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Raptors on brink of first Finals berth in franchise history

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com TORONTO -- Twenty-one would be a very cool number for the Toronto Raptors. Before they get it, though, they’ll need to get one. And one would be beyond cool. Off the charts, historic, potentially transformative and largely indescribable. Twenty-one: That’s how many teams in NBA playoff history will have overcome an 0-2 start to win a best-of-seven series, if the Raptors manage to close out the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference finals. Whether it happens in Game 6 Saturday night (Sunday, PHL time) at Scotiabank Arena or in Game 7 back in Milwaukee Monday (Tuesday, PHL time), Toronto would buck outlandish odds -- this is the 289th series to begin with the same team winning the first two games, so we’re talking a seven percent likelihood (20-of-288). [Watch the Playoffs on NBA League Pass for 30% less with this limited time offer! Select Annual package and use code SAVE30 at checkout to redeem] One: That’s all that stands between the Raptors and the first NBA Final appearance in Toronto franchise history. One more victory in the next three days would validate the risks and twists of this 2018-19 season for the Raptors, while exorcising nearly a quarter century’s worth of demons. One little win and Toronto finally will break through, capping a stellar six-year run of promising regular seasons and heartbreaking postseasons. They will have earned, in the face of so much uncertainty, their best shot yet at a championship, even if it means going through the mighty Golden State Warriors. When Raptors president Masai Ujiri traded for star forward Kawhi Leonard, he was gambling not just that Leonard could recover from the right quadriceps injury that scuttled his 2017-18. He was guessing that swapping in Leonard for former All-Star wing DeMar DeRozan could push Toronto to, well, right where they’re at. And he was hoping Leonard, a rent-a-player able to leave this summer in free agency, would enjoy the whole experience enough to let Ujiri pay him $220 million over the next five seasons. It’s impossible to know where things stand on that last front, owing to Leonard’s inscrutability and a decision that’s still six weeks away. But the Raptors never have gotten this far, so there is an opportunity here to be savored, with more potentially to come. “It would be a very, very long summer thinking about what could have been or what you could have done,” guard Fred VanVleet said, framing things a bit negatively after raining 7-of-9 three-pointers on Milwaukee in the 105-99 Game 5 victory. “So we've just got to go out there and have no regrets. … One win away from the Finals sounds pretty good to me.” Sounds a little easier, maybe, than it actually will be. The Raptors are at home for Game 6 and the crowd at Scotiabank crowd, already dialed high, will be able to let it rip without any fear -- immediate fear, anyway -- of failure. But Milwaukee will be desperate. Giannis Antetokounmpo has pledged that his team will not “fold.” And the Bucks have zero interest in a knock-knock year, believing all season that they were good enough to reach and win the championship. They wouldn’t be human if they weren’t shaken by the three consecutive defeats Toronto has dealt them. The Raptors have managed to surround and partially stifle Antetokounmpo, while still firing out enough to bother Milwaukee’s three-point shooters into repeated misfires. The Bucks’ defense has been probed and poked like a cut-rate steak. They resorted again to some uncharacteristic switching in Game 5 but had most of their success inside the arc. Late in the pivotal loss, they got beat for five offensive rebounds, when grabbing two or three might have swung the outcome. “It's win or lose,” coach Mike Budenholzer said Friday (Saturday, PHL time) in a conference call with reporters. “When you win, there are things that [still] are concerning and unsettling that you need to work on and improve. I think there's just enough possessions where there's a couple of rebounds that stand out. “Can we do a little bit better job in some of our activity in certain situations. Offensively, I think at times can our spacing be better and our ball movement be better? But I would say it's like a lot of games. We didn't get it done.” One area in which Budenholzer refuses to budge, dire circumstances be darned, is in his use vs. overuse of Antetokounmpo. The load the Greek Freak carries when he’s on the floor, the activity he generates, leads to fatigue and wear-and-tear that requires regular breathers. Extending his star’s minutes, Budenholzer believes, would lead to less “peak Giannis” rather than more, an inevitable tradeoff of quality over quantity. And the Bucks need every bit of Antetokounmpo’s best, or what’s left of it in their 97th game of the season. “Giannis, it's so impressive what he does and how important he is,” Budenholzer said. “I maintain that him getting appropriate rest, appropriate kind of just a chance to catch his breath, refuel… At the end of the day, you need to be able to produce and perform, including in the fourth quarter.” At the possible end of your season, though, you’ll have plenty of time to refuel if the opponent pounces while your star sits. Said Raptors coach Nick Nurse, in his own teleconference: “It's a ‘whatever it takes’ game. It's an unlimited-minutes night. This is just like any other critical must-win game.” 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 News19 hr. 39 min. ago

Debt-to-GDP ratio up 44% on domestic borrowings

DOMESTIC borrowings made by the national government pushed the Philippines’ debt-to-gross domestic product (GDP) ratio higher at end-March, the Department of Finance (DoF) reported on Thursday. National government debt as…READ The post Debt-to-GDP ratio up 44% on domestic borrowings appeared first on The Manila Times Online......»»

Category: newsSource:  manilatimes_netRelated NewsMay 24th, 2019

Debt-to-GDP ratio rises to 44% in Q1

The proportion of the national government’s debt to economic output rose to 44 percent in the first quarter of the year due to the increase in domestic borrowings, the Department of Finance (DOF) said yesterday......»»

Category: financeSource:  philstarRelated NewsMay 24th, 2019

Local borrowings push debt-to-GDP ratio up 

DOMESTIC borrowings by the national government pushed the country’s debt-to-gross domestic product ratio higher at end-March, the Department of Finance (DoF) reported on Thursday. National government’s debt as a percentage of…READ The post Local borrowings push debt-to-GDP ratio up  appeared first on The Manila Times Online......»»

Category: newsSource:  manilatimes_netRelated NewsMay 23rd, 2019

Sun Life maintains 2019 GDP growth forecast

Sun Life of Canada (Philippines) Inc. maintained its 2019 gross domestic product (GDP) growth forecast at 6.4 percent despite lower-than-expected growth figures in the first quarter, on the back of higher private consumption and the rebound in government spending in the second half......»»

Category: financeSource:  philstarRelated NewsMay 23rd, 2019

MIAA remits record high P3.42-billion dividends for 2018

The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) has remitted an all-time high of P3.42 billion in dividends to the national government for 2018, the agency send in a statement......»»

Category: financeSource:  philstarRelated NewsMay 22nd, 2019

MIAA remittance up 50% in 2018

The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) saw a solid fiscal performance last year as it remitted a record P3.42 billion in dividends to the national government. In a statement on…READ The post MIAA remittance up 50% in 2018 appeared first on The Manila Times Online......»»

Category: newsSource:  manilatimes_netRelated NewsMay 21st, 2019

MIAA remits P3.4B to national government

THE Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) said it remitted P3.42 billion in dividends to the national government in 2018, fueled by the higher number of flights, passengers and additional concessions it had last year......»»

Category: financeSource:  bworldonlineRelated NewsMay 21st, 2019

MIAA records its ‘highest’ remittance to national coffers at P3.42B in 2018

THE Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) has remitted P3.42 billion in dividends to the national government following its “record-breaking” fiscal performance in 2018, the MIAA said on Tuesday. “Last year’s…READ The post MIAA records its ‘highest’ remittance to national coffers at P3.42B in 2018 appeared first on The Manila Times Online......»»

Category: newsSource:  manilatimes_netRelated NewsMay 21st, 2019

LandBank income up 12% in Q1

GOVERNMENT-OWNED Land Bank of the Philippines’ (LandBank) net income grew by 12 percent to P4.75 billion in the first quarter from P4.26 billion in the same period last year. In…READ The post LandBank income up 12% in Q1 appeared first on The Manila Times Online......»»

Category: newsSource:  manilatimes_netRelated NewsMay 20th, 2019

DBM end-April releases slowed to P1.323T amid reenacted budget woes

The Department of Budget and Management has released only P1.323 trillion in funds during the first four months as the government operated under a reenacted 2018 national budget at the start of the ye.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philippinetimesRelated NewsMay 16th, 2019

PPA says strong port activity helped it generate P9.41 billion

THE Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) said it remitted a total of P9.41 billion in dividends and taxes to the national government in 2018, a record remittance fueled by strong revenue growth during the year......»»

Category: newsSource:  bworldonlineRelated NewsMay 16th, 2019

DBM releases P1.3 trillion during Congressional budget impasse

THE Department of Budget and management (DBM) said it released P1.323 trillion in the four months to April while the government was operating mostly under a re-enacted 2018 budget, including a record unprogrammed release for transportation projects......»»

Category: newsSource:  bworldonlineRelated NewsMay 16th, 2019

Lopez sticks to the Bucks plan, and it s more fun for everyone

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com MILWAUKEE — Come for the three-point melodrama, stay for the rim protection, the put-backs, the block-outs and the blocked shots. Come for the anguish and frustration that plays out across Brook Lopez’s face over the course of a typical NBA game, stay for the maniacal, jubilant, fourth-quarter clapping that gets turned into a GIF and goes viral within minutes. Brook Lopez clapping violently dot gif pic.twitter.com/a22arVkUSc — CJ Fogler (@cjzero) May 16, 2019 Come for the unbuttoned Fresno Grizzlies minor league baseball jersey, stay for the Disney fashion T-shirt showing beneath it and the Pizza Planet cap up top. “I’ve always tried to have fun when I go out and play basketball,” said Lopez. The Milwaukee Bucks’ center embodied his team’s performance as they clawed back Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals, beating the Toronto Raptors, 108-100, Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time) at Fiserv Forum. [Watch the Playoffs on NBA League Pass for 30% less with this limited time offer! Select Annual package and use code SAVE30 at checkout to redeem] “I obviously love playing the game,” said Lopez, dressed like a 7-foot 10-year-old for his podium appearance. “But no question I’ve been having a great time here.” Lopez, 31, scored 29 points, a personal playoff best, and grabbed 11 rebounds. It was his first 20-point night of the Bucks’ 10 playoff games so far, only the fourth of his career (he has appeared in just 23 postseason games in 11 seasons). And it came on the heels of a Game 5 effort against Boston a week ago in which Lopez was held scoreless. Milwaukee clinched anyway. This one was an ordeal for Lopez and for the Bucks, an opener in the best-of-seven series in which they slogged through three quarters without much touch or rhythm. The style of play they’ve embraced over 82 games and the past month of postseason was betraying them; Milwaukee kept hoisting and missing three-pointers, as single-mindedly in spite of horrid results as if they all wore beards and played for Houston. The resulting nastiness: A 6-for-34 (17.6 percent) showing from the arc, while digging an 83-76 hole that maxed out at 13 points. Lopez was a notable offender. He missed his first three from deep and only broke through midway through the second quarter. His shot from out front that got the Bucks within 42-37 was followed by a reaction of one part frustration, one part exasperation and a couple parts relief. That’s the wide open space of Lopez’s game, out there on the wing or in the corner launching for all the world to see. Home fans seem to live and die on each attempt, riding an emotional rollercoaster while – on nights such as this one – they wait for his results to regress to the mean. That finally happened in the fourth quarter. Lopez – who shot a total of 31 three-pointers in his first eight seasons, 300-plus in each of the next two and ultimately 512 in 2018-19 with the Bucks – hit two to get his team going in the quarter. His third in the period, one possession after Lopez finished a slo-mo fast-break for a 101-100 lead, sent Toronto into a timeout, down four with 1:55 left. That was when Lopez came with the clapping. And when play resumed, there was Lopez again, getting a hand on Kawhi Leonard’s attempt to attack the rim, stripping and corralling the ball for a block and rebound. As good as Kyle Lowry was over the final 12 minutes, as potent as the Raptors’ offense was at certain points earlier, they were done scoring for the night. Lopez did the small stuff all night, even finishing off the dribble a couple times. It’s just that, by virtue of how he and the Bucks have played this season, those things get overshadowed by the broad strokes that didn’t go his way until late. “This is the Brook we all know and we all love,” said Giannis Antetokounmpo. Said Khris Middleton: “He’s a beast. Inside the paint, made some big plays for us. On the defensive end, he covers up so much for our mistakes.” The Bucks’ adherence to what works has been tested for quarters, for halves, but so far only for one whole game in these playoffs – they dropped the opener against Boston. Milwaukee won the next four in a row to oust the Celtics. In the dressing room afterward, there was chatter that they’d snatched one away, that they couldn't have played worse – at least on offense. In that fourth quarter, outscoring Toronto 32-17, Milwaukee made up for a multitude of sins. The Bucks hit 50 percent of their shots, missed only 1-of-10 free throws and dominated the boards (14-4) to finish with a 60-45 edge. The Raptors were held to 5-of-22 shooting in the quarter. And Lopez, dragging a minus-5 plus/minus rating through three quarters, was sitting on a plus-7 by the horn. The key? Absolutely faith in the style they’ve honed since late September, and a commitment to letting it fly. Whether we’re talking about a conscienceless approach to three-pointers or Lopez’s irrepressible good nature. He has made as many as eight three-pointers in a game this season (at Denver, Nov. 12, PHL time) and attempted as many as 15 (vs. Brooklyn, Dec. 30, PHL time). There is no such thing as too many. “That’s what my teammates have been telling me,” Lopez said. “George Hill specifically and then [Giannis], too. They just stick in my mind: ‘Keep shooting the ball, you just need one to go down. Keep letting it fly.” 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 NewsMay 16th, 2019

Pagcor remits record P16.17 B dividends

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) said yesterday it has remitted P16.17 billion in dividends to the national government for the year 2018, the highest ever given by the state-run firm since 2011......»»

Category: financeSource:  philstarRelated NewsMay 15th, 2019

Philippine GDP growth drops to 4-year low in Q1 2019

Philippine GDP growth drops to 4-year low in Q1 2019 Rappler (3rd UPDATE) The Philippines posts only 5.6% growth in the 1st quarter of 2019, as the government's infrastructure projects hit pause.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philippinetimesRelated NewsMay 14th, 2019

Low growth, high taxes as election issue

In election years, the Philippines’ GDP growth rate is always above 6.5% – except in 2001 (terrorist attack in the US, Gloria Arroyo anemic growth) and 2019. Philippines’ growth trajectory is on a downhill: 6.9% in 2016, 6.7% in 2017, 6.2% in 2018, and only 5.6% in the first quarter of 2019. Growth deceleration since Dutertenomics was invented is further confirmed......»»

Category: financeSource:  bworldonlineRelated NewsMay 12th, 2019

TRAIN revenues exceed 2018 goal

Additional revenues generated from the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law in 2018 exceeded the target by 8.1 percent even as the government gave away P117 billion in personal income tax cuts, the Department of Finance reported......»»

Category: financeSource:  philstarRelated NewsMay 10th, 2019

Philippines raises €750 million debt from Euro bond issue

The Philippine government said Friday it managed to raise €750 million (P44 billion) of debt from the sale of eight-year Euro-denominated bonds, which marked the Southeast Asian nation’s return to the European capital markets after more than a decade. .....»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsMay 10th, 2019

Budget delay drags down Q1 GDP growth to 5.6%

The domestic economy grew at a slower-than-expected pace in the first quarter of 2019 as the delay in the passage of the national budget stalled government spending during the period, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said yesterday......»»

Category: financeSource:  philstarRelated NewsMay 9th, 2019