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FBI: Shooter’s girlfriend now a ‘person of interest’

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Category: newsSource: thestandard thestandardOct 4th, 2017

Popovich s odd alliance with red state fans

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com SAN ANTONIO -- About 400 people gathered at the Oak Hills Country Club in June 2016 and paid $500 to $250,000 to sip iced tea and nibble hors d’oeuvres next to a golf course designed by noted architect AW Tillinghast, who built many. One is owned by the man who was feted at this political fundraiser, Donald J. Trump. The presidential campaign was in full blast and saltier than the crackers on the cheese plate being passed around. Fresh off the plane, Trump thanked the Republicans for the big ‘ole Texas welcome, witnesses say, before launching a blistering attack on the usual targets: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, illegal immigration. Then, near the end of his 30-minute lunchtime appearance, in an effort to connect with the locals, he pivoted and mentioned perhaps the most famous man in town: Gregg Popovich. Witnesses say Trump called Popovich “a great coach” and said “he does a good job” and then there was some fidgeting in the room when the soon-to-be polarizing leader of the free world said this: “I don’t know if the coach is on my side.” Confirmation came emphatically, right after Trump won a divisive election that November. The coach of the Spurs lit into the President over the next several months with a handful of rants that had the stealth of Kawhi Leonard ambushing a timid ball-handler. In no particular order, here were Pop’s Greatest Hits, all issued through the media and without prompting or provocation: “The disgusting tenure and tone and all the comments … have been xenophobic, homophobic, racist, misogynistic. I live in a country where half the people ignored that to elect someone.” And: “He is in charge of our country. That’s disgusting.” And: “The man in the Oval Office is a soulless coward who thinks he can only become large by belittling others.” And: “We have a pathological liar in the White House ... You can’t believe anything that comes out of his mouth.” Popovich didn’t stop there with a President whose sensitivity and intelligence he questioned and accused of being guilty of “gratuitous fear-mongering.” When he took Trump to task for criticizing NFL players who knelt during the National Anthem and defended their rights to do so, Popovich also suspected a measure of the public outrage was racially motivated. “Our country is an embarrassment to the world,” he said. A 68-year-old wealthy white man, therefore, became a sports voice with weight in the political and social justice arena, where the NBA league office has greenlighted players and coaches to speak up. Popovich has done so with clarity and insight to gain national applause in certain corners. He wasn’t the first or the last in sports to verbally spank the president or tackle right-leaning sensitivities, yet he’s certainly the most unique in one respect. As a graduate of the Air Force Academy who works in a military town, and a five-time NBA champion coach who might symbolize the city more than The Alamo, Popovich has long been elevated to icon status, perhaps permanently so, in San Antonio, where folks are mad about the Spurs. Still, this is mostly conservative Texas, one of the most Republican of states based on the state legislature and the congressional delegation, a state that voted Republican in 10 straight presidential elections and saw 52.6 percent of voters punch for Trump. While voters in San Antonio-proper lean liberal, the surrounding areas swing solidly the opposite. Julianna Holt, the Spurs CEO and Popovich’s boss since March after assuming the position held for 20 years by her husband Peter, supported various Republican presidential candidates before eventually donating $5,400 to Trump’s campaign and $250,000 to the Trump Victory Fund, according to Federal Election Commission records. Popovich is therefore a blue blood in a red state and the contrast makes for strange if not uncomfortable alliance between a beloved coach and a group of conflicted Spurs worshippers. His views have in fact shattered the sacrilege by generating hostility from a segment of the basketball flock, something no coach with his credentials would ever feel. The constant winning and acts of charity do not insulate him from those who would prefer Popovich stuff a sweat sock in his bullhorn. Party lines not Popovich's focus “While we all believe Gregg Popovich has the right to his opinions, where was Popovich when Hillary called half of us a 'basket of deplorables?’Many were Spurs fans who are now tired of being insulted ... many of us will never pay to see a Spurs game again.” -- Donna Howington  “The money I will save this year not attending Spurs games should buy me a nice set of golf clubs. Thanks Pop!” -- Jake Ingorgia  “I will never watch them again until Popovich is gone. He is just like all the other leftist celebrities.” -- Lee Harbach, Bulverde They arrive on cue, most from the dusty towns that orbit around San Antonio, some from the city itself. Popovich has unloaded three times this year on Trump, once after the election, once at the start of training camp and most recently by cold-calling Dave Zirin, a friend and liberal writer from The Nation, a progressive magazine. And each time, the letters land in the office of Ricardo Pimentel, the editor who coordinates the comments section of the Express-News, San Antonio’s newspaper of record. “It’s a cycle,” says Pimental, with a sigh. “He speaks out. People who disagree with him send us letters to the editor, then people who object to their disagreement write us letters to the editor defending Pop. Then they respond to one another.” The initial reaction, he said, is always stacked against Popovich and many identify themselves as Spurs fans ripping up their tickets or promising to never attend or watch games again. Even if those who made threats actually carried them out, the change in the Spurs’ home attendance is a blip, from 99.2 percent capacity last season to 98.6 so far this season. Popovich, of course, has been big for business since his first full season as coach in 1997-98. Besides the titles, the Spurs have reached the playoffs every season and won 50 games every season (except for the lockout-shortened 50-game 1998-99 campaign, when they won 37). In short, Popovich's Spurs have a track record beyond reproach in the NBA. If the 2017-18 Spurs stay on pace, it’ll be 20 straight winning seasons for Popovich, one more than Phil Jackson for the all-time NBA record. He hasn’t been this politically vocal until lately, due to Trump, yet was always politically aware, say those who know him. Well-versed through his readings and observations, Popovich welcomes discussion with acquaintences about classism, leadership, government and preferably over a bottle of wine. His two-decades exposure to young black men from humble beginnings raised his awareness and sensitivities about race and bias. Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr once played for the Spurs and lately has echoed many of the same thoughts as Popovich. But Kerr coaches in the Bay Area, where folks nod their heads in agreement. Kerr said he can only imagine the flak Popovich catches in Texas. “Here’s this iconic coach who stands for everything that’s right and for honor and integrity, he served in the military, you see him stand at attention for the American flag — man, Pop loves his country,” Kerr said. “And in the middle of Texas for him to be questioning the Republican President, some of the people down there are probably confused. Like, 'I don’t get it, we love this guy but he’s on the other side from us.' “What I love about Pop is that it’s not about party, not about politics. It’s about integrity and character and that’s what people need to pay attention to. It’s not about some policy, not about how much we pay in taxes. If we can just get back to the point where character matters, then we’ll be in better shape. The problem is, it’s clear character has gone down the tubes in many leadership positions in our country. That’s what Pop is calling out.” True enough, Popovich never publicly attached himself to a political party; to suggest he is against Republicans might be as misleading as believing Colin Kaepernick is against the military. When he played for Popovich, Kerr couldn’t recall a time when the coach was this annoyed by the country’s leadership. “The country was in a better place in terms of a relatively peaceful time back then,” Kerr said. “Yes, 9-11 happened and the whole world changed. But we didn’t have quite the same partisan nature, not only in politics but the national conversation. And so people could just admire Pop for who he was and people might not have been aware of his political leanings because they didn’t ask. When we won and went to the White House, Pop and the team went when Bush was in office. We went in ’99 when President Clinton was there. Republican, Democrat, didn’t matter. The times are so different now.” Kerr laughed quickly when asked about the semi-serious groundswell of social media support for a Kerr-Popovich ticket in 2020. Kerr said he hopes to be on his fifth NBA title as a coach then, but turned semi-serious about Popovich. “Our country needs somebody like Pop who can actually lead and unite from a position of authority and credibility,” Kerr said. “This guy served in the military, grew up in a melting pot, understands leadership. More than anything, he’ll cut through all the [expletive].” Since going nuclear on Trump, Popovich declined invites from the national political shows (and wouldn’t comment for this story). That proves what friends have maintained all along: Popovich doesn’t want to be anyone’s political hero or pundit. He’d rather speak when the moment calls for it, then be left alone. That last part is tricky, though. Empathy often marks Popovich's way “Can you imagine being Republican on the Spurs? Would you feel welcome? He’s like Berkeley -- for free speech unless you disagree with him. Shut up and coach, Gregg.” -- Shannon Deason  “When it comes to coaching basketball or drinking wine, Popovich has experience. When it comes to our country, his opinion is no better than anyone else’s." -- Harold Siemens, Seguin  “Open letter to the NBA referee who ejected Pop from the Warriors-Spurs game: Don’t feel bad about what Gregg Popovich called you. He called the POTUS worse and got away with it.” -- Larry Peabody Once the wheels touched down, the pilot jokingly announced over the loudspeaker: “Welcome to Gregg Popovich International Airport,” and one particular passenger noticed that nobody on the plane thought it was strange. Sean Elliott always knew how deeply rooted Popovich is with San Antonio. Aside from the famous Spanish missions and the River Walk, the city is known for the only professional sports team in town. And while George Gervin, David Robinson and Tim Duncan have come and gone, the one lingering reminder is a sometimes gruff and scruffy coach, maybe the NBA’s best ever. “He’s one of the pillars of the community,” said Elliott, twice an All-Star with the Spurs. “He’s looked at with great admiration. He is as respected as anyone who has ever lived in or been part of the city. It’s not just because he’s a basketball coach. Pop has been a big part of the community, huge contributor to charitable functions, good leader.” Elliott was a Spurs rookie in 1989 when their relationship began and he saw the start of Popovich’s reach in the region. Popovich then was an assistant coach under Larry Brown and just planting his feet in the NBA. That summer, Elliott and Popovich piled into a van with the team's "Coyote" mascot and conducted basketball clinics in San Marcos, Corpus Christi, Laredo and similar places. They were signing autographs in malls and running kids through drills in 100 degree heat, never hearing a complaint from the coach. Elliott said folks in those small conservative towns loved him. “If you sit and hear him talk about something, you tend to agree with him,” Elliott said. “He’ll put it in a logical way and he’s very thoughtful, well read and super intelligent, maybe the most intelligent person I’ve ever known.” The owner of the Spurs then was Red McCombs, a homespun Texan who made his fortune in car dealerships and media companies. McCombs didn’t give Popovich the coaching job after firing Brown, telling Popovich “you’ve got a chance to be a great coach” if he got more experience, which he did, going to the Warriors to work for Don Nelson. Popovich returned to San Antonio two years later as general manager, then became coach and the rest is history. Now 90, McCombs said: “Popovich has become the distinguished part of the franchise. He wears it well. Can’t say enough about what kind of man he is and what he’s meant to San Antonio. God has blessed us with Gregg Popovich.” McCombs loves to tell how Popovich, by chance, learned that a local family needed a car. The coach wrote a check, gave it to the father and walked away. McCombs said it was “typical Popovich” who has empathy for those with less. McCombs, curiously, has traditionally been one of the biggest Republican bankrollers in the state, who gave to the Trump campaign and is fully aware of what Popovich thinks of his choice for President. And so one of the most powerful men in Central Texas, who leans politically to the color of his nickname, had a strong reaction to that. “He’s earned the right to give his comments about citizenship or Trump or anything else,” said McCombs, voice rising. “Yes, he made some statements that others might disagree with. But I’ll tell you this: Popovich would be elected to anything he wants to in San Antonio.” Remaining silent never an option “Our country is not an embarrassment to the world. I will tell you what an embarrassment is. It is an American citizen who got a free education from the great Air Force Academy ... and then has the audacity to say that the greatest nation in the world is an embarrassment because the President rightly demands that Americans stand for the anthem. Popovich should be ashamed of himself.” -- Nick DeLouis, Fair Oaks Ranch  “Nowhere on God’s green Earth do they have the right to disrespect our flag and the men and women who died to keep us free. I’m appalled that you stooped so low to join in that disrespect. Shame on you!” -- Fred Martin, Fair Oaks Ranch  “Coach Pop has squashed my love and enthusiasm for the team. A national treasure, he is not. Coach Pop has a voice, but not my voice." -- Jo Ivan A few years ago Popovich was in New York with his daughter to catch a Broadway play when the coach had a last minute change in strategy. He learned that John Carlos was giving a lecture at New York University that night. So Popovich told his daughter to take one of her friends instead; said he was going to see “Dr. Carlos” speak. “When he came in I was surprised and delighted,” Carlos said recently. “Quite naturally, everyone knew who he was but he just wanted to sit and listen.” A year later, in 2015, Popovich flew Carlos to San Antonio to address the team and Carlos admitted to being star struck around Tim Duncan and others. Yet Carlos was most curious about Popovich and why the coach took a strong interest in an Olympic sprinter who raised a fist on the victory stand in 1968, which is frozen as an iconic civil rights moment. “Being with the Spurs gave me an opportunity to check his character out,” Carlos said. “I knew he was a whiz at putting players together to bring out their best ability. But through my conversations with him it became apparent that he was a social activist himself at one point in his life. He was teaching his players about activism and to be concerned about their fellow man and what was going on around their lives, not just basketball. “I was impressed. He just wanted them to know they had a larger role than just playing basketball in the society in which they live.” Carlos, therefore, was not surprised to see Popovich defend the rights of kneeling black football players who came under attack from Trump. On the first day of training camp in September, Popovich said: “Obviously race is the elephant in the room and we all understand that. Unless it is talked about constantly it is not going to get better.” What followed was another swirl of exchanges between Popovich critics and supporters in San Antonio, and Popovich acknowledged receiving mail from both sides. The anti-Pop mail, though, was jarring to Carlos, given the coach’s work in town. “When people write and lambast him for taking leaders to task for what they’re doing to society, that’s like water rolling off a duck’s back, man,” Carlos said. “When they write negative things about him, it encourages him to keep doing what he’s doing. Those people are the problem. Go ahead and throw stones and it just motivates him to do his job. “Look, I’m a black man who spoke out. Imagine what they think of him as a white man who speaks just as strong, to try and get people to see things in a better light? They throw stones at him even more, like, 'Hey you’re white, you have a great life. Keep your mouth shut.’ Well, God points people in certain directions. We know who we are. We do what we do.” And what Popovich does is enlist the help of giants in the social justice world and bring them into his world. He did that with Cornel West, the Harvard professor and civil rights activist, last fall. Popovich invited West to San Antonio to speak at an East Side community center with a few hundred mostly black and Latino students and their parents. Done without TV cameras or media invitation, the discussion was about the importance of education, the imperfect world, self respect and how to help communities. This was an audience that, presumably and unanimously, connected with a white man who didn’t live among them, but was with them. They were the people Popovich had in mind when he attacked present leadership. This was not the audience that writes to the Spurs and the Express-News asking him to take a vow of silence, though he is aware of them, too. “Some responses make you wonder what country you live in,” Popovich said, “and other responses make you very hopeful … overall, it renews my feeling that something must be done because there is enough people willing to listen.” Veteran NBA writer Shaun Powell has worked for newspapers and other publications for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here or follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 5th, 2018

How will the Spurs meld Aldridge, Leonard?

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com A top-three team in the Western Conference is ready to get its best player back from injury. He's someone who, last season, made first-team All-NBA, had a seat at the MVP roundtable and nearly chopped down the champion Golden State Warriors in a playoff game (before being chopped down himself). And this will be good for the San Antonio Spurs, most would agree. What’s less certain is what Kawhi Leonard’s return from an achy quadricep means for LaMarcus Aldridge, who looks comfortable playing the lead right now without his co-star, yet squirmed to find peace when he had to ride shotgun. The Spurs star could make his season debut on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time) against the Mavericks. The Spurs’ season rides on a happy balance between the two and a way to once again lurk as the team that gives the Warriors a severe case of the creeps, more than any other in the West. Despite all the fuss made over Chris Paul joining James Harden in Houston, and the star-infused Thunder in Oklahoma City, it’s the same-old Spurs who spooked Golden State in Game 1 before losing the Western Conference finals. They were also the last non-Warriors team to reach the NBA Finals. And look who’s sitting a bounce pass from the top of the West, despite missing Kawhi all season? That opening playoff game last May against Golden State was a flash point for San Antonio. The series of events that followed managed to put Leonard in a bad place physically, saw Aldridge melt epically the rest of that series and generate trade talk in the off-season, forced a major sit-down/showdown between coach Gregg Popovich and Aldridge and then, out of seemingly nowhere and somewhat surprisingly, a peaceful resolution was reached and wins followed. “As you can see, based on the evidence,” said Aldridge the other day, “everything’s good.” Yes, it appears so. With Kawhi out of the lineup, the Spurs are doing what they usually do, using disciplined basketball to stamp themselves as a contender. Some nights, Aldridge has been a force, ripping double-doubles and looming large in close games. The ball is finding him in a greedy groove; Aldridge is taking almost 17 1/2 shots a game and the Spurs’ No. 2 shooter, Rudy Gay, is getting nine. As a result, his scoring average is up from a year ago, from 17.3 points per game to 22.6 ppg, matching his best production during his peak with the Portland Trail Blazers. Now in his third season with the Spurs, Aldridge has never felt this frisky and once again is leaning on his money maker: the floating 18-foot jumper. Most important, the Spurs are winning because of him, and Popovich is gloating over him. “Are you kidding?” Popovich said. “We’d be in the toilet if it wasn’t for L.A. He’s been a complete basketball player at both ends of the floor, great rebounding, defensively, running the floor, scoring. What’s really been great is his leadership. And him bringing it every night.” It’s a short sample size after 25 games, but Popovich and the Spurs are cautiously encouraged by this. The Spurs veered from their usual draft-and-develop ways when they signed Aldridge to a big free-agent contract three summers ago. Because of that, Aldridge was considered an outsider, someone who wasn’t a true Spur, but who was needed by a team that craved proven talent to remain a contender in the post-Tim Duncan era. But it’s been a learning process for Aldridge, Popovich and the Spurs. He came from the Blazers anxious to break free of a team that began to orbit around Damian Lillard, but wouldn’t you know it, Leonard turned into a superstar almost overnight after Aldridge arrived. The timing was good for the Spurs ... and awkward for Aldridge, who was forced to adjust his game with prodding from Popovich. Aldridge bit his tongue last season when he averaged his lowest point total since his rookie season. When Leonard suffered his ankle sprain against the Warriors, Aldridge suddenly had the burden of carrying the load, and he failed spectacularly for the rest of that series. He averaged just 11.3 points in the final three games and became low hanging fruit for critics. Popovich was asked the other day if Aldridge had to atone for that this season and the coach came to his player’s defense. “I don’t know if the word ‘atone’ is accurate,” Popovich said. “If your leading scorer and also your point guard (Tony Parker, who was also out against the Warriors) isn’t there, then it falls on someone else. If you take away the two top players from any playoff team, it’s probably going to be tough to move on. I don’t think he has anything to atone for.” Still, something wasn’t right; anyone could see that. Aldridge requested a summertime meeting with Popovich and came with demands. On the surface, that might seem a risky strategy, given the coach’s credentials vs. someone without a single title, and Aldridge knew he was walking on eggshells. “I didn’t know how it would go because he’s Gregg Popovich. I didn’t know how he’d take me saying things. I didn’t know what to expect, with me coming at a person a different way but I was very honest and I think he could tell this was maybe different from what he was used to. But I was not disrespectful. I was trying to express how I was feeling and he was very receptive to it. We kept talking and things got better. I was pleasantly surprised.” For anyone who thought one of the game’s greatest coaches didn’t have a humble side, guess again. Popovich said: “We broke bread a few times, talked about it, laughed about it, discussed what we thought needed to happen, and frankly 95 percent of it fell on me because I made an error in trying to change him too much. That might sound odd, but he’d been in the league nine years and there’s one way he plays on the offensive end and feels comfortable with. I tried to turn him into Jack Sikma, told him I was going to teach you how to play on the elbow, go on the wing, face up. It was confusing for him. It really didn’t fit his style of play. I was guilty of over coaching in a sense. “We came to an agreement on what had to happen. Well, on defense, I told him ‘I’m going to get on you like I do everyone else. But on offense, I don’t even want to talk to you. When they double you, kick it. Other than that, you be LaMarcus Aldridge.’ You see the result right now. He’s happy, confident and kicking everybody’s butt.” Every star player’s ego needs a degree of pampering, and Popovich did admit that dealing with Aldridge was different than any player he’s ever had, yet says there’s a reason for that. “When guys like Kawhi and Tony Parker and others came to me, they were young kids. When a guy’s been in a league nine years and is used to doing something and I try to take it away, that’s not right. That wasn’t very wise on my part.” Popovich didn’t pull rank in the meeting with Aldridge and if anything, he put his ego in check, something you see from coaches who haven’t accomplished one-fourth of what he’s done. But Pop has never strayed from the first rule in coaching players, especially the good ones: Keep them happy by any means necessary. “You gotta look at things and make it better as a coach,” he said. “It’s your responsibility. This was mostly me.” Here’s Aldridge this season so far: Back-to-back 33- and-41-point games a few weeks ago, sharper court awareness, better rebounding and passing than a year ago. Aldridge: “I was frustrated. I just wanted to help more and I think he understood that. Now I feel as confident as I was in Portland. I’m definitely being myself and playing my game and not overthinking and not worried about what’s going to happen if I don’t play well. I’m not a face-up guy. I like to have my back to the basket more. Pop’s given me the freedom to be myself again and that has shown itself on the court.” The issue, both say, wasn’t necessary the number of shots, though that was certainly one of the issues. It also was about the spot on the floor, when those shots needed to be taken. Aldridge said he has no problem with Leonard as the core -- he called Kawhi “our main guy” -- but wanted the same amount of comforts within the system. “He’s a go-to guy also,” said Aldridge. “The plan is to have him be the guy he is, and I be who I am now.” And there’s the key word: now. Leonard was bothered by the quad all last season and it didn’t respond quickly to offseason treatment. But now he’s nearly 100 percent and hopes a quick return to the level of last season when he jacked his scoring and finished third in the MVP voting, one spot ahead of LeBron James. Count Parker among the teammates who’ve said the obvious about Aldridge and how the power forward, in Leonard’s absence, has looked All-Star quality. “Everything’s going through him right now and he’s doing a better job knowing when to score and when to pass,” Parker said, “along with reading double teams and playing good defense.” But then Parker, the most senior Spur after Manu Ginobili, stressed that everyone, including Aldridge, must sacrifice for Leonard and not vice-versa, for the sake of the system and ultimately, wins. “When you play for the Spurs you don’t get a lot of big stats,” Parker said. “Now that Kawhi is out, he obviously has the ball more and he’s going to shoot more shots.” Then he added the kicker: “When Kawhi comes back we will share” -- Parker said while smiling -- “like we always do here.” Veteran NBA writer Shaun Powell has worked for newspapers and other publications for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here or follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 9th, 2017

3rd ‘person of interest’ in Bulacan massacre also killed

3rd ‘person of interest’ in Bulacan massacre also killed.....»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsJul 8th, 2017

Second ‘person of interest’ in Bulacan massacre shot

Second ‘person of interest’ in Bulacan massacre shot.....»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsJul 5th, 2017

There’s a new Terrence in town – and he’s part of the future of NU

Terrence Fortea’s star continued to shine in the 2018 FIBA Asia Under-16 Championship. Along with Mac Guadana and Forthsky Padrigao, the 5-foot-10 guard served as the outside threat to the inside force of twin towers Kai Sotto and Raven Cortez for Batang Gilas. Behind them, the Philippines is headed to the 2018 FIBA Under-17 Basketball World Cup in June. That will be the first time the country will be playing in the World Cup since 2014. This, after Fortea nearly shot Nazareth School of National University to an unlikely championship over Ateneo de Manila High School. It was NU’s feisty guard who strung three incredible plays together late in the do-or-die Game 3 that included a floater, a triple, and an assist that put the Bullpups on top by six inside the last five minutes. Of course, the Blue Eaglets ultimately triumphed, but without a doubt, not before Fortea made them work for it. With another Batang Gilas stint under his belt, the 16-year-old said his intangibles only continued to grow. “Yung disiplina po ang pinakanatutunan ko. Tapos kung pano maging team kasi kami, iba’t-ibang school e so kailangang matuto pano makikitungo sa mga ‘di mo kilala,” he shared. Fortea plans to bring that mental growth, coupled with continued skills development, back to the Bullpups where he will now be one of the main men alongside fellow stalwart Rhayyan Amsali and newcomers Gerry Abadiano and Carl Tamayo. “Mas magiging agredibo po ako. Ngayong year kasi, na-short kami,” he said. He then continued, “Kaya gagamitin ko lang na learning experience yun.” After all, he has grown from a streaky shooter who got inconsistent minutes to a reliable scorer who gets regular time to showcase his skills. “Sana po, tuloy-tuloy na. Pero kahit hindi po, dati pa man din, ginagawa ko naman na challenge yung ganun para umangat pa,” he said. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 10th, 2018

Kung nandoon ako eh di ako na (ang coach) -- De Jesus on possible national team stint

“Kung nandoon ako eh di ako na.” De La Salle University head coach Ramil De Jesus was playful with his answer when reporters tried to get confirmation on rumors circulating that he will be taking the reins as women’s national team mentor. But the 10-time UAAP champion coach admitted that he met with Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. twice regarding the country’s governing body of the sport to form a national team that will participate in two major international tournaments this year. “Nag-meeting kami, actually nakadalawang meeting eh. Noong una nagpapakita ng interest na gusto akong i-appoint and then ‘yung second pumunta ako doon pero wala naman akong napagtapusan o napirmahang contract wala naman, wala pa sa ganoon,” said De Jesus. LVPI intends to send a squad in the Jakarta Asian Games on August 18 to September 2. The Philippines will also participate in the AVC Asian Cup slated on September in Thailand. De Jesus is not new to handling the national team. He led the Nationals to its last podium finish in the Southeast Asian Games when the Filipinas won bronze in the 2015 edition of the biennial meet held in Manila.        LVPI announced a tryout on April 13 and is set to announce the name of the new national women’s team head coach. The sports association in a statement said the they have invited  players on the ‘wish list’ of the head coach who they will name in a press conference set next week.    “Nag-meeting pero ano ba ‘yun, ah kasi hindi naman ‘to ‘yung tamang oras para pag-usapan ‘yan eh tsaka siguro merong tryouts sa Friday,” De Jesus said. “So kung makita ako sa Friday nandoon ako, ibig sabihin ako ‘yun (national team head coach).”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 8th, 2018

Gift ko sa kanya… pagmamahal -- Aerieal Patnongon s championship gift for beau June Mar Fajardo

San Miguel Beer center June Mar Fajardo is piling up ‘pogi points’ for his future father-in-law. Although the 6-foot-10 Beermen star is yet to pop the question, longtime girlfriend Aerieal Patnongon in a tweet last Wednesday in the PBA Philippine Cup Finals Game 4 against Magnolia posted, ‘It’s my dad’s first time to watch his son-in-law’s game today.’ It’s my dad’s first time to watch his son-in-law’s game todaaay!! Hahaha kinakabahan ako for June Mar. Char HAHAHAA! — Aerieal Patnongon (@iamaeriealituh) April 4, 2018 Fajardo impressed Aerieal’s dad, Larry Patnongon, with his performance in that win before strengthening his bid as a future son-in-law when the big man muscled his way to 42 points and 20 rebounds in SMB’s four-peat Philippine Cup-clinching 108-99 double-overtime win over the Hotshots Friday night in Game 5 of the best-of-seven series at the MOA Arena.         “Actually nandito ang daddy ko nanood siya ulit pero umalis na rin kasi anong oras na eh,” the Cocolife middle blocker told ABS-CBN Sports after San Miguel completed a historic feat.    Fajardo earned his sixth PBA title and fourth All-Filipino crown and ended his night with his second Finals Most Valuable Player award.         “Sobrang nakaka-proud,” said Patnongon of her beau. “Ang sarap pa rin sa feeling kahit ilang beses na silang nagtsa-champion parang unang beses pa rin.” “Sobrang nakaka-proud kasi after nu’ng third quarter 20 points ang lamang nila (Magnolia) pero nahabol nila, talaganng tyinaga nila nu’ng fourth quarter. Sobrang heart of the champion nila,” she added. Asked about her championship reward for Fajardo. “Gift ko sa kanya… pagmamahal.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 6th, 2018

UE: Rod Roque – The Accidental Coach

“Nakakatawa nga eh. I’ve never played volleyball in my life! Never!” A fact University of East head coach Rod Roque admitted when he talked to sports scribes after his first stint with the Lady Warriors in just the sixth game of the squad in the UAAP Season 80 women’s volleyball tournament. Just two days before, Francis Vicente parted ways with UE after three and a half seasons with a futile 2-45 win-loss record. The Lady Warriors absorbed their 12th straight defeat since Season 79 a day before he resigned. Then they found Roque, the school’s representative to the UAAP Board, a perfect fit. But with a losing record and a team lacking confidence, why would UE hire an interim coach that had no volleyball background? The answer is simple. The school’s management wanted someone that they can trust, a person who has been loyal to the Recto-based university and a tactician that can hold the fort until they can find a proper replacement. Plus, it’s an added bonus that the man they chose for the interim spot made miracles in their boy’s volleyball program. Heck, the man gave UE high school more titles than the other teams’ number of boy’s crowns combined. But Roque is also quick to temper UE management’s expectations. “Siympre mahirap because people might expect a miracle. Sabi ko naman sa management when they told me, sabi ko, ‘Don’t expect a miracle because a miracle doesn’t happen overnight.”   A Twist of Fate Roque may not have the volleyball background like the other UAAP coaches but he excelled in a different kind of sport.      “High school, college, noong estudyante pa ako gymnast ako,” said Roque, a true-blooded Red Warrior with a BS Physical Education degree. He was a member of the national men’s all-around gymnastics team and even represented the country in different international tournaments. “Nakapunta kami sa Asian Youth, sa National games. Di ko lang nalaro yung SEA (Southeast Asian) Games,” he said. After finishing his Masters degree in UE in 1992, Roque grew tired of gymnastics and decided to pursue his love of teaching, working as a PE instructor in the same university. Then fate brought him into coaching high school boy’s volleyball.         “Una ko na-discover sa intramural volleyball. Kumuha kami ng player noong intrams. Nagtayo kami ng team, nananalo naman kami. So yun na yung umpisa,” he said. With the UE boy’s team success, the late athletic director Brenn Perez saw a lot of potential with the Junior Warriors and he decided to field the squad in the UAAP.   “Nakita ng director namin, si Mr. Perez na nagtsa-champion kami sa mga invitational. So nag-propose siya sa UAAP na isama na ‘yung UAAP jrs volleyball. Ayun. Since 1996 nagstart yung UAAP Jrs. volleyball sa (UE),” said Roque. But UE wasn’t as successful as it was in the other tournaments the Junior Warriors joined. De La Salle-Zobel was lording it over since the boy’s tournament started in 1995. The Junior Spikers built a dynasty from Season 57 to 62. Then Roque’s crew got its payback. UE completed a grand slam from 2001 to 2003. DLSU-Zobel snatched a crown in Season 66 but Roque was set to make history. The Junior Warriors reigned supreme for the next 11 years. Under Roque’s tutelage, UE was invincible for more than a decade, dating from 2005 to 2015 - the longest title streak of any team in any UAAP volleyball division. From 1995 to 2016 the Junior Warriors landed 22 straight Final Four appearances. Roque handled the National Capital Region’s boy’s volleyball team for 10 years, earning five Palarong Pambansa gold medals. Out of UE’s 14 titles, Roque had 10 for the Junior Warriors before taking a bigger role as UE’s athletic director after Perez passed away from a heart attack in 2009. “Nag-retire (ako as coach) kasi na-promote ako. Naging assistant director na ako. After that, two years, ginawa na akong director,” he said. “Busy na ‘yung schedule. Hindi ako makapag-ensayo.”   Back as Coach UE has been lumbering at the cellar for years both in the men’s and women’s divisions. While the Junior Warriors were copping titles, the school’s college teams were getting beaten black and blue season after season. Under Vicente’s watch, the Lady Warriors sported a 2-45 win-loss record. The Red Warriors, who named a new coach before Season 80 in national men’s volleyball team coach Sammy Acaylar, didn’t fare any better. Five games into the season, UE decided to part ways with their coaches. Acaylar resigned citing conflict of schedule a he was appointed as Perpetual Help athletic director while Vicente left because of ‘personal reasons’. But sources said that Vicente was sacked a day before Acaylar tended his resignation. While Roque struggled to turn around the campaign of the Red Warriors, his stint with the Lady Warriors was sort of ‘miraculous’. He dropped a four-setter against Far Eastern University in his debut but again became an architect of UE’s historic feat – this time in the women’s division. The Lady Warriors closed the first round with a surprise 25-22, 22-25, 14-25, 25-20, 15-13 shocker over Adamson University that ended their 12-game slide since Season 79. Just three days later, UE stunned University of Sto. Tomas, 25-23, 18-25, 28-26, 26-24, in a historic first win against the traditional powerhouse Tigresses at least since the start of the Final Four format in 1994. It marked the first time since Season 74 that the Lady Warriors won back-to-back games. It opened the eyes of volleyball fans that the Lady Warriors have talented players like Shaya Adorador, Mary Anne Mendrez and libero Kath Arado. “Na-notice kasi namin na takot silang magkamali. Takot silang magkamali kaya lalo silang nagkakamali. Pero para sa akin OK lang magkamali but make sure babawi ka,” said Roque. “Natutuwa naman ako kasi nagkakamali sila pero bumabawi.” The Lady Warriors eventually dropped their next three games after that back-to-back wins but gave Adamson, Ateneo de Manila University and De La Salle University quite a scare before succumbing. But with the change of culture brought by Roque, teams are now wary of the Lady Warriors, which will return to action on April 8 against slumping National University. UE will wrap up its campaign against FEU and University of the Philippines – the last remaining games of Roque before he leaves his post to make way to a new head coach. “This season lang talaga ako,” said Roque. With him on board, the Lady Warriors are playing like a team looking to prove that they are better than just being a win fodder for other squads. Roque made the players respect themselves. He gave UE volleyball the respect it deserves.   ---   Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 31st, 2018

Shoe Review: adidas UltraBOOST X for women

Writing about the new adidas UltraBOOST X is similar to thinking about gift options for a person who already has it all. For UltraBOOST aficionados, this latest model is a worthy addition to the already impressive UltraBOOST line. For the curious, the UltraBOOST X is the perfect shoe to welcome one’s feet to the world of unparalleled comfort, cushioning and performance. First off, the silhouette of the UltraBOOST X appears sleeker, thanks to the ‘uncaged’ appearance- meaning, the panel that holds the laces is no longer visibly connected to the heel counter. Adidas claims that the cage and the support features have been moved to the inside of the shoe. I’ll take their word for it since I have no plans of cutting open this fine-looking sneaker. The UltraBOOST X possesses all the features that make the UltraBOOST line world-famous- this time with enhancements and modifications. Adidas developed a new PrimeKnit composition primarily designed for perfect fit and maximum comfort. The PrimeKnit upper molds to my feet perfectly, effectively eliminating chafing! Speaking of comfort, the UltraBOOST X features ventilation panels, making it perfect for summer running. It may be 35 degrees Celsius out on the pavement, but my feet stayed relatively sweat-free and comfortable, be it while running or simply running errands. Of course, fan-favorite features such as the Adaptive Arch, the BOOST mid-sole and the 3D Heel Counter are all accounted for. All deliver enhanced support, excellent fit and out-of-this-world cushioning. During a run, the 3D Heel Counter keeps my ankles stable by controlling and eliminating any unwanted lateral movement. Again, the BOOST mid-sole generates smooth forward movement without a hitch or pause, propelling me to run and walk faster and longer. The Adaptive Arch keeps my feet and legs comfortable all day long, proving that the UltraBOOST X is not just a running shoe but also an all-day, everyday workhorse of a sneaker. The adidas UltraBOOST X is a light, airy, ultra-comfortable and high-performing shoe that improves on an already superior range of running shoes. Stay fit and comfortable during the hot summer months in the new Adidas UltraBOOST X.          .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 28th, 2018

Cuban s tanking talk raises key issue for NBA

By David Aldridge, TNT Analyst The NBA fined Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban $600,000 for being honest. Cuban told Naismith Memorial Hall of Famer Julius Erving on Erving’s podcast a couple of weeks ago that he told his players during a recent dinner that “losing is our best option. Adam (Silver) would hate hearing that…(but) we want the players to understand. As a player, you know that even though you may not agree, but at least if you respect the fact that someone took the time to talk to you, and you understood their perspective, you’re going to give me your feedback, but you’re part of the process.” But the league fined Cuban for what it called “public statements detrimental to the NBA” three days later. And Silver sent a memo to all 30 teams last week detailing the league’s position. “Throughout this period,” Silver wrote, “we have been careful to distinguish between efforts teams may make to rebuild their rosters, including through personnel changes over the course of several seasons, and circumstances in which players or coaches on the floor take steps to lose games. “The former can be a legitimate strategy to construct a successful team within the confines of league rules; the latter -- which we have not found and hope never to see in the NBA -- has no place in our game.” Yet Cuban did not in any way, nor has any evidence to the contrary emerged, state the Mavericks were losing games on purpose; that is, players were intentionally missing shots, or not putting forth effort on defense to let the other team score, or anything like that. (Even Silver acknowledged in the memo that the league has “no basis at this time to conclude that the Mavericks team is giving anything less than its best effort on the court, and Mark has assured us that this is not the case.”) So, why the fine? Was what Cuban said so incendiary? ‘’Mark knew his comments were public, so it surprised me that he was so candid, but that's who Mark is,” said one very high-ranking official from another team over the weekend. “To me his comment wasn't indicating tanking as their strategy but more about setting the expectation that playoffs were not a possibility. The only consolation of not making the playoffs is being in the lottery. You can't blame a team from trying to turn the lemon (losing) into lemonade (top 4 pick). The league needs to find a way not to reward losing.” Exactly. What Cuban said was spot on -- losing to improve the Mavericks’ Draft position was, and is, the best and quickest way for Dallas to get better and start winning games again. That doesn’t mean everyone agreed with Cuban being so blunt. “I think it was a totally inappropriate to say that to players,” said another extremely high-ranking team official for another team. “Whatever the team’s strategy may be, I firmly believe that the players should always play to win. The fine is meaningless to Mark; in fact, sometimes I think he enjoys the publicity he gets from the fines.” But. We ask people to be truthful and not lie about their intentions. We tell our kids that no lie is worth telling, and that telling the truth, no matter how painful, is always the best choice. So Cuban is honest and tells the truth, that short-term losing makes more sense for his franchise’s long-term interests, and he’s relieved of 600 large by the league. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia 76ers are lauded -- and revel in their slogan, “Trust the Process,” celebrated by the team’s most ardent supporters -- whose central tenet was to lose, and keep losing, until you could draft a player good enough to build around and win down the road. Which is, exactly, what Dallas is doing now. Indeed, increased tanking is the logical extension of an analytics-dominant league. If three is greater than two -- the reasoning behind the primacy of the 3-pointer in today’s NBA -- then doing anything you can to get more ping-pong balls in the hopper is the correct thing to do. You can’t just embrace the parts of doing it by the numbers that are pleasant. This is the flip side. Burying one’s head in the sand and pretending teams don’t do this doesn’t make sense. Everyone does it in every sport, or don’t you recall “Suck for Luck,” the chant of Indianapolis Colts’ fans before the 2012 NFL Draft? What of Major League Baseball’s Houston Astros losing 324 games from 2011-13? Were they trying to win games, or did we all imagine them going from $102 million in payroll in 2009 to $26 million by 2013? “I resist the word ‘tanking,’ but I’m very pro ‘rebuilding,’ when it’s necessary,” said Los Angeles Dodgers President Stan Kasten, who in a former life ran the Hawks as general manager in the ‘80s and ‘90s, by telephone Sunday. “And, it’s painful,” Kasten said. “You’ve got to explain it to your team, your fans, to your front office, to your coaches, to your wife, to your kids, to the country club. It’s hard. It’s painful. It’s nobody’s first choice. But if it’s necessary, it’s often the quickest way to get the team back to winning. And don’t lose sight of that.” Kasten’s Dodgers lost the World Series to the Astros, who methodically built their team the last four years around young drafted players like Series MVP George Springer, last fall in seven games. But not only is he not angry with Houston for the way management took the franchise’s foundation to the studs -- compared with his high-spending Dodgers -- he admires the speed with which they went from worst to first. “I have real feelings about what they did,” Kasten said. “Because Mark Walter (the CEO of Guggenheim Partners, the global firm that bought the Dodgers in 2012) and I, before we bought the Dodgers, we were looking at Houston. Because they were available. And truthfully, when we looked at where they were, we were going to do the same thing. It had to be done. Because they were not on a track to win. And frankly, I don’t think I could have done it as fast, or as well, as (Astros owner) Jim Crane, or (GM) Jeff Luhnow. Because doing that, to the extreme, takes real intestinal fortitude.” Kasten makes a strong distinction between a team cutting payroll and going young and that winds up losing, and one that’s actively seeking ways to lose more games. “All of these owners are hyper-competitive, and they want to win,” Kasten said. “And truthfully, the quickest way to win, at least if you look at the last three world champions, is to rebuild and get young and get prospects and do it that way. And if you don’t think that’s the better way to go, ask the fans in Houston and Chicago and Kansas City how they feel. You won’t get one fan who disagrees with what is done. It is the quickest way to win.” Please do not misunderstand. I hate tanking. I hate the idea of introducing losing into your shop, even indirectly. It’s like a virus, extremely difficult to get rid of once it gets in a franchise’s bloodstream. A ticket is, in essence, a contract between parties: I pay top dollar, you give me top-dollar product in exchange. When a team tanks, it violates that compact; I don’t recall any team that’s given fans a tanking discount. It is also very difficult to tank effectively in the NBA. The last three teams with the best odds of getting the No. 1 in the Draft going into the Lottery -- Boston (2017), Philadelphia (2016) and Minnesota (2015) -- have indeed won. But prior to that, the team with the best odds didn’t get the first pick for 10 consecutive years, and 22 times out of the last 25 years. And even the teams that did buck the odds and get the first pick often picked wrong, or did I miss Anthony Bennett Night in Cleveland, or the Andrea Bargnani statue outside of Air Canada Centre? “The Draft is often a crap shoot anyway,” the official from the second team said. “So why not give your fans the best product that you can and then draft Donovan Mitchell,” as Utah did this season. The Jazz traded for the rights to the Kia Rookie of the Year candidate, who was taken near the bottom of the Lottery (13th overall by the Denver Nuggets). This came a season after the Jazz went 51-31 and won its first-round playoff series. I agree. Tanking does not reward excellence in team building -- good drafting, good free-agent signings, good player development -- it rewards the exact opposite of that. It’s a Golden Ticket that doesn’t even require you to buy an Everlasting Gobstopper. But, tanking is reality. You can’t pretend it isn’t. And the only way to completely get tanking out of pro sports is to eliminate the Draft in all sports, including the NBA. We don’t want to have that conversation, do we? Personally, I’d love it. Can you imagine the fight that would set up between interested teams -- and who wouldn’t be interested? -- in a certain 7-foot-1 freshman center almost certain to leave school early who currently plays for a school that’s been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately? Would he help the Lakers? The Knicks? The Bulls? The NBA team in the state in which the college player currently plays, which rather desperately needs another star to pair with its one really great player (whose name, if you must know, rhymes with “Nevin Cooker”)? Would he help any team in the league that doesn’t currently employ Anthony Davis, Joel Embiid or Karl-Anthony Towns in the middle? Most assuredly. And if he could control where he wanted to go, and for how much, the process would be must-see TV. Yet, while the real-world implications would be fascinating, I’m not sure how you could eliminate the Draft without loosening the underpinnings of the entire pro basketball enterprise (and, yes, one could make a moral case for doing just that, as it does go against the whole Manifest Destiny thing to artificially bind someone to a company rather than letting them market their services to the highest bidder). If there was no Draft, why would any player with Lottery-level talent go to college? Yes, there would be the occasional Grant Hill/unicorn who wants to go to college to better themselves intellectually and/or embrace the person growth that often comes from being on your own for four years. But, while sad to say, most kids with NBA dreams go to college because that’s the path through which they can ultimately get to the pros the fastest. With no Draft, and few of the top college-age players thus needing/wanting to go to college, you’d have a very different March Madness than you have now. And as that is a multi-billion enterprise, both for the broadcast networks that air it (including Turner Sports, which runs NBA.com) and the colleges that reap the financial deluge it produces, the likelihood of across the board support for a new player acquisition model is slight. Not to mention, you’d have a much different salary structure in the NBA, as there would be no rookie slotting for drafted players. And if you think the game’s superstars would stand idly by and watch more of that cheddar that they helped produce go out the door to guys who haven’t yet done anything … you’d be wrong. So, the Draft isn’t going anywhere. Which means the NBA must decide whether it wants to continue to be shocked, shocked that tanking is going on in its league, or accept the reality that there is not much patience for being in the middle ground in a league where every team is now worth more than $1 billion. There is only, as Pat Riley said a long time ago, winning and misery. 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 NewsMar 6th, 2018

Donnie Nietes open to moving up to 115-pounds

In two days, Donnie Nietes has arguably has one of his biggest fights in front of him, as he makes his HBO debut in an IBF Flyweight world title defense against Argentina’s Juan Carlos Reveco on the Superfly 2 card in The Forum, Los Angeles. Against Reveco, Nietes will be taking on a two-division world champion and someone who has an almost identical record, so it won’t be a cakewalk by any means. While Nietes isn’t taking anything for granted, nor is he taking Reveco lightly, talks of the future have surfaced, and the three division champion says he’s open to moving up in weight, should he be victorious against Reveco on Saturday. Speaking through ALA Promotions CEO Michael Aldeguer, Nietes reveals that he’s always intended to move up to Super Flyweight, and has his sights set on either of the Superfly 2 main eventers, reigning WBC Super Flyweight World Champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai or challenger Juan Francisco Estrada. “He’s always had plans to move up in weight, he wants to see what’s out there.” Aldeguer said. “If Ruingvisai is available, or Estrada, he’s always wanted to fight Estrada, even before, he wanted to fight Estrada at 112 but now he’s moved up to 115. He’s focused on Saturday, but he’s also open to move up in weight. If he wins on Saturday, he wants to move up to 115 and fight anybody out there.” Another intriguing matchup for Nietes at 115, should he decide to make the jump, is former pound-for-pound king Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzales. Nietes has long called for a match against the Nicaraguan, but it has never come to fruition. After losing back-to-back fights against Rungvisai for the WBC title, Chocolatito has expressed interest in fighting Nietes for the vacant WBO Super Flyweight title in Nicaragua. Nietes says that should the fight happen, it should happen in neutral ground. “He’s always wanted to fight Chocolatito, but with Chocolatito being a champion and him being a champion, we think it’s best to fight in a neutral country, maybe in the US.” And while consecutive losses has bumped Chocolatito off the top of the pound-for-pound rankings, Nietes believes that the Nicaraguan is still a stern test for anyone, including himself. “He still feels that Chocolatito is one of the great fighters. He just felt that maybe he wasn’t training or wasn’t in top shape in the last fight, but he knows he’s still a great fighter.” For Aldeguer, nothing is set in stone and everything would depend on Saturday’s contest against Reveco. “If he does win impressively on Saturday, hopefully we’ll see if he has to stay at 112 or move up to 115.”  “Of course names have always been there like ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzales, he wants to fight the winner of Rungvisai versus Estrada, Cuardas is there, so there’s a lot at stake for Donnie, he knows what’s there, he just has to take care of business on Saturday.” Aldeguer added.   H/T: Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN News   Donnie Nietes defends his IBF Flyweight World Title agaisnt Argentina's Juan Carlos Reveco on Superfly 2! Catch the telecast on Sunday, February 25 at 3:30 PM on ABS-CBN channel 2 and 6:30 PM on ABS-CBN S+A channel 23 (Replay February 28, 7:00 PM).....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 22nd, 2018

Ponggay Gaston: My faith in my teammates pushed me to give me my all

Ateneo middle utility Ponggay Gaston said that her faith in her team pushed her to give it her all, helping her to contribute a career-high 10 points in their 19-25, 19-25, 25-20, 25-12, 7-15 loss againt the NU Lady Bulldogs in their match at the FilOil Flying V Centre Wednesday.  Gaston, who was dubbed as the energizer of the team, said that the fact Coach Tai Bundit subbed her in as a starter in the second set was all the motivation she needed in order to display the best scoring performance of her college career.  "[E]ven if I made mistakes or even if like I’m not a starter, the fact that my coach wants to put me in, like I had to really show my best so I had to like mentally like psych myself not to panic or get too excited, just to give what I can. We’ve been training since like after UAAP," Gaston said after the game. Ateneo looked unstoppable in the third and fourth sets, forcing NU to a fifth and deciding set. During that run, Gaston was at the forefront of the Lady Eagle blitz, as the girls suddenly played with vengeance in her eyes, coupled with unforced errors from the opposing side. "[I]n the 3rd and 4th set it was like we had no fear. We just said that ‘let’s do our best, let’s give our all’ and you can see it in each player, you can see that if someone made a mistake, or even if one of us was panicking, we were all together." However, when the game-clinching set rolled along, Ateneo was nowhere to be found, as NU banked in on Jasmine Nabor's clutch play to give the Lady Bulldogs their second straight win of the season. "The energy of team was like 'We had no fear' like we just kept going, there was no like in the 5th set, I could feel like there was bit of tension," the former UST high standout lamented. As last year's runner-ups just had their worst start since Season 70, the girls are expecting to put up a fight against the UST Golden Tigresses on Sunday, "I think what everyone should expect from that this game will be is that it will be another 5 setter. We’re not going to come down without a fight. We have to give our best like hindi pwede na papasok sa game lang na half-hearted. We’re gonna do our best in each game whether our kalaban is UST or NU, FEU, we had to give our all." The 20-year old added that she fulfilled her mission for the team, when she and a couple of subs came along and entered the game, the Lady Eagles suddenly turned from looking dead in the water to making the comeback win. "Because if you’re happy, you change the way you play. If you’re too serious, or if you make a mistake, it can affect your team because it’s not a solo game you know. If one person can change it, if one person makes a mistake, then everyone makes a mistake. So it’s like if I could just make the team happy, that’s what I can do whether I’m on the bench or on the court. " -- Follow this writer on Twitter, @philipptionary.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 7th, 2018

Porzingis hopes Knicks add vet to help in playoff push

NBA.com staff report The New York Knicks have danced in and out of the playoff picture all season. As of this morning, they are a more than manageable 3 1/2 games out of the Eastern Conference's No. 8 spot. All-Star forward Kristaps Porzingis is in the midst of his best-ever season (23.1 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 2.3 bpg) and is hoping to get New York back into the postseason for the first time since 2013. In order to pull that off, Porzingis thinks the Knicks should look to add a veteran presence to the roster before the Feb. 8 (Feb. 9, PHL time) trade deadline. Several players in the Knicks' rotation -- Courtney Lee, Enes Kanter, Jarrett Jack and Doug McDermott -- have been a part of playoff runs in the past, but one more playoff-tested voice likely wouldn't hurt things for the Knicks. Al Iannazzone of Newsday has more: Kristaps Porzingis wants the Knicks to be buyers at the trade deadline to improve their chances of making the playoffs. “Of course,” he said after practice Monday. “Playoff experience for myself individually would be huge at this point in my career — the sooner the better. “For myself, selfishly I would want to play in the playoffs, but we’ll see what happens and how we can end the season.” ... Some stars want to have input on trades, but Porzingis said he doesn’t need to speak with management about it. “I think they know I want to be in the playoffs and that’s the only thing on my mind,” he said. “I’m not going to go in there and be like, ‘No, we’re tanking. There’s no reason to play.’ That’s the only thing I’m focused on. What I need to do on the court to play better, make my team win.” ... Some of the players who might interest other teams are among his closest friends on the team — Lee, Kyle O’Quinn and Willy Hernangomez — but he is taking a pragmatic approach to that. “It’s a business. Anything can happen,” he said. “The situation is what it is and stuff happens. We’ll see what happens. “I have a great relationship with a lot of these guys, and every year it’s like that and every year a lot of new guys come in. It’s changing and it’s changing quick, so we’ve got to understand that part of it.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 30th, 2018

Koy Banal, Denok Miranda, Mark Isip – It s an FEU reunion in Marinero

Marinerong Pilipino has been the site of a family reunion in the PBA D-League. With Koy Banal calling the shots, Joel Banal serving as consultant, and now, Gab Banal playing a key role, the Banals have found a new home with the Skippers. Along with that Banal family reunion, a different kind of family has also reunited in Marinero. Koy Banal now has two of his former players on his coaching staff. “I like the composition of our team, our players and at the same time, yung coaching staff namin. Natuwa ako rito sa dalawang ‘to kasi they’ve been with me since the good old days,” he said, referring to new assistants Denok Miranda and Mark Isip. Banal, Miranda, and Isip – along with Arwind Santos, of course – were all key cogs in the Far Eastern University team which ruled the UAAP in the early to mid 2000s. The head coach continued, “Natutuwa akong they are willing to walk the extra mile, willing to sacrifice para rito sa team namin dito.” For Miranda, it’s only right to be starting his coaching career with the very same person who jumpstarted his playing career. “Siyempre, exciting na first coaching job ko is under my mentors coach Koy and coach Joel. Sa kanila ako nag-start (maglaro) tapos ngayon, sa kanila rin ako nag-start mag-coach,” he shared. The now 35-year-old said all he has accomplished, from being a Tamaraw to being a two-time champion in the PBA, was all because of Banal. “Sobrang laki ng pasasalamat ko kay coach Koy kasi siya ang nag-recruit sa akin nung 15 pa lang ako sa Muntinlupa. Sa kanya talaga ako nagsimula,” he said. And now, it’s also his former mentor who has given him his first shot as a coach. “Guards ang responsibility ko. Shine-share ko lang yung mga diskarteng napagdaanan ko sa PBA before,” he said. That means that the likes of Achie Inigo, Renzo Subido, and Joseph Terso will have a lot to learn. Whenever Banal would need him to suit up once more, however, Miranda said he will be ready. “Hindi pa ako retired ha. Baka maglaro pa o hindi na, depende sa sitwasyon,” he said with a laugh. He then continued, “Mahaba pa naman yung season so siguro ang makakapagpabalik sa akin, kapag nagtatalo-talo kami. Nag-eensayo pa rin naman ako with the team.” Imagine that – more than a decade after Koy Banal coached Denok Miranda in green and gold, the former could coach the latter again now in baby blue and white. It could happen, you know? --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 25th, 2018

BEST OF 5 PART 3: Is San Beda the king of college basketball?

Read Part 1 of ABS-CBN Sports’ Best of 5 series on the San Beda Red Lions here. Read Part 2 of ABS-CBN Sports’ Best of 5 series on the San Beda Red Lions here. --- San Beda College is the only undisputed dynasty in all of college basketball in the Philippines. In the UAAP, since Ateneo de Manila University’s five-peat, four different teams have won the championship. In the CESAFI (Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation, Inc.), both Southwestern University and University of Visayas have caught up with University of Cebu. In the NAASCU (National Athletic Association of Schools, Colleges, and Universities), Centro Escolar University had been the standard, but are no longer in the league. Compare that with what the Red Lions have done in dominating the last 12 years of the NCAA? Only twice during that span have they not been crowned as kings there – and even during those two times, they finished close second. EXTENDED EMPIRE Mendiola’s dynasty isn’t contained to their mother league, even. Teaming up with Cignal HD, they won the 2017 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup. There, current players Robert Bolick and Javee Mocon were key cogs, with the former even recognized as Conference MVP. They were also the winners in two of the last three Filoil Flying V Preseason Tournaments as well as the two most recent National Collegiate Championships. Going by championships alone, there is no other collegiate team that could touch San Beda. Present day team manager Jude Roque believes as much. “Right now, it’s fair to say we have the best program in all of college basketball here if only for the number of major championships in the last five years,” he said. VISION-MISSION While all that winning has been, of course, primarily because of all the top-tier talent they have had in the last dozen years, that top-tier talent would not have been Red Lions if not for an aligned team management as well as instrumental mentors in the likes of Koy Banal, Frankie Lim, Ronnie Magsanoc, Boyet Fernandez, and Jamike Jarin. As Roque put it, “It’s a combination of good recruitment, good coaching, and proper team management.” He then continued, “Of the three, recruitment is still the biggest key to success in college basketball. Of course, it helps that we have generous alumni patrons led by boss MVP (Manny V. Pangilinan).” That much was evident right from the very beginning when, now serious about contending, they brought in Nigerian powerhouse Sam Ekwe and also reeled in Borgie Hermida, one of the top talents in Juniors then who just so happened to be a San Beda Red Cub. Ekwe proved to be the first in what is now a long line of impactful reinforcements they have had in Sudan Daniel, Ola Adeogun, and Donald Tankoua. Meanwhile, Hermida was the pioneer in Cubs turned Lions – something Renren Ritualo and LA Tenorio didn’t do before but is now a common sight in the likes of Baser Amer and Javee Mocon. CULTURE CHANGE Add to that how, right from the get-go, the Red Lions were able to mine hidden gems such as Alex Angeles and Yousif Aljamal. In fact, in Banal’s eyes, it was those two who set the tone for what is now the only undisputed dynasty in all of college basketball in the Philippines. “I believe it all starts with leadership and I was just thankful and blessed that I had captain Alex Angeles and co-captain Yousif Aljamal,” he said, looking back at that magical championship run in 2006. He then continued, “I talked to them, sabi ko lahat ‘to magsisimula sa atin. Kayo ang tinitingala ng players kaya kailangan ko ng tulong niyo. I told them na if I’m expecting somebody to finish the drills first, that (would be) you guys. The rest is history.” WINNING IS CONTAGIOUS Indeed, the rest is now history and Mendiola has, time and again, taken in promising players and turned them into championship contributors. That winning tradition has also led to even transferees choosing to go there. Such was the case for Bolick who had already won a championship with De La Salle University, but saw a greater opportunity and a bigger legacy in red and white. “I chose San Beda because of coach Jamike. He told me he will give me a chance to play,” he shared. He then continued, “But that’s just one reason. I really wanted to play in a winning culture. I wanted to win again, yun lang.” Bolick, who hailed from College of St. Benilde-La Salle Greenhills, could have been a Blazer or could have enrolled in a few other schools who had interest in him. However, he ultimately chose San Beda for its winning tradition. WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER A winning tradition that was seen through from management to coaches to players to community. “Maraming magagandang schools with a solid educational program and a very good basketball program, but dito sa San Beda, everybody works hand-in-hand so we will have a consistent winning tradition year after year,” Fernandez said. A winning tradition that had been witnessed firsthand by Mocon, beginning in high school, that he didn’t even have to think twice about staying. “The unending support of MVP and the excellent support of San Beda are the key factors for this winning tradition. Talent is never wasted in San Beda – there are always results to the time and work you put in,” he said. A winning tradition that gives San Beda the most rightful claim as the only undisputed dynasty in all of college basketball in the Philippines. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 30th, 2017

Teng s New Year s Day welcome won t be a cold one

Jeron Teng has yet to win a game in the PBA in his rookie year. It’s not an ideal end for the year that’s about to close especially with the former De La Salle University standout’s superb performance for the Alaska Aces. But hey, the guy will at least have a good New Year’s Day welcome. He’ll be spending it with girlfriend Jeanine Tsoi, who was missing in the usual WAGS (wives and girlfriends) row at the Cuneta Astrodome Friday night in the Aces’ 98-106 loss to the Talk ‘N Text KaTropa in the 43rd PBA Philippine Cup. Tsoi, an ABS-CBN Sports host and former DLSU courtside reporter, is currently enjoying a European trip.       “She’s coming back kasi 31. Teka showbiz ba ito?” said Teng in a light moment with reporters.   Even half the world away, Tsoi congratulated her beau for a job well done in a Twitter post. Teng had a career game with 28 points in an efficient 10-of-18 shooting percentage he spiced up with 10 boards, five assist, four steals and a block.    Congrats @jeronteng CAREER HIGH!! Solid stat line luv ❤️ 28 Points, 10R 5A 4S 1B !!!!! ✨✨✨✨ — jeanine beatrice (@jeaninebeatrice) December 29, 2017 “Siya naman super supportive siya sa akin kahit wala siya, she always makes sure that she watches my game and she gets updated with my games also,” said the fifth overall pick in the 2017 PBA rookie draft. “’Yun lagi niya akong tini-text na good luck to boost my confidence,” he added. “She’s always there for me.” Teng debuted with 16 points in a 95-108 loss to Magnolia a week ago.   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 29th, 2017

Oladipo, Sabonis helping Pacers move forward

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com INDIANAPOLIS – Victor Oladipo has a fever and the only prescription is ... no, not more cowbell. Cowbell might make sense, if you factor in Oladipo’s love of and commitment to music (his debut R&B album has been available since Oct. 6). But the fever currently afflicting Oladipo, shooting guard for the Indiana Pacers, has nothing to do with extracurriculars and everything to do with the odes and anthems he’s been performing within the confines of 94 feet by 50 feet. If the fifth-year guard out of Indiana University, by way of the Orlando Magic and Oklahoma City Thunder, looks comfortable in his new star turn for the Pacers, well, just remember that’s your word. Not his. “You could say I’m comfortable with the people here,” says Oladipo, who spent three seasons with the Hoosiers before becoming the No. 2 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. “I played in front of these fans, they mean a lot to me and I gave a lot to them just like they gave a lot to me while I was in college. “But I’m never comfortable in any situation I’m in. I will never be comfortable. That’s what kind of makes me get up and work every day. It’s like, never be satisfied. Because for some reason, ever since I was a little kid, I always wanted more.” Oladipo’s eyes just about glow after a weekend practice as he delves into his unflagging intensity. He doesn’t undercut it with a smile or a token laugh. This is real heat. “Maximize my talent and exhaust my potential,” he says. “In order to do that, I’ve got to come to work every day. That’s my thought process. Wake up each day and be great that day.” Each day would include tonight, when Oladipo will share center stage at Bankers Life Fieldhouse with the more decorated and once-beloved star who preceded him in the Pacers lineup. Paul George, a four-time All-Star and Olympic gold medalist during his seven seasons in Indiana, was due to face his old team for the first time since being traded to Oklahoma City in July. It was a parting necessitated by George, who had made clear his desire to sign a maximum-salary contract with the Los Angeles Lakers in the summer of 2018. But the trade was orchestrated by Kevin Pritchard, the Pacers’ president of basketball operations, and Chad Buchanan, their general manager, who surprised the NBA by swapping George to OKC for Oladipo and big man Domantas Sabonis. You want intense? The initial reaction to that deal was intensely negative, quickly reaching hysterical proportions. The Pacers immediately were mocked for having traded George for nickels on the dollar. Reports out of Boston characterized Indiana’s POBO as more of a bobo for allegedly spurning a Celtics’ offer of multiple players and draft picks. *Takes a well deserved nap for 3 hours ** Opens Twitter: pic.twitter.com/xWNYaVfKTy — Myl3s Turn3r (@Original_Turner) July 1, 2017 The west is sick!!!! Best conference in the world!!!! — Patrick Beverley (@patbev21) July 1, 2017 Vic to the Pacers?! He might as well run for governor while he's at it! — Cody Zeller (@CodyZeller) July 1, 2017 Former Thunder star Kevin Durant called the move “shocking” and of George said “Indiana just gave him away.” Among much of the media that covers the league, there was a general feeling of “rubes” afoot -- that the Pacers had been snookered in taking back an overpaid ($21 million annually through 2020-21) second-tier talent and an overbilled guy who had disappeared in OKC’s postseason. And now? Not so much on any of those fronts. ‘He knows how good he is’ George’s stats are down in the “OK3” core he’s formed with reigning Kia MVP Russell Westbrook and aging Carmelo Anthony. The Thunder (12-13) are the NBA’s consensus disappointment, team category, with nearly a third of their season in the books. Sabonis has boosted the Pacers off the bench in a half dozen ways. And Oladipo has all but earned himself a spot on the Eastern Conference All-Star team while speeding his new team’s fans past their heartbreak over George’s jilting. Generally, the best trades in sports are win-win, but for Indiana right now, a bit of win-lose has made the start of 2017-18 downright sublime. “We happened to really like Sabonis in the draft,” former Pacers president and ongoing consultant Donnie Walsh said last week. “We wanted more of everything in the trade too. But when it came down to it, we had this offer with Oladipo, who we also liked. They’ve come in here and the more they’ve been here, the more we like ‘em. We’re happy.” The Pacers also are 16-11, two weeks ahead in the victory column over their 42-40 finish last season that was good for a playoff berth. Oladipo is the biggest reason why, averaging more points per game (24.5) than George ever has. The 6'4" guard who attended famous DeMatha High in Hyattsville, Md., spent much of last season being beaten up for his contract and negligible impact in Oklahoma City. He had taken grief earlier for his status as the second pick in 2013, a lofty status not of his doing. And here he was again in the summer, hearing it all over again for a transaction he didn’t design. “He came in with a chip [on his shoulder],” Pacers coach Nate McMillan said. “I thought he should come in with a chip.” Some would have flinched from the pressure. A few might have curled up, full blown fetal. Oladipo has gone entirely the other way. “His confidence is at an all-time high,” backup point guard Cory Joseph said. “He knows how good he is.” As Joseph spoke after the Pacers’ upset of Cleveland Friday, a game in which Oladipo scored 20 of his game-high 33 points in the third quarter, a lilting voice drifted from behind the scenes in the home dressing room. “Look at it right now, he’s singing in the shower,” Joseph said, tilting his head and laughing. “He’s confident. You guys are all in here, he’s just singing. He’s a confident guy. Everybody in this locker room, everybody in this organization definitely welcomes that.” Trade not driving Oladipo’s breakout season Don’t misunderstand. The critics still are out for Oladipo. “My mom told me yesterday I need to work on my free throws,” he said with an eye roll after practice Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). She had noticed, during her son’s run of big games in December -- 36 points at Toronto, 27 vs. Chicago, 33 against the Cavs the night before her chiding text -- that he had missed 18-of-31 foul shots. This, by a career 80 percent shooter from the line. “I’m over that,” Oladipo said. “I’m not going to miss no more. I’ll make ‘em next time. And if I miss ‘em, I’ll make ‘em the next. If that’s my problem right now, I think I can fix it.” Twenty-four hours later, Oladipo took 13 free throws against Denver and made 11. He scored 47 points in all, hitting 15-of-28 shots and half of his 12 three-pointers. The comeback victory in OT got the Pacers to 4-for-4 on their six-game homestand and continued to shrink whatever chip it was that the 25-year-old was shouldering. “In the beginning of the year, I said, ‘I don’t have a chip. I have a brick house on my back,’” Oladipo said. But not anymore, right, now that some folks are referring to it as “the Victor Oladipo trade” rather than “the Paul George trade?” “That’s what I feel like every morning, no matter what’s going on,” he said. “I don’t even think about the trade, honestly. It’s in the past for me. People’s opinions are going to be there whether you like it or not. From the outside looking in, I guess you could say [then] that was a great trade for OKC. That’s what they believed. But it wasn’t going to change the way I worked. It wasn’t going to change my approach.” This step up in status is considered perhaps the most difficult an NBA player can make. Suddenly, opposing coaches are X&O-ing him to death. The player dogging him up and down the court is the other guys’ best defender. Often, they’ll send double-teams to get the ball into one of his teammates’ hands. “He hadn’t had that,” McMillan said. “When he was in OKC, the game plan was focused on Westbrook. When he was in Orlando, he was just a young player. Now he is seeing the defenders like a LeBron [James], like a [DeMar] DeRozan, what these stars are seeing. He’s seeing the best defenders and he’s seeing teams game-plan to take him out. “Learning how to play and be consistent every night with that challenge is something he’s going through.” Oladipo’s quick success with the Pacers has kept any crowd critics at bay. They were pre-disposed to like him just as their rebound date after George, but had he underperformed, Oladipo’s service time in Bloomington wouldn’t have protected him for long from criticism. But now, it’s George who likely will get the harsh reception. Oladipo, overtly after each of the recent victories, has made it clear to the home fans via some emphatic pointing and body language that the Fieldhouse happens to be his house. “I don’t say it, they say it,” he said. “I just do the gesture and they do the rest of the work for me. I let them do all the talking. We feed off them -- when they’re into it, we play better. I don’t know why, that’s just how basketball’s always been. They’re our sixth man and we need ‘em every night.” Oladipo’s breakout season has been bolstered, too, by the Pacers’ second-through-15th men. Those who already were in Indy knew how valuable George was at both ends. Those who, like Oladipo and Sabonis, were new this season were within their rights to be as skeptical as the national headlines of the guys coming in trade. Go-to guy emerges for Pacers OKC was a specific challenge, Oladipo having to learn on the fly how to fit his own darting, ball-heavy style to only the second man in NBA history to average a triple-double. Westbrook’s usage was off the charts, rendering the other Thunder players to supporting cast whether suited to that role or not. Just like that, Oladipo had to catch and shoot as someone to get Westbrook into double digits in assists. It wasn’t his nature and it made for an individually forgettable season. “I had a role. I tried to play that role to the best of my ability. And I improved certain areas of my game in that role,” was all he’d say Saturday, stiffly, about the OKC experience. Said Walsh: “I felt like he was going to get a different opportunity here. ... When he got to Oklahoma City, he was playing wih a guy who was averaging a triple-double. And he liked Russell Westbrook. But he comes here, he’s got an opportunity to be ‘our guy.’ “I think he might have been looking for that. I never asked him. He’s a really cool guy. He knows what he wants to be, I think.” Oladipo needed this and the Pacers needed him to need it. With George gone, they were like a smile missing a front tooth. The other teeth weren’t just going to move up in the pecking order -- no matter how good young big man Myles Turner is -- and replace the one they’d lost. If they were going to have any success this season, if McMillan was going to be able to coach and adjust in his second year taking over for Frank Vogel, the players needed to fill their roles and welcome this new addition. That’s why this tale of Oladipo’s growing success is about what the Pacers have done for him, as much as it is what he’s done for them. “We didn’t really present it like that,” McMillan said, “because we were still trying to develop who our ‘go-to guy’ was. He has been slowly taking on that role through the things he’s done. I haven’t had to say anything. He’s making good decisions with the ball. And the guys are getting a feel for what we’re doing down the stretch because we’ve had some success, and we’ve had it with Victor having the ball.” Chemistry change for Pacers There might be NBA teams with chemistry as solid as the Pacers’ right now, but it’s hard to imagine there are any with better. It’s more than mere relief that someone has stepped up, easing their own loads a bit. It is a genuine eagerness for Oladipo to max out, for each of the rest of them to do the same in whatever lane they’re riding. “Vic’s been everything at this point,” Turner said. “He’s done a great job of stepping up and being that guy, being that dude. It’s amazing to have that when you’re going through a situation where it’s a brand-new team. We’re still learning each other and he’s showing that he’s ready.” Did Turner know this would happen and, if so, when? “First couple days he started texting me in the summertime,” the big man said. “I saw what his mindset was, and I loved it from the jump. He carried that right in when we started playing pickup this summer. “Vic’s been traded, what, [two] times? He finally comes back home and he has a team that’s telling him to go, telling him to be him. I don’t think he had that with his former teams. Now that he’s here and he’s doing that, I’m pretty sure he’s [enjoying it].” Said Joseph: “He’s been a beast for us and he’s going to continue to be a beast for us. ... He’s been running with that opportunity and opening eyes around the world.” Even strong-willed, uber-confident Lance Stephenson, has backed up for Oladipo. “There’s no hate, know what I mean?” he said over the weekend. “Some guys get mad about somebody doing good. This team wants its teammates to do good. That’s what’s going to make us even better.” Oladipo keeps referring to the other Pacers in a legit lubricating of the “no I in Indy” process. “Honestly I think it’s the personalities and the men that we have in this locker room,” he said. “My teammates are phenomenal people -- not just basketball players, phenomenal people. When you surround yourself with great people, people who sincerely care about you and your team, the chemistry just comes naturally.” Sabonis shows glimpses of success, too The other guy in the trade, Sabonis, has developed more organically, his maturation seemingly inevitable regardless of locale when you tote up his youth, his work ethic and his bloodlines (son of Hall of Famer Arvydas Sabonis). He has gone from that rookie who logged just six minutes in the Thunder’s five 2017 playoff games against Houston to an essential piece in McMillan’s rotation. “Once I got traded, I knew this was a great opportunity for me to show people what I can really do,” said Sabonis, the No. 11 pick in 2016. “I was a rookie last year. Everything was new. Here, I’m being used more at the 5. That’s more the position I’ve been used to playing my whole life.” Sabonis’ minutes are up from 20.1 in OKC to 24.6 off Indiana’s bench. His scoring has doubled from 5.9 ppg to 12.1. And his PIE rating has soared from 4.9 last season to 12.6, a sign of the versatility the skilled big man possesses. “I love Sabonis,” Walsh said. “His father was one of the greatest players in the world, so I don’t like that comparison -- it kills him. He [Domantas] is just more of everything you think he is. He’s stronger than you think. He can shoot the ball better. He’s got good hands, he can catch the ball. I’ve seen him make moves in game that I’ve never seen him make in practice.” Said Turner: “I played against Domas in college -- I knew what kind of player he was. I was excited when we got him. He’s gotten bigger and stronger since then, obviously, and he just didn’t have a chance to show himself last year. But he’s been big for us now, especially when I was out with the concussion. He stepped up huge in that role and we’ve played well since then.” The Pacers are playing faster this season, up from 18th in pace last season to 10th now, part of their improvement from 15th in offensive rating (106.2) to 6th (108.3). They’re doing better, too, in contesting shots and throttling opponents’ field-goal accuracy. The biggest reason why has been Oladipo’s blossoming. Whether due to the sunshine of new, happier surroundings or from that darker, more intense place, to prove cynics wrong. No one can now talk of the Pacers’ bungling of what, after all, was a deal to rent George, not to have him long-term. Fans at Bankers Life figure to boo George on his first visit back, with an inventory they haven’t needed or used on Oladipo. Some might see that as ingratitude, others as respect. It’s a little bit of love lost, too. “Look, they loved Paul when he was here,” Walsh said. “They guy is a great player. One thing I’ve always felt: These guys that play here, they always know more about what they want for their lives than we do. How you gonna argue with that? He treated us good, we treated him good. No bad blood here. I don’t know about fans.” Folks in Indy have a new crush now, one they hope lasts for a while. 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 NewsDec 14th, 2017

Michael Carter-Williams remains optimistic after uneven start to career

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The 2013-14 home opener of the Philadelphia 76ers drew a large and hyper crowd for a game against LeBron James and the Miami Heat, not necessarily because of who was playing; actually, the object of the affection was someone who wasn’t. There he stood in baggy jeans, a jacket one size too big, a do-rag defiantly wrapped around his head and showing puppy eyes that lied about his image and age. Allen Iverson was approaching his 40s and uncomfortably retired. Based on his outfit, he couldn’t let go of yesterday. Nor could nostalgic Philly fans who applauded and shouted during a ceremony to honor the iconic former Sixer, who playfully cupped his ear with his hand to encourage the love. Then, something unexpected happened: Philly honored a second Sixers point guard that same night. Much like Iverson well before him, Michael Carter-Williams buzzed around the floor, getting buckets, attacking the rim, finding the open man and cutting off Miami passing lanes. If he couldn’t upstage Iverson, he certainly outdid LeBron by scoring 22 points with 12 assists, seven rebounds and nine steals in a Sixers’ upset win. It was his first game as a pro, with his misty-eyed family in the stands, with Iverson pumping a fist, with LeBron feeling flat, and the night felt surreal, dreamy, galactic. How could he or anyone not see that this was the beginning of something special? “A great night,” Carter-Williams recalled the other day. “I always wanted to play that way, against guys like LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. After I had, like, seven points, my mom told someone that she’d be happy if the game ended right now.” That smash opening act led to the Kia Rookie of the Year award, which of course then led to a series of injuries, trades, bad fits, false starts, airballs, benchings and a failure to secure the kind of blockbuster contract that allows you to live XXL. Four years and four teams later, Carter-Williams is the backup point guard for the Charlotte Hornets with a career creeping down the path of the unknown, already sitting at the crossroads at age 26. This wasn’t a totally self-created spiral. His body betrayed him as much as his jump shot. He found himself trapped in situations that ranged from weird to woeful. He had the timing of a fake Rolex. An award-winning rookie was put through the NBA wringer and fell through the cracks and has now landed a few seats down the bench from Michael Jordan, although symbolically, he’s worlds away from the Hornets owner. Bitter? Angry? Confused? Yeah, just a bit. “It was tough, given the situations I’ve been in,” he said, “and the backlash I received wasn’t worthy or fair to what I’d been going through. I was in tough situations with injuries and being traded and it affected my performance on the floor. I got real low, with everybody asking, `What happened to him?’ It wasn’t right.” He’s on a one-year deal with the Hornets, which he hopes to leverage into security next summer in free agency, though the big-paycheck prospects are hardly encouraging so far. Still searching for durability with his body and respectability for his game, Carter-Williams is averaging 17.3 minutes in role-playing duty. And he’s once again haunted by his faulty shooting, now dragging at 27 percent, deadly for a guard. It’s a cautionary tale about fate and the curvy nature of pro sports, and about the 2013 NBA Draft, headlined by the one and only Anthony Bennett. From almost every conceivable measuring tool and metric, that class lurks as perhaps the quietest in NBA history. The only All-Star is Giannis Antetokounmpo, who went 15th, and he, Rudy Gobert and CJ McCollum are the only franchise cornerstones. Half of the top 10 are already on different teams. Another way to apply context is with money. Only Giannis, McCollum, Gobert, Otto Porter Jr. and Steven Adams received max contracts, and half of the top 10 didn’t see multi-year extensions. Several players sat on the free-agent market last summer for weeks and even months, collecting cobwebs as they nervously stared at a market that turned chilly a year after doling out millions. They begrudgingly settled for qualifying offers that amounted to pocket change: one year and $4 million for Nerlens Noel (the No. 6 pick), one year and $4.2 million for Alex Len (No. 5). The No. 9 pick and consensus college player of the year, Trey Burke, is playing for the Knicks. The Westchester Knicks of the G League. As a whole, that class was astonishingly light at the top, lacked any second-round surprises (besides Allen Crabbe) and quickly became a wash. And of course, the No. 1 pick is already out of the league. Bennett wasn’t even the consensus top choice prior to the Draft among NBA talent scouts, some of whom had Noel rated higher, even though Noel was coming off knee surgery. That said plenty about the class and also Bennett, who leveraged a decent stretch at UNLV to hear his name called first by Cleveland. That joy didn’t last long; Bennett was a hopeless ‘tweener at forward in his pitstop NBA career and instantly exposed for his lack of shooting and low-post grit. He quickly became a throw-in for the Kevin Love trade but couldn’t salvage his career in Minnesota, Toronto or Brooklyn. He currently plays for the Northern Arizona Suns in the G League. It’s a fate that the most celebrated rookie of that class hopes to avoid, and praying he isn’t running out of chances. Carter-Williams, the 11th pick, was consistent and steady that first season. A 6'6" guard who caused matchup problems and brought good vision and defensive instincts, he averaged 16.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 1.9 steals. He led all rookies in points, rebounds, assists and steals. Only Magic Johnson and Oscar Robertson did that, although for the sake of context, Magic’s competition in his first year was fellow Hall of Famer Larry Bird, and Oscar came in with Hall of Famers Jerry West and Lenny Wilkens. Carter-Williams became the lowest-drafted player to win Rookie of the Year since Mark Jackson in 1987. But coming from that 2013 Draft, it was like winning a sack race without using a sack. After that, he was no longer blessed by the basketball gods; he still hasn’t matched the numbers or impact he had as a rookie. The Sixers were in the early stages of a crash-and-burn rebuilding philosophy managed by former GM Sam Hinkie. Rather than having the chance one day to throw lobs to Joel Embiid, who was drafted a year later but sat with a foot injury, Carter-Williams was dealt midway through his second season by Hinkie. Carter-Williams was exchanged right before the 2015 trade deadline for a package that included three picks (a first-rounder belonging to the Lakers is now property of the Celtics and unprotected for 2018). “Being traded was hard for me,” he said. “I didn’t see that coming. To this day, I still don’t understand it. I never got any answers and never went to ask for any. Of course I felt pretty bad but I was fine with it once I realized the situation I was going into — or thought I was going into.” He was in Milwaukee to be coached and tutored by Jason Kidd, one of the all-time great point guards. Carter-Williams gave Milwaukee a big backcourt with Khris Middleton and the Bucks had a long and lean starting five. He scored 30 against the Cavs and another 30 in his first game back in Philly, and in the playoffs went for 22 points and nine assists in a game against the Bulls. The next season he looked forward once again to feeding passes to Giannis, until Kidd had another idea: Giannis would take Carter-Williams’ position and do the feeding to others. Suddenly and once again, an ideal situation turned sour quickly for Carter-Williams, who couldn’t believe the sharp turn his career took. “I don’t know how to describe it,” he said about his relationship with Kidd. “We didn’t see eye to eye on different things. He was a great player but he hadn’t been coaching for that long and he was still learning. I learned from him but my expectations going there were high and it wasn’t the situation I thought I was going to be in.” On one hand, Kidd and Milwaukee put Carter-Williams out of his misery by trading him; on the other, Carter-Williams went to the struggling, chaotic Chicago Bulls, who were in the process of being stripped to the bone, at the start of the 2016-17 season. Once again, Carter-Williams was swept up by the winds of change and spit out. Not only did his teams change, so did the league, which gravitated to players and especially guards who brought shooting range and consistency. Then and now, that’s his biggest flaw. He’s a career 25-percent shooter from deep (just 40 percent overall), and in a three-point league, that’s a deal breaker. Also, injuries didn’t help. The last three years he has played only 165 out of 246 games due to shoulder, ankle and hip conditions. He needed platelet-rich injections in both knees last summer to quicken the healing process of his patella tendons. “He’s had some difficult injuries and it has clearly hampered his development,” said Jim Boeheim, his college coach at Syracuse. “Let me tell you, he knows how to play. He’s always been a good passer and defender. But the injuries, especially with the shoulder, have held him back in his shooting development. I told him to keep playing and hope the ball goes in.” Those circumstances both within and beyond his control have prevented Carter-Williams from cashing in. He was the first Rookie of the Year in NBA history to fail to have his rookie contract extended and is on a one-year deal with the Hornets for $2.7 million. “You know what? I’m in a good place now,” he said. “It took me a while to regroup and restart and resurface and get healthy, which I’m still trying to do. I’m still young and my game is still growing. I haven’t reached my potential. I still believe I’m a starter in this league. I’ll play a role right now, because that’s what my team needs to win, but I want to lead a team. “Each game I go out and play with a chip on my shoulder. I probably lost some respect from some guys in the league. But ultimately my goal is to make all the teams that gave up on me say, `We had him once.’ I’m going forward.” He’ll always have that opening night with Iverson leading the cheers, that near triple-double against LeBron, and that Rookie of the Year hardware. But that’s the thing, you see. After that launch, Michael Carter-Williams expected more. For one year, he was the king of that 2013 draft. Four years later, he’d rather not become a symbol of what that draft became. Veteran NBA writer Shaun Powell has worked for newspapers and other publications for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here or follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 14th, 2017

Off the football field, Misagh Bahadoran only has his eyes on Sam Pinto

Popular as “the number 9 with the head band”, Misagh Bahadoran has been one of the most remarkable fixtures in the Philippine Azkals and the Cebu-based club Global FC as a powerful and unpredictable winger for both clubs. Since starting his career as a professional football player in 2006 under the Philippine national futsal team, he has greatly contributed to his teams and even became the main person to score the highly aspired goals. However, it took many years, hardships, and frustrations before he was able to don a national team jersey. He scored his first international goal in a 2-1 win for the Azkals in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification second round against Bahrain on June 11, 2015 and provided the Philippines’ first goal in a 2-0 victory against Yemen. The Fil-Iranian football player has done quite a lot to earn recognition in his football career, from his stints with the national team and club team Global Cebu FC.  However, behind Misagh’s ferocity and brilliance while on the football pitch hides a sweet boyfriend to actress-model Sam Pinto. Chatting with ABS-CBN Sports during the recent USANA Celavive press launch at the RCBC Plaza Hexagon Lounge, in which he’s one of the ambassadors of the skin care line, the 30-year-old Azkal related what keeps him occupied when he’s not playing. And it seems it’s only Sam on his mind. “Actually, I’m very busy everyday. I have training everyday. I’m travelling in different cities in different countries for the competition. But when I’m free, I try to hang out and spend time with Sam and watch a movie together and eat our lunch [or] dinner together as much as possible,” he beamingly shared. Fresh from a big tournament and looking forward to three more games with his teammates from Global FC Cebu and the Philippine Azkals, he also imparted that he could hardly find the chance to be in Manila and the country so much due to the series of competitions. Thus, he really tries his best to adjust his spare time with Sam and his family. During their days off, they often unwind at Sam’s boutique resort, L’Sirene, in Baler, Aurora and going on extreme adventures hand-in-hand. (Photo from Instagram.com/misagh_9) Anyone who would check out their respective Instagram accounts will either feel delighted or jealous for they can’t hide their affection towards each other. They are often spotted attending various posh events hand in hand, going fit together through yoga and surfing, or simply cuddling. Misagh even got his future planned out with his similarly entrepreneurial girlfriend. A dentistry graduate from Centro Escolar University, Misagh is running a dental clinic in Makati City that would assure him another career when he eventually decides to hang up his jersey. Indeed, everything looks bright, certain, and endearing for this paperback couple. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 11th, 2017

Nine things you should know about Ateneo’s Isaac Go(AT)

Ateneo de Manila University’s ninth championship was built on a total team effort. The Blue Eagles drew contributions from all over their roster – from Thirdy Ravena to Gian Mamuyac, from Matt Nieto to Anton Asistio, and from Chibueze Ikeh to Raffy Verano. Among them, though, nobody figured in more memorable moments than Isaac Go. For being a big part of Katipunan’s ninth title, let us give ourselves nine facts we should know about the man they now fondly call Isaac Go(AT). This isn’t the first time he proved his clutch credentials Isaac Go had a hand in Ateneo’s do-or-die semifinals win against Far Eastern University, Finals Game 1 triumph over De La Salle University, and winner-take-all Finals Game 3 conquest over the Green Archers. This wasn’t the first time he has found himself right in the middle of big-time plays, however. In fact, Ateneo’s Finals appearance a year ago was all thanks to Go who made good on a follow-up in the dying seconds of the knockout semifinals versus the Tamaraws. That make lifted the Blue Eagles onto the championship round and should be considered as the origins of their newest folk hero. And oh, just for good measure, he hit that shot with a bloodied nose. But… he prefers if you won’t call him clutch. Time and again, Isaac Go has proven his clutch credentials on the biggest of stages and under the brightest of lights. Still, he has also, time and again, proven his humility by deflecting to his coaches and teammates. His reaction on his championship-sealing triple in Game 3? “Everybody thinks that I’m clutch because I’m making shots at that moment, but without the execution of the coaching staff and the recognition of my teammates, I won’t have the opportunity to take the shot,” he said. He then continued, “If you say I’m clutch, it’s better to say the team is clutch.” He’s taking BS Management of Applied Chemistry – and he’s already putting his studies to good use Isaac Go is in the latter stages of his studies and his course isn’t something you usually associate with student-athletes – Bachelor of Science in Management of Applied Chemistry. And he is already, well, managing applied chemistry with X-Stink Cleaning Spray. According to the product’s Facebook page, it is a “portable toilet cleaning solution.” Go and his groupmates are already going around bazaars with their pride – so who knows, they just may be hitting one near you!   Come and support X-Stink! The portable toilet cleaner! pic.twitter.com/2yS83VJPOv — Isaac Go (@IsaacGo1) Oktubre 22, 2017   At first, coach Tab Baldwin referred to him as “the big, fat kid” When seasoned mentor Tab Baldwin took over Ateneo in 2016, their frontcourt was far from fortified.  “When I joined the organization, I looked around and said, ‘What do we have for big men?’ Everybody pointed at G-Boy (Babilonia) and (Chibueze) Ikeh,” he told reporters in an earlier interview. Babilonia was serviceable at best while Ikeh was yet to develop. There was another big man on their lineup, however. “Nobody said anything about Isaac and I said, ‘What about the big, fat kid over there,’ Baldwin recalled. Yes, Baldwin once referred to Isaac Go as the “big, fat kid.” Little did both know that together, the seasoned mentor and the 250 lbs promise of a player, they will help the Blue Eagles become king once again. He lost all that weight by letting go… of rice Weighing 250 lbs, Isaac Go was once, indeed, the “big, fat kid.” Now, however, he walks around at no more than 235 lbs – just enough to bang with the likes of Ben Mbala while also staying agile for a big man. How did he do it? With the no-rice diet. As coach Tab Baldwin tells it, “I told Isaac, ‘You’re not gonna eat rice anymore.’” It wasn’t easy at first, though, not at all. “ And he said, ‘But my mom will get upset with me if I don’t eat rice.’ And I told him, ‘I’m already upset with you that you’re telling me that,’” Baldwin shared. Good thing Go overcame his fear of his mom getting upset! He… commutes?   Commuting time = thinking time — Isaac Go (@IsaacGo1) Oktubre 27, 2017     Morning cardio: Run from the lrt station to class 😂😭 — Isaac Go (@IsaacGo1) Setyembre 15, 2017   He was once a member of Batang Gilas (technically, it’s earlier iteration) Isaac Go has played for the Philippine national team – the Under-16 basketball team, to be exact. Called Energen Pilipinas, that was the forebearer of what is now known as Batang Gilas. Go teamed up with the likes of J-Jay Alejandro, Andrei Caracut, Kyles Lao, Prince Rivero, and Arvin Tolentino and was coached by Olsen Racela in that squad that competed internationally in 2011. He feels strongly about the environment   ADMU Blue Eagle @IsaacGo1 on climate action: "One person cannot solve climate change alone. We need to band together to solve it." #GCCW2017 pic.twitter.com/Ihwz9IJBzx — Ateneo GCCW 🌏 (@AteneoGCCW) Oktubre 5, 2017   He’s a Xavier Golden Stallion, but his game is not at all like the Tengs’     When you young and 30 years out of style 😂 #thefro 🏀 A post shared by Isaac Go (@isaacgo1) on Aug 27, 2017 at 6:32am PDT   Xavier has produced great guards in Chris Tiu and Joseph Yeo as well as fine forwards in Jeric and Jeron Teng. Apparently, the Golden Stallions can also produce bigs with the size and skill of Isaac Go. With that, Ateneo now has another thing they can thank St. Francis Xavier for.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 6th, 2017