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Thomas stretches lead to 7 at the Sony Open

DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf Writer br /> HONOLULU (AP) — Justin Thomas made a 15-foot birdie putt on the final hole Saturday for a 5-under 65 to tie the 54-hole score record on the PGA Tour and build a seven-shot lead going into the final round of the Sony Open. No one has ever lost a PGA Tour event with a seven-shot lead, and Thomas has given no indication that will change. His goal was to not drop any shots on another calm day at Waialae, and he wound up stretching his lead as he goes for a sweep of Hawaii. That last birdie putt put Thomas at 22-under 188, tying the mark Steve Stricker set at the 2010 John Deere Classic. Thomas got into the record book with an eagle on his final hole in each of the previous two rounds at Waialae — a 59 on Thursday for the eighth sub-60 round in tour history, and the 36-hole scoring record Friday. He had another chance on the par-5 18th until his second shot clipped a palm frond and came up well short. He pitched to just inside 15 feet below the cup, and poured in the putt. Zach Johnson shot a 65 to keep pace, though he remained seven shots behind. Olympic gold medalist Justin Rose (66) and Gary Woodland (68) were eight shots behind, though the 23-year-old Thomas has turned this into a one-man show with one round remaining as he tries to join Ernie Els in 2003 as the only players to win both Hawaii events on the PGA Tour. The course remained so vulnerable that Kevin Kisner nearly produced the second 59 of the week. Kisner made a 25-foot birdie putt on the eighth hole to reach 9 under for his round. Needing an eagle to shoot 59, he drilled his tee shot on the fast fairways of Waialae, hit 8-iron to 9 feet and thought he had made it. The putt stayed to the right and burned the edge of the cup, and Kisner had to settle for a 60. It was the lowest round of his career — but only the second-lowest round this week. 'Can't be that upset,' Kisner said. He went from making the cut on the number to a tie for sixth, though hardly in contention. Kisner still was nine shots out of the lead. Thomas had only a few stressful moments, such as the par-3 seventh when his tee shot bounded down a steep still on the right into a fluffy lie. He hit a flop shot to about 12 feet and hit the putt so pure he started walking even before it dropped. Thomas led by at least four shots the entire round. He made his first birdie with a two-putt on the par-5 ninth, drove into a greenside bunker on the par-4 10th and got another birdie and he was on his way. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 14th, 2017

Nadal holds off Zverev to reach 4th round at Australian Open

JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer br /> MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Rafael Nadal held back time, for one match at least, when he rallied for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-2 win over German teenager Alexander Zverev to reach the fourth round of the Australian Open. The 14-time major winner is on a comeback after an extended injury layoff, yet he finished stronger in the 4-hour, 6-minute match on Rod Laver Arena as Zverev tightened up with cramping and nerves. 'I enjoyed a lot this great battle. I was losing the last couple of times in the fifth set and I said to myself, 'today's the day',' said ninth-seeded Nadal, who had lost eight of the previous nine times he'd trailed 2-1 in a best-of-five set match. His 30-year-old legs, conditioned by 236 Grand Slam matches, carried him all the way. 'Well, fighting — and running a lot,' Nadal said, when asked to explain the difference. 'I think you know, everybody knows how good Alexander is — he's the future of our sport and the present, too.' Serena Williams has done it more easily, reaching the fourth round without dropping a set to stay on course in her bid for a record 23rd Grand slam title. Williams beat fellow American Nicole Gibbs 6-1, 6-3 and didn't face a break point until she was serving for the match. Dropping serve in that game was her only lapse in a match that then extended just beyond the hour — to 63 minutes to be precise. The six-time Australian Open champion next faces No. 16 Barbora Strycova. 'I don't have anything to prove in this tournament here. Just doing the best I can,' Williams said. 'Obviously I'm here for one reason.' Milos Raonic is here pursuing his first major title, aiming to improve on his runs to the semifinals in Australia and the final at Wimbledon last year. He reached the fourth round with a 6-2, 7-6 (5), 3-6, 6-3 win over No. 25 Gilles Simon and will next play No. 13 Roberto Bautista Agut, who beat David Ferrer 7-5, 6-7 (6), 7-6 (3), 6-4. Nadal, who had two months off with an injured left wrist at the end of 2016, will get another veteran next after U.S. Open semifinalist Gael Monfils beat Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 7-6 (1), 6-4. In another gripping five-setter, but on an outside court, wild-card entry Denis Istomin followed his upset win over defending champion Novak Djokovic with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 victory over Pablo Carreno Busta. No. 8 Dominic Thiem beat Benoit Paire 6-1, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 to set up a fourth-round match against No. 11 David Goffin, who ended Ivo Karlovic's run 6-3, 6-2, 6-4. Zverev's creative shot-making gave the 19-year-old German a confident start. He had won his previous three matches against top-10 players, and has been widely touted as a future Grand Slam champion. But Nadal, the champion here in 2009, didn't let him get too far in front. In an exchange of breaks in the fifth set, Nadal broke to open, then dropped his own serve, before breaking Zverev again. Nadal finished with 43 winners and 34 unforced errors, while Zverev — hitting harder and trying more to find the lines — had 58 winners and 74 unforced errors. In early women's matches, Ekaterina Makarova led by a set and 4-0 but had a mid-match fade, needing three sets and almost three hours to finally beat WTA Finals champion Dominika Cibulkova 6-2, 6-7 (3), 6-3. 'An amazing fight,' Makarova said of her first win over sixth-seeded Cibulkova, the 2014 finalist at Melbourne Park. 'I got, to be honest, a bit tight at 4-0 in the second set. But I'm still here.' She'll now take on last year's semifinalist Johanna Konta, who beat former No. 1-ranked Caroline Wozniacki 6-3, 6-1, in a rematch of their fourth-round encounter here last year. Mirjana Lucic-Baroni continued her unlikely run with a 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 win over Maria Sakkari, and so did American qualifier Jennifer Brady. Before this week, the 34-year-old Lucic-Baroni hadn't won a match at Melbourne Park since her debut here in 1998. The 19-year gap in between match wins at a Grand Slam tournament broke the record set by Kimiko Date-Krumm. The 1999 Wimbledon semifinalist next plays No. 116-ranked Brady, who had never played in the main draw of a major before she qualified for this week. The 21-year-old Brady had a 7-6 (4), 6-2 win over 14th-seeded Elena Vesnina on Show Court 2. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 21st, 2017

Argentina's Tevez settling into role with Shanghai Shenhua

SHANGHAI (AP) — Argentine striker Carlos Tevez says he's already feeling at home with Chinese Super League squad Shanghai Shenhua. Tevez last month became the latest in a procession of star players to join the CPL after Shenhua paid a reported $11 million transfer fee to Argentine club Boca Juniors. He declined to offer financial details on Saturday, but said he'd been moved by the sincerity of Zhou Jun, the club's deputy general manager, who met with Tevez in Argentina to discuss arrangements. The 32-year-old said he shared a 'similar football philosophy' with Shenhua coach Gus Poyet, the former Sunderland and Real Betis manager who joined the club in November. A person familiar with the negotiations said Tevez is being paid $40 million over two years. The Super League season begins in March. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 21st, 2017

Gobert's 27-25 lifts Jazz over Mavs in OT

DALLAS (AP) Rudy Gobert had career highs with 27 points and 25 rebounds, including one on his missed free throw in overtime that led to the tying 3-pointer by Joe Johnson, and the Utah Jazz beat the Dallas Mavericks 112-107 on Friday night. Gobert had just missed both of his free throw attempts with 1:50 left, but the second one ricocheted right back to him. Johnson then hit a 3 to make it 107-all. After a Dallas miss by Deron Williams and a foul in the aftermath, Joe Ingles put the Jazz ahead to stay with two free throws with 1:35 remaining. Gobert finished with his 29th consecutive 10-rebound game. Gordon Hayward had 26 points, including a big 3-pointer late in regulation. Johnson finished with 15 points. Harrison Barnes had 19 points for Dallas, which had seven players score in double figures. Williams had 16 points and Seth Curry 15. Williams had consecutive layups high off the glass in overtime, the last with 1:36 putting the Mavericks up 107-104. Hayward's 3-pointer with 1:06 left in regulation had put the Jazz up 96-95, then Gobert had a rebound that led to his layup at the other end for a 98-95 lead with 36 seconds left. That rebound by Gobert came after a missed 3-pointer by J.J. Barea, who aggravated a calf issue on the shot. Curry, who had been on the bench for a long stretch, re-entered the game for Barea and made a wide-open tying 3-pointer from the left corner with 25 seconds left that tied it. Dirk Nowitzki had a season-high 10 rebounds for Dallas, but was just 1-of-13 shooting for three points. A minute into the fourth quarter, the 13-time All-Star and MVP from 10 years ago twice grabbed his own misses before being blocked on a third try. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 21st, 2017

Nets stop 11-game losing skid by routing Pelicans

NEW ORLEANS (AP) Brook Lopez and Bojan Bogdanovic scored 23 points apiece and the Brooklyn Nets ended an 11-game losing streak, routing the New Orleans Pelicans 143-114 on Friday night. Caris Levert added 17 points on 6-of-6 shooting for the Nets, who had seven players in double figures while beating their season high for points by 16.  br /> Their 29-point victory was 11 more than their previous largest. They also set season highs for points in the second quarter (37) and points in any quarter with 43 in the third. Anthony Davis led New Orleans with 22 points and nine rebounds despite leaving in the third quarter with a leg injury. The defeat was a huge comedown for him and the Pelicans a day after he was named a starter for the NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 20th, 2017

Payton propels Magic past Bucks

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) Elfrid Payton scored 20 points, Jeff Green added 18 points and seven rebounds off the bench, and the Orlando Magic snapped a three-game losing streak by beating the Milwaukee Bucks 112-96 on Friday night. The Magic, returning home from a 1-5 road trip, played with a small lineup for much of the night and it provided the offense they needed with two of their top scorers out. Orlando had six players in double figures, including starters Aaron Gordon (17), Serge Ibaka (13) and Nikola Vucevic (13). Orlando shot 46 percent from the field while limiting the Bucks to 41 percent. Jabari Parker led Milwaukee with 25 points and Giannis Antetokounmpo contributed 17 points and 14 rebounds as the Bucks dropped their fourth straight game. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 20th, 2017

PBA: 12 more to be added to Gilas pool

Twelve more players from the PBA ranks will be added to the Gilas Pilipinas national team pool from where coach Chot Reyes will pick to form his squad for various international tournaments including qualifying events for the 2019 FIBA World Cup......»»

Category: newsSource:  tempoRelated NewsJan 20th, 2017

PBA: No problem with limited exposure

TNT KaTropa star Jayson Castro doesn’t see any problem with coach Nash Racela’s decision to limit the minutes of his veteran players in lieu of the team’s young guns as they look to find the winning formula in their drive towards making the quarterfinals of the PBA Philippine Cup......»»

Category: newsSource:  tempoRelated NewsJan 20th, 2017

A tournament without Djokovic to hit home in Australia

DENNIS PASSA, AP Sports Writer br /> MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The stark reality of an Australian Open third round without Novak Djokovic — for the first time in 11 years — hits home on Saturday when the remaining players in his half of the draw, Rafael Nadal and Milos Raonic among them, attempt to advance to the second week of the tournament. Djokovic was beaten on Thursday in five sets by wild-card entry Denis Istomin, the earliest that the Serbian star has left Melbourne Park in singles since his first appearance here in 2006 when he was beaten by American Paul Goldstein in the first round. 'What Novak did here is just amazing, six victories here, six titles ... so it is not possible to be every time in that situation, no?' Nadal said after his second-round win. 'So then today was probably an accident, that's all. We are athletes. We know when we are going on court we can lose and we can win. It probably was a combination that Denis played a great match and Novak didn't play his best. When this combination happens, then you are in trouble. Everything can happen. And (it) happened.' Istomin, meanwhile, plays on. He's up against 30th-ranked Pablo Carreno Busta on Show Court 2 on Friday. Here's a look at some of the key matchups Saturday: ___ RAFA'S TOUGH ASSIGNMENT: Nadal plays 19-year-old Alexander Zverev in an afternoon match at Rod Laver Arena. The young German was voted the ATP Star of Tomorrow in 2015 and has mostly lived up to the hype, seeded 24th here. 'He is one of the best players in the world, without a doubt ... and one of the next Grand Slam winners,' Nadal said. 'He has a big chance to become the future world No. 1 if he's able to keep improving the way that he's doing.' Nadal has been playing well since his return to the circuit after two lengthy injury spells last year, the 14-time major winner looking almost flawless in his straight sets win over Marcos Baghdatis in the second round. Still, he's expecting to have his hands full with Zverev: 'I know I have a very tough match ... I know I need to play my best if I want to have a chance.' ___ A SERENA BREATHER?: Six-time Australian Open champion Serena Williams had two fairly tough matches through the first two rounds, facing Belinda Bencic, a former No. 7-ranked player now sitting at 59, and Lucie Safarova, ranked No. 61 but who Williams beat in the 2015 French Open final. Williams won both matches in straight sets. Her third-round match is against fellow American Nicole Gibbs, who Williams beat in straight sets at Stanford in 2012 in their only previous meeting. Williams said she feels she's better for the experience of having had tough opposition in the first two rounds. 'When I play players like Bencic and Safarova, they force me to play better,' Williams said. 'It forces my game from the very first day to be at a high level. I needed something to start really fast. I'm not going to complain about it.' ___ CONTRASTING STYLES: Third-seeded Milos Raonic plays Gilles Simon on Hisense Arena and the Canadian holds a 3-1 edge in career meetings. Their only Grand Slam match came in the fourth round of the 2014 French Open, when Raonic won in five sets, including 7-5 in the fifth. 'I know a lot about his game. I've watched him play a lot,' Raonic said. 'He's going to be there really trying to get me to play at his speed, his rhythm. Obviously he tries to slow things down, play low. I won't have the opportunity to get too many swings at many shots.' Which means Raonic, with one of the best serves in the game, will try to get points over quickly. 'I've got to serve well and I've got to be aggressive and I've got to take it to him. The last thing I want to do is get into this sort of game of playing long rallies with him.' ___ KONTA vs WOZNIACKI: Last year's semifinalist Johanna Konta and Caroline Wozniacki, a former No. 1 who made it to the final four here in 2011, meet for the first time in an afternoon match at Margaret Court Arena. Both have been playing well, Konta coming off a win in the Sydney International last week, and Wozniacki having dropped just seven games in her first two matches at Melbourne Park. 'She had a good last year,' Wozniacki said. 'But at the end of the day, it doesn't matter who is on the other side.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 20th, 2017

Venus focused on tennis, not age, in record 73rd Grand Slam

JUSTIN BERGMAN, Associated Press br /> MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — One could never accuse Venus Williams of being sensitive about her age. Not the way she keeps making self-deprecating jokes about it at the Australian Open. Case in point: Asked about the Australian great Margaret Court after her third-round win over China's Duan Yingying at Margaret Court Arena on Friday, Williams said she had a letter from the 24-time major winner hung on the wall in her room as a memento. 'It's a congratulations for me being the oldest person in the draw or something like that,' she dead-panned. The 36-year-old Williams fields more than her fair share of questions about her advanced age in the sport, how often she considers retirement, what keeps her motivated after more than two decades on the court. Indeed, she is appearing in her 73rd Grand Slam singles draw — a record for the Open era. And she is the oldest woman in the draw at Melbourne Park, though it should be noted that male players her age, such as Ivo Karlovic and Roger Federer, aren't continuously peppered with the same questions. But rather than show her annoyance, Williams smiles and patiently responds each time, sometimes with a joke. And she's made clear with her play this week that she's still a serious contender — she's reached the fourth round at the Australian Open for the 10th time in her career, and without dropping a set. Against Duan, a player who admitted she'd never seen the seven-time Grand Slam winner play, the 13th-seeded Williams only lost one game. 'Just like every player here, I have put in a ton of work,' Williams said earlier in the week. 'I'm not coming all the way to Australia for kicks and giggles. I'm here as a competitor.' Williams made clear Friday she doesn't want to get dragged into controversies, either. She declined to comment on a remark by a TV commentator during her second-round match when he described her as moving in and charging with what sounded like a 'gorilla' or 'guerrilla' effect. The commentator, Doug Adler, who maintains he said 'guerrilla' — as in, her choice of tactics — but apologized for his poor word choice, was dropped from ESPN's coverage for the rest of the tournament. 'All I can say is it's been a wonderful, wonderful career for me full of positives. That's what I focus on,' said Williams, who hasn't shied away from addressing issues ranging from racism to gender pay equity throughout her career. 'I pay attention and address situations that are noteworthy,' she added, when pressed on the subject. 'That's been my past record, clearly.' What Williams wants to talk about is her tennis. Especially as she continues to win at Melbourne Park, where she's reached the final just once in her career. Her next opponent is another player many years her junior, 26-year-old Mona Barthel, a No. 181-ranked qualifier from Germany. 'It's never enough,' Williams said. 'I've been in the fourth round before. I've tasted it before and it's always a great feeling because it means, hey, I have an opportunity for the quarterfinals. That's what I'm going to go for.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 20th, 2017

Silence, mourning since fatal crash turn to hope at Chapeco

MAURICIO SAVARESE, AP Sports Writer   CHAPECO, Brazil (AP) — Silence and mourning are slowly being replaced by boisterous fans and hope. As the Chapecoense club rebuilds after the air crash that killed 19 players and nearly all members of the staff and board of directors, so is the town of 200,000. Like many in Brazil, football is the oxygen for everything: gossip, community pride and heated debate. On Saturday, Chapecoense's 20,000-capacity Arena Conda will host the team's first match since the tragedy almost two months ago. Lines outside are filled with fans excited about the club's and the city's restart. Fifty coffins lined the same field in November, where this time Chape's reconstructed team will play Brazilian champion Palmeiras in a friendly match. 'I bet I won't be able to sleep Friday night,' 19-year-old fan Marcelo Ribeiro said as he walked to the stadium. 'Since the accident the city is dead. The festivities were mostly canceled at the end of the year, and all most people are thinking about is the rebirth. I want to see what the rebirth looks like.' At the Hotel Bertaso, where most of Chape's players and coaching staff have traditionally lodged, the first signs of that rebirth are obvious. The second floor, which was home to many of the victims, including coach Caio Junior, is once again full. 'I can't help feeling a lot of hope for the future now,' said receptionist Gelson Mangone, who lost several friends in that crash on an Andean mountain side near Medellin, Colombia, on Nov.28. 'It has been a lot of work to settle all these new signings here, they are also learning their way here,' the receptionist said. 'But it does feel like a brand new start.' New coach Vagner Mancini is one of the hotel's new residents. He said the job makes him 'a better human being, but it's the most challenging to face.' 'We have to build a team, a coaching staff and a club infrastructure in a season in which Chape will be in demand,' Mancini told The Associated Press. 'I understand now that the city was so affected because the club and the city are run like a family,' he added. 'The players we brought are cut from that cloth, but we have to reach a higher level now.' After the crash, Colombian club Atletico Nacional, which was to face Chape in the Copa Sudamericana final in Medellin, awarded the victory to the small Brazilian team. That means that Chape qualified for South America's No. 1 tournament for the first time, the competitive Copa Libertadores. The team will also try to defend its title in the Santa Catarina state championship, try to stay up in Brazil's top-flight competition, and play in a pile of fundraisers, including one against Barcelona. 'We have to assemble a competitive team at the same time we need to hire someone to handle passports, contracts,' Mancini said. 'The club used to handle this well, but like a family run business. Now we are at a different moment.' Chapecoense had almost nothing left after the crash: six players that did not travel on the ill-fated flight, two physiotherapists, one goalkeeping coach, one doctor, one data analyst, one nurse and a few club officials. New chairman and club co-founder Plinio David de Nes Filho, a wealthy local businessman known as Maninho, is leading the charge to bolster club finances. Former players like Nivaldo Constante, who played as a goalkeeper until the tragedy struck, are approaching players that can help. And Chapeco Mayor Luciano Buligon is working as a kind of ambassador for the club and the city. 'Our weekends were about three things: family, church and Chapecoense,' Buligon said. 'It has been hard to get the city back on track because the wounds are still very open. But we are slowly moving on. On Saturday we will start getting a part of our weekends back.' Not everyone is happy. Rosangela Loureiro, widow of crash victim Cleber Santana, said she is upset because his belongings still have not been returned to the family. 'I feel sadness and rage. No one is doing anything to bring their belongings back. I plead with them to soften our pain and make us get the memories that we will hold dear for the rest of our lives,' she said on Instagram last week. Other widows have complained about damages not yet being paid by the club. Chapecoense directors say they are doing the best they can as they try to rebuild. There are even complaints at the joyous Hotel Bertaso. 'These new players love to make a mess in their rooms,' said a cleaner, who declined to offer her name. 'The other ones were older, more mature and the new ones seem to be more infantile. I hope they are up for the task. The city really needs that now.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 20th, 2017

Pochettino, Guardiola confounding expectations in EPL

ROB HARRIS, AP Global Soccer Writer   LONDON (AP) — In one dugout at Etihad Stadium on Saturday will be a manager enjoying a six-match winning streak with his second-place team. In the other, a manager reeling from the biggest loss of his career and down in fifth place. Few at the start of the English Premier League would have predicted it would be Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino with the edge over struggling Manchester City counterpart Pep Guardiola. But the top of the standings is confounding expectations in the second half of the season. City hosts Tottenham with Guardiola's side trailing the second-place London club by three points and leader Chelsea by 10 points. Having already ruled City out of the title race, Guardiola is now in a scrap just to secure Champions League qualification by finishing in the top four as he endures a difficult first season in English soccer. It was against Tottenham in early October when Guardiola experienced his first setback at City, with Pochettino ending the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach's winning league start. Last weekend, he was humbled by a 4-0 loss at Everton, a career low for the Champions League-winning coach. Has Guardiola lost the Midas touch? 'The coach has to adapt with the players, the players have to adapt with the coach,' Eric Abidal, who played under Guardiola at Barcelona, told The Associated Press on Thursday. 'Tactically, and the methodology of Pep Guardiola is methodology from Barcelona ... he needs time. They will win trophies. 'I spoke with some players from (City), tactically they learn a lot,' Adibal added at a Barcelona event on Thursday in Singapore. 'But when you have a good coach and good players, a lot of teams want to beat you. So it's not easy, every weekend, and we know the intensity of English football.' City racked up six successive wins in the league before losing 2-0 at Tottenham on Oct. 2. Since then City has dropped 18 points, winning seven of its 14 games as the shortcomings of the brittle defense and shaky goalkeeper Claudio Bravo has been exposed. City's attacking options have been reinforced with Gabriel Jesus completing his move from Palmeiras in time to feature against Tottenham. 'Gabriel is a technically gifted player who was chased by some of Europe's biggest clubs and we are delighted he decided to join City,' director of football Txiki Begiristain said. 'He has the potential to become one of the best attacking players in the game.' And for the 19-year-old Jesus, Guardiola played a big part in deciding his next destination. 'He was the only manager who called me so I was very pleased,' Jesus said. 'One thing I've noticed is that, like me, he is mad about football. He lives football 24 hours a day. I'm like that, too. 'When I'm not playing, I'm watching, or playing a video game, doing something linked to football. This is very important, that I'm the same as him, and I hope to learn.' Tottenham could move six points clear of City by completing the double over Guardiola's side. And for Pochettino it's not just about securing a second successive season in the Champions League but delivering the north London club's first domestic title since 1961. 'We have to try to show that we can be real contenders for the Premier League, that's the real challenge,' Pochettino said. 'It's more important that we can show ourselves, rather than show Manchester City. 'We need to show ourselves we are capable of dealing with that pressure, and to try to win games to achieve big things.' Tottenham has received more positive news on defender Jan Vertonghen's ankle injury. After initial fears the center back could be out for three months, Tottenham now expects him back in six weeks. Here are some other talking points around the Premier League: ___ PAYET PREDICAMENT West Ham travels to Southampton on Saturday with the fate of star player Dimitri Payet still uncertain after the France midfielder told the club more than a week ago he wants to leave to rejoin Marseille. Payet would not play against Crystal Palace last weekend, according to manager Slaven Bilic. 'Is his departure inevitable? I don't know,' Bilic said. 'We are not going to sell our best players on the cheap just because someone wants to sign them or even because they want to go home. 'I left it with the chairman and I'm sure he's going to do the best thing. The ball is in Marseille's court. They are the ones who expressed interest. Now they should act ... like everybody, he has his price.' AT THE BOTTOM Two of the teams in the relegation zone have tricky trips to top-four opposition. Paul Clement takes Swansea to third-place Liverpool on Saturday for a daunting second league game in charge of the bottom-place team. 'It does not look hopeless,' the former Bayern Munich assistant coach said. 'We are one point behind the team outside the relegation zone and not far behind the teams just above that as well.' Sunderland, which is above Swansea on goal difference, is at West Bromwich Albion. Hull is a point further up the standings going into Sunday's game at leader Chelsea. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 19th, 2017

Bundesliga will be ready to use video review next season

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The Bundesliga says it will be ready to use video review next season. FIFA's rules making panel, known as IFAB, is working with leagues to introduce Video Assistant Referees (VARs) ahead of likely approval for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. FIFA wants video review only for potential 'clear errors' in four situations: Goals being scored, penalties being awarded, players being sent off, and cases of mistaken identity. IFAB should decide early next year on using VARs at the World Cup. Germany's top league kicks off next season in August. A Bundesliga statement says it opted for a system 'where all VARs will be assembled at a single location on the day of play,' as the NBA and MLB use. In Russia, FIFA could opt for VARs working at the stadium as part of each referee's support team. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 19th, 2017

After good start, time for Balotelli to score away from home

JEROME PUGMIRE, AP Sports Writer   PARIS (AP) — It is about time for Mario Balotelli to start scoring away from home. The Italian striker's return from suspension is much needed for Nice, which faces a difficult match at Bastia on Friday after losing ground last weekend. Nice unexpectedly dropped points by drawing 0-0 against struggling Metz, and Balotelli's absence — through suspension — was felt. The draw played into the hands of free-scoring Monaco, which moved to the top on goal difference, and defending champion Paris Saint-Germain, now only three points behind. Nice will be stronger with Balotelli leading the line, considering he averages nearly a goal a game since joining on a free transfer from Liverpool in the offseason. But the worrying statistic for Nice is that his eight league goals — and nine of the 10 he has scored overall — have all been at home. When Nice plays at home, it often dominates possession through its slick midfield and Balotelli, with his outstanding ability to hold the ball up, is regularly involved in the quick and neat approach play. It's a different story away from home, where Balotelli often drifts in and out of position as he roams for space to create opportunities out of nothing. Nice coach Lucien Favre needs Balotelli to be at his disciplined best on Friday, rather than in improvisational mode. Balotelli, who has a long history of controversy on and off the field, will also have to keep this cool. Although Bastia is only one place above the relegation zone, the Corsican side is always fiercely motivated at home, where the passionate locals at the compact 20,000-capacity Armand Cesari Stadium reserve their most vitriolic and hostile welcomes for southern clubs Nice and Marseille, and for PSG. Because of the seething animosity between Bastia and Nice fans — there have been violent clashes in the past — France's Interior Ministry decreed a ban on travelling fans. Any daring Nice fans trying to circumnavigate the ban will be prevented from trying to reach the island of Corsica either by sea — via the ports of Nice, Marseille and Toulon — or by air. Nice deplored the ban, which it says 'automatically deprives its fans of passion for the umpteenth time.' Favre, who took charge in the offseason after leaving German side Borussia Moenchengladbach, is bracing himself for a heated encounter. 'There's always something special about this game, so I've been told,' said Favre, who replaced Claude Puel after he joined Premier League club Southampton. 'In football, you always have commitment, headers, tackles. It's part of the game, if it's fair. It's up to us to react properly. You must control your emotions.' ___ GOALS GALORE Lorient's players can hardly be looking forward to the trip to play Monaco, given how many goals the French leaders are scoring. Last weekend's 4-1 rout of Marseille made it 60 league goals in 20 games — comfortably more than any other team in Europe's top five leagues — and 86 in 33 games overall this season. Bad news for Lorient, which is languishing in 19th place and has conceded 39 goals — more than any other team in the league. Monaco must be relieved it did not sell Colombian striker Radamel Falcao after he spent two unsuccessful seasons on loan at Manchester United and Chelsea as he fought back from a serious injury. Falcao has been an inspirational captain, scoring eight in the past seven games and 17 in all competitions this season. Behind him and strike partner Valere Germain, the midfield quartet of Tiemoue Bakayoko, Fabinho, Thomas Lemar and Bernardo Silva is striking a good balance. Bakayoko and Fabinho do much of the holding work, thus freeing up the skillful Lemar and the quick Silva to roam free. They were unstoppable against Marseille, with Lemar scoring an audacious lob and Silva netting twice. ___ A TIGHTER DEFENSE PSG is looking for a fifth straight win when it travels to play Nantes on Saturday. Following a rocky spell just before the mid-season winter break, PSG has won its two league games and two cup games since without fuss and without conceding a goal. But Nantes could be a different proposition, especially given how well the team is playing under coach Sergio Conceicao. Wednesday's 1-0 win over Caen was the sixth in seventh games since the former Portugal winger took charge in early December. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 19th, 2017

Robinho in Brazil squad for Chape fundraiser versus Colombia

MAURICIO SAVARESE, Associated Press   CHAPECO, Brazil (AP) — Veteran forward Robinho has been called back into Brazil's national team for Wednesday's friendly against Colombia — a match that will raise funds for the families of the victims of the Chapecoense team air crash. The former Real Madrid, Manchester City and AC Milan player has not played for Brazil since the 2015 Copa America. The 32-year-old Robinho is now at Atletico Mineiro. Brazil coach Tite chose a squad made up of locally based players for the fundraiser match. Nineteen Chapecoense players died in the accident that killed 71 of 77 passengers as the Brazilian team traveled to Medellin to play Colombian club Atletico Nacional in the Copa Sudamericana final. Chapecoense fans expected former goalkeeper Nivaldo, who retired after the crash, and midfielder Nenem to be called to the national team by Tite as a tribute. Instead, the coach called fitness coach Paulo Paixao, father of Anderson, who was Chapecoense's fitness coach and also died in the tragedy. 'All these players coming for this game could have a future with Brazil, that was one of the criteria,' Tite said at Brazilian football confederation headquarters. Only 5,000 tickets have been sold for the game, which will be played at the Engenhao Stadium — the venue for last year's Olympic track competition. The Maracana Stadium was ruled out because of a clash between its administrators. ___ Brazil squad: Goalkeepers: Alex Muralha (Flamengo), Danilo Fernandes (Internacional), Weverton (Atletico Paranaense) Defenders: Fagner (Corinthians), Marcos Rocha (Atletico Mineiro), Fabio Santos (Atletico Mineiro), Jorge (Flamengo), Rodrigo Caio (Sao Paulo), Pedro Geromel (Gremio), Vitor Hugo (Palmeiras), Luan (Vasco da Gama) Midfielders: Camilo (Botafogo), Diego (Flamengo), Henrique (Cruzeiro), Rodriguinho (Corinthians), Walace (Gremio), Willian Arao (Flamengo), Lucas Lima (Santos), Gustavo Scarpa (Fluminense) Forwards: Dudu (Palmeiras), Diego Souza (Sport Recife), Luan (Gremio), Robinho (Atletico Mineiro) .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 19th, 2017

Wenger concerned Chinese wages become benchmark for players

LONDON (AP) — Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is hoping the high quality of competition in Europe will keep players from leaving for the financial gain in China. Wenger is facing regular questions about the future of both Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, and the big money on offer in the Chinese league can complicate negotiations. Argentine striker Carlos Tevez joined Shanghai Shenhua last month in a deal worth $40 million over two years. 'The danger (is) that the Chinese offers become the benchmark for Europe,' Wenger said Thursday. 'You cannot compete with that, but I still think that, when you're a footballer, the first thing is that you want to play against the best players in the best teams.' Wenger said players that want the best compensation for playing in the best quality league need not look to Asia. 'I think that combination is the best in England at the moment, so I don't see why the players should leave the English Premier League,' Wenger said. Wenger, whose team is fourth in the standings, has made only one signing in the January transfer window, picking up defender Cohen Bramall from non-league club Hednesford. Arsenal has also decided to keep captain Per Mertesacker for another season. Wenger announced Thursday that the club has taken up a one-year option to extend the contract of the 32-year-old German, who has not played this season because of a knee injury sustained during a friendly in July. Mertesacker faces a fight to get back into the team because Shkodran Mustafi, an offseason signing from Valencia, has built a strong partrnership with vice captain Laurent Koscielny at the heart of Wenger's defense .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 19th, 2017

Heat win back-to-back games, hold off Mavericks

MIAMI (AP) — Goran Dragic had 32 points, Tyler Johnson scored 10 of his 23 in the fourth quarter and the Miami Heat topped the Dallas Mavericks 99-95 on Thursday night (Friday, PHL time). Dragic shot 11-for-15 from the field and 4-of-4 from three-point range. He also got a big offensive rebound in the final minute to extend a possession, and Johnson made a pair of free throws with 29.9 seconds left to give Miami an eight-point lead. Hassan Whiteside scored 13 and Dion Waiters added 12 for the Heat. Dirk Nowitzki scored 19 points for Dallas, which had its season-best three-game winning streak snapped. The Mavericks went 1-for-8 from the field during a late stretch of the fourth quarter and never got the lead again. Wesley Matthews scored 18 for the Mavericks, who got 15 apiece from Harrison Barnes and Seth Curry. Nowitzki made 2-of-3 free throws with 18.5 seconds left to get the Mavs within 95-92. The Heat needed to burn two timeouts before even getting the ball inbounded on the ensuing possession, and Johnson hit two from the line five seconds later to help seal the win. Dragic tied a career-best for shooting percentage when taking at least 15 shots; he was 11-of-15 on two other occasions, both with Phoenix. It was also the fourth time he was 4-for-4 from three-point range in a regular-season game -- he was 5-for-5 once, in a 2010 playoff game with the Suns. strong>TIP-INS /strong> em> strong>Mavericks: /strong> /em>Nowitzki took Dallas' first four shots. J.J. Barea scored 13 points and has reached double figures in 11 of his 17 games this season. At 32, he's on pace to average more than 12 points a game for the first time. Dallas took only 11 free throws to Miami's 29. em> strong>Heat: /strong> /em>Miami is up to 170 games missed by players for illness or injury this season, most in the NBA. Okaro White made his NBA debut in the first quarter. He was signed to a 10-day deal earlier this week. Wayne Ellington got his 1,000th career rebound and is one three-pointer shy of 500. strong>PROMOTION ISSUE /strong> A fan avoided injury when a door -- depicting a hotel room door -- on a wheeled frame fell over on her during a promotion after the first quarter. The promotion had several fans slide hotel 'keys' into the door, and the one that worked would win a hotel stay. Heat officials said the woman was fine, and the game was delayed a couple of minutes while some cosmetic scrapes to the floor were removed. strong>BOGUT CLOSER /strong> Dallas center Andrew Bogut missed his fourth straight game with a right hamstring strain. He worked out on the court before the game and is improving, though he isn't expected to play Friday (Saturday, PHL time) against Utah. strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Mavericks: /strong> /em>Host the Utah Jazz on Friday (Saturday, PHL time). Dallas is 0-7 on the second night of back-to-backs this season. em> strong>Heat: /strong> /em>Host the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). Miami is 1-1 against the Bucks, with both teams winning at home. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 19th, 2017

Bonds, Clemens making slow gains with changing electorate

NOAH TRISTER, AP Baseball Writer The electorate is changing, however, and that could be good news for both. Bonds and Clemens inched past the 50-percent mark for the first time Wednesday, each appearing on about 54 percent of ballots cast by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. For a fifth straight year, Bonds and Clemens fell short of the 75 percent needed for induction, but their support is slowly climbing. Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez were elected to the Hall on Wednesday. Bonds and Clemens remain on the outside looking in because of drug suspicions, but they could continue to gain ground as more new voters are welcomed into the process. 'I think, just generationally, people in their 20s and 30s look at this different than people in their 50s and 60s,' said Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star, a first-time voter who supported Bonds and Clemens. 'Maybe we're missing something — I'm not one of these people that thinks, like, I'm right and they're wrong. It's just different viewpoints.' A writer can receive a Hall of Fame vote when he or she has been an active member of the BBWAA for 10 consecutive years, so newcomers are always on the way. In 2015, the Hall of Fame eliminated voters who had been inactive for more than 10 years — a move that further boosted the influence of newer voters. The closest thing to a Hall of Fame exit poll is Ryan Thibodaux's online vote tracker , which has charted over half the ballots from this year's election. Of the 14 first-time voters identified on the site as of Wednesday night, 13 supported Bonds and Clemens. One of those first-time voters was Mike Harrington of The Buffalo News, who said he supported Bonds after former Commissioner Bud Selig was elected as part of this class by a veterans committee. Selig presided over the era in which drug suspicion became so rampant. 'The last few years in my Sunday column in The Buffalo News, I refused to use Barry Bonds' name. In my column, it became kind of a trademark. I just referred to him as No. 25,' Harrington said. 'So now people see my article in The Buffalo News — 'Wait a minute, how did you vote for Bonds and Clemens?' I explained in my column a couple weeks ago: To me, I felt, the Bud Selig thing was a tipping point.' Bonds and Clemens are back on the ballot next year, along with newcomers such as Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, Andruw Jones, Scott Rolen, Johan Santana and Omar Vizquel. Here are a few more things to watch: PUBLIC BALLOTS The BBWAA voted to release each voter's Hall of Fame choices to the public, starting next year. That change will add transparency to the process, although there are some concerns about groupthink and peer pressure. 'I'm very conflicted about this,' Mellinger said. 'I applaud the reasons that they are public. We are a profession that demands transparency in others, so why shouldn't we have the same here? I get all that. I can't argue against any of that. The part that I'm uncomfortable with is: I hope that people still vote their hearts and their minds and don't change based on, you know, 'I don't want to get ripped on Twitter.'' SABERMETRIC FAVORITES Raines had plenty of support in sabermetric circles. 'You've got these new stats. You've got WAR (wins above replacement). You've got all this stuff,' Raines said. 'Back in the day, when you looked at a Hall of Famer, you looked at 500 home runs, 300 wins and 3,000 hits, and a lot of times if you didn't reach those criteria, it was kind of hard for anyone to kind of look at you as a Hall of Famer. But I think the way the game has changed today, the way they look at the stats and everything, it has changed.' The next beneficiary of modern stats could be Mike Mussina, who achieved 51.8-percent approval this year. Mussina never won a Cy Young Award, but according to Baseball-Reference.com, his career WAR is comparable to that of Nolan Ryan and Bob Gibson. LOGJAM Nearly half of this year's 442 voters used the maximum 10 slots on their ballots, and although three people were elected, players like Trevor Hoffman (74.0 percent) and Vladimir Guerrero (71.7) fell just short, meaning they'll be back to take up votes again next year. With some credible new candidates eligible in 2018, the 10-player limit could come into play for quite a few voters. Lynn Henning of The Detroit News has abstained from voting at all when he's felt there were more than 10 Hall-worthy players. He didn't have that problem this year, but it could happen again. 'The 10-ballot restriction is silly, it's perverse, it's unjust, it's convoluted. It's a complete affront to players who deserve recognition, when they've earned recognition and are otherwise screened out because of some arbitrary adherence to this number 10,' Henning said. 'I think it's the most outlandishly preposterous restriction I've ever been exposed to in the realm of professional voting.' SPECIALISTS One challenge Hall voters now face is evaluating players who had more specialized roles — like designated hitters and closers. 'It's easy to find context for a Vladimir Guerrero or a Mike Mussina because there are tons of outfielders in the Hall of Fame, there are tons of starting pitchers in the Hall of Fame,' said Ryan Fagan of Sporting News. 'Defining the context for a DH or for a relief pitcher, that's more challenging, because there aren't a lot of guys like that in there.' Fagan supported Edgar Martinez, a DH, but did not vote for closers Hoffman, Billy Wagner and Lee Smith. None of those four made it in. All but Smith will be on the ballot again in 2018. ___ Follow Noah Trister at www.Twitter.com/noahtrister .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 19th, 2017

Lucic-Baroni's career revival continues with Melbourne upset

JUSTIN BERGMAN, Associated Press   MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The last time Mirjana Lucic-Baroni won a match at the Australian Open, Bill Clinton was in the White House. That was 1998. This week, in a span of three days, she's won two matches here, including a dominant 6-3, 6-2 win over third-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska on Thursday. Nineteen years was a long wait in between victories. But the 34-year-old Lucic-Baroni is getting used to moments like these since she returned to tennis full-time in 2008 following a long hiatus. And she wouldn't mind extending her stay in Melbourne just a little longer. 'I know I have some good tennis in me still, that's the reason I'm still out here at 34,' she said. 'I'm not a spring chicken for sure. I'm playing because I'm enjoying it and I know that I can still get some really big wins and really great results.' Comebacks are common these days in women's tennis, but few players have worked harder — and longer — to get back to an elite level than Lucic-Baroni. She made a memorable debut at the 1998 Australian Open at the age of 15. She won only one match in singles, but she and partner Martina Hingis captured the doubles title, an achievement she still finds amazing looking back now. 'Just kind of a little kid having fun,' she said. 'Everything was normal, winning big matches, playing on big court, winning the title, like it's nothing. It's crazy when you look at it now.' After a remarkable run to the Wimbledon singles semifinals in 1999, however, Lucic-Baroni's career suddenly fell apart. She stopped playing for several years and struggled financially. She returned to the lower-tier women's tour in the late 2000s to try to resume her career, but it would take another couple years before she'd make it back to a Grand Slam at Wimbledon in 2010. And four more years before a major win at a slam — an upset over second-seeded Simona Halep at the 2014 U.S. Open. When her power game is clicking, though, Lucic-Baroni can compete with anyone, as she proved against Radwanska. She smacked 33 winners to just eight for Radwanska and wrapped up the match in 63 minutes by breaking the Pole for the sixth time. 'I went in there with a game plan today to win the match,' she said. 'I didn't go to see, enjoy the court. I'm way too old and I've been around way too long to just gain experience.' Now, she'll try to back up her big win with another over 21-year-old Maria Sakkari of Greece in the third round. 'I missed quite a few years on tour. I missed a lot,' she said. 'I feel like this time around, I don't really have anything left to prove to anybody. I'm just enjoying myself, playing for myself.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 19th, 2017

TNT to launch NBA coverage featuring ex-players

NEW YORK (AP) — TNT will use broadcast teams featuring only former players and no traditional play-by-play men during five NBA doubleheaders later this season. The 'Players Only' schedule runs Monday nights from Feb. 27 to March 27 (Feb.28 to March 28, PHL time) and includes match-ups such as Golden State-Oklahoma City on March 20 (March 21, PHL time) and Cleveland-San Antonio a week later. Brent Barry will serve as the primary host of one team with Derek Fisher and Grant Hill, while Greg Anthony partners with Kevin McHale and Richard Hamilton on the other. Lisa Leslie and Dennis Scott will serve as reporters. Turner Sports says Thursday that Chris Webber will anchor the studio coverage with Isiah Thomas and Baron Davis, and that additional NBA players will contribute to the five-week program. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 19th, 2017