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Beeracle anew! San Miguel crawls back from huge deficit to win Game 7 and bag fifth straight PBA PH Cup title

(Updated 12:15 a.m.) Cebu City, Philippines—San Miguel Beer pulled off a huge comeback, crawling back from a 13-point halftime deficit to defeat Magnolia, 72-71, in Game 7 of the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup Finals on Wednesday night, May 15, 2019, at the Araneta Coliseum. The Beermen, thus, cemented their status as one of the greatest […] The post Beeracle anew! San Miguel crawls back from huge deficit to win Game 7 and bag fifth straight PBA PH Cup title appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource: inquirer inquirerMay 15th, 2019

SMB Wins 5th Straight PBA Philippine Cup Title

San Miguel Beermen won its fifth straight PBA Philippine Cup title with a come-from-behind win over Magnolia Hotshots, 72-71, in Game 7 of the finals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City. Beerman Alex Cabagnot drilled the game-winning jumper with 57.2 seconds left as the Beermen came back from a 17-point deficit to stun […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  metrocebuRelated NewsMay 16th, 2019

PBA Finals: 5-peat hardest title to win since Beeracle says Arwind

San Miguel Beer’s 2019 PBA Philippine Cup conquest is special for a lot of things. One, it’s the Beermen’s fifth straight Philippine Cup crown. That’s a league record and it pretty much established San Miguel’s status as the greatest All-Filipino dynasty of all time. Two, the seven-game series win against Magnolia is pretty much the hardest and most fulfilling title for the Beermen since the incredible “Beeracle” run in 2016. “Maliban sa Beeracle, ito na yung pinaka-mahirap naming kunin na championship,” Arwind Santos on their 4-3 Finals win against the Hotshots to complete the 5-peat. “Sobrang nakakakaba pero dito pa rin nasubukan yung tiwala namin sa bawa’t isa,” he added. In 2016, San Miguel was down 0-3 to the Alaska Aces before the Beermen went on to make the greatest comeback in basketball history to win back-to-back titles. In 2019, San Miguel was down 0-1, 1-2, 2-3 in the series and was trailing by 17 in the second half of Game 7 to Magnolia before rallying in the fourth to win by one point in the decider. The Beermen simply refused to let go and now their place in history s secured. “Sa totoo lang, para akong lalagnatin. Pagod na pagod ako,” Arwind said. “Ang hirap bumitaw kasi ang lapit lang eh. Kung kumurap ka, puwede ka pa manalo. Yun na lang nasa isip namin nun. Sige lang, tiwala lang sa bawa’t isa,” he added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 16th, 2019

PBA Finals: 5-peat is forever for San Miguel Beer

In the PBA, San Miguel Beer’s All-Filipino dynasty will come to an end at some point. The Beermen will eventually lose and they don’t even have to be in the Finals to do so. Nothing in the world lasts forever. Except for San Miguel’s unprecedented record of five straight Philippine Cup titles. The Beermen can never win an All-Filipino title ever but their streak of five straight titles may never get matched much less broken. “This championship is really special because a lot of people thought na the dynasty will be broken. Sabi nga nila, there’s no forever at itong dynasty will not be forever eh,” head coach Leo Austria said. “But we’re so thankful to get this 5-peat. This is the legacy of our team. I cannot explain how happy we are,” he added. The Beermen’s huge feat will be hard to match and surpass but it’s totally not impossible. However, it could take a while and this San Miguel team is perfectly happy to take in all the bragging rights of being a five-peat champion until they  do it again next year and become a 6-peat champ. “Anything could be possible, alam naman natin miracles could happen anytime and I think happened [in Game 7] is really for us,” Austria said. “I don’t think this will be broken in the near future but sabi ko nga eh, a record is there to be broken. But I hope na habang nabubuhay kami, huwag na muna,” Coach Leo added with a laugh.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 17th, 2019

PBA Finals: All-Filipino champs to be crowned in Game 7

The All-Filipino champion will be decided Wednesday. Four-time defending champion San Miguel and Magnolia will fight for the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup in a Game 7 and stakes won’t be any higher than this one. The Beermen forced this decisive showdown with a Game 6 win Sunday, saving their All-Filipino dynasty in the process as well. No team has won back-to-back games in this series and if San Miguel does it now, they win the whole thing and become the first team ever to win five straight Philippine Cup titles. After a five-game debacle in last year’s Finals, the Hotshots have come as far as they con go in this year and the only thing left to do is to actually win. If Magnolia does take this one, it’s the second straight PBA title and first in the All-Filipino since 2014, the year of the team’s Grand Slam. Tip off for the decisive Game 7 of the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup Finals will be at 7:00 p.m. live from the Big Dome.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 14th, 2019

Nuggets put Blazers on the ropes with series-shifting Game 5 rout

By Sekou Smith, NBA.com DENVER — Two points separated the Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers after the first four, grueling games of these Western Conference semifinals. They piled up the same number of three-pointers and free throws as well. The games were that good, that tight, and the difference between the two teams was negligible at best. Then Tuesday night (Wednesday, PHL time) happened. Paul Millsap happened. Nikola Jokic happened. Jamal Murray happened. The manifestation of a Nuggets team that’s been dancing with a destiny that leads to the Western Conference finals, finally happened. Their 124-98 rout of the Trail Blazers in Game 5 at Pepsi Center was the sort of declaration Nuggets coach Michael Malone has been predicting for his team since they were locked into a back-and-forth struggle with the San Antonio Spurs in the first round. [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] They evened the series Sunday (Monday, PHL time) in Portland, showing mettle beyond their years by snapping the Trail Blazers’ 12-game home winning streak that dated back to the regular season, with an inspired effort to stave off the certain doom of a 3-1 deficit. Tuesday night’s (Wednesday, PHL time) salvo was a seismic shift in the opposite direction. The Nuggets’ biggest lead was 31 points and their intentions were plain for everyone to see. Millsap roasted the Blazers for 24 points and eight rebounds, dominating while being featured more and executing his considerable advantage in small-ball situations. “The best thing about Paul Millsap is he’s true to himself, he never tries to be something he’s not,” Malone said. “He’s not a rah-rah guy, he’s not a guy that’s going to be screaming and yelling. But I think his calm demeanor has an effect on our group. Young team going through all of this for the first time and when you can look to a four-time All-Star with 90 playoff games under his belt, that’s reassuring. He’s kind of the calm for our team and I think that has a tremendous impact on all of our young players.” Two in particular during this postseason and this series, to be sure. Jokic led the way with 25 points, 19 rebounds and six assists before fouling out late, leaving little doubt as to who deserves to wear the crown as the best big man in the league right now. Murray was splendid again, with 18 points and nine assists, while his backcourt mate Gary Harris chipped in with 16 points and six rebounds. Will Barton and Malik Beasley scored 10 points each off the bench, leading a 33-point bench scoring effort that will need to travel back to Portland for Thursday’s (Friday, PHL time) Game 6 if the Nuggets have any chance of winning three straight and ending this series in six games. “We know going to Portland for Game 6 is going to be really tough,” Malone said, referencing his team’s Game 6 struggles in the first round. “Game 6 in San Antonio, we did not come ready to play, mentally or physically. I hope that we have a much different mindset going in to Portland for Game 6.” The Blazers have some serious tweaking to do, in a short amount of time, as well. Their starters didn’t even play in the fourth quarter, Terry Stotts acknowledging that the 30-point hole his team was fighting out of might have been too large, given the circumstances. And the need to preserve the energy of Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum and the crew for what sets up as their biggest game of the season was obvious. “At this point, it’s one game at a time facing elimination,” Lillard said. “We know that we’re more than capable of getting it done in the next game. We don’t feel like we’ve played our best basketball yet, and with our back against the wall, we don’t really have a choice. Our mindset is to just get to the next one, take care of home and make it back here.” Stotts has adjustments to make before Thursday night (Friday, PHL time) as well, after the Nuggets bludgeoned his team in the paint for a 66-44 scoring advantage, while also outrebounding them 62-44. The decision to switch Enes Kanter’s primary defensive assignment from Jokic to Millsap Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time), with Al-Farouq Aminu being tasked to try and contain the much bigger Jokic, backfired as Millsap went to work immediately on Kanter. “They just played harder than us,” Kanter said. “I think that was probably … even the coach said, probably this was our worst basketball the last six weeks. Shots didn’t fall in, on defense we weren’t really communicating with each other, we didn’t really trust each other. We’ve just got to learn from this and just go home and take care of home, because right now, that’s the most important game of the year.” The atmosphere Thursday night (Friday, PHL time) at Moda Center promises to be electric. The Blazers have long enjoyed one of the best home atmospheres in the league. But will it serve as the advantage it has in the past when the Nuggets are fresh off two straight huge wins in this series, the first on that floor? “We have two must-wins,” Stotts said. “Somebody was going to have a must-win after tonight and it’s us. So we have two must-wins ahead of us.” That four-overtime loss in Game 3 Friday night (Saturday, PHL time) could have been the emotional breaking point for the Nuggets. It wasn’t. A school shooting Tuesday morning (late Tuesday, PHL time) in a Denver suburb where Malone lives with his wife and daughters rattled the coach and an entire community. That sort of life-altering event could easily have sidetracked Malone and his team. They persevered. The Nuggets were locked in from the start. When it became clear that the Blazers weren’t going to be able to keep up the pace, they kept pushing until the final buzzer. They understand the opportunity staring them in the face; a conference finals date with the two-time reigning champion Golden State Warriors or Houston Rockets, who are tied 2-2 heading into Game 5 Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) at Oracle Arena. It’s a wild shift for a team that failed to play its way into the playoffs last year on the final night of the regular season, only to rebound and earn the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference playoff chase this season. If the atmosphere for Game 4 or even Game 5 seemed overwhelming, Thursday night (Friday, PHL time) promises to be otherworldly for both of these teams that were previously separated by so little. Sekou Smith is a veteran NBA reporter and NBA TV analyst. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 8th, 2019

PBA FINALS: Will Terrence actually call it quits if Beermen win title?

Could Terrence Romeo really end up with just one PBA title and then call it quits? You never know. Terrence Romeo is just preparing for his very first PBA Finals as San Miguel Beer takes on Magnolia for the 2019 Philipine Cup title. However, if and when the Beermen complete a 5-peat in the All-Filipino, Romeo could end up retiring from basketball for good. “Excited. Pero syempre hindi ko naman pwedeng isipin lang yun palagi eh. Syempre kailangan pa rin namin maglaro ng yun nga, game, kumbaga best-of-7. So hindi pupwedeng champion na kaagad,” Romeo said on his first-ever PBA Finals. “Kumbaga, one game at a time tapos kung makukuha namin yun, kahit papano nakuha ko na yung pinakakulang para sakin. I mean, kulang na award para sa sarili ko. Tapos yun, baka magretire na ko after,” he added. Talks of a possible retirement for Romeo are coming out of the blue just now. But if Terrence ends up fulfilling his ultimate dream, he might just actually call it quits. Romeo has exactly zero championships in his basketball career dating back to high school. He’s been in the PBA since 2013 and this upcoming Finals is his first true shot at a championship. “Pag-iisipan ko pa, pag-iisipan ko pa [retirement]. Kasi yun lang talaga yung pinaka-dream ko eh, mag-champion sa PBA kasi wala nga akong championship simula college days ko, high school days. Tapos nagcha-champion ako kumbaga sa barangay lang. So ayun, yun lang,” Romeo said. “Hindi kasi madalas ko binibiro yung family ko na pag nag-champion ako sa PBA, gusto ko na mag-retire, sabi ko. Eh yun, baka gusto yata maaga ako mag-retire eh para ano.. ay, maaga ako mag-champion para maaga ako mag-retire,” he added. All this talk of retirement comes with San Miguel actually winning the All-Filipino title this year. If the Beermen complete history with a fifth straight championship, then maybe Terrence can talk think about retirement again. Or maybe not. “Hindi pa. Pag-iisipan pa lang, pag-iisipan pa lang. Pag-iisipan ko pa lang,” Romeo said. “Pag nag-retire naman pwede naman bumalik ulit eh, diba? Or hindi na?” he added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 29th, 2019

PBA: Hotshots win Game 7 in OT, sets Finals rematch with SMB

In a defensive struggle, Magnolia found just enough offense to take Game 7 in extra time. The Hotshots survived no. 2 Rain or Shine in overtime, taking a tough 63-60 win Sunday at the MOA Arena to win the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals. Erasing a 17-point deficit in the third quarter, Magnolia won the best-of-7 series, four games to the Elasto Painters’ three. The Hotshots now advance to a second straight Philippine Cup Finals for a another crack at defending champion San Miguel for the All-Filipino title.   The Scores: Magnolia 63 - Sangalang 11, Lee 11, Ramos 9, Reavis 8, Barroca 7, Dela Rosa 6, Brondial 5, Jalalon 3, Melton 3, Herndon 0. Rain or Shine 60 - Yap 14, Norwood 11, Ponferada 9, Belga 7, Ahanmisi 7, Nambatac 5, Mocon 3, Borboran 2, Rosales 2, Torres 0, Daquioag 0. Quarters: 14-7, 21-27, 37-44, 55-55, 63-60. — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 28th, 2019

Durant dazzles against former Thunder team anew

em>By Janie McCauley, Associated Press /em> OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Kevin Durant dazzled against his old team once again with a season-best 40 points, and the Golden State Warriors beat Oklahoma City 121-100 on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time) despite Russell Westbrook's 21st triple-double for the Thunder. Westbrook had 27 points, 15 rebounds and 13 assists in an improved showing from his 20-point outing on 4-for-15 shooting when OKC first faced Durant in the other jersey here 2.5 months ago and watched him dismantle the Thunder from every which way. In his two games against OKC, Durant has scored 79 points on 28-for-50 shooting. He hit seven three-pointers in the first meeting, a 122-96 Warriors rout Nov. 3 (Nov. 4 PHL time), also at Oracle Arena. Durant also had 12 rebounds Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time). Stephen Curry added 24 points and eight assists, and Klay Thompson had 14 points after he arrived back in the Bay Area just in time to play after a short absence dealing with a personal family matter. This one had tension, which just might be the norm from here on out when Durant faces the Thunder. There were words exchanged and stare downs, and of course a few hard fouls -- then an occasional smile to balance things out, like when Durant missed on a driving tomahawk jam and the ball shot back to midcourt. This atmosphere wasn't that much different from two days earlier when the champion Cavaliers visited Golden State's home floor and left with an embarrassing 126-91 defeat. Enes Kanter added 22 points and nine rebounds off the bench for the Thunder, who missed center Steven Adams for a second straight game with a concussion. Tied at 63 after the game was also even at halftime, the Warriors scored eight unanswered points with three’s by Thompson and Durant. Thompson scored five straight points during the exact kind of scoring flurry Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan described before the game as what makes these star-studded Warriors so dangerous. It wasn't that long ago Donovan could only watch as Golden State rallied from a 3-1 deficit to beat OKC in the Western Conference finals last season. Westbrook shot just 8-for-23 this time and missed all but one of his six three-point tries, but made 10-of-11 free throws. With 4.4 seconds left in the first half, Zaza Pachulia collided with Westbrook and clobbered the OKC star in the face as the Warriors center went with his man as Kanter set a screen on Andre Iguodala. Westbrook went down and grabbed his face in obvious pain and Pachulia glared at Westbrook as he stood over him. The play went to official review before Pachulia received a flagrant 1 foul, drawing boos from the sellout crowd. Golden State outscored Oklahoma City 37-22 in the third to turn the game into another blowout on the way to wrapping up 9-1 stay in Northern California over the past 3.5 weeks. Durant posted his 11th game with 30 or more points and fifth with at least 30 points and 10 boards. As dominant as KD has been against the Thunder, the Warriors still must go to Oklahoma City on Feb. 11 and March 20 (Feb. 12 and Mar. 21, PHL time). strong>TIP-INS /strong> em> strong>Thunder: /strong> /em> Oklahoma City is 5-11 on the road against Golden State and hasn't won on the Warriors' home floor since Dec. 18, 2014. Adams wasn't with the team. em> strong>Warriors: /strong> /em>PF David West has a non-displaced fracture of his left thumb and will be re-evaluated in two weeks. Golden State was tied at halftime for the first time all season. After out-rebounding the Cavs 58-35, the Warriors led the category 46-36. Golden State committed 13 first-half turnovers and 18 total. strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Thunder: /strong> /em>At Utah on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) after a four-day break without a game. em> strong>Warriors: /strong> /em> At Houston on Friday (Saturday, PHL time). Golden State wrapped up a stretch of more than three weeks at home that included only a bus ride to Sacramento for a lone road game in a 10-game stretch since Dec. 26 (Dec. 27, PHL time). .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 19th, 2017

Lewis scores 3 TDS, Pats advance to AFC title game 34-16

KYLE HIGHTOWER, AP Sports Writer br /> FOXBOROUGH, Massachusetts (AP) — The New England Patriots are headed back to a familiar spot: the AFC championship game. Dion Lewis had a 13-yard touchdown reception, a 98-yard kickoff return for a score, and a late 1-yard touchdown to help the Patriots hold off the Houston Texans 34-16 on Saturday night and advance to an NFL-record sixth straight conference title game. Lewis became the fifth Patriots player to score three touchdowns in a playoff game. He's also the first player in the Super Bowl era to score on a rush, a catch and a kick return in a postseason game. The Patriots survived a gritty effort by the Texans' top-ranked defense, which intercepted Brady twice. Houston's special teams also forced a third turnover. But the Texans couldn't find enough traction on offense to take full advantage of the Patriots' mistakes, settling for field goals on both of Brady's picks. New England led just 17-13 at the half, but pushed its lead to 24-13 early in the third quarter on a 19-yard touchdown pass from Brady to James White. Houston's Brock Osweiler was intercepted three times after that, and the Texans managed only a field goal the rest of game. It was the first breakout game of the season for Lewis, who spent the first eight games of the season on injured reserve recovering from offseason surgery on his left knee. Brady finished 18 of 38 for 287 yards and two touchdowns and was showered with chants of 'MVP! MVP!' and 'Brady! Brady!' late in the game. Julian Edelman was Brady's most dependable target, catching eight passes for 137 yards. Osweiler was just 23 of 40 for 198 yards with the two turnovers. When New England did have the ball in the first half, it gave Houston a steady diet of Lewis early with LeGarrette Blount coming off an illness that limited him during practice this week. Without Blount to contend with, the Texans applied pressure to Brady. A.J. Bouye intercepted a slightly overthrown ball by Brady late in the first quarter on a pass that bounced out of the hands of receiver Michael Floyd. That led to a 27-yard field goal that cut New England's lead to 14-6. On the ensuing kickoff, Lewis coughed up the ball on a hit from Akeem Dent. Eddie Pleasant fell on it at the Patriots 12, and two plays later, Brock Osweiler hit C.J. Fiedorowicz from 8 yards out to cut the deficit to 14-13. Brady only threw two interceptions during the regular season. With his 28 touchdown passes, that was the lowest touchdown to interception ratio in NFL history. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 15th, 2017

Justin Thomas holds on to beat Hideki Matsuyama at Kapalua

br /> DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf Writer   KAPALUA, Hawaii (AP) — Justin Thomas kept reminding himself that a one-shot lead with two holes to play is never a bad place to be on the PGA Tour. Ignoring that his five-shot lead was nearly gone against Hideki Matsuyama, Thomas thought more about the great golf that had put him in this position Sunday at the SBS Tournament of Champions. He responded by hitting an 8-iron from 214 yards on a downhill lie that was so pure he stopped to admire it before it landed. It plopped down in front of the pin and settled 3 feet away for a birdie. Matsuyama three-putted for bogey, and Thomas was on his way to a comfortable victory at Kapalua that moved him into the conversation of golf's young stars. 'The best shot I hit this week,' Thomas said. 'There's a tree that's a little slanted, and it's a perfect aiming point. I just kind of aimed it there and made sure I held onto the club, if anything, to make sure my miss was right. ... And really, I just flushed it. As soon as it came off, I knew it was going to be perfect.' Matsuyama, going after his fourth straight victory worldwide, knew he needed to make his 30-foot birdie putt to stay in the game. He ran it 8 feet by, missed the par putt coming back and was out of chances when Thomas hammered another tee shot on the par-5 18th. Thomas closed with a two-putt birdie for a 4-under 69 and a three-shot victory, his second of the PGA Tour season that moved him to No. 12 in the world. His other two PGA Tour title were at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia. 'I think it's potentially floodgates opening,' said Jordan Spieth, his best friend in golf since they were teenagers. 'The guy hits it forever. He's got a really, really nifty short game. He manages the course well. He's playing the golf course the way it should be played, and honestly, he's taking advantage of the easier holes. 'It's awesome to see,' Spieth said. 'He's going to be tough to beat next week, too.' Spieth closed with a 65 and tied for third with Pat Perez (67) and Ryan Moore (71). Matsuyama, who made two soft bogeys on the front nine to fall five shots behind, made it more of a game than anyone expected. The 24-year-old from Japan holed a flop shot for eagle on the 14th hole, and then Thomas hooked a 4-iron into the hazard on the par-5 15th hole and made double bogey. Just like that, Thomas went from a five-shot lead to a one-shot lead, and Matsuyama had a 10-foot birdie putt on the 16th to tie for the lead. The putt narrowly missed, and Thomas answered with his 8-iron for birdie to end it. Matsuyama closed with a 70. 'My putter let me down there at 16, 17 and 18,' Matsuyama said. 'I tipped my hat to Justin. He played well all day long.' Thomas is the only player to beat Matsuyama over the last three months. In his last six tournaments worldwide, Matsuyama had four victories and a pair of runner-up finishes — both to Thomas, in Kuala Lumpur and Kapalua. Thomas, who finished at 22-under 270, said his immediate thoughts were booking a return trip to Kapalua next year for the winners-only event. 'It changes things going forward because I know I'm coming back here,' Thomas said. The scenery down the 18th toward the blue Pacific, where humpback whales spent the afternoon breeching and splashing their tails, was even better because his parents were watching him win for the first time. His father, Mike Thomas, is a longtime head pro in Harmony Landing in Kentucky who is still his coach. Spieth closed with a 65 to tie for third with Pat Perez (67) and Ryan Moore (71). Spieth and Jimmy Walker came down to the 18th to congratulate the winner. Thomas started the final round with a two-shot lead and no one got closer until his blunder on the 15th. One of the longest hitters in golf with his slight build, Thomas really did miss a shot until the ninth hole, and that's when he got a huge break. With the wind stiff and in his face, he got quick with his driver and hit a snap-hook into the knee-high weeds left of the fairway. He hit a provisional for a lost ball and was about ready to abandon the search when a TV spotter was summoned to give an indication where it went. They found the ball, and it was sitting up a few inches above the roots, allowing Thomas to at least hack out into the fairway. He followed with a 3-wood onto the green for a two-putt par after starting with a shot that made double bogey appear likely. Thomas wasn't so fortunate on the 15th. 'I stumbled more than I would have liked to do,' Thomas said. 'But it shows where my game is at right now. I had some woes there, but I stuck it out to still get it done.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 9th, 2017

Rodgers on a roll and has Packers looking unstoppable

The Associated Press br /> Forget Dak Prescott, Tom Brady, and Matt Ryan. Aaron Rodgers has probably been the NFL's top quarterback since Thanksgiving in late November. He's re-established that dynamic connection with receiver Jordy Nelson for the Green Bay Packers, and Ty Montgomery's emergence as a receiver-turned-running back has been a revelation. Rodgers is on a roll, and when he gets going, the Packers look unstoppable, capable of building big leads and coming back from any deficit. After a 1-2 start in 2014, Rodgers famously admonished fans to R-E-L-A-X. This season, after a 4-6 start, he promised to 'run the table' and led them to another NFC North division title. They feature in the showcase of wild-card playoffs weekend, when they host Eli Manning and the New York Giants on Sunday. The playoff history between the Packers and Giants is rich. For the record, the Packers have a 4-3 edge. The Giants won the first matchup and the NFL title in 1938, beating the Packers 23-17. The Packers won the next four games and NFL championships in 1939, '44, 61 and '62. The Giants won the last two playoff games in 2008 and 2012, both at Lambeau Field, and went on to win the Super Bowls. The Packers' weakness is in defense, where the secondary is depleted. The offense has been on a remarkable run of mistake-free football during their six-match winning streak, but they could be hard-pressed to keep up in high-scoring games like they were during a midseason four-game slump. The Giants are showing elements of the frenzied pass rush and opportunistic defense that won them their last two NFL crowns. Over the last 11 games, opponents have averaged just 16 points against the Giants. They need that stingy defense because of their ineffective offense. The Giants didn't score 30 points in any game, and haven't even reached 20 points since Nov. 27 against the hapless Cleveland Browns. The running game is so-so, and Manning seems comfortable throwing only to Odell Beckham Jr. Not that it's a bad idea. In the other game on Sunday, Pittsburgh hosts the Miami Dolphins, who turned around their season with an Oct. 16 victory over the Steelers. But Miami is yet another team using a backup quarterback, Matt Moore, after starter Ryan Tannehill was ruled out on Thursday because he wasn't ready to practice on a sprained left knee. If Jay Ajayi can run wild again, Miami has a solid chance. However, the Steelers are a tested bunch and got to rest several key players in the regular season finale, including Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell. Wild-card weekend begins with the Oakland Raiders, one of the AFC's powers until the past three weeks, traveling to the Houston Texans on Saturday, followed by the Detroit Lions at the Seattle Seahawks. Raiders rookie Connor Cook will become the first quarterback in NFL history to make his first start in a playoff game. Derek Carr and Matt McGloin remain injured. Cook had 150 yards passing and a touchdown in his NFL debut last week. Meanwhile, the Texans are going back to the so-far-underwhelming Brock Osweiler after Tom Savage was concussed last week. Neither the Seahawks nor the Lions have been inspiring in the past month, with Detroit throwing away the NFC North crown with three straight closing defeats, and Seattle kicking away a bye by splitting its final six games. These are two of the worst running teams in American football, but Seattle has gotten back Thomas Rawls, which could make for a distinct edge. The Seahawks also have the better defense, though its been vulnerable against the pass since star safety Earl Thomas broke his left leg a month ago. Detroit's Matthew Stafford is the first quarterback to lead eight game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime since the 1970 merger, but he's been sacked an NFL-most 37 times. The Lions are also down to their third running back. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 6th, 2017

V-LEAGUE: Successful 13th season

Huge crowds, high TV ratings from the country's largest network, a two-title romp by Pocari Sweat and a National University repeat highlighted another banner year for the V-League, which continued to pack wallops, deliver top-notch matches and stay on top of the heap. With all matches shown live over ABS-CBN S+A and via livestrean through sports.abs-cbn.com/livestrean/vleague, the league had a very successful 13th season and reached broader audience nationwide and even abroad.    It was also a season of firsts and comebacks with Iriga City Mayor Madeleine Alfelor-Gazmen playing an actual game in the Open Conference and the Summer Spikers making their return after a one-year absence, shuttling from Baguio and Manila and back during games. Veering away from its regular opening conference fare, the league, where it all started, actually marked its 13th season with a fans’ day where they played with their favorite stars in a variety of game-related skills challenge and ended up mingling with their idols for photo-ops and autograph signing sessions during the All-Star. The league, in partnership with ABS-CBN, held its All-Star Game, along with that of the Spikers’ Turf, as part of its social commitment with proceeds, amounting to P200,000 going to the typhoon Lawin victims through ABS CBN Foundation. The All-Star was also staged to give something back to the league’s ever-loyal fans through the backing of Shakey’s, Mikasa, Accel, Pocari Sweat, BaliPure, the Philippine Sports Commission and ABS-CBN Sports + Action. Bannered by veterans Michele Gumabao, Melissa Gohing, Myla Pablo and Desiree Dadang, Pocari Sweat made sure to mark its maiden stint in the country’s premier volley league with a victory – grounding the Air Force Lady Jet Spikers in sudden death to snare the Open Conference crown before a huge crowd. Pocari Sweat also came into the season-ending Reinforced Conference armed to the teeth, tapping a pair of talented imports in Andrea Kacsits and Breanna Mackie and sweeping another Alyssa Valdez-led team, this time, the Bureau of Customs Transformers in the finals to complete the Lady Warriors’ remarkable two-title sweep before another banner crowd. Most marquee matches were beamed live over ABS-CBN Sports + Action Channel 23 with the championships aired on primetime, further adding to the popularity and following of the league which turned a once-dormant sport in 2004 into what it is today. Customs also toughened up in a bid to claim a V-League championship on its very first try, luring not only the high-flying, power-hitting Valdez but also tapping Thai imports Nic Jaisaen and Kanjana Kuthaisong, while BaliPure, raring to atone for its failed bid in the Open, also came in with reinforcements Kaylee Manns and Kate Morell. But both fell short against the Lady Warriors, so did the five other teams which showed up with an all-local crew with UST and UP dishing out solid games while underscoring their readiness for the UAAP wars. The Lady Bulldogs also proved they’re more than ready for the UAAP battle, beating the Ateneo Lady Eagles in a pair of five-setters to repeat as champions of the mid-season Collegiate Conference. MVP Jaja Santiago and former utility spiker-turned-setter Jasmine Nabor took charge for the Bustillos-based school, which actually notched its third V-League title, including its breakthrough in Season 10, also against Ateneo. Over in the men’s side, the second season of Spikers’ Turf also proved to be a big success with the Air Force Jet Spikers dispatching the Cignal HD Spikers in both the Open and Reinforced Conference finals. Air Force’s season-ending conference victory also served as a revenge of sorts as Cignal edged it in three matches to clinch last year’s Reinforced crown. Ateneo, on the other hand, got back at NU as the Eagles kept the Collegiate Championship for the second straight season. Both squads have figured in the last three UAAP finals as well as the first two V-League Collegiate Conference championships with the Katipunan-based squad lording it over NU, 4-1, in their head-to-head duel. With Sports Vision lining up a number of innovations to make the league more interesting and at the same time compete for media attention in mainstream sports, there’s no other way for Season 14 to go but up.     .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 31st, 2016

Season over, Real Madrid faces turbulent summer

By Joseph Wilson, Associated Press BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — The best thing for Real Madrid about this season is that it is finally over. A humiliating 2-0 loss at home to Real Betis on the last day of the Spanish league on Sunday brought to a close one of the most disappointing seasons in years for the most successful team in European club competition. Madrid's last match exemplified the collective decline of a group of players who had won four of the previous five Champions League titles but found themselves practically out of the running for any major trophies months ago. Defenders often a step too slow, midfielders unable to maintain ball possession, and forwards incapable of producing sufficient scoring chances, much less put the ball in the net. Madrid finished in third place and 19 points adrift of champion Barcelona, the largest-ever deficit with its fiercest rival by the end of a season. Madrid was effectively out of the league title race by January and was eliminated from the Champions League and Copa del Rey in early March, leaving the club with nothing to play for other than pride. And pride couldn't stop the team from failing to get a win in its last five away matches, or ending the season with back-to-back losses. Coach Zinedine Zidane wants his players to remember this feeling. "When you want to try harder and you can't even achieve the smallest little thing, it is complicated," Zidane said. "We have to accept that it has been a bad season. We can't forget it; we have to have it very present in the future so it can help us improve." Now Zidane and club president Florentino Pérez can finally put in motion their plans to breathe some life into a squad that performed far below what its fans expect. "Football is motivation ... Next season this is going to change," Zidane said. WHO'S OUT? Candidate No. 1 to leave is Gareth Bale. Bale arrived at Madrid in 2013 as the biggest signing in football history. Six years, multiple titles and more than 100 goals later, Zidane looks more than ready to part ways with the Wales winger. Zidane has rarely counted on Bale since he returned to the club in March nine months after stepping down, becoming Madrid's third manager of the season following the failures of Julen Lopetegui and Santiago Solari. Bale didn't leave the bench on Sunday in what many believed was his last game for Madrid. But with Bale under contract until 2022, his exit may hinge on finding a club that can cope with the 29-year-old winger's salary of a reported 15 million euros a season. Goalkeeper Keylor Navas is reported to be unwanted after he became a second-choice player following the signing of Thibaut Courtois. The future of midfielders Toni Kroos and Francisco "Isco" Alarcon and defender Marcelo are also in doubt after their sub-par campaigns, while Zidane has shown little interest in playing midfielders Dani Ceballos, Marcos Llorente and left back Sergio Reguilón. "Nobody is going to take away what these players did for five years," Zidane said. "(But) we don't have excuses. We ask our fans for forgiveness because we have the obligation to give it our all." WHO'S IN? Of all the names floated, Belgium midfielder Eden Hazard's is the most commonly heard. His contract with Chelsea expires in 2020 and he may be ready before then for a change after seven years in London. The other major name is Manchester United star Paul Pogba, who Zidane has said he admires. But unless Madrid can somehow succeed in prying Kylian Mbappé away from Paris Saint-Germain, then the goals that went missing when Cristiano Ronaldo left last year won't be found in a single player. Zidane will still have to solve the pending problem of retooling a team that spent most of the last decade feeding that goal-scoring machine called Ronaldo. If not, then next season may not be much better......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News3 hr. 24 min. ago

CSKA Moscow beats Efes Istanbul 91-83 in Euroleague final

VITORIA, Spain (AP) — Americans Will Clyburn and Cory Higgins scored 20 points each to lead CSKA Moscow to the Euroleague title in a 91-83 win over Efes Istanbul in Sunday's final. It was the eighth European title for the Russian team, leaving it two short of the record held by Real Madrid. Clyburn and Higgins both made four 3-pointers as CSKA as a team went 14 of 22 from behind the line. Guard Nando de Colo chipped in with 15 points and four assists. Shane Larkin scored a game-high 29 points for an Efes team that otherwise shot poorly in its first Euroleague final. Led by Larkin, Efes was able to reduce a nine-point lead by CSKA after the first and take the lead briefly after halftime. CSKA was back ahead 68-62 going into the fourth quarter, but Larkin cut the deficit to four points with just under two minutes remaining. Clyburn, Higgins and De Colo all hit pairs of free throws down the stretch to seal the victory. "It was going to be a fight until the end," Higgins said. "They played great, Larkin played great. But we just believed in ourselves. Once we got to the championship game we weren't going to let this get away." Real Madrid, which lost to CSKA in the semifinals, beat Fenerbahce 94-75 in the third-place game......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 20th, 2019

Koepka survives Bethpage Black to win PGA Championship

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press FARMINGDALE, N.Y. (AP) — Brooks Koepka took his place in PGA Championship history with a wire-to-wire victory, minus the style points. In a raging wind that turned Bethpage Black into a beast, Koepka lost all but one shot of his record seven-shot lead Sunday. He lost the brutal Long Island crowd, which began chanting "DJ!" for Dustin Johnson as Koepka was on his way to a fourth straight bogey. But he delivered the key shots over the closing stretch as Johnson faded with two straight bogeys, and Koepka closed with a 4-over 74 for a two-shot victory and joined Tiger Woods as the only back-to-back winners of the PGA Championship since it went to stroke play in 1958. Koepka said at the start of the week that majors are sometimes the easiest to win. This one should have been. It wasn't. His 74 was the highest final round by a PGA champion since Vijay Singh won in a playoff in 2004 at Whistling Straits. "I'm just glad I don't have to play any more holes," Koepka said. "That was a stressful round of golf. I'm glad to have this thing back in my hands." Koepka appeared to wrap it up with a gap wedge from 156 yards to 2 feet on the 10th hole for a birdie, as Johnson made his first bogey of the round up ahead on the 11th. That restored the lead to six shots, and the coronation was on. And then it all changed in a New York minute. Koepka missed three straight fairways and made three straight bogeys, having to make a 6-foot putt on No. 11 to keep it from being worse. The wind was so fickle that it died as he hit 7-iron to the par-3 14th that sailed over the green, leading to a fourth straight bogey. The crowd sensed a collapse, and began chanting, "DJ! DJ! DJ!" as Koepka was playing the hole. Ahead of him, Johnson made birdie on the 15th — the toughest hole at Bethpage Black all week — and the lead was down to one. That was as close as Johnson got. His 5-iron pierced through a wind that gusted close to 25 mph, over the green and into a buried lie. He missed the 7-foot par putt, went long of the green on the par-3 17th for another bogey and had to settle for 69. "Hit the shot I wanted to right at the flag," Johnson said of his 5-iron from 194 yards on the 16th. "I don't know how it flew 200 yards into the wind like that. Johnson now has runner-up finishes in all four of the majors, the wrong kind of career Grand Slam. "I gave it a run," he said. "That's all you can ask for." Koepka returned to No. 1 in the world with a performance that defines his dominance in golf's biggest events. He becomes the first player to hold back-to-back titles in two majors at the same time, having won a second straight U.S. Open last summer 60 miles down the road at Shinnecock Hills. He was the first wire-to-wire winner in the PGA Championship since Hal Sutton at Riviera in 1983. And what stakes his claim as one of the best in his generation was a third straight year winning a major. He joins a most elite group — only Woods, Phil Mickelson, Tom Watson, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer have done that since the Masters began in 1934. He now has four majors in his last eight, a streak not seen since Woods won seven out of 11 when he captured the 2002 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black. Next up is the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, where Koepka defends his title for the third time. No one has won the U.S. Open three straight years since Willie Anderson in 1905. No one will doubt whether Koepka is capable the way he is playing. The 29-year-old Floridian is an imposing figure, a power off the tee and out of the rough with no obvious weakness in his game and the kind of mental fortitude that majors require. He needed all of it over the final hour of this one. Koepka doesn't know his resting heart rate, and he said on the eve of the final round that it probably was not much different on the first tee of a major than when he was chilling on his couch. But he could feel this one getting away from him. He could sense Johnson making a charge. He could hear it. "How could you not with the 'DJ' chants," Koepka said. "I heard everything." Bethpage has a reputation for being over the top, and it irritated Harold Varner III, who shot 81 playing in the final group. "I thought it was pretty weird how they were telling Brooks to choke," Varner said about the 14th hole. "That's not my cup of tea. I was pulling for him after that." Koepka held it together at the most crucial moment. He piped his driver down the 15th fairway and two-putted for par. And he drilled another one into the 16th, which played the most difficult in the final round because it was into the wind. Johnson hit 5-iron just over the green. The wind died enough 20 minutes later that Koepka hit 7-iron only to 50 feet and had another good lag putt to get par. He kept it interesting to the end, three-putting the 17th as the lead went back to two shots, and pulling his driver on the 18th into fescue so thick it left him little choice but to lay up and scramble for par. Once his medium lob wedge settled 6 feet away, he could relax. Finally. Woods won the Wanamaker Trophy in consecutive years twice, in 1999 and 2000, and again in 2006 and 2007. Koepka was starting to draw comparisons with Woods for the way he obliterated the competition, much like Woods in his 12-shot victory in the 1997 Masters and 15-shot victory in the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. Koepka tied the PGA Championship record by opening with a 63. He broke the major championship record for 36 holes at 128. He set another PGA Championship record with his seven-shot lead. In the end, just having his name on the heaviest championship trophy in golf was all that mattered. Jordan Spieth registered his first top 10 since the British Open last summer with a 71 to finish at 2-under 278, six shots behind. He tied for third with Patrick Cantlay (71) and Matt Wallace (72). This really was a two-man race over the back nine that not many would have seen coming at the start of the final round. Only the outcome was expected......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 20th, 2019

He makes us go : Green elevates Warriors to 3-0 series lead

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com PORTLAND, Ore. — There is nothing Draymond Green failed to do Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) when he helped push the Blazers to the edge and the Warriors to the verge. Here is the checklist of his duties: Dribbler, pace-setter, rescuer, shooter, director, shot blocker, shot-caller and the one that probably escaped most witnesses, psychiatrist. Yes, Dr. Dray suddenly offered his services and sofa when poor Jordan Bell blew a breakaway dunk during a critical moment, just as the Warriors were in the process of flipping an 18-point deficit during their 110-99 victory in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals. [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] Bell immediately hung his head as he returned downcourt, and seconds later at the next timeout, he slowly headed toward the Warriors bench with slumped shoulders. But who intercepted him before he could take another step? That’s right, it was Green, famously known for his cool and soothing words in times of crisis. (OK, put the laugh track here.) But seriously … The type of leader every team needs ????pic.twitter.com/Tr3JblKAyX — Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) May 19, 2019 “I knew he wasn’t going to lecture me or anything like that,” said Bell. “He just told me that everybody misses dunks, that I shouldn’t worry about it, that mine happened to be an open one, and to keep my head into the game because I’d get another chance.” Bell paused. “I was down here,” he said, lowering his hand, “and he lifted me up here.” And wouldn’t you know, Bell got that next chance minutes later. This time, the dunk was thrown down ferociously and completed with a chin-up that belonged at LA Fitness. We can give Green credit for the 20-point, 13-rebound, career playoff-high 12-assist triple double, and we can give Green partial credit for that second-chance slam, too. That’s more like it JB ???? pic.twitter.com/JUvMfKQDsl — Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) May 19, 2019 The man was that multi-layered. “I don’t even know what to say about Draymond,” said Warriors coach Steve Kerr. Once again, Green demonstrated his value to the Warriors in these playoffs with a magnificent all-around game. He left fingerprints all over the Moda Center court and various Blazers' efforts. He was there for the Warriors when nothing else worked, and he was there for the Warriors when everything finally began to click and they needed a finishing touch. His desire and will do not show up directly on the stat sheet, yet those elements made the victory possible. The Warriors won for the fourth straight game without Kevin Durant and are one more away from reaching the NBA Finals for the fifth straight year. It makes you wonder: As great as Durant is, would the Warriors be more vulnerable if it was Green who were out with a calf strain instead? That question stands valid because the Warriors lack anyone who does what he does. The energy, intensity, floor direction, ability to defend three and sometimes four different positions, as well as the rebounding were all apparent Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) and in heavy doses. They came alongside leadership, evidenced by Green giving Bell a pat on the back during that down moment. Green played Game 3 as a blur, grabbing rebounds, pushing the ball up the floor, creating scoring chances for himself or his teammates and providing help defense that triggered the pace. Green was forceful because Steph Curry and Klay Thompson were 9-for-24 shooting in the first half, at times overwhelmed by the trapping Blazers defense. So Green took it upon himself to make things happen and provide the foundation for a second-half comeback. The Golden State defense held Portland to 13 points in the third quarter, Curry had 11 points in the fourth quarter, and this series simply continued along the same path. “He was the difference-maker,” said Blazers coach Terry Stotts. “His energy, the way he was pushing the ball, he kept them going. He makes his teammates better and defensively he’s all over the place. He impacted the game.” In the third quarter, Green poked the ball loose from Damian Lillard for one of his four steals. At the time, the Warriors were down 12 and in dire need of a jolt. But here’s what was remarkable about the play. Not only did the 6'7" Green stoop and strip one of the NBA's most composed ballhandling point guards (although perhaps not in this series), but he also managed to search for and grab it while it bounced between him and Lillard, then dribbled downcourt without missing a beat. The dexterity, quickness, daring and smarts sets Green apart from others who play his role, or at least try to emulate it. “More than reacting, he acts,” said Warriors assistant coach Ron Adams, who oversees the team’s defensive schemes. “There’s reacting and then there's acting. He’s an actor. He sees things. He’s decisive.” Green is averaging 18 points, 12 rebounds and almost 10 assists across the last two games and those numbers barely tell the real story. It’s just heightened because of Durant’s absence. In those two games, the Warriors trailed Portland by 17 and 18 points and Green was the point man on the rally. He says his main purpose is to give Thompson and Curry a breather from the load and responsibility. With the Blazers throwing traps at those two guards to limit their scoring, Green is forcing Portland to pay him respect. He is, in essence, breaking down Portland’s defense by pushing the ball and directing the attack. “I know I have to be more aggressive,” he said. “I think it’s easy to get (Curry and Thompson) to take more shots, but we can’t put that much pressure on them, so I just take it upon myself to get the tempo where I want it and make plays for other guys as well.” It was no coincidence that six Warriors off the bench managed to get at least one basket with Green directing traffic. And Green managed to play such a high-energy game without making constant mistakes; he had only two turnovers in 38 minutes. “He’s playing with force and he’s playing with discipline,” said Kerr. “He’s playing under control. He’s not letting anything bother him, like officiating, bad shots, he’s just moving on to the next play. From that standpoint, he’s as good as he’s ever been.” This is the Draymond Green that makes the Warriors more than willing to put up with the occasional nonsense, mostly stemming from his short temper and low tolerance with the officiating yet also with teammates and coaches at times. The constant technical fouls, the early-season clash with Durant, the high maintenance that often comes with coaching him, those are all part of the package. Taken as whole, that package is more positive than negative. And when there’s no negative, as it’s been through much of this postseason, the package is irresistible. “It’s nothing new; I’ve seen him do this for seven years,” said Thompson. “I’m just so proud of Dray. He makes us go.” There was no more positive reinforcement from Green than when he comforted Bell and told the young player to shake off a missed dunk seen by millions and laughed at by thousands inside Moda Center. Green gave Bell the encouragement needed to forget the embarrassment and maintain composure, which was important because Kerr kept Bell in the game. That set Bell up to gain redemption. And the Warriors, after struggling through a sloppy start, to gain complete control of a series that could end Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) in a sweep. “I’m one of the leaders of this team and in those situations you either go one of two ways. You’re either going to do your job and lift everybody up or you’re going to go the opposite way,” said Green. And so Green, with passing, defense and pace-setting, is stamping his signature on this series. His floor direction is flawless. He hasn’t shown the ability to direct the Blazers right out of the playoffs, but that’s perhaps just a matter of 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 19th, 2019

Bucks making case as favorites to win title

By John Schuhmann, NBA.com MILWAUKEE -- In the wake of a wire-to-wire, 125-103 victory in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals, a question for the group: Shouldn't the Milwaukee Bucks be the favorites to win this thing? No, not the conference finals. At this point, they're obviously the heavy favorite to win the East. Prior to this year, 72 teams had a 2-0 lead in the conference finals, and 67 of them went on to win. But why aren't the Bucks the favorites to win the NBA championship? Is there a case to be made against 1) what was the best team in the regular season and 2) what has been an even better team in the playoffs? [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] Maybe this is a we'll-believe-it-when-we-see-it league. How can you pick a team to win a championship when its best player had never won a playoff series prior to this year? Until they lost in five, it was easier to imagine the Celtics, with their talent and with their recent history of playoff success (back-to-back trips to the conference finals), being the team to represent the East in The Finals in the first year A.L. (after LeBron). And then the Bucks outscored the Celtics by a total of 65 points over the last four games of the conference semis. It's similarly difficult to pick against the Golden State Warriors until they actually lose. The two-time defending champs have Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. Presumably, they'll have Kevin Durant back for The Finals should they finish off the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference finals. And even without Durant, the Warriors boast the same 2-0 conference finals lead the Bucks currently possess. But the Warriors haven't been as sharp as they were in each of the previous two postseasons. Five of their 10 playoff wins have been within five points in the last five minutes. Last year, only four of their 16 wins were within five in the last five. In 2017, it was four of 16 as well. With the postseason's 10th-ranked defense, Golden State has outscored its opponents by 6.4 points per 100 possessions over its 14 games. The Bucks have outscored their opponents by more than double that: 15.1 per 100. That feels like the mark of an eventual champion. Through 10 playoff wins last year, the Warriors had outscored their opponents by 9.6 points per 100 possessions. Through 10 playoff wins in 2015, they had outscored their opponents by just 7.7 points per 100. It was only in 2017, when they won their first 15 playoff games in Durant's first season in Golden State, that the Warriors were as dominant as the Bucks have been thus far. At 10-0 two years ago, Golden State had outscored its playoff opponents by 16.5 points per 100 possessions. At that point, the Warriors had the No. 2 offense and the No. 1 defense in the postseason. That's exactly where the Bucks stand after Game 2 on Friday (Saturday, PHL time). Milwaukee is a complete team in more ways than one. The defense has been there almost every night. The Bucks have held their opponents under a point per possession (the measure of elite defense) in six of their 11 games and only once (their Game 1 loss to Boston) have they allowed them to score more than what was the league average (109.7 points scored per 100 possessions) in the regular season. Even with the rise in three-point shooting over the last few years, the most important shots on the floor remain those at the basket, and no team has been better at both preventing and defending those shots than the Bucks. After allowing a league-low 29.6 points per game in the restricted area in the regular season, the Bucks have allowed just 22.0 per game in the playoffs. In this series, Raptors drives have been met with a swarm of Milwaukee defenders, making it difficult to either score in the paint or get off a clean pass to an open shooter. After shooting 57 percent in the paint through the first two rounds (in which they faced two very good defenses), the Raptors have shot just 49 percent (36-for-73) in the paint through the first two games of the conference finals. On Toronto's first possession of Game 2, Marc Gasol posted up Khris Middleton after a switch and spun around Middleton for a layup, only to be rejected by Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Raptors went scoreless on their first five possessions, had just 39 points on 49 possessions at halftime, and were too far behind for a 39-point third quarter to matter much. "I think the way we played on both ends of the court in the first half," Budenholzer said afterward, "is what we're trying to get to." After a bit of an offensive struggle in Game 1, the Bucks broke out on Friday (Saturday, PHL time). The elite defense led to 28 fast-break points, a size advantage inside led to 17 second-chance points, and six of their nine rotation players scored in double-figures. Three of those six came off the bench. While Toronto coach Nick Nurse has had to both shorten and alter his rotation in these playoffs, Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer has seemingly found contributors wherever he has turned. George Hill and Pat Connaughton were huge in the Boston series, Malcolm Brogdon didn't need long to find his rhythm after missing the first eight postseason games, and on Friday (Saturday, PHL time), Ersan Ilyasova had what Budenholzer called "clearly his best game of the year," scoring 17 points, drawing three charges, and registering a plus-22 in just over 21 minutes off the bench. The Bucks have the presumed Kia MVP, but their biggest strength in these playoffs has been their depth. Through 11 games, they've outscored their opponents by 12.0 points per 100 possessions with Antetokounmpo off the floor. Unlike his fellow Eastern Conference coaches, Budenholzer has never had to rush his best player back onto the floor. And this team is now 10-1 with Antetokounmpo ranking 40th in postseason minutes per game at 32.3. While the Raptors' offense has struggled to take advantage of the attention paid to Kawhi Leonard, every Bucks rotation player has played with confidence and freedom. "They're not going to let me play one-on-one," Antetokounmpo said after registering 30 points, 17 rebounds and five assists in Game 2. "So this series is not going to be about me; it's going to be about my teammates being ready to shoot, being ready to make the right play." "We try and empower them," Budenholzer said of his team's role players. "We try to play a way where they all feel like they can contribute and do things. Hopefully that's paying off for us." There's no argument to the contrary. But is there an argument against this team being the favorite to win the championship? While it remains difficult to pick against the team that won last year and remains intact, new champions come along all the time, and it's easier to see them in hindsight than in the moment. Of course, as good as they've been playing and as special as this run has felt, Bucks players refuse to get ahead of themselves. "You can't," Eric Bledsoe said. "That's how you lose focus. The biggest thing with this group is just taking a game at a time, and not looking forward to The Finals. Anything can happen. So we're focused on Game 3." "It's a great opportunity that we have," George Hill added, "but it means nothing until we get there." The players have to keep their minds on Toronto. But the rest of us can feel free to envision the future, one that includes an NBA championship. John Schuhmann is a senior stats analyst for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 18th, 2019

Bucks seeking 2-0 lead over Raptors in East finals

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press When the season started, everyone knew the Eastern Conference would have a new king. LeBron James left Cleveland, having taken his talents to Los Angeles. And even Milwaukee star Giannis Antetokounmpo wasn’t sure who would take his place. “I didn’t know we were going to be in the Eastern Conference finals or not,” Antetokounmpo said. “I just know that he’s a top player that we always had problems against him and the Cavs. Now he’s not playing for the Cavs, so it’s going to be a little bit easier. I didn’t see it as an opening. But when you look back and see how everything went, it’s definitely an opening not having LeBron in the East.” [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 Bucks are three wins away from taking full advantage of that opening, and becoming the team that replaces James after his eight consecutive seasons going to the NBA Finals as a representative of the Eastern Conference. Game 2 of the East final is Friday night (Saturday, PHL time) in Milwaukee, where the Bucks will aim to take a 2-0 series lead over the Toronto Raptors. “We’re happy,” Antetokounmpo said. “But the job is not done. We’ve got to protect our home. We’ve got to be able to get Game 2.” Toronto got swept out of the 2017 and 2018 playoffs by James and the Cavs. Now they’re already facing a 1-0 deficit against Antetokounmpo and the Bucks, after dropping Game 1 despite leading for 37 of the game’s 48 minutes. “Sometimes, we just missed some shots,” Raptors guard Kyle Lowry shrugged. The way the Raptors see it, the adjustment to make finals might not be an adjustment at all. They liked most everything but the outcome of Game 1 — a 108-100 Bucks win — and figure that if they play the same Friday (Saturday, PHL time), they’ll have another chance at stealing away home-court advantage. “This team has handled downs pretty well and ups pretty well, and that’s been one of our focuses since day one of training camp,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “So let’s hope we can keep that going a little bit.” The Bucks won a game where they shot just under 40 percent and were 11-of-44 from three-point range. They made up for that on the defensive end and on the backboards — they held every Raptor not named Lowry or Kawhi Leonard to 1-for-23 shooting after halftime, and outrebounded Toronto 60-46. Still, Toronto insists it is not worried about the offense. “Everything starts on the defensive end,” Raptors forward Serge Ibaka said. Here’s some other things to know going into Game 2: RARE LOSS The last time Toronto had two 30-point scorers in the same game and lost — before it happened Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) — was Feb. 2, 2012. Game 1 was only the third time this season that the Bucks allowed two opponents to score 30 in the same game; Brandon Ingram and LeBron James did it for the Los Angeles Lakers in a Milwaukee win on March 1 (Mar. 2, PHL time), and Leonard and Pascal Siakam did it in a Toronto victory on Jan. 5 (Jan. 6, PHL time). RARE WIN Before Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time), Milwaukee had been 0-7 this season when not shooting better than 40 percent. The Bucks shot 39.8 percent in Game 1. The Raptors had been 9-1 this season when holding teams to such a low shooting percentage; the only other previous blip came in Game 2 of the second round against Philadelphia, when the 76ers shot 39.5 percent and won in Toronto. BROGDON’S IMPACT Much gets made of Milwaukee’s bench mob, and rightly so, but having Malcolm Brogdon back after he was out for basically all of the first two playoff rounds with a heel injury is a huge plus for the Bucks. Brogdon played 27 minutes in Game 1; he scored 15 points and the Bucks outscored the Raptors 57-39 in those minutes. When Brogdon wasn’t on the floor, Toronto held a 61-51 edge. DANGER TIME Friday (Thursday, PHL time) isn’t technically a must-win for the Raptors, but a loss might conjure up some unfriendly memories for the franchise. Toronto has dropped the first two games of a playoff series seven times; the Raptors are 0-7 in those series, and four of them ended in sweeps — one of them a 3-0 decision, the others by 4-0 counts. ALMOST PERFECT Milwaukee is off to a 9-1 start in these playoffs. It’s the 24th time in NBA history that a team has opened a postseason with at least nine wins in 10 games; of the previous 23 to start at least 9-1, 15 went on to win the NBA championship. Only six teams have started 10-0......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 16th, 2019

PBA D-League: Paraiso helps UST ward off NAASCU champ St. Clare

Ironcon-UST boosted its 2019 PBA D-League playoff hopes with a cardiac 78-75 win over St. Clare College Virtual Reality Thursday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig. Dave Ando buried the go-ahead undergoal stab with 20.4 seconds remaining, before Brent Paraiso sealed the win with two free throws in the final 4.3. Junjie Hallare tried to heave a hail mary three to force overtime, but his shot went way short as time expired Paraiso scored 14 points, five rebounds, and four assists for Ironcon-UST, while Mark Nonoy and Rhenz Abando chipped in 13 points in the victory. "We just executed the game plan and the players did not deviate from the game plan kasi yun yung tendency ng mga bata. They just executed," said coach Aldin Ayo. Ando and Renzo Subido also combined for 20 to improve the Growling Tigers' slate to a 6-2 record in the Aspirants Group. They missed the services Beninese forward Soulemane Chabi Yo, who is down with a flu. Ironcon-UST survived a late spurt from Irven Palencia, who scored all of his eight points as St. Clare rallied back from a 73-67 deficit. Joshua Fontanilla top-scored for St. Clare (5-3) with 19 points, as Rojay Santos got 16 points built on five triples. Meanwhile, Valencia City Bukidnon-San Sebastian remained in the hunt for the Foundation Group top spot, dismantling CD14 Designs-Trinity, 105-82. Emmanuel Bonleon stepped up for the Golden Harvest, uncorking 20 of his 23 points in the first half as his side took the 36-23 lead at the end of the first period. Allyn Bulanadi was at his lethal self with a team-high 28 points, alongside six rebounds, three steals, and two assists, while JM Calma had a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds. It was the Golden Harvest's fourth straight win and pulled them once again on level with CEU at the no. 1 spot in the group at 7-1. Clark Derige paced the winless CD14 Designs-Trinity (0-9) with 22 points and five rebounds. In the day's other game, FamilyMart-Enderun finally broke through, drubbing AMA Online Education, 116-94. Valandre Chauca hit eight triples on his way to 24 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists as five others got to double-digits to help the young Titans nab their first win in the developmental ranks and halt a six-game losing skid. BOX SCORES FIRST GAME VALENCIA-BASTE 105 -- Bulanadi 28, Bonleon 23, Calma 16, Dela Cruz 10, Ilagan 9, Desoyo 4, Villapando 4, Calahat 4, Tero 3, Sumoda 2, Loristo 2, Are 0, Altamirano 0, Baclay 0. CD14 DESIGNS-TRINITY 82 -- Derige 22, Tayongtong 19, Barua 10, Balucanag 8, Biteng 6, Medina 6, Vitug 4, Juanico 4, Ortega 2, Mabayo 1, Tadeo 0, Chua 0, Dela Cruz 0, Ingel 0, Juico 0. QUARTER SCORES: 36-23, 69-48, 85-68, 105-82. SECOND GAME FAMILY MART-ENDERUN 116 -- Chauca 24, Escoto 17, Vidal 17, Gatdula 14, Sacundo 13, Hayes 12, Gotladera 8, Dela Cruz 5, Mariano 4, Nunez 2, Dungan 0, Tancioco 0, Oebanda 0. AMA 94 -- Munzon 30, Johnson 24, Parcero 13, Sayat 8, Estibar 6, Alao 5, Dela Rosa 4, Asuncion 3, Sabile 1, Catequista 0. QUARTER SCORES: 31-26, 64-52, 81-78, 116-94. BOX SCORES THIRD GAME IRONCON-UST 78 -- Paraiso 14, Nonoy 13, Abando 13, Ando 10, Subido 10, Concepcion 7, Bataller 4, Marcos 4, Huang 3, Herrera 0. ST. CLARE 75 -- Fontanilla 19, Santos 16, Lunor 11, Hallare 8, Palencia 8, Rubio 7, Pare 4, Ambuludto 2, Bolos 0. QUARTER SCORES: 18-11, 37-33, 60-57, 78-75......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 16th, 2019

San Miguel wins fifth straight Philippine Cup title

THE stranglehold of the San Miguel Beermen on the prestigious PBA Philippine Cup title continued as they won their fifth straight All-Filipino crown by outlasting the Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok, 72-71, in their Game Seven decider on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum......»»

Category: financeSource:  bworldonlineRelated NewsMay 15th, 2019