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Has Ateneo found its mojo in Game 2?

The Ateneo Lady Eagles finally showed up in the UAAP women’s volleyball finals ,winning Game Two in four sets (26-24, 14-25, 25-21, 25-15) to set up a winner-take-all Game Three Saturday......»»

Category: sportsSource: philstar philstarMay 16th, 2019

Kawhi Leonard s improved playmaking has Raptors on cusp of Finals

By John Schuhmann, NBA.com MILWAUKEE -- At some point in the regular season, Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse had a feeling that his team's best player would be even better in the playoffs. "He seemed to cruise to 30 points a lot of nights," Nurse said of Kawhi Leonard. "Thirty is a lot in this league, and that's why I kept saying, 'Geez, it just feels like there's another gear here with this guy that we're going to see.'" [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] Leonard acknowledged as much in early March. "There's 82 games and for me, these are just practices," he said, "and playoffs is when it's time to lace them up." Nurse's reaction when he heard that? "Now we're talking." Indeed, Leonard has taken things to another level in this postseason, playing big minutes, making huge shots, and defending at an elite level. But Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals brought something new. Leonard scored 35 points in the biggest win in Toronto Raptors franchise history, a 105-99 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks that gave the two-seed a 3-2 series lead with Game 6 in Toronto on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). Fifteen of those 35 points, including two huge step-back three-pointers over the seven-foot-tall Brook Lopez, came in the fourth quarter. That wasn't the new part. This was Leonard's seventh game of 35 or more points in this postseason. And you might recall a couple of big fourth-quarter shots over a seven-footer in the last series. Leonard also played smothering defense on Giannis Antetokounmpo. That wasn't new either. Since Game 3, Leonard, with plenty of help from his teammates, has made the presumed MVP look somewhat mortal. The new part was the number "9" in the assists column. In 570 career games (regular season and playoffs combined) prior to Thursday, Leonard had never recorded as many as nine assists. That he did it in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals on the road and against the league's No. 1 defense says a lot about Leonard as a big-game star. That, given his star status, he had never had nine assists before just as much about his history as a playmaker. Leonard may be the most complete player in the game right now, but his passing can still get better. It doesn't come naturally to him. In regard to making his teammates better, Leonard is certainly not LeBron James. And you can even say that Antetokounmpo, still emerging as a superstar himself, has been better at reading the defense and finding open shooters. In the regular season, Leonard recorded assists on just 12.2 percent of his possessions, the fifth lowest rate among 35 players with a usage rate of 25 percent or higher. And his assist rate has actually been lower (11.7 percent) in the playoffs. But over the last two series, Leonard has been the focus of the Philadelphia and Milwaukee defenses. At times, he has tried to score through multiple defenders. And often, because his teammates weren't willing or able to do much offensively themselves and because he was scoring so efficiently, he was probably right to force things. Leonard forced little on Thursday (Friday, PHL time). He drove into the teeth of the Bucks' defense, saw where the help was coming from, and made the right play. "We keep stressing that in this series and in the last series, too," Nurse said. "When you've drawn two, you've done your job. You've got to find the guy who's open." And on the 22 possessions in which he drove, the Raptors scored 29 points, 10 from Leonard himself and 19 from his teammates. "Pretty much try to stay with a consistent mindset throughout the whole game," Leonard said of his performance. "Just trying to read the defense throughout the entire game, see what's working." It was all working, whether it was Leonard calling his own number or making plays for others. And it certainly helps that the others have seemingly found their mojo. Fred VanVleet, who shot 6-for-42 over a nine-game stretch from Game 2 of the conference semis through Game 3 of this series, is a 63 percent shooter (10-for-12 from three-point range) when he has more than one child. All of Leonard's nine assists in Game 5 were on three-pointers - so he accounted for 62 (59 percent) of the Raptors' 105 points via his own points and assists - and four of them were to the dad who hasn't slept much since Fred Jr. was born on Monday. "Any time he chooses to get the rest of us involved," VanVleet said of Leonard, "it's going to bode well for our offense. The rest of us just got to be ready to step up and knock them down." VanVleet had both the biggest shot of the night - a three from the right wing off a Leonard kick-out that broke a 93-93 tie with 2:19 to go - and the quote of the night when asked about his formula for success: "Zero sleep, have a lot of babies, and go out there and let loose." The Raptors' offense has been the biggest key to this series, because Toronto's defense, when it has been set, has been tremendous. They've kept Antetokounmpo from getting all the way to the basket, and they've been able to recover out to and contest the Bucks' shooters. While the Raptors scored 1.32 points per possession when Leonard drove in Game 5, the Bucks scored at a rate less than half of that (0.57, 12 points on 21 possessions) when Antetokounmpo drove. "We've got to play good offense," Nurse said, "not turn it over and score the basketball, because if you don't, they're getting what they want, which is downhill basketball in a hurry. If we can score it, if we can take care of it, we can get our defense set up, for the most part we get down and guard them and make the shots a lot tougher." Just six days ago, the Raptors were a possession away from falling into an 0-3 hole, one that no team in NBA history has ever come back from. Now, they've won three straight games against the team that hadn't lost three straight all season. After scoring less than a point per possession over the first two games of this series, the Raptors have scored 110.3 per 100 over the last three. The defense feeds off of the offense. And the offense feeds off of the star that keeps taking things to a new level. "I'm not afraid of the moment," Leonard said. "I enjoy it." The Kawhi Leonard that we saw in Games 1-4 against Philadelphia (when he averaged 38.0 points on 62 percent shooting) was a preposterously efficient scorer, good enough to keep his team even in the second round. The Kawhi Leonard that we saw on Thursday (Friday, PHL time) has his team playing even better ... and just one win from the NBA Finals. John Schuhmann is a senior stats analyst for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 24th, 2019

UAAP 81 Volleyball: Everything was worth the wait for Deanna Wong

Deanna Wong can now call herself a UAAP champion.  The fourth-year playmaker helped the Ateneo Lady Eagles to their first UAAP Women's Volleyball Championship since Season 77 with a 2-1 Finals Series win over the very game University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses, led by season MVP Sisi Rondina.  The championship capped off an impressive season for the Lady Eagles, but it was not without its hurdles, as they found themselves in three do-or-die matches throughout course of the semifinals and the finals.  But of course, the victory is made sweeter because of the challenges along the way, and for Wong, the championship made the last four years of hard work and sacrifice all worth it.  "Everything is worth the wait lang talaga," Wong told ABS-CBN Sports. "This has been a very long and very hard journey for me, personally." Wong became Ateneo's lead setter in UAAP Season 80, following the departure of two-time champion and former Best Setter Jia Morado after Season 79.  [RELATED: Morado sees Wong as Lady Eagles' leader in Season 82] While her first season as the Lady Eagles' primary playmaker ended in heartbreak after getting booted out in the semifinals by FEU, Wong and Ateneo bounced back with a vengeance in Season 81, finishing the the best record in the league and ultimately, the title.  "Sa dami ng pinagdaanan ko, sobrang hirap, mahirap talaga, and I think, sobrang overwhelming lang and nakuha namin yung goal namin, and it was my first championship in the UAAP, it’s really great," she continued.  Now, even days after helping steer the Lady Eagles back to the summit of UAAP Women's Volleyball, Wong admits that it has yet to sink in.   "Parang hindi ko parin mapaniwalaan eh, kasi after four years of being in college, ngayon ko lang naranasan talaga," Wong said with a wide smile on her face. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 22nd, 2019

UAAP Season 81 Finals: Masaya ang mga dilawan -- UST coach Reyes

No political reference here. University of Sto. Tomas head coach Kungfu Reyes was just too happy not only for his Tigresses, who moved just a win away from the coveted crown, but also for the community that supported their squad. Yup, for those yellow-clad supporters of the Espana-based squad.       “Masaya ang mga dilawan ngayon kasi panahon ng UST,” said Reyes during the live postgame interview with S+A panel Anton Roxas and Noreen Go after the Tigresses swept Ateneo de Manila University, 25-17, 25-16-, 25-20, on Saturday in Game 1 of the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball best-of-three Finals series at the Big Dome.        “No, no! Kaya dilaw kasi UST naman kami mga dilaw naman kami,” added Reyes as the press room burst into laughter. The Tigresses stepped closer to reclaiming the throne it last held back in Season 72. Game 2 of the Finals is on Wednesday at the MOA Arena. “Di lang naman kaming mga coaches at players pero pati UST community naging masaya sa outcome ng laro,” said Reyes. UST came in well-prepared, as they found a way to pry open the vaunted net defense of the much taller Lady Eagles. The Tigresses behind Season Most Valuable Player Sisi Rondina and Rookie of the Year Eya Laure found their mark as Ateneo crumbled on their feet. “Pinag-aralan namin kung saan kami pwedeng lumusot kay Ateneo kasi considering na sila ‘yung no. 1 blocking team sa tournament natin,” said Reyes. “Gumagawa lang rin kami ng paraan para, ano naman din siguro kakayanin naman namin kasi kami naman ang No. 1 scoring team dun sa league.” The Espana-based squad, who before the match was on a 15-game losing streak to the Lady Eagles since Season 74 semis, rained down 46 attack points, outgunning Ateneo’s 24.   “I have the first two best spikers sa league so malaking bagay,” said Reyes referring to Rondina and Laure, who scored 23 and 11 points, respectively. Reyes also praised his teams har work to follow their game plan to the tee. “Kung paano na lang namin ika-counter yung atake namin sa kanila dahil yung depensa nila dun kami nagbibigay din ng extra time para ma-counter namin kung gaano sila kagaling mag-block, kung paano kami makakakuha ng second chance point,” he said. Truly the ‘dilawans’ were happy on Saturday. The Tigresses now look forward to make the sea of yellow happier.           --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 11th, 2019

Coach O takes time to tell UE it also deserves to be in UAAP F4

Ateneo de Manila University took no time in dispatching University of the East, Sunday at Filoil Flying V Centre. The Lady Eagles blanked the Lady Warriors and needed just a little under an hour and a half to formalize its place as the playoffs top-seed. Post-game, though, blue and white head coach Oliver Almadro lingered longer than usual in the opposite side. Asked about it afterward, he answered, "We want to give credit sa UE. Na-push talaga kami forward." Graduating Lady Warriors with a little heart-to-heart with Coach O ???? #UAAPSeason81Volleyball pic.twitter.com/iY3RWdBO5R — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) Abril 28, 2019 Super touching gesture from @kowchO commending the graduating players of the UE Lady Warriors! Medyo naluha ako pagkatapos. Grabe. #UAAPSeason81Volleyball pic.twitter.com/xovcfBgxhH — Cleverlyn Mayuga (@clevmayuga) Abril 28, 2019 Indeed, Coach O's girls may have won in straight sets, but their opponents still put up a fight. In particular, in the second, Ateneo found itself down by three, 21-24, until Maddie Madayag and Kat Tolentino connived in a 6-1 blitz to steal the set. That was more than enough to prove that, indeed, UE was better than its 3-11 win-loss record. "I've been telling my players that we have to respect their players. [Laizah] Bendong is most likely a candidate for Best Setter, Kath Arado is a candidate for Best Digger and Best Receiver, [Judith] Abil is no. 5 sa scoring, then si [Mean] Mendrez is no. 7 sa scoring," Coach O said. He then continued, "They are in the top spots, individually, and the coaching staff is doing very well. That's why I told them they pushed us forward; they really pushed us." Up against the league-leaders, Mendrez had 12 points, Abil had 11 markers, Arado had 28 excellent digs and 12 excellent receptions, and Bendong had nine excellent sets. And for that, the Lady Eagles believe that, if only there was a way, the Lady Warriors have all the right to have their campaign go just a little longer. "They deserve also to be in the Final Four. Kung pwedeng lahat yang eight na yan, may slots sa Final Four e," Coach O said. He then continued, "But UE, they're also deserving." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 28th, 2019

Bullpups shut down Jr. Archers anew for share of first

strong>TEAM STANDINGS /strong> br /> Adamson 8-1 br /> NU 8-1 br /> FEU-Diliman 7-2 br /> Ateneo 5-4 br /> UPIS 3-6 br /> DLSZ 2-7 br /> UST 2-7 br /> UE 1-8 For the second time in a row in the UAAP 79 Juniors Basketball Tournament, John Lloyd Clemente and Rhayyan Amsali were missing their shooting stroke. Also for the second time in a row, however, the Nazareth School of National University’s other guys showed the way to victory. This time around, it was Winderlich Coyoca and Karl Penano who did the heavy lifting as the Bullpups re-asserted their mastery over De La Salle Zobel, 63-52, at the San Juan Arena, Tuesday. With Clemente only making good on one out of his dozen attempts and Amsali falling short in making his presence felt, the defending champions found themselves in a close contest with their runners-up from a year ago. The Junior Archers were only behind by three after three quarters only to see NU tighten the noose on defense and only allow nine points in the final frame. At the other end, Coyoca and Penano scored six points apiece to outscore their opponents by themselves, 12-9. Coyoca, a revelation at the offensive end this season, wound up with 12 points and eight rebounds while Penano added 12 markers of his own off the bench. This more than made up for the continued struggles of Clemente and Amsali who only combined for 14 points and 14 rebounds. Even with their top guns misfiring, the Bullpups had more than enough to register their eighth win in nine games – tying season-long league-leaders Adamson High School atop the leaderboard. On the other hand, DLSZ dropped to 2-7 and finds itself in graver danger of missing the playoffs a year after its runner-up finish. Meanwhile, Far Eastern University-Diliman remained entrenched at third after making quick work of University of the East, 94-51. Seldom-used Karl Baclay topped the scoring column with 15 points as the Baby Tamaraws improved to 7-2. The loss sent the Junior Warriors to 1-8. BOX SCORES THIRD GAME FEU-DILIMAN 94 – Baclay 15, Torres 12, Gonzales 12, Bieren 9, Roman 8, Celzo 8, Gabane 6, Alforque Roy 5, Gloria 4, Sapinit 4, Alforque Ram 3, Boc 2, Sevilla 2, Abarrientos 2, Mariano 2, Jabel 0 UE 51 – Vinte 13, Dulalia 10, Manaug 8, Cruz 7, Acuesta 4, Balundo 4, Gonzales 3, Angeles 2, Ramos 0, Po 0, Domingo 0, Encelan 0, Canton 0 QUARTER SCORES: 18-10, 46-23, 77-38, 94-51 FOURTH GAME NU 63 – Coyoca 13, Penano 12, Clemente 7, Amsali 7, Malonzo 6, Fortea 5, Manalang 4, Sarip 4, Callejo 3, Atienza 2, Tolentino 0, Peralta 0, Dela Cruz 0, Pangilinan 0, Mosqueda 0 DLSZ 52 – Romero 8, Mariano 8, Sobrevega 7, Natividad 6, Vista 5, Chavez 5, Laurente 4, Cosejo 4, Cortez 3, Carlos 2, Diaz 0, Vesagas 0, Umali 0, Terrado 0, Damiles 0 QUARTER SCORES: 17-13, 30-24, 46-43, 63-52 --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 17th, 2017

Guardiola rejects claims Man City was disrespectful in China

HONG KONG (AP) — Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has rejected claims that the Premier League champions were arrogant and disrespectful during their preseason visit to China last week. China's state-run news agency Xinhua published an editorial in English that criticized the conduct of the team during the Premier League Asia Trophy in Nanjing and Shanghai. The editorial was headlined "Chinese fans' love for Man City goes unreciprocated on home soil" and accused the club of visiting China only to "win wallets, not hearts and minds." It also said City had "an attitude of arrogance" and that while the other clubs involved in the event won "a new-found respect and new fans," City would "leave China with neither." However, Guardiola said those claims were simply "false." "To make a statement like this they have to know exactly what happened here in our club," Guardiola said during a news conference in Hong Kong, where his team will play another friendly on Wednesday. "We had an incredible time in Shanghai. We were committed to the co-operation you have to do here in China. The people from the hotel, all the people, were asking us to do things and we were ready to do that. To come to Asia and experience the culture, the restaurants — it's amazing to get to know other people. That's why I can't understand what people are saying. Maybe one journalist is a bit upset, I don't know why — but it's far away from the reality." City arrived late in Shanghai after its flight was delayed by two days, then traveled by train by Nanjing for a game against West Ham, before playing Wolverhampton in Shanghai last Saturday. It will play Kitchee in Hong Kong on Wednesday before wrapping up its Asian tour with a game in Tokyo on Saturday. City winger Raheem Sterling also insisted the team had a positive experience in China. "Every time we got back from training to the hotel we embraced the fans, we signed signatures, we said our goodbyes. I thought there was a really good connection," Sterling said. "We came a little bit later than we expected to China, the turnaround was a bit faster and a few of us struggled with sleep but I thought China was a great experience. You ask the boys, they all loved it.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News8 hr. 22 min. ago

NCAA 95: Letran braves through scare from fast-starting EAC

Colegio de San Juan de Letran took time to get going, Tuesday at Filoil Flying V Centre, but once it did, ran past and then away from daring Emilio Aguinaldo College, 91-89, for a fourth win in a row in the NCAA 95 Men’s Basketball Tournament. The Knights fell victim to a false start out of the gates and found themselves chasing down a deficit of as much as 15. They regrouped at halftime, however, and rampaged out of the dugout in a 30-point third quarter to, all of a sudden, get ahead, 68-55. Marwin Taywan and Jethro Mendoza, though, pulled the Generals within one, 89-90, with 20.6 ticks to go. The Letran defense would stand strong from there, however, and forced two misses from Renz Gonzales as a split from the stripe by Bonbon Batiller made up the difference between the two teams. "Talagang yung convincing win, 'di pa makuha, but again, we're still learning," head coach Bonnie Tan said post-game. Batiller wound up with 17 points while Jerrick Balanza got his head back in the game with 22 markers in this one. Ato Ular and Larry Muyang also provided big-time boosts with the former finishing 19 points and nine rebounds and the latter ending with 16 markers and 10 boards. In the end, the Knights needed all of that to stretch their streak following a season-opening loss. "Hinahanap pa namin yung perfect combinations namin para makakuha ng magandang panalo," coach Bonnie said. On the other hand, EAC has now lost back-to-back games and three of four overall. Taywan topped the scoring column for them with 25 points on top of four rebounds and three steals. BOX SCORES LETRAN 91 - Balanza 22, Ular 19, Batiller 17, Muyang 16, Yu 8, Mina 5, Caralipio 2, Ambohot 1, Javillonar 1, Olivario 0, Reyson 0, Sangalang 0, Balagasay 0 EAC 89 - Taywan 25, Gonzales 13, Maguliano 10, Luciano 8, Dayrit 7, Tampoc 6, Mendoza 5, Martin 5, Gurtiza 2, De Guzman 2, Boffa 2, Corilla 2, Cadua 2 QUARTER SCORES: 15-20, 38-48, 68-65, 91-89 —— Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News20 hr. 35 min. ago

Agem Miranda now at the controls as JRU tries to lift off in NCAA 95

Jose Rizal University is one of the youngest - if not the youngest - teams in all of the NCAA 95 Men's Basketball Tournament. Now led by second-year players Ry Dela Rosa and Agem Miranda who are then flanked by rookies John Amores, JL Delos Santos, Marwin Dionisio, and Stefan Steinl, there is no doubt that the Heavy Bombers are undergoing a rebuilding process. Still, young, rebuilding JRU needed just a third try to score its first win in the tournament. And at the forefront of it all was Miranda who dropped a career-best 25 points, none bigger than the follow-up basket and then a corner triple in the final minute to lift his team over Arellano University last Friday. Not only that, the sophomore swingman also had to overcome cramps before saving the day for the blue and yellow. "Gustong-gusto ko po kasi talagang manalo sa game na ito. Gusto ko talagang bumalik sa game nun kaya sinabi ko po talaga kay coach," he answered when asked about him getting subbed out of the game in the middle of the final frame. From there, head coach Louie Gonzalez put his full faith on Miranda as the former re-inserted the latter late in the game. And so, when the ball found Miranda in both possessions in the endgame, Coach Louie had no doubt he was going to deliver. This, even though the 19-year-old was in uniform, but not in action in their two previous games. In losses to San Sebastian College-Recoletos and then Colegio de San Juan de Letran, he rode the bench as Coach Louie decided to go somewhere else. Still, Miranda did not lose hope - and instead, the benching only motivated him more. "Sinabi ko po talaga kay coach na babawi po ako ngayon. Bad game po kasi talaga kao nung first game," he said, referring to their debut game in the season, a loss to San Beda University that saw him only contributing two points.. He then continued, "Sinabi ko po talaga na sorry. Mula po nun, ayun, nag-commit lang ako sa sistema niya." Once he did that, the 6-foot promising player was given the controls to the Heavy Bombers' offense. "Halos bago po talaga team namin so I need to step up," he said. He then continued, "Sinabi ko na rin po kay Ry na kailangan nating manalo at sa atin manggagaling yung takbo ng team." And in the end, he did nothing but pilot them off the ground - and hopefully, into greater heights. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 22nd, 2019

Spieth back to playing some good golf at British Open

By Chris Lehourites, Associated Press PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland (AP) — Jordan Spieth knows he can win the big ones. Perhaps that's why he saves his best golf for them. The three-time major winner, still only 25, moved his name up the leaderboard at the British Open on Friday with a superb four-hole run near the end of the front nine. He birdied the fifth and sixth, made eagle on the seventh and birdie on the eighth to take him to 6 under, briefly tied for the lead. He ended up with a 4-under 67 at Royal Portrush to bring him to 5-under 137 on a mild morning on the Dunluce Links. "I always get pumped up for major championships," Spieth said. "Clearly I try to peak for majors. And then this style of golf I always — I've always found to fit my game pretty well." That game really started to shine in 2015 when Spieth won the Masters and U.S. Open. He then finished a stroke out of a playoff in the British Open at St. Andrews. He capped his major season with a second-place finish at the PGA Championship. In 2017, he won the British Open, finishing three strokes ahead of Matt Kuchar at Royal Birkdale. That was his last victory. Spieth had an up-and-down day in the first round this year, but with the improved weather on Day 2 came a better score. "I putted a bit better. Different wind change so certain holes played harder than others and others became easier," said Spieth, who finished his round about an hour before the rain started to fall. "I felt like I played the easy holes well and then I avoided the pot bunkers today more than I did yesterday. But I certainly found the rough more today than I did yesterday. "At some point I hope to be playing off the short grass this week." Although he failed to improve his score late in the round, he did manage to make par on some of the toughest holes on the course. The par-3 16th and par-4 18th are rated as two of the hardest. Spieth landed his tee shot just right of the green on 16, chipped up the sharp slope and nailed a short putt for par. On the 18th, he drove down the middle of the fairway, one of the few he hit Friday, put his approach on the green and just missed his birdie putt. "I'm in contention," Spieth said. "I feel like if I can continue to improve each day, hit the ball better tomorrow than I did today, and better on Sunday than Saturday, then I should have a chance with how I'd feel on and around the greens.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 20th, 2019

PBA: Muscle Man ready to rock as he makes return to playoffs

A healthy Vic Manuel is a dangerous Vic Manuel. Meralco found out how tough the Muscle Man is Friday in the one-game knockout for 8th place in the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup. Manuel torched the Bolts for 23 points, 15 in the fourth quarter and overtime, to lead Alaska back to the playoffs. “Last opportunity na sa amin ito. Yung last three games namin, parang binibigay na sa amin para makapasok kami sa playoffs, hindi namin nakukuha,” Manuel said. “Binigyan pa kami ng isang pagkakataon, so ngayong gabi, na-grab namin,” he added. Manuel came back for the Aces this conference after a long recovery from injury. While he’s been playing well, he wouldn’t say he’s regained his previous peak condition but he is healthy enough to play. Manuel played almost 25 minutes Friday against Meralco. “Ayun nga yung hindi ko masabi kasi minsan naninigas pa yung likod ko. Ako laro lang ako, laro nang laro kasi ayaw ko din i-pahinga eh,” Manuel said. “Pag pina-pahinga ko, parang lalo siyang sumasakit so nilalaro ko nang nilalaro,” he added. Ahead of his first playoff game this season, the Muscle Man will be ready to rock for Alaska. “Oo naman syempre,” he said as the Aces take on no. 1 TNT on Sunday. “Bibigay ko pa rin lahat ng best ko kahit na may nararamdaman pa ako, lalaro ko pa rin. Importante sa amin yung laro eh,” Manuel added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 19th, 2019

PVL: Newcomer Flying Titans out to soar high

Newcomer ChocoMucho will be packing a lot of energy and passion into every game come its debut in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Open Conference on August 11. “Our edge will be our passion. Our edge will be our energy. Our edge will be our intensity,” said head coach Oliver Almadro on Thursday night in the official team launch of the Flying Titans at the Joy-Nostalg Hotel in Pasig City. ChocoMucho is one of the three new teams in the league alongside Air Force and Chef Classic, and will join reigning Reinforced Conference champion PetroGazz, sister-team Creamline, PacificTown Army, BanKo, Motolite and BaliPure. Bannering the purple-clad Flying Titans, the second Rebisco squad in the PVL after two-time champion Creamline, will be former Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles Kat Tolentino, Bea De Leon and Maddie Madayag. The ‘Big 3’ will be backed by a solid crew of young and veteran players in another former Lady Eagle in Kim Gequillana, University of Perpetual Help’s Cindy Imbo, setter Acy Masangkay, Carla Sandoval and Dianne Ticar. Also beefing up the squad are the core of the defunct United Volleyball Club led by Shang Berte, Bang Pineda, Arianna Angustia, Gyra Barroga, Dancel Dusaran, Shannen Palec and Erika Alkuino               “You know how Maddie plays, how Kat plays, how Bang Pineda plays. They're really up to the challenge,” said Almadro. “Every practice, I see what they're doing. Expect that these players will live up to expectations and we'll really be Titans during the games,” he vowed. The team started practicing together last July 1.   “It's not yet that long, but of course, most of the players are coming from my system in Ateneo and Bang Pineda is not new to me. Naging player ko na siya before sa isang club team in V-League also, Kia nung may Kia pa,” Almadro said. “Even though we are just two months here, I'm sure that we will be playing our best. We will be better than our best.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 18th, 2019

PVL: No sibling rivalry between Creamline, ChocoMucho

ChocoMucho head coach Oliver Almadro is downplaying the angle of sibling rivalry with sister-team Creamline in the Flying Titans’ entry in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Open Conference starting August 11. "There will not be a sibling rivalry because we are sister-teams but, of course, we will play hard,” said Almadro on Thursday in the official launch of the Flying Titans at the Joy-Nostalg Hotel in Pasig City. However, Almadro added that come game time, ChocoMucho, albeit being a newcomer in the league, won’t back down from any team even if it’s against two-time champion Creamline.   “We will be better than our best every day in every training and every match. Expect that come game time, it will be war,” Almadro vowed. “Titans eh, we'll be true to our name. We will be as passionate as ever pagdating sa games.” Bannering the Flying Titans are former Ateneo de Manila University stalwarts Kat Tolentino, Bea De Leon and Maddie Madayag. The ‘Big 3’ will be backed by a solid crew of young and veteran players in another former Lady Eagle in Kim Gequillana, University of Perpetual Help’s Cindy Imbo, setter Acy Masangkay, Carla Sandoval and Dianne Ticar. Also beefing up the squad are the core of the defunct United Volleyball Club led by Shang Berte, Bang Pineda, Arianna Angustia, Gyra Barroga, Dancel Dusaran, Shannen Palec and Erika Alkuino. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 18th, 2019

Player Movement: What teams have gained, lost this offseason

By John Schuhmann, NBA.com There's still a lot of work to be done before rosters are set for the 2019-20 season. Some teams (Charlotte, Utah) still have roster spots to fill. Other teams (Memphis, Washington) still have some roster trimming to do. There are about 25 two-way-contract slots that can be filled around the league. And it's certainly possible that players like Chris Paul and Andre Iguodala will be traded a second time before the end of the summer. But it's already been a season of change. At the start of training camp last September, 15 of the league's 30 teams rostered players who played at least 75 percent of the team's minutes in the previous season (2017-18). Right now -- midway through July -- only four teams are set to bring back players who played at least 75 percent of last season's minutes. Continuity Not every team has made big changes. The Denver Nuggets are set to return at least 12 of the 18 guys that played for them last season (the status of two-way, restricted free agent Brandon Goodwin is still in the air), along with Michael Porter Jr., who was with the team all season. The only players that have left the Nuggets -- Tyler Lydon, Trey Lyles and Isaiah Thomas -- played a total of eight minutes in the playoffs. Over the last three years, there has been a correlation between summer continuity and win increase the following season. But the correlation has been small. During that span, 33 teams have brought at least 75 percent of the previous season's minutes back, and only 15 of those 33 increased their win total. The highest individual return percentage of the stretch belonged to last season's Miami Heat, who brought back 97 percent of their minutes from 2017-18 ... and proceeded to win five fewer games. This summer, the two biggest winners in free agency -- the Brooklyn Nets and LA Clippers -- rank 24th and 26th, respectively, by this measure (as of Wednesday morning). And while the Nuggets have a young core that can improve on its second-place finish in the West, the Orlando Magic are bringing back an ensemble that won just 42 games in the Eastern Conference, and the San Antonio Spurs have an older group that was ousted by Denver in the first round, albeit in seven games. Gained and lost math Going forward, we'll be talking about totals gained or lost this summer. These were accumulated by non-rookies for any team last season. For example, in calculating the minutes that Indiana lost (and Milwaukee gained) with Wesley Matthews' departure, we're using all 2,091 minutes that Matthews played for Dallas and Indiana last season. That way, it's a more realistic measure of total production coming in and going out. In that regard, most teams have lost more '18-19 minutes than they've gained. In total, there are more than 230 players who were on rosters (with two-way contracts included) at the end of the season and are either on a new team (via free agency or trades) or remain unsigned. More than half of those players (about 120) have been replaced by other non-rookies. About 70 more have been replaced by rookies (including those on two-way contracts). As an example, here's the roster math for the Golden State Warriors: - LOST 11 non-rookies off their end-of-season roster - GAINED six non-rookies - ADDED three rookies - STILL HAVE one main roster spot and one two-way spot they can fill Minutes gained and lost The Warriors are one of 22 teams that have lost a group of players who played more minutes last season than the group of players that they've added. There are a few teams that have added a lot more '18-19 minutes to their roster. That group is led by the New York Knicks, who have added almost 12,000 '18-19 minutes while seeing almost 9,000 minutes exit. The Knicks have lost four guys - Mario Hezonja, DeAndre Jordan, Emmanuel Mudiay and Noah Vonleh - who played at least 1,000 minutes. They added seven, and all seven started at least 28 games last season. Of course, how many of those seven are difference makers is up for debate, as is the idea of whether the Knicks should have used at least some of their cap space to take on bad contracts -- often spiced up with future picks -- from other teams. The Nets lost as many players (6) who played at least 1,000 minutes last season as they gained. But they added four of the 31 2,000-minute players to have changed teams this summer, most notably in Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Utah (3) is the only other team with more than two additions that played at least 2,000 minutes last season. The eight guys that Brooklyn brought in started a total of 363 games in '18-19, while the nine guys they lost started just 179. That's the biggest increase, with New York (+100) and Utah (+84) also seeing differentials of more than 82 games. The Sacramento Kings lost two guys that played at least 1,000 minutes last season, and one of those guys -- Alec Burks -- played only 127 minutes for the Kings. They added four 1,000-minute players, including two - Trevor Ariza and Cory Joseph -- that played more than 2,000 minutes last season. As noted above, the Nuggets lead the league in continuity, bringing back all 10 guys that played more than 1,120 minutes for them last season. But they've also added Jerami Grant, who played 2,612 minutes for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Though they've added more players (11, including four rookies) than they've lost (nine) and need to trim their roster between now and opening night, the Washington Wizards are set to see the biggest discrepancy in regard to '18-19 minutes. They've lost more than 11,000 (with Trevor Ariza, Jeff Green and Tomas Satoransky accounting for more than half of that total) and added less than 5,000. The group of players that the Wizards lost also started 208 more '18-19 games than the players added -- the biggest discrepancy in that regard. The Charlotte Hornets not only lost more than 1,000 '18-19 minutes in their Kemba Walker-Terry Rozier swap, they also lost three other guys - Jeremy Lamb, Shelvin Mack and Tony Parker - who played more than 1,000 minutes last season. There's a general consensus that the Indiana Pacers are in the "winners" category this summer, adding Malcolm Brogdon, Jeremy Lamb and T.J. Warren. But they also lost five guys (four of their five playoff starters plus Cory Joseph) to have played at least 2,000 minutes last season. The only other teams who lost more than two 2,000-minute players were the the Clippers (3), Oklahoma City Thunder (3) and Wizards (3). Still available Most '18-19 minutes among still-available free agents... - Justin Holiday - 2,607 - Iman Shumpert - 1,481 - Wayne Selden - 1,439 - Jeremy Lin - 1,436 - Shaquille Harrison - 1,430 In regard to minutes played last season, the top 18 available free agents are all perimeter players (unless you want to count Jonas Jerebko as an interior guy). Among available non-perimeter players, Dante Cunningham (928), Cheick Diallo (896) and Zaza Pachulia (878) are the guys who played the most minutes last season. It's all about shooting Putting the ball in the basket is the most important thing in the NBA, and every team is always on the hunt for more shooting. But in regard to '18-19 3-pointers, half of the league (15 teams) has lost more than it's gained. There are a few teams to have seen big increases, however. The Knicks added Reggie Bullock (148-for-393, 37.7 percent), Marcus Morris (146-for-389, 37.5 percent) and Wayne Ellington (138-for-372, 37.1 percent), though creating open shots for those guys might be an issue. None of the six players that the Kings have lost made more than 61 3-pointers last season. Ariza (145) is the big gain in that regard, but they also added Dewayne Dedmon, a big man who shot 38 percent on 217 attempts from beyond the arc. On the other end of the spectrum, it's the Hornets that lost the most 3s, with Walker having ranked fifth in the league in total makes. The Atlanta Hawks ranked fourth in the percentage of their shots that were 3-pointers, but traded Taurean Prince (39 percent on 315 attempts), lost Dedmon, haven't re-signed Vince Carter (39 percent on 316 attempts) and swapped Kent Bazemore (32 percent; 300 attempts) for Evan Turner (21 percent; 52 attempts). The Toronto Raptors, meanwhile, haven't really replaced two of the four guys who made more than 100 threes for them last season. Still available Most '18-19 3-pointers among still-available free agents... - Justin Holiday - 162-for-465 (34.8 percent) - Kyle Korver - 138-for-348 (39.7 percent) - Vince Carter - 123-for-316 (38.9 percent) - Iman Shumpert - 95-for-273 (34.8 percent) - Lance Stephenson - 73-for-197 (37.1 percent) J.R. Smith, waived by the Cavs on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time), made 143 threes (shooting 37.5 percent) in 2017-18, but played just 11 games last season. More notes - Eastern Conference - The Boston Celtics are one of three teams (Atlanta and Washington are the others) with a discrepancy of at least 300 between the steals + blocks registered by the non-rookies they've lost (503) and those registered by the non-rookies they've added (194). Swapping Al Horford (145 steals + blocks in 1,973 minutes) for Enes Kanter (58 in 1,639 minutes) obviously hurts. - The Chicago Bulls have seen the second biggest increase in 3-point percentage between the non-rookies they've added (36.9 percent) and the non-rookies they've lost (30.3 percent). Tomas Satoransky (39.5 percent on 162 attempts) was the big add in that regard. - The Cleveland Cavaliers are the only team that hasn't added a single player (via free agency or trade) that played last season, though they still have to add at least one player to their main roster. The only players they've added are the three guys they selected in the first round of the Draft and another rookie (Dean Wade) on a two-way contract. - The Detroit Pistons have had eight non-rookies leave (five have found new NBA teams, three haven't been re-signed) and have added only four. But the four they've added -- Tim Frazier, Markieff Morris, Derrick Rose and Tony Snell -- started the same number of games (60) and played just 11 more minutes in '18-19 as the eight that have left. They did add more scoring, with the four new guys having registered 436 more points than the eight guys on their way out. - As noted above, the Miami Heat led the league in continuity last summer, bringing back 97 percent of their minutes from '17-18. This year, with the retirement of Dwyane Wade and trades that sent Josh Richardson and Hassan Whiteside out, they're in the middle of the pack. In regard to out vs. in (Jimmy Butler and Meyers Leonard), they've lost total production, but have improved in regard to shooting and free throw rate. Only Denver, Brooklyn and Dallas have seen bigger increases in true shooting percentage from the non-rookies they've lost to the non-rookies they've added. - With the departure of Malcolm Brogdon, the Milwaukee Bucks lost some playmaking. Only the Magic (who didn't lose anybody from their playoff rotation) saw a bigger drop in in assist-turnover ratio from the non-rookies they lost (2.47) to the non-rookies they've gained (1.33). Tony Snell (traded to Detroit) had the fifth lowest turnover ratio (4.9 per 100 possessions) among 299 players that averaged at least 15 minutes in 40 games or more last season. - The Orlando Magic rank second in continuity, one of two teams (Dallas is the other) with nobody on their end-of-season roster having signed with (or been traded to) another team. But they've added one rotation piece by signing Al-Farouq Aminu, who represents the biggest jump in '18-19 rebounds between the non-rookies a team has added (610) and those they've lost or remain unsigned (195). The Magic were already a good rebounding team, ranking 11th in total rebounding percentage and third in defensive rebounding percentage last season. - The Philadelphia 76ers have seen the biggest discrepancy in '18-19 games played between the players they've lost (478) and the players they've added (223), though most of those lost games came from guys who weren't in their playoff rotation. More notes - Western Conference - The Dallas Mavericks have seen the second-biggest jump in effective field goal percentage (lower than only that of Denver) between the players they added (54.4 percent) and the players they've lost (47.3 percent) this summer. Swapping Trey Burke (48.2 percent) for Seth Curry (57.7 percent) goes a long way in that regard. The Mavs are also one of two teams (Orlando is the other) with nobody on their end-of-season roster having signed with (or been traded to) another team. - It remains to be seen how well James Harden and Russell Westbrook fit together and how much the Westbrook-for-Chris Paul swap hurts the Houston Rockets' defense. But we can say for certain that the Rockets got better in the rebounding department. - After ranking 28th in rebounding percentage (and 29th in defensive rebounding percentage) last season, they swapped Paul (who grabbed 7.0 percent of available boards while he was on the floor) for Westbrook (14.1 percent - highest among guards) and also added Tyson Chandler, who had a higher rebounding percentage (15.4 percent) than Nene (10.5 percent). - Good news for the team that ranked 29th in 3-point percentage last season: The non-rookies the Los Angeles Lakers have lost attempted 75 more 3-pointers than those they've gained. But the non-rookies they've gained made 34 more 3s than those they've lost. Among players that attempted at least 200 3-pointers last season and changed teams this season, Danny Green (45.5 percent) ranked first in 3-point percentage, while Quinn Cook (40.5 percent) ranked seventh. - The Memphis Grizzlies had a pretty motley rotation after making multiple trades at the deadline in February. And now they've seen the biggest roster more than any other team this summer, with 11 non-rookies leaving and nine coming in. They currently have guys that played for the Hawks, Warriors, Wolves, Pelicans, Suns, Raptors, Jazz and Wizards last season. - The six non-rookies that the Minnesota Timberwolves have added -- Jordan Bell, Treveon Graham, Jake Layman, Shabazz Napier, Noah Vonleh and Tyrone Wallance -- averaged just 6.3 points per game last season. That's the lowest mark for players added among the 29 teams that have added at least one non-rookie this summer. - In regard to vets, the New Orleans Pelicans have swapped interior players for perimeter players. The (five) non-rookies that they've added had 360 fewer '18-19 field goals, but 127 more 3-pointers than the (10) non-rookies that they've lost. Chicago is the other team with a loss in '18-19 field goals (-38) and a gain in '18-19 3-pointers (+47). - The Oklahoma City Thunder have seen the most '18-19 points walk out the door, with the six guys they've lost having scored 5,619 points last season. One thing they definitely gained in the Westbrook-Paul trade (if they keep Paul) was mid-range shooting. Paul has shot 48.9 percent from mid-range the last five seasons, the second best mark (behind only that of Kevin Durant) among 55 players with at least 1,000 mid-range attempts over that time. Westbrook (37.5 percent) ranks 52nd among the 55. - The 10 non-rookies that have left the Phoenix Suns (five that have found new NBA teams and five that haven't) racked up a cumulative plus-minus of minus-1,709 last season. None of the 10 had a positive plus-minus. The five non-rookies that they've added -- Aron Baynes, Jevon Carter, Frank Kaminsky, Ricky Rubio and Dario Saric -- had a cumulative plus-minus of plus-257. That's the league's biggest differential between players in vs. players out. - The Portland Trail Blazers improved their shooting by swapping Turner for Bazemore and Aminu (34.3 percent on 280 3-point attempts) for Anthony Tolliver (37.7 percent on 215), but are one of four teams - Brooklyn, Indiana and the Lakers are the others - that have lost six players who played at least 1,000 minutes in '18-19. They've added four. - As noted above, the San Antonio Spurs are near the top of the league in regard to continuity. But they've seen the biggest increase in free throw rate (FTA/FGA) between the non-rookies that they've gained (0.335) and the players they've lost (0.181). The pair of vets that they've added (having ranked 24th in free throw rate last season) includes DeMarre Carroll (0.421), who ranked eighth in free throw rate among non-bigs with at least 500 field goal attempts last season. - The Utah Jazz rank 13th in the percentage of '18-19 minutes they're set to bring back, but are one of five teams that have added at least 9,000 '18-19 minutes and lost at least 9,000 '18-19 minutes (when we include unsigned free agents). They parted ways with four of the eight guys that played at least 1,000 minutes for them last season, but all five of their additions - Bojan Bogdanovic, Mike Conley Jr., Ed Davis, Jeff Green and Emmanuel Mudiay - played at least 1,400 minutes. John Schuhmann is a senior stats analyst for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 18th, 2019

Team Lakay s Gina Iniong and Joshua Pacio: Two paths, one goal

Lakay. It is the Ilocano word for old man.   But when you go up to Baguio, it has an altogether different meaning. You cannot miss that word when you drive down Benguet road, on a nifty sign attached to a normal-looking office building: Team Lakay.   The home of the best Philippine mixed martial arts team in history. Almost all of the big names local fight fans have come to cheer and love as our modern-day heroes trace their roots to the relatively small, packed training room down Benguet road, where mats are soaked with the sweat of the fighters.   Eduard Folayang, Kevin Belingon, Geje Eustaquio, Honorio Banario, Rey Docyogen, Roldan Sangcha-an, and Mark Eddiva are all hallowed names in the annals of Philippine mixed martial arts, disciples of Mark “The Machine” Sangiao, who established, and groomed Team Lakay to the fearsome fighting factory that it is today.   While all the names above have ensconced themselves on pedestals, Team Lakay’s pipeline includes two more who have been fighting for recognition in recent fights: lone female fighter Gina Iniong, and ONE’s current Strawweight lynchpin and youngest champion, Joshua Pacio.   Both fighters may have started their professional fighting careers for different reasons, but Iniong and Pacio still have a lot to offer and prove for mixed martial arts in the country and in the international stage, such as being prominent fighters in the prestigious cage of ONE Championship.   CHANCE OF A LIFETIME   Gina, the first female Filipino mixed martial artist to fight and win abroad, started boxing back in high school as part of her after-school activities. When she was about to graduate, she actively sought scholarships in order to finish her education. One such opportunity presented itself in the form of an athletic scholarship, concentrating on the martial art of Wushu, which has a huge following in her hometown of Baguio City, with the University of the Cordilleras having a team of its own.   “Our former boxing coach, who was a former student of Coach Mark (Sangiao), approached me one day, telling me to join the upcoming wushu competition then for the college scholarship. So I joined it, and took a chance,” Iniong shared, recounting how she got into the world of combat sports as a young lady.   However, it was too good to be true, as she had to hurdle quite a huge problem if she wants that scholarship: a fight record. Sangiao told the young Iniong it would be difficult to get her a scholarship if she does not have a record to show in active combat in Wushu.   “I was lucky because there was a Wushu National Games here in Manila and we immediately went down and made our way there. Thankfully, I got the gold after the competition, and that paved the way for my scholarship,” said Iniong.   From there, the “Conviction” was born. After competing in numerous Wushu tournaments, Iniong finally caught the eye of Sangiao, who decided to take her under his wings and train her to be his female version inside the MMA cage.   After debuting in the Universal Reality Combat Championship in 2010, Iniong hasn’t looked back in the 12 bouts she has figured in, compiling a professional record of 8-4.  As the lone female representative of the most-successful mixed martial arts team in the Philippines, she has displayed that trademark fearsome striking prowess of fighters coming from the Lakay camp.   When asked about the fact that she is one of the only five Filipinas making the country proud inside the ONE cage, the 29-year old’s face lit up, in disbelief, in honor, in humility, for she cannot believe it herself.   “I’m very proud, and humbled, of the fact that I am the lone female fighter representing Team Lakay in ONE Championship. Many very skilled female fighters dream of being part of ONE Championship, and fight under Team Lakay, yet I am the one that Coach Mark has seen with the most potential to carry the flag inside the cage,” she said.   However, what drives Gina to fight, and it has been a well-known fact, is her mother, diagnosed with a stage 5 chronic kidney disease. In her fight against Jihin Radzuan last February, Iniong dedicated the fight to her mother, who to this day, is scared of seeing her daughter mix it up in the ring.   “To this day, she hasn’t watched me fight live, not even on TV because she is quite the nervous person, and she would only watch if she knew I won, during replays. She is very unlike my dad, who has fully supported my life as an athlete, after being a boxer himself in his younger days,” she shared.   CHALLENGE ACCEPTED   Joshua “The Passion” Pacio never intended to make mixed martial arts fighting a career growing up. The 23-year old fighter deemed it impossible back then, to reach a stage as huge as ONE Championship, due to the excellence of the fighters that he used to watch with his uncle through videos.   Add to the fact that Pacio was overweight. Obese, specifically. It made it all the more difficult for the kid to follow his dream and passion to be a fighter.   It all changed when his uncle started training him in Muay Thai, the art of the eight limbs that originated from Thailand, and considered one of the deadliest forms of combat striking. It started out as training just for fitness, but as if seeing a tiny ray of light in a dark tunnel, Pacio wanted more.   “At first, it was only for fitness, with my uncle training me, and watching videos of various MMA fights, which really inspired me to push myself harder. I really wanted to test myself, compete with the best, and it all seemed impossible when I was out of shape. My uncle really pushed me starting with Muay Thai. I started competing a few months after that, but I suffered defeat after defeat in amateur competitions. I questioned myself why I still trained afterwards. But at the same time, that’s when I realized that this is really my passion, that even if I lost my last fight,” shared the ONE Championship Strawweight king, who has not looked back since then.   “The goal for me has ever been to prove to myself that I have improved in skills, and be the best fighter I can be,” Pacio added.   He made his ONE debut three years ago, finally fulfilling his lifelong dream of professional mixed martial arts, facing a more experienced Filipino fighter in Robin Catalan at the age of 20, one of the youngest to enter ONE’s cage.   “Before I got to represent Team Lakay in ONE Championship, the roster spot was actually up for grabs. Fighters of the team figured in a Team Lakay Championship, a grand-prix style tournament within the team, for the ONE Championship contract. I fought twice victoriously in one night to get it. Two weeks later, with a ONE Championship event in Manila, that’s when I found out I am making my professional debut,” said an astounded Pacio.   Everything about the man they call “The Passion” has been hard earned. He finally tasted gold last 2018 when he decisioned the famed Yoshitaka Naito, a Japanese ground and wrestling master that forced Pacio to tap via a rear-naked choke when they first met. Facing, and losing to Naito, according to Pacio, was a revelation that he has to improve his overall skills, especially his ground game in order to play with the big boys of the cage.   Striking will definitely get you somewhere, as is with Pacio’s base as a martial artist, but one has to have more tricks up his sleeve when they aspire for the pinnacle of the competition. Joshua came back with a vengeance in 2018 to show “Nobita” that “The Passion” is no longer the young kid who will be submitted easily.   However, 2019 did not start of great for Pacio and Team Lakay, after he lost the belt in January to Naito’s contemporary in Yosuke “Tobizaru” Saruta in a questionable split decision. But that did not deter the young man, who has made it his personal goal to continue improving and treat each loss as a lesson, in ONE Championship’s “Roots of Honor” fight card, where he faced Saruta once more.   This time, in front of a racous Filipino crowd inside the Mall of Asia Arena, Pacio did not let the judges’ cards decide as he detonated a right knee to the side of Saruta’s head late in the fourth round to reclaim his throne. The dreaded Team Lakay striking power knocked the lights out from the Japanese fighter as Baguio’s young lion let out a furious roar to celebrate his redemption.   TWO PATHS, ONE GOAL   One did it for education, the other for health. Nowadays, however, MMA means more to Iniong and Pacio than just a stepping stone to something else. It is their passion, their advocacy, their bread and butter.   They continue to grind each day, waiting for another opportunity to show what they got and get the win, not just for personal glory, but also for the country and their family.   Inspired by her ailing mother, the “Conviction” promises to keep her current winning streak up despite being up against a formidable foe in her next match. After tasting defeat from Brazilian Istela Nunes, Iniong bounced back with a split decision over Radzuan last February to get herself back on track. Right now, Gina has one thing in mind with their goal: chase that ONE Women’s Atomweight division title, currently held by Angela Lee, and become the Philippines’ very first female ONE world champion.   However, Iniong acknowledges that the path towards the gold may not be easy, as she is currently eyeing a rematch with Japanese tormentor Mei Yamaguchi, the number one-ranked Atomweight fighter whom she has fought with twice, in order to settle who the rightful challenger to Lee’s belt is.   “Everyone has gotten belts. My big brothers in the team have tasted championship. I felt jealous because I do not have a belt, and lost my fight that would have given me a title shot. This time, I will make sure that I will do my best to secure a title fight,” rued Iniong in a previous interview with ONE Championship prior to fighting Radzuan.   While Iniong wants hit paydirt, it’s all about keeping the belt on his waist for Pacio, the reigning ONE Strawweight champion. His most probable foe is his nemesis Yoshitaka Naito who he does not have a problem with facing for the third time.   “I really want to prove I am the champion, and if it’s by facing him (Naito), so be it. I also want to prove that I have greatly improved as well from the last time we fought,” he shared.   While Iniong and Pacio await their next fighting assignment, their teammates are in the thick of training for the upcoming “Dawn of Heroes” megafight card happening on August 2 at the Mall of Asia Arena. It features Team Lakay members, led by Edward “Landslide” Folayang, Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio, and Danny “The King” Kingad, who will face the best of the world as represented by Eddie Alvarez, Reece McLaren, and Yuya Wakamatsu.   The entire country will be cheering on them as the whole world watches. And maybe somehow, somewhere there will be new blood encouraged and inspired by them to take on the challenge of continuing the legacy of the nation’s best fighting team alongside Iniong and Pacio.   After all, Sangiao did not establish Team Lakay just to be some Bagiuo-based fitness gym down Benguet road. He made Team Lakay to provide a home, a family, for young Filipinos who have the heart to fight for their dream, their family, and the country.     Watch “ONE: Dawn of Heroes” on August 2 at the Mall of Asia Arena, to be broadcast LIVE on ABS-CBN S+A and S+A HD with livestreaming on iWant for all the Pinoy fight fans to see. For more stories and news one ONE Championship, follow @ABSCBNSports on Twitter and Facebook or visit sports.abs-cbn.com. For updates, follow @ABSCBNPR on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram or visit www.abs-cbn.com/newsroom......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 18th, 2019

Ryder Cup behind him, Jim Furyk still going strong

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland (AP) — Nothing short of an eagle on the 592-yard seventh hole at Royal Portrush was going to win the hole in a friendly fourballs match during practice for the British Open. Leave it to 49-year-old Jim Furyk to have the best chance. "Don't do anything crazy here," Patrick Cantlay, born the same year Furyk turned pro, said to his opponent. Furyk's 18-foot putt from below the hole paused on the right edge of the cup before dropping, and he looked over in Cantlay's direction with a grin. These are good times. Under the circumstances, not many people would have been surprised if Furyk was past his time by now. He was last seen at the British Open in 2016 at Royal Troon when he finished 29 shots behind the record performance of Henrik Stenson. Furyk played only two majors last year, both on exemptions. He wasn't eligible for any of the World Golf Championships last year for the first time since they were created in 1999. Small wonder that fans who recognized him in the airport on his way to Northern Ireland asked if he was playing. "I thought that was kind of funny," Furyk said. He has heard a lot of questions over the last decade that he found funny, if not irritating. One that still sticks with him was a writer who asked him 10 years ago if he feared the game was passing him by. "I wouldn't say it (ticked) me off, but I kind of chuckled," Furyk said Tuesday. "I said, 'Yeah, it's going to pass me by some day, but not now.' The next year, I had my best year and was player of the year." It's not just about age. Phil Mickelson is 49, born a month after Furyk, and he won the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Mickelson is a special talent, with five majors and one of his 47 victories worldwide coming when he was still in college. Part of it is devoting nearly two years of his life as Ryder Cup captain, with players appointed in their late 40s toward the end of their careers. Most are rarely heard from again on a big stage, with one exception being Davis Love III — another power player — who won at age 51 during his second stint as captain. Furyk never had great length off the tee, and it stands out even more now. He is a pea shooter in an era of cannons. And he's still going strong. "So impressive," said Brooks Koepka, the No. 1 player in the world. "I've played with him a little bit. He really understands his game. And I think when you fully understand what you can and can't do is when you reach your maximum potential. He's doesn't have the big miss. He doesn't have really any weakness. He's very solid all throughout the bag. ... That probably won't be me when I'm 49, I can promise you that." Furyk was determined to press on after Europe won the Ryder Cup in France last fall. He was coping with a shoulder injury that no one paid much attention because there was more interest in his captain's picks. Now that's sorted out. He had every reason to go into ceremonial mode, especially with the PGA Tour Champions — golf's greatest mulligan — available to him next year. Instead, Furyk toiled in the offseason to find balance at home and work, to give himself the best chance to win. "You have to have a motivation and a drive and a hunger to still compete," Furyk said. "And as you get older, you run through different phases of your life. When I first came out on tour, golf was the most important thing in life. I got married, started a family, and the realization we're going to be empty-nesters in a few years has hit me." His daughter, a pole vaulter, will be a senior in high school. His son will be a sophomore. He wants to watch them compete. Furyk said he was pacing the field at the Florida state high school championship in May when she finished ninth. He's coming up on 50. He's short off the tee. And his time is stretched thin. It all changed in March when he tied for ninth in the Honda Classic to get in The Players Championship, and then was runner-up at the TPC Sawgrass, one shot behind Rory McIlroy. That got him into a World Golf Championship. He nearly made it into the Masters, but returning to the top 50 in the world put him in the next three majors. He now is No. 48 in the world, giving him another World Golf Championship next week. He is No. 36 in the FedEx Cup, and the Tour Championship is in sight. "I enjoy seeing the game change," Furyk said. "I don't want to be that old, crusty guy that says, 'Back when I was a kid, the game was different.' It was. The game is always changing. But the best players will always evolve. ... Right now, I'm trying to figure out how to keep adapting." And it keeps working. He is one year older than his world ranking. At his age, with his length, that's not a bad thing......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 17th, 2019

MPBL: Terrific Tayongtong leads QC to home win over Makati

Joco Tayongtong scored 13 of his 20 points in the final quarter as the Quezon City Capitals - WEMSAP roared back in the endgame to stun Makati Super Crunch 91-85 in Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball Lakan Cup action on Tuesday at the Ateneo Blue Eagle Gym. "Ang nasa isip ko lang ay manalo sa home court namin," said the former JRU Heavy Bomber after the game. Makati looked in command from the second quarter up until midway through the fourth after three straight JJ Manlangit baskets put them up by a dozen, 82-70. And then Joco Tayongtong happened. Tayongtong went berserk, leading an 11-0 run bouyed by a noisy crowd at the Blue Eagle Gym. Juneric Baloria's two free throws stopped the rot briefly for Makati, but Tayongtong went back to work with a three ball that keyed a 10-1 run to finish the game. Makati failed to score a field goal in the last five minutes of the contest to lose for the first time in five outings as only defending champion San Juan remains unbeaten in the Lakan Cup while QC improves to 3-2. Jeckster Apinan top scored for Cholo Villanueva's team with 21 points in a losing effort. The game brought back memories of the two teams' playoff series earlier this year in the Datu Cup, when seventh-seeded QC upset second-seeded Makati, sweeping them in two games. In the second game, Davao Occidental Cocolife upped their standing to 4-1 with a comfortable 86-55 romp over Rizal Golden Coolers Xentro Mall. Leading 36-31 at the half, the Tigers exploded with 27 points in the third quarter against only eight from Rizal to put a once-competitive game out of reach. Billy Robles, James Forrester and Mark Yee led the way with a barrage of points against a hapless Rizal defense. Yee claimed his 14th player of the game award with 21 points and 12 boards for a league-record 23rd MPBL double-double. Robles chipped in 15 for Davao. Only one player from Xentro Mall, Achie Iñigo, got into double figures with ten points. The Golden Coolers drop to 1-3. In the first match the Muntinlupa Cagers Angelis Resort won the Battle of BF Homes, defeating neighbors the Parañaque Patriots Yabo Sports 85-78. GJ Ylagan had a mammoth game with 22 points, including 6 out of 10 from three- point range, none bigger than a trey with 70 seconds to go in the game that gave Angelis Resort a 78-72 cushion. Matching Ylagan in scoring 22 was point guard Ryusei Koga, who skillfully outfoxed the Patriot pressing defense all day long with his ball-handling and passing. Completing the Munti big three was John Kevin Ortuoste, who poured in 19 markers. Parañaque shot a paltry 30.4 percent from the field, led by Vinny Begaso's 18 markers. Muntinlupa won despite seeing head coach Richie Melencio get tossed with 1:26 left in the game for a second technical after complaining about the officiating all game long. The Cagers climb to 2-4 in the standings with a second straight win. The Patriots are also now at 2-4......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 17th, 2019

ONE Championship: Rene Catalan gives honest assessment on Jomary Torres latest loss

Catalan Fighting System head coach Rene "The Challenger" Catalan talks honestly about his prized pupil's missed opportunity at ONE: MASTERS OF DESTINY on Friday, 12 July.   In a critical contest which could determine her future in ONE Championship, CFS’ Jomary "The Zamboanginian Fighter" Torres lost by first-round submission to Jihin "Shadow Cat" Radzuan in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.   Torres was on the retreat from the opening bell, and she never found her rhythm the entire night.   Catalan revealed that Torres deviated from the months-long game plan they worked on, and he refused to beat around the bush in expressing his disappointment with his athlete.   “She’s still doing the same things she did in her previous contests,” Catalan said.    “We worked intently for three months, even up to the warm ups we were doing drills to improve her muscle memory, but it was still lacking [in the ring],” Catalan added. “Our game plan was to move forward, hit her with a jab and a combo, step back, and pivot, but we didn’t see that in the ring.”    The submission loss, which came by way of triangle choke, was Torres' fourth consecutive defeat at The Home of Martial Arts, and Catalan did not exactly mince his words over the loss.   “I told her that her stock in ONE Championship is plummeting,” Catalan said. “There were a lot of expectations of her, and now they’re dismayed because she keeps on backpedaling.”   “There was no eagerness to knock her opponent out. Even I am dismayed because I know Jihin would have a harder time if she applied the game plan.”    Despite his brutal honesty, Catalan is still a believer of Torres. However, he remains firm that he will no longer accept “moral victories.”   “I told her to stop thinking about friends who would say ‘it’s okay, better luck next time.’ There’s a difference between ‘that’s okay’ and ‘congratulations,’” Catalan said.   “I always tell her that there’s no tomorrow. There’s no next time. Of course, if she loses, it also effects the team and the coaches, and that’s why we’re working intently on her game.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 15th, 2019

PVL: Gusto kong mag-give back sa Army -- Gonzaga

ANTIPOLO -- Jovelyn Gonzaga knew that she had to start from scratch to regain her old form and reintroduce herself after a long layoff. Two years removed from competitive volleyball, the PacificTown Army lefty opposite spiker did her best to contribute to the Lady Troopers’ cause. It was not a rosy road for the celebrated Ilongga, who battled a devastating knee injury that kept her from playing since 2017. Back on court with her Army comrades, Gonzaga was a shadow of her former self but it didn’t stop her from displaying her unquestionable heart throughout the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Reinforced Conference.      It’s no wonder, the former national team member burst into tears after landing the bronze-medal clinching ace in the Lady Troopers’ 18-25, 25-16, 20-25, 25-15, 15-13, win on Sunday in the best-of-three battle for third decider against BanKo at the Ynares Sports Center here.        “Kasi di ba kakabalik ko lang sa laro? Gusto ko maglaro sa Army, sobrang support ng Army sa akin and at the same time ang tagal na naming di naglalaro,” said Gonzaga. PacificTown Army, just like Gonzaga skipped, competitive volleyball as a team for almost three years. Coming into the league as newcomers the Lady Troopers showed the field that they can still pull the trigger. Gonzaga though playing below 100% of her vintage form, delivered what was needed of her.   “Gusto ko talagang mag-give back sa Army sa pagpayag sa akin pag intindi sa case ko,” said Gonzaga, who is also playing in the Philippine Superliga for Cignal. “Gusto ko every time ang ano ko talaga is to give back, na every game ko para sa Army para sa mga sumusuporta at mga naniniwala sa Army.” Down 1-2 in the series decider, the Lady Troopers needed a great comeback. Gonzaga knew she had to contribute.        “Sobrang sarap sa feeling kasi ang mentality ko lang sa loob ng court, though hindi ako nasiset-an lagi, ang mentality ko kung saan ako makakapa-gstep up para makatulong sa team,” said Gonzaga. “’Yun talaga ang focus ko receive, depensa, blocking, service so thankful ako kay Papa God na sa duration ng game nagawa ko yung part ko sa team.” After forcing a deciding set, the Army found itself trailing, 6-10. The Lady Troopers slowly cut their deficit before taking a 13-12 lead.   Ukrainian Lena Lymareva-Flink broke a 13-13 deadlock before Gonzaga heroic series-clinching ace. “So hanggat maaari, this time, di ako papayag na di kami mapasama, manalo sa third spot,” she said. “So nung time na ‘yun ang mentality ko lang talaga is i’ll give my best na para makatulong at maipanalo yung laban.” Win the game and the bronze she did.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 14th, 2019

Anthony Davis joins Lakers with championship plans

By Greg Beacham, Associated Press EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) — Anthony Davis' year of uncertainty finally felt finished when he stood in the Los Angeles Lakers' training complex and proudly held up his new gold jersey while LeBron James looked on approvingly. After months of upheaval around his departure from New Orleans, the superstar forward is looking forward to years of success and stability on the West Coast. Sure, Davis knows the Lakers are rarely stable, and championships are the only success this franchise understands. The six-time All-Star can't wait for the challenge of winning big in the Hollywood spotlight. "The most difficult part for me was just not knowing," Davis said Saturday (Sunday, PHl time). "When it was announced that I was being traded, I don't want to say it was a relief, (but) it was something that I'd thought about for a long time. Obviously it was tough to leave the city I'd been playing in for seven years, but I think it was best for me. "When I found out I'd been traded to the Lakers, I realized it was an unbelievable opportunity for me," he added. "To be here with a wonderful organization, and then to be able to play alongside LeBron and the players that we have now ... to get the opportunity to do that and come here and play for an organization that's all about winning, and winning championships, and that's the only goal, I think that was the biggest thing for me." The Lakers formally acquired Davis this month in one of the biggest moves of the NBA's tumultuous offseason, but this courtship has been happening for much longer. Davis became determined to leave New Orleans last season, and Los Angeles made an in-season run at Davis before eagerly blowing up its young core to get a second game-changing star to play alongside James. Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka introduced Davis as "the most dominant young basketball player in the world." "There is no more complete basketball player in the game," Pelinka added. "There is nothing he can't do. He can shoot. He can make plays. He can defend 1 to 5. He can protect the rim. He can handle the ball. His dedication to his craft is unparalleled. To sit here next to him and think he's going to be on our team and he's going to be a pillar in this franchise for many years is just something we're incredibly proud of." The Lakers gave up Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart and a slew of draft picks to land Davis one year before he could become an unrestricted free agent. While Pelinka clearly expects Davis to sign a long-term deal to stay with the Lakers, Davis didn't make a declaration of his intentions right away. "Right now, my focus is on this year, and trying to help this organization become a championship team," Davis said. Davis' new jersey will bear a No. 3 after his plan to take his usual No. 23 from James fell through thanks to rules involving jersey supplier Nike, who had already begun planning for next season with James in the No. 23 shirt. Davis will go back to the number he wore in elementary and middle school, although he jokingly said the denial of No. 23 "was pretty hurtful." Davis and James have been kept up to speed on Pelinka's machinations to build a strong roster around them. Davis strongly endorsed the signing of DeMarcus Cousins, his former teammate in New Orleans — and not just because Davis prefers to play as a power forward instead of a center. "I like playing the 4," Davis said to a laughing coach Frank Vogel. "I'm not even going to sugarcoat it. I don't like playing the 5, but if it comes down to it, Coach, I'll play the 5." Pelinka said the Lakers signed Cousins and re-signed JaVale McGee precisely so that Davis wouldn't wear down his body guarding centers. Davis was asked about load management, and he dismissed it: "I'm playing. I'm 26-years-old. I love the game of basketball. I'm ready to play." Davis also waived a $4 million trade kicker in his contract so the Lakers would have cap room to take their failed run at Kawhi Leonard, a move that Pelinka praised as selfless. "Anytime you're able to acquire a player like Kawhi, I think you have to do almost everything to get a guy like that," Davis said. "It didn't work out for us, but I wanted to make sure I did whatever I could to help the team." Basketball-loving Los Angeles is still buzzing after its two teams were turned into immediate contenders during free agency, but they're hardly alone in a league that might have achieved a measure of parity after years of Golden State dominance. While Leonard and Paul George landed with the Clippers, Davis and James are confident about the future ahead for the 16-time NBA champions, who are exponentially more beloved in their hometown than their local rivals. Davis has lived in Los Angeles during the offseason for several years, and he loves everything about it but the traffic. "It's going to be fun," Davis said of the new-look league with its new crop of superstar pairings. "I'm excited about it. I think the league has grown. I think it's better. (With) all the players teaming up and spreading that talent throughout the league, it's going to be a fun season. I like our roster. I like every player that we have, from one through 14." The Lakers have been the worst team in the NBA during their team-record six consecutive seasons out of the playoffs, but Davis and James expect to end those struggles and drought in the year ahead. They're aiming for much more, too. "I know we'll talk about it and do whatever we can to definitely make this team a championship team next season," Davis said, before correcting himself: "This season.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 14th, 2019

Cebu Sharks look to improve communication on the court

Cebu City, Philippines—The Cebu Sharks-Casino Ethyl Alcohol will be looking to get back on the winning track on Thursday, July 11, 2019,  when they tangle with the Valenzuela Classic in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Lakan Cup at the Blue Eagle Gym inside the Ateneo de Manila University campus in Quezon City. Game time is […] The post Cebu Sharks look to improve communication on the court appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJul 10th, 2019