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BLOGTABLE: What are you looking forward to in 2018?

NBA.com blogtable What one thing are you most eager to see in 2018? * * * Steve Aschburner: More competitive playoff series than we got a year ago and, most of all, the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers really being pushed to the wall in at least one round each. I think last year’s hunger for The Rubber-Match Finals made us accept without too much grumbling the relative breezes both Golden State and Cleveland had through the April and May portions of the postseason. But seeing some new blood, however unlikely, would be fine, maybe even welcome, this time around. That requires some fine team on either side -- Toronto, Washington, Boston out East, Houston, San Antonio, Oklahoma City to the West -- mustering a serious challenge. And, allowing for an injury or suspension or whatever, maybe pulling off something more notable than that. We can always find context and storylines for The Finals, if we get a bit of freshness dialed in. Shaun Powell: I'm eager to see the playoffs and if someone can come along and disrupt another Golden State Warriors-Cleveland Cavaliers matchup in June. Because nobody is creating much doubt as of yet. The team that's coming the closest is the Houston Rockets but they have three people who have underperformed in the playoffs: Mike D'Antoni, Chris Paul and James Harden. There's always the San Antonio Spurs, yet they seem a star shy. And in the East, the Boston Celtics of 2019 stand a better chance and the rest ... meh. Which means, I'm most eager to see Warriors-Cavs in June. John Schuhmann: I want to see what will happen with the Thunder, both on and off the floor. Can they continue to make progress offensively and if they do, will that encourage Sam Presti to keep the group together through the trade deadline? Or will the threat of Paul George leaving in free agency (and the long odds at beating the Warriors) force Presti to see what he can get for George by Feb. 8? Is it a guarantee that Carmelo Anthony will decline his early termination option this summer and stay under contract for another year? Do other stars want to play with Russell Westbrook? Sekou Smith: As much fun as the trade deadline can be in a given year, I have to admit that the free agent summer has me daydreaming about the chaos that a couple of moves could cause. Of course, LeBron James could turn the basketball world upside down if he were to decide to take his talents elsewhere (I'm not suggesting he should or I even think he will, I'm only thinking about the seismic activity it would cause). What happens with Paul George is also another potential game-changer for several teams around the league. That said, it's the great unknown that most intrigues me about 2018. None of us saw the Kyrie Irving trade request coming or the Chris Paul-to-Houston move coming. Things like the Draft and trade deadline offer a season of speculation that usually centers on name players we know will be involved in the process. It's the moves we don't see coming, the things we cannot forecast, that produce the best drama......»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnJan 4th, 2018

BLOGTABLE: How many games will Rockets win in 2018-19?

NBA.com blogtable The Rockets led the league with 65 victories last season. How many games do you think they can win in 2018-19? * * * David Aldridge: Fewer, but that's not a big deal. The assumption here is they'll rest Chris Paul more and more going forward to give him the best chance at getting to the postseason, so that may cost them 4-6 meaningless regular season wins. And if you take away another handful because of the dual loss of Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute, let's pencil Houston in for 55-57 regular season wins. Don't think that will be a big deal as long as they don't finish fourth in the west and have to face Golden State in the second round. Tas Melas: The general sentiment among basketball fans is that the Rockets will be far worse (the over-under line in Vegas is 55.5 wins!). What actually happened with the roster to forecast such a drop-off? It’s basically Carmelo Anthony and James Ennis replacing the departed Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute (leaving out the additions of RJ Hunter, Michael Carter-Williams, Markel Brown and draft picks at this point). Everyone will point to the defensive issues with Melo starting over Ariza. Defense is an attitude. Yes, a coach needs the personnel, but as much as it is about the guys on the floor, it’s also about the locker room, and I still think there’s enough with Clint Capela, Chris Paul and PJ Tucker (Ariza was part of mediocre Rockets defenses the two years before last season, which were also before James Harden improved defensively). And Melo replacing Ariza is why Ennis was signed – to be the defensive yang to Melo’s offensive ying. Melo can play primarily in the 1st and 3rd with Ennis playing the most important defensive minutes in the 4th. Exposing Melo might happen more in the playoffs, but for the regular season, I see this as a 62-win team. They do still realize that they need the 1-seed to beat Golden State. Shaun Powell: I'd go with the under here and say 60 wins for the Rockets, not because they're in for a steep decline. I'm just not sure they're willing to press for wins in April, given the unpredictability of Chris Paul's vulnerable body, which potentially cost them the Western Conference title (and maybe an NBA title) last season. The Rockets needed to get best record and home-court advantage in the West last season for their mental health. That's not necessarily the case now. John Schuhmann: Even if the Rockets kept the same team together and were relatively healthy, another 65-win season would have been difficult in a deeper Western Conference. And the departure of Trevor Ariza and the loss of depth at the forward positions should hurt them, especially on defense, where they ranked sixth last season. They still have a terrific core of five guys -- Harden, Paul, Capela, Eric Gordon and Tucker -- and should be plenty motivated to get back to where they were a few months ago, so I'll guess that they finish with 59-61 wins, which would still be good for the second best season in franchise history. Sekou Smith: I think the Rockets are capable of another 60-win season. But it'll take a monstrous effort to duplicate the season they had a year ago. And I'm not sure it's worth the energy. The Rockets need only maintain an advantage over the Golden State Warriors to ensure that a potential Game 7 in the Western Conference finals is played at the Toyota Center (only this time with a healthy Chris Paul). If the Warriors decide to attack the 2018-19 regular season the same way they did the 2017-18 regular season, the Rockets would be wise to push only hard enough to maintain a reasonable cushion ahead of the two-time defending champs. There's nothing else to prove. We know the Rockets are capable of winning it all. We witnessed it last season, right up until the moment that Paul suffered his injury......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 11th, 2018

BLOGTABLE: What are you looking forward to in 2018?

NBA.com blogtable What one thing are you most eager to see in 2018? * * * Steve Aschburner: More competitive playoff series than we got a year ago and, most of all, the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers really being pushed to the wall in at least one round each. I think last year’s hunger for The Rubber-Match Finals made us accept without too much grumbling the relative breezes both Golden State and Cleveland had through the April and May portions of the postseason. But seeing some new blood, however unlikely, would be fine, maybe even welcome, this time around. That requires some fine team on either side -- Toronto, Washington, Boston out East, Houston, San Antonio, Oklahoma City to the West -- mustering a serious challenge. And, allowing for an injury or suspension or whatever, maybe pulling off something more notable than that. We can always find context and storylines for The Finals, if we get a bit of freshness dialed in. Shaun Powell: I'm eager to see the playoffs and if someone can come along and disrupt another Golden State Warriors-Cleveland Cavaliers matchup in June. Because nobody is creating much doubt as of yet. The team that's coming the closest is the Houston Rockets but they have three people who have underperformed in the playoffs: Mike D'Antoni, Chris Paul and James Harden. There's always the San Antonio Spurs, yet they seem a star shy. And in the East, the Boston Celtics of 2019 stand a better chance and the rest ... meh. Which means, I'm most eager to see Warriors-Cavs in June. John Schuhmann: I want to see what will happen with the Thunder, both on and off the floor. Can they continue to make progress offensively and if they do, will that encourage Sam Presti to keep the group together through the trade deadline? Or will the threat of Paul George leaving in free agency (and the long odds at beating the Warriors) force Presti to see what he can get for George by Feb. 8? Is it a guarantee that Carmelo Anthony will decline his early termination option this summer and stay under contract for another year? Do other stars want to play with Russell Westbrook? Sekou Smith: As much fun as the trade deadline can be in a given year, I have to admit that the free agent summer has me daydreaming about the chaos that a couple of moves could cause. Of course, LeBron James could turn the basketball world upside down if he were to decide to take his talents elsewhere (I'm not suggesting he should or I even think he will, I'm only thinking about the seismic activity it would cause). What happens with Paul George is also another potential game-changer for several teams around the league. That said, it's the great unknown that most intrigues me about 2018. None of us saw the Kyrie Irving trade request coming or the Chris Paul-to-Houston move coming. Things like the Draft and trade deadline offer a season of speculation that usually centers on name players we know will be involved in the process. It's the moves we don't see coming, the things we cannot forecast, that produce the best drama......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 4th, 2018

UP BRIGHT! Akhuetie s sights still set on UAAP 81 championship

Bright Akhuetie's arrival in the University of the Philippines in 2016 was the biggest news for every Diliman frustrated faithful. He was seen as the answer to UP's campaign back to relevance. People even started saying that given his performance then back in the NCAA, Akhuetie can bring UP to the Final Four and the championship. Whenever he heard those comments back in 2016, he has always said that he is not making any promises and he will just do his best. Fast forward to 2018 in UAAP Season 80 when UP has finally landed in the Final Four, Akhuetie is still sticking to his rhetoric.  "No promises but all I promised was to give it my best every day to make sure we get to where we wanna go to. And I really appreciate the fact that we got this today, so we're one step closer to achieving our dream," he said moments after their Final Four-clinching victory over De La Salle University. In their historic win, he produced 16 points and 20 rebounds. So far in the season, he is averaging 18.9 points, 14.6 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game. Maybe this is 'his best' that he is talking about. Whatever it is, it's enough to bring them to the Final Four. But to the UP community, don't celebrate all out yet because for Akhuetie, reaching the Final Four is just an inch closer to the ultimate goal. "We take it one step at a time. Like I said, it's a step closer to our dream which is to win a championship, so one step at a time," said the MVP frontrunner. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @the9cruz.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News8 hr. 49 min. ago

PBA: Just like old pal LeBron, Travis thankful for second chance after botched clutch free throws

Late in the Lakers' home game against the Atlanta Hawks Monday morning in Manila, LeBron James found himself at the foul line to shoot two clutch free throws. If the King makes two, the Lakers take the lead. If he makes one, game is tied. James missed both. Fortunately, Kyle Kuzma ended up with the offensive rebound and while the second-year forward also ended up missing his go-ahead floater, LeBron slammed the follow up to finally put the Lakers up one. [Related: James' dunk lifts Lakers to 107-106 win over Hawks] Los Angeles ended up winning the game to be above .500 for the first time in the current NBA season. Later that day in Manila, LeBron's old buddy Romeo Travis found himself at the foul line late in Game 2 of the 2018 PBA Governors' Cup semifinals against Ginebra. Romeo makes two and the Magnolia Hotshots take a five-point lead to ice the game. If he makes one, his team is still up by two possessions with four seconds to go. Travis missed both. Fortunately, the former Best Import somehow found himself grabbing the offensive rebound and he was fouled again. Travis missed the first free throw anew but made sure to make the second one. Magnolia ended up winning the game and the Hotshots are now up 2-0 in the best-of-5 semis against the reigning two-time champions. "Yeah, I actually watched the game. I may have jinxed myself. He [LeBron] had a second chance, I had a second chance. He made the most of it and I made the second free throw and we ended up winning the game," Travis said of his trips to the foul line. "I just missed them you know? I thank God for second chances. I missed three and luckily they came in pairs and I'm thankful to make the last one to seal the game. I'm just thankful for second chances. Everybody don't get them so I'm thankful for the second opportunity to seal the game," he added. Save for some spotty moments late in Game 2, Magnolia's composure has been incredible so far in this series. The Hotshots have weathered multiple storms from the Gin Kings and now they find themselves on the brink of the Finals. As long as Magnolia keeps playing to win, there should be no reason why they can't advance, especially after putting up back-to-back masterful performances against Ginebra. "They're just a resilient team and they have great players so they'll always make a run. We just have to stay composed," Travis said of the Gin Kings. "Late in the game we got out of our sets, I believe we were trying to not lose instead of winning the game. When you start playing to not lose, you get a little tight. We didn't run our offense the way we should and so that's how they were able to make a run," he added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 12th, 2018

Miss Earth 2018 candidates accuse sponsor of sexual harassment

MANILA, Philippines – Miss Earth Canada Jaime VandenBerg, Miss Earth England Abbey-Anne Gyles-Brown, and Miss Earth Guam Emma Mae Sheedy came forward with claims of sexual harassment by a pageant sponsor during the pageant’s run in the Philippines, which ended with a coronation night on November 4. {source} .....»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsNov 8th, 2018

PBA: Manuel after beating SMB: 'Finally, naka-isa kami'

Since 2015, Alaska has lost three PBA Finals to San Miguel Beer. Two of those ended in seven games with one being the now-iconic "Beeracle" run for San Miguel. In the other one, the Aces got dominated and were swept by the Beermen in the championship round. Alaska's playoff struggles to San Miguel didn't stop there though. After finally making it back to the semifinals in the 2018 Commissioner's Cup, the Aces ran into the Beermen again. They lost in four games. And so after finally beating San Miguel in the 2018 Governors' Cup quarterfinals, it's not at all surprising that the Aces are savoring this victory. "Sobrang sarap sa pakiramdam kasi nga after ilang series kami nagta-tapat, hindi kami nakaka-isa sa kanila. Finally ngayon, nakakuha kami ng isa," forward Vic Manuel said. "Talagang ang sarap sa pakiramdam na matalo namin sila ngayon. After nung game, during game, parang sobrang emotional na ko eh. Parang gustung-gusto ko talaga manalo, makabawi man lang sa kanila. Nung tumunog na yung buzzer, sobrang saya ko talaga na finally yun, naka-isa kami," he added. Alaska's twice-to-beat edge meant that they only needed one win to eliminate Sn Miguel and th Aces made full use of that. Still, a lot went right for the Aces before they were finally able to take down San Miguel. A signature defensive performance in the third quarter, where they held the Beermen to only seven points, gave Alaska the opening to go for the win. "Talagang ginawa namin yung game plan ni coach," Manuel said. "Talagang nag-focus kami dun. Siguro yun ang naging key para manalo kami ngayon," he added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 8th, 2018

PBA: Lee welcomes double duty with Magnolia and Gilas

After a dud in the Commissioner's Cup, the Hotshots are officially back to competing for titles. Magnolia beat Blackwater Tuesday to advance to the 2018 Governors' Cup semifinals. It's the fifth time in six conferences that the Hotshots have made the semis with Lee. "Happy, we have a chance na makapag-laro ulit sa Finals," Lee said. Magnolia's resident hotshot led the team in scoring against the Elite, pouring in a game-high 22 points. It was Lee that buried the final two free throws to seal a 103-99 victory over Blackwater. "Prepare lang kami ng maiigi," Lee said as he and the Hotshots look forward to the semifinals against either Ginebra or NLEX. It was a big day for Lee as aside from advancing to the semis, it was also announced that he's included in the new 20-man pool for Gilas Pilipinas. Lee welcomes the double duty that should come with playing for Magnolia and competing for a Gilas slot. "Embrace mo lang kasi pag iniisip mong mahirap, lalo ka lang mahihirapan," he said. "Ready lang ako lagi, hintay lang kamo ng call kung kailan start ng practice. Sa ngayon, focus muna ako sa Magnolia," Lee added.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 6th, 2018

UAAP: Challenged by Juan, Javi GDL claims his first career dunk

ANTIPOLO – Safe to say, Javi and Juan Gomez de Liano share a special connection whenever they’re on the floor for the University of the Philippines. The brothers have had several highlights together and in the Fighting Maroons’ matchup with National University a month ago, they finally had a shot at a much-wanted alley-oop. Juan had the alley and Javi had the oop. Juan to Javi GDL brotherly connection 😏 #UAAPSeason81 pic.twitter.com/qrvK0u9UwA — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) Oktubre 7, 2018 Only, the younger brother was far from happy with his kuya’s finish. “Yung alley-oop? Ang pangit, ni-layup (niya) kahit he was all alone. Weak finish, parang, binaby yung shot. Ang corny. Walang thrill,” he said then. And so, Javi was nothing but fired up to prove Juan wrong. “It was a challenge, really,” he said. His chance finally came last Saturday at the Ynares Center here, when he intercepted a pass and found a wide open runway ahead of him. Javi GDL gets the steal and goes all the way for the SLAM! #UAAPSeason81 pic.twitter.com/uUGpzsOy5Y — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) Nobyembre 3, 2018 The third-year forward wasted no time to go all the way for a one-handed slam dunk. “A while ago, I was fresh off the bench. Ayun, na-dunk ko,” he told reporters post-game. For Javi, it shouldn’t be a surprise that he could fly. As he put it, “It’s nothing new to me. I do it every day naman. I’m not just used to that opportunity lang on the break na I’m all alone.” Still, as it turns out, that highlight turned out to be historic as that was his first-ever career dunk in-game. For that, Juan is nothing but proud. “Finally, he had one. I’m just happy for him,” he said. He was quick to add, though, “It was light, actually. He placed it in lang.” Well, there’s another challenge from Juan for you, Javi! --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 5th, 2018

UAAP: David Murrell didn t mean to be disrespectful with that late-game dunk

ANTIPOLO – Both the University of the Philippines and National University acknowledged that something wrong happened late in their game on Saturday at the Ynares Center here. Fighting Maroon David Murrell went up for a highlight two-handed dunk with his team way ahead, the Bulldogs no longer doing anything to keep the contest close, and just nine seconds remained on the clock.   This is David Murrell’s two-handed throwdown that NU did not appreciate - and neither did UP head coach Bo Perasol. #UAAPSeason81 pic.twitter.com/d3i8roZ2Cn — Normie Riego (@riegogogo) November 3, 2018   It is an unwritten rule of sportsmanship in basketball that when one team is already way ahead, the opposing team is no longer doing anything to keep the contest close, and less than 24 seconds remain on the clock, there are no more baskets to be made. And so, NU was clearly not happy with what happened. For his part, Murrell said that he was just looking for a spread his wings. “To be honest, I just saw an opening and wanted to dunk it. I didn’t mean to (be) disrespectful. I just wanted to dunk the ball to be honest,” he said. He then continued, “I usually do that back home. It’s kinda normal back home, but I guess here, they thought it was disrespectful.” Without a doubt, the Bulldogs didn’t appreciate what he did. “They gave me bad looks,” the Filipino-Canadian rookie said. Afterward, State U head coach Bo Perasol made it a point to point out to his high-flying forward what he did wrong. “We have to understand that he wanted to get into his groove. For the longest time, he wants to show his stuff, but regardless of the reason, that was wrong,” he said. He then continued, “He’s a young guy. He’s got so much potential and he only needs to respect the game and his opponents.” The good news is that Murrell was nothing but accepting of what his mentor told him. As he put it, “Coach Bo said I shouldn’t have done that because that was disrespectful. In the long run, we got the win and I’m happy about that.” --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 3rd, 2018

Laguna, Pampanga survive MPBL rivals in pair of thrilling matches

Home team Laguna and Pampanga pulled off similar thrilling victories over their respective rivals last Wednesday to keep their hopes alive for a playoff berth in the 2018 Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Datu Cup in the Alonte Sports Arena in Binan.   Raymond Ilagan, a power forward with a decent touch from the perimeter, scored the Heroes’ last four points to tow the Heroes to a pulsating 76-72 triumph over undermanned Mandaluyong El Tigre. With his team clinging to a shaky 73-72 lead, Ilagan received a cross court pass from Michael Mabulac and nailed a mid-range jumper from the right wing with 19 seconds to go. The El Tigre had a chance to knot the count at the other end, but Josan Nimes missed a potential game-tying triple from the left corner as Ilagan pulled down the rebound and was fouled in the process. He split his charities for the final tally. Mandaluyong played without five key players in the lineup who are bound to join Alab Pilipinas in the Asean Basketball league – Ray Parks Jr., Prince Rivero, JR Alabanza, and brothers Axel and Thomas Torres. The El Tigre also played without Mac Cuan, an assistant coach at Alab, and in his absence, his brother Japs took over. Earlier, Pampanga survived Navotas, 89-88, in an equally exciting game. The two teams which figured in a trade a few weeks ago were trying to measure which of them got the better end of the deal and Levi Hernandez, the player whom the Lanterns acquired in a trade with Marlon Gomez, proved his worth. He came up with big plays, including a three-point basket off an inbound play that brought his team back to life from the brink of losing the match. His trey shoved the Lanterns within 88-86 with 20 seconds left. For Navotas, the costly errors and two missed free throws from Jai Reyes led to their endgame meltdown. A backcourt violation on Kris Porter off an inbound play allowed the Lanterns to map up a play and Juneric Baloria, who breezed past Donald Gumaru, picked up a foul from his man, resulting to two free throws that tied the game at 88-all. In the next play, the Clutch turned the ball over and Hernandez, who stole the ball from Ron Dennison, was fouled during a breakaway play. He split his charities for the final tally. But Navotas had several chances along the way as JImbo Aquino, who was fouled in Pampanga’s next play missed both charities and Reyes had to rush to the other end before he was fouled. Reyes, normally a cool and calculating guard, missed both free throws before a jump ball situation was called by the referees during a rebound struggle. The possession arrow went to Navotas, which had the last crack of mapping up a play. The play was intended for Dennison for an alley-oop, but it was tapped and went to Michole Sorela who missed a short stab as time expired.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 1st, 2018

Columbian eyes Jaymar Perez as top draft pick

Jaymar “CJ” Perez, the energetic Fil-Am forward set to see action for a second straight NCAA Finals, is Columbian Dyip’s prospect as top choice in the 2018 PBA Rookie Draft slated Dec. 16......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsOct 30th, 2018

PBA: Standhardinger muscles way to Player of the Week

Fil-German rookie Christian Standhardinger captured his second Cignal-PBA Press Corps Player of the Week award for the 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup following another monster effort that helped San Miguel Beer clinch a playoff berth. The 6-foot-8 Standhardinger has been a picture of consistency for the Beermen, who won back-to-back games this past week to stretch their winning run to four en route to sealing a playoff spot. The Beermen currently occupy the sixth spot in the standings with their 6-4 card, behind Barangay Ginebra’s 8-2 record, Magnolia (8-3), Alaska (8-3), Phoenix and Blackwater, which carry similar 7-3 records. Standhardinger, last year’s top overall rookie pick averaged 21.5 points, 20 rebounds and 2.5 assists in San Miguel’s victories over NorthPort and Rain or Shine, respectively the past week. The standout from Nebraska and Hawaii registered 21 points and 22 boards in a scintillating effort to help SMB subdue NorthPort, 114-107 last Wednesday at the Cuneta Astrodome. The 29-year-old Gilas Pilipinas mainstay continued his explosive form after finishing with 22 points, 18 rebounds and four assists in leading San Miguel to a 109-97 spanking of Rain or Shine last Saturday. Standhardinger’s blue-collar attitude bodes well for SMB, which overcame a slow start to make the playoffs.   The SMB freshman beat teammate Alex Cabagnot, Phoenix forward Calvin Abueva, NLEX’s JR Quinahan, Blackwater’s Mark Belo, along with Ginebra’s Greg Slaughter and Sol Mercado for the weekly citation for the period of Oct. 22-28. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 30th, 2018

MPBL quartet to represent Philippines in 3x3 tourney in China

Big Boss Idol defeated Dasma Ballers 2, 21-16, to capture the 3x3 Golden League Manila 2018 crown last Sunday at the Ayala Circuit Mall in Makati City. The team of Cedrick Ablaza, Rhoy Cayanan, Jhapz Bautista, and Bhabap Sta. Maria took home USD $3,000 for winning the championship while also earning the right to represent the Philippines in the SINA 3x3 International Elite League slated November 13 to 17 in Beijing, China. Ablaza, Cayanan, Bautistam and Sta. Maria are also playing for the Makati Skyscrapers in the ongoing 2018 Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Datu Cup. The Dasma Ballers went home with USD $2,000 for finishing first runner-up while Metro Star Realty took second runner-up honors for a USD $1,000 cash prize in the tournament with Allan Caidic as commissioner and Mediapro Asia and SINA as organizers. Big Boss Idol reached the finals after beating guest team Aba Prefecture of Tibet, 21-13, to arrange a championship match against Dasma Ballers 2, which defeated Metro Star Realty, 20-11, in the other semifinal bracket. League organizers are now looking forward to staging another edition of the tournament with plans to also bring the event in major cities outside Manila......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 30th, 2018

Dropped Lukaku set for time out of spotlight at Man United

By Steve Douglas, Associated Press Romelu Lukaku spends a lot of his spare time watching videos and YouTube clips of some of the world's greatest strikers in a bid to improve his own game. If he watches footage of his own recent performances for Manchester United, the Belgium striker may understand why he was dropped at the weekend as he goes through the toughest period of his time at England's biggest club. The goals have dried up (it's nine games without scoring, his longest drought in the red of United). His touch has deserted him. He might even be trying too hard. So when United manager Jose Mourinho spoke during the week of Lukaku's confidence being drained and his link-up play being off, the writing was on the wall for the player who moved to Old Trafford for $97 million in July 2017. When the team sheet was released for United's game against Everton on Sunday, it was no real surprise to see Lukaku on the bench and Marcus Rashford leading the attack. "Sometimes," Mourinho said, "we decide that the best thing for the players is to not be on the pitch, (but) to be protected and away from the initial pressure." Tellingly, United produced one of its most fluent attacking displays of the season. Rather than having a striker like Lukaku who often drops deep and ends up congesting the middle of the field, United had, in Rashford, one who stretched the opposition defense and allowed space behind him. United winger Anthony Martial reveled in the open spaces and scored his fourth goal in four games. Paul Pogba had more freedom to roam in midfield — he had more touches (88) and passes (67) than any other player — and was also more threatening going forward. Fred, recalled to the team, had room to take the ball to the edge of the penalty area and unleash shots. United had a 2-1 victory but should have won more convincingly. At times, as United's midfielders flooded forward to assist the mobile Rashford, it seemed like the days of Alex Ferguson. Everton was most dangerous in the final quarter of the game — after Lukaku had come on as a 65th-minute substitute. So does this spell the beginning of the end for Lukaku at United? Unlikely. Mourinho cherishes his big targetmen, such as Didier Drogba at Chelsea. He likes the fact that Lukaku never stops working for the team, saying many times that this is as important as the goals he scores. As Lukaku has said himself, Mourinho sees the striker "like his sergeant on the pitch." United had a similar situation when Zlatan Ibrahimovic was in the team in the 2016-17 season and often slowed its build-up play by dropping short. When Ibrahimovic got injured toward the end of his only full season at Old Trafford, Rashford played as the lone striker and United looked a different proposition. Still, that following offseason, Mourinho chose to buy Lukaku rather than put his faith in Rashford or Martial as the team's striker. The 20-year-old Rashford remains raw and his finishing is inconsistent. Martial appears to be back to his best but there is no telling how long his run of form will last. Perhaps Lukaku will just spend the next few games out of the spotlight. Maybe he can still adjust his game. "Here I still think my teamwork between myself and my teammates can improve and be much better," the striker said last week before United played against Juventus. "It's something that we're working on. The players need to know me and know my movement. "When that starts clicking, I think the results I have with Belgium will also come here." Lukaku has played 14 games for his national team in 2018 and scored 14 goals. He is Belgium's record scorer with 45 goals in 79 games. He is too valuable an asset for Mourinho and United to give up on. "His moment is not sweet," Mourinho has said "... but he's our striker and a good striker and a striker we believe in." POGBA'S STUTTER Pogba's stuttering run-up for his penalty against Everton — which was saved by goalkeeper Jordan Pickford before sidefooting in the rebound — was the subject of much debate after the game. Pogba said he might need to change his technique, which sees him take marginal steps forward without ever really accelerating toward the ball, as goalkeepers are starting to get used to it. Mourinho also said it might need a rethink. "I think the goalkeepers don't move and they are waiting for his decision," Mourinho said, "so I think he probably has to learn from that." As for Pogba's teammates, they are just making fun of it. Luke Shaw posted a photo on Twitter of him talking to Martial with his hand covering his mouth, and wrote: "Make a comeback in your career and renew your contract. (hashtag)ThingsYouCanDoDuringPogbasPenaltyRunUp." Make a comeback in your career and renew your contract. #ThingsYouCanDoDuringPogbasPenaltyRunUp pic.twitter.com/sxGx6C1i11 — Luke Shaw (@LukeShaw23) October 28, 2018.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 29th, 2018

PBA: SMB will be scary in the playoffs with or without 2x-to-beat

BINAN, Laguna --- There's a very slim chance that San Miguel might actually take a twice-to-beat edge in the quarterfinals of the 2018 PBA Governors' Cup. But even if the Beermen ultimately miss out on the playoff bonus, it's safe to say that no team would want to play San Miguel in the first round of the postseason. "I think we're a tough team to play against even if we don't make the top-4," forward Christian Standhardinger said. "We just gotta keep going and work hard and hope that we get lucky, that luck is on our side," he added. After a 109-97 decision over Rain or Shine Saturday at the Alonte Sports Arena here, the Beermen have won four straight games to improve to 6-4 in the standings. Despite struggling earlier in the conference, losing three straight games, the Beermen have powered through. San Miguel also have four-time MVP June Mar Fajardo back, making them even more formidable. Just like in the Commissioner's Cup, where they endured similar early tournament struggles before eventually still making it to the Finals, the Beermen know the time to pick things up. And the time is now. "Last conference we struggled the same way. This is the San Miguel way I guess. I hope I don't eat my words and I can be wrong but normally we play our best basketball at the end of the season," Standhardinger said. "That's where it counts the most," he added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 27th, 2018

Former England manager set to coach Philippine Azkals in Suzuki Cup

The Philippine Azkals make a major adjustment with just a couple of weeks to go before the start of the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup.  Team Manager Dan Palami announced during Saturday's  AFF Suzuki Cup Trophy Tour in Manila that legendary coach and manager Sven-Goran Eriksson will be coming on board as the Philippine Men's National Football team as coach.  "He will be a great addition to the team and I'm sure that the players will learn a lot from him," said Palami. "He will be working together with interim coach Scott Cooper." The announcement comes months after the surprising exit of former English football great Terry Butcher, who was initially tapped to take over the head coaching duties.  Eriksson's tenure will last at least six months. "This is one of the moves that we've done in order for us to do better in this edition of the Suzuki Cup," Palami continued.  A native of Sunne, Sweden, the 70-year old Eriksson began his managerial career back in 1977 and has handled club teams such as Roma, Manchester City, and Leicester City, as well as national squads such as England, Mexico, and the Ivory Coast.  Eriksson is best known for leading England to the two World Cup stints in 2002 and 2006.  He is coming off a stint with Chinese football club Shenzen FC.  "Fortunately, I was able to sell to Sven the dream of Philippine football," Palami said further, "He’s been there, he’s done it. I think it's beyond any financial relation, he’s not about that." "He believes in the legacy the can leave behind in the Philippines and in Asia. The Philippines is a very good bed for his time and effort. I’m glad that he agreed after several exchanges of emails. We also met in Qatar. We’re looking forward to him coming over to the team," Palami added.  Eriksson is expected to join the team when they begin training camp on November 3rd.  The Azkals fly to Bacolod on November0 7th, six days before they begin their AFF Suzuki Cup campaign on November 13th against Singapore at the Panaad Park and Stadium......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 27th, 2018

IT S FINAL: No sanctions for Perpetual in ligang labas issue

The NCAA has “sternly warned” University of Perpetual Help about the “infraction” it incurred at the midway mark of the Season 94 Men’s Basketball Tournament. “The Policy Board resolves to reprimand and sternly warn (Perpetual) that a similar infraction shall be dealt with severely,” the league said in a memo issued on Friday. #NCAASeason94 Management Committee statement on the issue regarding the residency of some Perpetual players. pic.twitter.com/9L9C1yR59E — Normie Riego (@riegogogo) Oktubre 26, 2018 Three weeks ago, a report first broken by Christian Jacinto of spin.ph found out that Perps’ lead guard Edgar Charcos, versatile forward Kim Aurin, and key reserves Kyt Jimenez and Tonton Peralta played in a commercial league last year. The four reportedly played for the Las Pinas Home Defenders in the Metro Basketball Tournament a year ago. According to sources closely monitoring the situation, NCAA rules on residency is understood to be like this – a player undergoing residency is only allowed to see action in another league if he will still be representing the school. After the investigation, however, the league has apparently determined that the Las Pinas Home Defenders is a school-based squad. “The Policy Board resolves that Perpetual has fielded a school-based team in joining a non-NCAA league,” the memo said. As such, the Altas have committed no infraction and will be able to play in the Final Four without any issues from here on out. As of press time, they are dueling with defending champion San Beda University. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 26th, 2018

PBA: The story behind Phelps uber-limited LeBrons

Phoenix import Eugene Phelps is quite the player and character. He's a walking bucket, capable of scoring up to 50 points with an additional 20 rebounds or so. His nickname is El Destructor and wears P30,000 Gucci headbands to games while scoring 50. [Related: PBA: Phelps drops a cool 50 points in P30,000 headband] Yep, Phelps is quite the player and character. Recently, Phelps' character has been reflected in his footwear. El Destructor regularly wears heat on his feet and in the current 2018 PBA Governors' Cup, he's been spotted wearing gems like the Nike Kyrie 3 Mamba Mentality. However, the best shoe he pulled out so far has to be the special Nike LeBron 11 "2K14" which he wore for a couple of games in the season-ending joust. The flashy animal-printed shoe was releaed a couple of years back when LeBron James, then with the Miami Heat, graced the cover of the popular basketball video game. Limited to only 2,014 pairs, players had to earn milestones in-game in order to have a chance to purchase the shoes. Overall, about 80 hours was needed in order to complete all tasks. Asked about his uber-limited pair, Phelps told ABS-CBN Sports that he got his 2K14s off the secondary market. Considering he plays actual basketball, he probably didn't have much time playing simulated ball when he's out there doing the real thing. "2014 I think because LeBron was on the NBA [2K] cover. I collect shoes at home and then obviously on the court. I just like shoes," Phelps told ABS-CBN Sports. "I bought them off of eBay I think for like $350 (PHP 19,000) so I got lucky on those," he added. Phelps wears a size 14 and his size is currently listed at $400 (PHP 22,000) at StockX with the last sale going for $600 (P33,000). There's no size 14 listed at Flight Club but pairs at size 13 and 15 are both listed for $600 each. El Destructor certainly got lucky. He's been lucky on-court too while wearing his 2K14s and while he went 1-1 in them, he dropped his second 50-ball this conference while rocking his royal pair. He was supposed to wear them again Wednesday but he took them off. He struggled for only 18 points after he switched to an older pair of Hyperdunks. "First time I wore them I had 50. And then the second time I had 37. But the gym it felt weird, it kept on slipping in the first half so I had to switch them up," Phelps said. A sneakerhead through and through, Phelps is not afraid to wear prized pairs on court. El Destructor mentioned that he once destroyed a pair of Nike Kobe 6 "Grinch" on court and he had to prematurely retire them. The original Kobe Grinch of course, is widely regarded as the best Kobe release from Nike of all time. Those go for anywhere from $900 (PHP 49,500) to over $1,000 (PHP 55,000) in Phelps' size. "My favorites? I played with the Grinches, the Kobe Grinches my first game but they ripped. So I had to throw those away," Phelps said. "I just threw them in my closet because the whole sole is ripped. But I guess I can get them fixed and glued. But if I get them glued obviously I won't play in them again because they might rip again. I'll probably clean them, get them glued together, and walk in them or something," he added. With Phoenix in the playoffs and targeting a breakthrough semifinals appearance in the PBA, Phelps is looking forward to wearing more heat on court. It would be best to start paying attention. "I'll probably get some Kyries or Jordans for the semis [if we make it] but my size is kinda hard to find out here [in Manila]. So probably I'll buy from home and get them shipped. I'll look online to see what I can find. If I can find some heat, I'll get some heat for sure," he said. "I'll probably have some more heat for y'all if we go to the semis. I got heat for y'all," Phelps added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 25th, 2018

PBA: June Mar could play in SMB s next game

June Mar Fajardo's return to San Miguel Beer is only a matter of time. Doctors have cleared June Mar from his shin injury and the reigning four-time PBA MVP has recently joined the Beermen in practice. However, Fajardo still didn't play Wednesday in San Miguel's win over Northport in the 2018 PBA Governors' Cup. The wait shouldn't be long though as June Mar can see action as early as Saturday when the Beermen take the court against Rain or Shine. "He's ready to play, maybe on Saturday we'll give him a chance to play but we'll manage his minutes," head coach Leo Austria said. With the Beermen finally on a roll with a three-game winning streak, there's no immediate need for Fajardo to resume his usual load for San Miguel. But with the team closing in on a playoff spot, with a slim chance to steal a twice-to-beat advantage even, the Beermen would still like to give their star center some reps before the postseason starts. "It will depend on the outcome of the other games [San Miguel for top-4] but I think June Mar will play on Saturday," Austria said. Fajardo himself is looking forward to rejoin his teammates. However, his concern is his conditioning after being out for a couple of months. "Masaya ako na nakasama ko ulit mga teammates ko sa court kahit di ako nakalaro," he said. "Sa ngayon, kailangan ko magpa-kundisyon para makatulong ako sa team. Try ko yung best ko. Ibibigay ko pa rin kung ano yung ginagawa ko," Fajardo added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 24th, 2018

Former WBO champ Paulus Ambunda signs with Ringstar Boxing

22 OCTOBER 2018 - SINGAPORE: Fresh from his impressive showing, and IBO World Super Bantamweight win last September, at Marina Bay Sands, Namibian boxer Paulus “The Rock” Ambunda, (27-2-0), joins Ringstar Boxing’s impressive roster of boxers, under its management & promotion.  The three-time IBO world champion Ambunda, who was also a former WBO World Bantamweight champion, says, “I am happy to sign with Ringstar Management, and I look forward to my upcoming fights, under the Ringstar banner.”  Scott Farrell, Founder & CEO of Ringstar Boxing, which is now referred to by many as Asia’s number one boxing sports property, says, “I am very excited to welcome Paulus “The Rock” Ambunda, to Ringstar Management. He still has plenty to offer and he proved that on my last show at Marina Bay Sands on September 29th, when he once again claimed the IBO super bantamweight title. I will be taking Paulus to bigger fights and he will once again shock the world, mark my words.”  Ambunda will be joining other world-class boxers managed & promoted by Ringstar, such as IBO World Bantamweight champion Michael Dasmarinas, IBO Intercontinental Featherweight champion Muhamad Ridhwan, Thailand contender (by way of New Zealand) Nort Beauchamp IBO Asia Champion, IBO Oceania Welterweight champion Keng Fai, WBC Asia Continental Light Heavyweight Champion Mirage Khan, New Zealand boxing champion Cairo George, among others.  Ringstar’s recent campaign has also been shortlisted for the Best Integrated Marketing Campaign for a Sports Event category, at the prestigious SPIA Asia - Sports Industry Awards, which recognizes the best work in the sports industry, across 47 countries. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 22nd, 2018