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Analysis: USA Basketball s World Cup plan went awry long ago

Analysis: USA Basketball s World Cup plan went awry long ago.....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnSep 12th, 2019

Rui Hachimura to sit out final two games of FIBA World Cup

Washington Wizards press release STATEMENT FROM JBA ON RUI HACHIMURA’S STATUS “The Wizards and Japan Basketball have been operating under a carefully created load management plan to protect Rui’s health after a long NCAA season, the NBA draft and the NBA summer league. Rui experienced knee discomfort and general fatigue during the World Cup, which we have jointly monitored with the Wizards. While everyone had hoped for Rui to finish the World Cup with Team Japan, the Wizards and Japan Basketball believe it is best for Rui to not play the final two games and have a short period of rest before he must start NBA training camp with the Wizards which begins only three weeks from now. The Wizards and Japan Basketball will continue to work together on Rui’s long term development throughout the NBA season and leading into Rui’s participation in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.” STATEMENT FROM RUI HACHIMURA “I love Team Japan. This was a difficult decision for the Wizards, Japan Basketball, and myself to make. I am still learning about my body and trust that the Wizards and Japan Basketball are doing everything they can to help me be the best I can be for the NBA season and the 2020 Olympics.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 6th, 2019

Anthony Davis joins Lakers with championship plans

By Greg Beacham, Associated Press EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) — Anthony Davis' year of uncertainty finally felt finished when he stood in the Los Angeles Lakers' training complex and proudly held up his new gold jersey while LeBron James looked on approvingly. After months of upheaval around his departure from New Orleans, the superstar forward is looking forward to years of success and stability on the West Coast. Sure, Davis knows the Lakers are rarely stable, and championships are the only success this franchise understands. The six-time All-Star can't wait for the challenge of winning big in the Hollywood spotlight. "The most difficult part for me was just not knowing," Davis said Saturday (Sunday, PHl time). "When it was announced that I was being traded, I don't want to say it was a relief, (but) it was something that I'd thought about for a long time. Obviously it was tough to leave the city I'd been playing in for seven years, but I think it was best for me. "When I found out I'd been traded to the Lakers, I realized it was an unbelievable opportunity for me," he added. "To be here with a wonderful organization, and then to be able to play alongside LeBron and the players that we have now ... to get the opportunity to do that and come here and play for an organization that's all about winning, and winning championships, and that's the only goal, I think that was the biggest thing for me." The Lakers formally acquired Davis this month in one of the biggest moves of the NBA's tumultuous offseason, but this courtship has been happening for much longer. Davis became determined to leave New Orleans last season, and Los Angeles made an in-season run at Davis before eagerly blowing up its young core to get a second game-changing star to play alongside James. Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka introduced Davis as "the most dominant young basketball player in the world." "There is no more complete basketball player in the game," Pelinka added. "There is nothing he can't do. He can shoot. He can make plays. He can defend 1 to 5. He can protect the rim. He can handle the ball. His dedication to his craft is unparalleled. To sit here next to him and think he's going to be on our team and he's going to be a pillar in this franchise for many years is just something we're incredibly proud of." The Lakers gave up Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart and a slew of draft picks to land Davis one year before he could become an unrestricted free agent. While Pelinka clearly expects Davis to sign a long-term deal to stay with the Lakers, Davis didn't make a declaration of his intentions right away. "Right now, my focus is on this year, and trying to help this organization become a championship team," Davis said. Davis' new jersey will bear a No. 3 after his plan to take his usual No. 23 from James fell through thanks to rules involving jersey supplier Nike, who had already begun planning for next season with James in the No. 23 shirt. Davis will go back to the number he wore in elementary and middle school, although he jokingly said the denial of No. 23 "was pretty hurtful." Davis and James have been kept up to speed on Pelinka's machinations to build a strong roster around them. Davis strongly endorsed the signing of DeMarcus Cousins, his former teammate in New Orleans — and not just because Davis prefers to play as a power forward instead of a center. "I like playing the 4," Davis said to a laughing coach Frank Vogel. "I'm not even going to sugarcoat it. I don't like playing the 5, but if it comes down to it, Coach, I'll play the 5." Pelinka said the Lakers signed Cousins and re-signed JaVale McGee precisely so that Davis wouldn't wear down his body guarding centers. Davis was asked about load management, and he dismissed it: "I'm playing. I'm 26-years-old. I love the game of basketball. I'm ready to play." Davis also waived a $4 million trade kicker in his contract so the Lakers would have cap room to take their failed run at Kawhi Leonard, a move that Pelinka praised as selfless. "Anytime you're able to acquire a player like Kawhi, I think you have to do almost everything to get a guy like that," Davis said. "It didn't work out for us, but I wanted to make sure I did whatever I could to help the team." Basketball-loving Los Angeles is still buzzing after its two teams were turned into immediate contenders during free agency, but they're hardly alone in a league that might have achieved a measure of parity after years of Golden State dominance. While Leonard and Paul George landed with the Clippers, Davis and James are confident about the future ahead for the 16-time NBA champions, who are exponentially more beloved in their hometown than their local rivals. Davis has lived in Los Angeles during the offseason for several years, and he loves everything about it but the traffic. "It's going to be fun," Davis said of the new-look league with its new crop of superstar pairings. "I'm excited about it. I think the league has grown. I think it's better. (With) all the players teaming up and spreading that talent throughout the league, it's going to be a fun season. I like our roster. I like every player that we have, from one through 14." The Lakers have been the worst team in the NBA during their team-record six consecutive seasons out of the playoffs, but Davis and James expect to end those struggles and drought in the year ahead. They're aiming for much more, too. "I know we'll talk about it and do whatever we can to definitely make this team a championship team next season," Davis said, before correcting himself: "This season.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 14th, 2019

Zion Williamson brings rare potential to New Orleans

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Eventually, as with every NBA Draft, there will be a “re-draft” of the Class of 2019. That’s the irresistible exercise in hindsight from media outlets that rank a particular year’s prospects not on their projected value but on actual demonstrated value five, 10 or more seasons into their professional careers. Some players will rise. Others will fall. “Bust” and “sleeper” tags will be dispersed accordingly. This team or GM will be lauded for an especially savvy selection, that one will be razzed for the quality player or players on whom it whiffed. But the through line of the dreams-come-true event Thursday night (Friday, PHL time) at Barclays Center, the lone selection that will not or at least should not change, is Zion Williamson. Williamson is the sure thing, the “can’t miss,” consensus No. 1 pick bound for the New Orleans Pelicans. He’s a 6'7", 285-pound freshman from Duke whose comps aren’t merely established players currently in the NBA but some of the game’s legends. So think Blake Griffin, sure. But also think LeBron James. And Charles Barkley. And, for that matter, every other wide-body who’s ever played with muscles on muscles, above-the-rim explosiveness, balletic body control and an instantly recognizable game that’s as charismatic as it is freakish. Yeah, awfully small subset. “I’m looking forward to playing against everybody,” Williamson said soon after his selection. “I want to be the best. I feel I have to earn everybody’s respect.” It’s not just a matter of Williamson’s game tickling NBA fans’ fancy, either. He managed, in almost his first official pro moment, to capture a lot of their hearts too. No sooner had Williamson – the first No. 1 pick to be born in this millennium (July 6, 2000) – strode to the stage in his cream-white suit, tugged on a Pelicans draft cap and embraced NBA commissioner Adam Silver, he dropped his guard to let the world share his emotions in the moment. His status as college basketball’s best and his draft position had been established months ago. There was no new mystery as to when his name would be called by Silver at the podium. And yet, when the first ESPN microphone was poked in front of him, with his mother Sharonda Sampson at his side, the big guy lost it. He choked up and blinked back tears, not quite winning that battle. “My mom sacrificed a lot for me,” Williamson said. “I wouldn’t be here without my mom. She did everything for me. I just want to thank her.” Several interviews and maybe 20 minutes later, Williamson explained how the horribly kept secret of his No. 1 selection could trigger his response. “Because I love the game of basketball,” he said. “You can hear people say things like, ‘Oh, it was likely I was going to go No. 1.’ But I guess you don’t know until you actually go through it.” What mattered most to Williamson about his mother’s role in his life? “Tough love,” he said. “She was always be the first one to keep it real with me. … She put aside her dreams just so me and my brothers could have a chance at ours.” The love already heading Williamson’s way in New Orleans was less tough and more unconditional at this stage, for the teenager represents a re-birth for a Pelicans franchise rocked by the loss of All-Star forward Anthony Davis. Davis, coincidentally, was the No. 1 pick in 2012 and generally considered the top prospect to hit the Draft before Williamson. But after six-and-a-half seasons and only two trips to the playoffs, Davis asked in December to be traded, despite having more than two-plus seasons left on his contract. David Griffin, the Pelicans' new vice president of basketball operations, had hoped that Williamson’s arrival might convince Davis to stay. When that didn’t happen, Griffin swiftly shifted to Plan B, arranging to trade the discontented big man to the Los Angeles Lakers in a deal that won’t be official until July. Now New Orleans, which has won just two playoff series in its 17 seasons and failed to qualify 10 times, has a new cornerstone. Williamson figures to be under team control contractually for as long or longer than Davis stuck around, with teammates relocated from L.A. such as Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart to run with him and Pelicans holdovers. “What excites me the most is the fact that they’re young and they’re close to my age,” said Duke’s third No. 1 overall pick (Elton Brand in 1999, Kyrie Irving in 2011). “So they can help me a lot more, like how to deal with this transition. I think we can build something over there.” The essential block is Williamson, who swept college basketball’s major awards with a game that strains credulity. At 285 pounds, his listed weight is greater than almost every big man in the NBA, but he has quick-twitch speed and thrives in the open court. He can stare down into the rim before slamming home dunks with unnerving ferocity, and he is a deft and willing passer. Williamson averaged 22.6 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in 30 minutes for the Blue Devils, while making 68 percent of his shots. He and fellow Top 10 picks R.J. Barrett (New York, No. 3) and Cam Reddish (Atlanta, No. 10) helped Duke reach the Elite Eight, with Williamson earning ACC Tournament MVP along the way. He’s not a perfect player – his jump shot and range need work – but he already is working to complement his transition and low-post repertoire. Defensively, Williamson has the motor and mobility to switch assignments and quick hands to dislodge the ball without fouling. As a rebounder, his verticality is matched by, well, his horizontality in controlling the air space above and around him. “His size, his athleticism, his power is visible,” former St. John’s coach and Naismith Hall of Famer Chris Mullin said. “But to me his speed is really incredible from end to end. “I would morph Charles Barkley and Shawn Kemp and put them together [as a comparison]. When he gets to the NBA and he plays with that extra space they have in the wide key, he’s going to be a monster.” Williamson arrives with hype – no, make that expectations, because of all he’s shown already on courts around America – that rival what James shouldered when he arrived from high school in 2003. His plan for lugging that responsibility: “Whatever the team needs me to do, I’m willing to do it, because I feel people remember winners.” The selections immediately after Williamson were nearly as predictable, based on intelligence and mock drafts that solidified in the days before the Draft. Murry State guard Ja Morant was chosen by Memphis at No. 2, and Barrett’s ensuing selection by the Knicks delighted their always boisterous fans in the stands at Barclay. The order of the next four choices was jumbled from some predictions. Yet by the time the smoke cleared, sure enough, the seven players projected to come off the board soonest had slotted into the night’s top seven spots. That included Virginia forward De’andre Hunter to Atlanta at No. 4 (via the Lakers, in the aforementioned Davis trade that has yet to be completed), Vanderbilt point guard Darius Garland to Cleveland at No. 5, Texas Tech wing Jarrett Culver to Minnesota at No. 6 and North Carolina guard Coby White to Chicago at No. 7. Just because there wasn’t a lot of suspense at Barclays didn’t mean there was no intrigue. Much of that came from unusually heavy trade action – all technically unofficial – that had teams moving up, down and all around to snag picks, dump picks or clean up their salary-cap positions in anticipation of free agency that starts June 30. The timing of the Draft, relative to when the NBA’s new business year begins, had players donning caps of teams they’ll never play for, while speaking guardedly about those for whom they really were picked. A reported nine trades impacted draft decisions made in the first round alone. There even was a moment when Morant, in his post-Draft media session, gave a shout-out to veteran Grizzlies guard Mike Conley, whose spot he’ll presumably be taking once Conley’s trade to Utah officially goes through. But there’s no such uncertainty about Williamson, the through line of this year’s class, the true line in his heartfelt reactions Thursday (Friday, PHL time) and broad-shouldered hope of a Big Easy franchise in need. Williamson showed his grasp of the NBA’s and sports’ need for fresh icons, in effect accepting his status as a legend in waiting. “You know, times change,” he said. “That’s why there are so many debates about who people think the greatest players of all time are. If you were in the time of Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell, you’d probably say one of those two. If you were in the time of Jordan, you’d say Jordan. In our generation, a lot of them say LeBron. “So times changes and I think younger fans like younger players.” You don’t have to be young, though, to have your eye on Zion. Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 21st, 2019

Curry, Lillard battle for NBA supremacy, Oakland s affection

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com OAKLAND — He arrived at the Western Conference finals wearing the jersey of the Oakland A’s, who play right next door at the Coliseum, just a five-minute drive from where he was born. Damian Lillard paused and signed a few autographs before entering Oracle Arena, because he is a man of the people, and these are his people. None of them mention that, in their hearts, they’re rooting for him to lose this playoff series, and so it goes unspoken, a truce in a sense. For this fleeting moment, they’re Lillard fans, until the ball goes up. And then it’s all for Steph Curry, all night long. There is a competition within the competition between the Warriors and Blazers, and it is the battle for the affection of Oakland. There is Lillard, the pride of the Brookfield Village neighborhood, who has blossomed into a bonafide star with the Blazers. And then there’s Curry, the symbol of a basketball renaissance here, who has raised the profile of Oakland the last several years. Now you see why The Town is a bit conflicted. A bit. [Watch the Playoffs on NBA League Pass for 30% less with this limited time offer! Select Annual package and use code SAVE30 at checkout to redeem] The conference championship may well hinge on the performance of these All-NBA guards. Game 1 was fairly lopsided, both in terms of the teams — Warriors 116, Blazers 94 — and the two principles. Lillard struggled Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time) and appeared whipped, physically if not mentally, no doubt from a grueling seven-game second round that just wrapped up 48 hours earlier. He missed 8-of-12 shots, had seven turnovers and, in a rarity for him, he was a non-factor for Portland. He’s a combined 7-for-29 in his last two games. Meanwhile, Curry rolled, dropping 36 points and the Blazers along with them. And so, this is the verdict: Portland cannot hope to stretch this series beyond four games, five tops, without the max from Lillard. He obviously means that much. And Curry, now working without the comforts of his injured co-star Kevin Durant for the second straight game, and maybe without Durant for another two games, needs to keep his skills elevated to prevent suspense from encroaching on the series. The Warriors are well aware of what Lillard has done to them in the past; he has averaged more points against the hometown team (27.0) than any in his career likely because of provincial pride. Yet Golden State is also aware that he has yet to beat them in any game or series of significance. “He’s one of the best guards in this league and carries a chip on his shoulder and it has (worked) well for him in his career,” said Draymond Green. “A special talent. I know he’s excited to be back home playing in the last year at Oracle. So it’s special for him but it don’t mean nothing to us. We’ve got to come out here and try to stop him. A tall task.” While the East Bay has given birth to its share of NBA stars, with Bill Russell, Jason Kidd and Gary Payton among them, Lillard is still freshly active and refreshingly loyal. The connection between him and Oakland remains unwavering despite fame and distance and the fact it’s his job and desire to shock the world in the next few weeks. He played at St. Joseph Notre Dame in Alameda and then finished at Oakland High, and a thick section of fans at Oracle Wednesday were wrapped in Blazers gear and made their preference clear. Most were either from the old neighborhood or family members. His high school coach, Damon Jones, is a Warriors season ticket holder, and Jones said: “Nobody bought me a drink tonight.” The coach added, playfully: “They gave me a hard time. When the Warriors scored, they wanted to turn around and slap five but then caught themselves at the last minute.” Jones remembers Lillard as being a promising and quick guard who picked up the nuances of the game rapidly. “He was very personable for someone his age, a solid teammate,” Jones said. “He still keeps in touch with all of his former teammates. It’s a brotherhood and he’s the leader. He’s always trying to be a positive influence on everyone around here.” Lillard returns every summer to give away backpacks with school supplies and funded the renovation of the Oakland High gym. He’s a familiar sight around town in the offseason and always approachable, and that loyalty and devotion doesn’t go unnoticed. “People here respect him,” said Raymond Young, Lillard’s AAU coach. “When he comes here to play, people here say they’re going to clap for Damian but cheer for the Warriors. Only he can get that kind of reaction. His loyalty comes from his family. His mother and father were no-problem parents. They let us coach him. He was a joy to be around. Still is.” Lillard is even more endearing because he comes from humble beginnings and is self-made. Both of his youth coaches are admittedly shocked by his impact in the NBA. He wound up at Weber State. He wasn’t highly recruited by the big schools. Even nearby Cal-Berkeley came late. “But if he goes there,” said Young, “does all this happen?” Lillard is revered in another place as well. Portland is also smitten by his loyalty; in an age of transient stars, Lillard has never wanted to play anywhere else. Perhaps this has cost him some visibility, with a majority of his games tipping off at 10:30 ET. It’s a price he’s more than willing to pay. Lillard has never taken a team this deep into the playoffs, where legends and reputations are made, and so being in the conference finals represents some new and deserved shine for him. A layer of that invisibility was peeled off in these playoffs where Lillard has come up massive. His shot from nearly 40 feet that eliminated Oklahoma City in the first round, and the bye-bye wave reaction, became iconic. Then he followed up with a strong second round as well against the Nuggets, although as that series crept to the conclusion, Lillard shot just 3-for-17 in that Game 7, then followed up with a 4-for-12 Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time), proof that he might be gassed — and also that the Warriors cooked up a defensive game plan specifically for him. “Obviously it’s a little bit difficult physically and emotionally just because you’re excited about being in the Western Conference finals,” said Lillard. “You come straight here form Denver and get ready for the best team in the league. But once we lace our shoes and put our uniforms on, it’s fair and square. You got to go out there and handle your business. "They did a good job defensively and even when I was trying to find (teammates), they were getting deflections. They were making me play in a crowd. I thought they were successful at that … in this first game.” But his toughest task of all might be upstaging Curry, particularly here in Oakland. While Lillard has flourished through much of the postseason, Curry by comparison has been mild, especially by his standards. The missed layups, a famously flubbed dunk attempt and sporadic three-point shooting was unsightly. And then, after Durant limped off the floor, Curry felt a sense of urgency and a flush of greatness. He buried the Rockets with a pair of epic fourth quarters, then kept the faucet running Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time). The Blazers couldn’t limit or at least slow him anywhere on the floor, especially from the three-point line, where Curry was a sizzling 9-for-15. And no missed layups. In his last six quarters of basketball, Curry has scored 69 points with 13-for-24 shooting on 3s. “I know what I’m capable of doing on the floor," Curry said, "and the situation calls for me to be more aggressive and hopefully that will continue. It’s nice to see the ball go in. I want to maintain that. I didn’t shoot well for 4.5 games the last series. Every game is different. You have to reestablish yourself and that’s my perspective no matter how I play.” Curry didn’t arrive wearing the baseball jersey of the home team, and if anything has been spotted at San Franciso Giants games across the Bay, where the Warriors will call home starting next season. But don’t get anything twisted. Curry’s bond with Oakland, developed over time, is genuine and real for someone born and bred a country away in Charlotte, and the feeling is mutual. The tug of war for the heartstrings of Oakland is subtle between the pair of franchise players on the floor in this playoff series. Call it a draw from the standpoint of whom the fans here respect and appreciate. There’s enough love to be shared by both. Yet in the basketball sense, this series is on the verge of being owned by the one wearing the jersey that reps Oakland. Curry has more momentum and better teammates, and Durant is on deck. Oakland, therefore, will indeed cheer for one of its own, for Damian Lillard. But the way this series and these playoffs are going, The Town is anxious to pop bottles with Steph Curry once again, at the usual place and time, for one last time. 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 NewsMay 15th, 2019

A guide to FIFA's options for expanding the 2026 World Cup

GRAHAM DUNBAR, AP Sports Writer   FIFA is preparing to decide Tuesday on adding 16 more teams to the 2026 World Cup for a 48-team tournament. President Gianni Infantino's favored format would break with soccer tradition to play in groups of only three teams. Two would advance from each group to a Round of 32 knockout bracket. If agreed by the Infantino-chaired FIFA Council in Zurich, the 2026 hosting contest could formally open in weeks. A co-hosted North American bid is widely seen as the best option. Here are some things to know about overhauling the greatest competition in the world's most popular sport: ___ WHY EXPAND? A bigger World Cup was an Infantino campaign promise before his election last February, when his plan was 40 teams. It might have been key. Infantino's momentum for victory in a second-round poll was a three-vote lead over Sheik Salman of Bahrain in the first. Sheik Salman had promised only to review if more World Cup teams were wanted. Infantino also pledged to give more of FIFA's money to member federations — all 211 are now entitled to $5 million from each World Cup — and send more to continental and regional soccer bodies. So, more teams also had to mean more games, earning more revenue from broadcasters and sponsors. The '16x3' format arguably works better with only group winners advancing. But that would leave total matches unchanged at 64. Infantino also wants to create fervor in the extra countries which would qualify. In the short-term, competing national teams attract more sponsors. The long-term goal is appealing to more young people who are the future players, fans and officials. Expect to hear much FIFA talk of helping the next Costa Rica or Iceland — feelgood stories at the 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016 — by inviting 16 more teams to the party. ___ 48-TEAM OPTIONS A near-consensus is growing around the '16x3' option revealed just one month ago. All 80 games would be played in exclusive time slots. That's more hours of TV exposure for sponsors and sales time for broadcasters in the same 32-day tournament period. By advancing two teams from each group, a Round of 32 ensures most teams still play at least three matches. FIFA's own analysis predicts this format will raise revenue by 20 percent from the equivalent $5.5 billion forecast from the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The flaw for purists is planning for penalty shootouts to settle drawn group matches. If each game has a 'winner' that guards against teams colluding on a mutually favorable result in the last group games. Previously, Infantino suggested an opening playoff round of 16 matches to decide who would join 16 seeded teams in a traditional 32-team group phase. That was unacceptable to many FIFA members federations who said 'one-and-done' teams were not part of a real World Cup. It also would stretch the tournament to 39 days. ___ 40-TEAM OPTIONS Infantino's plan from one year ago is now almost friendless. Either of two options, 10 groups of four teams or eight five-team groups, gives lopsided or weak match schedules, FIFA judged. In '10x4,' only 76 matches are played and only six group runners-up advance from a muddled tiebreaker process to a Round of 16. In '8x5,' the 88 matches include meaningless ones in a flabby group phase ripe for collusion. Also, the four semifinalists would play eight matches and that workload is unacceptable to European clubs releasing employees to national-team duty. ___ PROVEN 32-TEAM FORMAT Why fix something that is not broken? Germany, the defending champion, has publicly asked this question. The 32-team format and perfect 64-match bracket has worked well since being introduced at the 1998 World Cup in France (where Europe had 15 teams). FIFA acknowledged that it produces the best soccer — 'the highest absolute quality' of games pitting high-ranked teams against each other. Recall that former winners Italy, England and Uruguay were drawn in the same 2014 World Cup group — and yet Costa Rica finished top. Still, enough of FIFA's 211 members want change and their chance to play. ___ WHO WILL PLAY? A big question is likely not being resolved Tuesday. FIFA has yet to announce exactly how many entry slots each of six confederations would get for their own qualifying program. Quotas for a 40-team World Cup were proposed in December 2015 by a FIFA advisory group that included Infantino, then UEFA's general secretary. Some saw a cynical move to sweeten skeptical FIFA voters who were being asked to vote through modernizing and anti-corruption reforms on the same day they picked a new president. Then, assuming a single host nation would get automatic entry, the proposal for sharing 39 qualifying slots was: Europe 14; Africa 7; Asia 6; South America 5; North, Central America and Caribbean 5; Oceania 1; plus a final slot awarded 'based on sporting merits using a method yet to be defined.' Going from 40 to 48 can add at least one more from each continent. Who could those new teams be? On current form, maybe Wales and Panama, Congo and Burkina Faso, Uzbekistan and Oman, will bring something new to the 2026 World Cup. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 9th, 2017

FIBA: Can Gilas pull the rug from under Tunisia?

It's been very difficult watching Gilas Pilipinas play at the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup in China. They've put out the effort, sure, but the execution on both ends has left a lot to be desired and it's pretty clear that the team has paid for the laughably short preparation time they were given. Now let's look at the general positional matchups we can expect against Tunisia. BIGS Philippines: Andray Blatche, June Mar Fajardo, Troy Rosario, Raymond Almazan, Japeth Aguilar Tunisia: Salah Mejri, Mohamed Hadidane, Mokhtar Ghyaza, Makram Ben Romdhane, Mohamed Abbassi If our bigs had a hard time against Yanick Moreira and Valdelicio Joaquim of Angola, then boy are they gonna find the going rough against Salah Mejri of the Dallas Mavericks and Makram Ben Romdhane, who plays for France's Saint-Chamond Basket. The 7'1" Mejri has been an absolute beast in China, averaging around 17 points, 10 rebounds, and 2 blocks per game, and he will give Andray Blatche, June Mar Fajardo, and Japeth Aguilar plenty to handle in the paint. Ben Romdhane has been great, too, as a complimentary piece to Mejri who's able to grab a lot of rebounds.  WINGS Philippines: Gabe Norwood, RR Pogoy, CJ Perez Tunisia: Michael Roll, Ziyed Chennoufi, Omar Mouhli, Radhouane Slimane Maccabi Tel-Aviv wingman Michael Roll will be the one to watch at the perimeter. The 6'5" shooter will be a tough match-up for the struggling Gabe Norwood and RR Pogoy, and I just hope Roll doesn't pop the cap for 20+ points against us. If he does, it'll be another long night for Gilas.  Needless to say, we'll need another big outing from breakout player CJ Perez to keep in-step with Tunisia and be in a position to win when the clock reaches the waning minutes. If Perez gets cold, too, we're an easy KO for Tunisia. GUARDS Philippines: Paul Lee, Kiefer Ravena, Robert Bolick, Mark Barrocca Tunisia: Omar Abada, Nizar Knioua, Mourad El Mabrouk The challenge for our inconsistent guards will be trying to stop the duo of Omar Abada and Mourad El Mabrouk. Abada is a speedster with great court vision, and he has a knack for finding Tunisia's bigs in easy spots to score. As for El Mabrouk, he's a streaky shooter, and if he gets going, we'll be in a world of hurt.  I want to personally see a strong bounce back effort from Kiefer Ravena. He's had a lot of ups and downs in the World Cup, but a breakout performance here will silence the critics and help our chances of maybe still clinching that Olympic berth. COACHING Philippines: Yeng Guiao Tunisia: Mario Palma.  Coach Palma isn't a stranger to Asian basketball. In fact, if memory serves, he's not a stranger to Coach Yeng, too. Both Coach Yeng and Coach Palma were at the 2009 FIBA Asia Cup in Tianjin, where coach Yeng's Philippines lost to coach Palma's Jordan in the KO quarterfinals. Jordan would eventually bag third place and qualify for the 2010 FIBA World Cup in Turkey. If Coach Yeng remembers that, then that would be great motivation to win today and get one back against his former tormentor. OVERALL We are not favored against Tunisia, at least judging by how they very nearly qualified to the second round had they beaten Puerto Rico two nights ago. Mejri will give us a lot of problems, especially if our interior defense remains lethargic, and it'll be a challenge guarding their shooters if our perimeter rotations are still bogged down. Still, a good shooting night and having minimal turnovers will help our chances at springing an upset. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 6th, 2019

Finally, an easy one: US rolls by Japan 98-45 at World Cup

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press SHANGHAI (AP) — Jaylen Brown scored 20 points, Kemba Walker added 15 and the U.S. World Cup team finally got to enjoy an easy night, rolling past Japan 98-45 Thursday in the Group E finale. Harrison Barnes scored 14 points while Joe Harris and Donovan Mitchell each had 10 for the Americans (3-0), who are bidding for an unprecedented third consecutive World Cup title. And now, the NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo awaits the Americans as the stakes get higher. The U.S. is headed to a pair of second-round games in Shenzhen, China — with the first one Saturday against Antetokounmpo and Greece. The Greeks claimed the 16th and final second-round berth with a win Thursday night against New Zealand. Yudai Baba scored 18 for Japan (0-3), which will play in classification games the rest of the way. Rui Hachimura, Japan's best player and the No. 9 draft pick this year by the Washington Wizards, was held to four points on 2 for 8 shooting. A U.S. program that is accustomed to blowout wins, particularly when it has NBA players, hadn't enjoyed one yet in six games against international competition this summer. The biggest victory margin before Thursday was 21 in the World Cup opener against the Czech Republic, and the U.S. came into the group finale with a plus-59 scoring differential in four exhibitions and two World Cup games. This one, two days after the Americans needed late-game heroics to beat Turkey 93-92 in overtime, was drama-free. It was 13-0 before Japan scored, 23-9 after a quarter, 56-23 at halftime and 73-25 midway through the third quarter when Hachimura got loose for a dunk and his first points of the night. Somehow, matters could have been even worse for Japan: The U.S. missed seven of eight shots during one first-quarter stretch and finished shooting 48% for the game. TIP-INS Japan: The Japanese missed their first six shots, and went 5:48 without a field goal until center Nick Fazekas rattled in a short jumper. ... Japan doesn't play the U.S. often, and when the matchup happens it's one-sided. The Americans are 3-0 against Japan in the Olympics, winning by a combined 183 points (98-40 in 1956, 125-66 in 1960 and 99-33 in 1972). The teams hadn't previously met in World Cup play. U.S.: The Americans held a 58-33 rebounding edge. ... Harris replaced Jayson Tatum in the starting lineup. Tatum is out with a sprained left ankle and isn't scheduled to be reevaluated again until Monday. ... Marcus Smart (left quad strain) also missed the game, so the U.S. was down to 10 healthy players and two of its four Boston Celtics. ... The Americans were flying to Shenzhen after the game. 3 FOR 3 This tournament marks the 36th different Olympics, World Cup or world championships appearance for USA Basketball. The Americans have now started 3-0 in those events 34 times, going 106-2 overall in their opening three matchups of those competitions. POP ON RUI Hachimura worked out for Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs before the draft, and left a positive impression on the U.S. and Spurs coach. "He knows what he can do, puts himself in position to be successful and score, plays D, rebounds, runs the floor," Popovich said. "He's got an all-around game. His confidence is growing and he'll be a fine player, obviously, and have a very long career." UP NEXT Japan: Faces New Zealand in a classification-round game Saturday at Dongguan, China. U.S.: Faces Greece in a second-round game Saturday at Shenzhen, China......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 5th, 2019

Host China stung by World Cup exit: A long way to go

    SHANGHAI, China – The knives were out in China on Thursday, September 5, after the basketball World Cup host failed to reach the second round, triggering criticism normally reserved for the country's woeful football squad. Chinese basketball boss Yao Ming, an NBA Hall of Famer, was reduced to a 7-foot-5 of ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsSep 5th, 2019

TERRIFIC 12: Alapag all set for tough Macau tilt after quick “tourist” day

Jimmy Alapag has become some sort of East Asia Super League legend by now. Last year in the Summer Super 8 tournament, Alapag, fresh from an ABL championship with San Miguel-Alab Pilipinas, led the coaching clinic in Macau, sharing his knowledge with over 50 basketball coaches in the region. Just recently, Coach Jimmy was back in Macau to help promote the 2019 Terrific 12 joust. His latest trip was focused on sightseeing, interacting with local fans and enjoying all the tourist attractions that Macao SAR has to offer. Alapag visited the Philippine Consulate, a locally owned Filipino restaurant, hosted Q&A sessions with fans and hosted East Asia Super League merchandise giveaways.   The former PBA MVP and 11-time All-Star kicked off the day by visiting some of the most iconic destinations including Rua do Cunha at the center of Taipa as well as the Ruins of St Paul’s Cathedral. “Macao’s tourism sector is consistently growing and this is a great location for events. People from so many different countries come to visit and enjoy the culture, food and people,” Alapag said. “To bring a big-time sports event like The Terrific 12 to Macao is huge for locals and tourists. There’s a ton of sports fans in the region and they can all converge in Macao to watch their favorite and the best basketball teams fight for The Terrific 12 crown,” coach Jimmy added. With tourist stuff done, Alapag now turns his attention to the actual Terrific 12 tournament where he finally gets the chance to compete in the East Asia Super League. Alapag serves as an assistant coach for the mighty San Miguel Beermen and the reigning five-time Philippine Cup champions are hoping to make a title pit stop in Macau before resuming a Grand Slam chase in the PBA. In the Terrific 12, the Beermen will have defending champion Ryukyu Golden Kings from Japan, and China’s Shenzen Aviators in group play. Aside from San Miguel, TNT KaTropa and the Blackwater Elite will also see action for the PBA. “The Terrific 12 is the best international club to club competition platform in the region and this is something that coaches and players have desired for a long time,” Alapag said. “Playing in this amazing tourist destination against new opponents offers an incredible opportunity for our club and our league to showcase what we can do to basketball fans across the world,” he added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 5th, 2019

Serbia s World Cup bid off to a flying start

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press SHANGHAI (AP) — Serbia's push toward unseating the United States as World Cup champion is off and running. Bogdan Bogdanovic made his first four 3-point attempts to help his team take control early on, All-NBA center Nikola Jokic didn't even start and the Serbians still had plenty on the way to easing past Angola 105-59 on Saturday in the first game of the World Cup. "We played a great game from the beginning until the end," Serbia forward Nikola Milutinov said. "We were tough. We were strong. Mentally we were ready." Bogdanovic scored 24 points on 8 for 10 shooting for Serbia (1-0 in Group D), which lost gold-medal games to the U.S. at the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. The lead was 50-32 at the half, and Serbia — which has made clear that it came to this World Cup believing it can win gold — opened the third quarter on a 15-2 burst to turn the game into a runaway. "It's a good start," Serbia coach Sasha Djordjevic said. "But it's just the start. It's a long way. We know how to get to where we want to be. We just have to stay humble, stay focused." Jokic and Milutinov each had 14 for the winners, and Boban Marjanovic added 12 points and 10 rebounds. Jokic was 3 for 3 from 3-point range, and Serbia went 13 for 20 from long range. Carlos Morais scored 15 for Angola, which was outrebounded 41-19 and shot only 36 percent. Leonel Paulo scored 10 for Angola; take the combined 10 for 18 shooting by Morais and Paulo away, and the rest of the Angolan lineup shot a mere 11 for 41 — 27%. "We didn't play the style of play consistently enough to have a chance to compete with them," said Angola coach Will Voigt, a native of Cabot, Vermont. Angola center Yanick Moreira was less diplomatic. "We got our (butt) kicked. That's it," Moreira said. "I'm sorry about my language, but I don't want to embarrass my country. When you come to the World Cup, you've got to be ready to play." Serbia used 11 of its 12 players by the end of the first quarter. The only Serbian who didn't play was Nemanja Bjelica, sidelined with what Djordjevic said was knee inflammation caused by a cyst. Bjelica will be re-evaluated on Sunday. PUERTO RICO 83, IRAN 81 At Guangzhou, David Huertas scored 32 points, Javier Mojica's bank shot with 0.7 seconds left was the game-winner and Puerto Rico prevailed despite being down by 17 with 7:55 remaining. Gary Browne scored 12 for Puerto Rico in the Group C opener for both teams. Hamed Haddadi and Behnam Yakhchalidehkordi each scored 22 for Iran. Huertas tied the game with a 3-pointer with 45 seconds left, then made another 3 with 16.1 ticks remaining for a 3-point lead. Haddadi made a deep 3-pointer from the right wing with 4.4 seconds left, but Mojica took an inbounds pass on the ensuing Puerto Rico possession and connected from the left side of the lane for the deciding points. POLAND 80, VENEZUELA 69 At Beijing, Poland got its first World Cup win in 52 years. Michal Sokolowski scored 16 points and grabbed nine rebounds, and Poland — back in the World Cup for the first time since 1967 — topped Venezuela in a Group A opener for both teams. Mateusz Ponitka scored 15 for the winners, and Poland finished with five players in double figures. "We played to our identity, really good team basketball," Poland coach Mike Taylor said. Pedro Chourio scored 15 for Venezuela. RUSSIA 82, NIGERIA 77 At Wuhan, Russia rallied in the final minutes to hold off upset-minded Nigeria and get what may be a key win in Group B. Mikhail Kulagin led the Russians with 16 points. Nigeria had six players in double figures, led by 18 from Josh Okogie. His 3-pointer midway through the fourth quarter put Nigeria up 71-63, but the Russians ended the game on a 19-6 run......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 31st, 2019

Team USA Notebook: Sense of purpose permeates as tipoff nears

By John Schuhmann, NBA.com SHANGHAI -- The U.S. Men's National Team held their second practice in Shanghai on Friday, with one more day before they open the World Cup with a game against the Czech Republic on Sunday. It turned out to be their final pre-competition practice, because head coach Gregg Popovich canceled their session for Saturday. Once the competition starts, the U.S. will be playing every other day, with three changes of location between the first round and the semifinals (should the Americans make it there). So practice time could be somewhat limited going forward. But the games, against new and unfamiliar opponents, are arguably better opportunities to get better than practices. The first few games should come without much pressure, and maybe it's a good thing that the Americans have already been through a pressure situation in their preparation for the World Cup. It's really that time. ????? @jaytatum0 Putting the finishing touches on things ahead of ???????? #USABMNT vs ???????? Czech Republic on Sept. 1 [8:30 AM EDT/ESPN+].#USAGotGame pic.twitter.com/PcAbKyNx1f — USA Basketball (@usabasketball) August 29, 2019 No let up Of course, the U.S. lost that second exhibition game to Australia last Saturday. The Americans had issues on both ends of the floor, but really, it was their defense that really let them down, allowing 98 points on 84 Australia possessions (1.17 per). It was an exhibition, but it was the first loss by an all-NBA-player U.S. team since the semifinals of the 2006 World Championship. That's a long winning streak to see come to an end. "Obviously, it sucked in the moment," Brook Lopez said about the loss. "But it was definitely good for us, looking ahead to the World Cup." Defense is about effort and energy. And in a 40-minute game, consistent effort and energy is all the more important. "We can't take part of a game for granted and can't have our level of intensity ever drop," Lopez said. "If anything, it has to increase throughout each and every game. We relented as a group. After we beat Australia in the first game, they came out with everything they had. It showed us a little glimpse of the focus and concentration we have to have the entire time here in China." The following-day film session wasn't easy, but according to Kemba Walker, they didn't need it to figure out what went wrong. "I think we knew before we even watched film," Walker said. "It was tough, and you know, Pop can be pretty tough. We knew, and I think that's why we came out against Canada [on Monday] the way we did. It was a very humbling loss. And hopefully that [feeling] is going to get us over that hump." The win over Canada was the U.S. Team's worst offensive performance of its exhibition slate, but the overmatched Canadians scored just once on their first 10 possessions of the game (and just nine points in the first quarter). The U.S. can smother some of these lesser talented teams (like the ones they'll face in Group E). But against the best teams in the tournament (like Australia, who they could face in the quarterfinals), there has to be both effort and cohesion defensively. "They've got a very unselfish team that passes the ball very well," Lopez said. "[Andrew] Bogut, especially, is such a huge hub for them." Bogut suffered an ankle injury in Australia's exhibition loss to Germany on Wednesday, but is reportedly "probable" for their opener against Canada on Sunday. Thankful for Turner Myles Turner was one of the United States' best players over their five-game exhibition slate. Not only did he put up boxscore numbers (averaging 15.2 points and 12.7 rebounds), but the U.S. was also at its best with him on the floor, outscoring its opponents by 48 points in his 83 minutes. That Turner emerged as the go-to center was somewhat of a relief to USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo, who wasn't sure what he was going to get out of his group of big men. "We were looking for someone to come out of the pack of the bigs, and he has," Colangelo said Friday. "He's had a couple of major rebounding games. He's very active. If he keeps active, he's going to get rebounds and he's going to block some shots." Colangelo wasn't totally surprised by Turner's play, though. "I had expectations that he could be [the starting center]," he said, "because I was told that he's had a great summer in terms of his personal work." Good news for the U.S., and maybe good news for the Indiana Pacers. No time to be an idiot Popovich was asked what he wants to do in his free time in China. Alas, free time is limited when you have games every other day. "There are things that I would like to do," Popovich said, "that I know that I will not have time to do, because the focus is on what we're doing here." What is it that he'd really like to do? Well, the coach is an explorer. "Mostly to get out and walk," he said, "to see neighborhoods and walk and be with nobody, not be able to speak the language, and feel like an idiot. "Just walk around, walk into a place, see what happens and see what you see. It's more fun when you're in another country and you just take off. You don't assume anything and you don't have people tell you where to go. You just see where you end up. I don't know if I'm going to have the chance to do that, so I'm going to go to restaurants at night." Action starts Saturday The U.S. plays its first game on Sunday, but the World Cup gets started on Saturday with games in Groups A, B, C and D. A couple of Saturday games - Poland vs. Venezuela in Group A and Nigeria vs. Russia in Group B - are between what look to be the second and third best teams in those groups. And because two teams from each group advance to the second round, those first-day matchups could end up determining which teams make it through. Saturday also brings the first action for Andray Blatche and the Philippines, who will face Italy (with Marco Belinelli and Danilo Gallinari) in Group D. John Schuhmann is a senior stats analyst for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 31st, 2019

THROWBACK: FIBA 1954—the Philippines’ pinnacle as third best in world basketball

No other Asian team could eclipse what the Philippines achieved in 1954.  And this is what is considered an accomplishment that spoke of the glory the country once had—something that we had long desired to duplicate.  Sixty-five years since this stellar bunch of Filipino basketball icons first strode into Ginásio do Maracanãzinho in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on October 23, 1954, we still long for that moment, but have since made gargantuan steps in regaining that world basketball glory. It was the second FIBA World Basketball Championship, four years after the inaugural tournament in Buenos Aires, Argentina. At that time, Asia wasn’t even in the map of international basketball, with only Europe and the Americas battling it out for dominance. It wasn’t really a surprise, considering how the sport hasn’t really reached that kind of popularity in the region for it to produce a world-caliber team. Favorite pastime Except of course in the Philippines, where basketball has already been the most popular pastime and already the source of national idols people fancy. Collegiate and commercial leagues were already drawing crowds, not to mention the everyday Filipino finding extreme joy swooshing that ball in a ring with an attached net—be it at the backyard or the neighborhood street—thanks to an overwhelming American influence that continues up to this day.  But what they really find so much delight is watching the country’s best players and ballclubs going at it—a sort of primetime top rating action drama in today’s parlance. And the main cast steps in while everyone howls or cheers, seeing San Beda’s Carlos Loyzaga’s “Big Difference” in scoring baskets with impunity from everywhere on the court or watching Letran’s Larry “The Fox” Mumar with his sly and cunning moves, running rings around the opposition for that easy two.  And, a Philippine team of basketball demigods? Insane. Silva’s 12 picks They did prove their wizardry and magic in their first shining moment—when they were called upon to play in the 1954 Manila Asian Games. True enough, they were unstoppable clinching the Gold against the Republic of China and earning the first-ever Asian slot in the Rio FIBA World Basketball tourney.  It was a team coached by the legendary Herminio “Herr” Silva, who despite his failing health, became that ingenious and innovative tactician who devised the “dash-and-dribble” and the vaunted zone and “freeze” defense that sent opponent plays in disarray.  Joining the Loyzaga and Mumar in Silva’s 12 picks from the original 24 selected by the country’s governing body were the “Rajah of Rebound” Francisco Rabat, skipper Tony Genato, Benjamin Francisco, Nap Flores, Florentino Bautista, Pons Saldana, Bayani Amador, Rafael Barretto, Mon Manulat, and Mariano Tolentino. Their poise even at the start of hostilities were already world-class. They would pound Paraguay without let-up behind Loyzaga’s 15 points in a 64-52 drubbing on opening day.  Their intensity in the first game, however, left them gasping in their second game the next day, facing a mighty host team and lost, 62-99. Despite the loss, however, they still advanced to the final round with their 1-1 slate in Group A, after Brazil ousted Paraguay, 61-52. The Filipinos will soon have its first acid test and face the United States on October 27 for its first assignment in the Final Round. The Americans, who lost to Argentina in the Gold Medal match in 1950 was definitely hungry for their first World title, but facing the Philippines proved to be their most challenging match.  Challenging the US It was a close match in the first half with the Filipinos giving the Americans a very hard time in executing their offense, trailing by a mere three points at halftime, 25-22, and even led with its largest margin at 31-26 at the start of the second half. But the US, bannered by the Illinois squad Peoria Cats, adjusted their offense and pulled away at 49-30, with three minutes left to play. The game ended with the US winning by a mere 13 points, 56-43, their lowest winning margin in the tournament.  Mumar topscored with 14 points, Loyzaga added 12, and Tolentino had 11, but the rest each had at most two points.  Eventual MVP Kirby Minter led the US with 15 points. The Philippines, despite the setback gained the respect of the world with their performance against the Americans that sent shockwaves across the tournament. Led by Flores, the Filipinos would then cruise past Formosa (now Chinese-Taipei), 48-38, on October 29. The following day, Loyzaga and Saldana each scored 20 points and Philippines clobbered Israel, 90-56. They would however lose to their Group A tormentors and hosts Brazil, 41-57. Sealing glory What really sealed their glory and place in history, however, was their successive victories against Canada, 83-76, behind Mumar’s 24 points, France, 66-60 with Loyzaga leading all scorers with 19 points, and the hotly contested match against Uruguay, 67-63 with Loyzaga bombarding 31 markers.  The match against France was memorable when Mumar had an altercation with the French behemoth 7-footer Jean-Paul Beugnot, who took issue with Mumar’s sly tactics as he defended him in a drive to the basket. Rubbing his eyes after he claimed to have been spat on, Beugnot could not do anything but notice Mumar scoring on a lay-up unmolested that sealed the win.  Already assured of the bronze, the Philippines still engaged Uruguay in a tough battle. In fact, Uruguayans had complained about the Filipinos’ rough play throughout their game.  It however spoke of the Philippines’ tenacity in getting the win, as Genato made the biggest defensive gem of all, limiting Uruguay sniper Oscar Moglia, who buried 37 points in a previous match against Canada, to a mere nine points. Loyzaga’s monster game was the key factor in the four-point win, with Mumar scoring nine, Tolentino and Barretto contributing five each, with Bautista and Manulat both had four, Rabat two and Amador one.  The US would eventually cop their first World title, manhandling Brazil in the final, 62-41. Loyzaga part of World’s Mythical Five Loyzaga ended the tournament as the second top scorer with a combined 148 points, with a 16.4 average, behind Canada’s Carl Ridd, who totaled 164, and became part of the World’s Mythical Five.  Looking back, the stature of this Philippine squad seems too lofty to even emulate, but we are slowly, yet even at a painstaking grind, getting close even with small baby steps to achieving that feat. With today’s Gilas Pilipinas already reaching unanticipated heights in this more challenging and competitive arena, especially with open basketball coming into play, the Philippines’ lost world basketball glory may soon reemerge. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 29th, 2019

FIBA: “Impressive” Kiefer Ravena resumes basketball rise

On Sunday, Kiefer Ravena played his first basketball game in 18 months. Despite the long layoff, the Phenom didn’t look like he missed a beat. In 17 minutes against Australia’s Adelaide 36ers, Kiefer was the top local for Gilas Pilipinas with 11 points on a solid 5 of 8 shooting. In the second quarter, Ravena started with seven straight points as he tried to spark the national team offense. Despite limited action, Kiefer showed what he’s got and renewed his trust to national team head coach Yeng Guiao, also his coach in the PBA. “I’m happy. I’m satisfied. I’m impressed, actually,” Guiao said of Ravena’s comeback game. “And the good thing about Kiefer is he’s not just contributing on the floor, he also contributes off the floor. As young as he is, he is well-respected as a leader of this team,” he added. Against the 36ers, Gilas Pilipinas actually lost, 75-85. However, the national made a huge run in the fourth quarter, cutting a once 21-point lead to just seven points. Guiao wanted to put Ravena late to finish the comeback but opted not to. He’ll save the Phenom as his trump card in the World Cup. “Sabi ko ise-save ko na lang muna,” coach Yeng said. “I was already happy with what I saw. He [Kiefer] will still get better,” Guiao said.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 27th, 2019

FIBA: Back to normal for Kiefer as he returns from 18-month ban

Kiefer Ravena is finally back. On Sunday, Ravena played his first game in 18 months as Gilas Pilipinas took on Australia’s Adelaide 36ers for the national team’s final tuneup game ahead of the 2019 FIBA World Cup. Kiefer came off the bench and scored 11 points. He had a stretch to start the second quarter where he scored seven straight to try and spark the Gilas offense. Unfortunately, the Philippines lost to the 36ers, 75-85. “Okay naman,” Ravena said of his return. “Sayang talo, pero a lot of lessons learned.” “It could have been a better ending for us going to the World Cup, but for me, I just want to get my feet wet especially ang tagal ko hindi nakalaro. It was really nice to be aroung the guys again,” he added. With his FIBA suspension finally up, Kiefer is relieved to get everything back to normal in terms of his basketball career. While he still have some things to sharpen after his long layoff, not thinking about the things he’s not allowed to do is a huge difference in his overall approach. “Parang pag-tapak ko nung umpisa, nung pinasok ako, yun ang naramdaman ko. Di ko na kailangan magtago, mag-isip na bawal to, bawal yan,” Ravena said. “I'm just back to playing the sport that I love and representing my country to the highest and best of my abilities,” he added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 25th, 2019

Team USA reshuffles roster after first scrimmage

By John Schuhmann, NBA.com LAS VEGAS -- The first week of U.S. Senior Men's National Team training for the FIBA World Cup concluded on Friday (Saturday, PHL time) with a scrimmage against the Select Team and a little bit of roster reshuffling. After the Senior Team beat the Select Team, 97-78, in the scrimmage, two players on the Senior Team were replaced by two players from the Select Team for the next phase of training camp -- three practices and an exhibition game against Spain in Los Angeles. Sent home from the Senior Team were center Bam Adebayo and forward Thaddeus Young. The 22-year-old Adebayo was one of the best rebounders in camp, but was probably a little too raw in comparison to the other bigs. Young, meanwhile, didn't provide the shooting that the remaining power forwards on the roster do. Added to the roster in their place are Marvin Bagley III and Derrick White, who impressed as members of Jeff Van Gundy's Select Team. They will join the 13 other healthy players from the Senior Team, along with Kyle Lowry (who is recovering from thumb surgery and missed all of this week's camp) and Marcus Smart (who missed the last three days with a sore left calf). From those 17 players, a 12-man roster will be selected for the World Cup. That roster doesn't need to be finalized until two days before the tournament begins on Aug. 31, a fact that USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo has brought up multiple times this week. So he and the rest of the staff clearly won't rush a final decision and it's possible that the team will take more than 12 players with it from Los Angeles to Australia, where it will play three more exhibition games before heading to China. "We're going to be patient with the rest of the squad, because we have plenty of time," Colangelo said Friday (Saturday, PHL time). "We want to make sure everyone gets a real shot, and I think the staff is sorting through all that. There's something we like about every one of the players." Both Lowry and Smart are likely to make the final roster if they're healthy, but the status of both is still very much in the air. Lowry is expected to be reevaluated by his doctor before the start of the L.A. camp, and Smart will see how he feels after a few days off. Other sure things to make the final roster are Jayson Tatum (Friday's leading scorer) and four of the five starters from the scrimmage: Kemba Walker, Donovan Mitchell, Jaylen Brown and Khris Middleton, though Senior Team head coach Gregg Popovich said afterward that inferring too much into the starting lineup would be "an incorrect assumption." "We're still trying to figure out how people fit together," he continued. "You don't always necessarily play your most talented guys together. It's got to be a good mix. You got to have something coming off the bench also. What we're doing now is just mixing and matching and taking a look at everybody." The status of guards De'Aaron Fox (who had 12 points and three steals), Joe Harris and White could depend on the health of Lowry and Smart. The frontline may have more questions than answers. Harrison Barnes is a pretty safe bet to make the roster, maybe leaving one roster spot between Kyle Kuzma and P.J. Tucker. Bagley is now in a competition at center with Brook Lopez, Mason Plumlee and Myles Turner, who was the Senior Team's starting center on Friday (Saturday, PHL time). "There are going to be some players that are more talented than others, but a lot of jobs have to be filled," Popovich said. "Overall, we're looking for people who are committed defensively and are totally unselfish and are willing to move the ball and move themselves at the offensive end." With the Senior Team scoring just once on is first six possessions and with the Select Team bigs feasting inside, the young guys jumped out to an 8-2 lead on Friday (Saturday, PHL time). But the Senior Team got some stops and the second unit -- Fox, Harris, Tatum, Kuzma and Lopez -- took the lead for good with a 9-0 run to close the first quarter. The Select Team scored just 28 points over the second and third periods and it was a 30-point game going into the fourth. Credit the Senior Team defense (which mixed in some 2-3 zone), though it should be noted that the Select Team was lacking shooters (it finished 3-for-26 from three-point range) and running plays that they'd seen all week. Tatum was the offensive star, scoring a game-high 17 points on 6-for-8 shooting in just 15:44 off the bench. His biggest highlight on Friday (Saturday, PHL time) was a late-third-quarter spin move to a left-handed scoop in traffic. But he has shot well most of the week, looking to be in midseason form despite not having played an NBA game in almost three months. "I just tried to come in the best shape as I could," he said. "I just tried to get in a rhythm before I got out here." Though Popovich was quick to dismiss Friday's (Saturday, PHL time) starting lineup as non-news, it's easy to see Tatum staying in that sixth man role, where he could provide some scoring punch off the bench. "He was very aggressive tonight," Popovich said. "We really like that about him and need that from him." A foundation has been set. But there's still a long way to go before this team is ready for real competition. Developing chemistry, so that the talent can really flourish within the system, takes time. "Everybody here is really talented and has a high IQ," Tatum said. "We all know how to play basketball. We did a lot of great things on the fly today, but it's going to get better with time." John Schuhmann is a senior stats analyst for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 10th, 2019

Lots of questions, few answers as Team USA opens training camp

By John Schuhmann, NBA.com LAS VEGAS -- The U.S. Men's Senior National Team tipped off training camp on Monday. This was the start of a six-week process that they hope ends with the gold medal game of the FIBA World Cup in Beijing on Sept. 15. This week includes four days of practice, followed by an intrasquad scrimmage on Friday (Saturday, PHL time). Before we get into the next six weeks, let's review how we got to Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) with a much different pool of players than national team managing director Jerry Colangelo originally anticipated. The originals - Last year, there were 35 players named to the 2018-20 USA roster for a 2018 minicamp, this year's World Cup and next year's Olympics. - Of those 35, only 14 were on the 20-man training camp roster for the World Cup when it was announced on June 10. - Between June 10 and the start of camp on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time), nine of those 14 backed out. - The five remaining are Harrison Barnes, Kyle Lowry, Khris Middleton, Myles Turner and Kemba Walker. The additions - As part of the 20-player training camp announcement on June 10, six players were added to the 14 from the original 35-player list. - Since then, one of those six - Paul Millsap - backed out. - Six more players were added on July 25. - In the 10 days since then, two of those six - Montrezl Harrell and Julius Randle - backed out. - Last week, Bam Adebayo was added to the roster. - Before camp opened, De'Aaron Fox and Joe Harris were (sort of) promoted from the Select Team to the Senior Team. The absences Going back to who's not here: There are 33 players - 30 from the 2018-20 roster and three that signed up and backed out this year - who have decided not to play. That's almost three full rosters of American players, and it doesn't include any guys that were offered a spot, but declined before being named to the roster. J.J. Redick is a player that reportedly declined an invite. They can't all be lumped into one group of guys who just don't want to make the six-week commitment. Some have family business to tend to. But one reason cited by multiple players who have backed out is preparing for next season. And in that regard, the World Cup schedule, along with the travel, is not ideal. The gold medal game is Sept. 15. So players will be returning from China (on a flight of 15 hours or so) on Sept. 16. The start of NBA training camps has been pushed back one week this year, but national team players will have less than two weeks between their return and the opening of camps. Players on the Brooklyn Nets, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers and Toronto Raptors will have even less than that, along with a trip back to Asia for early-October exhibition games in Japan or China. Colangelo also cited the fact that the World Cup and Olympics are in back-to-back years (with an NBA season in between), instead of two years apart like they were in the past. And while this year's World Cup is toward the end of the summer, next year's Olympics start July 25, with training camp probably opening not long after The NBA Finals. (If it were the same six-week period from the start of camp to the gold medal game as it is this year, next year's camp would actually open on June 29). 17 players for 12 spots Fox and Harris aren't on the official Senior Team roster, but Colangelo said Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) that they have a chance of making the final 12-man roster for the World Cup. So that makes 17 players for 12 spots. By position, they are: PG: De'Aaron Fox, Kyle Lowry, Kemba Walker SG: Joe Harris, Donovan Mitchell, Marcus Smart SF: Jaylen Brown, Kyle Kuzma, Khris Middleton, Jayson Tatum PF: Harrison Barnes, P.J. Tucker, Thaddeus Young C: Bam Adebayo, Brook Lopez, Mason Plumlee, Myles Turner There's obviously some flexibility in there. Two point guards could play together, Mitchell could play some point guard, and all of the small forwards could play some at the four. Lowry, who had surgery on his left thumb just a few weeks ago, isn't participating in camp this week. He's hoping to be cleared to practice when the team reconvenes in Los Angeles from Aug. 13-16 for three more days of practice and an exhibition game against Spain. But right now, it's not guaranteed that he'll be able to play. With or without him, it's still a very talented group. "Thank goodness we're blessed with the depth of talent we have in this country," Colangelo said. "You find guys that want to play and you go with them." Cutting down the list from 17 to 12 won't be easy. Point guard, where Lowry has the experience (see below) and Walker is the star, may be the only position where there's a clear hierarchy. At each of the other positions, different players bring different skill sets, but it's not clear that Player A is better than Player B, who is better than Player C. The World Cup doesn't require final rosters until the day before the tournament starts (it's earlier for the Olympics), so the final decisions don't have to be made before the team flies from L.A. to Australia for three more exhibition games. "We're flexible," Colangelo said. "If we have a tough decision to make, we'll bring an extra guy or two with us." The experience Of the 17 players in camp, only three have played for the United States in an international competition on the senior level. Plumlee was on the 2014 World Cup team, and both Lowry and Barnes were on the 2016 Olympic team. And neither Plumlee (11th on the '14 team in total minutes) nor Barnes (last on the '16 team in total minutes) played integral roles. The 2010 World Cup team was similarly inexperienced - Chauncey Billups and Tyson Chandler played on the 2007 FIBA Americas team - but had four future MVPs: Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook. The talent That 2010 team had seven players who had been selected in the top five in the NBA Draft. Since 1992, there have been 15 U.S. National Teams comprised of NBA players. And those 15 teams have had an average of seven top-five picks on them, with *no fewer than four. * The two teams with only four top-five picks: The 2002 team that finished sixth at the World Championship and the 2016 Olympic team that won gold in Rio. This 17-man group includes only three top-five picks: Brown (No. 3 in 2016), Fox (No. 5 in 2017) and Tatum (No. 3 pick in 2017). And it would be a surprise if Fox makes the final roster. Since 1992, the only one of those 15 U.S. teams that didn't have a No. 1 pick on it was the 2000 Olympic team, which had nine players who were selected second (4), third (1), or fifth (4). This 17-man roster includes just one player who has made an all-NBA team in the last three years. That's Walker, who was a Third Team selection this year. The opportunity With the ball in his hands Walker could be the star of this team. And he sees the roster attrition as an opportunity. "I think a lot of us are happy those guys pulled out," Walker said Monday. "This is our chance, our chance to get on the big stage and showcase our talent. It's a chance for us to do something new. It'll be a new-look team. Everybody's kind of doubting us, but I think we're hungry." When he was asked why he remained committed, Walker's explanation was pretty simple. "I love basketball," he said. "I love to play. What better opportunity can you have than to play for your country? This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a lot of us." A monstrous sacrifice Lopez has nominated himself as the player that has made the biggest sacrifice to be in Vegas, because if he wasn't, he'd be in the Scottish Highlands with the rest of his family. "I could be looking for Nessy!" Lopez said. John Schuhmann is a senior stats analyst for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 6th, 2019

NBA veteran Muggsy Bogues believes he can play in today s less physical game

In basketball, height is often might, but throughout the years, there have been a number of guys on the smaller side who have managed to impact the game on so many levels.  Today, the likes of Stephen Curry, Chris Paul, Kemba Walker, and Kyle Lowry among others are some of the NBA's most notable stars just a little over six feet tall.  But if we're talking about small guards, probably no other player in NBA history impacted the game quite like the legendary Tyrone "Muggsy" Bogues.  At just 5-foot-3, Bogues played 14 seasons in the league and was one of the key pieces of the original Charlotte Hornets franchise back in the 90s. The 12th-overall pick from Wake Forest had career averages of 7.7 points and 7.6 assists.  Currently in the Philippines for an NBA 3X event on August 3 and 4, Bogues got to do some media rounds with ABS-CBN and got to talk a bit about his career as well as the major differences of today's NBA and the NBA that he played in.  "I had a decent career, I believe," Muggsy shared. "I had a career where I was able to play in three decades, in the 80s, the 90s, and the 2000s. I played with amazing talent, I played against some amazing talent. Got drafted by the Washington Bullets in 87, so I thank them for that opportunity to be selected 12th overall, then I went on to showcase most of my talents in Charlotte, played two years in Golden State, two years in Toronto, I went to New York but didn’t really play, I was hurt, got traded and went to Dallas." "After the 14th year, my mom passed away, and had three years left on my contract, but I just couldn’t go out there anymore, I just didn’t have the energy. Mr Cuban, at the time, the owner of the Mavs, he decided to honor my contract and just allowed me to ride off into the sunset. 14 years of playing, 15 years of payment, but throughout all of it, I wouldn’t change, not one minute. My journey was an amazing journey. No one thought that I would be able to do what I was able to do." During his time with the Hornets, Muggsy got to play alongside the likes of Larry Johnson and Alonzo Mourning, and was able to help the team to three playoffs appearances.  "It was awesome, I mean it was a dream come true, playing in the NBA and playing with the best in the world and having teammates like Larry and Alonzo and Dell Curry and those guys made the cause that much more special. The bond and the war that you went to so many battles with." "We had some great moments in Charlotte, I spent nine years of my NBA career in Charlotte and played with some talented players and played against some amazing talents, like Michael Jordan and the Bulls, but we just couldn’t get past those guys because of that number 23, it was kinda tough, but again, that was the nature of the business back then," he added.  The diminutive Bogues earned a reputation as being a hard-nosed defender during his time in the NBA, something that he's extremely proud of.  When asked about todays game and who he would like to try his hand at stopping, Bogues welcomed the challenge of containing today's best stars.  "I’d like to guard ‘em all today, the way the salaries are," he said with a chuckle before detailing how different today's game is compared to when he was on court. "It’s truly fun to watch today, the game is totally different than what we played. It’s more uptempo, there’s not as many positions, just be able to be on the floor depends on what type of skillset you have. You got 7-footers now facing the basket, opposed to when we played, guys played with their backs to the basket, at that size, but it’s a great game today, there’s a lot of entertainment, a lot of long-ball shooting, so guys really have to work on that skillset to try to compete. The NBA is a trend, you have to be able to match that thing that’s happening, that trend that’s going on today." Muggsy believes that his tenacity and his defensive skillset is something that would translate well into today's NBA as well.  "Well every player feels like they can play in any era, and I believe that I can play in this era. It’s not as physical as it was back then, the lane is more open, so I feel like I can move my way anywhere on the court and still be able to be effective, and for defensively, I don’t want to say there’s not much defense taking place, but nobody plays defense the way I play," said Bogues. "I don’t see no guys hitting you up 94-feet. A couple of them you got, like [Eric] Bledsoe or maybe Patrick Beverley, maybe those guys that may get into you really aggressively, but there’s not as many," he added......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 2nd, 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

Summer League winds down, and now, maybe, some NBA rest

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press They'll hand out T-shirts to the Summer League winners following the championship game between Memphis and Minnesota in Las Vegas on Monday night (Tuesday, PHL time), and then things will finally slow down a bit in the NBA. Maybe. And probably not for long. It's been a hectic month since Toronto won the NBA championship and the so-called offseason commenced. Already this summer, 18 current and former All-Stars have changed franchises, and that number will rise to 19 if Vince Carter finds a new home for his final season. Recent NBA Finals MVPs Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant and Andre Iguodala all were among those on the move. And another three past finals MVPs — Dwyane Wade, Dirk Nowitzki and Tony Parker — all retired. So when next season begins, very little will look the same. "I think there's going to be a lot of parity," Brooklyn coach Kenny Atkinson said. "That's my gut." NBA Commissioner Adam Silver expected this summer to be loaded with player movement, and wasn't complaining about so many big names — Durant, Leonard, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Anthony Davis, Paul George, Kyrie Irving, Al Horford, Jimmy Butler and many more — needing to file change-of-address cards. "At the end of the day, it's positive for the league," Silver said. "I will say, though, I'm mindful of this notion of balance of power, and I think it applies in many different ways. An appropriate balance of power between the teams and the players ... at the end of the day, you want to make sure you have a league where every team is in a position to compete." There were some clear winners in free agency: Brooklyn (who got Durant and Irving), the Los Angeles Clippers (who got George and Leonard) and the Los Angeles Lakers (who got Davis) were among them. It could be argued that the Oklahoma City Thunder won as well — no, they won't be as good this season as they were this past season after trading George and Westbrook, but general manager Sam Presti has enough draft picks now to enjoy flexibility for years. The losers are clear as well: Toronto lost Leonard and Danny Green and Golden State lost Durant, so last season's finalists certainly aren't favorites to be this season's finalists. It's also easy to say that New York lost after coming up empty on the big-name free agents, but the Knicks got plenty of good players on deals that ensure the team will have money again next summer. A lookahead at what's coming, and some notes on what's gone down: SO NOW WHAT? Any NBA withdrawal will really only last about three weeks, until roughly three dozen players return to Las Vegas for USA Basketball's training camp leading up to the FIBA World Cup in China that starts on Aug. 31. San Antonio's Gregg Popovich is coaching the Americans, assisted by Golden State's Steve Kerr, Atlanta's Lloyd Pearce and Villanova's Jay Wright. Zion Williamson, knee permitting, may take part in camp as one of the young players brought in to help the more-established pros get ready. If Williamson impresses, he may get a shot at joining the varsity club. Also, this season's NBA schedule is likely to come around the second week of August, if recent years are any indicator. WHO'S LEFT? Plenty of free agents remain unsigned, and that'll still be the case even in September as training camps get ready to open. It's still hard to see the Thunder keeping Paul, acquired in the Westbrook trade to Houston, so expect at least one more blockbuster trade before too long. Or can a player who is owed $121 million over the next three seasons be bought out? Stay tuned. Carter wants to come back for a 22nd NBA season, which would be a league record. If he gets into a game after Jan. 1, he'll also become the first NBA player to appear in four different decades. Jamal Crawford remains out there as well, and contenders should be calling him. LOADED WEST Philadelphia, Boston, Brooklyn, Indiana and Miami all likely got better in the East. Milwaukee kept most of its team that won an NBA-best 60 games. The East will be good. The West might be bloody. The Clippers, the Lakers, Houston, Golden State, Denver, Utah, Portland and San Antonio could end up as the eight playoff teams in the Western Conference. It's plausible; they're probably the most realistic eight picks right now. But at least four of those teams — most of them with superstar duos that are all the rage now — won't be in the second round of next season's playoffs. LONGEVITY AWARD For now, Golden State's Stephen Curry is the longest-tenured player under contract to one team. He's entering his 11th season with the Warriors. With Nowitzki (21 seasons with Dallas) retired, Mike Conley (12 seasons with Memphis) traded to Utah and Westbrook (11 seasons with Oklahoma City) traded to Houston, no current player has had a longer uninterrupted run with one team than Curry. But if Udonis Haslem re-signs with Miami, it'll be his 17th season with the Heat. THE NUMBERS Including the $196 million extension for Portland's Damian Lillard, a $170 million extension for Denver's Jamal Murray and another in-the-works $170 million extension for Philadelphia's Ben Simmons, NBA teams have committed to spend roughly $4 billion in new deals that were struck in the last three weeks alone. And that's with 100 more signings to come, at least. That $4 billion figure is twice what the total payroll was a decade ago for every team in the league, combined......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 15th, 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