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Teng's PBA D-League debut set on January 19

Jeron Teng makes his much awaited debut when the 2017 PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup opens on January 19 at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig. The De La Salle University standout will now lead AMA Online Education as it opens the festivities against Province of Batangas at 3:00 PM in the lone game during opening day. The duel will commence following the opening ceremonies scheduled at 2:00 PM. Ten teams will battle for the title this conference with CafeFrance, Racal, and Tanduay emerging as favorites for the plum. The tournament will be played on a single round robin format with teams playing nine games each. The top two teams will proceed outright to the semifinals while squads ranked three to six will advance to the quarterfinals, with teams three and four owning twice-to-beat advantages. The bottom four teams will be eliminated. Winners of the said quarterfinals series will face off against the top two seeds in a best-of-three series and the Finals will also be contested in a best-of-three  championship tiff. Games will be played on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays with tip-offs set at 3:00 PM and 5:00 PM. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 8th, 2017

V-LEAGUE: Successful 13th season

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 31st, 2016

Batang Pier go for top-2 spot against champion SMB

For the seond straight week, two-time defending Philippine Cup champion San Miguel will face the number 2 team in the PBA. But with the Beermen already secured of a quarterfinal slot and a twice-to-beat advantage, this no. 1 vs. no. 2 matchup is certainly more important for the Globalport Batang Pier who currently hold solo second place in the season-opening conference. Entereing this Lapu-Lapu City matchup as winners of back-to-back games, the 5-3 Batang Pier got solo second after Rain or Shine lost Friday to Meralco. But with teams stacked up with five wins apiece, a big victory by the Terrence Romeo and co. will mean a greater chance for the Batang Pier to secure a playoff bonus alongside the Beermen. However, it's not like the chance have nothing at stake here though. Winners of seven straight and currently holding a league-best 8-1 card, one more win by San Miguel means that the Beermen will be the number one overall seed throughout the playoffs. And as winners of the last two All-Filipino tournaments, number one is something that the Beermen have grown accustomed to. Also, reigning three-time MVP June Mar Fajardo wouldn't want to disappoint his hometown crowd right? Gametime is set the the Hopes Dome in Lapu-Lapu at 5:00 p.m. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 20th, 2017

Andy's ankle, Federer's biggest test highlight Friday action

DENNIS PASSA, AP Sports Writer br /> MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — One big question ahead of the start of the third round Friday at the Australian Open is the state of Andy Murray's injured right ankle. And nearly as important, how Roger Federer will perform in his first major test — against Tomas Berdych — since returning from a six-month injury layoff. The top-seeded Murray tumbled to the court at Rod Laver Arena, clutching his ankle and cringing in pain during the third set of his second-round match against No. 156-ranked Andrey Rublev on Wednesday. 'It just a little bit stiff just now,' he said after the match. 'I don't think I've done too much damage.' Murray held a practice session on Court 17 on Thursday afternoon and appeared to be moving freely. He is scheduled to play No. 31-seeded Sam Querrey in a Hisense Arena afternoon match. Something that may have made Murray's ankle feel better later in the day was news that Novak Djokovic was upset in the second round by Denis Istomin. On opposite sides of the draw, they couldn't have met until the final, but Murray has lost five finals at Melbourne Park — four of them to Djokovic. Here is a look at some of the other featured matches Friday: ___ FEDERER'S BIG TEST: Undoubtedly No. 10 Tomas Berdych will be 17-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer's biggest challenge since returning from his left knee layoff. Federer, a four-time Australian champion, was tested from time to time in wins over qualifiers in his opening two matches. The good news is that he holds a 16-6 career edge over Berdych, including all three times they've met previously at Melbourne Park. Federer is 5-0 in their most recent meetings. 'I did feel like I actually played him quite well in recent times, thanks for reminding me,' Federer said. 'I just got to play on my terms and really be focused on my own service games to make sure I don't have any lapses there. I know I've got to lift my game a little bit.' The pair will play the final night match on Rod Laver Arena. ___ BEATING THE TWINS?: Top-ranked Angelique Kerber beat Karolina Pliskova in the U.S. Open final, and will have a chance to beat the Czech player's twin sister, Kristyna, in the next major when the pair meet in an afternoon match at Rod Laver Arena. Kerber has never played the 58th-ranked Kristyna. Asked if it was 'weird' to play twins, Kerber seemed perplexed by the question. 'I don't know if it's weird. I mean, the one is right and the other one is left-handed.' For the record, Kerber and Kristyna are both left handed. ___ And briefly: No. 4 Stan Wawrinka vs. No. 29 Viktor Troicki: U.S. Open champion and 2014 Australian winner Wawrinka beat Troicki in the second round at the Brisbane International two weeks ago, his seventh consecutive win over the Serbian player. Advantage Stan. _ No. 7 Garbine Muguruza vs. No. 32 Anastasija Sevastova: 2016 French Open champion Muguruza lost to Sevastova in the second round at the U.S. Open last year in straight sets, but returned the favor at Tokyo a few weeks later. _ No. 13 Venus Williams vs. Duan Yingying: Duan beat former top 20 player Vavara Lepchenko in the second round. She and Williams have never played, and both players said they know little about the other. Duan said she had never even seen Williams play. 'I don't really watch that much tennis, so I think my coach will do the job to try to tell me what I need to do on the court,' Duan said through a translator. _ No. 5 Kei Nishikori vs. Lukas Lacko: Nishikori is looking to advance to the fourth round for the sixth year in a row. He's made it to the quarterfinals the past two years. Lacko, a qualifier, has played nine sets in two rounds, including a five-setter in his first-round win over Albert Ramos-Vinolas. _ Eugenie Bouchard vs. CoCo Vandeweghe: After a poor second half of 2015 and most of 2016, Bouchard is playing with more confidence. The 22-year-old Canadian, who made the semifinals here and the French Open in 2014 before reaching the final at Wimbledon, beat Vandeweghe the only time they've met at Indian Wells in 2015. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 19th, 2017

Durant dazzles against former Thunder team anew

em>By Janie McCauley, Associated Press /em> OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Kevin Durant dazzled against his old team once again with a season-best 40 points, and the Golden State Warriors beat Oklahoma City 121-100 on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time) despite Russell Westbrook's 21st triple-double for the Thunder. Westbrook had 27 points, 15 rebounds and 13 assists in an improved showing from his 20-point outing on 4-for-15 shooting when OKC first faced Durant in the other jersey here 2.5 months ago and watched him dismantle the Thunder from every which way. In his two games against OKC, Durant has scored 79 points on 28-for-50 shooting. He hit seven three-pointers in the first meeting, a 122-96 Warriors rout Nov. 3 (Nov. 4 PHL time), also at Oracle Arena. Durant also had 12 rebounds Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time). Stephen Curry added 24 points and eight assists, and Klay Thompson had 14 points after he arrived back in the Bay Area just in time to play after a short absence dealing with a personal family matter. This one had tension, which just might be the norm from here on out when Durant faces the Thunder. There were words exchanged and stare downs, and of course a few hard fouls -- then an occasional smile to balance things out, like when Durant missed on a driving tomahawk jam and the ball shot back to midcourt. This atmosphere wasn't that much different from two days earlier when the champion Cavaliers visited Golden State's home floor and left with an embarrassing 126-91 defeat. Enes Kanter added 22 points and nine rebounds off the bench for the Thunder, who missed center Steven Adams for a second straight game with a concussion. Tied at 63 after the game was also even at halftime, the Warriors scored eight unanswered points with three’s by Thompson and Durant. Thompson scored five straight points during the exact kind of scoring flurry Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan described before the game as what makes these star-studded Warriors so dangerous. It wasn't that long ago Donovan could only watch as Golden State rallied from a 3-1 deficit to beat OKC in the Western Conference finals last season. Westbrook shot just 8-for-23 this time and missed all but one of his six three-point tries, but made 10-of-11 free throws. With 4.4 seconds left in the first half, Zaza Pachulia collided with Westbrook and clobbered the OKC star in the face as the Warriors center went with his man as Kanter set a screen on Andre Iguodala. Westbrook went down and grabbed his face in obvious pain and Pachulia glared at Westbrook as he stood over him. The play went to official review before Pachulia received a flagrant 1 foul, drawing boos from the sellout crowd. Golden State outscored Oklahoma City 37-22 in the third to turn the game into another blowout on the way to wrapping up 9-1 stay in Northern California over the past 3.5 weeks. Durant posted his 11th game with 30 or more points and fifth with at least 30 points and 10 boards. As dominant as KD has been against the Thunder, the Warriors still must go to Oklahoma City on Feb. 11 and March 20 (Feb. 12 and Mar. 21, PHL time). strong>TIP-INS /strong> em> strong>Thunder: /strong> /em> Oklahoma City is 5-11 on the road against Golden State and hasn't won on the Warriors' home floor since Dec. 18, 2014. Adams wasn't with the team. em> strong>Warriors: /strong> /em>PF David West has a non-displaced fracture of his left thumb and will be re-evaluated in two weeks. Golden State was tied at halftime for the first time all season. After out-rebounding the Cavs 58-35, the Warriors led the category 46-36. Golden State committed 13 first-half turnovers and 18 total. strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Thunder: /strong> /em>At Utah on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) after a four-day break without a game. em> strong>Warriors: /strong> /em> At Houston on Friday (Saturday, PHL time). Golden State wrapped up a stretch of more than three weeks at home that included only a bus ride to Sacramento for a lone road game in a 10-game stretch since Dec. 26 (Dec. 27, PHL time). .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 19th, 2017

Raonic continues streak by reaching 3rd round in Australia

JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer br /> MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Third-seeded Milos Raonic ended one streak and continued another with a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (4) Thursday over Gilles Muller to reach the third round at the Australian Open. Raonic, who reached the semifinals here last year and the final at Wimbledon, had lost both previous matches to Muller — including one when he retired with an injured hip in the second round at Wimbledon in 2012. His win Thursday maintained Raonic's record of reaching the third round at least all seven years he has contested the Australian Open. The 33-year-old Muller entered the season's first major after capturing his first tour-level title in Sydney last week. Raonic was unable to defend his Brisbane title in the first week of the season, but is finding rhythm quickly in Melbourne — he fired 21 aces, hit 56 winners and only had 15 unforced errors against Muller. He left the court complaining of a sore throat, and will get a day off before his next match against No. 25 Gilles Simon. No. 15 Grigor Dimitrov, who beat Raonic in the semifinals before winning the Brisbane International earlier this month, moved into the third round with a 1-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 win over Chung Hye-on. Dimitrov will next play No. 18 Richard Gasquet. No. 32 Philipp Kohlschreiber beat Donald Young 7-5, 6-3, 6-0. David Ferrer, the former world No. 3 who has only missed the quarterfinals once in the previous six years at Melbourne Park, recovered to beat U.S. qualifier Ernesto Escobedo 2-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 and set up a third-round match against fellow Spaniard and No. 13-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut. No. 30 Pablo Carreno Busta had a 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 win over Kyle Edmund to move into a third-round match against either six-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic or Denis Istomin. U.S. Open finalist Karolina Pliskova and No. 9 Johanna Konta carried their winning form from warmup tournaments into the third round of the season's first major. Brisbane International winner Pliskova beat Anna Blinkova 6-0, 6-2 in 59 minutes, and has dropped just four games en route to the third round. She was leading 6-0, 4-0 in the opening match on Rod Laver Arena before the 18-year-old Russian qualifier, ranked 189th, held serve and later held up her arm to acknowledge the cheers from the crowd. 'It's always good to be in the zone,' said fifth-seeded Pliskova. 'It can always be a bit better.' 'I'm feeling pretty good on the court, confident,' she said. 'Also, people are talking I have a good chance to win a Grand Slam, but we are just in third round, so let's see.' She will next play Jelena Ostapenko, who beat No. 31 Yulia Putintseva 6-3, 6-1. Sydney International winner Konta, who made a surprising run to the semifinals in her debut Australian Open last year, advanced 6-4, 6-2 over Naomi Osaka. Konta, voted the WTA Tour's most improved player of 2016 after moving from 48th to 10th in the rankings, will next play former No. 1-ranked Caroline Wozniacki. WTA Finals winner Dominika Cibulkova held off Hsieh Su-wei 6-4, 7-6 (8) and will next play No. 30 Ekaterina Makarova, who was leading 6-2, 3-2 when Sara Errani retired because of a leg injury. No. 14 Elena Vesnina advanced to a third-round encounter against U.S. qualifier Jennifer Brady, who saved five match points before beating Heather Watson 2-6, 7-6 (3), 10-8. Andy Murray returned to the practice court for an afternoon hitting session under the scrutiny of coach Ivan Lendl, allaying concerns about his injured right ankle. Top-ranked Murray, a five-time runner-up at Melbourne Park, twisted his ankle and tumbled to the court during the third set of his otherwise routine second-round win on Wednesday night. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 19th, 2017

Derrick Rose powers short-handed Knicks past Celtics

em>By Ken Powtak, Associated Press /em> BOSTON (AP) — Derrick Rose matched his season high with 30 points, and the slumping New York Knicks beat the Boston Celtics 117-106 on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time). New York played without injured starters Kristaps Porzingis and Joakim Noah, but Mindaugas Kuzminskas and Willy Hernangomez each scored 17 points to help make up for their absence. It was just the third win in 14 games for the Knicks. Isaiah Thomas led Boston with 39 points, his 13th time this season with 30 or more points. Jae Crowder added 21 for the Celtics, who lost for only the fourth time in 17 games. Al Horford, Boston's big free-agent acquisition during the summer, had five points on 2-of-14 shooting. He was 1-for-8 on three-point attempts. Boston closed to 97-96 on Jaylen Brown's two free throws with just under eight minutes to play, but Justin Holiday and Courtney Lee nailed three-pointers 29 seconds apart, pushing New York's lead back to seven. Rose then capped an 8-0 spree by putting in his own miss after Thomas missed a jumper -- his seventh straight shot that was off. strong>TIP-INS /strong> Knicks: Porzingis was out with a sore left Achilles and Noah was sidelined by a sore left ankle. Porzingis missed his fourth straight game, but did shoot before the game. Noah played in their last game. Both big men are expected to undergo MRIs on Thursday (Friday, PHL time). F Lance Thomas was also out (fractured left orbital bone). Celtics: G Avery Bradley was a late scratch with a sore right Achilles after warming up. He played in Monday's (Tuesday, PHL time) win, but had missed the previous four games after straining the same Achilles. strong>SPECIAL MOMENT /strong> The fans gave a loud ovation to 11-year-old Stephen Register of Needham, Massachusetts, late in the opening quarter when he was shown on the Jumbotron. On Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time), as part of a Make-A-Wish memory, the team signed him to an honorary one-day contract and he practiced with Celtics players Amir Johnson and Kelly Olynyk, received a personalized team jersey, and participated in a press conference with players asking him questions. He was diagnosed with intractable epilepsy. strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Knicks: /strong> /em>Host Washington on Thursday night (Friday, PHL time) for their third game in four days. The Wizards won the only other matchup -- 119-112 in Washington on Nov. 17 (Nov. 18, PHL time). em> strong>Celtics: /strong> /em>Host Portland on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time), the first of two meetings between the teams this season. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 18th, 2017

6-time champs Djokovic, Williams post Australian Open wins

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 17th, 2017

Irving, Cavaliers make quick work of Kings

em>By Josh Dubow, Associated Press /em> SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- Kyrie Irving scored 26 points, Kyle Korver added 18 in his most productive game since joining Cleveland last week and the Cavaliers tuned up for a NBA Finals rematch by beating the Sacramento Kings 120-108 on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time). LeBron James had 16 points and 15 assists, Kevin Love added 15 points and 18 rebounds and Cleveland snapped a two-game losing streak before taking on Golden State on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) in its first game at Oracle Arena since winning the NBA title there last June. DeMarcus Cousins had 26 points and a season-high 11 assists and Rudy Gay scored 23 points for the Kings, who fell to 1-4 on their seven-game homestand. The Cavs sent forward Mike Dunleavy, guard Mo Williams, cash and a protected future first-round draft pick to the Hawks last for Korver, a 14-year veteran whose ability to come off screens and deep range challenge defenses. Korver shot just 2-for-10 with no three-pointers his first two games but came up big this game, especially after Sacramento had cut a 24-point lead to eight when Arron Afflalo scored on the opening possession of the fourth quarter. Korver responded with a three-pointer and answered again a few minutes later after Cleveland's lead was cut to six with his fourth triple of the game. He shot 7-for-10 for the game, making 4-of-6 three-pointers. The Cavs started fast behind 11 first-quarter points from Love and led by 17 points after one. The lead grew to 21 early in the second before the Kings rallied to cut it to 10. That's when Korver stepped up for the first time, scoring seven points during an 11-0 run that put Cleveland back in control. The Cavs scored nine points in a 59-second span to quickly turn the tide in their favor. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 14th, 2017

Horford returns to Atlanta for first time with his new team

em>By George Henry, Associated Press /em> ATLANTA (AP) — Al Horford knows this won't be just another game today. The four-time All-Star is returning to Philips Arena for the first time with a new team, and many are still adjusting to the fact that he no longer plays for the Atlanta Hawks. After nine seasons as a franchise cornerstone, Horford left for Boston as a free agent last summer, signing a four-year, $113 million contract. But a big part of the big center will always be in the Deep South. He hopes his impact with everyone in Atlanta was positive. 'I always tried to be a guy that plays hard and was committed to giving his all, on and off the court,' Horford said Friday (Saturday, PHL time). 'So that's something I'm really proud of.' Horford led Florida to back-to-back national championships before the Hawks drafted him No. 3 overall in 2007. He helped Atlanta make the playoffs each season he was with the franchise, but the team only got close to the NBA Finals once, in 2015. The Hawks won 60 games and advanced to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time. They were swept by Cleveland each of the last two years, and coach Mike Budenholzer has remade the roster. Kyle Korver now plays for Cleveland, Jeff Teague for Indiana and DeMarre Carroll for Toronto. The Hawks have rebuilt around Atlanta native Dwight Howard, an eight-time All-Star center, and point guard Dennis Schroder. The overhaul continues to be a work in process with just four players with double-digit scoring averages and the team lacks consistent perimeter shooting. 'It really has changed fast,' Horford said. 'That just shows us what the NBA business can be like sometimes. That's just the way it is. All you can do is embrace those times that you had here and accept these new challenges that we're in.' In his first game against the Hawks, Horford said he expects some mixed emotions, but hopes to settle down after a pregame video tribute. There's plenty at stake tonight with Boston third and Atlanta fourth in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics have won five of six and the Hawks seven in a row. Horford keeps up with some of his former teammates and wishes them well. 'It's a team that's gone through its ups and downs, but I feel like they've found a really good rhythm right now,' he said. 'They're playing really well. Dennis has impressed me a lot, the way that he's been playing and leading the team. Paul [Millsap] being as consistent as he is, and Tim [Hardaway Jr.] is really impressive off the bench.' Horford said many times over the years that he wanted to spend his entire career with the Hawks, but when they wouldn't match Boston's offer, his decision was easy. 'I think for me individually it was the right decision,' Horford said. 'It takes time to adjust to a new team, a new city and everything, but my teammates and coach have made my transition very easy.' Boston guard Isaiah Thomas credits Horford with helping him get off to the best start of his six-year career. Thomas is averaging 28.2 points, tied for fourth-best in the league. Horford is averaging 15.3 points, 6.9 rebounds and 4.9 assists. 'He helps me out because he puts me in position,' Thomas said. 'He sets really good screens for me to get me open and he also is a hell of a passer, so when he gets the ball in situations where I'm on the opposite side, he usually finds me. I think that's what making me have a pretty good year as well.' Thomas said the Celtics intend to get Horford a win Friday night (Saturday, PHL time). 'He hasn't brought it up to us,' Thomas said. 'That's just the type of person he is. Everything is the same for him.' Horford likes to keep it that way. He's ready to put this game behind him. 'It's a little different, but I think probably tonight I'm sure it will be more surreal for me,' Horford said. 'Right now it's just a shoot-around and it feels very normal.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 13th, 2017

Philippine Cup ghost continues to haunt Meralco

The ghost of the Philippine Cup has come back to haunt Meralco for the second straight season. After faulty effort against Mahindra, the Bolts have now lost five straight games in the All-Filipino, dropping them to last place with a 2-6 mark. This performance comes after Meralco finished 1-10 in the very same conference last season. Naturally, frustration is starting to creep into the franchise. However, the Bolts are not about to be consumed by the dark side just yet. 'Part of the game yun, natalo. Ngayon kailangan namin mag-effort every game lalo on defense,' veteran Reynel Hugnatan said who led the squad with 28 points vs. the Floodbuster. 'Pag natalo ka, lahat ng mali nandun. Try namin mag-focus sa next game,' he added. Fresh from making the Finals in the Governors' Cup, Hugnatan couldn't quite figure out what's wrong every time Meralco plays in a conference featuring only Filipino players. 'Ewan ko, di ko masagot eh. Lahat naman sa practice nakikita ko na parang lahat nagwo-work har. Pagdating sa game ewan ko ano nangyayari,' he said. With three games left in their schedule though, the Bolts' sole focus now is try and sneak into the playoffs as one of the lower seeds. 'I think we have a chance pa. Kaya di namin iniisip kung ano pa mangyayaru basta kami trabaho lang,' Hugnatan said.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 11th, 2017

Former No. 1 Wozniacki beats Olympic champion Puig in Sydney

SYDNEY (AP) — Former No. 1-ranked Caroline Wozniacki stepped up her preparations for the Australian Open with 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 win over Olympic gold medalist Monica Puig at the Sydney International on Monday. Wozniacki, who finished back-to-back years at No. 1 in the rankings in 2010 and '11, has never won a major and is determined to make up for a first-round exit at the Australian Open last year. Puig fought back to win the second set and force a decider but the Rio champion eventually succumbed after 2 hours and 10 minutes. Third-seeded Dominika Cibulkova, last year's WTA Finals champion and a finalist at the Australian Open in 2014, opened in Sydney with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Laura Siegemund, advancing along with No. 6-seeded Johanna Konta and No. 9 Roberta Vinci. Americans Christina McHale and CoCo Vandeweghe had wins over seeded players, with McHale beating No. 4 Kateryna Bondarenko 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 and Vandeweghe leading 6-2, 4-0 when No. 8 Elena Vesnina retired from their match. Australian hope Sam Stosur, the 2011 U.S. Open champion, had another first-round defeat, losing 6-3, 6-1 to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in 63 minutes. On the men's side, fifth-seeded Philipp Kohlschreiber beat Fabio Fognini 6-4, 6-4, Matthew Barton beat Kyle Edmund 7-6 (3), 7-6 (5) and Daniel Evans had a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 win over Thiago Monteiro. At the Hobart International, Andrew Petkovic opened with a 6-4, 6-0 win over Nicole Gibbs and No. 11 Johanna Larsson beat Kristyna Pliskova 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-1. Lucie Safarova also advanced, while former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone lost to Jana Jett and No. 7-seeded Kristina Mladenovic was beaten by Elise Mertens. At Auckland, New Zealand, seventh-seeded Steve Johnson overcame an early struggle in a match of contrasting styles to beat Stephane Robert of France 6-4, 6-3 in the opening round of the ASB Classic. Johnson struggled to bring his heavy serve to bear at the start of the match and quickly found himself a break down at 3-1 in the first set. He also took time to find his feet against Robert who troubled him with his softer groundstrokes, deft touches and his thread-the-needle passing shots. 'At the start of the year you don't have much momentum and you try to figure out your game again and how everything works,' Johnson said. 'He came out and played a great game. 'I was in a lot of games on his serve in the first so I just sort of hung around and then fortunately got a break in the second and held onto my serve.' The match pivoted on eighth game when Johnson was finally able to draw level on his sixth breakpoint chance. He then began to serve more confidently, taking the ninth game with his sixth ace of the match and breaking Robert again to end the set. Sixth-seeded Feliciano Lopez rebounded to beat No. 1,035-ranked local wild-card entry Michael Venus 3-6, 6-4, 6-3. Also advancing were Jiri Vesely, who won his only ATP title to date in Auckland in 2015, and Robin Haase. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 9th, 2017

Former No. 1 Wozniacki beats Olympic champion Puig in Sydney

SYDNEY (AP) — Former No. 1-ranked Caroline Wozniacki continued her preparations for the Australian Open with 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 win over Olympic gold medalist Monica Puig at the Sydney International on Monday. Wozniacki, who finished back-to-back years at No. 1 in the rankings in 2010 and '11, has never won a major and is determined to make up for a first-round exit at the Australian Open last year. Puig fought back to win the second set and force a decider but the Rio champion eventually succumbed after 2 hours and 10 minutes. Third-seeded Dominika Cibulkova, last year's WTA Finals champion and a finalist at the Australian Open in 2014, opened in Sydney with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Laura Siegemund, advancing along with No. 6-seeded Johanna Konta and No. 9 Roberta Vinci. Americans Christina McHale and CoCo Vandeweghe had wins over seeded players, with McHale beating No. 4 Kateryna Bondarenko 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 and Vandeweghe leading 6-2, 4-0 when No. 8 Elena Vesnina retired from their match. Australian hope Sam Stosur, the 2011 U.S. Open champion, had another first-round defeat, losing 6-3, 6-1 to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in 63 minutes. On the men's side, Matthew Barton beat Kyle Edmund 7-6 (3), 7-6 (5) and Daniel Evans had a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 win over Thiago Monteiro. At the Hobart International, Andrew Petkovic opened with a 6-4, 6-0 win over Nicole Gibbs and No. 11 Johanna Larsson beat Kristyna Pliskova 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-1. Lucie Safarova also advanced, while former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone lost to Jana Jett and No. 7-seeded Kristina Mladenovic was beaten by Elise Mertens. At Auckland, New Zealand, seventh-seeded Steve Johnson overcame an early struggle in a match of contrasting styles to beat Stephane Robert of France 6-4, 6-3 in the opening round of the ASB Classic. Johnson struggled to bring his heavy serve to bear at the start of the match and quickly found himself a break down at 3-1 in the first set. He also took time to find his feet against Robert who troubled him with his softer groundstrokes, deft touches and his thread-the-needle passing shots. 'At the start of the year you don't have much momentum and you try to figure out your game again and how everything works,' Johnson said. 'He came out and played a great game. 'I was in a lot of games on his serve in the first so I just sort of hung around and then fortunately got a break in the second and held onto my serve.' The match pivoted on eighth game when Johnson was finally able to draw level on his sixth breakpoint chance. He then began to serve more confidently, taking the ninth game with his sixth ace of the match and breaking Robert again to end the set. Jiri Vesely, who won his only ATP title to date in Auckland in 2015, advanced to the second round with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Horacio Zeballos, while Robin Haase beat New Zealand qualifier Finn Tearney 6-4, 7-5. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 9th, 2017

To bye or not to bye in NFL playoffs? Let's take a look

BARRY WILNER, AP Pro Football Writer NFL teams pursue byes like they are precious jewels. Are they really? Or does the road to the Super Bowl not particularly come with a rest stop? History tells us that reaching the Super Bowl, let alone winning it, after playing in a wild-card game is anything but ideal. Not impossible but just ask, in recent years, the 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers, 2007 New York Giants and 2010 Green Bay Packers. But it's certainly the most difficult way of doing things, particularly how those three teams managed it, as sixth seeds with no home games. All of them are in this postseason. Not one of them goes into this weekend wishing they didn't own a bye. Yet there are advantages — yes, really — to being active in the wild-card round. For one, the opponent shouldn't be as formidable as either of the top two seeds in each conference who are enjoying a mini-vacation. Secondly, the momentum gathered from an opening win can carry teams a long way. Again, look up what those Pittsburgh, New York, and Green Bay teams above did. 'We're battle tested,' Giants receiver Victor Cruz says, speaking not only of an early season loss at Lambeau Field, but of the team's general psyche. 'We've been through some things after that game that really set the standard and the focus for this team. That's one of the biggest things for us going into the game: Understanding that we've been through some wars and now we're ready to go.' So the Giants go to Green Bay, where in 2008 they won the NFC Championship. And, four years later, they beat a 15-1 Packers squad in the divisional round. Both times, they went on to win a Super Bowl. Eli Manning was the quarterback and offensive fulcrum of those title runs, while the pressure-first defense was masterful in negating big-time passers. The Giants entered those postseasons pretty much as afterthoughts, then got their acts together immediately in wild-card outings. Sure, they might have won it all in those seasons anyway. Yet there's no question those opening victories against Tampa Bay in 2008 and Atlanta in 2012 helped in a big way. 'You like to prove people wrong,' Manning says, knowing the Giants again are long shots to win it all. 'That is always kind of an exciting thing to do.' Under the eight-division format with 12 playoff teams that began in 2002, teams playing in wild-card games have made the Super Bowl eight times: Carolina in 2004, Pittsburgh in '06, Indianapolis in '07, the Giants in '08 and '12, Arizona in 2009, Green Bay in 2011, and Baltimore in 2013. Six of them won the title, with only the Panthers and Cardinals failing, both with last-minute losses. From 1990-92, there were six divisions, with 12 teams still advancing to the playoffs. Yes, three wild cards per conference, meaning one NFC and one AFC division winner didn't receive a bye. In that span, only four teams came out of the wild-card round to make the Super Bowl, all from the AFC. Buffalo (1993) and Tennessee (2000) both lost to the NFC champion. Denver (1998) and Baltimore (2001) won. Indeed, the Titans beat the Bills in January 2000 in the Music City Miracle, and Buffalo hasn't been back to the postseason since. One franchise that has made a habit of earning byes, of course, is New England. This is the sixth straight year the Patriots are idle for the opening weekend. Even Tom Brady gets antsy during the bye, though. 'You always want to feel great on Sunday,' Brady says. 'You'd always like to practice every day, too. Some weeks it's about prioritization. I'd like to do everything all the time, but sometimes that's not possible just based on ... practice is pretty demanding. Sometimes if you practice it might set you back a little more than you would want. 'After 17 years, I've got a pretty good balance for those things. I'm the type of person who likes to practice a lot. I've also been around long enough to know you've got to be smart, too, so it's just trying to find that right balance.' Brady can kick back this weekend while seeking that balance. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 6th, 2017

Lady Blazers take solo second, near semis spot

strong>Games Wednesday: /strong> (The Arena, San Juan) 8:30 a.m. --- AU vs. CSB (jrs) 10:00 a.m. --- AU vs. CSB (m) 11:30 a.m. --- CSB vs. CSB (w) 12:30 p.m. --- Perpetual vs. CSB (w) 2:00 p.m. --- Perpetual vs. CSB (m) 3:30 p.m. --- Perpetual vs. CSB (jrs)   Defending champion College of St. Benilde recovered from a sluggish start to take down the San Beda Lionesses, 12-25, 25-17, 25-23, 25-19, Thursday to move to solo second spot in the 92nd NCAA women’s volleyball competition at The Arena in San Juan. The Lady Blazers improved to 6-1 win-loss record and inched one step closer for a semifinals seat. Rachel Anne Austerio exploded for 13 points while team captain Jeannette Panaga and Jan Daguil scored all their points from kills for the Taft-based squad. Ranya Musa also had 11 markers for CSB, which won their second straight match after a painful five-set loss to Lyceum of the Philippines University a month ago.  Lady Blazers head coach Macky Carino admitted that his team played too tight and was out of sync in the opening set.  “Sobrang bagal ng first set naming,” he said. “Sa sobran focus ng team ko nakatingin na lang sila sa kabila (San Beda). ‘Yung team namin, ‘yung iginagalaw namin ‘di na namin pinansin.” “So ‘yun ang ni-remind ko sa kanila, na alam natin ang gagalawin ng kabila pero dapat laruin din natin ang laro natin,” Carino added. “So ayun pagdating ng second set buti nagbago.” The Lady Blazers will wrap their elimination round campaign against Arellano University on Wednesday before the Finals rematch against unbeaten San Sebastian College (6-0) on January 25. Francesca Racraquin had 17 points while Nieza Viray scored 14 for the Lionesses, who dropped their third match in eight outings and are in danger of missing the cut in the semifinals race. In the men’s division, the Blazers climbed to solo top spot with a 25-19, 25-23, 25-17, victory over the Red Lions. CSB improved to 6-1 slate to secure at least a playoff for a Final Four ticket behind skipper John Vic De Guzman’s 11 points. Isaah Arda and Francis Basilan scored 10 markers each for the Blazers, who handed San Beda its second loss in eight games. The Red Lions despite the loss are also assured of a semis seat playoff. In the junior’s match, San Beda avoided a shutout after the Red Cubs clawed the Junior Blazers, 25-16, 25-20, 25-15, for a 3-4 card. CSB-La Salle Greenhills remained winless after five games.         --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles        .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 5th, 2017

Wawrinka, Nishikori reaches quarterfinals in Brisbane

JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer br /> BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — A change of scenery didn't change much about the outcome of Stan Wawrinka's opening match of the season. The U.S. Open champion won his debut match at the Brisbane International tournament on Wednesday, beating Viktor Troicki 7-6 (5), 6-4 to move into the quarterfinals against Kyle Edmund. Wawrinka previously made a habit of winning the title in Chennai to warm up for the Australian Open. From 2014-16, he won the Indian event without dropping a set. At 31, though, he decided it was time for a change. He is seeded second in Brisbane, his main tuneup for the season's first Grand Slam tournament beginning Jan. 16. 'For sure it's a bit different conditions, but I don't think it will change much for the preparation for Australia,' said Wawrinka, who won his first major title at Melbourne Park in 2014. 'When you've been on the tour for so long, to play some new tournaments, it makes you a little bit fresher mentally.' Third-seeded Kei Nishikori was rusty in his season-opening match against Jared Donaldson but found enough to hold off the American qualifier 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. Eighth-seeded David Ferrer didn't make it that far, saving four match points on serve late in the third set before losing to Australian wild-card entry Jordan Thompson 4-6, 7-5, 7-5. Thompson, who won only three of his 13 matches in 2016, is already 2-0 this week and reached his first ATP Tour-level quarterfinal match. Next up is Nishikori. Nishikori, a three-time semifinalist in Brisbane, had a first-round bye and started the second round by racing to a 4-0 lead. But Donaldson responded and won the next six games to take the opening set in less than an hour. After jumping to a 3-0 lead in the second, Nishikori dropped another service game but this time used his experience in pressure situations to calmly regain control. 'I had a great start, and then I had one bad game after 4-0,' Nishikori said. 'I think it's a matter of my concentration ... a mental thing. After that he started playing much better ... and his forehand was on fire. 'It was really close. He had many chance to win a set and win the match, so, I mean, finally, in the last set I started playing like first couple of games and started dominating.' Sixth-seeded Lucas Pouille was trailing Edmund 6-3, 3-1 when he retired from their second-round match because of blisters. A day after becoming the first player born in the 2000s to win a main draw match at an elite WTA event, Destanee Aiava lost to two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4, 6-3 in the women's second round. 'It's pretty scary (but) I learned a lot out of that match,' said the 16-year-old Aiava, adding that she had gained 'confidence, maybe, in my game and myself, knowing that I do belong here.' Aiava will return to her hometown Melbourne, where she will play an exhibition tournament next week to continue preparations for her first Grand Slam event. She has a wild-card entry for the Australian Open, where she is set to be the first player born this millennium to play a Grand Slam main draw match. Kuznetsova will play French Open champion and fourth-seeded Garbine Muguruza in the quarterfinals. Second-seeded Dominika Cibulkova rallied from a set and a break down to beat Zhang Shuai 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 in her first competitive match since beating No. 1 Angelique Kerber to clinch the season-ending WTA Finals title. No. 8-seeded Roberta Vinci beat Misaki Doi 6-4, 6-2 in another second-round match. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 4th, 2017

Paul George scores 32 as Pacers beat Pistons

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Paul George had 32 points and the Indiana Pacers beat the Detroit Pistons 121-116 on Tuesday night (Wednesday, PHL time). Myles Turner and Jeff Teague each scored 17 for Indiana, which blew a 15-point first-half lead but pulled away in the fourth quarter to win its third straight game. The Pacers (18-18) are 2.5 games ahead of Detroit (16-21) in the Eastern Conference standings. Tobias Harris led the Pistons with 22 points. Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson each had a double-double. Detroit lost for the eighth time in 10 games, with two of the defeats coming at home to Indiana. The Pacers hit 6-of-7 three-pointers in the first quarter to score a season-high 36 points and take an eight-point lead. The margin was as big as 15 in the second before the Pistons rallied late to pull to 66-60. George and Teague each had 14 points in Indiana's highest-scoring half of the season. The Pacers shot 59 percent from the floor, 88 percent on three-pointers and 93 percent from the foul line. Detroit also shot well, hitting 57 percent of its shots, but couldn't keep up despite 13 points from Jackson. Jackson's jumper early in the third cut the lead to 73-72 and prompted a timeout from Indiana coach Nate McMillan. Jackson's alley-oop to Drummond tied the game at 77, and it was 92-all going into the fourth quarter. Indiana's offense got hot again early in the fourth, and the Pacers built a 103-96 lead with seven minutes to play. George's three-point play with 3:28 left made it 114-104, and Detroit couldn't get enough stops to threaten until the final minute. Marcus Morris' two three-pointers pulled Detroit to 119-114 with 50.3 seconds left and, after a turnover, Drummond's putback made it a three-point game. Monta Ellis made two free throws before Morris and Jackson missed at the other end. strong>TIP-INS /strong> em> strong>Pacers: /strong> /em>The win was Indiana's fifth of the season on the road, and it snapped a three-game losing streak away from Indianapolis. The Pacers are 2-0 at the Palace this season, and 3-13 in other road games. em> strong>Pistons: /strong> /em>With Aron Baynes sidelined by an ankle injury, Detroit went with little-used Boban Marjanovic as Drummond's backup. Marjanovic matched up mostly with Al Jefferson, who always gives Drummond problems. strong>HISTORIC RIVALRY /strong> As part of the last season at the Palace of Auburn Hills, the Pistons spent much of the night honoring great moments from their rivalry with Indiana. The list was heavily populated by their postseason battles in the mid-2000s, with No. 1 being Tayshaun Prince's chase-down block of Reggie Miller in the 2004 Eastern Conference finals. Not a surprise: The most memorable Pistons-Pacers moment, the brawl involving Ron Artest and fans in November 2004, was not included. strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Pacers: /strong> /em> Host the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday (Friday, PHL time). em> strong>Pistons: /strong> /em>Host the Charlotte Hornets on Thursday (Friday, PHL time). .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 3rd, 2017

Nadal continues comeback with a 1st win in Brisbane

JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer br /> BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Rafael Nadal was in need of some sleep, so he didn't waste much time against Alexandr Dolgopolov on Tuesday. The 14-time major champion, playing his opening match at the Brisbane International a day after arriving in Australia following a win in an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi, beat the Ukrainian 6-3, 6-3 after getting on court at almost 10:30 p.m. local time. Returning from a wrist injury which curtailed the end of his 2016 season, Nadal said he's determined to use every match as preparation for a shot at the title in the season-opening Grand Slam event in Melbourne. The 30-year-old Spaniard dropped serve in the third game but recovered to win the last five games of the first set against the 2012 finalist. In all, he converted all four of his break points and fended off three of the four he faced. 'A little bit of jet lag. It's tough, these kinds of things at the beginning,' said Nadal, who added that he was still sleeping in the early afternoon and felt 'destroyed' after the travel. 'There wasn't a lot of time to adapt.' He only made nine unforced errors, and his most glaring miss of the night was when whiffed at a ball as he tried to hit it into the crowd to celebrate his win. In a post-match news conference, he apologized after stifling a yawn, but said he still preferred the late start to help him overcome the jetlag. Nadal has changed his preparation for the Australian Open, arriving two weeks ahead of time to fine tune his game in a bid to make amends for a shocking first-round exit last year. He will next play Mischa Zverev, who opened with a 6-3, 6-3 win over teenage Australian qualifier Alex De Minaur, and has a potential quarterfinal match against defending champion and top-seeded Milos Raonic. Also, sixth-seeded Lucas Pouille lost the first five games before rebounding for a 7-6 (6), 7-6 (4) win over Gilles Simon, while Viktor Troicki beat Japanese qualifier Yoshihito Nishioka 6-4, 7-5 and Diego Schwartzman had a 6-2, 6-4 win over Sam Querrey. In the women's draw, Garbine Muguruza, Karolina Pliskova and Elina Svitolina, who all had career-highlight victories over Serena Williams last season, are already through to the quarterfinals. Destanee Aiava, a 16-year-old high school senior who was inspired to take up tennis when she was 5 after watching Williams on TV, also made a mark. Aiava became the first player born in the 2000s to win a main draw match in an elite WTA event when she beat Bethanie Mattek-Sands 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 in a first-round match that spanned two days. She already has a wild-card entry to the Australian Open but, before then, will face two-time major winner Svetlana Kuznetsova in the second round in Brisbane. The third-seeded Pliskova, who beat Williams in the U.S. Open semifinals last year before losing the final to Angelique Kerber, defeated American qualifier Asia Muhammad 6-1, 6-4 to secure the first spot in the quarterfinals. Svitolina, seeded sixth and the only woman to beat both Williams and Kerber when in 2016, advanced with a 7-5, 2-6, 7-5 win over Shelby Rogers. The fourth-seeded Muguruza wasted a match point and saved one before clinching a 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (7) win over Daria Kasatkina in a three-hour night match. Both players had eight service breaks and Muguruza, who beat Williams in the French Open final last year to claim her first Grand Slam title, dropped her opening serve in all three sets. Her next match will be against either Kuznetsova or Aiava, who was born on May 10, 2000, was No. 386 in the latest rankings and is very new to the tour. 'Pretty crazy,' Aiava said of her first trip to the locker rooms in the main draw. 'I walk in, and there is people I have watched on TV before and it's, like, 'Oh!'' Her mother, Rosie, has been her coach since she showed interest in the game. She keeps the teenager grounded. After her milestone win, Aiava said her mother just said 'good job' and took her back onto the practice courts for 20 minutes to work on her serve. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 3rd, 2017

Seattle, Montreal take narrow home wins in MLS playoffs

The Associated Press br /> SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle and Montreal both won at home by one-goal margins in Tuesday's first-leg games of Major League Soccer's conference finals, leaving the matches in the balance going into the weekend's re.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 23rd, 2016

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 21st, 2017