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Category: sportsSource: philstar philstarSep 14th, 2017

Knock, knock: Browns there; team set for HBO s Hard Knocks

By Tom Withers, Associated Press CLEVELAND (AP) — Ready or not, the Cleveland Browns are getting their close-up. Coming off a historic, dismal 0-16 season, the Browns have been chosen to appear on HBO's popular "Hard Knocks" series that gives NFL fans a behind-the-scenes look at training camp. The Browns have turned down previous opportunities to be on the award-winning series. But with renewed optimism around Cleveland following the recent draft, and the selection of quarterback Baker Mayfield, the team is granting HBO unlimited access to its upcoming camp. Cleveland is the 13th franchise to participate in "Hard Knocks," which began in 2001 with the Baltimore Ravens. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were featured last summer. Although they've won only one game the past two seasons under coach Hue Jackson, the Browns see the show as a possibility to highlight some of their younger players and put a positive spin on their rebuild. And for HBO, Mayfield's quest to win the starting job is just one of several juicy story lines. "NFL Films has always been exceptional at bringing fans closer to the game and they do an outstanding job with every show they produce, including HBO's Hard Knocks," Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam said. "We have been asked multiple times about being featured on Hard Knocks, and we really felt like it was our turn this year and the timing was right. We want to be great partners in this league, and we also recognize Hard Knocks gives fans a special opportunity to learn more about our team and players." HBO's cameras are certain to focus on Mayfield, the brash Heisman Trophy winner from Oklahoma the Browns chose over other quarterbacks. Mayfield is expected to back up Tyrod Taylor this season, but their competition could make for the kind compelling TV that has made the series a must-watch for football junkies. A 30-person film crew will be at the team's training facility in Berea to record more than 2,000 hours of footage for the five-segment series that will debut Aug. 7. The Browns have some good young players who are not well known outside Cleveland. But "Hard Knocks" will give national exposure to budding stars like defensive end Myles Garrett, Mayfield and safety Jabrill Peppers and give the network a chance to tell the well-documented story of former Pro Bowl wide receiver Josh Gordon, who has missed most of the past three seasons because of drug suspensions. Mayfield has experience in front of the cameras. He was recently featured in a recent documentary series as he prepared for the draft, and feels the Browns can make "Hard Knocks" a positive experience. "For me looking at it, and us as a team, I'd say it can be good if you handle it right. I'll just say that," he said on SiriusXM NFL Radio. "If you think about it as a way to get on camera and try to show off and do certain things and handle it the wrong way then that can be very negative, it can be a distraction. But if you use it as a sense of, 'OK, I got to block out everything else and just focus on playing ball,' then that can be a great thing for us." Jackson and Browns defensive coordinator Gregg Williams have both been on "Hard Knocks" — Jackson with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2013 and Williams with the Los Angeles Rams in 2016. "Being able to bring our fans in so they can get to know our players and our organization in a different way will be a huge positive for us," Jackson said. "I want people to see how much our players and coaches care, how hard they work and how badly they want to win for Cleveland. This will be a great opportunity for our team." Browns general manager John Dorsey had reservations about the series, but feels the team is equipped to handle the added scrutiny. "Once we sat down and talked about it as an organization, I feel a lot better and understand why the time is right," said Dorsey, who has been overhauling the team since being hired in December. "Hue and I both feel like this team is in a good place and that we are in the process of building something that will lead to success.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 18th, 2018

Draw of another title lights postseason path of Warriors

By David Aldridge, TNT Analyst One of the Golden State Warriors’ people, walking out of Smoothie King Center Sunday (Monday, PHL time), summarized the team’s season so far in detailing Kevin Durant’s 38-point performance against the Pelicans in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals. “Sometimes, people forget,” he said, a wry smile on his face -- and, yes, they do. With all that has gone on around the league this season, the Warriors’ storyline hasn’t been quite as eyeballed nationally this season compared with previous years. (Not that they should care. It’s just an observation.) The Cleveland Cavaliers blew things up last summer and reformed in the fall, blew it up again in the winter and reformed again in the spring. The Boston Celtics are displaying amazing resilience through seemingly devastating injuries to put themselves on the brink of another conference finals. The Philadelphia 76ers have their Fun Bunch. There was Paul George’s trade to Oklahoma City (and all that entailed, now and later) and the Toronto Raptors’ dramatic and successful changes throughout the year. And, at the forefront, there was the Houston Rockets’ rise as a legit and serious challenger to the Warriors in the Western Conference. During the regular season, the Warriors’ energy and productivity dropped off ever so slightly, like the planet killer in “The Doomsday Machine,” one of the all-time best original “Star Trek” episodes, after the doomed Commodore Decker drove a Shuttlecraft right down its throat. (Of course, Captain Kirk figured out to destroy it. Dude, come on. This is James Tiberius Kirk we’re talking about.) And at the end of the regular season, they were hit with a series of body shot injuries: Stephen Curry’s MCL strain, Durant’s ribs, Klay Thompson’s thumb injury, Draymond Green’s hip, and on and on. Those all sapped their continuity and made them look mortal down the stretch of the 2017-18 season, and the Warriors went 7-10 as the season waned. But, after dispatching the Kawhi Leonard-less Spurs in five games in the first round, and taking a 3-1 lead on the Pelicans now, they’re again on the precipice of the Western Conference finals. A date with Houston is looming and a chance at a third title in four seasons is still on their racket. “I think as the playoffs go on, every series requires a different intensity level,” Green said last week. “I think we met that standard that it takes to win playoff games at the level we’re at right now, which is the second round. It’s not our first rodeo. We’ve been here a lot of times and we know what it takes.” Steve Kerr rolled the “Hamptons Five” lineup out Sunday (Monday, PHL time), the Lineup Formally Known as Death -- Curry, Thompson, Andre Iguodala, Green and Durant. It’s been their trump card for almost two years, the lineup that can’t be solved by the opposition, even as it’s chipped away at most of Golden State’s other conventional units. Durant went for 38, and the Warriors rolled to a 118-92 win and a 3-1 series lead. They didn’t use it much this season -- that quintet only played 127 minutes together this season, after logging 224 minutes last season -- because of all the injuries, because they tried to limit their biggest players’ minutes and because using Iguodala as a starter thins out Golden State’s bench. The Warriors’ most frequently used five-man unit this season featured Zaza Pachulia at center; among five-man units leaguewide that played 200 minutes or more together this season, per NBA.com/Stats, that quintet was third in the league in Offensive Rating, at 118.6. But Pachulia hasn’t played a minute in the playoffs, and if the Rockets are the Warriors’ next opponent, he may not play much then, either, against Clint Capela. Kerr often points out that the Warriors have six centers on the current roster, and most of them have gotten at least a little run at various points. But after JaVale McGee was ineffective in Game 3 against New Orleans Friday (Saturday, PHL time), Kerr pulled his trump card. It’s still a game-changer, and when a season comes down to a best-of-seven series, one game can be the difference. “We all bring the best of each other,” Curry said of the Hamptons unit. “We increase the pace of the game, but the versatility [is] at the defensive end -- Andre, Draymond, KD shoring up the paint, switching a lot of the screens and the action from the offense and Klay doing what he does on the perimeter. I think the biggest thing offensively is that we’re all playmakers, try to look for the best shot, stay within ourselves and just make the right play.” Going back to the old playlist may give the Warriors comfort in what has been another drama-filled season, with the contretemps about being disinvited from the White House by President Trump in September getting things off to a rollicking start. But the end of the season was what raised eyebrows around the league. Curry’s absence down the stretch combined with a teamwide ennui -- “I really don’t like talking about it,” Thompson said -- that gave potential playoff opponents hope they might be able to catch Golden State napping. The Warriors’ boredom showed up most at the defensive end. After being in the top seven in both unadjusted and adjusted Defensive Rating in each of the last four seasons -- including first in the league in both categories in the first championship season of 2014-15 -- Golden State fell to 11th and 12th, respectively, in the regular season. They came out of the All-Star break focused -- they were fifth in the league in Defensive Rating on March 1. But all the injuries blunted their momentum, and the scariest of all -- a serious injury to second-year guard Patrick McCaw in Sacramento March 31 (April 1, PHL time) -- shook the team more than people on the outside realized. “Throughout that time, we had spurts,” Durant said. “We played a great OKC team. We went in there and won. Then we lost to Indiana by 20, and then it’s like, when you’re riding just on emotion a lot, you tend to go up and down. It’s like a roller coaster. I think that’s what it was. We had those spurts where we played well and played a focused game, but then Patty goes out, boom, and there was just so much that went on with that. Then Steph goes out with a freak injury. So much went on with that. I think we were just so up and down emotionally it kind of blinded us from our goal, which was to be good every single night as basketball players.” McCaw’s injury -- a bone bruise suffered when he fell after a dunk attempt against the Kings, which required him to be carried off the court in Sacramento on a stretcher -- hit everyone hard. “When Pat got injured, I think that took a little bit out of us,” Durant said. “It took a little bit out of Steve as well. You could just feel it, when Steph went out, then I went out, then Draymond, then Klay. Our emotions were so up and down. When your emotions are, you have too many emotions in the game of basketball, it can kind of blind you from what you really have to do. This is a technical game. So when you put too many emotions into it, it kind of took us away from what we wanted to do.” McCaw, who played in 57 games this season, was not only a part of Kerr’s rotation. He is also a well-liked person who was getting better on the floor. He was re-evaluated last week and will be checked out again in a month. Though he’s been traveling with the team during the playoffs, his season is almost certainly over. And as his injury came during the Warriors’ many injuries down the stretch, its chilling effect was multiplied. “It definitely got to everybody,” Green said. “Kind of the uncertainty of not knowing what’s going on with him. The rotations. Everybody’s like, ahh, kind of tiptoeing around, trying to make sure you get to the playoffs healthy. A lot of that makes a difference. I mean, that’s our brother. To see him down like that, not be able to walk off the court under his own power, him not being around us for two or three weeks, it was kind of like the unknown. It sucked. And I think it definitely had an effect on everything.” But Durant doesn’t like the metaphor of the proverbial switch being turned on at playoff time explaining the team’s improvement the last couple of weeks. “I don’t like when you call it a switch,” he said. “Because guys come in and get extra work in every single day. They work on their bodies every day, they get treatment. You come in here any time, you see guys in here working on their games. I think when you say ‘a switch turned on,’ if guys went cold turkey on everything as professionals during the season, and just tried to pick it up in the playoffs, I think that’s turning on a switch. Mentally, focus-wise, game plan-wise, I think you can turn on a switch, because you can lock in on an opponent, you know their tendencies, you can just focus in on one group of players instead of one day it’s San Antonio, the next day it’s Phoenix, next day it’s Sacramento. You’re going so up and down. If that makes sense. “So I think everybody’s putting in that work individually all year, and as a team, you know, stuff has to come together. We have to focus in on what we need to do, game plan wise, tendency wise, just try to take away things. I think that’s where you kind of turn it up just a bit.” Golden State has performed in fits and starts in the first two rounds. The Spurs didn’t have enough firepower to be a serious threat, but they played hard and were increasingly effectively on defense as the series went on. The Warriors didn’t really have an answer for LaMarcus Aldridge after Game 1. New Orleans had, until Sunday (Monday, PHL time), been more and more successful at making the Warriors shoot contested shots. That certainly gibes with Curry’s return after five weeks. He’s healthy, but rusty. After his adrenaline-filled return last Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time) in Game 2 against the Pelicans, he made just 14-of-33 from the floor in the two games in New Orleans. There was talk afterward about breakthroughs for Curry cardiovascularly. The next few games will tell whether Curry is truly recovered and ready to be two-time Kia MVP Steph … or will he just be on the floor (as he was for long and important stretches in the 2016 playoffs after returning from a Grade 1 knee sprain). The Warriors still made The Finals, but Curry wasn’t Curry against Cleveland, and everyone, starting and ending with LeBron James, knew it. No one in NBA history has changed the geometry of basketball more than Curry, and when he’s on the floor, the ball starts flying around. “Our formula is simple: if we out-pass people, we win,” Warriors forward David West said. “Ball movement. With guys going in and out of the lineup, it causes moments where guys try to carry the load, maybe try to shoulder the load individually. But the strength of the group is the group.” But the Warriors can still throw so many different things and people at you. Iguodala shot a career-worst 28.2 percent on three-pointers in the regular season. He’s at 39.3 percent in the 2018 playoffs. Does anyone doubt he was biding his time until the postseason? No one wearing an NBA uniform is in better shape than the 34-year-old Iguodala, no one is smarter about the game or matchups, and no one is a prouder, fiercer competitor. The 2015 Finals MVP brings his bag of intangibles with him on the road even more than at home, as he did Sunday. In that game, he was making life miserable for the Pelicans’ Nikola Mirotic, creating deflections, making the right reads and impacting the game despite scoring just six points. Kerr likened him to Scottie Pippen after Game 4, but Iggy wasn’t buying it -- “Steve just does that to make sure I don’t get mad ‘cause I don’t shots,” Iguodala quipped. He may be right. But Iguodala and Green have a mind meld defensively that’s at the heart of the Hamptons’ effectiveness. “Andre and I, we’re usually on the same page,” Green said. “Two guys who really think the game, especially on that side of the ball. Sometimes we can talk things out and it works perfect and not say a word, and know what each other’s going to do. It definitely helps our team out defensively kind of having two coaches out there on the floor on that side of the ball.” Whether it’s switching to guard each other’s man, running at an open shooter to close before the ball gets there with the other man rotating, they know what the other guy is going to do. And that second or so the Warriors save defensively keeps them from being broken down. “How fast can you make that decision?,” Green says. “How demonstrative are you going to be about that decision? Are you going to second guess that decision? That’s usually when it doesn’t work; if you’re going to go, just go. That’s kind of the motto that Andre and I go by. If you’re going to go, just go; everybody else fall in line and rotate, and we’ll work it out from there.” And while Green and Rajon Rondo have been exchanging pleasantries throughout this series, Green didn’t pick up his first postseason technical foul until Sunday (Monday, PHL time). He’s been under control, coming up to the edge without going over. Someone without access to the internet asked Kerr if he’d ever played with anyone who instigated or tried to get under the skin of opponents. It’s a testament to Kerr’s comic timing that he actually did wait a beat before answering. “I did play with Dennis Rodman,” he said. Never be fooled by Kerr’s overall pleasant disposition and quick-with-a-quip acuity, though. He is a fierce competitor that wants to win big, the same as his current point guard, who is similarly underrated on the competition scale. Kerr has seven rings as a player and coach, and it’s not a coincidence he’s frequently been around teams that got it done in June. But the Warriors are playing for even bigger stakes than just winning the 2018 title. Legacies are created this time of year. A third title in four seasons, with four straight Finals appearances, would put Golden State in very rarified air in the modern game. San Antonio won three titles from 2002-07. But the Spurs, famously, never have won back-to-back titles. The Kobe Bryant-Shaquille O’Neal-led Lakers, which won three straight from 2000-02, are the closest modern-day team to pulling off what the Warriors are trying to accomplish. Before then, you’re talking about the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls, with six titles in eight seasons -- the two non-title seasons coinciding with Jordan’s sojourn to the minor leagues of baseball. Moreover, the Warriors are the hub around which the modern NBA now spins. And that is an even bigger legacy. Almost everyone (hi, Thibs!) tries to play the way Golden State does now -- the quick hitters, ball movement, pace. Teams do it in different ways. The 76ers look very different than the Warriors, with Joel Embiid their centerpiece of operations, and with 6'10" Ben Simmons taking up so much space with the ball in the halfcourt. The Rockets look different still as there’s not a ton of ball movement. There’s just an unending series of screen and rolls with Chris Paul and James Harden with the rock, looking for the inevitable open man in the corner or way, way behind the three-point line. A lot of things have happened the last 15 years to lead us where we are now. The league changed almost all the rules regarding zone defense, and got rid of almost all defensive contact on the perimeter. Rockets GM Daryl Morey and others led the burgeoning analytics movement, which championed shooting more and more three-pointers as a primary means of scoring, not as a novelty. Mike D’Antoni’s Phoenix Suns went with Amar’e Stoudemire at center, surrounding him with four smalls that could all shoot it from deep, and scoring came out of its coma leaguewide. Kerr and Pelicans Coach Alvin Gentry have always been quick to credit D’Antoni’s influence on the modern game, starting in Phoenix and working through his current team in Houston. “He’s the guy that just eliminated the center position -- let’s just go small and fast and shoot more threes,” Kerr said of D’Antoni. “I was inspired by Mike, but I was also inspired by Pop (the Spurs’ Gregg Popovich) and Phil Jackson in terms of basic ball movement, screening. But pace is the name of the game these days, and people go about it in different ways. Ironically, Mike’s team (in Houston) is the slowest team in the league now. I didn’t see that coming.” But no one has put all of it together -- pace, small ball, shooting and defense -- like the Warriors have the last four seasons. The Rockets are the closest thing we’ve seen to Golden State, and they’re hungry, and they’re coming. And the Warriors and Rockets are just a win apiece away from seeing the clash of the Western Conference titans. They are in the middle of it, so they can’t stop and think about what it all means. We get that. But everyone wants to put a marker out there that’s hard to catch. LeBron is chasing a ghost. The Warriors have already made their mark on the game. They’re almost in position to do more. History is forever. “It’s important, because it’s what’s right in front of us,” Curry said Sunday. “We don’t think about the historical context of anything. For us, we have an amazing group of guys, amazing coaches sitting behind us. We’re appreciating the moment. That’s really all it is. You have tunnel vision for Game 5 at home, then a new series, hopefully (after that). The historic context doesn’t really seep into the locker room when it comes to what that means. It’s just about this year.” 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 NewsMay 8th, 2018

Ateneo s Fab 5: The Fearless Underdogs of UAAP Volleyball

Newly-appointed head coach Roger Gorayeb looked at his line-up heading into UAAP Season 71. A champion mentor of NCAA powerhouse San Sebastian College - Recoletos, Gorayeb had in his hands a gargantuan task of rebuilding Ateneo de Manila University women’s volleyball program. Just a few months before, Ronald Dulay, the mentor before him landed a trio of blue chip recruits who were fresh from a successful stint in the Palarong Pambansa. Angeline "Dzi" Gervacio, Fille Saint Cainglet and Jamenea "Jem" Ferrer just joined the Katipunan-based squad. Gervacio and Cainglet were products of St. Scholastica's College in Manila while Ferrer was a gem from Hope Christian School under girl’s volleyball guru Jerry Yee. Looking at his 15-woman line-up with the season just a few months ahead, Gorayeb knew he needed to do something drastic. The roster just won’t do. Talking to then athletic director Ricky Palou and team manager Tony Boy Liao, the mentor told the team officials that he intended to cut five players from the list. One could just imagine the shock in their faces. “Nakita ko may line-up pero player-playeran lang yung ganoon bang tipo, 15 ata yun. Sabi ko ‘Magtatanggal ako ng lima then magre-recruit ako,’” he said. The three rookies were in. Middle Bea Pascual, Kara Acevedo and libero Steph Gabriel retained their spots. He needed more. “Sa mga tinira kong players, si Kara Acevedo sabi niya, ‘Coach mayroong player ang ICA (Immaculate Conception Academy) na gumraduate naka-exam na rito pasado.’ Sabi ko, ‘Sige papuntahin mo,’” said Gorayeb. It was Gretchen Ho. “Sa akin kasi ang talagang nagyaya sa akin si coach Ron Dulay. Si Kara Acevedo teammate ko and she’s been recruited by Ateneo. So one summer wala akong magawa naki-train lang ako noon tapos nagustuhan nila ang laro ko and then fourth year noong graduate na ako I passed the ACET then niyayaya na nila ako,” she said. “Then nagbago ng coach na si Coach Roger and dun niya ako nakita.”   “Pagdating ko ng March (sa Ateneo) wala na akong way para maka-recruit pa. Ang nangyari yung tatlo accepted na kaagad. Si Gretchen tinanong ko sabi ko, ‘ano ba ang laro mo?’ Sabi niya the usual panggitna, tres,” Gorayeb recalled. “So sinubukan ko pero ang laro niya tres hindi quick. Siya panggitna pero hindi quicker na gusto ko saka yung height niya (maliit). Kaya lang si Gretchen takbo ng takbo, mahilig magtatakbo so sabi ko sige pwede na yan. Wala namang player na during that time. So kinuha ko si Gretchen.” Gorayeb just needed just one more. “Ngayon nagkaroon ng STCAA (Southern Tagalog Calabarzon athletic association) eh kulang pa ako ng isa, wala akong panggitna. Ang gitna ko during that time si Bea lang tapos si Gretchen so wala akong pamalit. So naisipan ko may nakita ako sa STCAA,” he said. He spotted a lanky player from Canossa Academy-Lipa, Aillysse Nacachi. “Sabi ko kay Sir Tony pagtyagaan ko na lang ito kahit hindi naman kalakasan at wala naman na rin akong choice na makapili kasi rush ang pagdating ko dyan. Nakiusap lang sila sa akin na magbuo ako ng team kasi si Ronald nag-resign,” said Gorayeb. Another freshman could’ve had ended up with Ateneo, Hope’s libero Melissa Gohing. But a few obstacles prevented her from fulfilling her promise to join Ferrer in Ateneo. She instead chose to join the ladies in green and white in Taft.    SOMETHING PROMISING December 7, 2008. Far Eastern University Gym. Excitement filled the air. Fans, mostly volleyball purists and some who just came to support their classmates or were just curious to see a new spectacle after the basketball season ended, slowly settled in their seats for the women’s division’s second game. It was Adamson University, the previous year’s runner-up, which just visited the turf of their arch nemesis and defending champion FEU, which was led by that era’s finest and most popular volleybelle Rachel Anne Daquis. Fans wanted to see if the Lady Falcons still had the same firepower they had the previous season with the loss of top setter Janet Serafica and power hitter Sang Laguilles. A rookie-laden Ateneo squad should be easy pickings with Angela Benting, rookie Pau Soriano and libero Lizlee Anne Gata in the roster. Besides the Lady Falcons got the Lady Eagles’ number. Or so they thought. “Naalala ko nu’ng time namin sinasabi sa amin ng seniors namin na, ‘Hay naku ang lakas ng Adamson, never kami nanalo dyan,’” Cainglet, now happily married to film director Lino Cayetano and with three beautiful children, recalled.  But the Lady Eagles stunned Adamson in the opening set. The Lady Falcons took the next two frames. Ateneo stole the fourth.  “Ako naalala ko ano eh, parang alam namin na lahat kasi kami palaban. Nasa amin yun. Tapos binigyan kaming lahat ng chance to be in the first six so parang dream come true,” said Ho, now an ABS-CBN host. “Naalala ko rin na palaban kaming lahat kumbaga nothing to lose eh so ang ano namin, sumasabay kami sa laro and nu’ng nakita na namin na ‘Ay kaya pala natin ‘to guys. Kaya pala naming lumaban.’” Still, Adamson had the upper hand in experience. The Lady Falcons, used to pressure and were steady at crunch time, outlasted Ateneo.           The young Katipunan-based squad fell short, 25-22, 22-25, 15-25, 25-15, 8-15. But for the Fab 5, it was a loss that felt like a resounding victory. “Parang sobrang natutuwa kami and everybody in the crowd, kaya siguro kami natawag na Fab 5 kasi rookies kami pero kahit ganoon palaban kami,” said Ho. “Saka close game. Five sets yun.” However, it was the first of five five-set matches that Ateneo will drop that season including one in the second round against the Manilla Santos-bannered De La Salle University. “Pero ang problema di kami nananalo ng five sets. Parang ilan lang ang naipanalo namin na ganoon. Feeling ko na-overwhelm kami na ‘Uy nananalo tayo.’ May ganoong disbelief ng konti pero alam namin na may ibubuga kami,” said Ho. “Definitely, our rookie season was full of five-set matches. It was tough, we felt like we were so close, but still so far away. At some point, it gave us frustration also. We just couldn't figure out that time what is it that's still lacking because we couldn't win the five-set matches,” according to Nacachi. “People said, it was because the team was still so inexperienced. We still didn't have the tenacity unlike of those more matured teams. But we didn't take it as bad, it was a learning experience for us all at the end. We had to learn how to develop that finishing will to be able to win games like that in the future.” The Fab 5 finished their rookie season with a 6-8 slate at fifth spot.   ‘MAY MEDAL NA TAYO’ Gorayeb remembered on their second year the look on Pascual’s face in their last elimination game match against Adamson. Already wrapping up their first win over the Lady Falcons, Pascual was giddy. “Natatawa nga ako dyan kay Bea kasi papanalo na kami nu’n tapos sumesenyas na siya ng tres. Sabi ko, ‘Hoy anong ginagawa mo?’ Yun pala sobrang saya na niya kasi for the first time in 30 years magkaka-medal na sila,” he said. It was the most important match of the season for the Lady Eagles. With the Fab 5 already in their sophomore year, Ateneo was already making great strides. The Lady Eagles closed that season’s elims with five straight wins capped with a victory over Adamson. Ateneo posted a 10-4 win-loss mark to enter the Final Four legitimately. “Ang nangyari kasi nu’ng time nila Charo (Soriano) kaya sila nakapasok sa semis kasi may nag-squeal na si (Jacq) Alarca di pala naka-enroll nu’n kaya na-forfeit mga laro ng La Salle,” said Gorayeb. The Fab 5 proved that they were not just a bunch of much-hyped up pretty faces. They backed it up with their skills on court. It didn’t matter that Ateneo were swept by eventual champion University of Sto. Tomas in the Final Four.      But the podium finish of Season 72 was short-lived. Adamson got its revenge in the last game of Season 73 elims, bumping off the Lady Eagles in the podium finish. The loss put Ateneo in a collision course with the twice-to-beat DLSU, who could’ve completed an elims sweep if not only for a forfeited match against University of the East after UAAP found out that Carmela Garbin and Clarisse Yeung participated in a ‘ligang labas’ while the season was onoing, in the Final Four. Ateneo gave the Lady Spikers a scare before succumbing in another heartbreaking five-set match. The Lady Eagles finished fourth but that lone semis game gave Ateneo and its maturing Fab 5 enough experience to dream for something big – A ticket into the Finals.      ‘HINOG NA KAYO’ The first three years saw the gradual improvement for Ateneo. But Season 74 proved to be the turning point for the Fab 5. A fresh new recruit from University of Sto. Tomas high school, who just completed a year of residency, came into picture and with the Fab 5 armed with years of experience, the Lady Eagles’ fate will forever be changed. Alyssa Valdez, a highly recruited open spiker just like Gervacio, Cainglet-Cayetano and Ferrer years back, gave renewed excitement for the Ateneo faithful. “Alyssa's joining with Ateneo was a great turning point for us. We needed as much support we can get, and Alyssa's entrance to the team was a great boost to the team's morale,” said Nacachi. “The girl is a powerhouse and we felt like with her presence, the team finally became solid.” “We were able to play around with the positions and the rotations, since we had different versatile open players who can also greatly play other roles,” she added. “We were also able to formulate a lot of plays and attacks because Alyssa can generally do all kinds; open, running, quick, name it all. She gave the team the power and the versatility that we previously lacked from the past seasons.” Social media was just gaining traction then but the Lady Eagles were already on the radar of volleyball purists through online forums. For the first time, Ateneo was considered a legitimate contender.   The Fab 5 proved it by winning 11 games in the elimination round, losing only to UST once and dropping two against the Lady Spikers. Valdez’s arrival gave Ferrer an even broader option on offense. It eased the scoring load off the shoulders of Cainglet and Gervacio, who was then moved to an opposite position. “I guess sakto lang din yung dating niya because by that time Kara Acevedo graduated so someone had to fill in her spot so coach Roger decided for me to move to utility or opposite,” said Gervacio. “And then sakto Alyssa naman could fill in the spot na other open spiker.” “So timing din na we had all the pieces put together at the right time,” she added. With a good performance in the elims despite missing a legit middle in Bea Pascual and the entry of Aerieal Patnongon barred by academic problems, Ateneo finished second and for the first-time was armed with a twice-to-beat advantage in the stepladder semifinals. The Lady Eagles faced an experienced Tigresses side in the last stepladder semis stage. UST just came from a hard-fought four-set do-or-die match against FEU and were banking on their four-set win over Ateneo in the second round to force another sudden death. Ateneo’s date with destiny was sealed with a four-set win over the Tigresses, who then bid goodbye to Maika Ortiz and Judy Anne Caballejo. “Pinu-push na rin kami ni Coach Roger noon eh, ‘Hinog na kayo ngayon. Kasi dalawang taon na lang, kailangan makapasok na kayo sa Finals,’” said Ho. “Somehow senior na rin kami,” added Cainglet.  “Season 74 was really the target season for us to be in the finals and target even to win the championship,” according to Nacachi. “During this time, we were already thinking we could not afford to not go in the finals.” “So it was with our mindset and our level of commitment that we were able to finally reach our goal of reaching the finals,” she added. “We had enough experience that time already, and it was really time for us to show the level of game maturity the team had obtained from the past seasons.” But then they had to face an unbeaten team. Unscathed in 14 games, De La Salle University was poised to complete a perfect season. The Lady Eagles spoiled it. Ferrer outplayed DLSU setter Mika Esperanza, 57-42, in excellent sets as Ateneo handed the Lady Spikers its first loss after 25 straight victories in a come-from-behind 23-25, 28-26, 25-23, 25-17, Finals opener win. Witnessed by 3,002 spectators inside the then The Arena in San Juan, all of the Fab 5 produced points. Cainglet had 19 behind Valdez’s 24, Gervacio scored 12, Ho had 10, Nacachi finished with five while Ferrer had one. Gorayeb made a big gambit and it worked. “Dahil sa wala kong panggitna, yung laro namin ng La Salle, ginawa kong quicker si Alyssa. Kasi si Alyssa nakakapalo. Nagulat si Ramil (de Jesus) dun.” It was a big win. A huge upset. Unfortunately, Ateneo needed to win two more.  DLSU held a thrice-to-beat advantage.   THAT SWAG After Ateneo made a miracle in Game One, fans began to feel a new rivalry born. The attendance spiked. From just 3,000 spectators, the gate attendance more than doubled its size. The interest was there. Fans of traditional powers began to notice the Lady Eagles as a rising team. For the first time, a squad with no previous championship experience except for a title during the Marcos era in a different collegiate league, made a giant jolt. Everybody wanted to see what these girls would do next.    The Lady Eagles, still high on adrenaline after their Game 1 upset, took the opening set in Game 2. But just like in their opener, a well-experienced DLSU squad adjusted to take the next three frames to move a step closer to a repeat crown. With then Rookie of the Year Ara Galang, Season Most Valuable Player Aby Marano, an intimidating Michele Gumabao and a very efficient Finals MVP Cha Cruz teaming up for the kill, the Lady Spikers ripped Ateneo apart in Game 3 in straight sets, 25-16, 25-22, 25-13. “Sabi nga ni Dzi na nadyan na lahat eh. So I guess noong Season 74 nandoon na pero may kulang pa rin,” said Ho. “I guess we we’re able to make it to the Finals pero wala pa kaming championship experience.” Ferrer agreed. "Siguro ang kulang yung championship experience kasi nasa La Salle na ‘yun eh. Ilang years na silang nagpa-finals, nag-champion and for Ateneo doon pa lang namin sinimulan," said the three-time Best Setter. Lacking championship experience is one thing, but Ateneo during that time wasn’t ready for DLSU’s most feared weapon: the Lady Spikers’ swag.  “They have that swag,” said Gervacio. “Everyone knows about it naman. It’s really coach Ramil’s style talaga kasi as I remember when we were first year, four out of six of the players inside the court were rookies and even if we go against the powerhouses UST, FEU, Adamson, hindi sila yung nakikita nyo na kapag championship na rivalry, na swag, angas, stare down. Pero La Salle talaga kahit sino ang kalaban nila they’ll bring that attitude inside the court.” That Finals series cemented a new rivalry that will become one of the most celebrated in the sport. “I think it also helped that Ateneo-La Salle basketball didn’t face also,” said Gervacio. “Siyempre nandoon ang hunger for the rivalry eh and timely din na its been Ateneo-La Salle na rin sa volleyball.”   CLOSING A CHAPTER The Fab 5 were now in their fifth and last year. They wanted to leave a winning legacy. The pieces were already there. Gorayeb had at his disposal five seniors, a rising star in Valdez, a sophomore middle in Amy Ahomiro, a versatile Ella De Jesus, a steady libero in Denden Lazaro and a new kind of weapon – a massive crowd that can turn any venue into a sea of blue.              As expected, the second installment of the Ateneo-DLSU rivalry was set into place. Both sweeping their semis opponents. The Lady Spikers crushed National University while the Lady Eagles shot down Adamson. Game One was a shocker. DLSU heading into the Finals are on a 14-game roll but were stunned in the first two sets with Ateneo stepping on the gas. But a string of miscues, mostly from the service line, did the Lady Eagles in as they allowed the Lady Spikers to force a decider. DLSU, smelling blood, punished Ateneo to eke out a 20-25, 17-25, 25-22, 25-22, 15-6, victory inside the Big Dome witnesses by 17,342-strong gate attendance. Then the series transferred to a newly-built, state-of-the-art Mall of Asia Arena that drew a crowd of 18,799. The first two frames were frustrating for the Lady Eagles.   Ateneo came back to life in the third set to gain a 9-5 lead. But DLSU easily erased it with Ateneo crumbling under pressure. The Lady Spikers were on an onslaught. Sophomore Galang pushed DLSU at matchpoint with a cold-blooded ace that went in a few inches from the baseline. The score, 24-16. It was a tense moment for the Fab 5. A long rally ensued in the next play. Gervacio, with all her might pounded a kill. Her hand making a great contact on the ball off Ferrer’s backset.     Smack! The ball ricocheted off the hands of DLSU’s Wensh Tiu before falling on the same landing area of Gervacio, who tried to dive for a dig together with Lazaro. DLSU swept Ateneo, 25-23, 25-20, 25-16. Game over.          “Kahit hindi kami nanalo alam naming ibinigay namin ang lahat namin, all-out talaga kaya wala kaming pagsisisi,” said Ho. It was the end of the Fab 5 era, but they left more than what any of them could have imagined. "I remember so many people or fans telling me that they started really watching UAAP Volleyball because of our batch. And that is really touching and fulfilling to know. Knowing that you were able to leave an impact like that to people. We were not able to bring even a single championship to our school, Ateneo, but we were able to touch a lot of people's hearts despite that," Nacachi shared. The Fab 5 closed a colorful chapter of Ateneo volleyball in tears. They were there during the Lady Eagles’ birth pains. They labored. They shed tears, blood and sweat. They laid the foundation for something big. The Fab 5 planted the seeds that would eventually bear fruit and would change the course of Ateneo women’s volleyball program forever. Glory didn’t happen during their time. It started in theirs.    Amidst the roar of the crowd, the falling confetti, banging of drums and the echoing chant of ‘Animo La Salle’ from the sea of green, the Fab 5 hugged each other tight. They found comfort in each other. It was their time to say goodbye. For those who remained – Valdez, Lazaro, Ahomiro, De Jesus – the defeat added fuel to their already blazing desire to bring glory for the blue and white. They were the next in line, heirs to unfinished business. WATCH: FAB 5 Reunion Part 1 and Part 2 --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 20th, 2018

Mariners bring back 44-year-old Ichiro Suzuki

PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) — Ichiro Suzuki's wish was granted. He is back in the familiar white and blue jersey of the Seattle Mariners. "Even in the offseason when I would go back to Japan, I always came back to Seattle. This was my home ... has always been my home," the 44-year-old outfielder said through a translator Wednesday after finalizing a $750,000, one-year contract. "Somewhere deep inside, I wanted to return and wear this uniform again." Almost six years away, Suzuki returned to help patch an injury-depleted outfield on the team he played for from 2001-12. The 10-time All-Star can earn an additional $1.25 million in performance bonuses based on plate appearances: $200,000 each for 150 and each additional 50 through 350, and $250,000 for 400. Suzuki earned the 2001 AL Rookie of the Year and MVP, with the Mariners and won a pair of AL batting titles. He was traded to the New York Yankees midway through 2012, played parts of three seasons with the Yankees, then spent three seasons with Miami. He has a .312 average and 3,080 hits, not including the 1,278 hits he amassed in nine seasons in Japan. Suzuki appeared in 136 games last year for the Miami Marlins and hit .255 with a .318 on-base percentage. "I still have things that I want to do and I want to accomplish," Suzuki said. "I'm really thinking about this year and what the Seattle Mariners need, what I can do to help. Everything that I've gained, everything that I've done in my career, I want to just give it all right here in Seattle." Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said discussions about Suzuki's return intensified about a week ago, when the club's injury situation became a greater concern. "It did not take very long to put a deal together that brought Ichiro back home," Dipoto said, adding that Suzuki's presence will help a young outfield and veteran Dee Gordon, who is playing center field for the first time. "It's huge for our club and our ability to step forward," Dipoto said. Projected left fielder Ben Gamel is sidelined for at least a month with a strained oblique muscle, Right fielder Mitch Haniger is dealing with a hand injury that has limited his activity for a couple of weeks, and Guillermo Heredia is still in the final stages of recovery from offseason shoulder surgery. Suzuki underwent a physical in Seattle on Monday. His return is similar to the Mariners' reunion with Ken Griffey Jr. in 2009 that was good for one year but had an ugly conclusion. Seattle has significant concerns about depth in the outfield. Other options were available, including free agents Jose Bautista, Carlos Gonzalez and Jon Jay. "Bringing him in, what he can do on the field, still think he's got plenty left in the tank there," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "What he adds in the clubhouse I think is very, very valuable." Suzuki is slated to play left field and will need a few days of workouts and batting practice before he plays in a game, Servais said. Suzuki had 2,533 hits with the Mariners, including 262 in 2004 when he set the big league season record. His trade to New York during the 2012 season was a stunning conclusion to his time in Seattle, but gave Suzuki the chance to play in the postseason for the first time since his rookie season. Suzuki reunites with former Yankees teammates Robinson Cano and David Phelps, and he played with Gordon and Phelps in Miami. Third baseman Kyle Seager, pitcher Felix Hernandez and hitting coach Edgar Martinez were Suzuki's teammates in Seattle before he was traded. On Wednesday, a stall in the Mariners' spring training clubhouse awaited Suzuki, situated between journeyman outfielder Kirk Niewenhuis and starting shortstop Jean Segura. The team shop at the Peoria Sports Complex was already stocked with shirts and jerseys bearing Suzuki's No. 51. ore merchandise was en route......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 8th, 2018

Cavs avert slow death with roster overhaul

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com CLEVELAND – Koby Altman might not have completely made a name for himself on Thursday's (Friday, PHL time) NBA Trade Deadline Day, but the Cleveland general manager was busy and high-profile enough in his makeover of the Cavaliers that most people now will remember that he’s the one who spells it with a “y.” Those of us convinced for weeks now – at least since the Cavaliers’ home loss to the Warriors on Martin Luther King Day – that another Golden State-Cleveland Finals would be a dud movie we already saw last June, well, we no longer have to worry. Those stale, sputtering Cavs are no more. They are gone – six players out Thursday (Friday, PHL time), four new players in – and done, replaced by a younger, quicker, more athletic cast who’ll be force-fed their playoff experiences. What with so many in and out doors banging to a frenzied beat, All-Star forward Kevin Love barely got a mention. But Love, out with a fracture to his left hand, will be coming back in a month to six weeks to a vastly reconfigured roster and lineup rotation. However long it takes this team to incorporate new guys George Hill, Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr., count on another period of adjustment for Love playing with them for the first time. Presumably – for Love’s sake – it will go more smoothly than Isaiah Thomas’ learning and comeback curve, which sort of triggered much of Thursday’s maneuverings in the first place. Thomas was the fall guy of the day, the flip side of what most expect to be an enthused, rejuvenated and newly focused LeBron James. It already had been a tough nine months for the 5'9" scoring guard, going from the most valuable player on a formidable contender (Thomas finished fifth in NBA MVP balloting) to the hip injury that ate deep into this season, the Kyrie Irving trade that landed him in Cleveland and the rust and skepticism that marred his 15 largely forgettable games there. The Cavs went 7-8 with Thomas, who shot 25 percent on three-pointers and 36 percent overall. Their defense, leaky enough before, got worse (Thomas had a net rating of minus 15.1 points per 100 possessions). Ball movement ground down to a series of dreary isolation plays or desperate 3s. Also, Thomas began to serve as one of the team’s spokesman in the media, a role that suits his personality but one he had not earned in the Cavs’ locker room. He spoke of things “we” had to do better without quite yet being part of that “we.” That included comments after the team’s collapse in Orlando Tuesday about the Cavs failing to make adjustments during games, a criticism that went directly to coach Tyronn Lue and his staff. It was not appreciated. By the time Thomas followed up 24 hours later, after the last-second overtime victory over Minnesota at Quicken Loans Arena, with heartfelt comments about liking Cleveland and not wanting to be traded, he effectively already was gone. Altman reportedly talked with James before the game, running some possible trade scenarios by the team’s star. “We were marching a slow death,” Altman told reporters in a post-trades conference call Thursday evening (Friday, PHL time), “and we didn’t want to be a part of that.” Although it’s undeniably part of the dynamic of trades – dwelling on the down sides of the departed vs. seeing the upsides of the newbies – it’s fair to say that the players to whom the Cavs bid adieu (IT, Jae Crowder, Channing Frye, Iman Shumpert, Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade) represented a lot of things that weren’t working or weren’t getting done. Energy was low, enthusiasm lower. The new arrivals, once they finally do arrive, bring not just their skills but – with three of the four, anyway – enough youth and hunger to jolt a Cavs locker room that lacked a bit of a pulse. Hill is the most like the veterans Cleveland shed Thursday (Friday, PHL time), but he does bring playoff experience and a defensive mindset. Also, his combo-guard ways that could frustrate those in search of a classic playmaker should be an asset where James is initiating so much offense. Hood, Clarkson and Nance get more than just changes of address and the newly dangled carrot of a deep playoff run. They – along with Cedi Osman, already in house and getting an opportunity – get James as a mentor, a role he has enjoyed (think 2015 playoffs and the wonders he worked with Matthew Dellavedova and Tristan Thompson, with Love and Irving out or hobbled). Make no mistake, James likes veterans but not in the mix, with the unreliable results, they had until Thursday (Friday, PHL time). So the Cavaliers hit a reset button that they believe will help them for this season. These deals – and the ability to not trade away the Brooklyn first-round pick they hold thanks to the Irving trade – also leave Cleveland in better shape this summer, more attractive to James when he hits free agency and even more resilient if he leaves. For those tempted to conflate the Irving trade with the deals made Thursday and decree that Cleveland didn’t get nearly enough, the economic concept of “sunk costs” comes to mind. Irving was gone, Thomas wasn’t working out, Crowder was not helping; that first deal was done. There was no going back. All Altman and the Cavs could do was go from there. There is a bigger issue that might not be answered over the remaining 29 games and however many follow in the postseason. The Cavaliers began this 2017-18 season as favorites to again win the conference title and reach the Finals. Even after the Irving trade, most NBA GMs and media mavens expected James and his vets to stomp through the East, whenever they chose to get serious about the season. Instead, we got an unprecedented makeover of a Finals favorite two-thirds of the way through a championship-minded season. In a league that preaches continuity and chemistry as ingredients of success, that’s mind-boggling. James’ inability to rouse this group out of its doldrums, on top of whatever Irving came to dislike even before this season began, raises questions about the superstar-down culture – as opposed to many teams’ top-down, or San Antonio’s Pop-down culture – wherever James has played. Or, for that matter, might play in the future. Bottom line on a busy trade day: Who gets to play for Team LeBron is a lot bigger deal than just on All-Star Sunday. 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 NewsFeb 9th, 2018

Paranaque, Valenzuela collect second wins

Paranaque and Valenzuela snatched their second victories in contrasting fashion Thursday night in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Anta Rajah Cup at Valenzuela Astrodome. Home team Valenzuela mercilessly pummeled the listless Bataan Defenders to submission in a 97-80 blowout while the Patriots held on in closing seconds of their encounter with the Bulacan Kuyas to eke out a 74-72 victory. Energized by their home crowd at the sold out arena, the Classic torched Bataan early and blew the game wide-open with a 30-point lead, 52-22, at halftime in a 20-minute scoring barrage capped by Rocky Acidre’s cold-blooded triple at the buzzer. The Defenders behind ex-pro Gary David made a run in the third period to bring down their deficit to 16 but Acidre doused cold water on Bataan’s rally with back-to-back triples to bring Valenzuela’s lead back to 63-41 with five minutes left in the third. The game went testy in the fourth quarter with the match already decided before the Classic walked away with a 2-1 win-loss record tied with the Patriots and idle Muntinlupa. Acidre finished with 15 points, Adrian Celada had 12, Mark Andaya had 11 while Jeff Javillonar posted 10 markers. Skipper Paolo Hubalde registered a double-double with 10 points and 14 assists for Valenzuela. David had 20 points in a losing effort for Bataan, which absorbed its third loss in as many outings tied with Caloocan. Meanwhile, Paranaque banked on Juneric Baloria’s layup and split charities inside the last 1:50 mark of the game to break a 70-70 deadlock before holding on in the last 25 seconds to hand the Kuyas their second straight loss in three games. Baloria gave the Patriots a 73-70 lead with 45 ticks left in the game on a split at the foul line. Jovit Dela Cruz sank a basket with 25 seconds remaining to close the gap for Bulacan, 73-72, but Paranaque got the breaks of the game in the ensuing play before Jonathan Belorio nailed a split free throw for the final score. Jemal Vizcarra had 15 points, Ryusei Koga got 13 while Baloria finished with 12 for the Patriots. Marlon Monte and Hernal Escosio paced Bulacan with 13 and 10 points, respectively......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 8th, 2018

ABS-CBN Sports launches LIGA channel

ABS-CBN Sports recently launched its new cable sports channel LIGA that will be the home of the biggest single-event sporting competition in the world, the FIFA World Cup, to be held in Russia this year. LIGA is a 24-hour channel dedicated to provide sports fans in the country with premium content in sports like football, basketball, and volleyball. Starting January 2018, viewers have been able to watch LIGA on standard definition on SKY cable channel 86, in high definition on SKY cable channel 183, and on Sky Direct channel 14. Currently, the channel airs the FIFA World Cup European qualifiers, allowing local football fans to follow their favorite teams’ journey to the main tournament of the quadrennial international football tournament, which will be held from June 14 to July 15 in Russia. While anticipation is high for the quadriennial international football tournament, LIGA channel head Jojo Neri-Estacio said sports fans have more reasons to tune into the sports channel with its other offerings. LIGA carries the games of the current season of the ASEAN Basketball League that features basketball clubs from different countries in Asia including the Philippines’ Alab Pilipinas. It will also have live broadcast of the UAAP Season 80 Men’s Volleyball tournament starting on February 3, while it will also air other ABS-CBN S+A fare like the UAAP Season 80 Women’s volleyball tournament, UAAP Season 80 football tournaments, and the Premier Volleyball League. College basketball fans will also be happy to know that LIGA will bring back classic UAAP Games, from as early as Season 70, where viewers can see the beginnings and early triumphs of the country’s hardcourt heroes in the professional leagues. LIGA is available on SKY Cable and Sky Direct and will soon be available in provincial cable affiliates nationwide. Watch premium sports content on standard definition on Sky cable channel 86, in high definition on Sky cable channel 183, and is on channel 14 on Sky Direct......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 6th, 2018

Raptors center Poeltl gets his bounce from volleyball roots

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com Jakob Poeltl went for the volleyball but stayed for the basketball. The place: the gymnasium in Vienna, Austria, where Rainer and Martina Poeltl practiced and honed the skills that earned them roster spots on Austria’s national volleyball men’s and women’s teams. Martina Poeltl (red uniform, second from left) was a standout on Austria's national volleyball team. The child: Jakob Poeltl, dragged along, running loose, playing around and messing with sports equipment from whomever, wherever. Legend has it the energized six-year-old one day picked up a bigger, heavier, pebble-grained orange ball he’d found and, in that instant, began straying from his parents’ sport. The result: Poeltl is a promising, second-year big man for the Toronto Raptors, the first Austrian to reach the NBA and a fellow for whom dunks have replaced spikes entirely. “I was more in basketball,” Poeltl said before a recent game in Chicago. The 22-year-old, now seven feet and 248 pounds, pronounces his name “YA-kub PURR-tuhl.” “I did play volleyball with my parents when we went on holidays. But it was never anything serious, it was always just fun. They taught me a lot -- I think I’m half-decent at volleyball. Obviously I couldn’t play it at a very high level like they did, but I still know some stuff from back in the day that they showed me.” Ranier Poeltl (back row, second from left) was a standout on Austria's national volleyball. Still knows some stuff? That’s intriguing as Poeltl continues to develop as an active, mobile center who backs up Jonas Valanciunas. Is it possible that any aspects of the family business transfer to NBA play, offensively or defensively? Besides the high fives, that is. “A big chunk,” Poeltl said. “I got my height from them. I got my athletic ability probably, to a certain extent, from them too. Always, growing up, I was around sports. It was a very active family, I guess. I was always moving. They say I couldn’t stop running around.” That’s a good start for a big man in today’s NBA. There’s more. Future Raptors center Jakob Poeltl (left, sunglasses) plays some beach volleyball in this 2010 family photo. “His footwork is unbelievable,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. “The athletic genes are there. Quick feet, great hands, good hand-eye coordination. And he picks up stuff so fast. I think it comes from being around that athletic background.” Said teammate C.J. Miles, new to Toronto this season with an inside glimpse at Poeltl’s development: “He’s extremely mobile for his size. Great hands. His athleticism shows up on both ends, defensively and offensively. He’s got a tremendous feel for the NBA. “His agility. His feet. He’s got good bounce off the floor.” Volleyball and the NBA have a pretty long history. Wilt Chamberlain, after wrapping his legendary hoops career, picked up the sport and played it well into his 40s. He played both beach and indoor versions and was quoted in his 1991 book, “A View From Above,” saying, “For a long time, volleyball became as big a part of my life as basketball once was.” He even got involved in the mid-1970s with, and lent legitimacy to, the short-lived pro International Volleyball Association. Bill Walton, not surprising given his southern California roots and nature-loving way, played beach volleyball. So does his son, current Lakers coach Luke Walton. On a recent trip to Chicago, the younger Walton talked about how forgiving the sand is for an NBA player whose legs and bodies don’t need any extra pounding. The Waltons honed their games with the help of Greg Lee, a UCLA teammate of Bill who became a renowned beach volleyball star. Vince Carter played both sports at Dayton Beach's Mainland High School, earning Conference Player of the Year status in 1994. Former NBA forward Chase Budinger was more of a standout at volleyball than basketball while at La Costa Canyon High in Carlsbad, Calif. During the 2011 lockout, Budinger joined his brother Duncan briefly on the pro beach tour. The offspring of numerous NBA figures, from Jermaine O’Neal’s daughter (Asjia, committed to Texas) to Houston coach Mike D’Antoni’s niece (Bailey D'Antoni, freshman at Marshall), have snagged college volleyball scholarships. Another former NBA player, Jud Buechler, a member of Walton’s staff, played volleyball in high school, then coached up his daughter, Reily, to a spot at UCLA. Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid was a seven-foot Cameroonian volleyball player before he got introduced to hoops shortly before an NBA Basketball Without Borders camp. And Portland coach Terry Stotts played high school volleyball in Guam when he attended high school there, his parents taking the family overseas in their jobs as teachers. “Volleyball was a varsity sport, so I played volleyball for a couple years,” Stotts said. “The things I would say transfer to basketball are the explosive jumping. Hand-eye coordination. Quick reflexes. Timing. Going to spike the ball is like going to get a rebound -- you’ve got to time your jump. Lateral quickness to the ball. So yeah, I would say there’s some valid skills.” So Stotts is OK if his rebounders occasionally tap out the ball rather than grabbing it. “Robin Lopez used to do that for us on the offensive glass,” the Blazers coach said, “and we’d get a lot of three-pointers because of it.” Said Poeltl: “I actually do that a lot. I also find myself doing a lot of tip-ins. Maybe that has something to do with it.” The 22-year-old’s overall game has stepped up thanks largely to opportunity. Already, he has logged more minutes in 2017-18 than he did all of last season, his nightly shifts increasing by about 50 percent from 11.6 minutes to 17.8. His production has jumped accordingly -- Poeltl is averaging 13.8 points and 9.5 rebounds per 36 minutes while shooting 63.7 percent. “The most important improvement I’ve made was getting more comfortable on the court,” said Poeltl, who is not afraid to challenge dunkers at the rim, regardless of the poster potential. “Just gaining experience. I don’t think it’s anything I specifically worked on in my game. “The chemistry with my teammates, finishing around the rim, all of that, small things have helped me. Knowing opponents, for sure. Knowing my own game more and more. How my teammates play and how I have to play around them.” Said Toronto forward Pascal Siakam, Poeltl’s best friend on the team after arriving as rookies together last season: “I know he looks awkward, but he’s doing a great job of moving his feet.” Poeltl is still carrying that flag as the first Austrian drafted into the NBA, realizing a dream few others in his country had when the Raptors used the No. 9 pick on him in 2016. Austria had a spirited basketball faction through the 1950s, with qualifying for EuroBasket competition six times. But it dropped off after that, with little or nothing to show in international competition over the past five decades. Poeltl’s journey, however, has begun to revive basketball interest in his homeland, and he’s just getting started. “That’s what I’m trying to do -- be something of a role model for young basketball players in Austria,” Poeltl said. “I’m really trying to make basketball more popular and get more kids to play. If I can have that kind of effect, that would be great.” He is on the Austrian roster for the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup qualification (Europe), and participated in August in pre-qualifying games. Poeltl will remain strictly a one-sport participant, though, not crossing over to the one his parents played. “They know better,” he said. “I think [the national team organizers] have some better volleyball players than me.” Volleyball’s loss, the Raptors’ and the NBA’s gain. 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 NewsFeb 3rd, 2018

Storylines abound after 2018 NBA All-Star draft

NBA.com staff report There is an alternate universe in which LeBron James and Kyrie Irving are once again teammates, where the Warriors' star quartet is divided, and where players who very recently exchanged barbs must now share locker rooms. Welcome to the world of the 2018 NBA All-Star Game, which sports a very different twist after Thursday's (Friday, PHL time) inaugural draft in which team captains James and Stephen Curry selected their teammates. Here is what we know: James had the first pick, Curry the second, and so on, back and forth until the rosters were set. We do not know in what order the players were picked despite the valiant efforts of TNT's Ernie Johnson. The dust has settled and the rosters are set, with the line between East and West officially dissolved. The focus is squarely on players rather than conference. Here's a look at the most intriguing takeaways after Thursday's (Friday, PHL time) results: Hello Old Friend The offseason parting between LeBron James and Kyrie Irving was dramatically awkward, with the latter leaving the former in order to show his athletic independence. Irving has since proved capable of leading the Celtics to contender status despite the opening-night loss of fellow All-Star swingman Gordon Hayward. James, meanwhile, has been forced to do much of the heavy lifting while the rest of his teammates have either plateaued (Kevin Love), dropped off (J.R. Smith, Tristan Thompson) or been unavailable (Derrick Rose, Isaiah Thomas). The Cavs have suffered as a result, posting one of the worst records in the league since the calendar flipped to 2018. Could it be that James is hoping to recapture some of his old magic by temporarily reuniting with Irving? Or does he just miss/like the guy despite their on-court differences? "To be able to team up back with Kyrie is always special, along with Kevin Love," James said during a post-drat interview with TNT. "Just for us to have another weekend to bring some of the memories we had when we were all together. Kyrie was available on the draft board. He's one of the best point guards we have in our league. So, it was an easy choice for me." Other reunions are scattered among Team LeBron's roster. Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant will enjoy an encore of their much publicized All-Star get-together last season. The Thunder guard will also play with his old college teammate, Kevin Love, for the first time since they both represented the Western Conference in the 2012 midseason classic.   Bench Mob. #TeamLebron #NBAAllStar A post shared by @ kevinlove on Jan 25, 2018 at 4:23pm PST Don't forget, too, that Pacers guard Victor Oladipo is making his All-Star debut alongside Westbrook, the man many now think held back the former No. 2 overall pick in Oklahoma City. After putting up his worst numbers since his rookie year while playing alongside Westbrook, Oladipo is enjoying a career year while guiding the upstart Pacers to the middle of the playoff pack. I Never Can Say Goodbye Some teammates are just meant to stay together. Curry and James certainly struggled to separate several dynamic duos, including those from the Timberwolves (Butler/Towns), Pelicans (Davis/Cousins), Wizards (Beal/Wall) and Raptors (Lowry/DeRozan). The NBA teammates not sticking together are those from Golden State and Boston. James managed to chip away at the Warriors' dominant quartet, selecting Kevin Durant for his squad before Curry made sure to keep Klay Thompson and Draymond Green on his own team. Curry also selected Al Horford, presumably at some point after James took Irving. What Have You Done For Me Lately? Most All-Stars already come with a bag full of accomplishments under their belts, and this year is no exception. How they are distributed, however, is interesting to note. Everyone who made the team this year and has won an All-Star Most Valuable Player award in the past is on Team LeBron. Good luck guessing which one will make a push for a repeat at that honor (assuming someone new doesn't beat them to the punch). Meanwhile, the majority of most recent Olympic gold medalists resides on Team Stephen: Jimmy Butler, DeMar DeRozan, Draymond Green, Kyle Lowry and Klay Thompson. Team LeBron sports three Olympians from that year: Cousins, Durant and Irving. One skill that surely matters on All-Star weekend is simply putting the ball in the bucket. And wouldn't you know it, Team Stephen sports the top three scorers in the league in Harden and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Of course, Team LeBron carries the next four names from that scoring leaders list. It's Too Late to Apologize Some words you can't take back, and it would be difficult to see Russell Westbrook or Damian Lillard doing so after recent events. Oklahoma City's star guard took exception to teammate Paul George not being voted in as an All-Star, proceeding to call out the Warriors for having four players so honored. Then he targeted another player, and though he didn't use names, it seemed pretty clear that he was talking about  Lillard when he referred to "guys complaining about being snubbed so they can get in." Lillard has been extremely vocal on social media about not making the All-Star teams the last two years despite both those seasons marking career years. That was after making the All-Star team in 2014 and 2015. The Blazers guard seemed to pick up on the hint, and he responded directly to his Western Conference counterpart. "I respect Russ a lot, so it was kind of disappointing to see him say that," Lillard said prior to Wednesday's game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. "Because he's played against me, he's played against our team, he knows what I've accomplished. Not just this year, but over my career." Will the point guards clear the air, or will tension linger heading into the game? Also worth monitoring: does James' All-Star selection of Kevin Love mean all is well between the much-maligned forward and his team? Reports surfaced earlier this week that several Cavaliers expressed frustration with Love's recent illness that caused him to miss most of a game and a practice. Perhaps the King's stamp of approval will silence that once and for all. If it doesn't, Charles Barkley will surely continue to defend Love's case......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 26th, 2018

Notes to know: 2017 NBA Christmas Day games

NBA press release Here are some important stats and info about this year's batch of NBA Christmas Day (Dec. 26, PHL time) games PHILADELPHIA 76ERS @ NEW YORK KNICKS (1am, PHL time on NBA League Pass) All-Time Head-to-Head: PHI leads 244-201 Christmas Head-to-Head: PHI leads 6-5 Christmas Day Records: PHI – 16-13 (Last: 2001) | NYK – 22-29 (2016) • Philadelphia and New York are meeting for the first time this season. • The Knicks are playing in their NBA-high 52nd Christmas Day game, a history that dates to 1947, when the team defeated the Providence Steamrollers 89-75 during the first edition of the NBA on Christmas. New York’s 22 victories are tied for the most on Christmas with the Lakers. • Philadelphia is playing on Christmas for the first time since 2001 – an 88-82 loss to the Lakers in a rematch of the 2001 NBA Finals. • New York and Philadelphia are meeting on Christmas for the first time since 1978. • The matchup features three potential first-time All-Star selections in the 76ers’ Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons and the Knicks’ Kristaps Porzingis. All three international standouts have unique skill sets relative to their size and position. • Both teams have a substantial international presence. Five of the 10 projected starters hail from outside the U.S.: Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid (Cameroon), Dario Saric (Croatia) and Ben Simmons (Australia), and New York’s Enes Kanter (Turkey) and Kristaps Porzingis (Latvia). Other countries represented on the two rosters are France, Spain and Canada.   • Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek played for the 76ers for two seasons (1992-94). He was part of the trade the sent Hall of Famer Charles Barkley from Philadelphia to Phoenix in 1992. CLEVELAND CAVALIERS @ GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS (4am, PHL time on S+A and NBA Premium) All-Time Head-to-Head: GSW leads 57-52 Christmas Head-to-Head: Tied 1-1 Christmas Day Records: CLE – 7-6 (Last: 2016) | GSW – 11-15 (Last: 2016) • Cleveland and Golden State are meeting for the first time since the 2017 NBA Finals. • This is the third consecutive Christmas Day matchup between the teams. The last teams to meet three straight years on Christmas were the Lakers and Heat from 2004-06. • Last season’s Christmas matchup was a classic. Cleveland rallied from a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit and Kyrie Irving made a game-winning shot with 3.4 seconds left. • Last season, the Cavs and Warriors became the first teams to meet in three straight NBA Finals. • The rosters have combined for 55 All-Star selections and eight of the last nine MVP awards. • Cleveland’s Dwyane Wade is the NBA’s winningest player on Christmas Day (10-2). This year will be his 13th Christmas game, tied for the second-most appearances behind Kobe Bryant (16).   • Teammates LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are tied for third in scoring (301 points) and assists (76) on the NBA’s all-time Christmas Day lists, making them the active leaders in both categories. Kobe Bryant (395) and Oscar Robertson (377) are the top two in scoring. Robertson (145) and Bryant (85) are the top two in assists. • Cleveland’s Isaiah Thomas could be back in time from his hip injury to play on Christmas. Last season, Thomas finished fifth in the MVP voting – just behind new teammate LeBron James and just ahead of his point guard counterpart in this game, Stephen Curry (health permitting). • Golden State forward Kevin Durant’s 44-point performance for Oklahoma City against Denver in 2010 is the highest-scoring game by an active player on Christmas Day. WASHINGTON WIZARDS @ BOSTON CELTICS (6:30am, PHL time on NBA League Pass) All-Time Head-to-Head: BOS leads 187-111 Christmas Head-to-Head: BOS leads 1-0 Christmas Day Records: WAS – 15-7 (Last: 2014) | BOS – 13-17 (Last: 2016) • This is the first meeting between the Celtics and Wizards since their dramatic playoff series in the 2017 Eastern Conference Semifinals. Boston won in seven games. • The Celtics have four new starters since last facing the Wizards – including 19-year-old Jayson Tatum and 21-year-old Jaylen Brown – and yet Boston has gotten off to the NBA’s best start. • The Celtics are playing a home game on Christmas Day for the first time in franchise history. Boston has played 30 previous games on Christmas – 28 on the road and two at neutral sites. • In the teams’ only Christmas Day matchup, Boston defeated the Baltimore Bullets 113-99 in 1965. In that game, Bill Russell grabbed 34 rebounds for the Celtics. • Twin brothers Marcus Morris of the Celtics and Markieff Morris of the Wizards square off for the first time with Marcus in a Celtics uniform. Marcus was traded from Detroit in the offseason. • Washington’s John Wall (2010) and Boston’s Kyrie Irving (2011) were the top overall picks in their respective NBA Drafts and have each appeared in four NBA All-Star Games. • Washington’s Bradley Beal is making a strong push to be a first-time All-Star selection. He recently scored a career-high 51 points in a game against Portland. HOUSTON ROCKETS @ OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER (9am, PHL time on BTV) All-Time Head-to-Head: OKC leads 107-106 Christmas Head-to-Head: First meeting Christmas Day Records: HOU – 5-4 (Last: 2015) | OKC – 5-13 (Last: 2016) • Houston and Oklahoma City are meeting for the first time since the Rockets defeated the Thunder in five games in the first round of the 2017 playoffs. • Former teammates Russell Westbrook and James Harden dueled for the MVP last season. Westbrook earned the honor and Harden finished second. Harden, however, was the only unanimous selection to the 2016-17 All-NBA First Team.   • James Harden leads the NBA in scoring and narrowly trails Russell Westbrook for the assists lead. The only player to lead in both categories for a season is Tiny Archibald in 1972-73. Last season, Harden ranked second in scoring behind Westbrook and was the league leader in assists.   • The center matchup features two top young international big men in Houston’s Clint Capela (Switzerland) and Oklahoma City’s Steven Adams (New Zealand).    • Carmelo Anthony is averaging 33.2 points in five Christmas Day games, the highest mark among all players who have appeared in four or more games on the holiday. • The Seattle SuperSonics went 0-11 on Christmas Day. Since the franchise moved to Oklahoma City and became the Thunder, the team is 5-2 on Christmas. MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES @ L.A. LAKERS (11:30am, PHL time on NBA Premium) All-Time Head-to-Head: LAL leads 77-29 Christmas Head-to-Head: First meeting Christmas Day Records: MIN – 0-1 (Last: 2016) | LAL – 22-21 (Last: 2016) • Minnesota and Los Angeles are meeting for the first time this season. • This year marks the Lakers’ 19th consecutive appearance on Christmas Day. Los Angeles has appeared in the second-most Christmas Day game in history (43) and is tied with the Knicks for the most victories (22).   • The Lakers made their first 11 Christmas Day appearances (1949-1959) when the franchise was in Minneapolis. • Last year was Minnesota’s first game on Christmas Day. The Timberwolves lost to Oklahoma City 112-100. • Minnesota’s Andrew Wiggins averaged 37.8 points in four games against the Lakers last season, including a career-high 47 points on Nov. 13, 2016, and 41 points on April 9, 2017. • The Timberwolves, fifth in the West midway through Week 8 of the season, are looking to make the playoffs for the first time since 2004. That season, they lost in the Western Conference Finals to a Lakers team that included current Lakers coach Luke Walton. • The Lakers are seeking to build around former No. 2 overall draft picks Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball in much the same way that the Timberwolves are bringing along former No. 1 overall draft picks and NBA Rookie of the Year winners Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 23rd, 2017

Nonoy, Rey in Bacolod

For the first time, Rey Valera will be doing a back-to-back concert, "The Glow," with Nonoy Zuiga on Dec. 7, 7 p.m., at SMX Bacolod. The seasoned music artists will perform a Bread medley, as well as their classic hits. Nonoy will do a live duet of a popular Cebuano song, "Atik Ra," with a Cebuano rising star, Jolianne Salvado, a finalist in "The Voice Kids 2." The concert is for the benefit of Kalipay Foundation.   Collabro's 2018 show Collabro, a musical theater group, will perform for the first time in the Philippines at Resorts World Manila on Feb. 26, 2018. The winners of "Britain's Got Talent" previously shared the stage with international singer-actre...Keep on reading: Nonoy, Rey in Bacolod.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsDec 1st, 2017

Now or never for the Minnesota Timberwolves

em>By Jon Krawczynski, Associated Press /em> MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Timberwolves have gone through a makeover this summer, changing their logo, their uniforms and renovating Target Center to usher in a new look for a team that has been a doormat for well over a decade now. If logo designer Rodney Richardson wanted to add a Bulls head to the new look, it would have been appropriate. After a disappointing first season in Minnesota, coach and president Tom Thibodeau went looking for some familiar faces from his days with the Chicago Bulls to set a different tone with a team that has spent the last four seasons billing itself as a young and exciting group on the rise. Jimmy Butler came from Chicago in a trade. Former Bulls Taj Gibson and Aaron Brooks were added in free agency. Thibs even added John Lucas III to the coaching staff to try and bring another voice familiar with his system and knowledgeable of his demands to the organization to make sure nothing gets lost in translation. Thibodeau will never admit that there was a concerted effort to target ex-Bulls. But there is no dispute he went looking for players from his Chicago era to add an edge to a team that features young stars Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. “It was who fit us best and what we needed,” Thibodeau said. At the top of that list was toughness. A young team with few proven veterans lost 22 games last season in which it held a double-digit lead. Butler and Gibson bring that by the bucketful, and the Wolves also added 37-year-old Jamal Crawford to the bench for another veteran who has been in all kinds of big spots. “A lot of guys don’t understand when you get to the NBA, it’s not just about running up and down the court and smiling and having fun,” Gibson said. “It’s a business. Everyone has to align with each other like a puzzle piece.” The Wolves go into the season in a loaded Western Conference looking to end the longest active playoff drought in the league, which stretches back to 2004. After hoping that streak would end for several years, this year that is the expectation. The season opener is Oct. 18 at San Antonio. Here are some things to watch with the Timberwolves this season: strong>WIGGINS RE-UPS: /strong>Wiggins finally signed a five-year, $148 million contract extension on Wednesday, ending a head-scratching process that was made more complicated by his decision to part ways with agent Bill Duffy on the brink of a new deal in August. The deal is sure to be one of the more polarizing in the NBA for a gifted scorer who has yet to make an All-Star team. strong>KAT’S MEOW: /strong>Towns has put up some incredible numbers in his first two seasons, making him a fashionable choice to become the league’s next big star. Perhaps the only thing holding him back is a bigger commitment on the defensive end. Towns frequently lost focus on that end last season, but flashed strong potential as a rookie when playing alongside Kevin Garnett. Playing in a starting five with Gibson and Butler figures to help him make the necessary strides. strong>BJELICA’S RECOVERY: /strong>Nemanja Bjelica has never been a starter in his three seasons with the Wolves, but he may be one of the team’s most important players. At his best, he is a versatile, playmaking shooter who can play multiple positions and give the second unit some much-needed offensive punch. He was just starting to show everything he can do last season when he went down with a broken foot. He has been playing in the preseason, and the Wolves will need him to stay healthy and effective to compete in the West. strong>MUHAMMAD RETURNS: /strong>Shabazz Muhammad turned down a four-year, $40 million contract offer from the Timberwolves before last season, hopeful that another strong year could help him break the bank as a free agent in the summer. But the salary cap did not increase as many projected, and Muhammad was one of many restricted free agents to get squeezed. He wound up settling for a one-year deal for the veteran’s minimum, a bargain for the Wolves. Now Muhammad is motivated to have a strong season for a competitive team to try to recoup some of the money he lost. “We felt fortunate we were able to get him back,” Thibodeau said. strong>RUBIO’S REPLACEMENT: /strong>The Wolves traded longtime point guard Ricky Rubio to the Utah Jazz this summer and brought in Jeff Teague on a three-year, $57 million deal to give Thibodeau the scoring point guard he wanted. Rubio is an immensely popular figure locally, and it didn’t take Teague long to figure out what kind of shoes he has to fill. “He was a fan favorite,” Teague said. “I hear it every day. No, seriously. I really do.” .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 12th, 2017

Wade says he wants to wear a Heat jersey again someday

em>By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press /em> MIAMI (AP) — Dwyane Wade cannot be clearer about this: He wants to wear a Miami Heat uniform again. Someday. After signing his one-year, $2.3 million deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Wade — speaking from his new locker room — told The Associated Press that Miami is “always in my heart” and that he took a serious look at whether this was the right time to return to the franchise where he spent his first 13 NBA seasons. “Miami, the door’s always unlocked,” Wade told AP. “One day I want to retire in a Miami Heat jersey. I don’t know how that will happen, but I definitely want to make sure than when I decide to hang it up, that jersey is on. Whether it’s being back there or signing a one-day deal like Paul Pierce, I want to make sure that I go out the way I came in.” The Heat have also indicated they would like a reunion many times — such as when they took out a full-page newspaper ad saying “We’ll leave a key under the mat for you” when he left Miami for Chicago last year and earlier this week, when Miami coach Erik Spoelstra talked about “our hopes for where he ends up eventually.” “Everybody knows how we all feel about him,” Spoelstra said. The feeling is mutual. Wade is from Chicago and now will live in Cleveland, but Miami is home. His children are back in South Florida schools after joining him in Chicago last year, and Wade said he got the blessing from his oldest son to pursue the Cleveland opportunity. “When it comes down to big decisions like this, there’s two people I listen to: Her name is Gabrielle Union Wade and his name is Zaire Wade,” Dwyane Wade said, referring to his wife and oldest son. “I listen to Zaire and my wife and try to see what they feel and what they want. Zaire told me just like this: ‘Dad, I would love to have you here and be around more. But I want you to go get your fourth ring.’” With that, it became an easy choice. Some Heat fans lobbied Wade on Twitter to come back to Miami after he got his buyout from the Bulls this week, and former teammates like Udonis Haslem, Hassan Whiteside and Goran Dragic also said they wanted him back. Wade said it was flattering. “To be in this position, to be in this league so long and to have fans wanting you to be part of their team — I mean, we all want to be wanted — I can’t even explain what that means,” Wade said. “I really looked at their team and where could I fit in and what could my role be and would I be happy with that role.” Miami has plenty of shooting guards: Dion Waiters is the presumed starter, and Josh Richardson, Tyler Johnson, Rodney McGruder and Wayne Ellington all will see time at that spot for the Heat. Wade looked at Miami’s depth at that position and realized the fit wouldn’t be ideal. Plus, the Heat were able to bring back most everyone from a team that went 30-11 in the second half of last season and Wade thought he could get in the way. “Honestly, I didn’t feel they needed me there,” Wade said. “I feel that those guys are in a good place. They deserve to come back this year and see what that 30-11 was about. They don’t need me there over their shoulder or anything like that. That’s kind of how I approached it.” There is a bit of irony in how the schedule works out. When he was with the Bulls last season, Chicago played at Miami only once — one of the schedule quirks that has some Eastern Conference teams playing each other three times instead of the more-customary four. The same thing happens this season in the Heat-Cavaliers series, with Cleveland coming to Miami one time only. “Last year, honestly, I could only take coming back that once,” Wade said. “It worked out for the better last year. It was the weirdest game I ever played in my life.” .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 28th, 2017

Van Gundy, Pistons ready for move to new arena

em>By Noah Trister, Associated Press /em> AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — The Detroit Pistons were back at The Palace for their annual media day, so their old venue hasn’t completely been forgotten. This season, however, is about something new. The Pistons will play at Little Caesars Arena in downtown Detroit, the new facility they’ll share with the Detroit Red Wings. It’s already hosting preseason hockey, and the Pistons will open the regular season there Oct. 18 against Charlotte. Their first home exhibition game is also against the Hornets on Oct. 4. “The sight lines are terrific,” coach Stan Van Gundy said. “The way it is built puts people closer to the court, which I think will give us an outstanding home-court advantage when we get those people yelling and screaming.” It will be interesting to watch the team’s attendance, which wasn’t good during the final few seasons in Auburn Hills. The Pistons have made the playoffs just once in the past eight seasons and missed out in 2016-17 with a 37-45 record. Center Andre Drummond said he’s been to the new arena and felt there was more emphasis on hockey than basketball. “I felt like us coming to a new home, I felt like it would be more welcoming, in my opinion,” Drummond said. “But maybe I’m looking at it at a wrong angle because everything is not done yet.” This is an important season for Drummond, who received a $130 million, five-year contract from the Pistons last year, then became the subject of trade speculation months later. “The year I had last year was not who I was,” Drummond said. “That’s not the player I’m supposed to be. That’s not the player I’m supposed to represent for this city.” Drummond said he’s lost about 30 pounds and now weighs 285. “I’m moving faster, jumping higher,” Drummond said. “I’m just feeling great overall, and it’s just something I’m really proud of myself for really taking that time and really grinding this summer out.” Drummond underwent a procedure to correct a deviated septum — a displacement of bone and cartilage that divides the two nostrils. He says his breathing has been better, and that could have an impact on the court. Van Gundy said Drummond sprained an ankle last week but there was no major damage. The big health issue facing the Pistons is still the condition of point guard Reggie Jackson, who had a knee problem before the start of last season and never got into a groove. Van Gundy said Jackson can’t go through full two-a-days at this point. “He can go once a day. He did play some five-on-five with our guys at the end of last week, and we’re just trying to decide which practice and how much and how to bring him along,” Van Gundy said. “He’s in the shape of someone who hasn’t played in six months, so conditioning’s an issue.” strong>NOTES: /strong>Van Gundy said Boban Marjanovic, the team’s 7-foot-3 backup center, could be “one of the most indefensible offensive forces in the game in the time he’s on the floor.” Marjanovic figures to have a bigger role now that Aron Baynes is no longer on the Pistons. “It’s incumbent on us to find the best way to use him,” Van Gundy said. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 26th, 2017

Clearly, Aldin Ayo and Jamike Jarin bring out the best in each other

The game on Saturday at the Araneta Coliseum was between De La Salle University and National University. However, the story of that game was the rekindling of the rivalry between champion coaches Aldin Ayo and Jamike Jarin. From start to finish, the showdown lived up to expectations as the two teams went at it and scored basket after basket after basket. “We have the same system na we keep on running. Siguro, kung titignan niyo, para kayong nanonood ng lawn tennis,” Ayo said post-game. Indeed, everybody was entertained in a back-and-forth affair that saw the Green Archers’ “mayhem” get answered by the Bulldogs’ very own running game. In the end, the two teams combined for the highest scoring output in over a decade with Ayo and the defending champions coming out on top, 115-109. And in the end, the mentor of the Taft-based team was nothing but glad to have been part of a classic contest. “Both of us are very familiar with each other. Grabe yung competition, pero I have so much respect for that coach,” he shared. He then continued, “He always brings (out) the best (in me).” While they may be rivals, Jarin could only say the same about Ayo. “It’s always interesting when you coach against La Salle and Aldin. He’s a really good coach so he brings out the best in me also,” he expressed. Asked just why they bring out the best in each other, he answered, “Probably because we’re just two competitors who bring out the best sa mga players.” The NU mentor was quick to add, however, “Like I’ve said before, coach Jamike is not bigger than the UAAP, Aldin Ayo is not the bigger than the UAAP. We’re not bigger than La Salle, we’re not bigger than NU.” While this was their first meeting in the UAAP, Ayo and Jarin share a colorful history dating back to their days in the NCAA. Then, Ayo was at the forefront for Colegio de San Juan de Letran and Jarin was at the helm of San Beda College. Then, they split their head-to-head matchups at three wins apiece. They just could not find separation from each other even then so much so that Ayo had to say, “I find (coaching against Jarin) very interesting kasi may ginagawa siyang natutuwa ako. Natutuwa ako kasi alam kong ginagawa niya yun dahil galing siya sa grassroots.” He also added, “Ganun din ako. Basically, parehas kami ng ginagawa.” And until now, Ayo is loving the challenge of going up against Jarin. “We have the same system and coach Jamike is a very good coach. Kanina, ‘di ko alam kung ano pa nga ilalabas ko sa bulsa ko kasi malakas siya manggoyo e,” he said. He then continued, “Kung kalaban mo talaga si coach Jamike, talagang pipigain mo yung utak mo e. You have to make sure na nag-e-execute yung mga players.” --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 16th, 2017

It's on: Triple G and Canelo ready for big middleweight bout

em>By Tim Dahlberg, Associated Press /em> LAS VEGAS (AP) — It's the kind of fight Gennady Golovkin has been chasing from the moment he walked off an airplane six years ago to make his new home in Los Angeles. It's the fight boxing fans have been waiting for almost as long. Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez meet Saturday night in a middleweight showdown that has been brewing for years. They do it in their prime, and they both bring the kind of power that could make for a night that will be talked about in boxing for years to come. Three weeks after Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor met in an odd spectacle, boxing shows off its best side in a scheduled 12-round fight that will pay both men millions and make one of them the undisputed top 160-pounder in the world. 'It's a true fight,' Golovkin said. 'You can go back home or go to the hospital. It's dangerous. Everyone understands that.' Indeed they do, which is one reason Golovkin has had trouble getting fighters in the ring with him. The fearsome slugger from Kazakhstan has stopped almost everyone put in the ring with him, winning all 37 of his fights, 33 by knockout. But Alvarez packs power, too, and the red-headed Mexican is a savage counterpuncher with a style that should match up perfectly against the onrushing Golovkin. 'I don't back down,' Alvarez said. 'I'm a counter puncher, and I like to fight.' The combination of styles has boxing fans salivating over what will happen in the same ring where Mayweather stopped McGregor three weeks ago. The fight quickly sold out and is expected to do well on HBO pay-per-view, though it will not reach the level of last month's spectacle. Still, it promises to be a can't miss fight that brings back memories of the great middleweights of the 1980's. Both fighters weighed in Friday at the middleweight limit of 160 pounds. 'It all depends on who lands the punch that defines the fight and I think Gennady is going to do that,' said Abel Sanchez, Golovkin's trainer. 'They're going to hit each other and give fans the kind of fight they want and expect.' It won't be the first time the two have met, but it will be under far different circumstances. They sparred together at Golovkin's camp in Big Bear, Calif., in 2011 as both were preparing for fights and, though accounts vary, both had their moments with each other. But this is a real fight, with Golovkin's titles at stake and a lot more. Both will make millions of dollars in a fight that holds risks — and plenty of rewards — for both of their careers. 'These are the fights that define your career,' said Oscar De La Hoya, who promotes Alvarez. 'Both guys are not going to back down.' Alvarez is already an established superstar, arguably the most popular athlete in Mexico. Golovkin, who won a silver medal in the 2004 Olympics, is hoping for the kind of performance that will finally win over fans not overly impressed by a 23-fight knockout streak of 18 middleweight title defenses. Between them they have 86 wins, against only one loss. That was suffered by Alvarez (49-1-1, 34 knockouts) in 2013 against Mayweather in a fight he admitted he was too young to take. Oddsmakers in this gambling city have made Golovkin a slight 7-5 favorite, but the fighters themselves say anything could happen. 'It's not an easy fight for him or me,' Golovkin said. 'I think the first couple of rounds will be very close. I think the second half will be much crazier, like a street fight.' For Golovkin, the fight is the culmination of a long battle to establish himself as the top middleweight in the world. Triple G came to the U.S. in 2011 to pursue bigger fights, and has collected the major middleweight titles while trying to get Alvarez into the ring. It finally happened after Golovkin (37-0, 33 knockouts) was forced to go 12 rounds earlier this year against Danny Jacobs in a fight where he got hit a lot and barely escaped with a decision. Some in boxing thought it showed some vulnerability or suggested that at the age of 35 Triple G is getting a bit old. Nonsense, he says. 'I am the champion and I bring all my belts,' Golovkin said. 'This is my game, my fight. I am the boss, not Canelo.' Golovkin, who speaks limited English, backed his comments up with a tweet warning Alvarez what was yet to come. 'If you go in the ocean the shark knows,' he wrote. 'He's home. It's the same for me in the ring. ... Let's do it.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 16th, 2017

Senate opens ‘Obamacare’ debate at last but outcome in doubt – ABC News

Prodded by President Donald Trump, a bitterly divided Senate voted, at last, Tuesday to move forward with the Republicans' long-promised legislation to repeal and replace &'8220;Obamacare.&'8221; There was high drama as Sen. John McCain returned to the Capitol for the first time after being diagnosed with brain cancer to cast a decisive &'8220;yes&'8221; vote. The final tally was 51-50, with Vice President Mike Pence, exercising his constitutional prerogative, breaking the tie after two Republicans joined all 48 Democrats in voting &'8220;no.&'8221; When the Senate voted Tuesday evening on the bill's initial amendment, it underscored how hard it will be for the chamber's divided Republicans to pass a sweeping replacement of Obama's law. By 57-43 — including nine GOP defectors — it blocked a wide-ranging proposal by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to erase and replace much of the statute. It included language by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, letting insurers sell cut-rate policies with skimpy coverage, plus an additional $100 billion to help states ease out-of-pocket costs for people losing Medicaid — a provision sought by Midwestern moderates including Rob Portman, R-Ohio. On the day's opening vote to begin debate, and with all senators in their seats and protesters agitating outside and briefly inside the chamber, the vote was held open at length before McCain, 80, entered the chamber. Greeted by cheers, he smiled and dispensed hugs — but with the scars from recent surgery starkly visible on the left side of his face. Despite voting &'8220;yes,&'8221; he took a lecturing tone afterward and hardly saw success assured for the legislation after weeks of misfires, even after Tuesday's victory for Trump and Republican leader Mitch McConnell. &'8220;If this process ends in failure, which seems likely, then let's return to regular order,&'8221; McCain said as he chided Republican leaders for devising the legislation in secret along with the administration and &'8220;springing it on skeptical members.&'8221; &'8220;Stop listening to the bombastic loudmouths on the radio, TV and internet. To hell with them!&'8221; McCain said, raising his voice as he urged senators to reach for the comity of earlier times. At the White House earlier, after senators voted to consider the bill, Trump wasted no time in declaring a win and slamming the Democrats anew. &'8220;I'm very happy to announce that, with zero of the Democrats' votes, the motion to proceed on health care has just passed. And now we move forward toward truly great health care for the American people,&'8221; Trump said. &'8220;This was a big step. I want to thank Senator John McCain — very brave man.&'8221; Trump continued to celebrate the vote at a rally in Youngstown, Ohio that doubled as a victory lap. &'8220;We're now one step closer to liberating our citizens from this &'8220;Obamacare&'8221; nightmare and delivering great health care for the American people&'8221; he said. At its most basic, the Republican legislation is aimed at undoing &'8220;Obamacare&'8221;'s unpopular mandates for most people to carry insurance and businesses to offer it. The GOP would repeal &'8220;Obamacare&'8221; taxes and unwind an expansion of the Medicaid program for the poor, the disabled and nursing home residents The result would be 20 million to 30 million people losing insurance over a decade, depending on the version of the bill. The GOP legislation has polled abysmally, while &'8220;Obamacare&'8221; itself has grown steadily more popular. Yet most Republicans argue that failing to deliver on their promises to pass repeal-and-replace legislation would be worse than passing an unpopular bill, because it would expose the GOP as unable to govern despite controlling majorities in the House, Senate and White House. Tuesday's vote amounted to a procedural hurdle for legislation whose final form is impossible to predict under the Senate's byzantine amendment process, which will unfold over the next several days. Indeed senators had no clear idea of what they would ultimately be voting on, and in an indication of the uncertainty ahead, McConnell, R-Ky., said the Senate will &'8220;let the voting take us where it will.&'8221; The expectation is that he will bring up a series of amendments. Yet after seven years of empty promises, and weeks of hand-wringing and false starts on Capitol Hill, it was the Senate's first concrete step toward delivering on innumerable pledges to undo former President Barack Obama's law. It came after several near-death experiences for earlier versions of the legislation, and only after Trump summoned senators to the White House last week to order them to try again after McConnell had essentially conceded defeat. &'8220;The people who sent us here expect us to begin this debate, to have the courage to tackle the tough issues,&'8221; McConnell said ahead of the vote. Democrats stood implacably opposed, and in an unusual maneuver they sat in their seats refusing to vote until it was clear Republicans would be able to reach the 50-vote margin needed to get them over the top with Pence's help. &'8220;Turn back,&'8221; Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York implored his GOP colleagues before the vote. &'8220;Turn back now, before it's too late and millions and millions and millions of Americans are hurt so badly.&'8221; Schumer's pleas fell on deaf ears, as several GOP senators who'd announced they would oppose moving forward with the legislation reversed themselves to vote &'8220;yes.&'8221; Among them were Dean Heller of Nevada, the most vulnerable Republican senator in next year's midterm elections, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin. Johnson has recently accused McConnell of [&'].....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanaoexaminerRelated NewsJul 26th, 2017

Almadro joins Ateneo

ATENEO made it official yesterday, appointing multi-titled men’s coach Oliver Almadro as its new women's volleyball mentor. University president Fr. Jett Villarin, SJ, made the announcement, as Almadro will fill in the big shoes left by Tai Bundit to bring the Lady Eagles back on top in the UAAP. Almadro….....»»

Category: newsSource:  journalRelated News6 hr. 0 min. ago

ABS-CBN, SkyCable to broadcast upcoming Pacquiao-Matthysse world title bout

Fight fans in the Philippines will be able to catch eight-division world champion and Filipino boxing legend Manny Pacquiao attempt to capture yet another world title as he challenges reigning WBA (Regular) Welterwewight World Champion Lucas Matthysse of Argentina at Fight of Champions on July 15th, via ABS-CBN or SkyCable Pay-Per-View. In a special Media Partners Press Conference for Fight of Champions, MP Promotions Head of Sales and Marketing Arnold Vegafria announced that the top broadcast networks in the country will be working together to bring Manny Pacquiao’s latest bout to Filipino television screens. “On behalf of Senator Manny Pacquiao and MP Promotions, I am very happy to announce that we are making another TV history,” Vegafria said. “All the major networks have agreed to join forces for the carrying of the Pacquiao-Mathysse Fight of Champions,” ABS-CBN channel 2 will be airing the bout on free-TV starting at 10:00 AM on July 15th. “This will be the second time that we’re doing this, with all these networks participating to cover this event.” said ABS-CBN Group CFO Rolando Valdueza. SkyCable on the other hand, will be providing a pay-per-view service, which will air the whole nine-bout card live starting as early as 9:00 AM. “SkyCable is again very proud to be carrying the fight, it will be carried on pay-per-view on July 15, and we will be announcing our pricing very soon.”  said SkyCable President March Ventosa. The last time that all the top networks in the country came together to broadcast a Manny Pacquiao bout was back in 2015, when Pacquiao took on Floyd Mayweather Jr. in one of the most-highly anticipated bouts in boxing history. “This is going to be a big, big fight. Very excited ang MP Promotions because this is the first time that MP Promotions will handle the event, will be the promoter, and fortunately, we’ll cover the whole world to air the fights.” Vegafria added. Fight of Champions: Pacquiao vs. Mathysse will take place at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News9 hr. 47 min. ago

UAAP: Kailangan ibalik ang character ng Lady Eagles -- Almadro

Bringing back the confidence, intensity and heart that brought success to the Lady Eagles in the past are the first order of business for new Ateneo de Manila University women’s volleyball head coach Oliver Almadro.    Formally named as replacement for Tai Bundit on Thursday, Almadro is expected to buckle down to business in the first week of June. Almadro puts his focus in bringing back the same fire that fueled the Lady Eagles in their UAAP Season 76 and 77 title conquests. After their back-to-back reign behind ace hitter Alyssa Valdez, prized setter Jia Morado and top libero Denden Lazaro, the Lady Eagles seemed to have lost the magic that made them the most popular collegiate team in this generation and ultimately fell short of making it into Season 80 Finals after six straight championship appearances.       “Unang-una siguro kailangang ibalik ko muna ang confidence nila kasi coming from sa pinaka-last game nila, kahit kami talo rin kami ng Finals, yung confidence bababa yun eh,” said Almadro, who steered the Blue Eagles to three-straight titles from Season 77 to 79 before relinquishing the crown to archrival National University. “Pero yun ang una, ibalik ang confidence.” The Lady Eagles finished third in Season 80 and were booted out by Far Eastern University in the Final Four.  “(Kailangan) ibalik ang intensity, ibalik yung playing with heart, yun muna. Yun ang kailangang ibalik muna, yung character nila as Lady Eagles,” Almadro said. “Hindi naman sinasabi ko na pangit ang end nila (sa Season 80). They still ended up in a podium finish but siyempre alam mo naman na ang Ateneo binabantayan ng marami and they are expecting a lot from them.” “Sabi ko let’s put back muna yung confidence, let’s put back muna yung chemistry, yung trust with each other and saka natin tingnan kung anong character ang kailangan i-build ng team,” added Almadro, who was replaced by longtime assistant coach Timmy Sto. Tomas in the men’s team.   Bringing a DLSU twist in Lady Eagles’ new system Almadro has been coaching volleyball for two decades and calling the shots for a women’s team is not new to the passionate and vocal mentor. For 10 years, Almadro worked as a deputy for De La Salle University Lady Spikers head coach Ramil De Jesus.  After his stint with the Taft-based squad, Almadro became the chief tactician of the Ateneo men’s team before transferring to NU. He returned to the Katipunan-based squad half a decade ago, bringing with him a dangerous scorer and all-around player in Marck Espejo. Now working on a different challenge of handling the Lady Eagles, who took the spotlight before the start of Season 80 with their ‘internal issues’ that went public, Almadro will be adopting a different approach. A deviation from the ‘happy, happy and heartstrong mantra’ used by Bundit. A no-nonsense coach like his former mentor, Almadro is leaning on using the formula that brought success to Ateneo’s bitter rival – his own twist to the system of the reigning three-peat champion Lady Spikers.   “Ire-recall ko na lang ulit kung ano yung nangyari sa La Salle, noong humawak pa ako ng women’s,” said Almadro. De Jesus has been known to instill strict discipline and Spartan-like training to the Lady Spikers. Almadro will be doing the same with the Lady Eagles.  “Pero sabi ko nga ang Ateneo Lady Eagles mababait naman ang mga yan. They are good followers. They are great athletes. Ang great athlete mate-test kung gaano sila kabilis maga-adjust,” he continued. Almadro will try to work on the power and speed of the Lady Eagles, who will have the core of Season 80 Best Setter Deanna Wong, Kat Tolentino, Ponggay Gaston and seniors Maddie Madayag and Bea De Leon, who are yet to commit to playing their swan songs. “Sa women’s sana madala ko yung bilis at yung power ng men’s. Yun sana ang maidagdag ko sa kanila,” he said. “Pero iba pa rin ang women’s eh. More on defense, more on variation pero ang importante volleyball naman yan eh. Ang importante lang maka-cope up with the system.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles      .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News9 hr. 47 min. ago