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NCAA: No LeBron, no Steph, but Mapua believes balance should be enough

Mapua University is off to a strong start in the NCAA 94 Men’s Basketball Tournament. The Cardinals flew higher than home team Jose Rizal University, 72-60, on Thursday even though their top scorer only had 11 points to his name. That top scorer was Laurenz Victoria and the only other player in double-digits was Warren Bonifacio who had 10 markers. For head coach Atoy Co, that just proves what he has been saying in the preseason – that Mapua is a starless squad. “Wala naman talaga kaming player na superstar, ‘di ba? Lahat kami, average lang yung player,” he shared with reporters post-game. That’s just the way the Cardinals want it, though. “I’ve been telling them na talagang everybody has to score. Ayaw ko ng role player na dedepensa lang kaya pag nalibre ka, you should know how to score,” coach Atoy said. He then continued, “Wala naman tayong LeBron James, ‘di ba? Sana meron tayong Steph Curry, pero that’s what I like about this team, talagang everybody contributes even on defense.” In the end, that’s just what he got from his boys as they had six players contributing anywhere between eight to 11 points in the scoring column. And in the end, that’s just the reason why Mapua has a share of the league lead. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnJul 12th, 2018

LOOK: LeBron James unveils 16th signature shoe

LeBron James has released his 16th signature shoe with sports brand Nike, his first one since signing with the Los Angeles Lakers.  The LeBron 16 dropped Saturday in a black and red colorway, aptly named "Fresh Bred". It continues James' longtime aesthetic for his signature sneakers that also works as the perfectly balance between support and its weight. Designer Jason Petrie, James’s longtime collaborator, says working with a physical freak of nature like LeBron creates a series of evolving challenges, Petrie believes the most groundbreaking part of the release is its knitting.  "They are mathematical artists and have created a new knit for the 16 that is strong enough to contain LeBron and successfully reduces any layers in the overall build that could slow him down," said Petrie. According to Nike, the knit is structured in a way t hat it increases tensile strength while having elegant finish matches The King's current style. The LeBron 16’s other notable feature is its height. At the direction of James, Petrie formed the shoe with a lower collar, which allows the athlete to move more freely. “The first thing we wanted to do was get a little lower in the cut of the shoe,” said James. “I wanted to get a little faster, ride a little bit closer to the court and be a little bit more dynamic.” Petrie and team also added a new gusseted leather tongue, allowing for seamless entry into the shoe and for broader styling choices off court. Underfoot, a simple evolution of the Max Air cushioning platform introduced in the LeBron 15 that supports James’s dynamic demands. The "Fresh Bred" launch colorway of the LeBron 16 will be available on nike.com September 20......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 8th, 2018

NCAA: Cardinals take flight again at expense of Chiefs

Mapua University finally got the inside-outside balance it has long been looking for in the NCAA 94 Men’s Basketball Tournament. Taking control right from tip-off and never looking back, the Cardinals flew away from Arellano University, 91-83, for a wire-to-wire win on Tuesday at the Filoil Flying V Centre. Christian Bunag and Warren Bonifacio took care of the paint while Cedric Pelayo and Eric Jabel did damage from the perimeter as they got back to their winning ways now at 2-2. “After ng talo namin last game, nag-double effort talaga kami para tumaas yung intensity namin,” lead guard Laurenz Victoria said. The Intramuros-based squad got going from the field early on with a 31-point opening salvo. Their lead would only go as high as 18 before Levi Dela Cruz steered the Chiefs back into the game, just down by five, 80-85, inside the last two minutes. It was at that point, however, that Pelayo nailed a midrange jumper and Bonifacio hit a hook shot to re-increase the Mapua edge to 89-80. That lead would prove to be more than enough and the Cardinals swooped into their first wire-to-wire win in the season. Bunag wound up with a 16-point, 10-rebound double-double while frontcourt partner Bonifacio had 12 markers and five boards of his own. Pelayo and Jabel then scored 13 and 15 points, respectively, as lead guard Laurenz Victoria made his presence felt in the other facets of the game with nine points, nine assists, and four rebounds. For Arellano, Dela Cruz topped the scoring column with 25 points. Unable to stop their opponents’ strong start, though, they dropped to 2-2 in the standings. BOX SCORES MAPUA 91 – Bunag 16, Jabel 15, Pelayo 13, Lugo 12, Bonifacio 12, Victoria 9, Biteng 6, Gamboa 6, Aguirre 2, Pajarillo 0 ARELLANO 83 – Dela Cruz 25, Alban 12, Dela Torre 10, Alcoriza 9, Segura 8, Concepcion 6, Ongolo Ongolo 4, Serajosef 3, Canete 2, Santos 2, Villoria 2, Codinera 0, Sacramento 0, Abdurassad 0, Bayla 0 QUARTER SCORES: 31-22, 52-40, 69-57, 91-83 --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 31st, 2018

NCAA: LSGH gets back on track by keeping San Beda winless

STANDINGS PERPETUAL 2-0 ARELLANO 2-0 LSGH 2-1 LPU 2-2 SAN SEBASTIAN 2-2 LETRAN 1-1 MAPUA 1-1 JRU 1-2 SAN BEDA 0-2 EAC 0-2 College of St. Benilde-La Salle Greenhills was well aware of what didn’t work and what they had to do to get back on track in the NCAA 94 Juniors Basketball Tournament. Joel Cagulangan and Sydney Mosqueda answered the call from the get-go as the Junior Blazers imposed their will on San Beda High School from start to finish for a 73-62 decision on Tuesday at the Filoil Flying V Centre. Mosqueda turned in his best game in recent memory with 15 points while Cagulangan stuffed the stat sheet with 14 markers, seven rebounds, six assists, and two steals. It was also those two who spearheaded the defending champions’ strong start. “Maganda yung start namin. I urged the boys to really start strong kasi we really tend to start weak so this time, we need to step up,” head coach Marvin Bienvenida said. Boosted by a 26-point opening salvo, CSB-LSGH cruised all the way to a much welcome bounce back to a 2-1 standing. “We’re hungrier for the win. Coming from a loss, ayaw namin mag-slide down,” Bienvenida said, referring to their sorry loss to Mapua High School the last time around. On the other hand, the Red Cubs remained winless after two games. Troy Valencia was their lone bright spot in this one with 10 points and seven rebounds. Meanwhile, Arellano High School forged a two-way tie for the top spot after making quick work of Lyceum of the Philippines University, 98-78. Lars Sunga scored 17 points to lead five other teammates in double-digits as the Braves used that balance to overwhelm their opponents and obtain back-to-back wins to start the season. Rom Junsay followed up his career game with 15 points in this one while Aaron Fermin remained a force inside with a 13-point, 20-rebound double-double. In the day’s other game, San Sebastian College-Recoletos grounded Jose Rizal High School, 92-78, to improve to 2-2. Their respective losses dropped the Junior Pirates to 2-2 and the Light Bombers to 1-2. BOX SCORES FIRST GAME ARELLANO 98 – Sunga 17, Junsay 15, Tempionuevo 14, Fermin 13, Formis 13, Espiritu 9, Sahali 6, Liangco 3, Cabili 2, Caniones 2, Tolentino 2, Domingo 0, Javier 0, Nepomuceno 0.   LPU 78 – Barba 24, Guadana 19, De Guia 9, Gudmalin 8, Jugar 6, De Leon 5, Omandac 3, Caringal 2, Tulabut 2, Cambi 0, Dejelo 0, Nocal 0, Pagdanganan 0, Ragasa 0, Santos 0. QUARTER SCORES: 18-16, 42-32, 65-51, 98-78 SECOND GAME    SAN SEBASTIAN 92 – Janao 23, Gomez 18, Baclaan 14, Bonalos 11, Balo 5, Pinero 5, Perez 5, Suico 4, Dela Cruz 4, Are 3, Cortes 0, Timbancaya 0, Loristo 0. JRU 78 – Amores 26, Icban 15, Delos Santos 9, Buno 8, Dionisio 6, Baluyot 5, Vasquez 4, Portales 3, Macatangay 2, Mendoza 0, Fortuna 0, Ganut 0, Garcia 0, Sy 0.  QUARTER SCORES: 23-16, 47-37, 69-60, 92-78 THIRD GAME CSB-LSGH 73 – Mosqueda 15, Cagulangan 14, David 12, Fornilos 9, Calimag 6, Palencia 6, Cortez 4, Lao 3, Morales 2, Sangco 2, Arciaga 0, Lepalam 0, Lopez 0, Natividad 0, Valenzuela 0. SAN BEDA 62 – Valencia 10, Estacio 9, Llarena 7, Alcantara 6, Talampas 6, Lazaro 5, Oliva 5, Sanchez 5, Ynot 5, Competente 3, Coyoca 1, Andrada 0. QUARTER SCORES: 26-18, 45-30, 57-50, 73-62. —— Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 24th, 2018

Comm. Silver, NBPA say competitive imbalance not a problem

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com LAS VEGAS -- First came the backlash. Next, backlash to the backlash. By Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time), much of the whipsawing over competitive balance -- or more accurately, imbalance -- as an NBA problem rising to the level of crisis had calmed down. Yet powerful voices from the league’s summer nerve center could not dismiss it entirely as an issue meriting closer inspection. “I'm not here to say we have a problem,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Tuesday after the Board of Governors meeting. “And I love where the league is right now. [But] I think we can create a better system.” Neither Silver nor Michele Roberts, the executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, sounded an alarm in their separate news conferences about what many see as a widening gap between the league’s haves and have-nots. Roberts, in fact, seemed to feel that all is well and that talent inequality is in the eye of the beholder. “Competitive balance, it almost depends on what your favorite team is,” said Roberts, who was rehired as head of the players union in another four-year contract announced Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time). “I don’t hear anybody in the Bay Area worrying about competitive balance. I also don’t hear the people in Philadelphia worrying about competitive balance, or Houston. “We’ve got great teams. And it’s never been the case, as far as I’m concerned, where I was not able most of the time to predict what teams were going to be in the Finals.” The topic came up in precisely that context before the Finals last month when Silver was asked about Golden State and Cleveland meeting in the championship series for the fourth consecutive year, a first in any of the major professional sports leagues. It reared its head again this month soon after free agency opened on July 1, with events conspiring to make insiders wonder about a growing disparity among teams. LeBron James’ signing with the Los Angeles Lakers was the biggest move in what appeared to be a continuing shift of strength into the league’s Western Conference. That was followed by the news that DeMarcus Cousins, New Orleans’ All-Star center, had joined the champion Warriors. That signing sparked the initial backlash, a rich-getting-richer cry that pointed not to Cousins’ one-year deal for $5.3 million in 2018-19 salary but the fact that the Warriors will spend in excess of $20 million for it when luxury taxes are counted. Golden State had the NBA’s fattest payroll in 2017-18 of $137.5 million, despite a $99 million salary cap, thanks to various exceptions in the prevailing “soft cap” system. “I don't necessarily think it's per se bad that the Warriors are so dominant,” Silver told reporters, not long after discussing the “competitive landscape” with the owners. “As I've said before, we're not trying to create some sort of forced parity. What we really focus on is parity of opportunity. And a fair point could be made in the tax system, when certain teams are spending significantly more than others, that that's not parity of opportunity.” The counter-backlash came from folks who rushed to the Warriors’ and Cousins’ defense, correctly noting that neither did anything wrong, conducting their business within the rules as specified by the collective bargaining agreement between the owners and the players. That CBA is the object of endless study and imagined revision, with amendments possible if negotiated prior to the end of the current deal after the 2023-24 season. Shooting for a “hard cap” likely would be a tough sell to players accustomed to the freedom of movement they currently enjoy. “It's not necessarily [Roberts’] issue,” Silver said in response to the union director’s characterization. “I think it's on me and our Labor Relations Committee, ultimately, to sit with the players and their committee and convince them that there may be a better way of doing things.” Silver mentioned Charlotte owner and legendary NBA superstar Michael Jordan, chairman of that Labor Relations Committee, as a valuable resource in addressing owners’ and players’ competition concerns. Both sides have valid arguments. Interest in the NBA never has been higher by almost any metric chosen, from selected TV ratings and licensing revenues to the game’s growth globally. Attendance at the MGM Resorts Las Vegas Summer League keeps pushing higher, with fans eager to see top rookies, second-year players and relative free-agent unknowns chasing their pro hoops’ dreams. The valuations of the 30 NBA franchises, of course, all have soared beyond $1 billion, according to Forbes.com, with the Knicks, the Lakers and the Warriors all estimated to be worth more than $3 billion. Longtime NBA observers such as TNT’s David Aldridge wrote a column this week that argued on behalf of dominant teams, anyway, saying that they actually drive rather than depress fan interest. As for any inability to win games or titles, he laid the blame for that on poor franchise management. The Knicks and the Clippers have all sorts of big-market advantages but haven’t won any championships lately (or at all in the Clippers' case). For Roberts, whose players reap 51 percent of NBA basketball-related income that tops $7 billion annually, business is good, period. “I’m excited about this new season,” she said Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time). “This free agency, there’s been a lot to write about so we’re all, I think, looking forward to what’s going to happen come October. “To the extent that people are predicting the end of the game, I just don’t think so. I would be surprised if Adam called me to say, ‘What the hell are we going to do?’ I think he’s as happy as I am. ... I think we’re in good shape.” Critics note Golden State’s on-court dominance in winning the last two championships. It only took nine NBA Finals games --one over the minimum -- while facing arguably the league’s best player in LeBron James. But those same critics seem to foget that the Warriors were pushed to the full seven games in the conference finals, and actually faced elimination twice before beating the Rockets. “I recognize what Michele's saying,” Silver said. “But at the same time, if you talk to players in the league, and I've talked to plenty of individual players as well, they want to be in the most competitive league possible too.” For every player on the Warriors' roster -- or the Rockets, the Thunder, the Celtics or the Sixers -- there are five or six on teams that realistically have no chance of chasing a ring or the Larry O’Brien Trophy. Cleveland went to four straight Finals thanks to James; no one envisions the Cavaliers getting back any time soon. “Maybe there are some players who think they’re on a second-class team,” said Sacramento wing Garrett Temple, one of the NBPA vice presidents. “But most players I’ve played with or been around, their thought process is, ‘We’re gonna get our team to become one of those first-class teams.’ It’s more of a challenge. More so than, ‘We need them to disband so we can make everybody equal.’ Because we’re competitors.” That really is the crux of the issue. Silver and some franchises want most of the competition to come on the floor, in games, in full view of fans who believe their teams can sufficiently compete. The league’s current title contenders are fine with a system that allows them to compete all the way to the top, with an owner stroking gargantuan checks to crowd out rivals. “Let me make clear that under the current system we want teams to compete like crazy,” Silver said. “So I think the Warriors within the framework of this deal should be doing everything they can to increase their dominance. That's what you want to see in a league. “You want teams to compete in every way they can within the rules.” Silver addressed a variety of topics that were came from the BOG agenda, including: -- Change is coming on multiple fronts, most notably in the league’s age limit. That seems likely to be re-set back to 18 years old from 19, permitting players to enter the league from high school. It’s a move that the NBA should be better equipped to handle with a near 30-for-30 farm-system affiliation with its G League. It also fits with the findings of an NCAA task force that cites dissatisfaction with “one-and-done” college players. Said Silver: “My personal view is that we’re ready to make that change.” -- The start of free agency, annually triggered at midnight ET on July 1 (12:00pm, July 1, PHL time), will be moved to a daytime or prime time opening bell. It’s one of those traditions that no one thought to change, Silver said. -- The league’s investigation into the Dallas Mavericks’ sexual harassment issues should be completed by the end of the month. 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 NewsJul 12th, 2018

Panel hopes to end US NCAA one-and-dones

By Ralph D. Russo, Associated Press INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The most difficult part of the NCAA’s attempt to clean up college basketball begins now. Hours after former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice presented the Commission on College Basketball’s sweeping recommendations for reforming a sport weighed down by corruption, NCAA leaders set in motion the process for turning those ideas into reality. The NCAA Board of Governors, a group of 16 university presidents and the association’s highest ranking body, unanimously endorsed all the commission’s recommendations Wednesday. Now it’s up to various subcommittees, working groups and college administrators to dig into a mountain of work over the next three months as the NCAA attempts to change NBA draft rules, create a new enforcement body, toughen penalties for rules violations, revamp summer recruiting and certify agents. All while trying to get buy-in from organizations that might not be motivated to help. “It’s going to be a challenge to say the least,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said. “This is a pace of decision making that the association’s really never done on this kind of scale before.” The Division I Council, comprised mostly of athletic directors and headed by Miami AD Blake James, has the job of turning the recommendations into rules. That requires feedback from schools, then council votes with some conference votes counting more heavily than others. Each proposal then goes to the Board of Directors, where a majority vote is needed to send it to the Board of Governors for final approval. It’s a winding path — crossing 351 Division I schools with varied priorities and concerns — and requiring consensus building and compromise for measures to pass. NCAA rule changes can sometimes take a full calendar year to sort out. “We’ve got to make sure we don’t let the good fall victim to the perfect here,” Emmert said. “Nobody believes we’re going to get everything perfect the first time through.” The independent commission Rice led released a much-anticipated and detailed 60-page report , seven months after the group was formed in response to a federal corruption investigation that rocked college basketball. Ten people, including some assistant coaches, have been charged in a bribery and kickback scheme , and high-profile programs such as Arizona, Louisville and Kansas have been tied to possible NCAA violations. “They believe the college basketball enterprise is worth saving,” Rice told the AP of commission members in an interview before addressing NCAA leaders. “We believe there’s a lot of work to do in that regard. That the state of the game is not very strong. We had to be bold in our recommendations.” The proposals were wide-ranging, falling mostly into five categories: NBA draft rules, specifically the league’s 19-year-old age limit that has led to so-called one-and-done college players; non-scholastic basketball such as AAU leagues and summer recruiting events; the relationship between players and agents; relationships with apparel companies; and NCAA enforcement. “Some people like some of (the recommendations) more than others, which is human nature, but as a board we’re unanimous in the endorsement and the acceptance of these recommendations for the NCAA,” said Minnesota President Eric Kaler, chairman of the Division I Board of Directors. It’s not yet clear how the governing body would pay for some of the proposals, though the NCAA reported revenues of more than $1 billion dollars for fiscal year 2017 in its most recent financial disclosures. The commission offered harsh assessments of toothless NCAA enforcement, as well as the shady summer basketball circuit that brings together agents, apparel companies and coaches looking to profit on teenage prodigies. It called the environment surrounding hoops “a toxic mix of perverse incentives to cheat,” and said responsibility for the current mess goes all the way up to university presidents. It also defended the NCAA’s amateurism model, saying paying players a salary isn’t the answer. “The goal should not be to turn college basketball into another professional league,” the commission wrote in its report. The commission did leave open the possibility that college athletes could earn money off their names, images and likenesses, but decided not to commit on the subject while the courts are still weighing in. Rice called the crisis in college basketball “first and foremost a problem of failed accountability and lax responsibility.” ONE-AND-DONE The commission emphasized the need for elite players to have more options when choosing between college and professional basketball, and to separate the two tracks. The commission called for the NBA and its players association to change rules requiring players to be at least 19 years old and a year removed from graduating high school to be draft eligible. The one-and-done rule was implemented in 2006, despite the success of straight-from-high-school stars such as LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett. “I’m confident they are going to be very supportive,” Emmert said of the NBA and NBAPA. The NBA and players union praised the recommendations on enforcement and expressed concerns about youth basketball. On draft eligibility rules, however, there was no commitment. “The NBA and NBPA will continue to assess them in order to promote the best interests of players and the game,” they said. The commission did, however, say if the NBA and NBPA refuse to change their rules in time for the next basketball season, it would reconvene and consider other options for the NCAA, such as making freshmen ineligible or locking a scholarship for three or four years if the recipient leaves a program after a single year. “One-and-done has to go one way or another,” Rice told the AP. ENFORCEMENT The commission recommended harsher penalties for rule-breakers and that the NCAA outsource the investigation and adjudication of the most serious infractions cases. Level I violations would be punishable with up to a five-year postseason ban and the forfeiture of all postseason revenue for the time of the ban. That could be worth tens of millions to major conference schools. By comparison, recent Level I infractions cases involving Louisville and Syracuse basketball resulted in postseason bans of one year. Instead of show cause orders, which are meant to limit a coach’s ability to work in college sports after breaking NCAA rules, the report called for lifetime bans. “The rewards of success, athletic success, have become very great. The deterrents sometimes aren’t as effective as they need to be. What we want are deterrents that really impact an institution,” said Notre Dame President Fr. John Jenkins, who was a member of the Rice commission. AGENTS The commission proposed the NCAA create a program for certifying agents , and make them accessible to players from high school through their college careers. AAU AND SUMMER LEAGUES The NCAA, with support from the NBA and USA Basketball, should run its own recruiting events for prospects during the summer , the commission said, and take a more serious approach to certifying events it does not control. APPAREL COMPANIES The commission also called for greater financial transparency from shoe and apparel companies such as Nike, Under Armour and Adidas. These companies have extensive financial relationships with colleges and coaches worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and Adidas had two former executives charged by federal prosecutors in New York in the corruption case......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 25th, 2018

Are the Sixers too young for playoff success?

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com The learning curve of the Philadelphia 76ers has taken on a new, more direct and simpler geometric shape. It’s now a straight line, pulled and yanked that way by an impatient team determined to take the expressway from now on. And so this is where The Process has led them, to the NBA playoffs, a place exclusively reserved for Big Boy Basketball, where we get to see if the Sixers will skip another floor in their rapid developmental rise or if youth is about to get served a lesson. Hey, if nothing else, it beats wiping away the stench of losing, which is what coach Brett Brown was doing this time the last few years before this club finally grew up and as we now see, blew up. "This year we exceeded 50 wins and when you do that, you get into NBA elite territory which is something different for us,” he said. “But what’s interesting is we want more. We have more room to grow and we want to do that now.” Yes, the Sixers, finally sprung free of the dark ages, have crashed the annual spring show and are doing so rather emphatically in addition to surprisingly. Surely you saw this coming this quickly, no? On Christmas Eve they were 14-18. Their sensational big man, Joel Embiid, was getting the kid glove treatment, rarely playing extended minutes or consecutive games because of his brittle injury history. Their top draft pick, Markelle Fultz, was out with a bad shoulder and a broken jumper. Obviously, they’d just emerged from their four years of Tankapalooza with the trepidation of a chick stumbling from the nest. And quite simply, four months ago they just weren’t good enough to be lumped with the lead pack. Yet. But since then, what the hell just happened? “This group has come together from a toughness standpoint, a spirit standpoint,” Brown said. To say the least. The Sixers are 50-game winners, with a strong Kia Rookie of the Year candidate in Ben Simmons and a top-10 talent in Embiid, whose orbital injury that cost him the final eight regular season games should be healed for the playoffs at some point. Everything has fallen into place to make Philly a basketball destination once again, and these Sixers find themselves in a unique situation heading into the weekend. That’s because the playoff landscape in the East is favorable for someone like Philly to pull a surprise or two. Can they last a round? Of course; they’ll be a favorite initially. How about reaching the Eastern Conference finals? That’s trickier, and it’ll come down to matchups, but stranger things have happened. And, the NBA Finals? Well. Consider that there’s no true beast taking up space in the East and sending shivers everywhere. All of the contenders are showing a scratch or two: Toronto brings a blah playoff history; some of LeBron James’ supporting cast in Cleveland is untested; the Celtics are without Kyrie Irving, not to mention Gordon Hayward. The Sixers are the wild card in the playoff picture. Their wart is their inexperience in these matters. And so: Are they too young to be taken seriously? “I understand why people might think that, but I think we’ll be fine,” said JJ Redick, the resident senior citizen at age 33. “I don’t expect any of us to play differently than we have lately. These young guys are all gamers.” The Sixers are uniquely built; their twin core of Simmons and Embiid has played a combined three NBA seasons. Redick is the only starter with playoff experience and is also the only player in the rotation who ever played a major role in the playoffs. The Sixers are cubs compared to most of the East, even those teams below them. Essentially, the veterans on the Sixers orbit around the youngsters, instead of vice versa. Brown regularly takes the temperature of his players and has yet to pause at the results he’s seeing. For the most part, this has worked out better than he and they expected. “At this stage you figure how you deliver a team to the playoffs, how do you arrive at the playoffs,” Brown said. “Well, you can check three boxes: Their health, their spirit and their form. And finally: Are they playing good basketball? They’re all very interconnected, they’re all closely intertwined. Those things rule my day when I watch film and see how hard and long we’re going to go in practice. These guys have embraced and improved in those areas. Our defense has been excellent and we’re regularly getting 30 assists as a team, another example of a team enjoying each other’s company.” This makes for an interesting postseason baptism. There’s hope in Philly that Simmons and Embiid and Robert Covington and Dario Saric won’t know the difference between March basketball and May basketball. “We’ll just come and play the same way we’ve been doing,” Simmons said. The other advantage for Philly is Simmons appears well beyond his years. His expression is stoic, no matter the game circumstances, and his poise has yet to shatter memorably and cost the Sixers when it counts. He’s giving 16 points, eight rebounds and eight assists a night and had at least 10 points, five rebounds and five assists in 58 games, second only to Russell Westbrook and LeBron James. He is the first rookie in NBA history to average eight assists on a 50-win team. It remains to be seen how a 56-percent free throw shooter will respond if he’s put in that situation with the game on the line. Otherwise, his court direction and ability to reach the rim should not suffer from springtime stage fright. “Ben sits behind a glass wall and watches everyone else on the other side,” Redick said. “There’s nothing that affects him. He plays with the same demeanor and purpose no matter what’s going on around him. He brings a calm presence, and the maturity he plays with is beyond his years. Impressive.” Brown said: “He’s the stone cold Rookie of the Year and to me it’s not even close.” Philly’s best player is Embiid, though, and he’ll play with a mask once he does return, perhaps sometime in the first round. If he doesn’t suffer any lasting effects from the facial injury (vision, lack of balance), he’ll be the premier big man on the floor in the East. This allows the Sixers to exploit their low-post advantage over the Celtics, Raptors and Cavs should Philly meet any of those contenders along the way. The Sixers are also working with a pair of bonuses in Fultz and Ersan Ilyasova, two players they didn’t anticipate being in the playoff mix just a few months ago. Fultz is finally free of his shoulder woes and his shooting is starting to come around, to the point where Brown says he’ll find a role for Fultz in the rotation. Basically, the Sixers feel safe enough to put him on the floor, something that would’ve been a reach before he was activated, when he showed a nasty mechanical hitch in a jumper that somehow went south on him. “We don’t feel we’re going to be caught off guard with him,” Brown said. Ilyasova was gift-wrapped to Philly by the Hawks at midseason and has since been a solid source of scoring (17 points in a two-point win over Cleveland last week) and deepened the Sixers’ bench, allowing Brown to use a variety of different lineups and strategies. In all, the manner in which the season has come together is paying off at the right time for Philly. “We didn’t have this level of maturity in November and December,” Redick said. “If you look at some of our losses early in the season I felt they were immature losses. We’re more focused, more together, developed a mental toughness. Sometimes in life and in this league you have to go through things and experience things to grasp how to do them. There’s no better learning tool than the actual experience. So blowing a lead or coming back from a large halftime deficit, you have to do those things to understand that you can do it. Having those lessons early in the season has prepared us to have a great run since Christmas; we have the second best record in the league since then. This is better than what I expected or even hoped for. It’s been a long sustained growth period.” What does it all mean? Well, even though they’re entering the playoffs with the force of a hurricane, this isn’t the NCAA tournament. This is best-of-seven basketball, which means a team must prove itself worthy of moving on, instead of hoping to get lucky or hot. In the case of Philly and others in the East, that means beating LeBron four times in a series, and that hasn’t happened since 2010. You could also make the case the Sixers are playing with house money at this point, no matter what happens; after enduring The Process and painful progress, this is a blessing, a reward. The Sixers aren’t seeing it that way, though, not after growing up in a hurry. They want to seize the opportunity now, and any playoff success will largely depend on how they handle this as first-timers. Your guess is as good as Brown’s. “You really don’t know what to expect,” Brown said. “There’s no body of work. I will give our guys the benefit of the doubt. The poise they have shown in the regular season, the poise they’ve shown in big games and key moments, gives me tremendous confidence that we will handle this stage with a greater level of poise than what I might have guessed in October, or what I might have guessed not so long ago if you asked me questions about how will rookies and young guys handle this very different part of the season.” Veteran NBA writer Shaun Powell has worked for newspapers and other publications for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here or follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 11th, 2018

LeBron James has a favorite for the MVP award - himself

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press MIAMI (AP) — LeBron James has someone in mind for the MVP award this season. Himself. This is a season where prohibitive MVP favorite James Harden has done phenomenal things with NBA-leading Houston, where reigning MVP Russell Westbrook has been fantastic again for Oklahoma City, and where Anthony Davis has found a new stratosphere to take his game, especially after New Orleans lost DeMarcus Cousins. James raves about them all. But ... “I would vote for me,” James told The Associated Press. “The body of work, how I’m doing it, what’s been happening with our team all year long, how we’ve got so many injuries and things of that nature, guys in and out, to be able to still keep this thing afloat, I definitely would vote me.” It’s not an unreasonable take. His numbers this season compare favorably — or exceed — the five-season run between 2008-09 and 2012-13 where he won the MVP award four times. His averages then: 27.8 points, 7.6 rebounds and 7.3 assists on 52 percent shooting while playing 38 minutes per game. This season’s numbers: 27.4 points, 9.1 assists and 8.6 rebounds on 55 percent shooting. They are MVP-worthy, without question. “He’s continued to prove everybody wrong and find new levels,” said Miami guard Dwyane Wade, James’ longtime friend and two-time former teammate. “In his 15th season, to be 33 years of age and to be playing the way he’s playing, as consistent as he’s playing, that is as impressive as anything that anybody has ever done.” Averaging 27 points, nine assists and eight rebounds is an NBA rarity. Oscar Robertson had numbers like those five times, in five consecutive seasons from 1960-61 through 1964-65 (he won his lone MVP award in the 1963-64 season). No one posted averages like that again until last year, when Harden and Westbrook both pulled it off. Robertson, Harden and Westbrook were all twentysomethings when they had those numbers. James is in position to join them, at 33. A fifth MVP wouldn’t define him. He’s long been a Hall of Fame lock, but believes this one would be earned. “At this point in my career, I’m just trying to break the mold, break the narrative of guys in their 15th year. ... I’m trying to do things that have never been done before,” James said. “It’s crazy because I’m not setting out to do it. It’s just kind of happening organically. I’m just training my body and training my mind and going out and playing and seeing what happens.” The Cavaliers are in the mix to finish as high as No. 3 in the Eastern Conference, despite having 21 different players on the roster, 24 different starting lineups and counting, a slew of injuries, even with head coach Tyronn Lue falling ill and missing games. The season has been rocky. James says he’s been at his best anyway. “I’ve said it,” James said. “Obviously, I’ve had some unbelievable seasons before, but I’ve said it: This is the best I can go, just from a complete basketball player standpoint.” Time will tell if MVP voters agree. ___ STORM LIFE The Heat got stuck in Indianapolis on Sunday night (Monday, PHL time), losing in overtime to the Pacers and then being unable to get home because of plane difficulties. They made the best of the situation. A quick call to the Capital Grille in Indianapolis — where the manager initially didn’t believe that the Miami Heat, travel party of 51, were on the way — set up dinner for everyone, and hotel rooms were secured while everyone dined. The restaurant was in shutting-down mode for the night, then scrambled to get the staff needed to deal with that many diners arriving all at once. The team wound up flying out Monday morning (Monday evening, PHL time). ___ THE WEEK AHEAD Some of the games to watch over the next seven days: — Boston at Utah, Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time): The game that was slated to be Gordon Hayward’s return to Salt Lake City still matters plenty to both teams. — Milwaukee at Golden State, Thursday (Friday, PHL time): The Warriors think this is the game where they’ll get Kevin Durant back in the lineup after a rib injury. — New Orleans at Cleveland, Friday (Saturday, PHL time): Notable for one reason in particular: Larry Drew coaches the Cavs, son Larry Drew II plays for the Pelicans. — Toronto at Boston, Saturday (Sunday, PHL time): The Raptors are trying to lock up the No. 1 seed in the East, and the Celtics are the only team still in their way. — Houston at San Antonio, Sunday (Monday, PHL time): One of 13 games on Sunday’s NBA schedule, before everybody gets Monday off for the NCAA championship. — Indiana at Denver, Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time): The Pacers are in and now thinking about seeding, while the Nuggets are merely trying to stay in the West chase. ___ STAT LINE OF THE WEEK Kemba Walker, Charlotte: His 46-point effort on March 22 (Mar. 23, PHL time) was against tanking Memphis, but it still should be remembered for at least a couple of reasons. One, he needed only 28 minutes to score like that. And two, he became just the third player in NBA history to make at least 10 three-pointers and 10 free throws in the same game. The others? Kyrie Irving in 2015, and Joe Dumars in 1994......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 28th, 2018

Warriors keep evolving in rivalry with Cavs

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com CLEVELAND -- You might expect, given the familiarity from what’s gone on for four years now, that the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers have worked up some serious mutual contempt. They both covet what the other wants -- in fact, the Warriors or the Cavs could make a persuasive case that, if not for the other guys, one already would have notched a three-peat and be chasing Bill Russell’s Celtics in pursuit of a fourth consecutive championship. They both have poured buckets of blood, sweat, tears, money, Gatorade and offseason counter moves into their nouveau NBA rivalry. And they both, well, as Golden State coach Steve Kerr phrased it to the San Jose Mercury News Sunday (Monday, PHL time), “We just want to kick each other’s ass.” And yet the Warriors and the Cavaliers -- who play again Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) at Quicken Loans Arena in the NBA’s prime-time MLK showdown -- have more in common with each other than they do with any of the league’s other 28 teams. Playing 100 games or so every year. Locking in mentally and surviving physically longer than anyone else. Showing up each night targeted as a measuring stick, even a season maker, by the opponents. While trying like heck to keep things fresh. Renew. Find and tap into a new source of energy, because old ones wane over time. “It’s the biggest challenge of this whole season,” Kerr told NBA.com late last week, with the Warriors starting a back-to-back in Milwaukee and Toronto on their way back to The Land. Even if it were possible -- and it realistically is not, given free agency, injuries, trades, the salary cap, luxury taxes, hirings and firings each NBA offseason -- playing a pat hand from one championship-level season to the next isn’t desirable. Voices, locker rooms, relationships get stale. Rivals adjust and escalate in the arms race. Some players ebb in the pecking order, others flow. It’s important to inject new faces, add skills and even find fresh themes to fend off monotony, even boredom, through the 82-game slogs. The Warriors, in winning 20 of 23 games over the past seven weeks, largely have managed to do that. The Cavaliers, at 26-15 after 2-7 stretch that started at Golden State on Christmas (Dec. 26, PHL time)? Not so much. Golden State shifts gears after each season It’s easy to think of Golden State’s success since Kerr’s hiring before the 2014-15 season as one uninterrupted run of excellence. Three-pointers, “death lineups,” and the rest. But the differences from one year to the next have been fairly pronounced. “In Year 1, we were trying to prove ourselves to the world,” Kerr said. “Then we win the championship -- it was all so fresh. There were no letdowns at all that year. It was the most exciting, it was the most energized, it was the most refreshing. It was brand new to all of us. It felt like we were riding this wave all year -- we were all giddy, like, ‘Oh my God, we’re really good!’ We didn’t know we could be like that. And for me, it was my first year coaching.” Steph Curry won his first MVP award. He and Klay Thompson generated considerable conversation about the best shooting backcourts in league history. Draymond Green forever changed the old NBA notion of “’tweeners.” The Warriors finished 67-15, ranked second in the league in offense (111.6) and first in defense (101.4) and beat Cleveland in the Finals in six games. “It was maybe like the first stages when you fall in love,” Kerr said. “You’re just on Cloud 9 and she can’t do anything wrong. There’s infatuation and then you truly fall in love, and it’s amazing. “The second year, we sort of rode that wave of euphoria of being the best team in the league and having won the title. The next thing you know, we’re 24-0 and we’ve got a chance to set an all-time record. That 73-win mark carried us all year. We were going to prove that, not only were we the champs but we were one of the best teams ever.” The Warriors were -- by regular season standards. Curry won his second MVP award. Kerr missed the first 43 games due to health issues but assistant coach Luke Walton steered them to a 39-4 mark. They bought into the chase for 73 victories fairly late, but instead of a 16-5 playoff run like the previous spring’s, the Warriors went 15-9 -- coming up one victory short when the Cavaliers became the first team to claw back from a 3-1 deficit. That led directly to Golden State’s next new wrinkle, a reconfiguration that came close to buckling the league’s knees. “We got KD,” Kerr said. “Now we’re changing our team, right? Last year was about incorporating KD, welcoming this incredible player into our organization and our roster. Figuring how to do it, how we were going to adjust. I felt like there were times last year that were tiring, where our guys were done a little bit. But it was ‘new’ again.” Even the challenges were fresh, like counting Curry’s or Klay Thompson’s touches relative to Durant’s or closing ranks around Golden State’s thin man as his reputation took blows for the first time in his NBA career. Not interested in shooting for 74 victories, the Warriors simply took care of business and stayed coiled for the postseason. Then it was a 16-1 dash to title No. 2, Durant snagging the Finals MVP trophy after the five-game dispatching of the Cavs. All of which just set the Warriors’ bar higher, requiring them to search for something new, somebody borrowed, presumably nothing blue. “This year it’s just survive and advance,” Kerr said. “It’s ‘let’s get to April, May, June in one piece.’ There’s a reason we’ve lost six home games already. We don’t have the driving force that we had the last few years. We’re dealing with what any team in NBA history that’s tried to do this has dealt with. The Lakers (1982-85), the Celtics (1984-87, 1957-66)... It’s just really hard and you need that driving force.” Said Warriors vet Andre Iguodala: “Your body is mindful of it, because it hurts.” A couple of young guys -- Patrick McCaw, Kevon Looney -- have taken on bigger roles. Nick Young brings some sort of buzz into any locker room that will have him. Still, as veteran guard Shaun Livingston said: “We’re not chasing any records. We’re not adding another All Star. We’re just trying to make it through the marathon.” Cavs' challenges mount during 2017-18 The Cavaliers are just trying to make it through the marathon, too. But if they could, they might do it like Rosie Ruiz, the 1980 women’s “winner” of the Boston Marathon who perpetrated a hoax by hopping the subway and running only the final mile of Beantown’s famous race. The 2017-18 has been anything but fun for Cleveland so far. It began with the departure of All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, a not-so-funhouse mirror image of Durant’s arrival a year earlier in the Bay Area. Irving, for reasons still not quite explained, made it known in the offseason that he wanted out. He wanted to be the man on his own team. Or he didn’t want to be left in the lurch if (when?) LeBron James took his talents elsewhere again. Or both. Or neither. Regardless, once the Cavaliers made his request come true by dealing him to Boston for All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas and Brooklyn’s coveted first-round pick this June, their task got tougher and their season longer. Losing one of the league’s best ball handlers and shot makers doesn’t qualify as “renewal” any more than what went on in Oklahoma City when Durant packed up. There’s been more. Shooting guard J.R. Smith seemingly got old overnight. Jae Crowder, who came from the Celtics in the Irving deal, hasn’t meshed with the Cavs’ style. Kevin Love has been moved to center but hasn’t done anything to satisfy the Cavs’ need for rim protection. Thomas only returned to action from a hip injury as the calendar turned to 2018 and has played only four games in these two weeks. Even with so many new faces -- seven of the top 12 in coach Tyronn Lue’s rotation weren’t here 12 months ago -- it’s a group heavy on veterans, players a little too established or mature to naturally instill raw energy. James said recently that none of this is new, it’s another case of the Cavs biding their time for the “second” season that means everything. But Lue also introduced the topic of “agendas,” suggesting that some of his guys were looking out for their own responsibilities and performances -- particularly on defense -- rather than the group’s. At best, this is another dose of the midseason blahs, the Cavs in their doldrums in need of an All-Star break. At worst, though, they might be honing some bad habits that won’t be so easy to break in May or June. Especially if East rivals such as Toronto, Boston or Washington are emboldened after witnessing or administering some of the Cavs’ more embarrassing beat downs this season. Will any of this matter come spring? It will if the switch each team is minding stubbornly decides not to flip. “That’s the key. You’ve got to find that balance,” Kerr said. “Are you flipping the switch or are you navigating? The idea is, don’t let bad habits slip in. Right now, this moment, we’re into some bad habits. Our defensive efforts  the last five, six games [before the weekend] were awful. We got away with it because Steph was going nuts.” The Cavaliers repeatedly have not gotten away with bad defensive habits, even on nights when James has been dominant. “It’s tough,” Livingston said. “They’re a team that’s built for the playoffs. But our core guys still are in there prime. Their core guys are still good. But we’re talking about ‘prime.’” Most still would pick both Golden State and Cleveland to advance all the way to a “Finals Four” (after last year’s “Rubber Match” series). But one of these years, most will be wrong -- about one or both. That alone might be motivation enough. Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 15th, 2018

Kai Sotto, Will Gozum, high school standouts to be ranked in NBTC 24

The SM-National Basketball Training Center (NBTC) is already gearing up for the seventh High School All-Star Game this coming March. In doing so, the SM-NBTC will release weekly rankings for high school players taking part in the UAAP, CESAFI-NBTC, MMBL, and FCAAF tournaments as well as the recently concluded NCAA competition.   Every week, a selection committee composed of several reputable sportswriters covering the various high school tourneys including two coaches and one statistician will meet to rank the top 24 players around the country. As such, for the first time ever, players like Ateneo de Manila High School’s SJ Belangel and Kai Sotto, Mapua University’s Will Gozum, La Salle Greenhills’ Joel Cagulangan, and University of Sto. Tomas’ CJ Cansino will be ranked on a weekly leaderboard that may or may not change based on their performance. Criteria for judging includes the following: offense, defense, team record, statisics, impact on team, and level of competition. The eighth and final of these rankings will then be used to determine the 24 players who will take part in the annual SM-NBTC High School All-Star Game on March at the MOA Arena.   For program director Eric Altamirano, this is nothing but a step forward for all of Philippine basketball. “SM-NBTC believes that these rankings will make the race to be part of the top 24 high school players more exciting while also making more of people aware of the abundance of talent that’s at hand in the high school level,” he said. The SM-NBTC 24 will be announced every Monday from January 15 to March 5......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 8th, 2018

Promising signs from Bulls young guns

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com In time, Zach LaVine’s return, development and eventual career arc will determine to a large extent how successful the Bulls’ Draft Night trade of Jimmy Butler to Minnesota was. For now, and until LaVine suits up this season and beyond, his value to Chicago is strictly to be determined. The two-time NBA Slam Dunk champ is back in the practice gym in his recovery from left knee (anterior cruciate ligament) surgery. Playing 1-on-1 with teammates, working out with the G-League Windy City Bulls in Chicago’s northwest suburbs and improving his timing and his conditioning, LaVine is penciled in to make his season debut before the end of 2017. Meanwhile, though, the Bulls have two other pieces to show from the Butler deal: stretch-four forward Lauri Markkanen and point guard Kris Dunn. Both have offered glimpses of what they can do and how they might fit into the team’s long-term vision that someday won’t prioritize losing. Markkanen, the lanky Finn by way of the University of Arizona, is averaging 13.8 points, 7.6 rebounds and in 30 minutes. He’s putting up 7.2 three-point shots per game and hitting 31.7 percent. His 140 attempts from the arc ranked 14th in the NBA – more than Bradley Beal (126), more than Carmelo Anthony (125) – and Markkanen’s 48 makes are the most by any player in his first 20 games. Dunn, whose disappointing 2016-17 rookie season with Minnesota essentially has gotten a reset, was at 12 ppg, 4.8 rpg and 4.2 apg after having 19 points, five rebounds and five assists in Thursday night's (Friday, PHL time) loss at Denver. The 23-year-old from Providence is shooting 43.2 percent on three-pointers (43.2 percent)  and his steal percentage of 3.8 – an estimate of the percent of opponents’ possessions ending in Dunn steals – ranked No. 1 in the NBA. Their trajectories have been somewhat different so far in 2017-18: Markkanen has been consistent while fighting through a flu bug and some road weariness, while Dunn has played his best most recently. But they’ve both contributed in ways that, aside from the Bulls’ relentless losing, suggests brighter days and in time a positive verdict on that headline-grabbing, bit-spitting trade. Markkanen: Stays cool, likes cold, shoots hot It’s fair to say that the Bulls, when they acquired Markkanen as the No. 7 selection in the Draft last June, got a sleeper. No, literally. That’s about all the 20-year-old native of Vantaa, Finland was able to do after a hectic spring leading up to the draft followed by a tortuous summer at the Las Vegas Summer League and a key role for his home country’s national team in the FIBA Eurobasket 2017 tournament. Markkanen’s single season at Arizona not only acclimated him to the American game, it earned him all-American status and a taste of the NCAA tournament before the Wildcats lost to Xavier. In the Euro competition, he averaged 19.5 points and 5.7 rebounds before heading to Chicago for an early jump on training camp. “When he came over here, he was exhausted,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “The week before training camp was completely lost time – he needed to recharge his batteries. So, we really didn’t know what we had. He was still tired when we started camp. We didn’t throw him out there for all the drills, just as part of the process in getting his body back. “But then every time he stepped on the floor, he showed a little more.” First Markkanen demonstrated he would crack the rotation. Then – when forwards Nikola Mirotic (facial injuries) and Bobby Portis (suspension for the punch that caused them) rendered themselves unavailable two days before the season opener – Markkanen was thrust into the starting lineup. Butterflies? Rookie mistakes? Not so much. Markkanen looked almost unflappable in averaging 17.2 points and 9.3 rebounds through his first six appearances, with a high of 25 points at Miami and double-doubles against San Antonio and Atlanta. “We had to adjust our offense,” Hoiberg said, “and put in some new things to try to get him the ball in different spots on the floor, because of his versatility to score.” Justin Holiday was one of the teammates who learned quickly to get the ball more often to the tall blond guy. “He’s playing consistent, and that’s a very mature thing to do in this league,” Holiday said. “What’s maybe surprising is his confidence in shooting the ball. He’s not afraid to shoot it.” Said Markkanen, whose father Pekka lettered at Kansas before returning home to play professionally: “I’m expecting big things from myself. I think that’s what motivates me every day. Whatever I do, I’m not satisfied. So, I try to set higher goals every time I step on the court. Try to do things better. “It’s going to get harder, I know that. I’m trying to face it like any other job. Just go at it positively, fight through it, put the work in, and I think it will work itself out.” At 20 games and counting, Markkanen will soon blow by the 37 he played in college, and the workload probably has something to do with his recent production; in his five most recent games before Thursday (Friday, PHL time), he shot 25.4 percent, including 11-of-39 from the arc. He says he has adjusted from one game to the next – “I don’t want to give my scouting report, but I try to add something new and figure out what they’re going to throw at me,” he said. He even drew praise from the great LeBron James after hitting four three-pointers in the fourth quarter of a preseason game against the Cavaliers. Markkanen hasn’t been fooled by Chicago’s relatively balmy late-autumn weather and has to be one of the few NBA players to welcome winter’s chill (“I’m actually looking forward to snow”). He isn’t flinching from the Bulls’ task at hand, either, which looks longer and more laborious with each lopsided defeat. “I understand this part of a process,” said Markkanen, who would appear to be on his way to the Rising Stars Challenge game at All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles. “We’ve got a young group. We’re having tough times. ... It’s about sticking together and having everyone know that. We can’t afford to not trust or not be a good teammate.” Dunn: Pushing a personal reset button Dunn’s young career was looking a little snakebit. He suffered a concussion in the first game he played for Minnesota in the 2016 Las Vegas Summer League. This time, he had to leave the Bulls’ Vegas entry early to attend to family matters. Then the point guard got hurt in a preseason game against Milwaukee Oct. 7 (Oct. 8, PHL time), winding up with an “open dislocation” of his left index finger. All those setbacks cost Dunn valuable learning time, as far as running first the Wolves’ and then the Bulls’ attacks. He never fully recovered from it last season, sputtering through a rookie season that fell far short of his and others’ expectations. His fellow Class of 2016 draftees had voted him the most likely to snag the Rookie of the Year award, but it went instead to Milwaukee’s Malcolm Brogdon, who’d been chosen in the second round 31 spots after Dunn. This time, Dunn was out of action until Chicago’s fifth regular season game. And the delay showed in his performances: 9.8 points per game, 4.5 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 38.6 percent shooting in his first eight games. One Bulls insider said Dunn “had a lot going on in his head” from last season’s failures, even as he tried to get traction in Chicago. Said Holiday, 28, who went undrafted and bounced through five organizations in barely three years from 2013 to 2016: “When you’re young, man, everybody’s pushing. Who knows what was going on his head? He might have been trying to be perfect. Sometimes it takes time. It’s a big role. “But he has the confidence to do it, where last year maybe he didn’t have as much confidence. All you can really do is go out and play hard, and if it works out, it works out.” Over Dunn’s past seven games before Thursday (Friday, PHL time), he was a more effective, more efficient player: 13.6 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 5.0 apg, while averaging 2.1 steals and 27.7 minutes. He had made 9-of-15 three-pointers, compared to 6-of-21 to start the season. Already in the five weeks he’s been active, he has played about 30 percent of the total minutes he got in 78 appearances for Minnesota’s Tom Thibodeau. The Bulls have been 3.6 points better when he’s been on the floor, too. That’s not enough to tip outcomes, but keep in mind the Wolves were 2.6 points worse a year ago with Dunn in the game. He played probably his best NBA game Tuesday against Phoenix, scoring 24 points on 10 of 16 shooting with eight assists, four rebounds and four steals. If not for a couple of egregious turnovers among his four, he might have agreed with Hoiberg’s “terrific” assessment. That performance came 48 hours after Dunn had scored two points and missed all six of his field-goal attempts against Miami. Hoiberg sought him out and demanded that the second-year guard play more aggressively, and Dunn proved his coach right. “He called me out,” Dunn said. “When a coach calls you out, you try to play as hard as you can. I had to get through my mind, ‘Go out and play the way I used to play. With that aggression. On defense, on offense. Try to stay down in errors as much as I can and get everybody involved.’ “I want to be an elite point guard one day and I understand, the best point guards don’t make those killer turnovers. If I want to reach my goal, I have to get better each and every day in practice, watch film and, y’know, think a little smarter when you’re playing.” Some have suggested Boston’s Marcus Smart as a legitimate comparison for Dunn, given their defensive aptitudes and challenges both face when shooting from range. Dunn is a huge fan of Smart, but believes he can be a full-service, top-notch playmaker. Mostly, he finally looks comfortable with this reset to his NBA experience. “Individually for me, it is a reset,” Dunn said. “I say this is my first year because I didn’t get too many minutes and I didn’t play the right position in Minnesota. I was a two, a three, sometimes a one. But this is my first year of [regularly] playing the point guard. As a team, we don’t have Jimmy, we don’t have [Rajon] Rondo, we don’t have Dwyane Wade, so we’re all trying to figure it out. Everybody is trying to step up and come together as a unit.” With LaVine’s debut now weeks rather than months away, the Bulls – and their skeptical fans – will be able to more fully judge the yield from that Butler trade. Two out of three so far are giving glimmers of hope. 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 NewsDec 1st, 2017

NCAA: Letran returns to winning form, pounds Mapua

Letran got back to the winners' circle after dispatching Mapua, 84-69, in the NCAA Season 94 men's basketball tournament Friday at Filoil Flying V Centre.........»»

Category: newsSource:  philippinetimesRelated NewsSep 21st, 2018

NCAA: Why wasn t Joel Cagulangan ever in Batang Gilas?

Joel Cagulangan was ranked the top point guard in all of high school in the NBTC 24 a year ago. There, he stood alongside the likes of Kai Sotto, SJ Belangel, and Will Gozum. Unlike those three, however, Cagulangan has never worn the flag in international competition. Just why is that? The 18-year-old said he himself doesn’t know – because he has never been contacted by Batang Gilas. “Wala naman po akong narinig na ni-contact nila ako o sila coach,” he shared. He then continued, “Gusto ko po sana (mag-Batang Gilas) kaso mas gusto ko mag-focus sa NCAA.” Cagulangan has been doing just that in the ongoing Season 94, leading College of St. Benilde-La Salle Greenhills to the top spot in the standings in its title defense. And on Friday, he turned in a 38-point masterpiece, a career-best in scoring to go along with nine rebounds and seven assists. Through it all, the graduating guard reminded everybody that he is a scary sniper as all but two of his points came from behind the arc. “Sabi kasi ng coaches na off lagi ang shooting ko so after (ng talo namin) sa Mapua (last Tuesday), shooting lang nang shooting. Buti, nagkakumpyansa ulit,” he shared. Indeed, Cagulangan took that loss, just their second of the season, to heart and did his all to make sure his team bounced back. And more than his career performance, he was happy to see total team effort. “Mas magandang feeling talaga na buong team yung nag-contribute,” he expressed. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 21st, 2018

NCAA: Red Cubs, Staglets boost bids for Final Four

STANDINGS LSGH 10-2 MAPUA 9-3 SAN BEDA 9-4 JRU 7-6 PERPETUAL 5-6 ARELLANO 5-6 LPU 5-7 SAN SEBASTIAN 5-8 LETRAN 3-8 EAC 2-10 San Beda High School stayed within striking distance of the top two and San Sebastian College-Recoletos stayed alive and kicking in the NCAA 94 Juniors Basketball Tournament. The two teams made sure the Final Four remained a nine-team race following separate well-earned wins on Thursday at the Filoil Flying V Centre. The Red Cubs stood strong in the middle periods to take care of business against Emilio Aguinaldo College, 80-71. Winderlich Coyoca built on his breakout game the last time around with 18 points, four steals, two rebounds, and two assists in this one while Winston Ynot and Kent Pelipel chipped in 13 and 11 markers, respectively. Trailing by one after the opening salvo, San Beda turned it on and dominate their opponents by a score of 46-32 in the second and third quarters. That double-digit lead would be more than enough for their ninth win in the last 11 games following a 0-2 start to the season. At 9-4, the Red Cubs are breathing down the necks of top two teams 10-2 College of St. Benilde-La Salle Greenhills and 9-3 Mapua High School. Third-running San Beda also gained separation from fourth-running Jose Rizal High School after it fell to the Staglets, 51-56. Milo Janao did the heavy lifting as always with 19 points and seven rebounds while JP Timbancaya contributed 10 markers and six boards of his own. Behind those two, the Staglets took the fight out of their opponents and charged to 5-8 – still well in contention in the tournament. John Amores paced the Light Bombers with 16 points on top of seven rebounds and three assists. He was the lone scorer in double-digits, however, and as such, saw his squad fail to build on its big-time upset of the Red Robins a week ago. Still, with a 7-6 record, JRU stayed at solo fourth all of University of Perpetual Help (5-6), Arellano High School (5-6), Lycuem of the Philippines University (5-7), Baste (3-8), and even Colegio de San Juan de Letran (3-8) right behind. Meanwhile, the loss pushed the Brigadiers to the brink now at 2-10. BOX SCORES FIRST GAME SAN SEBASTIAN 56 – Janao 19, Timbancaya 10, Are 6, Gomez 6, Loristo 4, Cortes 4, Balo 3, Perez 2, Suico 2, Baclaan 0, Cruz 0, Dela Cruz 0, Austria 0 JRU 51 – Amores 16, Vasquez 7, Bucoy 7, Ganut 6, Icban 4, Dionisio 3, Portales 3, Baluyut 2, Sy 2, Mangio 1, Delos Santos 0, Fortuna 0 QUARTER SCORES: 11-10, 29-25, 38-36, 56-51 SECOND GAME SAN BEDA 80 – Coyoca 18, Ynot 13, Pelipel 11, Llarena 9, Estacio 8, Oliva 7, Lazaro 6, Andrada 4, Talampas 2, Valencia 2, Sanchez 0, Alcantara 0, Calibo 0 EAC 71 – Ilustrisimo 16, Boado 14, Sanosa 9, Balowa 7, Murillo 7, Quebral 6, Lozano 4, Sumagaysay 4, Encila 2, Mejia 2, Pascual 0, Calara 0, Rivera 0 QUARTER SCORES: 13-14, 38-28, 59-46, 80-71 --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 20th, 2018

NCAA: Baste fans flickering playoff hopes thanks to Bulanadi s career-high

Even after all the speed bumps it was forced to go through, San Sebastian College-Recoletos remains in the running in the NCAA 94 Men’s Basketball Tournament. With a career performance, Allyn Bulanadi shot the Golden Stags to their third win in a row, this one coming at the expense of Jose Rizal University, 82-75, on Thursday at the Filoil Flying V Centre. Bulanadi scored 27 points on efficient 11-of-18 shooting to show Baste the way to bettering its record to 4-9. He fired 10 of his output in the first quarter as they got off to a strong 23-9 start. They would never trail and would never be truly threatened the rest of the way. “’Di pa rin kami nawawalan ng pag-asang makapasok sa Final Four,” Bulanadi told reporters post-game, talking about his inspired play. “Kailangan naming makabawi kasi marami pang pwedeng mangyari.” The winning streak is much welcome after all San Sebastian went through in the first round where, due to a disciplinary action on RK Ilagan, it had to forfeit two of its wins. “Good thing about this is naka-move on na kami,” head coach Egay Macaraya said. That development took them out of the thick of things and down to the bottom of the standings. With this current win run, however, the Golden Stags now stand at 4-9 and are have neared to 7-4 Colegio de San Juan de Letran, 7-5 College of St. Benilde, 6-5 University of Perpetual Help, 4-7 Arellano University, and 4-8 Mapua University. On the other hand, the Heavy Bombers are now officially out of contention at 2-11. Darius Estrella topped the scoring column for them with 19 points. BOX SCORES SAN SEBASTIAN 82 – Bulanadi 27, Ilagan 16, Capobres 14, Calisaan 12, Calma 9, dela Cruz 2, Sumoda 2, Are 0, Desoyo 0, Isidro 0, Valdez 0, Villapando 0 JRU 75 – Estrella 19, Mendoza 15, Aguilar 12, Mallari 12, dela Virgen 7, David 6, dela Rosa 2, Esquerra 2, Miranda 0, Padua 0, Silvarez 0 QUARTER SCORES: 23-9; 39-34; 60-51; 82-75 --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 20th, 2018

Mapua stuns CSB; Perpetual snaps 3-loss streak

MANILA, Philippines – The Mapua Cardinals evaded a 2nd half collapse to stun the contending CSB Blazers, 86-83, at the NCAA Season 94 men's basketball tournament in the FilOil Flying V Centre on Tuesday, September 18. After being down by as many as 14 at the half, 35-49, CSB blazed ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsSep 18th, 2018

NCAA Season 94: Red Robins repeat over Greenies

Mapua University completed its elimination round sweep of defending champion CSB-La Salle Greenhills, 93-87, to solidify its hold of the second spot in the NCAA Season 94 juniors basketball competition at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan Tuesday. The Red Robins captured its ninth win in 12 games while handing the Greenies, who remained at solo top spot, their second defeat after 12 outings in a rematch of last year’s Finals.  Dan Arches and Jonnel Policarpio led the charge of Mapua with 23 and 21 points, respectively. Paolo Hernandez finished with 13 points, Clint Escamis had 11 while Roseler Sarias registered 10 for the Red Robins, who held off CSB-LSGH’s second half run after a shaky start. Mapua built a 19-point cushion in the first half and kept their safe distance in the last two quarters to stave off the Greenies’ repeated comeback attempts. Joel Cagulangan came up short of a double-double with 22 points and nine rebounds while Joshua David got 19 markers and 12 boards for CSB-LSGH. Meanwhile, Arellano University defeated University of Perpetual Help, 70-66, to tie its victim at 5-6 win-loss slate. Romuel Junsay and Lars Sunga posted 12 points each while Brian Javier got 10 for the Braves. Yukihiro Kawamura had 21 points while Emman Gaiman had 19 for the Junior Altas.   Box scores: First game: Mapua (93) --- Arches 23, Policarpio 21, Hernandez 13, Escamis 11, Sarias 10, Diaz 7, Mariano 3, Smith 2, Quimado 2, Lazarte 1, Dennison 0, Tagal 0. CSB-LSGH (87) --- Cagulangan 22, David 19, Fornillos 18, Sangco 13, Calimag 9, Valenzuela 3, Cortez 2, Natividad 1, Morales 0, Mosqueda 0, Palencia 0, Lepalam 0, Lao 0. Quarters: 24-19, 51-32, 69-61, 93-87   Second game: AU (70) --- Junsay 12, Sunga 12, Javier 10, Fermin 9, Fornis 8, Espiritu 8, Recto 4, Templonuevo 3, Domingo 2, Sahali 2, Liangco 0, Nepomuceno 0. UPHSD (66) --- Kawamura 21, Galman 19, Galoy 10, Oguinsanya 6, Orgo 5, Barcuma 2, Romilla 2, Nunez 1, Duka 0, Dela Cruz 0, Defante 0. Quarters: 15-14, 33-35, 52-51, 70-66.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 18th, 2018

NCAA Season 94: Cardinals upset Blazers

Justin Seranno fueled Mapua’s pivotal run in the last five minutes of the game as the Cardinals scored their first back-to-back wins at the expense of College of St. Benilde, 86-83, Tuesday in the NCAA Season 94 seniors basketball competition at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Mapua improved to a 4-8 win-loss record and handed the Blazers their second straight defeat. Laurenz Victoria finished with 16 points, six rebounds and six assists while rookie Warren Bonifacio and Serrano chipped in with 12 points each for the Cardinals, who won their second straight win since Season 92. Mapua surpassed its number of wins last season but head coach Atoy Co wants to see more from his team. “We have to work harder,” said Co. “Dati kapag papasok kami, ‘Mapua lang yan eh’. Ngayon nakapag-back-to-back win kami siyempre ibang team na nagbabakasakaling (makapasok sa Final Four) they will not take us lightly.”       Down 73-72 in the last five and a half minutes, Serrano drilled six straight points in Mapua’s huge 8-0 run to give the Cardinals a seven-point breathing room with 2:32 left. The Blazers breathed down the necks of Cardinals, 82-80, on a completed three-point play by Clement Leutcheu with 57.6 points left. Bonifacio answered with a top of the key jumper followed by a great defensive stop by Mapua to take the fight out of CSB. Justin Gutang led the Blazers with 22 points, nine assists and six assists while James Pasturan had 16. Leutcheu finished with 15 while Unique Naboa and Rob Nayve had 10 each for CSB, which slid to 7-5 card. Naboa gave the Blazers a 73-72 lead with 5:22 left after sinking three free throws. But it was CSB’s last hold of the lead......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 18th, 2018

EYES ON YOU, KID: NCAA 94 Jrs. players to watch

The first round of the NCAA 94 Juniors Basketball Tournament is over and done with. And with the second round already underway, we’re getting even more glimpses of the future of Philippine basketball courtesy of these players: CLINT ESCAMIS – Mapua High School (yellow jersey with ball) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 23.3 points, 46.9 percent shooting, 5.7 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 2.7 steals Clint Escamis has spent his first two seasons under the leadership of the likes of Sherwin Concepcion, Mike Enriquez, Warren Bonifacio, and Will Gozum. Now in his third and last season in Mapua, he is proving that he is no slouch as a leader himself. The league’s top scorer and second-best steal-getter has carried the Red Robins right back up there in the standings – and they are the only team to have downed all f the traditional powerhouses in College of St. Benilde-La Salle Greenhills, Arellano High School, and San Beda High School. This version of Mapua may not be as star-studded as it was in the last four years, but they may just have the brightest star in all of the league in their 6-foot-1 swingman. INAND FORNILOS – College of St. Benilde-La Salle Greenhills (green jersey defending white jersey with ball) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 11.4 points, 51.8 percent shooting, 10.9 rebounds, 2.0 blocks, 1.0 assist On a team as fully loaded as CSB-LSGH, there has to be a workhorse – and Inand Fornilos has been just that and more. Just like he did in their championship campaign last season, he has been a force to reckon with on both ends of the floor for the league-leading Junior Blazers. The rebounds and defense have always been second nature for Fornilos, but this season, he has become better on offense. In fact, he already has a couple of 20-point games to his name – not bad for an undersized big man at 6-foot-2. Without a doubt, the graduating forward is doing all he can to make his former team regret ever letting him go. JOHN AMORES – Jose Rizal High School (blue jersey with ball) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 20.1 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.0 steal And all of that is because of John Amores, the second-best scorer in all of the league and the undisputed main man of the daring Light Bombers – the only team that will be sweeping contending Mapua in the elimination round. JRU’s rise from the bottom half of the standings to the top four is nothing short of spectacular and that improvement is best personified by Amores who went from role player a year ago to go-to-guy this season. Give the Most Improved Award to the kid already because he’s ready and raring to take much more than that. JOEL CAGULANGAN – College of St. Benilde-La Salle Greenhills (green jersey with ball) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 15.3 points, 7.3 assists, 4.7 rebounds, 2.1 steals For the high standards he set a year ago, this season has been a quiet one for Joel Cagulangan. With the likes of Escamis and Amores flying high and CSB-LSGH teammates Fornilos and RC Calimag grabbing more headlines than him, last year’s Finals MVP has been under the radar. Quietly, however, he is actually the Junior Blazers’ leading scorer and the NCAA’s best assistman and fourth-best steal-getter. Yes, that’s just how the 5-foot-9 do-it-all dynamo rolls, making an impact even if everybody else doesn’t feel it. Just don’t forget that he could also choose to make everybody feel his impact, okay? AARON FERMIN – Arellano High School (grey jersey, #18) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 14.2 points, 53.5 percent shooting, 17.6 rebounds, 1.0 block If not for Arellano’s struggles last season, Aaron Fermin would have been MVP. If not for the Braves’ struggle in the ongoing season, Fermin would have been the league’s most tantalizing talent. Standing at 6-foot-5, graced with a wide frame, having timing on lock, and blessed with a non-stop motor, the graduating big man has all the tools to be a game-changer on both ends of the floor. Indeed, he had a stretch of games of posting a 15-point, 20-rebound double-double. Now, if only he could lift Arellano to much-needed wins and back onto a playoff push. DAN ARCHES – Mapua High School (yellow jersey with ball) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 16.2 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.8 steals Mapua has long been defined by its talented big men, but now, it’s the guys at the wings who have taken center stage. Escamis has been their main man, but he also has a more than capable running mate in Dan Arches. All Escamis could do, Arches could do as well, only without the same sort of consistency. But hey, this is the first time he has been getting time with in his two years as a Red Robins so there’s nothing that all those reps couldn’t improve. And oh, he also has one thing going for him – a fine floater that he could bust out at any time that somehow, some way, has become automatic. JOSHUA DAVID – College of St. Benilde-La Salle Greenhills (green jersey, with ball) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 14.3 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.9 steals Imagine the dynamic between Escamis and Arches, and then translate that onto Cagulangan and his own partner-in-crime in Joshua David. Like Cagulangan, David could stuff the stat sheet. Like Cagulangan, David could do whatever CSB-LSGH needs for a win. The only difference is that unlike Cagulangan, David already has the size at 6-feet and a big body to make the same sort of noise in the Seniors. Of course, Cagulangan’s clutch genes are also on another level, but who knows? Maybe David is just waiting on the wings to seize those moments for himself? MILO JANAO AND KEAN BACLAAN – San Sebastian College-Recoletos JANAO’S ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 19.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.0 assist (yellow jersey with ball in first photo) BACLAAN’S ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 15.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.8 steals (yellow jersey with ball in second photo) It looks like San Sebastian College-Recoletos still wouldn’t be able to get over the hump this year, but the good news is that they remain on the right track. The even better news is that Milo Janao and Kean Baclaan, the two paving the way for them, are here to stay. That backcourt, by themselves, has fueled the Staglets to four wins – and still in the thick of things. While a long-awaited, much-wanted playoff berth is a long shot this year, perhaps it wouldn’t be so when both Janao and Baclaan get a year older and a year more determined to continue doing it all to win. MAC GUADANA AND JOHN BARBA – Lyceum of the Philippines University GUADANA’S ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 19.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists (grey jersey with ball in first photo) BARBA’S ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 17.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.7 steals (grey jersey with ball in second photo) Batang Gilas member Mac Guadana has become the NCAA’s constant – a 6-foot guard who could score at will while also doing his part in rebounding and playmaking. With him showing the way, Lyceum of the Philippines University has proven to be a far from easy out for three seasons now. They are still a ways away from legitimate contention, but the Junior Pirates have reason to believe that would be sooner than later as teaming up with Guadana is John Barba, a 6-foot-2 forward who just has a knack for willing his way to good looks inside. With those two, the boys from Cavite have two of the top six scorers in all of the league. Now, they just have to find the other pieces of the puzzle for their first-ever playoff berth. ROM JUNSAY – Arellano High School (grey jersey with ball) ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 19.4 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.6 steals Rom Junsay was one of the biggest keys to Mapua’s first-ever championship. That was two years ago, though, and since then, the 5-foot-6 has transferred to Arellano and is now only playing his first and last season there. Nonetheless, in just his first game in blue and grey, he wasted no time in reminding everybody about his talents, dropping a career-high 34 points. He and the Braves have trailed off from there, but just as Arellano is a sleeping giant no team wants to wake, Junsay is an active volcano just waiting for the perfect time to erupt. HONORABLE MENTIONS Jonnel Policarpio – Mapua High School RC Calimag – College of St. Benilde-La Salle Greenhills --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 17th, 2018

Blazers seek solo third vs struggling Cardinals

College of St. Benilde tries to recover from a heartbreaker of a loss the last time out as it faces Mapua, aiming for solo third even as Perpetual Help and Arellano U clash in a crucial match in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan today......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsSep 17th, 2018

JRU takes flight in NCAA just as Amores does so too in NBTC 24

John Amores of the JRU Light Bombers has been hailed the top high school player in Week 10 the Chooks-to-Go /NBTC 24 NCAA edition. The 6-foot-2 swingman is having a heck of Juniors campaign and his exploits have not gone unnoticed. Last Thursday, his herculean effort of 13 points and 19 rebounds paved the way for a 74-73 victory over title-contenders Mapua . That victory finished off an elimination round upset for JRU over the title conteder Red Robins. Amores, who is on his second and final year with the Light Bombers, is having a breakout season. Last year, he had modest averages of 3.6 points and 3.5 rebounds in just 13.4 minutes of play. Now in, Season 94, he amped up his game and has become one of the reasons why JRU is in a position to enter the Final Four as he is currently fourth in scoring with 18.8 points per outing. After being a constant fixture in NBTC 24’s top 20, including going as high as number two twice, Amores has finally earned the coveted number one ranking. Following Amores are three LSGH Greenies after the defending champions downed the San Sebastian Staglets, 76-65, last Tuesday. Inand Fornilos’ double-double of 24 points and 17 rebounds earned him the second spot while Joshua David came in at third following his 19-point, 9-rebound, 7-assist output. Joel Cagulangan is at fourth as he chipped in with eight points, three rebounds, and six assists in the win. Mapua’s Clint Escamis, who ruled the rankings for the past three weeks, settled for the fifth spot after their upset loss. Here are the complete Week 10 rankings: 1. John Amores (JRU) (6) 2. Inand Fornilos (CSB) (3) 3. Joshua David (CSB) (10) 4. Joel Cagulangan (CSB) (2) 5. Clint Escamis (MU) (1) 6. John Delos Santos (JRU) (9) 7. John Barba (LPU) (8) 8. Dan Arches (MU) (7) 9. Aaron Fermin (AU) (11) 10. Kean Baclaan (SSCR) (15) 11. Mac Guadana (LPU) (12) 12. Jonnel Policarpio (MU) (4) 13. Milo Janao (SSCR) (19) 14. Rom Junsay (AU) (13) 15. RC Calimag (CSB) (5) 16. Ezdel Galoy (UPHSD) (18) 17. Thomas Vasquez (JRU) (N/A) 18. Paolo Hernandez (MU) (N/A) 19. JR Ilustrisimo (EAC) 14) 20. Marwin Dionisio (JRU) (N/A) 21. Penny Estacio (SBU) (N/A) 22. Marj de Leon (LPU) (N/A) 23. Andrei Romenez (CSJL) (N/A) 24. Winderlich Coyoca (SBU) (N/A) This year, there will be three separate editions of the NBTC 24 – one for the NCAA, one for the UAAP, and one for the CESAFI – to accommodate the Juniors calendar for the whole year. After all three editions have been completed, a final list composing the top 24 players nationwide will then be chosen to participate in the annual NBTC All-Star Game in March......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 17th, 2018