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In Focus: 5 Reasons Why SNSD s SONEs Are The Most Loyal Fans

They've been there for their idols for more than a decade already!.....»»

Category: lifestyleSource: abscbn abscbnSep 19th, 2018

BanKo Perlas Set to Keep the Ball Rolling in Vietnam, PVL Open Conference

Following their successful stint in the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Reinforced Conference, the BanKo Perlas Spikers ride on the momentum as they prepare for the back-to-back competitions in PVL Season 2 Open Conference on September 22 and the upcoming Vin Lonh tournament in Vietnam on September 28 to October 3, 2018. The BanKo Perlas Spikers will face three Vietnamese teams and a squad from Thailand in the prestigious Vietnam tournament. The team’s participation in the conference is a strategic move to train them for the different leagues, particularly the PVL Open Conference. “Banko Perlas Spikers is a fairly new team, as the girls have been playing together for just two years. Their exposure to Vin Lonh Volleyball tournament is a great opportunity for the ladies to further hone their skills, individually and as a squad,” shared Charo Soriano, Team Manager of BanKo Perlas. “While this is an overseas competition and the teams that we will be up against are considered giants, at the end of the day, we will focus on the learning and experiences. More than winning, the team is concentrated on giving a good fight every game,” Soriano added. The ladies of BanKo Perlas Spikers gave a breakthrough performance in the PVL Reinforced Conference earlier this year; with an unbeaten streak in the quarterfinals round that earned them a spot in the Final Four. This incredible feat has fortified the trust and support of their fans. Before flying off to Vietnam, the team will face Iriga-Navy and PetroGazz at the Flying V Centre, San Juan City on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. The team will return on October 6 to continue playing against the PVL teams. When asked how their supporters come into play in the team’s performance, Soriano highlighted that without their fans rallying behind the team, it will not be possible to get where they are. She also shared that their supporters are the source of their strength and in return, the squad is committed to continuously inspire and reach out to them. The team’s mindset to put their supporters first was emphasized further through their partnership with BPI Direct BanKo (BanKo), the microfinance subsidiary of Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI). Sponsoring a sports team is almost unheard of from the banking industry. BanKo, however, found the perfect marriage with the PVL third placer, who constantly get in touch with the grassroots to promote the sport. “We are a happy partner of the Banko Perlas Spikers. Their skills are undeniable, but what sets them apart is their heart to reach out to fans nationwide, even to those who barely have access to their matches. This is well aligned with BanKo’s vision to make financial services more accessible to everyone,” stated BanKo president Jerome Minglana. “As they compete on Vietnamese courts representing our country, regardless of the outcome, it will only ignite and empower the team's loyal supporters and boost the local Volleyball further.  BanKo is equally excited to witness this exciting journey unfold,” Minglana concluded.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 19th, 2018

Chipper Jones shines in Hall of Fame induction speech

By John Kekis, Associated Press COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. (AP) — Chipper Jones didn't bow to the pressure of the moment, and it was considerable. Jones was inducted Sunday into the Baseball Hall of Fame, and he stood there delivering his speech with wife Taylor staring up at him, hours away from giving birth to a son to be named Cooper in honor of the special day. Faced with that daunting task, Jones delivered flawlessly, just as he did during a 19-year career with the Atlanta Braves. "She changed my life forever," Jones said as his wife brushed away tears. "It took me 40 years and some major imperfections in me along the way to find my true profession. Now we've taken our two families and blended them together. It has given me what I've been searching for my entire life —true happiness." A crowd estimated at about 50,000 gathered on a sun-splashed day to honor six former players. Also enshrined were Jim Thome, Vladimir Guerrero, Trevor Hoffman and former Detroit Tigers teammates Jack Morris and Alan Trammell. Jones controlled his emotions in a speech that took the crowd through his entire career, starting with his rookie season when he helped lead the Braves to the 1995 World Series title. He was one of the greatest switch-hitters in baseball history, in the mold of his dad's favorite player, Mickey Mantle, and finished with a .303 career batting average, 468 home runs, and 1,623 RBIs, credentials that earned him election on the first try. Jones also heaped praise on his mom and dad — "You're the reason I'm on this stage," he said — and ended his speech by thanking the loyal Atlanta fans. "You stuck by me," he said. "You're the reason I never want to play anywhere else. I love you guys. Thank you." Emotional during a Hall of Fame visit in February to tour the museum in preparation for this day, Thome held it together despite having to wipe away tears after his daughter Lila sang the national anthem. Like Jones, he heaped praise on his wife, Andrea. "Obviously, induction into the Hall of Fame is one of the greatest honors of my life," Thome said. "The best thing, though, that's ever happened to me is the day you agreed to marry me. You are without a doubt the best teammate I could ever have and, with the world as my witness, I love you more today than ever." The lefty-swinging Thome hit 612 home runs, eighth all-time, and had an MLB record 13 walk-off homers, mostly for the Cleveland Indians. Thome marveled that the genesis of this moment was hitting rocks on a gravel driveway with an aluminum bat as a kid. "It's been my great privilege to have played the game for as long as I did," he said. "And I can say this with certainty, the possibilities are just as important as the outcome. Living the dream that is major league baseball, the best part is not the result but taking the journey with the people whose contributions make it all possible. "I'm so honored to be part of something so special. Baseball is beautiful, and I am forever in its service." Greeted by hundreds of fans waving Dominican Republic flags, Guerrero spoke in his native Spanish in a speech that was translated from Spanish and lasted just five minutes. He thanked his father and mother, who cooked dinners for him and does the same now for his son, and the fans and the people in his hometown of Don Gregorio. His son Vladimir Jr., the top prospect in the minor leagues with the Blue Jays, was in attendance. The nine-time All-Star outfielder batted .318 with 449 homers and 1,496 RBIs and is the first player inducted wearing the cap of the Angels, the team where he enjoyed his greatest success. Just as he did in his unflappable role in the bullpen during his career as an ace reliever, Hoffman was flawless in delivering his speech, also closing it by thanking his wife, Tracy. "You shared with me this amazing journey of ups and downs from the beginning, always never letting me get too high or get too low," Hoffman said. "I love you." Hoffman played the bulk of his career with the San Diego Padres before finishing with the Milwaukee Brewers. After failing to impress the front office in three years as a shortstop, he switched to the bullpen and became a star. Using a stultifying change-up, Hoffman recorded 601 saves over 18 seasons, second all-time to former Yankees star Mariano Rivera's 652. He also credited his parents for his success. "Mom, dad, you're the biggest reason I'm on this stage," Hoffman said. "In fact, you're all of my reasons. Not a day goes by that I'm not thankful for all both of you have done. I love you both beyond words." Morris, now 63, spent 15 years on the ballot before getting the call from the Hall of Fame last December. Known for his toughness on the mound, he pitched 18 seasons for the Tigers, Twins, Blue Jays and Indians, and played on four World Series champions. The crowning achievement of his career was his 1-0, 10-inning complete-game victory in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series while pitching for his hometown Twins against the Braves. Among those he thanked were his dad and his late mother and the late Sparky Anderson, who managed the Tigers to the 1984 World Series championship. "Thank you mom and dad for everything you taught me and have done for me," Morris said, his voice cracking with emotion as he looked at his dad. "Mom, I know you're smiling down on us today. Dad, thank you for instilling in me the work ethic that was so vital to my success, but more than that you showed equal love for all your children. "I know Sparky Anderson is with us here today," Morris added. "He taught me so many things, especially to respect this great game. He taught me a valuable lesson by allowing me to fail and fight through adversity." Trammell, who played shortstop for 20 seasons — all for the Tigers — and Morris were selected together by a veterans committee, which made the day extra special for the Motor City. "We signed together in 1976, spent 13 years together in Detroit, and now 42 years later, Cooperstown. Wow!" Morris said. Trammell earned six All-Star Game selections, four Gold Glove Awards and three Silver Slugger Awards. His .977 fielding percentage ranks sixth among shortstops with at least 2,000 games played. During his tenure, the Tigers had one of the great double play combinations in MLB history in Trammell and second baseman Lou Whitaker, who was in the audience on a special day for the Motor City. "For 19 years Lou Whitaker and I formed the longest running double play combination in the history of baseball," Trammell said, recalling the two were called up to the Tigers on the same day. "Lou, it was an honor and a pleasure to have played alongside you all those years. I hope someday you'll be up here, too.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 30th, 2018

Wenger to leave Arsenal after more than 21 years in charge

By Rob Harris, Associated Press LONDON (AP) — Arsene Wenger is leaving Arsenal after more than 21 years, ending a revolutionary reign that saw him introduce new methods to the Premier League and become the club's most successful manager. While the 68-year-old Frenchman was able to announce his own departure plans on Friday, the tenure of English soccer's longest-serving manager will finish at the end of the season against a backdrop of mounting dissent as the London club's competitiveness in the Premier League has waned. Arsenal has failed to win the Premier League since 2004, but that feat represented the highpoint of Wenger's career as he became only the second manager to go through an English league season unbeaten. The "Invincibles" season, his third Premier League title, helped shield Wenger against the critics. But Wenger's power appeared to drain over the last year as executives trying to shape the future direction of the team were brought in. The new two-year contract that Wenger signed after winning the FA Cup for a record seventh time last May will now not be completed. "After careful consideration and following discussions with the club, I feel it is the right time for me to step down at the end of the season," Wenger said. "I am grateful for having had the privilege to serve the club for so many memorable years. I managed the club with full commitment and integrity. "I urge our fans to stand behind the team to finish on a high. To all the Arsenal lovers take care of the values of the club. My love and support for ever." Even though Arsenal is sixth in the Premier League, there can still be a successful conclusion to the season with the team in contention for the Europa League. Arsenal's appearance in the competition, though, is a sign of the recent demise under Wenger. Arsenal became accustomed to qualifying for the Champions League before missing out for the first time in two decades after finishing fifth last season. Winning the Europa League is now Arsenal's only realistic way of Wenger bequeathing his successor a place next season in the more illustrious Champions League. With Wenger's footprints all over the Emirates Stadium, finding a coach to step into the dugout after a dynastic reign is a challenge. Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke only has to look at the problems that have afflicted Manchester United since Alex Ferguson retired in 2013 after more than 26 years in charge. United is on its third manger since Ferguson left after winning a record-extending 20th English title and has not finished higher than fourth. Among the early contenders to succeed Wenger are two Germans: Thomas Tuchel, who left Borussia Dortmund last year, and Germany coach Joachim Loew. A popular appointment among Arsenal fans could be Patrick Vieira, who has been gaining coaching experience in Major League Soccer at New York City FC. The midfielder was one of Wenger's first signings in 1996 and featured in all three Premier League title-winning sides. Wenger took over in October 1996 as Arsenal's first foreign manager on the back of successes at Monaco and a stint in charge of Japanese club Grampus Eight. He was a relative unknown but quickly gained respect for helping to modernize English soccer in the early years of the Premier League, eradicating Arsenal's drinking culture and introducing new sports science methods. Adding Vieira and French players Nicolas Anelka, Emmanuel Petit and Thierry Henry helped to establish Arsenal as an English soccer power until Wenger was shackled by the financial constraints of the move from Highbury into the new Emirates Stadium in 2006. It coincided with the rise of foreign investment in rival clubs, with Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich transforming Chelsea and Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Mansour raising the stakes by lavishing even more cash on players at Manchester City. While Arsenal was taken over by Kroenke in 2011, the American sports tycoon operated in a parsimonious financial environment that irritated many supporters. Now Kroenke, who told The Associated Press in 2016 that he was "very high on Arsene," has the tough task of replacing Wenger. "This is one of the most difficult days we have ever had in all our years in sport," Kroenke said. "One of the main reasons we got involved with Arsenal was because of what Arsene has brought to the club on and off the pitch. His longevity and consistency over such a sustained period at the highest level of the game will never be matched. "Arsene has unparalleled class and we will always be grateful to him. Everyone who loves Arsenal and everyone who loves football owes him a debt of gratitude." Arsenal said it will make an appointment "as soon as possible." "We have high ambitions to build on Arsene's remarkable tenure and to honor his vision by ensuring that Arsenal competes for and wins the biggest and most important prizes in the game," Kroenke said. "We must now focus on making a strong finish to the season and ask our millions of fans around the world to join us in paying appropriate tribute to one of the greats of Arsenal's history and one of the greats of the game."  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 20th, 2018

UAAP Volleyball: Bernadeth Pons: Probinsyana with a Superstar Soul

In a time where gadgets have pretty much taken over the lives of majority of the world’s population, Bernadeth Pons prefers to keep things simple. Instead of swiping her phone for the latest news on Twitter or organizing her feed on Instagram, FEU’s Team Captain and graduate of Financial Management would rather spend time inside the athlete’s dormitory to sleep. While that sounds boring, the 21-year old Pons reasons that she needs all the energy she can get to complete her Master’s degree in Business Administration and perform at the highest level in her final season in the UAAP. The 5’7” open spiker is currently the fourth best scorer in the league averaging 15.2 points per match. She is also ranked third in both digging and receiving. Because of her all-around brilliance, there is a fairly good amount of fans on social media who have been campaigning for Pons to be named MVP of Season 80. But, of course, Pons is oblivious to that. In fact, she didn’t even know that she was included in the 34-player wish list of new National Team Head Coach Ramil de Jesus. It took a text message from her younger sister, Melody, who lives in their hometown of Talisay, Negros Occidental for Pons to learn about the development. “Ha? Saan galing yan?” was her honest reply. To Pons, playing for the national team goes beyond her wildest dreams. And while she feels very much honored to have her name considered for a spot, Pons says her current focus is with FEU. After all, it was the school that provided her with a means to fulfill her goals and make her parents proud. From Softball to Volleyball Pons was born in Malolos, Bulacan where her father, Roberto and mother, Maryjen met. A year after her birth, the family moved to Talisay where Roberto started playing baseball recreationally. When his eldest daughter grew big enough to play, she also took a liking to the sport. Pons would even join the boys play catch during her elementary days at Efigenio-Enrica Lizares Memorial School. Unfortunately, there was no softball team for Pons to try-out for. That’s when her classmate, Allen Joy Esponilia invited her to try-out for the volleyball team. “Nung una, sobrang hirap kasi wala talaga akong alam eh. Kahit dig, dig lang, kung saan-saan pumupunta. Nahihiya ako sa ka-partner ko kasi syempre, alam na niya yung basics ng volleyball. Naiiyak na nga ako kasi palagi nalang tumatalsik,” recalled Pons, who was 10 years old at the time. But, the challenge of excelling at a sport where she had no background in challenged the young Pons. Eventually, she learned how to dig up powerful spikes and became a libero. In the fifth grade, she experienced her first major competition by participating in the Palarong Pambansa held in Palawan and representing Region 6 – Western Visayas where she teamed up with Kim Gequillana and Ayel Estraňero. It was the first of five Palarong Pambansa events she would participate in. In those competitions, Pons played against numerous future UAAP stars like Jia Morado, Desiree Cheng, Majoy Baron, Jhoana Maraguinot and a powerhouse Region 7 – Central Visayas squad that featured Sisi Rondina, Dimdim Pacres, Rica Rivera and CJ Saga. Leap of Faith As she got older, Pons began developing her spiking prowess and caught the eye of the legendary Roger Gorayeb, who wanted to bring her to San Sebastian College-Recoletos. But, she was reluctant to leave home. “Wala akong idea about life dito sa Manila. So, hindi ko alam kung tutuloy ba ako or hindi. Dumating sa point na nag-decide kami ng Papa ko na doon nalang sa amin ako mag college,” explained Pons. During her final year in high school in 2013, then FEU Head Coach Shaq delos Santos went to the Regional Meet in Roxas City, Capiz to recruit the reluctant Pons. Delos Santos was persistent in convincing her to come and be a part of his plan to revive the volleyball program of the university. The free education, food and accessibility to the training facilities finally convinced Pons to take a leap of faith.   “Naisip ko, pag doon ako sa probinsya, mamamasahe ako every day, mabigat din sa parents ko. So, yun talaga yung sabi ko, ‘O-oo na ako’. Nag-decide ako na mag go-go na ako sa Maynila,” recalled Pons. For someone who never imagined leaving her hometown, Pons didn’t have any trouble making her mark in the UAAP as she immediately led the Lady Tamaraws in scoring (11.8 points per match) as a rookie. She would become FEU’s leading scorer in each of her UAAP stints which includes Final Four appearances in the past three seasons. Last Stretch Now that Pons is approaching the last stretch of her collegiate career and with FEU in a good position to attain a twice-to-beat advantage in the post-season for the first time since 2009, she is more focused than ever on the task at hand. Should the Lady Tamaraws beat NU in their last elimination round game on Sunday and if Ateneo loses to La Salle, FEU will enter the Final Four as the number two ranked team. But, Pons knows it won’t be easy as the Lady Bulldogs will be out for redemption. “Kami kasi yung unang tumalo sa kanila sa first round. So, palagi namin rine-remind yung bawat isa na yung NU, pipilitin nilang bumawi sa atin. Tapos sila, nothing to lose kasi kahit ano mangyari, number four na sila. Eh tayo, may hinahabol tayo na number two. Hindi puwedeng magpabaya tayo kasi NU pa rin yan. Lalaban at lalaban yan,” shared Pons. It’s been a decade since FEU last won the UAAP Women’s Volleyball title. While Pons has already achieved her initial goal of earning a college degree, she still has that burning desire to give back to the school that gave her the opportunity to help her family and leave a lasting legacy in the process. “Gusto ko maalala nila ako bilang isa sa mga nakapagbalik ng crown sa FEU. Sobrang tagal nang nawala ang FEU sa championship. Yun yung gusto namin ibalik ulit,” declared Pons. All Pons ever wanted was to ease the burden on her parents by graduating from school. The game of volleyball has given her a means to accomplish that and so much more. She’s become one of the UAAP’s brightest stars and may wear the colors of the Philippine flag one day. But, no matter what happens, she will always be that same humble girl from Talisay, inspiring countless others like her to be brave and go for great. Catch Bernadeth Pons and the FEU Tamaraws take on the NU Bulldogs on April 15, Sunday, 12 noon LIVE on S+A, S+A HD, Liga, Liga HD and via livestream......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 15th, 2018

UE: Rod Roque – The Accidental Coach

“Nakakatawa nga eh. I’ve never played volleyball in my life! Never!” A fact University of East head coach Rod Roque admitted when he talked to sports scribes after his first stint with the Lady Warriors in just the sixth game of the squad in the UAAP Season 80 women’s volleyball tournament. Just two days before, Francis Vicente parted ways with UE after three and a half seasons with a futile 2-45 win-loss record. The Lady Warriors absorbed their 12th straight defeat since Season 79 a day before he resigned. Then they found Roque, the school’s representative to the UAAP Board, a perfect fit. But with a losing record and a team lacking confidence, why would UE hire an interim coach that had no volleyball background? The answer is simple. The school’s management wanted someone that they can trust, a person who has been loyal to the Recto-based university and a tactician that can hold the fort until they can find a proper replacement. Plus, it’s an added bonus that the man they chose for the interim spot made miracles in their boy’s volleyball program. Heck, the man gave UE high school more titles than the other teams’ number of boy’s crowns combined. But Roque is also quick to temper UE management’s expectations. “Siympre mahirap because people might expect a miracle. Sabi ko naman sa management when they told me, sabi ko, ‘Don’t expect a miracle because a miracle doesn’t happen overnight.”   A Twist of Fate Roque may not have the volleyball background like the other UAAP coaches but he excelled in a different kind of sport.      “High school, college, noong estudyante pa ako gymnast ako,” said Roque, a true-blooded Red Warrior with a BS Physical Education degree. He was a member of the national men’s all-around gymnastics team and even represented the country in different international tournaments. “Nakapunta kami sa Asian Youth, sa National games. Di ko lang nalaro yung SEA (Southeast Asian) Games,” he said. After finishing his Masters degree in UE in 1992, Roque grew tired of gymnastics and decided to pursue his love of teaching, working as a PE instructor in the same university. Then fate brought him into coaching high school boy’s volleyball.         “Una ko na-discover sa intramural volleyball. Kumuha kami ng player noong intrams. Nagtayo kami ng team, nananalo naman kami. So yun na yung umpisa,” he said. With the UE boy’s team success, the late athletic director Brenn Perez saw a lot of potential with the Junior Warriors and he decided to field the squad in the UAAP.   “Nakita ng director namin, si Mr. Perez na nagtsa-champion kami sa mga invitational. So nag-propose siya sa UAAP na isama na ‘yung UAAP jrs volleyball. Ayun. Since 1996 nagstart yung UAAP Jrs. volleyball sa (UE),” said Roque. But UE wasn’t as successful as it was in the other tournaments the Junior Warriors joined. De La Salle-Zobel was lording it over since the boy’s tournament started in 1995. The Junior Spikers built a dynasty from Season 57 to 62. Then Roque’s crew got its payback. UE completed a grand slam from 2001 to 2003. DLSU-Zobel snatched a crown in Season 66 but Roque was set to make history. The Junior Warriors reigned supreme for the next 11 years. Under Roque’s tutelage, UE was invincible for more than a decade, dating from 2005 to 2015 - the longest title streak of any team in any UAAP volleyball division. From 1995 to 2016 the Junior Warriors landed 22 straight Final Four appearances. Roque handled the National Capital Region’s boy’s volleyball team for 10 years, earning five Palarong Pambansa gold medals. Out of UE’s 14 titles, Roque had 10 for the Junior Warriors before taking a bigger role as UE’s athletic director after Perez passed away from a heart attack in 2009. “Nag-retire (ako as coach) kasi na-promote ako. Naging assistant director na ako. After that, two years, ginawa na akong director,” he said. “Busy na ‘yung schedule. Hindi ako makapag-ensayo.”   Back as Coach UE has been lumbering at the cellar for years both in the men’s and women’s divisions. While the Junior Warriors were copping titles, the school’s college teams were getting beaten black and blue season after season. Under Vicente’s watch, the Lady Warriors sported a 2-45 win-loss record. The Red Warriors, who named a new coach before Season 80 in national men’s volleyball team coach Sammy Acaylar, didn’t fare any better. Five games into the season, UE decided to part ways with their coaches. Acaylar resigned citing conflict of schedule a he was appointed as Perpetual Help athletic director while Vicente left because of ‘personal reasons’. But sources said that Vicente was sacked a day before Acaylar tended his resignation. While Roque struggled to turn around the campaign of the Red Warriors, his stint with the Lady Warriors was sort of ‘miraculous’. He dropped a four-setter against Far Eastern University in his debut but again became an architect of UE’s historic feat – this time in the women’s division. The Lady Warriors closed the first round with a surprise 25-22, 22-25, 14-25, 25-20, 15-13 shocker over Adamson University that ended their 12-game slide since Season 79. Just three days later, UE stunned University of Sto. Tomas, 25-23, 18-25, 28-26, 26-24, in a historic first win against the traditional powerhouse Tigresses at least since the start of the Final Four format in 1994. It marked the first time since Season 74 that the Lady Warriors won back-to-back games. It opened the eyes of volleyball fans that the Lady Warriors have talented players like Shaya Adorador, Mary Anne Mendrez and libero Kath Arado. “Na-notice kasi namin na takot silang magkamali. Takot silang magkamali kaya lalo silang nagkakamali. Pero para sa akin OK lang magkamali but make sure babawi ka,” said Roque. “Natutuwa naman ako kasi nagkakamali sila pero bumabawi.” The Lady Warriors eventually dropped their next three games after that back-to-back wins but gave Adamson, Ateneo de Manila University and De La Salle University quite a scare before succumbing. But with the change of culture brought by Roque, teams are now wary of the Lady Warriors, which will return to action on April 8 against slumping National University. UE will wrap up its campaign against FEU and University of the Philippines – the last remaining games of Roque before he leaves his post to make way to a new head coach. “This season lang talaga ako,” said Roque. With him on board, the Lady Warriors are playing like a team looking to prove that they are better than just being a win fodder for other squads. Roque made the players respect themselves. He gave UE volleyball the respect it deserves.   ---   Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 31st, 2018

Panthers sale sparks buzz in political, business circles

By Steve Reed, Associated Press CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The stunning news of the rare opportunity to purchase an NFL team has quickly garnered the attention of sports figures, business investors and politicians alike. Amid reports of sexual and racial remarks made by Carolina Panthers owner and founder Jerry Richardson in the workplace, he has unexpectedly announced that he is selling the NFL franchise after this season ends. It was a bombshell that rocked the Carolinas, and generated shockwaves inside and out of the organization. The team Monday promoted Tina Becker as COO and gave her full control of the day-to-day operations. Becker said in a release that “these have been some of the most difficult days of my 19 years with the Panthers.” She added that her immediate focus will be on corporate side of the organization, “while addressing the real concerns that have been raised in recent days.” Richardson, meanwhile, stepped away from daily responsibilities to focus on the sale of the team — which will come with a multi-billion dollar price tag. That’s what is known, but Richardson’s decision to walk away after nearly 25 years as owner has left more questions than answers about the franchise’s future — most notably, who will buy it and will they keep the team in Charlotte. Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles said she is committed to working to keep the team in Charlotte. “The City of Charlotte values its long-running relationship with the Panthers after more than 22 seasons of NFL football,” Lyles said in a statement to The Associated Press. “The Panthers are part of Charlotte’s fabric. We’ve celebrated victories and anguished over defeats. We understand transitions are inevitable, and we look forward to working with current and future ownership.” The Panthers are tethered to Charlotte through the 2018 season because of an agreement on an $87.5 stadium renovation between the city and the team in 2013. That renovation is nearly complete. But a buyer could potentially purchase the team and move it in 2019. Former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, who was mayor of Charlotte when the Panthers settled into their new stadium, has seen both sides. He also was the mayor when the Hornets left town. He said another question might be about Bank of America stadium. “Will (the new owners) ask for government subsidy to continue to improve the stadium, or, in fact, even build a new stadium, like what’s happened in Atlanta and Dallas?” McCrory said. “That would be a tall order.” He said it will be a business decision— and the highest bidder will get the team, to possibly do with it as they chose. “Unless the NFL steps in and says, ’No, you need to have a local ownership group,’” he said, “which I’d encourage them to do.” Panthers coach Ron Rivera was “a little taken aback” when Richardson informed him Sunday night of his decision to sell the team. But he too believes the Panthers should remain in Charlotte. “This organization has been a source of pride and goodwill and I would like to it continue,” Rivera said Monday. “This is a great community with a very supportive fan base that has been out there for us. They have been here for me and this football team and I hope that somehow it is able to stay here.” The chance to purchase an NFL team has potential suitors coming out of the woodwork. Rapper and actor Diddy indicated his interest in purchasing the Panthers on Twitter moments after Richardson’s announcement. Two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry, a Charlotte native, chimed in with “I want in!” NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick has also expressed interest. Other businessmen with Charlotte connections could show interest as well. Speedway Motorsports chairman Bruton Smith and his son, CEO Marcus Smith, have previously expressed interest in purchasing the Panthers should the opportunity arise. And the Panthers are loaded with minority owners including real estate magnate “Smoky” Bissell, Family Dollar founder Leon Levine and members of the Belk family. Developer Johnny Harris, who was instrumental in luring the Wells Fargo Championship — and later the PGA Championship — to Charlotte, could also decide to increase his ownership stake in the team. Let’s not forget Michael Jordan. The six-time NBA champion owns the Hornets. However, Jordan’s interest level is unknown and his representative Estee Portnoy said she had no comment on the Panthers sale. More names will surely emerge over the next several weeks, but they need to be ready to write a big check. Forbes Magazine recently estimated the Panthers worth at $2.3 billion. And those numbers could be low. Forbes estimated the Buffalo Bills at a net worth of $935 million in 2013, but the team wound up selling in 2014 for $1.4 billion — nearly 50 percent higher than the estimate — according to magazine’s website. Before any sale can be finalized, it will need the approval of 24 of 32 NFL owners. The Panthers have a lot to offer potential suitors: — They are on the cusp of reaching the playoffs for the fourth time in five seasons. — They have sold out 225 of their 227 home games in team history, including 157 straight. — They feature several recognizable stars including 2015 NFL MVP Cam Newton and 2013 Defensive Player of the Year Luke Kuechly. Panthers tight end Ed Dickson said fans don’t deserve to have a team ripped out from underneath them. “It’s growing, it’s definitely been growing,” Dickson said of the fan base. “We are striving to build something that Dallas has, and Pittsburgh has. We don’t have that much history here. But one of the reasons I came here was to be a part of something special. When we do get to the top of the mountain and win a Super Bowl — then we have something to celebrate here” in the Carolinas. At least in 2017 and 2018, after that, it’s unclear where the party would be. ___ AP Writer Skip Foreman contributed to this report......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 19th, 2017

Angels welcome Ohtani, plot course for 2-way Japanese star

GREG BEACHAM, AP Sports Writer ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — General manager Billy Eppler rose from his seat in rapturous joy when he got the phone call telling him Shohei Ohtani wanted to join the Los Angeles Angels. When Eppler attempted to sit back down, he missed his chair completely, sprawling onto the floor. Ohtani has inspired strong reactions ever since the world became aware of the Japanese star's formidable talent as both a pitcher and a hitter. Now that the Angels have landed such a coveted prize, they can't wait to see who else he can knock over. The Angels formally introduced Ohtani on Saturday, one day after the franchise won the baseball-wide competition for his services. A lively crowd gathered in front of Angel Stadium cheered when Ohtani donned a red No. 17 jersey and hat on stage with team owner Arte Moreno, manager Mike Scioscia and Eppler. Ohtani doesn't speak much English yet, but he stepped to the podium and addressed the fans confidently: "Hi. My name is Shohei Ohtani." Ohtani already knows how to work a crowd, too: He had the perfect answer when asked whether he was more excited to get his first pitching victory or his first homer in the big leagues. "Hopefully, if I can pull it off, maybe both in one game," he said through a translator. Ohtani's grand experiment with the Angels is off to an entertaining start. The league-wide courtship ended Friday with his decision to join Mike Trout and Albert Pujols in Orange County. The 23-year-old former Japanese MVP is attempting to become the majors' most significant two-way player in several decades, and he will have every opportunity to fill two prominent roles with the Angels. Ohtani is expected to join the Angels' starting rotation next season, and he will be their designated hitter on many days when he isn't pitching, Scioscia said. Ohtani won't play in the outfield "at the outset" of his career, which likely includes at least his first season in Anaheim, Eppler said. Ohtani's decision was the culmination of years of hard work for the scouts and personnel executives led by Eppler, who has been traveling to Japan since 2013 to see Ohtani. "There was a wow factor to him," Eppler said. "He was a little bit of a show-stopper. Big fastball. The ability to throw three off-speed pitches for strikes. And have the presence in the batter's box that we gravitated to. He fits a lot of our offensive philosophy." Although Eppler felt Ohtani would be an ideal fit with the Angels, he had no idea whether Ohtani would agree. Moreno led the Angels' presentation to Ohtani on Monday after he selected them as one of seven finalists, and they waited nervously for four days before getting the news. Ohtani didn't reveal all of his reasons for choosing the Angels over the Mariners, Rangers, Dodgers, Cubs, Yankees, Red Sox and every other club. "I just felt a strong connection with the Angels," Ohtani said through a translator. That's enough for the Angels, who believe they can provide every opportunity for Ohtani to cultivate the two-way skills that have inspired comparisons to a young Babe Ruth. The Angels believe Ohtani has the intensity and focus to do something unprecedented in recent baseball history. "This guy consumes all things baseball," Eppler said. "There is not a lot else going on in his world but baseball (and) training. He does like to read a lot." Eppler also described Ohtani as "very humble," and compared his mental makeup to that of Trout, whose video phone call to recruit Ohtani apparently went quite well. Trout, on the East Coast for his wedding this weekend, called Eppler late Monday night after the meeting to ask: "What's he like? What's he like?" "He's like you," Eppler replied. "He's simple, humble, and he wants to be great." Ohtani took a moment during his news conference to send good wishes to the two-time MVP for his wedding. And when asked why he had chosen No. 17 after wearing No. 11 in Japan, Ohtani quipped: "I actually wanted No. 27, but somebody else (Trout) was wearing that number." About 200 media members were on hand for Ohtani's arrival, including dozens from Japanese news outlets. Ohtani and the Angels realize his every move will be chronicled on a daily basis with likely the same fervor around Ichiro Suzuki and Hideki Matsui in their heyday, but judging by his confident performance in his first major appearance, it's nothing Ohtani can't handle. Ohtani's performance on the field is more important, and the Angels expect him to be an immediate hit there as well. Angel Stadium's team shop already was doing a brisk business selling large piles of Ohtani jerseys and T-shirts on his first full day with the club. "I think it's going to be something very, very special for our fans," Scioscia said. "Every player, to a man, is so excited about this acquisition. Our job is to see exactly how you get a multidimensional, two-way athlete like Shohei to bring his talent on the field often enough where he leads us to that championship." ___ More AP MLB: www.apnews.com/tags/MLBbaseball.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 10th, 2017

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

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 21st, 2018

NCAA: Perez, LPU excited to play in their first-ever Final Four

Last year, Lyceum of the Philippines University went straight to the Finals in the NCAA after sweeping the elimination rounds. This Season 94, after dropping three games against University of Perpetual Help, Colegio de San Juan de Letran, and San Beda University, the Pirates will have to go through the tough Final Four format before they get the chance to avenge their heartbreaking bridesmaid run last season. Second-seed Lyceum's situation may not look as pristine as last year's, but CJ Perez thinks going through the eye of the needle will be better for them. "Sa aming lahat, excited kami maglaro sa Final Four. And yun nga, mas maganda itong ganito kasi kailangan mong dumaan sa mga adversities na kailangan mo lagpasan ang Letran muna," said Perez as they are set to face the third-seed Letran on October 26 for the semifinals. This, even though in their game against San Beda on Thursday, the Pirates struggled with the Red Lions' zone defense. Perez who usually scores 19.1 points per game was limited to only nine points. When asked about it, Perez bared that he was not feeling good about his game right from the get-go. "Actually 'di yung sila yung naka-stop sa akin. Feeling ko sarili ko yung nai-stop ko kasi yun nga, pagpasok pa lang ng game, parang 'di ko ramdam na magaan yung katawan ko today. Feeling ko ang tight ko ngayon so parang pumasok sa utak ko tapos nawala ako sa focus," said Perez after playing his last eliminations game in his college career. San Beda led by as much as 20 points late in the third quarter, but Lyceum was able to inch within five points with less than a minute to go in the game. Ultimately, however, things didn't go their way as turnovers got the best of them. Still, Perez didn't point fingers at anyone. "Sa mga ganitong talo hindi kami nagsisisihan, wala kaming excuses. Siguro yun yung na build na culture sa Lyceum. Kahit na nagtatalo, walang nagsisisihan, walang excuses, kaya mas maganda mag move forward kung yun yung na build na culture sa amin," he shared. "Pero may bawi naman yan eh, 'di naman every game talaga Pasko eh. 'Di naman laging Pasko," he added. His game today may have been uncharacteristic, but he assures that come the semifinals, the CJ Perez that fans all know of will be back. "Andito naman yung tunay na CJ Perez. 'Di ko naman talaga mabubuhat yung team kung ako lang talaga. So kailangan lang mag work together. Siguro sabihin natin bad day siguro kaya ganun pero I'm okay naman," he said......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 18th, 2018

In Focus: These Fans Recreated BTS Photos During Their Trip To Korea

Here's every ARMY's ultimate travel guide to Seoul!.....»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 9th, 2018

A1: Reunion tour will be our best live performance ever

It was a now or never kind of situation," said A1 member Mark Read of the pop boyband's coming reunion tour.   After Paul Marazzi left the group in 2002, citing "personal reasons," the rest of the members---Read, Ben Adams and Christian Ingebrigtsen---would continue to record albums and play gigs as a trio every so often for the next 16 years.   It was a long time. But never did they lose the belief that all four of them could still reunite onstage one day.   Earlier this year, A1 announced that it would finally be embarking on a world tour featuring its original lineup.   "It was long overdue and something the fans have been asking about f...Keep on reading: A1: Reunion tour will be our best live performance ever.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsOct 4th, 2018

James captivates crowd in his Los Angeles Lakers debut

By Bernie Wilson, Associated Press SAN DIEGO (AP) — LeBron James rubbed his hands in chalk powder at the scorer’s table, yelled “Yes!” to ecstatic fans in the first few rows and the Los Angeles Lakers’ new era was underway. Playing in the same arena where Magic Johnson made his regular-season debut for Los Angeles 39 years ago, James captivated the crowd from the start of the Lakers’ exhibition opener Sunday night (Monday, PHL time), a 124-107 loss to the Denver Nuggets. The opening tip came James’ way and he tapped it to fellow newcomer Rajon Rondo, who threw an alley-oop pass to JaVale McGee for the game’s first score. James missed his first shot, a turnaround fadeaway, but then made a no-look bounce pass from about 27 feet out to Brandon Ingram for a dunk. A minute later, James hit a long three-pointer. He finished with nine points, three rebounds and four assists in just more than 15 minutes. Lakers fans hope James’ arrival will turn things around after the worst half-decade in the franchise’s lengthy history. He left the Cleveland Cavaliers for a four-year, $153.3 million free-agent deal with the Lakers. He, Rondo and fellow veterans McGee, Lance Stephenson and Michael Beasley signed to team with the Lakers’ talented young core. James was the focus on and off the court Sunday night (Monday, PHL time). He was cheered from the minute he ran onto the court with his new teammates for warmups. He played the first eight minutes before being subbed out. When he came back in midway through the second quarter, he was greeted by cheers. As he stood near the scorer’s table during a video review, a fan yelled: “LeBron, we love you!” and the superstar responded with a hang-loose sign. Asked before the game what stands out about James, coach Luke Walton said, “His intelligence. He sees everything. He knows even before drills. He knows where he’s going. His work ethic. He’s out there pre-practice with the guys, post-practice with the guys. Taking care of his body in the weight room. “He’s the ultimate professional.” The Lakers’ regular-season opener is Oct. 18 (Oct. 19, PHL time) at Portland. Their home opener is two nights later against Houston. This was another big night for an L.A. basketball team at San Diego’s sports arena. In 1975, John Wooden coached his final game here, leading UCLA to its 10th NCAA title in 12 seasons. In 1979, Johnson made his NBA debut when Los Angeles beat the then-San Diego Clippers in the season opener. After Kareem Abdul-Jabbar made a buzzer-beating sky hook, Johnson hugged the center like they’d just won the championship. Seven months later, they did win the NBA title. Johnson is now the Lakers’ president of basketball operations and James was the prized acquisition of an offseason roster revamp. As a kid, Walton used to watch his father, Bill, play for the Clippers, although the Hall of Famer’s years in his hometown were largely marred by injuries......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 1st, 2018

WADA report: Kenya doping serious, not institutionalized

By GERALD IMRAY,  AP Sports Writer Kenyan athletes are the target of nearly a quarter of out-of-competition doping tests in track and field, a statistic that underlines how much suspicion there is over the world's most successful distance-running nation. Figures were revealed Thursday by the head of the Athletics Integrity Unit, which handles anti-doping for the world track and field organization, the IAAF. Brett Clothier said Kenyans made up 22% of the AIU's out-of-competition testing program, and the country's athletes took up "at least the equivalent amount of time in our investigations and intelligence team." "Kenya is a great and justly proud athletics nation, but it now has a serious doping problem," Clothier said in comments accompanying the release of a report following a near two-year investigation in the East African nation by the AIU and the World Anti-Doping Agency's intelligence and investigations department. The joint report concluded there was "widespread doping" in Kenya but "the doping practices of Kenyan athletes are unsophisticated, opportunistic and uncoordinated and there is no evidence of an institutionalized system." It didn't need a two-year investigation to discover a problem, with a clear spike in cases involving athletes from the African country since around the time of the 2012 London Olympics. What the report did do, however, was dig deeper into some of the reasons behind the mess in Kenya. It appeared to separate Kenya's doping problems from that of Russia and that country's organized, state-sponsored scheme. Doping in Kenya "is different from other doping structures discovered elsewhere in the world and, as such, it requires a different approach," WADA director of intelligence and investigations Gunter Younger said. In Kenya, athletes are "insufficiently educated on doping and/or wilfully blind as to the consequences of doping," the report said. The investigation also stressed the need for better control over medical practitioners and "quasi-medical practitioners" who are "highly relevant" to the doping problem and often the source of banned substances. Overall, the report pointed to a weak and at times non-existent anti-doping effort in Kenya exacerbated by the unwillingness of athletes to help. WADA and AIU investigators said they reached out for information to 31 Kenyan athletes serving doping bans. Only seven attended interviews and none of them said they had used prohibited substances despite being found guilty at doping hearings. None of them provided any information that was helpful to the investigators. There were other findings in the report: — A total of 131 Kenyan athletes failed doping tests between 2004 and this year. Track and field was by far the worst sport in the country for failed tests. In the same period, all other sports in Kenya produced seven failed tests. — The anabolic steroid Nandrolone was the most prevalent banned substance for Kenyan athletes. The corticosteroids group, anti-inflammatories that can improve athletic performance, were the next most used. The blood-booster EPO was third most prevalent. — The AIU's focus on out-of-competition doping tests on Kenyans was prompted after only 13% of their athletes caught for doping were caught through out-of-competition tests. — Two elite Kenyan athletes, Olympic marathon champion Jemima Sumgong and Rita Jeptoo, provided falsified medical records in an attempt to avoid doping bans. Sumgong made up a story about having to attend hospital for an emergency blood transfusion to explain testing positive for EPO. Jeptoo, the leading marathon runner in the world when she was caught in 2014, claimed she was given EPO by a doctor to treat malaria and typhoid. Both athletes were found to be lying and banned for four years......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 28th, 2018

Players union reiterates disapproval of league match in US

By TALES AZZONI,  AP Sports Writer MADRID (AP) — The Spanish players' association remains against the league's plan to play a regular-season match in the United States despite receiving more detailed information. The association was not convinced by the league's update and said on Monday it still disapproved of the Girona-Barcelona game planned for suburban Miami in January. It said the league still lacks the necessary approvals from other stakeholders, and it can't guarantee the union contract won't be breached. The association doesn't have a final say on whether the game actually happens, although players recently did not rule out a strike if their demands are not considered. They complained about not being consulted by the league before the idea was presented. The association's latest announcement came three days after the Spanish soccer federation refused to approve the match, putting the plan in serious doubt. The federation requested more documentation from the league after saying it failed to show the overseas match would comply with Spanish and international regulations and TV broadcast contracts, and that it would not harm the other 18 league clubs and the fans of Girona and Barcelona. The match would also need to be approved by the U.S. soccer federation, plus continental bodies UEFA and CONCACAF. FIFA's permission is not mandatory but president Gianni Infantino recently expressed his concerns about the game. Spanish league president Javier Tebas again defended the match, saying football needs to catch up to what other sports have been doing to try to keep growing internationally. "If we don't keep working to try to grow, other competitions and other sports will leave us behind. We have to be different," Tebas said on Monday at a soccer conference in Madrid. "In the sports industry we have to try to copy what others are doing well. Why does the NBA and the NFL take a match abroad and we can't? Why can't we keep growing? This is our greatest responsibility, to grow, because this is an industry." Tebas said he was surprised by the amount of negative reaction to the proposal. "It looks like we want to play the entire league in Miami. It's just one match," he said. "We want to play one match, for strategic reasons, to try to grow the league." Earlier Monday, European Club Association chairman Andrea Agnelli, Juventus' president, said he "take(s) his hat off" to Tebas for taking the initiative and working to expand the Spanish league globally. "That's something that should be looked at," Agnelli said. "If you want to have a global audience, you need to be closer to (that audience)." The league plan to play games in the U.S. is part of a new 15-year partnership with sports and entertainment group Relevent, which operates the International Champions Cup, a tournament of club friendlies during the European offseason in July and August around the world. The Spanish federation held its season-opening Super Cup abroad for the first time in August, with Barcelona beating Sevilla in Tangier, Morocco. Real Madrid president Florentino Perez said on Sunday his team would not play the game abroad in the future, saying he was "vehemently against it." Tebas said: "The vast majority of the clubs, including Barcelona, are interested in playing this game. If Real Madrid doesn't want to go, then don't go. It's voluntary, no problem. Many clubs want to go.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 25th, 2018

Q& A: Hall of Fame Bob Lanier

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com Bob Lanier turned 70 Monday, a big number for a big man. In fact, that number can be linked to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer in several ways. It was in 1970 that Lanier was the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft, selected out of St. Bonaventure by the Detroit Pistons. And it was the 70s as the decade in which Lanier excelled, earning seven of his eight All-Star appearances while averaging 22.7 points and 11.8 rebounds for the Pistons. Dinosaurs ruled the NBA landscape back then, with Lanier achieving his success against the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Walton, Dave Cowens, Willis Reed, Nate Thurmond, Elvin Hayes, Artis Gilmore and other legendary big men. Yet it was Lanier who was the MVP of the 1974 All-Star Game, who won the one-off, 32-contestant 1-on-1 championship tournament run by ABC in 1973 as part of its national broadcast schedule and who (with Walton) got name-dropped by Abdul-Jabbar in the 1980 Hollywood comedy “Airplane!” [“I'm out there busting my buns every night!” he tells a kid as “co-pilot Roger Murdock.” “Tell your old man to drag Walton and Lanier up and down the court for 48 minutes!”] Lanier’s Detroit teams never got beyond the conference semifinals, though, so in 1979-80 he asked to be traded. In February 1980, the Pistons dealt him to Milwaukee for Kent Benson and a future draft pick. With the Bucks, who averaged 59 victories in Lanier’s four full seasons there, Lanier flirted with his greatest team success, yet never reached The Finals. He was 36 when bad knees and other injuries forced him to retire. Those knees still are trouble, preventing Lanier from attending this year’s Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony -- he was elected in 1992 -- and limiting his ability to travel from his home in Arizona to catch his daughter Khalia’s volleyball games at USC. But the man nicknamed “The Dobber” was as chatty and opinionated as ever in a phone conversation last week with NBA.com: NBA.com: The league still keeps you busy, doesn’t it? Bob Lanier: Well, it did. But about 15 months ago, I had knee replacement surgery on my right leg and that is not going very well. It still aches and it gets me unbalanced. That’s what I was trying to get away from. The surgeon said mine was the most difficult one he’d ever done. I was supposed to get the left one done but I couldn’t, because the right one was bothering me so much. I can’t even stand to hit a golf ball. NBA.com: You were part of the original Stay In School initiative, if I recall correctly. BL: I was involved with a little bit of everything from the time David [Stern, longtime NBA commissioner] first called me in 1988. It started off with wanting me to do something for kids who stayed in school. We did “P-R-I-D-E,” with P for positive mental attitude, R for respect, I for intelligent choice-making, D for dreaming and setting goals, and E for effort and education. It was really amazing. The first year, we were talking about giving out 25,000 Starter jackets for kids who came to the rally. Shoot, we needed double that amount, the numbers we got. Everything is kind of under the same umbrella now with NBA Cares. Kathy Behrens [president, social responsibility and player programs] has done a wonderful job of taking this to a whole ‘nother level, her and Adam [Silver, NBA commissioner]. NBA.com: Have you ever had one of those kids whose lives you touched reach out to you years later? BL: [Laughs]. You know what, I’m laughing because you don’t expect to hear from anybody. The only time that somebody really validated something we were doing was when I wrote those books. (The “Hey, Li’l D!” series of kids books, loosely based on Lanier’s childhood adventures. Co-authored with Heather Goodyear in 2003, the Scholastic Paperbacks books still are available.) I was on a plane and one of the passengers asked me to sign the book for her, for her child. I was so taken aback by that, I was shaking while I was signing the autograph. That was really good -- I thought, maybe I did something right. NBA.com: But none of the Stay In School kids? BL: Look, in our business, in community relations and social responsibility areas, you don’t really … when you’re building houses for people, the folks who work with you side by side give you a thumbs up and say thank you before it’s over. When we do the playgrounds, we use kids in the neighborhood who are going to enjoy playing in it and having dreams -- they’re thankful. But there’s so much need out here. When you’re traveling around to different cities and different countries, you see there are so many people in dire straits that the NBA can only do so much. We make a vast, vast difference, but there’s always so much more to do. NBA.com: I know you’re not in it for the thank yous. BL: No. The only thing that stands out to me is from when I was still playing in Milwaukee and I was getting gas at a station on, I think it was Center St. A guy came up to me and said, “My dad is sick. And you’re his favorite player. Could you come up to the house and say hello to him? The house is right next door.” So I went over, I went upstairs. The guy was laying there in his bed. His son said, “This is Bob,” and he was like, “I know.” And he just had a little smile, a twinkle in his eye. And he grabbed my hand and squeezed it. And we said a little prayer. About two weeks later, his dad had died. And he left a card at the Bucks office, just saying “Thank you for making one of my dad’s final days into a good day.” NBA.com: It probably wasn’t, and isn’t, uncommon for you to be spotted out in public like that. At your size (6-foot-11, 250 pounds as a player). BL: As time passes on, people know you at first because you’re a player. Then you stop playing. And 10 years after, when a player like Shaquille O’Neal comes along, they know him and figure you must be Shaq’s dad. “You’re wearing them big shoes.” I just go along with it. “Yeah, I’m Shaq’s dad!” NBA.com: That has to sting, seeing as how Shaq took your title for the NBA’s biggest sneakers. You were famous for your size-22s. BL: Yeah, he sent me a pair one time and I think they were 23s. For some reason, I recall he would wear 23s and three pairs of socks or something instead of the 22s. NBA.com: Isn’t it sobering how quickly sports fans forget even distinctive-looking players such as yourself? BL: Absolutely correct. But that’s why we in the NBA and at the players association have to do a better job of passing down the history of our game. In a way that they’ll absorb it. Not necessarily that they’ll have to read it – it could be in a video game form, because that seems to hold interest a lot. NBA.com: You have been as busy in your post-playing career for the NBA as you ever were while playing, right? BL: I’ve really been blessed. You know this story: I started serving people with my mother [Nattie Mae] at church. Getting food to people who were sick or needy, taking it to the hospital, taking it to people’s houses or feeding them right after church. My mother was a Seventh Day Adventist and she was in the church all the time. She had me and my sister and a bunch of kids, we would all be there every Saturday. You start off doing it not only because your mother tells you to, but the food was good. Then David asked me to come help with the Stay In School, which was the start of it all. If I hadn’t graduated from college, I probably would never have gotten an opportunity to do that with the NBA. Plus, the amazing number of young people I’ve met around the country, around the world, that I think I’ve touched … some lives. I can’t say I touched everybody, but some. I always had a knack of selecting -- when I’d call up kids to help me with the presentation -- a girl or a boy who needed it. It’s amazing how many times a teacher has said to me, “You picked Joe” or “You picked Dorothy, and that’s a really difficult kid. You made them feel good.” You never let a kid fail. NBA.com: You never were a shy and retiring type. What do you think of the NBA these days? BL: I’ll tell you what, I wish that I were playing now. It’s not as physical a sport. You can do stuff anywhere in the world. You can make tons of money off the court -- I can’t imagine how much I’d make with a speaker deal and those big-ass sneakers of mine. The only thing I would not like about this era is that you’ve got to be so conscious of social media. And people taking photos of you when you don’t know they’re taking them. And having those things that zoom over your home and take pictures of your house. That part I wouldn’t like at all. NBA.com: It’s hard enough to avoid the public eye at your size. By the way, are you as tall as you used to be? BL: No, no. I remember standing next to Magic [Johnson] last year at some function we had, and I was looking at him eye-to-eye. I said, “Damn, I thought I was 6-11 and you were 6-9. You look like you’re taller than me now.” NBA.com: You might have fared well today, with the range you had on your jump shot. A big man like you or Bob McAdoo would fit right in. BL: But Mac was a true forward and I was a true center. With the game the way it is now, I think guys like he or I -- Dave Cowens, too -- could shoot from outside, inside, open up the lanes, make good passes. I say that gingerly with Mac, because every time it touched his hands it was going up. He’s my boy but that’s the truth. NBA.com: Wayne Embry, the NBA lifer as a player and executive, recently said to me about the current style of play, “C’mon, the big man likes to play too.” The game has gotten so much smaller. BL: I kind of like this game a little bit. If you’re a big who has skills, it helps to stretch the floor. You can always post up, if you’ve got a big can post up. But now you’ve got these bigs who are elongated forwards. Boogie Cousins is probably our last post-up big that I’m aware of. I think I just saw him on TV somewhere making about 10 3-pointers in a row. NBA.com: Any team or individuals to whom you pay particular attention? BL: I like watching ‘Bron [LeBron James], obviously. I like this Golden State team, too, because they play so well together. I like the kid [Anthony] Davis. With Boogie, my concern is whether he’ll be healthy this season. NBA.com: What’s your take on the “super team” approach of the past few years? BL: I think both of ‘em have their sides. Back in the day, we would never do that. There wasn’t a lot of huggin’ and kissin’, all that stuff, when you were competing. You were out there to kick each other’s butt. But with AAU ball, it’s become guys playing together on these premier teams at all these tournaments around the country. So they get to know each before they ever go to college. NBA.com: Do you think today’s players appreciate the work you and other alumni did to build the league? BL: I think everything evolves. The best thing I could say as a player is, you want to leave the game in better shape than when you came into it. You want to leave a legacy, a better brand. You want players to be making more money. You want the league to be stronger. And since we’re partner in this, it’s important that those kinds of things happen. NBA.com: The 1970s seems to be pretty neglected, as far as NBA memories and highlights. At times it’s as if the league went from Bill Russell’s Boston Celtics dynasty to Magic Johnson and Larry Bird carrying the NBA into the 80s. The league had some popularity and PR issues back then, but eight different franchises won championships that decade. BL: Back in the 70s, a lot of people were feeling that the NBA was drug-infested. Too black. That’s one of the reasons the league came up with its substance abuse program, one of the first in sports to do that. The point was not to punish guys but to help guys who needed it to get clean. As that passed, then Larry and Magic came in. The media money started going up, and then Michael [Jordan] came in in ’84 and everything took off from there. So I can see how you could kind of forget about the 70s. NBA.com: And yet now folks complain that each season starts with only three or four teams seen as capable of winning the title. Why was it different then? BL: I think everybody competed a lot. And guys didn’t change teams as much, so when you were facing the Bulls or the Bucks or New York, you had all these rivalries. Lanier against Jabbar! Jabbar against Willis Reed! And then [Wilt] Chamberlain, and Artis Gilmore, and Bill Walton! You had all these great big men and the game was played from inside out. It was a rougher game, a much more physical game that we played in the 70s. You could steer people with elbows. They started cutting down on the number of fights by fining people more. Oh, it was a rough ‘n’ tumble game. NBA.com: There were, of course, fewer teams. Seventeen when you arrived, for instance. BL: There was so much talent on every team. Every night you were playing against somebody really damn good, and if you didn’t come to play, they’d whip your behind. NBA.com: You know, I’m surprised I never heard about you being the target of a bidding war with the old ABA? Did they ever come after you? BL: Got approached at the end of my junior year at St. Bonaventure. They offered me a nice contract. But I wanted to stay in school because I thought we had a real chance at winning the NCAA title. NBA.com: Gee, that almost sounds quaint by today’s get-the-money standards. BL: Yeah. Well, I trusted them as a league -- it was the New York Nets, a guy named Roy Boe -- but I knew we had a really good team. And we did. We got to the Final Four. Then I got hurt. NBA.com: You went down against Villanova, your tournament ended by a torn ligament. I’m surprised, looking back, you were considered healthy enough to get drafted No. 1 and have a pretty strong rookie season. BL: I wasn’t healthy when I got to the league. I shouldn’t have played my first year. But there was so much pressure from them to play, I would have been much better off -- and our team would have been much better served -- if I had just sat out that year and worked on my knee. NBA.com: From the Final Four to the start of the NBA season isn’t much time to rehab a knee injury. Then you played 82 games, averaging 15.6 points and 8.1 rebounds in 24.6 minutes. BL: That was stupid. My knee was so sore every single day that it was ludicrous to be doing what I was doing. I wanted to play, but I was smart and the team was smart, everybody would have benefited. NBA.com: Did you ever fully recover? I know your later years were hampered by knee pain. BL: Oh, I fully recovered. Going into my third year, I think I had my legs underneath me a lot. NBA.com: Your coach as a rookie was Butch van Breda Kolff, who had butted heads with Wilt Chamberlain in Los Angeles. Did you have any issues with him? BL: He was a pretty tough coach, but he was a good-hearted person. As a matter of fact, he had a place down on the Jersey shore where he invited me to come and run on the beach to help strengthen my leg. I went there for about 2 1/2 weeks. I liked Butch a lot. NBA.com: Your Detroit teams had you as an All-Star nearly every season and of course Hall of Fame guard Dave Bing. Did you think you’d achieve more? BL: I think ’73-74 was our best team [52-30]. We had Dave, Stu Lantz, John Mengelt, Chris Ford, Don Adams, Curtis Rowe, George Trapp. But then for some reason, they traded six guys off that team before the following year. I just didn’t feel we ever had the leadership. I think we had [seven] head coaches in my 10 years there. That was a rough time, because at the end of every year, you’d be so despondent. NBA.com: So by the time you were traded to Milwaukee, you were ready to go? BL: I wanted the trade. But until you start getting on that plane and leaving your family and start crying, you don’t realize it’s a part of your life you’re leaving. I got to Milwaukee and it was freezing outside. But the people gave me a standing ovation and really made me feel welcome. It was the start of a positive change. I just wish I had played with that kind of talent around me when I was young. The only time I thought I had it was that ’73-74 team they messed up. But if I had had Marques [Johnson] and Sidney [Moncrief] and all of them around me? Damn. NBA.com: I got my start around those Bucks teams, and feel I often have to remind people how good they were deep into the ‘80s. You just couldn’t get past the Celtics and the Sixers in the same year, in a loaded Eastern Conference. BL: They were always a man better than us. We had to play our best to beat them and they didn’t have to play their best to beat us. It haunts me to this day. NBA.com: How did you like playing for Bucks coach Don Nelson? BL: Loved him. It was just like playing for your big brother. He was a player’s coach, for sure. He’d been through it, won championships. Knew what it was like to be a role player, knew what it took to be a prime-time player. Didn’t get upset over pressure. He was just a stand-up guy. NBA.com: As we talk, I’m looking at my office wall and I have that famous All-Star poster from 1977, painted by Leroy Neiman. That game was notable, too, because it was the first one after the NBA/ABA merger. So you had Julius Erving, George Gervin, Dan Issel and those other ABA stars flooding their talent into the league. BL: You know what? I think you could put 10 players from the 70s into the league today and be as competitive as anybody. Think of the guys who could really play and were athletic. And with the rule changes, that would make us even more effective. “Ice’ [Gervin]. Julius. David Thompson, a huge athlete. I don’t know who could mess with Kareem at all. NBA.com: What about Nate Archibald? BL: You took the words right out of my mouth. Tiny! He could scoot up and down and do what he needed to do. These guys knew the game, they played the basics of it so well. NBA.com: No one disputes the advances in training, nutrition, travel and rest. But in raw ability, you think it was close to today? BL: One thing I will say about this group of young men, they seem to be more athletic than we were. They seem to be able to cover so much more ground. Whatever that new step is, the Eurostep? And another thing they do differently know is, they brush-pick. They brush and then they pop. You rarely see a guy do a solid pick and then roll with the guy on his back to cause a mismatch. Everybody’s looking to open the floor to shoot 3’s. This has become the weapon of choice now. NBA.com: No rings for that Milwaukee team from which you retired has meant, so far, no Hall of Fame for Marques Johnson or Sidney Moncrief, the two stars.   BL: That’s what rings hollow in your ears. You hear people saying, “Where’s the ring? The ring!” And we don’t have any rings. That’s what we play for. NBA.com: Didn’t stop your enshrinement though. BL: They must have been blind, crippled and crazy, huh? It’s a short crop of brotherhood that gets in there. I just wish there was more time on those weekends where we could spend time just talking with one another. You rarely see each other, and it would be nice to have a quiet room where you could just re-hash old times and plays, and maybe have your family so your grandkids could listen to Earl the Pearl tell about this or [Bill] Walton tell about that. Just rehashing stuff that brought people a lot of joy. Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 11th, 2018

UAAP: Defending champ Ateneo doesn t care about all your expectations

HOW’D THEY DO LAST SEASON? 13-1 after eliminations, 1-1 in Final Four, 2-1 in Finals, champion YES, THEY’RE STILL HERE: Anton Asistio, Isaac Go, Gian Mamuyac, Matt Nieto, Mike Nieto, Thirdy Ravena WELCOME TO THE FAMILY: SJ Belangel, Matthew Daves, Angelo Kouame, William Navarro, Adrian Wong (returning) GOOD LUCK ON FUTURE ENDEAVORS: Chibueze Ikeh, Vince Tolentino WHAT SHOULD WE EXPECT FROM ATENEO? As it should be, defending champion Ateneo de Manila University is the favorite to repeat. “We recognize the quality of the opposition. Anytime you have a successful season, you not only have to fight your own complacency, but you also have to fight the elevated determination that kind of season creates on your opponents.” – head coach Tab Baldwin While the Blue Eagles’ championship team lost big man Chibueze Ikeh and glue guy Vince Tolentino, they are installing in their places 6-foot-10 Ivorian tower Angelo Kouame, Filipino-Canadian high-flyer Matthew Daves, and former San Beda University sweet-shooter William Navarro And oh, they now also have SJ Belangel of UAAP Juniors champion Ateneo high as well as returning swingman Adrian Wong. Safe to say, the defending champions only got better – and that much was evident in their strong showing in the 2018 William Jones Cup. “We try to make sure that we see each animal distinctly. The summer leagues, each of them was different, but there’s no doubt as to what we really exist for and that’s the UAAP. All of these things are in preparation for the UAAP.” – head coach Tab Baldwin Still, Ateneo is tuning out all the noise from all over and instead, as always, have decided to focus on themselves. “Expectations are irrelevant to us. We have our own expectations and we believe in ourselves. I don’t feel like I have anything to prove, but that doesn’t mean I would accept losing.” – head coach Tab Baldwin WHO IS/ARE THE PLAYER/S TO WATCH OUT FOR FROM ATENEO? Thirdy Ravena has been runner-up to MVP Ben Mbala for two seasons running. Now that Mbala is in Korea, it’s not that farfetched to see Ravena finally hoisting the trophy for top individual player. Matt Nieto and Isaac Go are also still here and even better than ever – especially after gaining valuable experience as Gilas cadets. All eyes are on Kouame who wowed in the Jones Cup as well as the Filoil Preseason. He is as raw as they come right now, but likewise has the potential to be the best foreign student-athlete the school has ever had. “Angelo has very little background in basketball and there are some complexities to our system, but he’s an intelligent kid. He’s very hungry and incredibly willing to do what’s asked of him. We believe in him and his future – both short-term and long-term. I think he has a big upside.” – head coach Tab Baldwin When it all comes down to it, however, Ateneo is still Ateneo and they don’t really have players to watch – just a team to watch. That means that what we can only expect is that there will be different top scorers, different top rebounders, and different top assist-men in each and every game. WHY SHOULD WE ROOT FOR ATENEO? Ateneo is the defending champion and the heavy favorite, but remains grounded on team play, selflessness, and brotherhood. That same balanced offense and disciplined defense is still here – and perhaps, even better than ever. “We just try to continue to grow. There’s so much to learn for these young players in the game of basketball and there’s so much development for them to achieve. We don’t get bored because tomorrow is another day to grow and improve.” – head coach Tab Baldwin And so the Blue Eagles are the team-to-beat for opponents, but also remain the team-to-love for fans. WHERE WOULD ATENEO BE AT THE END OF UAAP SEASON 81? Ateneo will be in the Finals once more – living up to its billing as favorite to repeat. A season sweep also isn’t out of the question, but even the Blue Eagles know that doing such thing is more difficult than winning the title or going back-to-back. WHEN IS ATENEO’S FIRST GAME IN UAAP SEASON 81? Ateneo’s first test in the tournament will be courtesy of another championship contender in Adamson University on September 9. Of course, It All Begins Here on S+A, S+A HD, LIGA, LIGA HD, and livestream. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 7th, 2018

Hamilton denies Ferrari a home win at Italian GP

By Daniella Matar, Associated Press MONZA, Italy (AP) — For Ferrari, the wait continues. For Lewis Hamilton, it was a dream race. Hamilton won the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday after starting third on the grid to extend his championship lead over Sebastian Vettel following an opening-lap collision with the German driver that effectively ended his chances of victory. Ferrari had been hopeful of ending an eight-year wait for a win at its home track after taking the front two places on the grid at the Italian GP for the first time since 2000. However, pole-sitter Raikkonen was overtaken by Hamilton eight laps from the end and the Mercedes driver held on, much to the disappointment of the passionate Italian tifosi fans. "Today was so difficult. Whilst the negativity is never great, that's what powered me along. I actually accept it," Hamilton said after getting roundly booed on the podium. Hamilton, who said he rated the win as among the top performances of his career, tied Michael Schumacher's record of five Italian GP victories and extended his overall lead to 30 points over Vettel "Disappointed but there was nothing I could do," said Raikkonen, who struggled with a tire problem in the final few laps. Hamilton's teammate Valtteri Bottas was third, ahead of Vettel and Red Bull's Max Verstappen, who received a five-second penalty. The 33-year-old Hamilton pinpointed the collision with Vettel as the decisive moment of the race. "That was definitely a very, very key moment, getting past him was the immediate goal ... my race is not really with Kimi, it's with Sebastian. However, I do need to get past Kimi at the same time," Hamilton said. "Getting past Sebastian at the beginning was clearly a massive turning point. That definitely took a lot of pressure off ... I could just focus on Kimi for the whole race. We had a couple of good battles." Vettel had cut the gap at the top of the standings to 17 points with victory at last weekend's Belgium GP. Hamilton put his rival under pressure from the start but Vettel pulled clear and was alongside Raikkonen into the first corner. Hamilton had another go on the outside heading into the second chicane, inching ahead of Vettel when they made contact, causing Vettel to spin and lose part of his front wing. The safety car was deployed and Vettel was forced into the pits for a new wing, coming out 18th. Both drivers complained on team radio but an investigation decided that no further action was necessary. "Obviously I guess Lewis saw his chance but he didn't leave me any room so I got spun around and couldn't avoid what happened," said Vettel. "It could have been the other way, which would have been nicer for us, but wasn't and I was facing the wrong way. "We did well to come back given the damage that we had." There are seven races left on the calendar, including the Singapore GP on Sept. 16 — on a track which suits Ferrari. "There are many points to win back now in the championship, but we still have time to improve and we have the margin to recover," Vettel said. Moments after the safety car came in on lap four, Hamilton swiftly overtook Raikkonen on the straight but gave the lead back almost immediately at the second chicane. Meanwhile, Vettel was powering through the field and had made it back into the top 10 by lap 15 and was up to fifth nine laps later. But the German's hopes of getting onto the podium were diminished when he was forced to make another pit stop and came out 10th. Raikkonen pitted from the lead at the end of lap 20 and came out fourth, behind Hamilton, Bottas and Verstappen. Hamilton waited until the end of lap 28 to come in for fresh tires, handing the lead to Bottas who was ahead of a charging Raikkonen. Hamilton emerged third and, with his teammate holding up Raikkonen, the British driver was able to close the gap. When Bottas eventually pitted at the end of lap 36, the fight was on, with Raikkonen holding a one-second advantage over Hamilton. A few laps later Hamilton struck, coming around the outside of Raikkonen on turn one at the end of the straight to overtake the Finn and never looked back. Behind them there was a scrap for third place culminating at the first chicane when Verstappen appeared to move into Bottas, forcing the Finnish driver onto an escape road. Verstappen was furious when told he had been given a five-second penalty for his role in the incident on team radio, swearing and adding: "They're doing a great job of killing racing, honestly.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 2nd, 2018

In Focus: Reasons Why We Ship Meteor Garden s Dylan Wang and Shen Yue

They're so cute together even in real life!.....»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 22nd, 2018

Homeward-bound Schooling set for next phase at Asian Games

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — The hardest lap for any swimmer is usually the one coming home. That's when they have to try their hardest, giving it everything they have to get to the finish. Singapore's Olympic gold medalist Joseph Schooling is about to discover what that means when he's not in the competition pool. After spending the last nine years in relative anonymity in the United States, the 23-year-old Schooling is getting ready for the second half of his sporting career back in southeast Asia, knowing he probably won't be able to walk down the street or go for dinner without being noticed. "It's everywhere but it shows that they support you and they're excited to see you, and so you can't complain," Schooling said. "You can never brush aside your fans. You've always got to reciprocate so I'm completely fine with it." Schooling is competing this week at the Asian Games in Indonesia, where he has entered in the 50- and 100-meter butterfly races, three relays and the 50 freestyle. He will bid to defend his title in the 100 butterfly on Wednesday. Despite leaving Singapore in his teens to chase his dream of winning an Olympic gold medal, the island-state has always been in Schooling's heart. But so too has Texas, where he has been studying at University and training under the watchful eye of Eddie Reese. Schooling will complete his economics degree later this year before returning to Singapore, but will take back two permanent reminders of his time in the U.S. that changed his life. One is the tattoo on his left shoulder of the University of Texas mascot, the Longhorn. The other, inked after he won Rio, is the Olympic rings on his right bicep. The Longhorns won the NCAA national title four years in a row while Schooling was on the team and he credits his time there for helping him win the ultimate prize when he beat American great Michael Phelps for the Olympic title in the 100 fly. "It's great, it's a different atmosphere, great teammates," Schooling said. "I feel like it's the perfect environment for high performance." Schooling wants to keep swimming through to the 2024 Olympics in Paris and, although he hasn't made a final decision on his training plans, he has spent the past few months practicing with Singapore's new high-performance unit and likes what he sees. Australia's Stephan Widmer, who helped Libby Lenton and Leisel Jones win Olympic titles, has been appointed performance director at the institute while Gary Tan is the national head coach and Sonya Porter, who has extensive experience coaching in the U.S., is the technical director. Schooling's biggest challenge could be how to deal with his celebrity status but after he held off Phelps on the biggest final lap of his life to date, he's confident he can manage. "It takes some getting used to but at the end of the day if you focus on what you're doing and you don't care about outside distractions it's ok," he said. "I like being in that position and I don't see it as a burden at all.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 21st, 2018

In Focus: Signs That Fans Spot When Their Idols Are Making A Comeback

Changing their hair could actually mean something!.....»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 20th, 2018