Advertisements


We are sorry, the requested page does not exist




Report: Ben Simmons doubtful for FIBA World Cup

NBA.com staff report Ben Simmons, who teased a run with Australia at the FIBA World Cup, has become "doubtful" to play in the upcoming tournament, per a report by ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. Get your first look at the NBA’s top Rookies during NBA Summer League LIVE on NBA League Pass! The move will clear Simmons to prep fully for his upcoming season with the Philadelphia 76ers, who are expected to be a leading contender in the East. Their run to the conference semifinals last season ended in a Game 7 defeat on Kawhi Leonard's four-bounce buzzer-beater, and Jimmy Butler was ultimately swapped for Josh Richardson in a sign-and-trade that cleared space for the acquisition of erstwhile rival Al Horford. Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons is "doubtful" to play for Australia in the FIBA World Cup this summer, his agent Rich Paul tells ESPN. Simmons is more likely now to spend his full offseason preparing only for the Sixers season -- free of national team responsibilities. — Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 13, 2019 In 2018-19, Simmons averaged 16.9 points, 8.8 rebounds and 7.7 assists as a 6-foot-10 point guard, earning his first All-Star appearance after a Kia Rookie of the Year-winning campaign. Yet his lacking outside shot -- 0-for-17 from three-point range across two seasons -- limited his playmaking ability during the playoffs, and improving there provides the obvious lane for an even more significant leap heading into Year Three......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 15th, 2019

End of an era: Westbrook exits Oklahoma City

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com LAS VEGAS – Just when you thought it was safe to step out from under a doorway, another seismic tremble rumbled through the NBA Las Vegas Summer League Thursday evening (Friday, PHL time). Earthquake again? Nope, just more Thunder. Get your first look at the NBA’s top Rookies during NBA Summer League LIVE on NBA League Pass! Oklahoma City and general manager Sam Presti were back at it, this time reportedly sending former Kia MVP Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets for guard Chris Paul, first-round draft picks in 2024 and 2026, and pick swaps in 2021 and 2025. Six days earlier, OKC had stunned the pro hoops world by trading All-Star wing Paul George to the LA Clippers, serving up the co-star that coveted free agent Kawhi Leonard wanted as a condition of signing with Staples Center’s other NBA team. That deal yielded for the Thunder forward Danilo Gallinari and guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, along with five first-round picks and swap rights on two more. The biggest difference in moving Westbrook was that this one was anticipated. George had gone to Presti quietly after conspiring with Leonard, requesting the trade in a way that enabled the OKC GM to work behind the scenes. Presti had leverage on the Clippers, since he in essence was delivering both two-way stars – George and Leonard, who otherwise might have re-signed with Toronto – simultaneously. The deal Thursday (Friday, PHL time) paired Presti with Rockets counterpart Daryl Morey. Given their trade-happy track records, it wasn’t surprising that, if an NBA fan listened closely, he or she might have heard the sound of gods bowling. George’s departure and OKC’s subsequent trade of forward Jerami Grant to Denver made it clear which direction the Thunder were heading. Getting ousted from the playoffs’ first round for three consecutive years made the team’s $146 million payroll (and the luxury taxes it triggered) untenable. “People [within the league] knew they were going to do something pretty profound,” one GM told NBA.com earlier this week. “What they got for George was more than a king’s ransom. And if they end up trading Russell for all the tea in China, it will be the same deal again, right?” There were other suitors, most notably Miami, fueling speculation that Presti might not be done. How about Chris Paul to the Heat for expiring contracts, a prospect or two and more draft assets? As it is, the Thunder already have lassoed or retained an outrageous 15 first-round picks over the next six years. That sets up Oklahoma City ridiculously well, on paper, for the medium- and long-term. Short-term? Meh. A crew of Paul (if he stays), Gallinari, Gilgeous-Alexander, Andre Roberson, Steven Adams and Terrance Ferguson seems undermanned in the wild, wild West. But Presti has amassed enough picks that Thunder fans won’t have to worry about their favorite team tanking -- they can just root against the Clippers, the Heat and the Rockets in hopes of desirable draft positions. Westbrook deserves credit for spending the first 11 years of his career in an unglamorous, small-revenue market (though $168 million in NBA earnings had something to do with it too). He had two MVPs (Kevin Durant and James Harden) and one MVP candidate (George last season) leave via trade or free agency before he did. Now he has a chance, re-teamed with Harden in Houston, to step into the void opened by Golden State’s anticipated decline in 2019-20 (Durant’s departure from the Bay has something to do with that). The Rockets and Morey have to be on the clock, their extended window as championship contenders not likely to stay propped open for long. Westbrook and Harden, a tandem of past MVPs, should have most of their statistical and usage itches scratched by now. Each badly needs a ring on his resume. Paul, meanwhile, might find himself hooking up with Jimmy Butler with the Heat, a pairing that makes more sense than Butler-Westbrook at least in terms of basketball compatibility. Presti’s performance over the past 10 days or so has been “breathtaking,” according to the rival GM. But with so many folks in and outside OKC so eager to spin the Thunder’s picks and prospects forward, a nagging question remains: What should we make of their past? In Presti’s 12 seasons, beginning with the franchise still in Seattle in 2007-08, his team has won 50 games or more six times (counting the 47-19 equivalent in lockout-shortened 2011-2012). Over the Thunder’s first 10 seasons in Oklahoma, only the San Antonio Spurs won more often. The Thunder have reached the postseason nine times, winning 14 series. They lost the Finals in five games to Miami in 2012, and got bounced three times from the conference finals, once from the West semifinals and four times from the first round. There were injuries and close calls, sure, but those are a part of it for everyone. Drafting, Presti strung together Durant (No. 2 overall in 2007), Westbrook (No. 4, ’08) and Harden (No. 3, '09). His record deeper into the first round has been predictably mixed: Reggie Jackson (No. 24, ’11) and Adams (No. 12, ’13) on one side of the ledger, fellows such as Perry Jones (No. 28, ’12), Mitch McGary (No. 21, ’14) and Cameron Payne (No. 14, ’15) on the other. The Thunder’s two most notable trades prior to this summer involved Harden going out and George coming in. When they sent out Harden -- the league’s reigning Kia Sixth Man of the Year award winner in 2012 -- it was an anticipatory financial move that for a time kept them out of luxury tax trouble ... as well as the Finals. When Presti traded for George in 2017, the players he gave up, Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis, had a better first season in Indiana than George in OKC. But as with Westbrook, Presti got George to sign a *cough* long-term extension, and the former Pacer finished third in MVP balloting this spring. So bottom line, which is it: Should the Thunder’s extended run as a contender in the West be applauded? Or should they be considered underachievers, considering the three MVPs they had – Durant in 2014, Westbrook in 2017 and Harden (with Houston) in 2018 – as well as George? OKC got a total of 25 seasons from those four players, 23 of them in tandem or as a trio. Only Durant as a rookie and Westbrook in 2016-17 worked as a solo act, star-wise. Those two plus George made a total of 17 All-Star appearances while playing for the Thunder, and in seven of the past nine seasons, OKC sent two to the February gala. That’s a lot of firepower for a fairly limited payoff (the lone Finals trip). So as excited as the Thunder and their fans might be for what’s headed their way, they’re right to feel melancholy over what’s done and now gone. Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 12th, 2019

2019 FIBA U19 World Cup Preview: Philippines vs New Zealand

The Philippines finally had a breakthrough in the 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup in Heraklion Greece, beating Asian rivals China, 86-72, to be assured of at least 14th place in the biennial competition.  Their final game today will be against another team from the FIBA Asia zone -- New Zealand, which placed 2nd place overall in last year's 2018 FIBA U18 Asia Cup in Thailand and defeated Senegal last night, 87-71.  It will be a tough final assignment for coach Sandy Arespcochaga's wards, who are coming in riding high with confidence after their convincing triumph over the Chinese. The Filipinos bucked the limited minutes of Kai Sotto in that encounter as the 7'2” prized center was saddled with foul trouble and could only register 5 points, 2 rebounds, a 1 block in 13 minutes of play. Answering the call were Dave Ildefonso, Carl Tamayo, James Spencer, and Rhayyan Amsali, all of whom scored in double-digits for the Philippines.  Needless to say, it'll take another supreme team effort today if the Filipinos are to stave off what should be a very strong challenge from the Kiwis, who likewise put up a convincing win yesterday against the Senegalese.  In that match, versatile guard Flynn Cameron stood out. The DePaul University Blue Demon has been inconsistent in Heraklion, but he had his best game yet against Senegal, scoring 19 points on top of 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 7 steals, and 2 blocks.  Another Junior Tall Black to worry about is Euro-based Max Darling, who plies his trade for Croatia's KK Vrijednosnice Osijek. The 6'6” inside operator is one of the most athletic players in the entire field, and he has been on a tear in New Zealand's last two games, averaging 19.0 points, 11.0 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks per outing. Don't be surprised if he tries his hand at slowing Kai down in the paint.  Speaking of Kai, he has stumbled out of the top 10 most efficient players in the tournament after last night's below par showing, and it would be great to see him bounce back in a big way here.  The former Ateneo Blue Eaglet is among the youngest studs in Heraklion and will still be eligible for the next U19 World Cup should the Philippines qualify anew. He is currently averaging 12.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 3.3 blocks per game, but he will likely need even better numbers against New Zealand if Gilas Youth is to end its campaign on a bright note.  He'll expect much help from the aforementioned Ildefonso and Tamayo, who really played with aplomb against China. Ildefonso was nearly unstoppable, shooting 7 out of 12 from the floor, including 4 triples en route to an impressive 21-point, 7-assist, 6-rebound stat-line. Tamayo, for his part, was splendid with 20 points and 6 rebounds while hitting 3 triples. If those two guys can puncture the hoops again and complement Kai's inside game, the Philippines has a fair chance of finishing 13th place overall......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 7th, 2019

Mataas ng presyo ng gamot sa bansa, paiimbestigahan sa Kamara

Manila, Philippines – Nais imbestigahan ni Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Michael Defensor ang mataas na presyo ng gamot sa Pilipinas. Ito ay kasunod ng report ng ng Mercer Marsh Benefits 2019 Medical Trends Around the World na inaasahang dobleng paglobo ng medical inflation ngayong taon sa 13.7 percent kumpara sa 5.2 percent full-year average noong 2018. […] The post Mataas ng presyo ng gamot sa bansa, paiimbestigahan sa Kamara appeared first on REMATE ONLINE......»»

Category: newsSource:  remateRelated NewsJul 3rd, 2019

2019 FIBA U19 World Cup Preview: Philippines vs Russia

With two losses in their slate and a day's rest, our Gilas Youth U19 national team will plunge back into action later tonight against Russia on the final day of the group phase at the 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup in Heraklion, Greece.    Despite their two losses, the Filipinos actually still have a shot at finishing among the top two teams in the group, though that entails beating Russia by at least 25 points.   Now given that beating Russia alone is already quite a tall order, doing so by a quarter century may just be asking for too much already.    Still, given how our boys have played, I wouldn't put it past them to spring a surprise or two.    Against Russia, head coach Sandy Arespacochaga's wards will be up against one of the tallest teams in the entire tournament. And though the Russians don't have anyone as tall as Kai Sotto (their tallest is rarely-used Vladislav Goldin at 6'11"), they have really big wingmen who are sure to give our perimeter guys hell for 40 minutes.    Leading the way is hotshot scorer Aleksandr Ershov, who at 6'6" will be a match-up nightmare around the arc against our own guards. Ershov is the 4th-best scorer so far in the tournament, averaging 19.0 points per game while shooting 54% from the field and sinking 2.0 triples per contest.    Another guy to watch is 6'7" guard-forward NIkita Mikhailovskii, who turned a lot of heads on Day 2 by registering a triple-double with 20 points, 13 rebounds, and 12 assists. It was the first triple-double in the U19 World Cup since 2013, when current NBA player Dario Saric recorded 32 points, 12 boards, and 12 dimes against South Korea.    Mikhailovskii was one of the All-Star Five players in last year's 2018 FIBA U18 European Championship, and his match-up with Dave Ildefonso should be one of the most tantalizing for this encounter.    Down around the basket, much of the damage will probably come from 6'8" Dmitrii Kadoshnikov, who had 13 points and14 rebounds against Argentina on Day 1, and 6'7 Anton Kvitkovskikh, who is averaging 13.0 points and 6.5 rebounds after two games.    To have a shot against Russia, Gilas Youth's perimeter defense will have to be airtight. The Russians love to swing the ball side to side to shift the opposing defense, and coach Sandy's scrambling defense has to be on-point to neuter their foes' dangerous sniping. Russia is 4th-best in terms of three-point shooting so far, making 34.0% of their attempts from beyond the arc, including hitting 9.0 treys per outing, so our team needs to key on that to have a chance at winning.    On the other end, the Philippines must limit its turnovers. We average more than 18 turnovers per game, which is just too much at this level. Our most turnover-prone guys have been Carl Tamayo, Gerry Abadiano, and Dave Ildefonso, combining for 11.0 turnovers per game, so if those three can take better care of the ball, then odds are we can keep in step with Russia and perhaps be in a great position to steal this game in the last few minutes. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 2nd, 2019

2019 FIBA U19 World Cup Preview: Philippines vs Argentina

It was a nightmare of a start for Gilas Youth on Day 1 of the 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup as prized big man Ariel John Edu injured his knee in a very bad way barely two minutes into the first quarter of the team's tournament opener against host Greece.  And though the Philippines fought gallantly, even leading by seven points after the first canto, they just couldn't keep the Greeks at bay for long and succumbed to a deeper Hellas quintet by game's end, 85-69.  Now the Filipino boys face even stiffer competition against the 3rd best team from last year's 2018 FIBA U18 Americas Championship -- Argentina.  The Argentines landed on the U18 Americas podium just behind perennial powerhouse Team USA and defending U19 World Champion Canada. Led by Virginia big man Francisco Caffaro and head coach Maximiliano Seigorman, Argentina won four of their six games en route to their top three finish.  On Day 1 of the current U19 World Cup in Crete, Argentina had to scramble in the end to survive a big challenge from Russia in overtime, 86-84. Prolific guard Juan Ignacio Marcos paced the victors with 15 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 steals, while Caffaro led them in scoring with 17 points on 7/12 FG shooting.  It's obvious that coach Sandy Arespacochaga's crew will have to focus on containing those two guys tonight, and that task will be made even more difficult with Edu's apparent ACL injury (compounded by a meniscus tear and hairline femur fracture).  That will effectively double the pressure on wunderkind Kai Sotto to do a yeoman's job around the basket while also throwing a wrench into the projected rotation of the Gilas Youth coaching staff.  Now back-up guys Geo Chiu and Carl Tamayo will have to work extra had and play extra minutes to fill Edu's void and complement Sotto's game as much as they can.  This is where Gilas Youth is feeling the pinch of a couple of key absences in the frontline. One is De La Salle-Zobel's 6'8" beanpole Raven Cortez, who could have given the team even more ceiling, length, and athleticism had it not been for his own needed recovery time in sick bay.  Another is 6'10" Filipino-American Quentin Millora-Brown, who just committed to US NCAA Division 1 program Vanderbilt. Millora-Brown was approached by Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas officials to woo him into playing for Batang Gilas as early as 2016, but he just couldn't get his paperwork in order before his 16th birthday, rendering him ineligible to play as a local for the Philippines in the future.  A lot of pressure will also be on the Philippines' guards, namely Gerry Abadiano, Dave Ildefonso, and Miguel Oczon. They were solid against the Greeks last night, but it will take even better play from them if they hope to pull the rug from under Argentina tonight.  Even more crucial will be the play of Fil-Italian Dalph Panopio, who, at times, looked flustered last night and who seemed unsure of his place in the team's system. If Panopio bounces back with a big game tonight and cancels out Marcos's production, Gilas Youth will have a shot at a monumental upset.  After everything, though, needless to say as it may seem, much of the Pinoys' collective fate will rest on Sotto's shoulders. The 7'2" slotman had a respectable outing against Greece's generally smaller frontline, but against a big name like Caffaro, the former Blue Eaglet has to deliver the goods in a big way. It'll be easier said than done, of course, as Argentina is expected to thrown their platoon of bigs, which, apart from 7'0" Caffaro, also includes 6'9" Bautista Lugarini and two guys Sotto faced at last year's U17 World Cup -- Juan Francisco Fernandez and Tomas Chapero, both also standing 6'9"......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 30th, 2019

Bottas, Verstappen crashes overshadow Austrian GP practice

By Eric Willemsen, Associated Press SPIELBERG, Austria (AP) — Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen both crashed and seriously damaged their cars during the second practice ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix as the high-altitude track in the Alps showed its perilous side on Friday. Mercedes and Red Bull blamed gusty winds in the montane surroundings for the incidents, which caused the 90-minute session to be red-flagged twice. A third big-name driver narrowly avoided a similar crash as Sebastian Vettel also spun off the track but his Ferrari came to a standstill just before the barriers, limiting damage to his tires only. Before his crash, Bottas posted the second fastest time of the session, trailing Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc by 0.331 seconds. Championship leader Lewis Hamilton, who led the first session in his Mercedes, had the fourth best time, 0.443 behind Leclerc. Bottas slammed his Mercedes into the barriers after he lost control of the rear and spun off the track at Turn 6, leaving the front of his car heavily damaged. The mishap came less than 15 minutes after Verstappen slid off the track backward in Turn 10, badly damaging the right rear of his Red Bull. "Hard to say what happened, maybe it was the wind," Verstappen said. "It's still only Friday so we have time to repair everything for tomorrow." Bottas and Verstappen are the last two winners of the race, in 2017 and 2018, respectively. Neither was hurt in the crashes. Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said Bottas couldn't be blamed. "Suddenly you have three, four kph more and you are beyond the limit," Wolff said about the strong wind affecting the drivers. Red Bull motorsport adviser Helmut Marko added that Verstappen "wasn't driving faster as before in that turn but the gust just swept away the rear." The incidents made for probably the most eventful practice of the season, hours after Hamilton posted the fastest time in the first practice. The British five-time world champion led Vettel by 0.144 seconds, with Mercedes teammate Bottas 0.161 slower in third. Bottas, who earned his first career podium on this track in 2014 and started the last two years from pole, had missed the first half hour as his power unit had to be replaced to fix an oil leak. Leclerc and Verstappen were ranked fourth and fifth, respectively. Practice was cut short after Niko Hulkenberg lost the left front wing of his Renault on the curb. Many racers, including Hamilton, damaged their front wing on the high edges of the track, called "yellow sausages" by many. TIRED OF TIRES While the opening practice showed Mercedes' unbeaten streak might continue this weekend, an attempt from various teams to create a more level playing field failed earlier in the day. At the center of the discussion was the new type of tires introduced by supplier Pirelli this season. They have a reduced tread gauge which should cut down on blistering. While most teams have found them unpredictable and have struggled to adapt to them, the new tires seem to perfectly fit the strategy of Mercedes, which has won all eight races this season, including six 1-2 finishes. To open up the battle for victories and make the races more appealing again, various teams, led by Red Bull, have been suggesting a midseason return to last year's rubber. But in a meeting with all team principals, Pirelli, and governing body FIA, the proposal failed to get the mandatory support of at least seven of the 10 teams. Apart from Mercedes, the idea was also rejected by Williams, Racing Point, McLaren and Renault. One of the reasons for the dismissal was the lack of data, as teams could only guess how the 2018 tires would work under the 2019 cars. Hamilton initially had been critical of the new tires during preseason testing, but has meanwhile slammed the idea of switching back to the old ones. "Last year you had to manage the tires to a temperature, which means you had to do more lifting and coasting. It was a lot worse," said Hamilton, who attended Friday's meeting. "That's an example again of different teams pushing for different things for their own personal goals rather than for the sport's." Tire management will become a key factor during Sunday's race with temperatures expected to rise up to 33 degrees Celsius (91 F) in thin air......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 29th, 2019

NBA MVP Antetokounmpo to play in FIBA World Cup

  ATHENS, Greece –  Giannis Antetokounmpo said Friday, June 28, he would play for Greece at the FIBA Basketball World Cup in China this summer. Voted the NBA's Most Valuable Player for the 2018-2019 regular season, the 24-year-old Milwaukee Bucks forward said: "I want to be there to help my country ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsJun 28th, 2019

10 NCAA players to watch in Season 95

It’s important to note that half of the players who were picked in the first round of the 2018 PBA Draft were products of the country’s first collegiate sports league. CJay Perez and Robert Bolick have immediately become the cornerstones of Columbian Dyip and NorthPort Batang Pier, respectively. Javee Mocon, Jesper Ayaay, Michael Calisaan and JP Calvo have all received high praise from the coaches of their new teams. While last season’s heroes are now living their lifelong dreams in the PBA, new stars are looking to shine as NCAA Season 95 opens on July 7 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. James Kwekuteye (SBU)   If there is one player worthy enough to succeed Bolick as the King Lion of Mendiola, it’s the 6’3” Fil-Canadian shooting guard, James Kwekuteye. As a rookie, Kwekuteye came off the bench for majority of the season and had limited time to really put his talent on display. But, when he did start, particularly in San Beda’s second round game against LPU, Kwekuteye proved that he could be a major threat as he scored a career-high 18 points for the Red Lions, matching the scoring output of Bolick. In that game, Bolick motivated Kwekuteye by saying, “they can’t stop you.” James Kwekuteye introduces himself to Lyceum with 18 big points! #NCAASeason94 #GalingNCAA pic.twitter.com/OQS5eZBTJL — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) October 18, 2018 As the new starting shooting guard of Coach Boyet Fernandez, Kwekuteye led San Beda in scoring in the 2019 Fil-Oil Flying V Pre-season Cup averaging 14.1 points per game.    Evan Nelle (SBU)   Another talented player who didn’t see the floor much last year due to the loaded roster of guards on the San Beda lineup was former NCAA Jrs. Finals MVP Evan Nelle. Evan Nelle repays coach Boyet Fernandez' trust by drilling the early three! #NCAASeason94 #GalingNCAA pic.twitter.com/kpfdsnro2i — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) September 11, 2018 Nelle was the fourth string point guard behind Bolick, Jo Presbitero and Radge Tongco in Season 94. But, with the graduation of all three aforementioned players, the keys to the Red Lions’ offense has fallen straight into Nelle’s hands. While sharing the backcourt with Kwekuteye, Nelle led San Beda to the 2019 FilOil Championship and averaged a league-best 4.7 assists per contest.    Donald Tankoua (SBU)   Aside from capturing the title in the country’s most prestigious pre-season tournament, Kwekuteye and Nelle were also named to the Mythical Five along with their starting center, Donald Tankoua.  Donald Tankoua drops 23 points to help San Beda end the eliminations on a high note. #NCAASeason94 #GalingNCAA pic.twitter.com/EUFpXnAt8T — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) October 23, 2018 The 6’6” Cameroonian big man has always been one of the most consistent players, year in and year out in the NCAA and will continue to be as he plays out his final year of eligibility in Season 95. Because he’s a walking double-double, expect Tankoua to be the early favorite to win MVP.   Mike Harry Nzeusseu (LPU)   Now, if there is anybody who possesses the physical attributes and the numbers to challenge Tankoua’s MVP campaign, it’s LPU’s Mike Harry Nzeusseu. Mike Harry Nzeusseu gets NASTY ???? #NCAASeason94 #NCAAFinals pic.twitter.com/yEAr0ywBPd — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) November 12, 2018 Nzeusseu ended last season without confirming that he would return to play one more year with the Pirates but his participation in the Fil-Oil tournament tells us that he will be back to anchor the defense of Coach Topex Robinson. And without Perez, the 6’6” center from the Republic of Cameroon will also have to do major damage on the offensive end as well.  Jayson David (LPU)   Jayson David picks Robert Bolick's pocket for the transition finish! #NCAASeason93 #NCAAStrong pic.twitter.com/Inl17UZbKq — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) November 7, 2017 Back in Season 91, the NCAA added a Most Improved Player trophy to their list of awardees for every basketball tournament. Based on the pre-season, former San Sebastian guard Jayson David has emerged as the frontrunner for that award as he has assumed the starting spot of Perez with LPU. David is no “Baby Beast”, but it seems that Robinson trusts him enough to be a critical piece in the Pirates’ quest to capture that elusive NCAA championship. He averaged 7.3 PPG, 6 RPG and 2.1 APG in the Fil-Oil tourney.   Jeo Ambohot (CSJL)   Another player who seems to have earned the trust of his coach is Jeo Ambohot. Under Coach Jeff Napa, the ‘23 for 23’ Gilas World Cup pool member came off the bench and underachieved, only averaging 7.2 PPG and 7.2 RPG for the Knights in Season 94. Jeo Ambohot can hit this all game long! ???? #NCAASeason94 #GalingNCAA pic.twitter.com/5NCj7tV7Gt — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) October 9, 2018 However, under new Letran Head Coach Bonnie Tan, Ambohot was being utilized as the starting center with last year’s Rookie of the Year, Larry Muyang coming off the bench in their pre-season games. Nevertheless, a player like Ambohot should not be happy with his dismal outing last year and should come out stronger in Season 95.    Renato Ular (CSJL)   Here’s a guy you probably haven’t heard about before. His name is Renato Ular. Ring a bell? Probably not. The last time he saw action was during his rookie year in Season 92. Actually, he didn’t even do much back then. He only played in four games in did not score a single point in any of those games. After two years as a spectator, Ular has finally rejoined the Letran lineup and was their best player in the Fil-Oil tournament averaging 9.8 PPG and 8.1 RPG. The last left-handed legend from Letran was Rey Nambatac. This lefty’s got a long way to go to get on the Sting Rey’s level, but expect him to be one of the Knights' primary attackers this year.   RK Ilagan (SSC-R)   RK Ilagan was FEELING IT from downtown, dropping a new career-high 2??6?? PTS vs Mapua! #NCAASeason94 #GalingNCAA pic.twitter.com/SDIaVmtzCF — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) October 12, 2018 Speaking of attacking, one player who will be more relentless than he’s ever been this Season 95 is RK Ilagan. The pride of Barrio Fugoso, Tondo, Manila ranked seventh in scoring last year, averaging 15.2 PPG and was the Golden Stags’ leading scorer despite the presence of Calisaan. Coach Egay Macaraya loves a shooter and will continue to give the green light to Ilagan who made more triples (40) than any player in the NCAA in Season 94.    Kent Salado (AU)   Prior to injuring his right knee on October 10, 2017 in an 85-79 Arellano win over SSC-R in Season 93, Kent Salado was one of the most exciting players in the NCAA. The spitfire point guard from Cagayan de Oro was averaging 19.1 PPG (2nd behind Perez) and 5.0 APG (2nd behind Bolick) for the Chiefs, taking over the driver’s seat that Jiovani Jalalon occupied during their run to the Finals in Season 92. Lervin Flores with a nice block, Kent Salado with an even better finish! #NCAASeason93 #NCAAStrong pic.twitter.com/ohK28fFFhS — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) September 15, 2017 Now that he’s finally had surgery to repair what was eventually revealed to be a torn ACL, Salado is looking to excite fans anew especially since Arellano University will serve as the host of the NCAA for the first time in league history. Justin Gutang (CSB)   Recently, I asked former Arellano Head Coach Jerry Codi?era who he thought had the makings of a star in the NCAA now that the likes of Perez and Bolick are in the pros. The “Defense Minister” immediately mentioned one name: Justin Gutang. The 6’3” Fil-American forward from San Francisco, California had an impressive rookie season, averaging 13.4 PPG, 6.2 RPG and 4.3 APG for the Blazers and winning the Slam Dunk contest along the way. Although we haven’t heard much from Gutang in the off-season, the fact that a PBA Legend still has him on his radar means that the kid’s potential cannot be ignored. ?Editor's Note: The list is based on pre-season performances of teams. There are some NCAA teams who have not partcipated in pre-season tournaments nor released line-ups.  ?Catch NCAA Season 95 starting July 7, Sunday, 11:30 am LIVE on S+A, S+A HD, Liga, Liga HD, iWant and via livestream.    .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 27th, 2019

Kiefer Ravena returns to National Team practice for the first time since FIBA suspension

Kiefer Ravena takes another step towards his on-court comeback after re-joining the Philippine Men's National Team practice, Monday evening at the Meralco Gym in Ortigas.  Ravena has been serving an 18-month suspension imposed by FIBA for failing a random drug test back in 2018. The suspension began on February 25, 2018 and since then, Ravena has been barred from participating in basketball-related activities, including playing for his NLEX squad in the PBA.  The good news for Ravena is that the suspension is set to be lifted on August 24th, 2019, just in time for the upcoming 2019 FIBA World Cup in China on August 31st.  Joining Ravena in Monday night's practice were June Mar Fajardo, Paul Lee, RR Pogoy, Poy Erram, and Japeth Aguilar, Mark Barroca, Marcio Lassiter and Troy Rosario. Also present are Robert Bolick, Stanley Pringle, and CJ Perez. Bigman Raymond Almazan is also present but is not participating in the practice proper.  Veteran Marc Pingris also dropped by to watch the National Team put in work. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 24th, 2019

Kiefer Ravena’s return highlights Gilas’ ‘best practice so far’

The Philippine Men’s Senior National Basketball team continued their preparations for the upcoming 2019 FIBA World Cup in China this August with another training session, Monday evening at the Meralco Gym in Ortigas. While the highlight of the scrimmage was the return of playmaker Kiefer Ravena, who has been serving an 18-month suspension handed down by FIBA back in 2018, another positive was the number of players who participated in the practice. A total of 13 players were present in practice, and National Team head coach Yeng Guiao was happy to see enough bodies to be able to hold a proper 5-on-5 run. “We had enough people to go 5-on-5, this is our first complete actually, it’s our best practice so far,” Guiao told the media during a post-practice scrum. National Team vets such as Paul Lee, RR Pogoy, Marcio Lassiter, June Mar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar, Poy Erram, and Mark Barroca were on hand to participate in the drills and the 5-on-5 scrimmage, while Raymond Almazan was also in attendance but did not join the practice proper. Apart from Ravena, other new faces for this training camp included PBA rookies Robert Bolick and CJ Perez, and Guiao was delighted to see them come out. “We’re very very appreciative of the guys who came in, si CJ atsaka si Robert, and of course, Kiefer,” the long-time mentor said. “For the first time, he’s able to practice and witness kayo, for the first time after more than one year and six months. Siguro part of the excitement why we had a really good practice today, we’re just excited to play with each other.” Guiao explained that Bolick and Perez, former NCAA stars, were invited because of their initiative to try their luck with the National Team pool. “Actually, in the case of Robert and CJ, sila yung nag-initiate na makapag-practice sila, that’s why we invited them, so nagparamdam sila na gusto nilang mag-try ng luck nila to be in the to be in the pool.” As for Ravena, Guiao was pleased to see that his NLEX playmaker was in tip-top shape, even after the time off. “Si Kiefer, nakakausap ko naman yun, so he’s really excited to be part of the National Team, at least pool, although sabi ko naman his chances of making it are really good,” Guiao stated. “You saw him in practice today, it’s just like he did not miss the last, or he was not suspended, for the last one and a half years. His sharpness is there, his stamina is there, he does not look like he’s heavy, that’s his natural body, so things are looking good at this point.” Guiao also expressed his appreciation for Stanley Pringle, who joined the practice. Pringle and the Gin Kings took on Guiao’s NLEX Road Warriors in Batangas the night before Gilas practice. “Si Stanley, again, he’s one of the guys that volunteered himself, just in case we need an extra body. Galing yan sa Batangas, kalaban namin kahapon, so he’s just offering his services just so we have people who can play roles in practices so mas maganda yung practice natin.” Being designated as a naturalized citizen by FIBA, The newly-acquired Ginebra Gin King is unlikely to crack the lineup with big man Andray Blatche expected to suit up for the National Team. Guiao is, however, looking to add Pringle to the training pool for their training camp in Spain this August. “I’m also thinking of bringing Stanley to Spain, if Ginebra is not playing in the Finals, kasi may dalawang team na maglalaro ng Finals, siguradong may member ng National Team, so when we go to Spain, we can only take the players of the ten teams that are not involved, so may mawawala talaga, so kailangan pag-isipan kung sino ang isasama.” The 2019 FIBA World Cup kicks off on August 31st in China, with the Philippines joining Angola, Italy, and Serbia in Group D. Guiao hopes to be able to release a final lineup by next month. “Pag-dating ni Blatche, I think July 8, siguro by July 15 mayroon nang final lineup.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 24th, 2019

Manny Pacquiao- Keith Thurman title bout to be aired on SKY Sports PPV

Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao guns for another win in a major boxing bout as he challenges Keith Thurman for the WBA (Super) Welterweight World Championship this July 21 (Sunday) live via SKY Sports Pay-Per-View. The reigning WBA (regular) Welterweight World Champion faces an opponent ten years his junior after successfully defeating Adrien Broner last January and Lucas Matthysse in the latter part of 2018. Pacquiao currently holds a boxing record of 61-7-2 with 39 wins coming via knockout. On the other hand, Keith Thurman also known by the moniker, “One Time,” is coming from a majority decision win over Josesito Lopez. He owns an unblemished record of 30-0-0 with 22 wins via knockouts and one No Contest. Local boxing analyst Ed Tolentino said in an interview by news.abs-cbn.com that the bout between Thurman and Pacquiao will be a good one, stating that Thurman is better than Broner. One thing he is concerned about Thurman, though, is his health since this fight is only the American fighter’s second after being inactive for almost two years. Don’t miss the eight division world champion as he returns to the MGM Grand this July 21. Subscribe now until June 30 to avail an early bird promo for only PHP 649 instead of Php 949.This promo is available to all digital SKYcable, SKY Fiber, and SKYdirect subscribers nationwide. Subscribers to the fight on SKY Sports Pay-Per-View will have access to its live and commercial-free airing in high definition, including its replays on the same day right after the live event, as well as its livestream with a 7-day catch-up via SKY on Demand. Call 418 0000 or your SKY local office or visit www.mysky.com/pacman to subscribe. SKYcable, SKY Fiber + HD Cable TV Plan and SKYdirectsubscribers can also activate their subscription by texting PPV to 23662. For SKYdirect prepaid subscribers, they can text PPV PACMAN  to 23667 (available to Globe Prepaid, or TM ). .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 24th, 2019

Curry in Japan to talk Tokyo Olympics, Rui Hachimura

By Jim Armstrong, Associated Press TOKYO (AP) — Stephen Curry is already looking ahead to the next challenge in his basketball career, including the chance to represent the United States at next year’s Tokyo Olympics. Just over a week since his Golden State Warriors lost a grueling NBA Finals to the Toronto Raptors, Curry was in Tokyo on Sunday talking about the Olympics and the opportunity to face Japan’s newest basketball sensation. The U.S. has won the gold medal in the last three Olympics and will be the favorite to top the podium again in Tokyo with a Dream Team that could feature such stars as Curry, LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard. Curry decided to pull out of the Rio Olympics due to several factors, including ankle and knee injuries. “I know the energy here is going to be amazing,” Curry said. “I haven’t played in the Olympics before. I’ve played in two World Cup teams so I’ve had the experience of representing my country playing for the national team. But the Olympics, from everybody that I’ve talked to that’s played, there’s no comparison to that experience.” Curry was in Tokyo for a youth basketball clinic and was asked about Rui Hachimura, who became the first player from Japan picked in the first round of the NBA draft when he was taken with the No. 9 overall pick by the rebuilding Washington Wizards on Thursday (Friday, PHL time). “It’s exciting for the NBA to have representation from Japan and countries all over the world,” Curry said. “It speaks to how the game of basketball is growing everywhere, especially here. For him to be a trailblazer in terms of doing something that has never been done is good for this country.” The 6'8", 235-pound (2.03 meters, 106 kilogram) Hachimura averaged a team-leading 19.7 points and 6.5 rebounds last season as a junior at U.S. college Gonzaga, where he was the West Coast Conference player of the year. The only other Japanese player drafted in NBA history was Yasutaka Okayama, who went 171st overall in 1981. He never appeared in a regular-season game, something just two players from the country have done: Yuta Tabuse for the Phoenix Suns in 2004-05, and Yuta Watanabe for the Memphis Grizzlies in 2018-19. The son of a Japanese mother and father from the Republic of Benin, Hachimura is the latest Japanese of mixed race to make a splash in the sporting world following the likes of Naomi Osaka and Yu Darvish. “Just from watching him play, I know he’s got good size, obviously,” Curry said. “He seems to have a high basketball IQ, good touch around the rim too. I’m sure as he gets into the NBA his game will expand. I think he fits into the direction the NBA is going right now; being able to score and put pressure on the defense no matter what the situation is.” As for the Warriors, Curry said he’s looking forward to winning more championships with the team. “The story is still going,” Curry said. “A lot of people said this is going to be the end but I’m not going to let that happen. It’s going to be fun to come back and chase more championships next year and beyond.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 23rd, 2019

About face: US routs Trinidad 6-0 in Gold Cup

By Tom Withers, Associated Press CLEVELAND (AP) — The only embarrassment and shame was felt on the other side. Two years later, the U.S. soccer team turned the tables on Trinidad and Tobago. Gyasi Zardes scored two goals in a three-minute span, Christian Pulisic added one during a five-goal barrage in the second half and the Americans unloaded on their nemesis in a 6-0 blowout in the CONCACAF Gold Cup on Saturday night, earning a small dose of revenge over the team that handed them a nightmarish loss in 2017. Aaron Long scored his first two international goals — one with his head, the other off his chest — and Paul Arriola scored as the U.S. tallied five times in 25 minutes while cruising to its second shutout this week and advancing to the quarterfinals in Philadelphia on June 30. It was the first matchup between the U.S. and Trinidad and Tobago since Oct. 10, 2017, when the Americans, needing only a tie to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, lost 2-1 to the Soca Warriors. The embarrassing defeat snapped a streak of seven straight World Cup appearances by the Americans and triggered a top-to-bottom overhaul of the men's program, which has operated in the imposing shadow of the powerful U.S. women, seeking their fourth world title in France. There would be no repeat performance by this revamped U.S. team, which is determined to win back global respect. "Every time we step on the field we want to make a statement," said Zardes, who just missed getting a third goal. "We're trying to change the way the world views American soccer." The Americans posted their most lopsided win since beating Honduras 6-0 in a World Cup qualifier on March 24, 2017, when Pulisic, who took over this game in the second half, also scored and had a pair of assists. But while much of the pre-game talk centered on the U.S. getting payback, the Americans insist they've put the past behind them. "For us, we advance to the next round," coach Gregg Berhalter said. "That's important. Our focus was to prepare for this game knowing that if we'd be able to go to the next round. That was the focus of the group. Trinidad was in our way." Not anymore. With the U.S. leading 1-0 on Long's goal in the 41st minute, Zardes scored from right in front shortly after U.S. goalkeeper Zack Steffen made a diving save to stop Trinidad from tying a match the Americans dominated. Michael Bradley chipped the ball from the left side to a charging Nick Lima, who headed the ball to Zardes in front. The American striker only had to guide it by Trinidad keeper Marvin Phillip in the 65th minute. Two minutes later, Zardes buried a hard shot from the left side for his 10th international goal and second two-goal game for the Americans. Zardes nearly completed a hat trick, but his low shot from up top in the 70th minute hit the left upright. Next up for the Americans is a matchup with Panama on Wednesday in Kansas City, Kansas. The Panamanians improved to 2-0 in Group D of the 16-team tournament with a 4-2 win over Guyana, also clinching a quarterfinal berth. On a picture-perfect night along the shores of Lake Erie, the American team controlled possession and tempo while thoroughly outplaying T&T, which was blanked 2-0 by Panama in its opening match and was eliminated. The Soca Warriors were content to sit back and let the U.S. attack, hoping to spring counters. They nearly connected in the 61st minute as Cordell Cato eluded three defenders on the right side and hit teammate Levi Garcia in stride. But Garcia's shot was high and wide, a close call that prompted a collective gasp from the U.S. faithful. "Big moment," Trinidad coach Dennis Lawrence said. "When you get in that position, you have to put that away." Lawrence was upset with how his team collapsed following the U.S. team's second goal. "How can you play so good for 65 minutes and then so awful for the last 25?" he said, repeating his postgame message to his players. "We have to learn to stand up and fight. We lost focus and we paid the price." Berhalter stuck with the same starting lineup he used in the opener over Guyana but gave the captain's arm band to Steffen for the first time. Bradley captained the Americans in the opening 4-0 win over Guyana. Long, who plays in the MLS for the New York Red Bulls, put the U.S. ahead off a beautiful feed from the left side by Pulisic. Shortly after the U.S. was awarded a free kick, the Americans kept pressing and maintained possession in Trinidad's half before Pulisic spotted Long inside the 6-yard-box and delivered an arching pass to the forward, who left his feet, connected and drove the ball past a sprawling Phillip. The score touched off a flag-waving celebration behind the goal by red-white-and blue clad U.S. fans, who have been anxiously awaiting their team's chance at some redemption. After a 20-month wait, they got a little......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 23rd, 2019

Japan hails Hachimura s NBA selection as new era for sport

By Jim Armstrong, Associated Press TOKYO (AP) — Japanese basketball officials, fans and media hailed the selection of Rui Hachimura in the NBA draft, saying the move will usher in a new era for the sport in Japan. Hachimura became the first player from Japan to get chosen in the first round of the NBA draft, taken with the No. 9 overall pick by the rebuilding Washington Wizards on Thursday (Friday, PHL time). "The Birth of the NBA's Hachimura, a huge step for Japan," read the headline in the Nikkansports newspaper's online edition. The 6'8", 235-pound (2.03 meters, 106 kilogram) forward averaged a team-leading 19.7 points and 6.5 rebounds last season as a junior at U.S. college Gonzaga, where he was the West Coast Conference player of the year. The only other Japanese player drafted in NBA history was Yasutaka Okayama, who went 171st overall in 1981. He never appeared in a regular-season game, something just two players from the country have done: Yuta Tabuse for the Phoenix Suns in 2004-05, and Yuta Watanabe for the Memphis Grizzlies in 2018-19. "The fact that Hachimura, a product of the Japanese basketball system, has been selected in the NBA draft makes us very proud," said the Japan Basketball Federation's Yuko Mitsuya. While it has grown in popularity with the introduction of a pro league in 2005, basketball still lags far behind baseball and soccer in Japan. Hachimura's NBA career is sure to help the sport grow in leaps and bounds. The son of a Japanese mother and father from the Republic of Benin, Hachimura is the latest Japanese of mixed race to make a splash in the sporting world following the likes of Naomi Osaka and Yu Darvish. "This is a huge step forward for Japan," said Keisuke Tsutsumi, an office worker who follows the NBA. "It will take the sport to a new level here." Hachimura's junior high school coach Joji Sakamoto welcomed the news of his draft selection. Sakamoto coached Hachimura in his native Toyama Prefecture and said he saw potential in his student from a young age. "I told him to visualize his dream, and now it will be a reality," the 59-year-old Sakamoto said. Japan's education minister Masahiko Shibayama said Hachimura had given hope to a generation of young players in his home country. "It's really wonderful," Shibayama said. "By taking a prominent role in a league that is difficult for Japanese players to enter, he will give hope to many Japanese people." Hachimura's rise couldn't come at a better time with Tokyo building to host the 2020 Olympics. Japan's national men's team has qualified as host country and Hachimura could play a leading role at both the Olympics and the World Cup in China later this year. Wizards interim general manager Tommy Sheppard mentioned the 21-year-old's play for Japan's national team. "For Japan to qualify for the world championships, he's the focal point. And when the (Tokyo) Olympics come in 2020, he's going to be the focal point of that country on that basketball team," Sheppard said. "To be able to shoulder that load at his age — the maturity he has — I think that's going to bode well for him in the NBA.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 22nd, 2019

Press isn t dwelling on past miss against Sweden

By Anne M. Peterson, Associated Press LE HAVRE, France (AP) — A devastating missed penalty kick by Christen Press in a loss at the Olympics could have been the lowest point of her career. Instead, it was a motivator and defining moment for the American forward. "I think when I look back on my career, all the moments that I'm most proud of have come after failure," she said. "That's the easiest one to point at and look at, and look at that clear failure, and then evaluate how I did in responding to it. "I think the strength that it takes to step back up and be courageous and let it go, and to continue to fight for your dreams and not let the outside noise affect what you're doing, I am very proud of that." The missed final penalty kick during a shootout against Sweden in the quarterfinals at the 2016 Rio Olympics helped eliminate the United States and a tearful Press was consoled by her teammates. It was the earliest Olympic exit for the Americans. As the United States prepared to face Sweden on Thursday at the Women's World Cup, Press said she's only watched pieces of that match. The Swedes — led then by former U.S. coach Pia Sundhage — bunkered in on defense against the Americans. Tied after three rounds in the shootout, Sweden captain Caroline Seger got past U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo before Press sailed the Americans' fifth penalty kick over the crossbar. Lisa Dahlkvist wrong-footed Solo to give Sweden the 4-3 shootout victory. Solo infamously called the Swedes "a bunch of cowards" after in alleging they played a defensive match to choke the Americans' chances. The rematch between the two teams is a highlight of four Thursday games in France, but the United States is not interested in dwelling on that defeat as it attempts to win a second consecutive Cup. "I think players and coaches are not focused on what was, we're focused on what will be," coach Jill Ellis said. "That's really where you have to be. You've got to look forward. That's the past." Press played for clubs in Sweden for two years from 2012-14 and again in 2018 between stints in the National Women's Soccer League. She came off the bench in the 13-0 rout of Thailand in the opener, but Press got the start as part of seven lineup changes for the 3-0 victory over Chile on Sunday. The United States has played Sweden six times in the group stage at the World Cup, including a 0-0 draw four years ago in Canada. The only meeting since the Olympics was a 1-0 U.S. win in a 2017 friendly at Goteborg. Press, playing in her second World Cup, admitted Thursday there might be a bit of revenge at play. "Despite the fact that it's been three years, you don't forget the taste in your mouth when you fail and when you lose in a world championship," Press said. "And I think there's a little bit of that that will definitely act as motivation.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 20th, 2019

Boxing: Aston Palicte comes up short in WBO world title bid

Filipino boxer Aston "Mighty" Palicte came up short in his second bid at the WBO Super Flyweight World Championship, getting stopped by Japan's Kazuto Ioka at the Makuhari Messe in Chiba, Japan.  Palicte was off to a strong start, but the hometown bet rallied back midway through the bout.  From the 6th round onwards, it was all Ioka as the Japanese star took over.  Ioka tee'd off on the Pinoy pug in the 10th round before the official called a stop to the bout.  Ioka, who makes good on his second attempt at the WBO's 115-pound strap, makes history as the first Japanese male boxer to capture a world title in four weight divisions. He improves to 24-2 in his career with 14 wins via KO.  Palicte, who battled Donnie Nietes to a Split Draw for the same WBO title back in 2018, drops to 25-3. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 19th, 2019

France detains soccer great Platini in 2022 World Cup probe

By John Leicester and Samuel Petrequin, Associated Press PARIS (AP) — French police investigating whether corruption played a role in the stunning decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar took 1980s soccer superstar and former top executive Michel Platini into custody Tuesday for questioning. Platini's representatives denied any wrongdoing on his part, saying he is "absolutely confident in the future" and has "strictly nothing to reproach himself for." Also questioned Tuesday were two one-time associates of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, adding a layer of political intrigue to the investigation of the hugely controversial decision to hold soccer's showcase tournament in a desert country so scorching hot in June and July that the matches will be played instead in November and December. As head of European soccer's governing body UEFA, Platini was the continent's top representative on the FIFA committee that picked Qatar in 2010. The closed-door, secret-ballot vote baffled many at the time, not least because the Persian Gulf nation has no soccer pedigree to speak of. But gas-rich Qatar is pouring billions into the world's most popular sport and has the means to finance new stadiums. Platini, 63, was taken into custody after being summoned to a French police anti-corruption and financial crimes office outside Paris, a judicial official told The Associated Press, confirming a report by online publication Mediapart. The official was not authorized to discuss the investigation and spoke on condition of anonymity. French authorities did not announce any charges against the soccer legend or say exactly what he was being asked. He can be held for questioning for up to 48 hours, after which he can be either released or formally charged. It was the latest turn in a string of scandals in recent years that have brought down dozens of soccer officials from FIFA and other organizations over such offenses as vote-buying, kickbacks and bribery. French prosecutors are known to be investigating an array of winning bids for major sports events, including the 2018 World Cup, awarded to Russia, the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo and track and field world championships. Qatar beat the long-favored United States 14-8 when FIFA selected the host country for the 2022 World Cup. Former FIFA President Sepp Blatter, who presided over the vote, has accused Platini of backing out of a secret "gentleman's agreement" to award the tournament to the United States after meeting with Sarkozy, France's president at the time. Platini's representatives said he was taken into custody only for "technical reasons." His lawyer, William Bourdon, explained that police wanted to ensure that Platini and other witnesses couldn't confer with each other about their accounts. Also detained Tuesday was Sophie Dion, a former sports adviser in Sarkozy's administration, the judicial official said. She was released late in the evening. Claude Gueant, former secretary general of the Elysee presidential palace under Sarkozy, was questioned as a witness and not detained. French prosecutors previously questioned Blatter. Ahead of the FIFA vote, Sarkozy hosted a meeting in November 2010 that brought Platini together with Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, then the crown prince of Qatar and now its ruling emir. Al-Thani also owns the French soccer club Paris Saint-Germain, and Sarkozy frequently attends its games. Platini has long insisted that the meeting did not influence his vote for Qatar less than two weeks later. "Sarkozy never asked me to vote for Qatar, but I knew what would be good," he told the AP in 2015. But in the same interview, he also said that he "might have told" American officials earlier that he was going to vote for the United States' bid. Blatter quoted Platini as saying ahead of the vote: "I am no longer in your picture because I have been told by the head of state that we should consider the situation of France." FIFA had no comment on Platini's detention and said it has made a "full commitment to cooperating with the authorities." As a player, Platini was one of the best ever, a creative midfielder who lit up the pitch for club and country. He helped France reach the World Cup semifinals in 1982 and 1986 and led his national team to the 1984 European Championship title. He also played club soccer for Nancy and Saint-Etienne before switching to Italian club Juventus. He won three straight Ballon d'Or titles as the best player in Europe while playing for Juventus from 1983 to 1985. Both Platini and Blatter were toppled from their positions at the top of soccer in 2015. Platini was banned by FIFA for financial misconduct in connection with a $2 million payment authorized by Blatter — a suspension set to expire in October. ___ AP Global Soccer Writer Rob Harris in Nice, France, and AP Sports Writer Graham Dunbar in Geneva contributed......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 19th, 2019

Former FIFA head Blatter: Sarkozy meeting key to Qatar vote

By Graham Dunbar, Associated Press GENEVA (AP) — Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter says the arrest of soccer great Michel Platini as part of a French corruption probe lends weight to his version of how the United States lost the 2022 World Cup vote to Qatar. Blatter told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he has insisted for years that the result of the 2010 vote was swayed by a meeting in Paris two weeks earlier involving then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Platini and Qatar's future Emir. Blatter spoke hours after Platini, the former France midfielder who was the UEFA president at the time of the vote, was detained in Paris on Tuesday by French authorities who also questioned two former Sarkozy aides. "It's all detailed — what I always said," Blatter told the AP in a telephone interview from Zurich, citing the twobooks he has published since being banned by FIFA. Qatar beat the long-favored U.S. 14-8 in a final round of voting by a since-discredited FIFA executive committee. Most of the voters have since been banned by FIFA — including Blatter and Platini — indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice, or implicated elsewhere in financial wrongdoing. Two weeks ahead of the vote in Zurich, Platini had been hosted by Sarkozy at the French presidential residence, and met senior Qatari officials including then-crown prince Sheikh Tamim. According to Blatter, that Élysée Palace lunch changed the course of FIFA's plan to award the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 edition to the U.S. on the same day. "Platini phoned me and said, 'Listen, president, our gentlemen's agreement which we have made inside the FIFA executive committee will have difficulties to work,'" Blatter said Tuesday. In Blatter's version, Platini — who in 2015 acknowledged switching sides — and three other voters from European soccer body UEFA changed their planned American support. "It was four votes which have disappeared," he said. "If you change the four votes then the winner will be the USA." Platini has long insisted that the meeting did not influence his vote for Qatar less than two weeks later. "Sarkozy never asked me to vote for Qatar, but I knew what would be good," he told the AP in 2015. But, in the same interview, he also said that he "might have told" American officials earlier that he was going to vote for the United States' bid. On Tuesday, Platini's representatives denied any wrongdoing on his part, saying he is "absolutely confident in the future" and has "strictly nothing to reproach himself for." The 83-year-old Blatter, who is serving a six-year ban by the FIFA ethics committee, was interviewed as a potential witness by French investigators in Zurich in April 2017. On a day of intrigue for Blatter, the attorney general for Switzerland was recused from overseeing a sweeping criminal investigation of FIFA officials. The Swiss, French and American cases have shared information and evidence over the past five years, since the Blatter-led FIFA filed a complaint in 2014 about suspected money laundering in the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding contests. Now, Switzerland's federal criminal court removed attorney general Michael Lauber from his department's case because of undeclared meetings with current FIFA president Gianni Infantino. The federal court says it upheld requests by two claimants it did not identify. "Now I get part of my trust and confidence in the Swiss justice back," said Blatter, who has been a criminal suspect since September 2015 but never charged. He denies wrongdoing in a case which ended his 18-year FIFA presidency, and asked Tuesday: "Why the hell is not all over yet?" Criminal proceedings against Blatter are among at least 25 opened by Lauber's federal prosecution team in the wider soccer probe. Lauber's job has been at risk since two 2016 meetings with Infantino were revealed last November in the Football Leaks series publishing confidential emails and documents from the soccer industry. A disciplinary case was opened against Lauber last month when an undeclared third meeting with Infantino in Bern in June 2017 was revealed. "This is an old story," Blatter said of the investigations against him, adding he is recovering from knee replacement surgery four weeks ago. "I do hope that the Lord will give me enough time to live and to have a look at the end of this story.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 19th, 2019

Belmont Hotel Boracay at Boracay Newcoast soon to open

A haven of white sands and crystal-clear waters After six months of rehabilitation in 2018, the Philippines’ most famous tourist destination is once again open to the world. The pristine beauty of the white sands and crystal-clear waters of Boracay Island has been restored, and now the area is expected to reclaim its throne as […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  bworldonlineRelated NewsJun 18th, 2019