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Fowler and the USGA off to a good start at US Open

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Rickie Fowler had an ideal start Thursday in the U.S. Open, and so did the USGA. Pebble Beach was as gentle as could be in the opening round, and Fowler was among those who took advantage with six birdies for a 5-under 66, giving him a share of the early lead with Xander Schauffele and Louis Oosthuizen. The notorious wind off the Pacific coast was little more than a breeze. The course was lush green and relatively soft. The USGA wanted to start conservatively and make it progressively more difficult, a forecast of dry weather gives officials a lot more control. This was the day to take advantage. Schauffele, who keeps showing up in golf's biggest events, holed a 12-foot eagle putt on the par-5 18th to join Fowler at 66. Oosthuizen holed out for eagle from 95 yards at No. 11, his second hole of the day. "It's a very soft start to a U.S. Open, which is a good thing," Rory McIlroy said after a 68, his first sub-70 round at the U.S. Open since he won at Congressional in 2011. "They can do whatever they want with from here. It's not as if you're starting with a course that's in the condition like a Sunday, and then you get three days and it sort of starts to get away from you." Two-time defending champion Brooks Koepka and Tiger Woods played in the afternoon. Koepka reached 4 under through seven holes until a bogey on No. 8, while Woods had three birdies to atone for a double bogey on par-3 fifth. He was 1 under through seven. Scott Piercy made bogey on the 18th for a 67. He was the first player to get everyone's attention when he made three birdies and an eagle through the opening six holes — the scoring holes at Pebble — and was 5 under. Graeme McDowell saw the score when he walked off the 10th green at the start of his round and quipped to his caddie, "All the USGA radios are going off and they're saying, 'Turn off the water — NOW!'" McDowell won the last U.S. Open at Pebble Beach in 2010 when it was so difficult he made only one birdie in the final round and no one broke par for the week. Even as he saw low scores on the board — he had a bogey-free 69, one of 16 rounds in the 60s among the early starters — McDowell feared what was to come. What really got his attention was Phil Mickelson being some 30 feet above the hole at No. 1, which should ordinarily have been a lightning fast putt. Mickelson left it short. "I don't think level par wins this week," he said. "Careful what you wish for, because I think we're going to see it come the weekend." Mickelson, in his fifth attempt at the career Grand Slam, opened with a 72 that certainly didn't hurt him, but only two birdies held him back. Two of his bogeys came from missing the fairway with an iron off the tee. The other was a careless three-putt — he missed from 22 inches. Dustin Johnson was only one shot better, and he could have been a lot worse except for a magnificent short game, no shot better than his flop shop from well behind the eighth green to 2 feet. He nearly drove the green on No. 4, a dangerous shot because the coast line hugs the right side. Why driver? "Because I'd bogeyed the last two holes," Johnson said with a wry smile. "I needed a birdie." That wasn't impatience that often dooms chances at a U.S. Open. That was recognition that scores were to be had, and this might be the best day. Fowler picked up three birdies in seven holes, dropped a shot at the turn and added three birdies on the back. It's the second time in three years at the U.S. Open he has started well — he had a 65 in the first round at Erin Hills — but the focus is on how he finishes. Even though he's 30, with seven victories on the PGA Tour and European Tour combined, Fowler is on that list of best without a major, perhaps because he's had so many top finishes. So the start was important. "It was very stress free," Fowler said. "You never feel in cruise control at a major, especially a U.S. Open, but the execution was very good today. ... It was the worst I could have shot, so that's a good thing. I'm happy with the start. You can't go out and win it up the first day, but you can obviously take yourself out of it and you're having to fight back." Schauffele also appears poised to break through in his third full year on tour. He first gained attention with his tie for fifth in his U.S. Open debut two years ago, and he tied for sixth last year at Shinnecock Hills. He also has runner-up finishes in the British Open and the Masters. His big break came at the end when he caught his drive off the toe and it hit off a rock framing the left side, bounding down the fairway. From there, he only had 8-iron to set up his eagle. "Very fortunate, and happy we capitalized on a really lucky break," he said......»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnJun 14th, 2019

Piercy makes most of US Open chance with fast start

By Josh Dubow, Associated Press PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) — After missing the cut last week at the Canadian Open, Scott Piercy spent the weekend on his couch hoping that wouldn't cost him a spot in the U.S. Open. Piercy ended up getting one of the final qualification spots and now finds himself in good position after taking advantage of an early tee time Thursday to get off to a fast start at Pebble Beach. Piercy raced to 5-under par in the first six holes and finished with a 4-under 67 after bogeying the 18th hole. He briefly held the clubhouse lead and was one shot back of leaders Rickie Fowler, Louis Oosthuizen and Xander Schauffele after the morning rounds. "Anytime you can be under par at the U.S. Open is a good thing," Piercy said. "I got off to kind of a fiery start, which is great, and then tried to hold on there in the middle and tried to make a couple coming in. Overall the putter was there, it felt good. The ball-striking needs to be cleaned up a little bit, so I'll be on the range for a little while. But 4-under par the first round of the U.S. Open, I'll take that every time." Especially when just qualifying for the tournament was a bit dicey. Piercy went to sectional qualifying in Columbus, Ohio, last week and missed out by one shot on getting into Pebble Beach. The 40-year-old from Las Vegas still had another route into the tournament as one of the top 60 players in the golf rankings. Piercy was ranked 60th going into the week and went to play the Canadian Open at Hamilton Golf and Country Club, where he earned his second career PGA Tour win back in 2012. But Piercy missed the cut and had to sweat it out. "So then you've got to sit at home and not root against guys, but hope that they don't kick you out," he said. "I was happy to get in and I was happy with the start." He ended up at 59 in the rankings and earned the spot into his eighth U.S. Open. He has missed the cut in four of his previous seven trips but also finished tied for second in 2016 at Oakmont. Piercy went off in the second group of the day off No. 1 and hooked his opening drive and drove into a bunker on No. 2. But he managed to make a great save for birdie on that hole, sparking the fast start. "That kind of just gives you a little bump of good thoughts and 'hey let's get this going,'" he said. "We kind of stole one, maybe." Piercy then added birdies on the fourth and fifth holes before his eagle on six dropped him to 5-under. Piercy then bounced back from a double-bogey on the eighth hole with a pair of birdies on the back nine. He then made a good par save out of the bunker at the par-3 17th but then ran into trouble on the final hole when he drove it into the rough and hit his second shot into a fairway bunker. Piercy then left his birdie putt from 25 feet about 8 feet short and three-putted the par-5 18th to finish at 4 under. Piercy also bogeyed the 18th hole here in the final round at the tour event earlier this year, dropping from sixth place to 10th. "I think I've made 6 the last few times," he said. "Maybe I need to learn how to play it better.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 14th, 2019

Chile amateur goes from no big victories to Masters

DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf Writer   HONOLULU (AP) — Toto Gana hit what he described as the 'best shot I've hit in my whole life,' a wedge to 3 feet for a birdie to win the Latin America Amateur Championship and earn a trip to the Masters in April. His best shot produced his biggest trophy. Asked what his greatest achievement in golf was before his victory in Panama, the 19-year-old from Chile said: 'I didn't have any achievements, to be honest. I had won a couple of tournaments at home when I was really, really young.' The Latin America Amateur completed its third year, a stroke-play tournament created by Augusta National, the USGA and the Royal & Ancient to spur growth in that part of the world. It follows the successful launch of the Asia Pacific Amateur. The Asia Pacific Amateur is producing a higher pedigree of champions — Hideki Matsuyama won twice, and the winner last year was Curtis Luck, the reigning U.S. Amateur champion. The last two Latin America winners were surprises — Gana and 16-year-old Paul Chaplet of Costa Rica last year. The other winner was Matias Dominguez of Chile, who was a junior at Texas Tech. Gana said the only hard part about his victory was beating Joaquin Niemann of Chile, one of his best friends who won the Junior World in 2015 at Torrey Pines. 'I really never thought I could win this tournament because all the other players have won many other tournaments, very big tournaments,' Gana said in a conference call after his victory Sunday. 'What I did was keep a cool head. When I saw that I had a chance to win, I believed in myself that I could do. And I gave it my all.' Chile will have a player represented at Augusta National for the second time in three years. The only other Chilean player at the Masters was Enrique Orellana, who missed the cut in 1964. Gana has flair, and he showed how much passion he has for golf when explaining how he got started. 'When I was a little boy, 8 years old, my stepfather taught me to play golf on the practice range,' he said. 'When I shot a really nice shot, I never quit.' Gana will be enrolling at Lynn University in Florida. ___ BLOOMING START: Justin Rose played the Sony Open as part of the new 'strength of field' regulation on the PGA Tour that requires players who played fewer than 25 events last year to add a tournament they had not played in four years. Rose was so excited about this year that he might have started earlier if he would have been eligible. He failed to win a PGA Tour event for the first time since 2009. But in a year slowed by injury, Rose geared himself for golf's return to the Olympics and won the gold medal in Rio. That was worth an exemption into the four majors (Rose already is eligible for them), but the PGA Tour did not offer a spot in SBS Tournament of Champions. 'I didn't inquire,' Rose said about Kapalua. 'But in my mind, I was surprised that it didn't count in a way, just because, why wouldn't it? It's a one-off thing.' He thought maybe the tour would only give a spot to Kapalua if the gold medalist was already a PGA Tour member, much like it treated the HSBC Champions early on in its World Golf Championships history. Rose chuckled, however, when he realized his history in Hawaii. 'It's funny enough, I don't have the right to say I should have been at Kapalua,' he said. 'Because I've won six years in a row and I've only been once.' A birdie on the final hole at the Sony Open gave him second place alone, which was worth $648,000. ___ PLAYING TO HIS STRENGTH: Jason Dufner is the defending champion at the CareerBuilder Challenger, where he won last year for the first time since the 2013 PGA Championship at Oak Hill. What changed? Very little. He attributed the drought to a neck and shoulder injury that he suffered at the 2014 Masters. Dufner tried to play through it all year until he was forced to pull out of his title defense in the PGA Championship at Valhalla, which kept him off the Ryder Cup team. Playing with the injury led to bad habits with his swing, which led to bad shots, too many memories of bad shots and eventually shattered confidence. 'People don't realize, once you start playing, you have to redo everything,' Dufner said. 'You see it with a lot of guys coming back. It takes them 6, 8, 12 months. I spent 2015 trying to get back to where I was.' Where he wants to be is one of the top ball-strikers in the game. As for putting? He manages. Dufner has finished no higher than No. 143 in the key putting statistic over the last four years, and while he has to pay attention to his setup, it's not as though he's going to abandon what got him here (his swing) to pour everything into becoming Jordan Spieth. 'I've been putting bad for 17 years,' he said. 'It's tough to change. I can hit it good enough to make up for it. I'll wait for my weeks where I putt good and try to win.' ___ THE RACE TO MEXICO: Mackenzie Hughes won the RSM Classic, and his first thought was going to the Masters. Now that it's beginning to sink, the Canadian rookie has reason to consider other tournaments that were not on his schedule at the start of the season. First up is the World Golf Championship in Mexico. The top 10 in the FedEx Cup standings through the Honda Classic are eligible for the Mexico Championship, and there are only six tournaments between now and then. That's also true for Pat Perez, who tied for third at Kapalua and is No. 3 in the FedEx Cup. Rod Pampling is at No. 6. The other World Golf Championships event in March is based off the world ranking, so those three players have much more to do for them to get into the top 64. One player who might have secured his spot was Kevin Kisner, who shot 60 in the third round of the Sony Open and wound up in a tie for fourth. That took Kisner from No. 51 to No. 41, making it difficult to fall that far in two months. ___ DIVOTS: Justin Thomas moving to No. 8 in the world means that six of the top 10 players are under 30. ... The Golf Writers Association of America has voted former PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem for the William D. Richardson Award for outstanding contributions to golf. For the GWAA's award for press cooperation, it was a tie between Ben Crenshaw and Stewart Cink. They will be honored at the GWAA annual awards dinner on April 5 in Augusta. ... The three courses used for the CareerBuilder Challenge — PGA West Stadium Course, PGA West Nicklaus and La Quinta — ranked among the top 10 in easiest courses on the PGA Tour last year. ... The fourth Latin America Amateur Championship will be played at Prince of Wales Country Club next year in Santiago, Chile. ... The European Tour now has eight events in its Rolex Series with China-based HNA Group signing a five-year deal to be title sponsor of the French Open. That will raise the purse to $7 million in line with other Rolex Series events. ___ STAT OF THE WEEK: Justin Thomas hit 34 drives that went at least 330 yards during his two weeks in Hawaii — 20 on the Plantation Course at Kapalua, 14 at Waialae Country Club. ___ FINAL WORD: 'If there's no defense, then you ought to be able to make birdies. If there's wind, you ought to be struggling.' — Kevin Kisner. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 18th, 2017

Barrett falls vs Duke teammate Reddish, and Zion is next

By Brian Mahoney, Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) — RJ Barrett kept misfiring, a rough start to his college reunion week at Madison Square Garden. Barrett did plenty of things well but not shooting, going 4-for-14 on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time) in the New York Knicks’ 100-96 loss to the Atlanta Hawks. Old teammate Cam Reddish left with a victory, but Barrett gets another chance for bragging rights among Duke rookies Friday (Saturday, PHL time), when Zion Williamson comes to town. Williamson, Barrett and Reddish were freshmen at Duke last season who went on to become top-10 NBA draft picks. Barrett, the No. 3 pick, and Reddish, taken 10th, were guarding each other at the start of the game. “Obviously, competing against him was a ton of fun,” Reddish said. “I mean, obviously in college we were together nonstop and we’re here now, so competing against him was definitely a good experience.” While Williamson has been tearing up the NBA in preseason play to the tune of 23.3 points per game on 71.4% shooting for unbeaten New Orleans, Barrett and Reddish have experienced some of the usual rookie struggles. Reddish entered shooting 28.6% at 6-for-21. He was 4-for-7 when the Hawks lost to the Pelicans in their opener, but then went 1-for-7 in each of the next two games, missing all eight three-point attempts. He bounced back with a 4-for-9 performance and nine points, which was good enough the way Trae Young (23 points, nine assists) and Vince Carter (17 points, five three-pointers) played. Barrett averaged 16 points in his first two games and finished with 12 in this one. He did add seven rebounds and a team-high six assists, but his outside shot just wouldn’t fall and his errant pass in the third quarter was scooped up by Reddish and taken for a three-point play that gave Atlanta a 75-69 lead. “He’s always engaged. He’s always trying to win,” Knicks coach David Fizdale said about Barrett. “These are good learning lessons for him right now to go through that and he still made some plays.” SPURS 128, ROCKETS 114 LaMarcus Aldridge scored 22 points on 11-of-13 shooting to help visiting San Antonio get its first preseason win, and spoil James Harden’s near triple-double. Dejounte Murray added 20 points, going 8-of-11, for San Antonio (1-3), which shot 57% from the field. The Spurs, who led 65-51 at the half behind Murray’s 15 points and Aldridge’s 14, had six players score in double figures. Harden powered Houston (3-2) with 40 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. Russell Westbrook and Eric Gordon each added 14 points. Harden made 13-of-27 from the field and Westbrook was 5-of-13. HAWKS 100, KNICKS 96 Young beat the third-quarter buzzer with a long three-pointer in transition to give Atlanta an 80-71 lead. Carter sank an open three-pointer from the wing for a 97-95 lead with 1:30 remaining, and Young made two free throws at the 16-second mark to make it 99-96. New York was off on a three-pointer and De’Andre Hunter sealed it with a free throw. Hunter, a rookie from Virginia’s national championship team, had 15 points for Atlanta (1-3). Carter scored 14 of Atlanta’s 16 points with four three-pointers late in the second quarter. Julius Randle paced New York (1-2) with 20 points and eight rebounds. PISTONS 116, HORNETS 110 Andre Drummond and Markieff Morris each scored 17 points and visiting Detroit held off Charlotte. Drummond also had 15 rebounds, and Langston Galloway scored a team-high 18 points, with five three-pointers, off the bench. Tim Frazier added 15 points and 12 assists for Detroit (3-2), which was without Blake Griffin. Drummond had 12 points and nine rebounds in the first half as the Pistons led 61-58. Malik Monk led Charlotte (2-3) with 18 points and seven assists. Cody Zeller was one of four Hornets with 12 points. GRIZZLIES 124, THUNDER 119 Former Oregon standout Dillon Brooks scored 30 points, with five three-pointers, and Jaren Jackson Jr. added 18 points and 10 rebounds for Memphis in the road victory. Tyus Jones scored 10 of his 16 points in the first half for Memphis (3-1). Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 17 points, Danilo Gallinari had 16 points and 10 rebounds and Steven Adams added 12 points for Oklahoma City (2-2). Devon Hall scored a team-high 19. TRAIL BLAZERS 126, JAZZ 118 At Salt Lake City, CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard combined for 53 points and eight three-pointers as Portland’s backcourt outdueled Mike Conley Jr. and Donovan Mitchell. McCollum made five three's and scored 28 points, and Lillard had 25 points, five rebounds and four assists in 29 minutes. Mitchell led Utah (1-4) with 27 points and four three-pointers. Conley added 20 points and Rudy Gobert had 13 points and 15 boards. Zach Collins was the only other starter for Portland (2-2) in double-figure scoring with 13 points. Hassan Whiteside grabbed 11 rebounds......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News19 hr. 5 min. ago

Harden-Westbrook duo ready to do something really special

By Michael C. Wright, NBA.com HOUSTON -- Well-dressed men in the Texas heat scurried, snatching keys and pointing directions to the visitors arriving, car after car. On the third floor, down the hall from a mezzanine overlooking a lobby, sparkling with custom Calcutta marble flooring, they all gathered in a quiet, dim room, just steps away from two Rolls-Royces bathing in the sun gushing through floor-to-ceiling glass. Here in Uptown, at Tilman Fertitta’s Post Oak Hotel -- a 38-floor, $350 million property housing a Rolls-Royce showroom and Bentley and Bugatti dealership, below a heliport -- the Houston Rockets' owner has turned the team’s annual media day into a posh, star-studded event. With good reason, too. Houston’s blockbuster July trade that sent Chris Paul off to the Oklahoma City Thunder for picks and pick swaps for Russell Westbrook reunites MVPs and former Thunder stars with James Harden already in the fold for a squad now at the forefront as favorites in a now suddenly wide-open Western Conference. “I think we are a better team,” Fertitta said. “It’s gonna be extremely exciting to have one of the greatest scorers of all time, and one of the most athletic people that has played the game. I know I’m really excited. I hope they don’t let me down.” Rockets general manager Daryl Morey thinks this all-star pairing “could be really special.” “It’s so exciting because James Harden is like the best half-court player I’ve ever seen, honestly,” Morey said. “Then, Russell is maybe the best transition player, one of the best of all time as well. If you put those things together, I think we have a chance. Now, you’ve got something really special.” Searching for same goal The reality is it’s been seven years since Westbrook and Harden last teamed with Oklahoma City in the 2012 NBA Finals, and while both have developed into MVP winners and perennial All-Stars, neither has made it back to The Finals. So, burning hotter than the pomp and glitz at the Post Oak Hotel this hot summer day is the question of whether this will all work for a pair of ball-dominant stars, accustomed to running their own respective shows. They’ve certainly got a believer in former Thunder teammate Kendrick Perkins. “They’ve played together in OKC. These two former MVPs still are in their primes. There’s no way that it’s not going to work,” Perkins told NBA.com. “Am I guaranteeing they’re going to win a championship? No, I’m not doing that. But I still believe this might be the most dynamic backcourt we’ve ever seen in NBA history. We probably haven’t seen a point guard and a shooting guard like this on the same team in forever. You can’t really name one going into the season that’s better than these two guys. I just think it’s going to work.” Now retired from the NBA, Perkins joined a 21-year-old Harden and a 22-year-old Westbrook in 2010-11, when he was traded there in the middle of the season from the Boston Celtics to OKC. Perkins describes the childhood friends and former Thunder teammates as “two guys that were still trying to find their identity” back then. Still, both were destined to reach the levels they currently occupy, he says. “When I first got there, those guys were working, man. They turned out to be some beasts, dog,” Perkins told NBA.com. “Gym rats, I’m telling you. It was unreal the amount of work those guys were putting in. Russ was always the heart and soul of the team. There was no debate about it to me. He gave the team swagger. With James, we just knew it was only in due time. People always say they should’ve kept that team together in OKC. But James wouldn’t have been able to be the player he is today if he hadn’t left. Plus, James was deserving of having his own team.” Now that he’s had it since joining the Rockets in 2012-13, Harden welcomes Westbrook, who like himself, began playing the game as a child at the Challengers Boys & Girls Club in South Central Los Angeles. Interestingly, Westbrook and Harden are the only players over the last five seasons to score more than 10,000 points. Westbrook nodded in agreement with the notion his new uniform provides somewhat of a new lease on life, after spending the first 11 years of his career in Oklahoma City. Harden, meanwhile, pointed out how his new teammate “doesn’t have to stress or worry about the pressure of carrying an entire organization,” because that responsibility now falls on them both. “I think it’s good for both of us because we understand the amount of energy and effort, time and commitment it takes to be able to do that for an entire season,” Westbrook said. “Now, being together on the same team, I think it’s important that we can lean on [one another], sacrifice, and not do as much to still have an impact on the game. I think [what] a lot of people don’t know is we have a friendship first outside of basketball. I think me and him communicate and understand each other. In the games, it’s going to be easy.” 'Sit back and watch the show' Perkins saw signs of maturity from Westbrook last season, when the guard at the detriment of his own stats, deferred to Paul George in crucial situations. But both Westbrook and Harden in 2018-19 ranked in the top 15 in usage rate. So, the phrase uttered most often at media day above the guests clutching cold drinks at the hotel pool was “figure it out.” Everyone, whether Fertitta, Morey, coach Mike D’Antoni or the players, seems confident in the duo’s ability to do so. Harden already said he’s willing to take a backseat to Westbrook. “If Russ has got it going, and Russ is having one of those games that we’ve all seen before, guess what I’m going to do?” Harden asked. “Sit back and watch the show, and vice versa. You can’t sit up here and say, ‘Oh, Russ is going to have the basketball for the first half, and I’m going to have the ball the second half.' No, things happen through the course of the game that you just flow with and go with.” Perkins believes that Harden welcomes the opportunity to defer to someone else, given the physical demands of his playing style. Harden ranked No. 3 last season in minutes per game (36.8), while Westbrook was fourth (36.0). “If you’ve watched James throughout the course of a game, the things he did, he had to do because nobody else was stepping up at the time. James wants somebody else to step up so that he can take a backseat sometimes,” Perkins told NBA.com. “If you watched Russ on the court last year, what a lot of people don’t realize is that he deferred to Paul George a lot. Russ took a backseat. You’ve got to understand, too, that he’s matured, man. He’s starting to show that he can be a better leader. Think about it. When you have kids, man, and you start having a family, sh--, your whole thought process changes. You know what I mean? I just see the maturity in Russ. To me, they have to just get it done. There’s no debate about it. Like, to me, the most pressure is on Mike D’Antoni.” Entering the final year of his contract after extension talks broke down over the summer, D’Antoni will proceed cautiously throughout the preseason implementing Westbrook (who is recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery). D’Antoni and Morey believe Westbrook, one of the game’s most lethal penetrators, will excel in D'Antoni's wide-open offense (which focuses on keeping shooters posted on the perimeter as guards drive in). Morey mentioned that under D’Antoni, guards have historically produced career years. “You look historically at players that have worked with Mike, guards especially, they always play better,” Morey said. “I think it’s just the way he sets up the team, sets up the offense. He finds ways to get people to do the things they do well more, and again, like he said, we’re not here to change anybody or do anything. Historically like pretty much every guard that’s worked with, Mike has had their career year. That’s gonna be a little tough with Russell, given that he’s had so many.” Wearing a salmon-hued polo shirt, D’Antoni discussed plans to stagger the minutes of Harden and Westbrook throughout the season. The expectation is Harden rests in the neighborhood of 13 minutes per game, while Westbrook sits 16 minutes. In his first preseason game -- a 134-129 loss to the Toronto Raptors in Tokyo -- Westbrook logged 20 minutes, finishing with 13 points, two rebounds and six assists. D’Antoni said the final five minutes of games are “the most important thing” for Westbrook to figure out as the team approaches the regular season. “They both want to do this. So, we’ll just sit down and work it out,” D’Antoni said. “I don’t have to tell someone they have to do this, or they have to do that. We’ll figure it out together. But just the vibe of being able to discuss things, the respect they have [for one another] will translate. We’re in a good spot. Right now, it’s great. All we’re trying right now is to win a title. That’s the only agenda that anybody has, and we’ve just got to figure it out.” When word first spread about Houston’s acquisition of Westbrook, opinions naturally flowed about how he’d fit alongside Harden. Westbrook is a career 30.8% 3-point shooter on a squad that has led the league in 3-point attempts four of the last five seasons. He’s also a ball-dominant, high-usage player just like Harden. Still, everyone, insists they won’t ask Westbrook to change his style of play. That puts the pressure squarely on D’Antoni to tweak what Houston does on the floor. “The system they’ve run, just shooting layups and shooting threes with no in-between game, you have to change that with Russell Westbrook, because one of his main things is his mid-range pull-up,” Perkins explained. “The pressure is on Mike D’Antoni. Does he have to change up his style of play? Yes, he will, in order for Russell Westbrook to be who he is. We all know that Russ is not a three-point shooter. Bottom line is they’ve got two of the top 10 players in the league now, if not top 15. "These guys get it done. Back in the day when they were in OKC, they were trying to find out who they were as players. Now, it’s a whole lot different. Now, they know who they are. They’ve done everything to accomplish all the individual accolades. They only thing they haven’t done is win a championship. It’s not the players. Houston has all the players.” In addition to the glitz, glamour and star power for a franchise starving to add more Larry O'Briens to its trophy case. Michael C. Wright is a senior writer for NBA.com. 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 NewsOct 9th, 2019

Wilson throws 4 TD passes, Seahawks hold off Rams 30-29

By Tim Booth, Associated Press SEATTLE (AP) — Russell Wilson threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Chris Carson on fourth-and-goal with 2:28 remaining to give Seattle the lead, Greg Zuerlein missed a 44-yard field goal with 11 seconds left and the Seahawks held on for a wild 30-29 victory over the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday night. Jared Goff and the Rams (3-2) appeared on the verge of a victory after driving into field-goal range in the final 90 seconds. Zuerlein hit three field goals earlier, but this attempt slipped wide right and gave Seattle (4-1) a win it needed against its NFC West foe after losing six of the past eight to the Rams. Wilson was 17 of 23 for 268 and four touchdowns. He was at his best, whether it was his throws from the pocket or when he was forced to improvise. It was one stunning play after another from Seattle’s star, continuing the best start to a season in his career. Seattle appeared to wrap up the victory when Tedric Thompson made a juggling interception of Goff’s deflected pass while lying on the turf with 2:08 left. But the Rams forced Seattle to punt and took possession at their own 7 with 1:38 left. In just seven plays, Goff had the Rams to the Seattle 30 after a 28-yard strike to Gerald Everett. The Rams stalled and a 9-yard pass to Everett on third-down set up Zuerlein’s attempt. The snap was good, but the kick stayed just to the right. Goff finished 29 of 49 for 395 yards and one touchdown just days after throwing for a career-high 517 yards and tying an NFL record with 45 completions in a loss to Tampa Bay. Everett had seven catches for 136 yards, and Cooper Kupp had nine grabs for 118 yards and a TD. Wilson, though, was the star. Wilson had touchdown passes of 13 yards to Tyler Lockett and 40 yards to DK Metcalf in the first half. He threw a 10-yarderto David Moore in the third quarter and he had a final answer after the Rams’ had taken a 29-24 lead. Wilson led Seattle 60 yards in 12 plays, helped during the drive by a roughing-the-passer call on Clay Matthews. After stalling inside the 10, Seattle faced fourth down at the 5. Wilson scrambled like he had all night, buying enough time to find Carson open in the corner of the end zone. The running back scared nearly all of the 69,000 in attendance by juggling the pass before gaining control. Carson finished with 118 yards rushing on 27 carries. The touchdown was his only reception. GURLEY’S MISTAKE Todd Gurley was a featured part of the Rams’ offense early and finished with 51 yards on 15 carries, but the run game vanished during most of the second half. Gurley also fumbled for the first time since Week 3 of last season. The fumble was ripped out by Jadeveon Clowney, who also recovered the ball. It was Gurley’s first fumble in 338 offensive touches. He had gained 1,915 yards from scrimmage and 20 touchdowns between his two fumbles. KEY CATCH Brandin Cooks had just one reception but it was a big one. Cooks pulled in a 29-yard catch from Goff on third-and-8 from the Rams 27 early in the fourth quarter as he was being covered tightly by Shaquill Griffin. Cooks was being evaluated for a concussion after the play and did not return. Carroll challenged there should have been offensive pass interference but the call on the field stood. The catch led to Zuerlein’s field goal that gave the Rams a 29-24 lead. INJURIES D.J. Fluker suffered a hamstring injury in the first quarter. He was replaced at right guard by Jamarco Jones, who typically is a backup tackle, but was forced to play guard with normal backup Ethan Pocic out because of a back injury. UP NEXT: Rams: Los Angeles stays in the NFC West, hosting San Francisco on Sunday, Oct. 13. Seahawks: Seattle is at Cleveland on Sunday, Oct. 13......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 4th, 2019

PBA: Sizzling San Miguel dominates undermanned Alaska

San Miguel Beer’s Grand Slam bid is off to a sizzling start. The Beermen were all over a depleted Alaska team Sunday at Sta. Rosa, Laguna, dominating for a win in the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup. After giving up 29 points in the opening period, the Beermen held the Aces to just 30 points in the next two to break the game wide open. With a strong second half, San Miguel was able to lead by as many as 35 points before rolling to a 2-0 start for the conference. Imporpt Dez Wells led all scorers with 25 points on top of seven rebounds. Terrence Romeo came off the bench and added 18 points. June Mar Fajardo, Alex Cabagnot, Arwind Santos, and Kelly Nabong were all good for 10 points each. Alaska dropped to 0-3 with a second lopsided loss. The Aces played without import Justin Watts, who was unfortunately injured in practice the day before. Jvee Casio led the Alaska offense with 16 points in the defeat.   The scores:  San Miguel 109 - Wells 25, Romeo 18, Santos 10, Fajardo 10, Cabagnot 10, Nabong 10, Ross 9, Pessumal 9, Rosser 4, Tubid 2, Zamar 2, Lanete 0, Vigil 0. Alaska 83 - Casio 16, Manuel 14, Tratter 13, Banchero 11, Thoss 10, Enciso 7, Ayaay 6, Galliguez 4, Pascual 2, Andrada 0, Babilonia 0.  Quarterscores: 25-29, 49-42, 81-59, 109-83.    — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 29th, 2019

PBA: Wells extra happy as bench gets court time in SMB win

San Miguel Beer has a super import in its arsenal in Dez Wells as the team goes for a historic Grand Slam in the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup. Wells is a dominant reinforcement and can pretty much score at will. Still, while that’s the case, it doesn’t take away from the fact that Wells is also a huge team player and is reliant on the rest of his teammates just as the Beermen are reliant on him to get the job done. Sunday against Alaska, Wells and the Beermen got the job done. “We kinda made adjustments at halftime. Coach wanted us to focus on certain things I felt like we did a good job of doing that,” Wells said after the win over the Aces for a 2-0 start in the Governors’ Cup. “Coach put us in a good position. Everybody stepped up, it’s a team effort. I’m glad we came up with a win, Alaska is a good team,” he added. The Beermen had trouble putting the Aces away and only led by seven at the break despite the fact that Alaska played with no import. Then Wells scored 17 of his game-high 25 points in the third and the Beermen broke the game wide open. Five other locals scored in double figures and as San Miguel pushed its lead to as high as 35 points, the team’s bench got some court time with guys like Paul Zamar, Ronald Tubid, Chico Lanete, and Louie Vigil all seeing action from the Beermen’s third group. That’s something that puts a smile on Wells’ face. “That brings me a lot of joy, seeing guys who aren’t playing as much to go out there and compete,” he said. “They put in the hardest work, you wanna see those guys have fun as well,” he added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 29th, 2019

Ben Simmons fell in love with basketball again

By Rob Maaddi, Associated Press PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Videos of Ben Simmons making jumpers flooded social media over the summer and the All-Star point guard is ready to take his game to another level when the Philadelphia 76ers open camp next week. “I feel like this summer I fell in love with the game again,” Simmons told The Associated Press on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time). “I kind of got back to who I was and having fun with the game. I felt like the past season I lost that enjoyment side of it but I feel like this summer has been huge for me. Just the work I’ve been putting in, I kinda fell in love with putting that work in again and I’ve been in the gym every day working and the results have been paying off so I’m excited for the season to start. Simmons, the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2016, has helped lead the Sixers to the second round of the NBA playoffs two straight seasons after making his debut in 2017. He was the Rookie of the Year that season and an All-Star for the first time last season. Simmons has averaged 16.4 points, 8.5 rebounds and 7.9 assists and signed a $170 million, five-year contract extension in July. Philadelphia is 101-58 in regular-season games when Simmons plays. He has had 22 triple-doubles in the past two seasons, tied for third most in the league with Denver’s Nikola Jokic and trailing Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook (59) and the Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James (26). Simmons also has had 80 double-doubles over the past two seasons. But the one knock against Simmons has been his reluctance to shoot long jumpers and three-pointers. He’s 0-for-18 from beyond the arc, so defenses often focus on taking away his ability to drive to the basket and dare him to shoot. He’s up for the challenge. “I’m ready to be who I am as a player, continue to develop, keep working,” Simmons said. “It’s a process. It takes time. Obviously, people always want to see results straightaway but that’s not how things work.” Simmons decided to focus on improving his game instead of playing for the Australian team at the FIBA World Cup earlier this month in China. He rediscovered his love for basketball during those long hours in the gym and admitted the criticism weighed on him at times. “I think sometimes you kind of get too deep into it where you listen to other people which should never be the thing you do unless they’re giving you positive feedback or trying to help you get better because there’s a lot of negativity out there,” Simmons said, pointing to various social media platforms. “It’s huge once you kind of block that out, you don’t really care, you kinda go out there feeling free. You don’t care if you miss a shot because everyone misses a shot so that’s one of the things that I think this summer I got back to how I was as a player just playing and doing what I love at a high level.” Despite being a lightning rod for criticism in Philadelphia, Simmons says he enjoys playing in front of a passionate fan base. “I love being in Philadelphia. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else,” he said. “I think this is the perfect place for me. I just handle (criticism) how it comes.” Simmons heard plenty of boos after a poor performance in Philadelphia’s first-round series opener against Brooklyn in April. He had nine points, seven rebounds, and three assists and shot 1-for-5 from the free throw line in a loss. Afterward, Simmons said: “If you’re gonna boo, then stay on that side.” Simmons answered with his second career playoff triple-double in Game 2, finishing with 18 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds as Philadelphia reeled off four straight wins. He looks back at it as a learning experience. “I had a terrible first game and I loved it when people are tweeting me saying all these negative things because the next game I came out (and played better),” Simmons said. “It kinda fires me up a little.” Why does he even pay attention to the critics flexing their keyboard muscles? “It’s hard to avoid. It’s hard to not see,” Simmons said. “I’ve done a better job of not watching certain things in terms of what people are saying but that was a good example of people not giving me positive feedback and I had to respond.” The Sixers revamped their roster in the offseason, losing Jimmy Butler and J.J. Redick and adding Al Horford and Josh Richardson and retaining Tobias Harris to play with Simmons and fellow All-Star Joel Embiid. “We’re locked in. We’re ready to play,” Simmons said. “We’ve been in the gym. We’ve been there early. We’re competing trying to get each other better from the rooks to the guys who are vets. I think it’s going to be an exciting year for the 76ers.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 26th, 2019

PVL: Motolite back on the right track

Motolite got into some scary moments in the last two sets but was able to pull through to grind out a 25-19, 25-23, 25-22, win over listless Chef’s Classics on Wednesday in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Open Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Tots Carlos continued to pour in the much-needed points with veteran hitter Myla Pablo, who saw minutes for the first time after missing three games because of a foot injury, still not in tip-top shape. The University of the Philippines standout uncorked 26 points anchored on 23 attacks, two kill blocks and an ace for Motolite’s seventh win in 10 games. “A win is a win but in the last two sets we were kind of vulnerable, we let them lead and the we start fighting from behind,” said Motolite coach Godfrey Okumu, who admitted that he had to field Pablo in as a substitute in the second and third sets not only to give her a feel of the court but to also pull the team together with the Lady Red Spikers threatening to upset. “And you know fighting from behind takes a lot of energy, it needs a lot of concentration but sometimes a team needs to play like this to rediscover themselves how they can fight from behind. It’s a good win, the players played well,” added Okumu. Jessma Ramos had 11 points including four from attacks while Isa Molde had eight markers – all from kills - and 16 digs for Motolite, who unleashed 51 attack points with setter Iris Tolenada dishing out 23 excellent sets. After controlling the opening set, Motolite got into a neck-and-neck battle with Chef's Classics in the second frame as Carlos hammered back-to-back hits to break a 23-23 deadlock to take a 2-0 match lead. The Lady Red Spikers took a 16-11 lead before Motolite sparked a comeback to wrap the match.  Chef’s Classics suffered its 12th loss in as many outings. Nieza Viray had 15 points while Justine Tiu played only two sets but still managed to score 10 for the Lady Red Spikers.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 25th, 2019

Lifesavers off to a good start

BACOOR CITY --- Generika-Ayala was off to a flying start as it dominated Marinerang Pilipina, 25-19, 25-23, 25-17 in the opening salvo of the Philippine Superliga Invitational Conference Tuesday at the Bacoor STRIKE gym here. Open spikers Fiola Ceballos, Mean Mendrez and Patty Orendain delivered the blows as they crushed the Lady Skippers’ defense with powerful smashes from start to finish. Ceballos and Mendrez finished with 12 points apiece while Orendain chipped in 10 markers for the Lifesavers, who needed only one hour and 25 minutes to wrap up the contest in Pool B action. What’s making the victory more impressive was the fact that the Lifesavers managed to deliver despite the absence of skipper Angeli Araneta, who suffered a knee injury in the latter part of the All-Filipino Conference last month. “It was a good momentum-builder for us,” Ceballos said. "It feels good to kick off the conference with a win and we hope we can continue this kind of intensity.” Setter Jamie Lavitoria did a masterful job mapping the plays with 13 excellent sets and 15 digs while former University of Santo Tomas star Ria Meneses took the cudgels at the defensive end with seven points. Libero Bia General also stepped up with 28 digs and six excellent receptions to fill in the shoes of national team member Kath Arado, who played sparingly as she just arrived early morning from the first leg of the Asean Grand Prix in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand. Cesca Racraquin was the lone bright spot with 14 points and 21 digs, but her efforts went down the drain as the Lady Skippers absorbed their 16th straight loss dating to last conference. Marinerang Pilipina also gave up 28 errors compared to Generika-Ayala, which only committed 13 miscues......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 24th, 2019

Yankees beat Angels 9-1, claim 1st AL East title since 2012

By The Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) — The resilient New York Yankees powered their way to the club's first AL East title since 2012, routing the Los Angeles Angels 9-1 Thursday night behind three RBIs each from old mainstay Brett Gardner and newcomer DJ LeMahieu. A day after wasting a chance to clinch first place, the homer-happy Yankees went ahead when LeMahieu hit a three-run drive in the second inning and breezed to their 100th win. Gardner added a solo shot in the fourth and then hit a two-run double in the sixth. Cameron Maybin and Clint Frazier homered for good measure in the eighth, and Aroldis Chapman struck out Albert Pujols to end it. Despite putting 30 players on the injured list this season, New York (100-54) wrapped up first place with eight games to spare and made Aaron Boone the first manager to win 100 games in each of his first two major league seasons. The Yankees open the playoffs on Oct. 4, likely against Minnesota, which leads the AL Central, or the wild-card winner. Masahiro Tanaka (11-8) allowed Kole Calhoun's homer leading off the fourth. The Angels had just four hits in seven innings off Tanaka, who struck out six and walked one. But the Yankees may go to the postseason without their winningest pitcher, Domingo Germán. The 27-year-old right-hander, who is 18-4, was placed on administrative leave under Major League Baseball's domestic violence policy earlier in the day. New York's 19th AL East title was its first following a run of 13 in 17 years that started in Derek Jeter's rookie season. Andrew Heaney (4-6) gave up six runs and five hits in five-plus innings. BRAVES 5, PHILLIES 4 ATLANTA (AP) — Ronald Acuña Jr. became the second-youngest player in baseball history to hit 40 homers in a season, Freddie Freeman also drove in two runs and Atlanta clinched at least a tie for first place in the NL East with a win over Philadelphia. The Braves hold a 9 1/2-game lead over the Washington Nationals, who have played three fewer games and were off Thursday. Atlanta can officially celebrate as soon as Friday with either a victory over the San Francisco Giants or if Washington loses at Miami. The Phillies trail Milwaukee by four games in the race for the NL's second wild-card spot. Mel Ott, who was 20 when he hit 42 homers for the New York Giants in 1940, is the only player younger than Acuña to post a 40-homer season. Aaron Nola (12-6) worked five-plus innings, giving up nine hits, two hits and all five Atlanta runs. Mark Melancon worked perfect ninth for his 11th save with Atlanta and 12th overall this season. CARDINALS 5, CUBS 4, 10 INNINGS CHICAGO (AP) — Matt Carpenter homered in the 10th inning against Craig Kimbrel in the All-Star closer's return, and St. Louis regrouped after blowing a late lead to beat Chicago. Emerging ace Jack Flaherty shut down Chicago over eight innings, and despite a tying three-run rally in the ninth, the Cubs dropped a game behind Milwaukee for the second NL wild card and four games behind St. Louis for first place in the NL Central. Cubs slugger Anthony Rizzo provided a jolt in his unexpected return from a sprained right ankle, homering in the third inning to tie the game at 1. But Flaherty was spectacular otherwise, pitching three-hit ball while allowing just the one run and striking out eight. Carpenter homered to deep center field off Kimbrel (0-3), who was activated from the injured list prior to the game after dealing with right elbow inflammation. Giovanny Gallegos pitched a perfect 10th for his first save in two chances. Andrew Miller (5-5) recorded the final two outs in the ninth for the victory. BREWERS 5, PADRES 1 MILWAUKEE (AP) — Lorenzo Cain homered before exiting with a sore ankle, Milwaukee pitchers combined to strike out 16 and the Brewers improved their playoff position by beating San Diego. Milwaukee moved within one game of Washington for the top NL wild-card spot. The Brewers are in the second wild-card slot and three games behind Central-leading St. Louis. Ryan Braun put Milwaukee ahead with an RBI double in the first inning off Joey Lucchesi (10-9). The Brewers added a run in the third when Keston Huira doubled and later scored on Lucchesi's wild pitch. Eric Hosmer' homered for San Diego. Freddy Peralta (7-3) struck out three of the four batters he faced for the win. Josh Hader picked up his 34th save in 40 tries, breaking a franchise record for left-handers previously held by Dan Plesac. TWINS 8, ROYALS 5 MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Nelson Cruz hit two of Minnesota's four home runs and matched his season high with five RBIs, igniting another impressive power display by the first-place Twins. The win over Kansas City kept the Twins' American League Central lead at four games — with nine games to go. Miguel Sanó homered and hit the tiebreaking RBI double in the fifth following the ejection of Royals starter Mike Montgomery, who started that inning by giving up a home run to Mitch Garver. The Twins trimmed their magic number for clinching the division to six. Lewis Thorpe (4-2) worked four innings for the win. Taylor Rogers recorded his 28th save. INDIANS 7, TIGERS 0 CLEVELAND (AP) — Mike Clevinger pitched six shutdown innings, Franmil Reyes homered in his return to the lineup and Cleveland moved into a tie for the second AL wild card with a win over Detroit. Francisco Lindor added three hits, and Cleveland matched idle Tampa Bay at 90-63. Both teams trail Oakland by two games for the top spot. The Indians trail Minnesota by four games in the AL Central. The Indians defeated the Tigers for the 17th straight time this season to match a franchise record set against Baltimore in 1954. Cleveland won 18 of 19 in the season series and outscored Detroit 116-38 Clevinger (12-3) allowed seven hits and struck out six. Starter Daniel Norris (3-13) allowed one run in three innings for the Tigers, who have the worst record in baseball at 45-107. The shutout was the 15th by Cleveland this season, and Detroit was blanked for the 14th time. RED SOX 5, GIANTS 4 BOSTON (AP) — Eduardo Rodriguez struck out 10 over six innings of two-hit ball, and Xander Bogaerts had a pair of RBI singles to lead Boston over San Francisco. Brandon Workman picked up his 15th save. Rodriguez (18-6) walked two and allowed one unearned run. Madison Bumgarner (9-9) lost in his first career start at Fenway Park, giving up five runs on nine hits and two walks in five innings while striking out seven. He allowed the first four Boston batters to reach safely and fell behind 2-1 after one inning. MARINERS 6, PIRATES 5, 11 INNINGS PITTSBURGH (AP) — Shed Long had three hits, two RBIs and scored the go-ahead run in the 11th on an unusual inning-ending double play as Seattle beat Pittsburgh. The Mariners swept the three-game series between last-place teams and sent the Pirates to their sixth straight loss. Long reached base on first baseman Jose Osuna's error to start the 11th and Omar Narvaez singled with one out to put runners on the corners. Austin Nola then hit a chopper to second baseman Kevin Kramer — rather than flip the ball to second, he ran at Narvaez, who alertly stopped and began to retreat. Kramer then threw to first, and Narvaez was eventually tagged in a 4-3-6-2 rundown as Long scored. Kramer likely would've had no chance to throw home at the start to get Long. Pittsburgh's Jake Elmore had three hits and two RBIs. Brandon Brennan (3-6) pitched one scoreless inning and rookie Erik Swanson worked around a walk in the 11th for his first career save. Clay Holmes (1-2) took the loss. BLUE JAYS 8, ORIOLES 4 BALTIMORE (AP) — Cavan Biggio homered and had three RBIs to offset a spectacular, homer-robbing catch by Austin Hays, and Toronto used a six-run seventh inning to beat Baltimore for a three-game sweep. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. also went deep for the Blue Jays, who earned their first sweep at Camden Yards since July 2010. After Biggio and Gurriel homered off Gabriel Ynoa (1-9) within a span of three pitches in the fourth inning, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. sent a drive to center. Hays ran to the warning track, leaped to reach over the 7-foot wall and snagged the ball in the middle of his glove. Upon returning to the ground, Hays pounded his chest three times in succession and yelled with delight. Anthony Kay (1-0) earned his first major league victory. Trey Mancini had four hits for the Orioles, who have lost four straight and 15 of 19......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 20th, 2019

TERRIFIC 12: San Miguel scores sensational win over Shenzhen in Macau

MACAU — Strong start and strong finish for San Miguel to open the East Asia Super League’s The Terrific 12 tournament here. The Beermen shook off China’s Shenzhen Aviators Tuesday at the Tap Seac Multi-sport Pavillion, scoring a sensational 90-76 win in Group B play. Behing import Dez Wells, San Miguel was off to a flying start and led by as many as 20, 33-13. But the Aviators would fight back, eventually cutting the deficit to one, 61-62, early in the fourth. The Beermen responded and back-to-back booming triples from Terrence Romeo capped an 18-6 run for San Miguel that pushed them ahead, 80-67. It was cruise control for San Miguel from then on. Dez Wells was a force in his San Miguel debut, leading the Beermen with 29 points, eight rebounds, five steals, and four assists. Romeo added 17 points on four triples for the Beermen while Chris Ross and Christian Standhardinger were good for 11 points each. Pierre Jackson was the high man for the Aviators with 18 points. — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 17th, 2019

PVL: I’m frustrated as a coach -- Okumu on officiating

Motolite head coach Godfrey Okumu was livid as he walked back to their dugout following his squad’s narrow escape over ChocoMucho on Sunday in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Open Conference. The Kenyan mentor criticized how the referees handled the officiating especially in the closing stretch of the fifth set in their 25-27, 15-25, 25-18, 25-17, 18-16, win over the skidding Flying Titans.        “I'm not complaining, I'm just putting forward my statement,” said Okumu as he aired his frustrations during the postgame interview. “I'm frustrated as a coach, very, very frustrated with the officiating.” Motolite just scored its second straight five-set conquest to climb to 6-2 win-loss record to end the first round. But Okumu felt that there were too many calls that didn’t go their way and some that almost cost them the game.        “If it's good officiating, it's good. We give them credit. But if it's bad, it's bad like today,” said Okumu. “But I cannot blame them. I believe they have a room for improvement. They will discuss it, they have to talk about it.” The Motolite mentor complained that the first referee Herbert Matimatiko and Mary Joy De Imus missed some crucial calls in the closing stretch of the fifth set. At match point, 14-13, Okumu thought that Arianna Angustia overreached on a ball that was still on their side of the court that extended the fifth set. He added that throughout the game, there were check balls that should’ve been given to them, double touches that were called on their setter but not on the opposing playmaker and a couple of balls that already touched the floor that they let go.        “How bad can they be? Or how bad can they not see the things that even the crowd can see? Even the opponents when the ball goes, they start to walk away like, 'oh, it's on the ground.' And then, next touch, they recovered again, they've been given...come on,” Okumu sighed. Okumu was even given a yellow card - his second of the conference after getting one against PacificTown Army two weeks ago - in the third set for continuous complaining. Setter Iris Tolenada, who was called for double contact on the ball that she was about to set that cost Motolite the extended first set, also got a yellow in the fifth. Okumu pointed out that ChocoMucho mentor Oliver Almadro was also contesting some calls during the match and wondered why he was the only one who got waved with a yellow. “You know there are two different people, the coach on one side and the coach on the other side. This coach makes noise about the same call about the mistake that the referee made, they get a yellow card,” he said. “This other coach makes the same noise about the same mistake that was made by the opponent, they don’t get the yellow card.” “So you’re left to wonder, why is there a double standard?” Okumu lamented. “I’m sorry to say this, Am I too tall? That everyone sees me when I'm making the noise?” Although Okumu commended his wards for showing grit and nerves of steel, he just had to stand up for his team.   “Anyway, I just think and believe that the team will always fight. That's what I need to do,” said Okumu. “But as a coach, I have to complain of things, the calls that had not been called. They don't listen to my captain. You send the captain but they sent them back. So, sometimes self-control is good but sometimes, it's just too much.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 15th, 2019

PVL: Water Defenders, Perlas Spikers eye good 2nd round start

After closing the first round on a sour note, BanKo and BaliPure try to get back on the winning track in their rematch on Sunday in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Open Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Opening serve is at 4:00 p.m. and will air live on LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183, iWant and via livestream. The Perlas Spikers sport a 5-3 win-loss slate at second spot behind league-leading and unbeaten defending champion Creamline (9-0). BanKo ended the first round with a five-set loss to Motolite that saw their three-game winning streak get snapped. Dzi Gervacio, Nicole Tiamzon and Kathy Bersola will lead the charge for the Perlas Spikers as they hope to repeat over the Water Defenders, who they defeated in five sets in their first meeting. BaliPure is at eighth spot with a 2-6 slate and is hoping to arrest a three-game slide.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 14th, 2019

Cohesion keeps building for Team USA at FIBA World Cup

By John Schuhmann, NBA.com SHENZHEN -- Over the last few weeks, members of the United States Men's National Team have often said this about their opponents: "They've been playing together for a long time." Sometimes, it's accurate. Sometimes, it's not. Only four of the nine rotation players for Turkey, the team that almost beat the U.S. in its second game here at the FIBA World Cup, were in the rotation for Turkey at Eurobasket two years ago. In comparison to this version of Team USA, which came together exactly five weeks ago Monday, yes, the opponent typically has more continuity from summer to summer. The "they've been playing together for a long time" thing has also been drilled into American players as they prepare for FIBA play. It comes out of their mouths pretty easily when they're asked about an opponent or why a game was tougher than it should have been in regard to the talent on the floor. Maybe it's an excuse. Maybe it's just reality. USA coach Gregg Popovich, in talking after his team's 89-73 victory over Brazil on Monday, said, "Those guys have been together awhile" about the opponent. But down the hall from where Popovich took the podium, there was something new. It was the opponent saying the following about the Americans: "It looks like they've been playing together for a long time." The opponent was NBA veteran Anderson Varejao, who has seen multiple versions of the U.S. National Team. And after facing this one, he made note of the chemistry. "That's a great complement," Kemba Walker said when told about Varejao's appraisal. "I think we're getting it." If there ever was a U.S. National Team where the whole needed to be greater than the sum of the parts, this is it. This team does not have the offensive superstars that past teams have had. Walker: 'Chemistry is coming along' In the gold medal game of the 2010 World Championship, Kevin Durant scored 28 points against Turkey. In the gold medal game of the 2012 Olympics, he dropped 30 on Spain. In 2014, Kyrie Irving and James Harden combined for 52 points against Serbia in the World Cup final. And in the 2016 Olympics, the U.S. took gold behind another 30 points from Durant against the Serbs. Through five games at this tournament, no U.S. player has scored more than 20 points in a game. And the only 20-point game came from Jaylen Brown against a team (Japan) that went 0-5 with the tournament's third worst defense, statistically. That doesn't mean that the U.S. can't be a good offensive team. It just has to be a more cohesive offensive team than American teams of the past. "We just need each other so bad," Walker said. "And I think we're starting to realize that each and every game. These teams are so good. These teams are so tough. It's just taking everybody and everything we've got to win these games. The chemistry is coming along really well." You could start to see it against Greece on Saturday, though the Americans shot just 36 percent and barely scored a point per possession (69 on 68). The ball movement was sharper than it had been previously and they got a lot of open shots that just didn't fall. Some of those shots started to fall on Monday, and the U.S. had its second-most efficient offensive game of the 10 its played (including exhibitions), scoring 89 points on 75 possessions (1.19 per). The only more efficient game its had was against the aforementioned, 30th-ranked Japan defense. In that Japan game, the U.S. never scored on more than five consecutive possessions. Prior to Monday at the World Cup, its longest stretch of consecutive scores was six straight against the Czech Republic in Game 1. In that ugly win over Greece on Saturday, the U.S. never scored on more than three consecutive possessions, and only twice scored on three straight. But spanning the third and fourth quarters against Brazil on Monday, the U.S. scored 10 straight times. It was a 24-10 run that broke the game open and was fueled by an offense that's gaining more confidence and more cohesion, especially against zone defense, which was a real struggle just six days earlier. "I think we're starting to get more familiar with one another," Joe Harris said. "I think you see it every game where the ball really moves a lot offensively, and then you're sacrificing for one another defensively." Quick decisions critical to success There was some individual excellence in that run, but the final three points came when Myles Turner made a quick flash to the ball and an even quicker pass to Walker for a three from the top of the key against the zone. The U.S. had mostly been winning with a defense that ranks first in the World Cup (84 estimated points allowed per 100 possessions) through pool play. Defense will remain critical, because the offense of their opponent (France) in Wednesday's quarterfinal ranks second (123 estimated points scored per 100), behind only that of the potential opponent in the semifinals (Serbia, 129 per 100). Although this U.S. team doesn't have those elite bucket-getters, it will still need to get buckets -- and it will need to get them via cohesion, quick actions and decisiveness (like Turner displayed on his assist to Walker). Sometimes, you can get by on talent. The U.S. is, once again, the only team in the tournament with 12 NBA players. But this team needs to get more out of its talent than teams of the past. The more games they play, the more the Americans know what they're doing collectively. They've seemingly taken a big step forward over the last week. And in the eyes of Varejao, the U.S. is, for once, one of the teams that "has been playing together for a long time." "Chemistry is built once you hit adversity together and you got to push through it," Jaylen Brown said, "and we've been challenged multiple times on this trip." The toughest challenge to date will come Wednesday against the best opponent the U.S. has faced in the first elimination game its played. But the Americans seem more ready, and more together, than ever. John Schuhmann is a senior stats analyst for NBA.com. 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 NewsSep 10th, 2019

PVL: Motolite showing great character in four-game win run

Motolite head coach Godfrey Okumu saw his squad’s hard-earned win over PacificTown Army as a good sign. After a sour start in its campaign in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Open Conference, Motolite is now on a four-game roll and Okumu praised his wards in terms of building the right character.   Motolite was tested on Sunday as the squad needed to thread the proverbial eye of a needle to keep its winning streak alive. “Of course, it'll help us. It also build a character for our team that we have to keep fighting. Today, that's what saw us through to win this game,” said Okumu after Motolite outlasted the Lady Troopers, 25-16, 22-25, 25-18, 23-25, 15-10, to improve to 4-1 record behind league-leading defending champion Creamline (6-0). Before its latest conquest, Motolite swept past Chef’s Classics, BaliPure and Air Force. Against the experienced Lady Troopers, the young Motolite squad was pushed to its limit and Okumu’s wards passed the challenge. At the forefront of Motolite’s huge win over PacificTown Army were young guns Isa Molde and Tots Carlos, who brought the much-needed backup for veteran hitter Myla Pablo. “As I say, it's not easy to beat an experienced team as oppose to our young team but it brought up a character of fighting against older, experience and the like,” said Okumu. The two-time Most Valuable Player Pablo also lauded her teammates for stepping up big time and for doing their role for the cause. “Actually, itong game namin against Army talaga, dito namin nakita 'yung teamwork namin as a team,” said Pablo, who finished with 24 points. “Kumbaga nagtulong tulong kami, walang bibitaw hanggang matapos 'yung game namin.” Molde finished with 19 points with 18 coming off kills including back-to-back through the block hits that sealed the win. Carlos displayed her all-around game with 14 markers, 17 digs and 10 excellent receptions for Motolite. “'Yung four-game win streak namin, malaking bagay 'yun na sunod sunod 'yung mga panalo namin and I hope magtuloy-tuloy kami sa mga incoming games namin,” Pablo said. Motolite will take a one week rest before taking on PetroGazz.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 1st, 2019

FIBA: Timing is everything for Gilas Pilipinas to start World Cup

As of right now, Gilas Pilipinas is already at 90 percent with a couple of days to go before the 2019 FIBA World Cup. That’s good enough, for now at least. The national team is hoping to schedule its peak once it’s actually time to play games, with the Philippines targeting a full 100 percent against Italy to open the World Championships on the 31st. After all, Gilas matching up against Italy on Saturday is arguably the most important game for Group D in the World Cup. “We’re hoping we can 100 [percent] by Saturday,” head coach Yeng Guiao said. “We’re trying to schedule our peak by that time. Everything we do now is geared towards achieving that peak on Saturday,” he added. Against Italy, Gilas has conceded the fact that the opposition is simply more talented. However, the national team is not about to start the World Cup with a bummer. Gilas Pilipinas is going all in for that opening game vs. the Italians. “Even if we’re gaining momentum and we’re improving our execution, Italy still has more size, they still have more talent than we have,” Guiao said. “We’re just hoping that we perform close to our best when we play on Saturday,” he added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 28th, 2019

A new format for FedEx Cup brings clarity and curiosity

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press ATLANTA (AP) — Justin Thomas has a two-shot lead, and the Tour Championship hasn't even started. If that seems difficult to fathom, consider that someone could win this week without having the lowest 72-hole score. And remember, such a radical change was to make the FedEx Cup finale easier to follow. The first staggered start in PGA Tour history — Thomas begins at 10-under par, the bottom five players are at even par — unfolds Thursday at East Lake when 30 players who reached the final stage of the FedEx Cup playoffs chase the $15 million prize, the biggest payout in golf history. "I could see a scenario where come Sunday, 15 guys might have a chance to win the entire thing," Rory McIlroy said Wednesday. "It will be exciting. It will be different. But at the same time, you've just got to go out there and try to play some good golf and not look around at what other guys are doing, and trust that by the end of the week things will hopefully even out." The idea behind the new format was to bring clarity to the FedEx Cup by having only one winner Sunday. Each of the last two years, one player won the Tour Championship and another player won the points-based FedEx Cup. It was especially awkward last year because while Justin Rose won the FedEx Cup, all anyone cared about was seeing Tiger Woods in his red shirt celebrating a two-shot victory, his first in five years. "My bank manager didn't mind," Rose said. One function of the FedEx Cup hasn't changed: It was designed to give an advantage to players who had the best season, and who played their best golf in the postseason when the points were valued four times higher. Now, the advantage is strokes to par. Thomas, who won the BMW Championship last week to become No. 1 in the FedEx Cup, tees off Thursday already at 10-under par. Patrick Cantlay is No. 2 and will start at 8 under, followed by Brooks Koepka at 7 under, Patrick Reed at 6 under and McIlroy at 5 under. The next groups of five players in the standings will be at 4 under, 3 under, 2 under, 1 under and even par. The leaderboards on the course, online and on television will show only the score to par, not what was shot each day. "The FedEx Cup is not a tournament. The Tour Championship is now for the FedEx Cup," PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said. "So when you make that transition, you have to recognize there are 45 tournaments that precede it." If nothing else, the new format eliminates the kind of math that would give even Bryson DeChambeau a headache, computing where players needed to finish to earn points to win. Last year for example, Rose was the No. 2 seed and his birdie on the last hole gave him a three-way tie for fourth, enough points to win the cup. Dustin Johnson was the No. 4 seed and finished third. If he had finished in a two-way tie for second, he would have won the cup. Using this year's format, Rose would have won the FedEx Cup by one shot over Woods because as the No. 2 seed, Rose would have started six shots better. Now it's time to see if it will work. "I think it's hokey," Cantlay said. "It's weird to have a format no one has ever seen. And I think it's a shame we lose the Tour Championship. I haven't gone through it. No one has. I'm going to reserve final judgment until I've gone through the week." Whoever finishes with the lowest score to par wins the FedEx Cup and gets credit for winning the Tour Championship, even if he doesn't have the lowest score in the Tour Championship. Meanwhile, the tour will keep track of conventional scoring — everyone will the first year — to award world ranking points. "For all of us guys chasing, the first day will be important," said Rose, who is No. 17 and thus starts at 2 under. "You can't give up more shots." Most curious about the format is how many players have a reasonable chance of winning. McIlroy won his first PGA Tour event at Quail Hollow in 2010 when he made eagle on his 16th hole Friday to make the cut on the number. He shot 66-62 on the weekend to rally from nine shots behind. "And that was just two rounds," McIlroy said. "With two extra rounds, you can free-wheel it. There's a lot more volatility." There have been a number of players who made the cut on the number and rallied from big deficits over 36 holes. Carl Pettersson shot 60-67 on the weekend to come from nine back in the 2010 Canadian Open. Brad Faxon rallied from 12 shots behind with a 65-61 finish in Hartford in 2005. It could be wild on the weekend. Or maybe Thomas opens with a pair of 64s and makes it a runaway. He is keeping it simple. "I'm just going to have to try to play another golf tournament and act like everyone's starting at zero and try to shoot the lowest 72 holes," Thomas said. "Because I know if I do that, then I should be OK.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 22nd, 2019

Column: FedEx Cup about the money, not the majors

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press ATLANTA (AP) — The FedEx Cup is still about the money. Whoever wins this week at the Tour Championship gets $15 million, more than Greg Norman's career earnings on the PGA Tour. The FedEx Cup might one day be as much about prestige. Tiger Woods (twice), Vijay Singh and Jim Furyk won the first four FedEx Cup titles, and all four will be in the World Golf Hall of Fame if they're not in already. The last four winners were Justin Rose, Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth. That's good company to keep. The FedEx Cup was never about major championships. Woods is absent from East Lake, this time not by choice but because he didn't qualify. It stands out because of his last two victories, Nos. 80 and 81, both in Georgia. The first was the Tour Championship, the most electric moment in golf all of last year. Woods won at East Lake to cap a remarkable return from four back surgeries, a DUI arrest stemming from his reliance on painkillers and his own fears that he would never compete again. Memories would be a lot stronger if he were here. Instead, he becomes the seventh player to win the Tour Championship and not be eligible to return the following year during the FedEx Cup era. Should he be at East Lake? It seems that way because of his other victory, this one in April at Augusta National, as captivating as any of his 15 majors. Woods said Sunday at Medinah when his season officially ended that he was disappointed and he wished he could be at East Lake. But he hardly was torn up over it, for one reason. "I'm the one with the green jacket," he said of winning the Masters. He also has company. British Open champion Shane Lowry didn't make it to East Lake, either. He has a claret jug at home in Ireland to console him. This is the fifth time in 13 years of the FedEx Cup that at least two major champions were not at the final event, usually with extenuating circumstances involved. Five major champions who didn't make it to East Lake were not PGA Tour members, three of them in 2010 — Graeme McDowell, Louis Oosthuizen and Martin Kaymer. The last time was in 2016, when Masters champion Danny Willett and British Open champion Henrik Stenson fell short. Willett didn't become a PGA Tour member until after he won the Masters. Stenson had a knee injury he wanted to protect for the Ryder Cup and wound up playing just two playoff events. Given their stature, it would seem the majors should get more FedEx Cup points than a measly 20% bump. For example, Woods received 600 points for winning that little invitational at Augusta National. That's only 100 points more than Kevin Tway got for winning the Safeway Open. Could it be more? Sure. Does it need to be? Not necessarily. Would anyone even be talking about major champions not being at East Lake if not for Woods being one of them? Because while the PGA Tour has drastically changed its season with the FedEx Cup format, what hasn't changed is what matters — winning majors. The reward for capturing a Grand Slam event is worth far more than having a tee time at East Lake and a chance to win $15 million. Besides, it's not like Woods and Lowry didn't have the opportunity. Woods played only six times after he won the Masters — three times he failed to make the cut, the other three he was a combined 39 shots behind the leader — and finished the season with 12 events. Lowry played 14 times, a product of having only conditional status at the start of the year. He had middle-of-the-pack performances at two playoff events. He finished 57 points short of East Lake, which equates to being two shots better at Liberty National and at Medinah. "I think what it says is that it's really hard to get to Atlanta and the Tour Championship," PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said. "You've got to play exceedingly well over the course of an entire season. And with volatility, there's risk." The volatility refers to the playoff events offering four times as many points. If any change should be considered, perhaps triple the value would do the trick. Or the tour could double the points for the first event and triple the points for the next one. It really doesn't matter. The majors are over. Names are etched on silver trophies and in golf lore. The FedEx Cup is merely an end-of-the-year competition to keep golf compelling and to give the PGA Tour season a definitive end. It hasn't done any harm. If anything, it has kept the best players competing against each other after the majors. And they all get rich when it's over. Total bonus money for the 30 players who made it to Atlanta is $46 million. That's what they will be chasing over the next four days. Woods and Lowry now can only look behind them. The view is just as sweet......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 21st, 2019

MPBL: Batangas City wins thriller at home versus Bacoor

Batangueños experienced the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Lakan Season at its best on Tuesday night when their team, the Batangas City Athletics - Tanduay, came from behind late to snatch victory from the Bacoor Strikers, 68-67. A large and boisterous crowd at the Batangas City Sports Coliseum spurred Rum City to victory despite being down by as much as 16. Mon Rogado's lay-up with 3.5 seconds left in the game gave Tanduay their first lead of the night.  "Ang hirap noong down kami by 16 pero sinabi ni coach na ituloy lang Ang depensa at mga play natin," said Justin Melano, who was named best player of the game for his team-high 20 points and 13 boards. Bacoor were controlling the tempo of a physical and at times ill-tempered contest, largely due to the inspired play of Michael Mabulac, who tallied 16 points. With a minute to go in the third and Bacoor up 52-41, Striker Oping Sumalinog fouled out in unusual circumstances. He was called for a blocking foul, his fourth of the game. The former Blue Eagle protested the call and touched the referee while doing so, which is a technical foul under FIBA rules. That meant a fifth foul and an early shower for Sumalinog. The Athletics clawed back in the fourth but found themselves down, 64-55, with five minutes to go after a jumper from Bacoor's Mike Ayonayon. Then the big guns of Batangas took over. Melano and Jeff Viernes both rifled in triples before Rogado's game-winner sealed a memorable home win. Batangas ended up scoring 11 of the last 14 points. The win catapults Batangas to above .500 on 4-3 while Bacoor lose for only the third time in 11 games. There was another nervy finish in the early evening match-up when Imus Bandera Khaleb Shawarma GLC Trucks and Equipment narrowly defeated Nueva Ecija ForestLake, 75-73, in a see-saw encounter. Three free throws in the last minute by Jayjay Helterbrand gave Khaleb Shawarma a 75-70 cushion. Nueva Ecija could have pulled to within three when Jimbo Aquino was tagged while shooting a triple, but he could only manage to hit one of the three attempts from the line. Aquino made a late lay-up as time expired for the final score. Helterbrand scored 11 points, but former UE Red Warrior James Martinez was Imus' talisman with 12 points. Gerald Anderson had a fair day with 6 points and a pair of assists for Imus. Aquino had the most output for Nueva Ecija with 16. Imus improves to 3-6 while the Ecijanos drop to 2-7. In the afternoon encounter, Basilan Steel Jumbo Plastic gored Navotas Uni-Pak Sardines 113-94 with an awesome display of firepower from start to finish. Gab Danganon led Basilan with 20 points, followed by Arvie Bringas with 19. Hesed Gabo dished out 13 dimes for the Steel. Basilan fired on all cylinders to take a 63-45 lead at the half against a turnover-prone Navotas side. Chris Dumapig's 13 points led Basilan at that point, who shot over 70 percent from two-point range in the first 20 minutes. Basilan's total was two shy of the league record for most number of points in a half by one side. Early in the third quarter Basilan kept up with their relentless offense, unspooling a 13-2 run spiked by back-to-back-to-back buckets from Danganon to open up an 80-51 lead. Navotas then showed a pulse with an 11-0 run to pull to 85-68 at the end of the third. But three quick baskets from Bringas and a three-ball from Danganon gave the stea a 94-73 lead, quelling the insurrection from the Navoteños for good. Basilan ended up shooting 60 percent from the field. Elmer Cabahug led Navotas with 13 points. Navotas suffers a fourth loss in a row to plummet to 2-6 while the Mindanaoans surge to 7-4.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 21st, 2019