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Jonas Villanueva to serve as playing coach

Newly minted mentor Jonas Villanueva has hinted at embarking on a playing-coach role for iWalk in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup......»»

Category: sportsSource: philstar philstarAug 14th, 2019

MPBL: Makati hopes team ethos and a balanced roster leads them to glory

The Makati Super Crunch have certainly established themselves as one of the elite squads in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League. They have consistently hung with the league's best. Not bad for a nomadic team that only played on their home court two weeks ago. According to Cholo Villanueva, the team's head coach, there is no one player who has contributed to this promising season. "In every game there would be different players pulling through. It's just evident anybody can step up any given night from our rookies to our veterans,” remarked the former DLSU Green Archer.  There's no particular player that stands out at this point but whoever can provide the good, better or best shot will shoot the open shot. Villanueva identifies Rudy Lingganay, Jeckster Apinan and Cedric Ablaza as his most consistent players this season. The last two were on point in crunch time a recent joust with San Juan but Super Crunch fell just short, 88-86. San Juan's former La Salle standout, Justin Baltazar, blocked Apinan's potential game-winner from behind in the last seconds. Despite that loss against the champs, Makati is still upbeat and hopeful that they can take anything dished out to them. Remember, this is the team that hacked out a wild triple overtime win against Zamboanga Family's Brand Sardines two weeks ago. The side won 111-106 after three extensions. They bucked the absence in the end of Simon Atkins, who got thrown out of the game, and Apinan, who fouled out. If you listen to the coach, the backbone of the team can be found much deeper than the starters and the second unit. "People don't see the players who prepare our rotational players in practices for the game. Mostly these are composed of our homegrown and amateur players like Babap Sta. Maria, Ace Lacsamana, Rhoy Cayanan, Kako Morales, Edwin Asoro and Carlo Lloren. They simulate our opponents in practice to execute our game plans and adjustments for the game. They make it tough in practices for the guys who have many minutes during the game to create the right habits integrated in our game plans," shared Villanueva.  Makati hopes to lean on a strong home crowd. The team and its sponsor have also been clever about how to build an atmosphere. In their first home game against the Muntinlupa Cagers two weeks ago, fans had the choice of wearing white to watch for free at the newly-renovated Makati Coliseum, or buying a P20 bag of Super Crunch chips. Judging from the large crowd in white, most opted to support the team with their choice of attire. The scheme needs some work, though. In both of their first two home games, Makati fans wore white only to see their opponents wear that color. In the two games Makati sported dark jerseys. Whatever the color scheme, the newly spriced-up Makati Coliseum is a boon to the squad. "Definitely, having your own home court provides you a different kind of energy especially playing infront of the Makatizens who waited so long for the opportunity to cheer for their home team. Having a new floor, rims and comfortably big locker rooms for each teams provides us the space for pre-game talks, muscle activation and proper mind setting for the games," said Villanueva. The coach is also grateful for the brand's support. Super Crunch is a snack from Prifood Corporation, a Filipino snack food manufacturer based in Laguna that was founded in 1990. "Super Crunch has been a big boost for us. Stability in maintaining a semi-pro team is very financially taxing but they have been consistent in providing the needs of the team which provides our confidence in just thinking about playing and representing the brand," added Villanueva.  The sponsor could have splashed some cash for new cogs in the recent transfer period. But instead the team management expressed their confidence in the current squad by staying put. "I think we are one of the most boring teams during trading period," admitted Cholo. "We haven't acquired or traded for players since the start of the conference. That's how much confidence I have in this group to go all the way. They have good chemistry and treat each one like family. We have each others back and trust that why you don't want to disrupt the bond that these guys have formed throughout the course of the year." The camaraderie was evident last Thursday when Makati endured yet another triple overtime game, this time against the Batangas City Athletics - Tanduay. Makati watched in horror as the Batanguenos hit the last six points of regulation to force overtime. Then one more extension and then yet another. But in the end it was one of Villanueva's shock troopers, Joseph Sedurifa, who knocked in the dagger three with 30 seconds left in the third OT to finally secure the win. "It as all heart and collective competitiveness of each and every player on the team to not lose the game," said a frazzled coach Cholo afterwards. Makati are now sporting a gaudy 19-4 record and have the top teams like DavOcc, Manila, and San Juan in their crosshairs. Villanueva knows it's not the time to slack off. "We will take it one game at a time and learn from the mistakes along the way. Yes, I'm optimistic of going all the way with this group, but we are still far away. We need to put in more work to achieve our ultimate goal of winning the title.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 29th, 2019

Philippine team continues to fine tune court chemisty

TOKYO --- The Philippine national women’s volleyball team continues to work on its chemistry inside the court. Pitted against a pair of Japan Division 2 club teams, the Nationals are slowly building their cohesiveness despite winning only one set in seven frames played in their tune-up games Saturday held at the Yamanashi Chuo Bank gym. The Filipinas again took a two-hour bus to get to Yamanashi, travelling along the mountain ranges on a cool and breezy morning to get to their host club’s gym, which gives a picturesque view of the snow-capped peak of the lovely Mount Fuji. But on court, the Nationals, who are now without Alyssa Valdez and setter Jia Morado after the duo returned to Manila Friday to fulfill their club duties, got a reality check against Yamanashi Chuo Bank and another visiting team, the Yamagata Prestige International Aranmare. The three teams played each other in alternating sets. Yamagata bested the Filipinas, 26-24, 25-22, 25-17, but the Nationals avoided a shutout with a tight fourth set win in its 19-25, 24-26, 23-25, 25-23, result over the Yamanashi Chuo Bank. “Magandang opportunity para sa amin na makalaro ang ganitong klase ng team,” said head coach Shaq Delos Santos of their third tune-up match date in the 12-day Japan training for the 30th Southeast Asian Games next month made possible by Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. and the Philippine Sports Commission. Delos Santos, just like in their first two practice games, stressed the importance of being patient and sustaining their level of intensity.   “Kailangan naming i-improve ang patience ng team kapag naglalaro. Kasi hindi mo sila [Japanese teams] basta-basta mababagsakan ng bola,” he said. “Kailangan kapag umaatake ka at dumidiskarte ka tuluy-tuloy hangga’t di namamatay ang bola.” The Nationals were able to salvage a set win in a come-from-behind fashion. Down, 20-22, the Filipinas fought back against Yamanashi with a 4-1 closing run capped by Maddie Madayag’s block and a quick attack. Delos Santos rotated his lineup, trying different combinations in each frame played. The Nationals were able to take set point advantages against both their rivals in their early games but the Filipinas squandered both chances, something that Delos Santos wanted his team to address. “Nakakatuwa kasi ang score namin not naman sobrang layo, konti na lang, so parang pwedeng ipanalo. Pero yun ang isa pa sa kailangan naming i-improve yung sa end game namin,” he said. Against Yamanata, the Filipinas took a 24-23 advantage in the first set but a costly error allowed their rivals to steal the frame. The same happened in the second set against Yamanashi as Majoy Baron sent her serve long with the Philippines at set point advantage before the host club scored off back-to-back hits to take the frame. The Filipinas were able to keep up with the Japanese clubs in the succeeding sets with Baron, Mylene Paat, skipper Aby Marano, Madayag and reserve Roselyn Doria working hard at the net while Kalei Mau, Ces Molina, Eya Laure, Jovelyn Gonzaga and reserve Aiza Maizo-Pontillas contributed on offense. Kat Arado and Dawn Macandili manned the floor well and lone setter Rhea Dimaculangan playing in all sets. But it was the finishing kick that was lacking except for the last set. The Nationals travelled back to Sagamihara at around 6:00 p.m. and brought with them the lessons learned in their trip together with luscious green grapes – a well-known local produce – given to them by their gracious hosts. Up next for the squad is a tune-up game on Monday against Japan V. Premier League team Hitachi but on Sunday the team will take a little breather.   ---    Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 26th, 2019

Pastrana fans flames of La Salle s playoff hopes in UAAP 82

ANTIPOLO -- La Salle kept its Final Four hopes alive as it cut Far Eastern University down to size, 63-47, Saturday in the UAAP Season 82 Women's Basketball Tournament at Ynares Center here. Kent Pastrana was sensational with her 23 points, seven rebounds, and four steals to lead the Lady Archers to their third straight win. Chuchi Paraiso also joined the parade with 11 points on a 2-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc, alongside eight rebounds, while Nigerian center Maureen Okoli had seven points, 11 boards, and three blocks in the victory. "Credit to the girls cause we're fighting for survival," said coach Cholo Villanueva. "The way they're playing, there's a sense of urgency and they'll do whatever they can to fight for that slot." La Salle ascended to a 6-5 slate, while dealing FEU its third loss in four outings to drop to 7-5. With Pastrana leading the way, the Lady Archers soon jumped to a 31-22 halftime lead as they frustrated the Lady Tamaraws with their press. The lead swelled to as high as 28, 57-29, with a pair of Lee Sario freebies late in the third frame. No one from FEU got to double-digits, with Lai Adriano topscoring for her side with nine points. Clare Castro was limited to just seven points, despite still hauling down nine rebounds and rejecting three shots. The Scores: DLSU 63 -- Pastrana 23, Paraiso 11, Okoli 7, Sario 7, Torres 6, Quingco 5, Revillosa 4, Binaohan 0, Castillo 0, Dalisay 0, Espinas 0, Jajurie 0, Jimenez 0, Malarde 0. FEU 47 -- Adriano 9, Bahuyan 8, Jumuad 8, Castro 7, Quiapo 7, Mamaril 6, Delos Santos 2, Abat 0, Antiola 0, Pacia 0, Payadon 0, Vidal 0. Quarterscores: 16-14, 31-22, 57-29, 63-47......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 19th, 2019

Argentina rallies to draw 2-2 against Germany in friendly

DORTMUND, Germany (AP) — A weakened Argentina side came from two goals down to earn a 2-2 draw against an injury-hit Germany team in their friendly on Wednesday. Playing without the suspended Lionel Messi — and the likes of Gonzalo Higuaín, Ángel Di María or Sergio Agüero — the visitors still managed to cancel out first-half goals from Serge Gnabry and Kai Havertz with second-half strikes from Lucas Alario and Lucas Ocampos, who scored on his debut. Germany coach Joachim Löw gave four players their international debuts in Dortmund, including Freiburg teammates Robin Koch and Luca Waldschmidt, and Nadiem Amiri and Suat Serdar, who came on in the second half. But Löw's side lost control in the second half and allowed the visitors to level after Bayern Leverkusen forward Alario came on for the ineffective Paulo Dybala in the 62nd minute. Alario scored in the 66th and set up Ocampos to equalize in the 85th. "Basically you're always annoyed when you're leading 2-0 and then draw 2-2," Löw said. "They brought in some quality from their substitutions. In the second half we lost the ball a few times. We weren't so courageous and got into difficulties." With Barcelona's Marc-André ter Stegen in goal in place of regular No. 1 Manuel Neuer, it was the first time Germany started without a World Cup champion on the field since winning the trophy in 2014. Niklas Stark, who had been called up six times already, had to keep waiting for his Germany debut due to gastrointestinal problems. The Hertha Berlin defender has waited longer than any other player since his initial call-up under 13 years of Löw. Leverkusen's Jonathan Tah dropped out earlier Wednesday due to flu, leaving Löw with just Niklas Süle and Koch as the only central defenders in his squad. He had already resisted calls to bring Dortmund defender Mats Hummels back after sending him to early international retirement. Löw's injury list also included Timo Werner, Ilkay Gündogan, Toni Kroos, Jonas Hector, Antonio Rüdiger, Leon Goretzka, Kevin Trapp, Nico Schulz, Leroy Sané, Julian Draxler and Thilo Kehrer. Counterpart Lionel Scaloni was also forced to improvise with Messi suspended for making allegations of corruption at the Copa América, and other stars missing. The visitors were all but overrun in the first half. Joshua Kimmich captained Germany for the first time and was booked for a bad challenge in the 11th, four minutes before Bayern Munich teammate Gnabry broke the deadlock after Angel Correa lost the ball in midfield. Lukas Klostermann surged forward and crossed for Gnabry, who beat three defenders to the ball before dinking it over Agustin Marchesin to score. Gnabry crossed for Havertz to score in the 22nd after another lost ball in the Argentina midfield. It was the Leverkusen midfielder's first international goal. Marcel Halstenberg struck the crossbar with a free kick for Germany, before Rodrigo de Paul replied by hitting the post at the other end. It was the only real chance for Argentina before the break, when the home side was applauded off the pitch. The visitors enjoyed more possession after the interval and Alario duly pulled one back after Marcos Acuna was left in plenty of space to cross. Löw responded by bringing on Amiri and then Serdar for their debuts, but the visitors had all the momentum. Germany endured a few scares before Ocampos finally found the equalizer after a fine run from Alario......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 9th, 2019

Alapag looking forward to learn as Cone assistant for SEA Games

STA. ROSA, Philippines – Surrounded by the best basketball minds in his entire playing and coaching career, Jimmy Alapag will now have the chance to pick the brain of the winningest mentor in PBA history. Alapag will serve as an assistant coach to new Gilas Pilipinas tactician Tim Cone as ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsSep 29th, 2019

MPBL: San Juan cruises to victory over Marikina; Makati suffers rare loss

San Juan Knights - Go For Gold bucked a sluggish start to assert their dominance over the Marikina Shoemasters, 87-73 in Monday night action at the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Lakan Season. An appreciative crowd of San Juan fans at the Filoil Flying V Centre witnessed their side remain atop the MPBL standings with an 11-1 slate while the Shoemasters are holding up the North Division table at 1-11. Marikina did give the San Juaneños a scare in the first half before the Knights took control. "Mas agresibo sila noong first half. May inadjust lang kami sa defense kaya kami nanalo," explained Knight Jessie Saitanan, whose 12-point, 3-rebound night's work earned him a player of the game commendation off the bench. Marikina was up at the half 42-39 thanks to Von Tambeling's 11 first-half points. But San Juan awakened in the third with a stunning 15-2 run for a 51-44 lead midway through the quarter. Mac Cardona, John Wilson, Saitanan, and Jeffrey Tajonera all made contributions to the streak. By the end of the third the Knights were in front 63-55. There was no let up in the final period as San Juan dashed hopes of a Marikina comeback with 11 points in that quarter from John Wilson, who finished with 25. Mac Cardona also came up large in the final ten minutes with six markers. Yves Sazon's 23 points led Marikina while Tambeling was unable to score a single point in the second half. In the day's first encounter the Bulacan Kuyas ended Makati Super Crunch's five-game win streak with a gritty 76-74 victory. Dan Sara shone for the Central Luzon side with 24 points including four triples from nine attempts. The Bulakeños were firmly in command at the half and even until the end of the third, when they were up 59-52. But Super Crunch sprung to life in the early 4th quarter, when a pair of John Rey Villanueva three-bombs granted them a 61-60 lead. Villanueva finished with 18 points. The see-saw battle continued into the final seconds, when, down 74-75, Makati's Cedric Ablaza faced a pair of charities. He mangled both, and an ensuing split from the line from Shaq Taganas finished the scoring. Taganas was magnificent on the boards, hauling down 15 rebounds for the Kuyas. The scalp gives Kerwin McCoy's squad a 7-5 record while Cholo Villanueva's team is now at 9-2, a game and a half behind North Division-leading San Juan. The middle match-up of Monday's sked saw the Basilan Steel - Jumbo Plastic throttle the Muntinlupa Cagers - Angelis Resort 90-79. The game was close in the fourth quarter until the Steel's Gab Danganon delivered a dagger triple with just under a minute to go for an unassailable 84-76 advantage. Basilan outscored Muntinlupa 27-18 in the payoff quarter. Chris Dumapig's 17-point, 12-rebound haul led the Steel while Angelis Resort's playing coach Dave Moralde topped Muntinlupa's scoring charts, also with 17. Munti's 36 percent shooting night doomed them to another loss and a 3-10 slate while Basilan remains on course for a playoff spot with an 8-4 record......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 3rd, 2019

Tennis champ, trailblazer Althea Gibson honored at US Open

By Melissa Murphy, Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) — Althea Gibson basked in a ticker-tape parade in New York a decade before Arthur Ashe won the 1968 U.S. Open. Gibson won 11 majors in three years from 1956-58, including the French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open singles titles. She integrated two sports — tennis and golf — during an era of racial segregation in the United States. "She's our Jackie Robinson of tennis," said Billie Jean King, who at 13 watched Gibson play. "I saw what it meant to be the best." One Love Tennis is an athletic and educational program for youth in Wilmington, North Carolina. During a rainy day in 2017, the girls watched the documentary "Althea and Arthur." They learned Ashe has a stadium named for him at the U.S. Open on the grounds of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York. The mood in the room grew somber afterward, according to program director Lenny Simpson. The girls realized there wasn't even a "dag-gone hot dog stand" named for Gibson. Why wasn't there a monument to the first African American to win a major title (1956 French Open) before winning both the U.S. Nationals (precursor to the U.S. Open) and Wimbledon in 1957-58? Simpson suggested the girls be part of the solution by writing letters to his friend and then-U.S. Tennis Association President Katrina Adams. King and Adams had been working on the Gibson project for years. King's advocacy before the USTA board resulted in a unanimous vote. Adams later read letters to the board from the girls, including Xerra Robinson, to reinforce the importance of a tribute. "I know she would be proud to see the progress that's been made with so many women of color leading the pack in professional tennis," Adams said of Gibson, who died in 2003 at 76. "Her bravery, perseverance and determination paved the way." On Monday, the USTA will unveil a statue in her honor at the U.S. Open. The girls and boys of One Love Tennis will attend the ceremony, along with Gibson's 85-year-old doubles partner, Angela Buxton of Britain. "It's about bloody time," said Buxton, who won the 1956 French and Wimbledon titles with her friend. More things to know about Gibson, who made the covers of Time and Sports Illustrated and was voted AP Female Athlete of the Year in 1957-58: EARLY YEARS Gibson traveled the hard road from Harlem to Wimbledon, but she had a community of support. The oldest of five children, Gibson was born in Silver, South Carolina, before her sharecropper parents relocated to Harlem. At 18, Gibson moved to Wilmington, North Carolina, to live with Dr. Hubert and Celeste Eaton. She honed her tennis and social skills on Dr. Eaton's court at his home, called "the black country club" because African Americans couldn't play at public courts or white country clubs. "Culturally, it was a tough adjustment," said Simpson, who met his coach and mentor on that court at age 5 when Gibson gave him a racket and called him "champ." ''(In Harlem), she didn't see the signs of white and colored water fountains and white and colored bathrooms. The prejudice and discrimination certainly was there, but nothing like the Jim Crow days of the South." She spent summers in Lynchburg, Virginia, training on the court of Dr. Robert Walter Johnson, who later nurtured Ashe, a winner of five Grand Slam titles. Both were forced to play in segregated tournaments early in their careers. Barred by the precursor of the USTA, Gibson won 10 straight American Tennis Association women's titles starting in 1947. After lobbying by the ATA and a withering editorial from four-time champion Alice Marble, Gibson became the first African American to compete in the 1950 U.S. Nationals at Forest Hills on her 23rd birthday. A graduate of Florida A&M, Gibson taught physical education and considered quitting tennis because she couldn't make a living in the low-paying amateur days. But in 1955, she was tapped by the State Department for a goodwill tennis tour of Asia. That's how she met Buxton in India. ALTHEA YEARS Both were looking for a doubles partner in 1956. Buxton was denied membership at the club in London where she practiced after she listed Jewish for religion on the application. She grew up in England and South Africa and understood Gibson's struggle. "No one spoke to her, let alone played with her," Buxton said by phone from London. "(Her playing style) was like a young man. She wore little shorts, a vest and hit the ball hard, even her second serve. She came charging up to the net. She bamboozled people with her attitude." They won at Roland Garros and Wimbledon, but the "powers that be" were not thrilled and "you needed a spy glass to see the headline 'Minorities Win,'" Buxton said. Both were denied membership at the All England Club despite being Wimbledon champions. (Buxton is still waiting). Nonetheless, Gibson got the royal treatment with a ticker-tape parade in July in New York after receiving the 1957 Wimbledon trophy from Queen Elizabeth II. Two months later, she won the U.S. Nationals at Forest Hills. "That was an incredible joy for her," Simpson said. She duplicated those feats and retired from tennis at No. 1 in 1958 — a winner of more than 50 singles and doubles titles — because there was no significant prize money until the professional era began in 1968. The men's and women's 2019 U.S. Open winner will each receive a check for $3.8 million. No other African American woman won the U.S. Open until Serena Williams in 1999 or Wimbledon until Venus Williams in 2000. AFTER TENNIS Gibson played exhibition tennis before Harlem Globetrotters games, signing a $100,000 contract, and joined the LPGA full-time in 1964. In 1975, she became state commissioner of athletics in New Jersey. She served on the state athletics control board, and the governor's council on physical fitness until 1992. The twice-divorced Gibson's health failed in her late 60s after a stroke and she struggled to make ends meet. Buxton said Gibson reached out to a handful of tennis friends without much success. Gibson was on the verge of suicide in 1995 when the tennis great called her, she said. Buxton provided financial support and visited her friend in East Orange, New Jersey. "Angela Buxton saved her life, literally," Simpson said. Buxton also wrote a letter to Tennis Week magazine, and donations flooded in from all over the world. The WTA currently has a hardship fund to help former players. Frances Gray, a longtime friend and co-founder of the Althea Gibson Foundation, has kept her legacy alive. A self-described "born athlete," Gibson said she wanted to be remembered as "strong and tough and quick." "If not for Althea Gibson, there would be no Arthur Ashe, no Serena and Venus, Madison Keys, Sloane Stephens and the list goes on," Simpson said. "She opened it up for all of us.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 25th, 2019

MPBL: Inspired Gensan hands San Juan first loss of season

Gensan Warriors - Burlington shattered San Juan Knights - Go For Gold's air of invincibility by defeating the champs 97-91 in Friday night's second game of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Lakan Season. The crowd at the Muntinlupa Sports Complex saw the San Juaneños lose for the first time since the finals of the Datu Cup to drop to 10-1, while Gensan goes to 9-2. Warrior Robby Celiz was a tower of power for his team, scoring 27 points and hauling down 8 rebounds off the bench. The forward went into the zone in the third quarter with 13 points, including an alley-oop conversion as Gensan produced a 34-point barrage in that segment to lead 70-65 at the start of the fourth. A Mike Williams fadeaway with four minutes to go put the Warriors in front 88-76, but a proud San Juan squad would not lay down. Triples from John Wilson and Mike Ayonayon keyed a breathtaking 12-0 run that squared the match at 88-88 with 2:40 left. However, the Warriors responded with a triple from Pamboy Raymundo and a pair of free throws from Celiz to re-establish their lead. Then with 42 ticks left Celiz put the icing on the cake with an artful fadeaway for a 95-89 lead that locked down the W. Wilson was masterful with 29 points in the loss but his side simply couldn't come up with enough stops. In the featured match,the Bicol Volcanoes LCC Malls showed grit and character in defeating Muntinlupa Cagers Angelis Resort 90-87 in front of a loud Muntinlupeño crowd. It was an entertaining affair right down to the last plays, with Bicol skipper Ronjay Buenafe claiming player of the game honors with 14 points, 9 assists and 9 rebounds. Dave Moralde debuted as the Cagers' playing coach, but he was unable to get a victory. Moralde's team was hampered by the loss of three big men in quick succession. In the third quarter RR De Leon was tossed for a second unsportsmanlike foul in an altercation with Jonas Guerrero. The Volcano was also kicked out of the playing area for picking up an unsportsmanlike along with an earlier technical. Nevertheless, Munti led 72-65 at the start of the fourth. But soon after Edzel Mag-isa was called for a fifth foul and four minutes later Jed Salaveria also graduated. Moralde had to go deep into his depth chart and dust off center Mark Guillen, who chipped in 5 points. Without a strong inside presence from the Cagers, Bicol grabbed a 79-75 lead on a Jerome Garcia bucket with 4 minutes to go. Moralde channeled his inner Bobby Jaworski and inserted himself into the game, delivering 5 points in a 7-0 run. But Bicol fought back, and a stylish Garcia turnaround jumper gave the visitors an 88-85 advantage with 31 seconds left. A Biboy Enguio putback cut the lead to one but the Fil-Indonesian muffed an easy undergoal stab and a late three as Bicol salted away the game from the line. John Ortuoste led Munti with 19 points, one more than Enguio. Garcia matched Buenafe's 14 point contribution. Bicol advances to 7-5 while Muntinlupa slumps to 3-9. In the first game of the tripleheader the Mindoro Tamaraws uncorked a 31-point fourth quarter to deny the SOCCSKSARGEN Marlins Armor On a first win. The Southern Tagalog side led 88-82 with a minute and a half to go when the Marlins mounted a late 5-0 run capped by a Spencer Eman basket to pull to 88-87 with 28 seconds remaining. But Mac Baracael hit a pair of clutch free throws to give the Tams a cushion, then on the next play picked off a loose cross-court pass by Matt Bernabe. Baracael was fouled and a split from the line completed the scoring. Baracael scored 16 and amassed 15 boards but the biggest offensive provider for Mindoro was Francis Camacho, who had a huge 32-point night. Raniel Diwa's 20 points was tops for the Marlins. Mindoro go to 4-7 while SOCCSKSARGEN stay rooted at the bottom of the South Division at 0-9......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 24th, 2019

PVL: It feels so good to be back -- Santos-Ng

It was a fitting homecoming for legendary hitter Manilla Santos-Ng. A decade after playing her last game as a De La Salle University Lady Spiker in the UAAP at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan, Santos-Ng made her return to competitive volleyball on Wednesday but this time donning the ChocoMucho’s purple jersey. The four-time UAAP champion saw action – albeit in a reserve role – in the newcomer Flying Titans’ 25-12, 25-18, 25-18, victory over BaliPure in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Open Conference.   Santos-Ng, a mother of two, was fielded midway in the first set with ChocoMucho holding on to a 15-8 lead as she was subbed in for Shang Berte.   “Same venue 10 years ago. It feels so good to be back,” said Santos-Ng, whose last game in the venue minus the taraflex was back in March 8, 2009 in Game 3 of the UAAP Season 71 Finals when DLSU dethroned the then Rachel Anne Daquis-led Far Eastern University.   “I really can’t believe na makapaglaro ako. I was given this opportunity to play again. Super happy,” added Santos-Ng, the UAAP Season 71 Most Valuable Player. The 34-year old, 5-foot-4 hitter, also known to be a dangerous player at the service line, displayed her vintage form as ChocoMucho scored six straight points including two aces from Santos-Ng with her last service winner giving the Flying Titans their biggest lead, 21-8. “Sa totoo lang super excited ako to play at the same time may kaba kasi it’s been a long time,” she admitted. “Pero kanina nu’ng naka-serve ako pumasok siya medyo nagkaroon ako ng kumpiyansa. Thankful ako na napagbigyan ako ng ganoon chance and I’ll make sure na kung ano yung pinagawa sa akin ni coach ma-execute ko ng maayos.” Santos-Ng finished with two points, playing only in the first and second sets. “Nasa 7 or 8, we’re working on it and hopefully makahabol pa,” rated Santos-Ng on her performance. Head coach Oliver Almadro was all praises on Santos-Ng’s presence inside the court. “For me, hindi ko na kailangan ipakilala si Illa pa kasi we know naman what she can do,” said Almadro, who also worked with Santos-Ng during her college days as head coach Ramil De Jesus’ deputy. “Sabi ko nga medyo yung muscle magde-deteriorate ng konti but yung presence, will, determination will always be there.” Santos-Ng didn’t get a chance to attack during her first stint but remains very patient for that opportunity to display her signature high-flying power hits. “Darating din yun,” she said.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 14th, 2019

Chargers hand coach first win in D-League

Neophyte iWalk unleashed a strong finishing kick to repel Hazchem, 90-76, and hand ex-pro-turned-mentor Jonas Villanueva his first coaching career win in the PBA Developmental League Foundation Cup yesterday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsAug 13th, 2019

Coach Egay banned for Baste s next game in NCAA 95

Egay Macaraya will not stand on the sidelines when San Sebastian College-Recoletos takes the floor once more in the NCAA 95 Men's Basketball Tournament. "Egay Macaraya shall serve his suspension in (San Sebastian's) next scheduled playing date," league basketball commissioner Tonichi Pujante bared, Tuesday. The Golden Stags' head coach incurred a one-game suspension stemming from unsportsmanlike conduct during one of their timeouts in their matchup opposite Lyceum of the Philippines University two weeks ago. The disciplinary action will take place in Baste's game against Emilio Aguinaldo College on Friday - barring another game day postponement. Aside from the one-game suspension, coach Egay will aalso have to make a public apology as well as commit to community service. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 6th, 2019

Cousins returns from injury, returns to form and delivers win

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com TORONTO — It was the moment the Warriors waited so long to see, and finally it arrived in the nick of time: The still-recovering former All-Star, out of the starting lineup for more than a minute, returning and dismissing the noise about how the team is better without him by impacting the game in multiple ways and pulling the Warriors to victory. And get this: If the Warriors are truly fortunate, Kevin Durant will recover soon and duplicate what DeMarcus Cousins just did. In the NBA Finals. If he does, it could serve a critical blow to Toronto’s chances of pulling off a late-series surprise. “We know what we’re dealing with here,” said Raptors guard Fred VanVleet. Cousins provided the help that the two-time defending champions needed Sunday (Monday, PHL time) to draw even in the series and snatch momentum with a 109-104 victory at Scotiabank Arena. He played more than anyone thought, rebounded more than anyone imagined, defended and scored more than Toronto bargained for, and gave the Warriors what they missed the last 6 1/2 weeks with him on the shelf. The 11 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and two blocked shots from Cousins didn’t fully encapsulate how much relief he brought to the Warriors. He had a galvanizing effect on a team that used an 18-0 run to start the second half to seize control of Game 3 and then used Andre Iguodala’s three-point shot to ice it. They haven’t been in one piece since April 15 (April 16, PHL time), in the first round against the Clippers, when Cousins chased a loose ball, stumbled and grabbed his left leg. The torn quad required no surgery but a lengthy rehab period, and this after Cousins went through a 10-month rehab for a torn Achilles' tendon in the spring of 2018. He was feeling beat up. Cousins attacked the process anyway, determined to return from an injury that normally would mean the end to his postseason, for the simple reason that he hadn’t been to the playoffs in his career to this point. There’s also a matter of free agency awaiting in July; a strong return could improve his bottom line. “Once they told me I have a chance, a slight chance, of being able to return, it basically was up to me and the work I put in,” he said. “So I put the work and the time in and with God’s grace I’m able to be out here and play the game I love.” Cousins was clearly out of rhythm from the layoff in Game 1, his timing rusty, his execution unsure. He played just eight minutes without scoring a basket or drawing much attention from Toronto. But Warriors coach Steve Kerr made the surprise decision to start Cousins three nights later, and that faith was repaid handsomely. Cousins was active, his confidence growing stronger by the minute -- 27 of them, actually, and he only asked to be subbed out once. “We came in thinking he can maybe play 20 minutes,” said Kerr. “He was fantastic and we needed everything he gave out there: his rebounding, his toughness, his physical presence, getting the ball in the paint, and just playing big, like he does. We needed all of that.” What the Warriors hoped was for Cousins to be the best big man on the floor. In Game 1, that honor went to Raptors center Marc Gasol, who uncharacteristically became a prime scoring option for the Raptors with 20 points, most on open jumpers. Cousins didn’t give him that amount of breathing space in Game 2, and Gasol (six points) was never a factor. Cousins' teammates offered rave reviews. Steph Curry: “Obviously you get more comfortable with more minutes and playing aggressive. He puts a lot of pressure on their defense. It’s a big lift for us. More to come.” Draymond Green: “The more he plays, the better feel he gets. He was great on both ends. It allowed us to play through him in the post. Toronto knows. They’ve got to honor that, and we know what he’s capable of doing if they don’t.” Cousins had an amusing reaction to learning he was in the starting lineup — “I was like, ‘Cool’” — and feels as though he has more to give. “When I step on the floor, I’m going to leave it out there,” he said. “I want to be on this stage. This is what I’ve worked for my entire career, to have this opportunity to play for something.” Cousins spent seven years in purgatory in Sacramento, where he racked up losses and technicals. It was a frustrating time for him; he had no faith in the franchise's leadership and it soured his attitude. His trade to the Pelicans two years ago was met with enthusiasm; he teamed with Anthony Davis to form an intimidating front line, but the Achilles’ injury cut short his time on the floor and, ultimately, in New Orleans. The team refused to offer him a contract last summer, leading him to join the Warriors at a discount. So his purpose is to salvage what’s left of the season, capture a ring for his troubles and see what it brings this summer. And then there’s the matter of Durant. The two-time Finals MVP hasn’t been cleared for full-contact practice, and the Warriors will hold only one prior to Game 3. Kerr said it’s “feasible” that Durant could play with only one practice under his belt, yet that’s not the ideal scenario. What Cousins does is buy them more time with Durant. With the series tied 1-1, and the next two games in Oakland, and Cousins apparently rounding into form, there’s a bit less urgency to see Durant on the floor. Yet it appears to be a matter of when, not if, Durant will see action in this series. And it might be at the perfect moment, with Klay Thompson suffering a hamstring injury in the fourth quarter that forced him off the court. The All-Star guard later told Kerr he’s fine and that the hamstring tightness is minor, but his status will be determined by MRI. Given what’s happened so far, the Warriors can never be too careful or take the rosy view when it comes to muscle issues. They’ve established a theme that tells the story of their 2019 postseason, and it’s not one they designed or even wanted, but it fits their existence nonetheless: “recovery” and their ability to do so on all front. It's not just injuries. Even in sweeping Portland, Golden State had to recover from deficits of 17, 18 and 17 points in the Western Conference Finals. Trailing 1-0 in these NBA Finals, they recovered from 12 down to win on the road for a 23rd straight series, an NBA record. What the Warriors reminded everyone at Scotiabank Arena, in case folks forgot, is that they’re champions and bring plenty of know-how to this series, and are fully capable of winning games by any means necessary. “It’s big respect for them,” said Kawhi Leonard. “They have been here each of the last four years, won the last two, and you’ve got to take the challenge. They’re a great team.” But the Warriors would rather put a fully-loaded and healthy squad -- one that is clearly the class of the NBA -- on the court and win with that. This NBA Finals might finally get the Warriors at full strength. If not, they still might be more than the Raptors can handle. Shaun Powell has covered the NBA for more than 25 years. 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 NewsJun 3rd, 2019

Things to know about these most-international NBA Finals

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press TORONTO (AP) — Sometime in the next couple weeks, either the Toronto Raptors or Golden State Warriors will proclaim themselves to be world champions. They won’t be true “world” champions, of course. But these NBA Finals have a very distinct international feel. [Watch the Playoffs on NBA League Pass for 30% less with this limited time offer! Select Annual package and use code SAVE30 at checkout to redeem] Game 1 of the series on Thursday night (Friday, PHL time) is in Canada, the first time a finals game will be played outside the U.S. Raptors President Masai Ujiri was born in Nigeria. There are players from eight different countries — the U.S., along with Canada (Chris Boucher), Spain (Marc Gasol), Britain (OG Anunoby), Cameroon (Pascal Siakam), Congo (Serge Ibaka), Australia (Andrew Bogut) and Sweden (Jonas Jerebko). “It says a lot that the first NBA Finals outside of America is being played here,” Ujiri said. “Maybe one day it will be real ‘world champions’ or something, but this is what we dream of.” It’s even a homecoming of sorts for Warriors guard Stephen Curry, again. His first four trips to the finals pitted him against Cleveland, not far from Akron, Ohio — where he and LeBron James both were born. Toronto has even more direct ties than Cleveland does for Curry; his wife Ayesha was born and raised in Toronto until she was 14, and his father Dell Curry played for the Raptors. So Stephen Curry lived in Toronto for a bit, and went to school there. “A lot of family history,” Stephen Curry said. The finals will be aired in 215 countries, three Canadian networks will air the series live (one of them in French), and broadcasters speaking in 50 different languages will work the games. There are a half-dozen networks from Australia, Estonia, Hong Kong and New Zealand airing the finals for the first time. More of what to know going into this series: FAREWELL, ORACLE Game 4 or Game 6 of this series will be the last time the Warriors call Oracle Arena home. The team is moving from Oakland to the new Chase Center in San Francisco next season. The Warriors have played more than 2,000 games at Oracle, and since this run of NBA Finals appearances began when Steve Kerr took over as coach five years ago they are a staggering 218-40 in their soon-to-be-former home building. “You cannot tell the story of professional basketball without including Oracle,” said ESPN analyst Mark Jackson, a former Warriors coach. “Those fans have been incredibly loyal from the beginning to the end. ... As a former coach, as a former player coming into that building, as an analyst, it’s as good as it gets.” STILL WAITING With Toronto now in the finals for the first time, that means there are only six active franchises that still haven’t been to the championship series. The Los Angeles Clippers, Charlotte Hornets, Denver Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans and Memphis Grizzlies are still waiting for their first trip to the NBA Finals. MONEY MATTERS The Warriors and the Raptors are playing for a little bit of money — $1,295,117, to be exact. That’s the difference between winning the finals and losing the finals, at least in terms of the take from the NBA playoff pool. The Warriors are already guaranteed $4,435,312 from the playoff pool; the Raptors have clinched $4,325,888. This year’s playoff pool was $21,676,510, which all 16 postseason teams shared. No playoff team got less than $323,506. Milwaukee got the most, by far, of any non-finals team — after finishing with the NBA’s best record and reaching the Eastern Conference finals, the Bucks will share $2,516,774. SECOND TO ONE Golden State is in the finals for the fifth consecutive year. That’s the second-longest such streak in NBA history, only to Boston’s run of 10 consecutive appearances from 1957 through 1966. Boston (this time in 1984 through 1987, separate from the 10-straight streak), Miami (2011-2014), Cleveland (2015-2018) and the Los Angeles Lakers (1982-1985) had all reached the finals in four consecutive seasons. FINISHING STRONG Even with the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference locked up, the Raptors finished the regular season with a flourish — winning seven of their last eight games. This was why. A 58-24 record meant the Raptors finished a game ahead of Golden State’s 57-25 mark, and that’s why Game 1 of this series is in Toronto. A good omen for the Raptors: Under the current playoff format, teams with home-court advantage in the NBA Finals have ultimately prevailed 26 out of 35 times. ’NOVA NATION It’s been a long time since a Villanova player won a championship ring, and even longer since a Villanova player actually played in a series where his team won the title. Kyle Lowry is looking to change all that. The Raptors’ point guard — who played for Jay Wright at Villanova — is in the NBA Finals for the first time. He’s looking to be the first Villanova player to win a ring since John Celestand got one with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2000; Celestand didn’t appear in any playoff games that season. The last player from Villanova to actually play in a victorious NBA Finals was Chris Ford with Boston in 1981. Lowry spoke on the eve of Game 1 about the lessons he learned from Wright that still apply. “If you make a mistake, apologize, kind of just accept everything,” Lowry said. “Accept everything as a man and bounce back from it. If anything negative, just bounce back, take it and keep going. I think those are the things that stick with me today. I never shy from anything, I never shy from negative criticism, constructive criticism, I take it all, I understand it, learn from it, digest it and move on.” RECORD CHASING Stephen Curry already has the NBA Finals record for most 3-pointers made in a career, with 98. He enters this series with 247 attempted 3s in his finals appearances, four shy of tying LeBron James for the most in NBA history. And while not a record, here is an odd stat: If Shaun Livingston makes his first shot of these finals, he’ll pass Wilt Chamberlain and move into fourth place on the NBA Finals all-time shooting percentage list. STARTING EARLY The May 30 (May 31, PHL time) start date for these finals is the earliest for the NBA’s title series since 1986, when the Houston-Boston matchup began on May 26. So the 2019 finals started earlier than has been the norm. That doesn’t mean they’ll be over early. If they go the distance, they’ll end on June 17 (June 18, PHL time) — nine days later than last season’s final game......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 30th, 2019

Warriors miss Kevin Durant, but do they need him?

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com PORTLAND, Ore. — Along with the equipment, uniforms, basketballs and the confidence that comes with being up 2-0 in the Western Conference finals, the Warriors brought along another piece of cargo to Portland and it is the heaviest of them all. It didn’t come packed in luggage or a box; instead, it’s just wrapped in a hunch and tied with a question mark, and it is this: When do the Warriors start missing Kevin Durant? [Watch the Playoffs on NBA League Pass for 30% less with this limited time offer! Select Annual package and use code SAVE30 at checkout to redeem] The back-to-back champs are now 3-0 in these playoffs without their superstar and his aching calf. And 4-0 overall in games in which Durant didn’t finish. That probably says something about the Rockets, and so far about the Trail Blazers — two teams unable to exploit his absence. However, while the (bleeping) Giants — Steve Kerr’s description of his undermanned team — are honorably playing with a sense of urgency, they aren’t buying the notion that they don’t need Durant. It’s an easy trap to fall into, to believe the outside chatter that they’re better off without him. The next two games, both at Moda Center, will either feed that belief or destroy it. Yes, because the Blazers must beat the Warriors four out of five to advance, there’s little to no chance of them denying Golden State a fifth trip to the Finals regardless of whether Durant shows up in this series or not. And that’s good for the visitors, since Durant didn’t make the trip for Games 3 and 4. “There's no mental adjustment,” said Kerr. “You just play. You go out there with what you have, and this is our third game, 3 1/2 games, really without him, and so we're just trying to hold down the fort. Hopefully he continues to progress and he has made progress, but it's a little more serious than we thought at the very beginning. So we'll see where it all goes, but he's in there all day long getting treatment. He's done a great job of committing himself to that process.” There’s a thought that, even if Durant was 80 percent, the Warriors will keep him benched to prevent a chance of re-injury, and that’s a wise decision with wide-ranging ramifications. By protecting Durant’s best interest here in this free agent year, the Warriors score big points with him and his camp less than two months before Durant must make a decision on his future. That said, what are the Warriors doing right to remain unharmed by his absence? The easy answer is they won championships without Durant and so this is more of the same-old, same-old. Except it isn’t. This actually might be more impressive. Understand that Golden State's system had to be changed here on the fly and in the middle of the postseason, not only to compensate for Durant’s 37 points per game in these playoffs, but also his defense. Once Durant was lost late in the third quarter of the fifth game of the second round, Kerr had to reach down his bench and rely on players who weren’t thrust into roles of significance and seldom saw fourth-quarter minutes up until this point. Meaning, Jonas Jerebko, Quinn Cook, Kevon Looney, Jordan Bell and Alfonzo McKinnie have either seen their minutes rise and/or their roles inflated in the process. Of course, most of the burden fell on the proven core: Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala. Each of those four, in his own way, is playing at a premium, even if it’s a small sample size. “That’s what it takes in the playoffs," said Kerr. "You have to have guys playing at a really high level.” Curry seems reborn or at least sprung free of a playoff fog where his numbers and production didn’t match his regular season. He finished strong in a pair of fourth quarters while closing out the Rockets and is the most impactful player in this series so far. He’s averaging 35 points on 51 percent shooting in the three games without KD. It wouldn’t be a stretch to suspect Curry is getting a charge out of this, and his ego, which he keeps hidden, is being fed. Thompson is now clearly the second option, whereas before he was often No. 3 and often only if his shot was falling. The green light never turns yellow without Durant around, like Curry, Thompson is working without handcuffs or a leash. After hitting 20 shot attempts once in the playoffs before Durant’s injury, Thompson is now hoisting 22 a game, good for a respectable 25-point average. The Warriors are constantly feeding him and running screens for him and urging him to take the shot, even if it’s contested. For a player who insists he’ll re-sign with Golden State this summer, Thompson is getting a taste of what life must be like if he played for, let’s say, the Clippers and was the focal point of the offense. “This team's been together a long time and they trust each other,” said Kerr. “When the ball starts moving, that's when we're tough to guard.” Green has never been better this season than in the last few weeks. Recharged after losing weight immediately following the All-Star break and no longer feeling pain in his previously-injured shoulder, Green is menacing on the defensive end where once again he’s guarding all positions except point guard and doing it marvelously. In addition, he’s pushing the ball up court to help Curry and Thompson stay as fresh as possible and directing the offense from the high post. He’s averaging 10 rebounds, 6.5 assists and three blocks without KD. “You know, we can't sit and look over our shoulder and say, `Hey, man, when is K going to be back?’ We just got to play with whatever we got,” Green said. “We got to play and give him an opportunity to get back, and I think that's what really falls on our shoulders. We're a very confident group. Hopefully he's back sooner than later, but as a guy who is in the battle every night, we can't sit and look over our shoulder and wonder when he or DeMarcus [Cousins] is coming back. We have to assume they are not coming back and play with what we got. Obviously, we are hoping that they do. But while they are not out there, we just got to play.” Finally, there’s Iguodala. He stayed hibernated all regular season while averaging career lows across the board. At age 35, it appeared time had finally caught up. Instead, this was a case of a crafty veteran preserving himself for springtime, and with the amount of talent on the Warriors, he could afford to do so. Iguodala had solid moments guarding James Harden in the second round and is among those trapping Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum this round. One of the signature plays of the series was Iguodala coming up with a walk-off strip of Lillard as time expired in Game 2. “You're kind of in awe of it because not many guys can make plays like that consistently,” said Curry. So this is where the Warriors are without Durant and also DeMarcus Cousins. They were good enough to stump the Rockets (again), then proved too much for the Blazers in a pair of home games. Nobody would be shocked if they take a game in Portland or maybe finish the sweep. It’s a luxury that few teams have or could pull off even if they did. This comes from a core that’s been together for six years, a coach pulling the proper strings and a bench that isn’t shrinking in the moment. “We feel like we can still win no matter who is out there on the floor, and that's why we're in the position that we’re in and have won championships with all the injuries and all types of stuff,” said Curry. “We know what the mission is, and we're on it right now.” These Warriors are playing flashback basketball to the time before Durant came aboard — and prepping themselves for next season, when and if Durant jumps overboard this summer. Shaun Powell has covered the NBA for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here, and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 18th, 2019

Raptors go big, earn crucial Game 4 victory to even series

By John Schuhmann, NBA.com PHILADELPHIA — The Eastern Conference semifinals series between the Toronto Raptors and the Philadelphia 76ers has turned into a game of survival. The Raptors prevailed in Game 4, a 101-96 victory that evened the series at 2-2, because Kawhi Leonard continues to play absurd basketball. Sunday's (Monday, PHL time) damage: 39 points, 14 rebounds and five assists, along with the biggest shot of the series so far, a pull-up three-pointer over Joel Embiid at the shot-clock buzzer that put the Raptors up 94-90 with 1:01 to go. Through four games, Leonard is averaging 38 points on a ridiculous effective field goal percentage of 69 percent. [Watch the Playoffs on NBA League Pass for 30% less with this limited time offer! Select Annual package and use code SAVE30 at checkout to redeem] That effective field goal percentage, with more than half (51-of-89) of his shots having come from outside the paint, is better than anybody in the league shot on at least 300 field goal attempts this season – with the top seven guys being bigs who took almost all of their shots in the paint. "The stuff that he can do to create his own shot," said Sixers coach Brett Brown, "is Kobe-like for me. He's just so gifted in relation to doing that." Nobody else on the Raptors has an effective field goal percentage that even reaches the league average (52.4 percent) in the series. Pascal Siakam (50.0 percent) is the closest, but was clearly suffering from his bruised right calf on Sunday, shooting 2-for-10, including 0-for-7 outside the restricted area. So, with or without a healthy Siakam, Raptors' coach Nick Nurse has been searching for answers – "You're looking for some type of spark," he said pre-game – someone or something he could count on, knowing that Leonard could not beat the Sixers by himself. Patrick McCaw was introduced to the non-garbage-time portion of the series on Sunday (Monday, PHL time), but the big change for Toronto in Game 4 was Toronto playing … big. Since the start of this season, Serge Ibaka has almost exclusively played center. After starting alongside Jonas Valanciunas each of the last two seasons, Ibaka played just 13 total minutes with Valanciunas before the trade deadline. After Valanciunas was dealt to Memphis for Marc Gasol, Ibaka and Gasol played just 31 regular-season minutes together. Through eight playoff games, Ibaka and Gasol were on the floor together for just three total minutes. And through the first three games of this series, they had each shot 6-for-20, with Ibaka registering a minus-17 in his 49 minutes. But with 5:27 to go in the first quarter on Sunday (Monday, PHL time), Ibaka checked in for Siakam instead of Gasol. And it wasn't just about Siakam's injury, because the starting power forward played almost 29 minutes on Sunday, including a couple of minutes in a do-or-die fourth quarter with both Ibaka and Gasol on the floor and Leonard playing the two. When Siakam has sat, the Raptors have typically played Leonard or Norman Powell at the 4. On Sunday (Monday, PHL time), Nurse chose to go big, quite an adjustment to make with the Raptors facing a 3-1 series deficit if it didn't work. "Tonight was one of those nights," Ibaka said, "where we say, 'You know what? Even though we didn't have an opportunity to play together a long time, we're going to just try it out there.' We've been playing basketball for so long. We're just going to try to figure it out and play hard." The two bigs played more than 23 minutes together on Sunday (Monday, PHL time), with almost half of that coming in the fourth quarter, when the Raptors' season was seemingly on the line. The game was tied at 75 entering the fourth and Toronto was down four after the first few Philly possessions. But Nurse stuck with the two bigs and actually played them with Siakam and Leonard for a couple of minutes in that fourth quarter. The risk paid off. Ibaka and Gasol combined to hit three big shots, they spaced the floor well enough to let Leonard do his thing, and the Raptors held Philly to just 5-for-21 shooting in the final period to regain homecourt advantage in the series. "The biggest thing I felt tonight was the rebounding," Nurse said, of the bigs playing together. "It just felt like we were getting pushed around a lot by the glass the last two games. That would happen with our small lineup, they were just throwing it up there and revving their engines and flying to the rim. Tonight we just had more size, that way, and it kind of looked like the rebounds were affected by that." The Raptors' defensive rebounding wasn't any better in the Ibaka-Gasol minutes (when they grabbed 16 defensive rebounds and the Sixers' grabbed five offensive boards) that it was otherwise (19 and six). But it was better than having Siakam on the bench and a smaller power forward on the floor through the first four games (18 18 defensive rebounds, 10 Philadelphia offensive boards). With the rebounding improvement, the Sixers scored just 40 points on 44 possessions with Ibaka and Gasol on the floor together. They scored 56 points on 50 possessions otherwise. On the other end, Gasol (7-for-13) and Ibaka (6-for-12) each made as many shots as they had made through the first three games. It was just enough support for Leonard for the Raptors to get the biggest win of their season. "He's comfortable being a 5," Gasol said of Ibaka. "I'm able to play both positions a little bit. So it's simple. Defensively we mix it up, and the actions that they try to run we just need to figure out, and talk, and communicate and be on the same page, not just the two of us, but the whole team." Philly's output was affected by another ailment befalling Joel Embiid, who felt ill all day and shot just 2-for-7. The Sixers still outscored the Raptors by 17 points in Embiid's 35 minutes, but they were unable to survive the 13 minutes Embiid was on the bench: the Raptors won those handily, 33-11. "We're all going to look at what he shot from the floor, his free throws, whatever," Brown said of his center. "Cut to the chase, go to the bottom line, and look at his plus-minus. Despite him being ill and despite seven shots, or what he shot at the free throw line, and really his free throws were quite good up until the fourth period, he ends up a plus-17. It's just another reminder of how important he is to our team." Maybe that's the big story from this game. But Embiid's plus-17 breaks down to a plus-1 in the 20 minutes he played with both Ibaka and Gasol on the floor, and a plus-16 in fewer than 15 minutes against just one of two. The NBA playoffs are different than the 82-game grind of the regular season. Sometimes, they require something that you've never done before. In Game 4 on Sunday (Monday, PHL time), the Raptors went big for the first time this season and, as Nurse put it, "did just enough" to get a crucial victory. John Schuhmann is a staff writer for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 6th, 2019

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

Fun and games, Dimitrov finds a way to break title drought

JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer br /> BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Grigor Dimitrov concentrated on fun and games at the season-opening Brisbane International, looking for something a bit different to his regular routine. It turns out, that's what he'd been missing. Dimitrov ended a title drought that dated back to 2014 when he beat third-seeded Kei Nishikori 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 in the final on Sunday. The 25-year-old Bulgarian attributed some late-night trips to the game arcades in downtown Brisbane for the change of fortunes. 'I played motor bikes, we played cars, basketball, I mean, I went there with my fitness coach and we were — I think we were the biggest kids out there,' he said. 'You know, it's something so childish, if you want to say it. 'Well, every time I was going to bed, I was, like, 'Wow, that feels so good.' It's just something so small.' Dimitrov, dubbed 'Baby Fed' earlier in his career for his style similarities with Roger Federer, lost the Brisbane International final to Andy Murray in 2013. He won three titles and reached the Wimbledon semifinals in 2014 as he rose to a career-high ranking of No. 8. But his form faded and he slipped down the rankings to No. 40 by the middle of last year. That's when he had to make some decisions, refocus, set some goals. The first was to win a tournament in 2017 — he's achieved that in the first week of the season. There are other goals, including better runs at the Grand Slams — he hasn't been past the fourth round since a career peak in the Wimbledon semifinals in 2014, when he beat Murray but lost to Novak Djokovic. He entered the season-opening Brisbane event ranked No. 17 and seeded seventh, and could rise to No. 15 for the Australian Open, which starts Jan. 16. 'It's been pretty emotional,' Dimitrov said. 'This trophy means a lot.' He didn't elaborate too much on any emotional upheaval, saying it's part and parcel of touring so much as a professional player. But he did say he needed to adjust how he spends his time on the road. 'I'm the kind of guy that I cannot just lock myself in the room and just think tennis for 24 hours. It hasn't helped me,' he said. 'And since I have been here, every night I've been going to the arcades, for example, for an hour and a half, been playing arcades. It's given me tremendous joy. 'That's why I say those, I think, these 10 days that I have been here — I don't remember having so much fun, but in the same time I was very focused, played quite solid all the matches. So I was just — overall, I just felt good.' He beat defending champion Milos Raonic in the semifinals, improving his career record to 3-1 against the big-serving Canadian. He'd never beaten Nishikori in three previous matches, and he had to save break points in the first game and again in the third. After that, he went on a roll. Nishikori, who reached his first Brisbane final after losing three previous semifinals, fended off a breakpoint early in the second set and went on to break Dimitrov's serve twice in an almost reverse of the first set. But the Japanese star lost momentum after a medical timeout for a left hip problem after the second set, and Dimitrov dominated before getting the decisive break in the eighth game and then serving out at love. Nishikori said the hip pain was intense in the second set, and may force him out of a scheduled exhibition match in Sydney on Monday before he heads to Melbourne. 'Well, sort of it was OK, but yeah, a little bit sad to finish (the tournament) like this,' he said. 'But I think it was great week to start of the year. I had good four matches here. Well, I try to stay healthy next week and hope I can be ready for,' for the Australian Open. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 9th, 2017

Nadal continues comeback with a 1st win in Brisbane

JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer br /> BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Rafael Nadal was in need of some sleep, so he didn't waste much time against Alexandr Dolgopolov on Tuesday. The 14-time major champion, playing his opening match at the Brisbane International a day after arriving in Australia following a win in an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi, beat the Ukrainian 6-3, 6-3 after getting on court at almost 10:30 p.m. local time. Returning from a wrist injury which curtailed the end of his 2016 season, Nadal said he's determined to use every match as preparation for a shot at the title in the season-opening Grand Slam event in Melbourne. The 30-year-old Spaniard dropped serve in the third game but recovered to win the last five games of the first set against the 2012 finalist. In all, he converted all four of his break points and fended off three of the four he faced. 'A little bit of jet lag. It's tough, these kinds of things at the beginning,' said Nadal, who added that he was still sleeping in the early afternoon and felt 'destroyed' after the travel. 'There wasn't a lot of time to adapt.' He only made nine unforced errors, and his most glaring miss of the night was when whiffed at a ball as he tried to hit it into the crowd to celebrate his win. In a post-match news conference, he apologized after stifling a yawn, but said he still preferred the late start to help him overcome the jetlag. Nadal has changed his preparation for the Australian Open, arriving two weeks ahead of time to fine tune his game in a bid to make amends for a shocking first-round exit last year. He will next play Mischa Zverev, who opened with a 6-3, 6-3 win over teenage Australian qualifier Alex De Minaur, and has a potential quarterfinal match against defending champion and top-seeded Milos Raonic. Also, sixth-seeded Lucas Pouille lost the first five games before rebounding for a 7-6 (6), 7-6 (4) win over Gilles Simon, while Viktor Troicki beat Japanese qualifier Yoshihito Nishioka 6-4, 7-5 and Diego Schwartzman had a 6-2, 6-4 win over Sam Querrey. In the women's draw, Garbine Muguruza, Karolina Pliskova and Elina Svitolina, who all had career-highlight victories over Serena Williams last season, are already through to the quarterfinals. Destanee Aiava, a 16-year-old high school senior who was inspired to take up tennis when she was 5 after watching Williams on TV, also made a mark. Aiava became the first player born in the 2000s to win a main draw match in an elite WTA event when she beat Bethanie Mattek-Sands 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 in a first-round match that spanned two days. She already has a wild-card entry to the Australian Open but, before then, will face two-time major winner Svetlana Kuznetsova in the second round in Brisbane. The third-seeded Pliskova, who beat Williams in the U.S. Open semifinals last year before losing the final to Angelique Kerber, defeated American qualifier Asia Muhammad 6-1, 6-4 to secure the first spot in the quarterfinals. Svitolina, seeded sixth and the only woman to beat both Williams and Kerber when in 2016, advanced with a 7-5, 2-6, 7-5 win over Shelby Rogers. The fourth-seeded Muguruza wasted a match point and saved one before clinching a 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (7) win over Daria Kasatkina in a three-hour night match. Both players had eight service breaks and Muguruza, who beat Williams in the French Open final last year to claim her first Grand Slam title, dropped her opening serve in all three sets. Her next match will be against either Kuznetsova or Aiava, who was born on May 10, 2000, was No. 386 in the latest rankings and is very new to the tour. 'Pretty crazy,' Aiava said of her first trip to the locker rooms in the main draw. 'I walk in, and there is people I have watched on TV before and it's, like, 'Oh!'' Her mother, Rosie, has been her coach since she showed interest in the game. She keeps the teenager grounded. After her milestone win, Aiava said her mother just said 'good job' and took her back onto the practice courts for 20 minutes to work on her serve. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 4th, 2017

Barcelona s disputed draw adds fuel to upcoming clasico

By Tales Azzoni, Associated Press MADRID (AP) — A disputed decision not to award a late penalty may have cost Barcelona the Spanish league lead entering Wednesday's “clásico” against Real Madrid. Barcelona was held to a 2-2 draw at Real Sociedad on Saturday, giving Madrid a chance to go into the midweek match at Camp Nou Stadium with a two-point lead if it beats Valencia on Sunday. Barcelona was expected to file a formal complaint to the Spanish soccer federation over the non-call, which came after Real Sociedad defender Diego Llorente appeared to pull down Gerard Piqué by his jersey in stoppage time. Neither the referee nor video review thought there was enough to award a penalty. Barcelona was especially upset because Real Sociedad's first goal came on a penalty awarded in a similar situation after Sergio Busquets grabbed Llorente's jersey in the first half. “The one on Gerard was clearer than mine,” Busquets said. “If the referee saw the first one, he had to see that one as well. I think he saw it, but didn't want to make the call.” Spanish powerhouses Madrid and Barcelona will meet for the first time this season in a match postponed from October because of a separatist rally in the Catalan capital. “We don't know whether we will still be leaders or not, that's out of our hands now,” Busquets said. “But we will enter the match with good momentum. We have been improving and we'll be playing at home.” Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde didn't rest any of his top players, using Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez and Antoine Griezmann in the attack. Messi didn't play in the team's Champions League match at Inter Milan on Tuesday. Barcelona, which had won nine of its last 10 league games, was outplayed during most of the match at Reale Arena. Fifth -place Sociedad creating most of the scoring chances and restrained Barcelona, which was in control for short periods of the game but couldn't capitalize on its chances to seal the victory. “We are upset despite a draw against a team like Barcelona,” Real Sociedad coach Imanol Alguacil said. “We did more than they did, we could have taken the three points.” Mikel Oyarzabal opened the scoring for the hosts by converting a 12th-minute penalty kick after Busquets was caught grabbing Llorente inside the area. Barcelona recovered with two fast breakaways, one late in the first half and another soon after the break. Griezmann equalized in the 38th by flicking the ball past goalkeeper Álex Remiro from inside the area. Griezmann, who played nine seasons with Real Sociedad, didn't celebrate his goal. “I have a lot of respect for those who have given me everything,” said Griezmann, who has scored three goals in his last five matches. Suárez put the visitors ahead in the 49th with a strike into the open net after a short pass by Messi. The hosts equalized in the 62nd with a close-range shot by striker Alexander Isak after Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen couldn't fully clear a cross. Oyarzabal had also scored the last time Real Sociedad beat Barcelona, in a league match back in 2016. Barcelona had won seven straight matches against Real Sociedad in all competitions. Real Sociedad has won only one of its last five league matches. It had lost its last five league games against Barcelona. ATLÉTICO MOVES UP Atlético Madrid beat Osasuna 2-0 at home to end a three-match winless streak in the league. Álvaro Morata and Saúl Ñíguez scored a goal each in the second half to lift Atlético back to fourth place, the last qualification spot for the Champions League. Diego Simeone's team had won only one of its last six league games. Tenth-place Osasuna had lost one of its last seven matches in the league. ATHLETIC STALLS Athletic Bilbao was held by Eibar to a 0-0 home draw in a match between two Basque Country teams. It was the second winless game in a row for sixth-place Athletic, which hadn't been held scoreless in four straight league games. Eibar, sitting in 16th place, had lost four straight league matches. LEVANTE REBOUNDS A late winner by North Macedonia midfielder Enis Bardhi gave Levante a 2-1 win at Granada, ending the team's two-game losing streak. Bardhi scored with a shot from outside the area in the 89th minute. Levante moved to 11th, one point behind Granada......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News7 hr. 4 min. ago

LeBron James, Anthony Davis bring new Heat to L.A.

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com The relationship they formed, nurtured and maximized to the championship fullest was captured in all its glory nine years ago this month on a sensational play that took maybe six seconds. Dwyane Wade grabbed a loose ball and ran up court, leading a rather routine fast break and then, chemistry happened. He gently tossed a short, no-look bounce pass that for a microsecond went to a ghost, at least until LeBron James, trailing the play in full sprint, appeared and scooped the ball. Wade didn’t see LeBron behind him … he just knew. LeBron didn’t call for the ball … he just knew. As LeBron elevated and cupped the ball for a tomahawk dunk, Wade kept running forward and spread his arms before the crowd, as if to say: This is how we do it. That finish was immortalized by an Associated Press photographer seated underneath the rim named Morry Gash. The image instantly went viral, causing witnesses to gasp at the image’s snarky, arrogant and amazing glory. Mostly, though, that sequence symbolized the blossoming bond between LeBron and Wade early in their time together with the Miami Heat. 9 years ago today. #L3GENDARY pic.twitter.com/Yc7iQDezlM — Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) December 6, 2019 And, it suggests what’s currently percolating in Los Angeles with the Lakers. LeBron has a new basketball boo, and the process with Anthony Davis is starting to look strikingly familiar. Theirs is an already devastating combo that has the Lakers scorching through the early NBA season with the best record in the West. ‘Bron and The Brow are both entertaining and effective, a combination that certainly works in L.A. (which expects both). This is more of the peanut butter-and-jelly variety than fingernail meets blackboard in terms of two forces blending in beautifully. They share the same ideas about how to play the game as one, when to defer (and when take over) and why there’s no need for ego or one-upmanship. It’s a tag-team, your-turn-my-turn type of existence, sprinkled with an ability to recognize each other’s tendencies. Oh, and it helps that they like each other as people. Longtime Laker witnesses might feel the urge to compare this to Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant, but a more apt linkage is LeBron and Wade, whose on-court kinship spilled over into their personal lives, and to this day they still refer to each other as brothers from other mothers. “We had something special,” James said. And now, with Davis? “Everything’s coming along great, maybe even quicker than we thought.” As the Lakers prepare to play Friday in Miami (Saturday, PHL time) -- the site of so many LeBron-Wade connections -- the NBA’s new combo is just getting ramped up. No All-Star duo in the league is generating more wins, sizzle and per-game production than LeBron and Davis, who average a combined 53.6 points, 15.8 rebounds and 14.1 assists per game. They’re durable, too: LeBron has played in every game while Davis has missed only one. Much of this was expected when the Lakers traded for Davis and gave LeBron someone who was arguably his equal in terms of talent. The pairing seemed ideal because Davis is a low-maintenance star who doesn’t always demand the ball and keeps his ego hidden -- necessary tools when one plays in LeBron’s orbit. They also tend to cover each other’s weaknesses. For example, Davis is a superior defender while LeBron, who turns 35 in a few weeks, picks his spots defensively. Davis took the Pelicans to the semifinals once, while LeBron has played in eight of the last nine Finals. One other critical element worth noting is this: LeBron is anxious to grab at least another title here with his third team, which would be unprecedented. Davis is hungry for his first. They share the same quest, then, but approach it from different angles. Given where they are in their careers, there was a hunch they were made for each other. After 25 games, this notion has proven correct. “They hit the ground running right from the start of training camp,” said Lakers coach Frank Vogel. “Both on and off the basketball court, their chemistry has been seamless.” LeBron seemed determined to make this work after his first season in L.A. lacked a true co-star and was slowed by a groin injury. His basketball relationship with Kyrie Irving in Cleveland took a sharp turn three years ago when Irving demanded a trade, mainly to escape LeBron’s enormity and strike out on his own. LeBron, like almost everyone else, was stunned as to why someone was so willing to bail on an all-time great. That raised this issue: while LeBron is one of the most accommodating superstars in NBA history, other stars in their prime would rather be the lead singer on another team. Davis seems cut from another cloth, however. And besides, when LeBron eventually retires (he has two seasons left on his contract), Davis will become a solo king if he so desires. This process was months in the making as LeBron made a point to align himself with Davis off the court since last summer. He welcomed him into his home, inviting him to events and generally magnetizing himself to Davis, who in turn did the same. This same approach worked for LeBron and Wade in 2010, but back then, LeBron was joining Wade’s team and was careful not to overstep any boundaries. “What I’m seeing here is how much time they spent together away from the court last summer and how that has impacted what’s going on right now,” Vogel said. “Even in film sessions the two are always together. They’re just building that friendship that LeBron and Dwyane had. LeBron has done everything in his power to make sure he’s going out of his way to make Anthony comfortable.” Wade and LeBron became fast friends because their personalities were similar and therefore clicked. Wade admitted that, at times, it was difficult to ride shotgun that first season together. But he respected LeBron’s talents too much to make that an issue. It all worked as they won two championships and made four Finals together. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra recognizes what’s developing in L.A. and says about LeBron: “He’s able to morph into whatever he needs to be to bring out the best from other players. This just fits like a glove with LeBron and AD, the way they work well together. Their skill sets compliment each other.” The Bron-Brow combo is causing defensive hell for teams: Which one gets a double team? Do you put a big player on LeBron and a shorter one on Davis or vice versa? Last Sunday (Monday, PHL time), the two combined for 82 points against the Timberwolves, which came two nights after they dropped 70 on the Blazers. Scoring only tells so much, but the way they compliment each other is nearly perfect. LeBron handles the ball, Davis impacts the rebounding and defense. They can almost sense where the other is without looking. Together, their sneaker prints are all over the floor. “The more time you spend together, if you have the same goals in mind and you have the same drive, then organically it happens,” LeBron said. Much of this is new to Davis, who only got a half-season’s worth of playing time with an All-Star (DeMarcus Cousins) his six seasons with New Orleans. He welcomes the change of synergy because playing next to LeBron ups his championship odds. “I mean, he’s a tremendous teammate, great talent and takes a lot of pressure off not only me, but everyone else,” Davis said. “It’s fun to be on the floor with him.” That’s evident from everyone who has watched this relationship take root and grow. “It’s there, and I think it’s genuine, too, from what I can see,” said former Lakers great and James Worthy, now a TV analyst for the club. “They’ve known each other for a while now, and they have that same drive and vision about the game and how it’s played. I think they know how to monitor each other and the team constructively to where the cohesiveness remains tight.” What’s frightening is the process hasn’t even reached a half-season. The wavelength LeBron and Wade once enjoyed can be matched with Davis, and it’s on pace to be fully maximized by the playoffs. The better it gets for Bron and Brow, the better it is for their supporting cast. “For me and AD, it starts with us,” LeBron said. “If we’re on the same page it makes it easier for the rest of the ball club.” There’s an important duplication taking place in Los Angeles, from LeBron-Wade to LeBron-Davis. The initial results are decisively promising. If this all keeps up, might multiple championships also follow? Shaun Powell has covered the NBA for more than 25 years. 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 NewsDec 12th, 2019