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High jumper Ukhov among top Russians facing doping cases

MOSCOW --- Some of Russia's best known track and field athletes are facing doping cases, including former Olympic high jump champion Ivan Ukhov. The Athletics Integrity Unit, which oversees anti-doping cases in track and field, released details on Friday of 109 cases from around the world in a new transparency drive. Besides Ukhov, the list includes top Russians such as the double world champion shot putter Tatyana Lysenko, Olympic bronze medal-winning long jumper Svetlana Shkolina, and 2014 world indoor triple jump champion Lyukman Adams. The AIU said they are among 13 Russian cases based on evidence uncovered during World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren's...Keep on reading: High jumper Ukhov among top Russians facing doping cases.....»»

Category: newsSource: inquirer inquirerJul 21st, 2018

Morning Tip Q& A: Mohamed Bamba

By David Aldridge, TNT Analyst They have come seemingly all at once -- new, freakish size in the NBA with the ability to put the ball on the floor, shoot from deep and block everything that moves. Kristaps Porzingis begat Joel Embiid, who begat this year’s group of young big men who have grown up facing the basket rather than with their backs to it. Among the most intriguing of the 2018 Draft class is Mo Bamba, the 20-year-old from Texas via Harlem, where he grew up -- fast, as city kids tend to do, learning the game on the hardtops around New York City, while his parents, natives of Ivory Coast, wondered what the increasing fuss was around their son. He, on the other hand, has tended to handle the attention with aplomb and a smile. In a group full of long, tall people, Bamba still stands out, with an insane wingspan of 7'10" that allows for court coverage the likes of which hasn’t been seen. Bamba has been in the spotlight for a while -- the Westtown (Penn.) High School team on which he played featured teammates like Cam Reddish, a blue-chip guard who’ll play for Duke next season -- and played against the likes of the No. 1 pick in 2018, Deandre Ayton. At Texas, he starred for Coach Shaka Smart, himself among the biggest names in the sport. After one season in Austin, where he shattered the school record for blocked shots in a season, Bamba declared for the Draft, assured he’d be a high Lottery pick. But Bamba has also shown a willingness to work on what he doesn’t -- or, at least, didn’t -- do that well. He went to California for weeks with noted player development coach Drew Hanlen, who deconstructed Bamba’s jumper from the ground up. Hanlen lowered Bamba’s shot pocket, adjusted his fingers on the ball and eliminated a hitch Bamba had before shooting. Bamba displayed much improved form before the Draft, but even if he couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn, he was going high -- and, he did, to the Orlando Magic with the sixth pick overall. Desperate to regain relevance in the East, the Magic hired Steve Clifford after he was fired by Charlotte to try and improve their awful defense. At the least, Clifford inherited ridiculous size on his roster, with Bamba joining 6'10" second-year forward Jonathan Isaac and newly re-signed 6'9" forward Aaron Gordon. Bamba must show he can be a killer on the floor like Embiid, and will work to make that happen. The only significant question about him coming into the Draft was the consistency of his motor at Texas. In Las Vegas this week for Summer League with his new team, Bamba is getting his feet wet while keeping them firmly planted to the ground. David Aldridge: I know you’ve spent a lot of time with Drew on the shot. What feels better now? Mo Bamba: Everything. The mechanics are so much cleaner now than they were in college. I think the difference between college and now is just a matter of just repetition, being able to change my jump shot dramatically because of how much I’ve gone in and worked on it. DA: So with time, you can basically improve anything? MB: Yeah, my jump shot is night and day. DA: He also told me that one thing he wanted to keep working with you on after the Draft was, you have a little jump to your left when you shoot? MB: Yeah, that’s a bad tendency that I have. That’s something Drew didn’t want to change. He changed a lot of things, and that’s one of the best things about working with Drew -- he knows boundaries, and he knows how much is too much. That’s one of the things he didn’t want to change right off the bat. But that’s something I’ve been conscious of and something I’ve been working on since he pointed it out. DA: Given where you played high school, was there more pressure on you playing for Westtown or playing for Texas? MB: I’d say there was more pressure playing -- well, actually, it was both, equal. My sophomore year at Westtown, there was a lot of pressure, because I was at a program that had never won a state championship, and had gotten to the finals three or four years in a row. At Texas, I was coming to a team that hadn’t made the NCAA Tournament the year before. So I’d say it was pretty equal. DA: I would imagine playing on a team like that in high school, with Cam and all the others, maybe prepared you not only for college, but playing in the pros. MB: Yeah, Cam can go. He’s a really good basketball player. And I know for a fact I’ll see him here next year. DA: What was Harlem like to grow up in, day by day? MB: It was, when people ask that, I pretty much tell them that you just grow up fast. You’re making decisions at a very young age that most kids don’t even come close to making. I credit a lot of my success to being from Harlem, growing up there. DA: Harlem’s changed a little the last few years. MB: Yeah, gentrification is real. It’s real. DA: What was it like seeing that demographic shift? MB: Well, I was kind of there before gentrification kind of really hit. Obviously there was a bunch of condos that went up and it was pretty cool to see. It was every time I came back home -- I’d see a new development going up. DA: Best advice your parents ever gave you? MB: I wouldn’t say it was direct advice or a quote. I’d say the best thing my parents passed on to me was to let me make my own mistakes and figure out on my age how to kind of see the world on my own. Growing up as the youngest child, one or two years after your siblings, obviously that’s great. You’re learning without truly making the mistakes on your own. But at some point in your life, you’re gonna have to learn on your own. You’re gonna have to fall to rise. DA: Conversely, then, what’s the biggest mistake you’ve made so far? MB: I’d say that the biggest mistake I’ve made so far was not committing to Texas earlier. I think waiting was awesome. I was very methodical about waiting, very strategic about what I wanted in a university. But at the same time, if I could go back, I probably would have committed my junior year, so I could hit the ground running and build the relationships, get to know people. DA: How much freedom did Shaka give you when you were there to try things on the floor that might not necessarily be good for the team, but could be good for you individually down the road? MB: Coach Smart, he’s given me so much freedom to sort of grow into who I was. That’s been a big thing in my life -- my parents and all of my coaches. Coach Smart did a great job of just letting me come to terms with myself, as a basketball player and a person. DA: I saw in one of your interviews before the Draft that you don’t think people really understand you when you say you’re a unicorn. So define that for me as you see it. MB: Well, I mean, people kind of have a concept of what it means. To me, it’s just someone who makes plays that have never been seen before -- a seven-foot big guard, those are all unicorns to me. DA: You played against Ayton and guys like Jarrett Allen (the Nets’ first-round pick in 2017) in high school, and I know how much you’ve looked at Joel Embiid on tape. Are you guys the new normal when it comes to the next generation of bigs? MB: Yeah, I think this is becoming a theme, and you’ll see it more and more with guys coming out of high school. One of the guys you’ll see coming up is James Wiseman (the 6'11" rising senior center currently playing at East High School in Memphis, and who is considered by many to be the top college prospect in the Class of 2019). He’s younger, but he does a lot of the things that I do, that Deandre does, that Jarrett does. It’s refreshing to see so many people that can do what I do. DA: If you were six-feet tall instead of seven, what would you be doing? MB: I’d have to be around the game, like a scout or a GM, something around the game. DA: How did the basketball bug bite you so hard growing up? MB: Honestly, it’s just my competitive nature. It bleeds over into other aspects of my life. But basketball is just something that I really excelled at, and whenever I hit kind of adversity, or whenever I do something that makes me vulnerable enough to get better and to ask for help, I just took this and ran with it. DA: Since you’re a kid, I have to ask you how good you are at Fortnight? MB: I play recreationally. One of my best friends is really good at it, and whenever I play him I get Ws. Longtime NBA reporter, columnist and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer David Aldridge is an analyst for TNT. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 9th, 2018

DOC VOLLEYBALL: Breaking Down the Lady Bulldogs Struggles

From a 6 - 1 start in the first round to a current 0-4 record in the second round, the National University Lady Bulldogs are in peril of falling out of the Final Four. Ending the first round on a high note, but eventually struggling in the second round is not exclusive to the Lady Bulldogs in recent UAAP Volleyball history. Downward Spiral I remember quite well our very own journey way back in Season 70 when my team, the Ateneo Blue Eagles, also had what seemed to be a budding collapse after a stellar first round. It was the maiden year of current head coach Oliver Almadro and he had the gargantuan task of bringing a perennial cellar dweller team to the Final Four.   To everybody’s surprise, we steamrolled the first round, ending it at 6-1, second only to the former powerhouse line-up of the UST Growling Tigers. Not only we were gunning for the Final Four spot at this point, but we set up hopes of actually making the podium. The second round quelled those hopes as that 7th win which could assure us a Final Four spot proved too elusive until the latter part of the round. We finished the second round of the eliminations at 2-5, which still qualified us for the semi-finals but eventually bowed out to top-seeded UST, which we could have avoided if not for the second round collapse. Though exactly not the same, our scenario is highly comparable to the NU Lady Bulldogs currently as they struggle to beat the teams they have beaten in dominant fashion during the first round. The difference lies in the fact that NU has still three more games to turn things around while we didn’t make any adjustments during our time. Muffled Bark The Lady Bulldogs were suiting up for a sweep of the first round until they were silenced by the FEU Lady Tamaraws towards the mid-season break. Not only were the Lady Tamaraws responsible for the elimination of the step-ladder possibility, but they exposed one glaring weakness in the Lady Bulldogs as well as started the team’s current downward spiral. From the aforementioned match to the recent meltdown at the hands of the UST Golden Tigresses, one trend is highly noticeable which is the correlation between NU’s passing and scoring output most especially from Queen Bulldog Jaja Santiago. Team Passing Percentage Spiking Percentage (Team) Spiking Percentage (Santiago) FEU 22.35 25.79 27.78 DLSU 17.65 28.57 33.33 ADMU 16.42 25.23 38.24 ADU 38.20 24.48 40.48 UST 34.09 30.77 47.92 Fig 1.1 – NU correlation of Passing and Spiking efficiency Based on the numbers alone, it can easily be deduced that tough serving has been the crucial factor to limit Jaja from making significant output. Being a middle, a team passing efficiency below 30-40% would prove problematic as quick attacks rely heavily on consistent reception. Against the top 3 serving teams (FEU, DLSU, ADMU), it can be deduced that Santiago (and co-middle Rissa Sato) only had less than 20% chance to wind up for a quick attack. In most cases, NU’s middles are relegated to mere decoys which rarely prove threatening to opposing blockers.   Due to low output from middle attacks, an adjustment employed is to leave Santiago attacking from zone 6 at the expense of the utilization of their libero Gayle Valdez. In some instances, Sato also doesn’t get switched out due to her reliable floor defense. Though this adjustment has contributed to Santiago providing output from the pipe attack, her position in the back proves to have more costs than benefits. Since Santiago is not switched out, their best passer (Valdez) is underutilized. In addition, instead of just focusing on the back row attack, Santiago is also burdened with passing responsibilities which significantly hamper her capability to wind up for the perfect approach. In certain instances as well, Santiago takes the second ball during transition coverage instead of just focusing on approaching for the attack. Last Minute Adjustments Going by the numbers alone, perhaps the best adjustment the Lady Bulldogs can utilize is to fully commit Santiago in the opposite position. In terms of passing and digging, this rotation would ensure that Valdez is still fully utilized as a defense specialist at the same time still enabling Santiago to contribute from the back row. In line with that, a shift into the opposite position would eliminate any passing burden for Santiago, letting her just focus on approaching for the attack. With regards to attack, a concern perhaps is if the shift to opposite would still provide the same output for Santiago. With the current disposition in the Lady Bulldogs’ floor efficiency, the shift would definitely be beneficial more than costly. First off, a middle attack relies heavily on several interlinked factors such as the pass consistency, the speed of the toss, the location of the attacker, and the height of the ball. On the other hand, attacks from the right wing, be it from the front or back row, relies less on pass consistency and attacker position. Santiago committing to the right wing would ensure that NU Setter Jasmine Nabor will always have a threatening safety net regardless of the quality of the pass. In addition, attacks from the wings would be easier for Nabor to exploit Santiago’s high attack reach as compared to quick hits. Another concern perhaps would be the trade off for blocking since Santiago would be focused on one area. Going by the numbers once more, the six leading scorers in the league (excluding Santiago) are open hitters. It would definitely prove beneficial to pit the team’s best blocker against the position with the highest scorers in the league. Though it may not guarantee kill blocks all the time, the towering presence of Santiago from the right wing would significantly alter the spiking tendencies of open hitters from other teams. In terms of a replacement blocker to fill in Santiago’s spot, NU need not be concerned with making kill blocks as well. As exemplified by Adamson’s middle Lea Ann Perez, a decent sized middle with good lateral movement can significantly contribute to the rotation through one-touch blocks that slow the ball’s momentum. High Risk High Reward Though the numbers right now logically point to the aforementioned adjustment, a practical application of such strategy is a whole different story. Perhaps the best testament of this strategy would be the masterful risk by Russian men’s volleyball coach Vladimir Alekno in none other than the Gold Medal Match of the 2012 Summer Olympics. Severely struggling in passing and defense against the Brazilian assault, the Russians’ backs were up against the wall 0 sets to 2 as they failed to utilize their strongest asset, the 7’2” giant Dimitriy Muserskiy from the middle. With Muserskiy out of the attacking equation in most cases, Brazil was able to close in on their block to the wings. With what could be considered as the riskiest yet smartest adjustment in volleyball history, Alekno fielded in Muserskiy as the opposite while putting his ace opposite Maxim Mikhaylov in the open position. Russian setter Sergey Grankin just went all out in feeding Muserskiy from the right wing with high and off the net tosses. The switch proved to be a masterstroke as the towering Muserskiy just went all out with height and strength to plow through the Brazilian net and floor defense. In addition, the adjustment did not only alter the defense dynamic of Brazil but the attack as well with Brazilian setter Bruno Rezende setting the right side more to avoid Muserskiy’s wall in the left. The last minute adjustment by the Russians caught the Brazilians off guard as they stretch out the match to a decider and eventually dealt a disheartening loss to their opponents. Going back, with Jaja Santiago inarguably comparable to Muserskiy in terms of capability to attack high from the wings, a shift into the opposite position would be a noteworthy consideration. Not only will it maximize and put more value on Santiago, such a shift can also contribute significantly in the passing woes of the Lady Bulldogs as it will ensure that their best passer will still be fielded in and utilized more. With three more upcoming matches to try out a new strategy, all might not be too late for the Lady Bulldogs to get back on the right path to the crown.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 29th, 2018

Towns, Wiggins step up for Timberwolves in win vs Warriors

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com MINNEAPOLIS – Certain games count more than others over the course of an NBA team’s 82-game schedule, and the one the Timberwolves played – and won 109-103 – against the Golden State Warriors Sunday afternoon (early Monday, PHL time) at Target Center was one of those. Did it count double what some ordinary contest might have? Triple? Keep going. More like exponential. It’s too early to claim that Minnesota’s resiliency in the comeback from 12 points down, against the defending champ, saved their season. But the dueling scenarios, win vs. lose, were rather stark for a team facing a rigorous and largely uncharted final month. Fail Sunday (Monday, PHL time), and the Wolves would be lugging a four-game skid on the road to face Washington Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time) and San Antonio Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). By the time they got home to face Houston Sunday night (next Monday, PHL time), the losing streak could be six, going on seven. The Timberwolves at the All-Star break was a surprising third seed in the West. However, since Jimmy Butler’s absence from the lineup after a right meniscus tear on Feb. 23 (Feb. 24, PHL time), the Wolves have gone 2-4. Now the Wolves, whether they admit it publicly or not, are driven simply to qualify. Period. Ending up seventh or eighth is no prize, given a likely first-round ordeal against either the Rockets or the Warriors. But for a franchise that hasn’t reached the postseason since 2004, either would be far better than landing ninth. By beating the Warriors, though, the Wolves bought themselves time and opened a smidgen of breathing room over the next few days. More than that, they responded to a serious challenge the way a playoff wannabe is supposed to. They didn’t unravel, they stuck to what was working and they had players slide into Butler’s roles as primary defender, go-to scorer and late-game closer. That is essential until the All-Star wing and obvious team leader returns, ideally, for playoffs that his teammates can deliver. Center Karl-Anthony Towns scored 14 of his team-high 31 points in the fourth quarter. Wing Andrew Wiggins scored 22 of his 23 in the first three quarters to help Minnesota claw back to an 84-84 tie. Those two stepping into the void of Butler’s injury suggested the sort of growth that, frankly, coach Tom Thibodeau and the team’s followers might look back on after this season (and postseason?) as a turning point. “This is a great opportunity for everybody, and certainly those two, in that whenever you have someone like Jimmy go out, it’s an opportunity to grow and get experience in different situations,” Thibodeau said. “We’ve talked about it a lot. We have good veterans on the team. But this is an opportunity for them to step up and lead.” Sure, Golden State was playing without team MVP Steph Curry (ankle) and ace reserve Andre Iguodala (wrist). But the visitors still had three All-Stars and the motivation of Friday’s (Saturday, PHL time) loss in Portland to propel them through the matinee. So, the Wolves did well to start with what Towns admitted was both “urgency” and “desperation.” They did even better to close with aplomb. Towns and Wiggins, both still 22-years-old, stayed cool in reacting and thwarting Golden State double-teams. Wiggins, who still needs to attack and earn his way to the foul line more often, wound up with a team-high plus-21. Towns shot 6-of-10 in the final quarter, while Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson were combining to go 3-for-13 and 11 points. Butler’s presence this season often has taken the ball out of the two younger stars’ hands late in games. But Towns is so skilled, inside and out, he should get more opportunities when games are on the line – and will in Butler’s absence. He came in averaging just 3.2 field-goal attempts in the fourth quarter this season, with 1.8 buckets and 5.1 points. Compare that to his 5.7 makes, 10.6 shots and 15.4 scoring averages through the first three quarters of games so far this season. His usage rate drops from 22.4 to 20.9 when it ought to go up. You’d believe that too if you saw his work in the final three minutes, from bulling through Draymond Green for a layup that made it 101-96 to stepping in for a left baseline jumper two possessions later. At 104-103, Towns posted up Green near the end line again, banged a bit, then spun for a fadeaway jumper. Next time down, he followed up a shot against Durant to all but clinch it. The play of Towns, Wiggins and the other three Minnesota starters took any onus off Derrick Rose. Newly signed by his old Chicago coach, Rose had a rusty, regrettable debut with the Wolves, missing five of his six shots with two turnovers and a minus-17 in just 6:36. But his presence, if nothing else, ought to remind Towns and Wiggins that 22 is plenty old enough to grab a pack of Wolves by the scruff of their necks and take responsibility. Rose was 22 when he became the youngest MVP in NBA history, leading the Bulls all the way to the Eastern Conference finals that season. Minnesota basically is in the playoffs now – every outcome matters, bolstering or damaging its run to the postseason. There’s no running away now, no hiding either. “I think we’re more prepared because we’ve had most of the season to go through experiences,” Towns said. “Now that we’re at this point, we have the chance to do something great. It’s for us as a group to take all the experiences we’ve had – of losing close games, winning big, winning games offensively, winning games defensively – and putting them to [use].” It is vital that the Wolves’ young stars stay focused on the opportunities before them, rather than succumbing to the pressure. Said Towns: “The thing is, you don’t ever want to have pressure turn to stress. We have to make sure we keep our composure. Obviously, the situation we’re in, it’s a lot of pressure on us. But we can’t turn that into stress, because that’s when we start becoming undisciplined and start making errors that are more mental.” The proof now is in the playing, said Thibodeau. “The best leadership you can have is your actions,” the coach said. “What are you doing? It’s not what you say. Oftentimes people say things and never do what they say. It’s what you do.” 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 NewsMar 12th, 2018

Duterte vows fair trial, ‘comfortable house’ for nabbed Russian drug smugglers

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte vowed a fair trial and “comfortable house” for two Russians arrested for drug smuggling in the Philippines. Duterte made the assurance during his bilateral meeting with Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev late Monday night. “There are two Russians facing criminal cases in drug smuggling It’s Mr. Yuri Kirdyushkin and Anastasia Novopashina. I [...] The post Duterte vows fair trial, ‘comfortable house’ for nabbed Russian drug smugglers appeared first on The Manila Times Online......»»

Category: newsSource:  manilatimesRelated NewsNov 14th, 2017

Atletico puts new stadium to the test in Champions League

A look at what's happening around the Champions League this week: ___ strong>ATLETICO'S HOME SUCCESS /strong> Atletico Madrid will try to extend its successful home streak when it makes its Champions League debut at the new Wanda Metropolitano Stadium on Wednesday against Chelsea. It will be Atletico's third match at the venue which replaced the Vicente Calderon Stadium, where Atletico was unbeaten in its last 11 games in the European competition. Atletico has won both of its matches at the Wanda Metropolitano — 1-0 against Malaga and 2-0 against Sevilla, both in the Spanish league 'The Metropolitano has the feel of a Roman circus,' Atletico coach Diego Simeone said. Barcelona travels to Portugal to face Sporting Lisbon on Wednesday, riding a seven-game winning streak that includes the emphatic 3-0 win over Juventus in its Champions League opener. Sporting, off to a great start in the Portuguese league, can make it two wins in a row to start its Group D campaign. On Tuesday, Sevilla will host Maribor, which is coming off its first loss of the season against Atletico Madrid. ___ strong>MOSCOW CHALLENGE /strong> The Champions League provides Russian authorities with a key test of their World Cup readiness this week, and a glimpse at the welcome fans can expect next year. Two of England's fiercest rivals, Liverpool and Manchester United, play on consecutive nights in Moscow. Liverpool is first up against Spartak Moscow on Tuesday, and CSKA Moscow plays United the following night. There isn't typically disorder when the teams — separated by about 30 miles (48 kilometers) in northwest England — meet on home soil. But since England fans were attacked by Russians at the 2016 European Championship in Marseille, concerns have heightened about hooliganism in the 2018 World Cup host nation. United and Liverpool fans have been advised by the British government not to wear club colors on the streets of Moscow and to avoid walking alone. On the pitch, United and CSKA both won their opening games in Group A. Liverpool and Spartak are chasing their first wins after starting Group E with draws. ___ strong>DORTMUND THRIVING BUT FLAWED /strong> Real Madrid heads to Germany to face on Tuesday a Borussia Dortmund side enjoying its best start to the Bundesliga. Dortmund hadn't even conceded a goal in five domestic games until Lars Stindl netted Borussia Moenchengladbach's consolation in a 6-1 rout on Saturday. While Dortmund has scored 19 goals in six league games, there is no perfection in the high pressing game. The team remains prone to lapses at the back and opponents can suddenly find themselves with wide spaces to run into behind the Dortmund defense. That happened three times alone in the first half against 'Gladbach but it didn't prove as costly as when Dortmund visited London earlier this month and lost its Group H opener against Tottenham 3-1. ___ strong>NEEDING NEYMAR /strong> A bust-up between Edinson Cavani and Neymar combined with a goalless draw at Montpellier have generated a sense of trouble at Paris Saint-Germain ahead of Bayern Munich's visit on Wednesday. Cavani and Neymar have reportedly made peace after arguing on the pitch, but PSG dropped its first points this season following a dismal performance at Montpellier that raised concerns about the side's dependence on its Brazilian star. Neymar sat out Saturday's game because of a toe injury and his absence was obvious. Facing a very defensive side which closed spaces efficiently, PSG did not find a way to break the deadlock in a 4-3-3 system that lacked rhythm and creativity. 'We need to push more in order to score goals,' PSG coach Unai Emery said. 'This match leaves us with a lot of things to analyze in order to continue our progression.' Neymar is expected to return for the Bayern game in Group B. ___ strong>ROMA'S NEGATIVE STREAK /strong> Roma will be hopeful of ending a woeful away record in the Champions League when it travels to Azerbaijan for the first time, to play Qarabag on Wednesday. Including qualifying, Roma has won only one of its past 13 matches on its travels in Europe's elite competition, with that sole victory coming against Basel in 2009. But coach Eusebio Di Francesco will be hopeful of success against Qarabag, which lost 6-0 at Chelsea in the last round. He will again look to an in-form Edin Dzeko, who netted his fifth goal in three matches in Saturday's 3-1 win over Udinese. Stephan El Shaarawy scored twice in that match and Di Francesco has described him as 'the ideal attacker' for his preferred 4-3-3 formation, which he hopes will boost Roma in Europe as well as domestically. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 25th, 2017

China faces 1-year ban over doping

MOSCOW – China is facing a one-year ban from weightlifting over repeated doping cases in a move which threatens to stop some of the world’s top athletes from.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsAug 27th, 2016

Duterte, other APEC leaders meet amid trade tensions, economic uncertainties

President Rodrigo Duterte and 20 other leaders and representatives of Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies will meet in Papua New Guinea this weekend as the region is facing challenges posed by a high inflation, trade tensions and market uncertainties. .....»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsNov 15th, 2018

Amid crisis, pope gives Vatican’s sex abuse expert new role

VATICAN CITY --- Pope Francis is giving a prominent new role to the Vatican's most trusted sex crimes investigator in a sign that he's looking to improve the Holy See's response to abuse at a time when the church and papacy are facing a credibility crisis. Francis on Tuesday named Archbishop Charles Scicluna as a deputy, or adjunct secretary, at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican office that processes sex abuse cases globally. Scicluna had been the congregation's chief prosecutor for a decade and was credited with measures making it easier to defrock pedophiles. But Pope Benedict XVI sent him to his native Malta in 2012 as bishop after Scicluna's tough line...Keep on reading: Amid crisis, pope gives Vatican’s sex abuse expert new role.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsNov 13th, 2018

Accelerating the uptake of renewable energy through the Green Energy Option Program

AFFORDABLE ENERGY is a precursor to economic growth, which is of particular importance given our country’s current situation: we are facing energy supply challenges while paying for high electricity prices......»»

Category: financeSource:  bworldonlineRelated NewsNov 13th, 2018

Batang Gilas duo shine for NU in UAAP 81 Juniors action

The Nazareth School of National University (NS-NU) Bullpups opened their UAAP Season 81 Juniors' Basketball tournament campaign on a high note after holding off the FEU-Diliman Baby Tamaraws, 78-70, at the Blue Eagle Gym Sunday morning. With the game tied at 57 following a JB Sajonia jumper from 15 feet, NS-NU held off a furious run by the Baby Tams, as Bullpup Terrence Fortea scored six straight points to keep their opponents at bay.  FEU-Diliman's RJ Abarrientos cut the lead to as close as four, 61-65, but NS-NU answered emphatically with the game-deciding 16-3 run, capped off by Harold Alarcon's fastbreak layup. "Medyo nag-start out ng maganda yung defense namin. Na-contain namin yung FEU noong first half. Noong bandang gitna ng third quarter, medyo bumaba na naman. Siguro we have to be more consistent," NS-NU Bullpups head coach Goldwin Monteverde told ABS-CBN Sports. NU tried to pull away initially in the first half, venturing on an 11-1 run bridging the first two quarters to lead 28-16, but the Baby Tamaraws found a way to slowly chip away the lead. Batang Gilas duo Carl Tamayo and Gerry Abadiano had a great debut for the Season 80 runners-up, combining for 28 points. The sharpshooter Fortea meanwhile added 11 markers of his own. Abarrientos top scored for the Baby Tamaraws with 15, while Ron Tolentino added 14. Meanwhile, in the first game, the De La Salle-Santiago Zobel Junior Archers drew their first win of the season in a comeback win against the UE Junior Red Warriors, 66-56. Game tied at 49 in the early goings of the fourth quarter, DLS-Zobel wrestled away the game from UE through a 15-4 run to lead 64-53. Henrie Subido, brother of UST Growling Tiger Renzo led the way with 19 points. Lance Jomalesa, a key cog in the game-sealing run added 17 markers of his own. For UE, Shane Dichoso paced their offese with 20 points and six rebounds, but coughed the ball nine times. Big man Jesse Sullano meanwhile had a double-double performance of 11 points and 10 rebounds. FIRST GAME DLSZ (66) -- Subido 19, Jomalesa 17, Sevilla 13, Macasaet 6, Pingol 4, Villarin 3, Buncayo 2, Milan 2, Cudiamat 0, Luna 0, Marana 0. UE (56) -- Dichoso 20, Sullano 11, Alinsoring 8, Lima 6, Manaug 5, Flores 3, Tajonera 2, Agbas 1, Almacen 0, Villarta 0, Gatdula 0, Escamilla 0. Quarter Scores:  15-17, 35-29, 44-45, 66-56. SECOND GAME NS-NU (78) -- Tamayo 18, Fortea 11, Abadiano 10, Gonzales 8, Alarcon 7, Dayrit 7, Torres 6, Felicilda 5, Quiambao 5, Mailim 1, Vinoya 0, Enriquez 0, Buensalida 0. FEU-Diliman (70) -- Abarrientos 15, Tolentino 14, Alforque 12, Anunuevo 7, Bautista 7, Sajonia 6, Ona 5, Bagunu 2, Torres 2, Libago 0, Barasi 0. Quarter Scores: 20-16, 41-34, 54-52, 78-70.   __     Follow this writer on Twitter, @philipptionary. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 11th, 2018

Kings come on strong late to beat Timberwolves 121-110

By MICHAEL WAGAMAN,  Associated Press SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Willie Cauley-Stein had 25 points, Nemanja Bjelica scored eight in a row during a big run late in the third quarter and the Sacramento Kings beat the slumping Minnesota Timberwolves 121-110 on Friday night to spoil a huge game for Karl-Anthony Towns. De'Aaron Fox added 16 points and 10 assists for Sacramento. Iman Shumpert scored 17 and Bjelica finished with 14 points and eight rebounds. Coming off back-to-back losses to East powers Milwaukee and Toronto, the Kings led by 15 early in the fourth quarter but had to hold off a late surge by Minnesota to end a three-game losing streak to the Timberwolves. Towns had a season-high 39 points and 19 rebounds on a night when Minnesota's inconsistent offense sputtered much of the way. The Timberwolves trailed by 14 midway through the fourth before Derrick Rose made consecutive 3-pointers to start a 12-0 run. Minnesota had a chance to tie the game but Jimmy Butler missed two free throws with 3:19 left. Sacramento scored the next seven points to pull away. Rose had 21 points, five assists and six rebounds. Butler was a game-time decision but played 41 minutes and had 13 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. The Timberwolves are 0-8 on the road. Sacramento missed 11 of its first 14 shots and fell behind by 12 early in the first quarter. Cauley-Stein helped rally the Kings in the second, scoring eight points as Sacramento took a 63-61 halftime lead. Towns made his first five shots and was 7 of 9 in the first quarter when Minnesota jumped out to a 12-point lead. He cooled off a bit in the second but made two 3s and had 29 points and eight rebounds by halftime. TIP-INS Timberwolves: Two days after setting a franchise record with 20 3-pointers, the Timberwolves failed to find their stroke beyond the arc, going 7 for 25. . Andrew Wiggins (bruised right quad), Jeff Teague (bruised left knee) and Justin Patton (right foot) were held out. Kings: Kosta Koufos made a 19-foot jumper at the buzzer to end the first quarter. . Bogdan Bogdanovic, who underwent a pair of left knee procedures in the offseason, was rested two days after making his season debut. UP NEXT Timberwolves: Host the Nets on Monday. Kings: Host the Lakers on Saturday......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 10th, 2018

Lillard scores 25 as Trail Blazers beat Clippers 116-105

By Anne M. Peterson, Associated Press PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Damian Lillard had 25 points and the Portland Trail Blazers won their third straight game, 116-105 over the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night (Friday, PHL time). CJ McCollum added 23 points for Portland, which has won 6-of-7. Danilo Gallinari and Lou Williams each scored 20 for the Clippers. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had a career-high 19. Portland had struggled all night to separate from the Clippers, but pulled in front 93-83 on Zach Collins' dunk with 9:42 left. Another dunk by Collins put the Blazers up 100-90 with 6:10 to go. The Clippers closed to 107-101 on Gallinari's jumper, but Jusuf Nurkic answered for Portland with a layup and Los Angeles could not get any closer down the stretch. There were questions before the game about the availability of Clippers forward Tobias Harris because of illness. Coach Doc Rivers said Harris was a game-time decision, but he was ultimately in the starting lineup. Harris, the team's leading scorer and rebounder, finished with 15 points and 11 boards for his fifth double-double this season. The Clippers were without Avery Bradley for the second straight game because of a left ankle sprain, and Luc Mbah a Moute missed his seventh game with a sore left knee. The Clippers missed Bradley's perimeter defense against Lillard and McCollum. Portland was without Maurice Harkless, who has missed seven straight games because of a sore left knee. Jake Layman has been starting in his place. The Blazers led 37-28 after the first quarter, paced by McCollum's 10 points. Portland never could extend the lead to double digits and led just 61-57 at the break. Gilgeous-Alexander and Montrezl Harrell each had 12 first-half points for the Clippers, while Lillard led all scorers with 14. Al-Farouq Aminu hit a three-pointer that gave Portland a 78-68 lead, its largest to that point, midway through the third quarter. The Clippers narrowed it again, closing to 81-77 on Harris' driving floater. Nurkic fouled out with 1:57 left, finishing with 16 points and nine rebounds. TIP-INS Clippers: The team put out a statement of sympathy for victims of the mass shooting in Thousand Oaks, California, on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time). Thousand Oaks is located northwest of Los Angeles. ... The Clippers were coming off a 120-109 win at home over Minnesota. Trail Blazers: The club held a moment of silence for victims of the shooting in California. ... Portland was coming off a 118-103 win at home over Milwaukee on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time). ... The Blazers have won the last four meetings between the teams. ... Lillard did not shoot a free throw. UP NEXT The Clippers host the Bucks on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). The Trail Blazers host the Celtics on Sunday night (Monday, PHL time)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 9th, 2018

Foton, Petron, F2 Logistics share top spot

F2 Logistics and Foton sustained their blazing starts as they clobbered their respective foes in the Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Conference Tuesday at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan. The Cargo Movers crushed Sta. Lucia, 25-19, 25-20, 25-18, while the Tornadoes devastated Cignal, 25-15, 18-25, 25-22, 25-20, to clinch their second straight victory in as many outings. They were joined at the top spot by Petron after the Blaze Spikers defeated Generika-Ayala, 25-18, 25-22, 25-13. Aiza Maizo-Pontillas finished with 11 points while Remy Palma added nine for Petron, which sent the Lifesavers to their second loss in as many games. Meanwhile, Majoy Baron led the charge with 14 points and added seven digs, while former Most Valuable Player awardee Ara Galang and Kianna Dy chipped in 12 markers apiece for the Cargo Movers, who came up with a fitting follow-up to their impressive win over the HD Spikers in the opener. But F2 Logistics head coach Ramil de Jesus remains far from satisfied.  “We often start slow, especially whenever we play against opponents who just came from a tough loss,” said de Jesus, noting that they are still searching for their killer instinct. “We should get away with it because it gives momentum to other team. We have to be at our best from start to finish regardless of whom we are facing.” CJ Rosario delivered 13 kills, two blocks and two aces to finish with 17 points while Mina Aganon tallied 14 hits for Foton, which hardly missed the presence of towering frontliners Jaja Santiago and Dindin Manabat. Santiago and Manabat opted to sit out the season-ending conference to see action in the prestigious V.Premier League of Japan. Foton head coach Aaron Velez stressed that they remain a work in progress. "I think we were able to get back to our system,” said Velez, who took the helm from John Abella in the off-season. “We're still trying to figure out how to be consistent. But, I also think were able to tap our energy and momentum down the stretch.” Velez said they made some changes in their position to thwart the vaunted defense of the HD Spikers. "We were always training in the match,” said Velez, who also drew solid performance from new recruits Arianne Layug and Shaya Adorador that gave Ateneo de Manila ace blocker Bea de Leon the luxury of seeing limited minutes. “We wanted to win this one very badly so I thought of a plan in which we can take advantage of our positions and turn the game around. Fortunately, it worked.”  Rachel Anne Daquis, the newly-crowned league ambassador, sizzled with game-high 21 points laced with 13 digs while national team stalwart Mylene Paat added 17 hits for the HD Spikers, who suffered their second setback in three games. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 6th, 2018

LaVine scores career-high 41 points in double OT win

By Jeffrey Bernstein, Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) — Zach LaVine scored a career-high 41 points, including the game-winning free throw with 0.2 seconds left, as the Chicago Bulls beat the New York Knicks 116-115 in double overtime on Monday night (Tuesday, PHL time). Antonio Blakeney scored 17 points, Jabari Parker had 15 and Wendell Carter Jr. added 11 points and 13 rebounds for the Bulls. Enes Kanter led the Knicks with 23 points and 24 rebounds while Allonzo Trier scored 21. Emmanuel Mudiay's coast-to-coast layup had tied the score with 2.7 seconds left. Lavine, who scored all eight of Chicago's points in the second OT, was then fouled by Mudiay. The Bulls star made the first free throw to give the Bulls the win. He also scored the final points of the first overtime with his fadeaway jumper with 1:13 remaining. Chicago had taken its biggest lead of the game, 59-49, on his free throw with 7:28 remaining in the third quarter. The Knicks cut the deficit to two, 72-70, on Kanter's short turnaround with 1:47 left in the third but still trailed 78-72 after three. The Knicks scored the first five points of the final quarter to pull within one and finally got even at 93-93 on Trey Burke's jumper with 4:14 remaining. LaVine then hit three consecutive three-pointers for the Bulls, but Trier hit a pair of free throws and then a three-pointer with 48 seconds left to tie the game 102-102. LaVine missed a pair of shots on Chicago's next possession. Trier couldn't connect on a jumper with three seconds left and Mario Hezonja's offensive rebound and follow-up didn't fall as the game went to overtime. Mudiay gave the Knicks their first lead since the second quarter, 104-102, when he hit a jumper with 4:12 left in the first overtime. Damyean Dotson scored 18 points, Mudiay finished with 16 and Hezonja added 15 for the Knicks. TIP-INS Bulls: With the victory, Chicago avoided starting the season 2-9 for the second consecutive season. ... The Bulls have won four of their last five games against New York. Knicks: Kevin Knox, the No. 9 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, returned after missing seven games with a sprained left ankle. He played just five minutes and scored two points. ... New York has now lost both ends of their two back-to-backs this season. In their first set, the Knicks lost to the Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics on October 19-20. WHO'S FOLLOWING THE LEADER? Lauri Markkanen led the Bulls in scoring (15.2 ppg) and rebounding (7.5 rpg) last season, while Kris Dunn was No. 1 in both assists (6.0 apg) and steals (2.0 spg). Markkanen (sprained right elbow) has not played yet this season and Dunn (sprained left MCL) has only played one game (October 22 vs. Dallas). A NEW WAY With Tim Hardaway Jr. out of the starting lineup on Monday night (Tuesday, PHL time) with a lower back injury, Frank Ntilikina is now the only Knick to start all 11 games this season. Hardaway Jr. was replaced by Allonzo Trier, who received the first start of his career. EMPTY BUCKET The Knicks did not hit their first basket of the game until Dotson connected on a three-pointer with 6:53 left in the first half. Despite the early draught, the bucket gave the Knicks a 6-4 lead. Overall, New York shot 23.1 percent (6-of-26) from the field in the first quarter and trailed 24-21. UP NEXT Bulls: Chicago visits New Orleans on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time). Knicks: New York visits Atlanta on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 6th, 2018

Nets keep turnover-prone 76ers winless on the road

By Brian Mahoney, Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) — D’Angelo Russell snapped out of a slump with 13 of his 21 points in the second half, and the Brooklyn Nets kept the sloppy Philadelphia 76ers winless on the road with a 122-97 victory on Sunday night (Monday, PHL time). The 76ers committed 28 turnovers, most in the NBA this season, leading to 39 points for the Nets. They fell to 0-5 away from home. They are 6-0 in Philadelphia. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson also scored 21 points and Caris LeVert had 20 for the Nets. They took a small lead into halftime thanks to 17 Philadelphia turnovers, then blew it open with a 41-point third quarter that was one of the biggest in Barclays Center history. They kept pouring it on in the fourth and 76ers coach Brett Brown pulled Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons midway through the period facing a 24-point deficit. Embiid finished with 16 points and 15 rebounds, taking only eight shots a day after going for 39 points and 17 rebounds in a victory over Detroit. Simmons had 20 points and 12 boards. Russell was only 4-for-12 for eight points in the first half, a game after he was on the bench down the stretch in the Nets’ loss to Houston. The point guard shot 5-for-14 in that game and 3-for-15 in the previous one, and the former No. 2 pick’s benching was the biggest topic of conversation leading into the game. But he helped trigger to the big third quarter with eight points in the period and he was only on the bench as the final minutes ticked down this time because there was no crunch time. Joe Harris snapped a 61-all tie with a three-pointer, Russell scored five straight and Harris made another triple to make it 72-61. JJ Redick scored to end that drought but it didn’t change the momentum, as the Nets scored 15 of the next 21 points to open an 87-69 lead. The 76ers limited the Nets to 5-of-28 shooting in the first quarter but led only 21-18 in part because of their 10 turnovers. Philadelphia then made 9-of-14 shots in the second, but coughed it up seven more times to lead to seven points for the Nets, who scored 33 in the period and led 51-47 at halftime. TIP-INS 76ers: Wilson Chandler rested a day after making his 76ers debut by playing 10 minutes. ... Philadelphia had a three-game winning streak against Brooklyn snapped. Nets: Brooklyn improved to 9-4 against Philadelphia at Barclays Center, tied for the most victories against any opponent since moving from New Jersey. The Nets have also beaten Orlando nine times. ... Jarrett Allen had 15 points and 10 rebounds. FAMILIAR FACES The Nets have used the same starting five (LeVert, Russell, Joe Harris, Jared Dudley and Jarrett Allen) for each of the first 10 games of the season. The last time they did that was in the 2002-03 season, when Jason Kidd, Kerry Kittles, Richard Jefferson, Kenyon Martin and Dikembe Mutombo started the first 16 in a row. ... Harris made a three-pointer in his 25th straight game, moving into sole possession of fourth place on the team’s career list. Joe Johnson hit at least one in 37 in a row in 2014. BIG THREE The 41-point third quarter was one off the Nets’ high in Barclays Center, which opened in 2012. They had a 42-point third against Golden State last season and against the 76ers on Dec. 16, 2013. Most points scored by the Nets in a 3rd quarter in Barclays Center history (since 2012-13): UP NEXT 76ers: Visit Chicago on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time). Nets: Visit Phoenix on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 5th, 2018

Lacson hopes pay hike would curb police corruption

Senator Panfilo Lacson said on Sunday that he is hoping that the salary increase for policemen in January 2019 would reduce the number of "kotong cops" cases in the country. He said the pay hike might help support the needs of police authorities. "I have high hopes that it will materialize [...] with all the benefits and unprecedented salary hike accorded to the military and uniformed personnel," Lacson said in a statement. The senator also hopes that cops would be more focused on serving and protecting the public against criminals. "Thanks to the strong political will of President Rodrigo Duterte who almost single-handedly pushed for the same, there is every reason for right...Keep on reading: Lacson hopes pay hike would curb police corruption.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsNov 4th, 2018

Trae Young scores 24 as Hawks beat Heat 123-118

By CHARLES ODUM,  AP Sports Writer ATLANTA (AP) — Trae Young had 24 points and a career-high 15 assists, and the Atlanta Hawks beat Josh Richardson and the Miami Heat 123-118 on Saturday night (Sunday, PHL time). Taurean Prince and Dewayne Dedmon each scored 15 points for the Hawks, who had dropped four in a row. Young also had six rebounds in his ninth NBA game. Richardson scored 32 points, setting a career high for the second time this week, but Miami lost its third straight game. The Heat trailed by 15 in the third quarter before rallying to a 111-110 lead in the fourth. The game was tied at 118 when Vince Carter's jumper gave Atlanta the lead for good. Carter had 12 points. Players on each team were quick to launch 3-pointers in the fast-paced game. The Hawks made 13 of 32 3s, and the Heat connected on 16 of 40, including 6 of 10 by Richardson. Before Miami allowed more than 120 points for the third straight game, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra made a pregame appeal for better defense. "We're coming off two poor defensive efforts," Spoelstra said. "We just need to commit better, harder, for 48 minutes." Spoelstra may have repeated his plea at halftime. The Hawks led 74-68 at the break after making 60 percent of their shots from the field. The Hawks shot 52.3 percent for the game. A 12-0 run, capped by a 3-pointer and pullup jumper by Young, gave Atlanta its biggest lead at 86-71. Young dribbled through traffic and made a short floater at the buzzer to give Atlanta a 102-93 lead entering the final period. Richardson's jumper tied it at 116. Following a flagrant foul against Justise Winslow, Young's two free throws got the lead back for Atlanta. Miami held out point guard Goran Dragic due to persistent pain in his right foot. Dragic, second on the team with 17.7 points per game, had a cortisone shot earlier in the week. Dwyane Wade had 19 points for the Heat. TIP-INS Heat: Wayne Ellington made his season debut after returning from a left ankle injury. He finished with five points. ... Winslow had 15 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists in his first start of the season. ... Richardson had 31 points against Sacramento on Monday. Hawks: Rookie F Omari Spellman had seven points in his first start. ... G Kevin Huerter had 12 points after spraining his right ankle in Thursday night's loss to Sacramento. UP NEXT Heat: At Detroit on Monday night. Hawks: At Charlotte on Tuesday night......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 4th, 2018

MPBL: Lao ready to step up for Manila

Guard Kyles Lao is proving his worth for the Manila Stars. After coming up big in the Stars’ 60-59 win over the Zamboanga Valientes, the former University of the Philippines stalwart is ready to step up once again for Manila in the Datu Cup of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL).  Lao, 23, said his mindset is to go all out when Stars coach Philip Cezar calls his name – just like he did when he stepped up in the team’s last win where he scored 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field. “That has been my approach ever since, to be ready to play and contribute every time coach gives me the playing time,” said the 5-foot-10 Lao, a rookie in the MPBL. “I just play my game and give it my best.”  “I’m very thankful to coach Philip for his trust and confidence, as well as my teammates. I’ll just continue to play my game and keep aggressive in our next games as we aim for a playoff berth,” added Lao, who averages nearly seven points, two rebounds and two assists in the MPBL. The former UAAP Rookie of the Year was clutch for Manila in its win against Zamboanga as buried back-to-back jump shots, including a tough step back jumper that gave the Stars a 56-55 lead with 3:16 left. Lao helped a Manila squad to a victory that played sans PBA veteran Roger Yap, coming off the bench behind amateur stalwart Chris Bitoon and former PBA player Marcy Arellano.  Manila’s win improved its record to 10-2 in the Northern Division of the tournament, and Cezar said Lao will surely get more playing time knowing that he is capable of delivering on both ends.  “Kyles has what it takes to compete at a high level,” said Cezar of Lao. “He’s talented and he’s really helping the team. He just needs to be more confident and play consistent basketball,” added Cezar, a former PBA MVP and member of the 40 Greatest Players......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 4th, 2018

MVP Ladder: Hot start pushes Curry to forefront

By Sekou Smith, NBA.com When Kevin Durant raised the Finals MVP trophy in the air in June -- his second straight, mind you -- it was supposed to be over for Stephen Curry. The prevailing wisdom said there was no way the former two-time Kia MVP winner Curry would be able to contend for a third Maurice Podoloff Trophy playing alongside Durant (a former Kia MVP himself). Their individual brilliance would be muted by the collective strength of their partnership as the two best players on the best team in the league. This notion they would continue to split Kia MVP votes made sense given their super team required all of its stars to sacrifice personal glory for the greater team good. That was the thinking before the first nine games of this season ... and then Curry decided to attack things as he did in 2015-16. That season, he went nuclear -- averaging 30.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 6.7 assists per game while shooting 50.4 percent overall and 45.4 percent on three-pointers -- becoming the NBA's first unanimous MVP winner as the Warriors won an NBA-record 73 games. Durant was still toiling for the rival Oklahoma City Thunder then, sharing the spotlight with another eventual Kia MVP in Russell Westbrook. Curry’s opening salvo this season, though, has been nothing short of staggering. His pace right now -- leading the league in scoring while shooting nearly 55 percent overall and 53 percent on three-pointers  -- could top that 2015-16 season. Doing all this with teammates who could make their own compelling cases for Kia MVP honors makes Curry’s start even more mind-boggling. Both Durant (check out his 25-point fourth quarter at Madison Square Garden) and Klay Thompson (who topped Curry’s three-pointers made record in Chicago) are taking turns showing out, all of which speaks to the Warriors' mastery of a situation that easily could have overloaded these three stars. Curry’s consistent brilliance sticks out in a sea of transcendent scoring performances in the early stages of this season. He was the one who dropped 51 points in 32 minutes in a win over Washington, making 11 of his 16 three-pointers. He went 6-for-11 on three-pointers en route to 29 points when Durant worked the Knicks for 41 points at MSG. When Thompson was in the zone against the Bulls, Curry scored 23 points (on 7-for-9 shooting) in just 25 minutes. And when the New Orleans Pelicans showed up to Oracle Arena Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time), Curry lit them up for 37 on 12-for-20 shooting and a 7-for-11 night on three-pointers. That's all why Curry sits atop the first Kia Race to the MVP Ladder this season. And if he keeps this up, there’s no reason Curry won't be in the thick of this season's MVP conversation when the dust settles. The top five in the Week 1 edition of the 2018-19 Kia Race to the MVP Ladder: * * * 1. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors Season stats: 33 points, 5.9 assists, 5.0 rebounds Here's the kind of damage Curry is doing so far: he’s not only leading the league in scoring, but doing so while shooting a preposterous 54.9 percent overall and an equally bonkers 52.9 percent on three-pointers. Scoring around the league is on the rise this season, and perhaps no one is taking more advantage of the freedom of movement rule the way Curry has. He’s scoring from everywhere, against any and everyone whenever he wants in a system built around his skills. He’s got one of the league’s early 50-point games (51 points, vs. Washington), and, given the way he’s shooting now, could go for another 50-spot at any time. That’s a warning for the Minnesota Timberwolves, who will see Curry today. 2. Kawhi Leonard, Toronto Raptors Season stats: 27.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists Leonard is off to a monstrous start with Toronto, shattering that pesky myth that he was a product of a system in San Antonio. Anyone who forgot just how devastating a two-way player he could be after his nine-game run with the Spurs last season should have a clearer understanding of what he can do when healthy. Just ask Philadelphia 76ers stud Ben Simmons, who couldn't praise Leonard enough after matching wits with the two-time Kia Defensive Player of the Year. “He’s a freak,” Simmons said after turning the ball over 11 times while being guarded by Leonard on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time). “His hands are huge. He’s got long arms. He’s a great defender.” The scary part for the rest of the league? Leonard is shooting as good or better than ever on three-pointers (44.4 percent) while logging a career-high 34.7 minutes. And, technically, he is still undefeated in a Raptors uniform (he got a rest day for Bucks-Raptors). 3. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks Season stats: 26.1 points, 13.7 rebounds, 5.1 assists It took a franchise-record 24 made three-pointers for the Boston Celtics to hold off Antetokounmpo and the Bucks Thursday night (Friday, PHL time) at TD Garden. It was the Bucks’ first loss this season, but it wasn’t because the "Greek Freak" didn’t show up. He roasted the Celtics for 33 points (on just 22 shots), 11 rebounds, three steals and two assists. The increased floor spacing that comes with the arrival of coach Mike Budenholzer has allowed Antetokounmpo to put opposing defenders in compromising positions. His three-point shot is still in the development stage, but if Budenholzer can help transform that part of his game (as he did for Al Horford and Paul Millsap in Atlanta), the rest of the league will be on notice. As for Antetokounmpo's groove elsewhere on the court, it has made him virtually unstoppable when he’s in attack mode. 4. Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans Season stats: 25.2 points, 13.0 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 3.2 blocks Had there been a top five after the first four games of this season, Davis would have been a runaway pick for the No. 1 spot. He was that good in powering New Orleans' 4-0 start. But the Pelicans have lost four straight and three to the four games since as Davis deals with nagging right elbow pain. Davis missed back-to-back games against Utah and Denver, then played Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) against the Warriors. It was clear he wasn’t at his best, as he had 17 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists. (Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry held him out in a road loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.) Davis hasn’t been shy about proclaiming that he’s chasing both Kia MVP and Kia Defensive Player of the Year honors, a double-dip that only half a handful of players could realistically set as a goal. The talent and high ceiling have never been in question. His availability to chase such lofty goals, however, remains a question at times. 5. Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers Season stats: 29.1 points, 6.0 assists, 5.1 rebounds Lillard entered this season as determined to prove his team’s early 2018 playoff exit wasn't a true measure of Portland's status. Still, getting swept by the Pelicans sent the Blazers into the offseason with tons of questions and skeptics. Since the first whistle of training camp, Lillard has gone about the business of answering those questions. He’s averaging career-highs in points (29.1), field goal percentage (49.7 percent), three-point percentage (40 percent) and free throw percentage (94 percent). The Blazers finished their recent four-game road trip at 3-1, which included wins against Orlando, Indiana and the struggling Houston Rockets. Thursday night’s (Friday, PHL time) win over the Anthony David-less Pelicans was fueled by Lillard’s team-high 26 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Saturday night’s home game against LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers could be another opportunity for Lillard and Co. to show they aren’t stepping aside for anyone. * * * The next five 6.  Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets 7.  Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors 8.  Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz 9.  LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers 10.  Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers And five more: Jimmy Butler, Minnesota Timberwolves; DeMar DeRozan, San Antonio Spurs; Blake Griffin, Detroit Pistons; Kyrie Irving, Boston Celtics; Victor Oladipo, Indiana Pacers Sekou Smith is a veteran NBA reporter and NBA TV analyst. 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 NewsNov 3rd, 2018

Paul, Anthony help Rockets top Nets 119-111, end 4-game skid

By BRIAN MAHONEY,  AP Basketball Writer NEW YORK (AP) — Chris Paul had 32 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds, Carmelo Anthony added a season-high 28 points and the Houston Rockets snapped a four-game losing streak with a 119-111 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Friday night. Clint Capela finished with 22 points and 13 rebounds, and Eric Gordon contributed 21 points for the Rockets, who had stumbled to a 1-5 start a season after winning 65 games and falling a game short of the NBA Finals. They snapped out of their slump thanks to one of the best games as a Rocket for Paul, who had season bests in points and assists in the final game before his workload should ease Saturday with the expected return of James Harden. The league MVP missed his third straight game with a strained left hamstring and coach Mike D'Antoni said he would probably return for the second half of a back-to-back in Chicago. Anthony bounced back from a 2-for-12, eight-point performance against Portland by coming off the bench to hit six 3-pointers. Caris LeVert scored 29 points for the Nets, who got off to a sizzling start before the Rockets turned around the game. One of the NBA's most potent offenses had been held below 90 points in two of the previous three games after doing so only three times all last season. The offense was back Friday, but the defense took a while to get going. Brooklyn made 14 of its first 18 shots, including 13 of 14 inside the 3-point arc while simply driving by defenders. The Nets finished 15 of 21 in the opening quarter, taking a 32-25 lead. Paul kept the Rockets close with 13 points in the second, including a deep 3-pointer that cut it to 61-56 at halftime The Rockets then surged ahead with an 11-0 run in the third, with Anthony making two 3-pointers, a jumper and blocking a shot as Houston went ahead 76-69. Anthony hit two more 3s in the fourth. TIP-INS Rockets: Houston avoided matching its longest skid of last season. The Rockets dropped five in a row from Dec. 20-29. ... Paul's highest-scoring game with the Rockets is 37 points last Jan. 10 against Portland. Nets: Coach Kenny Atkinson said there was no decision yet if rookies Rodions Kurucs and Dzanan Musa would play for Long Island on Saturday in its season opener. Both players worked out with the G League affiliate this week. ... The Nets scored 26 of their 32 first-quarter points in the paint, marking their most points in the paint in a quarter since having 26 in the first on Dec. 7, 2016, against Denver. HARDEN'S HOPES Harden has worked out without discomfort and D'Antoni said he likely would have returned Friday if the Rockets had been off following the game. But because they were playing on two straight nights and he wouldn't use Harden on both of them after returning from injury, D'Antoni is opting to wait the extra day and bring Harden back Saturday at Chicago. The league MVP was hurt near the end of a loss to Utah on Oct. 24 and Houston had been routed in both games since. ALL FOULED UP D'Antoni said before the game there was no explanation for Houston's offensive troubles, saying the Rockets were getting the same shots as last season, just shooting them 20 percent worse. "Foul shots not going in. You don't change up a foul shot. We're not even making those," D'Antoni said. "So we've obviously got some kind of malaise over us that we've got to shrug off and get going." The Rockets entered shooting 70.2 percent at the line, 27th in the NBA, after finishing ninth last season at 78.1 percent. UP NEXT Rockets: Visit Chicago on Saturday. Nets: Host Philadelphia on Sunday......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 3rd, 2018