PBA Finals: McCullough on title: “We’re gonna win this s***”

Chris McCullough willled San Miguel Beer to victory in Game 5 of the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals. McCullough outscored TNT KaTropa by himself in the final 12 minutes, 19-14, and San Miguel Beer completed a comeback from 16 points down to take a crucial 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 series for the title. The man was simply on a mission and he wants this title bad. “We’re going to win this s***,” McCullough said repeatedly after they pulled through in Game 5. The young San Miguel import finished the win with 35 points and 22 rebounds. His clutch basket inside the last 30 seconds over Terrence Jones finally pushed the Beermen ahead, 95-94. “I don’t remember it to be honest,” McCullough said of his go-ahead layup. “But coach drew a play and I got a bucket. You do those things in practice and we got the win,” he added. One win away from the title, McCullough is determined to win it all Friday in Game 6. “We'll come ready to play and mentally locked in to get this win, and not let it go to Game 7,” he said.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnAug 14th, 2019

UAAP 82: Ate Michelle Cobb confident in talented DLSU rookies

It wasn't’ too long ago that setter Michelle Cobb was one of the fresh faces on a powerhouse De La Salle University Lady Spikers squad.  Life moves fast in the UAAP, however.  In her three years in the league, Cobb went from a back-up to all-time great setter Kim Fajardo, to being the starting setter on a three-peat winning team, to experiencing heartbreak as part of the first Lady Spikers team in a decade to not make the UAAP Finals.  Last season was indeed a bitter pill to swallow for the likes of Cobb and her fellow seniors who had been so used to winning in the UAAP, but it also served as an important learning experience.  “Marami kaming natutunan na lessons from last season, na ginawa namin as main ground kung paano kami magbabago and paano namin aayusin yung mga mali namin last season, so I guess yun yung nag-iba, mayroon kaming parang basis kung ano ba yung dapat idagdag, dapat baguhin, and dapat i-improve,” Cobb told ABS-CBN Sports.  Last season’s shortcomings, including their losses to University of the Philippines in the eliminations and their losses to University of Santo Tomas in the post-season, Cobb adds, are also what give them the hunger to compete this season.  “Of course, it’s what pushes us, it’s what makes us hungrier, I guess, yung ganung mga experiences, doon kami humuhugot ng, ‘Gusto namin talunin kayong lahat’ parang ganun,” Cobb said with a laugh. “I guess healthy naman ang ganung mindset.” Heading into the UAAP Season 82 Women’s Volleyball Tournament, Cobb - now in her fourth season - has transformed into one of the team’s big sisters, so to speak.  So far, she’s liking what she’s seeing from the new crop of Lady Spikers.  “Very fresh, very talented yung rookies, may potential yung rookies, so I guess good start yun for them, and also siyempre, it’s not gonna be hard for us kasi since apat na lang kaming natira na starter, it’s more of mas easy yung transition since all of them are really talented,” Cobb stated.  Cobb pinpointed rookies like Thea Gagate, Leila Cruz, Justine Jazareno, and Fifi Sharma as ones to watch out for.  More than just the talent, Cobb also spoke about the relationship between the seniors and the rookies, saying that they have become like ‘ates’ to the younger players.  “Yung relationship ng team ngayon is very healthy, yung relationship namin sa mga bata very healthy kasi kumbaga, yung pagka-ate namin na-aapply namin sa kanila, if they go to us for advice, and not just that, in a way, they ask us kung paano yung dynamics inside the court, not just that, but like also, as a sister din, yung sisterhood mas napa-practice namin.” With a new season comes a clean slate, and the Lady Spikers are determined on getting back to the heights that they’re used to. For ten consecutive seasons, DLSU was in the finals, and in seven of those ten, they took home the title.  This season’s goal is clear: get the title back.  “Siyempre to bring back what we’ve lost, and to regain what we’ve lost and apply all the lessons we’ve learned,” Cobb said. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 11th, 2020

Still some positives for Meralco even though third time wasn t the charm

Meralco has now been at the losing end in all three of its matchups in its PBA Governors' Cup Finals trilogy opposite Ginebra. The Bolts' hearts were broken by Justin Brownlee in 2016 before falling short once more a year later. Now, head coach Norman Black and his wards lost the last three games to surrender yet another title to the Gin Kings. Nonetheless, the fact that Meralco is even here is actually something to celebrate. "We came in 11th- and eighth-place before the third conference so the addition of Raymond [Almazan], the addition of Allein [Maliksi], and of course, the return of AD (Allen Durham) have us a more competitive team and gave us a chance to win a championship," Coach Norman said. Indeed, the Bolts finished 11th at 3-8 in the Philippine Cup and then ended ninth at 4-7 in the Commissioner's Cup. With Almazan and Maliksi, as well as rookie Bong Quinto, reinforcing a core comprised of Durham, Baser Amer, Cliff Hodge, and Chris Newsome, though, they seemed to have the best shot at the franchise's first title. Unfortunately for them, it wasn't meant to be - especially after Almazan's knee injury in Game 3. Nonetheless, Meralco still scored a trophy - its third in the last four seasons. As Coach Norman put it, "The positive side is we made it to the championship which means we started the league with 12 teams and there were only two left and we were one of them." He then continued, "While that's not something that's gonna make you happy, at the same time, it's better than coming in third or fourth or fifth or sixth." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 17th, 2020

PBA Finals: Brownlee concedes Best Import, but Ginebra going for title

Justin Brownlee did not win Best Import for the 2019 PBA Governors' Cup. But on the night when rival Allen Durham won his record third Best Import award, it was Brownlee who played like the best in Ginebra's crucial Game 4 win in the Governors' Cup Finals. Brownlee went off for 27 points, eight rebounds, eight assists, five steals, and four blocks in the Gin Kings' 22-point win. Ginebra now leads the best-of-7 series, 3-1. "Super motivated. Ever since last year, you know we lost in this conference. We're back exactly where we want to be right now," Brownlee said, the team's motivation running deep than just missed individual awards. "We're still not satisfied. We understand Meralco is a tough team you know," he added. One win away from a third Governors' Cup title in four seasons, Brownlee says the Gin Kings are going for the kill in Game 5. "We definitely want to end this thing on Friday and not allow them to get any kind of rhythm," Brownlee said. "I'm still looking at them like a dangerous team. They probably lost some confidence but I think a turnaround coming in Friday, they're gonna be very confident in what they can do to try to force another game. We can't do that," he added. As for another Best Import award he lost to Durham, Brownlee doesn't mind. It's not like he gave up the award to an unworthy opponent. "It would have been great to win but Allen, after everything, he deserved it," Brownlee said. "Every time he's here, he elevated his team and have them playing great basketball. I think he deserves it," he said. — Follow this writer, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 16th, 2020

PBA Finals: We were very methodical tonight -- Cone on breaking down Meralco

Barangay Ginebra head coach Tim Cone couldn’t help but smile with how the Gin Kings executed their game plan to a tee. Slowly building momentum from a low-scoring and sluggish first quarter, Ginebra worked its way to building enough cushion in the next two periods before cruising to a 94-72 win over Meralco in Game 4 of the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup Finals for a 3-1 series lead on Wednesday at the Big Dome. “I thought we did a good, methodical job,” said Cone, who is a win away from steering the Gin Kings to its third season-ending title in four years.   From a 14-14 first quarter stalemate, the Gin Kings found their range in the second canto with Justin Brownlee dropping 15 of his 27 points as Ginebra shot 11-of-19 from the field while the Bolts struggled with their shooting with a 8-of-22 clip and missing all of their nine three-point attempts in the period. The Gin Kings sustained their momentum in the second half to break the game wide open, 90-63, off a Mark Caguioa jumper with 3:33 remaining in the ball game. “We were very methodical tonight in breaking them down on the offensive side,” said Cone. Ginebra pounced on Meralco’s sour shooting especially from beyond the arc – a hellish 3-of-26 clip - and was patient in executing its offense.   “They were 1-14 from the 3-point line in the first half so they had no rhythm,” Cone pointed out. “We were very methodical out there. We weren't rushing. We built the lead slowly then kept it when we got it.” Cone also lauded his team for its defense on Best Import winner Allen Durham, who finished with 21 points on 9-of-23 shooting. “We did a great job against Durham. We held him to eight (sic) points at halftime, that's amazing,” said Cone of Durham, who was held down to nine points in the first two periods. “If you're gonna do that to a player like that, you better win the basketball game. Team-wise, I thought we played him well tonight.” The Gin Kings can close the series on Friday at the MOA Arena.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 15th, 2020

PBA Finals: He’s up to the challenge – Tenorio on Pringle

LA Tenorio is looking forward to a great championship series run with new backcourt partner Stanley Pringle when Barangay Ginebra takes on Meralco in the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup Finals starting Tuesday at the Big Dome. The veteran guard sees the presence of Pringle as a big factor in the Gin Kings’ bid to reclaim the throne they lost in 2018 in a botched three-peat attempt in the season-ending conference. “Well, wala naman kaming kailangang sabihin sa kanya. We're just happy that nadala namin si Stanley, or nadala niya 'yung team dito sa Finals,” said Tenorio. “That was really our goal, to go to the Finals and win the championship for Stanley. He's very excited, no doubt. He's very up to the challenge.” At 32, Pringle, who was acquired from NorthPort in a trade in the middle of last year, will make his championship debut since getting picked no. 1 overall in the 2014 draft. Pringle has been very vocal with his excitement to show his wares in the biggest stage of the PBA. But as much as Tenorio loves the enthusiasm of Pringle, he is always quick to remind the explosive guard to keep his focus on the team’s goal.   “Kasi, sinabi ko sa kanya one time na, 'Don't be too excited.' But he's very vocal about it, he's raring to go. Parang natatagalan nga siya sa Game 1 eh,” said Tenorio. “But that's why we're here, for Stanley, we're a team. Every time na he's doing things na hindi naman kailangan gawin na sobra na, we're here to support him and to remind him to relax a little bit and just do the game plan,” Tenorio added. Tenorio knows that the Bolts, who the Gin Kings beat in the 2016 and 2017 editions, will go at them hard in their attempt to win their first title but he is confident Ginebra will emerge on top once again with Pringle by his side.   “I think he's ready and he's up to the challenge, and he's really ready to go and get his first ring, his first championship dito sa PBA,” said Tenorio. “That is gonna be special for us, the whole team, for me also, seeing Stanley getting that first championship.”     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 6th, 2020

PBA Finals: Ginebra crowd will be a factor in series -- Cone

Barangay Ginebra head coach Tim Cone is aware that Meralco is fueled by its desire to win its first PBA title. The Bolts are sure to come at the Gin Kings hard just like in their previous two title series. But Cone is confident that they can again deny Meralco its dream of lifting the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup championship trophy once again with their tried and tested weapon: the Ginebra crowd. “I think if there’s an edge that we have, it’s always the Ginebra crowd and the Ginebra fans. They push us to greater heights all the time,” said Cone. “That’s the beauty of being with Ginebra. You have that constant pressure from the fans to keep on playing on your highest level.” The Gin Kings behind their legion of fans beat Meralco in the 2016 and 2017 editions of the season-ending conference Finals that needed six and seven games, respectively, to be decided. “The only way to counter Meralco is with our fans,” said Cone. “Sixth man of Meralco is their hunger and their motivation from losing the last two series.” “But our Sixth Man is our fans. Without them, it’s gonna be tough for us to beat them,” he added. The Ginebra-Meralco rivalry has been one of the biggest crowd-drawing Finals series in years. In 2017, Game 6 of the Finals tallied a total of 53,642 gate attendance that was surpassed in Game 7 when a 54,086-strong crowd rocked the Philippine Arena in Bulacan to witness Ginebra win it all.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 5th, 2020

PBA Finals: Cone ready, expects Game 7

Based on the previous two championship meetings between Barangay Ginebra and Meralco, this coming 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup Finals is expected to come down to a series decider. It’s no wonder Gin Kings head coach Tim Cone is already preparing for a possible Game 7 as the best-of-seven series begins on Tuesday. “We could go to a Game 10 if necessary, if it was a possibility. For me, I never really wanna predict how far we'll go,” said Cone on Saturday in the Finals press conference. “We plan on playing a Game 7.” The two teams battled for the season-ending conference’s throne for two straight years in 2016 and 2017 with the Gin Kings winning both duels. But Ginebra was pushed to the limit both times with the Gin Kings needing Justin Brownlee’s title-clinching buzzer-beater trey to close their first Finals meeting in six games while their rematch the following year went to Game 7. This clash could be no different with both squads – coming off long breaks - claiming that it will be a long series. “We feel like we're in good shape. We tried to pace our players throughout the entire conference to make sure they would stay fresh,” said Bolts coach Norman Black, who is looking to steer Meralco to its first title. “We just played TNT in a Game 5 so we went the limit as far as the semifinals is concerned. We'll be ready just in case it does go to a Game 7.” Just like Black, Cone will try to preserve his wards energy just in case. “We try to watch the players' minutes and such and practice time so we don't wear them out so they have something left in a Game 7,” he said. “But obviously if you can finish it early... we'd like to. They would like to finish it early, we would like to finish it early.” “But I think our feelings are it's gonna go down to a Game 7. That's generally the case when you have two really good teams,” added Cone. “We'll throw grenades at each other back and forth for a few games and try to come down to the wire and see who wins it all.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 4th, 2020

PBA Finals: Elims beatdown motivates Gin Kings in rematch

Barangay Ginebra sees its elimination round beating at the hands of Meralco as added motivation when the two teams dispute the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup title starting Tuesday. “They beat us pretty bad. We didn’t play well but we’ve seen some stuff that we could be better at,” said Gin Kings import Justin Brownlee recalling their 77-101 blowout loss to the Bolts two months ago. Now facing Meralco again in the biggest stage of the season-ending conference, the Gin Kings are all fired up for payback – and for another possible championship run over the same club they beat in the 2016 and 2017 editions.       “We just hope to add some fuel from that game and just come out and play hard,” said Brownlee, who was held to just 18 points in that elims meeting against Meralco import Allen Durham’s 39 markers.  It was a dominating elims win for the Bolts but as far as Durham is concerned what they performed in that match won’t matter come the championship series. It’s back to a clean slate for both squads and what will count are the four wins that they need to claim in the best-of-seven series.   “It was nice to beat them but it’s a totally different situation now,” said Durham, who hopes to tow Meralco to its first title this time after coming up short twice. Fresh from a long break, Durham is just as stoked as Brownlee for another epic series.   “We both had time off. Both of the coaching staff had time to dissect each other. I think it’s really gonna be a competitive series, I’m excited,” he said.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 4th, 2020

PBA Finals: Ginebra crowd will be a factor in series -- Cone

Barangay Ginebra head coach Tim Cone is aware that Meralco is fueled by its desire to win its first PBA title. The Bolts are sure to come at the Gin Kings hard just like in their previous two title series. But Cone is confident that they can again deny Meralco its dream of lifting the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup championship trophy once again with their tried and tested weapon: the Ginebra crowd. “I think if there’s an edge that we have, it’s always the Ginebra crowd and the Ginebra fans. They push us to greater heights all the time,” said Cone. “That’s the beauty of being with Ginebra. You have that constant pressure from the fans to keep on playing on your highest level.” The Gin Kings behind their legion of fans beat Meralco in the 2016 and 2017 editions of the season-ending conference Finals that needed six and seven games, respectively, to be decided. “The only way to counter Meralco is with our fans,” said Cone. “Sixth man of Meralco is their hunger and their motivation from losing the last two series.” “But our Sixth Man is our fans. Without them, it’s gonna be tough for us to beat them,” he added. The Ginebra-Meralco rivalry has been one of the biggest crowd-drawing Finals series in years. In 2017, Game 6 of the Finals tallied a total of 53,642 gate attendance that was surpassed in Game 7 when a 54,086-strong crowd rocked the Philippine Arena in Bulacan to witness Ginebra win it all.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 4th, 2020

PBA: Pringle ready to rock in firsr-ever Finals

Five years after being named as the top pick of the 2014 PBA Draft, Stanley Pringle finally advances to the PBA Finals. Pringle will make his Finals debut when Barangay Ginebra battles Meralco anew for the PBA Governors’ Cup title. If you know anything about Pringle, he’ll give it everything he has, regardless of stage. Still, making the Finals is a big deal. “It’s really big, my first Finals appearance,” he said. “But I’ve played on big stages before, so I’ll give everything I have. My teammates know that,” Pringle added. As he makes his first-ever PBA Finals, Pringle is trying to downplay the moment. His focus now is actually winning the title, and that includes the preparation of it all before Game 1 tips off on January 7, 2020. “I thank my teammates and the coaching staff, but I'm not really thinking too much of it. I'm just gonna play hard and leave it all on the floor, try to get a championship,” Pringle said. “I expect everybody to be healthy and ready to go. It should be a real exciting Finals,” he added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 31st, 2019

PBA: Working Holidays for Gin Kings as Finals near

The Holidays are in full swing, with everyone celebrating Christmas with their respective families. It’s going to be the usual stuff for the Gin Kings, they will eat the good food and exchange gifts. However, Barangay Ginebra has some important business to attend to soon and the team’s focus will not be entirely on exchanging gifts but on how to beat Meralco in yet another PBA Governors’ Cup Finals. “I just gotta explain to the guys that it's gonna be everybody else's holidays, but it's not gonna be ours. This is work for us,” head coach Tim Cone said. “You make your reputations, your contracts, you do all these things when you win a championship. At this point, if you win a championship you're gonna be able to get your contracts and you're gonna build your reputation as a player. The Finals is absolutely crucial,” he added. With the strange way the PBA schedule worked out this season, everyone’s been making sacrifices. And as one of the two teams competing for the last title of the year, the Gin Kings are making a bigger sacrifice compared to others. As Ginebra tries to prepare for a best-of-7 Finals, the team will be working its way around Christmas and the New Year festivities. “Their families will be upset, my family's gonna be upset, but they're all basketball peoples. They understand the game, they understand what it takes. We think we'll be okay,” Cone said. “We'll find some time, but it won't be three or four days at a time. It'll be one or two at some point, and then practice three or four days, and then take another day off and then practice three or four days again. Parang ganyan,” Coach Tim added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 25th, 2019

PBA: For Meralco, title is the only way to go

In getting another shot at Barangay Ginebra for the PBA Governors’ Cup title, Meralco received a big-time Christmas present. And after two failed attempts, the Bolts are raring to make sure third time is the charm. “We all feel like we have some unfinished business. We've already had two rounds with Ginebra and we've lost both,” head coach Norman Black on the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup Finals against Barangay Ginebra after the Christmas break. The Bolts lost in 2016 and 2017 in six and seven games respectively. “We're looking forward to the third round because we wanna change things around and come out the victors this time. That's gonna be our focus now,” coach Norman added. Hunger for a championship will not be a question for Meralco, and for Ginebra for that matter. On the part of the Bolts, two failed title bids are enough. There is only one goal for this team and that’s to take the title for themselves. “Our goal is to win a championship. We have a lot of respect for Ginebra and Tim Cone. Tim is a top coach in the league. But our goal is to win. Simple as that,” coach Norman said. “It doesn't matter who we're playing against. Our goal is to win a championship. We've already lost two. We only have one goal,” he added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 25th, 2019

PBA: Durham, Bolts make electrifying return to Finals after semis exit last year

ANTIPOLO — Allen Durham playing pretty much guarantees a PBA Governors’ Cup Finals appearance. Back in Meralco for a fourth straight season, Durham has helped lead Meralco to its third Governors’ Cup Finals. Down 1-2 to sister team TNT, the Bolts surged past the KaTropa to in five games to once again have a chance at a first franchise title. “It definitely feels good to be back. It was kinda weird last year not being there,” Durham said. The Bolts were eliminated in the semis last year. “But I’m happy that we’re back. We’re gonna enjoy it tonight, enjoy Christmas, and then it’s back to work,” AD added. The Bolts had to work to make another Finals. Fortunately, the true Meralco team showed up in the deciding game, shutting down TNT in the second half to complete the series comeback. “We felt that in the four games, we felt like we didn’t play our full potential. We knew if we played to our full potential, we can really beat them,” Durham said. “That’s what we did tonight. Defensively we really got it together,” he added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 23rd, 2019

PBA: At 36 years young, Doug Kramer looks forward to a happy retirement

Following Phoenix’s win over Blackwater Friday to wrap up its campaign in the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup, Doug Kramer has ended his 12-year basketball career. Drafted 5th in the 2007 Draft, Kramer is choosing to retire at 36 years young. “I’m looking forward to the next journey,” Kramer said. “It wasn’t a spontaneous thing. I planned this for the past year and parang na-solidify yung mga plans ko the past few months,” he added. In his last PBA game, Kramer finished with three points and 10 rebounds in 19 minutes of play as a starter. Doug says he can still play, but it’s time to give up basketball now to focus on other things. “I’m very healthy, I’m very strong. Physically I can still take it, but parang naging notion na kasi for almost every basketball player na parang you wait until something’s really painful until you give up, until puro painkillers ka na lang? I’m not like that,” he said. “At the end of the day, I’m still very young. I’m 36. I still wanna do so much. I have plans with my family. It’s gonna be a nice retirement,” Kramer added. As he walks away from basketball, Kramer says his 2012 run with Powerade is up there in his list of favorites. Seven  years ago, the Tigers went all the way to the Philippine Cup Finals as a no. 8 seed. His one and only title, the 2015 All-Filipino with San Miguel Beer, is also a favorite for Kramer. “Winning the championship with San Miguel is up there,” Doug said as he remembers his career. “The Cinderella team with Powerade. That’s what I remember the most. The no. 8 seed going all the way [to the Finals]. We didn’t make it but grabe, the odds that were against us,” he added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 15th, 2019

NCAA 95: Boyet Fernandez making sure Red Lions remain in shape ahead of Finals

For the second time in three seasons, the NCAA Men’s Basketball semifinals will be decided in a stepladder format. In Season 93, the breakout Lyceum of the Philippines University Pirates rampaged through the elimination round, finishing with a perfect 18-0 record to earn an outright Finals spot. Defending champions San Beda University, then the second seed, ultimately defeated LPU in two games in the Finals to retain their titles. Two seasons later, the Red Lions are still the defending champions, but now they’ll be the ones waiting in the wings as San Sebastian, Letran, and Lyceum battle it out to determine who advances to the Finals. Those three schools represent a very tough pool of possible contenders, according to San Beda head coach Boyet Fernandez. “Yung tatlong challengers namin going to the stepladder, medyo hindi ka pwede mamili doon sa tatlo dahil malakas din yung teams na yun,” Fernandez told ABS-CBN Sports. “They’re well-coached as well, they have good players na, if they step up the stepladder semis, and they will face us in the Finals, medyo mabigat yung laban na yun.” The more pressing issue for Coach Boyet however, is how to keep his players in game shape, given that they’ll be on the shelf as those three teams duke it out. The Red Lions’ last game was back in October 17th when they defeated Lyceum to complete the eliminations sweep. The next time that they see the court will be on November 12th for Game 1 of the Season 95 Finals. “Ang problema talaga namin is how to  make the team active kasi, that’s approximately 24 days before Game 1 on the 12th, so we’re really trying to prepare our team,” explained Fernandez. “Medyo mahirap dahil siyempre, they’re thinking it’s too long pa, mahirap mag-manage pero we’re trying to really prepare the team, we’re practicing the generic type lang, yung defensive schemes, yung offense namin, we’re more focused right now on conditioning and getting the players prepared well, especially sa weights, nagwe-weights kami. Heavy kami ng kaunti ngayon para naman ready kami sa finals.” To keep the team in condition, Fernandez shared that he hopes to be able to put the them through some practice games prior to the Finals. “It will be a tough one for us due to the fact that we haven’t played for about three weeks by that game, so sana hindi kami maging rusty. We’re looking for practice games next weekend and the following week para ready kami sa 12th.” While the extended break is definitely a breath of fresh air for the team, especially after a long season, not knowing who to prepare for remains a concern, says Fernandez. “We’re concerned about it, kasi mahirap mag-prepare na on the last day of semis, doon mo lang malalaman, and then we only have, if you consider it, three days to prepare for that, kung sino talaga [makakalaban namin]. It will be tough kaya yung ginagawa namin ngayon is we really practice our defensive schemes on a regular basis, [para] kung sino man talaga, at least pagdating namin on November 9th, sa 8th pa lang namin malalaman kung sino kalaban namin, on the 9th, we will just review the things that we have done during the weeks going into the Finals.” “We also have our gameplan for every team that we’re gonna face. We’ve already had that gameplan, it’s just a matter of finalizing it on the 8th, kung sino talaga kalaban namin. For now, we’re just making sure that we know what our adjustments are, we know what our defensive schemes are, we’ll try to practice it with we’re going to play in the practice games, para alam namin kung ano pa deperensiya, and at ano pang kailangan i-adjust namin,” he detailed further. Apart from being out of competition for nearly a month, one more thing that Fernandez needs to manage is his team’s confidence. The Red Lions swept the eliminations, meaning that whoever comes out of the stepladder semifinals, San Beda has already beaten that team twice this season. Fernandez says that he reminds his boys that the eliminations and the Finals are two very different beasts. “I’m just telling them that we’re only as good as our last game, and the other teams are really trying to prepare themselves in order to meet us in the Finals and beat us in the Finals, and you know that the Finals is a different situation than the eliminations, masiyadong mabigat yung pressure doon, masiyadong mataas yung achievement doon if you win a championship.” During the elimination round, the goal was to make it into the post-season and hopefully finish with a top-two seed for a twice-to-beat advantage. San Beda finished unbeaten and earned an outright trip to the Finals. Now that the first goal of the season is done, the focus for the Red Lions now is to capture the title again. San Beda is gunning for their fourth-consecutive crown and their 23rd overall. “Sabi ko ang pinag-lalabanan naman natin pagdating sa Finals is the championship, the NCAA crown, so kailangan hindi tayo magiging over-confident,” said Fernandez. “We’re not denying we won against those three teams that are behind us, but we consider them among the best teams in the league, among the strongest teams in the league.” “Alam naman ng players ko na hindi madali na kunin yung championship, and we always make it sure na yung players narerealize na every game is a very important game, kahit sino pa ang kalaban namin and we always make sure na my players also realize na every game is chance for them to improve and prove themselves that they’re capable of winning a championship,” he continued. As for who he sees coming out of the semifinals, Fernandez says he isn’t really sure who’s the favorite, but sees Lyceum having the edge as they also be waiting in the wings for the winner of the San Sebastian-Letran tussle. “Wala akong tulak-kabigin dun sa tatlo eh. The advantage will be with LPU since they’re waiting in the wings who will be the winner between San Sebastian and Letran, but if you look at it, Letran and San Sebastian are considered two of the top teams before the start of the NCAA.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 4th, 2019

Warriors lose Stephen Curry to broken hand, look for answers

By Janie McCauley, Associated Press SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — D’Angelo Russell has done this before, forced to take on a far bigger role just last season because of injuries in Brooklyn. And now the new Golden State guard must do it again with the absence of both Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson in a suddenly short-handed backcourt. Curry broke his left hand in a 121-110 loss to Phoenix on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time) and it remained unclear a day later how long he might be sidelined, while Splash Brother Thompson could miss the entire season recovering from July 2 surgery for a torn ACL in his left knee that he hurt in a Game 6 loss in the NBA Finals that gave Toronto its first title. Curry underwent a CT scan Thursday (Friday, PHL time) but the team said it would have specialists evaluate the results before providing an update on his status. However long he is out, it hurts for far more than what he brings on the court. Curry’s presence in the locker room provides an example for the young Warriors, and he is their longest-tenured player and their oldest at age 31. It will be up to players like Russell and Draymond Green to help keep things afloat for the time being. Curry posted a smiling photo of himself, with the hand heavily wrapped, Thursday (Friday, PHL time) on his Instagram account with the message: “Appreciate all the love/texts/support all that ... Be back soon!”         View this post on Instagram                   Why him ????‍?? he’s like the truest & realist leader of this team always will be the heart & soul of the Dubs gonna be different without you @stephencurry30 ???????????? #GetWellSoon A post shared by GSWReign (@goldenstatewarriorsreign) on Oct 31, 2019 at 3:17pm PDT The two-time MVP drove to his left defended by Kelly Oubre Jr. and with Aron Baynes standing solidly in the paint trying to draw a charge. Curry leapt with the ball then came down head first landing awkwardly on his hands to brace himself from the court, with Baynes crashing onto Curry’s left hand. Curry grimaced in pain grabbing his hand then walked to the locker room with 8:31 left in the third quarter. Russell understands he faces a tall task. “Definitely trying to take on that leadership role and continue to get better every year with being able to lead guys on what I see and what I’ve been through,” he said. “It’s definitely a similar situation, but it’s going to be tougher. We’ve got a lot of young guys that are going to be forced to mature and step up, so I’m looking forward to it as well. ... It’s an opportunity. Go back to the drawing board with the team and the coaching staff, and see what we can do to prepare for each game day in and day out. The big thing I see is just opportunity for a lot of people.” In fact, Warriors coach Steve Kerr planned to gather his staff Thursday (Friday, PHL time) — the player development coaches have already been working on overload — for a serious meeting of the minds to figure out how to push ahead and what combinations might work going forward with so many men down. Golden State already was missing key big man Kevon Looney, who is dealing with a hamstring injury and scheduled to see specialists next week because of an “on-going presence of a neuropathic condition in his body.” Green tweaked his back Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time), too. “It’s been a tough start for us on many levels, so we’re just trying to find our footing,” Kerr said. “This puts us in a tough spot, so we’ll assess it and go from there.” The challenge of putting a winning team on the court now seems daunting. What so recently featured five All-Stars in the same starting five is now a cast of mostly rookies thrown into action right away out of necessity — not the norm with these Warriors in recent years. They are 1-3 with two ugly losses — the Suns led 43-14 after the first quarter — at home in new Chase Center, where they are winless and hardly have that overwhelming home-court advantage that Oracle Arena provided night after night across the bay in Oakland. Many already consider it a lost season, with playoff hopes in the powerful Western Conference grim at best. “We just got to make up for it by playing hard and playing together, and making sure we’re together the time he’s out,” said rookie Eric Paschall, who made his first career start and scored a team-high 20 points against the Suns. Two players returned from injuries Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) to make their debuts with Golden State: center Willie Cauley-Stein and guard Alec Burks. General manager Bob Myers mentioned months ago this would be a rebuilding season for the Warriors in many ways. Now, Golden State might be lining itself up for a lottery pick in next year’s NBA draft. The Warriors’ recent fortunes also shed light on just how much must go right to win a championship, let alone reach five straight NBA Finals and capture three titles in four years. There are nine players age 23 or younger. “I don’t know how long it’ll take. It’ll take as long as it takes, I guess,” Myers said at media day. ”... I do know this: We believe that things take time to evolve, and we’re prepared especially with a younger roster to allow that to happen, and that’s the mindset that we have from a coaching staff, from a front office staff, is ‘let’s see how things are going before we make any blanket decisions or judgment on any of it.’ But we’re excited. I mean, look, we’re excited about the youth. We’re excited about the unknown. In years past we’ve had a lot of known, which has been fantastic, but this is different.” Notes: The Warriors on Thursday (Friday, PHL time) announced they have exercised the third-year contract options for the 2020-21 season on guard Jacob Evans III and forward Omari Spellman......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 1st, 2019

Harden-Westbrook duo ready to do something really special

By Michael C. Wright, HOUSTON -- Well-dressed men in the Texas heat scurried, snatching keys and pointing directions to the visitors arriving, car after car. On the third floor, down the hall from a mezzanine overlooking a lobby, sparkling with custom Calcutta marble flooring, they all gathered in a quiet, dim room, just steps away from two Rolls-Royces bathing in the sun gushing through floor-to-ceiling glass. Here in Uptown, at Tilman Fertitta’s Post Oak Hotel -- a 38-floor, $350 million property housing a Rolls-Royce showroom and Bentley and Bugatti dealership, below a heliport -- the Houston Rockets' owner has turned the team’s annual media day into a posh, star-studded event. With good reason, too. Houston’s blockbuster July trade that sent Chris Paul off to the Oklahoma City Thunder for picks and pick swaps for Russell Westbrook reunites MVPs and former Thunder stars with James Harden already in the fold for a squad now at the forefront as favorites in a now suddenly wide-open Western Conference. “I think we are a better team,” Fertitta said. “It’s gonna be extremely exciting to have one of the greatest scorers of all time, and one of the most athletic people that has played the game. I know I’m really excited. I hope they don’t let me down.” Rockets general manager Daryl Morey thinks this all-star pairing “could be really special.” “It’s so exciting because James Harden is like the best half-court player I’ve ever seen, honestly,” Morey said. “Then, Russell is maybe the best transition player, one of the best of all time as well. If you put those things together, I think we have a chance. Now, you’ve got something really special.” Searching for same goal The reality is it’s been seven years since Westbrook and Harden last teamed with Oklahoma City in the 2012 NBA Finals, and while both have developed into MVP winners and perennial All-Stars, neither has made it back to The Finals. So, burning hotter than the pomp and glitz at the Post Oak Hotel this hot summer day is the question of whether this will all work for a pair of ball-dominant stars, accustomed to running their own respective shows. They’ve certainly got a believer in former Thunder teammate Kendrick Perkins. “They’ve played together in OKC. These two former MVPs still are in their primes. There’s no way that it’s not going to work,” Perkins told “Am I guaranteeing they’re going to win a championship? No, I’m not doing that. But I still believe this might be the most dynamic backcourt we’ve ever seen in NBA history. We probably haven’t seen a point guard and a shooting guard like this on the same team in forever. You can’t really name one going into the season that’s better than these two guys. I just think it’s going to work.” Now retired from the NBA, Perkins joined a 21-year-old Harden and a 22-year-old Westbrook in 2010-11, when he was traded there in the middle of the season from the Boston Celtics to OKC. Perkins describes the childhood friends and former Thunder teammates as “two guys that were still trying to find their identity” back then. Still, both were destined to reach the levels they currently occupy, he says. “When I first got there, those guys were working, man. They turned out to be some beasts, dog,” Perkins told “Gym rats, I’m telling you. It was unreal the amount of work those guys were putting in. Russ was always the heart and soul of the team. There was no debate about it to me. He gave the team swagger. With James, we just knew it was only in due time. People always say they should’ve kept that team together in OKC. But James wouldn’t have been able to be the player he is today if he hadn’t left. Plus, James was deserving of having his own team.” Now that he’s had it since joining the Rockets in 2012-13, Harden welcomes Westbrook, who like himself, began playing the game as a child at the Challengers Boys & Girls Club in South Central Los Angeles. Interestingly, Westbrook and Harden are the only players over the last five seasons to score more than 10,000 points. Westbrook nodded in agreement with the notion his new uniform provides somewhat of a new lease on life, after spending the first 11 years of his career in Oklahoma City. Harden, meanwhile, pointed out how his new teammate “doesn’t have to stress or worry about the pressure of carrying an entire organization,” because that responsibility now falls on them both. “I think it’s good for both of us because we understand the amount of energy and effort, time and commitment it takes to be able to do that for an entire season,” Westbrook said. “Now, being together on the same team, I think it’s important that we can lean on [one another], sacrifice, and not do as much to still have an impact on the game. I think [what] a lot of people don’t know is we have a friendship first outside of basketball. I think me and him communicate and understand each other. In the games, it’s going to be easy.” 'Sit back and watch the show' Perkins saw signs of maturity from Westbrook last season, when the guard at the detriment of his own stats, deferred to Paul George in crucial situations. But both Westbrook and Harden in 2018-19 ranked in the top 15 in usage rate. So, the phrase uttered most often at media day above the guests clutching cold drinks at the hotel pool was “figure it out.” Everyone, whether Fertitta, Morey, coach Mike D’Antoni or the players, seems confident in the duo’s ability to do so. Harden already said he’s willing to take a backseat to Westbrook. “If Russ has got it going, and Russ is having one of those games that we’ve all seen before, guess what I’m going to do?” Harden asked. “Sit back and watch the show, and vice versa. You can’t sit up here and say, ‘Oh, Russ is going to have the basketball for the first half, and I’m going to have the ball the second half.' No, things happen through the course of the game that you just flow with and go with.” Perkins believes that Harden welcomes the opportunity to defer to someone else, given the physical demands of his playing style. Harden ranked No. 3 last season in minutes per game (36.8), while Westbrook was fourth (36.0). “If you’ve watched James throughout the course of a game, the things he did, he had to do because nobody else was stepping up at the time. James wants somebody else to step up so that he can take a backseat sometimes,” Perkins told “If you watched Russ on the court last year, what a lot of people don’t realize is that he deferred to Paul George a lot. Russ took a backseat. You’ve got to understand, too, that he’s matured, man. He’s starting to show that he can be a better leader. Think about it. When you have kids, man, and you start having a family, sh--, your whole thought process changes. You know what I mean? I just see the maturity in Russ. To me, they have to just get it done. There’s no debate about it. Like, to me, the most pressure is on Mike D’Antoni.” Entering the final year of his contract after extension talks broke down over the summer, D’Antoni will proceed cautiously throughout the preseason implementing Westbrook (who is recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery). D’Antoni and Morey believe Westbrook, one of the game’s most lethal penetrators, will excel in D'Antoni's wide-open offense (which focuses on keeping shooters posted on the perimeter as guards drive in). Morey mentioned that under D’Antoni, guards have historically produced career years. “You look historically at players that have worked with Mike, guards especially, they always play better,” Morey said. “I think it’s just the way he sets up the team, sets up the offense. He finds ways to get people to do the things they do well more, and again, like he said, we’re not here to change anybody or do anything. Historically like pretty much every guard that’s worked with, Mike has had their career year. That’s gonna be a little tough with Russell, given that he’s had so many.” Wearing a salmon-hued polo shirt, D’Antoni discussed plans to stagger the minutes of Harden and Westbrook throughout the season. The expectation is Harden rests in the neighborhood of 13 minutes per game, while Westbrook sits 16 minutes. In his first preseason game -- a 134-129 loss to the Toronto Raptors in Tokyo -- Westbrook logged 20 minutes, finishing with 13 points, two rebounds and six assists. D’Antoni said the final five minutes of games are “the most important thing” for Westbrook to figure out as the team approaches the regular season. “They both want to do this. So, we’ll just sit down and work it out,” D’Antoni said. “I don’t have to tell someone they have to do this, or they have to do that. We’ll figure it out together. But just the vibe of being able to discuss things, the respect they have [for one another] will translate. We’re in a good spot. Right now, it’s great. All we’re trying right now is to win a title. That’s the only agenda that anybody has, and we’ve just got to figure it out.” When word first spread about Houston’s acquisition of Westbrook, opinions naturally flowed about how he’d fit alongside Harden. Westbrook is a career 30.8% 3-point shooter on a squad that has led the league in 3-point attempts four of the last five seasons. He’s also a ball-dominant, high-usage player just like Harden. Still, everyone, insists they won’t ask Westbrook to change his style of play. That puts the pressure squarely on D’Antoni to tweak what Houston does on the floor. “The system they’ve run, just shooting layups and shooting threes with no in-between game, you have to change that with Russell Westbrook, because one of his main things is his mid-range pull-up,” Perkins explained. “The pressure is on Mike D’Antoni. Does he have to change up his style of play? Yes, he will, in order for Russell Westbrook to be who he is. We all know that Russ is not a three-point shooter. Bottom line is they’ve got two of the top 10 players in the league now, if not top 15. "These guys get it done. Back in the day when they were in OKC, they were trying to find out who they were as players. Now, it’s a whole lot different. Now, they know who they are. They’ve done everything to accomplish all the individual accolades. They only thing they haven’t done is win a championship. It’s not the players. Houston has all the players.” In addition to the glitz, glamour and star power for a franchise starving to add more Larry O'Briens to its trophy case. Michael C. Wright is a senior writer for 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 NewsOct 9th, 2019

PBA Finals By the Numbers: One more to go

San Miguel Beer is pretty much inevitable, right? After Game 5, the Beermen are all of a sudden on the brink of yet another PBA title and they now lead the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals against TNT, 3-2. TNT will now need some Tony Stark level of switcheroo to pull this one off or the Beermen will continue to pad their lead against all PBA teams with an incredible 27 championships. But before that, one last By the Numbers look for San Miguel’s amazing Game 5 win.   19 Total points for San Miguel import Chris McCullough in that incredible fourth-quarter run. C-Mac outscored TNT by himself in the last 12 minutes, 19-14, as he willed the Beermen to victory in the final quarter. His basket over the defense of Terrence Jones late finally pushed San Miguel ahead, 95-94, which would later turn into a 99-94 win.   16 Largest lead of the night for the KaTropa. After scoring the first five points in the fourth quarter, TNT was up by 16, 85-69. It went downhill after that. Chris McCullough scored 19 points and the Beermen went on a 30-9 run to end the game for the win.   96 Combined minutes for imports Terrence Jones and Chris McCullough. The two imports did not rest in the pivotal Game 5 for TNT and San Miguel respectively however, the younger McCullough got the upper hand late as he just had the extra bounce in his step during crunch time. They both scored 35 points each in Game 5.   22 Total points for Terrence Romeo. Bro fired 15 points in the opening period as he kept San Miguel within striking distance of TNT. If the Beermen are to win this championship, Romeo is a darkhorse candidate for Finals MVP, he’s been that impactful off the bench for San Miguel Beer.   14 Total three-pointers for TNT. Despite the monumental collapse, the KaTropa were still on target from deep, connecting 14 treys on 34 percent shooting.  Jayson Castro and RR Pogoy had four triples each while Terrence Jones was good for another three. TNT is still playing well in these Finals, they just have to finish. Game 6 is Friday at the Big Dome.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 15th, 2019

PBA Finals: Beermen close in on title after Game 5 win

San Miguel Beer is closing in on another title. The Beermen erased a 16-point deficit in the fourth quarter to take a big 99-94 Game 5 win over TNT in the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals Wednesday at the Big Dome. Chris McCullough made things happen in the fourth as his tough lay-up over Terrence Jones finally pushed the Beermen up, 95-94. San Miguel then got a couple of stops and handled business from the line to take a 3-2 series lead. The Beermen can win the title with Game 6 Friday also at the Big Dome. TNT’s momentum in the third carried over into the early parts of the fourth as the KaTropa established a 16-point lead after a booming RR Pogoy triple, 85-69. But then McCullough went to work, outscoring TNT by himself and San Miguel is now on top in this series for the first time. C-Mac poured 19 of his total of 35 points in the final 12 minutes. For good measure, McCullough also had 22 rebounds, four assists, and three blocks. Terrence Romeo was the top local for San Miguel, finishing with 22 points. TR scored 15 in the opening half to keep the Beermen in the game. For TNT, Terrence Jones scored 35 points to go along with 17 rebounds and eight assists. Jayson Castro added 18 but unfortunately, the pair combined for just six points in the fourth.   The Scores: San Miguel 99 - McCullough 35, Romeo 22, Fajardo 16, Pessumal 9, Ross 7, Cabagnot 4, Standhardinger 4, Santos 2. TNT 94 - Jones 35, Castro 18, Rosario 16, Pogoy 12, Trollano 7, D. Semerad 6, Taha 0, Reyes 0, Heruela 0, Magat 0. Quarters: 22-28, 45-49, 69-80, 99-94.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 14th, 2019

In heated Finals, Ross tells TNT to “keep crying to the PBA”

Chris Ross is no longer subtle with his mind games against TNT KaTropa in the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals. First, Ross called Terrence Jones a “baby” for yet another incident that got Ross a headbutt from the TNT import. “Mentally, he’s a baby,” Ross said. “I got two busted lips and now a lump from a dude that’s mentally two-years-old,” he added. Ross didn’t stop there though. After finding out that the KaTropa might have issues from all the mind games going on, Ross said TNT should grow up or if not, go play somewhere else. Also, there’s that option of crying to the PBA, Ross added. “It’s basketball. Are you gonna cry about that? We’re not playing dirty, no ones playing dirty. They’re gonna cry about people playing mind games? Come on man, grow up,” he said. “No one’s doing nothing dirty, if you’re not mentally strong enough to play in a game like this, then go play somewhere else. If they’re crying about playing mind games, they need to check themselves. If that’s what they want to cry to the PBA, let them cry about that,” Ross added. The San Miguel Beer point guard insinuated that all of TNT’s “crying” earned the team a ton of free throws in a Game 3 win. True, the KaTropa beat the Beermen in total free throws, 45-28, but San Miguel was only called for four more fouls than TNT, 30-26. Brian Heruela, Don Trollano, Terrence Jones, Chris McCullough, and Terrence Romeo were all in foul trouble from both teams with five fouls each. Troy Rosario and June Mar Fajardo finished with four fouls each. Two TNT players got the bulk of the free throws in Jones (14/23) and Jayson Castro (8/10). In the case of Jones, he was fouled 14 times. “I guess it worked today because they got 50 [45] free throws. I guess it worked,” Ross said. “If that’s how they want to do it, keep crying to the PBA. Because I know that’s what they did,” he added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 10th, 2019