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Kiefer Ravena’s return highlights Gilas’ ‘best practice so far’

The Philippine Men’s Senior National Basketball team continued their preparations for the upcoming 2019 FIBA World Cup in China this August with another training session, Monday evening at the Meralco Gym in Ortigas. While the highlight of the scrimmage was the return of playmaker Kiefer Ravena, who has been serving an 18-month suspension handed down by FIBA back in 2018, another positive was the number of players who participated in the practice. A total of 13 players were present in practice, and National Team head coach Yeng Guiao was happy to see enough bodies to be able to hold a proper 5-on-5 run. “We had enough people to go 5-on-5, this is our first complete actually, it’s our best practice so far,” Guiao told the media during a post-practice scrum. National Team vets such as Paul Lee, RR Pogoy, Marcio Lassiter, June Mar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar, Poy Erram, and Mark Barroca were on hand to participate in the drills and the 5-on-5 scrimmage, while Raymond Almazan was also in attendance but did not join the practice proper. Apart from Ravena, other new faces for this training camp included PBA rookies Robert Bolick and CJ Perez, and Guiao was delighted to see them come out. “We’re very very appreciative of the guys who came in, si CJ atsaka si Robert, and of course, Kiefer,” the long-time mentor said. “For the first time, he’s able to practice and witness kayo, for the first time after more than one year and six months. Siguro part of the excitement why we had a really good practice today, we’re just excited to play with each other.” Guiao explained that Bolick and Perez, former NCAA stars, were invited because of their initiative to try their luck with the National Team pool. “Actually, in the case of Robert and CJ, sila yung nag-initiate na makapag-practice sila, that’s why we invited them, so nagparamdam sila na gusto nilang mag-try ng luck nila to be in the to be in the pool.” As for Ravena, Guiao was pleased to see that his NLEX playmaker was in tip-top shape, even after the time off. “Si Kiefer, nakakausap ko naman yun, so he’s really excited to be part of the National Team, at least pool, although sabi ko naman his chances of making it are really good,” Guiao stated. “You saw him in practice today, it’s just like he did not miss the last, or he was not suspended, for the last one and a half years. His sharpness is there, his stamina is there, he does not look like he’s heavy, that’s his natural body, so things are looking good at this point.” Guiao also expressed his appreciation for Stanley Pringle, who joined the practice. Pringle and the Gin Kings took on Guiao’s NLEX Road Warriors in Batangas the night before Gilas practice. “Si Stanley, again, he’s one of the guys that volunteered himself, just in case we need an extra body. Galing yan sa Batangas, kalaban namin kahapon, so he’s just offering his services just so we have people who can play roles in practices so mas maganda yung practice natin.” Being designated as a naturalized citizen by FIBA, The newly-acquired Ginebra Gin King is unlikely to crack the lineup with big man Andray Blatche expected to suit up for the National Team. Guiao is, however, looking to add Pringle to the training pool for their training camp in Spain this August. “I’m also thinking of bringing Stanley to Spain, if Ginebra is not playing in the Finals, kasi may dalawang team na maglalaro ng Finals, siguradong may member ng National Team, so when we go to Spain, we can only take the players of the ten teams that are not involved, so may mawawala talaga, so kailangan pag-isipan kung sino ang isasama.” The 2019 FIBA World Cup kicks off on August 31st in China, with the Philippines joining Angola, Italy, and Serbia in Group D. Guiao hopes to be able to release a final lineup by next month. “Pag-dating ni Blatche, I think July 8, siguro by July 15 mayroon nang final lineup.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 24th, 2019

PBA: Bolick took Stanley trade hard: “Umiyak pa nga ako”

Stanley Pringle’s blockbuster trade from Northport to Ginebra Tuesday got everyone shocked that’s for sure. However, it seems like Northport rookie Robert Bolick took the trade the hardest. Bolick, the Batang Pier’s no. 3 overall pick from last year’s Draft, has been very vocal about his relationship with Pringle. The rookie really relished the opportunity to be teammates with one of the best point guards in this region. After that relationship lasted for pretty much just one conference, Bolick really felt the gravity of the situation. It’s as if someone spoiled him the ending to a movie that he waited to watch for so long. “Actually pinatay ko cellphone ko di ko matanggap, umiyak pa nga ako,” Bolick said, going back to the time he found out about the trade. “It’s because gusto ko rin maging selfish, gusto ko pa siyang makasama nang matagal kasi Stanley’s one of the best players na nakasama kong makalaro in my position,” he added. While Bolick welcomes the opportunity to play with Sol Mercado, Kevin Ferrer, and Jervy Cruz, the rookie admits that he’ll miss seeing Pringle in Batang Pier practice. However, just because they’re no longer teammates doesn’t mean that Bolick can no longer stop learning from Stanley. “We trust the management, we trust our coaches and everything. Move on. But again, gusto ko pa rin pagdating sa practice nandoon siya,” Bolick said of Pringle. “Sabi niya, ‘Always remember na I’m always here, the phone is always open,’ gumaganun siya so may nararamdaman na ako [na emotions],” Bolick added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 19th, 2019

PBA: Jones scores 49 and TNT wins fourth straight for solo lead

Terrence Jones and TNT continue to dominate. Jones is back to his scoring ways and he led the KaTropa to another convincing win in the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup, this time a 104-91 beating of Meralco for the Petron Saturday Special game at the Big Dome. After dishing out 16 assists in the win against Ginebra Wednesday, Jones dropped 49 points against the Bolts and TNT took over first place in the mid-season joust with a 6-1 record. It was the KaTropa’s fourth straight victory. Jones scored 18 straight points for TNT to start the fourth period, allowing the KaTropa to finally pull away from the pesky Bolts. On top of scoring a total of 49 points, his fourth 40-point game in the PBA, Jones also had 18 rebounds and four assists and shot 53 percent from the field, including seven of 11 from deep. After Jones, Ryan Reyes fired 19 points off the bench, shooting six of seven from three-point range. Don Trollano added 16 for TNT, filling in on the scoring department as the KaTropa missed the services of lead guard Jayson Castro. The Blur was out as he tied the knot with his long-time partner. “We’re just happy for the win,” said head coach Bong Ravena. “Kahit wala si Jayson, the rest of the guys stepped up, they played hard,” he added. Meralco got a career-high 32 from Chris Newsome but it wasn’t enough to avoid a two-game losing skid. The Bolts dropped to 3-4 with the loss. New import Jimmie Taylor scored 13 poitns and 18 rebounds for Meralco. He replaced Gani Lawal.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 15th, 2019

MPBL: Helterbrand never says die as career continues now in Imus Bandera

Jayjay Helterbrand was nearly two years into his retirement from professional basketball. The keyword being, was. That's because the Ginebra franchise icon has decided to play ball once more, this time in the MPBL with the Imus Bandera. And those about to enjoy watching "The Fast" back in the basketball court can thank the UNTV Legends Cup for this development. "I was playing with the legends group and I think that got my juices flowing," he told reporters in the MPBL Lakan Cup's opener last Wednesday. "That made me think I can play again." Indeed, judging from what he has been doing with the Ginebra Legends, Helterbrand still got game. In fact, he even put up a triple-double in their rivalry game opposite the Purefoods Legends last February. The now 42-year-old made it clear, however, that he has never lost his love for basketball. "Actually, I still got the passion for the game. Just to make it simple and sweet, I just miss playing," he said, talking about his decision to suit up yet again. Helterbrand also made it clear, though, that of course, he is far from 100 percent just yet. "As of now, I've only had one practice under my belt. This ain't no joke because you're going to be running up and down the court so there's no way I can be able to keep up after two years," he shared. He then continued, "But it's a long season so hopefully, I can get in shape slowly and surely." Yes, make no mistake about it, the Gin Kings' legend is in Imus to stay. "I'm here for the long haul," he expressed. And he is nothing but grateful for the Cavite-based team for this brand new opportunity. "They were all very supportive. They welcomed me with arms wide open so I'm really excited to play and be part of Imus," he said. For that, Helterbrand promises to do nothing but repay the Bandera's trust. "I told the other guys that I'm just here to help the younger guys. I just want to be a good example to them and guide them," he said. He then continued, "Whatever I can add on the court itself is just a bonus." Jayjay Helterbrands makes his MPBL debut later at 9:00 p.m. against the Caloocan Supremos. Kapamilyas all over the world will be able to witness it on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166, LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183, and iWant. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 13th, 2019

Kings, Hotdogs rekindle rivalry in legends duel

Long-time rivals Ginebra and Purefoods eye first win when they rekindle their famed Manila Clasico tale in the resumption of the UNTV Cup PBA Legends Faceoff tournament today at the Pasig Sports Center......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJun 8th, 2019

PBA: Confident Nambatac lights up Ginebra with career shooting performance

Down 0-2 to start the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup, Rain or Shine wanted to avoid a 0-3 hole at all costs. Friday against defending champion Ginebra no less, the Elasto Painters did just that and finally got their first win of the mid-season joust with a convincing 23-point win. Import Denzel Bowles did his part, coming through with a strong double-double performance, but it was guard Rey Nambatac who was key for ROS in the victory. Nambatac was hot all game long, firing seven triples on his way to a career-high 30 points. He already had 21 at halftime to help the Elasto Painters weather a strong start from Ginebra’s Justin Brownlee and Japeth Aguilar. “Lucky day lang. Kailangang mag step up kasi last two games ang kulang talaga [from] young guns tulad ko,” Nambatac said. “Kasi yung mga veterans namin, especially yung import namin si Denzel, ginagawa nila ng maayos yung roles nila sa team. So kami, parang kami yung nawawala sa team,” he added. With ROS having so many weapons, Nambatac says it’s important to just stay ready. His number will be called and the ball will find its way to him. When that happens, he should be ready to take advantage. Against the Gin Kings, it was Nambatac that got the good looks and he made the most out of all of them. “Tiwala lang sa sarili. Syempre confident lang din ako na pag pinasahan ako, kailangan maisu-shoot ko,” Nambatac said. “Kasi kung ako naman yung nagpasa tapos wide-open shot, talagang nakaka-frustrate yun eh. At ayaw kong mangyari yun sa mga teammates ko na mafrusfrustrate sila. Kasi open shot tapos di masushoot? Kumpyansa lang talaga,” he added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 7th, 2019

Alaska battles Star as both make 2017 debuts

Following a long layoff, the Alaska Aces finally take the court for 2017 as the PBA resumes Wednesday at the Big Dome. After seeing action last Dec. 23, the Aces kickstart the new year against the Star Hotshots who are also making their debut for 2017. Finishing last year with even 3-3 records, the Aces and the Hotshots look to get back to their winning ways and further crowd the Philippine Cup standings. The Aces saw their three-game run snapped by TNT the last time out whil Star fell victim to Ginebra in the Christmas version of Manila Clasico. Gametime is set at 7:00 p.m. In the first game at 4:15 p.m., the Mahindra Floodbuster hope to start a winning streak for the first time this season as they battle the struggling Meralco Bolts. After starting with five straight defeats, Mahindra finally got on the board last Christmas by beating Blackwater while Meralco has suffered four consecutive setbacks so far for a 2-5 card. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 11th, 2017

Mark to Jay-jay: 'Man, you better not retire'

Jay-jay Helterbrand is still not sure on what to do with his basketball career but Mark Caguioa already has a suggestion for his long-time partner with Ginebra. 'Man, you better not retire,' Caguioa said. 'That's all I'm saying. That.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 21st, 2016

Brownlee wants no letup as Ginebra goes on long break

Brownlee wants no letup as Ginebra goes on long break.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsAug 28th, 2016

Summer League winds down, and now, maybe, some NBA rest

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press They'll hand out T-shirts to the Summer League winners following the championship game between Memphis and Minnesota in Las Vegas on Monday night (Tuesday, PHL time), and then things will finally slow down a bit in the NBA. Maybe. And probably not for long. It's been a hectic month since Toronto won the NBA championship and the so-called offseason commenced. Already this summer, 18 current and former All-Stars have changed franchises, and that number will rise to 19 if Vince Carter finds a new home for his final season. Recent NBA Finals MVPs Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant and Andre Iguodala all were among those on the move. And another three past finals MVPs — Dwyane Wade, Dirk Nowitzki and Tony Parker — all retired. So when next season begins, very little will look the same. "I think there's going to be a lot of parity," Brooklyn coach Kenny Atkinson said. "That's my gut." NBA Commissioner Adam Silver expected this summer to be loaded with player movement, and wasn't complaining about so many big names — Durant, Leonard, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Anthony Davis, Paul George, Kyrie Irving, Al Horford, Jimmy Butler and many more — needing to file change-of-address cards. "At the end of the day, it's positive for the league," Silver said. "I will say, though, I'm mindful of this notion of balance of power, and I think it applies in many different ways. An appropriate balance of power between the teams and the players ... at the end of the day, you want to make sure you have a league where every team is in a position to compete." There were some clear winners in free agency: Brooklyn (who got Durant and Irving), the Los Angeles Clippers (who got George and Leonard) and the Los Angeles Lakers (who got Davis) were among them. It could be argued that the Oklahoma City Thunder won as well — no, they won't be as good this season as they were this past season after trading George and Westbrook, but general manager Sam Presti has enough draft picks now to enjoy flexibility for years. The losers are clear as well: Toronto lost Leonard and Danny Green and Golden State lost Durant, so last season's finalists certainly aren't favorites to be this season's finalists. It's also easy to say that New York lost after coming up empty on the big-name free agents, but the Knicks got plenty of good players on deals that ensure the team will have money again next summer. A lookahead at what's coming, and some notes on what's gone down: SO NOW WHAT? Any NBA withdrawal will really only last about three weeks, until roughly three dozen players return to Las Vegas for USA Basketball's training camp leading up to the FIBA World Cup in China that starts on Aug. 31. San Antonio's Gregg Popovich is coaching the Americans, assisted by Golden State's Steve Kerr, Atlanta's Lloyd Pearce and Villanova's Jay Wright. Zion Williamson, knee permitting, may take part in camp as one of the young players brought in to help the more-established pros get ready. If Williamson impresses, he may get a shot at joining the varsity club. Also, this season's NBA schedule is likely to come around the second week of August, if recent years are any indicator. WHO'S LEFT? Plenty of free agents remain unsigned, and that'll still be the case even in September as training camps get ready to open. It's still hard to see the Thunder keeping Paul, acquired in the Westbrook trade to Houston, so expect at least one more blockbuster trade before too long. Or can a player who is owed $121 million over the next three seasons be bought out? Stay tuned. Carter wants to come back for a 22nd NBA season, which would be a league record. If he gets into a game after Jan. 1, he'll also become the first NBA player to appear in four different decades. Jamal Crawford remains out there as well, and contenders should be calling him. LOADED WEST Philadelphia, Boston, Brooklyn, Indiana and Miami all likely got better in the East. Milwaukee kept most of its team that won an NBA-best 60 games. The East will be good. The West might be bloody. The Clippers, the Lakers, Houston, Golden State, Denver, Utah, Portland and San Antonio could end up as the eight playoff teams in the Western Conference. It's plausible; they're probably the most realistic eight picks right now. But at least four of those teams — most of them with superstar duos that are all the rage now — won't be in the second round of next season's playoffs. LONGEVITY AWARD For now, Golden State's Stephen Curry is the longest-tenured player under contract to one team. He's entering his 11th season with the Warriors. With Nowitzki (21 seasons with Dallas) retired, Mike Conley (12 seasons with Memphis) traded to Utah and Westbrook (11 seasons with Oklahoma City) traded to Houston, no current player has had a longer uninterrupted run with one team than Curry. But if Udonis Haslem re-signs with Miami, it'll be his 17th season with the Heat. THE NUMBERS Including the $196 million extension for Portland's Damian Lillard, a $170 million extension for Denver's Jamal Murray and another in-the-works $170 million extension for Philadelphia's Ben Simmons, NBA teams have committed to spend roughly $4 billion in new deals that were struck in the last three weeks alone. And that's with 100 more signings to come, at least. That $4 billion figure is twice what the total payroll was a decade ago for every team in the league, combined......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News14 hr. 51 min. ago

ONE Championship: Rene Catalan gives honest assessment on Jomary Torres latest loss

Catalan Fighting System head coach Rene "The Challenger" Catalan talks honestly about his prized pupil's missed opportunity at ONE: MASTERS OF DESTINY on Friday, 12 July.   In a critical contest which could determine her future in ONE Championship, CFS’ Jomary "The Zamboanginian Fighter" Torres lost by first-round submission to Jihin "Shadow Cat" Radzuan in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.   Torres was on the retreat from the opening bell, and she never found her rhythm the entire night.   Catalan revealed that Torres deviated from the months-long game plan they worked on, and he refused to beat around the bush in expressing his disappointment with his athlete.   “She’s still doing the same things she did in her previous contests,” Catalan said.    “We worked intently for three months, even up to the warm ups we were doing drills to improve her muscle memory, but it was still lacking [in the ring],” Catalan added. “Our game plan was to move forward, hit her with a jab and a combo, step back, and pivot, but we didn’t see that in the ring.”    The submission loss, which came by way of triangle choke, was Torres' fourth consecutive defeat at The Home of Martial Arts, and Catalan did not exactly mince his words over the loss.   “I told her that her stock in ONE Championship is plummeting,” Catalan said. “There were a lot of expectations of her, and now they’re dismayed because she keeps on backpedaling.”   “There was no eagerness to knock her opponent out. Even I am dismayed because I know Jihin would have a harder time if she applied the game plan.”    Despite his brutal honesty, Catalan is still a believer of Torres. However, he remains firm that he will no longer accept “moral victories.”   “I told her to stop thinking about friends who would say ‘it’s okay, better luck next time.’ There’s a difference between ‘that’s okay’ and ‘congratulations,’” Catalan said.   “I always tell her that there’s no tomorrow. There’s no next time. Of course, if she loses, it also effects the team and the coaches, and that’s why we’re working intently on her game.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News14 hr. 51 min. ago

Lonzo Ball eager for fresh start with Pelicans

New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball wasn't surprised when he was traded by the Los Angeles Lakers earlier this summer. "I was kind of excited, honestly," Ball told ESPN on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). "I kind of figured someone was going to get moved soon enough. I knew Anthony Davis wanted to come bad. Anytime you can get a guy like that, you are going to have to do what you have to do to get him. So I was kind of already just waiting for it, honestly, and I was happy to go with two guys I am comfortable with in B.I. [Brandon Ingram] and JHart [Josh Hart]. I am excited to see what we can do. Get your first look at the NBA’s top Rookies during NBA Summer League LIVE on NBA League Pass! "I tell people when I was a rookie, I probably would have been sad," Ball continued on being traded. "Just being from L.A., having my whole family here and wanting to be a Laker. But being in the league for two years, knowing it's a business, as long you get to play, that's a blessing in itself. I'm excited to get started." Ball, who has been sidelined since January with an ankle injury, is expected to be cleared for full contact in two weeks. When he returns, he will join a talented Pelicans squad that will feature Jrue Holiday, JJ Redick (reportedly) and first overall pick Zion Williamson -- an explosive big man who could be the perfect compliment to Ball's pass-first game. "Man, I've never seen somebody that size move like him," Ball said of Williamson. "He's only 19, right? He's definitely a freak. I've never seen nothing like it. With his game and with him getting a full head of steam, it's going to be very tough to stop him. So I think we play fast and get out on the break as soon as possible." With so much talent on the roster, the Pelicans could be ready to compete earlier than many expected after being forced to trade Davis. Ball believes the team is the perfect opportunity for him to remind the NBA world about his skills. "Obviously, injuries kind of messed up things a little bit," Ball said of his time in L.A. "But you take the bumps with the bruises and keep moving forward. Only been in the league for two years and looking forward to this third year in New Orleans, get a fresh start and show people what I can do. "I know New Orleans is excited to have me, and I'm excited to get started," Ball added. "Moving to a new team, a new situation, a new organization, new coaches, new everything -- it's a refresh, getting back to playing basketball how I know I can play." Coming soon to the #Pelicans: @ZO2_ ???? pic.twitter.com/FJLwFaFK1q — New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) July 7, 2019.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 15th, 2019

Brownlee erupts for 50 as Ginebra survives Columbian in OT

MANILA, Philippines – Justin Brownlee hit the half-century mark for the first time and helped Barangay Ginebra edge Columbian in overtime, 127-123, in the 2019 PBA Commissioner's Cup at the Araneta Coliseum on Sunday, July 14. The reigning Best Import of the Conference raised his game to another level by ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsJul 14th, 2019

PVL: Gusto kong mag-give back sa Army -- Gonzaga

ANTIPOLO -- Jovelyn Gonzaga knew that she had to start from scratch to regain her old form and reintroduce herself after a long layoff. Two years removed from competitive volleyball, the PacificTown Army lefty opposite spiker did her best to contribute to the Lady Troopers’ cause. It was not a rosy road for the celebrated Ilongga, who battled a devastating knee injury that kept her from playing since 2017. Back on court with her Army comrades, Gonzaga was a shadow of her former self but it didn’t stop her from displaying her unquestionable heart throughout the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Reinforced Conference.      It’s no wonder, the former national team member burst into tears after landing the bronze-medal clinching ace in the Lady Troopers’ 18-25, 25-16, 20-25, 25-15, 15-13, win on Sunday in the best-of-three battle for third decider against BanKo at the Ynares Sports Center here.        “Kasi di ba kakabalik ko lang sa laro? Gusto ko maglaro sa Army, sobrang support ng Army sa akin and at the same time ang tagal na naming di naglalaro,” said Gonzaga. PacificTown Army, just like Gonzaga skipped, competitive volleyball as a team for almost three years. Coming into the league as newcomers the Lady Troopers showed the field that they can still pull the trigger. Gonzaga though playing below 100% of her vintage form, delivered what was needed of her.   “Gusto ko talagang mag-give back sa Army sa pagpayag sa akin pag intindi sa case ko,” said Gonzaga, who is also playing in the Philippine Superliga for Cignal. “Gusto ko every time ang ano ko talaga is to give back, na every game ko para sa Army para sa mga sumusuporta at mga naniniwala sa Army.” Down 1-2 in the series decider, the Lady Troopers needed a great comeback. Gonzaga knew she had to contribute.        “Sobrang sarap sa feeling kasi ang mentality ko lang sa loob ng court, though hindi ako nasiset-an lagi, ang mentality ko kung saan ako makakapa-gstep up para makatulong sa team,” said Gonzaga. “’Yun talaga ang focus ko receive, depensa, blocking, service so thankful ako kay Papa God na sa duration ng game nagawa ko yung part ko sa team.” After forcing a deciding set, the Army found itself trailing, 6-10. The Lady Troopers slowly cut their deficit before taking a 13-12 lead.   Ukrainian Lena Lymareva-Flink broke a 13-13 deadlock before Gonzaga heroic series-clinching ace. “So hanggat maaari, this time, di ako papayag na di kami mapasama, manalo sa third spot,” she said. “So nung time na ‘yun ang mentality ko lang talaga is i’ll give my best na para makatulong at maipanalo yung laban.” Win the game and the bronze she did.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 14th, 2019

Halep wins Wimbledon, stops Williams bid for 24th Slam

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — Clutching her trophy 20 minutes after becoming Wimbledon's champion, Simona Halep checked out the board inside Centre Court that lists tournament winners. Below all of the mentions of Serena Williams, her opponent in Saturday's final, there already was inscribed: "Miss S. Halep." Halep was not concerned with preventing Williams from winning a 24th Grand Slam title. All Halep cared about was winning her first at the All England Club. And she played pretty much perfectly. On top of her game right from start to finish, Halep overwhelmed Williams 6-2, 6-2 in stunning fashion for her second major championship. The whole thing took less than an hour as Williams lost her third Slam final in a row as she tries to equal Margaret Court's record for most major trophies in tennis history. "She literally played out of her mind. Congratulations, Simona. It was a little bit 'a deer in the headlights' for me," Williams said. "So, I mean, whenever a player plays that amazing, you just kind of have to take your hat off and give them a nod of the head." How good was the No. 7-seeded Halep? She made a mere three unforced errors, a remarkably low total and 23 fewer than Williams. Not bad for someone who has been frank about how jittery she has gotten in past big matches and began the day having lost nine of 10 matchups against Williams. But after losing each of her first three major finals, Halep now has won two straight, including at last year's French Open. "Well, I had nerves. My stomach was not very well before the match," said Halep, a 27-year-old Romanian, "but I knew there is no time for emotions. I just came on court and I gave my best." Couldn't have been any better, really. Williams also lost in straight sets against Angelique Kerber in the Wimbledon final a year ago, and against Naomi Osaka at the U.S. Open last September. The 37-year-old American hasn't won a tournament since the 2017 Australian Open, when she set the professional-era record of 23 Grand Slam championships (Court won 13 of her titles against amateur competition). Williams was pregnant when she won in Australia and then took more than a year off the tour; her daughter, Olympia, was born in September 2017. Since returning to tennis, Williams has dealt with injuries but still managed to remain among the game's elite. In part because of a bad left knee, she only had played 12 matches all season until Wimbledon. "Just got to keep fighting," Williams said, "and just keep trying." Didn't take long on Saturday for Halep to demonstrate this was not going to be easy for Williams. Not by any means. Showing off the talents and traits that once lifted her to No. 1 in the rankings, Halep never really gave Williams a chance to get into the match. Halep tracked down everything, as is her wont. She didn't merely play defense, though, managing to go from retrieving an apparent point-ending stroke by Williams to lashing a winner of her own in a blink. Her returns were exceptional, repeatedly getting back serves that left Williams' racket at 115 mph or more. On this cloudy, cool afternoon, with the temperature in the low 70s (low 20s Celsius), Halep began with a pair of service breaks and even delivered the match's first ace, at 106 mph, which put her out front 4-0 after 11 astonishing minutes. Halep won 14 of the first 18 points, with many in the crowd roaring for each of the rare ones that went Williams' way. Halep produced eight winners before a single unforced error, avoiding a miscue until the seventh game. Williams, in stark contrast, came out looking a bit tight, short-arming shots and accumulating nine unforced errors before conjuring up a single winner. She spoke after her semifinal victory about trying to remain calm on court, and that she did, even in the face of a player who was at her very best. Williams would place a hand on her hip. Or put a palm up and look at her guest box, as if thinking, "What can I do?" Williams' greatest show of emotion came after she stretched for a forehand volley winner on the second set's second point. She leaned forward and yelled, "Come on!" But the comeback never came. Halep broke to lead 3-2 in that set when Williams pushed a backhand long, and there wasn't much left from there. Halep only had been as far as the semifinals once at Wimbledon until now. But she was determined to change that and said she told the locker-room attendants at the beginning of the tournament she wanted to grab a title to earn lifetime membership in the All England Club. "So here I am," she said Saturday, the fortnight done, her trophy won. "It was one of my motivations before this tournament. So now I am happy.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 14th, 2019

Hamilton denied Brit GP pole by Bottas, takes on negativity

By Rob Harris, Associated Press SILVERSTONE, England (AP) — By only six milliseconds — 0.006 — Lewis Hamilton was left in an unusual position on Saturday: Missing out on pole for the British Grand Prix. The pause was a lot longer when the Formula One leader was later surprised to be asked why "people question your Britishness" in the post-qualifying news conference. Look around Silverstone at the flags and banners and there is little doubt who the home crowd of more than 100,000 wants to win on Sunday. But after being outpaced by Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, Hamilton will not start from the front of the grid at the British GP for the first time since 2014. "It wasn't the best of qualifying sessions," Hamilton said, "but it is a long race tomorrow." It is a race Hamilton is trying to win for a record sixth time, further cementing the racing excellence of Britain's five-time world champion. But Hamilton still has to shake off some negativity. Hamilton was quizzed by a reporter from Britain's Guardian newspaper on why there is a "contention because people say you live in Monaco and your accent isn't maybe as British as others because you spend a lot of time in the U.S." "I don't have a good answer for that," Hamilton replied. "It is crazy because I remember growing up and watching Jenson Button and all the youngsters coming through and everyone migrated to Monaco. Nobody ever said anything about it. But, of course, when I did, they had something to say. "No matter how often that you go abroad or elsewhere in the world you come back to the U.K., see the countryside, and this great history of Formula One and motorsport and I see all my family who are also here and this feels where my heart is. I am fully British." The Silverstone circuit is also bedecked with Hamilton banners and Union Jack flags featuring his name. "Whilst there will be negative views, I feel every day there is an opportunity to turn those who have a negative view," Hamilton said. "I guess over time I will do more and more positive things for the country. I go to all these races and I lift the British flag proudly, and there is no one else in this sport that has raised it so high. At the moment it is not enough. I will keep looking for what else I can do." Having a 31-point lead in the drivers' standings shows Hamilton is on the right track. Escaping the F1 bubble by heading to California last week helped Hamilton. But Nico Rosberg, who had a four-year rivalry with Hamilton as Mercedes teammates, said such an approach wouldn't have worked for him. "Lewis is partying in Los Angeles and is the best driver in the world," Rosberg said at the central England circuit. "If I had been travelling the way he does, I would be 10th on the grid for Mercedes." But the German won the world championship only once, in 2016, before retiring. "I do have five world titles and they didn't come on their own," Hamilton said. "Valtteri parties way more than me. When I started doing the travel and focusing on these other things there was always the issue and comments and the pressure of having to arrive and deliver the same. "It took time to break that mold and I have done it time and time and time again. My preparation comes first and I have felt fantastic all weekend. The pressure is high being that it is a home grand prix and I don't look at that lightly. I prepare the best way I can ... and that is what led me to five world titles." And also victories in six of the nine races this season after shaking off the challenge from Bottas, who won two of the first four events. Bottas is back on pole for the first time since the fifth grand prix in Spain in May. Behind the Mercedes duo on the grid on Sunday will be Ferrari's Charles Leclerc, who qualified in third, and Max Verstappen of Red Bull......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 14th, 2019

Anthony Davis joins Lakers with championship plans

By Greg Beacham, Associated Press EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) — Anthony Davis' year of uncertainty finally felt finished when he stood in the Los Angeles Lakers' training complex and proudly held up his new gold jersey while LeBron James looked on approvingly. After months of upheaval around his departure from New Orleans, the superstar forward is looking forward to years of success and stability on the West Coast. Sure, Davis knows the Lakers are rarely stable, and championships are the only success this franchise understands. The six-time All-Star can't wait for the challenge of winning big in the Hollywood spotlight. "The most difficult part for me was just not knowing," Davis said Saturday (Sunday, PHl time). "When it was announced that I was being traded, I don't want to say it was a relief, (but) it was something that I'd thought about for a long time. Obviously it was tough to leave the city I'd been playing in for seven years, but I think it was best for me. "When I found out I'd been traded to the Lakers, I realized it was an unbelievable opportunity for me," he added. "To be here with a wonderful organization, and then to be able to play alongside LeBron and the players that we have now ... to get the opportunity to do that and come here and play for an organization that's all about winning, and winning championships, and that's the only goal, I think that was the biggest thing for me." The Lakers formally acquired Davis this month in one of the biggest moves of the NBA's tumultuous offseason, but this courtship has been happening for much longer. Davis became determined to leave New Orleans last season, and Los Angeles made an in-season run at Davis before eagerly blowing up its young core to get a second game-changing star to play alongside James. Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka introduced Davis as "the most dominant young basketball player in the world." "There is no more complete basketball player in the game," Pelinka added. "There is nothing he can't do. He can shoot. He can make plays. He can defend 1 to 5. He can protect the rim. He can handle the ball. His dedication to his craft is unparalleled. To sit here next to him and think he's going to be on our team and he's going to be a pillar in this franchise for many years is just something we're incredibly proud of." The Lakers gave up Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart and a slew of draft picks to land Davis one year before he could become an unrestricted free agent. While Pelinka clearly expects Davis to sign a long-term deal to stay with the Lakers, Davis didn't make a declaration of his intentions right away. "Right now, my focus is on this year, and trying to help this organization become a championship team," Davis said. Davis' new jersey will bear a No. 3 after his plan to take his usual No. 23 from James fell through thanks to rules involving jersey supplier Nike, who had already begun planning for next season with James in the No. 23 shirt. Davis will go back to the number he wore in elementary and middle school, although he jokingly said the denial of No. 23 "was pretty hurtful." Davis and James have been kept up to speed on Pelinka's machinations to build a strong roster around them. Davis strongly endorsed the signing of DeMarcus Cousins, his former teammate in New Orleans — and not just because Davis prefers to play as a power forward instead of a center. "I like playing the 4," Davis said to a laughing coach Frank Vogel. "I'm not even going to sugarcoat it. I don't like playing the 5, but if it comes down to it, Coach, I'll play the 5." Pelinka said the Lakers signed Cousins and re-signed JaVale McGee precisely so that Davis wouldn't wear down his body guarding centers. Davis was asked about load management, and he dismissed it: "I'm playing. I'm 26-years-old. I love the game of basketball. I'm ready to play." Davis also waived a $4 million trade kicker in his contract so the Lakers would have cap room to take their failed run at Kawhi Leonard, a move that Pelinka praised as selfless. "Anytime you're able to acquire a player like Kawhi, I think you have to do almost everything to get a guy like that," Davis said. "It didn't work out for us, but I wanted to make sure I did whatever I could to help the team." Basketball-loving Los Angeles is still buzzing after its two teams were turned into immediate contenders during free agency, but they're hardly alone in a league that might have achieved a measure of parity after years of Golden State dominance. While Leonard and Paul George landed with the Clippers, Davis and James are confident about the future ahead for the 16-time NBA champions, who are exponentially more beloved in their hometown than their local rivals. Davis has lived in Los Angeles during the offseason for several years, and he loves everything about it but the traffic. "It's going to be fun," Davis said of the new-look league with its new crop of superstar pairings. "I'm excited about it. I think the league has grown. I think it's better. (With) all the players teaming up and spreading that talent throughout the league, it's going to be a fun season. I like our roster. I like every player that we have, from one through 14." The Lakers have been the worst team in the NBA during their team-record six consecutive seasons out of the playoffs, but Davis and James expect to end those struggles and drought in the year ahead. They're aiming for much more, too. "I know we'll talk about it and do whatever we can to definitely make this team a championship team next season," Davis said, before correcting himself: "This season.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 14th, 2019

Ed Sheeran, long-time gf na si Cherry Seaborn, ikinasal na

London — Kinumpirma na ng singer na si Ed Sheeran sa unang pagkakataon na kasal na sila ng long-time girlfriend niyang si Cherry Seaborn. Ayon sa isang pahayagan, idinaos ang kasal bago sumapit ang Pasko sa harap lamang ng nasa 40 kaibigan at pamilya. Sa sinulat niyang kantang “Remember the Name,” tinutukoy daw aniya ang […] The post Ed Sheeran, long-time gf na si Cherry Seaborn, ikinasal na appeared first on REMATE ONLINE......»»

Category: newsSource:  remateRelated NewsJul 13th, 2019

11 years after epic, Federer tops Nadal in Wimbledon semis

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — After waiting 11 years to get another shot against Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon, Roger Federer was so, so close to the finish line. One match point slipped away when Federer missed a forehand return. A second came and went on a backhand return. Later, serving for a spot in a record 12th final at the All England Club, Federer shanked a leaping overhead off the top edge of his racket frame, giving Nadal a break point. After Nadal wasted that chance, Federer earned two more match points — and failed to convert those, either, as his wife, Mirka, peeked through the fingers covering her face. Federer knew it wouldn't be easy against his great rival. Never is, really, no matter where they play. Eventually, Nadal pushed a backhand long on match point No. 5, bringing an anticlimactic close to the otherwise classic contest and allowing Federer to win their semifinal 7-6 (3), 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 on Friday. "I'm exhausted. It was tough at the end," Federer said. "I'm just very relieved it's all over." Federer closed in on a ninth championship at the All England Club and 21st Grand Slam trophy in all. To get to those numbers in Sunday's final, Federer must get past Novak Djokovic, who is the defending champion and seeded No. 1. "We all know how good he is anywhere," Djokovic said about Federer, "but especially here." Djokovic isn't too shabby himself. He reached his sixth final at the grass-court major by beating 23rd-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 earlier Friday. Djokovic is eyeing a fifth championship at Wimbledon and 16th major title. As entertaining as that first semifinal was — including a 45-stroke point won by Djokovic — it was merely a tasty appetizer ahead of the day's delectable main course. Not only was this the 40th installment of Federer vs. Nadal, but it also was their first meeting at Wimbledon since the 2008 final. In a match many consider the best in the sport's lengthy annals, Nadal edged Federer 9-7 in a fifth set that ended after 9 p.m., as any trace of daylight disappeared. How excited, then, were the spectators for the rematch? When Federer and Nadal strode out into the sunshine at 4:30 p.m. Friday, they were welcomed by a standing ovation before ever swinging a racket. Quickly, that greeting was justified. These are, of course, two of the greats of all-time — maybe the two greatest — and they lived up to that status for stretches. One key, for Federer, was that his rebuilt backhand, hit strong and flat more frequently than it used to be, held steady against Nadal's bullwhip of a lefty forehand. Another was that Federer was able to withstand Nadal's serve, which has improved a ton over the years. Federer amassed 10 break points, and though he succeeded on just two, that was enough, with the last, vital conversion making it 2-1 in the fourth set. And then there was this: Federer won 25 of the 33 points when he went to the net. "I didn't play well enough," said Nadal, who lost a five-set semifinal to Djokovic a year ago at Wimbledon. There was something of an "Anything you can do, I can do, too" vibe to Friday's proceedings. Federer would kick up chalk with an ace to a corner, and Nadal would do the same in the next game. When Nadal jumped out to a 3-2 lead in the first-set tiebreaker, Federer used sublime returning to reel off five points in a row to claim it. Who else but Federer could strike a serve so well that Nadal's wild reply would be caught by someone in the Royal Box behind him, as happened early in the second set? Who else but Nadal could attack Federer's generally unassailable forehand in such a manner as to draw one so off the mark that it landed in the third row? "I thought probably the biggest points in the match went my way. There were some tight ones and long rallies," Federer said. "He plays with such velocity and spins and everything, you're not always sure you're going to connect the right way." No one ever has managed to reduce Federer to mid-match mediocrity quite the way Nadal can, part of why the Spaniard entered Friday with a 24-15 overall lead head-to-head, including 10-3 at Grand Slam tournaments. This was the second major in a row where they've faced off: Nadal won their windy French Open semifinal last month en route to his 12th championship on the red clay and 18th Slam overall. But Wimbledon is Federer's dominion: He's won 101 matches at the place — more than any other man at any other Slam, even Nadal at Roland Garros — and all of those trophies. Djokovic, meanwhile, leads his series with Federer 25-22, including 9-6 in Grand Slam matches. "I hope I can push him to the brink and hopefully beat him. But it's going to be very difficult, as we know," Federer said. "He's not No. 1 just by chance." On Friday, Djokovic was as animated as ever. When Bautista Agut's shot hit the net tape, popped in the air and slid over for a winner that tied their semifinal at a set apiece, Djokovic motioned to the roaring fans, sarcastically encouraging folks to get louder. When Djokovic ended that 45-stroke point — the longest on record at Wimbledon, where such stats date to 2005 — with a backhand winner, he cupped his ear while glaring into the stands. "I had," Djokovic said, "to dig deep." Even Bautista Agut didn't really expect his visit to the All England Club to last this long: The Spaniard was supposed to meet a half-dozen of his buddies on the island of Ibiza this weekend for his bachelor party. Instead, those pals were sitting in a guest box at Centre Court on Friday. Eventually, Djokovic took control with his enviable ability to return serves, track down balls and go from defense to offense. Now he's Federer's problem......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 12th, 2019

End of an era: Westbrook exits Oklahoma City

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com LAS VEGAS – Just when you thought it was safe to step out from under a doorway, another seismic tremble rumbled through the NBA Las Vegas Summer League Thursday evening (Friday, PHL time). Earthquake again? Nope, just more Thunder. Get your first look at the NBA’s top Rookies during NBA Summer League LIVE on NBA League Pass! Oklahoma City and general manager Sam Presti were back at it, this time reportedly sending former Kia MVP Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets for guard Chris Paul, first-round draft picks in 2024 and 2026, and pick swaps in 2021 and 2025. Six days earlier, OKC had stunned the pro hoops world by trading All-Star wing Paul George to the LA Clippers, serving up the co-star that coveted free agent Kawhi Leonard wanted as a condition of signing with Staples Center’s other NBA team. That deal yielded for the Thunder forward Danilo Gallinari and guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, along with five first-round picks and swap rights on two more. The biggest difference in moving Westbrook was that this one was anticipated. George had gone to Presti quietly after conspiring with Leonard, requesting the trade in a way that enabled the OKC GM to work behind the scenes. Presti had leverage on the Clippers, since he in essence was delivering both two-way stars – George and Leonard, who otherwise might have re-signed with Toronto – simultaneously. The deal Thursday (Friday, PHL time) paired Presti with Rockets counterpart Daryl Morey. Given their trade-happy track records, it wasn’t surprising that, if an NBA fan listened closely, he or she might have heard the sound of gods bowling. George’s departure and OKC’s subsequent trade of forward Jerami Grant to Denver made it clear which direction the Thunder were heading. Getting ousted from the playoffs’ first round for three consecutive years made the team’s $146 million payroll (and the luxury taxes it triggered) untenable. “People [within the league] knew they were going to do something pretty profound,” one GM told NBA.com earlier this week. “What they got for George was more than a king’s ransom. And if they end up trading Russell for all the tea in China, it will be the same deal again, right?” There were other suitors, most notably Miami, fueling speculation that Presti might not be done. How about Chris Paul to the Heat for expiring contracts, a prospect or two and more draft assets? As it is, the Thunder already have lassoed or retained an outrageous 15 first-round picks over the next six years. That sets up Oklahoma City ridiculously well, on paper, for the medium- and long-term. Short-term? Meh. A crew of Paul (if he stays), Gallinari, Gilgeous-Alexander, Andre Roberson, Steven Adams and Terrance Ferguson seems undermanned in the wild, wild West. But Presti has amassed enough picks that Thunder fans won’t have to worry about their favorite team tanking -- they can just root against the Clippers, the Heat and the Rockets in hopes of desirable draft positions. Westbrook deserves credit for spending the first 11 years of his career in an unglamorous, small-revenue market (though $168 million in NBA earnings had something to do with it too). He had two MVPs (Kevin Durant and James Harden) and one MVP candidate (George last season) leave via trade or free agency before he did. Now he has a chance, re-teamed with Harden in Houston, to step into the void opened by Golden State’s anticipated decline in 2019-20 (Durant’s departure from the Bay has something to do with that). The Rockets and Morey have to be on the clock, their extended window as championship contenders not likely to stay propped open for long. Westbrook and Harden, a tandem of past MVPs, should have most of their statistical and usage itches scratched by now. Each badly needs a ring on his resume. Paul, meanwhile, might find himself hooking up with Jimmy Butler with the Heat, a pairing that makes more sense than Butler-Westbrook at least in terms of basketball compatibility. Presti’s performance over the past 10 days or so has been “breathtaking,” according to the rival GM. But with so many folks in and outside OKC so eager to spin the Thunder’s picks and prospects forward, a nagging question remains: What should we make of their past? In Presti’s 12 seasons, beginning with the franchise still in Seattle in 2007-08, his team has won 50 games or more six times (counting the 47-19 equivalent in lockout-shortened 2011-2012). Over the Thunder’s first 10 seasons in Oklahoma, only the San Antonio Spurs won more often. The Thunder have reached the postseason nine times, winning 14 series. They lost the Finals in five games to Miami in 2012, and got bounced three times from the conference finals, once from the West semifinals and four times from the first round. There were injuries and close calls, sure, but those are a part of it for everyone. Drafting, Presti strung together Durant (No. 2 overall in 2007), Westbrook (No. 4, ’08) and Harden (No. 3, '09). His record deeper into the first round has been predictably mixed: Reggie Jackson (No. 24, ’11) and Adams (No. 12, ’13) on one side of the ledger, fellows such as Perry Jones (No. 28, ’12), Mitch McGary (No. 21, ’14) and Cameron Payne (No. 14, ’15) on the other. The Thunder’s two most notable trades prior to this summer involved Harden going out and George coming in. When they sent out Harden -- the league’s reigning Kia Sixth Man of the Year award winner in 2012 -- it was an anticipatory financial move that for a time kept them out of luxury tax trouble ... as well as the Finals. When Presti traded for George in 2017, the players he gave up, Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis, had a better first season in Indiana than George in OKC. But as with Westbrook, Presti got George to sign a *cough* long-term extension, and the former Pacer finished third in MVP balloting this spring. So bottom line, which is it: Should the Thunder’s extended run as a contender in the West be applauded? Or should they be considered underachievers, considering the three MVPs they had – Durant in 2014, Westbrook in 2017 and Harden (with Houston) in 2018 – as well as George? OKC got a total of 25 seasons from those four players, 23 of them in tandem or as a trio. Only Durant as a rookie and Westbrook in 2016-17 worked as a solo act, star-wise. Those two plus George made a total of 17 All-Star appearances while playing for the Thunder, and in seven of the past nine seasons, OKC sent two to the February gala. That’s a lot of firepower for a fairly limited payoff (the lone Finals trip). So as excited as the Thunder and their fans might be for what’s headed their way, they’re right to feel melancholy over what’s done and now gone. 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 NewsJul 12th, 2019