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Jrs. MVP leader Cansino already in touch with new UST coach Ayo

Aldin Ayo’s first-ever recruit in for De La Salle University was its high school star. Now with University of Sto Tomas, Ayo is looking to do the same. The new head coach of the Growling Tigers was present at the Filoil Flying V Centre on Saturday for the Tiger Cubs’ matchup with league-leader Ateneo de Manila High School. Of course, Ayo was there to scout the Juniors program of his new school – which just so happens to have the frontrunner in the MVP race in CJ Cansino. While the two-time collegiate champion coach declined interviews from media, he was seen chatting with Cansino’s mother after the game. Asked about it, the King Tiger Cub himself answered, “Opo, nagkausap na sila kanina.” He then continued, “Sabi raw po ni coach na gusto nila akong kunin sa UST. Sobrang saya po naming ganun na nga po ang nangyayari.” In earlier interviews, Cansino has already stated that he wants to stay in Espana for college. “Sana nga po, tumuloy rin ako sa Seniors para bigyan din ako ng pagkakataon na iangat yung Growling Tigers. Gusto ko ring i-prove sa Seniors na may magagawa ako for UST,” he said then. Now, it looks like his wish may just be granted as a source said UST is on the lookout for talent at the wings. Last year, the Growling Tigers trotted out the likes of Jordan Sta. Ana, Reggie Boy Basibas, and Christian Garcia at the wings. Said to be coming back to bolster that weakness is Embons Bonleon. Still, getting the six-foot-two swingman will be a coup for the rebuilding squad as they will be getting a blue-chip recruit who fills a need. Also, Ayo has some sort of success with his first-ever recruit being his program’s high school star. Two years ago, he got the commitment of DLS Zobel star and Juniors MVP Aljun Melecio. That partnership proved to be a big part of the Green Archers’ championship. —- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnJan 13th, 2018

Jrs. MVP leader Cansino already in touch with new UST coach Ayo

Aldin Ayo’s first-ever recruit in for De La Salle University was its high school star. Now with University of Sto Tomas, Ayo is looking to do the same. The new head coach of the Growling Tigers was present at the Filoil Flying V Centre on Saturday for the Tiger Cubs’ matchup with league-leader Ateneo de Manila High School. Of course, Ayo was there to scout the Juniors program of his new school – which just so happens to have the frontrunner in the MVP race in CJ Cansino. While the two-time collegiate champion coach declined interviews from media, he was seen chatting with Cansino’s mother after the game. Asked about it, the King Tiger Cub himself answered, “Opo, nagkausap na sila kanina.” He then continued, “Sabi raw po ni coach na gusto nila akong kunin sa UST. Sobrang saya po naming ganun na nga po ang nangyayari.” In earlier interviews, Cansino has already stated that he wants to stay in Espana for college. “Sana nga po, tumuloy rin ako sa Seniors para bigyan din ako ng pagkakataon na iangat yung Growling Tigers. Gusto ko ring i-prove sa Seniors na may magagawa ako for UST,” he said then. Now, it looks like his wish may just be granted as a source said UST is on the lookout for talent at the wings. Last year, the Growling Tigers trotted out the likes of Jordan Sta. Ana, Reggie Boy Basibas, and Christian Garcia at the wings. Said to be coming back to bolster that weakness is Embons Bonleon. Still, getting the six-foot-two swingman will be a coup for the rebuilding squad as they will be getting a blue-chip recruit who fills a need. Also, Ayo has some sort of success with his first-ever recruit being his program’s high school star. Two years ago, he got the commitment of DLS Zobel star and Juniors MVP Aljun Melecio. That partnership proved to be a big part of the Green Archers’ championship. —- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 13th, 2018

EYES ON YOU, KID: UAAP 80 Jrs. players to watch

The first round of the UAAP 80 Juniors Basketball Tournament is over and done with. And we can’t wait for the second round to get started just so we could get even more glimpses of the future of Philippine basketball courtesy of these players: CJ CANSINO – University of Sto. Tomas (yellow jersey with ball) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 27.6 points, 43.5 percent shooting, 14.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.7 steals (yellow jersey number 27) CJ Cansino has single-handedly made University of Sto. Tomas matter again – and that’s not an exaggeration. Through his sheer will, the Tiger Cubs find themselves well inside the playoff picture at the end of the first round. The long-limbed forward is an all-around weapon who can get his shots inside the paint, from the perimeter, and even from the charity stripe where he has already scored a mind-boggling 60 points – that’s out of 76 attempts, giving him a 78.9 percent shooting clip from there. It’s not just scoring where he makes an impact, though, as he also can also make plays for teammates like scoring guard Kobe Palencia as well as disrupt plays for opponents. And oh, the six-foot-two graduating player is also tops in the league in rebounding – yes, he has more rebounds than the next kid on our list. The even better news for UST? Cansino wants to stay for college. KAI SOTTO – Ateneo de Manila High School (blue jersey number 11) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 12.9 points, 52.5 percent shooting, 12.7 rebounds, 4.9 blocks (blue jersey number 11) All eyes have been on Kai Sotto ever since he was discovered in the Jr. NBA. Now in his second season for currently league-leading Ateneo de Manila University, he has given all of us more than enough reason to never take our eyes off of him and all of his now 7-foot 1-inch stature. A legitimate inside presence the likes of which the high school ranks have never seen before, Sotto is unstoppable in getting points near the basket and collaring rebounds from anywhere inside the paint. And yeah, the kid atop our list has more rebounds than him, but nobody in the Juniors can touch the 15-year-old’s rim protecting ability. 34 blocks through seven games? That’s unheard of! The even better news for Ateneo? He’s just in Grade 9, that’s three more seasons of eligibility after this one. SJ BELANGEL – Ateneo de Manila High School (white jersey number 0) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 16.3 points, 50.6 percent shooting, 5.6 assists, 5.3 rebounds, 1.7 steals (blue jersey number 0) Sotto has been getting all the attention, but just like a year ago, Ateneo has been SJ Belangel’s show to run. The kid who famously scored 99 points back in his hometown of Bacolod is now a complete player. The scoring has always been there for Belangel, but it’s his now pinpoint passing that is the more welcome development for the still undefeated Blue Eaglets. It doesn’t hurt either that the 18-year-old is doing nothing but living up to being a floor leader. L-JAY GONZALES – Far Eastern University-Diliman (yellow jersey number 0) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 12.6 points, 9.7 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 2.6 steals (yellow jersey number 0) No doubt, the shots have yet to fall for L-Jay Gonzales as he is only shooting 32.4 percent from the field. Just like what he showed in his starmaking stint in last season’s Finals, however, it has again become clear that he doesn’t have to score to make an impact. In all of the league, Far Eastern University-Diliman’s main man is first in steals, second in assists, and fifth in rebounds. And there’s one thing we all learned last season, it’s never to count out the Baby Tamaraws and their do-it-all guard. DAVE ILDEFONSO – Ateneo de Manila High School (white jersey number 10) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 12.9 points, 42.7 percent shooting, 8.9 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.4 steals (white jersey number 10) Dave Ildefonso is not top five in the league in anything – he is well inside the top 10 in many things, though. With Sotto, Belangel, and the rest of Ateneo’s stacked lineup, it’s easy to forget that they have a versatile player who can score from all over the floor while also defending the opposing team’s forwards and guards. And among all of high school, the son of Philippine basketball legend Danny Ildefonso has one of the most college-ready bodies – he can bump with the best of them and he can move with the best of them. That is exactly why make no mistake about it, Dave Ildefonso has been a key cog in the Blue Eaglets’ ascent to the top of the leaderboard. RHAYYAN AMSALI – Nazareth School of National University (blue jersey number 13) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 13.0 points, 43.2 percent shooting, 8.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 2.1 steals As expected, there has been an adjustment period for Nazareth School of National University and new head coach Goldwyn Monteverde. That hasn’t stopped Rhayyan Amsali from producing as expected, though. Already having proven himself as an all-around offensive weapon, the third-year forward is now displaying the development of his defense to the tune of a third-best steals total. RJ ABARRIENTOS – Far Eastern University-Diliman (green jersey number 17) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 14.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.0 steals FEU-Diliman is already fortunate to have somebody like L-Jay Gonzales and yet, they actually have two of that kind of player on their roster. RJ Abarrientos can do the very same things his Finals MVP teammate can, but when focused, has proven himself to be an impactful 3-and-D swingman. The nephew of “Flying A” Johnny Abarrientos will never have the ball in his hands all that much, but when he does, good things happen more often than not. JOEM SABANDAL – Adamson High School (blue jersey number 21) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 16.3 points, 45.9 percent shooting, 6.7 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 2.2 steals A new day has dawned upon Adamson High School and serving as the brightest ray of light is Joem Sabandal. The heady guard is best in the league in assists, second in steals, and third in points – doing anything and everything in his power to keep his team afloat. The journey back to the heights they once reached is far and long, but the Baby Falcons are nothing but glad that they already have the person to steer them there. AGEM MIRANDA – University of the East (white jersey number 4) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 17.9 points, 41.1 percent shooting, 8.6 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 2.1 steals University of the East remains winless Round 1, but unlike a year ago, there is reason to watch and there is reason to hope. Agem Miranda has made the most out of his opportunities on a talent-lacking squad and has opened eyes on how his all-around game will translate if given more help. The one-and-done guard will have to find that out on some other team, but at the very least, he has energized the Junior Warriors back on track. RAVEN CORTEZ – De La Salle Zobel (green jersey number 6) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 12.6 points, 64.2 percent shooting, 10.9 rebounds, 3.3 blocks, 1.1 assists It looks like Boris Aldeguer, the mentor who molded Joshua Webb and Arnold Van Opstal into promising big men, has finally gotten his hands on his next project. There is no doubt that Raven Cortez is raw, even rawer than Ateneo’s Sotto, but his size and skill give him all the potential in the world, much like Ateneo’s Sotto. The Batang Gilas member may not have an outside shot just yet, but he has already put his 6-foot 7-inch frame to good use as the second-best blocker and fourth-best rebounder in the league......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 6th, 2018

Eight new stars who have risen in UAAP Season 81

It all begins here. That has been the UAAP theme this year and the names you will see on this list have been embracing their new beginnings and are delivering with promise despite all the pressure. The UAAP’s 81st season has been wild right off the bat with teams pulling wins out of nowhere, impressive individual performances, and lit on-court actions, which everyone has caught live on ABS-CBN S+A, S+A HD, LIGA, and LIGA HD every Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday. However, eight names have already shown why they are head and shoulders above everybody else in the season. Let’s take a look at the idols of future ballers and coaches here: 1.) Ange Kouame, Ateneo De Manila University The Ivorian big man is having a great debut with the defending champs in Season 81 and has been announcing his arrival to the league big game after big game, punctuated by his 33-point 27-rebound performance against potential Final Four contender, the FEU Tamaraws. While Thirdy Ravena continues to be the Blue Eagles’ leader on the floor, Kouame is slowly turning himself into a problem on a nightly basis. He’s constantly improving and learning about the college game thanks in part to fellow Ateneo big, who saw his play blossom last year, in Isaac Go.   2.) Sean Manganti, Adamson University Jerrick Ahanmisi is the Falcons’ leading scorer and main attraction. But let it not distract you from the fact that Sean Manganti has improved vastly to be the actual barometer of the team as it continues its stellar season. To prove a point, Manganti has also hit big shots for the Falcons including that game-winning dagger against the UP Fighting Maroons. Part of the reason for his impressive season so far is due to his training with former UAAP MVP Kiefer Ravena, who has been teaching him all the tricks in his bag.   3.) Justine Baltazar, La Salle  Justine Baltazar was a diamond in the rough coming to the Green Archers’ side of the fence after a stellar UAAP Juniors showing for National University. This season, without Ben Mbala up front, people are shocked by the massive improvement of Balti’s game as he has been the Green Archers’ consistent pillar of strength next to Aljun Melecio and Leonard Santillan. Balti is yet to have a bad game this season except when he had to contend with Ateneo’s hulking Ange Kouame, who is way heavier than the lanky center.   4.) Hubert Cani, Far Eastern University What a journey it has been for the former UAAP Juniors Finals MVP Hubert Cani, who went to Ateneo for two years before transferring to FEU and debuting last year. The 5’11” point guard has trimmed down immensely in preparation for Season 81 and it has clearly shown that his deadly Juniors form is back in harness. While FEU has been see-sawing lately in the standings, Cani has been the constant as much as teams prepare to stop FEU’s top scorer Arvin Tolentino.   5.) Juan Gomez De Liano, University of the Philippines Juan’s sophomore year has been anything but a disappointment. The UAAP Season 80 Rookie of the Year recently stopped the UAAP triple double drought when he posted a 15-point, 12-rebound, 12-assist line against the UE Red Warriors last Sunday (October 21). With team captain Paul Desiderio struggling in the start of the season, the former UAAP Juniors MVP stepped up to the plate and show improvement across the board and has become a huge headache for opposing teams alongside prized recruit Bright Akhuetie everytime he steps on the court.    6.) CJ Cansino, University of Sto. Tomas The Growling Tigers rookie is living up to lofty expectations heaped on his shoulders as a UAAP Juniors MVP coming out of the UST Tiger Cubs program. Cansino is already displaying a grown man’s game despite being at the collegiate level. His basketball IQ is off the charts while maximizing the most of his physical tools at hand along with the system new Head Coach Aldin Ayo has put in place. With the keys in his hand, Cansino has responded and what a way for a rookie to, already having an 18-point, 18-rebound game and constantly hovering around a triple-double.   7.) Dave Ildefonso, National University The younger Demolition Brother has been a treat to watch. Along with Cansino, they are both starring for their teams as rookies, leading the way, and leaving fans with jaws on the floor because of the level of talent they are displaying. He has shown great scoring instincts and has been at the forefront of the Bulldogs’ rebuild. 8.) Joe Silva, University of the East We’re giving the last and final spot in the list to UE’s neophyte coach, who’s the driving force behind the rebuilding Red Warriors. Coach Joe maybe younger in terms of age and experience compared to his UAAP counterparts, but he is definitely no pushover with two UAAP Juniors championship under his belt with the Ateneo High School Blue Eaglets. So far, he is off to a good start in building a winning culture in the current UE Red Warriors lineup. This is evident in how feisty his team fights game in and game out despite the talent gap they face. These eight guys are not the only impressive names we should all watch out for as you never know who will suddenly come out of the woodwork and starts pumping impressive game after impressive game. Get to see these stars in action every UAAP Season 81 game day during Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays on ABS-CBN S+A, S+A HD, LIGA, and LIGA HD starting at 2 pm. For more sports news, follow ABS-CBN Sports on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram or visit sports.abs-cbn.com. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 26th, 2018

Nowhere To Go But UP

Akhuetie secures the defensive rebound! In one motion, turns and makes the outlet pass to Juan Gomez De Liaño streaking from the wing… before he even puts the ball on the floor he makes another forward pass to Paras who then takes a power dribble from the 3-point line, takes two steps and then soars for the tomahawk slam… Two possessions later, it’s a ball screen set by Akhuetie for Juan at the left wing. The defender – who fights over the screen – is left behind; as Bright’s man tries to hedge, Akhuetie sucks the help defense in with a strong roll to the hoop. Juan whips a pass to the right corner to an open Ricci Rivero, who shot fakes, gets his man in the air, drives baseline and eludes the last defender with his trademark euro-step to the middle, before kissing the layup softly off the glass… Deep in the fourth period, UP enters the ball into Akhuetie in the post. He backs his man down, and after a couple dribbles, sees the double team from the middle and makes a kickout pass to a wide open Javi GDL at the top of the key. The weakside defender rushes to close out against an open 3, but Javi passes it off to his brother Juan at the wing, who knocks down the booming triple!   These are just some of the plays that UP fans will bask in the glory of come UAAP Season 82, when their highly-touted all-UAAP 5 are finally all eligible to suit up for the Fighting Maroons. Before we get ahead of ourselves however, let’s dial it back and take a look at each of these players at this point of their college careers and what they bring to the Diliman stable. Javi Gomez De Liaño A product of the UPIS system, Javi is the first of the De Liaño brothers to play in the Seniors division after a successful stint in the high school ranks. Although not as highly-touted as his younger sibling, Javi is a stretch 4, standing 6’5” with lots of length and athleticism, and a reliable outside touch. Definitely one of Coach Bo’s blue-collar glue guys, who has stepped up his game (8.3ppg, 5.9rpg, 30% 3P% 21.2mpg in S80) as his minutes have increased. He will play both ends of the floor, can defend an opponent’s best scoring big or forward, and will be Mr. Intangibles on the court. Juan Gomez De Liaño Season 80’s Rookie of the Year, Juan GDL is already one of the UAAP’s most exciting and explosive players to watch. Arguably the most athletic and shifty guard in the league today, he’s a natural born scorer who can finish at the rim but has also shown the ability to run a team and make great decisions. While he needs to raise his 3pt shooting percentage to the high 30’s to be a real threat from the outside, he has that same winner’s mentality as his fellow fighting Maroon, Mr. “Atin to!” Paul Desiderio. Bright Akhuetie The two-time NCAA Mythical Five member and former Perpetual Help double-double machine could easily be the most dominant big man in the UAAP after Ben Mbala. Not only will he bring the much needed inside scoring UP has sorely lacked for the past several years, but he will immediately be a dominant inside presence on both ends of the floor – commanding double and even triple teams on offense, and altering shot after shot as the last line of UP’s defense. After serving a year of residency after transferring from UPHSD, Akhuetie is surely raring to stamp his mark in the UAAP, much like he did in the NCAA during his two seasons with the Altas. Ricci Rivero The biggest surprise and recruiting coup this summer belonged to UP Diliman, if only for the transfer of Ricci Rivero from DLSU. The prized former LSGH swingman was already making waves as the possible next King Archer when his career at Taft was cut short due to out-of-court issues. But on the court, Rivero has dazzled UAAP fans the past two years with a combination of athleticism and finesse not seen in decades. His natural scoring ability (12.9ppg, 35% 3P%, 5.9rpg, 1.6apg in Season 80) and trademark euro-step have left many defenders bewildered, and have unleashed a social media fandom unlike any we’ve seen so far. Kobe Paras As if the UP Community didn’t already have enough to watch out for in season 82, they pulled off another big catch when Kobe Paras, son of former UP legend Benjie Paras, committed to Diliman just early this month. Another LSGH product, Kobe played for the Creighton Bluejays in the US NCAA and has represented the country in multiple FIBA tournaments, including a gold medal finish in the 2017 SEA Games. Another prolific and high-flying scorer, Paras stands 6’6” but plays the wing position; and while he has a respectable outside touch, he is more known for his thunderous finishes, as a 2-time FIBA 3x3 dunk champion. With Paras and Rivero, UP would have the most athletic wing combination the UAAP has seen in years.   BUT, before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s remember that basketball is still won by an entire team, and not just the five on the floor, star-studded as they may be. And more importantly, not only will UP be able to seriously contend for the final four and even a championship in Season 82, they could in fact contend for one as early as this Season 81. Paul Desiderio, their undisputed leader, will be playing out his final year, coinciding with Akhuetie’s first year with the team. Together with the GDL brothers, Jun Manzo, Noah Webb, Gelo Vito, Diego Dario, Jan Jaboneta,  Jerson Prado, Jarrell Lim, and even Will Gozum, among others, UP will have its deepest roster in more than a decade; and will definitely be a favorite to finally barge into the Final Four. Thus, while Season 82 is ripe with championship promise; as early as now, there is nowhere to go but UP for the Fighting Maroons.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 27th, 2018

Thompson, Warriors force inevitable Game 7

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com OAKLAND, Calif. -- The final game of the Western Conference season will tip on the last Monday in May (Tuesday, PHL time) at the Toyota Center in Houston, as it should. This is the route the GPS mapped out back in October and never had any reason to recalculate from since. Warriors at Rockets in a winner-take-all. Never in doubt, no? A pair of championship-quality teams will go 48 minutes and the previous six games in this series tells us to expect a tense jump ball-to-buzzer affair. With or without Chris Paul. Paul’s inflamed right hamstring is a significant flaw, no question, yet the Rockets do have home-court advantage and will hear a crazed crowd trying to fill the void with noise if as expected Paul misses a second straight game. The Rockets didn’t have their point guard and spiritual leader Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) and still sent an early chill through the defending champions on enemy soil, going up 17 after the first quarter and 10 at halftime. Oracle Arena and the Warriors were confused. Then Game 6 flipped suddenly and drastically in the second half, as the Warriors rolled to a 115-86 victory. and here we are. Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni: “We got what we want, a seventh game on our home court, now it’s up to us to go get it.” Warriors guard Klay Thompson said: “I feel like we’re the best team in the world.” The Rockets constructed this team specifically to challenge and beat the Warriors. Meanwhile, the Warriors paced themselves through the regular season partly to conserve their attention and energy for Houston, which has Golden State’s attention like no team before in the West playoffs. Both are causing each other irritating problems. The Rockets’ defense with its switching and hand-in-the-face pressure is forcing Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry to work hard for their shots. The Warriors’ ability to thrive even if not all four of their All-Stars are clicking is testing Houston’s limits; such was the case in Game 6 when Thompson, the No. 3 Guy, broke loose for 35 points with nine threes. That’s what makes the Warriors tough to erase: They don’t need to be perfect, and good for them, because they haven’t been in this series, with the exception of their 41-point victory in Game 3. About Thompson: He was locked in, emotionally and physically, popping off screens, catching and shooting, creating space to get good looks and punching the air after big three's. The energy and the shots saved the Warriors from a lackluster and potentially deadly start. Thompson stayed in rhythm most of the night while Curry (29 points) and Durant (23) went through off-and-on cold stretches and afterward joked how he was “born” for this. “Man, that felt good, to be honest,” Thompson said. “I just wanted to play with as much passion as I could. I probably sounded more vocal than I am.” There was a natural link to the last time Thompson was this splashy in a Game 6 elimination game, two summers ago when he dropped 41 on Oklahoma City to trigger a comeback from 3-1 down. Durant was on the wrong side of that performance. “Please don’t go there,” begged Durant, bowing his head. “Next question.” Mindful of what happened right after that series -- the Warriors would blow a 3-1 lead of their own to Cleveland -- Curry said: “I think we both blocked that whole year out of our memory.” Actually, that volcanic performance by Thompson helped convince Durant to leave Oklahoma City, which led to last year’s championship and helped build a solid case for the Warriors to repeat next month. Thompson’s latest piece of work helped awaken the Warriors from being trapped in an extended state of stun, courtesy of how fierce the Rockets came at them right from the start. The Houston lead grew to double digits within minutes and stayed that way through the break. This was further evidence that the Rockets, in this game and actually for the series so far, refuse to concede anything and believe this West title is realistic even with Paul’s status uncertain. “I saw a lot of things that I liked,” said D’Antoni, “and I think we’re in a good position.” Eric Gordon, a strong candidate to win the Kia NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award, started in place of Paul and was a concern for the Warriors, drilling deep shots and scoring 19 points. Also, Harden rediscovered his own touch from that distance; he’d missed 22 straight threes in this series but made four and scored 32 points. Houston missed Paul’s composure and steady point guard hand, which could be expected. The Rockets had 22 turnovers, with the Harden-Gordon backcourt combining for 14. The other issue for the Rockets was depth. With Gordon in the starting lineup, D’Antoni was forced to give minutes to Luc Mbah a Moute, still struggling after hurting his shoulder just prior to the playoffs. He wasn’t a factor and neither was the bench. Assuming Paul sits another game, the Rockets will undoubtedly need major scoring and playmaking from Harden, solid shotgun work from Gordon and at least two members of the support group -- Trevor Ariza, P.J. Tucker, Clint Capela -- to break loose in order to make Game 7 interesting. Remember, the Rockets have now gone four straight games without breaking 100 points, and Harden appeared beaten in the fourth quarter Saturday where he went scoreless. The Warriors are also dealing with a missing part, with Andre Iguodala’s inactive streak now at three. They’re crossing fingers whenever Kevon Looney, Jordan Bell and/or Nick Young are pressed to play more than 15 minutes. None of them have distinguished themselves since Iguodala suffered a bone bruise on his left knee in Game 3. So that’s the tale of the tape. Between now and tipoff, the Rockets’ therapy staff will work on Paul’s hamstring, hoping for some intervention from the Medical Gods. In the perfect basketball world, Paul and Iguodala would be fit to play; why should the finish of this series be deprived of them, of less than what it should be? Last fall, before training camp, Paul, Harden and Tucker vacationed in the Bahamas for one last moment of chill before preparations for a season of big expectations. Obviously, they talked shop. They set goals and their sights on the Warriors. Tucker asked Paul and Harden: Imagine if we get them on our court for a Game 7. They all nodded and agreed it would be a logical scenario to launch themselves into the NBA Finals. “Obviously we hope to have our starting point guard back,” Tucker said. “If not, we need to be ready.” The Warriors held no such pre-camp huddle -- champions have what others want -- yet knew that once the Rockets added Paul, Houston would be their toughest test since Durant signed up. Warriors vs. Rockets in a single-game elimination is the proper stage, then, to determine who reps the West in the NBA Finals. D’Antoni said: “It should be a great game.” Curry: “It should be fun. This is what you play for, to be in a situation where you’re one win away from going to The Finals. You’ve got to want it.” Truthfully, neither team would rather be in a winner-take-all. Sweeping would be vastly preferred. But the other part about what Curry said is definitely true: Who wants it? Veteran NBA writer Shaun Powell has worked for newspapers and other publications for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here or 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 27th, 2018

LeBron James helps spark new All-Star Game era

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com LOS ANGELES -- Before tipoff at the 2018 All-Star Game, LeBron James took the courtside mic and thanked the fans and the city for showing out. Two hours later, when he accepted the Kia All-Star MVP trophy, he was barely audible, his throat too scratchy to explain what just happened. Well: To quote an ex-All-Star and noted philosopher Rasheed Wallace, both teams played hard. Those words were never used to describe recent All-Star Games, especially the last two, when defense (196 and 192 points for the winning teams) and the competitive spirit took an extended break, embarrassingly so. The league’s midseason showcase absorbed a rather well-deserved thrashing from fans and even players themselves. Nobody was fooled. Something had to change and someone had to volunteer to be the game-changer. And so, on Sunday (Monday, PHL time), the NBA season took on an 83rd game, as in a real game, thanks to commissioner Adam Silver’s willingness to fix what was broken and LeBron’s desire to set the tone for the most meaningful All-Star Game in years. The players gave the Staples Center crowd the usual acrobatic thrills associated with the game, naturally, but also some spills. As in, bodies on the floor. Every player who checked in did so with a strut and a mission to make a February game feel like June, or close enough, and not just during the close finish, either. Virtually from the start, when LeBron soared and swatted a cross-course pass just minutes into the game, this atmosphere had an edge. As Kevin Durant said: “We just wanted to change the narrative of the All-Star Game being a joke.” It was Team LeBron 148, Team Stephen 145 in the new format where sides were chosen regardless of conference and captains were assigned by fan vote. This created a new and fresh mix of players, intriguing tandems and raised overall interest for the game. It also helped that prize money, $100,000 to each winning player, was increased and lent a financial incentive. Yet it wouldn’t have mattered if layups went unchecked and jumpers were uncontested. Everything had to fall in line, and everyone had to cooperate. And that’s what led to this, a game decided by defense when it truly mattered, with LeBron and Durant swamping Stephen Curry beyond the three-point line on the final possession, keeping Curry and his team from getting a potential game-tying shot off as time expired. This is what the NBA needed, a more representative effort and result from the collection of the game’s finest players. It was a much cleaner look and it’s not a stretch to say the format and intensity rescued the All-Star Game from itself. “The hope is that, as we go forward, it gets even better than this,” said Kyrie Irving. “The game started to get away and we took it personally.” It’s hardly a surprise that LeBron was the force of change. His 29 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists in the win earned him his third Kia All-Star MVP trophy, yet those numbers didn’t accurately reflect how involved he was for four quarters. He lost his voice because of constant yelling and instructing and prodding his teammates to finish the job. He actually influenced both teams; his own by motivating them to play harder, and Team Stephen’s by issuing a challenge. Here’s the final sequence, dictated by LeBron: - His step-back three-pointer tied the score at 144; - He switched onto James Harden and forced the league’s scoring leader to badly miss a 3-pointer; - He put his team up for good on a driving layup on a give-and-go, thanks to a pair of timely passes from Irving and Russell Westbrook; - His double-team with Durant on Curry deep in the corner was the finishing touch. LeBron encouraged his team to apply a full-court press to end the first half -- has that ever been used in an NBA Game, let alone an All-Star Game? -- and simply took charge throughout. It was a personal mission to keep folks intrigued and interested. This was his game, his tempo, his personality taking over. “I believe I can make an impact and make a difference,” he said. At 33, and winning his first All-Star MVP in a decade, LeBron helped launch a standard that the game badly needed and, if this spirit holds true in the coming years, he’ll serve as the torch-bearer for a new age All-Star Game. Just one more productive layer to his lengthy legacy. “We all know how great a player he is,” said Team LeBron coach Dwane Casey. “I’m jealous of [Cavs coach Ty Lue] that he has someone like that. But tonight, he was on our team. He’s a joy to coach. He reiterates exactly what should be said, the right things. No BS. In the huddle, defensively, he got the guys jacked up and juiced as far as wanting to get a stop.” There was help; Durant was LeBron’s teammate for the first time in an NBA-sanctioned game and scored 19 points (the two were Olympic teammates in 2012). Irving rejoined LeBron after bolting from the Cavs last summer and they connected on the game-winning shot. Paul George was terrific defensively and chipped in 16 points. If not for Team LeBron winning, the MVP could have gone to DeMar DeRozan, who returned to his hometown and dropped 21 points (but threw an errant pass in the final seconds). Or maybe Damian Lillard, who matched DeRozan’s 21. Or Joel Embiid, a first-timer who supplied a big blocked shot right before LeBron’s layup. Therefore, an exhibition game that had grown stale and suffered from lapses and a lack of energy suddenly has a new beginning. East vs. West doesn’t exist anymore, and players purposely feeding a specific player so he can win MVP, and maybe no more matador defense, either, at least not for 48 minutes. It’s a small sample size, and the game must prove itself each year, but this is a push from LeBron and Silver into the right direction. The only possible tweak, perhaps next year, will be with televising the team selection. But that’s a nit-pick. This worked out well. “The format was great,” James said. “I think the fans did a great job of reacting to it in a positive way. It definitely worked out for everyone., not only for the players, not only for the league, but for the fans, everybody. It was a great weekend and we capped it off the right way.” Veteran NBA writer Shaun Powell has worked for newspapers and other publications for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here or 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 NewsFeb 20th, 2018

Barcelona s Pique scores late to silence Espanyol crowd

By Tales Azzoni, Associated Press MADRID (AP) — Jeered from his first touch of the ball, Barcelona defender Gerard Pique found a way to silence Espanyol fans in Sunday's Catalan derby. Pique scored a late equalizer in a 1-1 draw as the Spanish league leader narrowly avoided losing to its crosstown rival for the second time in less than three weeks. The outspoken Pique celebrated by putting a finger in front of his mouth as if to tell the crowd to be quite. "We have a responsibility as players, but we are also humans and we react to what happens," Pique said. "Part of the crowd was insulting my family. There is a limit to everything." Pique had previously made comments criticizing Espanyol, and the crowd showed their disapproval by jeering him nearly every time he touched the ball. His 82nd-minute goal helped Barcelona extend its unbeaten streak in the league to 22 matches, surpassing the record set under coach Pep Guardiola in 2009-10. It also left Barcelona nine points in front of Atletico Madrid, which defeated third-placed Valencia 1-0 later Sunday. Gerard Moreno put Espanyol ahead midway through the second half and Pique equalized with a header in a heated match at RCDE Stadium. "These types of situations motivate Pique," Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said. "His gesture comes as part of the rivalry that is natural in a derby." There were shoves and heated discussions throughout the match, which was played under steady rain and on a heavy pitch. Messi, who provided the cross for Pique's goal, came off the bench near the hour-mark after getting some rare rest time from Valverde. Espanyol had ended Barcelona's 29-match unbeaten streak with a 1-0 victory in the first leg of the Copa del Rey quarterfinals on Jan. 17, when Messi missed a penalty kick. Barcelona eventually eliminated Espanyol by winning the second leg 2-0. After that match, Pique's tone when talking about Espanyol infuriated rival fans and prompted an official complaint by the club. Pique did not back down on Sunday, questioning Espanyol's links to Barcelona because it moved its base to nearby Cornella and has a foreign owner. The Espanyol crowd was furious after Pique's celebration on Sunday. Right after the goal, Moreno fouled the defender, prompting a heated altercation between players from both teams. Moreno had to be contained as he tried to go after Pique. There were also discussions in the tunnel to the changing rooms. "One player won't silence our crowd," Espanyol coach Quique Sanchez Flores said. "His gesture was what it was. Our fans are above that." Pique's only other goal this season was also against Espanyol. ___ CORREA WINNER Atletico Madrid moved nine points clear of third-placed Valencia with Angel Correa's second-half winner at Wanda Metropolitano Stadium. Correa scored with a superb shot into the top corner from outside the area, giving Atletico its second consecutive victory. "We played against one of the best teams in La Liga and we were superior," Atletico coach Diego Simeone said. Uruguay defender Diego Godin had to be substituted early in the second half after a hard collision with Valencia goalkeeper Neto, injuring his mouth and apparently losing some teeth. Defender Stefan Savic was replaced in the first half, also because of an injury. ___ ATHLETIC'S RUN ENDS Athletic Bilbao's nine-game unbeaten streak ended with a 2-0 loss at Girona. Cristhian Stuani scored a goal in each half for the hosts, which moved to ninth in the standings. Athletic was debuting defender Inigo Martinez, who was acquired from Basque Country rival Real Sociedad as the club's most expensive signing at nearly 30 million euros ($37 million). Athletic defender Yeray Alvarez returned to action more than eight months after being sidelined for testicular cancer treatment. ___ DRAW IN DERBY Leganes and Getafe could not manage more than a 0-0 draw in the derby between rivals based just south of Madrid. Host Getafe had the best chances, twice hitting the woodwork in a match played under light snow during parts of the second half. It was the fifth straight game without a loss for Leganes, which rested several regular starters ahead of its game at Sevilla in the Copa del Rey semifinals on Wednesday. The teams drew 1-1 in the first leg in Leganes last week......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 5th, 2018

NCAA Jrs. champion Randy Alcantara being eyed to take over Tiger Cubs next season

Aldin Ayo has his first recruit for University of Sto. Tomas – and it is a big one. The new head coach for the Growling Tigers will add to his staff a fellow young mentor who has made his name making the most out of whatever he has in his lineup. According to sources, Ayo is all-set to welcome Randy Alcantara to join him in the bench alongside Rene Baena, Kristoffer Co, Bonnie Garcia, and Mcjour Luib. The development was first reported by Reuben Terrado of spin.ph. Alcantara is an esteemed coach who built Mapua High School’s program from the ground up. That has led to one championship and one runner-up finish in the last two years. Along the way, he has guided the development of promising prospects such as NCAA MVPs Mike Enriquez and Will Gozum as well as Warren Bonifacio, Sherwin Concepcion, and Clint Escamis. Now, along with serving as Ayo’s most decorated lieutenant, Alcantara is also being looked at to lead the continued rise of UST’s high school program. Sources said the one-time NCAA Juniors champion coach will be taking over from Chris Cantonjos who is currently overseeing a campaign that has the Tiger Cubs right in the thick of things in the UAAP Juniors. Once Alcantara formally takes over, he will have some recruitment to do as UST High is set to lose MVP leader CJ Cansino to graduation after the ongoing season. Mapua will not be losing the young mentor, however, as according to sources, he will be staying on with the Red Robins. ABS-CBN Sports has been contacting Alcantara, but he has not returned any messages as of press time. ABS-CBN Sports has also been trying to get a comment from Ayo, but he is yet to respond. According to a source, he has been barred from media interviews by UST’s Institute of Physical Education and Athletics. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 23rd, 2018

Ateneo still spotless after shutting down MVP leader Cansino

STANDINGS Ateneo 8-0 NU 6-2 UST 5-3 FEU-Diliman 4-4 Adamson 3-4 DLSZ 2-5 UPIS 1-6 UE 1-6 On Saturday at the Filoil Flying V Centre, Ateneo de Manila High School showed that second, third, and fourth combined is better than first all by himself. Kai Sotto, SJ Belangel, and Dave Ildefonso all together to power Ateneo de Manila High School right through MVP frontrunner CJ Cansino and University of Sto. Tomas, 78-54. Sotto is second, Belangel is third, and Ildefonso is fourth to first-place Cansino in the MVP leaderboard of the UAAP 80 Juniors Basketball Tournament. Together, however, they again proved to be too much for one of the other contenders in the tournament. “Kahit ganito, marami pa rin kaming kailangang ayusin. We still have lots to improve,” head coach Joe Silva said. Ildefonso had 20 points, seven assists, and three assists; Belangel had 13 points, six assists, and six rebounds; and Sotto had 11 points, 12 rebounds, and five blocks to make sure Ateneo remained undefeated through eight games. The Tiger Cubs actually got off to a strong start and owned an eight-point lead in the early going before the league-leaders settled down. Just trailing by one late in the second quarter, Belangel then orchestrated a 9-0 run that put the Blue Eaglets on top, 35-27, at the half. They would only keep their foot on the gas pedal from there and in all, crushed their opponents, 65-36, in the last three quarters. The offense took some time to get going, but the defense was on-point from the get-go as the kids from Katipunan frustrated Cansino to only 16 points, seven coming when the game was already over, in 6-of-20 shooting along with three turnovers. “Actually, we were expecing a shaky start sa offense kaya second quarter, we locked it down,” Silva said. He then continued, “The boys were proud enough to lock Cansino down.” With another convincing victory, they have now defeated UST twice, Far Eastern University-Diliman once, and Nazareth School of National University once all by double-digits. On the other hand, the Tiger Cubs dropped to third in the standings now at 5-3. With the MVP frontrunner struggling, nobody else stepped up as Vince Dolendo was the only other one in double-digits with 10 points BOX SCORES ATENEO 78 – Ildefonso 20, Belangel 13, Credo 12, Manuel 11, Sotto 11, Jaymalin 3, Chiu 2, Escalona 2, Tandeo 2, Diaz 2, David 0, Lopa 0, Gusi 0, Ong 0 UST 54 – Canaino 16, Dolendo 10, Benzonan 9, Villapando 8, Lina 6, Narvasa 3, Baquial 2, Anunciacion 0, Dea Cruz 0, Palencia 0, Esplana 0, Manabat 0 QUARTER SCORES: 13-18, 35-27, 58-41, 78-54 —- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 13th, 2018

2018 PBA Draft Baller Breakdown: Rodolfo “Jjay” Alejandro

Another former King Bulldog, Jjay Alejandro has always been known as a scorer. Ever since his days with Malayan College, Jjay could light up the scoreboard, connecting from inside and out; while at the same time making a name for himself as a deadly shooter. While he joined the NU Bulldogs primarily as an outside threat, he improved his scoring in the college ranks year in and year out, averaging almost 17 points per game in his final year. Coincidentally, his final year was played under the mentorship of multi-titled coach, Jamike Jarin, who developed Jjay no longer just as a scorer, but more of a playmaker and leader. Not only was he allowed to play point guard more often, Coach Jamike highlighted his leadership, designating him Team Captain in his senior year.   STRENGTHS Season 80 (his final year) saw Jjay’s usage rate skyrocket, logging an average 33 minutes, scoring 17 points, grabbing 6.4 rebounds, and dishing out 6.7 assists per contest. He also shot close to 40 percent from the field and 27.5 percent from downtown, with almost two 3-pointers a game. Most impressive in my opinion was the emergence of his passing ability, which had been underrated throughout his career. With the ball in his hand more often, Jjay was able to create more opportunities for himself and his teammates by getting into the paint, where he showed a lot of craftiness and composure in traffic. As a result, he more than doubled his assist numbers from season 79. AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT Areas which he will need to improve on as he makes the jump to the PBA are primarily his strength and his defense. While Jjay is a deft pickpocket who can swipe at ballhandlers or play the passing lanes, he will have to hold his own on a nightly basis against stronger and taller guards. That means he’ll have to work on his on-ball defense, whether perimeter or in the post. If he wants to carve out a regular spot in the rotation, he’ll have to play point guard effectively, while polishing his jumper such that he’ll have a quicker release, as defenders are much quicker and smarter in the pros -- think Kevin Alas when he made the jump from college ball. That means tightening his handles, and improving not just his court vision, but his overall control of the game. One thing he’s definitely got going for him though is his ability to make plays in the clutch. Jjay Alejandro has never been known to shy away from big moments, and he will be more than willing to take and make big shots to decide the outcome of a game. That is one thing PBA teams are always on the lookout for.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 15th, 2018

Dominant defense leads Bears over Rams 15-6

By Andrew Seligman, Associated Press CHICAGO (AP) — Eddie Goldman led a dominant effort by the defense, and the Chicago Bears shut down Jared Goff and Los Angeles' high-powered offense in a 15-6 victory over the NFC West champion Rams on Sunday night. The Rams (11-2) missed a chance to secure a first-round playoff bye and fell into a tie with New Orleans for home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. Goff threw a career-high four interceptions and was sacked three times, with Goldman getting to him for a tiebreaking safety early in the third quarter. Bradley Sowell became the first Bears offensive lineman in 11 years with a touchdown reception when he caught a 2-yarder from Mitchell Trubisky in the third quarter. "For them to go out and do it (against) a team that had only one loss all year long ... is so powerful for our guys now because it helps us grow," coach Matt Nagy said. "It helps us grow with confidence. It helps us grow togetherness. When you teach that and you talk about it over and over and over — as a culture, as a building, everyone together as a family — and then they do it, it lights a fire. It puts us in a great position. We do talk about one game at a time. They're gonna enjoy tonight and then we're gonna get right back in it and get ready for next week." Coming off a shaky outing against Detroit, Goff was 20 of 44 for 180 yards with a 19.1 rating. NFL rushing leader Todd Gurley ran for a season-low 28 yards on 11 carries, and the Rams' three-game win streak came to an end. The Rams' only other loss was at New Orleans. But against the Monsters of the Midway, they managed just 214 yards. "Tonight was a humbling experience for me as a head coach," Los Angeles' Sean McVay said. The NFC North-leading Bears (9-4) bounced back from a wild overtime loss at the New York Giants and won for the sixth time in seven games. Trubisky was about as bad as Goff. After missing the previous two games because of a right shoulder injury, he was 16 of 30 for 110 yards and three interceptions. But Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks had sacks. Roquan Smith, Prince Amukamara, Eddie Jackson and Kyle Fuller had interceptions, helping Chicago beat the team that came in with the NFL's best record. Goldman broke a 6-6 tie in the opening minute of the third quarter when he sacked Goff for Chicago's first safety this season. The Bears then used a trick play they call "Santa's Sleigh" to make it 15-6, when Sowell hauled in a 2-yarder from Trubisky on a play-action with defensive end Hicks. That made him the first Bears offensive lineman with a TD reception since John St. Clair against Kansas City on Sept. 16, 2017. The Rams had a big opportunity late in the third when John Johnson III returned an interception 35 yards to the Chicago 27. But Fuller picked off a wobbly pass from Goff intended for Josh Reynolds on the next play. Los Angeles' Greg Zuerlein missed a 40-yard field goal off the right upright in the opening minutes of the fourth after making a 50-yarder earlier in the game. INJURIES Rams: CB Dominique Hatfield was taken from the field on a cart with an ankle injury in the third quarter. He was hurt on the kickoff following Sowell's TD. ... C John Sullivan was evaluated for a concussion after being shaken up blocking on a run by Gurley late in the first quarter. But he returned in the second half. Bears: CB Bryce Callahan left the game with a foot injury late in the first half. UP NEXT Rams: Host Philadelphia on Dec. 16. Bears: Host Green Bay on Dec. 16......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 10th, 2018

Ex-UP top gunner Paolo Mendoza to Fighting Maroons: Focus on goal, not yourselves

After 21 years, the UP Fighting Maroons are on the cusp of entering the UAAP Finals as they battle against the Adamson Soaring Falcons for the right to face the defending champion Ateneo Blue Eagles for the Season 81 title.   A familiar situation 1997 was the last time UP made it to the Final Four, also forging a sudden death match for a spot in the Finals in Season 60. One of the top players back then was scoring sensation Paolo Mendoza, who is now the head coach of the UPIS Junior Fighting Maroons. Unfortunately, however, Mendoza's team lost by just a point, 69-70, during the Game 2 of the knockout match against the FEU Tamaraws, denying their march to the Finals. Being the top scorer and team leader of the Fighting Maroons at that time, Mendoza is elated to see the current team in the same position they had in 1997. In an exclusive interview, Mendoza said he is elated that UP finally made it again this far in the league, considering also that Juan and Javi Gomez de Liano, Diego Dario, and Wil Gozum were former UPIS Junior Fighting Maroons.   Defensive intensity Mendoza stressed that offense has always been and will always be there as the roster has top gunners like the Gomez De Liano brothers, Paul Desiderio, Jun Manzo, and MVP favorite Bright Akhuetie. However, he believes the team’s defensive intensity was the most obvious improvement compared to their performance during the first round of playoffs. “Magaling ‘yung attention and commitment nila sa defense. Ang galing ng ginawa ni Coach Bo (Perasol),” he said, adding that the boys definitely executed even the smallest of details in their defense. Being optimistic for today’s game, Mendoza thinks that the main concern or probable weakness of the team will be nothing and no one but themselves. “Sometimes in situations like this, you will be overwhelmed. Your focus on the game will really be tested,” he said, adding that focus is just what might probably get in the way in getting the win in today’s match.   Similarities with 1997 team Meanwhile, the major similarity that Mendoza thinks there is between their team during Season 60 and the current Fighting Maroons is the commitment of the players. “‘Yung similarity na talagang nakikita ko is ‘yung commitment ng parehong generations. During our time, very committed kami sa goal namin, the same way how the team is committed now,” he said. Reminiscing the exact situation they were in during Season 60, Mendoza is certain that they were still successful during their time despite falling short against the FEU Tamaraws, who were then the number one team in the standings and had the that twice-to-beat edge. “Ang maganda siguro sa team namin noon, we know our roles and we accept those roles. We respect each other a lot. Kaya masasabi naming naging matagumpay noong time namin,” he said.   Like an ordinary game The old cliche that is  “playing one game at a time” was the mindset of Mendoza during that do-or-die game against FEU. Mendoza admitted that he actually just treated that game as an ordinary game as he did not want to pressure himself so much. “During times like this, medyo iseseparate mo muna ‘yung sarili mo sa mundo kasi everybody’s talking about the game - your friends, family, and the whole UP community,” he said. Difficulties will always be present during crucial knockout games and Mendoza admitted it was really the focus on the game, which was very hard for them back then. “Sometimes, you tend to focus on yourself eh; nakakalimutan mo na yung goal ng team that is why importante ‘yung may leaders who know how to gather the team,” he said, adding that when you are already one of the top teams you always have to bring your “A" game” every time. Knowing how to handle pressure In sharing his learnings from his experience as a veteran player, Mendoza stressed that each one on the team now should know how to handle the pressure and expectations. “They should not take their eyes off the goal. Dapat alam nila ‘yung kailangan nilang gawin. Most importantly, they should think of everybody, the whole UP community sacrificing their time to support the team,” he said. Mendoza also pointed out that the performance of GDL brothers Juan and Javi is very crucial. “I think sila ang barometer ng UP. If they play well, strong ang chance ng UP to win,” he said. When asked what the Finals picture is for UP, Mendoza confidently said that his hopes are high for the very talented team. With the way the boys play, there is a very high chance that they will make it into Finals. They just need to maintain it and keep it a notch higher on defense. “Hindi talaga ako magugulat kung manalo ang UP. If it happens, first Finals appearance ulit ng UP in years,” he said......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 28th, 2018

Feeling ko parang 60% pa lang ako -- Arellano U hitter Arocha

Last year’s Finals Most Valuable Player Regine Arocha admitted that she’s far from the same explosive player who helped Arellano University capture back-to-back titles in the NCAA women’s volleyball competition. The hitter, considered to be the Lady Chiefs’ leader this season after the departure of Jovielyn Prado, Anne Esguerra and Andrea Marzan, felt that she’s still adjusting to her role. It doesn’t help that she’s nursing a nagging sore back and mild leg pain.     “Sa ngayon feeling ko parang 60% pa lang ako,” said Arocha, also the Season 93 Best Opposite Spiker, Tuesday in the Lady Chiefs’ 25-17, 20-25, 25-18, 18-25, 16-14, win against College of St. Benilde at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Arocha finished with 14 points but Arellano U head coach Obet Javier wasn’t satisfied with his wards game despite the Lady Chiefs’ 2-0 record.    “Sinabi ko kay Regine na talagang kailangan mong buhatin ang team mo,” said Javier, who gave his hitter a tongue-lashing during Arellano’s fourth set collapse. “Aminin man natin o hindi talagang siya ang sinasandalan ng team, kahit ako siya ang sinasandalan ko.” “Lagi ko lang nire-remind sa kanya na kapag ikaw ang nawala, talagang mawawala ang team dahil ikaw ang tinitingala ng mga mga bata,” he added. Arocha apologized for her lapses.   “Kaya sobrang nagso-sorry ako kay coach,” a teary-eyed Arocha told Javier during their postgame interview. “Kaya gaya ng sinasabi ko kay coach, ‘Wait ka lang. Darating din tayo dyan’” With her early struggles, Arocha was thankful to her teammates for stepping up. Against the Lady Blazers, the only team which defeated the Lady Chiefs last year, Season 93 Rookie of the Year Necole Ebuen dropped 22 points while Princess Bello had 18 markers. “Sa laro alam ko po kulang pa ako eh,” said Arocha. “Kulang pa yung ipinapakita kong laro kaya sobrang laking pasasalamat ko sa teammates ko na nagagampanan nila ang responsibilidad nila. Na kapag wala ako nandyan sila.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 27th, 2018

PSG aims to avoid early elimination in Champions League

By Tales Azzoni, Associated Press MADRID (AP) — Paris Saint-Germain's hopes of breaking through in European soccer could end earlier than usual this season. A loss against Liverpool on Wednesday in Paris, coupled with a home win by Napoli over Red Star, would keep PSG from making it out of the group stage in the Champions League. And that would be a significant setback for the big-spending French team desperately trying to assert itself as a world-class club. It would be the first time PSG failed to reach the tournament's knockout round since 2011-12, after Qatar Sports Investments took over the club with the goal of turning it into a top contender. PSG was eliminated in the round of 16 last season, after reaching the quarterfinals four straight years before that. Failure this time would hurt PSG in its second season since signing Brazil star Neymar for 222 million euros from Barcelona in an attempt to increase its chances of succeeding in Europe. PSG enters the crucial match at Parc des Princes with five points in Group C, one behind leaders Liverpool and Napoli. A victory would put the French club back in position to advance depending on its own results. "It's a decisive match in a very, very complicated group," PSG coach Thomas Tuchel told French broadcaster TF1. The good news for Tuchel is that Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, who had been sidelined because of injuries, are expected to be available for the home match against Liverpool. A look at the four Champions League groups on Wednesday: GROUP A Atletico Madrid and Borussia Dortmund lead the group and have a chance to secure places in the knockout round in advance. Dortmund needs a draw at Club Brugge, while Atletico needs a home win against Monaco. Atletico can also advance if Club Brugge loses points against Dortmund, which is coming off a blistering start to the season under new coach Lucien Favre. The only setback for Favre so far was the 2-0 loss at Atletico in the team's previous Champions League appearance. Paco Alcacer, signed on a permanent basis from Barcelona on Friday, scored again on Saturday in a win over Mainz, taking his league tally to nine goals in seven appearances. GROUP B Harry Kane kept Tottenham's Champions League hopes alive with a late double to sink PSV Eindhoven in the last round of games. Now the striker has some back-up as his team tries to complete an unlikely recovery to qualify from Group B. Tottenham has struggled for attacking fluency this season, mainly because attacking midfielders Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli have been missing at times because of injury. They appear to be fully fit now and were superb in Tottenham's win over Chelsea in the Premier League on Saturday, a 3-1 win that might have been its best display of the season. Spurs need to beat Inter Milan at Wembley Stadium on Wednesday to keep alive ambitions of a top-two finish. That would leave the teams tied on seven points. Tottenham would still likely require a win at already-qualified Barcelona to advance, given that Inter closes group play at home to last-place PSV. Barcelona, without Rafinha, Luis Suarez and Arthur because of injuries, has a three-point advantage at the top and will clinch first place in the group with a win over PSV, or a draw if Inter does not beat Tottenham. GROUP C Victories by Liverpool and Napoli would lock up the group which has proven to be the tightest of the Champions League. Napoli, the group's only unbeaten team with three draws and one win, hosts a Red Star team which still has chances of advancing in its return to the tournament's group stage after 26 years. The Serbian club has four points, one fewer than Paris Saint-Germain and two fewer than Napoli and Liverpool. Red Star held Napoli to a 0-0 draw at home in the first round, but then conceded 10 goals in losses against PSG (6-1) and Liverpool (4-0). Liverpool, which beat PSG at home, lost 2-0 to Red Star in its previous Champions League match, but it is coming off two straight wins in the Premier League. PSG, cruising in the French league, beat Liverpool 3-0 the only other time the teams met in Paris, nearly two decades ago. GROUP D Group leader Porto hosts second-place Schalke in a match in which a draw could be enough for both clubs to advance. They would clinch a spot in the knockout stage with a draw if Galatasaray fails to win its match at already eliminated Lokomotiv Moscow. A victory would secure first place for Porto, which has won eight straight entering the match at its Estadio do Dragao. Porto is trying to make it to the round of 16 for the third straight season. The Portuguese champion has 10 points, two more than Schalke and six more than Galatasaray. Porto and Schalke are the only unbeaten teams in the group. Schalke hasn't made it to the knockout stage since 2014-15. ___ Associated Press writers John Leicester, Ciaran Fahey and Steve Douglas contributed to this report......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 27th, 2018

Antetokounmpo scores 34, Bucks top Spurs 135-129

By COLIN FLY,  Associated Press MILWAUKEE (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo had 34 points and 18 rebounds, rallying the Milwaukee Bucks from an 11-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat the San Antonio Spurs 135-129 on Saturday night (Sunday, PHL time). Antetokounmpo scored 14 points in the final period, hearing chants of "MVP! MVP!" each time he stepped to the free throw line. But he had plenty of help, with Malcolm Brogdon adding 23 points, Khris Middleton 21 and Eric Bledsoe finishing with 20 points and 10 assists. DeMar DeRozan scored 34 points for the Spurs, who took a 106-95 lead with 11 minutes to play after a jumper by Rudy Gay. But the Bucks roared back in a game featuring 26 lead changes, taking it for the final time when Antetokounmpo hit a pair of free throws with 2:44 left that made it 123-122. Milwaukee kept up the pressure from there. Middleton hit a key 3-pointer, Bledsoe drove to the hoop for a contested layup and Brogdon knocked down a 3 off a drive and dish from Bledsoe with 8.9 seconds to play to put the game out of reach. Devins Bertans came off the bench with 17 points for the Spurs, who also got 18 from Bryn Forbes and 15 from LaMarcus Aldridge. It took San Antonio less than five minutes to wipe out Milwaukee's early 15-point lead the Bucks built by starting 12 of 13 from the field. But the Spurs went on to lose for the sixth time in the last eight games. TIP-INS Spurs: Coach Gregg Popovich called departed star Kawhi Leonard a great player, but not a leader when discussing Patty Mills' leadership role. "Kawhi's talent will always be missed, but that leadership wasn't his deal at the time. That may come as he progresses," Popovich said before the game. Leonard was traded with Danny Green to the Raptors for DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a 2019 first-round pick in the offseason. Bucks: F Ersan Ilyasova (right knee soreness) dressed but did not play. . Antetokounmpo was fouled in the act of shooting 55 feet from the basket at the end of the first quarter by Derrick White. Antetokounmpo made all three shots. . Brook Lopez, who went 0 for 12 from 3-point range on Friday night, hit his first attempt against San Antonio. UP NEXT Spurs: At Chicago on Monday for the third of a four-game trip. Bucks: At Charlotte on Monday......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 25th, 2018

Westbrook scores 30 as Thunder hold off Hornets

By Murray Evans, Associated Press OKLAHOMA CITY — Russell Westbrook had 30 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists and the Oklahoma City Thunder held off a late rally by Charlotte to win 109-104 on Friday night, completing a regular-season sweep of the Hornets (Saturday, PHL time). Dennis Schroder — paired with Westbrook in the starting lineup for the first time this season — scored 23 points and Paul George added 17 points, seven rebounds and six assists for Oklahoma City, which has won 12 of its last 14 games after an 0-4 start. Kemba Walker had 25 points and eight assists for Charlotte, but the NBA’s leader in made 3-pointers went 2 of 10 from behind the arc. With the Hornets down 105-104, he drove and passed to Marvin Williams, who missed a 2-point jumper from the corner. Westbrook rebounded and hit two free throws with 11.2 seconds left. Walker missed a 3-pointer from the right wing with 2.4 seconds left and Westbrook again rebounded and hit two free throws to seal the win for the Thunder. Charlotte rallied from a 13-point third-quarter deficit to close within 93-92 on a put-back by Jeremy Lamb with 5:38 left and was within 97-95 after Walker hit a 3-pointer with 3:49 left. Westbrook answered with a three-point play and Oklahoma City pushed its lead to six points before Williams hit a 3-pointer with 37.1 seconds left to pull Charlotte within 105-104. Westbrook threw ball away with 20.5 seconds left, giving the Hornets a chance to take the lead. Lamb scored 18 points for Charlotte. The Thunder took the lead for good at 53-51 on a three-point play by Burton with 4:49 left in the first half and a 3-pointer by Westbrook in the final minute gave Oklahoma City a 62-57 advantage at halftime. The Thunder led 89-80 entering the fourth quarter. TIP-INS: Hornets: Reserve G Tony Parker missed the game with bruised ribs. Coach James Borrego said Parker was day-to-day . F Michael Kidd-Gilchrist missed his fifth straight game with a right ankle sprain . Frank Kaminsky recorded a season scoring high for the second straight game, finishing with 12 points after scoring 11 against Indiana on Wednesday . Williams’ 10 points gave him 10,002 for his career . Lamb tied his career high for made free throws, going 8 for 8. hunder: Coach Billy Donovan said G Terrance Ferguson, who sprained his left ankle in a win Wednesday at Golden State, will be reevaluated in 10 to 12 days. The Thunder said Thursday rookie G Hamidou Diallo, who also sprained his left ankle during that game, would be reevaluated in seven to 10 days . Two-way player Deonte Burton scored a career-high 11 points UP NEXT: Hornets: Wrap up a two-game road swing on Sunday at Atlanta. Thunder: Continue a four-game homestand on Saturday against Denver......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 24th, 2018

NCAA Season 94 volleyball: Lady Chiefs open three-peat bid

Arellano University begins its hunt for its third straight women’s title on Friday against Jose Rizal University in a rematch of last year’s Final Four when the NCAA Season 94 volleyball opens shop at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. The Lady Chiefs and Lady Bombers march into action at 12:00 noon following the 11:00 a.m. opening ceremony that will air live on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166, LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183 and via livestream. Last year’s Finals Most Valuable Player Regine Arocha will play the role of Arellano U’s leader after the departure of the Lady Chiefs’ Big Three Jovielyn Prado, Anne Esguerra and Andrea Marzan. Despite losing three key players, the Obet Javier-mentored squad will still be one of the title favorites with the return of high scoring hitter and last year’s rookie of the year Necole Ebuen. Meanwhile, after a historic Final Four appearance last season, the Lady Bombers will need to step up their game to fill in the scoring void left by Season 93 MVP Shola Alvarez. Head coach Mia Tioseco will pin her hopes on key holdovers Dolly Versoza, Karen Montojo and Christine Ebuenga for another successful run. In men’s play, last year’s runner up Chiefs battle the Heavy Bombers at 9:30 a.m. after the 8:00 a.m. clash between the Braves and Lights Bombers in juniors division.    --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 22nd, 2018

MINDANAO PEACE GAMES: Empowering women in karate: Observing proper form in sports—and life

By Patrick Van Wersch DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 21 Nov) – A black belt in Shotokan karate, 48-year-old Jessica Hojas Esparrago, coach and sports leader at Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan, is one of few women coaches in Philippine karate. The self-proclaimed “mama bear coach” is determined to develop athletes with a heart, smarts, […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanewsRelated NewsNov 21st, 2018

Browns GM: Team hasn t discussed Condoleezza Rice as coach

By Tom Withers, Associated Press CLEVELAND (AP) — The Browns' coaching search isn't quite ready to cross gender or diplomatic lines. General manager John Dorsey, who opened the possibility of hiring a woman to be Cleveland's next coach, said Sunday that the team has not discussed former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as a candidate to become the club's ninth coach since 1999. ESPN, citing an anonymous league source, reported that the team would like to interview Rice, an ardent Browns fan since childhood, for its coaching job. However, Dorsey said she is not on the team's current list of candidates. "Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is a great leader, possesses the highest possible character and also happens to be a Browns fan," Dorsey said. "I have the utmost respect and admiration for all she's accomplished and was honored to meet her for the first time earlier this season. Our coaching search will be thorough and deliberate, but we are still in the process of composing the list of candidates and Secretary Rice has not been discussed." Earlier this week, Dorsey said he would consider a wide-range of candidates. "I just want the best possible head coach to move this thing forward regardless of age," he said. "It could be a woman, too. I am serious. Who knows?" The 64-year-old Rice would be an historic and outside-the-box candidate for the Browns, who fired Hue Jackson last month after he won just three games in two-plus seasons and went 0-16 in 2017. There has never been a woman interviewed for a head coaching job in the NFL. On her Facebook page, Rice professed her deep love for the Browns and said confidently, "I know they will hire an experienced coach to take us to the next level." "On a more serious note, I do hope that the NFL will start to bring women into the coaching profession as position coaches and eventually coordinators and head coaches," she wrote. "One doesn't have to play the game to understand it and motivate players. But experience counts — and it is time to develop a pool of experienced women coaches. "BTW — I'm not ready to coach but I would like to call a play or two next season if the Browns need ideas! And at no time will I call for a "prevent defense." Rice's last reference is common among die-hard Browns fans, who still bemoan then-coach Marty Schottenheimer's decision to play soft coverage in the 1986 AFC championship game when Denver quarterback John Elway drove the Broncos 98 yards to a game-tying touchdown in the final seconds. "The Drive" as it's known helped the Broncos beat the Browns 23-20 in overtime, denying Cleveland a trip to the Super Bowl. Rice discussed her love for the team during a visit to the Browns' headquarters in 2010. Her passion for the Browns dates to her early years in Alabama, where she and her father watched games together and cheered for Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown on teams coached by Paul Brown. Rice has become increasingly involved in sports, serving on the College Football Playoff selection committee and chairing a commission on college basketball. She served as secretary of state under President George W. Bush from 2005-09. Dorsey said interim coach Gregg Williams will be interviewed for the full-time position following the season. The Browns have a bye this week and will face Cincinnati next Sunday, when they'll have a reunion sorts with Jackson, who was hired by the Bengals as a special assistant to coach Marvin Lewis......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 19th, 2018

Petron, Generika-Ayala dominate rivals

Petron and Generika-Ayala kept their hot streaks going as they crushed their respective foes in the 2018 Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Conference Saturday at the Caloocan Sports Complex. The Blaze Spikers dominated Cignal HD, 25-22, 25-16, 25-19, while the Lifesavers clobbered Smart, 25-19, 25-12, 25-15. Earlier, Milena Alessandrini scored 24 points while Eya Laure chipped in 19 markers as University of Santo Tomas edged Far Eastern University, 25-16, 13-25, 25-17, 25-15, in the Collegiate Grand Slam. Still, the day belonged to the Lifesavers. Patty Orendain delivered 18 points, 13 digs and 10 excellent receptions as Generika-Ayala captured its third straight win to climb the team standings with a 3-3 win-loss card. Libero Kath Arado said they know Smart is such a veteran and very disciplined team so defeating it in straight set is quite impossible, especially in this tough tourney. “To be honest, we didn’t expect to win in straight sets. We know that Smart is such a strong team with an intact core,” said Arado, the University of the East star who has been consistently manning to floor for the Lifesavers. “But we just did our best and we executed everything we did in practice. Those were the keys that led to this victory.” After barging into the win column via convincing wins over erstwhile leader F2 Logistics and Sta. Lucia, the Lifesavers marched to the warpath oozing with confidence. But after racing to a 16-9 lead in the third set, Aiko Urdas sparked a mini-rally to allow the Giga Hitters to move closer, 12-20, until Orendain restored order and towed the Lifesavers to match point. Skipper Angeli Araneta chipped in eight markers while Ria Meneses had seven points for Generika-Ayala, which displayed tremendous improvement under the mentorship of former Ateneo coach Sherwin Meneses. Grethcel Soltones tallied six points for Smart, which slid to 2-3......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 17th, 2018