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Marcelino stars as Lyceum advances to PCCL Finals

Jaycee Marcelino showed the way as Lyceum booked a spot in the Philippine Collegiate Champions League Finals with an 82-69 victory over San Sebastian in the crossover semifinals Monday at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan. The reigning NCAA Rookie of the Year finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds to carry the Pirates to another win. Cameroonian slotman Mike Nzeusseu contributed 13 markers and 15 boards, while MJ Ayaay got 12 points for Lyceum, which managed to advance despite playing its sixth game in seven days, including its stint in the PBA D-League under the banner of Zark's Burger. "For us, it's about 'yung perseverance and grit," said Lyceum head coach Topex Robinso...Keep on reading: Marcelino stars as Lyceum advances to PCCL Finals.....»»

Category: newsSource: inquirer inquirerFeb 12th, 2018

Lyceum gets revenge, beats San Beda to take PCCL title

Lyceum avenged its heartbreak in the NCAA Finals and got back at San Beda, 70-66, to take the national title of the Philippine Collegiate Champions League Thursday at Filoil Flying V Centre. The Pirates limited the NCAA champions to just nine points in the fourth quarter while scoring 16 of their own en route to the crown. After San Beda took a 58-57 lead early in the fourth on Javee Mocon's free throw, Lyceum raced to a 9-0 run capped off by two charities from Jaycee Marcelino to take a 66-58 buffer with 4:21 left. The Red Lions managed to cut the deficit to four, 68-62, after Clint Doliguez converted on a three-point play, but Marcelino answered with an elbow jumper and ex...Keep on reading: Lyceum gets revenge, beats San Beda to take PCCL title.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsFeb 15th, 2018

Pirates re-assert mastery over Stags to make PCCL Finals

In the first 20 minutes of the semifinals of the 2018 Philippine Collegiate Champions League (PCCL), Lyceum of the Philippines University scored 35 points. In the next 12 minutes, they scored 33. Jaycee Marcelino starred with 27 points, 10 rebounds, and one steal, and the Pirates imposed their will on San Sebastian College-Recoletos in the second half to come away with an 82-69 decision on Monday at the Filoil Flying V Centre. The Golden Stags were keeping close and only down by five at the half until Marcelino and LPU’s usual suspects went on a 33-17 onslaught to mount a 68-47 edge early in the final frame. Their lead would only rise to as high as 22 from then on. Alongside Marcelino, usual suspects Mike Nzeusseu contributed a 13-point, 13-rebound double-double while MJ Ayaay and CJ Perez chipped in 12 and 11 markers, respectively. With that, the Pirates remain undefeated in four games as they head into a Finals showdown with either NCAA rival san Beda College and UAAP champion Ateneo de Manila University. Ryan Costelo paced Baste with 15 points. BOX SCORES LPU 82 – Marcelino JC 24, Nzeusseu 13, Ayaay 12, Perez 11, Ibanez 10, Tansingco 7, Caduyac 2, Marcelino JV 2, Liwag 1, Cinco 0, Santos 0, Serrano 0 SAN SEBASTIAN 69 – Costelo 15, Capobres 12, Bulanadi 9, David 8, Navarro 6, Ilagan 5, Calisaan 5, Cosari 4, Baytan 3, Baetiong 2, Valdez 0, Mercado 0, Calma 0, Dela Cruz 0 QUARTER SCORES: 19-20, 35-30, 61-47, 82-69 --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 12th, 2018

LPU barges into Finals for first time after besting San Beda in 2OT classic

Lyceum of the Philippines University is not yet done making history in the NCAA 93 Men’s Basketball Tournament. And not even defending champion San Beda College can do anything about it – not right now, at least. CJ Perez’s star shone anew, but Mike Nzeusseu proved to be the difference as the Pirates edged out the Red Lions in a double overtime classic, 107-105, on Thursday at the Filoil Flying V Centre. Perez tallied 20 points, six rebounds, six assists, and four steals while Nzeusseu posted a humongous double-double effort of 27 points and 21 rebounds to go along with two blocks. “Credit goes to the players. They just didn’t wanna give up,” head coach Topex Robinson said post-game. It was also those two who made good on four of six free throws that turned a two-point deficit with under two minutes remaining to a two-point win. Arnaud Noah and Robert Bolick went back-to-back to grant San Beda a 105-103 lead with 1:29 remaining before Perez’s split from the stripe and Nzeusseu’s 2-of-2 trip at the line gave back the lead to the Intramuros-based squad. “San Beda is a strong team. It’s just a testament of working together as a solid group,” their mentor said. Down by one with 12.7 seconds left, the Red Lions gave the ball to Bolick to make something happen, but his try over the outstretched arms of MJ Ayaay and Nzeusseu only hit the front of the ring. Seconds later, another split from the stripe by Perez sealed the deal in LPU’s gritty win. With the gritty win, LPU completes an elimination round sweep last accomplished by San Beda in 2010. With the gritty win, LPU resets the best start to the season in the history of the oldest collegiate league in the country at 18-0. With the gritty win, LPU automatically advances into the championship round – their first trip there since joining the NCAA in 2011. “It’s still a long way to go. There’s still so much that we have to work on,” Robinson said. Birthday boys Jaycee and Jayvee Marcelino also added a combined 13 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, and four steals. The Pirates were already well on their way to a win with Perez granting them a one-point lead with 1.5 ticks to go in the first overtime. The Red Lions were given a break, however, as a controversial call was assessed on Jaycee Marcelino, sending Bolick to the line. The King Lion missed the first before making the second, sending the game to another extra period. There, Bolick still tried his best to take down the league-leaders, but was thwarted by Perez and Nzeusseu. He wound up with 16 points, five rebounds, and three steals. Donald Tankoua was a force with 34 points, 13 rebounds, and two blocks while Javee Mocon chipped in a 14-point, 14-rebound double-double. All of it still weren’t enough to deny LPU’s shot at history. And now, San Beda will have a longer, tougher road to the Finals. With the rule change, they will no longer have any twice-to-beat advantage in the stepladder playoffs despite ending the elimination round at 16-2. BOX SCORES LPU 107 – Nzeusseu 27, Perez 20, Marcelino JC 9, Caduyac 9, Pretta 8, Santos 8, Ayaay 7, Baltazar 6, Serrano 6, Marcelino JV 4, Ibanez 1 SAN BEDA 105 – Tankoua 34, Bolick 16, Mocon 14, Doliguez 13, Abuda 8, Presbitero 6, Soberano 5, Noah 4, Oftana 3, Cabanag 2, Potts 0, Bahio 0, Adamos 0 QUARTER SCORES: 25-22, 56-46, 70-69, 85-85, 97-97 (1OT), 107-105 (2OT) --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 19th, 2017

Pinay golfer stars as Arizona advances to US NCAA national championship match

University of Arizona rolled past fifth-seeded Stanford University to continue its run at the 2018 US NCAA women's Division 1 Golf Championship at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Oklahoma.  There you have it! @ArizonaWGolf will square off against @AlabamaWGolf for the National Championship tomorrow 🏆 pic.twitter.com/2tX5M7fCkw — Golf Channel (@GolfChannel) May 22, 2018 The eighth-seeded Wildcats waxed hot from the get-go of the semifinals behind victories from Haley Moore, Gigi Stoll, and Sandra Nordaas, giving them a shot at their third national championship against Alabama. Arizona is headed to the national championship match!!! Haley Moore wins 3 & 2 to give the Cats the victory against Stanford!!#BearDown pic.twitter.com/ozuJVjHypb — Arizona Women's Golf (@ArizonaWGolf) May 22, 2018 Pinay golfer Bianca Pagdanganan rejuvenated Arizona's match-play hopes when she led the Wildcats in their upset win over the top-seeded UCLA via a thrilling comeback, after their playoff victory over Baylor. OFF TO THE SEMI FINALS!@ArizonaWGolf defeats No. 1 seed UCLA 3-2 in the #NCAAGolf Championships #BearDown pic.twitter.com/4WAjfbgXTN — Arizona Athletics (@AZATHLETICS) May 22, 2018 Of course she does!! Bianca Pagdanganan birdies the 18th hole and the Cats beat UCLA!!#BearDown — Arizona Women's Golf (@ArizonaWGolf) May 22, 2018 The Quezon City native towed Arizona to the match-play semis for the first time in school history, where they took down Stanford. Pagdanganan and the Wildcats will take on the Crimson Tide on Thursday (PHL time) to determine the 2018 NCAA champion as they look to add another title after winning it all back in 1996 and 2000. Arizona will take on @AlabamaWGolf tomorrow afternoon for the national championship match. Tee Times begin at 2:25 p.m. CT/12:25 p.m. MST. #BearDown pic.twitter.com/EXPzWhLeD1 — Arizona Women's Golf (@ArizonaWGolf) May 23, 2018.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 23rd, 2018

Zark s-LPU forces winner-take-all for PBA D-League title vs Che Lu-Baste

CJ Perez proved why he is the Conference MVP as he towed Zark’s Burger-Lyceum of the Philippines University to a 98-90 Game 2 conquest of Che’Lu Bar and Grill-San Sebastian College-Recoletos in the 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup Finals. The 24-year-old forward scattered 15 points, seven rebounds, and four assists to anchor the Jawbreakers in forcing the winner-take-all Game 3, slated next Tuesday. “Again, we just have to battle our way. Just to have the peace of mind that we know we did our best, we’ll be at peace whatever the outcome is,” said coach Topex Robinson. Jaycee Marcelino also put up 13 markers off the bench while Cameroonian big man Mike Nzeusseu registered a double-double of 11 points, 11 boards, two assists, and two blocks. MJ Ayaay also wound up with 11 points, six rebounds, and five assists. More than the offense, Zark’s-LPU got things done on the defensive side, holding Che’Lu-San Sebastian to just 37-percent shooting from the field compared to its 44-percent clip. It also helped that the Jawbreakers got off to a strong 21-8 start, setting the tone and taking a 20-point lead by halftime, 52-32. The Revellers did make a run behind Allyn Bulanadi and RK Ilagan in the fourth period, closing in to within six, 90-96, with 6.7 seconds left, but Jayvee Marcelino put the nail in the coffin with his pair of foul shots in the final 5.4 to extend the series to a do-or-die Game 3. “For us, it’s about us inspiring others and we’ll not get away from that. We’ll never get out of our mantra of honoring the game, playing it the right way, value integrity, and do the right things,” he said. Game 3 is scheduled at the Ynares Sports Arena. Bulanadi led Che’Lu-San Sebastian with 23 points and 10 rebounds, while Ilagan shot 2-of-7 from threes to pour 13 markers. Samboy de Leon, the team’s Game 1 hero, was limited to just five points on a 2-of-10 shooting. BOX SCORES ZARK’S BURGER-LPU 98 — Perez 15, Jc. Marcelino 13, Ayaay 11, Nzeusseu 11, Baltazar 10, Yong 9, Pretta 8, Ibañez 7, Caduyac 6, Jv. Marcelino 6, Tansingco 2, Serrano 0. CHE’LU BAR AND GRILL-SAN SEBASTIAN 90 — Bulanadi 23, Ilagan 13, Batino 12, David 12, Costelo 11, Calisaan 7, De Leon 5, Ablaza 4, Siruma 3, Capobres 0, Collado 0, Faundo 0, Taganas 0. QUARTER SCORES: 27-16, 54-34, 75-56, 98-90......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 26th, 2018

Pirates, Lions thwart rivals, dispute PCCL crown

Lyceum of the Philippines University broke away from a tight first half duel with a breakaway run in the third period as it trampled San Sebastian, 82-69, yesterday to barge into the finals of the 2018 Philippine Collegiate Champions League at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsFeb 14th, 2018

LPU has just won six games in the last eight days

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 12th, 2018

NCAA Finals rematch set as San Beda faces Lyceum for PCCL title

It will be San Beda and Lyceum for all the marbles once again. Sans Robert Bolick, the Red Lions leaned on Javee Mocon to escape Ateneo, 57-52, and advance to the Philippine Collegiate Champions League Finals Monday at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Mocon led the way with 21 points and four rebounds to make up for the absence of Bolick, who sat out due to minor knee issues. "I really commend my players for stepping up in the absence of Robert," said San Beda coach Boyet Fernandez, who will face the Pirates in the finals. "It's really a big shoes to fill for us with Robert out." Donald Tankoua scored eight of his 15 markers, including the go-ahead three-point play wit...Keep on reading: NCAA Finals rematch set as San Beda faces Lyceum for PCCL title.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsFeb 12th, 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

For both Zark’s and LPU, it’s time to win in PBA D-League

Lyceum of the Philippines University swept the elimination round of the NCAA 93 Men’s Basketball Tournament only to be swept in the Finals. And so, they remain in search for a crown. Enter the 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup and the Pirates search continues. “Yung hindi namin na-complete nung (NCAA) Season 93, hopefully, ito yung continuation,” head coach Topex Robinson told reporters. He then continued, “We’re excited for this new partnership. Thank you Zark’s for giving us the opportunity.” The Intramuros-based squad will join forces will fellow upstart Zark’s Burger which enters its sophomore season with a new hope. “Hopefully, with this partnership ay mag-improve kami. We’ve learned a lot sa nangyari sa amin before,” team owner Rolandrei Viktor “Commie” Varona said. In its maiden campaign earlier in the year, Varona’s team, then known as the Jawbreakers, only had one win to show in 10 games. In the end, they found themselves dead last. It was only a matter of time before they found a partner who also wanted nothing more but to get better. “Mas maganda na yung samahan ngayon kasi aligned yung vision namin pareho. Same na same yung vision – it’s time to win,” Varona said. He then continued, “They started (sa) NCAA na nasa ilalim sila then umangat kaya naman I believe na parehas kami ng goal na it’s time to win. Ayaw na namin na hanggang dito na lang.” If the Jawbreakers of old were lacking in talent, only Robbie Celiz stood out in the squad, they will now welcome the roster which took last season’s NCAA by storm. That includes Season MVP CJ Perez, skipper MJ Ayaay, Marcelino twins Jaycee and Jayvee, and Raymar Caduyac, among others. Robinson has no doubt that his crew will only come out with much more fire as they take the floor for the first time since getting blanked by eventual champion San Beda College. “We’ll try to get better dito sa D-League. It’s a good opportunity for us as a team and as a school and also for Zark’s Burgers,” he shared. He then continued, “The more opportunity for us to hone our skills, the better for everybody.” Zark’s-LPU will see action in the 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup tipping off on January 18 of next year. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 7th, 2017

It’s Akhuetie-powered UP vs Lumbao-led LPU in Got Skills Finals

UP is continuing to prove that it is now a force to reckon with after barging into the Finals of the 2017 Milcu Got Skills Elite Basketball Showcase. Riding the broad shoulders of Bright Akhuetie, the Fighting Maroons’ edged out Letran, 70-68, a week ago at the Buddha Care Gym in Quezon City. State U’s prized transferee pounded in 14 points, 15 rebounds, and six blocks and was the steadying force in the endgame for his team. Akhuetie proved to be too much for the also promising Knights who were led by Fran Yu and his 14 points, seven rebounds, four assists, and three steals. With the win, UP advances into the championship round where it takes on Lyceum. The Pirates booked a trip to the Finals following their own convincing 89-78 victory versus De Ocampo Memorial College. As always, Carl Lumbao showed the way with 11 points, six assists, and two steals......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 6th, 2017

BEST OF 5 Part 5: No one-and-done for forward-looking LPU

Read Part 1 of ABS-CBN Sports’ Best of 5 series on the LPU Pirates here. Read Part 2 of ABS-CBN Sports’ Best of 5 series on the LPU Pirates here. Read Part 3 of ABS-CBN Sports’ Best of 5 series on the LPU Pirates here. Read Part 4 of ABS-CBN Sports’ Best of 5 series on the LPU Pirates here. --- Lyceum of the Philippines University is so close to the greatest season in the 93-year history of the NCAA that they can taste it. After going undefeated through 18 games in the elimination round, the Pirates need just two more wins to complete the greatest-ever perfect season. Yes, a 20-0 record will put them in a league of their own. The last team to have accomplished a perfect season was San Beda College in 2010, but only had an 18-0 record as there were just nine teams in the league then. While that would be the fitting end to what has been a magical season, the Intramuros-based squad doesn’t want an ending just yet. IT’S THE CLIMB For them, a championship – or a runner-up finish – is just another step they are taking in their journey. As head coach Topex Robinson put it, “Building a culture is not a one-time thing; it’s gonna take a while. I always remind myself na not just because we’re in the Finals, we forget ano ba yung vision namin.” He then continued, “There has to be a constant reminder to myself that setting a culture is a combination of all the seasons that’s about to come.” Robinson has not gotten tired of reminding his boys that all of this, from the underwhelming first two seasons to this magical season, is just a part of their overarching desire to inspire others. And so, for LPU, the championship round up against the defending champion Red Lions is only yet another chance to showcase skills and have a positive effect on all who are watching them. “I always tell them that this is just the tip of the iceberg. Sabi ko nga, the longer we play this season, the longer we could really spread the word,” the always amiable mentor said. He then continued, “At the same time, I always tell them that now they’re in this position, mas malaki yung responsibility. People know who they are so mas marami dapat silang matutulungan." MAKE A MARK Without a doubt, it’s nothing but amazing to watch, or read about, or hear about the Pirates who just joined the first and oldest collegiate league in the country in 2011 and are now knocking on the door of history. All of that, they have done by standing as David to the Goliaths of the land such as San Beda. “The masses could relate to us because we’re not a well-funded program. We don’t have the money like the other big programs have,” Robinson shared. He then continued, “What we have are people who are committed to winning. What we have are players na napulot ko sa tabi-tabi and are just happy to be given a second life.” CHIP ON THE SHOULDER CJ Perez, the MVP frontrunner, went from Pangasinan to San Sebastian College-Recoletos and then transferred to Ateneo de Manila University only to find his home inside the walls of Intramuros. MJ Ayaay, the glue guy, went from the end of the bench to a key reserve and now, team captain. Mike Nzeusseu, the inside presence, is a forgotten name among all foreign student-athletes. Marcelino twins Jaycee and Jayvee found no place in Adamson University. Reymar Caduyac just may be the steadiest player in the league, but gets no props for it. Robinson himself failed to find success in his first coaching gig with alma mater San Sebastian. The list goes on and on and on for all of LPU. Always remembering how they had to claw for every inch just to get to where they are keeps each and every one of them going. “We always go back to saan ba tayo dati? Sila, tinapon sila ng teams nila and now, they have an opportunity to redeem themselves,” their mentor said. He then continued, “Once you touch that part of their lives, they really become more aligned to where I wanna go. That’s where I keep them grounded.” THE BLUEPRINT All season long, the Pirates have said they want nothing more than to inspire others. Now their story is coming to its climax, they hope they have already done just that. “I hope that we could also inspire programs that are not well-funded to really look deep inside their hearts to find a way. Instead of complaining, you can find a way to win,” Robinson said. And so, win or lose in their first-ever Finals, the crew from Intramuros is already on the right track. “Whatever happens in the Finals, our vision is not gonna stop there. We’re not a goal-oriented team; we’re vision-oriented. Goal is you hit a number, it’s done while vision is, it’s way beyond what’s happening now,” the head coach said. He then continued, “We can be contented now – nobody thought we were gonna be 18-0. But again, that’s not what we want. What we want is to be persons who make an impact, who become an inspiration.” THINK BIGGER And watch out, LPU is not just limiting itself to the NCAA, to the sport of basketball, and even to the Philippines. “You know, being part of something bigger than yourself is really important. We’re here to change the world, how good is that,” Robinson mused. He then continued, “We’re talking about the world – not just the LPU community, not just the NCAA, but whoever we could touch. That’s not a guarantee of winning a championship, but it’s always about giving, sharing, and inspiring.” Indeed, you and LPU made us believe, coach. Now, believe us when we say. Win or lose, these LPU Pirates made an impact. Win or lose, these LPU Pirates are here to stay. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 9th, 2017

BEST OF 5 Part 2: O captain, my captain, Topex Robinson

Read Part 1 of ABS-CBN Sports’ Best of 5 series on the LPU Pirates here. --- Long before Lyceum of the Philippines University was dominating the NCAA, it was already a force to reckon with in other collegiate leagues. The Pirates were the class of both the National Capital Region Athletic Association (NCRAA) and the Inter-Scholastic Athletic Association (ISAA). Also, they had four Sweet 16 finishes to their name in the Philippine Collegiate Champions League (PCCL). Perennial favorites in the collegiate leagues they competed in, they were, without a doubt, a battleship staking claim to a river. Clearly, the Intramuros-based squad needed a whole damn sea to set sail in. MAKE WAY And so, LPU entered the first and oldest collegiate league in the country as a guest team in 2011. However, they soon realized that they may have had good endings in their prior collegiate leagues, but the NCAA is a whole different story. The Pirates fell far from the .500 mark in their first four years in the NCAA and compiled an overall record of 25-47. “Na-experience ko lahat simula guest team pa lang ang Lyceum. Noon, yung pag-compete namin, kapos na kapos pa,” now graduating Wilson Baltazar recalled of that time. He then continued, “Naalala ko nung mga panahong yun, gustong-gusto naming manalo, pero laging kulang effort namin.” Their battleship was now in the sea, but was also now alongside other battleships – other battleships which were bigger, badder, better. Clearly, change had to come. PARTING WAYS Long before he was the leader of a crew that is now in the championship round, Topex Robinson was already leading a generational group in the Finals. In just his first year as head coach of San Sebastian College-Recoletos in 2011, Robinson made it all the way to the Finals, guiding the famed “Pinatubo Trio” of Calvin Abueva, Ronald Pascual, and Ian Sangalang into yet again challenging dynastic San Beda College. Unfortunately, his first championship wasn’t meant to be as he and his alma mater ultimately bowed down to the Red Lions. The former PBA player would not reach the same heights again in Recto. With a 5-13 record in 2014, both Baste and its alumnus had fallen off the map. Clearly, change had to come. SEE YOU AT THE CROSSROADS And so, LPU saw the resignation of 11-year head coach Bonnie Tan while San Sebastian witnessed Robinson’s second departure from the bench. Not long after, LPU and Robinson then found one another. “It was something I didn’t expect to happen so early because, basically, I had just resigned from San Sebastian. I guess I was just blessed to be given an opportunity,” the always amiable mentor now narrates. Just as the Pirates were more than willing to give the young coaching mind a fresh start, the young coaching mind was also more than willing to give the Pirates a fresh start. “It was just an opportunity for me to grow. I always loved coaching and that’s how I always envisioned myself,” he said. He then continued, “So whatever opportunity there is for me to take my calling, I’m always open to that.” THIS IS DIFFERENT Still, Robinson made it clear that it never crossed his mind that he would end up inside the walls of Intramuros – a place he did not really have any ties to. “I never thought of being LPU coach,” he expressed. In fact, he went on to say that in during those first few practices, he had a tough time getting their team name right. As he put it, “Actually, the first year, I still always said, ‘San Sebastian.’ Yung adjustment from San Sebastian then all of a sudden, I was in LPU, it took me a while bago mag-sink in.” Fortunately for the mentor, he had the all-out support of both the school of the students. “What I appreciate about LPU is the support of the students and the management. Yun yung isang bagay na I was really excited about – knowing na I had the full support of the community,” he said. Of course, that all-out support entailed being given the tallest of tasks. “Sa start pa lang, they told me to change the culture. I pretty much explained to them that it’s not an overnight thing, that it’s gonna take a while,” he said. ROUGH START Robinson’s entry didn’t necessarily turn the tides in LPU’s favor. He won four of 18 games in his debut season and then followed that up with a 6-12 record in his sophomore effort. However, he also wasted no time in effecting change in the habits of players. “Yung iniba ni coach Topex, yung disiplina sa team. Ngayon, willing kaming lahat gawin lahat para manalo,” Baltazar shared, noting the difference between the Pirates of old and the Pirates under Robinson. He then continued, “Sa training talaga, dun mo makikita yung pagkakaiba. Ngayon kasi, lahat nag-sacrifice sa training, lahat nagbibigay ng effort mula sa dulo ng bench hanggang first five.” Baltazar went on to say how their new head coach gave his all to make them understand that they are a team and not just a collection of individuals. “Lahat kami, walang entitled, pantay-pantay lang. Kung anong ginagawa ng isa, ginagawa ng lahat,” he said. And while that understanding didn’t translate onto the standings just yet, Robinson already proved that he was up to the tallest of tasks. That did not get lost on the LPU community which entrusted him with its fledgling program. “What I appreciate from them is LPU is really determined to change what was there and make this program one to be respected,” he then continued. Now, the LPU Pirates had their captain. Now, it was just all about assembling the right crew. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 6th, 2017

BEST OF 5 Part 1: The LPU Pirates are knocking on the door of history

The best-ever start to the season in the 93-year history of the NCAA belongs to Lyceum of the Philippines University. Yes, that Pirate crew which has been in the league for only six years. That best-ever start, 18 wins in 18 games, has put LPU straight into the Finals. Meaning, not only have they made their first playoffs, they have also made their first championship round. In doing so, the Pirates were also granted the luxury of a three-week break while watching their challengers in Colegio de San Juan de Letran, San Sebastian College-Recoletos, Jose Rizal University, and San Beda College go at it in successive knockout bouts. And for now, their first-ever Finals is far from the minds of the Intramuros-based squad. LOVE. SERVE. CARE. After setting the league on fire through 18 games, their first agenda was to stay true to the three words on the back of their warmup shirts: “Love, Serve, Care.” “We went to White Cross which is a home for kids who were abandoned,” head coach Topex Robinson shared. “It’s a part of letting them know how blessed they are to be in this situation right now.” Last October 26, LPU visited the orphanage in San Juan to spend time with youngsters whom they want to inspire. While that isn’t necessarily the typical preparation for a big game, it does help with the mental aspect of things – specifically, reminding them that they aren’t bigger than anything. “Amongst us, we know how we handle things. They know that our job isn’t done, that we haven’t accomplished anything yet,” Robinson said. “Rather than boast and be proud, we did a lot of community service so again, it’s going back to service. We could be enjoying everything, but it’s always about helping back and giving back.” HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS And so, two-thirds of the Pirates’ three-week break was devoted to both giving back and looking back. According to their mentor, most of the players went back home to their provinces during the Halloween break. “I gave them three days off to go back to their families. Ang reminder ko dun when they went back is to try to remember where they started and how everything has gone for them,” he shared. He then continued, “It’s always about remembering saan sila nanggaling before.” Robinson went on to say how he reminded CJ Perez of how he went from Pangasinan to San Sebastian College-Recoletos and then transferring to Ateneo de Manila University only to find his home inside the Walls of Intramuros. The same goes for Kim Cinco and Ralph Tansingco who floundered in National University and for Marcelino twins Jaycee and Jayvee who found no place in Adamson University. “It’s always about being grateful for where they are now,” the head coach said. READY. SET. GO. All of this means that mentally, LPU is more than prepared as it sees action in its first-ever Finals – which just so happens to also be its first time playing on the floor of the Araneta Coliseum. Now that has been taken care of, they turn their attention to the game itself. “We were pretty much trying to take it lightly because we had three weeks, but we will be playing Alab (Pilipinas) in a tuneup match,” Robinson said. He then continued, “It’s gonna be our first, pretty much, basketball (since October 19).” That is why, on Sunday, the Pirates took on, and closely competed with, Ray Parks Jr.-led and Jimmy Alapag-coached Alab of the Asean Basketball League. After that, they return to practice to re-ignite the flame that had them setting the league on fire for 18 games. Nobody knows exactly what will happen in Game 1 of the NCAA 93 Finals on Friday at the Araneta Coliseum. One thing is for sure, though: the LPU Pirates will cherish their first-ever Finals, their first time at the Araneta Coliseum, and their first chance to officially put their school at the top tier of teams. After all, just six seasons ago, that was all but a dream for them. LPU and whoever wins between San Beda and San Sebastian will wage war in Game 1 of the NCAA 93 Finals. All of the action will be on S+A, S+A HD, and sports.abs-cbn.com/livestream/ncaa. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 5th, 2017

Coach Topex: ‘We always try to remember kung saan kami nanggaling’

Lyceum of the Philippines University is in the Finals for the very first time since joining the NCAA in 2011. For head coach Topex Robinson, more than the milestone for their program, their first trip to championship round is just a chance to continue their ultimate goal of inspiring others. “They all know that this is an opportunity for them to really showcase their talent,” he told reporters. Throughout the tournament, the Pirates have preached that they are showcasing their skills to have a positive effect on all who are watching them. And from the beginning of Season 93 to Thursday, when the completed a sweep of the elimination round, they have indeed been doing just that. As their mentor put it, “After games, I would receive messages from coaches that (our boys) are a really fun team to watch. I always tell (our boys) that most of the coaches who text me wish that they had (our boys).” And so, whether or not it turns its first trip to the championship round to its first title, LPU has its sights set on continuing to inspire others. “When you get to meet people na sinasabing maganda ang ginagawa niyo, it gives us more meaning to what we’re doing,” Robinson said. Of course, that is far from the end of it as the Intramuros-based squad is also the heavy favorite to win the title – and even complete a season sweep. Still, Robinson said they are will be keeping their feet on the ground. “The way we’ll manage our egos and our prides will be key for us. We have to always be humble, we have to always know that we’re just here because somebody gave us an opportunity,” the always amiable mentor shared. In doing so, they will also just never fail in making the best out of each and every opportunity. “Even me, I’m here because of somebody gave me an opportunity. Kapag pinabayaan namin ‘to, someone else will get the ball so we want to keep protecting that opportunity,” Robinson said. He then continued, “We always try to remember kung saan kami nanggaling. We always try to remember anong nangyari before kami napunta sa Lyceum.” Indeed, Robinson himself is making the best out of his opportunity after his tenure in San Sebastian College-Recoletos unceremoniously ended. Same goes for CJ Perez whose time in San Sebastian and Ateneo de Manila University didn’t work out, for MJ Ayaay who was a benchwarmer in his first two season, for Mike Nzeusseu who was a forgotten force, and the Marcelino twins who were cast away from Adamson University. That mantra also goes not only on the court, but also off of it. “We’re trying to make sure that these guys are healthy. We’re trying to make sure they attend their classes because it’s very important not to fall in love with basketball,” the head coach said. He then continued, “The reality here is that this is bigger than basketball. ‘Pag hindi sila pumasok (sa klase), hindi sila maglalaro. It’s as simple as that.” Most important of all, Robinson believes that this magical season is only a sign of things to come for the Pirates. “Hopefully, we can continue this culture. Hopefully, winning doesn’t stop us from pursuing this culture,” he expressed. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 19th, 2017

Perfect Pirates put on a show against Heavy Bombers

Lyceum of the Philippines University was supposedly heading into its toughest stretch in the NCAA 93 Men’s Basketball Tournament. And yet, even up against already playoff-bound Jose Rizal University on Friday at the Filoil Flying V Centre, the Pirates made it look easy. Everybody from CJ Perez to Spencer Pretta was on-point as the league-leaders stamped their class on the once flying high Heavy Bombers, 100-63. The win was LPU’s 17th in as many games, keeping it at the top spot ahead of a much-awaited matchup with defending champion San Beda College. The Pirates imposed their will from the get-go and outscored their opponents for all of the four quarters. “We came to play. We came to honor the game and we will play how we always play,” a beaming head coach Topex Robinson said. It took until the final frame, however, for the match to turn into a mismatch. “You always want to be at your best. Whether we are up by 20 or down by 20, we will always play the same,” Robinson said. In a two-minute sequence that may just perfectly paint a picture of the Intramuros-based squad’s season, they forced four turnovers in a row that led to a Mike Nzeusseu windmill, a CJ Perez slam, and a Spencer Pretta to Perez alley-oop. By then, the score read 76-55. And with 7:50 still remaining, JRU head coach Vergel Meneses already waved the white flag. Perez was the lone player in double-digits with 24 points on top of eight rebounds, four rebounds, and four steals. Pretta and Ralph Tansingco chipped in nine points apiece while Raymar Caduyac, Jaycee Marcelino, Jeffrey Santos, and Edcor Marata all had eight markers. Now at 17-0, LPU goes for an eliminations sweep against the 16-1 Red Lions next Thursday at the same venue. If the league-leaders win, they automatically advance to the Finals with a twice-to-beat advantage. If the defending champions win, they force a playoff for the top-seed. Win or lose, the game had no implications for the Heavy Bombers who are already locked into the third-seed. Lloyd Castor topped the scoring column for them with 12 points as they ended the eliminations at 11-7. BOX SCORES LPU 100 – Perez 24, Pretta 9, Tansingco 9, Caduyac 8, Marcelino JC 8, Santos 8, Marata 8, Marcelino JV 6, Serrano 6, Ayaay 4, Nzeusseu 4, Ibanez 4, Liwa 2, Baltazar 0, Cinco 0 JRU 63 – Castor 12, Teodoro 11, Dela Virgen 10, Poutouochi 8, Mendoza 8, Sibangan 4, Mariano 4, Grospe 4, Abdul Razak 2, Mate 0, Sawat 0, Pontejos 0, Bordon 0, Lasquety 0, David 0 QUARTER SCORES: 24-18, 42-34, 68-53, 100-63 --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 13th, 2017

Thompson, Warriors force inevitable Game 7

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com OAKLAND, Calif. -- The final game of the Western Conference season will tip on the last Monday in May (Tuesday, PHL time) at the Toyota Center in Houston, as it should. This is the route the GPS mapped out back in October and never had any reason to recalculate from since. Warriors at Rockets in a winner-take-all. Never in doubt, no? A pair of championship-quality teams will go 48 minutes and the previous six games in this series tells us to expect a tense jump ball-to-buzzer affair. With or without Chris Paul. Paul’s inflamed right hamstring is a significant flaw, no question, yet the Rockets do have home-court advantage and will hear a crazed crowd trying to fill the void with noise if as expected Paul misses a second straight game. The Rockets didn’t have their point guard and spiritual leader Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) and still sent an early chill through the defending champions on enemy soil, going up 17 after the first quarter and 10 at halftime. Oracle Arena and the Warriors were confused. Then Game 6 flipped suddenly and drastically in the second half, as the Warriors rolled to a 115-86 victory. and here we are. Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni: “We got what we want, a seventh game on our home court, now it’s up to us to go get it.” Warriors guard Klay Thompson said: “I feel like we’re the best team in the world.” The Rockets constructed this team specifically to challenge and beat the Warriors. Meanwhile, the Warriors paced themselves through the regular season partly to conserve their attention and energy for Houston, which has Golden State’s attention like no team before in the West playoffs. Both are causing each other irritating problems. The Rockets’ defense with its switching and hand-in-the-face pressure is forcing Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry to work hard for their shots. The Warriors’ ability to thrive even if not all four of their All-Stars are clicking is testing Houston’s limits; such was the case in Game 6 when Thompson, the No. 3 Guy, broke loose for 35 points with nine threes. That’s what makes the Warriors tough to erase: They don’t need to be perfect, and good for them, because they haven’t been in this series, with the exception of their 41-point victory in Game 3. About Thompson: He was locked in, emotionally and physically, popping off screens, catching and shooting, creating space to get good looks and punching the air after big three's. The energy and the shots saved the Warriors from a lackluster and potentially deadly start. Thompson stayed in rhythm most of the night while Curry (29 points) and Durant (23) went through off-and-on cold stretches and afterward joked how he was “born” for this. “Man, that felt good, to be honest,” Thompson said. “I just wanted to play with as much passion as I could. I probably sounded more vocal than I am.” There was a natural link to the last time Thompson was this splashy in a Game 6 elimination game, two summers ago when he dropped 41 on Oklahoma City to trigger a comeback from 3-1 down. Durant was on the wrong side of that performance. “Please don’t go there,” begged Durant, bowing his head. “Next question.” Mindful of what happened right after that series -- the Warriors would blow a 3-1 lead of their own to Cleveland -- Curry said: “I think we both blocked that whole year out of our memory.” Actually, that volcanic performance by Thompson helped convince Durant to leave Oklahoma City, which led to last year’s championship and helped build a solid case for the Warriors to repeat next month. Thompson’s latest piece of work helped awaken the Warriors from being trapped in an extended state of stun, courtesy of how fierce the Rockets came at them right from the start. The Houston lead grew to double digits within minutes and stayed that way through the break. This was further evidence that the Rockets, in this game and actually for the series so far, refuse to concede anything and believe this West title is realistic even with Paul’s status uncertain. “I saw a lot of things that I liked,” said D’Antoni, “and I think we’re in a good position.” Eric Gordon, a strong candidate to win the Kia NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award, started in place of Paul and was a concern for the Warriors, drilling deep shots and scoring 19 points. Also, Harden rediscovered his own touch from that distance; he’d missed 22 straight threes in this series but made four and scored 32 points. Houston missed Paul’s composure and steady point guard hand, which could be expected. The Rockets had 22 turnovers, with the Harden-Gordon backcourt combining for 14. The other issue for the Rockets was depth. With Gordon in the starting lineup, D’Antoni was forced to give minutes to Luc Mbah a Moute, still struggling after hurting his shoulder just prior to the playoffs. He wasn’t a factor and neither was the bench. Assuming Paul sits another game, the Rockets will undoubtedly need major scoring and playmaking from Harden, solid shotgun work from Gordon and at least two members of the support group -- Trevor Ariza, P.J. Tucker, Clint Capela -- to break loose in order to make Game 7 interesting. Remember, the Rockets have now gone four straight games without breaking 100 points, and Harden appeared beaten in the fourth quarter Saturday where he went scoreless. The Warriors are also dealing with a missing part, with Andre Iguodala’s inactive streak now at three. They’re crossing fingers whenever Kevon Looney, Jordan Bell and/or Nick Young are pressed to play more than 15 minutes. None of them have distinguished themselves since Iguodala suffered a bone bruise on his left knee in Game 3. So that’s the tale of the tape. Between now and tipoff, the Rockets’ therapy staff will work on Paul’s hamstring, hoping for some intervention from the Medical Gods. In the perfect basketball world, Paul and Iguodala would be fit to play; why should the finish of this series be deprived of them, of less than what it should be? Last fall, before training camp, Paul, Harden and Tucker vacationed in the Bahamas for one last moment of chill before preparations for a season of big expectations. Obviously, they talked shop. They set goals and their sights on the Warriors. Tucker asked Paul and Harden: Imagine if we get them on our court for a Game 7. They all nodded and agreed it would be a logical scenario to launch themselves into the NBA Finals. “Obviously we hope to have our starting point guard back,” Tucker said. “If not, we need to be ready.” The Warriors held no such pre-camp huddle -- champions have what others want -- yet knew that once the Rockets added Paul, Houston would be their toughest test since Durant signed up. Warriors vs. Rockets in a single-game elimination is the proper stage, then, to determine who reps the West in the NBA Finals. D’Antoni said: “It should be a great game.” Curry: “It should be fun. This is what you play for, to be in a situation where you’re one win away from going to The Finals. You’ve got to want it.” Truthfully, neither team would rather be in a winner-take-all. Sweeping would be vastly preferred. But the other part about what Curry said is definitely true: Who wants it? Veteran NBA writer Shaun Powell has worked for newspapers and other publications for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here or follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News16 hr. 39 min. ago

Boston bound: LeBron pushes Cavs to Game 7 vs. Celtics

By Tom Withers, Associated Press CLEVELAND (AP) — LeBron James chose Boston as the place he'll play next. Game 7 is on. And any talk about James' future is on hold. Delivering another performance for the ages, James scored 46 points and preserved his reign atop the Eastern Conference for at least one more game as the Cleveland Cavaliers shook off losing All-Star Kevin Love with a head injury and beat the Celtics 109-99 on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time) to force a decisive climax to this back-and-forth series. James, playing in perhaps his final game for the Cavs in Cleveland, added 11 rebounds and nine assists while playing all but two minutes — to avoid elimination and delay any decisions about where he'll continue his remarkable career next season. "Greatness," Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said. "Championship pedigree. Giving it his all. We needed that, especially when Kevin went down. We had to play 'Bron as many minutes as he had to. He delivered. He was up for the challenge. He carried us home as usual." The king is not dead, and he still has a chance to make his eighth straight NBA Finals. This series, in which home court has meant everything, will have a fitting conclusion Sunday (Monday, PHL time) at TD Garden, where the Celtics are 10-0 this postseason. "It's a Game 7," James said. "It's something that you wish you had when you're done playing, but more than that, it's just basketball for me. I know what I'm capable of doing, and I'm going to trust everything I put into it." George Hill added 20 points, and Jeff Green 14 for the Cavs, who lost Love in the first quarter after he banged heads with Boston rookie Jayson Tatum. Terry Rozier paced the Celtics — now 1-6 on the road — with 28 points, and Jaylen Brown had 27. The Celtics were still within seven in the final three minutes before James made consecutive three-pointers, punctuating the second by pounding his chest with both fists and screaming along with 20,562 others. "The love of the game," James said, explaining his reaction. "It's a feeling you can't explain." Just for good measure, he added a three-point play and then was taken out of the game to a rousing ovation and chants of "Cavs in 7!" Boston's improbable run through the postseason without injured stars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward will now take the Celtics back home, where they play with more intensity, togetherness and before fans hungry to see an 18th title banner raised to their arena's rafters. "It's not going to be pretty," Celtics guard Marcus Smart said. "We've got to come out ready to get our nose bloody and our mouth bloody. We've got to come out ready to fight. You've got to find a way, whatever it takes." Love went out with a head injury in the first quarter, forcing Lue to juggle his rotations and keep James on the floor longer than he wanted to. The three-time champion played the first 35 minutes without a break and then endured the final eight while nursing a right leg. James didn't know until after the game that teammate Larry Nance Jr. had banged into him. "I felt some pain throughout my entire right side of my ankle into my leg," he said. "I was just hoping for the best, obviously, because I've seen so many different injuries, and watching basketball with that type of injury, someone fall into one's leg standing straight up. Luckily, I was able to finish the game." Hill, who came over in a deadline trade, has been awed by what James has done in this postseason. "I've been in the league for some years and ran across him on the other side and really hated his guts," said Hill, who was on Indiana teams eliminated by James. "But to have him on our side, it kind of lets me take a deep breath of fresh air. It's just something that you really can't explain what he's doing night in, night out. It's just something special." "I thought the best was when he always put us out. But to actually see it when he's on your team, I can't even put it into words." The real possibility that James was playing his last game in Cleveland hung over the game — and this city — in the hours leading to tip-off. Everyone had an opinion on what James will do next and that discussion filled the sports talk radio airwaves, bars and barber shops. The 33-year-old has said several times since coming home in 2014 that he wants to retire with the Cavaliers, but fans are uneasy because he can opt out of his $35.6 million contract this summer and test free agency. And, of course, he left in 2010. James has said he'll sit down after the season ends to decide next move, and he's already being courted in Philadelphia, Los Angeles and New York where fans can only dream of him joining their rosters. For now, he's only going to Boston. NO LOVE The game began ominously for the Cavs as Love was forced to leave following his violent collision with Tatum. Love and Tatum were away from the ball and didn't see each other until it was too late. They banged heads and both immediately dropped to the floor with Love raising his left arm as if to signal he needed help. As Love stayed down, the Cavs huddled around him. He was helped off and walked to the bench unsteadily before heading to the locker room for further treatment and evaluation. His status for Game 7 is uncertain. THE OTHER SIDE Tatum stayed in following his nasty collision with Love. The rookie passed the concussion testing that he was given on the bench. "I didn't see him coming, it was bad," Tatum said. "I have a knot on the back of my head and he didn't return. I wish the best for Kevin Love because he's a great player and it's been a long season." PREGAME MEAL Hill said he's played well after eating tacos with barbacoa and guacamole before games. "I'm for sure going to find a Chipotle in Boston, I'll tell you that," he said. TIP-INS Celtics: Own a 37-0 record when leading a series 2-0. ... Dropped to 1-4 in Game 6s over the last four postseasons. ... Coach Brad Stevens praised James for his consistency, and ability to exceed expectations. "Nobody else has what he has on his shoulders playing the game," he said. "I think that the way in which he's done that and all of the years now that he's made The Finals and gone deep into the playoffs, it's unbelievable." Cavaliers: Improved to 6-2 in elimination game since 2015. James has scored at least 40 in five of those wins. ... James' teams are 5-2 in Game 7s. ... This was the seventh 40-point game for James this postseason. Michael Jordan also had seven, one off Jerry West's record set in 1965. ... James passed Karl Malone (2,062) for sixth place on the career postseason rebounds list......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 26th, 2018

Miscues push Warriors to brink of elimination

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com HOUSTON — The hefty equipment bag sitting next to the visitor’s locker room entrance after Game 5 of the Western Conference finals never had a chance. Whack! went Draymond Green’s fist against it as he walked by. Well, at least the Warriors hit something as the night grew late. Once again, the defending champions, the team with four All-Stars, the franchise with a pair of former MVPs still in their prime and two of the most efficient machines of this generation went flatter than Texas when it counted. Missed shots, failed stops and poor decisions all piled on their heads. That fourth quarter was mostly a 12-minute mess. It doomed them at the finish, for the second straight game, and now has them on the brink — really! — in the conference finals. The Warriors awaken today with a pair of potential saving graces: Game 6 is in Oakland and Chris Paul is gimpy, and might be done for good. That could be enough to push this series to seven games. Yet nothing is for certain anymore in the Warriors’ world, if only because of the weird and uncharacteristic — for them — developments in the clutch. Simply put, their lack of composure and smarts is the reason they’re in a bind. Imagine: The Rockets don’t score 100 and James Harden missed all 11 of his three-pointers and the Warriors still lose. It was a strange, empty night for the Warriors where nothing made sense for them. Yes, Paul went nuts in the fourth quarter and Houston’s defensive rotations and traps are catching the Warriors — and especially Kevin Durant — by surprise, and yet the Warriors are also doing a good job of stabbing themselves. Thursday's (Friday, PHL time) 98-94 loss was another blown opportunity, another one that got away, and for the first time since The Finals two summers ago the Warriors are staring at elimination. The face of the Warriors in these back-to-back losses belongs to Durant, and it wears the look of a man confused and dumbfounded. He is 1-for-9 shooting over the last two fourth quarters, reduced to a supporting actor, a backup singer, instead of a beast. He’s not the total reason for this, but a strong symptom nonetheless. Could they fall short of The Finals, a place where they were all but destined to go? It’s a reality, obviously, and their margin for error is toothpick-like. But that’s not what coach Steve Kerr’s gut tells him. “I feel great about where we are right now,” he said. “That may sound crazy, but I feel it. I know exactly what I’m seeing out there … we got everything we needed. Just too many turnovers, too many reaches. If we settle down a little bit we’re going to be in really good shape.” Maybe some of Kerr’s mood has something to do with Paul grabbing a hamstring in the final moments, perhaps stripping the Rockets of their best player in this series. Maybe it’s just hard to fathom the Warriors losing four times in a best-of-seven. All that talent and past success can make a man stubborn, almost refusing to ponder the possibility of defeat. Fine, but Kerr and crew must find a way to clean up the bad choices they’ve made with the game on the line, before it becomes habit-forming. Eighteen turnovers isn’t a recipe for winning. “We can learn from it,” said Durant, “and we’ve got another opportunity at home. We’ll be ready to play.” Trailing by a point with 49 seconds left, here’s what the Warriors coughed up: * Quinn Cook missed a three-pointer. The big surprise is that the ball found Cook and he actually took a shot at that stage of the game. * Curry missed a driving layup, and rather than grab the rebound, Green slapped it out toward the perimeter, hoping a teammate would grab it. Trevor Ariza scooped the lose ball instead. * Then: Down three points and seconds left, the play was designed for Curry to spring loose for a three, but Green fumbled a pass that hit him in both hands. Game over. “We were supposed to score,” said Green. “I lost the ball. Nothing more, nothing less.” Before these self-inflicted misadventures, the Warriors were repeatedly punished by Paul, who recovered from an 0-for-7 first half with 18 points in the second half — complete with a payback shimmy aimed at Curry — before pulling up lame with 22 seconds left. Also, Eric Gordon dropped 24 points and went to the line 10 times, thanks to reach-in fouls by beaten Warriors defenders. “What we can’t live with is reaching and jumping on Eric Gordon’s pump fakes,” said Kerr. “We reached on James and he shot nine free throws. We’ve got to be a little more disciplined.” Overall, the Warriors withstood a manic Toyota Center and were locked in a tight finish against a 65-win team, but never led after the eight-minute mark and weren't nearly sharp enough to capture the lead. They were without Andre Iguodala again, but he’s a defensive specialist and for much of the night defense wasn’t a big issue for the Warriors; the Rockets shot 37 percent and Harden didn’t hurt them. Their problems were mistakes and missed shots. Anyway, Golden State has four All-Stars to Houston’s two, and now with Paul’s status questionable, maybe just one. That means, although the Warriors trail 3-2, they’re in a reasonably good position to keep the series alive. They’re not worried. There’s another emotion running through their bodies. “I think they’re angry,” said Kerr. “As they should be. They’re competitors.” This is new territory in the Durant Era. Remember, the Warriors lost only once last season and until the West Finals didn’t perspire much. As expected, the Rockets are indeed the biggest threat they’ve faced. It’s the series that’s meeting the high expectations for drama and suspense and a chance to see the mighty Warriors ousted. Does Paul’s injury linger and ultimately bail out the Warriors? Can Durant rediscover his touch in the clutch? Will the Warriors wise up or once again wig out? There’s nothing at stake, really, except a dynasty that a loaded team was created to become. Curry plans to remain cool and confident, and the Warriors really don’t have any other choice but to adopt that mentality. “We’ve played the last two games good enough to win but just haven’t gotten the job done," he said. "The way we played tonight, if we can repeat that, take care of turnovers, just stay mentally locked on the details for 48 minutes, we know we can get a win. “Just the talent we have on this team and the resiliency, you know we can get the job done. We know we haven’t been in this position before, so it’s a chapter we need to figure out and finish the story.” Veteran NBA writer Shaun Powell has worked for newspapers and other publications for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here or follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 25th, 2018

Future is now: Tatum, Celtics push Cavaliers to the brink

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com BOSTON - Someone might want to change their All-Rookie team ballot after this one. Jayson Tatum, so young that he actually drinks the Gatorade that’s on the table when he has a podium game rather than leaving it there for cameras and branding, got 99 out of a 100 possible first-place votes from media folks for the newbie honors announced Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time). That left him a vote shy of both Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons and Utah’s Donovan Mitchell, the dueling favorites for the NBA’s Rookie of the Year Award when it’s announced next month. If Tatum merely is the Boston Celtics’ favorite rookie, though, that’s plenty. And wherever Simmons and Mitchell are at the moment, their seasons and postseasons are over. The Boston kid still is playing. Tatum scored 24 points, grabbed seven rebounds, dished four assists, pilfered four steals and blocked two shots to led the Celtics to their 96-83 Game 5 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time) at TD Garden. His plus/minus rating of plus-19 was second only to veteran Al Horford’s (plus-22) and in a pivotal game in which his teammates shot a combined 34 percent, Tatum -- who turned 20 on March 3 -- hit three of his seven three-pointers, all but one of his eight free throws and seven of his 15 field-goal attempts overall. “I think his composure [is impressive], he plays above his age,” LeBron James said earlier in the day. “I think the unfortunate events of the injuries that they’ve had have allowed him to, I believe, get better faster than I believe they expected here. It’s given him an opportunity to make ... make mistakes and learn from them and still be on the floor.” Losing Gordon Hayward to a gruesome leg injury in the season’s opening game and having Kyrie Irving limp into knee surgery and the sunset of this season in March did bump most of Boston’s players, the rookie included, up a couple spots in coach Brad Stevens’ pecking order. The No. 3 pick in last June’s Draft, Tatum was going to get his share of playing time. But he wound up becoming the fifth rookie in NBA history, and the first since Stephen Curry in 2009-10, to score at least 1,000 points and hit at least 40 percent of his three-pointers. Only eight previous rookies in Boston’s storied franchise history totaled 1,000 or more points. Jaylen Brown, Boston’s second-year wing, developed in tandem with Tatum. The pair of lithe, skilled players dripping with potential has most of the league’s personnel execs and coaches drooling. Except, with Game 6 on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time) in Cleveland for the first of two shots at eliminating the Cavaliers, the Celtics are playing as if their future is now. A truism in the NBA is that, by the end of a rookie’s first arduous season, he’s not a rookie anymore. Mix in some force-feeding due to Boston’s two injured stars and now three playoff rounds, and Tatum is racing to the right on his learning curve. “I think that we misuse the word ‘development’ sometimes,” Stevens said. “I think we're in the business of ‘enhancement.’ I think Jayson was ready to deal with everything that comes with this because of who he is and his family and all his coaches before, because he's a very emotionally steady, smart player that was going to perform at a high level above his age. “I don't know that anybody could guess this as a rookie, but you knew he was going to be really good.” Tatum sorta had to be in Game 5. Brown got matched up in a lot of Boston’s defensive coverage of James and picked up his second and third personal fouls in the second quarter. Point guard Terry Rozier looked like his road alter ego, missing 6-of-7 shots in the game’s first 24 minutes. But Tatum -- who averaged 12.7 points against Cleveland in three regular-season meetings but is at 17.2 so far in the East finals -- had 12 points by halftime, helping the Celtics to their 53-42 lead. “I just enjoy playing in the big moments, in the big games,” Tatum said. “I think that’s when I have the most fun, when things are on the line.” It was Tatum racing downcourt to chase down Kevin Love’s errant pass into the backcourt and finish with a layup that had Boston up 74-58. And it was Tatum who drew a foul on Kyle Korver with 3:11 left, prompting Cavs coach Tyronn Lue to pull a weary James. “I thought he was aggressive. I thought he was poised,” Lue said of Tatum. “Even though he was scoring the basketball, he didn’t try to rush or he didn’t press. ... He played like a veteran.” Tatum put in his work defensively Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time), but also got as good as he gave. It’s become a familiar tactic for defenders to get physically aggressive with him, trying to exploit what at this stage still is limited strength by NBA standards. His father Justin, a basketball coach in St. Louis, has said he plays tall and hasn’t yet learned to utilize his base. “JR [Smith], Jeff Green, they're playing really hard on Tatum and making it very tough,” Stevens said. “He's had a lot of experiences over the last couple weeks dealing with playoff defense. I thought Milwaukee guarded him exceptionally hard and were really committed when he drove to the rim to having multiple bodies there. I thought that Philly obviously guarded him very hard. It's hard to make plays at this level in these games, and he's done that pretty consistently.” The numbers back that up. Tatum by halftime had become only the sixth rookie in league history to reach 300 points in the postseason, the first since Jack Sikma in 1978. It was his ninth playoff game of 20 points or more, tying him with Mitchell this season and David Robinson in 1990 for second most by a rookie since 1964; Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had 10 in 1970. Tatum, Brown and a few other young Celtics have given credit for the team’s unexpected success -- considering the injuries, anyway -- to Al Horford, the most obvious grown-up in Boston’s locker room. When Horford was asked late Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time) what it’s like for him being around “these kids,” he sounded a little like James three years ago. That’s when Irving was hobbling, eventually blowing out a knee that spring, and Kevin Love was done for the playoffs due to a shoulder injury suffered in the first round. That’s also when James looked at the raw help he had from guys such as Tristan Thompson and Matthew Dellavedova, and locked in on the possibility of reaching the Finals. “It's a lot of fun, just because these guys, they want to play the right way,” Horford said. “They play hard. I feel like we hold each other accountable out there. I think that's a big thing.  And when those things happen, it becomes fun. It's fun to me. And there's no coincidence why we're in this position right now.” Youth is being served, at least on the Celtics’ floor. Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 24th, 2018