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PVL: Perlas Spikers part ways with Bright, bring in Chuewulim

After putting import Kia Bright on a leash the last time out, BanKo parted ways with the Americana and brought in Thai reinforcement Sutadta Chuewulim. The Thai national team member flew to Iloilo with the Perlas Spikers for their Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Reinforced Conference encounter with defending champion Creamline at the University of San Agustin gym on Saturday. Bright, who was in her second stint with the Perlas Spikers, saw limited minutes in BanKo’s 23-25, 11-25, 25-22, 20-25, defeat at the hands of league-leading PetroGazz last Wednesday. She only played in the first two sets, coming off the bench in the opening frame before starting in the next. Bright, who averaged 16.2 points in the tournament, scored only one point. BanKo declined to comment on the real score for Bright’s limited minutes, calling it a ‘coach and management decision’.       Chuewulim, who has played in the defunct V-League and the Philippine Superliga before, gives additional scoring punch for the Perlas Spikers and will bring more muscle to BanKo’s defense. Her all-around game fits the system of the Perlas Spikers and will complement the local crew led by Nicole Tiamzon, Kathy Bersola, Dzi Gervacio and Sue Roces.      BanKo is coming off a back-to-back loss for a 2-4 win-loss record and Chuewulim’s arrival could help the Perlas Spikers turn their campaign around.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 15th, 2019

PBA: The curious case of Alex Stepheson’s bum stomach part 2

Blackwater missed its “perfect” import Friday in the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup, going All-Filipino against San Miguel Beer. Alex Stepheson missed the Beermen game as he had to quickly fly back to the United States to have a developing stomach ailment checked out by his personal doctor. Without the hulking Stepheson, the Elite promptly took a beating at the hands of San Miguel, dropping to 5-2 following a loss. Fortunately, Stepheson’s absence should be a one-time occurence as he’s supposedly set to be back in Manila next week in time for Blackwater’s crucial game against Northport. “May health problems siya right now and he's being checked,” head coach Aris Dimaunahan said of Stepheson. “So hopefully, in the next coming days, he gets his health back and help the team again,” he added. Stepheson has some history dealing with stomach problems as it also bothered him during his first PBA stint with Meralco two years ago. [Related: The curious case of Alex Stepheson's bum stomach] A key piece in Blackwater’s current run in the Commissioner’s Cup, Dimaunahan is just hoping that his import can get his health and condition back up. “Hats off to the guy sa ganoon na condition niya he still played the way he did sa first six games namin, he’s still a monster,” Dimaunahan said. “Hopefully maging okay na siya and maka-balik siya rito to help our team,” he added. Stepheson remins Blackwater’s top priority as the team has not discussed possible back up plans just yet in case there’s a setback in Alex’s recovery. “As of now, wala pa kaming napagmi-meeting-an kasi all of a sudden yun eh. We still have to talk amongst ourselves kung anong magiging next plan namin,” Dimaunahan said. Stepheson is going for 22.1 points, 22 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks with the Elite this season.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 14th, 2019

PVL: Marami pa kaming kailangang i-improve -- Valdez

Creamline star Alyssa Valdez admitted that the defending champion Cool Smashers’ first round campaign in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Reinforced Conference had been pretty challenging. The star-studded Cool Smashers suffered a setback to open their title-defense and faced coaching changes and transition of systems early on.      “From the last two previous years playing here, I guess eto yung medyo may mga struggles sa una pa lang,” said Valdez, who powered Creamline to last year’s import-laden and Open Conference crowns. The Cool Smashers opened the conference with a straight sets loss at the hands of PetroGazz. Creamline management decided to sack Chinese coach Huanning Li after just one game.    Assistant coach Ed Ortega took over the helm before the Cool Smashers brought back former mentor Tai Bundit. “Maganda naman na struggles, maganda naman na problema which is mga pagpapalit, mga transitions, adjustments sa coaching staffsand everything,” said Valdez, who scored 16 points in Creamline’s 25-19, 25-18, 25-23, win over BaliPure to close the first round at second spot with a 4-1 win-loss slate. “That means, marami pa kaming kailangan i-improve as a team talaga,” added Valdez. “Lalong lalo na pataas at pataas rin ang laro ng mga kalaban namin.” Valdez said that Creamline is looking for a better showing come second round as the race for the Final Four intensifies. “Overall, hindi pa kami fully hundred percent as a team talaga. Looking forward for the second round and more time from Coach Tai to jell and have that chemistry back again,” she said. The Cool Smashers will take on BanKo to start the second round on Saturday in Iloilo City.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 12th, 2019

ONE Championship: Motivated Honorio Banario grateful for second chance in Grand Prix

Former ONE Featherweight World Champion Honorio “The Rock” Banario will be getting a second chance at glory when he returns to the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix to face Russian striker Timofey Nastyukhin in the tournament semifinals at ONE: Dawn of Heroes this coming August 2nd in Manila.   It was announced earlier this week that Banario would be stepping in for Hawaiian wrestler Lowen Tynanes, who had to pull out because of a back injury suffered in training, as per ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong.     It was actually Banario who Tynanes defeated in the tournament’s quarterfinals earlier this year to advance.   Now, the Team Lakay star gets another chance in the Grand Prix, and he’s nothing but grateful for the opportunity.   “I would like to thank ONE Championship for giving me another chance,” Banario told ABS-CBN Sports. “To sir Chatri, sir Matt Hume, sir Victor Cui, and the rest of the ONE staff. I am happy and I think I am luck to be back in the Grand Prix.”   It’s not often that second chances come by in tournaments like this, and Banario is making sure that he won’t be wasting the opportunity that is in front of him.   “My last performance was not good,” Banario admitted. “I was lacking explosiveness, speed, and power, so I am trying to improve on those areas for this second chance.”   Banario will be facing a proven lightweight contender in Nastyukhin, who earned his spot in the semifinals after a stunning first-round TKO against the heavily-favored Eddie Alvarez at ONE: A New Era in Tokyo back in March.   The heavy-handed Russian’s resumé reads like a who’s who in the lightweight division and among those he has wins over is none other than Banario’s stablemate and former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard Folayang.   “Timofey is a warrior,” Banario stated. “He has power in both his hands and he is a legit striker.”   “He is powerful and explosive, but I am looking for a way to exploit those traits,” he added.   This will be Banario’s first time back since his loss to Tynanes back in January. Since then, a lot has changed for “The Rock”, including getting married and now, he has a baby on the way.   With a family to provide for, Banario is now motivated and more determined than ever to succeed.   “Ngayon, it’s a very big motivation for me that I have my own family and that a baby is coming,” said Banario. “It is a source of my strength, unlike when I was single na sometimes tinatamad ay pwedeng huminto, pero ngayon, hangga’t kaya pa, I’m going to go forward.”   A win against Nastyukhin will send Banario into the Finals against Turkish knockout artist Saygid Guseyn Aralanaliev.   The winner of the tournament will be crowned the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix champion and will get a shot at the ONE Lightweight World Championship.   ONE: Dawn of Heroes will also feature a number of massive matchups, including a big-time lightweight bout between former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang of the Philippines and multiple-time lightweight world champion Eddie “The Underground King” Alvarez of the US, as well as Americian flyweight great Demetrious Johnson versus Japan’s Tatsumitsu Wada and Filipino up-and-comer Danny Kingad vs. former champion Kairat Akhmetov of Kazakhstan in the ONE Flyweight Grand Prix Semifinal matches.   The main event will be a ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Championship bout between champion Jonathan Haggerty of the United Kingdom and challenger Rodtang Jitmuangnon of Thailand.   ONE: Dawn of Heroes takes place on Friday, August 2 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Philippines.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 11th, 2019

Azkals draw in Guangzhou, U-22 team misses out on bronze in Merlion Cup

The Philippine Men's Senior National Football Team ended their training camp in Guangzhou, China with a 0-0 draw against Chinese League powerhouse Guangzhou Evergrande in a friendly practice match, Sunday afternoon.  The Azkals are coming off a 0-2 loss to the Chinese Men's National Team last Friday.  The match against Guangzhou Evergrande was played in three 30-minute periods and gave opportunity to training camp invitees to showcase their skills on the pitch against top-flight competition. The training camp in Guangzhou marked the start of the Azkals' preparations for the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, which begins in September.  The draw for the Asian qualifiers will be held in July.  Over in Singapore, the Philippine Under-22 selection missed out on taking home the Bronze Medal after suffering a 0-5 defeat at the hands of the Indonesian Under-23 squad at the Jalan Besar Stadium.  Muhammad Rafli was on fire for the Garuda Muda as he recorded a hat trick, with his first goal coming in the 6th minute.  It was in the second half that the Indonesian side really dominated, sparked by Rizky Dwi Febrianto's 47th-minute penalty conversion.  Rafli piled on as he found goals number two and three of his trifecta in the 60th and 67th minutes to make it a commanding 4-0 advantage.  Ansawi Bahar added the finishing touch in the 73rd minute to send the Indonesian side to a podium finish.  The Philippine side meanwhile will head home and head back to the drawing board as they prepare for their Southeast Asian Games bid this coming November. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 9th, 2019

No Garden upset: Golovkin knocks out Rolls in 4th round

BARRY WILNER (AP Sports Writer) NEW YORK (AP) -- Now that he has taken care of his return to the ring in typical Triple G fashion, Gennady Golovkin can look ahead. Well aware of the lesson Anthony Joshua learned in the same Madison Square Garden ring last weekend, Golovkin used a vicious left hand to prevent a second Garden shocker. In his first fight since his initial loss, last September to Canelo Alvarez, Golovkin knocked out Steve Rolls with 51 seconds remaining in the fourth round of their super middleweight fight Saturday night. There were no titles on the line, and Triple G ensured there was no stunner like Andy Ruiz Jr.'s upset of Joshua for four heavyweight belts. Golovkin looked slow and tentative, perhaps rusty from the layoff, until he began landing regularly in the fourth round. That massive left decked Rolls, who struggled to get up and clearly was in no condition to continue. Golovkin (39-1-1, 37 knockouts) previously had Rolls in trouble in the round thanks to a series of strong and quick combinations that looked like vintage Triple G. ''I love knockouts,'' Golovkin said. ''I love New York. ''It was a great night all around. I'm ready to come back in September and bring back the big drama show.'' That, of course, could be a third go-round with Alvarez, who owns the victory and the draw on Golovkin's record. Both are under contract to DAZN, which streamed Saturday night's bout, Golovkin's first without a championship involved since 2009, a span of 22 fights. Asked in the ring who he wanted to fight next, the Kazakh star smiled widely as the crowd of 12,357 cheered. ''We know who the fans want me to fight next,'' he said. Yes, perhaps, he can look to Alvarez-Golovkin III, probably the biggest money fight out there in a sport that could be filled with them over the next year. Promoter Tom Loeffler is relatively certain that's where the middleweight division is headed. ''I know DAZN signed Triple G to make the third fight, that would be the marquee fight of their lineup,'' Loeffler said. ''They are in the business of putting on the biggest fights. The Canelo fight is his biggest fight just as the Triple G fight is the biggest for Canelo. The fans are demanding they want to see a third fight. ''We will do everything on our side to make that fight. DAZN wants to make that fight. Both are bigger than whatever belts are around their waists. Those are mega-events.'' Rolls, a Canadian in his first bout at the Garden - Golovkin is 6-0 here - sustained his first defeat after 19 wins. He looked particularly adept in Round 2, when he was by far the busier and more accurate fighter. Still, two judges gave that round to Triple G. No matter. Golovkin found the range with both hands in the third round, and after that it looked like the Triple G who ruled the ring for nearly a decade until his two extremely close bouts with Alvarez. So no historic upset in a building that has seen so many of them. Unlike Joshua, who appeared to be looking ahead in the buildup to Ruiz and then took his first loss, Golovkin was focused only on Rolls, who at 35 is only two years younger than Golovkin and was stepping way up in class. Golovkin weighed 163 pounds in his first fight with trainer Johnathan Banks, who liked what he saw - particularly in the lopsided fourth round. ''It's always good to get a knockout,'' Banks said. ''We're going in the right direction.'' In the featured undercard bout, Ali Akhmedov, a rising star from Kazakhstan, stopped Marcus McDaniel in the third round with a series of hard rights that stunned the American. Akhmedov is now 15-0 with 11 knockouts and is someone to reckon with in the super middleweight division. It was the second fight for McDaniel since he was shot and injured in a drive-by shooting in his native New Orleans nine months ago. He had won his first 15......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 9th, 2019

Pacquiao on Fatherhood 101

Boxing icon Manny Pacquiao sat on a stool, his back barely touching the wall, as he taped his hands inside the narrow dressing room of the Elorde Gym in Pasay City......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJun 8th, 2019

Football: Philippine Azkals, U-22 squad suffer losses abroad

The Philippine Men's Senior National Team and the Under-22 Men's National Team both suffered defeats in respective matches overseas, Friday evening.  The Philippine Azkals, who are gearing up for the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifying Tournament, suffered a 2-0 loss at the hands of the China PR National Team at the Guangzhou Tianhe Stadium in Guangzhou, China.  Wu Xi was the first to score for the home side in the 13th minute, while Zhang Xizhe doubled the lead for China in the 53-minute mark.  The match against the Chinese National Team is the first of two matches for the Azkals in this training camp in China. They have a chance to bounce back in a practice match against a local club team on Sunday, June 9th in Guangdong.  The FIFA Qualifiers begin this coming September.  Over at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore, the Philippine U-22 selection absorbed a 3-0 beating at the hands of host nation Singapore in their 2019 Merlion Cup opening matchup.  Amiruldin Asraf opened the scoring for the Young Lions in the 26th minute, while Irfan Fandi doubled the lead in the 61st minute.  Substitute Ikhsan Fandi put the match on ice with a 66th-minute strike for the opening day win.  The U-22 squad will now meet Indonesia in the Bronze Medal match also on Sunday, June 9th. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 7th, 2019

Kyle Lowry shoved by fan after landing out of bounds

By Michael Wagaman, Associated Press OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — A fan seated courtside for Game 3 of the NBA Finals was ejected after shoving Kyle Lowry when the Toronto Raptors star crashed into a row of seats while trying to save a ball from going out of bounds on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time). Lowry scored 23 points and made several big shots in a 123-109 victory that gave the Raptors a 2-1 lead over Golden State. There was as much buzz about Lowry's dust-up with the fan as his offense. Lowry was visibly upset. "There's no place for that," Lowry said. "He had no reason to touch me. He had no reason to reach over two seats and then say some vulgar language to me. There's no place for people like that in our league." Early in the fourth quarter Lowry ran down a loose ball and jumped in the air as it was going out of bounds, not far from where Warriors owner Joe Lacob was sitting. Lowry knocked the ball into a referee and landed in the lap of one male fan who appeared to grab Lowry's jersey with two hands. A female who was standing nearby patted the veteran guard on his back. At the same time, a man wearing a blue shirt who was sitting down extended his left arm and gave Lowry a hard shove in his left shoulder. Lowry got up and complained to officials, although nothing further happened. He told The Associated Press the fan repeatedly cursed at him and said he had spoken to the NBA about the incident before leaving the arena. Warriors spokesman Raymond Ridder and security officials confirmed the fan who shoved Lowry was ejected and escorted from Oracle Arena. "Hopefully he never comes back to an NBA game," Lowry said. Lowry said the incident was not like the high-profile one that involved Oklahoma City star Russell Westbrook in Utah during the regular season, when the Thunder guard said a fan made racist remarks. "People who sit courtside, they might get in on the action," Lowry said. "Don't sit courtside if you don't want somebody touching you." The incident overshadowed a breakout game for Lowry. He scored 15 points in the first half to get the Raptors going and finished 8-of-16 from the floor with five three-pointers. Lowry also had nine assists and four rebounds. "He controls a lot of the pace for them," said Warriors guard Stephen Curry, who had a career playoff-high 47 points. "He made shots tonight. Tip your cap to him. He was willing to take them. Historically when he plays well in the playoffs they usually go." ___ AP Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds contributed to this report......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 6th, 2019

All s well that ends well for No. 1 Osaka at French Open

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press PARIS (AP) — Naomi Osaka screamed "Oh, my God!" after one shanked shot. Mouthed something and clasped her hands together, as if praying, after another. There were plenty of deep sighs and exaggerated eyerolls, too. The No. 1-seeded Osaka got off to a terrible start at the French Open again, never masking her frustration. After some slip-ups near the end, Osaka also prevailed again, displaying the grit and groundstrokes that just won't let her lose during what's become a 16-match Grand Slam winning streak. Osaka trailed by a set and a break Thursday against former No. 1 Victoria Azarenka in the second round at Roland Garros, before coming all the way back to win an entertaining matchup 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 and prolong her bid for a third consecutive major championship. "I have this mindset that I feel like I can win if it gets down to the wire. Like, if I have to break a person, I feel like I have the ability to do that," Osaka said. "So I probably shouldn't wait until the last minute." Probably. In the first round, Osaka not only dropped the opening set, but did so by a 6-0 score. This time, Osaka ceded the first four games against Azarenka and was responsible for their match's initial seven unforced errors. "Technically, like, she kind of killed me in the first set," Osaka said, "and I just kept trying to find a way to stay positive." Defending champion Simona Halep required that same sort of resolve to get through her own test, blowing a big lead in the second set and a trio of match points before holding on to beat 87th-ranked Magda Linette 6-4, 5-7, 6-3. Halep, who said afterward she felt a "little bit sick" and plans to "sleep all day tomorrow," was up a set and 5-3 in the second before dropping four games in a row and getting broken twice while serving for the match. Neither Osaka nor Halep managed to put on the sort of solid performance seen from Serena Williams — barely bothered during a 6-3, 6-2 victory over qualifier Kurumi Nara — or top-seeded man Novak Djokovic, also a straight-set winners. Azarenka sought to control points with deep, attacking strokes and by going after Osaka's backhand side. "I played very smart. I really played the right spots," Azarenka said. "I was doing everything that I was supposed to do. And, especially, moving well and pushing her back." Azarenka knows a thing or two about how to perform on the sport's biggest stages: She won two titles at the Australian Open, reached two finals at the U.S. Open and was a semifinalist at both Wimbledon and, back in 2013, the French Open. She is currently ranked 43rd, though, on account of missing time over the past few seasons while pregnant and then dealing with a custody issue involving her son. So what, in terms of talent and tenacity, could have passed for a late-in-the-proceedings showdown at a major was held, instead, in Week 1, with the temperature barely above 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15 Celsius) and the occasional raindrop. When Azarenka sprinted for a cross-court forehand winner that closed a 15-stroke exchange, she led 4-2 in the second set after 77 minutes. They would play for more than 1½ additional hours, and Azarenka certainly had opportunities to edge even farther ahead, such as when she had a break point to go up 5-2 and serve for the victory but netted a forehand. Or the three times she was one point from leading 5-3 but got broken there with her second double-fault of the game. It was Azarenka's serve that faltered down the stretch. It also was Osaka's top-notch returning that contributed to a key stretch in which she grabbed 9 of 11 games. "She has, obviously, a lot of confidence," Azarenka said. Which Osaka should, of course, given that she won the U.S. Open in September and the Australian Open in January and is trying to become the first woman in tennis history to collect her first three Slam trophies in a row. "She's very powerful. She's very explosive," Azarenka said. "Her shots are pretty heavy. She can hit both sides, pretty even. She has a big serve, and she's consistent. ... And proving that she deserves to be where she's at right now." All of which is true. And all of which made it fascinating, then, to hear Osaka describe her attitude going into the match. "Today I kind of felt like a challenger," she said. "Like, I know she went to the semis here before, so obviously she has a lot more experience here," said the 21-year-old Osaka, who has never been past the third round in Paris but is 9-1 on clay in 2019 after entering the season with a 9-11 mark on the slow surface. "She won Grand Slams and she was No. 1 way before I was. I'm still kind of new at this." New at it, maybe. Good at it, definitely......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 31st, 2019

Gatecrasher Tottenham takes on storied Liverpool in CL final

By Rob Harris, Associated Press MADRID (AP) — Familiar territory for Liverpool. So very unfamiliar for Tottenham. The second all-English Champions League final in history pits one of Europe's most successful clubs against a side unexpectedly gatecrashing the continent's elite. After losing last year's final to Real Madrid, Juergen Klopp's Liverpool has another shot at lifting the European Cup for a sixth time on Saturday. Tottenham doesn't get its hands on trophies often. The north London club is contesting a Champions League final for the first time, the culmination of an improbable run that has shaken the soccer establishment. "It is something that we have changed at the club," Tottenham playmaker Christian Eriksen said. "How people look at the club. How people think about us players at Spurs." Much has been made of Liverpool's 29-year domestic title drought — that came within a couple of points of ending three weeks ago — but Tottenham's stretches back exactly twice as long to 1961. Despite that, the club has made an unexpected march to the biggest game in club soccer without anything near the kind of lavish spending that clubs like Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain have thrown — unsuccessfully — toward the same pursuit. Manager Mauricio Pochettino hasn't even been able to sign a single player in the last two transfer windows — a first for a Premier League club — because of a frugal environment brought on by the club's recently completed $1 billion-plus new stadium. And yet he has just celebrated a fourth consecutive top-four finish in the Premier League by seeing off bigger spending rivals Arsenal and Manchester United. Qualifying for the Champions League is seen as an achievement alone for a club which has only reached four second-tier European finals, mostly recently winning the now-defunct UEFA Cup in 1984. Since Pochettino took charge in 2014, Tottenham's net spend on transfers is estimated to be less than 30 million pounds ($38 million). That is around a sixth of Liverpool's net spend over the last five years. "You can either take it that the manager has got full confidence in what he's worked with in the last two years, that he believes in you and doesn't want to bring in anyone to challenge for your position," Tottenham defender Danny Rose said before flying to Madrid. "Or you can take it that nobody wants to join Tottenham, the club hasn't been able to provide the funds to buy anyone." That's not the accusation leveled at Liverpool owner John Henry, who also runs the Boston Red Sox in MLB. Klopp's answer to losing last season's final was jettisoning blundering goalkeeper Loris Karius and — briefly — breaking the goalkeeping transfer record to sign Alisson Becker from Roma for $85 million. That final in Kiev was agony for Mohamed Salah, who was forced off in the opening half hour with a shoulder injury before Liverpool lost 3-1. The striker has struggled to live up to the 44 goals he scored last season, with a haul of 26 in all competitions in a front three alongside Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino. Now the target is preventing Liverpool falling to a third Champions League final loss since the club's last victory in 2005. "Everything feels better this time around," Salah said, "and we have more experience than the last time." That experience pushed Manchester City to the final day in the Premier League title race and amassed 97 points that would usually be enough to secure the crown. "If there was a prize for the biggest development in the last 12 months then it's going to the Reds, that's how it is," Klopp said. "The boys did a really amazing job, but we get that it's about winning competitions." Pochettino faces the same jibes as Klopp about his inability to land a trophy. Although Klopp did win the Bundesliga twice at Borussia Dortmund before joining Liverpool in 2015 — but also lost a Champions League final with Dortmund and a Europa League final with Liverpool. Pochettino, a former Argentina defender, is now in his third managerial role after Espanyol and Southampton, and still awaiting a winner's medal. Winning the biggest prize in Europe wouldn't be bad place to start for a manager so often linked with moves to bigger clubs. "We can provide our fans and our people and our family, of course, the best happiness in football that you can provide," Pochettino said. "I think today to talk about individual thing is a little bit embarrassing and ashamed because you know I think I am not important." But Pochettino has taken much of the credit for steering Tottenham to the final after collecting only one point from the opening three group stage games. Progress to the round of 16 was only secured thanks to a late equalizer by Lucas Moura at Barcelona in the group finale. Even after Harry Kane limped out of the quarterfinals first leg against Manchester City, Tottenham found a way to cope without its leading striker. Fernando Llorente's goal — and a favorable stoppage-time VAR denial of Raheem Sterling's strike — clinched a frenzied aggregate win at City. In the semifinals, Moura scored with almost the final kick of the second leg to complete a hat trick and overturn a 3-0 aggregate deficit. If Kane recovers from his ankle injury, Moura is likely to return to the bench. "No one expected us to be here at start of competition," Rose said. "No one expected us to be here after the quarters or the semis." Liverpool also pulled off an improbable semifinal result to see off Barcelona by recovering from 3-0 down. And form is on Klopp's side heading into Saturday's game at the Atletico Madrid stadium. Although Tottenham only finished two places below Liverpool in fourth, there was a 26-point gap between the sides and the north London club lost both league encounters 2-1. "It's not that we were five levels above them," Klopp said. "But that's how a final actually should be.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 31st, 2019

Spencer comes up clutch as UP comes alive anew in Filoil Preseason

Jun Manzo took the lead once more before James Spencer took matters in his own hands in the endgame as the University of the Philippines powered through for a well-earned 68-62 win against UCBL champion Centro Escolar University, Saturday at Filoil Flying V Centre. Manzo topped the scoring column with 17 points on top of six assists, three rebounds, and three steals, but it was Spencer who scored the Fighting Maroons' last five points in their bounce back win in the 2019 Filoil Flying V Preseason Tournament. Playing without all of Juan Gomez de Liano, Kobe Paras, and Ricci Rivero, State U needed each and every one of the 32 minutes Manzo was on the floor to steady the ship. Still, the Scorpions kept coming and Maodo Malick Diouf's inside basket pulled them within one, 62-63, inside the last two minutes. The two teams then traded defensive stops before Spencer decided to take and then make a triple that re-increased the UP edge to four. Another defensive stop and two free throws from the Filipino-Australian guard later and the Fighting Maroons improved to 3-2. Spencer wound up with 11 points and nine rebounds while Bright Akhuetie also added 13 markers and seven boards. BOX SCORES UP 68 -- Manzo 17, Akhuetie 13, Spencer 11, Ja. Gomez de Liano 7, Gozum 7, Tungcab 6, Longa 3, Murrell 2, Gob 2, Webb 0, Jaboneta 0, Prado 0. CEU 62 -- Diouf 28, Fuentes 13, Uri 7, Rojas 6, Ke. Caballero 4, Chan 2, Formento 2, Diaz 0, Santos 0, Sunga 0, Lisbo 0, Guinitaran 0, Bernabe 0. QUARTER SCORES: 15-18, 37-28, 52-45, 68-62. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 25th, 2019

Trail Blazers cohesiveness helped them to conference finals

By Anne M. Peterson, Associated Press PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Portland Trail Blazers faced a number of challenges on the journey to their first Western Conference finals in 19 years. But there was one they couldn’t overcome: The Golden State Warriors. Portland’s run in the playoffs, which captured fans’ imaginations after Damian Lillard’s buzzer-beating three-pointer to clinch the opening-round series over the Thunder, ended with a sweep by the defending champions. [Watch the Playoffs on NBA League Pass for 30% less with this limited time offer! Select Annual package and use code SAVE30 at checkout to redeem] “We put together a great season and we put ourselves in position to go to the Finals,” Lillard said. “I think every other team in the league would wish they could be in our shoes; not only making the playoffs but playing for an opportunity to get a chance to go to the Finals. We just ran up on a team who has been there the last four years.” Portland was coming off two straight seasons that ended with first-round playoff sweeps. The team, which had surprisingly little turnover over those years, came into the season unified and determined to take the next step. But before the first game was played, the Blazers were hit by the death of owner Paul Allen after a battle with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. The co-founder of Microsoft was a hands-on owner and a familiar face at the Moda Center, and Portland dedicated its season to him. Injuries would challenge the Blazers down the stretch. Lillard’s backcourt partner CJ McCollum missed 10 games with a knee injury. But it was center Jusuf Nurkic’s injury that caused the most concern going into the playoffs. Portland’s seven-foot big man broke his left leg after crashing awkwardly in an overtime victory at home over the Brooklyn Nets on March 25 (Mar. 26, PHL time). Nurkic was averaging 15.6 points and 10.4 rebounds a game and many considered Portland’s playoff prospects dim without him. Fortunately, the Blazers were able to turn to Enes Kanter, who was waived by the New York Knicks following the trade deadline and signed by Portland for the rest of the season. Kanter averaged 13.1 points and 8.6 rebounds in 23 regular-season games with the Blazers, including eight starts. Portland finished 53-29 and clinched the third seed in the Western Conference, earning home court for the first round — and a series with the Thunder. The Blazers wrapped that series up in five games — capped by Lillard’s walkoff three-pointer. But even in the playoffs the Blazers couldn’t escape misfortune. Kanter separated his left shoulder in the final game against Oklahoma City. He was questionable for the conference semifinals against Denver but played, although he often winced in pain. Jonathan Yim, Portland’s video coordinator and player development coach, was in a serious car accident before the series with the Nuggets. The Blazers coaching staff wore bow ties in his honor in Game 2. That series went to seven games, with the Blazers sealing their date with Golden State on Denver’s home court. The Warriors were simply too much for the Blazers, climbing back from double-digit deficits in each of the final three games. Lillard played with separated ribs in the final two. The team’s on-court leader, Lillard averaged 25.8 points and 6.9 assists and earned his fourth All-Star nod during the regular season. He averaged 33 points in the opening round against the Thunder, but his production fell against Denver and Golden State when he was double-teamed. Lillard said the past few seasons of relative stability — after four of Portland’s five starters moved on to other teams in 2015 — have bonded the team. “Each year we’ve come back with the right attitude,” Lillard said Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time). “We’ve been able to stick together through a lot of adversity and I think just what we’ve hung our hats on, what we’ve believed in, our culture, the togetherness, we’ve been able to truly build on that. And I think we should be encouraged.” Lillard could be in line for a hefty raise in the offseason. If he is named to one of the postseason’s All-NBA teams, he’ll qualify for a supermax contract extension worth $191 million. Lillard has two years remaining on his current contract. Asked about the prospects of a big extension, Lillard laughed and said: “I don’t understand why that’s even a question.” Coach Terry Stotts already benefited from the team’s run in the playoffs, signing a multi-year contract with the team that was announced at exit interviews. Terms of the deal were not released. “The guys in the locker room are special, it’s been a special season,” Stotts said. “Always tough to lose the last game of the year, but I couldn’t be more proud of the group that we’ve had.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 22nd, 2019

McLaren s failed Indy 500 effort was a comedy of errors

By Jenna Fryer, Associated Press INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The comedy of errors that doomed McLaren's disastrous return to the Indianapolis 500 began months before Fernando Alonso failed to qualify for the race. How bad was it? A week before Alonso's first test in the car, the team realized it didn't even have a steering wheel. McLaren CEO Zak Brown acknowledged Monday the team was woefully unprepared and small oversights snowballed into the final result. Bob Fernley, the head of the operation, was fired hours after Alonso missed the race and Brown returned to England to digest the embarrassment of his venture. Brown on Monday provided The Associated Press a detailed timeline of the bloopers and blunders that led to Alonso missing the race, the last piece the two-time Formula One champion needs in his quest to win motorsports' version of the Triple Crown. "I don't think we came into this arrogant, I think we were unprepared," Brown said. "We didn't deserve to be in the race and it's our own fault. It's not like we showed up and gave our best. We defeated ourselves." The path to missing the 33-driver field began when the car was not ready the moment Texas Motor Speedway opened for the April test. Brown had personally secured a steering wheel the previous week from Cosworth to use for the test, and the mistakes piled up from there. "We didn't get out until midday, our steering wheel was not done on time, that's just lack of preparation and project management organizational skills," Brown said. "That's where this whole thing fell down, in the project management. Zak Brown should not be digging around for steering wheels." A cosmetic issue at the Texas test haunted McLaren deep into last week at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. McLaren purchased a car from technical partner Carlin, and though the car was orange when McLaren received it, it was not the proper McLaren "papaya orange." It had to be repainted after the test, and that still had not been completed when Alonso crashed his McLaren-built car last Wednesday. The Carlin spare was in a paint shop 30 minutes from the track, more than a month after McLaren complained about the color, and it ultimately cost McLaren almost two full days of track time. The team looked foolish as other teams were able to move into backup cars in mere hours; James Hinchcliffe crashed in Saturday qualifying and was back on track in his spare that afternoon. Carlin was a two-car team when McLaren made its alliance but expanded to three for the Indy 500. Once Carlin took on the extra work, Brown said, the team had few resources to give McLaren. "It was clear they weren't capable of running three cars and serving us," he said. Carlin entrants Max Chilton and Patricio O'Ward were the two other drivers who failed to qualify. McLaren's poor showing is one of the biggest failures in Indy 500 history. Roger Penske missed the show with Al Unser Jr. and Emerson Fittipaldi in 1995, a year after dominating the race. Reigning CART champion Bobby Rahal missed it in 1993, and two-time Indy winner Rodger Ward never got up to speed to make the 1965 field. The McLaren budget for this Indy 500 was strong, every sponsorship opportunity had been sold and the venture was a guaranteed commercial success for McLaren. Brown was somewhat hands-off and focused on the critical rebuild of the Formula One part of the program. He now laments waiting too long to become heavily involved with the Indy 500 effort. He also believes he was too slow in assigning McLaren sporting director Gil de Ferran, a former Indy 500 winner, oversight of the program. "I should have been closer to Indy but I could never compromise Formula One," Brown said. "At 9:01 in the morning when we weren't on track at the first test, that's when we failed to qualify for the Indianapolis 500. We didn't ring the fire alarm quick enough because we could have recovered after the first test. "I am angry at myself because I was uncomfortable all the way up to the first test and I should have followed my instinct to get more involved." Many of the issues were beyond Brown's control. The car had an electrical issue in last month's test at Indy and an employee was taken off the team for the error. Alonso had another electrical issue on opening day for the 500 and the alternator and wiring loom had to be replaced. Alonso crashed on the second day, and McLaren missed all of Day 3 rebuilding the spare from Carlin that was finally the proper shade of orange. Fast Friday showed the car still needed speed, and Alonso went into qualifying on shaky ground. His first qualifying run was sabotaged by a tire puncture — which wasn't detected beforehand because Brown said the team had purchased incorrect tire sensors. Alonso wound up one of six drivers in the "Last Row Shootout" on Sunday and the panicked McLaren team begged and borrowed across the paddock for any assistance available. Alonso went out to practice Sunday with an entirely new setup, but in the frantic changeover a mistake was made in converting inches to the metric system the English team uses and the car scraped and sparked on his first lap. It had to be fixed and Alonso got in just five more laps before rain ended the session. When it came time for Alonso to make his final last-gasp qualifying attempt late Sunday afternoon, the Spaniard was given a car that Brown and de Ferran were concerned might not perform. "Gil and I went to the motorhome and told Fernando: 'We are going to try this, but this could go well or really wrong. Are you comfortable?'" Brown said. "And Fernando said, 'Let's go for it.'" Alonso agreed that he never backed away from the challenge. "We went out with an experiment that we did overnight. We changed everything on the car because we thought that maybe we need something from the mental side different to go into the race with some confidence," Alonso said. "We went out not knowing what the car will do in Turn 1, but you're still flat. So we tried." The new setup and assistance from other teams indeed got the car up to speed, but Alonso was knocked from the field by 23-year-old Kyle Kaiser of tiny Juncos Racing. McLaren discovered after the qualifying run that the car had the wrong gear ratio setup. "We actually had a 229 (mph) car but we had 227.5 gearing, so we beat ourselves again while we almost made it," Brown said. "We really did put it all on the line and you could feel the anxiety. There was some real heroism in that. I don't want the world to think McLaren is a bunch of idiots because while we did have a few, we had some real stars." Alonso has rejected an offer from the team to purchase a seat in the Indy 500 field for him. What's next is a careful lookback as Brown figures out McLaren's future at both the Indy 500 and the IndyCar Series. He still wants to field two full-time entries in the series but isn't sure yet how much of a setback this has been. He believes McLaren will be back next year at Indy for a second chance. "I feel an obligation to the fans and sponsors, we let them down. We didn't fulfill our promise and I think they need more than just an apology," Brown said. "There will be repercussions for those who don't deserve to work for a great team like McLaren. We will look at what we learned here and the list is a mile long. I hope people appreciate that we go for it, we are racers, and Fernando is a star and we are not quitters. We want to come back.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 21st, 2019

Antetokounmpo learning how to deal with playoff disappointment

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com TORONTO – Whenever LeBron James struggled through the sort of playoff performance Giannis Antetokounmpo had Sunday (Monday, PHL time), he seemed to want to put it behind him as swiftly as he could. His routine – assuming it wasn’t The Finals, where he got summoned to the podium, win or lose – typically went like this: the door to the Cleveland or Miami dressing room would swing open and there James would be, ready to face the questions, antsy to move on ASAP. Once he ‘fessed up to the shots he’d missed or the plays he’d botched, that was it. Oh, you knew he’d be looking plenty at video of that game in the hours before he played again, as a way to find and fix the flaws. But for public consumption at least, he shed it fast, like an ill-fitting suit. Antetokounmpo, the Milwaukee Bucks’ young star, is still learning this face-of-the-franchise and cutthroat competitor stuff. He took his time afterward in the spartan visitors’ room at Scotiabank Arena. [Watch the Playoffs on NBA League Pass for 30% less with this limited time offer! Select Annual package and use code SAVE30 at checkout to redeem] There he sat, with his knees wrapped and his feet plunged into an ice bath. The Kia MVP candidate stared at the score sheet that had been handed to him, the one bearing all sorts of dreary news from the double-overtime setback that cut Milwaukee’s lead in the best-of-seven series to 2-1. Antetokounmpo barely looked up as the semicircle of cameras, microphones and reporters around him grew with media people tip-toeing that fine line between giving him some space and blocking out for position whenever he’d finally take their questions. (“Talk,” as we say in the trade). Heck, Antetokounmpo barely looked up when Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer strode through the dressing room and tapped him on his left knee, a little atta-boy bonding near the end of a long, disappointing night. While teammates poked habitually at their phones in the aftermath of Milwaukee’s 118-112 loss, Antetokounmpo mostly let his lie there on the seat next to him. By the standards he set this year as an MVP favorite, he knew he’d had a lousy night. The reporters standing there, like fans everywhere, knew he’d struggled, of course, in ways rarely seen since his first taste of the postseason four years ago. And he knew that they knew, so… “Obviously it wasn’t my best game,” Antetokounmpo said eventually. “I’ve got to be more aggressive… I’ve got to make the right play.” Defensively, Antetokounmpo was pretty much his usual self, grabbing 23 rebounds for the Bucks, challenging Toronto’s players out on the floor and close to the rim, and blocking four shots. Offensively, though, Antetokounmpo was a mess. He scored only 12 points, his fewest in a playoff game since he was first dipping his toe into postseason waters as a 20-year-old back in 2015. Through three quarters, Antetokounmpo had only six points on 3-for-8 shooting. Seven Milwaukee players and five Raptors had outscored him to that point, and he hadn’t earned his way to the foul line even once. What made it all worse was that the game was sitting there, aching to be taken by someone, anyone. Antetokounmpo got himself going a bit in the fourth quarter, making a couple of shots and earning five free throws. But he missed three. Then he went scoreless while playing the entire first overtime. And then he fouled out just 36 seconds into the second OT. He didn’t object, either, when that sixth foul for stepping in front of Toronto’s Pascal Siakam sent him to the side. Antetokounmpo just took it and exited, sealing it as one of those “not your night, kid” hard lessons. Asked about the frustration that Antetokounmpo might have shown to teammates, if not the public, Bucks guard Eric Bledsoe said: “If you don’t feel bad when you play bad, you don’t need to be playing this game. That’s the feeling that drives you to success. I’m happy he’s feeling like that.” Antetokounmpo’s game didn’t just spin sideways on its own. Raptors coach Nick Nurse switched some defensive duties around and assigned Kawhi Leonard – a two-time Defensive Player of the Year with the wingspan, instincts and reflexes to confound any open-court player – as the tip of Toronto’s spear against the Greek Freak. Then, as expected, Toronto sent second defenders at him, the surest way to get the ball out of Antetokounmpo’s hands or force him into difficult shots. So he tried to make the right basketball plays, as they say, and sometimes he did – he dished a team-high seven assists. Sometimes, though, he did not, turning over the ball eight times. For the record, Antetokounmpo has played 31 postseason games in his young career. In the games in which he has scored fewer than 19 points, his team’s record is 3-6. When he scores 19 or more, the Bucks are 14-8. Not to lay it all at Antetokounmpo’s feet. Fellow All-Star Khris Middleton was way off his usual offensive form, missing 13 of his 16 shots. And Bledsoe matched that. Together, those three starters were a combined 11-of-48. The rest of the team shot 50 percent (27 of 54). “We have the utmost respect and belief that the next game is not going to be as bad as [this] was,” said guard George Hill, who scored 24 points off the bench. “But I know it's sitting in their head that they go for a combined 11-of-48 or something like that. We're not worried about it.” Right. Who’s even counting? Budenholzer and his staff are going to have to figure out ways to get scoring opportunities without being stymied by all the defensive traffic. Teammates are going to have to shoot better, to keep those diggers honest in their matchups. And Antetokounmpo is going to need to play more aggressively and take what happened in Game 3 very personally. He wasn’t quite there yet, Sunday night (Monday, PHL time). “Obviously I want to stay aggressive. But we stick to our game plan,” Antetokounmpo said. “Some days I’m going to have a bad night. But my team has to focus on doing their job and I’ll do mine.” Said Brook Lopez, after watching the throng swallow Antetokounmpo on the opposite side of the room: “We know he’s not going to quit or stop playing. He’s going to continue to be him.” As he talked, Lopez’s phone began vibrating next to him. He said it was Bucks GM Jon Horst calling and, in a bit of gallows humor after a stinging loss, joked that maybe he shouldn’t answer. “I don’t know if I should pick up or not,” the Milwaukee center said, “’cause I want to be here tomorrow.” Antetokounmpo has a call to answer now, too. In Game 4, Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time). 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 NewsMay 20th, 2019

Koepka survives Bethpage Black to win PGA Championship

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press FARMINGDALE, N.Y. (AP) — Brooks Koepka took his place in PGA Championship history with a wire-to-wire victory, minus the style points. In a raging wind that turned Bethpage Black into a beast, Koepka lost all but one shot of his record seven-shot lead Sunday. He lost the brutal Long Island crowd, which began chanting "DJ!" for Dustin Johnson as Koepka was on his way to a fourth straight bogey. But he delivered the key shots over the closing stretch as Johnson faded with two straight bogeys, and Koepka closed with a 4-over 74 for a two-shot victory and joined Tiger Woods as the only back-to-back winners of the PGA Championship since it went to stroke play in 1958. Koepka said at the start of the week that majors are sometimes the easiest to win. This one should have been. It wasn't. His 74 was the highest final round by a PGA champion since Vijay Singh won in a playoff in 2004 at Whistling Straits. "I'm just glad I don't have to play any more holes," Koepka said. "That was a stressful round of golf. I'm glad to have this thing back in my hands." Koepka appeared to wrap it up with a gap wedge from 156 yards to 2 feet on the 10th hole for a birdie, as Johnson made his first bogey of the round up ahead on the 11th. That restored the lead to six shots, and the coronation was on. And then it all changed in a New York minute. Koepka missed three straight fairways and made three straight bogeys, having to make a 6-foot putt on No. 11 to keep it from being worse. The wind was so fickle that it died as he hit 7-iron to the par-3 14th that sailed over the green, leading to a fourth straight bogey. The crowd sensed a collapse, and began chanting, "DJ! DJ! DJ!" as Koepka was playing the hole. Ahead of him, Johnson made birdie on the 15th — the toughest hole at Bethpage Black all week — and the lead was down to one. That was as close as Johnson got. His 5-iron pierced through a wind that gusted close to 25 mph, over the green and into a buried lie. He missed the 7-foot par putt, went long of the green on the par-3 17th for another bogey and had to settle for 69. "Hit the shot I wanted to right at the flag," Johnson said of his 5-iron from 194 yards on the 16th. "I don't know how it flew 200 yards into the wind like that. Johnson now has runner-up finishes in all four of the majors, the wrong kind of career Grand Slam. "I gave it a run," he said. "That's all you can ask for." Koepka returned to No. 1 in the world with a performance that defines his dominance in golf's biggest events. He becomes the first player to hold back-to-back titles in two majors at the same time, having won a second straight U.S. Open last summer 60 miles down the road at Shinnecock Hills. He was the first wire-to-wire winner in the PGA Championship since Hal Sutton at Riviera in 1983. And what stakes his claim as one of the best in his generation was a third straight year winning a major. He joins a most elite group — only Woods, Phil Mickelson, Tom Watson, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer have done that since the Masters began in 1934. He now has four majors in his last eight, a streak not seen since Woods won seven out of 11 when he captured the 2002 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black. Next up is the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, where Koepka defends his title for the third time. No one has won the U.S. Open three straight years since Willie Anderson in 1905. No one will doubt whether Koepka is capable the way he is playing. The 29-year-old Floridian is an imposing figure, a power off the tee and out of the rough with no obvious weakness in his game and the kind of mental fortitude that majors require. He needed all of it over the final hour of this one. Koepka doesn't know his resting heart rate, and he said on the eve of the final round that it probably was not much different on the first tee of a major than when he was chilling on his couch. But he could feel this one getting away from him. He could sense Johnson making a charge. He could hear it. "How could you not with the 'DJ' chants," Koepka said. "I heard everything." Bethpage has a reputation for being over the top, and it irritated Harold Varner III, who shot 81 playing in the final group. "I thought it was pretty weird how they were telling Brooks to choke," Varner said about the 14th hole. "That's not my cup of tea. I was pulling for him after that." Koepka held it together at the most crucial moment. He piped his driver down the 15th fairway and two-putted for par. And he drilled another one into the 16th, which played the most difficult in the final round because it was into the wind. Johnson hit 5-iron just over the green. The wind died enough 20 minutes later that Koepka hit 7-iron only to 50 feet and had another good lag putt to get par. He kept it interesting to the end, three-putting the 17th as the lead went back to two shots, and pulling his driver on the 18th into fescue so thick it left him little choice but to lay up and scramble for par. Once his medium lob wedge settled 6 feet away, he could relax. Finally. Woods won the Wanamaker Trophy in consecutive years twice, in 1999 and 2000, and again in 2006 and 2007. Koepka was starting to draw comparisons with Woods for the way he obliterated the competition, much like Woods in his 12-shot victory in the 1997 Masters and 15-shot victory in the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. Koepka tied the PGA Championship record by opening with a 63. He broke the major championship record for 36 holes at 128. He set another PGA Championship record with his seven-shot lead. In the end, just having his name on the heaviest championship trophy in golf was all that mattered. Jordan Spieth registered his first top 10 since the British Open last summer with a 71 to finish at 2-under 278, six shots behind. He tied for third with Patrick Cantlay (71) and Matt Wallace (72). This really was a two-man race over the back nine that not many would have seen coming at the start of the final round. Only the outcome was expected......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 20th, 2019

Stephen bests Seth in Curry brothers backyard basketball showdown

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com OAKLAND, Calif. — For a special moment, Game 2 of the Western Conference finals relocated from Oracle Arena to a backyard court with a hoop in suburban Charlotte, N.C., and every player save for two suddenly disappeared, and 19,595 witnesses were reduced by 19,593, with the remaining pair watching and pointing from the kitchen window. Yes, late-1990s nostalgia intervened in a tight contest between the Warriors and Trail Blazers. It was Curry vs. Curry all over again, an entertaining spectacle for their amused parents yet a tense one for their sons, Steph and Seth, fiercely trying to take down the other. [Watch the Playoffs on NBA League Pass for 30% less with this limited time offer! Select Annual package and use code SAVE30 at checkout to redeem] Even if you weren’t there at the Curry household for those brotherhood battles back in the day, couldn’t you just envision how they developed, much as it did on a dramatic Thursday, two decades later on the other side of the country? There was so much riding on those 1-on-1s then, such as a noogie for the loser, the last remaining cookie for the winner, and most certainly bragging rights, at least for the day. This time, the stakes were tame by comparison, just an ordinary game in mid-May that could dictate which brother eventually goes to the NBA Finals and which one sits next to Dell and Sonya in the stands and watches, nothing more or less. “Yeah, sure,” laughed Seth. “Something like that.” OK, perhaps this was huge after all. This was Steph with 37 points and eight assists rallying the Warriors back from 17 points down, only to get push-back from his brother, who played the best game of his NBA career. This was Seth, younger by three years, getting 16 points and four steals in the game -- all four out of Steph's pocket -- to give the Blazers an unexpected lift. The performance earned enough confidence from coach Terry Stotts that he played the entire fourth quarter. Seth was assigned to check Steph, and vice-versa, and it was a family issue played out before the basketball world. It was a thrilling one at that, because at one point you weren’t sure which Curry would get the best of the other. “This was like the coolest experience I think I’ve ever had playing against him,” said Steph. “Every minute he was out there defensively, he was a pest. Made big shots in the fourth quarter. He was amazing tonight.” Seth made all three of his shots in the fourth quarter, all of them on three-pointers, and a few in Steph’s mug. If he wasn’t the Blazers’ best option, at least he was an option, one that the Warriors -- and the other Curry -- had to respect. He helped the Blazers cling to an eight-point lead with four minutes and change left, until the expected happened and those early bragging rights were rudely snatched back. Playing once again without the comfort of Kevin Durant, Steph shot and willed his team to victory and a 2-0 lead in the series, drawing a foul beyond the arc and draining three free throws to put the Warriors up two. Seth had one last answer, a 29-footer that temporarily regained the lead before the Warriors wore down Portland and went home, 114-111, on Andre Iguodala's last-second strip of Damian Lillard. In all, it was a must-see contest … and the game wasn’t too bad, either. “I mean, they’re brothers,” said Lillard. “For me, having my own older brother, I know what it’s like to go against your brother and what it means. They both know there’s going to be conversations about this at some point when this series is over and they’re going to play like it.” Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, there wasn’t much chatter between them; Seth said they were too involved in the game for that. Well, maybe just a touch: “He tried to distract me at the free-throw line in the fourth quarter and I knew I had to go back at him to stay focused on what I needed to do,” admitted Steph. There was more of an urgency on Seth’s part to make this game and this drama happen. After his brother and Klay Thompson took turns dropping an avalanche of jumpers on the Blazers in Game 1, Portland needed a new strategy to defend the pick and roll. So they decided to trap constantly, and they needed agile players for that, which meant less time for Enes Kanter and more time for others, including Seth. Of course, there was another reason to play Seth for 29 minutes: Who else knows Steph Curry better than him? “I’ve seen every Warriors game and every Steph game for the past 10 years,” he said. “I feel like I know some things he likes to do, but it wasn’t enough.” That’s true. You can have all the scouting reports and, in this case, all the backyard hoop experience in the world. There’s only so much one can do against a two-time Kia MVP and widely-regarded Best Shooter Of All Time. Still: there were those four steals by Seth, two of them clean picks off Steph, who’s difficult to strip because of his crafty dribble. And those shots against him. Seth was a problem Thursday (Friday, PHL time), and an irritating one. “I felt like he was thinking where I was at times,” Seth said. I was just trying to make it tough on him. He’s going to do what he does, but if you make him work a little more, make it tough on him, that’s all you can ask.” Seth's had the harder road to this point. While Steph became a basketball icon, Seth kept bouncing between teams over five years, never securing the big contract, fighting to carve a spot in the rotation, and finally getting the chance to do just that. Just a few years ago, Seth played for the Warriors’ G-League team in Santa Cruz, in the shadow of his brother, wondering when he’d get his chance to make his own path. “I don’t take this for granted,” he said. “To get to this point and be a contributor, this is what I worked for all those years. I was confident I could be here, and now that I’m here, I will try to make the most of it. I always want the ball and try to be aggressive and tonight when I found the ball in my hands, I was locked in.” This will give Stotts and the Blazers something to ponder as the series moves to Portland, where they’ll try to keep from becoming another piece of Warriors playoff roadkill. Chances are good, then, that Seth’s spot in heavy rotation is safe. “Every time we played them this season, Seth has played great and I think it has something to do with playing his brother,” said Lillard. “This time I thought he guarded Steph well, and Steph is always on the move, out there running around, coming off screens and just looking to shoot the ball. That’s what he does.” Well, there’s one little detail that Lillard left out, one that Steph Curry was too happy to provide: “It worked out perfectly tonight: He played well and we won.” Shaun Powell has covered the NBA for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here, and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 17th, 2019

Pelicans going at own pace after hitting NBA lottery jackpot

By Brett Martel, Associated Press NEW ORLEANS (AP) — In the NBA city most familiar with “gris-gris,” folks see no small measure of poetic justice in the fact that their team will dictate the fate of a coveted prospect named Zion. Mystical explanations aside, the Pelicans are in the driver’s seat now — but say they’re in no hurry to disclose their plans for likely pick Zion Williamson or disgruntled All-Star Anthony Davis. [Watch the Playoffs on NBA League Pass for 30% less with this limited time offer! Select Annual package and use code SAVE30 at checkout to redeem] A franchise that looked downtrodden for months since Davis requested a mid-season trade has been suddenly buoyed by the leverage that comes with winning the NBA’s draft lottery— and the option to pick the Duke star, widely seen as the best pro prospect since Davis entered the league in 2012. “What it’s doing to the franchise and to the city of New Orleans is probably not even measurable at this point,” said David Griffin, hired just weeks ago as New Orleans’ top basketball executive. “There’s a groundswell of excitement that frankly is palpable. “What has to come next is that we have to make it mean something. This is a lot of fun, but we’ve got to build a winner now.” It was welcome news for beleaguered sports fans in Louisiana, who had endured a rough start to 2019. It started with the “NOLA no-call,” a pair of missed penalties in the waning minutes of the NFC championship that likely cost the NFL’s Saints a Super Bowl berth. Fans were so angry that many joined lawsuits against the league or attended parties on Super Bowl Sunday which featured re-runs of the Saints’ 2010 title triumph instead of the most recent championship game between New England and the Los Angeles Rams. Less than two weeks later, Davis, the city’s six-time NBA All-Star and face of the Pelicans, publicly requested a trade, and the firing of ninth-year general manager Dell Demps followed not long after. Even at the major college level there was disappointment when one of LSU’s best campaigns in program history was tainted by the suspension of coach Will Wade amid questions surrounding his recruiting tactics. Wade wasn’t reinstated until after LSU was eliminated in the third round of the NCAA Tournament, and his future remains far from certain. Political commentator James Carville — a Louisiana native, New Orleans resident and avid sports fan — said Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) that the recent series of setbacks had led him to adopt a pessimistic theory that, “We are a cursed people, and so all we’re going to get is curses.” Then came Tuesday night’s (Wednesdahy, PHL time) NBA draft lottery, which the Pelicans had a 6% chance of winning. In New Orleans, interest had focused more on seeing which other team would get the top overall pick and become more of a player in a potential Davis trade. Instead, the Pelicans got that pick, placing them in a stronger position to try to change Davis mind — or dictate more favorable trade terms. “This is big,” said Carville, a Pelicans season ticket holder along with his wife, and fellow political commentator, Mary Matalin. “It’s good for the psyche of everybody.” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry stood up and joyously shouted an expletive when New Orleans was announced as the lottery winner, after which he apologized with a grin, sat back down and put both hands on his head. Pelicans ticket office staff celebrated wildly with shouts, leaps and hugs. Owner Gayle Benson’s decision to hire Griffin, who announced at his introduction last month that he would not make a coaching change, combined with the New Orleans’ top draft position, represent a sharp turn in fortune for Gentry after a trying year that began with last summer’s defections during free agency of DeMarcus Cousins and Rajon Rondo. But it could take a while to see how the Pelicans’ lottery luck plays out. Griffin, the club’s executive vice president of basketball operations, foreshadowed a deliberate approach to dealing with Davis, who is under contract through next season. “I want Anthony Davis to be part of this,” Griffin said. “If Anthony wants to buy into that, then that’s fantastic. And if he doesn’t, then we’ll deal with it when it becomes appropriate. But this isn’t something for me where that answer happens because of a conversation. That answer is going to reveal itself over a period of time.” Griffin also stopped short of confirming that the Pelicans would draft Williamson — albeit for reasons relating more to his insistence on adhering to his own managerial process than because of any doubts about the 6'7", 285-pound Duke star. “We just have to know what the fit is like among those people in the pool for us in terms of who we thought were the most elite players,” Griffin said, emphasizing that “there was more than one” such player. “Everybody wants to look at this as this is a fait accompli. If that were true, we would have gotten up there with somebody’s jersey in our hands,” Griffin said. “I’m not saying there’s anything at all derogatory about Zion in any way. What I’m saying is ... you can hope that people are like-minded, but until you talk about what matters to you and you sit in a room together, it’s hard to know.” One thing is for sure, it’s nice to have options......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 15th, 2019

DOC VOLLEYBALL: Storming The (Blue) Keep

Winning twice in the elimination round to continue a 15-game streak, the Ateneo Lady Eagles couldn’t have asked for a better match-up in the Finals in the form of the UST Golden Tigresses as past encounters would easily sway towards a blue momentum. The top seed however went in for a surprise as the Sisi Rondina-led pack showed a whole different UST team from the eliminations and proved why her team was the best offensive team at the expense of the best defensive team for a crucial first game sweep. With a dominant three-set win over the Lady Eagles, the Golden Tigresses have breached the gates and are within reach of the throne. At this point, with momentum undoubtedly behind the Tigresses, it is quite interesting how the Lady Eagles will be able to hold their ground and last wall of defense and eventually mark a counter offensive from the inside should they wish to extend the series to a deciding championship match. Swift Claws One glaring difference between how UST played in the elimination round and the way they won Game 1 of the Finals series was the speed of their play. Despite being in the back seat for most of the elimination round, veteran setter Alina Bicar dug deep since the semifinals and has been the crucial factor in their win against the Lady Eagles even more so than the stellar dominance of Queen Tigress Sisi Rondina. Throughout her UAAP career, Bicar has been a fairly overlooked setter due to noticeable lapses in consistency, decision making and quality (height and speed) of sets. Perhaps one saving grace Bicar had prior to this season’s step-up since the semifinals would be how fast the ball is released from her hands. In Game 1 however, it was a more potent Bicar who was on display as her setting (even the bump sets at that) was noticeably faster and with better trajectory that enabled her spikers to play through the solid net defense of the Lady Eagles. Though still utilizing the combination plays in the middle that are more likely to get blocked by tall and anticipating middles such as Bea De Leon and Maddie Madayag, Bicar’s decision-making was also a massive level up from how she played during the eliminations and the past seasons. Perhaps now that she has established a consistent shoot play to the left wing that proves problematic against the Atenean blockers, Bicar would find less reliance on combination plays that have less efficiency than a simple fast open to Rondina or Eya Laure. It is however an injustice to UST if credit won’t be given to the massive performance of their queen, Sisi Rondina. Just a quick look of her highlight reel is enough to tell the whole story of how she led the pack in decimating the Blue Defense be it up front or on the floor. Though expected to drop cherry bombs straight to the middle of the court to showcase her athleticism as seen throughout her career, Game 1 showed a Sisi Rondina who had long targets that proved to be a one-two punch for both the blockers and floor defenders of Ateneo. First, by going for long angle or line shots, Rondina ensures that she hits her maximum reach enough to work around the tall walls of the opponent. Second, by going for long targets, Rondina often landed her attacks on the perimeter of the blue court (a floor defense lapse exposed and exploited by rival Lady Spikers in their second round encounter). With Bicar’s fast sets, Rondina had more time and reach to work around the block and floor which proved too problematic for the Lady Eagles. Lastly, though it was a given that Rondina had the spotlight, the collective effort from Laure, Ysa Jimenez, KC Galdones and Caitlyn Viray was also a massive difference from the elimination round where UST has been branded as just a two-woman attacking team. Viray’s unorthodox set-up for a right pin attack despite being a middle and Galdones’ power from the middle earned crucial points for the team. Despite taking a backseat from her usual numbers, Eya Laure showed enough firepower to support Rondina a couple of which came from a low fast back play from Bicar which I’d like to see more of albeit pushed a little more to the right pin but with the same height and speed. Blunted Talons Right from the start of the match, the early assault of the Tigresses proved too much of a challenge for the Lady Eagles much like a dragon queen swooping over an army and decimating the wall of defense. UST clearly made prior work of how to circumvent the main asset of the Lady Eagles being their block by going for fast plays and long shots targeting unguarded zones such as high line and sharp angle. UST evading De Leon and Madayag’s defense set-up was already a big part of the equation as their offense proved successful in limiting the block points of the two middles to an unusual two and one kill blocks, respectively. It has been shown throughout the season that the main scoring output of the Lady Eagles are primarily the two middles and opposite Kat Tolentino. While there have been noticeable improvement from the second round towards the end of eliminations from both openers Ponggay Gaston and Jules Samonte, output from the left wing was sorely missing for the Lady Eagles for Game 1. A high output from transition could have been Ateneo’s saving grace as UST was successful in limiting them to just 17% in the passing department which is clearly not enough to active their main assets which are their middles. A combined effort of 16% efficiency by Samonte and Gaston (25% and 7% respectively) was clearly not enough to support Tolentino’s 28% efficiency to mount a counter offensive on the instances they had control of the first ball. In addition, it was noticeable how the Lady Eagles failed to capitalize with their block to hold UST at bay on a particular rotation in which only Rondina and Viray are up front and would attack from both pins without any benefit of a middle going for at least a decoy quick hit. With two relatively obvious spiker options, no quicker approaching, and no pipe or backrow attack tendencies, that specific rotation would have been the easiest for the Lady Eagles to earn points in succession. Moving forward, should the elimination top seed wish to force a Game Three, the main concern is obviously to ensure that Rondina can be neutralized. Sisi will definitely rack up the points, but by limiting her options in her attack angles, the Lady Eagles can have a relatively easier work with their defense. First option would be to slow down the setup of Bicar by serving her blind side. Should this option prove ineffective, the best possible option would be to serve long in the seam of zone 5 and 6 and target Rondina or Laure’s right side of their axis to keep them in the court as much as possible as they wind up for the approach. Doing so, their down the line shots would be a challenging option making it easier for Madayag and De Leon to block the sharp angle. Though Rondina is just one piece of the equation and much more can be expected of Laure, Jimenez, Viray, and Galdones in the upcoming match, ensuring that Bicar is hard pressed in setting up a fast play through well placed serves will be Ateneo’s best bet to force a decider match for the Season 81 throne.    .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 14th, 2019

Red Bull threatens Ferrari s status as 2nd best team in F1

By Joseph Wilson, Associated Press MONTMELO, Spain (AP) — Ferrari has a fight on its hands. Just not the one it wants. Red Bull is threatening to replace it as Formula One's next-best team behind a dominant Mercedes after Max Verstappen outperformed Ferrari's drivers at the Spanish Grand Prix. Verstappen took third place on Sunday behind race winner Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas. That allowed the Red Bull driver to move past Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel into third place overall with 66 points to Vettel's 64. Hamilton and Bottas are far in front with 112 and 105 points, respectively. "I knew we could take the fight to Ferrari," Verstappen said after being cheered by the large number of Dutch fans who had come to the race decked in orange T-shirts. Verstappen and his supporters have good memories of the Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit. His win here in 2016 made him F1's youngest race winner at age 18. While another victory was out of the question given Mercedes' pace, Verstappen didn't have too much trouble staying in front of the Ferraris. "We were close to Ferrari in qualifying," he said. "I am happy to be back on the podium and third in the championship. It is good to close the gap." As F1's most successful team, Ferrari entered the season with renewed hopes of challenging Mercedes after rising talent Charles Leclerc joined Vettel in a potentially potent driving lineup. Ferrari was faster on this same track during two weeks of preseason testing this winter and had brought in a new engine for the race. But Mercedes was unfazed and stormed to a fifth one-two finish in as many races to further demoralize its rivals. Vettel tried to get the jump on the Mercedes at the race start from third on the grid. But the move only succeeded in making Bottas flinch and letting Hamilton go clear. After Vettel's tires locked up, Verstappen slipped past into third place. Even though there are 16 races left, it looks like Ferrari will likely have to wait another year to end its constructors title drought that dates back to 2008. "The updates we brought here to Barcelona, both on the aero front and on the engine, worked well and we are more than pleased with them, but they proved to be insufficient," said Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto. "Now we have to analyze and think about what did not work. And when it comes to that, as of today I don't think we have a precise answer." As for Hamilton, he said he had taken notice of improvements that Red Bull had made after switching to a Honda engine this season. The defending champion also said he missed a better effort from Ferrari. "We welcome a battle and it would be great to fight with Ferrari and Red Bull," said Hamiton. "I prefer it when they are in the mix with us. It is much better when we can compete with another team.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 13th, 2019