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Coach E to hold 3rd semester classes starting today

Coach E to hold 3rd semester classes starting today.....»»

Category: sportsSource: thestandard thestandardJan 12th, 2017

Allegri marks 300th match as coach with Juve win over Lazio

DANIELLA MATAR, Associated Press br /> MILAN (AP) — On his 300th Serie A match as coach, Massimiliano Allegri appeared to throw caution to the wind as Juventus fielded an all-out attacking lineup against Lazio on Sunday. But it paid off as Juventus bounced back from last weekend's defeat at Fiorentina to beat Lazio 2-0, with goals from Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain inside 16 minutes. 'I woke up on Wednesday morning and I decided to change things,' Allegri said. 'I decided so because we were coming off not so good a match in Florence and today was the right match for that sort of experiment. 'We won't always play like this, but the response the team gave me today was positive: we played well, with quality and sacrifice. And despite the attacking imbalance, we still did well in defense, not risking anything. But we have to maintain this tempo, irrespective of the formation.' Juventus remained one point above Roma and four above Napoli, which won 2-1 at AC Milan on Saturday. Allegri's side also has a game in hand on its rivals. Lazio is fourth, four points further back. There have been question marks this season over who works best with Higuain and Allegri found a novel solution, by utilizing all his main attackers in a new 4-2-3-1 formation. Miralem Pjanic partnered Sami Khedira in midfield, with Juan Cuadrado, Dybala and Mario Mandzukic just behind Higuain. It took just five minutes for the new-look Juventus to take the lead, with Mandzukic knocking down a long ball for Dybala's half-volley into the bottom left corner from just outside the area. Juve doubled its lead in the 16th when Cuadrado crossed from the right and Higuain tapped it into the bottom right corner from six yards for his seventh goal in the past five league matches. Higuain had another goal, a header, ruled out for offside on the half hour. Juventus extended its Serie A record to 27 consecutive home wins. ___ ROMA 1, CAGLIARI 0 The best and worst of Edin Dzeko was again on show as Roma ground out a third straight 1-0 league win. Dzeko missed a golden opportunity in the first half as he volleyed Daniele De Rossi's chipped pass straight into the arms of Cagliari goalkeeper Rafael from six yards. But Dzeko put away a more difficult chance 10 minutes into the second half as he used his strength to hold off Nicola Murru and fire Antonio Rudiger's cross into the back of the net. 'Before they said it wasn't possible for us to win 1-0, but now we have won three in a row like that,' Dzeko said. 'We can win also like this. The defense do their job and we up front do ours, like we did today. 'It was difficult. I missed the great ball Dani gave me but in the second half I had my say, I was clinical. We have to continue like this, all together.' Dzeko also had a goal ruled out for offside. Cagliari Joao Pedro was shown a straight red card in stoppage time for an uncontrolled challenge on Kevin Strootman. ___ PALERMO 0, INTER MILAN 1 Inter recorded an eighth successive win in all competitions but only after struggling to break down relegation-threatened Palermo. Substitute Joao Mario scored the only goal of the game in the 65th when he was left unmarked to volley in Antonio Candreva's cross. Both teams were reduced to 10 men late on, with Inter defender Cristian Ansaldi sent off in the 80th for a second yellow card. Inter protested and coach Stefano Pioli was also dismissed. Palermo midfielder Alessandro Gazzi was also shown a second yellow and sent off in stoppage time. Inter leapfrogged AC Milan into fifth, a point behind Lazio, although the Rossoneri have a game in hand. ___ OTHER MATCHES Crotone picked up a precious point in its fight for survival as it twice fought back to draw 2-2 at Genoa. It remains 11 points behind 17th-placed Empoli, which beat Udinese 1-0. Bottom club Pescara had a late penalty saved as it lost 3-1 at home to Sassuolo, with Alessandro Matri scoring a second straight double Bologna beat Torino 2-0, and Atalanta defeated Sampdoria 1-0. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News2 hr. 56 min. ago

Zverev's win over Murray caps dramatic career comeback

JUSTIN BERGMAN, Associated Press br /> MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Mischa Zverev still remembers one of his earliest losses to Andy Murray, when the two were rising juniors, just 17 years old, and playing in the semifinals of the 2004 U.S. Open boys' tournament. Zverev tried playing a serve-and-volley game and lost. Murray went on to win the title. More than 12 years later, Zverev tried the same tactics against Murray on a far bigger stage — and this time it worked. The German journeyman served, volleyed and sliced his way to a 7-5, 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 upset over No. 1-ranked Murray to reach the quarterfinals at the Australian Open. 'I knew I could get to him with my game,' Zverev said. 'I knew I could slice a lot, come in, try to annoy him, which worked.' The win capped an improbable career comeback for Zverev, who has recently been known as the older brother of star-in-waiting Alexander Zverev and may now be finally starting to realize his own potential as a player — at the ripe old age of 29. Zverev had been a highly regarded junior player, but his professional career never really took off. He peaked at a high ranking of No. 48 in 2009, but injuries and a lack of dedication took a toll. After undergoing surgery to repair a fractured wrist in 2014, Zverev hit what he calls 'the bottom.' His ranking plummeted to No. 1067 and to stay engaged in the sport, he chaperoned teenage friends of his brother around south Texas to play in the bottom-rung of professional tournaments. 'We went to really like small towns,' he said. 'No hospitality. You stay at hotels, eat at Subway.' But his brother had faith he could play at a high level again. And Zverev began to miss the sport, too. And so when he was able to hold a racket again at the end of 2014, he devoted himself to his training like never before. Keeping up with Alexander, 10 years his junior, was a major motivation. Considered by many to be a future Grand Slam champion, Alexander began his rapid ascent just as Mischa was finding his feet again. It was around that time Alexander first beat Mischa in a practice set. 'We didn't talk about it until dinner and he actually said 'Do you know what happened today?' and I was like 'no,' and he said, 'I beat you for the first time,'' Zverev said following his third-round win on Friday. 'And that was it, nobody said anything else.' Rather than get discouraged when his much younger brother surpassed him, however, Zverev found inspiration. After failing to qualify for 11 straight Grand Slams dating back to 2002, he finally broke the drought by making the main draw at last year's U.S. Open and finished the year strongly, reaching the quarterfinals of the Shanghai Masters and notching wins over U.S. Open champion Stan Wawrinka and Nick Kyrgios. 'I always say, when I see (Alexander) beat those top guys, I start believing in myself because every time we practice, I can kind of compare my game with his level,' Zverev said. 'And if I feel like I can keep up with him, that means I can keep up with other guys, too.' Zverev's high-risk serve-and-volley strategy doesn't always work, as his 6-1, 6-1 drubbing by Rafael Nadal at an Australian Open tune-up event shows. But he was undeterred heading into his match against Murray. 'If he plays his best tennis, I mean, obviously, I don't think I have a lot of chances. Let's see if I can annoy him a little bit,' Zverev predicted. 'If I'm serving well and not missing any volleys, maybe I can do some damage.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News14 hr. 44 min. ago

Istomin credits coach (and mother) for upset over Djokovic

JUSTIN BERGMAN, Associated Press br /> MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — When Denis Istomin walked off court after upsetting Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open — without a doubt the biggest win of his career — his mother had just two words for him: 'Good job.' There's a reason she's probably more measured than most mothers would be: She doubles as his coach. It's an unusual arrangement on the men's tennis tour, to be sure, but one that works well for the Uzbek player with the neon green eyeglasses and droll sense of humor. He said he wouldn't have it any other way. 'When your family is part of your team, it's great. I was lucky that my mother is coaching me,' he said, before adding with a smile, 'The (other) good thing that I don't need to pay the coach extra, you know. Everything to my mother.' Klaudiya Istomina might be due a raise after her son's stunning 7-6 (8), 5-7, 2-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4 win over Djokovic in the second round on Thursday. Not only was Istomin just 1-33 in his previous matches against top-10 players (the only win coming against David Ferrer at Indian Wells in 2012), he was also ranked a lowly No. 117 after a demoralizing year punctuated by frequent losses. His ranking was so low, in fact, the 30-year-old Istomin had to win a special Asian wild card tournament just to gain entry to the tournament. He was realistic when asked what he would have thought if someone told him before the tournament that he would upset Djokovic, a six-time Australian Open champion. 'I would say, 'Are you crazy or what?'' he said, laughing. 'For me, (it) was impossible to think about that I can hold it five sets with Novak, physically and mentally.' But Istomin still had the belief he could at least compete with Djokovic. The 12-time major winner's loss to Sam Querrey in the third round at Wimbledon last year showed that even the top players are sometimes vulnerable. 'I mean, maybe today (Djokovic) wasn't best,' Istomin said. 'But the level of all players is growing. So if you can see everybody's fighting, even for Roger (Federer) or other players, it's not easy to win against, like, the top 20, top 30. And more young players are coming, as well.' Istomin was nearly forced to give up tennis after a serious car accident in Uzbekistan when he was 14. He was in the hospital for three months and the doctors doubted he would be able to play at the elite level. But two and a half years later, Istomin picked up his racket — thanks to the encouragement of his coach (and mother), Klaudiya. 'I mean, it was all (these) years together. We have a good relationship. We understand each other very well,' he said. 'She was always believing in me.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 19th, 2017

Coach E clinics start in 7 venues

MANILA, Philippines - The Coach E Basketball School kicks off its third semester today with seven venues, including the Celebrity Sports Plaza, hosting the e.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJan 12th, 2017

Thomas takes 2-shot lead over Matsuyama in Kapalua

DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf Writer br /> KAPALUA, Hawaii (AP) — Justin Thomas, who as a skinny kid in Kentucky had to hit driver to reach a par 3 in junior golf, stood on the 14th tee at Kapalua trying to decide if 3-wood would be enough to drive the green on a par that was playing 287 yards up the hill. His caddie thought driver was the club, and Thomas took it from there. 'It needs to be something hot to run up there,' he said. 'And I just nuked it, and hit it low and just enough to scoot up the ridge.' The ball bounded onto the green to 20 feet, and Thomas made that for eagle . It was enough for him to take control Saturday at the SBS Tournament of Champions, ultimately leading to a third straight round of 6-under 67 and a two-shot lead over Hideki Matsuyama, who had a 66. Perhaps it's only fitting that those who will be in the final group. Thomas, who was at 18-under 201, is the only player to beat Matsuyama over the last three months. The 24-year-old from Japan has won four of his last tournaments dating to Oct. 16 at the Japan Open, a streak that includes seven-shot victories in Japan and at a World Golf Championships event in Shanghai. Thomas beat him by three at the CIMB Classic at Malaysia, and Matsuyama wasn't much of a threat that final round. He is now. 'If I'm near Hideki in the tournament, that's usually a pretty good thing on Sunday,' Thomas said. 'He's obviously a tremendous player and he's on an unbelievable run here the last five events. I actually had no idea I was the only one to beat him in the last five events, which is absurd, the fact he's won four of his last five. ... But there's a lot of great players out there. I just need to go take care of my job.' There might not be as many players to beat in this winners-only field after Thomas gave himself a little separation. Only five players were within five shots of the lead going into the final round, with Dustin Johnson seven shots back and world No. 1 Jason Day eight shots behind. Thomas was only mildly perturbed that his lead wasn't greater. Following his eagle on the 14th, he smashed another drive that caught the slope on the par-5 15th and rolled to the bottom of the hill, a 348-yard drive that left him only 180 yards to the elevated green. But his shot was a clunker coming out of the short rough, and while he hit a tough pitch to 6 feet, he read a fraction too much break in the putt and had to settle for par. 'I had 8-iron twice and made par,' he said of his week. On the short 16th, he pounded another drive within 60 yards of the pin, but his wedge came up well short and he missed from 15 feet. He also looked back to how he closed out the front nine, with a soft bogey on No. 7 and missed birdie chances of 10 feet on the par-3 eighth and a 3-footer on the par-5 ninth. 'I'm definitely not disappointed with today, but I left a lot out there,' Thomas said. Matsuyama made three birdies over his last five holes, starting with a chip-in on the 14th hole, to get into the final group as he goes for his fourth straight victory 'Justin doesn't have any weaknesses at all in his game,' Matsuyama said. 'He hits it long, has a marvelous short game, putts well, hits the ball well. We've got to go low tomorrow to be able to catch him.' Memorial winner William McGirt, one of 11 players playing the Plantation course at Kapalua for the first time, played bogey-free for a 66 and was four shots behind, along with Ryan Moore (71) and Jimmy Walker (70). Moore was tied for the lead until Thomas drove the 14th green for his eagle and Moore missed a 15-foot birdie putt. On the next hole, Moore's tee shot plugged into the steep face of a bunker and he had no choice but to pitch out sideways, leading to another bogey. Walker spent most of the gorgeous afternoon wincing over putts that kept burning the edges of the cup. 'Plenty of looks. Nothing went in,' Walker said. 'That's just kind of frustrating, especially the finish. I had a good look on 17, and then to not get that up-and-down on 18 is a bummer. ... I'm hitting the putts the way I feel like I need to hit them. They're just not going in.' Thomas has won twice in his three years on the PGA Tour, both in Malaysia. Jordan Spieth, meanwhile, had another double bogey, this one on his second hold. He ended with a three-putt par on the 18th for a 70 and was 10 shots behind. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 8th, 2017

Classes resume in Bicol

The Department of Education (DepEd) has advised its office in Bicol to resume classes starting today despite the damage caused by typhoon Nina on several classrooms in this region......»»

Category: newsSource:  tempoRelated NewsJan 3rd, 2017

Browns to stay the course despite 1-15 season

WILL GRAVES, AP Sports Writer br /> PITTSBURGH (AP) — The worst season in franchise history won't cost Cleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson his job. If anything, owner Jimmy Haslam is doubling down on his bet that Jackson, general manager Sashi Brown and the rest of the front office are the right people to turn things around. The revolving door that's been an offseason fixture since Haslam bought the team in 2012 is stopping, even after a 27-24 overtime loss to the backup-laden Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday that left the Browns an NFL-worst 1-15. 'Clearly not an acceptable year,' Haslam said. 'Really since we bought the team, it's totally unacceptable performance, which as ownership we'll take the entire blame for.' And not, Haslam stressed, Jackson or Brown, both of whom were brought in last winter to revive a team that's 15-49 over the past four seasons. 'Could not be more pleased with the job Hue and the staff are doing,' Haslam said. 'You wouldn't think this was a 1-14 team with the way this team was out there battling (today). Really pleased with Hue and really pleased with our personnel group. I think we have the right people in place.' If not the right results. At least, not yet. Their final game of 2016 looked an awful lot like the 15 that came before it: flashes of competence undone by questionable play-calling and occasionally bad luck. The Browns fumbled inside the Pittsburgh 5 with a minute to go in regulation and had a first-and-goal at the Pittsburgh 2 turn into a field goal by Cody Parkey, extending the game. Oh, and they had a potential pick-6 by Briean Boddy-Calhoun turn into a touchback when Pittsburgh's Darrius Heyward-Bey punched the ball out of Boddy-Calhoun's hands as he stretched for the goal line in the third quarter. A touchdown would have put Cleveland up 21-7 in the third quarter. Instead, the Steelers went right back down the field to tie the score. And so it goes. While the loss assured the Browns of the top pick in the draft this spring, it provided little solace after the Steelers responded to Parkey's field goal by going 75 yards in nine plays, the last a 26-yard touchdown lob from Landry Jones to Cobi Hamilton. 'We were coming here to win the game,' Jackson said. 'We weren't coming here to get a No. 1 pick. Those guys gave it everything they had.' Isaiah Crowell ran for a career-high 152 yards for the Browns, who have been playing football since 1946 (save for a brief three-year break from 1996-98) and never finished with a 'one' in the win column. Not exactly that Jackson envisioned when he took over last January. 'You can't sugarcoat this,' Jackson said. 'It is what it is. I would hope we get a chance next year to earn a different type of record. That's where it starts. We're 1-15. I never would have thought that in a million years, but we are.' Robert Griffin III passed for 232 yards with two touchdowns and an interception, but Cleveland missed a chance to beat the Steelers on the road for the first time since 2003. Griffin, signed to a two-year deal last offseason, said getting a chance to compete for the starting job in 2017 would be 'awesome.' He also acknowledged that the broken bone in his shoulder suffered in September never fully healed, though he was quick to point out it did not have a significant impact on his play. 'You'd be naive to think a guy that breaks a bone in season is going to come back with a fully healed bone,' Griffin said. 'The doctors felt I was healed enough to return to play ... but to say I was 100 percent healthy is a lie.' Like Haslam, Griffin praised Jackson and his staff for doing what they could in a difficult situation. 'I think those guys are the right guys,' Griffin said. 'I think in the offseason what those guys are going to do is give the Cleveland Browns the best chance to win going into next year.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 2nd, 2017

Hardaway powers Hawks to long-awaited OT win over Spurs

em>By Charles Odum, Associated Press /em> ATLANTA (AP) -- Tim Hardaway Jr. made a tying three-pointer with 3.3 seconds remaining in regulation and scored nine points in overtime, including the go-ahead free throw, to lift the Atlanta Hawks to a 114-112 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday night (Monday, PHL time). Hardaway made the first of two free throws with 10.8 seconds remaining in overtime for a 113-112 lead. Paul Millsap grabbed the missed free throw before Dennis Schroder also made only one of two attempts with 3.9 seconds remaining. Millsap scored a season-high 32 points and had 13 rebounds for the Hawks, who snapped a string of 11 straight losses to San Antonio since 2010. Kawhi Leonard missed a last-second layup for San Antonio in overtime. Leonard also had a potential winning short jumper spin around the rim before falling out to end regulation. Mike Budenholzer, in his fourth season as Atlanta's coach, finally earned his first win over San Antonio, where he was a former longtime assistant under Gregg Popovich. Budenholzer had been 0-6 against his former boss. LaMarcus Aldridge had 27 points and 13 rebounds to lead San Antonio. The Hawks couldn't hold a 110-104 lead in overtime. Leonard's 3-pointer tied the game at 112-all. A turnover by Pau Gasol gave Atlanta the ball with 1:08 remaining and the Spurs leading 98-95. Millsap's layup cut the lead to one point. Following a missed jumper by Parker, Dennis Schroder missed a layup for Atlanta. Leonard made two free throws with 10.1 seconds remaining. strong>TIP-INS /strong> em> strong>Spurs: /strong> /em>Tony Parker had 22 points, and Pau Gasol had 18. The loss ended a four-game winning streak. em> strong>Hawks: /strong> /em> F Mike Scott was assigned to the Long Island Nets of the NBA Development League, his third D-League assignment of the season.  Atlanta's last win over the Spurs was a 119-114 overtime victory on March 21, 2010. Millsap scored Atlanta's first 11 points of the fourth period. strong>FEELING BETTER /strong> Leonard had 13 points in his return to the starting lineup after missing two games with a stomach virus. He made only 3-of-12 shots from the field. Leonard leads the Spurs with his average of 24.4 points per game. strong>ROAD KINGS /strong> The Spurs fell to 16-3 in road games. Their 16-2 mark through 18 road games was tied for the second-best in NBA history, trailing only a 17-1 mark by the 1971-72 Lakers. San Antonio won its first 13 road games. strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Spurs: /strong> /em> Return to San Antonio to play Toronto on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time). em> strong>Hawks: /strong> /em> Travel to Orlando to play the Magic on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time). .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 2nd, 2017

AMA Titans bare tryouts for D-League

MANILA, Philippines – AMA OnLine Titans coach Mark Herrera is holding tryouts for the upcoming PBA D-League Conference starting today, at 10 a.m......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsNov 13th, 2016

SSC takes on Lyceum spikers

Games Today (Filoil Flying V Center) 9:30 a.m.– EAC vs CSJL (m) 11 a.m.– EAC vs CSJL (w) 12:30 p.m.– SSC vs LPU (w) 2 p.m.– SSC vs LPU (m) 3:30 p.m.– SSC vs LPU (jrs) San Sebastian seeks the first of the needed two victories to sweep its way straight to the finals as it clashes with Lyceum of the Phl U today in the women’s division of the 92nd NCAA volleyball tournament at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan City. The Lady Stags, who turned back the Perpetual Help Lady Altas, 25-22, 25-13, 25-13, on Jan. 11 for their seventh win, shoot for win No. 8 in their 2 p.m. duel that will put the former a win away from sweeping the elimination round and swooping their way to the finals where they will enjoy a thrice-to-beat edge. San Sebastian plays defending champion St. Benilde in the final elims playdate on Wednesday. LPU, for its part, is coming off two straight defeats to Perpetual Help, 21-25, 27-29, 23-25, on Jan. 13 and Arellano U, 23-25, 23-25, 20-25, Thursday to fall to 5-3 (win-loss) and a setback away from being eliminated from the Final Four. Or the Lady Pirates could spoil the Lady Stags’ sweep bid while keeping their Final Four hopes alive. “We really have no choice but to go for a win,” said LPU mentor Emil Lontoc in Filipino. And that is the reason San Sebastian coach Roger Gorayeb is a little wary. “It’s always hard to play a team that is desperate so we really have to watch out and play hard,” said Gorayeb. In juniors play, LPU guns for a sweep and an outright finals appearance as it tackles an already ousted San Sebastian at 3:30 p.m......»»

Category: newsSource:  tempoRelated News6 hr. 41 min. ago

The Beast makes triumphant comeback to Gilas Pilipinas

Missing out on the last Gilas team for whatever reason, Calvin Abueva is officially back for the Philippine national team after the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas officially announced the new pool Sunday at the PhilSports Arena. Easily one of the best players in the PBA, the Beast's triumphant comeback is a welcome addition for Gilas Pilipinas as the Philippines starts its quest on making a return trip to the FIBA World Cup two years from now. Obviously, no one was any bit surprised with Abueva being part of the 24-man lineup that head coach Chot Reyes will be picking apart starting with the SEABA Tournament later this year. In fact, Alaska teammate and fellow Gilas veteran Dondon Hontiveros saw this one coming even last year. 'Months before, sinabi ko na sa kanya, even nung event nung launching nung partnership [with Chooks to Go], sinabi ko sa kanya na ‘Calv, hinahanap ka nila, nandito yung poster mo, dapat nandun ka,’' Hontiveros said who saw action with Abueva for Gilas during the 2015 FIBA-Asia Championships in China. 'Ngayon, para sa akin, hindi ako na-surprise,' he added. Since that China joust though, a tournament in which the Philippines settled for its second straight silver-medal finish, Abueva has been out of the national team. He was infamously left out of the Philippine lineup that competed in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Manila. However, that's all in the past and the Beast is officially back. Hontiveros, who has seen his fair share of international play, knows for sure that Abueva is going to be a key piece for the Philippines moving forward. No one in the 24-man pool is over 30 years old at the moment. Calvin is only 28. “Hindi rin natin masasabi kung ano talaga yung plano o setup nila last time na selection, pero I guess a guy like Calvin importanteng mayroon sa isang team eh,' Hontiveros said.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News14 hr. 44 min. ago

Dion Waiters scores 33 to help Heat beat Bucks 109-97

Associated Press MIAMI -- Dion Waiters tied a career high with 33 points and the last-place Miami Heat won a season-best third game in a row Saturday by beating the slumping Milwaukee Bucks, 109-97. Bucks coach Jason Kidd shook up his lineup, but they lost their fifth game in a row and second in as many nights. Following a defeat Friday at Orlando, the Bucks held a long players-only meeting that became heated at times. Waiters went 12 for 19, including 5 for 8 from 3-point range. Backcourt mate Goran Dragic added 25 points on only 13 shots. Hassan Whiteside had 16 points and 15 rebounds while missing one shot. The Heat shot 53 percent, just shy of their season high. The win streak is their longest since last March. All-Star starter Giannis Antetokounmpo had 24 points and 10 rebounds for Milwaukee. Following Friday's players-only meeting by the Bucks, forward Jabari Parker said he wasn't well received when he expressed his point of view. Parker was held out of the starting lineup Saturday for the first time this season for violating a team rule. Kidd declined to discuss the violation. Parker had 16 points and seven rebounds in 32 minutes. The Bucks led early, but Rodney McGruder and Dragic sank 3-pointers on consecutive possessions to put the Heat ahead 68-56 midway through the third quarter. Waiters barely beat the 24-second clock with a 3-pointer that made it 103-91 with 2 1/2 minutes left. Dragic sank a 28-foot buzzer-beater with 1 1/2 minutes to go for a 106-94 lead. Guard Tyler Johnson sat out with a sprained left shoulder he injured in the Heat's game Thursday. His status is day to day. TIP-INS Bucks: While Parker sat out the first quarter, Bucks rookie Thon Maker made his first career start, and guard Matthew Dellavedova started for the first time in 13 games. Maker had six points in 18 minutes, and Dellavedova had 15 points and seven assists. Heat: Okaro White, who made his NBA debut Thursday after signing a 10-day deal, played 19 minutes but still hasn't scored. UP NEXT Bucks: Milwaukee plays at home Monday against Houston, which won 111-92 when the teams met Wednesday. Heat: Miami plays at home Monday against Golden State, which has won five in a row in the series. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 22nd, 2017

Gilas return for Blur, Beast appears to be set in new pool

The new Gilas Pilipinas pool will finally be complete as the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas is set to announce the 12 players that will join the Gilas Cadets Sunday at the PhilSports Arena. With 2017 being the first year of a crucial stretch for the national team that hopefully concludes with a trip to China for the 2019 FIBA World Cup and to Japan for the 2020 Olympics, the SBP is pulling out all the stops to make sure the strongest Philippine team is sent out to international tournaments starting with the SEABA joust. With the current agreement, returning head coach Chot Reyes is set to pick one player per PBA team that will join the Gilas Pilipinas cadets headlined by Mac Belo. The announcement will take place in between games of the PBA double-header Sunday at ULTRA. Expected to be one of the 12 players selected is reigning three-time PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo of the San Miguel Beermen as well as the league's top scorer Terrence Romeo of Globalport. Also expected to return to the national team is Calvin Abueva of Alaska who missed out on the final cut during last year's Olympic Qualifying tournament much to the dismay of a lot of fans. TNT's Jayson Castro, who retired from national team duty last year, is likewise poised for a return to Gilas Pilipinas. Already in the Gilas pool are Belo, Jio Jalalon, Matthew Wright, Carl Bryan Cruz, Kevin Ferrer, Ed Daquioag, RR Pogoy, Mike Tolomia, Arnold Van Opstal, Von Pessumal, Russel Escoto, and Alfonso Gotladera.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 22nd, 2017

T-wolves' Rubio to miss Nuggets game for personal reasons

em>By Jon Krawczynski, Associated Press /em> MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio will miss the game on Sunday (Monday, PHL time) against the Denver Nuggets, but it has nothing to do with the trade rumors that have surrounded him of late. Rubio left the team on Friday (Saturday, PHL time) for personal reasons and will not rejoin the Wolves until late Sunday or Monday, coach Tom Thibodeau said Saturday after practice. Rubio had to return home to Spain, and his brother posted on Instagram that their grandmother had passed away. Rubio did not play in the second half against the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday (Friday, PHL time) because of tightness in his left hip, but Thibodeau said Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) that was not a concern going forward. Kris Dunn and Tyus Jones filled in admirably, helping the Wolves defeat the Clippers, 104-101. Rubio said after the game he was not concerned about the injury, though it did interrupt an impressive run for the pass-first point guard. In his previous five full games, Rubio was averaging 13.2 points and 14.0 assists, looking more like the playmaker he was earlier in his career. 'I'm playing better, feeling better and the results are there,' Rubio said last week after a win over Oklahoma City. 'But I don't want it to be just a four-game stand. I want to be all season long like that. It's hard. We have a lot of games, but my expectations are high and I keep them high because I work hard to do it.' It has taken time for Rubio to acclimate to a new system in Thibodeau's first year as coach, leading many across the league to believe that the sixth-year pro could be traded to make room for Dunn, the fifth overall pick in last summer's draft. Thibodeau has historically preferred a point guard who is more of a scorer than Rubio, a career 37 percent shooter and a 31 percent shooter from 3-point range. But shooting has never been Rubio's strong suit. He excels at getting others involved, playing good defense and controlling the tempo of the game. With the trade deadline less than a month away, and Rubio on a hot streak, trade chatter has expectedly picked up. The Wolves are just 15-28, though they are 9-10 since a 6-18 start. Still, it's clear that they have a lot of improving to do to become a factor in the Western Conference, and Rubio appears to be one of the few assets they are willing to part with that could fetch a decent player in return. ESPN reported that the Wolves and Detroit Pistons had discussions about a Rubio-for-Reggie Jackson trade, but Pistons coach and team president Stan Van Gundy shot that down on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). Van Gundy told reporters in Detroit that he texted Jackson to tell him 'this is the crazy season. We're not trading you for Ricky Rubio.' Dunn hasn't been any better as a shooter in his rookie season, making 37.6 percent from the field and shooting a ghastly 27 percent from three-point range. But he had played more than 20 minutes in a game just three times in the previous two months before Rubio's injury on Thursday night (Friday, PHL time). 'When you have shorter minutes, you have to try to be more ready,' Dunn said Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). 'Try to go out there and impact the game right away. You can get the feel when you have more minutes, but I understand. Ricky's a great player. I'm just trying to learn off him.' Dunn likely will start against the Nuggets, with Jones serving as the backup point guard. Dunn said he has been getting more and more comfortable in his first season and will be ready when Thibodeau calls on him. 'I'm starting to understand who I am as a player (and) what's my role on the team,' Dunn said. 'Just figuring out guys, what's their tendencies and trying to understand coach's philosophy.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 22nd, 2017

Hawks hold on for victory versus Bulls

ATLANTA (AP) Dennis Schroder scored 23 points, Paul Millsap added 14 and the Atlanta Hawks held back a late scare to beat the Chicago Bulls 102-93 on Friday night. The Bulls put up little resistance all night until their reserves went on a 33-4 run in the fourth quarter to pull within five on Bobby Portis' dunk with 1:08 remaining. Chicago trailed by 22 at the end of the first, by 29 at the end of the second and 30 at the end of the third. Atlanta's lead was tenuous enough that Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer brought back Schroder and Millsap, who had rested the entire fourth quarter, for the last 2 minutes. Dwight Howard and Thabo Sefolosha combined by 24 points for Atlanta, which has won 10 of 12. Jimmy Butler finished with 19 points for the Bulls, who looked uninspired most of the night. They have dropped five of seven. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 21st, 2017

Kerr keeps Warriors winning with yoga, creative approach

em>By Janie McCauley, Associated Press /em> OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Anderson Varejao lowered his 6-foot-11 frame into a runner's lunge and raised one arm high into the air to add a twist, demonstrating after a recent shootaround the new yoga pose he just learned. Then, he took it up a notch and attempted an airplane balancing pose on one leg with his arms spread wide. The Golden State Warriors have become yogis. Coach Steve Kerr is committed to changing things up, and he gave Golden State a day off from the practice floor one day last week so the players could practice yoga instead. In the middle of a prolonged stretch at home with a more regular routine, the schedule allowed for some improvising. 'I really liked it,' Varejao said. 'I'm going to do more.' Doubt you'll see Draymond Green or Klay Thompson doing downward-facing dog again soon — though Green might be talked into another try eventually. 'I'm bad,' Green said. 'Yoga isn't for everybody. I think it's a great thing, I just don't think my body is made for all of those different positions. I did well at a few of them. It's hard, it's tough. My body really isn't cut out for yoga.' The very next night after the group class, during warmups for a home game with the Pistons, player development coach Bruce Fraser pulled his foot to his opposite inner thigh for an impromptu tree pose. He laughed as an amused Shaun Livingston watched from the baseline. Andre Iguodala is an experienced yogi who can really cat-cow and is considered top on the team, often taking classes. Center Zaza Pachulia also can forward fold with the best of them. They took prominent positions in the class led by Lisa Goodwin, Golden State's director of corporate communications and also a yoga teacher, at a Berkeley studio — a first for Kerr taking the team away from team headquarters for a yoga session. No surprise, two-time reigning NBA MVP Stephen Curry can bring it on the mat, too. 'We've had some optional yoga sessions at our facility. This is the first time we took everybody and made it mandatory,' Kerr said. 'It was good.' The temperature was about 92 degrees for the hour-long power vinyasa class, so it was steamy. Everybody was drenched in sweat by the end for final resting pose, or savasana. 'My muscles felt good,' forward James Michael McAdoo said, rubbing his stomach where his core got a workout. 'It was fun. It was hot in there, like working in a sauna. I told our strength and conditioning coach, 'You got to step up your game. Lisa embarrassed us.'' 'It's awful, it's pitiful,' Thompson said of his own yoga ability. 'It's something I worked on and it's something I actually enjoy. More than just being physically challenging, it's an incredible mental workout. It tests your pain tolerance and your ability to push yourself mentally. That's why I like it. It was really good. I think it helped a lot of us — everybody, even the coaches.' Along with the experienced yoga veterans, there were some first-timers. A few found it extremely tough. 'I'm not the most flexible,' acknowledged player development coach Chris DeMarco. Assistant coach Mike Brown described his debut as 'terrible.' 'For me, it was really hard, but it was fun,' he said, later adding, 'I nearly passed out.' Ron Adams, another assistant who focuses on preparing Golden State's defense, happened to work out in the hottest corner of the room for his first time practicing in that high temperature. 'It's such a cleansing exercise,' he said. The Warriors aren't the only ones doing it. Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy has scheduled yoga time for the Pistons, saying: 'It's got its value, no question about it. Would I consider doing it with them? Probably not.' Kerr goes whenever he can fit it in, typically taking an hour-long class during the lunch hour on game days when the schedule — and his body — allows. It's a time he can focus on taking some deep breaths, literally, away from the pressure-packed NBA workload and just be just another yoga student for 60 minutes out of his day. This weekend marks one year since Kerr formally returned to the bench last Jan. 22 against Indiana after a lengthy leave of absence to deal with complications from a pair of back surgeries. Current Lakers coach Luke Walton led the way during a record 24-0 start and went 39-4 before Kerr's comeback on the way to winning Coach of the Year after an NBA record 73-9 finish. While the 51-year-old Kerr still has some discouraging, physically challenging moments dealing with pain and headaches, he considers himself fortunate to be on the sideline doing what he loves. 'I guess normal is a good way to say it. He seems like his old self,' Curry said. 'You know he's been through a lot just physically trying to recover from the surgeries he's had. I can't imagine the frustration, how long it took and things he had to do and all the doctors he's met with. His whole story is crazy. We're obviously happy to have him back but not only that, you see him with energy and his presence like he wants. It's been good to see.' Whether Kerr will take his team back to yoga any time soon, time will tell. The Warriors are at the season's midway point and the 'dog days' of January as Kerr has put it. Golden State was home for all but a night from Dec. 26 until leaving for Houston on Thursday for Friday's game against the Rockets, with just a quick bus ride to Sacramento as the lone road trip in a 10-game stretch during that span. Because there was so much time to practice, the yoga day was a nice change of scenery. 'Just to get away and go do something else,' Green said. 'We're still together doing something productive. But, it's not for me.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 21st, 2017

Silence, mourning since fatal crash turn to hope at Chapeco

MAURICIO SAVARESE, AP Sports Writer   CHAPECO, Brazil (AP) — Silence and mourning are slowly being replaced by boisterous fans and hope. As the Chapecoense club rebuilds after the air crash that killed 19 players and nearly all members of the staff and board of directors, so is the town of 200,000. Like many in Brazil, football is the oxygen for everything: gossip, community pride and heated debate. On Saturday, Chapecoense's 20,000-capacity Arena Conda will host the team's first match since the tragedy almost two months ago. Lines outside are filled with fans excited about the club's and the city's restart. Fifty coffins lined the same field in November, where this time Chape's reconstructed team will play Brazilian champion Palmeiras in a friendly match. 'I bet I won't be able to sleep Friday night,' 19-year-old fan Marcelo Ribeiro said as he walked to the stadium. 'Since the accident the city is dead. The festivities were mostly canceled at the end of the year, and all most people are thinking about is the rebirth. I want to see what the rebirth looks like.' At the Hotel Bertaso, where most of Chape's players and coaching staff have traditionally lodged, the first signs of that rebirth are obvious. The second floor, which was home to many of the victims, including coach Caio Junior, is once again full. 'I can't help feeling a lot of hope for the future now,' said receptionist Gelson Mangone, who lost several friends in that crash on an Andean mountain side near Medellin, Colombia, on Nov.28. 'It has been a lot of work to settle all these new signings here, they are also learning their way here,' the receptionist said. 'But it does feel like a brand new start.' New coach Vagner Mancini is one of the hotel's new residents. He said the job makes him 'a better human being, but it's the most challenging to face.' 'We have to build a team, a coaching staff and a club infrastructure in a season in which Chape will be in demand,' Mancini told The Associated Press. 'I understand now that the city was so affected because the club and the city are run like a family,' he added. 'The players we brought are cut from that cloth, but we have to reach a higher level now.' After the crash, Colombian club Atletico Nacional, which was to face Chape in the Copa Sudamericana final in Medellin, awarded the victory to the small Brazilian team. That means that Chape qualified for South America's No. 1 tournament for the first time, the competitive Copa Libertadores. The team will also try to defend its title in the Santa Catarina state championship, try to stay up in Brazil's top-flight competition, and play in a pile of fundraisers, including one against Barcelona. 'We have to assemble a competitive team at the same time we need to hire someone to handle passports, contracts,' Mancini said. 'The club used to handle this well, but like a family run business. Now we are at a different moment.' Chapecoense had almost nothing left after the crash: six players that did not travel on the ill-fated flight, two physiotherapists, one goalkeeping coach, one doctor, one data analyst, one nurse and a few club officials. New chairman and club co-founder Plinio David de Nes Filho, a wealthy local businessman known as Maninho, is leading the charge to bolster club finances. Former players like Nivaldo Constante, who played as a goalkeeper until the tragedy struck, are approaching players that can help. And Chapeco Mayor Luciano Buligon is working as a kind of ambassador for the club and the city. 'Our weekends were about three things: family, church and Chapecoense,' Buligon said. 'It has been hard to get the city back on track because the wounds are still very open. But we are slowly moving on. On Saturday we will start getting a part of our weekends back.' Not everyone is happy. Rosangela Loureiro, widow of crash victim Cleber Santana, said she is upset because his belongings still have not been returned to the family. 'I feel sadness and rage. No one is doing anything to bring their belongings back. I plead with them to soften our pain and make us get the memories that we will hold dear for the rest of our lives,' she said on Instagram last week. Other widows have complained about damages not yet being paid by the club. Chapecoense directors say they are doing the best they can as they try to rebuild. There are even complaints at the joyous Hotel Bertaso. 'These new players love to make a mess in their rooms,' said a cleaner, who declined to offer her name. 'The other ones were older, more mature and the new ones seem to be more infantile. I hope they are up for the task. The city really needs that now.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 20th, 2017

After good start, time for Balotelli to score away from home

JEROME PUGMIRE, AP Sports Writer   PARIS (AP) — It is about time for Mario Balotelli to start scoring away from home. The Italian striker's return from suspension is much needed for Nice, which faces a difficult match at Bastia on Friday after losing ground last weekend. Nice unexpectedly dropped points by drawing 0-0 against struggling Metz, and Balotelli's absence — through suspension — was felt. The draw played into the hands of free-scoring Monaco, which moved to the top on goal difference, and defending champion Paris Saint-Germain, now only three points behind. Nice will be stronger with Balotelli leading the line, considering he averages nearly a goal a game since joining on a free transfer from Liverpool in the offseason. But the worrying statistic for Nice is that his eight league goals — and nine of the 10 he has scored overall — have all been at home. When Nice plays at home, it often dominates possession through its slick midfield and Balotelli, with his outstanding ability to hold the ball up, is regularly involved in the quick and neat approach play. It's a different story away from home, where Balotelli often drifts in and out of position as he roams for space to create opportunities out of nothing. Nice coach Lucien Favre needs Balotelli to be at his disciplined best on Friday, rather than in improvisational mode. Balotelli, who has a long history of controversy on and off the field, will also have to keep this cool. Although Bastia is only one place above the relegation zone, the Corsican side is always fiercely motivated at home, where the passionate locals at the compact 20,000-capacity Armand Cesari Stadium reserve their most vitriolic and hostile welcomes for southern clubs Nice and Marseille, and for PSG. Because of the seething animosity between Bastia and Nice fans — there have been violent clashes in the past — France's Interior Ministry decreed a ban on travelling fans. Any daring Nice fans trying to circumnavigate the ban will be prevented from trying to reach the island of Corsica either by sea — via the ports of Nice, Marseille and Toulon — or by air. Nice deplored the ban, which it says 'automatically deprives its fans of passion for the umpteenth time.' Favre, who took charge in the offseason after leaving German side Borussia Moenchengladbach, is bracing himself for a heated encounter. 'There's always something special about this game, so I've been told,' said Favre, who replaced Claude Puel after he joined Premier League club Southampton. 'In football, you always have commitment, headers, tackles. It's part of the game, if it's fair. It's up to us to react properly. You must control your emotions.' ___ GOALS GALORE Lorient's players can hardly be looking forward to the trip to play Monaco, given how many goals the French leaders are scoring. Last weekend's 4-1 rout of Marseille made it 60 league goals in 20 games — comfortably more than any other team in Europe's top five leagues — and 86 in 33 games overall this season. Bad news for Lorient, which is languishing in 19th place and has conceded 39 goals — more than any other team in the league. Monaco must be relieved it did not sell Colombian striker Radamel Falcao after he spent two unsuccessful seasons on loan at Manchester United and Chelsea as he fought back from a serious injury. Falcao has been an inspirational captain, scoring eight in the past seven games and 17 in all competitions this season. Behind him and strike partner Valere Germain, the midfield quartet of Tiemoue Bakayoko, Fabinho, Thomas Lemar and Bernardo Silva is striking a good balance. Bakayoko and Fabinho do much of the holding work, thus freeing up the skillful Lemar and the quick Silva to roam free. They were unstoppable against Marseille, with Lemar scoring an audacious lob and Silva netting twice. ___ A TIGHTER DEFENSE PSG is looking for a fifth straight win when it travels to play Nantes on Saturday. Following a rocky spell just before the mid-season winter break, PSG has won its two league games and two cup games since without fuss and without conceding a goal. But Nantes could be a different proposition, especially given how well the team is playing under coach Sergio Conceicao. Wednesday's 1-0 win over Caen was the sixth in seventh games since the former Portugal winger took charge in early December. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 20th, 2017

Bonds, Clemens making slow gains with changing electorate

NOAH TRISTER, AP Baseball Writer The electorate is changing, however, and that could be good news for both. Bonds and Clemens inched past the 50-percent mark for the first time Wednesday, each appearing on about 54 percent of ballots cast by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. For a fifth straight year, Bonds and Clemens fell short of the 75 percent needed for induction, but their support is slowly climbing. Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez were elected to the Hall on Wednesday. Bonds and Clemens remain on the outside looking in because of drug suspicions, but they could continue to gain ground as more new voters are welcomed into the process. 'I think, just generationally, people in their 20s and 30s look at this different than people in their 50s and 60s,' said Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star, a first-time voter who supported Bonds and Clemens. 'Maybe we're missing something — I'm not one of these people that thinks, like, I'm right and they're wrong. It's just different viewpoints.' A writer can receive a Hall of Fame vote when he or she has been an active member of the BBWAA for 10 consecutive years, so newcomers are always on the way. In 2015, the Hall of Fame eliminated voters who had been inactive for more than 10 years — a move that further boosted the influence of newer voters. The closest thing to a Hall of Fame exit poll is Ryan Thibodaux's online vote tracker , which has charted over half the ballots from this year's election. Of the 14 first-time voters identified on the site as of Wednesday night, 13 supported Bonds and Clemens. One of those first-time voters was Mike Harrington of The Buffalo News, who said he supported Bonds after former Commissioner Bud Selig was elected as part of this class by a veterans committee. Selig presided over the era in which drug suspicion became so rampant. 'The last few years in my Sunday column in The Buffalo News, I refused to use Barry Bonds' name. In my column, it became kind of a trademark. I just referred to him as No. 25,' Harrington said. 'So now people see my article in The Buffalo News — 'Wait a minute, how did you vote for Bonds and Clemens?' I explained in my column a couple weeks ago: To me, I felt, the Bud Selig thing was a tipping point.' Bonds and Clemens are back on the ballot next year, along with newcomers such as Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, Andruw Jones, Scott Rolen, Johan Santana and Omar Vizquel. Here are a few more things to watch: PUBLIC BALLOTS The BBWAA voted to release each voter's Hall of Fame choices to the public, starting next year. That change will add transparency to the process, although there are some concerns about groupthink and peer pressure. 'I'm very conflicted about this,' Mellinger said. 'I applaud the reasons that they are public. We are a profession that demands transparency in others, so why shouldn't we have the same here? I get all that. I can't argue against any of that. The part that I'm uncomfortable with is: I hope that people still vote their hearts and their minds and don't change based on, you know, 'I don't want to get ripped on Twitter.'' SABERMETRIC FAVORITES Raines had plenty of support in sabermetric circles. 'You've got these new stats. You've got WAR (wins above replacement). You've got all this stuff,' Raines said. 'Back in the day, when you looked at a Hall of Famer, you looked at 500 home runs, 300 wins and 3,000 hits, and a lot of times if you didn't reach those criteria, it was kind of hard for anyone to kind of look at you as a Hall of Famer. But I think the way the game has changed today, the way they look at the stats and everything, it has changed.' The next beneficiary of modern stats could be Mike Mussina, who achieved 51.8-percent approval this year. Mussina never won a Cy Young Award, but according to Baseball-Reference.com, his career WAR is comparable to that of Nolan Ryan and Bob Gibson. LOGJAM Nearly half of this year's 442 voters used the maximum 10 slots on their ballots, and although three people were elected, players like Trevor Hoffman (74.0 percent) and Vladimir Guerrero (71.7) fell just short, meaning they'll be back to take up votes again next year. With some credible new candidates eligible in 2018, the 10-player limit could come into play for quite a few voters. Lynn Henning of The Detroit News has abstained from voting at all when he's felt there were more than 10 Hall-worthy players. He didn't have that problem this year, but it could happen again. 'The 10-ballot restriction is silly, it's perverse, it's unjust, it's convoluted. It's a complete affront to players who deserve recognition, when they've earned recognition and are otherwise screened out because of some arbitrary adherence to this number 10,' Henning said. 'I think it's the most outlandishly preposterous restriction I've ever been exposed to in the realm of professional voting.' SPECIALISTS One challenge Hall voters now face is evaluating players who had more specialized roles — like designated hitters and closers. 'It's easy to find context for a Vladimir Guerrero or a Mike Mussina because there are tons of outfielders in the Hall of Fame, there are tons of starting pitchers in the Hall of Fame,' said Ryan Fagan of Sporting News. 'Defining the context for a DH or for a relief pitcher, that's more challenging, because there aren't a lot of guys like that in there.' Fagan supported Edgar Martinez, a DH, but did not vote for closers Hoffman, Billy Wagner and Lee Smith. None of those four made it in. All but Smith will be on the ballot again in 2018. ___ Follow Noah Trister at www.Twitter.com/noahtrister .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 20th, 2017

No practice, no problem: Stenson leads in Abu Dhabi

STEVE DOUGLAS, AP Sports Writer br /> ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Henrik Stenson chipped in from 30 yards and had seven more birdies Thursday to open the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship with an 8-under 64 in his first competitive round of 2017. Showing no rustiness from an offseason of little practice, the fourth-ranked Stenson led by two strokes midway through the first round. Three-time winner Martin Kaymer, Oliver Fisher, Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Marc Warren were next. Stenson will do well to top 2016 — he won the British Open for his first major title and finished the season as Europe's No. 1 — and he prepared for the new year by mostly ditching his clubs, preferring to spend more time on the ski slopes with his family in Utah. Even his build-up to the Abu Dhabi event wasn't ideal, with two overnight flights in three days from his home in Orlando interrupted by his attendance at an awards ceremony in Stockholm where he beat Zlatan Ibrahimovic, among others, to win Male Sports Athlete of the Year at the Swedish Sports Awards. All Stenson needed was a few buckets of balls and some good putting sessions to get him back on track. Playing in an early-morning three-ball with two more current major champions in Dustin Johnson and Danny Willett, Stenson birdied four of his first five holes after starting at No. 10, completing the hot streak with the chip-in after leaving his approach five yards short of the green. He curled in a birdie putt from 15 feet on No. 17 and tapped in at the par-5 18th to pick up another shot before making birdie on two of his last three holes to end a round in which he was never in trouble. 'Very limited preparation,' said the 40-year-old Stenson, before adding with a smile: 'So that might be the way forward.' 'I was quite amazed how good the game felt coming into today. But again, I feel like I scored better than I played.' It was Stenson's second best round at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club, only bettered by his course-record 62 in 2006 when he was runner-up to Chris DiMarco. It is a long course that suits Stenson's eye, and the same could be said of Kaymer. The two-time major winner from Germany mixed eight birdies — three coming on his final three holes — with two bogeys for his 66, his latest low score at an event where he usually excels. He won in 2008, '10 and '11, and should have won in 2015, only to throw away a 10-shot lead with 13 holes to play on the final day. 'The golf course, for me, doesn't feel like I need to do a lot of special things in order to play well because I usually putt well on those greens,' Kaymer said. 'Doesn't feel like a hard-working day.' Johnson, at No. 3 the highest-ranked player in a strong field after Rory McIlroy's withdrawal on Monday, shot 72 in his first appearance in Abu Dhabi. Defending champion Rickie Fowler also was at even par. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 19th, 2017