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Mental battle key to Djokovic comeback, says former coach

Former world number one Novak Djokovic's toughest hurdle when he returns to the ATP Tour after a long injury absence will be a mental one, believes former coach Boris Becker. The 30-year-old Serbian's return to competitive action is yet to be confirmed although he published photos of himself on the practice courts earlier this week for the first time since he underwent a minor "medical intervention" following a fourth round exit at the Australian Open. The 12-time Grand Slam winner struggled through his defeat by Chung Hyeon of South Korea, troubled still by a persistent elbow injury, that had seen him off the circuit since Wimbledon last year, and a hip problem. Becker, w...Keep on reading: Mental battle key to Djokovic comeback, says former coach.....»»

Category: newsSource: inquirer inquirerMar 3rd, 2018

PVL: Angels bag back-to-back wins

Rachel Austero came up big at crunch time to help PetroGazz weather the comeback attempt of listless Iriga-Navy, 25-19, 25-20, 23-25, 28-26, Sunday in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Open Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. The Angels improved to 3-2 win-loss record as they picked their second straight win a day after scoring a huge five-set upset over title favorite Creamline in Imus, Cavite. Austero pulled off the exciting win after hitting an offspeed kill to push the Angels at its second match point advantage before landing the game-clinching ace to seal their fifth game in nine days. “Ayun swerte siguro kami na kahit papaano nakakakapit tayo sa games so long rest pero syempre training pa rin, konting pahinga,” Angels coach Jerry Yee, whose squad will get a much-deserved rest before marching back into battle on Saturday against Ateneo-Motolite. Paneng Mercado led PetroGazz with 12 points, all from attacks, while Ranya Musa got 11 off eight hits and three kill blocks in two sets of play. Cai Baloaloa, Chie Saet and Cherry Nunag got nine markers each while Austero scored all of her points in the fourth set off the bench.  PetroGazz squandered a 15-11 lead midway in the fourth set as they allowed the Lady Oragons to counter with five unanswered points. The Angels went down, 22-24, before forcing a duece after Sabete's back-to-back hits. A service error by Sabete gave Iriga-Navy back the set point advantage. PetroGazz answered with two straight points for a 26-25 lead. Florence Madulid tied it again at 26 before Austero's heroics.    The Lady Oragons continued to struggle in the tournament after losing their fourth straight in as many outings. Grazielle Bombita got 21 points, Madulid finished with 17 while Divine Eguia posted 14 markers for Iriga-Navy.   ---   Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 30th, 2018

Coach Brad Stevens excited for fully healthy Celtics

NBA.com staff report Five days from now, the Boston Celtics will hold their first official training camp practice as they (and every other NBA team) begin preparation for the 2018-19 season. After months of waiting and hoping, it appears everyone on the Celtics' roster -- including injured stars Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving -- will be ready to go come Sept. 25. Celtics coach Brad Stevens informed the media of that on Wednesday as he spoke at the BCSF Golf Tournament at Old Sandwich Golf Club in Plymouth, Mass. Stevens has been watching as the team has held an "open gym" at the Celtics' practice facility in Brighton and has been impressed with what he has seen, writes Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe. “As of last I’ve heard, we should have everybody full go,” Stevens said. “Everybody that’s been here has been playing five-on-five and been looking good. “The exciting part is that we should have a full group of guys healthy and ready to go. And the tough part is that we know we’ve got a lot to cover in a short amount of time.” Brad Stevens took a break from today's Shamrock Foundation golf tournament to give us an update on how the team is expected to look next week for training camp. pic.twitter.com/5xuHJvl3iY — Boston Celtics (@celtics) September 19, 2018 Stevens' comments about the health of the roster weren't much of a surprise, especially since Boston has been trending toward having everyone ready for camp all summer. Yesterday, Stevens said Irving and Hayward are looking much like their old selves on the court. “I saw him this morning at the facility and he looks good," Stevens said of Irving. "He’s worked really hard, I think he’s really excited and it’s good to see that. I think both he and Gordon will appreciate all the little things and all the mundane things even more, because Kyrie’s had the end of the season taken away from him twice in the last four years, and the one with us last year was such a shock because of the unfortunate event with the infection.” Irving and Hayward missed 22 and 81 games, respectively, with injuries last season. Irving missed the final 15 games of the 2017-18 season and the entire playoffs to repair his left knee. Hayward suffered a gruesome ankle injury just five minutes into his Celtics debut after defecting from the Utah Jazz via free agency last summer. Stevens told reporters he doesn't plan on playing anyone "a ton" in the preseason opener on Sept. 28 vs. the Charlote Hornets (Sept. 29, PHL time). In addition, he does not expect to rest Irving or Hayward during the season unless team trainers instruct him to do so. “Not my call at all,” Stevens said. “So the medical team comes and says this person can’t play in a back-to-back, then they don’t play in a back-to-back. If they can and it’s good for them, barring anything else unforeseen, then obviously they’ll play. “We haven’t sat in front of it and said that’s the case with certain guys yet and I’m not sure I anticipate that with either of those guys. They’ve made great strides.” Like Irving, Hayward has worked diligently to recover from his injury and Stevens has seen the progress in Hayward's recovery all along the way. The mental challenge in Hayward's comeback -- taking that first hit, playing at NBA speed and more -- is not something Stevens is worried about his star forward overcoming. “He’s been really diligent all the way through his rehab and progressing each step,” Stevens said. “I watched him through the steps of working out to going to one-on-one, to two-on-two, to three-on-three, and he can play some of the open gyms the guys are having. “Like anything, there’s always going to be a period of adjustment, but from my eye, and I think from everybody else that may have watched him work out, he looks like he’s looked before. That’s positive, I’d say.” Backup center Daniel Theis, who missed the Celtics' playoff run with a season-ending knee injury, has also looked solid in the workouts, Stevens said. Boston suffered minimal offseason roster losses among its key rotation players as only center Greg Monroe (who signed with Toronto) and guard Shane Larkin (who will be playing in Turkey) won't be back for 2018-19. Despite the loss of their starting backcourt last season, the Celtics still advanced to the Eastern Conference finals, falling to the Cavaliers in seven games. They are expected by many to be a top contender for the East title in 2018-19......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 20th, 2018

PVL Finals: Bonus lang ‘yung ibinigay namin sa kanila –- Pascua on UP win

Far Eastern University coach George Pascua warns University of the Philippine not to celebrate prematurely. They just gave their rivals a little headstart. The Lady Maroons may have won the first battle but not the war. “Sabi ko nga ‘yung UP ‘di pa time to celebrate kasi long journey pa,” said Pascua. The more seasoned Lady Tamaraws suffered a shocking 25-14, 25-22, 24-26, 18-25, 5-15, Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Collegiate Conference Finals series opening loss to the championship stint newbies Lady Maroons  Sunday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. “Sabi ko sa kanila di natatapos ‘yung labanan ngayon, nag-uumpisa pa lang kumbaga bonus lang ‘yung binigay namin sa kanila,” the mentor said.        Down 0-1 in the best-of-three series, FEU looks to survive on Wednesday and force a series decider. Pascua believes that his team – a runner-up in UAAP Season 80 and in the tournament’ inaugural staging last year – can still save their conference title bid. He points out that experience will play a big role in their comeback attempt. FEU is no stranger to having its back leaning against the wall. The Lady Tams also clawed its way out of a 0-1 hole in the semifinals against University of Sto. Tomas and they want to duplicate that feat.   “Subok ‘yung team ko na kahit nu’ng semis Game 1 nakuha ng UST,” he said. “Heto, hopefully, by (Game) 2 and 3 makuha namin.” Game 2 will air at 6:30 p.m. live on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166 and via livestream and YouTube.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 10th, 2018

PVL Finals: UP uses crowd advantage to down experienced FEU

University of the Philippines may be at a disadvantage in terms of championship experience against seasoned Far Eastern University but the Lady Maroons have their own weapon – their crowd support. The UP faithful filled the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan Sunday, dwarfing the Lady Tamaraws’ crowd. FEU did get the upper hand early by claiming the first two sets silencing UP’s supporters but an opening in the tightly-contested third set sparked an exciting comeback that pushed the Lady Maroons on the verge of quenching a 36-year major tournament title thirst. When the cheers and the loud banging of the drums from the maroon and white-clad crowd kicked in, FEU crumbled and UP exploited their newfound weapon.    The Lady Maroons complete a come-from-behind, 14-25, 22-25, 26-24, 25-18, 15-5 Game 1 win over FEU in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Collegiate Conference best-of-three Finals series Sunday to move a within a win away from pocketing the elusive crown. All thanks to a huge weekend turnout of UP fans. “I was surprised. They were all cheering, the whole crowd. Everywhere I look around there were UP (fans). Where do they come from? I think from Diliman, yeah?” joked UP's Kenyan head coach Godfrey Okumu, drawing laughter frpm reporters during his postgame interview.   “But it’s great. I really admire the fans. It gives me the drive, it gives me the purpose to serve the community and the people who love the game of volleyball,” added Okumu, who can steer the Lady Maroons to their first title since ruling the UAAP in 1982 with another win on Wednesday. While the UP crowd fueled the Lady Maroons to march on and rally to win the battle, the Lady Tams obviously got their confidence drained.    “Nawala ‘yung composure. ‘Yung big crowd ng UP doon sila na-intimidate. Medyo tumaas ‘yun intensity ng UP,” admitted FEU mentor George Pascua. The Lady Tams looked like the same team that De La Salle University swept in the UAAP Season 80 Finals. A squad that drowned in a sea of green was now engulfed in an ocean of maroon.   “’Yung communication bigla silang nawala, siguro sa crowd na rin kasi nangyari na sa amin ‘yan nu’ng Finals sa UAAP. Sobrang dami nu’ng crowd (ng La Salle). Malaking bagay talaga yung crowd pero sabi ko nga sa kanila hindi reason yun,” Pascua said. Game 2 on Wednesday is slated at 6:30 p.m. and will air live on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166 and via livestream and YouTube.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 10th, 2018

PVL: Lady Tams down Tigresses, earn championship seat

Far Eastern University came back from a set down to defeat old rival University of Sto. Tomas, 19-25, 25-18, 25-22, 25-17, and punch a return ticket to the Finals of the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Collegiate Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan Sunday.    The Lady Tamaraws completed a 2-1 series comeback after dropping Game 1 of best-of-three semifinals showdown to set up a championship clash with University of the Philippines. Game 1 of the best-of-three Finals is on Sunday. Jerrili Malabanan led FEU, which finished runner-up in last year’s edition and in UAAP Season 80, with 13 points with 10 coming off attacks while rookie Lycha Ebon and setter Kyle Negrito had 12 markers each. Negrito tallied 22 excellent sets on top of her five attacks, four kill blocks and three aces for the Lady Tamaraws. Heather Guino-o added 11 markers. FEU started out flat before finding its rhythm to turn back the Tigresses for the second straight time in their back-to-back weekend clash. “Oo slow start sila masyado kasing nag-iingat sa first set so sabi ko ‘wag masyado mag-ingat, basta play your game, focus sa kalaban and ‘wag sa error,” said FEU coach George Pascua.   “Kaya sabi ko nga kailangan ang mga beterano ko ‘yung experience nila kailangan i-apply nila ngayong game kasi ‘yun ang pinaka importante, do-or-die game. Na achieve naman namin (ang goal namin),” he added. Eya Laure finished with 15 points while Caitlyn Viray had 11 for UST, which was haunted by 33 errors. Alina Bicar and Milena Alessandrini scored nine each for the Tigresses, who will take on Adamson University in the battle for third.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 2nd, 2018

PBA: Brownlee can’t be stopped as Ginebra closes in on Finals

Ginebra’s tidal wave in the first half proved to be more than enough to move it one win away from the Finals of the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup. Justin Brownlee was a man on a mission from the get-go and spearheaded the Gin Kings’ wire-to-wire 75-72 win over Rain or Shine on Saturday at the MOA Arena. The American reinforcement dropped 44 points to go along with 16 rebounds, six assists, and five steals and was an unsolvable riddle for all of Gabe Norwood, Ed Daquioag, and Maverick Ahanmisi. Just in 23 minutes in the first half, he already had 25 points, eight rebounds, and three assists. By himself, he outscored the Elasto Painters who could only muster 23 points as a team. Still, Rain or Shine put up a last stand with Beau Belga’s long-range missile and Reggie Johnson’s short stab pulling them to within 72-74 with 9.8 ticks to go, but LA Tenorio’s split from the stripe coupled with James Yap’s missed triple tries closed the door on them for good. “What a brilliant comeback by Rain or Shine. We played a pretty game in the first half and then we made a bunch of mental mistakes (in the second half),” head coach Tim Cone said. “We just held on by our fingernails.” In the end, Ginebra’s lead that was once at 25 points proved to be more than enough for a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five semifinals. Tenorio was the only other Gin King in double-digits with 13 points to go along with four rebounds and three assists. “We got a little bit too Justin-reliant. We have to be better at responding to what happened in the second half,” Cone said. They try to close out the Elasto Painters and claim the first Finals berth in the tournament in Game 4 on Monday at the Araneta Coliseum. Reggie Johnson paced Rain or Shine with 13 points and 22 rebounds while Raymond Almazan also contributed 12 markers and nine boards. BOX SCORES GINEBRA 75 – Brownlee 44, Tenorio 13, Slaughter 8, Chan 3, Ferrer 3, Aguilar 2, Devance 2, Thompson 0, Caguioa 0, Mercado 0, Cruz 0 RAIN OR SHINE 72 – Johnson 13, Almazan 12, Daquioag 11, Yap 9, Nambatac 6, Belga 6, Tiu 6, Ahanmisi 5, Norwood 2, Washington 2, Borboran 0, Ponferada 0, Torres 0 QUARTER SCORES: 24-10, 46-23, 61-41, 75-72 --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 21st, 2018

A look back at Roger Federer s record 8 Wimbledon titles

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press LONDON (AP) — Roger Federer's paths to his record eight Wimbledon championships were each different, of course. Different opponents. Different degrees of difficulty. Same old Federer. A year ago, for example, he did not drop a set the entire way, becoming the first man since Bjorn Borg in 1976 to claim the title at the All England Club in that unblemished manner. In 2009, in contrast, Federer was pushed to the very limit, edging Andy Roddick 16-14 in the fifth set of a final that remains the longest, by games, of any Grand Slam title match in tennis history. Here is a year-by-year look at Federer's trophy runs at Wimbledon: ___ No. 1: 2003 Final: Beat Mark Philippoussis 7-6 (5), 6-2, 7-6 (3). Grand Slam Title: 1 Age: 21 At Stake: Pegged for great success, Federer had yet to get past the quarterfinals of a major tournament. Close Call: Federer dropped only one set, to Mardy Fish in the third round, but the toughest moment came in the round of 16, when Federer needed treatment on his aching back while beating Feliciano Lopez. Key Quote: "There was pressure from all sides — also from myself. I wanted to do better in Slams." — Federer. ___ No. 2: 2004 Final: Beat Andy Roddick 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (3), 6-4. Grand Slam Title: 3 Age: 22 At Stake: His first attempt to defend a major championship. Close Call: After dropping the first set, then trailing by a break at 4-2 in the third, Federer used a rain delay to change strategy, opting to charge the net more. He made that switch on his own, because he'd been without a coach since firing his a little more than six months earlier. It worked: Federer won 24 of the next 28 points on his serve. Key Quote: "This is a very important phase in his career as well, that he could step back, not rely on somebody, get to know himself, get to know his own tennis and technique." — Federer's mother, Lynette. ___ No. 3: 2005 Final: Beat Roddick 6-2, 7-6 (2), 6-4. Grand Slam Title: 5 Age: 23 At Stake: Trying to become the first man in 50 years to win his first five major finals. Close Call: None, really. Federer dropped merely one of 22 sets he played over the two weeks, a tiebreaker against 25th-seeded Nicolas Kiefer in the third round, but quickly recovered to win that match 6-2, 6-7 (5), 6-1, 7-5. Key Quote: "It's hard for him, because I really played a fantastic match — one of the best of my life. Today it seemed liked I was playing flawless." — Federer. ___ No. 4: 2006 Final: Beat Rafael Nadal 6-0, 7-6 (5), 6-7 (2), 6-3. Grand Slam Title: 8 Age: 24 At Stake: Entering the championship match, Federer was 0-4 that season against Nadal — including a loss in the French Open final weeks earlier — and 55-0 against everyone else. Close Call: Once again, nothing to speak of, because Federer dropped just one set all tournament, this time in the final. Nadal did serve for the second set at 5-4, but missed three forehands and double-faulted to get broken there, before ceding the ensuing tiebreaker. Key Quote: "I'm very well aware of how important this match was for me. If I lose, obviously, it's a hard blow for me — he wins French, Wimbledon back-to-back. It's important for me to win a final against him, for a change, and beat him, for a change." — Federer. ___ No. 5: 2007 Final: Beat Nadal 7-6 (7), 4-6, 7-6 (3), 2-6, 6-2. Grand Slam Title: 11 Age: 25 At Stake: Joining Borg as the only men in the last 100 years to win Wimbledon five years in a row. Close Call: After dropping just one set (in a quarterfinal against 2003 French Open champion Juan Carlos Ferrero) along an unusually short road to the final (fourth-round foe Tommy Haas withdrew with an injury), Federer got all he could handle against Nadal. Key Quote: "He's an artist on this surface. He can stay back. He can come in. No weaknesses. I believe if he continues the way he's doing and stays away from injuries and has the motivation, he'll be the greatest player ever to play the game." — Borg. ___ No. 6: 2009 Final: Beat Roddick 5-7, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5), 3-6, 16-14. Grand Slam Title: 15 Age: 27 At Stake: Breaking Sampras' record for most major singles trophies won by a man and reasserting his supremacy at Wimbledon after losing a 9-7 fifth set to Nadal in the 2008 final. Close Call: What could be a closer call than that fifth set? Federer's only break of the day came in the match's 77th and last game. Also worth remembering is that 2017 International Tennis Hall of Fame inductee Roddick led the second-set tiebreaker 6-2 but did not convert any of the four points that would have given him a two-set lead. Key Quote: "He's a legend. Now he's an icon." — Sampras. ___ No. 7: 2012 Final: Beat Andy Murray 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4. Grand Slam Title: 17 Age: 30 At Stake: Tying the record held by Sampras and William Renshaw (who played in the 1800s) for most Wimbledon men's championships, plus ending a personal 2½-year Grand Slam drought. Close Call: Federer dropped the first two sets in the third round against 29th-seeded Julien Benneteau of France, then was two points away from losing a half-dozen times, but pulled out a 4-6, 6-7 (3), 6-2, 7-6 (6), 6-1 comeback. Key Quote: "Oh, my God, it was brutal. The thing, when you're down two sets to love, is to stay calm, even though it's hard, because people are freaking out, people are worried for you." — Federer. ___ No. 8: 2017 Final: Beat Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-1, 6-4. Grand Slam Title: 19 (he added No. 20 at this year's Australian Open) Age: 35 At Stake: Breaking the mark for most men's singles titles at the All England Club after coming up just short with losses to Novak Djokovic in the 2014 and 2015 finals. Close Call: Nothing whatsoever. The closest thing to a close call came in the semifinals, when 2010 runner-up Tomas Berdych pushed Federer to tiebreakers in each of the first two sets. Cilic was hampered by foot blister in a final that was lopsided throughout. Key Quote: "Wimbledon was always my favorite tournament. Will always be my favorite tournament. My heroes walked the grounds here and walked the courts here." — Federer......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 2nd, 2018

F2 Logistics forces series decider

Game Saturday: (Smart Araneta Coliseum)   6:00 p.m. -- F2 Logistics vs Petron   Reigning champion F2 Logistics refused to relinquish its throne as it crushed Petron, 25-17, 25-22, 25-19, in Game 2 and forged a winner-take-all battle in their Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix best-of-three titular showdown Thursday night at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Venezuelan Maria Jose Perez delivered, but it was the Cargo Movers’ all-out effort at the defensive end and mental toughness that allowed them to level the series. The kill-or-be killed Game 3 is set on Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. Perez, the reigning Most Valuable Player, displayed her championship form as she tallied 17 kills and three blocks for 20 points while Ara Galang and Aby Marano chipped in 11 and nine markers, respectively, for the Cargo Movers, who marched to the battle eager to bounce back from a sorry five-set meltdown in Game 1. "Mas prepared lang kami mentally ngayon, kasi last time although maganda naman ang ginagawa, noong time na nabigyan ng momentum ang kalaban medyo nag-relax tapos gumana ang kalaban at kami naman ang na-disorganized,” said F2 Logistics coach Arnold Laniog, whose wards emerged with more spikes, 40-35, and blocks, 11-7, than the Blaze Spikers. "This time yung mindset nakatutok na talaga.” In Game 1, Petron was simply impressive. After finding themselves down by two sets, American reinforcement Katherine Bell took over and put Petron back in the thick of things as she scored eight of the Blaze Spikers’ last nine points in the deciding set. This time, the Cargo Movers didn’t allow her to do damage. Bell was limited to only 12 kills and three blocks to finish with only 15 points -- her lowest output since coming in as replacement to injured Hillary Hurley last week. She dropped 42 in Game 1. Five-year veteran Lindsay Stalzer was also not in the groove, knocking down only 13 kills and two blocks for the Blaze Spikers, who gave away 19 points off errors.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 3rd, 2018

Juventus stays on Serie A title track with wild win at Inter

By Andrew Dampf, Associated Press ROME (AP) — Juventus scored two late goals to rescue a 3-2 win over 10-man Inter Milan in a wild Derby d'Italia on Saturday and stay on track for a record-extending seventh straight Serie A title. Juan Cuadrado and Gonzalo Higuain scored in the final four minutes as Juventus moved four points ahead of Napoli, which visits Fiorentina on Sunday in a tense title race. "This is the hunger, pride and thirst for victory that this squad possesses. We will fight to the death to win," Higuain said. After Douglas Costa's early opener for Juventus, Inter equalized after the break with a header from captain Mauro Icardi then went ahead with an own goal from Juventus defender Andrea Barzagli. The victory ended a run of two straight matches in which Juventus dropped points, having drawn with relegation-threatened Crotone and lost to Napoli at home last weekend. Inter remained fifth, one point below the Champions League places. "Inter played well, but got tired in the end, crumbled physically and we took advantage," Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said. "It's another step towards the Scudetto, even if it remains very difficult." Early on, it was all Juventus. Douglas Costa scored with a decisive half-volley, extending the Brazilian's streak of being involved in the last six Juventus goals in Serie A: Two goals and four assists. Inter midfielder Matias Vecino was sent off for a foul on Mario Mandzukic in the 18th. Referee Daniele Orsato originally pulled out a yellow card but changed to red after a video review. Vecino stepped on Mandzukic's ankle and the Croatia international later showed a deep cut. Inter stepped up after the break. Icardi rose above Juve's defense to redirect a free kick into the far corner with a glancing header — his eighth goal in 11 Serie A matches against Juventus. Then in the 65th, Cuadrado couldn't handle Perisic on the left flank and lied down instead to avoid picking up a second yellow card. Perisic then crossed toward Icardi but the ball bounced in off Barzagli. Cuadrado made up for the error by scoring from a tight angle with a shot off Inter defender Milan Skriniar in the 87th. Then Higuain ran past Inter's defense to head in Paulo Dybala's free kick two minutes later to complete the comeback. Allegri was sent off after Higuain's winner for entering the pitch in an attempt to get his players to stop celebrating and refocus for the final minutes. "There were four minutes to go ... I didn't want a repeat of Madrid," Allegri said, referring to the Champions League elimination by Real Madrid. ROMA SHOWS POTENTIAL Displaying the offensive firepower it will need in the Champions League semifinals, 10-man Roma defeated visiting Chievo Verona 4-1 in convincing fashion. Edin Dzeko scored twice, Patrik Schick and Stephan El Shaarawy also found the target, and Roma goalkeeper Alisson saved a penalty. Roma also hit the post twice. Roberto Inglese pulled one back late for Chievo. A similar result on Wednesday would allow the Giallorossi to overturn a 5-2 deficit to Liverpool. "Now we have to recover our physical and mental energy, leave the field on Wednesday knowing we've done all we possibly could," Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco said. "We've proved in the past that we can achieve great results in the Champions League, so we must all believe, that is my slogan." Meanwhile, the victory strengthened Roma's chances of returning to the Champions League next season. Third-placed Roma moved three points ahead of Lazio, which visits Torino on Sunday. Chievo remained two points above the relegation zone. EMPOLI PROMOTED Empoli secured promotion into Serie A after only one season in the second division. Empoli moved 14 points ahead of Parma and Palermo after drawing with Novara 1-1 and was assured of winning Serie B with four rounds remaining. The Tuscan squad is coached by former Roma manager Aurelio Andreazzoli......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 29th, 2018

Towns, Wiggins step up for Timberwolves in win vs Warriors

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com MINNEAPOLIS – Certain games count more than others over the course of an NBA team’s 82-game schedule, and the one the Timberwolves played – and won 109-103 – against the Golden State Warriors Sunday afternoon (early Monday, PHL time) at Target Center was one of those. Did it count double what some ordinary contest might have? Triple? Keep going. More like exponential. It’s too early to claim that Minnesota’s resiliency in the comeback from 12 points down, against the defending champ, saved their season. But the dueling scenarios, win vs. lose, were rather stark for a team facing a rigorous and largely uncharted final month. Fail Sunday (Monday, PHL time), and the Wolves would be lugging a four-game skid on the road to face Washington Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time) and San Antonio Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). By the time they got home to face Houston Sunday night (next Monday, PHL time), the losing streak could be six, going on seven. The Timberwolves at the All-Star break was a surprising third seed in the West. However, since Jimmy Butler’s absence from the lineup after a right meniscus tear on Feb. 23 (Feb. 24, PHL time), the Wolves have gone 2-4. Now the Wolves, whether they admit it publicly or not, are driven simply to qualify. Period. Ending up seventh or eighth is no prize, given a likely first-round ordeal against either the Rockets or the Warriors. But for a franchise that hasn’t reached the postseason since 2004, either would be far better than landing ninth. By beating the Warriors, though, the Wolves bought themselves time and opened a smidgen of breathing room over the next few days. More than that, they responded to a serious challenge the way a playoff wannabe is supposed to. They didn’t unravel, they stuck to what was working and they had players slide into Butler’s roles as primary defender, go-to scorer and late-game closer. That is essential until the All-Star wing and obvious team leader returns, ideally, for playoffs that his teammates can deliver. Center Karl-Anthony Towns scored 14 of his team-high 31 points in the fourth quarter. Wing Andrew Wiggins scored 22 of his 23 in the first three quarters to help Minnesota claw back to an 84-84 tie. Those two stepping into the void of Butler’s injury suggested the sort of growth that, frankly, coach Tom Thibodeau and the team’s followers might look back on after this season (and postseason?) as a turning point. “This is a great opportunity for everybody, and certainly those two, in that whenever you have someone like Jimmy go out, it’s an opportunity to grow and get experience in different situations,” Thibodeau said. “We’ve talked about it a lot. We have good veterans on the team. But this is an opportunity for them to step up and lead.” Sure, Golden State was playing without team MVP Steph Curry (ankle) and ace reserve Andre Iguodala (wrist). But the visitors still had three All-Stars and the motivation of Friday’s (Saturday, PHL time) loss in Portland to propel them through the matinee. So, the Wolves did well to start with what Towns admitted was both “urgency” and “desperation.” They did even better to close with aplomb. Towns and Wiggins, both still 22-years-old, stayed cool in reacting and thwarting Golden State double-teams. Wiggins, who still needs to attack and earn his way to the foul line more often, wound up with a team-high plus-21. Towns shot 6-of-10 in the final quarter, while Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson were combining to go 3-for-13 and 11 points. Butler’s presence this season often has taken the ball out of the two younger stars’ hands late in games. But Towns is so skilled, inside and out, he should get more opportunities when games are on the line – and will in Butler’s absence. He came in averaging just 3.2 field-goal attempts in the fourth quarter this season, with 1.8 buckets and 5.1 points. Compare that to his 5.7 makes, 10.6 shots and 15.4 scoring averages through the first three quarters of games so far this season. His usage rate drops from 22.4 to 20.9 when it ought to go up. You’d believe that too if you saw his work in the final three minutes, from bulling through Draymond Green for a layup that made it 101-96 to stepping in for a left baseline jumper two possessions later. At 104-103, Towns posted up Green near the end line again, banged a bit, then spun for a fadeaway jumper. Next time down, he followed up a shot against Durant to all but clinch it. The play of Towns, Wiggins and the other three Minnesota starters took any onus off Derrick Rose. Newly signed by his old Chicago coach, Rose had a rusty, regrettable debut with the Wolves, missing five of his six shots with two turnovers and a minus-17 in just 6:36. But his presence, if nothing else, ought to remind Towns and Wiggins that 22 is plenty old enough to grab a pack of Wolves by the scruff of their necks and take responsibility. Rose was 22 when he became the youngest MVP in NBA history, leading the Bulls all the way to the Eastern Conference finals that season. Minnesota basically is in the playoffs now – every outcome matters, bolstering or damaging its run to the postseason. There’s no running away now, no hiding either. “I think we’re more prepared because we’ve had most of the season to go through experiences,” Towns said. “Now that we’re at this point, we have the chance to do something great. It’s for us as a group to take all the experiences we’ve had – of losing close games, winning big, winning games offensively, winning games defensively – and putting them to [use].” It is vital that the Wolves’ young stars stay focused on the opportunities before them, rather than succumbing to the pressure. Said Towns: “The thing is, you don’t ever want to have pressure turn to stress. We have to make sure we keep our composure. Obviously, the situation we’re in, it’s a lot of pressure on us. But we can’t turn that into stress, because that’s when we start becoming undisciplined and start making errors that are more mental.” The proof now is in the playing, said Thibodeau. “The best leadership you can have is your actions,” the coach said. “What are you doing? It’s not what you say. Oftentimes people say things and never do what they say. It’s what you do.” 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 NewsMar 12th, 2018

CSB, Arellano U dispute the last Finals berth

Games Tuesday: (FilOil Flying V Centre, San Juan) 10:00 a.m. –- EAC vs. Letran (jrs) 12:00 noon –- Perpetual vs. AU (jrs) 2:00 p.m. –- CSB U vs. AU (m)   Defending champion College of St. Benilde is just a step away from a return stint into the Finals. But for the Blazers to continue with their title-retention bid, CSB will need to go through another knockout game Tuesday in the last phase of the 93rd NCAA men’s volleyball tournament at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. The Taft-based squad hopes to carry the momentum of its grueling five-set sudden death match survival against San Beda University last Friday to book the last best-of-three Finals ticket and set a championship rematch with unbeaten University of Perpetual Help. Game time is at 2:00 p.m.      Down 12-14 in the fifth set, the Blazers unearthed the same fire that brought them to the throne last year as they saved six match points before pulling off an amazing 25-16, 24-26, 25-19, 20-25, 20-18 comeback.   “Sa panalo namin against Beda doon ko naramdaman na gusto nilang manalo, gusto nilang mai-defend ang title,” said CSB coach Arnold Laniog. The mentor will pin his hopes of Isaah Arda, who scored 23 points in their thrilling win, Francis Basilan and Mark Orian. CSB dropped a five-set battle against the Chiefs in the elimination round last January 29. Arellano U’s lone loss was against Perpetual. The championship round will start on Friday. Meanwhile, twice-to-beat defending champion Perpetual Help battles Arellano U at 12:00 noon in juniors Final Four. Twice-to-beat Emilio Aguinaldo College clashes with Letran in the other semis pairing.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles     .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 12th, 2018

Mac Belo owns up to crunch-time blunders vs Magnolia

"Walang blowout [party]." Blackwater forward Mac Belo was disappointed that he and his team could not give head coach Leo Isaac the perfect birthday gift for his 57th birthday, which largely involved the letter 'W". Belo admitted that he incurred mental lapses in the late stages of the game wherein the Elite, which trailed by as much as 18 points, managed to stage a comeback to eventually knot things up at 72 in the waning stages of the game. As Blackwater went to the next possession, the ball only managed to stay in the former Tamaraw's hands, and was locked down by Ian Sangalang, and subsequently turned the ball over as he dribbled and stepped across the halfcourt line. "Akala ko tatawagan ng foul [si Sangalang] eh, ayon pero nagkamali nga, masyado ako nag-relax so on my part, mental lapses," Belo said after the game. Magnolia then turned the ball over which led to a two-on-one fastbreak between him, teammate John Pinto, and Pingris. Belo drove to the basket, but passed it to the cutting Pinto, who blew the potential game-tying lay-up. "Yun din (mental lapse) kasi may situation na pwede ako mag-lay-up pero mas pinili ko siya ipasa so medyo kinapos yung tira ni Nard [Pinto]. Sabi naman ni coach na walang sisihan." The damage had already been done and only what Belo and the team could say is to move on. Asked what they could have done differently, Belo lamented that the team should have started better, since they used up most of their energy in mounting the comeback. The Blackwater Elite have now lost four straight and may extend it to five as they face defending champions San Miguel on Sunday, and the former #1 pick says that the team needs to do a lot of soul-searching. "Mahirap. Mahirap pumunta sa practice na laging natatalo. Kami naman kailangan humanap ng ways para manalo, so tignan namin, kung ano ang ways to improve as a team." --   follow this writer on Twitter, @philipptionary.      .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 2nd, 2018

Petron, F2 Logistics in final showdown for Grand Prix title

Games Saturday: (Mall of Asia Arena) 4:00 p.m. --- Petron vs F2 Logistics   Drama and intensity are tipped to unfold when F2 Logistics and Petron go all out for all the marbles Saturday in the winner-take-all 2017 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix Finals at the MOA Arena. At stake in the 4:00 p.m. encounter is the right to claim the throne in the thrilling finale of the best-of-three series that went the full distance. The Cargo Movers look to write history with their breakthrough title in the import-laden conference while Petron seeks to reclaim the crown they lost two years ago.  The locking of horns between the same squads that figured in the All-Filipino Conference Finals four months ago will be a fitting season-ender in the 5th year of the league. F2 Logistics hopes to complete a series comeback after surviving Game 2 with a morale-boosting 25-20, 24-26, 14-25, 25-19, 15-4, victory. “Of course all out na, kasi that’s what we are hoping for, ang makarating sa Game 3,” said Cargo Movers skipper Cha Cruz, whose leadership and clutch plays sparked F2 Logistics’ amazing comeback. “So we’re gonna grab the chance mapunta sa amin ang Game 3,” she added. But the Cargo Movers will be attempting a feat that no team has ever accomplished.    Since the PSL implemented a best-of-three finals format two years ago, no team has ever crawled back from a 0-1 disadvantage with Foton recovering from a Game 2 meltdown to win the Grand Prix crown in 2015 and F2 Logistics averting a massive collapse to clinch the All-Filipino Conference title in 2016. Petron head coach Shaq Delos Santos remains confident that his team will be able to recover from their Game 2 meltdown, putting into mind the bitter pill they had to swallow after squandering a 2-1 match lead. The Blaze Spikers started the fourth set with a 9-0 lead only to surrender the frame and eventually unravelling in the fifth. “Andun pa rin ‘yun (tiwala). ‘Di naman mawawala ‘yun,” he said. “Kumbaga, sobrang tiwala lang namin sa kanila. Andun lagi ‘yun, di mawawala ‘yung kumpyansa or ‘yung tiwala.” “Syempre di naman kami papasok sa finals kung weak din yung ganun namin, yung tiwala namin sa isa’t isa. I think, lesson learned lang ’to,” added Delos Santos. Aside from the match up of Petron American duo of Lindsay Stalzer and Hillary Hurley against F2 Logistics’ Venezuelan reinforcement Maria Jose Perez and Kennedy Bryan of the USA, the battle of locals will also play a major role in the series decider. Cruz, Aby Marano, Majoy Baron, Kianna Dy, setter Kim Fajardo and libero Dawn Macandili will carry the fight for the Cargo Movers against the Blaze Spikers veterans Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, skipper Ces Molina, Mika Reyes, setter Rhea Dimaculangan and Remy Palma.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 15th, 2017

Petron dethrones Foton, faces F2 Logistics in Finals

American imports Hillary Hurley and Lindsay Stalzer came out with all guns blazing as they led Petron to a return stint in the Finals. The duo delivered the goods to help the Blaze Spikers dethrone two-time champion Foton in a hard-earned 30-28, 21-25, 25-23, 25-21, win in the knockout Final Four of the of the 2017 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix at the Mall of Asia Arena on Saturday. Petron set up a best-of-three Finals showdown against F2 Logistics starting Tuesday in a rematch of this season’s All-Filipino Conference championship won by the Cargo Movers. Stalzer pumped in 25 points while Hurley got 24 markers as the duo combined for 43 of the Blaze Spikers' 55 attacks in a win that served as a payback for Petron's Grand Prix losses in the previous two editions against Foton.  “Laging maganda 'yung laban, sobrang thankful talaga kami kasi nu’ng last year na first time ko nag-coach ng Grand Prix, sila rin 'yung kalaban namin sa finals and hindi kami nanalo sa kanila. Kung baga sa amin, parang napakalaking achievement ngayon na nag-knockout game kami and kami ‘yung nanalo,” said Petron coach Shaq Delos Santos. Rhea Dimaculangan tallied 23 excellent sets whille Japanese libero Yuri Fukuda had 23 digs for the Blaze Spikers. Stalzer, who led Foton to back-to-back crowns before transferring to Petron, posted nine digs and six excellent receptions.              The Blaze Spikers went behind early in the first set before mounting a great comeback. Foton equalized in the second frame but Petron found second wind in the third and fourth.  The Tornadoes, which will take on Cocolife in a sudden death battle for bronze, made a final push in the fourth frame to close a 17-24 deficit to 21-24 but Dindin Santiago-Manabat overcooked her service to surrender the match and their throne. Jaja Santiago finished with 23 points off 17 kills, four kill blocks and a pair of aces while Serbian Sara Klisura had 22 for Foton. Montenegrin reinforcement Dragana Perunicic scored 13 markers while Maika Ortiz chipped in eight for the Tornadoes.       --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 9th, 2017

F2 Logistics import Perez earns POW award

F2 Logistics continues its dominant run when it posted five consecutive victories to remain as the heaviest contender in the Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix. And one player should be credited for this amazing run – import Maria Jose Perez. The Venezuelan sensation was at the helm of the Cargo Movers’ attack that prompted the PSL Press Corps to name her as its Chooks to Go-Player of the Week from Nov. 11 to 18. With Perez spewing fire at the attack zone, the Cargo Movers defeated Cocolife, Generika-Ayala and Victoria Sports-UST in straight-sets, putting them in a perfect position to capture the top seed in the sudden-death quarterfinal battle. She finished with 14 attacks and two aces for 17 points against the Asset Managers before torching the Lifesavers with 12 attacks to finish with 14 points in another dominant straight-set victory. Perez capped her impressive week with another 12-point effort to lead the Cargo Movers to another impressive win over the Tigresses over the weekend at the La Salle Lipa Sentrum to earn the weekly honor given by reporters and photographers from various newspapers, tabloids and online news outlets covering the league. She won the award over the other explosive imports like her teammate in Kennedy Bryan, Lindsay Stalzer of Petron and Sara Klisura of Foton. But more than her attacking prowess and leadership, Perez said it is their mental toughness that is making them successful. “I think we’re working hard every day in practice,” said Perez, a seasoned international campaigner who donned the colors of Venezuela in the Beijing Olympics in 2008. “I (also) think that we come to every match mentally prepared. You know, it’s very important to keep our mental toughness because the Superliga is a very tough competition. All players here are very good.” F2 Logistics coach Ramil de Jesus was elated over their performance, but stressed that it’s still a long way to go, especially with other veteran teams like Petron, Cignal, Cocolife and reigning champion Foton tipped to come up with a run of their own. “We can’t take any team lightly,” said the 10-time UAAP champion. “We just have to keep our focus and be more consistent. Sa nakikita ko kasi parang may kulang pa eh. We have to improve it because it’s going to be tough down the stretch.”  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 19th, 2017

Gilas hopeful Remy Martin s dreams go beyond the basketball court

Any cager dreams of making it big in the NBA. Just ask Filipino-American point guard Remy Martin of the Arizona State University Sun Devils. But amid his success in the U.S., it's still true to Martin's nature to tap into his Pinoy roots. Aside from openly saying that he dreams of playing for Gilas Pilipinas, he's also manifesting his Pinoy upbringing through his goals. "Being raised in that Filipino household has stuck with me and made me the person I am today," Martin said via Craig Morgan in an interview for thesundevils.com.  "They care for you, they show you love and they are so supportive. That's what I want to be for others," Martin reflects. Now currently seeking further success in the U.S., Martin hopes to inspire Filipinos to reach for the stars, while keeping their roots firmly intact. "Every time I look at it, all I want to do is help the culture, let people know that there are Filipino basketball players that can play at this level and potentially do more," he said. More than basketball, however, Martin wants to give hope, empower Pinoy kids to dream bigger.  "Every time I step out on that court it's for them. It's for hope. I want to help the kids there be more motivated and see that there is another path." Born to Filipina Mary Ann Macaspac, Martin carved out a name for himself during his high school days at Sierra Canyon School in Chatsworth, California by possessing a certain drive and defensive focus not usually seen from younger prospects. Now in college, Martin says he wants his defense to be his calling card. At 5'11" his intensity on the less glamorous end of the court gives him an edge among his taller, more physically gifted peers. As he bares: "I try to capitalize on the little things like playing defense because it's mental and it's mostly heart." Heart. Sounds familiar, right? That's the undying phrase embedded in the Pinoy basketball psyche as the battle cry of Gilas Pilipinas. And it's his Puso -- and defense -- that's earning him praise from head coach and former Duke Blue Devil Bobby Hurley. "He's just got a great fire and passion and positive energy," Hurley said via thesundevils.com. "He likes to demoralize the opponent if he can; just wear him down into submission just because of how hard he's willing to play on defense and then create." And by working hard and being himself, Martin is slowly coming close to his goal. "Imagine being LeBron James here and having that kind of impact on kids," Martin said, "It's about knowing that they have somebody where they can say 'oh, look, we have him. We have somebody that has been through this' and they can follow that." He reportedly wants to visit the Philippines "within the next couple of years" but for now, he's doing his part in inspiring the next generation of Pinoy ballers. "Maybe I can pave the way for those kids to get some exposure. Why not? Why can't I do it? Because I'm small? OK, well, I'll be the first one then," he said.  H/T thesundevils.com.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 15th, 2017

Lady Tams secure last Finals ticket

Far Eastern University marched into the Finals with a 21-25, 25-20, 25-22, 25-18, Game 3 win against Adamson University to complete a best-of-three semifinals series comeback Monday in the inaugural Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Bernadeth Pons returned into action after missing the Lady Tamaraws’ previous four games and immediately made an impact with her offense and leadership to steer FEU in a best-of-three title showdown against undefeated National University on Wednesday. Pons, who skipped their last two elims games and two semis matches to participate in the 80th UAAP women's beach volleyball tournament, had 15 points anchored on 12 attacks while adding 14 digs and 11 excellent receptions on defense for  the Lady Tams. “Andyan si Pons kaya kami nanalo,” said FEU coach George Pascua.   Helping Pons out were Czarina Carandang, who dropped 20 points in FEU's 5-set Game 2 win, and Toni Rose Basas. Carandang blasted 13 attacks and three kill blocks for a 16-point outing, Basas added 10 markers while Celine Domingo added nine for the Lady Tams. Kyla Atienza, Pons' beach volleyball partner, got 21 digs and 14 excellent receptions for FEU. The Morayta-based squad broke away from tight 15-14 game in the fourth set with a scorching scoring spurt to control the frame, 23-17, and eventually finish off the young but aggressive Lady Falcons. “Sabi ko nga sa mga players ko, kailangan ang labanan dito, kung sino yung may desire to win,” he added. Eli Soyud scored 16, all from kills, while Chiara Permentilla finished with 10 for Adamson, which will take on Arellano University in the best-of-three battle for third.   ---     Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles      .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 9th, 2017

Blue Eagles say their win against Green Archers was an upset

Ateneo de Manila University toppled De La Salle University last Sunday. Matt Nieto was the hero, Gian Mamuyac yet again proved to be “Mr. Intangibles,” Thirdy Ravena did Thirdy Ravena things, and both Chibueze Ikeh and Isaac Go held their own against reigning and defending MVP Ben Mbala. Bottom line, there was a total team effort from start to finish for the Blue Eagles – total team effort needed to take down the powerhouse Green Archers. Just like the University of the Philippines before them, the now league-leaders played a near-perfect game to topple DLSU. And just like UP before them, the now league-leaders say their victory versus DLSU should be considered an upset. Asked their win makes them the favorites for the championship, coach Sandy Arespacochaga answered, “It’s too early to talk about that. I think if you watched the game, it was an upset on our part.” He then continued, “I think you all feel that way. La Salle is still the favorite, I guess.” Going into details, Arespacochaga pointed to how they lost a 14-point lead and it took a mental lapse on the part of the usually steady Kib Montalbo to set up Nieto’s game-winning moment. “It was an Ateneo-La Salle game and you know, some of the players were excited so they veered away from what we wanted to do a couple of times,” he said. He then continued, “But in the end, when we asked them to follow the game plan offensively and defensively, they followed and we managed to steal the win.” The mentor also mentioned the disparity between the two teams in terms of shooting the ball. “We shot well especially in the first quarter, but La Salle managed to bring it down,” he said, referring to how they shot 43.9 percent in the first half before finishing with a 39.4 percent mark from the field. Even with those points for improvement, however, Arespacochaga said they were happy that their boys had the discipline in the face of their opponents’ famed “mayhem.” As he put it, “La Salle is a very good pressing team and a very good trapping team. For us to only turn the ball over 11 times is very good for us.” He then continued, “We can always look to improve, but we’re happy we won the turnover battle.” In the end, while they came out on top in the rivalry game, Ateneo reminded everybody that the season is far from over. “Right now, our mindset is we’re done with the first round and we’re looking forward to our next game. Of course, we’re happy that we came up with the win and we’ll celebrate,” he said. He then continued, “But we’re also waiting for the schedule to find out who we’re going up against and we’re gonna prepare for that team.” And in the end, the Blue Eagles vow that they, they who just downed the defending champions to go 7-0, are not yet done being better. “The key is to continue improving each game. I think, to a certain extent, we did that (in the first round),” he said. He then continued, “We’d like to carry that over to the second round. We’re looking at that both as a team and also individually.” --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 9th, 2017

Santiago drops 28 as NU clinches first Finals berth

National University claimed the first championship berth but not after surviving a tough challenge from Arellano University, 25-17, 26-28, 17-25, 25-13, 20-18, to complete a sweep of the inaugural Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference best-of-three semifinals series on Saturday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Jaja Santiago led the Lady Bulldogs with 28 points coming off 21 kills and seven kill blocks while setter Jasmine Nabor registered 12 points on top of her 47 excellent sets. Risa Sato and Roselyn Doria scored nine markers each while Jorelle Singh and Princess Robles chipped in eight apiece for NU   Down 14-10 in the fifth set, the Lady Bulldogs mounted a dramatic comeback saving six match points before taking the last two points off a Nabor off the block kill and capped by an attack error Lady Chiefs skipper Jovielyn Prado. “Nu’ng 14-10 sabi ko sa kanila whatever the result, itaas natin ang energy natin, doon tayo madya-judge eh, sa effort natin,” said NU coach Babes Castillo, whose squad swept the Lady Chiefs in the series opener last Wednesday. “So kumalma naman sila connecting together right away na parang, ‘oo nga pala ito ang role ko’. So I like how they responded.” NU will await its best-of-three Finals opponent on Monday when Far Eastern University and Adamson University dispute the last championship seat. The Finals will start on Wednesday. Prado hammered a down the line hit to put the reigning NCAA champion Arellano at match point, 14-10, before NU countered with five straight points to take the helm, 15-14. The two squads went neck and neck in the next couple of plays. The Lady Chiefs took their last lead 18-17 off a kill block of Andrea Marzan on Aiko Urdas. Sato equalized on a quick kill before the Lady Bulldogs sealed the two-hour, 10 minute duel.         Prado got 20 points, 18 coming off atacks, Regine Arocha and Marzan added 17 and 11 markers, respectively, for Arellano.   The Lady Chiefs will take on the loser between Adamson and FEU in the best-of-three battle for third.    --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 7th, 2017

Morata making the most of his time in the spotlight

em>By Steve Douglas, Associated Press /em> Alvaro Morata was only a few weeks into life at Chelsea when some of the vulnerability that has cropped up during his career appeared to strike again. 'They're already killing me,' Morata said of his perceived critics following his miss in Chelsea's penalty shootout loss to Arsenal in the Community Shield. They were worrying words from a player who was about to start the season as the undisputed No. 1 striker at a top club for the first time. Could he handle filling the boots of the larger-than-life Diego Costa, a title-winning striker who would become estranged from Chelsea? How would he adapt in a new country following his move from Real Madrid? Could he live with his club-record transfer fee, an initial 58 million pounds (now $77.5 million)? It turns out there was no need to worry. Morata has been one of the revelations in the early weeks of the Premier League, scoring six goals in six games and showing with his movement, aerial ability and turn of pace that he can be the heir — albeit a different, slicker version — to Costa and Didier Drogba before him. On Wednesday, Morata scored the equalizer to spark Chelsea's comeback in its 2-1 win at Atletico Madrid and next faces leader Manchester City in the biggest match of the Premier League season so far. 'I think he is showing,' Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has said, 'that he is a really complete player.' Conte suspected as much three years ago. Then the Juventus coach, it was Conte who set up the transfer of Morata to the Italian club from Madrid in July 2014, only to resign a few days before the move was completed to take over as Italy coach. Conte has finally got to work with the Spain striker, and likes what he sees. At 24, Morata is making the most of his belated time in the spotlight. In two spells at Madrid (2010-14 and 2016-17), he was popular and proved to be an opportunistic finisher but never established himself as the first-choice striker ahead of Karim Benzema. At Juventus from 2014-16, Morata had an impressive first season — the best of his career, during which he scored twice in the 2015 Champions League semifinals to help eliminate Madrid — before a dip in his second and an eventual move back to Madrid on a buy-back option. Still, Morata only started around half of the league matches during his time at Juve and the club's goalkeeping great, Gianluigi Buffon, said the striker had 'negative thoughts in his last period' with the team. Morata has spoken in other interviews of his mental fragility and frustration at not being given a real chance at club level to prove his worth. To many, Morata is regarded as a so-called 'super-sub,' clearly a natural finisher and a danger in the final minutes to swing results but someone who mostly excels as a back-up. He scored 20 goals in all competitions for Madrid last season, despite having just 14 starts in La Liga and one in the Champions League. 'Alvaro, don't forget, in his previous experience didn't play a lot at Juventus or at Real Madrid,' Conte said after Morata's hat trick against Stoke in the Premier League last weekend. 'Now he has a great chance to show that he is a really good striker.' Costa's drawn-out transfer to Atletico Madrid was sealed this week, only serving to confirm that Morata really is the main man up front at Chelsea. It's time to see how a player with just 54 top-flight league starts can cope in a grueling, intense season in the Premier League. Sitting atop the Premier League scorers' chart with Romelu Lukaku and Sergio Aguero, it hasn't been a bad start. Here's what else to watch out for this weekend: ___ strong>STUBBORN CITY /strong> Morata will need to break down a Man City defense that has conceded just one goal in six games this month, and three goals in nine games all season. City's attack has been getting plenty of plaudits with the team averaging four goals a game this month, but the defense is holding up even without injured captain Vincent Kompany and its full backs playing virtually as wingers. Left back Benjamin Mendy will be unavailable this weekend, however, while he awaits the results of tests on a right knee injury sustained last week. ___ strong>UNBEATEN STARTS /strong> The Manchester clubs are the only teams yet to lose in the league. While City's unbeaten start will be put under severe pressure at Stamford Bridge, United is expected to have an easy afternoon on Saturday against Crystal Palace — a team with the unwanted English top-flight record of having no point and no goals after six matches. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 29th, 2017