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ONE Championship: Folayang vs. Alvarez matchup now a ONE Lightweight Grand Prix semifinal bout

As if it wasn't massive enough, the lightweight clash between former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard "Landslide" Folayang of the Philippines and multiple-time lightweight world champion Eddie "The Underground King" Alvarez of the United States at ONE: Dawn of Heroes at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila on Friday, August 2nd now has even more at stake.  Due to an injury that has forced Russian contender Timofey Nastyukhin to withdraw from his ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix semifinals bout against former ONE Featherweight World Champion Honorio "The Rock" Banario of the Philippines, the Folayang-Alvarez matchup has now been elevated to the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix semifinals, as announced by ONE Championship.  This now means that the winner of the must-see lightweight contest will advance to the finals to face Turkish knockout artist Saygid "Dagi" Guseyn Arslanaliev at ONE: Century in Tokyo, Japan this coming October.  The eventual winner of the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix will challenge reigning ONE Lightweight World Champion Christian Lee in the future.  Banario, meanwhile, could remain on the card to face a different opponent, or could be moved to a different card altogether.  Folayang is coming off a first-round submission loss to Shinya Aoki at ONE: A New Era in Tokyo, Japan back in March. Earlier that same evening, Alvarez lost his ONE debut via first-round TKO to Nastyukhin in a ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix quarterfinals bout.    ONE: Dawn of Heroes takes place on Friday, August 2nd at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. Catch it LIVE on ABS-CBN S+A channel 23! .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News14 hr. 50 min. ago

ONE Championship: Rene Catalan gives honest assessment on Jomary Torres latest loss

Catalan Fighting System head coach Rene "The Challenger" Catalan talks honestly about his prized pupil's missed opportunity at ONE: MASTERS OF DESTINY on Friday, 12 July.   In a critical contest which could determine her future in ONE Championship, CFS’ Jomary "The Zamboanginian Fighter" Torres lost by first-round submission to Jihin "Shadow Cat" Radzuan in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.   Torres was on the retreat from the opening bell, and she never found her rhythm the entire night.   Catalan revealed that Torres deviated from the months-long game plan they worked on, and he refused to beat around the bush in expressing his disappointment with his athlete.   “She’s still doing the same things she did in her previous contests,” Catalan said.    “We worked intently for three months, even up to the warm ups we were doing drills to improve her muscle memory, but it was still lacking [in the ring],” Catalan added. “Our game plan was to move forward, hit her with a jab and a combo, step back, and pivot, but we didn’t see that in the ring.”    The submission loss, which came by way of triangle choke, was Torres' fourth consecutive defeat at The Home of Martial Arts, and Catalan did not exactly mince his words over the loss.   “I told her that her stock in ONE Championship is plummeting,” Catalan said. “There were a lot of expectations of her, and now they’re dismayed because she keeps on backpedaling.”   “There was no eagerness to knock her opponent out. Even I am dismayed because I know Jihin would have a harder time if she applied the game plan.”    Despite his brutal honesty, Catalan is still a believer of Torres. However, he remains firm that he will no longer accept “moral victories.”   “I told her to stop thinking about friends who would say ‘it’s okay, better luck next time.’ There’s a difference between ‘that’s okay’ and ‘congratulations,’” Catalan said.   “I always tell her that there’s no tomorrow. There’s no next time. Of course, if she loses, it also effects the team and the coaches, and that’s why we’re working intently on her game.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News14 hr. 50 min. ago

2019 NBA Summer League standouts: Day 8

A look at top performers from Day 5 of the action in Las Vegas and Day 8 of the overall Summer League: Get your first look at the NBA’s top Rookies during NBA Summer League LIVE on NBA League Pass! +++ Tyler Herro, Miami Heat A variety of players have kept the Heat perfect in Las Vegas, and on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time) it was Herro's turn to step into that role. His textbook shooting form was on target all game as he scored 25 points with a pair of three-pointers and added seven rebounds and five assists. While his three-point shooting has been inconsistent, Herro has found ways to score in Summer League. Alize Johnson, Indiana Pacers Atlanta ran away with the win, but Johnson was a bright spot in Indiana's blowout loss. He finished with a double-double (18 points, 10 rebounds), marking his second consecutive such game in Summer League. The Pacers have to be pleased with the offensive development their 2018 second-round pick is showing. Anfernee Simons, Portland Trail Blazers Another day in Las Vegas, another 30-point game for Portland. Simons was electric against the Jazz, scoring 35 points (13-for-18 overall, 6-for-7 on three-pointers) while also contributing in other areas. Like most rookies a season ago, Simons struggled on defense. But he came up with two steals and showed some improvement on that end. Tony Bradley, Utah Jazz The second-year center has been a steady performer for the Jazz all summer and continued that against Portland. He came up clutch late with a pair of free throws to seal the win as he finished with 17 points and seven rebounds. The Jazz could use some frontcourt depth and Bradley could be making his case for more minutes this season. Brandon Goodwin, Denver Nuggets The second-year guard was perhaps the sole reason Denver was in the game against Boston. Goodwin's strategy of calling his own number paid off often as he scored 28 points in all manner of ways. He was particularly aggressive attacking the rim, nailing a couple of nice buckets in the paint over the Celtics' 7'7" fan favorite, Tacko Fall. Carsen Edwards, Boston Celtics Scoring was Edwards' forte as a star at Purdue and he showcased those abilities off the bench against the Nuggets. He dropped 23 points -- and shot 5-for-7 on three-pointers -- and dazzled with his ballhandling, too. With Celtics boss Danny Ainge and coach Brad Stevens both watching at Cox Pavilion, Edwards showed out in a big way in the win. Chris Boucher & Malcolm Miller, Toronto Raptors Toronto has to be happy how its two young prospects fared win against the New York Knicks. Both of them had identical shooting performances (7-for-14) and both scored in double figures (19 for Miller; 23 for Boucher). Setting an aggressive tone for the Raptors, they combined for 15 rebounds while Boucher added two blocks. Chris Clemons, Houston Rockets An undrafted rookie, Clemons showed off the shooting touch that made him a solid player in college. In fact, he shot better from three-point range (6-for-11) than he did overall (6-for-15) against the Sacramento Kings. Houston's love of shooters is well known, and Clemons' showing with coach Mike D'Antoni in the Cox Pavilion crowd should help his cause......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 10th, 2019

Leonard-George tandem turns Clippers into legit contender

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com At the moment of truth, Kawhi Leonard went against his persona and caused a shakeup that wasn’t so quiet after all. Quite stunning, actually, was the Friday (Saturday, PHL time) series of events that directly affected four teams, caused a major trade of unprecedented details, and influenced the NBA Finals MVP to sign a free agent contract with the Clippers and instantly turning a franchise without a banner into a hardcore contender. Get your first look at the NBA’s top Rookies during NBA Summer League LIVE on NBA League Pass! Leonard is now joined by Paul George, who finished third in the 2018-19 MVP balloting and who requested a trade from Oklahoma City at the 11th hour to essentially swap Russell Westbrook for Leonard. The Clippers are now bringing a pair of swingman who excel on both ends of the floor, giving them the sort of dynamic tandem that’s almost required to win a title these days. The price for George was steep — basically, the Clippers surrendered more for George than the Lakers did for Anthony Davis. They handed over a chunk of their future, with three unprotected first-round picks (2022, 2024 and 2026) belonging to the Clippers, a pair of coveted Heat first rounders (2021 unprotected and 2023 protected 1-14) that were owned by LA, and the option to swap first-rounders with the Clippers in 2023 and 2025. OKC also gets 20-year-old point guard Shai-Gilgeous Alexander and veteran shooter Danilo Gallinari. And so the Clippers drastically changed their personality in the span of a few years, replacing the “Lob City” era of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan with a feisty defensive club led by Kawhi, George, Pat Beverley and Montrezl Harrell. It’s also a team with three reputable scorers as well: Kawhi, George and Lou Williams. Imagine: The Clippers just upstaged the Lakers in an offseason where the Lakers added Davis to join LeBron James. Adding to the intrigue is the presence of Jerry West, the Laker Hall of Famer whose reign as general manager helped raise multiple banners, but whose touch as a consultant with the Clippers in this process is undeniable. Two summers ago when he joined the Clippers after serving the same role with the Warriors, it was West who persuaded the Clippers to trade Griffin, whom they just gave a maximum contract, to the Pistons. West believed Griffin’s best years were behind him and thought the Clippers would be better as a team with more salary cap flexibility going forward. Plus, West and GM Lawrence Frank traded Tobias Harris, the team’s leading scorer, to Philly at the February deadline rather than re-sign Harris this summer in free agency. All of this was done with the idea of signing an impact player in mind, and Leonard was that player and the Clippers’ top target over the last year. Leonard’s appeal to the Clippers was evident and easy to understand. He’s a player who can score 25 points and grab 7-8 rebounds and lock down his man on the other end of the floor. And of course, he just led the Raptors to a championship without being generously helped by a fellow superstar. Interestingly, Leonard had the option of having not just one, but two fellow superstars this summer had he chosen the Lakers. LeBron and Davis and Leonard would make for a championship favorite, especially when you add Kyle Kuzma to the mix. In the end, Leonard wanted to beat the Lakers, not join them. The Lakers still bring those three players, though, and will now garnish the team with minimum-waged players to fill out the roster. Already, Danny Green announced he’ll sign a two-year, $15 million deal with the Lakers, and Rajon Rondo is perhaps not far behind. Both the Lakers and Clippers could compete in the coming days for DeMarcus Cousins as well. The team harmed the most, at least in the immediate sense, is OKC. With the amount of top competitors in the West — Clippers, Lakers, Rockets, Nuggets, Jazz and Blazers among others — the Thunder likely will take a step back and could enter a semi-rebounding phase without George. Also: Could OKC be forced to part ways with Westbrook? The former MVP struggled at times last season and especially in the playoffs, and turns 31 in November, and is on a max contract. It’s not the type of atmosphere that fits Westbrook, who’ll soon enter his twilight. Thunder GM Sam Presti, if nothing else, has shown a willingness to do whatever it takes if it works for OKC. Lastly, there’s the Raptors, who must now go forward without their lone superstar. There are no other players on the level of Leonard that Toronto can chase this offseason. In addition, the core of their rotation is on expiring contracts — Marc Gasol, Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka. The Raptors will surely groom Pascal Siakam to take a lead role with Leonard gone, yet will face major decisions next summer as they attempt to reshape the team. All of this is because Leonard caused a domino effect that ultimately moved mountains. Something of this nature and this magnitude doesn’t happen often in the NBA and is never done virtually overnight, given the amount of pieces involved and teams who put their existence on hold while Leonard stretched his decision nearly a week since free agency began. Evidently there was a reason for that. He wanted the Clippers but only if they could add another major piece. When other options dried up — Jimmy Butler unexpectedly signing with Miami and Kevin Durant with Brooklyn, for instance — the Clippers had to go the trade route. And George had to be convinced by Kawhi to force a trade. And OKC had to agree to that, rather than risk going through a season with an unhappy player. When the Clippers coughed up a bevy for draft picks, that put the entire process in motion. And in the end, basketball in LA became the big winner. It would not be unusual or unexpected if the road to the next conference championship goes through Staples Center and gets decided by one of its two home teams. Shaun Powell has covered the NBA for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here, and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 6th, 2019

Senegal tops Uganda 1-0, will meet Benin in African Cup

By Gerald Imray, Associated Press Sadio Mane sent Senegal into the quarterfinals of the African Cup of Nations, where it will meet a Benin team that dumped out Morocco to start the knockout stages with a major upset on Friday. Mane scored early to give Senegal a 1-0 win over Uganda in their round-of-16 match at Cairo International Stadium. The Liverpool forward also had a second-half penalty saved, but it didn't cost Senegal. Mane has three goals in three games at the African Cup in Egypt — he's also missed two penalties — and he's threatening to upstage Liverpool teammate Mohamed Salah, the star of the host's team. Senegal will next face surprising Benin, which celebrated its first appearance in the knockouts with its first-ever win at the African Cup. Benin beat Morocco 4-1 on penalties after surviving a tumultuous time at Al Salam Stadium. Benin scored first in regulation, gave up an equalizer to a foolish defensive error, and also conceded a penalty in injury time that Morocco forward Hakim Ziyach missed. Benin then had defender Abdou Adenon sent off in bizarre fashion early in extra time for showing dissent to the referee but survived to win the shootout. Sofiane Boufal and Youssef En-Nesyri missed their spot kicks for Morocco. Seibou Mama buried the decisive penalty to send the underdog into the quarters. Benin players and officials in suits sprinted across the field celebrating. Morocco won all three of its group games and hadn't conceded a goal before Friday. Benin lost eight out of nine games at the African Cup before this tournament and had never got past the group stage. It progressed to the last 16 this year with three draws in group play. Moise Adilehou gave Benin the surprise lead in the 53rd minute when he stuck out a foot to volley home from a corner. En-Nesyri equalized in the 76th and the Moroccans should have won it with their penalty five minutes into injury time at the end of the 90. Ziyach smacked the penalty off the post and Benin survived. Adenon's sending off was strange. He was helping a teammate who had cramps when referee Helder de Carvalho of Angola walked over and tried to pull Adenon away. The Benin player shrugged off the ref's arm and that was ruled dissent and earned him a second yellow and a red card. Adenon stayed on the field for minutes afterward protesting the decision and got into a heated argument with Morocco players and team officials in the dugout as he left. Benin threatened to self-destruct. Jordan Adeoti gave away the equalizer for Morocco with a foolish decision to try and dribble his way out of trouble at the back. He lost possession and En-Nesyri punished the error. Rattled, Benin lost its discipline and gave away the late penalty when captain Stephane Sessegnon hacked down Achraf Hakimi. With victory and a place in the quarterfinals up for grabs, Ziyach hit his penalty low and hard but it thundered off the bottom of the right post. That was the last act of normal time. Benin held out under pressure through extra time. Boufal hit his penalty over in the shootout for Morocco's first miss. Benin goalkeeper Owolabi Kassifa saved En-Nesyri's by pushing it onto the crossbar. Mama kept his cool to take Benin into the quarters and even further into unfamiliar territory. Mane's winner against Uganda came in the 15th minute after Senegal intercepted possession and struck with a lightning-fast counterattack. Mbaye Niang set up an unmarked Mane, who slid the ball into the bottom right corner. Mane also won a penalty in the 59th minute when he was taken out by Uganda goalkeeper Denis Onyango after Uganda again gave the ball away deep in its own half. Onyango was booked early in the game but escaped a second yellow and stayed on the field. He dived to his left to stop Mane's penalty but it didn't matter in the end......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 6th, 2019

Durant, Irving make Nets the talk of the town in New York

By Brian Mahoney, Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) — Just three seasons ago, the Brooklyn Nets were the worst team in the NBA. On Sunday (Monday, PHL time), they were the story of the league. They agreed to deals with superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving as part of a sensational start to free agency, giving the longtime No. 2 team in New York top billing in the Big Apple. They landed two of the top players available, both perennial All-Stars and NBA champions, and they weren't finished. They also added center DeAndre Jordan, who played with Durant and Irving on the 2016 U.S. Olympic team that won the gold medal, and veteran swingman Garrett Temple. It was such a powerful victory that the crosstown Knicks even put out a statement acknowledging their fans' disappointment, just three hours after shopping season had started. And it was even more remarkable given where the Nets were not long ago. An ill-fated trade with Boston in 2013, when the Nets acquired Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in hopes of competing for a championship but didn't even get out of the second round, cost them years of high draft picks and contributed to them becoming the worst team in the league. They bottomed out at 20-62 in 2016-17, when Durant won NBA Finals MVP in his first season with Golden State after the Warriors beat Irving's Cleveland Cavaliers for the title. Now those players will try to win one together. Irving, who grew up in New Jersey, said in a video posted Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) by his representation at Roc Nation Sports that he always wanted to play back home. Part of the video was shot with Irving on the Brooklyn Bridge. "I wouldn't change anything about this journey, at all," Irving said. "It's brought me back here and that's home, and home is where my family is. Home is where I want my legacy to continue. And, I'm happy to be in Brooklyn." .@KyrieIrving is home. pic.twitter.com/usvbxqkyZA — Roc Nation Sports (@RocNationSports) July 1, 2019 Roc Nation, which announced Sunday (Monday, PHL time) it is now representing Irving, said he had agreed to a four-year, maximum contract. Official: Kyrie Irving has agreed to a four-year maximum contract with the Brooklyn Nets. pic.twitter.com/bI7e09D9k6 — Roc Nation Sports (@RocNationSports) July 1, 2019 He might have to wait a year to play with Durant, who could miss next season while recovering from a ruptured Achilles tendon. But with Irving taking controls of the offense and a promising young core around him, the Nets should be a playoff team, even while Durant recovers. The Nets got back to the playoffs last season after going 42-40, stamping themselves as a team on the rise. Brooklyn might be able to keep rising all the way to the top after Sunday's moves. Even after winning titles in his first two seasons with the Warriors, there was season-long speculation that Durant might leave. But much of that speculation had been focused on the Knicks, who had more than $70 million and the ability to sign two top free agents after trading Kristaps Porzingis during the season. Right city, but wrong team. The Nets felt confident with what they could offer, from their roster, to their medical staff, to their facilities. And when they made a cap-clearing trade last month, they became even more attractive by freeing up salary to bring in two stars. Irving wasn't expected to be one of them a few months ago, after he'd said last fall he planned to re-sign in Boston. But despite his good stats it was a bad season for him with the Celtics, who were considered an Eastern Conference favorite but instead lost in the second round. Irving became frustrated and reconsidered his plans, deciding his future was not in Boston, but in Brooklyn. Now he'll play for the team he watched while growing up in New Jersey, where the Nets played before moving to Barclays Center in 2012. Even when the Nets had better teams, the Knicks still got more attention and it sometimes felt as if they would always be the marquee team in the city. That changed Sunday (Monday, PHL time) in a New York minute. The Nets were not only the talk of the town but of the whole league, and when the Knicks were shut out early on, they took the rare step of commenting about their situation. "While we understand that some Knicks fans could be disappointed with tonight's news, we continue to be upbeat and confident in our plans to rebuild the Knicks to compete for championships in the future, through the draft, targeted free agents and continuing to build around our core of young players," Knicks President Steve Mills said in a statement. The Knicks eventually agreed to deals with forwards Julius Randle, Taj Gibson and Bobby Portis, so they did get something. Just nowhere near as much as the Nets......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 2nd, 2019

WIMBLEDON 19: What to know, from Murray s return to FAA

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — Clearly, Andy Murray's tearful farewell to tennis was premature. So, too, was tennis' farewell to Murray. About five months since Murray discussed retirement because of pain in his surgically repaired hip — and everyone wished him well in any future endeavors — he is once again on tour thanks to a new operation. He's also back at age 32 at Wimbledon, where he won singles championships in 2013 and 2016. He is, for now, entered only in men's doubles but said Saturday he wants to find a mixed doubles partner, too. "We've had a number of conversations with a few players," three-time major champion said about finding a woman to play with, although he sidestepped questions about whether that could wind up being Serena Williams. "I mean, obviously she's arguably the best player ever," he said, before deadpanning: "It would be a pretty solid partner." In January, Murray said at the Australian Open that he would need to quit the sport because of his hip. After a five-set loss there — his first opening-round loss at a Grand Slam tournament in 11 years — Murray said: "If today was my last match, look, it was a brilliant way to finish." A video was shown there with tributes from Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and others. The gist: "Congratulations on a great career. You'll be missed." Except Murray decided soon thereafter to get an artificial hip. He teamed with Feliciano Lopez at Queen's Club this month for the first test — and they left with the title. At Wimbledon, he will play with Pierre Hugues-Herbert. Did that immediate success shift Murray's expectations? "That's probably one of the things that I will try to make sure doesn't change over the next few years. I think a lot of that stuff kind of comes out from other people," said Murray, who was Britain's first men's singles title winner at Wimbledon in 77 years. "I'm just happy to be playing tennis again, really." Here are other things to know for Wimbledon, the year's third Grand Slam tournament: NADAL'S SEEDING Nadal was not pleased that Wimbledon — unique to majors, it gives extra credit for results on its surface over the preceding two years — dropped him from No. 2 in the rankings to No. 3 in the seedings, swapping spots with Federer behind No. 1 Djokovic. Nadal said it wasn't fair, and he blamed the ATP for not putting pressure on the All England Club to switch the way it determines seeds. ATP POLITICS Four members of the ATP Player Council resigned Saturday, a day after a 7-hour meeting to decide the new Americas' representative on the board. Dani Vallverdu, Robin Haase, Jamie Murray and Sergiy Stakhovsky stepped down. It's part of an ongoing, behind-the-scenes power struggle in men's tennis that has included the decision to not renew the contract of CEO Chris Kermode and the resignation of board member Justin Gimelstob after he was sentenced in court for attacking a former friend in Los Angeles. Former ATP executive Weller Evans was chosen Friday to fill Gimelstob's seat. FAA Everyone wants to try to figure out the sport's next new star, and there are plenty who think it could be Felix Auger-Aliassime, an 18-year-old from Canada who is seeded 19th. There are two particularly important numbers associated with a guy many refer to by his initials, "FAA." There's 88, the ranking spots he's climbed this year, from 109th to 21st. And there's zero, his career victory total at Grand Slam tournaments. That figures to change soon. "To me," said McEnroe, a seven-time major champion and now an ESPN commentator, "he's going to be No. 1." INJURIES The latest person out of the tournament was 14th-seeded Borna Coric, who withdrew Saturday because of an abdominal injury. Brayden Schnur, who lost in qualifying, moved into the field and will face Marcos Baghdatis. Earlier withdrawals included 2009 U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro (right knee) and Bianca Andreescu (right shoulder). Among those coming back to action are 2018 finalist Kevin Anderson, who has played only two matches since March because of a right arm issue; 2018 semifinalist John Isner, out since the Miami Open final because of an injured left foot; and five-time major champion Maria Sharapova, who returned this month after being out since January with a hurt right shoulder. Petra Kvitova, who missed the French Open with a left forearm problem, plans to play at Wimbledon......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 30th, 2019

AP source: Lakers trading Wagner, 2 others to Wizards for cap space

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press The Los Angeles Lakers’ price tag for Anthony Davis got a little steeper on Thursday (Friday, PHL time), with the tradeoff being that the team now has the flexibility to bring another max-contract star to play alongside him and LeBron James next season. A person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press that the Lakers will send Moritz Wagner, Issac Bonga, Jemerrio Jones and a future second-round pick to the Washington Wizards as part of the deal that will bring Davis to Los Angeles. The Wizards will send cash to the New Orleans Pelicans in the deal, said the person who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the agreement cannot be finalized until July 6. The trade was first reported by ESPN, and the cash element was first reported by The Washington Post. Shedding those contracts — along with Davis waiving his $4 million trade kicker, as ESPN reported — will give the Lakers enough cap space to sign a max player, if they are so inclined. They could also spread that cap space out among multiple players, which could be the more prudent move considering the Lakers have virtually an entire roster to fill. Once this trade is executed, the Lakers will have only James, Davis and Kyle Kuzma under contract for next season, not counting a pair of restricted free agents. The Lakers agreed earlier this month to acquire Davis from New Orleans for Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram and three first-round draft picks — one of them being De’Andre Hunter, who was chosen by the Lakers on draft night and will then be traded to New Orleans and flipped from there to the Atlanta Hawks. Thursday’s agreement means six players and four picks were the price the Lakers paid for Davis. It technically is not a 10-for-1 move, because the newfound cap space will bring at least one other player to Los Angeles. Wagner, Jones and Bonga were rookies last season. Wagner averaged 4.8 points in 43 games, Jones scored a total of 27 points in six games and Bonga scored 19 points in 22 appearances with the Lakers......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 27th, 2019

Bright future seen for PH power sector as energy costs continue to slide

THE Chief Operating Officer of one of the country’s largest electric power companies has cited the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) as having significantly driven the cost of power down, while increasing the country’s capacity and improving services to customers. Emmanuel V. Rubio, who is also the incoming President and Chief Executive Officer of […] The post Bright future seen for PH power sector as energy costs continue to slide appeared first on Daily Guardian......»»

Category: newsSource:  thedailyguardianRelated NewsJun 23rd, 2019

Injured Sanchez leads Chile to Copa America quarterfinals

SALVADOR, Brazil (AP) — Despite another ankle injury, Alexis Sanchez led Chile to the quarterfinals of the Copa America. Playing in pain after getting hurt in the first half, Sanchez scored a second-half winner to give Chile a 2-1 victory over Ecuador and a spot in the last eight of the South American competition on Friday. Sanchez stayed in the game after taking pain pills and scored in the 51st minute at the Arena Fonte Nova, securing the two-time defending champions a place in the knockout stage. "I twisted my ankle. I kept playing for the love I have for this national team," he said. "When I play for my country, I'm always playing happy." Sanchez found the far corner with a clever one-timer over Ecuador goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez after a cross by Charles Aranguiz. It was the second goal of the tournament for the Chilean forward, who was coming off a difficult season with Manchester United and recovered from another ankle injury — on the right leg — just in time for the Copa America. "Fortunately it wasn't the same ankle he injured with Manchester United," said Chile coach Reinaldo Rueda, adding that team doctors considered the 30-year-old Sanchez could continue playing on Friday after undergoing ice treatment. "He is motivated when he is with the national team." It was Sanchez's 43rd goal with Chile, which is seeking its third straight Copa title a year after not making it to the World Cup in Russia. Jose Pedro Fuenzalida put Chile ahead with a strike in the eighth minute and Enner Valencia equalized for Ecuador from the penalty spot in the 26th. Ecuador played the final minutes with a man down after defender Gabriel Achilier was sent off for elbowing Chile midfielder Arturo Vidal. The victory gave Chile the lead in Group C with six points, two more than second-place Uruguay, which on Thursday drew 2-2 with Japan. The Japanese squad has one point and Ecuador stayed with zero. The top two teams in each of the three groups advance, along with the best two third-place finishers. The Chilean win guaranteed Uruguay will finish at least third in the group. In the last round on Monday, Chile faces Uruguay at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, while Ecuador takes on Japan at the Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte. Chile had opened with a 4-0 rout of Japan, while Ecuador lost by the same score to Uruguay......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 22nd, 2019

FIFA makes penalty shootout rule change during World Cup

By Rob Harris, Associated Press VALENCIENNES, France (AP) — The debut of video review in women's soccer is causing confusion and has pushed FIFA to make a rule change heading into the knockout phase of the World Cup. FIFA received approval from the game's lawmaking body to suspend the rule that goalkeepers must be shown yellow cards for stepping off the goal-line during penalty shootouts. With video assistant referees able to keep a closer eye on infringements, FIFA feared more goalkeepers could be penalized — and sent off if it's a second booking with no substitute allowed during shootouts. But the penalty kick will still be retaken. The International Football Association Board granted the temporary dispensation on Friday which means goalkeepers can only be booked at the tournament for stepping off the line with both feet during a penalty kick in normal time. "The caution for a goalkeeper who commits an offense was introduced in the laws as a deterrent," FIFA refereeing chief Pierluigi Collina said in comments provided by the governing body. "But what better deterrent than the VAR? It's not possible that a goalkeeper moves both her feet off the goal line without being noticed. In addition we felt that the risk for a second caution was too high considering the number of penalties that are taken." Penalty kicks have already been retaken during the group stage because VAR has scrutinized goalkeepers' movements more closely. Argentina was facing elimination after missing a penalty kick but it was ordered to be retaken after a video review, and the team scored to clinch a 3-3 draw. That clinched third place in Group D and a place in the round of 16. "If a goalkeeper commits an offence like encroaching before the penalty kick is taken, the VAR cannot do anything but intervene and inform the referee that the penalty kick must be retaken and the goalkeeper cautioned," Collina said. "All the teams were duly informed at the beginning of March and goalkeepers had enough time to get used to it." But the law could be revisited at future meetings of IFAB, which includes four FIFA delegates and a representative from each of the four British associations. "After the end of the tournament the disciplinary sanction for offences committed by the goalkeeper at penalties might be further discussed within IFAB's panels," Collina said......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 22nd, 2019

Uruguay draws with Japan 2-2 in Copa America

By Eric Nunez, Associated Press PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil (AP) — Copa America favorites Uruguay drew 2-2 with Japan on Thursday and delayed until the last round of the group stage its likely qualification to the tournament's knockout phase. Japan, which is playing a young team, was ahead twice in the match at the Arena do Gremio in Porto Alegre thanks to midfielder Koji Miyoshi, one of the seven changes the Asian team made after losing 4-0 to Chile in its opening match. Miyoshi netted his first at 25 minutes, hitting the ball hard to the left of goalkeeper Fernando Muslera. Luis Suarez leveled at 32 after a penalty kick awarded by video review following a foul by a Japanese defender. Miyoshi added Japan's second at 59 in a rebound after Muslera tried to block a cross from the left. At 66 minutes, Uruguay drew with a header by Jose Gimenez after a corner kick. Uruguay has four points in two matches and leads Group C. Defending Copa America champion Chile can reach six points with a win over Ecuador on Friday. Japan has one point, and Ecuador has none. Uruguay and Chile play on Monday, the same day that Japan plays against Ecuador. "I am not worried," Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez said. "Do you know how many times I lived this in those 13 years (as Uruguay coach)? Japan was aggressive. They had fewer opportunities and scored twice. They played a great match." Suarez described the result as "bittersweet." "They pressured us and didn't let us play in the way we wanted," the striker said. Despite the result and a poorer performance than in the 4-0 win against Ecuador, Uruguay had the best chances to score. Gimenez, who scored Uruguay's second, said he knew Japan was quick and resilient before the match. "Against Chile they missed some forcefulness, otherwise the match would have been different," the defender said. "We didn't lose, it is a valuable point." Japan coach Hajime Moriyasu made the changes to the team that was hammered by Chile as part of preparations for the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020. Japanese players complained in the first half when the match was 1-1 and Shoya Nakajima fell in the penalty box after contact with Uruguay's Giovanni Gonzalez. Colombian referee Andres Rojas did not award a penalty. "We could have won," said Moriyasu. "When the players returned to the dressing room you could see that frustration on their faces. They felt they missed a little to win." Suarez and Edinson Cavani had other chances near the end, but the 2-2 looked like a fair result to more than 30,000 fans attending the match. "We played head to head, respecting all the history Uruguay has," Moriyasu said......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 21st, 2019

Former FIFA head Blatter: Sarkozy meeting key to Qatar vote

By Graham Dunbar, Associated Press GENEVA (AP) — Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter says the arrest of soccer great Michel Platini as part of a French corruption probe lends weight to his version of how the United States lost the 2022 World Cup vote to Qatar. Blatter told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he has insisted for years that the result of the 2010 vote was swayed by a meeting in Paris two weeks earlier involving then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Platini and Qatar's future Emir. Blatter spoke hours after Platini, the former France midfielder who was the UEFA president at the time of the vote, was detained in Paris on Tuesday by French authorities who also questioned two former Sarkozy aides. "It's all detailed — what I always said," Blatter told the AP in a telephone interview from Zurich, citing the twobooks he has published since being banned by FIFA. Qatar beat the long-favored U.S. 14-8 in a final round of voting by a since-discredited FIFA executive committee. Most of the voters have since been banned by FIFA — including Blatter and Platini — indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice, or implicated elsewhere in financial wrongdoing. Two weeks ahead of the vote in Zurich, Platini had been hosted by Sarkozy at the French presidential residence, and met senior Qatari officials including then-crown prince Sheikh Tamim. According to Blatter, that Élysée Palace lunch changed the course of FIFA's plan to award the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 edition to the U.S. on the same day. "Platini phoned me and said, 'Listen, president, our gentlemen's agreement which we have made inside the FIFA executive committee will have difficulties to work,'" Blatter said Tuesday. In Blatter's version, Platini — who in 2015 acknowledged switching sides — and three other voters from European soccer body UEFA changed their planned American support. "It was four votes which have disappeared," he said. "If you change the four votes then the winner will be the USA." Platini has long insisted that the meeting did not influence his vote for Qatar less than two weeks later. "Sarkozy never asked me to vote for Qatar, but I knew what would be good," he told the AP in 2015. But, in the same interview, he also said that he "might have told" American officials earlier that he was going to vote for the United States' bid. On Tuesday, Platini's representatives denied any wrongdoing on his part, saying he is "absolutely confident in the future" and has "strictly nothing to reproach himself for." The 83-year-old Blatter, who is serving a six-year ban by the FIFA ethics committee, was interviewed as a potential witness by French investigators in Zurich in April 2017. On a day of intrigue for Blatter, the attorney general for Switzerland was recused from overseeing a sweeping criminal investigation of FIFA officials. The Swiss, French and American cases have shared information and evidence over the past five years, since the Blatter-led FIFA filed a complaint in 2014 about suspected money laundering in the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding contests. Now, Switzerland's federal criminal court removed attorney general Michael Lauber from his department's case because of undeclared meetings with current FIFA president Gianni Infantino. The federal court says it upheld requests by two claimants it did not identify. "Now I get part of my trust and confidence in the Swiss justice back," said Blatter, who has been a criminal suspect since September 2015 but never charged. He denies wrongdoing in a case which ended his 18-year FIFA presidency, and asked Tuesday: "Why the hell is not all over yet?" Criminal proceedings against Blatter are among at least 25 opened by Lauber's federal prosecution team in the wider soccer probe. Lauber's job has been at risk since two 2016 meetings with Infantino were revealed last November in the Football Leaks series publishing confidential emails and documents from the soccer industry. A disciplinary case was opened against Lauber last month when an undeclared third meeting with Infantino in Bern in June 2017 was revealed. "This is an old story," Blatter said of the investigations against him, adding he is recovering from knee replacement surgery four weeks ago. "I do hope that the Lord will give me enough time to live and to have a look at the end of this story.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 19th, 2019

Germany beats South Africa 4-0 to win World Cup group

By Joseph Wilson, Associated Press MONTPELLIER, France (AP) — Germany is playing like a title contender, just at the right time. After seeing her team start the Women's World Cup with a pair of one-goal wins, Germany coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg told her players to keep the game simple. Germany played to its status as the world's second-ranked side and one of the top challengers hoping to dethrone the United States, routing South Africa 4-0 on Monday to top Group B with a 3-0 record. The Germans will play a third-place team in the round of 16 instead of the possibility of an immediate matchup with the Americans. After Germany grinded out 1-0 wins over China and Spain, its offense broke out with three goals in the first half at Montpellier's Stade de la Mosson, matching its total in its previous five World Cup games combined. "I told my players that we should keep it simple," Voss-Tecklenburg said. "The players performed very well. They showed that football can really be very simple sometimes. ... There were moments within the match when we tried to go for the more difficult solution. That's something we can work on." Displaying a varied attack, Germany generated a constant stream of scoring opportunities and could have easily won by a bigger margin. Melanie Leupolz opened the scoring in the 14th minute with her first goal for Germany since the 2016 Olympics. Sara Däbritz doubled the lead in the 29th minute from a goal-keeping blunder, Alexandra Popp made it 3-0 in the 40th and Lina Magull added the final goal in the 58th. "I think we are ready for the round of 16," Däbritz said. "Our goal was to come in first, and we are really happy about that." South Africa was winless in group play and outscored 8-1. At 49th, South Africa had the lowest ranking of the 24 teams in the tournament. Spain finished Group B as runner-up after a 0-0 draw with China and advanced to the knockout stage for the first time. Spain will face the winner of Group F on Monday at Reims, and the United States would be the opponent with a victory or draw in its final group match against Sweden. Two-time tournament champion Germany has not lost a match in group play since falling to Sweden in 1995. "Germany has won tournaments that it started out with difficulties," Voss-Tecklenburg said. "It would be great to have the same this time. All the matches will be challenges, and I hope we will be able to meet them all." Germany didn't miss the playmaking of Dzsenifer Marozsan, who broke a toe in its opener. Voss-Tecklenburg said she couldn't guarantee the Lyon midfielder will be ready for the round of 16. Leupolz put Germany ahead when she was left all alone on the edge of the 6-yard box to deftly nod a corner kick into the far corner of the net. Däbritz made it 2-0 after a mistake by goalkeeper Andile Dlamini, who turned what appeared to be a poor German pass into a perfect assist. Left back Verena Schweers's cross looked like an easy grab for Dlamini, only for Dlamini to parry the ball right into the path of Däbritz, who got her second goal of the tournament. "We conceded poorly from a set piece and a second goal, as well, and were on our back foot from there," South Africa coach Desiree Ellis said. Germany boosted the lead to 3-0 with pure power. Popp, the team captain, jumped over her marker to drive home a header. Magull got the fourth goal when she rushed in to finish off a save by Dlamini, who did well to push a header by Marina Hegering off the post, only to see the ball bounce across the open goalmouth. Only Dlamini's sharp reflexes saved South Africa from a greater defeat. "We always knew it would be a challenge," Ellis said. "We are happy with the performance but not the result.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 18th, 2019

Australia and Sam Kerr quiet the haters at the World Cup

By Anne M. Peterson, Associated Press Australia's path to the Women's World Cup was turbulent even before its upset loss in the opening round. That loss to Italy in stoppage time was a terrible start for a team that some consider one of the tournament favorites. The Matildas feature Sam Kerr, their back-flipping global superstar captain, and the forward has urged her teammates to tune out criticism that followed the loss to Italy. "Ah mate, It's just outside noise, we don't listen to the haters. Look at that performance coming back from the deep," Kerr said. "I love these girls, they're something else." Italy scored in stoppage time, an upset considered the surprise of the World Cup. But Australia beat Brazil 1-0 to earn a spot in the round of 16 and closes Group C play at Stade des Alpes in Grenoble, France against Jamaica on Tuesday. Kerr has been feisty since arriving at the World Cup and the openly gay player used Twitter this week to reveal a homophobic message she had received. Kerr has been with the national team since 2009 and has 32 goals in 79 games. But she hadn't scored in a World Cup until the opener when she put the Matildas in front of Italy with a goal in the 22nd minute. She celebrated by punching the corner flag in a tribute to Australian great Tim Cahill. But Barbara Bonasea scored a pair of goals, including the game-winner in stoppage time, to give Italy the win and stun Australia. The Italy loss was one Australia didn't need after months of controversy surrounding the team. The Australian federation dismissed coach Alen Stajcic in January after an internal review revealed a "toxic" team culture. Stajcic denied any issues. He was replaced by Ante Milicic, an assistant on Australia's men's team, who had just a half-dozen exhibition games to prepare with his new team. After the loss to Italy, Milicic suggested that his team would just have to advance "the hard way." Indeed, the match against Brazil wasn't easy. Australia fell behind two goals before rallying for a 3-2 victory on a controversial own goal. The Matildas became just the second team to win a World Cup match after going down two goals. Afterward, Milicic addressed the critics of the team, too. "The important thing is that we, as a staff, give these girls every opportunity to do well in this tournament," he said. "The outside noise stays out." Chloe Logarzo suggested it's characteristic of her nation to never quit, and to ignore their detractors. "The Australian mentality is to come out swinging," Logarzo said. "We like a good fight.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 18th, 2019

Lloyd, a World Cup starter again, scores 2 as US beats Chile

By Anne M. Peterson, Associated Press PARIS (AP) — Carli Lloyd wasn't thrilled to open the Women's World Cup on the bench for the United States. She accepted the role, but made no secret she wanted to start. When the call came Sunday, Lloyd made it count with a pair of goals to lead the defending champions to a 3-0 victory over Chile. The win pushed the United States into the round of 16. Lloyd was the hero of the World Cup in Canada four years ago when she scored three goals in the final against Japan that gave the Americans their third World Cup title. But she was on the bench when the U.S. opened the tournament, even though she scored later as a substitute in the 13-0 victory over Thailand. "I know that my ability is there, I know this is my best version of me. I've just got to go out there and prove it," she said. "Whether that's coming off the bench and making an impact, whether that's starting and getting the opportunity, which I'm grateful for, I'm just trying to make the most of it. I want to win." Lloyd became the first player to score in six straight World Cup matches with her goal in the 11th minute. She added another on a header off a corner in the 35th for her 10th career World Cup goal, which moved her into third on the U.S. list behind Abby Wambach (14) and Michelle Akers (12). At 36, she became the oldest player to have a multi-goal game in the tournament. She nearly got another hat trick — which would have made her the first player with two in the World Cup — but her penalty kick in the 81st minute went wide left. "It's haunting me right now," Lloyd said. "Wasn't good enough." The score could have been worse for Chile without unshakable goalkeeper Christiane Endler, who finished with six saves and fended off a flurry of U.S. shots in the second half. Endler was named player of the match. "I love the balls coming towards me and being able to showcase my skills," she said through a translator. "Obviously it's difficult to maintain concentration. I think in the first half it was difficult for me to get into the game. I think the second half went better for me and in general for the team." The victory over Chile was more subdued than the U.S. team's record-breaking rout of Thailand. The Americans celebrated every goal even after the win was well in hand, and the display offended many who thought the champions should have shown more class. The controversy clouded the run-up to the match against Chile. Several of the American players reached out to their Thai counterparts following the match. Lloyd exchanged encouraging words and tweets with goalkeeper Sukanya Chor Charoenying, and FIFA posted an interview with Thailand's coach thanking the U.S. players for being professional and playing well. After such a rout, Jill Ellis made sweeping changes to the starting lineup against Chile, including a new front line with Lloyd, Christen Press and Mallory Pugh. Alex Morgan was moved to the bench along with Megan Rapinoe and Tobin Heath. Becky Sauerbrunn, who sat out the match against Thailand because of a minor quad injury, returned and anchored a backline that included 20-year-old Tierna Davidson, who was making her World Cup debut. Davidson is the youngest player to start for the United States in a World Cup since Tiffany Roberts against Norway in 1995. Chile made just one lineup change, starting midfielder Claudia Soto in place of Yanara Aedo. Chile lost its opener to Sweden 2-0, but Endler was solid in that game, too, keeping the Swedes out of the goal until 83rd minute. The second goal got past the 6-footer in stoppage time. Julie Ertz scored in the 26th minute with a header off a corner kick from Davidson that Endler got her hands on but couldn't stop. It was Ertz's first World Cup goal and came with her husband Zach Ertz, a tight end for the Philadelphia Eagles, looking on. Endler denied Lloyd another chance at the hat trick when she tipped the U.S. captain's shot over the net in the 72nd minute. Sweden also advanced out of Group F with a victory 5-1 victory over Thailand earlier Sunday in Nice. Japan, playing in Group D with England, also went through to the knockout stage because both the United States and Sweden won. Former Vice President Joe Biden was among the U.S. team's well-wishers before the sold-out game at Parc des Princes stadium. Biden, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for president in 2020, referenced the team's lawsuit against U.S. Soccer alleging gender discrimination and seeking equitable pay. "As we cheer them on in the World Cup, we must support their fight off the field for equal pay. In 2019, it's past time we close the pay gap and ensure women get paid as much as men," Biden tweeted. U.S. soccer maintains the two teams have different pay structures because of separate collective bargaining agreements. But for now, the players are concentrating on France and bringing home a fourth World Cup championship. The United States plays Sweden on Thursday to wrap up the group stage. It is the first meeting between the two teams since Sweden ousted the Americans from the quarterfinals at the 2016 Olympics. Chile wraps up the group with a match against Thailand on Thursday......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 17th, 2019

Lloyd s tiny golf clap delivers big message from US women

By Ronald Blum, Associated Press PARIS (AP) — Carli Lloyd had just scored on an 18-yard volley to put the United States ahead 11 minutes in against Chile. After leaping, pumping a fist and hugging teammate Lindsey Horan, she raised both hands chin high and made four tiny pitter-patter claps, the type seen more frequently at Pebble Beach than Parc des Princes. A message? You bet. I made a gif of @CarliLloyd’s celebration golf clap after her first goal in #USACHI because I needed this to exist for every time someone tone polices a #USWNT celebration. #USWNT #WorldCup pic.twitter.com/Sw7rUA3ID2 — Phil (@ALazyJellyfish) June 16, 2019 Easy wins and lots of goals are par for the course when it comes to the U.S. women's soccer team. "I can't take credit for it. I'm not sure if Lindsey is taking credit for it," Lloyd said after a 3-0 victory Sunday night advanced the U.S. to the round of 16. "She had told me if we score, that's what we're going to do so I just went along with it after I did my little celebration But it was fun. I think it made a statement on the sideline there. It was cool." A record-setting 13-0 rout of Thailand that opened the tournament for the Americans sparked a debate back home. Celebration had not been discussed this much since Kool & the Gang. Some cried poor sportsmanship. Others argued players shouldn't be asked to let up on soccer's biggest stage. All the harrumphing was heard across the Atlantic. "I guess we could have just passed it around the back for a million times, but that's boring. That's disrespectful to everyone: fans, ourselves" said 33-year-old Megan Rapinoe, the pink-haired veteran famous for running to a corner flag and screaming "Born in the USA" into a television microphone after goal against Colombia in the 2011 World Cup. "The only thing you ask of an athlete really is to put it all out there and do the best you can. It's not in our DNA ever." Coach Jill Ellis speculated Lloyd's inspiration was her spouse, professional golfer Brian Hollins. "I'm guessing it was a shout-out to her husband," Ellis said. Horan said Emily Sonnett, a 25-year-old defender at her first World Cup, suggested responses. Trolling critics was the goal. "We decided to do something different today," Horan said with an impish smile. "Handshakes were part of it. Golf clap was part of it." Only the standout play of goalkeeper Christiane Endler lowered the Americans' offensive output from Wonder Woman levels to the mere mundane. The U.S. peppered Chile with 26 shots to one for the South Americans, raising the U.S. margin to 65-3 over two matches that seemed more training than tests. Alyssa Naeher, the Americans' new World Cup goalkeeper, was noticeable only when an unmarked Carla Guerrero redirected Claudia Soto's free kick past her midway through the first half. Guerrero was called offside. More Americans were in the tournament-high crowd of 45,594 that filled Parc des Princes than walked around Sunday in Paris, Kentucky, or Texas. Quite different from the stands 21 years and one day earlier, when Germany beat the U.S. men 2-0 on the very same field in the Americans' 1998 World Cup opener on goals by Andreas Möller and Jürgen Klinsmann. Fans clad in red, white and blue jammed the Metro hours before kickoff, streaming on the No. 9 line at Trocadero, Republique and Richelieu-Drouot and emerging on at Porte de Saint-Cloud on the sunny afternoon. "We're in France, and yet we felt like we had a home game," said Lloyd, at 36-year-old the oldest woman with a multi-goal World Cup match. Despite their second easy win, the Americans maintained there was no reason to chill: Thailand is ranked 34th in the world and Chile is 39th. The Americans need a win or draw against No. 9 Sweden on Thursday in order to win the group. A victory likely means a second-round matchup against No. 13 Spain or No. 16 China, which would put the U.S. on track for a quarterfinal matchup against fourth-ranked France in Paris. Ellis would not speculate whether her team would be better off finishing second and winding up in the other half of the bracket. "There's a lot of grass to navigate between now and potential matchups," she said. "This game is a crazy game, and you have to bring it every single match." No team has won consecutive Women's World Cups since the event began in 1991, a reason for sangfroid. "We're climbing up a mountain now," Lloyd said, "and it's only going to get harder.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 17th, 2019

The ten most intriguing NBA free agents for 2019

By John Schuhmann, NBA.com We knew that the postseason would affect free agency. But the idea was that the success or failure of certain teams would affect what their free agents' thoughts about staying or leaving. Unfortunately, the last two games of The Finals brought devastating injuries to two of the three most coveted free agents on the market. Kevin Durant, arguably the best player in the world, tore his Achilles in Game 5, just 12 minutes into his return from a calf injury. And Klay Thompson tore his ACL in Game 6. The two injuries will certainly have repercussions beyond the two players and the Golden State Warriors. Maybe they already have. With the Western Conference seemingly wide open next season, the Los Angeles Lakers have reportedly made a deal for Anthony Davis, sending a bevy of young players and future picks to New Orleans so they can team the 26-year-old star with 34-year-old LeBron James ... and maybe another star added in free agency. As always, the free agent market and the trade market are tied together. The pending Davis trade could affect the decisions of players and teams come July 1. And if teams miss out on the free agents they're seeking, they could always fill their cap space by making a trade. With all that in mind, the players listed below aren't necessarily the 10 best free agents (or potential free agents). They're the 10 (actually 12) most interesting in regard to where they're going and what kind of contract they get. For players to be on this list, there needs to be some intrigue regarding their (and/or their team's) decision this summer. That's why Thompson isn't included. 1. Kawhi Leonard, Toronto (Player option) Whether he leaves or not, trading for Leonard last summer was well worth it for the Raptors, who won their first championship, with Leonard averaging 30.5 points per game in the postseason. The Raptors' "load management" program (which limited Leonard to just 60 games in the regular season) clearly worked, and director of sports science Alex McKechnie should be seen as a major asset in the quest to keep Leonard in Toronto. There should be a "run-it-back" sentiment for the new champs, with Danny Green also a free agent and Marc Gasol holding a player option this summer. A short-term deal would make sense, unless Leonard is looking for long-term security, having missed almost all of the 2017-18 season with a leg injury. It's all up to Leonard, maybe the toughest player in the league to read. If he takes his two-way talent elsewhere, the Raptors may have to go in a new direction. Number to know: In the postseason, Leonard had a true shooting percentage of 69.1 percent, the highest mark for a player that averaged at least 30 points per game in the playoffs and won the championship. 2. Kevin Durant, Golden State (Player option) Durant's torn Achilles probably won't scare any team, including the Warriors, from paying him as much as possible. As deep and talented as this free agent class is, the top two guys on this list are in a class by themselves. Rumors have long had Durant ready to leave Golden State and even with his injury, he seems more likely than Thompson to find a new home. But an ESPN report had Thompson's father talking about "unfinished business" after overhearing a conversation between the two injured Warriors. Durant could always put free agency off for a year by exercising his player option and remaining on the Warriors' payroll through his rehab. Number to know: Durant was the first player in NBA history to average 30 points per game in at least 10 playoff games while shooting at least 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from three-point range and 90 percent from the free throw line. 3. Kyrie Irving, Boston The disappointment of the Celtics' season, along with Irving's questionable leadership with a group that underachieved, has taken some of the shine off his star. Irving's injury history also must be taken into consideration. But talent is the most important thing in this league and Irving is one of its most talented players. He's still just 27-years-old and he can still get buckets when buckets are needed. A return to Boston appears far less likely than it did six months ago (especially with Davis being traded elsewhere) and there have been a lot of signals that Irving is bound for Brooklyn. Number to know: In the regular season, Irving had an effective field goal percentage of 56.1 percent with the score within five points in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime, the second-best mark among player with at least 50 clutch field goal attempts. 4. Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris, Philadelphia The Sixers lost to the eventual NBA champions on a Game 7 buzzer-beater that bounced on the rim four times before falling through. They're right there. But their starting lineup, which outscored its opponents by more than 21 points per 100 possessions in 334 total minutes (regular season and playoffs), includes three free agents. In regard to future assets, the Sixers didn't give up as much for Butler as they did for Harris. And of course, Butler has more baggage in regard to accepting his role. But, with his defense and his ability to get his own shot, he's is the most important of the three. Harris struggled a bit in the conference semifinals against Toronto and is the least important of the Sixers' three free-agent starters; J.J. Redick's shooting was clearly more critical in the postseason. But Harris isn't easily replaceable and he appears to be the most likely to leave, with a lot of teams looking for versatile forwards. Number to know: In the regular season, Harris shot 41.3 percent on pull-up three-pointers, the second-best mark among 69 players who attempted at least 100. 5. Kemba Walker, Charlotte Walker has expressed some level of loyalty to the Hornets. But immediately after the Davis trade was agreed to, there was a report that Walker would be a "top target" of the Lakers with their cap space. Walker would be an ideal offensive complement to James and Davis, in that he can play off the ball (though he shot less than 35 percent on catch-and-shoot three-pointers last season) and take some of the playmaking burden off of James' shoulders. The Hornets, meanwhile, would likely have a tough time upgrading their roster around Walker, with Nicolas Batum, Bismack Biyombo, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Marvin Williams and Cody Zeller all under contract next season for a total of $85 million. Number to know: Walker led the league with 126 field goal attempts with the score within five points in the last five minutes. That was 43 percent of the Hornets' total (295). His effective field goal percentage on those shots (49.6 percent) ranked 15th among 45 players with at least 50 clutch field goal attempts. 6. D'Angelo Russell, Brooklyn (Restricted) A finalist for the Most Improved award, Russell took a big step forward this season, both in regard to his production and his maturity. He earned himself an All-Star appearance and helped the Nets reach the playoffs with a 14-win increase from last season. He's only 23-years-old and is one of the league's most flammable shooters. But because he doesn't get to the basket or the free throw line very often, Russell is neither all that efficient (his true shooting percentage of 53.3 percent ranked 66th among 94 guards with at least 500 field goal attempts) nor consistent, and he struggled (shooting 36 percent) in Brooklyn's first-round loss to Philadelphia. If the Nets are targeting another ball-handler in free agency (with Caris LeVert and Spencer Dinwiddie already under contract), they'll probably let Russell head elsewhere. Number to know: In the regular season, Russell ranked second with 11.4 pick-and-roll ball-handler possessions per game. He scored 0.89 points per possession as a pick-and-roll ball-handler, the 26th best mark among 44 players that averaged at least five ball-handler possessions. 7. DeMarcus Cousins and Kevon Looney, Golden State Cousins hadn't made it back to 100 percent from his Achilles tear before he suffered a torn quad in his second career playoff game. He made it back for The Finals from that injury and showed flashes of his old self with 14 important points in the Warriors' Game 5 win and a big bucket in the final minute of Game 6. But he also struggled on both ends of the floor at times, and the Warriors were outscored with him on the floor in seven of his eight playoff games. Now he goes back on the free agent market with teams still not sure of what they're getting. Looney is an unrestricted free agent at 23-years-old, and he was the Warriors' most important center this season. The Western Conference champs have Looney's Bird rights, but they could also be spending a lot of money to retain Durant and Thompson (and possibly extend Draymond Green). Another team might have a larger role and more money for an improving young big. Number to know: In the regular season, the Warriors' lineup of Curry, Thompson, Durant, Green and Looney scored 121.5 points per 100 possessions and outscored opponents by 18.7 per 100. Those were the best marks for points scored and point differential per 100 possessions among 40 league-wide lineups that played at least 200 minutes together. 8. Malcolm Brogdon, Milwaukee (Restricted) The Milwaukee Bucks were the best team in the league through the first two games of the Eastern Conference finals. But, with four of their top eight players being free agents (or potential free agents) this summer, they have a lot of work to do if they want to keep Giannis Antetokounmpo surrounded by players who can get it done on both ends of the floor. Brogdon, Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez are the three key pieces. They're all due a pay raise and they all belong on this list. Brogdon is the restricted free agent, but he's also the youngest of the three (he'll be 27 in December) and the one that could be projected into a larger role on another team. Number to know: Brogdon shot 47.5 percent on catch-and-shoot three-pointers, the third-best mark among 223 players who attempted at least 100. 9. Julius Randle, New Orleans (Player option) After five years in the league, Randle is still just 24-years-old. So he's not necessarily a bad fit for David Griffin's plans for the future in New Orleans. But the Pelicans might not be ready to commit the money Randle is seeking (should he opt out of the final year of his contract) after averaging a career-high 21.4 points per game. Defense remains an issue, but Randle has expanded his offensive skill set; he was a respectable 34.4 percent from three-point range this season, taking 18 percent of his shots from beyond the arc (up from six percent over his three previous full seasons). Number to know: Randle averaged 13.2 points in the paint per game, seventh most in the league, and he made more three-pointers (67) than all but one of the six players in front of him. 10. Ricky Rubio, Utah According to Rubio himself, he's not Utah's top priority in free agency. He remains a good defender and one of the league's best passers, but the Jazz need to get more potent offensively if they're going to take the next step. At 31.1 percent, Rubio ranked 153rd in three-point percentage among 163 players with at least 200 attempts. There could be as many as 10 teams (not including the Jazz) in need of a starting point guard this summer, and Rubio could have more value on a team more in need of a distributor. Number to know: The Jazz were 5.8 points per 100 possessions better offensively with both Rubio and Donovan Mitchell on the floor (scoring 110.4 per 100) than they were with Mitchell on the floor without Rubio (104.6). John Schuhmann is a senior stats analyst for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 17th, 2019

Seven takeaways from Lakers reported trade for Anthony Davis

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com Here are seven takeaways on the reported blockbuster trade sending New Orleans star forward Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers. 1. Davis gets what he wanted all along Davis and his camp, fronted by agent Rich Paul, first made noise about getting out of New Orleans in January, when he still had a year and a half to go before he even reached the player-option year in his Pelicans contract extension. New Orleans management, notably GM Dell Demps, resisted the power play then. Of course, Demps lost his job after resisting the trade demand and seeing the ripple effects undermine his own team’s season. Demps’ replacement, David Griffin, took over on a more traditional timeline -- one year out from the dreaded possibility of having a star free agent walk without compensation. After apparently trying to change Davis’ mind, Griffin did what he felt he had to do. So the six-time All-Star doesn’t have to wait until the summer of 2020, or even the trade deadline in February, to swap a less glamorous market for the bright lights and a franchise that has never won for the Lakers’ legacy of champions built around elite big men. 2. Will future franchise players do the same? What cost did Davis pay for his trade demand? Not much. His playing time plummeted from about 37 minutes in the first four months of 2018-19 to 22 in the 16 games he actually played after Jan. 18 (Jan. 19, PHL time). He did not participate at all in 21 games as New Orleans tried to protect its asset, which derailed any ambitions with which the Pelicans began the season. They went 12-24 in those 36 games to fall into the lottery – and land the No. 1 pick. But that didn’t concern Davis. He got what he wanted. The Pelicans got what they could. 3. Right package at right time for Pelicans There’s a time-value to money and there’s a time-value in trades, too. The best time for Griffin to deal was now, with the No. 4 pick in this year’s Draft in play to team with the No. 1 pick that presumably will be on Duke’s Zion Williamson. Landing that, along with two more first-round picks from the Lakers, a Draft pick swap, and players Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart (per ESPN’s report), shifts New Orleans into full rebuild mode with an exciting core of current and maybe future young players. Could Griffin have gotten more had he waited deeper into the offseason or heading toward the in-season trade deadline? Perhaps. But Boston, the other oft-purported suitor for Davis, no longer could count on teaming Davis with Kyrie Irving, who will explore free agency (and likely leave). Besides, the Celtics never did want to part with Jayson Tatum, so what they could offer the Pelicans was limited. Didn’t matter, anyway. Griffin didn’t want to drag this into a new season. In fact, he might work the phones to find point guard Jrue Holiday’s market value. As strong as Holiday is as a leader and two-way player, at 29 with 10 seasons in, he’s out of sync with the new era in N’Awlins. 4. Griffin should have held out for Kyle Kuzma OK, the Lakers had committed publicly to keeping Kuzma, the overachieving forward and No. 27 pick in 2017, out of the deal. And as noted above, the Pelicans were on the clock to make a clean break with Davis pre-Draft. But would the Lakers really have scuttled the deal if Griffin had held out for Kuzma? Some say yes, as the time factor gave them leverage. I’m not so sure. I’m reminded of the blockbuster deal that sent Kevin Garnett from Minnesota to Boston in 2008. Word eventually got out that Kevin McHale, the Wolves’ president of basketball operations, had wanted a raw point guard named Rajon Rondo in the package of players Minnesota received. His Celtics’ counterpart and buddy, Danny Ainge, pushed Sebastian Telfair instead. But with Paul Pierce and Ray Allen on board, and Garnett so close to his wearing o’ the green, would Ainge have blown up the trade over young Rondo? Same applies here. So the positive spin on Kuzma staying put is, the Lakers did well to keep him. 5. LeBron gets his greatest sidekick yet That statement might offend a few folks. Dwyane Wade for one. Maybe Irving, Chris Bosh or Kevin Love, too. Heck, Davis might bristle at the idea of being anyone’s “sidekick” after being the man in Mardi Gras to this point in his career. But the truth can’t be controversial, and the success of this deal will be measured in the short-term by how well Davis meshes with James in the superstar’s quest for a fourth ring and beyond. Some believed that agent Rich Paul, who represents both James and Davis, was more concerned with helping the former than the latter, which Paul refuted a few days before news came out on this blockbuster trade. Who’s to say AD wouldn’t have thrived and won sooner in Boston had the Celtics and Pelicans worked out a Kawhi-like rent-a-player price? What if James not only is past his best years, but his most durable ones, and injuries intervene as he heads to age 35 and beyond to stymie title hopes? For James, though, there’s no downside to this. Ingram, because of the blood clot issue that cut short his 2018-19 season, is an unknown for now. Ball isn’t essential with James as a ball dominator. Hart actually backslid in his second season. And James has little or no use for draft picks at this stage of his career. Davis is good enough to carry the bigger load relative to James, more than any of his past Super Friends who all caught him in his extended prime. But it’s still to be determined how they’ll work that out – the two previous elite big men that he played alongside, Bosh and Love, wound up as No. 3 options once they teamed with James. 6. Kemba Walker might be next in Lakers’ sights Walker is a free agent who has served his time in Charlotte, a team that might not want to be locked into a super-max deal for their lone star anyway. He would be a nice backcourt complement to James and Davis, another scorer if not the pure shooter L.A. would seem to need. Speaking of which, that suggests other free-agent implications as the Lakers search for shooters. Say, if not J.J. Redick himself, then the next Redick perhaps. 7. So long Warriors, hello Lakers in 2020 Finals? You’ve got to admit, it would be something to see LeBron James pop up on the Western Conference’s finalist vying for a championship, in what lately has been Golden State’s accustomed spot. That’s what some anticipated for this June, until the Lakers went sideways with injuries and dysfunction. But with ESPN’s report of the Davis trade, a team that already was ranked atop the NBA’s contenders for 2020 saw its odds improve. Caesars Sportsbook put the Lakers as 7-2 favorites, ahead of the Bucks (6-1), the L.A. Clippers (6-1), the newly crowned Raptors (8-1), the Rockets (8-1) and what would be a distinctly different Warriors team (11-1). Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 16th, 2019

Leonardo s PSG return could be welcome news for coach Tuchel

By Jerome Pugmire, Associated Press PARIS (AP) — Leonardo's return as Paris Saint-Germain's sporting director could be welcome news for coach Thomas Tuchel after a difficult first season. PSG announced Leonardo's appointment on Friday as a direct replacement for Antero Henrique, who leaves after two years despite helping secure two marquee signings in forwards Neymar and Kylian Mbappe. Tuchel's working relationship with Henrique had become increasingly strained because of the need to strengthen an injury-hit squad and an awkward situation concerning homegrown midfielder Adrien Rabiot. Henrique said in a December interview that Rabiot would remain out of the side after refusing to sign a new deal, despite months of negotiations. He did not play again and is now out of contract, meaning PSG will get nothing for him as he reportedly negotiates terms for a move to Italian champion Juventus. But Tuchel is a fan of Rabiot's style of play and wanted him available, especially with injuries in midfield during a fraught Champions League campaign. The club's disciplinary stance remained firm. At the time, Henrique appeared to have the backing of club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi, with the signings of Neymar and Mbappe doubtless contributing to his standing. An exasperated Tuchel also lamented a lack of signings in the winter transfer window and had to wait until January 29 — right at the end — before the club bought Argentina midfielder Leandro Paredes from Zenit St. Petersburg. But Tuchel was reportedly not overly keen on signing Paredes, who made little impression. If their relationship was indeed a power struggle, it now seems like a victory for Tuchel over Henrique. Tuchel recently signed a one-year extension to his initial two-year deal. Leonardo's return offers the possibility of a more harmonious working relationship, one which the club hopes will end years of frustration in the Champions League. PSG has never been beyond the quarterfinals since Qatari backers QSI started bank-rolling the club with huge investment eight years ago. In the past three seasons PSG has gone out in the Round of 16 — twice blowing strong first-leg leads — and last season Tuchel's side failed to retain its domestic cups. FAMILIAR FACE While Henrique was unfamiliar with the club when he took the job, that's certainly not the case for Leonardo. He played for PSG in 1996-97 and was hugely popular. As an attack-minded defender or midfielder, he helped PSG reach the European Cup Winners' Cup final in '97. He won the World Cup with Brazil in 1994 and the Copa America in '97. He had spells as coach of AC Milan and Inter Milan, where he was also sporting director. Leonardo became PSG's sporting director for the first time in July 2011 and helped persuade Carlo Ancelotti to become coach in December 2011. It was a considerable coup considering Ancelotti's long-standing reputation in the game. "I'm extremely enthusiastic at the idea of coming back," the 49-year-old Leonardo said. "I've experienced some big emotions here." BITTER END Leonardo held his role until May 2013, when he was suspended for nine months by the French league for barging into a referee just outside the tunnel. Television images appeared to show Leonardo deliberately shoulder-barging Alexandre Castro after a home draw. Leonardo had been heavily critical of French referees that season, in particular launching one angry rant live on television after a draw at defending champion Montpellier. Following Leonardo's suspension, Ancelotti left to take charge of Real Madrid despite having one year left on his PSG contract. FUTURE DAYS Leonardo must quickly establish a strong and trusting relationship with Tuchel. The club is expected to be busy in the transfer market this summer, whilst fending off reported interest from Real Madrid for the prolific France forward Mbappe. PSG must also raise funds, and Leonardo's return coincided with the sale of 19-year-old forward Moussa Diaby to Bayer Leverkusen for a reported 15 million euros ($16.8 million). Fans want success but they also want to see local talents shine, and Diaby was one of the best players to have come through PSG's youth academy in recent years. If Leonardo persuades Rabiot to change his mind and sign a new deal, it would certainly please Tuchel......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 16th, 2019