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PGT Season 6 off to a good start

MANILA, Philippines — The sixth season of Pilipinas Got Talent (PGT) reeled off to a successful start, with the two-night pilot episode readily yiel.....»»

Category: entertainmentSource: philstar philstarJan 11th, 2018

Patriots chase 7th straight AFC title berth against Titans

By Kyle Hightower, Associated Press FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Two things, among many, have been consistent for the Patriots the past decade: Tom Brady at quarterback and New England in the AFC championship game. Brady will try to lead his team to its seventh straight conference title game Saturday when it hosts the Tennessee Titans in the divisional round. It has been a challenging week off the field for the Patriots following reports of turmoil involving Brady, coach Bill Belichick and team owner Robert Kraft. But Brady says he's never doubted his team's ability to compartmentalize potential distractions. "I think we have a job to do and we know what our job is and that's to go out and play football at a high level and play well," he said. "Nothing really should get in the way of that." Tennessee hasn't been to a conference championship game since the 2002 season, but has been invigorated coming off its first playoff win in 14 years. The Titans enter as 13-point underdog, but linebacker Derrick Morgan said it's a role they happily embrace. "Nobody respects us. Nobody really expects a lot from us. That's fine," he said. "We haven't been a very successful team in the last 10 years. So it's easy for people to overlook us. So we've got to take care of business and start winning games like this to get the respect that we desire." To get it, they'll have to stop a quarterback that has been nearly unbeatable in this round of the postseason. Brady is 11-2 in 13 divisional-round games since 2002 , passing for 3,700 yards and 28 touchdowns. He also has a 6-1 career record against the Titans with 13 touchdowns and just one interception. Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota was mostly unflappable in leading his team back from an 18-point halftime deficit to beat Kansas City — the largest comeback on road in Super Bowl era. But since 2001, quarterbacks making their first or second career playoff start are 0-7 against New England. "When it comes down to it, it's all about us," Mariota said. "I think that's kind of been the mindset through this entire season. Ups and downs come and go, you just want to try and make the most of this opportunity." Some things to watch on Saturday: MOVING ON UP: It will be Bill Belichick's 37th career playoff game as a head coach, breaking a tie with Tom Landry and Don Shula for the most in NFL history. HEISMAN BROTHERS: Mariota, the 2014 Heisman winner, and Derrick Henry, the 2015 Heisman winner, combined to turn in the best rushing performance in franchise history in the wild-card round. Henry ran for a career-high 156 yards, and Mariota added 46 yards. Henry will be starting his third straight game with DeMarco Murray already out (right knee). PRESSURE: The Titans ranked fifth in the league with 43 sacks during the season and added four more against the Chiefs last week. Three-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman Jurrell Casey had six from his interior spot, while Morgan led the Titans with 7 ½ sacks. Linebackers Brian Orakpo (seven) and Wesley Woodyard (five) give the Titans a variety of options to attack Brady, not counting backup linebacker Erik Walden (four). EXPERIENCE GAP: New England has 41 players with postseason experience, most of 2017 playoff teams. Fourteen Patriots players have played at least 10 playoff games. That's more such players than 11 other playoff teams combined (13). Before the start of this postseason, the Titans had 18 players who had appeared in a playoff game. BELICHICK AND LEBEAU: There aren't too many current NFL coaches that have been around the game longer than Belichick and Titans defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau . LeBeau has an NFL-record 45 consecutive seasons as a coach, with Belichick at 43. Yet, with Belichick as head coach, he and LeBeau have faced off in the playoffs only once: the 2004 AFC championship game that New England won in Pittsburgh 41-27. The respect between the two is mutual. "Not very many coaches have the record coach Belichick's gotten. In fact he's probably closing in on the best ever," LeBeau said. Said Belichick: "Coach LeBeau is as good as there is, as good a defensive coach as there is." ___ AP Football Writer Teresa Walker in Nashville contributed to this report......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 12th, 2018

The case for Keenum: Vikings QB keeps on disproving doubters

By Dave Campbell, Associated Press MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — When Minnesota's offense huddled for the first time that mid-September afternoon in Pittsburgh, Case Keenum's energy and confidence quickly filled the circle. The Vikings were forced to turn to their backup quarterback to start the second game of the season after Sam Bradford's knee acted up, an ominous development that can doom a team to an autumn of disenchantment and playing for draft pick position. Despite the decisive defeat against the Steelers that day, though, there was a certain assurance Keenum gave his teammates that suggested they'd be all right. "He's a guy you want to play for," wide receiver Adam Thielen said. Four months later, the Vikings and Keenum are still playing. They're two wins away from reaching the Super Bowl. "It's been a blast, man. It's been incredible. I'm sure one of these days I'll be able to look back and really appreciate it, but there's so much to enjoy right now," Keenum said. "Not really putting too much into perspective. Not really looking too much at the big picture. I'm keeping my blinders on." With a modest 6-foot-1, 215-pound frame, Keenum was mostly ignored by major college programs despite leading Abilene Wylie High School to its first state championship in football-obsessed Texas. Houston made his only FBS scholarship offer, from then-head coach Art Briles, and by the time Keenum was finished with the Cougars he was the NCAA's all-time leading passer with 19,217 yards and 155 touchdowns. Yet he still went undrafted in 2012, needing the Houston Texans practice squad to get his professional career off the ground. Keenum started 10 games over the next two years before being traded to the Rams in 2015, but they made Jared Goff the first pick in the 2016 draft so there was no future for Keenum there beyond being a veteran mentor. Even Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer was among those who typecast Keenum as a just-in-case second-stringer. Zimmer acknowledged recently he didn't gain full confidence in Keenum until the 11th or 12th game of the season and, when Teddy Bridgewater was cleared to play in mid-November, Zimmer never declared Keenum the starter for more than a week at a time. "He just wanted a chance," his father, Steve Keenum, said this week in a phone interview. "He's got to have the knack. It's just a God-given, innate thing that he's maximized by working hard." As the oldest of his three children, Case made clear at an early age to Steve that he had the makeup to be an NFL quarterback even if there was no way to predict how the skill set would unfold. "He was competitive in everything. It could be a board game. It could be playing darts. It could be playing cards. It didn't matter. But if it had a ball, he wanted to do it," said Steve, who was a high school and college coach around Texas for 24 years, including 10 seasons as the head coach at his alma mater McMurry University. Good coaching, starting with dad's tips in the family backyards, was another success factor. When Briles left for Baylor, Kevin Sumlin arrived at Houston for Keenum's sophomore year. Dana Holgorsen, now the head coach at West Virginia, was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. After he departed, Kliff Kingsbury, currently the head coach at Texas Tech, took charge of the quarterbacks. "They had some speed, and the next thing you know they were throwing the ball all over the field," said Steve, who attended all 57 of Case's games with the Cougars and has been to each game he's played for the Vikings. "They had some really talented kids. People talked about him being a system guy, with short passes and a run after the catch, but they didn't see him play." Steve is now an area director for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, an organization that Case has long been active in as well. "He's come to the realization like a lot of people in big situations that there are things that are really too big to do by yourself, and in order to stay grounded you've got to find somebody or something that you believe strongly in," Steve said. "I think his faith has been that for him." Though Keenum had prior NFL experience, including nine starts for the Los Angeles Rams in 2016, he was signed by the Vikings as a one-year stopgap to be the guy in the ball cap providing sideline support and give Bridgewater ample time to recover from his colossal knee injury. Bradford had just produced an injury-free career-best performance in 2016, after all, so the Vikings were banking on him. Over the last four months, though, they've been cashing in on Keenum, a dividend that has paid out handsomely for both parties. "We've got a great group of guys here," he said, "and I think we're all excited to be extending our season." With offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur deftly adapting the team's scheme to use Keenum's mobility to better advantage and a sleeker offensive line mostly protecting him well, the Vikings have leaped up the league rankings in every significant statistical category. Among them: 28th to ninth in scoring touchdowns on possessions after passing the 20-yard line, and 19th to third in third-down conversions. Keenum will start his first playoff game Sunday against New Orleans, with a raucous home crowd at U.S. Bank Stadium ready to cheer the next step toward the franchise's elusive first championship. "Our fans are awesome," Keenum said. "All my friends and family who have come up from Texas and my friends from other teams that come in, they'll text me after the games and they'll be like, 'Dude, that place is ridiculous.' It really is.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 12th, 2018

Global stifles Rain or Shine to score first win of the season

In a low-scoring affair, it was one player's offense that stood out the most. Stanley Pringle's early-season tear continued Friday at the MOA Arena, leading the Globaport Batang Pier to a 78-70 win over Rain or Shine in the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup. Pringle fired 29 points, 20 in the first half, to help the Batang Pier scored their first win of the season against two defeats. Losing an early 14-point lead, Globaport's defense held strong in the fourth, limiting the Elasto Painters to only 14 points to hold on for the win. "Lesson learned yung last two games namin," head coach Pido Jarencio said. "We're giving 109 points per game, pinagusapan namin ng nga players na we have to consider na dumepensa kami and tonight we played good defense," he added. Global got off to a fast start behind Pringle, leadin 19-5 in the first quarter before Rain or Shine settled down and made it a game. The Elasto Painter would take over in the second quarter but the Batang Pier recovered quickly, unloading an 8-0 run to take a 38-33 lead and went to on control the game throughout. After Pringle, Kelly Nabong added 12 points and 13 rebounds for Globalport while Bradwyn Guinto was good for 10 points and nine boards. ROS, who now lost back-to-back games for a 1-2 mark, got 15 points and eight rebounds from Gabe Norwood and another 13 from Mark Borboran.   The Scores: GLOBALPORT 78 - Pringle 29, Nabong 12, Guinto 10, Grey 8, Sargent 8, Gabayni 4, Anthony 3, Flores 2, Elorde 2, Arana 0, Juico 0, Taha 0. RAIN OR SHINE 70 - Norwood 15, Borboran 13, Ahanmisi 10, Belga 8, Nambatac 6, Yap 5, Ponferrada 3, Daquioag 3, Trollano 3, Almazan 2, Maiquez 2,  Quarters: 19-18, 41-35, 58-56, 78-70.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 12th, 2018

PGT Season 6 off to a good start

MANILA, Philippines — The sixth season of Pilipinas Got Talent (PGT) reeled off to a successful start, with the two-night pilot episode readily yiel.....»»

Category: entertainmentSource:  philstarRelated NewsJan 11th, 2018

Coutinho must live up to cost, legacy of Barca s Brazilians

JOSEPH WILSON, Associated Press BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Philippe Coutinho arrives at Barcelona bearing both his huge price tag and the legacy of the long line of Brazilian stars who have dazzled at Camp Nou. The comparisons will be constant with Neymar, whose world-record move to Paris Saint-Germain in August provided Barcelona with the 160 million euros ($192 million) it needed to acquire Coutinho at a cost that would have seemed ludicrous just six months before. Only Neymar and PSG teammate Kylian Mbappe surpass it. But while Neymar, as before him Ronaldinho, Rivaldo, Ronaldo and Romario, all became fan favorites by staring in Barcelona's attack, Coutinho will have to measure up to the Spanish club's long line of top-notch_and largely homegrown— midfielders. The 25-year-old Coutinho will come to Spain charged with the daunting task of one day taking over as its midfield leader with Andres Iniesta entering the twilight of his career at age 33. Coutinho can count on the big advantage of setting up Lionel Messi for goals as he strives to justify the club-record fee Barcelona agreed to pay on Saturday, when it finally pried him away from Liverpool after the English club had refused to let him go in the summer. Even though coach Ernesto Valverde has successfully kept Barcelona winning after predictions of decline abounded following the unwanted departure of Neymar, Coutinho will greatly increase his options in a midfield that is still heavily reliant on Iniesta for its playmaking spark. His signing signals Barcelona's intention to refocus on the patch of the pitch that has defined its passing style for decades, an emphasis that had slipped somewhat in recent years with Neymar, Messi and Luis Suarez forming a powerful attack, albeit sometimes at the expense of its ability to dominate possession. Since the exit of Xavi Hernandez two and a half years ago, and those of Cesc Fabregas and Thiago Alcantara, Barcelona was in danger of seeing its lineage of great midfielders broken. Coutinho showed at Liverpool that he can play anywhere in the midfield: in a more attacking role, as a wide player in a four-man line, or deeper to help start the attack. That versatility will help ensure him a place in a Barcelona midfield that has a set group of first-choice players in Iniesta on the left, Ivan Rakitic on the right, and Sergio Busquets in a defensive role, but little else. Coutinho, who has the vision and quick passing skills that Barcelona needs, can also provide goals with his accurate strike from distance. He scored 41 times in 152 Premier League appearances for Liverpool, including seven in 14 matches in the first half of this campaign. With Coutinho set to feature, Barcelona will likely part ways with one or more of midfielders Andre Gomes, Arda Turan, Rafinha and Denis Suarez. Barcelona has also recently seen the return of summer signing Ousmane Dembele, which cost it a then-club record fee of 105 million euros plus add-ons that could take the total to 147 million euros, from a tendon injury that had sidelined him since September. Dembele would likely need to play in a 4-3-3 alongside Messi and Suarez, while Coutinho could play on the right side of a midfield line with Iniesta and Busquets. But Valverde has also gotten good results this year— including a 3-0 victory at Real Madrid last month— with just Messi and Suarez in attack and a four-man midfield including Paulinho, who has given the team goals and added muscle since his arrival in the offseason. Valverde will have to use different lineups regardless, because Coutinho will be limited to playing in the Spanish league, which Barcelona leads, and the Copa del Rey for the remainder of this season since he cannot play for another team in the Champions League after participating in the group phase with Liverpool. He will then have five more seasons under the contract he has agreed to sign to help Barcelona win a sixth European Cup......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 7th, 2018

Thomas to start for Cavs, Rose could return soon

LOS ANGELES -- Point guard Isaiah Thomas will make his first start for Cleveland on Saturday as the Cavaliers seek a bounce-back win against the Magic in Orlando. Thomas, traded to Cleveland from the Boston Celtics prior to the season, was idle until this week as he recovered from a nagging hip injury. Thomas scored 17 points in 19 minutes off the bench in a win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday and said that "for the most part" he feels fine. "I'm a little sore and I expected to be sore and a little stiff but for the most part, my body feels good," Thomas said. Thomas sat out the Cavs' next game, a 102-88 loss to the Celtics in Boston. But Cavaliers coach Tyr...Keep on reading: Thomas to start for Cavs, Rose could return soon.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJan 6th, 2018

Popovich s odd alliance with red state fans

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com SAN ANTONIO -- About 400 people gathered at the Oak Hills Country Club in June 2016 and paid $500 to $250,000 to sip iced tea and nibble hors d’oeuvres next to a golf course designed by noted architect AW Tillinghast, who built many. One is owned by the man who was feted at this political fundraiser, Donald J. Trump. The presidential campaign was in full blast and saltier than the crackers on the cheese plate being passed around. Fresh off the plane, Trump thanked the Republicans for the big ‘ole Texas welcome, witnesses say, before launching a blistering attack on the usual targets: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, illegal immigration. Then, near the end of his 30-minute lunchtime appearance, in an effort to connect with the locals, he pivoted and mentioned perhaps the most famous man in town: Gregg Popovich. Witnesses say Trump called Popovich “a great coach” and said “he does a good job” and then there was some fidgeting in the room when the soon-to-be polarizing leader of the free world said this: “I don’t know if the coach is on my side.” Confirmation came emphatically, right after Trump won a divisive election that November. The coach of the Spurs lit into the President over the next several months with a handful of rants that had the stealth of Kawhi Leonard ambushing a timid ball-handler. In no particular order, here were Pop’s Greatest Hits, all issued through the media and without prompting or provocation: “The disgusting tenure and tone and all the comments … have been xenophobic, homophobic, racist, misogynistic. I live in a country where half the people ignored that to elect someone.” And: “He is in charge of our country. That’s disgusting.” And: “The man in the Oval Office is a soulless coward who thinks he can only become large by belittling others.” And: “We have a pathological liar in the White House ... You can’t believe anything that comes out of his mouth.” Popovich didn’t stop there with a President whose sensitivity and intelligence he questioned and accused of being guilty of “gratuitous fear-mongering.” When he took Trump to task for criticizing NFL players who knelt during the National Anthem and defended their rights to do so, Popovich also suspected a measure of the public outrage was racially motivated. “Our country is an embarrassment to the world,” he said. A 68-year-old wealthy white man, therefore, became a sports voice with weight in the political and social justice arena, where the NBA league office has greenlighted players and coaches to speak up. Popovich has done so with clarity and insight to gain national applause in certain corners. He wasn’t the first or the last in sports to verbally spank the president or tackle right-leaning sensitivities, yet he’s certainly the most unique in one respect. As a graduate of the Air Force Academy who works in a military town, and a five-time NBA champion coach who might symbolize the city more than The Alamo, Popovich has long been elevated to icon status, perhaps permanently so, in San Antonio, where folks are mad about the Spurs. Still, this is mostly conservative Texas, one of the most Republican of states based on the state legislature and the congressional delegation, a state that voted Republican in 10 straight presidential elections and saw 52.6 percent of voters punch for Trump. While voters in San Antonio-proper lean liberal, the surrounding areas swing solidly the opposite. Julianna Holt, the Spurs CEO and Popovich’s boss since March after assuming the position held for 20 years by her husband Peter, supported various Republican presidential candidates before eventually donating $5,400 to Trump’s campaign and $250,000 to the Trump Victory Fund, according to Federal Election Commission records. Popovich is therefore a blue blood in a red state and the contrast makes for strange if not uncomfortable alliance between a beloved coach and a group of conflicted Spurs worshippers. His views have in fact shattered the sacrilege by generating hostility from a segment of the basketball flock, something no coach with his credentials would ever feel. The constant winning and acts of charity do not insulate him from those who would prefer Popovich stuff a sweat sock in his bullhorn. Party lines not Popovich's focus “While we all believe Gregg Popovich has the right to his opinions, where was Popovich when Hillary called half of us a 'basket of deplorables?’Many were Spurs fans who are now tired of being insulted ... many of us will never pay to see a Spurs game again.” -- Donna Howington  “The money I will save this year not attending Spurs games should buy me a nice set of golf clubs. Thanks Pop!” -- Jake Ingorgia  “I will never watch them again until Popovich is gone. He is just like all the other leftist celebrities.” -- Lee Harbach, Bulverde They arrive on cue, most from the dusty towns that orbit around San Antonio, some from the city itself. Popovich has unloaded three times this year on Trump, once after the election, once at the start of training camp and most recently by cold-calling Dave Zirin, a friend and liberal writer from The Nation, a progressive magazine. And each time, the letters land in the office of Ricardo Pimentel, the editor who coordinates the comments section of the Express-News, San Antonio’s newspaper of record. “It’s a cycle,” says Pimental, with a sigh. “He speaks out. People who disagree with him send us letters to the editor, then people who object to their disagreement write us letters to the editor defending Pop. Then they respond to one another.” The initial reaction, he said, is always stacked against Popovich and many identify themselves as Spurs fans ripping up their tickets or promising to never attend or watch games again. Even if those who made threats actually carried them out, the change in the Spurs’ home attendance is a blip, from 99.2 percent capacity last season to 98.6 so far this season. Popovich, of course, has been big for business since his first full season as coach in 1997-98. Besides the titles, the Spurs have reached the playoffs every season and won 50 games every season (except for the lockout-shortened 50-game 1998-99 campaign, when they won 37). In short, Popovich's Spurs have a track record beyond reproach in the NBA. If the 2017-18 Spurs stay on pace, it’ll be 20 straight winning seasons for Popovich, one more than Phil Jackson for the all-time NBA record. He hasn’t been this politically vocal until lately, due to Trump, yet was always politically aware, say those who know him. Well-versed through his readings and observations, Popovich welcomes discussion with acquaintences about classism, leadership, government and preferably over a bottle of wine. His two-decades exposure to young black men from humble beginnings raised his awareness and sensitivities about race and bias. Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr once played for the Spurs and lately has echoed many of the same thoughts as Popovich. But Kerr coaches in the Bay Area, where folks nod their heads in agreement. Kerr said he can only imagine the flak Popovich catches in Texas. “Here’s this iconic coach who stands for everything that’s right and for honor and integrity, he served in the military, you see him stand at attention for the American flag — man, Pop loves his country,” Kerr said. “And in the middle of Texas for him to be questioning the Republican President, some of the people down there are probably confused. Like, 'I don’t get it, we love this guy but he’s on the other side from us.' “What I love about Pop is that it’s not about party, not about politics. It’s about integrity and character and that’s what people need to pay attention to. It’s not about some policy, not about how much we pay in taxes. If we can just get back to the point where character matters, then we’ll be in better shape. The problem is, it’s clear character has gone down the tubes in many leadership positions in our country. That’s what Pop is calling out.” True enough, Popovich never publicly attached himself to a political party; to suggest he is against Republicans might be as misleading as believing Colin Kaepernick is against the military. When he played for Popovich, Kerr couldn’t recall a time when the coach was this annoyed by the country’s leadership. “The country was in a better place in terms of a relatively peaceful time back then,” Kerr said. “Yes, 9-11 happened and the whole world changed. But we didn’t have quite the same partisan nature, not only in politics but the national conversation. And so people could just admire Pop for who he was and people might not have been aware of his political leanings because they didn’t ask. When we won and went to the White House, Pop and the team went when Bush was in office. We went in ’99 when President Clinton was there. Republican, Democrat, didn’t matter. The times are so different now.” Kerr laughed quickly when asked about the semi-serious groundswell of social media support for a Kerr-Popovich ticket in 2020. Kerr said he hopes to be on his fifth NBA title as a coach then, but turned semi-serious about Popovich. “Our country needs somebody like Pop who can actually lead and unite from a position of authority and credibility,” Kerr said. “This guy served in the military, grew up in a melting pot, understands leadership. More than anything, he’ll cut through all the [expletive].” Since going nuclear on Trump, Popovich declined invites from the national political shows (and wouldn’t comment for this story). That proves what friends have maintained all along: Popovich doesn’t want to be anyone’s political hero or pundit. He’d rather speak when the moment calls for it, then be left alone. That last part is tricky, though. Empathy often marks Popovich's way “Can you imagine being Republican on the Spurs? Would you feel welcome? He’s like Berkeley -- for free speech unless you disagree with him. Shut up and coach, Gregg.” -- Shannon Deason  “When it comes to coaching basketball or drinking wine, Popovich has experience. When it comes to our country, his opinion is no better than anyone else’s." -- Harold Siemens, Seguin  “Open letter to the NBA referee who ejected Pop from the Warriors-Spurs game: Don’t feel bad about what Gregg Popovich called you. He called the POTUS worse and got away with it.” -- Larry Peabody Once the wheels touched down, the pilot jokingly announced over the loudspeaker: “Welcome to Gregg Popovich International Airport,” and one particular passenger noticed that nobody on the plane thought it was strange. Sean Elliott always knew how deeply rooted Popovich is with San Antonio. Aside from the famous Spanish missions and the River Walk, the city is known for the only professional sports team in town. And while George Gervin, David Robinson and Tim Duncan have come and gone, the one lingering reminder is a sometimes gruff and scruffy coach, maybe the NBA’s best ever. “He’s one of the pillars of the community,” said Elliott, twice an All-Star with the Spurs. “He’s looked at with great admiration. He is as respected as anyone who has ever lived in or been part of the city. It’s not just because he’s a basketball coach. Pop has been a big part of the community, huge contributor to charitable functions, good leader.” Elliott was a Spurs rookie in 1989 when their relationship began and he saw the start of Popovich’s reach in the region. Popovich then was an assistant coach under Larry Brown and just planting his feet in the NBA. That summer, Elliott and Popovich piled into a van with the team's "Coyote" mascot and conducted basketball clinics in San Marcos, Corpus Christi, Laredo and similar places. They were signing autographs in malls and running kids through drills in 100 degree heat, never hearing a complaint from the coach. Elliott said folks in those small conservative towns loved him. “If you sit and hear him talk about something, you tend to agree with him,” Elliott said. “He’ll put it in a logical way and he’s very thoughtful, well read and super intelligent, maybe the most intelligent person I’ve ever known.” The owner of the Spurs then was Red McCombs, a homespun Texan who made his fortune in car dealerships and media companies. McCombs didn’t give Popovich the coaching job after firing Brown, telling Popovich “you’ve got a chance to be a great coach” if he got more experience, which he did, going to the Warriors to work for Don Nelson. Popovich returned to San Antonio two years later as general manager, then became coach and the rest is history. Now 90, McCombs said: “Popovich has become the distinguished part of the franchise. He wears it well. Can’t say enough about what kind of man he is and what he’s meant to San Antonio. God has blessed us with Gregg Popovich.” McCombs loves to tell how Popovich, by chance, learned that a local family needed a car. The coach wrote a check, gave it to the father and walked away. McCombs said it was “typical Popovich” who has empathy for those with less. McCombs, curiously, has traditionally been one of the biggest Republican bankrollers in the state, who gave to the Trump campaign and is fully aware of what Popovich thinks of his choice for President. And so one of the most powerful men in Central Texas, who leans politically to the color of his nickname, had a strong reaction to that. “He’s earned the right to give his comments about citizenship or Trump or anything else,” said McCombs, voice rising. “Yes, he made some statements that others might disagree with. But I’ll tell you this: Popovich would be elected to anything he wants to in San Antonio.” Remaining silent never an option “Our country is not an embarrassment to the world. I will tell you what an embarrassment is. It is an American citizen who got a free education from the great Air Force Academy ... and then has the audacity to say that the greatest nation in the world is an embarrassment because the President rightly demands that Americans stand for the anthem. Popovich should be ashamed of himself.” -- Nick DeLouis, Fair Oaks Ranch  “Nowhere on God’s green Earth do they have the right to disrespect our flag and the men and women who died to keep us free. I’m appalled that you stooped so low to join in that disrespect. Shame on you!” -- Fred Martin, Fair Oaks Ranch  “Coach Pop has squashed my love and enthusiasm for the team. A national treasure, he is not. Coach Pop has a voice, but not my voice." -- Jo Ivan A few years ago Popovich was in New York with his daughter to catch a Broadway play when the coach had a last minute change in strategy. He learned that John Carlos was giving a lecture at New York University that night. So Popovich told his daughter to take one of her friends instead; said he was going to see “Dr. Carlos” speak. “When he came in I was surprised and delighted,” Carlos said recently. “Quite naturally, everyone knew who he was but he just wanted to sit and listen.” A year later, in 2015, Popovich flew Carlos to San Antonio to address the team and Carlos admitted to being star struck around Tim Duncan and others. Yet Carlos was most curious about Popovich and why the coach took a strong interest in an Olympic sprinter who raised a fist on the victory stand in 1968, which is frozen as an iconic civil rights moment. “Being with the Spurs gave me an opportunity to check his character out,” Carlos said. “I knew he was a whiz at putting players together to bring out their best ability. But through my conversations with him it became apparent that he was a social activist himself at one point in his life. He was teaching his players about activism and to be concerned about their fellow man and what was going on around their lives, not just basketball. “I was impressed. He just wanted them to know they had a larger role than just playing basketball in the society in which they live.” Carlos, therefore, was not surprised to see Popovich defend the rights of kneeling black football players who came under attack from Trump. On the first day of training camp in September, Popovich said: “Obviously race is the elephant in the room and we all understand that. Unless it is talked about constantly it is not going to get better.” What followed was another swirl of exchanges between Popovich critics and supporters in San Antonio, and Popovich acknowledged receiving mail from both sides. The anti-Pop mail, though, was jarring to Carlos, given the coach’s work in town. “When people write and lambast him for taking leaders to task for what they’re doing to society, that’s like water rolling off a duck’s back, man,” Carlos said. “When they write negative things about him, it encourages him to keep doing what he’s doing. Those people are the problem. Go ahead and throw stones and it just motivates him to do his job. “Look, I’m a black man who spoke out. Imagine what they think of him as a white man who speaks just as strong, to try and get people to see things in a better light? They throw stones at him even more, like, 'Hey you’re white, you have a great life. Keep your mouth shut.’ Well, God points people in certain directions. We know who we are. We do what we do.” And what Popovich does is enlist the help of giants in the social justice world and bring them into his world. He did that with Cornel West, the Harvard professor and civil rights activist, last fall. Popovich invited West to San Antonio to speak at an East Side community center with a few hundred mostly black and Latino students and their parents. Done without TV cameras or media invitation, the discussion was about the importance of education, the imperfect world, self respect and how to help communities. This was an audience that, presumably and unanimously, connected with a white man who didn’t live among them, but was with them. They were the people Popovich had in mind when he attacked present leadership. This was not the audience that writes to the Spurs and the Express-News asking him to take a vow of silence, though he is aware of them, too. “Some responses make you wonder what country you live in,” Popovich said, “and other responses make you very hopeful … overall, it renews my feeling that something must be done because there is enough people willing to listen.” 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 NewsJan 5th, 2018

Carroll still believes Seahawks can be title contender

By Tim Booth, Associated Press RENTON, Wash. (AP) — Pete Carroll insisted again that he's not going anywhere. He's intent on remaining the leader of the Seattle Seahawks even if it means many of the faces he spoke to this week while closing out the 2017 season are gone by the time Carroll finally gets to coach his team again. "I'm pumped up about it. I'm excited about that challenge," Carroll said Tuesday. "I'm upset that we have to face it this early. I'd like another six weeks here, that would be nice. But that's not what this one is. We got to go after it. Nothing's going to change other than maybe our resolve." For just the second time in his eight years in Seattle, Carroll spent Tuesday explaining why the Seahawks were not in the postseason. It's the first playoff miss for Seattle since the 2011 season and with the rapid rise of division foe Los Angeles indicated — at least for one year — a significant change in the hierarchy of the NFC West. Injuries played a major role in Seattle's slide to 9-7. So, too, did inconsistency on offense, continued problems with penalties and salary cap constraints that limited adjustments the Seahawks could make during the season. It's likely to be a busy offseason as Seattle attempts to manage its tight cap situation while making key decisions about how to move forward and if it still is a championship contender needing slight tweaks or a major overhaul. "I think there is a championship team sitting in this meeting room right here," Carroll said. Here are some of the issues to know about Seattle's 2017 season and going into next year: REDISCOVER THE RUN: Perhaps nothing irritated Carroll more, or had a great impact on the efficiency of the offense, than Seattle's inability to run. It's been a staple of Carroll's program from the day he arrived in Seattle. This year the Seahawks had one rushing touchdown by a running back. Quarterback Russell Wilson was the leading rusher with 586 yards, 346 more than any other player. Seattle had hopes for promising rookie Chris Carson, but he was sidelined by an ankle injury early in the season and never made it back. The lack of a running game affected Wilson as a passer as well, as defenses didn't have to commit an extra safety to stopping the run, leading to smaller throwing windows and some tentative decisions by Wilson. "There are tremendous examples of teams around the league that have turned their fortunes around with a formula that should sound familiar to you: teams running the football, playing good defense and doing the kicking game thing," Carroll said. INJURY CONCERNS: Carroll wouldn't get into specifics, but there is a chance Cliff Avril and Kam Chancellor have played their final games. Avril and Chancellor suffered neck injuries during the season. Carroll said on the radio Tuesday that both would have a "hard time" playing football again. A couple of hours later, he softened his stance, saying each have quality-of-life decisions to address with their football future. "Both those guys are marvelous people and competitors and all that. We'd love to see them through the rest of their career. I don't know what's going to happen there," Carroll said. LEGION OF WHOM: If Chancellor does not return, it could be the start of a major makeover for Seattle's secondary. Richard Sherman is coming off a torn Achilles tendon and was openly shopped by Seattle last offseason. Earl Thomas is entering the last year of his contract and his actions toward the end of the season indicated a desire to be elsewhere for the 2018 season. A big key will be if Seattle can re-sign versatile safety Bradley McDougald after he played both free and strong safety this season. HOME-FIELD AVERAGE: Seattle went 4-4 at home, its first .500 record at CenturyLink Field since 2011. The Seahawks have always thrived at home, but some of their uglier performances this year came in front of their own fans. OFF THE FIELD: Seattle was among the most active teams in the league with a significant number of players participating in national anthem protests. The protests, on top of the incident Michael Bennett had with police in Las Vegas in August, created a number of unexpected issues. Carroll said he believed that only once this season — Seattle's loss at Tennessee — did discussions of off-field issues affect the team's performance. Seattle had long discussions following comments by President Donald Trump about NFL players and opted to remain in the locker room as a team during the anthem before that game. "That was an extraordinarily heated time," Carroll said. "I think that was a different amount of emotional output that occurred before the game and it looked like it the way we played.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 3rd, 2018

Will Louie Gonzalez be able to prove himself as head coach with DLSU?

De La Salle University did not waste time in moving forward from champion coach Aldin Ayo. The Green Archers will now have longtime assistant Louie Gonzalez calling the shots. According to fan account Archers’ Clubhouse, he was appointed as head coach of the Taft-based team right before the year 2017 ended. Several sources within the team confirmed the development. The post went on to say that team patron Danding Cojuangco himself appointed Gonzalez. He takes over for Ayo who has transferred from DLSU to University of Sto. Tomas. This brings to an end a longtime partnership between the two starting from Kia in the PBA to Colegio de San Juan de Letran in the NCAA and then onto the Green Archers. Twice in that longtime partnership, Ayo was suspended for one game and Gonzalez was thrust into the role of acting coach – giving us a little taste of his capabilities as shot-caller. Mentoring the Knights in 2015, he lost to Emilio Aguinaldo College, 83-69. That was their first loss in the season following a 7-0 start. Mentoring DLSU in 2016, he won against archrival Ateneo de Manila University, 97-81. That completed a sweep of the first round. For that small sample size, without a doubt, Gonzalez’ appointment didn’t set the world on fire Still, he brings with him years and years of experience that could prove valuable for a Taft-based team looking for much-needed stability with all that has happened recently. As per Reuben Terrado of spin.ph, Gonzalez started his coaching career under the tutelage of then Letran mentor Binky Favis in the ‘90s. From there, he had an assistant coaching stint in Far Eastern University from 2007 to 2010. He was then part of the Globalport bench from 2012 to 2014 and then the Kia staff from 2014 to 2015. It was in 2015 that he, serving as first lietenant, and Ayo led the Knights to a magical championship. A year later, the two guided the Green Archers a dominant title. Also, having had years and years of experience, former colleagues had nothing but good words for Gonzalez. One such former colleague is now FEU athletic director Mark Molina who had this to say:   Congrats to former FEU assistant Louie Gonzales. Louie was a vital part of Glenn Capacio's staff with the Tamaraws then. I'm sure my good friend Tanny Gonzales is smiling in heaven. — Mark Molina (@marqmolina) Enero 1, 2018   However, Gonzalez will still have a tall task ahead of him as he tries to fill the big shoes of two-time collegiate champion coach Ayo. He will also be missing the services of back-to-back MVP Ben Mbala who has elected to take his talents to Mexico. Helping their new head coach with this tall task will now be Mythical Team member Ricci Rivero, team captain Kib Montalbo, and former Rookie of the Year Aljun Melecio. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo,.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 2nd, 2018

Mahomes leads Chiefs past Broncos 27-24 in 1st start

By Arnie Stapleton, Associated Press DENVER (AP) — Patrick Mahomes II made both his first NFL start and his first NFL relief appearance a success Sunday, leading the Kansas City Chiefs past the Denver Broncos 27-24 on Harrison Butker’s 30-yard field goal as time expired. Starting in place of Alex Smith, Mahomes handed off a 24-10 lead to No. 3 QB Tyler Bray midway through the fourth quarter but came back with the score tied at 24 and less than three minutes left. He drove the Chiefs 67 yards in 11 plays for the game-winning field goal that sent the Chiefs (10-6) to their fifth straight win over the Broncos (5-11). Mahomes became the first quarterback drafted by the Chiefs to win a game for them since Todd Blackledge in 1987. He threw for 284 yards on 24-of-35 passing with no touchdowns and an interception. Broncos QB Paxton Lynch was 21 of 31 for 254 yards with two TDs, two interceptions and was sacked five times. Rookie Kareem Hunt scored on a 35-yard run on his only carry, securing the NFL rushing title over Todd Gurley II and Le’Veon Bell, both of whom were inactive Sunday. And C.J. Anderson gained 61 yards to top 1,000 for the first time in his five-year with the Broncos. The Chiefs rested QB Smith and several other starters because they were locked into the No. 4 seed in the AFC playoffs, allowing coach Andy Reid and his staff to essentially use this regular season finale as their playoff bye. Bray handed off late to fullback Anthony Sherman — who carried 14 times for 40 yards after coming into the game with six career carries in seven NFL seasons — and linebacker Zaire Anderson scooped up the loose ball and scored from 38 yards out. Lynch added a 6-yard TD pass to Demaryius Thomas with 2:53 left, and Brandon McManus’ extra point tied it at 24. Mahomes returned to the game with 2:45 left and was promptly sacked by DeMarcus Walker but recovered nicely to drive K.C. to victory. Lynch threw an interception late in the first half and was sacked three times in a five-snap span in the third quarter, losing the ball on one of them with linebacker Ramik Wilson scooping it up and scoring from 11 yards out. Mahomes made a good first impression, connecting with tight end Demetrius Harris for 51 yards on third-and-10 from his own 14 on Kansas City’s opening drive. Then, he handed off to Hunt, who dashed for a 35-yard touchdown less than a minute into the game. Kansas City moved up 17 spots to take the Texas Tech standout quarterback last April, ending three decades of avoiding quarterbacks in the first round. He watched all year as Smith had the best season of his 13-year career, throwing for 4,042 yards to go with 26 touchdowns and just five interceptions. Mahomes was intercepted by Darian Stewart on his second drive but engineered a 73-yard TD drive that Sherman capped with a 1-yard run to give Kansas City a 14-10 halftime lead. It was 17 degrees at kickoff, the fifth-coldest home start in Broncos history and the coldest temperature for any of Lynch’s starts, in the pros or at Memphis. Just like he did at Oakland a month earlier, Lynch struggled after throwing an interception. But before that, he threw a screen pass that rookie running back De’Angelo Henderson turned into a 29-yard score . CLADY HONOR: The Broncos honored retired tackle Ryan Clady during the game. The 12th overall selection out of Boise State in 2008, Clady was one of the best linemen in team history but he was often injured in his career, missing both of Denver’s Super Bowl appearances during his playing career. INJURIES: Chiefs backup punt returner De’Anthony Thomas was carted off after injuring his right leg on the final play of the first quarter. He was dragged down by Marcus Rios after backtracking to field Riley Dixon’s punt at his 5. CB Phillip Gaines was knocked out with an elbow injury just before halftime. Broncos S Will Parks went out in the fourth quarter with a neck injury. UP NEXT: The Chiefs turn their attention to the wild-card round of the AFC playoffs, where the Chiefs are seeking their first playoff win at Arrowhead Stadium in their history. The Broncos head into another offseason where the only certainty is change......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 1st, 2018

BEST OF 5 PART 4: Credit to coach Boyet Fernandez, says San Beda

Read Part 1 of ABS-CBN Sports’ Best of 5 series on the San Beda Red Lions here. Read Part 2 of ABS-CBN Sports’ Best of 5 series on the San Beda Red Lions here. Read Part 3 of ABS-CBN Sports’ Best of 5 series on the San Beda Red Lions here. --- San Beda College has not only had top-tier players through its dynastic 12-year run, it has also had top-level coaches. Of the 10 championships in 12 years they have won, Frankie Lim called the shots for four, Boyet Fernandez led the way for three, and all of Koy Banal, Jamike Jarin, and Ronnie Magsanoc had one apiece. Next year, Fernandez has a chance to match Lim’s total. While that is not yet sure to happen, there is one thing that Fernandez is sure to do: just as he has always had, he will deflect all the praise away from himself. FOR AND AGAINST From then to now and onto the future, reporters are certain to hear the very same first four words in each and every one of Fernandez’s post-game conferences: “Credit to the boys.” From the times of Ola Adeogun and Baser Amer before to Robert Bolick and Javee Mocon now, the Red Lions’ mentor never fails to make it known that all the wins are because of his boys. He will also make it a point to laud the effort of their opponents and his counterpart coach. In fact, just in the most recent season, he had nothing but good words for Lyceum of the Philippines University’s Topex Robinson, San Sebastian College-Recoletos’ Egay Macaraya, and archrival Colegio de San Juan de Letran’s Jeff Napa – coaches of teams which have trained their targets on toppling the Mendiola dynasty. BECAUSE OF YOU After steering San Beda to perhaps its most dramatic title since its drought-ending one in 2006, however, the players themselves are saying it’s high time to give Fernandez his due. “Coach Boyet really deserves this championship. I want to thank coach Boyet dahil siya ang nagtulak sa aking mag-grow sa basketball,” Robert Bolick said. “Ginawa niya akong MVP. Kaya na ako ganito dahil sa kanya.” Bolick had a solid first season in red and white under Jarin in 2016, but truly blossomed under the watch of Fernandez in 2017. From a defensive stopper, the heady guard transformed himself into a complete player and had himself recognized as PBA D-League MVP as well as one of the top talents in the NCAA. BELIEVE WHAT I SAY Not only that, Bolick has also proven himself to be one of the most clutch players in all of college. The 21-year-old dropped seven points in the last two minutes in Game 1 of the Finals and then scored seven points in the last five minutes in Game 2. And perhaps there was no shot that defined all they had to overcome than this cold-blooded triple from “Big Shot Bolick.”   Robert Bolick breaks out LeBron celebration after the dagger against LPU. #NCAASeason93 #NCAAStrong pic.twitter.com/33kzBDvuUC — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) Nobyembre 16, 2017   As it turns out, those shots may not have gone in if not for Fernandez. “Since the start of the season kasi, coach Boyet wants us to shoot before and after training. He always tells me na I can shoot from the outside kaya ayan, nakita na nga natin,” Bolick said. WE GOT THIS For that full faith, the Red Lions promised to win the championship for their mentor – even though just about everybody was seeing a historic season from the then league-leading Pirates. “Noong natalo kami (ng LPU) two times, nag-team building kami and I told coach na he’s going to have to trust us. For me, for all of us, the only thing na makakabawi kami for coach for everything he’s done, is with the championship,” Bolick shared. He then continued, “I always told him, ‘I got you.’ Para sa kanya talaga ‘to.” True to form, however, right after they finally won that dramatic title, Fernandez made it a point to mention his predecessor for setting the table for him. “Coach Jamike is a very good coach and he won a championship for San Beda. Kaya nga sabi ko dati pa, I will defend the crown for him,” he said. FOR LIFE Next year, it will be the crown he won himself that he will be defending. By then, there is no doubt whatsoever that Fernandez will be giving credit where credit is due – just not for himself. And for him, there is no place he’d rather be doing that in than Mendiola – for now until the foreseeable future. “Sana I’ll continue to coach San Beda. Of course, it will be up to the bosses and I will respect whatever their decision will be,” he said. He then continued, “But if I will be asked to stay with San Beda, pwede bang lifetime na?” Boyet Fernandez, lifetime head coach of San Beda? Sounds good to us. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 31st, 2017

Inter without a win in 4 league games after draw with Lazio

By Daniella Matar, Associated Press Inter Milan's crisis deepened as it was held to a 0-0 draw at home by Lazio on Saturday to leave it without a win in four league matches. Inter was undefeated and top of Serie A only two weeks ago. But it is now seven points behind leader Napoli and six below Juventus, which won 3-1 at relegation-threatened Hellas Verona. Roma is two points further back after a 1-1 draw with Sassuolo, while Lazio remained fifth. The two capital sides have played a match less than the top three. "When you're part of a team like Inter there are no alibis or excuses, we just have to get good results," Inter coach Luciano Spalletti said. "For the moment we're meeting our targets, which means that the group is working hard." Inter moved top of Serie A with a credible 0-0 draw at Juventus on Dec. 9. However, that was mainly down to the performance of goalkeeper Samir Handanovic, and its struggles in front of goal have continued. Three days later, Inter needed penalties to get past third-division Pordenone in the Italian Cup after a goalless draw. That was followed by league losses to Udinese (3-1) and Sassuolo (1-0) before Wednesday's surprise Cup defeat to AC Milan. Inter has scored just one goal in its past six matches in all competitions. It was the visitors who went closest to scoring at the end of the first half when Inter midfielder Borja Valero attempted to head clear Lazio's corner and it came off the crossbar. Valero almost scored at the right end for Inter but Lazio goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha did well to turn his effort onto the post. Lazio was awarded a penalty on the hour mark but, after reviewing the incident on video (VAR), the referee revoked his decision as Ciro Immobile's cross had hit Milan Skriniar's leg before bouncing up onto his arm so the handball was involuntary. "My appraisal of VAR is completely negative because it takes emotions out of football, now you don't even celebrate after a goal," Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi said. "We would've had an extra seven points this season without VAR." ___ DYBALA'S BACK Paulo Dybala broke his goal drought by scoring two goals to help Juventus keep up the pressure on Napoli at the top of Serie A by beating Hellas Verona 3-1. Dybala hadn't scored in the league since Nov. 19 but he restored Juve's lead in the 72nd and doubled his tally five minutes later. Earlier, former Juventus player Martin Caceres had canceled out Blaise Matuidi's opener. Juventus bettered one of its own Serie A records, having now scored in 23 consecutive away matches. ___ ROMA FALTERS Sassuolo was revitalized under new coach Giuseppe Iachini and had won its previous three league matches, but fell behind in the 31st minute against Roma when Edin Dzeko rolled the ball across the area for an unmarked Lorenzo Pellegrini to fire into the far bottom corner. Pellegrini left Sassuolo in the offseason along with current Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco. Simone Missiroli headed in the equalizer in the 78th Edin Dzeko had a goal for Roma ruled out for offside as did Alessandro Florenzi, who was making his 200th appearance for the club. ___ FIRST-EVER WIN Benevento recorded its first Serie A victory with a 1-0 win over Chievo Verona. Benevento had the worst start to a season in modern history among Europe's five major leagues, losing 17 of its previous 18 matches in its debut season in Serie A. Massimo Coda netted the historic goal for Benevento in the 64th minute, flicking Marco D'Alessandro's chipped pass beyond Chievo goalkeeper Stefano Sorrentino. Benevento picked up its first Serie A point at the beginning of the month when goalkeeper Alberto Brignoli's injury-time equalizer secured a 2-2 draw against Milan. ___ OTHER MATCHES Teenage goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma marked his 100th appearance for Milan by helping it rescue a 1-1 draw at Fiorentina. Donnarumma made several crucial saves, notably palming Gil Dias' header onto the crossbar from close range in first-half injury time. Hakan Calhanoglu scored for Milan to cancel out Giovanni Simeone's opener. Elsewhere, Cagliari upset Atalanta 2-1, while Udinese won at Bologna by the same score. Sampdoria beat Spal 2-0 and Torino drew 0-0 with Genoa......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 31st, 2017

Blackwater ends losing skid to RoS, Cuneta Astrodome

The saying, 'there's a first time for everything' rang true for Blackwater. More than winning their first game in the 43rd season of the PBA after a sour start in the Philippine Cup, Blackwater’s 92-87 win over the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters Friday at the Cuneta Astrodome was extra special for the Elite. It took the Dioceldo Sy franchise three years to finally pluck a win over the Elasto Painters in a venue that has been brutal to Blackwater in the past three seasons.     “Parang first time naming talunin ang Rain or Shine. This is our first time na talunin ang Rain or Shine dito sa PBA simula ng pumasok ang Blackwater,” said Elite coach Leo Isaac. “Parang first time din ata naming manalo sa Cuneta,” added Isaac, who himself has a losing 0-18 overall record at the Pasay City venue that started since he coached Barako Bull back in 2009 before the win.  Blackwater dropped its previous 11 matches against RoS since joining the league back in 2014 and were 0-10 overall at the historic Pasay City venue.   But the win in a duel that saw 26 lead changes and nine deadlocks needed a lot from Isaac’s young crew. The game was tight until the last two minutes before Mac Belo, who’s slowly getting his groove back after a tough Season 42 that saw him saddled with knee injury, nailed a triple with under two minutes left to create a 90-85 separation. A stop and a pair of charities by Michael DiGregorio sealed the win for the Elite, who bounced back from an opening day 98-103 loss to Meralco a week ago.        Belo finished with 25 points including a 5-of-9 clip from behind the arc while Digregorio and rookie Raymar Jose scored 23 and 12 makers, respectively. “We’re hoping that we could have a good new year and with this win we hope that that it would boost our campaign here in the All-Filipino,” said Isaac.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 29th, 2017

BEST OF 5 PART 2: In 2006, the reign of the Red Lion began

Read Part 1 of ABS-CBN Sports’ Best of 5 series on the San Beda Red Lions here. --- San Beda College is the winningest team in all of NCAA basketball. With 21 championships in the Seniors division, they have four more than second-running archrival Colegio de San Juan de Letran. Almost half of that total comes from the last 12 years where the Red Lions have claimed 10 titles. A dozen years ago, Mendiola having the rightful claim as the winningest all but seemed to be a far- fetched idea. Back in 2005, the red and white only had 11 championships in the Seniors division – way behind what the Knights had. THIS ISN’T WHAT YOU KNOW Then, San Beda was not the dynasty that it is now – and not even one of the top contenders as that recognition belonged to Letran and Philippine Christian University. More than that, they were also right smack in the middle of a 28-year title drought, with their last title coming in the late ‘70s. That 1978 championship was under the guidance of famed mentor Bonnie Carbonell. After him, a number of coaches tried to take home the championship for the Red Lions only to come up short time and again. THEN AND NOW Enter Koy Banal in 2005 and continuing into 2006. And just to give him a good start, he brought along the very same Carbonell who was the school’s last vestige of a championship. “I brought in Freddie Abuda sa coaching staff to add to Chito Victolero and JB Sison who were already there. More important was I also got coach Bonnie Carbonell who was my hero,” he shared. He then continued, “He’s the one who inspired me to coach and he was the last coach who gave San Beda a championship.” As it turns out, Carbonell’s arrival was some sort of premonition as that year was the magical season they had long been waiting for. Even Banal, 11 years since and numerous stints in the PBA and PBA D-League after, could not forget that magical season. As he put it, “That year was really special. That is still in my heart, that is still in my memory. You won’t forget those experiences.” THE EARLY BIRD GETS THE WORM So much so that the now 56-year-old head coach could still narrate what had happened then like it was yesterday. The story of San Beda’s modern-day dynasty starts at the end of Season 81 – following another finish outside of the playoff picture. “Right after our last game in Season 81, I just gave the players one week off,” Banal recalled. “I told them Season 82 is already starting for us.” And so, from October of 2005 onto 2006, they were already gearing up for another shot at ending an almost three-decade long title drought. KINGS OF THE QUEEN CITY OF THE SOUTH That gearing up took them as Cebu where, in Banal’s eyes, all came together for them. “Ang key rito is yung aming preparation. I wanted to create adversity kasi nga I wanted to buil their character kaya we went to Cebu,” he said. He then continued, “’Di lang kami sa isang gym naglaro. Nagpunta kami mismo sa campuses – sa UV (University of Visayas), sa UC (University of Cebu), sa USC (University of San Carlos), USJ-R (University of San Jose-Recoletos. Yun talaga yung key kasi araw-araw na laro tapos may practice pa.” He also added, “Dun talaga kami nag-bond kasi biro mo, magkakasama kami ng one week. Dun talaga nabuo ang San Beda.” Still, all those preparations would have been all for naught without game-changing players. CATALYST FOR CHANGE Fortunately for Mendiola, that time also saw them with perhaps the biggest game-changer in the history of the NCAA. Banal’s very first order of business when he took the job was to bring in a big man – and not just a big man, but a dominant big man. “The primary plan was to recruit a dominant big man because that was the problem of San Beda in the previous seasons. The solution to the problem? A six-foot eight-inch powerhouse hailing from Nigeria. “We brought in Sam Ekwe. I believe his arrival turned the tides for us kasi Rookie (of the Year)-MVP, ano pa bang pwedeng ibigay sa kanya nun,” the mentor said. Indeed, from the get-go, Ekwe proved to be a force the league had not seen before and averaged 10.6 points, 16.5 rebounds, and three blocks. While he has always had the tools, Banal said what made him special was that he was more than willing to know more about how to make good use of those tools. “Very dominant, but willing to learn and listen and follow. Kaya I would like to give the credit to Freddie Abuda kasi siya ang tumutok talaga,” he said. BREAKTHROUGH With Ekwe wowing just about everybody all the way to both the MVP and RoY awards, the Red Lions followed his lead all the way to the championship round. There, they bested the Dolphins – then with future PBA stars such as Beau Belga, Jayson Castro, Gabby Espinas – in an epic three-game series. And it wasn’t even until the very last seconds when Belga’s would-be game-winner clanged off the rim and into the hands of Yousif Aljamal that the decision was definite – Mendiola’s title drought has come to an end. For the head coach who ended it all, even at that moment, he knew full well that it wasn’t about him. “Yung iniisip ko talaga, para sa mga players e. Yung sakripisyo nila, nagbunga kaya kung makikita mo yung video nun, bawat isa, umakap sa akin e,” he said. He then continued, “Special talaga yun, nasa puso ko yun at ‘di makakalimutan. Nothing compares to the championship we all won in San Beda.” FULL CIRCLE As if the good ending needed to be even better, that 28-year wait was tied up neatly by the presence of one Bonnie Carbonell – the head coach of the last title before the drought and a consultant of the first title after the drought. “After winning the championship, kami ni coach Bonnie, may maganda kaming kuha na nag-akapan kaming dalawa. ‘Di ko rin makakalimutan yun,” Banal said. Until now, it’s not just Banal who hasn’t forgotten. Nobody at all will be forgetting about San Beda, winners of 10 of the last 12 championships, anytime soon. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 29th, 2017

BLOGTABLE: Biggest challenges McCutchen faces in new role?

NBA.com blogtable The NBA recently pulled referee Monty McCutchen from the active pool of officials and made him the head of referee development and training. What do you see as the biggest challenges or issues facing McCutchen right now? * * * David Aldridge: That there aren't more Monty McCutchens in the pipeline to take his place as the NBA's best referee. This isn't the usual insipid conspiracy theory talk you hear from fans of every team around playoff time. I think the officiating in the NBA, on average, is pretty solid. And I certainly don't see the grudges and/or feuds that players had with refs back in the day, when it was clear a certain ref wasn't going to give a certain player a fair shake. But just about all of the top veteran guys have left in the last few years: Joey Crawford, Danny Crawford, Bob Delaney, Steve Javie and Bennett Salvatore. You weren't worried about a playoff or Finals game when they were out there (and, again, I know that there are fans who have beefs with each one of them for one reason or another). There are several good refs who've worked Finals in the last few years: Zach Zarba, Tony Brothers, Mike Callahan (and, yes, I know he and his fellow refs didn't have a great night in Game 4 of The Finals) and Derrick Stafford. But as the referee pool has gotten younger over the past few years -- a necessity, to be sure -- there are complaints from players and coaches that there's less flexibility among some of the younger refs, who won't let people question calls and/or let off steam, another necessity that veteran refs understood. It's not "showing up" a ref to think they got a call wrong, or at least ask them what they saw. The communication gap between some -- some -- refs and players and coaches needs to be closed. Steve Aschburner: Monty McCutchen’s biggest challenge, in my opinion, is thathe’s got a work force with a morale problem. Few workers in our society are as poked, prodded and second-guessed as NBA referees, who face heavy scrutiny long before and after the opening tap and the final horn. There are the in-game replays, the L2M reports the day after and all their individual performance reviews. A lack of trust with league HQ has been rattling around for years as management’s policing tactics and executive ranks have changed. The recent move by the players union, asking for a sit-down to complain about some refs’ alleged harshness and dismissiveness, felt like piling on an already beleaguered group, all because some players’ feelings were bruised. Yes, the refs are paid well. But they’ve been catching hell from all sides, and McCutchen might want to start there. Shaun Powell: The biggest issue is one that follows every head of officiating: How can you train referees to make accurate judgments on a fast-paced game that involves a degree of contact? There's no harder game to ref than the NBA and maybe McCutchen might want to press the league office on hiring a fourth ref. (My biggest pet peeve is referees refusing to call palming violations and also allowing players to take a step-and-a-half and then a hop before shooting or passing off. But that genie is out of the bottle.) John Schuhmann: As McCutchen improves the quality of NBA officiating as a whole, consistency should be a priority. Consistency from ref to ref, as well as consistency from player to player, from game to game, and from the first minute of the first quarter to the last minute of the fourth. And let's crack down on discontinued dribbles, too. Sekou Smith: The biggest issue these days isn't rules-related but relationship-related. Finding a way to cool off players and officials going at each other during the course of games has been the biggest officiating problem for years now. We've seen it again already this season with the rash of ejections, Shaun Livingston and Courtney Kirkland going head-to-head and plenty of other instances where the player-official relationship got out of hand. It's a bad look all around and sets the tone for the way players and officials react to each other all the way down to the grassroots level. Anyone charged with developing and training officials need to make repairing that relationship is a top priority......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 28th, 2017

Six standout local volleybelles of 2017

We’ve seen them shine this year whether in the collegiate stage, in the club leagues or even in the international scene. These six Pinay volleyball players took the sport’s limelight in the year that’s about to end.     DESIREE CHENG Desiree Cheng came into De La Salle University during the time bitter rival Ateneo de Manila University got the Lady Spikers’ number. From Seasons 76 to 77, Cheng saw her team fall prey to the might of the Lady Eagles in the UAAP Finals. Then redemption came in Season 78. Unfortunately, the 5-foot-8 spiker was forced to watch from the sidelines with an ACL tear as her crew reclaimed the crown. A year after, Cheng got her biggest break. DLSU lost most of its veteran core after Season 78 and needed another scoring option. Cheng heeded the call. Though Cheng struggled at the start of the eliminations, the hitter slowly got her groove back and delivered when DLSU needed offense in their sixth straight championship showdown against Ateneo. Cheng was the X-factor for the Ramil De Jesus-mentored squad during the series. Her contributions both on offense and floor defense played a huge part in the Lady Spikers’ series sweep of the Lady Eagles for the school’s 10th title. Cheng also helped F2 Logistics claim the Cargo Movers’ breakthrough Philippine Superliga Grand Prix title and a runner-up finish in the All-Filipino Conference.   ALYSSA VALDEZ Although Alyssa Valdez failed to claim a crown in the Premier Volleyball League this year and a continued title drought since 2016, the Phenom’s magic remains. She can still fill up game venues whenever she takes the court and 2017 proved as the former Queen Eagles’ biggest year in terms of her flourishing volleyball career. Valdez brought her talents abroad, landing a stint with 3BB Nakornnont in the Thai League and in the Thai-Denmark Superleague where her team finished third in both tournaments. After her appearance in Thailand, Valdez donned the Creamline jersey and led the Rebisco franchise to a bronze medal finish both in the PVL Reinforced and Open conferences. Valdez also had another tour of duty, playing for the national team in the AVC Asian Women’s Senior Volleyball Championship and the 29th Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The 24-year old hitter got another international gig when she was tapped by Attack Line to play in the Chinese-Taipei Volleyball League.          Outside volleyball, Valdez has a blooming relationship with basketball star Kiefer Ravena. If she’s not busy with her volleyball and other commitments, Valdez also drew attention as one of the newest member of the so-called PBA players’ WAGS (wives and girlfriends) cheering for Ravena and the NLEX Road Warriors.      DAWN MACANDILI She may be only 5-foot tall but Dawn Macandili stood alongside Asia’s volleyball giants this year. The De La Salle University libero was the catalyst in the Lady Spikers’ back-to-back UAAP championship run. Her pesky floor defense frustrated DLSU’s rivals while giving her teammates a good first ball to operate their lethal offense.  But her biggest showing was when she landed a spot in the national team that competed in the AVC Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship and in the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games. A first-timer donning the national colors, Macandili did not disappoint as she earned the respect and admiration of Japanese coaches and trainers during the Nationals’ training camp in Japan. She performed even better when the PHI hosted the AVC Asian Seniors. Ms. Everywhere gave teams like Asian powerhouse Vietnam, Kazakhstan, South Korea and Thailand a hard time with her floor defense. All her efforts caught the eyes of the AVC tournament officials and she was rewarded with the historic 2nd Best Libero award. She made the final list of in the national team that participated in the SEA Games. Back in the local scene, Macandili helped F2 Logistics to runner-up finish in the PSL All-Filipino Conference and a breakthrough crown in the Grand Prix.    JAJA SANTIAGO Tall, powerful and versatile, Jaja Santiago is a force to reckon with.  At 6-foot-5, Santiago dominated the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference as she led the National University Lady Bulldogs to a perfect championship run. She also bagged the conference’s Most Valuable Player award. Though NU failed to make it in the Final Four of UAAP for the second straight year, Santiago’s effort for the Lady Bulldogs was rewarded with a third straight Best Attacker award to go with the Best Scorer and Best Blocker recognitions. In the PSL, Santiago was a consistent scorer for the Foton Tornadoes in the All-Filipino Conference and the Grand Prix. Under the tutelage of Serbian import Moro Branislav, Santiago became an even more dangerous and versatile player. Aside from her natural position as a middle blocker, she can now wreak havoc on both wings the puts her height advantage to good use. She made it into the national team that competed in the AVC Asian Seniors and SEA Games and was the Nationals’ scoring ace. Santiago received an offer from Thai powerhouse Bangkok Glass but declined the offer to play in her last year with the Lady Bulldogs.             KIM FAJARDO Setter Kim Fajardo left winning legacy when she played her swan song for DLSU. It took her a few months to decide to play her fifth year with the Lady Spikers. Leading a young crew after the departure of the core of the Season 78 championship squad, Fajardo faced a tough challenge in the Taft-based squad’s title-retention bid. But the Batanguena proved her worth as a leader and the skipper rallied the Lady Spikers back into the Finals in a sixth straight collision against bitter rival Ateneo. Fajardo’s composure carried DLSU in a tough Game 1 match and again in the five-set title-clincher to complete the Lady Spikers’ series sweep of the Lady Eagles. She earned a spot in the national team as a starting setter. Fajardo steered F2 Logistics to its first PSL Grand Prix crown bagged the conference’s Best Setter award. She helped the Cargo Movers to a runner-up finish in the All-Filipino Conference.     JOVIELYN PRADO Silent but deadly. Jovielyn Prado may not be the typical vocal leader but her presence inside the court is enough to rally the Arellano University Lady Chiefs to meet their goals. The outside hitter proved her worth to the Lady Chiefs when she led the Legarda-based squad back on the NCAA women’s volleyball throne. A year removed from the title, Arellano U turned to Prado to provide the spark the Lady Chiefs needed to make another shot at the crown. Consistent, efficient and effective, Prado delivered for the Obet Javier-mentored squad. Arellano U advanced in the stepladder semifinals and dethroned College of St. Benilde to set up a date with thrice-to-beat, three-time Most Valuable Player Grethcel Soltones-led San Sebastian College. Undaunted even with a great series disadvantage, Prado played her best three games of the season to power the Lady Chiefs to an impressive sweep of the Lady Stags. Prado continued her great performance in the PVL Reinforced and Open Conference playing for the Power Smashers. She then bannered the Lady Chiefs to a bronze medal finish in the Collegiate Conference at the expense of UAAP team Adamson University.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 28th, 2017

Beermen pass Meralco test to gain share of lead in the All-Filipino

ANTIPOLO, Rizal --- If Meralco is San Miguel's first major test in the 2018 Philippine Cup, then the Beermen passed that test with flying colors. The three-time defending champions came through for a big 103-97 win Wednesday at the Ynares Arena here to improve to a 2-0 record to end 2017. San Miguel joined NLEX on top of the standings this early in the All-Filipino. Losing a 22-point lead in the second half, the Beermen had to stand tough in the fourth to avoid yet another meltdown against Meralco similar to their last encounter in the 2017 Governors' Cup. Last season, San Miguel lost a 17-point lead to the Bolts. The repercussions of that defeat were crucial for the Beermen as they missed out on a top-2 seed in the playoffs. The next game, San Miguel lost to Ginebra in the quarterfinals and the team's Grand Slam hopes evaporated into thin air. No such collapse happened thos time as the Beermen knew what to do late in the game and that was to feed their reigning four-time league MV June Mar Fajardo. The Kraken dropped 13 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter as San Miguel managed to hold on despite Meralco's furious rally.  "I'm so thankful that we ended the year with a bang. With this win, I think this will motivate us to play better next time," head coach Leo Austria said. "I told the boys na from the start, we should have a good start ano. I know Meralco, even though they are down 17 or 20 points, I know they will come back ano dahil we lost in our last game against Meralco when we're leading by 17 points that's why I'm very aware of that lead," he added. San Miguel raced to an 18-point lead inthe first half behind the hot shooting of Alex Cabagnot and Marcio Lassiter. Cabagnot fired 12 of his 29 points in the second quarter while Marcio started the game with 10 quick points before finishing with 18. However, the Bolts turned to Mike Tolomia to make it a game in the second half as the second-year guard led a Meralco to a 32-22 third-quarter run where he scored 15 points. He ended up wit ha team-high 21 points off the bench. After Tolomia, KG Canaleta once again proved his spot with Meralco by addinf another 17 points while Reynel Hugnatan was good for 16. Meralco dropped to 1-1 after the loss.   The Scores: SAN MIGUEL 103 — Cabagnot 29, Fajardo 26, Lassiter 18, Pessumal 11, Ross 9, Santos 8, Mamaril 2, Lanete 0, Heruela 0, Ganuelas-Rosser 0. MERALCO 97 — Tolomia 21, Canaleta 17, Hugnatan 16, Newsome 13, Lanete 10, Bono 8, Amer 7, Baracael 2, Ballesteros 2, Caram 1, Faundo 0, Sedurifa 0, Salva 0.  Quarters: 30-18, 59-41, 81-73, 103-97.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 27th, 2017

Matter of when Man City wins title and how many records fall

By Steve Douglas and Rob Harris, Associated Press English soccer has never seen a team so utterly dominant as Manchester City entering the packed Christmas program. There seems little doubt Pep Guardiola will be raising the Premier League trophy for the first time in May. It is just a question of when City will wrap up its third title since 2014, and how many records will tumble on the way. City has already reeled off the most consecutive English top-flight wins — a record extended at the weekend to 17 games. Manchester United's record Premier League title-winning margin of 18 points from 2000 could also be under threat. And England could be looking at its third unbeaten "Invincibles" team after Preston in 1888-89 and Arsenal in 2003-04. So it doesn't bode well for a compelling second half of the Premier League season? Think again. The chase for the other three Champions League spots should be fierce with eight points separating second-place Manchester United and Arsenal in sixth. Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham are in the mix among them. Two leading sides will fall by the wayside and be denied a place among the European elite. The battle to stay in the world's richest soccer league is also intense. No team is stranded at the bottom, with Swansea in 20th place only six points behind Southampton in 13th. A closer look at the first half of the season: ___ TITLE RACE City leads by 13 points at the halfway stage after winning 18 of its 19 games and drawing one in the best ever start to a Premier League season. The only dropped points came at home to Everton in the second game on Aug. 21, when City played more than a half with 10 men following Kyle Walker's sending-off. Guardiola won the Bundesliga with Bayern Munich in late March in 2014 — aided by a winning streak of 19 games never before seen in a major European league. It will be tough for Guardiola to win the title that early in England as he chases a quadruple after finishing his first season at the club without a trophy. City is already through to the League Cup semifinals, into the Champions League last 16 and begins its FA Cup campaign in two weeks. Man United is in second place, with defending champion Chelsea three points further back in third. United manager Jose Mourinho says the title race is still on, but the rest of his peers among the chasing pack don't see City faltering now. It will be intriguing how Mourinho reacts to be seeing his title ambitions further fade in his second season at United, having already opted to publicly call out his "childish" players after a draw at Leicester on Saturday. ___ PICK OF THE PLAYERS Kevin De Bruyne is playing in a deeper role for City this season, virtually as a center midfielder, and it is bringing the best of out the Belgium midfielder. He has provided many of this season's wow moments, from scoring the winning goal at former club Chelsea in September with a fierce left-footed strike from outside the area to the assists for goals by Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling in the 7-2 win over Stoke in October Dovetailing perfectly with fellow playmaker David Silva, De Bruyne has six goals and eight assists but it's more than just his statistics. His prodigious work rate, range of passing and crossing ability — arguably the best in the Premier League since the days of David Beckham — that make him a strong contender for the player of the season awards. No wonder City is determined to nail down the 26-year-old De Bruyne to an improved, longer contract. ___ EMERGING TALENT Amid an offseason of record spending in English soccer, little was made of Watford signing Richarlison from Brazilian team Fluminense for 13 million pounds ($17 million). Yet the 20-year-old forward is proving a bargain, settling in quickly to the pace and intensity of the Premier League and being one of the key factors in Watford's impressive start to the season that, at one stage, saw them challenging around the top four. Direct, skilful and quick, Richarlison already has five goals and keeps getting himself in great positions to score more, with his finishing sometimes letting him down. Opponents have cottoned on to his impact, with Richarlison telling ESPN Brazil this month: "Teams are already marking me individually, they are putting two players there on my side." Chelsea and Tottenham have been linked with the Brazil under-20s player, who has yet to earn a call-up to the senior squad. That appears only a matter of time. Other players to break through this season are Chelsea's Andreas Christensen, the Danish center back who has ousted David Luiz, and Liverpool's Joe Gomez, the right back who has ensured long-term injury absentee Nathaniel Clyne hasn't been missed. ___ SURPRISE TEAM An unfashionable club is mixing it with the heavyweights of the Premier League against all the odds. We've heard this before, right? Two years ago, it was Leicester delivering a soccer fairy tale by somehow winning the league. Now it's Burnley's turn to provide the feel-good story of the season. Widely regarded as a relegation candidate at the start of the season, Burnley is currently seventh. Don't rule Burnley out of staying in the tussle for the Champions League qualification places, with Liverpool only three points better off in fourth. The northwest team hasn't finished a season higher than sixth place in the top flight since 1974. Burnley, which has conceded just 15 goals in 19 games, has already beaten Chelsea away and drawn at Tottenham and Liverpool. Not bad for a team that returned a profit of about $20 million in summer player sales when most of the rest of the Premier League was spending freely. ___ POINTS TO PROVE Alexis Sanchez is a superstar performing well below expectations this season, perhaps as a result of failing to secure a move to Man City from Arsenal during the summer. That transfer could be revived in January — Guardiola cut an awkward figure recently when asked about making a new bid for the Chile forward — to potentially leave City with an even greater wealth of attacking riches. Sanchez has five league goals. By this stage last season, he had already scored 12 on his way to career-high haul of 24 for a single league campaign. In the dugout, these are testing times for two British managers: Alan Pardew and Mark Hughes. Pardew succeeded Tony Pulis a month ago with a mission to keep West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League. Then the Baggies were two points above the bottom three. Now they are next-from-bottom after collecting only two points from Pardew's first five games. Hughes' future appears on a knife-edge at Stoke despite a pressure-relieving victory over West Brom on Saturday that hauled the team three points from the danger zone......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 25th, 2017

Depleted Bolts get boost from Canaleta, new additions

No Ranidel de Ocampo meant no problem for Meralco when it made its season debut on Friday against Blackwater. Without the 36-year-old gunner as well as hardworking Cliff Hodge, the Bolts held their own to beat the Elite, 103-98, and start their campaign in the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup on a high. And for de Ocampo, a huge chunk of the credit should be given to Meralco's offseason acquisitions. "The reason why KG (Caaleta), (Mac) Baracael, and Jason Ballesteros are there is to help us. Everyone here help each other and I believe they are good additions for us," he said as he watched his team start the all-Filipino conference with a victory for the first time in three years. ...Keep on reading: Depleted Bolts get boost from Canaleta, new additions.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsDec 23rd, 2017

Jr. NBA Philippines 2018 to engange Pinoy youth and coaches nationwide

Jr. NBA PH press release MANILA, PHILIPPINES, Dec. 23, 2017 – Jr. NBA Philippines 2018 presented by Alaska will tip off Jan. 13 at Don Bosco Technical Institute in Makati and runs through May 2018 as part of the league’s effort to encourage youth basketball participation. This year’s program is set to reach more than 250,000 participants and 900 coaches across the country.  Online registration is open now at www.jrnba.asia/philippines. Jr. NBA, the league’s global youth basketball participation program for boys and girls, teaches the fundamental skills and core values of the game at the grassroots level in an effort to enhance the youth basketball experience for players, parents and coaches.  During the 2017-18 season, the NBA will reach more than 26 million youth in 71 countries through a variety of camps, clinics, skills challenges, league play and outreach events.   The program remains free and open to boys and girls ages 10-14 throughout its four stages: skills clinics in schools and communities, Regional Selection Camps, a National Training Camp and an NBA experience trip.  Since its launch in 2007, Jr. NBA clinics have been implemented in 110 cities and municipalities across the country and the 2018 program will return to key provinces including Agusan Del Norte, Batangas, Benguet, Cavite, Misamis Oriental, and Negros Occidental.  Regional Selection Camps will be held in Bacolod (Feb. 10-11), Butuan (Feb. 24-25), Baguio (March 17-18) and Metro Manila (April 7-8), with the top 37 boys and 37 girls advancing for the National Training Camp in Manila in May 2018, which will feature an NBA and WNBA player or legend.  The program will culminate with the selection of 16 Jr. NBA All-Stars, comprised of eight boys and eight girls, who will embark on an overseas NBA experience trip with fellow Jr. NBA All-Stars from Southeast Asia.  Prior editions of the Jr. NBA Philippines program have featured notable alumni including Aljon Mariano, Kobe Paras, Kiefer and Thirdy Ravena, Ricci Rivero, and Kai Sotto.  “For the past 10 years, Jr.  NBA Philippines has established itself as a platform to improve the youth basketball experience and promote an active and healthy lifestyle among the Filipino youth,” said NBA Philippines Managing Director Carlo Singson.  “Together with Alaska, we are committed to providing proper guidelines to how the game should be played and taught to more youth, coaches and parents in the country.” “As part of our long-standing partnership with the NBA, Alaska Milk Corporation is proud to play an active role in shaping the basketball players of tomorrow through good nutrition and proper life values,” said Alaska Milk Corporation Marketing Director Blen Fernando.  “We look forward to making a lasting impact on the lives of aspiring athletes on and off the court through the Jr. NBA program.” The 2018 edition of Jr. NBA Philippines will also include the Jr. NBA Coach of the Year program, led by Jr. NBA Head Coaches Carlos Barroca and Alaska Power Camp Coach Jeff Cariaso, to provide training for 14 Jr. NBA coaches during the National Training Camp, with two Jr. NBA Coaches of the Year awarded with an NBA experience trip.   Jr. NBA Philippines furthers the mission of Alaska Milk’s NUTRITION.ACTION.CHAMPION. program that highlights the nutritional benefits of milk, encourages physical activity through play, and instills values that are essential to becoming a champion.   AXA, CloudFone, Gatorade and Panasonic serve as Official Partners of the Jr. NBA in the Philippines, while Spalding is a Supporting Partner.  ABS-CBN Sports + Action, Basketball TV and NBA Premium TV are the Official NBA Broadcasters of the Jr. NBA in the Philippines.  Coaches and participants can now register the Jr. NBA program online at www.jrnba.asia/philippines, where the program terms and conditions can be found.  Fans can also follow Jr. NBA on Facebook and the NBA at www.nba.com and on Facebook and Twitter. To learn more about the Alaska Milk Corporation, visit www.alaskamilk.com and follow PlayPH at www.playph.com and on Facebook and Twitter. About the NBA The NBA is a global sports and media business built around four professional sports leagues: the National Basketball Association, the Women’s National Basketball Association, the NBA G League and the NBA 2K League, set to launch in May 2018.  The NBA has established a major international presence with games and programming in 215 countries and territories in 50 languages, and merchandise for sale in more than 125,000 stores in 100 countries on six continents.  NBA rosters at the start of the 2017-18 season featured 108 international players from a record 42 countries and territories.  NBA Digital’s assets include NBA TV, NBA.com, the NBA App and NBA League Pass.  The NBA has created one of the largest social media communities in the world, with 1.4 billion likes and followers globally across all league, team, and player platforms.  Through NBA Cares, the league addresses important social issues by working with internationally recognized youth-serving organizations that support education, youth and family development, and health-related causes. About Alaska Milk According to the 8th National Survey of FNRI and DOH (as of 2013), obesity is one of the most prevalent nutritional problems of Filipino children and adults, with about 5 out of 100 Filipino children being classified as overweight. Obesity can lead to different health problems like heart diseases and even diabetes at a young age, which could lead to serious health, economic and social implications later on in life. In line with Alaska Milk’s mission to bring affordable nutrition and a love of active play to every Filipino household, powering the Jr. NBA is a major part of Alaska’s “NUTRITION. ACTION. CHAMPION.” initiative. By highlighting milk’s nutritional benefits and encouraging children to go out and play, Alaska consistently works to instill the values Determination, Hard Work, Teamwork, Discipline and Sportsmanship in tomorrow’s champions......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 23rd, 2017