmental champions and stakeholders is a must. It is also important to build partnership, establish and strengthen them by the use of various strategies, both online and on-ground thereby engaging more and more stakeholders to take part in the fight to win back greener days and a safer environment for the next generation. “In the years that I have served as Environmental Advocacy Officer, I have seen the prowess and competence of the youth to promote a climate and disaster-resilient way of life and pursue sustainable development.  Meeting other ASEAN youth leaders coming from our neighboring ASEAN countries, only proves that we are all attuned towards this one vision of creating a haven of environment loving people who is as concerned as I am in ensuring that our children’s children will still have a place which they can call “home” in the upcoming years.”  (LSMacatangay, PIAV/Camarines Sur)  .....»»

Category: newsSource:  voxbikolRelated NewsAug 9th, 2018

GMA Network increases nationwide TV ratings lead in July

GMA Network increases nationwide TV ratings lead in July Vox Bikol Mon, 08/06/2018 - 17:50 Broadcast leader GMA Network continued to widen its lead over competition in nationwide television ratings based on the latest data from the industry’s widely-trusted ratings service provider, Nielsen TV Audience Measurement. From July 1 to 31 (with July 22 to 31 based on overnight data), GMA posted an average total day people audience share of 41.8 percent in the National Urban Television Audience Measurement (NUTAM), beating ABS-CBN's 36.7 percent. GMA’s solid ratings performance was a result of the Network’s continued leadership across all dayparts. The Kapuso Network strengthened its lead in the morning block, registering 38.6 percent people audience share as against ABS-CBN’s 34.9 percent. GMA likewise posted a bigger margin in the afternoon block with 43.4 percent, while ABS-CBN only managed to get 35.9 percent. In the evening block, GMA was also ahead of competition with an average of 42 percent versus ABS-CBN’s 38 percent. The Kapuso Network continued its dominance in the viewer-rich areas of Urban Luzon and Mega Manila, which respectively account for 72 and 59 percent of all urban viewers in the country. GMA recorded an average total day people audience share of 46.1 percent in Urban Luzon, which toppled ABS-CBN’s 31.3 percent. Similarly in Mega Manila (with official data from July 1 to 21), the Kapuso Network ruled competition with an average total day people audience share of 47.2 percent versus ABS-CBN’s 29.5 percent. More GMA shows also made it to the list of top programs in NUTAM with Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho (KMJS) keeping its spot as the most watched Kapuso program nationwide. The newly-launched Kapuso telefantasya and Alden Richards-starrer Victor Magtanggol immediately entered the list following KMJS. Joining them were Magpakailanman, 24 Oras, Lip Sync Battle Philippines, Pepito Manaloto, Kambal, Karibal, Daig Kayo ng Lola Ko, and The Clash. Completing the top-rating programs list were The Cure, Amazing Earth, Inday Will Always Love You, 24 Oras Weekend, Wowowin, Imbestigador, You’re My Destiny, Tadhana, Sunday Pinasaya, Eat Bulaga, and Contessa. Kapuso programs also dominated the Urban Luzon and Mega Manila lists, respectively taking 23 and 25 spots out of the top 30. More viewers nationwide also preferred GMA Network’s coverage of Manny Pacquiao’s fight last July 15 as well as President Rodrigo Duterte’s third State of the Nation Address (SONA) last July 23. GMA’s coverage of the much-awaited bout between Manny Pacquiao and Lucas Matthysse garnered a people audience share of 49.1 percent in NUTAM which topped ABS-CBN’s 30.8 percent. “SONA 2018: The GMA News Special Coverage” was likewise the most watched with 41.2 percent overnight people audience share in NUTAM versus ABS-CBN’s 32.6 percent. Nielsen data is gathered through a greater number of sampled homes nationwide in comparison to Kantar Media. With approximately 900 more homes surveyed in Total Urban and Rural Philippines compared to Kantar, Nielsen data is statistically considered more representative of the total TV population. In 2018, Nielsen TV Audience Measurement's client pool covers a total of 34 clients/subscribers consisting of 8 local TV networks including ABS-CBN, TV5, Aksyon TV, CNN Philippines, and Viva Communications Inc., among others; 3 regional clients; 2 blocktimers; and 21 agencies (17 media agencies, 3 consulting agencies, 1 digital agency)......»»

Category: newsSource:  voxbikolRelated NewsAug 9th, 2018

DA s 2018 NBA Offseason Rankings: The Bottom 10

By David Aldridge, TNT Analyst Wonder what the rental market is like in San Luis Obispo, Calif. San Luis Obispo is, give or take a few miles, one of the closest cities that is near the midway point between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Given the events of the NBA’s offseason, it’s not hare to imagine national reporters are going to be spending a lot of time in California next season, bouncing back and forth between the Bay and L.A. Catch LeBron James and the Lakers on Wednesday and then, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and the Warriors on Thursday. The Western Conference only got stronger and deeper with James leaving Cleveland for a second time, this time to go to the Lakers. Add four of the top five Draft picks -- including No. 1 overall selection Deandre Ayton (Phoenix Suns), No. 2 pick Marvin Bagley III (Sacramento Kings) and international phenom Luka Doncic (No. 3 pick, acquired by Dallas Mavericks) -- going to Western Conference teams, and the talent disparity between conferences only seems greater. But did Eastern Conference teams take advantage of Cleveland deflating to make their teams better? And how effective were West teams in making their teams better prepared to at least compete with the Warriors? That’s where this year’s Offseason Rankings come in -- big, bold, definitive. You love them, if the amount of hate tweets and e-mails I get after they’re published are any indication. Every year, we rank how all 30 teams have done since the end of their respective seasons. We look at everything -- how they drafted, what trades they made, what players they signed in free agency, and for how much -- or if they didn’t participate in free agency much at all. We look at if they’ve changed coaches, executives, owners, or if they’re moving into a new building that can generate big revenues. And you have to decide which ones you liked the most. Here's what these rankings ARE NOT: A predicted order of finish for next season. It's an opinion that seeks to answer a question: is the team better now than at the end of last season? The ranking reflects the belief on whether, and how much, that is so. (I liked certain guys who were in the Draft more than others, so if your team took them, I probably weighed it more positively. Doesn't mean I'm right.) I do not expect the Suns, for example, to have a better record than the Celtics, just because they had a better summer. It is not a ranking of the teams in order from 1 through 30 right now; I do not believe the Mavericks are now a better team than Rockets. This is just one person’s opinion about offseason moves -- offseason moves only. Is your team better now than it was before? - If your team is ranked in the top 10, it doesn't mean I love your team.       - If your team is ranked in the bottom 10, it doesn't mean I hate your team. It's an opinion that seeks to answer a question: is the team better now than at the end of last season? The ranking reflects the belief on whether, and how much, that is so. (I liked certain guys who were in the Draft more than others, so if your team took them, I probably weighed it more positively. Doesn't mean I'm right.) What plays into the rankings: - This isn’t science. It’s an educated guess, weighing the impact both of the Draft and free agency, but also assessing whether teams got value in their free-agent signings. Overpaying the right player is as much a sin as signing the wrong player. A good new coach can coax some more wins out of a roster. But if a team’s players don’t believe in the system their team uses, the best Xs and Os on earth don’t matter.       - Teams that are rebuilding obviously have different priorities than teams making a championship push. That's factored in. So Chicago, for example, gets credit for adding young, affordable players as it stockpiles its talent -- but that talent has to fit together, as Wendell Carter Jr. does with Lauri Markannen. And a team like the Warriors that shows it’s willing to go deep into the luxury tax -- which most teams try to avoid -- in order to keep winning has to be commended, and its rankings reflect that commendation.       - Continuity matters here as well. The most successful teams usually not only identify a core group of players, they keep them together for a while, finding that sweet spot: everyone doesn’t get a max contract, but most get paid well enough to keep the train moving down the tracks. That reflects both good roster construction and good financial management -- and, again, is rewarded. The explosion in the cap means everyone has to spend; keeping your powder dry for another day doesn’t have as much cache as it used to. But you still have to manage your money wisely. Salary numbers, with a couple of exceptions, come from Basketball Insiders, whose Eric Pincus does the best job of anyone in the game of keeping track of all the moving financial parts, quickly and accurately -- which is why we use him at NBA TV during the Draft and free agency to tell us what the hell this all means. The Bottom 10 * * * 21. DETROIT PISTONS 2017-18 RECORD: 39-43; missed playoffs ADDED: Coach Dwane Casey; New executive Ed Stefanski; G Bruce Brown (No. 42 pick, 2018 Draft); G Jose Calderon (one year, $2.3 million); C Zaza Pachulia (one year, $2.3 million); G/F Glenn Robinson III (two years, $8.3 million); G Khyri Thomas (No. 38 pick, 2018 Draft) LOST: Former coach Stan Van Gundy; G Dwight Buycks (waived); F/C Eric Moreland (waived); F Anthony Tolliver (signed with Wolves) RETAINED: None THE KEY MAN: F Blake Griffin. And he will be for some time. The Pistons need him to be his former All-Star self again, able to take slower defender to the basket, able to stretch the floor if he plays the five in small-ball lineups. They need him to be a playmaker, to get Reggie Jackson more looks off the ball and Andre Drummond some high-low lobs at the rim. They need him to sell tickets at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit’s revitalized downtown -- a building that seems to be more for the NHL’s Red Wings than the NBA’s Pistons. And they need Griffin to be an anchor that draws players to the Motor City during the life of his extension. THE SKINNY: Owner Tom Gores agonized over firing Van Gundy, but he finally did so, and was fortunate that Casey was available and willing to step right back into the fray after being cashiered in Toronto. Casey will be quite in his element building a defense around Drummond, but, like Van Gundy, Casey will need Jackson to stay healthy; he’s missed a combined 67 games the last two seasons. Detroit did well for not having a first-round pick to come out of the Draft with two solid guard prospects deep in the second in Thomas and Brown. However, the new coaching staff will have to get more out of the team’s last three first-rounders: Stanley Johnson (2015), Henry Ellenson (2016) and Luke Kennard (2017). 22. BOSTON CELTICS 2017-18 RECORD: 55-27; lost in Eastern Conference finals ADDED: G Brad Wanamaker (one year, $838,000); C Robert Williams (No. 27 pick, 2018 Draft) LOST: G Shane Larkin (signed to play in Turkey); F Abdel Nader (traded to Thunder) RETAINED: C Aron Baynes (two years, $10.6 million); F Jabari Bird (two years, $3 million), G Marcus Smart (four years, $52 million) THE KEY MAN: F Gordon Hayward. All indications are he’s well on his way back from that horrific injury he suffered on opening night last season. He can do so many great things in coach Brad Stevens’ system, and if he’s 100 percent by the playoffs, Boston may well be the one team that can match up, player for player, with Golden State in a Finals meeting. (Remember this when people inevitably say I ranked the Celtics 23rd in offseason moves.) THE SKINNY: Boston got its biggest work done after Smart couldn’t loosen up an offer sheet from the Sacramento Kings or Dallas Mavericks, and eventually worked out a deal for less than he sought to return. Smart’s deal puts Boston in the tax for the foreseeable future, but the Celtics knew that was the next step in keeping a Finals-capable core group together. With Kyrie Irving and Hayward expected back on line Stevens can throw so many different lineups out there, all committed to stifling opponent movement with long, switching defenders led by Smart, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. Williams was worth an end of the first flier, though he didn’t get off to a great start. If he gets a good wake-up alarm on his phone, he has a chance to be the Celtics’ center of the future. 23. PHILADELPHIA 76ERS 2017-18 RECORD: 52-30; lost in Eastern Conference semifinals ADDED: F Wilson Chandler (acquired from Nuggets); F/C Mike Muscala (acquired from Hawks); G Zhaire Smith (No. 16 pick, 2018 Draft); G Landry Shamet (No. 26 pick, 2018 Draft); G Shake Milton (No. 54 pick, 2018 Draft) LOST: Former GM Bryan Colangelo (resigned); F Justin Anderson (traded to Hawks); G Marco Belinelli (signed with Spurs); F/C Richaun Holmes (traded to Suns); F Ersan Ilyasova (signed with Bucks); G/F Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (traded to Thunder) RETAINED: C/F Amir Johnson (one year, $1.5 million); G T.J. McConnell (picked up team option); G J.J. Redick (one year, $12.2 million) THE KEY MAN: G Markelle Fultz. His rookie year laid waste by a combination of injury and the yips -- which the Sixers have finally copted to -- Fultz is reportedly rebuilding his shot successfully under the learned eye of development coach Drew Hansen. If that carries over to the fall, Fultz will get a true opportunity (he had some cameos late in his rookie season) to show a skeptical Philly fan base he was worth the top pick in 2017, and worth Philly trading up to get him. He definitely could fill a need with the 76ers for a second playmaker to go with and occasionally in place of reigning Kia Rookie of the Year winner Ben Simmons. But if Fultz has another setback, physically or otherwise, it will be hard for him to stick much longer in Philly -- not a town known for patient reflection with regard to its sports teams. THE SKINNY: Coach Brett Brown was quite clear when he said the Sixers were hunting for a superstar this summer with the cap space they’d assiduously cleared the last couple of years. But the summer has come and gone and there’s no LeBron, no Kawhi, no trade, at least not yet, for Jimmy Butler or anyone else at that level. Belinelli and Ilyasova both played huge roles for Philly in the playoffs; maybe Fultz (see above) takes on some of that role, and Chandler will help. But this doesn’t feel like a successful offseason for one of the real risers in the East. 24. PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS 2017-18 RECORD: 49-33; lost in first round ADDED: G Seth Curry (one year, $2.7 million); G Nik Stauskas (one year, $1.6 million); G Anfernee Simons (No. 24 pick, 2018 Draft); G Gary Trent Jr. (No. 37 pick, 2018 Draft) LOST: G/F Pat Connaughton (signed with Bucks); F/C Ed Davis (signed with Nets); G Shabazz Napier (signed with Nets); C Georgios Papagiannis (waived) RETAINED: C Jusuf Nurkic (four years, $48 million) THE KEY MAN: Assistant coaches David Vanterpool, Nate Tibbets, Dale Osbourne, Jim Moran, John McCullough and Jonathan Yim. With the Blazers mostly landlocked the next two seasons -- they’re currently above the projected luxury tax line both for next season and 2019-20 -- there aren’t likely going to be many significant roster changes for a while. And in the West, especially, standing pat is often falling behind. It will thus fall to Portland’s excellent staff behind coach Terry Stotts to maximize the production of the current group. They can point with some pride to success stories like Will Barton and Allen Crabbe, now in Denver and Brooklyn, respectively, along with Maurice Harkless and Al-Faroqu Aminu. For Portland to take another step up, they’ll have to coach up someone like 2017 first-rounder Zach Collins or this year’s first-rounder, Simons. They must have them exceed expectations to become a third legit star behind Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. THE SKINNY: Lillard insists the rumblings heard in some quarters that he’s unhappy in Portland aren’t true, and the franchise better hope he’s being honest. The decisions the Blazers made in 2016 continue to lock them in place; if they catch a favorable first-round matchup (a grumbling Rockets team in 2014; an injury-strafed Clippers squad in 2016), they can advance a round. But last year’s 4-0 sweep by the New Orleans Pelicans had to give everyone pause. How does Portland respond mentally? Re-upping Big Nurk in the middle on a very reasonable deal -- $12 million for a starting center was the going rate five years ago, when the Wolves gave Nikola Pekovic a five-year, $60 million contract -- was necessary. But losing Davis, a locker room and fan favorite for superior work ethic, will hurt, even though Collins should sop up a lot of those minutes. 25. ORLANDO MAGIC 2017-18 RECORD: 25-57; missed playoffs ADDED: Coach Steve Clifford; C Mohamed Bamba (No. 6 pick, 2018 Draft); G Isaiah Briscoe (three years, $3.9 million); F Melvin Frazier (No. 35 pick, 2018 Draft); F Jerian Grant (acquired from Bulls); F Justin Jackson (No. 43 pick, 2018 Draft); F Jarrell Martin (acquired from Grizzlies); C Timofey Mozgov (acquired from Hornets) LOST: C Bismack Biyombo (traded to Hornets); G Mario Hezonja (signed with Knicks); C Dakari Johnson (traded to Grizzlies); G Shelvin Mack (waived); G Rodney Purvis (traded to Thunder) RETAINED: F Aaron Gordon (four years, $82 million) THE KEY MAN: G D.J. Augustin. A vet’s vet, he’s played 10 years in the league and started 226 games for eight teams, including 56 over the last two for the Magic. He’ll enter this season as the unquestioned starter at the point with Elfrid Payton in New Orleans and Orlando still looking to solve its long-term search for a point guard. It’s Augustin’s turn. THE SKINNY: At some point, Orlando’s yearly gambles on size and potential will pay off. Bamba could be the goods; he’s got a demeanor and toughness that should keep him together while he learns the craft at the pro level. But -- again -- it will take some time for Bamba, like 2017 first-rounder Jonathan Isaac, and Gordon, in whom Orlando invested a sizeable sum in July, to flourish. And Magic fans rightly can ask exactly how long they’re to remain patient. Clifford is supposed to improve the defense, but so was Frank Vogel … and so was Scott Skiles … and so was Jacque Vaughn. 26. NEW ORLEANS PELICANS 2017-18 RECORD: 48-34; lost in Western Conference semifinals ADDED: G Tony Carr (No. 51 pick, 2018 Draft); G Elfrid Payton (one year, $3 million); F Julius Randle (two years, $17 million) LOST: C DeMarcus Cousins (signed with Warriors); G Rajon Rondo (signed with Lakers) RETAINED: G Ian Clark (one year, $1.7 million); F Nikola Mirotic (picked up player option) THE KEY MAN: Owner Gayle Benson. Mrs. Benson took control of the team after the death of her husband, Tom, last March. She displayed great grace in the days and weeks after Tom Benson’s death, making it clear at the time she had no interest in selling the team and would continue to make outlays to keep the team competitive. The Pels didn’t blink last summer giving Jrue Holiday $126 million, and that will have to remain the case going forward if New Orleans is to repeat its surprising run to the Western Conference semifinals last spring. THE SKINNY: Can’t lose your starting point guard and your starting All-Star center in one offseason -- no matter what the circumstances -- and come out of it with high offseason marks. And especially when Rondo seemed like the perfect fit for the team. Mirotic mentioned during the Warriors series how good Rondo was at picking him up and connecting him quickly with the team after he was traded to New Orleans from Chicago. And, yes, coach Alvin Gentry mentioned he may have exchanged cusses with Rondo every now and again, too. Life in RondoWorld. The path forward is narrower, but not impassible; Randle can be tantalizing at times, maddening at others, but he could plug-and-play at the four, and he can take some of the playmaking burden off of Holiday. But big minutes on the ball for Holiday again is not what New Orleans had in mind. Payton is going to have to perform immediately. And losing “Boogie” Cousins is a big minus. It’s not what the Pelicans gave up to get him. It’s the fit and flow he had with Anthony Davis before the injury, and what the promise of a return this season could have meant toward carrying the momentum of last year forward. 27. MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES 2017-18 RECORD: 47-35; lost in first round ADDED: F Anthony Tolliver (one year, $5.7 million); G Josh Okogie (No. 20 pick, 2018 Draft); F Keita Bates-Diop (No. 48 pick, 2018 Draft) LOST: C Cole Aldrich (waived); F Nemanja Bjelica (signed with Kings) RETAINED: G Derrick Rose (one year, $1.5 million) THE KEY MAN: Vikings QB Kirk Cousins. He signed for big, big money by NFL standards (three years, $84 million), and the Vikings have Super Bowl aspirations. So all the light will be on the Vikes most of the fall and winter in Minneapolis, keeping it off of the still-young Wolves, who won’t be able to sneak up on anyone after breaking their long postseason drought. THE SKINNY: The Wolves should be positioned to build on their playoff run, especially if Butler can get through a full season healthy and Karl-Anthony Towns adds consistency to his prodigious talents. But they didn’t do much in the offseason, and the team that they beat out on the last day of the regular season, Denver, looks to be much improved. Tolliver should help the Wolves’ depth; they essentially traded him for Bjelica, and he shot slightly better on 3-poiners last season than Belly. Plus, they don’t come better as a guy than Tolliver and he can help Minnesota in the locker room. The issue of Butler’s contract isn’t going away; there will be a reckoning at some point, and he’ll have a lot more options next summer than free agents had this summer. Until then, coach Tom Thibodeau has pretty much the same team that he has to cajole better defense out of next season (22nd in Defensive Rating; 17th in points allowed). 28. CHARLOTTE HORNETS 2017-18 RECORD: 36-46; missed playoffs ADDED: Coach James Borrego; GM Mitch Kupchack; C Bismack Biyombo (acquired from Magic); F Miles Bridges (No. 12 pick, 2018 Draft); G Devonte' Graham (No. 34 pick, 2018 Draft); F Arnoldas Kulboka (No. 55 pick, 2018 Draft); ; G Tony Parker (two years, $10.2 milliion) LOST: G Michael Carter-Williams (signed with Rockets); C Dwight Howard (traded to Nets); C Timofey Mozgov (traded to Magic); G Julyan Stone (traded to Bulls) RETAINED: None THE KEY MAN: C Cody Zeller. It’s a guess -- Borrego could opt for Frank Kaminsky III -- but Zeller would seem to be the replacement at center for Dwight Howard, who wound up in Washington after the Hornets traded him to the Nets. Zeller started 58 games two years ago and was very good in screen and rolls with Kemba Walker. Zeller only played in 33 games last season because of a left knee injury; if he returns to form, the Hornets could pick up offensively and actually have a little more diversity at that end than last season. THE SKINNY: Team owner Michael Jordan cleaned house after a disappointing 2017-18, bringing another Tar Heel back home in the veteran Kupchak. Kupchak dispatched Howard and then got Mozgov’s guaranteed 2019-20 season off his books to take back Biyombo, who’d left Toronto two years ago for $72 million from the Magic and who’s got a player option for 2019-20. Well before then, the Hornets are going to have to decide what to do with Walker, who’ll be one of the top free agents available next summer if Charlotte can’t get him re-signed or extended. The Hornets were 8.8 points worse when the two-time All-Star was off the court rather than on. Nicolas Batum has to make a return to the all-around talent that enticed Charlotte to trade for him and give him a $120 million extension; he averaged just 11.6 points per game last year, his lowest in three years. Howard’s presence in the paint may have clogged things up some, but that’s no longer the case. 29. CLEVELAND CAVALIERS 2017-18 RECORD: 50-32; lost in The Finals ADDED: F Channing Frye (one year, $2.3 million); G Collin Sexton (No. 8 pick, 2018 Draft) LOST: G Jose Calderon (signed with Pistons); F Jeff Green (signed with Wizards); F LeBron James (signed with Lakers); C Kendrick Perkins (waived); F Okaro White (waived) RETAINED: F Kevin Love (contract extension) THE KEY MAN: GM Koby Altman. Altman has a blank slate now after trying to steer a championship-contending ship that had been stripped of a few propeller blades in the last 13 months. With James gone, as well as former GM David Griffin, the 35-year-old Altman has team owner Dan Gilbert’s charge to rebuild the Cavs without taking them down to the studs (as the Cavs did after James first departure in 2010). Altman’s next task after working out Kevin Love’s $130 million extension is clearing the roster of all the veterans brought in the last three years mainly because of their ability to play off of James. THE SKINNY: There weren’t any widespread jersey burnings this time in the Land. James left for L.A. with relative good will from his hometown, having delivered the championship it had waited 52 years for in 2016. Truly, the Cavs’ rebuild started the minute Kyrie Irving demanded a trade; last season seemed more rearguard action than an attack at another title. Extending Love through 2023 with no outs -- keeping him locked with rookie Sexton through the latter’s last controllable season before hitting unrestricted free agency -- gives Cleveland a base upon which to build. Cap room will follow in 2019, but next season will be difficult; Sexton has a lot of toughness and potential, but rookie point guards tend to get their lunch handed to them. 30. MIAMI HEAT 2017-18 RECORD: 44-38; lost in first round ADDED: None LOST: None RETAINED: G Wayne Ellington (one year, $6.2 million); F/G Derrick Jones Jr. THE KEY MAN: G Josh Richardson. Like many of his teammates, Richardson got an extension a couple of years ago -- four years and $42 million. Last season, he was (again) a solid two-way player for Miami -- almost 13 points per game, 84.5 percent from the line, 37.8 percent on 3-pointers. But if the Heat is going to shake out of the middle lane in which it currently seems stuck, Richardson will have to expand. Miami’s current roster makes it complicated; Pat Riley thinks Richardson’s probably more of a two, but he plays mostly three for coach Erik Spoelstra because Miami’s best lineups were small ball ones. Another offseason at P3 in California will help Richardson continue his development. THE SKINNY: No, Heat people: I don’t hate your team. But when you have no Draft picks, and you have no cap space, and thus you literally could do nothing in the offseason, and basically did nothing in the offseason, and your biggest, most newsy event was whether your 36-year-old future Hall of Fame guard will come back for one more season or play over in China … well, what am I supposed to do with that information? Rank you first? The question is, how much better is your team now than it was at the end of last season? It’s essentially the same team; other than the likes of Richardson (see above) or Justise Winslow, it’s not like there’s a great step up expected from Hassan Whiteside or Goran Dragic, is there? The Heat is not any better than last season. It isn’t any worse. It just … is. So, 30. Longtime NBA reporter, columnist and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer David Aldridge is an analyst for TNT. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 8th, 2018