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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

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:  rapplerRelated NewsMay 12th, 2018

REINFORCEMENTS HAVE ARRIVED

Miss the PBA yet? Don't worry as there's more action coming your way starting Friday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City. The 2018 PBA Governors' Cup will tip off this weekend and we have prolific imports in town, 12 of them to be exact. Get to know who they are before we start the third and final conference for this season.   Justin Brownlee --- Ginebra By now, Justin Brownlee needs no introduction but here goes anyway for the benefit of those who don't know him for some reason. Brownlee is a three-time PBA champion for the Gin Kings and a one-time Best Import. His first two titles came in the Governors' Cup. The first one was in 2016 when he hit "The Shot" in Game 6. The second one was last year when he led the barangay to a Game 7 win in front of more than 50,000 fans at the Philippine Arena. He's a Ginebra legend.   Allen Durham --- Meralco The reigning two-time Best Import is back for the Bolts and he's looking to complete some unfinished business. Durham has led Meralco to two Governors' Cup Finals in his previous two stints in the PBA but each time, the Bolts lost to Ginebra for the title. Is third time the charm for Allen Durham and Meralco?   AZ Reid --- San Miguel Arizona Reid won two Best Imports back when he was still with Rain or Shine and he won his first Governors' Cup title when he switched over to San Miguel. Now, the high-scoring import is back for the Beermen after a one-year hiatus. He has some business to finish here and at the top of the list is regaining his lost PBA championship.   Eugene Phelps --- Phoenix El Destructor first made a name for himself in the Governors' Cup. The Commissioner's Cup might not be his best cup of tea but when it comes to the season-ending conference, Eugene Phelps has proven before that he's a force to be reckoned with. With an upgraded local lineup and perhaps better durability this time around, El Destructor might just become extra destructive to the oppposition.   Henry Walker --- Blackwater The Elite made their second playoff appearance last year in the Governors' Cup with Henry Walker. As the no. 8 seed, they were a few minutes away from stunning no. 1 Meralco to go to the semis. Mr. Inspiration has provided nothing but positive stuff for Blackwater and with a longer build up, the Elite might be ready to take the next step in the Governors' Cup in order to salvage what has been a lost season.   Mike Harris --- Alaska The Aces are bringing in Mike Harris as reinforcement in the Governors' Cup. Harris has NBA experience with the Houston Rockets and the Utah Jazz. He has tremendous international experience and the PBA is only the latest in his long list of stops. He has a career average of 3.4 points in the NBA, playing a total of 54 games spread across five seasons.   Akeem Wright --- Columbian The Dyip will have 33-year-old Akeem Wright for the Governors' Cup. Wright was undrafted in the 2007 NBA Draft and since then, he's built an international career with stops in the Middle East and Europe.   Romeo Travis --- Magnolia A close buddy of LeBron James, Romeo Travis is back in the PBA. The first time, he played for Alaska and won Best Import but lost in the Finals to San Miguel Beer  back in 2015. Now, Travis will suit up for the Magnolia Hotshots. Travis of course is part of the LeBron's high school team at St. Vincent-St. Mary.   Olu Ashaolu --- NLEX We've seen Olu in the Commissioner's Cup as he played NLEX's last game of the conference as part of the team's prep for the Governors' Cup. Ashaolu played for Lousiana Tech and Oregon and college and went undrafted in the 2012 NBA Draft.   Rashad Woods --- Northport The Batang Pier will go with Rashad Woods for the Governors' Cup. Woods has had memorable stints in Mexico and in the Middle East, where he's known as the "Arab Ace."   J'Nathan Bullock --- Rain or Shine Bullock is back for a second stint with ROS. Last season, Bullock and the Elasto Painters were eliminated in the quarterfinals but not after erasing TNT's twice-to-beat advantage in the playoffs. Bullock will join a ROS team that will be coming off an Asian Games campaign in Indonesia.   Mike Glover --- TNT Glover was Globalport's replacement import for Globalport two years ago but now, he'll start for the KaTropa in the 2018 Governors' Cup. The hulking forward went for 25.6 points and 14.0 rebounds in his first PBA tour.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 16th, 2018

DA s 2018 NBA Offseason Rankings: The Top 10

By David Aldridge, TNT Analyst Wonder what the rental market is like in San Luis Obispo, Calif. San Luis Obispo is, give or take a few miles, one of the closest cities that is near the midway point between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Given the events of the NBA’s offseason, it’s not hare to imagine national reporters are going to be spending a lot of time in California next season, bouncing back and forth between the Bay and L.A. Catch LeBron James and the Lakers on Wednesday and then, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and the Warriors on Thursday. The Western Conference only got stronger and deeper with James leaving Cleveland for a second time, this time to go to the Lakers. Add four of the top five Draft picks -- including No. 1 overall selection Deandre Ayton (Phoenix Suns), No. 2 pick Marvin Bagley III (Sacramento Kings) and international phenom Luka Doncic (No. 3 pick, acquired by Dallas Mavericks) -- going to Western Conference teams, and the talent disparity between conferences only seems greater. But did Eastern Conference teams take advantage of Cleveland deflating to make their teams better? And how effective were West teams in making their teams better prepared to at least compete with the Warriors? That’s where this year’s Offseason Rankings come in -- big, bold, definitive. You love them, if the amount of hate tweets and e-mails I get after they’re published are any indication. Every year, we rank how all 30 teams have done since the end of their respective seasons. We look at everything -- how they drafted, what trades they made, what players they signed in free agency, and for how much -- or if they didn’t participate in free agency much at all. We look at if they’ve changed coaches, executives, owners, or if they’re moving into a new building that can generate big revenues. And you have to decide which ones you liked the most. Here's what these rankings ARE NOT: A predicted order of finish for next season. It's an opinion that seeks to answer a question: is the team better now than at the end of last season? The ranking reflects the belief on whether, and how much, that is so. (I liked certain guys who were in the Draft more than others, so if your team took them, I probably weighed it more positively. Doesn't mean I'm right.) I do not expect the Suns, for example, to have a better record than the Celtics, just because they had a better summer. It is not a ranking of the teams in order from 1 through 30 right now; I do not believe the Mavericks are now a better team than Rockets. This is just one person’s opinion about offseason moves -- offseason moves only. Is your team better now than it was before? - If your team is ranked in the top 10, it doesn't mean I love your team.       - If your team is ranked in the bottom 10, it doesn't mean I hate your team. It's an opinion that seeks to answer a question: is the team better now than at the end of last season? The ranking reflects the belief on whether, and how much, that is so. (I liked certain guys who were in the Draft more than others, so if your team took them, I probably weighed it more positively. Doesn't mean I'm right.) What plays into the rankings: - This isn’t science. It’s an educated guess, weighing the impact both of the Draft and free agency, but also assessing whether teams got value in their free-agent signings. Overpaying the right player is as much a sin as signing the wrong player. A good new coach can coax some more wins out of a roster. But if a team’s players don’t believe in the system their team uses, the best Xs and Os on earth don’t matter.       - Teams that are rebuilding obviously have different priorities than teams making a championship push. That's factored in. So Chicago, for example, gets credit for adding young, affordable players as it stockpiles its talent -- but that talent has to fit together, as Wendell Carter Jr. does with Lauri Markannen. And a team like the Warriors that shows it’s willing to go deep into the luxury tax -- which most teams try to avoid -- in order to keep winning has to be commended, and its rankings reflect that commendation.       - Continuity matters here as well. The most successful teams usually not only identify a core group of players, they keep them together for a while, finding that sweet spot: everyone doesn’t get a max contract, but most get paid well enough to keep the train moving down the tracks. That reflects both good roster construction and good financial management -- and, again, is rewarded. The explosion in the cap means everyone has to spend; keeping your powder dry for another day doesn’t have as much cache as it used to. But you still have to manage your money wisely. Salary numbers, with a couple of exceptions, come from Basketball Insiders, whose Eric Pincus does the best job of anyone in the game of keeping track of all the moving financial parts, quickly and accurately -- which is why we use him at NBA TV during the Draft and free agency to tell us what the hell this all means. The Top 10 * * * 1. OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER 2017-18 RECORD: 48-34; lost in first round ADDED: G/F Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot (acquired from Sixers); G Hamidou Diallo (No. 45 pick, 2018 Draft); G Devon Hall (No. 53 pick, 2018 Draft); F Kevin Hervey (No. 57 pick, 2018 Draft); F Abdel Nader (acquired from Celtics); C Nerlens Noel (two years, $3.7 million); G Dennis Schröder (acquired from Hawks) LOST: F Carmelo Anthony (traded to Hawks); F Nick Collison (retired); C Dakari Johnson (traded to Magic); G Rodney Purvis (traded to Celtics) RETAINED: G Raymond Felton (one year, $2.3 million); F Paul George (four years, $136.9 million); F Jerami Grant (three years, $27.3 million) THE KEY MAN: G Andre Roberson. This is real simple: with Roberson on the court last year, OKC’s opponent offensive rating was 99.2; when he was off, it was 110.7. The Thunder was a near-elite defensive unit when Roberson played and was awful when he didn’t. His Real Defensive Plus-Minus, per ESPN.com, was 4.34, second only to Utah’s Rudy Gobert (5.06). So when Roberson ruptured his patellar tendon in late January, the Thunder’s ability to use George as a weakside defender who could freelance and use his length to create deflections and turnovers (because Roberson had the strong side absolutely locked down) went away. Any chance the Thunder has next season to compete at the highest levels in the West will depend on the 26-year-old Roberson’s recovery and return to the lineup. THE SKINNY: None of us -- none -- thought George was going to stay in OKC. And we all thought Sam Presti and the Thunder were crazy for trading for him last year, because it was just going to be a one-year rental and he was going to be off to the Lakers in 12 months, and OKC would have nothing to show for its deal. But George’s presence helped convince Russell Westbrook -- also long rumored to eventually head back to Cali -- to sign a long-term deal with the Thunder. And OKC’s acquisition of Carmelo Anthony helped convince George that the Thunder was all in on competing. And even though OKC went out in the first round of the playoffs to Utah, its year-long courtship of George and his family paid off when PG-13 spurned L.A. once and for all to stay in the 405. Anthony ultimately wasn’t a good fit, but he brought back Schroder, who will give Billy Donovan a dynamic scorer off the bench that can give Westbrook a blow and keep OKC’s offense from immolating when Westbrook is on the bench, a common malady the last two years. The Thunder has been relevant in an incredibly small market now for almost a decade. With George and Westbrook and Steven Adams and, now, Schroder, all signed up through 2021, that remarkable run will continue for some time. 2. LOS ANGELES LAKERS 2017-18 RECORD: 35-47; missed playoffs ADDED: F Michael Beasley (one year, $3.5 million); F Joel Berry II; F Issac Bonga (No. 39 pick, 2018 Draft); G Jeffrey Carroll; F LeBron James (four years, $153 million); C JaVale McGee (one year, $1.4 million); G Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (No. 47 pick, 2018 Draft); G Rajon Rondo (one year, $9 million); G Lance Stephenson; F Mo Wagner (No. 25 pick, 2018 Draft) LOST: C Thomas Bryant (waived); G Tyler Ennis (waived); F/C Channing Frye (signed with Cavs); C Brook Lopez (signed with Bucks); F Julius Randle (signed with Pelicans); G Isaiah Thomas (signed with Nuggets) RETAINED: G Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (one year, $12 million); G Travis Wear THE KEY MAN: F Brandon Ingram. The third-year man should be the major beneficiary of James’ presence going forward. Driving lanes previously clogged with defenders should now be runway clear. Opponents who previously could close out strong on Ingram will now have their attention elsewhere. Ingram need only look at James’ last stop: per NBA.com/Stats, among players leaguewide who appeared in at least 60 games last season, three Cavaliers -- Kyle Korver, J.R. Smith and Cedi Osman -- were among the top 20 in the league in lowest frequency of having their closest defenders within two feet of them, meaning James created many wide open looks for teammates all season. Ingram vastly improved his range last season over his rookie one, shooting 39 percent on 3-pointers. But he only attempted 1.8 threes per game last season. That number will surely skyrocket in 2018. Ingram must ready to take advantage. That will make him that much more deadly as a driver. THE SKINNY: Team president Magic Johnson was tasked with landing a whale in free agency, and he and GM Rob Pelinka bagged Moby Dick in James. Their subsequent free agent moves once Paul George opted to stay in Oklahoma City were all short-term plays with an eye toward the promising 2019 free agent class, which include the likes of All-Stars Klay Thompson, Kemba Walker and DeMarcus Cousins. But that doesn’t mean Lake Show ’18 isn’t going to be the rip-roaringest circus this side of your standard Ozzy Ozbourne tour. What’s the over-under on the first time Rondo cusses out coach Luke Walton, or when we hear of a “spirited practice” that is code for “Lance ‘bowed ‘Bron in the neck and Walton sent everyone home”? The Lakers could be in The Finals or out in the first round, but what they decidedly will not be is boring. 3. DENVER NUGGETS 2017-18 RECORD: 46-36; missed playoffs ADDED: F Michael Porter Jr. (No. 14 pick, 2018 Draft); G Isaiah Thomas (one year, $2 million); F Jarred Vanderbilt (No. 41 pick, 2018 Draft); C Thomas Welsh (No. 58 pick, 2018 Draft) LOST: F Darrell Arthur (traded to Nets); F Wilson Chandler (traded to 76ers); F Kenneth Faried (traded to Nets); G Isaiah Whitehead (waived) RETAINED: G Will Barton (four years, $53 million); G/F Torrey Craig (two years, $4 million); C Nikola Jokic (five-year, $147.7 million contract extension) THE KEY MAN: G Jamal Murray. Denver ended all pretense that the full-time point guard job wasn’t his last season and his second-year numbers were very encouraging. Among regularly playing (60+ games) floor generals, per NBA.com/Stats, Murray’s .577 True Shooting Percentage ranked only behind D.J. Augustin, Kyrie Irving, Darren Collison and Kyle Lowry. No one doubts the still-just-21-year-old Murray can fill it up, and that the Nuggets don’t need a classic ball distributor to light up the Pepsi Center scoreboard. But they do need to get more credible defensively. So does he. THE SKINNY: A great offseason for the Nuggets, who did what they said they would -- keep Jokic off the market next summer -- while clearing roster spots and minutes with two trades, and simultaneously reducing their luxury tax bill for 2019. (The Chandler trade to the Sixers also created an enormous $12.8 million trade exception for Denver through August of 2019.) Jokic should anchor one of the most athletic starting quintets in the game -- along with Jamal Murray, Gary Harris, the re-signed Barton (penciled in for now as the starting three) and Paul Millsap. the Nuggets didn’t add much at the defensive end, which was their Achilles’ heel the last couple of seasons and the main reason they didn’t make the playoffs in 2017-18. Denver opted to strengthen a strength by bringing in Thomas, who’ll be in prove-it mode next season on a short deal with a coach that he knows from their Sacramento days in Mike Malone. Look for Malone to unleash Thomas on second units throughout the West. Porter Jr. was worth a flier at 14; he was the consensus likely first pick in the Draft a year ago, before his back injury took him out of all but a couple of games in his one season at Missouri. Denver can give him the entire year to rehab from two surgeries, the latest last week, and reset his clock for 2019-20. 4. GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS 2017-18 RECORD: 58-24; won NBA Finals ADDED: C DeMarcus Cousins (one year, $5.3 million); F Jacob Evans (No. 28 pick, 2018 Draft); F Jonas Jerebko (one year, $2.1 million); G Damion Lee LOST: C JaVale McGee (signed with Lakers); C Zaza Pachulia (signed with Pistons); Head of Physical Performance and Sports Medicine Chelsea Lane (went to Hawks) RETAINED: F Kevin Durant (two years, $61.5 million); F Kevon Looney THE KEY MAN: Brett Yamaguchi, Director of Game Operations/Entertainment, Oracle Arena. One doesn’t envy Yamaguchi, whose tasks will be twofold next season: create lifetime memories for the loudest and most loyal fanbase in the league, as the Warriors play their final season at Oracle Arena (aka Roaracle) -- they’re moving into the Chase Center, their tony new digs across the Bay in downtown San Francisco, come 2019-20. And, provide atmosphere and sizzle that will help coach Steve Kerr keep his veteran core from being bored out of its collective mind during the regular season while it waits for the playoffs and a chance at a three-peat. THE SKINNY: So, sure, the best team in the league adds one of the top two or three big men in the game in Cousins. But that’s the ancillary benefit of having such a dominant organization; everyone wants to figure out a way to get to the Bay. Cousins took less money to do so; now he can take his time rehabbing his torn Achilles tendon. If that means he’s not all the way back until All-Star, who cares? The Warriors will roll Kevon Looney, Jordan Bell and Jonas Jerebko out at the five in non-Death lineups until Cousins is ready. Meanwhile, Kerr has to keep his vets, but especially Andre Iguodala and Shawn Livingston, off their feet as much as possible during the regular season so they’ll be good to go from April through June. Losing Iguodala for the bulk of the 2018 Western finals was almost the Warriors’ downfall. 5. MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES 2017-18 RECORD: 22-60; missed playoffs ADDED: F Kyle Anderson (four years, $37 million); G Jevon Carter (No. 32 pick, 2018 Draft); F Omri Casspi (one year, $2.3 million); F Jaren Jackson Jr. (No. 4 pick, 2018 Draft); C Dakari Johnson (acquired from Magic); G Garrett Temple (acquired from Kings) LOST: C/F Deyonta Davis (traded to Kings); G Tyreke Evans (signed with Pacers); F Jarell Martin (traded to Magic); G Ben McLemore (traded to Kings) RETAINED: Coach J.B. Bickerstaff THE KEY MAN: G Mike Conley. It’s no secret how vital Conley is to the franchise, so a return to form is vital for the veteran point, who’ll be 31 on opening night and who missed 70 games last season with a heel injury. Next season will be the third of Conley’s five-year, $150 million deal signed in 2016; remember when so many people thought the world would end when a small market like Memphis invested so much in him? Well, Conley has already dropped to fifth in the league in salary among point guards, behind Stephen Curry Curry, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook and Kyle Lowry. He’ll fall even further down the list next season, when John Wall’s massive extension kicks in, and Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker each get new contracts that could leap his. THE SKINNY: Memphis couldn’t have had a worse 2017-18 if it tried, and the Grizzlies compounded their on-court implosion by not trading Evans when everyone in the league -- seemingly, except for them -- knew he was going to walk in the summer if they didn’t. But, the Grizzlies’ front office recovered in a big way, selling the 18-year-old Jackson that he would fit right in despite not working out for the Grizz before the Draft, then doubling up on “Grit And Grind 2.0” by taking Carter, college basketball’s fiercest on-ball defender, in the second. Ownership was willing to let the front office use the full mid-level exception on Anderson, who isn’t the sexiest pickup to many fans but whose defensive numbers in San Antonio were outstanding. Temple is the ultimate good vet and locker room guy who will get a chance to play for Bickerstaff after the Kings opted to go with their young guys and he was likely out of the rotation. GM Chris Wallace was adamant that the Grizzlies could rebuild again around the aging Conley and Marc Gasol and that they wouldn’t trade Gasol after the latter’s difficult relationship with former coach David Fizdale. They did, and they didn’t. 6. PHOENIX SUNS 2017-18 RECORD: 21-61; missed playoffs ADDED: Coach Igor Kokoskov; F Trevor Ariza (one year, $15 million); F Darrell Arthur (acquired from Nets); C Deandre Ayton (No. 1 pick, 2018 Draft); F Mikal Bridges (No. 10 pick, 2018 Draft); F Richaun Holmes (acquired from 76ers); G George King (No. 59 pick, 2018 Draft); G Elie Okobo (No. 31 pick, 2018 Draft) LOST: Former interim coach Jay Triano; F Jared Dudley (traded to Nets); C Alex Len (signed with Hawks); G Elfrid Payton (signed with Pelicans); G Tyler Ulis (waived); F/C Alan Williams (waived) RETAINED: G Devin Booker (contract extension) THE KEY MAN: Ayton. Let’s not bury the lead here: he was the first pick overall for a reason, because he has franchise-turning capability. The Suns don’t need singles or the occasional double any more; they need someone to put them back on the map with big, sweaty, nasty four-baggers, night after night. (cc: mixed metaphor police.) It’s been a minute since Amar’e Stoudemire was at his destructive best, and the list of impactful bigs in franchise history is thin: Connie Hawkins, Alvan Adams, Tom Chambers, Charles Barkley, Stoudemire. Ayton has a chance to be as good as any of them, and better, and he’s a potential stash of Kryptonite down the pike to the Warriors dynasty. THE SKINNY: There’s the makings of a Jazz-like reimaging of the franchise in short order. Kokoskov not only comes from Utah’s staff, but has significant coaching chops outside of Salt Lake City. He’s been coaching since he was 24, and that was 22 years ago. He’s coached both around the world and around the NBA as an assistant and development maven, and he’ll be great at bolstering the confidence of the Suns’ young guys -- including Bridges, a mature and solid rook with collegiate titles from Villianova who’ll be able to grow quietly outside the huge media shadow cast on Ayton. Kokoskov will also make things a lot easier for Devin Booker offensively. But GM Ryan McDonough was also smart enough to surround the kids with some solid vets, starting with Ariza, who will help the Suns again become acquainted with a long-honored NBA concept called “defense.” 7. DALLAS MAVERICKS 2017-18 RECORD: 24-58; missed playoffs ADDED: F Kostas Antetokounmpo (No. 60 pick, 2018 Draft); G Jalen Brunson (No. 33 pick, 2018 Draft); G Luka Doncic (No. 3 pick, 2018 Draft); C DeAndre Jordan (one year, $22 million); C Chinanu Onuaku (acquired from Rockets); F Ray Spalding (No. 56 pick, 2018 Draft); F Ding Yanyuhang; LOST: G Kyle Collinsworth (waived); G Seth Curry (signed with Blazers); G Yogi Ferrell (signed with Kings); F Doug McDermott (signed with Pacers); F Jonathan Motley (traded to Clippers); C Nerlens Noel (signed with Thunder) RETAINED: G/F Wesley Matthews (picked up player option); F Dirk Nowitzki (one year, $5 million) THE KEY MAN: CEO Cynthia Marshall. The former AT&T executive was put in charge after Sports Illustrated’s explosive story last February detailing a toxic workplace for female employees on the team’s business side, with sexual harassment rampant and no relief forthcoming from the supervisors who should have provided it. Marshall has been fast at work changing the business side culture, as separate investigations of who was responsible for allowing the previous environment to fester wind down. After their results are made public, it will be Marshall who will have to both enact their recommendations and sell the public that owner Mark Cuban’s organization has been fumigated for good. THE SKINNY: Dallas is banking that the 19-year-old Doncic is not only the real deal, but that he can come out of the gate in the NBA after starring in Europe and immediately give the Mavs a boost. There’s a large body of work suggesting Doncic will do just that, and accelerate the Mavs’ rebuild. Second-year guard Dennis Smith Jr.’s improvements should also speed up, and Jordan’s presence should start to close the sieve that has plagued Dallas’s defense the last couple of years. Losing both Curry and Ferrell will hurt the Mavs’ guard depth, though, and Brunson won’t be able to work in slowly. 8. INDIANA PACERS 2017-18 RECORD: 48-34; lost in first round ADDED: G/F Tyreke Evans (one year, $12 million); G Aaron Holiday (No. 23 pick, 2018 Draft); F Alize Johnson (No. 50 pick, 2018 Draft); F Doug McDermott; C/F Kyle O'Quinn LOST: C Al Jefferson (waived); G/F Glenn Robinson III (signed with Pistons); G Lance Stephenson (signed with Lakers) RETAINED: G Cory Joseph (picked up player option); F Thaddeus Young (picked up player option) THE KEY MAN: Kevin Pritchard, president of basketball operations. He’s been instrumental in putting this team together -- first as Larry Bird’s assistant, but on his own the last year-plus since Bird left. Now Pritchard will have to deal with not just the expectations last season’s surprising turnaround season will create with fans, but with the incessant calls and texts one receives when one has a team in which six players among the team’s core are on one-year deals and free agents next summer. It is extremely difficult for a team so constituted to stay unified and keep pulling on the rope together. Human nature is human nature, and players (and their families, and their agents) need reassurances they’re part of the organization’s future, just like any drone from Sector 7G would. It’s hard to think about sacrificing minutes and shots when almost players are judged by are their numbers. Nate McMillan, meanwhile, is only concerned, as any coach is, with the game in front of him, tonight. Pritchard’s phone will rarely have an hour off next season. THE SKINNY: What does a team that surprised so many last season need? More depth, because there aren’t going to be a lot of nights off going forward. The Pacers filled in nicely with a bunch of under-the-radar players, getting Evans after a bounce-back season in Memphis and O’Quinn after good years in New York. McBuckets is running out of stops to show he can be a key contributor in the NBA, but everything is tailor made for him to succeed here: he’ll have all the space in the world playing alongside Victor Oladipo, Bogdanovic and/or Myles Turner, depending on the lineup. Holiday was very good value at 23 in the first round. And Oladipo is on his grind. The Pacers are as big a threat as anyone to Boston’s assumed ascension in the post-LeBron East. 9. NEW YORK KNICKS 2017-18 RECORD: 29-53; missed playoffs ADDED: Coach David Fizdale; G Mario Hezonja (one year, $6.5 million); G Kevin Knox (No. 9 pick, 2018 Draft); C Mitchell Robinson (No. 36 pick, 2018 Draft); F Noah Vonleh (one year) LOST: Former coach Jeff Hornacek; F Michael Beasley (signed with Lakers); C/F Kyle O'Quinn (signed with Pacers); F Troy Williams (waived) RETAINED: G Ron Baker (picked up player option); F/C Luke Kornet; C Enes Kanter (picked up player option); THE KEY MAN: F Kristaps Porzingis. It’s unlikely Porzingis will play much, if at all, next season, as he rehabs his torn ACL suffered in February. New York will be extremely cautious with a timeline, and in Porzingis’ absence, if more losing brings more figurative ping pong balls the Knicks’ way … well, they won’t complain about that, either. None if it matters if “The Unicorn” doesn’t regain his form, though. So much of the Knicks’ 2018-19 improvement, or regression, will take place off camera. THE SKINNY: Fizdale won’t have a mandate to try and win with a veteran team in his first season in New York, as was the case in his year-plus in Memphis. So he can implement his position-less/fitness regimen with the young Knicks without looking over his shoulder. New York’s planning for 2019, when it hopes to strike in a big way in free agency, but that doesn’t mean next season won’t be important. Knox will have a lot of light on him, especially after playing well during NBA Summer League, but the Knicks truly believe Robinson will make some contributions this season with his significant physical gifts. Both must continue changing the narrative in Gotham that the team’s new braintrust is rebuilding the brand the right way -- slowly, and correctly. Hezonja was a good low-cost flier for New York who’ll give Fizdale some small ball options. Hezonja came on strong the second half of last season for the Magic, who hadn’t picked up his third-year option and were hamstrung in what they could offer him as a result. 10. SAN ANTONIO SPURS 2017-18 RECORD: 47-35; lost in first round ADDED: G Marco Belinelli (two years, $12 million); F Dante Cunningham (one year, $2.5 million); G DeMar DeRozan (acquired from Raptors); C Jakob Poeltl (acquired from Raptors); G Lonnie Walker IV (No. 18 pick, 2018 Draft); F Chimezie Metu (No. 49 pick, 2018 Draft) LOST: F Kyle Anderson (signed with Grizzlies); G Danny Green (traded to Raptors); F Kawhi Leonard (traded to Raptors); F Joffrey Lauvergne (signed with Fenerbahce); G Tony Parker (signed with Hornets); G Brandon Paul (waived) RETAINED: C/F Davis Bertans (two years, $14.5 million); G Bryn Forbes (two years, $6 million); F Rudy Gay (one year, $10 million) THE KEY MAN: Coach Gregg Popovich. There is no way to tell, nor is it really anyone’s business, how Pop will cope with the loss of his wife Erin, who died in April during the Spurs’ first-round series with Golden State. But the NBA grind is an unforgiving one, and Popovich is adding Olympic team coach duties to an already taxing schedule. He knows best how he’s doing and you can only hope he listens to himself when or if he needs time away. THE SKINNY: Backed up against it with Leonard’s still-murky insistence for a divorce, the Spurs did as well as could be expected in getting a four-time All-Star who’ll play with a huge chip on his shoulder next season. DeRozan will certainly help San Antonio extinguish the offensive droughts that came when teams loaded up on LaMarcus Aldridge defensively. LA was sensational for long stretches last season, making second team All-NBA for the second time in his career. Belinelli, rookie Walker and Poeltl should lengthen San Antonio’s bench significantly and reduce the Spurs’ dependence on nightly brilliance from 40-year-old Manu Ginobili, if he comes back for a 17th season. Longtime NBA reporter, columnist and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer David Aldridge is an analyst for TNT. 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 NewsAug 8th, 2018

Cignal claims third place

Dethroned Cignal saved some sense of pride after copping a podium finish with a 25-15, 22-25, 25-20, 25-18, victory over Smart-Army in the 2018 Philippine Superliga Invitational Conference battle for third at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan Thursday. Skipper Rachel Anne Daquis turned back the hands of time as she displayed her vintage form with an all-around performance for the HD Spikers. The Far Eastern University product finished with 18 points anchored on 14 kills with two aces and two kill blocks. Daquis also played well on defense with 22 digs to give Cignal a bronze medal finish. Despite losing the crown in the semifinals at the hands of F2 Logistics, head coach Edgar Barroga praised his wards for good run in the tournament.   Cignal fielded a relatively new lineup after loss of stars Jovelyn Gonzaga, Honey Royse Tubino, Paneng Mercado, Chie Saet and Maica Morada. “Actually masaya kami kasi actually ito lang ‘yung talagang ine-expect namin, makapasok lang kami sa top four since ‘yung lineup namin is sabihin na nating hilaw pa,” said Barroga. “So sa ganda ng ensayo namin kaya naging confident kami and inasam namin na ma-finals.” “’Yun lang makikita mo talaga na imature pa ‘yung mga players pagdating sa ganyang bagay, bumibigay,” he added. “So we are really happy na naka-medal kami.” Mylene Paat, who was elevated into the main roster of the national team, finished with 15 while Cherry Vivas got 13 for the HD Spikers. Joanne Bunag scored 10 points while Dimdim Pacres and Nene Bautista combined for 15 markers for the Giga Hitters.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles     .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 26th, 2018

PFF President Nonong Araneta reveals exciting times ahead for Philippine football

Mariano “Nonong” Araneta is pumped up for Philippine football, and it's easy to see why. The Philippine Football Federation president has divulged exciting details of the federation's plans to develop the national training center in the San Lazaro Leisure Park in Carmona, Cavite. Plus the Azkals are also getting ready for a busy few months ahead. Araneta is keen on ramping up the federation's partnership with the Manila Jockey Club in SLLP, where the FIFA Artificial Turf Pitch is situated. Already a training ground for youth national teams and club sides, Araneta says that lighting towers will soon be installed that will permit nighttime play. “We are just waiting for AFC because the lights will be bidded out,” Explains Araneta. “Hopefully they will be installed by the end of the year.” The lights will feature an intensity of 900 lux, more than the accepted 800 lux minimum for televised matches. The lights will complement the hundreds of new seats that have already been put in place around the pitch. But that is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what the PFF has planned for Carmona. “We have spoken to Manila Jockey Club about transferring our headquarters there,” says Araneta. “We are ready to start the bidding and construction.” The PFF is planning to purchase a 3000 sqm parcel of land within the San Lazaro Leisure Park and build a complex with dormitories, classrooms for coaching and referee courses, and a gym. “The funds are ready, initially we will be getting US$1.5 Million from FIFA,” says Araneta, who says the federation will be selling their current building in Pasig to help fund the move. But Araneta says that another option is available, to buy a different 2000 sqm plot of land beside the artificial pitch that is separate from the 3000 sqm parcel. There a grandstand could be constructed, transforming the pitch into a stadium. The headquarters could then be situated under the seating while the other site houses the dorms, classrooms, and gym. More fields are also in the pipeline in the training center. Araneta says that two artificial turf mini-pitches measuring 40 by 20 meters will be made right beside the main pitch. These will also be lighted and can accommodate recreational play and festival competitions. Incredibly, there will be yet another pitch in the training center, a natural grass regulation field within the Manila Jockey Club's racetrack. “That is for our national teams so that if they are set to play on grass, they can train there,” explains Araneta. The middle of the racetrack already has a grass area where football is played. Manila Jockey Club and PFF have yet to decide if the new grass pitch will be a brand new one or if the current surface will be improved. “We want our activities to be there,” declares Araneta. “We have already had coaching seminars there. Schools can also use our facilities. The pitch is there to be used not to be seen,” he adds with a chuckle. Araneta is a former national team player himself and is also optimistic about the near future with the Azkals. The squad is facing two big tournaments in the coming months: the AFF Suzuki Cup in November and December and their maiden appearance in the AFC Asian Cup in January 2019. Araneta says the Azkals will travel to Bahrain during the September FIFA window to play a Bahraini club side, likely on Sept 7, before tangling with the Bahrain national team on September 11. There will also be a FIFA window in October, and Araneta says the Filipinos can enjoy at least one friendly at home. Araneta hopes that Rizal Memorial will still be available before it gets spruced up in preparation for the country's hosting of the 2019 SEA Games. “Our fans will get to watch our new team,” said the president with evident pride. Crunch time begins in November, with the Azkals in a five-team round-robin group with a new home-and-away format. The Philippines will host Singapore in Bacolod's Panaad Stadium on November 13 before playing either Brunei or Timor Leste away four days later. The two ASEAN minnows will square off in a two-legged qualifying series in September to to determine who makes the group stage. On November 21 the Azkals entertain Thailand in Panaad in what promises to be a mouthwatering contest, before closing their group stage against Indonesia, probably in Jakarta, on November 25. The semis will run from December 1 to 6, with the two-legged finals being held on the 11th and 15th. After a quick Christmas break the team jets off to the Middle East on December 26, where final preparations for the Asian Cup will commence in earnest. There are plans to play in Qatar against either a club team or their national side, and then perhaps a game in Kuwait before the team goes to the United Arab Emirates. The group schedule is as follows: January 7 against Korea Republic in Dubai, January 11 versus China in Abu Dhabi, then January 16 against Kyrgyzstan in Dubai. The top two will advance to the knockout round, but the Philippines can also sneak through as one of the better third-placers. But the senior national team isn't the only competition Pinoy football fans can focus on this year. The boys U15 national team were in action while the U16 girls play in an AFC competition. The U19 men also played in the AFF U19 Championship, where they beat Singapore 2-1. The senior ladies team also notched a win against the Lion City in their AFF tournament. Araneta says the very successful PFF Women's League from last year will be run again, and that the PFF also plans a youth league. Both will be partly funded by FIFA. Of course the Philippines Football League will continue, with a League and Cup phase. The realization of these plans will be one of the achievements of Araneta's presidency. Another will be his membership in the 33-person FIFA Council, which acts as a board of directors of the organization. Araneta was recently in Russia to watch the 2018 FIFA World Cup along with other council members. Araneta is one of six Asians in the FIFA Council, alongside members from China, Malaysia, Korea Republic, Bahrain, and Bangladesh. He is the first Filipino to serve in this level of leadership in FIFA. The Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo native freely explains the benefit the country can enjoy from this connection. According to Araneta “we have firsthand information on funding, and the Philippines is part of the body that will decide on what's best for football.” He says that in the next cycle of FIFA funding he might be able to acquire an additional US$ 2 million for the development of the training center. The PFF President also enjoys the inside track when it comes to acquiring development funds from the Asian Football Confederation, since he also serves as the Chairman of the AFC Finance Committee. “All budgets pass through us. We know the funding, the revenues. We know when to ask for projects. Like the lights in Carmona, that was approved by the AFC development committee,” continues Araneta. But being part of the FIFA Council is not all glitz and glamor, confesses Araneta. He mentioned a recent Council meeting in Bogota, Colombia, that necessitated an arduous 33-hour trip through Europe for a stay that lasted just two days. Sometimes deliberations in FIFA meetings can stretch for as long as six hours. Immediately after the Bogota confab he jetted off to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for another meeting. “It's no joke,” says Araneta, who is 64 years old. But the former striker and defender has no complaints and reveals his motivation to keep on going at the job. “I went to the Youth Football League. I visited the Allianz National Youth Futsal Invitational. You see the kids playing there, you see kids play everywhere. The enthusiasm of the players is what keeps me going.” - RELEASE.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 18th, 2018

Even with busy schedule, National Team member Dawn Macandili gets to bond with family

De La Salle University Lady Spiker and Philippine Women’s Volleyball National Team member Dawn Macandili is one busy body. She once said hard work beats talent and put in the time to be where is she now. She recently the UAAP Finals MVP and was the first Filipino libero—a player highly specialized in defensive skills—to win the Most Valuable Player Award when she won it at the 2016 Philippine Super Liga All-Filipino Conference. The diminutive but extremely skilled young lady has a daily routine that isn’t for the weak.  “A normal day would involve sprints, a warm-up with balls, six-on-six, then a focus on individual skills, one-man, sometimes, weights training, plyometrics. That’s an everyday cycle,” she says. Entire mornings take up this cycle. In the afternoon, she hops to the university to attend classes.  Dawn has persisted throughout the rigors of training for the sport. She now also lives away from her family as she has to be closer to school and training venues. It has become rare for her to come home. But she has found the time and opportunity to bond with her family. A typical bonding moment with her equally busy dad, a businessman, Donato, comprises of sharing a meal and watching television. “In college, I would hardly come home because of the time training takes up. So each time I see him, we eat,” she said.  And thankfully, technology has also caught up on her parents and has allowed them to have bonding moments the modern way. “Recently my parents discovered social media, so they also post and communicate with me through messaging” she said. Dawn says she finds that her relationship with her dad has also evolved. “He’s now more malambing,” Dawn says, “…compared to before when he was super strict and did not allow us to go out,” she added. And with technology now more accessible than ever, no schedule is too tight for any family to bonding or share moments with family. More families can also experience the same enriching moments made possible by connecting through One SKY’s fiber-powered broadband.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 9th, 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