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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

NBA Asia Managing Director Levy: We don t take the Pinoy fanbase lightly

The Philippines is unique, among the countries Scott Levy, NBA Asia Managing Director, handles. Tasked to oversee the development and expansion of the NBA's strategic initiatives in Asia (with the exception of Greater China and India), the Philippines is a different situation for Levy, compared to say, Thailand, or Malaysia. Unlike other countries in the region, basketball is well-engrained in the local Philippine culture, as is the NBA. In that regard, the job is easy. But diehard fans, and this country is full of diehard NBA fans, want different things, and want much more of it. And Levy and the rest of the NBA Asia office know it's important to keep them happy. Speaking to reporters as part of a roundtable Q&A session, Levy admitted that satisfying Philippine demand continues to be the biggest challenge. Citing the league's local TV partners, which include ABS-CBN, Solar, and FOX, as well as the implementation of League Pass via mobile companies Smart and Globe, Levy said, "We want to make sure that there are enough games, and that there are enough outlets [to get those games], that people can continue to interact and really get to know [the NBA] beyond maybe what the scores are. "We want to bring more players here, bring the real experiences. So we bring NBA players during the year, we bring NBA legends (the league directly brings around 3-4 players and legends to the country each year), we have dance teams, we have mascots [so that] people can get very close to the game." This differs very much from other countries in Asia. Whereas in other countries, NBA Asia devotes resources to growing the game, often teaming up with local governments' sports ministries, there's no need to teach the basics here. "That just means we take a higher level approach to coaching and make sure that there's another step that they may [take]," said Levy, who cited the example of bringing in Fil-Am coach Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat into the Philippines to help impart higher-level coaching techniques. Because the country is further down the line in terms of hoops techniques, the league's Jr. NBA program which is presented in the Philippines by Alaska, has played a huge role in recent years. "Nearly two million kids have come through the program...to improve their skill level. Many of our players have moved on to play in the UAAP, in the NCAA. Some are now in the PBA. So we want to contribute to the existing strength of the basketball community here," Levy said. It hasn't always been smooth sailing though. Recently, ventures like the NBA Cafe and the NBA Stores in the Philippines saw their licenses expire and close. For Levy though, it's similar to the familiar "shoot your shot" maxim in hoops. "We're willing to try things and if they're successful, great, we'll continue them," he said. "But if we think there are better ways to engage, we'll do that." Levy added that while the physical stores may be gone, fans can still purchase NBA merch through NBAStore.com, and other places like Nike, Toby's and Titan. Levy also applauded how knowledgable local fans are with regards to players and teams. While it's often thought that a large chunk of Pinoy fans are Lakers fans, Levy said that when you look at the data, it's winning teams that are able to capture the attention of Filipinos, with the obvious exception of teams in areas with large Filipino communities, such as San Francisco and the Golden State Warriors. "For me, here in the Philippines, we don't have to do much more than just make sure the players and the teams are exposed, because Filipino fans understand great play, and they understand great players. And when teams win, or players do amazing things, they become popular here," he said.   Looking ahead to the future, Levy believes that mobile will still be the way to go, though with a caveat. "As the streaming speeds continue to improve...then we'll be able to deliver more content," Levy said. "We'll continue to adjust the delivery of our product as the speeds improve." He added that the league wants to look into more basketball mobile games, even locally or regionally developed ones, to help educate fans on players and give them more ways to interact. To sum it up, Levy once again reiterated that the Philippines is "incredibly important," to the Association. "It probably is the market with the highest fan affinity for basketball, and that's daunting. To satisfy everybody, that's a full-time job. "We don't take the fanbase here lightly. We are focused on making sure that everybody is happy with what they have available and we're listening for the things that we need to do better."   Without a doubt, that's music to the Philippine fans' ears. SIX SHOTS Here are six other topics Levy touched on during the interview: 1. On the Philippines hosting another NBA Global Games "The challenge with [the Global Games] is always, there's 15,000 people in that building, and there's a hundred million Filipinos that we're trying to engage around the NBA. So while the games are great, we are really spending our time figuring out how we can engage a hundred million Filipinos. "But it's always in consideration and hopefully at some point in the future, we'll be able to bring the game back here again." 2. On the impact of a full-Pinoy player making it in the NBA "That question has always perplexed me, because the fanbase here is so strong already. I mean clearly Jordan Clarkson is very popular here, but he's not the most popular NBA player [in the Philippines]. So would a Filipino player be the most popular player? If he was the best player in the NBA, he'd probably be the most popular player, but if he's not, I think Filipinos will follow that player, and will continue to follow the best players in the NBA because that's the expectation here in the Philippines - 'I'm looking for the best players and the best teams and that's who I want to follow.' "But [by] the number of people who are playing in this country, I think it's just a matter of time before we have multiple local Filipinos playing in the NBA. It's definitely going to happen. The game is getting better, the coaches are getting better, the level of talent in the PBA continues to go up, and there are more Filipino players coming to the US and playing in university [NCAA] so it's definitely going to happen." 3. On the passing of FIBA Secretary General Patrick Baumann "I personally knew Patrick and there was nobody that spent more time and energy and basically dedicated their life to the sport of basketball and had such a great impact on the sport of basketball around the world. It’s a tragic loss. Personally, I will miss Patrick and he worked very closely with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum. They had just seen him in a FIBA conference in Xi’an, China a few days before and typically with Patrick he was off in Argentina in another basketball event. I mean, he just, he was tireless in his efforts and he had tremendous success and it’s a tremendous loss to the entire basketball community." 4. On the NBA expanding the game towards female fans in the Philippines. "[For the Jr. NBA PH program] our goal is always 50-50, boys-girls. We haven’t yet achieved that here in the Philippines but again, working closely with the schools, working with Alaska, working with SM...the percentage continues to increase. I'm not exactly sure what the [numbers are] last year, but it's still too low. "I think that’s why it’s a little bit of frustrating here. In countries like Thailand and Indonesia, where, well Thailand has more than 50 percent girls, and in Vietnam and Indonesia it’s over 40 percent right now. So, again, our goal is 50-50. This sport is gender neutral, we bring WNBA players into market, we’ve done that many times already and now we’re going into schools to really try to encourage young girls to play the game." 5. On giving tips to local leagues to become more successful "We’re not here to dictate how a league should be run. What we’re trying to do is understand where we can be helpful, if they’re looking for assistance in building an arena, we’re happy to help with that. If they’re looking [at] how to enhance ticket sales, how to expand the live in-arena experience. Whatever it is that they may ask for our assistance, we are here to help. We support local basketball in every way we can but we’re not being prescriptive in saying this is how you should run a league in the Philippines. There’s way more knowledge on the ground here in the country than we have about what’s successful here." 6. On sports stars from other leagues interacting with NBA players "Our players are incredible. They are global icons, they’re incredible on social media which continues to grow their fanbase….because our players are active on social and they’re interested, personally interested in fashion and technology and gaming, and music and they have relationships with Jay-Z and with Usher, with every other top performer and other athletes are also interested because they’re fans. So when we do an event in London, we get calls from players on Chelsea, and on Tottenham and on Liverpool and on Man U and say “Hey, we wanna come to the game because we wanna see these athletes play. "So, anytime there is an athlete that is a fan of the NBA we will look to engage them. We work with all other sports leagues and we’re also fans. Our players are fans. There’s an opportunity to go to Camp Nou in Barcelona, our players want to be there. So, this is more driven by the players, their personal interests in other sports and other athletes and luckily our athletes are generally pretty popular around the world, and we’ll encourage that engagement and facilitate some particularly social media moments where Neymar comes into the locker room and exchanges a jersey with Steph Curry. We had Ronaldinho wearing a Carmelo Anthony jersey, dribbling a basketball on his head. All these moments are really special for the crossover fans from one sport to another. But it’s really driven by our players’ personal interest or other athletes’ personal interest in basketball.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 25th, 2018

Warriors secure now, but face questions on Cousins, Durant

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com OAKLAND, Calif. -- All is rather calm at the moment with the defending champs, who are idling until they reach two important checkpoints in their gold-bricked road: What happens when DeMarcus Cousins comes back, and what happens if Kevin Durant doesn’t? One carries implications for this season, the other impacts next season and beyond. It’s really that simple for the Warriors, the heavy NBA favorites who once again are threatening to burst everyone else’s balloon for the next seven months and then pop bottles in June. While his new teammates are busy breaking a sweat in Camp Kerr, Cousins is mostly off to the side of the court, on his own schedule, going through the next phase of his rehabilitation from a torn Achilles suffered last spring. There is no timetable on his debut. Still: He represents a bonus for the defending champs, an ace card that doesn’t need to be played until it’s time, perhaps around the All-Star break in February, before for the playoffs. It’s quite a luxury to have, for a team that has everything: A big man with skills who averaged 25 points, 13 rebounds and 1.6 blocks last season with the Pelicans and is only 28. Assuming a full recovery, which isn’t a slam dunk by any means, Cousins would still be in his prime once he suits up and makes life complicated for teams trying to game plan for Golden State. And then there’s the elephant in the gym. Durant remains on a year-to-year contract. Initially, this was done mainly to ensure the Warriors wiggle room under the salary cap to re-sign Andre Iguodala and keep the core of a three-time champion. Yet Durant chose the same financial strategy this summer during free agency and therefore will be back on the market in 2019. You ask, and he says only: “Just keeping my options open.” It’s a rather sound, if rare, strategy that’s afforded by only few, as in, just Durant and until this summer, LeBron James. For the superstar who has already banked in excess of $100 million on the court and pulls that much and perhaps more in endorsements, there’s no financial incentive or urgency to lock in long-term. LeBron did so with the Lakers last July only because it was finally the right time: He turns 34 this year. Going year-to-year allows Durant, 30, to stay unchained in case something happens that causes him to sour on the Warriors and/or fall in love with another team. He’s an MVP contender in his prime and so a long-term deal will always await, no matter if he stays or goes. The only risk is a career-threatening injury, and in such an unlikely yet worst-case scenario. Durant is already wealthy times ten. Flexibility, right now, is more valuable than long-term money. The bigger issue is how this hovers above the Warriors, and there’s no sign that it’s causing sleepless nights. For one: Durant is in the fold for this season and the Warriors remain loaded; therefore their sights are fixated on June, when the championship will be decided, not July, when free agent starts. And two: The organization seems secure in itself and believes at the moment of truth, Golden State will be his best option. The evidence is pretty compelling. Next season the Warriors move into a state-of-the-art arena in San Francisco; ownership is laughing at the luxury tax, which could approach over $150 million in two seasons depending on the payroll; and in case you haven’t noticed, the Warriors are on a championship roll. Finally: Durant enjoys his surroundings. “We’re selfless, care about each other, that’s what the Warriors do,” he said. “My cup is full here knowing that you can walk in here and be yourself, no judgment, just all love. The championship is just the cherry on top.” It’s hard to imagine Durant going to a more talented team. The Warriors are still in their prime, at least the core. Steph Curry is 30 and Durant joins him on Saturday. Cousins, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green are 28. It’s rare for a professional sports team to have three titles in the bag with stars in their prime as they chase No. 4; usually, one or two of the main pieces are old and in decline. Extensions are due for Thompson and Cousins next summer along with Durant, and Green in two years. The conventional thinking is a team can’t pay everyone, and perhaps not. But the Warriors will generate millions in their new building, enough to keep a payroll approaching $300 million (and cope with high luxury taxes) if they chose to do so. The goal is to keep the championship train running, until it can’t, because dynasties are hard to build and trickier to maintain. The Warriors have the opportunity to see this through, and so they’ll try. “We’re not looking at this as the final dance,” said coach Steve Kerr. “Like I said, we want to have some fun and enjoy what we have this year and move on from there. Our focus is to really enjoy it while it lasts. And nothing lasts forever, so we know that. We want to go out this year and enjoy every step of the way." Thompson repeated Thursday how much he “loves” living in the Bay Area and “I’d be crazy not to” think about the amount of in-prime talent he’d leave behind if he signs elsewhere. Green said he imagines himself a Warrior “for a long time.” Durant? We’ll see. In the meantime, the Warriors, like Durant, will take it year-by-year. It’s the only way to do business in the modern NBA. This year promises big returns, once again, on the floor. The last team to reach the Finals five straight years was the Bill Russell Celtics. And the Warriors, who swept the Cavaliers last June, who bring Durant and Curry and Thompson and Green back, finally have a center-piece this time. When Cousins returns, this team will be built to make history. And then, come free agency next summer, when the bill comes due, we’ll find out if they’re built to last. 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 NewsSep 28th, 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

10 things to know about NBA All-Star 2019

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — With All-Star festivities set to officially begin Friday (Saturday, PHL time), here are 10 things to know going into the weekend: BACK TO CHARLOTTE Charlotte hosted NBA All-Star weekend in 1991, and now gets it back a second time to join 14 other cities that can say it hosted the league’s showcase midseason event on multiple occasions. Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Houston, New Orleans, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Seattle, St. Louis, Los Angeles and the L.A. suburb of Inglewood, California, are the other previous multi-hosting All-Star cities. The Bay Area, the Detroit area and the Dallas area are also two-time hosts, though never technically twice in the same city. LEBRON’S RECORDS LeBron James now has the record for most All-Star captaincies: Two. He and Stephen Curry had the jobs last year when the captain’s format was first introduced to the All-Star weekend, and he and Giannis Antetokounmpo have the jobs this year. But James’ records revolving around this game hardly stop there. By starting on Sunday (Monday, PHL time), James will tie Kobe Bryant with 15 starts in the All-Star Game. James will also extend his record of consecutive starts, which will also rise to 15. Some of the other All-Star records James already holds include total points (343), field goals (141) and three-pointers (35). And by playing two minutes, James will increase his All-Star total in that stat to 416 — one more than Bryant for No. 2 on the all-time list. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has played the most All-Star minutes, 449. FOULING OUT Bold prediction: No one will foul out on Sunday (Monday, PHL time). The last player to foul out of an All-Star Game was Hakeem Olajuwon in 1987. Chris Paul was the most recent to come close, when he was whistled for five fouls in the 2008 game. There have been only 14 instances of someone fouling out of an All-Star Game. Rick Barry and Bob Cousy each fouled out twice; 10 others, including Olajuwon, have done so once. MVPs AT HOME Kemba Walker, the lone Charlotte player in this year’s All-Star Game, has suggested that he’s hoping he can wow the home crowd with an MVP-worthy performance. There’s a history of that sort of thing happening. There have been 14 players who have won All-Star MVP honors in their home cities, spanning a total of 15 games. The list of hometown All-Star MVPs: Anthony Davis (New Orleans, 2017), Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles, 2011), Shaquille O’Neal (Phoenix, 2009 and Los Angeles, 2004), Karl Malone and John Stockton (Utah, 1993), Michael Jordan (Chicago, 1988), Tom Chambers (Seattle, 1987), Jerry West (Los Angeles, 1972), Rick Barry (the San Francisco area, 1967), Adrian Smith (Cincinnati, 1966), Bob Pettit (St. Louis, 1958 and 1962), Wilt Chamberlain (Philadelphia, 1960), Bob Cousy (Boston, 1957) and Ed Macauley (Boston, 1951). AGE MARK Assuming he plays, Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki — one of the special additions to the rosters by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who also added Miami’s Dwyane Wade to the list — will become the second 40-something to appear in the All-Star Game. Nowitzki is 40; Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played in the game when he was 40 and 41. Michael Jordan almost pulled off the feat; he was eight days shy of turning 40 when he last played in the All-Star Game in 2003. Jordan, now the owner of the Charlotte Hornets and the unofficial host of the weekend, will turn 56 on Sunday. Wade, also assuming he gets into the game, will become the 12th player to be an All-Star at 37 or older. Wade turned 37 last month. HEROES Jason Weinmann and James Shaw Jr. might not be “celebrities,” at least not in the classic sense. But the NBA rightly believes they should be celebrated. Weinmann and Shaw were invited to play in Friday’s All-Star Celebrity Game to commemorate heroic acts. Weinmann, a retired Marine, used a military transport vehicle — which he bought at a government auction years ago — during Hurricane Florence last September to help rescue flood victims in North Carolina and bring them to safety. Shaw disarmed a man who had opened fire at a Waffle House restaurant near Nashville last April and has been heralded as a life-saving hero since for wrestling the AR-15 out of the alleged shooter’s hands by the barrel. G LEAGUE FIRST Khris Middleton of the Milwaukee Bucks is the first member of a new club. He’s the first G League alum to become an NBA All-Star. Middleton spent a short time during the 2012-13 season in the G League, before blossoming into one of the league’s best players and a key to Milwaukee going into the break with an NBA-best 43-14 record. There will be plenty of G League graduates participating on All-Star Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) as well — Middleton, Seth Curry, Danny Green and Joe Harris are all slated to be in the 3-point contest. CASH MATTERS There is some money at stake during All-Star Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) events, and everybody gets something. Everyone in the dunk contest will receive at least $20,000, everyone in the skills challenge gets at least $15,000 and all participants in the 3-point shootout take home at least $10,000. From there, prize money varies by finish — the skills challenge winner gets $55,000, the 3-point shootout champion wins $60,000 and the dunk contest winner takes home $105,000. In all, the Saturday night (Sunday, PHL time) participants will split $610,000. EASTBOUND This All-Star weekend is the first of four straight in Eastern Conference cities. Chicago gets it next year, Indianapolis in 2021 and Cleveland in 2022. The site for the 2023 game remains unknown; Salt Lake City and Sacramento are two sites often mentioned as candidates for that year, and Orlando is a likely suitor for the 2024 game. THE REFS Sunday’s (Monday, PHL time) All-Star Game will be officiated by Scott Foster, Curtis Blair and David Guthrie. It’s a home game of sorts for Guthrie, who resides in Charlotte. Foster worked the 2010 All-Star Game in Dallas. It’s the first All-Star Game for Blair and Guthrie. The Friday and Saturday (Saturday and Sunday, PHL time) events will be worked by a crew of newer refs — third-year official Aaron Smith and fourth-year officials Mitchell Ervin and Gediminas Petraitis......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News20 hr. 18 min. ago

Fil-Am ABL star Jason Brickman sets sights on the PBA

Fil-Am playmaker and former ABL star Jason Brickman is now setting his sights on joining next year's PBA Rookie Draft. Brickman, who was the floor general of last year's ABL finalists Mono Vampire, is looking to find clearance and be able to play in Asia's first pro basketball league. The 27-year-old guard is eligible to forego a PBA D-League stint by the time he gets drafted next year, following in the footsteps of teammate Paul Zamar, Christian Standhardinger, and Stanley Pringle, who had stints in the inter-country league before joining the PBA. "Just I'm hopeful to get into the PBA. Something I've always wanted to do and right now is the best opportunity to do that so that's another reason why I came out here," Brickman said.  The former Long Island University Brooklyn star led the US NCAA Division I with 8.5 assists per game in his junior year, before increasing it to 10 per contest in his senior season.  He also became only the fourth player in men's Division 1 history in handing out 1,000+ assists for their collegiate career. However, before his possible PBA stint, Brickman will be joining Mighty Sports and represent the country in the 30th Dubai International Basketball Tournament in UAE this Feb. 1-9.  He will help coach Charles Tiu in dictating the offense, and will be supported by imports Lamar Odom, Justin Brownlee and Randolph Morris. Also with the team are PBA D-League Finals MVP Gab Banal, former ABL star Fil-Am Jason Brickman, UAAP standouts Juan Gomez de Liano and Santi Santillan, #23for23 member Troy Rike, Jeremiah Gray, Roosevelt Adams, Angelo Wongchuking and CSB high-flyer Justin Gutang, the latter serving as reserve. In his third stint with the Caesar Wongchuking-sponsored squad, he said that he is very happy that he'll be representing 104 million Filipinos once more in an international tournament. "I think it's a great opportunity to represent the Philippines. We have a lot of good local players. Obviously, good imports," shared Brickman.  "There's gonna be some very good teams there. Great competition as well. I'm looking forward to play and do whatever I can to help the team," he added. Known for his playmaking, he assured that he won't be changing his role for the team that drafts him, for he believes a pass-first mentality is his biggest strength. After the tournament, Brickman will solely focus on preparing for the Rookie Draft, and see where it goes from there. __   Follow this writer on Twitter, @philipptionary. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 28th, 2019

NCAA: New and improved Clint Escamis continues career in Mapua Srs.

Clint Escamis was having for himself a breakout season in last year’s NCAA 94 Juniors. Late in the second round of the tournament, however, he incurred what appeared to be a left knee injury. He then missed the Red Robins’ remaining games in the elimination round before returning to action in the Final Four. It was clear, though, that Escamis wasn’t himself, looking like he had lost his burst even as his shooting stroke was still there. Now nearly two months after Mapua won the championship with him on the sidelines, what was initially diagnosed as a knee sprain actually turned out to be an ACL tear. The good news is that last week, the 5-foot-11 playmaker finally had surgery to repair the ACL tear. Now, he has already begun the process of recovery. And when Escamis finally takes to the court anew, he is only adamant he will be better than ever. “I promise to get back as soon as possible so I can do what I do best which is to play hard and help my team win,” he said. He then continued, “I will not take this second chance for granted and I will make sure I’m always healthy and in the proper mindset when I go out to play.” The 18-year-old has already used up his eligibility in the Juniors and, therefore, will be returning to the action in the collegiate level. For now, however, he is yet to decide where exactly he will be making his return in. “Wala pa po akong decision for college. Focus po muna sa recovery,” he said. What is certain, though, is that he vows to give his all wherever he ends up. As he put it, “After this injury, makikita po ninyo ang new and improved Clint Escamis. Clint Escamis 2.0 po talaga.” According to sources, in the mix for the commitment of Escamis is former mentor Randy Alcantara who is now head coach of the Cardinals. University of the East is also said to have great interest in him. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 21st, 2019

Harden scores 48 points, Rockets beat Lakers 138-134 in OT

By KRISTIE RIEKEN,  AP Sports Writer HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden scored 48 points, Eric Gordon added 30 and the Houston Rockets overcame a 21-point deficit to beat the Los Angeles Lakers 138-134 in overtime Saturday night (Sunday, PHL time). The Rockets trailed for most of the night and were down by 18 in the second-half. Gordon sent it to overtime with a 3-pointer, and made four free throws in the last seconds of the extra period. Coming off 57- and 58-point games, Harden had his 19th straight game with at least 30 and he's had 40 in 10 of the last 13. He was 14 of 30 from the field, going 8 of 19 3-pointers, and hit 12 of 15 free throws. Brandon Ingram missed a 3 for Los Angeles before Harden hit 1 of 2 free throws to make it 132-130 with less than a minute left. Ingram tied it with a basket, and Harden again made 1 of 2 free throws to make it 133-132. Los Angeles missed a 3 before Gordon also made just 1 of 2 free throws to leave Houston up by two with 12.6 seconds left. Kyle Kuzma lost the ball and it went out of bounds to give Houston the ball back. Gordon added four free throws after that to secure the victory. It was the second straight overtime game for both teams after Houston lost to Brooklyn on Wednesday night and Los Angeles beat Oklahoma City on Thursday night. Kuzma had 32 points for Los Angeles and Ingram added 21 in a game where coach Luke Walton was ejected in the third quarter. Already without LeBron James and Rajon Rondo, the Lakers have another injury concern after Lonzo Ball sprained his left ankle in the third quarter. The team said he was taken to a hospital for X-rays because the machine at the arena was broken. Four straight points by the Lakers stretched the lead to nine in the fourth quarter, but Harden and Gordon made consecutive 3-pointers cut it to 112-109 with about two minutes remaining. Los Angeles made four free throws to make it 116-109 about a minute later, but Harden made two 3-pointers around a basket by Ivica Zubac to get Houston within three with about 30 seconds left. Lance Stephenson missed a 3-pointer and Harden made two free throws to cut the lead to 118-117 with 5.7 seconds left. Zubac made two more free throws before Gordon's off-balance 3-pointer with 2 seconds left sent it to OT. The Lakers built a huge lead early and were up 64-46 at halftime, with Kuzma scoring 24 points. They were ahead by 17 with about eight minutes left in the third quarter after scoring five straight points capped by a basket from Kuzma before Houston scored the next 15 points to cut it to 74-72 three minutes later. James Ennis had five points in that stretch and P.J. Tucker capped it with a 3-pointer. Ball was injured just before Houston's run began. He remained on the court for a couple of minutes talking with trainer's before he was helped to his feet where he hopped on his right foot for a few steps before being carried off the court and to the locker room by Stephenson and Michael Beasley. Walton was ejected a couple of minutes after that when he got two technical fouls after yelling at officials during a timeout. TIP-INS Lakers: James was out for the 13th straight game with a strained left groin and did not make the trip. ... Stephenson finished with 16 points. Rockets: Harden also had eight rebounds, six assists and four steals. ... Ennis returned after missing Wednesday's game after cutting his left leg in a fall at his house. ... Chris Paul missed his 14th game in a row with a strained left hamstring ... Clint Capela had surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb and is expected to be out 4-6 weeks. UP NEXT Lakers: Host Golden State on Monday night. Rockets: Visit Philadelphia on Monday night......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 20th, 2019

NCAA Season 94 volleyball: SSC-R, Perpetual dispute at least last semis spot playoff

San Sebastian College and University of Perpetual Help battle for at least a playoff for the last semifinals berth Monday in the NCAA Season 94 women’s volleyball tournament at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Both teams put their Final Four hopes on the line when they meet inside the court at 12:00 noon. The match will air via livestream. The Lady Stags march into their final elimination round match hoping to avoid missing the Final Four for the second straight season. A series of misfortunes that pushed SSC-R outside of the top four with a 4-4 win-loss record tied with Jose Rizal University at fifth to sixth. The Lady Stags are on a three-game losing skid after a 4-1 start. SSC-R has yet to win a match this year. Another defeat coupled by the Lady Altas’ win against the Lady Bombers on Thursday will send the Lady Stags into an early vacation. In case SSC-R drops its last match and Perpetual also loses to JRU for a three-way 5-4 card there will be a playoff to determine who will advance in the semis. In this scenario, the teams with the lowest tiebreak will faceoff in a winner-take-all match for the right to face the squad with the highest quotient.   Meanwhile, College of St. Benilde shoots for at least a playoff for the no. 2 spot in the semifinals at 2:00 p.m. gainst Mapua University. The Lady Blazers are in a seven-game winning streak and are tied at second to third with San Beda University with 7-1 slate behind unbeaten defending two-time champion Arellano University (8-0). The Lady Cardinals hold a 1-7 mark.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles    .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 14th, 2019

NCAA Season 94: Lady Blazers collect seventh straight win

Before the start of NCAA Season 94 women's volleyball competition, College of St. Benilde head coach Jerry Yee laid out the team's goals and expectations. The Lady Blazers responded with one of the best seasons for the Taft-based squad since its title romp three years ago. CSB collected its seventh straight win in eight outings Friday at the expense of skidding San Sebastian College, 25-17, 25-16, 25-14, at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. The Lady Blazers moved up to a share of the second to third spot with idle San Beda University behind unbeaten defending two-time champion Arellano University (8-0). "Nag-usap kami ng mabuti. Yung expectations, nai-set natin, yung goals natin ni-lay natin sa table, kung anong kailangan kung kaya nila o hindi. Willing naman yung mga bata to sacrifice. So far it's working. Pero marami pang tatabrahuin like consistency," said Yee, whose squad will close the elimination round on Monday against Mapua University. Rachel Austero scored 13 points anchored on 10 attacks, two kill blocks and an ace to lead the Lady Blazers. Klarissa Abriam had 11 markers while Chelsea Umali posted eight points for CSB. The Lady Blazers are very much in the running for the no. 2 spot and a twice-to-beat advantage in a Final Four format.  In case Arellano U completes an elims sweep against San Beda coupled by CSBs win over Mapua, the Lady Blazers will occupy the no. 2 spot and will await the survivor between the no. 3 and no. 4 seeds in the knockout stepladder semifinals. The Lady Stags, on the other hand, were pushed on the brink of missing the semis for the second straight year after absorbing their third straight defeat. SSC-R fell to 4-4 card at fifth to sixth spot tied with Jose Rizal University.  Maryrhose Dapol and Joyce Sta. Rita scored eight points each for the Lady Stags, who will need to win against University of Perpetual Help on Monday and hope that the Lady Altas lose to the Lady Bombers on Thursday to force a playoff for the last semis seat. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 11th, 2019

NCAA Season 94: Letran snaps skid

Letran escaped Mapua University by the skin of its teeth,14-25, 26-24, 23-25, 25-17, 15-13, Thursday to snap a six-game losing slump in the NCAA Season 94 women's volleyball competition at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Already out of contention for a semis berth, the Lady Knights salvaged some sense of pride by staving off a determined Lady Cardinals side to notch their second win in eight games. Miracle Mendoza provided the offensive spark for Letran after dropping 21 points built on 18 attacks, two aces and a kill block. Kathleen Dela Cruz backed Mendoza up with 18 points including 16 spikes while Mariel Larioque and Rhosselle Urriza chipped in 11 and 10 markers, respectively. Letran reasserted its mastery over Mapua for the third straight year. The Lady Knights will close their elimination round campaign next week against Lyceum of the Philippines University. The Lady Cardinals slid to 1-7 card. Jan Morano posted 15 points while Angelie Magundayao and Jonina Fernandez had 14 markers each for Mapua, which will close its elims journey on Monday against College of St. Benilde. Meanwhile, the Knights swept the Cardinals, 25-15, 25-22, 25-20, to for a four-way tie with their victims and idle San Beda University and Jose Rizal University with 2-6 cards in the men's division. Mhel Gabuyo finished with 14 points while Christopher Cistina and Angel Canzana added 11 markers each for Letran. Angelbert Navas and Alfredo Pagulong scored 11 and nine markers, respectively, for Mapua. In juniors play, the Squires completed Letran's sweep in all divisions after rolling past the Red Robins, 25-18, 25-19, 25-22. The Squires improved to 6-2 card to join defending champion University of Perpetual Help and Lyceum of the Philippines University in the Final Four. Mapua slid to 2-6 mark.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 10th, 2019

NCAA Season 94 volleyball: San Beda out to prevent stepladder semis

With its primary goal of making it back in the Final Four accomplished, San Beda University now sets its sights on another pressing matter: prevent archrival Arellano University from sweeping the elimination round of the NCAA Season 94 women’s volleyball competition. The Lady Red Spikers joined unbeaten defending two-time champion Lady Chiefs in the semifinals after claiming their seventh win in eight games. Arellano U will face University of Perpetual Help on Thursday and if the Lady Chiefs hurdle the Lady Altas, it will now be up to San Beda to stop the grand slam-seeking squad from advancing outright into the Finals and prevent a dangerous knockout stepladder semifinals. The Season 93 Finals rematch is set on January 15.      “Para sa amin importante (na matalo namin ang Arellano U) kasi mahirap na dadaan ka sa stepladder kung ma-sweep nila ang elimination, said San Beda coach Nemesio Gavino, who steered the Mendiola-based squad to its third straight semis appearance. If the Lady Chiefs succeed in sweeping the elims, the no. 2 team will take on the survivor between the no. 3 and no. 4 teams in the knockout stepladder semis format. A loss by San Beda to Arellano U will also put the Lady Red Spikers in a precarious position especially with College of St. Benilde very much in the running for the no. 2 spot. The Lady Blazers currently hold a 6-1 slate and are in a six-game winning romp. CSB’s last two assignments are against struggling San Sebastian College and also-ran Mapua University.   “Mas maraming pagod ang pagdadaanan mo at mas maraming challenge (sa stepladder) kaya dapat maipanalo namin ang game against Arellano,” said Gavino. If San Beda beats Arellano U coupled by CSB dropping a match, the Lady Red Spikers will claim the Final Four twice-to-beat advantage. But in case of a tie at the no. 2 spot, there will be a playoff to determine who will be equipped with the last semis twice-to-beat advantage.      “Sa susunod na game iisipin namin kung ano ang pwedeng mangyari kasi may natitira pang games sa mga kalaban ganoon din sa amin,” said Gavino. “Para sa amin ang goal namin ay matalo muna ang Arellano.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 9th, 2019