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Lefty leads by 3, nears 5th Pebble Beach title

Lefty leads by 3, nears 5th Pebble Beach title.....»»

Category: sportsSource: thestandard thestandardFeb 11th, 2019

Casey leads Mickelson by three at Pebble Beach - The Manila Times Online

SAN FRANCISCO: Englands Paul Casey fired six birdies in a five-under par 65 on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) to pull away to a three-stroke lead over five-time major winner PhilREAD The post Casey leads.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilanewsRelated NewsFeb 11th, 2019

US Open hopes ultimate test doesn t feature trick questions

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. (AP) — The U.S. Open wants to be the ultimate test in golf, and sometimes that leads to a series of trick questions. One of them was 14 years ago at Shinnecock Hills. A year after Jim Furyk tied the U.S. Open scoring record at Olympia Fields, the 2004 U.S. Open was so bone dry and lightning fast that only three players broke par on the weekend, none on Sunday. Fans having to move to the side because of a golf ball rolling toward them is not unusual, except when the player hit the shot with his putter from the green. Tee shots that landed on the seventh green rolled off the putting surface and into a bunker. One year after Rory McIlroy broke the U.S. Open scoring record at Congressional, no one broke par at Olympic Club in 2012 when Webb Simpson won. Moments like this lead to criticism that the USGA overreacts. Justin Rose sees it another way. "When everything is in balance, it's kind of boring," he said. "And I think in life, the closer you get to the edges, that's where the excitement is. So I would say the USGA is not reactionary. It's counterbalancing. So if you go too far one way, you've got to come back the other way. You don't want to fall off the edge." That's the question going into the 118th U.S. Open that starts Thursday. Might the USGA lean toward going easy on players because of what happened the last time at Shinnecock Hills? Or will it make it tougher on them because of the record scoring last year at Erin Hills? Brooks Koepka tied the record to par at 16 under, and six other players finished at 10 under or lower. "We're confident this should be a marvelous test," said Mike Davis, the chief executive of the USGA who has been in charge of setting up the courses for the U.S. Open since 2006 at Winged Foot, when the winning score was 5 over. Davis believes Shinnecock Hills is right where the USGA wants it, even with a light, steady rain on the final day of practice. Wednesday is never the measure of how a golf course presents itself. McIlroy is among those who likes what he sees. It's not a U.S. Open if players are not complaining, but it's been a quiet three days ahead of competition. The biggest question is whether the fairways are narrow enough. They are tighter than last year at Erin Hills, for sure, and an average of 15 yards wider than in 2004. "Honestly, I think they've got it right," McIlroy said. "It presents guys with options off the tee. You have to make a decision basically on every tee box what you're going to do. I'm obviously not that old, but when I watched U.S. Opens on TV and saw these long, narrow corridors of fairways and thick rough, that's what I was used to at a U.S. Open. ... If you look at the venues that are coming up, they're very traditional venues like Oakmont, Winged Foot, Pebble Beach. "Maybe you'll see more of what we perceive as a traditional U.S. Open setup." Rain was expected to yield to plenty of sun over the next four days, with the strongest wind on Thursday. Davis said he already has called several audibles on the original plan of where to put the pins on the greens, an example of the USGA not wanting the course to get on the wild side. Davis also said the winning score is not an issue at a major where par tends to be at a premium. "Never since I've been at the USGA — and it's been almost 30 years — I've never heard anybody at the USGA say we're shooting for even par," Davis said. "But we talk incessantly, 'How do we get the course to be really a great test of golf?' As we say, get all 14 clubs dirty to make sure that these players are tested to the nth degree." And what makes a good championship inside the ropes? The quality of the winner? Different players have won the last 15 U.S. Opens, the longest stretch of the four majors. The margin? The last playoff was 10 years ago when Tiger Woods won at Torrey Pines. Three of the last four U.S. Opens have been decided by three shots or more. "You need some great players in the mix," Rose said. "You need some great story lines." This U.S. Open is not lacking for either. Five players have a chance to replace Dustin Johnson at No. 1 in the world this week. Woods is hitting the ball well enough to win any week if he ever gets all parts of his game working together. To win a record-tying fourth U.S. Open would cap off an unlikely comeback following four back surgeries. Phil Mickelson, in the USGA record book with his six runner-up finishes, needs only this trophy to complete the career Grand Slam. "And then just a good test of golf where people think, 'Wow, they've really stepped up and played great golf under pressure,'" Rose added. "I think that's what people would like to see in this tournament is that guys are tested to the ends of the ability, to whether they can cope or not. And I think that's part of the charm ... not charm, but part of the allure of this tournament." The ultimate test starts Thursday. Results won't be available until the end of the week......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 14th, 2018

Nicklaus cautions from experience against a Masters letdown

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press Tiger Woods built his comeback around the Masters, as was the case even in healthier years. He took a step back at Augusta National, not breaking par until the final round and finishing 16 shots behind Patrick Reed, the most he has trailed the Masters winner. Woods wasn't alone in his disappointment. Jordan Spieth geared his early part of the year toward being ready for the Masters, the major he says he most wants to win. He had a two-shot lead after the first round, and rounds of 74-71 meant even that closing 64 wasn't enough. Phil Mickelson took himself out of the hunt with a 79 in the second round. Jack Nicklaus can understand how they feel, and his message for anyone who puts so much emphasis on a green jacket is that the show goes on. "I had to learn that there were other tournaments in the country after Augusta," Nicklaus said at the Masters after hitting the ceremonial first tee shot. "I played Augusta a lot of times and lost. I won in '63, '65 and '66, and I just expected to win every year. I thought I would just continue to do that." Nicklaus missed the cut in 1967. He says that started a three-year trend in which it took him longer than it should have to get over not winning the Masters. "That was a humbling experience to miss the cut after you've won it twice in a row," he said. "But then the next couple of years, I think that it probably destroyed the rest of my year. Because I was so disappointed at not winning at Augusta that I had a downer most of the year." There's some truth to that. He didn't go more than two tournaments before winning again after the 1963, 1964 and 1965 Masters. After he repeated at Augusta in 1966, he ran off five consecutive top fives before winning the British Open at Muirfield to complete the career Grand Slam. But after missing the cut in 1967, he went five tournaments without winning and had one stretch of 10 straight rounds in which he failed to break 70. The following year when he tied for fifth at the Masters, Nicklaus didn't win again until the Western Open the first weekend in August. And after a tie for 23rd in the 1969 Masters, he didn't win again until the Sahara Invitational in October. "I put such a buildup to this tournament and the importance of winning that first major that it was to my detriment more times than a positive," he said. Nicklaus figured it out. Over the next four years, he never went more than three events after the Masters before winning again. Twice, in 1971 and 1973, he won in his next start after failing to win the Masters. CURTIS CUP Four years after Lucy Li qualified for the U.S. Women's Open at age 11, the Californian is headed to her first Curtis Cup. Li was among eight women selected for the June 8-10 matches against amateurs from Britain and Ireland at Quaker Ridge in New York. Li is the first 15-year-old to make the American team since Lexi Thompson in 2010. The other Americans selected for the team are UCLA star Lilia Vu, Andrea Lee, Jennifer Kupcho, Kristen Gillman, U.S. Women's Amateur champion Sophia Schubert, Lauren Stephenson and Mariel Galdiano. Lee and Galdiano played in the most recent Curtis Cup, which Britain & Ireland won in Ireland. AS THE WORLD TURNS For the second time since the World Golf Championships began in 1999, the PGA Tour is converting one of its regular tournaments into one of the four WGCs with a big purse ($10 million this year) and a limited field with no cut. Doral had been longest-running PGA Tour event on the Florida Swing until it morphed into the WGC-CA Championship in 2007. Now it's happening in Memphis, Tennessee. Bridgestone chose not to renew its increasingly expensive title sponsorship of the WGC at Firestone, which had hosted an elite event since 1976. Starting next year, the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational will move to the TPC Southwind in Memphis. That will assure the strongest field for Memphis, which dates to 1958. But much like Doral in 2007, it becomes off-limits to PGA Tour regulars. Based on this week's world ranking, only 16 players in the field for the St. Jude Classic last year would be eligible at a World Golf Championship. BALANCE AT THE TOP Each generation believes it had stronger and deeper competition, though there at least appears to be more balance. Perhaps one way to measure that is through Tiger Woods. When he won the 2008 U.S. Open for his 14th major, only seven other players in the top 20 in the world ranking had combined for 13 majors. Phil Mickelson (No. 2), Ernie Els (No. 5) and Vijay Singh (No. 9), each had three majors. Geoff Ogilvy (No. 4), Jim Furyk (No. 10), Padraig Harrington (No. 13) and Trevor Immelman (No. 15) each had one. Just like then, four of the top five in the world have won majors (all but 23-year-old Jon Rahm). However, 12 of the top 20 in the world from this week's rankings have won majors. The top 20 includes Mickelson (now with five majors), Rory McIlroy (four majors), Jordan Spieth (three majors) and Bubba Watson (two majors). Eight other players have won at least one major. It's certainly younger at the top. Woods was 32 when he won his last major, and only three players from the top 10 were in their 20s — Scott, Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose. This week, seven of the top 10 in the world are in their 20s. MANAGEMENT MOVES Jordan Spieth's manager has come full circle and is returning to IMG, and Jay Danzi is bringing his top client with him. Danzi has become a partner with California-based William Morris Endeavor, which owns IMG. Included in the move is Jordan Lewites, who was handling much of Spieth's day-to-day operations, and Laura Moses, who heads up Spieth's foundation. Spieth will be represented by WME and IMG. "Jordan is a world-class talent, and we're excited to welcome him to the family," said Patrick Whitesell, executive chairman of Endeavor. "When you look at what he and Jay have already accomplished and consider WME and IMG's ability to amplify Jordan's reach across entertainment and sports, the possibilities are endless." Danzi previously worked for IMG as global head of recruiting for its golf business. He left the Cleveland-based agency for Wasserman, and then started his own company (Forefront Sports Group) when he signed Spieth. The centerpiece of getting Spieth was a bold endorsement with Under Armour. Lagardere bought Forefront in 2013. Along with managing the three-time major champion, Danzi was in charge of Lagardere's brand consulting, sales and golf consulting groups. He left Lagardere last month. DIVOTS Ted Potter Jr. tied for 16th in the RBC Heritage, notable because he had missed his last five cuts dating to his victory in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. ... Satoshi Kodaira was the first player without PGA Tour status to win a regular PGA Tour event since Arjun Atwal at the Wyndham Championship in 2010. ... Cameron Smith, a 24-year-old from Australia, tied for 32nd at Hilton Head last week and moved past Jack Nicklaus on the PGA Tour career money list. ... Bryson DeChambeau moved into the top 50 in the world ranking for the first time, at No. 48. ... With his tie for fifth in the Masters, Bubba Watson became the 16th player to surpass $40 million in career earnings on the PGA Tour. STAT OF THE WEEK Rickie Fowler has been in the top 10 on the leaderboard in 20 out of the 32 rounds he has played this season. FINAL WORD "I will probably not wear it every day. But it is special." — Satoshi Kodaira on the tartan jacket he received for winning at Harbour Town......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 18th, 2018

UST nears title double in UAAP beach volley

MANILA, Philippines - University of Santo Tomas moved closer to achieving its first-ever championship double in the UAAP beach volleyball tournament after wi.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsOct 8th, 2016

Perlas Lady Spikers retain Paraw beach volley crown

BANKO Perlas Spikers led by Negrense Bea Tan and Floriemel Rodrigues retained the title in the 16th Iloilo Paraw Regatta National Women’s Beach Volleyball held at the Joe III Garden in Arevalo, Iloilo City on Feb. 17, 2019. The back-to-back champions walloped University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos (UNO-R) Team A bannered by Alexa Polidario and Erjane […] The post Perlas Lady Spikers retain Paraw beach volley crown appeared first on The Daily Guardian......»»

Category: newsSource:  thedailyguardianRelated News1 hr. 24 min. ago

UAAP Season 81: Ang nagpabalik ng korona sa Espana -- Rondina on her legacy

Graduating Sisi Rondina would like to be remembered by fans, especially by the true University of Sto. Tomas supporters, for just one thing. “Ang nagpabalik ng korona sa Espana,” Rondina’s bold statement heading into another action-packed and exciting UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament set to open on February 16. The Cebuana hotshot has been lording it over in the beach volleyball tournament, snaring four championships in her five years of service for UST on the sand highlighted by a three-peat this season. Rondina may have enjoyed success in beach volleyball, but the passionate Tigress has yet to bite a mint in the indoor event – the only missing crown in her colorful career. Now in her last dance for the black and gold, Rondina vowed to leave a winning legacy.      “’Yun ang gusto ko, always naman eh, first year pa lang ako. Siyempre ang tagal ng hindi nag-cha-champion ang UST. Goal namin ang maibalik ang korona,” the team captain said. Last season, Rondina averaged a season-best 21.1 points per game with 38.44% success rate in attacks and three digs per frame. Unfortunately, a series of injuries, inconsistency and lack of on-court support for Rondina doomed UST to its worst finish in the Final Four era. The Espana-based squad tallied a disappointing 4-10 win-loss record at seventh place.            'Please cooperate' Rondina knows that UST will need total team effort to win a championship and end a nine-year title drought so the very vocal leader wants just one thing from her teammates. “Before sabihin sa akin ni coach na ako ang captain ball sinabi ko sa kanila na, ‘Please cooperate. If may sasabihin kayo sa akin feel free to approach me. Puwede kayong maglabas ng sama ng loob. Anything. Basta ang gusto ko lang maayos ko kayo and sana ‘yung gusto kong mangyari ay may ganoon din kayong attitude,’” she said. “Kasi siyempre gusto ko rin na ‘yung willingness (na manalo) talaga sa team siyempre hindi yun mabubuo sa sarili namin kung wala kaming ganoon. Sana magsimula sa sarili namin and sana nga mag-cooperate ang mga bata. Kasi mga bata kami ngayon eh. More on rookies.” After singlehandedly carrying UST’s campaign last year, Rondina is expected to get all the help she needs with the return of Milena Alessandrini, who was named Rookie of the Year last season despite missing a couple of games because of a shoulder injury, Dimdim Pacres, Caitlyn Viray, Alina Bicar and Rica Rivera and the arrival of prized rookie Eya Laure.    “Sabi ko sa kanila na, ‘Hindi ko na kayo papakialam sa labas basta sa loob (ng court) mag-perform lang kayo ng maayos. I-commit nyo ang self nyo sa kung saan kayo naka-commit,’” added Rondina. For her part, Rondina promises to play with the same heart and passion she has been displaying all these years while donning the UST jersey. “Same pa rin po na igi-give ang best at masasabi ko na mas igi-give ko pa ang best ko in my final roar for UST,” she said. “Mindset ko talaga ngayon ‘yung gusto naming mangyari (na mag-champion). Everybody wants naman talaga ‘yun. Sa amin sana makuha namin.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 9th, 2019

Messi has injury scare after scoring 2 goals in Barca draw

By Joseph Wilson, Associated Press BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Nothing can silence the Camp Nou crowd like the thought of an injury to Lionel Messi — especially four days before a clash against Real Madrid. So a chill ran through Barcelona's supporters during the Spanish league match against Valencia on Saturday when Messi sat down on the sideline, his right leg stretched before him, and received a massage from a team trainer. Little did it matter that the team's all-time leading scorer had just struck two goals to lead Barcelona back from a two-goal deficit to secure a 2-2 draw. Any hint of Messi being sidelined with the season entering its critical phase with titles on the line immediately overshadowed yet another outstanding performance by the Argentine. Messi may have been hurt when Valencia defender Antonio Lato ran into him. The scare comes before Barcelona hosts Madrid in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semifinal. "Please don't let it be anything serious," Barcelona midfielder Carles Alena said. "We hope he will be back in full form on Wednesday." Coach Ernesto Valverde said Messi was undergoing medical exams. "He is bothered by something, but we will have to wait to see what the doctors say," Valverde said. "I imagine that it is not that bad." Messi missed Barcelona's first clasico against Madrid in October due to a broken right arm. His teammates did fine without him, routing their fierce rival 5-1 and sealing the fate of coach Julen Lopetegui. Madrid, however, is playing much better now. It has won four straight before hosting Alaves on Sunday. Before his fitness put a damper on a thrilling match, Messi extended his scoring run to nine straight games across all competitions. His double took his league-leading tally to 21 goals in 22 rounds. Barcelona's winning streak in la Liga ended at eight matches in a row. It leads second-placed Atletico Madrid by six points before its closest title rival visits Real Betis on Sunday. TRADING BLOWS Valencia took advantage of Sergi Roberto playing out of position as a fill-in left back for Jordi Alba. Daniel Wass led several attacks from Roberto's side, starting with a pass for Dani Parejo to test Marc-Andre ter Stegen before Denis Chershev put the rebound off the post. Parejo started a move that produced Kevin Gameiro's opener in the 24th minute when he tackled Messi. That sprung a counterattack led by Rodrigo Moreno, who slipped a pass forward to set up Gameiro. Parejo doubled the advantage from the penalty spot after Roberto knocked down Wass trying to dispute a cross. Valencia lost Gameiro to injury shortly after when the striker asked to be substituted after being shaken up when he knocked heads with Gerard Pique. Messi got his first goal from the penalty spot in the 39th after Nelson Semedo was fouled by Lato. Messi struck again in the 64th when Arturo Vidal laid the ball off for him on the edge of the area. Messi quickly unleashed a curling, left-foot strike around two defenders, who impeded goalie Neto from seeing the ball until it was too late to react. "We played at a good pace, counterattacked well, scored twice and could have scored more," Parejo said. "The team's performance was magnificent." SEVILLE SLIDE Celta Vigo broke a five-match losing streak and escaped the relegation zone by beating Sevilla 1-0 at home thanks to Okay Yokuslu's second-half goal. Fourth-place Sevilla has won only one of its last six league games. BASQUE DERBY Real Sociedad defeated Athletic Bilbao 2-1 to deal its northern Basque Country rival its first defeat since the arrival of coach Gaizka Garitano. Garitano had kept Bilbao unbeaten through seven league games since replacing Eduardo Berizzo in December. FAN VIOLENCE Getafe's 0-0 draw at Levante was marred by 11 Getafe fans being arrested for provoking a clash with rival supporters outside the stadium in Valencia. Getafe, which condemned the violence, rose to fifth as the small Madrid-based club continued its impressive season on the field......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 3rd, 2019

Red-hot Benzema leads Real Madrid back to Copa semifinals

By Tales Azzoni, Associated Press MADRID (AP) — With another great performance by Karim Benzema, Real Madrid secured a comfortable 3-1 win in its visit to Girona on Thursday to reach the Copa del Rey semifinals for the first time in five years. Madrid advanced 7-3 on aggregate having won the first leg 4-2 at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium last week. Benzema continued his scoring form by finding the net twice in the first half at Montilivi Stadium. The Frenchman has five goals in his last three matches, with one of the goals coming in the match against Girona in Madrid. He had also scored twice in the team's 4-2 win over Espanyol in the Spanish league on Sunday. Benzema on Thursday reached 209 career goals with Real Madrid, surpassing Hugo Sanchez for sixth-place all-time in the club's list of scoring leaders. Benzema had been among the players targeted by some Madrid fans as the team struggled not long ago, but his recent performances have quieted the critics. "I feel bad for those who only found out about Benzema last week," Real Madrid coach Santiago Solari said. "But there is still time to enjoy him. There's no doubt that he is going through a great phase." Benzema scored his first goal on Thursday in the 27th minute with a left-foot shot from inside the area after a pass by Dani Carvajal, then added his second in the 43rd with a curling low shot from close range after being set up by Vinicius Junior. Girona pulled one back through Pedro Porro in the 71st, but midfielder Marcos Llorente sealed Madrid's victory with a shot from outside the area five minutes later. Madrid had been eliminated in the Copa quarterfinals the last two seasons. The last time it had made it to the semifinals was in 2014, when it won its 19th title. "We hadn't made it to this stage in a few years, so we have to enjoy this," Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas said. Girona, in its third season in the first division, was playing in the Copa quarterfinals for the first time. The Catalan club has lost four games in row in all competitions and hasn't won in 11 straight matches. With the comfortable win, Solari was able to rest some of his players, with Benzema among those replaced in the second half. On Wednesday, four-time defending Copa champion Barcelona routed Sevilla 6-1 at home to advance to the semifinals 6-3 on aggregate, while Real Betis defeated visiting Espanyol 3-1 in extra time to reach the last four. On Tuesday, Valencia scored twice in stoppage time to defeat Getafe 3-1 and advance to the semifinals 3-2 on aggregate. The draw for the semifinals will be on Friday......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 1st, 2019

Osaka vs. Kvitova for Australian Open title, No. 1 ranking

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Naomi Osaka never made it past the fourth round at any of the first 10 Grand Slam tournaments of her career. Now, still just 21, she's suddenly on the verge of a second consecutive major championship. And the No. 1 ranking, too. Osaka moved one victory away from adding the Australian Open trophy to the one she collected 4½ months ago at the U.S. Open, using her smooth power to produce 15 aces and groundstroke winners at will while beating Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 in the semifinals Thursday. "I just told myself to regroup in the third set and just try as hard as I can," said Osaka, who saved four break points in the last set and finished the match with an ace at 115 mph (185 kph). "I was so scared serving second serves. I was like, 'Oh, my God. Please!" Osaka said. "Somehow, I made it. I guess that's experience." A day after erasing four match points and a 5-1 deficit in the third set to stun Serena Williams in the quarterfinals, Pliskova could not produce the same kind of comeback. Instead it is Osaka, the only Japanese woman to win a major singles title, who will face two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova on Saturday. The winner will rise to the top of the WTA rankings for the first time; Osaka is currently No. 4, Kvitova is No. 6. In the men's semifinals, Rafael Nadal continued his relentless roll through the draw by defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-2, 6-4, 6-0 at night. Nadal has not dropped a set as he bids for a second Australian Open title and 18th Grand Slam trophy overall. Osaka's fourth-round finish at Melbourne Park a year ago was her best showing at a major until last year's U.S. Open, where she outplayed Williams in the final. A victory over Kvitova would make Osaka the first woman to win two Slams in a row since Williams claimed four straight across the 2014-15 seasons. Two years ago, Kvitova missed the Australian Open, just weeks after her left hand was stabbed by an intruder at her home in the Czech Republic. Back at her best during what she calls her "second career," Kvitova surged to a 7-6 (2), 6-0 victory against 35th-ranked American Danielle Collins after Rod Laver Arena's retractable roof was closed as the temperature soared toward 105 degrees (40 Celsius). Kvitova reached her first major final since the December 2016 knife attack that led to hours of surgery on the hand she holds her racket with — and first since winning Wimbledon for the second time in 2014. "I didn't know even if I (was) going to play tennis again," Kvitova said. "It's been a long journey." Against Collins, a two-time NCAA champion at the University of Virginia who was 0-5 at Slams until this one, Kvitova was more aggressive throughout, mixing big lefty forehands and well-timed pushes forward to the tune of a 30-9 edge in total winners. But the key to the outcome might very well have been what happened at 4-all after 35 minutes of action: That's when the decision finally was made to close the 15,000-seat stadium's cover, drawing cheers of approval from broiling spectators. Kvitova probably wanted to applaud, too. "I was happier than the fans that the roof closed," she said afterward. "I like to play indoors. It helped me a little bit." She's made clear over the years she is not a huge fan of playing in stifling heat. Not too many people truly are, of course, but Collins is OK with it and thought the roof should have stayed open. "I grew up in Florida and am used to it being really hot all the time. So I kind of embrace that very well," Collins said. "Indoor tennis is a different game. Certainly had its effect." When play resumed after a five-minute delay, it went from being completely even to tilted in Kvitova's favor. She dominated the tiebreaker and the second set to stretch her winning streak to 11 matches. Osaka, meanwhile, extended her Slam run to 13 matches while putting a stop to Pliskova's 10-0 start to the season. Osaka accumulated a 56-20 advantage in winners — and held on when it all could have slipped away. She began the day having won 58 matches in a row after taking the first set, but that seemed in danger when Pliskova broke to end the second and had three break points to go up 2-0 in the third. But Osaka steeled herself there, erasing the first break chance with a huge forehand, the second with a down-the-line backhand winner. On the third, another terrific backhand forced a forehand error into the net by Pliskova, who cracked her racket against the blue court. When Pliskova netted a return of an 83 mph (133 kph) second serve to make it 1-all, Osaka tugged at the brim of her pink visor and let out a big exhale. The match would continue for another 28 minutes, but it basically was done, then and there. That stretch began a nine-point, three-game run for Osaka, and she was on her way. She would face one last break point at 4-3, but saved it with a 108 mph (174 kph) ace......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 24th, 2019

2 years after stabbing, Kvitova into Australian Open final

By Howard Fendrich, Asosciated Press MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Two years ago, Petra Kvitova missed the Australian Open, just weeks after her racket-holding left hand was stabbed by an intruder at her home in the Czech Republic. Two days from now, back at her best during what she calls her "second career," Kvitova will play for the championship at Melbourne Park. Taking control after the court's retractable roof was closed as the temperature soared toward 100 degrees (38 Celsius) Thursday, the No. 7-seeded Kvitova surged to a 7-6 (2), 6-0 semifinal victory over 35th-ranked American Danielle Collins. "It means everything," Kvitova said of reaching her first major final since the December 2016 knife attack that led to hours of surgery on her hand. Kvitova stretched her winning streak to 11 matches and has a chance to rise to No. 1 in the WTA rankings if she can collect her first Australian Open title to go alongside the two she earned at Wimbledon in 2011 and 2014. In Saturday's final, Kvitova will face reigning U.S. Open champion Naomi Osaka or 2016 U.S. Open runner-up Karolina Pliskova. It was Pliskova who saved four match points and came back from 5-1 down in the third set to stun Serena Williams in the quarterfinals. Against Collins, a two-time NCAA champion at the University of Virginia who was 0-5 at major tournaments until last week, Kvitova was more aggressive throughout, mixing big lefty forehands and well-timed pushes forward to the tune of a 30-9 edge in total winners. But the key to the outcome might very well have been what happened at 4-all after 35 minutes of action: That's when the decision finally was made to close the 15,000-seat stadium's cover, drawing cheers of approval from broiling spectators. Kvitova probably wanted to applaud, too. "I was happier than the fans that the roof closed," she said afterward. "I like to play indoors. It helped me a little bit." She's made clear over the years she is not a huge fan of playing in stifling heat. Not too many people truly are, of course, but someone like Collins, a 25-year-old from Florida, might be more used to that sort of thing. The match was suspended for about five minutes and when play resumed, it went from being completely even to tilted in Kvitova's favor. She dominated the tiebreaker and the second set. The chair umpire was Carlos Ramos, the official who penalized Williams a game in last year's chaotic U.S. Open final, and Collins got into a couple of testy exchanges with him. First in the tiebreaker, then in the opening game of the second set, Collins protested that Ramos was applying rules differently than umpires had in her earlier matches. Whether or not there was merit to what she was saying, it seemed clear that the back-and-forths with Ramos didn't help Collins......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 24th, 2019

Stronger and Faster at 40: Manny Pacquiao works out in Las Vegas

It didn't take long for Manny Pacquiao to get work in as he arrived in Las Vegas, Nevada.  The eight-division boxing world champion and reigning WBA (Regular) Welterweight World Champion immediately resumed training, less than a day after he and his entourage touched down at the boxing capital of the world, just days ahead of his world title defense against Adrien Broner.          View this post on Instagram                   Pacquiao starts 1st vegas workout #pacquiaobroner A post shared by Dyan Castillejo (@dyancastillejo) on Jan 15, 2019 at 12:53pm PST Manny footwork pic.twitter.com/c6KVCjC3pA — DYAN CASTILLEJO (@DYANCASTILLEJO) January 15, 2019           View this post on Instagram                   Coach Freddie , BUBOY , Justin after this : You’re there Manny 👍 #pacquiaobroner A post shared by Dyan Castillejo (@dyancastillejo) on Jan 15, 2019 at 1:39pm PST It was a light day in the gym for the 40-year old, doing some shadow boxing and hitting the mitts, as training usually tapers down as the fight nears.  In an interview with ABS-CBN's Dyan Castillejo after the workout, Pacquiao said that he was ready to go.   "It’s all set, I’m ready for the fight, nothing to worry about," said the Filipino boxing icon.  With regards to his opponent, Manny says that it's all about utilizing what was worked on in training.  "Kung ano yung style niya, napag-handaan na natin, yung focus and then kailangan wag kalimutan yung ginawa sa training." At 40 years old, Pacquiao is definitely on the older side, especially in boxing. But as can be seen in his training, it doesn't seem like he's lost too much oomph in his hands and pep in his step, which he says is nothing short of a blessing.  "Yes, I feel that [I punch harder], andiyan pa yung lakas natin and yung footwork nandiyan parin, bihira lang yung ganito. We’re so blessed by God kasi iilan lang yung boxer na umabot ng 40 and ganito pa din ka-liksi gumalaw," Pacquiao shared.  In Broner, Pacquiao will be facing a man who's eleven years his junior.  The two square off at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday, January 19th (January 20th, Manila time). .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 16th, 2019

Antetokounmpo leads the way, Bucks win Budenholzer s return

By George Henry, Associated Press ATLANTA (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 33 points, Eric Bledsoe added 24 points and 10 assists, and the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Hawks 133-114 on Sunday (Monday, PHL time) in Mike Budenholzer's return to Atlanta. Khris Middleton finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds to help the Bucks improve to 30-12, second-best in the NBA. Coming off a loss at Washington that Antetokounmpo missed with injuries, Milwaukee is 12-0 following a defeat and remained the league's only team not to drop consecutive games. Budenholzer, making his first appearance at State Farm Arena since leaving the Hawks after last season, said before the game that he wished his former team well as it rebuilds with youngsters John Collins, Trae Young, Kevin Huerter and Omari Spellman. The Bucks are soaring, thanks mostly to the 6'11", 242-pound Antetokounmpo, who scored 14 on free throws and had two dazzling assists early in the fourth. He first smothered Young to steal the ball and feed George Hill for a three-pointer that made it 104-90, before adding a no-look drop pass on D.J. Wilson's layup for a 16-point lead. He later hit a couple of jumpers to make it a 15-point advantage. Milwaukee has won 12-of-15 dating to Dec. 14 (Dec. 15, PHL time). The Bucks began the day outscoring opponents by an NBA-leading 9.1 points per game. Antetokounmpo showed no ill effects after sitting out Friday (Saturday, PHL time) with right quadriceps soreness and a left hip contusion. Young finished with 26 points, and DeAndre' Bembry added 18 for Atlanta, which dropped to 13-30. The Hawks have dropped 6-of-8. Their 24 turnovers led to 34 points for Milwaukee. TIP-INS Bucks: Antetokounmpo did a postgame jersey exchange with 41-year-old Hawks F Vince Carter. ... G Malcolm Brogdon scored 14 points and missed just his second free throw in 86 free-throw attempts this season. ... Middleton began the day averaging 20.4 points over his previous eight games. Hawks: F Taurean Prince, the team's third-leading scorer, returned after missing the last 18 games with a left ankle sprain. On a minutes restriction, Prince had seven points and five rebounds in 11 minutes. ... G Kent Bazemore, the team's second-leading scorer, has missed eight straight games with a right ankle injury. NO REGRETS Budenholzer said "change and moving is part of life" when asked before the game about leaving the Hawks. Calling it "a heck of a five years," Budenholzer wasn't looking back with animosity following a 24-58 finish last season. He was the NBA Coach of the Year in his second season, leading Atlanta to 60 wins and its first appearance in the Eastern Conference finals. When principal owner Tony Ressler bought the team and Danny Ferry was out as general manager, Budenholzer added president of basketball operations to his title, but the Hawks made three bad moves that set the organization back and precipitated the rebuild. Al Horford and Paul Millsap, two model team leaders, left as free agents after the Hawks decided not to trade them. In between those gaffes, the team signed mercurial center Dwight Howard to a three-year, $70.5 million contract and was dealt away after one ill-fit season. Budenholzer said he loves his job with the Bucks and wishes the Hawks well. "A rebuild — it's a tough job to be the owner in a rebuild, to be a GM to be a coach. These are tough jobs, and so I don't know who the right coach is," he said. "And I think they feel great about where they are and that's important for them. They have their direction they know where they're going. I'm obviously very happy with our team, our front office and our roster. I'm very excited about where I am." UP NEXT Bucks: Host Miami on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time). Hawks: Host Oklahoma City on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 14th, 2019

NU Bullpups hope PSSBC title leads to UAAP crown

Heading into the second round of Season 81 of the UAAP juniors tournament, NU is pacing the league with a 6-1 record......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJan 8th, 2019

ONE Championship: Honorio Banario eager to test himself against Lowen Tynanes

Honorio "The Rock" Banario wanted to share the stage with some of the best lightweights that ONE Championship has to offer, and he got exactly what he wished for.   It was announced on Thursday, 3 January that the Team Lakay representative is slated to duke it out with American phenom Lowen Tynanes at ONE: HERO'S ASCENT, which emanates from the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines on 25 January.   The scheduled three-round bout between Banario and Tynanes is part of the highly-anticipated ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix.   Banario, who previously held the ONE Featherweight World Title, is longing to test how far his current skill set has gone.   The 29-year-old native of Mankayan, Benguet feels that he found the perfect opponent in Tynanes, making a promise to leave no stone unturned in training to emerge victorious.   "This will be a good bout because this will test if I have really improved my wrestling. Lowen Tynanes is something else, he has good wrestling and a high-level athlete,” Banario stated.   “He's a very well-rounded martial artist, who is yet to be defeated.”   Hailing from Ewa Beach, Hawaii, Tynanes is an undefeated lightweight competitor who holds an immaculate record of 9-0 with four wins by submission and two by knockout.   Using an aggressive striking approach and no-frills wrestling techniques to subdue his opponents inside the cage, Tynanes has defeated some of the biggest names in the Asian mixed martial arts scene, including Banario’s teammate Eduard Folayang.   "It's a big challenge for me to face him. My team was surprised when we found out that he will be my first opponent for the ONE Lightweight Grand Prix,” Banario revealed.   “But we have a lot of time for training, so we can come up with a game plan to beat him. I will be prepared for him."   Banario is coming off a hard-earned unanimous decision victory over Singapore-based Indian stalwart Rahul Raju at ONE: CONQUEST OF CHAMPIONS last November.   “The Rock” knows that he will have his hands full against Tynanes, but with the help of his team, Banario is confident that he could pass the acid test with flying colors.   "I have huge respect for him as a mixed martial artist," he said. "I think Tynanes will attempt to take me down, so I have to defend his takedowns and do my best to keep it standing.”   “I am hoping for a favorable outcome in this bout.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 4th, 2019

Top sports headliners in the year that was

From the FIFA World Cup to the NBA, the PBA to the UAAP and NCAA, the Asian Games to Manny Pacquiao, volleyball to MMA, the past 12 months truly was a great year for Filipino sports fans.   Here are some of the most memorable sports headliners that bannered the year that was.    San Miguel Corporation dominates PBA San Miguel Corporation owned 2018. For the first time in the history of the Asia’s first professional basketball league one company dominated all three conferences of the PBA. The San Miguel Beermen annexed their fourth straight Philippine Cup title against sister team Magnolia last May, while Ginebra rode on undersized do-it-all forward Justin Brownlee to the Commissioner's Cup title at the expense of San Miguel last August. Then it was Magnolia's time to shine in December. The Hotshots dismantled Alaska in six games to complete SMC’s domination of PBA 2018. Outside of basketball, SMC also made its presence felt in volleyball as Petron bagged the Grand Prix, Challenge Cup (beach volleyball) and the All-Filipino Conference in the Philippine Superliga.   Kai Sotto stands tall as Ateneo takes title vs NU Kai Sotto became a household name in 2018 as the 7'1" wunderkind showed off in the UAAP Season 80 juniors' basketball tournament. The eventual Finals MVP was a beast in Game 1 of the Finals against the NU Bullpups, tallying a triple-double of 22 points, 16 rebounds, and 11 blocks in the 86-70 win, the first of its kind since 2003. Ateneo finished the season almost unscathed at 16-1, with their lone loss in Game 2 of the series, a very chippy one to say the least. In Game 3, Sotto came up clutch, scoring the go-ahead basket, 60-58, with about 30 seconds left as Ateneo came away with the 63-58 win to take the title.  SJ Belangel, Joaqui Manuel, Dave Ildefonso and Jason Credo, and coach Joe Silva all appeared in their last games for the Blue Eaglets.   DLSU completes three-peat; NU dethrones Ateneo  The UAAP Season 80 volleyball tournament was filled with lasting memories that will surely be remembered for a long time. Numerous upsets in the eliminations, great games, and much more were the name of the game for the women's tournament. However, a long-time rivalry was rekindled when two-time defending champs De La Salle Lady Spikers met 29-time title holders FEU Lady Tamaraws for all the marbles last May. Kim Kianna Dy, Majoy Baron, and Dawn Macandili all ended their careers on a high note as they swept graduating Bernadeth Pons and the Lady Tamaraws in two straight games to win their third straight title. Graduating libero Macandili was named Finals MVP for the first and final time in her collegiate career.  Behind their magnificent floor defense and some stellar play from Finals MVP Bryan Bagunas, the NU Bulldogs also swept three-time defending champions Ateneo Blue Eagles to reclaim a title they last enjoyed in Season 76. Espejo, a five-time UAAP MVP, had an awesome performance for the world's record books, scoring a record-55 points to force the FEU Tamaraws to a do-or-die Final Four. The Blue Eagle legend had played his last, and has since suited up for a semi-pro team in Japan's topflight volleyball league.   Alab fends off Mono Vampire to claim ABL title San Miguel-backed Alab Pilipinas were such a glorious sight to see in the eighth season of the Asean Basketball League (ABL) last March. Coached by perennial fan favorite Jimmy Alapag in his very first season, the trio of Renaldo Balkman, Justin Brownlee, and Local and Finals MVP Bobby Ray Parks to their first title in home soil. Alab faced Thailand-based Mono Vampire, who were led by Mike Singletary, towering Sam Deguara, Fil-Am Jason Brickman and Pinoy Paul Zamar. In the very same day as the coronation of the UAAP volleyball championships, Alab took home the crown in a rousing 102-92 victory in Sta. Rosa, much to the delight of the home crowd. Balkman, the league's Defensive Player of the Year led Alab in scoring with 32, while Brownlee added 24 of his own. Parks added 13 markers. The two imports played in the PBA for the Commissioner's Cup, where Balkman (San Miguel) and Brownlee (Ginebra) would face each other in the Finals.   (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) Warriors send LeBron packing to Los Angeles The Golden St. Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers locked horns in the NBA Finals for the fourth straight season after the two teams were pushed to the brink in the Conference Finals. Both teams were down 3-2 and won Game 7 on the road to win their respective conferences, with both teams banking on experience to forge another bout in the championship series. Game 1 was undoubtedly the most exciting game in the series as LeBron James had an epic performance of 51 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists.  However, JR Smith's blunder at the end of regulation became the lasting image of that game, as he dribbled out the clock with the score tied at 107-all. The defending champions rode the surge and took the opening game, 124-114. Stephen Curry's brillant performance throughout the series was overshadowed by Kevin Durant's dagger in Game 3, a few feet away from the spot where he launched the go-ahead three in Game 3 of the 2017 NBA Finals. Durant was named as the Bill Russell Finals MVP after norming 28.8 ppg, 10.8 rpg, and 7.5 apg in the four-game sweep, demolishing the Cavs 108-85 in the series finale last June. It would also be the last game LeBron James had in a Cleveland Cavaliers uniform, as he bolted for the Los Angeles Lakers almost a month later.   (AP Photo/Martin Meissner) France rules 2018 FIFA World Cup The most-coveted title of the beautiful game returned to France after two decades. The youthful French squad celebrated their conquest soaked in a downpour in Moscow after a 4-2 victory over first-time finalist Croatia in the 2018 FIFA World Cup last July. Teenager Kylian Mbappe stood out in the French team composed of a bunch of 25 and under players. Speed, strength and youth became France’s biggest asset during the quadrennial football spectacle watched by almost 3.5 billion viewers around the world.  The 19-year-old migrant scored one of the four goals in the championship match to become the second teen to score a goal in the Finals after the legendary Pele back in 1958. France defeated Belgium in the semifinal, 1-0, while Croatia outlasted the favored Russians in penalty shootout, 4-3 (2-2). The French team also displayed diversity, with players born of migrant parents including Alphonse Areola, whose parents are both Filipinos working in France.   Pac on top, The Filipino Flash returns The most-celebrated Filipino athlete continued make the headlines this year. Manny Pacquaio stripped Lucas Matthysse of his WBA welterweight world championship belt with a seventh round technical knockout win in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in July. Pacquiao split with long-time trainer Freddie Roach during his build up for the Matthysse bout back in April but confirmed their partnership once again for the 40-year old boxer’s title defense against Adrien Broner next year. Nonito Donaire Jr. announced that he would be going back down to super bantamweight after a loss to Carl Frampton in April for the interim WBO Featherweight belt and would be taking part in the World Boxing Super Series' super bantamweight tournament.  Matched up in the quarterfinal round against Ryan Burnett back in November, Donaire scored what many consider an upset, winning via TKO after the Irishman suffered a back injury to snatch the WBA (Super) Bantamweight World Championship.  Up next for Donaire will be WBO Super Bantamweight World Champion Zolani Tete of South Africa in the semifinals.           Pinay power in the Asian Games   The Philippines participated in the 18th Asian Games held in Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia that ran from August 18 to September 2. A total of 272 athletes that participated in 31 sports represented the country in the quadrennial meet with Jordan Clarkson of the Cleveland Cavaliers and medalist Margielyn Didal marching as flagbearers in the opening and closing ceremonies, respectively. Rio Olympian Hidilyn Diaz gave the PHI its first gold medal in women’s -53 kg. weightlifting. Five days after Diaz’s victory, the trio of Yuka Saso, Bianca Pagdanganan and Lois Kaye Go accounted for the women’s golf team mint. Saso also bagged the individual gold. In Palembang, Didal rolled her way into winning the women’s street skateboard gold. The celebrated men’s basketball team started out strong after routing Kazakhstan but lost by two-points to China in the group stage. The Gilas Pilipinas squad advanced in the quarterfinals but bowed down to South Korea by nine points eventually settling for a fifth spot in the classification phase after wins over Japan and Syria. The PHI finished with a 4-2-15 gold-silver-bronze haul and landed at 19th spot, three places higher that its 2014 finish in Incheon, South Korea.      Red Lions roar, Blue Eagles soar San Beda University continued its mastery over the NCAA as it annexed its third straight title and 22nd overall. The Red Lions grabbed its 11th crown in 13 years at the expense of Lyceum of the Philippines University. It was one-sided championship series – just like in their Finals meeting last year – with the San Beda ripping the Pirates apart in Game One with LPU playing sans its best player in CJ Perez, who was banned for one game after failing to notify the league of his intention to join the PBA Draft. Perez returned in Game 2 but even his presence didn’t stop the Red Lions from painting the NCAA red once again. In probably one of the most memorable UAAP season in recent years, Ateneo de Manila University won its second straight crown. Ivorian tower and Rookie of the Year 6-foot-11 Ange Kouame made an immediate impact for the Blue Eagles complementing the already stacked Ateneo squad led by Finals MVP Thirdy Ravena. But the glory of Ateneo was overshadowed by the Cinderalla story of the team it vanquished in the Finals. Climbing up from the cellar in the past years, University of the Philippines made history by making it in the Finals for the first time since winning it all in 1986. But before their championship stint, the Fighting Maroons ended a two-decade Final Four drought. UP then shocked twice-to-beat Adamson University with both games decided by game-winners. Ateneo came in the series as the title favorites but overwhelming support from a very hungry UP community and underdogs fans backed the Fighting Maroons. But in the end, it was the Blue Eagles championship experience that prevailed.       Pinoys make wave in MMA Fighters under Team Lakay flexed their muscles in One Championship. Flyweight star Geje Eustaquio opened the year with an interim championship win over former champion Kairat Akhmetov in Manila back in January. Eustaquio then defeated two-time champion Adriano Moraes in Macau last July to become the undisputed ONE Flyweight World Champion.  Joshua Pacio earned the ONE Strawweight World Championship last September after a unanimous decision win over two-time champion Japanese Yoshitaka Naito. Kevin Belingon dropped former world title challenger Andrew Leone with a now-famous spinning back kick in April. He followed it up with a dominating win over then-two division world champion Martin Nguyen to capture the ONE Interim Bantamweight World Champion. Belingon ended the five-year reign and seven-year winning streak of of long-time bantamweight king Brazilian Bibiano Fernandes in November via split decision.  Eduard Folayang outclassed Singaporean contender Amir Khan at ONE: Conquest of Champions in Manila in early December to bag the ONE Lightweight World Championship for the second time in his storied career.  BRAVE Combat Federation Bantamweight World Champion Stephen Loman successfully defended his title twice in 2018.  Reigning ONE Heavyweight World Champion Brandon Vera needed only 64 seconds to knockout hard-hitting Italian challenger Mauro Cerilli in Manila early December to remain the king of the ONE Championship heavyweight kingdom.    Petron, Creamline rule respective club leagues Creamline claimed its breakthrough championship in the Premier Volleyball League by sweeping PayMaya in the Reinforced Conference Finals series last July. Alyssa Valdez finally ended a two-year title drought with the Cool Smashers' victory. Creamline opposite hitter Michele Gumabao was named Miss Globe-Philippines during the Binibining Pilipinas 2018 last March. Gumabao represented the country in the 2018 Miss Globe in Albania last October and won the Miss Social Media and Dream Girl awards while landing a spot in the Top 15.     The Cool Smashers completed a sweep of the PVL’s Season 2 after claiming the Open Conference crown at the expense of Ateneo-Motolite via an emphatic series sweep this month. In the Philippine Superliga, Petron reigned supreme in the Grand Prix after taking down archrival F2 Logistics last May. Petron extended its supremacy in the sands after the tandem of Sisi Rondina and Bernadethn Pons defeated Dhannylaine Demontano and Jackielyn Estoquia of Sta. Lucia in the Challenge Cup final last May. The Cargo Movers got its revenge in the Invitational Cup, toppling the Blaze Spikers in a series sweep last July. Petron wrapped the year with the All-Filipino Conference in its pocket. The Blaze Spikers won its first 14 games before dropping Game 2 of the Finals. Petron swept F2 Logistics in Game 3......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 30th, 2018

VOLLEYBALL IS LIFE: A look back at Philippine volleyball in 2018

Glorious victories, dynasties, historic feats, controversies and memorable moments once again highlighted another fruitful year for Philippine volleyball.   Now, let us take a look back in the year that was in volleyball:   DYNASTY Powerhouse teams continued to thrive in the country’s most popular collegiate leagues. Arellano University muscled its way back into the NCAA Season 93 Finals and met a newcomer in San Beda University. The Lady Chiefs did find the Lady Red Spikers as feisty opponents in their first championship meeting, needing five sets to survive San Beda in Game One. But it didn’t take long for Arellano U to stomp its class over the newbies to capture its second straight title and fourth overall crown in five years. De La Salle University painted UAAP Season 80 green after annexing its third straight title handing legendary head coach Ramil De Jesus his third grand slam in the country’s most popular and competitive collegiate league. Second year setter Michelle Cobb stepped up to the challenge of filling the big shoes left by Kim Fajardo and complemented the depth and firepower of DLSU. Far Eastern University, which advanced into the Finals for the first time after a decade, stood no chance against the onslaught of the Lady Spikers, which swept their way onto throne. University of Perpetual Help completed a four-peat in the NCAA juniors after sweeping Letran. Philippine Air Force snatched the Premier Volleyball League men’s Reinforced Conference crown and the Spikers’ Turf Open Conference title. Sisi Rondina cemented her legacy as the UAAP’s queen of the sands after completing a three-peat in women’s beach volleyball. Rondina wrapped her tour of duty with four titles in five years. The Tigers ruled the men’s division.       YEAR OF THE UNDERDOGS San Beda University made great strides in NCAA Season 93 after earning its first-ever Finals appearance behind the efforts of Cesca Racraquin and twins Nieza and Jiezela Viray. The Lady Red Spikers closed the elims with an 8-1 win-loss record and took down Perpetual in the semis. Languishing at the bottom half of the standings since the return of its women’s volleyball program in 2008, Jose Rizal University made history by advancing into the Final Four. Shola Alvarez capped the Lady Bombers’ remarkable season by pocketing the Most Valuable Player award.   Far Eastern University made it to the UAAP women’s volleyball Finals by booting out crowd-favorite Ateneo de Manila University in the semis.  For the first time in five years, the Blue Eagles found themselves in a very difficult position in the Final Four. With a twice-to-win disadvantage, the Marck Espejo-led Ateneo shocked FEU – a team that beat them twice in the elims – to march to its fifth straight championship appearance.      But the real underdog story belonged to NU. After three years of finishing runner-up to the Blue Eagles, the Bulldogs led by Bryan Bagunas finally got their long-awaited revenge as they swept Ateneo off its three-year reign at the throne.     OFF COURT STORIES, CONTROVERSIES University of the East parted ways with head coach Francis Vicente midway in Season 80 after three and a half seasons with the Lady Warriors. Vicente left for ‘personal reasons’ with a UE coaching record of 2-45 (win-loss). Red Warriors head coach Sammy Acaylar also resigned from his post midway in the season. University of Sto. Tomas hitter EJ Laure after months of speculations to the real reason of her sitting out UAAP Season 80 broke her silence by saying that needed time to recover from her right shoulder injury to end all the rumors circulating including an alleged pregnancy.    Sound bites, videos and clips that show collegiate players’ ‘human side’ made its rounds around social media that drew mixed reactions from fans.  Just like in the previous years, controversy filled the formation of the national women’s volleyball team. Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. initially named Ramil De Jesus as the national team coach but just two months after his designation, the multi-titled DLSU mentor resigned from his post citing ‘conflict of schedule’. Shaq Delos Santos took over De Jesus’ spot. Netizens went abuzz when the composition of the national team that participated in the Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games was released as fans give their different views on who should and should not be included in the roster.             LVPI named a new president in Peter Cayco of Arellano U to replace Joey Romasanta during the association’s election.   WRITING HISTORY Smart’s Cuban import Gigi Silva carved a world scoring record in the Philippine Superliga after scoring 56 points in a lost cause against Cocolife in the 2018 Grand Prix. Silva pounded 53 kills and had three aces to land her name in the fourth spot in the women’s world scoring record behind Polina Rahimova of Azerbaijan’s 58 points in 2015 while playing in Japan, American Madison Kingdon’s 57 (2017 Korea Volleyball League) and Bulgarian Elitsa Vasileva’s 57 (2013 Korea Volleyball League). Silva also surpassed the 55 points of Americans Nicole Fawcett (2013 KVL) and Alaina Bergsma, who led Petron to the 2014 PSL Grand Prix crown, (2016 KVL).     Not to be outdone, local volleyball star Marck Espejo had a 55-point explosion of his own in the Blue Eagles’ five-set Game 1 UAAP Final Four win over FEU. The five-time MVP pounded 47 attacks, had six kill blocks and two service aces for the Katipunan-based squad. Espejo scored 11 points in the deciding frame including Ateneo’s last four to seal the win in the match that lasted for two hours and 21 minutes. Espejo’s feat fueled Ateneo’s eventual semis series win over the twice-to-beat Tamaraws.  Espejo and DLSU libero Dawn Macandili were named as the Philippine Sportswriters Association’s 2017 Mr. and Miss Volleyball.     The Philippines saw three players make their mark in the international scene this year as Espejo and sisters Jaja Santiago and Dindin Santiago-Manabat were tapped as imports in Japan’s V. Premier League. Espejo is now playing for Oita Miyoshi Weiss Adler while Jaja and Dindin suit up for Saitama Ageo Medics and Toray Arrows, respectively.     After 36 long years, the Philippines sent a women’s volleyball team to participate in the Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games. The squad won against Hong Kong in straight sets in pool play in the country’s first Asian Games victory since defeating India in the 1982 New Delhi Games. The PHI advanced in the quarterfinals but went home empty-handed. The Filipinas ended up at ninth place in the AVC Asian Cup. Sisi Rondina and Dzi Gervacio made waves in the country’s hosting of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Manila Open after the duo barged in the quarterfinals. The tandem eventually bowed down to eventual champion Japan. The NU Bulldogs brought its bark into the international scene and howled its way to giving honor to country by winning the ASEAN University Games gold medal at the expense of Thailand. Volleyball proved to be the most talked about sport in the country as #UAAPSeason80Volleyball became the most tweeted sports hashtag in 2018.   SMASHING WIN, BLAZING VICTORY Creamline became the most successful club in the Premier Volleyball League this year after winning its breakthrough Reinforced Conference crown before following it up with a title romp in the Open Conference. Alyssa Valdez finally ended a two-year title drought after leading the Cool Smashers to the Reinforced Conference throne.   Creamline’s Michele Gumabao joined Binibining Pilipinas and represented the country im the 2018 Miss Globe in Albania, landing at the top 15.     Petron lorded it over in the PSL after winning the Grand Prix and All-Filipino Conference titles at the expense of archrival F2 Logistics, which ruled the Invitational Conference. University of the Philippines ended a 36-year title drought by claiming the PVL Collegiate Conference championship and followed it up by reigning supreme in the PSL Collegiate Grand Slam The SiPons tandem of Sisi Rondina and Bernadeth Pons of Petron annexed their second straight PSL Challenge Cup beach volleyball title. University of Perpetual Help reclaimed the NCAA men’s title after taking down Arellano University as the Altas bagged it 11th title overall.           National University took back the title it lost last year in the UAAP boys’ tournament while De La Salle-Zobel bagged the girls’ mint. The Beach Volleyball Republic continued its advocacy of propagating the sport throughout the country.   END OF THE ROAD After winning three straight UAAP titles, the Lady Spikers bid goodbye to its Big Three in Kim Kianna Dy, Majoy Baron and Dawn Macandili. Season 80 saw the end of the six-year Ateneo-DLSU Finals rivalry as the Lady Eagles bowed down to FEU in the semis. The Blue Eagles three-year reign ended at the hands of NU as Ateneo gave its farewell to its greatest men’s volleyball star Marck Espejo and prized setter Ish Povorosa.    NU’s four-year domination in the girls’ division was snapped by DLS-Zobel. After a dry 2018 PVL season, Pocari Sweat parted ways with its franchise player Myla Pablo as newcomer Motolite agreed to buyout the hitter’s last three contract years.      Thai coach Tai Bundit after five years and bringing two titles including a rare tournament sweep to the Lady Eagles finally called it quits after Ateneo’s campaign in UAAP Season 80. Creamline gave Bundit a farewell championship trophy in the PVL.      A NEW BEGINNING It was a colorful 2018, indeed, for volleyball but 2019 is another promising year for the sport. Can the Lady Chiefs complete a three-peat in the NCAA? Newcomers are sure to bring more excitement and interest in the UAAP. DLSU will try to extend its reign for another season while NU is looking for a repeat crown in the men’s side. Another season for the PSL and the PVL will open while the national men’s and women’s team will highlight the country’s Southeast Asian Games hosting.        --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 27th, 2018

Athletes to Watch Out for in 2019

Remember these names because for sure, they will be making the headlines this 2019. Kai Sotto The 7-foot-2 wunderkind of the Ateneo Blue Eaglets will be making major decisions in 2019. With opportunities opening up for him in Europe and USA, the current Grade 10 student of Ateneo High School has the option to leave the UAAP Juniors early to explore bigger stages. Billed as the nation's best bet to be the first Filipino homegrown NBA talent, there will definitely be a lot of eyes following this young man's every move.   Ricci Rivero and Kobe Paras Former De La Salle Green Archer Rivero and former Creighton Blue Jay Paras are both set to make University of the Philippines' #AtinSeason82 bid more promising, as they finish their residency and finally play for the Maroons in the UAAP in 2019. Both players are expected to make immediate impacts in the history-seeking squad given Rivero's championship experience, Paras' athleticism, and both player's Gilas cadets background.   Kiefer Ravena 2018 was a tough year for national team player and NLEX Road Warrior Ravena after he was slapped with an 18-month suspension in FIBA and the PBA for testing positive for banned substances. Due to the suspension, Ravena has diverted his attention to other interests such as golf and volleyball but his days away from the hard court will be over come August 2019. By then, he will be taking the keys again for NLEX either in the PBA Commissioner's or Governor's Cup.   CJ Perez, Bobby Ray Parks Jr., and Robert Bolick The 2018 PBA Rookie Draft was full of quality guards, and these top three draftees are expected to make immediate impacts in their professional teams. Former NCAA superstars Perez and Bolick both already signed lucrative contracts with Columbian Dyip and Northport. On the other hand, after being drafted in the second pick by Blackwater Elite, the former UAAP MVP and ASEAN Basketball League champion and MVP Bobby Ray Parks Jr. is still in the middle of trade talks and negotiations.   Eduard Folayang, Kevin Belingon, Geje Eustaquio, and Joshua Pacio Team Lakay had a magical 2018 after producing four world champions in the Lightweight, Bantamweight, Flyweight, Strawweight divisions. However, as people say, defending a title is always tougher.  By 2019, all fighters will most likely have the tough assignment to keep their belts in Baguio City.   Manny Pacquiao Philippine sports fans will be treated to world-class boxing by as early as the second week of January, when Filipino boxing legend Manny Pacquiao gets back in the ring to defend his WBA (Regular) Welterweight World Championship against American Adrien Broner. Pacquiao's long-time mentor Freddie Roach will also be back in his corner, serving as a consultant. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)   Eya Laure University of Santo Tomas' much needed reinforcement is finally here, with incoming rookie Eya Laure. The former star of the UST girls volleyball team will be making her debut in the senior's division in UAAP Season 81 this February 2019. In the preseason activities for the PVL and the PSL, Laure already proved that she will be a reliable scoring option for the Golden Tigresses - a perfect aid for graduating Sisi Rondina.   Michelle Morente Volleyball fans, it's time to get used to the sight of Morente playing in La Salle green. Last September 2018, the former Ateneo Lady Eagle already played for La Salle during the beach volleyball tournament. If she makes Ramil de Jesus' cut, the feisty scorer will bolster the Lady Spikers' title defense in the UAAP Season 81 womne's volleyball tournament.    Kath Arado La Salle's Dawn Macandili set the gold standard of libero greatness in UAAP. However, in 2019, libero extraordinaire Arado of the University of the East has every chance to prove that she might be the next to take the mantle of Philippine collegiate volleyball's best libero. For her UAAP Season 81 preparations, Arado played in two conferences of the Philippine Superliga at the same time - for UE in the Collegiate Grand Slam and for Generika Ayala Lifesaves for the All-Filipino conference. As a proof of her caliber, she swept all libero awards in both conferences.   Kat Tolentino With Jho Maraguinot's decision to not come back for the Ateneo Lady Eagles in UAAP Season 81, Kat Tolentino is expected to make the leap and be the number one scoring option for the blue-and-white. During their preseason preparations in the Premier Volleyball League under Ateneo-Motolite, rookie coach Oliver Almadro praised Tolentino for embracing her new role as the go-to girl. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @the9cruz.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 27th, 2018

Sana mag-cooperate sila for my last season -- Rondina

Energizer bunny Sisi Rondina of University of Sto. Tomas is looking at her final dance in the UAAP two months from now. Entering her last year with the Tigresses, the high-leaping, power-smashing senior has one request from her teammates for Season 81: play just like her. “Sana, mahawa ko sila, and sana mag-cooperate sila for my last season,” said Rondina, who recently helped Petron claim its second straight Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Conference title at the expense of archrival F2 Logistics. In her UAAP career, Rondina has won four of the last five beach volleyball titles including a three-peat in her swan song. But she’s not as lucky in indoor volleyball. The Cebuana star made her mark in the most prestigious collegiate league in the country not only for her superb volleyball skills but also for her aggressiveness, determination, leadership and unquestionable loyalty to the Espana-based squad.  Last year, Rondina vowed that she won’t put UST to shame, which she did. Unfortunately, fate was not as cooperative as the Tigresses lost EJ Laure (shoulder injury) even before the season started, injury woes plagued UST’s campaign and the squad falling short in most of their games including one against cellar-dweller University of the East. The Tigresses also fell to their worst record in almost two decades: a 4-10 win-loss slate at seventh past.        Now looking at a chance for redemption, Rodina hopes that in her last playing year UST will be able to bring back its lost glory. She wants her teammates to see her success in the PSL as an inspiration heading into the UAAP wars. “For me, sana itong natutunan ko sa PSL, sa Petron, mahawa ko yung teammates ko. And sana, itong pagka-panalong ito, sana may nakita 'yung mga teammates ko, na kung paano... I mean, kung ano talaga 'yung, ano 'yung attitude na gusto, 'yung winning (attitude) talaga,” said the open spiker. UST faithful has high expectations this UAAP season with the Tigresses showing great strides during the pre-season after conquering the UniGames and finishing second in the PSL Collegiate Grand Slam. Celebrated rookie Eya Laure will be making her debut alongside young setter Maji Mangulabnan and with returning veterans showing more maturity. UST is a very promising team this season. But the question remains: Will the rest of the Tigresses play in sync with Rondina’s mentality in her farewell tour?   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 25th, 2018

What makes ’Girl in the Orange Dress’ different, as shared by Jessy Mendiola

MANILA, Philippines – The Girl in the Orange Dress has all the makings of a hit rom-com, from the intriguing title, to the beautiful leads, to a quirky storyline. As far as Filipino romance movies go, the movie certainly seems stands out – particularly for star Jessy Mendiola, because it's unlike ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsDec 24th, 2018

Jackson leads surging Ravens to 22-10 victory over Chargers

By Joe Reedy, Associated Press CARSON, Calif. (AP) — Just like that, the Baltimore Ravens have gone from a midseason swoon to the brink of their first playoff trip in four years. The resurgent Ravens continued their late push with a 22-10 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers on Saturday behind Lamar Jackson's first 200-yard passing game and a stingy defense that held one of the NFL's top offenses under 200 yards for the first time since 2014. Baltimore, which has won five of its past six with Jackson as the starter, dominated for most of the night to remain in possession of the last AFC wild card with one game remaining in the regular season. And the Ravens (9-6) would move into first place in the AFC North if Pittsburgh loses at New Orleans on Sunday. "I'm proud of our guys. So many of them stepped up and made plays," coach John Harbaugh said. "Our guys were winning the 1-on-1 battles and our coverage was real good." Baltimore got a win against a Los Angeles squad that had already clinched a playoff spot with wins in 10 of its last 11 games. The Chargers' loss, which drops them to 11-4, deals a big blow to their hopes of winning the AFC West. Kansas City can wrap up the division title and a first-round playoff bye with a win at Seattle on Sunday night. "We couldn't get them off the field on defense. And we couldn't stay on the field on offense," coach Anthony Lynn said. "We got outplayed. We got outcoached. It's just that simple." Jackson, the 32nd overall draft pick in April, completed 12 of 22 passes for 204 yards. He had come into the game averaging 146.2 yards in the previous five games. "I'm used to playing on big stages and people doubting us. I try to prove them wrong," Jackson said. "We can play with anyone. That was a great team. We can fight and everyone sees it now." Baltimore led 6-3 at halftime but the Chargers took the lead less than two minutes into the third quarter on Melvin Gordon's touchdown from a yard out. The Ravens got the ball to start the second half but Chargers rookie safety Derwin James forced Kenneth Dixon's fumble, which was recovered by Melvin Ingram at the Ravens 21 and returned 3 yards. The Ravens quickly answered on the ensuing possession when tight end Mark Andrews split safeties Adrian Phillips and Jahleel Addae, taking Jackson's pass in stride and racing 67 yards for a TD. "We turned it over so it was up to us to go back down and score," said Jackson, who also rushed for 39 yards. "It was play action. Mark got open and made a great catch." The Ravens' defense, which came into the game as the top-ranked unit in the NFL, frustrated the Chargers most of the night. Philip Rivers — who went 23 of 37 for 181 yards — was sacked four times, threw two interceptions and didn't have a touchdown pass for the first time this season. Baltimore converted three Los Angeles turnovers into 10 points. The Ravens were up 16-10 with 2:40 remaining when Patrick Onwuaso forced Antonio Gates to fumble and Tavon Young scooped it up and returned it 62 yards for a touchdown. "I saw a couple opportunities where I could punch the ball out and that was one of them. Once I punched it I didn't know if he was down or not," Onwuaso said. STUCK IN NEUTRAL The 198 net yards by the Chargers' offense was their fourth-lowest total since Rivers became the starting quarterback in 2006. The last time they were held under 200 yards was Nov. 2, 2014, at Miami (178). "We got off to a terrible start, turning the ball over on the first play. And we had three third-down conversions called back really that we couldn't overcome. We got ourselves in third-and-super-long a lot," Rivers said. "It's a good defense and they outplayed us today. Depending on what happens we may get another crack at them in two weeks." It is the fourth time this season the Ravens have held a team under 200 yards and the 20th time since Harbaugh became coach in 2008. PRETTY GOOD TRIP It ended up being a great 48 hours for Harbaugh. On Friday, the Ravens announced their longtime coach will be back next season. Some had wondered if Harbaugh's 11th season in Baltimore would be his final one because the team has reached the postseason only once since winning the Super Bowl in 2012. "This is about our guys in the locker room and us. We're fighting to accomplish something," Harbaugh said. While Harbaugh tried to deflect questions about his contract extension, players were supportive of the decision. "That's really cool that he's going to keep being here when I excel," Jackson said. BATTLE OF THE BACKS Baltimore's Gus Edwards had 92 yards rushing on 14 carries. Nearly half his yards came on the Ravens' first offensive play when he went 43 yards up the middle for his longest run of the season. It was also the longest rushing play the Chargers have allowed all season. The rookie has rushed for 578 yards over the past six games. Gordon, who missed the past three games due to a knee injury, had 41 yards on 12 carries and a touchdown. UP NEXT Ravens: Host the Cleveland Browns in the regular-season finale Dec. 30. Chargers: At the Denver Broncos on Dec. 30......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 23rd, 2018