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One Team, Three Stats: Nuggets' defense holding them back

One Team, Three Stats: Nuggets' defense holding them back.....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnJan 12th, 2017

Leicester beats Sevilla, reaches Champions League quarters

STEVE DOUGLAS, AP Sports Writer br /> LEICESTER, England (AP) — First, the Premier League title. Now, the Champions League quarterfinals. Is there no end to Leicester's soccer fairytale? The improbable rise of a previously unheralded club from central England touched new heights on Tuesday when Leicester beat Sevilla 2-0 to reach the last eight of Europe's elite club competition, courtesy of a 3-2 aggregate victory. Two years ago to the day, Leicester was in last place in the Premier League after a dour 0-0 home draw with Hull. On Friday, its name will be in a pot alongside the cream of the continent — Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Juventus and two others — in the Champions League draw in Nyon. 'We proved a lot of people wrong and pulled off the impossible again,' said Leicester captain Wes Morgan, one of the scorers inside an atmospheric King Power Stadium. 'We will take whoever comes.' That's the kind of uncompromising attitude that carried Leicester to the Premier League title last season at odds of 5,000-1 and is sweeping the team to another potential miracle. No team is likely to feel comfortable in the cauldron that is the King Power Stadium on nights like these. 'Let slip the dogs of war,' urged a message on a giant banner behind one of the goals before the match. It was a line from 'Julius Caesar,' a play by William Shakespeare — the English playwright who has the same surname as Leicester's new manager. Craig Shakespeare recently took over from Claudio Ranieri, the coach who orchestrated Leicester's sensational Premier League title triumph but was fired because the team had found itself fighting a relegation battle in its championship defense. Shakespeare has three wins from three matches in charge, and has got the team playing back at last season's levels. 'We tried to make it as uncomfortable as we could for Sevilla,' said Shakespeare, who was pictured on that banner holding a dog on a leash. Sevilla — currently the third best team in Spain and winner of the last three Europa League titles — played into Leicester's hands here, leaving space behind its defense and failing to match the home side's intensity and energy. Its players also gave away silly fouls, one of which was conceded at the edge of their area to allow Riyad Mahrez to curl in a free kick that Morgan turned home at the back post for 1-0 in the 27th. Winger Marc Albrighton doubled the lead in the 54th — and put Leicester clear on aggregate — by lashing home left-footed from just inside the area after Sevilla defender Adil Rami made a poor headed clearance. Seconds earlier, Sevilla left back Sergio Escudero had powered a dipping 35-meter shot against the crossbar. Sevilla's anger boiled over. So frustrated was French playmaker Samir Nasri that he was sent off for collecting two bookings — one for kicking out at Wilfried Ndidi in the first half and the second for aiming a headbutt at Jamie Vardy in the 74th. Sevilla coach Jorge Sampaoli snarled and raged in his technical area throughout and was sent off to the stands late on for complaining over-zealously to officials. Still, outplayed and out-thought, Sevilla could have taken the game to extra time when Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel brought down Vitolo in the area. Steven N'Zonzi took the penalty in the 79th but Schmeichel guessed the right way, just like he did in the first leg when he denied Joaquin Correa from the spot. 'It's been decisive that we've missed two penalties,' Sampaoli said. There were a couple of scares in the closing minutes but Leicester held on and the mix of joy and relief was palpable after the final whistle. Leicester's players gathered in a huddle in the center circle and jumped up and down as music blared and blue-and-white flags fluttered in the stands. Two other banners hung from the stadium roof before kick-off, one reading 'Forever' and the other 'Fearless.' Leicester fears no team. Shakespeare even said that playing Europe's top teams will suit Leicester, because of its counter-attacking approach. It is simple but highly effective. 'As a football club, we have to know our strengths,' he said. 'And you saw that in abundance tonight, in terms of desire and that we can play a bit as well. It epitomized what we are all about.' ___ Steve Douglas is at www.twitter.com/sdouglas80 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 15th, 2017

A look at where it went wrong for Ranieri at Leicester

STEVE DOUGLAS, AP Sports Writer   Nine months ago, Claudio Ranieri was being hailed as a miracle worker and serenaded by Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli after guiding Leicester to the English Premier League title at preseason odds of 5,000-1. Now, the charming Italian is out of a job after the Leicester fairytale turned sour quicker than anyone could have expected. A look at where it has gone wrong for Ranieri and Leicester: GETTING COMPLACENT Understandably, given the achievement, Leicester's players were rewarded handsomely for winning the Premier League. New, bumper contracts were handed out and the club's Thai owner bought each player a BMW i8 worth around $135,000. Did success get to the players' heads? It certainly seemed so on the field. The work rate appears to have dipped this season. The determination to bounce back from going a goal down just hasn't been there. The main focus appeared to be the Champions League, not the Premier League, and it showed in the results: Leicester qualified for the knockout stage in Europe with a game to spare and slipped closer to the relegation zone in the league each passing week. Ranieri even accused his team of lacking 'heart and desire' at the weekend after losing at third-tier Millwall 1-0 in the FA Cup. SELLING KANTE Rarely can the departure of one player have had such a profound effect on a team. N'Golo Kante — a dynamic, diminutive central midfielder — was one of the driving forces behind Leicester's title success. His teammates and Ranieri said he did the work of two players with his energy and reading of the game. Kante left Leicester for Chelsea in July and has proved irreplaceable. Ranieri signed Nampalys Mendy and Daniel Amartey in the offseason and Wilfred Ndidi in January, but none of the holding midfielders come close to matching Kante. Leicester's defense lost its screener and its aging center backs, Robert Huth and Wes Morgan, have been exposed. The team has been unable to switch defense into attack as quick without Kante. Meanwhile, Chelsea — with Kante running its midfield — has an eight-point lead and is a big favorite to win the league. TRANSFER STRATEGY Ranieri tried to build on an unlikely position of strength by twice breaking Leicester's record for a transfer fee in the offseason, signing forward Ahmed Musa and then Islam Slimani for a combined 46 million pounds ($58 million). Like Mendy and Amartey, they have struggled to make any impression and Ranieri has often simply returned to his title-winners of last season to get the team firing again. It hasn't happened. FADING STARS Along with Kante, striker Jamie Vardy and winger Riyad Mahrez were Leicester's star players last season, scoring crucial goals and bringing an element of surprise to opponents who knew little about them at the start of the campaign. Vardy scored 24 goals, the second-highest in the league, and netted in a Premier League-record 11 straight games. This season, he has five goals, three of which came in one game against Manchester City in December. Mahrez scored 16 last season, many of them match-winning strikes, and was voted English soccer's player of the year. This season, he has three goals and has appeared disinterested in some games. GROWING UNREST By the start of February, reports of growing unrest in the Leicester squad started to emerge in the British media. Unhappiness with Ranieri's tactics, team selections, and managerial style was apparently behind it, although the players showed a united front in public and backed their coach whenever they fronted up after each bad result. Ranieri — nicknamed 'The Tinkerman' at former club Chelsea for his penchant for making regular changes to his team — searched around for the right formula, changing players and formations in almost every game. But nothing worked. The board gave Ranieri a vote of confidence in a statement this month. Those public shows of faith invariably mean nothing. So it proved. Ranieri was fired barely two weeks later. ___ Steve Douglas is at www.twitter.com/sdouglas80 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 24th, 2017

Led by Nikola Jokic, Nuggets in contention for playoff spot

em>By Pat Graham, Associated Press /em> DENVER (AP) — Nikola Jokic wouldn't mind a few more days of rest after his return from the All-Star festivities. Sorry, big fella. It's go time. With 26 games remaining, the Denver Nuggets have a tenuous hold on the eighth and final playoff spot in the West. Their biggest challenger may end up being New Orleans after the Pelicans acquired DeMarcus Cousins from Sacramento. The Nuggets have this in their favor: A roster returning to health and a rising standout in Jokic, who's showing he can carry a team. 'We [are in] a good spot,' said Jokic, whose team plays at Sacramento on Thursday (Friday, PHL time), with the Kings trailing Denver by 1.5 games for the last spot. 'Do whatever we can do to win more games.' That doesn't mean pulling off a deal just for the sake of pulling off a deal at the trade deadline Thursday (Friday, PHL time), even if quite a few Nuggets names are surfacing in trade rumors. At 25-31, the Nuggets are ahead of where most thought they would be at this point, and the young nucleus keeps gaining confidence. 'I love the team we have. We're very competitive,' said Nuggets coach Michael Malone, whose team is trying to return to the postseason for the first time since 2012-13. 'We're not going to mortgage our future just to be an eight seed. Doesn't make sense. We're thinking long-term, big picture. 'We're not satisfied with making the playoffs. ... We want to be a team that gets deep into the playoffs and ultimately wins a championship.' Lately, the Nuggets have been dealing with their share of injuries. Danilo Gallinari (groin), Kenneth Faried (ankle) and Emmanuel Mudiay (back) could all soon return to the lineup. Given all those ailments — along with Darrell Arthur (knee) — Malone has utilized a shorter rotation. It has possibly taken a toll on players such as Jokic, who's averaging 16.3 points, nine rebounds and 4.3 assists in a breakout season. 'I'm really tired. My body is tired,' the 22-year-old Jokic said. 'But I'm going to go out there and play.' The benefits of youth. This helps the confidence as well: Jokic and rookie sharpshooter Jamal Murray turned in electric performances at the Rising Star Challenge during All-Star weekend in New Orleans. Jokic had 12 points and 11 rebounds for Team World only to be upstaged by Murray, who scored 36 on his way to earning MVP honors. 'It's a lot of fun to be out there with all those guys,' Murray said. And now comes basketball filled with playoff-type pressure. Malone wouldn't trade this experience for anything. 'You can't put a dollar sign on the experience for Jamal Murray playing meaningful minutes and meaningful games,' Malone said. 'You can't replicate that. I can tell him about it, but until he's out there playing these next 26 games, that experience is going to help his development ten-fold. It's going to increase the speed of his development.' The trade the Pelicans pulled off could alter things in the West, especially if Anthony Davis and Cousins develop an instant chemistry. Denver plays New Orleans three more times and has a 2.5-game lead. 'They've gotten better on paper,' Malone said. 'The challenge is how quickly they can get adjusted.' The same can be said of the Nuggets, who recently added Mason Plumlee in a deal that sent Jusuf Nurkic to Portland. 'We're on the right track,' Murray said. 'Go out there and take it one game at a time and not panic. Just try to stay consistent.' Above all else, play consistent defense. The Nuggets average 110.6 points a game, while surrendering 111.8. 'For us to be a playoff team, we have to defend a lot better and more consistently,' said Malone, who went skiing and snowmobiling with his family in Breckenridge, Colorado, over the All-Star break. 'If we do that and the offense stays where it's at, we're a pretty good basketball team.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 23rd, 2017

PSG playing its best soccer since Qatari takeover in 2011

JEROME PUGMIRE, AP Sports Writer   PARIS (AP) — Paris Saint-Germain is dreaming big, just like its motto says. The French club, desperate to join Europe's elite since Qatari owners QSI took over six years ago, made an eye-catching breakthrough in the Champions League on Tuesday, routing Barcelona 4-0 in the first leg of the last 16. 'This was the best performance I've been part of since coming to PSG,' said midfielder Blaise Matuidi, one of QSI's first signings after its takeover in June 2011. In the years since the new ownership came in, PSG has pumped hundreds of millions of euros (dollars) into acquiring big-name coaches and big-name players, including Thiago Silva, Edinson Cavani, Angel Di Maria and Julian Draxler. QSI also launched an advertising campaign with the motto 'Revons Plus Grand,' French for 'Let's Dream Bigger.' It hasn't always worked out, though. In the past four seasons, PSG has dominated in France but has failed to reach even the semifinals of the Champions League. Twice the team lost to Barcelona, in 2013 and '15, in the quarterfinals and then again last year to Manchester City. The result of European frustration has led to swift and ruthless change, with coach Laurent Blanc fired in the offseason despite winning back-to-back domestic trebles. His successor, Unai Emery, was hand-picked by PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi, who liked what he saw in the Sevilla side that Emery guided to three straight Europa League titles. That team played with passion, total commitment and relentless energy, and the Spanish coach has allied those qualities to a PSG team with considerably more individual talent than Sevilla. After a difficult start, his methods are working well. ___ NO IBRA, MORE TEAMWORK Zlatan Ibrahimovic's departure to Manchester United before the season left a huge void — one that PSG has filled with more teamwork. When Ibrahimovic played, everything revolved around him. He was given such freedom by then-coach Carlo Ancelotti and by Blanc that he roamed wherever he wanted. While the Swede was a prolific scorer, the loose way he played often unbalanced PSG and made the side predictable against better European opposition. With the unselfish Edinson Cavani as the main striker, PSG is much harder working. And Cavani has stepped up with 34 goals this season. Ibrahimovic also hardly ever defended, while Cavani tracks back to support his teammates. ___ EMERY'S TACTICS The team Emery picked against Barcelona was brave and innovative. He dropped Brazilian winger Lucas, one of his best players, and recalled the inconsistent Angel Di Maria — who scored twice. But it was Emery's midfield formation that really caught the eye and earmarked him as a clever strategist. Switching from the 4-3-3 formation he usually deploys, Emery went for a 4-2-3-1 with Adrien Rabiot and Marco Verratti as the holding pair and with Blaise Matuidi pushing up almost as a playmaker. Matuidi is usually either a holding or a wide midfielder, but Emery used him as a thrusting spearhead where his relentless energy and ability to time late runs behind the defense caused havoc. ___ HOMEGROWN TALENT As the final whistle blew at Parc des Princes, three homegrown PSG players joined in the celebrations. Center back Presnel Kimpembe had marked Barcelona star Lionel Messi out of the game and Adrien Rabiot had won his midfield battle against Sergio Busquets. Midfielder Christopher Nkunku came on for the last 20 minutes. Kempembe and Rabiot are both 21, while Nkunku is 19. All three grew up in the Paris region and came through the club's youth ranks. While Ancelotti and Blanc rarely trusted homegrown players, offloading central defender Mamadou Sakho to Liverpool and winger Kingsley Coman to Juventus, Emery has great faith in them. Kimpembe is an athletic defender who reads the game well and is strong in the air. The graceful Rabiot has great composure on the ball, a dangerous shot from outside the box and is a perceptive passer. Homegrown players also give the club a stronger local identity because fans feel like they're watching one of their own, rather than only imported stars. ___ KEEPING VERRATTI The diminutive Marco Verratti is the heartbeat of the side and PSG has done well to keep him, despite interest from Real Madrid. The 24-year-old Italy midfielder is a great organizer and sets the tempo for PSG's game with quick-thinking and crisp passing. He has an excellent passing range, whether short or long, and he regularly creates chances with his defense-splitting passes. All he needs to add now is goals, with only five in 185 games since joining from Italian side Pescara five years ago. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 16th, 2017

Luke the leader has the Lakers on the right track

Luke Walton, the player, had a nice, quiet career. He played 11 seasons, nine for the Lakers, two for the Cavaliers, and averaged 17.2 minutes, 4.7 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 2.3 assists. While he wasn’t a superstar, he was an essential glue guy for the teams he played on, doing a little bit of everything. It was a task that rewarded him with a pair of NBA championships.  His coaching career so far though has seen him do more, in much less time.  Walton is currently the youngest head coach in the League, but it’s a position he got on merit. As the interim head coach of the Golden State Warriors a season ago, he guided the then-defending champions to a 24-0 start.  At first glance, you might think that streak is just because of the players involved: MVP Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, Andrew Bogut, Harrison Barnes, and more. However, while Coach Steve Kerr laid the groundwork for their success, it was Walton making the in-game adjustments and tweaks. A 24-0 start is no joke, and a large part stems from how the players responded to the guy holding the clipboard.  Eventually, Kerr returned to the bench, moving Walton back to the lead assistant position. Though the Warriors didn’t win the championship, plenty of teams were impressed with what Walton accomplished, leading the Lakers, his former squad, to name him their new head coach. From one of the top squads in the Association, Walton was now the man in charge of a rebuilding team in the post-Kobe Bryant era.  As I said in my previous article on the Lakers, it’s all about rebuilding and maturing for LA, not just the players, but there’s still plenty of space for Walton to grow. In fact, for the franchise to succeed, everyone from the GM to the last guy on the roster have to take a page from another rebuilding team, the 76ers, and trust the process. It’s become a cliche, but it’s true. For you to reach success, you have to climb that ladder, and climb, and climb each time you get knocked down from it.  Proof? At the end of November, the Lakers were an impressive 10-10, and there was some talk of the team possibly contending for the eighth seed in the conference. Since then, they’ve only won eight more games, while losing 27.  Time to climb the ladder anew.  Just a little segue, in my little basketball experience, I also coached for a bit during my earlier years. I coached the youth basketball teams of De La Salle Zobel and played high school varsity for the same school. Maybe I can relate to Walton because like him, I was never the go-to guy, nor the star player of the team. I didn’t get a lot of minutes on the court, but I was a leader. Maybe it’s true, when you don’t get a lot of minutes and sit on the bench longer, you see the whole perspective of the game and understand it better. I may not have been the best coach, but I always strive to be the best example for my players.  And that’s how Coach Walton is using his experience to his advantage. Why did I mention his stats at the beginning of this article? I’m sure you’ve heard of the belief that “the best players don’t make the best coaches.” In the case of Luke, he wasn’t the best player. He didn’t stick around until he was 40 like what Vince Carter is currently doing. But he rose up quickly through the ranks from player development coach in the NBA D-League, to Warriors assistant, to where he is now. Why? Because he can lead.  Hopefully the Lakers stick to the plan and let Coach Luke do his thing. I’d love to see him grow as a coach known for his principles and leadership. In time, perhaps with the addition of a superstar or two, the Lakers will be back on the championship track. And despite not being a Lakers fan, I really hope it happens, as a fan of good squads, great systems, and unlimited potential, things Coach Walton can hopefully develop in LA. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 9th, 2017

Folayang 'honored' to fight in front of kababayans, wants to test himself against a former foe

It's only been a little over two months since Filipino mixed martial artist and Team Lakay superstar Eduard Folayang shocked the world and captured the ONE Championship lightweight title against Shinya Aoki in Singapore.  Since then, Folayang has had his fair share of media obligations, and his hometown of Baguio even threw a celebratory parade in his honor.  Winning the title however, is just the beginning, and as all champions would say, defending the title is the hard part, and not even a month into 2017, the Benguet-based champ already has his marching orders for this year.  In an interview with ABS-CBN Sports, ONE Championship founder and chairman Chatri Sityodtong revealed that Folayang would be defending his title for the first time in front of a home-country crowd at the Mall of Asia Arena.  For Folayang, the announcement of the his first title defense was pretty much the last push that made everything - him being the ONE lightweight world champion - sink in.  'Lalo na ngayon na pumutok yung balita na mag-title defense ako sa April, so nag-sink in na talaga. Ito na ako, so kailangan na talagang maging prepared sa mga susunod kong mga laban.' Folayang told ABS-CBN Sports.  (Even more now, with the news coming out that I'm defending my title in April, so it's already sunk in. This is who I am, so I really need to be prepared for my upcoming fights.) The dream of becoming a world champion started five years ago for Folayang, when he first fought under the ONE Championship banner, and now, he'll be defending that very world title in front of his fellow Pinoys.  What makes it all the more special for Folayang is the fact that he knows people have seen all that he's been through before he became a world champion.  'Syempre it’s an honor na i-dedefend ko yung title sa harap ng mga kababayan mo, parang despite yung mga nakikita nila na pinag-daanan mo doon sa mga past fights mo, finally may belt ka nang ipapakita at kailangang i-defend sa harap nila mismo,'  (Of course it's an honor to be able to defend the title in front of your countrymen. Despite everything that they've seen me go through in my past fights, finallly, I have a belt to show for it, and I need to be able to defend it in front of them.) And while Folayang says it's an honor to put the title up for grabs on home soil, there's also the pressure of doing better than his previous performance, the performance that got him the gold in the first place, an of course, the pressure of holding on to that gold.  'Yun lang yung pressure, kung saan kailangan talaga mong gawin talaga, ibigay yung best na pinakita mo from the previous fight para makuha yung title, and now yung pressure is how to maintain it.'  (That's the pressure, that's what you really need to do, to show your best, even better compared to your previous fight, the where you won the title. Now, the pressure is in how to maintain it.) While no name has been singled out yet as to who Folayang's first challenger will be, the champion believes that it could come from the winner of the February showdown between lightweight contenders Ev Ting and Kamal Shalorus.  The Kiwi-Malaysian Ting has won six of his last seven bouts, including a three-fight winning streak against the likes of Robert Lisita, Filipino fighter Eric Kelly, and Folayang's teammate and former featherweight champion Honorio Banario.  Shalorus, a perennial contender in the ONE lightweight ranks, is a former WEC and UFC veteran, and is coming off a title-bout loss to then-champion Aoki. Shalorus has recorded two wins under the one banner, the first being against none other than the reigning champ, that's why if you ask Folayang, he'd like to face 'the Prince of Persia' once again.  'Siyempre, para sa akin, gusto ko si Kamal, para ma-test ko kung ano yung difference or ano yung improvement na nangyari sa akin from three years ago. It’s a good test kung saan na yung level na napuntahan ko.' (Of course, I'd like to fight Kamal again so I can test myself and see the difference and what I've improved on from three years ago. It's a good test of what level I've reached already.) It was a little over three years ago when Shalorus, coming off a stint with the UFC, made his ONE debut and defeated Folayang via unanimous decision. Folayang credits that loss to a bad weight-cut, as well as excellent planning on Shalorus' part.  'I felt nung time na ‘yun, masyadong mabigat yung katawan ko, nagkamali ako sa weight-cut dati, and looking into the skill naman of Kamal, malakas siya sa area ng wrestling, doon naman niya ko na-utilize, so makikita naman natin talaga na maganda yung gameplan niya, naging effective yung pag-execute ng gameplan niya.'  (I felt that I was heavy that time. I had a bad weight-cut, and looking into the skill of Kamal, he had good wrestling and that's that he utilized on me. We can see that he had a really good gameplan, and he was effective in executing that gameplan.)  Having knocked out the man that choked Shalorus out in under three minutes, Folayang believes that he's vastly improved since their first meeting back in 2013.  Whatever happens though, the champion says that he's willing to take on whoever's put in front of him.  'Kung sino man ang mananalo sa kanila, willing naman akong kalabanin kung ano yung magiging result.' (Whoever wins between them, whatever the result, I'm willing to fight any one of them.) With over four months to go before fight night, Folayang has more than enough time to prepare for what could be another big night in his mixed martial arts career.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 27th, 2017

Tiger Cubs growl back to life after big-time upset of Baby Tams

strong>TEAM STANDINGS /strong> br /> Adamson 9-1 br /> NU 9-2 br /> FEU-Diliman 8-3 br /> Ateneo 5-5 br /> UST 4-7 br /> DLSZ 3-7 br /> UPIS 3-7 br /> UE 1-10 Fresh off victories versus league-leading Adamson High School and defending champion Nazareth School of National University, Far Eastern University-Diliman was looking to keep rolling in the UAAP 79 Juniors Basketball Tournament. What the Baby Tamaraws didn’t know, however, was that University of Sto. Tomas had an ambush all set up for them. Closing out the contest on with an unbelievable nine unanswered points, the Tiger Cubs came from behind to shock and then stop streaking Far Eastern University-Diliman, 54-52. Cris Cansino poured in 20 points and also sparked the late spark that turned a seven-point deficit inside the last three minutes into a two-point win. Now through four games in the second round, he has been averaging 19.8 points all while leading UST to a 3-1 record. The hot start in the second round has catapulted the Espana-based squad back into the thick of things now at 4-7. While the first-year swingman has impressed, it was defense that gave UST the chance for an upset by holding their opponents to below 14 points in all of the first three quarters. Also, the Tiger Cubs held their opponents into 27.9 percent shooting. With such disciplined defense, no Baby Tamaraw wound up in double-digits. Jack Gloria, Xyrus Torres, and JJ Sapinit all scored nine points in FEU-Diliman’s losing effort. Upset from out of nowhere, they slipped back into third-place now at 8-3. Meanwhile, NU bounced back mightily after their setback just three days ago by dropping a 51-point hammer on hapless University of the East, 107-56. John Lloyd Clemente and Rhayyan Amsali broke free from their struggles and scored 15 and 14 points, respectively, to show the Bullpups the way back to solo second now at 9-2. They also had five other teammates in double-digits. The latest loss was the Junior Warriors’ 10th in 11 games. BOX SCORES FIRST GAME UST 54 – Cansino 20, Baquial 9, Fornillos 7, Narvasa 7, Balingit 4, Ian 4, Morales 2, Vince 1, Dela Cruz 0, Ratuiste 0, Juan 0, Ballada 0, Villapando 0 FEU-DILIMAN 52 – Torres 9, Gloria 9, Sapinit 9, Baclay 7, Gabane 6, Gonzales 6, Celzo 2, Alforque Roy 2, Jabel 2, Roman 0, Abarrientos 0, Bieren 0, Alforque Ram 0, Boc 0 QUARTER SCORES: 12-9, 22-22, 36-36, 54-52 SECOND GAME NU 107 – Clemente 15, Amsali 14, Tolentino 12, Penano 10, Panginlinan 10, Malonzo 10, Callejo 10, Peralta 6, Atienza 4, Coyoca 4, Dela Cruz 4, Mosqueda 4, Fortea 2, Sarip 2, Manalang 0 UE 56 – Dulalia 20, Vinte 14, Gonzales 7, Manaug 5, Angeles 5, Acuesta 5, Balundo 0, Ramos 0, Canton 0, Cruz 0, Domingo 0, Encelan 0, Po 0 QUARTER SCORES: 30-9, 60-16, 81-41, 107-56 --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 24th, 2017

After good start, time for Balotelli to score away from home

JEROME PUGMIRE, AP Sports Writer   PARIS (AP) — It is about time for Mario Balotelli to start scoring away from home. The Italian striker's return from suspension is much needed for Nice, which faces a difficult match at Bastia on Friday after losing ground last weekend. Nice unexpectedly dropped points by drawing 0-0 against struggling Metz, and Balotelli's absence — through suspension — was felt. The draw played into the hands of free-scoring Monaco, which moved to the top on goal difference, and defending champion Paris Saint-Germain, now only three points behind. Nice will be stronger with Balotelli leading the line, considering he averages nearly a goal a game since joining on a free transfer from Liverpool in the offseason. But the worrying statistic for Nice is that his eight league goals — and nine of the 10 he has scored overall — have all been at home. When Nice plays at home, it often dominates possession through its slick midfield and Balotelli, with his outstanding ability to hold the ball up, is regularly involved in the quick and neat approach play. It's a different story away from home, where Balotelli often drifts in and out of position as he roams for space to create opportunities out of nothing. Nice coach Lucien Favre needs Balotelli to be at his disciplined best on Friday, rather than in improvisational mode. Balotelli, who has a long history of controversy on and off the field, will also have to keep this cool. Although Bastia is only one place above the relegation zone, the Corsican side is always fiercely motivated at home, where the passionate locals at the compact 20,000-capacity Armand Cesari Stadium reserve their most vitriolic and hostile welcomes for southern clubs Nice and Marseille, and for PSG. Because of the seething animosity between Bastia and Nice fans — there have been violent clashes in the past — France's Interior Ministry decreed a ban on travelling fans. Any daring Nice fans trying to circumnavigate the ban will be prevented from trying to reach the island of Corsica either by sea — via the ports of Nice, Marseille and Toulon — or by air. Nice deplored the ban, which it says 'automatically deprives its fans of passion for the umpteenth time.' Favre, who took charge in the offseason after leaving German side Borussia Moenchengladbach, is bracing himself for a heated encounter. 'There's always something special about this game, so I've been told,' said Favre, who replaced Claude Puel after he joined Premier League club Southampton. 'In football, you always have commitment, headers, tackles. It's part of the game, if it's fair. It's up to us to react properly. You must control your emotions.' ___ GOALS GALORE Lorient's players can hardly be looking forward to the trip to play Monaco, given how many goals the French leaders are scoring. Last weekend's 4-1 rout of Marseille made it 60 league goals in 20 games — comfortably more than any other team in Europe's top five leagues — and 86 in 33 games overall this season. Bad news for Lorient, which is languishing in 19th place and has conceded 39 goals — more than any other team in the league. Monaco must be relieved it did not sell Colombian striker Radamel Falcao after he spent two unsuccessful seasons on loan at Manchester United and Chelsea as he fought back from a serious injury. Falcao has been an inspirational captain, scoring eight in the past seven games and 17 in all competitions this season. Behind him and strike partner Valere Germain, the midfield quartet of Tiemoue Bakayoko, Fabinho, Thomas Lemar and Bernardo Silva is striking a good balance. Bakayoko and Fabinho do much of the holding work, thus freeing up the skillful Lemar and the quick Silva to roam free. They were unstoppable against Marseille, with Lemar scoring an audacious lob and Silva netting twice. ___ A TIGHTER DEFENSE PSG is looking for a fifth straight win when it travels to play Nantes on Saturday. Following a rocky spell just before the mid-season winter break, PSG has won its two league games and two cup games since without fuss and without conceding a goal. But Nantes could be a different proposition, especially given how well the team is playing under coach Sergio Conceicao. Wednesday's 1-0 win over Caen was the sixth in seventh games since the former Portugal winger took charge in early December. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 20th, 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 15th, 2017

The Beermen are an underrated defensive juggernaut

A common misconception about the San Miguel Beermen is that they simply outscore their opponents to death by virtue of their awesome star power. However, the Beermen are simply not built that way or rather, SMB is simply not programmed to play just to overpower opponents offensively. The reigning two-time Philippine Cup titleholders are actually a stout defensive squad. Defense wins championships after all. The Beermen proved it Sunday against Ginebra, holding their sister team to only 70 points and coming out with a gutsy win. 'I think playing defense is always been part of our forte I want to say,' point guard Alex Cabagnot expressed after his team's sixth straight win. 'It's one of the things we do well with three of the best defensive players in Chris Ross, June Mar, and Arwind out there. We're really a defensive team, it just doesn't get noticed because we make a lot of baskets,' he added after leading the champs with 16 points despite still playing with a broken nose. With a tough, grind-it-out game against the Gin Kings, the Beermen are also absorbing every bit of lessons they can get in order to keep their edge against other teams. Because in some cases, you can actually win and learn at the same time. 'Some games naman like that you gotta actually learn from it, win or lose. We have to go back and use it as a reference, hopefully in the end stay ahead of the learning curve,' Cabagnot said. br /> --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 9th, 2017

Motiejunas' new mission with the Pelicans: Get Davis open

em>By Brett Martel, Associated Press /em> METAIRIE, La. (AP) — Donatas Motiejunas, the Pelicans' new seven-footer, might sound delusional to more cynical NBA observers. Two of the first topics Motiejunas discussed after his first practice with the Pelicans on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) were the health of his back and the Pelicans' playoff prospects, offering rosy outlooks on both fronts. 'I'm going to prove it when I get on the floor,' Motiejunas said when asked about fighting the perception that he's been damaged goods since back surgery near the end of the 2014-15 season. 'I don't see an issue to fighting through this.' The versatile Lithuanian, who has left and right post-up moves, hits about 31 percent of his three-point attempts and draws praise for his passing ability, also sees himself as a boost to the Pelicans' playoff chances. New Orleans is eight games below .500 (14-22), but sat just two games out of the final Western Conference playoff spot heading into Wednesday night's (Thursday, PHL time) NBA slate. When Motiejunas was asked whether he saw his stint with the Pelicans, which will pay him a pro-rated veteran minimum of about $600,000, as an audition for when he becomes a free agent again next summer, he answered by talking about team goals. 'I'm here to help the team win. I'm not here to look at my personal stats,' Motiejunas said. 'If this team is going to make the playoffs and I'm going to help them, it's going to put my value up regardless.' Motiejunas later added, 'As long as we're going to stay healthy, this team right now can make a big push.' A handful of teams expressed interest in signing Motiejunas, who has played four seasons in the NBA with Houston, averaging 7.8 points and four rebounds. They were all offering about the same pay because most teams at this point in the season are restricted to paying the NBA minimum for new free-agent acquisitions. Gentry said the Pelicans had internal discussions about trading for Motiejunas last year and were pleased to be able to get him now in a low-risk, free-agent deal. Gentry said the presence of Anthony Davis and up-tempo, evenly spaced offense the Pelicans run appealed to Motiejunas. 'The opportunity to play alongside a great player — obviously it makes the game easier,' Gentry said. 'The system that we run is something that was appealing to him.' And for New Orleans, having a big-man with passing skills and shooting range helps Davis because he 'can take away some of the potential double-teams' that Davis might otherwise see. Indeed, Motiejunas said his mission is to help Davis 'get wide open shots.' 'I'm a creator,' Motiejunas said. 'I can take the ball to the paint, force the defense to collapse on me and dish the ball to [Davis], and without a lot of energy waste he can get an easy bucket.' The Pelicans have used a smaller, quicker lineup recently with the 6’11” Davis at center. It has paid off in the form of five victories in seven games. Gentry said Motiejunas will likely play center, but his ability to run and pass means a lineup shift, with Davis moving back to power forward, should not disrupt the rhythm with which New Orleans has played lately. Davis agreed, saying Motiejunas has 'a high basketball IQ, but the thing that stands out to me the most is his ability to pass. ... It gives me another opportunity to get out on the floor and roam, step out and shoot the ball, or be able to attack more.' As a restricted free agent last offseason, Motiejunas signed an offer sheet from Brooklyn worth about $36 million over four years. Houston initially sought to match it, but ultimately allowed the 26-year-old to become an unrestricted free agent after negotiations broke down, in part because of the player's history with back injuries. He played in only 37 games last season, but also only missed one regular season game after Feb. 27 and played in five playoff games. Motiejunas said he's been working out on his own in Vancouver the past five months and is in 'really good shape.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 5th, 2017

One Team, Three Stats: Warriors' defense takes a step back

One Team, Three Stats: Warriors' defense takes a step back.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 17th, 2016

Blazers beat Nuggets to take one-game lead for 8th seed

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Jusuf Nurkic had a career-high 33 points with 16 rebounds against his former team, CJ McCollum had 39 points and the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Denver Nuggets 122-113 on Tuesday night (Wednesday, PHL time) to take hold of the eighth seed in the Western Conference. Portland leads Denver by a game for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Blazers also clinched the season-series tiebreaker with the Nuggets, giving them an upper hand with eight games to play. Jameer Nelson led Denver with 23 points. The Blazers got Nurkic involved early against his former team. On Portland's first possession, Nurkic scored on a designed post-up play against Nikola Jokic, who took Nurkic's starting spot in Denver. After another first-quarter basket, Nurkic called on the crowd to pick up the noise, which was a theme for him throughout the night, even while on the bench. When Nurkic left the game late in the third quarter, he did so to a standing ovation. It wouldn't be his last of the night, as Blazers coach Terry Stotts pulled Nurkic for a curtain call with 19 seconds left. Nurkic spoke to the crowd after the game, even taking a shot at his former team. 'I wish those guys a happy summer,' Nurkic said. A 24-second violation by Denver at the 2:28 mark of the third got the home crowd into it even more, as Portland rode the momentum and improved defense to a 10-point lead after three quarters. With 7:21 left in the fourth, McCollum called the crowd to action again after another three-pointer to give Portland a 107-96 lead. The game featured seven lead changes and 14 ties before Portland pulled away. strong>TIP-INS /strong> em> strong>Nuggets: /strong> /em> Despite the playoff implications, coach Mike Malone stayed away from calling Tuesday's (Wednesday, PHL time) game a 'must-win.' 'Not one time has anyone on this staff said to our players, `This is a must-win,' Malone said prior to the game. 'Because if we do that and lose this game for some reason, then our players say the season is over, we failed.' em> strong>Blazers: /strong> /em> The arrival of Nurkic from Denver has coincided with Portland's longest stretch of winning basketball, going 12-7 since his arrival. Malone didn't think much had changed with Nurkic, though. 'I haven't seen anything different,' Malone said. 'He started 25 games for us and we looked to post him up at times on the left block. He's a more than capable passer. He's a guy that can take the ball to the basket at times. We have our starting center in Nikola Jokic. [Nurkic has] come here and given them a boost, I'm happy for him. He's a good kid.' strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Nuggets: /strong> /em> Denver continues its five-game road trip in Charlotte on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time). em> strong>Blazers: /strong> /em>The Blazers host James Harden and Houston on Thursday night (Friday, PHL time). .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News3 hr. 58 min. ago

Wizards beat Lakers 119-108 to clinch division title

em>By Beth Harris, Associated Press /em> LOS ANGELES (AP) — John Wall scored 34 points and Washington rallied in the fourth quarter to beat the Los Angeles Lakers 119-108 on Tuesday night (Wednesday, PHL time), clinching the Southeast Division title for its first division crown in 38 years. Wall shot 14-of-25 and Bradley Beal was held to 16 points on 7-of-16 shooting, but the Wizards ended the longest division-title drought in NBA history with their fourth straight victory. 'I didn't know that,' coach Scott Brooks said before the game. 'Now we're fighting for playoff positioning.' When the franchise last claimed a division title in 1978-79, it was known as the Bullets of the Atlantic Division and played in suburban Landover, Maryland. The team had won its lone NBA championship the previous season and went on to lose the 1979 Finals to the Seattle SuperSonics. From 1979-80 on, Washington has had one of the worst winning percentages in the league, and while the team has made the playoffs 14 times in that span, it hasn't gotten past the second round. Washington put the divisional slump in the past by outscoring the Lakers 37-13 in the fourth. The Wizards opened on a 19-6 run to tie it at 101 with their starters on the bench for much of the spurt. Wall returned with his team down four and hit a layup and stole Russell's bad pass for a fast-break one-handed tying dunk. Beal came back, too, and he and Wall combined to score Washington's next seven points for a 108-104 lead. Kelly Oubre Jr. hit a three-pointer to make it 113-108, effectively finishing off the Lakers. D'Angelo Russell led Los Angeles with 28 points and Jordan Clarkson added 22 points. The Lakers led by 16 in the third, when they outscored the Wizards 28-14 to start. Wall tossed up an air ball during the Lakers' run before making his team's last two baskets to pull them to 95-92 going into the fourth. The Lakers have lost 16 of 18 since the All-Star break and have eight games remaining before missing the playoffs yet again. The Lakers kept it close in the first half, leading 58-55 at the break. Rookie David Nwaba's layup at the buzzer allowed the Lakers to tie it at 27 to end the first quarter. Larry Nance Jr. blocked Jason Smith and Russell came up with the ball, feeding Nwaba on a fastbreak. strong>TIP-INS /strong> em> strong>Wizards: /strong> /em> They didn't have a field goal over the final 4:13 of the opening quarter, with four different Lakers blocking five shots in that stretch. They opened their five-game trip with a 12-point win over defending NBA champion Cleveland on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). They have won five straight over the Lakers in L.A. em> strong>Lakers: /strong> /em> Coach Luke Walton turned 37 on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time). They lost the season series 2-0, getting beaten by eight points on Feb. 2 (Feb. 3, PHL time). strong>INGRAM OUT /strong> Lakers forward Brandon Ingram sat out his second straight with right patellar tendinitis after playing in the team's first 72 games, including 33 starts. He's averaging 9.0 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.0 assists as a rookie. 'He gives us a dynamic presence out there,' Walton said. 'He's grown so much as a player. Not only are we losing some scoring, but defense.' Walton said Ingram wasn't pleased when told he wouldn't be playing. 'That's a good thing,' he said of Ingram's frustration. strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Wizards: /strong> /em>At Clippers on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) in last back-to-back of season. They are 19-11 in such games. They beat L.A. by seven points at home in December. em> strong>Lakers: /strong> /em>At Minnesota on Thursday (Friday, PHL time) in a rematch of last Friday's (last Saturday, PHL time) game in L.A., where the Lakers won by 11 points in their first overtime game of the season. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News3 hr. 58 min. ago

Ex-Wildcats train poor kids

div class="field field-name-field-location field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-above"> div class="field-label">Location:  /div> div class="field-items"> div class="field-item even"> a href="/taxonomy/term/18" typeof="skos:Concept" property="rdfs:label skos:prefLabel" datatype="">Cebu /a> /div> /div> /div> div class="field field-name-field-author field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-hidden"> div class="field-items"> div class="field-item even"> a href="/author/rommel-c-manlosa" typeof="skos:Concept" property="rdfs:label skos:prefLabel" datatype="">Rommel C. Manlosa /a> /div> /div> /div> div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"> div class="field-items"> div class="field-item even" property="content:encoded"> THE Wildcats team of the Cebu Institute of Technology-University of 1989 gathered once more this time not for the glory of the school, but for service to men. The team that won the 1989 Cebu Amateur Athletic Association (CAAA), the predecessor of Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi), men’s basketball title is now taking an active role in promoting sports, especially to the underprivileged children in the far-flung places. D Legend Fela Basketball Training Inc., which is composed mainly of the Wildcats Alumni who brought to the school its lone championship glory in nearly three decades, launched its “Adopt A Barangay Program.” It will officially start on April 8 at the Inayagan Covered Courts in Naga City. “We are here to help teach the fundamentals of basketball and other sports to barangays, especially the far-flung places who could not afford to pay registration fees to commercial basketball clinics here in the city. Our main goal is to leave a legacy and share our talents through free basketball and sports clinic, first in Cebu and later on in the Visayas and Mindanao,” said Romeo Cal, the managing director, and the former CIT Wildkittens coach in the late 80s and early 90s. Their clinics has two levels—the first is for the 7-12 years old category and the second stage is for the 13-18 year old bracket. Their clinic is for free. The corporations include the deadliest gunner of his time Felix Duhig Jr., who still holds the record of scoring 30 triples in the collegiate division, and has scored 112 points in a single game, the second most points made by a player in Cebu, next to Julian Macoy in the late 50s. Duhig is the training director and along with his teammates Eddie Marquez, Lyndon Kiseo, Anjo Nicanor, the first Rookie/MVP awardee in Cebu Renato Rodez, Ricky Duhig and Roy Donaire. The other members of the team Allan Tenerife, and Edwin Enguio who are both living abroad now, supported the group financially, along with its major backers A Plus All Weather Paints, Hydronet Consultants Inc., Christian Descartes E. De la Torre, Best of Cebu English Academy among others. Aside from Naga, D Legend is also scheduling a clinic in the mountain barangays of Cebu City as well as the towns in the southern part of Cebu—Alcoy, Boljoon and Oslob. They will also take an active part in the development of the Wildcats basketball program. “We have talked with the school officials and they promised to take this up to the board. We wanted to bring back the passion to the Wildcats and we are very much willing to help to bring glory back to CIT,” stressed Duhig. Aside from holding clinics, they will also conduct basketball tournaments and organize other sporting events. /div> /div> /div>.....»»

Category: newsSource:  sunstarRelated News16 hr. 15 min. ago

Germany, England, Poland stay on course in WCup qualifying

CIARAN FAHEY, Associated Press   BERLIN (AP) — Germany, England and Poland all took another step toward World Cup qualification but the Netherlands' failure to do the same cost national coach Danny Blind his job on Sunday. The Dutch football association fired Blind one day after his team's humiliating 2-0 defeat to Bulgaria in Sofia — a result that leaves the 2014 World Cup semifinalist in danger of missing out on a second successive major tournament after watching Euro 2016 at home. The Netherlands is fourth in Group A behind France, Sweden and Bulgaria. Only the top team in each group qualifies automatically for next year's tournament in Russia. On the field Sunday, defending champion Germany remained on course with its fifth win from five games despite conceding its first goal in Group C. It beat Azerbaijan 4-1. England, now the only team not to have conceded so far in European qualifying, beat Lithuania 2-0 in Group F. On an emotional day, Jermain Defoe led England out onto the pitch with a terminally ill five-year-old mascot by his side and then scored in front of him. In Group E, Poland captain Robert Lewandowski scored again as his first-placed team beat second-placed Montenegro 2-1. Here is a look at World Cup qualifiers in Europe on Sunday: ___ GROUP C Germany stayed perfect in qualifying despite conceding its first goal of the campaign in a 4-1 away win over Azerbaijan. Little-used forward Andre Schuerrle scored two and set up another. 'We absolutely fulfilled our duty,' Germany coach Joachim Loew said. 'It was like a cup game against a team from a lower division. If you don't go in at the top of your game, you make them stronger than they are.' Germany has scored 20 goals so far in its group and next faces last-placed San Marino, which has conceded 23 goals already. The world champion leads by five points from Northern Ireland, which defeated Norway 2-0 in Belfast thanks to first-half goals from Jamie Ward and Conor Washington. The Czech Republic, which racked up a 6-0 win in San Marino, is two points further back, one ahead of Azerbaijan. Two each from Antonin Barak and Vladimir Darida, and goals from Theodor Gebre Selassie and Michal Krmencik, gave the Czechs their biggest ever away win. ___ GROUP E Poland captain Robert Lewandowski scored for the 10th straight European qualifier to set his side on its way to a 2-1 win in Montenegro to consolidate top spot. The home side equalized through Stefan Mugosa's first international goal but Lukasz Piszczek claimed Poland's winner late to open up a six-point lead and leave Montenegro in a four-way scrap with Denmark, Romania and Armenia for second place. Montenegro is level with Denmark on seven points after the Danes' goalless draw in Romania, which is level with Armenia a point further back. Despite starting with three straight losses, Armenia revived its hopes of a playoff spot by defeating Kazakhstan 2-0 at home for a second consecutive victory under new coach Artur Petrosyan. Bottom side Kazakhstan had Sergey Malyy sent off with his second yellow card with less than half an hour remaining, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan struck nine minutes later before Aras Ozbiliz sealed the win. ___ GROUP F Jermain Defoe made an emotional return from exile to lead England to a 2-0 win over Lithuania at Wembley Stadium. Though Joe Hart wore the captain's armband, Defoe led the side out onto the pitch with a terminally ill five-year-old mascot, cancer-stricken Bradley Lowery, with whom the Sunderland striker has formed a bond. With Lowery watching on, the 34-year-old Defoe then scored his first England goal for four years, striking 21 minutes into his 56th appearance. Raheem Sterling glided through the defense and provided a sweet cross for Defoe to net his 20th international goal. 'I had to keep my emotions in the beginning with little Brad with me,' Defoe said after his first England appearance since November 2013. 'It was special just to be back.' Defoe played almost an hour before being replaced by Jamie Vardy, who scored with his first touch to wrap up the win for England to extend its lead to four points following Slovenia's first defeat. It was neighboring Scotland that did England the favor, beating Slovenia 1-0 thanks to Chris Martin's late goal. Scotland climbed to fourth place and is only two points behind Slovakia, which moved into second by beating Malta 3-1 away. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 27th, 2017

Argentina feels World Cup pressure; Brazil set to party

MAURICIO SAVARESE, AP Sports Writer br /> SAO PAULO (AP) — Argentina was the runner-up in the last World Cup. This time it's under rising pressure just to qualify. That pressure will be felt even more in its match Tuesday against Bolivia in the thin air of La Paz, which is located in the Andes at 3,650 meters (11,900 feet) altitude. Argentina has not won a match there since 2005, upping the stakes a bit more. Meanwhile, South American rival Brazil will gear up for possible early qualification if it beats Paraguay in Sao Paulo. To advance, the South American group leader needs a victory and a few other results to fall its way. But win or lose, Brazil is heading for the World Cup in Russia with five rounds of qualifying remaining. Argentina cannot be so confident. Second-placed Uruguay faces a winnable match at lowly Peru, and fourth-placed Colombia has a real test at fifth-placed Ecuador. Sixth-placed Chile welcomes last-placed Venezuela in Santiago, hoping to climb back into qualifying position. With five rounds to go, Brazil has 30 points — more than enough to secure a spot in previous World Cups. Uruguay has 23 and Argentina 22. With Brazil almost sure to advance — and Venezuela, Bolivia and Peru struggling at the bottom — that leaves six teams fighting for the three remaining automatic spots for Russia. Another South American team could also advance in a playoff. ____ ARGENTINA Argentina put on a poor performance on Thursday, but managed to beat Chile 1-0 in Buenos Aires after a controversial penalty was conceded and converted by Barcelona star Lionel Messi. The visitors will miss suspended Barcelona midfielder Javier Mascherano, which is making coach Edgardo Bauza think of dramatic changes to the team. Before the win against Chile and the loss of Mascherano, Bauza was considering a defensive 5-4-1 formation in La Paz, hoping to save his players' energy and capitalize on the ball-holding Mascherano. Now he may be forced into a more offensive formation that relies less on counterattacking. Bolivian coach Mauricio Soria, who spared some of his main players in the 1-0 defeat at Colombia on Thursday, said his team will not be intimidated by the Argentine stars and should push hard against them. His team will be rested and in familiar surroundings. 'We hope we can make them feel a lot of their fears,' Soria said. ____ BRAZIL After the impressive thrashing of Uruguay 4-1 in Montevideo, Brazil is so close to the World Cup spot that many players are already looking for new challenges as Brazil chases it sixth World Cup title. For the spot to be assured, Brazil needs to beat Paraguay and see Venezuela overcome Chile in Santiago. Also, Colombia needs to get its first win at Ecuador in 20 years. Even if the 'official' qualification doesn't come, there will surely be a party at Arena Corinthians in Sao Paulo. Coach Tite, who has won seven straight games in qualifiers since he took over in September, had his best days at Corinthians. He won two Brazilian championships, one Copa Libertadores, and the 2012 FIFA Club World Cup title after a 1-0 victory over England's Chelsea in Japan. Defender Fagner, also a Corinthians player, will replace suspended Dani Alves. 'I feel no pressure, I want to enjoy every moment of this,' Fagner told reporters. If he doesn't do well, Tite has already brought Sevilla's Mariano for a test. ____ COLOMBIA The Colombia vs. Ecuador match could be key to the aspirations of both teams: Colombia has 21 points, and Ecuador has 20. The disappointing performance in the 1-0 victory over Bolivia on Thursday is making Colombia fans worry that their team might not qualify for the World Cup. The game in Quito promises to be even more complicated now that coach Jose Pekerman's side has lost its best striker to injury. Luis Muriel had a right-leg injury and will likely be replaced by Miguel Borja or Carlos Bacca. History does not favor Colombia: it has been 20 years since Colombia last beat Ecuador at the Atahualpa stadium. Ecuador also has problems for the key clash. Striker Miller Bolanos and midfielder Christian Noboa will be out and their replacements are not yet set. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 27th, 2017

Walker scores 31, Hornets beat struggling Suns 120-106

em>By Steve Reed, Associated Press /em> CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Charlotte Hornets appear to playing their best basketball of the season heading down the homestretch. The big question will be whether it's a case of too little, too late. Kemba Walker had 31 points and nine assists, and the Hornets beat the Suns 120-106 on Sunday (Monday, PHL time) for their fourth victory in the last five games. The only loss during that stretch came on a close defeat Saturday night (Sunday, PHL time) to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. 'This time of year, especially in the situation we're in, the whole idea is to win the game,' Hornets coach Steve Clifford said. 'And we won the game. We need some help and people will lose and we'll come back Tuesday [against Milwaukee] and try again.' Devin Booker, who became the sixth player in NBA history to score 70 points in a loss Saturday night (Sunday, PHL time) to the Boston Celtics, got off to a slow start but finished with 23 points. TJ Warren had 21 points and 10 rebounds for the Suns, who have lost eight straight. 'We knew we had to match those guys,' Walker said. 'They've been playing hard all year. They had some scorers. Everybody knows how hot Devin can get. We all saw the 70-point game he had. We just wanted to be locked into him and play some good team defense.' Booker said he was anticipating extra attention from the Hornets — and he got it. 'I expect it to be hard from here on out and we're all going to learn from this as a young group,' Booker said. 'At the end of the day, I think it's going to be good for us.' Suns coach Earl Watson wasn't expecting a repeat performance from Booker but was pleased with his 7-for-17 performance. 'We knew Devin is going to play well pretty much almost every game,' Watson said. 'It wasn't waiting to see how he responded to last game....He's going to come out and just play the right way.' Marvin Williams added 21 points and Nic Batum chipped in with 18 points and 10 assists for the Hornets. Charlotte (33-40) entered the day three games behind Miami for the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 10 games remaining and played inspired basketball on a rare weekend matinee home game. The Hornets bolted to a 30-7 lead in the first quarter after making 10 of their first 13 shots and led by 22 at halftime. Williams sparked the early run, connecting on three three-pointers. The Suns cut the lead to 105-101 with 4.5 minutes left on a reverse layup by Warren and some big jumpers by Booker. But Batum knocked down a long three-pointer from the wing and Walker scored on cutting layup to ignite an 11-0 run to put away the game. strong>TIP-INS /strong> em> strong>Suns: /strong> /em> Warren had his third double-double of the season. Outscored the Hornets 50-30 in the paint. em> strong>Hornets: /strong> /em> Walker became the fourth player in team history to have 50 20-point games in a season. Cody Zeller had four steals. strong>MKG STEPS UP /strong> Hornets defensive specialist Michael Kidd-Gilchrist shut down Booker for the first 10 minutes of the game, not allowing him to score or get into a rhythm. 'He did a great job,' Clifford said. 'He was smart.' strong>SCOREBOARD WATCHING /strong> The Hornets keep saying they are trying not to pay attention to what other teams around them — particularly Miami, Detroit and Chicago — are doing as they try to catch all three. 'We don't have much room for error, but we're still here,' Williams said. 'We're still in it. We've just got to take care of our own business and hopefully we can get a little bit of help from some of those other teams. We have an opportunity to play some of those teams.' strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Suns: /strong> /em> Travel to Atlanta on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time) to face the Hawks. em> strong>Hornets: /strong> /em> Host the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time). .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 26th, 2017

Q&A: NBA pioneer Wayne Embry

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com Wayne Embry is closing in on 60 years in the NBA in one capacity or another. And if you hear him tell it, he’s been half-a-Forrest Gump, working without a plan and landing wherever the basketball winds have taken him. But that does not do the man or his career justice. “You can say Wayne’s been persistent,” Oscar Robertson said about his friend, fellow Hall of Famer and former roommate with the Cincinnati Royals. “A lot of things were not that easy for him on his way to where he is today. There was not a plan for a lot of African-Americans in those days, to be honest. People think because they see him now, ‘Everything was so wonderful.’ But he persevered. And I’m happy for him for that.” Wayne Richard Embry, who turns 80 on Sunday (Monday, PHL time), has been a player, a scout, a team executive and a pebble-grained consigliere for so long, Bill Russell only had one ring when he arrived. Embry reached the NBA in 1958, the 22nd pick in the same draft that yielded Elgin Baylor, Hal Greer and Guy Rodgers. A native of Springfield, Ohio, and the only black student at his Tecumseh High in New Carlisle, Embry played at Miami (Ohio) before becoming a five-time NBA All-Star. He averaged 14.1 points and 10.4 rebounds for Cincinnati and, at 6’8” and 240 pounds, earned his memorable nickname (“The Wall”) with bone-jarring picks and box-outs. Embry was traded in 1966 to Boston, where he spent two seasons as a backup to Russell, earning a championship ring in 1968. Then it was on to Milwaukee via the expansion draft, with the Bucks jacking the 31-year-old Embry’s minutes from 13.9 to 30.2 in the season before they landed Lew Alcindor, a.k.a. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Soon after Embry retired as a player, Bucks owner Wes Pavalon sought him out to be “assistant to the president,” Ray Patterson. When Patterson moved on to Houston in 1972, Pavalon promoted Embry, making him the first black general manager in major American professional sports. Embry helped convince Robertson to accept his trade to Milwaukee for the 1970-71 season, the trigger of the Bucks’ NBA championship that season. He helped rebuild the team, after Abdul-Jabbar demanded his exit from the gritty Midwestern city, into an under-appreciated contender into the 1980s. Then it was on to Cleveland, where Embry became the NBA’s first black team president. The Cavaliers thrived on his watch, only to be blocked by Detroit and Chicago much as Boston and Philadelphia had been the Bucks’ obstacles. At age 67, Embry accepted a role as senior basketball adviser with the Toronto Raptors, a job at which he continues to work nearly 13 years later. Toronto has averaged 50 victories over the past four seasons, with Embry helicoptering in six or seven times each season and otherwise catching their games on League Pass from his Scottsdale, Ariz., home, where he lives with Terri, his wife of 57 years. Robertson, by comparison, was only Embry’s roommate for six seasons during their travels with the Royals. “He was all right,” Robertson recalled Friday. “He slept a lot and I didn’t.” A politics junkie and a history buff, Embry exercises daily and mostly battles some sinus issues after shedding considerable weight recently. Soft-spoken but sharp as ever, he spoke at length with NBA.com on the same day that, coincidentally, former Chicago Bulls GM Jerry Krause died at age 77. Here is an edited version of that conversation: strong>NBA.com: /strong> What do you remember about Jerry Krause? strong>Wayne Embry: /strong>He was a hard worker. Whether it be his work in the NBA or his work in baseball. Very much attended to detail, too. He was, I would think for his time, innovative in his approach, looking for things other people may not have thought to look for. Players’ extended family, that sort of thing. He was really dedicated to what he did. strong>NBA.com: /strong>Was it possible to have a good working relationship with him as a rival? strong>WE: /strong> He didn’t want to reveal any information to anybody. If there was a group of guys out on the road scouting, he would seem aloof sometimes. He didn’t want to give up any secrets or anything that he assumed the other guy didn’t know. He’d be very non-communicative. [chuckles] strong>NBA.com: /strong>Even Jerry West, “The Logo,” doesn’t have 60 years in the NBA. You got here a couple seasons before him or Oscar. strong>WE: /strong> I’ve been blessed to be involved in something like this that I have a great passion for. It’s been good for me, and to be able to still be involved at my age ... I just feel blessed. strong>NBA.com: /strong> You have to feel proud not only to be the first black GM in pro sports but to have achieved that way back in 1972. Did you have a sense of being a pioneer back then? strong>WE: /strong>At the time, it was a complete shock. I thought I’d be lucky to be assistant to Ray Patterson, who had done a tremendous job building the championship team. I came there in late ’70 and in August of ’72 I get a call from Wes Pavalon. He and two of his board members were in his office. He just looked at me and said, “You’re the new general manager of the Milwaukee Bucks.” It didn’t register. I was, what, 34, 35 at the time? There never had been any [black GMs]. I just told them I’d do the best I could in whatever capacity I was in. But to be named the man in charge came as a complete shock. strong>NBA.com: /strong> Pavalon was a pretty progressive guy, whose friends included tennis great Arthur Ashe and “Roots” author Alex Haley. Did he tell you later why he chose you for such a barrier-breaking role? strong>WE: /strong> No, not really. But I think that it had a lot to do with the fact I was with the inaugural team and was captain of that team. They drafted me at my age because they wanted leadership. And [coach] Larry Costello, whom I had gotten to know, respected my approach to the game and thought I’d be good for their young team. strong>NBA.com: /strong>You played only one season with the Bucks, retiring at 31. Couldn’t you have come back for another season as a mentor to Kareem? strong>WE: /strong> I probably could have. But my knees already were aching and my back got worse. It got very difficult to get up in the morning to go to practice. I only knew how to play the game one way, and that was all out. I said, “No, I can’t do it anymore.” strong>NBA.com: /strong> When Pavalon brought you back to Milwaukee – you briefly were a city recreation director in the Boston area – he was hoping to swing a deal for Oscar, right? strong>WE: /strong> Wes said “What d’ya think?” I said, “That would be an instant championship, if you got him with Kareem.” I think Oscar had a no-trade contract or approval, and [Pavalon] asked me if I’d pick up the phone and give him a call, and kind of push him our way. I told Oscar I was going back and it’d be great for him to win a championship after all these years. And of course I was interested in pushing it along, if I was going to go back there too. strong>NBA.com: /strong>Oscar understood the value of playing alongside Kareem. strong>WE: /strong> Well, yeah. All those great years he had in Cincinnati but he could never beat Russell and the Celtics. So for him to play with a center who was dominant – I wasn’t quite as dominant a center [laughs] – was a big step toward winning a championship. And it all worked out. strong>NBA.com: /strong> It worked out for you a year later, when Patterson left and Pavalon made you GM. strong>WE: /strong> At that point, I was trying to not screw it up. And I was always afraid that trading Greg Smith screwed it up because we were trying to get bigger at the power forward position. That’s when we brought Curtis Perry in. There were a couple years there where we got beat in the playoffs [by the Lakers and the Warriors], and then we got back to the Finals in ’74. We lost the final game in Milwaukee, which was a heartbreaker. strong>NBA.com: /strong> How cooperative were the league’s other GMs back then? Whether it was due to your race or the fact you were a recently retired player breaking into their ranks, was there any resistance to working with you? strong>WE: /strong> Not at all. They were very receptive and accommodating to me, as far as being a peer. A lot of great friendships evolved out of it. With Pete Newell and Bob Feerick, who was with Golden State at the time. Stu Inman and Jerry Colangelo. I think there was a lot of mutual respect. They helped me grow in the job. strong>NBA.com: /strong>Going about your job day to day, did you feel more eyes on you because you were breaking new ground? strong>WE: /strong>Actually, it didn’t dawn on me right away. I was asked at the time if it was significant, and I said only if it was significant to others. I just felt I had a job to do. I put pressure on myself to do the best I could, prepare myself for it and work harder than everybody else. strong>NBA.com: /strong>Did you like the job right off? strong>WE: /strong>I didn’t really know what it all entailed. It was difficult at first, because I had played with some of the guys I now was managing. As teammates, we had a different type of relationship. Then you had to change that. Instead of hanging out with you, there had to be separation. That was difficult. strong>NBA.com: /strong>Did you have to let Oscar know when he was nearing the end? strong>WE: /strong> That was one of the toughest assignments I had. It was the year of the [New Orleans] expansion draft, but he told us he wasn’t ready to make a decision. The organization certainly didn’t want to put him out in the expansion draft, just out of respect to him. We ended up protecting him. But time passed and ownership decided we had to move on. I had the responsibility of telling Oscar we were moving on, which was tough. strong>NBA.com: /strong> Did it impact your relationship with Oscar, at least temporarily? strong>WE: /strong>It may have. But we worked our way through it. We’re best friends now. strong>NBA.com: /strong>You also had the, er, fun job of dealing with Kareem when he wanted out of Milwaukee. strong>WE: /strong>I think it was the fall of ’74, I got a call that Sam Gilbert – representing Kareem – wanted a meeting. We had no idea what it was for. So Wes and I and Kareem and Sam met at the Sheraton out in Brookfield [western suburb of Milwaukee] and weren’t in the room five minutes when Sam said, “Kareem wants to be traded.” We didn’t want to trade Kareem, obviously, but we knew we were in for a long evening as we tried to hammer this thing out. The reason Kareem gave was, he wanted to go to New York or L.A., larger markets. Actually, Washington was his first choice. But there was that event at his house there...  strong>NBA.com: /strong>That’s right. In January 1973, a house that Abdul-Jabbar owned in D.C. was targeted in a home invasion. [Terrorists murdered several people in an attack on the player’s spiritual teacher Hamaas Abdul Khaalis, a rival of Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad. Abdul-Jabbar was not present at the time.] strong>WE: /strong>That took Washington out, so it got down to the Lakers or the Knicks. We did everything we could do to talk him out of wanting to be traded. But he said, “Nope. If you don’t, I’ll become a free agent or I’ll sign with the ABA.” Of course we didn’t want that to happen. So we decided to keep it quiet. “Let’s not go public until we have a deal.” strong>NBA.com: /strong> You wound up keeping it quiet for most of that ’74-75 season. strong>WE: /strong>New York made their pitch but there was nothing [acceptable] they could do – they wanted to give us aging players and money. Then I got a call from Pete Newell [of the Lakers] who said, “Can we meet in Denver?” We met in Denver and hammered out a trade. strong>NBA.com: /strong> Considering your hand was forced, were you satisfied with the return on that deal? strong>WE: /strong>Yeah, we felt we got a good nucleus. And I told the board that, once it was clear Kareem wanted to be traded, I said, “This may be good for the franchise. We’re going to hold out to get young players who can be part of a solid future.” We got [David] Meyers and Junior Bridgeman as draft picks, and Brian Winters and Elmore Smith as players. Of course there was cash involved – that wasn’t my area – but that was a pretty solid foundation. strong>NBA.com: /strong>Where did your satisfaction come from as a GM, compared to winning games and chasing titles as a player? strong>WE: /strong>Pretty much the same. Our jobs in the front office are to create an environment for the players to succeed. My philosophy was, let the coaches coach and the players play. I always felt it was a players’ game. So let’s do the best we can there. Very seldom did I interfere with a coach coaching. strong>NBA.com: /strong>Well, there was that one time in Cleveland when Lenny Wilkens noticed you coaching up Brad Daugherty... strong>WE: /strong>He said, “I’d appreciate if you’d let us coach the team. I saw you over there talking to Brad and giving him some instructions.” I said, “Well, Lenny, I played the position. I just thought I’d give him a little tip.” He said, “Just pass that on to us and we’ll do it.” I thought about that, and I said, “You know what? You’re absolutely right.” You have to hold your coaches accountable, and if you’re going to do their jobs, you can’t hold them accountable. strong>NBA.com: /strong> With those Milwaukee teams of Marques Johnson, Sidney Moncrief, Bridgeman, Winters and eventually Bob Lanier, do you ever second-guess any moves you made or didn’t make? strong>WE: /strong>No, I think we were the best we could be. I thought Don Nelson did a tremendous job in developing those teams to where we were contenders. I had a great deal of pleasure in watching those teams grow, because it came after I had to tell Larry Costello he no longer would be our coach. And when I told Don Nelson – my roommate in Boston – that he was going to take over, he said “I’m not ready to coach.” I told him, “Nellie, you’re the coach. So let’s go for it.” He grew with the team and became obviously a Hall of Fame coach. That’s the reward, when you make decisions like that and they turn out well. That’s the pleasure I get now in an advisory capacity with Toronto. I tell the team when I speak to them before the season, my greatest joy is seeing others succeed. strong>NBA.com: /strong> How much better prepared were you when, after a year consulting with Indiana, you went to Cleveland as vice president and GM in 1986? strong>WE: /strong> I had learned a lot by then, a lot of valuable experiences. Managing in the ‘70s wasn’t easy for any of us. That was an era of the post-civil rights, Vietnam War protests, and it affected the sports and the country in general. We had the drug culture in the NBA. It was all part of the post-Sixties era. We were confronted with situations we never thought we’d face. It was trying, to say the least. Young people were protesting a lot of issues. We all respected others’ First Amendment rights. But we also had to be protective of the brand. So it was more a matter of how we did it. We had to protect the image of the franchise, but at the same time, we realized, “This is the time we’re living in. How can we affect change?” We had to think about how we expressed ourselves, and dealt with adversity and the various attitudes that prevailed. And still prevail. Quite frankly, I a little concerned about today. strong>NBA.com: /strong> What’s your take now on the social and political issues that have crept – or been invited – into sports. strong>WE: /strong> We’ve got to count on the 80 percent. I use the 80/20 philosophy, and if 80 percent is good and 20 percent is bad, the 80 percent has got to influence what happens with the other 20 percent. I think we still do a lot of good in sports. We can’t let the 20 percent rule. strong>NBA.com: /strong>Was the NBA of its times or ahead of its time in race relations in the ‘60s and ‘70s? strong> WE: /strong> We come from different backgrounds, different points of views. But I think once you’re in the locker room, the whole concept of winning is built on respect. You built a mutual respect in the locker room, you work toward a common goal, and that’s to win. You saw how the Celtics got along internally. Now we’ve got a lot more African-American players ... and that’s a different challenge. Plus the NBA has become global, putting us at the forefront of bringing together different cultures, different ethnic backgrounds to work toward that common goal of winning championships. It’s great to see how we’ve been able to integrate Europeans, Asians, Africans all into the NBA. We’re a model for how it can bring about change and mutual respect, which I think we need more of in the world. strong>NBA.com: /strong>Your teams in Cleveland had players and coaches who had the misfortune of being born into the era of Jordan. strong>WE: /strong>Obviously, you want to win championships. But if you can get to the final four, you’re a real contender. We were able to do that on one occasion. But we had to play against greatness in those other years. We consistently won 50 games or more, but we couldn’t overcome Michael Jordan. I talked to somebody yesterday who brought up “The Shot” again. [Laughs.] I wish they’d let that go. They keep playing that damn thing on television. strong>NBA.com: /strong> How do you feel about one man serving both as chief basketball boss and head coach, like Stan Van Gundy in Detroit or Gregg Popovich in San Antonio? strong>WE: /strong> My philosophy is having two people. But I can’t take issue with what Pop does, because he relies heavily on R.C. [Buford]. As long as someone has a person to rely on, as a check-and-balance, it can work. But I’m really an advocate of [splitting the duties]. strong>NBA.com: /strong>Did you ever want to coach? strong>WE: /strong>No. I wanted to be as far away from the action as possible because I was too fierce a competitor. One of the most regrettable things in my career was when I came on the court in a game in Detroit – I was sitting about 10 rows up – and the Pistons were having their way with our players. That was the late ‘80s or early ‘90s when the Bad Boys were at their best – or worst. The referees weren’t calling it the way I saw it, there was something happening underneath the basket and suddenly I found myself out on the court. I got the call from Rod [Thorn, NBA VP] the next day, saying “We’ve got to fine you $10,000.” I said, “Fine me more.” strong>NBA.com: /strong>I want to ask about your thoughts on the league today, about the way the game is played and the current hot topic of resting players. strong>WE: /strong> I am fearful that the big men are becoming an endangered species because of the emphasis on 3-point shooting. And I was in the room when we adopted the 3-point shot. I voted for it, I agree with it. But I am concerned about the use of these 6-11, 7-footers who we’ve seen over the years – centers don’t dominate anymore. You don’t see the development of the bigs as we once did. They’re used primarily in high pick-and-roll situations and very little in low-post play. I think there’s very much a need for a big, but the push now is for stretch-fours and stretch-fives. I can understand the analytics of it all, because we all can do arithmetic. But playing the game, you take what the defense gives you. There’s got to be a place for bigs – they want to play the game too. strong>NBA.com: /strong>And as far as resting players? strong>WE: /strong> I think that’s contrary to what the game should be about. [Commissioner] Adam Silver and the owners are going to address it, which I commend them for, because they have to address it. strong>NBA.com: /strong> The broadcast partners have wound up with some lousy games because of it. And we’ve heard fans complain when they’ve spent hundreds of dollars, months in advance, and maybe driven for hours to see the stars around whom the NBA markets itself. Do you share those concerns? strong>WE: /strong>Just as important is the whole competitive notion of why we play the game. We can’t compromise competition. If your team is vying for playoff position to get homecourt advantage, you look at the schedule and you think “Cleveland should beat that team” or “Toronto should beat that team.” But when they go in there and their three best players don’t play, that compromises competition. You can talk about being tired, but part of competition is about fatigue. You have to manage off days and manage lifestyle, manage all the things that contribute to fatigue. Physically and mentally. There are a lot of ways they can address it. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 26th, 2017

2016-17 Old School Power Rankings Weeks 21-22

em>By Scott Wraight, NBA.com /em> If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything ... right? Let's just say it was an uninspiring two-week period for just about everyone involved. Don't worry fellas, the long and grueling (regular) season is just about over. Some of you will have to take a deep breath and get rolling for the postseason. em>Notes:  /em> br /> - Season statistics are through games of Mar. 23 br /> - Any player who turns 33 during regular season can be added to rankings. strong>1. Dwyane Wade (35), Chicago Bulls /strong> Last week's rank: 1 br /> Last week's stats: NA br /> Season stats: 18.6 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 3.9 apg He may be out for the rest of the regular season with a fracture in his elbow, but Wade may have built up a large enough lead to keep his grip on the top spot through the finish line. That said, if one of the guys right behind him ends the season with a monstrous kick, you never know. strong>2. Dirk Nowitzki (38), Dallas Mavericks /strong> Last week's rank: 5 br /> Last week's stats: 7 games, 17.6 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 1.6 apg br /> Season stats: 14.4 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 1.6 apg He moved up three spots despite a rather pedestrian two-week period. That says something about the guys he climbed over. Despite that, Nowitzki still managed to score in double figures in all seven games while shooting 53.1 from the field and 42.3 from beyond the arc, connecting on three or more 3s in three games. strong>3. Pau Gasol (36), San Antonio Spurs /strong> Last week's rank: 3 br /> Last week's stats: 7 games, 12.1 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 1.6 apg br /> Season stats: 12.1 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 2.4 apg The scoring wasn't there (more than 13 points in just 2-of-7 games), but the shooting was (49.2 FG% and 53.3 3PT%). Gasol also chipped in at least one block in 5-of-7, including four blocks March 13. To be honest, if not for Sunday's (last Monday, PHL time) 22-points, 9-rebound showing, the big man would've slipped at least one spot. strong>4. Zach Randolph (35), Memphis Grizzlies /strong> Last week's rank: 2 br /> Last week's stats: 7 games, 9.9 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 1.6 apg br /> Season stats: 13.9 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 1.6 apg To say it was a tough two-week stint for Randolph would be putting it mildly. In addition to scoring in double figures in just two games, he shot 37.7 from the field, 16.7 (1-for-6) on three-pointers and 62.5 from the free-throw line. It's no wonder he slipped two notches. strong>5. Marcin Gortat (33), Washington Wizards /strong> Last week's rank: 9 br /> Last week's stats: 7 games, 7.4 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 0.9 apg br /> Season stats: 11.0 ppg, 10.9 rpg, 1.5 apg This is an example of others not producing more than Gortat delivering. He moved up four spots, but the numbers don't really warrant the climb. What was interesting were the splits between rest and no rest: In two games sans rest, Gortat averaged 10.5 points, 15.5 rebounds and 53.3 FG%. In five games with one-day rest, he averaged 6.2 points, 6.4 rebounds and 46.9 FG%. strong>6. Nene (34), Houston Rockets /strong> Last week's rank: 4 br /> Last week's stats: 5 games, 10.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 0.8 apg br /> Season stats: 8.6 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 0.8 apg Maybe being in the top five was too much pressure for Nene, who despite solid shooting (55.8 FG%) managed to eclipse 12 points just once. He also went over seven rebounds in just one game. On the plus side, he did manage to average 1.4 steals, including three thefts against Cleveland on March 12 (Mar. 13, PHL time). strong>7. Jameer Nelson (35), Denver Nuggets /strong> Last week's rank: 7 br /> Last week's stats: 7 games, 8.6 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 6.3 apg br /> Season stats: 9.1 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 5.1 apg Nelson maintains his standing on the strength of last Saturday's (last Sunday, PHL time) performance (15 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds) against the Rockets. But aside from that showing, it was a sub-par stint for Nelson, who was held under 10 points in five of seven games while shooting 37.3 from the field and 33.3 from deep.  strong>8. Joe Johnson (35), Utah Jazz /strong> Last week's rank: NA br /> Last week's stats: 7 games, 9.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 1.9 apg br /> Season stats: 8.6 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 1.7 apg In what has been an inconsistent season, we honestly didn't think Johnson would reappear on this list this season. But that's what happens when no one else steps up -- and someone has to fill in the void. How else do you explain someone who shoots 36.2 FG% and 24.0 3PT% being added to the mix?  strong>9. Tony Allen (35), Memphis Grizzlies /strong> Last week's rank: Just missed br /> Last week's stats: 6 games, 9.2 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.7 apg br /> Season stats: 9.2 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.3 apg As has been the case all season long with Allen, no one statistical category will ever pop out at you. Allen, who shot just 42.6 from the field, 40.0 from deep and 55.6 from the free-throw line, scored in double figures in three of the six games and snatched six or more rebounds. strong>10. Tony Parker (34), San Antonio Spurs /strong> Last week's rank: NA br /> Last week's stats: 4 games, 8.8 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 5.3 apg br /> Season stats: 10.3 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 4.8 apg After missing four games with a stiff back, Parker returned and turned in two decent games, going for 13 or more points and seven assists in both. In two home games, Parker averaged 14.5 points 7.0 assists and 59.1 FG%. In two road games, he averaged 3.0 points, 3.5 assists and 14.3 FG%. strong>Just missed the cut: /strong> Matt Barnes, Tyson Chandler, Jamal Crawford, Vince Carter em> strong>Will turn 33 this season: /strong> /em>C.J. Watson (April 17) em>The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. /em> .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 26th, 2017