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Willett struggling to rediscover game before Masters defense

STEVE DOUGLAS, AP Sports Writer ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Danny Willett has 2½ months to rediscover his game before making a pressure-filled return to Augusta National as the defending Masters champion. br /> Odds are that won't be long enough. Willett finished 2016 in a rut after dealing with fresh levels of attention for being a major winner as well as a mid-season swing change. Following a short off-season when he sacrificed practice to enjoy a break from golf and his first Christmas as a father, his start to 2017 is hardly encouraging. br /> Rounds of 74 and 76 saw Willett become the biggest name to miss the cut at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship on Friday. He was 121st in a 126-man field, with his second round marred by a quadruple bogey 9 at the 10th when everything that could go wrong did go wrong. br /> Next comes the defense of his Dubai Desert Classic title in two weeks. Then all roads lead to Augusta for the Masters starting April 6. br /> 'I think if I'm playing bad, the attention will die down quite nicely, to be honest,' Willett said, when asked if the build-up to the Masters will be a hindrance. br /> Initially, the green jacket weighed heavily on the shoulders of Willett. Everyone wanted a piece of him after he capitalized on Jordan Spieth's back-nine collapse to be a surprise winner of the Masters. He popped up inside Wimbledon's Royal Box, and was a guest at the World Snooker Championship in his home city of Sheffield. br /> The attention died down, allowing him to return his focus to golf. But he is without a win since Augusta and has only three top-10 finishes in that eight-month period. br /> 'At the end of last year, I was working hard and doing the right things, but it was like I was knocking my head against a brick wall,' Willett said. 'I wasn't analyzing it properly. It was all just bad. It wasn't, but that's how I analyzed it.' br /> Willett is trying not to get too down about his play in Abu Dhabi. Finishing with two birdies — and two more decent birdie chances — in his final four holes helped, but couldn't disguise his problems in the previous 32. br /> His main issue was pulling lots of shots as he tried to hit a cut. That led to a triple-bogey 7 on Thursday and a quadruple-bogey 9 at the 10th hole on Friday, when he drove left into the desert, went out of bounds with his third shot, found a bunker with his fifth, and then three-putted. br /> Willett said he was 'slightly shocked' at the contrast between his form on the range and his form on the course. br /> 'Christmas golf-course rust,' Willett said. 'All joking aside, I know there were a few horrendous scores in there, but there was some better stuff in there, too.' br /> ___ br /> Steve Douglas is at www.twitter.com/sdouglas80 br />   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 20th, 2017

Memphis Depay hoping to bounce back with Lyon

 LYON, France (AP) — With a move to Lyon secured, Memphis Depay is ready to prove himself all over again. The Netherlands forward joined the French club from Manchester United on a 4½-year contract and will wear the No. 9 jersey. 'I just want to show everybody what I'm capable of. I did in the past and I didn't show it every time at Manchester,' the 22-year-old Depay said. 'I want to score goals and get that feeling back again, to play in a full stadium. It's a very nice stadium here and I'm so excited to play there.' br /> Depay was presented on Friday with club president Jean-Michel Aulas and coach Bruno Genesio by his side. br /> 'He can make the difference with his speed and technique and can be a real plus for the team,' Genesio said. br /> Aulas said Depay's fee was 16 million euros ($17 million), along with a further 6 million euros in incentives and another 3 million euros if he extends his contract. United also has a buy-back option of about 35 million euros. br /> The Dutch forward had a largely unhappy spell at United after joining from PSV Eindhoven in June 2015 for 31 million pounds (then $48 million). br /> Depay said 'a couple of other clubs were interested' in buying him but Lyon's enthusiasm persuaded him to join the seven-time French champions, who are currently in fourth place in the league. br /> 'It wasn't just the trainer who wanted me, but also the president and that gave me a really comfortable feeling,' he said. 'Don't forget that it's a big club with a big history.' br /> Depay has not played since coming on as a substitute in the Europa League against Feyenoord on Nov. 24. But he is hoping to play a part in Sunday's home game against Marseille. br /> 'I know Sunday's game is important,' Depay said. 'Physically, I'm good. I've been training hard.' br /> At United, Depay was given the club's iconic No. 7 jersey worn by George Best, Eric Cantona, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo, but failed to live up to expectations, scoring only seven goals in 52 games. He was hardly used by United coach Jose Mourinho, making only four league appearances from the bench this season. br /> At Lyon, Depay is likely to be used on the left wing, forming a formidable forward line with top scorer Alexandre Lacazette and Nabil Fekir. br /> 'We focused on Memphis because he corresponds to the style of play we want,' Genesio said. 'It was an extraordinary opportunity for us to get a player of international class from United.' br /> If Depay does well for Lyon, it could increase the likelihood of Aulas selling either Lacazette — who is rated at about 50 million euros — or Fekir after the season. br /> Mourinho, meanwhile, is hopeful that Depay's United career is not yet completely over. br /> 'He didn't succeed in 18 months (at United), I would say, but he is very young,' Mourinho said. 'We all wish that he plays very, very well at Lyon and why not to come back, because everyone here likes him.' br />   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 20th, 2017

Defending champ Kerber advances to 4th round vs Vandeweghe

JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer   MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Angelique Kerber had a straight-sets win for the first time in her first Australian Open title defense, starting her 6-0, 6-4 third-round victory with an eight-game streak against Kristyna Pliskova on Friday. Top-ranked Kerber beat the other Pliskova twin, Karolina, in the final of the last U.S. Open to capture her second career Grand Slam title. Her first was here at Melbourne Park 12 months ago. Kerber marked her 29th birthday on Wednesday with a second-round win over fellow German Carina Witthoeft, but said she didn't celebrate much between matches and hoped to do more at the end of the tournament. She'll next play 35th-ranked CoCo Vandeweghe, who reached the fourth round in Australia for the first time with a -4, 3-6, 7-5 win over 2014 semifinalist Eugenie Bouchard. 'It will be tough,' Kerber said. 'I'm ready. I'm feeling good. I'm loving to play on this court.' Eighth-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova was broken in the second and third sets when serving for the match before finally beating former No. 1-ranked Jelena Jankovic 6-4, 5-7, 9-7 in a 3-hour, 36-minute match. Two-time major champion Kuznetsova will next play No. 24 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who beat No. 11 Elina Svitolina 7-5, 4-6, 6-3. Vandeweghe recovered from an early break in the third set in a tense win over Bouchard, who was ranked as high as No. 5 in 2014 when she reached the semifinals in Australia and France and the final at Wimbledon. Vandeweghe converted her only break-point chance to take the first set but Bouchard leveled the match with two breaks in a dominant second set. The 22-year-old Canadian broke to open the third set and appeared to be in control until Vandeweghe changed her approach. 'She started playing better and I got a little passive in my game plan and executing it — I was able to turn it around thankfully,' Vandeweghe said. After holding in the key eighth game of the third set, when she saved four break points in a game that went to deuce eight times, Vandeweghe had the benefit of serving first with no tiebreakers in the deciding set. She easily held for a 6-5 lead and then, after Bouchard had a game point, went on a roll to close with a big backhand winner on her first match point. Vandeweghe has reached the quarterfinals and the fourth round in the last two years at Wimbledon, but her run to the third round in Australia in 2016 was her best at any major not played on grass. 'It's just another opponent on the way to achieving my goal,' Vandeweghe said of her win. 'Anyway I could get it done — I just wanted to get the result. Achieved my goal.' Vandeweghe's new doubles partner, Martina Hingis, cheered her on throughout the match. Afterward, the American joked that Hingis might scold her for playing 'too long to be fresh for the doubles.' Bouchard has been gradually improving her ranking in recent months. She hasn't gone past the third round of a Grand Slam tournament since slipping and falling in the locker room during the 2015 U.S. Open .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 20th, 2017

Needing a part-time caddie, Westwood calls on familiar face

STEVE DOUGLAS, AP Sports Writer   ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Lee Westwood needed someone to carry his bag for him at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week when his long-time caddie dropped out following the death of his father. With his options limited at such short notice, the former No. 1 called on someone close to home. His girlfriend, Helen Storey, has wanted to try out the job for a while and was happy to help out, especially since she had the week off from her day job as a personal trainer. With the par-72 National Course at Abu Dhabi Golf Club measuring long at 7,583 yards, it wasn't easy to replace usual caddie Billy Foster. 'I wouldn't want to carry the golf bag around six miles in this kind of heat,' Westwood said. 'Every credit for doing it.' It was a valuable experience for Westwood, too. 'She doesn't play a lot of golf so she can't do too much about that (side of things),' Westwood said. 'It was good for me, doing the yardage, reading the greens, and taking a bit more responsibility. You sometimes lose touch with your game when you haven't got that responsibility.' Westwood, now ranked No. 45, shot a 4-under 68 in his first round of competitive golf in nearly two months and was tied for 10th place, four strokes behind leader Henrik Stenson. 'I didn't advise him,' Helen said at the back of the 18th green at the end of Westwood's round. 'Just keeping up: That was my job. And I made sure he was hydrated. 'I managed to get round in one piece. He's very even-tempered all the time with me. It was good fun.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 19th, 2017

The curious case of Willy Wilson's curly hair

After a bout with amoebiasis and other sickness, Willy Wilson successfully returned to the Phoenix lineup Wednesday, providing the energy the Fuel Masters sorely missed in the middle of their Philippine Cup campaign. One thing the team surely didn't miss and would love to have gone immediately is Wilson's hair which went from a nice clean look to a curly. 'Willy Wilson gives us a lot of energy, it's his first game back. I just hope he cuts his hair because I don't like his hair,' head coach Ariel Vanguardia said of his veteran forward who put up a cool 12 points, nine rebounds. two assists, and two steals in 30 minutes against NLEX. 'We've been teasing him about his hair but at least Willy Wilson is back,' Vanguardia added. The Fuel Masters hate Wilson's hair so much that they were willing to pay for his haircut. The 13-year-veteran insisted that he's keeping his hairstyle for now. 'Actually he [coach Ariel] had the team chip in 10 pesos each for a haircut. I kindly declined, I'm trying to see  what's going on with the hair, it's different. I'm turning 37 in a few days so I just wanted to do  a little something different,' Wilson said. Going away from the topic of his hair for a little bit, Wilson is elated to be back for Phoenix in time for the Fuel Masters' playoff push. Although still not 100 percent, the former De La Salle Green Archer insists that he's in a better shape now compared to a couple of weeks ago when he tried to push things that obviously backfired on him and his team. 'I just started hurting myself and I took some time off and now I'm just starting to feel a little bit better. Still not 100 percent but everyday that goes by I'm trying to get more and more back to being myself,' Wilson said. Now back to his hair, Willie says he'll cut it when the time is right. And the right time is when summer rolls around. ' I like it but you know, when summer time comes around, it's going to be too hot so I'm gonna have to cut it. I'm not used to having long hair for too long but I used to do this back in college, I go the whole UAAP season without getting a haircut and come PBL time I have long hair. Definitely before summer I'll be cutting it,' he said. br /> --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 18th, 2017

Big wins for Justin Thomas, proud moments for his father

DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf Writer   HONOLULU (AP) — Justin Thomas used to call his father when he arrived at junior tournaments, and the conversation almost always started the same way. 'What's the number?' The father wasn't asking what score it would take to win, the length of the course or even the entry fee. The number in question was how many greens his son would be able to reach in regulation, and not just on the par 4s. 'I was guaranteed to hit driver into at least one par 3,' Thomas said. Mike Thomas was in the gallery along the ninth fairway at Waialae Country Club when his 23-year-old son nearly left his feet while launching a 358-yard drive, setting up a wedge into the par 5. It was only his seventh-longest drive during his time in paradise. This Aloha State adventure was the best two weeks of Thomas' career. He joined Ernie Els as the only players to sweep the Hawaii swing and became the first player since Tiger Woods in 2009 to win by at least three shots in consecutive weeks on the PGA Tour. Thomas rose to No. 8 in the world and he is the third-ranked American behind Dustin Johnson (No. 3) and Jordan Spieth (No. 5). 'Unforgettable,' Thomas said of the last two weeks. That goes for his parents, too, mainly because they had yet to see him win on the PGA Tour. His other two victories were in Malaysia, so Mike and Jani Thomas had to stay up until the early morning hours to watch him beat Adam Scott one year, Hideki Matsuyama the next. Watching in person with an ocean view is better. Mike Thomas has been the head pro at Harmony Landing outside Louisville, Kentucky, for the last 28 years, and golf is really all his son has ever known. Justin was not even 2 when his father gave him a cut-down driver with a wooden head to whack golf balls around the house and at Harmony Landing. As a toddler, when the boy wanted to play he would tell his mother, 'Bag of balls, bag of balls.' But the boy fell in love with golf by himself. 'I made sure there was no formal instruction until he asked for it,' Mike Thomas said. 'There were a lot more little lessons than big lessons.' Part of the reason is that he had a golf shop to run, members to serve and lessons to give. A larger part was that Mike Thomas had seen too many kids pushed too hard and he didn't want to be that parent. 'I decided that I wanted to be his best friend more than his father,' he said. 'There were times I had to get on him as a parent. But mostly we had just had a lot of fun.' Even now, when he takes time away from Harmony Landing to watch his son on tour, he stands quietly behind Thomas and caddie Jimmy Johnson without saying a word unless his son asks him to shoot video of a swing with his phone. They will look at it together. Mike Thomas tends to wait to see if his son can figure it out first. His fondest memories are not the tournaments he won as a junior, but the time they spent on the golf course in twilight hours, sometimes playing nine holes, other times creating games by seeing who could throw a golf ball closest to the pin. Golf has been in the family for three generations. Paul Thomas was the longtime club pro at Zanesville Country Club in Ohio who qualified for the 1962 U.S. Open at Oakmont. Mike Thomas played at Morehead State and competed in college against Kenny Perry, but his aspirations of playing the PGA Tour didn't last long. He spent one year on the mini-tours before working fulltime as a PGA professional. He took three jobs, in Ohio and Pittsburgh, before moving to Kentucky. Justin was in elementary school, still swinging away, when his father began a tradition of keeping golf balls from every tournament he won. There were 128 balls at Harmony Landing when they left for Hawaii. The father headed home with five more golf balls — and he wanted six. Two were from the victories at the SBS Tournament of Champions and the Sony Open, bringing the victory count to 130. A special display will hold the golf ball that Thomas rolled in from 15 feet for eagle on the final hole of his opening round for a 59. Another ball is from the 36-hole scoring record (123) he set on Friday, and the fifth is from the 72-hole record (253) Thomas set Sunday. 'I wanted the one after Saturday for the 54-hole record,' Mike Thomas said with a laugh. 'But Justin said that wasn't a record, it was only a tie.' It's tempting to think back to the toddler who said 'Bag of balls' the way most kids ask for candy, and see where his son is now. But only the stage has changed. 'The feeling is the same,' Mike Thomas said. 'I know this is the PGA Tour, but when he had a chance to win as an 8-year-old at a U.S. Kids event, it was like, 'This is really cool.' ... As a parent, I'm just glad he's healthy, I'm glad he's safe and I'm glad he's doing what he wants to do. What else could any parent want?' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 17th, 2017

Lazaro, Gumabao to star in a new team

A week after Michele Gumabao left Pocari Sweat, the former De La Salle star is set to banner a team that is expected to break the barrier between two of local volleyball’s most heated rivalry. Gumabao will team up with former Ateneo de Manila Lady Eagle star libero Denden Lazaro as the main stars of new team United VC that will see action in the Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Conference. Though sponsorship of the squad is yet to be ironed out, team manager Joshua Ylaya said that the team will definitely play in the tournament.        Gumabao left the V-League two-time champion Lady Warriors after some issues with the management last week while Lazaro last played for BaliPure in the same league.  For the longest time Gumabao and Lazaro has been on rivals starting from their UAAP days. Gumabao won three straight UAAP titles from Season 73 to 75 while Lazaro got two UAAP crowns from Season 76 to 77. The two faced each other in two UAAP Finals series with Gumabao winning both.   “The main reason why we called the team ‘united’ is because we wanted to show that we can play together despite our differences in the past,” said Ylaya, who represented the team in the league’s team owners’ meeting Tuesday. “At the end of the day, it’s just one sport and we can play competitively together.” Angeli Tabaquero, an Adamson co-assistant coach of Gumabao, former DLSU player Wensh Tiu and another ex-Pocari Sweat volleybelle Erika Alkuino are all expected to join the squad while there are reports that Mae Tajima and setter Jem Ferrer will also suit up for the team.           --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 17th, 2017

ONE Championship: Bigdash retains title; Catalan, Subora victorious

ONE Championship returned to the Jakarta Convention Center for another evening of world-class mixed martial arts (MMA) action. ONE: QUEST FOR POWER set the tone for what will be an amazing 2017 for ONE Championship with a series of compelling bouts featuring the absolute best in local and international MMA talent. In the main event, ONE Middleweight World Champion Vitaly Bigdash retained his title, defeating top contender “The Burmese Python” Aung La N Sang by unanimous decision after five rounds. div>  /div> div>In the main event of the evening, ONE Middleweight World Champion Vitaly Bigdash of Rostov-on-Don, Russia impressed with a great show of strength in a dominant performance over “The Burmese Python” Aung La N Sang of Myanmar. Throughout the bout, Bigdash kept N Sang at bay with his sharp combinations, while on the mat he connected with multiple elbows. After five rounds of action, it was a clear win for Bigdash who met very little resistance in outlasting the durable N Sang to remain undefeated, retaining his ONE Middleweight World Championship. /div> div>  /div> div>In the co-main event of the evening, 27-year-old Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen of Sydney, Australia authored one of the most spectacular finishes of the evening, stopping Japanese MMA veteran Kazunori Yokota with strikes to win by technical knockout just past the midway point of the first round. Yokota stalked Nguyen, looking to throw combinations but Nguyen timed Yokota with an overhand right that dropped him to the canvas. From there, Nguyen jumped on his foe and rained down punches from the top to earn the stoppage victory. /div> div>  /div> div>Lightweight contenders Vincent “MagniVincent” Latoel and Vaughn “The Spawn” Donayre put on an exciting show for fans in attendance, tagging each other with intense combinations for the majority of the three-round lightweight contest. On the mat, Donayre showcased his grappling skills, threatening with various submissions off his back. Latoel however was more consistent throughout and scored points with his takedowns and cage control. All three judges saw the bout in favor of Latoel to win by unanimous decision. /div> div>  /div> div>The highly-anticipated lightweight showdown between Georgi Stoyanov of Bulgaria and Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev of Russia ended on an unfortunate note, as the bout resulted in a No Contest ruling. Although Arslanaliev swarmed Stoyanov from the beginning of the bout and completely outclassed the Bulgarian, an ill-advised technical ground kick landed for Arslanaliev and Stoyanov was unable to continue. /div> div>  /div> div>Dutch featherweight standout based in Jakarta, Anthony “The Archangel” Engelen, put on a masterful performance, stopping Malaysian fight veteran A.J. “Pyro” Lias Mansor in under two minutes in the first round of a scheduled three-round bout. Engelen pressed Mansor up against the cage fence with a combination before a beautiful right hand felled Mansor, earning Engelen one of the most spectacular knockouts of his career. /div> div>  /div> div>Fans were treated to an action-packed clash of colossal light heavyweights as Igor Subora of the Ukraine and Sherif Mohamed of Egypt pushed each other to the limit in a tremendous three-round show of determination from both fighters. Subora effectively used his reach advantage to keep the smaller, stockier Mohamed at bay with his boxing throughout the bout. In the third round, both fighters fought through sheer exhaustion to make it to the final bell as Subora did just enough to outlast Mohamed to earn the unanimous decision. /div> div>  /div> div>Local martial arts hero from Jakarta, “The Terminator” Sunoto, brought the crowd to its feet with a riveting performance to defeat Cambodia’s Chan Heng by technical knockout just a little under three minutes into the first round. Sunoto wasted no time in taking the fight directly to Heng, challenging the Khun Khmer practitioner to a striking showdown at the center of the ONE Championship cage. Sunoto however, proved too much for the Cambodian after he gained mount and unleashed the ground-and-pound. /div> div>  /div> div>Unbeaten Indonesian flyweight prospect Stefer Rahardian defeated Jakarta-based Liberian fighter Jerome S. Paye via unanimous decision in the second preliminary bout of the evening. Rahardian showcased tremendous cage-control for the majority of the fight, smothering Paye with a consistent attack that left the Liberian stifled throughout the contest. The 30-year-old Rahardian left very little openings for Paye who just couldn’t get his offense going. In the end, Rahardian had just enough in the tank to complete a comprehensive three-round performance, earning the nod on all three judges’ scorecards. /div> div>  /div> div>Strawweights Rene Catalan of the Philippines and Adrian Matheis of Indonesia kicked off ONE: QUEST FOR POWER with a spirited display of mixed martial arts action, on a bustling Saturday night in Jakarta. After a dominant first round from Catalan, one that saw the Filipino attempt various finishes, the end came swiftly in the second when Catalan was able to execute an armbar to earn the submission victory. /div> div>  /div> div> strong>COMPLETE RESULTS /strong> /div> div>  /div> div>MW Title: Vitaly Bigdash defeats Aung La N Sang by Unanimous Decision /div> div>  /div> div>Featherweight bout: Martin Nguyen defeats Kazunori Yokota by TKO (Strikes) at 3:36 minutes of round 1 /div> div>  /div> div>Lightweight bout: Vincent Latoel defeats Vaughn Donayre by Unanimous Decision /div> div>  /div> div>Lightweight bout: Georgi Stoyanov, Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev (No Contest) /div> div>  /div> div>Featherweight bout: Anthony Engelen defeats AJ Lias Mansor by Knockout (KO) at 1:42 minutes of round 1 /div> div>  /div> div>Light Heavyweight bout: Igor Subora defeats Sherif Mohamed by Unanimous Decision /div> div>  /div> div>Bantamweight bout: Sunoto defeats Chan Heng by TKO (Strikes) at 2:30 minutes of round 1 /div> div>  /div> div>Flyweight bout: Stefer Rahardian defeats Jerome S. Paye by Unanimous Decision (UD) /div> div>  /div> div>Strawweight bout: Rene Catalan defeats Adrian Matheis by Submission (Armbar) at 2:08 minutes of round 2 /div>.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 14th, 2017

Never ko pagsisiksikan ang sarili ko sa team na ayaw sa akin -- Gumabao

“There’s no room for growth anymore in the team.” This was how now ex-team captain Michele Gumabao summed up her decision to leave Pocari Sweat after two seasons. Gumabao, who led the Lady Warriors to back-to-back titles in the V-League last year, opened up Wednesday, just a few hours after she posted on her Instagram account that she’s officially parting ways with the club.     “It's final na talaga I will leave Pocari and join another team. Nagtapos ang contract ko January 7,” said the former De La Salle stalwart in an interview at the Adamson gym after the Lady Falcons' practice where she serves as an assistant coach. The two-time V-League Best Opposite Hitter and Reinforced Conference Finals Most Valuable Player also confirmed that she is now accepting offers from teams in the Philippine Superliga. “I'm looking for a new team, I'm entertaining new offers, I mean something that I denied myself for one year,” she added.   strong>Falling out /strong> Gumabao revealed that she and Pocari Sweat’s management are no longer seeing eye-to-eye, the main reason of her bolting out of the team she served for two years starting in 2015 when the team, then known as Philips Gold Lady Slammers, competed and won a couple of bronze medals in the PSL.         “I've been with Pocari and Philips Gold so ngayon lang talaga nagsi-sink in sa akin na aalis na ako and iba na ang magiging teammates ko sad talaga pero kailangan ko,' she said. The three-time UAAP champion continued that there are issues with her and team manager Eric Ty that they just couldn’t resolve, including compensation of players and expenses in running the team. She added that she even tried to call the attention of the management itself to air the grievances of the team being the skipper, but it all fell on deaf ears, according to Gumabao.    “Ako kasi as a player and as a person, kapag may mali lagi akong gumagawa ng solusyon. As a player ayaw kong mali ang ginagawa ko and as a coach ayaw kong mali ang ginagawa ng player ko and as a team captain ayaw kong mali ang sistema namin sa team,” Gumabao narrated. “So nagkaproblema ako with our team manager and we talked it out and hindi namin na solusyunan.' “Umakyat ako sa mga boss akala ko nasolusyunan and in the end their promises meant nothing for me so I had to leave,” she added. “Ayaw ko ng issue, ayaw ko na ako ang sinisiraan, ayaw kong ako ang masama. When I joined Philips Gold two years ago all I wanted was a happy team, you make the team happy, we make the team win and we did. We made back-to-back championships. Ang sabi ko naman, ang goal namin as a team since I entered, we achieved it together. Naging strong kami, naging maganda ang bond namin and there came to a point na lahat ng problema na minsan kahit gaano ka pa kalakas, kahit gaanon mo pa kagusto magpaka-martir hindi mo na talaga kakayanin and 'yun ang nangyari sa akin just recently.” “Hindi ko na kaya ang issues sa loob ng team with our manager hindi ko na talaga kaya intindihin paulit-ulit ang mali. I tried, I spoke up, I tried correcting, I tried working with them for one more year pero wala talaga eh and I just hope that change will come for the team ngayon na umalis ako,” she continued. “I took a stand for myself, ayaw ko na may naaaping player sa team ko by management because the management's only job is to give the team good conditions, to support the team financially and emotionally which is very important.” With unresolved issues, Gumabao felt that she can’t work with team anymore.  “'Yun lang, nawala na ang relationship ko with management so I cannot play for anybody that I'm not proud of or na hindi ko mahal na hindi ko nirerespeto or ganoon ang treatment sa akin,” she said. “So I voiced out every opinion that I could. Oo, gumawa ako ng gulo between management and me pero wala eh, they chose to keep him and they pushed me away. I'd be happy to leave, never ko namang pagsisiksikan ang sarili ko sa isang team na ayaw na sa akin.” Gumabao clarified that she holds no jealousy on teammate Myla Pablo’s multi-million 5-year contract including a brand new car as part of her signing bonus . “I’m happy for Myla I know she worked hard for whatever she signed on. I love her as a friend, as a teammate and as a sister. So hindi ako magseselos kung ibinigay sa kanya ‘yun,” explained Gumabao.          strong>Pocari Sweat to air its side /strong> With Gumabao making it public about the issues, ABS-CBN Sports tried to get the side of Pocari Sweat but the club declined to comment and will release an official statement. “We will release an official statement. Pinag-uusapan pa namin (ng management),” in a message sent by Ty.           --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 11th, 2017

US, Mexico could team up and meet FIFA's World Cup need

GRAHAM DUNBAR, AP Sports Writer   ZURICH (AP) — The United States and Mexico could team up and meet FIFA's need for the biggest-ever World Cup in 2026 being staged by the most host nations. Canada has also joined the North American neighbors for informal talks about a three-way bid in a contest that FIFA will complete during American President-elect Donald Trump's first term, according to persons familiar with the talks. They spoke on grounds of anonymity because the talks are confidential. FIFA's decision Tuesday to expand the 2026 tournament — to 48 teams from 32, playing 80 games instead of 64 — increased the chances of co-hosting to share the load. 'In some regions not only does it make more sense, it's the only sense,' said FIFA vice president Victor Montagliani, who leads the Canadian soccer federation. 'I think when more countries share (hosting) it's an opportunity to grow the game.' Asked specifically about a potential three-way bid with the U.S. and Mexico, Montagliani said: 'It's definitely a possibility because the rules now allow for it. 'I also respect the fact that each country has the possibility to put on the World Cup (alone) and I think the discussions will happen quite soon as to what is our region is going to look like at this World Cup as I think it is an opportunity for CONCACAF.' U.S. Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati also took part in a unanimous FIFA Council decision. Though Mexico soccer leader Decio de Maria does not sit on FIFA's strategy-setting panel, he was also in Zurich with a top-level delegation from the regional soccer body, known as CONCACAF. The region was already favored to get its first World Cup since the U.S.-hosted 1994 edition, even before Tuesday's expansion decision. It now demands more high-quality training camps, hotels and transport for 48 teams, plus FIFA officials and hundreds of thousands of visiting fans. 'It means the number of countries that can host it without building major infrastructure and stadiums is limited,' said Gulati, adding his board has a 'fundamental decision' whether to bid. The U.S. could go alone, or bid with one or both neighbors. Uniting the U.S. and Mexico could win support from more than 20 Spanish-speaking federations among 211 FIFA members that now choose the World Cup hosts. It should also appeal to FIFA's sense of soccer having a role in society, amid tense cross-border relations caused by Trump's outspoken comments on Mexico. 'Listen, I'm a football guy, I'm not a politician,' said Montagliani, who like Gulati speaks fluent Spanish. 'The only thing I know from afar about Trump is that he's a big sports guy and he's proven that in the past ... so you would hope that football will trump politics. No pun intended.' FIFA typically looks for strong government support, and has it in the next two World Cup host nations Russia and Qatar. Russian deputy prime minister Vitaly Mutko is a FIFA Council member and attended Tuesday's meeting. FIFA has allowed co-costing at just one of 22 World Cups from 1930 through 2022, which included Mexico hosting alone in 1970 and '86. FIFA's former leaders later pledged not to repeat their 'two of everything' experience of 2002 in Japan and South Korea. Still, Infantino campaigned for the presidency last year promising an open mind about pan-regional hosting. FIFA's target is May 2020 to choose the 2026 host, though that could change during meetings being held in Bahrain in May. Asked if bidding could be accelerated if only three candidates emerged, and who all wanted to work together, Infantino said: 'It is premature to discuss about it now.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 10th, 2017

McIlroy says he resents Olympics for making him choose sides

  DUBLIN (AP) — Rory McIlroy says he resented how the Olympics forced him to decide whether he would represent Ireland or Britain and that it reached a point that it 'wasn't worth the hassle' to compete in Rio de Janeiro. In an interview with the Sunday Independent in Ireland, McIlroy explained why he was so critical of golf's return to the Olympics during a press conference at last summer's British Open. McIlroy, the four-time major champion from Northern Ireland, cited concerns over the Zika virus as his reason not to go to Rio. He told the Irish newspaper that when the International Olympic Committee announced in 2009 that golf would be part of the program for the first time since 2004, 'all of a sudden it put me in a position where I had to question who I am.' 'Who am I? Where am I from? Where do my loyalties lie? Who am I going to play for? Who do I not want to (upset) the most?' McIlroy said. 'I started to resent it. And I do. I resent the Olympic Games because of the position it put me in. That's my feelings toward it. And whether that's right or wrong, that's how I feel.' McIlroy said he sent a text message to Justin Rose to congratulate him on winning the gold medal in Rio for Britain. He said Rose thanked him and asked if McIlroy felt as though he had missed out. 'I said, 'Justin, if I had been on the podium (listening) to the Irish national anthem as that flag went up, or the British national anthem as that flag went up, I would have felt uncomfortable either way.'' McIlroy told the newspaper. 'I don't know the words to either anthem. I don't feel a connection to either flag. I don't want it to be about flags. I've tried to stay away from that.' McIlroy was among several top stars who opted to skip the Olympics, most citing the Zika virus. He had been scheduled to play for Ireland until announcing in June he would not be going. Jordan Spieth did not announce his decision to miss Rio until a few days before the British Open. McIlroy spoke after Spieth, and the Olympics was brought up again. McIlroy dismissed the notion that he had let down his sport, saying, 'I didn't get into golf to try and grow the game.' He also said that he probably wouldn't watch Olympic golf on TV, only 'the stuff that matters.' 'Well, I'd had nothing but questions about the Olympics — 'the Olympics, the Olympics, the Olympics' — and it was just one question too far,' McIlroy said. 'I'd said what I needed to say. I'd got myself out of it, and it comes up again. And I could feel it. I could just feel myself go, 'Poom!' And I thought, 'I'm going to let them have it.' 'OK, I went a bit far,' he added. 'But I hate that term, 'growing the game.' Do you ever hear that in other sports? In tennis? Football? 'Let's grow the game.' I mean, golf was here long before we were, and it's going to be here long after we're gone. So I don't get that, but I probably went a bit overboard.' McIlroy said Olympic golf didn't mean that much to him. 'It really doesn't. I don't get excited about it. And people can disagree, and have a different opinion, and that's totally fine,' he said. 'Each to their own.' McIlroy, who is to play the South African Open this week, said he has never been driven by nationalism or patriotism because of where he was raised. 'And I never wanted it to get political or about where I'm from, but that's what it turned into,' he said. 'And it just got to the point where it wasn't worth the hassle.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 9th, 2017

Nice has only French league title to focus on after cup exit

br /> JEROME PUGMIRE, AP Sports Writer   PARIS (AP) — French league leader Nice has only the title race to focus on for the rest of the season after going out of the French Cup on Sunday. Nice lost 2-1 away to Lorient, which is last in the first division, despite taking the lead through top scorer Alassane Plea near the end of the first half. Lorient equalized with a fine individual goal from former Arsenal forward Jeremie Aliadiere in the 71st minute, and Algerian midfielder Walid Mesloub's winner shortly after sent Lorient into the fourth round. 'We're frustrated and disappointed because we really wanted to go far in this competition,' Nice defender Maxime Le Marchand said. 'We didn't cope with their attacks so well in the second half and they took advantage. Maybe they wanted it more than us in some ways, even though we had prepared well.' Nice is also out of the League Cup and the Europa League, while its title rivals Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain are still involved in all three domestic competitions and the Champions League. But this defeat could ultimately work to Nice's advantage. The league resumes next weekend, with Nice two points ahead of Monaco and five clear of PSG. 'To stay at the top we have to correct our mistakes and not repeat a performance like this,' Le Marchand said. 'I hope this defeat stings our pride.' Meanwhile, Lyon crushed Montpellier 5-0 with forward Nabil Fekir scoring one and creating two. Lyon's other goals came from top scorer Alexandre Lacazette, center half Mouctar Diakhaby, and two after the break from forward Maxwel Cornet. However, Lyon faces a tough trip to Marseille in the fourth round. Winger Remy Cabella scored his second goal of the game in extra time as Marseille continued its fine form with a 2-1 win against first division rival Toulouse. Marseille is thriving under coach Rudi Garcia and has lost only one of the last seven games. First division Metz lost 2-0 at Lens — which is chasing promotion from the second division — but all other top-tier sides advanced. Brazilian striker Malcom scored a late winner as Bordeaux won 1-0 away to second division Clermont, while Caen, Angers, Saint-Etienne and Rennes beat non-league teams. Defending champion PSG, which routed Bastia 7-0 on Saturday night, has a difficult match away to Rennes in the next round. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 8th, 2017

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

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 8th, 2017

Spieth gets his revenge on 12th at Augusta 8 months later

DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf Writer   KAPALUA, Hawaii (AP) — Jordan Spieth hit 8-iron over the bunker on the 12th hole at Augusta National. He watched his 15-foot birdie putt tumble into the cup on the last turn, and he raised his arms in celebration. Too bad this was December. Eight months earlier, that birdie most likely would have led to another green jacket at the Masters. Spieth, who lost a five-shot lead on the back nine last April in his bid to become only the fourth back-to-back Masters champion, returned to Augusta National for the first time during a visit with AT& T chairman Randall Stephenson and Geoff Yang, a founding partner of Redpoint Ventures. Both are club members. The birdie on the 12th brought a small measure of redemption. At the Masters, he was still leading by three shots when he dumped two shots into Rae's Creek and made a quadruple-bogey 7. By the time he finished the hole, he was three shots behind Danny Willett and never caught up. 'First time back,' Spieth said of his December round. 'I was very nervous when I got on 12 tee.' And he was determined when he stood over the putt on the slower, softer greens of Augusta in the winter. Determined not to leave it short, he watched the putt slow at the front of the cup and then drop for a 2. 'I probably gave like a big fist pump,' Spieth said. 'I was walking around with my hands up, like, 'Demons gone.'' And he wasn't done. Spieth played again the next morning and, with a left pin position, hit 9-iron that spun back and nearly went in. It settled about 3 feet away for another birdie. 'So I got two 2s out of No. 12 the first time back,' he said. 'Last two times I played the hole, I made birdie.' Spieth made no secret of how much he wanted to get his revenge on the 12th hole. He said he turned to his group and said: 'Guys, we have some demons to get rid of here. I'd appreciate if y'all stood to the side of the tee box while I do my work here.' He also had a phone call to make after his round to Michael Greller to share the news. 'I know there's cameras out there, and I've requested footage from those two birdies,' Spieth said. 'I haven't received it yet. Saw the chairman (Billy Payne) and requested some footage, because somebody was watching, I'm sure, when that happened.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 4th, 2017

Govt prepares auction for LRT-1 rail coach deal

The Transportation Department has invited Japanese companies to bid for the P30-billion contract to supply 120 brand-new light rail vehicles for the oldest metro rail transit in Southeast Asia. .....»»

Category: financeSource:  thestandardRelated NewsDec 30th, 2016

'Dito sa Pilipinas 'to. Sa akin 'to.' Brandon Vera determined to keep the ONE belt at home

Friday night, reigning ONE world heavyweight champion Brandon Vera will be making his first title defense in the same place he won the title, at the Mall of Asia Arena.  This time around, he'll be facing unbeaten Japanese heavyweight Hide.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 2nd, 2016

New URCC champ Bulaong hopes TKO win will silence critics

During the lead-up to URCC 28, Geli Bulaong said that she wanted to showcase her striking in her fight against China's Yan Qi Hui for the URCC women's flyweight belt.  On fight night, Bulaong did just that, softening the Sanda practicione.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 8th, 2016

Toyota to bring back Daihatsu

Japanese car Daihatsu is expected to return to the Philippines soon, intensifying the competition in the small passenger car segment, according to industry sources.  .....»»

Category: financeSource:  thestandardRelated NewsNov 1st, 2016

US troops out in 2 yrs—Rody

President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday  said he wanted  US troops out of the country in the next two years and was willing to scrap defense pacts with longtime ally Washington if necessary......»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsOct 26th, 2016

Du30 to take Silk Road

BEIJING—President Rodrigo Duterte said Tuesday he wanted Manila to join Beijing’s proposed Belt and Road Initiative to make up for the country’s lack of funding for much-needed infrastructure.  .....»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsOct 18th, 2016