Advertisements


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: abscbn abscbnSep 29th, 2017

MPBL: Manila opens campaign with statement win over Bataan

Manila has wasted no time in making it known that it should be looked at as one of the contenders in the 2018 Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Anta Datu Cup. NAASCU standout Aris Dionisio had a breakout game in his league debut as the home team Stars stole the spotlight from stacked Bataan, 89-82, last Saturday at the San Andres Gym. Dionisio, the pride of St. Clare University, tallied 21 points, seven rebounds, three blocks and two steals to tow his team to a season-opening win. It was also his fastbreak layup in the dying seconds that sealed the deal for Manila and closed the door for good for the Risers who had the likes of ex-pro Gary David, UAAP star J-Jay Alejandro, NCAA star Gab Dagangon, as well as ABL champions Robbie Celiz and Pamboy Raymundo. Backstopping Dionisio were former PBA D-League player Adrian Celada who had 18 points to his name as well as ex-pros Reil Cervantes and Marvin Hayes who had 15 and 13 markers, respectively. For Bataan, Byon Villarias topped the scoring column with 17 points. The highly-touted team will have to wait a little longer to prove their worth, however. Meanwhile, Navotas has also barged into the win column courtesy of the hot hands of Levi Hernandez who shot his team over expansion team Pasay, 83-75. Arellano University product Hernandez poured in his 12 of his 26 points in the third quarter to take both the lead and momentum for the Clutch. They would never relinquish those en route to 1-0. Former San Beda University player Yvan Ludovice paced the 0-1 Voyagers with 17 points. BOX SCORES FIRST GAME NAVOTAS 83 – Hernandez 26, Publico 22, Arong 9, Neypes 7, Denison 6,  Trinidad 6, Porter 5, Sorela 2, Javelosa 0, Salem 0, Padilla 0, Gumaru 0 PASAY 75 – Ludovice 17, De Leon 15, Alanes 10, Lastimosa 8, Salcedo 7, Jamon 7, Balucanag 6, Vidal 2, Cadavis 2, Mendoza 1, Bartolo 0, Ilad 0 QUARTER SCORES: 11-20, 32-34, 60-57, 83-75 SECOND GAME MANILA 89 – Dionisio 21, Celada 18, Cervantes 15, Hayes 13, Yap 7, Sabellina 6, Bitoon 4, Rodriguez 3, Lopez 2, Laude 0, Cruz 0 BATAAN 82 – Villarias 17, Raymundo 14, Batino 13, Alejandro 12, David 7, Grospe 6, Inigo 6, Celiz 6, Tolentino 1, Dagangon 0, Faundo 0 QUARTER SCORES: 19-20,42-42, 69-64, 89-82 --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 17th, 2018

PBA: Baser-Chris just toppled June Mar-Christian

With San Miguel playing the first game in its title defense and Christian Standhardinger making his long-awaited debut, Baser Amer and Chris Newsome stole the spotlight. Amer collected 28 points, eight rebounds, and three assists while Newsome tallied 23 markers, seven boards, and four dimes as Meralco spoiled the Filipino-German’s welcome party with a 93-85 win on Wednesday at the MOA Arena. Post-game, Bolts head coach Norman Black did nothing but heap praise upon his backcourt. “Of course, our backcourt did very, very well today. They did a great job combining their talents to win this basketball game,” he told reporters. He then continued, “The two of them really made a difference for us.” Indeed, Black’s young guards not only matched their veteran counterparts in Alex Cabagnot and Chris Ross, but actually outworked them – for one night, at least. Cabagnot ended with 16 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists while Ross finished with two markers, four boards, and two dimes. And with those two leading the charge for Meralco, and import Arinze Onuaku as well as key cogs Jared Dilinger and Cliff Hodge doing their part, the highly-touted twin towers of four-time MVP June Mar Fajardo and Standhardinger were unable to lift the Beermen to a win. If his backcourt continues to play this way, the multi-titled mentor has no doubt that they will continue to prove the cornerstones for the Bolts. “Both guys are only in their third year and they’re quite young in the PBA, but they’re very talented and they play well together. They are actually pretty much the future of Meralco,” he said. For Amer, it was all about just stepping up and coming through. “Lagi rin namang sinasabi ni coach na kailangan kami yung maging tandem sa team. Kami yung bata sa team so okay na okay kami ni Newsome,” he said. And the Davao native vows to just keep going. “Siyempre, as a player, challenge yung every game, maging consistent. Sa next game, yung ibang team, prepared na sayo so challenge talaga sa amin lahat kung paano ma-sustain every game yung ganung laro,” he said......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 9th, 2018

2018 MLB preview: NL East

By The Associated Press Capsules of National League East teams, listed in order of finish last year: ___ Washington Nationals 2017: 97-65, first place, lost to Cubs in NLDS. Manager: Dave Martinez (first season). He's Here: 1B-OF Matt Adams, C Miguel Montero, RHP Jeremy Hellickson, RHP Joaquin Benoit, INF Matt Reynolds. He's Outta Here: Manager Dusty Baker, LF Jayson Werth, 1B-LF Adam Lind, C Jose Lobaton, RHP Matt Albers. Projected Lineup: SS Trea Turner (.284, 11 HRs, 45 RBIs, 46 SBs in 98 games), LF Adam Eaton (.297, 2, 13 in 23 games), RF Bryce Harper (.319, 29, 87), 3B Anthony Rendon (.301, 25, 100, 41 2Bs), 2B Daniel Murphy (.322, 23, 93, 43 2Bs, expected to begin season on DL recovering from knee surgery), 1B Ryan Zimmerman (.303, 36, 108, 33 2Bs), CF Michael A. Taylor (.271, 19, 53), C Matt Wieters (.225, 10, 52). Rotation: RH Max Scherzer (16-6, 2.51 ERA, NL-high 268 Ks, 200 2/3 IP, 3rd Cy Young Award), RH Stephen Strasburg (15-4, 2.52, 204 Ks), LH Gio Gonzalez (15-9, 2.96, 79 walks), RH Tanner Roark (13-11, 4.67), RH A.J. Cole (3-5, 3.81 in 11 appearances) or RH Jeremy Hellickson (8-11, 5.43 with Phillies and Orioles). Key Relievers: LH Sean Doolittle (2-0, 2.81, 24/26 saves with Athletics and Nationals), RH Ryan Madson (5-4, 1.83, 2 saves with Athletics and Nationals), RH Brandon Kintzler (4-3, 3.03, 29/35 saves with Twins and Nationals), LH Sammy Solis (1-0, 5.88, 1 save), RH Shawn Kelley (3-2, 7.27, 4 saves), RH Joaquin Benoit (1-6, 4.65, 2 saves with Phillies and Pirates). Hot Spots: Fifth Starter and Catcher. The Nationals have as good a 1-2 combination at the front of their rotation as anyone in the big leagues, with Scherzer and Strasburg. Their 3-4 slots aren't too shabby, either, with Gonzalez and Roark. But the big question is, who will be the fifth starter — the inexperienced Cole or late free-agent pickup Hellickson? The only other spot with some real doubts is catcher, where Wieters is coming off a terrible year at the plate. Outlook: This might very well be the end of an era at Nationals Park, with Harper eligible to leave as a free agent after the season and GM Mike Rizzo's contract set to expire, too. The team has won four NL East titles in the past six years but has zero playoff series wins to show for it. That's why yet another manager (Baker) lost his job, and yet another rookie skipper has been brought in (will Martinez have more success than Matt Williams?). Rizzo has made no secret of the need to start making postseason inroads — a World Series is the stated goal, and that's certainly not an outrageous aim, given all the talent he's assembled. The lineup remains almost exactly the same, although Werth is gone after playing out his seven-year contract, and the rotation and bullpen are also nearly identical to the way they looked at the end of 2017. ___ Miami Marlins 2017: 77-85, second place. Manager: Don Mattingly (third season). He's Here: INF Starlin Castro, CF Lewis Brinson, OF Cameron Maybin, 1B Garrett Cooper, RHP Jacob Turner, OF-1B Scott Van Slyke, RHP Jumbo Diaz, RHP Sandy Alcantara. He's Outta Here: RF Giancarlo Stanton, LF Marcell Ozuna, CF Christian Yelich, 2B Dee Gordon, RHP Tom Koehler, OF Ichiro Suzuki, RHP Dustin McGowan, C A.J. Ellis. Projected Lineup: RF Cameron Maybin (.228, 10 HRs, 35 RBIs, 33 SBs with Angels and Astros), CF Lewis Brinson (.106, 2, 3 in 21 games with Brewers), 2B Starlin Castro (.300, 16, 63 in 112 games with Yankees), 1B Justin Bour (.289, 25, 83, .902 OPS in 108 games), C J.T. Realmuto (.278, 17, 65), LF Derek Dietrich (.249, 13, 53), 3B Brian Anderson (.262, 0, 8 in 25 games), SS Miguel Rojas (.290, 1, 26 in 90 games). Rotation: RH Jose Urena (14-7, 3.82 ERA), RH Dan Straily (10-9, 4.26, 170 Ks), RH Odrisamer Despaigne (2-3, 4.01), RH Jacob Turner (2-3, 5.08 with Nationals), LH Justin Nicolino (2-3, 5.06). Key Relievers: RH Brad Ziegler (1-4, 4.79, 10/15 saves), RH Kyle Barraclough (6-2, 3.00, 1 save), RH Drew Steckenrider (1-1, 2.34, 54 Ks in 34 2/3 IP), RH Junichi Tazawa (3-5, 5.69), RH Nick Wittgren (3-1, 4.68). Hot Spot: Starting Rotation. Urena had a breakout season in 2017, and Straily tied for the NL lead with 33 starts, but they're the only established starters. The other three spots will likely be a revolving door occupied by a mix of prospects and journeymen, and the results could be ugly. One potential bright spot is the 22-year-old Alcantara, who had a 4.32 ERA in eight games for the Cardinals last year. He'll begin the season in the minors but might join the Marlins before summer. Outlook: New CEO Derek Jeter is accustomed to winning, and that is about to change. He traded away half of last year's starting lineup, including the NL MVP in Stanton, which means the Marlins are rebuilding yet again. Even with an entirely new outfield, the offense could be decent. But Castro and Realmuto are potential trade bait and might be gone before August, and the season will almost surely end Sept. 30, leaving the Marlins out of the playoffs for the 15th year in a row. This season is really all about developing prospects acquired in those offseason trades, and if youngsters such as Brinson and Alcantara perform well, 2018 will be considered a successful start for the Jeter regime. ___ Atlanta Braves 2017: 72-90, third place. Manager: Brian Snitker (third season). He's Here: RHP Brandon McCarthy, RHP Anibal Sanchez, LHP Scott Kazmir, INF Charlie Culberson, OF Preston Tucker, OF Ronald Acuna, 3B Austin Riley, OF Jeff Decker, 2B Christian Colon, RHP Shane Carle. He's Outta Here: OF Matt Kemp, RHP R.A. Dickey, 3B Adonis Garcia, 1B Matt Adams, INF Jace Peterson, RHP Jason Motte. Projected Lineup: CF Ender Inciarte (.304, 11 HRs, 57 RBIs, 22 SBs, Gold Glove), 2B Ozzie Albies (.286, 6, 28, 8 SBs in 57 games), 1B Freddie Freeman (.307, 28, 71 in 117 games), C Tyler Flowers (.281, 12, 49) or Kurt Suzuki (.283, 19, 50), RF Nick Markakis (.275, 8, 76), LF Ronald Acuna (.325, 21, 82, 44 SBs with 3 minor league teams) or Lane Adams (.275, 5, 20, 10 SBs), 3B Johan Camargo (.273, 14, 65) or Charlie Culberson (.154, 0, 1 in 15 games with Dodgers), SS Dansby Swanson (.232, 6, 51). Rotation: RH Julio Teheran (11-13, 4.49 ERA), RH Mike Foltynewicz (10-13, 4.79), RH Brandon McCarthy (6-4, 3.98 in 19 games with Dodgers), LH Sean Newcomb (4-9, 4.32 in 19 games), RH Anibal Sanchez (3-7, 6.41 with Tigers), LH Scott Kazmir (10-6, 4.56 with Dodgers in 2016) or LH Luiz Gohara (1-3, 4.91 in 5 games). Key Relievers: RH Arodys Vizcaino (5-3, 2.83, 14/17 saves, 64 Ks in 57 1/3 IP), RH Jose Ramirez (2-3, 3.19), LH A.J. Minter (0-1, 3.00, 26 Ks, 15 IP in 16 games), RH Dan Winkler (1-1, 2.51 in 16 games), LH Sam Freeman (2-0, 2.55 in 58 games). Hot Spot: Third Base. Camargo was the probable starter before an oblique injury left his status uncertain for the beginning of the season. Culberson, expected to play a utility role, or Rio Ruiz would be next in line. Austin Riley, a 2015 first-round pick who has not yet reached Triple-A, might be a year or two away. Camargo, who shared time with Swanson at shortstop last year, could be more than a stopgap if he can provide some of the power the Braves need at a corner infield spot. Outlook: Teheran, Foltynewicz and Newcomb have provided reasons this spring to believe they can improve their 2017 numbers. The progress of Newcomb, one of the team's many touted pitching prospects, became especially important when Gohara sustained a groin injury that will keep him from being ready for the start of the season. For a change, the spring spotlight was on a position player; Acuna was hitting .432 with four homers, 11 RBIs and four steals when he was sent to minor league camp. The move involving the 20-year-old top prospect was expected. It was made to maintain an extra full season of contractual control down the road, but Acuna likely will be recalled in April and immediately start in left field. He could provide a needed power bat to help Freeman in the middle of the lineup. The Braves likely are still at least a year away from contending in the NL East, but improved starting pitching could push them closer to .500 this year. ___ New York Mets 2017: 70-92, fourth place. Manager: Mickey Callaway (first season). He's Here: 3B Todd Frazier, RF Jay Bruce, LHP Jason Vargas, 1B Adrian Gonzalez, RHP Anthony Swarzak, LHP Matt Purke, C Jose Lobaton. He's Outta Here: Manager Terry Collins, LHP Josh Smoker, LHP Josh Edgin, RHP Chasen Bradford, OF Norichika Aoki, RHP Erik Goeddel, RHP Tyler Pill, LHP Tommy Milone, OF Travis Taijeron. Projected Lineup: 2B Asdrubal Cabrera (.280, 14 HRs, 59 RBIs, .351 OBP), LF Yoenis Cespedes (.292, 17, 42, .892 OPS in 81 games), RF Jay Bruce (.252, 36, 101 with Mets and Indians), 3B Todd Frazier (.213, 27, 76, .344 OBP with White Sox and Yankees), 1B Adrian Gonzalez (.242, 3, 30, .642 OPS in 71 games with Dodgers) or Dominic Smith (.198, 9, 26, .658 OPS, 49 Ks in 49 games), C Travis d'Arnaud (.244, 16, 57, .293 OBP in 112 games) or Kevin Plawecki (.260, 3, 13, .364 OBP in 37 games), CF Brandon Nimmo (.260, 5, 21, .379 OBP, .797 OPS in 69 games) or Juan Lagares (.250, 3, 15, .296 OBP, .661 OPS in 94 games), SS Amed Rosario (.248, 4, 10, 49 Ks, 3 BBs, .271 OBP, .665 OPS in 46 games). Rotation: RH Noah Syndergaard (1-2, 2.97 ERA, limited to 30 1/3 innings by lat injury), RH Jacob deGrom (15-10, 3.53, 239 Ks, 201 1/3 IP), LH Jason Vargas (18-11, 4.16, 179 2/3 IP in 32 starts with Royals), RH Matt Harvey (5-7, 6.70, 110 hits, 21 HRs, 67 Ks, 47 BBs in 92 2/3 IP), LH Steven Matz (2-7, 6.08 in 13 starts), RH Zack Wheeler (3-7, 5.21, 97 hits, 81 Ks, 40 BBs, 86 1/3 IP in 17 starts). Key Relievers: RH Jeurys Familia (2-2, 4.38, 6 saves in 26 games), RH AJ Ramos (2-4, 3.99, 27 saves with Marlins and Mets), RH Anthony Swarzak (6-4, 2.33, 91 Ks, 22 BBs, 58 hits, 77 1/3 IP in 70 games with White Sox and Brewers), LH Jerry Blevins (6-0, 2.94, 1 save, 69 Ks, 24 BBs, 49 IP in 75 games), RH Paul Sewald (0-6, 4.55, 69 Ks, 21 BBs, 65 1/3 IP in 57 games), RH Seth Lugo (7-5, 4.71, 101 1/3 IP in 19 games, 18 starts) or RH Robert Gsellman (8-7, 5.19, 119 2/3 IP in 25 games, 22 starts). Hot Spot: First Base. The 35-year-old Gonzalez, a five-time All-Star weakened by a bad back last season, was signed at a bargain price to provide competition and short-term insurance for Smith, a top prospect who struggled in his initial taste of the majors last year. Smith, 22, slimmed down in the offseason but was disciplined early in camp for arriving late one day. Then he strained a quad, keeping him out of the lineup for most of spring training, so it seems unlikely he'll make the opening day roster. Gonzalez, meanwhile, batted .182 with one extra-base hit and 11 strikeouts in his first 44 Grapefruit League at-bats before connecting for a home run. Wilmer Flores can play first against left-handers, but vs. righties the Mets either need Gonzalez to find the Fountain of Youth or Smith to live up to his first-round hype. Outlook: Callaway had great success with Cleveland's arms and the injury-plagued Mets are counting on his methods, along with new pitching coach Dave Eiland, to keep their talented but fragile rotation intact. New York also overhauled its medical department, hoping to keep star players on the field. Syndergaard and deGrom make for an imposing 1-2 punch. So if Harvey, Matz and Wheeler — even one or two of them — can finally stay healthy and approach their initial big league form, the pitching staff could be terrific again after unraveling last year with a 5.01 ERA that ranked 28th in the majors. Vargas was signed to eat innings but will miss some time at the beginning of the season following surgery for a broken right (non-pitching) hand. All-Star outfielder Michael Conforto (27 HRs, .384 OBP, .939 OPS) is targeting a May 1 return from surgery for a dislocated left shoulder. His status is critical to a lineup that lacks speed and a natural leadoff hitter. Nimmo made strides last season and is a potential candidate for that role while platooning early with Lagares to fill Conforto's spot in center field. After the Mets spent nearly $90 million to plug holes in free agency, it still might be a stretch to envision them seriously challenging star-studded Washington for NL East supremacy. But with better health in a soft division, they could certainly rejoin the wild-card hunt. ___ Philadelphia Phillies 2017: 66-96, fifth place. Manager: Gabe Kapler (first season). He's Here: RHP Jake Arrieta, 1B Carlos Santana, RHP Pat Neshek, RHP Tommy Hunter. He's Outta Here: Manager Pete Mackanin, SS Freddy Galvis, INF Andres Blanco, OF Daniel Nava, OF Hyun Soo Kim, RHP Clay Buchholz, 1B Tommy Joseph. Projected Lineup: 2B Cesar Hernandez (.294, 9 HRs, 34 RBIs, 15 SBs), 1B Carlos Santana (.259, 23, 79 with Indians), RF Nick Williams (.288, 12, 55) or Aaron Altherr (.272, 19, 65), LF Rhys Hoskins (.259, 18, 48), CF Odubel Herrera (.281, 14, 56), C Jorge Alfaro (.318, 5, 14), 3B Maikel Franco (.230, 24, 76), SS J.P. Crawford (.214, 0, 6 in 23 games). Rotation: RH Aaron Nola (12-11, 3.54 ERA, 184 Ks), RH Jake Arrieta (14-10, 3.53, 163 Ks with Cubs), RH Vince Velasquez (2-7, 5.13 in 15 starts), RH Nick Pivetta (8-10, 6.02), RH Zach Eflin (1-5, 6.16) or RH Ben Lively (4-7, 4.26). Key Relievers: RH Hector Neris (4-5, 3.01, 26/29 saves), RH Pat Neshek (5-3, 1.59, 1 save with Phillies and Rockies), RH Tommy Hunter (3-5, 2.61, 1 save with Rays), LH Adam Morgan (3-3, 4.12), RH Luis Garcia (2-5, 2.65). Hot Spot: Starting Rotation. There are a lot of question marks beyond Nola, who emerged as a reliable starter in 2017. Arrieta, the former Cubs ace, had a rough first half in 2017 but finished strong. Yet he was a free agent until mid-March. He's getting paid big bucks to be a No. 1 guy again. Jerad Eickhoff will begin the season on the DL and Velasquez is coming off a disappointing year after showing promise in 2016. Pivetta has upside but needs more maturity. The team has plenty of depth at Triple-A, including several pitchers who have big league experience, in case any of the starters falter or get hurt. Outlook: The decision to sign Arrieta signals the rebuild is over. The Phillies added Santana, Neshek and Hunter to a talented young roster in hopes of being competitive. A month into spring training, they added Arrieta because management thinks it's time to contend now. The lineup has the potential to be dynamic if the young hitters continue to emerge and Santana does what he did in Cleveland. The bullpen should be formidable with Hunter-Neshek-Neris at the back end. If Arrieta regains his old form, Nola lives up to his promise and a couple other starters take steps forward, the Phillies can not only end their five-year run of losing seasons but maybe even make a surprise push for a postseason berth......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 29th, 2018

Spain experimenting with its forwards ahead of World Cup

By Tales Azzoni, Associated Press MADRID (AP) — Spain enters the final stage of its World Cup preparations with coach Julen Lopetegui experimenting up front. Lopetegui has called up several different forwards since taking over the national squad and has plenty of options to choose from before announcing the final list for Russia in a few months. It won't be an easy decision because Spain has thrived in attack with a deep stock of strikers. The team has outscored opponents 52-10 in the 16 matches played under Lopetegui. The coach will get a chance to have a final look at some of his forwards in the high-profile friendlies against Germany on Friday in Dusseldorf and Argentina on Tuesday in Madrid. Still unbeaten since Lopetegui arrived after the 2016 European Championship, Spain will go to Russia trying to rebound from disappointments in the last two major soccer tournaments — it was eliminated in the group stage of the 2014 World Cup and in the last 16 at Euro 2016. Here's a closer look at the key issues three months before the World Cup: ___ ATTACK Lopetegui has called up more than 10 strikers since his arrival, with the most-recent list including Diego Costa, Iago Aspas, Rodrigo and Lucas Vazquez. Alvaro Morata, Jose Callejon and Victor "Vitolo" Machin had been regulars in previous lists but were left out of the important pre-World Cup friendlies. Costa hadn't been called up in more than nine months because he couldn't play with Atletico Madrid until the team's transfer ban from FIFA ended in January, while Vazquez hadn't made Lopetegui's list since last year. Aspas has been a regular name in Lopetegui's teams even though he hasn't played much as a starter. Morata was left out of the current list because of physical problems but Lopetegui said the Chelsea player still has a good chance of making it to Russia. "Strikers are always under pressure," Costa said Wednesday. "We need to score goals, otherwise there will be pressure." ___ MORE ATTACK Among the other forwards tested by Lopetegui are Manuel "Nolito" Agudo, Paco Alcacer, Pedro Rodriguez, Aritz Aduriz, Gerard Deulofeu and even 36-year-old veteran David Villa. They had few opportunities recently, though, and are considered a longshot to make it to Russia even though Lopetegui said he hasn't closed the door on anybody. "Some players were not included in this (last) list but they still remain with their chances intact," Lopetegui said. "All players still have chances." ___ MIDFIELD A few attacking midfielders seem to have their spots secured after several call-ups under Lopetegui, including Isco, Marco Asensio, Saul Niguez and David Silva. Silva is among the players with the most minutes in Lopetegui's team, along with Sergio Busquets and goalkeeper David De Gea. Silva also has the most goals scored under Lopetegui with 11, followed by Morata with seven. ___ DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDERS Busquets, Thiago Alcantara, Jorge "Koke" Resurreccion and Andres Iniesta are practically assured of a spot at the World Cup, which will likely be the last for Iniesta. The 33-year-old Barcelona player has been struggling with his physical condition in recent months and hasn't played regularly with the Catalan club. Busquets will miss the friendlies against Germany and Argentina because of a fractured finger in his foot but is expected to recover in time for the tournament in Russia. ___ DEFENSE It will also probably be the last World Cup for Gerard Pique, who has said he plans to retire from the national team after playing in Russia. Sergio Ramos will most likely be his teammate in central defense at the World Cup, with Jordi Alba and Dani Carvajal playing alongside them on the flanks. Left back Marcos Alonso got his first call-up for the upcoming friendlies and will be fighting to be in Lopetegui's final list. "I'm getting a chance to show my worth," the Chelsea player said. ___ GOALKEEPERS Calls for the return of Iker Casillas are long gone as De Gea continues to play in top form and is more than secured as the team's starter in Russia. Kepa Arrizabalaga and Pepe Reina have been included in Lopetegui's most-recent lists and are expected to be the reserve goalkeepers......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 21st, 2018

DOC VOLLEYBALL: Halfway to Greatness

UAAP Season 80 women's volleyball continues to prove itself as the most unpredictable season in recent history. With a good mix of key losses as well as additions across the board for all competitors, the league is at an all out rock-paper-scissors slugfest. Though the current standings clearly represent a quintessential Bell Curve, Season 80 maintains its unpredictability as evidenced by teams upsetting each other. In addition, the sheer number of five-set matches so far is an indication how tight the competition is this season. UE Lady Warriors: 1 - 6 Despite initial concerns about the leave of head coach Francis Vicente, the UE Lady Warriors surprised the league with their maiden win at the expense of the season’s Dark Horse, the Adamson Lady Falcons. Under the mentorship of multi-awarded UE High School coach Rod Roque, the Lady Warriors were able to play their best game so far this season. For that particular win against the Lady Falcons, Coach Roque’s game plan was just to encourage the team to play carefree and enjoy as he is just taking over a team he has never handled. It is a given that UE is a team brimming with potential. They have decent size as well as a good number of seasoned veterans in Shaya Adorador and Kat Arado, who have not been maximized unfortunately. The handover to Coach Roque might just be the much-needed break for UE as they have found new confidence moving on to the second round making them more threatening to upset more teams. UST Golden Tigresses: 2 - 5 Considered to be one of the main contenders based on their pre-season performance, the UST Golden Tigresses have fallen short of expectations as a series of early key injuries has prevented the team from playing to full capability. Ending the first round with two successive disheartening losses against the UP Lady Maroons and old time rivals FEU Lady Tamaraws, UST is pressed to turn around their performance to keep their Final Four dreams alive. UST’s offensive threat from the wings cannot be underestimated as they have league top scorer Cherry Rondina from the left and power player Dim Pacres from the right. However, what the team still lacks is the offensive and defensive threats from the middle reminiscent of the days of Mary Jean Balse and Maika Ortiz. As long as the middles are not generating enough points off the quick or slide attack, the team is expected to continue struggling against better blocking teams through the second round as Rondina continues to be in the spotlight. UP Lady Maroons: 2 - 5 All hopes were high for the UP Lady Maroons to finally break in once again to the Final Four this season under new foreign coach Godfrey Okumu. The squad however kicked off season 80 disappointingly far from their stellar 4-0 run last season. Despite setter Ayel Estranero showing more mastery over shoot sets to the wings and Tots Carlos sporting more power in her attacks, the team has struggled with their floor passing to severely limit their offense set up. Much like UST, UP has yet to show breakout performances from the middles as they continue to struggle getting the first pass consistently to the setter. Much to their credit though, Coach Okumu has adjusted to their struggles by utilizing different patterns for their passing system as well as even going for a 6-2 set-up just to tap into Estranero’s floor play. The gamble proved successful with their win over UST and this system might be their solution to bounce back this second round. Adamson Lady Falcons: 3 - 4 The return of veterans Mylene Paat and Fhem Emnas as well as the addition of transferee Eli Soyud were clear indications that the Lady Falcons this season won't be their former pushover status. True enough, the team started the season strong with massive victories against top seeded teams such as FEU and DLSU as well as trouncing UP in straight sets. Given that head coach Air Padda has much more utility with addition of new seasoned players, the team still lacks consistency as evidenced by their poor passing performance in their game against UST and the error-laden upset by UE to end the first round. Technically, Padda’s passing and transition defense patterns are the most efficient but a lack of more aggressive serving (i.e. fast, flat, well-placed floaters) as well as their tendency to commit individual unforced errors limit the team from winning more games they are undeniably capable of. Ateneo Lady Eagles: 4 - 3 After a concerning opening for the second-seeded team, the Ateneo Lady Eagles managed to go on a four-game win streak midway to still maintain a spot in the top four so far. The team’s three losses were notably against the three tough-serving teams: FEU, DLSU, and NU. The glaring inefficiency in the passing department has been the Lady Eagles’ exploited weakness as evidenced by the barrage of aces DLSU let out in their recent match. Relative to other teams, Ateneo’s offense is not composed of power hitters. As such, the team runs fast and well-placed attacks that heavily rely on efficient first ball to circumvent the opposing block and floor defense. Unless the team manages to remedy their passing and defense patterns, setter Deanna Wong would continue to be forced to do bump sets that are not ideal for non-power hitters making it harder for the team to run the offense. FEU Lady Tamaraws: 5 - 2 The FEU Lady Tamaraws continue to live up to pre-season expectations as one of the top contenders this season. Despite early expectations that Queen Tamaraw Bernadette Pons will have the spotlight in the scoring department, the squad has proven that it's not a one- woman show through commendable ball distribution by setter Kyle Negrito. The team has also proven to be dominant in the serving department as evidenced by their dismantling of weaker passing teams NU, Ateneo, and UST. The combination X-play continues to be the team’s bread and butter offense but its reliance on consistent excellent passing might be a concern against better serving teams like La Salle moving forward to the second round. De La Salle Lady Spikers: 5 - 2 The Lady Spikers continue to prove their defending champion status despite the loss to current top seed NU and the upset by league dark horse Adamson. Despite not being considered as crafty as her predecessor Kim Fajardo, setter Michelle Cobb does her job well in running the offensive set-up for basic plays. Perhaps where the setting falls short is the lack of maximization of Queen Spiker Majoy Baron as she has yet to produce outputs comparable to last season. In line with that, the defending champions have yet to be seen utilizing more back row attacks as added offensive options on transition defense since the left wing is almost always their option on a sub-optimal first ball. NU Lady Bulldogs: 6 - 1 The long developmental process of the Lady Bulldogs is coming into fruition under the new mentorship of coach Babes Castillo. With a roster of seasoned veterans and decent size, the Lady Bulldogs have all the artillery to finally claim the crown. Their lone loss under the hands of the Lady Tamaraws could be well attributed to the fact that Queen Bulldog Jaja Santiago could be mitigated in the middle with well placed aggressive serves. The challenge then for NU moving on to the second round is how to be able to still maximize Santiago in the frontline in the onset that she is relegated to mere decoy status due to a sub-optimal first ball.    .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 6th, 2018

Best in history Ronaldo put to test by Messi in clasico

By Joseph Wilson, Associated Press BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo has made his claim. Now he has to live up to it. Ronaldo will face Lionel Messi on Saturday for the first time since the Portugal forward declared himself “the best player in the history” of soccer after equaling the Argentine’s five Ballon d’Or awards this month. Basking in the spotlight of a glitzy ceremony under the Eiffel Tower, Ronaldo felt confident enough to put himself at the pinnacle of the sport, ahead of Messi and other greats like Pele and Diego Maradona. “You will go and say that I have a big head, but when you’re at the top, it’s normal that you’re criticized,” he told France Football. “I am the best player in history, in both good and bad times.” Personalities aside, Ronaldo has a tough case to make. He and Messi both have four Champions League titles, but Messi’s eight Spanish league titles double Ronaldo’s tally for Madrid and Manchester United. Messi also has the edge in their head-to-head duels. Messi has outscored Ronaldo 19-17 since Ronaldo joined Madrid in 2009. Prior to that, Messi scored in a 2-0 win over Ronaldo’s Manchester United in the 2009 Champions League final. The Barcelona-led Messi has also had a clear advantage over Ronaldo’s Madrid. Messi has helped Barcelona beat Ronaldo’s side 13 times, to eight wins for Madrid and seven draws. Overall, Messi holds the “clasico” record with 24 goals in 36 matches. Ronaldo is one goal shy of matching Madrid great Alfredo Di Stefano’s 18 goals against Barcelona. The camera-shy Messi insisted again on Monday when he was recognized for leading the Spanish league in goals last campaign that he put more value on team titles than individual honors. “Titles are our goal,” Messi said. “If individual statistics are there also, that’s even better, but they are not the objective.” Ronaldo has no doubt closed the gap with Messi after he led Madrid to back-to-back Champions League titles in the last two seasons. But for Atletico Madrid striker Fernando Torres, this past decade is still set to bear Messi’s mark. “If it wasn’t for (Ronaldo), Messi would have won twice as much,” Torres said Wednesday. “What Ronaldo has done in the age of Messi says a lot about him.” Ronaldo will need to be at his best on Saturday because anything other than a victory will deal a huge blow to Madrid’s title defense before the season reaches its midway point. Madrid enters the match in fourth place and trailing Barcelona by 11 with a match in hand. Atletico Madrid and Valencia are in second and third. “Given the situation we are in we are obligated to win,” Madrid defender Sergio Ramos said. Messi had one of his most memorable performances at Madrid last season when he scored his second of two brilliant goals in stoppage time to silence the Santiago Bernabeu. Madrid got revenge with wins of 3-1 and 2-0 in the Spanish Super Cup in August, when Barcelona was reeling from the departure of Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain. Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde, however, quickly rallied his team and the Catalan club has not lost since, a run of 24 matches. With Neymar gone, Valverde has succeeded in tightening up Barcelona’s defense. “It would be important to win for everything that would represent, since the match is so special, and we are playing at their ground,” Messi said. “There would still be a long way to go for the league title, but a victory would be a nice before the Christmas break.” Here are some other potential keys to the “clasico.” ___ SUAREZ Striker Luis Suarez has rediscovered his scoring touch at just the right time for Barcelona. After only scoring three times in the first 11 matches, Suarez has six goals in his last five league games. They will need him even more with backup forwards Paco Alcacer and Gerard Deulofeu injured. ___ BENZEMA Karim Benzema has only scored two goals in 11 league appearances for Madrid this season. The drop in production has contributed to Madrid’s stumbles, leading many fans to lament the exit of Alvaro Morata to Chelsea. ___ ALBA Jordi Alba has flourished going forward into the hole that Neymar used to occupy. The Spain left back is a favorite of Messi to weave together short-passing combinations that unlock packed defenses. His matchup against Madrid right back Dani Carvajal should be key. ___ BALE Gareth Bale is playing for his future. Recurrent injuries have cost the Wales winger his spot in Madrid’s starting lineup, with coach Zinedine Zidane preferring the playmaking — and sturdier legs — of Francisco “Isco” Alarcon. Bale returned after his latest injury layoff to help Madrid win the Club World Cup, but as a second-half substitute. He is likely to have that role against Barcelona and will need to make the most of the minutes he gets. ___ VERMAELEN Thomas Vermaelen was considered a lost cause. That was until defenders Samuel Umtiti and Javier Mascherano got injured, giving the Belgian another chance to find his spot in Barcelona’s rotation. Vermaelen has played six consecutive matches, a personal record for him at Barcelona. Injuries limited him to 11 league appearances in two seasons before he was loaned out to Roma last year. Now that he is back, the former Arsenal player will be critical to Barcelona’s chances of stopping Ronaldo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 21st, 2017

Pair of losses enough to leave Real Madrid reeling

By Tales Azzoni, Associated Press MADRID (AP) — It's only been two losses, but when it comes to Real Madrid, that's enough to put the team on the brink of turmoil. Consecutive defeats to newcomer Girona in the Spanish league and to Tottenham in the Champions League have left the team reeling. Madrid struggled in both matches despite playing with its top players, prompting a wave of criticism. Although Cristiano Ronaldo dismissed talk of a crisis and coach Zinedine Zidane said he is not worried, they both admitted that there's some work to do to get Madrid back on track. "We are not going to play well every time," Ronaldo said after Tuesday's 3-1 loss in England. "We have to change things and admit that we are not where we wanted to be right now." Zidane said it will take some time to restore the team's morale after the consecutive losses. "It's two defeats in a row and we can't be happy about it," Zidane said. "It's a difficult moment but you have to accept it. We have to keep our heads cool because this is soccer and we have a lot of games to play and there's still a lot of time to turn things around, and that's what we will do." Madrid remains in good position to advance from Group H in the Champions League, and it can do it with a victory at APOEL later this month. But the team is already eight points behind leader Barcelona in the Spanish league, a deficit it has never been able to overcome. Madrid had won four in a row in the league before last weekend's loss at Girona, but it got off to a slow start in which it failed to win its first three home games. Madrid is defending both the Spanish league and the Champions League titles this season. "We have to say calm," Ronaldo said. "Things are not as bad as they look. The team is not playing that badly, so we must remain confident. We have to think positively because it's the end of the season that counts, not the beginning." Zidane blamed the team's letdown on its numerous missed opportunities in front of goal. "There are moments in a season when you score goals from very few chances, and others when you struggle to do that," the former France midfielder said. "We have been creating opportunities but we are not being able to capitalize on them." Zidane said he has a group of experienced players who will be able to quickly steer the team back in the right direction. Ronaldo would have liked to see even more experience in the team at a moment like this. He said some of the players that the club let go in the offseason could have been making a difference right now, including Pepe, Alvaro Morata and James Rodriquez. "The new players who came to the squad have a lot of potential and they are the future of Madrid," said Ronaldo, who scored the team's goal on Tuesday at Wembley. "But if you ask me, every great player is always needed by a club, and Pepe was a great player, and Morata, James ... All players who have left used to make us a stronger team, obviously." Madrid defender Sergio Ramos said it's natural for fans to be upset with the team's recent struggles, but warned that nobody should count them out just yet. "When Madrid loses a couple of games there's always talk about a crisis," Ramos said. "But we have to remain calm and united. We are convinced that Madrid will overcome this very soon. Madrid always fights back, and if people think that we are done, time will show them wrong.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 3rd, 2017

2017-18 NBA season preview roundup

We're just hours away from tipping off the start of the 2017-18 NBA season. That means it's time to get caught up on your favorite team, their player movement, and their storylines entering this new campaign. Check out what you missed below: Opening day rosters Viewing guide for Oct. 18-23, 2017 Top opening day storylines 5 reasons why the Golden State Warriors will repeat 5 reasons why the Golden State Warriors won't repeat +++ Eastern Conference capsule previews “In a watered down East, Celtics-Cavs is the best thing going”   Atlantic Division Offseason moves Boston Celtics 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Offseason overhaul complete, new era begins for Celtics” Toronto Raptors 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Raptors hope offensive evolution pays off in playoffs” New York Knicks 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Anthony, Jackson gone, but Knicks’ losing likely to continue” Philadelphia 76ers 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “76ers put trust in oft-injured Embiid as franchise player” Brooklyn Nets 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Nets see potential for improvement behind bolstered roster” Central Division Offseason moves Cleveland Cavaliers 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “James returns, Cavaliers debut new 3-MVP starting lineup” Milwaukee Bucks 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Kidd looks to get young Bucks back up to speed quickly” Indiana Pacers 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Pacers change directions, making Turner, Oladipo new leaders” Chicago Bulls 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Bulls go all in on rebuild, gear up for run at high pick” Detroit Pistons 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Drummond under pressure as Pistons try to rebound” Southeast Division Offseason moves Washington Wizards 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Not since ’79: Wall, Beal eye 50 wins, East finals for Wiz” Atlanta Hawks 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Atlanta Hawks begin a long, painful rebuilding process” Miami Heat 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Heat are deep, and hoping that means they’ll contend in East” Charlotte Hornets 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Howard-Clifford reunion may determine Hornets’ success” Orlando Magic 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Magic seek better results, more wins with mostly same roster” Western Conference capsule previews “Surprise! Golden State is the team to beat out West, again” Northwest Division Offseason moves Utah Jazz 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Jazz hope Hood can pick up scoring slack after Hayward exit" Oklahoma City Thunder 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Thunder add reinforcements for MVP Westbrook" Portland Trail Blazers 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Jusuf Nurkic wants Blazers to channel Pistons of days past" Denver Nuggets 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Leaner Nikola Jokic eager to lead Nuggets back to playoffs" Minnesota Timberwolves 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Now or never for the Minnesota Timberwolves" Pacific Division Offseason moves Golden State Warriors 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Kerr pushes Warriors to keep joy, chase repeat championship" LA Clippers 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “With Paul gone, Clippers very much Blake Griffin’s team" Sacramento Kings 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “New-look, youthful Kings try to gain ground in tough West" LA Lakers 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Ball prepared to shine in spotlight with rebuilding Lakers" Phoenix Suns 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “In their 50th season, Suns patient in developing young team" Southwest Division Offseason moves San Antonio Spurs 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Aldridge still trying to find his place with Spurs" Houston Rockets 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Rockets add All-Star Paul as they look to take next step" Memphis Grizzlies 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “New-look Grizzlies leaning heavily on Parsons in new era" New Orleans Pelicans 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Pelicans’ Davis, Cousins embracing throw-back lineup" Dallas Mavericks 1 Team, 1 Stat preview “Mavs take tempered expectations into Nowitzki’s 20th season".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 17th, 2017

De Bruyne takes down former club Chelsea; Kane scores again

em>By Steve Douglas, Associated Press /em> Kevin De Bruyne felt he was never given a fair chance during an 18-month spell at Chelsea where he played nine games before asking to be sold for the sake of his career. Nearly four years later, the Belgium midfielder returned to Stamford Bridge as a highly coveted and more rounded player with Manchester City, and showed his former club exactly what it lost. De Bruyne helped City assert control of the biggest game of the English Premier League so far, then secured a 1-0 win with a 25-meter shot that flew into the top corner in the 67th minute. 'What happened, happened,' De Bruyne said. 'I have no regrets coming here — it made me stronger in my ways.' Playing in a deeper role as a center midfielder rather than as the winger who arrived at Chelsea in August 2012, De Bruyne is proving to be a crucial part of a City team that has won six of its seven league games — drawing the other one — and is unbeaten in 10 matches in all competitions. Even without Sergio Aguero and Benjamin Mendy, who sustained injuries over the past week, City dominated Chelsea in what left back Fabien Delph described as a 'big message' to the rest of the league. City stayed in first place on goal difference from Manchester United, which won 4-0 against a beleaguered Crystal Palace side that is still without a point or a goal. Romelu Lukaku scored his 11th goal in 10 games for United this season. Another player who cannot stop scoring is Harry Kane, who finished September with 13 goals from eight games by scoring twice in Tottenham's 4-0 win at Huddersfield. There were also wins for West Ham and Stoke. strong>CITY'S SIGNATURE WIN /strong> Three days after delivering one of its best European away displays to beat Atletico Madrid in the Champions League, Chelsea was overwhelmed by City's movement and passing ability. The hosts weren't helped by the loss to injury of striker Alvaro Morata in the first half. De Bruyne's goal came when he collected a pass from defense with a first-time flick to Gabriel Jesus. The striker laid the ball off instantly to De Bruyne, who surged through to the edge of the box before unleashing a left-footed shot that flew past goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. 'He made absolutely everything,' City manager Pep Guardiola said. 'He scores, assists, fights like a humble guy. I'm so happy for him as I know how happy he is.' It was Chelsea's first loss in the league since its opening-day home defeat to Burnley. Chelsea is six points beind the Manchester clubs. strong>ANOTHER BIG WIN /strong> United has four 4-0 wins in the league, a huge upgrade on last season when the team's title challenge faltered because of its profligacy. It helps having Lukaku in this kind of scoring form, although the striker had a quiet afternoon at Old Trafford by his high standards until he completed the scoring in the 86th minute. He scored for the sixth straight club game. Juan Mata opened the scoring inside three minutes and Marouane Fellaini netted either side of halftime, with the bushy-haired Belgium midfielder making the most of his extended run in the team owing to Paul Pogba's hamstring injury. strong>KANE'S SPREE /strong> Kane extended his bewildering run of goals in September by scoring twice in the first 23 minutes at Huddersfield, either side of Ben Davies' goal. 'It's difficult to find different words every three days,' Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino said of Kane, who he has lavished with praise in recent weeks — even saying he is 'in love' with him. Moussa Sissoko added a fourth goal in injury time for Tottenham, which is a point ahead of Chelsea in third place. strong>WINS FOR WEST HAM, STOKE /strong> Late goals secured wins for Stoke and West Ham, and earned a point for Watford. Peter Crouch was Stoke's match-winner with an 85th-minute goal in a 2-1 victory over Southampton. Diafra Sakho scored in the 90th minute as West Ham beat Swansea 1-0 at London Stadium. Richarlison left it even later for Watford, the Brazilian forward equalizing in the fifth minute of injury time in the 2-2 draw at West Bromwich Albion. Leicester held on to draw at dominant Bournemouth 0-0. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 1st, 2017

Caguioa downplays milestone, says he’s after more titles than individual feats

It's been almost six years since Mark Caguioa became PBA's poster boy when he won the league MVP in 2012, but that doesn't mean he will be stopped from making history. Caguiao on Wednesday moved into the 15th spot of the all-time scoring list when he reached 9,931 points to surpass 1977 MVP Freddie Hubalde, who had 9,927 points. Getting into the esteemed territory is, of course, a privilege for any player but the 38-year-old Caguioa is looking at the bigger picture. READ:PBA: Ginebra hammers Columbian, climbs to sixth place "The individual feats, I'm okay with them but when you're at this age I'm looking for more championships before I retire," said Caguioa after their 13...Keep on reading: Caguioa downplays milestone, says he’s after more titles than individual feats.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated News3 hr. 33 min. ago

Afril Bernardino is first woman awardee in Collegiate Basketball Awards

Honoring the heroes of season’s past, the 2018 Chooks-to-Go Collegiate Basketball Awards is set to distinguish three outstanding performers in college basketball on Thursday at The Bayleaf Intramuros, Manila. Alvin Pasaol, the Lyceum Pirates, and Afril Bernardino will be the recipients of special awards in the ceremony organized by the UAAP-NCAA Press Corps and supported by Chooks-to-Go and The Bayleaf Intramuros. The Breakout Player award will be given to Pasaol for his exceptional rise as one of the most prolific scorers in the collegiate ranks for University of the East, highlighted by his 49-point explosion in a single game. The Lyceum Pirates, meanwhile, are set to accept a Special Citation for their record-setting 18-0 run in the NCAA Season 93 eliminations, making the inspiring turnaround from league cellar-dwellers to legitimate title contenders. The Pirates of head coach Topex Robinson also ruled the Philippine Collegiate Champions League earlier this year for the first time in school history, stamping their mark as one of the top college basketball programs in the country. Bernardino, a former member of the National University Lady Bulldogs, will also be recognized as she will be receiving the Award of Excellence for her contributions to women’s college basketball. Already a legend as a three-time UAAP MVP, Bernardino also became a pioneer in her sport, winning the inaugural UAAP 3X3 tournament in Season 80. Now, she will be making history as the event's first-ever woman awardee. Pasaol, LPU, and Bernardino join Isaac Go of Ateneo and Donald Tankoua of San Beda, who are also set to receive the Pivotal Player awards during the awards nights before the collegiate basketball season resumes next month with the NCAA wars......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 19th, 2018

Kim Jong Un heads to Beijing—reports

SEOUL --- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un may visit Beijing soon to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping to discuss cooperation after his historic summit with U.S. President Donald Trump, a media report said Tuesday. A special Air Koryo flight headed to Beijing from Pyongyang on Tuesday, fanning speculations that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is making his third trip to China. Japanese media had reported earlier in the day that Beijing and Pyongyang were making arrangements for a meeting between Kim and Chinese President Xi Jinping. According to the reports, Kim is scheduled to arrive in Beijing some time Tuesday. If the meeting is held, it will be the third time for Kim to meet ...Keep on reading: Kim Jong Un heads to Beijing—reports.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJun 19th, 2018

Batang Gilas first-timer Carl Tamayo ready to take spotlight in World Cup

MANILA, Philippines – There’s a first time for everything, and National University (NU) Bullpups big man Carl Tamayo is ready for the challenge. After leaving the Adamson University (AdU) Baby Falcons where he won the UAAP Season 78 Rookie of the Year Award, the versatile 6-foot-7 youngster is finally suiting ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsJun 19th, 2018

DOC VOLLEYBALL: A Dilemma on Loop?

Flashback to March 2017, the whole volleyball community was abuzz about a newly formed national team set to compete in the Southeast Asian Games of that year as tryouts were held, but certain players, particularly from the Ateneo de Manila University, were allegedly not invited. An apology was then issued and special tryouts were held to accommodate the aforementioned athletes. Flashback to 2015, with a newly formed organization in Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. (LVPI) taking the reins from the Philippine Volleyball Federation (PVF) as the volleyball authority in the country, the future looked bright as for the first time in recent history, both the men’s and women’s teams were being sent to the Singapore SEA Games as representation of the sport’s resurgence. As with any newly formed roster, the composition was mired in controversy especially with the men’s team, which was composed of predominantly of young players. Flashback to 2014, with the power struggle between the aforementioned LVPI and PVF, the latter formed the infamous Amihan and Bagwis squads as the women’s and men’s national teams, respectively. Backed by then sponsor PLDT, the rosters boasted of the some of the country’s best talents from both divisions with the likes of Alyssa Valdez, Mark Espejo, Ara Galang, Tatan Pantone, Ran Ran Abdilla and Mark Alfafara to name a few. Both teams never saw the light of day outside the country as the PVF eventually lost its accreditation leading to the teams’ eventual disbandment. And the theme went on as the previous years are revisited. Fast forward to present time, 2018, and once again the volley community is abuzz with the formation of yet again a new national team with a familiar scenario in which local favorites did not make the cut. With the volleyball scene at an all time high in local following, it is quite inevitable for varying opinions on who should have been included in the line-up given the wide pool of talents especially in the women’s division. Coupled with a sudden change in coaching staff, the new roster is once again under scrutiny given the process the team as a whole was structured from the beginning. Another New Beginning Without taking anything from the players and coaches of the new women’s national team, the composition is relatively deserving of the spots for the roster. While expected shoe-ins who have performed tremendously well in the local leagues like Myla Pablo, Maika Ortiz, and Tatan Pantone were not afforded a slot in the team, the new line-up is still pretty much capable of representing the country. Middles – Aby Marano is the best fit amongst the middles who made the final cut. With exceptional timing and good lateral movement, Marano is expected to perform in the position well offensively and defensively despite the lack of height for a middle blocker internationally. Her agility and aggressiveness with her net play more than justifies her inclusion and assignment as the team captain. Her DLSU successor Majoy Baron would add much needed support as the second middle as she has proven to have the power and timing of Aby though much work can still be done for her agility in the net. Baron’s aggressive floaters will also be of much benefit on the service line. Lastly, Mika Reyes would provide the height should the need arise especially against foreign teams with bigger size. Left Wing – Alyssa Valdez’ inclusion as left wing hitter is of no question as she continues to prove that she is one of the best open hitters in the local scene. Perhaps working more on her bulk and power is something the coaching staff must consider to ensure that she can carry over her local performance to the international scene. Dindin Santiago-Manabat and Ces Molina likewise have proven themselves much capable of being offensive threats from the left and their decent size will be of much benefit in blocking against slides and opposite attacks from foreign counterparts. It would be beneficial as well if Santiago-Manabat develops mastery of passing and if Molina becomes a significant threat with the pipe in order for both athletes to really excel in the position. Although Cha Cruz is not much of a power hitter as compared to the aforementioned left hitters, she would serve a special position as the service and defense specialist for the team. If in scenarios in which she will serve in for a middle, her floor defense is of much benefit in Zone 5 and with her background as a former setter, she is still capable of setting up a decent play should the setter get the first contact. Right Wing – Though much of her collegiate season has been utilized hitting from the middle, Jaja Santiago is undeniably more fit for the opposite position. Despite her height and power, which could be considered an automatic criteria for the middle, Santiago has much work to be done with lateral motion which is also a crucial component for middle hitters. With her vertical reach and power, she is better off racking up points from the right wing and right back row as the main offensive option for the team. Likewise, Kim Dy is also a shoo-in for the opposite position as evidenced by her consistency in scoring and blocking from the right. With Kim Fajardo calling the plays, Kim Dy would be beneficial in running faster or creative plays should the need arise. Setters – The selection of Fajardo and Jia Morado is not to be questioned as both have proven and continue to prove that they are top-notch setters in the country. Both setters are a shoo-in for the national team as both are equal in consistency with Fajardo showing mastery in working the middles and Morado displaying her skill in making the wings work for her. Not much can be argued really about the selection of the two athletes. A reserve setter in Rhea Dimaculangan would be also beneficial as she has the consistency and creativity as the aforementioned setters as well as the height, which would be important in blocking. Libero – Currently hailed as one of Southeast Asia’s finest, Dawn Macandili is undeniably a good choice for the main libero position. With her agility and speed to pop up digs and impossible saves, her presence on the floor is highly beneficial for the team on transition defense. On the other hand, her counterpart Denise Lazaro has proven to be highly consistent from the receiving end of services making her inclusion as part of the regular roster and not just a reserve undeniably essential. With Lazaro setting up the passing formation and Macandili guarding on transition, their combined specialized efforts will ensure the first step in letting the setters run the play for the team. A Shift in View Given the fact that the talent pool in the women’s division is deep, player selection will always be put on debate as not all favored athletes will be included. Perhaps a good way of viewing the matter is that given the yet again short preparation time for the next international tournament, the coaching staff would best select players who they have already established a good working relationship for a more seamless adaptation of a new system. Rather than put into scrutiny the individual players, handpicked or not, the focus should be put on the system as a whole and how it can be further developed for the improvement of the sport. Yet again, the 2018 roster is proving to be another promising one as it has been almost every year when a new line-up is formed. More than bringing back pride to the country internationally in the tournaments immediately at hand, the bigger challenge for the national team is to prove itself not as yet another band aid solution in the attempt to have a continuous program. How the 2018 Team will prove itself different from its predecessors in past Asian/SEA Games would be the more important matter that should be put under the lens. With the sport currently a major source of livelihood for many athletes, the players are no longer the ones getting the short end of the stick but rather volleyball and its development as a whole should the loop continues. The country has much individual talent deserving of a spot in the team, but for as long as vested interests continue to rear their head in the Philippine Volleyball System, the level of the sport will continue to fall short in justifying its current local popularity.    .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 18th, 2018

Frustrated Mickelson swats moving ball with putter at Open

By Barry Wilner, Associated Press SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. (AP) — Whether he ever wins a U.S. Open — and that prospect is increasingly bleak at age 48 — Phil Mickelson will be remembered for what happened on the 13th green at Shinnecock Hills on Saturday. Call it the Mickelson Meltdown. His bogey putt from above the hole ran by the cup and was headed down a slope when he ran over and swatted it back toward the hole as the ball was still moving. "Sometimes it gets a little goofy, sure," he said, "but it's all within the rules." Mickelson's shocking display in the third round earned him a 2-stroke penalty for breaking the rule against hitting a moving ball and led to a 10 on the hole, an 81 overall. He went from shooting a 69 to making the cut to falling apart so badly that playing partner Andrew Johnston called it "a moment of madness." "I've had multiple times where I've wanted to do that," Mickelson said, explaining he preferred the 2-stroke penalty to having to play the ball from off the green. "I just finally did." Saturday was Mickelson's 48th birthday, and there were good vibes everywhere early in his round. He was serenaded with "Happy Birthday" at nearly every green, and even after four consecutive bogeys the fans were supportive. "People here have been awesome, they made my birthday special," he said. Then came No. 13, where nothing was special — just outrageous. Mickelson jogged after the ball after it curled around the hole, realizing it was about to head down the other side of the green. His swat sent the ball off the hole. He then two-putted. With the 2-shot penalty, he was given a sextuple-bogey 10 that was the highest score on any hole at this U.S. Open, according to the USGA. "I've wanted to do that many times. I should have done it several times at Augusta on 15," he said. As he walked off the green, he could be seen smiling and talking to Johnston, who also was smiling. "I said, 'That is one of the strangest things I have ever seen' and started laughing, and said 'sorry' about laughing," said Johnston, a jovial Englishman with the nickname Beef. "He just laughed at me, he had no words to say. We just laughed. "It's something you might see at your club with your mates. It was strange, no one ever has those thoughts, it just happens." Mickelson's actions were reminiscent of John Daly hitting a moving ball at Pinehurst No. 2 in the 1999 U.S. Open. Daly was on No. 8 in the final round when he took an 11 on the hole and signed for an 81. He then said: "This is my last U.S. Open — ever. I've had it with the USGA and the way they run their tournaments." He was back the next year at Pebble Beach, where he pumped three shots into the Pacific Ocean on the famed 18th and hit another shot into someone's backyard. That made for a 14, a total of 83 in the first round, and a withdrawal. Another player who let things get to him was Kirk Triplett in 1998 at Olympic Club. On the 18th hole in the second round, Triplett stuck his putter in the ground as a backstop when his ball was headed back down from the hole. Mickelson, who has been a U.S. Open runner-up six times, most recently in 2013, was having a miserable time Saturday before reaching 13. He had those four consecutive bogeys before a par at the 12th. After three more pars following the meltdown, he bogeyed 17, then parred 18. Asked if people would find his actions on No. 13 disrespectful, Mickelson said: "It's meant to take advantage of the rules as best as you can. In that situation, I was just going back and forth. I would gladly take the two shots over continuing that display." As for walking off the green chuckling, he insisted: "How can you not laugh? It's funny." ___ AP Golf Writer Doug Ferguson, AP Columnist Tim Dahlberg, and Sports Writer Jimmy Golen contributed to this report......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 17th, 2018

PBA: NLEX still clinging to flicker of hope remaining

With a 2-7 record, the NLEX Road Warriors' playoff hopes are getting slimmer by the minute. However, for coach Yeng Guiao, NLEX will still be trying to hold on to a 'flicker of hope remaining,' if they could win their remaining games against San Miguel and Magnolia, and hope for the best to force a tie at the bottom of the playoff picture. The 11th-seeded NLEX were able to make things interesting in the third quarter, taking a four-point lead briefly against the top-seeded Aces before collapsing in the final quarter. Even though they were not able to last against the Aces, Guiao commended his wards for making the game competitive up until the buzzer, a trait he wants to see the rest of the way. "If we're not lucky enough to make the playoffs this conference we’ll play as hard as we can the last two games and we’ll consider that as preparation for the  next conference...Baka may ano pa, baka-maka-tie ka pa. Meron ka pang playoffs ano? There's still a ficker of hope remaining, so we will hang to that." The six-time PBA champion coach was impressed with Mac Tallo's NLEX debut, who contributed 11 points, 3 assists, 3 steals, and 2 two blocks in his first game in six months, recovering from latent tuberculosis. He also let go of Tallo's blunders, who gave away the ball four times, but he vows to give a strong piece of his mind in the following games. "We have to demand something better out of his judgment, out of his decision-making, I think that will happen ano? Because MVP to sa Cebu, he's a go-to-guy, he can score, he can pass, he's a creator no for the team. And that's exactly what we need even without Kiefer and Kevin." As another project seen by the longtime coach, Guiao sees a combination of former Red Bull guard and Cebu teammate Jimwell Torion and the body structure of former league MVP Willie Miller. "He’s a strong point guard who can withstand a physical game," he said of the comparison for the first-round pick in the 2017 PBA Rookie Draft. Despite trying to fill the shoes of the backcourt of Kiefer Ravena and Kevin Alas, the NLEX mentor is not putting expectations for Tallo, already entrusting him with almost 20 minutes of playing time. "Wala akong pressure sa kaniya. I just want his natural game to develop, I just want him to be able to grasp the system of the team and the philosophy. Kaya binabad ko na siya today." __   Follow this writer on Twitter, @philipptionary......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 15th, 2018

Azkals captain Phil Younghusband excited to learn from new coach

Thursday evening, as the 2018 FIFA World Cup commenced in Russia, there was also a new beginning back home in the Philippines, with the hopes of one day also qualifying for the biggest stage in football. With around five months to go before their next major tournament, the AFF Suzuki Cup, the Philippine Azkals announced a brand new coaching staff, led by former England captain and new Philippine National Team head coach Terry Butcher. Butcher, who will be replacing Thomas Dooley, donned England’s colors for a decade, which included 77 caps and three World Cup appearances. And as a new era begins in Philippine football, the Azkals’ own team captain was nothing short of excited to be able to play for a compatriot of sorts. “Very proud, I’m looking forward to learning, being educated by someone who’s played at such a high level.” the Fil-British star told the media at Thursday’s press launch. “Other than the England team in 1966, he was part of the team that got the furthest, making it into the semifinals, unfortunately losing to Germany on penalties, he’s played at the highest level against the best players in the world, he would know what to do when coming up against high level players.” For Younghusband, who was born and grew up in England, being able to learn from someone who he admired as a child is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. “More than anything I’m excited to learn from him and be educated, especially from someone who I grew up watching.” From a personal standpoint, impressing the new guy calling the shots is a must for Younghusband. Having seen a number of coaches come and go, the team captain admits that familiarity is the challenge everytime someone new takes over the reins of control. “I think it’s not knowing, you’re wondering what the coach is thinking about you. Obviously you want to impress him, you want to show him what a good player you are, but there’s always that doubt in your head, does he think I’m a good player? Does he know I’m a good player? Does he know about the things I’ve done well in the past?” “That little bit of doubt can creep in, but it can work the other way as well. It can be a fresh new start, I can show the new coach what a good player I am. I’m sure that would be the case for most of us.” Younghusband added. With roughly five months to go before the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup and seven months to go before the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, it’ll be time for the Azkals to get back to work real soon. According to team manager Dan Palami, training camp begins in Bahrain this September. For Younghusband, chemistry shouldn’t be too much of an issue, especially with Coach Terry and Senior Football Adviser Scott Cooper coming in. “Pretty much most of the players are the same, obviously there will be a few new players coming in, but the chemistry within the team will be the same.” Younghusband said. “With the sort of level that Scott [Cooper] and Terry have coached at, they’re used to coming into teams  and making sure that the teams jell quickly and understand each other and understand their way of coaching.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 14th, 2018

Love affair with fire—or why Savage is Josh Boutwood’s enjoyable side

  At the moment, my favorite way to cook is using a wok. I'm not very good at it, having spent most of my time in domestic and professional kitchens using a traditional French batterie de cuisine with saut pans (both sautoir and sauteuse), saucepans, frying pans, omelette pans and even a pan dedicated to making tarte tatin, upside-down apple tart. I learned how to use a wok from Grace Young's books, rather than in a restaurant kitchen. So I use it in a domestic manner, rather than having a high-pressure burner that's adjusted using one's knees, while your hands are busy tossing the food several feet in the air and ladling stock into it all at once. I live in an apartmen...Keep on reading: Love affair with fire—or why Savage is Josh Boutwood’s enjoyable side.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJun 14th, 2018

PVL: Lady Warriors rise to top spot in quarters

Pocari Sweat-Philippine Air Force took another step forward in making sure its title defense goes through at least the semifinals of the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Reinforced Conference. Dropping the first set before regrouping and resoundingly taking the next three, the Lady Warriors sank Iriga-Navy, 23-25, 25-18, 25-20, and 25-22, on Wednesday at the Filoil Flying V Centre. Reinforcements Maddie Palmer and Ari Love showed the way with 19 and 18 points, respectively. Skipper Myla Pablo was also right there with them with 14 markers to her name. The defending champions took time to get going, though, and allowed Macy Ubben and the Lady Oragons to claim the first frame. “Parang diesel (kami). Yun nga, siguro, kailangan muna nilang masaktan siguro,” head coach Jasper Jimenez shared post-game. From that point, Love took charge and led Pocari Sweat-Air Force to an 8-5 start in the second set that blew up to a lead of as much as eight, 19-11. Both the lead and the momentum would stay with the Lady Warriors for the remainder of the match. Pablo and company are now 2-0 in the round robin quarterfinals – putting them closer and closer to the semifinals. “We need two more wins. Siguro, kung makadalawang panalo pa kami, that’s it, semifinals na,” Jimenez said. Disputing the last two seats in the semifinals along with Pocari-Sweat-Air Force and Iriga-Navy are BaliPure, BanKo-Perlas, Petro Gazz, and Tacloban. “Sana, magtuloy-tuloy ‘tong ganitong performance namin,” Jimenez also remarked. The Lady Oragons fell to 0-2 in the quarterfinals even after a 27-point performance from Ubben. Lauren Whyte also added 18 markers. The top two finishers in the round robin quarterfinals will move on to the next round. Already there are Creamline and PayMaya who secured the top spots in the Final Four after their respective impressive runs in the preliminary round. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 13th, 2018

Nintendo receives negative feedback from Waluigi fans

Fans of Super Mario villain Waluigi have spoken out against Nintendo for not making the character playable in upcoming Super Smash Bros. Ultimate game for the Nintendo Switch. The Nintendo stage time at the 2018 Electronic Entertainment Expo, held at the Los Angeles Convention Center from June 12 to 14, filled fans with excitement and later disappointment. The game company announced that Waluigi would only be an assist character, or Assist Trophy, and not a playable option for gamers to control, according to a report by The Washington Post. Furthermore, fans felt Nintendo disrespected Waluigi further by using him as part of the demonstration in getting points from beating A...Keep on reading: Nintendo receives negative feedback from Waluigi fans.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJun 13th, 2018