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PBA: The curious case of Alex Stepheson’s bum stomach part 2

Blackwater missed its “perfect” import Friday in the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup, going All-Filipino against San Miguel Beer. Alex Stepheson missed the Beermen game as he had to quickly fly back to the United States to have a developing stomach ailment checked out by his personal doctor. Without the hulking Stepheson, the Elite promptly took a beating at the hands of San Miguel, dropping to 5-2 following a loss. Fortunately, Stepheson’s absence should be a one-time occurence as he’s supposedly set to be back in Manila next week in time for Blackwater’s crucial game against Northport. “May health problems siya right now and he's being checked,” head coach Aris Dimaunahan said of Stepheson. “So hopefully, in the next coming days, he gets his health back and help the team again,” he added. Stepheson has some history dealing with stomach problems as it also bothered him during his first PBA stint with Meralco two years ago. [Related: The curious case of Alex Stepheson's bum stomach] A key piece in Blackwater’s current run in the Commissioner’s Cup, Dimaunahan is just hoping that his import can get his health and condition back up. “Hats off to the guy sa ganoon na condition niya he still played the way he did sa first six games namin, he’s still a monster,” Dimaunahan said. “Hopefully maging okay na siya and maka-balik siya rito to help our team,” he added. Stepheson remins Blackwater’s top priority as the team has not discussed possible back up plans just yet in case there’s a setback in Alex’s recovery. “As of now, wala pa kaming napagmi-meeting-an kasi all of a sudden yun eh. We still have to talk amongst ourselves kung anong magiging next plan namin,” Dimaunahan said. Stepheson is going for 22.1 points, 22 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks with the Elite this season.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 14th, 2019

Meralco's slow and painful All-Filipino growth

After a six-game, mid-conference meltdown almost totally destroyed their playoff hopes, the Meralco Bolts somehow found a way to keep themselves alive in the 2017 Philippine Cup. They did so by upsetting the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters Friday, a win that not only let them regain confindence and remain in the playoff race, but also affirmed that the team is on the right track in a slow, painful growing process. 'I think that's what we showed today, a great team effort. It's just great for the morale of the team to finally get a win, finally get that monkey off our back and know we're doing something right,' second-year forward Chris Newsome said following Meralco's 82-72 victory. 'We already got two wins more than our previous Philippine Cup so I think we're slowly improving,' he added, going back to the fact that the Bolts finished with an embarassing 1-10 record in the same tournament last season. Meralco is still limping with a 3-7 mark this year and the team's playoff hopes almost entirely depends on other teams blowing away their own opportunities to advance but Newsome says that's the least of Meralco's concern right now. The reigning Rookie of the Year emphasized growth on the side of the Bolts and just going for what the team can actually control. And part of the things the team can control is their last regular season game against Star which if they win, should at least give them a better chance to sneak into the playoffs. 'It's a long season so we don't just wanna shut down and let everything that we've done go to waste,' Newsome said who finished with a game-high 19 points vs. ROS. 'The mindset is to control what we can control. The only thing that we're in control of right now is winning our last game against Star and everything else is kinda out of our hands. We just gotta hope for the best situation. We just gotta focus on what we can control and that's our effort in practice and attention to detail when it comes to games,' he added. With Jimmy Alapag retired and Jared Dillinger just returning from a hamstring injury he suffered late last season, Meralco has mostly relied on its young core so far in the All-Filipino. This latest victory, despite the string of defeats that came before it, was a nice boost for the squad that has kept things together pretty nicely this year. 'It's really big for us because the mood in the locker room is pretty heavy whenever you're losing, especially six straight games,' Newsome said. 'We try to stay positive and we really have nothing to lose and everything to gain, that's kinda the approach that we took today,' he added.   br /> --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 20th, 2017

City sunk 4-0 at Everton for Guardiola's biggest league loss

  LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Pep Guardiola endured the heaviest league defeat of his coaching career as Manchester City was thrashed 4-0 by Everton in the Premier League on Sunday to plummet further out of title contention. Two weeks after a 1-0 loss at Liverpool, City had more misery on Merseyside following goals by Romelu Lukaku, Kevin Mirallas, 18-year-old midfielder Tom Davies and 19-year-old debutant Ademola Lookman. City has now lost three of its last four matches away, with the latest setback for Guardiola coming at the hands of a team managed by his former Barcelona teammate, Ronald Koeman. The team had dropped out of the top four — into fifth place — following wins for Tottenham and Arsenal on Saturday, and is now 10 points behind first-placed Chelsea. 'It is awful for my players,' Guardiola said. 'I said to the players 'be positive' because they have made fantastic things in this season.' The title is looking out of reach for City now, though, just when things appeared to be looking up after a 5-0 win at West Ham in the FA Cup last week. It was another poor defensive display, summed up in injury time when John Stones — a former Everton player — tried to clear the ball for a throw-in only to see it ricochet off Everton defender Seamus Coleman to set up Lookman. Signed from Charlton this month and on as a late substitute for his Everton debut, Lookman completed City's misery by shooting through Bravo's legs. 'Pep Guardiola knows it is a project at Manchester City,' Koeman said. 'Of course, maybe they expected better results and a defeat like this is really strong but Pep has the experience to turn it around. I don't doubt it.' Lukaku sidefooted home a square ball from Mirallas to put Everton ahead in the 34th, with the move sparked by Davies intercepting Gael Clichy's ball forward from left back. Starting for a second straight game, Davies was everywhere — even clearing Bacary Sagna's header off the line just before halftime at Goodison Park. Ross Barkley slipped in Mirallas to score with an angled shot in the 47th before the best goal of the match, Davies dinking the ball over goalkeeper Claudio Bravo and inside the near post to crown an impressive individual display. 'The consequence of the game is an example of many that has happened this season,' Guardiola said. 'In football, you sometimes don't need to do many things to score. They arrive once and score a goal. It is not today, it is almost all the season and it is tough for the players to handle that situation.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 16th, 2017

10 NCAA players to watch in Season 95

It’s important to note that half of the players who were picked in the first round of the 2018 PBA Draft were products of the country’s first collegiate sports league. CJay Perez and Robert Bolick have immediately become the cornerstones of Columbian Dyip and NorthPort Batang Pier, respectively. Javee Mocon, Jesper Ayaay, Michael Calisaan and JP Calvo have all received high praise from the coaches of their new teams. While last season’s heroes are now living their lifelong dreams in the PBA, new stars are looking to shine as NCAA Season 95 opens on July 7 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. James Kwekuteye (SBU)   If there is one player worthy enough to succeed Bolick as the King Lion of Mendiola, it’s the 6’3” Fil-Canadian shooting guard, James Kwekuteye. As a rookie, Kwekuteye came off the bench for majority of the season and had limited time to really put his talent on display. But, when he did start, particularly in San Beda’s second round game against LPU, Kwekuteye proved that he could be a major threat as he scored a career-high 18 points for the Red Lions, matching the scoring output of Bolick. In that game, Bolick motivated Kwekuteye by saying, “they can’t stop you.” James Kwekuteye introduces himself to Lyceum with 18 big points! #NCAASeason94 #GalingNCAA pic.twitter.com/OQS5eZBTJL — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) October 18, 2018 As the new starting shooting guard of Coach Boyet Fernandez, Kwekuteye led San Beda in scoring in the 2019 Fil-Oil Flying V Pre-season Cup averaging 14.1 points per game.    Evan Nelle (SBU)   Another talented player who didn’t see the floor much last year due to the loaded roster of guards on the San Beda lineup was former NCAA Jrs. Finals MVP Evan Nelle. Evan Nelle repays coach Boyet Fernandez' trust by drilling the early three! #NCAASeason94 #GalingNCAA pic.twitter.com/kpfdsnro2i — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) September 11, 2018 Nelle was the fourth string point guard behind Bolick, Jo Presbitero and Radge Tongco in Season 94. But, with the graduation of all three aforementioned players, the keys to the Red Lions’ offense has fallen straight into Nelle’s hands. While sharing the backcourt with Kwekuteye, Nelle led San Beda to the 2019 FilOil Championship and averaged a league-best 4.7 assists per contest.    Donald Tankoua (SBU)   Aside from capturing the title in the country’s most prestigious pre-season tournament, Kwekuteye and Nelle were also named to the Mythical Five along with their starting center, Donald Tankoua.  Donald Tankoua drops 23 points to help San Beda end the eliminations on a high note. #NCAASeason94 #GalingNCAA pic.twitter.com/EUFpXnAt8T — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) October 23, 2018 The 6’6” Cameroonian big man has always been one of the most consistent players, year in and year out in the NCAA and will continue to be as he plays out his final year of eligibility in Season 95. Because he’s a walking double-double, expect Tankoua to be the early favorite to win MVP.   Mike Harry Nzeusseu (LPU)   Now, if there is anybody who possesses the physical attributes and the numbers to challenge Tankoua’s MVP campaign, it’s LPU’s Mike Harry Nzeusseu. Mike Harry Nzeusseu gets NASTY ???? #NCAASeason94 #NCAAFinals pic.twitter.com/yEAr0ywBPd — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) November 12, 2018 Nzeusseu ended last season without confirming that he would return to play one more year with the Pirates but his participation in the Fil-Oil tournament tells us that he will be back to anchor the defense of Coach Topex Robinson. And without Perez, the 6’6” center from the Republic of Cameroon will also have to do major damage on the offensive end as well.  Jayson David (LPU)   Jayson David picks Robert Bolick's pocket for the transition finish! #NCAASeason93 #NCAAStrong pic.twitter.com/Inl17UZbKq — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) November 7, 2017 Back in Season 91, the NCAA added a Most Improved Player trophy to their list of awardees for every basketball tournament. Based on the pre-season, former San Sebastian guard Jayson David has emerged as the frontrunner for that award as he has assumed the starting spot of Perez with LPU. David is no “Baby Beast”, but it seems that Robinson trusts him enough to be a critical piece in the Pirates’ quest to capture that elusive NCAA championship. He averaged 7.3 PPG, 6 RPG and 2.1 APG in the Fil-Oil tourney.   Jeo Ambohot (CSJL)   Another player who seems to have earned the trust of his coach is Jeo Ambohot. Under Coach Jeff Napa, the ‘23 for 23’ Gilas World Cup pool member came off the bench and underachieved, only averaging 7.2 PPG and 7.2 RPG for the Knights in Season 94. Jeo Ambohot can hit this all game long! ???? #NCAASeason94 #GalingNCAA pic.twitter.com/5NCj7tV7Gt — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) October 9, 2018 However, under new Letran Head Coach Bonnie Tan, Ambohot was being utilized as the starting center with last year’s Rookie of the Year, Larry Muyang coming off the bench in their pre-season games. Nevertheless, a player like Ambohot should not be happy with his dismal outing last year and should come out stronger in Season 95.    Renato Ular (CSJL)   Here’s a guy you probably haven’t heard about before. His name is Renato Ular. Ring a bell? Probably not. The last time he saw action was during his rookie year in Season 92. Actually, he didn’t even do much back then. He only played in four games in did not score a single point in any of those games. After two years as a spectator, Ular has finally rejoined the Letran lineup and was their best player in the Fil-Oil tournament averaging 9.8 PPG and 8.1 RPG. The last left-handed legend from Letran was Rey Nambatac. This lefty’s got a long way to go to get on the Sting Rey’s level, but expect him to be one of the Knights' primary attackers this year.   RK Ilagan (SSC-R)   RK Ilagan was FEELING IT from downtown, dropping a new career-high 2??6?? PTS vs Mapua! #NCAASeason94 #GalingNCAA pic.twitter.com/SDIaVmtzCF — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) October 12, 2018 Speaking of attacking, one player who will be more relentless than he’s ever been this Season 95 is RK Ilagan. The pride of Barrio Fugoso, Tondo, Manila ranked seventh in scoring last year, averaging 15.2 PPG and was the Golden Stags’ leading scorer despite the presence of Calisaan. Coach Egay Macaraya loves a shooter and will continue to give the green light to Ilagan who made more triples (40) than any player in the NCAA in Season 94.    Kent Salado (AU)   Prior to injuring his right knee on October 10, 2017 in an 85-79 Arellano win over SSC-R in Season 93, Kent Salado was one of the most exciting players in the NCAA. The spitfire point guard from Cagayan de Oro was averaging 19.1 PPG (2nd behind Perez) and 5.0 APG (2nd behind Bolick) for the Chiefs, taking over the driver’s seat that Jiovani Jalalon occupied during their run to the Finals in Season 92. Lervin Flores with a nice block, Kent Salado with an even better finish! #NCAASeason93 #NCAAStrong pic.twitter.com/ohK28fFFhS — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) September 15, 2017 Now that he’s finally had surgery to repair what was eventually revealed to be a torn ACL, Salado is looking to excite fans anew especially since Arellano University will serve as the host of the NCAA for the first time in league history. Justin Gutang (CSB)   Recently, I asked former Arellano Head Coach Jerry Codi?era who he thought had the makings of a star in the NCAA now that the likes of Perez and Bolick are in the pros. The “Defense Minister” immediately mentioned one name: Justin Gutang. The 6’3” Fil-American forward from San Francisco, California had an impressive rookie season, averaging 13.4 PPG, 6.2 RPG and 4.3 APG for the Blazers and winning the Slam Dunk contest along the way. Although we haven’t heard much from Gutang in the off-season, the fact that a PBA Legend still has him on his radar means that the kid’s potential cannot be ignored. ?Editor's Note: The list is based on pre-season performances of teams. There are some NCAA teams who have not partcipated in pre-season tournaments nor released line-ups.  ?Catch NCAA Season 95 starting July 7, Sunday, 11:30 am LIVE on S+A, S+A HD, Liga, Liga HD, iWant and via livestream.    .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News2 hr. 13 min. ago

Teng-led Pasig barges into MPBL win column; Steel stay spotless

Jeric Teng did it all for Pasig in their breakthrough win in the MPBL Lakan Cup, coming at the expense of Caloocan, 89-87, Wednesday at Valenzuela Astrodome. Teng, the pride of University of Sto. Tomas who most recently saw action for NorthPort, waxed hot with 24 points on top of seven rebounds, five assists, and two blocks. Josan Nimes and Jeric Serrano flanked with 16 and 15 markers, respectively, as the Realtors held on for the bounce back win following a season-opening loss. Almond Vosotros showed the way for the Supremos, still winless in three games, with 22 points, eight rebounds, four assists, and four steals. Meanwhile, Basilan sustained its strong start to the season with an 83-74 victory versus Pampanga. Jerald Bautista topped the scoring column with 18 points to go along with seven rebounds and five assists while Arvie Bringas posted an 11-marker, 11-board double-double. The backcourt of Gab Dagangon and Leo Gabo also did their part in the Steel's back-to-back wins as the former finished with 14 points, five rebounds, two assists, and two steals and the latter ended with 12 markers, seven dimes, and three boards. For the 1-2 Lanterns, Levi Hernandez was at the vanguard with 25 points......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News15 hr. 13 min. ago

PLDT wins back-to-back, Cignal debuts with a bang

PLDT Home Fibr turned back Marinerang Pilipina, 25-21, 25-20, 18-25, 25-14, for its second straight win in the Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Conference Tuesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City. Gretchel Soltones has a strong start and a stronger finish as the Power Hitters kept the Lady Skippers winless. Soltones, the former San Sebastian College star, delivered 19 kills and two blocks for a 19-point performance for the Power Hitters, who joined idle Generika-Ayala at the third spot with a 2-1 win-loss slate. Meanwhile, Cignal bucked a slow start before taking down Sta. Lucia, 25-27, 25-22, 25-10, 25-21, to kick off its campaign on a high note in the second game. The HD Spikers made a rousing debut with new setter Alohi Robins-Hardy putting up 18 excellent sets and unleashed 12 points from seven kills, three aces and two blocks. Mylene Paat had 14 points while skipper Rachel Anne Daquis delivered 13 points including 19 digs. Returning Jovelyn Gonzaga, who suffered an ACL injury two years ago, added 11 markers. MJ Phillips carried the cudgels of Sta. Lucia with 19 points while Rachel Austero and Joy Dacoron added 13 and 11 points, respectively. The Lady Realtors, who gave up 38 errors, dropped their third straight match sliding to a 1-3 record. Aside from Soltones, who also had 12 digs and 10 excellent receptions, Aiko Urdas was also impressive with 15 points while setter Jasmine Nabor did a marvelous job controlling the tempo with 21 excellent sets. Despite the victory, however, PLDT head coach Roger Gorayeb wasn’t satisfied. The Power Hitters lost steam in the third set that allowed the Lady Skippers to extend the match. But PLDT caught fire in the fourth set with a 15-5 start off an ace from Joyce Sta. Rita before Soltones buckled down to work, delivering four straight points that put them at match point, 24-13. Judith Abil saved a point but she committed a crucial service error. Abil had an all-around effort with 11 points laced with 19 digs and 17 excellent receptions while Chiara Permentilla delivered 10 points on top of 11 digs off the bench for Marinerang Pilipina, which suffered its fourth straight loss......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 25th, 2019

PVL: We re down but we re not letting it defeat us – Johnson

For the first time in eight games PetroGazz found itself on the losing end of a hard-fought battle in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Reinforced Conference. The Angels suffered an 18-25, 25-21, 19-25, 24-26, loss at the hands of defending champion Creamline on Saturday that ended PetroGazz’s seven game winning streak. But the Angels are not losing sleep from their first setback. “It was quiet [in the locker room],” said American import Janisa Johnson. “But I mean, I think everyone was reflecting on what happened.” The semis-bound Angels and Cool Smashers are tied at the top spot with 7-1 win-loss slates. “We're bummed out but we still have a good record in the season. So I mean, we're down but we're not letting it defeat us,” said Johnson, who scored 22 points with 20 coming off kills. The Angels had a chance to force a deciding set after taking a 24-21 lead in the fourth frame but the breaks of the game didn’t go their way as Creamline escaped with its seventh straight win since bowing down to PetroGazz in the conference opener. “It happens. We put up a fight, but I guess we know we could have done more,” said Johnson. “But the next game now we know what to do. I mean, losses happen. It sucks when it happens, but they're part of the game,” she added. “Of course, it hits home when you have your first loss but the season's not over yet. So this is a push for us that we needed.” The Angels will try to get back on the win column on Sunday against PacificTown Army at the Alonte Sports Arena in Binan, Laguna.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 22nd, 2019

World Cup s top teams enter knockout stage on a roll

By Anne M. Peterson, Associated Press While it may be tempting to look ahead to the quarterfinals and a possible clash with France, the defending champion U.S. has thrived at the Women's World Cup by keeping its focus on the present. The Americans will face Spain in the round of 16 on Monday in Reims as the tournament enters the win-or-go-home phase. Games begin Saturday with Germany facing Nigeria in Grenoble followed by Norway's match against Australia. The U.S. had emphatic wins in the group stage, routing Thailand 13-0 in the opener before more clinical victories over Chile and Sweden. The team had three shutouts while also collecting a World Cup group-stage record 18 goals. Coach Jill Ellis said the three-time World Cup champions accomplished their early-round goals. "When you come out of the group stage, a lot of what we talk about is mentality and being healthy," she said. "I think they're in a really good place." The United States has performed largely as expected in France, though the team faced criticism after the game against Thailand for celebrating every goal. The Americans set World Cup records for most goals and margin of victory in the game. The team toned it down against Chile. Ellis made seven lineup changes to keep her team fresh and Carli Lloyd — the hat trick hero of the World Cup final four years ago in Canada — scored a pair of goals. Facing their toughest challenge of the group in ninth-ranked Sweden, the United States pounced early with Lindsey Horan's goal within the first three minutes and emerged with a 2-0 victory on Thursday night. Spain, ranked No. 13, finished second in its group to reach the knockout stage for the first time. If the top-ranked Americans can defeat La Roja, they could possibly face No. 4 France in Paris next Friday. They could potentially face No. 3 England in the semifinals before getting a shot at defending their title. The United States, France, England, Germany and the Netherlands all won their first three games in France. Like the Americans, Germany did not concede a goal. MAKING A STAND: France, vying to become the first country to simultaneously hold the men's and women's World Cup titles, faces Brazil in Le Havre on Sunday. They'll face determined Brazilian star Marta, who comes into the game with a World Cup record 17 goals but no title in a major tournament. She surpassed Germany's Miroslav Klose for the record on a penalty kick during the team's 1-0 victory over Italy on Tuesday. She celebrated by kissing her cleats, which in France have sported a blue and pink symbol for equality. She is currently without a shoe sponsor because she claims the men's contracts are unequal to the women's. "This record doesn't belong to me, it belongs to all of us," she said after the game. "I share it with anyone fighting for more equality." The World Cup in France comes at a time when female players worldwide are fighting for better playing conditions, treatment and pay. Ada Hegerberg, the first female Ballon d'Or winner, is not playing for Norway. She stepped away from the team over what she has characterized as the federation's lack of respect for the women's team. The U.S. women's team filed a lawsuit back home earlier this year that accuses its federation of gender discrimination and seeks equitable pay to the men's team. GOLDEN BOOT: American Alex Morgan and Australian Sam Kerr both have five goals to lead the tournament field. Morgan matched a U.S. record by scoring five goals in the team's big win over Thailand. Kerr got four in Australia's final group match, a 4-1 victory over Jamaica. It was the most goals for an Australian — male or female — in a World Cup game, and the final goal ensured the Matildas finished second in their group to avoid France in the round of 16. "At the time I didn't know how important it is, but we knew every goal would count," she said, adding with a smile: "I actually wanted more after that, being my selfish self." EDGING CLOSER: Christine Sinclair scored her 182nd career goal for Canada in a 2-1 loss to the Netherlands on Thursday. She also became the second player to score in five straight World Cups, joining Marta. Sinclair is now just two goals away from matching the international record set by former U.S. forward Abby Wambach. Canada plays Sweden on Monday in Paris. The Swedes rested many players in their match against the United States, with an eye toward the next round. THE REST: Looking ahead, England faces Cameroon in Valenciennes on Sunday. Italy and China meet in Montpellier on Tuesday, followed by the Netherlands and Japan in Rennes......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 22nd, 2019

PVL: Motolite outlasts Lady Troopers for back-to-back wins

IMUS, Cavite --- Motolite showed grit and composure coming back from a set down before carving out a 25-23, 21-25, 17-25, 25-21, 15-13, win over PacificTown Army on Sunday in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Reinforced Conference at the Imus City Sports Complex here. The young squad won their second straight game to improve to 2-4 win-loss slate at the start of its second round campaign. Trinidad and Tobago import Channon Thompson and compatriot Krystle Esdelle led the way for Motolite, which exacted revenge on its first round tormentors Lady Troopers. Thompson finished with 28 points off 23 attacks, three aces and two kill blocks laced with 10 excellent receptions for Motolite, which had a solid game at the net wth 12 kill blocks. Esdelle had 23 markers built on 19 kills, three kill blocks and an ace, Tots Carlos had eight points while setter Ayel Estranero tallied 21 excellent sets.   Motolite opened an 8-4 gap in the fifth set but PacificTown Army crept close, 12-11, off Alina Bicar's back-to-back aces. Esdelle scored a kill block on Ukrainian Lena Lymareva-Flink before Thompson scored a hit. Jessma Ramos overcooked her serve in the next play before American Jenelle Jordan scored on a kill block off an Esdelle attack for a 14-13 count. The Lady Troopers had a chance to knot the set but a costly miscommunication ruined PacificTown Army's comeback attempt.   Motolite weathered the late fourth set rally of the Lady Troopers after PacificTown Army cut its four-point deficit to 18-17 after a Jordan hit. Thompson and Esdelle conspired to build a 21-18 separation for Motolite. Setter Fhen Emnas gave Motolite a 23-20 lead with a kill block before Ukrainian import Lena Lymareva-Flink answered with a down the line hit. Thompson put Motolite on set point as the Lady Troopers surrendered the fourth frame with a passing error that forced a decider. PacificTown Army slid to 3-3 card but remained at third spot behind semis-bound PetroGazz (7-0) and defending champion Creamline (5-1). Lymareva-Flink scored 25 points  with 23 coming off attacks while Honey Royse Tubino finished with 19 markers for the Lady Troopers, who outgunned Motolite, 61-55. Jordan posted 11 points while Jovelyn Gonzaga got 10 for PacificTown Army.     ---       Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 16th, 2019

PVL: Marami pa kaming kailangang i-improve -- Valdez

Creamline star Alyssa Valdez admitted that the defending champion Cool Smashers’ first round campaign in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Reinforced Conference had been pretty challenging. The star-studded Cool Smashers suffered a setback to open their title-defense and faced coaching changes and transition of systems early on.      “From the last two previous years playing here, I guess eto yung medyo may mga struggles sa una pa lang,” said Valdez, who powered Creamline to last year’s import-laden and Open Conference crowns. The Cool Smashers opened the conference with a straight sets loss at the hands of PetroGazz. Creamline management decided to sack Chinese coach Huanning Li after just one game.    Assistant coach Ed Ortega took over the helm before the Cool Smashers brought back former mentor Tai Bundit. “Maganda naman na struggles, maganda naman na problema which is mga pagpapalit, mga transitions, adjustments sa coaching staffsand everything,” said Valdez, who scored 16 points in Creamline’s 25-19, 25-18, 25-23, win over BaliPure to close the first round at second spot with a 4-1 win-loss slate. “That means, marami pa kaming kailangan i-improve as a team talaga,” added Valdez. “Lalong lalo na pataas at pataas rin ang laro ng mga kalaban namin.” Valdez said that Creamline is looking for a better showing come second round as the race for the Final Four intensifies. “Overall, hindi pa kami fully hundred percent as a team talaga. Looking forward for the second round and more time from Coach Tai to jell and have that chemistry back again,” she said. The Cool Smashers will take on BanKo to start the second round on Saturday in Iloilo City.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 12th, 2019

ONE Championship: Motivated Honorio Banario grateful for second chance in Grand Prix

Former ONE Featherweight World Champion Honorio “The Rock” Banario will be getting a second chance at glory when he returns to the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix to face Russian striker Timofey Nastyukhin in the tournament semifinals at ONE: Dawn of Heroes this coming August 2nd in Manila.   It was announced earlier this week that Banario would be stepping in for Hawaiian wrestler Lowen Tynanes, who had to pull out because of a back injury suffered in training, as per ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong.     It was actually Banario who Tynanes defeated in the tournament’s quarterfinals earlier this year to advance.   Now, the Team Lakay star gets another chance in the Grand Prix, and he’s nothing but grateful for the opportunity.   “I would like to thank ONE Championship for giving me another chance,” Banario told ABS-CBN Sports. “To sir Chatri, sir Matt Hume, sir Victor Cui, and the rest of the ONE staff. I am happy and I think I am luck to be back in the Grand Prix.”   It’s not often that second chances come by in tournaments like this, and Banario is making sure that he won’t be wasting the opportunity that is in front of him.   “My last performance was not good,” Banario admitted. “I was lacking explosiveness, speed, and power, so I am trying to improve on those areas for this second chance.”   Banario will be facing a proven lightweight contender in Nastyukhin, who earned his spot in the semifinals after a stunning first-round TKO against the heavily-favored Eddie Alvarez at ONE: A New Era in Tokyo back in March.   The heavy-handed Russian’s resumé reads like a who’s who in the lightweight division and among those he has wins over is none other than Banario’s stablemate and former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard Folayang.   “Timofey is a warrior,” Banario stated. “He has power in both his hands and he is a legit striker.”   “He is powerful and explosive, but I am looking for a way to exploit those traits,” he added.   This will be Banario’s first time back since his loss to Tynanes back in January. Since then, a lot has changed for “The Rock”, including getting married and now, he has a baby on the way.   With a family to provide for, Banario is now motivated and more determined than ever to succeed.   “Ngayon, it’s a very big motivation for me that I have my own family and that a baby is coming,” said Banario. “It is a source of my strength, unlike when I was single na sometimes tinatamad ay pwedeng huminto, pero ngayon, hangga’t kaya pa, I’m going to go forward.”   A win against Nastyukhin will send Banario into the Finals against Turkish knockout artist Saygid Guseyn Aralanaliev.   The winner of the tournament will be crowned the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix champion and will get a shot at the ONE Lightweight World Championship.   ONE: Dawn of Heroes will also feature a number of massive matchups, including a big-time lightweight bout between former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang of the Philippines and multiple-time lightweight world champion Eddie “The Underground King” Alvarez of the US, as well as Americian flyweight great Demetrious Johnson versus Japan’s Tatsumitsu Wada and Filipino up-and-comer Danny Kingad vs. former champion Kairat Akhmetov of Kazakhstan in the ONE Flyweight Grand Prix Semifinal matches.   The main event will be a ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Championship bout between champion Jonathan Haggerty of the United Kingdom and challenger Rodtang Jitmuangnon of Thailand.   ONE: Dawn of Heroes takes place on Friday, August 2 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Philippines.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 11th, 2019

PBA: Rain or Shine makes it back-to-back wins after frustrating Phoenix

ANTIPOLO CITY, Rizal — Rain or Shine is slowly getting its bearings back. The Elasto Painters made it back-to-back wins in the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup, stopping Phoenix Sunday at the Ynares Center here, 89-82. ROS used a late blitz in the fourth to pull away from the Fuel Masters and the Elasto Painters have now recovered from a poor start to improve to 2-2 in the team standings. “We looked bad, I felt that we didn’t deserve this win,” head coach Caloy Garcia said. “But it’s good that Denzel was able to give us this win, he didn’t want to lose. That’s the kind of character of an import that you want,” he added. Former Best Import Denzel Bowles scored 16 of his 28 points in the fourth lead the Elasto Painters to victory. ROS struggle all game long before somehow finding a way to force a tie entering the fourth. Even then, the Fuel Masters were still clinging to the control before a late 12-2 run to end the game allowed ROS to steal the win. After Bowles, rookie Javee Mocon scored 15 points and James Yap was also good for 15 before exiting the game due to an apparent groin injury. For the Fuel Masters, import Richard Howell bounce back from a down first game and score 27 points before fouling out. Phoenix dropped to 1-3 following a third straight loss but things could start to look up for the team as they get back head coach Louie Alas for the next game. The Scores: ROS (89) — Bowles 28, Mocon 15, Yap 15, Nambatac 11, Norwood 9, Daquioag 4, Alejandro 3, Rosales 2, Borboran 2, Onwubere 0, Maiquez 0, Ahanmisi 0, Ponferada 0, Torres 0, Belga 0. PHOENIX (82) — Howell 27, Wright 15, Revilla 12, Jazul 7, Chua 7, Marcelo 7, Intal 4, Perkins 3, Gamboa 0, Kramer 0? Mallari 0, Napoles 0, Mendoza 0, Dennison 0, Guevarra 0, Wilson 0. Quarter Scores: 14-20, 32-38, 61-61, 89-82.    — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 9th, 2019

No Garden upset: Golovkin knocks out Rolls in 4th round

BARRY WILNER (AP Sports Writer) NEW YORK (AP) -- Now that he has taken care of his return to the ring in typical Triple G fashion, Gennady Golovkin can look ahead. Well aware of the lesson Anthony Joshua learned in the same Madison Square Garden ring last weekend, Golovkin used a vicious left hand to prevent a second Garden shocker. In his first fight since his initial loss, last September to Canelo Alvarez, Golovkin knocked out Steve Rolls with 51 seconds remaining in the fourth round of their super middleweight fight Saturday night. There were no titles on the line, and Triple G ensured there was no stunner like Andy Ruiz Jr.'s upset of Joshua for four heavyweight belts. Golovkin looked slow and tentative, perhaps rusty from the layoff, until he began landing regularly in the fourth round. That massive left decked Rolls, who struggled to get up and clearly was in no condition to continue. Golovkin (39-1-1, 37 knockouts) previously had Rolls in trouble in the round thanks to a series of strong and quick combinations that looked like vintage Triple G. ''I love knockouts,'' Golovkin said. ''I love New York. ''It was a great night all around. I'm ready to come back in September and bring back the big drama show.'' That, of course, could be a third go-round with Alvarez, who owns the victory and the draw on Golovkin's record. Both are under contract to DAZN, which streamed Saturday night's bout, Golovkin's first without a championship involved since 2009, a span of 22 fights. Asked in the ring who he wanted to fight next, the Kazakh star smiled widely as the crowd of 12,357 cheered. ''We know who the fans want me to fight next,'' he said. Yes, perhaps, he can look to Alvarez-Golovkin III, probably the biggest money fight out there in a sport that could be filled with them over the next year. Promoter Tom Loeffler is relatively certain that's where the middleweight division is headed. ''I know DAZN signed Triple G to make the third fight, that would be the marquee fight of their lineup,'' Loeffler said. ''They are in the business of putting on the biggest fights. The Canelo fight is his biggest fight just as the Triple G fight is the biggest for Canelo. The fans are demanding they want to see a third fight. ''We will do everything on our side to make that fight. DAZN wants to make that fight. Both are bigger than whatever belts are around their waists. Those are mega-events.'' Rolls, a Canadian in his first bout at the Garden - Golovkin is 6-0 here - sustained his first defeat after 19 wins. He looked particularly adept in Round 2, when he was by far the busier and more accurate fighter. Still, two judges gave that round to Triple G. No matter. Golovkin found the range with both hands in the third round, and after that it looked like the Triple G who ruled the ring for nearly a decade until his two extremely close bouts with Alvarez. So no historic upset in a building that has seen so many of them. Unlike Joshua, who appeared to be looking ahead in the buildup to Ruiz and then took his first loss, Golovkin was focused only on Rolls, who at 35 is only two years younger than Golovkin and was stepping way up in class. Golovkin weighed 163 pounds in his first fight with trainer Johnathan Banks, who liked what he saw - particularly in the lopsided fourth round. ''It's always good to get a knockout,'' Banks said. ''We're going in the right direction.'' In the featured undercard bout, Ali Akhmedov, a rising star from Kazakhstan, stopped Marcus McDaniel in the third round with a series of hard rights that stunned the American. Akhmedov is now 15-0 with 11 knockouts and is someone to reckon with in the super middleweight division. It was the second fight for McDaniel since he was shot and injured in a drive-by shooting in his native New Orleans nine months ago. He had won his first 15......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 9th, 2019

Mentality of giants : Self-belief fueling Klopp s Liverpool

By Steve Douglas, Associated Press LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Like the rest of the soccer world, Juergen Klopp had his doubts. Given the scenario — the big first-leg deficit, the presence of Lionel Messi on the other side, injuries to important players — the Liverpool manager just wasn't sure, deep down, that his team could come back from 3-0 down to beat Barcelona in the Champions League semifinals. So he laid down a challenge. "I said to the boys before the game, 'I don't think it's possible, but because it's you I think we have a chance. Because you have the mentality of giants,'" Klopp said, recalling some of his final words before kickoff on arguably the greatest night of soccer in Anfield history. That Liverpool managed to pull off the most unlikely of 4-0 victories in the second leg is a testament not only to the quality of the team Klopp has put together but also the belief he has instilled in a group of players who don't know when they are beaten. They've shown it all season. The late goals — however bizarrely they have come — in wins over Everton, Tottenham and, most recently, Newcastle have kept Liverpool in the Premier League title race with Manchester City to the final weekend. The backs-to-the-wall 1-0 win over Napoli in the final group game in the Champions League, which sent the Reds through courtesy of the head-to-head tiebreaker of goals scored. The mental fortitude to rebound from losing to Real Madrid in last season's Champions League final in the most painful way, certainly for Mohamed Salah after his first-half shoulder injury in that match. So maybe the comeback against Barcelona was natural for this machine that Klopp has created, albeit one that has yet to win a trophy under the German coach. And it feels entirely justified that if Liverpool is to fall short in the Premier League — the team is one point behind City with a game to play — it still has the chance to end the season with some silverware in a competition that has become so synonymous with this storied English club, a five-time European champion. "I am really happy having another chance to get things right," Klopp said, referring to the 3-1 loss to Real Madrid in Kiev. "Last year, we felt we have to go back, we cannot let it stand like this. I am not sure it will happen again, so it's so special." For Klopp, it is a chance to end his six-match run of losses in cup finals stretching back to the 2013 Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich, when he was coach of Borussia Dortmund. Since then, he has lost two German Cup finals with Dortmund and then three title matches with Liverpool — in the English League Cup (2016), the Europa League (2016), and last year's Champions League. "I know what people say about me and losing finals," Klopp said in one of his many candid moments in a post-game news conference during which he often seemed lost for words. There's certainly no self-doubt among his players. Check out, for instance, Andrew Robertson pushing Messi on the head with two hands while the Barcelona forward was on the ground one minute into the match. This a defender who, in 2017, was playing for Hull but is now one of the most highly regarded left backs in the world. Look at Trent Alexander-Arnold, who — at the age of 20 — had the audacity to pull off a 79th-minute corner routine in which he pretended to walk away from the ball only to spin around and cross for Divock Origi to sweep in the fourth and clinching goal while Barcelona's defenders looked the other way. It was such clear-thinking amid the furnace that was Anfield on Wednesday. And then there's Origi, an afterthought at Liverpool at the start of the season after spending last year on loan at Wolfsburg in Germany before being reportedly close to sealing a loan move to Huddersfield. Now here he is, scoring the late winner against Newcastle on Saturday and adding two more against Barcelona three days later. Salah was out, recovering after a concussion. Roberto Firmino was missing, too, with a muscle strain. And Naby Keita was recently ruled out for the season. Even during the game, Robertson was taken off at halftime with a calf injury and captain Jordan Henderson played on after hurting his right knee in the first half. Henderson was everywhere in the second half, eclipsing more-esteemed Barcelona midfield rivals Sergio Busquets and Ivan Rakitic and helping to nullify Messi as the Argentine dropped deep. "The belief we have in the changing room is amazing," Henderson said. "Look at the supporters and the lads." Indeed, the night ended with Liverpool's players and coaching staff standing arm-in-arm in a line in front of jubilant supporters in The Kop, singing "You'll Never Walk Alone" — the club's anthem. Together, they'll head to Madrid for the final, feeling it's their destiny to win European soccer's biggest prize for the sixth time......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 9th, 2019

Nuggets put Blazers on the ropes with series-shifting Game 5 rout

By Sekou Smith, NBA.com DENVER — Two points separated the Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers after the first four, grueling games of these Western Conference semifinals. They piled up the same number of three-pointers and free throws as well. The games were that good, that tight, and the difference between the two teams was negligible at best. Then Tuesday night (Wednesday, PHL time) happened. Paul Millsap happened. Nikola Jokic happened. Jamal Murray happened. The manifestation of a Nuggets team that’s been dancing with a destiny that leads to the Western Conference finals, finally happened. Their 124-98 rout of the Trail Blazers in Game 5 at Pepsi Center was the sort of declaration Nuggets coach Michael Malone has been predicting for his team since they were locked into a back-and-forth struggle with the San Antonio Spurs in the first round. [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] They evened the series Sunday (Monday, PHL time) in Portland, showing mettle beyond their years by snapping the Trail Blazers’ 12-game home winning streak that dated back to the regular season, with an inspired effort to stave off the certain doom of a 3-1 deficit. Tuesday night’s (Wednesday, PHL time) salvo was a seismic shift in the opposite direction. The Nuggets’ biggest lead was 31 points and their intentions were plain for everyone to see. Millsap roasted the Blazers for 24 points and eight rebounds, dominating while being featured more and executing his considerable advantage in small-ball situations. “The best thing about Paul Millsap is he’s true to himself, he never tries to be something he’s not,” Malone said. “He’s not a rah-rah guy, he’s not a guy that’s going to be screaming and yelling. But I think his calm demeanor has an effect on our group. Young team going through all of this for the first time and when you can look to a four-time All-Star with 90 playoff games under his belt, that’s reassuring. He’s kind of the calm for our team and I think that has a tremendous impact on all of our young players.” Two in particular during this postseason and this series, to be sure. Jokic led the way with 25 points, 19 rebounds and six assists before fouling out late, leaving little doubt as to who deserves to wear the crown as the best big man in the league right now. Murray was splendid again, with 18 points and nine assists, while his backcourt mate Gary Harris chipped in with 16 points and six rebounds. Will Barton and Malik Beasley scored 10 points each off the bench, leading a 33-point bench scoring effort that will need to travel back to Portland for Thursday’s (Friday, PHL time) Game 6 if the Nuggets have any chance of winning three straight and ending this series in six games. “We know going to Portland for Game 6 is going to be really tough,” Malone said, referencing his team’s Game 6 struggles in the first round. “Game 6 in San Antonio, we did not come ready to play, mentally or physically. I hope that we have a much different mindset going in to Portland for Game 6.” The Blazers have some serious tweaking to do, in a short amount of time, as well. Their starters didn’t even play in the fourth quarter, Terry Stotts acknowledging that the 30-point hole his team was fighting out of might have been too large, given the circumstances. And the need to preserve the energy of Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum and the crew for what sets up as their biggest game of the season was obvious. “At this point, it’s one game at a time facing elimination,” Lillard said. “We know that we’re more than capable of getting it done in the next game. We don’t feel like we’ve played our best basketball yet, and with our back against the wall, we don’t really have a choice. Our mindset is to just get to the next one, take care of home and make it back here.” Stotts has adjustments to make before Thursday night (Friday, PHL time) as well, after the Nuggets bludgeoned his team in the paint for a 66-44 scoring advantage, while also outrebounding them 62-44. The decision to switch Enes Kanter’s primary defensive assignment from Jokic to Millsap Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time), with Al-Farouq Aminu being tasked to try and contain the much bigger Jokic, backfired as Millsap went to work immediately on Kanter. “They just played harder than us,” Kanter said. “I think that was probably … even the coach said, probably this was our worst basketball the last six weeks. Shots didn’t fall in, on defense we weren’t really communicating with each other, we didn’t really trust each other. We’ve just got to learn from this and just go home and take care of home, because right now, that’s the most important game of the year.” The atmosphere Thursday night (Friday, PHL time) at Moda Center promises to be electric. The Blazers have long enjoyed one of the best home atmospheres in the league. But will it serve as the advantage it has in the past when the Nuggets are fresh off two straight huge wins in this series, the first on that floor? “We have two must-wins,” Stotts said. “Somebody was going to have a must-win after tonight and it’s us. So we have two must-wins ahead of us.” That four-overtime loss in Game 3 Friday night (Saturday, PHL time) could have been the emotional breaking point for the Nuggets. It wasn’t. A school shooting Tuesday morning (late Tuesday, PHL time) in a Denver suburb where Malone lives with his wife and daughters rattled the coach and an entire community. That sort of life-altering event could easily have sidetracked Malone and his team. They persevered. The Nuggets were locked in from the start. When it became clear that the Blazers weren’t going to be able to keep up the pace, they kept pushing until the final buzzer. They understand the opportunity staring them in the face; a conference finals date with the two-time reigning champion Golden State Warriors or Houston Rockets, who are tied 2-2 heading into Game 5 Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) at Oracle Arena. It’s a wild shift for a team that failed to play its way into the playoffs last year on the final night of the regular season, only to rebound and earn the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference playoff chase this season. If the atmosphere for Game 4 or even Game 5 seemed overwhelming, Thursday night (Friday, PHL time) promises to be otherworldly for both of these teams that were previously separated by so little. Sekou Smith is a veteran NBA reporter and NBA TV analyst. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 8th, 2019

No need for Malone to sell Nuggets: Their time is now

By Sekou Smith, NBA.com PORTLAND, Ore. — Give Michael Malone credit, the Denver Nuggets coach is as relentless a salesman as there is in basketball. Whether it’s moving speeches delivered to his own team or pleading with television audiences to stand up and take notice of the splendid compilation of talent the franchise has stockpiled in recent years, he refuses to let up. From building the legend of Jamal Murray or waxing poetic about the virtues of Nikola Jokic, the nimble giant prone to triple-doubles on the regular, Malone is prepared to use the bully pulpit to make sure no one overlooks the Nuggets. [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] A seven-game series win over San Antonio in the first round produced some of Malone’s best stuff to date, including him trumpeting Jokic as not only a legitimate Kia MVP candidate (true, this season) but also a surefire future Hall of Famer (could be, the way he’s playing). So you had to know Malone was going to be on his Nuggets informercial grind after they refused to lose Sunday (Monday, PHL time) in Portland, bouncing back after losing a grueling four-overtime thriller to the Trail Blazers here Friday night (Saturday, PHL time) with a gritty 116-112 triumph to tie this series at 2-2 headed back to Denver for Tuesday’s (Wednesday, PHL time) critical Game 5. “I’m so proud of our group,” Malone said, after his talented crew showed off the chops needed to regain the homecourt advantage they surrendered in their Game 2 loss at Pepsi Center. “And in the closing moments, I really was confident because in close games this year we were 13-3 [in games] decided by three points or less, best record in the NBA. We’re 12-1 in the second nights of back-to-backs, best record in the NBA. Our guys are tough; to come in here and win this game some 36 hours after losing a four-overtime game speaks to just how tough we are. So I wasn’t worried, we had our starting group out there. “Jamal, who I thought was phenomenal tonight, goes 11-for-11 from the foul line in a hostile environment and really kind of with the series hanging in the balance. You go down 1-3, and we all know how that story ends. I think the confidence of doing the same thing in the first round against San Antonio helped us, but our guys stepped up. We never frayed. We stayed together. And I can’t speak enough about the resiliency and toughness of our team.” And he shouldn’t. The Blazers had won 12 straight games at home dating back to the regular season and were 22-2 on their home floor since January 5. When the Nuggets saw their 10-point lead shrink to just a point with 3:02 to play as Portland closers Damian Lillard (28 points) and C.J. McCollum (29) led the charge, Denver could have easily folded up under the emotional weight of Game 3 and their current predicament. But they proved to be as resilient and tough as Malone said they were. Jokic was brilliant again, collecting his fourth triple-double (21 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists) in his first postseason, second only to the five Magic Johnson piled up during his rookie season with the Los Angeles Lakers. And Murray was even better, finishing with a game-high 34 points and draining six straight free throws in the frantic closing seconds to seal the win for a Nuggets team that didn’t allow fatigue, a raucous and sellout Moda Center crowd or the pressure to avoid that 3-1 hole rattle them. “It wasn’t the first time,” Murray said of his embrace of the pressure with the game on the line at the line. “I think free throws are my thing. My dad and I do a lot of training [on] free throws. Blindfolded, he’ll talk to me just like how the crowd is, put pressure on me. I take 1,000 free throws in practice to make or or two … and tonight, it ended up being six.” The number Malone focused on afterwards was 11, as in the number of playoff games Murray and Jokic have played in as they continue to establish themselves as postseason stars. “You think about how young we are and and what we are doing, going on the road and winning a tough game in a hostile environment,” Malone said, “and for Jamal to be the centerpiece of that has been phenomenal. If you’re a Denver Nuggets fan, how excited are you about this team now. More importantly, how excited are you for our future? We have a chance to be a really good team for many, many years and Jamal is going to be a big part of that.” The same goes for Jokic, obviously. He’s already an All-Star and is going to end up on the All-NBA first or second team as well as the top five of the voting for Kia MVP after the regular season he put together. That might explains why the entire Nuggets bench froze as they watched him limp to the sideline in the final moments after being kneed in the leg in the final seconds. “Your heart skips a beat,” Malone said. “Nikola is the face of our franchise, but he just got kneed, it was nothing serious and and we were able to hold on for the win.” For all of Malone’s bluster about his group, it’s not even necessary at this stage of the season. The Nuggets earned the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference playoff chase on the strength of a talented and deep roster that might not resonate with casual NBA fans, but is celebrated by those in the know. Touting their accomplishments in real time makes sense for a coach trying to empower his team to believe in themselves in what could and perhaps should be a nice stretch of playoff runs in the future. But anyone paying attention can tell that the future could be now for these Nuggets. A trip to the conference finals one year after they failed to make the postseason field on the final night of the season in what amounted to a play-in game in Minneapolis last April, is a hell of a start. Malone knows it. His team knows it. And so do the Trail Blazers, who are well aware of the opportunity they squandered in a series where wavering confidence by the Nuggets might have been the only advantage they could exploit. “The good thing for us is that we won a game on their court,” Lillard said. “So it’s not like we lose both games there. We’re in a good space, 2-2, we know we’re capable of winning on their floor and that’t what we’ve got to get done. Obviously, it’s disappointing … we didn’t want to let an opportunity like this slip, but it happens. It’s playoff basketball and we’ve got to move forward.” So do the Nuggets, which is where Malone the master motivator comes into play. And just so we’re clear about something, his sell job is genuine. He knows of what he speaks in assessing a young team on the rise, having spent time coaching in Cleveland and Golden State during the formative stages with what would turn out to be teams that made it to The Finals (2007 in Cleveland). He was on Mark Jackson’s Warriors staff when they turned the corner from a lottery team to  playoff outfit (2012-13 season), helping nurture the core group of a team that has won three of the past four NBA titles and become a potential dynasty that no one saw coming at the time. So if Malone sees special things in his current team, it’s his responsibility to shout about it every now and then, both to the basketball public and especially internally. Youngsters like Jokic and Murray, Gary Harris and Malik Beasley, Torrey Craig and Monte Morris and even veterans like Paul Millsap, Mason Plumlee and Game 4 hero Will Barton, who knocked down huge shots to help seal the deal, need to hear the positive reinforcement from their coach. And that’s not even taking into account what absorbing these moments means for Michael Porter Jr., who is spending his rookie season recovering from back surgery, and is certainly going to be a part of that bright future Malone is so passionate about. If anything, this Nuggets team is ahead of schedule, two wins shy of a trip to the Western Conference finals with three games to play. Two of those are coming on their home floor, where Denver compiled the best record (34-7) in the league during the regular season. Maybe Malone is right to speak the Nuggets’ success into existence rather than wishing and hoping for it to come to fruition without a word otherwise. But he won’t have to go all car salesmen on the final day of month much longer. A couple more performances like the one the Nuggets put on Sunday (Monday, PHL time) and this whole thing, the refurbished franchise with all the boxes checked on the roster -- now and for the foreseeable future -- sells itself. Sekou Smith is a veteran NBA reporter and NBA TV analyst. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 6th, 2019

Homa comes full circle and wins Wells Fargo Championship

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Max Homa traded in a shovel for a ladder to get places he always thought he could reach. Two years ago in his second try on the PGA Tour, he made only two cuts the entire season and played only one round on a Sunday. Eight months ago, he was on the verge of going back to Q-school and an uncertain future until closing with four straight birdies to make the cut in a Web.com Tour event that gave him another shot at the big leagues. It made Sunday all that much sweeter in the Wells Fargo Championship. In a three-way tie for the lead, in the final group on the PGA Tour for the first time, with Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia right behind him, Homa outplayed them all with a 4-under 67 for a three-shot victory at Quail Hollow and his first PGA Tour title. "I used to say when I hit rock bottom I found a shovel and kept digging. I went to some low, low places," he said. "I'd use a shovel and dig deeper. I went to some low, low places. I realized in that year or two when I started to play bad that my attitude was going to have to get a lot better. ... I'm very proud I finally found a ladder and started climbing, because it was getting dark down there." Suddenly, the immediate future is bright as can be. He has a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a tee time at the PGA Championship in two weeks at Bethpage Black and a spot in the Masters next year. A former NCAA champion at Cal, Homa has "Relentless" in block letters tattooed on his right forearm. The 28-year-old Californian also has a signed photo from former Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda, who once told him to look at the picture and be reminded to believe in himself. The trophy at his side, Homa's press conference was interrupted for him to take a call from the 91-year-old Lasorda. "I guess my whole world is different," he said. Golf felt so hard for Homa for so many years after he left Cal, and then he made it look so easy in a final round that made him so nervous he wanted to throw up, except when he had his hands on a golf club. He pulled away with two birdies to start the back nine for a four-shot lead. He didn't make a bogey until it only affected the final margin. But it was a one-hour rain delay that tested Homa the most. He was leading by three when he nearly went in the water on the 14th hole and chipped up to 6 feet when the horn sounded to stop play. With time he didn't need on his hands, he called his fiancée and his coach and can't remember what either of them said. And then he returned and buried the putt. Over an hour delay while trying to win for the first time on TOUR. Huge save for @maxhoma23. The lead is still three.#QuickHits pic.twitter.com/F3tvjxRrrm— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 5, 2019 "I knew in the back of my mind if I made that putt, I win this golf tournament," he said. Joel Dahmen, who pushed Homa as hard as any major champion, saved par with a tough chip over the creek for a 70 and finished three shots behind. "I didn't beat myself today, which was kind of the goal," Dahmen said. "Max is playing awesome. He's a good friend. I think we're going to celebrate tonight." Homa effectively sealed it with a perfect play to the green on the par-5 15th for a two-putt birdie, and a 10-foot par putt on the 17th to keep a three-shot leading playing the tough closing hole at Quail Hollow. He made a 10-foot par there, too, and the celebration was on. Homa finished at 15-under 269. "Over the moon, man," he said before going to sign his card. "It means a lot to do it under pressure, and job security is great. I haven't had that." The victory was worth $1,422,000, about $454,000 more than he had made in his previous 67 starts. Justin Rose (68) finished alone in third and moved ahead of Brooks Koepka to No. 2 in the world. Rory McIlroy was primed to join Tom Weiskopf as the only three-time winners at Quail Hollow, starting the final round two shots behind. He never got anything going until it went the wrong way. He turned a 20-foot eagle attempt into a three-putt par on the par-5 seventh, failed to get up-and-down on the reachable eighth for a birdie, and then went bogey-double bogey around the turn to take himself out of the mix. No one else was much of a threat either, just two guys who had never come remotely close to winning on the PGA Tour. Former PGA champion Jason Dufner, part of the three-way tie for the lead to start the final round, made consecutive bogeys early and had no bearing on the final round. A double bogey on the 18th gave him a 73 and dropped him into a tie for fourth. Rose pulled within two shots with a birdie on the par-5 10th, only to settle into a series of pars. By the time Sergio Garcia reached double digits under par, Homa was well on his way. Homa and Dahmen were at 13 under until Dahmen blinked first. He found a fairway bunker on No. 9, couldn't get to the green and made bogey and dropped another shot on the 11th. Homa, playing behind him in the final group, holed a 15-foot birdie putt on the 10th for a two-shot lead, made birdie from the left rough on the 11th with a 12-foot putt and escaped more trouble off the tee on the 12th with a two-putt from 80 feet. He survived the rain delay, the nervy finish. Homa has endured a lot more than that over the last few years......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 6th, 2019

UAAP Season 81 Final Four: It’s a test of character -- Ateneo s Almadro

Even after dominating Far Eastern University in the elimination round and earning a twice-to-beat advantage in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball Final Four, Ateneo de Manila University is not taking the Lady Tamaraws lightly. For head coach Oliver Almadro, FEU remains a big threat in the Lady Eagles’ desire to return to the championship round after seeing their six-year Finals stint snapped last year against the same opponent.      Saturday’s semifinals match will be a litmus test for the Lady Eagles, who are looking to return the favor to their last season’s semis tormentors. “It’s a test of character for the team,” said Almadro, who replaced Thai mentor Tai Bundit. Ateneo took the no. 1 seed after closing the elims with a 12-2 win-loss record – those two defeats coming at the hands of three-time defending champion De La Salle University – and set up a third straight Final Four date with the Lady Tamaraws. “Last year, sila ang magkatapat sa semis. It’s time to show our character. We have a chance to show our real character. We have to work hard and play hard to be back in the Finals,” said Almadro, who before taking over the Lady Eagles’ coaching duty brought the Blue Eagles to five straight championship appearance laced with a three-peat.   With a line-up led by graduating players in Bea De Leon and Maddie Madayag out to bring the glory back to Katipunan in their swan songs, and solid support coming from Kat Tolentino, Ponggay Gaston and setter Deanna Wong, the Lady Eagles are primed to make it to the Finals. Add their elims sweep of the Lady Tams and semis advantage, the odds are in favor of Ateneo. But Almdaro is not discounting FEU, besides, the core of last year’s runner-up Lady Tams remains intact. “FEU is really a good team considering ‘yung winning tradition nila,” he said. “We have to respect them. We acknowledge what they can do.” Ateneo may have the numbers of FEU in their first two meetings, but the semis is a different story.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 3rd, 2019

Popovich negotiating new deal with San Antonio Spurs

By Raul Dominguez, Associated Press SAN ANTONIO (AP) — The Spurs suffered through an odd, erratic season filled with injuries, strife and drama before a second straight ouster from the playoffs in the first round. Gregg Popovich enjoyed it so much he is coming back for a 24th season as coach in San Antonio. Normally extremely private, Popovich said Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) he is negotiating a new deal with the Spurs after his current contract expired this season. There was some uncertainty surrounding his return, but the 70-year-old Popovich put an end to that with a quip or two. [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] “I’m currently in negotiations and could very well end up with either the Portofino Flyers or the Positano Pirates (or the Spurs),” Popovich said dryly. “I think it’s like one-third Positano, one-third Portofino and one-third San Antonio. So, we’ll see where I end up.” There is little chance Popovich ends up anywhere but San Antonio, where he has enjoyed unprecedented success. His desire to return was apparent during an 18-minute news conference to wrap up a season that ended with a loss to the Denver Nuggets in Game 7 of their first-round series. Popovich has 1,245 wins, third-most in NBA history behind Don Nelson and Lenny Wilkens, and is one of five coaches to win five NBA championships. He will coach USA Basketball in the FIBA World Cup in China this summer, and will coach the Americans in the Tokyo Olympics next summer should the team qualify. The Spurs have reached the playoffs the last 22 seasons, a streak that ties for the longest in NBA history. Many doubted the Spurs would continue that streak this season with all the turmoil and turnover. A year ago, Kawhi Leonard played in only nine games while nursing a right thigh injury. Reportedly upset with how his rehabilitation was handled, Leonard forced his way out of San Antonio in the offseason and was sent to Toronto along with Danny Green in a trade for DeMar DeRozan and Jakob Poeltl. The Spurs also lost Manu Ginobili to retirement and Tony Parker left the team in free agency along with veteran Kyle Anderson. “I didn’t know what to expect, to be honest,” Popovich said. “I didn’t know how this group would respond to that kind of adversity, but they showed us a lot in continuing with the program and trying to do what we wanted them to do. So, that was very impressive to me.” San Antonio had eight new players on its roster this season, the most in Popovich’s tenure. That turned out to be one of the highlights for the veteran coach. “It was kind of one of the more enjoyable seasons because you got to see people develop,” Popovich said. If that wasn’t enough to overcome, the Spurs also lost starting point guard Dejounte Murray to a season-ending knee injury in the preseason and his replacement, Derrick White, missed the first month with a knee injury. In one four-game stretch, the Spurs lost three games by 30-plus points; in Popovich’s first 1,758 regular-season games as coach, the Spurs had only lost by 30-plus five total times. Of course, they also won five straight games by 25-plus points for the first time under Popovich and ended up seventh in the Western Conference as DeRozan and veteran LaMarcus Aldridge helped carry the team’s young roster. “I think that when we all reflect on the season, they achieved a lot more than a lot of people gave them credit for having the opportunity to achieve,” Popovich said. San Antonio was able to reach the postseason while also developing young players like White, Poeltl and Bryn Forbes on the court and prepping rookies Lonnie Walker IV, Chimezie Metu and Drew Eubanks in the G League. “It’s the beginning of a new culture for a new group,” Popovich said. “So, we’ll have a little bit of corporate knowledge going into next season and they’ll show that, I think.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 29th, 2019

Batang Pier go for top-2 spot against champion SMB

For the seond straight week, two-time defending Philippine Cup champion San Miguel will face the number 2 team in the PBA. But with the Beermen already secured of a quarterfinal slot and a twice-to-beat advantage, this no. 1 vs. no. 2 matchup is certainly more important for the Globalport Batang Pier who currently hold solo second place in the season-opening conference. Entereing this Lapu-Lapu City matchup as winners of back-to-back games, the 5-3 Batang Pier got solo second after Rain or Shine lost Friday to Meralco. But with teams stacked up with five wins apiece, a big victory by the Terrence Romeo and co. will mean a greater chance for the Batang Pier to secure a playoff bonus alongside the Beermen. However, it's not like the chance have nothing at stake here though. Winners of seven straight and currently holding a league-best 8-1 card, one more win by San Miguel means that the Beermen will be the number one overall seed throughout the playoffs. And as winners of the last two All-Filipino tournaments, number one is something that the Beermen have grown accustomed to. Also, reigning three-time MVP June Mar Fajardo wouldn't want to disappoint his hometown crowd right? Gametime is set the the Hopes Dome in Lapu-Lapu at 5:00 p.m. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 21st, 2017