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BEST OF 5 PART 5: You have made them proud, Red Lion pride

Read Part 1 of ABS-CBN Sports’ Best of 5 series on the San Beda Red Lions here. Read Part 2 of ABS-CBN Sports’ Best of 5 series on the San Beda Red Lions here. Read Part 3 of ABS-CBN Sports’ Best of 5 series on the San Beda Red Lions here. Read Part 4 of ABS-CBN Sports’ Best of 5 series on the San Beda Red Lions here. --- San Beda College has been setting the standard in the NCAA men's seniors basketball tournament for the last 12 years. We can even argue that they have been doing the same for all of college basketball in the Philippines. From top-tier talent to top-level coaching, anything and everything has been coming together for the Red Lions over the past dozen years. That is exactly why what was once a short list of known names as Mendiola’s pride now includes Yousif Alajamal and Sam Ekwe, Borgie Hermida and Ogie Menor, Sudan Daniel and Semerad twins Anthony and David, Baser Amer and Garvo Lanete, Ola Adeogun and Art Dela Cruz, and Robert Bolick and Javee Mocon. INSPIRED PLAY Still, more than just winning, something has to be keeping them going in a dynastic run that has them winning 10 of the last 12 NCAA championships. For San Beda, without a doubt, that would have to be its community. So much so that Bolick, coming off one of the most impressive individual seasons in recent memory, will be maximizing his eligibility to keep playing for the red and white. “It’s my responsibility to give one more year for San Beda. The way they treat me, mula sa teachers, sa fathers, sa tao sa cafeteria, sa guards, kahit sino-sinong nandun, grabe lang,” he shared. He then continued, “You’re inspired to play for them because they have the passion.” LEAVE IT ALL ON THE FLOOR In 2016, Bolick won championships in the NCAA, in the Filoil Flying V Preseason Championship, and in the PBA D-League where he was also hailed as MVP. With several clutch shots littered throughout those tournaments, many have said that he was already more than ready for the PBA Draft. Still, the man they call “Big Shot Bolick” decided to, literally, give his all to the Red Lions. “Credit to the school. I love San Beda and I will stay for one more year for them,” he said. THEN AND NOW Mocon, who will also be coming into his fifth and final playing year, echoed the same sentiments. “I will always treat San Beda as my home. I was only a walk-in, but this school welcomed me with open arms and shaped me into the athlete and the student I am today,” he said. While his running mate guard has only been in Mendiola for a little over three years after transferring from De La Salle University, the versatile forward has been starring in red and white ever since high school. And when his time as a Red Cub came to an end, there wasn’t even a question if he was staying or not. For Mocon, the winning tradition backed by all-out support from the community was more than enough reason. “San Beda has pushed me to become the best. Because of this community, we continuously aim for championships and that has been seen through generations and generations of players,” he said. He then continued, “It is with pride and honor that I played for this school.” YOU’RE ALL I NEED With all out support comes sky-high expectations. As the glory of a 12-year dynasty and counting gets greater and greater, so does the burden of keeping it going get heavier and heavier. For Bolick, though, that is exactly the way they want it to be. “Losing is not an option and the option is high every time, pero ako, I want to compete. I like to play in that kind of situation,” he said. He then continued, “Kasi nga grabe yung support nila kaya I hope to win one more championship for them.” --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnJan 1st, 2018

LA Clippers fans celebrate win, Pinoy culture in Filipino Heritage Night

As the injury-plagued Los Angeles Clippers topped the Atlanta Hawks via a game-winning three-pointer by C.J. Williams, 108-107, Filipino fans in attendance had a deeper reason to celebrate. Despite the heroics of the remaining Clippers players, the real star of the night was Philippine culture, as the LA squad celebrated Filipino Heritage Night (Tuesday PHL time). Who you got tonight, me or @djeman? @LAClippers 🙌🏾 #filipinoheritagenight pic.twitter.com/cWqQ2bcVcl — apl.de.ap (@apldeap) January 8, 2018 Tonight's Starting 5️⃣ 🇵🇭» @j3vans1_ 🇵🇭» @TeamLou23 🇵🇭» @C_Will21 🇵🇭» Wesley Johnson 🇵🇭» @DeAndre#FilipinoHeritageNight pic.twitter.com/tRpwf0f41a — LA Clippers (@LAClippers) January 9, 2018 From before tip-off, to the post-game festivities, the annual Clippers Filipino Heritage night presented an All-Star cast. #ClipperNation, stay in your seats for tonight’s halftime performance by @apldeap.#FilipinoHeritageNight 🇵🇭 pic.twitter.com/wl0cGA605d — LA Clippers (@LAClippers) January 9, 2018 Jessica Reynoso of The Voice Philippines kicked off the night with the U.S. national anthem, and in between timeouts Filipina Clippers Spirit Dancer Kyla made sure the Staples Center was beaming with Pinoy Pride. Celebrity b-ball game! Team @djeman vs Team @apldeap. Who you got?#FilipinoHeritageNight 🇵🇭 pic.twitter.com/B5sFF1c21M — LA Clippers (@LAClippers) January 9, 2018 Allan Pineda or Apl de Ap of the pop group Black Eyed Peas not only got the crowd going during halftime, he was also part of the Filipino celebrity game that drew cheers from rising star Kobe Paras, who also attended the festivities. "Just proud to be Pinoy and our people representing LA," said the musician. "It’s great to be here to celebrate our heritage. Just introducing our culture around the world." Indeed, it was definitely a win for both the Clippers, and for the Filipino community in L.A......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 9th, 2018

Hard work, family, and tocino the key ingredients to Fil-Am cyclist’s success

Coryn Rivera, said to be the only cyclist with Filipino roots to be taking part in the European circuit, is back at where it all began for her. “It’s good to be back,” she said with a small smile during her welcome lunch on Monday at the Shang at the Fort in Taguig. The name Rivera resonated with Filipinos when she won the Prudential RideLondon Classique a year ago. Then, her origins were unknown until ABS-CBN’s Gretchen Ho, who was part of the country’s delegation in London, inquired about them. While now an American citizen, the 25-year-old’s parents are full-blooded Filipinos who remain proud of their roots. Their eldest of two children only shares the same sentiment. “It’s cool to be a person with an ethnic background. I think I’m the only one with Filipino blood to be there (European circuit),” Coryn said. Rivera is now part of professional cycling team Sunweb which is very much active in the European circuit. In all of her races, a big part of her preparation remains Filipino to the core. “I still love tocino and tapa for breakfast with banana ketchup. I’m still very much into Filipino culture even though I was born in the (US),” she said. Of course, it has been parents Wally and Lina who have made sure that such is the case. “Breakfast is very important so I would make sure she always had her rice and tocino,” the latter shared. With that simple yet loving act, the elder Riveras have made it clear that they are fully behind their big-time source of pride who only stands at 5-foot-3. And clearly, that has made all the difference in the world. “We always support Coryn. I think that’s why she succeeds – because we support her 110 percent,” Lina said. That all-out support has impacted Coryn in more ways than one. “She saw us work hard to get to where we are. We also don’t spoil our kids – we make them work hard to get to where they are,” her mother said. She then continued, “We do everything on our own and she’s just the same way.” Indeed, it has been the example set by her hardworking parents that Rivera follows to this day wherever she is – be that in the Tour of Flanders in Belgium or in the hills of Tagaytay. “My parents are role models. They are hardworking and that’s what I want to be,” she said. And so, the American citizen cyclist remains Filipino at heart – even though she is yet to string together a Tagalog sentence. Asked about the native language of her parents, she answered, “I understand it really well, but as far as speaking it, I’m still practicing.” Good thing then that she will have some time to practice as Rivera will participate in the upcoming PRUride PH 2018 from January 11 to 14 in Subic, Zambales. Backed by British life insurer Pru Like UK, PRUride PH 2018 is expected to be one of the biggest cycling events in the country as it will be spread over two areas and span two weekends. In Subic, veteran pedal-pushers such as George Oconer and Marella Salamat will join Rivera in taking part in the 160 km PRUride Professional Road Race. The event continues a week later in McKinley West in Taguig where next iterations of the Criterium races first held a year ago will ensue. PRUride PH 2018 has been sanctioned by PhilCycling, the national governing body for the sport of cycling. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 8th, 2018

Q& A: Chicago Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com A year ago, on the night of the 2017 NBA Draft, the Chicago Bulls switched gears. Jimmy Butler was traded to Minnesota, taking with him any pretense that the Bulls were a legitimate playoff team. In that moment, Chicago committed to a rebuild, which is to say, a dive into the draft lottery where coach Fred Hoiberg and his team presumably would be rewarded not for how many games they won but how many they lost. By whatever means necessary. Soon after Butler was moved to the Timberwolves, veteran point guard Rajon Rondo was waived. A few months later, Dwyane Wade was cut loose (via a handsome buyout) to bounce through Cleveland to Miami. The Bulls moved forward with three young pieces courtesy of the Wolves -- wing Zach LaVine, guard Kris Dunn and the No. 7 pick in 2017, rookie forward Lauri Markkanen -- and a general acceptance that getting from there to here was going to bring a lot of pain. Some of that was literal: Bobby Portis slugged teammate Nikola Mirotic in a preseason practice, breaking two facial bones and putting Mirotic on the shelf for 23 games. Some of it was figurative: the frustration of a season that began as a 3-20 mess and ended in a 10-28 slog. In between, though, the Bulls somehow put together a 14-7 stretch that offered a glimpse of what 2018-19 might be. It also cost them precious lottery balls, eventually leaving them with the No. 7 pick (and No. 22, after dealing Mirotic in February to New Orleans) in Thursday’s (Friday, PHL time) Draft. Hoiberg, who went from an alleged coaching “hot seat” during two .500 seasons, wound up with more job security as a coach headed toward 50 defeats and beyond. He spoke with NBA.com about his and the Bulls’, er, challenging season. This is edited from a pair of longer conversations, one at the end of the regular season, the other within the past week. NBA.com: So you go through everything that was 2017-18, dutifully lose 55 games and wind up at No. 7 instead of in the top three for the Draft. The inevitable question is, was it worth it? Fred Hoiberg: Obviously you’re disappointed. You were hoping to move up. But we’re confident we’re going to get a good player with the No. 7 pick and we’re confident we’ll get a good player with the 22nd pick. NBA.com: C’mon, this isn’t our first rodeo. I get that people don’t like to use the word “tanking,” but the Bulls’ marching orders last season were pretty clear. FH: I don’t think you can look at it that way in the midst of your season. The players are competitive, your staff is competitive. You want to play as well as you can and put yourself in a position to win. When you look at the successful stretch that we had in December and January, you think about carrying those things forward and then adding, based on who we get, to the roster. There was some real frustration that we didn’t get a lot of wins at the end. But we developed some younger players and saw what we had with some of our guys. NBA.com: When you guys had that run before the season’s midpoint, winning seven in a row (first team in NBA history with such a long winning streak immediately after a losing streak of 10 in a row) and 10 of 12, did you and the front office ever consider a Plan B? As in, maybe, show potential free agents how good your supporting cast could be, in hopes of luring big-name help this summer? FH: I think we did. What we showed was a really good foundation and a young core that we can build around. When I look back at it, I just wish we could have had more opportunity to work with it and see what it would have looked like. When Zach LaVine came back [Jan. 13 from ACL knee surgery], the plan was for him to play about 20 minutes a night. Then his third game, Kris Dunn fell against Golden State and had that concussion [that cost him 11 games, before missing the final 14 with a toe injury]. It’s too bad we didn’t get the full look. But players like Cam Payne, Denzel [Valentine], Bobby, Robin [Lopez], Justin Holiday all had career years.   NBA.com: You had a lot of injuries down the stretch. Not to suggest that they weren’t all legit, but were you instructed at any point by VP John Paxson or GM Gar Forman to dial it back after that 14-7 success? FH: No, we weren’t. And the big thing from the very beginning of last season, the two things we wanted to see, was competing at a high level every night and the development of our players. I think we accomplished that. NBA.com: What -- in your background as a player, coach, competitor, you name it -- prepared you for this past season? FH: Part of what prepared me for this was, I had been through this as a player. I went from four really competitive teams in Indiana, playing with someone as driven and helpful as Reggie Miller, taking me under his wing. There were other great veteran players who helped me just to survive and taught me a lot. Larry Brown was the coach, then Larry Bird my last two years.   Then when I came to Chicago, I knew it would be an opportunity to play. But it was a rebuild. Eventually I got thrust into the role of captain, as the oldest player on team at 28. It really helped me with what we’re going through now. I learned how important it is to keep guys’ morale up and be positive through the ups and downs. I give our guys all the credit in the world for remaining so positive, keeping up a great work ethic and still being sponges in wanting to learn. NBA.com: What were the takeaways from the best and healthiest part of last season? FH: We got a pretty good feel for what Kris Dunn can be. He really evolved into being a closer for our team. Lauri was closing games for us, taking big shots as a 20-year-old kid. Zach had the game against Minnesota. What people fail to remember about Zach, he averaged over 22 points a game in February and really got into a pretty good rhythm. Then he had some knee soreness and wound up sitting for the rest of the year. But we had some flashes of what this can turn into. NBA.com: Niko paid for his role in sparking that hot streak. FH: Niko was great. He missed those first 23, and I thought our team handled that adverse situation about as well as anybody could, not letting it affect us in a negative way. We were able to move past it. You even saw the chemistry that Niko and Bobby played with when they were out there together. NBA.com: How hard was it personally downshifting from a team that had gone to the playoffs to one that didn’t put a priority on winning? FH: When the move was made on draft night, when those three kids came in, right away there was an excitement. Everyone had seen what Zach had done. He was a highlight reel and had those slam dunk championships. He plays the game with ease on the offensive end. His athletic tools and ability to get up and down the floor. Kris, everybody absolutely loved coming out of the draft [in 2016]. Then he had an up-and-down rookie season. Helping him to get that swagger back that he had coming out of Providence took some work, but he was aching to put that work in. Markkanen, I know the guys upstairs knew how good he was but I had no idea. I didn’t study him because we had the 15th pick. He comes over after a grueling summer -- summer league, Eurobasket with all that pressure in front of his home fans -- and he was exhausted. But then you saw every day, “Man, this kid is really good.” You’re thinking, we could probably put the ball in this kid’s hands. Then he goes up and dunks over a whole team and you say, “My God, this kid’s more athletic than we thought. He uses his feet, he’s got anticipation, he’s got toughness.” He showed a little more every day. NBA.com: Was it difficult asking a proud veteran like Robin Lopez to put it in idle over the final 25 games? FH: I think he understood. He’s been a part of a lot of different situations. He was great. He continued to lead. He continued to practice hard. He talked to the bigs as they came off the floor. NBA.com: Was your own health challenged at all by the stress of this season? Your past issues related to your heart are widely known, and coaching an NBA team even in the best of times is a demanding job. FH: After two open-heart surgeries, I do have to sometimes check myself. There are so many things you can over-concern yourself with in this business. Then you look back a week or two later and say, “My God, why did I put so much effort into that one stupid thing that happened?” You have to let go sometimes. My family is so important for me with that. You get some normalcy in your life. [At night, lying in bed, Hoiberg can hear a valve in his heart every time it beats. He let a visitor listen, too, and sure enough... ] If this ever affected me to the point where I had to throttle back, I would move on to something else. When I had my first surgery and they removed the diseased tissue from the aorta that had an aneurysm in it, they got rid of the problem. The valve deteriorated after they put a new valve in and they had to go in again, but the diseased tissue no longer was there. If it was a risk, I’d be doing something else. But it’s a constant reminder. You think you’re going to get used to it, but you never really do. My wife will be lying next to me and she hears it. NBA.com: When you look back on 2017-18, is it like “Casablanca” for you guys? As in, you’ll always have December? FH: It was fun to see how much the work paid off. Everyone was putting so much into it to get out of that slump. You can say, we had something to build on there. But whenever I talked to our team, before or after, it was all about competing on a nightly basis. Being consistent with their effort. I couldn’t be more proud of how they handled it. They were on time. They kept trying to get better. They worried about what they could control. I didn’t have to have even one of those conversations where I sat a guy down and said, “You’re not playing hard enough.” I did have a few conversations where I said, “You need to move the ball more.” [laughs] NBA.com: Big difference, coaching relative kids after the so-called “three alphas” of Butler, Wade and Rondo? Jimmy seemed eager to stay here to win. FH: Jimmy did so many things for this team. He was great to coach. You knew every night you were going to get an unbelievable effort. A guy who never backed down. Who never shied away from the big shot. And was going to defend at a high level every time he stepped on the floor. So Jimmy was missed in a lot of ways. But when you look at the young guys’ abilities, it’s exciting. NBA.com: What do you make of having better job security now that the losses are mounting, compared to those .500 seasons? FH: I don’t think any one of the 30 guys in our position pay attention to that. You can’t do your job if you do. You go in and try to improve as an individual, as a staff, as a team. Our first year, Derrick Rose suffered an orbital fracture in the first workout. We had 10 rotation players who missed double-digit games. Two starters missed 50 or more [Mike Dunleavy, Joakim Noah]. Niko had that botched appendix surgery. The next year was a completely different team. Nobody predicted we’d be a playoff team but we were and had a good chance to beat Boston before Rondo got hurt. NBA.com: When you’re not coaching veterans, is it a purer form, as far as installing “your” system vs. tailoring things to them? FH: You always look for the best system, the best approach. The basics don’t change, but [in 2016-17] we had a lot more isolation players, so we ran more of those types of actions. This [past] year, more ball movement, player movement fit this group better. We had longer, harder practices as opposed to a veteran group as the year went on. NBA.com: Since the end of the season, how much time have you put in on developmental activities and draft preparation? FH: We’ve had a lot of guys in and gotten a lot of work in, in the early part of the offseason. We’re looking forward to working again after the draft with some new young players as part of the roster. It’s all about moving forward. NBA.com: As you look back over the past year, with the script flipping to the point where the Bulls wanted to win by losing and maybe lost -- some draft position, anyway -- by winning, what goes through your mind? FH: What was Donovan Mitchell [the Rookie of the Year finalist chosen by Utah]? The 13th pick? You just never know with the draft. You play hard, you get the culture established the way you want it and things take care of themselves. What really would have been devastating would have been ending the season with negativity, with your team not playing hard, with your team disinterested. That’s something that would be a real cause for concern going into an offseason. But our guys felt good about themselves. Some were sacrificing in a big way and pulling for younger guys. They were playing hard, they were cheering for each other. 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 19th, 2018

DOC VOLLEYBALL: A Dilemma on Loop?

Flashback to March 2017, the whole volleyball community was abuzz about a newly formed national team set to compete in the Southeast Asian Games of that year as tryouts were held, but certain players, particularly from the Ateneo de Manila University, were allegedly not invited. An apology was then issued and special tryouts were held to accommodate the aforementioned athletes. Flashback to 2015, with a newly formed organization in Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. (LVPI) taking the reins from the Philippine Volleyball Federation (PVF) as the volleyball authority in the country, the future looked bright as for the first time in recent history, both the men’s and women’s teams were being sent to the Singapore SEA Games as representation of the sport’s resurgence. As with any newly formed roster, the composition was mired in controversy especially with the men’s team, which was composed of predominantly of young players. Flashback to 2014, with the power struggle between the aforementioned LVPI and PVF, the latter formed the infamous Amihan and Bagwis squads as the women’s and men’s national teams, respectively. Backed by then sponsor PLDT, the rosters boasted of the some of the country’s best talents from both divisions with the likes of Alyssa Valdez, Mark Espejo, Ara Galang, Tatan Pantone, Ran Ran Abdilla and Mark Alfafara to name a few. Both teams never saw the light of day outside the country as the PVF eventually lost its accreditation leading to the teams’ eventual disbandment. And the theme went on as the previous years are revisited. Fast forward to present time, 2018, and once again the volley community is abuzz with the formation of yet again a new national team with a familiar scenario in which local favorites did not make the cut. With the volleyball scene at an all time high in local following, it is quite inevitable for varying opinions on who should have been included in the line-up given the wide pool of talents especially in the women’s division. Coupled with a sudden change in coaching staff, the new roster is once again under scrutiny given the process the team as a whole was structured from the beginning. Another New Beginning Without taking anything from the players and coaches of the new women’s national team, the composition is relatively deserving of the spots for the roster. While expected shoe-ins who have performed tremendously well in the local leagues like Myla Pablo, Maika Ortiz, and Tatan Pantone were not afforded a slot in the team, the new line-up is still pretty much capable of representing the country. Middles – Aby Marano is the best fit amongst the middles who made the final cut. With exceptional timing and good lateral movement, Marano is expected to perform in the position well offensively and defensively despite the lack of height for a middle blocker internationally. Her agility and aggressiveness with her net play more than justifies her inclusion and assignment as the team captain. Her DLSU successor Majoy Baron would add much needed support as the second middle as she has proven to have the power and timing of Aby though much work can still be done for her agility in the net. Baron’s aggressive floaters will also be of much benefit on the service line. Lastly, Mika Reyes would provide the height should the need arise especially against foreign teams with bigger size. Left Wing – Alyssa Valdez’ inclusion as left wing hitter is of no question as she continues to prove that she is one of the best open hitters in the local scene. Perhaps working more on her bulk and power is something the coaching staff must consider to ensure that she can carry over her local performance to the international scene. Dindin Santiago-Manabat and Ces Molina likewise have proven themselves much capable of being offensive threats from the left and their decent size will be of much benefit in blocking against slides and opposite attacks from foreign counterparts. It would be beneficial as well if Santiago-Manabat develops mastery of passing and if Molina becomes a significant threat with the pipe in order for both athletes to really excel in the position. Although Cha Cruz is not much of a power hitter as compared to the aforementioned left hitters, she would serve a special position as the service and defense specialist for the team. If in scenarios in which she will serve in for a middle, her floor defense is of much benefit in Zone 5 and with her background as a former setter, she is still capable of setting up a decent play should the setter get the first contact. Right Wing – Though much of her collegiate season has been utilized hitting from the middle, Jaja Santiago is undeniably more fit for the opposite position. Despite her height and power, which could be considered an automatic criteria for the middle, Santiago has much work to be done with lateral motion which is also a crucial component for middle hitters. With her vertical reach and power, she is better off racking up points from the right wing and right back row as the main offensive option for the team. Likewise, Kim Dy is also a shoo-in for the opposite position as evidenced by her consistency in scoring and blocking from the right. With Kim Fajardo calling the plays, Kim Dy would be beneficial in running faster or creative plays should the need arise. Setters – The selection of Fajardo and Jia Morado is not to be questioned as both have proven and continue to prove that they are top-notch setters in the country. Both setters are a shoo-in for the national team as both are equal in consistency with Fajardo showing mastery in working the middles and Morado displaying her skill in making the wings work for her. Not much can be argued really about the selection of the two athletes. A reserve setter in Rhea Dimaculangan would be also beneficial as she has the consistency and creativity as the aforementioned setters as well as the height, which would be important in blocking. Libero – Currently hailed as one of Southeast Asia’s finest, Dawn Macandili is undeniably a good choice for the main libero position. With her agility and speed to pop up digs and impossible saves, her presence on the floor is highly beneficial for the team on transition defense. On the other hand, her counterpart Denise Lazaro has proven to be highly consistent from the receiving end of services making her inclusion as part of the regular roster and not just a reserve undeniably essential. With Lazaro setting up the passing formation and Macandili guarding on transition, their combined specialized efforts will ensure the first step in letting the setters run the play for the team. A Shift in View Given the fact that the talent pool in the women’s division is deep, player selection will always be put on debate as not all favored athletes will be included. Perhaps a good way of viewing the matter is that given the yet again short preparation time for the next international tournament, the coaching staff would best select players who they have already established a good working relationship for a more seamless adaptation of a new system. Rather than put into scrutiny the individual players, handpicked or not, the focus should be put on the system as a whole and how it can be further developed for the improvement of the sport. Yet again, the 2018 roster is proving to be another promising one as it has been almost every year when a new line-up is formed. More than bringing back pride to the country internationally in the tournaments immediately at hand, the bigger challenge for the national team is to prove itself not as yet another band aid solution in the attempt to have a continuous program. How the 2018 Team will prove itself different from its predecessors in past Asian/SEA Games would be the more important matter that should be put under the lens. With the sport currently a major source of livelihood for many athletes, the players are no longer the ones getting the short end of the stick but rather volleyball and its development as a whole should the loop continues. The country has much individual talent deserving of a spot in the team, but for as long as vested interests continue to rear their head in the Philippine Volleyball System, the level of the sport will continue to fall short in justifying its current local popularity.    .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 18th, 2018

Talk about political football: No Eagles at the White House

By Jill Colvin and Jonathan Lemire, Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) — Taking on the NFL and football's Super Bowl champs, President Donald Trump gave the boot to a White House ceremony for the Philadelphia Eagles on Tuesday and instead threw his own brief "Celebration of America" after it became clear most players weren't going to show up. Both sides traded hot accusations about who was to blame. Trump tried to turn the fracas into a referendum on patriotism and tie it to the dispute over players who have taken a knee during the national anthem to protest racism and police brutality. However, Eagles players never knelt during the "Star-Spangled Banner," throughout the 2017 season and their march to the Super Bowl. The White House accused Eagles team members of pulling a "political stunt" and abandoning their fans by backing out at the last minute. Indeed, few apparently were going to come, though some expressed disappointment that they'd been disinvited and complained Trump was unfairly painting them as anti-American. Through it all, Trump appeared to revel in fanning the flames of a culture war that he believes revs up his political base. Trump had long been leery of the Eagles' planned visit to the White House, in part because the team's owner, Jeffrey Lurie, has been a Trump critic, and because several players have been vocal critics of the league's new policy that requires players to stand if they're on the field during the national anthem or else stay in the locker room. White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the team notified the White House last Thursday that 81 people, including players, coaches, managers and others would be attending the Super Bowl celebration. But she said the team got back in touch late Friday and tried to reschedule, "citing the fact that many players would not be in attendance." The Eagles proposed a time when Trump would be overseas. Eagles officials declined comment on the White House version of events, sticking with a simple earlier statement: "We are truly grateful for all of the support we have received and we are looking forward to continuing our preparations for the 2018 season." No one connected with the team said the players' reluctance to attend had anything to do with the national anthem, as Trump tried to portray the situation. And comments by star players in the current pro basketball finals indicated it's not about football. "I know no matter who wins this series, no one wants the invite anyway. So it won't be Golden State or Cleveland going," said LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers. There was no disagreement from Stephen Curry, who angered Trump last year when he said he wouldn't go to the White House after the Warriors' NBA triumph, leading the president to disinvite him and his team. Trump, furious about the small number of Eagles who were coming, scrapped Tuesday's visit, believing a low turnout would reflect poorly upon him. He had told aides last year he was embarrassed when Tom Brady, star quarterback of that season's champion New England Patriots, opted to skip a White House visit. Instead, the president held what he dubbed a "patriotic celebration" that was short and spare. A military band and chorus delivered the Star-Spangled Banner and God Bless America, with brief Trump remarks sandwiched in between. "We love our country, we respect our flag and we always proudly stand for the national anthem," Trump said. The White House crowd of roughly 1,000, mostly dressed in business suits, was light on Pennsylvanians and heavy on administration and GOP Party officials. Several in attendance blamed the players, not the president, for torpedoing the Eagles event. John Killion, a lifelong Eagles fan who now lives in Florida and traveled to Washington to see his team, said he was "devastated and infuriated" by a breakdown he blamed on the Eagles owners. "I waited my whole life for the Eagles to win the Super Bowl and they were going to be congratulated at the White House. And I don't really care who you like or dislike, it shouldn't be about that," he said. Bill Fey, a Republican state committeeman from southern New Jersey and an Eagles fan, called the decision "a black eye as far as I'm concerned with the NFL. I think that everyone should come to the White House. This is the peoples' house." Still, he said, "I think the Eagles did what they thought was necessary. I don't blame anyone." Trump's own patriotic event was not without its controversy. Following the playing of the anthem, a heckler shouted from the audience: "Stop hiding behind the armed services and the national anthem!" prompting boos. A Swedish reporter posted video of a man kneeling as the anthem was played. In a statement Monday, Trump placed the blame on Eagles players he said "disagree with their President because he insists that they proudly stand for the National Anthem, hand on heart, in honor of the great men and women of our military and the people of our country." Besides the fact that none of the Eagles had taken a knee during the anthem in 2017, defensive end Chris Long said the NFL anthem policy change and Trump's reaction to it were not even discussed by the players in meetings about making the visit. Those deciding to stay away had various reasons beyond Trump's opposition to the protests, including more general feelings of hostility toward the president, one official said. Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, who had planned to skip the ceremony "to avoid being used as any kind of pawn," said in a statement that at the White House a "decision was made to lie, and paint the picture that these players are anti-America, anti-flag and anti-military." Trump has long railed against the protests that began in 2016 when San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began silently kneeling on the sidelines during the anthem to raise awareness around racism and, specifically, the killing of black men by police. At a rally last September, Trump suggested NFL owners fire "son of a bitch" players who "disrespect" the flag by kneeling. As for politics, Trump believes the anthem controversy is a winning issue for him and was pleased that last month's announcement of the league's new policy returned it to the news, according to people familiar with the president's thinking but not authorized to discuss private conversations. Even so, Trump made clear Tuesday he doesn't believe the policy goes far enough, tweeting: "Staying in the Locker Room for the playing of our National Anthem is as disrespectful to our country as kneeling. Sorry!" The president told one confidant Monday that he aims to revive the issue in the months leading up to the midterm elections, believing its return to the headlines will help Republicans win votes. Trump's attempt to drive a wedge between the team and its fervent fan base could have political consequences in Pennsylvania, which Trump won by just 44,000 votes in 2016. The politics are already playing out in the state's Senate race, where Republican Rep. Lou Barletta is challenging Democratic incumbent Bob Casey. Barletta attended the White House ceremony sans Eagles, "representing the proud Pennsylvanians who stand for our flag." Casey tweeted he would be "skipping this political stunt at the White House" and invited the Eagles on a tour of the Capitol instead. ___ Lemire reported from New York. Associated Press writers Darlene Superville and Catherine Lucey in Washington, Errin Haines Whack in Philadelphia and Associated Press Pro Football writer Rob Maaddi contributed to this report......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 6th, 2018

Boxing: Home-bound Jonas Sultan in high spirits after loss to Jerwin Ancajas

History was made last weekend, as for the first time in nearly a century, two Filipino boxers squared off for a world title when reigning IBF Super Flyweight world champion Jerwin Ancajas succesfully defended his title against challenger Jonas Sultan in Fresno, California.  It was the fifth straight successful title defense for Panabo, Davao del Norte's Ancajas, while it was Zamboanga del Norte-native Sultan's first crack at a world championship.  And while it was a clear-cut win for Ancajas, Sultan isn't holding his head down.  The ALA Boxing standout managed to take the defending champion to 12 rounds, losing only via unanimous decision, something that hasn't been done in Ancajas' last four fights prior to facing Sultan.  Sultan is in fact, the first challenger to go the distance with Ancajas.  "It’s ok, I need more practice. More combinations. More distance fighting." said Sultan, who had a reach disadvantage against Ancajas.  The length played a major factor as Ancajas was able to pick Sultan apart with jabs while staying out of the challenger's range.  "I don’t make combinations because he’s a distance fighter. When I go inside, he’s moving outside." Sultan added. "Hindi ko talaga ma-combination kasi malayo na siya. Marunong mag-distansya." At the end of the day however, Sultan is just proud to have been part of history.  "I’m so proud fighting here, it’s my first time. It’s a world title. It’s historical. I do my best."  After months of being away from his family to prepare for this momentous world title opportunity, Sultan finally gets to go back home as he flew back to Cebu, Tuesday morning.  (READ ALSO: Focused on world title, challenger Jonas Sultan sacrifices time with family) So excited was Sultan that he arrived at the departure gates four hours before his scheduled flight.  The 26-year old says he'll take some time off and relax for a bit before getting back to work.    H/T: Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN News.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 29th, 2018

Zaragosa keeps Pinoy pride alive

LUBAO, Pampanga -- Former Callaway world junior boys 11-12 years division champion Rupert “Dodong” Zaragosa made the country proud with a four-under par 68 -- his best in three days -- in the 2018 FISU World University Golf Championship at the Pradera Verde Golf and Country Club here Friday. Zaragosa….....»»

Category: newsSource:  journalRelated NewsMay 18th, 2018

Tigresses Jessey De Leon, Rica Rivera can stun both on, and off the court

The University of Santo Tomas has one of the most decorated women's volleyball programs in Philippine collegiate history. Aside from 15 total championships in the women's division, UST has also produced countless volleybelles who banner the fierce Tigress spirit anywhere they go. Among them are former middle blocker Jessey De Leon, and current starter Rica Jane Rivera.  Both highly-regarded in their positions as modern-day torchbearers of UST's proud tradition of success in the sport, De Leon and Rivera can also carry themselves beyond the four corners of a volleyball court. De Leon is nothing short of a renaissance woman, with her undeniable knack for multi-dimensional mastery of any craft she choses, be it in sports, or her studies. As an architecture graduate, De Leon has built herself a solid foundation when she does decide to hang up her sneakers. And there's more. She has a growing business, an online store for fans of star collegiate athletes in the Philippines that specialize in bags and other accessories. Clearly, Jessey sets herself apart from other successful student-athletes, though, is her relentless drive to keep taking on challenges and finding areas where her smarts, and passion collide to create something beautiful. Meanwhile, Rivera, a part of the UST squad who finished with a lowly 4-10 record this season, has always been a steady presence for the Tigresses. After a promising start to the season, UST's campaign took a wrong turn when Rica, and rookie of the year awardee Milena Alessandrini went down with injuries. The Tigresses struggled mightily but Rivera and Alessandrini returned just in time to help UST rack up another couple of wins to end their season 80. This season will always be a huge 'what if' for UST. But Rivera became the epitome of the Tigresses' undying spirit.  After going down and rising back up, Rivera fought hand-in-hand with her teammates as they get ready for a better outing next season.  Jessey and Rica have shown the confidence worthy of a Tigress each time they have taken the court for the black and gold. And now, it’s time to watch them exude a different kind of pride as they kill it in the fashion department, thanks to H&M Philippines. See De Leon and Rivera in their volleybelle off-duty looks. Watch them trade their casual, laidback style for something edgier and party-ready!.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 8th, 2018

Brighter days seem to be in store for Knicks, new coach Fizdale

By David Aldridge, TNT Analyst There was only one job that made sense for David Fizdale. Despite all the openings for which he interviewed, his pedigree and background -- and, let’s be honest, ambition -- made one gig stand out above the others. And it’s the one he got, with the New York Knicks. New York agreed to a four-year deal with Fizdale last week, a correct pairing of young coach and franchise that is trying to build back up the right way, with an emphasis on defense and conditioning that is right up Fizdale’s alley. No matter the occasional oddity created by working for Jim Dolan, he is an owner who has been willing to spend money when asked, and his team is in the top media market on earth. When you win there, they have parades for you in the Canyon of Heroes, and you almost always wind up in your particular sport’s Hall of Fame. You can’t not take the shot. The Knicks believe they’re in a place where the things Fizdale did in Miami and what he took to Memphis -- his philosophy of culture-building, team-building, discipline and how he connects to players -- were a good fit for where they are as a franchise. Among the 11 candidates the Knicks interviewed for the job, several had more head coaching experience than Fizdale -- whose tenure in Memphis lasted exactly 101 regular season games and six playoff games. But Fizdale checked the most boxes, and at 43, the Knicks are betting he has a lot of growing and improving to do, just as the team does. The Knicks, of course, looked into just why the Grizzlies fired Fizdale so abruptly last season, after just 19 games. Team president Steve Mills and General Manager Scott Perry didn’t just get started in the league last week; they know a lot of people. The chatter around the league was that Memphis chose star center Marc Gasol over Fizdale after the two clashed during the coach’s season-plus there. As I wrote just after Fizdale was fired, the deterioration in their relationship reached the point of no return when Fizdale went after Gasol hard in a film session, basically dismissing the importance of Gasol’s accomplishments overseas, including as a member of the Spanish national team. That that rankled Gasol to no end should have been no surprise to anyone paying attention. The Spanish team’s international triumphs are a point of considerable and understandable pride for both Marc Gasol and his brother, Pau. They helped lead Spain to the greatest era of basketball accomplishment in that country’s history, including a 2006 gold medal at what was then called the FIBA World Championships. Fizdale tried to fix things with Gasol, even flying to Europe after the season to try and make it right. But Gasol was close with majority owner Robert Pera; Fizdale wasn’t. That closed off a potential area of outreach between the two. Gasol had no interest in rapprochement, a stance that Grizzlies players made clear to Fizdale throughout the season. (Caught most in the middle, per league sources, was Grizzlies veteran point guard Mike Conley, Jr., who did and does have strong relationships with both men.) But, importantly, in his discussions with the Knicks, Fizdale took responsibility for his failures with Gasol. He didn’t blame Gasol or anyone else. As one of his chief calling cards is connecting with players, and not finding common ground with Gasol was an L he has to take. “He knew where he messed up and what he’d try to let it never happen again,” said a source who’s spoken with Fizdale since his firing. But, equally importantly, just because Fizdale couldn’t make it work with Gasol doesn’t mean he’s doomed to a similar outcome with All-Star forward Kristaps Porzingis. The 22-year-old’s relationship with the Knicks has been scrutinized within an inch of its life the last couple of years. The toxicity level reached under former president Phil Jackson has abated some, but Porzingis and the team still have some navigation to do -- a trip that is blurred as Porzingis continues rehabbing and recovering from the torn ACL he suffered in February. (Porzingis’s brother, Janis, who serves as his agent, politely declined comment on the Fizdale hire via text Saturday, though the Knicks were in contact with Janis Porzingis during the coaching search.) Porzingis’s injury keeps the Knicks in flux, a position it seems they’ve been in most years since the Nixon administration. He is a potential superstar -- “potential” is used quite deliberately here, as “The Unicorn’s” stans on social media have made a very talented offensive player into something that he is not, at least not yet -- a transcendent player. But, assuming Porzingis ultimately makes a full and healthy return, New York has a terrific building block around which to build. And, they have a chance to really get in the game in the summer of 2019. First, they’ll have to resolve Joakim Noah’s status -- he has two years and roughly $38 million left on his current deal. It’s likely the Knicks will stretch him and the only question is whether that happens before or after next season. If it’s the former, the Knicks can spread the remainder of his salary across five seasons; if the latter, three seasons. Nothing is certain, but it would be surprising to see Noah still in New York by the start of camp. Why saddle a new coach with an old problem? That would leave the Knicks with more flexibility going into ’19, which is when Perry has said he’d like New York to be ready to pounce in free agency -- and when the likes of Kemba Walker, Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard (player option) and Jimmy Butler (player option) can be free agents. But until that bridge year, Fizdale will have to max out the existing roster. Charitably, there’s not a lot there at present that’s proven and has led to much winning anywhere. The Knicks will need to be lucky in next week’s Lottery -- preferably, getting a high enough pick to land one of the elite big men that should be among the top four or five picks in the Draft. If that doesn’t happen, the hope in New York is that until the roster improves, Fizdale can develop the talents of the Knicks’ trio of guards -- Frank Ntilikina, Emmanuel Mudiay and Tim Hardaway, Jr. -- in which New York has invested Draft and literal treasure the last couple of seasons. (It will help that Fizdale’s relationship with Hardaway, Jr., goes back to when the latter was a kid and his father, the master of the killer crossover, worked in the Heat organization after Tim Hardaway Sr.’s playing days ended.) The additional hope is that Fizdale will get Ntilikina in elite shape while honing his competitive edge, and that a full season under Fizdale will let the Knicks know once and for all if Mudiay can be a significant contributor. Fizdale will also have to adjust his nomenclature. Last week’s story in the New York Daily News correctly identified Fizdale’s consistent referencing “the Miami Way” as shorthand for how he wanted to do things in Memphis alienated Grizzlies people who were -- again, justifiably -- proud of the “Grit-n’Grind” era that produced seven straight playoff appearances before this season’s 22-60 crater. And, he’ll have to be prepared to be, perhaps, the biggest face of the franchise, in a city whose media is dogged and nonplussed and will often go off cockeyed in a crazy, incorrect direction. But its influence should never be underestimated. Fizdale is from Los Angeles, and he has a great way with most. And it didn’t hurt him to work some for ESPN while he was between jobs. But he’ll have to learn the media landscape in New York quickly -- who to befriend, who to be wary of, who he can trust and who he cannot. (Also: I’m sure the Knicks pointed out to him that while he had several causes which were near and dear to him in Memphis, from advocating the removal of Confederate statues in the city to lending his name to other civic causes, he needs to win games in Gotham first.) At base, the Knicks will want to see players throughout the roster held accountable, and charged to compete on a nightly basis. There was not enough of either last season under coach Jeff Hornacek -- who, in fairness, didn’t have all that much time to put his stamp on what was a poor roster. Fizdale will get more time. The Knicks’ roster will look a lot different in two years than it does now. Fizdale will have to be a lot different coach than he was in Memphis, as well. Longtime NBA reporter, columnist and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer David Aldridge is an analyst for TNT. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 8th, 2018

UAAP FINALS: Battle of legendary coach Kid Santos’ protégés

It’s just a few days away before the much-anticipated battle for UAAP Season 80 women’s volleyball supremacy between the grand slam-seeking De La Salle University Lady Spikers and the title hungry Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws. But even before the blazing action of the best-of-three championship series begins, one man is already smiling and probably very proud of the legacy he has left behind. Steering the Lady Spikers in their 10th straight Finals appearance is a multi-titled mentor in Ramil de Jesus. A man who for two decades changed DLSU’s volleyball program and gave the Taft-based school 10 titles. On the other side is George Pascua, a true-blue FEU product who delivered UAAP titles during his playing days and when he mentored the men’s team. Pascua is now looking to bring back the old glory of the Lady Tamaraws.      Both are great disciplinarians. No-nonsense coaches who value character, hard work and dedication more than popularity and fanfare. Coaches whose systems rely on teamwork rather than individual talent, mastering the basics of offense and defense while turning their wards into versatile workers and team players.   True men of the sport.    Characters they inherited and influenced by a man considered as the father of FEU volleyball: the late great Florentino "Kid" Santos. The championship series won’t just be about a present power battling a traditional powerhouse, it will also be a showdown between two students who learned their craft from a treasured Filipino volleyball master.   BROTHERS-IN-ARM Santos, who passed away November last year at the age of 67 due to cardiac arrest, brought FEU to numerous titles as a player and continued to do so as a mentor for the Tams and Lady Tams. He played a big role in the school’s total of 54 championships in both divisions and steered FEU to 19 of its 29 women’s crowns. Santos also handled the national team multiple times. But what made Santos great is the number of players he discovered and molded into stars under his Spartan-like training and strict discipline. That list includes De Jesus and Pascua. “Si Coach Ramil outside hitter siya na napakagaling rumeceive, napakabilis ng bola,” recalled Pascua after the postgame interview moments after twice-to-beat FEU booted out Ateneo de Manila University in the Final Four to for the Lady Tams’ first Finals appearance since Season 71.  “(Ako) middle pero napakagaling ko rumeceive din kasi walang libero noon eh,” he added, drawing laughter inside the press room. “Kaya nga tinitingnan namin noong time namin walang palitan ng libero ang gagaling namin rumeceive.”   Pascua was in his rookie year when he played alongside De Jesus, who was then in his swan song. De Jesus was spectacular, Pascua was a promising talent when they marched together in battle with Santos at the helm. With the two playing together, FEU conquered Season 54 for the Tams' back-to-back titles. “Pumasok ako 91. Eh 92 siya grumaduate. So last playing year niya, first year ako. Pero nagpang-abot kami sa UAAP,” added Pascua, who would eventually win two more. In a light moment during the start of the men’s Final Four at the MOA Arena last Saturday, Pascua and De Jesus were spotted seated together watching the match between FEU and three-time defending champion Blue Eagles. They were talking, laughing and were horsing around while reminiscing their playing days.    🤔 #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/88NqdzFmiG — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) April 21, 2018 “Puro kalokohan lang 'yun, wala sa volleyball. Nu’ng time namin, nagku-kwentuhan kami, sabi namin, 'Biruin mo 'yung UP (gym) noon, noong naglalaro tayo, halos hindi mapuno, kahit isang layer lang ng ganoon (seats), tapos nanonood pa 'yung nasa lapag lang, sa UP noong time naming,'” said Pascua. “Tapos nakakasilaw, pag umuulan, tumutulo. Pero tingnan mo o, ang dami, libo-libo ang nanonood.” “Sabi namin, ibang klase ang volleyball ngayon. Hindi kami naging part ng ganito karaming ano pero naging part kami,” added Pascua. “Sabi niya, naging part pa rin tayo kaya naging successful ang volleyball. Sabi niya may contribution pa rin tayo. Kasi (ang usapan naming) about volleyball, mga past namin, kung gaano lumaki ang volleyball kumpara noon hanggang ngayon.” De Jesus in his postgame interview, the day after, shared that it was fun chatting and joking around with his former teammate. “Wala naman kaming pinag-uusapan, ine-enjoy lang namin 'yung game,” said De Jesus, whose squad dismantled National University in straight sets on Sunday. “Dumaan kasi accidentally si Sir (Mark) Molina.  Sabi niya dapat bigyan ng t-shirt 'yan si Coach Ramil. So 'yun, kaya kinukulit niya ako, kasi T-shirt ang binibigay, jacket ang kinuha. Sabi ko 'di ako magsusuot ng jacket. 'Yun ata ang kulitan namin na nakunan (ng TV camera).” Unfortunately, they witnessed the twice-to-beat Tams fall in five-sets against the 55-point onslaught of Ateneo ace Marck Espejo. About 24 hours after that, De Jesus set up a Finals date with Pascua’s Lady Tams. They will be after each other’s neck starting April 28 at the Big Dome.     RIVALRY Long after their playing careers have passed, both found a new calling: coaching. Learning under the tutelage of Santos, Pascua and De Jesus passed on to their wards the same discipline they had under the FEU legend and gave new twists to the system used by their former mentor.     De Jesus was tapped by DLSU to help with their women’s volleyball program. He was the messiah the Taft-based squad had been waiting for. Under his watch, the Lady Spikers transformed into a UAAP superpower collecting 10 titles overall. Pascua stayed with FEU, helping the Tams achieve a three-peat in Season 67 to 69 as the head coach. He steered FEU to its last championship in Season 74. Pascua and De Jesus eventually crossed paths as women’s team mentors in the 2014 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix. The younger mentor handled a powerhouse team in Petron Blaze Spikers while De Jesus built Generika behind his DLSU products. Pascua got the better of De Jesus in four sets in the winner-take-all championship round led by American import Alaina Bergsma and Brazilian setter Erica Adachi. He duplicated his feat the following tournament in the All-Filipino Conference as Petron swept De Jesus’ Shopinas.com Clickers in the best-of-three Finals series. Now on their third head-to-head match in four years, Pascua knows that his commercial league successes won’t matter in De Jesus’ turf. “Champion coach si Coach Ramil, ‘yung team niya may championship experience. Napakagaling na coach niya,” he said.      Though working on a team with a disadvantage in terms on experience in the Finals, De Jesus holds high respect on Pascua’s coaching. Being a product of FEU like him, Pascua won’t back out from a fight.     “Matiyagang tao si George, maganda 'yung ginagawa niya ngayon sa team, and siguro ano, kailangan talaga bantayan 'yung FEU kasi alam ko matiyagang tao 'yun,” said De Jesus. In this series, the DLSU mentor is expecting a tough challenge. Both will have their own advantages in their systems and strategies built on the backbone of Santos’ system. “Kasi bawat coach kasi may kanya-kanyang sistema, so maaring may mga part na nakuha niya dun kay Coach Kid, pero siyempre bawat coach, may gustong gawin sa team na hindi niya na dala-dala 'yung ibang sistema ng naging mentor,” said De Jesus. Whatever the result of the series, whichever shade of green will come up on top, one thing is for sure, the great FEU mentor Santos will surely have a hand in it. Santos’ legacy will have an influence on both sides, whether the title goes to Morayta or to Taft.      ---    Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles    .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 24th, 2018

Alapag, Alab looking to finish strong after overcoming poor start

STA. ROSA---Coming with heightened expectations in its second season, Alab Pilipinas positioned itself as a top flight contender in the 2018 ASEAN Basketball League. However, a 0-3 start casted doubts over the crew's ability to hang with the league's bests and put rookie coach Jimmy Alapag under the microscope. But necessary changes were made. Alab changed its World Imports and had a sponsorship facelift. And now, San Miguel Alab is just three wins away from being the third Filipino team to win the regional crown. Looking back, Alapag could only brim with pride the way his side persevered and straightened up its rough patches early in the season. "I'm just really proud...Keep on reading: Alapag, Alab looking to finish strong after overcoming poor start.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsApr 16th, 2018

PBA Finals: Cabagnot: We want to be labeled as the paradigm of Philippine basketball

Since 2010, Alex Cabagnot has seen it all with the San Miguel franchise. In fact, along with Arwind Santos, they have both won seven titles with the team, see it shift from the Beermen to the Petron Blaze Boosters and back, and everything in between. But since the Filipino-American was traded back to the team in 2015, San Miguel has won six titles, including four straight All-Filipino crowns. Much like Santos, Cabagnot thinks it's high time to be talking about the Beermen's impact on the Philippine basketball scene, especially with the way how they have clinched some of their titles in dramatic fashion. "Nothing good comes easy. To be part of history, we have to go through some adversity. Talagang hindi nag-change yung disposition namin. We established our status quo, and ayun, we came out with the W," Cabagnot said after the post-game celebrations. The 35-year-old sniper added that their team consists of individuals that won't let anyone down, and their team's pride has always been a factor in helping them succeed. "I'm glad that something like this is first time in history, so yung sa isip ng management and the players, other than all the other external stuff, we want to be labelled as the paradigm of Philippine basketball." To be labeled as a paradigm, or a model of Philippine basketball is something tough to be accomplished, but with the way things have been going in the PBA, it looks like San Miguel has earned that distinction. With the impending arrival of number one pick Christian Standhardinger in the Commissioner's Cup, Cabagnot clarifies that it was too early to make predictions, since they have not even played with the bigman. Instead, the "Crunchman" dwelled on the difficulty of making an unprecedented feat in the local basketball scene, and thanks all those who have made it possible. "So I'm just very, very fortunate to be part of this group, to be part of history, and to be under coach Leo, especially to Boss RSA and boss Robert for giving me an opportunity to come back and make some history with the team."   -- Follow this writer on Twitter, @philipptionary......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 7th, 2018

Kings support protesters marching over man shot by police

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The struggling Sacramento Kings find themselves in the national spotlight and it has nothing to do with another disappointing NBA season in their sparkling new two-year-old arena. Instead of looking ahead to the draft lottery as they wind down their 12th consecutive losing season, the Kings — like many nationwide — have turned their attention to demonstrators who have joined hand-in-hand on game nights to block entrances to the building. The wave of protests stem from the March 18 fatal shooting by police of Stephon Clark, a 22-year-old unarmed black man. Kings are at the center of the demonstrations but they have embraced their role in the situation and have been supportive of both the Clark family and the protesters. “This organization has really stepped to the forefront and I wanted to use my voice as much as I could to say to try to say what I believed was right and true,” Kings player Garrett Temple said. “There are a lot of different perspectives and a lot of different things to take into account but it’s been a pretty hectic week.” The demonstrations at Kings’ games have brought heightened attention to the protests and could grow in numbers this weekend. Sacramento police shot Clark eight times — seven from behind, according to autopsy results paid for by the family that were released Friday. The Kings play host to the Golden State Warriors on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). The protests have resonated around the country as large crowds have held demonstrations and marches throughout the city, at one point blocking nearby freeways and surrounding streets in their call for action. Owner Vivek Ranadive made an impassioned pledge of support for the protesters and the community at large following the first round of demonstrations on March 22 after first consulting with his players. The NBA team has partnered with Black Lives Matter Sacramento and the Build. Black. Coalition to create a multiyear partnership that supports the education of young people and to help workforce preparation and economic development efforts in the community. “To see the Kings step up as an organization and start backing other local organizations, that means a great deal,” Temple said. “It shows you that what Vivek said after the game wasn’t just talk, that we really want to step in and help the community with this problem.” Temple, Vince Carter and former Kings player Doug Christie will also join community activists as part of an open forum at a church in south Sacramento on Friday night to discuss the situation and possible solutions. “That’s what it’s all about, raising awareness,” Carter said after a recent game. “Regardless of this being a professional basketball game, the bigger picture and what really matters is what was going on outside and the reason they were out there.” Temple has been one of the most outspoken Kings players since the protests began. “When I was kid being able to listen to an NBA player or see an NBA player, your eyes light up and your ears open,” Temple said. “We have to use that influence that we have in a positive manner.” The protests have been mostly non-violent. Beyond blocking traffic, the demonstrators have created a few problems for businesses in downtown Sacramento. They’ve come at a financial cost for the Kings, too. Protesters have twice blocked entrances to Golden1 Center, forcing the arena into a lockdown mode. Only 2,400 fans made it inside for the March 22 (Mar. 23, PHL time) game against the Atlanta Hawks. Three days later the demonstrators stayed away as the Kings hosted the Boston Celtics but they returned on March 27 (Mar. 28, PHL time) when they took on the Dallas Mavericks and forced another lockdown of the arena and prevented all but 4,000 fans from entering. For a team that has drawn an average crowd of 17,500 this season, the lost revenue from ticket sales alone is more than $1 million by conservative estimates after refunds were offered to those fans who didn’t get in. That doesn’t include lost income from concession stands and merchandise sales. But Ranadive, the first person of Indian descent to own an NBA franchise, said after the Hawks game, “We stand here before you, old, young, black, white, brown, and we are all united in our commitment.” Warriors coach Steve Kerr watched Ranadive’s speech on television in awe. He said, “I was very proud of the way the Kings handled it and the way the NBA handled it.” Other players around the league who have played in Sacramento since the protests began expressed their concerns over the situation while praising the Kings for getting involved, including Harrison Barnes and Dirk Nowitzki of the Mavericks and Terry Rozier of the Celtics. Former Kings players DeMarcus Cousins and Matt Barnes offered to pay for Clark’s funeral. Barnes, a Sacramento native who spent part of last season with the Kings, was also a pallbearer at the funeral and has organized a march prior to Saturday’s (Sunday, PHL time) game against the Warriors. “The beauty of the game is that we have this platform to be able to speak about these things and to be able to speak about police brutality, citizen-police relationships, disproportionate amount of African-Americans getting killed,” said Barnes, who spent his first four seasons playing in Oakland about 90 minutes south of Sacramento. “It’s important that we use that platform to talk about these things “Our hearts and condolences go out to the families of those of both sides that have been affected.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 31st, 2018

Morning Tip Q& A: DeMar DeRozan

By David Aldridge, TNT Analyst The tweet was posted at 6:06 a.m. on Feb. 17 (7:06pm, PHL time), and while there have occasionally been positive tweets sent out at that hour, this one got people’s attention for the wrong reasons. This depression get the best of me... — DeMar DeRozan (@DeMar_DeRozan) February 17, 2018 That it came from the Twitter account of a four-time NBA All-Star, whose team was en route to the best season in franchise history, only added to the confusion. But there it was. “This depression get the best of me...” DeMar DeRozan tweeted, and it surprised just about everyone, because the 28-year-old is pretty quiet most of the time. But DeRozan has been carrying a lot on his plate. Not only is trying to lead Toronto somewhere it’s never been before, but has never has as a good a chance before, either -- The Finals -- but he’s been doing it while going back and forth between Toronto and Los Angeles, where his father, Frank DeRozan, has been hospitalized for weeks. Frank DeRozan has been DeMar’s biggest coach, biggest critic and biggest champion his whole life, never being satisfied as his son rose through the ranks of basketball, from Compton High to USC to the NBA. But Frank DeRozan has suffered health setbacks in recent years -- a stroke and significant kidney problems, per the Toronto Sun -- and DeMar has gone bicoastal multiple times to be with his dad, never missing a game in the process. (Frank DeRozan was able, though, to temporarily leave the hospital last month in L.A. to go to Staples Center to see DeMar play for Team Stephen in the All-Star Game.) In his ninth season in Toronto -- he’s never asked for a trade and agreed almost immediately to a $139 million extension with the Raptors in 2016, never even looking at free agency -- DeRozan has scored less than he did last season, but is averaging a career-high 5.2 assists and gone all in on Toronto’s “culture reset,” as GM Masai Ujiri put it after the Raptors went out again in the playoffs last year. After years of resisting, arguing not without merit that he was a master of the mid-range game, DeRozan has embraced the three-pointer this season, obliterating his previous highs for attempts and makes behind the arc, and keeping the ball moving both to fellow All-Star Kyle Lowry and to the team’s emerging cast of young, talented players, who’ve helped carry the load all season. After winning Sunday (Monday, PHL time), the Raptors are an Eastern Conference best 45-17, and are closing in on home court throughout the playoffs in the East. All would seem to be great. But, as DeRozan’s social media statement made clear (and, to his credit, he acknowledged it was him and that he wasn’t hacked, and he hasn’t taken the Tweet down), life sometimes gets in the way of all our dreams. David Aldridge: So, your dad was able to come to Staples Center to see you at the All-Star Game. How was that for him? DeMar DeRozan: It was good. It was real good. He had a good time. It was cool for him to be able to come out and experience it and enjoy it. It made me feel good. He was happy about it. DA: And how is he doing? DD: Every day is one of them things where you just don’t know until he’s home. Until he gets home, that’s when I think I’ll be more comfortable, knowing, cool, you’re out of there. He’s been in there since Dec. 23. It’s March 2nd. I know just that is bothering him, being in there and wanting to get out. Just on top of that, my mom, when I was home the other day, my mom was telling me ‘this is the longest I’ve been without my husband in 30-plus years.’ Stuff like that, that’s the rough part of it. DA: So is that where your head’s at right now? DD: Without a doubt. For sure. One thing I always try to do whenever I go out there and play is try to do whatever I can, knowing I’m so far, doing something I know will make them proud, make them feel good, give them a kind of energy. That’s kind of where I’ll be with it. DA: Is it hard to compartmentalize? So many people say the court is their refuge? DD: For me, it’s easy to do, from the moment of playing to kind of lock in and focus and kind of indulge in that moment. It’s crazy you say that, because Kyle, he’s one of my closest friends, he knows me so well. A lot of times after the game, the first thing he’ll say to me is ‘back to reality.’ He knows now our night is over. Now I have to go back and get into the reality of DeMar. It’s crazy. DA: What have you heard from folks since you sent that tweet out? DD: Man, where haven’t I heard from? Honestly, the response, I can honestly say that I wouldn’t have even thought how the response, how it came out, I wouldn’t have thought I’d ever gotten anything like that. Especially me. I’ve never been one who wanted any type of attention, good nor bad. The response I got from people was so uplifting, positive, refreshing. It’s crazy. It’s crazy. But it made me feel good. You just look at certain things. People say ‘you helped me. Because if you’re going through something like this, I can get through it.’ It’s incredible. By far one of the most incredible things in my career that I’ve witnessed outside of basketball. DA: So you could be a role model in a whole different way. DD: For sure. I never looked at myself and said ‘man, I want to be a role model.’ But something like that is extremely important. It’s all walks of life. I done had high school players, college players, older people. I had one older coach that I’ve known text me and tell me, ‘if there was a player when I was young that I’d seen or witnessed who was going through something (like this), it would have helped me -- then -- not be an alcoholic.’ It was incredible to hear words like that. It’s been one of them things where I’m like, ‘damn, I’m just speaking the truth.’ It’s crazy. DA: Is there anything you’re doing formally or officially now to deal with it? DD: Nah. I think I’m going to definitely, once we’re all said and done, probably the summertime for sure, I’ll be open arms about it without a doubt. At the end of the day, it’s like it’s one of them things where you can’t play basketball forever, but if there’s something I can do that will outlast it and be helpful, be bigger than basketball, I’m all for it. It’s life. DA: So y’all are in this new position on top of the East. You’ve been good for a minute over the years, but this is the top of the top. Is the vibe different in the locker room? DD: Definitely. It’s more, we have fun with one another, but we understand it’s bigger than us all. We, all of us -- young guys, all of me. Me and Kyle always tell the young guys, ‘this opportunity doesn’t always come around that often. Take advantage of this and be all for it. Before you know it, you’re going to be 10 years in, and the opportunity may not come again. Take full advantage of it.’ And everybody understands that. We see it now, especially when we have games where we lose a game. We think we’re on a 10-game losing streak. That’s how we approach coming in the next day at practice, or the next game. It’s great to have that kind of feeling and vibe. DA: How do you know when you’re all locked in? DD: You just know. I always look at my guy Kyle, and you know he’s gonna ride or die with you. But it’s crazy when you’re able to look over at a guy like Pascal (Siakam), or Freddie (Van Vleet), or Delon (Wright), these young guys who only have a couple of years in the league, they’ve got the same look that Kyle’s got. That says a lot about the team. Because you know when those young guys go in, they’re some dogs, too. That’s the beauty of it, and it shows. DA: So, about those young guys. You know what you’re gonna do in the playoffs, and you know what Kyle’s gonna do, and Jo. But if you’re going to beat an elite team in the playoffs, the young guys are gonna have to perform. DD: Yeah. And they have. I lost count of how many games our starters haven’t even played in the fourth quarter. Against good teams, not just lower teams. There have been times where we’re playing some great teams, and the coaches come in and look at us, and we’re like, ‘nah, let them finish out the game. They’ve got this.’ It’s great to have that type of confidence in the young guys. It’s amazing. I know we get a lot of credit, but they deserve just as much credit. DA: So is this the most optimistic you’ve been going into the postseason? DD: Yeah. Because we’ve done felt the fails. We’ve been at the top, and we fell all the way to the bottom. We know what that feels like. We know what it feels like getting closer and closer. We understand the moments. That’s the beauty of failing sometimes. Nobody wants to fail, but you have to to understand what it takes to succeed. And I think that’s where we’re at mentally, and we understand what we have to do. Longtime NBA reporter, columnist and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer David Aldridge is an analyst for TNT. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 6th, 2018

BEST OF 5 PART 2: In 2006, the reign of the Red Lion began

Read Part 1 of ABS-CBN Sports’ Best of 5 series on the San Beda Red Lions here. --- San Beda College is the winningest team in all of NCAA basketball. With 21 championships in the Seniors division, they have four more than second-running archrival Colegio de San Juan de Letran. Almost half of that total comes from the last 12 years where the Red Lions have claimed 10 titles. A dozen years ago, Mendiola having the rightful claim as the winningest all but seemed to be a far- fetched idea. Back in 2005, the red and white only had 11 championships in the Seniors division – way behind what the Knights had. THIS ISN’T WHAT YOU KNOW Then, San Beda was not the dynasty that it is now – and not even one of the top contenders as that recognition belonged to Letran and Philippine Christian University. More than that, they were also right smack in the middle of a 28-year title drought, with their last title coming in the late ‘70s. That 1978 championship was under the guidance of famed mentor Bonnie Carbonell. After him, a number of coaches tried to take home the championship for the Red Lions only to come up short time and again. THEN AND NOW Enter Koy Banal in 2005 and continuing into 2006. And just to give him a good start, he brought along the very same Carbonell who was the school’s last vestige of a championship. “I brought in Freddie Abuda sa coaching staff to add to Chito Victolero and JB Sison who were already there. More important was I also got coach Bonnie Carbonell who was my hero,” he shared. He then continued, “He’s the one who inspired me to coach and he was the last coach who gave San Beda a championship.” As it turns out, Carbonell’s arrival was some sort of premonition as that year was the magical season they had long been waiting for. Even Banal, 11 years since and numerous stints in the PBA and PBA D-League after, could not forget that magical season. As he put it, “That year was really special. That is still in my heart, that is still in my memory. You won’t forget those experiences.” THE EARLY BIRD GETS THE WORM So much so that the now 56-year-old head coach could still narrate what had happened then like it was yesterday. The story of San Beda’s modern-day dynasty starts at the end of Season 81 – following another finish outside of the playoff picture. “Right after our last game in Season 81, I just gave the players one week off,” Banal recalled. “I told them Season 82 is already starting for us.” And so, from October of 2005 onto 2006, they were already gearing up for another shot at ending an almost three-decade long title drought. KINGS OF THE QUEEN CITY OF THE SOUTH That gearing up took them as Cebu where, in Banal’s eyes, all came together for them. “Ang key rito is yung aming preparation. I wanted to create adversity kasi nga I wanted to buil their character kaya we went to Cebu,” he said. He then continued, “’Di lang kami sa isang gym naglaro. Nagpunta kami mismo sa campuses – sa UV (University of Visayas), sa UC (University of Cebu), sa USC (University of San Carlos), USJ-R (University of San Jose-Recoletos. Yun talaga yung key kasi araw-araw na laro tapos may practice pa.” He also added, “Dun talaga kami nag-bond kasi biro mo, magkakasama kami ng one week. Dun talaga nabuo ang San Beda.” Still, all those preparations would have been all for naught without game-changing players. CATALYST FOR CHANGE Fortunately for Mendiola, that time also saw them with perhaps the biggest game-changer in the history of the NCAA. Banal’s very first order of business when he took the job was to bring in a big man – and not just a big man, but a dominant big man. “The primary plan was to recruit a dominant big man because that was the problem of San Beda in the previous seasons. The solution to the problem? A six-foot eight-inch powerhouse hailing from Nigeria. “We brought in Sam Ekwe. I believe his arrival turned the tides for us kasi Rookie (of the Year)-MVP, ano pa bang pwedeng ibigay sa kanya nun,” the mentor said. Indeed, from the get-go, Ekwe proved to be a force the league had not seen before and averaged 10.6 points, 16.5 rebounds, and three blocks. While he has always had the tools, Banal said what made him special was that he was more than willing to know more about how to make good use of those tools. “Very dominant, but willing to learn and listen and follow. Kaya I would like to give the credit to Freddie Abuda kasi siya ang tumutok talaga,” he said. BREAKTHROUGH With Ekwe wowing just about everybody all the way to both the MVP and RoY awards, the Red Lions followed his lead all the way to the championship round. There, they bested the Dolphins – then with future PBA stars such as Beau Belga, Jayson Castro, Gabby Espinas – in an epic three-game series. And it wasn’t even until the very last seconds when Belga’s would-be game-winner clanged off the rim and into the hands of Yousif Aljamal that the decision was definite – Mendiola’s title drought has come to an end. For the head coach who ended it all, even at that moment, he knew full well that it wasn’t about him. “Yung iniisip ko talaga, para sa mga players e. Yung sakripisyo nila, nagbunga kaya kung makikita mo yung video nun, bawat isa, umakap sa akin e,” he said. He then continued, “Special talaga yun, nasa puso ko yun at ‘di makakalimutan. Nothing compares to the championship we all won in San Beda.” FULL CIRCLE As if the good ending needed to be even better, that 28-year wait was tied up neatly by the presence of one Bonnie Carbonell – the head coach of the last title before the drought and a consultant of the first title after the drought. “After winning the championship, kami ni coach Bonnie, may maganda kaming kuha na nag-akapan kaming dalawa. ‘Di ko rin makakalimutan yun,” Banal said. Until now, it’s not just Banal who hasn’t forgotten. Nobody at all will be forgetting about San Beda, winners of 10 of the last 12 championships, anytime soon. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 29th, 2017

Panthers sale sparks buzz in political, business circles

By Steve Reed, Associated Press CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The stunning news of the rare opportunity to purchase an NFL team has quickly garnered the attention of sports figures, business investors and politicians alike. Amid reports of sexual and racial remarks made by Carolina Panthers owner and founder Jerry Richardson in the workplace, he has unexpectedly announced that he is selling the NFL franchise after this season ends. It was a bombshell that rocked the Carolinas, and generated shockwaves inside and out of the organization. The team Monday promoted Tina Becker as COO and gave her full control of the day-to-day operations. Becker said in a release that “these have been some of the most difficult days of my 19 years with the Panthers.” She added that her immediate focus will be on corporate side of the organization, “while addressing the real concerns that have been raised in recent days.” Richardson, meanwhile, stepped away from daily responsibilities to focus on the sale of the team — which will come with a multi-billion dollar price tag. That’s what is known, but Richardson’s decision to walk away after nearly 25 years as owner has left more questions than answers about the franchise’s future — most notably, who will buy it and will they keep the team in Charlotte. Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles said she is committed to working to keep the team in Charlotte. “The City of Charlotte values its long-running relationship with the Panthers after more than 22 seasons of NFL football,” Lyles said in a statement to The Associated Press. “The Panthers are part of Charlotte’s fabric. We’ve celebrated victories and anguished over defeats. We understand transitions are inevitable, and we look forward to working with current and future ownership.” The Panthers are tethered to Charlotte through the 2018 season because of an agreement on an $87.5 stadium renovation between the city and the team in 2013. That renovation is nearly complete. But a buyer could potentially purchase the team and move it in 2019. Former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, who was mayor of Charlotte when the Panthers settled into their new stadium, has seen both sides. He also was the mayor when the Hornets left town. He said another question might be about Bank of America stadium. “Will (the new owners) ask for government subsidy to continue to improve the stadium, or, in fact, even build a new stadium, like what’s happened in Atlanta and Dallas?” McCrory said. “That would be a tall order.” He said it will be a business decision— and the highest bidder will get the team, to possibly do with it as they chose. “Unless the NFL steps in and says, ’No, you need to have a local ownership group,’” he said, “which I’d encourage them to do.” Panthers coach Ron Rivera was “a little taken aback” when Richardson informed him Sunday night of his decision to sell the team. But he too believes the Panthers should remain in Charlotte. “This organization has been a source of pride and goodwill and I would like to it continue,” Rivera said Monday. “This is a great community with a very supportive fan base that has been out there for us. They have been here for me and this football team and I hope that somehow it is able to stay here.” The chance to purchase an NFL team has potential suitors coming out of the woodwork. Rapper and actor Diddy indicated his interest in purchasing the Panthers on Twitter moments after Richardson’s announcement. Two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry, a Charlotte native, chimed in with “I want in!” NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick has also expressed interest. Other businessmen with Charlotte connections could show interest as well. Speedway Motorsports chairman Bruton Smith and his son, CEO Marcus Smith, have previously expressed interest in purchasing the Panthers should the opportunity arise. And the Panthers are loaded with minority owners including real estate magnate “Smoky” Bissell, Family Dollar founder Leon Levine and members of the Belk family. Developer Johnny Harris, who was instrumental in luring the Wells Fargo Championship — and later the PGA Championship — to Charlotte, could also decide to increase his ownership stake in the team. Let’s not forget Michael Jordan. The six-time NBA champion owns the Hornets. However, Jordan’s interest level is unknown and his representative Estee Portnoy said she had no comment on the Panthers sale. More names will surely emerge over the next several weeks, but they need to be ready to write a big check. Forbes Magazine recently estimated the Panthers worth at $2.3 billion. And those numbers could be low. Forbes estimated the Buffalo Bills at a net worth of $935 million in 2013, but the team wound up selling in 2014 for $1.4 billion — nearly 50 percent higher than the estimate — according to magazine’s website. Before any sale can be finalized, it will need the approval of 24 of 32 NFL owners. The Panthers have a lot to offer potential suitors: — They are on the cusp of reaching the playoffs for the fourth time in five seasons. — They have sold out 225 of their 227 home games in team history, including 157 straight. — They feature several recognizable stars including 2015 NFL MVP Cam Newton and 2013 Defensive Player of the Year Luke Kuechly. Panthers tight end Ed Dickson said fans don’t deserve to have a team ripped out from underneath them. “It’s growing, it’s definitely been growing,” Dickson said of the fan base. “We are striving to build something that Dallas has, and Pittsburgh has. We don’t have that much history here. But one of the reasons I came here was to be a part of something special. When we do get to the top of the mountain and win a Super Bowl — then we have something to celebrate here” in the Carolinas. At least in 2017 and 2018, after that, it’s unclear where the party would be. ___ AP Writer Skip Foreman contributed to this report......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 19th, 2017

Stalzer expected to play for Petron in the 2018 Grand Prix

American volleyball player Lindsay Stalzer is expected to be back next year when the Petron Blaze Spikers try to redeem themselves in the Philippine Superliga Grand Prix. The Blazer Spikers import will return to the US Monday evening but will fly back to Manila when Petron begins its build up for the 2018 edition of the import-laden conference opening on February 2018.     Stalzer, a two-time Grand Prix champion and former Most Valuable Player, came up short of claiming her third conference crown when Petron bowed to F2 Logistics on Saturday in four sets in the decider of the best-of-three Finals. “I think the plan is to come back for the next Grand Prix,” said Stalzer, who was San Miguel Beer’s muse during the traditional parade of teams in the opening rites of the 43rd PBA Sunday at the Big Dome. Stalzer, who won two titles with Foton before transferring to Petron, and compatriot Hillary Hurley tried to rally the Blaze Spikers back after going down, 1-2, in Game 3. But the Blaze Spikers were unable to stop the rampaging Cargo Movers led by Venezuelan import and eventual MVP winner Maria Jose Perez, American Kennedy Bryan and the core of many-time UAAP champion De La Salle University led by Cha Cruz, Kim Fajardo, Majoy Baron and Dawn Macandili.  Still, Stalzer was happy with Petron’s run. “We had a really strong showing all season. In the regular season we had that one loss to F2 and I think it’s a fluke and we should’ve won that match. And then ups and downs in the playoffs but then we made it to the Finals and I’m very proud of that. I thought we had the championship but we let that slip away,” she said. Putting their painful Grand Prix loss behind, the 33-year old stunner told reporters how she enjoined her stint as SMB’s muse. “I have no idea what to expect this such a beautiful, big production. I’m honored to be one of the muses, it was a lot of fun,” she said. “It’s really fun to kickoff this event this season and I’m just happy to be a part of it.” “I have no idea (why they chose me to be their muse). They just asked just a few days ago,” said Stalzer. “(But) it’s always fun to dress up and wear something other than volleyball clothes.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 17th, 2017

Atlanta Hawks get in sync at new practice facility

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com ATLANTA -- The pregnant check written by Hawks owner Tony Ressler for the team’s glossy new 90,000 square foot training center didn’t concern him as much as the more numerous, smaller ones. As in: Double practice courts? Check. Outdoor swimming pool? Check. Grilling area and on-site gourmet chefs? Check. Video game consoles and a fleet of flat-screen TVs? Check and double check. Still, Ressler and the folks at Emory Healthcare, which teamed with the Hawks to blueprint the place, wanted more for the $50 million. And so they checked off another amenity: An East Coast hub of a California sports science lab that developed a cult following among a number of players and over half the league’s teams. Peak Performance Project carted computers, high-tech gadgets and cutting edge fitness equipment from its Santa Barbara headquarters to set up shop in Atlanta. The company, or P3, helped the Hawks raise the bar in what’s become a practice facility building boom in the NBA, where the Bulls, Sixers, Nets, Kings and Raptors all recently moved into or building swanky centers that could double as country clubs. Yes, the gourmet meals, hydrotherapy pools and theater seating is quite a refreshing change from the prehistoric places in which teams trained before. The Hawks’ old setup was inside Philips Arena, where ironically players had to climb stairs to reach the Stairmaster machines and had the disadvantage of only one practice court. Perhaps the Ground Zero of practice centers, however, was used by the Nets some 20 years ago in New Jersey. They shared a gym, weight room and a locker room with pot-bellied drivers from the owner’s trucking company. Yes, Derrick Coleman sometimes showered next to Fred from Bayonne. Not only have facilities come a long way — the Nets now train on the Brooklyn waterfront with a panoramic view of Lower Manhattan — so has sports science and how it’s being embraced as a necessary part of the game. Ten years ago nobody in the NBA had their bodies poked by scientists or 'scoped by modern technology to learn more about the way those bodies function. Then P3 came along and quickly became the gold standard of technology and sports and a go-to place in the offseason for players looking for an edge. If the NBA All-Star Game draws the biggest collection of talent around the league during the year, then an athletic science lab in Santa Barbara might be next. Damian Lillard, Karl-Anthony Towns, Rudy Gobert, Zach LaVine, Andre Drummond and Kyle Korver are just some of those seduced by science. P3 collects data through assessments of a player’s body and his high velocity movements to identify his physical strengths and weaknesses, raise red flags for areas that could be prone to potential injury, and give him and his team information to help improve performance. There’s also training sessions designed to prevent injuries and enhance the muscles and movements needed to reach potential, an elite athlete optimization that’s suddenly vital to careers. “Their assessments and the data they collect are so valuable to helping you understand what needs to be done,” said Korver. “No question it was so important for my career.” In a section of the Hawks facility used exclusively for P3, there’s a straight running track, some free weights, and hi-tech treadmills. It looks simple, and in a sense, it is, although the science and technology sets it apart and makes it unique. The center can test and train 12 to 15 athletes at a time over a two-hour period. Thousands of athletes from various Olympic, amateur and pro sports have been through the doors in Santa Barbara. No athlete can train without an assessment first. Once the data is received, then a workout conducted by bio-mechanists and performance specialists and tailored specifically for that athlete, based on the results. There’s no one-size-fits-all philosophy at P3. “It’s all individualized,” said Adam Hewitt, the director of operations at P3. “All bodies are different. You can have two guys the same size and have completely different systems. One might have flexibility in his lower, but the other doesn’t. Our thought is, how do we make the athlete better using this technology?” Hewitt said this process is light years ahead of what athletes and teams did just a few years ago, mainly because science and technology is evolving and P3 is trying to stay ahead of the curve. “Others aren’t using bio-technology to assess their athletes,” he said. “We’re showing the value that we can offer. We’ve invested so much and for so long.” P3 looks at the bodies in motion with the help of motion-capture technology similar to those used in video games. The images and information allow P3 to craft workouts to strengthen limbs and also to avoid injury. Just as NBA teams have spent millions building new practice facilities and hiring nutritionists and massage therapists, Elliott thinks it’s wise they make an investment in science. “There’s a revolution going on in sports science and athlete care,” he said. “I think it was overdue in professional sports. Your average sprinter or speed skater has more science data in his physical development and he’s working a part time job at a restaurant to make ends meet. He has more resources going for him than someone you’re paying $20 million a year. That made no sense to me. Contracts are too big and players are too important to take anything to chance. There’s a lot to lose. Even if you don’t understand it all, why wouldn’t you at least want the information on the table? If you don’t have all the information then is hard to play the probability game. You’re making bets on big contracts and on players being able to perform and stay healthy.” The use of force plates to measure explosiveness while jumping is of great use for NBA players and why P3 has growing influence on most of the league. “The NBA is leading our pro sports leagues,” Elliott said. “As a league, they should be proud. The other leagues are trying to copy them. The NFL is trying to catch up, baseball, hockey, teams are starting to hire smarter people and investing more in their performance sports science staffs. A lot has changed. I feel the biggest thing is we’ve been so invested in getting insight into the data. “There’s people in academics asking questions, and people in sport are trying to do the best they can. Rarely do they come together. Our motto is bringing these together. It’s super exciting to see. At the risk of sounding pompous I’d say I’m proud of it. I know the NBA is happy because they can see the bar’s being raised.” The P3 in Atlanta will operate same as usual, with no advertising, just word of mouth and a growing number of clients. The lab anticipates helping NBA players improve their ankle and hip mobility and put them in better position to succeed through science. “It’s about turning it back to advantages to the athlete,” Elliott said. “These guys are super unique.” Veteran NBA writer Shaun Powell has worked for newspapers and other publications for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here or 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 NewsDec 16th, 2017

NHL debuted 100 years ago with contract snags and many goals

OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — It was a night of sticky ice, last-minute player signings and a small crowd. Such were the glitches when the NHL it made its debut 100 years ago. Now, the world's premier hockey league celebrates its centennial with an outdoor game Saturday night between the Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators. The days of multimillion-dollar contracts, instant replays and Florida were a long way off when the four-team NHL's first games took place on Dec. 19, 1917, while a gruesome war raged in Europe. The Canadiens took on an early incarnation of the Senators in Ottawa while the Toronto Arenas played the Wanderers in Montreal. The daily newspapers of the time, and their anonymous scribes, dutifully recorded the color and chaos of the league's emergence from the ashes of the National Hockey Association, alongside advertisements for gramophones, dyspepsia tablets and handkerchiefs. Ottawa dominated the Canadiens in the final NHA season, winning six of seven matchups. But for their first NHL meeting, the Senators were missing top scorer Frank Nighbor, an enlisted airman whose military commitment kept him off the ice. The "Pembroke Peach" would go on to win several Stanley Cups with the Ottawa team. One of his descendants, Derek Nighbor, plans to be at Ottawa's TD Place Stadium for the NHL 100 Classic game with his brother and nephew, sporting their heritage Sens jerseys emblazoned with Frank's No. 6. "Our family's pretty proud of the connection," he said. "It's not only the Nighbor name, but it's Pembroke. Still today, with our Junior 'A' Lumber Kings, hockey is really central to life in the Ottawa Valley." The 1917 edition of the Senators had another headache on opening night: contract disputes meant several players signed at the 11th hour and two — Jack Darragh and Hamby Shore — even missed the first part of the game. Canadiens sharpshooter Joe Malone scored three times in the first period, and Montreal led 5-3 heading into the third. Ottawa forced the play, but "it was useless, what looked like sure goals being missed by overskating the puck, missing passes and poor shooting," the Ottawa Journal reported. Montreal won 7-4. Ottawa might have fared better if it had begun the game at full strength, said the Journal, adding that the ice became "very sticky" near the end of the game "may have had a lot to do with their poor work here." The Daily Star confidently predicted the hometown Torontos, as the team was known, "should win in a walk" over the Wanderers, though the paper later acknowledged the Montreal roster was "not as weak" as player-coach Art Ross — future namesake of the league scoring trophy — "would have it believed." The Wanderers president invited soldiers who had been injured overseas to attend the Montreal Arena as guests. Even so, the Montreal Gazette noted the turnout of 700 was "one of the smallest crowds" to see a season opener and "many of the well-known patrons of the game were missing." A Star story concluded that the game had the look of an opener, finding the hockey "pretty rough in spots." The Torontos were said to have shown "plenty of speed and dash on the attack, but were weak on the defence." Their goaltending also failed to impress, with starter Sammy Hebert chased from the net in favor of Art Brooks. "Sammy Hebert couldn't stop a flock of balloons," a fan told the Star. One reporter considered the Wanderers lucky to win, with Montreal hanging on for a 10-9 victory. No fewer than 20 minor penalties and two majors were handed out, the Ottawa Journal reported, saying the "game was not rough, but the players were irritable." Wanderers center Harry Hyland, who scored five goals, sustained the only injury. The puck bounced off his own goalie's stick and "struck him a terrific smash fair in the eye, knocking him out." The Montreal arena burned down just weeks later and the Wanderers disbanded. In the playoffs, Toronto defeated the Canadiens for the league championship. The season was notable for a major rule change in January 1918 — allowing goalies to drop to the ice to stop the puck. The league also tried to stay a stride ahead of devious fans by providing referees with special whistles, preventing people in the crowd from stopping play by blowing the same kind used by officials. "They are really wonders in their way," the Star noted, saying "their sound resembles something between the roaring of an infuriated bull and the summer night lullaby of the latter's amphibious namesake, the bullfrog.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 16th, 2017

Good news for UST? Tiger Cub star CJ Cansino wants to stay

CJ Cansino has had a double-double for University of Sto. Tomas in all six games thus far in the UAAP 80 Men’s Basketball Tournament. The result for those double-doubles? Four wins, two losses, and solo third in the standings for the Tiger Cubs. Unlike last season when it was quite too little too late for his breakout, the second-year swingman has wasted no time making his presence felt. “Tinuloy ko lang din po yung magandang second round ko last year kasi nanghinayang ako sa first round ko nun. Wala akong kumpyansa nun kasi nabigla ako na UAAP na ‘to,” he shared. He then continued, “Bumalik na lang yung kumpyansa ko nung kinausap na ako palagi nila coach kung ano talagang role ko.” Now, the UST coaching staff is nothing but proud that their tantalizing talent is finally making his mark. From a skinny teen representing De La Salle Araneta and first eyed by Far Eastern University-Diliman, Cansino is now a reason for hope in Espana. “Galing po akong La Salle Araneta tapos nag-try rin ako sa FEU kaso magulo po yung nangyari. Naghanap po kami ng iba pang kukuha sa akin and buti na lang, merong UST,” he recalled. He then continued, “Sabi ng parents ko rin po kasi, pati yung pag-aaral, maganda sa UST.” As it turns out, the Valenzuela native made the right decision and is now the featured player for the Tiger Cubs. In fact, in their near upset of powerhouse Nazareth School of National University, he almost singlehandedly won the game. CJ. Cansino. Wow. Just wow. UST finally has another talented wing on its hands. His and-1 right through two defenders gives his team a 72-57 lead. — Normie Riego (@riegogogo) Nobyembre 26, 2017 Cansino stepback threee! Tiger Cubs lead, 75-60. — Normie Riego (@riegogogo) Nobyembre 26, 2017 Then CJ Cansino shuts me up with a threee over the outstretched arms of Paul Manalang. 80-76 UST. — Normie Riego (@riegogogo) Nobyembre 26, 2017 Cansino blocks Manalang! But Manabat turns it over! These errors are killing UST! Ball back to NU, their lead is 87-85, 12.8 to go. — Normie Riego (@riegogogo) Nobyembre 26, 2017 For Cansino, it was all about giving back to the school which gave him a chance. “Ngayong last season ko na, binubuhos ko na lahat para mapanalo ang UST,” he said. And it’s not just in the Juniors and in the present, but also in the Seniors and in the future – if he had his way. “Sana nga po, tumuloy rin ako sa Seniors para bigyan din ako ng pagkakataon na iangat yung Growling Tigers kasi sobrang baba na ng pride pagdating sa basketball. Gusto ko ring i-prove sa Seniors na may magagawa ako for UST,” he said. The do-it all player is being touted as the next coming of Kevin Ferrer – a Juniors MVP as a Tiger Cub who went on to star for the Growling Tigers in the Seniors. As a 17-year-old, the six-foot-five Ferrer averaged 22 points, 12.1 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks en route to the MVP. As an 18-year-old, the six-foot-two Cansino is norming 26.8 points, 12.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.8 assists and is one of the clear frontrunners for MVP. As of the moment, whether or not Cansino will be able to follow in the footsteps of Ferrer is not yet a certainty. However, the current King Tiger Cub wants to make it clear he hopes to keep donning the gold and white. “Nasa kanila na yun, pero first option ko, siyempre UST. Nasa puso ko na talaga yung Tigers at gusto ko talagang maglaro para sa kanila,” he said. That’s still for tomorrow, though. For now, Canisno just wants to bring his team back to the Final Four for the first time in six years. “Masaya po ako na nabigyan ako ng ganitong chance. Yung pinaghirapan ko na kahit injured ako ng eight months, nagpapasalamat ako na maganda pa rin ang pagkabalik ko,” he said. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 15th, 2017