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PH Women’s Football team bows down to S. Korea, fails to qualify for World Cup

MANILA, Philippines – The World Cup wasn't meant for the Philippines this year. The Philippine Women's National Football team failed to clinch the 5th spot that could've catapulted it to the 2019 FIFA World Cup as it lost to South Korea, 0-5, on Monday, April 16 (Tuesday, Manila Time) at the ........»»

Category: newsSource: rappler rapplerApr 17th, 2018

For the Philippine Women s National Team, the road to the World Cup begins now

As the amazing high from the Philippine Azkals historic win over Tajikistan to book a slot in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup last week slowly simmers, the Philippine Women’s National Team embark on their own journey as the kick off their Women’s AFC Asian Cup campaign later this week. A day after the men took care of business against Tajikistan, the ladies were given a proper send-off as they head to Amman, Jordan with the hopes of also making even more Philippine football history. “I hope by next month, we will have ’The Miracle in Jordan’, where in we will compete in the World Cup,” Philippine Football Federation President Mariano ‘Nonong’ Araneta said during the send-off, referencing the Azkals’ win over Tajikistan being called ‘The Miracle in Manila.’ “I believe that we can do it. The coaches here told me that the team is well-prepared and we can pull some surprises in Jordan. I know that you will fight hard, you will play for the Philippines, and that’s our goal, is for football to be uplifted here in the Philippines, with your help.” Araneta added. In their eight previous appearances in the prestigious Asian tournament, the Filipinas have only managed up until the Group Stages. The last time that the Philippines made it to the tournament was way back in 2003.   How’d They Get There? Before we talk about what’s at stake, let’s first look back at how the Philippine women’s squad made their way into the the 2018 Women’s AFC Asian Cup. Part of a 21-team pool that was drawn in January of 2017, the Philippines found themselves in Group A of the Qualifying Tournament, along with AFC Cup host-nation Jordan, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Tajikistan, and Iraq. The Qualifying Tournament began in April, with the Philippines putting on an impressive outing and finishing with a 3 win - one loss - one draw record, which was good enough for second in Group A, behind Jordan. The second-place finish earned the Philippines a trip to the 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup.   Who Else Made It? The Philippines will be competing against seven other teams: JORDAN - Host Nation, 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup Qualifiers Group A Winners JAPAN - 2014 AFC Women’s Asian Cup Champions AUSTRALIA - 2014 AFC Women’s Asian Cup Runners-Up PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA - 2014 AFC Women’s Asian Cup Second Runners-Up SOUTH KOREA - 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup Qualifiers Group B Winners THAILAND - 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup Qualifiers Group C Winners VIETNAM - 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup Qualifiers Group D Winners   Of those eight qualified nations, China, Japan, Australia, and Thailand have all gone all the way and won the tournament. China has the most AFC Women’s Asian Cup titles with eight, while Japan, Australia, and Thailand all have one each.   What’s At Stake? A trip to France for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. That’s the dream, right there. To get there however, won’t be an easy road, as the Philippines will be facing some top-tier talent in their group alone. The eight teams have been split into two groups of four, and the Filipinas have been put in GROUP A, together with Jordan, China PR, and Thailand. To ensure qualification for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the Philippines will need at least a runner-up finish in the group. The last qualification spot will go to the winner of a fifth-place match between the second runners-up of each group.   The Glory As with any national football team, the ultimate dream is to play in the World Cup. With five teams from the Asian Cup set to earn qualification, this is the biggest chance that the Philippines has of making the premiere tournament for the first time in the nation’s history. For the Philippines, qualification not only puts the Philippines on the map in terms of Asian football, but it also cements their place in the history of the Women’s World Cup.   Schedule The Philippines’ Women’s Asian Cup campaign will be as follows: Philippines vs. Jordan - Saturday, April 7, 1:00 AM Manila Time Philippines vs. China PR - Monday, April 9, 9:45 PM Manila Time Philippines vs. Thailand - Thursday, April 12, 1:00 AM Manila Time.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 3rd, 2018

RP Blu Girls set sights on 2020 Tokyo Olympics

With the return of Softball in the upcoming 2020 Olympics, the Philippines is making a serious run to book a trip to Tokyo. The first step in qualifying for the 2020 Olympics is the 11th Asian Women Softball Championships next week in Taiwan where the RP Blu Girls will compete. Actually, not just compete. Our world no. 17 softball squad will go after a medal. However, it's not going to be easy though. Despite the Blu Girls being ranked fourth best in Asia, three Asian teams belong in the top 10 in the world. Japan is no. 1, China is no. 6, and Taipei is no. 9. All of them will also compete in the Taiwan tournament, not to mention the always-dangerous South Korea who are 26th in the world and fifth in Asia. Still, there is quiet confindence from the Blu Girls after a banner year. "Trying to look at it from the last Asian Games and the last tournaments that we have been playing, we have beaten top-10 teams. I think we can do it," head coach Venerando Dizer said. This year alone, the RP Blu Girls have scored impressive wins over world no. 3 Canada and world no. 4 Australia. The team also already beat Taipei twice. The Blue Girls will open the Asian Championships on November 28 against no. 1 Japan. "We're playing Japan right away, for me, I would rather play them right away so that at least from there, we can adjust to qualify for the playoffs," Dizer said. MISSION POSSIBLE: TOKYO OLYMPICS With the return of softball to the Summer Games, the primary goal for the Blu Girls is to nab one of the six spots available in the quadrennial showcase. And with a team that is described as the country's best in quite some time, the people behind the program are confident that the Blur Girls can make a serios run for it. "You can tell, that even from the 19-under level, our girls are getting ready to move up the world rankings. We are very, very happy to seee the potential of us being a Olympic-level team in the future," Amateur Softball Association of the Philippines (ASAPHIL) president Jean Henri Lhuillier said. "2020 is going to be tough with only six spots, but we're gonna try," he added. "That's the goal."   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 23rd, 2017

Thailand crushes PH Women’s Football team for semis, World Cup berth

MANILA, Philippines – The World Cup berth eluded Philippines once again.  The Philippine Women's National Football team suffered a heavy 3-1 loss to Thailand on Thursday, April 12 (Friday, Manila time) at the King Abdulla II Stadium in Amman, Jordan.  Jesse Shugg made the last ditch effort for the Philippines during injury ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsApr 12th, 2018

Philippine Azkals soar to highest ranking in history

Less than a month removed from their historic win over Tajikistan in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers to qualify for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, the Philippine Men's National Football Team made even more history, this time in terms of world rankings.  Coming from a 122nd ranking a month ago, the Azkals soared nine spots to 113th in the world, the highest ranking that the men's national squad has ever reached.  The previous record was at 115th in the world, which the Azkals reached back in May of 2016.  "We congratulate the Philippine Men's National Team for claiming their highest FIFA ranking to date at 113," said Philippine Football Federation President Mariano "Nonong" Araneta via the PFF's website. "The team's achievement is a fitting testament to how far Philippine football has improved in a short span and we hope that it will sustain."  More motivation for the Azkals as they get ready for their first-ever trip to the AFC Asian Cup in the United Aram Emirates in January of 2019.  Vietnam remains the top Southeast Asian nation at 103rd in the world, while Iran is the top-ranked nation in the Asian Football Confederation.  Germany remains as the top-ranked nation in the world, followed by Brazil, Belgium, Portugal, and Argentina. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 12th, 2018

China secures World Cup berth in domination over PH

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Women's National Football team fell to Group A leader China, 3-0, on Monday, April 9, at the King Abdullah II Stadium in Amman, Jordan.  China secures a 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup qualification for the 7th time as it stood on top with a 2-0-0 record ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsApr 9th, 2018

Cocolife weathers Silva s 56-point explosion

Games Tuesday: (Filoil Flying V Centre) 4:15 p.m. – Petron vs Cocolife 7:00 p.m. – F2 Logistics vs Foton   BATANGAS CITY --- Cocolife survived Smart’s Cuban reinforcement Gigi Silva’s 56 points to secure a quarterfinals twice-to-beat advantage after a hard-fought, 25-23, 25-21, 27-29, 19-25, 16-14, win Saturday in the 2018 Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix Saturday at the Batangas City Sports Center here. The Asset Managers improved to 6-3 win-loss record while handing the Giga Hitters their ninth loss in as many outings.    Serbian import Sara Klisura finished with 35 points for Cocolife while American reinforcement Taylor Milton had 20 markers. Silva pounded 53 kills and had three aces in a lost cause but landed her name in the fourth spot in the women’s world scoring record behind Polina Rahimova of Azerbaijan’s 58 points in 2015 while playing in Japan, American Madison Kingdon’s 57 (2017 Korea Volleyball League) and Bulgarian Elitsa Vasileva’s 57 (2013 Korea Volleyball League).  Silva also surpassed the 55 points of Americans Nicole Fawcett (2013 KVL) and Alaina Bergsma, who led Petron to the 2014 PSL Grand Prix crown, (2016 KVL).           Meanwhile, Foton uncorked a strong finishing kick to complete a masterful 25-21, 25-17, 21-25, 25-20 victory over Generika-Ayala. American import Channon Thompson and Dindin Manabat delivered the crucial blows to spearhead the Tornadoes to this impressive win that gave them a twice-to-beat edge in the quarterfinals. Petron and F2 Logistics, who both fashion an 8-1 card, clinched the first two quarterfinal incentives. A mid-conference replacement to American Brooke Kranda, Thompson flaunted her scoring prowess as she tallied 20 kills, six aces and a block for 27 points while Manabat chipped in 10 kills, three blocks and an ace for 14 points to star for the Tornadoes, who notched their fifth win in nine matches. Also making her presence felt was Canadian import Elizabeth Wendel, who punched 12 hits, while Serbian Katarina Vukamanovic shone in the backline with 17 of the Tornadoes’ 47 excellent digs. Pulling off an impressive win, however, didn’t come easy. After cruising to easy victories in the first two sets, the Tornadoes found themselves in trouble as Darlene Ramdin of Trinidad and Tobago and American Symone Hayden discovered their groove before watching them fall into a maze of errors in the crucial stretch of the third set. Ramdin, who played with Thompson in the Trinidad and Tobago national team, continued her inspired performance as the Lifesavers forged a 7-7 knot before the first technical timeout of the fourth set. But after the 19-all count, Thompson and Manabat sparked a spiking spree to out the Tornadoes at match point, 24-19. Although Manabat committed a service error in the ensuing play, Foton couldn’t be denied as Hayden’s attack went long for the final count. Ramdin delivered 21 hits while Hayden had 13 points for the Lifesavers, who will enter into their final game of the classifications with a 2-7 mark......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 7th, 2018

Meet the Malditas: See who’s wearing the Philippines’ colors at the Women’s AFC Asian Cup in Jordan

As the Philippine Women’s National Team begins their quest for a first-ever FIFA Women’s World Cup berth by going through the 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup, we thought it would be proper to get to know at least a bit about the 23 ladies that will be representing the country in Amman, Jordan.   Patrice Impelido - Captain/Midfielder Captaining the Malditas will be 30-year old Patrice Impelido. The Sydney, Australia-born midfielder played collegiate football in Western Michigan and had her first call-up to the national squad in 2005, and has appeared in 28 matches for the country.   Tahnai Annis - Co-Captain/Midfielder Tahnai Annis will be sharing captain duties with Impelido as they try to lead the Malditas to a 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup berth. The 28-year old Annis played for the University of Florida in college and played professionally in Iceland for Thor.   Inna Palacios - Goalkeeper A familiar name among UAAP women’s football fans, Inna Palacios was the defensive anchor for the DLSU women’s football team from 2013 to 2017. A two-time UAAP Beast Goalkeeper, Palacios ended her UAAP career on the highest of high notes: with UAAP championship and her lone collegiate goal. GOAL DLSU! Palacios seals the match for La Salle! #UAAPSeason79 pic.twitter.com/vblv7OmaLC — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) May 7, 2017 Palacios made her women’s national team debut back in 2012.   Kearra Bastes-Jones - Goalkeeper Kearra Bastes-Jones is a junior out of Bishop Amat High School in California, and was recently named to the 2018 San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, Whittier Daily News Girls Soccer All-Area First Team.   Stacey Cavill - Goalkeeper 24-year old Fil-Aussie Stacey Cavill plays for the Perth-based Beckenham Angels, and played for Northern University in the collegiate ranks. The six-foot-tall keeper has been playing football since the tender age of 5.   Claire Lim - Defender 21-year old Claire Lim is currently a senior in UC Santa Cruz, where she’s also the captain of the Women’s Soccer team. Based in Piedmont, California, Lim was a decorated football player during her time in Piedmont High, before becoming a two-time Defender of the Year in College.   Alesa Dolino - Defender Another homegrown talent from the UAAP ranks, Alesa Dolino is a decorated product of the FEU system, instrumental in helping the Lady Tamaraws to a three-peat. In UAAP Season 77, Dolino capped off a magical season with a championship, an MVP trophy, as well as Best Defender and Best Striker honors.    Krystal De Ramos - Midfielder Also a decorated player during her youth career, US-based Filipina Krystal de Ramos was named to a number of all-tournament teams as well as earning a handful of championships and MVP honors. The 21-year old is currently a member of the Portland State University women’s football team. She made her National Team debut back in 2016 and has appeared in three matches for the Philippines.   Hali Long - Defender   23-year old Hali Long was a pivotal part in the Malditas’ AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers run, scoring four of her five international goals in just two matches. The Missouri-based Fil-American played her college career for the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, playing four seasons with the Trojans.   Morgan Brown - Defender A defensive ace during her high school days, Morgan Brown made her international football debut back in 2013 as part of the 2014 Asian Cup qualifiers squad. The same year, Brown was one of the top women’s football recruits at the Santa Clara University in California.   Cam Rodriguez - Striker A star striker for the Ateneo de Manila Lady Eagles back in her college days, Cam Rodriguez earned Best Striker honors in UAAP Season 77 and Mythical XI honors in her senior year. In 2011, at just 14 years old, Rodriguez made her National Team debut and scored her first goal in the AFF Women’s Championships. In 2017, after taking time off to focus on her education, Rodriguez returned to the National Team in the 2017 Southeast Asian Games.   Marisa Park - Midfielder Wake Forest University product Marisa Park helped lead her Demon Deacons to the ACC Championship in 2010, in the same year that she was named as part of the ACC All-Tournament team. The 26-year old made her Malditas debut back in 2013 for the 2014 AFC Women’s Asian Cup Qualifiers.   Jesse Shugg - Forward Fil-Canadian Jesse Shugg finished her collegiate career in the University of Miami, before making her professional debut for KW United in the USL W-League in Canada. Shugg is currently signed to Icelandic club Fylkir. The 25-year old has appeared for the Philippine Women’s National Team eight times since her international debut back in 2014.   Caitlyn Kreutz - Forward California native Caitlyn Kreutz has left an impact in every level she’s played on. From gathering individual honors in High School to earning All-Tournament teams in her two years with Cal Poly, the 21-year old is now wrapping her collegiate career up at UNLV, where she’s started in all 20 matches she’s played so far. Kreutz made her Malditas debut back in 2016 as part of the AFF Championships squad.   Ryley Bugay - Midfielder Currently a junior at Marquette University, Ryley Bugay led her Golden Eagles Women’s Soccer team in minutes played, also earning Defensive MVP honors on the Marquette Invitational Team. Her younger sister Sammi has also recently signed with Marquette.   Leah Larot - Forward A graduate of Sacramento State University, Leah Larot capped off her senior season with an All-Conference First Team nod, as well as the Golden Boot after scoring ten goals in the season.   Sara Castañeda - Midfielder A UAAP Rookie of the Year, Best Midfielder and UAAP Champion, Sara Castañeda was one of the integral parts of the Lady Archers’ championship run in UAAP Season 79 and established herself as a key player for DLSU in just her sophomore season. The 21-year old has also had stints in the U-16 and U-19 teams before making her senior National Team debut back in 2015.   Alexa Diaz - Defender Washington-based Alexa Diaz played collegiate football for Seattle Pacific University. The 24-year old made her Malditas debut in the 2013 Southeast Asian Games.   Calah Simarago - Defender 22-year old Cali-based Calah Simarago is a senior at UC Santa Barbara, where she plays for the Gauchos Women’s Soccer team.   Quinley Quezada - Midfielder Rosemead, California’s Quinley Quezada is currently a junior at UC Riverside and is coming off a 2017 season that saw her start in 17 of 20 matches played. Quezada becomes the first member of the UC Riverside Women’s Soccer program history to be called up to a senior World Cup Qualifying roster.   Jessica Miclat - Midfielder 19- year old UC Irvine sophomore Jessica Miclat is one of the youngest players on the team, but has a ton of experience under her belt, having been part of the USA U-18 training camp, as well as training stints with the Philippine U-16 and U-19 teams.   Chalise Baysa - Defender The most senior member of the team, 37-year old Chalise Baysa played her collegiate career at the University of Oregon, where she’s in the history books as the third all-time leading scorer with 31 goals. In the professional ranks, Baysa played for the Seattle Sounders Women. She made her Philippine Team debut back in 2013.   Sarina Bolden - Midfielder 22-year old Sarina Bolden is a junior at Loyola Marymount University, where as a sophomore, she was one of five players to start in all 19 matches. The Milipitas native led LMU with six goals in 2016    .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 6th, 2018

Jesse Lingard s goal gives England 1-0 win over Netherlands

By Mike Corder, Associated Press AMSTERDAM (AP) — Jesse Lingard scored his first international goal as England beat the Netherlands 1-0 Friday in a friendly that proved Gareth Southgate's team can win without striker Harry Kane. Lingard opened his England account in his ninth international, firing low into the corner past the despairing dive of Jeroen Zoet in the 59th minute after a cross from the left had rebounded to him off a Dutch defender. It was a deserved victory for England, which looked quicker and more dangerous than the Dutch going forward, even without injured captain Kane, and solid at the back. "I was pleased. I knew we would have pace and energy in the team but I was really, really pleased with the composure," Southgate said. "At times a little more quality in the final third was needed." The match at the Amsterdam Arena was a World Cup tune-up for England, while it marked the start of a rebuilding process for new Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman, who took over the reins after the Dutch failed to qualify for the tournament in Russia. "We were well organized in defense, generally didn't give away many chances, but we didn't create many either," Koeman said. While the Netherlands was largely impotent in front of goal, Southgate showed his squad's strength when he was able to replace Lingard, Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford midway through the second half with Dele Alli, Danny Welbeck and Jamie Vardy. "We are playing England and you see the difference in quality," Koeman said. England plays Italy on Tuesday at Wembley in its last friendly before Southgate names his World Cup squad. With Kane missing, Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson led his team, while his club teammate Virgil van Dijk wore the Dutch captain's armband for the first time in his international career. Southgate's starting forward lineup of Sterling and Manchester United teammates Lingard and Rashford had only four goals between them in their previous internationals and they rarely threatened to add to that tally before the break despite Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's strong runs from midfield. Southgate said he was pleased with individual performances, but also with the fact his team looked like it was having fun. "I think probably most pleasing (was) the players looked like they enjoyed their football tonight," he said. "They enjoyed the ball." England suffered an early setback when Liverpool defender Joe Gomez limped off with a left ankle injury after just five minutes. Henderson came closest to opening England's account before the break when his flicked header from a Kieran Trippier free kick drifted just wide of Zoet's far post in the 32nd minute. Five minutes later, Zoet sprinted well out of his area for a sliding tackle to deny Sterling a chance. Bas Dost and Memphis Depay had the best Dutch chances, with Dost heading over from close range in the first half and Depay shooting straight at Pickford at the end of the first half and again late in the second half from a free kick. Police arrested some 90 England fans before the match for public order offenses mostly around the narrow cobbled streets of Amsterdam's Red Light District and some of the England fans booed during the Dutch national anthem. "It is not something I want to hear," Southgate said. "Our players have represented their country really well tonight, with pride and with some style, so anything else that takes away from that performance for them would be a great shame.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 24th, 2018

Height, speed are keys for Kai Sotto and Batang Gilas in FIBA Asian Championships

The Philippine youth team bannered by promising big man Kai Sotto,will bank on height and speed for its coming campaign in the FIBA U16 Asian Championships in Foshan, China from April 2-8. The 15-year-old Sotto, who recently led Ateneo to the UAAP juniors basketball championship, serves as the centerpiece of the 12-man team of coach Michael Oliver which also counts on Rafael Go, Raven Cortez, McLaude Guadana, Terrence Fortea, Recaredo Christian Calimag, Rence Padrigao,, and Shaun Geofrrey Chiu – all of whom suited up for the Batang Gilas squad that won the Southeast Asian Basketball Association (SEABA) juniors championship held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum last year. Newcomers include Jerick Kyle Bautista, Joshua Rafael Lazaro, Yukien Andrada, and King Balaga. “We have a combination of height and speed. At least hindi na tayo kawawa sa ilalim unlike before. Hindi na tayo undersized sa mga kalaban natin,” said Oliver. Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) executive director Sonny Barrios, who, was with Oliver and Batang Gilas co-team manager Andrew Teh and Wilbert Loa in Tuesday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum at the Tapa King Restaurant at the Farmers Center in Cubao, said seven Batang Gilas players are above six feet, including Sotto who stands 7-foot-1, Chiu, who is 6-foot-8, and Cortez at 6-foot-7. Chiu and McLaude joined the team together with deputy coach MC Abolucion in the session presented by San Miguel Corp., Tapa King, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. The country is bracketed in Group B with powerhouse Australia and Malaysia. The host country leads Group A together with New Zealand and Hong Kong, Group C will have Iran, Chinese Taipei, and Macau, while Group D is composed of Korea, Japan, Lebanon, and India. In all, 13 countries are seeing action in the week-long event. Barrios said the meet was supposed to be held last year shortly after the SEABA meet, but had to be moved to this year as FIBA failed to find a willing host. The top four countries to finish in the meet will represent Asia to the FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup in Argentina next year. As per tournament format, the best placed team in each group will qualify directly to the knockout stage starting with the quarterfinals. The second and third place teams will proceed to the playoff round. It won’t be easy, according to Oliver, since the team didn’t get to practice with a full roster until after the end of the UAAP season. “Naghahabol talaga kami sa training. Daily practices kami as much as possible,” said the Batang Gilas coach......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 20th, 2018

ONE Championship: Aung La N Sang stops Alexandre Machado to become two-divison champion

23 February 2018 – Yangon, Myanmar: The largest global sports media property in Asian history, ONE Championship™ (ONE), had another memorable and historic evening in Yangon as the capacity crowd at the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium witnessed an amazing display of heart-pounding martial arts action. ONE: QUEST FOR GOLD featured a series of compelling bouts, punctuated by an unforgettable championship clash that left fans on the edge of their seats. In the main event, hometown hero “The Burmese Python” Aung La N Sang scored a quick knockout victory over Alexandre Machado to win the vacant ONE Light Heavyweight World Championship and the GoDaddy Knockout of the Night. In the main event of ONE: QUEST FOR GOLD, “The Burmese Python” Aung La N Sang added yet another accolade to his glowing repertoire of awards as a global martial arts superstar, copping the vacant ONE Light Heavyweight World Championship with a knockout victory over Brazil’s Alexandre Machado. Aung La N Sang got the job done in just 56 seconds, knocking out Machado with a thunderous high kick. With his remarkable conquest of Machado, Aung La N Sang now has both the ONE Middleweight World Championship and ONE Light Heavyweight World Championship titles in his possession. Aung La N Sang, newly-minted ONE Light Heavyweight Champion, stated: “Life is short, we have to make it count. One thing is for sure Myanmar, when we’re united, nothing can stop us. That head kick is what we’ve been working on. I want to thank everyone that helped me out to get here. I’m in here by myself, but this is a team sport. If we’re united and we’re together, we can do anything. I want to be the best and I want to defend these two belts. I’m not just going to hold them and leave.” In the co-main event of the evening, former world title challenger Ev “E.T.” Ting turned in an outstanding performance by routing Costa Rican martial artist Ariel Sexton, solidifying his position once again as a top contender in ONE Championship’s stacked lightweight division. Opening up the three-round contest by taking the action right to Sexton, Ting connected on a series of fast and powerful strikes, pushing his opponent back up against the cage. In the second round, Ting continued to blast Sexton with serious firepower, featuring his best striking combinations. Sexton tried to change the complexion of the bout in the third round, fishing for a finish with a flying knee and a submission attempt. Ting did just enough to pull away slightly in the third after a gruelling match, and came out victorious via split decision. Local martial arts superstar Phoe “Bushido” Thaw turned in a spectacular performance, stopping Cambodian opponent Sor Sey with an emphatic push kick to the face in the very first round. Thaw, a lethwei practitioner, traded explosive strikes with Sor, a khun khmer specialist, right at the center of the cage. When a left hand staggered Sor along the fence, Thaw capitalized on the opening and abruptly ended matters with his next kick. The official finish came at 1:53 minutes of round one, sending the packed Yangon crowd at the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium into a frenzy. In a much-awaited encounter of ONE Championship’s highly-skilled knockout artists, Timofey Nastyukhin emerged triumphant, claiming a unanimous decision victory over Singaporean Muay Thai champion Amir Khan. Nastyukhin exhibited stellar form from the get-go, bombarding Khan with strong overhand rights while looking for the opening to deliver his lethal left hook. Leaning on his heavy hands to overwhelm Khan’s precision striking, Nastykuhin gallantly pushed forward as he threatened to end matters with a flying knee and stifled his opponent with harrowing punches. Nastyukhin punctuated the marquee match-up by outstriking Khan in the third frame, earning an undivided nod from all three judges at cageside. The highly-anticipated bantamweight contest between Japan’s Daichi Takenaka and South Korea’s Dae Hwan Kim ended in a disqualification. After Takenaka took Kim’s back in a standing body triangle, securing a rear naked choke, Kim reacted by spiking Takenaka on his head, which is a prohibited maneuver. The match resulted in a victory for Takenaka, who wins by disqualification. In an intense striking showcase, Myanmar’s Ye Thway Ne and Saw Min Min, two former lethwei practitioners, battled each other in a tremendous three-round war to the delight of a raucous crowd enjoying all the action. The two traded their best offense at the center of the ONE Championship cage for 15 minutes in one of the most exciting striking battles of the evening. In the end, it was two-time Gold Belt Champion Ye Thway Ne who scored the hard-earned victory, winning by split decision by keeping Saw Min Min on the defensive for the majority of the contest. Chinese martial arts ace Li Kai Wen placed himself back on the winning track in emphatic fashion, submitting promotional newcomer Roel Rosauro of the Philippines in just 43 seconds. In an impressive display of ferociousness, Li tagged Rosauro repeatedly with thudding strikes, which eventually sent Rosauro crashing to the canvas. As Rosauro struggled to return to his feet, Li quickly secured dominant top position to wrench his Filipino foe’s neck with a guillotine choke, snaring his first submission victory inside the ONE Championship cage. Indonesian wushu champion Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaol impressed the crowd with a modified armbar submission of Krisna Limbaga in a female atomweight contest. After taking Limbaga down to the ground and keeping her opponent ineffective on the mat, Lumban Gaol used her legs to execute a straight armbar that forced the tap with less than a minute to go in the first round. Kicking off ONE: QUEST FOR GOLD were female atomweights from Myanmar. Former two-time Myanmar National Boxing Champion Bozhena Antoniyar made quick work of opponent Shwe Sin in a great performance to start her ONE Championship career. At the opening bell, Antoniyar wasted no time in bringing Sin down to the mat swiftly and finished things off with ground-and-pound to score the fastest knockout in ONE women’s atomweight history. Official results for ONE: QUEST FOR GOLD ONE Light Heavyweight World Championship bout: Aung La N Sang defeats Alexandre Machado by Knockout (KO) at 0:56 minutes of round 1 Lightweight bout: Ev Ting defeats Ariel Sexton by Split Decision (UD) after 3 rounds Featherweight bout: Phoe Thaw defeats Sor Sey by TKO (Strikes) at 1:53 minutes of round 1 Lightweight bout: Timofey Nastyukhin defeats Amir Khan by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds Bantamweight bout: Daichi Takenaka defeats Dae Hwan Kim by Disqualification (DQ) Flyweight bout: Ye Thway Ne defeats Saw Min Min by Split Decision (SD) after 3 rounds Featherweight bout: Li Kai Wen defeats Roel Rosauro by Submission (Guillotine Choke) at 0:43 minutes of round 1 Women’s atomweight bout: Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaol defeats Krisna Limbaga by Submission (Armbar) at 4:05 minutes of round 1 Women’s atomweight bout: Bozhena Antoniyar defeats Shwe Sin by TKO (Strikes) at 0:24 minutes of round 1.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 23rd, 2018

Koreas combined women s hockey team debuts in friendly

By Kim Tong-Hyung, Associated Press INCHEON, South Korea (AP) — Wearing a powder-blue logo of a map symbolizing peace between the Koreas, the most talked-about team at this year's Olympics finally saw game action Sunday in a friendly that drew thousands of spectators in a country that never previously showed much passion for ice hockey. The North and South Korean women's hockey players, who only began practicing together about a week ago as a combined team, showed plenty of fight in their first competitive test, crashing the boards and throwing their bodies to stop pucks and opponents, but never really threatened in a 3-1 loss to world No. 5 Sweden in Incheon, South Korea. The Koreans will play Sweden again on Feb. 12 during the Olympic tournament. But the outcome didn't seem to matter to the capacity crowd of 3,000 at the Seonhak International Ice Rink. Fans waved miniature white-and-blue flags showing a unified Korean Peninsula — the same mark on the players' uniforms — and chanted "We are one" while screaming whenever the Koreans got on the break. The arena thunderously erupted when South Korean forward Park Jong-ah cut the deficit to 2-1 during the first period. The Korean players stood to the Korean traditional tune of "Arirang" at the start of the game, instead of their respective national anthems, and received warm applause as they left the arena after the contest. "I think that the North Korean players played really well — this is one of the biggest crowds they played in front of," said Sarah Murray, the joint team's Canadian head coach. "Being added 12 days ago and not getting to practice together all that much, they played our system pretty well, so I am proud of them." The team's North Korean coach, Pak Chol Ho, said the Koreas "can do anything if they do things as one." He left the postgame news conference without taking questions. The joint Koreas team highlights a series of conciliatory measures the war-separated rivals took for the Pyeongchang games, which South Korea sees as an opportunity to revive meaningful communication with North Korea following an extended period of animosity and diplomatic stalemate over the North's nuclear program. The Olympics begin Friday, with Pyeongchang, a relatively small South Korean ski resort town, hosting the skiing, snowboarding and sliding events, and Gangneung, a coastal city about an hour's drive away, hosting the hockey, skating and curling events. North Korea plans to send hundreds of people to the games, including athletes, officials, artists and a 230-member cheering group. Skeptics think the country is trying to use the games to weaken U.S.-led sanctions and pressure and buy more time to advance its nuclear weapons and missiles arsenal. The decision to create the joint hockey team, which wasn't reached until January, triggered heated debate in South Korea, where many people thought the South Korean players were being unfairly asked to sacrifice playing time to their North Korean teammates, who are seen as less skilled and experienced. Murray, who coached South Korea before taking over the combined team, had also expressed concerns over team chemistry. Sunday's friendly was Murray's only opportunity to experiment with potential lineups in game situations before the start of the Olympics. She previously said the North Koreans' hard-hitting style would be suited for her fourth line, a group of players asked to provide physical play in short bursts while giving their teammates with greater scoring responsibilities a chance to rest. But after seeing them in practice and now in game action, she sees potentially bigger roles for some of the North Koreans, including Jong Su Hyon, a forward who Murray says has broken onto her second line. "They are eager to learn and get better," Murray said about the North Koreans. "We have been having team meetings with them and they ask so many questions. The meeting's supposed to be 15 minutes, and an hour later we are still talking and we are still watching video." The Korean players, at least on the surface, appear to be getting along. They arrived at the arena Sunday relaxed and playful, stretching and jumping in the hallway to get loose before gathering in a scrum and shouting "Team Korea!" Seven of the players later formed a circle and started kicking around a rubber ball, giggling whenever the ball bounced away from them. Amid a heavy police presence, hundreds of supporters began gathering outside the stadium hours before the game despite the icy weather, including dozens who danced to music in matching white parkas and hoodies with the peninsula logo and shouted "Win, Korea!" "I don't even care about the results, I just want to cheer for them and see them work together and help each other out on the ice," said Kim Hye-ryeon, 42, who brought her two children, 8 and 6, to the game. Kim Won-jin, a 33-year-old who made a several-hour trip to the game with his wife and 3 1/2-year-old son from the city of Daejeon, hoped the Korean players had overcome any uneasiness they may have had over the distribution of playing time. "If we ever get unified again, these young players of the South and North will be able to look back and be proud that what they did contributed to a historic change," he said. Not everyone was happy. Across the street from the arena, dozens of anti-Pyongyang activists glumly waved South Korean and U.S. flags to denounce what they said had become the "Pyongyang Olympics." They roared as one of the protesters ripped the banner of the peninsula logo atop a van......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 5th, 2018

Warriors keep evolving in rivalry with Cavs

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com CLEVELAND -- You might expect, given the familiarity from what’s gone on for four years now, that the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers have worked up some serious mutual contempt. They both covet what the other wants -- in fact, the Warriors or the Cavs could make a persuasive case that, if not for the other guys, one already would have notched a three-peat and be chasing Bill Russell’s Celtics in pursuit of a fourth consecutive championship. They both have poured buckets of blood, sweat, tears, money, Gatorade and offseason counter moves into their nouveau NBA rivalry. And they both, well, as Golden State coach Steve Kerr phrased it to the San Jose Mercury News Sunday (Monday, PHL time), “We just want to kick each other’s ass.” And yet the Warriors and the Cavaliers -- who play again Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) at Quicken Loans Arena in the NBA’s prime-time MLK showdown -- have more in common with each other than they do with any of the league’s other 28 teams. Playing 100 games or so every year. Locking in mentally and surviving physically longer than anyone else. Showing up each night targeted as a measuring stick, even a season maker, by the opponents. While trying like heck to keep things fresh. Renew. Find and tap into a new source of energy, because old ones wane over time. “It’s the biggest challenge of this whole season,” Kerr told NBA.com late last week, with the Warriors starting a back-to-back in Milwaukee and Toronto on their way back to The Land. Even if it were possible -- and it realistically is not, given free agency, injuries, trades, the salary cap, luxury taxes, hirings and firings each NBA offseason -- playing a pat hand from one championship-level season to the next isn’t desirable. Voices, locker rooms, relationships get stale. Rivals adjust and escalate in the arms race. Some players ebb in the pecking order, others flow. It’s important to inject new faces, add skills and even find fresh themes to fend off monotony, even boredom, through the 82-game slogs. The Warriors, in winning 20 of 23 games over the past seven weeks, largely have managed to do that. The Cavaliers, at 26-15 after 2-7 stretch that started at Golden State on Christmas (Dec. 26, PHL time)? Not so much. Golden State shifts gears after each season It’s easy to think of Golden State’s success since Kerr’s hiring before the 2014-15 season as one uninterrupted run of excellence. Three-pointers, “death lineups,” and the rest. But the differences from one year to the next have been fairly pronounced. “In Year 1, we were trying to prove ourselves to the world,” Kerr said. “Then we win the championship -- it was all so fresh. There were no letdowns at all that year. It was the most exciting, it was the most energized, it was the most refreshing. It was brand new to all of us. It felt like we were riding this wave all year -- we were all giddy, like, ‘Oh my God, we’re really good!’ We didn’t know we could be like that. And for me, it was my first year coaching.” Steph Curry won his first MVP award. He and Klay Thompson generated considerable conversation about the best shooting backcourts in league history. Draymond Green forever changed the old NBA notion of “’tweeners.” The Warriors finished 67-15, ranked second in the league in offense (111.6) and first in defense (101.4) and beat Cleveland in the Finals in six games. “It was maybe like the first stages when you fall in love,” Kerr said. “You’re just on Cloud 9 and she can’t do anything wrong. There’s infatuation and then you truly fall in love, and it’s amazing. “The second year, we sort of rode that wave of euphoria of being the best team in the league and having won the title. The next thing you know, we’re 24-0 and we’ve got a chance to set an all-time record. That 73-win mark carried us all year. We were going to prove that, not only were we the champs but we were one of the best teams ever.” The Warriors were -- by regular season standards. Curry won his second MVP award. Kerr missed the first 43 games due to health issues but assistant coach Luke Walton steered them to a 39-4 mark. They bought into the chase for 73 victories fairly late, but instead of a 16-5 playoff run like the previous spring’s, the Warriors went 15-9 -- coming up one victory short when the Cavaliers became the first team to claw back from a 3-1 deficit. That led directly to Golden State’s next new wrinkle, a reconfiguration that came close to buckling the league’s knees. “We got KD,” Kerr said. “Now we’re changing our team, right? Last year was about incorporating KD, welcoming this incredible player into our organization and our roster. Figuring how to do it, how we were going to adjust. I felt like there were times last year that were tiring, where our guys were done a little bit. But it was ‘new’ again.” Even the challenges were fresh, like counting Curry’s or Klay Thompson’s touches relative to Durant’s or closing ranks around Golden State’s thin man as his reputation took blows for the first time in his NBA career. Not interested in shooting for 74 victories, the Warriors simply took care of business and stayed coiled for the postseason. Then it was a 16-1 dash to title No. 2, Durant snagging the Finals MVP trophy after the five-game dispatching of the Cavs. All of which just set the Warriors’ bar higher, requiring them to search for something new, somebody borrowed, presumably nothing blue. “This year it’s just survive and advance,” Kerr said. “It’s ‘let’s get to April, May, June in one piece.’ There’s a reason we’ve lost six home games already. We don’t have the driving force that we had the last few years. We’re dealing with what any team in NBA history that’s tried to do this has dealt with. The Lakers (1982-85), the Celtics (1984-87, 1957-66)... It’s just really hard and you need that driving force.” Said Warriors vet Andre Iguodala: “Your body is mindful of it, because it hurts.” A couple of young guys -- Patrick McCaw, Kevon Looney -- have taken on bigger roles. Nick Young brings some sort of buzz into any locker room that will have him. Still, as veteran guard Shaun Livingston said: “We’re not chasing any records. We’re not adding another All Star. We’re just trying to make it through the marathon.” Cavs' challenges mount during 2017-18 The Cavaliers are just trying to make it through the marathon, too. But if they could, they might do it like Rosie Ruiz, the 1980 women’s “winner” of the Boston Marathon who perpetrated a hoax by hopping the subway and running only the final mile of Beantown’s famous race. The 2017-18 has been anything but fun for Cleveland so far. It began with the departure of All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, a not-so-funhouse mirror image of Durant’s arrival a year earlier in the Bay Area. Irving, for reasons still not quite explained, made it known in the offseason that he wanted out. He wanted to be the man on his own team. Or he didn’t want to be left in the lurch if (when?) LeBron James took his talents elsewhere again. Or both. Or neither. Regardless, once the Cavaliers made his request come true by dealing him to Boston for All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas and Brooklyn’s coveted first-round pick this June, their task got tougher and their season longer. Losing one of the league’s best ball handlers and shot makers doesn’t qualify as “renewal” any more than what went on in Oklahoma City when Durant packed up. There’s been more. Shooting guard J.R. Smith seemingly got old overnight. Jae Crowder, who came from the Celtics in the Irving deal, hasn’t meshed with the Cavs’ style. Kevin Love has been moved to center but hasn’t done anything to satisfy the Cavs’ need for rim protection. Thomas only returned to action from a hip injury as the calendar turned to 2018 and has played only four games in these two weeks. Even with so many new faces -- seven of the top 12 in coach Tyronn Lue’s rotation weren’t here 12 months ago -- it’s a group heavy on veterans, players a little too established or mature to naturally instill raw energy. James said recently that none of this is new, it’s another case of the Cavs biding their time for the “second” season that means everything. But Lue also introduced the topic of “agendas,” suggesting that some of his guys were looking out for their own responsibilities and performances -- particularly on defense -- rather than the group’s. At best, this is another dose of the midseason blahs, the Cavs in their doldrums in need of an All-Star break. At worst, though, they might be honing some bad habits that won’t be so easy to break in May or June. Especially if East rivals such as Toronto, Boston or Washington are emboldened after witnessing or administering some of the Cavs’ more embarrassing beat downs this season. Will any of this matter come spring? It will if the switch each team is minding stubbornly decides not to flip. “That’s the key. You’ve got to find that balance,” Kerr said. “Are you flipping the switch or are you navigating? The idea is, don’t let bad habits slip in. Right now, this moment, we’re into some bad habits. Our defensive efforts  the last five, six games [before the weekend] were awful. We got away with it because Steph was going nuts.” The Cavaliers repeatedly have not gotten away with bad defensive habits, even on nights when James has been dominant. “It’s tough,” Livingston said. “They’re a team that’s built for the playoffs. But our core guys still are in there prime. Their core guys are still good. But we’re talking about ‘prime.’” Most still would pick both Golden State and Cleveland to advance all the way to a “Finals Four” (after last year’s “Rubber Match” series). But one of these years, most will be wrong -- about one or both. That alone might be motivation enough. Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 15th, 2018

We’ll get to see ‘world-class talent’ in UAAP 80, courtesy of DLSU’s Dawn Macandili

De La Salle University’s 5-foot libero has been a key cog in the Lady Spikers’ back-to-back championships. With her “buwis-buhay” saves that are both effective, and highly entertaining to watch, it’s no surprise that she landed as spot with the Philippine team who competed in the AVC Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship and in the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games last 2017. That’s when the Macandili, who earned the nickname “Ms. Everywhere” was also dubbed as a “world-class talent” after all her efforts against Asian powerhouse teams like Vietnam. Kazakhstan, South Korea, and Thailand. More than the monicker, she was also rewarded with the historic 2nd Best Libero award in the prestigious Asian tournament that proved Filipinos could indeed stand tall against taller competition. Less than a month before the UAAP season 80 volleyball tournament tips off on February 3, let’s all revisit the best, most jaw-dropping saves by Dawn Macandili of the three-peat seeking Lady Spikers! Check out the TOP 10 "Buwis-buhay" saves by Miss Everywhere, Dawn Macandili! #UAAPSeason79 pic.twitter.com/RVPUebeDLB — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) April 20, 2017.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated 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

HEADS UP: 10 sporting events to watch out for in 2018

2017 has come and gone, and it delivered some exciting sporting moments that has every sports fan clamoring for more. Worry not, though, as 2018 looks primed to satisfy even the most die-hard Pinoy sports aficionado with its bevy of local and international sporting events. Let's welcome the upcoming year with 10 of the most exciting sporting events to watch out for this 2018.   NCAA 93 & UAAP 80 VOLLEYBALL The cagers are out, and the spikers are in. Volleyball season begins this January 4 with NCAA season 93, followed by the 81st season of the UAAP this February. NCAA volleybelles are once again ready to take center court, and the defending women's champion Arellano University Lady Chiefs, led by heavy hitters Jovie Prado and Regine Arocha are banking on their undisputed team play to propel them to another title. Playing inspired volleyball throughout the season, the Lady Chiefs stunned the thrice-to-beat San Sebastian Lady Stags in the Finals last year, ultimately ending Grethcel Soltones' collegiate career with a dud. Rising stars like San Beda's Ces Racraquin, JRU's Karen Montojo also make the upcoming NCAA volleyball season worth waiting for. UAAP volleyball begins a month later the NCAA tournament, but expect the field to be even more tumultuous. With no clear-cut number 2 team to challenge the two-time defending champions DLSU Lady Spikers, it will be a toss-up against basically the other seven schools to step up. Dangerous squads include the much-improved Adamson Lady Falcons, last year's pleasant surprise UST, the dynastic Ateneo Lady Eagles, and the intact NU Lady Bulldogs and FEU Lady Tamaraws. NBA ALL-STAR GAME & 2018 NBA FINALS The annual showcase of the NBA's brightest stars just got a major revamp. That's right, the league has done away with the traditional East-West teams, and will now have a playground-type pool selection of players between its two captains when the exhibition tips off in Los Angeles. This raises a lot of interesting questions: Will the captains pick their teammates or will they go with a more controversial pick and select a rival? Will we able to know the order of the draft? Will this actually work in making the game better? While answers to those questions might not be answered until a few months, one thing's for sure, the NBA Finals, the spectacle that actually counts, will be epic. Will we be treated to Golden State Warriors vs Cleveland Cavaliers Pt. 4? Or will another squad swoop in to spoil the party? The league has indeed improved, with surprising teams like the Milwaukee Bucks, the Indiana Pacers, the Detroit Pistons out in the East already staking claim to playoff spots, and the Wild, Wild, West staying true to its monicker. The Houston Rockets and the perennial powerhouse San Antonio Spurs are still the favorites to pull the rug under the Warriors, while the Oklahoma City Thunder is right behind. Either way, with months of hoops already invested in it, the NBA Finals will surely be another explosive one, as it always is.   HOMECOMING QUEEN Alyssa Valdez spent the majority of 2017 overseas, spreading her wings in Taiwan with volleyball club Attack Line. This 2018 though, The Phenom plans on staying in the Philippines, armed with two year’s worth of international experience to focus on her home club team in the Creamline Cool Smashers.  "Next year, I'm planning to focus sa Creamline. Just this year, I travelled a lot talaga. They supported me throughout, esepcially doon sa National Team stint ko. They sacrificed a lot for me talaga. I think I have to focus sa team ko talaga,” she said last week.Alyssa Valdez just got scarier.   PINOY HOOP DREAMS: REMY MARTIN, KOBE PARAS  Two proudly Pinoy ballers based in the U.S. set out this 2018 to continue shooting for our island nation’s humble hoop dreams. Kobe Paras is still serving residency this 2017-2018 season with the California State University-Northridge Matadors, but his development is sure to be a joy to watch. The 6’6” Pinoy swingman accomplished a tour of duty with Gilas Pilipinas earlier in the year, and many Pinoys saw why we should all be excited about high-flying forward. Remy Martin, a 5’11” point guard dazzled in his first few games with the Arizona State Sun Devils, with his athleticism, explosiveness and feisty defense. The Filipino-American cager is proud of his roots and hopes to represent flag and country with Gilas Pilipinas in the future.   WHO (OR WHAT) IS NEXT FOR MANNY PACQUIAO? The never-ending saga of what’s next for Manny Pacquiao looks like it'll seep into 2018.  Following a rather controversial loss to Australian boxer Jeff Horn, Pacquiao has been “courting” the likes of Floyd Mayweather Jr. for a rematch, even taking to Instagram to ”greet” MMA superstar Conor McGregor before finally admitting that he’s been in talks with the Irish fighter’s camp. Whether he actually retires from boxing for good, or takes on another foe in the squared circle, one thing’s for sure: we’ll all have our eyes on Manny Pacquiao’s next move.   2018 WORLD CUP RUSSIA™ After four years, the best of world football will once again converge, this time in Russia to crown the Kings of the beautiful sport. The stage is set, the groups are finalized, and the 32 squads are promising the best 30-day football extravaganza in the hopes of dethroning defending champions Germany this June. Some group stage clashes to look out for are Germany vs Mexico, England vs Belgium, Portugal vs Spain, to name a few. June couldn’t come soon enough.   CHRISTIAN STANDHARDINGER'S PBA DEBUT No PBA rookie has probably come into the league as pro-ready as the Filipino-German standout Christian Standhardinger. The 6’9” big man was the consensus top overall pick of the 2017 PBA draft, and was also at the center of the controversial trade that sent Kia Picanto’s rights to the number 1 selection to the already-dominant San Miguel. While the trade did go down, so did former commissioner Chito Narvasa. Standhardinger’s entry to the PBA has come at a cost, but San Miguel is more than ready to wait one more conference to bulk up their already stacked squad. Seeing Standharinger play alongside 6’11” center and reigning MVP June Mar Fajardo, versatile forward Arwind Santos, and the Beermen’s bevy of guards in Alex Cabagnot, Marcio Lassiter, and Chris Ross, is definitely a sight to see, just look at how he's tearing it up in the ASEAN Basketball League.    2018 ASIAN GAMES INDONESIA The Philippines’ less than stellar performance at the 2017 Southeast Asian Games was met with widespread flak. Not directed at our athletes however, but aimed at our sports development and governing body for its subpar work in getting our sports representatives ready. While the 2018 Asian Games isn’t so far away, a handful of Pinoy medalists from the SEA Games are going into the continental meet with high hopes. After dominating the SEA Games’ triathlon event, our Filipino endurance athletes, led by gold medalists Kim Mangrobang, and Nikko Huelgas, are once again primed to take home hardware. Marathoner Mary Joy Tabal, and boxers John Marvin, and Eumir Marcial, all gold medalists at Malaysia, are all bright spots that could soon unravel into full-fledged stars come 2018.   GILAS PILIPINAS IN THE FIBA WORLD CUP QUALIFIERS It’s official, basketball is coming home to the Philippines this 2023 by way of the FIBA World Cup, but Gilas Pilipinas will first have to try its luck in the 2019 meet. After dealing with Chinese Taipei and Japan this 2017 for a perfect 2-0 slate in the qualifiers, Gilas Pilipinas still has to face the Japanese anew, and the powerhouse Australian team early in 2018. A good showing against these squads will help Gilas strengthen its bid to international basketball’s biggest stage before we actually host the event in six years’ time.   UAAP 81 BASKETBALL UAAP season 80 just came to an end, but the next season just got way more interesting. Aside from the title defense of the intact Ateneo Blue Eagles and their ongoing rivalry with La Salle, a certain move by a coach has shaken up the league. With Aldin Ayo reportedly accepting the job as the new head coach of the struggling University of Sto. Tomas, we might just be witnesses to the rebirth of the once proud basketball program under the fiery mentor. That, and the way the DLSU Green Archers can adjust from the departure of Ayo and former two-time MVP Ben Mbala, key cogs to their season 79 championship run. The tight race for the MVP award will also be one to watch, with Mbala gone, it’s up to the local stars to step up to the challenge......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 31st, 2017

Superteams and superpowers: Basketball in 2017

The common theme in basketball as of late is rather simple: build yourself a superteam and see where it goes. 2017 saw a bunch of superteams take the court in all levels. Some panned out and some did not. Nevertheless, we live in a world of superteams. Either your favorite basketball team is one or it's not.   Warriors World For the 2016-2017 NBA Season, the 73-win Golden State Warriors, a superteam in their own right, added former Most Valuable Player Kevin Durant. Oh my goodness. The Dubs then proceeded to decimate the NBA, winning 67 games in the regular season. Golden State was even better in the playoffs, making a serious play for a postseason sweep before finishing with a 16-1 record and a second title in three seasons.   Seriously, it's a Warriors World that we live in Golden State's success has prompted other teams to try and create their own superteam. Houston snatched Chris Paul away from the Los Angeles Clippers and now the Rockets have a potent backcourt combo that also feature MVP contender James Harden. Oklahoma City completed two incredible trades that made Paul George and Carmelo Anthony members of the Thunder. Oh, OKC also has MVP winner Russell Westbrook running point. The Timberwolves also have something going on in Minnesota as Jimmy Butler joined Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins for a young and intriguing Big 3. The Eastern Conference landscape changed when Cleveland traded Kyrie Irving to Boston. The Celtics previously signed Gordon Hayward and all of a sudden, the winningest NBA franchise is in position to take over the East now and the forseeable future. Speaking of Cleveland, LeBron James is still with the Cavs and they've added Dwyane Wade of all people to join an aging but still scary superteam. The King started this whole superteam craze. Golden State just happened to perfect. We all live in a Warriors World.   Feer the Beer Over in the PBA, the Philippines' premier superteam is still pretty effective despite its stars each playing almost 40 minutes per game. A year removed from the "Beeracle Run," San Miguel made history by being only the second team to capture the Perpetual Trophy following three straight Philippine Cup titles. Then the Beermen, with the top-3 MVP candidates in June Mar Fajardo, Alex Cabagnot, and Chris Ross, plus Arwind Santos and Marcio Lassiter, ended the franchise's 16-year championship drought in the Commissioner's Cup. With the help of import Charles Rhodes of course. San Miguel had legitimate chances to win the Grand Slam of course, but the team ultimately fell short in the Governors' Cup. However, the Beermen did add 6'8" Fil-German Christian Standhardinger to the fold. Superteam.   Return of the Kings It was the perfect set up. Meralco earned the number 1 seed and was rolling all the way to the Finals. Meanwhile, the Gink Kings had to go through yet another emotional and heated series against rival TNT in the semifinals in order to have a chance to properly defend their title. The series before that? The Gin Kings had to end San Miguel's Grand Slam dreams. In the 2017 Governors' Cup Finals, Meralco was in perfect position to take The Rematch and allow the birth of a new PBA rivalry. After seven games, none of that happened and Ginebra won back-to-back titles by virtue of their quote unquote superteam. Greg Slaughter, Japeth Aguilar, Joe Devance, Justin Brownlee, LA Tenorio, Sol Mercado, and Scottie Thompson. How is that not a superteam? The Kangkong jokes sure died a slow death.   Systematic Mayhem Even in college hoops, superteams are the way to go. However, in the amatuers, you just have to recruit your way into building one. La Salle has perfected this method and the Green Archers are certainly the biggest --- and loudest and most aggressive ---- recruiters. The Taft superteam featuring Ben Mbala and co. got the Green Archers to two UAAP Finals and one championship. Only one championship because another superteam, quietly built in Katipunan with surgical, perhaps even robotic, precision, beat them this year. That's right, Big Bad Blue is once again on top of the UAAP as the Ateneo Blue Eagles scored a sensational, near-sweep of UAAP Season 80. Coach Tab Baldwin has a collection of incredible players that may not look like it on first glance but they do certainly qualify for superteam status. Dom't believe it? Maybe you will after they complete a five-peat. It could happen.   Sweep In the other collegiate league, two superteams dominated the NCAA for two separate periods in one season. First, Lyceum, the surprise superteam, made history by completing an 18-game sweep of the elimination round. However, the Pirates ran into the league's decade-old superteam in San Beda and the Red Lions ended up sweeping the Finals for yet another title. Most of the major characters from both squads will return for a new season and if a San Beda-Lyceum rematch does not happen, well, that's just disappointing isn't it?   OVERTIME 2017 also saw the rise and fall and rise of the Gilas Pilipinas program. Well sort of. The Philippines got off to a great star this year by absolutely dominating the SEABA Championships. Then, disaster struck in the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup when Gilas was embarassed by an old foe in South Korea. To end the year, the Philippine national team recovered, albeit in an ugly fashion, to take an early lead in the 2019 World Cup Asian Qualifiers. Gilas is more than capable of forming a Pinoy superteam that could compete, and even beat, the best of Asia. Let's hope we get that in 2018. Finally, 2017 also saw the Civil War PBA edition. It wasn't funny and it wasn't good. Fortunately, it seems that bright and peacuful days are ahead of our beloved league. Let's hope that's the case and let's just leave the bad memories behind this year. Time to move on and forget about that stuff. There are basketball games to be played.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 28th, 2017

Meet 2017 s ten most powerful people in sports in Asia

In Asia, sports equals passion, and these ten big names in the sporting world today have led their respective organizations to amazing heights this year. Let’s take a look at 2017’s Top 10 People Behind the Biggest Sports Media Properties in Asia.   #1 Gianni Infantino, President of the FIFA World Cup Gianni Infantino is a football administrator and the current President of the FIFA World Cup. The FIFA World Cup is an international football association and tournament held every four years. Men’s football is arguably the most popular sport in the entire world and the same is true for Asia. The sport retains large numbers in viewership and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. Countries like Singapore, Korea and Australia all follow football religiously.   #2 Aleksander Ceferin, President of UEFA Champions League Aleksander Ceferin heads the UEFA Champions League, an annual football competition, unlike FIFA which is only held every four years. The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) is one of the most prestigious football tournaments in the world and is participated by top-division European football clubs. Although it does not consist of Asian teams, UEFA remains popular among the Asian people due to the popularity of football as a sport.   #3 Chatri Sityodtong, Chairman and CEO of ONE Championship When billionaire Chatri Sityodtong conjured up the idea for ONE Championship, he envisioned the entire Asia united under a single sport. ONE Championship has achieved tremendous success since its establishment in 2011. Martial arts is considered a Pan-Asian sport and for the first time in Asian history, it is a sport that has transcended regional and cultural boundaries. Currently the largest global sports media property in Asian history. Today, ONE Championship is broadcast to over one billion viewers in over 128 countries across the globe.   #4 Horacio Muratore, President of FIBA Having been president of FIBA since 2014, Horacio Muratore has continued to develop the sport of basketball, not just in Asia, but in the entire world. The FIBA Basketball World Cup was established in 1950 and is an international basketball competition held every four years since its inaugural year. It also has popular variations in the FIBA Asia Championships and FIBA EuroBasket. The next tournament is scheduled for Beijing, China in 2019. Basketball’s popularity in Asia remains concentrated in the Philippines, Taiwan and China where the sport enjoys a very strong and faithful following.   #5 John Malone, Owner of Formula One Although Bernie Ecclestone, Formula One’s colorful chief executive remains at the helm of business operations, new owner American billionaire John Malone purchased the company in early 2017 and has since continued to deliver fans heart-pumping auto-racing action. Formula One, also known as Formula 1 or simply as F1, is the highest class of single-seater international auto-racing tournament in the world. Held in different variations depending on the region, the races are held regularly on an annual basis on purpose-built F1 circuits or public roads. The most popular variation in Asia is the Singapore Grand Prix which normally takes place on the Marina Bay Street Circuit. The Singapore Grand Prix was first held in 1966. It is the first of its kind in Asia.   #6 Rob Manfred, Commissioner of Major League Baseball Rob Manfred was named the 10th Commissioner in the history of Major League Baseball a wildly popular sport not just in the United States, but also in Japan, Taiwan, and China. Major League Baseball or the MLB is the most recognizable professional baseball organization in the world. It is immensely popular especially in Japan where baseball is almost considered a national sport. Since 1986, an all-star team from the MLB is sent to a biennial end-of-season tour of Japan. It is called MLB Japan All-Star Series wherein exhibition games are held in a best-of format against all-stars from the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) league. Aside from MLB Japan Serie, there also exists an MLB China Series and an MLB Taiwan Series.   #7 Hemang Amin, Chief Operating Officer of Vivo Indian Premier League Heman Amin has been a part of the BCCI, which governs the Vivo Indian Premier League, for the past seven years. The IPL is a professional Twenty20 cricket league established in India which is held every April and May of every year. Cricket is by far the most popular sport in India. Although a relatively new organization, having been established as recently as 2008, the IPL is one of the fastest growing sports media properties in Asia. It is currently valued at US$1.6 billion which is a monumental achievement for such a young property.   #8 Chito Narvasa, Former Commissioner of the Philippine Basketball Association Former basketball player and coach, Chito Narvasa is the ninth Commissioner of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA). Basketball is a wildly popular sport in the Philippines, and perhaps the most widely played in the entire country. The premiere proving ground of men’s professional basketball in the Philippines is the PBA, which owns the distinction of being the first professional basketball league in Asia, and the second-oldest continuously existing league in the world apart from the National Basketball Association (NBA). The PBA played its first game in 1975, and today fuels a hoop-crazy nation that loves its basketball.   #9 Cai Zhenhua, President of the Chinese Football Association China has a burgeoning football obsession, with support from Chinese President Xi Jinping himself who is helping to develop the sport. Cai Zhenhua is the current President of the Chinese Football Association, which governs the sport in China.China’s passion for football is manifest in the Chinese Super League (CSL), which is the highest tier of professional football in the country. With a season that starts in March and ends mid-November, the CSL features 16 football clubs in its current season. The league, the largest in China, now operates under the management of the Chinese Football Association. The current champions are the Guangzhou Evergrande.   #10 Mitsuri Murai, Chairman of Japan Professional Football League Inaugurated in 2014, Mitsuri Murai is the Chairman of the Japan Professional Football League, or more popularly known as the J.League. Japanese professional football league, J.League is one of the most successful football leagues in all of Asia. It is the top level of Japan’s professional football scene, which is one of the most popular sports in all the region. With an annual revenue of over $560-million, the J.League features three football levels: J1, J2, and J3. The league is also governed by FIFA on the global level......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 19th, 2017

LOOK: Six must-see matches at 2018 World Cup

By James Ellingworth, Associated Press MOSCOW (AP) — Next year's World Cup sees an old rivalry revived as Spain and Portugal meet in the group stage. Defeat for either 2010 World Cup winner Spain or reigning European champion Portugal means they would need to be careful against fellow Group B nations Morocco and Iran to avoid early elimination. Meanwhile, reigning champion Germany starts its defense against Mexico at Moscow's vast Luzhniki stadium in another centerpiece game. Here are six World Cup group stage games to watch: ___ RUSSIA vs. SAUDI ARABIA June 14, Moscow It may look more like a friendly than a show-stopping World Cup opener, but the first game of the tournament is always special. Ranked 63rd and 65th in the world respectively, the Saudis and Russians are the worst teams in the tournament according to FIFA. At least they're evenly matched, which could make for an exciting spectacle. Saudi Arabia won their only previous meeting 4-2 in a 1993 friendly. ___ PORTUGAL vs. SPAIN June 15, Sochi For many, this will be the game that really kicks off the World Cup in style — Cristiano Ronaldo against Andres Iniesta, the reigning European champion against the 2010 World Cup winner. Spain beat Portugal at the 2010 World Cup, and again in the semifinals of the 2012 European Championship, going on to win the tournament both times. Their World Cup meeting on the Black Sea coast may not be a thriller, though — the 2010 games finished 1-0, and the second was a goalless draw decided on penalties. ___ ICELAND vs. ARGENTINA June 16, Moscow The smallest nation ever to qualify for the World Cup has a huge reward. Lionel Messi's Argentina risks becoming the latest victim of the Icelanders, who beat England and drew with Portugal at last year's European Championship, winning the hearts of neutral fans across the continent along the way. If Argentina drops points, it will be under more pressure to beat tenacious Croatia and Nigeria in its next games. The stadium in Moscow has a capacity of 45,000 — or more than 10 percent of Iceland's population of around 330,000. If last year is anything to go by, there will be a huge exodus of Icelanders heading to Russia. ___ GERMANY vs. MEXICO June 17, Moscow The title defense begins here for Joachim Loew and Germany. The venue — Moscow's 81,000-capacity Luzhniki — befits a world champion, while Mexico brings quality opponents like forward Javier Hernandez and midfielder Giovani dos Santos. Anything less than a win will be a disappointment for Germany, which beat Mexico 4-1 in the Confederations Cup semifinals in June. Germany showed its immense strength in depth by winning that tournament with an experimental team lacking some of its biggest stars. Sweden and South Korea are on hand in Group F to take advantage of any dropped points. ___ SERBIA vs. SWITZERLAND June 22, Kaliningrad Switzerland is a long way from the Balkans, but there could be a Yugoslavian rivalry in Group E. The Swiss have several players of Kosovan and Albanian heritage in their squad, such as midfielders Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri, while the coach is Vladimir Petkovic, who comes from a Bosnian Croat background. That won't escape the attention of the Serbian fans, whose games against other Balkan nations routinely require heavy security because of the region's long-running rivalries between ethnic groups. With Brazil the heavyweight in Group E, both teams will likely fight for second place, with Costa Rica also in the mix. ___ ENGLAND vs. BELGIUM June 28, Kaliningrad It's almost an English Premier League game when England meets Belgium in their final group stage game. England coach Gareth Southgate predicts "banter" at various Premier League clubs, thanks to Belgium's Premier League stars like Eden Hazard, Thibaut Courtois and Romelu Lukaku. Belgium's coach Roberto Martinez is a Premier League fixture too from his time with Everton and Wigan. If both England and Belgium have won their preceding games against Panama and Tunisia, the meeting could lose its edge — but if either team risks elimination it will be a crucial fixture......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 2nd, 2017

Ballroom, pool contingents deliver AIMAG silvers for PHI

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan—Dance instructors German Enriquez and Maria Danella Renee Publico secured a silver medal together with cue master Rubilen Amit on the penultimate day of competitions Tuesday in the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games. Enriquez and Publico scored 30 points in the Viennese waltz event in dancesport while Amit lost her gold-medal encounter with China’s Chen Siming, 7-5, in women’s 10-ball pool singles. Japan’s Tomomi and Takeshi Yamamoto ruled the event with 32.291 points and Macau’s Vong Weng Lam and Tam Ka Pan copped the bronze (28.167pts). Bowlers Krizziah Lyn Tabora, Liza Del Rosario, Marian Lara Posadas and Marie Alexis Sy were also guaranteed of a silver after beating China in the women’s team of four semifinals over at the Bowling Center. They rolled 780 points to overcome the 737 pinfalls of China’s quartet of Yang Liyan, Zhang Yuhong, Zhang Chunli and Peng Rui. The PH women’s bowling team faces South Korea’s Jung Dawun, Kim Moonjeong, Baek Seungja and Hong Hae Ni in the finals on Wednesday. International masters Paulo Bersamina and Jan Emmanuel Garcia likewise are preparing for a gold-medal face-off against China’s Wei Yu and Xu Yinglun in the men’s rapid team under-23. They downed Maksat Atabayev and Yusup Atabayev of host Turkmenistan in the semifinals. Amit immediately grabbed the lead after three sets but Chen, a former 10-ball world champion like the Filipino cue artist, managed to gain control on the seventh frame. Chen gave up two more frames but couldn’t be denied when the Chinese got a fantastic break in the 12th and final set to finish off Amit. Overall, the Philippines is running 18th among 65 countries with two gold, 11 silver and 12 bronze medals. More medals are expected from bowling, chess and dancesport prior to the closing ceremony late Wednesday. Woman grandmaster Janelle Mae Frayna and woman Fide master Shania Mae Mendoza will bring home a bronze medal after failing to hurdle Kazakhstan’s Zhansaya Abdumalik and Dinara Saduakassova in the semifinals of women’s rapid team under-23. Ana Leonila Nualla and Sean Mischa Aranar missed out on a medal after placing fourth in the waltz finale and winding up fifth in the tango. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 26th, 2017

Documentary about Azkal Simone Rota set for premiere

After three years of interviews, research, and filming, the documentary “Journeyman Finds Home: The Simone Rota Story,”  will be unveiled at the Cine Europa 2017 Film Festival on Sunday, September 24, 2017. This documentary made by Albert Almendralejo and Maricel Cariaga tells the inspiring tale of footballer Simone Rota who was born in the Philippines and was adopted by an Italian couple when he was a baby.  As a little boy growing up in Milan, Italy, Simone learned to play football. His hard work and prowess earned him a place in an Italian professional football club. Simone later gave up his life in Italy to return to Philippines and play for Filipino clubs (Stallions FC and Ceres FC) and the Azkals, the Philippine Men’s National Football Team. His main reason for staying in the Philippines is to play football and to search for his biological mother. “Journeyman” chronicles how the sport changed Simone’s life and led him to his roots.   “Dreams do come true!” declares Simone who currently plays for Davao Aguilas FC. “I want to say a big thank you to everyone who made this project possible…I hope that the movie will be an inspiration.” The sports documentary is the first venture directed by Albert Almendralejo who produced the football-themed docus “Little Azkals” and “Pangarap Kong World Cup,” and the feature films “Tumbang Preso” and “Bakal Boys.” Albert says that he was motivated to tell Simone’s story because it offers hope amid difficult times. “I have worked closely with him in promoting grassroots football ' Albert says of Simone.  “and his life truly embodies determination in spite of the odds.”  The version to be shown at Cine Europa 2017 is still a work-in-progress but very much presents the subject’s heart and soul. The docu, which was shot in Italy and the Philippines, includes interviews with Simone’s adoptive parents Maurizio and Marilena, Davao Aguilas FC teammates Phil and James Younghusband, and Sister May and Mother Flora (who were the nuns that took care of Simone as a baby). “Journeyman” also shows the athlete’s more private side, such as his volunteer work at Buklod Kalinga, the orphanage where Simone was left as a baby by a young woman.  “Journeyman Finds a Home: The Simone Rota Story,” is produced by SPEARS Films and Luna Studios. It is co directed by Maricel Cariaga, whose film 'Seven Sacks of Rice' won recently the grand prize in the Aichi Women's International Film Festival. Award-winning screenwriter Clodualdo 'Doy' del Mundo is the creative producer. The September 24 screening is part of the educational component of Cine Europa, the annual film festival of the EU Delegation to the Philippines, and is presented by the Philippine Italian Association (PIA), Shangri-La Cineplex, Davao Aguilas FC, and Puma. Theatrical release is being planned for December 2017. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 22nd, 2017