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On Christmas Day, a well-deserved applause for the ‘other’ team in action

Before the PBA held Christmas Day games, Mich Flores spent the 25th of December with her family, serving in church. Her mother and twin sisters would join her as lectors while her father acts as lay minister. "Other ministers usually go to their provinces or spend time with family and relatives during Christmas time, so we're the only ones left," she said. Today, the 25th means running social media sites and making sure they keep up with all the basketball action going on. Willie Marcial, meanwhile, remembers traveling to Batangas to spend time with his family and "sharing drinks with friends" on Christmas Day. Nowadays, he manages traffic inside the press room, tending to the n...Keep on reading: On Christmas Day, a well-deserved applause for the ‘other’ team in action.....»»

Category: newsSource: inquirer inquirerDec 25th, 2017

UAAP: Don t stop Bo-lieving, hold on to that feeling, UP!

When head coach Bo Perasol exited the dugout of the University of the Philippines inside the MOA Arena last Wednesday, he was serenaded with cheers, applause, and “UP Fight!” A fitting welcome for Coach Bo Perasol from the UP community outside the arena. @abscbnsports pic.twitter.com/3AjE56nGxS — Danine Cruz (@the9cruz) Nobyembre 14, 2018 For the mentor who guided the Fighting Maroons to their first Final Four since 1997, it was nothing but well-deserved. After all, as early as the first round of UAAP Season 81, there were those who were questioning if Coach Bo was the right fit for a State U side with grand plans of breaking through the proverbial glass ceiling. “Yung journey, definitely wasn’t easy,” he told reporters as he looked back at what they went through to get here. This season was always supposed to be when UP ends its 21-year playoff drought. At one point, however, they stood at 3-5, tied for the sixth and seventh spots in the eight-team tournament. Of course, Coach Bo could only admit that then, he himself had doubts. “Pag naririnig niyo akong sinisigawan sila, I wanted to leave them kasi parang iniisip ko, is this worth it? If I keep pushing you then you are not responding, I have an obligation to the community na if I’m not effective as your leader, then I might as well step down,” he shared. He then continued, “This is not about me. This is about winning for the community.” Indeed, the 45-year-old mentor reiterated that ever since he took this post back in 2016, giving the UP community just what they deserved was always his first and foremost goal. As he put it, “Yung burden ko kasi is to win it for the community. There isn’t a push from them na you need to win eh – it’s the other way around.” He then continued, “You see them, you’ve been in UP for a long time, and makikita mong they’re hungry for it. You want it to deliver it to them. Yun yung stress ko, pero alam ko naman na kaya eh.” Now, the Fighting Maroons have proven their coach correct all along – poised to play in their first Final Four game in 21 years. And all of it began because Coach Bo believed – and kept on believing no matter what his doubters said. “Sometimes, you doubt yourself, tao lang tayo eh, but I have to be an example of confidence at what we’ve put it. Mararamdaman natin ang pressure, but you need to go through that para ma-achieve mo yung gusto mo,” he said. With that, the entire Diliman community is, for the first time in a long time, believing – or more pointedly, “Bo-lieving.” For all of those who did not and still do not? “Wala akong masasabi kasi hindi ko naman sila masasagot din eh. Wala akong social media,” the architect of UP’s rebuild said through chuckles. He then continued, “Bahala na lang ang mga players kong sumagot.” --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 15th, 2018

Pangarap ko ito nung college pa lang -- Paat on national team stint

Cignal middle Mylene Paat is looking forward for her first stint with the national team. The former Adamson University star was elevated into the main 14-woman roster that will see action in the Jakarta Palembang Asian Games next month after Petron hitter Ces Molina withdrew due to an injury last Tuesday.      “Na-excite, sobrang excited ko kasi sobrang pangarap ko ‘to nung nasa college pa lang ako,” said Paat, who had 15 points in the HD Spikers’ 25-15, 22-25, 25-20, 25-18, win over Smart-Army Thursday in the Philippine Superliga Invitational battle for third. She added that playing for the tri-colors alongside the country’s best players is a dream come true. “Though, college talaga ako nag-start mag-volleyball sobrang nilu-look up ko ‘yung mga players sa national team,” Paat said. Paat, actually, got a call up for the national squad back in 2015 for the Asian U-23 Championship held in Manila but differences with her college team and the then-newly formed national squad under Roger Gorayeb barred her from suiting up alongside the likes of Alyssa Valdez and Jaja Santiago.     “Naudlot lang kasi nagka-misunderstanding ‘yung Adamson tsaka ‘yung magiging coach ng Under 23 Pool,” she recalled. Given a second chance, Paat was one the most dedicated players that heeded the call of the Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. She was present in almost all of the scheduled national team tryouts last May. Her talent and sacrifice didn’t go unnoticed as she was named in the 20-woman national pool under head coach Shaq Delos Santos.     “’Yung pagpasok ko sa pool sobrang blessing na ‘yun sa akin parang sabi ko ito na ‘yung umpisa ng paghihirap na ginawa ko, lahat ng pagpupursigeng ginawa ko,” she said. Fate again smiled on Paat. “And then, biglang binalita sa akin na ako nga daw ‘yung papalit kay Ate Ces sabi ko sobrang na-excite ako kasi first time ko mapunta sa pool tapos first time ko rin mapabilang sa Top 14,” said Paat, who was called to replace Molina after the Blaze Spiker suffered a stress fracture on her shin. Now part of the country’s representative to the quadrennial continental sports meet, Paat wants to prove that she deserved her spot. “Kailangan lang talaga mag-focus kasi siyempre yung mga kasabayan ko doon alam naman nating mga star ‘yung nandoon so kailangan ko makipagsabayan sa kung ano mang ability na meron sila,” she said. “Kailangan ko magsipag talaga at magpurisge para makasabay ako kahit papaano.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 26th, 2018

PFF President Nonong Araneta reveals exciting times ahead for Philippine football

Mariano “Nonong” Araneta is pumped up for Philippine football, and it's easy to see why. The Philippine Football Federation president has divulged exciting details of the federation's plans to develop the national training center in the San Lazaro Leisure Park in Carmona, Cavite. Plus the Azkals are also getting ready for a busy few months ahead. Araneta is keen on ramping up the federation's partnership with the Manila Jockey Club in SLLP, where the FIFA Artificial Turf Pitch is situated. Already a training ground for youth national teams and club sides, Araneta says that lighting towers will soon be installed that will permit nighttime play. “We are just waiting for AFC because the lights will be bidded out,” Explains Araneta. “Hopefully they will be installed by the end of the year.” The lights will feature an intensity of 900 lux, more than the accepted 800 lux minimum for televised matches. The lights will complement the hundreds of new seats that have already been put in place around the pitch. But that is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what the PFF has planned for Carmona. “We have spoken to Manila Jockey Club about transferring our headquarters there,” says Araneta. “We are ready to start the bidding and construction.” The PFF is planning to purchase a 3000 sqm parcel of land within the San Lazaro Leisure Park and build a complex with dormitories, classrooms for coaching and referee courses, and a gym. “The funds are ready, initially we will be getting US$1.5 Million from FIFA,” says Araneta, who says the federation will be selling their current building in Pasig to help fund the move. But Araneta says that another option is available, to buy a different 2000 sqm plot of land beside the artificial pitch that is separate from the 3000 sqm parcel. There a grandstand could be constructed, transforming the pitch into a stadium. The headquarters could then be situated under the seating while the other site houses the dorms, classrooms, and gym. More fields are also in the pipeline in the training center. Araneta says that two artificial turf mini-pitches measuring 40 by 20 meters will be made right beside the main pitch. These will also be lighted and can accommodate recreational play and festival competitions. Incredibly, there will be yet another pitch in the training center, a natural grass regulation field within the Manila Jockey Club's racetrack. “That is for our national teams so that if they are set to play on grass, they can train there,” explains Araneta. The middle of the racetrack already has a grass area where football is played. Manila Jockey Club and PFF have yet to decide if the new grass pitch will be a brand new one or if the current surface will be improved. “We want our activities to be there,” declares Araneta. “We have already had coaching seminars there. Schools can also use our facilities. The pitch is there to be used not to be seen,” he adds with a chuckle. Araneta is a former national team player himself and is also optimistic about the near future with the Azkals. The squad is facing two big tournaments in the coming months: the AFF Suzuki Cup in November and December and their maiden appearance in the AFC Asian Cup in January 2019. Araneta says the Azkals will travel to Bahrain during the September FIFA window to play a Bahraini club side, likely on Sept 7, before tangling with the Bahrain national team on September 11. There will also be a FIFA window in October, and Araneta says the Filipinos can enjoy at least one friendly at home. Araneta hopes that Rizal Memorial will still be available before it gets spruced up in preparation for the country's hosting of the 2019 SEA Games. “Our fans will get to watch our new team,” said the president with evident pride. Crunch time begins in November, with the Azkals in a five-team round-robin group with a new home-and-away format. The Philippines will host Singapore in Bacolod's Panaad Stadium on November 13 before playing either Brunei or Timor Leste away four days later. The two ASEAN minnows will square off in a two-legged qualifying series in September to to determine who makes the group stage. On November 21 the Azkals entertain Thailand in Panaad in what promises to be a mouthwatering contest, before closing their group stage against Indonesia, probably in Jakarta, on November 25. The semis will run from December 1 to 6, with the two-legged finals being held on the 11th and 15th. After a quick Christmas break the team jets off to the Middle East on December 26, where final preparations for the Asian Cup will commence in earnest. There are plans to play in Qatar against either a club team or their national side, and then perhaps a game in Kuwait before the team goes to the United Arab Emirates. The group schedule is as follows: January 7 against Korea Republic in Dubai, January 11 versus China in Abu Dhabi, then January 16 against Kyrgyzstan in Dubai. The top two will advance to the knockout round, but the Philippines can also sneak through as one of the better third-placers. But the senior national team isn't the only competition Pinoy football fans can focus on this year. The boys U15 national team were in action while the U16 girls play in an AFC competition. The U19 men also played in the AFF U19 Championship, where they beat Singapore 2-1. The senior ladies team also notched a win against the Lion City in their AFF tournament. Araneta says the very successful PFF Women's League from last year will be run again, and that the PFF also plans a youth league. Both will be partly funded by FIFA. Of course the Philippines Football League will continue, with a League and Cup phase. The realization of these plans will be one of the achievements of Araneta's presidency. Another will be his membership in the 33-person FIFA Council, which acts as a board of directors of the organization. Araneta was recently in Russia to watch the 2018 FIFA World Cup along with other council members. Araneta is one of six Asians in the FIFA Council, alongside members from China, Malaysia, Korea Republic, Bahrain, and Bangladesh. He is the first Filipino to serve in this level of leadership in FIFA. The Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo native freely explains the benefit the country can enjoy from this connection. According to Araneta “we have firsthand information on funding, and the Philippines is part of the body that will decide on what's best for football.” He says that in the next cycle of FIFA funding he might be able to acquire an additional US$ 2 million for the development of the training center. The PFF President also enjoys the inside track when it comes to acquiring development funds from the Asian Football Confederation, since he also serves as the Chairman of the AFC Finance Committee. “All budgets pass through us. We know the funding, the revenues. We know when to ask for projects. Like the lights in Carmona, that was approved by the AFC development committee,” continues Araneta. But being part of the FIFA Council is not all glitz and glamor, confesses Araneta. He mentioned a recent Council meeting in Bogota, Colombia, that necessitated an arduous 33-hour trip through Europe for a stay that lasted just two days. Sometimes deliberations in FIFA meetings can stretch for as long as six hours. Immediately after the Bogota confab he jetted off to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for another meeting. “It's no joke,” says Araneta, who is 64 years old. But the former striker and defender has no complaints and reveals his motivation to keep on going at the job. “I went to the Youth Football League. I visited the Allianz National Youth Futsal Invitational. You see the kids playing there, you see kids play everywhere. The enthusiasm of the players is what keeps me going.” - RELEASE.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 18th, 2018

Global Cebu, Ceres Negros battle to draws in 2018 AFC Cup action

Filipino football club Global Cebu FC scored early, but conceded a goal late as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Indonesia’s Bali United, Tuesday evening at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium in 2018 AFC Cup Group G action. It was the visiting Bali United side that got their attempts off first, with attempts from Kevin Brands and Irfan Bachdim sailing above the crossbar. Global got on the board in the eleventh minute, as Curt Dizon connected on a header after Bali United keeper Wanwan fumbled on a save attempt. Bali United came close to pulling even, but keepr Patrick Deyto came up with defensive gem, saving Byungkeon’s attempt in the 15th minute. Late in the second half, Rufo Sanchez almost gave the Cebu-based club a two-goal advantage, but the officials ruled his attempt offside. Bali United would pull even eight minutes later, courtesy of a header from Ilija Spasojevic off a header from skipper Fadil. Spasojevic had a golden opportunity to give Bali United the maximum three points after Global Cebu gave up a foul in the penalty box. Once again, Deyto came up with a game-saving defensive play as he secured Spaso’s penalty attempt at the 79th minute. After 90 minutes, the score would stand at 1-1, with Global and Bali United splitting points. “We deserved to win this game, but they just so happened to score also.” Team Captain Deyto said following the match. “We have to give credit to Bali, they kept coming at us even if we were leading, 1-0. We have to be better prepared, now we really have to win the next few games. We’ll just get as many points as we can in the next games, and hopefully, it will be enough for us to go to the next round.” Global Cebu moves to a draw and a loss for one point, good for third in Group G. Bali United sits at the bottom, also with a draw and a loss for one point. Up next for Global Cebu will be a matchup with group-leading Yangon United at the Thuwunna Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar. Over in Singapore, Ceres Negros FC came back to draw Home United, 1-1, at the Jalan Besar Stadium. The home team scored first, courtesy of a Shahril Ishak penalty in the 23rd. Manuel Herrera “Super” Lopez provided the equalizer for Ceres Negros in the 79th minute to keep the Bacolod-based club unbeaten. Ceres Negros moves to a win and a draw for four points in Group F. Up next for Ceres is a matchup with Shan United at the Panaad Park and Stadium in Bacolod......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 27th, 2018

Koreas combined women s hockey team debuts in friendly

By Kim Tong-Hyung, Associated Press INCHEON, South Korea (AP) — Wearing a powder-blue logo of a map symbolizing peace between the Koreas, the most talked-about team at this year's Olympics finally saw game action Sunday in a friendly that drew thousands of spectators in a country that never previously showed much passion for ice hockey. The North and South Korean women's hockey players, who only began practicing together about a week ago as a combined team, showed plenty of fight in their first competitive test, crashing the boards and throwing their bodies to stop pucks and opponents, but never really threatened in a 3-1 loss to world No. 5 Sweden in Incheon, South Korea. The Koreans will play Sweden again on Feb. 12 during the Olympic tournament. But the outcome didn't seem to matter to the capacity crowd of 3,000 at the Seonhak International Ice Rink. Fans waved miniature white-and-blue flags showing a unified Korean Peninsula — the same mark on the players' uniforms — and chanted "We are one" while screaming whenever the Koreans got on the break. The arena thunderously erupted when South Korean forward Park Jong-ah cut the deficit to 2-1 during the first period. The Korean players stood to the Korean traditional tune of "Arirang" at the start of the game, instead of their respective national anthems, and received warm applause as they left the arena after the contest. "I think that the North Korean players played really well — this is one of the biggest crowds they played in front of," said Sarah Murray, the joint team's Canadian head coach. "Being added 12 days ago and not getting to practice together all that much, they played our system pretty well, so I am proud of them." The team's North Korean coach, Pak Chol Ho, said the Koreas "can do anything if they do things as one." He left the postgame news conference without taking questions. The joint Koreas team highlights a series of conciliatory measures the war-separated rivals took for the Pyeongchang games, which South Korea sees as an opportunity to revive meaningful communication with North Korea following an extended period of animosity and diplomatic stalemate over the North's nuclear program. The Olympics begin Friday, with Pyeongchang, a relatively small South Korean ski resort town, hosting the skiing, snowboarding and sliding events, and Gangneung, a coastal city about an hour's drive away, hosting the hockey, skating and curling events. North Korea plans to send hundreds of people to the games, including athletes, officials, artists and a 230-member cheering group. Skeptics think the country is trying to use the games to weaken U.S.-led sanctions and pressure and buy more time to advance its nuclear weapons and missiles arsenal. The decision to create the joint hockey team, which wasn't reached until January, triggered heated debate in South Korea, where many people thought the South Korean players were being unfairly asked to sacrifice playing time to their North Korean teammates, who are seen as less skilled and experienced. Murray, who coached South Korea before taking over the combined team, had also expressed concerns over team chemistry. Sunday's friendly was Murray's only opportunity to experiment with potential lineups in game situations before the start of the Olympics. She previously said the North Koreans' hard-hitting style would be suited for her fourth line, a group of players asked to provide physical play in short bursts while giving their teammates with greater scoring responsibilities a chance to rest. But after seeing them in practice and now in game action, she sees potentially bigger roles for some of the North Koreans, including Jong Su Hyon, a forward who Murray says has broken onto her second line. "They are eager to learn and get better," Murray said about the North Koreans. "We have been having team meetings with them and they ask so many questions. The meeting's supposed to be 15 minutes, and an hour later we are still talking and we are still watching video." The Korean players, at least on the surface, appear to be getting along. They arrived at the arena Sunday relaxed and playful, stretching and jumping in the hallway to get loose before gathering in a scrum and shouting "Team Korea!" Seven of the players later formed a circle and started kicking around a rubber ball, giggling whenever the ball bounced away from them. Amid a heavy police presence, hundreds of supporters began gathering outside the stadium hours before the game despite the icy weather, including dozens who danced to music in matching white parkas and hoodies with the peninsula logo and shouted "Win, Korea!" "I don't even care about the results, I just want to cheer for them and see them work together and help each other out on the ice," said Kim Hye-ryeon, 42, who brought her two children, 8 and 6, to the game. Kim Won-jin, a 33-year-old who made a several-hour trip to the game with his wife and 3 1/2-year-old son from the city of Daejeon, hoped the Korean players had overcome any uneasiness they may have had over the distribution of playing time. "If we ever get unified again, these young players of the South and North will be able to look back and be proud that what they did contributed to a historic change," he said. Not everyone was happy. Across the street from the arena, dozens of anti-Pyongyang activists glumly waved South Korean and U.S. flags to denounce what they said had become the "Pyongyang Olympics." They roared as one of the protesters ripped the banner of the peninsula logo atop a van......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 5th, 2018

Warriors keep evolving in rivalry with Cavs

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 15th, 2018

Troy Daniels hits late 3, Suns hold off Grizzlies 97-95

By Jose M. Romero, Associated Press PHOENIX (AP) — Former Memphis guard Troy Daniels hit a three-pointer with 17 seconds to play to give Phoenix the lead, and the Suns held off the Grizzlies 97-95 on Thursday night (Friday, PHL time) for their third victory in four games. T.J. Warren led the Suns with 27 points, and Daniels — acquired from the Grizzlies in September — added 14 off the bench. Phoenix won at home for the first time since Nov. 19 against Chicago. Tyreke Evans led Memphis with 21 points, and Marc Gasol added 13 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and four blocked shots. The Grizzlies have lost 8-of-9 games and nine straight on the road. Troy Daniels seals the @suns victory with this 3! FINAL: #SUNSat50 97 / #GrindCity 95 pic.twitter.com/3HgzFJEivT — NBA (@NBA) December 22, 2017 The teams traded baskets and leads for much of the fourth quarter, and there were three ties. Neither team scored from the 3:45 mark of the fourth quarter until Daniels' key triple. Memphis had two chanced to tie or take the lead, but Evans' shot at the buzzer missed. Greg Monroe rebounded a miss and saved the ball to Daniels for his shot. Monroe had 12 rebounds. The Grizzlies used a 15-2 run to grab a 21-9 lead in the first quarter. But Phoenix outscored Memphis 17-4 over the final four minutes of the quarter to take a 26-25 lead going into the second. Evans scored 11 of his points in the opening 12 minutes. The Suns took a 53-44 lead on Warren's three-pointer with 2:40 left in the second. Then Warren scored and was fouled, making it 56-46. Warren had 17 of his points at halftime, and the Suns led 60-51 at halftime. The Grizzlies erased a 12-point third quarter deficit and took a 76-75 lead on Evans' layup, then James Ennis stole a pass and fed Kobi Simmons for a layup and a three-point Grizzlies lead with 2:25 left in the third. Memphis took an 81-79 lead into the fourth quarter. CHALK TALK Midway through the third quarter, Suns guard Isaiah Canaan accidentally dusted a fan sitting courtside with the rosin that players put on their hands before checking into the game. It led to a brief exchange in which Canaan apologized and the two smiled. TIP-INS Grizzlies: Coach J.B. Bickerstaff was asked about speculation that the team is losing games on purpose. "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion," he said. "We are going to stay positive with our group, stay competitive and let it fall where it may."... Gasol is the Grizzlies' leader in points, rebounds, assists and blocked shots this season and is one of two NBA players to lead his team in all four categories, along with Giannis Antetokounmpo of Milwaukee. ... F Chandler Parsons returned after resting the past two games, and F-C Brandon Wright saw his first action since Dec. 1 (Dec. 2, PHL time), returning from a groin injury. Suns: Injured star Devin Booker, out since Dec. 6 (Dec. 7, PHL time) with a goin injury, could return to practice as soon as this weekend. He took some shots in pregame warmups on Thursday (Friday, PHL time). ... Phoenix hosts Memphis the day after Christmas (Dec. 27, PHL time), at the same time as the Cactus Bowl a couple of blocks away at nearby Chase Field. ... The Suns ended a four-game Grizzlies' win streak in the series. UP NEXT Grizzlies: Host the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday night (Sunday, PHL time). Suns: Host Minnesota on Saturday night (Sunday, PHL time)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 22nd, 2017

Irving scores Boston s last 12 in 130-125 OT win at Wizards

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) — Kyrie Irving scored Boston's last 12 points, including back-to-back 3-pointers in the final 40 seconds of overtime to outduel John Wall in a point-guard showdown, and the Celtics extended their winning streak to seven games with a 130-125 victory over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time). With his team serenaded by "Let's go, Celtics!" chants on the road, Irving even got his own "M-V-P!" chorus late, finishing with 38 points and seven assists. Marcus Morris added 27 points and nine rebounds for Boston, which played without Al Horford, Gordon Hayward and Jaylen Brown — its No. 4-6 leading scorers. No matter how many players they were missing, and no matter how disjointed their offense looked for a half, the Celtics had too many interchangeable parts to get beaten by an opponent that has been inconsistent all season. Wall returned after missing a game with an aching left heel to pour in 34 points with 13 assists. But his seven points in OT weren't enough to keep pace with fellow All-Star Irving. The Wizards led 123-122 when Irving made a triple with just under 40 seconds to go, and after Wall tied it at 125, Irving hit another shot from beyond the arc — this one from 31 feet. That gave Boston the lead for good, because Bradley Beal (22 points; zero in OT) and Wall them missed three's. This sure was a close one: The clubs kept trading the lead and neither was ahead by more than three points over the final 10 minutes of regulation. Up 113-110, Boston opted to foul Beal on purpose with 13 seconds left, but that backfired, because after he made the first free throw, he missed the second — but grabbed the rebound and put it in for the tie. Irving blew by Beal at the other end but missed a layup right before the buzzer, sending the game to an extra period. And then he really took over. Down by nine at halftime, the Celtics turned things around in a hurry — although not before that deficit grew to 57-46 early in the third quarter. Soon enough, Boston put together a 10-0 spurt, capped by a pair of free throws by Marcus Smart, to take the lead at 65-62 midway through the period. When Morris made a triple and, after Washington turned over its inbounds pass, Terry Rozier sank another to cap a 27-9 run, suddenly the Celtics held their biggest lead at 73-66. The lopsided third quarter ended with Boston ahead 84-77. But the Wizards opened the fourth with an 8-0 run despite resting Beal and Wall, and when Markieff Morris — Marcus' twin — hit a three, it gave the hosts an 85-84 lead with about 9.5 minutes left. Horford sat for the third consecutive game — he's expected to miss at least a few more because of an injured left knee — and Brown and Hayward were out because of illness. The Celtics made only 19-of-50 shots in the first half, going 4-of-20 on three-pointers, and managed a grand total of six assists during that time. No wonder the Wizards led by as many 10 during the first two quarters and were up 55-46 at the break. Didn't last long, though. Boston outscored the Wizards 38-22 in the third quarter, when the Celtics had 10 assists and shot better than 60 percent. TIP-INS Celtics: Daniel Theis fouled out after just 14 minutes of game action. He had eight points and six rebounds. ... Boston went 25 for 25 at the free throw line. ... Semi Ojeleye was 1-for-7 on three-point attempts. Wizards: Kelly Oubre Jr. scored 20 of their 32 bench points. ... Rebounding has been a problem all season and this was no different. Washington was beaten 50-41 on the boards and outscored 24-8 in second-chance points. UP NEXT Celtics: Host Atlanta on Friday (Saturday, PHL time). Wizards: At Brooklyn on Friday (Saturday, PHL time)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 13th, 2018

ONE Championship: Four World Titles make Team Lakay’s Christmas special this 2018

Christmas is one the biggest holidays in the Philippines. Incomparable to other countries, Christmas lights and holiday jingles start to play as early as September.   People from all walks of life gather on this special occasion and celebrate the holiday with food, drinks, and by spending time with friends and family.   Members of Team Lakay, the country's most renowned mixed martial arts group, have its own way of holding an annual celebration for the Yuletide season.   Housing four ONE World Champions such as Eduard Folayang, Kevin Belingon, Geje Eustaquio and Joshua Pacio, the Baguio City-headquartered camp holds a yearly Christmas party in mid-December to cap off the year.   "We have an early celebration coming up this Saturday, 15 December. We are going to have a beach house party in San Juan, La Union," Eustaquio shared.   "The gathering will celebrate our accomplishments this 2018, and also prepare for 2019. Everybody will come that day, most notably our professional athletes.”   Their way of celebration is not like any other party as it involves honoring their native tradition with a sumptuous feast and holding insightful talks for the advancement of their athletes’ career.   "We have a program, a feast, and an open mat for whoever wants to roll. Our world champions will share their experience and tell what they went through this year," Team Lakay head coach Mark Sangiao bared.   "This kind of gathering is our way to spend quality time with each other. This is our way to inspire other athletes, tighten our bond, and learn from each other.”   Finishing their campaign with four gold-plated belts under the ONE Championship banner, Sangiao believes that 2018 is Team Lakay’s most successful year since its inception in 2003   “It’s our biggest year. We won championship titles and received many awards this year. This is the result of our hard work, dedication, and sacrifice,” the Team Lakay headmaster said.   “Like we always say, this is our passion. We love what we do. These awards and titles are just the fruit of our hard labor.”   Although Team Lakay hauled all the titles, recognition and accolades that they could possibly get in 2018, all that matters to them is seeing each individual with gleeful smiles on their faces by the year's end.   "We are grateful for every year. We are always full of joy,” Eustaquio stated. “Seeing each other happy, seeing everyone living a peaceful life is more than enough.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 13th, 2018

New Zealand coach to train Talisay City cagers

THE assistant coach of New Zealand men’s basketball team will visit Talisay City, Negros Occidental to conduct a Christmas Elite Basketball Camp at the Talisay City gym on Dec. 28-31, 2018. Mark Dickel, a consultant of Talk ‘N Text in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), is expected to share his basketball prowess to 60 aspirants […] The post New Zealand coach to train Talisay City cagers appeared first on The Daily Guardian......»»

Category: newsSource:  thedailyguardianRelated NewsDec 12th, 2018

NU stuns defending champion Thailand at ASEAN University Games

The Philippines, represented by reigning UAAP men's champion National University, stunned titleholders Thailand, 30-28, 25-23, 25-19, in the curtain-raiser of the 19th ASEAN University Games volleyball tournament in Naypyitaw, Myanmar. The shock Pool A win virtually sealed the Filipinos' spot in the semifinals of the five-day event. The Philippines will play Malaysia on the final day of pool action Wednesday, with the Filipinos eyeing to clinch the No. 1 ranking in their group. The Thais ended up with an even 1-1 record following a 25-14, 25-12, 25-21 conquest of the Malaysians on Tuesday. The six teams were divided into two pools in the round-robin preliminaries. Only top two teams from each group in the preliminaries will advance to cross semis, with Pool A winners taking on Pool B second placers and the No. 1 team in Pool B facing Pool A runners-ups. Pool B is comprised of Singapore, Indonesia and host Myanmar.   The Burmese swept the Indonesians, 25-18, 25-16, 25-19, in their opener. The semifinals is set Thursday, while the medal matches will be played on Friday. Volleyball is one of the 17 sports disciplines being contested in the ASEAN University Games which will last until Friday. Two years ago in Singapore, Ateneo’s women’s and men’s volleyball teams clinched bronze medals.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 11th, 2018

Team Lakay celebrates Christmas with four world titles, experiences to share

Team Lakay has a ton of reasons to celebrate for after four of its top fighters earned world titles this year with Eduard Folayang capping it off by reclaiming the ONE lightweight crown last month. And there's no better time to celebrate the victories than the Yuletide season. "We have an early celebration coming up this Saturday, 15 December. We are going to have a beach house party in San Juan, La Union," said ONE flyweight champion Geje Eustaquio. "The gathering will celebrate our accomplishments this 2018, and also prepare for 2019. Everybody will come that day, most notably our professional athletes." Team Lakay's celebration is also an opportunity for Folayang, Eustaquio, ban...Keep on reading: Team Lakay celebrates Christmas with four world titles, experiences to share.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsDec 11th, 2018

Dominant defense leads Bears over Rams 15-6

By Andrew Seligman, Associated Press CHICAGO (AP) — Eddie Goldman led a dominant effort by the defense, and the Chicago Bears shut down Jared Goff and Los Angeles' high-powered offense in a 15-6 victory over the NFC West champion Rams on Sunday night. The Rams (11-2) missed a chance to secure a first-round playoff bye and fell into a tie with New Orleans for home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. Goff threw a career-high four interceptions and was sacked three times, with Goldman getting to him for a tiebreaking safety early in the third quarter. Bradley Sowell became the first Bears offensive lineman in 11 years with a touchdown reception when he caught a 2-yarder from Mitchell Trubisky in the third quarter. "For them to go out and do it (against) a team that had only one loss all year long ... is so powerful for our guys now because it helps us grow," coach Matt Nagy said. "It helps us grow with confidence. It helps us grow togetherness. When you teach that and you talk about it over and over and over — as a culture, as a building, everyone together as a family — and then they do it, it lights a fire. It puts us in a great position. We do talk about one game at a time. They're gonna enjoy tonight and then we're gonna get right back in it and get ready for next week." Coming off a shaky outing against Detroit, Goff was 20 of 44 for 180 yards with a 19.1 rating. NFL rushing leader Todd Gurley ran for a season-low 28 yards on 11 carries, and the Rams' three-game win streak came to an end. The Rams' only other loss was at New Orleans. But against the Monsters of the Midway, they managed just 214 yards. "Tonight was a humbling experience for me as a head coach," Los Angeles' Sean McVay said. The NFC North-leading Bears (9-4) bounced back from a wild overtime loss at the New York Giants and won for the sixth time in seven games. Trubisky was about as bad as Goff. After missing the previous two games because of a right shoulder injury, he was 16 of 30 for 110 yards and three interceptions. But Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks had sacks. Roquan Smith, Prince Amukamara, Eddie Jackson and Kyle Fuller had interceptions, helping Chicago beat the team that came in with the NFL's best record. Goldman broke a 6-6 tie in the opening minute of the third quarter when he sacked Goff for Chicago's first safety this season. The Bears then used a trick play they call "Santa's Sleigh" to make it 15-6, when Sowell hauled in a 2-yarder from Trubisky on a play-action with defensive end Hicks. That made him the first Bears offensive lineman with a TD reception since John St. Clair against Kansas City on Sept. 16, 2017. The Rams had a big opportunity late in the third when John Johnson III returned an interception 35 yards to the Chicago 27. But Fuller picked off a wobbly pass from Goff intended for Josh Reynolds on the next play. Los Angeles' Greg Zuerlein missed a 40-yard field goal off the right upright in the opening minutes of the fourth after making a 50-yarder earlier in the game. INJURIES Rams: CB Dominique Hatfield was taken from the field on a cart with an ankle injury in the third quarter. He was hurt on the kickoff following Sowell's TD. ... C John Sullivan was evaluated for a concussion after being shaken up blocking on a run by Gurley late in the first quarter. But he returned in the second half. Bears: CB Bryce Callahan left the game with a foot injury late in the first half. UP NEXT Rams: Host Philadelphia on Dec. 16. Bears: Host Green Bay on Dec. 16......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 10th, 2018

Sino scientists press climate action

URUMQI — Chinese scientists have called for control of global warming to decrease droughts. A team led by Su Buda, a research fellow with the Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, have found that if the global temperature rises by 1.5 degrees to 2 degrees Celcius, the intensity and […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsDec 10th, 2018

BVR December Open fires off Dec 14 | The Manila Times Online

THE countrys best sand court players will see action in the Beach Volleyball Republic On Tour December Open 2018: A Christmas Rally on December 14 at the Sands SM ByREAD The post BVR December Open fir.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilanewsRelated NewsDec 8th, 2018

WATCH: Oh, Flamingo! and Jose Mari Chan team up for a Christmas jingle – MB Life

Move over, Christmas In Our Hearts? 😂 WATCH: Oh, Flamingo! and Jose Mari Chan team up for a Christmas jingle – MB Life Source link: WATCH: Oh, Flamingo! and Jose Mari Chan team up for a Christmas jingle – MB Life.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilainformerRelated NewsDec 5th, 2018

NU Lady Bulldogs bag 5th straight UAAP title with 80 straight wins

Perfection achieved. National University completed an 80-game winning romp en route to its fifth straight title after cruising past Far Eastern University, 67-61, for the UAAP Season 81 women's basketball title Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum. The Lady Bulldogs completed a 16-0 sweep of the tournament making 2018 the fifth straight year they've gone undefeated. "What can I say, it's amazing. Winning a few championships and going 80-0 is amazing, and I'm happy to be part of it," said NU head coach Pat Aquino who owns all five of the Lady Bulldogs' titles. "FEU deserved to be here, that team brought out the best out of us. Our goal really is not the sweep but to get the...Keep on reading: NU Lady Bulldogs bag 5th straight UAAP title with 80 straight wins.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsDec 5th, 2018

Arwind Santos on limited minutes in Gilas return: Sobrang bitin ako

MANILA, Philippines – Arwind Santos admitted he expected to play more minutes in Gilas Pilipinas' heartbreaking 70-78 home loss to Iran in the fifth window of the World Cup qualifiers on Monday, December 3.  The 37-year-old PBA veteran, who returned to national team action for the first time since 2009, tallied 4:10 minutes – the ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsDec 5th, 2018

DOC VOLLEYBALL: A Battle of Generations

At long last, perhaps the most anticipated finals match in PVL history has been set. Showing dominance and proving why they are the defending champions despite some minor stumbles, the Creamline Cool Smashers barged their way into the Finals uncontested by dispatching a gritty dark horse in the Petro Gazz Angels. On the other hand, proving that their modern approach to the sport can trump experienced veterans, the Ateneo-Motolite Lady Eagles are proving to be one of the most formidable collegiate teams in the country under the helm of a new head coach. While old and new fans of the Ateneo community will be torn between cheering for the former Queen Eagles Alyssa Valdez, Jia Morado and Fille Cainglet-Cayetano and the current Queen Eagles in Bea De Leon, Maddie Madayag and Ponggay Gaston, it is also of particular interest how Creamline head coach Tai Bundit will defend his trophy from his Ateneo successor Oliver Almadro. While Bundit has laid the foundation for a modern approach to the sport during his stint in Ateneo, Almadro on the other hand has taken it a step further in terms of intricacies in attack strategy. The dream finals match couldn’t be more interesting from a technical point of view as it is an arms race of volleyball modernization stemming from similar schools of thought. Creamline Cool Smashers: The OG New School Ever since coach Tai Bundit took the reins for the Ateneo Lady Eagles, the local volleyball scene has been introduced to numerous innovations that inarguably helped ALE seize a pair of crowns in the UAAP. Modern strategies such as the Setter-Open-Middle rotation, libero getting second ball when setter digs, fast pin plays, to name a few. For a good couple of years, the advancements brought about by Bundit have been a bane even for perennial champion coaches in the collegiate scene. As expected, most teams followed suit in order to adapt and challenge the new system introduced. Though the Bundit riddle has been challenged and conquered in the collegiate scene, Tai’s system still holds an iron grip in the professional scene despite everyone else following suit and that is primarily because of his connection with long time apprentices Alyssa Valdez and Jia Morado coupled with supplementation of astounding players in Jema Galanza, Kyla Atienza and Melissa Gohing to name a few. Despite a surprising upset to start of their PVL Open Conference journey, the Creamline Cool Smashers continued to defy odds in exerting dominance given a handicapped line-up for the most part of the season. Regardless of key players like Michele Gumabao, Risa Sato, and Pau Soriano missing action for a number of games, the trio of Valdez, Morado and Galanza have been sufficient in holding off the competition as shown by the team’s performance in serve, passing, setting, and attack – skill departments that are highly influenced by the aforementioned trio. On the other hand, the absences of Sato, Gumabao and Soriano have definitely influenced their sub-par blocking performance since these three players have the major responsibility of setting up the net defense. It is of no surprise that in order to compensate the block, the Cool Smashers have intensified their serving to at least disrupt opponents' attack strategy. Coupled with exceptional floor defense by Atienza in transition, Morado had little difficulties in setting up counter attacks throughout the tournament.   With a full force line-up coming from the semis into the finals, the Creamline Cool Smashers are at their deadliest and all set to defend their crown. With few attack options on the right side as both middles rarely prove threatening with a slide attack, it is expected that the Creamline offense would still be heavy from the left pins care of Valdez and Galanza. The Lady Eagles would certainly load up their tallest players Madayag, De Leon, and Kat Tolentino to shut down the left pin. As such, the most crucial performance that could spell the difference in the finals series would be from opposite player Gumabao. Though Morado usually opts for combination x-plays in the middle to ease off some burden from the left, the Lady Eagles have proven disciplined enough with their block that combination plays rarely work against them. Should Gumabao exert significant threats from the right and if Bundit can develop her right back row attack in time, the Cool Smashers can circumvent one of Ateneo’s strongest suit which is their block and capitalize on their sub-par floor defense to eventually defend the crown. Ateneo-Motolite Lady Eagles: Paving Their Own Path Just when the future of the Ateneo Lady Eagles went uncertain with the exit of Bundit, Almadro’s takeover proved to be a major step in the right direction as witnessed in their remarkable performance for their first major tournament. For a team with a good mix of veterans and rookies, going toe to toe with top club teams in the country bids a bright future for the team as well as making them a significant contender in the upcoming collegiate league. The match-up against their predecessors, the Creamline Cool Smashers, is not just a treat for the fans but for volleyball analysts as well since it will be highly interesting how Almadro has brought about innovations to the framework established by his predecessor and how he will use it to his advantage. Right off the bat, the best change Almadro implemented upon his succession is relegating Kat Tolentino to the opposite position. The right wing couldn’t be a more perfect position for Tolentino since she can maximize her height and power advantage to rack in the points while minimizing burden on her weakness which is floor footwork and defense. While it’s true that we have seen some players shine in the opposite position in the past, Tolentino’s height, power, and ability to be a significant threat even from the back row makes her a cut above the rest. Almadro’s approach of having a tall, dominant, hitter from the right is a step to a modern approach employed even by top foreign teams. Another noticeable shift in Almadro’s system is the lack of reliance on combination x-plays. While some teams employ such strategy as a bread and butter on offense, the Lady Eagles have moved on from the outdated strategy and have only utilized such attack to break monotony. With a tall, dominant hitter from the right and deadly middles given a good pass, setter Deanna Wong is rarely forced to bunch up the attack in the middle in the hopes of confusing the block when she can separate the defense with fast sets to the pins. Almadro’s inclination towards safe and consistent pin play instead of fancy combination plays proves that he is taking the team to a more modernized approach. While the Ateneo-Motolite Lady Eagles have been stellar in both net defense and attack, a glaring limitation too hard not to notice in the sub-par passing and floor defense. No matter how threatening Madayag and De Leon are from the middle, inconsistent passing would severely limit their output and threat imposed from the middle. With Creamline notably deadly from the service line and having a full force line-up that can finally establish a decent wall on the net, it would be of utmost priority for the Lady Eagles to slow down the serve with high passes and consistent distribution of back row and pipe attacks. In a similar way, the Lady Eagles are pressed to be aggressive with the serve as the main advantage of Creamline is consistency in passing care of Gohing. Ateneo-Motolite cannot afford to be lax or careless with the serve as a good pass almost always converts for a point for Morado and company. Though the Lady Eagles have proven formidable with the block, Valdez is still expected to plow and muscle through with her attacks hence Almadro’s ability to quickly adjust the floor defense pattern would spell the outcome of the game for the Lady Eagles. Catch Game One of the PVL Open Conference Finals on December 5, Wednesday, 6 PM on LIGA, LIGA HD, iWant and via livestream......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 4th, 2018

Futility in Phoenix wears on Devin Booker

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com He is already a star at age 22 but on this particular play, Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker had role player instincts Sunday (Monday, PHL time) at Staples Center. The basketball bounced toward the baseline, beyond his reach, and he hustled anyway. And so the predictable happened: The ball beat him off the court and into the first row. Then the unthinkable happened: He grabbed his left leg and bent over in pain. The first player who rushed over to him yelled: “Book! Book! Hamstring?” ]It was thoughtful of LeBron James to check on Booker, even better if LeBron did this last summer as a free agent when Booker really could’ve use a hand. Instead, Booker is not only limping right now -- hopefully just temporarily for the team’s sake -- but also losing, something he has done more prolifically in Phoenix than get buckets. One of the shames of the NBA is how one of its breakout stars and franchise players is stuck on a habitually bad team, with no playoff shine in sight, and mostly invisible. Yes, only LeBron and Kevin Durant have reached 4,000 career points faster than Booker, but neither ever took Ls like this. Booker is now up to 136 in slightly over three seasons and once again the Suns, now 4-19, are on pace to be forgotten by Christmas. You could hardly blame their fans for getting their basketball fix these days by watching Duke games. All roads lead to the lottery, as it has since 2015 when Booker became one of the few draft decisions that actually worked out. But for Booker and the Suns, that’s some tough medicine, playing another 55 games, swallow many depressing nights along the way, and then pray the odds work in their favor come June. It’s fair to wonder how much of a toll this culture takes on Booker, who’s once again a player who demands a double team, averaging nearly 25 points a game and doing decently as a stand-in at point guard. Some perspective is needed, though. Booker signed a five-year, $158 million contract extension in July, giving plenty of living and den space for all the losing he takes home at night. Still, he said, "It sucks." Booker lost 58 games as a rookie, then 58 again, then 61 last year and may reach 65 or more this season. He’s lost 13 straight games twice, and the Suns once lost 28 of 30 with Booker on the floor. In an 82-game season, it shouldn’t be terribly difficult to put together, say, a four-game win streak. Booker is still waiting on that. For years the situation just wasn’t pretty in Phoenix and it’s only slightly less ugly now. Too many poor Draft picks have delayed progress and ruined the team. Former lottery picks Dragan Bender, Marquese Criss and Alex Len couldn’t earn rookie extensions and there was Phoenix's infamous point guard fetish of recent years when they went through Isaiah Thomas, Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight for little or nothing in return when they left. Sprinkle in some weird free-agent decisions -- like signing Tyson Chandler only to buy him out three years later -- and hilariously chasing LaMarcus Aldridge and it smacked of a team lacking both direction and a plan. Most of these moves were made by former GM Ryan McDonough and while James Jones represents a refreshing front-office change, he comes with little experience in that role. When you examine the fast-track of Booker, you get the best young scorer the league has seen since Durant and LeBron. You also get these numbers: Two, four and 47. That’s how many general managers, coaches and teammates Booker has had in less than four NBA seasons, heavy turnover storming all around him. “My whole career except for the NBA, I’ve been a winner,” Booker said. “I want to get back to that. I’m done with not making the playoffs.” Well, the circumstances say otherwise. The Suns are essentially holding tryouts for the future now, though. Chandler was the first one thrown overboard and if Phoenix could get anything for Ryan Anderson and his contract, he’d be next. For some reason Phoenix gave a head-scratching $15 million this season last summer to aging swingman Trevor Ariza. He's shooting 37.2 percent and scoring 9.9 ppg, taking minutes from young players. Among rotation players, the lone holdovers from 2017-18 are Booker, TJ Warren and Josh Jackson. Taking some advice he received from Chandler, who became a mentor, Booker believes it’s necessary for him to adopt a more forceful role on the court and in the locker room even if, from an age perspective, he needs more seasoning for that. But what are the alternatives, given the ever-changing lineup? “I’m doing more leading by example and being more vocal about it, holding people accountable and hold myself accountable too,” he said. It’s a chore trying to pick up others when, after taking yearly poundings, you need a hand yourself. This is the mountain Booker is up against. Again. “I know losing is tough on him because last year as a rookie I struggled with it,” said Jackson. “I’m just keeping my head on straight now. We show flashes but we need consistency.” Or you could say they need LeBron. And if Booker misses any extended time with a hamstring that has given him trouble before Sunday, well, as Jackson said: “Everybody knows we need him desperately. The sooner we get him back, the better.” With the possible exception of the Knicks, no franchise has splattered the concrete with the speed and consistency as the Suns. Before Booker was born, the Suns were a destination franchise, a place most players wanted to sign with, get drafted by and be traded to. The balmy winter weather was an obvious attraction but in the mid-1990s with Charles Barkley, and then 10 years later with Steve Nash, the Suns were also entertaining and won everything except a championship. Sellouts were common, the arena was a tough place for visitors and fans frolicked along with the Gorilla mascot. All this happened on Jerry Colangelo’s watch and prosperity under owner Robert Sarver is on hourglass time. At least Booker is locked up for four more years and there’s no danger of losing him, at least to another team, in the immediate future. They could lose him to frustration, though, fairly soon, especially when he sees other teams playing meaningful games and listens to other players during USA Basketball gatherings talk about what he’s missing. “I’ll do whatever I have to do,” Booker said, when asked about recruiting help in the near future. “I think Phoenix is a place where people can see the potential, see our young nucleus.” Unless there’s a reversal of fortune in the near future, Phoenix could remain a basketball wasteland and no player, not even Booker, wants to wallow in that. Problem is, until there’s a positive roster shakeup, the Suns lack enough to convince another superstar to sign up next summer or maybe even by 2020. At least when their lone star falls to the floor, as he did Sunday against the Lakers, Booker carries enough clout and respect to get a hand of a different sort from LeBron James. For now, that must do. Veteran NBA writer Shaun Powell has worked for newspapers and other publications for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here or follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 3rd, 2018