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Gearing up for 2020 Olympics, Japan breaks tourism record

A record number of tourists visited Japan last year, the government said Friday, as the country gears up to welcome the world to the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020. Some 28.7 million foreign tourists entered Japan in 2017, meaning the country has tripled its number of visitors in the past five years amid a massive promotional drive ahead of the Olympics. This was a nearly 20 percent gain on the previous year, driven by Chinese tourists taking advantage of more frequent low-cost flights to Japan. According to figures up to November, Chinese tourists led the way with 6.79 million trips, just ahead of South Korea with 6.46 million. Tokyo has eased visa requirements, expanded...Keep on reading: Gearing up for 2020 Olympics, Japan breaks tourism record.....»»

Category: newsSource: inquirer inquirerJan 12th, 2018

World-record, ultra-thin condom to debut in 2020 Tokyo Games

TOKYO, Japan – Japanese condom makers are ramping up preparations ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, seeing a golden opportunity to showcase their world-record ultra-thin products. For years, hundreds of thousands of condoms have been distributed for free to competitors at Olympic Games in a bid to encourage safe sex ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsMar 21st, 2018

Boxing out?

If you happened to be a fan of amateur boxing in the Olympics, there is a possibility that you will be left disappointed in the next Summer Games in 2020 in Tokyo, Japan, if the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) concerns over it are not addressed and decides to push through to scrap the event altogether. […] The post Boxing out? appeared first on BusinessWorld......»»

Category: newsSource:  bworldonlineRelated NewsFeb 6th, 2018

Travelers shattered tourism records around the world in 2017

The numbers are trickling in from tourism offices and it seems that 2017 was a banner year for many parts of the world. Japan posted a record 28.7 million tourist visitors in 2017, marking the sixth consecutive year of growth for the country, reports The Japan Times.Moreover, the record-breaking tourist arrivals in 2017 marks an impressive 20 percent increase from the previous year. Despite the achievement, tourism minister Keiichi Ishii said the country needs to diversify its tourist market, which is dominated by visitors from neighboring Asian countries. He credited the rise to discount flights from South Korea, cruise ships from China and the relaxed visa requirements for...Keep on reading: Travelers shattered tourism records around the world in 2017.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJan 15th, 2018

Squat thrust: Japan on Olympic drive to get rid of ‘squat’ toilets

Japan has launched a campaign to convert unpopular Asian-style squat toilets into sit-on “western” models, as the nation prepares to welcome tens of millions of foreign tourists in the run-up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The high-tech country is famous for its toilet technology that can bewilder foreign visitors, with features ranging from seat warming… link: Squat thrust: Japan on Olympic drive to get rid of ‘squat’ toilets.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilainformerRelated NewsJan 5th, 2018

RP Blu Girls set sights on 2020 Tokyo Olympics

With the return of Softball in the upcoming 2020 Olympics, the Philippines is making a serious run to book a trip to Tokyo. The first step in qualifying for the 2020 Olympics is the 11th Asian Women Softball Championships next week in Taiwan where the RP Blu Girls will compete. Actually, not just compete. Our world no. 17 softball squad will go after a medal. However, it's not going to be easy though. Despite the Blu Girls being ranked fourth best in Asia, three Asian teams belong in the top 10 in the world. Japan is no. 1, China is no. 6, and Taipei is no. 9. All of them will also compete in the Taiwan tournament, not to mention the always-dangerous South Korea who are 26th in the world and fifth in Asia. Still, there is quiet confindence from the Blu Girls after a banner year. "Trying to look at it from the last Asian Games and the last tournaments that we have been playing, we have beaten top-10 teams. I think we can do it," head coach Venerando Dizer said. This year alone, the RP Blu Girls have scored impressive wins over world no. 3 Canada and world no. 4 Australia. The team also already beat Taipei twice. The Blue Girls will open the Asian Championships on November 28 against no. 1 Japan. "We're playing Japan right away, for me, I would rather play them right away so that at least from there, we can adjust to qualify for the playoffs," Dizer said. MISSION POSSIBLE: TOKYO OLYMPICS With the return of softball to the Summer Games, the primary goal for the Blu Girls is to nab one of the six spots available in the quadrennial showcase. And with a team that is described as the country's best in quite some time, the people behind the program are confident that the Blur Girls can make a serios run for it. "You can tell, that even from the 19-under level, our girls are getting ready to move up the world rankings. We are very, very happy to seee the potential of us being a Olympic-level team in the future," Amateur Softball Association of the Philippines (ASAPHIL) president Jean Henri Lhuillier said. "2020 is going to be tough with only six spots, but we're gonna try," he added. "That's the goal."   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 23rd, 2017

Tale of 2 cities: Olympics sponsors in Pyeongchang and Tokyo

em>By Youkyung Lee and Mari Yamaguchi, Associated Press /em> SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The Winter Olympics coming to South Korea in February offer an example of the Olympian efforts often required to meet corporate sponsorship goals. Tokyo tells a different story: The coffers are already overflowing for the 2020 Summer Games. It's a tale of two cities and two Olympics — winter and summer. Pyeongchang is a little-known destination in one of South Korea's poorest provinces. It is the 'little town that could,' bidding twice unsuccessfully for the Winter Olympics before winning on its third try. A final push enabled it to reach its sponsorship target of 940 billion won ($830 million) in September, with just five months to go. Tokyo is an established global capital, and the Summer Games usually generate more excitement — and more money. Organizers have raised 300 billion yen ($2.7 billion) in sponsorship, twice any previous Olympics. International Olympic Committee Vice President John Coates describes it as a remarkable achievement. The divergent experiences of two Asian host cities illustrate the challenges that smaller bidders face, as well as South Korea's dependence on the big family-owned companies that dominate its economy. Not that Tokyo is home-free. The cost of the 2020 Games has nearly doubled from initial projections. As with most Olympics, taxpayers will have to foot a good part of the bill. ___ strong>WHERE 'CHAEBOLS' RULE /strong> Starting with the 1988 Seoul Olympics, South Korea has used mega-events such as the soccer World Cup to raise the profile of the country and its manufacturing exporters. Pyeongchang is different. The project was initiated by local politicians in an area long alienated politically and economically in South Korea's rise to prosperity. Some feared people would confuse the city's name with Pyongyang, the North Korean capital. They couldn't count on the automatic support of the huge family-run conglomerates, known as 'chaebol,' such as Samsung, Hyundai and LG. 'When such mega-events were the nation-state's key project, the chaebol were called on and were expected to become the leading participants,' said Joo Yu-min, a professor at the National University of Singapore who co-authored a book on South Korea's use of mega-events. In the end, the national government brought the conglomerates in, first in the bid process, and then for sponsorship. That underscores both the outsized role they play in the economy and their close ties with government. They owe a debt to special treatment from the government, which in turn used them to industrialize the country after the devastating 1950-53 Korean War. After Pyeongchang's bid was rejected a second time, the government called on Samsung and others to help. The president even pardoned Lee Kun-hee, the patriarch of the Samsung founding family who had been an IOC member but voluntarily suspended his membership after being indicted for tax evasion. The IOC reinstated Lee in 2010 with a reprimand and some restrictions, allowing him to lobby heavily for what became Pyeongchang's winning bid in 2011. It took three years for the organizing committee to sign its first domestic sponsor, KT Corp., the country's second-largest mobile carrier. Again, the national government asked the conglomerates for help. All the major ones signed on, after the office of then-President Park Geun-hye made a special request and multichannel pressures for financial assistance, Joo said. Elsewhere, companies may weigh sponsorship decisions based more on the marketing benefits. 'In South Korea, companies make donations out of a sense of duty that they are being part of the national event,' said Park Dong Min, the executive director overseeing membership at the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Sponsors who signed up late weren't willing to give as much, because there was less time to enjoy the marketing benefits. A bank that signed on less than a year before the Games significantly reduced its sponsorship. To top it off, a massive sports-related political corruption scandal rocked South Korea in 2016, just when Pyeongchang was making last-ditch efforts to raise sponsorship. 'Companies showed some reluctance' to sponsor the Olympics, said Eom Chanwang, director of the Pyeongchang organizing committee marketing team. 'Nevertheless, they still joined.' The scandal brought down Park, the president. Lee Jae-yong, the heir to the Samsung group, received a five-year sentence for bribery. Lee, who has appealed, had become de facto chief of the Samsung group after his father Lee Kun-hee, the IOC member pardoned in late 2009, fell ill. It was the younger Lee who signed an agreement with IOC President Thomas Bach to extend Samsung Electronics' sponsorship of the Olympics globally through 2020. Samsung declined interviews for this story. With the scandal still fresh in people's minds, major companies have held back from launching full-fledged marketing to promote the Games. 'Samsung traditionally has done consumer marketing through the Olympics, but because its chief is in jail, it cannot do as much these days,' said Kim Do-kyun, a sports professor at Kyung Hee University Graduate School of Physical Education. The Pyeongchang Games were the biggest victim of the scandal, he said. ___ strong>SUMMER OF '64 /strong> The president of Japan's biggest toilet manufacturer was seven years old when the Olympics first came to Japan. TOTO Ltd. made news in 1964 for its prefabricated toilet-and-bath units that helped speed the construction of a luxury hotel, the New Otani, in time for the Games. The company, now known for high-tech toilets that baffle some foreign visitors, is back as a sponsor of Tokyo 2020. 'I feel our company and the Olympics have been bonded by fate,' TOTO president Madoka Kitamura said at a sponsorship signing ceremony at the same hotel last year. The $2.7 billion in sponsorship for Tokyo 2020 is more than three times the original estimate. By comparison, sponsorship revenue was $848 million in Rio de Janeiro last year, and about $1.2 billion for both London 2012 and Beijing 2008. The Winter Olympics typically attract less, though Sochi, Russia, raised $1.2 billion in 2014. Analysts attribute Tokyo's success to both patriotism and a sense of nostalgia for the 1964 Summer Games. They were much more than a sports contest for Japan. They were a moment of pride, marking the country's return as an industrial power after the devastation of World War II and a seven-year U.S. occupation. 'All of Japan still recognizes the unique role that the 1964 Olympics played in Japan's stepping out onto the world stage,' said Michael Payne, a former IOC marketing director who now works as a consultant. 'Many of the CEOs of top Japanese companies would have been young kids back in '64 and are very aware of the role those Games played for the psychological recovery from the Second World War.' They grew up with the high-speed 'Shinkansen' bullet train, inaugurated in 1964; modern expressways and western-style toilets, all symbols of Japan's postwar economic growth. 'Now they have become business leaders, they want to contribute and leave something behind that can be remembered for the next 50 years,' said Masahiko Sakamaki, executive director of marketing for the Tokyo organizing committee. He said that memories of the recovery may have boosted interest in sponsorship, as Japan was still reeling from a deadly 2011 earthquake and tsunami when Tokyo won the bid in 2013. Sakamaki said the organizing committee started receiving sponsorship inquiries as soon as it was established in 2014, before the official start of sponsorship contracts in 2015. There is so much interest that the IOC is allowing Tokyo to have multiple sponsors in some categories, instead of the usual one, including in aviation, newspaper publishing, electronics and banking. TOTO officials won't say how much they are contributing, but media reports say companies in its sponsorship category give between 6 billion and 15 billion yen ($53 million to $133.5 million). Tokyo 2020 wouldn't comment on those reports. 'We believe our presence as part of an all-Japan effort toward a successful Olympics will enhance our favorable brand image,' said Mariko Shibasaki, the company's senior planner for sports communication. Thanks in part to robust sponsorship revenue, the organizing committee has increased its contribution to the cost of the games from 500 billion to 600 billion yen ($5.3 billion). The sponsorship revenue makes up half of the income in the privately-run organizing committee's operating budget. Other revenue comes from the International Olympic Committee, marketing and ticket sales. The overall cost of the Tokyo Olympics is estimated at 1.4 trillion yen (12.4 billion) with the Tokyo government shouldering 600 billion yen ($5.3 billion) and the remaining 200 billion yen (1.8 billion) paid by the national government and local governments hosting events. ___ em>Yamaguchi reported from Tokyo. Associated Press writer Stephen Wade in Rio de Janeiro contributed to this story. /em> .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 12th, 2017

IOC, Tokyo organizers aim to cut costs for the 2020 Olympics

em>By Jim Armstrong, Associated Press /em> TOKYO (AP) — The International Olympic Committee and the Tokyo organizing committee wrapped up a two-day project review on Wednesday vowing to cut costs for the 2020 Games and address concerns over water pollution in Tokyo Bay. IOC vice president John Coates said the IOC needs to see cuts of $1 billion from the $12 billion budget. Coates said he saw potential for cost reduction in 11 of the 14 areas that were discussed during the meetings. 'That's the target that we think should be achievable not just by Tokyo but by all summer organizing committees,' said Coates, who chairs the IOC's Coordination Commission for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. 'What we are trying to do is create a situation where there is no strain on the public purse.' For example, Coates said IOC data from previous games shows that Olympic family lounges operate at only 40 percent capacity, meaning Tokyo organizers could save money on staffing such facilities. The IOC is seeking to make the games more affordable as part of President Thomas Bach's 'Agenda 2020' reforms. In a bid to cut costs, Tokyo organizers have moved several events to existing facilities in neighboring prefectures. In late May, local governments outside Tokyo that are to host competitions agreed with the Tokyo metropolitan government, the Japanese government and games organizers on basic principles concerning cost sharing. Yoshiro Mori, the head of the 2020 Tokyo Games organizing committee who also took part in the meetings, said it will be important to explore cost cutting 'based on the framework' reached in May. Mori said that while there have been some heated debates on the cost-cutting efforts, all sides agree that the ultimate goal of delivering the best possible games should be adhered to. Meanwhile, a recent water quality survey at the venue for marathon swimming and triathlon found E. coli bacteria at concentrations up to 21 times the level permitted by the sport's governing body, the Tokyo metropolitan government said. The metropolitan officials attributed the excessive reading to a record rainfall in the Japanese capital in August when there were 21 consecutive days of rain. Precipitation exceeding the processing capacity of sewage facilities can cause sewage water diluted by rain to be discharged into the ocean. Tokyo organizers have ruled out moving the venue and said they plan to implement water quality improvement measures in advance of the games. 'We are conscious that due to exceptionally bad weather this summer, the readings were not what they should be,' Coates said. 'We are looking for reports from the Tokyo municipal government as to what they are planning to do to ensure that even in worst of conditions those matters will be addressed and the health of the athletes in those two sports will not be prejudiced in anyway.'   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 5th, 2017

Passive smoking measures meet resistance – The Japan News

The gap between the government and the ruling parties over secondhand smoke prevention measures has been widening. The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry aims to join the international trend toward a total indoor smoking ban by strengthening restrictions in restaurants and other places. However, cautious views on the ban against a backdrop of opposition from the restaurant industry are growing within the Liberal Democratic Party. While the government plans to submit a bill on a smoking ban during the current Diet session, whether the government and the ruling bloc can reach an agreement on the matter remains unclear. Passive smoking refers to the inhaling of smokers’ tobacco smoke by nonsmokers at restaurants, offices or other such places. It is said that the inhaling of such smoke could increase the risk of lung cancer and stroke by 1.3 times, and sudden infant death syndrome by 4.7 times. The Health Promotion Law enforced in 2003 includes moderate allowances toward the prevention of secondhand smoke, but the health ministry believes the current non-compulsory measure has limited effectiveness and is considering an amendment to the law. According to the proposed measures released by the health ministry on March 1, new regulations would include 1) a smoking ban on the premises of medical facilities, elementary and junior high and high schools, 2) an indoor smoking ban for universities, elderly care facilities, gymnasiums, government and municipal offices, buses and taxis, with designated smoking rooms not being allowed, and 3) an indoor smoking ban for assembly halls, restaurants, offices, and train cars, allowing for the establishment of smoking rooms. Smokers who violate the law would face fines of up to ¥300,000, while facility administrators would face fines of up to ¥500,000. The government aims to enforce the law before the period of the Rugby World Cup, to be held in September 2019, after a two-year get-acquainted period. The ministry’s proposed measures are in accordance with the operational guidelines of the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. However, the guidelines call for indoor bans in public places and do not allow for the establishment of smoking rooms. Regarding secondhand smoke measures, Japan remains at “the lowest implementation level in the world.” The health ministry aims to “get closer to international standards before the time when the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics are held in 2020.” According to the ministry, since 2008 when the Beijing Olympic and Paralympic games were held, host cities, including Pyeongchang, South Korea, which hosts the Winter Games in 2018, have introduced measures against secondhand smoke including fines and most have fully banned indoor smoking. The WHO divides public places into eight categories (medical facilities, non-university schools, universities, administrative buildings, offices, restaurants, bars and public transit), and has released a ranking of countries based on how many categories are subject to indoor smoking bans. According to the ranking, 49 out of 188 countries, including Britain, Russia and Brazil, have bans for all eight categories. Japan falls in the group of 70 countries such as Malaysia with bans for between 0 and 2 categories. Japan remains lowly ranked as it does not have a law to impose an indoor smoking ban, only having promoted separation of smoking areas. Health Minister Yasuhisa Shiozaki argues: “Many advanced countries have thorough measures. We should keep in mind how Japan looks from the outside.” If the ministry’s proposed measures become law, an indoor smoking ban will apply to medical facilities, elementary, junior high and high schools, universities and public buildings. It could move Japan up one rank higher. Regarding restriction in restaurants, many countries face difficulties like Japan. For example, Berlin has introduced measures in which smoking-friendly restaurants should be less than 75 square meters, off limits to those under 18 years old, and can serve only food which does not need to be cooked to prevent children and pregnant women from entering. In South Korea, smoking is allowed only at some types of establishments such as bars. Restaurants in most countries appear to worry smoking bans may keep away customers, but the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer emphasizes, “Legal total smoking bans imposed on restaurants and bars do not lead to decreased sales and profit for them.” The health ministry’s proposed measures have polarized opinion among the ruling and opposition parties. While the “Yes” side argues that the ministry’s proposed measures are good enough, the “No” side says that smoking is a matter of manners and should not be regulated by law. “If we don’t do something, we will make a fool of ourselves in front of the world,” said Hidehisa Otsuji, a former health, labor and welfare minister and chairman of a cross-party caucus that aims to implement secondhand smoke prevention measures before the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. The caucus met Shiozaki on March 15 and pressed for the strengthening of rules, arguing, “80 percent of people are non-smokers, and we should prioritize the health of the 80 percent.” It is calling for smoking bans in all restaurants, including bars and small drinking establishments known as “snacks.” However, within the LDP, supporters appear to remain in the minority, and it is believed that as much as 90 percent of LDP members are against it while just 10 percent are supporters. About 100 members from the tobacco caucus, chaired by Takeshi Noda, gathered on March 7 and insisted that “tobacco is legal, but [the health [&'].....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanaoexaminerRelated NewsApr 6th, 2017

Tokyo breaks ground on new 2020 Olympics National Stadium

TOKYO — Tokyo held a groundbreaking ceremony on Sunday for a $1.5 billion National Stadium to host the 2020 Olympic Games.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsDec 12th, 2016

English Articles

Japan asking Philippines for workers for 2020 Olympics.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manila_shimbunRelated NewsNov 8th, 2016

‘World Robot Summit’ coming to Japan in 2020

The robot olympics are coming to Japan in 2020, the same year that the eyes of the world will be on the summer games in Tokyo......»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsOct 5th, 2016

Japan OKs $1.5 billion contract for new Tokyo stadium

TOKYO — Japan's government has approved a plan for a nearly 150 billion yen ($1.5 billion) contract with a joint venture to build a new main stadium for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics......»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsSep 30th, 2016

Expert panel warns Tokyo Olympics cost could top $30 billion

TOKYO — An expert panel commissioned by Japan's capital city has warned that the total cost for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics could exceed 3 trillion yen ($30 billion) unless drastic cost-cutting measures are taken......»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsSep 29th, 2016

Philippine karate team eyes stint in 2020 Tokyo Olympics

MANILA -– The Philippine karate team is setting its sights on the 2020 Summer Olympics in Japan.Karate has been included in the calendar of the Tokyo Games along with baseball, softball, surfing, skateboarding and sport climbing......»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsSep 13th, 2016

NCR bet sizzling throw breaks 26-year old mark

Kasandra Hazel Alcantara of the National Capital Region grabbed the spotlight as she broke the 26-year old record in secondary girls shot put even as Socsargen’s Princess Sheryl Valdez racked up four gold medals in arnis in Palarong Pambansa yesterday at the President Elpidio Quirino Stadium here......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsApr 18th, 2018

Davao targets banderitas record

Davao City is gearing up to break the Guinness World Record for the longest festival buntings or banderitas......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsApr 14th, 2018

Tokyo works to boost Paralympic profile before 2020 Games

TOKYO, Japan – Nearly half of Tokyo's residents can't name a single Paralympian and international sporting officials are worried about the city's readiness to accommodate athletes. As the 2020 Games approaches, the Japanese capital has work to do. "If the Paralympics is not a success, the Tokyo Games are not a ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsApr 12th, 2018

Eight NBA Playoffs storylines to watch

By David Aldridge, TNT Analyst Suddenly, we’re not quite as certain that Warriors-Cavs, Part IV, Sure to be Way Better than “Jaws: The Revenge” and “Superman IV: The Quest for Peace”, is going to make air, are we? The 2018 playoffs are just about here, and Stephen Curry isn’t, and Kyrie Irving won’t be, and Joel Embiid might be, and Jimmy Butler will be -- if his team is, that is. And both conference champions from a year ago are equally unsettled going into the postseason, for different reasons. The Golden State Warriors are banged up, while the Cleveland Cavaliers are brand new. Golden State hasn’t looked like an offensive leviathan, while Cleveland has been one of the league’s worst defenses. And, most importantly, each has legit challengers this year in Houston and Toronto in its respective conferences -- deep, tough, elite defensively, hard to stop offensively, and tempered/hardened/driven by recent playoff failures. Which should make late May and early June even more compelling than normal. At the least, we’ll have the Warriors going for three rings in four years, and LeBron James going for an eighth straight Finals appearance -- each representing something special. The postseason, then, should provide some theatre that Meryl Streep will drop what she’s doing to watch. Among the biggest storylines: 1. The Hinkie Referendum, Passed The Philadelphia 76ers’ scintillating run to end the regular season sets up them for a glorious postseason run, that will finalize a season in which the decisions by former GM Sam Hinkie -- the successful ones, anyway -- are rightly celebrated. (The failures of Jahlil Okafor and Michael Carter-Williams to fire as stars after Hinkie took each high in the first round are not only not ignored by Hinkie’s biggest supporters, they are cited as proof that he had to do what he did for as long as he did, because you’re going to have some misses at the top of the Draft. God, I love Hinkie Stans.) It says here that a healthy Joel Embiid and an exponentially improving Ben Simmons are the one team that can give LeBron’s Cavs true night sweats in the Kyrie-less east playoffs. Embiid is a problem for any team, but especially for the defensively indifferent and ineffective Cavaliers, who have no one remotely capable of keeping “The Process” from running wild. Since New Year’s Day, only Curry (120.4), Chris Paul (116.1) and Jamal Murray (114.7) have better Offensive Ratings among point guards than Simmons’s 113.9, per NBA.com/Stats. Who, from among George Hill (6'3"), Jose Calderon (6'1"), Jordan Clarkson (6'5") and J.R. Smith (6'5") is Cavs coach Tyronn Lue going to put on the 6'10" Simmons? Yes, Lue could try James on Simmons, who is no threat to shoot from deep or run through a maze of pindowns. But that doesn’t make him any easier to slow down. No matter who Philly plays in the postseason, the Sixers are going to be a problem. 2. Indiana George and the Tempo of Doom It’s taken the Oklahoma City Thunder much longer than any of us thought, but OKC is a win from the postseason (even if the Thunder can’t beat the Heat in Miami tonight, the Cancun-bound Memphis Grizzlies will be in Oklahoma City Wednesday). And that’s when Paul George will determine whether his future is in the 405 or elsewhere. The Thunder’s up-and-down regular season doesn’t provide much clue to how far they could go in the playoffs, thought OKC looked formidable in ending the Rockets’ 20-game home win streak Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). It was a game that featured Russell Westbrook successfully taking on the challenge of defending James Harden down the stretch. When Oklahoma City plays with pace and gets up and down the floor, it can beat anyone. The Thunder will likely have to take down an elite unit like Houston at some point in the playoffs to convince George to stay. 3. A Series of Fortunate Events With Irving’s injury, the Washington Wizards’ failure to launch and other maladies to Eastern Conference contenders, the Cavaliers have an increasingly clear path back to The Finals. Doing this is best way to keep LeBron: The Sequel in town for an extended run, but the proof will be in the doing, of course. Cleveland will need Larry Nance, Jr., Rodney Hood and Jordan Clarkson to perform under playoff pressure, which Nance and Clarkson have never had to do and Hood did briefly in the 2017 playoffs with the Utah Jazz. 4. She packed my bags last night, pre-flight/Zero Hour, 9 a.m The Rockets have been the best team in the league most of this season -- an offensive and defensive juggernaut, the logical extension at both ends of the floor of the standards the Warriors set the last few seasons. James Harden will likely walk away with Kia MVP honors after the season and Chris Paul has been everything Houston hoped he’d be. But Houston must finish the deal with a championship to make its own mark. 5. Jurassic Park Everything is set up for Toronto, as well -- the Raptors have the Eastern Conference’s best record and are tied with Houston for the best home record (34-7) in the league. They have home court until The Finals. Their two lynchpins, All-Stars DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry, are healthy. They’ve diversified their offense and learned to love the 3-pointer. They’re back to guarding at an elite level. The East is laid out open for a Toronto run to The Finals. There’s no excuse for the Raps not to. 6. ‘Brow’, Beating We don’t know for sure that the New Orleans Pelicans will make the playoffs. As of this writing, they haven’t clinched yet, although beating the Warriors in Oakland on Saturday went a long way toward their getting to the postseason. But assuming New Orleans is playing next weekend, its success in the playoffs can only help the franchise as it recovers from the recent death of former owner Tom Benson. “The Brow” (aka Anthony Davis) may have got us on April Fool’s Day, but the next couple of weeks will be dead serious. What if the Pelicans manage a first-round upset? Don’t say it’s not possible with the way Davis is playing. That would go an awful long way to quieting the “How the Boston Celtics Will Get Anthony Davis in 2020, Vol. MCMLXXXVII” hot takes. 7.  The Boston Medical Group The Celtics as imagined played exactly five minutes together this season. Everything that’s transpired since has been wrapped in gauze and sutured shut. Kyrie Irving’s latest knee procedure has everyone hopping off the Celtics’ postseason bandwagon -- a mistake, unless coach Brad Stevens pulls a hammy before Game 1 in the first round. Stevens has coached up whatever 12 guys are active pretty damn well since he’s come to the NBA, and he’ll still have a lot to work with in the playoffs: Al Horford, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Terry Rozier (the Celtics hope they can get Marcus Smart back after the first round). The bigger issue, of course, is Irving’s health going forward -- and into next season, after which he can opt out of the last year of his deal and become an unrestricted free agent in 2019. The current belief in Boston is that Irving’s knee -- the cartilage, ligaments, tendons and bones -- is sound and that he’ll have no long-term issues with it. But Irving and the team thought taking out the tension wire that had helped heal his broken patella after his 2015 surgery would do the trick. It didn’t.   There should be no doubt Boston will be all in on Irving. But after missing these playoffs after going out in Game 1 of the Finals in ’15, Irving will again have to show he’s able to handle a season-long campaign and still be able to bring his best to the postseason. 8. Bah Gawd, That’s Kawhi Leonard’s Music! We have all worked on the assumption that Leonard isn’t going to play for the Spurs any more this season as he rehabs his quad injury, even though they’ve never quite actually said he’s out for the year -- and he, as per usual, has said next to nothing. The Spurs have ridden LaMarcus Aldridge’s All-NBA-level season to the cusp of the playoffs, but no one has much expectation they’ll be there very long if they make it without their former Finals MVP. “Do I have any expectation I’ll see Kawhi?,” Danny Green said a week ago, repeating my question to him. “As of right now, my mindset is no. I’m just going to forward without him … if he does come back, great. Our mindset is this is the group we have today, this is the group we’ll have tomorrow. If somebody does come and join, we’ll have them and it’ll be great. But right now we’re moving forward with the expectation that this is who we have.” But, it’s not like we haven’t seen guys come back suddenly for the playoffs after missing large chunks of a season. A fellow named Michael Jordan played just 18 regular season games in his second season with the Bulls in 1986, recovering from a foot injury and not returning to the lineup until mid-March. True, he did get 15 games under his belt before the playoffs. But that did not prepare anyone for his showing up in Boston Garden in Game 2 of the first round against the Celtics and dropping 63 on the home team. There are, to be sure, issues between Leonard and the Spurs, and maybe they’re insurmountable. But if, somehow, “The Klaw” wakes up one morning this month and says he’s good to go, and reports for duty … who doesn’t think San Antonio can’t start assimilating opponents into its collective just like old times? Longtime NBA reporter, columnist and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer David Aldridge is an analyst for TNT. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 10th, 2018

Cocolife weathers Silva s 56-point explosion

Games Tuesday: (Filoil Flying V Centre) 4:15 p.m. – Petron vs Cocolife 7:00 p.m. – F2 Logistics vs Foton   BATANGAS CITY --- Cocolife survived Smart’s Cuban reinforcement Gigi Silva’s 56 points to secure a quarterfinals twice-to-beat advantage after a hard-fought, 25-23, 25-21, 27-29, 19-25, 16-14, win Saturday in the 2018 Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix Saturday at the Batangas City Sports Center here. The Asset Managers improved to 6-3 win-loss record while handing the Giga Hitters their ninth loss in as many outings.    Serbian import Sara Klisura finished with 35 points for Cocolife while American reinforcement Taylor Milton had 20 markers. Silva pounded 53 kills and had three aces in a lost cause but landed her name in the fourth spot in the women’s world scoring record behind Polina Rahimova of Azerbaijan’s 58 points in 2015 while playing in Japan, American Madison Kingdon’s 57 (2017 Korea Volleyball League) and Bulgarian Elitsa Vasileva’s 57 (2013 Korea Volleyball League).  Silva also surpassed the 55 points of Americans Nicole Fawcett (2013 KVL) and Alaina Bergsma, who led Petron to the 2014 PSL Grand Prix crown, (2016 KVL).           Meanwhile, Foton uncorked a strong finishing kick to complete a masterful 25-21, 25-17, 21-25, 25-20 victory over Generika-Ayala. American import Channon Thompson and Dindin Manabat delivered the crucial blows to spearhead the Tornadoes to this impressive win that gave them a twice-to-beat edge in the quarterfinals. Petron and F2 Logistics, who both fashion an 8-1 card, clinched the first two quarterfinal incentives. A mid-conference replacement to American Brooke Kranda, Thompson flaunted her scoring prowess as she tallied 20 kills, six aces and a block for 27 points while Manabat chipped in 10 kills, three blocks and an ace for 14 points to star for the Tornadoes, who notched their fifth win in nine matches. Also making her presence felt was Canadian import Elizabeth Wendel, who punched 12 hits, while Serbian Katarina Vukamanovic shone in the backline with 17 of the Tornadoes’ 47 excellent digs. Pulling off an impressive win, however, didn’t come easy. After cruising to easy victories in the first two sets, the Tornadoes found themselves in trouble as Darlene Ramdin of Trinidad and Tobago and American Symone Hayden discovered their groove before watching them fall into a maze of errors in the crucial stretch of the third set. Ramdin, who played with Thompson in the Trinidad and Tobago national team, continued her inspired performance as the Lifesavers forged a 7-7 knot before the first technical timeout of the fourth set. But after the 19-all count, Thompson and Manabat sparked a spiking spree to out the Tornadoes at match point, 24-19. Although Manabat committed a service error in the ensuing play, Foton couldn’t be denied as Hayden’s attack went long for the final count. Ramdin delivered 21 hits while Hayden had 13 points for the Lifesavers, who will enter into their final game of the classifications with a 2-7 mark......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 7th, 2018

James, Curry headline US squad to Olympics

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - LeBron James and Stephen Curry were on Friday named in a star-studded 35-man squad which will form the basis of the United States basketball team for the 2019 World Cup and 2020 Olympics. A total of 17 Olympic gold medallists and 30 former members of the….....»»

Category: newsSource:  journalRelated NewsApr 7th, 2018