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PBA: Mark Barroca got a lovely surprise last Father s Day

Magnolia guard Mark Barroca received the most precious gift a man could ever receive last Father’s Day. Though it took a month before the basketball star’s wife, Ruselle, to post the good news on her Youtube channel, it was still a heart-warming video for the now growing Barroca family nonetheless, as they announced that they are expecting a new baby.  “S’yempre sobrang overwhelmed ako,” said a very happy Mark Barroca on Sunday before the Hotshots’ Manila Clasico match against Barangay Ginebra in the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Big Dome.    “Noong Father’s Day pa ‘yun, eh maaga pa para magsabi na buntis na siya eh kasi pwede pang mawala ‘yun ‘di ba?” he added. “So hinintay muna namin magkaroon ng heartbeat, nagpa-check up kami and ayun may heartbeat na.” Mark Barroca said that it is blessing that the couple has been praying for years.                View this post on Instagram                   Nung nakaraang Father’s Day, sobra akong natuwa sa regalo na binigay ng asawa ko. Yun na yung pinaka maganda at pinaka masarap na feeling naramdaman ko sa regalo na binigay niya sa akin. Salamat, Panginoon. Thank you mahal????????. Mahal na mahal ko kayo! Kung gusto nyong malaman kung ano yun please click the link in my bio. Blessed Sunday!!!!! A post shared by Andy Mark Barroca (@mark14barroca) on Jul 6, 2019 at 8:37pm PDT “Ang tagal namin hinintay, ang tagal namin nag-try and biniyayaan kami. Worth it para sa amin kasi ang tagal ng inantay namin, ang tagal na pinag-pray namin,” he said. “Ilang breaks na kami sa team na pumunta kami ng ibang bansa para mag try na magka baby pero wala talaga.” After Magnolia’s 2019 Philippine Cup Finals heartbreak to sister-team San Miguel Beer, Mark asked Ruselle for a short vacation in Dubai. A time away from the daily grind of playing professional basketball.   “Noong Dubai nga, biglaan lang. Pagkatapos namin ng Finals pumunta kami,” said Mark. “Sabi ko nga sobrang blessing na hindi man kami nanalo [sa championship] at least ‘yung blessing [na magkaroon ng anak] ‘yung mga hindi mababayaran na moment na narinig ko galing sa asawa ko.” Then came the Father’s Day surprise. Russelle filmed her preparation all the way to handing Mark her gift. Together with their 6-year-old daughter, Natalie Faith, Mark got the best gift that special day. “Tinanong niya kasi ako kung anong gift daw gusto ko para sa Father’s Day, sabi ko sa kanya na kahit ano lang na ibibigay niya. ‘Yun pala pinaghandaan niya, na-surprise talaga ako,” he said. “Kasi noong pagbigay niya ng regalo, nagulat ako, ‘Uy, ano to?’ Pagkakita ko may damit ng bata eh wala nang bata sa amin eh, malaki na si Natalie.” “Sabi ko sa kanya, ‘Buntis ka ba?’ And sabi niya nga na four weeks na, sobrang saya ko lang noong time na ‘yun,” he added. Though the couple has yet to know the gender of their baby, Mark said that they already have possible names in mind. “May pangalan na kami, hindi pa namin sasabihin,” he said.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnJul 7th, 2019

FIBA: Near-perfect Italy crushes Gilas Pilipinas by 46 in crucial World Cup opener

Gilas Pilipinas certaily shocked the everyone to start the 2019 FIBA World Cup, just not the good kind. The Philippines folded in record time as Italy completely overwhelmed the national team, taking a convincing 108-62 win Saturday to start Group D play at the Foshan International Sports & Cultural Arena in China. After Mark Barroca scored the first points for Gilas in this World Cup to force a 2-all tie, the Philippines completely fell apart as the Italians put up an absolute basketball clinic, punishing the Filipinos with crisp ball movement and near-perfect shooting. The world no. 13 Italians shot 6/8 from deep in the opening period, zooming to a 37-8 advantage. Team Azzurri then added another five triples in the second quarter for a 38-point lead at the break. Italy’s assault didn’t stop in the second half, never giving Gilas a chance for any sort of comeback. Luigi Datome shot a perfect 7/7 from the field to lead Italy with 17 points. Danilo Gallinari only missed once and added 16 points. Amedeo Della Valle came off the bench to also score 17 for the Italians. Before the World Cup, Gilas Pilipinas estimated to make 10-12 triples in order to have a shot against Italy. The national team went 0/17 from deep through three quarters and the “chance” evaporated after 10 minutes of game time. The Philippines didn’t make a three until 6:43 to go in the fourth courtesy of Kiefer Ravena. CJ Perez and Andray Blatche added another two triples late and Gilas finished 3/23 from beyond the arc. Blatche led the Philippines with 15 points and 10 rebounds but he also had nine turnovers. Perez, the PBA’s no. 1 rookie, was Gilas’ top local with 15 points on 7/12 shooting. Gilas Pilipinas will next take on world no. 4 Serbia on Monday. The Serbians demolished Angola, 105-59, to start group play.     — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 31st, 2019

FIBA: Kiefer, Bolick, Perez make Gilas Pilipinas’ World Cup team

The suspense didn’t last long. Gilas Pilipinas’ official lineup for the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China is finally set, as announced by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas Sunday night. The Philippines will field a team that feature Andray Blatche, Japeth Aguilar, June Mar Fajardo, Gabe Norwood, and Paul Lee, all of who will make a second trip to the World Championships. Gilas will also play Raymond Almazan, Mark Barroca, RR Pogoy, Troy Rosario, Kiefer Ravena, and PBA rookies CJ Perez and Robert Bolick. Yeng Guiao will lead the team to China as head coach. The final cuts from the original 19-man pool that went to training for Gilas Pilipinas were Beau Belga, Marcio Lassiter, Poy Erram, and Matthew Wright. In the case of the last three, they were all nursing injuries. Gilas’ final 12 is the same team that took on Australia’s Adelaide 36ers Sunday in their final tuneup game. The national team lost, 75-85. The Philippines will open the 2019 FIBA World Cup on Aug. 31 against Italy. Gilas then takes on Serbia and Angola on Sept. 2 and Sept. 4 respectively.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 25th, 2019

FIBA: PBA Finals trio reports back to Gilas Pilipinas

TNT’s duo of Troy Rosario and RR Pogoy finally showed up to Gilas Pilipinas practice. Coming off a Finals loss to San Miguel Beer in the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup, Troy and Pogoy rejoined the national team in practice Tuesday after missing Monday’s session. Finals winner June Mar Fajardo likewise reported back to Gilas duties. Also in Gilas practice were Andray Blatche, Paul Lee, Kiefer Ravena, Japeth Aguilar, CJ Perez, Beau Belga, Gabe Norwood, Raymond Almazan, Poy Erram, Robert Bolick, and Mark Barroca. As of 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Matthew Wright is out.  The Phoenix shooter suffered a foot injury Monday and is officially listed as day-to-day.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 20th, 2019

Still no Fajardo, Pogoy, and Rosario in Gilas practice

After a one-day break, Gilas Pilipinas went right back to work, Monday inside the Meralco Gym in Ortigas. The usual suspects were back in action for the Philippine national basketball team with Andray Blatche leading a 12-man strong training session as a little less than two weeks remain before the 2019 FIBA World Cup. Alongside Blatche were Japeth Aguilar, Raymond Almazan, Mark Barroca, Beau Belga, Robert Bolick, Poy Erram, Paul Lee, Gabe Norwood, CJ Perez, Kiefer Ravena, and Matthew Wright. Still missing, however, were San Miguel Beer’s June Mar Fajardo and TNT's RR Pogoy and Troy Rosario who had just concluded their Finals showdown in the 2019 PBA Commissioner's Cup three days ago. The three, though, are widely assumed to finally practice with Gilas on Tuesday. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 19th, 2019

MPBL: Cabahug thrills home fans in Cebu win, Pasig set three-point record

Cebuano hoops fans had a night to remember on Saturday when their Cebu Sharks Casino Ethyl Alcohol turned on the afterburners in the second half to corral the Muntinlupa Cagers Angelis Resort, 79-62, in the Hoops Dome in Lapu-Lapu City. The Sharks gave the visitors to Lapu-Lapu City a welcome similar to the one shown by Lapu-Lapu himself on Magellan centuries ago as a massive third quarter outburst put the game out of reach. Down 41-34 at the half, Cebu found another gear on both sides of the ball to outscore Muntinlupa, 28-9 in the third on the back of nine points from Patrick Cabahug and eight from Harold Cortes. In those 10 minutes the Cagers scored exactly one field goal, a triple from Ryusei Koga. It was also in that period where Shark Rhaffy Octubre and Cager Mark Guillen were ejected after scuffling. Muntinlupa continued their desultory shooting into the final quarter as Cebu ran out big winners in front of a large Cebuano crowd. "Must-win ito kase home game, (ang panalong ito) para sa lahat ng taga-Cebu," said Cabahug, who topscored with 26 points in front of his father, Boy. Cebu advances to 4-5 while Munti drops to 3-7. In the day's opener, the Pasig Sta. Lucia Realtors carpet-bombed the Parañaque Patriots Yabo Sports from beyond the arc enroute to a 100-87 win. Twenty-one Pasig triples from 41 attempts is a new league record, as is the combined 27 treys from both clubs. Realtor Jeric Teng was the most prolific of the long-range snipers, going 9 of 13 from three-point land and finishing with 30 points. Argel Mendoza was another Pasig gunner in lethal mode, hitting 6 from 14 as he piled on 28 points. But the Patriots kept pace until the fourth quarter when down just 82-76, Pasig went for the jugular with Teng nailing a trey, Robbie Manalang hitting a long two, Mendoza knocking down a three-bomb, and Nic Belasco joining in the fun from three point land with a fourth triple. That put Sta. Lucia up 94-82 with under two minutes left, effectively settling the contest. Jayboy Solis and Jemal Vizcarra topscored for the Patriots with 15 apiece. Pasig goes to 6-2 while Parañaque slides to 3-6......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 11th, 2019

Gilas Pilipinas Tune-up Games Preview: Philippines vs Congo

The Philippine national team tipped off their tune-up games against Congo a few days ago, prevailing, 102-80, in a closed door affair, but the rematch later at 1:30 AM Manila time may be quite different. The Congolese, who won the 2019 FIBA AfroCan tournament earlier this year, are expected to come out stronger in their second meeting with the Philippines, the winner of which goes on to face either Ivory Coast or hosts Spain in the Final of this pocket tournament in Guadalajara. In the 2019 AfroCan championship, Congo bested Kenya in the titular game, 82-61, after beating Angola in the semifinals, 84-78.  Leading the way for the Congolese was 6'8" big man Evariste Shonganya Tolembo, who is sure to have an interesting match-up against Andray Blatche and Japeth Aguilar later. Both Blatche and Aguilar lit up Congo a few days ago, combining for 47 points in the rout.  Tolembo will probably want to bounce back strong, and he is definitely capable. The 28-year-old who plies his trade for Jämtland Basket in the Basketligan Swedish top division averaged 12.8 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.2 blocks per game for Congo in the African Qualifiers, where they were eliminated after the first three windows.  Helping him out will be fellow frontliner Rolly Fula Nganga and top guard Maxi Munanga Shamba. Nganga is a 6'7" banger who was Congo's second most efficient player at the 2019 AfroCan, and his match-up at the wings against Gabe Norwood, CJ Perez, and Matthew Wright will be exciting. If Norwood isn't cleared to play, Nganga can potentially have his way at the perimeter against out undersized wingmen. As for Shamba, the 6'3" playmaker is a streaky shooter who has great court vision. He had a nice matchup with Mark Barroca in their first encounter, and he surely wants to bounce back in a big way today against the Filipinos.   Barring any more injuries, the Filipinos have a significant edge over Congo in terms of size and depth. The Pinoys have been shooting well of late, and if that continues, this could be over early; otherwise, Congo has the talent to keep in step with Gilas and be in a position for an upset late in the game. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 9th, 2019

Gilas too classy for Congo in tune-up match in Spain

GILAS Pilipinas rolled to a 102-80 victory over Congo Tuesday night (early Wednesday Manila time) to begin the first of two tune-up matches in Guadalajara, Spain. ESPN5 reported that naturalized player Andray Blatche scored 25 points, Japeth Aguilar had 22 and Mark Barroca added 16 in the win held closed-doors at the Palacio Multiusos de Guadalajara. […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  tempoRelated NewsAug 7th, 2019

PVL: Creamline, eight other teams battle for crown and glory in Open Conference

Star-studded Creamline will face a tough field in its title-retention bid with eight other squads including three newcomers raring to knock the crown off the Cool Smashers’ heads when the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Open Conference begins on August 11. The season-ending tournament will feature nine teams with the return of Philippine Air Force, which skipped the Reinforced Conference, and the introduction of two new squads in ChocoMucho and Chef’s Classics. The Cool Smashers, who are bannered by three-time conference Most Valuable Player Alyssa Valdez and top setter Jia Morado, are expected to go all-out to protect their throne after relinquishing the Reinforced conference title to PetroGazz weeks back. Creamline will have redemption as its motivation in the tournament that will open earlier than its usual schedule in deference to the country’s hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games in November. “Babawi talaga kami,” vowed Valdez. “Going to the second conference, all-Filipino, hindi ko sinasabi na we’re all equal but ang sinasabi ko lahat ng locals magtatrabaho kasi gusto naming manalo,” added the Cool Smashers team captain. “I think that’s the beauty of all-Filipino talaga makikita natin ang talent ng kapwa nating mga Filipino.” But the road won’t be an easy one for the Creamline. Back to complete a season sweep are the Angels led by solid middle Jeanette Panaga and Cherry Nunag with hitters Jonah Sabete, Paneng Mercado and playmaker Djanel Cheng. Fresh from a bronze medal finish in its maiden campaign, veteran-laden PacificTown Army is a considered as one of the top contenders so does BanKo, which will parade power-hitters Nicole Tiamzon and Dzi Gervacio. With a healthy Myla Pablo back to lead a young and dynamic Motolite side, the Air Padda-mentored squad could finally break out from its shell to surprise the lead just like BaliPure, which is looking to improve from its last place finish in the season-opening tournament.    Back in the fold are the Jet Spikers, bringing their veterans back after a one-conference hiatus. ChocoMucho, Creamline’s sister team, will try to live up to its pre-conference hype as Flyin Titans march into battle with former Ateneo de Manila University stars Kat Tolentino, Bea de Leon and Maddie Madayag leading the way while another expansion team Chef’s Classics is out to make its mark in the league. Meanwhile, the league will also hold the Collegiate Conference with more than 10 teams expressing their intentions to participate.    --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 31st, 2019

10 players in attendance, nine in action for Gilas Pilipinas practice

Andray Blatche was in attendance for his third practice with Gilas Pilipinas, Monday inside Meralco Gym in Ortigas. The naturalized center was, in fact, one of the earlybirds in the Philippine national team’s training session with just a little over a month to go before the 2019 FIBA World Cup. Blatche was joined by Mark Barroca, Beau Belga, Poy Eram, Paul Lee, Gabe Norwood, CJ Perez, Kiefer Ravena, and Matthew Wright. June Mar Fajardo was also present, but just sat on the sidelines in street clothes......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 22nd, 2019

Mark Barroca keys hotshots’ win

Magnolia gave Zamboangueño Mark Barroca a rousing homecoming as it roared to its fifth straight victory at the expense of Meralco, 99-88, last night in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at Mayor Vitaliano Aban Coliseum in Zamboanga City......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJun 29th, 2019

PBA: Magnolia stays hot after beating Meralco on the road

Magnolia's hot streak in the 2019 PBA Commissioner's Cup continues. The Hotshots travelled south Saturday and handled business against Meralco, taking a 99-88 win at the city coliseum in Zamboanga. Firing on all cylinders in the first half, the Hotshots gave up a huge run to Meralco in the third only to recover just in time in the fourth quarter, restoring a 20-point lead which was enough for the victory. The win was Magnolia's fifth straight as they keep solo third place in the team standings with a 5-2 record. Hometown hero Mark Barroca led the charge for the Hotshots, scoring a team-high 21 points to go along with seven assists. Import James Farr and Paul Lee were productive as well, adding 19 and 18 points respectively. Meralco got 35 points from debuting import Delroy James but as per usual this conference, local support was lacking as Chris Newsome was the only other Bolt in double figures with 10. The Bolts dropped to 3-6 with a fourth straight loss.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 29th, 2019

Wish Ko Lang! gives OFW’s daughter a star-studded surprise debut party

FOR 16 years, pioneering public service program Wish Ko Lang! has been inspiring viewers here and abroad with stories of hope and transformation. Hosted by Vicky Morales, Wish Ko Lang is one of the longest-running legacy shows of GMA News and Public Affairs that made a mark in television with its wish-granting advocacy throughout the […] The post Wish Ko Lang! gives OFW’s daughter a star-studded surprise debut party appeared first on Daily Guardian......»»

Category: newsSource:  thedailyguardianRelated NewsJun 28th, 2019

Kiefer Ravena returns to National Team practice for the first time since FIBA suspension

Kiefer Ravena takes another step towards his on-court comeback after re-joining the Philippine Men's National Team practice, Monday evening at the Meralco Gym in Ortigas.  Ravena has been serving an 18-month suspension imposed by FIBA for failing a random drug test back in 2018. The suspension began on February 25, 2018 and since then, Ravena has been barred from participating in basketball-related activities, including playing for his NLEX squad in the PBA.  The good news for Ravena is that the suspension is set to be lifted on August 24th, 2019, just in time for the upcoming 2019 FIBA World Cup in China on August 31st.  Joining Ravena in Monday night's practice were June Mar Fajardo, Paul Lee, RR Pogoy, Poy Erram, and Japeth Aguilar, Mark Barroca, Marcio Lassiter and Troy Rosario. Also present are Robert Bolick, Stanley Pringle, and CJ Perez. Bigman Raymond Almazan is also present but is not participating in the practice proper.  Veteran Marc Pingris also dropped by to watch the National Team put in work. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 24th, 2019

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

The ten most intriguing NBA free agents for 2019

By John Schuhmann, NBA.com We knew that the postseason would affect free agency. But the idea was that the success or failure of certain teams would affect what their free agents' thoughts about staying or leaving. Unfortunately, the last two games of The Finals brought devastating injuries to two of the three most coveted free agents on the market. Kevin Durant, arguably the best player in the world, tore his Achilles in Game 5, just 12 minutes into his return from a calf injury. And Klay Thompson tore his ACL in Game 6. The two injuries will certainly have repercussions beyond the two players and the Golden State Warriors. Maybe they already have. With the Western Conference seemingly wide open next season, the Los Angeles Lakers have reportedly made a deal for Anthony Davis, sending a bevy of young players and future picks to New Orleans so they can team the 26-year-old star with 34-year-old LeBron James ... and maybe another star added in free agency. As always, the free agent market and the trade market are tied together. The pending Davis trade could affect the decisions of players and teams come July 1. And if teams miss out on the free agents they're seeking, they could always fill their cap space by making a trade. With all that in mind, the players listed below aren't necessarily the 10 best free agents (or potential free agents). They're the 10 (actually 12) most interesting in regard to where they're going and what kind of contract they get. For players to be on this list, there needs to be some intrigue regarding their (and/or their team's) decision this summer. That's why Thompson isn't included. 1. Kawhi Leonard, Toronto (Player option) Whether he leaves or not, trading for Leonard last summer was well worth it for the Raptors, who won their first championship, with Leonard averaging 30.5 points per game in the postseason. The Raptors' "load management" program (which limited Leonard to just 60 games in the regular season) clearly worked, and director of sports science Alex McKechnie should be seen as a major asset in the quest to keep Leonard in Toronto. There should be a "run-it-back" sentiment for the new champs, with Danny Green also a free agent and Marc Gasol holding a player option this summer. A short-term deal would make sense, unless Leonard is looking for long-term security, having missed almost all of the 2017-18 season with a leg injury. It's all up to Leonard, maybe the toughest player in the league to read. If he takes his two-way talent elsewhere, the Raptors may have to go in a new direction. Number to know: In the postseason, Leonard had a true shooting percentage of 69.1 percent, the highest mark for a player that averaged at least 30 points per game in the playoffs and won the championship. 2. Kevin Durant, Golden State (Player option) Durant's torn Achilles probably won't scare any team, including the Warriors, from paying him as much as possible. As deep and talented as this free agent class is, the top two guys on this list are in a class by themselves. Rumors have long had Durant ready to leave Golden State and even with his injury, he seems more likely than Thompson to find a new home. But an ESPN report had Thompson's father talking about "unfinished business" after overhearing a conversation between the two injured Warriors. Durant could always put free agency off for a year by exercising his player option and remaining on the Warriors' payroll through his rehab. Number to know: Durant was the first player in NBA history to average 30 points per game in at least 10 playoff games while shooting at least 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from three-point range and 90 percent from the free throw line. 3. Kyrie Irving, Boston The disappointment of the Celtics' season, along with Irving's questionable leadership with a group that underachieved, has taken some of the shine off his star. Irving's injury history also must be taken into consideration. But talent is the most important thing in this league and Irving is one of its most talented players. He's still just 27-years-old and he can still get buckets when buckets are needed. A return to Boston appears far less likely than it did six months ago (especially with Davis being traded elsewhere) and there have been a lot of signals that Irving is bound for Brooklyn. Number to know: In the regular season, Irving had an effective field goal percentage of 56.1 percent with the score within five points in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime, the second-best mark among player with at least 50 clutch field goal attempts. 4. Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris, Philadelphia The Sixers lost to the eventual NBA champions on a Game 7 buzzer-beater that bounced on the rim four times before falling through. They're right there. But their starting lineup, which outscored its opponents by more than 21 points per 100 possessions in 334 total minutes (regular season and playoffs), includes three free agents. In regard to future assets, the Sixers didn't give up as much for Butler as they did for Harris. And of course, Butler has more baggage in regard to accepting his role. But, with his defense and his ability to get his own shot, he's is the most important of the three. Harris struggled a bit in the conference semifinals against Toronto and is the least important of the Sixers' three free-agent starters; J.J. Redick's shooting was clearly more critical in the postseason. But Harris isn't easily replaceable and he appears to be the most likely to leave, with a lot of teams looking for versatile forwards. Number to know: In the regular season, Harris shot 41.3 percent on pull-up three-pointers, the second-best mark among 69 players who attempted at least 100. 5. Kemba Walker, Charlotte Walker has expressed some level of loyalty to the Hornets. But immediately after the Davis trade was agreed to, there was a report that Walker would be a "top target" of the Lakers with their cap space. Walker would be an ideal offensive complement to James and Davis, in that he can play off the ball (though he shot less than 35 percent on catch-and-shoot three-pointers last season) and take some of the playmaking burden off of James' shoulders. The Hornets, meanwhile, would likely have a tough time upgrading their roster around Walker, with Nicolas Batum, Bismack Biyombo, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Marvin Williams and Cody Zeller all under contract next season for a total of $85 million. Number to know: Walker led the league with 126 field goal attempts with the score within five points in the last five minutes. That was 43 percent of the Hornets' total (295). His effective field goal percentage on those shots (49.6 percent) ranked 15th among 45 players with at least 50 clutch field goal attempts. 6. D'Angelo Russell, Brooklyn (Restricted) A finalist for the Most Improved award, Russell took a big step forward this season, both in regard to his production and his maturity. He earned himself an All-Star appearance and helped the Nets reach the playoffs with a 14-win increase from last season. He's only 23-years-old and is one of the league's most flammable shooters. But because he doesn't get to the basket or the free throw line very often, Russell is neither all that efficient (his true shooting percentage of 53.3 percent ranked 66th among 94 guards with at least 500 field goal attempts) nor consistent, and he struggled (shooting 36 percent) in Brooklyn's first-round loss to Philadelphia. If the Nets are targeting another ball-handler in free agency (with Caris LeVert and Spencer Dinwiddie already under contract), they'll probably let Russell head elsewhere. Number to know: In the regular season, Russell ranked second with 11.4 pick-and-roll ball-handler possessions per game. He scored 0.89 points per possession as a pick-and-roll ball-handler, the 26th best mark among 44 players that averaged at least five ball-handler possessions. 7. DeMarcus Cousins and Kevon Looney, Golden State Cousins hadn't made it back to 100 percent from his Achilles tear before he suffered a torn quad in his second career playoff game. He made it back for The Finals from that injury and showed flashes of his old self with 14 important points in the Warriors' Game 5 win and a big bucket in the final minute of Game 6. But he also struggled on both ends of the floor at times, and the Warriors were outscored with him on the floor in seven of his eight playoff games. Now he goes back on the free agent market with teams still not sure of what they're getting. Looney is an unrestricted free agent at 23-years-old, and he was the Warriors' most important center this season. The Western Conference champs have Looney's Bird rights, but they could also be spending a lot of money to retain Durant and Thompson (and possibly extend Draymond Green). Another team might have a larger role and more money for an improving young big. Number to know: In the regular season, the Warriors' lineup of Curry, Thompson, Durant, Green and Looney scored 121.5 points per 100 possessions and outscored opponents by 18.7 per 100. Those were the best marks for points scored and point differential per 100 possessions among 40 league-wide lineups that played at least 200 minutes together. 8. Malcolm Brogdon, Milwaukee (Restricted) The Milwaukee Bucks were the best team in the league through the first two games of the Eastern Conference finals. But, with four of their top eight players being free agents (or potential free agents) this summer, they have a lot of work to do if they want to keep Giannis Antetokounmpo surrounded by players who can get it done on both ends of the floor. Brogdon, Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez are the three key pieces. They're all due a pay raise and they all belong on this list. Brogdon is the restricted free agent, but he's also the youngest of the three (he'll be 27 in December) and the one that could be projected into a larger role on another team. Number to know: Brogdon shot 47.5 percent on catch-and-shoot three-pointers, the third-best mark among 223 players who attempted at least 100. 9. Julius Randle, New Orleans (Player option) After five years in the league, Randle is still just 24-years-old. So he's not necessarily a bad fit for David Griffin's plans for the future in New Orleans. But the Pelicans might not be ready to commit the money Randle is seeking (should he opt out of the final year of his contract) after averaging a career-high 21.4 points per game. Defense remains an issue, but Randle has expanded his offensive skill set; he was a respectable 34.4 percent from three-point range this season, taking 18 percent of his shots from beyond the arc (up from six percent over his three previous full seasons). Number to know: Randle averaged 13.2 points in the paint per game, seventh most in the league, and he made more three-pointers (67) than all but one of the six players in front of him. 10. Ricky Rubio, Utah According to Rubio himself, he's not Utah's top priority in free agency. He remains a good defender and one of the league's best passers, but the Jazz need to get more potent offensively if they're going to take the next step. At 31.1 percent, Rubio ranked 153rd in three-point percentage among 163 players with at least 200 attempts. There could be as many as 10 teams (not including the Jazz) in need of a starting point guard this summer, and Rubio could have more value on a team more in need of a distributor. Number to know: The Jazz were 5.8 points per 100 possessions better offensively with both Rubio and Donovan Mitchell on the floor (scoring 110.4 per 100) than they were with Mitchell on the floor without Rubio (104.6). John Schuhmann is a senior stats analyst for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 17th, 2019

Lifestyle Buzz: Father s Day 2019 Deals To Spoil Papa With!

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Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 13th, 2019

30-1 odds on Ruiz against Joshua say it all

By Barry Wilner, Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) — The odds of 30-1 say it all. Andy Ruiz barely was on anyone's heavyweight radar when he was summoned as a replacement to fight champion Anthony Joshua. On Saturday, massive underdog Ruiz promises he could be the next Buster Douglas. "I've been an underdog all my life," Ruiz said Thursday in the final news conference before the fight that will be four-belt champion Joshua's Madison Square Garden debut and is close to attracting a sellout crowd. "The body shape I have and the way I look, maybe, but once I get into the ring ..." He will take a 32-1 mark with 21 knockouts into the ring, and that's nothing to scoff at. Except that his range of opponents hasn't been stellar, and in Ruiz's biggest bout thus far, he lost a very close decision to Joseph Parker for the WBO crown that Joshua now owns. He's also stepping in after fighting on April 20, when he stopped Alexander Dimitrenko. Jarrell Miller's failed drug tests sent the trash-talking New Yorker to the sidelines. Still, Douglas pulled off one of the great upsets in sports history when he knocked out Mike Tyson in 1990. When Douglas' name was mentioned to Ruiz, he smiled. "If he looks past me," Ruiz said of Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs), "I think he should be focused on this fight first." Joshua is. Sort of. He claimed the overview of the heavyweight division, particularly unifying all the titles, remains on his mind. But not ahead of his American debut Saturday night in the fight for the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO belts that will be streamed on DAZN. "I've been practicing and am prepared for June 1," the champion from England said. "But I cannot not look at the bigger picture. I am not looking past him, but I know if I beat this guy what's out there for me." That would be WBC champion Deontay Wilder at some point, though Wilder has a rematch with Luis Ortiz on his plate. It also could be an all-British fight with Tyson Fury, who drew with Wilder last year and likely would mean a huge purse. Still, in heavyweight boxing, anyone who steps into the ring has a puncher's chance. Ruiz, whose father, a native of Mexico, got him into the gym when he was 6 and had his son in bouts a year later, knows how his life would change with a win. Boxing, in fact, changed his outlook on life. "Boxing kept me away from big trouble," he said, noting he hung around with the wrong crowd and saw friends wind up in jail or on drugs in Imperial, California. "Then I joined the Mexican Olympic team when I was 16, and started getting serious about boxing. "When my dad (first) took me to the gym, kids were beating my butt. I didn't want to go back. I end up keep doing it and a few months later I ended up beating them up." Ruiz laughs, then looks ahead, not back when envisioning the scene on Saturday night. "My hand raised" is what he sees. "I don't predict the knockout, the knockout comes when it comes. I'll stay focused and humble. Know why you're here." He's here as nothing more than an opponent in the eyes of many, including, obviously, the bookmakers. Joshua, who knows Ruiz from the amateur ranks, credits him as a "top professional," but soon after saying that is busy talking about potential fights with Fury and Wilder. "Some say he will be easy, some say he can cause problems," Joshua noted of Ruiz. "I am confident I can beat Ruiz." Should he do so, a megafight later in 2019 is quite possible. Should Ruiz stun Joshua — and the boxing world — a rematch would make sense. But a Ruiz win might not make any sense. Then again, neither did Douglas against Tyson......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 31st, 2019

Things to know about these most-international NBA Finals

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press TORONTO (AP) — Sometime in the next couple weeks, either the Toronto Raptors or Golden State Warriors will proclaim themselves to be world champions. They won’t be true “world” champions, of course. But these NBA Finals have a very distinct international feel. [Watch the Playoffs on NBA League Pass for 30% less with this limited time offer! Select Annual package and use code SAVE30 at checkout to redeem] Game 1 of the series on Thursday night (Friday, PHL time) is in Canada, the first time a finals game will be played outside the U.S. Raptors President Masai Ujiri was born in Nigeria. There are players from eight different countries — the U.S., along with Canada (Chris Boucher), Spain (Marc Gasol), Britain (OG Anunoby), Cameroon (Pascal Siakam), Congo (Serge Ibaka), Australia (Andrew Bogut) and Sweden (Jonas Jerebko). “It says a lot that the first NBA Finals outside of America is being played here,” Ujiri said. “Maybe one day it will be real ‘world champions’ or something, but this is what we dream of.” It’s even a homecoming of sorts for Warriors guard Stephen Curry, again. His first four trips to the finals pitted him against Cleveland, not far from Akron, Ohio — where he and LeBron James both were born. Toronto has even more direct ties than Cleveland does for Curry; his wife Ayesha was born and raised in Toronto until she was 14, and his father Dell Curry played for the Raptors. So Stephen Curry lived in Toronto for a bit, and went to school there. “A lot of family history,” Stephen Curry said. The finals will be aired in 215 countries, three Canadian networks will air the series live (one of them in French), and broadcasters speaking in 50 different languages will work the games. There are a half-dozen networks from Australia, Estonia, Hong Kong and New Zealand airing the finals for the first time. More of what to know going into this series: FAREWELL, ORACLE Game 4 or Game 6 of this series will be the last time the Warriors call Oracle Arena home. The team is moving from Oakland to the new Chase Center in San Francisco next season. The Warriors have played more than 2,000 games at Oracle, and since this run of NBA Finals appearances began when Steve Kerr took over as coach five years ago they are a staggering 218-40 in their soon-to-be-former home building. “You cannot tell the story of professional basketball without including Oracle,” said ESPN analyst Mark Jackson, a former Warriors coach. “Those fans have been incredibly loyal from the beginning to the end. ... As a former coach, as a former player coming into that building, as an analyst, it’s as good as it gets.” STILL WAITING With Toronto now in the finals for the first time, that means there are only six active franchises that still haven’t been to the championship series. The Los Angeles Clippers, Charlotte Hornets, Denver Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans and Memphis Grizzlies are still waiting for their first trip to the NBA Finals. MONEY MATTERS The Warriors and the Raptors are playing for a little bit of money — $1,295,117, to be exact. That’s the difference between winning the finals and losing the finals, at least in terms of the take from the NBA playoff pool. The Warriors are already guaranteed $4,435,312 from the playoff pool; the Raptors have clinched $4,325,888. This year’s playoff pool was $21,676,510, which all 16 postseason teams shared. No playoff team got less than $323,506. Milwaukee got the most, by far, of any non-finals team — after finishing with the NBA’s best record and reaching the Eastern Conference finals, the Bucks will share $2,516,774. SECOND TO ONE Golden State is in the finals for the fifth consecutive year. That’s the second-longest such streak in NBA history, only to Boston’s run of 10 consecutive appearances from 1957 through 1966. Boston (this time in 1984 through 1987, separate from the 10-straight streak), Miami (2011-2014), Cleveland (2015-2018) and the Los Angeles Lakers (1982-1985) had all reached the finals in four consecutive seasons. FINISHING STRONG Even with the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference locked up, the Raptors finished the regular season with a flourish — winning seven of their last eight games. This was why. A 58-24 record meant the Raptors finished a game ahead of Golden State’s 57-25 mark, and that’s why Game 1 of this series is in Toronto. A good omen for the Raptors: Under the current playoff format, teams with home-court advantage in the NBA Finals have ultimately prevailed 26 out of 35 times. ’NOVA NATION It’s been a long time since a Villanova player won a championship ring, and even longer since a Villanova player actually played in a series where his team won the title. Kyle Lowry is looking to change all that. The Raptors’ point guard — who played for Jay Wright at Villanova — is in the NBA Finals for the first time. He’s looking to be the first Villanova player to win a ring since John Celestand got one with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2000; Celestand didn’t appear in any playoff games that season. The last player from Villanova to actually play in a victorious NBA Finals was Chris Ford with Boston in 1981. Lowry spoke on the eve of Game 1 about the lessons he learned from Wright that still apply. “If you make a mistake, apologize, kind of just accept everything,” Lowry said. “Accept everything as a man and bounce back from it. If anything negative, just bounce back, take it and keep going. I think those are the things that stick with me today. I never shy from anything, I never shy from negative criticism, constructive criticism, I take it all, I understand it, learn from it, digest it and move on.” RECORD CHASING Stephen Curry already has the NBA Finals record for most 3-pointers made in a career, with 98. He enters this series with 247 attempted 3s in his finals appearances, four shy of tying LeBron James for the most in NBA history. And while not a record, here is an odd stat: If Shaun Livingston makes his first shot of these finals, he’ll pass Wilt Chamberlain and move into fourth place on the NBA Finals all-time shooting percentage list. STARTING EARLY The May 30 (May 31, PHL time) start date for these finals is the earliest for the NBA’s title series since 1986, when the Houston-Boston matchup began on May 26. So the 2019 finals started earlier than has been the norm. That doesn’t mean they’ll be over early. If they go the distance, they’ll end on June 17 (June 18, PHL time) — nine days later than last season’s final game......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 30th, 2019

DOC VOLLEYBALL: Storming The (Blue) Keep

Winning twice in the elimination round to continue a 15-game streak, the Ateneo Lady Eagles couldn’t have asked for a better match-up in the Finals in the form of the UST Golden Tigresses as past encounters would easily sway towards a blue momentum. The top seed however went in for a surprise as the Sisi Rondina-led pack showed a whole different UST team from the eliminations and proved why her team was the best offensive team at the expense of the best defensive team for a crucial first game sweep. With a dominant three-set win over the Lady Eagles, the Golden Tigresses have breached the gates and are within reach of the throne. At this point, with momentum undoubtedly behind the Tigresses, it is quite interesting how the Lady Eagles will be able to hold their ground and last wall of defense and eventually mark a counter offensive from the inside should they wish to extend the series to a deciding championship match. Swift Claws One glaring difference between how UST played in the elimination round and the way they won Game 1 of the Finals series was the speed of their play. Despite being in the back seat for most of the elimination round, veteran setter Alina Bicar dug deep since the semifinals and has been the crucial factor in their win against the Lady Eagles even more so than the stellar dominance of Queen Tigress Sisi Rondina. Throughout her UAAP career, Bicar has been a fairly overlooked setter due to noticeable lapses in consistency, decision making and quality (height and speed) of sets. Perhaps one saving grace Bicar had prior to this season’s step-up since the semifinals would be how fast the ball is released from her hands. In Game 1 however, it was a more potent Bicar who was on display as her setting (even the bump sets at that) was noticeably faster and with better trajectory that enabled her spikers to play through the solid net defense of the Lady Eagles. Though still utilizing the combination plays in the middle that are more likely to get blocked by tall and anticipating middles such as Bea De Leon and Maddie Madayag, Bicar’s decision-making was also a massive level up from how she played during the eliminations and the past seasons. Perhaps now that she has established a consistent shoot play to the left wing that proves problematic against the Atenean blockers, Bicar would find less reliance on combination plays that have less efficiency than a simple fast open to Rondina or Eya Laure. It is however an injustice to UST if credit won’t be given to the massive performance of their queen, Sisi Rondina. Just a quick look of her highlight reel is enough to tell the whole story of how she led the pack in decimating the Blue Defense be it up front or on the floor. Though expected to drop cherry bombs straight to the middle of the court to showcase her athleticism as seen throughout her career, Game 1 showed a Sisi Rondina who had long targets that proved to be a one-two punch for both the blockers and floor defenders of Ateneo. First, by going for long angle or line shots, Rondina ensures that she hits her maximum reach enough to work around the tall walls of the opponent. Second, by going for long targets, Rondina often landed her attacks on the perimeter of the blue court (a floor defense lapse exposed and exploited by rival Lady Spikers in their second round encounter). With Bicar’s fast sets, Rondina had more time and reach to work around the block and floor which proved too problematic for the Lady Eagles. Lastly, though it was a given that Rondina had the spotlight, the collective effort from Laure, Ysa Jimenez, KC Galdones and Caitlyn Viray was also a massive difference from the elimination round where UST has been branded as just a two-woman attacking team. Viray’s unorthodox set-up for a right pin attack despite being a middle and Galdones’ power from the middle earned crucial points for the team. Despite taking a backseat from her usual numbers, Eya Laure showed enough firepower to support Rondina a couple of which came from a low fast back play from Bicar which I’d like to see more of albeit pushed a little more to the right pin but with the same height and speed. Blunted Talons Right from the start of the match, the early assault of the Tigresses proved too much of a challenge for the Lady Eagles much like a dragon queen swooping over an army and decimating the wall of defense. UST clearly made prior work of how to circumvent the main asset of the Lady Eagles being their block by going for fast plays and long shots targeting unguarded zones such as high line and sharp angle. UST evading De Leon and Madayag’s defense set-up was already a big part of the equation as their offense proved successful in limiting the block points of the two middles to an unusual two and one kill blocks, respectively. It has been shown throughout the season that the main scoring output of the Lady Eagles are primarily the two middles and opposite Kat Tolentino. While there have been noticeable improvement from the second round towards the end of eliminations from both openers Ponggay Gaston and Jules Samonte, output from the left wing was sorely missing for the Lady Eagles for Game 1. A high output from transition could have been Ateneo’s saving grace as UST was successful in limiting them to just 17% in the passing department which is clearly not enough to active their main assets which are their middles. A combined effort of 16% efficiency by Samonte and Gaston (25% and 7% respectively) was clearly not enough to support Tolentino’s 28% efficiency to mount a counter offensive on the instances they had control of the first ball. In addition, it was noticeable how the Lady Eagles failed to capitalize with their block to hold UST at bay on a particular rotation in which only Rondina and Viray are up front and would attack from both pins without any benefit of a middle going for at least a decoy quick hit. With two relatively obvious spiker options, no quicker approaching, and no pipe or backrow attack tendencies, that specific rotation would have been the easiest for the Lady Eagles to earn points in succession. Moving forward, should the elimination top seed wish to force a Game Three, the main concern is obviously to ensure that Rondina can be neutralized. Sisi will definitely rack up the points, but by limiting her options in her attack angles, the Lady Eagles can have a relatively easier work with their defense. First option would be to slow down the setup of Bicar by serving her blind side. Should this option prove ineffective, the best possible option would be to serve long in the seam of zone 5 and 6 and target Rondina or Laure’s right side of their axis to keep them in the court as much as possible as they wind up for the approach. Doing so, their down the line shots would be a challenging option making it easier for Madayag and De Leon to block the sharp angle. Though Rondina is just one piece of the equation and much more can be expected of Laure, Jimenez, Viray, and Galdones in the upcoming match, ensuring that Bicar is hard pressed in setting up a fast play through well placed serves will be Ateneo’s best bet to force a decider match for the Season 81 throne.    .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 14th, 2019

Magnolia a game away from title after Barroca buzzer-beater vs San Miguel

  MARK Barroca fired the game-winning jumper to help Magnolia win over defending champion San Miguel Beer, 88-86, in Game 5 of the best-of-seven Finals duel of Philippine Cup Season…READ The post Magnolia a game away from title after Barroca buzzer-beater vs San Miguel appeared first on The Manila Times Online......»»

Category: newsSource:  manilatimes_netRelated NewsMay 11th, 2019