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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

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

Allegri marks 300th match as coach with Juve win over Lazio

DANIELLA MATAR, Associated Press br /> MILAN (AP) — On his 300th Serie A match as coach, Massimiliano Allegri appeared to throw caution to the wind as Juventus fielded an all-out attacking lineup against Lazio on Sunday. But it paid off as Juventus bounced back from last weekend's defeat at Fiorentina to beat Lazio 2-0, with goals from Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain inside 16 minutes. 'I woke up on Wednesday morning and I decided to change things,' Allegri said. 'I decided so because we were coming off not so good a match in Florence and today was the right match for that sort of experiment. 'We won't always play like this, but the response the team gave me today was positive: we played well, with quality and sacrifice. And despite the attacking imbalance, we still did well in defense, not risking anything. But we have to maintain this tempo, irrespective of the formation.' Juventus remained one point above Roma and four above Napoli, which won 2-1 at AC Milan on Saturday. Allegri's side also has a game in hand on its rivals. Lazio is fourth, four points further back. There have been question marks this season over who works best with Higuain and Allegri found a novel solution, by utilizing all his main attackers in a new 4-2-3-1 formation. Miralem Pjanic partnered Sami Khedira in midfield, with Juan Cuadrado, Dybala and Mario Mandzukic just behind Higuain. It took just five minutes for the new-look Juventus to take the lead, with Mandzukic knocking down a long ball for Dybala's half-volley into the bottom left corner from just outside the area. Juve doubled its lead in the 16th when Cuadrado crossed from the right and Higuain tapped it into the bottom right corner from six yards for his seventh goal in the past five league matches. Higuain had another goal, a header, ruled out for offside on the half hour. Juventus extended its Serie A record to 27 consecutive home wins. ___ ROMA 1, CAGLIARI 0 The best and worst of Edin Dzeko was again on show as Roma ground out a third straight 1-0 league win. Dzeko missed a golden opportunity in the first half as he volleyed Daniele De Rossi's chipped pass straight into the arms of Cagliari goalkeeper Rafael from six yards. But Dzeko put away a more difficult chance 10 minutes into the second half as he used his strength to hold off Nicola Murru and fire Antonio Rudiger's cross into the back of the net. 'Before they said it wasn't possible for us to win 1-0, but now we have won three in a row like that,' Dzeko said. 'We can win also like this. The defense do their job and we up front do ours, like we did today. 'It was difficult. I missed the great ball Dani gave me but in the second half I had my say, I was clinical. We have to continue like this, all together.' Dzeko also had a goal ruled out for offside. Cagliari Joao Pedro was shown a straight red card in stoppage time for an uncontrolled challenge on Kevin Strootman. ___ PALERMO 0, INTER MILAN 1 Inter recorded an eighth successive win in all competitions but only after struggling to break down relegation-threatened Palermo. Substitute Joao Mario scored the only goal of the game in the 65th when he was left unmarked to volley in Antonio Candreva's cross. Both teams were reduced to 10 men late on, with Inter defender Cristian Ansaldi sent off in the 80th for a second yellow card. Inter protested and coach Stefano Pioli was also dismissed. Palermo midfielder Alessandro Gazzi was also shown a second yellow and sent off in stoppage time. Inter leapfrogged AC Milan into fifth, a point behind Lazio, although the Rossoneri have a game in hand. ___ OTHER MATCHES Crotone picked up a precious point in its fight for survival as it twice fought back to draw 2-2 at Genoa. It remains 11 points behind 17th-placed Empoli, which beat Udinese 1-0. Bottom club Pescara had a late penalty saved as it lost 3-1 at home to Sassuolo, with Alessandro Matri scoring a second straight double Bologna beat Torino 2-0, and Atalanta defeated Sampdoria 1-0. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News2 hr. 52 min. ago

Costa returns to Chelsea side, scores on 100th appearance

ROB HARRIS, AP Global Soccer Writer br /> LONDON (AP) — Still to clear up the ambiguity over last weekend's absence from the Chelsea team, Diego Costa did his talking on the pitch on Sunday. Costa marked his return to the side for his 100th Chelsea appearance by scoring the opener in a 2-0 victory over Hull that sent the Premier League leaders eight points clear. After netting his 52nd Chelsea goal from close range at the end of the first half, the league's joint-top scorer alluded to all the speculation surrounding his Chelsea future by performing a chatter gesture with his hands while celebrating. Publicly, Chelsea said Costa missed last Saturday's game at Leicester due to a back injury. What manager Antonio Conte did not dispute was that the striker was dropped over a dispute with the coaching staff amid suggestions of a big-money offer from China. 'It's important Diego played a good game,' Conte said. 'I hope with this game to finish the speculation about him, about Chelsea, about me and him. We showed we are a team with great unity.' Costa's 15th goal of the campaign came in the seventh minute of stoppage time, the result of a lengthy delay after a clash of heads between Chelsea captain Gary Cahill and Ryan Mason which led to the Hull midfielder being carried off on a stretcher as oxygen was administered before being taken to the hospital. Cahill was able to remain on the field and he headed in Chelsea's second in the 81st minute after getting on the end of a free kick from Cesc Fabregas. While Hull is next from bottom in the standings after a ninth straight away loss, Chelsea opened up an eight-point advantage over Arsenal. ___ ARSENAL 2, BURNLEY 1 It was a fiery end to a game that witnessed two penalties in stoppage time and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger appearing to push the fourth official. Arsenal went into additional time leading through Shkodran Mustafi's header but with 10 men after Granit Xhaka was sent off for a two-footed lunge on Steven Defour in the 66th minute. 'He has to control his game and not punish the team with a lack of control in his tackling,' Wenger said of Xhaka, who has been sent off twice this season for Arsenal. Wenger's heated confrontation with the fourth official came as he tried to watch the rest of the game from near the tunnel after being sent off. 'I regret everything. I should have shut up, gone in and gone home,' Wenger said. 'I apologize for that.' That came as Andre Gray looked to have snatched a point when he netted from the spot after substitute Francis Coquelin tripped Ashley Barnes. Wenger's mood was lifted in the seventh minute of stoppage time when Arsenal was awarded a penalty for Ben Mee's high foot challenge on Laurent Koscielny. ___ SOUTHAMPTON 3, LEICESTER 0 Leicester has mounted the most feeble defense of a Premier League title and is now in a relegation dogfight. Having lost half of their 22 games, Claudio Ranieri's players are sitting only five points above the drop zone. Not since Manchester City in 1938 have the topflight title winners been relegated the following season. James Ward-Prowse, Jay Rodriguez and Dusan Tadic scored the goals as Ranieri, once known as the 'Tinkerman,' rued switching his team around. 'I tried to help my players in the last two matches, I changed our normal shape against Chelsea, to three at the back and today I played with a diamond, and this led to some misunderstanding,' Ranieri said. 'My players are used to playing 4-4-2, or 4-2-3-1, so for this reason I have made mistakes and it's my fault in the last two matches. 'It's one thing trying it in training and another entirely on the pitch. Today there was something wrong and it's my responsibility. If we make mistakes, yes they make mistakes but also it's myself who has to explain better.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News2 hr. 55 min. ago

Monaco thrashes Lorient 4-0 to go top; Lyon beats Marseille

JEROME PUGMIRE, AP Sports Writer br /> PARIS (AP) — After yet another ruthless display of attacking football, free-scoring Monaco moved to the top of the French league and padded out its huge goal difference following a 4-0 home win against Lorient on Sunday. Striker Valere Germain and midfielder Gabriel Boschilia got two goals each. Monaco made it 64 goals in 21 league games — more than any other team in Europe's top five leagues, with 21 goals conceded — and 90 in 34 overall. It was also the ninth time this season that Monaco has scored at least four goals. 'We've been scoring a lot of goals for a few games now. Obviously it is impressive,' Germain said. 'But we must keep working hard and shouldn't get ahead of ourselves.' Monaco has a more difficult trip away to defending Paris Saint-Germain next weekend, in a match that will help to shape the title race. Monaco is two points ahead of Nice and three points clear of third-placed PSG heading into Sunday's clash. 'Winning in Paris would be huge, we'd strike a blow,' Germain said. 'We sense that Paris is not quite as good this year.' Monaco beat PSG 3-1 early in the season — the first of PSG's four defeats away from home. Last Sunday, Monaco's 4-1 win in Marseille was all about lightning counterattacks, but against a Lorient side with the worst defense in the league Monaco dictated play easily. 'We controlled the game, we looked for spaces and we found them,' Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim said. 'We weren't as strong in the second half but it was a question of resting players. We have a game on Wednesday.' Monaco is at home to Nancy in the League Cup semifinals on Wednesday, with PSG away to Bordeaux on Tuesday in the other semifinal. Given a rare start, Boschilia put Monaco ahead in the 24th minute with a close-range effort after goalkeeper Benjamin Lecomte spilled a high ball, and made it 2-0 five minutes later when he put the ball through Lecomte's legs after a fine run and pass from playmaker Bernardo Silva. The third goal came when Lorient clumsily lost possession in the 38th close to goal and, after striker Radamel Falcao's shot came back off the post, Germain collected the loose ball and curled it into the bottom corner. Poor defending from defender Michael Ciani led to the fourth on the hour mark. Ciani tried to play his way out of trouble near the touchline, but right back Djibril Sidibe robbed him of possession and burst toward the penalty area, where Germain got the ball and placed it out of Lecomte's reach. Germain, an unselfish striker with excellent awareness and movement, took his tally to seven league goals. 'My role is more in the shadows, I try to create space,' Germain said. 'The coach asks me to make runs to the wings and that leaves more space for Falcao.' Lorient, which has conceded 43 goals, is bottom of the table. PSG won 2-0 away to Nantes on Saturday, with Edinson Cavani scoring both goals, while Nice drew 1-1 away to Bastia on Friday night. ___ LYON 3, MARSEILLE 1 Striker Alexandre Lacazette again showed why he is rated at around 50 million euros (around $54 million) with two more goals to take his league tally to 17. Only PSG striker Edinson Cavani — with 20 — has scored more than Lacazette, but Cavani has played two games more. Lacazette struck with clinical finishes in the second half and has now scored eight goals in his last six games for Lyon, which is in fourth place. But the goal of the night came from winger Mathieu Valbuena, who is staking a strong claim to get back in the France squad. Collecting a pass on the left wing in the 43rd, he cut outside Japanese right back Hiroki Sakai, looked up and curled a superb shot into the opposite corner for his sixth goal in the last 10 games. Valbuena was replaced late on by Memphis Depay, who made his debut after joining this week from Manchester United. Brazilian center half Doria scored for Marseille. ___ SAINT-ETIENNE 2, ANGERS 1 Angers players may have cause to feel angry when they see replays of defender Loic Perrin's winner for Saint-Etienne. Perrin was challenging for a cross in the 75th when a defender's clearance struck Perrin on the hand as he raised his arm protectively, and the ball bounced into the goal. Croatian center half Mateo Pavlovic gave Angers an early lead and Saint-Etienne equalized with another stroke of good fortune in the 51st. Winger Romain Hamouma's cross from the left struck defender Abdoulaye Bamba and went over goalkeeper Denis Petric. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News2 hr. 55 min. ago

Dekker scores career-best 30 leading Rockets past Grizzlies

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- Sam Dekker scored a career-high 30 points, James Harden added 29 points and 10 assists and the Houston Rockets leaned on their usual 3-point offense to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 119-95 on Saturday night. Eric Gordon added 21 points as the Rockets built the lead to as many as 20 in the fourth quarter before easily coasting home. Dekker, making his first career start in place of the ill Ryan Anderson, made 12 of 19 shots, including 6 of 11 from outside the arc. Houston shot 51 percent overall and 38 percent from distance. Marc Gasol scored 32 points and Mike Conley added 15 for the Grizzlies, who lost for the third time in the last four. Memphis struggled shooting the entire night, finishing at 37 percent and unsuccessfully tried to follow the Rockets' long-range attack but converted only 9 of 34 from outside the arc. Even with Dekker starting instead of his normal reserve role, the Houston bench outscored the Memphis subs 44-29 as the Rockets dominated most aspects of the game. Houston took the lead in the first half and never really let up the rest of the night in bouncing back from a home loss to Golden State on Friday. After missing their first seven 3-point shots to open the game, the Rockets converted a trio late in the first quarter to run the lead to double digits. Meanwhile, the Rockets' aggressive defense gummed up Memphis' offensive flow. Houston defenders double-teamed Memphis and closed out on jumpers, resulting in the Grizzlies shooting under 30 percent in much of the second quarter. That helped Houston stretch the lead to as many as 16 in the half before holding a 58-49 advantage at the break. Dekker already had 16 points to lead the Rockets, connecting on seven of his nine shots, missing only one of his three shots from outside the arc. Gasol had 17 points to lead Memphis. By the third quarter, the Rockets stretched the advantage to 91-72, and even when Memphis put together a bit of a rally in the fourth, it never cut the deficit to single digits. TIP-INS Rockets: Anderson missed his third game with the flu. He sat out two games and tried to play in Friday's loss to Golden State before leaving after nine minutes on the floor. .The Rockets used their 10th different starting lineup this season. .Despite the slow start from outside the arc, the Rockets ended the night 16 from 42 from 3. Houston has failed to connect on at least 10 3-pointers in only four games this season. Grizzlies: Reserve G Troy Daniels sat out with a right knee injury suffered in the Friday night's win over Sacramento. . F Chandler Parsons, who sat out Friday's win over Sacramento for rest, returned to action, scoring 12 points. BACK-TO-BACKS The game featured two of the most successful teams playing on the second night of a back-to-back. Houston is now 11-1, while the Grizzlies, who beat the Kings on Friday, dropped to 8-3 on the second night of back-to-backs. UP NEXT Rockets: Play the second game of a five-game road trip on Monday against the Bucks in Milwaukee Grizzlies: Close out a three-game homestand against the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 22nd, 2017

T-wolves' Rubio to miss Nuggets game for personal reasons

em>By Jon Krawczynski, Associated Press /em> MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio will miss the game on Sunday (Monday, PHL time) against the Denver Nuggets, but it has nothing to do with the trade rumors that have surrounded him of late. Rubio left the team on Friday (Saturday, PHL time) for personal reasons and will not rejoin the Wolves until late Sunday or Monday, coach Tom Thibodeau said Saturday after practice. Rubio had to return home to Spain, and his brother posted on Instagram that their grandmother had passed away. Rubio did not play in the second half against the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday (Friday, PHL time) because of tightness in his left hip, but Thibodeau said Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) that was not a concern going forward. Kris Dunn and Tyus Jones filled in admirably, helping the Wolves defeat the Clippers, 104-101. Rubio said after the game he was not concerned about the injury, though it did interrupt an impressive run for the pass-first point guard. In his previous five full games, Rubio was averaging 13.2 points and 14.0 assists, looking more like the playmaker he was earlier in his career. 'I'm playing better, feeling better and the results are there,' Rubio said last week after a win over Oklahoma City. 'But I don't want it to be just a four-game stand. I want to be all season long like that. It's hard. We have a lot of games, but my expectations are high and I keep them high because I work hard to do it.' It has taken time for Rubio to acclimate to a new system in Thibodeau's first year as coach, leading many across the league to believe that the sixth-year pro could be traded to make room for Dunn, the fifth overall pick in last summer's draft. Thibodeau has historically preferred a point guard who is more of a scorer than Rubio, a career 37 percent shooter and a 31 percent shooter from 3-point range. But shooting has never been Rubio's strong suit. He excels at getting others involved, playing good defense and controlling the tempo of the game. With the trade deadline less than a month away, and Rubio on a hot streak, trade chatter has expectedly picked up. The Wolves are just 15-28, though they are 9-10 since a 6-18 start. Still, it's clear that they have a lot of improving to do to become a factor in the Western Conference, and Rubio appears to be one of the few assets they are willing to part with that could fetch a decent player in return. ESPN reported that the Wolves and Detroit Pistons had discussions about a Rubio-for-Reggie Jackson trade, but Pistons coach and team president Stan Van Gundy shot that down on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). Van Gundy told reporters in Detroit that he texted Jackson to tell him 'this is the crazy season. We're not trading you for Ricky Rubio.' Dunn hasn't been any better as a shooter in his rookie season, making 37.6 percent from the field and shooting a ghastly 27 percent from three-point range. But he had played more than 20 minutes in a game just three times in the previous two months before Rubio's injury on Thursday night (Friday, PHL time). 'When you have shorter minutes, you have to try to be more ready,' Dunn said Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). 'Try to go out there and impact the game right away. You can get the feel when you have more minutes, but I understand. Ricky's a great player. I'm just trying to learn off him.' Dunn likely will start against the Nuggets, with Jones serving as the backup point guard. Dunn said he has been getting more and more comfortable in his first season and will be ready when Thibodeau calls on him. 'I'm starting to understand who I am as a player (and) what's my role on the team,' Dunn said. 'Just figuring out guys, what's their tendencies and trying to understand coach's philosophy.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 22nd, 2017

Baby Tamaraws send out statement, stomp on Bullpups

strong>TEAM STANDINGS /strong> br /> Adamson 8-1 br /> FEU-Diliman 8-2 br /> NU 8-2 br /> Ateneo 5-4 br /> UPIS 3-6 br /> DLSZ 3-7 br /> UST 2-7 br /> UE 1-9 Don’t look now, but coming out of the shadows in the UAAP 79 Juniors Basketball Tournament is Far Eastern University-Diliman. A week after dealing the first defeat of erstwhile Adamson High School, the Baby Tamaraws downed defending champion Nazareth School of National University. Xyrus Torres scored 20 points and the FEU-Diliman defense suffocated the Bullpups to ghastly 27 percent shooting from the field for a 61-46 decision on Saturday at the San Juan Arena. Torres caught fire from the get-go and had eight points to match NU’s entire first quarter output. In all, the Baby Tams dug a 25-8 hole for their opponents after only the opening salvo. The defending champions would be unable to recover as FEU-Diliman dared John Lloyd Clemente to beat them by his lonesome and the versatile forward fell way short in doing so. The wire-to-wire win is the Baby Tamaraws’ fourth in a row and eighth overall in 10 games, charging them onto a share of second with their vanquished foes. They may even find themselves with a share of first depending on the Baby Falcons’ result later. The Bullpups slipped out of first-place and onto an 8-2 standing. Clemente was their lone player in double-digits with 14 points. Meanwhile, De La Salle Zobel finally barged back onto the win column after shooting down University of the East, 81-59. Five Junior Archers scored in double-digits as they improved to 3-7. The loss dropped the Junior Warriors to 1-9. BOX SCORES FIRST GAME DLSZ 81 – Vesagas 13, Romero 12, Mariano 12, Terrado 12, Cortez 10, Sobrevega 8, Vista 4, Laurente 4, Carlos 2, Chavez 2, Natividad 2, Diaz 0, Santos 0, Cosejo 0, Umali 0, Damiles 0 UE 59 – Manaug 13, Gonzales 12, Angeles 11, Vinte 8, Dulalia 8, Balundo 4, Encelan 2, Canton 1, Po 0, Acuesta 0, Palanas 0, Ramos 0, Cruz 0, Morelos 0 QUARTER SCORES: 21-15, 36-29, 61-44, 81-59 SECOND GAME FEU-DILIMAN 61 – Torres 20, Roman 12, Gloria 9, Sapinit 7, Jabel 7, Alforque Roy 2, Celzo 2, Gabane 1, Gonzales 1, Baclay 0, Bieren 0, Boc NU 46 – Clemente 14, Malonzo 9, Amsali 6, Manalang 5, Penano 4, Callejo 3, Sarip 3, Coyoca 2, Atienza 0, Tolentino 0, Peralta 0, Fortea 0 QUARTER SCORES: 25-8, 31-24, 47-36, 61-46 --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 21st, 2017

Kerr keeps Warriors winning with yoga, creative approach

em>By Janie McCauley, Associated Press /em> OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Anderson Varejao lowered his 6-foot-11 frame into a runner's lunge and raised one arm high into the air to add a twist, demonstrating after a recent shootaround the new yoga pose he just learned. Then, he took it up a notch and attempted an airplane balancing pose on one leg with his arms spread wide. The Golden State Warriors have become yogis. Coach Steve Kerr is committed to changing things up, and he gave Golden State a day off from the practice floor one day last week so the players could practice yoga instead. In the middle of a prolonged stretch at home with a more regular routine, the schedule allowed for some improvising. 'I really liked it,' Varejao said. 'I'm going to do more.' Doubt you'll see Draymond Green or Klay Thompson doing downward-facing dog again soon — though Green might be talked into another try eventually. 'I'm bad,' Green said. 'Yoga isn't for everybody. I think it's a great thing, I just don't think my body is made for all of those different positions. I did well at a few of them. It's hard, it's tough. My body really isn't cut out for yoga.' The very next night after the group class, during warmups for a home game with the Pistons, player development coach Bruce Fraser pulled his foot to his opposite inner thigh for an impromptu tree pose. He laughed as an amused Shaun Livingston watched from the baseline. Andre Iguodala is an experienced yogi who can really cat-cow and is considered top on the team, often taking classes. Center Zaza Pachulia also can forward fold with the best of them. They took prominent positions in the class led by Lisa Goodwin, Golden State's director of corporate communications and also a yoga teacher, at a Berkeley studio — a first for Kerr taking the team away from team headquarters for a yoga session. No surprise, two-time reigning NBA MVP Stephen Curry can bring it on the mat, too. 'We've had some optional yoga sessions at our facility. This is the first time we took everybody and made it mandatory,' Kerr said. 'It was good.' The temperature was about 92 degrees for the hour-long power vinyasa class, so it was steamy. Everybody was drenched in sweat by the end for final resting pose, or savasana. 'My muscles felt good,' forward James Michael McAdoo said, rubbing his stomach where his core got a workout. 'It was fun. It was hot in there, like working in a sauna. I told our strength and conditioning coach, 'You got to step up your game. Lisa embarrassed us.'' 'It's awful, it's pitiful,' Thompson said of his own yoga ability. 'It's something I worked on and it's something I actually enjoy. More than just being physically challenging, it's an incredible mental workout. It tests your pain tolerance and your ability to push yourself mentally. That's why I like it. It was really good. I think it helped a lot of us — everybody, even the coaches.' Along with the experienced yoga veterans, there were some first-timers. A few found it extremely tough. 'I'm not the most flexible,' acknowledged player development coach Chris DeMarco. Assistant coach Mike Brown described his debut as 'terrible.' 'For me, it was really hard, but it was fun,' he said, later adding, 'I nearly passed out.' Ron Adams, another assistant who focuses on preparing Golden State's defense, happened to work out in the hottest corner of the room for his first time practicing in that high temperature. 'It's such a cleansing exercise,' he said. The Warriors aren't the only ones doing it. Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy has scheduled yoga time for the Pistons, saying: 'It's got its value, no question about it. Would I consider doing it with them? Probably not.' Kerr goes whenever he can fit it in, typically taking an hour-long class during the lunch hour on game days when the schedule — and his body — allows. It's a time he can focus on taking some deep breaths, literally, away from the pressure-packed NBA workload and just be just another yoga student for 60 minutes out of his day. This weekend marks one year since Kerr formally returned to the bench last Jan. 22 against Indiana after a lengthy leave of absence to deal with complications from a pair of back surgeries. Current Lakers coach Luke Walton led the way during a record 24-0 start and went 39-4 before Kerr's comeback on the way to winning Coach of the Year after an NBA record 73-9 finish. While the 51-year-old Kerr still has some discouraging, physically challenging moments dealing with pain and headaches, he considers himself fortunate to be on the sideline doing what he loves. 'I guess normal is a good way to say it. He seems like his old self,' Curry said. 'You know he's been through a lot just physically trying to recover from the surgeries he's had. I can't imagine the frustration, how long it took and things he had to do and all the doctors he's met with. His whole story is crazy. We're obviously happy to have him back but not only that, you see him with energy and his presence like he wants. It's been good to see.' Whether Kerr will take his team back to yoga any time soon, time will tell. The Warriors are at the season's midway point and the 'dog days' of January as Kerr has put it. Golden State was home for all but a night from Dec. 26 until leaving for Houston on Thursday for Friday's game against the Rockets, with just a quick bus ride to Sacramento as the lone road trip in a 10-game stretch during that span. Because there was so much time to practice, the yoga day was a nice change of scenery. 'Just to get away and go do something else,' Green said. 'We're still together doing something productive. But, it's not for me.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 21st, 2017

Batang Pier go for top-2 spot against champion SMB

For the seond straight week, two-time defending Philippine Cup champion San Miguel will face the number 2 team in the PBA. But with the Beermen already secured of a quarterfinal slot and a twice-to-beat advantage, this no. 1 vs. no. 2 matchup is certainly more important for the Globalport Batang Pier who currently hold solo second place in the season-opening conference. Entereing this Lapu-Lapu City matchup as winners of back-to-back games, the 5-3 Batang Pier got solo second after Rain or Shine lost Friday to Meralco. But with teams stacked up with five wins apiece, a big victory by the Terrence Romeo and co. will mean a greater chance for the Batang Pier to secure a playoff bonus alongside the Beermen. However, it's not like the chance have nothing at stake here though. Winners of seven straight and currently holding a league-best 8-1 card, one more win by San Miguel means that the Beermen will be the number one overall seed throughout the playoffs. And as winners of the last two All-Filipino tournaments, number one is something that the Beermen have grown accustomed to. Also, reigning three-time MVP June Mar Fajardo wouldn't want to disappoint his hometown crowd right? Gametime is set the the Hopes Dome in Lapu-Lapu at 5:00 p.m. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 21st, 2017

Towns leads Timberwolves past injury-depleted Clippers

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 20th, 2017

Pochettino, Guardiola confounding expectations in EPL

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 20th, 2017

Wenger concerned Chinese wages become benchmark for players

LONDON (AP) — Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is hoping the high quality of competition in Europe will keep players from leaving for the financial gain in China. Wenger is facing regular questions about the future of both Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, and the big money on offer in the Chinese league can complicate negotiations. Argentine striker Carlos Tevez joined Shanghai Shenhua last month in a deal worth $40 million over two years. 'The danger (is) that the Chinese offers become the benchmark for Europe,' Wenger said Thursday. 'You cannot compete with that, but I still think that, when you're a footballer, the first thing is that you want to play against the best players in the best teams.' Wenger said players that want the best compensation for playing in the best quality league need not look to Asia. 'I think that combination is the best in England at the moment, so I don't see why the players should leave the English Premier League,' Wenger said. Wenger, whose team is fourth in the standings, has made only one signing in the January transfer window, picking up defender Cohen Bramall from non-league club Hednesford. Arsenal has also decided to keep captain Per Mertesacker for another season. Wenger announced Thursday that the club has taken up a one-year option to extend the contract of the 32-year-old German, who has not played this season because of a knee injury sustained during a friendly in July. Mertesacker faces a fight to get back into the team because Shkodran Mustafi, an offseason signing from Valencia, has built a strong partrnership with vice captain Laurent Koscielny at the heart of Wenger's defense .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 20th, 2017

Put the pedal to the metal

With their playoff hopes fading fast, Mahindra is just out to take everything it can out of the last three games in its Philippine Cup schedule. Losing to TNT Wednesday, the Floodbuster seem like a longshot of crashing the quarterfinals of the very first PBA conference this season. However, that doesn't mean Mahindra has taken everything for a loss so far in its All-Filipino campaign. “We’re still going game to game right now. We really have a nothing-to-lose-everything-to gain kind of attitude. It’s either we’re going to tank mode or we lift ourselves up from failure,' top deputy Chris Gavina said. 'I’m a big fan of believing that your failures lead to your success, so we’ll build off of this,' he added. After going on a mini two-game winning streak that put life to their otherwise woeful season, the Floodbuster looked primed for an upset after taking over the KaTropa at halftime, erasing an early 10-point deficit to post a six-point lead. Mahindra just wasn't able to sustain in the second half, leading to yet another disappointing defeat, it's sixth in eight games. 'It was a tough loss. We had the momentum for sure,' forward Alex Mallari said who ended up with a game-high 19 points for the Floodbuster. 'We had the momentum going into the second half and I don't know, we took off on the gas pedal. We Weren't aggressive,' he added. Basically looking for a miracle to make the playoffs at this point, Mahindra need not look far to find recipe for success. 'At this stage for us, it's all about team basketball,' Mallari said. 'Just go back to our last two games where we succeeded. Just be aggressive. If you're open, shoot it. Get some threes up. Keep assists coming. We need a lot of it. And defense as a group -- me, including everybody. So we'll get back on the drawing board and try to get another win,' he added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 19th, 2017

Chile amateur goes from no big victories to Masters

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 18th, 2017

Schroder hits go-ahead triple, leads Hawks past Knicks

em>By Brian Mahoney, Associated Press /em> NEW YORK (AP) — Dennis Schroder gave the Hawks the lead and the New York Knicks had three chances to take it back. Derrick Rose, Carmelo Anthony and Joakim Noah, whom they hoped would be the backbone of a contending team, all failed from inside a few feet. 'When things are not going your way, sometimes they go all the way left,' Anthony said. 'That's a shot that I think I could hit in my sleep.' Schroder scored 28 points, including the go-ahead three-pointer with 22 seconds left, to lead the Hawks to a 108-107 victory on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time). Tim Hardaway Jr. added 20 points and Paul Millsap had 17 for the Hawks, who won for the ninth time in 10 games to reach the midpoint of their schedule at 24-17. 'Guys got heart on this team,' said Millsap, who blocked Rose's shot on a drive to the basket before Anthony missed a fairly easy follow. 'Guys compete and when you compete good things happen.' Anthony scored 30 points for the Knicks, who changed their lineup but it wasn't quite good enough. They lost for the 11th time in 13 games. The Hawks rested Dwight Howard, while the Knicks were without Kristaps Porzingis again because of a sore left Achilles tendon. They gave undrafted rookie Ron Baker his first career start and moved Courtney Lee to the bench. Baker helped spark a 10-0 run to start the fourth with a pair of three-pointers, but Schroder kept the Hawks in it all the way while making 13-of-16 shots. 'We knew they were going to make their run,' Hardaway said. 'Their second group does a tremendous job raising the intensity on both ends of the floor. We just had to match that.' It was a much better effort for the Knicks than Sunday (Monday, PHL time), when they reached an embarrassing low by being outscored 27-8 in the third quarter of a 116-101 loss at Toronto. But as usual with the Knicks, the game was only a minor part of the chaos. Anthony responded to questions about a Fanragsports.com piece written by Charley Rosen, a Phil Jackson confidante, that said he had 'outlived his usefulness in New York' by saying that maybe he needed to have a conversation with Jackson if he felt that way. It's unclear if Jackson does, because he has barely spoken publicly this season and not at all to the New York media since preseason, though Rosen posted another piece Monday that his thoughts were his alone. Anthony said he hadn't heard from Jackson and didn't need to. 'My job is to go out there and play ball and I'm not concerned about that,' Anthony said. Anthony made buzzer-beaters to end the second and third quarters, but the Knicks needed one more. 'I was surprised he missed that one,' Millsap said. 'He's made a bunch of tough shots.' strong>TIP-INS /strong> em> strong>Hawks: /strong> /em>The Hawks have won five in a row on the road, their longest streak since a 12-game run in the 2014-15 season. Hardaway, a former Knicks guard, had his ninth 20-point game of the season. em> strong>Knicks: /strong> /em>The Knicks were also without forward Lance Thomas because of a fractured left orbital bone. strong>MARTIN KING LUTHER JR. DAY STATS /strong> The Hawks improved to 17-9 on the holiday, with seven straight victories. The Knicks fell to 20-11 with a two-game winning streak snapped. strong>CARMELO CONCERNS /strong> Anthony has a no-trade clause and would need to agree to any deal. Coach Jeff Hornacek, though only in his first season here, says Anthony, like all players, has to deal with trade speculation. 'I think he does a great job of dealing with it and handling that kind of stuff. But does it affect him? I am sure it does in some way,' Hornacek said. 'But hopefully like most players, the trade deadline comes and goes every year.' strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Hawks: /strong> /em>Visit Detroit on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time). The teams have split two meetings, with the Pistons winning 121-85 in Atlanta on Dec. 2 (Dec. 3, PHL time). em> strong>Knicks: /strong> /em> Visit Boston on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time). The Knicks have lost four straight in the series and four in a row in Boston. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 16th, 2017

Steelers hold off Chiefs on Boswell's 6 field goals, 18-16

BARRY WILNER, AP Pro Football Writer br /> KANSAS CITY, Missouri (AP) — Who needs to reach the end zone when you have Le'Veon Bell chewing up yards and the clock, and Chris Boswell setting an NFL playoff record with six field goals? Throw in a stingy Pittsburgh defense for most of Sunday night, and a multitude of mistakes by Kansas City, and the Steelers' 18-16 victory sent them into the AFC championship game. The Steelers (13-5) needed to hold off a last-ditch threat by the Chiefs (12-5) before advancing to face New England next Sunday night for a spot in the Super Bowl. The Patriots won at Pittsburgh 27-16, but Ben Roethlisberger was injured and didn't play. Spencer Ware's 1-yard touchdown run took Kansas City within 18-16. The Chiefs at first converted the 2-pointer to tie it, but tackle Eric Fisher — the first overall selection in the 2013 draft — was penalized for holding. The next try failed. With 2:43 remaining, Justin Gilbert misplayed the kick return and was tackled at the Pittsburgh 5. Roethlisberger hit Antonio Brown for 7 yards on third down and Pittsburgh then ran out the clock, securing a ninth straight victory for the Steelers. The Chiefs have not won a home playoff game since 1994, losing five in a row. The scoring started furiously in the opening minutes, then the game became a kicking exhibition by Boswell, who also had six field goals in the regular season against Cincinnati. And Bell put on a virtuoso running performance, patiently finding holes and then exploding through them. He added a team-record 170 yards rushing to the 167 he had in a win over Miami last week. The Steelers became first team to win a playoff game without a TD since eventual Super Bowl champion Indianapolis in the 2006 AFC divisional round at Baltimore. Using a no-huddle attack almost to perfection early on, the Steelers drove deep into Kansas City territory. But they bogged down inside the 5 and Boswell made a 22-yard field goal. The Chiefs were just as efficient on a six-play march capped by receiver Albert Wilson lining up in the backfield, then slipping uncovered into the end zone for a 5-yard score. Pittsburgh's answer came on a 52-yard heave to All-Pro Brown, who somehow was covered by linebacker Justin Houston. That led to Boswell's second field goal, a 38-yarder. He added a 36-yarder to cap a 14-play drive on which Pittsburgh again barely huddled. A clean game up until then turned to, well, turnovers, on successive series. Bud Dupree pounded Alex Smith, whose pass shot high into the air and was caught by linebacker Ryan Shazier. The Steelers got to the Kansas City 5, where Frank Zombo leaped to deflect Roethlisberger's throw, and All-Pro safety Eric Berry — burned for 26 yards on the previously play — picked it off in the end zone. Boswell's fourth field goal, from 45 yards, made it 12-7 at the half. His 43-yarder, setting the franchise record for a postseason game and tying the league mark of five, came on Pittsburgh's first series of the second half. A 43-yarder midway in the fourth quarter gave Boswell the NFL record. Kansas City's Cairo Santos got in on the kicking act with a 48-yarder to make it 15-10. At that point, 10 seconds from the end of the third quarter, the Chiefs were outgained 333 yards to 150. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 16th, 2017