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Category: techSource: thestandard thestandardNov 23rd, 2017

Rejuvenated Dutch strike late, into Nations League s Final 4

By Steve Douglas, Associated Press The Netherlands' recovery from one of the lowest ebbs in its history continued with a last-gasp qualification for the Final Four of the inaugural UEFA Nations League on Monday. Virgil van Dijk volleyed home a 90th-minute equalizer to seal a dramatic Dutch comeback in a 2-2 draw in Germany, allowing Ronald Koeman's rejuvenated side to top its qualifying group on goal difference ahead of France, and join fellow group winners Portugal, England and Switzerland in a five-day finals competition in June. So instead of seeing Kylian Mbappe, France's new wonderkid and star of the team's World Cup triumph in Russia in July, vying for another piece of international silverware, soccer fans will get to see if the Netherlands truly has turned the corner. The slump of the Dutch has been profound since they finished third at the World Cup in Brazil in 2014. They failed to qualify for an enlarged European Championship in 2016 and also didn't make it to the World Cup this year. Three coaches — Guus Hiddink, Danny Blind, and Dick Advocaat — came and went. And with Dutch soccer at club level also in strife, debate swirled as to how one of the long-time heavyweights of the world game could recover. Under Koeman, though, the future of the Oranje looks bright. Youngsters like center midfielder Frenkie de Jong and center back Matthijs de Ligt are regarded as two of the most promising players in the world; Memphis Depay and Georginio Wijnaldum have returned to their best form over the last 18 months; and, in Van Dijk, the Netherlands has one of the best defenders around. A rock for Liverpool this season and last, Van Dijk — soccer's most expensive defender following his $99 million move from Southampton in January — sidefooted in a cross from the left to follow up an 84th-minute goal from Quincy Promes that gave the Dutch a glimmer of hope in Gelsenkirchen. The Germans had gone 2-0 up after 19 minutes thanks to Timo Werner's dipping shot from 25 meters and Leroy Sane's deflected effort from just inside the area. They couldn't hold on, though, and finished group play with no wins, just two points, and in something of a crisis. They didn't get out of their group in Russia in a dismal defense of their World Cup title, while relegation to League B of the Nations League — featuring Europe's second-tier teams — had already been confirmed after failing to win any of their first three group games. Germany coach Joachim Loew opted to stay in the job after the World Cup, but is now under mounting pressure. The Nations League, a new competition devised by UEFA to replace unpopular international friendlies with competitive matches between teams of a similar level, appears to have won over the skeptics, and the lineup for the Final Four is intriguing if hardly a marketer's dream. Portugal, which will be playing on home soil, has a superstar in Cristiano Ronaldo who should be back in the team after an extended absence from international soccer since the World Cup. England has Harry Kane, the top scorer at the World Cup, and a talented, dynamic group of young players under forward-thinking coach Gareth Southgate. Switzerland, which hasn't reached a quarterfinal of an international tournament since 1954, will be the outsider. The Netherlands, at No. 15, will be the lowest-ranked team in the competition but should not be discounted. This victory came three days after the team produced one of its best performances in years to beat France 2-0, while it beat Portugal 3-0 in March and Germany by the same score at home in the Nations League. The draw for the Final Four, which comprises of two semifinals and then a third-place playoff and final, will take place in Dublin on Dec. 3. Some other loose ends were tied up in the Nations League, which offers teams a second chance to qualify for the European Championship in 2020. The 16 group winners in Leagues A, B, C and D — or the next best-placed teams who have not already qualified via the European qualifiers starting in March — will progress to the Nations League playoffs and compete for the last four qualifying places for Euro 2020. NORWAY, MACEDONIA PROMOTED Norway was promoted to the second-tier League B after finishing top of Group C3 with a 2-0 win at Cyprus. The Norwegians started the final round of group play tied for points with Bulgaria, which could only draw at home to Slovenia 1-1. Macedonia went up to League C after beating Gibraltar 4-0 to top Group D4. Armenia, the only team that could have finished above Macedonia, ended up second after drawing at Liechtenstein 2-2. SLOVAKIA RELEGATED Slovakia was relegated to League C after losing at neighbor Czech Republic 1-0, with Patrik Schick scoring the winner in the first half with a deft lob over the goalkeeper on a counterattack. Denmark was already guaranteed promotion to the top tier and Ireland was sure of being relegated before they drew 0-0 in Aarhus......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 20th, 2018

Nevada regulator suspends Khabib, McGregor for UFC brawl

By Ken Ritter, Associated Press LAS VEGAS (AP) — UFC fighters Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor are being suspended by the Nevada Athletic Commission for a brawl that erupted inside and outside the octagon after their lightweight title fight last weekend in Las Vegas, an official said. Letters were sent Wednesday informing both mixed martial arts fighters that they will be suspended for at least 10 days effective Oct. 15, commission executive Bob Bennett said Thursday. A commission investigation is pending and the panel can extend the temporary suspension when it meets Oct. 24, Bennett said. Nurmagomedov and McGregor could also appeal Bennett's executive action at that time. Nurmagomedov, who was praised by Russian President Vladimir Putin during a meeting Wednesday in Moscow, responded with an angry Instagram post saying he was being unfairly punished.         View this post on Instagram                   I would like to address @ufc Why didn't you fire anyone when their team attacked the bus and injured a couple of people? They could have killed someone there, why no one says anything about insulting my homeland, religion, nation, family? Why do you have to punish my team, when both teams fought. If you say that I started it, then I do not agree, I finished what he had started. In any case, punish me, @zubairatukhugov has nothing to do with that. If you think that I’ll keep silent then you are mistaken. You canceled Zubaira’s fight and you want to dismiss him just because he hit Conor. But don’t forget that it was Conor who had hit my another Brother FIRST, just check the video. if you decide to fire him, you should know that you’ll lose me too. We never give up on our brothers in Russia and I will go to the end for my Brother. If you still decide to fire him, don’t forget to send me my broken contract, otherwise I'll break it myself. And one more thing, you can keep my money that you are withholding. You are pretty busy with that, I hope it won’t get stuck in your throat. We have defended our honor and this is the most important thing. We intend to go to the end. #Brothers A post shared by Khabib Nurmagomedov (@khabib_nurmagomedov) on Oct 11, 2018 at 6:32am PDT The fighter complained that discipline didn't follow an incident last April in Brooklyn, New York, when McGregor shattered windows of Nurmagomedov's bus with a hand truck after Nurmagomedov confronted one of McGregor's teammates days earlier. "They could have killed someone there, why no one says anything about insulting my homeland, religion, nation, family?" Nurmagomedov posted. "We have defended our honor and this is the most important thing. We intend to go to the end." McGregor's manager, Audie Attar at Paradigm Sports Management, said he was confident the investigation will clear McGregor. "It will be clear who and where the blame lies," Attar said in a statement. "We are focused on the future." Nurmagomedov's manager, Ali Abdelaziz at Dominance MMA Management, did not immediately respond to emails. Abdelaziz's telephone was not accepting messages. However, Fighting erupted outside the octagon late Saturday, after McGregor (21-4) tapped out during a chokehold by Nurmagomedov (27-0) in the fourth round of UFC 229 at T-Mobile Arena. The Russian champion from Dagestan then stepped away from McGregor, climbed over the cage and scuffled with a fighter in the Irishman's corner. Members of Nurmagomedov's entourage climbed into the octagon and attacked McGregor, and McGregor also tried to climb out of the cage during the brawl. Nurmagomedov's $2 million for the fight has been withheld by the commission pending the outcome of the investigation, Bennett said. McGregor received his $3 million purse. "You can keep my money that you are withholding," Nurmagomedov posted. "I hope it won't get stuck in your throat." UFC President Dana White said three members of Nurmagomedov's camp were detained by police but released because McGregor refused to press criminal charges. White said the UFC might strip the lightweight title from Nurmagomedov......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 11th, 2018

30 Teams in 30 Days: Jazz on upswing after postseason run

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com What offseason? That's a question many fans ask as the flurry of trades, free agent news and player movement seems to never stop during the summer. Since the Golden State Warriors claimed their third title in four years back on June 8 (June 9, PHL time), NBA teams have undergone a massive number of changes as they prepare for the season ahead. With the opening of training camps just around the corner, NBA.com's Shaun Powell will evaluate the state of each franchise as it sits today -- from the team with the worst regular-season record in 2017-18 to the team with the best regular-season record -- as we look at 30 teams in 30 days. * * * Today's Team: Utah Jazz 2017-18 Record: 48-34, lost in Western Conference semifinals to Houston Rockets Who's new: Grayson Allen (Draft) Who's gone: Jonas Jerebko, David Stockton The lowdown: Left woozy by the summer departure of free agent and franchise star Gordon Hayward, the Jazz gave the ball to a rookie and pulled a surprise by nearly winning 50 games and bouncing Oklahoma City Thunder from the playoffs. Their season was made more remarkable considering center Rudy Gobert played only 56 games because of knee issues. But Donovan Mitchell (20.5 points per game) was an unexpected savior and far better than anyone imagined. He won over his teammates and coach Quin Snyder quickly, then earned respect around the league for taking charge and also bailing out Utah in a number of close games, both rare for a rookie. Mitchell finished as the Kia Rookie of the Year runner-up. Snyder made good use of the rotation and found functional roles for most and the Jazz used Mitchell and defense to flourish. By the playoffs, Mitchell was arguably the best player on a floor that featured former Kia MVP Russell Westbrook and Paul George, and the Jazz entered the offseason feeling confident about the future. In 2016, the young Portland Trail Blazers made the playoffs, stunning the LA Clippers in the first round before giving the Golden State Warriors a feisty series in the semis. Encouraged by the bounce and swagger showed by an emerging club, the Blazers handed out contract extensions and … they haven’t done anything special since. In hindsight, every one of those extensions looks like a mistake. The lesson: Fool’s gold can sometimes, um, fool you. Are the Jazz headed down that path? The situations aren’t exactly the same, yet similar to a degree. Instead of going outside to make a few cosmetic changes to the rotation, Utah was mostly content to keep free agents Dante Exum and Derrick Favors, giving each contracts that were somewhat generous in a soft market that worked against most players. Exum signed for three years and a reported $33 million, or roughly the going rate for a backup point guard. But Exum’s run in Utah has been interrupted by injury and, even when healthy, his play was inconsistent. He perhaps earned the benefit of the doubt in the playoffs when he stepped in for an injured Ricky Rubio and had moments of solid play. Evidently, the Jazz feel Exum’s better days are just ahead. He’s only 23 and after investing so much time in him, Utah wasn’t ready to cut him loose. He brings great size (6-foot-6), is energetic, and point guard isn’t a Jazz strength. If nothing else, Exum gives Utah a sense of security. Favors is richer after signing a reported two-year, $36 million extension as no other team was willing to beat that price for him. The last two seasons weren’t exactly robust for Favors, who battled through injuries, sporadic play and found himself benched because of mismatches in today’s stretch-happy NBA. Favors has worked to develop more of a 3-point shot, but his lack of perimeter shooting was exploited by Houston in the playoffs. But as the case with Exum, the Jazz have years of player-development invested in Favors. As Utah’s longest-tenured player, Favors is a solid defender next to Gobert and the Jazz outscored their opponents by 7.2 points per 100 possessions with the two bigs on the floor together. And even though he’s seemingly been around Utah forever, Favors is just 27 years old. The decisions by the Jazz to maintain the status quo isn’t unusual with this franchise, which has long prided itself on stability and player development. Strangely enough, Mitchell claims to love life in the Wasatch Mountains -- something to remember when and if he ever reaches free agency (unlikely, since the Jazz will surely break the bank for him). Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey moved up to take Mitchell in the 2017 Draft and has a knack for finding talent in places where few others search. He has had a solid track record in the Draft and with the 21st pick took Allen. A year ago, the Duke shooter considered entering the draft, but got mild feedback from NBA types. Allen brings 3-point range to a team that ranked 13th in 3-pointers made and attempted last season. Unless he makes an impact right away, Allen will be in the back end of a rotation that showcases Joe Ingles for distance shooting. The trick for Utah is to match or surpass last season’s effort while catching no one by surprise this time. And the Jazz must do that with virtually the same cast as before. Veteran NBA writer Shaun Powell has worked for newspapers and other publications for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here or 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 NewsSep 23rd, 2018

30 Teams in 30 Days: After wholesale makeover, Hawks ready to rebuild

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com What offseason? That's a question many fans ask as the flurry of trades, free agent news and player movement seems to never stop during the summer. Since the Golden State Warriors claimed their third title in four years back on June 8 (June 9, PHL time), NBA teams have undergone a massive number of changes as they prepare for the season ahead. With the opening of training camps just around the corner, NBA.com's Shaun Powell will evaluate the state of each franchise as it sits today -- from the team with the worst regular-season record in 2017-18 to the team with the best regular-season record -- as we look at 30 teams in 30 days. * * * Today's team: Atlanta Hawks 2017-18 Record: (24-58, did not qualify for the playoffs) Who's new: Coach Lloyd Pierce, Trae Young (Draft), Kevin Huerter (Draft), Omari Spellman (Draft), Jeremy Lin (trade), Justin Anderson (trade), Alex Len (free agency), Vince Carter (free agency) Who's gone: Coach Mike Budenholzer, Dennis Schroder, Mike Muscala The lowdown: Three years after winning a conference-best 60 games, the Hawks crash-landed and clearly set their sights on the Draft lottery by the 2018 All-Star break. New GM Travis Schlenk dumped Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilasova at the trade deadline and would’ve shipped off a few more players if he could. Basically, Schlenk attempted to scrub most of the work of Budenholzer, who ran the basketball operation previously. John Collins made the All-Rookie team and Taurean Prince finished strong. However, Kent Bazemore -- the club’s highest-paid player -- sputtered and never felt comfortable being a volume scorer (12.9 points per game). The Hawks couldn’t win or generate much interest in Atlanta, putting the framework for a fresh era in place well before 2017-18 ended. The Hawks held the No. 3 overall pick in the 2018 Draft. Deandre Ayton and Marvin Bagley III were off the board. What say you, Mr. Schlenk? He made a gutsy move, bypassing European sensation Luka Doncic in favor of Young and a 2019 protected first from the Mavericks. Schlenk admitted the Hawks’ war room was evenly split on Doncic and Young, but the ’19 first-rounder was the deal-maker. That’s not an overwhelming vote of confidence for Young, and you wonder if Hawks ownership nudged Schlenk into making the deal because of Young’s star potential. The organization dropped millions to give the newly-renamed State Farm Arena some bling over the last year and obviously crave a player with flair to move the needle in Atlanta. Young certainly brings a wow factor. He was the box office star at Oklahoma with his long-range shots and fancy passes. He also became the first collegiate player to lead the nation in scoring and assists in the same season. The Hawks say his ability to make teammates better is vastly unappreciated and will smooth his transition into the NBA. He also had a ragged second half of last season and became a social media punch line. His shot selection and accuracy raised red flags. In a sense, his final year at OU was a tale of two players: Tantalizing Trae and Tragic Trae. NBA scouts say Young's other drawbacks were his lack of size, athletic ability and defense. He was a polarizing Draft pick and the Hawks’ decision received mixed reviews at best among Hawks fans. That additional first-round pick Atlanta got from Dallas could prove beneficial for a rebuilding team that wants to collect as many assets as possible. The idea of Young becoming an Atlanta Basketball Jesus seems like a reach ... until you remember this franchise hasn’t had a ticket-selling sensation in its history. Even Pete Maravich and Dominique Wilkins weren’t basketball magnets in this college football-crazed town. With a new basketball regime in place, it was only a matter of time before Budenholzer, stripped of his basketball operations stripes, would bolt. Schlenk wanted his own people, which is standard operating procedure for a new GM. Once the season ended, Budenholzer began running off copies of his resume with the blessing of the Hawks. He landed in Milwaukee and Schlenk began searching for Budenholzer's successor. Eventually, Schlenk stayed in his comfort zone and hired Pierce. (Years ago, they both worked for the Golden State Warriors.) Pierce came with strong reviews for his work as an assistant coach, most recently with the Sixers. As a player, he rode shotgun in college at Santa Clara with Steve Nash and brings solid people skills to Atlanta. He is, however, a first-time coach and sometimes, it gets tricky when folks slide one seat over on the bench. It was no secret the Hawks wanted to jettison starting point guard and leading scorer Schroder this summer. He had legal issues and didn’t develop solid chemistry with his teammates. When the Thunder agreed to a proposal, the Hawks pounced, sending Schroder to OKC for Carmelo Anthony (who was subsequently bought out), Justin Anderson and a future first-rounder. Of course, this means the Hawks will either go with a rookie as their starting point guard or Lin (who’s should be healthy for training camp after he missed all but one game last season.) With their additional first-round pick this year, the Hawks took Huerter, a sharp-shooter from Maryland. Right now they’re getting nothing special offensively from the swing position and Huerter will get a long look as a rotational player. In order to help a young locker room adjust, the Hawks added 41-year-old Carter (who was a rookie when Young was born). Carter has become a lovable NBA senior citizen, which allows folks to overlook his declining skills. His veteran voice will help when the Hawks endure a losing streak. Still, the summer belonged to the deal the Hawks swung for Young. It’s one of those decisions that could make Schlenk look like a genius, especially if he scores big on the 2019 Dallas pick and Young pans out. The flip side? Doncic becomes the transcendent star in Dallas that the Hawks craved. The final verdict on this deal won’t be delivered for years. By then, will the Hawks be winners? Veteran NBA writer Shaun Powell has worked for newspapers and other publications for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here or 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 NewsSep 5th, 2018

Davis, Pelicans thump Warriors in Game 3

By Sekou Smith, NBA.com NEW ORLEANS -- The fear factor remained until the very end for Alvin Gentry. His memory is as long as Anthony Davis from head to toe, so like everyone else in the Smoothie King Center Friday night (Saturday, PHL time), the notion that a 20-point lead late in the fourth quarter against the Golden State Warriors was safe just didn’t compute. Gentry was caught up in the moment, trying to win a game in this Western Conference semifinal after dropping the first two in Oakland. And he was trying to block out the memory of the Pelicans’ last home game against these Warriors in the playoffs. He had the perfect seat then, next to Warriors coach Steve Kerr, his top assistant and offensive coordinator, the man in charge of engineering an epic comeback from a 20-point deficit that would lead to a Game 3 win in that first-round series and an eventual sweep of the Pelicans that helped propel the Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green-led Warriors to the NBA title in 2015. So yeah, it was on his mind, even if everyone else in the building tried to say it wasn’t, that it was ancient history and that it had no impact on this current Pelicans team. Gentry knew better than that and confessed as much as his team drew blood in this series with an emphatic 119-100 Game 3 win this time around. “Obviously, it’s going to stick with you,” Gentry said of that pivotal 2015 game that ultimately led to the Pelicans hiring him away from the Warriors. “I was on the Warrior bench then and I thought [the Pelicans] played great game. And because I was on the Warrior bench it made it so scary tonight … I was there when Steph started making threes and then Klay started making threes and before you know it a 20-point lead was nine points and then seven points, and then all of a sudden Steph made a shot out of the corner, which by the way I have a picture of that on my phone that I’ve kept all of these years and now I can eras it off. “But there just a scary team, you never feel comfortable. Even when he [Kerr] took his guys out, I was like ‘let’s play two more minutes before we take [our] guys out. Because you are just never comfortable with that team.” Gentry helped chase the ghost of that 2015 game away for the a franchise, a city and especially his stars on Friday night. Both Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday were on that team that collapsed three years ago. They needed this win more than they realized, more than they cared to acknowledge late Friday night (Saturday, PHL time) after the building had cleared out and everyone had a chance to process what had just transpired. The Pelicans beat the Warriors at their own game, employing the “appropriate fear” Gentry joked about with the media afterwards. It was all there, starting with relentless defense and sweet shooting; 14-for-31 from beyond the three-point line. It continued with the sudden bursts of energy from all directions; Solomon Hill knocking down three deep three-pointers early and reserve guard Ian Clark, crushing his former team for 18 points, including daggers down the stretch. It was punctuated by Davis and Holiday grinding away like the guys who fueled the Pelicans’ first-round sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers, and veteran point guard Rajon Rondo breathing as much verbal fire as Green, while also driving the Pelicans with 21 assists, the first player with at least 20 in a playoff game since he did it in himself in 2011 when he was with the Boston Celtics. The Warriors simply couldn’t keep up. And Curry didn’t the have the same touch or adrenaline he had in his playoff debut in Game 2, when he torched the Pelicans for 28 points in 27 minutes off the bench during his first action after missing nearly six weeks with a knee injury. “Most of it is attributed to the Pelicans,” Kerr said. “Their defense was great. They were the aggressors. I thought they brought the force, the necessary force to the game on their home floor, and these are the ebbs and flows of a playoff series, especially when you get past the first round. Everybody is really good and that’s a team that just swept Portland in the first round and on their home floor down 2-0, this is kind of what you expect.” Gentry has unleashed all that. When the Pelicans lost All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins to a season-ending Achilles injury in late January, the framework for this team had to be altered completely. The Pelicans had to lean on Davis to dominate the way he did (33 points on 15-for-27 shooting, 18 rebounds, four steals and three assists). Holiday (21 points, seven rebounds, five assists) had to be set free to resume the All-Star ways he showed earlier in his career. And Rondo needed the keys to the car and the freedom to guide the Pelicans’ young stars to the edge the way he has throughout this postseason, complete with at least two more face-to-face skirmishes with Green Friday night (Saturday, PHL time). “That’s the way he plays, he talks a lot of …” Rondo said after being informed that Green suggested he was trying to bait him into a confrontation. Rondo, who joined Magic Johnson and John Stockton as the only players in NBA history with multiple 20-assist games in the postseason, understands the process a team must go through to reach that next level. He was a young point guard in Boston when he learned it from Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Doc Rivers during the Celtics’ 2008 title run and the years they spent as a contender after that. And he knows success at this stage is more about the Pelicans and what they do than it is about any beef, real or perceived, between he and Green. “It definitely is, but it starts with defense,”he said.“We were able to get some stops, defensively. It’s hard to run and keep pace when you’re taking it by the net every time which we did in game one so we cleaned up a little bit better in game two and three and look forward to making adjustments for game four.” Without Gentry understanding and trusting that same process, and facilitating the perfect environment for all of his players, especially his three biggest stars, this Pelicans team could have easily fallen out of the playoff mix in a wild Western Conference. That race that went down to the final night of the season for the Minnesota Timberwolves and Denver Nuggets and affected the seeding for every team after the No. 1 Houston Rockets and No. 2 Warriors. Gentry had to empower Rondo to infuse the right kind of bite in both Holiday and Davis, whose voice grows louder with each game -- he didn’t hesitate to make a statement in a second half huddle Friday night, barking to his teammates that “we are not going to lose this game.” “That was the message,”he said.“We can’t lose this game. It’s always tough to come back from 0-3. Our mindset is to go out there, play, and do what we’re supposed to do from all the game planning. Whatever results happen, happen. We followed the game plan to a T tonight.” And now the real fun begins. The atmosphere will be electric for Sunday afternoon’s (Monday, PHL time) Game 4. The expectations will have changed dramatically for the Pelicans in just a few hours. Can they do it again? Will they exhibit the same appropriate fear against a championship Warriors team that will be smarting from a Friday night (Saturday, PHL time) dose of their own medicine? Gentry, the architect of this perfectly brewing storm, is counting on it. Sekou Smith is a veteran NBA reporter and NBA TV analyst. 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 NewsMay 5th, 2018

Marcus Morris leads depleted Celtics past Pelicans 113-100

By Jimmy Golen, Associated Press BOSTON (AP) — Marcus Morris Sr. had a season-high 31 points, making three quick three-pointers to start the second half, and Jayson Tatum scored 21 on Monday night (Tuesday, PHL time) to lead a depleted Boston lineup to its sixth straight win, a 113-100 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans. With Kyrie Irving, Al Horford, Gordon Hayward and Aaron Baynes all ill or injured, Jaylen Brown scored 19 points and first-round draft choice Robert Williams III had career highs of seven points and 11 rebounds in 25 minutes. Anthony Davis scored 41 points and Julius Randle had 20 points and 11 rebounds for New Orleans, which was playing back-to-back games after beating the Pistons in Detroit on Sunday (Monday, PHL time). The Celtics scored nine straight points in the last four minutes of the first quarter to take a lead they would never relinquish. They led 59-53 at the half before Morris hit three triples — one from the left corner, one from the right wing and one from the top of the key — to make it 68-55. New Orleans never got closer than nine points after that. TIP-INS Pelicans: Davis had been questionable with a right hip contusion, but he played 38 minutes. ... Lost 124-107 in the only other meeting this season, on Nov. 26 (Nov. 27, PHL time), and have now lost seven of their last 10 against Boston. ... Have alternated wins and losses over their last eight games. ... Fell to 4-11 on the road. Celtics: Were coming off the most lopsided victory in franchise history, a 56-point win over the Chicago Bulls on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). ... Missed eight of their first nine three-point attempts. After Morris hit three triples to start the second half, they missed 11 in a row. ROOKIE NIGHT Williams had appeared in just nine box scores this season, never playing more than 8 minutes, 37 seconds. His previous highs were four points and three rebounds; he also matched his best with three blocked shots. Brad Wanamaker, who spent six seasons in Europe and one in the developmental league, matched his career high with four points. He had played in only eight games before Monday and topped his career highs with 18 minutes (old high 9:06), three rebounds (1), and matched his best of four assists. OUT Horford was nursing a sore left knee, Irving had a sore right shoulder, Hayward was ill and Baynes was out with a sprained ankle. The four players combine to average more than 50 points, 21 rebounds and 14 assists this season. UP NEXT Pelicans: Host Oklahoma City on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time). Celtics: Visit Washington on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 11th, 2018

AP source: Cavs to re-acquire Dellavedova in 4-player trade

By Tom Withers, Associated Press CLEVELAND (AP) — The Cavaliers are getting back one of their championship pieces. A feisty one. Cleveland has agreed to a trade with Milwaukee that will bring popular guard Matthew Dellavedova back to the Cavs along with forward Johnson Henson and a pair of draft picks in 2021. The Bucks will get veteran point guard George Hill and forward Sam Dekker, a person familiar with the deal told the Associated Press. The swap is pending league approval and could be finalized Friday night (Saturday, PHL time), said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the teams have not yet had the mandatory conference call with NBA officials. The first-round pick in 2021 is protected, the person said. Hill recently returned after missing 11 games with a shoulder injury, and the Cavs have been shopping him around for a deal. Dekker, who has also been sidelined, is returning to Wisconsin where he played in college. Both players were at Quicken Loans Arena preparing for a game against Sacramento before learning they were heading to Milwaukee. Dellavedova’s scrappiness endeared him to Cleveland fans during his three seasons with the Cavs, who didn’t re-sign the player known as “Delly” after winning the 2016 title. The Cavs are in transition after LeBron James left them as a free agent this summer, effectively ending Cleveland’s run as an Eastern Conference power. But the Cavs are thinking about the future and by moving Hill and Dekker, they’ve picked up more assets......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 8th, 2018

Short but sweet search lands Fisher as coach of LA Sparks

By Beth Harris, Associated Press LOS ANGELES (AP) — It was a “short but sweet” search to find the new coach of the Los Angeles Sparks. Turns out he has been sitting in the courtside seats for years. Derek Fisher was introduced Friday as coach of the team that he watched play at Staples Center while helping the Lakers win five NBA championships as their point guard. It’s Fisher’s second stint as a head coach in the pro ranks. He was fired from the New York Knicks in 2016. “This opportunity is not a step down, sideways, backwards, somehow different than the men’s game,” Fisher told a room full of media at a downtown hotel, insisting the WNBA isn’t a steppingstone. “There isn’t a future outside of what we’re here to talk about today.” Executive vice president and general manager Penny Toler didn’t look far in finding a replacement for Brian Agler, who resigned last week. “Our coach’s search was short but sweet,” she said. “The first person who came to mind was Derek Fisher. Derek has been a huge supporter of the Sparks, but even more importantly, he’s been a huge supporter of the WNBA from day one. He would leave his practice and fly and watch us play.” Toler said that during her 20 years as GM she would discuss the team with Fisher and seek his advice and suggestions. “He’s invested,” she said. Fisher becomes the 12th coach in franchise history. He takes over a team that went 19-15 in the regular season this year before losing in the second round of the playoffs. Agler resigned without explanation after four years that included winning the WNBA championship in 2016. He had an 85-51 career mark with the Sparks. “I don’t know why he wanted to. I didn’t ask,” Toler said. “When someone wants to resign, it’s not my job to talk them out of it.” Former league MVP Candace Parker was on hand to welcome Fisher. She waved her right hand in the air, showing off her WNBA championship ring that made a clunking noise when her hand hit the table. “I want more,” she said. Besides Parker, the Sparks have another former league MVP in Nneka Ogwumike and hope to re-sign guard Chelsea Gray. “We have chemistry,” Parker said. Parker noted she first met Fisher when she was 8 or 9 and her older brother’s agent was based in Arkansas, where Fisher is from. Fisher was fired in New York after going 40-96 in 1 ½ seasons while working under then-Knicks executive Phil Jackson, who coached him on the Lakers. Fisher said it took a while for him to come to terms with the fact that he was “overly fixated with what other people thought about my experience in New York as opposed to what I felt about my experience in New York.” Fisher peppered Toler with what she said were “about 2,000 questions” before agreeing to take the Sparks job. He indicated the homework was necessary after his time with the Knicks. “What I learned is, if there is not clarity in purpose, vision and mission from ownership to management to coaches to players to staff, it doesn’t work,” he said. “Some of the basketball things are irrelevant if ownership, management, staff, players, if we are not aligned in the way we see going about our jobs and achieving our purpose and our mission.” Since leaving New York, Fisher has worked as a TV analyst. He said he explored jobs with college and men’s pro teams but the timing wasn’t right. He also experienced upheaval in his personal life. In June 2015, he and former teammate Matt Barnes got into an altercation at the home of Gloria Govan, Barnes’ ex-wife who is now Fisher’s fiancée. In June 2017, Fisher was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving after his vehicle flipped on a Los Angeles freeway. He and Govan weren’t injured. Govan and two of Fisher’s children from his first marriage were on hand Friday. “The book is not finished yet,” Fisher said. “I feel like this is an opportunity for me to continue writing my coaching book and I’m excited to do it here in LA with the Sparks.”  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 8th, 2018

Wilder sees missed opportunity in first viewing of Fury draw

By Brian Mahoney, Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) — Deontay Wilder fired his right hand out from his body, demonstrating the way he should have punched Tyson Fury. He was frustrated with the referee. Disappointed in Floyd Mayweather Jr. Angry with Showtime's scorer. Mostly, Wilder was mad at himself. Five days later, the WBC heavyweight champion was still bothered by the way he fought in his draw with Fury on Saturday night in Los Angeles. "Fury was everything I expected him to be. It's not what Fury did, it's what I didn't do," Wilder said Thursday. "You seen the best of Fury, you didn't see the best of me. "I wanted to end the show with a devastating knockout and I got too excited." Wilder (40-0-1) watched the full fight for the first time during a lunch that was used to provide footage for an all-access look at the fight that will run Saturday after Showtime airs the replay. He was still amazed that Fury got up from a powerful combination that sent him flat on his back in the 12th round, but believed Fury (27-0-1) benefited from a break from referee Jack Reiss. "Look at him! Niiiiine," Wilder said, imitating what he felt was a dramatically long count from Reiss to allow Fury to get up and finish the fight. Still, Wilder believed the knockdown, his second of the fight, had allowed him to clinch the victory. He said he didn't regret not trying harder to finish Fury afterward, because he thought the win was secured. "If it was close, that knockdown, I feel like it put me on top," Wilder said. Only one of the judges agreed, with one scoring the bout for Fury and another having it 113-113. That was much closer than Showtime scorer Steve Farhood, who gave only one of the first eight rounds to Wilder on his card that fans watching the fight could see after each round. "Someone has got to explain to me why this is supposedly a Tyson Fury round," promoter Lou DiBella said after watching the end of one of those early rounds. Mayweather was even harsher to the champion, giving him none of the first five rounds when he was interviewed in the arena between rounds. Wilder said he had no relationship with Mayweather but implied the retired former champion was insecure any time there was too much attention on another American fighter. Wilder agreed it was a close, tough fight to score, but only because he allowed it to be. Headlining a pay-per-view for the first time on perhaps the biggest night in years for American heavyweight boxing, Wilder wanted to deliver something spectacular and the moment got to him. "I abandoned the whole game plan," Wilder said. "That was a mistake on my behalf. Like I said, I just wanted to get in there and just knock him out. I mean I wanted to end the show in a devastating way. That was the whole thing going through my mind. I couldn't clear it out of my mind for some reason. I couldn't. "The atmosphere was so heavy and I finally had the attention that I deserved and there was only one thing on my mind, was to knock him out. But that's what I do anyway. It was crazy. Every time I was going back to the corner I was telling myself just calm down, but I couldn't get out of that element." He became animated watching the replay when he saw times a straight punch would have caught Fury, who kept trying to duck down low, but instead rushed an over-the-top shot that missed. "See that ... right there! All I had to do was straight 'pop!'" Wilder said. "He's right here and I'm still overthrowing it while he's at a pause right here, bending over." But the mistakes could provide a learning experience for a rematch Wilder insists will happen. He said he will try to gain a significant amount of weight, with a goal of 245 pounds after he came in at 209 on Saturday. He's open to fighting Fury anywhere, even in Britain, though his preferences would be Las Vegas or Barclays Center in New York. Wilder couldn't take Fury out the first time, but figures he at least did enough damage to soften him up for the second. "I don't think he's going to be the same, especially going into a rematch and getting hit like that," Wilder said. "I know my power and I know what I can do.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 7th, 2018

NHL adds Seattle as league s 32nd team, play begins in 2021

By Stephen Whyno, Associated Press SEA ISLAND, Ga. (AP) — Seattle is getting a National Hockey League team. It will just have to wait a little bit longer to drop the puck. The NHL Board of Governors unanimously approved adding Seattle as the league's 32nd franchise on Tuesday, with play set to begin in 2021 instead of 2020 to allow enough time for arena renovations. The as-yet unnamed franchise will be the Emerald City's first major winter sports team since the NBA's SuperSonics left town in 2008. "Today is a day for celebration in a great city that adores and avidly supports its sports teams and for our 101-year-old sports league," Commissioner Gary Bettman said. "Expanding to Seattle makes the National Hockey League more balanced, even more whole and even more vibrant. A team in Seattle evens the number of teams in our two conferences, brings our geographic footprint into greater equilibrium and creates instant new rivalries out west, particularly between Seattle and Vancouver." The announcement came a few moments after Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan let the news slip at a watch party in Seattle, prompting cheers: "I got a call from a mole in the room and it was a unanimous vote. We're getting hockey." The decision was widely expected after the Seattle Hockey Partners group impressed the board's executive committee in October with a plan that had all the ingredients the NHL was looking for. Strong ownership led by billionaire David Bonderman and producer Jerry Bruckheimer, a downtown arena in a sports-crazed city and a season-ticket drive that drummed up 10,000 orders in 12 minutes all cleared the way for the NHL to add another team less than three years after approving a franchise in Las Vegas. Seattle Hockey President and CEO Tod Leiweke joked that he'd have to throw out some Seattle 2020 business cards because of the pushed-back timing. But all sides agreed 2021 was the best time to start. "They've always felt that we should have a little more time to build the arena right," Bruckheimer said. "We wanted to bring it to 2020-21 because we want to get going right away, but it's not fair to the fans or to the players to not have a 100 percent finished arena when we start." The owners will pay a $650 million expansion fee, up from the $500 million the Vegas Golden Knights paid to join the league just two years ago. Leiweke said arena renovations will cost $800 million and the addition of a state-of-the-art practice facility makes it a total investment of over $1.5 billion. "(That's) a few bits of change which aren't around anymore," Bonderman said of the spending. "Seattle is one of my favorite cities and it's a pleasure to be here. If it was someplace else, I wouldn't have done it." The NHL will also realign its two divisions in the West for the 2021-22 season: Seattle will play the Pacific, home to its closest geographic rivals like Vancouver, Calgary and San Jose, and the Arizona Coyotes will move to the Central Division. "It was at the end of the day the simplest, most logical and least disruptive option we had available to us and I think it'll work well for the Coyotes," Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said. The remarkable debut by Vegas in 2017, which included a run to the Stanley Cup Final, gave the league more confidence about moving forward so quickly. Seattle will benefit from the same expansion draft rules Vegas had. Its front office is expected to be led by Dave Tippett, a former coach who would lead the search for the club's first general manager and staff. Tippett signed on to the project because of a connection to Leiweke, a major force in delivering an NHL team to Seattle. Leiweke got his start in hockey with the Minnesota Wild. He also worked in Vancouver and most recently helped build Tampa Bay into a powerhouse in the Eastern Conference. Leiweke left the Lightning in 2015 to become the COO of the NFL and didn't have any interest in leaving the league office until the project in Seattle began to gain traction. Leiweke's job will be to capitalize on a market whose demographics have changed significantly since he left the NFL's Seahawks in 2010 after being largely responsible for the team hiring coach Pete Carroll. Seattle is the largest market in the country without a winter pro sports franchise and has seen an influx of wealth in recent years. Even when he was running the Seahawks, Leiweke believed Seattle was ripe for the NHL and the response to the season-ticket drive only strengthened that belief. "I woke up today thinking about the fans," Leiweke said. "What did they feel on March 1 when they put down deposits without knowing anything? No team name, an ownership group they didn't know very well, a building plan that was back then somewhat defined but fairly vague. Today is a great day for the fans and we owe them so much. That's why today happened." The NHL's launch in Seattle will show how starved fans are for another team. Basketball is embedded in the DNA of the region thanks to 41 years of the SuperSonics and a lengthy history of producing NBA talent. When the rain of the fall and winter drive young athletes inside, they grab a basketball and head for the nearest gym to play pickup games. Basketball courts and coffee shops seem to be on every corner, but ice rinks are scarce. A lot about Seattle is different from 2008, when the Sonics moved to Oklahoma City. The skyline is filled with construction cranes. Amazon has taken over an entire section of the city, joined nearby by satellite offices of Google and Facebook. The amount of wealth now in the Seattle market is part of the reason Tim Leiweke, Tod's older brother and the CEO of event facilities giant Oak View Group, has regularly calls the city one of the most enticing expansion opportunities in pro sports history. Seattle has become a city of transplants due to the booming local economy. A hockey franchise would provide those newcomers a team to rally around, much like what happened when the Sounders of Major League Soccer arrived in 2009 — the last team added to the city's sport landscape. The Sonics were the first, joining the NBA in 1967, followed by the arrival of the Seahawks in 1976 and Mariners in 1977 after construction of the Kingdome. There have been several attempts at solving Seattle's arena issues and landing either an NHL or NBA team in the years since the Sonics left, but none had the support of the city or the private money attached until now. Asked Tuesday about possibly adding an NBA team, Bonderman responded: "One miracle at a time." While Seattle basks in the news, it's not clear the NHL will be satisfied at 32 teams even with the new team providing balance between the conferences and a natural, cross-border rival for the Vancouver Canucks. Daly said recently that there's no magic number, even though no major North American sports league has ever grown beyond 32 teams. Houston, Quebec City and Toronto have all been touted as possible new homes someday, but they'll also have to wait. "We're not looking right now and I think for the foreseeable future at any further expansion," Bettman said. ___ AP Sports Writer Tim Booth in Seattle contributed......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 5th, 2018

Cavs trade Kyle Korver to Utah Jazz

    LOS ANGELES, USA – Veteran sharpshooting guard Kyle Korver is headed back to the Utah Jazz after being traded from the Cleveland Cavaliers, US media reported on Wednesday, November 28. Korver, who helped the Cavaliers reach the last two NBA Finals, has been traded for Alec Burks and two future second-round ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsNov 29th, 2018

Cavs send Kyle Korver to Jazz for guard Alec Burks, 2 picks

CLEVELAND --- Kyle Korver is getting another shot with a contender. The Cleveland Cavaliers have agreed to trade Korver, one of the best deep outside shooters in NBA history, to the Utah Jazz, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press on Wednesday. In exchange for Korver, the Cavs will get guard Alec Burks --- and his expiring contract --- along with two future second-round draft picks, according to the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the swap has to be approved by the NBA. The trade might not become official until Thursday. For Korver, Cleveland will get Utah's 2020 second-round selection along with Washington's 2021 second-rounder. The Cavs ...Keep on reading: Cavs send Kyle Korver to Jazz for guard Alec Burks, 2 picks.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsNov 29th, 2018

Lebanon s Majok on young Kai Sotto: 'NBA s not a given'

Many are looking at Kai Sotto as the can't-miss future of Philippine basketball. It's hard to argue give Kai's near unprecedented combination of size, skill, age, and potential. Many are also looking at the 16-year-old Ateneo high school star as the Philippines' best best to have a homegrown Filipino play in the NBA. It's pretty hard to argue against those people too given Sotto's current talent trajectory and overwhelming opportunities to grow. Still, Kai has a long way to go and at 16 years young, he has plenty to work on. Regardless, the future is looking bright for Sotto and he earned another believer Sunday after Gilas Pilipinas faced off against Lebanon for the second of two tune-up games. Kai shared the court briefly against Ater Majok and the Lebanese powerhouse was impressed with what he saw up close. "I knew he's young but I didn't know he's in high school," Majok said on Kai. "He's gonna be something special, the Philippines has a bright talent ahead of them," he added. Asked about Sotto's potential to make it to the NBA, the 6'10" Majok was very frank about the 7'2" Kai. Majok was drafted in the second round of the 2011 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers. He played for the Lakers' Summer League team in 2012 and for the Los Angeles D-Fenders a couple of seasons later. Clearly, getting to the NBA and staying there are two different things as Majok found out and the veteran anchor of the Lebanon national team believes that Kai can do both. "You know, NBA's not a given," Majok said on Sotto. "If he works hard, I'm pretty sure he's gonna be there. [But the NBA] now is about run, jump, and shoot. So he looks like a guy who has characteristics for it too. He should be okay," he added. During Sunday's clash between the Philippines and Lebanon, Majok was seen talking to Kai multiple times, especially after Sotto tried to dunk on him during one possession in the third quarter. Majok believes that Kai should have played for more than half a quarter in the tune-up but he understands that it was a coaching decision to give Sotto limited minutes. Still, just like everyone else, the Lebanese center believes that Kai going up against older and stronger players will great accelerate his development. "I think he should’ve played more. Get more game experience. Especially during games like this. But that’s the coach’s decision. I think he should play more, play more with grown men so he could understand and know his level of strength and know what he needs to work on," Majok said on Sotto. "That’s what I did. I played with grown men. That helped me a lot to grow at a young age," he added. As for Kai himself, he knows that all of these experiences now are helping him prepare for his eventual NBA chase. He's clearly targeting the big leagues, at least he wants a shot at it, and the work has already begun. "Kailan pa ba ako mag-start? Kung kailan 18 or 19 ako? Too late na yun," Sotto said. "Importante yung oras. So habang may time ako ngayon, start na ako mag-improve para pagdating ng takdang panahon, ready na ako," he added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 26th, 2018

Quite the contrast: Senator Manny vs Adrien Broner

By Barry Wilner, Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) — Dressed in a sharp gray suit and tie, Manny Pacquiao looked every bit the senator he is. It was his other job, though, that he was working Monday when the eight-time champion announced a Jan. 19 defense of his WBA welterweight belt against Adrien Broner. "He's one of the top boxers out there," Pacquiao said of Broner, who attended the news conference in slightly different garb: torn jeans adorned with spangles, a T-shirt and black jacket. "Adrien Broner is a high-caliber fighter. "I have no problem to fight at 140 (pounds), it's my natural weight. I can't say I am avoiding (opponents), that is not my style. I am willing to find other fighters to fight, too, I am available to fight at 140, 147. It is 147 for this fight." Pacquiao will be 40 when he enters the ring at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas to take on the 29-year-old Broner. It will be the Filipino's 70th fight in a career that began in 1995 and has included titles in weight classes from flyweight to welterweight. He hasn't fought in the United States in two years. Referred to by his followers as Senator Manny, Pacquiao won and then lost the WBO welterweight crown following his lopsided loss to Floyd Mayweather in a May 2015 megafight. In July, he knocked out Lucas Matthysse for the WBA title, Pacquiao's first KO victory since 2009 when he stopped Miguel Cotto in the final round. His government role will be placed aside, Pacquiao claims, while he prepares for Broner. "My opponent is fast, good, and I have to work hard and train hard so the people will be happy on Jan. 19 when we give them a good fight," said Pacquiao, who flashed a mischievous smile when asked if another encounter with the currently retired Mayweather might be in the future. "I am fighting Adrien Broner," Pacquiao said, adding he was with Mayweather in Japan and mentioned that he, not Mayweather, owned a belt, so "you come challenge me." Broner views this as his chance to "become a legend." As he strutted around the stage, his words at first were respectful toward Pacquiao, whom Broner "dreamed of fighting when I was a kid." Soon, though, Broner was back to being Broner, the boastful, say-anything-character who likes talking trash as much as throwing leather. "He ain't fighting Floyd, he's fighting me," Broner said. "He's gotta get past me first. "Of course, things he's done in the game are unbelievable. I know Jan. 19 I gotta be at the top of my game. I'm gonna (mess) him up." Broner, from Cincinnati, is 33-3-1 with 24 knockouts. But he didn't win either of his most recent fights, losing a unanimous decision to Mikey Garcia, who won his 36th straight, in July last year, and then drawing with Jessie Vargas. Which means recent results indicate neither he nor Pacquiao is in his prime or close to it. Still, they are big enough names for Showtime to put the fight on pay-per-view television. Both men were asked if they are elite boxers now. Neither flinched in answering. "Yes, of course," Pacquiao insisted. "I want to fight the greatest opponents in the world and one of them is Adrien Broner. I can fight anybody." Broner shook his head and smirked when queried on his skill level these days. "I'm gonna do me; he's gotta worry about what I do," Broner said. "I know what he can do. "I got three losses, he's got (seven). He's been knocked out; we know he can go to sleep. I got the stuff to do it. I'll hit the jackpot overnight.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 20th, 2018

PVL: Malakas pa rin makakatapat mo, wala kang ligtas -- Valdez on semis

Creamline is through to the semifinals of the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Open Conference. For Cool Smashers top hitter Alyssa Valdez, the next challenge now is for Creamline to build momentum heading into the best-of-three Final Four. Choosing which team to face in the penultimate stage is out of the question. “Kahit pumili ka rin kasi sa kung saang rank ka, makakatapat mo pa rin ay malalakas na teams. Wala kang ligtas,” said Valdez, whose squad sports a 9-2 win-loss record at the second spot and is on a three-game winning tear. The Cool Smashers occupied the third semifinals seat on Wednesday after sweeping Iriga-Navy, 25-12, 25-13, 26-24, to join other Final Four-bound teams Ateneo-Motolite and BanKo. Only one berth remains and for the three teams that are already in the semis cast, the last four playdates of the two-round eliminations will determine their placing in the Final Four.     But the Cool Smashers would rather concentrate on building their morale than worry about their seeding.   “Ang hirap kasi hindi mo rin alam,” she said. “I think ang goal talaga is to really get wins sa mga future games namin. We have three more games medyo delikado pa. More hard work pa, more push pa.” The Cool Smashers still have BanKo, first round tormentor PetroGazz and upset-conscious Adamson-Akari in their list of assignments.   “I think ang pinakaimportante ngayon to get all the confidence na kailangan namin. Lahat malaman namin ngayon kung ano pa ang kailangan naming i-improve as a team para pagdating ng semifinals kahit sino ang makalaban namin medyo mag-perform kami ng maganda,” she said. And to build that momentum, Creamline will need to bring it’s A-game against the Perlas Spikers on Saturday in Cagayan de Oro.   “We all know BanKo, tough team, very hard to beat and they’re my former teammates so kilalang-kilala nila ako,” said Valdez of the squad that the Cool Smashers swept in the first round.     ---    Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 15th, 2018

Developing young QBs in NFL a tricky balancing act

By Dennis Waszak Jr., Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) — Start them right away? Ease 'em in? Have them sit a whole season? When it comes to developing young quarterbacks in the NFL, it all depends on who you talk to. Some teams think it's best to throw rookie QBs into the fire to learn on the job. Others prefer to gradually work them into the offense. Some say it's more beneficial to have them grab a cap and clipboard and take it all in from the sideline. "I think every position is the same," Jets offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates said. "If someone can't handle it mentally, then you don't want to put them on the field, because naturally they'll play slower and be thinking instead of reacting." Sam Darnold clearly passed that test for New York, and the No. 3 overall pick in April was under center to start the season. "If a player shows the athletic ability, the talent and has the mental capacity to handle a gameplan and go into a game and be successful," Bates said, "then he's ready to play." That doesn't mean things have necessarily gone smoothly for the former USC star. Darnold's 14 interceptions lead the league and have contributed to the Jets' 3-6 start. So have his 55.0 percent completion rate and 68.3 quarterback rating, which also rank among the worst in the league. Still, some point to these early struggles as crucial building blocks for the future. "I'm going to continue to learn," Darnold said Sunday after a 13-6 loss at Miami in which he threw four INTs. "There's always lessons to be learned." Of the 32 quarterbacks currently listed as starters for their teams, 12 were under center in Week 1 of their first season. On the flipside, some veteran superstar QBs waited a while before they got their chances. Aaron Rodgers was stuck behind Brett Favre in Green Bay before finally starting in his fourth season. Philip Rivers didn't start with the Chargers until his third year, when Drew Brees went to New Orleans. Even Brees didn't get his first NFL start until his second season. Tom Brady, Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger and Alex Smith weren't Day 1 starters, either. "In an ideal world, it gets to be like Drew, who had a chance to watch a little, or Tom Brady and Aaron," said former quarterback Rich Gannon, the 2002 NFL MVP and now an analyst for CBS Sports and SiriusXM NFL Radio. Patrick Mahomes sat behind Smith in Kansas City until Week 17 as a rookie last year, and now is a leading MVP candidate as one of the NFL's top gunslinger s with a league-leading 29 TD passes for the 8-1 Chiefs. "We knew that Patrick was very talented, but any time that an NFL team goes with a young quarterback, usually it's a very challenging endeavor," Chiefs owner Clark Hunt said. "Sometimes it takes time, several years, but as we've seen, Andy (Reid) had Patrick ready to go Week 1." Gannon thinks the Chiefs provide the perfect blueprint. "Mahomes had a chance to watch a master of his domain for a year," he said. "Alex Smith knew that system inside and out, has great huddle command and leadership skills. Maybe he doesn't throw it like Mahomes does, but this is a guy who was willing to share and help him for that year, and we're seeing the fruits of it now. "That's the best situation you can have." Again, that depends on who you ask. In the past three drafts, 11 quarterbacks were taken in the first round — including Darnold, Cleveland's Baker Mayfield, Buffalo's Josh Allen, Arizona's Josh Rosen and Baltimore's Lamar Jackson this year. Jackson is the only one to not yet start at least one game. Baltimore has Joe Flacco leading the huddle, but Jackson has still been used in the offense and is the Ravens' second-leading rusher. The Browns wanted to have Mayfield, the No. 1 overall pick this year, sit and learn behind Tyrod Taylor. But like most plans in Cleveland, it backfired. Taylor got hurt in Week 3 and Mayfield was thrust into the lineup, helping the Browns rally to beat the Jets in a nationally televised game and end a 19-game winless streak. Mayfield has shown poise and promise, but lacks playmakers and is dealing with a coaching change after Hue Jackson was fired. In Buffalo, the Bills weren't anticipating Allen starting in the second week. They were taking what coach Sean McDermott called a "calculated" approach. But after AJ McCarron was traded before the season opener and Nathan Peterman bombed in Week 1, McDermott was left with no choice but to turn to Allen. The rookie has been dealing with a sprained right elbow , and is uncertain to play Sunday against the Jets. "When you draft a quarterback like we did, there's a part of it where you have to say, 'Hey, he's going to play either A, B, or C — early, middle, or late or next year.'" McDermott said. "You have to be OK with all of that." The initial plan in Arizona was to have Rosen learn behind Sam Bradford. All that changed when the veteran was ineffective and benched in favor of the No. 10 overall pick. Rosen took his lumps with some turnover-filled performances. Then, Mike McCoy was fired as the Cardinals' offensive coordinator and Bradford was later cut — leaving the job to Rosen. "His demeanor allows him to have success," new offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich said. "Quarterbacking in this league is hard and when things go bad, this kid tends to be fine." But, some say too many adverse situations could end up having long-term deleterious effects on a young player. "When you put them in before they're ready, they also get hurt: Josh Allen, Josh Rosen," Gannon said. "The speed of the game is way too fast for them. ... Or they have a bad experience, like what wound up happening with (the Jets') Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith, or going back to Ryan Leaf (with the Chargers). They play right away before they are physically or mentally ready or maturity-level ready. They get benched and booed and maybe run out of town, the coach gets fired, and then the next thing, they're on their third or fourth team. They think he will be a savior and he's not ready to play. "How is that being responsible from a coach and ownership standpoint? It's doing a tremendous disservice." Tampa Bay's Jameis Winston and Tennessee' Marcus Mariota started right away after being the top two picks in 2015, but the jury's still out on both. For those who preach patience, 25 of the 32 current QBs started a game at some point in their rookie season. And, several held on to the job from there. Quarterbacks such as the Rams' Jared Goff (No. 1 in 2016) and the Bears' Mitchell Trubisky (No. 2 in 2017) started and struggled as rookies, but benefited from changes in coaching staffs and philosophies and took leaps in their second seasons. So, who's right? Well, all of the above. "There's certainly valuable experience when you stand and watch," McDermott said. "But we all know there's no substitute for the experience when you're actually behind the wheel. There's a lot of value to that." ___ AP Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner and AP Sports Writers Bob Baum, David Ginsburg, Dave Skretta, John Wawrow and Tom Withers contributed......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 7th, 2018

ONE Championship: Exchanging strikes with Kevin Belingon won’t be a problem for Bibiano Fernandes

Team Lakay’s Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon is one of the most feared strikers under the ONE Championship banner. ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes is completely aware of his tremendous knockout power ahead of their title unification contest at ONE: HEART OF THE LION. Belingon owns a number devastating stoppages inside the world's largest martial arts organization, including a one-punch knockout of Spain’s David Aranda in December 2013, and his famous spinning back kick finish of Andrew Leone this past April. Even though many believe that Belingon has the advantage in the striking department courtesy of his wushu background, Fernandes has no qualms in trading punches and kicks with the ONE Interim Bantamweight World Champion in their highly-anticipated rematch in Singapore on 9 November. “I’ve seen him develop as a fighter, and since the first time we met, I know how strong and explosive he is, but I just want him to know that my striking is not that bad,” he said. “I can turn the lights out when he gives me that opening.” They are set to face each other for the second time at the landmark event inside the state-of-the-art Singapore Indoor Stadium, which features two World Champion versus World Champion contests. The rematch with Belingon will be Fernandes’ ninth defense of his ONE Bantamweight World Title, an incredible run that started when he outpointed South Korea’s Soo Chul Kim in a title unification contest back in October 2013. Fernandes is known to be a world-class Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner, as eight of his 22 career wins have come by way of submission, but his ability to exchange strikes should not be underestimated. The bantamweight king has exhibited on numerous occasions that he packs power in both hands. In his July 2015 title defense, Fernandes got the job done in the third round by knocking out Finland’s Toni Tauru with one punch. He also had success in his latest battle with Martin Nguyen, wobbling the hard-hitting challenger in the final round. Fernandes, who has been training with top-notch athletes at AMC Pankration, admitted that he and his team are spending time sharpening his stand-up arsenal to compliment his exceptional Brazilian jiu-jitsu pedigree. “I always work on my strikes at the gym. As a competitor, I should be prepared in all aspects of the fight because this is mixed martial arts. This sport has a lot of elements. For big matches like this one, I always have a good striking coach in my corner,” he stated. “I don’t give a lot of power. It is all about the timing, but once it connects, it will definitely hurt. My team and I have been very dedicated to elevating my stand-up game, just like how we focus on my jiu-jitsu,” Fernandes explained further. "The Flash" stressed that he is willing to exchange strikes with Belingon, claiming that he has already figured out his Filipino rival’s style inside the cage. “He comes with the right kick on the outside and left kick inside, and he comes with the big overhand,” Fernandes mentioned. “If you want to fight standing up, I’ll fight standing up with you. I don’t fear the fight in the stand-up.” Although he has witnessed Belingon’s evolution from one-dimensional striker to well-rounded mixed martial artist first-hand, the 38-year-old grappling wizard pointed out that his ground game would still play an integral part of his offense in the rematch. “Whether it’s striking or grappling, it’s absolutely fine with me, especially against Kevin who showed tremendous growth as an athlete. “But going to the ground with me, it’s a different story. No one has solved my jiu-jitsu for the past eight years. It will always be the same for everybody.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 4th, 2018

Ring legend in Nonito Donaire’s corner

A boxing legend will be in Nonito Donaire, Jr.’s corner when he takes on Northern Ireland’s defending WBA bantamweight champion Ryan Burnett in a World Boxing Super Series scheduled 12-round fight leading to unify the 118-pound title at the SSE Hyrdo in Glasgow, Scotland, tonight (tomorrow morning, Manila time)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsNov 3rd, 2018

Coaches see bright future in PBA for NCAA stars CJ Perez, Robert Bolick

The past two seasons of the NCAA saw two players define the league under their respective images---San Beda's Robert Bolick and Lyceum's CJ Perez. Both had stellar resumes in Season 93 with Lyceum's Perez winning the MVP with Bolick taking the bigger trophy leading San Beda to the title over the Pirates. And as their two-year rivalry draws to a close in the championship round of Season 94, their respective coaches started to bid farewell to the two stars. "I'm sure these two players will play hard, tough, and both will make sure that his team will win," said San Beda head coach Boyet Fernandez. "It's just unfortunate that only one team will win." Perez and Bolick also had...Keep on reading: Coaches see bright future in PBA for NCAA stars CJ Perez, Robert Bolick.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsNov 2nd, 2018

LPU runs roughshod on Letran to rush into NCAA 94 Finals

Lyceum of the Philippines will be vying for the championship for the second straight season in the 94th NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. The Pirates officially booked a return trip to the Finals after running away from and then gunning down Colegio de San Juan de Letran, 109-85, on Friday at the Filoil Flying V Centre. Head coach Topex Robinson got contributions from up and down the lineup in their first-ever Final Four game in history. However, it wasn’t until Knights’ court general JP Calvo went down with an injury that LPU broke free. Calvo suffered an apparent left leg injury early in the third. Still, Letran was able to rally around him for a while as Koy Galvelo’s corner three actually granted them their first lead of the game, 56-55, at the 6:05 mark of the quarter. It was at that point, however, that the Pirates exploited Calvo’s absence and put their opponents in a pressure cooker. From there, they went on a 15-0 tear built on turnover points for a 70-56 edge. The Knights would never recover from that point as main man Bong Quinto was also shackled down. In the end, Mike Nzeusseu topped the scoring column for LPU with a 23-point, 17-rebound double-double while CJ Perez made a mark all over with 19 markers, five boards, four steals, and three assists. Jaycee Marcelino and Spencer Pretta also added 15 points apiece as second-seed LPU aced its first-ever test in the playoffs. They now turn their attention to either defending champion San Beda University or upstart University of Perpetual Help in the Finals. For Letran, Larry Muyang showed the way with 21-point, 12-rebound double-double. Quinto, playing in his last game, struggled for his standards with just 12 markers in 6-of-17 shooting from the field to go along with seven assists and six boards. Calvo, also graduating, scored nine points in just 19 minutes of play. Without him there, his team was unable to replicate its sinking of the Pirates in the second round. BOX SCORES LPU 109 — Nzeusseu 23, Perez 19, Marcelino JC 15, Pretta 15, Ayaay 11, Santos 9, Caduyac 8, Tansingco 3, Ibanez 2, Serrano 2, Yong 2, Cinco 0, Lumbao 0, Marcelino JV 0, Valdez 0 LETRAN 85 — Muyang 21, Quinto 12, Fajarito 11, Taladua 10, Ambohot 9, Calvo 9, Batiller 6, Celis 4, Galvelo 3, Agbong 0, Mandreza 0, Yu 0, Pambid 0 QUARTER SCORES: 29-16, 51-47, 81-64, 109-85 --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 26th, 2018