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Injury-depleted Heat sign forward Okaro White to 10-day deal

MIAMI (AP) — The Miami Heat have signed forward Okaro White to a 10-day contract. White was with the Heat for the summer league last year and training camp before this season. Tuesday's (Wednesday, PHL time) move means he becomes the 16th name on the roster. Miami received permission from the NBA to exceed the 15-player limit because a number of players are sidelined by injury and illness. White averaged 18.4 points and 8.7 rebounds in 23 games for Miami's NBA Development League affiliate in Sioux Falls. For the Heat in preseason, he averaged 5.7 points in six games. The Heat have been without All-Star forward Chris Bosh all season. Currently, Josh McRoberts, Josh Richardson and Justise Winslow are sidelined by injuries. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 17th, 2017

9-man Athletic beats Barcelona 2-1 in Copa del Rey

BILBAO, Spain (AP) — Barcelona's two-year reign of the Copa del Rey was in jeopardy after it lost to a nine-man Athletic Bilbao 2-1 at a packed San Mames Stadium on Thursday. Athletic played a man down from the 74th minute, and two men down from the 80th because of red cards in a drama-filled first-leg match in the round of 16. Aritz Aduriz scored and set up another goal in the first half for Athletic, and Lionel Messi scored for Barcelona from a free kick early in the second half. Messi hit the post from inside the area three minutes into stoppage time, and Paco Alcacer missed the open net off the rebound. 'We reacted well and deserved a draw for all the chances we created,' Barcelona coach Luis Enrique said. 'We just lacked that touch of precision in front of the goal.' Athletic beat Barcelona for only the third time in 32 matches over the last 10 years. In that period, Barcelona has beaten Athletic in three Copa del Rey finals, won their last three league matches, and won both legs of their quarterfinal matchup last year. But a draw next week in the second leg at Camp Nou will be enough to send Athletic to the quarterfinals. 'We are happy,' Atlhetic coach Ernesto Valverde said. 'We earned a small advantage and we will try to maintain it in the second leg.' Athletic took control early as Aduriz's header opened the scoring in the 25th, and Inaki Williams padded the lead after a pass by Aduriz in the 28th. Messi pulled Barcelona closer by converting a free kick in the 52nd, with the ball just barely crossing the line after a save attempt by Athletic goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz. Second yellow cards by midfielders Raul Garcia and Ander Iturraspe reduced Athletic, which had to endure a siege by the visitors. Athletic's only loss at San Mames this season was against Barcelona in its first home game in the league. Since then, it has won 11 games and drawn one. In other first-leg matches, Real Madrid defeated Sevilla 3-0 at home on Wednesday, while visiting Atletico Madrid beat Las Palmas 2-0 on Tuesday. All return matches are next week. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 5th, 2017

Thailand-bound Pinoy boxer Melvin Jerusalem dedicates title fight to late father

WBC '9 and world Minimumweight title challenger Melvin Jerusalem leaves the country on Friday, January 20, along with coaches Edito Villamor and Michael Domingo.                                After months of training, Jerusalem feels confident going into the first title fight of his young career. Undefeated with eleven wins in as many fights the young Jerusalem is scheduled to take on  reigning WBC minimumweight world champion Wanheng Menayothin of Thailand. The defending champion also has an undefeated record of 44-0 and is now on his fifth title defense. Menayothin has held three other WBC titles since 2007.  Both Jerusalem and Menayothin have fought and won over Filipino champions Florante Condes and Jonathan Refugio. While the fight with Jerusalem could be just another one that Menayothin hopes to add to his spotless record, it’s a once in a lifetime chance a promising young fighter like Jerusalem, who's eager to make a name of his own. A win over an experienced veteran like Menayothin would open more opportunities  for the Filipino. Dedicating the most important fight of his career to his late father, Jerusalem promises to do his best and fight as long as he still can, saying “his support inspires me” and that he (Melvin’s father) “would have loved to see my first title fight for my first fight abroad”. Jerusalem added, “This is a lot of firsts for my career, and I wish he was around to see me. I guess this time he can watch me from heaven.”  The fight is set next Wednesday, January 25 in Phitsanulok, Thailand......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 20th, 2017

6-time champs Djokovic, Williams post Australian Open wins

JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer   MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The record will show that six-time Australian Open champions Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic each had straight-set wins. It may seem straight-forward, but it was not routine. Newly-engaged Williams, aiming for an Open-era record 23rd major title, and Djokovic, bidding to become the first man to win seven Australian titles, confronted former top-10 players in the first round at Melbourne Park. And so there was no chance for the No. 2-ranked players, in the recently unaccustomed position at the foot of the draw, to feel their way into the season's first major. Djokovic faced Fernando Verdasco, who beat Rafael Nadal in the first round last year and who had five match points in their last head-to-head encounter — only 10 days earlier. Djokovic held off the Spanish lefthander in a 71-minute, momentum-swinging second set before winning 6-1, 7-6 (4), 6-2 on Tuesday. The first and third sets were great, he said, but the second was 'a gamble.' 'I'm very pleased with the first round, considering I had one of the toughest first-round draws, definitely considering his form,' Djokovic said. 'He's a quality player. He's a big match, big-time player.' The 33-year-old Verdasco peaked at No. 7 in the rankings in 2009, not long after he pushed eventual champion Nadal in five sets in one of the best and latest-finishing semifinals ever at the Australian Open. 'From one perspective it was good that I got to have the very tough first-round match, because it made me prepare better and kind of approach the tournament with the right intensity, right from the first point,' Djokovic said. Williams, on the comeback after a stint on the sidelines following a U.S. Open semifinal loss, took a 5-0 lead in the second set against Belinda Bencic. But Bencic has been ranked in the top 10, and was seeded 12th in Melbourne last year. She applied pressure on Williams, who made mistakes on key points — including a double-fault to give Bencic a break point, and another on her first match point — before recovering to win 6-4, 6-3. Williams became engaged to Alexis Ohanian during the holiday break, and the Reddit co-founder was in the crowd at Rod Laver Arena. She has been asked repeatedly about her wedding plans since arriving in Australia, but only gave a time frame for that discussion after her opening match. 'February I'll start looking at the bigger picture of my life,' she said. 'Right now, I'm just so focused that this is kind of all I can think about.' Williams made a big statement, though, by walking into her news conference wearing a shirt with the word 'Equality' emblazoned across the front. It was still before midnight Monday in the United States, where the holiday in honor of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was nearly ending. 'It's important to spread the message,' she said. Asked if she was concerned about the future of equality in the United States, Williams declined to comment apart from saying it was 'a concern for just everyone in general.' After improving her record in the first round of majors to 65-1, Williams will play Lucie Safarova, who saved nine match points before beating Yanina Wickmayer 3-6, 7-6 (7), 6-1. Nadal, also returning from a couple of months on the sidelines following the U.S. Open with an injured left wrist, has already improved on 2016. 'I'm happy to do an interview with you — last year, I didn't have the chance!' Nadal said in his on-court interview after a 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 win over Florian Mayer. As usual at Melbourne Park, the heat was a factor. The thermostat reached almost 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit) on a day when Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic beat Dustin Brown and No. 11 David Goffin beat 19-year-old qualifier Reilly Opelka 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4. Ivo Karlovic was thankful that it was cooler at night, when the 37-year-old Croat fired 75 aces and held off Horacio Zeballos 6-7 (6), 3-6, 7-5, 6-2, 22-20 in a match that set a record for most number of games (84) at the Australian Open in the tiebreak era. No. 6 Gael Monfils, No. 8 Dominic Thiem, No. 13 Roberto Bautista Agut, No. 15 Grigor Dimitrov and No. 18 Richard Gasquet were among the other seeded players to advance. Heather Watson beat No. 18 Sam Stosur, extending the 2011 U.S. Open champion's drought on home soil. U.S. Open finalist Karolina Pliskova, 2016 Australian Open semifinalist Johanna Konta, No. 6 Dominika Cibulkova, former top-ranked Caroline Wozniacki, No. 14 Elena Vesnina, No. 21 Caroline Garcia and No. 28 Alize Cornet all advanced before third-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska finished off her 6-1, 4-6, 6-1 win over Tsvetana Pironkova just before midnight. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 17th, 2017

Matthews leads Mavericks to 98-87 win over T-Wolves

em>By Dave Jackson, Associated Press /em> DALLAS (AP) — Wesley Matthews scored 19 points and Dirk Nowitzki added 17 and the Dallas Mavericks beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 98-87 Sunday (Monday, PHL time). J.J. Barea scored 15 points for Dallas, and Deron Williams had 13 points and 10 assists. Gorgui Dieng scored 21 points and Andrew Wiggins had 19 for the Timberwolves, who had their three-game winning streak snapped. Dallas broke open a two-point game by closing the third quarter on an 11-4 run, then Barea scored his team's first nine points of the fourth quarter. His bank shot in the lane with 8:01 to go extended the Mavs' lead to 88-76. Seth Curry then scored the next five points with a triple and a fast-break layup to give Dallas its largest lead of the game. Seeking their first four-game winning streak since December 2012, the Timberwolves closed a 14-point, third-quarter deficit to as little as two. Dieng scored nine points in the quarter, making all four of his field-goal attempts. Nowitzki scored 10 points in a 17-4 run at the start of the second quarter, including seven straight to finish the run. His three-pointer as the trailer on a Mavericks' fast break gave Dallas its biggest lead of the half at 44-29. They led 56-47 at the break. strong>TIP-INS /strong> em> strong>Timberwolves: /strong> /em> Zach LaVine had missed the past two games with a hip bruise, but warmed up before the game and coach Tom Thibodeau declared him ready to go. He scored 11 points. em> strong>Mavericks: /strong> /em>The Mavericks announced the signing of guard Pierre Jackson to a 10-day contract. Jackson played for the Mavericks from Dec. 27 to Jan. 6 (Dec. 28-Jan. 7, PHL time), averaging three points, before being waived. Dallas also recalled forward Nicolas Brussino from the Texas Legends of the NBA Development League, where he was averaging 16 points and eight rebounds. strong>PEER RECOGNITION /strong> As head of the National Basketball Coaches Association (NBCA), Dallas coach Rick Carlisle talked about the association's announcement of the Michael H. Goldberg NBCA Coach of the Year Award. The award will be the only one chosen by an NBA coach's peers and will be announced at the end of the regular season. Goldberg was the first executive director of the NBCA. 'Michael Goldberg is a beloved figure in the coaching world,' Carlisle said. 'We felt it was time to honor the work that he's done. This is a unique award because it's going to be voted on by peers only. It will have a little extra meaning for coaches. It's really time for something like this to happen.' strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Timberwolves: /strong> /em>Stay in Texas with a visit to San Antonio on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time). em> strong>Mavericks: /strong> /em> Visit Chicago on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time) for the first of a two-game road trip. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 15th, 2017

Klinsmann believes US Soccer made progress before his firing

GREG BEACHAM, AP Sports Writer br /> LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jurgen Klinsmann is proud of his half-decade in charge of the U.S. national team, and the coach believes he left successor Bruce Arena in a position to make the Americans even better. Klinsmann made his first public remarks since his firing when he spoke Friday at a convention of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America in downtown Los Angeles. Klinsmann agreed to speak at the session before losses in the first two games of the final round of World Cup qualifying led to his dismissal. Klinsmann also was the program's technical director for his final three years in charge, supervising every aspect of the team's development and training. 'The results will tell in the future if it helped Bruce to achieve the goals that are set,' Klinsmann said. 'But I think whenever you have the chance to put your stamp on a program, you do it with everything you have, and that's what I tried to do. I think we achieved a lot within the system of U.S. Soccer, connecting a lot of dots — even though there are so many out there that are disconnected, which we know. But now it's there for the next group of leaders to continue that.' When his team lost at home to Mexico and at Costa Rica late last year, falling into an early hole in qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Klinsmann was fired by the U.S. Soccer Federation on Nov. 21 after 5 1/2 years. Klinsmann didn't appear to agree with the decision, but he understands how it was reached. 'You have to be measured against benchmarks,' Klinsmann said. 'You cannot lose to Costa Rica and Mexico (if) that's the benchmark. Then that's the benchmark, and you have to live with that.' Klinsmann took the U.S. job after stints in charge of the German national team and Bayern Munich. The Americans won 16 games in his first year in charge, and they later claimed the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup title and a spot in the second round of the 2014 World Cup. But the program encountered several recent setbacks, and criticism grew for Klinsmann's style and strategy. The Americans still reached last year's Copa America semifinals before getting routed 4-0 by Argentina. Klinsmann wryly recalled that loss, saying it was a 'fair question' to ask how U.S. Soccer could accept such a blowout. Hyperbolizing, he said a team led by Lionel Messi 'could have given us eight' against the best American squad. Arena, who coached the U.S. from 1998 to 2006, opened the first training camp of his second stint this week, welcoming roughly 30 Major League Soccer-based players to a month-long camp. The U.S. resumes qualifying at home against Honduras on March 24, then plays four days later at Panama. Arena's roster includes several players ignored by Klinsmann, who at times seemed to preferred those on European clubs. He also engaged in public clashes with popular veterans, most notably leaving Landon Donovan off the 2014 World Cup team. Klinsmann, a World Cup champion player with West Germany in 1990, looks at his relationships with the top American players through the lens of experience now. 'I think as a player, you are kind of in a mindset where you know it always better than the coach, so you go through your career as a player and you never have the perfect coach,' he said. 'Later on, when you become a coach, you realize you were so wrong.' Klinsmann got a standing ovation from the audience of soccer coaches after his hour-long remarks during an interview and question-and-answer session. The coaches in attendance asked Klinsmann extensively about his technique and philosophy around numerous aspects of the job. 'As coaches, it's important to look outside and see, 'How do they do it there?'' Klinsmann said. 'We are always learning. I want to encourage you to understand how a better plan can be built.' As for his unfinished work with the U.S. team, Klinsmann sounded philosophical about that, as well. 'I think we all need to be aware that we're just part of a certain timeline, and then somebody else takes over and takes it to the next level in his own way,' he said. 'But a lot has been done in the last five years which I've been really proud of.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 14th, 2017

Match-fixing back in spotlight on eve of first Grand Slam

JUSTIN BERGMAN, Associated Press   For Rafael Nadal and the other stars of tennis, there's a familiar ring to the questions being raised as the first ball is about to be struck at the Australian Open. Recent match-fixing sanctions and a new case are bringing fresh scrutiny to the integrity of the sport a year after corruption allegations cast a pall over the first Grand Slam of the year. '(It's) obviously negative, always in the first month of the season starts to happen,' Nadal said at the season-opening Brisbane International. 'You get tired about this kind of stuff, but the most important thing is fight against these kinds of things.' The headlines started appearing early in the new year. On Jan. 5, police in Australia charged an 18-year-old player with a match-fixing offense at a lower-tier tournament last October in Traralgon, near Melbourne. Days later, another Australian player, Nick Lindahl, now retired but once ranked in the top 200, was handed a seven-year ban and $35,000 fine from the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) for offering to throw a match at a minor tournament in the city of Toowoomba in 2013. Lindahl had already been fined after a criminal trial. Two other Australian players received lesser punishments in connection with the incident. While Traralgon and Toowoomba are far removed from the glittering lights of Melbourne Park, the timing of the developments was troubling nonetheless. Last season began similarly beneath a cloud of suspicion after a report by BBC and Buzzfeed alleged that tennis authorities had suppressed evidence of match-fixing and failed to investigate possible cases of corruption. The reports went over old ground, but the timing and the headlines overshadowed the tournament. 'I haven't heard anything (about match-fixing) since last year's Australian Open,' German player Mischa Zverev told The Associated Press last week in Brisbane. 'I think it was funny timing. ... Like the day before the Oscars, they're going to bring something up to make somebody not win it, or win it.' Since then, tennis leaders have gone into overdrive to restore confidence in the sport. An independent panel was created to review the TIU, the internal body tasked with combating corruption, and authorities promised to implement all of its recommendations when it is completed this spring. The TIU also took separate steps to strengthen its monitoring and investigation efforts, develop new anti-corruption education programs for players, and improve the transparency of its operations. In an email statement to The AP, the agency said nine players and officials were sanctioned last year for match-fixing — the most for a single year since the unit was established in 2008. Several were banned for life, including a young South African player and four officials from Turkey and Uzbekistan. The unit also expanded its outreach efforts with betting operators and regulators, leading to increased reporting of suspicious wagers. In 2016, the TIU received 292 betting alerts — an 18 percent increase over the previous year. The vast majority of those came from the Challenger and Futures circuits on the men's tour, considered the most at-risk for match-fixing given the lower likelihood of detection and the smaller earnings of the players. However, the TIU said three alerts were generated at Grand Slam events, as well. The agency was quick to note, though, that an alert isn't necessarily proof of match-fixing. Of the more than 114,000 matches played last year on the professional tours, only 0.2 percent triggered a suspicious betting alert. 'Tennis was one of the first major sports to recognize the potential threat of betting-related corruption and do something about it,' the TIU said. 'It will be for the independent review panel to take a view on the conduct and effectiveness of the unit and to put forward recommendations to improve the current structure and approach.' Whatever the investigators recommend, the fact remains the TIU faces an uphill battle. Technology has shifted the gambling landscape in such a way, it's increasingly difficult for monitors to keep up. In tennis, wagers aren't just placed on who wins or loses; bets can be placed during matches in real time on everything from total points won in a game to whether a set goes to a tiebreak. 'We're talking individual player activities here,' said Hans Westerbeek, dean of the College of Sport and Exercise Science at Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia. 'It's much easier to get into a situation where you approach individual players to do things that can be, if done well, quite well hidden from it being suspicious.' He likens it to the ongoing battle against performance-enhancing drugs. 'You're always struggling to keep up with the innovations that a better-resourced front of gambling operators, legal or illegal, will have available to advance their technology.' Ryan Rodenberg, an associate professor of forensic sports law analytics at Florida State University, says this is one reason a more sophisticated approach is critically needed. He recommends an internal monitoring system that analyzes each match for suspicious activity in real time, rather than relying solely on betting alerts. 'A robust betting data-monitoring operation would have both in-house capabilities and a number of collaborative information sharing agreements with third parties such as sportsbooks, private monitoring firms or academics,' he said. 'Anything less is sub-optimal.' With a limited budget of just $3.23 million for 2017, however, there is only so much the TIU can do. As such, preventative measures such as education have become a priority. More than 25,000 players and officials have completed the TIU's online anti-corruption training program, and a new version will be launched that players will be required to complete every two years. 'Educating players who are up-and-coming and those who support those players is a very good, positive and necessary thing to do,' Westerbeek says. 'Because the root of the problem is ... people not really (understanding) they're engaging in criminal activity.' ___ AP Sports Writer John Pye contributed to this report. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 12th, 2017

Warriors chill Heat with Klay Thompson resting

em>By Janie McCauley, Associated Press /em> OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Stephen Curry had 24 points, nine assists and eight rebounds, Kevin Durant added 28 points and the Golden State Warriors picked it up late to beat the Miami Heat 107-95 on Tuesday night (Wednesday, PHL time) in another victory while hardly at their best. Durant also had eight rebounds and Draymond Green had 13 points, nine rebounds and five assists in the Warriors' fifth straight win against the Heat and eighth in 10, including three in a row at home. Klay Thompson had the night off for rest after he played through illness the past two games. Coach Steve Kerr said he was worn down. Hassan Whiteside had 28 points and 20 rebounds for the Heat, who were outscored 26-14 in the third quarter after leading 54-53 at halftime. Rookie Patrick McCaw made his first career start in Thompson's place and contributed a key 3-pointer in the third that put the Warriors ahead 67-60. While they finished with 28 assists, that zippy passing game the Warriors have with Thompson on the court wasn't quite as crisp -- though one pretty sequence of several quick touches led to Ian Clark's key triple on a pass from Andre Iguodala with 5:44 to go. Iguodala later dished to Clark again for a layup. Curry hit just 4-of-11 three-pointers as the Warriors shot 11-for-27 from beyond the arc and 45.3 percent overall. The two-time reigning NBA MVP fell short of a fourth straight game with 30 or more points. Golden State, which played its lone road game in 10 on Sunday (Monday, PHL time) with a bus trip to nearby Sacramento, again struggled to find an offensive flow while missing everything from layups to open three’s during stretches. Miami lost its third straight game and dropped to 1-4 on this five-game road as coach Erik Spoelstra works to help his team find 'our identity on both ends of the court and doing it more consistently.' Whiteside's alley-oop dunk with 7:15 remaining pulled the Heat within 85-80 and forced a Warriors timeout. Tyler Johnson scored to make it a three-point game before the Warriors closed it out in their typical, impressive fashion. Luke Babbitt returned for Miami after sitting out against the Clippers on Sunday (Monday, PHL time) with an illness, but he was limited in 18 minutes. Zaza Pachulia had scored in double figures in four straight games for the Warriors but had eight points, six rebounds and three assists. strong>QUOTABLE /strong> Kerr was asked about visiting the White House with Donald Trump as President if the Warriors were to win a championship. 'I certainly hope that we have to have that decision to make next year,' he said. 'I'll move on to the next question.' strong>TIP-INS /strong> em> strong>Heat: /strong> /em>Whiteside has eight or more rebounds in a career-high and franchise-best 50 straight games. The Heat have held opponents below 50 percent from the field in 33-of-40 games. Udonis Haslem was available but didn't play while dealing with a chest cold. em> strong>Warriors: /strong> /em>Clark notched his eighth game scoring in double figures. Golden State outscored Miami 21-9 on fast-break points in the first half. Since 2014-15, Golden State is 33-2 at home against the Eastern Conference and 5-0 this season. Chicago and Boston are the lone East teams to win at Oracle Arena during that span. strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Heat: /strong> /em>At Milwaukee on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time) to wrap up this trip after beating the Bucks 96-73 on Nov. 17 (Nov. 18, PHL time). The Warriors visit Miami on Jan. 23 (Jan. 24, PHL time). em> strong>Warriors: /strong> /em> Host Detroit on Thursday night (Friday, PHL time) for the middle game of a three-game home stretch vs. Eastern Conference opponents, including Monday's (Tuesday, PHL time) matchup against LeBron James and the champion Cavaliers. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 11th, 2017

Top-ranked Kerber loses her opening match in Sydney

SYDNEY (AP) — Top-ranked Angelique Kerber lost her opening match at the Sydney International on Tuesday, upset 7-6 (5), 6-2 by Darya Kasatkina in a setback ahead of her Australian Open title defense next week. Kerber, who won last year's Australian and U.S. Open for her first major titles, has opened the new season with one win in two tournaments in Brisbane and Sydney. The Australian Open starts Monday in Melbourne. Eugenie Bouchard continued her resurgent run, meanwhile, with a 6-4, 6-3 win over WTA Finals champion Dominika Cibulkova to reach the quarterfinals in Sydney. Bouchard improved her career record to 4-1 against Cibulkova, who was ranked No. 5 and was voted the WTA's comeback player of the year in 2016 after her title win at the season-ending championship. 'Any time you play one of the best players in the world it's like a standard of where you're at,' said Bouchard, who had a wild-card entry in Sydney. 'Every time I have played a match with Domi, we have had the toughest battles. 'I have won, I guess, more often than not, but everyone is a really tough battle.' Bouchard had an early break in the second set, but dropped serve and allowed Cibulkova, a finalist at the 2014 Australian Open, a way back into the match. But the Canadian star broke again quickly and held onto the advantage. Bouchard had a breakout season in 2014, reaching the semifinals at the Australian Open and French Open before making the final at Wimbledon. But she has only gone past the fourth round at a major once since then and slipped to No. 46 at the end of last year. After winning back-to-back matches at a tournament for the first time since August in Cincinnati, she will play a quarterfinal against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who beat defending champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-5, 6-3. 'I have taken a couple of solid steps this week, but I'm far from where I want to be,' Bouchard said. 'Even though I won, to me, I could do a lot of things better.' Barbora Strycova had a 6-2, 6-3 win over No. 9-seeded Roberta Vinci. At the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand, fifth-seeded Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinola lost 6-1, 7-5 in the first round to friend and training partner Joao Sousa. Ramos-Vinola, ranked 27, and Portugal's Sousa, ranked 44, are both based in Barcelona and are supporters of the city's rival football clubs and Sousa described their match as 'a kind of a derby.' 'On court we are no friends but off court we are,' he said. Ramos-Vinola's main weapon is his powerful forehand but he lacked accuracy in his first match of the season, missing too many easy points in the first set and making 18 unforced errors to Sousa's eight. He dropped serve in the fourth game and again in the sixth to lose the first set in 32 minutes. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 10th, 2017

FIFA set to approve bigger, richer World Cup on Tuesday

GRAHAM DUNBAR, AP Sports Writer   FIFA is set to make the World Cup bigger and richer, even if the price to pay is lower quality soccer. FIFA President Gianni Infantino hopes his ruling Council will agree Tuesday to expand the 2026 World Cup to 48 nations, playing in 16 groups of three teams. A decision could be delayed if some Council members demand to know exactly how many qualifying places each continent will get before agreeing to scrap the 32-team format. It has been successful, popular and profitable since 1998 and is locked in for the next two World Cups in Russia and Qatar. The prize of 16 extra places, and the biggest increases to Africa and Asia, has 'overwhelming' support from FIFA's 211 member federations, Infantino has said. Their promise of extra funding from Zurich could also be secured by FIFA's forecast 20 percent rise in rights fees paid by broadcasters and sponsors. 'Financially, the 48-team format is the most appealing or successful simply because the sporting element is prevailing and every match is important,' Infantino said two weeks ago. 'The decision should not be financially driven, neither in terms of revenue or costs ... but the driver should really be the development of football and boosting football all over the world.' World Cup champion Germany is not in favor. It argued that diluting the number of European and South American teams — which won all 20 titles since 1930 — could 'strengthen the imbalance' seen at some tournaments. 'The (German soccer federation) fundamentally believe that the current 32-team format is the best option,' its president Reinhard Grindel said last week. Germany has no delegate at Tuesday's meeting though Grindel is set to join the FIFA Council in May. FIFA acknowledged the risk of lower standards in a research document sent to members last month, as first reported by The Associated Press. The 'absolute quality' of soccer, defined by high-ranked teams playing each other most often, is achieved by 32 teams, FIFA said, citing 10,000 tournament simulations made to reach that conclusion. Still, Infantino promised voters more World Cup places and funding raises before his election last February. FIFA expects $5.5 billion income tied to the 2018 World Cup in Russia, though 25 of 34 sponsorship slots are unsold. The research document predicted the equivalent of $6.5 billion revenue from a 48-team tournament in the '16x3' format, which would send two teams from each group to a new Round of 32 knockout bracket. All 80 matches would play in an exclusive time slot. Currently, 64 World Cup matches have 56 broadcast slots because the eight four-team groups play their last matches simultaneously. FIFA predicts organizing costs for '16x3' rising from $2 billion to $2.3 billion, giving a potential profit rise of $640 million. Though a '16x3' World Cup would still need a maximum of 12 stadiums, the demand for 16 more top-quality training camps and hotels suggests FIFA would look for 2026 hosts with existing capacity. A North American bid from two or three of the United States, Canada and Mexico is currently favored in a contest that could start within weeks. Five options are open Tuesday, including staying with 32 teams. Infantino campaigned last year on a 40-team promise, in either eight groups of five teams or 10 groups of four teams. Neither impressed voters in recent regional meetings of FIFA member federations. When the FIFA leader first proposed 48 teams, it included an opening playoff round. The 16 winners would join 16 seeded teams in a traditional 32-team group stage. FIFA members disliked 'one-and-done' teams going home before the 'real' World Cup kicks off. It would also stretch to a 39-day event with more short-notice travel for fans. Africa and Asia could be the big winners, and FIFA hopes new teams would include another Iceland, Wales and Costa Rica — over-achieving teams and feelgood stories at recent tournaments. Still, hapless Tahiti was outclassed at the 2013 Confederations Cup, conceding 24 goals in three games. 'The goal of expanding the FIFA World Cup,' it has told members, 'is to further advance the vision to promote the game of football, protect its integrity and bring the game to all.' ___ Entry quotas for 2018 World Cup: Europe 14 (including host Russia to qualify direct); Africa 5; Asia and South America 4.5 each; North, Central America and Caribbean 3.5; Oceania 0.5. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 8th, 2017

Serena, Venus Williams forced out of ASB Classic

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (AP) — Serena Williams was knocked out of the ASB Tennis Classic on Wednesday, reducing her match practice for the upcoming Australian Open, while sister Venus withdrew due to injury. Top-seeded Serena was frustrated by a swirling wind, her inability to find her A-game, and a tenacious opponent as she went down 6-4, 6-7 (3), 6-4 to 72nd-ranked American compatriot Madison Brengle. Older sister Venus withdrew from the tournament with an arm injury ahead of her scheduled second-round match. Both players will now head to Melbourne to prepare for the first Grand Slam tournament of the season with less match play than they would have hoped. Serena had shown signs of rustiness in her 6-3, 6-4 first round win over Pauline Parmentier of France, and her power-hitting game was again affected by gusting wind on the open-air center court. She struggled with her ball toss in the windy conditions and made 88 unforced errors, including the double fault that ended the match and caused Brengle to clap her hand over her mouth in surprise. Brengle, a 26-year-old Delaware native, had played Serena only once before, in 2015, losing 6-0, 6-1. Williams, a 22-time Grand Slam tournament winner, played only eight events in 2016 — the most recent at the U.S. Open in August — but still got off to a good start, taking a 4-1 lead before faltering. Brengle rattled off four straight games to lead 5-4, and then served out the set. Williams was down a break in the second set before breaking Brengle and then powering through her service game to lead 5-4. She had four set points in Brengle's next service game but again her accuracy deserted her and she squandered every one. It finally took a fifth set point in the tiebreak for Williams to close out the set in 60 minutes. Games went on serve in the third set, and Brengle's plan of taking the pace off the ball with her returns paid off as she broke Williams in the final game. 'I just tried to concentrate on every point and run down every ball,' Brengle said. 'It was difficult conditions with the wind and I just tried to right for every point. 'I tried to use the slice and get as many balls back as I could and it ended up working out.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 4th, 2017

Guardiola sounds tetchy but City exit doesn't seem imminent

ROB HARRIS, AP Global Soccer Writer br /> LONDON (AP) — Only six months into his Manchester City reign, Pep Guardiola has sounded tetchy and strained by the demands of English soccer. And the 45-year-old already seems to be counting down to his departure. Not just from City and the English Premier League but soccer completely. 'Manchester City is three years or maybe longer but I am still approaching at the end of my career like a manager,' Guardiola said in broken English in an interview with American network NBC taped in early December but only broadcast last week. 'I am pretty sure of that.' But the end is not imminent. Before City scrambles to start the search for a successor, Guardiola is clearly not planning an immediate escape from Manchester however chilly he is finding his first English winter. 'I will not be a trainer @ 60 or 65 years old,' Guardiola stated, looking ahead to the 2030s. And within City there is no sense Guardiola is taking his eye off the challenge of bringing the Premier League trophy back to the Etihad for the first time since 2014. Guardiola, who was particularly testy after Monday's league win over Burnley, is quickly discovering just how tough the competition is. City has opened the second half of the season in third place and is seven points behind leader Chelsea, which also has a game in hand, while Manchester United is only three points further back in sixth. Unlike in his previous jobs at Barcelona and Bayern Munich, there's no guarantee of a trophy at the end of Guardiola's first season and the comments to NBC will create uncertainty, if unintended, about his commitment to City. It is curious for anyone to announce so early into any job that they are already thinking about their departure. Even more so when you have been pursued for so long by City, which installed former Barcelona executives to make the club more appealing to Guardiola. But when City managed to land Guardiola, the club knew it was hiring someone not interested in long-term projects. Guardiola won a trio of Spanish titles and two Champions League crowns with Barcelona between 2008 and 2012 before vacating the Camp Nou dugout. Three seasons at Bayern Munich, collecting another trio of domestic titles, were enough for Guardiola before taking up a new challenge in Manchester. Guardiola might be obsessive when in a job, but he is not addicted to soccer or the limelight. Between the Barcelona and Bayern jobs, he was content to take a year's sabbatical living in New York. And in the United States, Guardiola was fascinated by an apparent 'American culture' in the workplace. 'People are not staying in the same place for a long time,' he said. 'They move a lot and I believe in that.' Guardiola's soccer aura has faded in England, with City's four league losses more than any rival in the top six. The latest impediment in the title pursuit was inflicted by Liverpool as former Bundesliga rival Juergen Klopp got the better of Guardiola. In Guardiola's first taste of the packed festive program in English soccer, City was back in action inside 48 hours on Monday. The game against Burnley started badly with Fernandinho being sent off but 10-man City did manage to claim a 2-1 victory. Rather than celebrating, Guardiola gave curt post-match interviews where he sounded irritated with the line of questioning about City's disciplinary problems and the interview about his future. It was far from a meltdown as Guardiola has to operate within the constraints of Football Association rules that restrict how coaches can talk about referees. A frustrated Guardiola talked about 'special rules' in England, reflecting how he is still getting accustomed to how soccer laws are interpreted by Premier League referees, rather than criticizing their quality. 'I have to adapt,' Guardiola said. Perhaps, Guardiola has sensed the glee that seems to greet each setback in England and claims his coaching reputation is reliant on being fortunate to have Lionel Messi among his Barcelona talents. Far from being egotistical, Guardiola accepts he is 'not exceptional.' 'I was lucky to train outstanding players in a big club,' he said. 'If I would have trained lower teams than Barcelona and Bayern Munich I would not have won this amount of incredible titles I have won. For the people who believe Pep comes here and City's going to win. No.' And no, Guardiola isn't already packing his bags and heading for Manchester Airport. Guardiola was quoted across British media on Tuesday as telling NBC that 'the process of my goodbye has already started' — a comment that never featured in the broadcast interview. The headlines, though, will do little to dispel the notion that Guardiola's dedication to City is wavering. ___ Rob Harris is at www.twitter.com/RobHarris and www.facebook.com/RobHarrisReports .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 3rd, 2017

Nadal in Australia, still aiming to contend for major titles

JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer br /> BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Rafael Nadal cuddled a koala on the banks of the river, something that has become a customary photo opportunity for celebrity players on debut at the Brisbane International. The 14-time major winner has altered his preparation for the Australian Open, hoping a change of venues for the warmup tournaments will bring a change of luck at the season's first Grand Slam tournament after a shocking first-round exit in 2016. Nadal kicked off his season with a win in an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi on New Year's Eve, then headed directly to Australia to fine-tune at the Brisbane International in preference to remaining in the Gulf for the event in Doha. 'I played well in Abu Dhabi ... I played three good matches, and that's important for me,' Nadal said Monday after the brief meet-and-greet with a local politician and a native marsupial. 'I really hope the good matches I played in Abu Dhabi helps me for here.' The 30-year-old Spaniard is playing in Brisbane for the first time, replacing Roger Federer as the tournament's male draw card. He has a tricky opener against Alexandr Dolgopolov and, if he gets through that, a potential quarterfinal against top-seeded Milos Raonic, the defending champion. Nadal is coming off a left wrist injury that curtailed his 2016 season, and thinks the extra time in Australia will help him prepare to win his first major title since the 2014 French Open. Until last year, he had reached the quarterfinals or better at every Australian Open he had contested since 2007, including victory in '09 and runs to the final in 2012 and '14. The wrist injury last year forced Nadal to withdraw from the French Open before the third round and skip Wimbledon. He won the Olympic doubles gold medal for Spain in Rio de Janeiro, but he struggled with the pain and didn't win a title on a surface other than clay in 2016. 'Last year that I was playing great, I get injured in the worst moment possible,' he said. 'I'm happy to be back on the competition again. Abu Dhabi was a good start. I need to continue that way.' Despite his struggles with injury and the recent dominance of Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic, Nadal thinks he can still contend for the Grand Slam titles. 'Being here in Brisbane is good news for me,' he said, two weeks before the Australian Open starts. 'I don't know if that's going to help me or not — I can tell you after Melbourne, I cannot predict the future. 'The only thing I can say is if I am healthy, I believe that I can do it. If not, I (would) be at home fishing.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 2nd, 2017

V-LEAGUE: Successful 13th season

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 31st, 2016

Warriors burn down Blazers by 45 points

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) As two defenders closed in with the clock winding down in the third quarter, Kevin Durant bounced a perfect pass right to Stephen Curry open on the left wing. The two-time reigning MVP then hit one of those buzzer-beating .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 18th, 2016

Training camp in Zambales

The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) will propose to national sports associations a site in Iba, Zambales, that can serve not only as a training camp but a venue for team-building in the runup to the 2017 Southeast Asian Games in Malaysia......»»

Category: newsSource:  tempoRelated NewsDec 16th, 2016

Pocari Sweat signs hitter Pablo with lucrative 5-year deal

Open hitter Myla Pablo signed a lucrative five-year deal with two-time V-League champion Pocari Sweat Lady Warriors Tuesday. The 23-year-old product of National University inked one of the biggest contracts in local volleyball extending her se.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 29th, 2016

Hot Stuff: Justin Bieber Plays Soccer With Neymar At Barcelona's Training Camp

The pop singer visited the team's training center on Monday and met with the Brazilian forward and some other players of the Catalan club......»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 23rd, 2016

Bieber plays soccer with Neymar at Barcelona's training camp

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Justin Bieber spent the day before one of his concerts in Spain playing soccer with Neymar at Barcelona's training camp. The pop singer visited the team's training center on Monday and met with the Brazilian forwa.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 21st, 2016

Camp Aguinaldo to open to traffic

Camp Aguinaldo to open to traffic.....»»

Category: entertainmentSource:  pepRelated NewsNov 17th, 2016