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Flood, illness could not stop Robert Bolick from getting his well-deserved trophy

Until the very end, Robert Bolick had to work for his first-ever individual trophy in the collegiate ranks. The undisputed leader of NCAA champion San Beda University was all set to be recognized as the Player of the Year in the 2018 Chooks-to-Go Collegiate Basketball Awards held last Thursday at The Bayleaf Hotel in Intramuros. Three hours before the event organized by the UAAP-NCAA Press Corps, however, he had bad news. As it turns out, Bolick was not feeling well and his stomach flu had him on the verge of going to the hospital. “Masakit talaga. Two days na nga akong hindi nakapag-practice (with San Beda),” his message read. And so, it appeared that the 5-foot-11 lead guard would not be able to hoist his first-ever individual trophy. With that, the air became heavy inside the venue as, aside from Bolick, also absent from the event were four awardees from Ateneo de Manila University, who were in Greece for tuneup games, and two awardees from Lyceum of the Philippines University, who were in Calatagan, Batangas for team-building. The downpour of rain and, of course the sudden flooding it entailed, didn’t help either as several representatives of the awardees were regrettably forced to miss the awards night as well. And then, right in the middle of the heavy rain, Bolick told the UAAP-NCAA Press Corps that he was willing his way to the event. “Sirs, pupunta (na) ako, for sure. Para sa inyo, sirs, kakayanin ko ‘to,” his message read. Not only that, he was going to Intramuros from Sta. Ana in Manila by booking an Angkas. “Sarap pala mag-Angkas no? Traffic lang saka natakot ako sa mga truck,” he shared. And so, until the very end, the now 21-year-old had to work for his first-ever individual trophy in the collegiate ranks. Whatever it was, though, he said that finally holding the Player of the Year was well worth it. “Ang sarap. Meaning lang nito, mahal niyo ako,” he said, joshing with reporters. True to form, however, he was also quick to add, “Pero sa akin wala talaga yung individual. All I want is a championship.” Along with the trophy, event backer Chooks-to-Go also rewarded all of Bolick’s efforts with PhP 15, 000 in cash. In the end, the stomach flu, the heavy rain, and the flood he had to overcome were no match for the well-deserved recognition as well as pocket money to celebrate it. After all, the pride of Ormoc, Leyte had already proven that he could persevere through the longer, harder route just to get to his destination. While he was the hands-down King Lion, coming through when his team needed him the most, he was left out of any individual hardware after being disqualified for the Mythical Team due to a controversial ejection in an elimination round game and after being edged out by teammate Donald Tankoua for Finals MVP. And so, even with two team championships, Bolick was yet to receive individual honors – from his time as a reserve in De La Salle University to his time as main man of San Beda. Not anymore, as the UAAP-NCAA Press Corps set up the stage for, at long last, his one shining moment. And just like he always does, Robert Bolick, finished it all with a flourish. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnJun 22nd, 2018

PBA 43 Review: For Northport, it s been sink instead of swim

The PBA's 43rd season was a loooooong one. Seriously, it started December of 2017 and ended December of 2018. That's 12 months of almost non-stop basketball. But with the current PBA season finally drawing to a close, it's time we look back at how each team fared in 2018. Today, we take on the Northport Batang Pier.   SINK OR SWIM It was quite an up-and-down season for the Batang Pier and more often than not, the team was already sinking before it had the chance to go out for a swim. The Batang Pier saw head coach Pido Jarencio return to start the season after Franz Pumaren was officially "on leave." Then still known as Globalport, the team faced uncertainty with star guard Terrence Romeo dealing with injury and his recovery a mystery. Even with two star scorers in Romeo and Stanley Pringle, Globalport was a fringe playoff team at best. That's what they looked like in the past. They looked like legit playoff contenders without Romeo ironically as the Batang Pier made a strong run in the All-Filipino with a rugged style heavily influence by Jarencio. With Terrence returning towards the end of the elimination round, it appeared that Globalport was ready to shock quite a few teams in the playoffs. They didn't. Global lost a close one to Magnolia in the quarterfinals and Romeo and Jarencio went at it mid-game on the bench. Whoops. The Batang Pier would eventually deal Romeo to TNT for Mo Tautuaa. It solved immediate issues for both teams and it looked like a win-win for both teams. Jury is still out on that but one trade the Batang Pier definitely lost was the Kelly Nabong-Gabby Espinas swap. Nabong, who revived his career in the Philippine Cup, emerged as a solid contributor for the loaded Beermen. Espinas meanwhile, remains stuck on the bench even though he finally got out of San Miguel. A frontline rotation of Nabong, Tautuaa, and Sean Anthony would have flourished under Jarencio. Add Pringle and Jonathan Grey in there and that's a pretty good team. Too bad the Batang Pier gave up on Nabong so quickly. Now rechristened as Northport, the team will move forward to a new season. The Batang Pier has an actual star in Pringle, and they should work on surrounding him with as much solid pieces as they can. Northport has an identity with Jarencio in charge and Pringle leading the team on-court. Maybe an offseason can help them refine their rugged style. The Batang Pier are not a bad team, that's for sure. They just need a couple of things to fall into place in order to have time to go for a swim instead of sinking so fast.   Globalport/Northport BATANG PIER in the 2017-2018 PBA Season Philippine Cup: 5-6 (7th place) Commissioner's Cup: 5-6 (8th place) Governors' Cup: 2-9 (11th place) Overall: 12 wins 21 losses. Two playoff appearance, both QFs.   POST DRAFT NOTE: Northport added Robert Bolick in the Draft to pair with Stanley Pringle. Will this new combo be better than Stanley and Terrence? Sure looks like it. Bolick should fit better with Pringle and Babes' incredible winning mentality from San Beda could be the key to unlocking the Batang Pier's potential. Northport could make a splash next year.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 27th, 2018

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

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

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsNov 2nd, 2018

Player of the Week Tankoua put San Beda on his shoulders vs Letran

In what could be his final San Beda-Letran rivalry game, Donald Tankoua made sure that he and the Red Lions would come out on top. Last Tuesday, San Beda held an imposing 22-point lead, 67-45, on archrival Letran with 6:19 left in the game. The Red Lions forgot one thing, however, and let their guards down and saw the Knights storm back with a 19-0 blast. "If we lost this game, I should probably blame myself for that because I gave everybody a chance to play and the other guys who came in just simply didn’t want to really step up," lamented head coach Boyet Fernandez. "They thought it was already a won game for us." With Robert Bolick fouling out with less than a minute left, San Beda needed someone it could lean on to stop the bleeding. It was Tankoua who heeded the call, knocking down a clutch basket that eventually gave the Red Lions a 74-68 win. Because of his herculean effort that saw him finish with 19 points and nine rebounds, the 6-foot-6 Cameroonian was hailed as the Chooks-to-Go/NCAA Press Corps Player of the Week. Though getting the victory, last season's Finals MVP hopes that this serves as a wake up call for his teammates that they could never sleep on anyone the rest of the way. "What happened happened and I think that we should realize that we really have to work hard in every game," the 23-year-old big man said. Tankoua bested Lyceum's Jaycee Marcelino, Mapua's Laurenz Victoria, and San Sebastian's Michael Calisaan for the weekly citation handed out by print and online sportswriters covering the beat......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 16th, 2018

NCAA: Coaches describe Robert Bolick as unique, unstoppable

Robert Bolick is the first player to score 50 points in the NCAA in three decades. Without a doubt, San Beda University main man’s 50-point explosion last Friday is rare as the last time the league has seen such occurrence was in 1979 when Lim Eng Beng fired 55 points for De La Salle University. That means that Bolick is just the second player in the 94-year history of the first and oldest collegiate league in the country to score 50 points or more. That is exactly why, for Red Lions head coach Boyet Fernandez, his main man is nothing but special. “Maraming players na magagaling, pero nag-iisa lang ang Robert Bolick. You cannot compare other players to him,” he told reporters. That, coming after Bolick destroyed Arellano University by dropping 50 points in efficient 18-of-25 shooting from the field and perfect 9-of-9 shooting from the free throw line. Even after being on the receiving end of such destruction, Chiefs tactician Jerry Codinera could only also marvel at the masterpiece by the graduating guard. “Magaling, magusay naman talaga yan, no doubt. He’s a good two-guard, may character lumaro, relentless, ‘di siya nakukuntento,” he said. He then continued, “For me, there’s no collegiate player (who) can stop him.” With that, coach Jerry, a Philippine basketball legend, has no qualms about saying that Bolick will take the PBA by storm once he gets there. “Very promising yan. Watch out, PBA – there’s a new kid on the block,” he said. More than the scoring spree, however, coach Boyet said his graduating guard can do it all – even in the PBA. As he put it, “Robert is an all-around player. ‘Di niya iniisip yung scoring kasi he’s a facilitator for our team and a leader for our defense.” --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 30th, 2018

NCAA: Coach Frankie on Perps’ loss San Beda: ‘They have to admit, kinabahan sila’

University of Perpetual Help was a good pass and a good shot away from taking down defending champion San Beda University. Still threatening at 65-67 with 9.8 ticks to go, the Altas sent Red Lion Joe Presbitero to the stripe. Presbitero muffed on both of his free throws and Perps had a shot at a game-tying, or even game-winning basket, but Edgar Charcos’ pass to Prince Eze was intercepted by Robert Bolick. Not long after, San Beda’s 67-65 squeaker of a win was cemented. While, of course, a win would have been better, new Perpetual mentor Frankie Lim still only had good words to say about their effort. “It could’ve been better if we won, but we were there. I felt we had full control of the game,” he told reporters post-game. He then continued, “’Di sila lumayo and their biggest lead was six points. It went down to our last play and we threw the ball (away). Sh*t happens. Ganun talaga.” Lim then went on to say that he could not ask for more from his boys – especially as it’s just his first year on the job and he has more first-year players than veterans. “We had a good stop and outlet kami kay Charcos, but Charcos lost the ball. What can I do? Wala ka nang magagawa dun,” he said. Instead, the multi-titled mentor said he prefers to focus on how the Altas pushed the Red Lions to the limit. As he put it, “I’d rather look at all the positives. Minsan nga, nagugulat ako with the way we executed, the way we took our shots.” He then continued, “Tsaka yung tapang, kitang-kita ko, matapang ang mga bata ko. I’m proud of them.” And with how they played, Lim said Perps has done nothing but send a statement – right at dynastic San Beda, no less. “They have to admit, kinabahan sila,” he candidly remarked. Even though they fell short of getting their first win, Lim said that the ending is only a morale-booster for Perpetual. “Sabi ko sa kanila, you can go out of this place with their heads held up high and nothing to be ashamed of. Ang kalaban namin, defending champion, intact lineup, pero you gave it your all,” he shared. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 7th, 2018

Real Madrid beats PSG 2-1 to reach Champions League quarters

By Jerome Pugmire, Associated Press PARIS (AP) — Paris Saint-Germain's dream of joining Europe's elite with a Champions League trophy will have to wait another season, as Real Madrid delivered a brutal reality check by cruising through to the quarterfinals with a 2-1 win on Tuesday night. Cristiano Ronaldo's powerful header — his 12th goal of the competition — and a deflected effort from midfielder Casemiro either side of a close-range finish from PSG's Edinson Cavani sent Madrid through 5-2 on aggregate. Peaking at the right time, Madrid can be confident of challenging for a third straight title and 13th overall. PSG still has not reached the semifinals since its lone appearance in 1995. PSG's ambitious club motto of "Dream Bigger" should perhaps now be revised. On this evidence, and last season's humiliation at the hands of Barcelona, PSG remains a club more hopeful than convincing. Despite huge investment from cash-rich Qatari owners QSI since 2011, PSG has not been past the quarterfinals in that time. "We needed our heads and our hearts today. But we didn't have both, we didn't play as well as Real Madrid," dejected PSG coach Unai Emery said. "Madrid deserved to go through. I think they controlled 60 percent of the game and we didn't do enough with the 40 percent we had. Losing to Real Madrid itself isn't a disappointment, but being knocked out in the last 16 is." Trailing 3-1 from the first leg, PSG's fragile defense crumbled and its attack offered little threat without the injured Neymar. The biggest bang from this PSG side was from the fireworks constantly let off by a section of fans behind one goal. Cavani's goal gave PSG some hope with 20 minutes left. But with midfielder Marco Verratti already sent off, scoring two more to force extra time was beyond a lackluster PSG side. Instead, midfielder Casemiro's deflected shot looped past stranded goalkeeper Alphonse Areola in the 80th. He was gifted the ball after midfielder Adrien Rabiot dealt poorly with Lucas Vazquez's cross. To compound a miserable night for PSG fans, who so badly want to believe this side can conquer Europe, Verratti showed terrible composure to in getting sent off midway through the second half. He got a second yellow card, having protested vehemently with referee Felix Brych after not getting a free kick. "Our fans got behind us, I apologize to them," Rabiot said. "We tried but we couldn't do it." Ronaldo had already done his usual damage. The Champions League's all-time leading scorer was given far too much space and leapt triumphantly to beat Areola with a downward header in the 51st minute. He had netted twice in the first leg. Ronaldo is hitting top form at a crucial time and has scored in nine Champions League games in a row, matching Ruud van Nistelrooy's record. This was a huge test for a PSG side desperate to prove it belongs among Europe's elite, especially after spectacularly failing last year — becoming the first team eliminated after winning the first leg 4-0. Barcelona won the return 6-1. "Maybe tonight they weren't so good, but it's also because we played very well," Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said. "Obviously it became harder for them when we scored the second goal." In the night's other match, five-time champion Liverpool eased into the last eight, drawing 0-0 at home to two-time winner Porto after winning the away leg 5-0. The atmosphere was electric at Parc des Princes in Paris, with thick smoke engulfing the stadium a pre-match pyrotechnics were set off. PSG's exuberant fans were asked to "stop letting off flares" over the stadium loud speaker just after the interval. This was all part of a concerted effort to motivate the players. The club's communications department had released a video, urging fans to rally behind the team seemingly as a matter of urgency for the city itself. Neymar also posted a video on Twitter, with the words "Vous allez le Faire" (You will do it). Banners around the ground encouraged the team and some fans had already taken matters into their own hands. Late into the night before the game, a small group of PSG Ultras let off bangers, chanted "Paris" and banged a drum outside the Real Madrid team hotel. But all this bluster seemed more like bluff. After a fairly even first half, Ronaldo headed wide early in the second half — a warning sign. Moments later he headed home Vazquez's pinpoint cross from the left after a quick break down the left from the impressive Marco Asensio, astutely selected ahead of Gareth Bale by Zidane. "Tactically we played the right way, we believe in what we're doing," Zidane said. "We closed them down high up the pitch." Madrid could have had further goals breaking forward on counterattacks, with Asensio and Ronaldo hitting the post......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 7th, 2018

LeBron James helps spark new All-Star Game era

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com LOS ANGELES -- Before tipoff at the 2018 All-Star Game, LeBron James took the courtside mic and thanked the fans and the city for showing out. Two hours later, when he accepted the Kia All-Star MVP trophy, he was barely audible, his throat too scratchy to explain what just happened. Well: To quote an ex-All-Star and noted philosopher Rasheed Wallace, both teams played hard. Those words were never used to describe recent All-Star Games, especially the last two, when defense (196 and 192 points for the winning teams) and the competitive spirit took an extended break, embarrassingly so. The league’s midseason showcase absorbed a rather well-deserved thrashing from fans and even players themselves. Nobody was fooled. Something had to change and someone had to volunteer to be the game-changer. And so, on Sunday (Monday, PHL time), the NBA season took on an 83rd game, as in a real game, thanks to commissioner Adam Silver’s willingness to fix what was broken and LeBron’s desire to set the tone for the most meaningful All-Star Game in years. The players gave the Staples Center crowd the usual acrobatic thrills associated with the game, naturally, but also some spills. As in, bodies on the floor. Every player who checked in did so with a strut and a mission to make a February game feel like June, or close enough, and not just during the close finish, either. Virtually from the start, when LeBron soared and swatted a cross-course pass just minutes into the game, this atmosphere had an edge. As Kevin Durant said: “We just wanted to change the narrative of the All-Star Game being a joke.” It was Team LeBron 148, Team Stephen 145 in the new format where sides were chosen regardless of conference and captains were assigned by fan vote. This created a new and fresh mix of players, intriguing tandems and raised overall interest for the game. It also helped that prize money, $100,000 to each winning player, was increased and lent a financial incentive. Yet it wouldn’t have mattered if layups went unchecked and jumpers were uncontested. Everything had to fall in line, and everyone had to cooperate. And that’s what led to this, a game decided by defense when it truly mattered, with LeBron and Durant swamping Stephen Curry beyond the three-point line on the final possession, keeping Curry and his team from getting a potential game-tying shot off as time expired. This is what the NBA needed, a more representative effort and result from the collection of the game’s finest players. It was a much cleaner look and it’s not a stretch to say the format and intensity rescued the All-Star Game from itself. “The hope is that, as we go forward, it gets even better than this,” said Kyrie Irving. “The game started to get away and we took it personally.” It’s hardly a surprise that LeBron was the force of change. His 29 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists in the win earned him his third Kia All-Star MVP trophy, yet those numbers didn’t accurately reflect how involved he was for four quarters. He lost his voice because of constant yelling and instructing and prodding his teammates to finish the job. He actually influenced both teams; his own by motivating them to play harder, and Team Stephen’s by issuing a challenge. Here’s the final sequence, dictated by LeBron: - His step-back three-pointer tied the score at 144; - He switched onto James Harden and forced the league’s scoring leader to badly miss a 3-pointer; - He put his team up for good on a driving layup on a give-and-go, thanks to a pair of timely passes from Irving and Russell Westbrook; - His double-team with Durant on Curry deep in the corner was the finishing touch. LeBron encouraged his team to apply a full-court press to end the first half -- has that ever been used in an NBA Game, let alone an All-Star Game? -- and simply took charge throughout. It was a personal mission to keep folks intrigued and interested. This was his game, his tempo, his personality taking over. “I believe I can make an impact and make a difference,” he said. At 33, and winning his first All-Star MVP in a decade, LeBron helped launch a standard that the game badly needed and, if this spirit holds true in the coming years, he’ll serve as the torch-bearer for a new age All-Star Game. Just one more productive layer to his lengthy legacy. “We all know how great a player he is,” said Team LeBron coach Dwane Casey. “I’m jealous of [Cavs coach Ty Lue] that he has someone like that. But tonight, he was on our team. He’s a joy to coach. He reiterates exactly what should be said, the right things. No BS. In the huddle, defensively, he got the guys jacked up and juiced as far as wanting to get a stop.” There was help; Durant was LeBron’s teammate for the first time in an NBA-sanctioned game and scored 19 points (the two were Olympic teammates in 2012). Irving rejoined LeBron after bolting from the Cavs last summer and they connected on the game-winning shot. Paul George was terrific defensively and chipped in 16 points. If not for Team LeBron winning, the MVP could have gone to DeMar DeRozan, who returned to his hometown and dropped 21 points (but threw an errant pass in the final seconds). Or maybe Damian Lillard, who matched DeRozan’s 21. Or Joel Embiid, a first-timer who supplied a big blocked shot right before LeBron’s layup. Therefore, an exhibition game that had grown stale and suffered from lapses and a lack of energy suddenly has a new beginning. East vs. West doesn’t exist anymore, and players purposely feeding a specific player so he can win MVP, and maybe no more matador defense, either, at least not for 48 minutes. It’s a small sample size, and the game must prove itself each year, but this is a push from LeBron and Silver into the right direction. The only possible tweak, perhaps next year, will be with televising the team selection. But that’s a nit-pick. This worked out well. “The format was great,” James said. “I think the fans did a great job of reacting to it in a positive way. It definitely worked out for everyone., not only for the players, not only for the league, but for the fans, everybody. It was a great weekend and we capped it off the right way.” 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 NewsFeb 20th, 2018

Ronaldo goal gives Real Madrid its 3rd Club World Cup title

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo scored from a free-kick as Real Madrid claimed its third Club World Cup title after beating Brazilian team Gremio 1-0 Saturday. The Ballon d'Or winner fired his right-footed shot between two players in Gremio's defensive wall, leaving goalkeeper Marcelo Grohe no hope of reaching the ball before it bounced inside the post in the 53rd minute. "(Ronaldo) is always there at the key moments," Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said. "Nobody can do what he does." Madrid became the first team to retain the FIFA Club World Cup title, and collected its fifth trophy of 2017, along with the Champions League, Spanish league, European Super Cup and Spanish Super Cup. Ronaldo celebrated the goal by rushing to Madrid's dugout where he was embraced by his teammates. The goal increased Ronaldo's record to seven goals in the competition. He also scored in Madrid's 2-1 comeback win over Al Jazira in the semifinals. "What am I going to say? The numbers speak for themselves. I am very happy. The team played fantastically well and it has won another title," Ronaldo said. "We played a very good game and deserved the victory." Madrid equaled Barcelona's record of three titles for the short knockout tournament between the champions of FIFA's six continental confederations and the host nation's league winner. European clubs have won 10 of the last 11 Club World Cups, with only Brazil's Corinthians interrupting that streak in 2012 when it defeated Chelsea. Zidane played the same starting 11 from last season's Champions League final in June, when Madrid crushed Juventus 4-1 — led by Ronaldo's double. The European champions outclassed Gremio throughout the match, but the closest they got to scoring in the first half was Dani Carvajal's goal-bound volley in the 20th that was cleared by Pedro Geromel. Gremio had to scramble on several occasions to stop Madrid inside its own area. At the other end, a free-kick by Edilson for the South American champions swerved onto the top netting near the half-hour mark. Geromel had tried to set the tone early on with a hard tackle that left Ronaldo writhing in pain, and hoping for a booking that never came. Ronaldo had a poor first half. He twice erred in short passes with his back heel that failed to reach his teammates, and he squandered a good opportunity when he took too long to shoot when a loose ball fell to him close to the net. All that changed after the interval. Ronaldo baited Jailson into fouling him outside the area with some fancy dribbling, setting up his winner. Ronaldo thought he had another goal moments later, but Karim Benzema was ruled offside before he passed the ball back to Ronaldo. Marcelo Grohe kept his side in the game by pushing Luka Modric's shot onto his post and denied Ronaldo a second goal, but Gremio never mounted a serious response to get the equalizer. Mexico's Pachuca beat Al Jazira 4-1 in the third-place match earlier Saturday......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 17th, 2017

Temperature check at 20-game mark of 17-18 NBA season

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com Twenty games is not a small sample size. At 20 games, much of what an NBA team is -- and much of what it will become -- is mostly well-established. Fourteen, 16, even 18 games into an 82-game schedule, it might be easy to understate and/or overstate a season. That round number of 20, though -- the closest a team can get in whole games to 25 percent of the regular season (24.39, actually) -- resonates. As our man John Schuhmann notes annually in his Power Rankings, what qualifies as one-fourth of the season carries a certain heft, in terms of who’s good, who’s not and who’s headed where over the remaining 60-62 games. The teams that are likely to be in the playoffs largely are known by now -- 14 of the 16 qualifiers in 2016-17 were above the lottery cutoff by Dec. 5, last season’s quarter mark -- as are those that are racing toward the bottom or merely churning about. Twenty games is no joke, in other words, which is why numerous NBA teams do some serious evaluating at this point each season. Those at or near the top (and those committed to the cellar) may not make course-altering decisions. The teams in the yawning middle might be particularly engaged right about now -- all 30 teams will have played at least 20 games by Friday morning -- in either fishing or cutting bait. The Miami Heat, at 10-9, will hit 20 at Cleveland tonight. They’re especially known for the so-called Rule of 20 owing to team president Pat Riley’s ways dating back to his New York and Los Angeles days. The thinking is, 82 games is too vast and ill-defined, splayed across six months or so, to allow for clear, concise judgments along the way. By the time you get a feel for where your team is headed, you’ve either already gotten there or been sidetracked. At 20 games -- and then again at 40 and 60 -- there’s an opportunity to correct one’s course or adjust one’s objectives. Lock into a starting lineup, pursue a trade, fire a coach, opt for Plan B or hitch up the shorts for a stretch drive, it’s only doable if the right markers are heeded. Some coaches will talk about “continuous improvement” as their overriding mission, but there are so many tiny variables from one game to the next: travel, schedule quirks, minor ailments. Better to go with a block of games. And to know when you can’t. “You have a pretty good idea of your general feel and context of your team,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. “But that’s not always in cement. Just look at us last year. We didn’t really understand where we were. But you have an idea of what direction, usually, that your team is going in.” The Heat in 2016-17 had one of the most unusual seasons in league annals, going 11-30 after a Jan. 13 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks and then 30-11 in to finish the season. They were 7-13 after 20 games, then wound up barely missing a playoff berth on the season’s final night. This time around, the Heat seem to be a blend of last season’s good and bad, and their mediocre mark shows it. Spoelstra has rolled back a lot of the work between games to fundamentals and essentials, with the focus on building good habits. “We’ve got a ways to go,” he said. ‘We’re building habits. We’re building better behavior, all the little things that lead to winning, so hopefully we’ll be a much different team every 20-game block from here on out.” (Some even think 20 games is too many, too diffused and vague for the short attention spans players almost necessarily have to have when uploading mass quantities of opponent research for a homestand’s worth of foes. Hall of Fame coach Hubie Brown preferred to mentally break the season into eight-game chunks. Go 5-3 in enough of those, you’re almost assured of being a playoff team.) Twenty games in is a fragile time for coaches, as far as job security, as the Memphis Grizzlies’ David Fizdale found out Monday (Tuesday, PHL time). At 7-12, he and the Grizzlies had been given enough rope that management obviously felt a determination could be made. Memphis’ quick start, winning five of its first six, didn’t resonate nearly as much as its eight consecutive losses did. Not every franchise hits 20, 40 or 60 games on the nose before doing something dramatic. Phoenix Suns GM Ryan McDonough felt he needed to see only three games to fire coach Earl Watson. In 2015-16, the Houston Rockets pulled the plug on Kevin McHale after 11 games. But the last time Miami made a coaching change in season, Riley sent home Stan Van Gundy at 11-10 in 2005-06 and took over for the final 61 games. The Cleveland Cavaliers fired David Blatt 41 games into the 2015-16 season. And the last time each of these organizations -- Washington, Toronto, San Antonio, Minnesota, Golden State, Philadelphia, Sacramento and Chicago -- made coaching changes during the season, they did so after 17, 17, 18, 19, 23, 23, 24 and 25 games respectively. What have we learned about the league this season, with 20 games coming sooner than usual? * Boston’s acquisition of Kyrie Irving, its young starting forwards and a more tenacious defense than expected have more than made up for Gordon Hayward’s loss. * The day Philadelphia coach Brett Brown longed for finally has arrived. * Detroit, Indiana and New York might manage to overachieve their way into lower-seed possibilities. Washington’s window is closing before its eyes, and Milwaukee has flaws at both ends that won’t be solved if and when Jabari Parker returns. * Houston’s James Harden might snag the Kia MVP trophy many thought he deserved last spring. * Minnesota, Denver and Portland are for real in the West, while it’s getting late early in Oklahoma City. Carmelo Anthony was supposed to have left his sub-.500 records back with the Knicks. * The next man Memphis owner Robert Pera offers a full-time coaching position is going to speed-dial Lionel Hollins, Dave Joerger and Fizdale in some order. * A strong field of Kia Rookie of the Year candidates at least six deep from the Draft class of 2017 all might wind up slotting in behind the Sixers’ Ben Simmons. * The drama of the draft lottery might be greater than that of the playoffs decided several weeks later. * LeBron James still moves the Earth and the league when he firmly puts his foot down. Then there’s the best thing about the NBA season at 20 games: That means 62 more to go. 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 NewsNov 29th, 2017

‘He made me into an MVP’: Bolick repays Fernandez’ trust with NCAA crown

San Beda head coach Boyet Fernandez putimmense trust on Robert Bolick in leading the Red Lions, and when it mattered the most the mustachioed guard delivered and repaid his mentor with the championship. Bolick finished with 18 points, five rebounds, six assists, and a dagger that embedded itself to the collective heart of Lyceum. With San Beda holding an 86-82 lead with a minute remaining, Bolick took his spot at the top of the key and launched a triple in the face of Mike Nzeusseu that gave the Red Lions an 89-82 lead with 50.9 seconds left. San Beda eventually won 92-82 to clinch its 21st NCAA seniors basketball title and that championship trophy was Bolick's payment ...Keep on reading: ‘He made me into an MVP’: Bolick repays Fernandez’ trust with NCAA crown.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsNov 17th, 2017

Game 2 loss spoils MVP Bolick’s day

MANILA, Philippines - Cignal-San Beda’s Robert Bolick would have traded his MVP trophy for a championship any time......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsApr 4th, 2017

10 things to know about NBA All-Star 2019

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — With All-Star festivities set to officially begin Friday (Saturday, PHL time), here are 10 things to know going into the weekend: BACK TO CHARLOTTE Charlotte hosted NBA All-Star weekend in 1991, and now gets it back a second time to join 14 other cities that can say it hosted the league’s showcase midseason event on multiple occasions. Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Houston, New Orleans, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Seattle, St. Louis, Los Angeles and the L.A. suburb of Inglewood, California, are the other previous multi-hosting All-Star cities. The Bay Area, the Detroit area and the Dallas area are also two-time hosts, though never technically twice in the same city. LEBRON’S RECORDS LeBron James now has the record for most All-Star captaincies: Two. He and Stephen Curry had the jobs last year when the captain’s format was first introduced to the All-Star weekend, and he and Giannis Antetokounmpo have the jobs this year. But James’ records revolving around this game hardly stop there. By starting on Sunday (Monday, PHL time), James will tie Kobe Bryant with 15 starts in the All-Star Game. James will also extend his record of consecutive starts, which will also rise to 15. Some of the other All-Star records James already holds include total points (343), field goals (141) and three-pointers (35). And by playing two minutes, James will increase his All-Star total in that stat to 416 — one more than Bryant for No. 2 on the all-time list. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has played the most All-Star minutes, 449. FOULING OUT Bold prediction: No one will foul out on Sunday (Monday, PHL time). The last player to foul out of an All-Star Game was Hakeem Olajuwon in 1987. Chris Paul was the most recent to come close, when he was whistled for five fouls in the 2008 game. There have been only 14 instances of someone fouling out of an All-Star Game. Rick Barry and Bob Cousy each fouled out twice; 10 others, including Olajuwon, have done so once. MVPs AT HOME Kemba Walker, the lone Charlotte player in this year’s All-Star Game, has suggested that he’s hoping he can wow the home crowd with an MVP-worthy performance. There’s a history of that sort of thing happening. There have been 14 players who have won All-Star MVP honors in their home cities, spanning a total of 15 games. The list of hometown All-Star MVPs: Anthony Davis (New Orleans, 2017), Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles, 2011), Shaquille O’Neal (Phoenix, 2009 and Los Angeles, 2004), Karl Malone and John Stockton (Utah, 1993), Michael Jordan (Chicago, 1988), Tom Chambers (Seattle, 1987), Jerry West (Los Angeles, 1972), Rick Barry (the San Francisco area, 1967), Adrian Smith (Cincinnati, 1966), Bob Pettit (St. Louis, 1958 and 1962), Wilt Chamberlain (Philadelphia, 1960), Bob Cousy (Boston, 1957) and Ed Macauley (Boston, 1951). AGE MARK Assuming he plays, Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki — one of the special additions to the rosters by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who also added Miami’s Dwyane Wade to the list — will become the second 40-something to appear in the All-Star Game. Nowitzki is 40; Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played in the game when he was 40 and 41. Michael Jordan almost pulled off the feat; he was eight days shy of turning 40 when he last played in the All-Star Game in 2003. Jordan, now the owner of the Charlotte Hornets and the unofficial host of the weekend, will turn 56 on Sunday. Wade, also assuming he gets into the game, will become the 12th player to be an All-Star at 37 or older. Wade turned 37 last month. HEROES Jason Weinmann and James Shaw Jr. might not be “celebrities,” at least not in the classic sense. But the NBA rightly believes they should be celebrated. Weinmann and Shaw were invited to play in Friday’s All-Star Celebrity Game to commemorate heroic acts. Weinmann, a retired Marine, used a military transport vehicle — which he bought at a government auction years ago — during Hurricane Florence last September to help rescue flood victims in North Carolina and bring them to safety. Shaw disarmed a man who had opened fire at a Waffle House restaurant near Nashville last April and has been heralded as a life-saving hero since for wrestling the AR-15 out of the alleged shooter’s hands by the barrel. G LEAGUE FIRST Khris Middleton of the Milwaukee Bucks is the first member of a new club. He’s the first G League alum to become an NBA All-Star. Middleton spent a short time during the 2012-13 season in the G League, before blossoming into one of the league’s best players and a key to Milwaukee going into the break with an NBA-best 43-14 record. There will be plenty of G League graduates participating on All-Star Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) as well — Middleton, Seth Curry, Danny Green and Joe Harris are all slated to be in the 3-point contest. CASH MATTERS There is some money at stake during All-Star Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) events, and everybody gets something. Everyone in the dunk contest will receive at least $20,000, everyone in the skills challenge gets at least $15,000 and all participants in the 3-point shootout take home at least $10,000. From there, prize money varies by finish — the skills challenge winner gets $55,000, the 3-point shootout champion wins $60,000 and the dunk contest winner takes home $105,000. In all, the Saturday night (Sunday, PHL time) participants will split $610,000. EASTBOUND This All-Star weekend is the first of four straight in Eastern Conference cities. Chicago gets it next year, Indianapolis in 2021 and Cleveland in 2022. The site for the 2023 game remains unknown; Salt Lake City and Sacramento are two sites often mentioned as candidates for that year, and Orlando is a likely suitor for the 2024 game. THE REFS Sunday’s (Monday, PHL time) All-Star Game will be officiated by Scott Foster, Curtis Blair and David Guthrie. It’s a home game of sorts for Guthrie, who resides in Charlotte. Foster worked the 2010 All-Star Game in Dallas. It’s the first All-Star Game for Blair and Guthrie. The Friday and Saturday (Saturday and Sunday, PHL time) events will be worked by a crew of newer refs — third-year official Aaron Smith and fourth-year officials Mitchell Ervin and Gediminas Petraitis......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News20 hr. 19 min. ago

PBA: Bragging rights go to Mocon after first faceoff with Bolick

Lion pride was front and center on Friday at the MOA Arena as Javee Mocon and Robert Bolick went at it for the first time in the PBA. “Ang weird e, weird feeling,” Mocon told reporters afterward. “(Dati), every game, lagi kaming nagtutulungan tapos ngayon, bakbakan na sa loob. It’s all business na talaga when we’re on the court.” The two were the pillars in San Beda University’s three-peat in the NCAA from 2016 to 2018. Now, they find themselves on opposite sides with Bolick reppin’ NorthPort and Mocon suiting up for Rain or Shine. In their first faceoff, Bolick had the better numbers with nine points, six assists, and two rebounds. For his part, Mocon put up two markers, two boards, and a dime. The mark on the win column, however, went to Mocon and the Elasto Painters. For that, Bolick, competitive as always, was not one to reminisce about their good ol’ days as Red Lions. Asked how it felt to go up against Mocon for the first time, he answered, “Wala. Walang feeling kasi talo.” It should be remembered that Bolick is one of the most competitive players out there. When Lyceum of the Philippines University won each and every game in the elimination round in 2017, including two against San Beda, he put it upon himself to make sure they got back at them in the Finals. Even more, he never forgot that his school lost the championship to archrival Colegio de San Juan de Letran back in 2015 – and he was still undergoing residency then. That is exactly why Mocon only understood that his good friend was not in the best of moods after the loss. “Competitive kami parehas. We’re both competitors. Alam ko siya will go all-out and ako rin naman,” he said. He then continued, “Kahit sikuhin ko siya kanina o sikuhin niya ako, wala lang yun.” However, being close pals, Bolick should expect a little something from Mocon sooner than later. “Icha-chat ko siya mamaya. Aasarin ko,” the latter shared through chuckles. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 8th, 2019

PSG loses its 1st league game this season

By Jerome Pugmire, Associated Press PARIS (AP) — Paris Saint-Germain's 20-game unbeaten run in the French league this season ended with a 2-1 defeat at Lyon on Sunday. PSG has lost three times this season, including away to Liverpool in the Champions League and at home to Guingamp in the League Cup, but this was its first Ligue 1 loss since a 2-0 home defeat to Rennes in the penultimate game of last season. Despite the setback, PSG leads second-placed Lille by 10 points, having played two games less. Yet it was a huge boost for Lyon in the quest to finish second and qualify automatically for next season's Champions League. Lyon is three points behind Lille, with 15 matches remaining. Both goalkeepers stood out in a great advert for the French league. Rarely tested in the top tier in France, PSG's defense ultimately fell short under the watchful eye of Manchester United coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who was present at the game. A resurgent United side hosts PSG in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 game on Feb. 12. Solskjaer will have noticed glaring deficiencies at the back, which meant PSG goalkeeper Alphonse Areola had to make six saves in a pulsating first half. France forward Nabil Fekir won it for Lyon when he coolly slotted in a 49th-minute penalty, after center half Thiago Silva impeded striker Moussa Dembele as he burst into the area. Dembele's towering header from a pinpoint Leo Dubois cross drew Lyon level in the 33rd after Angel Di Maria silenced the home crowd with an opening goal after seven minutes. Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar clumsily lost possession dribbling out of his own half, and Julian Draxler took the ball off him before feeding Di Maria inside the left of the penalty area. The Argentina winger advanced and finished with a low strike across the body of Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes, before provocatively dancing in front of home fans. PSG then weathered a barrage of Lyon pressure. Preferred to Gianluigi Buffon for this game, in an ongoing goalkeeper rotation by coach Thomas Tuchel, Areola was inspired. Midway through the first half, he made a double stop to first thwart Bertrand Traore and then surged off the ground to palm away Memphis Depay's follow-up effort from close range. But then Areola stumbled coming out to meet a cross from Dubois, and Dembele rose superbly to level at 1-1. The action, at both ends, was unrelenting. Di Maria almost grabbed his second goal late in the first half, only for center half Jason Denayer to deny him with a spectacular diving header near his line. Silva was adjudged to have obstructed Dembele as PSG conceded its 11th penalty this season — a statistic Solskjaer will doubtless know. But he will also have seen that PSG has immense firepower, and Lopes needed to be at his best on Sunday. He made three saves in quick succession, including a stunning finger-tip save with his left hand to keep out a stinging drive from Kylian Mbappe — who was again denied by Lopes with 20 minutes left. "It's difficult to say, we had chances as well," PSG's Draxler said when asked if Lyon deserved to win. "But they played very well in the first half. We knew beforehand that Lyon is a classy team." Lyon faces Barcelona in the last-16 of the Champions League, having beaten Manchester City away and drawn with City at home during the group stage. DELORT EARNS DRAW Striker Andy Delort's well-taken goal earned Montpellier a 1-1 draw at southern rival Nimes and moved the team up to fifth place. Nimes and Montpellier are roughly one hour apart by car and they have a fierce rivalry. Nimes opened the scoring after two minutes when defender Loick Landre headed in from a corner. Delort latched onto strike partner Gaetan Laborde's pass in the 73rd minute, and coolly lobbed the goalkeeper. Montpellier is one point behind fourth-placed Saint-Etienne, while promoted Nimes is in 11th place......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 4th, 2019

Perez says rivalry with Bolick over: PBA na to

ANTIPOLO CITY, Philippines – The rivalry between CJ Perez and Robert Bolick is a thing of the past now. At least, that's how Perez feels after Columbian stunned Bolick and NorthPort in a 110-100 win in the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup that marked the first time the collegiate rivals ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsJan 25th, 2019

PBA: Columbian lands another big fish in NorthPort

ANTIPOLO--Columbian grabbed command late in the third quarter on Friday night and claimed another big fish in the PBA Philippine Cup eliminations after posting a 110-100 victory over NorthPort at Ynares Center here. The Dyip came roaring back from 10 points down in that quarter and took an 86-79 lead into the fourth, which they protected with much ferociousness on the way to handing the Batang Pier their first defeat in three games. In tying their victims at 2-1, the Dyip survived a huge first half by Mo Tautuaa by getting him to pick up a fourth foul early in the third and holding down NorthPort's prolific rookie Robert Bolick to just three points. Jackson Corpuz and pint-s...Keep on reading: PBA: Columbian lands another big fish in NorthPort.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJan 25th, 2019

Osaka vs. Kvitova for Australian Open title, No. 1 ranking

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Naomi Osaka never made it past the fourth round at any of the first 10 Grand Slam tournaments of her career. Now, still just 21, she's suddenly on the verge of a second consecutive major championship. And the No. 1 ranking, too. Osaka moved one victory away from adding the Australian Open trophy to the one she collected 4½ months ago at the U.S. Open, using her smooth power to produce 15 aces and groundstroke winners at will while beating Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 in the semifinals Thursday. "I just told myself to regroup in the third set and just try as hard as I can," said Osaka, who saved four break points in the last set and finished the match with an ace at 115 mph (185 kph). "I was so scared serving second serves. I was like, 'Oh, my God. Please!" Osaka said. "Somehow, I made it. I guess that's experience." A day after erasing four match points and a 5-1 deficit in the third set to stun Serena Williams in the quarterfinals, Pliskova could not produce the same kind of comeback. Instead it is Osaka, the only Japanese woman to win a major singles title, who will face two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova on Saturday. The winner will rise to the top of the WTA rankings for the first time; Osaka is currently No. 4, Kvitova is No. 6. In the men's semifinals, Rafael Nadal continued his relentless roll through the draw by defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-2, 6-4, 6-0 at night. Nadal has not dropped a set as he bids for a second Australian Open title and 18th Grand Slam trophy overall. Osaka's fourth-round finish at Melbourne Park a year ago was her best showing at a major until last year's U.S. Open, where she outplayed Williams in the final. A victory over Kvitova would make Osaka the first woman to win two Slams in a row since Williams claimed four straight across the 2014-15 seasons. Two years ago, Kvitova missed the Australian Open, just weeks after her left hand was stabbed by an intruder at her home in the Czech Republic. Back at her best during what she calls her "second career," Kvitova surged to a 7-6 (2), 6-0 victory against 35th-ranked American Danielle Collins after Rod Laver Arena's retractable roof was closed as the temperature soared toward 105 degrees (40 Celsius). Kvitova reached her first major final since the December 2016 knife attack that led to hours of surgery on the hand she holds her racket with — and first since winning Wimbledon for the second time in 2014. "I didn't know even if I (was) going to play tennis again," Kvitova said. "It's been a long journey." Against Collins, a two-time NCAA champion at the University of Virginia who was 0-5 at Slams until this one, Kvitova was more aggressive throughout, mixing big lefty forehands and well-timed pushes forward to the tune of a 30-9 edge in total winners. But the key to the outcome might very well have been what happened at 4-all after 35 minutes of action: That's when the decision finally was made to close the 15,000-seat stadium's cover, drawing cheers of approval from broiling spectators. Kvitova probably wanted to applaud, too. "I was happier than the fans that the roof closed," she said afterward. "I like to play indoors. It helped me a little bit." She's made clear over the years she is not a huge fan of playing in stifling heat. Not too many people truly are, of course, but Collins is OK with it and thought the roof should have stayed open. "I grew up in Florida and am used to it being really hot all the time. So I kind of embrace that very well," Collins said. "Indoor tennis is a different game. Certainly had its effect." When play resumed after a five-minute delay, it went from being completely even to tilted in Kvitova's favor. She dominated the tiebreaker and the second set to stretch her winning streak to 11 matches. Osaka, meanwhile, extended her Slam run to 13 matches while putting a stop to Pliskova's 10-0 start to the season. Osaka accumulated a 56-20 advantage in winners — and held on when it all could have slipped away. She began the day having won 58 matches in a row after taking the first set, but that seemed in danger when Pliskova broke to end the second and had three break points to go up 2-0 in the third. But Osaka steeled herself there, erasing the first break chance with a huge forehand, the second with a down-the-line backhand winner. On the third, another terrific backhand forced a forehand error into the net by Pliskova, who cracked her racket against the blue court. When Pliskova netted a return of an 83 mph (133 kph) second serve to make it 1-all, Osaka tugged at the brim of her pink visor and let out a big exhale. The match would continue for another 28 minutes, but it basically was done, then and there. That stretch began a nine-point, three-game run for Osaka, and she was on her way. She would face one last break point at 4-3, but saved it with a 108 mph (174 kph) ace......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 24th, 2019

James entering decisive days at Bayern with future unclear

By Ciaran Fahey, Associated Press MUNICH (AP) — Leon Goretzka's emergence at Bayern Munich is bad news for James Rodriguez. James, as he is known, watched from the bench Friday as Goretzka - playing in the Colombian's favored No. 10 position - scored two goals in Bayern's 3-1 victory at Hoffenheim. "We did everything right with this decision," Bayern coach Niko Kovac told Eurosport. "We've stumbled onto something." James only had a brief opportunity to shine when he came on for Thiago Alcantara in the 78th minute, but he showed his class with a fine lobbed ball over the Hoffenheim defense for Thomas Mueller to set up Robert Lewandowski's win-clinching goal in the 87th. Kovac now has a dilemma in deciding who should start for the suspended Mueller against Liverpool in the Champions League next month. Mueller is suspended for both legs, though Bayern have appealed and hope he will be available for the second leg in Munich. "We have many more No. 10s, just you don't know it yet," Mueller joked after the Hoffenheim game. James suddenly finds himself further down the pecking order with Goretzka's coming of age. "Leon has a really good shot, and he was also dangerous in front of goal last season at Schalke," Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic said. "He normally needs a bit of space. But he did really well as a No. 10." The 23-year-old Goretzka is quickly settling in following his transfer from Schalke. "I never had a problem with my confidence. I was playing professionally very early on and slipped into a role at Bochum that did not necessary correspond with my age and experience," the Germany midfielder told Kicker magazine on Thursday. "But it goes without question. To play at Bayern you need a broad chest." Goretzka joined Schalke in 2013 after impressing as a teenager for second-division Bochum. He made his Germany debut in 2014 but missed out on the final World Cup squad. He now has 19 appearances for the national team. If not Goretzka, then Alcantara is another who could fill Bayern's No. 10 position behind Lewandowski. It was already shaping up to be a frustrating second season in Munich for James following his loan switch from Real Madrid in 2017. The 27-year-old Colombian has made only five league starts for Bayern this season. After ankle problems, James' progress took another setback in November with a partial ligament tear in his left knee from training, days after a 3-2 loss in Dortmund. He wasn't even selected for that game - Bayern's biggest of the season to date. "He's playing for his future," Kovac said as the league's winter break was drawing to a close. "He has to deliver top performances." James remains a Madrid player, but Bayern has the option to make his two-year loan move permanent once it ends at the end of this season. Kovac doesn't seem to be letting the contract situation affect his lineup decisions. "We're a great club with great footballers. James is a great footballer who deserves to play," Kovac said. "Those who aren't called James also want to play." The Bayern coach said it was up to the Colombian to convince the club he deserved to stay, not the other way around. Meanwhile, reports in Spain say Madrid would be willing to use James, if Bayern didn't sign him, as a makeweight in a bid to sign Danish midfielder Christian Eriksen. Arsenal, Juventus and Napoli are also reported suitors. "It's up to him now to show that he belongs in the team," Kovac said. For now though, Goretzka has his nose in front......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 24th, 2019

Evan Nelle ready to step up in post-Bolick, Mocon era

MANILA, Philippines – Leave it to the San Beda Red Lions to never run out of talent within their roster. Even now as they're reeling from the simultaneous exits of their biggest stars Javee Mocon and Robert Bolick, incoming sophomore point guard Evan Nelle already looks ready to fill the void. And ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsJan 22nd, 2019

PBA: Sean Anthony cops year s first Player of the Week award

Fil-Canadian forward Sean Anthony emerged as the first Cignal-PBA Press Corps Player of the Week for the 2019 season after contributing huge numbers in NorthPort’s strong start in the Philippine Cup. A known hardworker on both ends of the floor, the 6-foot-4 Anthony registered averages of 20.5 points 7.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 4.0 steals as NorthPort beat Blackwater followed by NLEX in its first two assignments in the All-Filipino conference. In the Batang Pier’s opening game, Anthony came off the bench and scored 19 points, hauled down five rebounds, issued the same number of assists and one steal as they ripped the Elite, 117-91 last January 16. Four days later, the PBA’s sixth overall pick in the 2010 rookie draft sizzled with 22 points, nine rebounds, seven steals and five assists to power NorthPort to a 95-90 win over NLEX. NorthPort’s back-to-back wins marked the franchise’s best season start in two years. “We know Sean, laban lang ng laban,” NorthPort coach Pido Jarencio said after his team’s five-point win over NLEX on Sunday.  “Sixth man nga namin, pero nag-deliver, nag-double double, tapos 'yung hustle di tumitigil.” Anthony bested teammates Mo Tautuaa and Robert Bolick, along with Phoenix’s Jason Perkins, Alex Mallari and Justin Chua for the weekly citation. NorthPort will be gunning for a third straight win this Friday when it collides with Columbian Dyip at the Ynares Center in Antipolo. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 21st, 2019