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Elite stun Kings for 2nd straight win

MANILA, Philippines — The Blackwater Elite cruised to their second-straight victory in the PBA’s Philippine Cup with a 94-77 whipping of the crowd favorite B.....»»

Category: sportsSource: philstar philstarJan 12th, 2018

Elite stun Kings for 2nd straight win

MANILA, Philippines — The Blackwater Elite cruised to their second-straight victory in the PBA’s Philippine Cup with a 94-77 whipping of the crowd favorite B.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJan 12th, 2018

LeBron s free agency decision could swing NBA s balance of power

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com CLEVELAND -- These combo coronation-funerals can be tricky. Imagine the crowning of a new monarch where the royal subjects couldn’t stop chattering about the freshly deposed or deceased predecessor. Where the traditional cry of continuity and succession, “The king is dead! Long live the king!” got flipped, with what was overshadowing what is. That’s pretty much how it went Friday night (Saturday, PHL time) at Quicken Loans Arena, with the Golden State Warriors’ latest NBA championship having to share the stage with speculation, instantly revved up, about LeBron James and the choice he’ll soon make about his next employer. The Warriors are the kings, claiming pro basketball’s throne yet again by completing a sweep of James’ Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2018 Finals. But of course, James is the King, and as so many of us learned in sophomore English – thanks, CliffsNotes! – “Uneasy lies the head (of those who fret and obsess about the future whereabouts of the NBA superstar) that wears a crown.” Long live the kings! The King is ... gone? There was so much energy before, during and after Game 4 Friday (Saturday, PHL time) poured into the last game/next game conjecture about James, the Cavaliers and seismic shifts in the league’s 2018-19 landscape that even the player’s surprise reveal near the end of the night – a bruised and bandaged right hand – couldn’t derail it. Turns out, as James ‘fessed up, the sore shooting paw was an injury he had been playing with ever since Game 1 in Oakland eight days earlier. He had “self-inflicted” it in a fit of pique when he smacked a whiteboard in the visitors’ dressing room at Oracle Arena after Cleveland’s overtime loss in the series-setter, an outcome driven at least in part by some teammates’ mistakes and an arcane wrinkle in the NBA’s replay rules regarding block/charge fouls. Despite the hordes of media people chronicling every waking detail of the Finals, James had kept the injury on the down-low (along with the possibility that J.R. Smith’s nickname amongst his Cavs teammates might be “whiteboard”). The cameras zoomed in and clicked in a paparazzi frenzy of motor drives every time James raised the hand, wrapped in black tape, above the table during his postgame podium remarks. Whether a legit Page-2-the-rest-of-the-story factor in the championship series or a too-late alibi, the contused hand wound up as a sidebar to where James plans to be using it when training camps open in a few months. As of Friday (Saturday, PHL time), it had been 95 months since “The Decision,” the 2010 announcement that James made in a tone-deaf vanity TV production that he was taking his talents from Cleveland to South Beach. Nearly 47 months had passed since he broke the news of his return in a Sports Illustrated ghost-written essay, envisioning much of what actually has unfolded in the four years since. Now savvy insiders and casual observers alike presume James will be on the move again, pushed to leave the franchise he has defined in an urgent search for more and better talent with which he can compete. As in, y’know, some horses, some horses, his kingdom for some horses. James’ free-agency process next month (he can opt out of a $35.6 million deal in the final season of his current contract) is expected to dictate the market of player movement this summer like an oversized domino. It easily could swing the balance of power, if not quite at Golden State’s lofty level then immediately below it. The monster he helped create Dr. Frankenstein eventually was done in by his macabre creation, and it can similarly be argued that James has no one but himself to blame for the predicament in which he again finds himself. He set in motion the machinery of the super team, after all, when he chose to join forces with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami eight years ago. Oh sure, the Boston Celtics in 2007-08 got there first by luring Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to join Paul Pierce, but that was about knitting together three stars, all age 30 or older, for what would be their last best chance to win in an extremely limited run. That group won one title, went to two Finals in three seasons and was done, Allen leaving to join James & Co. with the Heat while Garnett and Pierce morphed into trade chips for Boston POBO Danny Ainge. When James, Wade and Bosh teamed up, they were in their basketball primes and their initial giddy boasts of “not four, not five, not six” championships turned off fans league-wide as much for its portent as its pretension. That crew went 4-for-4 in Finals, winning two rings before James, nudged by staleness and chafing as well as his grand plan for northeast Ohio, went home. From there, a line can be drawn through the ill-conceived 2012-13 L.A. Lakers of Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol all the way to this season’s Houston Rockets of James Harden and Chris Paul and the talent-gorged Golden State roster. James was the centerpiece as Cleveland replicated the Big Three concept around him with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, two younger, playoff-stymied All-Stars. The new-look Cavaliers went to the Finals in their first season together and clambered atop the basketball world to win the franchise’s first NBA title by the end of the second, becoming the first team in league history to do so after digging a 1-3 hole in the best-of-seven series. In that moment, regardless of the two Finals trips that followed, James’ bill was stamped: Paid In Full. Misguided fans might burn his jersey if he leaves again, but James burned the mortgage after that Game 7 in Oakland in 2016 as far as any remaining obligation to fulfill. “I came back because I felt like I had some unfinished business,” he said after elimination Friday (Saturday, PHL time). “To be able to be a part of a championship team two years ago with the team that we had and in the fashion that we had is something I will always remember. Honestly, I think we'll all remember that. It ended a drought for Cleveland of 50-plus years, so I think we'll all remember that in sports history.” James added: “When you have a goal and you're able to accomplish that goal, it actually – for me personally – made me even more hungry to continue to try to win championships. And I still want to be in championship mode. I think I've shown this year why I will still continue to be in championship mode.” In other words, James intends to sustain his high level of performance. He expects to win. And he presumably will do whatever – and go wherever – is necessary to achieve that. There’s no perfect fit So what does that mean for the NBA’s best player (never mind what the annual MVP balloting says in any given season)? It means this: compromise. There is no ideal situation, certainly no easy answer to the guesswork surrounding James’ looming free agency. He could transform any of the 30 teams, but not without some trade-offs for him, for them or for both. Most of them won’t be in play. Teams in markets such as Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Portland, Sacramento, the Twin Cities and so on can’t scratch James’ itches for either championship-worthy depth chart or spotlight. New York and Chicago, among the biggies, are out of synch with his timeline. Toronto? No way James is resettling his brand north of the border, and given his stated desire for teammates who have not just sufficient basketball skills but also mental toughness, well, the Raptors teams he and the Cavs have dominated do not qualify. The Boston club that stretched Cleveland to seven games in the Eastern Conference finals is built for the long haul and would have to surrender much of that to adjust to James’ career calendar. There’s a little Kyrie problem lurking there and, truth be told, the Celtics look to be on their way and are doing just fine without the 33-year-old heading, one of these years, toward decline. At some point in each of the 2018 Finals’ final three days, James spoke admiringly of the Warriors and the San Antonio Spurs title teams that blocked his path whether in Miami or Cleveland. He was at it again even as the Warriors were dousing the opponent’s locker room at The Q with Moet champagne. “I made the move in 2010 to be able to play with talented players, cerebral players that you could see things that happen before they happened on the floor,” James said. “When you feel like you're really good at your craft, I think it's always great to be able to be around other great minds as well and other great ballplayers. “That's never changed. Even when I came here in '14, I wanted to try to surround myself and surround this franchise with great minds and guys that actually think outside the box of the game and not just go out and play it.” Where might James find that now or recruit that swiftly? Hard to say. There are asterisks and “buts” everywhere: * If he were to sign with the Houston Rockets, James would be hitching his star to Chris Paul, a buddy with an injury history that’s about the mirror opposite of his own. He would be teaming up with an elite coach in Mike D’Antoni, something he’s never had (though Miami’s Erik Spoelstra was just young and unproven, on his way to big things). But it also would require another big ask of James Harden, who had to adapt last summer to Paul’s arrival and need for the ball. * If James chooses the Lakers, he has the chance to hit reset with the league’s glitziest franchise, in a market that can meet his every off-court wish and where he and his family already own one or more ultra-comfortable homes. The Lakers have young talent to help James transition into a lower-usage veteran’s role, favored status as a destination team for other top free agents and the salary-cap space to get it done this summer with the likes of Paul George or his pal Paul. But that roster might not be capable of insta-contending, which could burn a season or two when James’ clock most definitely is clicking. * If it’s San Antonio, James could link up with the elite coach in Gregg Popovich, where the winning culture is in the DNA rather than some acquired taste. The Spurs have talent, particularly if Kawhi Leonard finds happiness again there. But they might not have enough to rattle the Warriors’ cage. And for all their professed admiration, James and Popovich might both fare better by keeping their relationship long-distance vs. the 82-game grind. * If it’s Golden State? Perish the thought. The NBA might have to board up itself if competitive balance were capsized to that extent. And as Draymond Green shrewdly noted on Thursday (Friday, PHL time), if James climbed aboard, it likely would require him and several other Golden State teammates to be dispatched to parts unknown. * If James prefers to stay East, where the winning comes easier, he could pick Philadelphia. The Sixers have two foundational young stars at positions that matter most, center Joel Embiid and point guard Ben Simmons. But Simmons is a non-shooter at the moment, the antithesis of what makes a great complementary LeBron teammate. As for Embiid, James never has had to play off of and service a top center. And Philly might feel like a basketball-only move, with the hungriest and most demanding of any new fan base he would embrace. * If it’s Miami – wait, could it be Miami? Could he go second-home again? The Heat always strive to be competitive and offer a talent base deep enough for the East and lots of familiarity. But they also have players such as Hassan Whiteside and Dion Waiters whose mental approaches don’t seem to fit the model James was cooing about in Golden State and with the Tim Duncan-era Spurs. * That brings us to Cleveland, where it’s possible James might choose to remain. Staying with the Cavaliers, after leading them to four Finals and that heady 2016 title, would be the easiest choice as far as pressure to win. He owes these fans nothing anymore – in fact, had the bargain been offered to them in 2010 (“LeBron will leave and win elsewhere for four years, but will come back and deliver a championship and four Finals trips”), most would have grabbed it. Here, James and the fans who have watched him even through the interruption develop from ridiculously touted high schooler to one of the world’s most famous athletes could grow older together. Then he could partner up and buy the team from owner Dan Gilbert for a long-term future. Certainly, staying has a certain place in his and the rest of the James clan’s hearts. “The one thing that I've always done is considered, obviously, my family,” he said at series end Friday (Saturday, PHL time). “Understanding especially where my boys are at this point in their age. They were a lot younger the last time I made a decision like this four years ago. I've got a teenage boy, a pre-teen and a little girl that wasn't around as well. So sitting down and considering everything, my family is a huge part of whatever I'll decide to do in my career, and it will continue to be that.” It’s worth noting that as James contemplates his options as a modern pursuer of championship excellence, the prospect of him moving again qualifies at some level as a failure. Not just by the support system in Cleveland, where he and Gilbert have their friction and James gets snidely mentioned as the team’s unofficial GM and head coach, but by him too. He’s the one who went off to seek his “college education” in south Florida in what it takes to win, whether on the court, in the front office or in and around the seams 365 days a year, straight out of the Pat Riley handbook. The teams about which James talks so glowingly in Oakland now and in San Antonio then have cultures he covets, stability up and down the flowchart he craves. In Cleveland, for a variety of reasons, his team has been incapable of establishing and maintaining that to a lasting degree. He is part of that missed opportunity and he has to own it, no matter if he goes or stays. James is inseparable from the dynamic of the Cavaliers’ ever-changing and often melodramatic roster maneuvers. Spending big, swapping out draft picks to import current stars and supporting players, and overvaluing secondary guys like Smith and Tristan Thompson are risks the Warriors and the Spurs largely avoided thanks to shrew drafting and laudable continuity. The Cavs’ scrap heap, by contrast, is high with traded picks, scuttled plans, panic deals, short-term patches and folks such as former coach David Blatt and former GM David Griffin. And maybe James could have nurtured a little better relationship with All-Star point guard and 2016 title sidekick Kyrie Irving, enough to have kept Irving from bailing on them all with his trade demand last summer. Now he’s on the verge of casting about again, prioritizing what matters most for however long he continues to play. James is more at peace with it than he was before, particularly in 2010, and surely can enjoy the leverage he wields and the riches it delivers. But there is a burden there as well, one that could be seen as completing a circle. So many of the NBA’s greatest stars have been stuck playing and living in the Age of LeBron, right? Their paths to the Finals blocked, on one whole side of the league, by him and his? Well, LeBron James is stuck now in the Era of the Warriors, freshly swept and anxious to close the gap. What goes around comes around, though the key more pressing of the big W’s now is, where? 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 11th, 2018

PBA: Ginebra, Blackwater battle for elusive first win

Only one between Brgy. Ginebra and Blackwater will remain winless in the 2018 PBA Commissioner's Cup after Friday. The Gin Kings (0-2) and the Elite (0-4) dispute that elusive first win in the mid-season joust in the main game at the Alonte Sports Arena as the PBA goes for a rare weekday out-of-town game. Blackwater has been free-falling in the Commissioner's Cup, losing four straight, even firing head coach Leo Isaac in the middle of this current losing skid. Meanwhile, Ginebra has failed to get its groove so far as the Gin Kings continue to deal with injuries in their front court. Tip off will be at 7:00 p.m. from Laguna. In the opening game at 4:30 p.m., Phoenix (2-1) goes for back-to-back victories vs. the NLEX Road Warriors (0-3), the third team with no wins so far in the conference.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 10th, 2018

Ginebra survies ROS in triple OT in early playoff preview

In the wildest game of the season so far, Brgy. Ginebra walked away with a win to remember in the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup. The Gin Kings needed 63 minutes to dispose Rain or Shine, taking a tough 100-92 decision in triple overtime Friday at the Big Dome. After Ginebra gave up the first three points of the third overtime, the Gin Kings went on a closing run behind the clutch baskets of Sol Mercado and Jervy Cruz to seal the win. Mercado drilled a tough layup to push Ginebra ahead, 94-92, and after ROS missed four straight free throws in the final 90 seconds, Cruz buried a mid-range J for a four-point lead with 34 seconds to go. Rain or Shine could have ended the game in the second overtime but Raymond Almazan failed to complete an alley-oop play in the final 2.2 seconds. Maverick Ahanmisi also missed the follow up. The Elasto Painters also had the final crack at the basket in regulation and in the first overtime but failed to convert each time. Beau Belga missed a mid-range J and Almazan missed the putback in regulation and Belga also missed a wide-open three at the end of the first overtime session. "This is the first good thing that happened to us all whole conference long -- winning tonight's game -- and it took us triple overtime to do it against a team that's really didn't have much to play for," head coach Tim Cone said. Japeth Aguilar was the high man for the Gin Kings, going for 30 points and 17 rebounds in 51 minutes of play. LA Tenorio added 20 in just under 57 minutes of action while Joe Devance dropped 15 points, 13 rebounds, and seven assists with 49 and a half minutes. Scottie Thompson had a 10-point, 17-rebound double-double in almost 40 minutes. Mercado ended up with 10 points and Cruz was good for six, four in the third overtime. As for ROS, Belga finished with 17 points while Gabe Norwood, the lone Elasto Painter to break the 50-minute mark, finished with 13 points. The loss didn't do much for the Elasto Painters as they already qualified for the playoffs. However, their loss enabled Ginebra to take over the no. 4 spot. Regardless of the result, Rain or Shine and Ginebra will meet in the best-of-3 quarterfinals anyway as the 4th-5th seeds. The Ginebra win also sealed the playoff for 8th between TNT and Phoenix, eliminating Blackwater in the process. If ROS had won, the playoff for 8th would have been between the Gin Kings and the Elite and it was the KaTropa that be dropped.   The Scores: Ginebra 100 - J. Aguilar 30, Tenorio 20, Devance 15, Mercado 10, Thompson 10, Cruz 6, Mariano 3, Caguioa 3, Ferrer 3, R. Aguilar 0. Rain or Shine 92 - Belga 17, Norwood 13, Ahanmisi 11, Daquioag 11, Washington 9, Almazan 8, Trollano 8, Borboran 6,  Ponferada 4,Nambatac 3, Maiquez 2,Matias 0. Quarter scores: 26-20, 46-34, 67-62, 80-80, 85-85 (OT1), 87-87 (OT2), 100-92 (OT3)   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 2nd, 2018

Hotshots go for solo first against struggling Elite

Before its sister act against San Miguel, Magnolia looks to actually take over first place first as the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup continues Friday at the MOA Arena. At 5-1, the Hotshots are tied with the defending champion Beermen for the lead at the halfway point of the season-opening joust. And in the opening game at 4:30 p.m. against Blackwater (2-4), Magnolia hopes to regain solo first before taking on San Miguel two days later. Meanwhile, the Elite should have none of that as the team is out to finally register its first win since taking down Ginebra a couple of weeks ago. After that signature win over the Gin Kings, Blackwater has lost three straight games. In the second showdown at 7:00 p.m., Meralco (2-4) will do battle against Rain or Shine (3-3).   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 2nd, 2018

Aces pound Gin Kings

Banking on a big third quarter, the Aces bombarded the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings from inside and out to score a 97-83 victory on Sunday night in the PBA Philippine Cup at Ynares Center in Antipolo, signaling the return to form of the traditional powerhouse that lingered in mediocrity the past two conferences. It was the third straight win after two losses for the Aces, who made the most out of the Gin Kings' lack in size to book the most impressive win of their run that coach Alex Compton hopes would open the gates for their return to the list of elite teams. "There's a small person in Greg Slaughter who didn't play and I think he would have had an impact in this game," Compton said...Keep on reading: Aces pound Gin Kings.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJan 21st, 2018

Atlanta Hawks get in sync at new practice facility

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com ATLANTA -- The pregnant check written by Hawks owner Tony Ressler for the team’s glossy new 90,000 square foot training center didn’t concern him as much as the more numerous, smaller ones. As in: Double practice courts? Check. Outdoor swimming pool? Check. Grilling area and on-site gourmet chefs? Check. Video game consoles and a fleet of flat-screen TVs? Check and double check. Still, Ressler and the folks at Emory Healthcare, which teamed with the Hawks to blueprint the place, wanted more for the $50 million. And so they checked off another amenity: An East Coast hub of a California sports science lab that developed a cult following among a number of players and over half the league’s teams. Peak Performance Project carted computers, high-tech gadgets and cutting edge fitness equipment from its Santa Barbara headquarters to set up shop in Atlanta. The company, or P3, helped the Hawks raise the bar in what’s become a practice facility building boom in the NBA, where the Bulls, Sixers, Nets, Kings and Raptors all recently moved into or building swanky centers that could double as country clubs. Yes, the gourmet meals, hydrotherapy pools and theater seating is quite a refreshing change from the prehistoric places in which teams trained before. The Hawks’ old setup was inside Philips Arena, where ironically players had to climb stairs to reach the Stairmaster machines and had the disadvantage of only one practice court. Perhaps the Ground Zero of practice centers, however, was used by the Nets some 20 years ago in New Jersey. They shared a gym, weight room and a locker room with pot-bellied drivers from the owner’s trucking company. Yes, Derrick Coleman sometimes showered next to Fred from Bayonne. Not only have facilities come a long way — the Nets now train on the Brooklyn waterfront with a panoramic view of Lower Manhattan — so has sports science and how it’s being embraced as a necessary part of the game. Ten years ago nobody in the NBA had their bodies poked by scientists or 'scoped by modern technology to learn more about the way those bodies function. Then P3 came along and quickly became the gold standard of technology and sports and a go-to place in the offseason for players looking for an edge. If the NBA All-Star Game draws the biggest collection of talent around the league during the year, then an athletic science lab in Santa Barbara might be next. Damian Lillard, Karl-Anthony Towns, Rudy Gobert, Zach LaVine, Andre Drummond and Kyle Korver are just some of those seduced by science. P3 collects data through assessments of a player’s body and his high velocity movements to identify his physical strengths and weaknesses, raise red flags for areas that could be prone to potential injury, and give him and his team information to help improve performance. There’s also training sessions designed to prevent injuries and enhance the muscles and movements needed to reach potential, an elite athlete optimization that’s suddenly vital to careers. “Their assessments and the data they collect are so valuable to helping you understand what needs to be done,” said Korver. “No question it was so important for my career.” In a section of the Hawks facility used exclusively for P3, there’s a straight running track, some free weights, and hi-tech treadmills. It looks simple, and in a sense, it is, although the science and technology sets it apart and makes it unique. The center can test and train 12 to 15 athletes at a time over a two-hour period. Thousands of athletes from various Olympic, amateur and pro sports have been through the doors in Santa Barbara. No athlete can train without an assessment first. Once the data is received, then a workout conducted by bio-mechanists and performance specialists and tailored specifically for that athlete, based on the results. There’s no one-size-fits-all philosophy at P3. “It’s all individualized,” said Adam Hewitt, the director of operations at P3. “All bodies are different. You can have two guys the same size and have completely different systems. One might have flexibility in his lower, but the other doesn’t. Our thought is, how do we make the athlete better using this technology?” Hewitt said this process is light years ahead of what athletes and teams did just a few years ago, mainly because science and technology is evolving and P3 is trying to stay ahead of the curve. “Others aren’t using bio-technology to assess their athletes,” he said. “We’re showing the value that we can offer. We’ve invested so much and for so long.” P3 looks at the bodies in motion with the help of motion-capture technology similar to those used in video games. The images and information allow P3 to craft workouts to strengthen limbs and also to avoid injury. Just as NBA teams have spent millions building new practice facilities and hiring nutritionists and massage therapists, Elliott thinks it’s wise they make an investment in science. “There’s a revolution going on in sports science and athlete care,” he said. “I think it was overdue in professional sports. Your average sprinter or speed skater has more science data in his physical development and he’s working a part time job at a restaurant to make ends meet. He has more resources going for him than someone you’re paying $20 million a year. That made no sense to me. Contracts are too big and players are too important to take anything to chance. There’s a lot to lose. Even if you don’t understand it all, why wouldn’t you at least want the information on the table? If you don’t have all the information then is hard to play the probability game. You’re making bets on big contracts and on players being able to perform and stay healthy.” The use of force plates to measure explosiveness while jumping is of great use for NBA players and why P3 has growing influence on most of the league. “The NBA is leading our pro sports leagues,” Elliott said. “As a league, they should be proud. The other leagues are trying to copy them. The NFL is trying to catch up, baseball, hockey, teams are starting to hire smarter people and investing more in their performance sports science staffs. A lot has changed. I feel the biggest thing is we’ve been so invested in getting insight into the data. “There’s people in academics asking questions, and people in sport are trying to do the best they can. Rarely do they come together. Our motto is bringing these together. It’s super exciting to see. At the risk of sounding pompous I’d say I’m proud of it. I know the NBA is happy because they can see the bar’s being raised.” The P3 in Atlanta will operate same as usual, with no advertising, just word of mouth and a growing number of clients. The lab anticipates helping NBA players improve their ankle and hip mobility and put them in better position to succeed through science. “It’s about turning it back to advantages to the athlete,” Elliott said. “These guys are super unique.” 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 NewsDec 16th, 2017

Kings eye playoffs vs souped-up Elite

MANILA, Philippines — Barangay Ginebra tries to formalize its entry into the playoff stage of the PBA Governors Cup, gunning for a seventh straight win versu.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsSep 8th, 2017

PBA: Meralco destroys Blackwater for third straight win

Meralco left a trail of destruction and on its path was Blackwater after a 102-75 dismantling in the PBA Commissioner's Cup Friday at Mall of Asia Arena. The Bolts muscled their way to their third straight win and to a 6-2 record, and a spot in the quarterfinals, while the bottom-dwelling Elite are at a miserable 1-9 card with one more game left in their schedule. Anjo Caram, who scored eight points in the second quarter, sparked Meralco's blistering 29-7 run in the period while Baser Amer capped it off with a three-pointer with less than a second remaining to punctuate the half and put the Bolts up 59-30. Bolts head coach Norman Black knew they had to win against the Elite,...Keep on reading: PBA: Meralco destroys Blackwater for third straight win.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJun 15th, 2018

Football: Azkals fighting for redemption, recognition in upcoming tournaments

As important as the first quarter of 2018 was for the Philippine Azkals, the coming months are definitely even more crucial. With the introduction of former England skipper Terry Butcher as the national team’s new head coach, the road to redemption and recognition begins. "The next 12 months is huge for Philippine football. If we can have success in the Suzuki Cup and the Asian Cup, that will be huge strides in the development of football here in the Philippines." said Azkals skipper Phil Younghusband. Redemption is the goal for the upcoming 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup, which kicks off in November. The last time that the Azkals participated in the biennial Southeast Asian tournament, it was definitely one to forget. For the first time since 2008, the Philippines failed to qualify for the Suzuki Cup semifinals, snapping a streak of three straight Final Four appearances. This year, the Azkals once again find themselves grouped with Thailand, Indonesia, and Singapore, just like in 2016. “We have the same group as in the 2016 Suzuki Cup, so it’s a chance for us to redeem ourselves and do better.” said Azkals team manager Dan Palami.      “[It's] the same draw we had two years ago when we didn’t qualify,” said Younghusband. “We know it will be tough and it’s a challenge for us.” The Fil-British striker added that in order to establish themselves as a force to reckon with in Southeast Asian football, teams like Thailand and Indonesia, and Singapore are ones that they need to take care of. “If we want to continue to help the growth of Philippine football, these are teams we will have to play and win against.” A successful AFF Suzuki Cup campaign will also definitely give the Azkals the much-needed momentum as they begin their AFC Asian Cup campaign, their first in team history. On the biggest stage that they’ve been on, their goal is to be recognized as a legitimate contender in Asian football. “The Asian Cup draw is a difficult group, but there are other groups that are more tough. It will be great to get the experience of playing a World Cup side to see what level we are at.” Younghusband said. In the Asian Cup, which kicks off in January of 2019, the Azkals find themselves grouped with South Korea, China, and Kyrgyzstan. All three teams are ranked higher than the Philippines. And while it’s bound to be an uphill battle for the Azkals, Younghusband is hopeful that they can come up with some surprises. “China will be very difficult, but we played them last year so we know what to expect. I would rather play a team we have played before. Kyrgyzstan, we played twice recently and had good victories so it should be interesting. Hopefully, we can claim a best third spot or even surprise a few people and claim second spot.”  Much like the captain, Palami acknowledges that the Asian Cup will indeed be a tough go, but going through tough opponents is the only way for the Azkals to prove themselves among Asia’s elite, and that’s what Palami wants to see from the Pinoy side. “For the Asian Cup, it will be a tough group, but I think if we do it right, we can pull off one of the biggest surprises in the tournament, and that’s what we aim to do.” “We don’t want to be mere participants, but we want to be true competitors in the Asian Cup.” Palami added......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 14th, 2018

Dub Dynasty: Warriors sweep Cavs for second straight title

By Tom Withers, Associated Press CLEVELAND (AP) — Golden State. Golden still. Stephen Curry scored 37 points, NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant added 20 and a triple-double and the Warriors stamped themselves a dynasty after winning their second straight title and third in four years Friday night (Saturday, PHL time), 108-85 over the Cleveland Cavaliers to complete a sweep and perhaps drive LeBron James from his home again to chase championships. Overcoming obstacles all season long, the Warriors were not going to be denied and won the fourth straight finals matchup against Cleveland with ease. "This is so hard to do and doing it three out of four years is incredible," guard Klay Thompson said. It was the first sweep in the NBA Finals since 2007, when James was dismissed by a powerful San Antonio team in his first one. His eighth straight appearance didn't go well either, and now there's uncertainty where the superstar will play next. James finished with 23 points and spent the final minutes on the bench, contemplating what went wrong and maybe his next move. Act IV between the Warriors and Cavs featured a drama-filled and controversial Game 1. But from there on, Durant, Curry, Thompson, Draymond Green and the rest of this California crew showed why they're the game's gold standard. And they may stay that way. "Can't get enough of this feeling so we're going to celebrate it together," Curry said. Not wanting to give the Cavs or their fans any hope despite the fact that no team has ever overcome a 3-0 deficit in the NBA playoffs, the Warriors built a nine-point halftime lead when Curry ignored a closeout by James and dropped a three-pointer. Then the league's best team tightened the screws on Cleveland in the third quarter, outscoring the Cavs 25-13 and prompting Golden State fans to begin those drawn-out "War-eee-orrss" chants that provide a perfect musical accompaniment to their three-point barrages. By the start of the fourth quarter, the only question was whether Curry would win his first NBA Finals MVP or if it would go to Durant for the second year in a row. And again, it was Durant, who added 12 rebounds and 10 assists — more satisfaction and validation for a player who couldn't beat the Warriors so he joined them. After surviving a rougher-than-usual regular season and beating top-seeded Houston in Game 7 on the road in the Western Conference finals, the Warriors withstood an overtime scare in Game 1 and joined an elite group of teams to win multiple championships in a four-year span. Only Bill Russell's Boston Celtics, the "Showtime" Lakers and the Los Angeles squad led by Kobe and Shaq, and Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls have been as dominant in such a short period of time. The Dub Dynasty. The path to this title was more precarious than the first two for coach Steve Kerr and the Warriors, who overcame injuries, expectations, a built-to-dethrone-them Rockets team and the brilliance of James, who scored 51 points in the series opener and carried a Cavs team from the beginning of their rollercoaster season until the end. It may have been the final game in Cleveland for the 33-year-old, who is expected to opt out of his $35.6 million contract for 2019 next month and become a free agent. James was pulled from the game with 4:03 left, and he slapped hands with the Warriors before heading to the bench. He plopped down in a chair and draped a towel over his broad shoulders, looking like a boxer on a corner stool. James averaged 34 points, 8.5 rebounds and 10 assists in the series, but as has been the case in the past, he didn't have enough help. Another Summer of LeBron is officially underway and there are already teams stretching from Philadelphia to Los Angeles hoping to land the three-time champion, who may have to go elsewhere to put together a cast strong enough — and as James made clear this week, smart enough — to bring down the Warriors. Right now, the Warriors are on another tier and with Durant expected to re-sign with them in weeks and Curry, Thompson, Green and the rest still young and hungry, their reign could last much longer. Heading into the playoffs, the Warriors appeared vulnerable. There were lingering questions about Curry's sprained left knee that sidelined him for almost six weeks and kept him out of Golden State's first-round series against San Antonio. Kerr was forced to mix and match lineups, and it became obvious the Warriors weren't going to go 16-1 and storm their way to a title like they did in 2017, when their only postseason loss came in Game 4 after the Cavs made 24 three-pointers. Kerr used 27 different starting lineups during the regular season, which ended with a head-scratching 40-point loss to Utah. The Warriors began defense of their title as a No. 2 seed and their season was in serious jeopardy when they fell behind 3-2 to presumptive MVP James Harden and the Rockets. But Golden State, catching a break when Houston star guard Chris Paul was forced to sit with a hamstring injury, showed a champion's poise by winning two straight. That set up another reunion with James and the Cavs. Maybe the last. TIP-INS Warriors: Curry made a three-pointer in his record 90th consecutive postseason game and extended his mark for three's in road playoff games to 44. ... Green is the only visiting player to post a triple-double in the playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena, doing so in Game 6 of the 2015 finals. ... Became the ninth team to sweep a finals and first to win consecutive titles since James did it with Miami in 2012 and 2013. ... Golden State has won a road game in 19 straight playoff series, tying the Heat's NBA record. ... With his 43-point performance in Game 3, Durant joined Jordan and Shaquille O'Neal as the only players to score at least 25 points in their first 13 finals games. Cavaliers: Appeared in its 26th NBA Finals game, moving past Atlanta/St. Louis into 10th place all-time. ... James averaged 34 points in his 13th postseason, his second-highest total. BROWN OUT Longtime network broadcaster Hubie Brown injured his knee while sitting courtside preparing before the game. He was treated by a medical staff on site and taken to the hospital. The 84-year-old Brown was replaced on the radio broadcast by Jon Barry. Brown was working his 17th NBA Finals......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 9th, 2018

ONE Championship: Kevin Belingon vs. Martin Nguyen for interim bantamweight title set for Manila in July

ONE Championship’s July card in Manila will be getting a big-time main event, as Team Lakay knockout artist and top bantamweight contender Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon will be taking on reigning ONE Championship Featherweight and Flyweight World Champion Martin ‘The Situ-Asian’ Nguyen for the Interim ONE Championship Bantamweight World Champion. ONE Championship CEO and Chairman Chatri Sityodtong made the announcement on his Facebook page, Thursday afternoon.  Currently riding a five-fight winning streak, Baguio City’s Belingon (18-5) is considered by many as the number one contender to the ONE Championship Bantamweight World Title, currently held by Brazilian submission specialist Bibiano Fernandes. After losing to Fernandes back in 2016, Belingon clawed his way back into the title picture by going on an impressive winning run including dominant stoppage wins over Toni Tauru and former title contenders Reece McLaren and Andrew Leone. A win over Nguyen will finally give Belingon the ONE title that he’s longed for, as well as securing his spot once again as the next to challenge Fernandes, ONE Championship’s longest-reigning world champion. (READ ALSO: With title shot in mind, Kevin Belingon says Martin Nguyen can wait.) Following a successful defense of his featherweight crown against Christian Lee, the 11-2 Nguyen drops back down to bantamweight and will try to get another chance at becoming a three-division world champion. After capturing the featherweight and lightweight belts back in 2017, Nguyen kicked off 2018 with a title shot against Fernandes in Bangkok, Thailand. While Nguyen pushed the champion to the limit, at the end of five rounds, Fernandes once again reigned supreme as he defended his bantamweight title for a record seventh straight time. Roughly two months removed from his last bout, Nguyen jumps back straight into the title picture to challenge Belingon for the number one contender spot. The Belingon-Nguyen blockbuster bantamweight title bout will serve as the headliner for ONE Championship’s third of four trips to Manila in 2018. As announced by Sityodtong, the card will also feature MMA legends Renzo Gracie and Yuki Kondo in a retirement match, as well as former champion Shinya Aoki taking on Thai star Shannon Wiratchai.  Former ONE Championship Lightweight world champion and Filipino MMA star Eduard Folayang has also been announced for the card.  ONE Championship: Reign of Kings will Friday, July 27th at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 7th, 2018

Despite slim chances, Blackwater not bowing out just yet

Blackwater coach Bong Ramos felt relieved after his team finally broke through for its first win in the 2018 PBA Commissioner's Cup. But despite that, Ramos already appeared resigned to the idea that the Elite are no longer in play for a playoff spot after digging themselves a deep hole with seven straight losses to open the conference. "I know we're now uninvited guests but I believe we're still here and unlike others, we're not here to just be on vacation," Ramos told reporters in Filipino after a 86-84 squeaker over Magnolia on Wednesday. JP Erram, import Henry Walker and the rest of the Elite, however, aren't planning to coast through their last three games. "We're go...Keep on reading: Despite slim chances, Blackwater not bowing out just yet.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJun 6th, 2018

San Miguel picks up momentum, sends Ginebra to 5th loss

San Miguel continued to build momentum after its disastrous start as it scraped past Barangay Ginebra, 104-97, in overtime in the PBA Commissioner's Cup Sunday at Mall of Asia Arena. The Beermen started the conference on a 0-3 spiral but has since won two straight to get to a 2-3 card while the Gin Kings lost back-to-back games and slipped to 1-5 to stay at the 11th seed. Reigning four-time MVP June Mar Fajardo found the lucky bounce in his turnaround jumper over Greg Slaughter to tie the game at 93-93 with 1.1 seconds left in regulation. MVP PLAY! June Mar ties it! 93-93 0.6 seconds left! #PBA2018 pic.twitter.com/lH7Az4iSIP --- Bong Lozada (@BLozadaINQ) June 3, 2018 R...Keep on reading: San Miguel picks up momentum, sends Ginebra to 5th loss.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJun 3rd, 2018

Thompson, Warriors force inevitable Game 7

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com OAKLAND, Calif. -- The final game of the Western Conference season will tip on the last Monday in May (Tuesday, PHL time) at the Toyota Center in Houston, as it should. This is the route the GPS mapped out back in October and never had any reason to recalculate from since. Warriors at Rockets in a winner-take-all. Never in doubt, no? A pair of championship-quality teams will go 48 minutes and the previous six games in this series tells us to expect a tense jump ball-to-buzzer affair. With or without Chris Paul. Paul’s inflamed right hamstring is a significant flaw, no question, yet the Rockets do have home-court advantage and will hear a crazed crowd trying to fill the void with noise if as expected Paul misses a second straight game. The Rockets didn’t have their point guard and spiritual leader Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) and still sent an early chill through the defending champions on enemy soil, going up 17 after the first quarter and 10 at halftime. Oracle Arena and the Warriors were confused. Then Game 6 flipped suddenly and drastically in the second half, as the Warriors rolled to a 115-86 victory. and here we are. Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni: “We got what we want, a seventh game on our home court, now it’s up to us to go get it.” Warriors guard Klay Thompson said: “I feel like we’re the best team in the world.” The Rockets constructed this team specifically to challenge and beat the Warriors. Meanwhile, the Warriors paced themselves through the regular season partly to conserve their attention and energy for Houston, which has Golden State’s attention like no team before in the West playoffs. Both are causing each other irritating problems. The Rockets’ defense with its switching and hand-in-the-face pressure is forcing Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry to work hard for their shots. The Warriors’ ability to thrive even if not all four of their All-Stars are clicking is testing Houston’s limits; such was the case in Game 6 when Thompson, the No. 3 Guy, broke loose for 35 points with nine threes. That’s what makes the Warriors tough to erase: They don’t need to be perfect, and good for them, because they haven’t been in this series, with the exception of their 41-point victory in Game 3. About Thompson: He was locked in, emotionally and physically, popping off screens, catching and shooting, creating space to get good looks and punching the air after big three's. The energy and the shots saved the Warriors from a lackluster and potentially deadly start. Thompson stayed in rhythm most of the night while Curry (29 points) and Durant (23) went through off-and-on cold stretches and afterward joked how he was “born” for this. “Man, that felt good, to be honest,” Thompson said. “I just wanted to play with as much passion as I could. I probably sounded more vocal than I am.” There was a natural link to the last time Thompson was this splashy in a Game 6 elimination game, two summers ago when he dropped 41 on Oklahoma City to trigger a comeback from 3-1 down. Durant was on the wrong side of that performance. “Please don’t go there,” begged Durant, bowing his head. “Next question.” Mindful of what happened right after that series -- the Warriors would blow a 3-1 lead of their own to Cleveland -- Curry said: “I think we both blocked that whole year out of our memory.” Actually, that volcanic performance by Thompson helped convince Durant to leave Oklahoma City, which led to last year’s championship and helped build a solid case for the Warriors to repeat next month. Thompson’s latest piece of work helped awaken the Warriors from being trapped in an extended state of stun, courtesy of how fierce the Rockets came at them right from the start. The Houston lead grew to double digits within minutes and stayed that way through the break. This was further evidence that the Rockets, in this game and actually for the series so far, refuse to concede anything and believe this West title is realistic even with Paul’s status uncertain. “I saw a lot of things that I liked,” said D’Antoni, “and I think we’re in a good position.” Eric Gordon, a strong candidate to win the Kia NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award, started in place of Paul and was a concern for the Warriors, drilling deep shots and scoring 19 points. Also, Harden rediscovered his own touch from that distance; he’d missed 22 straight threes in this series but made four and scored 32 points. Houston missed Paul’s composure and steady point guard hand, which could be expected. The Rockets had 22 turnovers, with the Harden-Gordon backcourt combining for 14. The other issue for the Rockets was depth. With Gordon in the starting lineup, D’Antoni was forced to give minutes to Luc Mbah a Moute, still struggling after hurting his shoulder just prior to the playoffs. He wasn’t a factor and neither was the bench. Assuming Paul sits another game, the Rockets will undoubtedly need major scoring and playmaking from Harden, solid shotgun work from Gordon and at least two members of the support group -- Trevor Ariza, P.J. Tucker, Clint Capela -- to break loose in order to make Game 7 interesting. Remember, the Rockets have now gone four straight games without breaking 100 points, and Harden appeared beaten in the fourth quarter Saturday where he went scoreless. The Warriors are also dealing with a missing part, with Andre Iguodala’s inactive streak now at three. They’re crossing fingers whenever Kevon Looney, Jordan Bell and/or Nick Young are pressed to play more than 15 minutes. None of them have distinguished themselves since Iguodala suffered a bone bruise on his left knee in Game 3. So that’s the tale of the tape. Between now and tipoff, the Rockets’ therapy staff will work on Paul’s hamstring, hoping for some intervention from the Medical Gods. In the perfect basketball world, Paul and Iguodala would be fit to play; why should the finish of this series be deprived of them, of less than what it should be? Last fall, before training camp, Paul, Harden and Tucker vacationed in the Bahamas for one last moment of chill before preparations for a season of big expectations. Obviously, they talked shop. They set goals and their sights on the Warriors. Tucker asked Paul and Harden: Imagine if we get them on our court for a Game 7. They all nodded and agreed it would be a logical scenario to launch themselves into the NBA Finals. “Obviously we hope to have our starting point guard back,” Tucker said. “If not, we need to be ready.” The Warriors held no such pre-camp huddle -- champions have what others want -- yet knew that once the Rockets added Paul, Houston would be their toughest test since Durant signed up. Warriors vs. Rockets in a single-game elimination is the proper stage, then, to determine who reps the West in the NBA Finals. D’Antoni said: “It should be a great game.” Curry: “It should be fun. This is what you play for, to be in a situation where you’re one win away from going to The Finals. You’ve got to want it.” Truthfully, neither team would rather be in a winner-take-all. Sweeping would be vastly preferred. But the other part about what Curry said is definitely true: Who wants it? 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 NewsMay 27th, 2018

Gin Kings, Elite to bring back Brownlee, Walker

Barangay Ginebra and Blackwater are bringing back their old tested imports after the PBA All-Star break as they try to salvage their respective campaigns in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup and at the same make an early preparation for the next conference......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsMay 21st, 2018

PBA: Blackwater fails to take advantage of import-less TNT

If the Blackwater Elite were to take any advantage against any opponent, it would be the import-less TNT KaTropa. Unfortunately for the now 0-6 Elite, the well-oiled machine that is the KaTropa flexed their muscles and blew out their opponents, 120-101.  For coach Bong Ramos, facing their import-less opponents was more of an advantage for the veteran-laden team, as their engines seemed to hum better after ousting import Jeremy Tyler. "Mas maganda pa nga silang walang import kasi they are easy to ano, kabisado nila yung sistema, yung import nila, nawawala e di ba?" Ramos said after the game.  "Matatawag nila yung plays nila na ginagamit nila sa all-Filipino na hindi nila ginagamit, limitado because they are adjusting to their import." With their struggles, import Jarrid Famous didn't help the cause, only scoring 11 points on a two out of five shooting clip. Despite the loss against an import-less squad, Ramos admitted that there were various kinks left to be straightened, as they could not match the offensive schemes TNT exhibited, which is virtually an All-Filipino team. "Kaya kung titignan mo, merong time na okay kami. Pag-rotate ko, bigla kaming bumabagsak. Doon makikita mo, hindi kami fluid. Wala kaming, yun nga. Hindi kami consistent." With the looming All-Star week starting Monday, the Elite will get some well needed rest -- and time to enhance their plays.  Ramos will certainly make the team work for the entire week, as they continue to search for the elusive win.  Despite their winless record, they could still theoretically make the playoffs if they win five straight, but if not, the newly-installed mentor will have just to promise another thing.  "Kung wala naman, we will still continue to play hard. Kasi nag-aaral kami. Yun naman ang sinabi ko. It's ano e. Work in progress kami. Kung ano man ang gagawin namin ngayon, ano na yun, tuloy-tuloy na yun for next conference."   __     Follow this writer on Twitter, @philipptionary. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 18th, 2018

Liverpool into Champions League, Man City reaches 100 points

By Steve Douglas, Associated Press LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Liverpool qualified for the Champions League at the expense of Chelsea, Swansea was relegated, and champion Manchester City made it to 100 points as the loose ends were tied up on a typically high-scoring final day of the Premier League season on Sunday. It was also the end of an era in England's top flight, with Arsene Wenger taking charge of his final game as Arsenal manager after 22 seasons. He went out with a 1-0 win at Huddersfield. Liverpool only needed to draw with Brighton to secure another season in the Champions League, but manager Juergen Klopp fielded an attacking team and was rewarded with a 4-0 victory at Anfield. Mohamed Salah scored one of the goals, taking the Egyptian to a league-high 32 goals for the campaign — the most in a 38-game Premier League season. That meant Chelsea will not be playing in Europe's elite competition for the second season in three years. The London club finished fifth after a 3-0 loss at Newcastle, in what could prove to be Antonio Conte's last league game as manager. The final-day "miracle" that Swansea manager Carlos Carvalhal required didn't happen, with the Welsh club losing 2-1 to Stoke to end its seven-year stay in the league and ensure Southampton stayed up. Swansea had needed to win and Southampton to lose to Man City, with a 10-goal swing in goal difference. So it didn't matter that Southampton conceded late to lose 1-0 to City, although that did mean Pep Guardiola's side became the first team to post 100 points in a Premier League season. It is the latest milestone reached by City, which has also claimed the most total wins (32), goals (106), victories in a row (18) and away wins (16) in this record-breaking season. The 19-point margin to second place Manchester United is also a record, as is the goal difference of plus 79. Tottenham beat Leicester 5-4 in the highest-scoring game of the day to secure third place above Liverpool. United was already assured of second place before its 1-0 win over Watford, in Michael Carrick's final game for the club. ANOTHER TROPHY FOR SALAH Fittingly, it was Salah who guided Liverpool back into the Champions League and he ended a sun-kissed afternoon at Anfield lifting the Golden Boot for being the Premier League's top scorer this season. His 32-goal haul was two more than Harry Kane, the winner for the past two seasons. There were wonderful scenes soon after as Liverpool's fans cheered Salah's daughter, Makka, as she kicked about a ball on the field. Dejan Lovren added a second before Dominic Solanke and Andrew Robertson scored their first goals for Liverpool to complete a routine victory in its last match before playing the Champions League final against Real Madrid on May 26. Liverpool ended up in fourth place for the second straight season. Chelsea ended the season without even a whimper, and in the Europa League. Four days after drawing 1-1 at home, the deposed champions looked bedraggled in losing to Newcastle thanks to goals by Dwight Gayle and Ayoze Perez, who scored twice in the second half. SWANSEA DOWN Swansea fans channeled their anger toward chairman Huw Jenkins and the club's American majority shareholders, Steve Kaplan and Jason Levien, after the team's relegation was confirmed with a loss to a team that started the day in last place. Jenkins was conspicuous by his absence from his customary seat in the directors' box but that did not prevent Swansea supporters urging Jenkins to "get out of our club" from the first minute. Andy King's goal gave Swansea hope of an unlikely final-day comeback, but Badou Ndiaye and Peter Crouch scored to ensure already relegated Stoke would not end the season bottom. That position went to West Bromwich Albion, which lost 2-0 at Crystal Palace. WENGER'S FAREWELL In the 22nd minute, Huddersfield fans joined Arsenal supporters in rising to their feet inside the John Smith's Stadium to applaud Wenger in his 1,235th game in charge of the Gunners. A plane flew over the stadium, carrying the message "Merci Arsene, we will miss you too" in response to Wenger's goodbye speech last week at the Emirates Stadium. "I should have announced every week my goodbye," Wenger said, "because people have been so nice with me." Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was the final scorer of the Wenger era, sliding in to convert Aaron Ramsey's cross in the 38th minute for the only goal. Arsenal finished sixth in the Premier League — the lowest under Wenger, who will stay working. "Whether that is managing or not... I am addicted and I don't think that can be cured," Wenger said. CITY'S CENTURY City left it to virtually the last kick of its last match to reach the magical 100-point barrier. Gabriel Jesus, on as a substitute, found space to lift the ball over goalkeeper Alex McCarthy in the fourth minute of additional time, prompting wild celebrations among City's players. Pep Guardiola reacted to the team's 106th league goal of the season by leaping out of his seat in the dugout and punching the air. Jesus removed his shirt and twirled it in celebration in front of City's supporters. The players were still on the field 20 minutes after the final whistle. City will celebrate on the streets of Manchester on Monday with an open-top bus parade......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 13th, 2018

PBA: No revenge, just rejoicing for Paul Zamar in debut

BINAN, LAGUNA – Paul Zamar's dream came true on Friday at the Alonte Sports Arena here.  The now 30-year-old finally made his PBA debut in the 2018 Commissioner's Cup for Blackwater.  This, six years after he was drafted in the fourth round by Ginebra, but left unsigned.  As fate would have it, Zamar's first game in Asia's first pay-for-play league came up against the Gin Kings.  And at the 1:54 mark of the first quarter, he took the floor.  Right then and there, he had his first welcome to the PBA moment as it was league legend Mark Caguioa who approached him. Asked about it, he answered, "Sabi niya, 'Welcome to the PBA.' Sabi ko naman, 'Oo, ang tagal kong hinintay.'"  He then cotinued, "Surreal feeling for me."  Not that long after, he made good on his first PBA basket with a three at the 6:41 mark of the second quarter.  In the end, however, Ginebra came out on top of the Elite, 105-91.  And while his debut ended in a loss, the 5-foot-11 guard said he is nothing but glad that his PBA dream is now, at long last, a reality. "Okay naman. Enjoy naman, pero siyempre, gusto pa rin namin sana yung end result, panalo," he said.  Without a doubt, he took full advantage of each and every second he was on the floor, totaling 15 points built on four triples on top of six rebounds in 21 minutes of action. "Sa tingin ko, dapat ang attitude naman ng isang professional basketball player eh regardless (if) gamitin ka one minute or matagal, dapat ready ka," he said.  Of course, Zamar had an extra chip on his shoulder – up against the team where he should have begun his career with. "In general lang, excited ako to play in the PBA. Nagkataon lang na Ginebra lang first game," he said.  He then continued, "Sa akin, dream ko as a basketball player na makapaglaro sa PBA so I'm very excited. Bonus na lang na Ginebra yung kalaban."  Moving forward, he can rest assured that his debut is out of the way and he could focus on just getting better.  With that, the son of coach Boycie Zamar will have help once he gets home. "Hindi ko nga alam kung (nandito si coach Boycie), pero ang alam ko, kung 'di man siya nanood ng live, nanood siya sa TV. Looking forward sa comments niya sakin mamaya," he shared through chuckles.  Welcome to the PBA, Paul Zamar.  ---  Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 11th, 2018

PBA: Kevin Ferrer was open, so he made it rain

BINAN, LAGUNA --- With Ginebra finally playing one version of Triple Towers, someone was bound to get open on offense. Friday against Blackwater at the Alonte Sports Arena here, it was Kevin Ferrer. The former UST Growling Tiger made it count. Ferrer led the Gin Kings in scoring in a 105-91 win over the Elite, going for 21 points and connecting on five triples. For good measure, he also had five rebounds and three assists. "Sobrang open lang talaga ako," Ferrer said. "Tapos ine-encourage akong tumira ng tumira, shoot man o hindi, dun kasi darating yung kumpyansa," he added. After suffering back-to-back defeats to start the Commissioner's Cup, the Gin Kings as a whole should regain some of their swagger back after scoring an emphatic first win. "Syempre kailangan namin manalo ngayon, pag natalo kami sobrang hirap na umangat," Ferrer said. The return of Greg Slaughter only puts Ginebra in better position moving forward as well. It should also mean more shots for the Gin Kings' shooters. "Pag si Greg nakakatanggap sa loob, kami naka-set ng posisyon," Ferrer said. "Nakukuha namin rhythm namin sa labas."     --- Follow this writer on TWitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 11th, 2018