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Pacquiao responds to Roach situation: I have not made my final decision

Over the weekend, news surfaced that eight-division boxing world champion Manny Pacquiao won’t be working with long-time Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach for his upcoming WBA Welterweight World Title match against champion Lucas Mathysse in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia this July. In a press statement, the Pacquiao camp named best friend Buboy Fernandes and Nonoy Neri as the trainers. Roach responded to the statement saying that he wishes his former ward well, but admitted that he was hurt by how the situation unfolded. Pacquiao and Roach have worked together for the last 15-plus years, and have 34 professional fights and seven world championships under their belt. Now, it seems as though the split isn’t as certain as was once thought…yet. In an Instagram post early Monday morning, Pacquiao clarified the situation surrounding him and Roach.   Contrary to statements which I personally did not make that are circulating in the media, I have not made my final decision who will be my head trainer for my July 14 fight with Matthysse. My advisor Mike Koncz has been in contact with Freddie’s people to keep them informed. I will make a final decision within the week. When that decision is made, Freddie will be the first one to be informed and then I will advise the media. #PacquiaoMatthysse A post shared by Manny Pacquiao (@mannypacquiao) on Apr 15, 2018 at 12:34pm PDT “Contrary to statements which I personally did not make that are circulating in the media, I have not made my final decision who will be my head trainer for my July 14 fight with Matthysse.” Pacquiao’s post, which shows him hitting the mitts with Roach read. “My advisor Mike Koncz has been in contact with Freddie’s people to keep them informed. I will make a final decision within the week.” It was Koncz that first revealed that things between Pacquiao and Roach weren't exactly peachy, saying in an interview with ESPN's Dan Rafael that the boxer-turned-senator took issue to some of the things that Roach said to the media following Pacquiao's loss to Jeff Horn in Australia back in 2017.  In Roach’s statement over the weekend, he revealed that he had been hurt by the fact that Pacquiao did not reach out to him personally to inform him of the supposed change. Pacquiao ends his post by addressing that statement. “When that decision is made, Freddie will be the first one to be informed and then I will advise the media.” Does this mean that Pacquiao and Roach are not going their separate ways after all?.....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnApr 16th, 2018

LeBron s free agency decision could swing NBA s balance of power

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com CLEVELAND -- These combo coronation-funerals can be tricky. Imagine the crowning of a new monarch where the royal subjects couldn’t stop chattering about the freshly deposed or deceased predecessor. Where the traditional cry of continuity and succession, “The king is dead! Long live the king!” got flipped, with what was overshadowing what is. That’s pretty much how it went Friday night (Saturday, PHL time) at Quicken Loans Arena, with the Golden State Warriors’ latest NBA championship having to share the stage with speculation, instantly revved up, about LeBron James and the choice he’ll soon make about his next employer. The Warriors are the kings, claiming pro basketball’s throne yet again by completing a sweep of James’ Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2018 Finals. But of course, James is the King, and as so many of us learned in sophomore English – thanks, CliffsNotes! – “Uneasy lies the head (of those who fret and obsess about the future whereabouts of the NBA superstar) that wears a crown.” Long live the kings! The King is ... gone? There was so much energy before, during and after Game 4 Friday (Saturday, PHL time) poured into the last game/next game conjecture about James, the Cavaliers and seismic shifts in the league’s 2018-19 landscape that even the player’s surprise reveal near the end of the night – a bruised and bandaged right hand – couldn’t derail it. Turns out, as James ‘fessed up, the sore shooting paw was an injury he had been playing with ever since Game 1 in Oakland eight days earlier. He had “self-inflicted” it in a fit of pique when he smacked a whiteboard in the visitors’ dressing room at Oracle Arena after Cleveland’s overtime loss in the series-setter, an outcome driven at least in part by some teammates’ mistakes and an arcane wrinkle in the NBA’s replay rules regarding block/charge fouls. Despite the hordes of media people chronicling every waking detail of the Finals, James had kept the injury on the down-low (along with the possibility that J.R. Smith’s nickname amongst his Cavs teammates might be “whiteboard”). The cameras zoomed in and clicked in a paparazzi frenzy of motor drives every time James raised the hand, wrapped in black tape, above the table during his postgame podium remarks. Whether a legit Page-2-the-rest-of-the-story factor in the championship series or a too-late alibi, the contused hand wound up as a sidebar to where James plans to be using it when training camps open in a few months. As of Friday (Saturday, PHL time), it had been 95 months since “The Decision,” the 2010 announcement that James made in a tone-deaf vanity TV production that he was taking his talents from Cleveland to South Beach. Nearly 47 months had passed since he broke the news of his return in a Sports Illustrated ghost-written essay, envisioning much of what actually has unfolded in the four years since. Now savvy insiders and casual observers alike presume James will be on the move again, pushed to leave the franchise he has defined in an urgent search for more and better talent with which he can compete. As in, y’know, some horses, some horses, his kingdom for some horses. James’ free-agency process next month (he can opt out of a $35.6 million deal in the final season of his current contract) is expected to dictate the market of player movement this summer like an oversized domino. It easily could swing the balance of power, if not quite at Golden State’s lofty level then immediately below it. The monster he helped create Dr. Frankenstein eventually was done in by his macabre creation, and it can similarly be argued that James has no one but himself to blame for the predicament in which he again finds himself. He set in motion the machinery of the super team, after all, when he chose to join forces with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami eight years ago. Oh sure, the Boston Celtics in 2007-08 got there first by luring Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to join Paul Pierce, but that was about knitting together three stars, all age 30 or older, for what would be their last best chance to win in an extremely limited run. That group won one title, went to two Finals in three seasons and was done, Allen leaving to join James & Co. with the Heat while Garnett and Pierce morphed into trade chips for Boston POBO Danny Ainge. When James, Wade and Bosh teamed up, they were in their basketball primes and their initial giddy boasts of “not four, not five, not six” championships turned off fans league-wide as much for its portent as its pretension. That crew went 4-for-4 in Finals, winning two rings before James, nudged by staleness and chafing as well as his grand plan for northeast Ohio, went home. From there, a line can be drawn through the ill-conceived 2012-13 L.A. Lakers of Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol all the way to this season’s Houston Rockets of James Harden and Chris Paul and the talent-gorged Golden State roster. James was the centerpiece as Cleveland replicated the Big Three concept around him with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, two younger, playoff-stymied All-Stars. The new-look Cavaliers went to the Finals in their first season together and clambered atop the basketball world to win the franchise’s first NBA title by the end of the second, becoming the first team in league history to do so after digging a 1-3 hole in the best-of-seven series. In that moment, regardless of the two Finals trips that followed, James’ bill was stamped: Paid In Full. Misguided fans might burn his jersey if he leaves again, but James burned the mortgage after that Game 7 in Oakland in 2016 as far as any remaining obligation to fulfill. “I came back because I felt like I had some unfinished business,” he said after elimination Friday (Saturday, PHL time). “To be able to be a part of a championship team two years ago with the team that we had and in the fashion that we had is something I will always remember. Honestly, I think we'll all remember that. It ended a drought for Cleveland of 50-plus years, so I think we'll all remember that in sports history.” James added: “When you have a goal and you're able to accomplish that goal, it actually – for me personally – made me even more hungry to continue to try to win championships. And I still want to be in championship mode. I think I've shown this year why I will still continue to be in championship mode.” In other words, James intends to sustain his high level of performance. He expects to win. And he presumably will do whatever – and go wherever – is necessary to achieve that. There’s no perfect fit So what does that mean for the NBA’s best player (never mind what the annual MVP balloting says in any given season)? It means this: compromise. There is no ideal situation, certainly no easy answer to the guesswork surrounding James’ looming free agency. He could transform any of the 30 teams, but not without some trade-offs for him, for them or for both. Most of them won’t be in play. Teams in markets such as Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Portland, Sacramento, the Twin Cities and so on can’t scratch James’ itches for either championship-worthy depth chart or spotlight. New York and Chicago, among the biggies, are out of synch with his timeline. Toronto? No way James is resettling his brand north of the border, and given his stated desire for teammates who have not just sufficient basketball skills but also mental toughness, well, the Raptors teams he and the Cavs have dominated do not qualify. The Boston club that stretched Cleveland to seven games in the Eastern Conference finals is built for the long haul and would have to surrender much of that to adjust to James’ career calendar. There’s a little Kyrie problem lurking there and, truth be told, the Celtics look to be on their way and are doing just fine without the 33-year-old heading, one of these years, toward decline. At some point in each of the 2018 Finals’ final three days, James spoke admiringly of the Warriors and the San Antonio Spurs title teams that blocked his path whether in Miami or Cleveland. He was at it again even as the Warriors were dousing the opponent’s locker room at The Q with Moet champagne. “I made the move in 2010 to be able to play with talented players, cerebral players that you could see things that happen before they happened on the floor,” James said. “When you feel like you're really good at your craft, I think it's always great to be able to be around other great minds as well and other great ballplayers. “That's never changed. Even when I came here in '14, I wanted to try to surround myself and surround this franchise with great minds and guys that actually think outside the box of the game and not just go out and play it.” Where might James find that now or recruit that swiftly? Hard to say. There are asterisks and “buts” everywhere: * If he were to sign with the Houston Rockets, James would be hitching his star to Chris Paul, a buddy with an injury history that’s about the mirror opposite of his own. He would be teaming up with an elite coach in Mike D’Antoni, something he’s never had (though Miami’s Erik Spoelstra was just young and unproven, on his way to big things). But it also would require another big ask of James Harden, who had to adapt last summer to Paul’s arrival and need for the ball. * If James chooses the Lakers, he has the chance to hit reset with the league’s glitziest franchise, in a market that can meet his every off-court wish and where he and his family already own one or more ultra-comfortable homes. The Lakers have young talent to help James transition into a lower-usage veteran’s role, favored status as a destination team for other top free agents and the salary-cap space to get it done this summer with the likes of Paul George or his pal Paul. But that roster might not be capable of insta-contending, which could burn a season or two when James’ clock most definitely is clicking. * If it’s San Antonio, James could link up with the elite coach in Gregg Popovich, where the winning culture is in the DNA rather than some acquired taste. The Spurs have talent, particularly if Kawhi Leonard finds happiness again there. But they might not have enough to rattle the Warriors’ cage. And for all their professed admiration, James and Popovich might both fare better by keeping their relationship long-distance vs. the 82-game grind. * If it’s Golden State? Perish the thought. The NBA might have to board up itself if competitive balance were capsized to that extent. And as Draymond Green shrewdly noted on Thursday (Friday, PHL time), if James climbed aboard, it likely would require him and several other Golden State teammates to be dispatched to parts unknown. * If James prefers to stay East, where the winning comes easier, he could pick Philadelphia. The Sixers have two foundational young stars at positions that matter most, center Joel Embiid and point guard Ben Simmons. But Simmons is a non-shooter at the moment, the antithesis of what makes a great complementary LeBron teammate. As for Embiid, James never has had to play off of and service a top center. And Philly might feel like a basketball-only move, with the hungriest and most demanding of any new fan base he would embrace. * If it’s Miami – wait, could it be Miami? Could he go second-home again? The Heat always strive to be competitive and offer a talent base deep enough for the East and lots of familiarity. But they also have players such as Hassan Whiteside and Dion Waiters whose mental approaches don’t seem to fit the model James was cooing about in Golden State and with the Tim Duncan-era Spurs. * That brings us to Cleveland, where it’s possible James might choose to remain. Staying with the Cavaliers, after leading them to four Finals and that heady 2016 title, would be the easiest choice as far as pressure to win. He owes these fans nothing anymore – in fact, had the bargain been offered to them in 2010 (“LeBron will leave and win elsewhere for four years, but will come back and deliver a championship and four Finals trips”), most would have grabbed it. Here, James and the fans who have watched him even through the interruption develop from ridiculously touted high schooler to one of the world’s most famous athletes could grow older together. Then he could partner up and buy the team from owner Dan Gilbert for a long-term future. Certainly, staying has a certain place in his and the rest of the James clan’s hearts. “The one thing that I've always done is considered, obviously, my family,” he said at series end Friday (Saturday, PHL time). “Understanding especially where my boys are at this point in their age. They were a lot younger the last time I made a decision like this four years ago. I've got a teenage boy, a pre-teen and a little girl that wasn't around as well. So sitting down and considering everything, my family is a huge part of whatever I'll decide to do in my career, and it will continue to be that.” It’s worth noting that as James contemplates his options as a modern pursuer of championship excellence, the prospect of him moving again qualifies at some level as a failure. Not just by the support system in Cleveland, where he and Gilbert have their friction and James gets snidely mentioned as the team’s unofficial GM and head coach, but by him too. He’s the one who went off to seek his “college education” in south Florida in what it takes to win, whether on the court, in the front office or in and around the seams 365 days a year, straight out of the Pat Riley handbook. The teams about which James talks so glowingly in Oakland now and in San Antonio then have cultures he covets, stability up and down the flowchart he craves. In Cleveland, for a variety of reasons, his team has been incapable of establishing and maintaining that to a lasting degree. He is part of that missed opportunity and he has to own it, no matter if he goes or stays. James is inseparable from the dynamic of the Cavaliers’ ever-changing and often melodramatic roster maneuvers. Spending big, swapping out draft picks to import current stars and supporting players, and overvaluing secondary guys like Smith and Tristan Thompson are risks the Warriors and the Spurs largely avoided thanks to shrew drafting and laudable continuity. The Cavs’ scrap heap, by contrast, is high with traded picks, scuttled plans, panic deals, short-term patches and folks such as former coach David Blatt and former GM David Griffin. And maybe James could have nurtured a little better relationship with All-Star point guard and 2016 title sidekick Kyrie Irving, enough to have kept Irving from bailing on them all with his trade demand last summer. Now he’s on the verge of casting about again, prioritizing what matters most for however long he continues to play. James is more at peace with it than he was before, particularly in 2010, and surely can enjoy the leverage he wields and the riches it delivers. But there is a burden there as well, one that could be seen as completing a circle. So many of the NBA’s greatest stars have been stuck playing and living in the Age of LeBron, right? Their paths to the Finals blocked, on one whole side of the league, by him and his? Well, LeBron James is stuck now in the Era of the Warriors, freshly swept and anxious to close the gap. What goes around comes around, though the key more pressing of the big W’s now is, where? Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 11th, 2018

Fortune back in Manny’s camp?

Australian strength and conditioning coach Justin Fortune may be tapped by Manny Pacquiao to rejoin his team in preparing to battle WBA welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse of Argentina even as there is still no final decision on whether trainer Freddie Roach will be asked to reunite with the challenger......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsApr 20th, 2018

Manny Pacquiao on Freddie Roach: No final decision yet

Manny Pacquiao has finally broken his silence on the status of his relationship with long-time trainer Freddie Roach......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsApr 17th, 2018

Freddie still Manny’s guy

If ever he decides to part ways with Freddie Roach, Manny Pacquiao is going to make sure the seven-time trainer of the year will be duly informed. Pacquiao made the clarification in the wake of reports that he has relieved Roach of coaching duties for his world title fight against Lucas Matthysse on July 15 (July 14 in the United States) in Kuala Lumpur. "Contrary to statements which I personally did not make that are circulating in the media, I have not made my decision who will be my head trainer for my July 14 fight with Matthysse," Pacquiao tweeted Monday morning. The eight-division world champion, who will go after Matthysse's World Boxing Association welterweight crown in ...Keep on reading: Freddie still Manny’s guy.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsApr 17th, 2018

Pacquiao on Roach: No final decision yet

Manny Pacquiao has finally broken his silence on the status of his relationship with longtime trainer Freddie Roach......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsApr 16th, 2018

Horn wants to show Pacquiao win was no fluke

By John Pye, Associated Press BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Jeff Horn's reward for a successful first title defense since a contentious win over Manny Pacquiao could be a bout with Terence Crawford. A failure could send him back into boxing obscurity. Horn wants to use his WBO welterweight title defense against Gary Corcoran on Wednesday to dispel any notion that he got a hometown decision against Pacquiao in Brisbane last July. If he gets his way, it could set him up for a big 2018. Top Rank promoter Bob Arum attended Tuesday's weigh-in and said a win here "will lead to massive fights coming next year." "I think Pacquiao is going to return to the ring. Terence Crawford will be the mandatory for this fight. The biggest building in Las Vegas is on hold for this fight," Arum said. "Going to have a tremendous year in the welterweight division and these two participants ... will be giving it their all to see who will go ahead as part of these major programs that will take place next year." Horn, now unbeaten in 18 bouts, knows what it's like to be given no chance of beating the champion, so he is trying to think only about Corcoran at the Brisbane Convention Centre. That's not far from where he beat Pacquiao in front of more than 51,000 fans in an outdoor bout at a regular rugby venue. "I've got until after this fight to start having discussions," he said. "He's definitely a possibility if I can manage to get through Gary first." The Australian former schoolteacher was written off before taking on Pacquiao (59-7-2), but pressured the eight-division champion for 12 rounds in an upset that changed the trajectory of his career. Pacquiao's camp disputed the unanimous decision, which was widely panned by critics but later confirmed after further scrutiny by the World Boxing Organization. Pacquiao had a rematch clause for the Horn fight, but so far hasn't committed to a date or venue. Corcoran is 17-1 since turning pro in 2011 and is ranked 10th by the WBO. He is the underdog and is fighting outside of Britain and Ireland for the first time for his first world title. Trainer Peter Stanley said his boxer would not be intimidated by the situation. "We've fought away from home before in front of bigger, more hostile crowds against bigger boys," Stanley said. "There's nothing new here." The buildup to the fight has been overshadowed by accusations from the Corcoran camp that Horn resorted to head-butting Pacquiao, and claims from the British-based boxer that he would resort to biting if confronted with the same circumstances. At the official news conference, one of Corcoran's trainers held up a laptop computer to show images of Horn clashing heads with opponents and later wore a cap with a glove attached at the top in a swipe at the head-butting claims. Horn and his trainer Glenn Rushton responded by wearing caps with a pair of boxing gloves on top of earmuffs to protect from biting. Both boxers were expecting an aggressive, walk-up style of fight. Rushton said Horn would be furious but fair. "It is boxing. It's not table tennis — it's tough," Rushton said. "Stop (complaining) — Jeff's one of the fairest fighters in the world." Corcoran doesn't have a high profile, and even ring announcer Michael Buffer mistakenly called him by the wrong name at the weigh-in. "Does it matter?" Stanley said. "He'll know his name afterward, I promise you that — he won't forget it. "Gary's a consummate pro. He's come here to fight and win. They both made weight, they're both fit. The only difference is Jeff's got the world title and Gary wants it.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 12th, 2017

Liverpool wins at West Ham to close gap on EPL top five

By Sam Johnston, Associated Press LONDON (AP) — The only member of the English Premier League's top six in action on Saturday, Liverpool took full advantage. Juergen Klopp's side won at West Ham 4-1 to secure successive league victories for the first time since August. Mohamed Salah scored twice, while Joel Matip and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain also found the net as Liverpool made light work of West Ham at the Olympic Stadium. The victory took Liverpool level on points with Chelsea and Arsenal, which both face tough challenges on Sunday against top two Manchester United and City, respectively. Third-placed Tottenham meets Crystal Palace. "Two weeks ago I felt quite different. We knew after that game at Tottenham (4-1 defeat) that we were bad," Klopp said. "We wanted to strike back and the boys did with three really nice results." After an embarrassing 3-0 loss to Brighton in its last home league game, West Ham's display did little to relieve the increasing pressure on manager Slaven Bilic. "I definitely don't feel a broken man. I'm very, very strong," Bilic said. "On the other hand, the situation for West Ham is not good." The Hammers dropped to 17th, with just a point separating them from the relegation zone. Here's a look at the action: MANE RETURNS Almost as important as the victory for Liverpool, was the return of Sadio Mane. The Senegal winger missed the last five games after injuring a hamstring on international duty. Mane didn't score, but coming through 77 minutes unscathed with assists for both of Salah's goals vindicated Klopp's decision to start him. "(Playing) Sadio Mane from the beginning after his injury, after yesterday his second session with the team. I never did it before," Klopp said. "Sadio is a naturally fit player, a little machine." The first set-up came as Mane and Salah performed a two-man counterattack, with the latter putting the ball in the net just 13 seconds after West Ham took a corner at the other end. The second was equally impressive as Mane beat two defenders before switching the ball to Salah, who arrowed his finish into the bottom corner. DEBUTANTS EXCELLING Brighton and Huddersfield both won to move into the top half of the standings in their debut league seasons. Brighton extended its unbeaten run to four games by defeating Swansea 1-0 with Glenn Murray scoring for a third consecutive league game. "Eighth has surpassed our expectation, most newly promoted teams would say the same, but we've got to be guarded against any type of complacency," Brighton manager Chris Hughton said. Huddersfield held on for a 1-0 win over West Bromwich Albion despite playing the final third of the game with 10 men. Christopher Schindler was sent off after receiving a second yellow card, but Rajiv van La Parra's first-half strike was enough. The other promoted team, Newcastle, conceded a last-minute goal to Bournemouth in a 1-0 loss. Steve Cook's injury-time header left Rafael Benitez's side with just one win in its last six. DYCHE STOCK RISES Another overachieving club is Burnley. Sam Vokes scored in the 80th minute to beat Southampton 1-0. Everton is reportedly interested in hiring Sean Dyche away from Burnley after firing manager Ronald Koeman in October. "I've had numerous times when I've been linked with situations and I just continue to see it clearly and that is to work hard at what I do," Dyche said. "There's not a story there. My story is the Burnley story; five years here, another win today, which is a fantastic win, a clean sheet, Southampton away, a place that's been historically very, very tough for us to come and get results - both me as a manager and the club - and we've won 1-0, that's the story." Earlier, Leicester stayed unbeaten under manager Claude Puel while twice wasting the lead in a 2-2 draw with Stoke......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 5th, 2017

Scherzer shows starters in relief are a roll of the dice

em>By Noah Trister, Associated Press /em> Pedro Martinez and Madison Bumgarner made it look easy. For Max Scherzer, pitching in relief proved a lot rougher. When Scherzer took the mound in the top of the fifth Thursday night in Washington, the Nationals were clinging to a one-run lead, hoping their star right-hander could move them an inning or two closer to the NL Championship Series. Instead, Washington gave up the lead for good when Chicago scored four runs with two out, and the Cubs went on to a 9-8 victory in Game 5 of the NL Division Series. Scherzer's relief appearance was the kind of move that has become fashionable of late. A short postseason series creates heightened urgency, and managers are willing to ditch some of the rigid roles they've put pitchers in during the regular season. That flexibility sometimes leads to longer relief outings for closers, and it also means starters like Scherzer will occasionally come in from the bullpen. That's worked out famously for some teams in the past. Bumgarner earned a five-inning save in Game 7 of the 2014 World Series for San Francisco, and Martinez held Cleveland hitless for the final six innings when Boston beat the Indians in Game 5 of the 1999 ALDS. But Scherzer's outing was a reality check to anyone who thinks that type of performance is easy. So far in this postseason, Chris Sale, Justin Verlander, Jon Lester, Jose Quintana and Scherzer have all pitched in relief on short rest after making starts earlier in the series. The results have been decidedly mixed. Those five have combined for 12 2/3 innings in relief, allowing six earned runs and 10 hits with five walks and 10 strikeouts. The way the Division Series are scheduled, a manager often has a choice of whom to pencil in for a decisive Game 5 — since the starters from Games 1 and 2 would both have enough rest. It's tempting to use the Game 1 starter in relief on short rest in Game 4, then save the Game 2 starter for Game 5 — because that allows a team to use its top two starters in two games apiece. The Houston Astros entered Game 4 of the ALDS against Boston with a 2-1 series lead. The Red Sox, trying to extend their season, brought Sale on in relief in the fourth inning with Houston up by a run. The Astros countered in the fifth with Verlander, who like Sale had started Game 1. If there had been a Game 5, Dallas Keuchel would have been set to pitch for Houston. Verlander had never pitched in relief in the regular season or postseason. Manager A.J. Hinch put him in with a runner on first and one out. 'Justin Verlander wanted the ball. He was very good about preparation,' Hinch said. 'It did cut out of his routine, which is the one thing you question. He's been doing this routine for 13 years.' Verlander allowed a two-run homer to his very first batter, giving up the lead, but that was the only hit off him in 2 2/3 innings. He did not have a strikeout — a rare occurrence for him — but he ended up getting the win. Sale kept the Astros scoreless for four innings, but two Houston runs in the eighth were charged to him, and Boston was eliminated . 'You've just kind of got to throw your routine out the window and say, 'I'm just going to pitch,'' Verlander said. 'Once I gave up the homer and just kind of got out of that inning and then was able to go in the dugout and sit down, and I just treated that like I had just pitched the first inning and we were behind by a run, and OK, just shut the door and give our guys a chance to come back.' The change in routine can be an obstacle for a starter pitching in relief, and the short rest after a previous start may be an even bigger issue. Verlander and Sale combined to allow three runs in 7 1/3 innings that day — solid work, but not overwhelming. The decision to bring a starter in the middle innings may hinge on how much confidence a manager has in his bullpen's depth and stamina. When the New York Yankees pulled CC Sabathia in the fifth inning of their ALDS finale at Cleveland, they needed only two relievers — David Robertson and Aroldis Chapman — to get through the final 4 2/3. There are times, however, when desperation takes over. With closer Kenley Jansen running out of steam after 51 pitches, the Los Angeles Dodgers turned to ace Clayton Kershaw — on one day of rest — to get the final two outs in Game 5 of last year's NLDS against Washington. Kershaw wasn't a sure bet pitching in that situation, and neither was Verlander in relief against Boston this year. But in the postseason, each game takes on so much importance that managers are willing to push their stars a bit further. 'I think if you learn anything from watching playoff baseball or being in playoff baseball, you have to try to win today,' Hinch said. 'You can't save anything for tomorrow, if you have guys available.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 14th, 2017

Rams defense living up to early expectations after shutout

By Joe Reedy, Associated Press LOS ANGELES (AP) — Only two games have been played, yet the Rams defense is living up to its lofty expectations. Los Angeles put on a dominating display in Sunday's 34-0 victory over Arizona as it gave up only five first downs and didn't allow the Cardinals to cross midfield until the final minute of the game. "If we can play elite defense like that and put up zeroes across the board and let our offense just run up and down the field, so be it," defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh said. The Rams ended up making the Cardinals a one-dimensional team. Arizona averaged only 2.6 yards on first-down plays and often found itself getting behind schedule on second and third down. David Johnson also was never able to find any consistency as he was held to 48 yards on 13 carries. While the Rams had 10 plays in which they gained 17 yards or more, Arizona's longest play went for 15 and it had only three of 10 yards or more. "I can't remember the time I've seen a defense play that complete from whistle to whistle," Rams coach Sean McVay said. "We're playing good situationally, stopping the run on early downs and getting ourselves into situations where you can really dictate things." The Rams haven't allowed a point in their last six quarters and have only given up one touchdown, but they face a larger challenge next week against the Chargers and Philip Rivers. Even though things are clicking right now, defensive tackle Aaron Donald thinks there still is a lot ahead of them. "I think we can even get better. That's the scary thing," he said. LONG TIME COMING The Rams are 2-0 for the first time since 2001, when they made their third Super Bowl appearance. What made McVay even more pleased was how his team responded on a short week following last Monday's 33-13 win at Oakland. The Rams had only one day of a regular game week practice, using Wednesday as more of a walkthrough instead of what is normally one of the toughest practice days of the week. "When you've got mature players that know how to take care of themselves, but also get them ready physically and mentally you can take those types of approaches," he said. "Really for the players to be able to handle this week the way that they did says a lot about our team and hopefully we'll continue to take steps." BACKUP PLAN Greg Zuerlein's status is questionable after he strained his groin during pregame warmups and was unable to play. Punter Johnny Hekker handled kickoff duties and was good on a 20-yard field goal and extra point. Hekker is normally the holder on field goals and extra points, but wide receiver Cooper Kupp handled that on Sunday. "I can't imagine thinking you're going to punt the whole game and then like, 'Hey, Johnny (Hekker) you're going to kick field goals, too.' I don't think anyone flinched," quarterback Jared Goff said. "We love Greg and we need him out there and we want to have him back as soon as possible, but stuff like that may happen." If Zuerlein has to miss any more games, the Rams are likely to give Sam Ficken a call. Ficken was with the team during training camp before being released and was with the team for three games last season, including the playoffs, when Zuerlein suffered a season ending back injury. He was 4 of 5 on field goals and 5 of 6 on extra points. STUCK IN NEUTRAL The Cardinals have scored only one touchdown in their first two games and have just two plays of 20 yards or more, which came in their Week 1 loss to Washington. Coach Steve Wilks said he didn't consider replacing quarterback Sam Bradford with first-round pick Josh Rosen during the game and ran down a long list of problems that he has to solve before next week's game against Chicago. "I don't even know where to start right now. We've got to do a much better job running the football. We've got to do a much better job protecting. Receivers got to get off the jam at the line of scrimmage," Wilks said. "I think you have to find ways, number one, you have to find a way to generate positive plays on first and second down, so we don't find ourselves in a third-and-long type situation." INJURIES Cardinals: WR Larry Fitzgerald injured his hamstring during the fourth quarter and did not return. Fitzgerald said after the game that he could have continued to play but that he didn't know how effective he would have been. Rams: RB Todd Gurley did not play during the fourth quarter due to cramping but was fine in the locker room after the game......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 17th, 2018

One Last Dance: Wade returning to Heat for final season

MIAMI --- Dwyane Wade looked into the camera, stood alone in the middle of a darkened room and talked for 10 minutes. He struggled with his words at times, unable to control his emotions. He wept. And finally, he made what he called the hardest decision of his life. One more year. Retirement needs to wait a little bit longer for Wade,who announced Sunday nightin a video taped earlier in the day that he's returning for a 16th and final NBA season. He basically spent the entirety of the last four months weighing his options, and retirement --- even just a few days ago --- was an extremely real possibility in his mind. "I've always did things my way," said Wade, who is expected to sig...Keep on reading: One Last Dance: Wade returning to Heat for final season.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsSep 17th, 2018

30 Teams in 30 Days: Can Wizards realize their potential?

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com What offseason? That's a question many fans ask as the flurry of trades, free agent news and player movement seems to never stop during the summer. Since the Golden State Warriors claimed their third title in four years back on June 8 (June 9, PHL time), NBA teams have undergone a massive number of changes as they prepare for the season ahead. With the opening of training camps just around the corner, NBA.com's Shaun Powell will evaluate the state of each franchise as it sits today -- from the team with the worst regular-season record in 2017-18 to the team with the best regular-season record -- as we look at 30 teams in 30 days. * * * Today's team: Washington Wizards 2017-18 Record: 43-39, lost in first round to Toronto Raptors Who's new: Dwight Howard (free agency), Jeff Green (free agency), Troy Brown, Jr. (Draft), Austin Rivers (trade) Who's gone: Marcin Gortat (trade), Mike Scott (free agency) The lowdown: With John Wall limited to half a season because of knee surgery, Bradley Beal became a leading man and, on some nights, pushed the boundaries of stardom. If anything, he gave the Wizards confidence in knowing that, when the pair is healthy, Washington boasts a top-three-or-four backcourt in the NBA. Forward Otto Porter Jr. was third in the NBA in 3-point shooting (a blistering 44.1 percent) and served as a secondary source of scoring. However, the Wizards weren’t so clear-cut elsewhere. The frontline continued to be a source of mixed results and frustration and, other than Kelly Oubre Jr., depth was an issue. The Wizards went chilly late in the season, lost nine of their last 12 games and dropped to the eighth seed. In some ways, the Wizards are on the clock. They must seize the opportunity to win big while Wall, 27, and Beal, 25, are still in their primes. Yet they’ve rarely stayed healthy together and besides, nothing is promised. Remember, the Toronto Raptors broke up the sterling DeMar DeRozan-Kyle Lowry backcourt this summer when their patience finally ran out. Also, keep in mind the cost. Wall’s super max deal doesn’t begin until 2019-20. Beal is due $80 million the next three years, roughly the same money Washington will pay Porter Jr., who’s a good (but perhaps overpriced) complimentary player. For the time being, the Wizards will put their frontcourt faith in Dwight Howard, who arrives about five years past his prime, but should be an upgrade over Gortat. Howard, 32, came cheap after his Brooklyn Nets buyout and remains a deluxe rebounder (12.5 per game last season). The decision to bring in Howard could be the banana peel in the path of progress, however. This is his fourth team in four years. His “act” -- being easy-going, goofy and fun-loving -- didn’t play well with some previous teammates, including, among others, Kobe Bryant and James Harden. Howard is headed to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and anyone who believes otherwise is foolish -- the man did carry the Orlando Magic to the 2009 NBA Finals. For a seven-year stretch, he was one of the game’s biggest impact players. Yet his twilight is bewildering, which is not surprising. Howard never developed his offensive game (namely a go-to move or mid-range shot) and as a result, he’s a dinosaur in a changing environment, someone who shrinks considerably when he strays six feet from the basket. Plus, he’s not the defensive demon of before, although he stays in tremendous physical shape and still runs the floor. There’s also the matter of his personality, which might be overstated to a degree, yet was an issue ever since he left the Magic. Howard appears to be on a mission to please everyone and in the process, tends to ruffle some feathers along the way. Finally, he often becomes irritated when he doesn’t see the ball in the low post. He won’t get many touches on a team with Wall and Beal taking upwards of 35 shots a night. (Ball movement and sharing was a complaint Gortat voiced at times in the past, too.) Over the summer, Wall said he will do whatever he can to make Howard comfortable ... because what’s the alternative? Since Beal joined Wall in 2012-13, they have won three playoff series together -- but have never reached the East finals. However, the East is wide open this year with LeBron James out West. The Wizards chose not to trade Oubre Jr. in the offseason, but this situation bears watching. He’s a developing player at a stacked position, and the swingman spot became even more crowded when the Wizards drafted Brown, who’s cut in the same mold. It wouldn’t be surprising if the Wizards move Oubre Jr. or Porter Jr. by the trade deadline if the right deal comes along, simply because Washington can’t pay both. Plus, Oubre Jr. is eligible for a contract extension next summer. Brown, 19, brings court vision and a reliable handle, but it's hard to see him playing much given the bodies in front of him on the depth chart. After all the quality big men and point guards were gone (and they passed on picking Michael Porter Jr.), Washington was in a weird position at No. 15 in the Draft. They could either trade the pick or Draft a wing-type. They traded Gortat for Rivers, who’s listed at point guard but lacks the court vision and ability to create for others to see much time at the position. Rivers is more of a 3-point shooter, and he did well enough (37.8 percent) last season to ably bring that element off the bench. For the most part, the Wizards made minor moves this summer, none of which are expected to dramatically change the complexion of the club. It should be enough to keep them in the playoff mix, especially with LeBron gone. From there, their hopes will be tied to their health. Veteran NBA writer Shaun Powell has worked for newspapers and other publications for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here or follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 15th, 2018

Boxing: Donnie Nietes not too keen on Palicte rematch or Pinoy-versus-Pinoy title bouts

Following last weekend’s controversial Split Draw decision at the end of the Donnie Nietes-Aston Palicte bout for the vacant WBO Super Flyweight World Championship, at SuperFly 3 in Los Angeles, California, the WBO’s 115-pound strap remains, well, vacant. Nietes and Palicte battled for twelve rounds, ending with one judge scoring it for the former, 118-110, the other judge scoring it 116-112 for the latter, and the third judge scoring it 114-114 for the Split Draw. Many thought that Nietes had done more than enough to earn a fourth-division world championship, so obviously, the Split Draw left a bitter taste in the mouth of the longest-reigning Filipino boxing world champion. As such, the most-likely scenario is that Nietes and Palicte lock horns once again, with the hopes of finally determining a new WBO Super Flyweight king. While no official announcement or decision has been made regarding the matter, Nietes isn’t exactly chomping at the bit to get back in there with his fellow Negrense. For Nietes, who was one scorecard away from joining Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire Jr. as the only Filipino four-division world champions, he feels that a rematch isn’t necessary given that many-including himself- believe that he won the 12-round affair. “Para sa akin siguro, sa akin lang ah, siguro wala na yung rematch dapat, kasi alam naman ng mga tao na ako talaga yung panalo,” Nietes told ABS-CBN Sports. “Siguro mas better na maghanap na kami ng ibang makakalaban, rated diyan sa WBO.” Obviously, there’s no shortage in contenders in the WBO’s 115-pound shark tank. Nietes and Palicte are 1 and 2 respectively. Still, Nietes has never been one to back down from any challenge, and the 36-year old Murcia, Negros-native says that he’s down for anyone. “Depende sa WBO tsaka sa manager ko kung sino gusto nila ipa-laban sa akin. Ako, open naman ako kahit sinong lalabanan.” Nietes says he’s targeting a return to the ring in February, but with rumours of a WBO title bout against Japan's Kazuto Ioka also swirling around, the Filipino boxing star says he has no problem coming back earlier. Ioka defeated WBO-ranked McWilliams Arroyo at SuperFly 3. Another name that’s being mentioned is compatriot Jerwin Ancajas, the IBF’s reigning 115-pound king. Ancajas defeated Nietes’ teammate Jonas Sultan earlier this year in what was the first all-Filipino world championship bout in 92 years. With Nietes’ jump to super flyweight, fans and pundits alike all salivated at the prospect of another high-level all-Filipino world championship clash between Nietes and Ancajas. While that would definitely be a must-see matchup, Nietes says he’d rather not have to share the ring against a fellow Pinoy, unless completely necessary. “For me, siguro hindi lang muna ako [lalaban] sa mga Pinoy siguro,” Nietes shared. “Much better kung mga ibang lahi lang muna. Kung sakali namang wala na talagang makakalaban kami na ibang lahi, okay ako mag-unify ng Pinoy against Pinoy.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 14th, 2018

NCAA: Calisaan wins it for Baste, but CSB puts game under protest

Michael Calisaan shot a split from the stripe and that proved to be more than enough for San Sebastian College-Recoletos to come away with a 66-65 victory versus College of St. Benilde on Tuesday at the Filoil Flying V Centre. Calisaan’s aggressive drive to the hole with the tally tied at 65-all and just 22 ticks to go got for him a foul and gave him free throws, one of which he used to lift the Golden Stags to another much-needed win in the NCAA 94 Men’s Basketball Tournament. “Sa totoo lang, happy ako sa nilalaro nng mga bata kasi everybody wants to win,” head coach Egay Macaraya said. “Hindi nagma-matter sa kanila who takes the shot. Kung ganito laro namin, maraming team na medyo mahihirapan sa amin sa second round.” That wasn’t the end of it just yet, however, as the Blazers have put the game under protest. After Calisaan made good on the first and muffed on the second, Yankie Haruna got the rebound and forwarded the ball to Justin Gutang who himself aggressively drove to the hole. Not long after, Gutang’s layup kissed the backboard before falling to the bottom of the net. However, following video reviews, referees determined that the ball did not leave Gutang’s fingertips before the final buzzer sounded. That preserved the decision in favor of Baste which improved 3-9. “Kahit anong mangyari, Benilde and Baste deserved to win this game kasi wala talagang bumitaw. I guess we’re just lucky na hindi counted,” coach Egay said. Calisaan wound up with 18 points on top of seven rebounds, four assists, and two steals while RK Ilagan and Allyn Bulanadi merged for 21 markers, seven boards, five dimes, and three pilfers. San Sebastian’s gritty finish to the game overcame Gutang’s best game yet with 28 points to go along with eight rebounds, five assists, and two steals. With his game-winner try not getting counted, however, CSB now falls to 7-4. BOX SCORES SAN SEBASTIAN 66 – Calisaan 18, Ilagan 11, Bulanadi 10, Capobres 10, Calma 6, Dela Cruz 5, Are 2, Valdez 2, Villapando 2, Desoyo 0, Isidro 0, Sumoda 0. CSB 65 –  Gutang 25, Leutcheu 9, Dixon 8, Carlos 7, Haruna 7, Young 5, Belgica 3, Nayve 1, Naboa 0, Pasturan 0. QUARTER SCORES: 17-12, 36-34, 53-42, 66-65. —— Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 11th, 2018

30 Teams in 30 Days: After wholesale makeover, Hawks ready to rebuild

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com What offseason? That's a question many fans ask as the flurry of trades, free agent news and player movement seems to never stop during the summer. Since the Golden State Warriors claimed their third title in four years back on June 8 (June 9, PHL time), NBA teams have undergone a massive number of changes as they prepare for the season ahead. With the opening of training camps just around the corner, NBA.com's Shaun Powell will evaluate the state of each franchise as it sits today -- from the team with the worst regular-season record in 2017-18 to the team with the best regular-season record -- as we look at 30 teams in 30 days. * * * Today's team: Atlanta Hawks 2017-18 Record: (24-58, did not qualify for the playoffs) Who's new: Coach Lloyd Pierce, Trae Young (Draft), Kevin Huerter (Draft), Omari Spellman (Draft), Jeremy Lin (trade), Justin Anderson (trade), Alex Len (free agency), Vince Carter (free agency) Who's gone: Coach Mike Budenholzer, Dennis Schroder, Mike Muscala The lowdown: Three years after winning a conference-best 60 games, the Hawks crash-landed and clearly set their sights on the Draft lottery by the 2018 All-Star break. New GM Travis Schlenk dumped Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilasova at the trade deadline and would’ve shipped off a few more players if he could. Basically, Schlenk attempted to scrub most of the work of Budenholzer, who ran the basketball operation previously. John Collins made the All-Rookie team and Taurean Prince finished strong. However, Kent Bazemore -- the club’s highest-paid player -- sputtered and never felt comfortable being a volume scorer (12.9 points per game). The Hawks couldn’t win or generate much interest in Atlanta, putting the framework for a fresh era in place well before 2017-18 ended. The Hawks held the No. 3 overall pick in the 2018 Draft. Deandre Ayton and Marvin Bagley III were off the board. What say you, Mr. Schlenk? He made a gutsy move, bypassing European sensation Luka Doncic in favor of Young and a 2019 protected first from the Mavericks. Schlenk admitted the Hawks’ war room was evenly split on Doncic and Young, but the ’19 first-rounder was the deal-maker. That’s not an overwhelming vote of confidence for Young, and you wonder if Hawks ownership nudged Schlenk into making the deal because of Young’s star potential. The organization dropped millions to give the newly-renamed State Farm Arena some bling over the last year and obviously crave a player with flair to move the needle in Atlanta. Young certainly brings a wow factor. He was the box office star at Oklahoma with his long-range shots and fancy passes. He also became the first collegiate player to lead the nation in scoring and assists in the same season. The Hawks say his ability to make teammates better is vastly unappreciated and will smooth his transition into the NBA. He also had a ragged second half of last season and became a social media punch line. His shot selection and accuracy raised red flags. In a sense, his final year at OU was a tale of two players: Tantalizing Trae and Tragic Trae. NBA scouts say Young's other drawbacks were his lack of size, athletic ability and defense. He was a polarizing Draft pick and the Hawks’ decision received mixed reviews at best among Hawks fans. That additional first-round pick Atlanta got from Dallas could prove beneficial for a rebuilding team that wants to collect as many assets as possible. The idea of Young becoming an Atlanta Basketball Jesus seems like a reach ... until you remember this franchise hasn’t had a ticket-selling sensation in its history. Even Pete Maravich and Dominique Wilkins weren’t basketball magnets in this college football-crazed town. With a new basketball regime in place, it was only a matter of time before Budenholzer, stripped of his basketball operations stripes, would bolt. Schlenk wanted his own people, which is standard operating procedure for a new GM. Once the season ended, Budenholzer began running off copies of his resume with the blessing of the Hawks. He landed in Milwaukee and Schlenk began searching for Budenholzer's successor. Eventually, Schlenk stayed in his comfort zone and hired Pierce. (Years ago, they both worked for the Golden State Warriors.) Pierce came with strong reviews for his work as an assistant coach, most recently with the Sixers. As a player, he rode shotgun in college at Santa Clara with Steve Nash and brings solid people skills to Atlanta. He is, however, a first-time coach and sometimes, it gets tricky when folks slide one seat over on the bench. It was no secret the Hawks wanted to jettison starting point guard and leading scorer Schroder this summer. He had legal issues and didn’t develop solid chemistry with his teammates. When the Thunder agreed to a proposal, the Hawks pounced, sending Schroder to OKC for Carmelo Anthony (who was subsequently bought out), Justin Anderson and a future first-rounder. Of course, this means the Hawks will either go with a rookie as their starting point guard or Lin (who’s should be healthy for training camp after he missed all but one game last season.) With their additional first-round pick this year, the Hawks took Huerter, a sharp-shooter from Maryland. Right now they’re getting nothing special offensively from the swing position and Huerter will get a long look as a rotational player. In order to help a young locker room adjust, the Hawks added 41-year-old Carter (who was a rookie when Young was born). Carter has become a lovable NBA senior citizen, which allows folks to overlook his declining skills. His veteran voice will help when the Hawks endure a losing streak. Still, the summer belonged to the deal the Hawks swung for Young. It’s one of those decisions that could make Schlenk look like a genius, especially if he scores big on the 2019 Dallas pick and Young pans out. The flip side? Doncic becomes the transcendent star in Dallas that the Hawks craved. The final verdict on this deal won’t be delivered for years. By then, will the Hawks be winners? Veteran NBA writer Shaun Powell has worked for newspapers and other publications for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here or follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 5th, 2018

Worth a thousand words: NBA photographer Andrew Bernstein details his best shots

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com Andrew Bernstein knew he wanted to be a sports photographer or maybe a documentary filmmaker. Trouble was, he recalled recently, his school at the time – the University of Massachusetts Amherst – offered courses in neither photography nor film. Not exactly a well-planned start to his chosen career. So Bernstein transferred to the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif. And once the native of Brooklyn stepped off the plane into 85-degree sunshine, he was hooked. Thus began a professional path that has taken him around the world, yet kept him Los Angeles-centric as the NBA’s senior photographer. A part-time job as an assistant to Sports Illustrated shooters helped Bernstein score his first NBA gig as a photographer the 1983 All-Star Game at L.A.’s famous Forum. He’d eventually serve as team photographer for the city’s Dodgers, Lakers, Clippers and Kings, but it was in his work for the NBA that Bernstein made his greatest mark. In 1986, Bernstein helped create NBA Photos as the league’s in-house licensing agency, for which he served as senior director until 2011. He chronicled Team USA through its 1992, 1996 and 2000 Olympic championships, and has worked 36 NBA Finals and All-Star Games. Next month, his hardcover collaboration with Kobe Bryant -- “The Mamba Mentality: How I Play” -- will hit bookshelves everywhere. This week as part of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, the 60-year-old photographer will be honored as a recipient of the 2018 Curt Gowdy Media Award. To shed light on his craft and share some behind-the-scenes tales, Bernstein -- prior to heading to Springfield, Mass. -- talked with NBA.com about some of his favorite and most famous images. Come fly with him ... Details: Michael Jordan soars with several Lakers in futile pursuit at the 1988 Hall of Fame preseason game between Chicago and Los Angeles at the Springfield Civic Center. Bernstein: “It was one of those crazy moments -- in those days, I could only do one remote camera. Now I can do almost an infinite number because it’s all done by radio. But back then, you had to hard-wire into the strobe [lighting] system for the big flashes, and you could only fire one. I chose the one shooting through the glass, behind the backboard. A lot of things could have gone wrong. His hand could have been in his face. He could have been out of the frame instead of just on the edge. I could only take one shot every four seconds [with the strobe] -- it’s not like I could lean on the motor drive and then pick one frame out of 10. … But it became known as “Come Fly with Me.” It did kind of define him at the time as being able to fly.” Back story: Bernstein added: “If you have a microscope, you can actually see me on the other side of the court, sitting there with a little trigger button. Then there’s the trivia question of all time -- who’s the other guy? That No. 3 happens to be [University of Virginia star and NBA role player] Jeff Lamp.” MJ: Champion, finally Details: Michael Jordan and his father, James, in the visitors’ dressing room at the Forum, after Game 5 of the 1991 Finals. Bulls 108, Lakers 101. Bernstein: “The network would do the trophy presentation in the winning team’s locker room, and the visitors’ side at the Forum was about the size of a closet. There seemed to be a thousand people in there, and all hell was breaking loose. I got up on top of a table in the middle of the room for a vantage point. When they came back live from a commercial, they wanted to have Michael on -- but they couldn’t find Michael. Some sixth sense said, ‘Look to your left,’ and there he was, in the locker, hugging that trophy, crying his eyes out with his dad next to him. I always felt, if he’d had to play that whole season for free to get to the mountain top, he would have. I knew this was a special moment. I banged a couple of frames really quick.” Back story: After James Jordan was murdered in 1993, Bernstein got a phone call from Michael’s office saying he “would love it if I made a print and sent it to him,” Bernstein said. “Which I did. I was very close with my dad and Michael Jordan knew him -- my dad was with me through the entire Dream Team experience [in 1992]. And I knew his dad. So it was a poignant moment in my career to have him request that photo. If I had to pick one photo to put on my tombstone, this would probably be it.” ‘Mamba’ coiled to strike Details: Shot from a camera suspended in the rafters at the Forum, a Hasselblad 120mm with a 350mm lens. “A heavy rig,” Bernstein called it, anchored with multiple clamps and safety cables on the catwalk, aimed straight down. Bernstein: “I love the composition of this photo and how everything just came together. The Forum had that beautiful Laker-gold ‘key.’ This was young Kobe, his first or second year, and he was a dunk machine back then. Look how he’s cocked back like that and flying thorugh the air, the basket right there. All the elements came together. When I saw this the next morning -- I had to take the film to the lab after the game, drop it off, then go back in the morning after sweating it out all night, hoping that I’d see something like this -- I was like, ‘Wow!’ All the preparation, hours and hours, setting the equipment up, and it all paid off.” Back story: It’s not common to see the top of a player’s head and the bottom of his sneakers in the same shot. Bernstein knew he had to share it and, thanks to the large-format film, he knew he could share it big. “As soon as I saw this,” he said, “I immediately made a giant print for Kobe -- I mean, like 50 [inches] by 70. Huge. I framed it and drove it to his house. He was living with his parents in Pacific Palisades at the time. I hope he still has it. I had given players like Magic [Johnson] and whomever 8x10s, but I never had framed something I was super-proud of.” Old Kobe ‘dunking’ again Details: Kobe Bryant, deep in his career, before a game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden in January 2010. Bernstein: “During a long East Coast trip, the Lakers had played the night before in Cleveland and were at the Garden less than 24 hours later. Kobe was banged up that year. This was an hour and a half to game time, and he was literally willing himself to play that night. Both ankles are in ice. He’s got the finger in a little cup of ice. During my pregame routine, walking from the locker room to the training room, I just saw him there. Other guys were coming and going, but he was in this meditative state. I took one frame -- God forbid the click of the camera disturb or distract him. Phil [Jackson] called this ‘The Thinker,’ like Rodin’s sculpture.” Back story: A skilled photographer learns how quickly how to be unobtrusive, a “fly on the wall.” Said Bernstein: “You have to, to get behind-the-scenes intimate photos of players away from the bright lights, and what goes on in the bowels of the arena or during travel. In 2009-10, Phil and I collaborated on a book called ‘Journey to the Ring,’ which took the Lakers from media day to whenever their season would end. They ended up winning it all that year, which was unbelievable for the project. The photos were in black-and-white, which was a conscious decision Phil and I made.” Photographer, shoot thyself Details: Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bernstein before the 2016 NBA All-Star Game, Western Conference locker room at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre. Bernstein: “This was his last All-Star Game and it was a true Kobe love-fest. I spent the entire weekend just with him, followed him everywhere he went. I mean, I didn’t cover it like I normally do for the NBA, and NBA Photos was very generous for letting me cover it through him. It was a beautiful weekend. He took it all in and was very appreciative. His humility came out -- a lot of people don’t think Kobe is humble, but I think he was. And he was very grateful, that he had an impact on all these All-Stars who were grateful to him.” Back story: The locker room was closed to the media, but as the league’s guy, Bernstein always has special access. “A couple of people were coming over to get photos with him -- Gregg Popovich, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul and a couple others,” the photographer said. “And I just jumped in myself. Very, very rarely -- I mean, four times in our 20 years together -- did I jump in the picture with him. But I couldn’t resist.” Shadowing the superstars Details: Another overhead shot at the Forum, this time during the 1991 Finals, with Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan fighting for what eventually will be a rebound. Bernstein: “With this angle, it’s always a crap shoot what you’re going to get. The rim could be blocking a guy’s face. Somebody could be too far under the basket. The focus point is so critical -- you have to be right on where it’s focused. As for the shadows, if you can imagine lights in each corner of the court, way up high. It just depended on where the players were placed. If one of them is blocking the light on one side, you get a shadow off to the other side. It’s always dramatic with the strobe. But just to get these two icons in the same frame was difficult.” Back story: Just as the famous parquet court at Boston Garden looked so iconic on TV and from afar, the Forum was best viewed from a distance. The paint worn off the top of the rim by balls and hands was something few ever saw. “The Forum was a dump,” Bernstein said. “The walls were caked with dirt. Nobody ever cleaned it. They used to feed us under the stands where the rodents were. It was like a Hollywood impostor, and it’s in Inglewood, which is not your glitzy Hollywood location. But they made it look good on TV. It was a tough place to work, I have to tell you.” Brothers in arms Details: A fisheye lens captures the moments immediately after Game 5 of 2017 Finals, with Golden State’s Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry front and center. Bernstein: “I’ve gotten good at getting out and being the first guy in the scrum. When a championship is won, I sharpen my elbows and just go for it. I try to be right next to the TV guy and well, I guess people know me and I make my way to wherever I have to be. This particular time, I knew there had to be a moment in there where Curry and Durant had an interaction. And it was amazing -- they’re almost like one body. It’s Kevin’s first championship and Steph is so happy for him as his teammate. And the pressure that was on the whole team to win this championship. I love this picture. It shows so much about the way I work and how I think about what I need to do in the moment.” Back story: Bernstein’s camera captured Durant’s mother Wanda to the left, crying and enjoying the moment. But a few seconds earlier, he said, “his mom came up and grabbed him by the front of the jersey. She kept yelling, ‘We did it! We did it!’ That’s a great picture too.” ‘Uncoachable?’ Unforgettable Details: Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson share a moment after beating the Magic in Game 5 and winning the 2009 NBA championship at Orlando’s Amway Arena. Bernstein: “If you remember the 2008-09 season, there was a lot of pressure on Kobe. People had been saying that he couldn’t win without Shaq, Phil had actually written that he was ‘uncoachable.’ But there’s such a paternal father-son thing going on in this picture. … I know I’ve got to go to the star player immediately at the buzzer. So I ran out and found Kobe. Phil and he had just come together and they were hugging, which is a nice picture. But I knew the instant after a hug can be just as special. Something told me to wait till after the hug -- because [with the limitation of the strobe lights] I can’t shoot rapidly -- and bing! They broke the hug and Phil’s looking like, ‘Job well done, son.’ And Kobe has this amazing look of relief and sense of accomplishment and exhaustion.” Back story: Bernstein said this is the only print of his work that his wife, Mariel, allows him to hang in their house. “We have three teenagers [at the time] who basically were the same age, all within a year of each other, and when all hell was breaking loose at our house, we’d stand the kids in front of this photo. My wife would say, ‘Look at that! If those two guys can get along and be respectful, we can do it in this house.’ ” Forever linked Details: The Celtics’ Larry Bird and the Lakers’ Magic Johnson fight for rebounding position along the foul lane at Boston Garden in the 1987 Finals. Bernstein: “This is probably my most well-known image, other than the one of Jordan hugging the trophy. Remember, these guys played different positions. They never really matched up. You’d never see Magic D-ing up Bird like you would with Michael or Isiah Thomas. And you’d never, ever see Bird D-ing Magic. I had to be unbelievably conscious of when they were on the court together, where they were on the court and somehow, if they would end up in my frame. The only times, honestly, I could ever get them in the same frame was the ‘captains’ meeting’ five minutes before tip at center court, shaking hands, and a free-throw situation. When, by the grace of God, they would line up facing me. That’s what this was. Back story: Just as Bird and Johnson were linked literally, arm in arm, in this photograph, their careers were linked figuratively through the NBA of the 1980s. “It kind of defined the era,” Bernstein said. “These two great guys intertwined, neither of them looking superior to the other. Jostling for position, just like the Celtics and the Lakers did. I love this picture, and I know both of those guys love it. This picture is hanging in the Hall of Fame.” Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 4th, 2018

Lloris out of France squad with thigh injury

By SAMUEL PETREQUIN,  AP Sports Writer PARIS (AP) — France captain Hugo Lloris will miss upcoming matches against Germany and the Netherlands because of a muscle injury. The Tottenham goalkeeper, who did not play in his team's 2-1 loss at Watford over the weekend in the Premier League, has been ruled out of the two UEFA Nations League games this week. France coach Didier Deschamps called the uncapped Benjamin Lecomte as a replacement on Monday. The 27-year-old Lecomte, who plays for Montpellier, is regarded as one of the most promising goalkeepers in the French league. With Marseille goalkeeper Steve Mandanda also out injured, Paris Saint-Germain keeper Alphonse Areola is expected to make his first appearance on Thursday in Munich. France then hosts the Netherlands at the Stade de France on Sunday for its first home game since winning the World Cup in July. Areola has been regularly called up by Deschamps over the past three years and was part of the World Cup squad in Russia. "He has been improving constantly with PSG," Deschamps said Monday. "He had a very, very good season and is now experiencing a new situation following the arrival of Buffon." Areola established himself as PSG's No. 1 keeper last season but the arrival of Gianluigi Buffon has revived competition for the top spot. With the exception of Mandanda and Lloris, Deschamps will be able to count on all the other players who won the tournament in Russia, including Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe and Raphael Varane. The trio failed to make the FIFA world player of the year shortlist on Monday. "A Frenchman would have deserved to be there, not only because of the world title, but also because of their whole season," Deschamps said. "I'm disappointed for them. They deserved to be among the three." Cristiano Ronaldo, Luka Modric and Mohamed Salah made the final three while Lionel Messi was left off the list for the first time since 2006......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 4th, 2018

Ohio St suspends Meyer for 3 games for mishandled abuse case

By Mitch Stacy, Associated Press COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio State on Wednesday night suspended head football coach Urban Meyer three games for mishandling domestic violence accusations, punishing one of the sport's most prominent leaders for keeping an assistant on staff for several years after the coach's wife accused him of abuse. The move followed a two-week investigation into how Meyer reacted to accusations that former Buckeyes assistant Zach Smith abused his ex-wife, Courtney Smith. Zach Smith was fired last month after she asked a judge for a protective order. Courtney Smith alleged her husband shoved her against a wall and put his hands around her neck in 2015. The university put Meyer on paid leave and began an investigation after Courtney Smith spoke out publicly, sharing text messages and photos she traded in 2015 with Meyer's wife, Shelley Meyer. Shelley Meyer is a registered nurse and instructor at Ohio State. Trustees discussed the decision to punish Meyer in a marathon meeting Wednesday while Meyer awaited the decision. The investigation prompted a tweet from Meyer in which he insisted he followed proper protocols after learning of the 2015 accusations. But he also acknowledged lying to reporters a week earlier when he said he hadn't heard of the incident until shortly before he fired Zach Smith. The probe directly centered on the question of what Meyer knew and when. Meyer said in his tweet that he always elevated issues through the proper channels, and did so with the Smith situation in 2015. That contradicted what he told reporters at Big Ten media day a week earlier: "I was never told about anything and nothing ever came to light. I've never had a conversation about it. I know nothing about it." Speaking after the investigation was announced, Zach Smith said he spoke with Meyer at the time and athletic director Gene Smith also knew about the allegations. Zach Smith said Meyer told him he would be fired if the head coach found out Smith had hit his wife. Zach Smith — the grandson of late Ohio State coach and Meyer mentor Earle Bruce — has never been criminally charged or convicted of abuse. He has a charge of criminal trespass pending, and the Smiths are due in court next month for a hearing on a restraining order Courtney Smith was granted July 20. Meyer was heading into his seventh season at Ohio State, where he is 73-8 with a national title in 2014 and two Big Ten Conference championships. Ohio State's Title IX sexual misconduct policy includes reporting allegations of domestic violence made against university employees. Violating that policy allows Meyer to be fired with cause, according to provisions placed in his contract when it was extended in April by two years. The deal through 2022, increasing Meyer's salary to $7.6 million in 2018, with annual 6 percent raises. Meyer had about $38 million left on his contract. Ohio State's season starts Sept. 1 with a game against Oregon State in Columbus. In 2009, Zach Smith was accused of aggravated battery on his pregnant wife while he was working a graduate assistant for Meyer at Florida. The charge was dropped because of insufficient evidence. The Smiths separated in June 2015 and divorced in 2016. Meyer is one of the most accomplished coaches in college football history, with three national championships and a 177-31 record in 16 seasons at Bowling Green, Utah, Florida and Ohio State, the team he grew up rooting for in Northeast Ohio. Meyer won national championships with Florida in 2006 and '08, but his teams also had more than two dozen players get into trouble with the law. He resigned twice at Florida, citing health reasons, first in the 2009 season after the Gators lost the Southeastern Conference championship game while trying to repeat as national champs. He changed his mind soon after and coached another season. The Gators went 8-5 in 2010, and afterward, Meyer stepped down for good. Meyer was out of coaching for a season but was hired by Ohio State in November 2011. The Buckeyes had fired Jim Tressel, another national championship-winning coach, before that season for lying to the NCAA and university about rules violation committed by some of his players. Since returning to coaching, Meyer's program has been one of the most dominant in college football, and his players have mostly stayed out of major trouble. Meyer faced some criticism in 2013 for allowing running back Carlos Hyde to return to the team after he was charged with striking a woman in a bar. The case was dropped by police when the woman chose not to pursue charges, but Hyde was suspended three games. The Meyer investigation cost $500,000 and was conducted by the national law firm Debevoise & Plimpton. Ohio State began investigating Meyer while also facing three federal lawsuits about its response to allegations of groping, leering and other misconduct by a deceased athletic department doctor who treated wrestlers and other students for two decades. The lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by Dr. Richard Strauss say Ohio State facilitated the abuse by ignoring complaints. Since Ohio State announced an independent investigation in April, more than 100 former students have come forward with accounts of sexual misconduct by Strauss. The allegations range from 1979 to 1997 and involve male athletes from 14 sports, as well as his work at the student health center and his off-campus medical office......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 23rd, 2018

Homeward-bound Schooling set for next phase at Asian Games

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — The hardest lap for any swimmer is usually the one coming home. That's when they have to try their hardest, giving it everything they have to get to the finish. Singapore's Olympic gold medalist Joseph Schooling is about to discover what that means when he's not in the competition pool. After spending the last nine years in relative anonymity in the United States, the 23-year-old Schooling is getting ready for the second half of his sporting career back in southeast Asia, knowing he probably won't be able to walk down the street or go for dinner without being noticed. "It's everywhere but it shows that they support you and they're excited to see you, and so you can't complain," Schooling said. "You can never brush aside your fans. You've always got to reciprocate so I'm completely fine with it." Schooling is competing this week at the Asian Games in Indonesia, where he has entered in the 50- and 100-meter butterfly races, three relays and the 50 freestyle. He will bid to defend his title in the 100 butterfly on Wednesday. Despite leaving Singapore in his teens to chase his dream of winning an Olympic gold medal, the island-state has always been in Schooling's heart. But so too has Texas, where he has been studying at University and training under the watchful eye of Eddie Reese. Schooling will complete his economics degree later this year before returning to Singapore, but will take back two permanent reminders of his time in the U.S. that changed his life. One is the tattoo on his left shoulder of the University of Texas mascot, the Longhorn. The other, inked after he won Rio, is the Olympic rings on his right bicep. The Longhorns won the NCAA national title four years in a row while Schooling was on the team and he credits his time there for helping him win the ultimate prize when he beat American great Michael Phelps for the Olympic title in the 100 fly. "It's great, it's a different atmosphere, great teammates," Schooling said. "I feel like it's the perfect environment for high performance." Schooling wants to keep swimming through to the 2024 Olympics in Paris and, although he hasn't made a final decision on his training plans, he has spent the past few months practicing with Singapore's new high-performance unit and likes what he sees. Australia's Stephan Widmer, who helped Libby Lenton and Leisel Jones win Olympic titles, has been appointed performance director at the institute while Gary Tan is the national head coach and Sonya Porter, who has extensive experience coaching in the U.S., is the technical director. Schooling's biggest challenge could be how to deal with his celebrity status but after he held off Phelps on the biggest final lap of his life to date, he's confident he can manage. "It takes some getting used to but at the end of the day if you focus on what you're doing and you don't care about outside distractions it's ok," he said. "I like being in that position and I don't see it as a burden at all.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 21st, 2018

Thomas takes over at Firestone as Woods fades away

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press AKRON, Ohio (AP) — Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy have become friends more by location than youth. They live near each other in South Florida and said they spent last weekend practicing together at The Bear's Club. Sunday at Firestone will be the eighth time this year they play together in a tournament, and the number grows next week when they play the opening two rounds with Tiger Woods at the PGA Championship. But this is the first time a trophy is at stake. Thomas pulled away from the pack with five birdies in the middle of his round Saturday for a 3-under 67, giving him a three-shot lead over McIlroy and Ian Poulter going into the final round of the Bridgestone Invitational. "We've played together a lot in tournaments, but never in this kind of situation," Thomas said. McIlroy played bogey-free on a Firestone course that finally started to get firm, atoning for a few missed birdie chances with key par putts. He already has won at Bay Hill this year, though he felt he should have won more. He has been runner-up three times, most recently at the British Open two weeks ago. "I played well enough to win a few times this year and I only got over the line once," McIlroy said. "Tomorrow is a great opportunity to try and win again. I'll need a good round. I'm still a few behind. But yeah, I'm getting a little sick of the second places." McIlroy made up three shots in the final round in 2014 when he rallied to beat Sergio Garcia at Firestone. It might be a taller order to take on Thomas, who already has won twice this season and appears to have found his touch with the putter. Starting with a pitching wedge from 129 yards into the breeze to 6 feet at No. 6, Thomas made birdie on every other hole through the 14th to pull away. No one could keep pace with Thomas, least of all Tiger Woods. Starting the third round Saturday five shots behind, Woods didn't make a birdie until a 12-foot putt on the 12th hole, and he didn't make another. He wound up with a 73, leaving him 11 shots back and ending his streak of 10 straight rounds at par or better dating to the U.S. Open. "It was very similar to the first day," Woods said. "Wasn't very sharp that first day, but I made everything. So today was about the same, and I didn't make anything." That wasn't a problem for Thomas, whose six birdies included a chip-in from 30 feet behind the green on the par-3 12th. He was at 14-under 196. Thomas fell behind early with two bogeys in three holes, and a 10-foot par save in between from behind the fourth green kept him from falling farther behind. Poulter set the pace early and had a three-shot lead at one point until he dropped his shot from the bunker on the par-3 seventh, and then had a mixed bag of birdies and bogeys that kept him from getting closer to the lead. Jason Day, who threw away a chance to win the Bridgestone Invitational two years ago, had a 69 and was four shots behind. Marc Leishman, who played alongside Woods, shot 67 and joined Kyle Stanley (70) five shots behind. The course started to get a little firmer. Poulter had a 62 on Thursday. Tommy Fleetwood shot 63 on Friday. The best anyone could do in the third round was a 65 by Rickie Fowler, which only got him within six shots. Thomas figured that out quickly. He made an unusual birdie on the par-5 second by hitting his tee shot in the first cut of the third fairway. Blocked by threes, he opted for a 5-wood that started out toward the third tee and sliced over the trees to the rough, pin-high about 15 feet away from an up-and-down. After a bogey from the trees at No. 3, Thomas went at a back pin on the tough fourth hole and the ball bounded over the green in thick rough. He chopped at his chip and did well to run it 10 feet by the hole, making it for par. He bogeyed the next from a bunker, and fell three shots behind, but that par save on No. 4 helped by not dropping a shot, and by understanding how the course was playing. Thomas said he told caddie Jimmy Johnson, "We can't see pin, hit pin." Fleetwood went so far long on the fourth hole that it went 30 yards over the green. He chipped 50 feet by the hole and three-putted for a double bogey, the start of what turned out to be a sloppy day and a 74 that dropped him seven shots behind. Poulter already has won at the Houston Open in what has been a big turnaround for the Englishman, who is on the cusp of qualifying for the Ryder Cup. He made a pair of medium-length birdie putts to offset bogeys from the bunkers, but fell out of a chance to be in the last group when he missed a 6-foot par putt on the 17th. "I'm going to have a chance," Poulter said. "So starting this week, tied 13th I think was my best ever result. I'm tied second right now, so huge improvement and a little bit of work left to do. And hopefully, we can do it.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 5th, 2018

Team Lakay s Geje Eustaquio would love to see Manny Pacquiao in ONE Championship

During the lead up to ONE Championship: Reign of Kings in Manila, ONE Championship founder and chairman Chatri Sityodtong made a bold invitation to newly-crowned WBA (regular) welterweight world champion and Filipino boxing legend Manny Pacquiao.  "Manny, congratulations, I'm amazed by your legendary career, let's join hands, let's give the Filipino fans what they want, let's do an all-Filipino heroes card, a mega, mega-card, blast that to the whole world, Manny Pacquiao, please, I invite you to compete in ONE Championship." Sityodtong said.  This is coming off the heels of ONE's announcement that they were able to lock up reigning WBC Super Flyweight World Champion Srisaket Sor Rungivsai for their October 6 card in Bangkok, Thailand.  The Thai boxing star is set to defend his WBC strap in the main event of the scheduled ONE card at the Impact Arena.  Pacquiao, who's coming off a seven-round destruction of Argentinian Lucas Matthysse in Kuala Lumpur, could be rounding out his final days of fighting in Asia, and Sityodtong's dream would be to have Pacquiao defend his WBA championship on a ONE card lined with Filipino world champions and heroes, including former champion Eduard Folayang, and reigning champions Brandon Vera and Geje Eustaquio to name a few.  For reigning ONE Championship Flyweight World Champion Eustaquio, fighting alongside Pacquiao would be an honor.  "When Renzo Gracie fought here in Manila, in front of us, it’s a dream come true." Eustaquio said during the post-fight press conference of ONE: Reign of Kings, Friday night at the Mall of Asia Arena. "How much more if a Filipino legend will fight in front of us?" With Manny Pacquiao being a shareholder of ONE Championship, and with the promotion making steps toward boxing promotion with the Srisaket move, it's really not out of the realm of possiblity that a Pacquiao-headlined ONE card could happen in the future.  "This is ONE Championship, it’s where dreams come true." Eustaquio added. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 28th, 2018