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Ilagan forced to watch from bench as Stags come up short vs Pirates

San Sebastian didn't openthe NCAA Season 94 men's basketball tournament the way it wanted to after bowing to Lyceum, 67-65, in a heartbreaker Saturday. And if there was one player who deemed the setback too bitter to swallow it had to be Regille Ilagan. The diminutive gunner was punishing the Pirates for 18 points before he got called for his fifth and final foul at the 8:02 mark of the fourth quarter. "I got carried away with my emotions, because I'm not used to this type of atmosphere and this is all my fault," said Ilagan in Filipino. "I got into it, I got a technical. I couldn't do anything about it so I just cheered my teammates on." With Ilagan on the bench, the Sta...Keep on reading: Ilagan forced to watch from bench as Stags come up short vs Pirates.....»»

Category: newsSource: inquirer inquirerJul 7th, 2018

NCAA Season 93: women s volleyball preview

Exciting volleyball action starts early this year as NCAA opens its 93rd season on Thursday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Arellano University will try to retain its women’s crown against a field filled with squad’s raring to sit on the throne. Let’s take a quick peek at the competing teams.   MAPUA UNIVERSITY LADY CARDINALS   Winless last year, can Mapua University finally put a stop on their skid?  Season 92 record: 0-9 Titles: none  Key players: Danielle Ramilo, Shaira Hermano, Katrina Racelis, Dianne Latayan This team has nowhere to go but up after a forgettable season last year. The Lady Cardinals lost four of their games in straight sets, three in four frames and a couple of matches in five. Mapua’s last victory was against Letran in five sets back in Season 91 (January 7, 2016).   EMILIO AGUINALDO COLLEGE LADY GENERALS   Emilio Aguinaldo College needs to be consistent to add more Ws in their record this season.  Season 92 record: 1-8 Titles: none Players to watch: Iona Yongco and Yvette Tongco EAC’s lone win last season came at the expense of Mapua in straight sets before closing their campaign with a five-set loss against Letran.   LETRAN LADY KNIGHTS   Can Letran contend for a spot in the Final Four this year? Season 92 record: 2-7 Titles: 8 (last title: 1999) Players to watch: Glayssa Faith Torres and Jaymeleene Parin Letran finished at eighth spot last year. They won only two games, against Mapua and EAC, but gave Lyceum, College of St. Benilde and San Sebastian College a scare before bowing down to these powerhouse teams in five sets.   JOSE RIZAL U LADY BOMBERS   Shola Alvarez is expected to carry Jose Rizal University on her shoulders but will need to get support from her teammates. Season 92 record: 3-6 Titles: none Players to watch: Shola Alvarez, Dolly Versoza, Karen Montojo (Season 92 Best Opposite Spiker) JRU is a young and vertically challenged team, mostly banking on Shola Alvarez for point production. The Lady Bombers joined the PVL’s Collegiate Conference during the offseason but lost all of their five matches.    LYCEUM OF THE PHILIPPINES U LADY PIRATES   Lyeum of the Philippines University is considered as a darkhorse this season.  Season 92 record: 5-4 Titles: none Players to watch: Cherilyn Sindayen, Christine Miralles, Bien Juanillo An intact and veteran-laden team. But will the Lady Pirates’ exposure in the PVL Collegiate Conference be enough for them to contend for a spot in the Final Four?     UNIVERSITY OF PERPETUAL HELP LADY ALTAS   Veteran Lourdes Clemente will be one of Perpetual Help's vital cogs in their campaign to reclaim the throne.   Season 92 record: 5-4 Titles: 3 (last title: 2014) Players to watch: Lourdes Clemente, Necelle Gual, Marijo Medalla Former CSB coach Macky Carino replaced long-time mentor Sammy Acaylar but the Lady Altas lost a solid middle in Coleen Bravo and hitter Jamela Suyat. After its three-peat (2012-14), Perpetual has yet to return to the Finals.     SAN BEDA COLLEGE LADY RED SPIKERS   All eyes will be on Cesca Racraquin when San Beda College makes a run for the crown. Season 92 record: 6-3 Titles: none Players to watch: Cesca Racraquin, Satrianni Espiritu, Nieza and Jiezela Viray Season 92 Rookie of the Year Cesca Racraquin will be the go-to guy of the Lady Red Spikers, who made it into the stepladder semis last year. SBC participated in the PVL Collegiate Conference while Racraquin had good stints in the PVL Reinforced and Open conferences for Creamline.      COLLEGE OF ST. BENILDE LADY BLAZERS   Ranya Musa (left) and Rachel Austero are the players to watch for a beefed up College of St. Benilde. Season 92 record: 6-3 Titles: 1 (2016) Players to watch: Ranya Musa, Rachel Austero, Maritess Pablo, Felicia Cui Expectations are high for this team with the arrival of transferees Maritess Pablo (NU) and Felicia Cui (Ateneo) to help Rachel Austero and graduating player Ranya Musa.     Leadership will be a tough challenge for this team after the departure of ace scorer Jeanette Panaga as well as adapting to a new system under interim head coach Arnold Laniog, who replaced Macky Carino.     SAN SEBASTIAN COLLEGE LADY STAGS   San Sebastian College is looking at a rough and bumpy road ahead this season. Season 92 record: 9-0 elims, defeated thrice in the Finals Titles: 23 (last title: 2011) Players to watch: Joyce Sta. Rita, Alyssa Eroa, Nikka Dalisay The most-decorated volleyball program in the NCAA will be facing its toughest season yet. If losing scorers three-time Most Valuable Player Grethcel Soltones and Kat Villegas weren’t enough, head coach Roger Goreyab will have at his disposal a very short rotation on nine players. But his available players could even go down entering the season after Julie Anne Tiangco suffered a knee injury recently. Scarcity of players even forced SSC-R to field a swimmer to fill in the required minimun of nine players to be able to participate in the tournament.       ARELLANO UNIVERSITY LADY CHIEFS   Who will stop Arellano University from its back-to-back bid? Season 92 record: 8-1, won thrice in a row in the Finals Titles: 2 (last title: 2017) Players to watch: Jovielyn Prado, Regine Arocha, Andrea Marzan The Lady Chiefs lost Rialen Sante and veteran libero Eunice Galang, who both graduated, after last season but will still parade a grizzled core. Fueled by their stints in the PVL including a third place finish in the Collegiate League at the expense of UAAP team Adamson University, Arellano U is expected to make a return trip into the Finals. With SSC-R, the only team to defeat the Obet Javier-mentored squad last year, weakened after the departure of Soltones, the only question now is who will stop the Lady Chiefs’ impending rampage?       --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 1st, 2018

Nothing can stop Baste from charging back to contention

HOW’D THEY DO LAST SEASON? 11-10 overall, fourth-seed after eliminations, lost in stepladder playoffs to San Beda YES, THEY’RE STILL HERE: Allyn Bulanadi, Michael Calisaan, RK Ilagan WELCOME TO THE FAMILY: Alex Desoyo, Neil Villapando GOOD LUCK ON FUTURE ENDEAVORS: Alvin Baetiong, Ryan Costelo, Jayson David, Renzo Navarro WHAT SHOULD WE EXPECT FROM SAN SEBASTIAN? San Sebastian will look different in NCAA Season 94 with almost half of its roster set to make its debut in the Seniors. Out are Alvin Baetiong, Ryan Costelo, Jayson David, Alfren Gayosa, Jerwyn Guinto, Justin Mercado, and Renzo Navarro and in are former Baste High School standouts guard Alex Desoyo, forward Neil Villapando, and big man Jesse Sumoda. At the same time, the Golden Stags will look the same with Michael Calisaan, RK Ilagan, and Allyn Bulanadi still spearheading the charge. The only question is, will those three be enough to keep Baste in the top four of the standings – with the rest of their competition having stepped up. “Sa totoo lang, I just don’t focus sa tatlo. I want everybody to feel the pressure also, na i-accept nila yung challenge and motivation.” – head coach Egay Macaraya We got some sort of answer to that in the 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup where San Sebastian-backed Che’lu made it all the way to the Finals. Moreover, head coach Egay Macaraya, from CaféFrance to Centro Escolar University and from Baste to Che’lu, has proven that he gets the most out of his players. Now, it’s up to the former Staglets and their three-headed monster at the lead to prove that what happened in Recto was not a player exodus, but just new opportunities opening up for those who have stayed. “Number one is we accept it as a challenge. Hindi talaga magiging madali sa amin dahil masyadong maraming nawala, but the boys are motivated because of that.” – head coach Egay Macaraya WHO IS/ARE THE PLAYER/S TO WATCH OUT FOR FROM SAN SEBASTIAN? This is Michael Calisaan’s last go-round in the NCAA and, of course, he wants to go out with a bang. However, this year looks like will be the breakout season for Allyn Bulanadi, the fourth-year forward who emerged as a big-time scorer for San Sebastian in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup. In the end, more than the players, it would be fun to watch coach Egay work his “Macaraya magic” on a fresh batch of players. “Ang advantage namin right now is nakikita ko na yung rookies, they want to prove themselves. Nakikita ko rin na yung nangyari na nawala, everybody wants to take their place.” – head coach Egay Macaraya WHY SHOULD WE ROOT FOR SAN SEBASTIAN? San Sebastian has proven to be a tough out, whether or not it’s in contention, and even with almost half of its team brand new, that’s not changing. These Golden Stags do not have a star, but when all is clicking, the entire team could shine bright. WHERE WOULD SAN SEBASTIAN BE AT THE END OF NCAA SEASON 94? Despite the major upheaval in its roster, San Sebastian is a contender and the Golden Stags will be fighting for a place in the playoffs. They are not a shoo-in there, but one of the two spots – because San Beda and LPU are locks – is also theirs to lose. WHEN IS SAN SEBASTIAN’S FIRST GAME IN NCAA SEASON 94? San Sebastian battles emerging rival LPU on July 7 at the MOA Arena. You already know the story – Pirates mentor Topex Robinson is an alumnus and was a former head coach of the Golden Stags. As always, all of the #GalingNCAA will be on S+A, S+A HD, LIGA, LIGA HD, and livestream. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 29th, 2018

NCAA: Baste fans flickering playoff hopes thanks to Bulanadi s career-high

Even after all the speed bumps it was forced to go through, San Sebastian College-Recoletos remains in the running in the NCAA 94 Men’s Basketball Tournament. With a career performance, Allyn Bulanadi shot the Golden Stags to their third win in a row, this one coming at the expense of Jose Rizal University, 82-75, on Thursday at the Filoil Flying V Centre. Bulanadi scored 27 points on efficient 11-of-18 shooting to show Baste the way to bettering its record to 4-9. He fired 10 of his output in the first quarter as they got off to a strong 23-9 start. They would never trail and would never be truly threatened the rest of the way. “’Di pa rin kami nawawalan ng pag-asang makapasok sa Final Four,” Bulanadi told reporters post-game, talking about his inspired play. “Kailangan naming makabawi kasi marami pang pwedeng mangyari.” The winning streak is much welcome after all San Sebastian went through in the first round where, due to a disciplinary action on RK Ilagan, it had to forfeit two of its wins. “Good thing about this is naka-move on na kami,” head coach Egay Macaraya said. That development took them out of the thick of things and down to the bottom of the standings. With this current win run, however, the Golden Stags now stand at 4-9 and are have neared to 7-4 Colegio de San Juan de Letran, 7-5 College of St. Benilde, 6-5 University of Perpetual Help, 4-7 Arellano University, and 4-8 Mapua University. On the other hand, the Heavy Bombers are now officially out of contention at 2-11. Darius Estrella topped the scoring column for them with 19 points. BOX SCORES SAN SEBASTIAN 82 – Bulanadi 27, Ilagan 16, Capobres 14, Calisaan 12, Calma 9, dela Cruz 2, Sumoda 2, Are 0, Desoyo 0, Isidro 0, Valdez 0, Villapando 0 JRU 75 – Estrella 19, Mendoza 15, Aguilar 12, Mallari 12, dela Virgen 7, David 6, dela Rosa 2, Esquerra 2, Miranda 0, Padua 0, Silvarez 0 QUARTER SCORES: 23-9; 39-34; 60-51; 82-75 --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News6 hr. 8 min. ago

EYES ON YOU, KID: NCAA 94 Jrs. players to watch

The first round of the NCAA 94 Juniors Basketball Tournament is over and done with. And with the second round already underway, we’re getting even more glimpses of the future of Philippine basketball courtesy of these players: CLINT ESCAMIS – Mapua High School (yellow jersey with ball) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 23.3 points, 46.9 percent shooting, 5.7 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 2.7 steals Clint Escamis has spent his first two seasons under the leadership of the likes of Sherwin Concepcion, Mike Enriquez, Warren Bonifacio, and Will Gozum. Now in his third and last season in Mapua, he is proving that he is no slouch as a leader himself. The league’s top scorer and second-best steal-getter has carried the Red Robins right back up there in the standings – and they are the only team to have downed all f the traditional powerhouses in College of St. Benilde-La Salle Greenhills, Arellano High School, and San Beda High School. This version of Mapua may not be as star-studded as it was in the last four years, but they may just have the brightest star in all of the league in their 6-foot-1 swingman. INAND FORNILOS – College of St. Benilde-La Salle Greenhills (green jersey defending white jersey with ball) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 11.4 points, 51.8 percent shooting, 10.9 rebounds, 2.0 blocks, 1.0 assist On a team as fully loaded as CSB-LSGH, there has to be a workhorse – and Inand Fornilos has been just that and more. Just like he did in their championship campaign last season, he has been a force to reckon with on both ends of the floor for the league-leading Junior Blazers. The rebounds and defense have always been second nature for Fornilos, but this season, he has become better on offense. In fact, he already has a couple of 20-point games to his name – not bad for an undersized big man at 6-foot-2. Without a doubt, the graduating forward is doing all he can to make his former team regret ever letting him go. JOHN AMORES – Jose Rizal High School (blue jersey with ball) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 20.1 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.0 steal And all of that is because of John Amores, the second-best scorer in all of the league and the undisputed main man of the daring Light Bombers – the only team that will be sweeping contending Mapua in the elimination round. JRU’s rise from the bottom half of the standings to the top four is nothing short of spectacular and that improvement is best personified by Amores who went from role player a year ago to go-to-guy this season. Give the Most Improved Award to the kid already because he’s ready and raring to take much more than that. JOEL CAGULANGAN – College of St. Benilde-La Salle Greenhills (green jersey with ball) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 15.3 points, 7.3 assists, 4.7 rebounds, 2.1 steals For the high standards he set a year ago, this season has been a quiet one for Joel Cagulangan. With the likes of Escamis and Amores flying high and CSB-LSGH teammates Fornilos and RC Calimag grabbing more headlines than him, last year’s Finals MVP has been under the radar. Quietly, however, he is actually the Junior Blazers’ leading scorer and the NCAA’s best assistman and fourth-best steal-getter. Yes, that’s just how the 5-foot-9 do-it-all dynamo rolls, making an impact even if everybody else doesn’t feel it. Just don’t forget that he could also choose to make everybody feel his impact, okay? AARON FERMIN – Arellano High School (grey jersey, #18) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 14.2 points, 53.5 percent shooting, 17.6 rebounds, 1.0 block If not for Arellano’s struggles last season, Aaron Fermin would have been MVP. If not for the Braves’ struggle in the ongoing season, Fermin would have been the league’s most tantalizing talent. Standing at 6-foot-5, graced with a wide frame, having timing on lock, and blessed with a non-stop motor, the graduating big man has all the tools to be a game-changer on both ends of the floor. Indeed, he had a stretch of games of posting a 15-point, 20-rebound double-double. Now, if only he could lift Arellano to much-needed wins and back onto a playoff push. DAN ARCHES – Mapua High School (yellow jersey with ball) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 16.2 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.8 steals Mapua has long been defined by its talented big men, but now, it’s the guys at the wings who have taken center stage. Escamis has been their main man, but he also has a more than capable running mate in Dan Arches. All Escamis could do, Arches could do as well, only without the same sort of consistency. But hey, this is the first time he has been getting time with in his two years as a Red Robins so there’s nothing that all those reps couldn’t improve. And oh, he also has one thing going for him – a fine floater that he could bust out at any time that somehow, some way, has become automatic. JOSHUA DAVID – College of St. Benilde-La Salle Greenhills (green jersey, with ball) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 14.3 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.9 steals Imagine the dynamic between Escamis and Arches, and then translate that onto Cagulangan and his own partner-in-crime in Joshua David. Like Cagulangan, David could stuff the stat sheet. Like Cagulangan, David could do whatever CSB-LSGH needs for a win. The only difference is that unlike Cagulangan, David already has the size at 6-feet and a big body to make the same sort of noise in the Seniors. Of course, Cagulangan’s clutch genes are also on another level, but who knows? Maybe David is just waiting on the wings to seize those moments for himself? MILO JANAO AND KEAN BACLAAN – San Sebastian College-Recoletos JANAO’S ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 19.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.0 assist (yellow jersey with ball in first photo) BACLAAN’S ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 15.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.8 steals (yellow jersey with ball in second photo) It looks like San Sebastian College-Recoletos still wouldn’t be able to get over the hump this year, but the good news is that they remain on the right track. The even better news is that Milo Janao and Kean Baclaan, the two paving the way for them, are here to stay. That backcourt, by themselves, has fueled the Staglets to four wins – and still in the thick of things. While a long-awaited, much-wanted playoff berth is a long shot this year, perhaps it wouldn’t be so when both Janao and Baclaan get a year older and a year more determined to continue doing it all to win. MAC GUADANA AND JOHN BARBA – Lyceum of the Philippines University GUADANA’S ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 19.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists (grey jersey with ball in first photo) BARBA’S ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 17.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.7 steals (grey jersey with ball in second photo) Batang Gilas member Mac Guadana has become the NCAA’s constant – a 6-foot guard who could score at will while also doing his part in rebounding and playmaking. With him showing the way, Lyceum of the Philippines University has proven to be a far from easy out for three seasons now. They are still a ways away from legitimate contention, but the Junior Pirates have reason to believe that would be sooner than later as teaming up with Guadana is John Barba, a 6-foot-2 forward who just has a knack for willing his way to good looks inside. With those two, the boys from Cavite have two of the top six scorers in all of the league. Now, they just have to find the other pieces of the puzzle for their first-ever playoff berth. ROM JUNSAY – Arellano High School (grey jersey with ball) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 19.4 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.6 steals Rom Junsay was one of the biggest keys to Mapua’s first-ever championship. That was two years ago, though, and since then, the 5-foot-6 has transferred to Arellano and is now only playing his first and last season there. Nonetheless, in just his first game in blue and grey, he wasted no time in reminding everybody about his talents, dropping a career-high 34 points. He and the Braves have trailed off from there, but just as Arellano is a sleeping giant no team wants to wake, Junsay is an active volcano just waiting for the perfect time to erupt. HONORABLE MENTIONS Jonnel Policarpio – Mapua High School RC Calimag – College of St. Benilde-La Salle Greenhills --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 17th, 2018

Lyceum, San Beda flex muscles to start NCAA 2nd round

MANILA, Philippines – The LPU Pirates continue their smooth sailing to begin the NCAA Season 94 second round with an 88-70 romp of the San Sebastian Stags in the FilOil Flying V Centre on Tuesday, September 4. Stags guard RK Ilagan made the most of his return from his first round ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsSep 4th, 2018

RK Ilagan struggles in return from ban as Stags’ woes continue

San Sebastian guard RK Ilagan returned from suspension on Tuesday, but his first game back didn't turn out the way he wanted it to be. Ilagan, who was suspended by the Stags after he was found playing in other leagues which is a violation of NCAA rules, struggled mightily in his return. He finished with 13 points but went just 3-of-11 from the field and was a game-worst minus-33 as the Stags' woes continued at the start of the second round. "Nung pagpasok ko medyo naninibago pa ako. Masaya naman ako na nakabalik na ako pero kaya lang kinulang kami," Ilagan said. (When I entered the game I was still trying to get my rhythm back. I'm happy to be back but we fell short.) Ilagan was s...Keep on reading: RK Ilagan struggles in return from ban as Stags’ woes continue.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsSep 4th, 2018

NCAA: Two wins in one game for coaches Vergel and TY

College of St. Benilde was at the bottom half of the standings before getting two wins in two days. The Blazers were standing below .500 at 3-4 before an NCAA ruling overturned their first loss in the tournament. San Sebastian College-Recoletos has been forced to forfeit two of its wins as the league has decided with finality last Thursday in favor of disciplinary action for RK Ilagan. Ilagan, one of Baste’s top guns, was put under investigation by the league’s management committee for playing in a commercial league in Quezon City in late June. The third-year guard averaged 13.8 points, 3.6 assists, and 2.8 rebounds in San Sebastian’s first five games – two ending up in wins. With the league’s decision, however, those two wins will have to be overturned and the Golden Stags’ record is now 1-8. Conversely, the two teams Baste beat in those two games will gain a win. That gave CSB a win to put it over .500 at 4-3 and Jose Rizal University its first win in seven games. The Blazers wasted no time in building on that win with another win, this one a victory versus Arellano University on Friday. And with two wins in two days, the Taft-based team rose from seventh in the standings to fourth. That did rapid development did not escape head coach TY Tang. “Sa buong career ko, ngayon lang ata ako nakakita ng two wins in one game,” he candidly told reporters post-game. Likewise, JRU was languishing at the bottom of the standings, losing all of its first seven games before the league’s ruling turned their 0-7 record to 1-6. A day later, the Heavy Bombers then edged out Emilio Aguinaldo College for their first win – on the basketball court, that is. Now, they are three spots out of the bottom of the standings at 2-6. Their win run may be shortlived, however, as their next assignment is defending champion San Beda University. Still, head coach Vergel Meneses said anything could happen. As he put it, “We’ll see. Bilog ang bola, malay mo makatsamba naman kami.” He then continued, “Ganyan lang ang JRU ngayon – tsamba-tsamba lang.” --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 17th, 2018

NCAA: Baste forfeits 2 wins, falls to bottom of standings

San Sebastian College-Recoletos’ struggles in the NCAA 94 Men’s Basketball Tournament have just gotten worse. The Golden Stags have been forced to forfeit two of their wins as the league has decided with finality in favor of disciplinary action for RK Ilagan on Thursday. “For playing in an unauthorized basketball game, (RK Ilagan) was meted with (a) three-game suspension. In addition, the team was also penalized by ordering the forfeiture of all games where the erring playing played,” NCAA management committee chairman Frank Gusti said in statement. Ilagan, one of Baste’s top guns, was put under investigation by the league’s management committee for playing in a commercial league in Quezon City in late June. As per NCAA rules, a player is not allowed to see action in any other league during the season without the permission of his school. The third-year guard averaged 13.8 points, 3.6 assists, and 2.8 rebounds in San Sebastian’s first five games – two ending up in wins. With the league’s decision, however, those two wins will have to be overturned. As such, the Golden Stags’ record is now 1-8. Head coach Egay Macaraya said that they are only hoping for this to be fuel for their fire. “Ang focus lang namin ngayon is to win more games. Hopefully, ma-motivate nito ang mga bata na at least matuto na manalo,” he said. Conversely, the two teams Baste beat in those two games will gain a win. That gives College of St. Benilde a win to put it over .500 at 4-3 and Jose Rizal University its first win in seven games. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 16th, 2018

NCAA: Stags charge past Bombers and back to win column

San Sebastian College-Recoletos is back on track in the 94th Season of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Alvin Capobres came up big off the bench while Allyn Bulanadi and Michael Calisaan put up their usual numbers as the Golden Stags gored hapless Jose Rizal University, 86-76, on Tuesday at the Filoil Flying V Centre. Capobres turned in his best game in a while with 16 points on top of six rebounds, three assists, and one steal. “Maganda yung laro ni Aljon ngayon,” head coach Egay Macaraya, a little more jovial than usual in the post-game conference. He also scored 13 points in the second quarter that keyed Baste’s breakaway. San Sebastian would not look back from there all the way to a wire-to-wire win. Bulanadi also added 14 points, six rebounds, and two steals while Calisaan had a 10-point, 13-rebound double-double to help the Golden Stags improve to 2-2. “Team effort din talaga kasi nagawa nila yung dapat nilang gawin,” Macaraya said. For the Heavy Bombers, MJ Dela Virgen fronted the effort with 14 points, five assists, and five rebounds. They remain winless in three games. BOX SCORES SAN SEBASTIAN 86 – Capobres 16, Bulanadi 14, Ilagan 13, Calisaan 10, Valdez 9, Are 7, Calma 6, Dela Cruz 4, Villapando 4, Sumoda 2, Desoyo 1, Arciaga 0 JRU 76 – Dela Virgen 14, Padua 13, Mendoza 8, Miranda 8, Ramos 8, Esguerra 7, Mallari 7, David 4, Santos 3, Bordon 2, Silvarez 2, Estrella 0, Aguilar 0, Dela Rosa 0 QUARTER SCORES: 27-15, 51-34, 65-56, 86-76 —— Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 24th, 2018

LPU is still here to contend and, more importantly, to inspire

HOW’D THEY DO LAST SEASON? 18-2 overall, top-seed after eliminations, runner-up YES, THEY’RE STILL HERE: MJ Ayaay, Jaycee Marcelino, Jayvee Marcelino, Mike Nzeusseu, CJ Perez WELCOME TO THE FAMILY: Germy Mahinay, Casper Pericas, Ranzhelle Yong GOOD LUCK ON FUTURE ENDEAVORS: Wilson Baltazar, Pipoy Marata WHAT SHOULD WE EXPECT FROM LPU? LPU, the first-ever team in the history of the country’s first and oldest league, to go 18-0 in the elimination round, did not lose a player of note as it tries again to capture its first-ever championship. Only veteran sniper Wilson Baltazar and heady guard Pipoy Marata have used up their eligibility and replacing them will be two among Team B standouts Casper Pericas and Ranzhelle Yong or former San Beda High big Germy Mahinay. That means that the core, the truly terrifying fivesome of Season MVP CJ Perez, Cameroonian powerhouse Mike Nzeusseu, team leader MJ Ayaay, and two-way twins Jaycee and Jayvee Marcelino, is very well intact. Not only that, that truly terrifying fivesome is a year older, a year wiser and they have championship winning experience in both the Philippine Collegiate Champions League and the PBA D-League. Moreover, Pericas, a scoring guard who has been lighting up preseason leagues, and Yong, a do-it-all forward who had transferred from San Sebastian and Letran, wouldn’t be bad additions – so, as they say, the rich could only get richer. “There’s so much potential in this team. I think the lessons that we’ve learned just made us a better group. After that season, we won championships also and it’s just a testament to the fact that you have to stick to what works for you.” – head coach Topex Robinson WHO IS/ARE THE PLAYER/S TO WATCH OUT FOR FROM LPU? CJ Perez has been NCAA Season MVP and PBA D-League Conference MVP. While he is not one to say he wants another individual award, the mere fact that he could only improve will put him back in front of the pack in the MVP race. Alongside Perez, MJ Ayaay will also be showcased as head coach Topex Robinson has not shied away from saying that he and his staff would do all they could to help their graduating players get to the next level. “As much as possible, we want to build that tradition that we in LPU, we’re not just using you for our benefit. Our vision is to help you even after your college years. Again, it’s about giving back.” – head coach Topex Robinson But eyes, however, should be fixed on Jaycee Marcelino who, at times in the PBA D-League, looked like the team’s primary offensive threat. With that, he could very well ascend to the top of the list of the league’s best point guards. WHY SHOULD WE ROOT FOR LPU? LPU was THE feel-good story in all of college a season ago. “Our mindset is to make sure that we’re doing the right things. It’s not gonna be a guarantee na it’s gonna be a historic season for us and it’s not even a guarantee na we’re gonna be in the Finals, but what’s important for us is we continue what we started – building a program that will help these players in the future.” – head coach Topex Robinson The Pirates are now, no doubt, a powerhouse, but that doesn’t change the fact that they are yet to win the big one in their mother league. That makes them, at the end of the day, the underdog to defending champion and dynastic San Beda. “We don’t just want to follow Ateneo or La Salle which have successful basketball programs, but we want Ateneo and La Salle to also look at what we do.” – head coach Topex Robinson WHERE WOULD LPU BE AT THE END OF NCAA SEASON 94? It will be a rematch of San Beda-LPU in the Finals. The top two teams from last season are both intact and they will meet again for all the marbles in the championship round of this season. WHEN IS LPU’S FIRST GAME IN NCAA SEASON 94? LPU battles emerging rival San Sebastian on July 7 at the MOA Arena. You already know the story – Pirates mentor Topex Robinson is an alumnus and was a former head coach of the Golden Stags. As always, all of the #GalingNCAA will be on S+A, S+A HD, LIGA, LIGA HD, and livestream. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 28th, 2018

Dub Dynasty: Warriors sweep Cavs for second straight title

By Tom Withers, Associated Press CLEVELAND (AP) — Golden State. Golden still. Stephen Curry scored 37 points, NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant added 20 and a triple-double and the Warriors stamped themselves a dynasty after winning their second straight title and third in four years Friday night (Saturday, PHL time), 108-85 over the Cleveland Cavaliers to complete a sweep and perhaps drive LeBron James from his home again to chase championships. Overcoming obstacles all season long, the Warriors were not going to be denied and won the fourth straight finals matchup against Cleveland with ease. "This is so hard to do and doing it three out of four years is incredible," guard Klay Thompson said. It was the first sweep in the NBA Finals since 2007, when James was dismissed by a powerful San Antonio team in his first one. His eighth straight appearance didn't go well either, and now there's uncertainty where the superstar will play next. James finished with 23 points and spent the final minutes on the bench, contemplating what went wrong and maybe his next move. Act IV between the Warriors and Cavs featured a drama-filled and controversial Game 1. But from there on, Durant, Curry, Thompson, Draymond Green and the rest of this California crew showed why they're the game's gold standard. And they may stay that way. "Can't get enough of this feeling so we're going to celebrate it together," Curry said. Not wanting to give the Cavs or their fans any hope despite the fact that no team has ever overcome a 3-0 deficit in the NBA playoffs, the Warriors built a nine-point halftime lead when Curry ignored a closeout by James and dropped a three-pointer. Then the league's best team tightened the screws on Cleveland in the third quarter, outscoring the Cavs 25-13 and prompting Golden State fans to begin those drawn-out "War-eee-orrss" chants that provide a perfect musical accompaniment to their three-point barrages. By the start of the fourth quarter, the only question was whether Curry would win his first NBA Finals MVP or if it would go to Durant for the second year in a row. And again, it was Durant, who added 12 rebounds and 10 assists — more satisfaction and validation for a player who couldn't beat the Warriors so he joined them. After surviving a rougher-than-usual regular season and beating top-seeded Houston in Game 7 on the road in the Western Conference finals, the Warriors withstood an overtime scare in Game 1 and joined an elite group of teams to win multiple championships in a four-year span. Only Bill Russell's Boston Celtics, the "Showtime" Lakers and the Los Angeles squad led by Kobe and Shaq, and Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls have been as dominant in such a short period of time. The Dub Dynasty. The path to this title was more precarious than the first two for coach Steve Kerr and the Warriors, who overcame injuries, expectations, a built-to-dethrone-them Rockets team and the brilliance of James, who scored 51 points in the series opener and carried a Cavs team from the beginning of their rollercoaster season until the end. It may have been the final game in Cleveland for the 33-year-old, who is expected to opt out of his $35.6 million contract for 2019 next month and become a free agent. James was pulled from the game with 4:03 left, and he slapped hands with the Warriors before heading to the bench. He plopped down in a chair and draped a towel over his broad shoulders, looking like a boxer on a corner stool. James averaged 34 points, 8.5 rebounds and 10 assists in the series, but as has been the case in the past, he didn't have enough help. Another Summer of LeBron is officially underway and there are already teams stretching from Philadelphia to Los Angeles hoping to land the three-time champion, who may have to go elsewhere to put together a cast strong enough — and as James made clear this week, smart enough — to bring down the Warriors. Right now, the Warriors are on another tier and with Durant expected to re-sign with them in weeks and Curry, Thompson, Green and the rest still young and hungry, their reign could last much longer. Heading into the playoffs, the Warriors appeared vulnerable. There were lingering questions about Curry's sprained left knee that sidelined him for almost six weeks and kept him out of Golden State's first-round series against San Antonio. Kerr was forced to mix and match lineups, and it became obvious the Warriors weren't going to go 16-1 and storm their way to a title like they did in 2017, when their only postseason loss came in Game 4 after the Cavs made 24 three-pointers. Kerr used 27 different starting lineups during the regular season, which ended with a head-scratching 40-point loss to Utah. The Warriors began defense of their title as a No. 2 seed and their season was in serious jeopardy when they fell behind 3-2 to presumptive MVP James Harden and the Rockets. But Golden State, catching a break when Houston star guard Chris Paul was forced to sit with a hamstring injury, showed a champion's poise by winning two straight. That set up another reunion with James and the Cavs. Maybe the last. TIP-INS Warriors: Curry made a three-pointer in his record 90th consecutive postseason game and extended his mark for three's in road playoff games to 44. ... Green is the only visiting player to post a triple-double in the playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena, doing so in Game 6 of the 2015 finals. ... Became the ninth team to sweep a finals and first to win consecutive titles since James did it with Miami in 2012 and 2013. ... Golden State has won a road game in 19 straight playoff series, tying the Heat's NBA record. ... With his 43-point performance in Game 3, Durant joined Jordan and Shaquille O'Neal as the only players to score at least 25 points in their first 13 finals games. Cavaliers: Appeared in its 26th NBA Finals game, moving past Atlanta/St. Louis into 10th place all-time. ... James averaged 34 points in his 13th postseason, his second-highest total. BROWN OUT Longtime network broadcaster Hubie Brown injured his knee while sitting courtside preparing before the game. He was treated by a medical staff on site and taken to the hospital. The 84-year-old Brown was replaced on the radio broadcast by Jon Barry. Brown was working his 17th NBA Finals......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 9th, 2018

Paul paves way for Rockets, but will he be there in the end?

By Sekou Smith, NBA.com HOUSTON — If he doesn’t take another step on that tender right hamstring in these Western Conference finals, Chris Paul did what he came here to do. That won’t be enough for him, of course. No Hall of Fame-level competitor is ever satisfied with just reaching the precipice of a dream. They want it all. And you know Chris Paul’s every intention is to get to the summit. You don’t wait as long as he has, fight through as many barriers as he has throughout his career and get to the final seconds of a defining game like Game 5 of the Western Conference finals, and not feel the burn when you have to watch the outcome from the bench. Paul’s right hamstring didn’t allow him to take in the final, frantic 22.4 seconds of the Houston Rockets’ 98-94 win over the Golden State Warriors Thursday night (Friday, PHL time) at Toyota Center. He tweaked it trying to drive to the basket on Quinn Cook with the Rockets clinging to a 95-94 lead. Another injury for the man who has seen so many of his playoff dreams vanish in a haze of different injuries over the course of his career. It has to sting. He went from shimmying at Stephen Curry after knocking down a wild three-pointer to being forced to watch the end unfold without him on the court to finish what he’d started. But the Rockets are here, up 3-2 in this series and four quarters away from dethroning the defending three-time Western Conference champion Warriors. Paul's availability for Saturday’s (Sunday, PHL time) Game 6 remained a mystery late into the night; he received treatment after the game and did not speak to the media. “He’ll be evaluated tomorrow,” said Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni, who for the second straight game in this series relied on just a seven-man rotation. “But obviously you saw him limp off, and he’s a tough guy. So they’ll do whatever they can do. If he’s there, great, good for him. If he isn’t, we have enough guys, it’s time for somebody else to step up. We’ve got plenty of guys over there that will have some fresh legs, that’s for sure. So we’ll be alright. We’ve just got to continue doing what we’re doing and we’ll find our way.” The Rockets found their way with Paul lighting the path of another heavyweight fight. Rockets fans left the building on an emotional high thanks to Paul, who scored 18 of his 20 points after halftime, after a brutal 1-for-7 shooting performance in the first half that made you wonder if he came into this game injured already. Once again he willed these Rockets past adversity, the same way he did in the close-out game of the conference semifinal against Utah when he piled up 20 of his playoff career-high 41 points down the stretch of a Game 5 masterpiece. “Well his spirits aren’t great,” D’Antoni said. “He wanted to be out there, and for sure he’s worried and all that. That’s normal. And like I said, we’ll see [Friday] how it goes. But what he did was remarkable. When we were kind of teetering, he made two or three three's. That’s just his heart. He made something out of nothing. His heart, his will to win, I don’t know how many times everybody’s got to see it in this league. He’s one of the best players that have played the game. Just his will alone and what it means to basketball, I don’t know. If you can’t root for him, I think you’ve got some problems.” The Warriors are loaded with problems then. Because they’ve surely seen enough of Paul in the deciding moments of the last two games in this series. Paul led the charge in Game 4 at Oracle Arena and did it again in the third quarter of Game 5, keeping the Rockets right with the Warriors during the period they’ve owned by draining three of his four attempts from beyond the three-point line during an unconscious third-quarter stretch. “It was well-deserved,” Curry said, a showman tipping his cap to a fellow showman. “It was a tough shot. If you can shimmy on somebody else, you’ve got to be alright getting shimmied on. So I’ll keep shimmying and maybe he will too, so we’ll see what happens.” It was more than just the shimmying, though. Time after time Paul got the switch he wanted, backed up and went at bigger Warriors defenders and got whatever he wanted. “Well, Chris is a Hall of Fame player, this is what they do,” said Warriors coach Steve Kerr. “They put James [Harden] and Chris in pick-and-roll every single time. So they’re going to challenge you. We did a great job. They combined to shoot 11-for-40. He hit two 35-foot three's that were just unbelievable. You’ve got to live with that.” The Rockets have lived off of it all season. They knew it would the moment Paul was acquired in that blockbuster trade with the LA Clippers that set this Rockets’ Western Conference takeover attempt in motion. The aesthetics be damned. Keep your analytics. Sometimes the biggest moments require the unthinkable, unbelievable shots Kerr spoke of. “That’s the most difficult shots you can imagine,” Harden said of Paul’s three-point heroics and his entire arsenal of shot-clock beating artistry. “He’s been doing it all year, and he just manages to get those shots off and make big plays. He was built for it.” If only his body was built for the pounding that comes with the work he has to do, often as the smallest man on the floor. Paul’s body always seems to betray him at the very worst times. Dragging up the long list of bumps, bruises and season-derailing instances won't do any good now. It won’t do the Rockets any good, with or without him in Game 6, or even a Game 7, back here Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) if needed. Paul’s right leg will be on the minds of each and every one of his teammates as they prepare for the next step on this wild ride that began with a humbling Game 1 defeat that temporarily cost them home court advantage they’ve since snatched back. Can they win three straight and finish this? Is it even a realistic possibility without Paul available? “There is concern, obviously,” Rockets veteran Trevor Ariza said. “I hope he’s healthy. I hope he gets better and if not, somebody else has to step up and do what we’ve been doing all year, step in and try and help this team win.” Sekou Smith is a veteran NBA reporter and NBA TV analyst. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 25th, 2018

Former Stags Jayson David, Renzo Navarro join LPU

Lyceum of the Philippines is continuing to make sure it will remain a contender from now until the foreseeable future. Versatile forward Jayson David and floor leader Renzo Navarro have both decamped from San Sebastian College-Recoletos and are now going to be full-fledged Pirates. Both players were key cogs in the Golden Stags’ return to relevance and the playoffs in Season 93. With their transfer, however, they will only be eligible to play again in Season 95. Navarro has been taking part in LPU team activities for almost a month now. He bolsters a backcourt that already includes Marcelino twins Jaycee and Jayvee as well as Raymar Caduyac. The 5-foot-9 guard averaged 6.3 points and 3.1 assists last season. On the other hand, David is yet to practice in Intramuros, but is well on his way there, according to several sources. He will be the perfect replacement for MJ Ayaay after the latter uses up his final playing year in Season 94. The 6-foot-3 forward boasted of per game counts of 8.4 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 2.5 steals last season. As per sources, the two are not the only ones who have left Recto. At least three other players who wore red and gold a season ago will no longer do so. Still, playoff hopeful San Sebastian is holding onto a solid core that includes Michael Calisaan, Ryan Costelo, and RK Ilagan. ABS-CBN Sports reached out to Stags’ mentor Egay Macaraya for comment, but he is yet to respond. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 14th, 2018

FEU bests UP for top-seed; Pirates boot out Blazers in City Hoops

In a battle between two of the top teams in the 2018 SMART City Hoops 25-under Summer Classic, it was the Far Eastern University Tamaraws who were able to outlast the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons in overtime, taking a 56-52 triumph last Thursday in Ortigas.  With the win, the Tamaraws finished the eliminations with an unblemished 5-0 record and secured an outright Finals berth in the tournament.  More than that, however, the squad showed tremendous character in the contest, according to head coach Olsen Racela.  "I liked the way we grinded it out right from the start. It was a very low-scoring game," shared the second-year Tamaraws tactician. "Everyone chipped in, kahit yung mga hinugot ko sa bench really helped. Their focus and awareness was there all throughout the game."  With the game knotted at 52-all with 39 seconds remaining, Axel Inigo, who had eight points in the contest, blew by his defender to score the go-ahead floater.   On the other end, Kenneth Tuffin was able to force David Murell into a tough layup that then led to a split from the stripe for JR Parker.  Leading the way for FEU in regulation was Tuffin, finishing the game with 14 points and eight rebounds. Ino Comboy chipped in 10 markers as well.  The Fighting Maroons, who ended the round with a 4-1 slate and will face the Lyceum Pirates in the knockout quarterfinals, were paced by Bright Akhuetie. The Nigerian student-athlete had a double-double with 10 points and 15 rebounds but shot just 3-for-13 from the field.  UP ace Paul Desiderio was limited to just 10 points on a 3-of-11 shooting clip.  Meanwhile, even with the odds stacked against them, Renzo Navarro and short-handed Lyceum dug deep, surviving a grueling overtime tilt against the College of St. Benilde Blazers, 73-66.  Lyceum was able to pick up monster games from incoming rookie Lian Barbero and Yancy Remulla. Barbero had 16 points and 11 rebounds while Remulla added 14 markers and 19 boards.  But it was Renzo Navarro who steered the wheel, tallying 25 points, 11 assists, and four steals.  The Blazers, who ended their campaign with a 0-5 record, were led by Prince Carlos who had 16 markers.   WEDNESDAY GAME  LPU 73 - Navarro 25, Barbero 16, Remulla 14, Salo 7, Japson 6, Mahinay 5, Valencia 0.  CSB 66 - Carlos 16, Pagulayan 10, Flores 8, Pangalanan 7, Pili 7, Nayve 5, Miranda 4, Wilson 3, Velasco 2, Barnes 2, Belgica 2, San Juan 0.  THURSDAY GAME  FEU 56 - Tuffin 14, Comboy 10, Inigo 8, Ebona 6, Parker 6, Cani 5, Orizu 3, Bienes 2, Jopia 2, Ramirez 0, Casino 0, Bayquin 0, Nunag 0.  UP 52 - Akhuetie 10, Desiderio 10, Manzo 9, Murrell 6, Gozum 4, Dario 2, Tungcab 2, Lim 0, Vito 0, Santiago 0, Longa 0, Espanola 0. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 11th, 2018

ABL: Alab has no answer for 7-5 Deguara as Mono evens Finals series

STA. ROSA, LAGUNA - Sam Deguara has been, literally, the biggest difference in the 2017-2018 Asean Basketball Finals. Fouling out in the endgame the last time around, the 7-foot-5 made sure to wreak havoc all game long in this one to tow Thailand’s Mono Vampire to a gritty 103-100 victory versus Alab Pilipinas on Wednesday at the Sta. Rosa Multi-Purpose Complex. Deguara towered above all of Renaldo Balkman, Lo Domingo, and JR Alabanza to pound in 30 points, 20 rebounds, and five blocks and ultimately lifted the Thais into evening the best-of-five series at 1-1. It was also the reinforcement from Malta who made good on the basket and bonus that broke off a tied tally of 98-all and built up a 101-98 advantage in his team’s favor with 1:10 remaining. Balkman came right back with a short stab in the next possession, but that would be the last bucket the Filipinos would hit as Ray Parks Jr. and Justin Brownlee botched their attempts in the dying moments. Deguara had backup as American import Mike Singletary and Filipino import Paul Zamar scored 26 and 12 points, respectively. Filipino-American Jason Brickman also masterfully quarterbacked their offense and totaled 15 points, 11 assists, six rebounds, and two steals. Now, both momentum and homecourt advantage are with Mono as the series swings to Bangkok. Nonetheless, the Philippines will go all out to overcome the odds. Freshly-crowned Defensive Player of the Year Balkman showed the way for Alab with 37 points, 12 rebounds, six assists, two blocks, and two steals while newly-minted Local MVP Parks Jr. contributed 21 markers, eight boards, four dimes, three pilfers, and two rejections. Brownlee got off to a strong start with 11 points in the first quarter, but only wound up with 14. He also battled an apparent leg injury that forced him to the bench near the end of the third quarter. He missed majority of the final frame and was clearly not 100 percent when he launched his triple tries in the last 15 seconds that would have forced overtime. —— Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 25th, 2018

Harden, Rockets pass first postseason test

By Sekou Smith, NBA.com HOUSTON — If the long road to June basketball is to come to fruition for the best regular-season team in basketball, it had to start like this for the Houston Rockets. That first step, that first foray into the great postseason abyss, required this sort of confirmation from the No. 1 overall seed in the entire tournament, so to speak. There’s no room for Cinderellas around here, no slaying of Goliath, not on Clint Capela’s watch. Not with James Harden on the case when the Rockets needed it most, and especially at crunch time. And not with Chris Paul, chip planted firmly on his shoulder as always, eyeballing bigger and better things than being the best from late October to mid-April. So it won’t be easy. Nobody said it would be. And let’s be clear, the Minnesota Timberwolves are not a normal eight seed. Not really. A healthy Jimmy Butler and the infusion of veteran talent that helped end the second longest playoff drought in NBA history this season makes that big a difference. They certainly did Sunday night (Monday, PHL time) at Toyota Center, when the Rockets were forced to battle until the very end for a 104-101 win despite a 44-point masterpiece from Harden. But like everyone else who dealt with these juggernaut Rockets all season long, Harden and his crew proved to be too much with the game on the line. With Harden on the bench and the game tied at 85 with 6:49 to play, the script was already written. He came in for Paul with 6:07 to play and the Rockets up a point, and promptly scored on a driving layup. He stole the ball and then scored on a driving floater. After a Capela block, he scored on a driving layup. By the time he knocked down a three-pointer with 4:27 left, the Rockets’ lead was back up to eight points, 94-86, and it was clear that Harden was going to do whatever it took — scoring, playmaking and even defending — to keep Game 1 from going awry. It was vintage work from the maestro who has owned the floor most every night since the season opener, when Harden and the Rockets went into Oracle Arena as the reigning champion Golden State Warriors hung another banner and collected those diamond-laced title rings and walked off the floor winners. “Another day for James,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said after Harden finished one point shy of his playoff career-high. “He’s done it all year and he really stepped up. We were struggling to make shots, struggling to really have any kind of rhythm of play and James put us on his back and he’s been doing it for a while now.” D’Antoni will have to forgive the rest of us, including the frontrunner for the Kia MVP this season, for not digesting his theory about the playoffs being something other than a referendum on his team’s magical regular season. Harden operated like someone keenly aware of what was at stake with the Timberwolves, each and every one of them, trying in vain to slow him down. “Honestly, I just try to be aggressive and make the right play,” Harden said. “Things got slowed up a little bit, just try to be aggressive with my shot and fortunately it went in.” Jimmy Butler is an All-Star and one of the league’s best two-way players. Derrick Rose is a former Kia MVP himself, and still has enough juice left to make things difficult for someone when he locks in the way he did on this night. And neither one of them had any luck slowing Harden down during his second-half blitz. He scored 25 of his points in the final 18 minutes, making play after play when the Timberwolves appeared to be on the verge of potentially pulling off a shocker. “There were several plays in which I thought we defended well and he made shots,” Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau said. “James is that type of player and we’ve seen it all year, [he’s] very difficult to guard. Basically, you have to guard him with your whole team. And it’s not just his scoring, but his playmaking and all the things that he does.” The Rockets won on a night when they shot a brutal 27 percent (10-for-37) from beyond the three-point line, where they’ve feasted on the opposition all season. They roasted the Timberwolves from distance during their regular season match ups to the tune of 43.4 percent and more than doubled them up in three-point makes during those games, but made just two more Sunday night (Monday, PHL time). Harden was 7-for-12 from deep, a playoff career-high for makes, while the rest of the Rockets shot a combined 3-for-25. And he was draining his shots with hands in his face routinely. “He’s an MVP candidate and you know why,” said Timberwolves big man Taj Gibson. “Every time the game was ‘mono e mono’ and they were in a tight spot, he just took over the game. He made some tough shots, he played phenomenal tonight. We were trying to throw everything at him, he’s a talented player.” He’s clearly much more than that. “I mean yeah, he’s a hell of a player,” Butler said. “Everyone knows that. But you don’t just guard him with one guy. It’s everybody out there, everybody has to be in the correct position. Challenge shots; contest them at the rim, but more than anything, if there is a miss we’ve got to get the rebound and take off the other way. But we didn’t do any of that tonight, we’ve got to be better [in Game 2] on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time).” Thibodeau had to turn to his bench to stay in the game before halftime and they delivered, scoring 19 points and playing with an energy level that matched what the Rockets did regardless of who was on the floor. Rose (nine points), Jamal Crawford (seven) and Gorgui Dieng (three) did all that bench scoring, which was the only way to offset the furious 49 points Capela and Harden combined for before the break. Jeff Teague’s three fouls and Butler’s defensive task, trying to keep Harden under wraps, required so much of his attention that the scoring load had to be picked up by someone else. He went scoreless in the first quarter and just never seemed to get untracked early on, finishing with just 13 points on 4-for-11 shooting. It’s an issue the Timberwolves won’t be able to scheme their way out of in this series, not as long as Capela is the most energetic and effective young big man on either team. He outscored the All-Star Towns 20-3 before the break and out rebounded him 10-5, adding two blocks and a steal to drive home the point that he’s up for this challenge all series long. “Man, Clint was all over the place, both ends of the court offensively and defensively,” Paul said. “You see him defending KAT, who’s a tough cover in the post. You know I’m low, and I weak side and I’m watching him go up for the hook, and then I’m watching Clint block it, and then he’s running. he was unbelievable tonight and we’re going to need that all season.” Capela finished his night with 24 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks while Towns didn’t crack double digits in the scoring column (eight points on 3-for-9 shooting, 12 rebounds in a team-high 40 minutes of action). Chalk it up as a lesson learned for the playoff rookie. That must-win game the Timberwolves won at home over Denver Wednesday night had all the hype and intensity of a playoff game, only it wasn’t. Thibodeau credited the Rockets’ defense, the swarming and double-teaming of Towns, for slowing the big man down. “He has to be more active,” Thibodeau said, before praising the Rockets for perhaps their most underrated trait this season: The ability to lock down defensively. “They’re good, they’re very good. They’re tied together, they do a lot of switching and after the switch they read the ball extremely well. They react, they swarm, and so you have ti make good decisions, you have to make good plays. You have to have the ability to read and react.” Funny, that’s what the Rockets’ best player does perhaps as well as any other player in the league right now. Harden reads and reacts accordingly, always seemingly coming up with the right play at the right time. That’s how you know he’s in the moment right now, as are the rest of the Rockets. No matter how many times and how many different ways anyone tries to deflect attention from the obvious, they comprehend every bit of what lies ahead for a team riding into the postseason on the strength of a 65-win regular season that saw them run away from the competition. They wouldn’t have souls if they didn’t. They wouldn’t be human if they hadn’t already calculated the weight of the best regular season in franchise history times a wide-open postseason equaling something that’s never been done here, which says a lot for a franchise that has two Larry O’Brien trophies to show off. They know how important each and every step on this current journey is, starting with Sunday night’s very first choppy ones. Any suggestion to the contrary is, shall we say, a distant cousin of the truth. But we’ll play along for now, at the beginning. Sekou Smith is a veteran NBA reporter and NBA TV analyst. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 16th, 2018

Bullpups’ tears can only turn into a title next season

Terrence Fortea was fighting back tears after seeing Nazareth School of National University’s six-point lead in the last five minutes morph into a four-point deficit. Tears in their eyes, but really, really nothing to be ashamed of for these Bullpups. They pushed this dominant Ateneo team to its very limit. Watch out, UAAP.. NU will be very, very hungry next season. pic.twitter.com/J0zBHAiRbe — Normie Riego (@riegogogo) Marso 2, 2018 The Bullpups would battle back and still tie the tally, but ultimately, would fall to Ateneo de Manila High School in the winner-take all Game 3 of the Finals. Asked about his moment on the bench, he answered, “Maganda na kumpyansa namin nun, pero iniisip ko lang na ‘di pa tapos talaga. Sinasabi ko sa sarili ko, ‘di muna magse-celebrate.” It was the feisty guard who had an amazing sequence that included a floater, a triple, and an assist that put the Bullpups on top, 54-48. However, it was also him who had a missed three and a turnover that allowed the Blue Eaglets to snatch away the lead and the momentum they would never relinquish. And so, after the game, after NU surrendered the title to Ateneo, Fortea let his emotions out, at long last. Terrence Fortea turns emotional as NU loses it’s six-point lead in the last five minutes of Game 3. pic.twitter.com/ycgFtrw56E — Normie Riego (@riegogogo) Marso 3, 2018 The tears, as it turns out, were not necessarily because they just lost the championship. It was all because this season, a season in which the new-look Bullpups had just come together, has met its end. “Months lang kaming nagkabuo tas ganun narrating namin. Yung Ateneo pa, natalo namin,” he said. He then continued, “Kala nga namin, mananalo talaga kami, na-short talaga e.” Fortea and NU had a new head coach in Goldwin Monteverde. This, after six seasons under the tutelage of multi-titled mentor Jeff Napa. Clearly, though, they didn’t take long to get together and found themselves taking the dominant Blue Eaglets to the limit. With the tears, also comes a fierier desire to bounce back next season. “Gutom na gutom kami dahil sa nangyari,” Fortea expressed. How hungry, you ask? “Bukas pa lang, magre-ready na kami for next season,” he said. Watch out UAAP, Terrence Fortea can only get better – and he is bound take the Bullpups along for the ride. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 3rd, 2018

Pirates re-assert mastery over Stags to make PCCL Finals

In the first 20 minutes of the semifinals of the 2018 Philippine Collegiate Champions League (PCCL), Lyceum of the Philippines University scored 35 points. In the next 12 minutes, they scored 33. Jaycee Marcelino starred with 27 points, 10 rebounds, and one steal, and the Pirates imposed their will on San Sebastian College-Recoletos in the second half to come away with an 82-69 decision on Monday at the Filoil Flying V Centre. The Golden Stags were keeping close and only down by five at the half until Marcelino and LPU’s usual suspects went on a 33-17 onslaught to mount a 68-47 edge early in the final frame. Their lead would only rise to as high as 22 from then on. Alongside Marcelino, usual suspects Mike Nzeusseu contributed a 13-point, 13-rebound double-double while MJ Ayaay and CJ Perez chipped in 12 and 11 markers, respectively. With that, the Pirates remain undefeated in four games as they head into a Finals showdown with either NCAA rival san Beda College and UAAP champion Ateneo de Manila University. Ryan Costelo paced Baste with 15 points. BOX SCORES LPU 82 – Marcelino JC 24, Nzeusseu 13, Ayaay 12, Perez 11, Ibanez 10, Tansingco 7, Caduyac 2, Marcelino JV 2, Liwag 1, Cinco 0, Santos 0, Serrano 0 SAN SEBASTIAN 69 – Costelo 15, Capobres 12, Bulanadi 9, David 8, Navarro 6, Ilagan 5, Calisaan 5, Cosari 4, Baytan 3, Baetiong 2, Valdez 0, Mercado 0, Calma 0, Dela Cruz 0 QUARTER SCORES: 19-20, 35-30, 61-47, 82-69 --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 12th, 2018

Bazemore hits winning shot, Hawks beat Pelicans 94-93

By Paul Newberry, Associated Press ATLANTA (AP) — Kent Bazemore hit a jumper with 2.1 seconds remaining and the Hawks rallied from 19 points down to beat the New Orleans Pelicans 94-93 Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) before a sparse crowd on an icy night in Atlanta. With the score tied at 92, DeMarcus Cousins drew a blocking foul on John Collins with 13.7 seconds remaining, earning a trip to the foul line. Cousins made only one, giving the Hawks a chance to pull out the victory. .@24Bazemore comes up BIG for the @ATLHawks in #CrunchTime! 🔥 pic.twitter.com/a57TuUTgb9 — NBA TV (@NBATV) January 18, 2018 Bazemore knocked down the winning shot with Anthony Davis in his face. New Orleans had one last chance, inbounding the ball to Cousins near the hoop. He came up short on a quick shot, pleading with the officials for a foul call while the Hawks celebrated. Bazemore led the Hawks with 20 points, while rookie John Collins added 18. Jrue Holiday paced the Pelicans with 22 points, while Cousins had 19 points and 14 rebounds. But Davis was held to just eight points on 2-of-8 shooting. Coming off a victory over San Antonio, the Hawks won back-to-back games for only the second time this season and snapped the Pelicans’ three-game winning streak. The Hawks started quickly, knocking down four of their first six shots — including a couple of three-pointers — but it was all Pelicans the rest of the first half. The Hawks missed seven straight shots during two different stretches in the first quarter and endured another long drought at the beginning of the second period, going nearly five minutes without a field goal. New Orleans ripped off 12 straight points to erase Atlanta’s early edge and pushed ahead twice by as many as 19 before settling for a 60-45 lead at the break. The Hawks wiped out that big deficit by the end of the third quarter. The Pelicans made only 3-of-18 shots in a 10-point period, allowing Atlanta to grab a 71-70 lead heading to the fourth. The game was played after a winter storm moved through Atlanta, leading most schools and businesses to shut down for the day because of treacherous roads. The upper deck wasn’t even used, allowing everyone in the estimated turnout of around 5,000 to watch the contest from the lower level. The announced attendance was 10,894, the smallest crowd of the season at Philips Arena. TIP-INS Pelicans: Davis, coming off a 45-point effort in a win at Boston, and was held to single figures for only the second time this season. ... New Orleans had a season-low 33 points in the second half, missing their first eight shots after the break. Hawks: C Dewayne Dedmon fouled out with 4:48 remaining after playing 20 minutes off the bench. He had 10 rebounds. ... F Luke Babbitt, who was on the inactive list, hasn’t played in five straight games. In fact, he’s gotten in only two of the last 13 games — scoring five points in just over 13 minutes of playing time — after making nine starts early in the season. ... The Hawks came into the night ranked last in the league with an average attendance 14,239 — more than 1,300 less per game than the next-lowest team, the Indiana Pacers. UP NEXT Pelicans: Return home Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) to face the Memphis Grizzlies. Hawks: Continue a six-game homestand by hosting the Chicago Bulls on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 18th, 2018

C.J. Williams hits 3 to lift Clippers over Hawks 108-107

By Tim Liotta, Associated Press LOS ANGELES (AP) — C.J. Williams hit a three-pointer from the left wing with nine seconds left to lift the Los Angeles Clippers over the Atlanta Hawks 108-107 on Monday night (Tuesday, PHL time). Lou Williams led Los Angeles with 34 points but missed a late three that was rebounded by Wesley Johnson. He passed the ball out to C.J. Williams for a shot that snapped the Clippers’ two-game skid. Taurean Prince missed a 15-foot jumper with three seconds remaining on Atlanta’s last possession. DeAndre Jordan added 25 points and 18 rebounds as Los Angeles won despite blowing a 13-point lead in the third quarter. The Clippers played without leading scorer Blake Griffin, who suffered a concussion Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) against Golden State. Prince scored 20 points, Dennis Schroder added 18 and Kent Bazemore and Ersan Ilyasova had 13 apiece for Atlanta, which lost its fourth straight. With the score tied at 105, Lou Williams missed a short shot and Bazemore made two free throws after being fouled in the lane with 23 seconds to play, putting Atlanta up 107-105. After C.J. Williams hit a floater from the left baseline with 3:35 left, tying the score at 99, Bazemore followed up a layup with a three-pointer to give Atlanta a 104-100 lead with 2:11 to play. After Lou Williams committed a turnover, Bazemore was fouled by Jordan and hit one of two free throws for a 105-99 advantage. The Hawks then decided to foul Jordan on three consecutive possessions. He made 5-of-6 free throws to pull Los Angeles to 105-104 with 1:08 left. The Clippers forced an Atlanta turnover on the ensuing inbounds play, and Juwan Evans made the first of two free throws. Johnson was called for basket interference as the second shot hung on the rim, giving Atlanta the ball with the score tied at 105. GRIFFIN UPDATE Griffin was inactive against the Hawks, but did ride an exercise bike during the Clippers’ workout earlier in the day and continues to progress toward a return that coach Doc Rivers expects to be at least three or four days away. “He’s passed a couple of tests already,” Rivers said. “The whole (concussion) protocol thing now, you have to go through the entire protocol. I think he has another couple of tests to pass, and we’ll just have to wait.” TIP-INS Hawks: Prince was a game-time decision, as the Hawks wanted to see how he felt about his dislocated right ring finger after pregame warmups. Prince was injured in the first quarter against the Lakers the night before. ... Fifth-year center Dewayne Dedmon was under a minutes restriction in his first game after missing 19 with a left tibia stress reaction, coach Mike Budenholzer said. “He’s fit us well,” Budenholzer said. “His leadership and personality have been a welcomed addition this year. I think getting those things back on the court, we’re all looking forward to it.” Clippers: Los Angeles played without four of its five opening-night starters (Griffin, Patrick Beverley, Danilo Gallinari and Milos Teodosic), and the first man off the bench that night, Austin Rivers. Jordan was the only opening-night starter to play against the Hawks. ... Jordan, a career 43 percent free throw shooter, made 21 of his 25 free throws over the previous four games. UP NEXT Hawks: At the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time). Clippers: At the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 9th, 2018