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Erik Spoelstra on Kai Sotto: 'It s all about development'

Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra is just as excited as any other Pinoy basketball fan about the continued growth of Gilas Cadet Kai Sotto. Speaking to ABS-CBN North America correspondent TJ Manotoc, Spoelstra described Sotto's emergence on the international scene as "exciting," and added, "I hope it's a sign of great things to come. "You know, basketball is so big in the Philippines, and I just want everyone to be able to see that and to experience the passion," the Heat mentor added. "The thing that would help that quickest would be getting an NBA player." While Fil-Am Jordan Clarkson continues to be productive as a reserve for the Cleveland Cavaliers, most Pinoys are still looking for a homegrown talent to reach the Association, and many feel the 7'1" Sotto represents the country's best bet thus far. "Hopefully he's getting the right guidance, people that have purity about it and [are] not trying to get something out of it" said Spoelstra. "It's about development, wherever that may be. Over there [in the Philippines] is great, but eventually, if he's going to make a dream of coming over here, it probably helps that at some point, whenever that is, to come over here [the US] and get a little more exposure." The Ateneo Blue Eaglet is set to be named the UAAP Juniors Division's MVP, behind per-game averages of 25.1 points, 13.9 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 2.6 blocks. The defending champs have an 11-3 record, good for the second seed and a twice-to-beat advantage, as the tournament's Final Four kicks off on Saturday. The 16-year-old 7'1" center is also a fixture near the top of the NBTC UAAP 24, and has taken part in scrimmages against international teams with the Gilas Pilipinas national squad......»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnFeb 12th, 2019

NBA Asia Managing Director Levy: We don t take the Pinoy fanbase lightly

The Philippines is unique, among the countries Scott Levy, NBA Asia Managing Director, handles. Tasked to oversee the development and expansion of the NBA's strategic initiatives in Asia (with the exception of Greater China and India), the Philippines is a different situation for Levy, compared to say, Thailand, or Malaysia. Unlike other countries in the region, basketball is well-engrained in the local Philippine culture, as is the NBA. In that regard, the job is easy. But diehard fans, and this country is full of diehard NBA fans, want different things, and want much more of it. And Levy and the rest of the NBA Asia office know it's important to keep them happy. Speaking to reporters as part of a roundtable Q&A session, Levy admitted that satisfying Philippine demand continues to be the biggest challenge. Citing the league's local TV partners, which include ABS-CBN, Solar, and FOX, as well as the implementation of League Pass via mobile companies Smart and Globe, Levy said, "We want to make sure that there are enough games, and that there are enough outlets [to get those games], that people can continue to interact and really get to know [the NBA] beyond maybe what the scores are. "We want to bring more players here, bring the real experiences. So we bring NBA players during the year, we bring NBA legends (the league directly brings around 3-4 players and legends to the country each year), we have dance teams, we have mascots [so that] people can get very close to the game." This differs very much from other countries in Asia. Whereas in other countries, NBA Asia devotes resources to growing the game, often teaming up with local governments' sports ministries, there's no need to teach the basics here. "That just means we take a higher level approach to coaching and make sure that there's another step that they may [take]," said Levy, who cited the example of bringing in Fil-Am coach Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat into the Philippines to help impart higher-level coaching techniques. Because the country is further down the line in terms of hoops techniques, the league's Jr. NBA program which is presented in the Philippines by Alaska, has played a huge role in recent years. "Nearly two million kids have come through the program...to improve their skill level. Many of our players have moved on to play in the UAAP, in the NCAA. Some are now in the PBA. So we want to contribute to the existing strength of the basketball community here," Levy said. It hasn't always been smooth sailing though. Recently, ventures like the NBA Cafe and the NBA Stores in the Philippines saw their licenses expire and close. For Levy though, it's similar to the familiar "shoot your shot" maxim in hoops. "We're willing to try things and if they're successful, great, we'll continue them," he said. "But if we think there are better ways to engage, we'll do that." Levy added that while the physical stores may be gone, fans can still purchase NBA merch through NBAStore.com, and other places like Nike, Toby's and Titan. Levy also applauded how knowledgable local fans are with regards to players and teams. While it's often thought that a large chunk of Pinoy fans are Lakers fans, Levy said that when you look at the data, it's winning teams that are able to capture the attention of Filipinos, with the obvious exception of teams in areas with large Filipino communities, such as San Francisco and the Golden State Warriors. "For me, here in the Philippines, we don't have to do much more than just make sure the players and the teams are exposed, because Filipino fans understand great play, and they understand great players. And when teams win, or players do amazing things, they become popular here," he said.   Looking ahead to the future, Levy believes that mobile will still be the way to go, though with a caveat. "As the streaming speeds continue to improve...then we'll be able to deliver more content," Levy said. "We'll continue to adjust the delivery of our product as the speeds improve." He added that the league wants to look into more basketball mobile games, even locally or regionally developed ones, to help educate fans on players and give them more ways to interact. To sum it up, Levy once again reiterated that the Philippines is "incredibly important," to the Association. "It probably is the market with the highest fan affinity for basketball, and that's daunting. To satisfy everybody, that's a full-time job. "We don't take the fanbase here lightly. We are focused on making sure that everybody is happy with what they have available and we're listening for the things that we need to do better."   Without a doubt, that's music to the Philippine fans' ears. SIX SHOTS Here are six other topics Levy touched on during the interview: 1. On the Philippines hosting another NBA Global Games "The challenge with [the Global Games] is always, there's 15,000 people in that building, and there's a hundred million Filipinos that we're trying to engage around the NBA. So while the games are great, we are really spending our time figuring out how we can engage a hundred million Filipinos. "But it's always in consideration and hopefully at some point in the future, we'll be able to bring the game back here again." 2. On the impact of a full-Pinoy player making it in the NBA "That question has always perplexed me, because the fanbase here is so strong already. I mean clearly Jordan Clarkson is very popular here, but he's not the most popular NBA player [in the Philippines]. So would a Filipino player be the most popular player? If he was the best player in the NBA, he'd probably be the most popular player, but if he's not, I think Filipinos will follow that player, and will continue to follow the best players in the NBA because that's the expectation here in the Philippines - 'I'm looking for the best players and the best teams and that's who I want to follow.' "But [by] the number of people who are playing in this country, I think it's just a matter of time before we have multiple local Filipinos playing in the NBA. It's definitely going to happen. The game is getting better, the coaches are getting better, the level of talent in the PBA continues to go up, and there are more Filipino players coming to the US and playing in university [NCAA] so it's definitely going to happen." 3. On the passing of FIBA Secretary General Patrick Baumann "I personally knew Patrick and there was nobody that spent more time and energy and basically dedicated their life to the sport of basketball and had such a great impact on the sport of basketball around the world. It’s a tragic loss. Personally, I will miss Patrick and he worked very closely with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum. They had just seen him in a FIBA conference in Xi’an, China a few days before and typically with Patrick he was off in Argentina in another basketball event. I mean, he just, he was tireless in his efforts and he had tremendous success and it’s a tremendous loss to the entire basketball community." 4. On the NBA expanding the game towards female fans in the Philippines. "[For the Jr. NBA PH program] our goal is always 50-50, boys-girls. We haven’t yet achieved that here in the Philippines but again, working closely with the schools, working with Alaska, working with SM...the percentage continues to increase. I'm not exactly sure what the [numbers are] last year, but it's still too low. "I think that’s why it’s a little bit of frustrating here. In countries like Thailand and Indonesia, where, well Thailand has more than 50 percent girls, and in Vietnam and Indonesia it’s over 40 percent right now. So, again, our goal is 50-50. This sport is gender neutral, we bring WNBA players into market, we’ve done that many times already and now we’re going into schools to really try to encourage young girls to play the game." 5. On giving tips to local leagues to become more successful "We’re not here to dictate how a league should be run. What we’re trying to do is understand where we can be helpful, if they’re looking for assistance in building an arena, we’re happy to help with that. If they’re looking [at] how to enhance ticket sales, how to expand the live in-arena experience. Whatever it is that they may ask for our assistance, we are here to help. We support local basketball in every way we can but we’re not being prescriptive in saying this is how you should run a league in the Philippines. There’s way more knowledge on the ground here in the country than we have about what’s successful here." 6. On sports stars from other leagues interacting with NBA players "Our players are incredible. They are global icons, they’re incredible on social media which continues to grow their fanbase….because our players are active on social and they’re interested, personally interested in fashion and technology and gaming, and music and they have relationships with Jay-Z and with Usher, with every other top performer and other athletes are also interested because they’re fans. So when we do an event in London, we get calls from players on Chelsea, and on Tottenham and on Liverpool and on Man U and say “Hey, we wanna come to the game because we wanna see these athletes play. "So, anytime there is an athlete that is a fan of the NBA we will look to engage them. We work with all other sports leagues and we’re also fans. Our players are fans. There’s an opportunity to go to Camp Nou in Barcelona, our players want to be there. So, this is more driven by the players, their personal interests in other sports and other athletes and luckily our athletes are generally pretty popular around the world, and we’ll encourage that engagement and facilitate some particularly social media moments where Neymar comes into the locker room and exchanges a jersey with Steph Curry. We had Ronaldinho wearing a Carmelo Anthony jersey, dribbling a basketball on his head. All these moments are really special for the crossover fans from one sport to another. But it’s really driven by our players’ personal interest or other athletes’ personal interest in basketball.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 25th, 2018

DA s 2018 NBA Offseason Rankings: The Bottom 10

By David Aldridge, TNT Analyst Wonder what the rental market is like in San Luis Obispo, Calif. San Luis Obispo is, give or take a few miles, one of the closest cities that is near the midway point between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Given the events of the NBA’s offseason, it’s not hare to imagine national reporters are going to be spending a lot of time in California next season, bouncing back and forth between the Bay and L.A. Catch LeBron James and the Lakers on Wednesday and then, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and the Warriors on Thursday. The Western Conference only got stronger and deeper with James leaving Cleveland for a second time, this time to go to the Lakers. Add four of the top five Draft picks -- including No. 1 overall selection Deandre Ayton (Phoenix Suns), No. 2 pick Marvin Bagley III (Sacramento Kings) and international phenom Luka Doncic (No. 3 pick, acquired by Dallas Mavericks) -- going to Western Conference teams, and the talent disparity between conferences only seems greater. But did Eastern Conference teams take advantage of Cleveland deflating to make their teams better? And how effective were West teams in making their teams better prepared to at least compete with the Warriors? That’s where this year’s Offseason Rankings come in -- big, bold, definitive. You love them, if the amount of hate tweets and e-mails I get after they’re published are any indication. Every year, we rank how all 30 teams have done since the end of their respective seasons. We look at everything -- how they drafted, what trades they made, what players they signed in free agency, and for how much -- or if they didn’t participate in free agency much at all. We look at if they’ve changed coaches, executives, owners, or if they’re moving into a new building that can generate big revenues. And you have to decide which ones you liked the most. Here's what these rankings ARE NOT: A predicted order of finish for next season. It's an opinion that seeks to answer a question: is the team better now than at the end of last season? The ranking reflects the belief on whether, and how much, that is so. (I liked certain guys who were in the Draft more than others, so if your team took them, I probably weighed it more positively. Doesn't mean I'm right.) I do not expect the Suns, for example, to have a better record than the Celtics, just because they had a better summer. It is not a ranking of the teams in order from 1 through 30 right now; I do not believe the Mavericks are now a better team than Rockets. This is just one person’s opinion about offseason moves -- offseason moves only. Is your team better now than it was before? - If your team is ranked in the top 10, it doesn't mean I love your team.       - If your team is ranked in the bottom 10, it doesn't mean I hate your team. It's an opinion that seeks to answer a question: is the team better now than at the end of last season? The ranking reflects the belief on whether, and how much, that is so. (I liked certain guys who were in the Draft more than others, so if your team took them, I probably weighed it more positively. Doesn't mean I'm right.) What plays into the rankings: - This isn’t science. It’s an educated guess, weighing the impact both of the Draft and free agency, but also assessing whether teams got value in their free-agent signings. Overpaying the right player is as much a sin as signing the wrong player. A good new coach can coax some more wins out of a roster. But if a team’s players don’t believe in the system their team uses, the best Xs and Os on earth don’t matter.       - Teams that are rebuilding obviously have different priorities than teams making a championship push. That's factored in. So Chicago, for example, gets credit for adding young, affordable players as it stockpiles its talent -- but that talent has to fit together, as Wendell Carter Jr. does with Lauri Markannen. And a team like the Warriors that shows it’s willing to go deep into the luxury tax -- which most teams try to avoid -- in order to keep winning has to be commended, and its rankings reflect that commendation.       - Continuity matters here as well. The most successful teams usually not only identify a core group of players, they keep them together for a while, finding that sweet spot: everyone doesn’t get a max contract, but most get paid well enough to keep the train moving down the tracks. That reflects both good roster construction and good financial management -- and, again, is rewarded. The explosion in the cap means everyone has to spend; keeping your powder dry for another day doesn’t have as much cache as it used to. But you still have to manage your money wisely. Salary numbers, with a couple of exceptions, come from Basketball Insiders, whose Eric Pincus does the best job of anyone in the game of keeping track of all the moving financial parts, quickly and accurately -- which is why we use him at NBA TV during the Draft and free agency to tell us what the hell this all means. The Bottom 10 * * * 21. DETROIT PISTONS 2017-18 RECORD: 39-43; missed playoffs ADDED: Coach Dwane Casey; New executive Ed Stefanski; G Bruce Brown (No. 42 pick, 2018 Draft); G Jose Calderon (one year, $2.3 million); C Zaza Pachulia (one year, $2.3 million); G/F Glenn Robinson III (two years, $8.3 million); G Khyri Thomas (No. 38 pick, 2018 Draft) LOST: Former coach Stan Van Gundy; G Dwight Buycks (waived); F/C Eric Moreland (waived); F Anthony Tolliver (signed with Wolves) RETAINED: None THE KEY MAN: F Blake Griffin. And he will be for some time. The Pistons need him to be his former All-Star self again, able to take slower defender to the basket, able to stretch the floor if he plays the five in small-ball lineups. They need him to be a playmaker, to get Reggie Jackson more looks off the ball and Andre Drummond some high-low lobs at the rim. They need him to sell tickets at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit’s revitalized downtown -- a building that seems to be more for the NHL’s Red Wings than the NBA’s Pistons. And they need Griffin to be an anchor that draws players to the Motor City during the life of his extension. THE SKINNY: Owner Tom Gores agonized over firing Van Gundy, but he finally did so, and was fortunate that Casey was available and willing to step right back into the fray after being cashiered in Toronto. Casey will be quite in his element building a defense around Drummond, but, like Van Gundy, Casey will need Jackson to stay healthy; he’s missed a combined 67 games the last two seasons. Detroit did well for not having a first-round pick to come out of the Draft with two solid guard prospects deep in the second in Thomas and Brown. However, the new coaching staff will have to get more out of the team’s last three first-rounders: Stanley Johnson (2015), Henry Ellenson (2016) and Luke Kennard (2017). 22. BOSTON CELTICS 2017-18 RECORD: 55-27; lost in Eastern Conference finals ADDED: G Brad Wanamaker (one year, $838,000); C Robert Williams (No. 27 pick, 2018 Draft) LOST: G Shane Larkin (signed to play in Turkey); F Abdel Nader (traded to Thunder) RETAINED: C Aron Baynes (two years, $10.6 million); F Jabari Bird (two years, $3 million), G Marcus Smart (four years, $52 million) THE KEY MAN: F Gordon Hayward. All indications are he’s well on his way back from that horrific injury he suffered on opening night last season. He can do so many great things in coach Brad Stevens’ system, and if he’s 100 percent by the playoffs, Boston may well be the one team that can match up, player for player, with Golden State in a Finals meeting. (Remember this when people inevitably say I ranked the Celtics 23rd in offseason moves.) THE SKINNY: Boston got its biggest work done after Smart couldn’t loosen up an offer sheet from the Sacramento Kings or Dallas Mavericks, and eventually worked out a deal for less than he sought to return. Smart’s deal puts Boston in the tax for the foreseeable future, but the Celtics knew that was the next step in keeping a Finals-capable core group together. With Kyrie Irving and Hayward expected back on line Stevens can throw so many different lineups out there, all committed to stifling opponent movement with long, switching defenders led by Smart, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. Williams was worth an end of the first flier, though he didn’t get off to a great start. If he gets a good wake-up alarm on his phone, he has a chance to be the Celtics’ center of the future. 23. PHILADELPHIA 76ERS 2017-18 RECORD: 52-30; lost in Eastern Conference semifinals ADDED: F Wilson Chandler (acquired from Nuggets); F/C Mike Muscala (acquired from Hawks); G Zhaire Smith (No. 16 pick, 2018 Draft); G Landry Shamet (No. 26 pick, 2018 Draft); G Shake Milton (No. 54 pick, 2018 Draft) LOST: Former GM Bryan Colangelo (resigned); F Justin Anderson (traded to Hawks); G Marco Belinelli (signed with Spurs); F/C Richaun Holmes (traded to Suns); F Ersan Ilyasova (signed with Bucks); G/F Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (traded to Thunder) RETAINED: C/F Amir Johnson (one year, $1.5 million); G T.J. McConnell (picked up team option); G J.J. Redick (one year, $12.2 million) THE KEY MAN: G Markelle Fultz. His rookie year laid waste by a combination of injury and the yips -- which the Sixers have finally copted to -- Fultz is reportedly rebuilding his shot successfully under the learned eye of development coach Drew Hansen. If that carries over to the fall, Fultz will get a true opportunity (he had some cameos late in his rookie season) to show a skeptical Philly fan base he was worth the top pick in 2017, and worth Philly trading up to get him. He definitely could fill a need with the 76ers for a second playmaker to go with and occasionally in place of reigning Kia Rookie of the Year winner Ben Simmons. But if Fultz has another setback, physically or otherwise, it will be hard for him to stick much longer in Philly -- not a town known for patient reflection with regard to its sports teams. THE SKINNY: Coach Brett Brown was quite clear when he said the Sixers were hunting for a superstar this summer with the cap space they’d assiduously cleared the last couple of years. But the summer has come and gone and there’s no LeBron, no Kawhi, no trade, at least not yet, for Jimmy Butler or anyone else at that level. Belinelli and Ilyasova both played huge roles for Philly in the playoffs; maybe Fultz (see above) takes on some of that role, and Chandler will help. But this doesn’t feel like a successful offseason for one of the real risers in the East. 24. PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS 2017-18 RECORD: 49-33; lost in first round ADDED: G Seth Curry (one year, $2.7 million); G Nik Stauskas (one year, $1.6 million); G Anfernee Simons (No. 24 pick, 2018 Draft); G Gary Trent Jr. (No. 37 pick, 2018 Draft) LOST: G/F Pat Connaughton (signed with Bucks); F/C Ed Davis (signed with Nets); G Shabazz Napier (signed with Nets); C Georgios Papagiannis (waived) RETAINED: C Jusuf Nurkic (four years, $48 million) THE KEY MAN: Assistant coaches David Vanterpool, Nate Tibbets, Dale Osbourne, Jim Moran, John McCullough and Jonathan Yim. With the Blazers mostly landlocked the next two seasons -- they’re currently above the projected luxury tax line both for next season and 2019-20 -- there aren’t likely going to be many significant roster changes for a while. And in the West, especially, standing pat is often falling behind. It will thus fall to Portland’s excellent staff behind coach Terry Stotts to maximize the production of the current group. They can point with some pride to success stories like Will Barton and Allen Crabbe, now in Denver and Brooklyn, respectively, along with Maurice Harkless and Al-Faroqu Aminu. For Portland to take another step up, they’ll have to coach up someone like 2017 first-rounder Zach Collins or this year’s first-rounder, Simons. They must have them exceed expectations to become a third legit star behind Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. THE SKINNY: Lillard insists the rumblings heard in some quarters that he’s unhappy in Portland aren’t true, and the franchise better hope he’s being honest. The decisions the Blazers made in 2016 continue to lock them in place; if they catch a favorable first-round matchup (a grumbling Rockets team in 2014; an injury-strafed Clippers squad in 2016), they can advance a round. But last year’s 4-0 sweep by the New Orleans Pelicans had to give everyone pause. How does Portland respond mentally? Re-upping Big Nurk in the middle on a very reasonable deal -- $12 million for a starting center was the going rate five years ago, when the Wolves gave Nikola Pekovic a five-year, $60 million contract -- was necessary. But losing Davis, a locker room and fan favorite for superior work ethic, will hurt, even though Collins should sop up a lot of those minutes. 25. ORLANDO MAGIC 2017-18 RECORD: 25-57; missed playoffs ADDED: Coach Steve Clifford; C Mohamed Bamba (No. 6 pick, 2018 Draft); G Isaiah Briscoe (three years, $3.9 million); F Melvin Frazier (No. 35 pick, 2018 Draft); F Jerian Grant (acquired from Bulls); F Justin Jackson (No. 43 pick, 2018 Draft); F Jarrell Martin (acquired from Grizzlies); C Timofey Mozgov (acquired from Hornets) LOST: C Bismack Biyombo (traded to Hornets); G Mario Hezonja (signed with Knicks); C Dakari Johnson (traded to Grizzlies); G Shelvin Mack (waived); G Rodney Purvis (traded to Thunder) RETAINED: F Aaron Gordon (four years, $82 million) THE KEY MAN: G D.J. Augustin. A vet’s vet, he’s played 10 years in the league and started 226 games for eight teams, including 56 over the last two for the Magic. He’ll enter this season as the unquestioned starter at the point with Elfrid Payton in New Orleans and Orlando still looking to solve its long-term search for a point guard. It’s Augustin’s turn. THE SKINNY: At some point, Orlando’s yearly gambles on size and potential will pay off. Bamba could be the goods; he’s got a demeanor and toughness that should keep him together while he learns the craft at the pro level. But -- again -- it will take some time for Bamba, like 2017 first-rounder Jonathan Isaac, and Gordon, in whom Orlando invested a sizeable sum in July, to flourish. And Magic fans rightly can ask exactly how long they’re to remain patient. Clifford is supposed to improve the defense, but so was Frank Vogel … and so was Scott Skiles … and so was Jacque Vaughn. 26. NEW ORLEANS PELICANS 2017-18 RECORD: 48-34; lost in Western Conference semifinals ADDED: G Tony Carr (No. 51 pick, 2018 Draft); G Elfrid Payton (one year, $3 million); F Julius Randle (two years, $17 million) LOST: C DeMarcus Cousins (signed with Warriors); G Rajon Rondo (signed with Lakers) RETAINED: G Ian Clark (one year, $1.7 million); F Nikola Mirotic (picked up player option) THE KEY MAN: Owner Gayle Benson. Mrs. Benson took control of the team after the death of her husband, Tom, last March. She displayed great grace in the days and weeks after Tom Benson’s death, making it clear at the time she had no interest in selling the team and would continue to make outlays to keep the team competitive. The Pels didn’t blink last summer giving Jrue Holiday $126 million, and that will have to remain the case going forward if New Orleans is to repeat its surprising run to the Western Conference semifinals last spring. THE SKINNY: Can’t lose your starting point guard and your starting All-Star center in one offseason -- no matter what the circumstances -- and come out of it with high offseason marks. And especially when Rondo seemed like the perfect fit for the team. Mirotic mentioned during the Warriors series how good Rondo was at picking him up and connecting him quickly with the team after he was traded to New Orleans from Chicago. And, yes, coach Alvin Gentry mentioned he may have exchanged cusses with Rondo every now and again, too. Life in RondoWorld. The path forward is narrower, but not impassible; Randle can be tantalizing at times, maddening at others, but he could plug-and-play at the four, and he can take some of the playmaking burden off of Holiday. But big minutes on the ball for Holiday again is not what New Orleans had in mind. Payton is going to have to perform immediately. And losing “Boogie” Cousins is a big minus. It’s not what the Pelicans gave up to get him. It’s the fit and flow he had with Anthony Davis before the injury, and what the promise of a return this season could have meant toward carrying the momentum of last year forward. 27. MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES 2017-18 RECORD: 47-35; lost in first round ADDED: F Anthony Tolliver (one year, $5.7 million); G Josh Okogie (No. 20 pick, 2018 Draft); F Keita Bates-Diop (No. 48 pick, 2018 Draft) LOST: C Cole Aldrich (waived); F Nemanja Bjelica (signed with Kings) RETAINED: G Derrick Rose (one year, $1.5 million) THE KEY MAN: Vikings QB Kirk Cousins. He signed for big, big money by NFL standards (three years, $84 million), and the Vikings have Super Bowl aspirations. So all the light will be on the Vikes most of the fall and winter in Minneapolis, keeping it off of the still-young Wolves, who won’t be able to sneak up on anyone after breaking their long postseason drought. THE SKINNY: The Wolves should be positioned to build on their playoff run, especially if Butler can get through a full season healthy and Karl-Anthony Towns adds consistency to his prodigious talents. But they didn’t do much in the offseason, and the team that they beat out on the last day of the regular season, Denver, looks to be much improved. Tolliver should help the Wolves’ depth; they essentially traded him for Bjelica, and he shot slightly better on 3-poiners last season than Belly. Plus, they don’t come better as a guy than Tolliver and he can help Minnesota in the locker room. The issue of Butler’s contract isn’t going away; there will be a reckoning at some point, and he’ll have a lot more options next summer than free agents had this summer. Until then, coach Tom Thibodeau has pretty much the same team that he has to cajole better defense out of next season (22nd in Defensive Rating; 17th in points allowed). 28. CHARLOTTE HORNETS 2017-18 RECORD: 36-46; missed playoffs ADDED: Coach James Borrego; GM Mitch Kupchack; C Bismack Biyombo (acquired from Magic); F Miles Bridges (No. 12 pick, 2018 Draft); G Devonte' Graham (No. 34 pick, 2018 Draft); F Arnoldas Kulboka (No. 55 pick, 2018 Draft); ; G Tony Parker (two years, $10.2 milliion) LOST: G Michael Carter-Williams (signed with Rockets); C Dwight Howard (traded to Nets); C Timofey Mozgov (traded to Magic); G Julyan Stone (traded to Bulls) RETAINED: None THE KEY MAN: C Cody Zeller. It’s a guess -- Borrego could opt for Frank Kaminsky III -- but Zeller would seem to be the replacement at center for Dwight Howard, who wound up in Washington after the Hornets traded him to the Nets. Zeller started 58 games two years ago and was very good in screen and rolls with Kemba Walker. Zeller only played in 33 games last season because of a left knee injury; if he returns to form, the Hornets could pick up offensively and actually have a little more diversity at that end than last season. THE SKINNY: Team owner Michael Jordan cleaned house after a disappointing 2017-18, bringing another Tar Heel back home in the veteran Kupchak. Kupchak dispatched Howard and then got Mozgov’s guaranteed 2019-20 season off his books to take back Biyombo, who’d left Toronto two years ago for $72 million from the Magic and who’s got a player option for 2019-20. Well before then, the Hornets are going to have to decide what to do with Walker, who’ll be one of the top free agents available next summer if Charlotte can’t get him re-signed or extended. The Hornets were 8.8 points worse when the two-time All-Star was off the court rather than on. Nicolas Batum has to make a return to the all-around talent that enticed Charlotte to trade for him and give him a $120 million extension; he averaged just 11.6 points per game last year, his lowest in three years. Howard’s presence in the paint may have clogged things up some, but that’s no longer the case. 29. CLEVELAND CAVALIERS 2017-18 RECORD: 50-32; lost in The Finals ADDED: F Channing Frye (one year, $2.3 million); G Collin Sexton (No. 8 pick, 2018 Draft) LOST: G Jose Calderon (signed with Pistons); F Jeff Green (signed with Wizards); F LeBron James (signed with Lakers); C Kendrick Perkins (waived); F Okaro White (waived) RETAINED: F Kevin Love (contract extension) THE KEY MAN: GM Koby Altman. Altman has a blank slate now after trying to steer a championship-contending ship that had been stripped of a few propeller blades in the last 13 months. With James gone, as well as former GM David Griffin, the 35-year-old Altman has team owner Dan Gilbert’s charge to rebuild the Cavs without taking them down to the studs (as the Cavs did after James first departure in 2010). Altman’s next task after working out Kevin Love’s $130 million extension is clearing the roster of all the veterans brought in the last three years mainly because of their ability to play off of James. THE SKINNY: There weren’t any widespread jersey burnings this time in the Land. James left for L.A. with relative good will from his hometown, having delivered the championship it had waited 52 years for in 2016. Truly, the Cavs’ rebuild started the minute Kyrie Irving demanded a trade; last season seemed more rearguard action than an attack at another title. Extending Love through 2023 with no outs -- keeping him locked with rookie Sexton through the latter’s last controllable season before hitting unrestricted free agency -- gives Cleveland a base upon which to build. Cap room will follow in 2019, but next season will be difficult; Sexton has a lot of toughness and potential, but rookie point guards tend to get their lunch handed to them. 30. MIAMI HEAT 2017-18 RECORD: 44-38; lost in first round ADDED: None LOST: None RETAINED: G Wayne Ellington (one year, $6.2 million); F/G Derrick Jones Jr. THE KEY MAN: G Josh Richardson. Like many of his teammates, Richardson got an extension a couple of years ago -- four years and $42 million. Last season, he was (again) a solid two-way player for Miami -- almost 13 points per game, 84.5 percent from the line, 37.8 percent on 3-pointers. But if the Heat is going to shake out of the middle lane in which it currently seems stuck, Richardson will have to expand. Miami’s current roster makes it complicated; Pat Riley thinks Richardson’s probably more of a two, but he plays mostly three for coach Erik Spoelstra because Miami’s best lineups were small ball ones. Another offseason at P3 in California will help Richardson continue his development. THE SKINNY: No, Heat people: I don’t hate your team. But when you have no Draft picks, and you have no cap space, and thus you literally could do nothing in the offseason, and basically did nothing in the offseason, and your biggest, most newsy event was whether your 36-year-old future Hall of Fame guard will come back for one more season or play over in China … well, what am I supposed to do with that information? Rank you first? The question is, how much better is your team now than it was at the end of last season? It’s essentially the same team; other than the likes of Richardson (see above) or Justise Winslow, it’s not like there’s a great step up expected from Hassan Whiteside or Goran Dragic, is there? The Heat is not any better than last season. It isn’t any worse. It just … is. So, 30. Longtime NBA reporter, columnist and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer David Aldridge is an analyst for TNT. 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 NewsAug 8th, 2018

Duterte vetoes coconut farmers trust fund bill

  MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has vetoed the Coconut Farmers and Industry Development bill , plunging the fate of the coconut levy funds into uncertainty. The presidential veto was confirmed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Friday, February 15. Duterte's veto message has not yet been made available ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsFeb 16th, 2019

Jokic, Beasley lead Nuggets past Heat 103-87

By Arnie Stapleton, Associated Press DENVER (AP) — The Denver Nuggets snapped a three-game skid with a 103-87 win over the Miami Heat on Monday night (Tuesday, PHL time) behind 23 points and 12 rebounds from Nikola Jokic and 20 points from Malik Beasley. The Nuggets swept the season series from the Heat for the first time since 2008-09 and improved to 18-1 when holding opponents under 100 points. This marked the first time they did that since a 105-99 win at New Orleans on Jan. 30 (Feb. 1, PHL time). Denver pulled away in the third quarter to avoid matching a season-worst four-game skid it had in November before recovering in a big way to soar into the upper echelon on the Western Conference. The Nuggets struggled with three-point defense in their losses at Detroit, Brooklyn and Philadelphia last week, yielding a combined 48 percent success rate from long range in their East Coast swing. And the Heat were coming off a heartbreaking two-point loss at Golden State on Sunday (Monday, PHL time) in which they sank 18 three-pointers. "I hope they got all their makes last night and left that in San Francisco," Nuggets coach Michael Malone cracked before tip-off. The Heat did go cold from long range, finishing 9-of-23 for a 27-percent clip. The Nuggets regained their shooting touch, sinking 16 three-pointers including four in a 16-0 run they used to build a 75-57 lead with Will Barton and Jamal Murray each hitting two from behind the arc. Jokic had a pair of three-pointers as he scored Denver's final eight points before the break, helping the Nuggets take a 54-49 halftime lead. Justise Winslow led Miami with 15 points. VINDICATION Heat coach Erik Spoelstra didn't want to harp on the Heat's 120-118 loss at Golden State a night earlier after the NBA said the Warriors' Kevin Durant should have been called for a discontinued dribble in his team's final possession. Golden State made a pair of free throws on that possession, the final points of the game. The league, in its Last Two Minute Report that is released after close games, said it reviewed multiple video angles to determine that Durant's dribble was not interrupted by the ball making inadvertent contact with the foot or shin of Winslow and "a discontinued dribble should have been called on Durant." The NBA also opted not to fine Spoelstra for his postgame comments about the officiating and he emphasized that he wasn't blaming officials for Miami's loss. "It's a double-dribble. Everybody can see it," Spoelstra said after the game. "Those are tough calls to make, but everybody saw it. It's right there in front of everybody. That should be a violation and you can't miss those calls. But we had our chances. Like I said, it was back and forth. The officials — so let's be clear about it, so I do not get fined — that's not why we lost." TIP-INS Heat: Miami, the league's only team with more wins on the road than at home, fell to 14-14 on the road. ... Spoelstra looked at the silver lining of facing the Western Conference's top two teams on back-to-back nights, saying before the game: "What do you want as a competitor? You want to be challenged, you want to be pushed. You want to find out what you're about collectively as a team. Can we bounce back? We've had two tough losses on the road. I prefer these times where you have a tough loss and can bounce back 24 hours later, rather than wait and stew and brew." Nuggets: The Nuggets honored the late Irv Brown during a first-quarter timeout with a video tribute to the former University of Colorado baseball coach, NCAA referee and longtime Denver sports broadcaster who died Feb. 3. ... In the first quarter, Mason Plumlee and Torrey Craig both missed breakaway dunks. ... The Nuggets improved to 24-4 at home. UP NEXT Heat: Visit Dallas on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time). Nuggets: Host the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 12th, 2019

Tremendous George shows up as Thunder blast Heat

  LOS ANGELES, USA – Paul George scored 43 points and had a career-high 10 three-pointers as the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Miami Heat, 118-102, extending the NBA's longest current winning streak to 7 games. "Paul George, tonight, was tremendous," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "One of the more impressive shooting displays I've ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsFeb 2nd, 2019

Portions of Roxas Boulevard closed on Sunday – MMDA

MANILA, Philippines - The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on Friday announced that portions of Roxas Boulevard would be closed at certain hours of Sunday to give way to two events. The MMDA said the south-bound section of Roxas Boulevard from T.M. Kalaw to President Quirino Avenue would be closed to motorists from 5 a.m.to 9 a.m. for the launching of the Manila Bay Rehabilitation Project. Meanwhile, the north-bound section from P. Burgos to V. Sotto will be closed from 3 p.m. onwards for the 40th Fiesta Del Sto. Nino. Motorists are advised to take alternate routes. Motorists coming from A. Bonifacio Drive or R-10 may turn left at P. Burgos Avenue or T.M. Kala...Keep on reading: Portions of Roxas Boulevard closed on Sunday – MMDA.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJan 25th, 2019

The Heat leader: Erik Spoelstra passes Pat Riley on Miami games list | Inquirer Sports

MIAMI Erik Spoelstra still vividly remembers getting a short speech from his father, a sage piece of advice that came about a year into his time in the employ of the Miami Heat. Dont screw it up, Jon.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philippinetimesRelated NewsJan 25th, 2019

The Heat leader: Spoelstra passes Riley on Miami games list

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press MIAMI (AP) — Erik Spoelstra still vividly remembers getting a short speech from his father, a sage piece of advice that came about a year into his time in the employ of the Miami Heat. “Don’t screw it up,” Jon Spoelstra said. Almost 25 years later, the mantra still applies. Erik Spoelstra coached his 850th game for the Heat on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time), passing team president and Hall of Fame coach Pat Riley for the most in franchise history. Spoelstra is only the 13th person to coach at least 850 games with one NBA franchise; it’s happened 14 times overall, with Don Nelson reaching that threshold with both Milwaukee and Golden State during his career. “My dad had been fired from a couple of different places and he knew the real NBA,” Spoelstra said. “He was saying it almost as such an exaggeration ... just find a way to hang on with this guy, this Hall of Famer. And I guess the lesson to that is, I’m still just trying to hang on, trying to work for him for as long as I possibly can.” New Orleans’ Alvin Gentry will coach his 1,000th career game Thursday (Friday, PHL time) when the Pelicans visit Oklahoma City, making him the 31st NBA coach to hit that milestone. Unless either Scott Skiles or Stan Van Gundy returns to an NBA sideline beforehand — they’ve coached 958 and 907 games, respectively — Spoelstra could be the next coach to join the 1,000-game club, sometime around the midpoint of the 2020-21 season. Heat guard Dwyane Wade has spent virtually his entire career around Spoelstra, who was an assistant under Riley until moving into the top spot for the 2008-09 season. That means he’s heard just about every quote Spoelstra has to offer over and over and over again, lines about “identity” and “competition” and insisting that in any circumstance “we have enough.” It took Wade a long time to understand why Spoelstra’s message rarely deviates from one year to the next. “He’s consistent,” Wade said. “If you’re a parent, you understand that my kids need consistency from me and my wife. They need routines, they need all these things. It’s the same thing. It’s a big day care that he has in that locker room and he’s consistent with his message and how we do things.” Among coaches with at least 10 years on the job, Spoelstra’s winning percentage — .595 — is eighth-best in NBA history. By the time this season ends, he should be in the top 30 for all-time wins. And he’s only 48, meaning his career might still have many, many more years left for him to add to his legacy. Plus, he realizes how fortunate he is to be in a place like Miami, where the leadership group led by Riley and managing general partner Micky Arison values stability. Among current NBA coaches, only San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich has been in his job longer than Spoelstra — who has seen 122 coaching changes in the league since Riley promoted him to the top spot on Miami’s staff. “This coaching profession is extremely dynamic,” Spoelstra said. “It’s complex and I’m very grateful to have this opportunity with such an incredible organization. You don’t have it in pro sports. That’s why I try to do my very best and try to grow and get better and reinvent every year because I don’t want to let them down.” That means he’s still listening to his dad’s suggestion, all these years later......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 24th, 2019

Heat hang on late, top Grizzlies 112-108

Associated Press MIAMI (AP) — Justise Winslow scored 26 points, Dwyane Wade had a huge blocked shot in the final seconds and the Miami Heat beat the Memphis Grizzlies 112-108 on Saturday night. Josh Richardson and Tyler Johnson each scored 14 for Miami, which reached the midpoint of the season at 21-20. Bam Adebayo and Derrick Jones Jr. scored 11 apiece for the Heat and Wade had 10, but arguably the two biggest plays of his night came in the final 4 seconds. Wade blocked a potentially game-tying layup by Shelvin Mack, then won a jump ball to help the Heat escape. JaMychal Green scored 24 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Grizzlies, who went 0-2 this season against Miami — losing the two games by a total of seven points. Mike Conley scored 22 and Marc Gasol had 15. Conley made a 65-footer as time expired, though it was waved off and would have been irrelevant anyway. No lead was safe: Memphis blew a pair of double-digit leads in the first half, and Miami was up by 13 midway through the third. Conley's 3-pointer with 6:31 left knotted the game at 99, ending a 12-minute stretch where the Grizzlies outscored the Heat 32-19. It was tied twice more after that as well, but the Grizzles never reclaimed the lead. Conley tried a runner for the lead with 56 seconds left, and Gasol had a wide-open 3-point try as the shot clock was running down with 32 seconds remaining. Both missed — Conley's bounced off and Gasol's missed everything, going wide left. With Miami up one, Wade missed a jumper with 14 seconds left and Richardson grabbed the rebound for Miami before getting fouled. He made one of two free throws, and Memphis called time with 9 seconds left. Mack tried to drive on Wade, only to get his shot blocked and a jump ball was called. Wade won the tap to Richardson, who made a pair of free throws with 1.1 seconds left. TIP-INS Grizzlies: Memphis opened on a 19-7 run, then had a 17-4 run later in the half — yet still went into the break down 63-61. ... It was the first game at Miami for Joakim Noah since Dec. 6, 2016. ... As the Grizzlies were playing in Miami, Justin Timberlake tweeted out a video showing him making half-court shots on their practice court in Memphis. He had a concert in their building Saturday night. ... Mack and Jaren Jackson each had 13 points for Memphis. Heat: It was kids' day at the Heat game, and coach Erik Spoelstra got into the act by holding his 9-month-old son Santiago as he stood for the national anthem. ... Hassan Whiteside missed the game with an illness. ... The game was a rare 5 p.m. home tip, just the second in a regular-season contest for Miami since Christmas 2014. ... The Heat made 15 3-pointers, giving them 33 in their last two games — the best two-game run from deep this season. Their previous best was 28 3s in a two-game span, done on six occasions. DAUNTING SCHEDULE Miami plays only four home games in the next six weeks — and three of those are in a four-day span between Jan. 30 and Feb. 2. After that, the next Heat home game is Feb. 23. In all, 12 of Miami's next 16 are on the road and 11 of those games are against likely playoff teams. TURKEY TURNAROUND At Thanksgiving, Memphis was 12-5 and leading the Western Conference. The Grizzlies are 7-18 since, and have fallen to 14th in the West. UP NEXT Grizzlies: Visit Houston on Monday. Both of Memphis' games against Miami this season were followed by one with the Rockets. Heat: Visit Milwaukee on Tuesday. It's the start of a four-game trip for the Heat, who are 10-8 on the road this season......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 13th, 2019

KAI-vals Series: NU s counter Carl Tamayo

It has become some sort of a cliché now that Kai Sotto is not yet done growing. Indeed, Ateneo de Manila High School’s 7-foot-1, 16-year-old still has three more years, including this one, to tower over the competition in high school. That doesn’t mean, however, that the rest of the competition will just take that lying down. Here, we take a look at the players who are more than capable of challenging Sotto’s dominance – now and even onto the future. --- Carl Tamayo has only played four games in his first year for Nazareth School of National University no thanks to a nagging right ankle sprain. There was one game he wasn’t going to miss no matter what, however – the Bullpups rematch with Ateneo de Manila High School which bested them for last year’s championship. “Yung pagmamahal ko sa team, siyempre, kailangan nila ako so I played through the pain,” he said. Not only did he play through the pain, he actually lived up to the hype of being a match for Kai Sotto, the Blue Eaglets’ 7-foot-1, 16-year-old. Sotto had 23 points, 12 rebounds, four assists, and two steals in their head-to-head matchup, but it was Tamayo who came away with the win on top of a 13-point, 10-rebound double-double. For NU’s own towering teen, though, it wasn’t the prospect of facing off with the Philippines’ biggest hope in basketball that motivated him. Rather, it was being on the floor and doing battle alongside his teammates. “Naging motivation ko, yung teammates ko kasi kailangan nila ako,” he shared afterward. “Kasi nga, malaki si Kai so pag nandun ako, alam kong magiging malaki rin contributions ko.” Indeed, for two years, Sotto is yet to find his match in the UAAP Juniors where only Raven Cortez comes close to his talent and potential. Most of the country’s young prospects have risen over in the NCAA Juniors in the likes of Warren Bonifacio, Aaron Fermin, and Will Gozum. Enter Tamayo, the UAAP Juniors’ Rookie of the Year right before Sotto was hailed as the top newcomer. Tamayo won Rookie of the Year while displaying an inside-outside game that was still quite rare for a big man. Now, he is only continuing to develop the all-around game he already has. This continued development is made even more impressive by the fact that the now 17-year-old has only been playing basketball for around five years. Yes, back in his hometown of Cebu, he was a tall kid, but nobody will find him in basketball courts and instead, he was most often playing billiards. “Hindi pa talaga ako naglalaro (ng basketball) nun. Bilyar talaga ako,” he said, recalling his time as a 12-year-old who already stood 5-foot-10. That was until coach Goldwin Monteverde came over to Cebu and ultimately convinced him to put his height to good use. “Meron kasi kaming kapitbahay, player nina coach Gold dati, tapos kinausap niya yung ball boy na may malaki nga raw siyang kapitbahay. Yung ball boy naman, kinausap si coach Gold tapos timing, pumunta sila sa Cebu, ayun, kinuha nila ako,” he shared. Of course, a little encouragement in the form of a ticket to watch San Miguel and idol June Mar Fajardo played a part in convincing Tamayo to move to Manila. From there, not only did the now 6-foot-8 versatile big man prove to be a prized prospect, he would also turn out to be a big piece for the Bullpups as they try to put a stop to Ateneo’s dynasty in the UAAP Juniors. “Nung una, ‘di ko alam paano maglaro so ensayo lang nang ensayo,” he shared. He then continued, “Kahit papaano, nag-improve naman nang nag-improve.” And now, Tamayo only vows to keep doing what he had always done – get better and better. In particular, he wants nothing more than to weaponize his outside shot to that Sotto and other opposing big men will be forced to go with him to the perimeter, leaving the paint open for slashers such as Gerry Abadiano and Cyril Gonzales to attack. As he put it, “Ang tine-train namin ngayon, to play outside. Magiging malaking tulong sa teammates ko yun kung na-develop ko yun.” --- Tamayo and Sotto will go head-to-head for three seasons, including this one, in the UAAP Juniors. They go at it once more just as NU and Ateneo will go at it once more as the second round of the UAAP 81 Juniors Basketball Tournament begins on January 13 at the Filoil Flying V Centre. And for the first time ever, that matchup will be LIVE and EXCLUSIVE on S+A, S+A HD, LIGA, LIGA HD and via livestream. Tip-off is at 3:00 PM. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 4th, 2019

Heat give Erik Spoelstra his 500th coaching win, beat Magic

ORLANDO, Fla. --- It was a 500 kind of night for the Miami Heat, who got their record back to .500 and delivered coach Erik Spoelstra his 500th coaching victory. Tyler Johnson scored 20 of his 25 points in the third quarter as Miami defeated the Orlando Magic 115-91 and ran its winning streak to five games. Justise Winslow added 22 points and Josh Richardson finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds for Miami, which beat Orlando for the first time in three tries this season and improved to 16-16. Dwayne Wade, playing his 24th and likely final game in Orlando, had 10 points and four assists in 24 minutes. "I definitely think having four wins in a row, this was the best team ...Keep on reading: Heat give Erik Spoelstra his 500th coaching win, beat Magic.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsDec 24th, 2018

Heat counter Magic for Spoelstra s 500th coaching win

The Miami Heat defeated the Orlando Magic, 115-91, and delivered Heat coach Erik Spoelstra his 500th coaching victory......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsDec 24th, 2018

Heat clamp down on Giannis Antetokounmpo, top Bucks

MIAMI --- This is what Miami coach Erik Spoelstra means when he says he wants everyone involved. This was one play for the Heat in the final moments Saturday night: James Johnson blocked a 3-point try by Milwaukee's Khris Middleton, the ball ricocheting to Justise Winslow, who knocked it to Josh Richardson, who tipped it to Dwyane Wade, who then tapped it forward to Richardson for a dunk. It was that kind of night for the Heat. With balanced offense, airtight defense and by completely frustrating Giannis Antetokounmpo, Miami extended its season-best winning streak to four games with a 94-87 win over the Milwaukee Bucks. "We have to be able to commit to this," Spoelstra said....Keep on reading: Heat clamp down on Giannis Antetokounmpo, top Bucks.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsDec 23rd, 2018

UAAP: Now NU s pillar, Carl Tamayo just wanted to watch June Mar Fajardo before

Last season, Nazareth School of National University just had no answer for Kai Sotto. Ateneo de Manila High School’s towering teen, well, towered above all in the three-game Finals series to lift the Blue Eaglets over the Bullpups and onto the mountaintop of the UAAP Juniors. A year later, it looks like Sotto finally has an equal from the blue and gold. In the rematch between NU and Ateneo last Saturday, the 16-year-old, 7-foot-1 generational talent had 23 points, 12 rebounds, four assists, and two steals for the Blue Eaglets. Only, the Bullpups also had a 17-year-old, 6-foot-8 promising prospect who posted a 13-point, 10-rebound to help lead his side to victory. That 17-year-old, 6-foot-8 promising prospect? Carl Tamayo. While the fact that they finally have an equal for Sotto is a welcome development, NU still had to go through a lot for this to happen. Of course, head coach Goldwin Monteverde first had to transfer from Adamson High School – and bring along many of the tantalizing talents he had already recruited. Tamayo, one of those tantalizing talents, wouldn’t have been found, however, if only the Passerelle wasn’t being held in Cebu a few years back. “Galing po ako sa Cebu tapos nung time na yun, Passerrelle Finals sa Cebu. Dun po ako nahanap at nakausap nina coach Gold,” he shared. As it turns out, however, the Cebuano big man wouldn’t have gone with coach Gold to Manila if not for a definite desire to watch his kababayan. Asked how he was convinced to come, he answered through chuckles, “May kwento yan. ‘Di talaga ako dapat sasama nun, pero sabi kasi nila, papanoorin daw nila ako ng PBA.” He then continued, “E sobrang gusto kong manood ng PBA, gusto kong mapanood si June Mar Fajardo, sumama na ako.” Yes, a ticket to a San Miguel game featuring, of course, man in the middle Fajardo, got Tamayo to say yes to coach Gold. The rest, as they say, is history. “Blessed naman na nakarating din ako kina coach Gold kasi sobrang ganda ng program nila,” he said, looking back at his origin story. Until now, Fajardo is apparently playing a big role in Tamayo’s development. In particular, the NU big man is inspired by how, slowly but surely, the Beermen’s franchise player turned himself from a raw talent into a six-time champion and four-time MVP in the PBA. “Nagsimula rin siya sa hindi pa siya ganun marunong maglaro so iniidolo ko talaga siya. Sa kanya ko talaga ginagaya mga galaw ko,” he said. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 21st, 2018

Mitchell, Jazz roll over short-handed Heat 111-84

By Matthew Coles, Associated Press SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Donovan Mitchell scored 21 points and Derrick Favors had 17 to help the Utah Jazz romp over the short-handed Miami Heat 111-84 on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time). "It started from the tip," Mitchell said after the Jazz led by as many as 42. "We came out strong and didn't let up." Playing against one of his basketball idols probably for the final time, Mitchell unleashed a variety of moves — the crossovers and misdirection dribbles that have prompted comparisons to a young Dwyane Wade. Mitchell has acknowledged he studies film of Wade to develop his own offensive repertoire. On Tuesday night (Wednesday, PHL time), Mitchell took Wade to dinner in downtown Salt Lake City and gifted him a rocking chair. Then, the second-year guard, who said he calls Wade on the phone often and picks his brain, matched up and scored on the 12-time All-Star at least a few times in the blowout. Rodney McGruder paced the Heat with 16 points and Kelly Olynyk had 14 as Miami played without Hassan Whiteside and Goran Dragic. Wade, set to retire after the season, scored six points. Less than two weeks ago, the Jazz also went up big in the first quarter against the Heat, leading by as many as 19 before allowing a 20-0 run and watching Wade sink two free throws to win it in Miami, 102-100. This time, there was no such drama. The Jazz sprinted out to a 34-10 lead on hot shooting and tenacious defense that denied the Heat any easy looks early. Favors went 7-of-8 and had eight boards in 19 minutes, while Rudy Gobert had 10 points and 11 rebounds. Kyle Korver, who has opened up the floor for the Jazz since arriving via trade from Cleveland, made four more three-pointers and scored 16 points. The Jazz have had an up-and-down year by any measure. This win marked Utah's second by 27 points or more in eight days, but the Jazz have also lost games by 33 and 50 points and have yet to reach the .500 mark at home (now 5-6). Even within the same game, the Jazz were nearly unstoppable in the first quarter — shooting 70 percent — but went through long stretches later in the game when they couldn't generate any offense and had a spate of turnovers. They ended up shooting 52.6 percent, including 16-of-32 from three-point range, with 17 turnovers. The Heat have been riding their own rollercoaster. They led by 31 in the second quarter of a win against New Orleans on Nov. 30 (Dec. 1, PHL time) and then trailed by 31 — and more — in the second quarter to the Jazz less than two weeks later. MISSING YOU Whiteside, who left the court for the locker room during the fourth quarter of a home loss to Orlando last week, is still not with the team for personal reasons. He later said he just needed to go to the bathroom, but Miami coach Erik Spoelstra was upset and said the Heat "handled it as a team." Whiteside is expected back with the club on Friday (Saturday, PHL time). Dragic, who has battled a sore right knee for the last six weeks and had it drained in mid-November, missed the game — his 12th scratch of the season. Fellow guard Dion Waiters hasn't played at all since having ankle surgery in January. TIP-INS Heat: Wade, making his last regular-season appearance in Salt Lake City, got a standing ovation when he checked in midway through the first quarter and another when exited the court after the game. ... The Heat's 15 points were a season low in the first quarter for a Jazz opponent. Jazz: Raul Neto missed the game with a sore right leg. ... The win snapped a four-game skid against Miami. UP NEXT Heat: Visit the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time). Jazz: At the Orlando Magic on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 13th, 2018

Dwyane Wade set to reach 1,000 career games

LOS ANGELES --- Dwyane Wade never thought he would play 1,000 games. And he's unsure what the milestone will mean. Wade is in line to become the 15th active player to appear in 1,000 regular-season games, the milestone he'll hit assuming he plays Saturday night when the Miami Heat visit the Los Angeles Clippers. "I don't even know the significance of 1,000 games," Wade said. "I don't know if it's a big deal. I think it's just another number." The Heat might disagree with that. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra didn't know Wade was nearing the milestone until earlier this week, and got wide-eyed when told that Wade had appeared in so many games. "That's crazy to think about," Spoelstra sa...Keep on reading: Dwyane Wade set to reach 1,000 career games.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsDec 8th, 2018

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

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 26th, 2018

Richardson has 12-point 4th quarter, leads Heat past Bulls

By PATRICK ROSE,  Associated Press CHICAGO (AP) — Josh Richardson scored 12 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter and Hassan Whiteside had 18 points and 10 rebounds to help the Miami Heat beat the Chicago Bulls 103-96 on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time). Bam Adebayo added 14 points and 13 rebounds, and the Heat held on after nearly squandering a 26-point lead in the fourth quarter. Zach LaVine got the Bulls to 87-84 with 6:07 left, but Richardson had back-to-back baskets and Wayne Ellington answered with a 3. Richardson made his fifth 3 to put the Heat up 100-90 with 2:00 left. Justin Holiday had 27 points and 13 rebounds for the Bulls, and LaVine added 24. Within a minute in the second quarter, Whiteside shot airballs on two free throws. His first airball came on the front end of a shooting foul, then he airballed another free throw after trying to convert a three-point play. Whiteside could get a chuckle about it because the Heat were on a 20-2 run, where he scored 12 point. The Heat outscored the Bulls 32-13 in the second quarter. Whiteside was perfect from the floor in the second quarter, making all five of his attempts, while going 2-for-7 from the free throw line. The Bulls were horrific in the second quarter, making only 2-of-their-19 field goal attempts, while committing nine turnovers. Whiteside provided the defensive presence for the Heat by blocking three shots in the quarter. The Heat led 60-39 at the half. Richardson finished with 13 points in the half for Miami and Justin Holiday led the Bulls with 17 points in the half. The Heat led by as many as 26 in the second quarter, but the Bulls were able to get within foue points in the fourth quarter. Chicago went on a 9-0 run midway through the the third quarter. LaVine capped it off with a dunk. Then in the fourth quarter, Parker scored six consdecutive points to get Chicago within 81-77. Parker scored 17 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter. TIP-INS Heat: James Johnson was in the starting lineup for the first time this season. He underwent surgery for a hernia back in May. "I'm going to try to fast track him as much as possible but not at the thought of trying to jam in 30 minutes. He's going to be a big part of what we're doing," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. Bulls: Rookie F Chandler Hutchison missed his second straight game with back spasms. ... Chicago Bears linebacker Khalil Mack, who sat courtside, drew a loud ovation when he appeared on the video board during the first quarter. BACK TO THE BENCH Spoelstra moved Justise Winslow back to the bench.on Tuesday after starting eight straight games. He scored 10 points in a loss to the Nets "That was going to be a temporary move probably anyway, so he feels more comfortable in that unit, handling the ball, initiating our offense a little more, it immediately activates him into the game," said Spoelstra. UP NEXT Heat: At Toronto on Sunday. Bulls: At Minnesota on Saturday night......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 24th, 2018

Duterte means business —Sotto

President Rodrigo Duterte’s dismissal of a ranking official of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) only means the Chief Executive is dead serious in his fight against corruption. Senate President Vicente Sotto III yesterday said the President’s decision regarding HUDCC Secretary General Falconi Millar only indicates the seriousness of his fight against graft […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsNov 23rd, 2018

Even in Year 16, LeBron James refusing to slow down

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press MIAMI (AP) — LeBron James stopped worrying about his place in history long ago. His legacy has been secure for years. The argument about where he ranks, whether or not he’s the best player to ever step on a basketball court, will continue forever and there will never be a definitive answer. That is, unless he keeps doing things like this. In his 16th season, James can still make the game look absurdly easy. The latest entry on the long list of his unforgettable nights came Sunday (Monday, PHL time), when James scored 51 points and led the Los Angeles Lakers to a 113-97 win over the Miami Heat. He’s only the second player to score at least 50 in a game this deep into an NBA career; the other is Kobe Bryant, in his final game, and that was aided by 50 shot attempts. “I’ve always been a guy to let the game talk for itself, speak for itself,” James said. “My body of work speaks for itself, still to this day, 16 years in.” He paused for a second, breaking into a big smile. “If there’s ever a discussion,” James said, “games like this will make sure you figure it out.” Bryant had gone more than seven years without a 50-point game before April 13, 2016, when he went 22-for-50 and scored 60 points at Staples Center as the Laker faithful roared for his work one final time. James hadn’t gone six months since his last 50-point night; it was Game 1 of last season’s NBA Finals, the one where J.R. Smith forgot the score in the final seconds and Cleveland lost to Golden State on the way to a sweep. James was methodical on Sunday (Monday, PHL time); he was 19-for-31 from the field, 6-for-8 from three-point range, getting to 51 points on a deep three-pointer in the final seconds with the outcome already long decided. “That’s all coaching,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said. “Just great coaching. ... No, the way he sees the game, he knows what he’s doing out there.” Through 16 games, though there’s nothing to suggest that he’s going to slow down this season — or anytime soon — James is his usual sensational self. He’s averaging 28.8 points on 52 percent shooting, with 7.7 rebounds and 6.9 assists per game. No one in NBA history has ever averaged that many points in a 16th season or later. Bryant is the only player to average more than 25 points this deep into a career; he averaged 27.9 points in 2011-12, 27.3 points in 2012-13. But it’s not just the scoring. Only Steve Nash, John Stockton and Jason Kidd — three of the best point guards ever — averaged this many assists at this point in their career. “He’s the best player in the world,” Lakers guard Lonzo Ball said. Added fellow Laker Kyle Kuzma: “He could average 40 if he wanted.” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, who had James for four seasons in Miami, describes James’ game in one word: “Timeless.” “Doesn’t matter what year, doesn’t matter how old,” Spoelstra said. “Consistency is as much of a talent as any physical or mental talent. He’s five-star in all of those.” James hasn’t won an MVP award in any of the past five seasons. For as good as he’s been, for as long as he’s been that good, it’s hard to believe that his first 15 seasons only resulted in him winning that award four times. He should be in the conversation again this year, and thought he should have won the award last year. “I just go out and my love for the game keeps me going,” James said. “My ability to put in the work, and see what happens after that. I know if I put in the work and be true to the game, then everything else will take care of itself.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 19th, 2018