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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

Jamaica scores early, holds off Canada 2-1 in Gold Cup

BOB BAUM, AP Sports Writer   GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Jamaica got an early goal from Shaun Francis and led the rest of the way, holding off Canada 2-1 in the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Gold Cup on Thursday night. Romario Williams put Jamaica up 2-0 five minutes into the second half. Canada's Junior Hoilett scored on a soaring shot from well beyond the penalty area in the 61st minute. In the semifinals Sunday at the Rose Bowl, Jamaica will face Mexico, a 1-0 winner over Honduras in the second game of the doubleheader. Mexico beat Jamaica 3-1 in the Gold Cup championship match two years ago. 'In 2015 we had a more experienced team,' Jamaica coach Theodore Whitmore said. 'This team is a more mixture of young and we're in a rebuilding process. They were hungry tonight for the victory.' Canada was in the Gold Cup quarterfinals for the first time since 2009 and hasn't made it to the semis since 2007. This was said to be Canada's best team in years but it had to play from behind virtually all night against the stingy Jamaican defense. Hoilett's goal was only the second allowed in the tournament's four games by Andre Blake, who plays for Philadelphia and was named outstanding goalkeeper in Major League Soccer last season. Among Blake's saves Thursday was one on a point-blank header by Alvis Powell. That shot came moments after Powell's left-footed attempt went just left of the Jamaica net. It was that kind of evening for Canada in a match played before a sparse audience before the anticipated horde of Mexican fans began filtering in to University of Phoenix Stadium. 'The effort and drive to win and put a body in harm's way was there. For that I am extremely satisfied,' said Octavio Zambrano, named Canada's coach just four months ago. 'Jamaica decided to drop back and give us the ball and then go for the counter. We did out part and they did theirs.' Jamaica speedster Darren Mattox, who like Powell plays for the Portland Timbers, set up both of his team's goals. Mattox's cross six minutes into the match found Francis, from the San Jose Earthquake, wide open. Francis drilled the shot into the net just left of Canadian goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau. In the match's 50th minute, Mattox controlled the ball inside against a tight defense, then passed to Williams, who lined the ball into the net from just outside the penalty area. Canada had the ball almost all of the rest of the game, breaking through when Hoilett's shot from sailed over everyone between him and the net, settling in the upper right corner of the net, just past Blake's outstretched arms. The Canadians had 13 shots on goal to just seven for Jamaica. The Canadians also dominated the ball, possessing it 64 percent of the game. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 21st, 2017

Sanchez scores early but Chile held by Germany to a 1-1 draw

em>By Tales Azzoni, Associated Press /em> KAZAN, Russia (AP) — Alexis Sanchez became Chile's all-time leading scorer as they were held by Germany to 1-1 in the Confederations Cup on Thursday. Both teams were in a good position to make the semifinals. Sanchez netted his 38th goal for Chile after a smart pass by Arturo Vidal in the sixth minute. The ball hit the near post before crossing the line to allow him to eclipse Marcelo Salas as the highest scorer for the national team. 'It makes me very happy to have become the team's greatest scorer,' Sanchez said. 'I'm happy for what the team has done, for our effort. We are confident that we can win this tournament.' Suffering from an ankle sprain, Sanchez did not start the first game of the pre-World Cup tournament, playing only a few minutes in the win over Cameroon. Germany, with only three players from its 2014 World Cup-winning team, played catch-up most of time against the more experienced Chileans, but earned the draw after Lars Stindl scored from close range in a counterattack just before halftime. The result left both teams with four points each in Group B, three more than Australia and Cameroon, which played out a 1-1 draw hours earlier in St. Petersburg. 'I saw a very intense match, marked by very strategical play,' Joachim Loew said after missing out on his 100th victory as Germany coach. 'The key was to have a very well-structured defensive line. Given this young and inexperienced team, we played at a very high level.' Chile coach Juan Antonio Pizzi agreed on it being a very technical game. Chile, trying to win its first major international tournament after winning consecutive Copa Americas, was in control for most of the match in front of 38,222 fans at Kazan Arena, holding on to possession and creating chances with Sanchez and Eduardo Vargas up front. Germany improved toward the end, grabbing control of the middle of the pitch, but neither team was able to create many significant chances to break the deadlock. Chile opened the scoring after a pass by Germany defender Shkodran Mustafi was intercepted by Sanchez near the box. Arturo Vidal picked up the ball and quickly sent it back to Sanchez. The ball hit the near post before crossing the line as Germany goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen could only watch. Germany, with a lineup slightly changed from the opening win against Australia, equalized in the 41st after Jonas Hector deceived the defense on the left side of the area and made a well-timed cross for Stindl's close-range goal. Vargas, who has 34 goals for Chile, almost added to the lead in the first half with a powerful shot that struck the crossbar. Sanchez came close to scoring his second a few minutes later with a low left-foot shot that required a difficult save by Ter Stegen. Chile was still without regular starting goalkeeper Claudio Bravo because of a calf injury. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 23rd, 2017

Mangulabnan: extra motivated when playing the Wrecking Balls

Cignal’s Vince Raphael Mangulabnan didn’t look contrite after categorically saying he was snubbed during the tryouts this year for the Philippine team. He didn’t even mince words telling why. “Go on, publish everything I said about the tryouts,” he dared the sportswriter fresh from the HD Spikers’ four-set humbling of the Sta. Elena Wrecking Balls, 25-14, 17-25, 25-19, 25-21, May 30 in their last preliminary match in the Premier Volleyball League.     Mangulabnan, who came from a family of setters in Lipa City, Batangas, was holding back no punches as he continued to bare that he was personally motivated as well to win that game over Sta. Elena, whose two setters had been both picked over him to join the current national training pool.      “I put my heart and soul in that game,” said he in a composed voice. “I wanted to prove personally that I am also a worthy setter.”   The game stats went in his favor, overwhelmingly so, to his utter satisfaction. Alternating with teammate Glacy Ralph Diezmo, another noteworthy playmaker, Mangulabnan accounted for 31 of the HD Spikers’ total of 36 excellent sets as against the 18 out of 36 of his prime counterpart on the Wrecking Balls.  He was quick to set things right. “I don’t begrudge those two guys’ positions in the national training pool. They are also very deserving. It’s not their fault that they were chosen over me. What rankled was the way I was treated during the tryouts. Like I was a non-entity.”        As it turned out, Mangulabnan, a father of one and graduating Information Technology student from National University, and Cignal will tangle with Sta. Elena Construction at least twice more in the semifinal playoffs of the opening Conference of the inaugural season of the PVL, a joint undertaking of the organizing Sports Vision, Asics as official league partner, and Mikasa as the official game ball.       Heavy favorite Air Force plays Army in the other semifinal best-of-three showdown.   strong>Hopeful but wary /strong> Mangulabnan set out for the national tryouts with hope and caution. His chances of making it soared upon finding out that Jessie Lopez of Air Force ad Ish Pulvorosa of Ateneo, a pair of multi-awarded setters, were not among the aspirants.     In the back of his mind, though, lurked the anxiety of meeting again the coaching staff overseeing the tryouts, the same people who used to be his mentors on Cignal and whom he had greatly displeased when he bravely raised an issue with them. Somehow he already had an inkling of what was to happen to him. As he told it, he was made to wait for hours on the first day of the tryouts before he was sent in to the court to play not even a whole match. “It was worse in the next two days. After a long wait that really tested my patience, I was made to set for only two sets while the other aspirants for the same   position, those from College of St. Benilde and Perpetual Help College particularly, played game after game after game.” He stopped attending the tryouts, unable to quell the growing self-pity gnawing at his heart.  And so one of the two remaining unfulfilled items in his bucket list, to suit up for flag and country, will have to wait another time.   He has to wait a whole school year as well before the second one – to graduate from his IT studies -- comes to fruition.    Mangulabnan, a setter since grade school in La Salle-Lipa, credits his training as an athlete for the ease with which he manages his time. On weekdays he attends classes from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., then flies to Cignal’s three-hour training on Katipunan, commutes home to Bustillos next, plays with three-year-old Vince Isaiah if he’s still awake, and studies till the wee hours of the morning, a decidedly killing schedule for most mortals like you and me.    Being an athlete, one who distinguished his five-year UAAP stint with back-to-back championships for the National U Bulldogs, has given him, he said, the fitness and endurance to cope even with less rest or sleep. If he has no games or training, you cannot take him away from his unico hijo and partner Irene Mae, a registered nurse, on weekends usually spent with his mom and siblings in Lipa City. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 3rd, 2017

Pivotal Game 5 awaits Boston as it returns home vs. Wizards

em>By Kyle Hightower, Associated Press /em> BOSTON (AP) — After four games, the Eastern Conference semifinal matchup between the Celtics and Wizards is exactly back where it began. Following back-to-back comeback wins by the East’s top seed in the first two games in Boston, Washington returned the favor with a pair of dominant wins on its home court. The series now shifts back to the Garden for a pivotal game five matchup on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time). The winner of game five in an NBA best-of-7 series tied at 2-2 has gone on to win the series 83 percent of the time (162-34), according to ESPN Stats & Info. While happy to return to friendlier confines, the Celtics say they aren’t feeling any added pressure despite being unable to recover from game-changing runs by the Wizards in games three and four. “That’s the playoffs for you,” Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas said. “We said it before the playoffs started, you lose a couple and you might get swept. I mean, that’s what the world is gonna say. ‘You’re not good enough to be here,’ or you win a couple and everybody loves you.” Meanwhile, Washington may have found the anecdote to containing Boston’s leading scorer — making the game as physical as possible. Thomas has managed just 13 and 19 points, respectively, over the last two games, while being held to 22 field goal attempts. That comes after his 53-point night in game two′s overtime win. Despite having to win at least one game at the Garden over the next three games to advance, Wizards point guard John Wall said their confidence is higher than it was at the start of the series. “We have a lot of confidence, understanding that we had a chance to win all four games,” said Wall, who is coming off a 27-point, 12-assist effort in Game 4. “Even though we only won two, and they won two at their place, we had an opportunity to win those games even though we didn’t shoot the ball well or we didn’t play great defense.” Here are some things to know about Wednesday night’s (Thursday, PHL time) game five: ___ em> strong>NEED TO KNOW: /strong> /em>Wizards forward Kelly Oubre Jr. can expect to get a cold reception from Boston’s fans. Oubre returns to action after serving a one-game suspension for charging over Celtics center Kelly Olynyk in game three. Washington coach Scott Brooks was asked Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time) about what advice he had for Oubre. “Bring some ear plugs,” he said after a long pause. “They’re definitely going to let him have it. But you just go out there and play, play hard.” em> strong>KEEP AN EYE ON: /strong> /em> Isaiah Thomas’ free-throw attempts. The All-Star said he felt the Wizards were able to get away with holding and grabbing him at times during a game four loss in which he didn’t once visit the foul line. But he said he hadn’t been contacted by the league office about a fine for criticizing the officiating. “I felt like things should be called different. But I didn’t say that’s the reason why we lost,” Thomas said. “So I don’t feel like I should get anything.” em> strong>INJURY UPDATE: /strong> /em> Celtics guard Avery Bradley suffered a left hip-pointer in game four after being slowed by a right hip-pointer in game two. But Stevens said he is set to go for game five. em> strong>PRESSURE IS ON: /strong> /em> The Wizards. Though Boston is the higher seed, the Celtics will get all kinds of energy returning home, and Washington can set itself up with a closeout opportunity at home for game six with a win. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 10th, 2017

Higuain and Buffon star at each end as Juventus beats Monaco

JEROME PUGMIRE, AP Sports Writer br /> MONACO (AP) — Striker Gonzalo Higuain displayed some worth for his huge transfer fee and Gianluigi Buffon showed he is still priceless in goal, each starring as Juventus won 2-0 at Monaco in the first leg of their Champions League semifinal. Higuain scored a goal in each half on Wednesday, doubling his tally from 24 previous matches in the knockout stages. 'Goals were not coming for me in this competition,' said Higuain, who cost Juventus 90 million euros ($98 million) when he joined from Napoli. 'I knew I just had to stay calm and keep working hard.' He did, relentlessly, at both ends of the pitch. Moments before his second goal, he was near his own penalty area, harrying and hassling Monaco's attack. 'When you want to win big games, you have to make sacrifices and track back,' Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said, complimenting his star striker. He had a special praise, too, for the 39-year-old Buffon on the goalkeeper's 100th Champions League appearance for the club. Buffon made two early saves from Monaco striker Kylian Mbappe with the score 0-0, thwarted top scorer Radamel Falcao with a fine stop just after the break and denied Monaco a lifeline with a stunning finger-tip save over the bar from substitute Valere Germain's close-range header in the last minute. 'He's still No. 1 in the world,' Allegri said. 'He is always decisive in the big games.' Little wonder center-half Giorgio Chiellini rushed over to hug Buffon at the final whistle. 'Gigi was perfect,' Chiellini said. Juventus gave a masterclass in how to withstand pressure and then punish on the counter attack, with both of Higuain's goals coming after good Monaco spells. 'This could become an extraordinary season for us,' Allegri said of his team's bid for a title treble. Higuain pounced in the 29th minute, side-footing home after Dani Alves had latched onto his pass down the right before back-heeling the ball back to the Argentina striker as he sprinted into the area. Higuain hadn't scored against Barcelona in the quarterfinals, and this goal clearly meant a lot. The Juventus bench rose as one after Higuain slid in to turn home a deep cross in the 59th, with Alves again the provider. The winner plays either Real Madrid or city rival Atletico, with Real heading into the return leg at Atletico with a 3-0 cushion thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo's hat trick on Tuesday. Monaco's vaunted attack was blunted by a solid Juventus defense that has now conceded only two goals in 11 Champions League games. The sheer speed of Juventus' approach play took Monaco by surprise, prompting coach Leonardo Jardim to frantically gesticulate to his players early to close down their opponents higher up the pitch. Forward Paulo Dybala's ability to roam between the lines baffled Monaco, opening up space for Alves on the right wing. The first goal came just moments after Glik went down holding his face, urging his teammates to kick the ball out despite a promising attack building down the left. It took the momentum away for Monaco. Monaco attacked relentlessly after the break, with Buffon diving at the feet of Mbappe minutes after his save from Falcao. 'In every game I want to show that I deserve to play at this level, despite my age,' Buffon said. 'The day I quit, I want people to be sad about it.' Monaco found little success through the middle and so opted for speed down the flanks. But the Juventus defense often had every angle covered, and Buffon was there when they didn't. 'With two or three chances they scored twice, and from the same number we couldn't,' Jardim said. 'But that is also down to Buffon. He made two or three incredible saves.' It was a brutal lesson for a young Monaco team that is rich with flair, but was found out by two-time champion Juventus, which lost the 2015 final to Barcelona. The difference in composure was highlighted by the second goal. After defensive midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko gave possession away carelessly down the right, Alves patiently waited for Higuain to change his initial run to the penalty spot, and lofted over a precise pass that fell perfectly into his path at the back post. Higuain seemed to know it would land there: the instinct of a top striker. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 4th, 2017

Leonard, Mills lead Spurs by Grizzlies for 3-2 series lead

em>By Raul Dominguez, Associated Press /em> SAN ANTONIO -- Kawhi Leonard had 28 points and the San Antonio Spurs rebounded from two discouraging road losses to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 116-103 on Tuesday night (Wednesday, PHL time) and take a 3-2 lead in their first-round series. San Antonio shot 14-for-28 on three-point attempts, two off its postseason record, including 5-for-7 shooting by Patty Mills. Mills finished with 20 points and Tony Parker added 16. Mike Conley had 26 points and Marc Gasol added 17 for the Grizzlies, who have lost nine straight postseason games in San Antonio. With each team winning on its homecourt, game six is Thursday night (Friday, PHL time) in Memphis. The Spurs went on an 11-0 run shortly after switching Leonard onto Conley defensively, holding the Grizzlies scoreless for 2:46 midway through the first quarter. But it was the few times either team had success defensively. San Antonio shot 53 percent from the field and Memphis shot 52 percent in a surprisingly explosive game between teams renowned for their defense. Conley had seven points during a 17-3 run bridging the third and fourth quarters to pull Memphis within 87-83 with nine minutes remaining. The teams exchanged baskets over a three-minute span before consecutive three-pointers by Mills helped break the game open for San Antonio. After failing to score in the first four games, Manu Ginobili had six points in 33 seconds in the first quarter and finished with 10 points. James Ennis III had 11 points and Andrew Harrison added nine, as both took advantage of Leonard leaving them to help defensively during the second and third quarters. strong>TIP-INS /strong> em> strong>Grizzlies: /strong> /em> Conley and Gasol are the only Memphis players to score in double figures in all four games. Zach Randolph had nine points and six rebounds Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time) after averaging 17 points and 9.7 rebounds in the previous three games. Randolph was held to six points and three rebounds in game one. Tony Allen remained out with an injury to his right leg after being kicked in the calf during Memphis' regular-season finale against Dallas. Ennis was 4-for-9 from the field in scoring 11 points after averaging 7.0 points in the previous four games. em> strong>Spurs: /strong> /em> San Antonio's franchise record for three-pointers made is 16 against Miami in the 2013 NBA Finals. Leonard has scored in double figures in 25 straight playoff games, the longest streak in franchise history since Tim Duncan had 26 from 2011-2013. The Spurs have lost three straight only once this season, dropping their final three games of the regular season after clinching the second seed. They have lost two straight on four occasions, including back-to-back losses in Memphis in this series. Dewayne Dedmon returned after missing game four due to an illness. Ginobili's eight points in the opening quarter are the most he scored in any quarter of a playoff game since scoring nine in the 2014 NBA Finals. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 26th, 2017

Rashford proving viable alternative to Ibrahimovic at United

STEVE DOUGLAS, AP Sports Writer   MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been many things for Manchester United this season: A leader, a guaranteed source of goals, an inspiration to the club's youngsters on and off the field. But, in one way, has he been holding the team back? Ibrahimovic was dropped to the bench for United's Premier League game against Chelsea on Sunday and his replacement, 19-year-old Marcus Rashford, produced an electric, goal-scoring display in a 2-0 win. Rashford did what Ibrahimovic doesn't do — stretched the opposition defense, chased long balls, worried his markers with his pace and directness. He illuminated Old Trafford with his energy, making for the best atmosphere in the famous stadium all season. Everything about United was quicker and more vibrant, and it all stemmed from the movement of Rashford and his strike partner on the day, Jesse Lingard. It is unlikely to stop United manager Jose Mourinho recalling Ibrahimovic to the starting lineup on Thursday for the second leg of a Europa League quarterfinal against Anderlecht that is well poised at 1-1 after the first game in Belgium last week. But Mourinho knows now there is a thrilling and viable alternative to the Swedish striker, which may even benefit the team. 'With his quality,' United defender Matteo Darmian said of Rashford, 'he can be one of the top players, one of the most important players, in the world.' Ibrahimovic has scored 28 goals this season, proving a revelation in his first year in England and a man for the big occasion — notably his double in the victory over Southampton in the English League Cup final. But there have also been many matches where United has labored in attack and been unable to break down packed teams, with everything going through Ibrahimovic and sometimes making Mourinho's side predictable. There are echoes of Rashford's situation over at Paris Saint-Germain, where Edinson Cavani has come into his own as the team's main striker — scoring 43 goals this season — since Ibrahimovic left last summer. Cavani often had to settle for a place on the wing when Ibrahimovic played at PSG, limiting his effectiveness. Like many teams that visit Old Trafford, Anderlecht, the Belgian champion, will likely be on the defensive on Thursday and look to frustrate United's players before hitting them on the counterattack. It might need a piece of genius from Ibrahimovic to break open the game. Or will it be Rashford, from the wing or off the substitutes' bench, who shines for United? Here's a look at the other second legs in the quarterfinals: ___ BESIKTAS vs. LYON (Lyon leads 2-1) What a week it has been for Lyon — for all the wrong reasons. Against Besiktas last week, there was widespread fighting as rival fans clashed inside and outside the stadium. A few days later, Lyon's players were attacked on the field by angry Bastia fans in a French league match, with goalkeeper Anthony Lopes trading blows. The last thing Lyon needs is more incidents in Istanbul, where the atmosphere is likely to be tense and security high, given what happened in the first leg. Lyon's players will need to find some away form. Lyon has scored freely at home all season but struggled away with only two wins on the road since the turn of the year. Still, Lyon will be favorite to reach its third European semifinal after reaching the last four of the Champions League in 2010 and the now-defunct European Cup Winners' Cup in 1964. ___ SCHALKE vs. AJAX (Ajax leads 2-0) Schalke's season is starting to unravel. After losing to Ajax in Amsterdam, Markus Weinzierl's side lost 2-1 at last-place Darmstadt in the German league for a third defeat in four games, leaving the team in 11th place and struggling to qualify for European competition next season. In a way, it's typical of the club's dysfunctional season, which began with five straight losses in the Bundesliga. Ajax warmed up Sunday with a 5-1 win over Heerenveen to keep its Dutch title hopes alive. ___ GENK vs. CELTA VIGO (Celta Vigo leads 3-2) A draw against Genk in Belgium will secure Celta Vigo a spot in the semifinal of a top European club competition for the first time. The Spanish club is boosted by victories in its last three away games in European competitions. Genk, also seeking its first semifinal appearance, is unbeaten in eight home matches in European competitions. ___ AP Sports Writers Jerome Pugmire in Monaco and Tales Azzoni in Madrid, and Associated Press writer Ciaran Fahey in Berlin contributed to this report. ___ Steve Douglas is at www.twitter.com/sdouglas80 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 20th, 2017

Mets beat Marlins in 16th inning, Cubs defeat Dodgers

The Associated Press br /> MIAMI (AP) — Travis d'Arnaud led off the 16th inning with a home run, giving him a career-high four hits, as the New York Mets beat the Miami Marlins 9-8 Thursday night for their fifth straight win. The game was the longest in the five-year history of Marlins Park. It took more than 5 1/2 hours and ended well past midnight. D'Arnaud also had a bases-loaded triple in the second and teammate Yoenis Cespedes had his second multihomer game in three nights. D'Arnaud's homer came on the 475th pitch of the night and the first from Adam Conley (1-1). Marlins relievers retired 13 consecutive batters before the homer. Miami's Marcell Ozuna hit a grand slam in the first inning, increasing his RBI total to 16, the most in the majors. Neither team had a runner in scoring position in extra innings until Miami's 15th. Miguel Rojas led off with a single and advanced on a sacrifice but was stranded by Hansel Robles (2-0), who pitched two scoreless innings. CUBS 4, DODGERS 0 CHICAGO (AP) — Brett Anderson beat his former team with five solid innings and center fielder Albert Almora Jr. made two outstanding catches against the ivy to lead the Cubs past the Los Angeles Dodgers. Anderson (1-0) won in his Wrigley Field debut for the Cubs. The lefty lowered his ERA to 0.84 through two starts with his new club. Anderson, the only member of the Cubs without a World Series ring after Wednesday's celebration, allowed three hits but walked four. He stranded seven runners, helped by Almora's defense. Anthony Rizzo and Addison Russell hit long solo home runs, their first of the season. Both came off Hyun-Jin Ryu (0-2). Rizzo's drive to right field in the first inning opened the scoring and sent a fan's beer all over the bleachers. Russell's homer to left in the fourth landed on Waveland Avenue. ROCKIES 3, GIANTS 1 SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Trevor Story hit a two-run homer as five Colorado pitchers combined on a five-hitter. Colorado starter Jon Gray left with a re-aggravated toe injury after allowing one hit in three scoreless innings. Chris Rusin (1-0) pitched the next 3 1/3 innings, allowing one run and two hits. Adam Ottavino got four straight outs, Mike Dunn got one more and Greg Holland pitched the ninth for his sixth straight save this season. Gray originally hurt the big toe on his left foot during spring training. It was unclear whether he reinjured the toe during this game and the Rockies did not immediately say whether he'll miss his next start. Story's first home run of the season came with two outs in the fourth inning against Giants starter Madison Bumgarner (0-2), who allowed three runs and six hits in six innings. He struck out eight. TWINS 11, TIGERS 5 DETROIT (AP) — Max Kepler, Miguel Sano and Robbie Grossman homered for Minnesota as the Twins took advantage of an uncharacteristically wild outing by Jordan Zimmermann. Zimmermann (1-1) allowed five runs and four hits in 4 2/3 innings, walking a career-high five. Anibal Sanchez was even worse for the Tigers in relief, allowing six runs in 1 1/3 innings and letting two of Zimmermann's runners score on Kepler's three-run homer in the fifth. Grossman hit a two-run shot in the third and Sano connected for a three-run homer in the sixth. Phil Hughes (2-0) allowed four runs and five hits in 5 2/3 innings. Justin Haley worked the final 3 1/3 innings to earn his first career save, striking out six. Miguel Cabrera and Justin Upton each hit their first home run of the season for the Tigers. RANGERS 8, ANGELS 3 ANAHEIM, California (AP) — Yu Darvish pitched seven scoreless innings and Carlos Gomez hit a leadoff homer in Texas' victory over Los Angeles. Nomar Mazara also homered and Robinson Chirinos drove in three runs to help the Rangers take two of three from their AL West rivals. Darvish (1-1) struck out 10 and limited the Angels to five singles and two walks, improving to 8-2 in his career against the Angels. Danny Espinosa hit a three-run homer with two outs in the ninth for the Angels. Ricky Nolasco (0-2) was the loser. RED SOX 4, PIRATES 3 BOSTON (AP) — Xander Bogaerts' RBI single capped a three-run rally in the eighth inning, lifting Boston past Pittsburgh in a makeup game from a rainout in the opening series. Boston ended up sweeping Pittsburgh in three games after taking the first two games of the season. Matt Barnes (2-0) worked one inning of hitless relief, and Craig Kimbrel pitched the ninth for his third save. Juan Nicasio (0-2) was the loser. Andrew McCutchen homered for Pittsburgh. ROYALS 3, ATHLETICS 1 KANSAS CITY, Missouri (AP) — Jason Vargas carried a shutout into the eighth as Kansas City finally generated some early offense to snap an eight-game losing streak against the A's. Vargas (2-0) scattered four hits and a walk over 7 2/3 innings, striking out eight, in his second straight crisp performance. The left-hander only allowed one runner to reach second base in his longest outing since 2014, when Vargas shut out the Athletics at Kauffman Stadium. Kelvin Herrera served up a homer to Rajai Davis and a double to Jed Lowrie in the ninth but bounced back to retire the next three batters and earn his first save. Lorenzo Cain and Salvador Perez drove in runs off A's starter Jesse Hahn (0-1) in the first, and Brandon Moss added a lazy sacrifice fly in the third. YANKEES 3, RAYS 2 NEW YORK (AP) — Aaron Hicks homered twice, including a go-ahead, two-run drive in the seventh inning, as the Yankees moved above .500 for the first time this season. Luis Severino (1-0) struck out a career-high 11 in seven innings, including four of his last five batters. The Yankees completed a three-game sweep and won their fourth in a row following a 1-4 start. Hicks homered in the first off Matt Andriese batting left-handed and connected right-handed against Xavier Cedeno to erase a 2-1 deficit. Ronald Torreyes singled with one out in the seventh off Erasmo Ramirez and Rays manager Kevin Cash brought in Cedeno (1-1), the only lefty in his bullpen. Jacoby Ellsbury grounded into a forceout, and Hicks sent a changeup into the left-field seats. ORIOLES 2, BLUE JAYS 1 TORONTO (AP) — Orioles closer Zach Britton escaped a nervy ninth inning as Baltimore handed Toronto its sixth straight loss. The Blue Jays, off to a franchise-worst 1-8 start, also lost star slugger Josh Donaldson in the sixth when he aggravated the sore right calf that kept him out of Tuesday's home opener. Kevin Gausman (1-0) pitched six innings for his first victory in nine career appearances at Rogers Centre. Britton took over in the ninth and put runners on second and third before holding on for his fourth save by retiring Kevin Pillar on a grounder then getting pinch hitter and former teammate Steve Pearce on a flyball. Francisco Liriano (0-1) struck out 10 and gave up two runs and five hits in 6 2/3 innings. WHITE SOX 10, INDIANS 4 CLEVELAND (AP) — Tim Anderson homered on the game's first pitch and Matt Davidson added a three-run shot in a five-run first inning as Chicago beat slumping Cleveland. The defending AL champion Indians have lost five of six after sweeping Texas to begin the season and dropped to 4-5. Anderson hit Josh Tomlin's first pitch onto the porch in left field while Davidson lined a two-out homer to right-center. Tomlin (0-2) gave up seven runs in 1 2/3 innings. Cleveland used five pitchers in the first eight innings, forcing infielder Michael Martinez to work the ninth. Making his first career appearance on the mound, Martinez gave up a single but retired the other three hitters on grounders. Avisail Garcia was 3 for 4 with three RBIs. Anthony Swarzak (1-0) relieved starter Miguel Gonzalez in the fifth and allowed one hit in 1 2/3 innings. BREWERS 5, REDS 1 CINCINNATI (AP) — Ryan Braun and Eric Thames homered and Jimmy Nelson turned in his second straight strong start as Milwaukee snapped Cincinnati's four-game winning streak. At 5-5, the Brewers reached .500 for the first time since last April. Nelson (1-0) gave up one run and five hits in seven innings, striking out five without a walk. Last week against the Cubs, he threw six solid innings. Nelson also put down a sacrifice bunt in the third that moved runners up to second and third to set up Jonathan Villar's run-scoring groundout and Thames' RBI single. Bronson Arroyo (0-2) allowed five runs and seven hits in six innings. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 14th, 2017

Spurs surprise: Alli overlooked by fellow pros for accolade

ROB HARRIS, AP Global Soccer Writer br /> LONDON (AP) — When the shortlist for English soccer's player of the year was released on Thursday, Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino found Harry Kane's name as expected. But where was Dele Alli? Not among the six leading players in the country, according to the midfielder's fellow professionals who voted. 'He showed a great performance every week, every game,' Pochettino said, puzzled by Alli's omission. 'He's improved a lot. From last season, I think he's a better player, he's showing better stats and in my opinion, yes, he deserves (the nomination).' For the 16 goals and five assists in the Premier League, more than any other player who isn't an out-and-out striker and with such variety: With both feet — from distance and tap-ins — and with his head. For the way he links up play and leaves defenders trailing in his wake, enabling Tottenham to attack with speed, precision, and unpredictability. The English youngster even finds time to formulate intricate goal celebrations involving a variety of handshakes with teammates. 'The way we play at Tottenham this season, has allowed me to be higher up the pitch and get goals and assists,' Alli said. 'Hopefully I can help the team and chip in with some more goals.' Alli was playing in the third tier just two years ago with Milton Keynes Dons, and Tottenham secured him for a bargain five million pounds after being recommended by former manager David Pleat. 'He was very athletic and he can run to the box comfortably,' Pleat recalled telling Tottenham ahead of the 2015 transfer. 'He has got a nice stride and is decent in the air. He was more of a holding player although he got quite forward.' Alli's career progress has been outstanding in his two seasons at Tottenham, having also scored 10 goals and contributed nine assists in his first Premier League campaign. But the midfielder, who turned 21 on Tuesday, might just have to settle with winning the Professional Footballers' Association's young player accolade for the second successive season at the ceremony on April 23. Alli's teammate, Kane, is the only Englishman shortlisted for the main award. There are three other strikers in the running: Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United) and Romelu Lukaku (Everton). Runway leader Chelsea provided two contenders: Winger Eden Hazard and midfield favorite N'Golo Kante. But Alli's impact, for a player so young, seems to warrant so much more in Pochettino's eyes. 'After his first season in the Premier League always the people want to see again in the second season if he can confirm all that he showed last season,' Pochettino said ahead of second-place Tottenham's home game against Bournemouth on Saturday. 'Not only did he confirm that, he's improved in all aspects of his game. That means he's clever, intelligent, still with potential to improve and learn, and today he's showing that he's one of the best players in the Premier League.' Coupled with Kane's firepower in front of goal, Alli has powered Tottenham's charge up the Premier League in back-to-back campaigns with versatility that can see him utilized as an auxiliary striker or a wide player. Such regular title challenges are unheard of at the club that hasn't won the league since 1961. Eradicating Chelsea's seven-point lead is an onerous task with only seven games remaining, but even holding onto second place would represent progress for a Tottenham side that collapsed late last season. It will also secure a second successive ticket to the Champions League for the first time in Tottenham history. Alli, though, stands to miss half of the six European group stage games next season through a suspension imposed by UEFA for a rash tackle last month as Tottenham exited the Europa League. And if there's one flaw to Alli's game it's those hot-headed, impulsive moments of rage. A healthy dose of aggression is a valued trait, but his temperament has to be controlled. 'That's one of the things I have to learn to change — not maybe to play with less aggression, but how I react in different situations is something I am looking to improve,' Alli said recently, as he readily fielded questions about his mindset without his media minder intervening. 'I have been working on it, hopefully people can see that. 'That's the player I am, I've always been like that since I was younger. It's about getting it under control and I think I've been doing that.' Alli, though, won't care about individual awards if Chelsea can somehow be overhauled from the summit. Regardless of Tottenham's results, Chelsea will be guaranteed the title by winning five of its remaining seven fixtures. That run-in has Antonio Conte's Chelsea visiting former manager Jose Mourinho's fifth-placed Manchester United on Sunday.   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 14th, 2017

Raptors prep for playoffs, beat "resting" Cavaliers 98-83

em>By Tom Withers, Associated Press /em> CLEVELAND (AP) -- Jonas Valanciunas made his first career three-pointer and the Toronto Raptors closed the regular season with a 98-83 win on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time) over the Cleveland Cavaliers, who didn't play their 'Big 3' All-Stars so they're playoff ready. Norman Powell scored 25 points as the Raptors beat the Cavs for the first time in four tries this season and gave the defending champions something to think about if they meet in the postseason. Cleveland took Toronto down in six games in last year's Eastern Conference finals. Although there was still a chance to secure the No. 1 seed in the East, the Cavs put more value on rest and sat LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. Cleveland fell to 0-4 in games this season without the trio and 0-8 minus James. The Cavs did get forward Tristan Thompson back after he missed four games with a sprained right thumb. Wearing a brace that he'll sport in the playoffs, Thompson scored 10 points in 18 minutes. Cleveland also got its first look at newly signed 7’3” center Edy Tavares, who blocked six shots and grabbed 10 rebounds. The Raptors, too, chose to keep legs fresh as All-Star forward DeMar DeRozan (flu-like symptoms) and Serge Ibaka watched. This game looked more like a preseason exhibition than a matchup between two of the league's top teams. Both Toronto coach Dwane Casey and Cleveland's Tyronn Lue opted to get players off their feet and played reserves after halftime. The biggest highlight was Valanciunas' long shot. Playing in his 363rd career game, the seven-foot Lithuanian caught a pass and transition and stepped behind the line before knocking down just his second 3-point attempt. He backpedaled on defense and raised his arms in triumph as his teammates celebrated as if he had just hit a game-winner. James, who will attempt to get to his seventh straight Finals in the coming weeks, stayed in street clothes while Irving and Love wore their warmups for Cleveland's final home game. It was a somewhat fitting ending to the 82-game schedule for the Cavs, who at times seemed bored with the regular season and also endured injuries and roster upheaval. But the club's inconsistency and an outside belief they are vulnerable and can get knocked out before the Finals, Lue remains confident his team will step up when it matters most. 'It's enough talking and the playoffs are here,' Lue said. 'We either got to put up or shut up, and I think we'll put up.' strong>TIP-INS /strong> em> strong>Raptors: /strong> /em> G Kyle Lowry scored 13 in his fifth game back after undergoing wrist surgery. DeRozan finished the season with a career-high 2,020 points, while his 27.3 average was the second highest in franchise history. Vince Carter averaged 27.6 in 2000-2001. He averaged 29.7 points in three games against the Cavs. Toronto ranked last in the NBA in assists as a team. Toronto finished 23-18 on the road, matching Cleveland's away mark. em> strong>Cavaliers: /strong> /em> James averaged 26.4 points, 8.6 rebounds and a career-high 8.7 assists. With two open roster spots, Cleveland re-signed G Dahntay Jones for the playoffs and Tavares, who got a two-year deal. Jones was with the Cavs during the 2016 postseason, and the 12-year veteran provided toughness, experience and quality minutes in the Finals. The well-liked Jones also brings some accountability. 'Dahntay is going to make it clear that you're not holding up your end of the bargain,' general manager David Griffin said. 'We missed that.' strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Raptors: /strong> /em>No. 3 seed opens the playoffs at home against No. 6 seed Milwaukee. Toronto went 3-1 against the Bucks this season. em> strong>Cavaliers: /strong> /em>The champs begin defending their title at home against Indiana, Chicago or Miami. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 13th, 2017

Curry shines against Wizards, Warriors win 11th straight

em>By Janie McCauley, Associated Press /em> OAKLAND, Calif. -- Stephen Curry hit nine three-pointers, en route to 42 points, and also dished out eight assists, as the Golden State Warriors moved closer to locking up the Western Conference's top playoff seed by beating the Washington Wizards 139-115 on Sunday night (Monday, PHL time). Draymond Green had his 19th career triple-double and fifth this season with 11 points, 13 assists and 12 rebounds. Curry scored 10 points over the final 1:52 of the first half and shot 15-for-22, including 9-of-14 on three’s, in the Warriors' 11th straight victory. It was his 26th career 40-point game and fourth this season. John Wall had 15 points and 11 assists for the Wizards, who couldn't make it two wins over the mighty Warriors in just more than a month's time. He set the single-season franchise assists record with No. 802 in the third quarter, topping Rod Strickland in 1997-98. Warriors star Kevin Durant went down with a left knee injury in a 112-108 loss at Washington on Feb. 28 (Mar. 1, PHL time) and is still working back. Golden State still hopes to get him back before the regular season concludes next week. Washington center Marcin Gortat pushed Zaza Pachulia into Durant. Klay Thompson scored 23 and Shaun Livingston came off the bench to score a season-high 17 points and grab seven boards, hitting his first five field-goal tries. Bradley Beal and Bojan Bogdanovic scored 20 points apiece for the Wizards, who hit 10 three’s of their own. Golden State's defense has been the driving force behind this recent unbeaten run, with the Warriors holding opponents to 34 percent during the winning streak. Shooting just 28.6 percent, 8-for-28, from three-point range in that road loss at Washington, Golden State was 16-for-36 from long-range Sunday (Monday, PHL time) and began with consecutive three’s by Thompson and Curry. Washington's Markieff Morris tested his sprained right ankle before the game and was good to go. He scored 13 points. strong>TIP-INS /strong> em> strong>Wizards: /strong> /em>Washington last swept the season series 2-0 in 2009-10. The Wizards have lost three in a row on Golden State's home floor and this was their third straight road defeat overall. em> strong>Warriors: /strong> /em> Curry notched his 18th 30-point game and second in four. Green had 10 or more assists for the 19th time this season, matching his most games doing so, accomplished last season. The Warriors' winning streak is one off their season best of 12 from Nov. 7-28 (Nov. 8-29, PHL time). Golden State is 25-5 vs. the Eastern Conference. strong>WALL FINED /strong> Wall was fined $15,000 before the game for what the league called 'public criticism of the officiating.' He ripped the referees to the media after a 95-88 loss at Utah on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time), frustrated with the free throw discrepancy. The Jazz shot 31 times from the line to 16 for the Wizards. He said, 'The way they've been officiating today doesn't make no sense.' 'I knew that he would be fined. He said what he said, it's now time to just move on, focus on basketball, and he will,' coach Scott Brooks said. 'And that's what we have to do. We have to control what we can control, and that's playing ball on the court. Hopefully we can do a good job against one of the best teams if not the best team in basketball right now.' strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Wizards: /strong> /em> Return home from a five-game road trip to host Charlotte on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time). em> strong>Warriors: /strong> /em> Host the Timberwolves on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time) looking to avenge a 103-102 loss at Minnesota on March 10 (Mar. 11, PHL time) during a brutal stretch with eight games over 13 days featuring two-cross country flights then another back to the Midwest. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 3rd, 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