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Kings hold off Nets 104-99 to complete back-to-back sweep

By Brian Mahoney, Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) — George Hill scored 22 points, Zach Randolph added 21 and the Sacramento Kings completed their first back-to-back sweep of the season by beating the Brooklyn Nets 104-99 on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time). The Kings got off to a sizzling start following their victory in Philadelphia a night earlier, then held on after Brooklyn cut a 21-point lead to two with just over a minute to play. The Nets missed a flurry of chances to tie before Hill finished it off with two free throws with 2.8 seconds remaining. The Kings had been 0-5 this season on the second night of a back-to-back. Spencer Dinwiddie scored 16 points but was among the many Nets with poor-shooting nights. Brooklyn shot under 40 percent from the field in its fourth straight loss. Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said before the game his team needed to start better, but Brooklyn couldn’t have done much worse. Sacramento made 16-of-21 shots and raced to a 36-20 lead after one quarter, which grew to 44-23 on Skal Labissiere’s three-point play early in the second. The lead was still 16 at halftime before the Nets finally got into the game, getting as close as 101-99 on Dinwiddie’s three-point play with 1:10 left. TIP-INS Kings: Rookie G De’Aaron Fox didn’t play because of a bruised right thigh. ... Reserve G Buddy Hield missed his first six shots and three in row were blocked before he made a jumper in the fourth quarter. ... Randolph finished with eight rebounds, surpassing 10,000 in his career. He joins Pau Gasol and Dirk Nowitzki as the only active players with 18,000 points and 10,000 rebounds. Nets: Brooklyn has dropped two straight at home to Sacramento after winning the first four meetings at Barclays Center. ... Rondae Hollis-Jefferson finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds. UP NEXT Kings: Host the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). Nets: Host the Washington Wizards on Friday (Saturday, PHL time)......»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnDec 21st, 2017

Superteams and superpowers: Basketball in 2017

The common theme in basketball as of late is rather simple: build yourself a superteam and see where it goes. 2017 saw a bunch of superteams take the court in all levels. Some panned out and some did not. Nevertheless, we live in a world of superteams. Either your favorite basketball team is one or it's not.   Warriors World For the 2016-2017 NBA Season, the 73-win Golden State Warriors, a superteam in their own right, added former Most Valuable Player Kevin Durant. Oh my goodness. The Dubs then proceeded to decimate the NBA, winning 67 games in the regular season. Golden State was even better in the playoffs, making a serious play for a postseason sweep before finishing with a 16-1 record and a second title in three seasons.   Seriously, it's a Warriors World that we live in Golden State's success has prompted other teams to try and create their own superteam. Houston snatched Chris Paul away from the Los Angeles Clippers and now the Rockets have a potent backcourt combo that also feature MVP contender James Harden. Oklahoma City completed two incredible trades that made Paul George and Carmelo Anthony members of the Thunder. Oh, OKC also has MVP winner Russell Westbrook running point. The Timberwolves also have something going on in Minnesota as Jimmy Butler joined Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins for a young and intriguing Big 3. The Eastern Conference landscape changed when Cleveland traded Kyrie Irving to Boston. The Celtics previously signed Gordon Hayward and all of a sudden, the winningest NBA franchise is in position to take over the East now and the forseeable future. Speaking of Cleveland, LeBron James is still with the Cavs and they've added Dwyane Wade of all people to join an aging but still scary superteam. The King started this whole superteam craze. Golden State just happened to perfect. We all live in a Warriors World.   Feer the Beer Over in the PBA, the Philippines' premier superteam is still pretty effective despite its stars each playing almost 40 minutes per game. A year removed from the "Beeracle Run," San Miguel made history by being only the second team to capture the Perpetual Trophy following three straight Philippine Cup titles. Then the Beermen, with the top-3 MVP candidates in June Mar Fajardo, Alex Cabagnot, and Chris Ross, plus Arwind Santos and Marcio Lassiter, ended the franchise's 16-year championship drought in the Commissioner's Cup. With the help of import Charles Rhodes of course. San Miguel had legitimate chances to win the Grand Slam of course, but the team ultimately fell short in the Governors' Cup. However, the Beermen did add 6'8" Fil-German Christian Standhardinger to the fold. Superteam.   Return of the Kings It was the perfect set up. Meralco earned the number 1 seed and was rolling all the way to the Finals. Meanwhile, the Gink Kings had to go through yet another emotional and heated series against rival TNT in the semifinals in order to have a chance to properly defend their title. The series before that? The Gin Kings had to end San Miguel's Grand Slam dreams. In the 2017 Governors' Cup Finals, Meralco was in perfect position to take The Rematch and allow the birth of a new PBA rivalry. After seven games, none of that happened and Ginebra won back-to-back titles by virtue of their quote unquote superteam. Greg Slaughter, Japeth Aguilar, Joe Devance, Justin Brownlee, LA Tenorio, Sol Mercado, and Scottie Thompson. How is that not a superteam? The Kangkong jokes sure died a slow death.   Systematic Mayhem Even in college hoops, superteams are the way to go. However, in the amatuers, you just have to recruit your way into building one. La Salle has perfected this method and the Green Archers are certainly the biggest --- and loudest and most aggressive ---- recruiters. The Taft superteam featuring Ben Mbala and co. got the Green Archers to two UAAP Finals and one championship. Only one championship because another superteam, quietly built in Katipunan with surgical, perhaps even robotic, precision, beat them this year. That's right, Big Bad Blue is once again on top of the UAAP as the Ateneo Blue Eagles scored a sensational, near-sweep of UAAP Season 80. Coach Tab Baldwin has a collection of incredible players that may not look like it on first glance but they do certainly qualify for superteam status. Dom't believe it? Maybe you will after they complete a five-peat. It could happen.   Sweep In the other collegiate league, two superteams dominated the NCAA for two separate periods in one season. First, Lyceum, the surprise superteam, made history by completing an 18-game sweep of the elimination round. However, the Pirates ran into the league's decade-old superteam in San Beda and the Red Lions ended up sweeping the Finals for yet another title. Most of the major characters from both squads will return for a new season and if a San Beda-Lyceum rematch does not happen, well, that's just disappointing isn't it?   OVERTIME 2017 also saw the rise and fall and rise of the Gilas Pilipinas program. Well sort of. The Philippines got off to a great star this year by absolutely dominating the SEABA Championships. Then, disaster struck in the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup when Gilas was embarassed by an old foe in South Korea. To end the year, the Philippine national team recovered, albeit in an ugly fashion, to take an early lead in the 2019 World Cup Asian Qualifiers. Gilas is more than capable of forming a Pinoy superteam that could compete, and even beat, the best of Asia. Let's hope we get that in 2018. Finally, 2017 also saw the Civil War PBA edition. It wasn't funny and it wasn't good. Fortunately, it seems that bright and peacuful days are ahead of our beloved league. Let's hope that's the case and let's just leave the bad memories behind this year. Time to move on and forget about that stuff. There are basketball games to be played.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 28th, 2017

2017-18 NBA season preview roundup

We're just hours away from tipping off the start of the 2017-18 NBA season. That means it's time to get caught up on your favorite team, their player movement, and their storylines entering this new campaign. Check out what you missed below: Opening day rosters Viewing guide for Oct. 18-23, 2017 Top opening day storylines 5 reasons why the Golden State Warriors will repeat 5 reasons why the Golden State Warriors won't repeat +++ Eastern Conference capsule previews “In a watered down East, Celtics-Cavs is the best thing going”   Atlantic Division Offseason moves Boston Celtics 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Offseason overhaul complete, new era begins for Celtics” Toronto Raptors 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Raptors hope offensive evolution pays off in playoffs” New York Knicks 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Anthony, Jackson gone, but Knicks’ losing likely to continue” Philadelphia 76ers 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “76ers put trust in oft-injured Embiid as franchise player” Brooklyn Nets 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Nets see potential for improvement behind bolstered roster” Central Division Offseason moves Cleveland Cavaliers 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “James returns, Cavaliers debut new 3-MVP starting lineup” Milwaukee Bucks 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Kidd looks to get young Bucks back up to speed quickly” Indiana Pacers 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Pacers change directions, making Turner, Oladipo new leaders” Chicago Bulls 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Bulls go all in on rebuild, gear up for run at high pick” Detroit Pistons 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Drummond under pressure as Pistons try to rebound” Southeast Division Offseason moves Washington Wizards 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Not since ’79: Wall, Beal eye 50 wins, East finals for Wiz” Atlanta Hawks 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Atlanta Hawks begin a long, painful rebuilding process” Miami Heat 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Heat are deep, and hoping that means they’ll contend in East” Charlotte Hornets 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Howard-Clifford reunion may determine Hornets’ success” Orlando Magic 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Magic seek better results, more wins with mostly same roster” Western Conference capsule previews “Surprise! Golden State is the team to beat out West, again” Northwest Division Offseason moves Utah Jazz 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Jazz hope Hood can pick up scoring slack after Hayward exit" Oklahoma City Thunder 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Thunder add reinforcements for MVP Westbrook" Portland Trail Blazers 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Jusuf Nurkic wants Blazers to channel Pistons of days past" Denver Nuggets 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Leaner Nikola Jokic eager to lead Nuggets back to playoffs" Minnesota Timberwolves 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Now or never for the Minnesota Timberwolves" Pacific Division Offseason moves Golden State Warriors 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Kerr pushes Warriors to keep joy, chase repeat championship" LA Clippers 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “With Paul gone, Clippers very much Blake Griffin’s team" Sacramento Kings 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “New-look, youthful Kings try to gain ground in tough West" LA Lakers 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Ball prepared to shine in spotlight with rebuilding Lakers" Phoenix Suns 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “In their 50th season, Suns patient in developing young team" Southwest Division Offseason moves San Antonio Spurs 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Aldridge still trying to find his place with Spurs" Houston Rockets 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Rockets add All-Star Paul as they look to take next step" Memphis Grizzlies 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “New-look Grizzlies leaning heavily on Parsons in new era" New Orleans Pelicans 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Pelicans’ Davis, Cousins embracing throw-back lineup" Dallas Mavericks 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Mavs take tempered expectations into Nowitzki’s 20th season".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 17th, 2017

Ateneo s Fab 5: The Fearless Underdogs of UAAP Volleyball

Newly-appointed head coach Roger Gorayeb looked at his line-up heading into UAAP Season 71. A champion mentor of NCAA powerhouse San Sebastian College - Recoletos, Gorayeb had in his hands a gargantuan task of rebuilding Ateneo de Manila University women’s volleyball program. Just a few months before, Ronald Dulay, the mentor before him landed a trio of blue chip recruits who were fresh from a successful stint in the Palarong Pambansa. Angeline "Dzi" Gervacio, Fille Saint Cainglet and Jamenea "Jem" Ferrer just joined the Katipunan-based squad. Gervacio and Cainglet were products of St. Scholastica's College in Manila while Ferrer was a gem from Hope Christian School under girl’s volleyball guru Jerry Yee. Looking at his 15-woman line-up with the season just a few months ahead, Gorayeb knew he needed to do something drastic. The roster just won’t do. Talking to then athletic director Ricky Palou and team manager Tony Boy Liao, the mentor told the team officials that he intended to cut five players from the list. One could just imagine the shock in their faces. “Nakita ko may line-up pero player-playeran lang yung ganoon bang tipo, 15 ata yun. Sabi ko ‘Magtatanggal ako ng lima then magre-recruit ako,’” he said. The three rookies were in. Middle Bea Pascual, Kara Acevedo and libero Steph Gabriel retained their spots. He needed more. “Sa mga tinira kong players, si Kara Acevedo sabi niya, ‘Coach mayroong player ang ICA (Immaculate Conception Academy) na gumraduate naka-exam na rito pasado.’ Sabi ko, ‘Sige papuntahin mo,’” said Gorayeb. It was Gretchen Ho. “Sa akin kasi ang talagang nagyaya sa akin si coach Ron Dulay. Si Kara Acevedo teammate ko and she’s been recruited by Ateneo. So one summer wala akong magawa naki-train lang ako noon tapos nagustuhan nila ang laro ko and then fourth year noong graduate na ako I passed the ACET then niyayaya na nila ako,” she said. “Then nagbago ng coach na si Coach Roger and dun niya ako nakita.”   “Pagdating ko ng March (sa Ateneo) wala na akong way para maka-recruit pa. Ang nangyari yung tatlo accepted na kaagad. Si Gretchen tinanong ko sabi ko, ‘ano ba ang laro mo?’ Sabi niya the usual panggitna, tres,” Gorayeb recalled. “So sinubukan ko pero ang laro niya tres hindi quick. Siya panggitna pero hindi quicker na gusto ko saka yung height niya (maliit). Kaya lang si Gretchen takbo ng takbo, mahilig magtatakbo so sabi ko sige pwede na yan. Wala namang player na during that time. So kinuha ko si Gretchen.” Gorayeb just needed just one more. “Ngayon nagkaroon ng STCAA (Southern Tagalog Calabarzon athletic association) eh kulang pa ako ng isa, wala akong panggitna. Ang gitna ko during that time si Bea lang tapos si Gretchen so wala akong pamalit. So naisipan ko may nakita ako sa STCAA,” he said. He spotted a lanky player from Canossa Academy-Lipa, Aillysse Nacachi. “Sabi ko kay Sir Tony pagtyagaan ko na lang ito kahit hindi naman kalakasan at wala naman na rin akong choice na makapili kasi rush ang pagdating ko dyan. Nakiusap lang sila sa akin na magbuo ako ng team kasi si Ronald nag-resign,” said Gorayeb. Another freshman could’ve had ended up with Ateneo, Hope’s libero Melissa Gohing. But a few obstacles prevented her from fulfilling her promise to join Ferrer in Ateneo. She instead chose to join the ladies in green and white in Taft.    SOMETHING PROMISING December 7, 2008. Far Eastern University Gym. Excitement filled the air. Fans, mostly volleyball purists and some who just came to support their classmates or were just curious to see a new spectacle after the basketball season ended, slowly settled in their seats for the women’s division’s second game. It was Adamson University, the previous year’s runner-up, which just visited the turf of their arch nemesis and defending champion FEU, which was led by that era’s finest and most popular volleybelle Rachel Anne Daquis. Fans wanted to see if the Lady Falcons still had the same firepower they had the previous season with the loss of top setter Janet Serafica and power hitter Sang Laguilles. A rookie-laden Ateneo squad should be easy pickings with Angela Benting, rookie Pau Soriano and libero Lizlee Anne Gata in the roster. Besides the Lady Falcons got the Lady Eagles’ number. Or so they thought. “Naalala ko nu’ng time namin sinasabi sa amin ng seniors namin na, ‘Hay naku ang lakas ng Adamson, never kami nanalo dyan,’” Cainglet, now happily married to film director Lino Cayetano and with three beautiful children, recalled.  But the Lady Eagles stunned Adamson in the opening set. The Lady Falcons took the next two frames. Ateneo stole the fourth.  “Ako naalala ko ano eh, parang alam namin na lahat kasi kami palaban. Nasa amin yun. Tapos binigyan kaming lahat ng chance to be in the first six so parang dream come true,” said Ho, now an ABS-CBN host. “Naalala ko rin na palaban kaming lahat kumbaga nothing to lose eh so ang ano namin, sumasabay kami sa laro and nu’ng nakita na namin na ‘Ay kaya pala natin ‘to guys. Kaya pala naming lumaban.’” Still, Adamson had the upper hand in experience. The Lady Falcons, used to pressure and were steady at crunch time, outlasted Ateneo.           The young Katipunan-based squad fell short, 25-22, 22-25, 15-25, 25-15, 8-15. But for the Fab 5, it was a loss that felt like a resounding victory. “Parang sobrang natutuwa kami and everybody in the crowd, kaya siguro kami natawag na Fab 5 kasi rookies kami pero kahit ganoon palaban kami,” said Ho. “Saka close game. Five sets yun.” However, it was the first of five five-set matches that Ateneo will drop that season including one in the second round against the Manilla Santos-bannered De La Salle University. “Pero ang problema di kami nananalo ng five sets. Parang ilan lang ang naipanalo namin na ganoon. Feeling ko na-overwhelm kami na ‘Uy nananalo tayo.’ May ganoong disbelief ng konti pero alam namin na may ibubuga kami,” said Ho. “Definitely, our rookie season was full of five-set matches. It was tough, we felt like we were so close, but still so far away. At some point, it gave us frustration also. We just couldn't figure out that time what is it that's still lacking because we couldn't win the five-set matches,” according to Nacachi. “People said, it was because the team was still so inexperienced. We still didn't have the tenacity unlike of those more matured teams. But we didn't take it as bad, it was a learning experience for us all at the end. We had to learn how to develop that finishing will to be able to win games like that in the future.” The Fab 5 finished their rookie season with a 6-8 slate at fifth spot.   ‘MAY MEDAL NA TAYO’ Gorayeb remembered on their second year the look on Pascual’s face in their last elimination game match against Adamson. Already wrapping up their first win over the Lady Falcons, Pascual was giddy. “Natatawa nga ako dyan kay Bea kasi papanalo na kami nu’n tapos sumesenyas na siya ng tres. Sabi ko, ‘Hoy anong ginagawa mo?’ Yun pala sobrang saya na niya kasi for the first time in 30 years magkaka-medal na sila,” he said. It was the most important match of the season for the Lady Eagles. With the Fab 5 already in their sophomore year, Ateneo was already making great strides. The Lady Eagles closed that season’s elims with five straight wins capped with a victory over Adamson. Ateneo posted a 10-4 win-loss mark to enter the Final Four legitimately. “Ang nangyari kasi nu’ng time nila Charo (Soriano) kaya sila nakapasok sa semis kasi may nag-squeal na si (Jacq) Alarca di pala naka-enroll nu’n kaya na-forfeit mga laro ng La Salle,” said Gorayeb. The Fab 5 proved that they were not just a bunch of much-hyped up pretty faces. They backed it up with their skills on court. It didn’t matter that Ateneo were swept by eventual champion University of Sto. Tomas in the Final Four.      But the podium finish of Season 72 was short-lived. Adamson got its revenge in the last game of Season 73 elims, bumping off the Lady Eagles in the podium finish. The loss put Ateneo in a collision course with the twice-to-beat DLSU, who could’ve completed an elims sweep if not only for a forfeited match against University of the East after UAAP found out that Carmela Garbin and Clarisse Yeung participated in a ‘ligang labas’ while the season was onoing, in the Final Four. Ateneo gave the Lady Spikers a scare before succumbing in another heartbreaking five-set match. The Lady Eagles finished fourth but that lone semis game gave Ateneo and its maturing Fab 5 enough experience to dream for something big – A ticket into the Finals.      ‘HINOG NA KAYO’ The first three years saw the gradual improvement for Ateneo. But Season 74 proved to be the turning point for the Fab 5. A fresh new recruit from University of Sto. Tomas high school, who just completed a year of residency, came into picture and with the Fab 5 armed with years of experience, the Lady Eagles’ fate will forever be changed. Alyssa Valdez, a highly recruited open spiker just like Gervacio, Cainglet-Cayetano and Ferrer years back, gave renewed excitement for the Ateneo faithful. “Alyssa's joining with Ateneo was a great turning point for us. We needed as much support we can get, and Alyssa's entrance to the team was a great boost to the team's morale,” said Nacachi. “The girl is a powerhouse and we felt like with her presence, the team finally became solid.” “We were able to play around with the positions and the rotations, since we had different versatile open players who can also greatly play other roles,” she added. “We were also able to formulate a lot of plays and attacks because Alyssa can generally do all kinds; open, running, quick, name it all. She gave the team the power and the versatility that we previously lacked from the past seasons.” Social media was just gaining traction then but the Lady Eagles were already on the radar of volleyball purists through online forums. For the first time, Ateneo was considered a legitimate contender.   The Fab 5 proved it by winning 11 games in the elimination round, losing only to UST once and dropping two against the Lady Spikers. Valdez’s arrival gave Ferrer an even broader option on offense. It eased the scoring load off the shoulders of Cainglet and Gervacio, who was then moved to an opposite position. “I guess sakto lang din yung dating niya because by that time Kara Acevedo graduated so someone had to fill in her spot so coach Roger decided for me to move to utility or opposite,” said Gervacio. “And then sakto Alyssa naman could fill in the spot na other open spiker.” “So timing din na we had all the pieces put together at the right time,” she added. With a good performance in the elims despite missing a legit middle in Bea Pascual and the entry of Aerieal Patnongon barred by academic problems, Ateneo finished second and for the first-time was armed with a twice-to-beat advantage in the stepladder semifinals. The Lady Eagles faced an experienced Tigresses side in the last stepladder semis stage. UST just came from a hard-fought four-set do-or-die match against FEU and were banking on their four-set win over Ateneo in the second round to force another sudden death. Ateneo’s date with destiny was sealed with a four-set win over the Tigresses, who then bid goodbye to Maika Ortiz and Judy Anne Caballejo. “Pinu-push na rin kami ni Coach Roger noon eh, ‘Hinog na kayo ngayon. Kasi dalawang taon na lang, kailangan makapasok na kayo sa Finals,’” said Ho. “Somehow senior na rin kami,” added Cainglet.  “Season 74 was really the target season for us to be in the finals and target even to win the championship,” according to Nacachi. “During this time, we were already thinking we could not afford to not go in the finals.” “So it was with our mindset and our level of commitment that we were able to finally reach our goal of reaching the finals,” she added. “We had enough experience that time already, and it was really time for us to show the level of game maturity the team had obtained from the past seasons.” But then they had to face an unbeaten team. Unscathed in 14 games, De La Salle University was poised to complete a perfect season. The Lady Eagles spoiled it. Ferrer outplayed DLSU setter Mika Esperanza, 57-42, in excellent sets as Ateneo handed the Lady Spikers its first loss after 25 straight victories in a come-from-behind 23-25, 28-26, 25-23, 25-17, Finals opener win. Witnessed by 3,002 spectators inside the then The Arena in San Juan, all of the Fab 5 produced points. Cainglet had 19 behind Valdez’s 24, Gervacio scored 12, Ho had 10, Nacachi finished with five while Ferrer had one. Gorayeb made a big gambit and it worked. “Dahil sa wala kong panggitna, yung laro namin ng La Salle, ginawa kong quicker si Alyssa. Kasi si Alyssa nakakapalo. Nagulat si Ramil (de Jesus) dun.” It was a big win. A huge upset. Unfortunately, Ateneo needed to win two more.  DLSU held a thrice-to-beat advantage.   THAT SWAG After Ateneo made a miracle in Game One, fans began to feel a new rivalry born. The attendance spiked. From just 3,000 spectators, the gate attendance more than doubled its size. The interest was there. Fans of traditional powers began to notice the Lady Eagles as a rising team. For the first time, a squad with no previous championship experience except for a title during the Marcos era in a different collegiate league, made a giant jolt. Everybody wanted to see what these girls would do next.    The Lady Eagles, still high on adrenaline after their Game 1 upset, took the opening set in Game 2. But just like in their opener, a well-experienced DLSU squad adjusted to take the next three frames to move a step closer to a repeat crown. With then Rookie of the Year Ara Galang, Season Most Valuable Player Aby Marano, an intimidating Michele Gumabao and a very efficient Finals MVP Cha Cruz teaming up for the kill, the Lady Spikers ripped Ateneo apart in Game 3 in straight sets, 25-16, 25-22, 25-13. “Sabi nga ni Dzi na nadyan na lahat eh. So I guess noong Season 74 nandoon na pero may kulang pa rin,” said Ho. “I guess we we’re able to make it to the Finals pero wala pa kaming championship experience.” Ferrer agreed. "Siguro ang kulang yung championship experience kasi nasa La Salle na ‘yun eh. Ilang years na silang nagpa-finals, nag-champion and for Ateneo doon pa lang namin sinimulan," said the three-time Best Setter. Lacking championship experience is one thing, but Ateneo during that time wasn’t ready for DLSU’s most feared weapon: the Lady Spikers’ swag.  “They have that swag,” said Gervacio. “Everyone knows about it naman. It’s really coach Ramil’s style talaga kasi as I remember when we were first year, four out of six of the players inside the court were rookies and even if we go against the powerhouses UST, FEU, Adamson, hindi sila yung nakikita nyo na kapag championship na rivalry, na swag, angas, stare down. Pero La Salle talaga kahit sino ang kalaban nila they’ll bring that attitude inside the court.” That Finals series cemented a new rivalry that will become one of the most celebrated in the sport. “I think it also helped that Ateneo-La Salle basketball didn’t face also,” said Gervacio. “Siyempre nandoon ang hunger for the rivalry eh and timely din na its been Ateneo-La Salle na rin sa volleyball.”   CLOSING A CHAPTER The Fab 5 were now in their fifth and last year. They wanted to leave a winning legacy. The pieces were already there. Gorayeb had at his disposal five seniors, a rising star in Valdez, a sophomore middle in Amy Ahomiro, a versatile Ella De Jesus, a steady libero in Denden Lazaro and a new kind of weapon – a massive crowd that can turn any venue into a sea of blue.              As expected, the second installment of the Ateneo-DLSU rivalry was set into place. Both sweeping their semis opponents. The Lady Spikers crushed National University while the Lady Eagles shot down Adamson. Game One was a shocker. DLSU heading into the Finals are on a 14-game roll but were stunned in the first two sets with Ateneo stepping on the gas. But a string of miscues, mostly from the service line, did the Lady Eagles in as they allowed the Lady Spikers to force a decider. DLSU, smelling blood, punished Ateneo to eke out a 20-25, 17-25, 25-22, 25-22, 15-6, victory inside the Big Dome witnesses by 17,342-strong gate attendance. Then the series transferred to a newly-built, state-of-the-art Mall of Asia Arena that drew a crowd of 18,799. The first two frames were frustrating for the Lady Eagles.   Ateneo came back to life in the third set to gain a 9-5 lead. But DLSU easily erased it with Ateneo crumbling under pressure. The Lady Spikers were on an onslaught. Sophomore Galang pushed DLSU at matchpoint with a cold-blooded ace that went in a few inches from the baseline. The score, 24-16. It was a tense moment for the Fab 5. A long rally ensued in the next play. Gervacio, with all her might pounded a kill. Her hand making a great contact on the ball off Ferrer’s backset.     Smack! The ball ricocheted off the hands of DLSU’s Wensh Tiu before falling on the same landing area of Gervacio, who tried to dive for a dig together with Lazaro. DLSU swept Ateneo, 25-23, 25-20, 25-16. Game over.          “Kahit hindi kami nanalo alam naming ibinigay namin ang lahat namin, all-out talaga kaya wala kaming pagsisisi,” said Ho. It was the end of the Fab 5 era, but they left more than what any of them could have imagined. "I remember so many people or fans telling me that they started really watching UAAP Volleyball because of our batch. And that is really touching and fulfilling to know. Knowing that you were able to leave an impact like that to people. We were not able to bring even a single championship to our school, Ateneo, but we were able to touch a lot of people's hearts despite that," Nacachi shared. The Fab 5 closed a colorful chapter of Ateneo volleyball in tears. They were there during the Lady Eagles’ birth pains. They labored. They shed tears, blood and sweat. They laid the foundation for something big. The Fab 5 planted the seeds that would eventually bear fruit and would change the course of Ateneo women’s volleyball program forever. Glory didn’t happen during their time. It started in theirs.    Amidst the roar of the crowd, the falling confetti, banging of drums and the echoing chant of ‘Animo La Salle’ from the sea of green, the Fab 5 hugged each other tight. They found comfort in each other. It was their time to say goodbye. For those who remained – Valdez, Lazaro, Ahomiro, De Jesus – the defeat added fuel to their already blazing desire to bring glory for the blue and white. They were the next in line, heirs to unfinished business. WATCH: FAB 5 Reunion Part 1 and Part 2 --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 20th, 2018

DE JESUS: Genius, disciplinarian, champion coach

This story was originally published on May 7, 2017 De La Salle University head coach Ramil De Jesus came inside the press room of the Big Dome for a post-game interview wearing the same smile he had in the past nine times the Lady Spikers closed the UAAP season as champions. The only difference in those championship interviews were the players that accompanied him to answer questions from reporters. From Iris Ortega-Patrona, Desiree Hernandez, Maureen Penetrante, the legendary Manilla Santos, the Big Three of Cha Cruz, Paneng Mercado and Jacq Alarca, to Michel Gumabao and beast-mode-don’t-care Aby Marano to Ara Galang, Mika Reyes, Kim Dy and gem of a setter in Kim Fajaro – all of them stood beside a genius and architect of DLSU’s successful volleyball program. Victory after victory, De Jesus built his reputation as a one of the best women’s volleyball mentors in the country. Last Saturday, De Jesus added another feather to his cap when he steered the Taft-based squad to back-to-back titles in the 79th UAAP women’s volleyball tournament at the expense of archrival Ateneo de Manila. Two decades since his arrival to the school of a different shade of green after playing for Far Eastern University, delivered 10 titles and brought the Lady Spikers to the Finals 17 times.   De Jesus shared the secret of his success. “Siguro, sistema siguro then hard work. And then, well-disciplined ‘yung mga bata. Siguro, ‘yun ‘yung key,” he said. His success earned him the respect of his peers including three-time UAAP men’s volleyball champion Oliver Almadro of Ateneo, who was once one of his lieutenants, and players alike. DLSU embraced him as one of its own. “Natutuwa ako kasi kahit hindi ako alumnus doon niyakap nila ako bilang parang doon na din nag-graduate,” said De Jesus. “Hindi ko naman napapansin ang mga nanyayari sa akin sila lang ang nakakapansin, binigyan nga ako ng award. Happy, very happy (ako).” De Jesus is known to be a no nonsense coach. Strict, straightforward and a disciplinarian – traits he inherited from FEU men’s coach Kid Santos.                He doesn’t like fanfare and as much as possible keeps attention away from him. De Jesus carefully chooses his words but when he gives one, everybody listens. He means business all the time.   Brilliance of De Jesus 246-65. De Jesus knows how to win and his career win-loss record says it all. The main reason why DLSU trusted De Jesus to handle the team for that many years – a rare feat considering that a UAAP coach’s tenure is very volatile.   It was summer 20 years ago when former basketball Olympian and influential DLSU sport personality Ramoncito Campos brought in a young mentor in De Jesus to save the school’s volleyball program, which then had yet to win a title since joining the league in 1986.           He entered the UAAP volleyball scene during the time when powerhouse teams Far Eastern University and University of Sto. Tomas, then mentored by legendary coach August Sta. Maria, were the ones lording over here the competition. Of course the road to glory didn’t come easy but his first tour of duty gave DLSU a chance to feel what it was to be in the Final Four when the Lady Spikers finished fourth a year when after strings of forgettable seasons. Quenching the thirst to salvage some pride in the sport that will eventually be DLSU’s second most valued contest next to basketball, the Lady Spikers began to hunger for the crown – something the school never felt before since winning it all back in 1976 as a member of the NCAA.   De Jesus submitted his team to Spartan-like training and hammering discipline and slowly molded the Lady Spikers to a championship-caliber squad. In Season 61, DLSU challenged FEU for the crown but the Lady Tamaraws’ championship experience prevailed. The loss only fueled De Jesus’ desire to bring the Lady Spikers to the throne even more. With the core of ace hitter Ortega-Patrona, setter Valerie Bautista, Sally Macasaet, Sheryl Magallanes, Demelle Chua, Hollie Reyes and then sophomore Ivy Remulla, De Jesus steered DLSU on the right track for another shot at the crown. Midway in the season Bautista got pregnant. De Jesus, calm and composed, knew what to do. He converted open spiker Reyes into a setter and the gambit worked as DLSU once again punched a ticket to the Finals, this time against UST – a very hungry team looking to reclaim the title. A year removed from the throne, UST was ready for the kill. But the Espana-based squad went against a famished team – DLSU will not leave the sweltering University of the Philippines Human Kinetics Gym without the championship trophy. In front of a crowd - dwarf-sized compared to the multitude of fans that troop bigger venues of today – the Lady Spikers wrote history. DLSU slew a giant in a thrilling five-set game behind the stellar performance of Ortega-Patrona, who won that Season’s Most Valuable Player award – the first of many incredible volleybelles that will bag the highest individual honor under De Jesus’ tutelage.     It was an incredible feat but it won’t see a repeat in the next three years.              Grand Slam After their breakthrough title, the Lady Spikers had three straight bride’s maid finishes behind FEU. Heartbreaks brought by Ortega-Patrona’s falling out with De Jesus over a disciplinary issue in Season 63 and the unstoppable power of FEU's Monica Aleta, who won three straight MVP awards while towing the Lady Tams to a three-peat. Like a chess master, De Jesus learned from his mistakes before pulling off a feat that will cement his name as one of the greatest. With Hernandez, Penetrante and a young Santos as his main pieces, he steered the Lady Spikers to a rare three-peat. DLSU brought into heel FEU, UST and Adamson to complete a grand slam. A four-peat loomed for the celebrated Lady Spikers but fate played a cruel trick on them after UAAP suspended DLSU in Season 69 because the Green Archers' basketball squad fielded two ineligible players the previous year.       When the ban was lifted in Season 70, De Jesus and the Lady Spikers were again under the radar as title contenders together with the defending champion UST, FEU and Adamson. But team was forced to file a leave of absence from the school while the tournament was ongoing because Alarca saw action despite incomplete academic credentials to be eligible to play. All of the team’s won games where Alarca played where forfeited and the Lady Spikers ended up at seventh place. It was a painful setback but it also served as a rallying point for DLSU. With Santos playing her final year and the emergence of enigmatic but then rookie libero Mel Gohing in Season 71, the Lady Spikers denied the then graduating Rachel Anne Daquis and FEU back-to-back crowns. DLSU relinquished the throne to the Angeli Tabaquero and Aiza Maizo-led Tigresses the following year. The Lady Spikers avenged their loss the next season in a rematch with UST behind Alarca, Mercado, Cruz, Gumabao and Gohing in the start of De Jesus’ second three-peat.   DLSU-Ateneo rivalry Nobody really knows when UAAP volleyball picked up the tremendous following it has today. Maybe it needed something for people to get hooked into. A continuous rivalry, perhaps? For six straight years DLSU and Ateneo did just that. The storied rivalry between La Salle and Ateneo spilled from the basketball court to the taraflex mat of volleyball. De Jesus had in his bench the core of veterans Cruz, Gumabao and Marano back and freshmen Galang, Reyes and Demecillo when they met in the Season 74 Finals a young and promising Lady Eagles side – much like the Lady Spikers De Jesus inherited 14 seasons back. Led by Fille Cainglet, Dzi Gervacio and a fresh recruit from University of Sto. Tomas high school Alyssa Valdez, Ateneo gave DLSU a tough challenge for two seasons but the Lady Spikers repelled them both times. Then came Lady Eagles Thai mentor Tai Bundit. For three years in a row, De Jesus’ system bested the rest of the field including that of then Ateneo coach Roger Gorayeb. However, a coach who barely spoke English or Filipino provided him a challenge in Season 76. DLSU with an intact core led by Marano, swept its way straight to the Finals with a thrice-to-beat advantage. Ateneo crawled its way to the championship round through a series of do-or-die games. De Jesus is an old-school type of coach. His system is hinged on well-planned strategies and tactics. He was pitted against Bundit’s Thai-style of play anchored on a heartstrong mantra and a ‘happy, happy’ approach of the game. Bundit dances on the sideline, an animated fellow during the matches. De Jesus is stoic as always. When the two collided for the title for the first time, Bundit shocked De Jesus and DLSU when Ateneo beat them thrice in a four-game series that went the full distance. Bundit and the Valdez-led Lady Eagles did it again the following year, completing a season sweep at the expense of the Lady Spikers, who struggled to pose any form resistance in the Finals after Galang went down with a season-ending ACL tear in the semis. It was a devastating loss to say the least. But De Jesus, a general who fought many battles for the green and white, stuck with the weapon that brought him success – his ability to adjust. Outdueled by Bundit in their last six matches, De Jesus found a way to stop the rampaging Lady Eagles in their first meeting in Season 78. Ateneo equalized in the second round and even took the top spot after the elimination. The Lady Spikers and the Lady Eagles would eventually meet in the Finals for the fifth year in a row. De Jesus was ready for Ateneo. He knew the strengths and weaknesses of the Lady Eagles and used it to his advantage to win the series opener. The then graduating Valdez brought Ateneo back in Game 2 to tie the series, but DLSU completed its long-awaited revenge in the decider and gave Reyes, Demecillo and Galang a fitting sendoff gift.                  Road to back-to-back Losing five veterans including three of their key players heading into Season 79 gave De Jesus one of the toughest challenges he ever faced as a DLSU mentor.  Setter Kim Fajardo returned for her swan song together with fourth year playes Kim Dy, Dawn Macandili and Majoy Baron. Desiree Cheng also came back after a year of absence due to a knee injury, but De Jesus was still left to navigate with a relatively young crew.  “Sa laht nang nai-form kong team, ito yung medyo (up and down) yung performance,” he said. “Sobrang babaw ng bench, wala ka halos (mahugot) pagtingin mo, wala ka makuha.” DLSU struggled early and was on the losing end of two elims matches against Ateneo. “Ateneo nu’ng buong elimination NU lang ang halos tumalo. Sabi ko ano bang meron ang team na ito?” he said. “Pinilit lang naming habulin.” “Kasi alam ko nag-start kami medyo hilaw ang team namin. Early part ng first round natalo kami sa UP sabi ko pukpok pa tayo, habol pa,” De Jesus added. “Ang nakakatuwa sa mga bata, ang determinasyon na humabol nandoon.” When the De Jesus found himself leading the Lady Spikers to a sixth straight title series against Bundit and the Lady Eagles, he knew his squad was ready to defend their crown. And protect it they did in a series sweep capped by a dramatic five-set victory.    “Siguro buong eliminations, nire-review namin ang mga games, nakikita mo yung difference, ‘yung advantage at disadvantage ng team, so siguro doon kami nag-focus, kung saan kami medyo dehado. Concentrate kami sa training,” he said. “Ine-explain ko rin sa players kung ano yung dapat naming gawin, although mahirap. So, tanggapin na lang nila.” In a rare moment, when Ateneo’s Jho Maraguinot sent her attack long that signaled DLSU’s back-to-back championships, De Jesus let his hair down a little. He was jumping, dancing, celebrating the victory and even held his hands up, both his palms wide open as confetti dropped and the deafening roar of the crowd and banging of the drums echoed inside the arena. De Jesus won his tenth title. When the celebration subsided, De Jesus fashioned the same smile he wore in his past nine championships as he was led inside the pressroom of the Big Dome. Only this time around, Fajardo, Cheng and Dy were the ones who followed him from behind.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 20th, 2018

Warriors re-introduce themselves in rout of Spurs

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com OAKLAND, CALIF. — It is generally accepted that the Warriors will perspire some, feel a degree of burn in their lungs, receive an urgency slap in the face and get pushed toward the edge of their defending championship throne once they play a team from Texas. Just not this team from Texas. No, not the Spurs, at least that’s what the hunch and the outset of this first-round playoff series says. Common sense, too, wants to chime in and declare the Spurs without Kawhi Leonard are just standing in the way, albeit proudly, of the Warriors’ path to greater things in the post-season. And so, the long and antsy wait for the anticipated and projected Warriors vs. Houston Rockets showdown in the West began in earnest Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) when the Warriors breezed from jump ball to buzzer against San Antonio, and also torpedoed the notion that they’re somehow vulnerable (at least for now). The playoff tipoff was all about the Warriors re-establishing their muscle flex and their defense and most importantly, their aura, even with Steph Curry still out and ailing, because the rest of the NBA was watching. That’s what a 113-92 wipeout Game 1 win at Oracle Arena accomplished, if nothing else. The combination of the Spurs being overmatched and the Warriors needing to put on a more menacing face than what they showed the last month of the regular season delivered the predictable result: A smackdown. Or, as Spurs coach Gregg Popovich put it: “Got our ass kicked.” Too much Kevin Durant, the sneaky elevation of Andre Iguodala to the starting point guard spot, a JaVale McGee sighting and Klay Thompson getting swishy was exactly what the Warriors needed and received. Seriously, though: Anything less would’ve been a big surprise. The Warriors couldn’t afford to stay locked into the season-ending fog that turned coach Steve Kerr’s hair a lighter shade of gray and created the perception of a fat, too-satisfied winner of two championships in three years. Most likely, they were merely victims of human nature: While going 7-10 down the stretch, the Warriors simply grew bored with the meaningless late season, especially once Curry hurt his knee on March 23 (Mar. 24, PHL time). Seriously, what was left to accomplish, other than to stay healthy? This team was created and molded for the sole purpose of winning in June, not for placing importance on, say, drop-kicking the Sacramento Kings on April Fools. “We’re a championship ballclub and we know what it takes to win this time of year,” said Draymond Green, applying the perspective. “You heard, 'The Warriors lost it, they’re not together, they’re not the same team without Steph, blase, blase, blase, blah blah blah.' Well, we know what we’re capable of. There have been series where we’ve won without Kevin, without myself, without our head coach. A lot of people forgot.” In case you’re one of the people Draymond was referring to, here’s a refresher course, courtesy of Game 1: Durant is very long and tough to defend, Thompson usually doesn’t miss when he has three feet of separation from his defender, Iggy always earns his fat paycheck in springtime, and as for McGee? “He’s very tall,” said Kerr. Actually, Kerr wasn’t purposely trying to troll his starting center, just stating the obvious when it comes to defending Spurs leading scorer LaMarcus Aldridge. McGee brings four more inches and therefore made it tough for Aldridge, who managed only 14 points and was mainly a ghost. With Aldridge on lockdown, the Warriors’ D had accomplished its main mission, because the Spurs lack a secondary source of punch. What, is Rudy Gay going to turn back the clock? Manu Ginobili? Tony Parker? Because that’s what needs to happen for San Antonio. Without it, well, unfortunately for the Spurs, Kawhi isn’t limping through that door. What irritated Kerr was how the Warriors dialed down their defensive intensity in the weeks leading into the playoffs. They spotted 126 points each to the Pelicans and Pacers, and in the season finale did a complete no-show, getting spanked by 40 courtesy of Utah. Remember, the Warriors constantly ranked among the better defensive teams during their multiple runs to the NBA Finals. As coaches tend to do in these matters, Kerr jeopardized his vocal chords a few times while trying to get the message across in the disinterested locker room. But deep down, did anyone buy the notion of the Warriors suddenly forgetting how to play defense? With the second-best record in the West secured, and first place conceded to Houston, weren’t they just tapping their toes until the first round? Is that such a crime? Wouldn’t that be understandable, and wise on some levels, given the risk of something bad happening to a hamstring? Anyway, Kerr barely uncrossed his legs on the bench Saturday (Sunday, PHL time); no need to scold a team that held the Spurs to 40 percent shooting and claimed the rebounding edge by 21 and never felt threatened. “We finally got back to defending,” said Kerr. He made sure of that, by inserting Iguodala, his best all-around defender, into the starting lineup and also using McGee extensively instead of Zaza Pachulia. Iggy spread his limbs all over the floor, guarding bigs and smalls, switching on the screen and generally being a pest to the other team, as he generally is this time of year. “I just wanted to put our best defensive lineup on the floor from the beginning,” he explained. “The last month or so our defense had been subpar. You can’t win in this league unless you defend. You could feel the intensity right from the start. We set a good tone.” To be fair, the awakening of the Warriors’ defense will receive a more accurate measure if and when they advance beyond the Spurs and face, for example, the Blazers with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum and of course the turbocharged Rockets with James Harden and Chris Paul and all those three-point slingers. But until then, wrapping up the Spurs will serve as necessary preparation. Less worry was the Warriors on the other end of the floor, where Durant assumed the lead and took 17 shots, scoring 24 points. More efficient was Thompson, who missed only twice in 13 shots and finished with 27 points. All of this was necessary with Curry not expected back for the first round; he just received the green light to press the accelerator during rehab and begin lateral movements. If the Warriors, a top-10 team in both offensive and defensive efficiency, continue to get this kind of killer balance, there’ll be some long nights upcoming for the Spurs and a quick series as well. “We were not as ready to face a team like them,” said Ginobili. “They were much better than us. Klay got away from us many times. Overall, they were so much better in every aspect that we had no shot. We’ve got to regroup, feel hurt and desperate, got to be smarter … We understand we’re not favorites. We’re underdogs. To get a win here we’ve got to overachieve. We got to do better than we can.” It’s too bad that the Kawhi Situation continues to follow the Spurs like a dark cloud. He remains stymied by a quad injury that apparently hasn’t healed enough for his liking. The Spurs with Kawhi and the Warriors without Curry would tip the scales in this series toward being somewhat level, or at least invite some suspense. Without Kawhi, the Spurs are shooting spitballs at a tank. Guts and hard work and good coaching can only go so far against the suddenly-refocused and playoff-locked Warriors. So, yes, the Warriors set out to re-introduce themselves and did so Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). “We want to make a statement in Game 2 as well,” said Thompson. “We hobbled to the playoffs but we know how good we are and what it takes in the post season to win. When our intensity and focus are high, we’re tough to beat.” Well, tough for one team in Texas. We’ll see about the other soon enough. 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 NewsApr 15th, 2018

UAAP VOLLEYBALL: FEU inches closer to a Final Four spot

Far Eastern University rallied from a set down to carve out a 21-25, 25-16, 25-20, 25-22, win over University of the Philippines Saturday in the 80th UAAP women’s volleyball tournament at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. The Lady Tamaraws inched closer to a Final Four berth with their seventh win in 11 games for the solo third spot behind Ateneo de Manila University (7-3) and league-leading two-time defending champion De La Salle University. Bernadeth Pons and Jeanette Villareal led the way with 15 points each. Pons scored all but one of her points on attacks while adding 20 digs and 18 excellent receptions for the Morayta-based squad. Villareal had five kill blocks, seven kills and three service aces. Celine Domingo had 11 markers while Toni Basas finished with 10 for the Lady Tams. Kyle Negrito tallied 46 excellent sets and nine points. FEU shook off a slow start and fended off the Lady Maroons furious fight back in the fourth set to complete its elimination sweep of UP and bounce back from a sorry five-set loss to DLSU the last time out. “Ang ginawa kasi ng UP noong una very aggressive sila. Sabi ko dapat sabayan yun. Nandun naman eagerness, timing lang nawawala pero nung nakuha na, yun OK na,” said FEU coach George Pascua. UP kept the fourth set close with Tots Carlos scoring on an attack to close the gap, 20-19. FEU plucked four of the duel’s next five points capped by a kill block by Villareal on Carlos to push the Lady Tams at match point. Carlos answered with a kill followed by an ace by Ayel Estranero as the Lady Maroons saved two match points before Villareal sealed the win with a running attack.   The Lady Maroons dropped their third straight match to fall to 3-8 mark and are on the brink of falling short of a Final Four return for the second straight year. Carlos registered 23 points on 19 kills, three kill blocks and a pair of aces while Isa Molde posted 18 markers for UP, which gave away 31 points off errors.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 24th, 2018

June Mar bags PBA Player of the Week honors

Four-time league MVP June Mar Fajardo’s size, skills and experience worked beautifully for San Miguel Beer, which went on to complete a 4-1 semifinal series win over Barangay Ginebra to march to its fourth straight Philippine Cup Finals stint Saturday night. The 6-10 Fajardo averaged 20.67 points and 12.67 rebounds to earn the PBA Press Corps Player of Week for the period of March 13-18, keying the Beermen’s victories in Games 4 and 5 to keep their All-Filipino conference “four-peat” bid alive. Stung by Ginebra’s 95-87 win in Game 3 last Tuesday, the Cebuano big man finished with a double-double stats line of 14 points and 13 rebounds, engineering SMB’s blazing start as the Beermen hammered the Gin Kings, 102-81 two days later. San Miguel, then finished off Ginebra’s Finals aspirations as the 28-year-old Fajardo barrelled his way in for 25 points on 11-of-18 shooting from the floor, along with 9 rebounds, 3 assists and a block in 100-94 win in Game 5. While Marcio Lassiter, Arwind Santos and Alex Cabagnot also dished off excellent performances in San Miguel’s sensational back-to-back wins, Fajardo earned the nod for the weekly citation. With a league-best 24 PBA titles at hand, San Miguel Beer looks to extend its domination of the Philippine Cup since reigning supreme in the season-opening conference from 2015 to 2017. The 2017 Philippine Cup conquest in fact, gave SMB the Perpetual Jun Bernardino trophy. San Miguel now awaits the winner of the other semifinal series between sister team Magnolia and NLEX. The Hotshots took Game 5 Sunday night, 87-78 to gain the driver’s seat, 3-2. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 19th, 2018

UAAP VOLLEYBALL: FEU spoils Espejo s 39, snaps Ateneo s win streak

Far Eastern University clawed its way back from a two-point deficit in the fifth set before surviving a furious rally by three-time defending champion Ateneo De Manila University, 25-27, 25-23, 25-20, 21-25, 16-14, Saturday in the 80th UAAP men’s volleyball tournament at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. The Tamaraws snapped the Blue Eagles’ eight-game winning streak and spoiled four-time Marck Espejo’s career-best 39 points to improve to 7-2 win-loss record. Jude Garcia and Redijohn Paler finished with 17 points each while JP Bugaoan and Richard Solis, who scored the game-clinching cross court hit, posted 15 and 13 markers, respectively, for the Morayta-based squad.      Up, 6-3, to open the fifth frame, FEU saw its lead evaporate and trailed Ateneo, 11-9, after Chumason Njigha scored on a quick attack. The Tams countered with a scoring barrage to move at match point, 14-11, on a Paler kill. FEU committed three straight errors that tied the deciding frame at 14. Raymond Bautista made his relief stint count with a down the line hit before Paler finished the two-hour, 25-minute match with a booming hit to complete the Tams’ elims sweep of Ateneo. Espejo scored all but one of his points off attacks and had 22 excellent receptions and 10 digs in a lost cause for the Blue Eagles, which fell to 8-2 slate. Skipper Karl Baysa got 11 markers while Ron Medalla and Njigha finished with eight points each for Ateneo.   ---              Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 17th, 2018

Despite bad back, Japeth plays big time for Gin Kings in sweep of ROS

Japeth Aguilar has been dealing with a bad back even before the first Ginebra-Rain or Shine game that ultimately went into triple overtime. Despite it though, Aguilar has been the key in the Gin Kings sweeping ROS to advance to the semifinals of the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup. Japeth averaged 23.6 points in those three games. He scored 30 in the triple-overtime win to avoid a playoff for 8th for Ginebra and he scored 27 in Game 2 against the Elasto Painters to clinch the semis spot. "I take it day-by-day, going to therapy hanggang sa umokay siya at maka-recover ako," Aguilar said of his bad back. "I just want to win talaga kanina. I want to move on to the semifinals and we all know na hindi madali especially against Rain or Shine, but everyone stepped up actually," he added. Fortunately, it appears that Japeth's back is getting better. Which is going to be crucial for Ginebra as they take on the Beermen in the semis, a rematch from last year's Finals. Greg Slaughter is still out for the Gin Kings with a bad ankle. "There's little stiffness after the game, after practice, but once naka-pahinga na ako, naka-recover na ako," Japeth said. "Coach Tim is already trying to prepare us [vs. SMB]. Earlier in the dugout sinabi niya, 'It’s Mount Everest that we’re going to climb.' Even sila Raymond [Aguilar] and sila Prince [Caperal], he told them to be ready. so we’re trying to prepare na talaga," he added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 7th, 2018

UAAP VOLLEYBALL: FEU guns for fifth straight win, Ateneo wants to bounce back

Streaking Far Eastern University shoots for a repeat win over Ateneo de Manila University on Wednesday in the second round opener of the 80th UAAP women’s volleyball tournament Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. The Lady Tamaraws are riding the crest of their four-game rampage and are looking to complete an elims sweep against the Lady Eagles at 4:00 p.m. in the rematch that will air live on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166, LIGA on SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD on SkyCable Channel 183 and via livestream. FEU opened its campaign with a 19-25, 25-21, 18-25, 25-20, 15-9, win at the expense of Ateneo. The Morayta-based squad lost to straight games after that victory but bounced back mightily as they strung up four wins in a row. The Lady Tams closed the first round with a 25-16, 25-22, 25-20 drubbing of University of Sto. Tomas Saturday. FEU will again try to exploit Ateneo’s difficulty in service reception to take the win and shake off from a 5-2 win-loss slate tied with grand slam-seeking De La Salle University at second to third spots behind National University (6-1). The Lady Tams rained down 20 aces against the Lady Eagles in their first meeting. Ateneo’s service reception woes haunted the Lady Eagles throughout the first round and costed them a sorry, 20-25, 17-25, 26-24, 20-25 defeat at the hands of DLSU Saturday in a rematch of last year’s Finals. The Lady Eagles are at solo fourth with a 4-3 card.     ---    Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 7th, 2018

Lillard has 26 points as Blazers beat Kings 116-99

By Anne M. Peterson, Associated Press PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Damian Lillard had 26 points and 12 assists, and the Portland Trail Blazers won their fourth straight with a 116-99 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night (Wednesday, PHL time). Jusuf Nurkic added 17 points and nine rebounds for Portland, which sits in fifth place in the Western Conference -- a game back of San Antonio -- after winning five of its last six games. The current four-game winning streak matched the team's longest of the season. Zach Randolph had 20 points for the Kings, who lost their fifth straight overall. Sacramento has dropped 10 straight games at Portland's Moda Center. With just 18 wins, Sacramento is in second-to-last place in the West, above only the Phoenix Suns. The Kings have lost four straight and six of their last seven. The Kings were playing the second of a back-to-back, after losing to Minnesota 118-100 on Monday night (Tuesday, PHL time). Randolph sat out that game but returned against the Blazers. Randolph played six seasons in Portland. Lillard had scored 197 points in the past five games, the most points for a Blazer over a five-game stretch in franchise history. He had 15 points and five assists in the opening quarter against the Kings, including three three-pointers, to give Portland a 36-26 lead. He was up to 19 points by the half, when the Blazers led 66-53. None of the Kings players were in double figures. The Blazers led by as many as 17 points in the first half, but the Kings closed the gap in the third quarter, closing within 88-80 to start the fourth. But CJ McCollum' jumper from out front extended the lead for Portland to 105-88 with 6:40 left. The Blazers led by as many as 18 points down the stretch. Shabazz Napier had 20 points off the bench for Portland. When he reached 17 points, Lillard clinched the highest-scoring average for any month in Portland history. He passed Geoff Petrie who averaged 30.4 points in March, 1971. Lillard averaging 32 points for the month. Lillard had 40 points in the Portland's 106-104 victory over the Suns on Saturday. TIP-INS Kings: It was the fourth meeting between the two teams. Sacramento's lone win came in the first. ... Willie Cauley-Stein had 17 points and 10 rebounds. Trail Blazers: Lillard has made a three-pointer in 43 straight games. ... Blazers coach Terry Stotts is the reigning Western Conference Coach of the Month. ... Portland had a season-high 20 fast-break points. UP NEXT The Kings host the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday (Friday, PHL time). The Trail Blazers host the Timberwolves on Thursday (Friday, PHL time)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 28th, 2018

Towns helps Wolves pull away to beat Kings 118-100

By Michael Wagaman, Associated Press SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Karl-Anthony Towns had 26 points and 17 rebounds, and the Minnesota Timberwolves pulled away in the second half to beat the Sacramento Kings 118-100 on Monday night (Tuesday, PHL time). Andrew Wiggins scored 22 points, Jeff Teague added 20 points and Taj Gibson had 15 points to help the Timberwolves sweep the three-game season series between the two teams. More importantly, Minnesota improved to 2-0 since losing Jimmy Butler to a torn right meniscus last week heading into one of its toughest stretches of the season. Coach Tom Thibodeau's team, which began the day in third place in the West and is off to the fourth-best start in franchise history, plays its next eight games against teams with winning records beginning with back-to-backs at Portland and Utah. The Timberwolves scored only 21 points in the fourth quarter but it hardly mattered after they outscored the Kings 34-17 in the third to pull away after a back-and-forth first half. Minnesota also held a big advantage on free throws, going 33 of 36 from the stripe. Towns took one shot in the first quarter before finding his stroke in the second when he scored 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting. He had four free throws during that stretch and finished 8-of-8 from the stripe. Skal Labissiere scored 20 points, Willie Cauley-Stein added 17 and Buddy Hield had 16 for Sacramento, The Kings have lost four straight and six of seven. Towns was one rebound shy of a double-double in the first half and Minnesota led by as much as 10 before De'Aaron Fox capped a late Sacramento surge with a layup to pull the Kings within 63-60 at halftime. Teague and Wiggins combined for 15 points in the third quarter and Tyus Jones made two free throws and a short jumper to extend the Timberwolves lead to 97-77. TIP-INS Timberwolves: Towns' double-double is the 168th of his career. ... Minnesota went 14-for-14 from the free throw line in the first half. Kings: Bruno Cabocio had four points, three rebounds and three fouls in 18 minutes of his Sacramento debut. Cabocio was part of the trade that sent Malachi Richardson to Toronto. UP NEXT Timberwolves: Play at Portland on Thursday (Friday, PHL time). Kings: Play at Portland on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 27th, 2018

Arellano Lady Chiefs NCAA champs anew

By Michael Angelo S. Murillo Senior Reporter THE Arellano Lady Chiefs are back-to-back National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) women’s volleyball champions after taking Game Two of their best-of-three finals with the San Beda Lady Red Spikers in straight sets, 25-13, 29-27 and 25-15, yesterday and complete a sweep of the series. Banking on their collective […] The post Arellano Lady Chiefs NCAA champs anew appeared first on BusinessWorld......»»

Category: financeSource:  bworldonlineRelated NewsFeb 19th, 2018

BACK-TO-BACK: Arellano U sweeps San Beda in Finals series

Defending champion Arellano University took the fight out of San Beda University with an amazing comeback in the second frame that set the tone to an empathic 25-13, 29-27, 25-15, win to complete a sweep of the 93rd NCAA women’s volleyball Finals at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan Monday. Best Opposite Hitter and Finals Most Valuable Player winner Regine Arocha was on fire the whole match and effectively provided the much-needed points at crunch time as the Lady Chiefs claimed their second straight title and third overall crown in four seasons. Arocha scored all but one of her 15 points off attacks while adding 12 digs while graduating player Jovielyn Prado submitted 15 markers on her last year with Arellano U Andrea Marzan added eight points while skipper Mary Anne Esguerra ended her collegiate career with seven markers including the championship-clinching swipe towards the unprotected Zone 1 of the Lady Red Spikers.    “Kasi sa practice namin kahapon, kahit sa huddle namin kanina, sinabi namin na sa araw na ito, dapat tapusin na natin," said Arellano U coach Obet Javier. "Sinagot ako ng mga player ko sa pamamagitan ng ganoong klaseng laro." The Legarda-based squad saved four set points in the second set with Arocha firing the last two points off sharp crosscourt hits to take the frame.   With the Lady Chiefs holding the momentum, San Beda, a newbie in the Finals, melted down in the third as it went down to a 0-8 hole. The Lady Red Spikers saved five match points after going down 10-24 before Esguerra sealed the win with her signature swipe off theLady Red Spikers' two-woman wall.  Arellano U carved out a 25-15, 25-16, 15-25, 22-25, 15-6, win in the series opener Friday. Cesca Racraquin was the only player in double-figures with 13 points while Nieza Viray and Satrianni Espiritu combined for 14 markers for the Mendiola-based squad.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 19th, 2018

Parang binigay na po nila sa amin (ang championship) -- Arocha on San Beda s meltdown in the third set

After stealing the second set in a dramatic come-from-behind fashion, Arellano University hitter Regine Arocha knew the title was already theirs for the taking. The Lady Chiefs smelled blood when they went on the first technical timeout of the third set with a comfortable cushion and with the first-time finalists San Beda University Lady Red Spikers scoreless and in disarray. It didn’t take long for Arellano U to complete a cold-blooded 25-13, 29-27, 25-15, sweep of San Beda in Game 2 of the 93rd NCAA women’s volleyball Finals as the Lady Chiefs captured their first back-to-back titles Monday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. An 8-0 lead to open the third frame and with the Lady Red Spikers’ body language already showing signs of defeat for Arocha, the season’s Best Opposite Hitter, seemed like San Beda’s signal of raising the white flag.   “Opo, parang binigay na po nila sa amin, parang umayaw na po sila,” said Arocha, who broke the hearts of the Lady Red Spikers when she hit consecutive crosscourt hits to complete Arellano U’s comeback in the second frame. “Parang first five points pa lang po (sa third set), nararamdaman na po namin na sa amin na po (ang panalo),” added Arocha, who scored 14 of her 15 points off attacks and was later named as Finals Most Valuable Player. Arellano U took the fight out of San Beda in the second set after saving four set points. Arocha took advantage of the Lady Red Spikers’ error from the service line that tied the set at 27, pounding a crosscourt attack off the two-woman block of San Beda to put Arellano U at set point advantage, 28-27. She ended the comeback with another kill. San Beda never recovered from there and the Lady Chiefs grabbed the opportunity to extinguish the Lady Red Spikers’ will to fight as they built an 8-0 advantage that ballooned to 24-10. The Mendiola-based squad saved five match points but the championship was already in the bag for Arellano U that Lady Chiefs head coach Obet Javier didn’t even bother to call time.    Outgoing team captain Mary Anne Esguerra took the honor of burying the final nail to San Beda’s coffin with a swipe off the Lady Red Spikers’ two-woman block. The win also validated a tweet posted by Arocha on her Twitter account that last Sunday’s practice was Arellano U’s last for the season.   “Kahapon po, sobrang kinlaim na namin na last training na namin yun, na last game na namin ngayon,” she said. “Kaya po 'yun, pinagtrabahuhan talaga namin.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 19th, 2018

LPU has just won six games in the last eight days

For the first time ever, Lyceum of the Philippines University is into the Finals of the Philippine Collegiate Champions League. Dropping NCAA Final Four team San Sebastian College-Recoletos on Monday, a rematch in the tournament Finals up against San Beda University now awaits them. And even before their heavyweight bout against the Golden Stags, it’s not like the Pirates have gotten it easy. In fact, it was the complete opposite as they had to play four games in four days, and six games in eight days, just to get to where they are. In the PCCL, the Intramuros-based squad had to go through CESAFI champion University of Visayas last Friday, Southern Luzon kings Naga College Foundation last Saturday, and then Ateneo last Sunday just to get to the semifinals. There, they were then pitted against Baste. LPU passed all of them with flying colors. Extending that to the PBA D-League, where they have tied up with Zark’s Burgers, they defeated Wangs-Colegio de San Juan de Letran a week ago and then beat Mila’s Lechon last Thursday. Yes, from Monday to Monday, the Pirates played six games and won each and every one of them. For head coach Topex Robinson, that’s just a testament to all the preparations they have done. “If you’re gonna ask me if (our players) are physically tired, I don’t think they are. Again, that’s (because) of the work we put in,” he said. That work, according to Robinson, all leads back to conditioning coach Gilbert Malabanan. As he put it, “Coach Gilbert has done a great job in making sure we’re in tiptop shape. Ito na yung games na aani ka sa in-invest mon a conditioning.” He then continued, “I guess we’re also blessed to have good character players na they take care of their selves.” --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 12th, 2018

Gin Kings vent ire on hapless Kia to get back on track

Brgy. Ginebra is back on track. The Gin Kings vented their ire on hapless Kia, scoring a dominant 103-77 victory in the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup Wednesday at the MOA Arena. Coming in losing four of its last five games, Ginebra wasted little time in establishing its superiority, unloading a 28-10 bomb in the second quarter to take full control of the game. The Gin Kings simply cruised in the second half with the fourth period essentially being 12 minutes of garbage time. Improving to 4-4 in the standings, head coach Tim Cone is hoping that this big win could spark Ginebra's struggling campaign in the All-Filipino. "It's been such a struggle for us this conference. It's nice to be able to get a win," he said. "We played a complete game and was able to pull away. It was really a struggle for us but it might be the game that helps us turn around," Cone added. Five players scored in double figures for the Gin Kings led by Greg Slaughter with 14 points, 10 in the opening period. LA Tenorio and Japeth Aguilar scored 13 apiece while Scottie Thompson flirted wit ha triple-double, going for 12 points, 14 rebounds, and seven assists. After a competitive first quarter, Ginebra flipped the switch in the second, scoring 13 straight points to open up a 48-31 lead. The Gin Kings led by as many as 29 in the third, 82-53, before taking a little step back in the fourth. As for Kia, the team has now lost three straight for a 1-7 record. Rashawn McCarthy led the way for the Picanto with 15 points while Ronald Tubid fired 13.   The scores: BARANGAY GINEBRA 103 - Slaughter 14, Tenorio 13, J. Aguilar 13, Thompson 12, Ferrer 10, Taha 8, Manuel 8, Caperal 6, R. Aguilar 6, Mercado 4, Cruz 4, Jamito 3, Caguioa 2, Wilson 0. KIA 77 - McCarthy 15, Tubid 13, Corpuz 9, Reyes 8, Jamon 5, Camson 4, Sara 4, Escoto 4, Khobuntin 4, Yee 4, Lastimosa 3, Ababou 2, Galanza 2, Celda 0, Gabriel 0. Quarter scores: 25-24, 53-34, 78-52, 103-77.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 7th, 2018

NO SWEEP: CSB stuns Arellano U

Games Tuesday: (FilOil Flying V Centre, San Juan) 8:00 a.m. –- San Beda vs SSC-R (jrs) 9:30 a.m. –- San Beda vs. SSC-R (m) 11:00 a.m. –- San Beda vs. SSC-R (w) 12:30 p.m. –- Mapua vs. Perpetual (w) 2:00 p.m. –- Mapua vs. Perpetual (m)   No sweep. College of St. Benilde shocked repeat-seeking Arellano University in a huge morale-boosting upset win, 25-21, 25-20, 19-25, 25-12, to remain on the right track in the race for the 93rd NCAA women’s volleyball tournament Final Four at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. The Lady Blazers relied on their solid net defense and heavy serves to claim their fourth win in seven outings while putting a blemish on the semis-bound Lady Chiefs’ record after eight games. The win denied Arellano U of a chance to complete an elimination round sweep and an outright best-of-three Finals berth. This is the first time in three years that the league will play a Final Four format after San Sebastian College swept the elims in Seasons 91 and 92 that forced a stepladder semis. CSB’s victory, a sweet revenge on the same team that dethroned the Lady Blazers in Season 92 stepladder semis, also snapped Arellano U’s 19-game winning streak that started last season. “Sabi ko nga sa preparation namin, itong Arellano maghahabol ng sweep and at the same time sila ang defending champion so mayroon talagang mag-iiba ang identity nila pagdating sa laro,” said CSB interim coach Arnold Laniog. “Pero once na magawa namin na mag-start kami ng strong, mag-start kami ng maganda, possible na pwedeng bumaligtad ang result ng game. Which is nangyari nga sa first set. Although lumalamang sila ng malaki pero momentum-wise, nakikita ko sa mga players ko na naka-stick sila sa kung ano ang gusto naming mangyari as a team.”     Graduating middle blocker Ranya Musa finished with 17 points highlighted by five kill blocks while Rachel Austero nailed 11 kills with two kill blocks and two aces for 15 markers for the Taft-based squad. Marites Pablo scored 13 points and added 13 excellent receptions while fellow National University transferee Klarisa Abriam finished with 13 markers.   CSB played catchup in the opening set and were behind 17-20 before stunning Arellano with a closing 8-1 blitz sealed by a Felicia Cui service ace to steal the frame. With momentum on their side, the Lady Blazers dictated the tempo in the second frame before a hiccup in the third. Smelling blood, CSB built a 20-10 gap capped by back-to-back aces by Austero. Arellano U surrendered the match with back-to-back miscues sealed by an attack error by skipper Mary Anne Esguerra, whose spike sailed long. Jovielyn Prado had 14 points while Necole Ebuen got 12 for the Lady Chiefs.      --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 29th, 2018

YBC: Blue Dragons complete cage sweep

DILIMAN Preparatoy School completed a double celebration with a pair lopsided victories at the start of the 2018 Youth Basketball Cup basketball championship at the DPS covered courts in Commonwealth Ave., Quezon City. DPS rode on the 1-2 punch of Polo Salazar and Raven Bajar to turn back Wanbol, 97-68,….....»»

Category: newsSource:  journalRelated NewsJan 27th, 2018

Warriors show off firepower, Cavs show off flaws in Finals rematch

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com CLEVELAND -- Tyronn Lue’s bathroom break came early in the fourth quarter. No, not literally. But the coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers had used the familiar call of duty to describe the suddenness with which a game against the Golden State Warriors can turn. And sure enough, on Monday night at Quicken Loans Arena, it turned on Lue and his team. “They’re the only team,” Lue told reporters before tipoff, “where you can be looking at the game and it’s a two-point game. You go to the bathroom, come back, they’re up 15.” Lue’s “loo” moment, figuratively anyway, came after David West sank two free throws to put the Warriors up 95-93 with 9:07 to play. There it was – the two-point lead – in what had been 39 minutes of mostly entertaining, back-and-forth, you-loved-them-then-you’ll-love-them-again basketball between the familiar adversaries. Draymond Green extends the @warriors lead to 10 on @NBAonTNT! 4:47 to play in Q4 #DubNation pic.twitter.com/q2Drea9Jxy — NBA (@NBA) January 16, 2018 Exactly three minutes and 23 seconds later, Draymond Green cut to the basket, took a pass from Shaun Livingston and dropped in a layup that made it 105-95. It was the biggest lead of the night to that point. Lue twice had called timeouts during the run in an attempt to stop the bleeding. Now there was only 5:44 left. The Warriors’ margin would grow to 14. And the Cavaliers, to stick with Lue’s imagery, were circling the bowl. That the defending champions can go into hyperdrive against anybody is a reminder, not a revelation. But there were some things revealed, discovered and learned in the second and final regular-season clash of the respective West and East favorites, including: Isaiah Thomas has a way to go. This was our most extended look yet at Cleveland’s new point guard, their Kyrie Irving replacement, in circumstances most like those he’ll face when the meat of the Cavs’ schedule – the postseason – rolls around. Thomas scored 19 points, matching his high from the four previous games he played. He was on the floor for 32 minutes, nearly eight minutes more than his previous high. Both Thomas, who missed the season’s first 11 weeks recovering from a hip injury left over from last spring in Boston, and the Cavaliers know a) he’s not sharp or in great shape yet, and b) neither he nor the team has gotten familiar enough with the other to achieve the best results. Yet Thomas took 21 shots Monday (Tuesday, PHL time), more than LeBron James (18), more than Dwyane Wade (14) and more than double any other Cleveland player. He made just eight, including just one of his seven 3-point attempts. Lue, though, said he had no problem with Thomas’ gunning, as long as they were good shots. Thomas sounded as if he was seeking out work where he could find it. Granted, it was his hip that kept him out but his elbow, wrist and shooting hand apparently profit from heavy usage now too. “I’ve got to get in shape,” he said later. “I’ve got to get my legs back. Especially when I get a little winded, my legs get even heavier. “The only thing that’s gonna help me is getting reps. Running up and down the floor. Getting my hip, getting my body accustomed to taking a beating. ... Getting in basketball shape.” Kevin Durant didn’t put much stock in Thomas’ play Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) as a sign of how he’ll help Cleveland come springtime. Durant went through a similar enough trial in 2014-15, when surgery in October to repair a Jones fracture in his right foot sidelined him into December, then finally scuttled his season after just 27 games. “Obviously IT is just getting back,” the Warriors forward said. “He hadn’t played in seven months – you’ve got to give him some time. I know exactly how that feels. Especially being thrown in in the middle of the season and starting and playing 30-plus minutes now ... I know it’s gonna take him a while to get into a comfortable groove here.” What we saw is what we’d get. Mostly. It looked at various points as if both coaches were trying lineups, testing young players, tinkering with substitution patterns or probing matchups with an eye on a possible re-re-rematch in June. Likewise, it would be understandable for Lue and Golden State’s Steve Kerr to hold back a few wrinkles, just to have something fresh to try the next time they face each other. ”We don’t hold too much back, to be honest with you,” Kerr said. “I think matchups can dictate some things that you do in the playoffs and sometimes you may make a few different play calls, whatever. But I don’t think there’s a conscious effort to hold anything back for fear of tipping the hand for later.” Kerr started rookie big Jordan Bell again, same as in the Christmas game in Oakland, for more mobility against Cleveland’s small lineup than center Zaza Pachulia would provide. The coach gave Kevon Looney, Nick Young and Patrick McCaw more tastes of the rivalry too. Lue, meanwhile, was asked if he had the Cavaliers target Steph Curry defensively to get him into foul trouble and generally make life difficult. That’s a tactic that has helped when most others have failed against the two-time MVP and it might come in handy down the road. “I can’t remember,” Lue said, pointedly declining to answer. Curry can dunk. And David West still can. It was a rare Curry-in-flight moment early in the second half when the Golden State guard, who usually does his damage from deep, threw down a two-handed dunk. It was his first of the season. Steph Curry throws down the two-handed jam on #PhantomCam! #DubNation pic.twitter.com/eHaHsw2yZV — NBA (@NBA) January 16, 2018 “I think he was taking out some anger from the first half,” Kerr said. “Sometimes that will get him going. Steph loves to dunk more than anybody, you know that. Doesn’t happen often, so when it does, it jacks him up.” Said Durant, who fed Curry for the slam: “He surprised me on that one. Hopefully he’s feeling better tomorrow. I know it took a lot for him to get up there.” David West turns back the clock!#DubNation leads #AllForOne 103-95 with 6:16 to play in the 4th. 📺: @NBAonTNT pic.twitter.com/dj2iFuZGrr — NBA (@NBA) January 16, 2018 West got his 37-year-old bones up there too, dunking off the dribble during his nine-minute, plus-nine stint in the fourth quarter. The veteran power forward had missed his three shots in the second.   “He was a little short on his jump shot to start the game,” Durant said. “But D. West is such a smart player, he makes adjustments, he doesn’t get discouraged. He made a huge play – his left-handed dunk kind of got us all going. That was definitely surprising when he turned that one over.” But seriously, Cleveland has issues. Besides losing for the eighth time in 10 games, the Cavaliers had their 13-game home winning streak broken in Monday's (Tuesday, PHL time) 118-108 loss. And when it was second unit vs. second unit to start the fourth quarter, the Warriors had little trouble switching on defense and crowding away the Cavs’ long-range game. Cleveland shot just 6-of-23 in the fourth quarter, and got outscored 61-44 in what Kerr considered one of his club’s most complete second halves.   The Cavaliers’ defensive leaks have been extensively criticized, and more IT as he gets his game back is not the best way to address those. Even more problematic is the offense now, which over the past few weeks has been grinding, with none of them having much fun with the ball or without. “This is an important time for us,” Wade said, “and we want to see how we respond coming out of this game. ... It’s not about just winning a ball game. It’s about building good habits as a team.” Given James’ record and reputation – seven consecutive trips to the Finals, most in spite of some in-season doldrums for his Heat or Cavs crews – there’s a lot of “In LeBron We Trust,” both inside and outside the Cleveland locker room. Until a rival in the Eastern Conference proves it can knock off the King, no one will believe it. But if the Cavaliers, after so many exposures to their Bay Area nemeses (9-17 in regular- and postseason meetings since the start of 2014-15), can’t come up with solutions, maybe NBA fans should want to see someone else get a crack at them. Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. 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 NewsJan 16th, 2018