Advertisements


Hot Stuff: So, What Prompted Formerly Bikini-Shy Maris Racal To Finally Step Out With Her Abs Out?

Here’s how she redefines ‘sexy’ on her first time wearing two-piece in public.....»»

Category: lifestyleSource: abscbn abscbnApr 16th, 2018

DA s 2018 NBA Offseason Rankings: The Middle 10

By David Aldridge, TNT Analyst Wonder what the rental market is like in San Luis Obispo, Calif. San Luis Obispo is, give or take a few miles, one of the closest cities that is near the midway point between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Given the events of the NBA’s offseason, it’s not hare to imagine national reporters are going to be spending a lot of time in California next season, bouncing back and forth between the Bay and L.A. Catch LeBron James and the Lakers on Wednesday and then, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and the Warriors on Thursday. The Western Conference only got stronger and deeper with James leaving Cleveland for a second time, this time to go to the Lakers. Add four of the top five Draft picks -- including No. 1 overall selection Deandre Ayton (Phoenix Suns), No. 2 pick Marvin Bagley III (Sacramento Kings) and international phenom Luka Doncic (No. 3 pick, acquired by Dallas Mavericks) -- going to Western Conference teams, and the talent disparity between conferences only seems greater. But did Eastern Conference teams take advantage of Cleveland deflating to make their teams better? And how effective were West teams in making their teams better prepared to at least compete with the Warriors? That’s where this year’s Offseason Rankings come in -- big, bold, definitive. You love them, if the amount of hate tweets and e-mails I get after they’re published are any indication. Every year, we rank how all 30 teams have done since the end of their respective seasons. We look at everything -- how they drafted, what trades they made, what players they signed in free agency, and for how much -- or if they didn’t participate in free agency much at all. We look at if they’ve changed coaches, executives, owners, or if they’re moving into a new building that can generate big revenues. And you have to decide which ones you liked the most. Here's what these rankings ARE NOT: A predicted order of finish for next season. It's an opinion that seeks to answer a question: is the team better now than at the end of last season? The ranking reflects the belief on whether, and how much, that is so. (I liked certain guys who were in the Draft more than others, so if your team took them, I probably weighed it more positively. Doesn't mean I'm right.) I do not expect the Suns, for example, to have a better record than the Celtics, just because they had a better summer. It is not a ranking of the teams in order from 1 through 30 right now; I do not believe the Mavericks are now a better team than Rockets. This is just one person’s opinion about offseason moves -- offseason moves only. Is your team better now than it was before? - If your team is ranked in the top 10, it doesn't mean I love your team.       - If your team is ranked in the bottom 10, it doesn't mean I hate your team. It's an opinion that seeks to answer a question: is the team better now than at the end of last season? The ranking reflects the belief on whether, and how much, that is so. (I liked certain guys who were in the Draft more than others, so if your team took them, I probably weighed it more positively. Doesn't mean I'm right.) What plays into the rankings: - This isn’t science. It’s an educated guess, weighing the impact both of the Draft and free agency, but also assessing whether teams got value in their free-agent signings. Overpaying the right player is as much a sin as signing the wrong player. A good new coach can coax some more wins out of a roster. But if a team’s players don’t believe in the system their team uses, the best Xs and Os on earth don’t matter.       - Teams that are rebuilding obviously have different priorities than teams making a championship push. That's factored in. So Chicago, for example, gets credit for adding young, affordable players as it stockpiles its talent -- but that talent has to fit together, as Wendell Carter Jr. does with Lauri Markannen. And a team like the Warriors that shows it’s willing to go deep into the luxury tax -- which most teams try to avoid -- in order to keep winning has to be commended, and its rankings reflect that commendation.       - Continuity matters here as well. The most successful teams usually not only identify a core group of players, they keep them together for a while, finding that sweet spot: everyone doesn’t get a max contract, but most get paid well enough to keep the train moving down the tracks. That reflects both good roster construction and good financial management -- and, again, is rewarded. The explosion in the cap means everyone has to spend; keeping your powder dry for another day doesn’t have as much cache as it used to. But you still have to manage your money wisely. Salary numbers, with a couple of exceptions, come from Basketball Insiders, whose Eric Pincus does the best job of anyone in the game of keeping track of all the moving financial parts, quickly and accurately -- which is why we use him at NBA TV during the Draft and free agency to tell us what the hell this all means. The Middle 10 * * * 11. TORONTO RAPTORS 2017-18 RECORD: 59-23; lost in Eastern Conference semifinals ADDED: Coach Nick Nurse; G Danny Green (acquired from Spurs); F Kawhi Leonard (acquired from Spurs) LOST: Former coach Dwane Casey; G DeMar DeRozan (traded to Spurs); F Alfonzo McKinnie (waived); C Jakob Poeltl (traded to Spurs) RETAINED: G Fred VanVleet (two years, $18.1 million) THE KEY MAN: Nurse. The former Raps assistant has extensive G League head coaching experience. But the NBA isn’t just about a coach’s Xs and Os acumen. We know Nurse can do that. But an NBA coach has to have command presence in a locker room not only full of millionaires, but full of Alpha males who have their own very strong opinions on how they should be used and how their teammates should help them. Nurse will have to show he can put his own stamp on a team that will have some new faces while still having extremely high expectations. THE SKINNY: You may well think Toronto should be higher, based on Leonard’s standing as a top-five player in the league when fully healthy. No matter what you think of DeRozan, a four-time All-Star, no one can realistically say he’s better than “The Klaw” when both are 100 percent. But, of course, we don’t know if Leonard’s 100 percent. And, trading DeRozan, who’d been the franchise’s biggest advocate during his nine seasons there -- and who had led the team to its greatest extended run of success ever -- is not a transaction without consequence for the Raptors. He helped get the best out of Kyle Lowry. He could help recruit free agents. And, the circumstances of his departure have not helped the franchise’s reputation. Still, this is a talent-based league, and Leonard has it. His and Green’s presence on the perimeter gives Toronto the chance to be a switching defensive monster -- and will help the Raptors be able to match up better with the likes of the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers in a late-May playoff matchup, as long as the Raptors’ young core in which it believes so strongly continues to play as well in reserve as it did last season. 12. MILWAUKEE BUCKS 2017-18 RECORD: 44-38; lost in first round ADDED: Coach Mike Budenholzer; G Donte DiVincenzo (No. 17 pick, 2018 Draft); G Trevon Duval; F Ersan Ilyasova (three years, $21 million); C Brook Lopez (one year, $3.32 million); F Pat Connaughton (two years, $3.2 million); LOST: Former interim coach Joe Prunty; G Brandon Jennings (waived); F Jabari Parker (signed with Bulls) RETAINED: None THE KEY MAN: G Eric Bledsoe. His departure from Phoenix early last season was messy. But once he got to Brewtown, Bledsoe solidified the Bucks at the point, averaging 17.8 points and 5.1 assists per game in 71 starts. At 28, Bledsoe faces the last year of his contract and will have to show a new coach he’s capable of running things long-term and playing alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo through the meat of his prime. THE SKINNY: Budenholzer’s arrival should coincide with an improvement in the Bucks’ defense, something that former coach Jason Kidd could never quite accomplish. Ilaysova’s return for a second tour in Milwaukee should help, with his celebrated charge-taking skill and Lopez’s still-substantial size a double-boon to Milwaukee’s interior D as the Bucks were bottom 10 last season in points allowed in the paint (47.4 per game). If the paint becomes a little tougher to traverse, the Bucks should finally able to use their substantial length on the wing to get back to create deflections and turnovers, and get out in transition, where Antetokounmpo and Friends do their best work and their most damage to the opposition. They’ll do so 41 nights a year for the next couple of decades in the 17,500-seat Fiserv Forum, the Bucks’ new arena that will open in early September with a concert and should pump new revenues into the Bucks’ bloodstream, giving them more financial wherewithal to keep “The Greek Freak” surrounded with high-quality talent. 13. UTAH JAZZ 2017-18 RECORD: 48-34; lost in Western Conference semifinals ADDED: G Grayson Allen (No. 21 pick, 2018 Draft); G Jarius Lyles; G Naz Mitrou-Long LOST: F Jonas Jerebko (waived) RETAINED: G Dante Exum (three years, $33 million); F/C Derrick Favors (two years, $37.6 million), G Raul Neto (two years, $4.4 million); F Georges Niang (three years, $4.9 million) THE KEY MAN: C Rudy Gobert. He’s a monster presence, the hub of the Jazz’s defensive wheel and the reigning Kia Defensive Player of the Year. And he has to take a step back in Utah next season for the Jazz to take the next step forward. He has to understand what Utah has in Donovan Mitchell and let that kid eat. Nobody in the league can do what Gobert does defensively. So embrace that and concentrate on that -- take the Draymond Green attitude about being the “defensive guy” on a great team (not that Jazz fans want you to do anything that Green does). Gobert’s handsomely paid and the DPOY award found him in Salt Lake City; there’s no small-market bias at work here. So let Mitchell and Joe Ingles carry the shooting/scoring load, let Ricky Rubio orchestrate, and snuff out opponent dreams at the other end, night after night. It’s what you were born to do. THE SKINNY: My God, Mitchell had a great rookie season. And Utah brought most of the band back from last season to provide advice and consent for him again, re-signing Favors, Exum and Neto each on very reasonable contracts. Doing so leaves Utah over the cap, still comfortably under the tax, and with nothing on the books that should raise an eyebrow financially. (Utah’s front office should handle my checking account for a while.) Anyway, no reason to expect any backsliding next season with the crew returning, though coach Quin Snyder will surely miss the counsel of his longtime friend Igor Kokoskov, off to run the Suns. 14. ATLANTA HAWKS 2017-18 RECORD: 24-58; missed playoffs ADDED: Coach Lloyd Pierce; F Justin Anderson (acquired from 76ers); G Kevin Huerter (No. 19 pick, 2018 Draft); C Alex Len (two years, $8.5 million); G Jeremy Lin (acquired from Nets); F Omari Spellman (No. 30 pick, 2018 Draft); G Trae Young (No. 5 pick, 2018 Draft) LOST: Former coach Mike Budenholzer; G Antonius Cleveland (waived); G Damion Lee (signed with Warriors); F/C Mike Muscala (traded to 76ers); G Dennis Schröder (traded to Thunder); G Isaiah Taylor (waived) RETAINED: C Dewayne Dedmon (picked up player option) THE KEY MAN: GM Travis Schlenk. The second-year executive will be judged on how well Atlanta uses its trove of Draft picks -- three firsts this year, three firsts next year, two firsts in 2022 -- the next few years. And, ultimately, the Hawks will live or die by whether Young or Luka Doncic becomes the bigger NBA producer. Schlenk’s chances of completing the rebuild may well ride on that. THE SKINNY: The Hawks’ roster teardown is nearing completion, but the renovated Philips Arena will come online faster than the team, which now needs Young to live up to all the hype after his one season at Oklahoma. He has incredible range and great potential, but he’ll be challenged every night to stay in front of the legion of great points in this league. Pierce, the former Sixers’ assistant, is going to have a very tough time melding all the newcomers with the small core of players who survived, including John Collins, Kent Bazemore, DeAndre' Bembry and Taurean Prince. 15. LA CLIPPERS 2017-18 RECORD: 42-40; missed playoffs ADDED: C Marcin Gortat (acquired from Wizards); G Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (No. 11 pick, 2018 Draft); F Johnathan Motley (acquired from Mavericks); F Mike Scott (one year, $4.3 million); F Luc Mbah a Moute (one year, $4.3 million), G Jerome Robinson (No. 13 pick, 2018 Draft) LOST: G Austin Rivers (traded to Wizards); C DeAndre Jordan (signed with Mavs); G C.J. Williams (waived) RETAINED: G Avery Bradley (two years, $24.9  million); C Montrezl Harrell (two years, $12 million); G Wesley Johnson (picked up player option); G Milos Teodosic (picked up player option) THE KEY MAN: F Tobias Harris. He was the key tangible piece of the Blake Griffin trade last season (the intangible being the unprotected first from Detroit in the deal that eventually became Gilgeous-Alexander after a Draft night trade with Charlotte). And Harris played quite well in his 32 games with the Clips, averaging 19.3 points and six rebounds per game. Those numbers could each well go up in a contract year and with few others outside of Lou Williams on the roster that can go get their own buckets. THE SKINNY: Amazing, but true: the Clipper player with the longest current tenure is … Wesley Johnson, who came aboard in 2015. “Lob City” is in the history books and change will be the norm here for a while, including next summer, when the Clippers expect to be a free-agent destination. The Clips did what they could with that not-insignificant restriction, but the best stuff was in the Draft, winding up with a potential long-term point in Gilgeous-Alexander and a two in Robinson that rocketed up the pre-Draft charts. Bradley’s on a very team-friendly and controllable contract, as is Patrick Beverley, whose modest 2018-19 salary isn’t guaranteed until January. Those two and Mbah a Moute can give coach Doc Rivers hope that he can get some stops on the perimeter, because while Gortat is still willing defensively and still takes a bunch of charges, he is not Jordan when it comes to rim protection. 16. BROOKLYN NETS 2017-18 RECORD: 28-54; missed playoffs ADDED: F/C Ed Davis (one year, $4.4 million); F Jared Dudley (acquired from Suns); F Kenneth Faried (acquired from Nuggets); G/F Treveon Graham (two years); F Rodions Kurucs (No. 40, 2018 Draft); F Dzanan Musa (No. 29 pick, 2018 Draft); G Shabazz Napier (two years, $3.7 million) LOST: F Darrell Arthur (traded to Suns); F Dante Cunningham (signed with Spurs); C Dwight Howard (waived); G Jeremy Lin (traded to Hawks); C Timofey Mozgov (traded to Hornets); G Nik Stauskas (signed with Blazers); G Isaiah Whitehead (traded to Nuggets) RETAINED: G Joe Harris (two years, $16 million) THE KEY MAN: Co-owner Joseph Tsai. The Alibaba executive and billionaire has 49 percent of the team, and can buy majority control from Mikhail Prokhorov by 2021. Until then, they’ll run the team jointly, so no matter Prokhorov’s ups and downs, Brooklyn’s financial spigot should never run dry. Tsai reportedly has designs on expanding the Nets’ brand further in China, just as Prokhorov believed the Nets had global reach. They didn’t, at least not the post-KG and Pierce squads. THE SKINNY: If you love Ed Davis like smart people who know basketball do, Brooklyn makes the top half by bringing the ex-Blazer in on a short deal. If he plays great, he’ll cost the Nets a pretty penny in 2019, but Brooklyn has to take chances on guys who can outperform their contracts. The only thing the Nets couldn’t do was take on more ’19 salary when they’ll be in line to potentially add two max players. Won’t be easy to lure the elites, but Brooklyn also has accumulated enough assets to be able to make uneven trades for salaries if need be. In the interim comes next season, with coach Kenny Atkinson needing to continue to develop diamonds in the rough like Graham, who Cleveland wanted and who will help the Nets at multiple positions. 17. CHICAGO BULLS 2017-18 RECORD: 27-55; missed playoffs ADDED: G Antonius Cleveland; C Wendell Carter Jr. (No. 7 pick, 2018 Draft); F Chandler Hutchison (No. 22 pick, 2018 Draft); F Jabari Parker (two years, $40 million) LOST: F Jerian Grant (traded to Magic); G Sean Kilpatrick (waived); G Julyan Stone (waived); F Noah Vonleh (signed with Knicks); G Paul Zipser (waived) RETAINED: G Antonio Blakeney; G Zach LaVine (matched four year, $78 million offers sheet from Kings) THE KEY MAN: G Kris Dunn. As the 24-year-old will be every season he’s in Chicago. The Jimmy Butler trade in 2017 yielded the pick that became Lauri Markannen, and he’s also a key piece to the Bulls’ future. But Chicago won’t ever get elevation again if Dunn doesn’t become an elite point guard in a league full of them. He showed signs last season that he could be just that, most notably a December in which Dunn averaged 14.9 points and eight assists, and the Bulls went 10-6. But a concussion in January derailed Dunn’s progress and his production fell sharply the rest of the season. THE SKINNY: Can Parker play the three, as the Bulls insist he can? There isn’t a ton of evidence suggesting so, and Parker’s hypothesis that he isn’t getting paid to play defense does not provide much comfort. But the Bulls will try him there alongside Markannen and rookie Carter Jr. in what would be a huge frontcourt. Almost $20 million annually for LaVine going forward is also a stretch, but less of one if LaVine comes all the way back from his 2017 ACL tear with a full training camp and season. Carter may be more important to the Bulls’ hoped-for resurgence than Parker and LaVine; the Duke big man has that much potential. 18. WASHINGTON WIZARDS 2017-18 RECORD: 43-39; lost in first round ADDED: C Thomas Bryant; G Troy Brown (No. 15 pick, 2018 Draft); F Jeff Green (one year, $2.5 million); C Dwight Howard (two years, $11 million); G Austin Rivers (acquired from Clippers); G Issuf Sanon (No. 44 pick, 2018 Draft) LOST: C Marcin Gortat (traded to Clippers); F Mike Scott (signed with Clippers) RETAINED: G Jodie Meeks (picked up player option); C Jason Smith (picked up player option) THE KEY MAN: Coach Scott Brooks. Entering his third season in Washington, Brooks keeps saying he wants the Wizards to defend and play fast. But he has to follow that up with action, especially when and if John Wall doesn’t provide the on-ball defense Washington needs to have any chance to unleash a still-potent fast break. Wall is 27 and, if healthy, in his prime. The team takes almost all of its cues from him; when he’s locked in, the Wizards can compete with anyone. But when he’s indifferent, so are they -- as evidenced by their horrible record against bad teams. Brooks has to demand Wall’s best, or be ready to limit his minutes. THE SKINNY: NBA protocol almost demands you hate the pickup of Howard, such is his current perceived valued among many after multiple stops the last few seasons. The guess here is that Howard won’t hijack the Wizards’ locker room, as he had been accused of while in with the Houston Rockets and Charlotte Hornets, especially. Howard’s skill set can help Washington, which fell off defensively last season. But there’s also not much sense he’ll be a significant pick-me-up in D.C., either. He can’t stretch the floor and he’s not especially potent finishing in pick and roll, either. But the Wizards should at least be deeper off the bench with Green, who played well for the Cavs last season, and Rivers, who gives Washington legit guard depth along with Tomas Satoransky. 19. SACRAMENTO KINGS 2017-18 RECORD: 27-55; missed playoffs ADDED: F Nemanja Bjelica (three years, $20.4 million); C Marvin Bagley III (No. 2 pick, 2018 Draft); G Yogi Ferrell (two years, $4.1 million); G Ben McLemore (acquired from Kings); F Deyonta Davis (acquired from Grizzlies) LOST: G Garrett Temple (traded to Grizzlies) RETAINED: G Iman Shumpert (picked up player option); C Kosta Koufos (picked up player option) THE KEY MAN: F Harry Giles. The Kings traded for the one-and-done forward on Draft night 2017 and redshirted him, feeling he needed a year to fully recover from the multiple knee surgeries he’d undergone the last three years. Those surgeries stopped his top-five Draft potential in its tracks, before and after a year at Duke. But Giles is back on the floor, having flashed his skills during NBA Summer League, as Sacramento gushed about his progress. If the 20-year-old is ready to roll come October, he could be an enormous boost. He’ll have to at least become a contributor, lest folks remind the Kings they passed on the likes of Kyle Kuzma and O.G Anunoby to trade for his rights. THE SKINNY: Bagley III has superstar potential, and he better become one, or the Doncic Stans among the Kings’ fan base will have aneurysms. The Kings were all over everyone, seemingly, this summer, dropping sheets on Zach LaVine, almost doing the same with Marcus Smart and Jabari Parker, and going after unrestricted free agent Mario Hezonja. All well and good, and getting Bjelica out from under Philly and prying Ferrell from Dallas were decent late July pickups. But it will be Bagley III who’ll be under the microscope. His skill sets are prodigious and he’s been working out feverishly all summer. And he wants to make a mark in restoring the Kings to where they were on the floor during the Webber Years. He worked out for them. He’s enthusiastic about them. That counts for something. 20. HOUSTON ROCKETS 2017-18 RECORD: 65-17; lost in Western Conference finals ADDED: G Michael Carter-Williams (one year, $1.5 million); G De'Anthony Melton (No. 46 pick, 2018 Draft); F Vincent Edwards (No. 52 pick, 2018 Draft) LOST: F Trevor Ariza (signed with Suns); Luc Mbah a Moute (signed with LA Clippers); C Chinanu Onuaku (traded to Mavs) RETAINED: C Clint Capela (five years, $90 million); G/F Gerald Green (one year, $2.3 million); G Aaron Jackson (picked up team option); G Chris Paul (four years, $159 million) THE KEY MAN: Jason Biles, Joe Rogowski, Keith Jones and Javair Gillett -- the Rockets’ athletic trainers, sports performance and rehab staff. Their only mission next season, should they decide to accept it, is to get Paul through an 82-game regular season and a two-month playoff slog without breaking or pulling anything of importance that keeps him out of key games. Of course, should any of the staff be unsuccessful, the Morey will disavow any knowledge of their employment. Good luck, men. THE SKINNY: We have not yet included Carmelo Anthony, who will be signing in Houston any minute now. When he’s officially on the roster, he’ll certainly help, and we all saw that even Houston can go through extended scoring droughts in the playoffs. Having Anthony around should alleviate that. The Rockets may have had the best signing of the summer, keeping the 24-year-old Capela locked up long-term for $18 million per -- incredible value these days, given the way salaries are skyrocketing. But that was mitigated by the losses of Ariza and Mbah a Moute, who were crucial to the switching defense Houston employed and perfected by the playoffs, which threw sand in the gears of the Warriors’ impenetrable offense and would likely have propelled the Rockets to The Finals if Paul hadn’t gotten hurt in Game 5. Ennis and Carter-Williams will help some in that regard, but they don’t have the resume of Mbah a Moute and Ariza -- which means they sometimes won’t get the benefit of the doubt from refs that the old heads do. Houston’s still the clear number two to Golden State in the West, but the gap between the Rockets and the best of the rest has closed. 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 NewsAug 8th, 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

How to Use Airpods: The Definitive Guide

The time has finally come: you're switching from a cheap pair of earbuds to Apple's AirPods. You undo its sleek packaging, and you go through the relatively quick step of pairing them with your phone. You excitedly open Apple Music and play your favorite song. You're enjoying everything until you realize something: you don't know how to use AirPods. The most important: AirPods Volume Control For the most part, it's not hard to learn how to use AirPods. They work right out of the packaging, and they don't take too long to pair with your iPhone or other Apple device. From the box to your ears, it only takes a few minutes at most to start enjoying its primary function: listening to audio....Keep on reading: How to Use Airpods: The Definitive Guide.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated News8 hr. 32 min. ago

Saints rally past Eagles 20-14, will host NFC title game

By Barry Wilner, Associated Press NEW ORLEANS (AP) — When the New Orleans Saints finally found their rhythm, they marched one step closer to the Super Bowl. Using a dominant ball-control offense and a few gambles that paid off, the Saints got two touchdown passes from Drew Brees and two interceptions from Marcus Lattimore in a 20-14 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. Brees took the Saints on scoring drives of 92, 79 and 67 yards after falling behind 14-0. Lattimore clinched it when Nick Foles' pass from the Saints 27 deflected off usually sure-handed receiver Alshon Jeffery with about two minutes remaining. A couple dozen Saints players surged off the sideline toward the end zone in celebration, while Jeffery fell face-first to the turf in agony. New Orleans (14-3) will host the NFC title game next week against the Rams (13-4). Los Angeles, which fell 45-35 at the Superdome in November, will try again next week, with the winner going to the Super Bowl. The Saints' win finished off a sweep of the divisional round by teams coming off byes. Wil Lutz added two field goals for the Saints, who last got this far in 2009, when they won the Super Bowl. Philadelphia (10-8) will not repeat as NFL champion; no team has done so since the 2004 Patriots. This was really two games in one. Philly scored on its first two drives as the Saints could do virtually nothing right. After that, it was all New Orleans, but the resilient Eagles kept it close enough that when Lutz missed a 52-yard field goal with 2:58 remaining, they were only one-score behind. Foles, the hero of last year's Super Bowl run, got them in position for yet another late winning score — just like last week at Chicago and last February against New England for the championship. Then, Jeffery couldn't handle a second-down pass, and it was over. Brees had 2-yard touchdown passes to rookie Keith Kirkwood and All-Pro wideout Michael Thomas, who had 12 receptions for 171 yards. UGLY START Maybe the Saints were rusty after their wild-card bye, but they got two first downs, including one by penalty, gained 17 yards, and Brees threw an interception and had a fumble that was recovered by teammate Ryan Ramczyk in the opening period. Meanwhile, Philly gained 153 yards and scored two TDs, and Foles went 8 of 9 for 113. But Foles was intercepted by Lattimore early in the second quarter, and the Saints finally got going. INJURIES In a span of three plays, two starters were hurt and needed to be carted off. First, Saints defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins went down midway in the first quarter, unable to put any weight on his left foot. Two plays later, Eagles right guard Brandon Brooks hurt his right leg and departed. Philly also lost DB Rasul Douglas in the second quarter to an ankle injury, but he was back in the second half. DLs Fletcher Cox, an All-Pro, and Michael Bennett also were sidelined at times before returning. In the fourth quarter, left tackle Jason Peters left. UP NEXT The Saints host the Rams in the late game next Sunday, with the winner going to the Super Bowl......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 14th, 2019

Philippine Azkals flaunt quality under continental spotlight

DUBAI---It was a debut many years in the making and the Philippines surely left its mark, notwithstanding the result. On a cold Monday night at Al Maktoum Stadium, the Azkals combined their grit and resilience with their tactical genius and work rate for the rest of the continent to see as they went toe-to-toe against a giant in South Korea in their Group C opener. That the Koreans needed a 67th minute strike from Hwang Uijo to finally grab maximum points was a mere footnote to what was a memorable introduction for the Azkals, who showed a spring in their step as chants of Pilipinas reverberated inside the cavernous, newly-refurbished facility throughout the match. READ:Asia...Keep on reading: Philippine Azkals flaunt quality under continental spotlight.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJan 8th, 2019

Poy Erram hopes to help NLEX become a top-tier team in the PBA

Newly-acquired NLEX center Poy Erram knows just how much the Road Warriors needed to give up just to be able to bring him in.  Erram was the focal point of a three-team trade between NLEX, Talk N' Text, and Blackwater that saw the Road Warriors part ways with draft picks Paul Desiderio and Abu Tratter, as well as rotation big men Dave Marcelo and Mike Miranda in order to land Erram from the Elite, along with Philip Paredes from the KaTropa.  In Erram, NLEX finally gets a star bigman that they've always wanted to pair with their loaded back court that includes playmakers Kevin Alas and Kiefer Ravena among others.  Already, Road Warriors head coach Yeng Guiao is happy with what he's seeing with his new star center.  "We’re very happy. It gives us a deeper front line, our system is well-fitted to his style, he can step out and shoot the outside shots, he’s also not a slow big. Big siya pero may speed and quickness for a big, then he can post-up, he can use his length there," shared Guiao. "He’s going to be an impact player, he’s going to make an immediate impact on our team, and I think yung complementary yung game niya to Asi [Taulava], to JR [Quiñahan], and to our other bigs, so we’re hoping that we’re proven right with the decision that we made," he added.  #PBA2019 | New NLEX big man Poy Erram getting shots up. Erram was sent to NLEX via a three-team trade in exchange for first round picks Paul Desiderio and Abu Tratter. | @abscbnsports pic.twitter.com/Vyt2HJd4ef — Santino Honasan🎈 (@honasantino) January 7, 2019 For the 29-year old former Ateneo de Manila standout, knowing how much NLEX was willing to deal for him is part of the motivation to do well and make an immediate impact with the Road Warriors.  "Yung pressure, hindi naman mawawala yun, andiyan lang naman talaga yan. Number one motivation ko siya kasi yun nga, marami silan binitawan na players para sa akin, and then, ayoko din isipin na andito ako para naka-center sa akin yung [attention], hindi naman ganun eh, siyempre matagal na silang magkakasama, kailangan ko mag-adjust sa sistema ni Coach Yeng, siyempre kailangan ko mag-adjust sa players, sa mga characters ng mga players," Erram shared with ABS-CBN Sports.  Erram adds that he also relishes the opportunity to be able to play with veterans, the likes of Taulava, Larry Fonacier, and Quiñahan, among others, a luxury that he didn't necessarily have during his time with Blackwater.  "Motivation din kasi kailangan ko pang mag-improve, kasi marami pa akong i-improve eh, and I think this is the best team for me, kasi I have Asi Taulava, I have JR Quiñahan, I have Kuya Larry, Kuya Cyrus [Baguio], veterans na sadly wala dun sa team namin noon sa Blackwater before. For me ito yung best chance ko mag-improve and mag-grow pa yung skills ko and yung talent ko and yung attitude ko towards the game." Having already played for Coach Guiao before with Gilas, Erram says that the transition period wasn't as difficult.  "In terms of transition, hindi naman ako nahirapan kasi naging coach ko din si Coach Yeng sa Gilas, so most of the system na tinatakbo dito sa NLEX, tinakbo niya sa Gilas, so when it comes to mga set plays, defense, hindi naman na ako nahirapan. May mga kaunti lang kasi siyempre hindi naman niya masyado dinetalye nung sa Gilas. Dito mas detalye talaga eh, so mas kaunting adjustment, kaunting-kaunti lang, madali ko lang din naman na ma-gamay dahil yung teammates ko nga, tinutulungan din nila ako, and then yung iba naging teammates ko nung college."  Plus, it also helps, Erram added, being able to play with fellow former Blue Eagles, especially guys like Emman Monfort and Juami Tiongson, whom he got to play with back in the UAAP.  "Laking tulong kasi sila Emman, sila Juami, nakakasama ko yan sa labas eh, kahit magkakalaban kami, lumalabas kami, so pagdating dito, ang laking tulong kasi alam na nila kung paano ako maglaro, alam na nila ugali ko, kung paano yung work ethic ko sa game, alam na nila and then when it comes to adjustment naman, ang dali din kasi sobrang approachable ng mga tao kasi same school kami, so mas madali na may mag-ga-guide sa akin na same school ko tapos nakalaro ko pa." "Ang laking tulong, and excited ako kasi for the first time, makakasama ko si Emman ulit after college, and si Kuya Larry, never ko pa nakasama, so ang laking bagay nun para sa akin," Erram added. Obviously, the Road Warriors expect Erram to become an integral part of their team starting this season, otherwise they would not have pulled the trigger on the deal.  The six-foot-eight slotman, however, doesn't want to overestimate what he brings to the table for NLEX. Instead, he maintains that he's here to do what he's asked for.  "[Kung anong madadala ko for NLEX], hindi ko pa masasabi for now, kasi hindi pa ako naglalaro eh, hindi pa nakikita ng tao na naglalaro ako with NLEX, so ang mindset ko is every game, every practice, gagawin ko yung mga pinapagawa ni Coach, kung anong kailangan gawin, and kung ano man yung kailangan kong i-improve na aspect ng game ko, yun yung i-improve ko para mas makatulong ako sa team," With the arrival of Erram as well as the return of play maker Kevin Alas, Guiao is confident that NLEX has a chance at once again being a contender in the Philippine Cup, much like they were a season ago, when they made it all the way to the semifinals.  If Erram does help NLEX to a similar deep run in the season-opening conference or if he gets to help them over the hump, then well and good, he expressed.  "If ever man na malampasan namin and magawa namin yun, makatulong ako sa team na magawa namin yun, maganda yung nilalaro ko, for me it’s a plus na eh, kasi siyempre hindi naman ito naka-center sa akin. We have Larry, we have the veterans, tsaka si Kiefer darating pa, si Kevin andiyan na, itong team na ‘to contender na sila bago pa ako dumating. Para madagdag ako, hindi ko alam, titignan natin kung anong maitutulong ko sa team." Being a definite presence inside the paint, his defense is the one thing that Erram is sure of, as far as what he brings to the table is concerned.  "Matangkad ako eh, siguro ang maibibigay ko sa team ay yung defense ko, yun talaga yung calling card ko every time I play, so for now yun lang muna siguro ang alam ko na mabibigay ko sa kanila, kasi when it comes to offense, maraming offensive player dito eh, mabibigat yung pangalan nila, yung kalibre ng player," he stated. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 7th, 2019

Azkals take first steps

DUBAI---It doesn't get any bigger than this for the Philippine Azkals. Long regarded as one of the continent's weakest teams, the Azkals finally take a bow in Asian football's grandest stage as they begin their AFC Asian Cup campaign on Monday night in this bustling Emirate city where close to 700,000 Filipinos reside. When the Azkals step on the pitch at Al Maktoum Stadium for the showdown against continental giant South Korea at 5:30 p.m. (9:30 p.m. in the Philippines), they will mark another milestone for a country where the sport has been an afterthought. Azkals coach Sven Goran Eriksson has instilled a strong belief in his side, that with some luck, they could get a res...Keep on reading: Azkals take first steps.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJan 7th, 2019

Basketball in 2018: The San Miguel takeover

It was another good year for basketball in 2018. In the case of the Philippine Basketball Association, they literally took one full year to complete. One year and two days actually. That's a lot of basketball. And that's just one league. Basketball die-hards were truly blessed in 2018. To be honest, some of the things that happened literally only about five months ago, seem like a long time ago. That's how crazy this year has been. In order to try and fit everything together in this year-end review, let's do things by category. Let's play ball.   SAN MIGUEL TAKEOVER Just to be clear here, by San Miguel, we mean San Miguel Corp. SMC teams continued to lord it over in basketball in 2018, at least on this part of the world. The flagship Beermen extended their dynasty in the Philippine Cup, beating Magnolia for a record four straight All-Filipino titles. [Related: June Mar scores 42 as Beermen complete Philippine Cup four-peat] Considering how easy they won this year and with significant upgrades present, it looks like there's still no stopping the San Miguel Beermen in the most prestigious tournament the Philippines has to offer. One team that did stop the Beermen this year were the Gin Kings of Brgy. Ginebra. With super import Justin Brownlee saving the day once again, Ginebra stopped San Miguel's Grand Slam drive for the second straight season, capturing the Commissioner's Cup in six games at the expense of the Beermen. [Related: Gin Kings dethrone San Miguel after sensational Game 6 win] The Gin Kings stay winning with Brownlee, if the guys makes the Finals, he's pretty much right on the money. Ginebra is a perfect three-fo-three in the Finals with Brownlee as import and in five conferences with the super scorer, the Gin Kings have made at least the semifinals each time. In the Governors' Cup, we got Manila Clasico in the semifinals and for a change, it was Magnolia that came out on top in an absolute classic of a series. [Related: Hotshots dominate Alaska to win Governors' Cup] The Hotshots used that momentum to win their first title since their Grand Slam season, completing an SMC Grand Slam in 2018. It's the first time in history all three San Miguel teams won a title in the same year. That alone makes 2018 special.   SAN MIGUEL TAKEOVER PART 2 After Gilas Pilipinas pretty much imploded on its own (more on that later), the San Miguel takeover has finally extended to the national team. [Related: Pressure mounts for Guiao with "best Philippine team ever"] The SMC stars were finally full force with Gilas and while the wins have not come just yet, it's pretty cool to see guys like Marcio Lassiter, Scottie Thompson, Greg Slaughter, and the rest of them play with the Gilas regulars of the yesteryears.   SAN MIGUEL TAKE OVER PART 3 Going away from the PBA a little bit, San Miguel stays winning as Alab Pilipinas brought the Asean Basketball League title back to the Philippine. Alab, with Jimmy Alapag coaching and Renaldo Balkman and Justim Brownlee as lead import, beat Thailand's Mono Vampire in five games for the title. [Related: Alab Pilipinas lights it up for country’s first title since 2013] It's the first ABL title for the Philippines since you guess it, San Miguel Beer's 2013 title with head coach Leo Austria and Asi Taulava.   BASKETBRAWLS Now we're getting to the good stuff. In a year where commotions were a little more common than usual, one very specific commotion managed to stand out. Actually, it was no mere commotion. It was a full-on fight. Back in July, Gilas Pilipinas engaged the Boomers of Australia in a massive brawl that resulted in ejections, suspensions, and fines that cost millions of pesos. [Related: 10 Gilas players suspended for brawl with Boomers] It also led to a national team coaching change and the San Miguel takeover in Gilas that we talked about before. In between, we actually finally saw Jordan Clarkson in Gilas Pilipinas so that counts as a win even though we only placed 5th in the Asian Games. [Related: ASIAN GAMES: Is Clarkson actually worth all that trouble for Gilas?] Ultimately, the sad and unfortunate event that was the Gilas-Boomers brawl casted a bad reputation on the Philippine national team, one that Gilas might take a while to recover from.   DUST-ED Another rather unfortunate event this year was Kiefer Ravena's FIBA suspension. [Related: Kiefer banned 18 months for using PEDs] We all know the story so let's not dwell to much about such a tragic event. Let's just patiently wait for the Phenom's comeback. August 2019 can't come soon enough.   LOOKING AHEAD If you thought 2018 was hectic, wait until we get to 2019. The ABL is already in full swing and Alab's title defense should get into high gear as the new year starts. The PBA opens a new season in January. Also, Gilas still has some stuff on the way with the national team's FIBA World Cup chase. We also host the Southeast Asian Games so that's another two weeks of basketball. Other opportunities include the Asia League, NLEX and Blackwater did well in their Super 8 stints in Macau and it's interesting to find out who's going to represent the country in the emerging power in Asia. [Related: Asia League boss wants more PBA teams in his tournaments] If you thought 2018 was filled with great basketball, you're right. 2019 should be no different.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 26th, 2018

Jordan Clarkson talks Gilas, San Miguel, and fried chicken in Manila

After years of trying, Jordan Clarkson finally played for the Philippine national team. Clarkson suited up for Gilas Pilipinas in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, and while it was a short stint, with the country ultimately taking a 5th place finish, it was a nice preview of how Jordan would fare with the national team. It was a glorious time. The Cleveland Cavalier talked about his experience with Gilas Pilipinas just recently, appearing on the Road Trippin’ podcast with Channing Frye. There, Clarkson doubled down on the fact that he’s been trying to get into Gilas pretty much since he was drafted in the second round of the 2014 NBA Draft and was part of the All-Rooke First Team with the Los Angeles Lakers. “I’ve been trying to do that since I’ve been a rookie,” Clarkson said. “But I just got to get everything settled with FIBA stuff. I had to make sure everything was good,” he added. Clarkson also talked about his experience in the Philippines in general. He’s been in the country a few times and he has some notable observations about how there’s a real abundance of San Miguel Beer and KFC chicken tastes better here compared to the US. Also, that one time he played chess against Manny Pacquiao until the wee hours of the morning. “I probably had too many beers and blacked out,” Clarkson narrated. “I think KFC is so much better in the Philippines.” “But no it was a great experience playing for the Filipino national team, just being able to represent the country on the Asian Games. It was great,” Jordan added. Listen to the full podcast here.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 23rd, 2018

Maris Racal opens own restaurant in Davao

Maris Racal is a business owner at 21 with a restaurant she funded on her own. The actress and singer-songwriter told the Philippine Ultimate Showbiz Hub (PUSH) on Dec. 16 that her family restaurant in Davao had its soft opening and that it is being managed by her brother. Racal discussed money matters, too, stating that her parents taught her how to save money and that she has been handling her finances since she was 16. She also said that she spreads her money in different investments. "Marami po akong accounts. Then, ini-scatter ko 'yung money ko sa mga bagay na importante. And ini-invest ko siya to multiply, 'di ba." (I have a lot of accounts. Then, I scatter the money to ...Keep on reading: Maris Racal opens own restaurant in Davao.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsDec 20th, 2018

THROWBACK: Top PBA rookie draft picks through the years

After 33 years, the tradition of PBA teams selecting promising players from the amateur ranks, patterned after the NBA draft process, heralded a balanced influx of talent to even out the league’s competitiveness. But what makes the draft process interesting is the choice of the number 1 pick, who is considered the most in-demand player seen to bolster the chances of the worst performing or a newly established team in the PBA. With Columbian Dyip’s selection of Lyceum stalwart CJ Perez as the number one pick in the 2018 PBA Draft,  let’s look back at the top draft picks through the years, from its beginnings in 1985 to the controversial selection last year, and how they made their mark in the league. 1985 – Sonny Cabatu Sonny Cabatu was the PBA’s first-ever number one draft pick, selected by the expansion club Shell Azodrin Bugbusters, which took over the Crispa Redmanizers franchise. An intense bruiser inside the paint, Cabatu was Shell’s starting center known as “Mr. Quality Minutes.” He would then play for Great Taste, Purefoods, Sarsi, and Ginebra in a respectable career. 1986 – Rey Cuenco A member of the guest Northern Cement Corp. (NCC) team coached by Ron Jacobs that played in the pro league’s 1984 season, Rey Cuenco was picked in the 1986 draft by another new, expansion ballclub Alaska Milkmen to lead their charge.  His pro playing career blossomed from 1989 to 1992 under the tutelage of Ginebra playing coach Robert Jaworski. In 1990, he was adjudged the Most Improved Player and part of the Mythical Second Team. He also became a member of the Big J-coached, first all-Filipino, all-professional “Dream Team” in the 1990 Asian Games in Beijing that won a silver medal for the country with Allan Caidic, Samboy Lim, Benjie Paras and Ramon Fernandez among others. 1987 – Allan Caidic Considered the greatest Filipino basketball marksman ever, Allan Caidic was already a big name before he strutted into the PBA. Having won titles for the UE Red Warriors and among the top players of the Ron Jacobs-mentored national team, the Triggerman was definitely one big prized addition for any team. And Great Taste, having the privilege of selecting first in 1987, made Caidic a hands-down choice. He would later suit up for San Miguel Beer and Ginebra San Miguel in a storied career. He had since become a PBA Hall of Famer and among the Top 25 Greatest Players of All Time. 1988 – Jack Tanuan A vital cog of the FEU Tamaraws and a member of the 1986 Seoul Asian Games squad that took home the bronze, Jack Tanuan was a feared scorer who made a living with his inside game. It was no surprise that new franchise Purefoods selected him as their top pick in 1988, in addition to other direct hires from the amateur ranks that formed their strong core—Alvin Patrimonio, Jerry Codinera, Jojo Lastimosa and Glenn Capacio—on top of having the Franchise, Mon Fernandez, as playing coach. He would later play for the Sarsi, Swift and Pop Cola teams under the RFM franchise, and later on for Sta. Lucia, Mobiline, and Alaska. 1989 – Benjie Paras It was the year of Benjie Paras, a valiant, hardworking center called “The Tower of Power,” who led the UP Maroons to its historic 1986 UAAP title. After being selected by Shell as the number one pick in the 1989 draft, Paras would achieve the impossible of being both the league MVP and Rookie of the Year, while being named to the Mythical Five. Paras along with fellow Hall of Famers Ronnie Magsanoc and long-time import Bobby Ray Parks Sr. became the triumvirate that led Shell to the First Conference championships in 1990 and 1992. And, even with the onset of Fil-foreign players in the PBA, Paras remained dominant and won his second MVP plum in 1999. 1990 – Peter Jao Peter Jao was the first Cebuano player to be drafted as a rookie top pick in the league, selected by Presto Tivoli. He would then become a member of Presto’s champion team in the 1990 All-Filipino conference with Allan Caidic and Gerry Esplana. 1991 – Alex Araneta The former Ateneo Blue Eagle suited up for Alaska Air Force/Milkmen until 1995, after which he was hired in the company as a management trainee, eventually becoming one of Alaska Milk Corp.’s sales managers. Of Alaska’s 14 championships in the league, Araneta was a veteran of 2 of them (1991 Third Conference and 1994 Governors’ Cup). 1992 – Vergel Meneses An ex-seminarian who became among the PBA’s Top 40 Greatest Players, the “Aerial Voyager” was known for his show-stopping moves and is considered among the best one-on-one players. The former JRU Heavy Bomber and 1995 PBA MVP was also a member of the all-pro Centennial Team coached by Tim Cone that won the William Jones Cup in Taipei and placed 3rd in the 1998 Asian Games in Bangkok. 1993 – Zandro Limpot After his years as a King Archer for De La Salle, Zandro Limpot entered the 1993 draft and was chosen first overall by the expansion ballclub Sta. Lucia Realtors.  Limpot was named Rookie Of The Year that season as well as reaping All-Star, Mythical Second Team and All-Defensive Team honors. Limpot won his first and only PBA championship (2006 Philippine Cup) with the Purefoods Chunkee Giants. 1994 – Noli Locsin Another former Green Archer, Noli Locsin was picked by Tondeña 65 as the league’s top draft pick in 1994. He became a 4-time PBA All-Star (1994, 1995, 1996, 1999) in a high-flying career with Ginebra. Bacolod-born Locsin was famous for his barrelling game before the arrival of Filipino-Americans in the PBA. Spent 6 seasons with the Ginebra San Miguel franchise; won the 1997 Commissioner’s Cup with Jaworski as coach. He later suited up for Pop Cola, Tanduay, Red Bull, Talk ‘N Text and Sta. Lucia. 1995 – Dennis Espino After leading the UST Growling Tigers to their monumental four-peat, Dennis Espino would later bring his winning ways to the PBA. Sta. Lucia got the first crack at the 1995 draft and picked him first overall to form a menacing one-two punch with Zandro Limpot, and later with Marlou Aquino. He had a sterling career with Sta. Lucia for 15 years and yielded the following achievements:  4-time PBA All-Star, 2-time All-Defensive Team, 2-time Mythical First Team, 2004-05 Defensive Player of the Year and 2007-08 Philippine Cup Finals MVP. He won the 2001 Governors’ Cup and the 2007-08 Philippine Cup for Sta. Lucia. 1996 – Marlou Aquino Picked by Gordon’s Gin as first overall in the 1996 draft, Marlou Aquino had an exceptional maiden year gave him Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Best Player of the Conference (1996 Governors’ Cup), Mythical First Team, All-Star and All-Defensive Team honors. He also became the second Ginebra player (after Dondon Ampalayo in 1986) to win the Rookie of the Year award.  Aquino then was part of Gordon Gin’s 1997 Commissioner’s Cup and Sta. Lucia Realty’s 2001 Governors’ Cup championship teams.  1997 – Andy Seigle The first Fil-Am top pick, chosen by Mobiline in 1997, Andy Seigle won Rookie of the Year and was part of the 1999 All-Star Game. The Scranton, Pennsylvania native was twice a member of the National Team in the 1998 and 2002 Asian Games and was one of the most dominant and best defensive players in the 1990’s era. 1998 – Danny Ildefonso  Danny Ildefonso was picked by San Miguel Beer first overall in 1998, the year he also won Rookie of the Year. One of only four pro players to win back-to-back MVP awards (2000 and 2001), Ildefonso had a prolific 15-year career with the San Miguel ballclub with 8 championships (1999 and 2000 Commissioner’s Cups;  1999, 2000 and 2011 Governors’ Cups; 2001 All-Filipino; 2005 and 2009 Fiesta Cups). He is among the PBA’s Top 40 Greatest Players. 1999 – Sonny Alvarado Selected by Tanduay as its top pick in the 1999 Draft, Sonny Alvarado was poised to dominate the league as a gritty Fil-Am all-around player. He was however embroiled in the “Fil-Sham” controversy, that revealed that he had filed two alleged birth certificates of his mother when he applied for the draft. This prompted immigration officials to initiate deportation measures against Alvarado because of such failure to directly prove his Filipino parental links. 2000 – Paolo Mendoza Paolo Mendoza was a hot-shooting guard who led the UP Fighting Maroons to two Final Four appearances from 1996-1997. He then applied for the 2000 draft and was chosen the overall first pick by Sta. Lucia Realty. Together with Dennis Espino and Marlou Aquino, Mendoza was one of the main factors behind the 2001 Governor’s Cup title win of the Realtors. 2001 – Willie Miller The diminutive Willie Miller is considered the first player from the PBA’s rival league, Metropolitan Basketball Association, to become the top overall pick in a PBA Rookie Draft, in which he was selected by the Batang Red Bull Thunder. He was part of three teams that copped PBA titles—Red Bull (2001 and 2002 Commissioner’s Cup), Alaska (2007 Fiesta Cup), and Talk ‘N Text (2015 Commissioner’s Cup). His career highlights in his 15 years in the PBA were 2-time MVP (2002 and 2007), 2-time Finals MVP, 9-time All-Star,  3-time Mythical First Team member, and 2014 Sportsmanship Awardee. 2002 – Yancy de Ocampo The “Post-Man” as he is called, Yancy de Ocampo is a shifty, reliable center who delivers the goods at crunch time. He was the number one draft pick in 2002 by the FedEx Express. He was part of several champion teams, namely Talk ‘N Text, BMeg Llamados, San Mig Coffee and eventually San Miguel Beer. 2003 – Mike Cortez The “Cool Cat” Mike Cortez, a former La Salle standout, brought his court savviness to the PBA after Alaska picked him first overall in the 2003 draft by and immediately went to work. Cortez helped the Aces win the Reinforced Conference that year. He would then move on to San Miguel Beer, and was part of a hefty push to win the 2007 and 2009 Fiesta Conferences. A journeyman in his 15-year PNA career, Cortez currently plays for the Blackwater Elite. 2004 – Rich Alvarez The Japan-born and U.S.-raised Rich Alvarez had a blast on his maiden year with Shell, which selected him first overall in the 2004 draft, collecting Rookie of the Year, All-Star, All-Defensive Team and All-Rookie Team honors. Played for 13 seasons in 8 different teams, Rich was successful in winning 4 championships with the TNT Tropang Texters (2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13 Philippine Cups and 2011 Commissioner’s Cup) 2005 – Anthony "Jay" Washington This Zambales-born journeyman was first chosen by Air21 in the 2005 draft then traded to Talk ‘N Text. But his stint with San Miguel Beer made him flourish with two titles in the 2009 Fiesta Conference and the 2011 Governors Cup. He would return to the TNT Tropang Texters and help the, win the 2015 Commissioner’s Cup. He currently plays for the Rain or Shine Elastopainters. 2006 – Kelly Williams Picked first overall by Sta. Lucia Realty in 2006, Kelly Williams immediately made his presence felt that year bagging Rookie of the Year and All-Rookie Team honors. He first won a championship with Sta. Lucia in the 2007-08 Philippine Cup and would then lead his present ballclub, the TNT Tropang Texters to five championships, notably the three-peat Philippine Cups from 2010 to 2012, and the 2011 and 2015 Commissioners’ Cups. 2007 – Joe Devance While it was Welcoat that originally drafted Joe Devance as the first pick overall in the 2007 draft, he would earn the distinction of being the league’s winningest coach Tim Cone’s most trusted trooper. Devance has won nine championships with Cone as his coach, starting with Alaska (2010 Fiesta Cup), B-Meg/San Mig Coffee (2012 and 2014 Commissioner’s Cup, 2013 and 2014 Governors’ Cup and Philippine Cup); and currently, Ginebra San Miguel (2016 and 2017 Governors’ Cup, and 2018 Commissioners’ Cup).  2008 – Gabe Norwood Chosen by the only team has played for up to now, the Rain or Shine Elastopainters, as its number one draft pick in 2008, Gabe Norwood would then etch a rich career with his ballclub, having won 2 championships (2012 Governors’ Cup, 2016 Commissioner’s Cup). He had also notched numerous awards, including Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, and was part of the All Star Game nine times, and the All-Defensive Team six times.  2009 – Japeth Aguilar   “Jumpin’ Japeth” starred for the Ateneo Blue Eagles for two years then moved to the Western Kentucky University Hilltoppers during his university years.  In 2009, Aguilar was selected by Burger King and only played one game with the Whoppers, after which he was traded to Talk `N Text.  Japeth has become a Team Gilas mainstay since the beginning of his pro career, of which the Philippines’ participation in the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain became one of his national team career highlights. 2010 – Nonoy Baclao   “Mr. Swat” was among the vital cogs of the Ateneo Blue Eagles’ back-to-back UAAP men’s basketball championships in 2008 and 2009. After college, Baclao led the Philippine Patriots as the inaugural champion of the 2009-10 Asean Basketball League (ABL) season prior to entering the PBA rookie draft. In 2010, Nonoy was selected by Air21 then he was traded to Petron (San Miguel) where he had one championship in his sophomore year in the league.  2011 – JVee Casio  The former De La Salle Green Archer playmaker who was Rookie of the Year (2003), Finals Co-MVP (2007) and Mythical Five member (2007 & 2008) in the UAAP was a Gilas pioneer before deciding to turn pro in 2011. By far Casio “G-Shock” is the shortest among the active PBA players to have been picked first overall by the Powerade Tigers. JVee was traded to Alaska Aces in 2012 and has since then became a mainstay in the team which he helped win the Commissioner’s Cup title in 2013. 2012 – June Mar Fajardo  The burly Cebuano was star center at the University of Cebu of which he steered to back-to-back titles in 2010 and 2011 at the CESAFI league. “The Kraken” has played for only one team throughout his pro career in the Asean Basketball League (ABL) and the PBA – San Miguel. As one big reason to “Fear the Beer,” Fajardo gave San Miguel six championships to date and became the first and only PBA player to win the MVP award in four straight seasons (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017).  2013 – Greg Slaughter  “GregZilla” stomped rivals with his huge presence when he helped lead the Ateneo Blue Eagles to two consecutive UAAP championships in 2011 and 2012 -- completing a five-peat for the Loyola Heights squad. Picked by Barangay Ginebra in 2013, Slaughter got his pro career to a fast start with ROY and All-Rookie Team honors. He won 3 championships under coach Tim Cone (2016 and 2017 Governors’ Cups; 2018 Commissioner’s Cup). He also saw action for the first time with Gilas this year in the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers. 2014 – Stanley Pringle  Drafted by NorthPort Batang Pier, “The Beard” exploded into the local basketball scene with Rookie of the Year and All-Rookie team honors, after stints with Belgium, Poland, Ukraine and Indonesia ballclubs.  A 4-time All-Star (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018), Pringle is considered among the best guards and high scorers in the play-for-pay league, gaining raves from other coaches and close followers of the sport.   2015 – Moala Tautuaa  He applied and went undrafted in the 2012 NBA draft, then moved to Asia to resume his basketball career by playing as an import for the Westsports Malaysia Dragons in the ABL.  After which, the Fil-Tongan made the “Big Mo(ve)” to the Philippines and spent a fruitful season with the D-League, ending up as its 2015 Foundation Cup MVP.  Talk N` Text selected Tautuaa as overall pick of the first round but traded him later on to NorthPort Batang Pier in 2018. 2016 – Raphael Banal  Since the first round of the 2016 PBA draft was dedicated to PBA teams choosing Gilas Pilipinas players to join their ranks, the regular draft started in the second round. Here, the Blackwater Elite chose as its first pick Raphael Banal, a contemporary of Kiefer Ravena and Von Pessumal in the Ateneo Blue Eaglets juniors team who went to the Hope International University-California for college.  His surname rings a bell, being the youngest child of former PBA player and TNT coach (2003 All-Filipino Conference champion) Joel Banal.  Yet “Ael” held his own in the PBA D-League for two conferences with Racal Motors.  2017 – Christian Standhardinger  The American-schooled Fil-German played in the ProA and Basketball Bundesliga tournaments in Germany as well with Hong Kong Eastern in the ABL.  Although he was selected by San Miguel Beer in the overall draft of 2017 in a controversial trade with Kia Picanto, the rightful owner of the number one pick, Standhardinger joined the Beermen in the 2018 Commissioner’s Cup after completing his ABL tour of duty.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 18th, 2018

Commissioner Bernie Sumayao comments on Davao Aguilas exit, state of Philippine Premier League

Not even a month into his new job as the commissioner of the Philippine Premier League (PPL) - the Philippine football club league that will take the place of the Philippines Football League or PFL - Bernie Sumayao is already facing some challenges, the latest being the folding of the Davao Aguilas FC Football club.  It was reported in early December that the Davao-based club, which features Azkals stars Phil and James Younghusband among others, would be withdrawing from the newly-rebranded club league.  Sumayao stated that he had recieved and accepted Davao's request for withdrawal. “I have been informed about the withdrawal of the Davao Aguilas, and have received it with a heavy heart. When an important team departs the league, it is always a cause of concern." Davao finished second-runners up in the 2018 PFL tournament, behind only Kaya FC-Iloilo and two-time champions Ceres-Negros FC. With Davao's exit however, Sumayao shared that there are those that are interested in participating in the PPL.  "However, we have also been approached by a number of teams that have expressed strong interest in joining the PPL. We are currently evaluating the merits of each applicant." Sumayao continued by saying that he knew exactly what he was getting into by taking over the Philippine club football scene.  "When I first approached the PFF about taking over the reins of the Philippine Football League, I knew about the difficult challenges that it was facing. I felt, like most football fans, that the league was at a crossroads. There was no revenue being generated, no national sponsorship, no TV media, limited attendance at the stadiums, numerous restrictions being enforced on fan activity inside the stadiums, and many more factors that would have challenged the very existence of the league." "I knew there was no 'quick fix', and that the road to recovery will take some time. I also knew that in order to get back on track, we have to have a more professional and structured approach to operating the league. Most importantly, the league needs to take very good care and listen intently to the concerns of its stakeholders – the Federation, the owners of the teams, the players, and most importantly, the fans. The fans are the fuel that drives the engine. Without the fans, even the most organized league will never survive,” he continued.  Sumayao then went on to elaborate what he believes is necessary for the PPL to prosper in the country.  "The league will only prosper when we start to understand and implement the concepts of discipline, accountability, responsibility, and unity. These are not merely words, but are a way of life and the path to success. I have stepped in at a very difficult time. It was either witness the decline of Philippine pro football as a distant observer, or start working and do something about it. I chose to do something about it. I also believed that the league should be a concerted effort of the teams that participate in it. This is where it becomes important to have a unified stance, strength in numbers. Where politics need to give way to discipline and compassion. In order for the league to prosper, the team owners must also be able to make sense of the financial burden it has to undertake and somehow find a way to recover their investments. It must have the help and support to generate its own revenue, which will lead to financial independence. All of this will take time, but we need to start now. It all starts with a small step with all stakeholders moving in the same direction.” Finally, Sumayao clarified that the PPL is in no means a reincarnation of its predecessors, but instead a whole new entity that is fully focused on brining club football to an elite level in the Philippines.  “The PPL is not a reincarnation of the UFL, PFL or any other previous leagues. It is a new, neutral, independent league whose main objective is to contribute to the development of football in the country. It is also the gateway to the AFC Champions League and the AFC Cup. We are not here for the money nor the glory. We have no political or opportunistic hidden agendas. We are here to work for the country. That is why I have always been appealing, especially to the many frustrated fans, to stay positive and never give up hope. Change is never easy. But it is a catalyst of progress. So I am appealing to all the stakeholders of football in the Philippines to support change and adapt. Let us move past all the criticisms and negativity and embrace change in the pursuit of progress and stability.” “The PPL will soon actively engage in news dissemination, give periodic updates about its plans on the development of the league, and conduct regular communication exchanges for fans on social media. See you all at the PPL kick-off on March 2019," Sumayao concluded.   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 17th, 2018

PBA: Alaska dominates Magnolia again to force 2-2 tie

Now we have a series. Alaska has tied the 2018 PBA Governors' Cup Finals after dominating Magnolia once again in Game 4,  scoring a 90-76 win Wednesday at the Big Dome. The Aces have fully recovered from an early 0-2 deficit, forcing a 2-all tie in the best-of-7 showdown for the title. Just like in Game 3, Alaska had another strong second quarter in Game 4 to gain some separation. The Aces then weathered a third-quarter storm from the Hotshots before landing the final haymaker in the fourth, reducing this series to a best-of-3. "I thought our defense was great again," head coach Alex Compton said. "Our guys have been playing great defense. I mean, there's ways that they can beat us and stuff, but I think it's really tough. It's really tough to get good shots for either team, actually. It's really tough to get good shots for either team," he added. True enough, Game 4 was another grinding game but it was th Aces that once again found more than enough offense. Best Import Mike Harris was effective anew, scoring a game-high 34 points to go along with 22 rebounds. Chris Banchero was the top local for Alaska with 17 points. For the Hotshots, Romeo Travis fired 29 points from six three-pointers. Best Player of the Conference Paul Lee added 14 points. Game 5 to break the series tie is set for Friday still at the Araneta Coliseum.   The Scores Alaska 90 - Harris 34, Banchero 17, Pascual 9, Racal 8, Teng 7, Galliguez 5, Manuel 4, Cruz 3, Baclao 3, Enciso 0, Exciminiano 0, Casio 0. Magnolia 76 - Travis 29, Lee 14, Sangalang 11, Barroca 8, Jalalon 7, Reavis 4, Brondial 2, Melton 1, Dela Rosa 0, Herndon 0. Quarters: 19-22, 43-32, 63-50, 90-76.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 12th, 2018

PBA: Aces finally on the board after destroying Magnolia in Game 3

ANTIPOLO CITY, Rizal --- Alaska is finally on the board. The Aces scored their first win of the 2018 PBA Governors' Cup in convincing fashion, dominating the Magnolia Hotshots, 100-71, in Game 3 Sunday at the Ynares Center here. With import Mike Harris at the lead, Alaska reduced the final 12 minutes into mere garbage time and the Aces cut their series deficit in half, 1-2. After a slow first quarter, the Aces got it going in the second, pouring 34 points to take a commanding lead they would never surrender. Behind the shooting of its guard core led by Simon Enciso, Alaska took a 50-36 lead at the break and never looked back. Harris then went to work in the second half, finally having his first great game of these Finals and the Aces held off any possible Magnolia uprising. Harris scored 18 straight points for the Aces in the third period as Alaska took a 73-49 lead over the Hotshots. Alaska led by 33 after three quarters. "I thought we had a great defensice effort and we made some shots," head coach Alex Compton said. "Overall, the story of the game in the first three quarters was we made a bunch of shots, we didn't turn it over, and we defended at the same time," he added Harris was a beast for the Aces, leading the way with 36 points and 18 rebounds. He scored 22 total in the third period as Alaska landed its knockout blow. Vic Manuel added 14 points as the top local for Alaska while Enciso and Carl Bryan Cruz finished with 12 and 10 points respectively. For the Hotshots, everyone struggled as they only shot 33 percent collectively from the field. Romeo Travis was the high man with 18 points while Mark Barroca was good for 13. No other Magnolia player scored in double figures. Game 4 is set for Wednesday at the Big Dome.   The scores: ALASKA 100 - Harris 36, Manuel 14, Enciso 12, Cruz 10, Banchero 6, J. Pascual 4, Teng 4, Galliguez 4, Casio 4, Andrada 2, Baclao 2, Racal 2, Exciminiano 0, Magat 0, Potts 0. MAGNOLIA 71 - Travis 18, Barroca 13, Herndon 7, Sangalang 7, Mendoza 6, Dela Rosa 5, Abundo 4, Reavis 3, Lee 2, Ramos 2, Melton 2, Jalalon 2, Simon 0, Gamalinda 0, Brondial 0, K. Pascual 0. Quarterscores: 16-22, 50-36, 83-50, 100-71.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 9th, 2018

PBA Finals: Alaska punched in mouth in lackadaisical effort vs Magnolia

The Alaska Aces' 2018 PBA Governors' Cup Finals start has gone off the wrong foot. From tipoff, their opponents, the Magnolia Hotshots looked like a team one step ahead and zoomed to a quick 15-0 run to start Game 1. Furthermore, the swarming defense of Magnolia prevented the Aces from scoring for over the first six minutes, their scoring drought parched by two free throws by Kevin Racal. Coach Alex Compton's squad slowly fought back and trimmed the lead to 12 at halftime, 52-40, with Mike Harris' 17 points leading the way. However, the 35-year old reinforcement just scored three markers in the second half and lost, 100-84. "They hit us in the mouth, took us too long to respond and then once we made a run, we cut the lead in the second half to eight. Two bad mistakes and it came back to 13. They just played harder than us tonight," said Harris after the game. Alaska's poor start was deja-vu all over again for the team, as they also exhibited a nightmarish start against the seventh-seeded Meralco Bolts in Game 1 of the best-of-five semifinals, 97-92. However, they bounced back and won the next three to advance to the best-of-seven championship series. With a similar start, the former NBA player knows it's not too late to respond. "They punched us, but the best thing about getting punched is if that you're strong enough, you'll get up. Punches hurt. It will hurt tonight, sleep on it, and tomorrow forget about it." About his three-point effort in the second half, Harris just laughed it off, but noted he needs to be more aggressive if they want to tie the series in Game 2 on Friday. Three-point and free throw shooting were the main culprits in Alaska's loss, Harris lamented, his team just shooting 7/28 from downtown and a sub-par 19/32 from the line. With that said, Harris knows he must play better if they do not want to dig themselves in an 0-2 hole. "I'm not here to point fingers at anybody except for myself. So, it's me. I could get more offensive rebounds, I can get defensive rebounds, push it a little more, put a little bit more pressure on. Tonight they made the right reads, we didn't."   __     Follow this writer on Twitter, @philipptionary......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 6th, 2018

DOC VOLLEYBALL: A Battle of Generations

At long last, perhaps the most anticipated finals match in PVL history has been set. Showing dominance and proving why they are the defending champions despite some minor stumbles, the Creamline Cool Smashers barged their way into the Finals uncontested by dispatching a gritty dark horse in the Petro Gazz Angels. On the other hand, proving that their modern approach to the sport can trump experienced veterans, the Ateneo-Motolite Lady Eagles are proving to be one of the most formidable collegiate teams in the country under the helm of a new head coach. While old and new fans of the Ateneo community will be torn between cheering for the former Queen Eagles Alyssa Valdez, Jia Morado and Fille Cainglet-Cayetano and the current Queen Eagles in Bea De Leon, Maddie Madayag and Ponggay Gaston, it is also of particular interest how Creamline head coach Tai Bundit will defend his trophy from his Ateneo successor Oliver Almadro. While Bundit has laid the foundation for a modern approach to the sport during his stint in Ateneo, Almadro on the other hand has taken it a step further in terms of intricacies in attack strategy. The dream finals match couldn’t be more interesting from a technical point of view as it is an arms race of volleyball modernization stemming from similar schools of thought. Creamline Cool Smashers: The OG New School Ever since coach Tai Bundit took the reins for the Ateneo Lady Eagles, the local volleyball scene has been introduced to numerous innovations that inarguably helped ALE seize a pair of crowns in the UAAP. Modern strategies such as the Setter-Open-Middle rotation, libero getting second ball when setter digs, fast pin plays, to name a few. For a good couple of years, the advancements brought about by Bundit have been a bane even for perennial champion coaches in the collegiate scene. As expected, most teams followed suit in order to adapt and challenge the new system introduced. Though the Bundit riddle has been challenged and conquered in the collegiate scene, Tai’s system still holds an iron grip in the professional scene despite everyone else following suit and that is primarily because of his connection with long time apprentices Alyssa Valdez and Jia Morado coupled with supplementation of astounding players in Jema Galanza, Kyla Atienza and Melissa Gohing to name a few. Despite a surprising upset to start of their PVL Open Conference journey, the Creamline Cool Smashers continued to defy odds in exerting dominance given a handicapped line-up for the most part of the season. Regardless of key players like Michele Gumabao, Risa Sato, and Pau Soriano missing action for a number of games, the trio of Valdez, Morado and Galanza have been sufficient in holding off the competition as shown by the team’s performance in serve, passing, setting, and attack – skill departments that are highly influenced by the aforementioned trio. On the other hand, the absences of Sato, Gumabao and Soriano have definitely influenced their sub-par blocking performance since these three players have the major responsibility of setting up the net defense. It is of no surprise that in order to compensate the block, the Cool Smashers have intensified their serving to at least disrupt opponents' attack strategy. Coupled with exceptional floor defense by Atienza in transition, Morado had little difficulties in setting up counter attacks throughout the tournament.   With a full force line-up coming from the semis into the finals, the Creamline Cool Smashers are at their deadliest and all set to defend their crown. With few attack options on the right side as both middles rarely prove threatening with a slide attack, it is expected that the Creamline offense would still be heavy from the left pins care of Valdez and Galanza. The Lady Eagles would certainly load up their tallest players Madayag, De Leon, and Kat Tolentino to shut down the left pin. As such, the most crucial performance that could spell the difference in the finals series would be from opposite player Gumabao. Though Morado usually opts for combination x-plays in the middle to ease off some burden from the left, the Lady Eagles have proven disciplined enough with their block that combination plays rarely work against them. Should Gumabao exert significant threats from the right and if Bundit can develop her right back row attack in time, the Cool Smashers can circumvent one of Ateneo’s strongest suit which is their block and capitalize on their sub-par floor defense to eventually defend the crown. Ateneo-Motolite Lady Eagles: Paving Their Own Path Just when the future of the Ateneo Lady Eagles went uncertain with the exit of Bundit, Almadro’s takeover proved to be a major step in the right direction as witnessed in their remarkable performance for their first major tournament. For a team with a good mix of veterans and rookies, going toe to toe with top club teams in the country bids a bright future for the team as well as making them a significant contender in the upcoming collegiate league. The match-up against their predecessors, the Creamline Cool Smashers, is not just a treat for the fans but for volleyball analysts as well since it will be highly interesting how Almadro has brought about innovations to the framework established by his predecessor and how he will use it to his advantage. Right off the bat, the best change Almadro implemented upon his succession is relegating Kat Tolentino to the opposite position. The right wing couldn’t be a more perfect position for Tolentino since she can maximize her height and power advantage to rack in the points while minimizing burden on her weakness which is floor footwork and defense. While it’s true that we have seen some players shine in the opposite position in the past, Tolentino’s height, power, and ability to be a significant threat even from the back row makes her a cut above the rest. Almadro’s approach of having a tall, dominant, hitter from the right is a step to a modern approach employed even by top foreign teams. Another noticeable shift in Almadro’s system is the lack of reliance on combination x-plays. While some teams employ such strategy as a bread and butter on offense, the Lady Eagles have moved on from the outdated strategy and have only utilized such attack to break monotony. With a tall, dominant hitter from the right and deadly middles given a good pass, setter Deanna Wong is rarely forced to bunch up the attack in the middle in the hopes of confusing the block when she can separate the defense with fast sets to the pins. Almadro’s inclination towards safe and consistent pin play instead of fancy combination plays proves that he is taking the team to a more modernized approach. While the Ateneo-Motolite Lady Eagles have been stellar in both net defense and attack, a glaring limitation too hard not to notice in the sub-par passing and floor defense. No matter how threatening Madayag and De Leon are from the middle, inconsistent passing would severely limit their output and threat imposed from the middle. With Creamline notably deadly from the service line and having a full force line-up that can finally establish a decent wall on the net, it would be of utmost priority for the Lady Eagles to slow down the serve with high passes and consistent distribution of back row and pipe attacks. In a similar way, the Lady Eagles are pressed to be aggressive with the serve as the main advantage of Creamline is consistency in passing care of Gohing. Ateneo-Motolite cannot afford to be lax or careless with the serve as a good pass almost always converts for a point for Morado and company. Though the Lady Eagles have proven formidable with the block, Valdez is still expected to plow and muscle through with her attacks hence Almadro’s ability to quickly adjust the floor defense pattern would spell the outcome of the game for the Lady Eagles. Catch Game One of the PVL Open Conference Finals on December 5, Wednesday, 6 PM on LIGA, LIGA HD, iWant and via livestream......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 4th, 2018

Lillard has Portland-record 10 3s in 115-112 win over Magic

By Anne M. Peterson, Associated Press PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Damian Lillard had 41 points, including a franchise-record 10 3-pointers, and the Portland Trail Blazers held off the Orlando Magic 115-112 on Wednesday night. Jusuf Nurkic added 16 points and 13 rebounds as the Blazers stopped a season-high three-game slide. Lillard surpassed the previous Portland record of nine 3s that he shared with Nicolas Batum. Nikola Vucevic had 20 points and eight rebounds for the Magic, who have lost four of their last five games. Portland pushed its lead to 108-98 on Evan Turner's layup with just over five minutes to go, but Evan Fournier hit a pair of 3-pointers and Jonathan Isaac added a layup to close the gap to 108-106. Jonathan Simmons made two free throws to tie it, but CJ McCollum responded with a 3-pointer for the Blazers. Fournier had a step-back jumper to get Orlando within a point before McCollum missed a pair of free throws with about two minutes to go. Lillard's floater with 55 seconds gave Portland a 113-110 lead. There was some confusion at the end of the game after what was described as a game-clock malfunction prompted a video review. Officials put 0.9 seconds on the clock but Orlando's inbounds was off and time ran out. Orlando, playing the fourth of a six-game trip, was without Aaron Gordon, who was sidelined by a sore lower back. Gordon is averaging 16.1 points and 7.3 rebounds this season. He left Monday's 116-110 loss at Golden State in the third quarter with back spasms. Isaac replaced Gordon in the starting lineup against Portland. Vucevic scored 15 in the first half to help Orlando to a 63-55 lead at the break. Nik Stauskas had 15 early points for the Blazers. Trailing 82-79, Portland went on a 16-2 run, capped by Lillard's record-breaking 10th 3-pointer, to go up 95-84 going into the fourth quarter. Portland was coming off a 104-100 loss at home to the Clippers on Sunday night. TIP INS Magic: Ross is from Portland and played at Jefferson High School before going to Washington. ... The Magic have dropped five straight to Portland. ... Vucevic fouled out with 13.7 seconds left. Trail Blazers: It was coach Terry Stotts' 400th career win. ... Lillard's seven 3-pointers in the third were a franchise record for a quarter. UP NEXT Magic: Play Friday night at the Phoenix Suns. Trail Blazers: Host the Denver Nuggets on Friday night......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 29th, 2018
Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 27th, 2018

Standhardinger wants Kai Sotto to 'destroy' people

PBA 2017 no. 1 pick Christian Standhardinger of San Miguel is not one to tell Kai Sotto what to on the basketball court. However, if there's one thing that Sotto can work on in order to live up to his overwhelming potential, it's that he has to come to the court with the intention of dominating his opponents each time. After finally sharing the court with the 16-year-old Ateneo star, Standhardinger is impressed. The Fil-German forward says that Kai can do so much on the basketball court. "Great player, he's a very talented guy," Standhardinger said of Sotto. "If he comes with a killer [mentality], like to really put people to the rim and really go hard and not let anybody push him around, he can make it to the league I'm not gonna lie to you guys. The only thing that he has to develop is that little killer instinct," he added. Standhardinger believes that no one can match up to Kai and Sotto should be able to realize that moving forward. Kai should assert his dominance according to Christian. "It doesn't matter who he plays, he just gotta come out there and destroy people, and he's capable of that," Standhardinger said. While Standhardinger is not about to "mentor" Sotto anytime soon, he says that Kai can come to him anytime for advice. "If he has a question I'll tell him [an answer] but I wouldn't say like I'm guiding or mentoring him," Standhardinger said. "He [Kai] knows that if he ever needs help or a piece of my mind, my door is always open. He has my number. But I'm not here going around mentoring people because I think everyone is a great basketball player already and have their stuff together," he added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 26th, 2018

PBA: Travis, Lee and the text message that won Manila Clasico

It's late one Wednesday night and Romeo Travis casually avoids the media for an interview after Magnolia's Game 3 loss to Brgy. Ginebra in Manila Clasico. Travis is usually one of the last to leave the Hotshots locker room after each and every game. Usually, he's with his whole family as he exits the arena. He's usually also very approachable and is a joy to talk to, giving great answers to basketball questions and even the occassional life lessons here and there. Yeah none of that happened on this particular Wednesday night. Travis, with an in-ear headset on and a baseball cap, walks with a Magnolia staffer. The two of them casually side-step the media, using another player being interviewed as a sort of a hard screen in order to get free and get away. No one will get to talk to him until two days later.   SO WHAT HAPPENED AGAIN? After back-to-back monster games for Magnolia and a 2-0 lead in Manila Clasico, Travis had his worst PBA performance ever in Game 3. Travis struggled for 12 points, a career-low. While he scored consecutive lay-ups late in the fourth quarter to give the Hotshots the lead, the veteran forward fumbled an offensive rebound following a wild miss from Paul Lee. [Related: PBA: Brownlee scores 46 to save Ginebra's title] If he grabbed that rebound under the basket, it would have been easy two points for Travis. It would have been an easy two points and a tied game with four seconds to go in regulation. Magnolia lost by four instead. And while the Hotshots remained ahead in the series, 2-1, the Gin Kings were charging. Justin Brownlee just tied his career-high of 46 points in the win and it felt that Ginebra, the reigning two-time champions of the Governors' Cup, was actually up in the series and was ready to roll to another Finals appearance. Also, while it was no excuse, Travis turned out to be injured in Game 3, dealing with a bum hamstring. No one would know officially until two days later.   THE REVEAL "It's a grade 2 hamstring injury, since yesterday hirap na siya," Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero said of Travis two days later, right after the Hotshots recovered and beat Ginebra in Game 4 of the semifinals, sealing a Finals appearance. "I trust him, I believe in him. After that Game 3, ibibigay niya lahat. I love this guy and from the beginning, ibang klaseng leadership binigay niya sakin. Grabe ang puso nitong si Romeo," Victolero added of his import. Despite a bum hamstring, Travis soldiered on in Game 4 of the semifinals. Coming off a terrible Game 3 performance, it was actually Travis that carried the Hotshots. He had 11 points in the first quarter alone, one shy of his total the game before. [Related: PBA: Hurting Travis delivers game of his life with 50 points in Manila Clasico win] He had 29 after three quarters and finished things off with the first 50-ball of his whole career, leading a last-minute rally for the Hotshots to finally dethrone the Gin Kings. Fifty points from Romeo Travis was the reason that Magnolia won in Game 4, but it was an early-morning text that won Manila Clasico for the Hotshots.   THE TEXT "Me and Paul [Lee] talked this morning. Paul texted me at 6 a.m. and asked me if I was going to play," Travis said of the conversation he had with his star guard in the morning of Game 4. "I told him if I can play, I was gonna play. He was like if, 'you're playing, I'm playing.' We both decided at about 7:30 a.m. that we were gonna play and give it a go," he added. Over the course of the next 14 hours or so, Travis got clearance and dropped 50 points in a Magnolia win. Lee, bum right knee and all, didn't have the best of games by his standards but his clutch gene came through again, scoring big free throws late to make sure Travis' earlier work will not be wasted. "I texted him asking how he feels. He said he was gonna play so I was like let's go, let's get it," Lee said of the conversation he had with Travis prior to Game 4. "If you have an import like Romeo na he keeps on battling the pain, there's no reason na mag-give up ka kaagad, alam mo yun? (there's no reason you should give up that easily, you know)" he added.   A CHANCE FOR REDEMPTION After his 50-ball and big win over Brgy. Ginebra, Romeo Travis was noticeably emotional after Game 4. How can he not, he could barely walk the day before and he hasn't run since the win. "When you have a lot of pain and it's worth it [you become emotional]," Travis said. "I went through a lot of pain to play and it was worth it. That was emotional, to be able to make it through, get through the pain and make it worth it. It meant a lot to me," he added. Lee, who sent the text that won Manila Clasico, doubled down on his effort to back up his import. If Travis can play through his injuries and come through, he can too. "Kung makikita mo yung import mo na ganun, lumalaban, there's no reason to give up. Lahat lang kami kumuha ng lakas ng loob sa kanya," he said. Now that he's made it back to the Finals, Travis can win a title for Magnolia, something he didn't do three years ago when he was still suiting up for Alaska. [Related: PBA: Romeo Travis should be ready for Game 1 of Finals for Magnolia] Ironically enough, the Hotshots will face the Aces in the best-of-7 Finals set to start in two weeks. "Last time I was here I laid an egg, I played very bad last time I was in the Finals," Travis said. "I want redemption, that's why I came back," he added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 23rd, 2018