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Bale and Benzema lead Madrid to opening Spanish league win

By Tales Azzoni, Associated Press MADRID (AP) — Zinedine Zidane's revamped Real Madrid got the spark it needed from a couple of veterans to get off to a winning start in the Spanish league. In the absence of injured new signing Eden Hazard, it was Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale who contributed with goals and assists as Madrid comfortably won at Celta Vigo 3-1 on Saturday. Bale, who many thought would be gone from the squad by now, set up Benzema's opening goal, then Toni Kroos and Lucas Vázquez added to the lead in a match in which Madrid played most of the second half with 10 men following a red card to Luka Modric. After Madrid's attempts to transfer Bale failed, Zidane started the Wales forward at Balaídos Stadium. "He is going to stay," said Zidane, who last month was outspoken about Bale's transfer being good for everyone. "We have reason to feel positive about all the players that we have in the squad right now." It was Madrid's first away win since Zidane returned as coach late last season. The team is trying to rebound from one of its worst campaigns in decades, when it was out of title contention several weeks before the end of last season. "It was important to get off to a good start," Zidane said. "It was great to get the three points in a difficult away match like this. We leave with a good feeling." Benzema opened the scoring from close range after Bale's perfectly timed low cross in front of the goal in the 12th minute. Modric was sent off early in the second half after video review showed he fouled an opponent from behind. Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois made a spectacular reflex save off a close-range header on the ensuing free kick, and moments later Kroos added to Madrid's lead with a superb long-range shot into the top corner. Substitute Vázquez sealed the victory after a pass by Benzema following a nifty spin move by the French striker outside the area. Without Hazard, who picked up a muscle injury in a training session on Friday, Zidane began the season with a 4-3-3 formation; Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane were flanked by Marcelo and Odriozola in the defense, Casemiro guarded Kroos and Modric in midfield, and Vinícius Jr. joined Benzema and Bale in the attack. Playmaker James Rodríguez, who also was expected to leave in the offseason after his loan to Bayern Munich ended, was on the bench. On Friday, two-time defending champion Barcelona lost at Athletic Bilbao 1-0 for its first opening defeat in a decade. VALENCIA'S LATE SETBACK Valencia was held by Real Sociedad to a heartbreaking 1-1 draw at home after conceding an equalizer in stoppage time shortly after missing a penalty kick that would have increased its lead. Forward Kevin Gameiro had a chance to seal the victory five minutes into injury time but sent his shot from the spot over the crossbar. Mikel Oyazarbal evened the match by converting his own shot from the spot after a player on the Valencia wall touched the ball with his hand on a free kick. OTHER RESULTS Granada rallied from two goals down in the final 20 minutes of its 4-4 draw at Villarreal, while promoted Mallorca edged Eibar 2-1. Osasuna, another team back in the top flight, won at Leganés 1-0......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 18th, 2019

Tight finish expected in IRONMAN 70.3

The past and present meet as inaugural champion Terenzo Bozzone of New Zealand makes a much-awaited return to challenge recent winners Mauricio Mendez of Mexico and Tim Reed of Australia in the Regent Aguila IRONMAN 70.3 which unfurls tomorrow at the Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa here......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsAug 9th, 2019

Astros ace Greinke deal; 2 dozen trades on deadline day

By Ben Walker, Associated Press Out of nowhere, the Houston Astros got a huge head start on October. On a dizzying day that featured two dozen trades, the Astros pulled off the biggest and most startling deal, adding ace Zack Greinke to an imposing rotation already loaded with All-Stars Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole. Plenty of familiar names were on the go Wednesday — Shane Greene and Mark Melancon boosted the Braves’ bullpen, with Scooter Gennett, Jesús Aguilar, Mike Leake and Tanner Roark among those also moving. But it was the Astros’ acquisition of Greinke from Arizona for four minor leaguers that quickly became the talk of baseball. The deal came right before the deadline for swapping players to still have them eligible for the postseason. “We had him high on our list and we didn’t know this was even remotely possible and it really wasn’t until the last 48 hours and really the last 24 hours that we started to get traction on something,” Houston general manager Jeff Luhnow said. The AL West leaders and 2017 World Series champions added two other pitchers, too, getting starter Aaron Sanchez and reliever Joe Biagini from Toronto. “Houston made some big deals. They’re really good. They were good before,” Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski said. A lot of contenders were busy. The Chicago Cubs added Detroit’s Nicholas Castellanos to their lineup, the Phillies got outfielder Corey Dickerson from Pittsburgh and the Washington Nationals acquired relievers Daniel Hudson, Roenis Elías and Hunter Strickland. In most cases, major leaguers were swapped for minor leaguers. “When it comes to trades, one thing I’ve learned is, just wait,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “You’ve got to wait until the very end and it plays itself out. The 11th hour is the most powerful hour there is. To get things done before that, it normally doesn’t work to get what you want. There’s the 11th hour at work.” Several players whose names swirled in the tradewinds stayed put. Giants ace Madison Bumgarner, Mets starters Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler and Pirates closer Felipe Vázquez remained in place. So did Mets closer Edwin Díaz and Texas starter Mike Minor. “Nothing changed for me. I never expected to be somewhere else until that happened,” Bumgarner said. “I just have a job to do and I’m going to do it. We’re going to miss a few guys we got rid of. That’s going to be tough.” Major League Baseball made July 31 a hard deadline this year for trades. Now, no deals can be made until after the World Series. “This was a unique deadline, it felt,” said Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, whose AL East-leading team didn’t make any significant moves. Pitchers Marcus Stroman, Andrew Cashner, Homer Bailey and Jason Vargas were among the players who were traded in recent weeks. And on Tuesday night, the Cleveland Indians agreed to send pitcher Trevor Bauer to Cincinnati in a three-team swap that brought back outfielder Yasiel Puig. That trade became official Wednesday, setting off a full morning and afternoon of swaps. Wheeler heard the speculation involving him. “It’s almost happened several times and never did. I’m happy to be here and I’m concentrating on producing and doing well here,” he said. “It was all there for it to happen and just didn’t. I was ready for it, especially with me being a free agent after the season.” Atlanta concentrated its effort on padding its bullpen. A day after getting reliever Chris Martin from Texas, the Braves got Greene from Detroit and Melancon from the Giants. “We engaged everything — position players, starting pitchers, the bullpen — right up until the end,” general manager Alex Anthopoulos said. “At the end of the day, where we thought there were deals that made sense for us and what we had to give up and so on, the bullpen made the most sense. But we definitely tried some other areas. We just couldn’t wind up with a deal that made sense to our organization.” The 30-year-old Greene has 22 saves and 1.18 ERA and was an All-Star this season. He’s likely to take over the closer’s role — Luke Jackson had been the latest to try it for the Braves, and was just 17 for 25 in save chances. “They’re excited, I’m excited,” Greene said in Anaheim, where the Tigers played the Los Angeles Angels. “I’m starting a new chapter and going to a contender.” At Yankee Stadium, Greinke had been pulled after five innings because of a rain delay and was watching video of his start when manager Torey Lovullo interrupted — GM Mike Hazen wanted to break the news. Hazen said the trade was finished in a hurry, in the final 20 minutes before the 4 p.m. deadline. Soon, word reached Progressive Field in Cleveland, where Houston was preparing to play the Indians. Cole said the Astros did “a lot of hooting and hollering” about “getting a Hall of Fame pitcher, a craftsman.” “We are just really shocked and ecstatic,” Cole said. The 35-year-old Greinke is 10-4 with a 2.90 ERA this season. The Astros now have four starters with ERAs in the top 15 in the majors this year — Verlander is fifth with a 2.73 ERA, Greinke is ninth, Cole is 11th at 2.94 and Wade Miley ranks 14th at 3.06. Verlander leads the AL in wins (14) and ERA, and Cole tops the majors with 212 strikeouts. “If we stay healthy,” Luhnow said, “this team is as good as any team I’ve ever seen.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 1st, 2019

PVL: Creamline, eight other teams battle for crown and glory in Open Conference

Star-studded Creamline will face a tough field in its title-retention bid with eight other squads including three newcomers raring to knock the crown off the Cool Smashers’ heads when the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Open Conference begins on August 11. The season-ending tournament will feature nine teams with the return of Philippine Air Force, which skipped the Reinforced Conference, and the introduction of two new squads in ChocoMucho and Chef’s Classics. The Cool Smashers, who are bannered by three-time conference Most Valuable Player Alyssa Valdez and top setter Jia Morado, are expected to go all-out to protect their throne after relinquishing the Reinforced conference title to PetroGazz weeks back. Creamline will have redemption as its motivation in the tournament that will open earlier than its usual schedule in deference to the country’s hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games in November. “Babawi talaga kami,” vowed Valdez. “Going to the second conference, all-Filipino, hindi ko sinasabi na we’re all equal but ang sinasabi ko lahat ng locals magtatrabaho kasi gusto naming manalo,” added the Cool Smashers team captain. “I think that’s the beauty of all-Filipino talaga makikita natin ang talent ng kapwa nating mga Filipino.” But the road won’t be an easy one for the Creamline. Back to complete a season sweep are the Angels led by solid middle Jeanette Panaga and Cherry Nunag with hitters Jonah Sabete, Paneng Mercado and playmaker Djanel Cheng. Fresh from a bronze medal finish in its maiden campaign, veteran-laden PacificTown Army is a considered as one of the top contenders so does BanKo, which will parade power-hitters Nicole Tiamzon and Dzi Gervacio. With a healthy Myla Pablo back to lead a young and dynamic Motolite side, the Air Padda-mentored squad could finally break out from its shell to surprise the lead just like BaliPure, which is looking to improve from its last place finish in the season-opening tournament.    Back in the fold are the Jet Spikers, bringing their veterans back after a one-conference hiatus. ChocoMucho, Creamline’s sister team, will try to live up to its pre-conference hype as Flyin Titans march into battle with former Ateneo de Manila University stars Kat Tolentino, Bea de Leon and Maddie Madayag leading the way while another expansion team Chef’s Classics is out to make its mark in the league. Meanwhile, the league will also hold the Collegiate Conference with more than 10 teams expressing their intentions to participate.    --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 31st, 2019

Gilas not giving up FIBA World Cup hope for injured Lassiter

MANILA, Philippines – Gilas Pilipinas clings on the slim chance that Marcio Lassiter can still see action in the FIBA World Cup after his inclusion was shrouded with uncertainty due to a knee injury.  Lassiter is expected to be sidelined for at least 6 weeks due to a left MCL ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsJul 26th, 2019

1 forecast shows US topping medal table at Tokyo Olympics

By Stephen Wade, Associated Press TOKYO (AP) — If the Tokyo Olympics were opening today, the United States would top the overall medal count and the gold-medal count. That's the forecast released Tuesday by Gracenote Sports, which supplies statistical analysis for sports leagues around the world. Simon Gleave, the head of sports analysis at Gracenote, said his model has the United States winning 51 gold medals, 34 silver, and 41 bronze for 126 overall. China is picked to finish second with 38 gold and 81 overall. Host nation Japan is third, which would be a strong showing for a country with a much smaller population than China or the United States. Japan is predicted to win 29 gold medals, 67 overall and take advantage of the "home-field advantage" that almost always goes to the host nation. Spain got a boost back in the '92 Barcelona Olympics, China jumped in 2008 in Beijing, as did Britain in London in 2012. The Tokyo Olympics open on July 24, 2020. The next seven countries ranked in order of overall medals are: Russia (65), Britain (43), Australia (43), France (41), Germany (38), Netherlands (34), and Italy (32). This is fifth forecast Gleave has put together and the record is solid. "Sometimes countries over-perform, or under-perform, and that's not to do with our model," Gleave told AP in an interview. "That just happens in sport." Three years ago in Rio de Janeiro, Gracenote picked the order of the top three countries correctly, and picked eight of the top 10 medal-winning countries. In the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, it correctly picked Norway to win a record number of medals and finish ahead of No. 2 Germany. It also picked the top four countries correctly, and in the correct order. Its predictions for seven of the top 10 countries were within one or two medals of their final totals. Russia is a major headache. Its track and field athletes are still banned from Tokyo following a widespread doping scandal. The governing body of track and field, the IAAF, has had a ban on the Russian athletics federation since 2015. Russia's medal total of course will be impacted by any change in eligibility. "If just before the Olympics, Russia is allowed to enter again it's going to be a bit of an issue," Gleave said of the medal predictions. Other highlights. — Britain finished in the top three in the last two Olympics, but is expected to fall out of that ranking. Look for Australia and Britain to be vying for a spot in the top five. — The Netherlands is picked to surpass its best overall medal total of 25 — that was 2000 in Sydney — and reach 34. — The second 10 in overall medal totals predicted are: South Korea (30), Hungary (27), Canada (25), Kenya (20), Spain (20), New Zealand (18), Ukraine (16), Brazil (15), Poland (14), and Turkey (14). — Women's participation in Tokyo will almost reach parity with men. Countries not promoting women's sports are sure to suffer in the medal standings......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 23rd, 2019

Not today : Palace to submit proposed 2020 budget maybe in two weeks

The executive department is expected to submit its proposed P4.1-trillion national budget for next year to Congress within the next two weeks, Malacañang said Monday......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJul 22nd, 2019

Summer League winds down, and now, maybe, some NBA rest

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press They'll hand out T-shirts to the Summer League winners following the championship game between Memphis and Minnesota in Las Vegas on Monday night (Tuesday, PHL time), and then things will finally slow down a bit in the NBA. Maybe. And probably not for long. It's been a hectic month since Toronto won the NBA championship and the so-called offseason commenced. Already this summer, 18 current and former All-Stars have changed franchises, and that number will rise to 19 if Vince Carter finds a new home for his final season. Recent NBA Finals MVPs Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant and Andre Iguodala all were among those on the move. And another three past finals MVPs — Dwyane Wade, Dirk Nowitzki and Tony Parker — all retired. So when next season begins, very little will look the same. "I think there's going to be a lot of parity," Brooklyn coach Kenny Atkinson said. "That's my gut." NBA Commissioner Adam Silver expected this summer to be loaded with player movement, and wasn't complaining about so many big names — Durant, Leonard, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Anthony Davis, Paul George, Kyrie Irving, Al Horford, Jimmy Butler and many more — needing to file change-of-address cards. "At the end of the day, it's positive for the league," Silver said. "I will say, though, I'm mindful of this notion of balance of power, and I think it applies in many different ways. An appropriate balance of power between the teams and the players ... at the end of the day, you want to make sure you have a league where every team is in a position to compete." There were some clear winners in free agency: Brooklyn (who got Durant and Irving), the Los Angeles Clippers (who got George and Leonard) and the Los Angeles Lakers (who got Davis) were among them. It could be argued that the Oklahoma City Thunder won as well — no, they won't be as good this season as they were this past season after trading George and Westbrook, but general manager Sam Presti has enough draft picks now to enjoy flexibility for years. The losers are clear as well: Toronto lost Leonard and Danny Green and Golden State lost Durant, so last season's finalists certainly aren't favorites to be this season's finalists. It's also easy to say that New York lost after coming up empty on the big-name free agents, but the Knicks got plenty of good players on deals that ensure the team will have money again next summer. A lookahead at what's coming, and some notes on what's gone down: SO NOW WHAT? Any NBA withdrawal will really only last about three weeks, until roughly three dozen players return to Las Vegas for USA Basketball's training camp leading up to the FIBA World Cup in China that starts on Aug. 31. San Antonio's Gregg Popovich is coaching the Americans, assisted by Golden State's Steve Kerr, Atlanta's Lloyd Pearce and Villanova's Jay Wright. Zion Williamson, knee permitting, may take part in camp as one of the young players brought in to help the more-established pros get ready. If Williamson impresses, he may get a shot at joining the varsity club. Also, this season's NBA schedule is likely to come around the second week of August, if recent years are any indicator. WHO'S LEFT? Plenty of free agents remain unsigned, and that'll still be the case even in September as training camps get ready to open. It's still hard to see the Thunder keeping Paul, acquired in the Westbrook trade to Houston, so expect at least one more blockbuster trade before too long. Or can a player who is owed $121 million over the next three seasons be bought out? Stay tuned. Carter wants to come back for a 22nd NBA season, which would be a league record. If he gets into a game after Jan. 1, he'll also become the first NBA player to appear in four different decades. Jamal Crawford remains out there as well, and contenders should be calling him. LOADED WEST Philadelphia, Boston, Brooklyn, Indiana and Miami all likely got better in the East. Milwaukee kept most of its team that won an NBA-best 60 games. The East will be good. The West might be bloody. The Clippers, the Lakers, Houston, Golden State, Denver, Utah, Portland and San Antonio could end up as the eight playoff teams in the Western Conference. It's plausible; they're probably the most realistic eight picks right now. But at least four of those teams — most of them with superstar duos that are all the rage now — won't be in the second round of next season's playoffs. LONGEVITY AWARD For now, Golden State's Stephen Curry is the longest-tenured player under contract to one team. He's entering his 11th season with the Warriors. With Nowitzki (21 seasons with Dallas) retired, Mike Conley (12 seasons with Memphis) traded to Utah and Westbrook (11 seasons with Oklahoma City) traded to Houston, no current player has had a longer uninterrupted run with one team than Curry. But if Udonis Haslem re-signs with Miami, it'll be his 17th season with the Heat. THE NUMBERS Including the $196 million extension for Portland's Damian Lillard, a $170 million extension for Denver's Jamal Murray and another in-the-works $170 million extension for Philadelphia's Ben Simmons, NBA teams have committed to spend roughly $4 billion in new deals that were struck in the last three weeks alone. And that's with 100 more signings to come, at least. That $4 billion figure is twice what the total payroll was a decade ago for every team in the league, combined......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 15th, 2019

Lonzo Ball eager for fresh start with Pelicans

New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball wasn't surprised when he was traded by the Los Angeles Lakers earlier this summer. "I was kind of excited, honestly," Ball told ESPN on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). "I kind of figured someone was going to get moved soon enough. I knew Anthony Davis wanted to come bad. Anytime you can get a guy like that, you are going to have to do what you have to do to get him. So I was kind of already just waiting for it, honestly, and I was happy to go with two guys I am comfortable with in B.I. [Brandon Ingram] and JHart [Josh Hart]. I am excited to see what we can do. Get your first look at the NBA’s top Rookies during NBA Summer League LIVE on NBA League Pass! "I tell people when I was a rookie, I probably would have been sad," Ball continued on being traded. "Just being from L.A., having my whole family here and wanting to be a Laker. But being in the league for two years, knowing it's a business, as long you get to play, that's a blessing in itself. I'm excited to get started." Ball, who has been sidelined since January with an ankle injury, is expected to be cleared for full contact in two weeks. When he returns, he will join a talented Pelicans squad that will feature Jrue Holiday, JJ Redick (reportedly) and first overall pick Zion Williamson -- an explosive big man who could be the perfect compliment to Ball's pass-first game. "Man, I've never seen somebody that size move like him," Ball said of Williamson. "He's only 19, right? He's definitely a freak. I've never seen nothing like it. With his game and with him getting a full head of steam, it's going to be very tough to stop him. So I think we play fast and get out on the break as soon as possible." With so much talent on the roster, the Pelicans could be ready to compete earlier than many expected after being forced to trade Davis. Ball believes the team is the perfect opportunity for him to remind the NBA world about his skills. "Obviously, injuries kind of messed up things a little bit," Ball said of his time in L.A. "But you take the bumps with the bruises and keep moving forward. Only been in the league for two years and looking forward to this third year in New Orleans, get a fresh start and show people what I can do. "I know New Orleans is excited to have me, and I'm excited to get started," Ball added. "Moving to a new team, a new situation, a new organization, new coaches, new everything -- it's a refresh, getting back to playing basketball how I know I can play." Coming soon to the #Pelicans: @ZO2_ ???? pic.twitter.com/FJLwFaFK1q — New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) July 7, 2019.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 15th, 2019

Serena Williams loses her 3rd consecutive Grand Slam final

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — The Centre Court crowd kept roaring whenever Serena Williams would win a point in the Wimbledon final, seemingly trying to will her to make things interesting against Simona Halep. Never happened. Instead of earning an eighth title at Wimbledon and record-equaling 24th overall at Grand Slam tournaments, Williams fell one victory short yet again, beaten with surprising ease by Halep 6-2, 6-2 Saturday. Williams has now lost her past three appearances in major finals — and five of her last seven. There's no shame in repeatedly making it to championship matches, of course, but it used to be rather unusual to see her come up just short like this: Williams won 21 of the first 25 Slam finals of her career. "I'm always expected to win," Williams said. That is true. Still, it was the seventh-seeded Halep who grabbed ahold of this match and never let go, finishing with three unforced errors to Williams' 26. Halep created problems by repeatedly tracking down Williams' shots and forcing the 37-year-old American to hit another one and another one and another one to win a point. "I definitely knew that she was just playing her heart out. I felt like, 'OK, what do I need to do to get to that level?'" Williams said. "I don't know if there's anything I could have done differently." After entering the final with a tournament-high 45 aces, Williams only managed two on Saturday. She was broken in half of her eight service games. Halep had a lot to do with that. "I feel like I'm still incredibly competitive or else I wouldn't really be out here, per se," Williams said. "For the most part, I feel like I'm on the right track. I'm just going in the right direction in terms of getting back to where I need to be." She hasn't won a title of any sort since the 2017 Australian Open, when she was pregnant. That was Slam trophy No. 23, breaking a tie with Steffi Graf for the most in the professional era. It also moved Williams within one of Margaret Court's total, although Court won 13 of her 24 major titles before professionals were admitted to Grand Slam tournaments, while all 23 of Williams' major titles have come in the Open era, which began in 1968. Since returning to the tour last season after her daughter was born on Sept. 1, 2017, Williams has reached the finals at three of six major tournaments she entered, defeated in straight sets each time. A year ago, she was the runner-up at Wimbledon to Angelique Kerber, and then the runner-up at the U.S. Open to Naomi Osaka in a final that descended into chaos when Williams was penalized a game for arguing with the chair umpire. Williams recently revealed that she saw a therapist after that episode and sent Osaka a written apology. She's also dealt with a series of injuries and arrived in England having contested only 12 tour-level matches in all of 2019. Just four of the other 127 women in the Wimbledon field had fewer; 105 had at least twice as many. After losing to 20-year-old American Sofia Kenin in the third round of the French Open, Williams stuck around in Paris for medical treatment on her left knee. By the time she began preparing in earnest for Wimbledon, about 1½ weeks before the start of play, she was pain-free. "I feel like I'm just really on this journey of just doing the best that I can," Williams said Saturday, "playing the best that I can when I can." According to the WTA's website, women's tennis pioneer Billie Jean King said recently that she would like to see what Williams could do on the court if she were to put "everything else aside" and "focus on what's necessary" for her tennis. King added: "If she's happy doing it this way, then that's fine. It's whatever makes her happy — it's not about us." The last question of Williams' post-match news conference referenced those comments and asked for a reaction. "The day I stop fighting for equality and for people that look like you and me," Williams said, "will be the day I'm in my grave.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 14th, 2019

Cagayan de Oro port’s new terminal expected to be launched July 15 — DoTr

THE new passenger terminal building at the Port of Cagayan de Oro is set for inauguration in less than two weeks, the Department of Transportation (DoTr) said......»»

Category: newsSource:  bworldonlineRelated NewsJul 3rd, 2019

Williamson welcomed to New Orleans by a grateful franchise

By Brett Martel, Associated Press METAIRIE, La. (AP) — Zion Williamson and his family were met with applause and traditional New Orleans jazz as they walked into the Pelicans’ headquarters. The practice gym was filled with team employees and executives eager to welcome the player who has infused the franchise with so much more promise than it appeared to have when six-time All-Star Anthony Davis requested a trade five months ago. Williamson, who was in New York a night earlier when the Pelicans made him the NBA’s top overall draft choice, smiled and looked relaxed in his blue suit and white designer sneakers. When the music was turned down and it was time for Williamson to address the gathering, he spoke with an easy manor and kept his comments short and simple. He promised maximum effort and flexibility, but stopped short of forecasting the type of greatness for himself that so many others have predicted. “I look at things from a realistic point of view,” Williamson began during his formal introduction to his first professional home on Friday evening (Saturday, PHL time). He called the praise being showered upon him “a bit much,” and reminded everyone that he is still a couple weeks short of his 19th birthday. “I haven’t played one (NBA) game yet, so I look at it just like that,” Williamson said. “I’m just trying to contribute to the team.” The 6'7", 285-pound forward will probably do a lot more than that, given the force of nature he was in his one season at Duke. He averaged 22.6 points for the Blue Devils and was voted to the ACC’s All-Defensive Team. He also averaged 8.9 rebounds, 2.12 steals and 1.8 blocked shots. Pelicans new executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin has sought to temper expectations by asserting that Williamson is “not the savior” of the small market franchise that was won two playoff series since relocating from Charlotte in 2002. Griffin also has stated repeatedly that veteran guard Jrue Holiday is the unquestioned leader of the team — which didn’t seem to bother Williamson at all. Williamson visited New Orleans for just a day of meetings before the draft and had dinner at renowned Uptown restaurant Commanders Palace. This second trip is expected to span at least the weekend, and dinner at a downtown steak place was on tap Friday night (Saturday, PHL time), followed by his first community service event at a playground in eastern New Orleans on Saturday. His parents and siblings also have made the trip, and they were expected to help the Pelicans’ newest star look for a place to live. Williamson said he enjoyed the televised images of fans in New Orleans celebrating wildly in a downtown street upon his selection. “I didn’t think I deserved all that,” he said with a smile, “but it was just passion for the team.” Even Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry and owner Gayle Benson struggled to contain their enthusiasm for Williamson’s arrival. “To receive the No. 1 pick in the draft is a prize any sports team would covet; this one is different,” Benson said. “We could not have asked for a better player with more potential on the court. More importantly, we could not have hoped for a better person to represent and help lead our franchise into this new chapter.” Added Gentry, “You don’t get to coach guys like this very often. When you’re lucky enough to have a generational player like that that you’re going to be able to coach, you relish just the honor of being able to coach a guy like that.” “You have to have the talent, but you have to have people that have the character that he has. It’s going to be enjoyable to see the style of basketball that we’re going to play. He more than fits into it. It’s going to be exciting to watch.” Williamson said it is easy for him to take such comments — and superstar treatment from fans — in stride. “The thing that keeps me grounded is, I just always think about the times when, like, it was just me, my stepdad and a basketball on an outdoor court,” he said. The Pelicans had the right to draft Williamson first overall after an unlikely victory in the NBA’s draft lottery last month. Before the lottery, odds were that Williamson would wind up in one of the NBA’s largest markets with the New York Knicks. Instead, he’ll be in one of the smallest. But his stepfather, Lee Anderson, said New Orleans was exactly where he was hoping his stepson would go. “I am so thankful,” Anderson said. “I thought this city would be a great place to go, and God worked it out.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 22nd, 2019

Oil prices to go up this week

After three consecutive weeks of price rollback, local pump prices are expected to increase this week after the attack on two oil tankers in the Middle East......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJun 15th, 2019

Injured Terrence Romeo expected to miss two more weeks

ANTIPOLO CITYTerrence Romeo is set to miss around two more weeks of action due to an inflamed Achilles tendon that he suffered in San Miguels finals series against Magnolia in the PBA Philippine Cup......»»

Category: newsSource:  philippinetimesRelated NewsJun 9th, 2019

PSG expect Neymar to recover in four weeks

Neymar is expected to be sidelined for four weeks by the ankle injury that has ruled him out of the Copa America with Brazil, his club Paris Saint-Germain said Saturday. Two club doctors diagnosed his.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philippinetimesRelated NewsJun 9th, 2019

Cantlay s past shows why the future of golf is promising

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) — To the victor go the social media requests. This proved far more difficult for Patrick Cantlay than his 64 at Muirfield Village, the lowest final round by a winner in 44 years of the Memorial and a performance that suggested his move to No. 8 in the world was about more than any mathematical formula. Cantlay looked at the phone as the PGA Tour social media team tried to explain what it wanted — a short video saying what this victory meant to him. He stretched his arm and struggled to get the right angle while still being able to start the video. Finally, a tour employee held it for him. Cantlay smiled and said all the right things. "First selfie?" someone cracked as he walked off the stage. Cantlay rolled his eyes. He doesn't do social media. Cantlay appears to be anti-social on the golf course, which is misleading. In the absence of cameras and microphones, the 27-year-old from California is smart, honest and insightful with an occasional needle. On the golf course, he has a cold focus with no apologies. He knows how he comes across because when he arrived at Muirfield Village on Sunday, someone jokingly said, "It can't be that bad, can it?" Cantlay could easily fit the description of an old soul on young shoulders — except for his back. It was a stress fracture in his back that kept him out of golf for the better part of three years — two straight years without playing one tournament — and kept him from the pace set by others from his own age group. Jordan Spieth saw it coming. Neither of them had PGA Tour status when Spieth and Cantlay were paired together in the opening two rounds of the 2013 Puerto Rico Open. Spieth got him by one shot each round and went on to tie for second, the important step that led to a PGA Tour card — and victory — later that year. Cantlay, who had won the week before in Colombia on the Web.com Tour, was two months away from one swing that nearly ended his career, a pain he described as a knife in his back. That was the start of back trouble so severe there was no guarantee he would ever return. He was 20 when he turned pro. He was 25 for his official rookie season in 2017 on the PGA Tour. Trying to manage his schedule after not having competed for two straight years, Cantlay played 11 times and still made it to the Tour Championship. "If he had the full year this year, I would imagine he'd have been on the Presidents Cup team, no question," Spieth said at the TPC Boston that year. "He's extremely talented, and he's going to work his way up into the top 10 in the world, in my opinion." And here he is. Predictions are never easy in golf — Cantlay knows that better than anyone — and so where he goes remains a work in progress. It's where he has been that explains why his victory Sunday got so much attention, even if it wasn't worthy of the front of sports pages. Anyone who saw Cantlay play in Ohio eight years ago would have expected a performance like this. His time at Muirfield Village was short. Cantlay received the Jack Nicklaus Award as the best player in college — as a freshman at UCLA — and posed for photos with Nicklaus, then got ready for U.S. Open qualifying at the sectional site filled with PGA Tour players. Cantlay was the only amateur to get one of the 16 spots. Two weeks later, he was low amateur in the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional, his first tournament against the best in the world. The following week, he set a PGA Tour record for amateurs with a 60 in the second round of the Travelers Championship. He was low amateur at the Masters in 2012. He made the cut at the U.S. Open again at Olympic Club (Spieth was low amateur that year). Much like Spieth, he had a knack for delivering. It was a tournament Cantlay did not win that might be the most revealing. After the stabbing pain he felt at Colonial in 2013, he didn't play for three months as his status on the Web.com Tour money list kept dropping. Cantlay tried to play two more events to stay in the top 25 to earn a PGA Tour card and missed the cut in both, finishing 29th. His last chance was a four-tournament series with a special money list. Cantlay played the first one and finished one shot behind Trevor Immelman. It was enough to get his card, and then he couldn't play again for nearly nine months. Cantlay has been through a lot, but he is still relatively new considering he had to start over. "It really is my third year on tour," he said. "It's just taken me seven years to do it." He ended that first full year with a victory in Las Vegas, and Cantlay was mildly irritated that more wins didn't follow. "Being out for so long and to come back and play really well and win within a year ... I didn't think it would take me this long," he said. "But I've played a lot of really good golf, a lot of really solid golf. And so I think I was closer than it seems. So maybe this one will do it.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 5th, 2019

Five things we learned from Game 1 of the 2019 Finals

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com TORONTO – Five things we learned from the Toronto Raptors’ 118-109 victory over the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of The Finals Thursday (Friday, PHL time) at Scotiabank Arena ... 1. So much for ‘glad to be here’ If we thought we had learned one thing about the Toronto Raptors when it comes to the NBA playoffs, it was this: They back their way into most series. Losing the opener was a tradition for this franchise -- they were 3-15 in Game 1s prior to Thursday (Friday, PHL time), dating back to their inaugural playoff run in 2000. Nothing shoves a team closer to elimination in a best-of-seven showdown than a lousy start. That’s why grabbing the opener against Golden State was so essential. Had the Raptors squandered their home-court advantage on the first night, we all would be assuming the worst for these Finals in competitive, stylistic and entertainment terms. Only by rocking the Warriors in Game 1 -- and most impressively, by refusing to cough up all of their 12-point lead in the second half -- could the Raptors generate legitimate excitement for Game 2 and beyond. Had we all been honest (and able to pull this off), we would have begun this series by spotting Toronto to a 1-0 lead -- just to handicap the defending champions and force them to show us something they haven’t in their four previous Finals trips. But such a move would have been demeaning, of course, to the Raptors. Instead, coach Nick Nurse and his affable newbies seized early control themselves. How Portland looked in the Western Conference finals, as if the Trail Blazers had maxed out and were just happy to still be involved? Toronto wanted none of that. It found a way to win when Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry were ordinary at best. And now we have a series worthy of the Larry O’Brien Trophy. 2. Triple-doubles continue to decline in value It’s fun as a game progresses to track stats, whether it’s Pascal Siakam’s absurd 11 consecutive field goals or Stephen Curry’s refusal to miss a free throw. We’re always aware of the leading scorer and his growing point total, particularly as it passes the big round numbers (30, 40, 50…). But Draymond Green’s latest triple-double was a reminder that the bar has been set too low for that stat from its inception. Green finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, which makes it a minimalist’s triple-double at best and more of a statistical fluke than an achievement. Ten assists? That’s strong any night. Ten rebounds? Solid, and necessary if no one else on your roster is claiming more than six. Ten points, though? Come on now. Green had a Jason Kidd triple-double, which isn’t mean to disparage the Hall of Fame point guard but speaks to Kidd’s limitations as a scorer for most of his career. Heck, the Warriors’ versatile forward had six turnovers, inspiring the bad “quadruple-double watch” that Kidd sparked on occasion. What Green didn’t do was put the ball through the net effectively, shooting 2-for-9 overall and 0-for-2 on three-pointers. Yes, his value to Golden State usually doesn’t rise or fall on his scoring, but he could have been more helpful in that area Thursday. When Oscar Robertson averaged a triple-double in 1961-62 (and cumulatively did it over his first six NBA seasons), he was scoring 30 points per game. When Russell Westbrook matched what had been a rare feat two years ago, he too was up above 30 points nightly. But Westbrook has done it the past two seasons as well, with his scoring average dipping below 23 this season. That would seem to be near the minimum -- say, 20 points -- to gush over a player’s triple-double on a given night. We get it, double figures means 10 or more. But 10 points is no big deal at all in the NBA, so it seems silly to celebrate it when it’s the free rider on the triple-double quirk. 3. Don’t double-dawg dare an NBA player Warriors coach Steve Kerr admitted after Game 1 that, by mistake more than by design, his team didn’t defensively do its job well in the early minutes against center Marc Gasol. “Gasol we left a couple times early in the game and didn't rotate, we just gave him a couple of dare shots and he knocked them down,” Kerr said. Daring is not defending, and the Warriors would be well-advised not to do that again to a player as proud and as accomplished as Gasol. He’s struggled at times as a shooter in these playoffs, shooting 34 percent in the Eastern Conference finals while going 2-for-9 on three-pointers in Games 1 and 2 of that series (both losses). It was embarrassing at times to see the affable 7'1" Spaniard miss shots badly, whether he felt that way or not. But Gasol was 10-for-20 on three-pointers entering The Finals, all during the Raptors’ four consecutive victories to eliminate the Bucks. He went 2-for-4 in Game 1 of The Finals, scoring a playoff-high 20 points to help compensate for Leonard’s and Lowry’s muted firepower. Asked about it afterward, on taking such a “dare” personally, the big man shrugged. “If you're open, you got to shoot them. Dare, no dare,” he said. “And then we go from there. If they go in, great. If not you keep taking them with confidence.” That’s speaking truth to a dare. 4. The ratings for Game 1 will soar… … if they can somehow count the number of times the Warriors and the Raptors watch and re-watch the video tape. A big theme heading into this series was the relative lack of familiarity the teams had with each other. Now, that’s a common aspect of The Finals, pitting the champs of opposite conferences and all. But given Golden State’s knowledge of the Cleveland Cavaliers after four consecutive Finals, Toronto is a relative stranger. Beyond that, key players from both sides were absent in the two regular-season meetings. But now they have a whole 48 minutes to dissect, digest and learn from. For the Warriors, who spoke about it the most, they saw things they might not have expected and things they definitely did not like. Such as? Try Siakam’s attacks on the basket (in transition and otherwise), their own inability to be the team that pushes pace and Fred VanVleet as the game’s essential reserve (15 points on a night when his three-point shot was MIA). Green, in particular, sounded as if he was going to binge-watch Siakam’s romp and figure a way to thwart the unorthodox flip shots the forward from Cameroon deployed. “He's become ‘a guy,’” Green said phrasing that as a nod of respect. “He put a lot of work into get there and I respect that. But like I said, I got to take him out of the series and that's on me.” Toronto can make use of the video for as long as the Warriors roster stays the way it is, which means sans Kevin Durant. Which leads into … 5. Who's here (and who isn't)? (And no, we don’t mean LeBron James.) Durant’s continued absence with a calf injury since Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals became an official problem in Game 1 of The Finals (the team’s first loss without him). Questions that had been bottled up for a couple weeks -- What did you miss most without Durant? How might he have changed your offense or defense? -- came spilling out from the large media crew that covers the NBA’s glamour team. Neither Kerr nor his players took the bait, which was smart. Not only would it look like excuse-making (considering how they hadn’t needed those before), it might have opened a crack of vulnerability into something wider and more troublesome. Durant is out for Game 2, but per a Yahoo Sports report is expected back at the series’ midway point (read: Game 3 or Game 4).  “KD's an all-time great player on both ends of the floor,” Curry said, “so I could sit here and talk for days about what he adds to our roster.  We obviously have proven that when he's out we can have guys step up, and that's going to be the case until he gets back.” Rushing him back would seem desperate, something the Warriors aren’t and shouldn’t be. Plus, it is early in a long series. And it really is irrelevant: NBA players and teams’ medical staffs don’t “rush back” anyone these days. Then again, once they’re ready to play -- as Golden State showed in using DeMarcus Cousins in Game 1 -- there’s no sense in letting talent help languish in street clothes. No time too, either. 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 NewsJun 1st, 2019

Gatecrasher Tottenham takes on storied Liverpool in CL final

By Rob Harris, Associated Press MADRID (AP) — Familiar territory for Liverpool. So very unfamiliar for Tottenham. The second all-English Champions League final in history pits one of Europe's most successful clubs against a side unexpectedly gatecrashing the continent's elite. After losing last year's final to Real Madrid, Juergen Klopp's Liverpool has another shot at lifting the European Cup for a sixth time on Saturday. Tottenham doesn't get its hands on trophies often. The north London club is contesting a Champions League final for the first time, the culmination of an improbable run that has shaken the soccer establishment. "It is something that we have changed at the club," Tottenham playmaker Christian Eriksen said. "How people look at the club. How people think about us players at Spurs." Much has been made of Liverpool's 29-year domestic title drought — that came within a couple of points of ending three weeks ago — but Tottenham's stretches back exactly twice as long to 1961. Despite that, the club has made an unexpected march to the biggest game in club soccer without anything near the kind of lavish spending that clubs like Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain have thrown — unsuccessfully — toward the same pursuit. Manager Mauricio Pochettino hasn't even been able to sign a single player in the last two transfer windows — a first for a Premier League club — because of a frugal environment brought on by the club's recently completed $1 billion-plus new stadium. And yet he has just celebrated a fourth consecutive top-four finish in the Premier League by seeing off bigger spending rivals Arsenal and Manchester United. Qualifying for the Champions League is seen as an achievement alone for a club which has only reached four second-tier European finals, mostly recently winning the now-defunct UEFA Cup in 1984. Since Pochettino took charge in 2014, Tottenham's net spend on transfers is estimated to be less than 30 million pounds ($38 million). That is around a sixth of Liverpool's net spend over the last five years. "You can either take it that the manager has got full confidence in what he's worked with in the last two years, that he believes in you and doesn't want to bring in anyone to challenge for your position," Tottenham defender Danny Rose said before flying to Madrid. "Or you can take it that nobody wants to join Tottenham, the club hasn't been able to provide the funds to buy anyone." That's not the accusation leveled at Liverpool owner John Henry, who also runs the Boston Red Sox in MLB. Klopp's answer to losing last season's final was jettisoning blundering goalkeeper Loris Karius and — briefly — breaking the goalkeeping transfer record to sign Alisson Becker from Roma for $85 million. That final in Kiev was agony for Mohamed Salah, who was forced off in the opening half hour with a shoulder injury before Liverpool lost 3-1. The striker has struggled to live up to the 44 goals he scored last season, with a haul of 26 in all competitions in a front three alongside Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino. Now the target is preventing Liverpool falling to a third Champions League final loss since the club's last victory in 2005. "Everything feels better this time around," Salah said, "and we have more experience than the last time." That experience pushed Manchester City to the final day in the Premier League title race and amassed 97 points that would usually be enough to secure the crown. "If there was a prize for the biggest development in the last 12 months then it's going to the Reds, that's how it is," Klopp said. "The boys did a really amazing job, but we get that it's about winning competitions." Pochettino faces the same jibes as Klopp about his inability to land a trophy. Although Klopp did win the Bundesliga twice at Borussia Dortmund before joining Liverpool in 2015 — but also lost a Champions League final with Dortmund and a Europa League final with Liverpool. Pochettino, a former Argentina defender, is now in his third managerial role after Espanyol and Southampton, and still awaiting a winner's medal. Winning the biggest prize in Europe wouldn't be bad place to start for a manager so often linked with moves to bigger clubs. "We can provide our fans and our people and our family, of course, the best happiness in football that you can provide," Pochettino said. "I think today to talk about individual thing is a little bit embarrassing and ashamed because you know I think I am not important." But Pochettino has taken much of the credit for steering Tottenham to the final after collecting only one point from the opening three group stage games. Progress to the round of 16 was only secured thanks to a late equalizer by Lucas Moura at Barcelona in the group finale. Even after Harry Kane limped out of the quarterfinals first leg against Manchester City, Tottenham found a way to cope without its leading striker. Fernando Llorente's goal — and a favorable stoppage-time VAR denial of Raheem Sterling's strike — clinched a frenzied aggregate win at City. In the semifinals, Moura scored with almost the final kick of the second leg to complete a hat trick and overturn a 3-0 aggregate deficit. If Kane recovers from his ankle injury, Moura is likely to return to the bench. "No one expected us to be here at start of competition," Rose said. "No one expected us to be here after the quarters or the semis." Liverpool also pulled off an improbable semifinal result to see off Barcelona by recovering from 3-0 down. And form is on Klopp's side heading into Saturday's game at the Atletico Madrid stadium. Although Tottenham only finished two places below Liverpool in fourth, there was a 26-point gap between the sides and the north London club lost both league encounters 2-1. "It's not that we were five levels above them," Klopp said. "But that's how a final actually should be.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 31st, 2019

Things to know about these most-international NBA Finals

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press TORONTO (AP) — Sometime in the next couple weeks, either the Toronto Raptors or Golden State Warriors will proclaim themselves to be world champions. They won’t be true “world” champions, of course. But these NBA Finals have a very distinct international feel. [Watch the Playoffs on NBA League Pass for 30% less with this limited time offer! Select Annual package and use code SAVE30 at checkout to redeem] Game 1 of the series on Thursday night (Friday, PHL time) is in Canada, the first time a finals game will be played outside the U.S. Raptors President Masai Ujiri was born in Nigeria. There are players from eight different countries — the U.S., along with Canada (Chris Boucher), Spain (Marc Gasol), Britain (OG Anunoby), Cameroon (Pascal Siakam), Congo (Serge Ibaka), Australia (Andrew Bogut) and Sweden (Jonas Jerebko). “It says a lot that the first NBA Finals outside of America is being played here,” Ujiri said. “Maybe one day it will be real ‘world champions’ or something, but this is what we dream of.” It’s even a homecoming of sorts for Warriors guard Stephen Curry, again. His first four trips to the finals pitted him against Cleveland, not far from Akron, Ohio — where he and LeBron James both were born. Toronto has even more direct ties than Cleveland does for Curry; his wife Ayesha was born and raised in Toronto until she was 14, and his father Dell Curry played for the Raptors. So Stephen Curry lived in Toronto for a bit, and went to school there. “A lot of family history,” Stephen Curry said. The finals will be aired in 215 countries, three Canadian networks will air the series live (one of them in French), and broadcasters speaking in 50 different languages will work the games. There are a half-dozen networks from Australia, Estonia, Hong Kong and New Zealand airing the finals for the first time. More of what to know going into this series: FAREWELL, ORACLE Game 4 or Game 6 of this series will be the last time the Warriors call Oracle Arena home. The team is moving from Oakland to the new Chase Center in San Francisco next season. The Warriors have played more than 2,000 games at Oracle, and since this run of NBA Finals appearances began when Steve Kerr took over as coach five years ago they are a staggering 218-40 in their soon-to-be-former home building. “You cannot tell the story of professional basketball without including Oracle,” said ESPN analyst Mark Jackson, a former Warriors coach. “Those fans have been incredibly loyal from the beginning to the end. ... As a former coach, as a former player coming into that building, as an analyst, it’s as good as it gets.” STILL WAITING With Toronto now in the finals for the first time, that means there are only six active franchises that still haven’t been to the championship series. The Los Angeles Clippers, Charlotte Hornets, Denver Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans and Memphis Grizzlies are still waiting for their first trip to the NBA Finals. MONEY MATTERS The Warriors and the Raptors are playing for a little bit of money — $1,295,117, to be exact. That’s the difference between winning the finals and losing the finals, at least in terms of the take from the NBA playoff pool. The Warriors are already guaranteed $4,435,312 from the playoff pool; the Raptors have clinched $4,325,888. This year’s playoff pool was $21,676,510, which all 16 postseason teams shared. No playoff team got less than $323,506. Milwaukee got the most, by far, of any non-finals team — after finishing with the NBA’s best record and reaching the Eastern Conference finals, the Bucks will share $2,516,774. SECOND TO ONE Golden State is in the finals for the fifth consecutive year. That’s the second-longest such streak in NBA history, only to Boston’s run of 10 consecutive appearances from 1957 through 1966. Boston (this time in 1984 through 1987, separate from the 10-straight streak), Miami (2011-2014), Cleveland (2015-2018) and the Los Angeles Lakers (1982-1985) had all reached the finals in four consecutive seasons. FINISHING STRONG Even with the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference locked up, the Raptors finished the regular season with a flourish — winning seven of their last eight games. This was why. A 58-24 record meant the Raptors finished a game ahead of Golden State’s 57-25 mark, and that’s why Game 1 of this series is in Toronto. A good omen for the Raptors: Under the current playoff format, teams with home-court advantage in the NBA Finals have ultimately prevailed 26 out of 35 times. ’NOVA NATION It’s been a long time since a Villanova player won a championship ring, and even longer since a Villanova player actually played in a series where his team won the title. Kyle Lowry is looking to change all that. The Raptors’ point guard — who played for Jay Wright at Villanova — is in the NBA Finals for the first time. He’s looking to be the first Villanova player to win a ring since John Celestand got one with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2000; Celestand didn’t appear in any playoff games that season. The last player from Villanova to actually play in a victorious NBA Finals was Chris Ford with Boston in 1981. Lowry spoke on the eve of Game 1 about the lessons he learned from Wright that still apply. “If you make a mistake, apologize, kind of just accept everything,” Lowry said. “Accept everything as a man and bounce back from it. If anything negative, just bounce back, take it and keep going. I think those are the things that stick with me today. I never shy from anything, I never shy from negative criticism, constructive criticism, I take it all, I understand it, learn from it, digest it and move on.” RECORD CHASING Stephen Curry already has the NBA Finals record for most 3-pointers made in a career, with 98. He enters this series with 247 attempted 3s in his finals appearances, four shy of tying LeBron James for the most in NBA history. And while not a record, here is an odd stat: If Shaun Livingston makes his first shot of these finals, he’ll pass Wilt Chamberlain and move into fourth place on the NBA Finals all-time shooting percentage list. STARTING EARLY The May 30 (May 31, PHL time) start date for these finals is the earliest for the NBA’s title series since 1986, when the Houston-Boston matchup began on May 26. So the 2019 finals started earlier than has been the norm. That doesn’t mean they’ll be over early. If they go the distance, they’ll end on June 17 (June 18, PHL time) — nine days later than last season’s final game......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 30th, 2019

Woods closer to Snead than Nicklaus at Memorial

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) — Winning the Masters gave Tiger Woods his 15th major and allowed him to resume the pursuit of Jack Nicklaus and his 18 majors. It moved him even closer to another record that Rory McIlroy believes should get more attention. Woods now is at 81 career victories on the PGA Tour, one short of the official record — as official as the tour can determine — that Sam Snead set from 1936 to 1965. "Especially this day and age, I think it's more impressive than his major tally," McIlroy said Wednesday ahead of the Memorial. "Eighty-two wins ... if you're around for 20 years, that's four a year, every year. It's very, very impressive. I think if you're winning multiple times a year, you're doing pretty well. So to have the average that he's had — eight-win seasons, nine-win seasons — if he does pass that record of Snead's ... it's almost more impressive than the 15." Woods is a five-time winner at the Memorial, and the most recent victory at Muirfield Village (2012) was significant because it was his 73rd title on the PGA Tour, which tied him with Nicklaus for second on the career list. What to expect from him this year remains a mystery. He looked like the Woods of old when he won at Augusta National by hitting all the right shots and letting everyone around him make the mistakes. A month later, without having played since the Masters, he missed the cut at Bethpage Black in the PGA Championship. Woods attributed his lack of play to the emotional toll of winning the Masters — it had been 11 years since his last major — and to being sick during the three days of practice rounds at Bethpage Black, which limited him to nine holes. He rarely misses the Memorial except for injury or the death of his father in 2006, and Woods wants to start getting his game in gear with the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach just two weeks away. He played the pro-am Wednesday with retired NFL great Peyton Manning, who knows about returning from injury to win the big one. "I think the most impressive thing is how he's been able to adjust and be adapted to playing in a new physical state," said Manning, who returned from a neck injury to win a Super Bowl with the Denver Broncos. "That's kind of what I did. To use a baseball analogy, I couldn't throw the 100 mph fastball anymore, but you could still work the outside edges of the plate. You could still strike a guy out that way. He struck a lot of guys out. He came home with the win." The fastball in golf is power, and that never hurts around Muirfield Village, especially in a week when the course is expected to be softened by storms. Woods said he feels refreshed after the PGA Championship and now needs to get in competitive rounds in his final start before the U.S. Open. He was at Pebble Beach last week for a day of practice in damp conditions, having not seen the course since 2012 in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, where he closed with a 75 to tie for 15th. As for 82 victories? Woods had had 10 seasons of five victories or more — only Vijay Singh and Nick Price have had more than five wins in any season over the last 25 years. Woods had 79 victories in 18 years and then was slowed by back surgeries to the point where he nearly didn't return at all. "To get into those numbers, it takes longevity and hot years," Woods said. "I think you need multiple winning seasons. You need to do that for decades. That's something I'm proud of. That's not something that happens overnight. To be able to come this close to get to one behind Sam Snead has been pretty amazing." Snead compiled his victories before the modern PGA Tour began in 1970, when the schedule was unwieldy and there was not always agreement on what should constitute an official victory. His tally includes five team events, an 18-hole event and one year at Pebble Beach when it was a four-way tie with no playoff. Snead long believed his total should have been 89 before the PGA Tour took some away during a research project by a nine-person panel. Whatever the case, the PGA Tour lists the record at 82. Woods is at 81. "I don't know how you add up tournaments anymore," Nicklaus said. "No one in the world could know how many tournaments Sam Snead won. ... Tiger is the winningest, probably, player there ever was. And he's probably won a higher percentage of tournaments than anybody that ever played. Of course, I've always measure my life differently. I never measured it on tour wins. I measured it on major wins." That's the number that hasn't changed since Nicklaus won his 18th professional major at the Masters in 1986. "They're the only ones you can compare back and forth, I think," Nicklaus said. "Would 82 be a major achievement? Absolutely. But you ask Tiger which he would rather win, 82 or 18, I think you might get a different answer.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 30th, 2019