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Category: lifestyleSource: abscbn abscbnJan 11th, 2018

LeBron s free agency decision could swing NBA s balance of power

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com CLEVELAND -- These combo coronation-funerals can be tricky. Imagine the crowning of a new monarch where the royal subjects couldn’t stop chattering about the freshly deposed or deceased predecessor. Where the traditional cry of continuity and succession, “The king is dead! Long live the king!” got flipped, with what was overshadowing what is. That’s pretty much how it went Friday night (Saturday, PHL time) at Quicken Loans Arena, with the Golden State Warriors’ latest NBA championship having to share the stage with speculation, instantly revved up, about LeBron James and the choice he’ll soon make about his next employer. The Warriors are the kings, claiming pro basketball’s throne yet again by completing a sweep of James’ Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2018 Finals. But of course, James is the King, and as so many of us learned in sophomore English – thanks, CliffsNotes! – “Uneasy lies the head (of those who fret and obsess about the future whereabouts of the NBA superstar) that wears a crown.” Long live the kings! The King is ... gone? There was so much energy before, during and after Game 4 Friday (Saturday, PHL time) poured into the last game/next game conjecture about James, the Cavaliers and seismic shifts in the league’s 2018-19 landscape that even the player’s surprise reveal near the end of the night – a bruised and bandaged right hand – couldn’t derail it. Turns out, as James ‘fessed up, the sore shooting paw was an injury he had been playing with ever since Game 1 in Oakland eight days earlier. He had “self-inflicted” it in a fit of pique when he smacked a whiteboard in the visitors’ dressing room at Oracle Arena after Cleveland’s overtime loss in the series-setter, an outcome driven at least in part by some teammates’ mistakes and an arcane wrinkle in the NBA’s replay rules regarding block/charge fouls. Despite the hordes of media people chronicling every waking detail of the Finals, James had kept the injury on the down-low (along with the possibility that J.R. Smith’s nickname amongst his Cavs teammates might be “whiteboard”). The cameras zoomed in and clicked in a paparazzi frenzy of motor drives every time James raised the hand, wrapped in black tape, above the table during his postgame podium remarks. Whether a legit Page-2-the-rest-of-the-story factor in the championship series or a too-late alibi, the contused hand wound up as a sidebar to where James plans to be using it when training camps open in a few months. As of Friday (Saturday, PHL time), it had been 95 months since “The Decision,” the 2010 announcement that James made in a tone-deaf vanity TV production that he was taking his talents from Cleveland to South Beach. Nearly 47 months had passed since he broke the news of his return in a Sports Illustrated ghost-written essay, envisioning much of what actually has unfolded in the four years since. Now savvy insiders and casual observers alike presume James will be on the move again, pushed to leave the franchise he has defined in an urgent search for more and better talent with which he can compete. As in, y’know, some horses, some horses, his kingdom for some horses. James’ free-agency process next month (he can opt out of a $35.6 million deal in the final season of his current contract) is expected to dictate the market of player movement this summer like an oversized domino. It easily could swing the balance of power, if not quite at Golden State’s lofty level then immediately below it. The monster he helped create Dr. Frankenstein eventually was done in by his macabre creation, and it can similarly be argued that James has no one but himself to blame for the predicament in which he again finds himself. He set in motion the machinery of the super team, after all, when he chose to join forces with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami eight years ago. Oh sure, the Boston Celtics in 2007-08 got there first by luring Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to join Paul Pierce, but that was about knitting together three stars, all age 30 or older, for what would be their last best chance to win in an extremely limited run. That group won one title, went to two Finals in three seasons and was done, Allen leaving to join James & Co. with the Heat while Garnett and Pierce morphed into trade chips for Boston POBO Danny Ainge. When James, Wade and Bosh teamed up, they were in their basketball primes and their initial giddy boasts of “not four, not five, not six” championships turned off fans league-wide as much for its portent as its pretension. That crew went 4-for-4 in Finals, winning two rings before James, nudged by staleness and chafing as well as his grand plan for northeast Ohio, went home. From there, a line can be drawn through the ill-conceived 2012-13 L.A. Lakers of Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol all the way to this season’s Houston Rockets of James Harden and Chris Paul and the talent-gorged Golden State roster. James was the centerpiece as Cleveland replicated the Big Three concept around him with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, two younger, playoff-stymied All-Stars. The new-look Cavaliers went to the Finals in their first season together and clambered atop the basketball world to win the franchise’s first NBA title by the end of the second, becoming the first team in league history to do so after digging a 1-3 hole in the best-of-seven series. In that moment, regardless of the two Finals trips that followed, James’ bill was stamped: Paid In Full. Misguided fans might burn his jersey if he leaves again, but James burned the mortgage after that Game 7 in Oakland in 2016 as far as any remaining obligation to fulfill. “I came back because I felt like I had some unfinished business,” he said after elimination Friday (Saturday, PHL time). “To be able to be a part of a championship team two years ago with the team that we had and in the fashion that we had is something I will always remember. Honestly, I think we'll all remember that. It ended a drought for Cleveland of 50-plus years, so I think we'll all remember that in sports history.” James added: “When you have a goal and you're able to accomplish that goal, it actually – for me personally – made me even more hungry to continue to try to win championships. And I still want to be in championship mode. I think I've shown this year why I will still continue to be in championship mode.” In other words, James intends to sustain his high level of performance. He expects to win. And he presumably will do whatever – and go wherever – is necessary to achieve that. There’s no perfect fit So what does that mean for the NBA’s best player (never mind what the annual MVP balloting says in any given season)? It means this: compromise. There is no ideal situation, certainly no easy answer to the guesswork surrounding James’ looming free agency. He could transform any of the 30 teams, but not without some trade-offs for him, for them or for both. Most of them won’t be in play. Teams in markets such as Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Portland, Sacramento, the Twin Cities and so on can’t scratch James’ itches for either championship-worthy depth chart or spotlight. New York and Chicago, among the biggies, are out of synch with his timeline. Toronto? No way James is resettling his brand north of the border, and given his stated desire for teammates who have not just sufficient basketball skills but also mental toughness, well, the Raptors teams he and the Cavs have dominated do not qualify. The Boston club that stretched Cleveland to seven games in the Eastern Conference finals is built for the long haul and would have to surrender much of that to adjust to James’ career calendar. There’s a little Kyrie problem lurking there and, truth be told, the Celtics look to be on their way and are doing just fine without the 33-year-old heading, one of these years, toward decline. At some point in each of the 2018 Finals’ final three days, James spoke admiringly of the Warriors and the San Antonio Spurs title teams that blocked his path whether in Miami or Cleveland. He was at it again even as the Warriors were dousing the opponent’s locker room at The Q with Moet champagne. “I made the move in 2010 to be able to play with talented players, cerebral players that you could see things that happen before they happened on the floor,” James said. “When you feel like you're really good at your craft, I think it's always great to be able to be around other great minds as well and other great ballplayers. “That's never changed. Even when I came here in '14, I wanted to try to surround myself and surround this franchise with great minds and guys that actually think outside the box of the game and not just go out and play it.” Where might James find that now or recruit that swiftly? Hard to say. There are asterisks and “buts” everywhere: * If he were to sign with the Houston Rockets, James would be hitching his star to Chris Paul, a buddy with an injury history that’s about the mirror opposite of his own. He would be teaming up with an elite coach in Mike D’Antoni, something he’s never had (though Miami’s Erik Spoelstra was just young and unproven, on his way to big things). But it also would require another big ask of James Harden, who had to adapt last summer to Paul’s arrival and need for the ball. * If James chooses the Lakers, he has the chance to hit reset with the league’s glitziest franchise, in a market that can meet his every off-court wish and where he and his family already own one or more ultra-comfortable homes. The Lakers have young talent to help James transition into a lower-usage veteran’s role, favored status as a destination team for other top free agents and the salary-cap space to get it done this summer with the likes of Paul George or his pal Paul. But that roster might not be capable of insta-contending, which could burn a season or two when James’ clock most definitely is clicking. * If it’s San Antonio, James could link up with the elite coach in Gregg Popovich, where the winning culture is in the DNA rather than some acquired taste. The Spurs have talent, particularly if Kawhi Leonard finds happiness again there. But they might not have enough to rattle the Warriors’ cage. And for all their professed admiration, James and Popovich might both fare better by keeping their relationship long-distance vs. the 82-game grind. * If it’s Golden State? Perish the thought. The NBA might have to board up itself if competitive balance were capsized to that extent. And as Draymond Green shrewdly noted on Thursday (Friday, PHL time), if James climbed aboard, it likely would require him and several other Golden State teammates to be dispatched to parts unknown. * If James prefers to stay East, where the winning comes easier, he could pick Philadelphia. The Sixers have two foundational young stars at positions that matter most, center Joel Embiid and point guard Ben Simmons. But Simmons is a non-shooter at the moment, the antithesis of what makes a great complementary LeBron teammate. As for Embiid, James never has had to play off of and service a top center. And Philly might feel like a basketball-only move, with the hungriest and most demanding of any new fan base he would embrace. * If it’s Miami – wait, could it be Miami? Could he go second-home again? The Heat always strive to be competitive and offer a talent base deep enough for the East and lots of familiarity. But they also have players such as Hassan Whiteside and Dion Waiters whose mental approaches don’t seem to fit the model James was cooing about in Golden State and with the Tim Duncan-era Spurs. * That brings us to Cleveland, where it’s possible James might choose to remain. Staying with the Cavaliers, after leading them to four Finals and that heady 2016 title, would be the easiest choice as far as pressure to win. He owes these fans nothing anymore – in fact, had the bargain been offered to them in 2010 (“LeBron will leave and win elsewhere for four years, but will come back and deliver a championship and four Finals trips”), most would have grabbed it. Here, James and the fans who have watched him even through the interruption develop from ridiculously touted high schooler to one of the world’s most famous athletes could grow older together. Then he could partner up and buy the team from owner Dan Gilbert for a long-term future. Certainly, staying has a certain place in his and the rest of the James clan’s hearts. “The one thing that I've always done is considered, obviously, my family,” he said at series end Friday (Saturday, PHL time). “Understanding especially where my boys are at this point in their age. They were a lot younger the last time I made a decision like this four years ago. I've got a teenage boy, a pre-teen and a little girl that wasn't around as well. So sitting down and considering everything, my family is a huge part of whatever I'll decide to do in my career, and it will continue to be that.” It’s worth noting that as James contemplates his options as a modern pursuer of championship excellence, the prospect of him moving again qualifies at some level as a failure. Not just by the support system in Cleveland, where he and Gilbert have their friction and James gets snidely mentioned as the team’s unofficial GM and head coach, but by him too. He’s the one who went off to seek his “college education” in south Florida in what it takes to win, whether on the court, in the front office or in and around the seams 365 days a year, straight out of the Pat Riley handbook. The teams about which James talks so glowingly in Oakland now and in San Antonio then have cultures he covets, stability up and down the flowchart he craves. In Cleveland, for a variety of reasons, his team has been incapable of establishing and maintaining that to a lasting degree. He is part of that missed opportunity and he has to own it, no matter if he goes or stays. James is inseparable from the dynamic of the Cavaliers’ ever-changing and often melodramatic roster maneuvers. Spending big, swapping out draft picks to import current stars and supporting players, and overvaluing secondary guys like Smith and Tristan Thompson are risks the Warriors and the Spurs largely avoided thanks to shrew drafting and laudable continuity. The Cavs’ scrap heap, by contrast, is high with traded picks, scuttled plans, panic deals, short-term patches and folks such as former coach David Blatt and former GM David Griffin. And maybe James could have nurtured a little better relationship with All-Star point guard and 2016 title sidekick Kyrie Irving, enough to have kept Irving from bailing on them all with his trade demand last summer. Now he’s on the verge of casting about again, prioritizing what matters most for however long he continues to play. James is more at peace with it than he was before, particularly in 2010, and surely can enjoy the leverage he wields and the riches it delivers. But there is a burden there as well, one that could be seen as completing a circle. So many of the NBA’s greatest stars have been stuck playing and living in the Age of LeBron, right? Their paths to the Finals blocked, on one whole side of the league, by him and his? Well, LeBron James is stuck now in the Era of the Warriors, freshly swept and anxious to close the gap. What goes around comes around, though the key more pressing of the big W’s now is, where? 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 NewsJun 11th, 2018

LeBron James reigns supreme over Eastern Conference yet again

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com BOSTON – For nearly a decade, the general managers of the NBA’s Eastern Conference have had, essentially, one job: Arm, equip and overhaul their teams specifically to get past LeBron James and whatever squad with which he happened to be rolling. They have failed. Miserably and spectacularly. And that’s even spotting them the first couple of summers to get their bearings after the whole “Super Team” genesis in Miami back in 2010-11. James’ domination of the conference continued Sunday (Monday, PHL time) when he and the Cleveland Cavaliers persevered in Game 7 against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden. Clawing back from 2-0 and 3-2 deficits in the series, and playing the final seven quarters without their second All-Star, forward Kevin Love (concussion protocol), the Cavaliers hung around in an ugly game. They took advantage of a Boston team on training wheels – 7-of-39 on three-pointers, oh my! – and snagged a ticket to their fourth consecutive NBA Finals. For James, it’s eight in a row and nine overall, these Cleveland four added to the four he reached with the Heat from 2011-14. It’s a run unprecedented since Bill Russell’s Celtics were winning 11 championships in 13 years, a stranglehold on half of all Finals opportunities this decade. He has a 6-2 record in Game 7 situations, with nothing but triumphs after dropping his first two. “I mean, the bigger the stage, the bigger the player, and he's been doing it for us since we've been here,” Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said. “The great quote from the great [Clippers coach] Doc Rivers is, ‘You always want to go into the Game 7 with the best player,’ and we have the best player on our team going into a Game 7. I like our chances. And he delivered again.” Next year at this point, maybe by league proxy, James will have one hand tied behind his back. That’s the next logical step in handicapping him against the field. He has made it to The Finals without his most talented sidekicks. He has taken or dragged along an ever-changing cast of teammates. This time, he did with arguably the Cavaliers’ barest cupboard since first dipping their collective toes in The Finals water back in 2007. Two All-Star point guards, Kyrie Irving (with whom James won a ring in 2016) and Isaiah Thomas (from whom James won his freedom after five awkward weeks), already were long gone when Love went down. And now he was facing elimination with a shaky crew and a huge, inflated question mark hovering over his and Cleveland’s offseason, whenever it comes. Then again, the Celtics were facing him. Like the Raptors, the Pacers, the Bulls, the Hawks and several others before them, Boston well understood the player through whom its playoff ambitions had to go. “I think we’ve played now until May 25th and May 27th the last two years and we started on September 25th. That’s every day,” Boston coach Brad Stevens said about his team’s 2017 and 2018 tangles with Cleveland in the East finals. “Every day you’re totally focused on this, and he’s gone past that eight straight times. “It’s ridiculous. And he does it at this level and with the pressure, with the scrutiny – doesn’t matter.” Plenty of the foes chasing James when his Finals streak began have headed into retirement ringless and unfulfilled. Others were in high school or grade school. Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, for instance, was 13 years old when James began his streak against Dallas in 2011. There are so many others like Horford, with tire tracks on their backs, no mercy coming their way from James and very little hope on the horizon. At age 33, James played all 82 games in the regular season for the first time in his 15-year career. He made it an even 100 with Sunday’s (Monday, PHL time) appearance and he did it with aplomb, staying on the floor for all 48 minutes. “Our goal going into the series was to make him exert as much energy as humanly possible, and try to be as good as we can on everybody else,” Stevens said. “For the most part, I thought we were pretty good at that. Multiple games now in TD Garden, held them under 100, three games in the 80s – but he still scored 35. It’s a joke.” James’ stats line – 35 points, 15 rebounds, nine assists – was enough this time because he got a reasonable amount of help. Three other Cavaliers scored in double figures, including Jeff Green, the journeyman forward who started in Love’s spot. Being one of James’ teammates requires a thick skin for when things don’t go well. It also carries a sense of obligation, to occasionally come through the way Green did in Game 7 (19 points, eight rebounds) given the debt they all owe their resident superstar. “You want to be there for him,” Green said. “You want to be in the trenches, in the battle, helping him achieve the ultimate goal. For me, it’s a no-brainer to go out there and give it all I have.” Green was a part of James’ most tumultuous campaign yet, with so many twists and turns – the shotgun Irving trade, Thomas’ bad fit, a rash of injuries, a desperate reset at the trade deadline and a bumpy learning curve once the new guys arrived – that James and Lue casually referred to it as “five seasons” crammed into one. “It's now six seasons in one,” James said after midnight. “I guess this is the last chapter for our team in this season. It's been a whirlwind. I mean, it's been [a rollercoaster]. It's been good, it's been bad, it's been roses. There have been thorns in the roses. There's been everything that you can ask for.” For eight years, a conference full of rivals has targeted one player, who happens to be the league’s best, the first among alleged equals with the Heat and clearly the leader when he headed back home to Ohio. In that time, the players have worked, the coaches have schemed and the GMs have plotted. No one has found the answer. None have stopped him. Fact is, nobody’s really laid a glove on him. It’s his conference, seemingly for as long as he wants it. “It's been a satisfaction in the fact that I like to be successful,” James said. “But more importantly, just the work that I put into it. I mean, it's an every-single-day work ethic that I have while I'm playing this game, while I have the ability to play this game at this level. I love the competition. “I think about the teams that I've played over this run and the players that I've played over this run, slightly. But more importantly, me just being healthy. I've been healthy throughout this run. I put a lot of work into my body, into my craft. Being available to my teammates and being available to my franchise, the two franchises I've been with, and throughout this run is what's been more important to me than anything. Always being available.” It was late. James was weary. Another Game 7 in less than 24 hours would determine his and the Cavaliers’ next playoff challenge. “I'll be available for at least four more games,” he said. “And we'll see what happens.” Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 28th, 2018

Morning Tip Q& A: DeMar DeRozan

By David Aldridge, TNT Analyst The tweet was posted at 6:06 a.m. on Feb. 17 (7:06pm, PHL time), and while there have occasionally been positive tweets sent out at that hour, this one got people’s attention for the wrong reasons. This depression get the best of me... — DeMar DeRozan (@DeMar_DeRozan) February 17, 2018 That it came from the Twitter account of a four-time NBA All-Star, whose team was en route to the best season in franchise history, only added to the confusion. But there it was. “This depression get the best of me...” DeMar DeRozan tweeted, and it surprised just about everyone, because the 28-year-old is pretty quiet most of the time. But DeRozan has been carrying a lot on his plate. Not only is trying to lead Toronto somewhere it’s never been before, but has never has as a good a chance before, either -- The Finals -- but he’s been doing it while going back and forth between Toronto and Los Angeles, where his father, Frank DeRozan, has been hospitalized for weeks. Frank DeRozan has been DeMar’s biggest coach, biggest critic and biggest champion his whole life, never being satisfied as his son rose through the ranks of basketball, from Compton High to USC to the NBA. But Frank DeRozan has suffered health setbacks in recent years -- a stroke and significant kidney problems, per the Toronto Sun -- and DeMar has gone bicoastal multiple times to be with his dad, never missing a game in the process. (Frank DeRozan was able, though, to temporarily leave the hospital last month in L.A. to go to Staples Center to see DeMar play for Team Stephen in the All-Star Game.) In his ninth season in Toronto -- he’s never asked for a trade and agreed almost immediately to a $139 million extension with the Raptors in 2016, never even looking at free agency -- DeRozan has scored less than he did last season, but is averaging a career-high 5.2 assists and gone all in on Toronto’s “culture reset,” as GM Masai Ujiri put it after the Raptors went out again in the playoffs last year. After years of resisting, arguing not without merit that he was a master of the mid-range game, DeRozan has embraced the three-pointer this season, obliterating his previous highs for attempts and makes behind the arc, and keeping the ball moving both to fellow All-Star Kyle Lowry and to the team’s emerging cast of young, talented players, who’ve helped carry the load all season. After winning Sunday (Monday, PHL time), the Raptors are an Eastern Conference best 45-17, and are closing in on home court throughout the playoffs in the East. All would seem to be great. But, as DeRozan’s social media statement made clear (and, to his credit, he acknowledged it was him and that he wasn’t hacked, and he hasn’t taken the Tweet down), life sometimes gets in the way of all our dreams. David Aldridge: So, your dad was able to come to Staples Center to see you at the All-Star Game. How was that for him? DeMar DeRozan: It was good. It was real good. He had a good time. It was cool for him to be able to come out and experience it and enjoy it. It made me feel good. He was happy about it. DA: And how is he doing? DD: Every day is one of them things where you just don’t know until he’s home. Until he gets home, that’s when I think I’ll be more comfortable, knowing, cool, you’re out of there. He’s been in there since Dec. 23. It’s March 2nd. I know just that is bothering him, being in there and wanting to get out. Just on top of that, my mom, when I was home the other day, my mom was telling me ‘this is the longest I’ve been without my husband in 30-plus years.’ Stuff like that, that’s the rough part of it. DA: So is that where your head’s at right now? DD: Without a doubt. For sure. One thing I always try to do whenever I go out there and play is try to do whatever I can, knowing I’m so far, doing something I know will make them proud, make them feel good, give them a kind of energy. That’s kind of where I’ll be with it. DA: Is it hard to compartmentalize? So many people say the court is their refuge? DD: For me, it’s easy to do, from the moment of playing to kind of lock in and focus and kind of indulge in that moment. It’s crazy you say that, because Kyle, he’s one of my closest friends, he knows me so well. A lot of times after the game, the first thing he’ll say to me is ‘back to reality.’ He knows now our night is over. Now I have to go back and get into the reality of DeMar. It’s crazy. DA: What have you heard from folks since you sent that tweet out? DD: Man, where haven’t I heard from? Honestly, the response, I can honestly say that I wouldn’t have even thought how the response, how it came out, I wouldn’t have thought I’d ever gotten anything like that. Especially me. I’ve never been one who wanted any type of attention, good nor bad. The response I got from people was so uplifting, positive, refreshing. It’s crazy. It’s crazy. But it made me feel good. You just look at certain things. People say ‘you helped me. Because if you’re going through something like this, I can get through it.’ It’s incredible. By far one of the most incredible things in my career that I’ve witnessed outside of basketball. DA: So you could be a role model in a whole different way. DD: For sure. I never looked at myself and said ‘man, I want to be a role model.’ But something like that is extremely important. It’s all walks of life. I done had high school players, college players, older people. I had one older coach that I’ve known text me and tell me, ‘if there was a player when I was young that I’d seen or witnessed who was going through something (like this), it would have helped me -- then -- not be an alcoholic.’ It was incredible to hear words like that. It’s been one of them things where I’m like, ‘damn, I’m just speaking the truth.’ It’s crazy. DA: Is there anything you’re doing formally or officially now to deal with it? DD: Nah. I think I’m going to definitely, once we’re all said and done, probably the summertime for sure, I’ll be open arms about it without a doubt. At the end of the day, it’s like it’s one of them things where you can’t play basketball forever, but if there’s something I can do that will outlast it and be helpful, be bigger than basketball, I’m all for it. It’s life. DA: So y’all are in this new position on top of the East. You’ve been good for a minute over the years, but this is the top of the top. Is the vibe different in the locker room? DD: Definitely. It’s more, we have fun with one another, but we understand it’s bigger than us all. We, all of us -- young guys, all of me. Me and Kyle always tell the young guys, ‘this opportunity doesn’t always come around that often. Take advantage of this and be all for it. Before you know it, you’re going to be 10 years in, and the opportunity may not come again. Take full advantage of it.’ And everybody understands that. We see it now, especially when we have games where we lose a game. We think we’re on a 10-game losing streak. That’s how we approach coming in the next day at practice, or the next game. It’s great to have that kind of feeling and vibe. DA: How do you know when you’re all locked in? DD: You just know. I always look at my guy Kyle, and you know he’s gonna ride or die with you. But it’s crazy when you’re able to look over at a guy like Pascal (Siakam), or Freddie (Van Vleet), or Delon (Wright), these young guys who only have a couple of years in the league, they’ve got the same look that Kyle’s got. That says a lot about the team. Because you know when those young guys go in, they’re some dogs, too. That’s the beauty of it, and it shows. DA: So, about those young guys. You know what you’re gonna do in the playoffs, and you know what Kyle’s gonna do, and Jo. But if you’re going to beat an elite team in the playoffs, the young guys are gonna have to perform. DD: Yeah. And they have. I lost count of how many games our starters haven’t even played in the fourth quarter. Against good teams, not just lower teams. There have been times where we’re playing some great teams, and the coaches come in and look at us, and we’re like, ‘nah, let them finish out the game. They’ve got this.’ It’s great to have that type of confidence in the young guys. It’s amazing. I know we get a lot of credit, but they deserve just as much credit. DA: So is this the most optimistic you’ve been going into the postseason? DD: Yeah. Because we’ve done felt the fails. We’ve been at the top, and we fell all the way to the bottom. We know what that feels like. We know what it feels like getting closer and closer. We understand the moments. That’s the beauty of failing sometimes. Nobody wants to fail, but you have to to understand what it takes to succeed. And I think that’s where we’re at mentally, and we understand what we have to do. 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 NewsMar 6th, 2018

Superteams and superpowers: Basketball in 2017

The common theme in basketball as of late is rather simple: build yourself a superteam and see where it goes. 2017 saw a bunch of superteams take the court in all levels. Some panned out and some did not. Nevertheless, we live in a world of superteams. Either your favorite basketball team is one or it's not.   Warriors World For the 2016-2017 NBA Season, the 73-win Golden State Warriors, a superteam in their own right, added former Most Valuable Player Kevin Durant. Oh my goodness. The Dubs then proceeded to decimate the NBA, winning 67 games in the regular season. Golden State was even better in the playoffs, making a serious play for a postseason sweep before finishing with a 16-1 record and a second title in three seasons.   Seriously, it's a Warriors World that we live in Golden State's success has prompted other teams to try and create their own superteam. Houston snatched Chris Paul away from the Los Angeles Clippers and now the Rockets have a potent backcourt combo that also feature MVP contender James Harden. Oklahoma City completed two incredible trades that made Paul George and Carmelo Anthony members of the Thunder. Oh, OKC also has MVP winner Russell Westbrook running point. The Timberwolves also have something going on in Minnesota as Jimmy Butler joined Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins for a young and intriguing Big 3. The Eastern Conference landscape changed when Cleveland traded Kyrie Irving to Boston. The Celtics previously signed Gordon Hayward and all of a sudden, the winningest NBA franchise is in position to take over the East now and the forseeable future. Speaking of Cleveland, LeBron James is still with the Cavs and they've added Dwyane Wade of all people to join an aging but still scary superteam. The King started this whole superteam craze. Golden State just happened to perfect. We all live in a Warriors World.   Feer the Beer Over in the PBA, the Philippines' premier superteam is still pretty effective despite its stars each playing almost 40 minutes per game. A year removed from the "Beeracle Run," San Miguel made history by being only the second team to capture the Perpetual Trophy following three straight Philippine Cup titles. Then the Beermen, with the top-3 MVP candidates in June Mar Fajardo, Alex Cabagnot, and Chris Ross, plus Arwind Santos and Marcio Lassiter, ended the franchise's 16-year championship drought in the Commissioner's Cup. With the help of import Charles Rhodes of course. San Miguel had legitimate chances to win the Grand Slam of course, but the team ultimately fell short in the Governors' Cup. However, the Beermen did add 6'8" Fil-German Christian Standhardinger to the fold. Superteam.   Return of the Kings It was the perfect set up. Meralco earned the number 1 seed and was rolling all the way to the Finals. Meanwhile, the Gink Kings had to go through yet another emotional and heated series against rival TNT in the semifinals in order to have a chance to properly defend their title. The series before that? The Gin Kings had to end San Miguel's Grand Slam dreams. In the 2017 Governors' Cup Finals, Meralco was in perfect position to take The Rematch and allow the birth of a new PBA rivalry. After seven games, none of that happened and Ginebra won back-to-back titles by virtue of their quote unquote superteam. Greg Slaughter, Japeth Aguilar, Joe Devance, Justin Brownlee, LA Tenorio, Sol Mercado, and Scottie Thompson. How is that not a superteam? The Kangkong jokes sure died a slow death.   Systematic Mayhem Even in college hoops, superteams are the way to go. However, in the amatuers, you just have to recruit your way into building one. La Salle has perfected this method and the Green Archers are certainly the biggest --- and loudest and most aggressive ---- recruiters. The Taft superteam featuring Ben Mbala and co. got the Green Archers to two UAAP Finals and one championship. Only one championship because another superteam, quietly built in Katipunan with surgical, perhaps even robotic, precision, beat them this year. That's right, Big Bad Blue is once again on top of the UAAP as the Ateneo Blue Eagles scored a sensational, near-sweep of UAAP Season 80. Coach Tab Baldwin has a collection of incredible players that may not look like it on first glance but they do certainly qualify for superteam status. Dom't believe it? Maybe you will after they complete a five-peat. It could happen.   Sweep In the other collegiate league, two superteams dominated the NCAA for two separate periods in one season. First, Lyceum, the surprise superteam, made history by completing an 18-game sweep of the elimination round. However, the Pirates ran into the league's decade-old superteam in San Beda and the Red Lions ended up sweeping the Finals for yet another title. Most of the major characters from both squads will return for a new season and if a San Beda-Lyceum rematch does not happen, well, that's just disappointing isn't it?   OVERTIME 2017 also saw the rise and fall and rise of the Gilas Pilipinas program. Well sort of. The Philippines got off to a great star this year by absolutely dominating the SEABA Championships. Then, disaster struck in the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup when Gilas was embarassed by an old foe in South Korea. To end the year, the Philippine national team recovered, albeit in an ugly fashion, to take an early lead in the 2019 World Cup Asian Qualifiers. Gilas is more than capable of forming a Pinoy superteam that could compete, and even beat, the best of Asia. Let's hope we get that in 2018. Finally, 2017 also saw the Civil War PBA edition. It wasn't funny and it wasn't good. Fortunately, it seems that bright and peacuful days are ahead of our beloved league. Let's hope that's the case and let's just leave the bad memories behind this year. Time to move on and forget about that stuff. There are basketball games to be played.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 28th, 2017

Fil-Am wins as Miss Supranational 2018 first runner-up

The Filipino-American beauty was crowned as Binibining Pilipinas Tourism 2012, where she also received the Best in Talent award. .....»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsDec 10th, 2018

ABL: ABL: Alab s new recruit Brandon Rosser plays like Jay Washington, says Alapag

Brand new Alab recruit Brandon Rosser announced his arrival in the ASEAN Basketball League with a one-handed buzzer-beating dunk Sunday at the Sta. Rosa Multipurpose Sports Complex. The 24-year-old athlete emphatically cleaned up a Renaldo Balkman shot that was supposed to clank off just seconds before the opening frame ended versus CLS Knights Indonesia. Brandon Rosser ends the quarter with a BANG 😳 #ABL9 pic.twitter.com/d9pw5AAxy7 — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) December 9, 2018 "I think that was the first tip dunk I've ever had in a game and I think my first buzzer beater as well so getting it both for the first time is pretty cool," he said while narrating his first ABL conversion after Alab's victory, 94-67, over the Knights. The Fil-Am Rosser, who is the younger brother of San Miguel's Matt Ganuelas-Rosser in the PBA, is one of the several new faces of the young Alab Pilipinas roster. With a brother who already knows the ropes around Filipino basketball, he shared the wisdom that was given to him leading up to his Alab debut. "He said that the Filipino fans really appreciate hardworkers so I just come in and be myself and play for the fans and play for the country," said the younger Rosser whose brothers were present in the game. And hard work was exactly what he did in his first game where he finished with six points, two rebounds, two assists. He held his own while defending against massive opponents from the CLS Knights. Alab Head coach Jimmy Alapag gave high praise for the 6-foot-7 forward, as he likened Rosser to former San Miguel Beermen player and current Rain or Shine Elasto Painter, Jay Washington. "Brandon just gives us so much more versatility. He’s a guy who’s 6-foot-7 but he can shoot it, he can put it on the floor. He reminds me a lot of a young Jay Washington. Somebody who gets to the rim, somebody who can knock down perimeter shots. He’s a tough kid," said the sophomore Alab mentor. When asked to comment on the comparison to a PBA champion, Rosser expressed his excitement to reinforce it. "I've heard that comparison before. My brother actually played with Jay Wash too, so I've seen his game. Coach Jimmy, he's always looking out, anything he says, I listen. If he can say that, I'll just keep on building on that and I'll be game," Rosser said. Rosser started his collegiate career in Central Arizona College and finished at the University of California, Riverside. Playing in the ABL for Alab is his first professional basketball stint. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @the9cruz.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 10th, 2018

FIBA WORLD CUP: Gilas Pilipinas absorbs shock upset from Kazakhstan

MANILA, Philippines --- Obviously, this is not the Asian Games. Kazakhstan scored a big-time upset Friday at the MOA Arena here, beating the Philippines, 92-88, in the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers. Losing by 37 points to Gilas in Jakarta a couple of months back in the 2018 Asiad, Kazakhstan would frustrate the Filipinos on their home floor, making the Group F race all the more interesting. After Marcio Lassiter hit a triple to put the Philippines within two, 88-90, with 26 seconds to go, Rustam Yergali found Anton Bykov down low for a crucial layup, giving Kazakhstan a two-possession lead. With 12.7 seconds to work with, Gilas got LA Tenorio a wide-open three but the Ginebra playmaker missed. Bykov was fouled on the rebound but ended up missing two free throws as well but Kazakhstan's four-point lead was more than enough to hold on. With the shock win Kazakhstan win, Gilas Pilipinas is now tied with the red-hot Japan for third place in Group F with identical 5-4 records. Australia maintains pole position with an 8-1 mark after a win over Iran and the Boomers are through to the World Cup next year. Iran is second with a 6-3 record and will face the Philippines Monday in another crucial clash while Kazakhstan is fifth with a 4-5 mark with the Akatsuki Five up next in Toyama. Tied at 79 with 2:39 to go, Gilas took the lead after Tenorio buried a quick jumper of a timeout. However, it was quickly answered by Yergali with a triple for an 82-81 lead for Kazakhstan. Pringle pushed the Philippines ahead for the last time, 83-82, following a driving layup but Nikolay Bazhin scored four straight for Kazakhstan and the visitors took over for good. "Well of course we're disappointed," Gilas head coach Yeng Guiao said. "But we still have one game on Monday and we can't feel too negative about ourselves. I think we can salvage the situation if we're able to play a good game against Iran and learn from this game, the lessons from this game," he added.   STAN THE MAN Stanley Pringle carried the Gilas offense for the first five minutes of the third period, at one point scoring seven straight for a 51-50 lead for the Philippines. Pringle would keep the national team afloat, cashing in on two unsportsmanlike fouls from Kazakhstan to give Gilas a three-point lead before he headed to the bench with a minute and change left in the quarter. In total, Pringle scored 14 points in the third but it was not enough as back-to-back triples from Alexandr Zhigulin and Shaim Kuanov pushed Kazakhstan ahead, 65-62.   WE'RE PLAYING DEFENSE It was a slow start for the two teams, with the defense forcing bad shots on both ends. However, Kazakhstan was getting enough to take a 7-2 lead early before the Gilas responded with a 9-0 run sparked by the San Miguel Beermen. Marcio Lassiter first found June Mar Fajardo for an easy layup before Fajardo returned the favor, setting up his shooter for a booming triple. The Philippines took its first lead of the game after a layup from Lassiter and Fajardo scored on a hook shot to complete the run, forcing Kazakhstan to call a timeout down 7-11. Come the second quarter, the Kazakhstan defense swarmed Gilas, forcing a couple of turnovers in the first minute alone. Anton Bykov cashed in twice, giving the visitors a 23-18 lead and forcing the Filipinos to burn an early timeout. Matthew Wright  would then make things happen for Gilas, and his play was good for eight points as the Philippines forced another tie at 26-all. Still, Kazakhstan would keep its cool and back-to-back triples from Rustam Murzagaliyev from pretty much the same spot capped a 9-2 run for a seven-point lead. The Philippines managed to take over late in the first half, 39-38, with Scottie Thompson and Stanley Pringle sparking a 9-0 blitz. However, Kazakhstan managed to beat the clock for a one-point lead at the break. Pringle was the high man for the Philippines with 29 points while June Mar Fajardo finished with a 14-point, 13-rebound double-double. Marcio Lassiter added 13 points for Gilas Pilipinas. For Kazakhstan, it was Alexandr Zhigulin that led the way with a game-high 30 points while Anton Bykov was good for 20. Rustam Murzagaliyev has 11 points and Rustam Yergali dropped 10 points. The Philippines will next host Iran Monday while Kazakhstan is off to Toyama to take on Japan.   The Scores: KAZAKHSTAN 92 -- Zhigulin 30, Bykov 20, Yergali 12, Murzagaliyev 11, Kuanov 8, Bazhin 7, Marchuk 4, Chsherbak 0, Lapchenko 0, Gavrilov 0. PHILIPPINES 88 -- Pringle 29, Fajardo 14, Lassiter 13, Tenorio 8, Norwood 7, Thompson 6, Wright 5, Aguilar 4, Erram 2, Cabagnot 0, Belga 0, Slaughter 0. Quarters: 17-18, 40-39, 65-62, 92-88.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 30th, 2018

Catriona Gray and Jehza Huelar are ready for their beauty battles

MANILA, Philippines – Pageant season kicks into high gear during the last quarter of the year. The fitting finale are the major titles that beauty contestants dream of. Last November 12, 2018, the Binibining Pilipinas Charities, Inc. hosted the send-off party for Miss Universe Philippines 2018 ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsNov 15th, 2018

PBA: Brownlee after saving Ginebra again: 'We ll be all right'

Justin Brownlee was the personification of the "Never Say Die" attitude Wednesday for Game 3 of the 2018 PBA Governors' Cup semifinals. Ginebra's super import scored a career-high tying 46 points, 18 in a pivotal third quarter run, to will the two-time champion Gin Kings back from the dead in Manila Clasico. Brownlee almost single-handedly brought Ginebra back from an 18-point second half deficit and the Gin Kings' bid for a three-peat is still going. "I don't know man," Brownlee said, almost in disbelief of his own superhuman effort to save the series for Ginebra. "That's Never Say Die attitude. The fans, they got into the game and they gave us a boost of energy. We just wanted to keep it going, it's fortunate that we got the win, that's the most important thing," he added. Thins were not looking pretty for Ginebra at halftime. Mark Barroca scored 12 points to spark a late rally for Magnolia late in the second period and the Hotshots took full control of the game. Brownlee was the only one keeping Ginebra at that point, scoring 19 at the break. At the end of the third period and another 18 points later, he brought Ginebra back. To cap it all off, it appeared that Brownlee had a hand in Paul Lee's game-winning triple for the Hotshots. "We just find out if we stick together and stay positive," Brownlee said. "I think, we'll be all right. We'll overcome any adversity we have," he added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 14th, 2018

Ahtisa Manalo lands Top 8 in Miss International 2018

      Binibining Pilipinas International Ahtisa Manalo on Friday landed at the Top 8 of this year's Miss International which was held at Tokyo Dome City Hall in Japan. Joining Manalo are candidates from Romania, Ecuador, Columbia, Japan, Spain, South Africa and Venezuela. The 21-year-old beauty queen aimed to gain the country's seventh Miss International title. Before leaving country for the competition she declared: "I'm not gonna go to Japan just to be the second best." /jpv READ: Ahtisa Manalo flies to Tokyo for Miss International 2018  ...Keep on reading: Ahtisa Manalo lands Top 8 in Miss International 2018.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsNov 9th, 2018

PH’s Ahtisa Manalo gets second place; Venezuela crowned Miss International 2018

    Binibining Pilipinas International Ahtisa Manalo only landed in second place in this year's Miss International held on Friday at Tokyo Dome City Hall in Japan. Venezuela's Mariem Velazco conquered her fellow candidates in the 2018 pageant. South Africa bagged second runner-up, Romania placed at third runner-up while Columbia was fourth runner-up. Earlier, the 21-year-old beauty queen hoped to gain the country's seventh Miss International title. Before leaving the country for the competition, she said: "I'm not gonna go to Japan just to be the second best."...Keep on reading: PH’s Ahtisa Manalo gets second place; Venezuela crowned Miss International 2018.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsNov 9th, 2018

PBA: Arwind turns attention to Gilas: 'Ano pa gagawin ko, laglag na kami'

Arwind Santos is turning his attention to Gilas Pilipinas. Well, it's only right. "A-attend ako sa unang practice. Ano pa gagawin ko, laglag na kami? Doon muna ako magco-concentrate," Santos said Wednesday after his Beermen saw their PBA season end. Faced with a twice-to-beat disadvantage, San Miguel got dominated by Alaska in the 2018 PBA Governors' Cup quarterfinals. It's pretty much the same end for the Beermen as last season when they made two Finals before eventually stopping in the first round of the Governors' Cup as the no. 6 seed. "Nakakalungkot na natalo tayo," Santos said. "Hindi talaga maganda, pero ganun talaga. Siguro pinakita ng Diyos na hindi kami lagi nasa top. Kailangan bumaba rin kami, bumangon kami sa baba tapos magsimula ulit," he added. With San Miguel's campaign now over, Santos moves on to the Philippine national team where he's now a part of for the first time in nearly a decade. Santos reunites with head coach Yeng Guiao in Gilas. Guiao coached the 2009 Powerade Pilipinas, Santos' only national team stint so far. "Di pa naman ako kasama sa Final [12]. Para sa akin, panibagong challenge ito. Matagal na rin ako di nakakapag-laro sa Philippine team," Santos said. "Thank you kay ninong, kay coach Yeng. Sana hindi siya magka-mali sa pag-pili sakin," he added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 8th, 2018

PBA: Brownlee, Ginebra ready for Manila Clasico challenge

Things definitely don't get any easier for Ginebra in its bid to defend its title and complete a three-peat in the PBA Governors' Cup. After showing NLEX the door Tuesday, the no. 1 Gin Kings have arranged a best-of-5 semifinals against rival Magnolia. That's right, it's time for Manila Clasico in the semifinals. After surviving the Hotshots last week to pretty much secure the no. 1 seed, Ginebra will meet its bitter rival once again, th time with a Finals slot on the line. The Gin Kings can't wait. "We're looking forward to it," super import Justin Brownlee said. "We just expect a tough battle. Magnolia is a really good team with a really good import and coach as well. We know they're going to be very prepared. We're going to be ready going into the series," he added. Ginebra sure is ready going to Manila Clasico. The Gin Kings' last two games have been impressive blowouts and the champs are simply rolling, with everyone stepping up tp lay high-level basketball. "We got a lot of talented local players, guys that can do different things," Brownlee said of his squad. "Japeth and Greg, they can definitely be a force inside. Scottie, LA, and Jeff Chan, and Sol Mercado play a lot outside. We're a very versatile team," he added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 6th, 2018

LOOK: Pinoy athletes dress up for Halloween

Halloween has been known as more of a tradition in the Western Hemisphere, but in recent decades the Philippines has caught the case of spooky fever. The holiday of course is known to feature people costumed asking for treats, but if denied, give a trick instead. Our athletes of course were not denied a chance to showcase their vivid imagination and stand out for their magnificent costumes. Mel Gohing (Creamline Cool Smashers) as Daenerys Targaryen Creamline libero Mel Gohing decided to wear a costume inspired by 'The Dragon Queen' Daenerys Targaryen in the hit HBO series Game of Thrones portrayed by English actress Emilia Clarke. Gohing, though hastily prepared for the Halloween party of her team over at Luna in Bonifacio Global City, never gave a doubt on who was she going to be. "It seems to me that a queen who trusts no one is as foolish as a queen who trusts everyone." - Daenerys Targaryen Last minute costume for the #CreamlineHalloween 😂 #LunaCoffee pic.twitter.com/OFBlaXN72R — Melissa E. Gohing (@GOHINGMELISSA) October 31, 2018 Michele Gumabao (Creamline Cool Smashers) as Elle Woods (Legally Blonde) The recent winner of Miss Social Media and Miss Dream Girl in the recently-concluded Miss Globe 2018 in Albania, Gumabao dazzled with her looks as lawyer Elle Woods of the Legally Blonde movie series, most famously portrayed by Reese Witherspoon. MG even brought with her the adorable Brie, her super adorable Maltese pupper to go along with the character of Woods.          View this post on Instagram                   Guess who we are !!! @cardybrie and I played dress up at the #creamlinehalloween party at @lunacoffeeph this afternoon and it was so much fun! The whole team came straight from practice and still looked fab 😂😂 Dress by @mikeeandrei Hair by @davegrona A post shared by Michele Gumabao (@gumabaomichele) on Oct 30, 2018 at 3:40am PDT Gabe Norwood (Rain or Shine Elasto Painters) as Mr. Potato Head The Rain or Shine and Gilas Pilipinas veteran and his whole family dressed up for the occassion in their area, with his wife dressed up as Mrs. Potato Head. The children completes the role as Andy's toys from the hit Disney-Pixar film series Toy Story, with one dressed as intergalactic ranger Buzz Lightyear, one as his best friend Sheriff Woody, and their youngest as one of the three-eyed alien toys picked up from a toy crane.         View this post on Instagram                   Andy’s toys are on the move 🎃 A post shared by Gabe Norwood (@gnorwood5) on Oct 29, 2018 at 1:27am PDT Alyssa Valdez and Jia Morado (Creamline Cool Smashers) as sumo wrestlers  The tandem of Alyssa Valdez and Jia Morado seem to be inseparable even when it comes to Halloween parties. Valdez and Morado, who forged their partnership in Ateneo, continue to thrive with the PVL team. Seen through Creamline manager Karlo Santos' Instagram stories, the ladies dressed up as sumo wrestlers and hopped up and down while they showed off their costumes. Jema Galanza (Creamline Cool Smashers) as Stitch The Adamson alumna wore a Stitch costume to the affair, and in full gear. Stitch of course, it the savage, yet lovable alien that crashed in Hawaii in Disney's movie and subsequent series 'Lilo and Stitch'.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 1st, 2018

Q& A: Hornets Walker starts season in scoring groove

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com With the new season underway, and with his game as hot as almost anyone to start, Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker was asked what impressed or surprised him about the first 10 days or so of 2018-19. “Nothing besides my own play,” Walker said, laughing after a shootaround Friday (Saturday, PHL time). “Nothing besides seeing my name near the top of the NBA scoring, which is pretty weird.” Eh, maybe not so weird. Walker, a two-time All-Star, is the Hornets’ all-time leading scorer. At 28, the former ninth overall pick in the 2011 Draft is in his prime as a player. The 41 points he dropped on Milwaukee on opening night and the fact he’s gone for at least 23 every game since (with three more games of 30 or more) seems like the next logical step. It earned him the season’s first Eastern Conference Player of the Week honor and as Week 2 ended, his 31.7 ppg trailed only Golden State’s Stephen Curry (33.9) and Portland’s Damian Lillard (33.8). “It was [gratifying]. Who wouldn’t want it to keep going?” Walker told NBA.com. “I know teams will be gearing up on me and double-teaming me. But I just want to win, man. I want to get back to the playoffs any way possible. I don’t care what I average the rest of the year.” Walker, in the final year of a four-year, $48 million deal he signed in 2014, never has shot the ball so well -- 40.5 percent from the arc, 46.6 percent overall. Neither has he shot it so often and from such range. Walker is averaging 23 shots, including more than 11 3-point attempts. His usage rate of 33.5 trails only Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo (35.1) and his 29.4 PER puts him ahead of Kevin Durant and LeBron James. Is it sustainable? That was one of multiple topics Walker talked about with NBA.com’s Steve Aschburner: *** Steve Aschburner: On Media Day, you made it sound as if you would hit this season hard from the start, and that’s exactly what we’ve seen. How do you explain it? Kemba Walker: I knew I had a good summer. I put in the work and the time and the effort to get better. And I’m healthy -- I haven’t felt healthy like this in a long time. Over the last three summers, I wasn’t healthy, having knee surgeries and ‘scopes. So I was rehabbing. This summer, I had a chance to work on my game. Being able to work on my shooting over a long period of time really helped as well. SA: You took as many 3FGAs last season as you shot your first two seasons combined. Now you’re launching them at a pace (11.3 per game) to break Steph Curry’s single season record (886). Is this a conscious change by you or a reaction to the league’s preferred style? KW: Both. The league definitely has changed from the time I first came in. Everybody’s shooting more threes, no matter their position. Me, I’ve just become more confident. I worked on my shot tremendously to get to this point. I’m comfortable now shooting it, whenever I can get to my spots. SA: What’s your preference -- pull-up threes, spot-up threes or those halfcourt threes like Steph takes? KW: Not at all [laughing]. Steph is a different type of shooter, maybe the best to ever shoot the basketball. But I’m comfortable shooting them however. It doesn’t matter. If I can get ‘em up, I try to make ‘em. But I do love for my teammates to create for me and get me some easy ones. It does take some stress, some pressure, off of me. SA: Your coach, James Borrego, has talked of using you more off the ball. Does that suit you? KW: It really helps. It gets me a little bit of rest, and it opens up a different dynamic in my game. As well as giving other guys a chance to have the ball in their hands and create for others. But the main thing is, it just keeps me fresher, which is huge for me. SA: What’s your take on the Charlotte rookies? KW: Oh, I’m a huge fan. Devonte’ [Graham] really hasn’t gotten a chance to play yet, but I’ve always been a huge fan, even when he was at Kansas. Just love his game, love his poise. And that’s skill -- I don’t think people understand how much of a skill it is to be poised, especially at a young age. It’s something that I didn’t have, something that took me a very long time to get. Miles [Bridges], he’s a hard-playing kid. Smart, always in the right spot on both ends of the floor. I can see him getting more minutes as the season progresses. SA: Malik Monk is a second-year guy who didn’t have the most satisfying rookie season. What do you see from him, and can he become a reliable backcourt mate? KW: Oh yeah, he’s growing. Every single day. His efficiency will come. He needs time to learn, needs time to develop, to figure out where his shots are going to come. He’s getting better already. He’s passing the ball really well, getting other guys involved. He needs to know we need him every night, with him coming off the bench for us. SA: Your rookie season was about as challenging as could be -- delayed by a lockout, rushed through training camp and a quickie preseason, and then a 7-59 experience. Did that set you back as a player? KW: Nah, it wasn’t a setback. It was humbling. I took it as a point in my career where I was going through adversity. It was tough -- nobody likes to lose -- and through my basketball career I felt I had been a winner. But I just stuck to it, just kept working hard. SA: You said you don’t want to talk anymore about your free agency next summer -- and your general manager, Mitch Kupchak, is on record saying, “Our intention is for him to end his career in a Hornet uniform.” Some people wonder what the market might be, though, given how many terrific point guards are out there. So let’s address that another way: what is it like competing with all those rivals? KW: It’s unbelievable, man. Every night. Every single night, somebody is there to … I can’t even explain it. Every team, there’s so many great point guards out there who are just ready to showcase their talents. There are young guys ready to show how good they are. Yeah, it’s a point guard league. SA: We’re seeing more and more teams switching everything defensively. How hard is that on a 6-foot-1 point guard? KW: It’s … tough sometimes. Some matchups, you don’t want to get. But I rely on my teammates to help out as much as possible. The most challenging part probably is boxing guys out. But I’m always up for the challenge. SA: Some players talk or at least play like defense is optional. Your thoughts? KW: Not at all. I’m paid to do it all. It’s not even about being paid -- I’m just competitive. I want to play defense. I want to score. I want to do it all. SA: I’ve often wondered what it’s like to play for the team that Michael Jordan owns. Other teams, the owners aren’t basketball experts. But that’s not the case for the Hornets. Is it intimidating? KW: I wouldn’t say intimidating. I love it. I want my owner to have played. He knows what’s going on, he knows how it feels after losses, after wins. Traveling. Being tired. He’s been through it. He knows what it takes to win games in this league. Even though basketball’s a bit different now from when he played, but still, he knows. I feel like I’m at an advantage because I can go to him, I can ask him things. Or he can just come to me, or text me or call me to let me know things. And let me know how to get past things. No, it’s an honor for us, it’s an honor for me to have him as an owner. SA: How is basketball different from when Jordan played? KW: For me, just the threes. A lot of bigs shooting threes. The bigs are different in general, you know? Back with MJ, I feel like the shooting guards and the forwards were dominant, and it was more of a post-up league. Now it’s a point guard’s league for the most part. And it’s not a post-up league much anymore. There are so many threes up in the air. SA: Do you little guys resent the stretch-fours and stretch-fives coming out onto your turf these days? KW: Yeah, man, it’s crazy. But it’s fun. Just seeing the development and the change. Even from when I first got in the league it wasn’t like that. But guys are so talented nowadays, it’s unbelievable. SA: Tell me about the Big Brothers Big Sisters work you do, mentoring four kids -- two boys and two girls -- in the Charlotte area. KW: Just to be in their lives. I take ‘em out to eat, take ‘em to Dave & Buster’s every now and then. It’s fun. I try to avoid the cameras. It’s not for social media. It’s not for anything but them. The kids are doing great in school. That’s the biggest progress, that’s what you want. They’ve really started to love basketball now -- they come to games sometimes. It’s been fun to see them grow, each and every time I see them. One of the kids, his mom passed away. I know it’s been a struggle for him. For me to be able to help get his mind off of that for a time, just be there for him, that’s definitely rewarding for me but I hope it’s more rewarding for him. SA: You’re in your eighth season, and you’ve played a total of 11 playoff games. What stands out for you about the postseason? KW: I remember every game. We played Miami twice. The first year [2014] was when they had LeBron, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. They swept us, but I thought we played really well. Obviously it wasn’t enough -- they had three Hall of Famers. I remember the level of intensity those guys played with. I remember telling myself, the next time I get to the playoffs, I’m going to try my best to play like that. The next time [2016], that’s what I did. People thought we might get swept again, but we went to seven games. It was really fun. The whole atmosphere was so intense. I loved it. You have to take your game to a whole ‘nother level. You have to play hard every possession, every second of those games. The competitiveness, the toughness, everything goes up. SA: A problem that team had, it still has -- you’re carrying such a big load offensively. Do you need a second reliable scorer, and is that guy on the roster now? KW: Of course. We need it. I’m not going to have huge games every night. It’s on one of these guys to step up. I think guys are still searching for their roles at this point, especially with a new coach, new system. We’re still learning. But as the season progresses, I think they will. We have guys who are capable of putting points up for us. SA: The All-Star Game this season is in Charlotte. You’ve been selected twice. What would you think of playing in that game in your market? KW: That’d be amazing. To be in Charlotte, the team that drafted me, the team I’ve played with for eight years now, it would be a really special moment. Hopefully I can get there. It’d be fun. A really important and fun moment in my career. 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 NewsOct 30th, 2018

PBA: Alaska s Harris couldn t care less about top-4 finish

The 2018 PBA Governors' Cup standings is pretty top heavy right now, with five teams separated by just one game. Of the five teams, one will not get a twice-to-beat advantage and the top-4 advance to the playoffs with a bonus in hand. However, for Alaska super import Mike Harris, he couldn't care less of a top-4 finish. "People talk about the top-4 and to be honest with you, I really don't care about the top-4," Harris said. "No disrespect to the top-4 but everywhere I play, whether I’m at the top seed or the bottom seed, my objective’s to win. I learned from Greg Popovich, great teams win on the road, doesn’t matter if you’re home or away. Good thing here is all games are neutral games, some teams may get more fans but they’re like neutral side games here. I really like that," he added. Regardless of his feelings of the top-4, Harris' performance sure helped the Aces move closer to finishing as one of the higher seeds come playoff time. Monster Mike had himself a game against Blackwater, finishing with 38 points and 19 rebounds. His clutch four-point play with less than 20 seconds to play helped seal the deal for the Aces. Currently, Alaska is in a three-way tie for first place with Ginebra and Magnolia as all three teams sport identical 7-2 cards. But with about two weeks left of regular season play, Harris' focus is on Alaska's next assignment and not whether or not the Aces are inside the top-4 in the team standings. "You want to take each game one game at a time. We have NLEX next, so the focus is just to beat them," he said. "If you do what you have to do on the court, everything else takes care of itself," Harris added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 21st, 2018

Ahtisa Manalo flies to Tokyo for Miss International 2018

    Binibining Pilipinas International Ahtisa Manalo is set to to conquer the international stage as she flies to Japan to bring home the country's seventh Miss International title.     The 21-year-old beauty queen shared on Thursday a photo of herself at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) posing with a Philippine flag in an Instagram story.     Manalo will be competing for the Miss International 2018 title at the Tokyo Dome City Hall on November 9.           She also posted a snapshot of a simple note with message: "This is for you, Philippines."     &nb...Keep on reading: Ahtisa Manalo flies to Tokyo for Miss International 2018.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsOct 19th, 2018

Alab s new recruit Caelan Tiongson: I would love to be the next Rudy Hatfield

Back in February this year, the ASEAN Basketball League's Chong Son Kung Fu played an away game in Sta. Rosa, Laguna versus Alab Pilipinas. The home team won that match but head coach Jimmy Alapag still commended a player he noticed from the other side: Caelan Tiongson. Tiongson, who happens to be a Filipino-American, was described by Alapag as a player like PBA champion Rudy Hatfield. Mentioning Tiongson's eagerness and ability to battle each possession, Alapag deemed Tiongson worthy of comparison to the 2002 PBA Finals MVP, three-time PBA All-Star, and two-time PBA All Defensive team member. Fast forward eight months later to the ninth season of ABL, the man Alapag considers as the second coming of Hatfield will now be donning a San Miguel Alab Pilipinas jersey. "Obviously, I had a good relationship with [Chong Son] Kung Fu, and I think we were all intending to go back. But my general manager wanted to hold off because of the rule changes. When that happened I started exploring other options and an option always on my mind is the Philippines," said the 6-foot-5 forward who averaged 11.7 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 3.3 assists for the China-based squad. "Being half Filipino, it's just attractive for me to come play here in front of these fans," Tiongson said, "It will be a better move for me career wise." When asked about his reaction about the high praise he received months ago from his current coach, Tiongson admitted that he needed to run a research on who Hatfield was. "I actually wasn't aware who Rudy Hatfield was before [Coach Jimmy Alapag] made those comments. After, I looked him up and then I saw that he had a great resume. He was a legend and he played really hard and he was winning championships out here and I want to embody that, for sure," said the 26-year-old Tiongson. "I would love to be the next Rudy Hatfield. That would be cool," he said with a smile. Aside from Alapag, Tiongson proudly shared that Tim Cone, the winningest coach in the PBA, also gave him a nod. "When I came here, another coach, Coach Tim Cone, he was pretty complimentary with my game as well," Tiongson shared. Tiongson will enjoy the privilege of being mentored by some of the biggest names in the PBA as Eric Menk and Danny Seigle are part of the Alab coaching staff. "So obviously, being new to the Philippines, I've been told that they are legends. I'm being told that that (Eric Menk) is the best power forward, (Danny Seigle) the best small forward, Coach Jimmy is the best point guard to ever play here. Hearing all that, it's definitely a confidence boost and these guys are very encouraging of me and they tell me that I have a lot of potential and stuff like that," said Tiongson. "It's just a blessing to be able to play for a coaching staff like that. I'm gonna soak up as much wisdom that I can and try to be the best player that I can be," he added. Following his transfer, Tiongson has been in the Philippines for over a month now. He shared that he has been training everyday to get ready for the season which will tip off in November. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @the9cruz.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 16th, 2018

ABL: Alab Pilipinas has a dream team in its coaching staff

Alab Pilipinas will now have three Philippine basketball legends in its coaching staff for the upcoming 2018-2019 Asean Basketball League. When “Mighty Mouse” Jimmy Alapag was named head coach a year ago, “Dynamite” Danny Seigle joined him. Now, they will also have “Major Pain” Eric Menk by their side. As it turns out, this is a tale of better late than never. “I almost joined them last year, but I was busy with some things. It was a bit of a tough decision but I can only say no to Jimmy so many times and even more when management joined me as well,” Menk shared in the league’s preseason press conference on Tuesday at the Marriott Hotel in Pasay. And so, the reigning and defending champions in the ABL will now have three coaches with a combined 48 years of experience in the PBA – and, more than that, a combined 18 championships. Just imagine if they were still at the peak of their powers and they were the ones playing? At some point, they themselves already have. “We always used to talk about that. I think the three of us would have worked very, very well on the court,” Menk said. Alapag could only agree. “You know, not a bad team. They would’ve made my job pretty easy because I’d just give the ball to them,” he said. Unfortunately, that may very well be already a long shot as Menk is already 44, Seigle is already 42, and Alapag is already 40. What matters more now, though, is that these three Philippine basketball legends impart their wisdom to Alab Pilipinas. And that is exactly why Alapag never quit on recruiting Menk. As the former put it, “From all our times competing against each other and even our brief time playing for the national team, he was always one of the players whom I had an incredible amount of respect for what he did in the league, his work ethic, and how he carried himself.” He then continued, “But what a lot of people don’t know is he’s a great basketball mind. He’s very, very knowledgeable about the game and I think his ability to not just work with our big guys, but really, our entire team is gonna be big for us.” For his part, Menk just wants to do what they weren’t able to do as players – get together and win a championship now as coaches. “We couldn’t form a ‘dream team’ while we were playing, but hopefully, we can form a ‘dream team’ while coaching,” he said. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 16th, 2018

Miss International 2018 bet Ahtisa Manalo won’t settle for ‘second best’

"I'm not gonna go to Japan just to be the second best," Binibining Pilipinas International Ma. Ahtisa Manalo declared during her send off party launched by Binibining Pilipinas Charities Inc. (BBCI) at the Novotel Manila Araneta Center on Thursday. Manalo gave assurances that she is well-prepared for the pageant and will make the Philippines proud. "Rest assured that I am prepared for this journey. I took a month off after winning, but after that I started preparing in every possible way that I can," she said. Manalo shared that she received advice from past beauty queens like Miss International 2016 Kylie Verzosa and Miss International 2005 Lara Quigaman. She said their ...Keep on reading: Miss International 2018 bet Ahtisa Manalo won’t settle for ‘second best’.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsOct 11th, 2018