Advertisements


We are sorry, the requested page does not exist




Patriots clinch home-field advantage

The Associated Press br /> MIAMI GARDENS, Florida (AP) — Tom Brady threw for 276 yards and three scores Sunday as the Patriots clinched home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs by beating the Dolphins 35-14. New England took a 20-0 lead in the first half, and turned away Miami's comeback bid with the help of a 77-yard touchdown catch-and-run by Julian Edelman and a 69-yard fumble return by linebacker Shea McClellin. The Patriots (14-2), already assured of a first-round bye, became the ninth team since 1972 to go undefeated on the road during the regular season. The Dolphins (10-6), beaten for only the second time in the past 11 games, had already earned an AFC wild-card berth. They play their first postseason game since 2008 next weekend at Pittsburgh. STEELERS 27, BROWNS 24 PITTSBURGH (AP) — Steelers backups assured the Browns of the top pick in the 2017 draft. Landry Jones hit Cobi Hamilton with a 26-yard touchdown with 2:57 left in overtime. The Browns took a lead on Cody Parkey's 34-yard field goal with 7:17 remaining in the extra session. Jones, who started while the playoff-bound Steelers rested Ben Roethlisberger, took the Steelers 75 yards in nine plays. The last was a pretty lob to the end zone that Hamilton hauled in to give Pittsburgh (11-5) its seventh straight victory. Jones finished with 277 yards passing and three touchdowns and one interception. Isaiah Crowell ran for a career-high 152 yards for the Browns (1-15), who finished with the worst record in franchise history. JETS 30, BILLS 10 EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (AP) — Ryan Fitzpatrick threw two touchdown passes in what was likely his final game for the Jets. Despite a 5-11 record, the Jets are making no changes in leadership, meaning both coach Todd Bowles and general manager Mike Maccagnan will remain with the team next season. Bowles is 15-17 in his two-year tenure with New York, which hired him in January 2015 after firing Rex Ryan. Maccagnan is also in his second season with the Jets, and had also been criticized for the team's roster, which likely faces an overhaul this offseason. The Bills (7-9) also face some uncertainty this offseason after firing Ryan earlier in the week and elevating offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn to the interim role. Two other people with direct knowledge of the situation told the AP before the game that Lynn is the clear favorite to take over the job permanently. TITANS 24, TEXANS 17 NASHVILLE, Tennessee (AP) — A concussion that sidelined quarterback Tom Savage could have the biggest impact coming out of the Texans' loss. Savage started for the AFC South champions, left in the second quarter to be evaluated for a concussion and was cleared. He took a snap to kneel down on the final play of the first half and was diagnosed with a concussion after being re-evaluated at halftime. That left Brock Osweiler, benched for Savage last month, running the offense. He threw for 253 yards and a touchdown and also ran for a 1-yard TD on fourth-and-goal in the fourth quarter. Houston (9-7) will host Oakland next weekend, possibly with uncertainty at quarterback. DaQuan Jones recovered a fumble for a touchdown in the first quarter and the Titans never trailed to finish with their first winning season since 2011. EAGLES 27, COWBOYS 13 PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Tony Romo threw his first touchdown pass in nearly 14 months as the playoff-bound Cowboys played it safe. The Cowboys (13-3) had already locked up the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs so Dak Prescott played only two series and Ezekiel Elliott watched from the sideline. Carson Wentz tossed two TD passes to Zach Ertz to help Philadelphia finish with a two-game winning streak. Prescott was 4 for 8 for 37 yards before giving way to Romo, who hadn't played in a regular-season game since Thanksgiving 2015 when he broke his left collarbone for the second time in less than three months. Romo broke a bone in his back in the third preseason game against Seattle this season, paving the way for Prescott to have one of the best years by a rookie quarterback in NFL history. BUCCANEERS 17, PANTHERS 16 TAMPA, Florida (AP) — Jameis Winston threw for 202 yards and one touchdown as the Buccaneers broke up Cam Newton's 2-point conversion throw in the closing seconds for their first winning season in six years. Winston threw a 10-yard pass to Mike Evans to snap a fourth-quarter tie and became the first player in NFL history to start his career with consecutive 4,000-yard seasons. But the Bucs (9-7) were eliminated from playoff contention, not getting the help they needed in other games for their first berth since 2007. Winston's franchise record-setting 28th TD pass put the Bucs ahead 17-10 with 3:10 remaining. Newton, however, moved the Panthers (6-10) right down the field, with help of a 47-yard pass to Kelvin Benjamin and two fourth-down completions to set up a 5-yard scoring pass to trim Carolina's deficit to one with 17 seconds left. VIKINGS 38, BEARS 10 MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Sam Bradford concluded his first season with Minnesota with three first-half touchdown passes. Bradford went 25 for 33 for 250 yards and one interception, finishing with a 71.6 percent completion rate to set an NFL single-season record. Kyle Rudolph caught 11 passes for 117 yards and a score for the Vikings (8-8), who started 5-0 before stumbling out of their bye week and never recovering. The Bears (3-13) wound up with their fewest wins in a non-strike year since 1973 after turning the ball over five times. Everson Griffen returned one of their three lost fumbles for a touchdown. Jordan Howard, the lone bright spot, rushed for 135 yards on 23 carries to break Matt Forte's franchise rookie record and finish with 1,313 yards for the season for Chicago. COLTS 24, JAGUARS 20 INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Andrew Luck threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Jack Doyle with 9 seconds left. Indy (8-8) went 75 yards in 84 seconds with no timeouts to avoid its first losing season since 2011, sending retiring linebacker Robert Mathis out with a win in his final NFL game. Jacksonville (3-13) matched the second-worst record in franchise history after blocking a punt with 1:54 to go and breaking a 17-17 tie with 1:33 left. Instead, Luck took the Colts right downfield for the score. Mathis extended his league record of strip-sacks to 41 in the fourth quarter, two days after announcing he would retire. BENGALS 27, RAVENS 10 CINCINNATI (AP) — Andy Dalton completed his first 10 passes, one for a touchdown, and Rex Burkhead ran for a pair of scores in the Bengals' fifth straight win at home over the Ravens. The Bengals (6-9-1) missed the playoffs for the first time in six years. Coach Marvin Lewis says he'll return in 2017. Baltimore (8-8) failed to reach the playoffs for the third time in four years. The Ravens played their final game as if they were emotionally hung over from a last-minute loss at Pittsburgh last Sunday that eliminated them. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 1st, 2017

T-wolves' Rubio to miss Nuggets game for personal reasons

em>By Jon Krawczynski, Associated Press /em> MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio will miss the game on Sunday (Monday, PHL time) against the Denver Nuggets, but it has nothing to do with the trade rumors that have surrounded him of late. Rubio left the team on Friday (Saturday, PHL time) for personal reasons and will not rejoin the Wolves until late Sunday or Monday, coach Tom Thibodeau said Saturday after practice. Rubio had to return home to Spain, and his brother posted on Instagram that their grandmother had passed away. Rubio did not play in the second half against the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday (Friday, PHL time) because of tightness in his left hip, but Thibodeau said Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) that was not a concern going forward. Kris Dunn and Tyus Jones filled in admirably, helping the Wolves defeat the Clippers, 104-101. Rubio said after the game he was not concerned about the injury, though it did interrupt an impressive run for the pass-first point guard. In his previous five full games, Rubio was averaging 13.2 points and 14.0 assists, looking more like the playmaker he was earlier in his career. 'I'm playing better, feeling better and the results are there,' Rubio said last week after a win over Oklahoma City. 'But I don't want it to be just a four-game stand. I want to be all season long like that. It's hard. We have a lot of games, but my expectations are high and I keep them high because I work hard to do it.' It has taken time for Rubio to acclimate to a new system in Thibodeau's first year as coach, leading many across the league to believe that the sixth-year pro could be traded to make room for Dunn, the fifth overall pick in last summer's draft. Thibodeau has historically preferred a point guard who is more of a scorer than Rubio, a career 37 percent shooter and a 31 percent shooter from 3-point range. But shooting has never been Rubio's strong suit. He excels at getting others involved, playing good defense and controlling the tempo of the game. With the trade deadline less than a month away, and Rubio on a hot streak, trade chatter has expectedly picked up. The Wolves are just 15-28, though they are 9-10 since a 6-18 start. Still, it's clear that they have a lot of improving to do to become a factor in the Western Conference, and Rubio appears to be one of the few assets they are willing to part with that could fetch a decent player in return. ESPN reported that the Wolves and Detroit Pistons had discussions about a Rubio-for-Reggie Jackson trade, but Pistons coach and team president Stan Van Gundy shot that down on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). Van Gundy told reporters in Detroit that he texted Jackson to tell him 'this is the crazy season. We're not trading you for Ricky Rubio.' Dunn hasn't been any better as a shooter in his rookie season, making 37.6 percent from the field and shooting a ghastly 27 percent from three-point range. But he had played more than 20 minutes in a game just three times in the previous two months before Rubio's injury on Thursday night (Friday, PHL time). 'When you have shorter minutes, you have to try to be more ready,' Dunn said Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). 'Try to go out there and impact the game right away. You can get the feel when you have more minutes, but I understand. Ricky's a great player. I'm just trying to learn off him.' Dunn likely will start against the Nuggets, with Jones serving as the backup point guard. Dunn said he has been getting more and more comfortable in his first season and will be ready when Thibodeau calls on him. 'I'm starting to understand who I am as a player (and) what's my role on the team,' Dunn said. 'Just figuring out guys, what's their tendencies and trying to understand coach's philosophy.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 21st, 2017

Willett struggling to rediscover game before Masters defense

STEVE DOUGLAS, AP Sports Writer ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Danny Willett has 2½ months to rediscover his game before making a pressure-filled return to Augusta National as the defending Masters champion. br /> Odds are that won't be long enough. Willett finished 2016 in a rut after dealing with fresh levels of attention for being a major winner as well as a mid-season swing change. Following a short off-season when he sacrificed practice to enjoy a break from golf and his first Christmas as a father, his start to 2017 is hardly encouraging. br /> Rounds of 74 and 76 saw Willett become the biggest name to miss the cut at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship on Friday. He was 121st in a 126-man field, with his second round marred by a quadruple bogey 9 at the 10th when everything that could go wrong did go wrong. br /> Next comes the defense of his Dubai Desert Classic title in two weeks. Then all roads lead to Augusta for the Masters starting April 6. br /> 'I think if I'm playing bad, the attention will die down quite nicely, to be honest,' Willett said, when asked if the build-up to the Masters will be a hindrance. br /> Initially, the green jacket weighed heavily on the shoulders of Willett. Everyone wanted a piece of him after he capitalized on Jordan Spieth's back-nine collapse to be a surprise winner of the Masters. He popped up inside Wimbledon's Royal Box, and was a guest at the World Snooker Championship in his home city of Sheffield. br /> The attention died down, allowing him to return his focus to golf. But he is without a win since Augusta and has only three top-10 finishes in that eight-month period. br /> 'At the end of last year, I was working hard and doing the right things, but it was like I was knocking my head against a brick wall,' Willett said. 'I wasn't analyzing it properly. It was all just bad. It wasn't, but that's how I analyzed it.' br /> Willett is trying not to get too down about his play in Abu Dhabi. Finishing with two birdies — and two more decent birdie chances — in his final four holes helped, but couldn't disguise his problems in the previous 32. br /> His main issue was pulling lots of shots as he tried to hit a cut. That led to a triple-bogey 7 on Thursday and a quadruple-bogey 9 at the 10th hole on Friday, when he drove left into the desert, went out of bounds with his third shot, found a bunker with his fifth, and then three-putted. br /> Willett said he was 'slightly shocked' at the contrast between his form on the range and his form on the course. br /> 'Christmas golf-course rust,' Willett said. 'All joking aside, I know there were a few horrendous scores in there, but there was some better stuff in there, too.' br /> ___ br /> Steve Douglas is at www.twitter.com/sdouglas80 br />   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 20th, 2017

Bolts zap Rain or Shine to keep fading playoff hopes alive

Meralco hit two birds with one stone Friday at the Cuneta Astrodome. Not only did the Bolts kept their flickering playoff hopes alive, Meralco put a dent in Rain or Shine's own race after scoring a convincing 82-72 victory in the 2017 PBA Philippine Cup. Snapping a six-game losing skid, Meralco improved to 3-7 for the season, still mathematically alive for the quarterfinals although the Bolts' destiny is not exactly in their hands. Meralco needs to win its last game and hope other teams already at four wins lose out in order to sneak into the playoffs of the season-opening tournament. With Cliff Hodge and Jonathan Uyloan at the helm, Meralco got to a fast start and unloaded a 35-20 lead on the Elasto Painters in the very first quarter, setting the tone for the rest of the contest. While the Bolts never scored above 20 points in each of the three succeeding quarters, Meralco was able to hold off Rain or Shine effectively with its defense, allowing the Elasto Painters to only shoot 31 percent from the field. Reigning Rookie of the Year Chris Newsome paced Meralco with 19 points and six rebounds while Hodge added a 17-point, 16-rebound double-double. Uyloan ended up with 14 for the Bolts. Rain or Shine, who was tied for second place coming in but now fell to 5-4 for the conference, got 17 from James Yap. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 20th, 2017

Towns leads Timberwolves past injury-depleted Clippers

em>By Tim Liotta, Associated Press /em> LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Karl-Anthony Towns scored 37 points, including the go-ahead jumper with 45 seconds left, and the Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Los Angeles Clippers 104-101 on Thursday night (Friday, PHL time). Andrew Wiggins added 27 points, including two free throws with five seconds left that helped Minnesota snap its six-game road losing streak. DeAndre Jordan had 29 points and 16 rebounds to lead the Clippers, but was unable to make enough free throws down the stretch to keep his team in front. Austin Rivers added 20 points for Los Angeles. The Clippers played without star point guard Chris Paul, who tore a ligament in his left thumb Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) during a 120-98 victory over Oklahoma City. Paul underwent surgery Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) and is expected to be out six to eight weeks. Los Angeles is still missing star forward Blake Griffin due to injury as well. He is expected back in a week or two. Minnesota pulled to 97-96 when Towns sank a three-pointer with 2:48 to play. At the other end, the Timberwolves hacked Jordan repeatedly, looking to take advantage of his poor foul shooting. The big man went 4-of-8 from the line over five possessions, setting the stage for Towns to drain a jumper from the left elbow to tie the score at 98 with 2:28 to go. After Jordan made 1-of-2 again, Wiggins missed from the outside and Jamal Crawford made a 14-footer with 1:28 left for a 101-98 Los Angeles lead. Towns answered with a short jumper to pull Minnesota to 101-100 with 1:12 remaining. Crawford missed a short jumper before Towns hit an 18-footer with 45 seconds left to put the Timberwolves up 102-101. After J.J. Redick missed a three-pointer from the right side, Wiggins grabbed an offensive rebound at the other end and made two free throws to put Minnesota up by three. Redick and Crawford missed long three-point attempts in the final four seconds. strong>TIP-INS /strong> em> strong>Timberwolves: /strong> /em>This was the first road victory for the Timberwolves since they beat Atlanta on Dec. 21 (Dec. 22, PHL time) em> strong>Clippers: /strong> /em> Los Angeles shot 48 percent from the field but went 4-of-22 on three-pointers. The 7-0 mark tied the franchise record to start a calendar year. The team was also 7-0 to begin 1974 when the franchise was located in Buffalo. After this game, the Clippers play 10 of their next 11 on the road. They open a five-game trip in Denver on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time), return home to play Golden State on Feb. 2 (Feb. 3, PHL time) and then set out on another five-game swing. strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Timberwolves: /strong> /em> Home against Denver on Sunday night (Monday, PHL time). em> strong>Clippers: /strong> /em> At the Nuggets on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time). .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 20th, 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

Phil Mickelson set to return at CareerBuilder Challenge

JOHN NICHOLSON, AP Sports Writer br /> LA QUINTA, Calif. (AP) — Phil Mickelson is set to play in the CareerBuilder Challenge, returning from two sports hernia surgeries a week earlier than he originally expected. 'I feel good and I want to play,' Mickelson said Wednesday in a statement. 'I don't know where my game is, but I figure the only way to find out is to play.' He'll face an unusual wet and chilly start in the desert, with rain expected overnight and Thursday morning and then again Friday. The forecast high for Thursday was 62 degrees, dipping to 59 on Friday. The 46-year-old Mickelson had surgery Oct. 19 — three days after tying for eighth in the season-opening Safeway Open — and again Dec. 12. He has been hitting balls for a week and played a practice round Wednesday. In his first year as the tournament ambassador, Mickelson stuck to his normal routine of playing and practicing at The Madison Club instead of one of the three tournament courses. He wasn't available for comment beyond his short statement. The Hall of Famer was scheduled to open Thursday morning at La Quinta Country Club, then head to PGA West to play the Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course on Friday, the Stadium Course on Saturday and, if he makes the cut, the final round Sunday. Mickelson won the 2002 and 2004 events and tied for third last year. Winless since the 2013 British Open, the 42-time PGA Tour winner plans to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week in his hometown of San Diego and the Waste Management Phoenix Open the following week. Jason Dufner won last year, beating David Lingmerth with a par on the second hole of a playoff. 'Possibly going to have some weather issues this week, which will make it a little bit more challenging,' Dufner said. 'But just excited to be back, excited to be back playing again. Took some time off at the end of the year, so played a couple weeks in Hawaii.' Patrick Reed is the top-ranked player in the field at No. 9. He won the 2014 tournament. 'I never played here when it rained before; it's always sunny and beautiful and perfect,' Reed said. 'The golf courses aren't that long, by the numbers, but if it starts getting cold, now the ball's not traveling. If it gets wet, ball's not going to travel, either. Then also, if it's raining while you're playing, not having that friction on the golf club, the ball's not going to go as far as well. So, it's just going to make it a lot longer.' In 2014, he shot 63-63-63-71 to break the PGA Tour record for relation to par for the first 54 holes at 27 under and become the first player in tour history to open with three rounds of 63 or better. Two other PGA West courses were used that year in the pro-am event. 'These two golf courses are harder than the other two,' Reed said. 'And I don't think it's as much as length as it is you can get away with some golf shots on the other ones. Here, you can get penalized for hitting a poor tee shot or poor iron shot. And the biggest difference I feel like is for the amateurs. The amateurs over there, they could hit some loose shots and they're fine. Over here, when they hit a loose shot, they're really struggling and it just seems to make the rounds a little longer. And now if you're adding weather, some of these amateurs are going to struggle.' Brendan Steele, the Safeway Open winner from nearby Idyllwild, played the PGA West courses as a junior. He also played in a rain-plagued Golden State two-man team event. 'That two-man team event, it actually dumped and we got cut down to 27 holes and barely got in nine holes the second day,' Steele said. 'So, it was really, really bad. So, I have seen them that way. I may be one of the few guys in the field that has seen them that way.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 18th, 2017

Murray, Federer advance to 3rd round at Australian Open

JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer br /> MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — When Andy Murray tumbled to the court, clutching his right ankle, the top of the men's draw at the Australian Open momentarily took on a new complexion. Top-ranked Murray, a five-time runner-up at Melbourne Park, was leading his second-round match comfortably Wednesday night when his right shoe caught on the surface in the third game of the third set, and he rolled awkwardly on the ground. He continued and won that game, talking to himself, saying 'It's not good news.' He saw a trainer during the next change of ends, but decided he didn't need any extra treatment on his already heavily strapped foot. Murray went on to win 6-3, 6-0, 6-2 against No. 156-ranked Andrey Rublev, later saying 'It's a little bit sore — not too serious.' ''I was moving OK toward the end, so that's positive,' he said. It was Murray's 178th win in a Grand Slam match, joining Stefan Edberg at equal eighth on the list of match winners in the Open era. The 19-year-old Rublev's first-round win here was his first in a major tournament. Murray next faces No. 31 Sam Querrey, who had 7-6 (5), 6-0, 6-1 win over 17-year-old wild card Alex De Minaur. Roger Federer's progress was more straight forward, beating 20-year-old qualifier Noah Rubin 7-5, 6-3, 7-6 (3) to maintain his record of never failing to reach the third round at the 18 Australian Opens he's contested. After back-to-back wins over qualifiers, the degree of difficulty in the 17-time Grand Slam winner's comeback from a six-month injury layoff will increase exponentially. Next up, Federer faces 2010 Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych, who had a 6-3, 7-6 (6), 6-2 win over Ryan Harrison. Also looming, potentially, is No. 5 Kei Nishikori, the 2014 U.S. Open finalist, who set up a third-round match against Lukas Lacko with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 win over Jeremy Chardy. They're all in the same quarter of the draw as Murray. U.S. Open champion Stan Wawrinka advanced 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 over Steve Johnson and will next play No. 29 Viktor Troicki in the lower quarter of the top half of the draw. No. 19 John Isner, the highest-seeded U.S. player in the men's draw, lost to Mischa Zverev 6-7 (4), 6-7 (4), 6-4, 7-6 (7), 9-7 and followed Johnson, Rubin and Harrison out. Wins by No. 23 Jack Sock and Querrey ended the day on a more positive note for the American men. No. 7 Marin Cilic and No. 14 Nick Kyrgios were beaten in night matches. Cilic lost in four sets to Daniel Evans, and No. 89-ranked Andreas Seppi rallied from two sets down and saved a match point to beat Kyrgios 1-6, 6-7 (1), 6-4, 6-2, 10-8 in a seesawing match that featured a high-risk, between-the-legs shot from the enigmatic Australian. Defending champion Angelique Kerber celebrated her 29th birthday with a 6-2, 6-7 (3), 6-2 second-round win over Carina Witthoeft. The crowd sang her 'Happy Birthday,' although she wasn't entirely on song. The No. 1-ranked Kerber angrily swiped her racket in the second set in a burst of frustration that momentarily threw her off her game. She had two double-faults in the tiebreaker, as Witthoeft leveled the match, but regained control in the third. Kerber planned to celebrate over dinner, then get back to work before Friday's third-round match against Kristyna Pliskova, who beat No. 27 Irina-Camelia Begu 6-4, 7-6 (8). Pliskova's twin sister, Karolina, lost the U.S. Open final to Kerber. Speaking of age, Venus Williams had to field questions about getting older after an energetic performance in her 6-3, 6-2 win over Stefanie Voegele. The 36-year-old, seven-time major winner played the first of her record 73 Grand Slam tournaments at the French Open in 1997. 'It's an honor and privilege to start that young,' she added, laughing, 'and play this old.' Venus and Serena Williams, who have won 14 major doubles titles together, withdrew from a scheduled first-round doubles match later Wednesday, citing an injury to Venus' right elbow. In her next singles match, Venus will play Duan Yingying, who beat Varvara Lepchenko 6-1, 3-6, 10-8. In other third-round matches, two-time major winner Svetlana Kuznetsova will meet former No. 1-ranked Jelena Jankovic, No. 11 Elina Svitolina will take on No. 24 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, and Eugenie Bouchard, who reached the semifinals here and the Wimbledon final in 2014, will play CoCo Vandeweghe. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 18th, 2017

Patriots happy to be home for latest trip to AFC title game

KYLE HIGHTOWER, AP Sports Writer br /> FOXBOROUGH, Massachusetts (AP) — The New England Patriots have had what seems like an annual spot in the AFC championship game over the past decade. But the fact that this year's game is at home could factor into whether they are able to make a return trip to the Super Bowl. The Patriots became the first team since the 1970 merger to advance to the AFC title game in six straight seasons with their win over the Houston Texans last week. The Patriots are 5-1 at home in AFC championship games, with their lone loss coming in 2013 against the Ravens in Ray Lewis' final trip to Foxborough. While being at home doesn't guarantee victory, playing the game at Gillette Stadium is welcomed by a team that has been on the road in two of their past three trips to the AFC title game. Both of those road games ended in losses to Denver, including a 20-18 defeat last season. 'It's the energy. You get out there and everyone is really energetic. The fans are really intense,' receiver Chris Hogan said Tuesday. 'At the end of the day, it's another football game, and I just have to approach it like that, just the way I've been approaching every single game this year. Go out there, play my best, play good football and try to help this team win as much as I can.' Special teams captain Matt Slater acknowledged that New England's performance against the Texans could have been better, but said no one is taking anything for granted about this latest shot at a Super Bowl berth. 'Anytime you win a playoff game, whether you play well or not, if you win the game that's all that matters,' Slater said. 'I think we all appreciate the opportunity that we have. Could we have played better? Certainly. But we could also be at home.' The Steelers — and coach Mike Tomlin specifically — can expect to get an even more hostile reception than usual from the Patriots fans. This comes after Tomlin was broadcast using a derogatory expletive to describe the Patriots during a postgame speech to his team following Pittsburgh's divisional-round win over Kansas City. Unbeknownst to Tomlin, the speech was aired on a social media livestream by Pittsburgh receiver Antonio Brown. Tomlin apologized for his use of 'regrettable' language on Tuesday. But he said he's not worried about it having an impact on his team's preparations this week. 'We are in the AFC championship. You aren't going to creep in the back door of New England and win a football game, and creep out of there with an AFC championship,' he said. 'I am not worried about our team's ability to deal with the potential distractions.' Slater said he continues to have respect for Tomlin and didn't think his comments would serve as any extra motivation. 'At the end of the day the only thing that is gonna matter is what we do in between those white lines on Sunday,' Slater said. 'What is said or what is done off the football field it really doesn't matter. It's about executing on Sunday.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 18th, 2017

Federer extends run of reaching 3rd round to 18 Aussie Opens

JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer br /> MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Roger Federer relied on his Grand Slam experience during the most important points to beat Noah Rubin 7-5, 6-3, 7-6 (3) on Wednesday, maintaining his record of never failing to reach the third round at the 18 Australian Opens he's contested. After back-to-back wins over qualifiers, the degree of difficulty in his comeback from a six-month injury layoff will increase exponentially. Next up he faces 2010 Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych, who had a 6-3, 7-6 (6), 6-2 win over Ryan Harrison. Also looming, potentially, is No. 5 Kei Nishikori, the 2014 U.S. Open finalist, who set up a third-round match against Lukas Lacko with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 win over Jeremy Chardy. Federer didn't play after his semifinal exit at Wimbledon last year, resting his injured left knee. He returned at the Hopman Cup exhibition in Perth this month, and opened at Melbourne Park with a win over another 35-year-old veteran, Jurgen Melzer. Against Rubin, a 20-year-old qualifier and 2014 Wimbledon junior champion, the 17-time Grand Slam winner played the big points like the old pro that he is. Rubin had his chances in the third set, breaking Federer in the second game and having two set points on the Swiss star's serve when he led 5-2. But Federer upped the tempo, winning four of the last five games to force a tiebreaker, which he dominated. Rubin moved well from the baseline, and hit 11 forehand winners, but was only able to convert one of his six break-point chances. 'I definitely got lucky winning that third set. He had a couple of set points on my serve,' Federer said. There were, 'a lot of difficult points, which is what I need.' Federer has a 16-6 record against Berdych, winning the last five, but has had losses to the Czech player at the 2004 Olympics, at Wimbledon in 2010 and at the 2012 U.S. Open. 'He's caused difficulties for me in the past on faster courts,' Federer said. 'Then again, I've played him here, as well, when it went my way. I just got to play on my terms.' U.S. Open champion Stan Wawrinka advanced 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 over Steve Johnson and will next play No. 29 Viktor Troicki. No. 19 John Isner, the highest-seeded U.S. player in the men's draw, lost to Mischa Zverev 6-7 (4), 6-7 (4), 6-4, 7-6 (7), 9-7 and followed Johnson, Rubin and Harrison out in the second round. No. 23 Jack Sock and No. 31 Sam Querrey won in straight sets, ensuring the U.S. men finished day three on a brighter note. Defending champion Angelique Kerber celebrated her 29th birthday with a 6-2, 6-7 (3), 6-2 second-round win over Carina Witthoeft. The crowd sang her 'Happy Birthday,' although she wasn't entirely on song. The No. 1-ranked Kerber angrily swiped her racket in the second set in a burst of frustration that momentarily threw her off her game. She had two double-faults in the tiebreaker, as Witthoeft leveled the match, but regained control in the third. Kerber planned to celebrate over dinner, then get back to work before Friday's third-round match against Kristyna Pliskova, who beat No. 27 Irina-Camelia Begu 6-4, 7-6 (8). Pliskova's twin sister, Karolina, lost the U.S. Open final to Kerber. 'I'm always playing on my birthday — always in Australia,' said Kerber, who had her major breakthrough here last year. 'I feel like at home here.' Speaking of age, Venus Williams had to field questions about getting older after an energetic performance in her 6-3, 6-2 win over Stefanie Voegele. The 36-year-old, seven-time major winner played the first of her record 73 Grand Slam tournaments at the French Open in 1997. 'It's an honor and privilege to start that young,' she added, laughing, 'and play this old.' Venus and Serena Williams, who have won 14 major doubles titles together, withdrew from a scheduled first-round doubles match later Wednesday, citing an injury to Venus' right elbow. In her next singles match, Venus will play Duan Yingying, who beat Varvara Lepchenko 6-1, 3-6, 10-8. In other third-round matches, two-time major winner Svetlana Kuznetsova will meet former No. 1-ranked Jelena Jankovic, No. 11 Elina Svitolina will take on No. 24 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, and Eugenie Bouchard, who reached the semifinals here and the Wimbledon final in 2014, will play CoCo Vandeweghe. French Open champion Garbine Muguruza beat Samantha Crawford 7-5, 6-4 in a night match, and Mona Barthel beat Olympic gold medalist Monica Puig. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 18th, 2017

Chile amateur goes from no big victories to Masters

DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf Writer   HONOLULU (AP) — Toto Gana hit what he described as the 'best shot I've hit in my whole life,' a wedge to 3 feet for a birdie to win the Latin America Amateur Championship and earn a trip to the Masters in April. His best shot produced his biggest trophy. Asked what his greatest achievement in golf was before his victory in Panama, the 19-year-old from Chile said: 'I didn't have any achievements, to be honest. I had won a couple of tournaments at home when I was really, really young.' The Latin America Amateur completed its third year, a stroke-play tournament created by Augusta National, the USGA and the Royal & Ancient to spur growth in that part of the world. It follows the successful launch of the Asia Pacific Amateur. The Asia Pacific Amateur is producing a higher pedigree of champions — Hideki Matsuyama won twice, and the winner last year was Curtis Luck, the reigning U.S. Amateur champion. The last two Latin America winners were surprises — Gana and 16-year-old Paul Chaplet of Costa Rica last year. The other winner was Matias Dominguez of Chile, who was a junior at Texas Tech. Gana said the only hard part about his victory was beating Joaquin Niemann of Chile, one of his best friends who won the Junior World in 2015 at Torrey Pines. 'I really never thought I could win this tournament because all the other players have won many other tournaments, very big tournaments,' Gana said in a conference call after his victory Sunday. 'What I did was keep a cool head. When I saw that I had a chance to win, I believed in myself that I could do. And I gave it my all.' Chile will have a player represented at Augusta National for the second time in three years. The only other Chilean player at the Masters was Enrique Orellana, who missed the cut in 1964. Gana has flair, and he showed how much passion he has for golf when explaining how he got started. 'When I was a little boy, 8 years old, my stepfather taught me to play golf on the practice range,' he said. 'When I shot a really nice shot, I never quit.' Gana will be enrolling at Lynn University in Florida. ___ BLOOMING START: Justin Rose played the Sony Open as part of the new 'strength of field' regulation on the PGA Tour that requires players who played fewer than 25 events last year to add a tournament they had not played in four years. Rose was so excited about this year that he might have started earlier if he would have been eligible. He failed to win a PGA Tour event for the first time since 2009. But in a year slowed by injury, Rose geared himself for golf's return to the Olympics and won the gold medal in Rio. That was worth an exemption into the four majors (Rose already is eligible for them), but the PGA Tour did not offer a spot in SBS Tournament of Champions. 'I didn't inquire,' Rose said about Kapalua. 'But in my mind, I was surprised that it didn't count in a way, just because, why wouldn't it? It's a one-off thing.' He thought maybe the tour would only give a spot to Kapalua if the gold medalist was already a PGA Tour member, much like it treated the HSBC Champions early on in its World Golf Championships history. Rose chuckled, however, when he realized his history in Hawaii. 'It's funny enough, I don't have the right to say I should have been at Kapalua,' he said. 'Because I've won six years in a row and I've only been once.' A birdie on the final hole at the Sony Open gave him second place alone, which was worth $648,000. ___ PLAYING TO HIS STRENGTH: Jason Dufner is the defending champion at the CareerBuilder Challenger, where he won last year for the first time since the 2013 PGA Championship at Oak Hill. What changed? Very little. He attributed the drought to a neck and shoulder injury that he suffered at the 2014 Masters. Dufner tried to play through it all year until he was forced to pull out of his title defense in the PGA Championship at Valhalla, which kept him off the Ryder Cup team. Playing with the injury led to bad habits with his swing, which led to bad shots, too many memories of bad shots and eventually shattered confidence. 'People don't realize, once you start playing, you have to redo everything,' Dufner said. 'You see it with a lot of guys coming back. It takes them 6, 8, 12 months. I spent 2015 trying to get back to where I was.' Where he wants to be is one of the top ball-strikers in the game. As for putting? He manages. Dufner has finished no higher than No. 143 in the key putting statistic over the last four years, and while he has to pay attention to his setup, it's not as though he's going to abandon what got him here (his swing) to pour everything into becoming Jordan Spieth. 'I've been putting bad for 17 years,' he said. 'It's tough to change. I can hit it good enough to make up for it. I'll wait for my weeks where I putt good and try to win.' ___ THE RACE TO MEXICO: Mackenzie Hughes won the RSM Classic, and his first thought was going to the Masters. Now that it's beginning to sink, the Canadian rookie has reason to consider other tournaments that were not on his schedule at the start of the season. First up is the World Golf Championship in Mexico. The top 10 in the FedEx Cup standings through the Honda Classic are eligible for the Mexico Championship, and there are only six tournaments between now and then. That's also true for Pat Perez, who tied for third at Kapalua and is No. 3 in the FedEx Cup. Rod Pampling is at No. 6. The other World Golf Championships event in March is based off the world ranking, so those three players have much more to do for them to get into the top 64. One player who might have secured his spot was Kevin Kisner, who shot 60 in the third round of the Sony Open and wound up in a tie for fourth. That took Kisner from No. 51 to No. 41, making it difficult to fall that far in two months. ___ DIVOTS: Justin Thomas moving to No. 8 in the world means that six of the top 10 players are under 30. ... The Golf Writers Association of America has voted former PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem for the William D. Richardson Award for outstanding contributions to golf. For the GWAA's award for press cooperation, it was a tie between Ben Crenshaw and Stewart Cink. They will be honored at the GWAA annual awards dinner on April 5 in Augusta. ... The three courses used for the CareerBuilder Challenge — PGA West Stadium Course, PGA West Nicklaus and La Quinta — ranked among the top 10 in easiest courses on the PGA Tour last year. ... The fourth Latin America Amateur Championship will be played at Prince of Wales Country Club next year in Santiago, Chile. ... The European Tour now has eight events in its Rolex Series with China-based HNA Group signing a five-year deal to be title sponsor of the French Open. That will raise the purse to $7 million in line with other Rolex Series events. ___ STAT OF THE WEEK: Justin Thomas hit 34 drives that went at least 330 yards during his two weeks in Hawaii — 20 on the Plantation Course at Kapalua, 14 at Waialae Country Club. ___ FINAL WORD: 'If there's no defense, then you ought to be able to make birdies. If there's wind, you ought to be struggling.' — Kevin Kisner. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 17th, 2017

Fowler returns to Abu Dhabi seeking upturn in form

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Rickie Fowler flew home from the 2016 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship with more than just the Falcon Trophy. The win over a stellar field last January boosted Fowler's belief that a first major title was within sight. Lifting him to a career-high No. 4 in the rankings, it also sparked talk about whether he should be included in the conversation with golf's so-called 'Big Three,' which comprised Jordan Spieth, Jason Day and Rory McIlroy at the time. 'It would have been nice to kind of continue that form,' Fowler said Tuesday on his return to Abu Dhabi Golf Club. Instead, that proved to be the only victory of 2016 for Fowler, the United States' triumph in the Ryder Cup notwithstanding. His best finish at a major was a tie for 33rd at the U.S. PGA Championship and he ended the year ranked outside the top 10. U.S. Open champion Dustin Johnson, Hideki Matsuyama and — most recently — Justin Thomas are among those who have accelerated past Fowler, who said his dip in status is pushing him to play better in 2017. 'Golf's so deep right now,' Fowler said, 'and it will be nice if we can get Tiger back for a full season.' Fowler's chances of a successful defense of his Abu Dhabi title improved Monday when McIlroy — at No. 2, the highest-ranked player in the field — withdrew because of a rib injury. Still, the field remains strong, as always in this event which starts Thursday. The third-ranked Johnson is making his debut, while two more current major champions — Henrik Stenson and Danny Willett — are there, too. 'He's obviously one of the best players in the world,' Fowler said about McIlroy. 'It was fun to have him in contention with me last year here. 'Does that make me look at the tournament any differently? No. You know, it's one less top player in the world I'm going to have to beat, but the field here is one of the best fields on the European Tour.' Refreshed after spending time over Christmas and the new year with family and friends, Fowler cannot wait to get back on the course. Particularly after seeing Thomas — one of his best friends — winning back-to-back events in Hawaii. 'It's inspiring and motivating,' said Fowler, currently the world No. 14. Fowler's main focus is tailoring his schedule to give him the best chance at winning a major. He said that will mean playing events in the weeks leading up to the majors, rather than using that time to rest or work on the range. The Masters is already in his sights. He was renowned as a slow starter to seasons until last year, when he won in Abu Dhabi and then lost the Phoenix Open in a playoff to nearly reduce him to tears. That didn't translate to a good performance at Augusta National in April, though, as he opened with an 80 and failed to make the weekend. 'Obviously looking to peak,' Fowler said, 'getting the first few months going, heading the right direction and peak that first week of April.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 17th, 2017

Paul gets hurt anew, but Clippers trounce Thunder

em>By Beth Harris, Associated Press /em> LOS ANGELES (AP) — J.J. Redick scored 20 points, DeAndre Jordan had 19 points and 15 rebounds, and the streaking Los Angeles Clippers overcame Chris Paul's injury to defeat the Oklahoma City Thunder 120-98 on Monday night (Tuesday, PHL time). The banged-up Clippers tied a franchise record for their best start to a calendar year at 7-0. The team began 1974 with the same mark when the club was located in Buffalo. Los Angeles owns the NBA's longest active winning streak despite being without injured star Blake Griffin. Paul sprained his left thumb in the second quarter of this one and didn't return. Still, the Clippers shot 55 percent and improved to 16-0 when hitting 50 percent or better. They were dominant in the paint, outscoring the Thunder 62-34. Russell Westbrook scored 24 points on 7-of-19 shooting in three quarters for the Thunder, the last team to beat the Clippers, on New Year's Eve, before the calendar turned and their winning streak began. He was the only starter in double figures for Oklahoma City. Jordan had three dunks, including a reverse off a pass from Marreese Speights, in the third quarter when the Clippers stretched their lead to 27 points. Speights finished with a season-high 23 points. Jordan sat out the fourth when Speights dunked and hit two triples. The Clippers outscored the Thunder 24-6, including nine points by Speights and six by Redick, to take a 22-point lead in the second. strong>TIP-INS /strong> em> strong>Thunder: /strong> /em>C Steven Adams sat out with a concussion sustained in the third quarter at Sacramento on Sunday night (Monday, PHL time). The Thunder were coming off a win at Sacramento 24 hours earlier, but fell to 2-6 on the second night of a back-to-back. em> strong>Clippers: /strong> /em>G Austin Rivers and Jordan were hit with technical fouls. They'll be expected to donate their fines to a charity of their choosing under a program coach Doc Rivers announced earlier this month as a way to reduce the team's high number of technicals. Paul missed seven games in December and early this month because of hamstring issues. The Clippers went 2-2 against the Thunder this season. G Raymond Felton was 7-of-7 from the floor and scored 15 points. or the second straight game, Jordan missed just one field goal attempt, going 7-of-8. The Clippers scored the most points during their winning streak. strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Thunder: /strong> /em>Visit the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) in the fourth game of their six-game trip. em> strong>Clippers: /strong> /em> After two days off, they host Minnesota on Thursday (Friday, PHL time). .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 17th, 2017

Bottas replaces Rosberg at Mercedes, Massa back at Williams

LONDON (AP) — Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas will race alongside three-time champion Lewis Hamilton at Formula One team Mercedes this season. The 27-year-old Bottas will fill the seat left by world champion Nico Rosberg's retirement. With Bottas moving on, F1 team Williams said Monday that Felipe Massa will come out of retirement to race with them for a fourth consecutive season. Rosberg retired only five days after beating Hamilton to his first world title in November. Mercedes also won its third straight constructors' championship. 'Sometimes in life, unexpected circumstances provide interesting opportunities,' Mercedes head of motorsport Toto Wolff said in a statement. 'Nico's decision in December was a big surprise - certainly a challenging situation for the team to handle. But weathering the storm makes you more resilient and we see this as another opportunity for the team to grow.' Bottas finished eighth in the drivers' standings with 85 points last season. In four seasons with Williams, he started 77 races and achieved nine podium finishes. Wolff said it was time for him to step up to the next level and 'how he can challenge for race wins and championships.' 'Valtteri is a no-nonsense guy: down to earth, straightforward and very focused,' Wolff said. 'Pretty Finnish, to be honest, and a great fit for us.' Massa will head back to Williams only a few months after retiring from Formula One. The Brazilian has agreed to a one-year deal and will race alongside F1 debutant Lance Stroll. 'I am very happy to have an opportunity to return to Williams. I always intended to race somewhere in 2017, but Williams is a team close to my heart and I have respect for everything it is trying to achieve,' Massa said. 'Valtteri has a great opportunity, given the turn of events over the winter, and I wish him all the best at Mercedes.' Earlier, Mercedes' young driver Pascal Wehrlein, who had been linked with replacing Rosberg, joined Swiss team Sauber. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 16th, 2017

Beermen clinch playoff bonus on their day off

As proof of their dominance so far in the Philippine cup, two-time defending champion San Miguel Beermen clinched a twice-to-beat advantage in the playoffs despite doing nothing Sunday. Following their seventh straight win just two days before to improve to a league-best 8-1, there was still a slight chance that the Beermen would actually fail to finish in the top two. But with both Alaska and TNT losing their respective games Sunday at the Big Dome, there's no doubt now about San Miguel heading to the playoffs to defend its title with some perks. Head statistician Fidel Mangonon III confirmed that the champs got the first of the two twice-to-beat advantages in the quarterfinals. As for the rest of the field, eight teams are currently separated by one game in the standings. Globalport and Rain or Shine currently share second place with identical 5-3 cards while Blackwater sits alone at fourth with a 5-4 record. TNT, Star, Ginebra, Phoenix, and Alaska are all stuck in the middle at 4-4 while Mahindra, NLEX, and Meralco complete the list with two wins each. Only eight teams advance in the Philippine Cup with the top-2 seeds earning a twice-to-beat advantage. Teams ranked 3rd-6th figure in a best-of-3 series and all ties are to be broken by the quotient system.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 16th, 2017

Steelers hold off Chiefs on Boswell's 6 field goals, 18-16

BARRY WILNER, AP Pro Football Writer br /> KANSAS CITY, Missouri (AP) — Who needs to reach the end zone when you have Le'Veon Bell chewing up yards and the clock, and Chris Boswell setting an NFL playoff record with six field goals? Throw in a stingy Pittsburgh defense for most of Sunday night, and a multitude of mistakes by Kansas City, and the Steelers' 18-16 victory sent them into the AFC championship game. The Steelers (13-5) needed to hold off a last-ditch threat by the Chiefs (12-5) before advancing to face New England next Sunday night for a spot in the Super Bowl. The Patriots won at Pittsburgh 27-16, but Ben Roethlisberger was injured and didn't play. Spencer Ware's 1-yard touchdown run took Kansas City within 18-16. The Chiefs at first converted the 2-pointer to tie it, but tackle Eric Fisher — the first overall selection in the 2013 draft — was penalized for holding. The next try failed. With 2:43 remaining, Justin Gilbert misplayed the kick return and was tackled at the Pittsburgh 5. Roethlisberger hit Antonio Brown for 7 yards on third down and Pittsburgh then ran out the clock, securing a ninth straight victory for the Steelers. The Chiefs have not won a home playoff game since 1994, losing five in a row. The scoring started furiously in the opening minutes, then the game became a kicking exhibition by Boswell, who also had six field goals in the regular season against Cincinnati. And Bell put on a virtuoso running performance, patiently finding holes and then exploding through them. He added a team-record 170 yards rushing to the 167 he had in a win over Miami last week. The Steelers became first team to win a playoff game without a TD since eventual Super Bowl champion Indianapolis in the 2006 AFC divisional round at Baltimore. Using a no-huddle attack almost to perfection early on, the Steelers drove deep into Kansas City territory. But they bogged down inside the 5 and Boswell made a 22-yard field goal. The Chiefs were just as efficient on a six-play march capped by receiver Albert Wilson lining up in the backfield, then slipping uncovered into the end zone for a 5-yard score. Pittsburgh's answer came on a 52-yard heave to All-Pro Brown, who somehow was covered by linebacker Justin Houston. That led to Boswell's second field goal, a 38-yarder. He added a 36-yarder to cap a 14-play drive on which Pittsburgh again barely huddled. A clean game up until then turned to, well, turnovers, on successive series. Bud Dupree pounded Alex Smith, whose pass shot high into the air and was caught by linebacker Ryan Shazier. The Steelers got to the Kansas City 5, where Frank Zombo leaped to deflect Roethlisberger's throw, and All-Pro safety Eric Berry — burned for 26 yards on the previously play — picked it off in the end zone. Boswell's fourth field goal, from 45 yards, made it 12-7 at the half. His 43-yarder, setting the franchise record for a postseason game and tying the league mark of five, came on Pittsburgh's first series of the second half. A 43-yarder midway in the fourth quarter gave Boswell the NFL record. Kansas City's Cairo Santos got in on the kicking act with a 48-yarder to make it 15-10. At that point, 10 seconds from the end of the third quarter, the Chiefs were outgained 333 yards to 150. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 16th, 2017

Steelers hold off Chiefs on Boswell's 6 field goals, 18-16

BARRY WILNER, AP Pro Football Writer   KANSAS CITY, Missouri (AP) — Who needs to reach the end zone when you have Le'Veon Bell chewing up yards and the clock, and Chris Boswell setting an NFL playoff record with six field goals? Throw in a stingy Pittsburgh defense for most of Sunday night, and a multitude of mistakes by Kansas City, and the Steelers' 18-16 victory sent them into the AFC championship game. The Steelers (13-5) needed to hold off a last-ditch threat by the Chiefs (12-5) before advancing to face New England next Sunday night for a spot in the Super Bowl. The Patriots won at Pittsburgh 27-16, but Ben Roethlisberger was injured and didn't play. Spencer Ware's 1-yard touchdown run took Kansas City within 18-16. The Chiefs at first converted the 2-pointer to tie it, but tackle Eric Fisher — the first overall selection in the 2013 draft — was penalized for holding. The next try failed. With 2:43 remaining, Justin Gilbert misplayed the kick return and was tackled at the Pittsburgh 5. Roethlisberger hit Antonio Brown for 7 yards on third down and Pittsburgh then ran out the clock, securing a ninth straight victory for the Steelers. The Chiefs have not won a home playoff game since 1994, losing five in a row. The scoring started furiously in the opening minutes, then the game became a kicking exhibition by Boswell, who also had six field goals in the regular season against Cincinnati. And Bell put on a virtuoso running performance, patiently finding holes and then exploding through them. He added a team-record 170 yards rushing to the 167 he had in a win over Miami last week. The Steelers became first team to win a playoff game without a TD since eventual Super Bowl champion Indianapolis in the 2006 AFC divisional round at Baltimore. Using a no-huddle attack almost to perfection early on, the Steelers drove deep into Kansas City territory. But they bogged down inside the 5 and Boswell made a 22-yard field goal. The Chiefs were just as efficient on a six-play march capped by receiver Albert Wilson lining up in the backfield, then slipping uncovered into the end zone for a 5-yard score. Pittsburgh's answer came on a 52-yard heave to All-Pro Brown, who somehow was covered by linebacker Justin Houston. That led to Boswell's second field goal, a 38-yarder. He added a 36-yarder to cap a 14-play drive on which Pittsburgh again barely huddled. A clean game up until then turned to, well, turnovers, on successive series. Bud Dupree pounded Alex Smith, whose pass shot high into the air and was caught by linebacker Ryan Shazier. The Steelers got to the Kansas City 5, where Frank Zombo leaped to deflect Roethlisberger's throw, and All-Pro safety Eric Berry — burned for 26 yards on the previously play — picked it off in the end zone. Boswell's fourth field goal, from 45 yards, made it 12-7 at the half. His 43-yarder, setting the franchise record for a postseason game and tying the league mark of five, came on Pittsburgh's first series of the second half. A 43-yarder midway in the fourth quarter gave Boswell the NFL record. Kansas City's Cairo Santos got in on the kicking act with a 48-yarder to make it 15-10. At that point, 10 seconds from the end of the third quarter, the Chiefs were outgained 333 yards to 150. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 15th, 2017

Disappointing end, promising future for Prescott-led Cowboys

STEPHEN HAWKINS, AP Sports Writer   ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is more convinced than ever that his rookie quarterback can play at the highest level. And that the Cowboys were good enough to maybe win the Super Bowl this season with Dak Prescott and fellow rookie Ezekiel Elliott. But another Super Bowl shot will have to wait for another season after an impressive Prescott-led comeback came up just short in the NFC divisional playoff game against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, who won 34-31 on a game-ending field goal Sunday. 'I know now that this team was capable of playing all the way through this thing, and even with rookies in key spots I know now we were ready to have a win,' Jones said. 'We didn't. That's very real. ... It hurts, it really hurts.' After the Cowboys were down 21-3 midway through the second quarter, their largest deficit in a season when they won 13 games and were the NFC's top seed, Prescott threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Dez Bryant. Prescott, who replaced injured veteran Tony Romo in the preseason, threw two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter. After finding Bryant again, Prescott powered through the middle for the 2-point conversion that tied the game at 28. Then came the exchange of long field goals only 58 seconds apart after the two-minute warning before Rodgers and the Packers got one more shot, and set up Mason Crosby's 51-yard field goal. Asked about his emotions, Prescott responded, 'I think as low as they could get at this point. This is a terrible feeling.' Prescott threw for 302 yards while becoming the first rookie in the Super Bowl era with three TD passes in a playoff game. After his lone interception in the third quarter, the Cowboys responded with one off Rodgers. Elliott ran for 125 yards. With the loss, the Cowboys (13-4) have now failed to make it past the divisional game in their nine playoff appearances since winning their most recent Super Bowl 21 seasons ago. 'Once we put that behind us, I think there's nothing but good things looking forward in what this team can do,' Prescott said. Prescott had an 11-game winning streak during the regular season, and kept the starting job after Romo was ready to return from the back injury he suffered in the third preseason game. Jones wasn't yet ready to address the future for Romo, a starter for 10 seasons. 'We'll obviously look at what we're doing. We won't do it tomorrow. We won't do it the next day,' Jones said. 'We'll be looking at where we are relative to Tony and relative to other players, but not tonight.' After Mason Crosby kicked a tiebreaking 56-yard field goal for Green Bay with 1:33 left, Prescott was ready for another shot. 'He didn't blink. He didn't do anything but lead, as well as play, in a way that you can win championships,' Jones said. The only thing Prescott thought of was the two-minute drills that end Thursday practices. 'I don't think about what this means, what this exact drive means, just concentrate on each and every play coach called,' he said. Prescott had two completions for 35 yards to the 40 before spiking the ball to stop the clock. After a 7-yard completion to Cole Beasley, Prescott's third-and-2 pass was knocked down at the line. Dan Bailey then kicked his third field goal, but Rodgers — who with the Packers won a Super Bowl in the same building six seasons ago — still had 35 seconds. His scrambling 36-yard pass to a toe-dragging Jared Cook on the sideline set up the winning kick. 'It was a great game all the way around, just hate to be on the losing end,' Prescott said. 'These are games I dreamed of as a little kid of playing, and plan to play in many more of them.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 15th, 2017

McIlroy to have tests on his injured back

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — One tournament into the new year, Rory McIlroy is going for tests on his back Monday to make sure he is fit enough to play Abu Dhabi without further damage. McIlroy felt pain in his back before the second round of the South African Open, and it lingered throughout the final round, where he closed with a 67 and lost in a playoff to Graeme Storm. McIlroy was flying to Dubai on Sunday and said he would have an MRI 'just to see what's up with this joint in my back.' 'It's OK,' McIlroy said on the European Tour's website. 'It was manageable this week. I'm taped up and I've got a few pills in me and I'm fine. But first and foremost, that's the most important thing, to get fit and healthy again. And hopefully, I'll be all right to play next week.' The runner-up finish looks to be enough for McIlroy to have a chance to return to No. 1 in the world if he were to win the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, which in recent years has been the strongest field of the year among regular European Tour events. Dustin Johnson, Henrik Stenson and Rickie Fowler are among those playing. McIlroy has not been atop the world rankings since September 2015. He is scheduled to play Abu Dhabi and then Dubai two weeks after that. 'If I go to Abu Dhabi next week and win, I think I get back to No. 1, so it's a nice goal to have going into next week,' McIlroy said. 'I really want to make next week because there's so much to play for. But at the same time, there's so much to play for this season. I don't want to jeopardize long-term goals for short-term gains. So we'll see. Hopefully, I'll be good to go.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 15th, 2017

Raptors use dominant third to rout Knicks

em>By Daniel Girard, Associated Press /em> TORONTO (AP) — DeMar DeRozan had 23 points, Norman Powell added 21 and the Toronto Raptors used a dominant third quarter to beat the New York Knicks 116-101 on Sunday (Monday, PHL time). DeRozan also had five rebounds and five assists before coming out late in the third quarter. The Raptors improved to 27-13, taking the lead for good late in the first quarter. They led by 38 points in the third in winning their third straight game overall and fifth in a row against the Knicks. DeMarre Carroll added 20 points, and Jonas Valanciunas had 12 points and 16 rebounds. Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 18 points, Justin Holiday had 17, and Derrick Rose added 16. The Knicks are 2-10 in their last 12 to drop to 18-23. The Raptors were 12-for-20 from the field in the third quarter, while the Knicks were 4-for-21 overall and 0-for-4 from three-point range. The Knicks also had seven turnovers times in the quarter, leading to 10 Toronto points. The Raptors turned it over four times, but New York was unable score any points off them. DeRozan led the way with 11 points in the third, and Carroll had 10. Toronto took a 69-54 lead into the halftime break. The Raptors matched their season high in a quarter, scoring 42 in the second. They hit seven three’s in the period, led by Terrence Ross, who went 4-for-5 from beyond the arc. strong>TIP-INS /strong> em> strong>Knicks: /strong> /em>Kristaps Porzingis missed his second straight game with a sore left Achilles. Forward Lance Thomas took an elbow to the face from Valanciunas in the second minute of the game and did not return. At one point in the third quarter, the Knicks trailed by 38 points, their largest deficit of the season. em> strong>Raptors: /strong> /em>Patrick Patterson missed his second straight game and sixth of the past eight with a sore left knee. DeMar DeRozan missed his first five shots from the field but hit eight of his next 11. Toronto dominated the inside game, outscoring the Knicks 66-30 in points in the paint. strong>UP NEXT: /strong> em> strong>Knicks: /strong> /em> New York returns home to face the Atlanta Hawks on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time). It's the third of four meetings between the two teams this season, with each having won at home. em> strong>Raptors: /strong> /em>Toronto travels to Brooklyn to take on the Nets on Tuesday night (Wednesday, PHL time). The Raptors beat the Nets 132-113 in Toronto on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time). .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 15th, 2017