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LOOK: 2018 NBA conference finals schedule, Philippine time

      MANILA, Philippines – The highly anticipated 2018 NBA conference finals showdown gets going with the top-ranked Houston Rockets (65-17) battling No. 2 Golden State Warriors (58-24) in the Western Conference and the second-seeded Boston Celtics (55-27) clashing with No. 4 Cleveland Cavaliers (50-32) in the Eastern Conference finals. So be ........»»

Category: newsSource: rappler rapplerMay 12th, 2018

UAAP FINALS: Battle of legendary coach Kid Santos’ protégés

It’s just a few days away before the much-anticipated battle for UAAP Season 80 women’s volleyball supremacy between the grand slam-seeking De La Salle University Lady Spikers and the title hungry Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws. But even before the blazing action of the best-of-three championship series begins, one man is already smiling and probably very proud of the legacy he has left behind. Steering the Lady Spikers in their 10th straight Finals appearance is a multi-titled mentor in Ramil de Jesus. A man who for two decades changed DLSU’s volleyball program and gave the Taft-based school 10 titles. On the other side is George Pascua, a true-blue FEU product who delivered UAAP titles during his playing days and when he mentored the men’s team. Pascua is now looking to bring back the old glory of the Lady Tamaraws.      Both are great disciplinarians. No-nonsense coaches who value character, hard work and dedication more than popularity and fanfare. Coaches whose systems rely on teamwork rather than individual talent, mastering the basics of offense and defense while turning their wards into versatile workers and team players.   True men of the sport.    Characters they inherited and influenced by a man considered as the father of FEU volleyball: the late great Florentino "Kid" Santos. The championship series won’t just be about a present power battling a traditional powerhouse, it will also be a showdown between two students who learned their craft from a treasured Filipino volleyball master.   BROTHERS-IN-ARM Santos, who passed away November last year at the age of 67 due to cardiac arrest, brought FEU to numerous titles as a player and continued to do so as a mentor for the Tams and Lady Tams. He played a big role in the school’s total of 54 championships in both divisions and steered FEU to 19 of its 29 women’s crowns. Santos also handled the national team multiple times. But what made Santos great is the number of players he discovered and molded into stars under his Spartan-like training and strict discipline. That list includes De Jesus and Pascua. “Si Coach Ramil outside hitter siya na napakagaling rumeceive, napakabilis ng bola,” recalled Pascua after the postgame interview moments after twice-to-beat FEU booted out Ateneo de Manila University in the Final Four to for the Lady Tams’ first Finals appearance since Season 71.  “(Ako) middle pero napakagaling ko rumeceive din kasi walang libero noon eh,” he added, drawing laughter inside the press room. “Kaya nga tinitingnan namin noong time namin walang palitan ng libero ang gagaling namin rumeceive.”   Pascua was in his rookie year when he played alongside De Jesus, who was then in his swan song. De Jesus was spectacular, Pascua was a promising talent when they marched together in battle with Santos at the helm. With the two playing together, FEU conquered Season 54 for the Tams' back-to-back titles. “Pumasok ako 91. Eh 92 siya grumaduate. So last playing year niya, first year ako. Pero nagpang-abot kami sa UAAP,” added Pascua, who would eventually win two more. In a light moment during the start of the men’s Final Four at the MOA Arena last Saturday, Pascua and De Jesus were spotted seated together watching the match between FEU and three-time defending champion Blue Eagles. They were talking, laughing and were horsing around while reminiscing their playing days.    🤔 #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/88NqdzFmiG — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) April 21, 2018 “Puro kalokohan lang 'yun, wala sa volleyball. Nu’ng time namin, nagku-kwentuhan kami, sabi namin, 'Biruin mo 'yung UP (gym) noon, noong naglalaro tayo, halos hindi mapuno, kahit isang layer lang ng ganoon (seats), tapos nanonood pa 'yung nasa lapag lang, sa UP noong time naming,'” said Pascua. “Tapos nakakasilaw, pag umuulan, tumutulo. Pero tingnan mo o, ang dami, libo-libo ang nanonood.” “Sabi namin, ibang klase ang volleyball ngayon. Hindi kami naging part ng ganito karaming ano pero naging part kami,” added Pascua. “Sabi niya, naging part pa rin tayo kaya naging successful ang volleyball. Sabi niya may contribution pa rin tayo. Kasi (ang usapan naming) about volleyball, mga past namin, kung gaano lumaki ang volleyball kumpara noon hanggang ngayon.” De Jesus in his postgame interview, the day after, shared that it was fun chatting and joking around with his former teammate. “Wala naman kaming pinag-uusapan, ine-enjoy lang namin 'yung game,” said De Jesus, whose squad dismantled National University in straight sets on Sunday. “Dumaan kasi accidentally si Sir (Mark) Molina.  Sabi niya dapat bigyan ng t-shirt 'yan si Coach Ramil. So 'yun, kaya kinukulit niya ako, kasi T-shirt ang binibigay, jacket ang kinuha. Sabi ko 'di ako magsusuot ng jacket. 'Yun ata ang kulitan namin na nakunan (ng TV camera).” Unfortunately, they witnessed the twice-to-beat Tams fall in five-sets against the 55-point onslaught of Ateneo ace Marck Espejo. About 24 hours after that, De Jesus set up a Finals date with Pascua’s Lady Tams. They will be after each other’s neck starting April 28 at the Big Dome.     RIVALRY Long after their playing careers have passed, both found a new calling: coaching. Learning under the tutelage of Santos, Pascua and De Jesus passed on to their wards the same discipline they had under the FEU legend and gave new twists to the system used by their former mentor.     De Jesus was tapped by DLSU to help with their women’s volleyball program. He was the messiah the Taft-based squad had been waiting for. Under his watch, the Lady Spikers transformed into a UAAP superpower collecting 10 titles overall. Pascua stayed with FEU, helping the Tams achieve a three-peat in Season 67 to 69 as the head coach. He steered FEU to its last championship in Season 74. Pascua and De Jesus eventually crossed paths as women’s team mentors in the 2014 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix. The younger mentor handled a powerhouse team in Petron Blaze Spikers while De Jesus built Generika behind his DLSU products. Pascua got the better of De Jesus in four sets in the winner-take-all championship round led by American import Alaina Bergsma and Brazilian setter Erica Adachi. He duplicated his feat the following tournament in the All-Filipino Conference as Petron swept De Jesus’ Shopinas.com Clickers in the best-of-three Finals series. Now on their third head-to-head match in four years, Pascua knows that his commercial league successes won’t matter in De Jesus’ turf. “Champion coach si Coach Ramil, ‘yung team niya may championship experience. Napakagaling na coach niya,” he said.      Though working on a team with a disadvantage in terms on experience in the Finals, De Jesus holds high respect on Pascua’s coaching. Being a product of FEU like him, Pascua won’t back out from a fight.     “Matiyagang tao si George, maganda 'yung ginagawa niya ngayon sa team, and siguro ano, kailangan talaga bantayan 'yung FEU kasi alam ko matiyagang tao 'yun,” said De Jesus. In this series, the DLSU mentor is expecting a tough challenge. Both will have their own advantages in their systems and strategies built on the backbone of Santos’ system. “Kasi bawat coach kasi may kanya-kanyang sistema, so maaring may mga part na nakuha niya dun kay Coach Kid, pero siyempre bawat coach, may gustong gawin sa team na hindi niya na dala-dala 'yung ibang sistema ng naging mentor,” said De Jesus. Whatever the result of the series, whichever shade of green will come up on top, one thing is for sure, the great FEU mentor Santos will surely have a hand in it. Santos’ legacy will have an influence on both sides, whether the title goes to Morayta or to Taft.      ---    Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles    .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 24th, 2018

Arwind and his best 'Swakwords of the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup

Arwind Santos is a lot of things. Champion basketball star, most valuable player, fashion icon, recording artist, Feng Shui believer, and self-proclaimed DJ, Arwind is a pretty impressive fellow. Arwind is also pretty articulate. His #Swakwords have become legendary on Twitter. His #Swakwords in person are just as great, if not even better. When scribes ask for "two minutes" from a certain player, it's for one specific topic most of the time. If you're lucky, you get two topics. But when it comes to Arwind, a two-minute interview can give birth to five separate stories. Sometimes you don't even have to ask. He'll tell you himself Whether it's funny, controversial, or both, Arwind will give you something. Sometimes they make perfect sense, sometimes you'll ask yourself, "Ano daw?" That's Arwind Santos for you. He's the gift that keeps on giving. And in the Philippine Cup, Santos was on fire all conference long. These are the very best of Arwind's #Swakwords in the 2018 All-Filipino.   "San Miguel Beermen, ang pinaka-masarap sa lahat." In an explanation that only begged for more questions instead of giving out answers, Arwind uttered this brilliant line after the San Miguel Beermen won a fourth straight Philippine Cup title. Clarifying his earlier statements regarding rubbing alcohol, Arwind just... he didn't exactly make sense here. "Siguro yung alcohol na yun, walang iba kundi San Miguel Beermen, ang pinaka-masarap sa lahat," he said. Speaking of that rubbing alcohol...   "Ang tagal na naming di nakakatikim ng alcohol. Rubbing alcohol." Up 3-1 in the Finals, Arwind really, really wanted to celebrate already that's why he wanted to finish things off by Game 5. He might have slipped in his comment, probably he wanted a more PG answer. However, rubbing alcohol? Really? He didn't exactly make sense here again. But it's Arwind, this counts as gold.   "Gusto na naming mag-puyat." In the most childish motivation ever, Arwind uttered this line before the rubbing alcohol comment. By the way, all of this happened in the same interview. Again, up 3-1 in the Finals, Santos really, really, wanted to finish things off by Game 5. Why? Because he wants to stay up all night already, that's why. "Kami, gusto na namin mag-celebrate ng Friday. Gusto na naming mag-puyat," Arwind said as the Beermen took a commanding 3-1 lead in the Finals against Magnolia.   "May mga shadow eh. Parang yung lima nagiging walo." Frustrated after losing a game to Ginebra in the semifinals, Arwind Santos post-game rant was equal parts creative and hilarious. Implying that the Gin Kings once again got the better of the calls.... actually, the only thing he didn't actually say was the the referees favored Ginebra. That's what he was trying to say and he got fined P25,000 for it. "May mga shadow eh. Parang may mga shadow yung mga players kanina eh. Parang yung lima nagiging walo," Arwind said, obviously referring to the officiating. "Parang ganun eh, kaya nahihirapan kami bantayan kasi lima yung kalaban pero nagiging walo. Ewan ko kung sobrang bilis kaya may shadow?" he added, wondering on the mysteries of life.   "Siguro yung brief ko na lang ang magiging green, at least hindi na bawal yun kasi hindi nakikita." Technically, he said this last season but this line came from Arwind's undying love for anything green. However, the San Miguel Beermen's uniform don't match with the color green so if the PBA, for some reason, implemented a rule regarding acceptable color combinations, Santos says he's going to follow it for sure. Well... "Kung sakaling mangyari yun, susunod ako sa rules. Siguro yung brief ko na lang ang magiging green, at least hindi na bawal yun kasi hindi nakikita. May mga paraan naman sa mga ganung bagay," Arwind said. Feng Shui says green is Arwind's lucky color so...   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 9th, 2018

PBA: June Mar is the most surprised on his shot at history

At this point in time, the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup Best Player of the Conference awarding ceremony is just mere formality. By virtue of yet another dominating tournament, June Mar Fajardo appears to be sure to pick up his sixth BPC plum Wednesday before Game 4 of the Philippine Cup Finals. June Mar's latest trophy will break the tie between him and fellow San Miguel legend Danny Ildefonso. It also means that Fajardo will take over as the player with the most BPC awards with six. The one who is most surprised at this impending shot at history is June Mar himself. "Sino mage-expect non, di ba?" Fajardo said. "Ano lang ba naman ako dati. Wala akong hilig sa basketball, tapos ngayon mabe-break ko na yung record ng mga magagaling sa PBA. Nakaka-proud sa sarili," he added. The latest tally for statistical points show June Mar taking a healthy eight-point lead. His primary challengers for the title are Arwind Santos and Japeth Aguilar. The first is his teammate and the other is the one he already beat in the semifinals. The BPC awarding ceremony will be a mere formality. "Syempre dahil din yun sa mga teammates ko, at sa coaching staff, di ko naman makukuha yun kung di dahil sa kanila," he said. "Para sakin, 'di lang ako yung BPC, kaming lahat," Fajardo added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 2nd, 2018

Quest to be the best keeps Arwind, San Miguel hungry for more titles

San Miguel Beer has won three straight All-Filipino championships. The Beermen have captured five of the last eight conference titles and yet, heading into their latest Finals, the team continues to talk about how hungry they are. Yes, San Miguel is hungry for another title. That's just how the winningest team in PBA history does business. "Marami kaming dahilan para ma-maintain yung gutom, yung pagka-uhaw sa panalo kasi nga nandito ka na eh," forward Arwind Santos said. "Ayaw mo nang sayangin yung opportunity lalo na yung history di ba. Yung pwede mong i-kwento sa mga anak mo, sa mga nagmamahal sayo, sa lahat ng sumusuporta sa San Miguel, sa history ng PBA," he added. True enough, the Beermen go for history for the third straight season. In 2016, San Miguel completed its Beeracle run, becoming the first team in history to erase a 0-3 Finals deficit to win the title. In 2017, San Miguel completed a Philippine Cup hat trick, becoming only the second team in history to win the Perpetual Trophy. In 2018, San Miguel wants to become the only team in history to win All-Filipino in four straight years. "Sino ba ang ganito? Sino ba yung pinaka the best? Pagka-nabanggit yung team tapos part ka nun, sobrang saya. Sobrang sarap sa pakiramdam," Arwind said. "Yun yung sa sa mga pangarap ko rin, kahit wala na kami, hindi mabubura yung ginawa naming history," he added. Despite dominating the PBA for the better part of three years, Arwind and the Beermen continue to be hungry for titles. They simply want to be remembered to be the best. The best of all-time. "Gusto ko kami-kami lang yun, na maipakita ko na kami yung best team," he said. "Yun yung motivation ko, gusto ko maging the best kami sa lahat ng team na nakakalaban namin sa PBA," Santos added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 22nd, 2018

San Miguel Beer back in PH Cup Finals anew, closes out Ginebra

San Miguel Beer knocked off Ginebra, 100-94, in Game 5 of their 2018 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals Saturday at Cuneta Astrodome. Four-time PBA Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo was unstoppable, finishing with 25 points on 11-of-18 shooting from the field, nine rebounds, and three assists to guide the Beermen to their fourth straight Philippine Cup Finals appearance, 12th overall in the conference. Marcio Lassiter continued his stellar showing with 23 markers powered by five triples, to go with eight boards, while Matt Ganuelas-Rosser added 14 points, eight rebounds, and three dimes. Alex Cabagnot got 12 markers, five boards, and five assists, while Arwind Santos hushed the row...Keep on reading: San Miguel Beer back in PH Cup Finals anew, closes out Ginebra.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsMar 17th, 2018

Injured Ross ruled out of 2nd half of Game 3 vs Ginebra

Chris Ross will sit out the second half of Game 3 of the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals between defending champion San Miguel Beer and Barangay Ginebra on Tuesday night. Ross, the Beermen star, was dealing with a strained right thigh, as reported by ESPN5's Selina Dagdag. The 33-year-old Ross, who was the Finals MVP in the last two editions of the all-Filipino conference, had six points, five rebounds, three assists and a steal in 16 minutes of action in the first half. As of posting time, the Gin Kings were able to capitalize on Ross' absence after extending their six-point halftime lead to 14, 79-65, at the end of the third quarter....Keep on reading: Injured Ross ruled out of 2nd half of Game 3 vs Ginebra.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsMar 13th, 2018

San Miguel vs. Ginebra again as PBA semis tip off

For the fourth time in the last five PBA conferences, it's going to be San Miguel Beer vs. Brgy. Ginebra in the PBA playoffs. The three-time defending All-Filipino champion Beermen will open the 2018 semifinals against the Gin Kings Friday at the Big Dome. The best-of-7 series is a rematch from last year's Finals, where San Miguel handily beat Ginebra in five games to capture the Perpetual trophy. It's the only series win by the Beermen over the Gin Kings in the last five conferences as Ginebra hold a 2-1 edge since the 2016 Governors' Cup. The barangay edged San Miguel in the semifinals of that conference on their way to their first title in eight years. A year later in the 2017 Governors' Cup, the Gin Kings ended the Beermen's Grand Slam hopes in the quarterfinals. Ginebra also already beat San Miguel in the 2018 Philippine Cup, scoring a close, albeit controversial, win in the elimination round without Greg Slaughter. Still, the champs remain as the overwhelming favorite in this series, featuring the top-2 players of the Philippine Cup so far in four-time MVP June Mar Fajardo and one-time MVP Arwind Santos. There's also the fact that Greg Slaughter remains questionable for Ginebra. Game 1 of the best-of-7 will tip off 6:30 p.m. Friday at the Big Dome.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 9th, 2018

ROS stops champion San Miguel to make next round

Rain or Shine is through the the next round of the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup. The Elasto Painters pulled away late over the three-time defending champion San Miguel Beer, scoring a 95-80 decision Wednesday at the MOA Arena. ROS got its sixth win against four defeats to make the quarterfinals for a fourth straight conference. The Elasto Painters wrap up their schedule Friday to determine their final placing. For San Miguel, the loss didn't do much as the champs were going to be number one in the playoffs either way. The Beermen tie Magnolia with the best record at 8-3 but the flagship SMC franchise hold the tiebreaker. "At least now we're assured of a playoff spot," head coach Caloy Garcia said. "But of course what we want to achieve is to win our game on Friday for us to be at least in the numer four. And of course, we play Ginebra that needs to win so that's gonna be a good battle for us kasi pangit naman papasok ka sa next round galing talo," he added. ROS exploded on the Beermen in the latter half of the fourth quarter, scoring eight unanswered points to turn a six-point lead into a 14-point advantage. Beau Belga was at the front of the Elasto Painters' attack, scoring a game-high 19 points. Jewel Ponferada was a surprise spark, firing 17 markers. Mark Borboran and Gabe Norwood chipped in 11 and 10 points respectively. For the Beermen, it was June Mar Fajardo that led the way with 19 points.   The Scores:  Rain or Shine (95) - Belga 19, Ponferada 17, Borboran 11, Norwood 10, Trollano 8, Daquioag 8,  Nambatac 6, Ahanmisi 5, King 3, Washington 3, Almazan 3, Maiquez 2, King 0. San Miguel (80) - Fajardo 19, Lassiter 17, Cabagnot 13, De Ocampo 8, Santos 8, Espinas 6, Ross 5, Vigil 2, Ganuelas-Rosser 2, Lanete 0, Heruela 0, Pessumal 0. Quarter Scores: 26-22, 38-38, 60-62, 95-80   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 28th, 2018

F2 Logistics braces for tough Grand Prix title defense

Defending champion F2 Logistics face a tough challenge in its title-retention bid with seven other teams beefing up their rosters for the 2018 Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix starting this Saturday at the Ynares Sports Center in Pasig City. The Cargo Movers retained their reinforcements Kennedy Bryan, Maria Jose Perez and added a new recruit Japanese libero Minami Yoshioka.   F2 Logistics lost six players in its championship core in top libero Dawn Macandili, Kim Kianna Dy, Des Cheng, Tin Tiamzon, Aduke Ogunsanya and Majoy Baron, who went back to their school team De La Salle University which is looking to complete a grand slam in the UAAP.      But the Cargo Movers are bringing in reinforcements to backstop mainstays setter Kim Fajardo, Aby Marano and Cha Cruz. According to team manager Hollie Reyes former Ateneo de Manila University Michelle Morente will suit up for F2 Logistics this conference together with College of St. Benilde setter Pauline Cardiente and University of Perpetual Help middle Lourdes Clemenente.  “Actually naghahanda pa rin kami kasi kami ang defending champion so kung last year mahirap na ang training, ngayon nag-double time pa rin kami dahil kami ang hinahabol ng mga teams ngayon and at the same time madaming hindi makakalaro na UAAP players kaya nagdagdag kami,” said Cargo Movers assistant coach Noel Orcullo Thursday during the PSL's season press conference held at Center Stage in MOA. “Maganda naman dahil nagco-complement naman sa team, unang-una ang libero na Japanese and at the same time makakakuha ng tips si Dawn doon,” he added. “Second, ‘yung sa middle nakuha namin si Clemente, big addition din ‘yun, 6-foot-2. So may experience na rin nag-PSL na rin si Clemente kaya adjustment na lang since katatapos lang ng NCAA.” But the road back into the Finals will be harder this time. Petron, Cocolife and Generika-Ayala loom as heavy favorites while Cignal, Foton, Sta. Lucia Realty and new team Smart Prepaid also expected to spring lots of surprises to challenge F2 Logistics. Formal opening of the new season is set on Feb. 24 at the Sta. Rosa City Sports Complex in Laguna. The Blaze Spikers will be marching with a vengeance after losing to the Cargo Movers in three games in the best-of-three finals last year. Petron’s American imports Lindsay Stalzer and Hillary Hurley, as well as Japanese Yuri Fukuda, will be back. “Sobra (ang gigil na bumawi) kasi masakit talaga ang nangyari sa amin na pagkatalo sa Finals pero ganoon talaga eh,” said Petron coach Shaq delos Santos, whose wards squandered a 1-0 Finals series lead. “Ang sa amin ay yung acceptance sa talo na ’yun para mas makita namin kung ano pa ang kailangan naming i-improve and mas mag-mature kami.” Taylor Milton of the United States and Sara Klisura of Serbia will also be back for the Asset Managers while Darlene Ramdin of Trinidad and Tobago and Symone Hayden of the US, who replaced injured Katarina Pilepic, will reinforce the Lifesavers.  Jeane Horton of the US and Sonja Milanovic of Bosnia will banner the HD Spikers while the Tornadoes will lean on Brooke Kanda of the US, Elizabeth Wendel of Canada and Katarina Vukamanovic of Serbia; the Lady Realtors will lean on Bohdana Anisova of Ukraine and Kristen Moncks and Marisa Field of Canada; and the Giga Hitters will have Gyselle De La Caridad and Silva and Lisbet Arredondo Reyes of Cuba.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 15th, 2018

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

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 16th, 2018

Creamline brings in Gumabao, Gohing

Creamline is building up a powerhouse team months before the start of the 2018 Premier Volleyball League. After securing the services of volleyball stars Alyssa Valdez and Risa Sato, who played for BaliPure last year, the Rebisco franchise in its Facebook page announced the addition of former De La Salle University teammates Michele Gumabao and Melissa Gohing. In a ‘Guess Who?’ post by Creamline Thursday and Friday, there were clues about the two new players that the Cool Smashers tapped to beef up their roster – all were pointing at Gohing and Gumabao. Gohing won the UAAP Season 71 Rookie of the Year award and collected four titles with DLSU. Gumabao is a three-time UAAP champion, two-time Best Blocker winner and Finals Most Valuable Player back in Season 75 before foregoing her last playing year the following season.   This will mark the return of Gumabao to the Sports Vision-organized volleyball league after bolting out of Pocari Sweat last year. She transferred to Cocolife in the Philippine Superliga. Gohing, on the other hand, left the Lady Warriors after three years with the Federated Distributors, Inc. franchise. The multi-awarded libero played with Gumabao in the PSL back in 2015 when they left the DLSU core-led Generika Lifesavers to transfer to FDI’s club Philips Gold Lady Slammers. The two gave the Lady Slammers a couple of bronze medal finishes that year in the All-Filipino and Grand Prix before the club bolted out the following year to join the V-League.   With Gumabao, Gohing and Myla Pablo at the helm, the Pocari Sweat dominated the tournament winning the Open Conference and Reinforced Conference titles at the expense of Air Force and the Valdez-led Bureau of Customs, respectively. Creamline despite having collegiate aces Valdez and top setter Jia Morado settled for a third place finish in the PVL’s inaugural Reinforced and Open conferences. The PVL is tentatively scheduled to open April......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 6th, 2018

Superteams and superpowers: Basketball in 2017

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 28th, 2017

Stalzer expected to play for Petron in the 2018 Grand Prix

American volleyball player Lindsay Stalzer is expected to be back next year when the Petron Blaze Spikers try to redeem themselves in the Philippine Superliga Grand Prix. The Blazer Spikers import will return to the US Monday evening but will fly back to Manila when Petron begins its build up for the 2018 edition of the import-laden conference opening on February 2018.     Stalzer, a two-time Grand Prix champion and former Most Valuable Player, came up short of claiming her third conference crown when Petron bowed to F2 Logistics on Saturday in four sets in the decider of the best-of-three Finals. “I think the plan is to come back for the next Grand Prix,” said Stalzer, who was San Miguel Beer’s muse during the traditional parade of teams in the opening rites of the 43rd PBA Sunday at the Big Dome. Stalzer, who won two titles with Foton before transferring to Petron, and compatriot Hillary Hurley tried to rally the Blaze Spikers back after going down, 1-2, in Game 3. But the Blaze Spikers were unable to stop the rampaging Cargo Movers led by Venezuelan import and eventual MVP winner Maria Jose Perez, American Kennedy Bryan and the core of many-time UAAP champion De La Salle University led by Cha Cruz, Kim Fajardo, Majoy Baron and Dawn Macandili.  Still, Stalzer was happy with Petron’s run. “We had a really strong showing all season. In the regular season we had that one loss to F2 and I think it’s a fluke and we should’ve won that match. And then ups and downs in the playoffs but then we made it to the Finals and I’m very proud of that. I thought we had the championship but we let that slip away,” she said. Putting their painful Grand Prix loss behind, the 33-year old stunner told reporters how she enjoined her stint as SMB’s muse. “I have no idea what to expect this such a beautiful, big production. I’m honored to be one of the muses, it was a lot of fun,” she said. “It’s really fun to kickoff this event this season and I’m just happy to be a part of it.” “I have no idea (why they chose me to be their muse). They just asked just a few days ago,” said Stalzer. “(But) it’s always fun to dress up and wear something other than volleyball clothes.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 17th, 2017

Ross provides show for SMB and for his 'very proud' mother

It was only the first game of the new season but Chris Ross was a very motivated guy out there for three-time defending Philippine Cup champion San Miguel Beer. Why? Because his mom was on deck to watch him live for the first time in three years, that's why. "One, my mom is here. It's her first time to see me play in a while," Ross said of his mother Virginia who landed in the Philippines earlier this week but only came to Manila Sunday morning. He made his mom's trip worth it though as he put on a show for the Beermen to the tune of 16 points, six rebounds, and nine assists. "The last time she watched a game [live] was maybre three years ago? But we have TFC at home so she always watches [on TV]. She gets up in the morning to watch every game. She's always texting me, messaging me on Facebok every game ad after games. She's really our no. 1 fan and it's good to have here here," the reigning two-time Philippine Cup Finals MVP added. Mommy Virginia's favorite team struggled in stretches against the Phoenix Fuel Masters to start the 2017-2018 season, but the Beermen's overwhelming firepower was more than enough to secure the win. However, that's not enough for Ross and the rest of the San Miguel crew. After all, they're looking at winning a fourth straight All-Filipino championship. "I thought we looked pretty decent out there but there's a lot to improve," Ross said. "It's gonna be tough because everyone is going after us. We won this conference three years in a row and everyone's beefed up their squad to come after us. We know we're going to get everyone's best shot every night. We're prepared for that, we're ready," he added. As for Virginia, she's just one happy mother supporting his youngest son from courtside. "Very proud. He's my baby, he's my youngest. I'm a very proud mother," she said.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 17th, 2017

Business of Football - Philippines highlights football s growth in the country

MANILA -  The recent success of The Azkals, with their Asian Cup qualification, and their FIFA ranking at its highest at 111, has given football a renewed confidence, and a positive outlook in terms of the growth of the sport in the Philippines.   Football is now tipped to become the fastest growing sport in the country, with the largest potential for success commercially, and in terms of on-pitch success.  The sport which is currently number 3 in the Philippines in terms of popularity and participation, after basketball and boxing, is said to be still further behind compared to other sports, such as volleyball, billiards, etc., in terms of TV coverage. These were among the insights and trends gathered from top-notch executives of organizations such as AFC, PFF, PFL, LaLiga, Dentsu X, SMG Insight, Globe Telecom, RSportz, Toby Sports and Manila Times, at the ‘Business of Football - Philippines’, organized by MMC Sportz.  The sold-out event was attended by more than 185 local and foreign delegates on 18 May 2018 at the New World Makati Hotel.   MMC Sports CEO Eric Gottschalk says, “Research in this market, shows that TV is still the number one platform here in the Philippines, and is the number one medium that advertisers are looking for, to spend their budgets on.  We also learned that live TV coverage actually stimulates stadium attendance, and not vice versa.  If there’s more football on TV, we will see more fans in the stadium.  Currently football is not ranked among the top 100 TV programmers in the Philippines and is only number 3 sport in terms of participation and popularity after basketball and boxing.  Football needs media in order to drive commercial revenues for the clubs.”   “Now is also the perfect time to get involved in football since sponsorship and advertising opportunities are currently very affordable compared for example to basketball, but this is predicted to change within the next 6-12 months, as values are expected to increase sharply.  Football also needs to create more idols and heroes to attract more media coverage overall, other than just covering game scores. Each team has a unique story which just needs to be told,” says Gottschalk. Following the presentation about the Philippines Football League (PFL) it was agreed that the PFL now fills the lack of regular created football content as the leagues matches (87 in 2018/19 season) contribute year-round stories to keep football in the news. In the past, the main talking points were around the Azkals which only play very few home matches each year.      Public education about the game of football is also needed on all levels as many people in the Philippines are still not aware about the rules or aware of programs available like coaching academies, amateur competitions, or how and where to follow the professional league.  Ten thousand (10,000) qualified grassroots coaches are also needed to satisfy the local demand and to trigger strong football development and growths. Investors on the other hand are looking for consistency and credibility of the football product but with the PFL in the second season and foreign sponsors expected to invest in the Philippines, local brands should consider to follow suit.  On the sports retail side, only 1.5% of current retail sales are attributed to football, while basketball enjoys a healthy 46% market share. As a result, only limited line items and stocks are available in stores and entry level boots and replica jerseys are too high priced to be affordable for the average consumer. The national player registration program, MY PFF, has been launched with the objective to collect vital statistics and data about the football community which is urgently needed to support the youth football development strategy of the PFF and to develop a players pathway.  As FIFA has mandated to register the estimated 1.5 million players in the Philippines, the PFF has urged organizers and players to already register online as by next month only registered players will be allowed to participate in sanctioned events. The “Business of Football – Philippines” conference also announced 36 career opportunities related to sports and football, including positions in marketing, legal, competition management and coaching, with all these listing being available online with MMC Sportz or for direct inquiries with the PFF. In his closing remarks, MMC Sportz CEO Eric M. Gottschalk stated that “More importantly, Don’t Break the 12th Man! It is important that all stakeholders don’t forget to engage with the fans. The fans are the most important aspect of the development of football in the Philippines – if there are no fans of football then there is no media, no spectators, no players, no games, no business. Everyone is required to ensure we keep the fans (football consumers) engaged year-long and the first step would be to get the media behind the game. There is a strong football - community out there already and hopefully, we the TV broadcasters will take another look at football and give them at least some consideration on the program schedule.  I believe today’s conference was a great success.  We brought the football community together, stimulated thinking, exchanged ideas and transferred a lot of knowledge. Now it is up to the football stakeholders to continue the progress.  From our end (and with the approval of the PFF) we will stage the 2nd edition of BOF early 2019 and hopefully we will be able to report on some of the changes initiated today.”    Speakers who shared their insights include LaLiga Managing Director for South East Asia, Japan, Korean and Australia Ivan Codina, AFC Head of MA Services Domeka Garamendi, SMG Insight Managing Director Frank Saez, Azkals Team Manager Dan Palami, Globe Director for OIC, Citizenship and Advocacy Marketing Miguel Bermundo, PFL CEO Lazarus Xavier, PFF General Secretary Atty. Edwin Gastanes, Ignite Sports Group Managing Director Michael Reyes,  Asian Replica Designs Founder & Owner Jonathan Mallinson, Quorum Group President & COO Jose Claudio, Jr., Mediapro Asia Director of Sales and Sponsorship Salauddin Sinnakandu, and MMC Sportz Marketing CEO Eric Gottschalk.  Organized by MMC Sportz Asia, the event was sanctioned by the Asia Football Confederation (AFC) and the Philippines Football Federation (PFF), and sponsored by La Liga, Dentsu X, SMG Insight, RSportz, Globe Telecom, Toby’s Sports, Manila Times and Platinumlist. - RELEASE  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 22nd, 2018

Young Celtics look to stop James, Cavaliers

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com For a few days at least, much of the talk about this rematch of the 2017 Eastern Conference finals will focus on what might have been. In what could have offered some poetic closure to the Eastern Conference portion of this season, former Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving would be taking on his old team and, specifically, LeBron James, the superstar “big brother” whom he’d dissed by demanding a trade. Meanwhile, in a more perfect pulp-fiction world, Cleveland would be setting loose point guard Isaiah Thomas on the Boston Celtics, giving him a chance for payback to the team that dealt him away the instant it sniffed the chance to land Irving. Those plotlines are kaput; Irving’s season ended in March with left knee surgery, Thomas got dealt from Cleveland at the February trade deadline. The best we’ll get now are sideline shots of Irving in street clothes on Boston’s bench, reacting to the series’ ebbs and flows. Thomas might be limited to tweeting from afar. That leaves one clear, distinct narrative: The King of the East vs. perhaps the best collection of aspirants to his throne. James is trying to cap one of his most remarkable seasons by advancing to his eighth consecutive Finals, having led the Cavaliers to the past three after four with the Miami Heat. He has coaxed and carried these Cavs along a steep learning curve, finally getting them spiffed up by the end of their sweep of Toronto. “He’s been doing this for a long time,” Boston’s Marcus Smart said after the clincher over Philadelphia. “He’s, if not the greatest, one of the greatest to do it. What better way than to go up and compete against a guy that’s [going to have] statues and things like that.” The Celtics, by contrast, are a team trying to write fresh history. They’re ahead of schedule, too, given Irving’s absence and the loss of prize free agent Gordon Hayward way back on opening night to a gruesome leg injury, coincidentally, in Cleveland. Boston put out a talented Milwaukee Bucks club in the opening round, then dumped the Philadelphia 76ers -- another rising franchise in the East – in five games. And for those who think the West has the sexier conference clash, this one offers a pretty slick matchup: James against Boston coach Brad Stevens. Widely regarded as a master tactician, Stevens -- whose Celtics lost in five games to the Cavaliers in last year’s East finals -- gets another multi-game shot. In last year’s series, James averaged these numbers to beat: 29.6 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 6.8 apg, 2.2 spg and 1.2 bpg. 3 quick questions and answers 1. Who guards LeBron? This is the first question (or should be) of every preview of every playoff series every year of James’ career since he first started qualifying in 2006. Toronto used the length of OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam on James but neither of the Celtics’ young, long forwards -- Jaylen Brown or Jayson Tatum -- would be ideal for the duty, because Boston needs their scoring. Brown will take his turn but look for Marcus Morris and Marcus Smart in the crosshairs, counting on their physical force to bother Cleveland’s star. With undoubtedly lots of help and different looks, all the while sticking close to shooters like Kyle Korver, J.R. Smith and Kevin Love. Said center Aron Baynes late Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time): “We know where the head of the snake is and we know what we have to focus on but he’s got a lot of great role players around him and some other guys that can really create as well. 2. Will Point Guard Showdown 1A be a letdown? So instead of Irving vs. Thomas, we’ll get Terry Rozier vs. George Hill. That’s not a bad backup plan, because Rozier has had a star-is-born postseason so far and Hill has been a huge help to the Cavs after missing 3.5 games in the first round. Hill has more experience and is a scrappy defender, but Rozier -- who averaged 16.7 points and shot 47.1 percent from three in the regular season vs. Cleveland -- has speed and energy that might swing this matchup in Boston’s favor. 3. Will Love love this matchup with Horford? Kevin Love doesn’t like playing center, but Cavs coach Tyronn Lue likes the effect that has on opposing defenses. Love has an inside-outside game that makes him a tough cover for both the big fives and for more agile power-forward types. The challenge in this round is how Love copes with Al Horford, who has comparable forward’s skills. It won’t be a traditional battle of bigs, for which Love will be grateful after tangling with Toronto’s jumbo Jonas Valanciunas. The number to know 18.5 -- The Cavs scored 121.5 points per 100 possessions in the conference semifinals against Toronto, 18.5 more than they scored in the first round against Indiana (103.0). The Indy series was too close for comfort; The Pacers actually outscored Cleveland by 40 points in the series and Cavs not named James registered an effective field goal percentage of just 47 percent (the league average is 52 percent). But things were much different against the No. 1 seed, with Kyle Korver and J.R. Smith combining to shoot 24-for-38 (63 percent) from 3-point range and Kevin Love recovering from a funk to average 25 points on 54 percent shooting over the final three games. The Cavs' defense remains a question, but they always have the ability to score points in bunches. The Celtics had the No. 1 defense in the regular season and the regular season series was on the ugly side (the teams combined to score just 100 points per 100 possessions), but Boston will have to pick its poison with James surrounded by shooters that have started to shoot well. -- John Schuhmann Making the pick The Cavaliers won two of the three meetings between these teams in the regular season, with their more impressive victory coming mere days after the Cleveland roster makeover at the trade deadline. The Cavs were plus-11 in the season series, James averaged 24.0 ppg, 10.3 rpg and 8.3 apg, Boston shot 30-of-106 from three and ... aw, who are we kidding? Regular season results matter little now. James is determined to win his 24th consecutive Eastern Conference series to reach his eighth straight Finals. He was a maestro vs. the Raptors in drawing out his teammates’ games. The Celtics, allowing for their injuries, already have overachieved. That ends here. Cavaliers in 6......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 11th, 2018

Key edge in Warriors vs. Rockets? Our guys have rings says Kerr

NBA.com staff report The Warriors have the rings, the experience and the hunger for more. They also, however, have a healthy respect for their Western Conference finals opponent. Golden State coach Steve Kerr anticipates that his players will have the appropriate motivation required to make a fourth consecutive NBA Finals appearance. The road to do so goes through top-seeded Houston this year, a team that features a star point guard (Chris Paul) and head coach (Mike D'Antoni) bent on making their first Finals appearance. Kerr believes the Warriors have the proper mentality to meet the Rockets' challenge head-on. "They are taking the challenge and they're embracing it," Kerr told reporters on Thursday (Friday, PHL time). "But we seem to be at our best when we are threatened. That's been kind of the M.O. of this team, and we're definitely threatened." Steve Kerr asked about the Rockets title hunger compared to the Warriors, who have two, so maybe not as much hunger: "I like where we are. Our guys have rings. That's a good position to be in." pic.twitter.com/ggzSS6GZhZ — Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) May 10, 2018 The Warriors, however, to be as confident as they are careful entering the matchup between the top two teams of the Western Conference. Kerr pointed to the team's winning experience -- and desire to earn more of it -- as a point in Golden State's favor. "Our guys have rings," Kerr reminded reporters. "That's a good position to be in." "We're going to go in here knowing we're the defending champs, knowing we got a couple of championships here the last few years," Kerr added. "Let's go get another one. It's a nice feeling to have and to go into a series with." Game 1 of the best-of-seven series is on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 11th, 2018

ABL: LA Tenorio had a hand in Alab Pilipinas’ championship

Jimmy Alapag is a champion in his first year as head coach and Alab Pilipinas is a champion in its second season of existence. Overcoming very game Mono Vampire in a Finals series that went the distance, the Filipinos have taken the regional trophy back home for the first time since 2013. That 2013 championship was won by the San Miguel Beermen. And in this 2018 championship, San Miguel played a big part. “Of course, (they came) aboard when things weren’t looking good at the start of the season. Who knows if we would even be here without their support,” Alapag said. The Philippine team’s initial backer withdrew their support after five games, citing differences with Alapag and team owner Charlie Dy. And so, Alab was left without somebody to steer them through the rough seas of the Southeast Asian pay-for-play league. That was until Alapag reached out to a former teammate in the national team – and technically, a former rival. “I could tell you guys now that I reached out to LA Tenorio. He was able to connect (us) to boss Alfrancis [Chua]. It really set off from there,” he shared. As a player, Alapag was a stalwart for both TNT and Meralco. Tenorio, on the other hand, is now Ginebra’s longtime court general. In the end, Tenorio’s assist for Alapag proved to be the turning point for the Filipinos – as the new backer’s entry steadied a rudderless ship. “When you lose your sponsor five games into the season, that’s not ideal. I know Charlie and I looked into each other and said, ‘So now what,’” the latter shared. He then continued, “For them to come on board and support us the way they did, that’s big. All of us deserve (this championship).” Along with that, the always amiable mentor wanted to give thanks to the team’s management and staff for doing what was needed to be done for the title. “I’m just thankful for the guys behind the scenes that a lot of people don’t see,” he said. And for all they have accomplished, especially as it came against all odds, Alapag is nothing but proud. “I’m just really thankful for all our guys. I’m proud of them because there’s nothing like bringing the championship back home,” he said. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 10th, 2018

Deja vu: Conference Finals matchups mirror opening day games

Did the computer formula the NBA uses to plot out its schedule turn out to be a time machine? In a remarkable coincidence, the league's two opening day games back on October 18, 2017 (PHL time), also happen to be the matchups of this year's Conference Finals. Back on that date, the Cleveland Cavaliers hosted the Boston Celtics, followed by the Houston Rockets visiting the champion Golden State Warriors. The Cavaliers won, 102-99, while the Rockets came from behind, 122-121. Flash-forward a little under seven months later, and the Celtics have homecourt advantage against the Cavaliers, while the Warriors will battle it out in H-Town in four of the seven games. Can we glean anything from those two season-openers? Let's take a deeper look: Cavaliers 102 - Celtics 99 WHAT HAPPENED: So, let's get the depressing part out of the way early. The season got out to an ominous start when Gordon Hayward suffered a catastrophic, season-ending leg injury, just a little over five minutes into the game. The incident understandably shook the Green and White, and Cleveland was able to go up by as much as 18 points, 60-42, early in the third. However, as would become a theme for the Celtics this season, the team refused to back down. Boston even led by four late, 92-88, 4:12 to play. The Cavs then fought back behind LeBron James and Kevin Love, 102-98, 46.3 seconds to go. A free throw by former Cavalier Kyrie Irving made it a single-possession game, and after James missed a three-pointer, Jaylen Brown and Irving both missed looks to force overtime, allowing the home team to get the victory. WHAT'S DIFFERENT: The Cavaliers, are definitely different. On opening night, the team started James, Love, Jae Crowder, Dwyane Wade, and Derrick Rose, and the latter three are no longer on the squad, along with Channing Frye, Iman Shumpert, and Isaiah Thomas. In their place, the Cavaliers landed Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson, and Larry Nance Jr. at the trade deadline, but Cleveland dominated the Toronto Raptors in round two of these playoffs by relying on their old guard - JR Smith, Tristan Thompson, and Kyle Korver. As for the Celtics, Irving won't be able to earn some revenge against his old team, because he was ruled out for the remainder of the season due to knee issues. He and Hayward aren't the only ones sitting this out. Reserve center Daniel Theis will also be riding the bench for this one, because of a knee injury too. If there's a silver lining though, all of those injuries have forced Boston's young guns to grow up quickly. Terry Rozier, Jaylen Brown, and Jayson Tatum have all shined given more responsibilities. We'll have to see if it's enough to dethrone the King though. Rockets 122 - Warriors 121 WHAT HAPPENED: After a tight first quarter, the Warriors zoomed away to a big lead in the middle two periods, leading by as much as 17 points, and boasting of a 13-point cushion, 101-88, entering the fourth. The good vibes of the champions didn't last though, as Chris Paul led a 13-3 run to pull his team within three, 104-101, still 8:56 remaining in the game. Paul unfortunately couldn't close things out, as a knee injury sidelined him with 4:47 left. He actually joined the Warriors' Draymond Green on the injury list, as Green didn't check back into the game in the fourth because of similar concerns. With the players on the court, the Rockets closed the gap, and took over, 122-121, 44.1 seconds remaining, after PJ Tucker charities. Houston had a chance to grow their lead, following a Stephen Curry turnover, but James Harden missed a three-pointer. The Warriors sued for time, and went to Curry anew for a game-winner, but his shot was off, allowing the Rockets to start the season on a high. WHAT'S DIFFERENT: Both the Warriors and the Rockets failed to make any moves during the trade deadline. The Warriors did waive Omri Casspi to make room for G League call-up Quinn Cook, while the Rockets signed Joe Johnson off the waiver wire (another such addition, Brandan Wright, needed knee surgery and won't play). Perhaps the biggest change regarding the Warriors will be their rotation. On opening night, head coach Steve Kerr played almost his entire roster, with 12 players logging at least seven minutes, though some of that was due to Draymond's injury. Through these playoffs, especially in the Pelicans series, the Warriors went to the 'Hamptons 5' group early and often, with just a few bench guys spelling the main guns. That will likely be the case anew against the Rockets. As for Houston, the biggest improvement from then and now might be the play of center Clint Capela. The (restricted) free-agent-to-be dominated Rudy Gobert of the Jazz, and could outmuscle his Golden State counterparts, regardless of whether they go small, or opt for Zaza Pachulia or JaVale McGee. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or ABS-CBN Sports......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 10th, 2018

The NBA’s Final Four: Cavs, Celtics, Warriors, Rockets

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press The franchise with the most titles. The best player of this generation. The reigning champions. The probable MVP. The NBA has its Final Four. It certainly does not disappoint. Boston’s win over Philadelphia on Wednesday night (Thurday, PHL time) brought down the curtain on the postseason’s second round — one that wasn’t exactly loaded with drama, since it was the first time since 2002 that none of the NBA’s four conference semifinal series went past five games. Cleveland swept Toronto, while Houston, Golden State and the Celtics all prevailed by 4-1 counts. Everyone gets to catch their collective breaths for a few days, with the league going dark until the weekend. Cleveland and Boston don’t tip off the Eastern Conference finals until Sunday (Monday, PHL time), and the Warriors and Rockets start their West title series on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time). And yes, the Cavaliers and Warriors are four wins away from a fourth consecutive meeting in the NBA Finals. A few things to know going into the conference finals: LEBRON, OF COURSE Any list of anything this time of year basically has to start with LeBron James, still generally considered the best player on the planet even at 33-years-old and in his 15th NBA season. Cleveland’s star is trying to reach the NBA Finals for the eighth consecutive season — something only four other players have done, and they were all Boston Celtics. Bill Russell went to 10 straight title series, Sam Jones and Tom Heinsohn went to nine, and Frank Ramsey went to eight. James is already the NBA’s all-time playoff leader in points, steals and minutes played. He’s fifth in playoff wins with 152, behind only Derek Fisher (161), Tim Duncan (157), Robert Horry (155) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (154). CAVS-CELTICS HISTORY This is the eighth time Cleveland and Boston have met in the postseason. Boston has won four of the previous seven meetings, but Cleveland has won the last two — including the East finals last season. WARRIORS-ROCKETS HISTORY This is only the third Golden State-Houston playoff meeting, and all have come in the last four seasons. The Warriors are 2-0 in the series, winning both times in five games — the 2015 West finals and a first-round matchup in 2016. SEEKING 10 Golden State is trying to reach the NBA Finals for the 10th time, a mark that two other franchises have reached. The Los Angeles Lakers have made The Finals on 31 occasions (winning 16 titles), and the Celtics have gone 21 times (winning a league-high 17 titles). If the Warriors successfully defend their NBA title and go back-to-back, it’ll be the franchise’s sixth time as the last team standing — and would tie Chicago for the third-most championships in league history, behind the Celtics and Lakers. MVP WATCH Houston’s James Harden seems like the probable winner of the NBA’s MVP award this season, with the only other realistic candidate for top honors probably LeBron James. They won’t know who won until June 25 (June 26, PHL time) — after the season. Regardless, they could wind up adding to a recent trend. The league MVP has played in the NBA Finals in four of the last six seasons — James and the Miami Heat won titles in 2012 and 2013, Stephen Curry and the Warriors won in 2015 and lost to Cleveland in 2016. MATTER OF TIME Ray Allen is still the league’s all-time leader in playoff three-pointers made, with 385. LeBron James and Stephen Curry are coming his way. James is No. 2 on the all-time list with 346 playoff three-pointers. Curry is No. 3 with 329 — in only 79 playoff games. Allen played in 171, and James has played in 228. WELL DONE, SCHEDULE MAKERS Here’s how the NBA season began, back on Oct. 17 (Oct. 18, PHL time): Boston at Cleveland, and Houston at Golden State. Almost seven months later, the conference finals begin with Cleveland at Boston, Golden State at Houston. WIN GAME 1 Winning Game 1 of any NBA playoff series is important; under this format that the league has been using since 1984, teams that take 1-0 series leads ultimately win those matchups about 80 percent of the time. That’s even more pronounced in this round. Of the 68 teams that have taken 1-0 series leads in the conference finals, 57 have gone on to make the NBA Finals. But four times in the last seven years, a team has dropped Game 1 in this round and made The Finals anyway. MORE DAYS OFF? The NBA Finals start May 31 (June 1, PHL time). That means there could be a lot of days without basketball before then. If both series end in sweeps — unlikely, of course, but possible — the Boston-Cleveland winner would have 10 days off before The Finals and the Houston-Golden State winner would have nine. Starting Thursday (Friday, PHL time), there will be no games five times in a nine-day span. There’s no games until Sunday (Monday, PHL time), and there’s no games in either series on May 17 and 18 (May 18 and 19, PHL time). Those needing a basketball fix on those last two days, fret not — there will be NBA Combine activities going on in Chicago on those two days. POOL UPDATE The NBA’s playoff pool for this season is $20 million, and here’s a look at how much the four remaining teams have made so far in this postseason — along with a look at what they could get. Rockets: $2,322,122. Would finish with $4,669,069 if they lose the NBA Finals, $5,864,018 if they win the title. Celtics and Warriors: $1,646,226 each so far. They’d get $3,993,173 if they reach The Finals and lose, $5,188,122 if they win the championship. Cavaliers: $1,478,543. Would finish with $3,825,490 if they lose the NBA Finals, $5,020,439 if they win the title. Teams use the playoff pool largely for bonuses for players and staff after the season. The 12 playoff teams that have already been eliminated will be getting checks adding up to about $7 million from the league......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 10th, 2018