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Jimmy Alapag says work not over

San Miguel Pale Pilsen Alab is safely in the ABL Finals but head coach Jimmy Alapag said yesterday while he’s proud of how the team overcame adversity throughout the season, the work isn’t over until the title is in the bag......»»

Category: sportsSource: philstar philstarApr 17th, 2018

Jimmy Alapag says work not over

San Miguel Pale Pilsen Alab is safely in the ABL Finals but head coach Jimmy Alapag said yesterday while he’s proud of how the team overcame adversity throughout the season, the work isn’t over until the title is in the bag......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsApr 17th, 2018

Lo Domingo’s breakout reminds us that Alab is deepest team in ABL

HO CHI MINH, VIETNAM – Alab Pilipinas put away Saigon last Saturday at the CIS Arena, finishing off a quarterfinals sweep that sends them back into the Final Four. Facing the tough, tough Heat and their rowdy, rowdy crowd, the Filipinos needed to play their best to come out on top. They did just that as Renaldo Balkman and Justin Brownlee both did their thing, Ray Parks Jr. and Josh Urbiztondo provided support, and even Pao Javelona and Pamboy Raymundo delivered contributions of their own. The star of Game 2, though, was sixth man Lo Domingo who had 21 points, six rebounds, and three assists in 25 minutes of action – bar none, his best game in the season. Lawrence Domingo escapes his defender for the JAM! #ABL8Playoffs pic.twitter.com/EkhVNhLEfa — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) Abril 7, 2018 It was also his thunderous throwdown that ignited the 10-2 blast that boosted the Philippines ahead for good. Asked about it post-game, he answered, “That dunk, I was kind of really bouncy in warmups. I had the lane there and that gave me a chance to do it so I did.” The six-foot-five forward would only continue his strong play from there, outmuscling the likes of Maxie Esho, David Arnold, and Moses Morgan and having his way inside. For head coach Jimmy Alapag, Domingo’s breakout was yet another proof that hard work pays off. “He’s been great for us for a while now and it’s great to see a young kid come in and work hard every day. It’s great see him reap the rewards of his hard work,” he said. For the Filipino-American from New Mexico, his breakout was just him doing anything and everything to help his team win. “I was just being patient, knowing that my time is gonna come. It’s already come now that it’s the playoffs,” he said. He then continued, “I feel like I’ve been playing hard all year and this is just something that comes from playing hard. In the end, I’m just gonna do whatever my team needs me to do.” With Domingo, Balkman, Brownlee, Parks Jr., Urbiztondo, Javelona, and Raymundo all on-point, Alab is indeed proving Heat point guard Akeem Scott’s statement that “they have a deep bench and it’s hard to beat a team like that.” They are going to need to keep proving that if they are to go through defending champion Hong Kong in the semifinals and then a Finals battle up against whoever among top-seed Chong Son of China, upstart Mono of Thailand, or rival Singapore. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 8th, 2018

LOOK: Pinoy sports world celebrates Kobe Bryant s jersey retirement

Even from half the world away, Kobe Bryant's effect in our hoops-crazed nation manifested itself during his jersey retirement with the Los Angeles Lakers. Both his #8 and #24 jersey numbers were hung in the rafters, and for good reason. His career spanned two eras, all defined by himself, and he was able to inspire a LOT of fans during his 20-year career. His legacy, even in the Philippines was made known by some of the popular sports people of the country, as they celebrated the monumental occasion by posting their favorite memory of the one and only Kobe Bryant.     Ang tunay na #lodi at #petmalu 🐍 @kobebryant #mamba #mambamentality #frobe A post shared by Renren Ritualo (@renrenritualo414) on Dec 18, 2017 at 10:20pm PST   🐍 A post shared by Mico Halili (@micohalili) on Dec 18, 2017 at 6:58pm PST Kobe talking to his daughters now about hard work. Can you imagine Kobe being your dad and being your tutor in math? I mean, Kobe as a mamba mentality math tutor at home: natatakot ako just thinking about it. — Mico Halili (@micohalili) December 19, 2017   #MambaDay #ko8e24 24 8vs24 🐍🐍 @kobebryant #ThingsIveLearnedFromKobe A post shared by Chris Newsome (@new11new) on Dec 18, 2017 at 10:15pm PST   Legends are FOREVER...Salute to the Mamba🐍 #MambaMentality A post shared by Jimmy Alapag (@jalapag3) on Dec 19, 2017 at 1:21am PST That #Ko8e24 ceremony made me wna work right nowwww 💪🏽💪🏽💪🏽 — Angeline Gervacio (@dzigervacio) December 19, 2017 My 2 favorite players of all-time. It’s no coincidence that 8 + 24 = 32 #magicmamba #Ko8e24 pic.twitter.com/swFhFMSdYa — Chot Reyes (@coachot) December 19, 2017 That. Was. Awesome. From the cartoon, the voice over, Magic & Jeanie, the unveiling, and eventually Kobe’s messages. Great job, @Lakers! I’m glad @abscbnsports got to show that LIVE 🙂👍🏼 #Ko8e24 — TJ Manotoc (@tjmanotoc) December 19, 2017.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 19th, 2017

NO SURPRISE SUBSTITUTIONS: Jimmy is done playing

With Alab Pilipinas down 15 points and Jimmy Alapag standing in front of the team bench, don't lie and just admit that you thought the Mighty Mouse had a spare jersey underneath his sharp blue suit. Like he was just waiting for the right opportunity to take off his jacket, trade his brown dress shoes for some low-cut Kobes and check in to lead yet another epic comeback. Tanduay Alab Pilipinas head coach Jimmy Alapag says that he could've checked in during his team's eventual 89-92 loss to defending champion Hong Kong in the ABL season-opener Sunday, but he made the right choice and chose not to. That's because he done playing. For good this time. "No, no. You know somewhere deep inside, a little voice might be there saying to check in," Alapag said. "But I'm done playing. I'm completely focused now on helping our team and putting the guys in position to win games," he added. Despite taking a loss on his first game as head coach, Jimmy says that there are a lot of positives for him personally and for his team. He also says that there is a big room for improvement and that starts with the team's preparation for their Nov. 29 home game against Singapore. "Just like the players, they' have to get work at practice and I'll do my part watching video and making sure we're better on the 29th," Alapag said.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 21st, 2017

Excess guards for Gilas five

Kiefer Ravena showed up for practice on Monday, making a total of four point guards vying for spots in the Gilas Pilipinas roster that will play Japan and Chinese Taipei later this month at the start of the Fiba World Cup 2019 Asian Qualifiers. Terrence Romeo also reported for work earlier. Together with Jayson Castro and the improved Kevin Alas in the pool, there will be four point guards that Reyes would have to choose from in time for the clash with the Japanese slated Nov. 24 in Tokyo. But having so many point guards in his squad is not new to Reyes, who took four with him to Seville, Spain, in 2014---Castro, Romeo, Paul Lee and Jimmy Alapag---in the World Cup where the Fil...Keep on reading: Excess guards for Gilas five.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsNov 7th, 2017

ABL: DPoY Balkman on 7-5 Deguara: ‘I can’t wait to see him (again)’

STA. ROSA, LAGUNA – Alab Pilipinas dropped Game 2 of the 2017-2018 Asean Basketball League Finals at home to Mono Vampire. And just like everybody else, Filipino head coach Jimmy Alapag knew the biggest difference between the two teams. “[Sam] Deguara really hurt us tonight. A 30-20 game in a 40-minute game is a heck of a game,” he told reporters post-game. Deguara, Thailand’s 7-foot-5 reinforcement, towered above all of Renaldo Balkman, Lo Domingo, and JR Alabanza to pound in 30 points, 20 rebounds, and five blocks. It was also him who made good on the basket and bonus that proved to be the go-ahead basket for his team. “I thought they did a great job of finding him. We allowed him to establish himself in the pain and every time we did, he made us pay,” Alapag said. “We just gotta be better on Saturday.” Being better in Game 3 of the best-of-five series starts and ends with Balkman, who has done nothing but an admirable job of mixing it up with Deguara’s height and heft. And true to his self, the Filipino team’s reinforcement from Puerto Rico is only looking forward to having another crack at his latest challenge. “I can’t wait to see him on Saturday. He played a good game, that’s all I can say,” he said. He then continued, “But it’s all good, man. Let’s wait to see what happens in Game 3.” If needed, Balkman said he can go another full game without rest. “I’ll play another 40 minutes, that’s how I feel right now. It’s all good,” he said, after collecting 37 points, 12 rebounds, six assists, two blocks, and two steals while playing all 40 minutes of Game 2. Alapag knows his big man is only telling the truth. Asked about not resting Balkman, he answered, “He’s built for it. That’s the least of my concerns.” As always, Game 3 of the ABL Finals will still be LIVE and EXCLUSIVE on S+A, S+A HD, and livestream. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News12 hr. 55 min. ago

Alab Pilipinas just beat Mono Vampire at its own run-n-gun game

STA. ROSA, LAGUNA – Thailand’s Mono Vampire was four seconds away from stealing Game 1 of the 2017-2018 Asean Basketball League Finals from home team Alab Pilipinas. Justin Brownlee, and Renaldo Balkman, were having none of it, however. Brownlee’s heads-up play coupled with Balkman’s hustle play extended the Finals showdown and in overtime, there was just no stopping the two of them. “We gotta win this game. We gotta win it. That was all that was in my head then,” the latter told reporters post-game. The Filipinos’ reinforcements combined for 18 points in the extra period, outscoring by nine points all of Vampire. “I just knew that if we’re going into overtime, it’s gonna be over,” Balkman said. The final score read, 143-130, in favor of the home team who now has a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five championship round. The incredible come-from behind win is nothing but a morale-booster as they prepare for Game 2 on Wednesday still at the same venue and then Game 3 on Saturday in Bangkok, Thailand. “We were down four with 19 seconds and everybody was walking out like we’ve lost the game. We gotta stick together during those times,” the Puerto Rican import said. He then continued, “But it’s all good cause we did and we came up with the win.” The Philippines’ 143 points were the most points scored in a single game in the eight-year history of the ABL. And with that, the defensive-minded team proved that, when needed, they can keep up with Vampire’s high-octane offense. “Credit to Mono, they came out and played extremely well. Credit to coach Douglas [Marty] for coming out with a great game plan,” head coach Jimmy Alapag shared. He then continued, “But we have a very resilient group and guys who continue to fight. That’s a staple for us this season.” Still, Alab hopes that they will be the ones setting the pace on Wednesday. “As a team, we just have to be much better defensively. Giving up 143 points won’t win us this series and I am confident we will be much better,” Alapag said. Balkman could only agree. “We gotta come back (in Game 2) and do a better job than we did tonight,” he remarked Game 2 and the rest of the 2017-2018 ABL Finals will still be LIVE and EXCLUSIVE on S+A, S+A HD, and livestream. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 23rd, 2018

Game 4s: Jazz look for 3-1 lead, Wolves aim to tie Rockets

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press Russell Westbrook is averaging a triple-double, so he gets plenty of attention. Ricky Rubio just had a triple-double, earning him some time in the headlines. Donovan Mitchell has been great in his first three playoff games, so the fascination with the rookie star is only growing. It’s easy to notice those guys. Rudy Gobert should be getting noticed as well. Utah is taking a 2-1 lead into their Western Conference first-round series against Oklahoma City on Monday night (Tuesday, PHL time), and Gobert is probably as responsible for the Jazz being in that position than anyone. He’s controlling the backboards, he’s changing shots, he’s thwarting Westbrook and he’s showing why he’s the likely Defensive Player of the Year. “It makes the guards’ jobs a lot easier,” Mitchell said of the French safety net with the 7'9" wingspan who protects the rim for the Jazz. “You feel more secure on the wing. ... The whole season, I’ve been saying if somebody gets by me, it’s like, ’All right, go ahead, try it. Because I’ve tried it. And it doesn’t work.” Westbrook probably would agree: He’s 1-for-7 in this series with Gobert waiting at the rim for him. There’s two Game 4s on the schedule Monday (Tuesday, PHL time), with Houston at Minnesota leading off before the Oklahoma City-Utah game. The Rockets fell in Game 3 to the Timberwolves on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time), but still lead that series 2-1. Westbrook is not happy, and the reigning NBA MVP wasted little time in vowing that things will be different in Game 4. He was talking about slowing down Rubio, but he might be better served getting himself going again. Going back to the regular season, Westbrook hasn’t shot better than 40 percent in any of his last six games — the worst such streak of his career. ___ Here’s a look at Monday’s (Tuesday, PHL time) games: ROCKETS AT TIMBERWOLVES Rockets lead 2-1. Game 4, 8 p.m. EDT (8am, PHL time) NEED TO KNOW: The Timberwolves bounced back from a 20-point loss in Game 2 with a sellout-crowd-inspired 16-point victory over the Rockets in Game 3 that was the franchise’s first win in the playoffs since 2004. Jimmy Butler had 28 points and Karl-Anthony Towns had 18 points and 16 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who were more aggressive than they were in Games 1 and 2. “I felt like they outworked us, and that should never happen,” Rockets guard Gerald Green said. KEEP AN EYE ON: The Rockets shooting three-pointers. They needed 41 attempts to make 15 behind the arc in Game 3, as many as the Wolves swished in 27 tries. Harden was just 3-for-8, his rainbows often drifting to the left, as the Wolves kept up what has been a better-than-usual defensive performance in this series. “We’re just making it harder on them, making them take tough shots and just trying to find ways to stop a high-powered offense,” Towns said. PRESSURE IS ON: Rockets center Clint Capela. After a 24-point, 12-rebound production in Game 1, Capela had only seven points on six shots in Game 3. On the other end of the court, Towns finally got going after two bad games thanks in part to Capela’s defense. The Rockets could use a strong response from the Swiss standout in the attempt to keep the Wolves from tying the series. INJURY UPDATE: Butler, who missed a total of 21 games this season due to trouble with his right knee, clutched his left ankle in pain after twisting it late in the first half of Game 3. He didn’t miss any time, though, and didn’t even acknowledge the injury when asked about it in his postgame interview. “At the end of the day if you tell your mind it doesn’t hurt, it doesn’t,” Butler said. ___ THUNDER AT JAZZ Jazz leas 2-1. Game 4, 10:30 p.m. EDT (10:30am, PHL time) NEED TO KNOW: Utah has won each of its last five first-round series as the No. 5 seed, and the Jazz are halfway to extending that streak. The crowd in Salt Lake City was extremely loud on Saturday and will likely be again on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time). The Thunder are 5-6 in their last 11 games, and no one needs to remind them of how low the success rate is for teams that go down 3-1 in a series. KEEP AN EYE ON: Carmelo Anthony and Russell Westbrook from deep. Paul George has been great from three-point range (15-for-31) in the three games, but Westbrook and Anthony are a combined 9-for-31. The Thunder need to get something going consistently from the perimeter to soften up Utah’s stout interior defense. PRESSURE IS ON: Utah. Most would think it’s the team trailing that would feel the most pressure, but Utah has a chance to take total command of the series. A loss would be doubly deflating; not only would the Jazz lose home-court, but they would go back to Oklahoma City for Game 5 with the Thunder thinking they have control of the matchup. INJURY UPDATE: Westbrook was getting treatment on some sort of upper-body issue in Game 3 and was coy about it afterward, pointing out that most players are ailing at this time of year. But if he’s limited in any way, that’s obviously a huge problem for the Thunder. ___ AP Sports Writer Dave Campbell in Minneapolis contributed to this report.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 23rd, 2018

ABL Finals: Coach Jimmy will have Alab at its best vs. Mono Vampire

Jimmy Alapag is never the type to choose his playoff opponents. He just goes up against whoever that is in front of him. And as his first very Finals opponent as head coach has been finally decided, Coach Jimmy's preparations take a more serious turn. His San Miguel-Alab Pilipinas got fortunate to have homecourt advantage in the ABL Finals; however, it doesn't mean his team drew an easier opponent. After all, it was Alab that took out the defending champion Hong Kong Eastern but it was Thailand's Mono Vampire that swept this season's top seed. "I've learned that basketball gods don't like it when you pick opponents," Alapag said on his Finals matchup. "[With Mono] You got a 7'5" [import] in [Sam] Deguara. [Michael] Singletary, another big time scorer. You got [Jason] Brickman, who I've been a big fan of for a long time, just how he controls the game. It's important for us that we're playing our best basketball," he added. As the Finals near, Alapag is looking at his wards to continue with the effort that allowed to go from 0-3 in the standings to the Finals. Alapag has a gritty group of players and he expects them to stand tough against an equally-gritty Mono Vampire. "When we were down, and people were looking at us and saying last in the ABL, it was their effort, their commitment every day to fight, scratch, and claw our way out of it," he said. "I’m just really proud of the guys’ effort. From our early struggles, it was tough. [Because of] our chemstiry, our guys really believed that we could get in the end. And that has been my message since the beginning, try to keep working every day to try to give us an opportunity until the end," Alapag added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 19th, 2018

San Miguel-Alab dethrones HK, gains finals berth

CITY OF SANTA ROSA, Laguna---San Miguel Alab Pilipinas coach Jimmy Alapag lost his final game as a pro almost two years ago in the most heartbreaking way to a team led by Justin Brownlee. Now working together at Alab, they have an opportunity to win a championship in the Asean Basketball League (ABL). With Alapag pushing all the right buttons and Brownlee continuing his superb play together with fellow import Renaldo Balkman, Alab clinched the first finals berth with a 79-72 victory over Hong Kong Eastern on Sunday night at City of Santa Rosa Multi-Purpose Complex. "It's funny because he hit the shot to beat our team in my final game," said Alapag, referring to Brownlee, who...Keep on reading: San Miguel-Alab dethrones HK, gains finals berth.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsApr 17th, 2018

Turns out, not being second-seed was a good thing for Finals-bound Alab

STA. ROSA, LAGUNA – Renaldo Balkman remained fired up even after Alab Pilipinas completed an emphatic semifinals sweep of now-dethroned champion Hong Kong. “Everybody kept talking about (how) they (were) the number one team,” he told reporters post-game. “Hey, they got a great team, but I know how good we prepared for these games and I think we had an edge on them.” Apparently, that edge is a winning streak which has now stretched to seven games, dating back to the tail-end of the elimination round. Then, the Filipinos won all of their last three assignments and gave themselves a good chance at the second-seed and the automatic advance into the semifinals. All they needed to happen was for Eastern to defeat Chong Son in their own last assignment. That didn’t happen, however, and Chong Son got the top-seed, Hong Kong got the second-seed, and the Philippines was relegated to the third-seed. That meant that there wouldn’t be any rest for Alab and they would be matched up with dangerous Saigon in the quarterfinals. For Balkman, continuing to play – and continuing to roll – was just what they needed. “Well, not being arrogant or what, I just know how my guys are. We’re playing well, we’re playing together, and I think the best thing that happened to us is that we played in the (quarterfinals),” he shared. He then continued, “If we sat home and rested, I mean, it would hurt us, but since we played in the (quarterfinals), we got better going into the (semifinals). Indeed, Balkman and company have only gotten better and better as they followed up a blanking of the Heat with a sweep of Hong Kong. Now, the Filipinos are back in the Finals of the Asean Basketball League. “I’m just really proud of our guys. They have fought and clawed their way into the Finals,” head coach Jimmy Alapag said. He then continued, “We have a confident group that deserves to be in the Finals. Like I’ve been telling them in the beginning, let’s give ourselves an opportunity, let’s get to the end and let’s see what happens there.” The Philippines will face either top-seeded Kung Fu of China or resurgent Mono of Thailand in the best-of-five championship round. Whatever happens there, Balkman promised that the show would go on. “The next step for us is to win the championship so we gotta prepare. I’m gonna tell it one more time, it’s gonna be another show whoever we gonna play,” he said. He then continued, “Win or lose, no matter what, it’s gonna be a show because it’s the last three games we got to win and it’s all over.” --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 16th, 2018

Harden, Rockets pass first postseason test

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 16th, 2018

Alapag, Alab looking to finish strong after overcoming poor start

STA. ROSA---Coming with heightened expectations in its second season, Alab Pilipinas positioned itself as a top flight contender in the 2018 ASEAN Basketball League. However, a 0-3 start casted doubts over the crew's ability to hang with the league's bests and put rookie coach Jimmy Alapag under the microscope. But necessary changes were made. Alab changed its World Imports and had a sponsorship facelift. And now, San Miguel Alab is just three wins away from being the third Filipino team to win the regional crown. Looking back, Alapag could only brim with pride the way his side persevered and straightened up its rough patches early in the season. "I'm just really proud...Keep on reading: Alapag, Alab looking to finish strong after overcoming poor start.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsApr 16th, 2018

Paul and Harden lead No. 1 seed Rockets against Wolves

By Kristie Rieken, Associated Press HOUSTON (AP) — So far the trade for Chris Paul to give the Houston Rockets another superstar to help James Harden has worked famously. Now the two, who have both had their fair share of playoff disappointments, will try to carry their regular-season success into the postseason when the Rockets open a first-round series with Minnesota on Sunday night (Monday, PHL time). The guards have been effusive in their praise for one another, with Harden recently joking that his relationship with the nine-time All-Star was "love at first sight." Paul didn't go quite that far, but a huge smile crossed his often serious face when asked how their pairing has worked. "Unbelievable," he said. "You just [don't] get this opportunity too often in a career to play with somebody like James ... you get a chance to appreciate greatness. "What he's doing on a nightly basis and stuff like that, it's crazy and I'm in awe," Paul continued. "I'm grateful I get to play alongside him." When told of what Paul said about him, Harden was quick to answer. "You can tell," he said. "It feels like it's been forever but it's not even been a year yet." Their work in the regular season led the Rockets to a franchise-record 65 wins, their first No. 1 seed and sixth straight playoff appearance. They are looking to win the title for the first time capturing back-to-back championships in 1994-95. For the 32-year-old Paul, it's a chance for him to finally shake off years off playoff woes after making nine playoff trips without advancing past the second round. But if he is haunted by the ghosts of playoffs past, he wouldn't acknowledge it and was dismissive when asked if he thought this was his best chance to win it all. "I don't know," he said. "I don't think about all that." What he and the Rockets do know is that they're facing a talented team in the eighth-seeded Timberwolves, who had to win their last regular-season game to get into the postseason. They ended the NBA's longest active playoff drought with their berth, putting them back in the postseason for the first time since 2004 when they lost to the Lakers in the Western Conference finals. Getting the Timberwolves into the playoffs is a huge accomplishment for the entire team, but might mean just a little more to star Karl-Anthony Towns, who made a vow the night Minnesota selected him with the top overall pick in the 2015 draft. "It means more than I think words can express honestly," he said. "I made a promise to ... Flip Saunders and it meant a lot to me that I was able to keep my word." Some things to know as the Timberwolves and Rockets open their series: BACK HOME The series is a homecoming for Minnesota's Jimmy Butler, who grew up in Tomball, a suburb about 35 miles from downtown Houston. But he insists he won't have any time to get back out there this week. "Nope," he said. "Zero [time]. I ain't even going home. I'm here to work." But he did spend a little time on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) reminiscing about his high school days when he idolized a former Rockets star. "I used to walk around the hallways and in the gym thinking I was Tracy McGrady," he said. "I remember it like it was yesterday. He was my favorite player. I wanted to wear his number, wear his tennis shoes, all of that good stuff." Butler, who returned on April 6 (April 7, PHL time) after missing 17 games with a knee injury, said he's fully recovered from his injury and is "well-rested" entering the playoffs. PLAYOFF HISTORY This is the second time these teams have met in the playoffs. Their other meeting came in Minnesota's first trip in 1997, when the Timberwolves were swept in three games. That Houston team was led by Hakeem Olajuwon, Clyde Drexler and Charles Barkley, and the Wolves featured Kevin Garnett, Stephon Marbury and Tom Gugliotta. LIMIT KAT FROM LONG RANGE The Rockets are resigned to the fact that Towns, who led the NBA in double-doubles, will get his points under the basket and plenty of rebounds. "He's going to get a double-double," Houston coach Mike D'Antoni said. "That's who he is." However, they are not OK with letting him shoot three-pointers. The seven-foot Towns ranked 14th in the league with a 42 percent average from three-point range and knocked down a career-high 120 three-pointers this season. "We [can't] leave him open or let him walk into a 3 because we're not guarding him," D'Antoni said. "We have to be aware of that. You can't take away his post-ups and his moves in there. He's going to score on anybody, but you can do a really good job on the three's." HARDEN'S MOTIVATION Despite finishing as the runner-up for MVP last season and being a front-runner for this year's award, Harden still faces plenty of criticism for some of his past performances in the playoffs, notably, a terrible performance in an embarrassing 114-75 elimination loss to San Antonio in the conference semifinals last season. But he has never been motivated by criticism, and he finds his drive in a far different place. "Just going out there and being the best that I can be," he said. "There's no negativity that someone can say that can motivate me. Some people can get motivated by that. I don't really care.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 15th, 2018

Alab out to sweep Lions

San Miguel Pale Pilsen Alab head coach Jimmy Alapag isn’t taking any chances in Game 2 of the ABL best-of-3 semifinal series against the defending champion Hong Kong Eastern Long Lions at the Sta. Rosa Multi-Purpose Complex in Laguna tonight......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsApr 14th, 2018

Alab Pilipinas bucks shaky start, downs Hong Kong 5

San Miguel Alab head coach Jimmy Alapag did a masterful job of steadying the ship under stormy weather as the Philippine team survived a poor start and stayed the course down the stretch to hack out a 98-94 win over defending champion Hong Kong Eastern Long Lions in Game 1 of the ABL best-of-3 semifinals at the Southorn Stadium in Wan Chai here Wednesday night......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsApr 12th, 2018

Eight NBA Playoffs storylines to watch

By David Aldridge, TNT Analyst Suddenly, we’re not quite as certain that Warriors-Cavs, Part IV, Sure to be Way Better than “Jaws: The Revenge” and “Superman IV: The Quest for Peace”, is going to make air, are we? The 2018 playoffs are just about here, and Stephen Curry isn’t, and Kyrie Irving won’t be, and Joel Embiid might be, and Jimmy Butler will be -- if his team is, that is. And both conference champions from a year ago are equally unsettled going into the postseason, for different reasons. The Golden State Warriors are banged up, while the Cleveland Cavaliers are brand new. Golden State hasn’t looked like an offensive leviathan, while Cleveland has been one of the league’s worst defenses. And, most importantly, each has legit challengers this year in Houston and Toronto in its respective conferences -- deep, tough, elite defensively, hard to stop offensively, and tempered/hardened/driven by recent playoff failures. Which should make late May and early June even more compelling than normal. At the least, we’ll have the Warriors going for three rings in four years, and LeBron James going for an eighth straight Finals appearance -- each representing something special. The postseason, then, should provide some theatre that Meryl Streep will drop what she’s doing to watch. Among the biggest storylines: 1. The Hinkie Referendum, Passed The Philadelphia 76ers’ scintillating run to end the regular season sets up them for a glorious postseason run, that will finalize a season in which the decisions by former GM Sam Hinkie -- the successful ones, anyway -- are rightly celebrated. (The failures of Jahlil Okafor and Michael Carter-Williams to fire as stars after Hinkie took each high in the first round are not only not ignored by Hinkie’s biggest supporters, they are cited as proof that he had to do what he did for as long as he did, because you’re going to have some misses at the top of the Draft. God, I love Hinkie Stans.) It says here that a healthy Joel Embiid and an exponentially improving Ben Simmons are the one team that can give LeBron’s Cavs true night sweats in the Kyrie-less east playoffs. Embiid is a problem for any team, but especially for the defensively indifferent and ineffective Cavaliers, who have no one remotely capable of keeping “The Process” from running wild. Since New Year’s Day, only Curry (120.4), Chris Paul (116.1) and Jamal Murray (114.7) have better Offensive Ratings among point guards than Simmons’s 113.9, per NBA.com/Stats. Who, from among George Hill (6'3"), Jose Calderon (6'1"), Jordan Clarkson (6'5") and J.R. Smith (6'5") is Cavs coach Tyronn Lue going to put on the 6'10" Simmons? Yes, Lue could try James on Simmons, who is no threat to shoot from deep or run through a maze of pindowns. But that doesn’t make him any easier to slow down. No matter who Philly plays in the postseason, the Sixers are going to be a problem. 2. Indiana George and the Tempo of Doom It’s taken the Oklahoma City Thunder much longer than any of us thought, but OKC is a win from the postseason (even if the Thunder can’t beat the Heat in Miami tonight, the Cancun-bound Memphis Grizzlies will be in Oklahoma City Wednesday). And that’s when Paul George will determine whether his future is in the 405 or elsewhere. The Thunder’s up-and-down regular season doesn’t provide much clue to how far they could go in the playoffs, thought OKC looked formidable in ending the Rockets’ 20-game home win streak Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). It was a game that featured Russell Westbrook successfully taking on the challenge of defending James Harden down the stretch. When Oklahoma City plays with pace and gets up and down the floor, it can beat anyone. The Thunder will likely have to take down an elite unit like Houston at some point in the playoffs to convince George to stay. 3. A Series of Fortunate Events With Irving’s injury, the Washington Wizards’ failure to launch and other maladies to Eastern Conference contenders, the Cavaliers have an increasingly clear path back to The Finals. Doing this is best way to keep LeBron: The Sequel in town for an extended run, but the proof will be in the doing, of course. Cleveland will need Larry Nance, Jr., Rodney Hood and Jordan Clarkson to perform under playoff pressure, which Nance and Clarkson have never had to do and Hood did briefly in the 2017 playoffs with the Utah Jazz. 4. She packed my bags last night, pre-flight/Zero Hour, 9 a.m The Rockets have been the best team in the league most of this season -- an offensive and defensive juggernaut, the logical extension at both ends of the floor of the standards the Warriors set the last few seasons. James Harden will likely walk away with Kia MVP honors after the season and Chris Paul has been everything Houston hoped he’d be. But Houston must finish the deal with a championship to make its own mark. 5. Jurassic Park Everything is set up for Toronto, as well -- the Raptors have the Eastern Conference’s best record and are tied with Houston for the best home record (34-7) in the league. They have home court until The Finals. Their two lynchpins, All-Stars DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry, are healthy. They’ve diversified their offense and learned to love the 3-pointer. They’re back to guarding at an elite level. The East is laid out open for a Toronto run to The Finals. There’s no excuse for the Raps not to. 6. ‘Brow’, Beating We don’t know for sure that the New Orleans Pelicans will make the playoffs. As of this writing, they haven’t clinched yet, although beating the Warriors in Oakland on Saturday went a long way toward their getting to the postseason. But assuming New Orleans is playing next weekend, its success in the playoffs can only help the franchise as it recovers from the recent death of former owner Tom Benson. “The Brow” (aka Anthony Davis) may have got us on April Fool’s Day, but the next couple of weeks will be dead serious. What if the Pelicans manage a first-round upset? Don’t say it’s not possible with the way Davis is playing. That would go an awful long way to quieting the “How the Boston Celtics Will Get Anthony Davis in 2020, Vol. MCMLXXXVII” hot takes. 7.  The Boston Medical Group The Celtics as imagined played exactly five minutes together this season. Everything that’s transpired since has been wrapped in gauze and sutured shut. Kyrie Irving’s latest knee procedure has everyone hopping off the Celtics’ postseason bandwagon -- a mistake, unless coach Brad Stevens pulls a hammy before Game 1 in the first round. Stevens has coached up whatever 12 guys are active pretty damn well since he’s come to the NBA, and he’ll still have a lot to work with in the playoffs: Al Horford, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Terry Rozier (the Celtics hope they can get Marcus Smart back after the first round). The bigger issue, of course, is Irving’s health going forward -- and into next season, after which he can opt out of the last year of his deal and become an unrestricted free agent in 2019. The current belief in Boston is that Irving’s knee -- the cartilage, ligaments, tendons and bones -- is sound and that he’ll have no long-term issues with it. But Irving and the team thought taking out the tension wire that had helped heal his broken patella after his 2015 surgery would do the trick. It didn’t.   There should be no doubt Boston will be all in on Irving. But after missing these playoffs after going out in Game 1 of the Finals in ’15, Irving will again have to show he’s able to handle a season-long campaign and still be able to bring his best to the postseason. 8. Bah Gawd, That’s Kawhi Leonard’s Music! We have all worked on the assumption that Leonard isn’t going to play for the Spurs any more this season as he rehabs his quad injury, even though they’ve never quite actually said he’s out for the year -- and he, as per usual, has said next to nothing. The Spurs have ridden LaMarcus Aldridge’s All-NBA-level season to the cusp of the playoffs, but no one has much expectation they’ll be there very long if they make it without their former Finals MVP. “Do I have any expectation I’ll see Kawhi?,” Danny Green said a week ago, repeating my question to him. “As of right now, my mindset is no. I’m just going to forward without him … if he does come back, great. Our mindset is this is the group we have today, this is the group we’ll have tomorrow. If somebody does come and join, we’ll have them and it’ll be great. But right now we’re moving forward with the expectation that this is who we have.” But, it’s not like we haven’t seen guys come back suddenly for the playoffs after missing large chunks of a season. A fellow named Michael Jordan played just 18 regular season games in his second season with the Bulls in 1986, recovering from a foot injury and not returning to the lineup until mid-March. True, he did get 15 games under his belt before the playoffs. But that did not prepare anyone for his showing up in Boston Garden in Game 2 of the first round against the Celtics and dropping 63 on the home team. There are, to be sure, issues between Leonard and the Spurs, and maybe they’re insurmountable. But if, somehow, “The Klaw” wakes up one morning this month and says he’s good to go, and reports for duty … who doesn’t think San Antonio can’t start assimilating opponents into its collective just like old times? Longtime NBA reporter, columnist and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer David Aldridge is an analyst for TNT. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 10th, 2018

San Miguel-Alab PH draws first blood vs Saigon

Ray Parks fired 24 points as San Miguel Alab Pilipinas continued its mastery of Saigon, 110-100, on Sunday night to grab a 1-0 lead in their best-of-three quarterfinal series in the Asean Basketball League (ABL) at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Facing a team it has already beaten twice in the elimination round, Alab proved relentless from start to finish as coach Jimmy Alapag's charges put the Heat to the sword for its maiden playoff victory since joining the regional league last year. World import Justin Brownlee flirted with a triple double for Alab, finishing with 22 points and 11 rebounds on top of eight assists, while Renaldo Balkman had 17 points, 20 rebounds, six a...Keep on reading: San Miguel-Alab PH draws first blood vs Saigon.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsApr 2nd, 2018

Despite historic ABL win, coach Jimmy Alapag thinks Alab still far from sharp

  MANILA, Philippines – Alab Pilipinas came through in fine style with their first-ever franchise playoff win in the Asean Basketball League (ABL), downing the Saigon Heat, 110-100, at the FilOil Flying V Centre on Easter Sunday, April 1. However, rookie head coach Jimmy Alapag was far from content with the ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsApr 2nd, 2018

Brownlee, Balkman help Alab get its first-ever playoff win

History was made on Sunday inside the Filoil Flying V Centre. Getting the better of Saigon, 110-100, in the quarterfinals opener of the 2017-2018 Asean Basketball League, Alab Pilipinas scored its first playoff win in its two years of existence. San Miguel @AlabPilipinas 🇵🇭 claim their first playoff win in franchise history with a win over @SaigonHeat 🇻🇳 110-100.#ABL8Playoffs#MakeHistory pic.twitter.com/BzMCWgEon1 — ABL (@aseanbasketball) Abril 1, 2018 The Filipinos made the playoffs in their maiden campaign a year ago, but got swept in the best-of-three series. Now, they raise their post-eliminations record to 1-2. For American reinforcement Justin Brownlee, the win was special – even though he was a little late in fully grasping its significance. Told that he had just helped the new Philippine representatives to their first-ever playoff win, he reacted, “That was the first-ever? Oh wow!” He then continued, “It’s special, man. It always feels great to be the first to be able to do something.” And one win away from winning their first-ever playoff series, Brownlee said this is just the start for them. “This just shows the character of this team. Hopefully, there’s gonna be a lot more playoff wins in the near future,” he said. Indeed, Puerto Rican reinforcement Renaldo Balkman also said this is far from the end for Alab. As he put it, “It’s a great win tonight, but we gotta take care of business on Saturday so we keep moving forward.” Even Ray Parks Jr., who has been with the squad for both of its two seasons, wasn’t celebrating just yet. “It feels great, but we have to continue to grow. We can’t overlook our opponent because they’re a great team and they got firepower,” he said. That is exactly why, even after the 10-point margin of victory, head coach Jimmy Alapag vowed that his wards will be much more determined and disciplined in Game 2 next Saturday at the CIS Arena in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. “I’m happy we won, but from an effort standpoint, we were far from the sharpest we could be,” he said. He then continued, “That’s on me. We will prepare better for (the next game).” --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 1st, 2018