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PBA: Banchero after big game: 'I think it was my turn tonight'

After Alaska beat Columbian in the 2018 PBA Governors' Cup, head coach Alex Compton wasn't particularly too happy about his locals. After Alaska beat Blackwater in the 2018 PBA Governors' Cup, safe to say Compton can smile about the way his locals performed. No other Alaska local shined brighter than Chris Banchero against the Elite, as the point guard put up the points in the win over Blackwater. Seriously, a lot of points. Banchero only missed four times and drilled 28 points for the Aces, finishing just behind import Mike Harris who had 38. "We needed to play better basketball than we did against Columbian, I thought we did tonight," Banchero said. "I got it going a little big tonight. I was good. I'm glad I played well, I think it was my turn tonight to score the basketball. I was not realy trying to score, it was just that I kinda got it going," he added. With the win, Alaska has forced a three-way tie for first place in the Governors' Cup with Ginebra and Magnolia as all three have identical 7-2 records. Still, Banchero says the Aces have room to take things to a higher level. "We knew we needed to get that win because top-4 is our goal and we'll make the push from there. Being top-4 is a huge advantage," he said. "I think we still have room to grow," Banchero added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnOct 21st, 2018

PBA: Gin Kings fell right into Magnolia s trap says Brownlee after Game 1 loss

Brgy. Ginebra is an overwhelming force, the Gin Kings can certainly take over a game in a snap. The reigning two-time champs displayed that kind of explosiveness in Game 1 of the 2018 Governors' Cup semifinals Saturday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo. With Justin Brownle scoring 20 points, the Gin Kings fired 39 points in the opening period to start Manila Clasico. It was all Ginebra. The only problem was it was all Magnolia the rest of the game and the Hotshots actually pulled through for an early 1-0 lead in the best-of-5. "Man, kind of fell into a trap tonight. Give credit to Magnolia, they came out and played an incredible game," import Justin Brownlee said after the Gin Kings dropped the opener. "I think we fell into the trap of playing their game. I think we just gotta get back into playing our game," he added. After an explosive first quarter for Ginebra, Magnolia's signature defense kicked in and dominated the Gin Kings. When that happened, Brownlee felt that Ginebra became a little stubborn and tried to force the issue on offense instead of responding to the Hotshots and turn the game into a defensive struggle. "I think we got dependent on our offense. We didn't focus on our defense anymore," said Ginebra's super import. "I think we juts fell in love with our offense because we were scoring so well. But we gotta remember we're a defense-first team and I think that was just the biggest difference after that first quarter," Brownlee added.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 11th, 2018

UAAP: Franz Pumaren after Adamson-Ateneo: Playoffs started tonight

For the first time in the UAAP, the men's basketball games were played in the Ynares Center in Antipolo. One might have expected that the games would be sparsely attended due to the out-of-town venue, but the UAAP Season 81 fans did not disappoint. In the Ateneo de Manila University versus Adamson University game, rabid fans filled the ringside and the lower box section of the arena adding to the intense action on the hardwood. Considering the game and the crowd, even though it is still just the second round, Falcons head coach Franz Pumaren felt the playoff atmosphere. "Tonight's game is a testament that the playoffs started tonight. Atmosphere was different, the intensity was different," said Pumaren after his Adamson squad was dealt with its third loss of the season after eleven games. The Soaring Falcons had a statement victory over the Blue Eagles in the first round. However, as much as they wanted to sweep Ateneo in the eliminations, they failed as the Eagles' defense limited them to 26.4 points lower than their average. "We were too relaxed, I guess, thinking we can always turn it on and off. We have to give credit to Ateneo. They came out with a lot of fire, a lot of intensity. Its just a matter of simple analysis. They played well. We played bad. We were taken out of our comfort zone," he said. Jerrick Ahanmisi, who usually scores an average of 18.8 points, was held to just 10 points while Sean Manganti, who has averaged 15.1 points, was limited to just six. With Adamson's two top gunners having an off night offensively, Pumaren looked at the silver lining and thought that they did a decent job defensively. "Coming from a team that's been on a massacre mission, they scored 62 points. We still had a decent defensive effort for tonight's game. It's just we couldn't convert," he said, "They really wanted this victory. In spite of that, we forced them to 22 errors, for a number one team I think that's an accomplishment on our part. Just imagine if we don't force them, baka mas malaki pa ang lamang." Regardless of the outcome of the latest Adamson versus Ateneo tiff, Pumaren hopes to meet the Blue Eagles again this season. After all, he has been very honest that he loves coaching against Tab Baldwin. "It's nice playing against Ateneo. Hopefully, we can still meet each other. They make the best out of me and the best out of the team because coaching against a very experienced coach," Pumaren said. With Ateneo currently the league-leading team with a 10-2 record and Adamson coming in second with an 8-3 slate, Pumaren might just get his wish. But he made it clear that he is not banking on the current standings. They still have three more games to play -- versus University of Santo Tomas, University of the East, and Far Eastern University. "We're not even sure of everything. We just have to do our own job. We cannot rely on other teams beating the other school for us to be assured. Who knows. We still have three games. I think the last games, this is the most [important], there's a logjam with 2, 3, 4," said the Adamson mentor. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @the9cruz.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 4th, 2018

PBA: Red-hot Aces add to Beermen’s woes in Govs’ Cup

ANTIPOLO CITY, Rizal —- Alaska continues to make its case as one of the best teams in the 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup. The Aces rolled to another win Saturday, overwhelming San Miguel Beer, 128-119, at the Ynares Center here. Alaska pushed its record to 5-1 for the conference, which tied Magnolia for second place and is only half a game back of two-time champion Ginebra for pole position. The Aces also added to the Beermen’s woes this conference, sending San Miguel to their third straight loss for a 2-4 mark. "I'm so happy to get a win here. Obviously we made some shots. I thought our ball movement was pretty good, and then we made some shots," head coach Alex Compton said.  "Sometimes you have games where your ball movement is good but you miss shots. Tonight we knocked them down," he added. Import Mike Harris was a beast anew for Alaska, firing 36 points on 58 percent shooting. He also had 23 rebounds. The locals also came through for the Aces with Vic Manuel scoring 20 points and Simon Enciso adding 18. Chris Banchero had another double-double with 15 points and 12 assists. For the Beermen, Kevin Murhpy's explosive PBA stint continued with 45 points. Unfortunately, San Miguel is yet to win with Murphy as import. 2017 top pick Christian Standhardinger scored 23 in the first half and finished with 28 points total to go along with 13 rebounds.   The scores: ALASKA 127 – Harris 36, Manuel 20, Enciso 18, Banchero 15, Teng 12, Exciminiano 11, Casio 7, Racal 7, J. Pascual 1, Baclao 0. SMB 119 – Murphy 45, Standhardinger 28, Santos 20, Cabagnot 14, Lassiter 7, Nabong 5, Mamaril 0, Ganuelas-Rosser 0, Ross 0. Quarters: 34-36; 67-64; 93-89; 127-119. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 6th, 2018

NFL preseason games see players demonstrate during anthem

By The Associated Press Player demonstrations took place during the national anthem at several early NFL preseason games Thursday night. In Philadelphia, Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins and cornerback De'Vante Bausby raised their fists during the anthem, and defensive end Chris Long placed his arm around Jenkins' shoulder. Jenkins had stopped his demonstration last December. Defensive end Michael Bennett walked out of the tunnel during the anthem and walked toward the bench while it played. It appeared all the Steelers stood. "Everybody is waiting for what the league is going to do," Jenkins said. "We won't let it stop what we stand for. I was very encouraged last year with the direction and that obviously took a different turn. "I think it's important to utilize the platform as we can because for whatever reason, we have framed this demonstration in a negative light, and often players have to defend why we feel the need to fight for everyday Americans, and in actuality we're doing the right thing." At Miami, Dolphins receivers Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson and defensive end Robert Quinn protested during the anthem. Stills and Wilson kneeled behind teammates lined up standing along the sideline. Quinn stood and raised his right fist. There were no apparent protests by the Buccaneers. Stills kneeled during the anthem during the 2016-17 seasons and has been vocal discussing social injustice issues that inspired the protest movement by NFL players. Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, a leader of the movement, tweeted support for Stills and Wilson. "My brother @kstills continued his protest of systemic oppression tonight by taking a knee," the tweet said. "Albert Wilson joined him in protest. Stay strong brothers!" And in Seattle, three Seahawks players ran into the tunnel leading to the team's locker room prior to the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner." Defensive linemen Branden Jackson and Quinton Jefferson, and offensive lineman Duane Brown left the field following team introductions and before the start of the anthem. They returned to the sideline immediately after it concluded. All three were among a group of Seattle players that sat during the anthem last season. In Jacksonville, four Jaguars remained in the locker room during the national anthem, and team officials said it would be up to the players to explain why they weren't on the field. Cornerback Jalen Ramsey, linebacker Telvin Smith, and running backs Leonard Fournette and T.J. Yeldon joined teammates on the sideline after the anthem. "As a man, I got certain beliefs," said Smith, who wore "Salute the Service" cleats. "You know what I mean? This is not going to become a distraction, and Jacksonville's not going to become a distraction for this team. I got beliefs. I did what I did. I don't know if it's going to be every week, can't answer if it's going to be every week. "But as a man I've got to stand for something. I love my team, I'm dedicated to my teammates, and that's what we're talking about. I did what I did. It was love. I hope people see it and respect it. I respect views." At Baltimore, both teams stood, but while most of the Ravens lined up shoulder to shoulder on the sideline, second-year linebacker Tim Williams stood alone in front of the bench with his back toward the field. All of the players on each team at New England appeared to stand for the national anthem, some bowing their heads and others placing their hands on their hearts. The Patriots observed a moment of silence beforehand for Weymouth, Massachusetts, police officer Michael Chesna, who was killed last month in the line of duty. The league and the players' union have yet to announce a policy for this season regarding demonstrations during the anthem after the league initially ordered everyone to stand on the sideline when "The Star-Spangled Banner" is played, or remain in the locker room. "The NFL has been engaged in constructive discussions with the NFL Players Association regarding the anthem and issues of equality and social justice that are of concern to many Americans," league spokesman Brian McCarthy said in an email. "While those discussions continue, the NFL has agreed to delay implementing or enforcing any club work rules that could result in players being disciplined for their conduct during the performance of the anthem. "Meanwhile, there has been no change in the NFL's policy regarding the national anthem. The anthem will continue to be played before every game, and all player and non-player personnel on the field at that time are expected to stand during the presentation of the flag and performance of the anthem. Personnel who do not wish to do so can choose to remain in the locker room. "We remain committed to working with the players to identify solutions and to continue making progress on important social issues affecting our communities."  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 10th, 2018

San Beda silences CSB to set up Finals duel against Ateneo

College of St. Benilde is for real, but San Beda University remains the defending champion in the NCAA and in the 2018 Filoil Flying V Preseason Cup. The Blazers gave it all they’ve got, but in the end, the Red Lions’ poise yet again proved to be the difference in a well-earned 78-71 win on Friday at the Filoil Flying V Centre. San Beda, the winners of the preseason tournament a year ago, was actually the lower-seed to a CSB crew that has been opening eyes. “First, I gotta give credit to St. Benilde. They really played well tonight and sabi ko talaga sa players ko, we have to match their effort,” San Beda head coach Boyet Fernandez said post-game. Indeed, the Blazers continued to do just that as Justin Gutang waxed hot with 22 points, the last three of which pulled his team to within 71-74 with 40.6 ticks to go on the clock. The Red Lions’ championship experience came through anew, though, as even incoming first-year players Toba Eugene and Evan Nelle made good on all four of their free throws to close the door on their opponents once and for all. Nelle wound up with five points and four rebounds while Eugene hauled in 14 markers and six boards. Donald Tankoua also had 14 points and five rebounds and Javee Mocon posted a 13-marker, 12-board double-double to make up for quite the quiet game from Robert Bolick who scored nine points. Now, the defending Filoil Preseason and NCAA champions turn their attention to UAAP king Ateneo de Manila University. “Hopefully, we’ll be ready for Ateneo. They probably have jet lag for now, but they’re still the champions of the UAAP,” Fernandez said, referring to the fact that the Blue Eagles had just come home from a series of tuneup games in Greece. That Finals showdown tips off on Saturday evening still at the same venue. Gutang paced CSB while Clement Leutcheu chipped in 15 points and 10 rebounds. Even with the semifinals loss, the entire preseason has been nothing but a positive sign for them. BOX SCORES SAN BEDA 78 – Tankoua 14, Eugene 14, Mocon 13, Doliguez 11, Bolick 9, Canlas 6, Nelle 5, Abuda 3, Cuntapay 3, Presbitero 0, Tongco 0, Oftana 0, Cabanag 0 CSB 71 – Gutang 22, Leutcheu 15, Haruna 11, Pasturan 8, Belgica 4, Dixon 4, Naboa 3, Domingo 2, Pagulayan 2, Carlos 0, Young 0, Nayve 0, Velasco 0 QUARTER SCORES: 20-19, 40-34, 54-53, 78-71 --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 29th, 2018

Thompson s hot hand carries Warriors into Game 7 with Rockets

By Janie McCauley, Associated Press OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Klay Thompson flashed back to a night he left the arena still in uniform, furious about his forgettable performance against Denver. It used to be he struggled to shake off a bad night, or even a bad start to a game. Now, he just keeps shooting. Whenever he feels like it, from wherever. No conscience. A hand or two in his face, no matter. “I was not always like this. I used to be so hard on myself, especially early in my career,” Thompson said. “... I learned, as I get older, if you play with passion, you play hard, and you leave the game saying I gave everything I have tonight in those 48 minutes, you can live with the result.” The Warriors’ season lives on largely thanks to Thompson’s shooting touch. Golden State is one win from a fourth straight NBA Finals, headed back to Houston for Monday night’s (Tuesday, PHL time) Game 7. He came through with the defending champions’ season on the line in another do-or-die Game 6, just as he did two years ago at Oklahoma City. This time he scored 35 points with nine three-pointers as the Warriors rallied with a huge second half to beat the Rockets 115-86 on Saturday night (Sunday, PHL time) to force a deciding game in the Western Conference finals. His defense shined, too. Oh, and the typically subdued Thompson let his emotions flow for all to see: He flexed his biceps Draymond Green style, pumped his arms like Kevin Durant and yelled out the way Stephen Curry often does at Oracle Arena. Thompson has long been content to be the understated All-Star among the four in Golden State’s starting lineup. “I just wanted to play with as much passion as I could tonight. Probably sounded more vocal than I usually am,” Thompson acknowledged. “When your back’s against the wall, if your shot’s not falling, you can always control your passion and how hard you play. Usually when I do that, it trickles over to other aspects of my game.” Curry’s Splash Brother did it in 2016 when he scored 41 points against Durant’s former Thunder team with the Warriors facing elimination. They went on to win Game 7 before falling to LeBron James and the Cavaliers in a seven-game NBA Finals. Durant had no interest in recollecting, smiling and laughing with Curry as he said, “next question.” As for Curry? “I think we both blocked that whole year out of our memory,” the two-time MVP quipped. No arguing they both appreciate Thompson’s no-fear shooting approach and ability to almost single-handedly turn the tide of a game with a timely three-pointer or two — or nine. Once Golden State got going in transition, following clutch defensive stops, Thompson found the looks he so prefers from long range. “I feel like we’re the best team in the world and most fun team in the world to watch when we’re pushing that ball, getting defensive stops and making plays,” he said. “We’ve got too much talent not just to hit singles like Coach always says. Trust the next man ahead of us. It will end up working in our favor most of the time.” Thompson shot 13-for-23 and 9-of-14 from deep as the Warriors responded from an early 17-point deficit to dominate James Harden and Houston the final three quarters, outscoring the Rockets 93-47 after trailing 39-22 at the end of the first. Thompson went a combined 20-of-32 from three-point range in those two impressive Game 6 shows, Saturday and in 2016. “I think Klay doesn’t worry too much about repercussions. He doesn’t worry about judgment and results. I think he just loves to play,” coach Steve Kerr said. “He’s so comfortable in his own skin. I just think he wants to go out there and hoop, and he doesn’t worry about much else. So the pressure doesn’t seem to bother him much. He just competes and plays. As I said, the two-way ability of this guy hounding the MVP of the league, most likely, all game, and continuing to rain down three-pointers, he’s amazing.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 27th, 2018

Warriors need just one game to establish superiority

By Sekou Smith, NBA.com HOUSTON — Months of building up the hard shell required to wade this deep into the NBA’s merciless playoff waters can evaporate in a snap. One bad rotation, followed by a missed layup on the back of yet another dagger from the other team and even a mighty, 65-win juggernaut can see it all unravel. The Houston Rockets know the feeling now, after living through it on what could turn out to be the biggest night of the best [regular] season in the history of the franchise. They invited the Golden State Warriors in, dared to beat the reigning NBA champions at their own game in these Western Conference finals with an emphatic win and came up woefully short of that goal in the opener. The home court advantage they worked for all throughout a brilliant season is gone. The comfort provided by a 2-1 record against the Warriors during the regular season series the Rockets held tight since January was blown away after just four quarters. Whatever aura they thought they owned heading into the Toyota Center Monday night (Tuesday, PHL time) for Game 1, they shed long before the final seconds of their decisive 119-106 loss to the Warriors. It looked good early, when James Harden had the Rockets rolling to a nine-point lead in the frenzied opening minutes. But Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Stephen Curry and the rest of a Warriors team making its fourth straight appearance in the conference finals, they don’t fold at the first sign of danger. “You’re not going to just come in and knock them out,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said. “I mean, there’s just too many times we had mental lapses. We either didn’t switch properly or we didn’t switch hard enough. We turned the ball over  little too much. Every time we missed a layup, which we missed a lot of layups, they ran out. “They’re really devastating. We’ve got to make layups, don’t turn it over and do a little bit better job of mentally just staying up on people.” The fact that they were starting this series away from the friendly confines of Oracle Arena for the first time during their recent run did nothing to shake their belief in themselves. And if there is anything that is clear after just four wild quarters of this most anticipated series, it’s that the Warriors’ collective confidence is far superior to the artificial skin the Rockets wrapped themselves in leading up to the opening round of this heavyweight fight. Harden played inspired, for most of his 35 minutes, finishing with a game-high 41 points and seven assists. Chris Paul’s 23 points, 11 rebounds and three assists look good on paper. But it wasn’t enough. It was nowhere near enough to offset the Rockets’ self-inflicted mistakes or the fury the Warriors can rain down on their opponents this time of year. “They’re obviously champions for a reason,” D’Antoni said. “If we want to beat them, we have to be mentally sharper. KD, he’s tough. Obviously, he was on tonight. Hey, you can live with that. But you can’t live with that and then make mental mistakes, and that's what we do. The combination of the two was devastating.” Durant was hell bent on devastation, torching an assortment of Rockets defenders for his 37 points. Thompson drilled the Rockets for 28 points of his own, his 15 attempts from beyond the three-point line serving as a more demoralizing dagger for a Rockets defense designed to limit those attempts. With so much attention on them, the Rockets seemed to lose their defensive focus on basically everyone else. “Defensively, we’ve got to be better,” Paul said. “You know it’s funny, I got caught helping a couple times in the first half and I think Nick Young hit three [three-pointers] off those plays. Some games, some series, you may make those mistakes and guys don’t make the shots. But tonight, every time we did it, they made the shot. They make you pay when you make mistakes.” Just to be clear about what kind of armor the Warriors travel with these days, they’ve won a game on the road in 18 consecutive playoff series, well before the Durant era. So as much as this is about the back and forth between Durant and Harden, the former Oklahoma City Thunder teammates who once got this point in a season together and elbowed their way into The Finals in 2012, it’s about Curry, Thompson, Green and Andre Iguodala, the 2015 Finals MVP. Those are the other four members of the Warriors’ “Hamptons Five” lineup that started the game, the group that withstood everything the Rockets threw at them Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) and then beat them up over the final 15 minutes of a must-have game on their home floor. “They’re a good team,” Eric Gordon said, stating the obvious. "They’ve been playing together, they know who they are. They’ve been to four straight Western Conference finals. We just got to be a little better.” The Rockets’ must-win game is now Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time). The pressure shifts to a Game 2 effort that has to be much better offensively if they want to keep pace with the Warriors. They’ll also need a much cleaner effort that doesn’t include sloppiness (the Warriors converted 16 turnovers into 17 points) and deficient defense (the Warriors shot .525 from the floor and .394 from the three-point line) that was on display in Game 1. These are all things D’Antoni believes to be correctable. And they could be. Indeed, they better be if the Rockets plan on stretching this series to the limit. Because there is still no way to account for the experience factor, the muscle memory edge the Warriors have when it comes to recognizing the time and place to apply the ultimate pressure on an opponent that’s ready to break. They sniffed it late in the third quarter, when the Rockets were reeling under a relentless barrage of Durant buckets. The only thing that saved them then were crucial baskets of their own from Eric Gordon and Gerald Green, and Warriors coach Steve Kerr subbing Durant out for a breather the Warriors closer did not want. “Yeah, he wasn’t really thrilled and I probably should have left him in,” Kerr said. “Late third he was going pretty well. I knew I had to get him some rest at some point. As soon as I took him out, they went on a quick run, so he was not thrilled. But he came back in and got us back on track.” You can toy with a team like the Minnesota Timberwolves in the first round, dropping Game 3 on the road only to come back and close out the series with back-to-back wins, especially when you are clearly the superior team and own that coveted home-court advantage. You might be able to get away with it in next round against a team like the Utah Jazz, when you lose home-court advantage in Game 2, but are are once again clearly the superior team and win three straight games to squash that challenge. Slip up a third time, as the Rockets did Monday night (Tuesday, PHL time), against a team that has won two of the last three Larry O’Brien trophies, a team with their sights set on a third, and … and there might not be another chance. Sekou Smith is a veteran NBA reporter and NBA TV analyst. 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 NewsMay 15th, 2018

Harden, Rockets pass first postseason test

By Sekou Smith, NBA.com HOUSTON — If the long road to June basketball is to come to fruition for the best regular-season team in basketball, it had to start like this for the Houston Rockets. That first step, that first foray into the great postseason abyss, required this sort of confirmation from the No. 1 overall seed in the entire tournament, so to speak. There’s no room for Cinderellas around here, no slaying of Goliath, not on Clint Capela’s watch. Not with James Harden on the case when the Rockets needed it most, and especially at crunch time. And not with Chris Paul, chip planted firmly on his shoulder as always, eyeballing bigger and better things than being the best from late October to mid-April. So it won’t be easy. Nobody said it would be. And let’s be clear, the Minnesota Timberwolves are not a normal eight seed. Not really. A healthy Jimmy Butler and the infusion of veteran talent that helped end the second longest playoff drought in NBA history this season makes that big a difference. They certainly did Sunday night (Monday, PHL time) at Toyota Center, when the Rockets were forced to battle until the very end for a 104-101 win despite a 44-point masterpiece from Harden. But like everyone else who dealt with these juggernaut Rockets all season long, Harden and his crew proved to be too much with the game on the line. With Harden on the bench and the game tied at 85 with 6:49 to play, the script was already written. He came in for Paul with 6:07 to play and the Rockets up a point, and promptly scored on a driving layup. He stole the ball and then scored on a driving floater. After a Capela block, he scored on a driving layup. By the time he knocked down a three-pointer with 4:27 left, the Rockets’ lead was back up to eight points, 94-86, and it was clear that Harden was going to do whatever it took — scoring, playmaking and even defending — to keep Game 1 from going awry. It was vintage work from the maestro who has owned the floor most every night since the season opener, when Harden and the Rockets went into Oracle Arena as the reigning champion Golden State Warriors hung another banner and collected those diamond-laced title rings and walked off the floor winners. “Another day for James,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said after Harden finished one point shy of his playoff career-high. “He’s done it all year and he really stepped up. We were struggling to make shots, struggling to really have any kind of rhythm of play and James put us on his back and he’s been doing it for a while now.” D’Antoni will have to forgive the rest of us, including the frontrunner for the Kia MVP this season, for not digesting his theory about the playoffs being something other than a referendum on his team’s magical regular season. Harden operated like someone keenly aware of what was at stake with the Timberwolves, each and every one of them, trying in vain to slow him down. “Honestly, I just try to be aggressive and make the right play,” Harden said. “Things got slowed up a little bit, just try to be aggressive with my shot and fortunately it went in.” Jimmy Butler is an All-Star and one of the league’s best two-way players. Derrick Rose is a former Kia MVP himself, and still has enough juice left to make things difficult for someone when he locks in the way he did on this night. And neither one of them had any luck slowing Harden down during his second-half blitz. He scored 25 of his points in the final 18 minutes, making play after play when the Timberwolves appeared to be on the verge of potentially pulling off a shocker. “There were several plays in which I thought we defended well and he made shots,” Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau said. “James is that type of player and we’ve seen it all year, [he’s] very difficult to guard. Basically, you have to guard him with your whole team. And it’s not just his scoring, but his playmaking and all the things that he does.” The Rockets won on a night when they shot a brutal 27 percent (10-for-37) from beyond the three-point line, where they’ve feasted on the opposition all season. They roasted the Timberwolves from distance during their regular season match ups to the tune of 43.4 percent and more than doubled them up in three-point makes during those games, but made just two more Sunday night (Monday, PHL time). Harden was 7-for-12 from deep, a playoff career-high for makes, while the rest of the Rockets shot a combined 3-for-25. And he was draining his shots with hands in his face routinely. “He’s an MVP candidate and you know why,” said Timberwolves big man Taj Gibson. “Every time the game was ‘mono e mono’ and they were in a tight spot, he just took over the game. He made some tough shots, he played phenomenal tonight. We were trying to throw everything at him, he’s a talented player.” He’s clearly much more than that. “I mean yeah, he’s a hell of a player,” Butler said. “Everyone knows that. But you don’t just guard him with one guy. It’s everybody out there, everybody has to be in the correct position. Challenge shots; contest them at the rim, but more than anything, if there is a miss we’ve got to get the rebound and take off the other way. But we didn’t do any of that tonight, we’ve got to be better [in Game 2] on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time).” Thibodeau had to turn to his bench to stay in the game before halftime and they delivered, scoring 19 points and playing with an energy level that matched what the Rockets did regardless of who was on the floor. Rose (nine points), Jamal Crawford (seven) and Gorgui Dieng (three) did all that bench scoring, which was the only way to offset the furious 49 points Capela and Harden combined for before the break. Jeff Teague’s three fouls and Butler’s defensive task, trying to keep Harden under wraps, required so much of his attention that the scoring load had to be picked up by someone else. He went scoreless in the first quarter and just never seemed to get untracked early on, finishing with just 13 points on 4-for-11 shooting. It’s an issue the Timberwolves won’t be able to scheme their way out of in this series, not as long as Capela is the most energetic and effective young big man on either team. He outscored the All-Star Towns 20-3 before the break and out rebounded him 10-5, adding two blocks and a steal to drive home the point that he’s up for this challenge all series long. “Man, Clint was all over the place, both ends of the court offensively and defensively,” Paul said. “You see him defending KAT, who’s a tough cover in the post. You know I’m low, and I weak side and I’m watching him go up for the hook, and then I’m watching Clint block it, and then he’s running. he was unbelievable tonight and we’re going to need that all season.” Capela finished his night with 24 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks while Towns didn’t crack double digits in the scoring column (eight points on 3-for-9 shooting, 12 rebounds in a team-high 40 minutes of action). Chalk it up as a lesson learned for the playoff rookie. That must-win game the Timberwolves won at home over Denver Wednesday night had all the hype and intensity of a playoff game, only it wasn’t. Thibodeau credited the Rockets’ defense, the swarming and double-teaming of Towns, for slowing the big man down. “He has to be more active,” Thibodeau said, before praising the Rockets for perhaps their most underrated trait this season: The ability to lock down defensively. “They’re good, they’re very good. They’re tied together, they do a lot of switching and after the switch they read the ball extremely well. They react, they swarm, and so you have ti make good decisions, you have to make good plays. You have to have the ability to read and react.” Funny, that’s what the Rockets’ best player does perhaps as well as any other player in the league right now. Harden reads and reacts accordingly, always seemingly coming up with the right play at the right time. That’s how you know he’s in the moment right now, as are the rest of the Rockets. No matter how many times and how many different ways anyone tries to deflect attention from the obvious, they comprehend every bit of what lies ahead for a team riding into the postseason on the strength of a 65-win regular season that saw them run away from the competition. They wouldn’t have souls if they didn’t. They wouldn’t be human if they hadn’t already calculated the weight of the best regular season in franchise history times a wide-open postseason equaling something that’s never been done here, which says a lot for a franchise that has two Larry O’Brien trophies to show off. They know how important each and every step on this current journey is, starting with Sunday night’s very first choppy ones. Any suggestion to the contrary is, shall we say, a distant cousin of the truth. But we’ll play along for now, at the beginning. Sekou Smith is a veteran NBA reporter and NBA TV analyst. 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 NewsApr 16th, 2018

Kelly says he s a better player now compared to MVP year

Kelly Williams shot the ball 18 times against Kia Wednesday and according to head statistician Fidel Mangonon, that's the most ever for him in a TNT uniform. So basically, that's the first time that since he was still a Sta. Lucia Realtor. Williams noticed right off the bat. "It felt awkward today so something had to be different," Williams said on his 18 attempts. "It felt good to shoot and be free, the bigs had their hands full tonight becuase Mo [Tautuaa} wasn't here so we gave extra effort on the offensive side today and it paid off," he added. Kelly certainly took advantage of his 18 attempts, making 11 of them to score a game-high 23 points. And despite the adjustments he's been through and the fact that he'll turn 36 next week, Williams says he's a better player now compared to his days with Sta. Lucia where he won league MVP. "It's been a big adjustment, this is my 12th year in the league and you know, to go from the role I had in Sta. Lucia as MVP to coming to TNT and changing and evolving over the years, I consider myself a better player than I was during the MVP years [in terms of] mentality, approach of the game, physical abilities," he said. "I jump higher, which is weird. But it's been a process and I can't be anymore grateful with what I have, the opportunities I et. You know my teammates trusted me so I've been fortunate," he added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 31st, 2018

Oladipo, Sabonis helping Pacers move forward

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com INDIANAPOLIS – Victor Oladipo has a fever and the only prescription is ... no, not more cowbell. Cowbell might make sense, if you factor in Oladipo’s love of and commitment to music (his debut R&B album has been available since Oct. 6). But the fever currently afflicting Oladipo, shooting guard for the Indiana Pacers, has nothing to do with extracurriculars and everything to do with the odes and anthems he’s been performing within the confines of 94 feet by 50 feet. If the fifth-year guard out of Indiana University, by way of the Orlando Magic and Oklahoma City Thunder, looks comfortable in his new star turn for the Pacers, well, just remember that’s your word. Not his. “You could say I’m comfortable with the people here,” says Oladipo, who spent three seasons with the Hoosiers before becoming the No. 2 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. “I played in front of these fans, they mean a lot to me and I gave a lot to them just like they gave a lot to me while I was in college. “But I’m never comfortable in any situation I’m in. I will never be comfortable. That’s what kind of makes me get up and work every day. It’s like, never be satisfied. Because for some reason, ever since I was a little kid, I always wanted more.” Oladipo’s eyes just about glow after a weekend practice as he delves into his unflagging intensity. He doesn’t undercut it with a smile or a token laugh. This is real heat. “Maximize my talent and exhaust my potential,” he says. “In order to do that, I’ve got to come to work every day. That’s my thought process. Wake up each day and be great that day.” Each day would include tonight, when Oladipo will share center stage at Bankers Life Fieldhouse with the more decorated and once-beloved star who preceded him in the Pacers lineup. Paul George, a four-time All-Star and Olympic gold medalist during his seven seasons in Indiana, was due to face his old team for the first time since being traded to Oklahoma City in July. It was a parting necessitated by George, who had made clear his desire to sign a maximum-salary contract with the Los Angeles Lakers in the summer of 2018. But the trade was orchestrated by Kevin Pritchard, the Pacers’ president of basketball operations, and Chad Buchanan, their general manager, who surprised the NBA by swapping George to OKC for Oladipo and big man Domantas Sabonis. You want intense? The initial reaction to that deal was intensely negative, quickly reaching hysterical proportions. The Pacers immediately were mocked for having traded George for nickels on the dollar. Reports out of Boston characterized Indiana’s POBO as more of a bobo for allegedly spurning a Celtics’ offer of multiple players and draft picks. *Takes a well deserved nap for 3 hours ** Opens Twitter: pic.twitter.com/xWNYaVfKTy — Myl3s Turn3r (@Original_Turner) July 1, 2017 The west is sick!!!! Best conference in the world!!!! — Patrick Beverley (@patbev21) July 1, 2017 Vic to the Pacers?! He might as well run for governor while he's at it! — Cody Zeller (@CodyZeller) July 1, 2017 Former Thunder star Kevin Durant called the move “shocking” and of George said “Indiana just gave him away.” Among much of the media that covers the league, there was a general feeling of “rubes” afoot -- that the Pacers had been snookered in taking back an overpaid ($21 million annually through 2020-21) second-tier talent and an overbilled guy who had disappeared in OKC’s postseason. And now? Not so much on any of those fronts. ‘He knows how good he is’ George’s stats are down in the “OK3” core he’s formed with reigning Kia MVP Russell Westbrook and aging Carmelo Anthony. The Thunder (12-13) are the NBA’s consensus disappointment, team category, with nearly a third of their season in the books. Sabonis has boosted the Pacers off the bench in a half dozen ways. And Oladipo has all but earned himself a spot on the Eastern Conference All-Star team while speeding his new team’s fans past their heartbreak over George’s jilting. Generally, the best trades in sports are win-win, but for Indiana right now, a bit of win-lose has made the start of 2017-18 downright sublime. “We happened to really like Sabonis in the draft,” former Pacers president and ongoing consultant Donnie Walsh said last week. “We wanted more of everything in the trade too. But when it came down to it, we had this offer with Oladipo, who we also liked. They’ve come in here and the more they’ve been here, the more we like ‘em. We’re happy.” The Pacers also are 16-11, two weeks ahead in the victory column over their 42-40 finish last season that was good for a playoff berth. Oladipo is the biggest reason why, averaging more points per game (24.5) than George ever has. The 6'4" guard who attended famous DeMatha High in Hyattsville, Md., spent much of last season being beaten up for his contract and negligible impact in Oklahoma City. He had taken grief earlier for his status as the second pick in 2013, a lofty status not of his doing. And here he was again in the summer, hearing it all over again for a transaction he didn’t design. “He came in with a chip [on his shoulder],” Pacers coach Nate McMillan said. “I thought he should come in with a chip.” Some would have flinched from the pressure. A few might have curled up, full blown fetal. Oladipo has gone entirely the other way. “His confidence is at an all-time high,” backup point guard Cory Joseph said. “He knows how good he is.” As Joseph spoke after the Pacers’ upset of Cleveland Friday, a game in which Oladipo scored 20 of his game-high 33 points in the third quarter, a lilting voice drifted from behind the scenes in the home dressing room. “Look at it right now, he’s singing in the shower,” Joseph said, tilting his head and laughing. “He’s confident. You guys are all in here, he’s just singing. He’s a confident guy. Everybody in this locker room, everybody in this organization definitely welcomes that.” Trade not driving Oladipo’s breakout season Don’t misunderstand. The critics still are out for Oladipo. “My mom told me yesterday I need to work on my free throws,” he said with an eye roll after practice Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). She had noticed, during her son’s run of big games in December -- 36 points at Toronto, 27 vs. Chicago, 33 against the Cavs the night before her chiding text -- that he had missed 18-of-31 foul shots. This, by a career 80 percent shooter from the line. “I’m over that,” Oladipo said. “I’m not going to miss no more. I’ll make ‘em next time. And if I miss ‘em, I’ll make ‘em the next. If that’s my problem right now, I think I can fix it.” Twenty-four hours later, Oladipo took 13 free throws against Denver and made 11. He scored 47 points in all, hitting 15-of-28 shots and half of his 12 three-pointers. The comeback victory in OT got the Pacers to 4-for-4 on their six-game homestand and continued to shrink whatever chip it was that the 25-year-old was shouldering. “In the beginning of the year, I said, ‘I don’t have a chip. I have a brick house on my back,’” Oladipo said. But not anymore, right, now that some folks are referring to it as “the Victor Oladipo trade” rather than “the Paul George trade?” “That’s what I feel like every morning, no matter what’s going on,” he said. “I don’t even think about the trade, honestly. It’s in the past for me. People’s opinions are going to be there whether you like it or not. From the outside looking in, I guess you could say [then] that was a great trade for OKC. That’s what they believed. But it wasn’t going to change the way I worked. It wasn’t going to change my approach.” This step up in status is considered perhaps the most difficult an NBA player can make. Suddenly, opposing coaches are X&O-ing him to death. The player dogging him up and down the court is the other guys’ best defender. Often, they’ll send double-teams to get the ball into one of his teammates’ hands. “He hadn’t had that,” McMillan said. “When he was in OKC, the game plan was focused on Westbrook. When he was in Orlando, he was just a young player. Now he is seeing the defenders like a LeBron [James], like a [DeMar] DeRozan, what these stars are seeing. He’s seeing the best defenders and he’s seeing teams game-plan to take him out. “Learning how to play and be consistent every night with that challenge is something he’s going through.” Oladipo’s quick success with the Pacers has kept any crowd critics at bay. They were pre-disposed to like him just as their rebound date after George, but had he underperformed, Oladipo’s service time in Bloomington wouldn’t have protected him for long from criticism. But now, it’s George who likely will get the harsh reception. Oladipo, overtly after each of the recent victories, has made it clear to the home fans via some emphatic pointing and body language that the Fieldhouse happens to be his house. “I don’t say it, they say it,” he said. “I just do the gesture and they do the rest of the work for me. I let them do all the talking. We feed off them -- when they’re into it, we play better. I don’t know why, that’s just how basketball’s always been. They’re our sixth man and we need ‘em every night.” Oladipo’s breakout season has been bolstered, too, by the Pacers’ second-through-15th men. Those who already were in Indy knew how valuable George was at both ends. Those who, like Oladipo and Sabonis, were new this season were within their rights to be as skeptical as the national headlines of the guys coming in trade. Go-to guy emerges for Pacers OKC was a specific challenge, Oladipo having to learn on the fly how to fit his own darting, ball-heavy style to only the second man in NBA history to average a triple-double. Westbrook’s usage was off the charts, rendering the other Thunder players to supporting cast whether suited to that role or not. Just like that, Oladipo had to catch and shoot as someone to get Westbrook into double digits in assists. It wasn’t his nature and it made for an individually forgettable season. “I had a role. I tried to play that role to the best of my ability. And I improved certain areas of my game in that role,” was all he’d say Saturday, stiffly, about the OKC experience. Said Walsh: “I felt like he was going to get a different opportunity here. ... When he got to Oklahoma City, he was playing wih a guy who was averaging a triple-double. And he liked Russell Westbrook. But he comes here, he’s got an opportunity to be ‘our guy.’ “I think he might have been looking for that. I never asked him. He’s a really cool guy. He knows what he wants to be, I think.” Oladipo needed this and the Pacers needed him to need it. With George gone, they were like a smile missing a front tooth. The other teeth weren’t just going to move up in the pecking order -- no matter how good young big man Myles Turner is -- and replace the one they’d lost. If they were going to have any success this season, if McMillan was going to be able to coach and adjust in his second year taking over for Frank Vogel, the players needed to fill their roles and welcome this new addition. That’s why this tale of Oladipo’s growing success is about what the Pacers have done for him, as much as it is what he’s done for them. “We didn’t really present it like that,” McMillan said, “because we were still trying to develop who our ‘go-to guy’ was. He has been slowly taking on that role through the things he’s done. I haven’t had to say anything. He’s making good decisions with the ball. And the guys are getting a feel for what we’re doing down the stretch because we’ve had some success, and we’ve had it with Victor having the ball.” Chemistry change for Pacers There might be NBA teams with chemistry as solid as the Pacers’ right now, but it’s hard to imagine there are any with better. It’s more than mere relief that someone has stepped up, easing their own loads a bit. It is a genuine eagerness for Oladipo to max out, for each of the rest of them to do the same in whatever lane they’re riding. “Vic’s been everything at this point,” Turner said. “He’s done a great job of stepping up and being that guy, being that dude. It’s amazing to have that when you’re going through a situation where it’s a brand-new team. We’re still learning each other and he’s showing that he’s ready.” Did Turner know this would happen and, if so, when? “First couple days he started texting me in the summertime,” the big man said. “I saw what his mindset was, and I loved it from the jump. He carried that right in when we started playing pickup this summer. “Vic’s been traded, what, [two] times? He finally comes back home and he has a team that’s telling him to go, telling him to be him. I don’t think he had that with his former teams. Now that he’s here and he’s doing that, I’m pretty sure he’s [enjoying it].” Said Joseph: “He’s been a beast for us and he’s going to continue to be a beast for us. ... He’s been running with that opportunity and opening eyes around the world.” Even strong-willed, uber-confident Lance Stephenson, has backed up for Oladipo. “There’s no hate, know what I mean?” he said over the weekend. “Some guys get mad about somebody doing good. This team wants its teammates to do good. That’s what’s going to make us even better.” Oladipo keeps referring to the other Pacers in a legit lubricating of the “no I in Indy” process. “Honestly I think it’s the personalities and the men that we have in this locker room,” he said. “My teammates are phenomenal people -- not just basketball players, phenomenal people. When you surround yourself with great people, people who sincerely care about you and your team, the chemistry just comes naturally.” Sabonis shows glimpses of success, too The other guy in the trade, Sabonis, has developed more organically, his maturation seemingly inevitable regardless of locale when you tote up his youth, his work ethic and his bloodlines (son of Hall of Famer Arvydas Sabonis). He has gone from that rookie who logged just six minutes in the Thunder’s five 2017 playoff games against Houston to an essential piece in McMillan’s rotation. “Once I got traded, I knew this was a great opportunity for me to show people what I can really do,” said Sabonis, the No. 11 pick in 2016. “I was a rookie last year. Everything was new. Here, I’m being used more at the 5. That’s more the position I’ve been used to playing my whole life.” Sabonis’ minutes are up from 20.1 in OKC to 24.6 off Indiana’s bench. His scoring has doubled from 5.9 ppg to 12.1. And his PIE rating has soared from 4.9 last season to 12.6, a sign of the versatility the skilled big man possesses. “I love Sabonis,” Walsh said. “His father was one of the greatest players in the world, so I don’t like that comparison -- it kills him. He [Domantas] is just more of everything you think he is. He’s stronger than you think. He can shoot the ball better. He’s got good hands, he can catch the ball. I’ve seen him make moves in game that I’ve never seen him make in practice.” Said Turner: “I played against Domas in college -- I knew what kind of player he was. I was excited when we got him. He’s gotten bigger and stronger since then, obviously, and he just didn’t have a chance to show himself last year. But he’s been big for us now, especially when I was out with the concussion. He stepped up huge in that role and we’ve played well since then.” The Pacers are playing faster this season, up from 18th in pace last season to 10th now, part of their improvement from 15th in offensive rating (106.2) to 6th (108.3). They’re doing better, too, in contesting shots and throttling opponents’ field-goal accuracy. The biggest reason why has been Oladipo’s blossoming. Whether due to the sunshine of new, happier surroundings or from that darker, more intense place, to prove cynics wrong. No one can now talk of the Pacers’ bungling of what, after all, was a deal to rent George, not to have him long-term. Fans at Bankers Life figure to boo George on his first visit back, with an inventory they haven’t needed or used on Oladipo. Some might see that as ingratitude, others as respect. It’s a little bit of love lost, too. “Look, they loved Paul when he was here,” Walsh said. “They guy is a great player. One thing I’ve always felt: These guys that play here, they always know more about what they want for their lives than we do. How you gonna argue with that? He treated us good, we treated him good. No bad blood here. I don’t know about fans.” Folks in Indy have a new crush now, one they hope lasts for a while. 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 NewsDec 14th, 2017

Brady, Patriots send Broncos to fifth straight loss, 41-16

By Arnie Stapleton, Associated Press DENVER (AP) — Denver is no longer Tom Brady’s House of Horrors and the Broncos sure don’t scare anybody anymore. Brady threw three touchdown passes and the New England Patriots matched their own AFC record with their 12th consecutive road victory, pummeling the Broncos 41-16 on Sunday night. Brady’s 86th regular-season road win broke a tie with Peyton Manning for most all-time. “It’s always hard to win in the NFL, certainly on the road,” Brady said. “We found a way to do it last year and we’re off to a good start this year.” Not so the Broncos. These teams have represented the AFC in the last four Super Bowls, and the Broncos (3-6) were hoping a visit from their rivals would help shake them from their funk. Beat Brady, suggested Aqib Talib, and “the swag, the energy in this locker room, it’ll skyrocket.” Instead, the Broncos fizzled. They lost their fifth straight game, their worst skid in seven seasons, and they dropped back-to-back games to the Patriots (7-2) in Denver for the first time since 1966. Avoiding Von Miller all night and throwing for 266 yards on 25-of-34 passing, Brady improved to 8-9 against the Broncos, the only team he has a losing record against, and he won for just the fourth time in 11 trips to Denver. The Patriots also won a dozen consecutive road games from 2006-08. The NFL record is 18 set by the Joe Montana-led San Francisco 49ers from 1988-90. Speaking of historic, the Patriots for the first time since 1979 had a special teams takeaway , a blocked punt and a kickoff return for a touchdown , a trifecta that fueled a comfortable 27-9 halftime lead. The Patriots went three-and-out to start the game but rookie Isaiah McKenzie’s muffed punt led to Brady’s 14-yard TD toss to running back Rex Burkhead. “That’s not the first punt McKenzie has muffed this year,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. Indeed, it was his fifth fumble, including four muffs. “It puts us in a big hole,” McKenzie said. “I put the blame all on me. If I would’ve caught that first punt, did anything with it, besides turn it over, then probably ... things would’ve changed for us.” The Patriots had five touchdowns and a pair of field goals before they’d punt again. “We knew McKenzie had muffed a couple so we told our gunners to get down there and make it tough on him,” Patriots DB Devin McCourty said. “Then we get the blocked punt return.” He’s getting ahead of himself, but who could blame him? After kicking a 39-yard field goal, Brandon McManus failed on the ensuing kickoff to get in front of returner Dion Lewis, whose 103-yard return down Denver’s demoralized sideline made it 14-3. “How are you supposed to win against Tom Brady and Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots when you’re starting off” like that? wondered Broncos defensive end Derek Wolfe. “You can’t.” Then, Burkhead sliced through the line to block Riley Dixon’s punt at the Broncos’ 30-yard line, leading to Stephen Gostkowski’s second field goal and a 20-6 lead. “I have not,” Broncos coach Vance Joseph replied when asked if he’d ever seen a worse special teams performance. “That wasn’t the only issue we had. We were 1 for 4 in the red zone. We moved the ball better tonight but we didn’t score touchdowns. And defensively they scored on seven straight possessions.” When the Broncos finally forced another punt in the fourth quarter, they were whistled for 12 men on the field, giving the Patriots a fresh set of downs. Brady took advantage of that gaffe by throwing a 6-yard touchdown pass to James White, capping both the blowout and a 16-play, 94-yard drive that ate up more than seven minutes. “Besides that first series, we couldn’t stop them,” Miller said. BROCK ON: Brock Osweiler hooked up with Emmanuel Sanders five times for 114 yards in the first half but Denver stalled twice in the red zone and also at the Patriots 21, settling for field goals while the Patriots were scoring touchdowns. Sanders finished with six catches for 137 yards. Joseph refused to say if Osweiler (18 of 33, 221 yards) would stay the starter. “We’re going to watch the tape tomorrow as a staff and determine who the quarterback is next week,” Joseph said. BENNETT’S BACK: Tight end Martellus Bennett was active — and productive — for New England just a few days after he accused the Green Bay Packers of pressuring him to play through a shoulder injury. Green Bay waived Bennett with the designation that he “failed to disclose a physical condition,” but Bennett said the Packers were aware of his balky shoulder when they signed him. He said it got worse during the season and he elected to have surgery. When the Packers waived him, the Patriots grabbed him. His first catch covered 27 yards and he finished with three catches for 38 yards. “He did a great job to have come in on Friday,” Brady said. “I love having Martellus on our team. He adds a lot, he’s a great player, and he was for us last year.” MILESTONE WIN: Belichick moved into a third-place tie with Tom Landry on the all-time head-coaching list for wins, with 270. He trails only Don Shula (347) and George Halas (324). INJURIES: Patriots special teams ace Matthew Slater went out in the first half with a pulled hamstring. Broncos tight end A.J. Derby was knocked out with a shoulder injury. Umpire Jeff Rice was carted off in the third quarter after hitting his head on the ground when Patriots linebacker Trevor Reilly bowled him over on during a Denver punt. UP NEXT Patriots: At Raiders at Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca (elevation 7,280 feet). The Patriots are staying in Colorado all week, practicing at the Air Force Academy (elevation 6,621) feet to acclimate to the altitude. Broncos: Host the Cincinnati Bengals......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 13th, 2017

'Fafa Rey' Hugnatan is officially back in business for Meralco

Ranidel De Ocampo's calf injury, which can put him out for the rest of the 2017 Governors' Cup Finals by the way, may turn out to be a blessing in disguise for Meralco. That's because with RDO out, "Fafa Rey" is officially back in business. And for some magical reason, Reynel Hugnatan might actually be Meralco's best shooter. Hugnatan delivered the best performance by a Meralco local in these Finals against Brgy. Ginebra, firing 22 points, 21 from downtown, in a 94-81 Game 3 win Wednesday. His game perfectly complimented that of import Allen Durham and the Bolts are finally in the board, cutting their series deficit in half, 1-2. "Of course [surprised with big performance]. Of course thank you kay coach na he gave me playing time. I know Ranidel is out so I just stepped up," Hugnatan said post-game. "Buti naman nandun yung shooting," he added. With Meralco finding it hard to draw anything from its locals, Hugnatan's breakout performance comes as a sigh of relief for head coach Norman Black. Because if Durham had to carry all the load again and the Bolts ended up losing, it can be safe to say that the Gin Kings were practically on their way to back-to-back titles. "He did a great job tonight spacing the floor, very similar to what he did last year in the playoffs and it just makes life a lot easier for AD when guys can make outside shots," Black said of Hugnatan. "Now we just have to get some of the other guys to start making their own shots and hopefully we can get back in the series," he added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 18th, 2017

UAAP 81: That s one knockout win for FEU, one more to go

That's one do-or-die game win for the Far Eastern University Tamaraws. One more to go. FEU made a final play for the Final Four in UAAP Season 81, dominating no. 2-seed Adamson, Saturday at the MOA Arena. The Tamaraws got the pivotal 8th win that they needed, forcing a sudden-death against La Salle for the last ticket to the playoffs. "Malaking bagay to of course," head coach Olsen Racela said. "We have one game to play to make it to the Final Four, we'll take full advantage of that," he added. FEU is yet to prepare for the Green Archers, obviously their focus lately has been Adamson. However, prep for La Salle immediately starts after this win and the Tamaraws vow to come ready Wednesday. Because this big win will be wasted if they turn out to be duds against the Green Archers. "Right now, we have an opportunity," Racela said. "Nabigyan kami ng biyaya so talagang dapat lubusin na namin," he added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News2 hr. 25 min. ago

Old School Power Rankings 2018-19: Weeks 3 and 4

By Scott Wraight, NBA.com It was bound to happen, right? The King was never, ever going to give up his throne to anyone else. Period. Because of that, we had to separate him from the rest of the field and give out a new ranking: ATHO (All To His Own). So unless something crazy happens during the season -- or an injury -- No. 1 will have an asterisk of sorts. Now that the chase has opened up for everyone else, it should make for an interesting and intriguing run to the finish line, asterisk be damned. Notes: - Statistics are through games of Nov. 15 (Nov. 16, PHL time) - Any player who turns 32 during regular season can be added to rankings. - Check out previous rankings - Send comments to my email. If it's good -- and clean -- it may appear in a future column. Be sure to include your first name and city. ATHO. LeBron James (33), Los Angeles Lakers Previous rank: 1 Latest stats: 6 games, 27.5 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 6.2 apg Season stats: 27.6 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 7.2 apg Wednesday's (Thursday, PHL time) 44-point performance against the Trail Blazers was the one. That was the one that pushed the King into his own tier, his own neighborhood, his own ranking. He just refuses to make it fair for everyone else. That's how good he is. In addition to Wednesday's (Thursday, PHL time) superior effort, James has gone for 25 or more in eight of the last 10. _______________________________________________________________ 1. Marc Gasol (33), Memphis Grizzlies Previous rank: 4 Latest stats: 7 games, 16.4 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 4.6 apg Season stats: 15.9 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 4.1 apg After eclipsing 15 points in just three of the first six, Gasol has surpassed the mark in four straight, which included Wednesday's (Thursday, PHL time) effort in which he tied a career high with six three's. Of course the splits over the last seven left us puzzled. In four wins, Gasol went for 21.0 ppg, 9.8 rpg and 52.2 3PT%. In three losses: 10.3 ppg, 7.7 rpg and 0-for-8 from deep. 2. Chris Paul (33), Houston Rockets Previous rank: 3 Latest stats: 8 games, 16.0 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 7.1 apg Season stats: 17.0 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 7.5 apg We were ready to move Paul to the top of the list until Thursday's (Friday, PHL time) effort: 10 points (4-for-10 shooting) and seven assists against the Warriors. In two previous games, Paul managed 21 and 26 on 15-for-25 shooting. Of course four previous contests saw him combine for just 39 points on 15-for-47 (31.9) shooting. It's been a bit of a roller coaster ride in November. 3. LaMarcus Aldridge (33), San Antonio Spurs Previous rank: 2 Latest stats: 7 games, 14.1 ppg, 12.9 rpg, 1.6 apg Season stats: 17.4 ppg, 11.0 rpg, 2.4 apg He's scoring at home while rebounding on the road. In three home games, Aldridge went for 21.0 ppg and 9.3 rpg. In four road games, he averaged 9.0 ppg and 15.5 rpg. Aldridge has been hot and cold this month, failing to score in double figures in two of seven and scoring 20 or more just twice. One consistent has been the board work, grabbing 10 or more in five straight. 4. JJ Redick (34), Philadelphia 76ers Previous rank: 7 Latest stats: 7 games, 17.9 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 3.7 apg Season stats: 18.2 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 3.5 apg Redick is feeling it of late, pouring in 20 or more points and hitting at least three three-pointers in three consecutive games. Coincidentally, he's started the last three games after beginning the season on the bench. We've also taken notice of Redick's volume of long-range shots, making 3.0 treys a game and attempting 8.3 -- both career highs. 5. Lou Williams (32), LA Clippers Previous rank: Just missed Latest stats: 6 games, 21.3 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 5.7 apg Season stats: 19.4 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 4.1 apg Hello there, newbie. Williams, who just turned 32 on Oct. 27, sprints up the list on the strength of five games with 20 or more points -- all while averaging less than 30 minutes (29.4) per game. In fact, the only game he didn't go for 20, he added 10 assists. Digging deeper, the last time Williams failed to break double-figure scoring was Nov. 20, 2017. 6. Kyle Lowry (32), Toronto Raptors Previous rank: 5 Latest stats: 6 games, 13.7 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 10.0 apg Season stats: 16.1 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 10.7 apg Lowry, who finally saw his streak of games with 10-plus assists end at nine, has been a bit of a road warrior over the last handful of games. In his last three home games, he averaged 9.3 points, 8.7 assists and 40.0 FG%. In three road games, Lowry managed 18.0 points, 11.3 assists and 46.3 FG%. 7.  Wesley Matthews (32), Dallas Mavericks Previous rank: 6 Latest stats: 5 games, 12.4 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 2.4 apg Season stats: 16.2 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 2.4 apg After starting the season with six straight double-figure scoring games, Matthews has gone for 10 or more in just three of the last seven. He missed one game with a hamstring injury and had to leave Wednesday's (Thursday, PHL time) game after just 21 minutes with the same injury, so that'll skew the numbers a bit, which is why he only fell one spot. 8.  Taj Gibson (33), Minnesota Timberwolves Previous rank: NA Latest stats: 7 games, 12.4 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 1.9 apg Season stats: 11.3 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 1.4 apg Gibson started the season sluggishly, failing to score more than 13 points in any of the first 10 games. Since then, the gritty veteran has gone for 15 or more in three of the last five. Also in those first 10 games, Gibson managed to snag nine or more boards just once. He's done that three times in the last five contests. 9.  Dwight Howard (32), Washington Wizards Previous rank: NA Latest stats: 7 games, 12.6 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 0.4 apg Season stats: 12.6 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 0.4 apg After missing the first seven games of the season with a back injury, Howard is starting to get into a groove. In addition to scoring in double figures in four straight, he has snatched eight or more rebounds in five of the last six. His return to the lineup might also be a reason the Wizards have started to turn things around, winning four of their last six. 10. Goran Dragic (32), Miami Heat Previous rank: 9 Latest stats: 4 games, 16.0 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 4.5 apg Season stats: 17.1 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 4.8 apg The theme song from Facts of Life keeps running through my head: "You take the good, you take the bad ..." That rings very true with Dragic, who in his four games had three with 20 or more points and one with a goose egg on 0-for-7 shooting. Now, we won't pile on since we realize he missed a pair of games with a knee injury. Just missed the cut: Paul Millsap, JJ Barea, Dwyane Wade, Al Horford, Jeff Green The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News14 hr. 38 min. ago

PBA: Romeo Travis wants redemption in return to Finals

The first time Romeo Travis came to the PBA, he won Best Import and took his team to the Governors' Cup Finals. Once he got there though, he got swept.  It wa a terrible way to end his maiden voyage to the Philipppines. It took Travis three years to make it back to the PBA and while he might not win Best Import this time, he still has his team in the Finals of the Governors' Cup. He wants to win it this time. "Last time I was here I laid an eg,, I played very bad in the Finals," Travis said after scoring a career-high 50 points for Magnolia in Game 4 to lead the Hotshots past two-time champion Brgy. Ginebra in the semifinals of the 2018 PBA Governors' Cup. "I want redemption, that's why I came back," he added. The last time Romeo Travis was in the PBA Finals, he was with the Alaska Aces. Three years later, he's with the Hotshots. He's pretty good with his new team. "I looked at the roster and I seen they had good veterans and hungry young guys. It was a great mix. With me it was just an opportunity to gel with the team. I didn't want to take over, I just wanted to be part of the team," Travis said. "These guys have allowed me to be part of the team and that's what makes this team special, it's the chemistry. They know I'm not a guy that's going to demand the ball and curse at somebody if I don't get the ball. That's not who am I as a person and as a player. We're one unit right now, we're really clicking," he added. The Aces that Travis used to play with are one win away from the Finals as well and are on the verge of setting up a pretty interesting championship round. While Travis wishes his old teammates good luck, he couldn't care less if it's Alaska that moves on or if it's Meralco. "Whoever wins, we're happy to see them. Good luck to both teams," he said. "I don't have a preference. Good luck to Banchero, Vic Manuel... these are my guys. I hope they do well but I don't care who wins. Either way we're going to have to play them," Travis added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 17th, 2018

Cora gets new deal from Red Sox through 2021 season

By Kyle Hightower, Associated Press BOSTON (AP) — Alex Cora brought a new voice and culture to the Boston Red Sox that helped propel them to their latest World Series title. The Red Sox rewarded him for bringing home a championship in his first year with the team by giving him a new contract with an additional guaranteed year through the 2021 season. The deal containing the extension was announced Wednesday by Boston also includes a club option for 2022. In his rookie season as a major league manager, Cora guided the Red Sox to a franchise-record 108 victories and the team’s fourth championship in 15 seasons. He finished second in the AL Manager of the Year voting announced Tuesday. “We have consistently been impressed by Alex at every turn,” Red Sox chairman Tom Werner said in a statement. “His knowledge of the game, ability to connect with our players, and his incredible instincts and decisiveness led us to an historic championship season. We know we are in good hands and could not be more pleased to know he will be with us for the foreseeable future.” Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski was in search of new direction for the club when he fired former manager John Farrell after back-to-back Al Division Series losses in 2016 and 2017. After the historic regular season, Cora then steered Boston past the 100-win Yankees and Astros in the AL playoffs before downing the Dodgers in the World Series. “For me, 2018 was not only historic, but it was special as well, both on and off the field,” Cora said in a statement. “We have a great appreciation for our accomplishments this past year, but now our focus moves forward to the season ahead and defending our World Series title.” During Boston’s run Cora got the best out his young talent, led by AL MVP favorite Mookie Betts. They shined in player-centric approach in which Cora encouraged an aggressive hitting mentality, lots of hit-and-runs and active running of the bases. Cora also the most out of his pitching staff, which included clutch performances in the postseason by Chris Sale and David Price. Neither pitcher had logged a playoff victory as a starter prior to this season. Price had a tough time acclimating to Boston’s rugged sports environment during his first two seasons of the seven-year, $217 million deal he signed in 2015. He’s found a groove late in the season, pitching the clinching Game 5 of the ALCS to help the Red Sox advance. “Just his demeanor. It doesn’t change,” Price said last month. “I know it’s easy to not change when your team wins 108 games in the regular season. But he hasn’t changed one bit.” A member of the Red Sox’s 2007 World Series title team as a player, Cora was the bench coach on Houston’s 2017 championship team. He learned from manager A.J. Hinch that being close to players would be beneficial. “Talking to players is not bad, having a relationship with players is not bad,” Cora said in describing his managerial philosophy. “Doing that, you’re going to get the best out of them. People may think that crossing that line is not helpful, but I see it the other way around, and I lived it.” Cora became the first manager from Puerto to guide a team to a championship. It came more than a year after Hurricane Maria devastated island, prompting Cora during initial contract negotiations last October to ask the Red Sox to help his people with relief efforts. Ownership responded by sending a chartered plane full of supplies. Days after winning the World Series, they again obliged Cora’s request to take the trophy to his hometown of Caguas, Puerto Rico......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 15th, 2018

PBA: Aces survive Bolts late game scare to tie series, 1-1

Alaska weathered Meralco’s comeback scare to escape with a 100-95 Game 2 win to knot the the best-of-five 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals series Tuesday night at the MOA Arena. The Aces leaned on the steady hands of JVee Casio inside the last 18.5 seconds of the match to put the game away while Simon Enciso, who waxed-hot in the first half, sealed the win from the line and snap the Bolts' seven-game winning streak.    Game 3 is on Thursday at the Cuneta Astrodome. Mike Harris was a workhorse for the Aces as the reinforcement poured in 37 points on 13-of-21 field goal shooting while hauling down 19 rebounds. Enciso scored 23 points while Chris Banchero flirted with a triple double with 13 markers, 11 rebounds and eight assists for Alaska, which missed only one free throw of its 21 attempts. "A heck of a win. I'm just happy to win. Now we got a best-of-three," said Aces head coach Alex Compton, whose squad rebounded from a 97-92 Game 1 setback.      Allen Durham brought down a once 20-point Bolts deficit to only seven points, 86-79, with just 3:44 left on a lay-in. Mike Harris brought it back to nine, 90-81, with a floater before Chris Newsome completed a three-point play followed by a dagger three-pointer by Baser Amer to breathe down the Aces’ necks, 90-87, with 1:52 left. Newsome was called for a goaltending on the next play, Amer split his free throws before Durham slammed it home to close the gap, 92-90, with 50 ticks left. Harris sank a jumper to put Alaska up by four but Durham quickly answered with a basket off a timeout for a 94-92 count with 28 seconds remaining.         Meralco was forced to give up a foul and sent Alaska’s steady free throw shooter Casio on the line. But Newsome uncorked a corner pocket triple to cut the Bolts’ deficit to 96-95. Casio added two free throws to put the Aces lead back to three with seven seconds left. Amer heaved a long three before Enciso put the icing on the cake from the line.    Picking up from where they left off in the first 24 minutes of action, the Aces went on a tear to open the third period as they opened a 66-46 gap with 4:31 left off a Vic Manuel split from the stripe. Enciso led Alaska’s locals in the first half, scoring 13 points including a step-back jumper over the outstretched hands of Anjo Caram that gave the Aces a 47-40 cushion at the half. Enciso shot five-of-7 from the field including three from beyond the rainbow arc for the Aces, which in the first half shot 20-of-41 from the field compared and forced Meralco to commit 11 turnovers that Alaska converted to 19 markers. Alaska sparked a 13-4 blitz in the last five minutes of the second quarter after trailing, 34-36, with 5:56 left.   The scores:  Alaska (100) -- Harris 37, Enciso 23, Banchero 13, Manuel 7, Baclao 6, Racal 5, Casio 4, Exciminiano 3, Teng 2, Thoss 0. Meralco (95) -- Durham 24, Salva 20, Amer 14, Hugnatan 12, Tolomia 10, Newsome 6, Caram 4, Canaleta 3, Faundo 2, Dillinger 0, Ballesteros 0. Quarters: 23-21, 47-40, 74-60, 100-95.    --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 13th, 2018

Banchero promises Alaska fightback in Game 2

ANTIPOLO CITY, Philippines – Expect Alaska to play with a lot more firepower as it tries to even its best-of-five semifinals duel in the 2018 PBA Governors' Cup against Meralco.  That's what Chris Banchero promised after the Aces absorbed a 92-97 loss to the Bolts in Game 1 on ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsNov 12th, 2018

LOOK: Calvin Abueva strips, gives jersey to Vice Ganda

It's no secret that Vice Ganda and Phoenix Fuel Master Calvin Abueva have been displaying a special kind of friendship the past few weeks. The "It's Showtime" host has been spotted watching Abueva's games from the stands, and this time he brought along fellow hosts Karylle and Ryan Bang courtside to watch the do-or-die game between the second-seeded Fuel Masters and the seventh-seeded Meralco Bolts.  JASON PERKINS SHOWS WHY HE'S THE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR! Tied at 94, 7.4 left. @itsShowtimeNa hosts celebrate the shot!#PBA2018 • @abscbnsports pic.twitter.com/FxijhEZQ91 — Philip Martin Matel (@philipptionary) November 9, 2018 The hosts from ABS-CBN's hit noontime show did not hide their partisanship towards the higher seed and were celebrating as Phoenix tried to mount a comeback in overtime, but fell short. The season was over for head coach Louie Alas' squad, 108-103. Calvin Abueva scores and the @itsShowtimeNa crew celebrate. It's a two-point game, 102-100 Meralco. 1:31 left in OT. #PBA2018 • @abscbnsports pic.twitter.com/mVEUJ4qysu — Philip Martin Matel (@philipptionary) November 9, 2018 After the game, the enigmatic San Sebastian alumnus repaid the former FEU Tamaraw's unceasing support by handing over his sweaty, game-worn jersey after the thriller. Calvin Abueva gives Vice Ganda his jersey after the loss. #PBA2018 • @abscbnsports pic.twitter.com/SbCXr8l6QG — Philip Martin Matel (@philipptionary) November 9, 2018 The comedian, Jose Mari Viceral in real life, meanwhile denied that the two are a couple, and went to "Tonight With Boy Abunda" to clear the air. "Honestly, hindi ko jowa si Calvin. Hindi ko siya jowa kasi para sabihin mong jowa mo, iyong boyfriend kita tapos jowa mo ako --hindi kami ganoon eh," he said. Abueva for his part said that the long-time host is a godfather to one of his children.  Viceral, after the game, tweeted his praise over Abueva's performance, who finished with 10 points on 4/18 shooting, nine rebounds, five assists, three blocks, and two steals. You’re the BEAST! And for me you’re the BEST! — jose marie viceral (@vicegandako) November 9, 2018.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 9th, 2018

Petron downs Smart to keep share of lead

Defending champion Petron struggled in form early but recovered its bearing just in time to turn back Smart, 25-23, 25-14, 25-18, Thursday in the Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Conference at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan. The Blaze Spikers needed to comeback from six points down in the opening set before settling down and cashing in on their vaunted net defense and deep arsenal to claim their third win in as may outings for a share of the lead with F2 Logistics and Foton. Ces Molina displayed her scoring prowess with 11 kills, three aces and two kill blocks to finish with game-high 16 points for the Blaze Spikers, who will take on F2 Logistics on Saturday. Aiza Maizo-Pontillas played an all-around game with 12 points laced with 11 digs and four excellent receptions while Mika Reyes feasted on quick attacks to score 10 of her 11 markers on kills for Petron.   The Blaze Spikers started out slow, letting the Giga Hitters control most of the opening set. Petron behind energizer Sisi Rondina, who scored nine points, slowly chopped down their 21-16 deficit before crushing the confidence of Smart with a closing rally to steal the frame. With the Blaze Spikers heating up, the second set easily went to Petron as they built a 12-point advantage, 23-11, before sealing the set.   Smart played with urgency in the third and kept the game close until midway in the frame before Petron saw an opening to complete the sweep. Aiko Urdas led the Giga Hitters with 15 points while Jerrili Malabanan and Grethcel Soltones added 12 and 10 markers, respectively, for Smart, which dropped to 1-1 slate. Meanwhile, Foton crushed Sta. Lucia, 25-14, 25-21, 19-25, 25-13, to remain unscathed. Mina Aganon and Arriane Layug powered the Tornadoes with 19 and 17 points, respectively, while CJ Rosario had 10. Jho Maragunot was the only Lady Realtor in double figures with 11 points as SLR suffered its third loss in as many games. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 8th, 2018