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Capitals' Ovechkin says Olympic decision out of his hands

em>By Stephen Whyno, Associated Press /em> WASHINGTON (AP) — Alex Ovechkin released a statement Thursday night through the Washington Capitals acknowledging that the ability to represent Russian in the 2018 Olympics has been taken out of his hands. On the eve of the first day of on-ice training camp workouts, Ovechkin said in the statement that while he loves playing for his country, it won't happen because the International Ice Hockey Federation has assured the NHL that players under contract won't be able to play in South Korea. The NHL announced in April it wouldn't be sending players to the Games for the first time since 1994. 'I said every time I was asked since last Olympics that nobody is going to tell me I can't play because my country was going to be allowed to ask me,' Ovechkin said. 'Now the IIHF and NHL say my country is not allowed to ask anybody in the NHL to play and there is nothing to talk about anymore.' The Athletic first reported the IIHF's assurances to the league last week. Ovechkin is set to address reporters after his first official camp practice Friday. Ovechkin began saying a year ago that he was going to the Olympics no matter what. NHL players had participated in the past five Olympics, and Ovechkin played for Russia in the past three. Russia has a long history of using its top players in the Olympics, well before the NHL began participating in Nagano in 1998. The Soviet Union, and then the Unified Team, won eight of 10 Olympic gold medals from 1956-1992. 'I wanted to make this statement so that my words are clear and nobody misunderstands what I am saying,' Ovechkin said. 'The Olympics are in my blood and everybody knows how much I love my country. Ever since I was a kid and all the time I have played in the NHL, NHL players have played in the Olympic Games. We never have to make choice between our team and our country my whole career. I love the Capitals and my teammates here as much as I love my country and I know all the other NHL players feel the same for their teams. We should not have to be in position to make this choice.' In the statement, Ovechkin thanked owner Ted Leonsis for his support. Leonsis had gone on record saying he'd allow Ovechkin and other top players to go to the Olympics if they wanted to, even if it meant missing Capitals games. That won't happen now. 'Our countries are now not allowed to ask us to play in the Olympics,' the six-time NHL goals leader said. 'Me, my teammates and all players who want to go all lose. So do all the fans of hockey with this decision that we are not allowed to be invited. NHL players in the Olympics is good for hockey and good for Olympics. It sucks that will we not be there to play!!' Ovechkin, who turns 32 next week, had 33 goals and 36 assists in 82 regular-season games last season and added five goals and three assists in 13 playoff games. In 12 NHL seasons, all with the Capitals, he has 558 goals and 477 goals in 921 regular-season games and 46 goals and 44 assists in 97 playoff games. 'My focus as it always is this time of year is on my other dream as a kid, to try to win the Stanley Cup,' Ovechkin wrote. 'I am excited training camp has started in Washington and the time for talking is done. We just have to go out and do it and I will try my hardest to help my teammates win like I do every year since I came to the NHL.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnSep 15th, 2017

China chases billionaire who threatens ‘explosive’ allegations against elite – The Guardian

A flamboyant Chinese billionaire known for his love of supercars and social media has claimed he is the victim of a political witch hunt after he threatened to lift the lid on “explosive information” about corruption at the top of Chinese politics. On Wednesday China’s foreign ministry confirmed that, at Beijing’s request, Interpol had issued a red notice for the arrest of Guo Wengui, a 50-year-old tycoon who had in recent months taken the highly unusual step of speaking out about alleged cases of corruption involving the relatives of senior leaders. Lu Kang, a foreign ministry spokesperson, described Guo as a “suspect” but offered no further details. But citing anonymous sources, the South China Morning Post, a Hong Kong-based newspaper to which Beijing often hands politically sensitive scoops, claimed the billionaire was wanted for allegedly paying a 60m yuan (£6.8m) bribe to former spy chief Ma Jian, one of the most powerful victims of President Xi Jinping’s high-profile war on corruption. Guo rejected those claims on Wednesday, in an interview with the Chinese language service of Voice of America, claiming he was being targeted as part of a cover-up attempt. The billionaire, who has aired his as yet unproven allegations on his Twitter account and in a succession of recent interviews, accused Beijing of trying to silence him with “terror” tactics. “I’m greatly encouraged by the arrest notice. At least it will make people understand the true nature of my case,” he said. “If there was no such thing as corruption in China, the government wouldn’t become scared and frightened of me speaking the truth.” In a brief message to the Associated Press, Guo added: “It’s all lies, all threats. It shows they are scared of me leaking explosive information.” Willy Lam, a political expert from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said Guo’s decision to go public was an extraordinary move that was certain to put him on the wrong side of Xi Jinping. “It is the first time a [Chinese] billionaire, whether in or outside of China, has exposed this kind of dirty linen in public,” he said. Lam said Guo’s claims concerning the relatives of top Communist party figures had yet to be fully substantiated. Even so, they represented “a big public relations disaster for the Xi Jinping administration and for the Communist party in general” since they suggested Xi’s anti-corruption crusade had failed to halt what the president himself has described as the party’s moral slide. The scandal would reinforce the impression that, for all Xi’s efforts, the families of top leaders were still able “to make a killing” from their political connections, Lam added. “It is not a pretty picture.” Born and raised in Shandong province, Guo made a fortune as a real estate developer in Beijing, where he was behind one of the capital’s most unusual skyscrapers – the dragon-shaped Pangu Plaza near the Olympic Bird’s Nest stadium. He was recently photographed at Mark’s Club, an exclusive club in Mayfair, London, that bills itself as a refuge for the “global A-list” and whose members include former British prime minister David Cameron. Guo reportedly left China in 2015. According to the New York Times, which has reported extensively on his case, he now lives in the United States where he frequents Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club and resides in a $67.5m penthouse with views over Central Park. It was reportedly from this apartment that Guo spoke to the US-funded Voice of America on Wednesday, making fresh corruption allegations involving a relative of a senior Chinese politician. The New York Times reported that the Chinese government had attempted to stop the interview, summoning Voice of America’s Beijing correspondent and warning him against interfering in China’s “internal affairs”. Lam said that by going public Guo might be hoping to shield himself from a similar fate to fellow billionaire Xiao Jianhua who was snatched from Hong Kong’s Four Seasons hotel in January and apparently spirited into custody in mainland China. He was, however, playing a dangerous game. “His fate now depends on the US government,” Lam said.( Guo reportedly left China in 2015. According to the New York Times, which has reported extensively on his case, he now lives in the United States where he frequents Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club and resides in a $67.5m penthouse with views over Central Park. It was reportedly from this apartment that Guo spoke to the US-funded Voice of America on Wednesday, making fresh corruption allegations involving a relative of a senior Chinese politician. The New York Times reported that the Chinese government had attempted to stop the interview, summoning Voice of America’s Beijing correspondent and warning him against interfering in China’s “internal affairs”. Lam said that by going public Guo might be hoping to shield himself from a similar fate to fellow billionaire Xiao Jianhua who was snatched from Hong Kong’s Four Seasons hotel in January and apparently spirited into custody in mainland China. He was, however, playing a dangerous game. “His fate now depends on the US government,” Lam said. Guo reportedly left China in 2015. According to the New York Times, which has reported extensively on his case, he now lives in the United States where he frequents Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club and resides in a $67.5m penthouse with views over Central Park. It was reportedly from this apartment that Guo spoke to the US-funded Voice of America on Wednesday, [&'].....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanaoexaminerRelated NewsApr 20th, 2017

Solon tells Davao City mayor: Study rebellion roots

Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao on Saturday urged Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio to first understand why communist rebellion persists in the countryside before concluding that it was a waste of time to resume peace talks with National Democratic Front of the Philippines.   In a statement, Casilao said Carpio should realize that rebellion persists because of continuing injustice in rural areas, like the concentration of land ownership in the hands of a few families.   On Friday, Carpio said that while she respected the decision of her father, President Rodrigo Duterte, to resume talks with rebels, she believed it would be "counterproductive and plainly useless" because rebel...Keep on reading: Solon tells Davao City mayor: Study rebellion roots.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsApr 14th, 2018

Richard Gomez buckles down to work as 18th Asian Games Chef de Mission

Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez began his first official activity as the country’s Chef de Mission to the 18th Asian Games in Indonesia this year by sitting down with the joint technical working group of the Philippine Olympic Committee and the Philippine Sports Commission at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila on Friday. “We have only four months left before the Asian Games,” said Gomez who immediately buckled down to work upon his appointment as CDM by newly-elected POC President Ricky Vargas. Budget, medical and administrative staffing, delegation size and quotas as well as provisions like luggage, track suits and parade uniforms were among the matters discussed by the 2018 Asian Games Task Force. Gomez imparted that they will not be veering away much from the estimated team size given by previously-tasked 18th AG CDM Julian Camacho.   "We still do not have the final numbers, but there will be not much difference from the previous projection," Gomez clarified, with adjustment seen to be applied for measurable sports. “We are strongly considering the inclusion of men’s basketball and women’s volleyball,” he added.  He also expressed his pleasure in seeing good coordination between Judo and Kurash. PSC Chairman William Ramirez said during the meeting that he shall respect whatever number (delegation size and composition) Gomez will endorse for support of the PSC. “We leave the decision to the POC. The PSC shall support as best we can,” Ramirez remarked. Ramirez also gave orders to assemble a medical team from the PSC’s Philippine Sports Institute to assist Asian Games-bound athletes. This is not the first time Gomez will be leading a delegation to battle in a multi-sporting event.  He was also the Chef de Mission in the 2014 Phuket Asian Beach Games, where the Philippines reached its best finish since the game’s inception in 2008 held in Bali, Indonesia......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 23rd, 2018

Javillonar saves Valenzuela in home stand

Valenzuela relied on the steady hands of Jeff Javillonar at the foul line as he sank five pressure-packed free throws to help the Classic protect their home court in an 84-79 win over Quezon City in the 2018 Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Anta Rajah Cup at the Valenzuela Astrodome. Javillonar broke and 79-79 deadlock with 17 seconds left on a split charity. He was sent back to the line following his miss in his second free throw after Ford Ruaya grabbed the offensive board, this time getting both attempts find the bottom of the net for a three-point lead with 14 ticks left on the clock. Joco Tayontong missed on his three-point shot for the Capitals in the next play before Javillonar sealed Valenzuela’s sixth win in nine games to close the elimination round at solo second spot with two more charities. QC took a 79-77 lead with 1:31 remaining in the game on a Peejay Barua triple Ruaya tied it at 79 just 16 seconds later on a layup. RJ Argamino finished with 22 points and eight rebounds to lead the quarterfinals-bound Valenzuela. Javillonar had 12 points with seven coming off free throws while Rocky Acidre had 11 for the Classic. QC dropped to 5-4 win-loss record tied with the Navotas Clutch, who defeated Paranaque, 78-74, in the curtain-raiser. Tayongtong paced the Capitals with 22 points and 11 rebounds while Barua and Jomar Santos finished with 17 and 11 markers, respectively. Meanwhile, ex-pro Sunday Salvacion led Navotas with 16 points, Yves Sazon had 14 markers and seven rebounds while Ron Dennison flirted with a triple double with 13 markers, eight boards and seven assists. The Patriots slid to seventh spot with a 4-5 card. Juneric Baloria had 19 points, Jemal Vizcarra had 18 while Daniel De Guzman got 15 markers and 11 rebounds for Paranaque......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 15th, 2018

NBA reviewing sexual assault allegations against Mark Cuban

DALLAS (AP) — The NBA says it is reviewing 2011 allegations of sexual assault against Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and the decision by prosecutors not to pursue the case. League spokesman Mike Bass said Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) the NBA was looking into the matter after a weekly alternative newspaper in Portland, Oregon, reported a woman's claim that Cuban put his hands down her pants and touched her inappropriately while they were taking a photo at a Portland nightclub. The report Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time) in the Willamette Week came about a week and half after a Sports Illustrated account that portrayed a hostile work environment for women in the front office of the Mavericks. While Cuban wasn't implicated, the SI report raised questions about what he knew and when. Cuban flatly denied the woman's allegations and provided a prosecutors' report detailing the decision not to file charges. Prosecutors wrote that "there is no evidence to corroborate the complainant's statement and there is evidence contradicting the claim." The report also said the woman didn't want to proceed with the allegation......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 8th, 2018

ONE Championship: Aung La N Sang stops Alexandre Machado to become two-divison champion

23 February 2018 – Yangon, Myanmar: The largest global sports media property in Asian history, ONE Championship™ (ONE), had another memorable and historic evening in Yangon as the capacity crowd at the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium witnessed an amazing display of heart-pounding martial arts action. ONE: QUEST FOR GOLD featured a series of compelling bouts, punctuated by an unforgettable championship clash that left fans on the edge of their seats. In the main event, hometown hero “The Burmese Python” Aung La N Sang scored a quick knockout victory over Alexandre Machado to win the vacant ONE Light Heavyweight World Championship and the GoDaddy Knockout of the Night. In the main event of ONE: QUEST FOR GOLD, “The Burmese Python” Aung La N Sang added yet another accolade to his glowing repertoire of awards as a global martial arts superstar, copping the vacant ONE Light Heavyweight World Championship with a knockout victory over Brazil’s Alexandre Machado. Aung La N Sang got the job done in just 56 seconds, knocking out Machado with a thunderous high kick. With his remarkable conquest of Machado, Aung La N Sang now has both the ONE Middleweight World Championship and ONE Light Heavyweight World Championship titles in his possession. Aung La N Sang, newly-minted ONE Light Heavyweight Champion, stated: “Life is short, we have to make it count. One thing is for sure Myanmar, when we’re united, nothing can stop us. That head kick is what we’ve been working on. I want to thank everyone that helped me out to get here. I’m in here by myself, but this is a team sport. If we’re united and we’re together, we can do anything. I want to be the best and I want to defend these two belts. I’m not just going to hold them and leave.” In the co-main event of the evening, former world title challenger Ev “E.T.” Ting turned in an outstanding performance by routing Costa Rican martial artist Ariel Sexton, solidifying his position once again as a top contender in ONE Championship’s stacked lightweight division. Opening up the three-round contest by taking the action right to Sexton, Ting connected on a series of fast and powerful strikes, pushing his opponent back up against the cage. In the second round, Ting continued to blast Sexton with serious firepower, featuring his best striking combinations. Sexton tried to change the complexion of the bout in the third round, fishing for a finish with a flying knee and a submission attempt. Ting did just enough to pull away slightly in the third after a gruelling match, and came out victorious via split decision. Local martial arts superstar Phoe “Bushido” Thaw turned in a spectacular performance, stopping Cambodian opponent Sor Sey with an emphatic push kick to the face in the very first round. Thaw, a lethwei practitioner, traded explosive strikes with Sor, a khun khmer specialist, right at the center of the cage. When a left hand staggered Sor along the fence, Thaw capitalized on the opening and abruptly ended matters with his next kick. The official finish came at 1:53 minutes of round one, sending the packed Yangon crowd at the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium into a frenzy. In a much-awaited encounter of ONE Championship’s highly-skilled knockout artists, Timofey Nastyukhin emerged triumphant, claiming a unanimous decision victory over Singaporean Muay Thai champion Amir Khan. Nastyukhin exhibited stellar form from the get-go, bombarding Khan with strong overhand rights while looking for the opening to deliver his lethal left hook. Leaning on his heavy hands to overwhelm Khan’s precision striking, Nastykuhin gallantly pushed forward as he threatened to end matters with a flying knee and stifled his opponent with harrowing punches. Nastyukhin punctuated the marquee match-up by outstriking Khan in the third frame, earning an undivided nod from all three judges at cageside. The highly-anticipated bantamweight contest between Japan’s Daichi Takenaka and South Korea’s Dae Hwan Kim ended in a disqualification. After Takenaka took Kim’s back in a standing body triangle, securing a rear naked choke, Kim reacted by spiking Takenaka on his head, which is a prohibited maneuver. The match resulted in a victory for Takenaka, who wins by disqualification. In an intense striking showcase, Myanmar’s Ye Thway Ne and Saw Min Min, two former lethwei practitioners, battled each other in a tremendous three-round war to the delight of a raucous crowd enjoying all the action. The two traded their best offense at the center of the ONE Championship cage for 15 minutes in one of the most exciting striking battles of the evening. In the end, it was two-time Gold Belt Champion Ye Thway Ne who scored the hard-earned victory, winning by split decision by keeping Saw Min Min on the defensive for the majority of the contest. Chinese martial arts ace Li Kai Wen placed himself back on the winning track in emphatic fashion, submitting promotional newcomer Roel Rosauro of the Philippines in just 43 seconds. In an impressive display of ferociousness, Li tagged Rosauro repeatedly with thudding strikes, which eventually sent Rosauro crashing to the canvas. As Rosauro struggled to return to his feet, Li quickly secured dominant top position to wrench his Filipino foe’s neck with a guillotine choke, snaring his first submission victory inside the ONE Championship cage. Indonesian wushu champion Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaol impressed the crowd with a modified armbar submission of Krisna Limbaga in a female atomweight contest. After taking Limbaga down to the ground and keeping her opponent ineffective on the mat, Lumban Gaol used her legs to execute a straight armbar that forced the tap with less than a minute to go in the first round. Kicking off ONE: QUEST FOR GOLD were female atomweights from Myanmar. Former two-time Myanmar National Boxing Champion Bozhena Antoniyar made quick work of opponent Shwe Sin in a great performance to start her ONE Championship career. At the opening bell, Antoniyar wasted no time in bringing Sin down to the mat swiftly and finished things off with ground-and-pound to score the fastest knockout in ONE women’s atomweight history. Official results for ONE: QUEST FOR GOLD ONE Light Heavyweight World Championship bout: Aung La N Sang defeats Alexandre Machado by Knockout (KO) at 0:56 minutes of round 1 Lightweight bout: Ev Ting defeats Ariel Sexton by Split Decision (UD) after 3 rounds Featherweight bout: Phoe Thaw defeats Sor Sey by TKO (Strikes) at 1:53 minutes of round 1 Lightweight bout: Timofey Nastyukhin defeats Amir Khan by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds Bantamweight bout: Daichi Takenaka defeats Dae Hwan Kim by Disqualification (DQ) Flyweight bout: Ye Thway Ne defeats Saw Min Min by Split Decision (SD) after 3 rounds Featherweight bout: Li Kai Wen defeats Roel Rosauro by Submission (Guillotine Choke) at 0:43 minutes of round 1 Women’s atomweight bout: Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaol defeats Krisna Limbaga by Submission (Armbar) at 4:05 minutes of round 1 Women’s atomweight bout: Bozhena Antoniyar defeats Shwe Sin by TKO (Strikes) at 0:24 minutes of round 1.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 23rd, 2018

Vargas allowed to run

THE Philippine Olympic Committee election committee has allowed Association of Boxing Alliances of the Philippines president Ricky Vargas and Philcycling head and Tagaytay City Rep. Abraham ‘Bambol’ Tolentino to run as president and chairman, respectively, on election set today. The decision to let Vargas and Tolentino to run was made….....»»

Category: newsSource:  journalRelated NewsFeb 22nd, 2018

Cojuangco, Vargas battle anew for POC presidency

The battle for the Philippine Olympic Committee presidency continues after incumbent leader Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr. and Ricky Vargas of Association of Boxing Alliance of the Philippines filed their certificates of candidacy Wednesday. Both parties submitted their certificates of candidacy at the POC office inside the Philsports Complex in Pasig City where an election committee headed by Frank Elizalde will review their eligibility to run in the scheduled election on Friday. Cycling federation president and Tagaytay City representative Abraham ‘Bambol’ Tolentino and table tennis head Ting Ledesma also filed their COCs. The 82-year-old former Tarlac representative Cojuangco won his fourth term as president unopposed during the November 2016 POC election after Vargas was disqualified to run after allegedly failing to meet the qualifications of being active members of the POC general assembly. Tolentino, who ran as POC chairman during the poll two years ago, was also disqualified for the same reason. Vargas, whose attempt for a temporary restraining order on the 2016 poll was denied by the Pasig Regional Trial Court, won an election case his camp filed on the same court December last year.   According to the court decision, the ‘elections of POC last Nov. 25, 2016 for Chairman and President is null and void” and ordered a reelection. An extraordinary POC general assembly was called Monday regarding the election with Vargas again fearing disqualification.   The election will be held 12:00 noon at Wack Wack Golf and Country Club......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 21st, 2018

Koreas combined women s hockey team debuts in friendly

By Kim Tong-Hyung, Associated Press INCHEON, South Korea (AP) — Wearing a powder-blue logo of a map symbolizing peace between the Koreas, the most talked-about team at this year's Olympics finally saw game action Sunday in a friendly that drew thousands of spectators in a country that never previously showed much passion for ice hockey. The North and South Korean women's hockey players, who only began practicing together about a week ago as a combined team, showed plenty of fight in their first competitive test, crashing the boards and throwing their bodies to stop pucks and opponents, but never really threatened in a 3-1 loss to world No. 5 Sweden in Incheon, South Korea. The Koreans will play Sweden again on Feb. 12 during the Olympic tournament. But the outcome didn't seem to matter to the capacity crowd of 3,000 at the Seonhak International Ice Rink. Fans waved miniature white-and-blue flags showing a unified Korean Peninsula — the same mark on the players' uniforms — and chanted "We are one" while screaming whenever the Koreans got on the break. The arena thunderously erupted when South Korean forward Park Jong-ah cut the deficit to 2-1 during the first period. The Korean players stood to the Korean traditional tune of "Arirang" at the start of the game, instead of their respective national anthems, and received warm applause as they left the arena after the contest. "I think that the North Korean players played really well — this is one of the biggest crowds they played in front of," said Sarah Murray, the joint team's Canadian head coach. "Being added 12 days ago and not getting to practice together all that much, they played our system pretty well, so I am proud of them." The team's North Korean coach, Pak Chol Ho, said the Koreas "can do anything if they do things as one." He left the postgame news conference without taking questions. The joint Koreas team highlights a series of conciliatory measures the war-separated rivals took for the Pyeongchang games, which South Korea sees as an opportunity to revive meaningful communication with North Korea following an extended period of animosity and diplomatic stalemate over the North's nuclear program. The Olympics begin Friday, with Pyeongchang, a relatively small South Korean ski resort town, hosting the skiing, snowboarding and sliding events, and Gangneung, a coastal city about an hour's drive away, hosting the hockey, skating and curling events. North Korea plans to send hundreds of people to the games, including athletes, officials, artists and a 230-member cheering group. Skeptics think the country is trying to use the games to weaken U.S.-led sanctions and pressure and buy more time to advance its nuclear weapons and missiles arsenal. The decision to create the joint hockey team, which wasn't reached until January, triggered heated debate in South Korea, where many people thought the South Korean players were being unfairly asked to sacrifice playing time to their North Korean teammates, who are seen as less skilled and experienced. Murray, who coached South Korea before taking over the combined team, had also expressed concerns over team chemistry. Sunday's friendly was Murray's only opportunity to experiment with potential lineups in game situations before the start of the Olympics. She previously said the North Koreans' hard-hitting style would be suited for her fourth line, a group of players asked to provide physical play in short bursts while giving their teammates with greater scoring responsibilities a chance to rest. But after seeing them in practice and now in game action, she sees potentially bigger roles for some of the North Koreans, including Jong Su Hyon, a forward who Murray says has broken onto her second line. "They are eager to learn and get better," Murray said about the North Koreans. "We have been having team meetings with them and they ask so many questions. The meeting's supposed to be 15 minutes, and an hour later we are still talking and we are still watching video." The Korean players, at least on the surface, appear to be getting along. They arrived at the arena Sunday relaxed and playful, stretching and jumping in the hallway to get loose before gathering in a scrum and shouting "Team Korea!" Seven of the players later formed a circle and started kicking around a rubber ball, giggling whenever the ball bounced away from them. Amid a heavy police presence, hundreds of supporters began gathering outside the stadium hours before the game despite the icy weather, including dozens who danced to music in matching white parkas and hoodies with the peninsula logo and shouted "Win, Korea!" "I don't even care about the results, I just want to cheer for them and see them work together and help each other out on the ice," said Kim Hye-ryeon, 42, who brought her two children, 8 and 6, to the game. Kim Won-jin, a 33-year-old who made a several-hour trip to the game with his wife and 3 1/2-year-old son from the city of Daejeon, hoped the Korean players had overcome any uneasiness they may have had over the distribution of playing time. "If we ever get unified again, these young players of the South and North will be able to look back and be proud that what they did contributed to a historic change," he said. Not everyone was happy. Across the street from the arena, dozens of anti-Pyongyang activists glumly waved South Korean and U.S. flags to denounce what they said had become the "Pyongyang Olympics." They roared as one of the protesters ripped the banner of the peninsula logo atop a van......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 5th, 2018

Joe Datuin’s steel sculpture spins from here to ‘Infinity’

In 2008, at the Beijing Olympics, the judges in the International Olympic Committee Sport and Art Contest (Sculpture Category) sifted and waded through hundreds of entries from every part of the globe. When at last a decision had to be made, it emerged that the deserving entry came from a country not too far away. . . the Philippines! The name of the Filipino artist? Jose "Joe" Datuin, a Fine Arts graduate from University of Santo Tomas. From the classic five-ring symbol of the Olympics has sprung the latest of Datuin's inspiration: its evolution into the infinity symbol. Also called the "leminscate," it assumes the figure 8: an intertwined twin rings that suggest boundle...Keep on reading: Joe Datuin’s steel sculpture spins from here to ‘Infinity’.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsFeb 4th, 2018

Biado exits World Chinese 8-Ball

World champion Carlo Biado suffered two consecutive losses to bow out of contention in the 2018 World Chinese 8-Ball Masters being held at the Olympic Stadium in Qinhuangdao City, China. The reigning World 9-Ball Championship titlist lost to Chinese Wu Zhengyu via a 4-13 decision in his first match then absorbed another 8-13 hearth-breaking loss [...] The post Biado exits World Chinese 8-Ball appeared first on The Manila Times Online......»»

Category: newsSource:  manilatimesRelated NewsJan 9th, 2018

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

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 29th, 2017

Court declares POC election ‘null and void’

Christmas won’t be merry for Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco, Jr. This after the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Pasig City declared the last POC election, where Cojuangco won unopposed, “null and void.” In a decision penned by Judge Maria Gracia A. Cadiz-Casaclang last December 1, the RTC branch 155 stated that [...] The post Court declares POC election ‘null and void’ appeared first on The Manila Times Online......»»

Category: newsSource:  manilatimesRelated NewsDec 20th, 2017

POC wants Richie Garcia training director for 2019 SEAG

MANILA, Philippines — If he could have his way, Philippine Olympic Committee president Jose Cojuangco wants some old hands to help run the show in the 2019 S.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsDec 19th, 2017

Perez dedicates Grand Prix win, MVP award to deceased brother

F2 Logistics ace setter Kim Fajardo saw Venezuelan import Maria Jose Perez open on the left side. The reinforcement soared and smashed a thunderous kill. Petron’s Mika Reyes and Rhea Dimaculangan went up simultaneously to erect a wall but came a bit too late. American import Hillary Hurley was the Blaze Spikers’ last line of defense but Perez’s missile slipped off her hands as the Cargo Movers celebrated their impressive come-from-behind series win to conquer the 2017 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix in the deciding Game 3 Saturday at the MOA Arena. Perez joined her team in celebration. She’s now a champion and was named Conference Most Valuable Player. Perez did her best to win for the team. This despite a searing pain in her heart brought by a sad news she received the day before from halfway across the world. Her older brother, Daniel, passed away Friday after a bout with cancer.         Knowing that they needed to stay focused on the game, Perez chose to keep the news from her teammates. Confiding only to skipper Cha Cruz, who then told head coach Ramil De Jesus.  “Very professional ni Maria kasi kakamatay lang ng oldest brother niya kahapon dahil sa cancer," said De Jesus during the post-game interview after F2 Logistics captured the crown in a 25-20, 25-19, 20-25, 25-18, win over the Blaze Spikers that completed their comeback from a 0-1 series deficit.         “Sobrang saludo ako, di niya sinasabi sa team, di ko nga alam pano nya nadadala,” De Jesus said. “Kasi di umiiyak, di malungkot, di nadala sa performance. Saludo talaga ako sa kanya.” The 2008 Beijing Olympian scored 24 points all from kills, averaging 21 markers in the Finals. “I didn’t think about my loss I know I have a big responsibility with my team,” said Perez, a woman of strength and high professionalism. “I didn’t share it with my team. I just smiled and tried to be strong because I know we had this opportunity to win this game.” “I don’t want my teammates to be saddened with my loss,” she added.  Perez’s voice cracked and held her tears back during the interview as she dedicated the win and MVP to her brother. “I was thinking about that,” she said. “I know that’s the only that will make my family happy.” Perez will return to Venezuela before flying to Utah to play in another tournament. Asked if she’ll return next year, Perez said that she wants another run with the Cargo Movers. “We have talked about it (going back to F2). I really want (to come back) but I haven't talked to the management,” said Perez. “I think after this we will decide and we will see my final decision.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 16th, 2017

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

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 15th, 2017

Bird, Taurasi headline US women s hoops national team pool

By Doug Feinberg, Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) — Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi are back for another run with the U.S. women's basketball team. The four-time Olympic gold medalists are among the 29 players chosen Thursday for the national team pool. Eleven members of the 2016 Olympic team that won a sixth consecutive gold medal for the Americans are in the group. The only player missing from that team is Tamika Catchings, who retired after the 2016 WNBA season. "Our strength has always been our best players play over and over. Our veteran players want to play," U.S. national team director Carol Callan said. "They appreciate representing our country and being part of the USA Basketball culture. We've selected athletes that are a mix of young with the older players. We cover each position well." The U.S. already has qualified for next year's FIBA World Cup, which will be held in Spain. There are five college players in the pool: UConn's Napheesa Collier and Katie Lou Samuelson, South Carolina's A'ja Wilson, Ohio State's Kelsey Mitchell and Louisville's Asia Durr. Most, if not all, of them won't participate in a training camp that will be held in South Carolina from Feb. 9-11. U.S. national team coach Dawn Staley said that Wilson, if her class schedule permits, will be around for the training camp. "If she doesn't have class, I want her to sit front and center to see how the Olympians, two-, three-, four-time Olympians operate and approach things," Staley said. "I want the entire team to witness what it's like to see our country's best athletes come together and practice and gear up to play." Staley, who also coaches South Carolina's women's basketball team, will be playing a dual role that weekend, as her Gamecocks are hosting Florida on that Sunday. All 29 players in the pool have previous international experience with USA Basketball. They've combined to win 100 gold, two silver and four bronze medals. "The amount of experience that will be here in Columbia, South Carolina, will be great. Working with the best players that our country has to offer and the 29 players that have been invited," Staley said. "We want to share this experience, being at South Carolina, having them come to see our campus, our university, our city, our state, quite sure they'll find it very enjoyable besides the work we need to put in on the floor." Callan said the pool is fluid and players can be added. One player who it didn't sound like will be added is Candace Parker, who won Olympic gold medals in 2008 and 2012 but did not make the team in 2016. "We generally don't talk about players that aren't here because there's a variety of reasons why they aren't," Callan said. "She's one of them, we choose not to try to speak for them. I would simply suggest you ask her. Candace has been an important part of our program over the years and we talked about the decision when she didn't make the Olympic roster. I don't want to speak for her or try to verbalize.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 15th, 2017

Putin accuses US agencies of manipulating doping testimony

By James Ellingworth, Associated Press MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin accused U.S. agencies of manipulating evidence from the main whistleblower on doping at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Putin said Thursday that former Moscow anti-doping laboratory director Grigory Rodchenkov — who is under witness protection after fleeing to the United States last year — is "under the control" of the American agencies, including the FBI. Rodchenkov being in the United States "is not a positive for us, it's a negative. It means he's under the control of American special services," Putin said. "What are they doing with him there? Are they giving him some kind of substances so that he says what's required?" Putin added that Rodchenkov should never have been appointed to run Moscow's anti-doping laboratory in the first place. "It was a mistake on the part of those who did it, and I know who did it," he said, but didn't name names or say they should be punished. Testimony from Rodchenkov played a key role in International Olympic Committee investigations which led last week to Russian athletes being required to compete under a neutral flag at the upcoming Pyeongchang Games. Rodchenkov said he was ordered by the sports ministry to oversee steroid use by Russian athletes in many sports, and to cover up their doping by falsifying test results and swapping dirty samples for clean ones. The IOC's decision to trust Rodchenkov's evidence is "nonsense," Putin said, portraying the scientist as mentally unstable and referring repeatedly to Russian criminal investigations against him. The Russian government has denied it had any involvement in doping, particularly around the Sochi Olympics, which is seen as a key prestige project. Russian officials have previously said they accept some drug use occurred, but on a much smaller scale than alleged, and that Rodchenkov tricked some clean Russian athletes into taking banned substances by claiming they were legitimate dietary supplements. Putin also reiterated previous claims that Russian doping scandals are an attempt to smear the government as he runs for re-election in March, a month after the Pyeongchang Olympics. "The scandal is being created ahead of the domestic political calendar," he said. "Whatever people say, I'm convinced, I just know this is the case." Russian sports officials and athletes across numerous sports have said they will accept the IOC demand that they compete as "Olympic Athletes from Russia." That means they will compete in neutral-colored uniforms under the Olympic flag, with the Olympic anthem played at medal ceremonies instead of the Russian anthem. However, the IOC says the ban could be lifted in time for Russian athletes to march at the closing ceremony under their own flag, if Russia complies with IOC conditions. An IOC commission found no evidence that Russia's "highest state authority" was involved in doping, but that sports ministry officials knew of the doping scheme......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 15th, 2017

Oladipo, Sabonis helping Pacers move forward

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com INDIANAPOLIS – Victor Oladipo has a fever and the only prescription is ... no, not more cowbell. Cowbell might make sense, if you factor in Oladipo’s love of and commitment to music (his debut R&B album has been available since Oct. 6). But the fever currently afflicting Oladipo, shooting guard for the Indiana Pacers, has nothing to do with extracurriculars and everything to do with the odes and anthems he’s been performing within the confines of 94 feet by 50 feet. If the fifth-year guard out of Indiana University, by way of the Orlando Magic and Oklahoma City Thunder, looks comfortable in his new star turn for the Pacers, well, just remember that’s your word. Not his. “You could say I’m comfortable with the people here,” says Oladipo, who spent three seasons with the Hoosiers before becoming the No. 2 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. “I played in front of these fans, they mean a lot to me and I gave a lot to them just like they gave a lot to me while I was in college. “But I’m never comfortable in any situation I’m in. I will never be comfortable. That’s what kind of makes me get up and work every day. It’s like, never be satisfied. Because for some reason, ever since I was a little kid, I always wanted more.” Oladipo’s eyes just about glow after a weekend practice as he delves into his unflagging intensity. He doesn’t undercut it with a smile or a token laugh. This is real heat. “Maximize my talent and exhaust my potential,” he says. “In order to do that, I’ve got to come to work every day. That’s my thought process. Wake up each day and be great that day.” Each day would include tonight, when Oladipo will share center stage at Bankers Life Fieldhouse with the more decorated and once-beloved star who preceded him in the Pacers lineup. Paul George, a four-time All-Star and Olympic gold medalist during his seven seasons in Indiana, was due to face his old team for the first time since being traded to Oklahoma City in July. It was a parting necessitated by George, who had made clear his desire to sign a maximum-salary contract with the Los Angeles Lakers in the summer of 2018. But the trade was orchestrated by Kevin Pritchard, the Pacers’ president of basketball operations, and Chad Buchanan, their general manager, who surprised the NBA by swapping George to OKC for Oladipo and big man Domantas Sabonis. You want intense? The initial reaction to that deal was intensely negative, quickly reaching hysterical proportions. The Pacers immediately were mocked for having traded George for nickels on the dollar. Reports out of Boston characterized Indiana’s POBO as more of a bobo for allegedly spurning a Celtics’ offer of multiple players and draft picks. *Takes a well deserved nap for 3 hours ** Opens Twitter: pic.twitter.com/xWNYaVfKTy — Myl3s Turn3r (@Original_Turner) July 1, 2017 The west is sick!!!! Best conference in the world!!!! — Patrick Beverley (@patbev21) July 1, 2017 Vic to the Pacers?! He might as well run for governor while he's at it! — Cody Zeller (@CodyZeller) July 1, 2017 Former Thunder star Kevin Durant called the move “shocking” and of George said “Indiana just gave him away.” Among much of the media that covers the league, there was a general feeling of “rubes” afoot -- that the Pacers had been snookered in taking back an overpaid ($21 million annually through 2020-21) second-tier talent and an overbilled guy who had disappeared in OKC’s postseason. And now? Not so much on any of those fronts. ‘He knows how good he is’ George’s stats are down in the “OK3” core he’s formed with reigning Kia MVP Russell Westbrook and aging Carmelo Anthony. The Thunder (12-13) are the NBA’s consensus disappointment, team category, with nearly a third of their season in the books. Sabonis has boosted the Pacers off the bench in a half dozen ways. And Oladipo has all but earned himself a spot on the Eastern Conference All-Star team while speeding his new team’s fans past their heartbreak over George’s jilting. Generally, the best trades in sports are win-win, but for Indiana right now, a bit of win-lose has made the start of 2017-18 downright sublime. “We happened to really like Sabonis in the draft,” former Pacers president and ongoing consultant Donnie Walsh said last week. “We wanted more of everything in the trade too. But when it came down to it, we had this offer with Oladipo, who we also liked. They’ve come in here and the more they’ve been here, the more we like ‘em. We’re happy.” The Pacers also are 16-11, two weeks ahead in the victory column over their 42-40 finish last season that was good for a playoff berth. Oladipo is the biggest reason why, averaging more points per game (24.5) than George ever has. The 6'4" guard who attended famous DeMatha High in Hyattsville, Md., spent much of last season being beaten up for his contract and negligible impact in Oklahoma City. He had taken grief earlier for his status as the second pick in 2013, a lofty status not of his doing. And here he was again in the summer, hearing it all over again for a transaction he didn’t design. “He came in with a chip [on his shoulder],” Pacers coach Nate McMillan said. “I thought he should come in with a chip.” Some would have flinched from the pressure. A few might have curled up, full blown fetal. Oladipo has gone entirely the other way. “His confidence is at an all-time high,” backup point guard Cory Joseph said. “He knows how good he is.” As Joseph spoke after the Pacers’ upset of Cleveland Friday, a game in which Oladipo scored 20 of his game-high 33 points in the third quarter, a lilting voice drifted from behind the scenes in the home dressing room. “Look at it right now, he’s singing in the shower,” Joseph said, tilting his head and laughing. “He’s confident. You guys are all in here, he’s just singing. He’s a confident guy. Everybody in this locker room, everybody in this organization definitely welcomes that.” Trade not driving Oladipo’s breakout season Don’t misunderstand. The critics still are out for Oladipo. “My mom told me yesterday I need to work on my free throws,” he said with an eye roll after practice Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). She had noticed, during her son’s run of big games in December -- 36 points at Toronto, 27 vs. Chicago, 33 against the Cavs the night before her chiding text -- that he had missed 18-of-31 foul shots. This, by a career 80 percent shooter from the line. “I’m over that,” Oladipo said. “I’m not going to miss no more. I’ll make ‘em next time. And if I miss ‘em, I’ll make ‘em the next. If that’s my problem right now, I think I can fix it.” Twenty-four hours later, Oladipo took 13 free throws against Denver and made 11. He scored 47 points in all, hitting 15-of-28 shots and half of his 12 three-pointers. The comeback victory in OT got the Pacers to 4-for-4 on their six-game homestand and continued to shrink whatever chip it was that the 25-year-old was shouldering. “In the beginning of the year, I said, ‘I don’t have a chip. I have a brick house on my back,’” Oladipo said. But not anymore, right, now that some folks are referring to it as “the Victor Oladipo trade” rather than “the Paul George trade?” “That’s what I feel like every morning, no matter what’s going on,” he said. “I don’t even think about the trade, honestly. It’s in the past for me. People’s opinions are going to be there whether you like it or not. From the outside looking in, I guess you could say [then] that was a great trade for OKC. That’s what they believed. But it wasn’t going to change the way I worked. It wasn’t going to change my approach.” This step up in status is considered perhaps the most difficult an NBA player can make. Suddenly, opposing coaches are X&O-ing him to death. The player dogging him up and down the court is the other guys’ best defender. Often, they’ll send double-teams to get the ball into one of his teammates’ hands. “He hadn’t had that,” McMillan said. “When he was in OKC, the game plan was focused on Westbrook. When he was in Orlando, he was just a young player. Now he is seeing the defenders like a LeBron [James], like a [DeMar] DeRozan, what these stars are seeing. He’s seeing the best defenders and he’s seeing teams game-plan to take him out. “Learning how to play and be consistent every night with that challenge is something he’s going through.” Oladipo’s quick success with the Pacers has kept any crowd critics at bay. They were pre-disposed to like him just as their rebound date after George, but had he underperformed, Oladipo’s service time in Bloomington wouldn’t have protected him for long from criticism. But now, it’s George who likely will get the harsh reception. Oladipo, overtly after each of the recent victories, has made it clear to the home fans via some emphatic pointing and body language that the Fieldhouse happens to be his house. “I don’t say it, they say it,” he said. “I just do the gesture and they do the rest of the work for me. I let them do all the talking. We feed off them -- when they’re into it, we play better. I don’t know why, that’s just how basketball’s always been. They’re our sixth man and we need ‘em every night.” Oladipo’s breakout season has been bolstered, too, by the Pacers’ second-through-15th men. Those who already were in Indy knew how valuable George was at both ends. Those who, like Oladipo and Sabonis, were new this season were within their rights to be as skeptical as the national headlines of the guys coming in trade. Go-to guy emerges for Pacers OKC was a specific challenge, Oladipo having to learn on the fly how to fit his own darting, ball-heavy style to only the second man in NBA history to average a triple-double. Westbrook’s usage was off the charts, rendering the other Thunder players to supporting cast whether suited to that role or not. Just like that, Oladipo had to catch and shoot as someone to get Westbrook into double digits in assists. It wasn’t his nature and it made for an individually forgettable season. “I had a role. I tried to play that role to the best of my ability. And I improved certain areas of my game in that role,” was all he’d say Saturday, stiffly, about the OKC experience. Said Walsh: “I felt like he was going to get a different opportunity here. ... When he got to Oklahoma City, he was playing wih a guy who was averaging a triple-double. And he liked Russell Westbrook. But he comes here, he’s got an opportunity to be ‘our guy.’ “I think he might have been looking for that. I never asked him. He’s a really cool guy. He knows what he wants to be, I think.” Oladipo needed this and the Pacers needed him to need it. With George gone, they were like a smile missing a front tooth. The other teeth weren’t just going to move up in the pecking order -- no matter how good young big man Myles Turner is -- and replace the one they’d lost. If they were going to have any success this season, if McMillan was going to be able to coach and adjust in his second year taking over for Frank Vogel, the players needed to fill their roles and welcome this new addition. That’s why this tale of Oladipo’s growing success is about what the Pacers have done for him, as much as it is what he’s done for them. “We didn’t really present it like that,” McMillan said, “because we were still trying to develop who our ‘go-to guy’ was. He has been slowly taking on that role through the things he’s done. I haven’t had to say anything. He’s making good decisions with the ball. And the guys are getting a feel for what we’re doing down the stretch because we’ve had some success, and we’ve had it with Victor having the ball.” Chemistry change for Pacers There might be NBA teams with chemistry as solid as the Pacers’ right now, but it’s hard to imagine there are any with better. It’s more than mere relief that someone has stepped up, easing their own loads a bit. It is a genuine eagerness for Oladipo to max out, for each of the rest of them to do the same in whatever lane they’re riding. “Vic’s been everything at this point,” Turner said. “He’s done a great job of stepping up and being that guy, being that dude. It’s amazing to have that when you’re going through a situation where it’s a brand-new team. We’re still learning each other and he’s showing that he’s ready.” Did Turner know this would happen and, if so, when? “First couple days he started texting me in the summertime,” the big man said. “I saw what his mindset was, and I loved it from the jump. He carried that right in when we started playing pickup this summer. “Vic’s been traded, what, [two] times? He finally comes back home and he has a team that’s telling him to go, telling him to be him. I don’t think he had that with his former teams. Now that he’s here and he’s doing that, I’m pretty sure he’s [enjoying it].” Said Joseph: “He’s been a beast for us and he’s going to continue to be a beast for us. ... He’s been running with that opportunity and opening eyes around the world.” Even strong-willed, uber-confident Lance Stephenson, has backed up for Oladipo. “There’s no hate, know what I mean?” he said over the weekend. “Some guys get mad about somebody doing good. This team wants its teammates to do good. That’s what’s going to make us even better.” Oladipo keeps referring to the other Pacers in a legit lubricating of the “no I in Indy” process. “Honestly I think it’s the personalities and the men that we have in this locker room,” he said. “My teammates are phenomenal people -- not just basketball players, phenomenal people. When you surround yourself with great people, people who sincerely care about you and your team, the chemistry just comes naturally.” Sabonis shows glimpses of success, too The other guy in the trade, Sabonis, has developed more organically, his maturation seemingly inevitable regardless of locale when you tote up his youth, his work ethic and his bloodlines (son of Hall of Famer Arvydas Sabonis). He has gone from that rookie who logged just six minutes in the Thunder’s five 2017 playoff games against Houston to an essential piece in McMillan’s rotation. “Once I got traded, I knew this was a great opportunity for me to show people what I can really do,” said Sabonis, the No. 11 pick in 2016. “I was a rookie last year. Everything was new. Here, I’m being used more at the 5. That’s more the position I’ve been used to playing my whole life.” Sabonis’ minutes are up from 20.1 in OKC to 24.6 off Indiana’s bench. His scoring has doubled from 5.9 ppg to 12.1. And his PIE rating has soared from 4.9 last season to 12.6, a sign of the versatility the skilled big man possesses. “I love Sabonis,” Walsh said. “His father was one of the greatest players in the world, so I don’t like that comparison -- it kills him. He [Domantas] is just more of everything you think he is. He’s stronger than you think. He can shoot the ball better. He’s got good hands, he can catch the ball. I’ve seen him make moves in game that I’ve never seen him make in practice.” Said Turner: “I played against Domas in college -- I knew what kind of player he was. I was excited when we got him. He’s gotten bigger and stronger since then, obviously, and he just didn’t have a chance to show himself last year. But he’s been big for us now, especially when I was out with the concussion. He stepped up huge in that role and we’ve played well since then.” The Pacers are playing faster this season, up from 18th in pace last season to 10th now, part of their improvement from 15th in offensive rating (106.2) to 6th (108.3). They’re doing better, too, in contesting shots and throttling opponents’ field-goal accuracy. The biggest reason why has been Oladipo’s blossoming. Whether due to the sunshine of new, happier surroundings or from that darker, more intense place, to prove cynics wrong. No one can now talk of the Pacers’ bungling of what, after all, was a deal to rent George, not to have him long-term. Fans at Bankers Life figure to boo George on his first visit back, with an inventory they haven’t needed or used on Oladipo. Some might see that as ingratitude, others as respect. It’s a little bit of love lost, too. “Look, they loved Paul when he was here,” Walsh said. “They guy is a great player. One thing I’ve always felt: These guys that play here, they always know more about what they want for their lives than we do. How you gonna argue with that? He treated us good, we treated him good. No bad blood here. I don’t know about fans.” Folks in Indy have a new crush now, one they hope lasts for a while. Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 14th, 2017

Donaire blasts Rigondeaux for quitting vs Lomachenko

A five-division champion, Nonito Donaire knows a thing or two about fighting, so when he saw Guillermo Rigondeux quit mid-fight against Vasyl Lomachenko, that decision did not quite sit well with him. "Incredible performance from Loma, Rigo has never been in this position where he has been dominated every way," Donaire posted on TwitterSunday. "But I still can't understand how a fighter quits." "I fought with bloody hands, I fought with numerous fractures, and sometimes my brain tells me to stop and tells me I've done enough but never in my life have I ever quit." Rigondeux, a natural super bantamweight, moved two weight classes to challenge Lomachenko for the WBO world super feathe...Keep on reading: Donaire blasts Rigondeaux for quitting vs Lomachenko.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsDec 10th, 2017