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Chile amateur goes from no big victories to Masters

DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf Writer   HONOLULU (AP) — Toto Gana hit what he described as the 'best shot I've hit in my whole life,' a wedge to 3 feet for a birdie to win the Latin America Amateur Championship and earn a trip to the Masters in April. His best shot produced his biggest trophy. Asked what his greatest achievement in golf was before his victory in Panama, the 19-year-old from Chile said: 'I didn't have any achievements, to be honest. I had won a couple of tournaments at home when I was really, really young.' The Latin America Amateur completed its third year, a stroke-play tournament created by Augusta National, the USGA and the Royal & Ancient to spur growth in that part of the world. It follows the successful launch of the Asia Pacific Amateur. The Asia Pacific Amateur is producing a higher pedigree of champions — Hideki Matsuyama won twice, and the winner last year was Curtis Luck, the reigning U.S. Amateur champion. The last two Latin America winners were surprises — Gana and 16-year-old Paul Chaplet of Costa Rica last year. The other winner was Matias Dominguez of Chile, who was a junior at Texas Tech. Gana said the only hard part about his victory was beating Joaquin Niemann of Chile, one of his best friends who won the Junior World in 2015 at Torrey Pines. 'I really never thought I could win this tournament because all the other players have won many other tournaments, very big tournaments,' Gana said in a conference call after his victory Sunday. 'What I did was keep a cool head. When I saw that I had a chance to win, I believed in myself that I could do. And I gave it my all.' Chile will have a player represented at Augusta National for the second time in three years. The only other Chilean player at the Masters was Enrique Orellana, who missed the cut in 1964. Gana has flair, and he showed how much passion he has for golf when explaining how he got started. 'When I was a little boy, 8 years old, my stepfather taught me to play golf on the practice range,' he said. 'When I shot a really nice shot, I never quit.' Gana will be enrolling at Lynn University in Florida. ___ BLOOMING START: Justin Rose played the Sony Open as part of the new 'strength of field' regulation on the PGA Tour that requires players who played fewer than 25 events last year to add a tournament they had not played in four years. Rose was so excited about this year that he might have started earlier if he would have been eligible. He failed to win a PGA Tour event for the first time since 2009. But in a year slowed by injury, Rose geared himself for golf's return to the Olympics and won the gold medal in Rio. That was worth an exemption into the four majors (Rose already is eligible for them), but the PGA Tour did not offer a spot in SBS Tournament of Champions. 'I didn't inquire,' Rose said about Kapalua. 'But in my mind, I was surprised that it didn't count in a way, just because, why wouldn't it? It's a one-off thing.' He thought maybe the tour would only give a spot to Kapalua if the gold medalist was already a PGA Tour member, much like it treated the HSBC Champions early on in its World Golf Championships history. Rose chuckled, however, when he realized his history in Hawaii. 'It's funny enough, I don't have the right to say I should have been at Kapalua,' he said. 'Because I've won six years in a row and I've only been once.' A birdie on the final hole at the Sony Open gave him second place alone, which was worth $648,000. ___ PLAYING TO HIS STRENGTH: Jason Dufner is the defending champion at the CareerBuilder Challenger, where he won last year for the first time since the 2013 PGA Championship at Oak Hill. What changed? Very little. He attributed the drought to a neck and shoulder injury that he suffered at the 2014 Masters. Dufner tried to play through it all year until he was forced to pull out of his title defense in the PGA Championship at Valhalla, which kept him off the Ryder Cup team. Playing with the injury led to bad habits with his swing, which led to bad shots, too many memories of bad shots and eventually shattered confidence. 'People don't realize, once you start playing, you have to redo everything,' Dufner said. 'You see it with a lot of guys coming back. It takes them 6, 8, 12 months. I spent 2015 trying to get back to where I was.' Where he wants to be is one of the top ball-strikers in the game. As for putting? He manages. Dufner has finished no higher than No. 143 in the key putting statistic over the last four years, and while he has to pay attention to his setup, it's not as though he's going to abandon what got him here (his swing) to pour everything into becoming Jordan Spieth. 'I've been putting bad for 17 years,' he said. 'It's tough to change. I can hit it good enough to make up for it. I'll wait for my weeks where I putt good and try to win.' ___ THE RACE TO MEXICO: Mackenzie Hughes won the RSM Classic, and his first thought was going to the Masters. Now that it's beginning to sink, the Canadian rookie has reason to consider other tournaments that were not on his schedule at the start of the season. First up is the World Golf Championship in Mexico. The top 10 in the FedEx Cup standings through the Honda Classic are eligible for the Mexico Championship, and there are only six tournaments between now and then. That's also true for Pat Perez, who tied for third at Kapalua and is No. 3 in the FedEx Cup. Rod Pampling is at No. 6. The other World Golf Championships event in March is based off the world ranking, so those three players have much more to do for them to get into the top 64. One player who might have secured his spot was Kevin Kisner, who shot 60 in the third round of the Sony Open and wound up in a tie for fourth. That took Kisner from No. 51 to No. 41, making it difficult to fall that far in two months. ___ DIVOTS: Justin Thomas moving to No. 8 in the world means that six of the top 10 players are under 30. ... The Golf Writers Association of America has voted former PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem for the William D. Richardson Award for outstanding contributions to golf. For the GWAA's award for press cooperation, it was a tie between Ben Crenshaw and Stewart Cink. They will be honored at the GWAA annual awards dinner on April 5 in Augusta. ... The three courses used for the CareerBuilder Challenge — PGA West Stadium Course, PGA West Nicklaus and La Quinta — ranked among the top 10 in easiest courses on the PGA Tour last year. ... The fourth Latin America Amateur Championship will be played at Prince of Wales Country Club next year in Santiago, Chile. ... The European Tour now has eight events in its Rolex Series with China-based HNA Group signing a five-year deal to be title sponsor of the French Open. That will raise the purse to $7 million in line with other Rolex Series events. ___ STAT OF THE WEEK: Justin Thomas hit 34 drives that went at least 330 yards during his two weeks in Hawaii — 20 on the Plantation Course at Kapalua, 14 at Waialae Country Club. ___ FINAL WORD: 'If there's no defense, then you ought to be able to make birdies. If there's wind, you ought to be struggling.' — Kevin Kisner. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 17th, 2017

Ryan leads Falcons to NFC title game, beating Seattle 36-20

PAUL NEWBERRY, AP Sports Writer br /> ATLANTA (AP) — Matt Ryan looked very much like an MVP and the Atlanta Falcons are headed to the NFC championship game. Ryan threw for 338 yards and three touchdowns, leading the Falcons to a 36-20 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in the divisional round Saturday. Atlanta will face either the Dallas Cowboys or the Green Bay Packers, who meet Sunday in the NFC's other divisional game. After the Seahawks zipped down the field for a touchdown on the opening possession, Atlanta's young defense largely shut down Russell Wilson & Co. the rest of the way. Ryan and the high-scoring Falcons took it from there — getting a huge boost from a holding penalty that wiped out an 80-yard punt return by Devin Hester. Ryan hooked up with Julio Jones on a 7-yard touchdown and Tevin Coleman for a 14-yard score before finishing off the Seahawks with a 3-yard toss to Mohamed Sanu in the corner of the end zone with just under 4 minutes remaining, sparking a raucous chant of 'MVP! MVP! MVP!' from a Georgia Dome crowd that stood most of the game, giving the Falcons the sort of home-field advantage that Seattle is used to having at the Link. Before a foot injury limited him in the second half, Jones made life miserable for Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman, who got away with an apparent pass interference penalty on Atlanta's star receiver when the teams met during the regular season, preserving a 26-24 victory for the Seahawks. Jones was targeted eight times, coming up with six receptions for 67 yards to set a tone that Atlanta would not be intimidate by the Legion of Boom. But, as usual, Ryan spread the ball around to everyone. Speedy Taylor Gabriel had a 37-yard reception. Running back Devonta Freeman slipped out of the backfield to haul in a 53-yard pass, putting a dazzling fake on replacement free safety Steven Terrell right in the middle of the field. In all, eight players caught passes for Atlanta. For only the fourth time in their 51-year history, the Falcons (12-5) will be playing for the conference title and a spot in the Super Bowl. They made their only Super Bowl appearance during the 1998 season, falling to Denver in John Elway's final game, and lost in the NFC title game during the 2004 and 2012 seasons. The Seahawks (11-6-1) couldn't follow up a dominating win over Detroit in the opening round, the game turning dramatically on a holding penalty in the second quarter that wiped out Hester's return to the Atlanta 7. Instead of having first-and-goal and a chance to extend a 10-7 lead, Seattle was backed up to its 7. After Thomas Rawls was thrown for a 3-yard loss, Wilson attempted to drop back for a pass. One problem: rookie right guard Rees Odhiambo, taking over after Germain Ifedi was injured, stepped back onto Wilson's foot, sending the quarterback tumbling down in the end zone. Ben Garland fell on Wilson for a safety that turned the momentum Atlanta's way. Matt Bryant's 35-yard field goal put the Falcons ahead to stay, and the home team closed out the first half with a 99-yard drive touchdown that was extended by Sanu's brilliant, one-handed catch for 22 yards with Jeremy Lane grabbing at his arm. After getting beat on Seattle's first possession, an Atlanta defense featuring four rookies and a bunch of second-year players limited the Seahawks to a pair of a field goals before giving up a meaningless 31-yard touchdown pass to Doug Baldwin in the closing minutes. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 14th, 2017

Thomas steadies Celtics, Horford triumphant in return home

em>By George Henry, Associated Press /em> ATLANTA (AP) -- Isaiah Thomas scored 13 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter, Al Horford made a triumphant return and the Boston Celtics snapped the Atlanta Hawks' seven-game winning streak with a 103-101 victory Friday night (Saturday, PHL time). Paul Millsap and Tim Hardaway Jr. each had 23 points for Atlanta. The Hawks had won 12-of-16 to move into fourth place in the Eastern Conference. But the third-place Celtics hit 17 three-pointers and got a season-high 26 points from reserve forward Kelly Olynyk to push past a Hawks team that missed too many open looks from the perimeter. Horford, a fan favorite during his nine seasons in Atlanta, was booed many times throughout the night after leaving the team as a free agent last summer. He received a standing ovation, though, and waved happily to the crowd after the Hawks showed a brief video tribute between the first and second quarters. Horford finished with 10 points, six rebounds and six assists in 35 minutes. Thomas was unstoppable in the closing minutes, hitting a 15-footer and a three-pointer before knocking down a 19-footer just with two seconds remaining to make it 103-101. Millsap missed a jumper at the buzzer. Boston blistered Atlanta in the third, using a 20-5 run to go up 77-57 on Terry Rozier's 21-footer. Hardaway's short jumper trimmed the lead to 91-85 with 4:24 remaining, and Mike Dunleavy, making his Atlanta debut for the first time since last week's trade, rattled in a corner triple to pull the Hawks within two at the 2:12 mark. The Celtics hit eight of its first 11 beyond the arc to take a 28-16 lead at the 2:33 mark of the first, but missed their next 10 attempts on three’s to help Atlanta force a 42-all tie on a pair of free throws by Millsap. Jae Crowder added 18 points, including four three’s, for Boston. strong>TIP-INS /strong> em> strong>Celtics: /strong> /em>Began the night ranked 29th in rebounding -- 18 spots behind Atlanta -- but each team grabbed 43 boards. Crowder had a game-high nine and Olynyk had eight. em> strong>Hawks: /strong> /em>G Dennis Schroder picked up his fourth foul midway through the third and finished with just four points on 2-for-11 shooting. Reserve forward Mike Muscala went 0-for-7 from the field and didn't score. Dunleavy, acquired in the trade that sent Kyle Korver to Cleveland on Jan. 7, scored six points on a pair of three’s. strong>KEEP IT COMING /strong> Olynyk, a reserve forward, played so well in the first half, going 7-for-9 from the field for 18 points, that Celtics coach Brad Stevens put him on the floor over Amir Johnson to begin the third. Johnson played just eight minutes of the second half and ended the game scoreless. strong>TRIBUTE TO PISTOL PETE /strong> The Hawks wore dark blue and lime green-trimmed uniforms for the first time since the early 2000s. The strange-looking design was made memorable by Pete Maravich, the star guard who played his first four seasons in Atlanta through 1973-74. strong>MORE TESTS /strong> Celtics C Tyler Zeller, sidelined with a sinus infection, didn't make the trip and was inactive for the sixth straight game. Stevens said Zeller has undergone a gamut of tests because he still feels disoriented. 'He gets final results tomorrow but he's feeling a lot better in the last couple of days,' Stevens said. 'It's dissipated a little bit.' strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Celtics: /strong> /em> Host Charlotte on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time). em> strong>Hawks: /strong> /em> Host Milwaukee on Sunday (Monday, PHL time). .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 13th, 2017

Rooney equals record as United beats Reading 4-0 in FA Cup

JUSTIN PALMER, Associated Press br /> LONDON (AP) — Wayne Rooney stands one goal away from becoming Manchester United's outright record goal-scorer after equaling club great Bobby Charlton's mark of 249 on Saturday. With the 79-year-old Charlton watching from the stands, Rooney guided in Juan Mata's cross after seven minutes as the defending FA Cup champion swept aside second-tier Reading 4-0 in the third round. English Premier League teams Bournemouth, West Bromwich Albion and Stoke City all bowed out to lower-league opponents while Arsenal needed second-half goals from Aaron Ramsey and Oliver Giroud, the Frenchman netting late on, to wipe out Preston North End's halftime lead. Third-tier Millwall, Cup finalist in 2004, caused the biggest shock by thumping a much-changed Bournemouth 3-0, West Brom went down at home to Championship team Derby County 2-1, while Wolverhampton Wanderers, also from the second tier, ensured Stoke lost in the third round for the first time since 2009 by winning at Britannia Stadium 2-0. In all-Premier League matches, Ahmed Musa scored twice as Leicester fought back from a goal down to defeat Everton 2-1, while in the battle of the new managers, Marco Silva saw his Hull side get the better of Paul Clement's Swansea 2-0. Silva, appointed on Tuesday in place of the fired Mike Phelan, would have noted the large number of empty seats at Hull's KCOM Stadium with home fans staying away in protest against the club's owners. Non-league sides Sutton United and Lincoln City earned replays but there was no fairytale for the lowest-ranked team in the competition Stourbridge as it went down at Wycombe 2-1. ___ MANCHESTER UNITED 4, READING 0 Rooney's latest milestone — he is the record scorer for England — came in front of Old Trafford fans who have adored him, on and off, since he joined as a teenage prodigy from Everton in 2004. 'It is a really proud moment for me,' Rooney said. 'It was not something I could have imagined. You don't think that far ahead, but I have been at this club a long time, it is a huge part of my life, and it is an honor to be up there alongside Sir Bobby.' United manager Jose Mourinho, who won the FA Cup when in charge of Chelsea in 2007, was effusive in his praise of Rooney. 'A more special day will arrive,' he said. 'It was great but I want one more goal. He is an amazing guy in the group and we all want him to do that. To have Wayne as the top scorer in a club like this is magnificent for him.' The game will be not be so fondly remembered by former United defender Jaap Stam, whose Reading side he coaches was outclassed. Rooney set up Anthony Martial for 2-0 not long after he scored the opener. United, winning for the eighth consecutive game in all competitions, added two more in quick succession after the break through Marcus Rashford, his second coming after a mistake from goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi. PRESTON NORTH END 1, ARSENAL 2 Arsenal preserved manager Arsene Wenger's feat of never having lost a third-round match, but the Gunners did it the hard way. After their dramatic comeback from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 at Bournemouth in midweek, Arsenal started slow again as second-tier Preston fully deserved its halftime lead. But whatever words Wenger barked during the break, they had an immediate effect with Ramsey rifling in an equalizer 50 seconds after the restart. Arsenal, 11-times FA Cup winners, six of which have come under Wenger's long reign, dominated after that but had to wait until two minutes from time to seal victory through Giroud. EVERTON 1, LEICESTER 2 A turgid first half at Goodison Park was followed by an entertaining second as Leicester showed the mettle that made it English champion last season. It fell behind to Romelu Lukaku's goal on 53 minutes but Musa's equalizer was a rebound after he struck the post, and his second goal five minutes later was a fine finish after he played a one-two with Danny Drinkwater. WEST BROMWICH ALBION 1, DERBY COUNTY 2 Tom Ince, son of former England midfielder Paul Ince, struck a fine winner to upset top-flight West Brom. The hosts led through a Matt Phillips long-range strike but Derby hit back in the second half as Darren Bent levelled and Ince curled home a superb free kick. MILLWALL 3, BOURNEMOUTH 0 Bournemouth made 11 changes from its last game and suffered an embarrassing defeat against a side in ninth place in League One. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 7th, 2017

Paul George scores 32 as Pacers beat Pistons

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Paul George had 32 points and the Indiana Pacers beat the Detroit Pistons 121-116 on Tuesday night (Wednesday, PHL time). Myles Turner and Jeff Teague each scored 17 for Indiana, which blew a 15-point first-half lead but pulled away in the fourth quarter to win its third straight game. The Pacers (18-18) are 2.5 games ahead of Detroit (16-21) in the Eastern Conference standings. Tobias Harris led the Pistons with 22 points. Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson each had a double-double. Detroit lost for the eighth time in 10 games, with two of the defeats coming at home to Indiana. The Pacers hit 6-of-7 three-pointers in the first quarter to score a season-high 36 points and take an eight-point lead. The margin was as big as 15 in the second before the Pistons rallied late to pull to 66-60. George and Teague each had 14 points in Indiana's highest-scoring half of the season. The Pacers shot 59 percent from the floor, 88 percent on three-pointers and 93 percent from the foul line. Detroit also shot well, hitting 57 percent of its shots, but couldn't keep up despite 13 points from Jackson. Jackson's jumper early in the third cut the lead to 73-72 and prompted a timeout from Indiana coach Nate McMillan. Jackson's alley-oop to Drummond tied the game at 77, and it was 92-all going into the fourth quarter. Indiana's offense got hot again early in the fourth, and the Pacers built a 103-96 lead with seven minutes to play. George's three-point play with 3:28 left made it 114-104, and Detroit couldn't get enough stops to threaten until the final minute. Marcus Morris' two three-pointers pulled Detroit to 119-114 with 50.3 seconds left and, after a turnover, Drummond's putback made it a three-point game. Monta Ellis made two free throws before Morris and Jackson missed at the other end. strong>TIP-INS /strong> em> strong>Pacers: /strong> /em>The win was Indiana's fifth of the season on the road, and it snapped a three-game losing streak away from Indianapolis. The Pacers are 2-0 at the Palace this season, and 3-13 in other road games. em> strong>Pistons: /strong> /em>With Aron Baynes sidelined by an ankle injury, Detroit went with little-used Boban Marjanovic as Drummond's backup. Marjanovic matched up mostly with Al Jefferson, who always gives Drummond problems. strong>HISTORIC RIVALRY /strong> As part of the last season at the Palace of Auburn Hills, the Pistons spent much of the night honoring great moments from their rivalry with Indiana. The list was heavily populated by their postseason battles in the mid-2000s, with No. 1 being Tayshaun Prince's chase-down block of Reggie Miller in the 2004 Eastern Conference finals. Not a surprise: The most memorable Pistons-Pacers moment, the brawl involving Ron Artest and fans in November 2004, was not included. strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Pacers: /strong> /em> Host the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday (Friday, PHL time). em> strong>Pistons: /strong> /em>Host the Charlotte Hornets on Thursday (Friday, PHL time). .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 3rd, 2017

Spurs' Gasol undergoes hand surgery, return undetermined

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Spurs center Pau Gasol has undergone surgery to repair a fractured left ring finger. The Spurs said they have not determined a timeline for Gasol's return after Friday's procedure. The 16-year veteran fractured his left fourth metacarpal Thursday night while in the layup line prior to San Antonio's home victory over Denver. Attempting a running hook while coming in from the left side of the basket, Gasol jammed his left hand into Kyle Anderson's left shoulder. Gasol immediately grabbed his hand and exited the court shortly thereafter to undergo X-rays, which revealed the break. It was the first game Gasol missed due to injury this season. He sat out two games for rest. The 7-foot center from Spain is in his 16th NBA season, but first with the Spurs after signing as a free agent following two seasons in Chicago. He is averaging 11.7 points and 7.9 rebounds in 39 games. San Antonio (33-9), which visits Cleveland on Saturday, has the league's second-best record. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 21st, 2017

Spurs' Gasol undergoes hand surgery, return undetermined

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Spurs center Pau Gasol has undergone surgery to repair a fractured left ring finger. The Spurs said they have not determined a timeline for Gasol's return after Friday's procedure. The 16-year veteran fractured his left fourth metacarpal Thursday night while in the layup line prior to San Antonio's home victory over Denver. Attempting a running hook while coming in from the left side of the basket, Gasol jammed his left hand into Kyle Anderson's left shoulder. Gasol immediately grabbed his hand and exited the court shortly thereafter to undergo X-rays, which revealed the break. It was the first game Gasol missed due to injury this season. He sat out two games for rest. The 7-foot center from Spain is in his 16th NBA season, but first with the Spurs after signing as a free agent following two seasons in Chicago. He is averaging 11.7 points and 7.9 rebounds in 39 games. San Antonio (33-9), which visits Cleveland on Saturday, has the league's second-best record. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 21st, 2017

Memphis Depay hoping to bounce back with Lyon

 LYON, France (AP) — With a move to Lyon secured, Memphis Depay is ready to prove himself all over again. The Netherlands forward joined the French club from Manchester United on a 4½-year contract and will wear the No. 9 jersey. 'I just want to show everybody what I'm capable of. I did in the past and I didn't show it every time at Manchester,' the 22-year-old Depay said. 'I want to score goals and get that feeling back again, to play in a full stadium. It's a very nice stadium here and I'm so excited to play there.' br /> Depay was presented on Friday with club president Jean-Michel Aulas and coach Bruno Genesio by his side. br /> 'He can make the difference with his speed and technique and can be a real plus for the team,' Genesio said. br /> Aulas said Depay's fee was 16 million euros ($17 million), along with a further 6 million euros in incentives and another 3 million euros if he extends his contract. United also has a buy-back option of about 35 million euros. br /> The Dutch forward had a largely unhappy spell at United after joining from PSV Eindhoven in June 2015 for 31 million pounds (then $48 million). br /> Depay said 'a couple of other clubs were interested' in buying him but Lyon's enthusiasm persuaded him to join the seven-time French champions, who are currently in fourth place in the league. br /> 'It wasn't just the trainer who wanted me, but also the president and that gave me a really comfortable feeling,' he said. 'Don't forget that it's a big club with a big history.' br /> Depay has not played since coming on as a substitute in the Europa League against Feyenoord on Nov. 24. But he is hoping to play a part in Sunday's home game against Marseille. br /> 'I know Sunday's game is important,' Depay said. 'Physically, I'm good. I've been training hard.' br /> At United, Depay was given the club's iconic No. 7 jersey worn by George Best, Eric Cantona, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo, but failed to live up to expectations, scoring only seven goals in 52 games. He was hardly used by United coach Jose Mourinho, making only four league appearances from the bench this season. br /> At Lyon, Depay is likely to be used on the left wing, forming a formidable forward line with top scorer Alexandre Lacazette and Nabil Fekir. br /> 'We focused on Memphis because he corresponds to the style of play we want,' Genesio said. 'It was an extraordinary opportunity for us to get a player of international class from United.' br /> If Depay does well for Lyon, it could increase the likelihood of Aulas selling either Lacazette — who is rated at about 50 million euros — or Fekir after the season. br /> Mourinho, meanwhile, is hopeful that Depay's United career is not yet completely over. br /> 'He didn't succeed in 18 months (at United), I would say, but he is very young,' Mourinho said. 'We all wish that he plays very, very well at Lyon and why not to come back, because everyone here likes him.' br />   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 20th, 2017

Bravo, Clemente shine as Perpetual survives JRU

strong>Games Monday: /strong> (The Arena, San Juan) 8:00 p.m. --- EAC vs Letran (jrs) 9:30 a.m. --- EAC vs. Letran (m) 11:00 a.m. --- EAC vs. Letran (w) 12:30 p.m. --- SSC-R vs. LPU (w) 2:00 p.m. --- SSC-R vs. LPU (m) 3:30 p.m. --- SSc-R vs LPU (jrs)   University of Perpetual Help kept its Final Four bid alive with a 25-23, 25-22, 24-26, 25-15, win over Jose Rizal University Friday in the 92nd NCAA women’s volleyball competition at The Arena in San Juan. Towering middles Coleen Bravo and Lourdes Clemente combined for 33 of the Lady Altas’ 58 kills. Bravo registered her career-high 21 points coming off 18 attacks, two kill blocks and an ace for Perpetual while Clemente had 20 markers. Jamela Suyat added 15 points for the Lady Altas, who survived the upset-conscious Lady Bombers despite committing 40 errors.      But it was Perpetual Help playmaker Necelle Mae Gual that hogged the spotlight in the victory with her eye-popping 73 excellent sets.     The Lady Altas improved their record to 5-3 at fifth to sixth spot tied with idle Lyceum of the Philippines Lady Pirates behind no. 4 San Beda College (6-3), which secured at least a playoff for a semifinals spot. With their backs against the wall, the Las Pinas-based squad survived another win or go home match to remain in contention for the last two semifinals berths. Perpetual will close its elimination round campaign on Wednesday in a do-or-die match with the streaking Arellano University Lady Chiefs (7-1). The unbeaten San Sebastian College (7-0) and Lady Chiefs (7-1) secured the first two Final Four spots while defending champion College of St. Benilde (6-2) and San Beda College are both assured of at least a playoff for a semis seat.   The Lady Bombers closed their season with a 3-6 slate. Shola Alvarez scored 18 points while Rosalie Pepito got 11 for JRU.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 20th, 2017

Towns leads Timberwolves past injury-depleted Clippers

em>By Tim Liotta, Associated Press /em> LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Karl-Anthony Towns scored 37 points, including the go-ahead jumper with 45 seconds left, and the Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Los Angeles Clippers 104-101 on Thursday night (Friday, PHL time). Andrew Wiggins added 27 points, including two free throws with five seconds left that helped Minnesota snap its six-game road losing streak. DeAndre Jordan had 29 points and 16 rebounds to lead the Clippers, but was unable to make enough free throws down the stretch to keep his team in front. Austin Rivers added 20 points for Los Angeles. The Clippers played without star point guard Chris Paul, who tore a ligament in his left thumb Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) during a 120-98 victory over Oklahoma City. Paul underwent surgery Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) and is expected to be out six to eight weeks. Los Angeles is still missing star forward Blake Griffin due to injury as well. He is expected back in a week or two. Minnesota pulled to 97-96 when Towns sank a three-pointer with 2:48 to play. At the other end, the Timberwolves hacked Jordan repeatedly, looking to take advantage of his poor foul shooting. The big man went 4-of-8 from the line over five possessions, setting the stage for Towns to drain a jumper from the left elbow to tie the score at 98 with 2:28 to go. After Jordan made 1-of-2 again, Wiggins missed from the outside and Jamal Crawford made a 14-footer with 1:28 left for a 101-98 Los Angeles lead. Towns answered with a short jumper to pull Minnesota to 101-100 with 1:12 remaining. Crawford missed a short jumper before Towns hit an 18-footer with 45 seconds left to put the Timberwolves up 102-101. After J.J. Redick missed a three-pointer from the right side, Wiggins grabbed an offensive rebound at the other end and made two free throws to put Minnesota up by three. Redick and Crawford missed long three-point attempts in the final four seconds. strong>TIP-INS /strong> em> strong>Timberwolves: /strong> /em>This was the first road victory for the Timberwolves since they beat Atlanta on Dec. 21 (Dec. 22, PHL time) em> strong>Clippers: /strong> /em> Los Angeles shot 48 percent from the field but went 4-of-22 on three-pointers. The 7-0 mark tied the franchise record to start a calendar year. The team was also 7-0 to begin 1974 when the franchise was located in Buffalo. After this game, the Clippers play 10 of their next 11 on the road. They open a five-game trip in Denver on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time), return home to play Golden State on Feb. 2 (Feb. 3, PHL time) and then set out on another five-game swing. strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Timberwolves: /strong> /em> Home against Denver on Sunday night (Monday, PHL time). em> strong>Clippers: /strong> /em> At the Nuggets on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time). .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 20th, 2017

Pochettino, Guardiola confounding expectations in EPL

ROB HARRIS, AP Global Soccer Writer   LONDON (AP) — In one dugout at Etihad Stadium on Saturday will be a manager enjoying a six-match winning streak with his second-place team. In the other, a manager reeling from the biggest loss of his career and down in fifth place. Few at the start of the English Premier League would have predicted it would be Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino with the edge over struggling Manchester City counterpart Pep Guardiola. But the top of the standings is confounding expectations in the second half of the season. City hosts Tottenham with Guardiola's side trailing the second-place London club by three points and leader Chelsea by 10 points. Having already ruled City out of the title race, Guardiola is now in a scrap just to secure Champions League qualification by finishing in the top four as he endures a difficult first season in English soccer. It was against Tottenham in early October when Guardiola experienced his first setback at City, with Pochettino ending the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach's winning league start. Last weekend, he was humbled by a 4-0 loss at Everton, a career low for the Champions League-winning coach. Has Guardiola lost the Midas touch? 'The coach has to adapt with the players, the players have to adapt with the coach,' Eric Abidal, who played under Guardiola at Barcelona, told The Associated Press on Thursday. 'Tactically, and the methodology of Pep Guardiola is methodology from Barcelona ... he needs time. They will win trophies. 'I spoke with some players from (City), tactically they learn a lot,' Adibal added at a Barcelona event on Thursday in Singapore. 'But when you have a good coach and good players, a lot of teams want to beat you. So it's not easy, every weekend, and we know the intensity of English football.' City racked up six successive wins in the league before losing 2-0 at Tottenham on Oct. 2. Since then City has dropped 18 points, winning seven of its 14 games as the shortcomings of the brittle defense and shaky goalkeeper Claudio Bravo has been exposed. City's attacking options have been reinforced with Gabriel Jesus completing his move from Palmeiras in time to feature against Tottenham. 'Gabriel is a technically gifted player who was chased by some of Europe's biggest clubs and we are delighted he decided to join City,' director of football Txiki Begiristain said. 'He has the potential to become one of the best attacking players in the game.' And for the 19-year-old Jesus, Guardiola played a big part in deciding his next destination. 'He was the only manager who called me so I was very pleased,' Jesus said. 'One thing I've noticed is that, like me, he is mad about football. He lives football 24 hours a day. I'm like that, too. 'When I'm not playing, I'm watching, or playing a video game, doing something linked to football. This is very important, that I'm the same as him, and I hope to learn.' Tottenham could move six points clear of City by completing the double over Guardiola's side. And for Pochettino it's not just about securing a second successive season in the Champions League but delivering the north London club's first domestic title since 1961. 'We have to try to show that we can be real contenders for the Premier League, that's the real challenge,' Pochettino said. 'It's more important that we can show ourselves, rather than show Manchester City. 'We need to show ourselves we are capable of dealing with that pressure, and to try to win games to achieve big things.' Tottenham has received more positive news on defender Jan Vertonghen's ankle injury. After initial fears the center back could be out for three months, Tottenham now expects him back in six weeks. Here are some other talking points around the Premier League: ___ PAYET PREDICAMENT West Ham travels to Southampton on Saturday with the fate of star player Dimitri Payet still uncertain after the France midfielder told the club more than a week ago he wants to leave to rejoin Marseille. Payet would not play against Crystal Palace last weekend, according to manager Slaven Bilic. 'Is his departure inevitable? I don't know,' Bilic said. 'We are not going to sell our best players on the cheap just because someone wants to sign them or even because they want to go home. 'I left it with the chairman and I'm sure he's going to do the best thing. The ball is in Marseille's court. They are the ones who expressed interest. Now they should act ... like everybody, he has his price.' AT THE BOTTOM Two of the teams in the relegation zone have tricky trips to top-four opposition. Paul Clement takes Swansea to third-place Liverpool on Saturday for a daunting second league game in charge of the bottom-place team. 'It does not look hopeless,' the former Bayern Munich assistant coach said. 'We are one point behind the team outside the relegation zone and not far behind the teams just above that as well.' Sunderland, which is above Swansea on goal difference, is at West Bromwich Albion. Hull is a point further up the standings going into Sunday's game at leader Chelsea. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 19th, 2017

Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi stepping out of brother's shadow

DANIELLA MATAR, Associated Press   MILAN (AP) — As a coach, Simone Inzaghi is finally stepping out of his older brother's shadow. The younger Inzaghi had some success as a player with Lazio, winning one Serie A title and three Italian Cups. But Filippo Inzaghi was one of the most famous forwards in the world, winning three Italian league and two Champions League titles with Juventus and AC Milan. Filippo, a former Milan coach now at the helm at third-division club Venezia, also helped Italy win the World Cup in 2006, and finished his international career with 57 appearances. Simone played only three times for Italy. But Simone, now 40, is coming into his own as coach of Lazio after taking over from Stefano Pioli in April. Under Simone this season, Lazio — which finished eighth last year — is proving to be somewhat of a surprise package, challenging for a Champions League spot behind Serie A leader Juventus, Roma and Napoli. 'Our aim is to try to always do well,' Simone said. 'Forty points in 20 matches is a lot. We've got to applaud these lads, because in July probably nobody believed Lazio would put together 40 points and deserve them and should even have a few more. 'Now the difficult part comes because we're not a surprise anymore. We have the duty now to try to remain there right until the end, knowing that it will be difficult, knowing that there are teams which are much better-equipped, but we have proved we belong there and we want to remain at the top.' Next up for Lazio on Sunday is a trip to Juventus, which last weekend lost at Fiorentina 2-1. Juventus has been tough to beat at home, and improved on its own Serie A record with a 26th consecutive home victory on Jan. 8. 'We've won five of the last six games, losing only to Inter despite an excellent first half,' Simone said Wednesday after Lazio beat Genoa 4-2 to reach the Italian Cup quarterfinals. 'We have to continue like this. 'We know we're playing against Juve, which has won the last 28 matches at home, so we know it will be very difficult for us but we have three or four days to recover, get our energy back and we'll go there to try and impose our game, try to do our best against a team which has been dominating our league for five to six years.' Simone has already faced Juventus twice as a coach, losing 3-0 in Turin in April, shortly after taking charge, and 1-0 in Rome in August. Lazio hasn't beaten Juventus in the league in 13 years, while the Bianconeri have won the past eight encounters. 'We have to try to give our all,' Simone said. 'In the first match this season we had a good match but there was a mistake and (Juventus midfielder Sami) Khedira punished us. 'We have to try and impose our match, knowing that we're facing a really strong team ... I beat Juventus as a player, I'd like to beat it as coach, too.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 19th, 2017

No practice, no problem: Stenson leads in Abu Dhabi

STEVE DOUGLAS, AP Sports Writer br /> ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Henrik Stenson chipped in from 30 yards and had seven more birdies Thursday to open the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship with an 8-under 64 in his first competitive round of 2017. Showing no rustiness from an offseason of little practice, the fourth-ranked Stenson led by two strokes midway through the first round. Three-time winner Martin Kaymer, Oliver Fisher, Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Marc Warren were next. Stenson will do well to top 2016 — he won the British Open for his first major title and finished the season as Europe's No. 1 — and he prepared for the new year by mostly ditching his clubs, preferring to spend more time on the ski slopes with his family in Utah. Even his build-up to the Abu Dhabi event wasn't ideal, with two overnight flights in three days from his home in Orlando interrupted by his attendance at an awards ceremony in Stockholm where he beat Zlatan Ibrahimovic, among others, to win Male Sports Athlete of the Year at the Swedish Sports Awards. All Stenson needed was a few buckets of balls and some good putting sessions to get him back on track. Playing in an early-morning three-ball with two more current major champions in Dustin Johnson and Danny Willett, Stenson birdied four of his first five holes after starting at No. 10, completing the hot streak with the chip-in after leaving his approach five yards short of the green. He curled in a birdie putt from 15 feet on No. 17 and tapped in at the par-5 18th to pick up another shot before making birdie on two of his last three holes to end a round in which he was never in trouble. 'Very limited preparation,' said the 40-year-old Stenson, before adding with a smile: 'So that might be the way forward.' 'I was quite amazed how good the game felt coming into today. But again, I feel like I scored better than I played.' It was Stenson's second best round at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club, only bettered by his course-record 62 in 2006 when he was runner-up to Chris DiMarco. It is a long course that suits Stenson's eye, and the same could be said of Kaymer. The two-time major winner from Germany mixed eight birdies — three coming on his final three holes — with two bogeys for his 66, his latest low score at an event where he usually excels. He won in 2008, '10 and '11, and should have won in 2015, only to throw away a 10-shot lead with 13 holes to play on the final day. 'The golf course, for me, doesn't feel like I need to do a lot of special things in order to play well because I usually putt well on those greens,' Kaymer said. 'Doesn't feel like a hard-working day.' Johnson, at No. 3 the highest-ranked player in a strong field after Rory McIlroy's withdrawal on Monday, shot 72 in his first appearance in Abu Dhabi. Defending champion Rickie Fowler also was at even par. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 19th, 2017

PSA to honor Diaz as 2016 Athlete of the Year

Behind her powerful arms and legs, a young petite lady gave Philippine sports a lift it badly needed in the year just passed. Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz gave this country of 100 million people something to cheer about at the break of dawn one rainy day in August after copping an Olympic medal that was long overdue during the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Games. A combination of hard work, effort, heart, and sheer luck paved the way for the 25-year-old pride of Zamboanga City to run away with the silver in the women’s 53-kg weight division behind eventual winner Hsu Shu-Ching of Chinese Taipei. Diaz totaled a combined 200 kgs. in both the snatch and clean and jerk to the 212 of the Taiwanese bet. An Airwoman First Class at the Philippine Air Force, Diaz was only hoping for a bronze medal finish, but ended up a surprise runner up when fancied Li Yaiun of China – who earlier set an Olympic record in the snatch - failed to complete her final two attempts in the clean and jerk. “Sabi ko thank you Lord. Bronze lang ang hinihingi ko, pero silver ang ibinigay mo,” said Diaz moments after her triumph as the first-ever Filipina to win an Olympic medal. The Cinderella finish by Diaz was the first for the country in the last 20 years since boxer Mansueto ‘Onyok’ Velasco punched his way to a similar silver medal feat during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Hidilyn also became the first Filipino weightlifter to win an Olympic medal for the country and the only one to bag a silver outside of boxers Velasco and the late Anthony Villanueva (1964 Tokyo Games). In the light of her outstanding feats, the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) was one and unanimous in naming Diaz its 2016 Athlete of the Year during its traditional Awards Night presented by MILO and San Miguel on Feb. 13 at the LE PAVILION in Pasay City. Diaz is the first lady to be feted by the country’s oldest media organization with its highest individual honor after boxer Josie Gabuco and the Team Manila women’s softball team in 2012. “This one is a no-brainer. Hidilyn Diaz is truly the hands-down choice as the 2016 PSA Athlete of the Year,” said PSA president Riera Mallari, sports editor of The Standard. Last year, pro boxers Nonito Donaire Jr. and Donnie Nietes, along with young golfer Miguel Tabuena were the recipient of the coveted award annually handed out by the PSA, comprised by editors and sportswriters from the different broadsheets, tabloids, and online portals in the country. Diaz, who came home empty handed during both the 2008 (Beijing) and 2012 (London) Olympics, respectively, leads a long list of personalities and entities to be recognized during the formal rite co-presented by CIGNAL/HYPHER TV. In the coming days and weeks, recipients of the President’s Award, Lifetime Achievement honor, Executive of the Year, National Sports Association of the Year, Mr. Basketball, Mr. Golf, Mr. Football, and Ms. Volleyball will also be named as part of the two-hour program backed by Smart, Foton, Mighty Sports, Philippine Basketball Association, ACCEL, Gold Toe, SM Prime Holdings Inc., Globalport, Rain or Shine, ICTSI, and MVPSF. There will also be major awardees in different sports and citations to various personalities and entities in the annual rite backed by the Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, and Federal Land. Not to be missed out is the PSA’s recognition to young promising achievers such as the Tony Siddayao Awards and the Milo Male and Female Junior Athletes of the Year, as well as posthumous awards to those dearly departed friends of the local sportswriting community.   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 19th, 2017

Bagwell, Raines, Ivan Rodriguez elected to Hall of Fame

RONALD BLUM, AP Baseball Writer br /> NEW YORK (AP) — Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez were elected to baseball's Hall of Fame on Wednesday, earning the honor as Trevor Hoffman and Vladimir Guerrero fell just short. Steroids-tainted stars Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were passed over for the fifth straight year by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. But they received a majority of votes for the first time and could be in position to gain election in coming years. Bagwell, on the ballot for the seventh time after falling 15 votes short last year, received 381 of 442 votes for 86.2 percent. Players needed 75 percent, which came to 332 votes this year. 'Anxiety was very, very high,' Bagwell said. 'I wrote it on a ball tonight. It was kind of cool.' In his 10th and final year of eligibility, Raines was on 380 ballots (86 percent). He started at 24.3 percent in 2008 and jumped from 55 percent in 2015 to 69.8 percent last year. 'Last night probably the worst night I've had out of the 10 years,' he said. 'I knew I was close, but I wasn't sure.' Rodriguez , at 45 the youngest current Hall member, received 336 votes (76 percent) to join Johnny Bench in 1989 as the only catchers elected on the first ballot. '''I've been having trouble sleeping for three days,' the popular Pudge said. 'Johnny Bench was my favorite player growing up.' Hoffman was five votes shy and Guerrero 15 short. 'Falling short of this class is disappointing,' Hoffman said in a statement. 'I am truly humbled to have come so close. I hope to one day soon share a Hall of Fame celebration with my family, friends, teammates and all of San Diego.' Edgar Martinez was next at 58.6 percent, followed by Clemens at 54.1 percent, Bonds at 53.8 percent, Mike Mussina at 51.8 percent, Curt Schilling at 45 percent, Lee Smith at 34.2 percent and Manny Ramirez at 23.8 percent. Players will be inducted July 30 during ceremonies at Cooperstown along with former Commissioner Bud Selig and retired Kansas City and Atlanta executive John Schuerholz, both elected last month by a veterans committee. Bagwell was a four-time All-Star for Houston, finishing with a .297 batting average, 401 homers and 1,401 RBIs. Among 220 Hall of Fame players, he is the 50th who spent his entire career with one big league team. Raines, fifth in career stolen bases, is just the fifth player elected in his final year of eligibility after Red Ruffing (1967), Joe Medwick (1968), Ralph Kiner (1975) and Jim Rice (2009). Raines was a seven-time All-Star and the 1986 NL batting champion. Raines hit .294 with a .385 on-base percentage. He spent 13 of 23 big league seasons with the Montreal Expos, who left Canada to become the Washington Nationals for the 2005 season, and joins Andre Dawson and Gary Carter as the only players to enter the Hall representing the Expos. Rodriguez, a 14-time All-Star who hit .296 with 311 homers and 1,332 RBIs, was never disciplined for PEDs but former Texas teammate Jose Canseco alleged in a 2005 book that he injected the catcher with steroids. Asked whether he was on the list of players who allegedly tested positive for steroids during baseball's 2003 survey, Rodriguez said in 2009: 'Only God knows.' Bonds, a seven-time MVP who holds the season and career home run records, again saw his vote percentage climb, as did Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner. Bonds was indicted on charges he lied to a grand jury in 2003 when he denied using PEDs, but a jury failed to reach a verdict on three counts he made false statements and convicted him on one obstruction of justice count, finding he gave an evasive answer. The conviction was overturned on appeal in 2015. Clemens was acquitted on one count of obstruction of Congress, three counts of making false statements to Congress and two counts of perjury, all stemming from his denials of drug use. 'Barry Bonds was the best player I played against in my entire life,' Bagwell said. Several notable players will join them in the competition for votes in upcoming years: Chipper Jones and Jim Thome in 2018, Mariano Rivera and Roy Halladay in 2019, and Derek Jeter in 2020. Lee Smith, who had 478 saves, got 34 percent in his final time on the ballot. Jorge Posada, Tim Wakefield and Magglio Ordonez were among the players who got under 5 percent and fell off future ballots. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 18th, 2017

Patriots happy to be home for latest trip to AFC title game

KYLE HIGHTOWER, AP Sports Writer br /> FOXBOROUGH, Massachusetts (AP) — The New England Patriots have had what seems like an annual spot in the AFC championship game over the past decade. But the fact that this year's game is at home could factor into whether they are able to make a return trip to the Super Bowl. The Patriots became the first team since the 1970 merger to advance to the AFC title game in six straight seasons with their win over the Houston Texans last week. The Patriots are 5-1 at home in AFC championship games, with their lone loss coming in 2013 against the Ravens in Ray Lewis' final trip to Foxborough. While being at home doesn't guarantee victory, playing the game at Gillette Stadium is welcomed by a team that has been on the road in two of their past three trips to the AFC title game. Both of those road games ended in losses to Denver, including a 20-18 defeat last season. 'It's the energy. You get out there and everyone is really energetic. The fans are really intense,' receiver Chris Hogan said Tuesday. 'At the end of the day, it's another football game, and I just have to approach it like that, just the way I've been approaching every single game this year. Go out there, play my best, play good football and try to help this team win as much as I can.' Special teams captain Matt Slater acknowledged that New England's performance against the Texans could have been better, but said no one is taking anything for granted about this latest shot at a Super Bowl berth. 'Anytime you win a playoff game, whether you play well or not, if you win the game that's all that matters,' Slater said. 'I think we all appreciate the opportunity that we have. Could we have played better? Certainly. But we could also be at home.' The Steelers — and coach Mike Tomlin specifically — can expect to get an even more hostile reception than usual from the Patriots fans. This comes after Tomlin was broadcast using a derogatory expletive to describe the Patriots during a postgame speech to his team following Pittsburgh's divisional-round win over Kansas City. Unbeknownst to Tomlin, the speech was aired on a social media livestream by Pittsburgh receiver Antonio Brown. Tomlin apologized for his use of 'regrettable' language on Tuesday. But he said he's not worried about it having an impact on his team's preparations this week. 'We are in the AFC championship. You aren't going to creep in the back door of New England and win a football game, and creep out of there with an AFC championship,' he said. 'I am not worried about our team's ability to deal with the potential distractions.' Slater said he continues to have respect for Tomlin and didn't think his comments would serve as any extra motivation. 'At the end of the day the only thing that is gonna matter is what we do in between those white lines on Sunday,' Slater said. 'What is said or what is done off the football field it really doesn't matter. It's about executing on Sunday.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 18th, 2017

Big wins for Justin Thomas, proud moments for his father

DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf Writer   HONOLULU (AP) — Justin Thomas used to call his father when he arrived at junior tournaments, and the conversation almost always started the same way. 'What's the number?' The father wasn't asking what score it would take to win, the length of the course or even the entry fee. The number in question was how many greens his son would be able to reach in regulation, and not just on the par 4s. 'I was guaranteed to hit driver into at least one par 3,' Thomas said. Mike Thomas was in the gallery along the ninth fairway at Waialae Country Club when his 23-year-old son nearly left his feet while launching a 358-yard drive, setting up a wedge into the par 5. It was only his seventh-longest drive during his time in paradise. This Aloha State adventure was the best two weeks of Thomas' career. He joined Ernie Els as the only players to sweep the Hawaii swing and became the first player since Tiger Woods in 2009 to win by at least three shots in consecutive weeks on the PGA Tour. Thomas rose to No. 8 in the world and he is the third-ranked American behind Dustin Johnson (No. 3) and Jordan Spieth (No. 5). 'Unforgettable,' Thomas said of the last two weeks. That goes for his parents, too, mainly because they had yet to see him win on the PGA Tour. His other two victories were in Malaysia, so Mike and Jani Thomas had to stay up until the early morning hours to watch him beat Adam Scott one year, Hideki Matsuyama the next. Watching in person with an ocean view is better. Mike Thomas has been the head pro at Harmony Landing outside Louisville, Kentucky, for the last 28 years, and golf is really all his son has ever known. Justin was not even 2 when his father gave him a cut-down driver with a wooden head to whack golf balls around the house and at Harmony Landing. As a toddler, when the boy wanted to play he would tell his mother, 'Bag of balls, bag of balls.' But the boy fell in love with golf by himself. 'I made sure there was no formal instruction until he asked for it,' Mike Thomas said. 'There were a lot more little lessons than big lessons.' Part of the reason is that he had a golf shop to run, members to serve and lessons to give. A larger part was that Mike Thomas had seen too many kids pushed too hard and he didn't want to be that parent. 'I decided that I wanted to be his best friend more than his father,' he said. 'There were times I had to get on him as a parent. But mostly we had just had a lot of fun.' Even now, when he takes time away from Harmony Landing to watch his son on tour, he stands quietly behind Thomas and caddie Jimmy Johnson without saying a word unless his son asks him to shoot video of a swing with his phone. They will look at it together. Mike Thomas tends to wait to see if his son can figure it out first. His fondest memories are not the tournaments he won as a junior, but the time they spent on the golf course in twilight hours, sometimes playing nine holes, other times creating games by seeing who could throw a golf ball closest to the pin. Golf has been in the family for three generations. Paul Thomas was the longtime club pro at Zanesville Country Club in Ohio who qualified for the 1962 U.S. Open at Oakmont. Mike Thomas played at Morehead State and competed in college against Kenny Perry, but his aspirations of playing the PGA Tour didn't last long. He spent one year on the mini-tours before working fulltime as a PGA professional. He took three jobs, in Ohio and Pittsburgh, before moving to Kentucky. Justin was in elementary school, still swinging away, when his father began a tradition of keeping golf balls from every tournament he won. There were 128 balls at Harmony Landing when they left for Hawaii. The father headed home with five more golf balls — and he wanted six. Two were from the victories at the SBS Tournament of Champions and the Sony Open, bringing the victory count to 130. A special display will hold the golf ball that Thomas rolled in from 15 feet for eagle on the final hole of his opening round for a 59. Another ball is from the 36-hole scoring record (123) he set on Friday, and the fifth is from the 72-hole record (253) Thomas set Sunday. 'I wanted the one after Saturday for the 54-hole record,' Mike Thomas said with a laugh. 'But Justin said that wasn't a record, it was only a tie.' It's tempting to think back to the toddler who said 'Bag of balls' the way most kids ask for candy, and see where his son is now. But only the stage has changed. 'The feeling is the same,' Mike Thomas said. 'I know this is the PGA Tour, but when he had a chance to win as an 8-year-old at a U.S. Kids event, it was like, 'This is really cool.' ... As a parent, I'm just glad he's healthy, I'm glad he's safe and I'm glad he's doing what he wants to do. What else could any parent want?' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 17th, 2017

Paul gets hurt anew, but Clippers trounce Thunder

em>By Beth Harris, Associated Press /em> LOS ANGELES (AP) — J.J. Redick scored 20 points, DeAndre Jordan had 19 points and 15 rebounds, and the streaking Los Angeles Clippers overcame Chris Paul's injury to defeat the Oklahoma City Thunder 120-98 on Monday night (Tuesday, PHL time). The banged-up Clippers tied a franchise record for their best start to a calendar year at 7-0. The team began 1974 with the same mark when the club was located in Buffalo. Los Angeles owns the NBA's longest active winning streak despite being without injured star Blake Griffin. Paul sprained his left thumb in the second quarter of this one and didn't return. Still, the Clippers shot 55 percent and improved to 16-0 when hitting 50 percent or better. They were dominant in the paint, outscoring the Thunder 62-34. Russell Westbrook scored 24 points on 7-of-19 shooting in three quarters for the Thunder, the last team to beat the Clippers, on New Year's Eve, before the calendar turned and their winning streak began. He was the only starter in double figures for Oklahoma City. Jordan had three dunks, including a reverse off a pass from Marreese Speights, in the third quarter when the Clippers stretched their lead to 27 points. Speights finished with a season-high 23 points. Jordan sat out the fourth when Speights dunked and hit two triples. The Clippers outscored the Thunder 24-6, including nine points by Speights and six by Redick, to take a 22-point lead in the second. strong>TIP-INS /strong> em> strong>Thunder: /strong> /em>C Steven Adams sat out with a concussion sustained in the third quarter at Sacramento on Sunday night (Monday, PHL time). The Thunder were coming off a win at Sacramento 24 hours earlier, but fell to 2-6 on the second night of a back-to-back. em> strong>Clippers: /strong> /em>G Austin Rivers and Jordan were hit with technical fouls. They'll be expected to donate their fines to a charity of their choosing under a program coach Doc Rivers announced earlier this month as a way to reduce the team's high number of technicals. Paul missed seven games in December and early this month because of hamstring issues. The Clippers went 2-2 against the Thunder this season. G Raymond Felton was 7-of-7 from the floor and scored 15 points. or the second straight game, Jordan missed just one field goal attempt, going 7-of-8. The Clippers scored the most points during their winning streak. strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Thunder: /strong> /em>Visit the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) in the fourth game of their six-game trip. em> strong>Clippers: /strong> /em> After two days off, they host Minnesota on Thursday (Friday, PHL time). .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 17th, 2017

Sumang's surge gets rewarded with POW citation

Roi Sumang is starting to show his true potential after spending much of his rookie season in obscurity. Selected 27th overall by GlobalPort in 2015, the pint-sized Sumang only played 27 games in 8.4 minutes, producing underwhelming numbers of 3.4 points, 0.7 rebound and 0.7 assist with the GlobalPort Batang Pier and late in his rookie year, with the Blackwater Elite. But the former University of the East star seemed right at home now with Blackwater. Coming off the bench, Sumang provided the big spark, firing 17 of his 19 points in the second half as Blackwater pulled the rug from under fancied Alaska, 103-100 on Sunday for a franchise-best fifth win. The 26-year-old Sumang showed quick hands and feet, attacking Alaska’s defense repeatedly with hard drive to the basket to help Blackwater establish a double-digit spread in the final period. Although the Aces came back strong, Sumang and veteran teammate Denok Miranda sank crucial free throws late in the game to seal the win. But more importantly, the native of Tondo, Manila was a steady defensive presence after finishing the game with 3 steals, while issuing 2 assists to seal the win for Blackwater. Sumang’s sterling effort earned him the Accel-PBA Press Corps Player of the Week for the period of Jan. 9-15, beating the likes of Mahindra guard Philip Paniamogan, San Miguel Beer slot man June Mar Fajardo, GlobalPort high-scoring guard Terrence Romeo, Barangay Ginebra forward Joe Devance, Star wingman Allen Maliksi and big man Ian Sangalang as well as Calvin Abueva of Alaska. Although Sumang also took home the Best Player of game honors, the diminutive Blackwater playmaker vows to work harder in practice as the Elite shoot for a playoff spot in the All-Filipino conference.  Blackwater clashes with Barangay Ginebra this Friday, before closing its elimination round assignment against Star on January 25. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 16th, 2017

Sumang's surge gets reward with POW citation

Roi Sumang is starting to show his true potential after spending much of his rookie season in obscurity. Selected 27th overall by GlobalPort in 2015, the pint-sized Sumang only played 27 games in 8.4 minutes, producing underwhelming numbers of 3.4 points, 0.7 rebound and 0.7 assist with the GlobalPort Batang Pier and late in his rookie year, with the Blackwater Elite. But the former University of the East star seemed right at home now with Blackwater. Coming off the bench, Sumang provided the big spark, firing 17 of his 19 points in the second half as Blackwater pulled the rug from under fancied Alaska, 103-100 on Sunday for a franchise-best fifth win. The 26-year-old Sumang showed quick hands and feet, attacking Alaska’s defense repeatedly with hard drive to the basket to help Blackwater establish a double-digit spread in the final period. Although the Aces came back strong, Sumang and veteran teammate Denok Miranda sank crucial free throws late in the game to seal the win. But more importantly, the native of Tondo, Manila was a steady defensive presence after finishing the game with 3 steals, while issuing 2 assists to seal the win for Blackwater. Sumang’s sterling effort earned him the Accel-PBA Press Corps Player of the Week for the period of Jan. 9-15, beating the likes of Mahindra guard Philip Paniamogan, San Miguel Beer slot man June Mar Fajardo, GlobalPort high-scoring guard Terrence Romeo, Barangay Ginebra forward Joe Devance, Star wingman Allen Maliksi and big man Ian Sangalang as well as Calvin Abueva of Alaska. Although Sumang also took home the Best Player of game honors, the diminutive Blackwater playmaker vows to work harder in practice as the Elite shoot for a playoff spot in the All-Filipino conference.  Blackwater clashes with Barangay Ginebra this Friday, before closing its elimination round assignment against Star on January 25. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 16th, 2017