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PBA: TNT knows it will doubly hard as they face San Miguel on Saturday

For the TNT KaTropa, sporting a 6-2 record is not enough if they want to hold and clinch one of the top two spots in the 2018 PBA Commissioner's Cup playoff race. And if they want to get win #7, they will have to go through a very tough opponent in defending champions San Miguel on Saturday, in their first face-off since the Finals last year, where they lost in six games. Both coming off losses, the two teams will obviously have a chip on their shoulder, but San Miguel will be more motivated, as they aim for a third to sixth spot, holding a 3-4 record. As Roger Pogoy and Terrence Romeo said, their goal is to make the top two in order to enjoy a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals. However, with their matchup Saturday, it may just have to wait for a game longer. "It all depends on the next three games of course but we really need to focus still on the next one. San Miguel, they lost earlier 'no? Which makes it doubly-hard to play them. But that's a challenge I think for both teams, having to play coming from losses," the former FEU coach said after the game. Even though they were ahead by as much as 12 in the first half, the KaTropa ultimately lost after the Hotshots blew the game wide open in the fourth, leading by as much as 24 points. Racela offered to share his take on the game, and it was not positive. "Actually the whole game hindi maganda. Even when we were leading in the first half hindi rin naman maganda tinatakbo namin. We just felt that the energy was down today, that's why." __   Follow this writer on Twitter, @philipptionary......»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnJun 13th, 2018

Juventus draws with Parma, Napoli beats Sampdoria in Serie A

By Daniella Matar, Associated Press MILAN (AP) — Juventus is uncharacteristically leaking goals and coach Massimiliano Allegri is concerned ahead of the Champions League last 16, where they face Atletico Madrid. For the second time in a week, Juventus conceded three goals as Parma fought back from 3-1 down to draw 3-3 in stoppage time in Turin on Saturday in Serie A. Even Cristiano Ronaldo's two goals couldn't help Juventus win. The Serie A leader saw its advantage cut to nine points over second-placed Napoli, which earlier beat Sampdoria 3-0. "We got soft at the back," Allegri said. "We made mistakes on their second and third goals ... we got sloppy. "It's a shame because we had the points in the bag. You can't just attack. To win games you have to work really hard defensively." It was the first time in seven years that Juventus was unable to count on any of its BBC defense of Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini as all three were injured. Juventus let in three goals midweek in its Italian Cup quarterfinal defeat to Atalanta but there was little sign of what was to come in the first half against Parma. In fortunate circumstances in the 36th minute, Ronaldo slipped as he unleashed an effort and it took a deflection to wrongfoot Parma goalkeeper Luigi Sepe. Ronaldo also inadvertently had a hand in Juve's second at the start of a crazy 14 minutes in the second half as his poor header ended up being an assist for a Daniele Rugani volley. Antonino Barilla immediately got Parma back into the match but Ronaldo restored Juve's two-goal advantage two minutes later, only for Gervinho to reduce the deficit again in the 74th minute. And Gervinho sent the travelling fans wild in the third minute of stoppage time when he fired in a powerful equalizer after good work from Roberto Inglese. Sami Khedira hit the woodwork twice for Juventus, which also had a penalty decision revoked after video review. DROUGHT ENDED Lorenzo Insigne ended his goal drought, while Arkadiusz Milik and Simone Verdi also netted as Napoli kept Juventus within its sights. There was to be no record for former Napoli forward Fabio Quagliarella, who was looking to beat Gabriel Batistuta's 1994 feat of scoring a goal in a 12th consecutive Serie A match. Napoli was looking to recover from a league draw against AC Milan and an Italian Cup exit to the same team, and it took an early lead. Marek Hamsik floated a lovely ball onto the right flank to Jose Callejon, who rolled the ball across for Milik to smash in. Callejon set up Napoli's second just 70 seconds later with a throughball for an Insigne snapshot into the bottom left corner. It was Insigne's first goal in any competition since early November. The result after that didn't look in doubt but Napoli extended its lead with a Verdi penalty in the final minute after Joachim Andersen was penalized for handball. EMPOLI COMEBACK Francesco Caputo scored twice as Empoli came back from two goals down in a relegation battle against last-placed Chievo Verona. Empoli remained 17th, four points above the bottom three and nine points above Chievo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 3rd, 2019

Pacers Oladipo undergoes surgery for ruptured quad tendon

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo understands the recovery from the ruptured quad tendon in his right knee will long and grueling. He is determined not to come back even stronger after undergoing surgery Monday (Tuesday, PHL time). “He is expected to make a full recovery. No timetable has been established for his return,” the Pacers said. Oladipo was injured in Wednesday’s (Thursday, PHL time) victory over Toronto. He was scrambling back to defend an outlet pass when his leg bent awkwardly and he fell to the ground. Trainers immediately a draped a towel over his injured leg and he was taken off the court on a stretcher. An MRI on Thursday (Friday, PHL time) confirmed the Pacers’ worst fears — their top scorer would not play again this season. Over the weekend, though, Oladipo addressed the injury for the first time publicly. “I can’t even lie the last few months have been really tough for not only me but for my family as well. You give it your all, literally your blood, sweat and tears to the game you love and things like this happen,” he wrote on Instagram, adding that he will rely on his faith to help him get through the rehabilitation. He thanked fans and others from around the league for sharing their support.         View this post on Instagram                   I can’t even lie the last few months have been really tough for not only me but for my family as well. You give it your all, literally your blood, sweat and tears to the game you love and things like this happen. No matter how much hard work and effort you put into perfecting your craft you cannot predict the challenges you’ll face ahead. But there is always that point in time where you wonder why it’s happening to you. You even wonder if there was something you could have done differently to prevent the outcome. The confusion, the contemplation, the anger, the sadness and the tears that flow frequently come, but they never last. The amount of support, love and prayers that I have received over the past few days have been breathtaking and has truly inspired me to come back even better than before. Thank you to everyone including all my teammates, pacer fans and staff. Thank you to all the NBA fans around the world and all my brothers around the league who texted, called, tweeted and posted me I am truly thankful. It’s going to be tough but tough times don’t last tough people do. It’s time for me to truly practice what I preach and trust my God in heaven and the plan he has for me. I will be back better than ever and if you question that well, thank you. Greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world! I am #UnBreakable. A post shared by Victor Oladipo (@vicoladipo) on Jan 26, 2019 at 9:31am PST Tyreke Evans replaced Oladipo in the starting lineup Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) at Memphis and scored nine points in Indiana’s 106-103 loss. The Pacers currently hold the No. 3 spot in the Eastern Conference chase and many expect them to struggle against a tougher schedule over the next three months without Oladipo, who averaged 19.2 points. But even though Indiana is 7-5 without Oladipo this season, coach Nate McMillan said Thursday (Friday, PHL time) he expected to discuss options as the Feb. 7 (Feb. 8, PHL time) trade deadline nears. Whatever happens next, coaches and teammates have acknowledged repeatedly that Oladipo remains upbeat about his recovery. “There is always that point in time where you wonder why it’s happening to you. You even wonder if there was something you could have done differently to prevent the outcome,” he wrote in the post. “The confusion, the contemplation, the anger, the sadness and the tears that flow frequently come, but they never last. The amount of support, love and prayers that I have received over the past few days have been breathtaking and has truly inspired me to come back even better than before.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 28th, 2019

Osaka vs. Kvitova for Australian Open title, No. 1 ranking

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Naomi Osaka never made it past the fourth round at any of the first 10 Grand Slam tournaments of her career. Now, still just 21, she's suddenly on the verge of a second consecutive major championship. And the No. 1 ranking, too. Osaka moved one victory away from adding the Australian Open trophy to the one she collected 4½ months ago at the U.S. Open, using her smooth power to produce 15 aces and groundstroke winners at will while beating Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 in the semifinals Thursday. "I just told myself to regroup in the third set and just try as hard as I can," said Osaka, who saved four break points in the last set and finished the match with an ace at 115 mph (185 kph). "I was so scared serving second serves. I was like, 'Oh, my God. Please!" Osaka said. "Somehow, I made it. I guess that's experience." A day after erasing four match points and a 5-1 deficit in the third set to stun Serena Williams in the quarterfinals, Pliskova could not produce the same kind of comeback. Instead it is Osaka, the only Japanese woman to win a major singles title, who will face two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova on Saturday. The winner will rise to the top of the WTA rankings for the first time; Osaka is currently No. 4, Kvitova is No. 6. In the men's semifinals, Rafael Nadal continued his relentless roll through the draw by defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-2, 6-4, 6-0 at night. Nadal has not dropped a set as he bids for a second Australian Open title and 18th Grand Slam trophy overall. Osaka's fourth-round finish at Melbourne Park a year ago was her best showing at a major until last year's U.S. Open, where she outplayed Williams in the final. A victory over Kvitova would make Osaka the first woman to win two Slams in a row since Williams claimed four straight across the 2014-15 seasons. Two years ago, Kvitova missed the Australian Open, just weeks after her left hand was stabbed by an intruder at her home in the Czech Republic. Back at her best during what she calls her "second career," Kvitova surged to a 7-6 (2), 6-0 victory against 35th-ranked American Danielle Collins after Rod Laver Arena's retractable roof was closed as the temperature soared toward 105 degrees (40 Celsius). Kvitova reached her first major final since the December 2016 knife attack that led to hours of surgery on the hand she holds her racket with — and first since winning Wimbledon for the second time in 2014. "I didn't know even if I (was) going to play tennis again," Kvitova said. "It's been a long journey." Against Collins, a two-time NCAA champion at the University of Virginia who was 0-5 at Slams until this one, Kvitova was more aggressive throughout, mixing big lefty forehands and well-timed pushes forward to the tune of a 30-9 edge in total winners. But the key to the outcome might very well have been what happened at 4-all after 35 minutes of action: That's when the decision finally was made to close the 15,000-seat stadium's cover, drawing cheers of approval from broiling spectators. Kvitova probably wanted to applaud, too. "I was happier than the fans that the roof closed," she said afterward. "I like to play indoors. It helped me a little bit." She's made clear over the years she is not a huge fan of playing in stifling heat. Not too many people truly are, of course, but Collins is OK with it and thought the roof should have stayed open. "I grew up in Florida and am used to it being really hot all the time. So I kind of embrace that very well," Collins said. "Indoor tennis is a different game. Certainly had its effect." When play resumed after a five-minute delay, it went from being completely even to tilted in Kvitova's favor. She dominated the tiebreaker and the second set to stretch her winning streak to 11 matches. Osaka, meanwhile, extended her Slam run to 13 matches while putting a stop to Pliskova's 10-0 start to the season. Osaka accumulated a 56-20 advantage in winners — and held on when it all could have slipped away. She began the day having won 58 matches in a row after taking the first set, but that seemed in danger when Pliskova broke to end the second and had three break points to go up 2-0 in the third. But Osaka steeled herself there, erasing the first break chance with a huge forehand, the second with a down-the-line backhand winner. On the third, another terrific backhand forced a forehand error into the net by Pliskova, who cracked her racket against the blue court. When Pliskova netted a return of an 83 mph (133 kph) second serve to make it 1-all, Osaka tugged at the brim of her pink visor and let out a big exhale. The match would continue for another 28 minutes, but it basically was done, then and there. That stretch began a nine-point, three-game run for Osaka, and she was on her way. She would face one last break point at 4-3, but saved it with a 108 mph (174 kph) ace......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 24th, 2019

ONE Championship: Edward Kelly wants to prove that he can beat Christian Lee

Team Lakay featherweight Edward "The Ferocious" Kelly is coming into his rematch against Singaporean star Christian "The Warrior" Lee at ONE: Eternal Glory in Jakarta, Indonesia with a hightened sense of motivation.  While indeed he was victorious in their first fight back in September of 2018, the win didn't come the way Kelly would have wanted.  After landing a slam that was deemed illegal, Lee was disqualified becase Kelly was unable to continue.  Now, the hard-hitting Pinoy striker wants, more than anything, to prove that he can beat Lee without the help of a disqualification.  "A win is a win, but parang walang tamang closure yung laban namin, so gusto ko ipakita na talagang ako dapat yung nanalo sa laban namin," Kelly told the media a day before his highly-anticipated rematch on Saturday night. "Of course, siya din may gustong patunayan, makikita na lang natin sa Saturday kung mag-eeffect yung good gameplan." While their first encounter lasted just a little over two minutes, Kelly says that he was able to take some things away from what he saw from Lee that night. The 34-year old hopes to be able to use those things in their do-over at the Istora Senayan.  "Yung napansin ko nung unang laban namin is aggressive siya, masyado siyang agresibo, and pasok ng pasok," Kelly explained. "Mabilis nga lang yung laban pero at least may nakuha ako na points sa aking pag-ensayo, sana magamit ko yun para ma-kontra yung pagka-explosive niya tsaka yung speed niya sa laban." The 20-year old Lee, who's a former title contender, is coming into this fight having bounced back with a first roudn win over Kazuki Tokudome. Kelly knows that right now, the kid's confidence is riding high, and is banking on the possibility that it's that same confidence that could lead to Lee's downfall.  "Alam ko naman na sky-high yung confidence niya, and I know na parang kokontrahin ko na lang sa isip ko, and yung confidence niya ay pwedeng magpa-talo sa kanya." While largely regarded as the underdog heading into the bout, Kelly says that he prefers to be in that position. That way, the victory becomes a bit sweeter.  "Mas gusto ko pa nga na underdog, kasi mas maganda yung pagka-panalo, yun yung nasa isip ko. Kailangan ko talaga kunin yung panalo, and gagawin ko lahat sa laban na ‘to," he expressed.    Edward Kelly and Christian Lee face off in a highly-anticipated rematch at ONE: Eternal Glory on Saturday, January 19th, 11:00 PM LIVE on ABS-CBN S+A channel 23! .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 19th, 2019

3, thanking 3: Bradley Beal calls Dwyane Wade an idol

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press MIAMI (AP) — Bradley Beal has been keeping a secret from Dwyane Wade all of these years. Beal wears No. 3 for one reason. It’s a tribute to his idol. After their 16th head-to-head meeting on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time) — Miami beat Washington 115-109 — Beal finally summoned up the courage to let Wade know how he feels about his game, and acknowledged afterward that he was nervous when asking to exchange jerseys with the player who, not at all coincidentally, wears No. 3 for the Heat. “I tried not to lose my mind when he first gave it to me because that’s unbelievable,” Beal said. “I’m trying not to be a fan, but I am a fan and I am a huge fan of his game. I try to predicate a little bit of my game off of his. This is probably the first time I’m actually saying that, but he’s a legend forever.” Wade has been exchanging jerseys with players over the course of this, his 16th and final NBA season. Beal said he was nervous to ask Wade for his, for fear that the answer would be no. Turns out, Wade wanted his jersey as well — and said he was deeply moved by Beal calling him an idol. “Those moments mean everything,” Wade said. “Fan ovations are great, but to be able to have future players coming into this league and good players in this league, and to know you had an impact on their growth, that’s what you want. It meant a lot. When he said it, I thanked him and I hope I was good enough role model for him.” Wade left Miami for basically 1.5 of his 16 NBA seasons, playing a year in Chicago before starting last season in Cleveland. Beal still considers him a Heat lifer, and indicated that he would like to follow along a similar path. “He paved the way for me,” Beal said. “He paved the way for a lot of us in today’s game and to see his hard work and to play as long as he did in one organization ... he meant everything to this city and this team. That’s kind of the legacy I want to leave too.” Beal could face Wade one more time: The Heat visit the Wizards on March 23 (Mar. 24, PHL time). “He’s one of the best to ever do it and he’s not cocky with it,” Beal said. “He does it in a humble way and he’s still able to do what he does at this age and it’s amazing. Everything he’s been through, people talk about him, but he’s still here. He’s still competing with the best of us and I have nothing but respect for him, his game, his legacy that he left.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 5th, 2019

Top sports headliners in the year that was

From the FIFA World Cup to the NBA, the PBA to the UAAP and NCAA, the Asian Games to Manny Pacquiao, volleyball to MMA, the past 12 months truly was a great year for Filipino sports fans.   Here are some of the most memorable sports headliners that bannered the year that was.    San Miguel Corporation dominates PBA San Miguel Corporation owned 2018. For the first time in the history of the Asia’s first professional basketball league one company dominated all three conferences of the PBA. The San Miguel Beermen annexed their fourth straight Philippine Cup title against sister team Magnolia last May, while Ginebra rode on undersized do-it-all forward Justin Brownlee to the Commissioner's Cup title at the expense of San Miguel last August. Then it was Magnolia's time to shine in December. The Hotshots dismantled Alaska in six games to complete SMC’s domination of PBA 2018. Outside of basketball, SMC also made its presence felt in volleyball as Petron bagged the Grand Prix, Challenge Cup (beach volleyball) and the All-Filipino Conference in the Philippine Superliga.   Kai Sotto stands tall as Ateneo takes title vs NU Kai Sotto became a household name in 2018 as the 7'1" wunderkind showed off in the UAAP Season 80 juniors' basketball tournament. The eventual Finals MVP was a beast in Game 1 of the Finals against the NU Bullpups, tallying a triple-double of 22 points, 16 rebounds, and 11 blocks in the 86-70 win, the first of its kind since 2003. Ateneo finished the season almost unscathed at 16-1, with their lone loss in Game 2 of the series, a very chippy one to say the least. In Game 3, Sotto came up clutch, scoring the go-ahead basket, 60-58, with about 30 seconds left as Ateneo came away with the 63-58 win to take the title.  SJ Belangel, Joaqui Manuel, Dave Ildefonso and Jason Credo, and coach Joe Silva all appeared in their last games for the Blue Eaglets.   DLSU completes three-peat; NU dethrones Ateneo  The UAAP Season 80 volleyball tournament was filled with lasting memories that will surely be remembered for a long time. Numerous upsets in the eliminations, great games, and much more were the name of the game for the women's tournament. However, a long-time rivalry was rekindled when two-time defending champs De La Salle Lady Spikers met 29-time title holders FEU Lady Tamaraws for all the marbles last May. Kim Kianna Dy, Majoy Baron, and Dawn Macandili all ended their careers on a high note as they swept graduating Bernadeth Pons and the Lady Tamaraws in two straight games to win their third straight title. Graduating libero Macandili was named Finals MVP for the first and final time in her collegiate career.  Behind their magnificent floor defense and some stellar play from Finals MVP Bryan Bagunas, the NU Bulldogs also swept three-time defending champions Ateneo Blue Eagles to reclaim a title they last enjoyed in Season 76. Espejo, a five-time UAAP MVP, had an awesome performance for the world's record books, scoring a record-55 points to force the FEU Tamaraws to a do-or-die Final Four. The Blue Eagle legend had played his last, and has since suited up for a semi-pro team in Japan's topflight volleyball league.   Alab fends off Mono Vampire to claim ABL title San Miguel-backed Alab Pilipinas were such a glorious sight to see in the eighth season of the Asean Basketball League (ABL) last March. Coached by perennial fan favorite Jimmy Alapag in his very first season, the trio of Renaldo Balkman, Justin Brownlee, and Local and Finals MVP Bobby Ray Parks to their first title in home soil. Alab faced Thailand-based Mono Vampire, who were led by Mike Singletary, towering Sam Deguara, Fil-Am Jason Brickman and Pinoy Paul Zamar. In the very same day as the coronation of the UAAP volleyball championships, Alab took home the crown in a rousing 102-92 victory in Sta. Rosa, much to the delight of the home crowd. Balkman, the league's Defensive Player of the Year led Alab in scoring with 32, while Brownlee added 24 of his own. Parks added 13 markers. The two imports played in the PBA for the Commissioner's Cup, where Balkman (San Miguel) and Brownlee (Ginebra) would face each other in the Finals.   (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) Warriors send LeBron packing to Los Angeles The Golden St. Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers locked horns in the NBA Finals for the fourth straight season after the two teams were pushed to the brink in the Conference Finals. Both teams were down 3-2 and won Game 7 on the road to win their respective conferences, with both teams banking on experience to forge another bout in the championship series. Game 1 was undoubtedly the most exciting game in the series as LeBron James had an epic performance of 51 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists.  However, JR Smith's blunder at the end of regulation became the lasting image of that game, as he dribbled out the clock with the score tied at 107-all. The defending champions rode the surge and took the opening game, 124-114. Stephen Curry's brillant performance throughout the series was overshadowed by Kevin Durant's dagger in Game 3, a few feet away from the spot where he launched the go-ahead three in Game 3 of the 2017 NBA Finals. Durant was named as the Bill Russell Finals MVP after norming 28.8 ppg, 10.8 rpg, and 7.5 apg in the four-game sweep, demolishing the Cavs 108-85 in the series finale last June. It would also be the last game LeBron James had in a Cleveland Cavaliers uniform, as he bolted for the Los Angeles Lakers almost a month later.   (AP Photo/Martin Meissner) France rules 2018 FIFA World Cup The most-coveted title of the beautiful game returned to France after two decades. The youthful French squad celebrated their conquest soaked in a downpour in Moscow after a 4-2 victory over first-time finalist Croatia in the 2018 FIFA World Cup last July. Teenager Kylian Mbappe stood out in the French team composed of a bunch of 25 and under players. Speed, strength and youth became France’s biggest asset during the quadrennial football spectacle watched by almost 3.5 billion viewers around the world.  The 19-year-old migrant scored one of the four goals in the championship match to become the second teen to score a goal in the Finals after the legendary Pele back in 1958. France defeated Belgium in the semifinal, 1-0, while Croatia outlasted the favored Russians in penalty shootout, 4-3 (2-2). The French team also displayed diversity, with players born of migrant parents including Alphonse Areola, whose parents are both Filipinos working in France.   Pac on top, The Filipino Flash returns The most-celebrated Filipino athlete continued make the headlines this year. Manny Pacquaio stripped Lucas Matthysse of his WBA welterweight world championship belt with a seventh round technical knockout win in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in July. Pacquiao split with long-time trainer Freddie Roach during his build up for the Matthysse bout back in April but confirmed their partnership once again for the 40-year old boxer’s title defense against Adrien Broner next year. Nonito Donaire Jr. announced that he would be going back down to super bantamweight after a loss to Carl Frampton in April for the interim WBO Featherweight belt and would be taking part in the World Boxing Super Series' super bantamweight tournament.  Matched up in the quarterfinal round against Ryan Burnett back in November, Donaire scored what many consider an upset, winning via TKO after the Irishman suffered a back injury to snatch the WBA (Super) Bantamweight World Championship.  Up next for Donaire will be WBO Super Bantamweight World Champion Zolani Tete of South Africa in the semifinals.           Pinay power in the Asian Games   The Philippines participated in the 18th Asian Games held in Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia that ran from August 18 to September 2. A total of 272 athletes that participated in 31 sports represented the country in the quadrennial meet with Jordan Clarkson of the Cleveland Cavaliers and medalist Margielyn Didal marching as flagbearers in the opening and closing ceremonies, respectively. Rio Olympian Hidilyn Diaz gave the PHI its first gold medal in women’s -53 kg. weightlifting. Five days after Diaz’s victory, the trio of Yuka Saso, Bianca Pagdanganan and Lois Kaye Go accounted for the women’s golf team mint. Saso also bagged the individual gold. In Palembang, Didal rolled her way into winning the women’s street skateboard gold. The celebrated men’s basketball team started out strong after routing Kazakhstan but lost by two-points to China in the group stage. The Gilas Pilipinas squad advanced in the quarterfinals but bowed down to South Korea by nine points eventually settling for a fifth spot in the classification phase after wins over Japan and Syria. The PHI finished with a 4-2-15 gold-silver-bronze haul and landed at 19th spot, three places higher that its 2014 finish in Incheon, South Korea.      Red Lions roar, Blue Eagles soar San Beda University continued its mastery over the NCAA as it annexed its third straight title and 22nd overall. The Red Lions grabbed its 11th crown in 13 years at the expense of Lyceum of the Philippines University. It was one-sided championship series – just like in their Finals meeting last year – with the San Beda ripping the Pirates apart in Game One with LPU playing sans its best player in CJ Perez, who was banned for one game after failing to notify the league of his intention to join the PBA Draft. Perez returned in Game 2 but even his presence didn’t stop the Red Lions from painting the NCAA red once again. In probably one of the most memorable UAAP season in recent years, Ateneo de Manila University won its second straight crown. Ivorian tower and Rookie of the Year 6-foot-11 Ange Kouame made an immediate impact for the Blue Eagles complementing the already stacked Ateneo squad led by Finals MVP Thirdy Ravena. But the glory of Ateneo was overshadowed by the Cinderalla story of the team it vanquished in the Finals. Climbing up from the cellar in the past years, University of the Philippines made history by making it in the Finals for the first time since winning it all in 1986. But before their championship stint, the Fighting Maroons ended a two-decade Final Four drought. UP then shocked twice-to-beat Adamson University with both games decided by game-winners. Ateneo came in the series as the title favorites but overwhelming support from a very hungry UP community and underdogs fans backed the Fighting Maroons. But in the end, it was the Blue Eagles championship experience that prevailed.       Pinoys make wave in MMA Fighters under Team Lakay flexed their muscles in One Championship. Flyweight star Geje Eustaquio opened the year with an interim championship win over former champion Kairat Akhmetov in Manila back in January. Eustaquio then defeated two-time champion Adriano Moraes in Macau last July to become the undisputed ONE Flyweight World Champion.  Joshua Pacio earned the ONE Strawweight World Championship last September after a unanimous decision win over two-time champion Japanese Yoshitaka Naito. Kevin Belingon dropped former world title challenger Andrew Leone with a now-famous spinning back kick in April. He followed it up with a dominating win over then-two division world champion Martin Nguyen to capture the ONE Interim Bantamweight World Champion. Belingon ended the five-year reign and seven-year winning streak of of long-time bantamweight king Brazilian Bibiano Fernandes in November via split decision.  Eduard Folayang outclassed Singaporean contender Amir Khan at ONE: Conquest of Champions in Manila in early December to bag the ONE Lightweight World Championship for the second time in his storied career.  BRAVE Combat Federation Bantamweight World Champion Stephen Loman successfully defended his title twice in 2018.  Reigning ONE Heavyweight World Champion Brandon Vera needed only 64 seconds to knockout hard-hitting Italian challenger Mauro Cerilli in Manila early December to remain the king of the ONE Championship heavyweight kingdom.    Petron, Creamline rule respective club leagues Creamline claimed its breakthrough championship in the Premier Volleyball League by sweeping PayMaya in the Reinforced Conference Finals series last July. Alyssa Valdez finally ended a two-year title drought with the Cool Smashers' victory. Creamline opposite hitter Michele Gumabao was named Miss Globe-Philippines during the Binibining Pilipinas 2018 last March. Gumabao represented the country in the 2018 Miss Globe in Albania last October and won the Miss Social Media and Dream Girl awards while landing a spot in the Top 15.     The Cool Smashers completed a sweep of the PVL’s Season 2 after claiming the Open Conference crown at the expense of Ateneo-Motolite via an emphatic series sweep this month. In the Philippine Superliga, Petron reigned supreme in the Grand Prix after taking down archrival F2 Logistics last May. Petron extended its supremacy in the sands after the tandem of Sisi Rondina and Bernadethn Pons defeated Dhannylaine Demontano and Jackielyn Estoquia of Sta. Lucia in the Challenge Cup final last May. The Cargo Movers got its revenge in the Invitational Cup, toppling the Blaze Spikers in a series sweep last July. Petron wrapped the year with the All-Filipino Conference in its pocket. The Blaze Spikers won its first 14 games before dropping Game 2 of the Finals. Petron swept F2 Logistics in Game 3......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 30th, 2018

LeBron feels love in return to Cleveland, beats Cavaliers

By Tom Withers, Associated Press CLEVELAND (AP) — LeBron James felt only love at home. Making his first trip back to Cleveland since leaving for the second time as a free agent, James was welcomed like a hero on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time) and rallied the Los Angeles Lakers to a 109-105 win over the Cavaliers, who played an inspired game against their former teammate but couldn't stop him when it mattered most. James finished with 32 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists. He also scored or assisted on 11 straight points as the Lakers overcame a 99-91 deficit in the fourth quarter. The Cavs had a chance to tie late, but Kyle Korver missed a wide-open three-pointer with 17 seconds left and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope made four free throws in the final 15 to seal it for Los Angeles. From the moment he stepped back onto Quicken Loans Arena floor, his home court for 11 seasons, James was treated like a returning champion. On the night before Thanksgiving, Cleveland said thanks to the Northeast Ohio son, the one who ended the city's 52-year championship drought. "We recognize the fact that certainly this is a big night for the city of Cleveland," Cavs coach Larry Drew said before tipoff, "because a hero has come back." The Cavs, who came in an NBA-worst 2-13, didn't roll over against James and played one of their best games this season. They seemed in control up 99-91 before James, as he did some many times for Cleveland, took over and scored or assisted on 11 straight points to give the Lakers the lead. Jordan Clarkson had 20 points and Tristan Thompson 14 and 15 rebounds for Cleveland. James was the last Lakers player introduced before the game, presented with a line familiar to all Cavs fans: "A 6'8" forward from St. Vincent-St. Mary High School," said arena announcer Sean Peebles. "Welcome home! LeBron James." The crowd roared and stood as James walked out and huddled with his new teammates, who must have wondered what was in store for them. But unlike that ugly night of Dec. 2, 2010, when James returned with the Miami Heat and was subjected to non-stop booing, profane chants and a toxic, charged atmosphere of hatred unlike anything seen before or since, this was a night for celebration — and maybe more closure. James has moved on. Cleveland, too. With 8:09 left in the first quarter, James was saluted by the Cavs with a moving video tribute during a timeout. Images of James' playing days with Cleveland — highlighted by the Cavs' historic comeback to win the 2016 title — were shown along with video clips of his impact on the community, including his opening of the I Promise School in his hometown of Akron. As the crowd stood and showed its affection toward James, "Thank You LeBron" was displayed in large letters on the arena's giant scoreboard. James appeared to be touched by the presentation. He bit his lower lip while walking back onto court and pointed to all corners of the building in appreciation, his chance to reconnect with a fan base he'll always share a special, if not complicated, relationship. Wearing a flat cap, long jacket and boots, James arrived at 5:46 p.m., entering the Q through a security entrance he's passed through many times. He greeted two guards near the door with fist bumps before quickly walking past a large group of photographers to the visitors' locker room. Earlier in the day, James visited his I Promise School, a refurbished elementary for at-risk kids he founded and plans to expand. James came back to Cleveland to face a team in disarray without him. The Cavs have endured a season's worth of issues in just over a month with the firing of coach Tyronn Lue, All-Star forward Kevin Love undergoing foot surgery and the latest drama — disillusioned forward J.R. Smith being excused so Cleveland can try to trade him. TIP-INS Lakers: Coach Luke Walton is impressed with James' knack for blocking out external distractions. "The great ones have that ability," he said. "When they're on the basketball court nothing else matters, other than what they're trying to do. Their focus level seems to somehow get higher with the louder the noise gets. I don't know how. I don't know why." Cavaliers: Did not commit a turnover in the first half. ... Starting G George Hill missed his sixth straight game with a sprained right shoulder sustained on Nov. 4 (Nov. 5, PHL time). Hill has ramped up his on-court workouts in recent days and could be back soon. ... Drew said he was unaware of Smith's comments accusing the Cavs of "tanking." Drew believes his team is playing hard, and promised to nothing but coach his team to win. "To coach to lose, I don't understand that, I don't know how to do that," he said. "I don't know how anybody can do that. That's something I would never, ever do." UP NEXT Lakers: Host Utah on Friday (Saturday, PHL time). Cavaliers: At Philadelphia on Friday (Saturday, PHL time)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 22nd, 2018

UAAP: Franz Pumaren explains Manganti and Ahanmisi s absence

Without the services of Sean Manganti and Jerrick Ahanmisi, Adamson University received a 26-point beating from the Far Eastern University in their last game of eliminations, Sunday afternoon at the Mall of Asia Arena. According to head coach Franz Pumaren, he decided to sit out the two players to recuperate from minor injuries incurred from the past few days. "[Jerrick] has a fever with sore throat. His resistance went down. He’s been sick since Thursday. Friday and Saturday he didn’t practice already. Si Sean naman he sprained his ankle on Friday, on Saturday he didn’t practice na he did some rehab on it," explained Pumaren. Fortunately, the ailing Falcons will have enough time to recover as they still have one more week before they face the University of the Philippines on Saturday for the semifinals. He clarified the situation to also answer the inquiries online accusing Adamson of deliberately not exerting effort in the no-bearing match. "Things like that, it happens. If they want to validate if they’re just playing sick, they can go to the hospital, they can check it. If they think that Sean Manganti is just faking his injury, they can go to Focus Athletics, that he went there to get his treatment," Pumaren said. The result of the game has no bearing on Adamson's campaign, but it has drastic effects on the remaining Final Four hopefuls De La Salle University and Far Eastern University. FEU's victory forced a playoff against DLSU for the last spot on Wednesday. Regardless, Pumaren still tipped his hat off to FEU for balling out hard on the game. "You have to give credit to FEU. They really played well. I think they shot the lights out in today’s game. They really played well. Due credit to FEU," added Pumaren. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @the9cruz.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 18th, 2018

PVL: Fighting Warays try to stay alive in semis hunt

Tacloban’s semifinals bid now depends on fate. Though needing to pray hard for other teams still in the hunt for the last Final Four spot to drop their remaining assignments, the Fighting Warays, for now, must take care of the things they have control over. Tacloban is in a must-win situation when it clashes with upset-conscious Adamson-Akari Saturday in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Open Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.   Game time is at 4:00 p.m. and will air live on LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183 and via livestream.  The Fighting Warays are in a two-way tie at fifth to sixth spots with idle Pocari Sweat-Air Force, sporting 5-7 win-loss records. PetroGazz, which will face Ateneo-Motolite at 6:00 p.m., currently occupies the fourth spot behind the semis-bound Lady Eagles, Creamline and BanKo. Tacloban needs to sweep its remaining games and hope that Pocari Sweat and PetroGazz drop all of their next assignments to advance to the semis. The Fighting Warays are coming off a week-long  rest after outlasting PetroGazz in five sets. But pressure will be on Tacloban’s side against a team with nothing to lose. The Lady Falcons have yet to capture the elusive victory after bowing down on their last 10 outings.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles     .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 17th, 2018

PVL: Malakas pa rin makakatapat mo, wala kang ligtas -- Valdez on semis

Creamline is through to the semifinals of the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Open Conference. For Cool Smashers top hitter Alyssa Valdez, the next challenge now is for Creamline to build momentum heading into the best-of-three Final Four. Choosing which team to face in the penultimate stage is out of the question. “Kahit pumili ka rin kasi sa kung saang rank ka, makakatapat mo pa rin ay malalakas na teams. Wala kang ligtas,” said Valdez, whose squad sports a 9-2 win-loss record at the second spot and is on a three-game winning tear. The Cool Smashers occupied the third semifinals seat on Wednesday after sweeping Iriga-Navy, 25-12, 25-13, 26-24, to join other Final Four-bound teams Ateneo-Motolite and BanKo. Only one berth remains and for the three teams that are already in the semis cast, the last four playdates of the two-round eliminations will determine their placing in the Final Four.     But the Cool Smashers would rather concentrate on building their morale than worry about their seeding.   “Ang hirap kasi hindi mo rin alam,” she said. “I think ang goal talaga is to really get wins sa mga future games namin. We have three more games medyo delikado pa. More hard work pa, more push pa.” The Cool Smashers still have BanKo, first round tormentor PetroGazz and upset-conscious Adamson-Akari in their list of assignments.   “I think ang pinakaimportante ngayon to get all the confidence na kailangan namin. Lahat malaman namin ngayon kung ano pa ang kailangan naming i-improve as a team para pagdating ng semifinals kahit sino ang makalaban namin medyo mag-perform kami ng maganda,” she said. And to build that momentum, Creamline will need to bring it’s A-game against the Perlas Spikers on Saturday in Cagayan de Oro.   “We all know BanKo, tough team, very hard to beat and they’re my former teammates so kilalang-kilala nila ako,” said Valdez of the squad that the Cool Smashers swept in the first round.     ---    Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 15th, 2018

PBA: SMB will be scary in the playoffs with or without 2x-to-beat

BINAN, Laguna --- There's a very slim chance that San Miguel might actually take a twice-to-beat edge in the quarterfinals of the 2018 PBA Governors' Cup. But even if the Beermen ultimately miss out on the playoff bonus, it's safe to say that no team would want to play San Miguel in the first round of the postseason. "I think we're a tough team to play against even if we don't make the top-4," forward Christian Standhardinger said. "We just gotta keep going and work hard and hope that we get lucky, that luck is on our side," he added. After a 109-97 decision over Rain or Shine Saturday at the Alonte Sports Arena here, the Beermen have won four straight games to improve to 6-4 in the standings. Despite struggling earlier in the conference, losing three straight games, the Beermen have powered through. San Miguel also have four-time MVP June Mar Fajardo back, making them even more formidable. Just like in the Commissioner's Cup, where they endured similar early tournament struggles before eventually still making it to the Finals, the Beermen know the time to pick things up. And the time is now. "Last conference we struggled the same way. This is the San Miguel way I guess. I hope I don't eat my words and I can be wrong but normally we play our best basketball at the end of the season," Standhardinger said. "That's where it counts the most," he added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 27th, 2018

Led by bench, Clippers hang on to beat Rockets 115-112

By Beth Harris, Associated Press LOS ANGELES (AP) — Montrezl Harrell led a fourth-quarter charge by the Clippers' reserves with 17 points, and Los Angeles defeated the Houston Rockets 115-112 on Sunday night (Monday, PHL time). Harrell and the bench helped the Clippers erase a four-point deficit late in the third, with Luc Mbah a Moute's three-pointer giving them the lead for good. Tobias Harris led the Clippers with 23 points. Danilo Gallinari added 20 and Harrell had 10 rebounds. The Rockets were without Chris Paul against his old team. He began serving a two-game suspension for his involvement in an on-court fight against the Lakers on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). James Harden had 31 points and 14 assists for the Rockets. He got shoved by the Lakers' Brandon Ingram in a move that started the incident a night earlier. Harden scored nine straight points to draw Houston within three with 29 seconds left. But his potential tying three-pointer was short on the left side as time expired. The starless-Clippers earned their second win over one of the NBA's top teams, having beaten the Thunder, who played without Russell Westbrook on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time). Reserves Lou Williams and rookie Shai Gilgeous-Alexander added 12 points each for the Clippers. Clippers owner Steve Ballmer exhorted the crowd to "Get up!" during a timeout with 3:17 remaining in the game, waving his arms with a fierce look on his face. Harden was subjected to some smothering defense by Patrick Beverley in the game's opening minutes. Harden went down after inadvertently getting hit in the head by Beverley and the Rockets called timeout. Another time, Harden was on a drive to the basket when Beverley committed a hard foul that knocked down the Rockets star. Trailing by four, the Clippers closed the third on a 19-6 run to lead 93-83. Mbah a Moute had eight points and Harrell added four. Harrell tipped the ball away from P.J. Tucker on the final play and scored, drawing the foul and shimmying his way into high-fives with two courtside fans. Gallinari scored 11 of the Clippers' first 20 points of the third, countering Eric Gordon, who had 10 points early in the period starting in place of Paul. TIP-INS Rockets: Besides his suspension, Paul was fined a total of $491,782 for his role in the fracas. Paul wasn't at Staples Center on Sunday (Monday, PHL time). ... They lost in the second game of their first back-to-back of the season. The Rockets were 10-3 in such situations last season. Clippers: They ended a two-game skid to the Rockets. UP NEXT Rockets: Host Utah on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time). Clippers: Visit New Orleans on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time) in their first road trip of the season......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 22nd, 2018

Bulls Carter Jr. undergoing NBA big man s trial by fire

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com CHICAGO – Every August, the NBA holds its rookie transition program to give its newly minted pros an idea of what life in the league is going to be like, from handling their money and dealing with reporters to fending off assorted unsavory outside forces. And then, every October, the young guys begin their real rookie transition. Consider Wendell Carter Jr. of the Chicago Bulls. In a span of five days, he will have gone through a gauntlet of imposing NBA big men that would have some 10-year veterans flinching and wondering if their tendinitis needed a night off. Carter’s on-the-job rigors began Thursday (Friday, PHL time), when he became only the 10th Bulls rookie to start on opening night and was met in his matchup at center with Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid. It continued Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) in Chicago’s home opener against Detroit, with Carter banging at various times against both Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin. Now the 19-year-old will travel to Dallas, where he’ll get his first test against the Mavericks’ salty DeAndre Jordan. And just for the record, in the Bulls’ final preseason game, he had to cope with Denver’s crafty Nikola Jokic. For someone so young, against such a slate of established or eventual All-Stars, Carter’s early lessons have been difficult. There really is no other way. “I’m sure it’s just chaos and confusion right now for him,” Griffin said after leading the Pistons with 33 points, 12 rebounds and five assists in a 118-116 victory at United Center. “He doesn’t look that way, but that’s just how you feel – no matter what – when you’re a rookie. The game is moving so fast.” Carter, the No. 7 pick from Duke in this year's Draft, fell victim to foul trouble early and the Bulls’ need to play catch-up late, which had coach Fred Hoiberg sticking with Jabari Parker at the end. Carter logged less than 18 minutes, finishing with eight points, two rebounds and two blocks. Drummond had foul issues of his own, exiting with his sixth after just 23:33. Still, Drummond and Griffin won the frontcourt battle with 43 points and 25 boards to Carter and Bobby Portis’ combined 14 and 16. It wasn’t the sort of Windy City debut Carter would have scripted. This was, after all, kind of a big deal – he’s the player Chicago landed after an entire 2017-18 season spent gaming the NBA’s Draft lottery system. The Bulls consciously tried to dive deep, won a little too counterproductively in December and January and wound up waiting until after the first six picks were gone. That tortuous process led everyone to Saturday, when 21,289 in the stands got their first official look at the alleged silver lining from last season’s dark cloud. Carter wasn’t happy with either his or his team’s performance afterward, pulling his clothes from the hangers in his locker as he dressed and bemoaning the Bulls’ lack of defensive communication (they’ve given up 245 points in two games). Not to worry, though, Griffin said. “He’s so talented, he’s going to be fine,” the Pistons star said. “It’s just a matter of time for him. I watched him play probably more than any other player in college last year – I really like his game. I’ve known of him since he was in high school. He would be the least of my concerns if I was over there in the front office or on the coaching staff.” Hoiberg and his staff have approached Carter’s trial by fire by starting him in response to the challenges he handled in summer league and in the preseason. He arrived with a maturity, poise and defensive bent some players never achieve – a young Al Horford was a frequent comp – and isn’t about to blow that image, no matter how many lumps he takes. “I appreciate the fact I’m able to play against these very talented bigs early on in my career,” Carter said. “Learn what I’ve got to work on. I’ve got to get stronger, that’s the first thing I recognized. … Just being up against the best, I love the competition. I love going against the best players.” Truth be told, Hoiberg said he talked with Carter on Friday (Saturday, PHL time) about handling the frustrations he’ll surely encounter. He’s a little cranky about the officiating, for example, picking up at least three fouls in all six preseason and regular-season appearances while playing fewer than 23 minutes every time. He’s does the “verticality” thing as if from a textbook and still hears a whistle. “At this point, I just feel like it’s rookie calls. I don’t care what nobody’s saying, that’s how I really feel,” Carter said. “I still have respect for the game, though. I have respect for the referees. If they call it, it’s a foul. I’ve just got to do better, learn from it.” Then there was the chatter from Embiid in Philadelphia, a 19-point Sixers romp. “He was telling me what I should and shouldn’t do,” Carter said. “‘C’mon rookie, you’ve got to do’ something ‘better.’ Carter didn’t chatter back, he said. “Not yet. I’m gonna get there at some point though.” Drummond didn’t pile on, thanks perhaps only to the referees. "If I played more, I think it woulda been more of a schooling,” the Detroit center said. “This is a helluva three games for him.” Drummond, 25, remembers what it was like six years ago, when he was the one absorbing the lessons. His rookie year got dinged 22 games due to a stress fracture in his back, an injury that compounded the basketball education. “I learned my lessons the hard way,” Drummond told NBA.com. “Physically. I started out being hurt. I had to just play and figure it out game by game. Watched films. Learned the guys that I played against. And figured it out.” Drummond wound up averaging 7.9 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks. He had nine double-doubles and earned all-rookie status. But he’s glad to be wiser now in the NBA’s ways, given how few the shortcuts were. “It was more of a sponge season for me,” he said. “Learning the NBA. I mean, I was a young kid. Just tried to have fun with it. It was the game I loved and I was playing it at the highest level, so I just tried to enjoy every moment and take it in.” That’s Carter today, way at the front end of his career. He’s got a notebook, he said, that he scribbles in bullet points, tips and lessons from each game after he’s left the arena, his mind clear. Portis said he’ll share more with Carter as the season goes on – there hasn’t been much time and the Bulls haven’t really hit the road yet – but most of this stuff will be hands-on. “It’s as important a thing as you’re going to face in this league,” Hoiberg said. “When you’ve got a 19-year-old kid out there, it’s human nature I think when you’re playing against an opponent like Wendell has gone against, to hang your head a little bit.” The coach added: “It’s something every player goes through in this league. It’s understanding who you’re playing against. We’re showing him a lot of personnel, film on who he’s going to be going up against.” Until the day, and it will come, when young guys are studying film of Carter, going through gauntlets of their own. Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 21st, 2018

U.N. treaty cracks down on heated tobacco products

GENEVA, Switzerland – Members of a global tobacco treaty took a hard line Saturday, October 6 on heated tobacco products, agreeing that they should face the same restrictions as cigarettes despite possibly being less deadly. The tobacco industry has argued that the World Health Organization was missing an opportunity to save ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsOct 7th, 2018

Warriors secure now, but face questions on Cousins, Durant

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com OAKLAND, Calif. -- All is rather calm at the moment with the defending champs, who are idling until they reach two important checkpoints in their gold-bricked road: What happens when DeMarcus Cousins comes back, and what happens if Kevin Durant doesn’t? One carries implications for this season, the other impacts next season and beyond. It’s really that simple for the Warriors, the heavy NBA favorites who once again are threatening to burst everyone else’s balloon for the next seven months and then pop bottles in June. While his new teammates are busy breaking a sweat in Camp Kerr, Cousins is mostly off to the side of the court, on his own schedule, going through the next phase of his rehabilitation from a torn Achilles suffered last spring. There is no timetable on his debut. Still: He represents a bonus for the defending champs, an ace card that doesn’t need to be played until it’s time, perhaps around the All-Star break in February, before for the playoffs. It’s quite a luxury to have, for a team that has everything: A big man with skills who averaged 25 points, 13 rebounds and 1.6 blocks last season with the Pelicans and is only 28. Assuming a full recovery, which isn’t a slam dunk by any means, Cousins would still be in his prime once he suits up and makes life complicated for teams trying to game plan for Golden State. And then there’s the elephant in the gym. Durant remains on a year-to-year contract. Initially, this was done mainly to ensure the Warriors wiggle room under the salary cap to re-sign Andre Iguodala and keep the core of a three-time champion. Yet Durant chose the same financial strategy this summer during free agency and therefore will be back on the market in 2019. You ask, and he says only: “Just keeping my options open.” It’s a rather sound, if rare, strategy that’s afforded by only few, as in, just Durant and until this summer, LeBron James. For the superstar who has already banked in excess of $100 million on the court and pulls that much and perhaps more in endorsements, there’s no financial incentive or urgency to lock in long-term. LeBron did so with the Lakers last July only because it was finally the right time: He turns 34 this year. Going year-to-year allows Durant, 30, to stay unchained in case something happens that causes him to sour on the Warriors and/or fall in love with another team. He’s an MVP contender in his prime and so a long-term deal will always await, no matter if he stays or goes. The only risk is a career-threatening injury, and in such an unlikely yet worst-case scenario. Durant is already wealthy times ten. Flexibility, right now, is more valuable than long-term money. The bigger issue is how this hovers above the Warriors, and there’s no sign that it’s causing sleepless nights. For one: Durant is in the fold for this season and the Warriors remain loaded; therefore their sights are fixated on June, when the championship will be decided, not July, when free agent starts. And two: The organization seems secure in itself and believes at the moment of truth, Golden State will be his best option. The evidence is pretty compelling. Next season the Warriors move into a state-of-the-art arena in San Francisco; ownership is laughing at the luxury tax, which could approach over $150 million in two seasons depending on the payroll; and in case you haven’t noticed, the Warriors are on a championship roll. Finally: Durant enjoys his surroundings. “We’re selfless, care about each other, that’s what the Warriors do,” he said. “My cup is full here knowing that you can walk in here and be yourself, no judgment, just all love. The championship is just the cherry on top.” It’s hard to imagine Durant going to a more talented team. The Warriors are still in their prime, at least the core. Steph Curry is 30 and Durant joins him on Saturday. Cousins, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green are 28. It’s rare for a professional sports team to have three titles in the bag with stars in their prime as they chase No. 4; usually, one or two of the main pieces are old and in decline. Extensions are due for Thompson and Cousins next summer along with Durant, and Green in two years. The conventional thinking is a team can’t pay everyone, and perhaps not. But the Warriors will generate millions in their new building, enough to keep a payroll approaching $300 million (and cope with high luxury taxes) if they chose to do so. The goal is to keep the championship train running, until it can’t, because dynasties are hard to build and trickier to maintain. The Warriors have the opportunity to see this through, and so they’ll try. “We’re not looking at this as the final dance,” said coach Steve Kerr. “Like I said, we want to have some fun and enjoy what we have this year and move on from there. Our focus is to really enjoy it while it lasts. And nothing lasts forever, so we know that. We want to go out this year and enjoy every step of the way." Thompson repeated Thursday how much he “loves” living in the Bay Area and “I’d be crazy not to” think about the amount of in-prime talent he’d leave behind if he signs elsewhere. Green said he imagines himself a Warrior “for a long time.” Durant? We’ll see. In the meantime, the Warriors, like Durant, will take it year-by-year. It’s the only way to do business in the modern NBA. This year promises big returns, once again, on the floor. The last team to reach the Finals five straight years was the Bill Russell Celtics. And the Warriors, who swept the Cavaliers last June, who bring Durant and Curry and Thompson and Green back, finally have a center-piece this time. When Cousins returns, this team will be built to make history. And then, come free agency next summer, when the bill comes due, we’ll find out if they’re built to last. Veteran NBA writer Shaun Powell has worked for newspapers and other publications for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here or 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 NewsSep 28th, 2018

Tiger Woods with 3-shot lead and 1 round away from winning

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press ATLANTA (AP) — Tiger Woods made it look and sound as if he had never been gone. More than turning back time, every hole seemed like the one before Saturday at the Tour Championship. A tee shot striped down the middle of the fairway. The clean strike of an iron as he held his pose. A sonic boom of the cheers from around the green. Another birdie. "I got off to an ideal start," Woods said. "And the next thing you know, I was off and running." With the most dynamic golf he has played all year, Woods built a five-shot lead in seven holes before he cooled from there, settled for a 5-under 65 that gave him a three-shot lead over Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose and an ideal chance to end this comeback season with a moment that has defined his career. Winning. Woods has the 54-hole lead for the first time since his last victory in 2013 at the Bridgestone Invitational. He has never lost an official tournament when leading by more than two shots going into the final round, and his closing record with the lead is 42-2 on the PGA Tour. He has never been in better position to show he's all the way back from four back surgeries that once made him fear he might never play again. "I've gone through a lot this year to get myself to this point, and understanding and fighting my way through it," Woods said. "I'm certainly much more equipped than I was in March because of what I've gone through." Wood was at 12-under 198 and will be paired for the first time in final group with McIlroy on the PGA Tour. McIlroy birdied two of his last three holes for a 66. "It's obviously exciting for the golf tournament. It's exciting for golf in general that he's up there," McIlroy said. "But for me, all I can do is concentrate on myself. The game is hard enough without looking at other people. Go out there, take care of my business, and hopefully that's good enough." Rose started the third round tied with Woods, but not for long. Rose opened with two straight bogeys before battling back, but the world's No. 1 player already was four shots behind after four holes. He narrowed the gap with a birdie on the 16th as Woods had to scramble for bogey, a two-shot swing. "In some ways, it felt like a Sunday just with the energy," Rose said after a 68. "But I knew that it was halfway through a Saturday. Just wanted to sort of chisel a few back and give myself a chance going into tomorrow." Rose forgot about Woods and tried to beat East Lake, a game of match play in his mind, in a bid to stay in the game. He wound up with a hard-earned 68. There used to be no chance against Woods when he was atop the leaderboard going into the final round. His only losses with the 54-hole lead were the Quad City Classic in 1996 when he was 20 and making third start as a pro, and the 2009 PGA Championship at Hazeltine against Y.E. Yang. He also lost a two-shot lead to Lee Westwood in Germany at a European Tour event in 2000. Now? Woods has gone more than five years without winning. He also has won enough times — 90 tournaments around the world — to remember how. "It's a little more unknown now," Rose said. "Obviously, his history, his statistics from this point are impeccable. They're incredible. But he's human, and there's a lot on it for him tomorrow, as well as the rest of us." Woods has had four finishes in the top 5, a runner-up by one shot at Innisbrook and by two shots at the PGA Championship. Only once this year, however, has he started the final round within closer than four shots of the lead. Being up by three is a much better view. "Simple math says that if I play a clean card, the guys behind me have to shoot 67 to force it into extra holes," Woods said. "That helps. I don't have to shoot 63 or 64 and hope I get help. This is a spot I'd much rather be in than four or five back." The Saturday start was simply mesmerizing. Woods poured in a 20-foot birdie putt on the first hole. His wedge settled 8 feet below the hole on No. 3. His 20-foot birdie putt on No. 4 tumbled into the center of the cup with perfect pace. Two short birdies followed. And when he finally missed a fairway at No. 7, Woods hit a 9-iron from the bunker that hopped out of the first cut to about 5 feet for a sixth birdie in seven holes. The cheers were endless, and there was no doubting what was going on. "I've heard the roars all day, and it's been phenomenal," Paul Casey said after his 66. "What an atmosphere it is out there this week." Woods, however, made only one birdie over his last 11 holes, a wedge to 7 feet on No. 12. He missed badly on his tee shot at the par-3 ninth, and the shaggy rough to the right of the 16th fairway caused the face of his club to open, missing to the right. His flop shot didn't get up the hill and rolled back toward him, and his next pitch was a bump-and-run played to perfection that kept him from another double bogey. McIlroy also started strong, and being in the group ahead of Woods, he knew exactly what was happening. On Sunday, he get a front-row seat. The only other time they were paired together in the fourth round was at the 2015 Masters, when both were 10 shots behind Jordan Spieth. Rose won't be in the final group, but he has plenty on the line even if he doesn't catch Woods. He likely needs to finish in the top five to be assured of winning the FedEx Cup and the $10 million bonus......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 23rd, 2018

PBA: Energetic Standhardinger runs away with Player of the Week honors

Tireless San Miguel Beer rookie big man Christian Standhardinger secured his first Cignal-PBA Press Corps Player of the Week following his impressive conference debut in the 2018 Governors’ Cup against NLEX. Just a few hours after landing in Manila following his stint with Gilas Pilipinas in the Jakarta Asian Games, the 6-foot-8 Standhardinger suited up the moment he arrived at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum. His presence no doubt energized a San Miguel side that missed the services of four-time league Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo. The Cebuano slotman came in with a protective boot due to a right shin fracture he sustained in the Commissioner’s Cup. But the Beermen hardly needed the services of the SMB star center as Standhardinger pumped in a PBA career-high 36 points, to go along with 11 rebounds as the Beermen clobbered the NLEX Road Warriors, 125-112 on Saturday. The hard-banging Standhardinger showed no signs of fatigue though he was just a day removed from registering 27 points and 13 rebounds for Gilas in its 54-point rout of Syria to finish fifth place in the Asian Games. Instead, the former Nebraska and Hawaii standout came out with a lot of energy, making his first six attempts on the way to finishing 14-of-17 from the field in close to 28 minuets of action. Standhardinger won the weekly citation after beating Ginebra forward Japet Aguilar, Magnolia guard Mark Barroca, Jio Jalalon and Rome dela Rosa, Phoenix forward Jason Perkins, TNT’s Jayson Castro and NLEX’s Ken Ighalo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 5th, 2018

Defending champion Alexander Zverev reaches Citi Open final

WASHINGTON (AP) — Defending champion Alexander Zverev has reached the final at the Citi Open. The No. 1-seeded Zverev defeated 10th-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-2, 6-4 in the semifinals Saturday. Sixteenth-seeded Andrey Rublev beat unseeded Denis Kudla 6-1, 6-4 in one quarterfinal and will face Alex de Minaur in the other semifinal Saturday night. De Minaur reached the semis when former No. 1 Andy Murray withdrew from the hard-court U.S. Open tuneup, citing fatigue. Zheng Saisai beat Allie Kick 6-3, 6-1 in the women's quarterfinals, advancing to face seventh-seeded Donna Vekic in one semifinal Saturday night. Svetlana Kuznetsova faces Andrea Petkovic in the other semifinal Saturday. Rain throughout the week forced de Minaur and Saisai to play two matches Saturday. Murray, a three-time major champion coming back from hip surgery, finished his most recent match at 3 a.m. Friday and decided to withdraw rather than play again so soon afterward......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 5th, 2018

Defending champ Zverev edges Nishikori in DC QF; Murray out

WASHINGTON (AP) — Defending champion Alexander Zverev returned to the Citi Open semifinals by coming back for a 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 victory over No. 7 seed Kei Nishikori in a rain-interrupted match Friday. The No. 1-seeded Zverev, who beat his older brother, Mischa, in the third round, also eliminated 2015 Washington champion Nishikori at the hard-court tuneup for the U.S. Open a year ago en route to the title. Germany's Zverev, 21, improved to 14-2 in his four appearances at the Citi Open. On Saturday, he'll face 19-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece. The No. 10 seed Tsitsipas beat No. 3 David Goffin 6-3, 6-4. Tsitsipas is coming off his first run to the fourth round at a Grand Slam tournament, last month at Wimbledon. On the other half of the draw, three-time major champion Andy Murray pulled out of his quarterfinal after winning a trio of three-setters and lamenting a schedule that had him start his latest victory at midnight. In the women's quarterfinals, Andrea Petkovic got past No. 6 seed Belinda Bencic 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (8). Murray cited fatigue when he withdrew Friday, hours before he was supposed to face 19-year-old Alex de Minaur, who was given a walkover into the semifinals. The last quarterfinal was No. 16 Andrey Rublev of Russia against unseeded Denis Kudla, who is from nearby Arlington, Virginia. Murray's third-round victory over Marius Copil ended just past 3 a.m. on Friday. Afterward, Murray told a small group of reporters that he "potentially" could withdrew from the tournament. He also announced Friday that he was going to skip next week's Toronto Masters. Murray is working his way back into form after having surgery on his right hip and being sidelined for 11 months......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 4th, 2018

PBA: Balkman s birthday celebration is postponed for now

Renaldo Balkman has never beaten Alaska until now. As the defending champion Beermen rolled past the Aces Saturday to start the 2018 PBA Commissioner's Cup semifinals, Balkman finally had his breakthrough win. But none of that is important now as Renaldo has some bigger things to look forward to in his comeback PBA stint. More than anything, Balkman wants to win the title he never got five years ago. "Tonight, we won. We’re not looking to the past. We’re looking to the future. We got two more left," Balkman said. "Back in the gym tomorrow and practice, working hard for Game 2 on Monday," he added. Saturday is doubly special for Balk as he celebrated his 34th birthday. He wished that a championship came as a guft but he'll settle for one win for now. "It's always good when you get the win and celebrate your birthday at the same time. I wish it was a championship that we won on my birthday. But we got a long series left. We got two more left. Next game on Monday," he said. The celebration will be postponed as well as Balkman is looking forward to rest up and prepare for the semis grind again. "We just won a game, go back home, get some rest, and get back on Monday. I’m not young anymore so I’ll get my rest," he said. "I’ll save my celebration later this year when I get a couple days off, when I’m not playing basketball. What counts right now is winning a championship. Everybody says happy birthday to me, great win for us and it’s a great day for me," Balkman added.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 14th, 2018