Advertisements


We are sorry, the requested page does not exist




PBA: Parks Jr. shows clutch gene in big performance vs. Ginebra

Ray Parks Jr. was absolutely electric Friday in his second-ever PBA game. The no. 2 pick of the 2018 Draft carried the Blackwater Elite in the 2019 Commissioner’s Cup, taking down defending champion Brgy. Ginebra in overtime. Parks scored 10 in extra time, giving Blackwater the cushion it needed to hold off the Gin Kings. He finished with a total of 28 points in the sensational victory. “I appreciate the coach’s trust in me, keeping me in the game and putting me in position to get the ball. It’s just great. Each game is just part of the motivation,” Parks Jr. said. “At least I showed one part of my game that you know... people say I wasn’t clutch last time with the free throws and now what? I made shots so now it’s just up to get better,” he added. Now armed with a 2-0 start in the mid-season joust, Parks says this big win against Ginebra won’t mean anything if they don’t get the next one. The Elite have another game Sunday. A win would mean a strong 3-0 start. A win also means that Blackwater will surpass its total from the Philippine Cup. “I love playing big games, and I love playing against great competition. Ginebra’s one of the best teams. Just having that crowd environment too is great. Today was just the breaks of the game and we ended up with the win,” he said. “This win won’t mean anything if we don’t win on Sunday. it will just cancel out. We just have to keep growing from here,” Parks added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 24th, 2019

Antetokounmpo learning how to deal with playoff disappointment

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com TORONTO – Whenever LeBron James struggled through the sort of playoff performance Giannis Antetokounmpo had Sunday (Monday, PHL time), he seemed to want to put it behind him as swiftly as he could. His routine – assuming it wasn’t The Finals, where he got summoned to the podium, win or lose – typically went like this: the door to the Cleveland or Miami dressing room would swing open and there James would be, ready to face the questions, antsy to move on ASAP. Once he ‘fessed up to the shots he’d missed or the plays he’d botched, that was it. Oh, you knew he’d be looking plenty at video of that game in the hours before he played again, as a way to find and fix the flaws. But for public consumption at least, he shed it fast, like an ill-fitting suit. Antetokounmpo, the Milwaukee Bucks’ young star, is still learning this face-of-the-franchise and cutthroat competitor stuff. He took his time afterward in the spartan visitors’ room at Scotiabank Arena. [Watch the Playoffs on NBA League Pass for 30% less with this limited time offer! Select Annual package and use code SAVE30 at checkout to redeem] There he sat, with his knees wrapped and his feet plunged into an ice bath. The Kia MVP candidate stared at the score sheet that had been handed to him, the one bearing all sorts of dreary news from the double-overtime setback that cut Milwaukee’s lead in the best-of-seven series to 2-1. Antetokounmpo barely looked up as the semicircle of cameras, microphones and reporters around him grew with media people tip-toeing that fine line between giving him some space and blocking out for position whenever he’d finally take their questions. (“Talk,” as we say in the trade). Heck, Antetokounmpo barely looked up when Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer strode through the dressing room and tapped him on his left knee, a little atta-boy bonding near the end of a long, disappointing night. While teammates poked habitually at their phones in the aftermath of Milwaukee’s 118-112 loss, Antetokounmpo mostly let his lie there on the seat next to him. By the standards he set this year as an MVP favorite, he knew he’d had a lousy night. The reporters standing there, like fans everywhere, knew he’d struggled, of course, in ways rarely seen since his first taste of the postseason four years ago. And he knew that they knew, so… “Obviously it wasn’t my best game,” Antetokounmpo said eventually. “I’ve got to be more aggressive… I’ve got to make the right play.” Defensively, Antetokounmpo was pretty much his usual self, grabbing 23 rebounds for the Bucks, challenging Toronto’s players out on the floor and close to the rim, and blocking four shots. Offensively, though, Antetokounmpo was a mess. He scored only 12 points, his fewest in a playoff game since he was first dipping his toe into postseason waters as a 20-year-old back in 2015. Through three quarters, Antetokounmpo had only six points on 3-for-8 shooting. Seven Milwaukee players and five Raptors had outscored him to that point, and he hadn’t earned his way to the foul line even once. What made it all worse was that the game was sitting there, aching to be taken by someone, anyone. Antetokounmpo got himself going a bit in the fourth quarter, making a couple of shots and earning five free throws. But he missed three. Then he went scoreless while playing the entire first overtime. And then he fouled out just 36 seconds into the second OT. He didn’t object, either, when that sixth foul for stepping in front of Toronto’s Pascal Siakam sent him to the side. Antetokounmpo just took it and exited, sealing it as one of those “not your night, kid” hard lessons. Asked about the frustration that Antetokounmpo might have shown to teammates, if not the public, Bucks guard Eric Bledsoe said: “If you don’t feel bad when you play bad, you don’t need to be playing this game. That’s the feeling that drives you to success. I’m happy he’s feeling like that.” Antetokounmpo’s game didn’t just spin sideways on its own. Raptors coach Nick Nurse switched some defensive duties around and assigned Kawhi Leonard – a two-time Defensive Player of the Year with the wingspan, instincts and reflexes to confound any open-court player – as the tip of Toronto’s spear against the Greek Freak. Then, as expected, Toronto sent second defenders at him, the surest way to get the ball out of Antetokounmpo’s hands or force him into difficult shots. So he tried to make the right basketball plays, as they say, and sometimes he did – he dished a team-high seven assists. Sometimes, though, he did not, turning over the ball eight times. For the record, Antetokounmpo has played 31 postseason games in his young career. In the games in which he has scored fewer than 19 points, his team’s record is 3-6. When he scores 19 or more, the Bucks are 14-8. Not to lay it all at Antetokounmpo’s feet. Fellow All-Star Khris Middleton was way off his usual offensive form, missing 13 of his 16 shots. And Bledsoe matched that. Together, those three starters were a combined 11-of-48. The rest of the team shot 50 percent (27 of 54). “We have the utmost respect and belief that the next game is not going to be as bad as [this] was,” said guard George Hill, who scored 24 points off the bench. “But I know it's sitting in their head that they go for a combined 11-of-48 or something like that. We're not worried about it.” Right. Who’s even counting? Budenholzer and his staff are going to have to figure out ways to get scoring opportunities without being stymied by all the defensive traffic. Teammates are going to have to shoot better, to keep those diggers honest in their matchups. And Antetokounmpo is going to need to play more aggressively and take what happened in Game 3 very personally. He wasn’t quite there yet, Sunday night (Monday, PHL time). “Obviously I want to stay aggressive. But we stick to our game plan,” Antetokounmpo said. “Some days I’m going to have a bad night. But my team has to focus on doing their job and I’ll do mine.” Said Brook Lopez, after watching the throng swallow Antetokounmpo on the opposite side of the room: “We know he’s not going to quit or stop playing. He’s going to continue to be him.” As he talked, Lopez’s phone began vibrating next to him. He said it was Bucks GM Jon Horst calling and, in a bit of gallows humor after a stinging loss, joked that maybe he shouldn’t answer. “I don’t know if I should pick up or not,” the Milwaukee center said, “’cause I want to be here tomorrow.” Antetokounmpo has a call to answer now, too. In Game 4, Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time). 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 NewsMay 20th, 2019

Bucks lead East finals 2-0, and now series shifts to Toronto

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry have more than held their own against Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton so far in these Eastern Conference finals. Other than some pretty boxscores, the Toronto Raptors have nothing to show for those efforts. [Watch the Playoffs on NBA League Pass for 30% less with this limited time offer! Select Annual package and use code SAVE30 at checkout to redeem] The supporting cast hasn’t supported much for Toronto, and with what is almost certainly a must-win Game 3 of the East title series looming on Sunday night at home, Raptors coach Nick Nurse is weighing lineup tweaks. Nurse suggested Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) that Serge Ibaka may start at center over struggling Marc Gasol, and Norman Powell may get minutes that would figure to come at Danny Green’s expense. “We’ve got to be better, man,” Nurse said Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). “We’ve got to be more physical, we’ve got to hustle more and we’ve got to work harder.” He may as well have punctuated that by adding “or else.” In this playoff format that was put into play in 1984, teams that win the first two games at home of a best-of-seven series have ultimately prevailed 94% of the time. And that’s the luxury Milwaukee has right now, leading the series 2-0 after rallying to win the opener and then controlling Game 2 start to finish. “We can’t rest,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “We can’t relax. We can’t assume anything.” So the odds are stacked against the Raptors. Nurse was told the lack of success teams have when down 0-2 in a series, and insisted he doesn’t care. “I don’t really give a crap about that,” he said. “I just want our team to come play their (butt) off tomorrow night and get one game and it changes the series.” Leonard and Lowry are outscoring Antetokounmpo and Middleton 107-77 — which would figure to have been a boon to Toronto’s chances. It hasn’t worked that way. Add up everyone else’s scoring in the series, and it’s Bucks 156, Raptors 96. Rebounding has been one-sided in both games, with Milwaukee controlling things on the backboards. Bench scoring has tilted heavily toward Milwaukee as well. “We’re just trying to be us,” Bucks center Brook Lopez said. “We’re not playing any differently, regular season or postseason. We’re just trying to go out there and play Bucks basketball. It starts with our defense. Getting stops. Getting out. Playing in transition. Playing with pace. Sharing the ball and being aggressive and attacking the basket.” The Raptors don’t have to look at the history books to know this series isn’t over. All they need to do is recall the 2012 Western Conference finals. Leonard and Green were with top-seeded San Antonio, and Ibaka was with second-seeded Oklahoma City. The Spurs won Games 1 and 2 at home — then lost the next four, and the Thunder went to the NBA Finals. “We have another chance to bounce back on Sunday,” Gasol said. “That’s all that matters right now. That’s all that matters.” Here’s some of what to know before Game 3: QUICK WIT: Leonard, who isn’t the most talkative guy in the league to put it mildly, had a simple answer when asked where the Raptors go from here after the Game 2 loss. “I’m going to Toronto for Game 3,” Leonard said. WE (BARELY) THE NORTH: The series now shifts to Toronto, where the Raptors’ motto is “We The North.” It is, but barely in this case. Toronto is about 430 miles east of Milwaukee by air, and is only slightly north. And it should be noted that Toronto isn’t even the northernmost city that will be playing host to conference final games this weekend — Portland holds that distinction. GREEK FREAKS: Census figures show that at least a quarter-million Greeks live in Canada, and roughly half of those live in Ontario. Antetokounmpo isn’t expecting an overly warm welcome, but has seen a few Greek flags in the crowd on his past trips to Toronto. Antetokounmpo said he’d be touched if they were there Sunday, but isn’t thinking about it too much. “I’m going to try not to focus as much in the people and the Greeks and the population in Toronto,” Antetokounmpo said. “Just focusing on Game 3 and what we’ve got to do.” OFF, WISCONSIN: Including Games 1 and 2 of this series, matchups in Wisconsin are rarely kind to Nurse. He played at Northern Iowa, a conference rival of Green Bay — and his teams went 1-8 in those games, 0-4 at Green Bay’s former home court, the being-demolished Brown County Arena. Nurse said it was a nice place, but wasn’t upset to hear it’s coming down. “There weren’t very many good memories for me,” he said. BREAK FROM DRAKE: At least one Milwaukee radio station is taking this series extremely seriously. WXSS-FM is not allowing any songs by Raptors superfan Drake to be played on its station until the East finals are over. “We’re taking a break from you,” the station wrote in an open letter of sorts to the Toronto native and courtside ticketholder......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 19th, 2019

Raptors running out of options as series shifts to Toronto

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com MILWAUKEE – The Toronto Raptors are two bounces on the rim into their Eastern Conference championship series against Milwaukee. Two more and – unless things change radically for the Raptors in every phase of the game from what we’ve seen – the basketball metaphor of their 2019 postseason is going to fall harmlessly to the side. No points, no buzzer-beater, no victory, no nothing. [Watch the Playoffs on NBA League Pass for 30% less with this limited time offer! Select Annual package and use code SAVE30 at checkout to redeem] Two games into this best-of-seven series, it’s already hard to see a way out for the Raptors that doesn’t include Hefty bags, cleaned-out lockers and a wide-open month of June. Toronto played well enough to win in Game 1, yet managed to lose it anyway thanks to an open elevator shaft of a fourth quarter that qualified instantly as something that would haunt them. Then they played miserably in Friday's (Saturday, PHL time) Game 2, save for a stretch in the third quarter when slippage in Milwaukee’s focus appeared as culpable as anything Raptors-related. Kyle Lowry, Toronto’s veteran point guard, is wandering around these days with a modified blue oven mitt on his left hand. It’s there to protect the thumb he sprained in Game 7 against Philadelphia. That’s the game that got the Raptors here, the one decided by Kawhi Leonard’s eternal-highlight shot at the end that bounced four times on the rim before dropping through the net. It’s been kind of downhill for their crew since then. Anyway, Lowry was asked a series of questions after Milwaukee's 125-103 triumph at Fiserv Forum about the defense, about the rebounding, about the shift from the Bucks’ floor to the Raptors’ for Games 3 and 4 beginning Sunday (Monday, PHL time). And Lowry earnestly answered by saying, yes, they have to defend better, they have to rebound better and they definitely have to assert themselves more to defend their Scotiabank Arena home court. Lowry said the right things. Problem is, that’s a lot of things. The Raptors don’t appear to have the wherewithal – or even the duct tape, if you prefer – to fix so many flaws at once. They have been outrebounded 113-86, a major factor in the Bucks’ 41-20 advantage in second-chance points. They have been outscored by 30 points in the two games and most of the difference has come from the bench (76-51), adding to the sense that Milwaukee isn’t just beating Toronto, it’s ganging up on them. Defensively, the Raptors haven’t been nearly good enough and their coach, Nick Nurse, put the blame squarely on them. He went into detail – both before and after Game 2 – to explain the difference between a good contest of a jump shot and a great, playoffs-worthy contest. After talking at length before tipoff about needing and hoping to see effort from his players as a sign they grasped the urgency involved, it had to be embarrassing for Nurse to acknowledge afterward that, no, that effort in fact was not there. “We were just a step too slow on just about everything,” he observed. To illustrate how casually his players closed on Bucks’ shooters, Nurse did a deep dive on a play in which center Marc Gasol needed to get out to Nikola Mirotic. “It was a good contest, but it wasn't a full-out contest,” the Toronto coach said. “We know the level of contest is going to affect these shots or not, and if you don't go with everything you've got and jump high and really try to let them know you're right pressed up against them, then the chances of [the shots] going in are pretty good.” Poor Gasol. This supremely skilled big man who was so valuable to the Memphis Grizzlies in numerous playoff wars is an early nominee for series scapegoat here. He at least had 12 rebounds and five assists in the opener, but his contributions and minutes fizzled in Game 2. By the time he got to 1-for-9 (3-for-20 in the series), the 34-year-old Gasol was looking creakier than his brother Pau, 38, who was wheeling himself through the halls on a scooter Friday night (Saturday, PHL time) after undergoing foot surgery this week. Then there’s Danny Green, a helpful 3-and-D guy with tons of postseason experience from his San Antonio days. Green’s challenge has been touching the ball enough to make a difference; he’s 3-for-11, getting about two thirds as many shots as he’d expect. But as he noted, Toronto’s ball movement has been spotty, the Bucks’ top-ranked defense stingy and little has been done to alter either from one game to the next. “Our offense was out of whack a little bit tonight, and we didn’t tighten it up,” Green said. A little more Norman Powell, a little less Gasol going forward? Doesn’t seem like it’ll be enough. Now take Pascal Siakam and Lowry from the margin for error that Toronto really doesn’t have. They were good for 45 points in the opener but scored a total of 23 Friday (Saturday, PHL time), each burdened with foul trouble from daring to mess with Milwaukee’s gears. Siakam, a favorite to be named the NBA’s Most Improved Player, wound up as the night’s most removed player, his minutes dropping from more than 42 on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) to 26 on Friday (Saturday, PHL time). There’s no reason to let Leonard off the hook, either. The Raptors’ best player has scored 31 points in each game, but they’ve been about as quiet as 62 points can be, coming almost from a bubble that has nothing in common with the rest of Toronto’s attack. Sometimes Leonard is bailing them out, sure, but many times the ball and the possession stop with him. The Bucks are OK with that, defending him with Khris Middleton, Eric Bledsoe and helpers. Leonard has taken 20 of his team’s 45 free throws, but dished only four assists in the two games. That’s one area in which Leonard is so different from – and so far in this series, lacking when compared to – Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Bucks’ star, with his gravitational pull on defenders, creates a bounty of opportunities for others. Leonard isn’t making any of his teammates better at this stage. And let’s not forget the intangibles. Antetokounmpo is the catalyst for Milwaukee’s superior team chemistry, a top-five talent who is all in on the Bucks’ ambitions and the players corralled around him. Leonard? For all anyone knows, he still has one foot out the door to free agency. His laconic nature doesn’t lend itself to firing up others, and it’s difficult to see how he leads by anything other than example. The cloud of Leonard’s future has been squatting over Toronto’s whole season. Every game is a referendum on whether he feels he has enough help or not. Does Nurse or another Raptors coach dare to challenge him, for fear he’ll start packing his bags immediately? Did anyone object to his “load management” nights off this season? It has been a tough way to grind through a long year, held hostage by your star’s inscrutability. But it’s what they signed up for when GM Masai Ujiri traded for him with just one season to woo and recruit. Compare that to what Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer was sharing about Antetokounmpo, as far as pushing him to greater heights. “We're coaching him and we're on him,” Budenholzer said. “We think he can be doing more, and he just soaks it up.” As the series shifts to Canada, the Raptors will look to Friday’s (Saturday, PHL time) third quarter as quickly as the Bucks will dismiss it. Toronto outscored Milwaukee 39-31 over those 12 minutes, the only portion of the game in which they managed to send a ripple of nervousness through the building. OK, well, maybe not quite that, but a few fans surely noticed that what had been a 28-point lead soon after halftime got chiseled down to 13. Not once, but twice. But Malcolm Brogdon and George Hill went to work off the Bucks’ bench, Giannis came back mean-muggin’ to start the fourth and that most definitely was that. Playoff protocol says we must give the Raptors their home games to demonstrate a difference. But they need to know that 0-2 is a gaping hole, from which only 20 teams in NBA history have come back in a seven-game series. Two more bounces on the rim, and we’ll see which way the Raptors fall. 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 NewsMay 18th, 2019

Numbers to know heading into Raptors-Sixers Game 5

By John Schuhmann, NBA.com It's not clear that, by the end of the Eastern Conference semifinals series between the Toronto Raptors and Philadelphia 76ers, we'll know which is the better team. One of these teams is going to beat the other four times. But it may just be a case of survival, one team scratching out four wins and moving on to the conference finals. [Watch the Playoffs on NBA League Pass for 30% less with this limited time offer! Select Annual package and use code SAVE30 at checkout to redeem] Through four games, this has been the least efficient series in the conference semifinals, with the teams combining to score just 104 points per 100 possessions. The two teams rank sixth and eighth in offensive efficiency among the eight teams playing in this round. "We haven't been in great rhythm here in the last few games," Raptors coach Nick Nurse admitted Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time). "That's playing the same team over and over." The Raptors did score 101 points on 93 possessions in Game 4, their second-best offensive game of the series. The Sixers have been the better offensive team overall, but have really had just one good offensive game and three rough ones. Game 2 was one of two in these playoffs where a team won while scoring less than a point per possession. A slow grind This series has also been played at a pace (95.4 possessions per team per 48 minutes) slower than that of any NBA team in the regular season. And that could an issue for the Sixers, who played at a faster pace than the Raptors in the regular season and at a much faster pace than Toronto in the first round. The 95.4 rating is only 0.3 possessions per 48 minutes slower than the Toronto-Orlando series, but it's 10.2 possessions per 48 slower than the Philly-Brooklyn series. Prior to Game 4, it was noted that the Raptors weren't scoring in transition as efficiently as they did in the regular season. With J.J. Redick having shot 5-for-6 from three-point range in the first six seconds of the shot clock, the Sixers have actually scored very efficiently in transition in this series: 1.33 points per transition possession. But they haven't gotten the same number of transition opportunities as they did in the regular season or in the first round. In the regular season, Philly scored 1.07 points per possession (a bottom-10 rate) on 20.0 transition possessions per game. In the first round against Brooklyn, the Sixers scored just 1.00 points per possession on 19.0 transition possessions per game. In this series, they've scored those 1.33 points per possession, but on just 13.5 transition possessions per game. Against Brooklyn, Ben Simmons averaged 3.6 shots per game in the first six seconds of the shot clock, according to Second Spectrum tracking. In the conference semis, he has just five total field-goal attempts in the first six seconds. The Raptors have seemingly won the pace battle, in part because they've averaged only 5.5 live-ball turnovers per game, with Brooklyn having averaged 7.8 in the first round. But Sixers coach Brett Brown explained after Game 2 that, with his team's shorter rotation and the remaining players playing more minutes, it's more difficult to push the ball in transition on every opportunity. "We'll try from time to time to play as fast as we can," Brown said, "but the reality is it's just a grind. And when you shrink your rotation, you're probably not going to be able to call upon that type of freshness as much as if you were playing like a normal 9 1/2, 10 [guys]." Problems in the paint The bigger difference between Toronto's two wins and Philadelphia's two wins has been on the Toronto end of the floor, where he Raptors have scored 109.4 points per 100 possessions in Games 1 and 4, and just 96.8 in Games 2 and 3. But one number stands out in regard to the Sixers' offense in wins vs. losses. In their two wins, they've shot 45-for-77 (58 percent) in the paint. In their two losses, they've shot 37-for-79 (47 percent) in the paint. "We have to own some of it," Brown said Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) of his team's inability to finish in Game 4. "You give credit to Toronto's length and their attention to that area." Indeed, the Raptors played bigger in Game 4 and Serge Ibaka blocked three shots inside. In the regular season, Philly ranked fifth in field goal percentage in the paint (57.4 percent), but 17th in effective field goal percentage on shots from outside the paint (49.3 percent). So defending the former seems like a good priority for Toronto. Of course, if the Raptors are going to collapse in the paint and focus on contesting shots inside, the Sixers will get open looks on the perimeter. They made 12 three's on Sunday (Monday, PHL time), but Tobias Harris (2-for-13) and Mike Scott (0-for-3) were a combined 2-for-16 from beyond the arc. Over the four games, Harris (7-for-22) has attempted more catch-and-shoot three's than J.J. Redick (9-for-20), which is probably a good thing for the Raptors. Right after Kawhi Leonard hit the biggest shot of the series on Sunday (Monday, PHL time), Harris missed a wide-open corner three when the Toronto defense collapsed on a Joel Embiid roll to the rim. If Harris made that shot, it's back to a one-point game with about 40 seconds left. Alas, he missed and the Raptors made enough free throws to seal the game and even the series. John Schuhmann is a senior stats analyst for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 7th, 2019

Barcelona shows it can also thrive without ball possession

By Tales Azzoni, Associated Press MADRID (AP) — There was Lionel Messi as usual, backed by many of the same supporting players. The main difference for Barcelona this time was the coach. Barcelona has reinvented itself under Ernesto Valverde, showing it can change its style when needed and still be successful. The match against Liverpool in the Champions League semifinals on Wednesday was a perfect example. Barcelona was forced to relinquish its ball-possession game, but it still came away with a 3-0 victory that left the club in position to reach its first final since it won its last European title four years ago. "They were able to impose their back-and-forth game and it made it difficult for us," Valverde said. "We tried to slow down the pace but they kept pressing. I liked how we knew how to suffer and how we came up with answers. We pulled off a victory against a very strong team." Despite playing at home, Barcelona finished with less ball possession than Liverpool, 48% to 52%. It was the first time a team held more possession than Barcelona in the Champions League since the semifinals against Bayern Munich in 2015. "We played their game, their physically demanding pace. It was counterattack against counterattack," said Messi, who scored twice to add to Luis Suarez's opening goal at the Camp Nou. "We aren't used to that. We like having possession of the ball and making the opponent run after the ball. We were exhausted, but that's what the match demanded. We had to compete anyway we could." Liverpool also exchanged more passes than Barcelona (482-457), and ended with more attempts (14-11) and corners (5-3). Barcelona was pinned down on defense during parts of the game, needing 24 clearances against seven by Liverpool. "I don't know if we can play much better, to be honest," Liverpool coach Juergen Klopp said. Valverde had hinted even before the game started that ball possession might not have been the main focus for Barcelona, adding the more defensive-minded Arturo Vidal to the starting lineup in midfield instead of the more technical Arthur. The Brazilian has taken over the role of Andre Iniesta as the team's pace-setter, becoming the man responsible for controlling possession. But although the back-and-forth game was supposed to favor Liverpool and its speedy attack, Barcelona ended threatening the most in the end, and it could have scored more goals if it had capitalized on a few late counterattacks. The defense also played a key role, holding strong when Liverpool pressed forward, with goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen again coming through with a great performance and making a few important saves to keep the English team from getting an away goal. Barcelona conceded that away goal in a 3-1 win over Roma in the first leg of last year's quarterfinals at Camp Nou, eventually being eliminated in Italy after a 3-0 loss. "It's similar to last year, we also have a three-goal advantage, but look what happened then," Valverde said. "We still have to play well in the second leg.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 3rd, 2019

Dolphins Josh Rosen says he can be franchise quarterback

By Steven Wine, Associated Press DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — As he embraced a fresh start Monday, Josh Rosen said all the right things, smiled a lot and even cracked a couple of jokes, such as when he noted the phalanx of photographers nearly drowning out his first news conference with the Miami Dolphins. "These clicks," he said with a chuckle, "are loud." Rosen does attract clicks, which is a big change for a Dolphins team low on star power. It has been so long since they had a Pro Bowl quarterback that Rosen referred to him as "Mr. Marino." Despite a rough rookie season that prompted the Arizona Cardinals to discard him, Rosen still believes he can be a Dan Marino-type franchise quarterback. And he's glad to get an opportunity with the Dolphins, who are eager to stop a revolving door at the position that has gone through 19 starters since Marino's last game 20 years ago. "I couldn't be more excited to be here," Rosen said. "Very rarely do you get a second chance to make a first impression." As for motivation, Rosen's crooked grin grew wider when he was asked about any chip on his shoulder. "I don't think my chip has to grow any more," he said. "I might tip over." He was the 10th overall pick in the 2018 draft but became expendable in Arizona last week when the Cardinals used the No. 1 overall pick to select Kyler Murray. A day later, the Dolphins acquired him for two draft picks to become part of their rebuilding effort under first-year coach Brian Flores. "I felt like I got drafted twice," he said. Rosen took no direct jabs at the Cardinals and acknowledged that in Miami he faces a one-year tryout . If he doesn't play well this season, the Dolphins will likely have a poor record and be well-positioned to take a QB early in the first round in 2020. Rosen also acknowledged his image needs work. Doubts about his leadership and personality linger despite efforts by Arizona teammates and coaches to dispel them. He said the issue dates to his years at UCLA. "I didn't have all my answers as perfectly crafted as I do now," he said. "I said some things off the cuff, and people misconstrued them. ... "I think I'm a really good teammate. What I've tried to do is not say or do anything extra, just kind of be me and keep my head down, and eventually the story will straighten out. I think it has for the most part. Time and consistency are the best medicine to cure the narrative." With that in mind, Rosen had answers ready when asked about: — competing for the starting job with another Dolphins newcomer, veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick. "The timing on whether I play or not is not up to me." — Pro Football Hall of Famer Marino. "Hopefully I can follow in some semblance of his massive footsteps." — his belief that he can become a franchise QB. "I think I'm a good quarterback, and I think I'm a good leader." The Dolphins hope he's right......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 29th, 2019

Local Westbrook?

Scottie Thompson never ceases to amaze even the great Tim Cone. On Friday, the sophomore guard was at it again for Ginebra, flashing his usual brilliance that made the greatest PBA coach of all time once again mention him like he's already one of the greats. 'He's a few runs below Sonny Jaworski but I think rebounding they're at par,' Cone said, putting the great Scottie in the same sentence with the Living Legend himself. Cone already once mentioned Thompson in the same sentence as Johnny Abbarientos, another all-time PBA great he had the chance to coach back when he was winning a Grand Slam with the Alaska Aces. With Thompson finishing the Ginebra victory over Blackwater with what has been a usual 13 points, 15 rebounds, and seven assists, Cone took his praise to the next level, implying that his prized catch from the 2015 Draft might be the local counterpart of a certain triple-double machine from Oklahoma City. 'I haven't seen a rebounding guard like hime even in the NBA [except maybe] the kid from Oklahoma City, [Russell] Westbrook,' Cone said. While averaging a triple-double at this stage of his career and with a loaded Ginebra lineup might be a stretch for now even for Scottie, Cone believes his young guard might be on the way. It's just a matter of him finding his inner aggressive self to take over the floor more on the offensive side of the ball. 'I don't want to put pressure on Scottie but I think eventually he could end up putting up Westbrook numbers once he learns how to score and he can score,' the 19-time PBA champion mentor said. 'I think that will open up the gate for him [being aggressive],' he added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 21st, 2017

Texans look for improvement ahead of rematch with Patriots

KRISTIE RIEKEN, AP Sports Writer br /> HOUSTON (AP) — Despite a decisive win over the Raiders in the wild-card round, the Houston Texans know improvement is necessary if they hope to get the first divisional playoff win in franchise history on Saturday against New England. 'There's always room for improvement,' coach Bill O'Brien said. 'That's what the league is all about — who can improve the fastest to get to where you want to go?' Brock Osweiler returned to the starting lineup on Saturday after being benched two weeks ago after inconsistent play and multiple turnovers. He looked better than he had before he was pulled, throwing a touchdown pass and running for another score. He also took care of the ball in just his fourth start this season where he didn't throw an interception. But he only finished with 168 yards passing, leaving the Texans looking for more from him this week. 'We were more consistent than we have been,' O'Brien said of the offense. 'I think we can still be better. There's always improvement to make.' A key to Osweiler's success on Saturday was his ability to get DeAndre Hopkins involved in the game after struggling to get him the ball this season. 'There's certainly been some ups and downs as far as getting him the football throughout the course of the year,' Osweiler said. 'But I think the one thing that you were really able to see (Saturday) was that Hop and I were on the same page ... (and) anytime I can get the ball to Hop, I'm going to do it.' Hopkins finished with 67 yards receiving and a touchdown, giving the Texans something to build on this week against the Patriots. The offense got a boost by the return of running back Lamar Miller, who missed the last two regular-season games with an ankle injury. He ran for 73 yards and a touchdown, but was disappointed that he averaged just 2.4 yards a carry after averaging 4 per run in the regular season. Despite those numbers, O'Brien was happy with his work. 'I think he looked good ... it was good to have him back in there,' O'Brien said. 'I thought it was the right move for his health, for our football team to do what we did. 'I don't think he was totally 100 percent for the last two weeks of the season and I think he feels better now. He's meant a lot to our team.' The Texans had often been settling for field goals instead of touchdowns when they got in the red zone in recent weeks. But on Saturday they solved that problem when they scored touchdowns in all three trips to the red zone. They know doing that again must be a focus this week. This will be Houston's second game against the Patriots this season after New England got a 27-0 win in Week 3 with third-string quarterback Jacoby Brissett running the offense. As the Texans work to improve this week they'll have to listen to chatter about their underdog status entering this game. The Patriots are heavy favorites but O'Brien insists that they aren't worried about the odds against them. 'What does that matter? The only thing that matters is what takes place in between the lines on Saturday night,' he said. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 10th, 2017

Heat still struggling, and now hit road for six-game trip

em>By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press /em> MIAMI (AP) — When the Miami Heat return home from their road trip, the season will officially be half over. It's already seemed like a marathon. Barely seven months removed from being a game shy of the NBA's Final Four, the Heat were the first team this season to reach the 25-loss mark. Only Philadelphia and Brooklyn are keeping Miami from having the league's worst record, and it's a paper-thin buffer right now between the Heat and the cellar. Injuries have piled up as well, further adding to the struggle of rebuilding. 'It's not so much frustration,' Heat forward Justise Winslow said, talking about the team's collective mood. 'It's more just like sympathy.' Banged-up and usually beaten, the Heat start a six-game trip in Phoenix on Tuesday night (Wednesday, PHL time). The good news is that the first three games on this swing are against teams that are like the Heat, well below the .500 mark. The bad news is that Miami hasn't beaten anybody on the road in more than a month, and seems to have a different lineup every night. Just in Sunday's (Monday, PHL time) loss to Detroit alone, the Heat were without Goran Dragic, Hassan Whiteside, Dion Waiters, Josh McRoberts and Winslow. McRoberts is out indefinitely with a stress fracture in his left foot, and Whiteside (scratched right eye) and Winslow (right shoulder stinger) did not travel with the team Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) — though that doesn't mean they can't meet the Heat somewhere on this trip. 'We'll get guys back,' coach Erik Spoelstra said. Dion Waiters hasn't played since late November because of a torn groin muscle; he was on the team flight Monday (Tuesday, PHL time), a sign that his return might finally be coming. Whiteside got poked in the eye during Miami's game at Boston on Friday (Saturday, PHL time), when Winslow got hurt on the final play of the game. At this rate, there will be a point where Miami starts thinking more about the future than the present. Plenty of trade talk in the next few weeks will involve the Heat, who have a ton of salary-cap space to use this summer and will undoubtedly hear from contending teams looking to add a player or two for the looming playoff runs. And unless there's some seismic improvement, Miami's NBA draft lottery odds might look pretty good as well. 'I know this about Erik's teams: They're going to play really, really hard,' Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy said of Spoelstra, his longtime friend going back to when they were both part of the Heat staff. Just take some examples from Sunday's (Monday, PHL time) loss: James Johnson dove on the floor to salvage what looked like a sure turnover, setting up a three-pointer. He leaped into the Detroit bench a couple minutes later to save a ball, and the Heat got another triple out of that possession. Rodney McGruder thwarted a 4-on-1 Detroit fast break later in the game as well, though the Pistons wound up scoring on that possession. That's sort of the theme for the Heat season so far. Even when things go right, it's not right enough. 'I'm seeing the guys out there diving on the floor, making winning plays, putting their bodies out there, putting themselves out there,' captain Udonis Haslem said. 'That's how you become a championship team.' Even with Whiteside's numbers looking good — averages of 17.3 points and 14.3 rebounds per game — he's far from a lock for the All-Star team, in part because there's no true center designation in the roster-choosing process. No one currently playing for the Heat has ever been an All-Star, and it's probably reasonable to think that won't change in the next few weeks. For comparison's sake, last year's Heat lineup featured players with a combined 38 All-Star trips. Dwyane Wade's now in Chicago, Joe Johnson is in Utah, Luol Deng is with the Lakers, Amare Stoudemire is in Israel and Chris Bosh is in basketball exile, sidelined by concerns about his blood-clot situations and now seen with Heat teammates only in photos from New Year's Eve gatherings. 'It is what it is,' Winslow said. 'Take it with a grain of salt. Not going to make any excuses. We're all basketball players. We get paid to do this. We get paid to show up on time, get paid to have your brother's back on the court.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 3rd, 2017

Patriots clinch home-field advantage

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 2nd, 2017

Browns to stay the course despite 1-15 season

WILL GRAVES, AP Sports Writer br /> PITTSBURGH (AP) — The worst season in franchise history won't cost Cleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson his job. If anything, owner Jimmy Haslam is doubling down on his bet that Jackson, general manager Sashi Brown and the rest of the front office are the right people to turn things around. The revolving door that's been an offseason fixture since Haslam bought the team in 2012 is stopping, even after a 27-24 overtime loss to the backup-laden Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday that left the Browns an NFL-worst 1-15. 'Clearly not an acceptable year,' Haslam said. 'Really since we bought the team, it's totally unacceptable performance, which as ownership we'll take the entire blame for.' And not, Haslam stressed, Jackson or Brown, both of whom were brought in last winter to revive a team that's 15-49 over the past four seasons. 'Could not be more pleased with the job Hue and the staff are doing,' Haslam said. 'You wouldn't think this was a 1-14 team with the way this team was out there battling (today). Really pleased with Hue and really pleased with our personnel group. I think we have the right people in place.' If not the right results. At least, not yet. Their final game of 2016 looked an awful lot like the 15 that came before it: flashes of competence undone by questionable play-calling and occasionally bad luck. The Browns fumbled inside the Pittsburgh 5 with a minute to go in regulation and had a first-and-goal at the Pittsburgh 2 turn into a field goal by Cody Parkey, extending the game. Oh, and they had a potential pick-6 by Briean Boddy-Calhoun turn into a touchback when Pittsburgh's Darrius Heyward-Bey punched the ball out of Boddy-Calhoun's hands as he stretched for the goal line in the third quarter. A touchdown would have put Cleveland up 21-7 in the third quarter. Instead, the Steelers went right back down the field to tie the score. And so it goes. While the loss assured the Browns of the top pick in the draft this spring, it provided little solace after the Steelers responded to Parkey's field goal by going 75 yards in nine plays, the last a 26-yard touchdown lob from Landry Jones to Cobi Hamilton. 'We were coming here to win the game,' Jackson said. 'We weren't coming here to get a No. 1 pick. Those guys gave it everything they had.' Isaiah Crowell ran for a career-high 152 yards for the Browns, who have been playing football since 1946 (save for a brief three-year break from 1996-98) and never finished with a 'one' in the win column. Not exactly that Jackson envisioned when he took over last January. 'You can't sugarcoat this,' Jackson said. 'It is what it is. I would hope we get a chance next year to earn a different type of record. That's where it starts. We're 1-15. I never would have thought that in a million years, but we are.' Robert Griffin III passed for 232 yards with two touchdowns and an interception, but Cleveland missed a chance to beat the Steelers on the road for the first time since 2003. Griffin, signed to a two-year deal last offseason, said getting a chance to compete for the starting job in 2017 would be 'awesome.' He also acknowledged that the broken bone in his shoulder suffered in September never fully healed, though he was quick to point out it did not have a significant impact on his play. 'You'd be naive to think a guy that breaks a bone in season is going to come back with a fully healed bone,' Griffin said. 'The doctors felt I was healed enough to return to play ... but to say I was 100 percent healthy is a lie.' Like Haslam, Griffin praised Jackson and his staff for doing what they could in a difficult situation. 'I think those guys are the right guys,' Griffin said. 'I think in the offseason what those guys are going to do is give the Cleveland Browns the best chance to win going into next year.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 2nd, 2017

In Focus: The Star Magic Ball 2016 Red Carpet Watch

Missed the real-time coverage of the stars' arrival on the Star Magic Ball 2016 red carpet? We've immortalized it for you; plus, sneak peeks into their preps beforehand as well as what went down in the program!.....»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 22nd, 2016

In Focus: Star Magic Ball 2016 Watch

Here's what went down during the 10th Star Magic Ball......»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 22nd, 2016

Xian Lim pulls another surprise for Kim Chiu on the eve of Star Magic Ball

Xian Lim pulls another surprise for Kim Chiu on the eve of Star Magic Ball.....»»

Category: entertainmentSource:  pepRelated NewsOct 21st, 2016
Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 19th, 2016
Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 18th, 2016

In Focus: 5 Makeup Looks We Loved At Last Year's Star Magic Ball

If you looked even closer, these were the on-point artistry of the keenest makeup hands in the land......»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 17th, 2016

In Focus: Stellar Women Wrapped In Light—4 Lifting Looks At Last Year's Star Magic Ball

We think these four winsome women ruled the night in their brightening style......»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 17th, 2016

In Focus: What We'd Love To See Kathryn, Liza, Julia, Kim, And Bea Wear To The Star Magic Ball

We imagine these best dressed beauties in looks inspired by this season's hottest trends......»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 12th, 2016