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Big wins for Justin Thomas, proud moments for his father

DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf Writer   HONOLULU (AP) — Justin Thomas used to call his father when he arrived at junior tournaments, and the conversation almost always started the same way. 'What's the number?' The father wasn't asking what score it would take to win, the length of the course or even the entry fee. The number in question was how many greens his son would be able to reach in regulation, and not just on the par 4s. 'I was guaranteed to hit driver into at least one par 3,' Thomas said. Mike Thomas was in the gallery along the ninth fairway at Waialae Country Club when his 23-year-old son nearly left his feet while launching a 358-yard drive, setting up a wedge into the par 5. It was only his seventh-longest drive during his time in paradise. This Aloha State adventure was the best two weeks of Thomas' career. He joined Ernie Els as the only players to sweep the Hawaii swing and became the first player since Tiger Woods in 2009 to win by at least three shots in consecutive weeks on the PGA Tour. Thomas rose to No. 8 in the world and he is the third-ranked American behind Dustin Johnson (No. 3) and Jordan Spieth (No. 5). 'Unforgettable,' Thomas said of the last two weeks. That goes for his parents, too, mainly because they had yet to see him win on the PGA Tour. His other two victories were in Malaysia, so Mike and Jani Thomas had to stay up until the early morning hours to watch him beat Adam Scott one year, Hideki Matsuyama the next. Watching in person with an ocean view is better. Mike Thomas has been the head pro at Harmony Landing outside Louisville, Kentucky, for the last 28 years, and golf is really all his son has ever known. Justin was not even 2 when his father gave him a cut-down driver with a wooden head to whack golf balls around the house and at Harmony Landing. As a toddler, when the boy wanted to play he would tell his mother, 'Bag of balls, bag of balls.' But the boy fell in love with golf by himself. 'I made sure there was no formal instruction until he asked for it,' Mike Thomas said. 'There were a lot more little lessons than big lessons.' Part of the reason is that he had a golf shop to run, members to serve and lessons to give. A larger part was that Mike Thomas had seen too many kids pushed too hard and he didn't want to be that parent. 'I decided that I wanted to be his best friend more than his father,' he said. 'There were times I had to get on him as a parent. But mostly we had just had a lot of fun.' Even now, when he takes time away from Harmony Landing to watch his son on tour, he stands quietly behind Thomas and caddie Jimmy Johnson without saying a word unless his son asks him to shoot video of a swing with his phone. They will look at it together. Mike Thomas tends to wait to see if his son can figure it out first. His fondest memories are not the tournaments he won as a junior, but the time they spent on the golf course in twilight hours, sometimes playing nine holes, other times creating games by seeing who could throw a golf ball closest to the pin. Golf has been in the family for three generations. Paul Thomas was the longtime club pro at Zanesville Country Club in Ohio who qualified for the 1962 U.S. Open at Oakmont. Mike Thomas played at Morehead State and competed in college against Kenny Perry, but his aspirations of playing the PGA Tour didn't last long. He spent one year on the mini-tours before working fulltime as a PGA professional. He took three jobs, in Ohio and Pittsburgh, before moving to Kentucky. Justin was in elementary school, still swinging away, when his father began a tradition of keeping golf balls from every tournament he won. There were 128 balls at Harmony Landing when they left for Hawaii. The father headed home with five more golf balls — and he wanted six. Two were from the victories at the SBS Tournament of Champions and the Sony Open, bringing the victory count to 130. A special display will hold the golf ball that Thomas rolled in from 15 feet for eagle on the final hole of his opening round for a 59. Another ball is from the 36-hole scoring record (123) he set on Friday, and the fifth is from the 72-hole record (253) Thomas set Sunday. 'I wanted the one after Saturday for the 54-hole record,' Mike Thomas said with a laugh. 'But Justin said that wasn't a record, it was only a tie.' It's tempting to think back to the toddler who said 'Bag of balls' the way most kids ask for candy, and see where his son is now. But only the stage has changed. 'The feeling is the same,' Mike Thomas said. 'I know this is the PGA Tour, but when he had a chance to win as an 8-year-old at a U.S. Kids event, it was like, 'This is really cool.' ... As a parent, I'm just glad he's healthy, I'm glad he's safe and I'm glad he's doing what he wants to do. What else could any parent want?' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 17th, 2017

Karlovic smacks 75 aces, sets long match mark at Aussie Open

 JUSTIN BERGMAN, Associated Press br /> MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — As Ivo Karlovic and Horacio Zeballos struggled deep into the fifth set at the Australian Open on Tuesday night, fans rushed to distant Court 19 to watch as a record unfolded. The stands completely packed, some spectators stood on tables and chairs and even balanced on the fence of a neighboring court to try to get a view. Others lay on their stomachs and peeked beneath the black windscreen lining the fence, using their phones to record it. br /> After five hours, 15 minutes, Zeballos finally cracked in the 84th game. Chasing down a lob on Karlovic's second match point, he mis-hit a forehand and it floated long, giving Karlovic an epic, come-from-behind victory, 6-7 (6), 3-6, 7-5, 6-2, 22-20. br /> The 37-year-old Karlovic, one of the oldest players on tour, was elated to pull out the victory — if a little sore. br /> 'Arm is good,' he said, noting the frequency of ace. 'But my knee, my back, little bit not so good.' br /> The final set alone took two hours, 37 minutes. And though most points were short, the match didn't lack for some quality — the players combined for 237 winners to 94 unforced errors. br /> 'This is what I will, after my career, remember,' Karlovic said. 'If it was easy match or I lost easy, I wouldn't remember. But this one, definitely, I will remember forever.' br /> The scoreline didn't come close to the famous marathon match between John Isner and Nicholas Mahut at Wimbledon in 2010, which Isner finally won 70-68 in the fifth set after more than 11 hours. br /> 'Actually, I was thinking about that other match, Isner against Mahut,' Karlovic joked afterward. 'I was hoping little bit it could go this long so I could also have record.' br /> The match also fell short of the 5-hour, 53-minute Australian Open final played by Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal in 2012, the longest in terms of time at the tournament. br /> But Karlovic and Zeballos did set a couple records. br /> The total of 84 games broke the previous Australian Open mark of 83 set by Andy Roddick and Younes El Aynaoui in 2003, a match Roddick won 21-19 in the fifth. Karlovic's 75 aces also smashed the previous record of 51 for a single match, set by Joachim Johansson against Andre Agassi in 2005. br /> The 6-foot-11 (2.11-meter) Karlovic has a massive serve that opponents often stand and watch as it whizzes by. Zeballos was particularly powerless against the towering Croat's serve: He only had four break points in the match and converted just one. br /> Still, Zeballos hung tough as the fifth set wore on, buoyed by the raucous Argentine fans, who sang and waved their blue and white flags at every opportunity. br /> After Zeballos' last shot floated long, Karlovic thrust his arms in the air and his supporters leapt to their feet, chanting 'Ivo, Ivo!' br /> Then, he started to think about recovery ahead of his next match against Australian wild-card entry Andrew Whittington. br /> 'I will have two days now,' he said. 'I'm just going to do the ice bath, try to hit good, go to sleep early. Hopefully that will be enough.' br />   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 17th, 2017

Pursuing a record 23rd major title, Williams opens with win

JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer   MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — For the first five games in the second set, Serena Williams played almost flawless tennis in her first-round match at the Australian Open. Then came the rustiness that tends to follow a lengthy layoff, giving Belinda Bencic a glimmer of hope, before Williams regained her composure to win 6-4, 6-3 on Tuesday. The six-time Australian Open champion improved her impressive record in the first round of Grand Slam tournaments to 65-1. The No. 2-ranked Williams' priority here is an Open era record 23rd major title. She's one win down — beating a player who was seeded 12th here last year and reached a career-high No. 7 ranking last February — and is targeting six more at Melbourne Park. 'She was just recently in the top 10. I knew it would be one of the toughest first-round matches I've ever played,' the newly engaged Williams said. In round two she'll meet Lucie Safarova, who beat Yanina Wickmayer 3-6, 7-6 (7), 6-1. Bencic got one service break in the first set, but only took two points in the first three games on Williams' serve in the second. Serving for the match at 6-4, 5-1, things changed. Williams finished her 2016 after the U.S. Open, resting injuries. And started 2017 with an error-prone loss in Auckland, New Zealand. Williams served only her second double-fault of the match to give Bencic a break-point chance, and Bencic converted it with a crosscourt winning forehand. The Swiss teenager held at love and then faced a match point, when Williams double-faulted again. The 35-year-old Williams made no mistake on her second match point and pumped her first in celebration. She finished with 30 winners and 30 unforced errors, eight errors and four double-faults. Karolina Pliskova and Johanna Konta both had their Grand Slam breakthroughs last year, both prepared for the season's first major with title runs in Australia and both advanced with straight sets wins. U.S. Open finalist Pliskova following her title win at the Brisbane International with a 6-2, 6-0 victory over Sara Sorribes Tormo. The fifth-seeded Pliskova, who beat Serena Williams in the U.S. Open semifinals before losing the final to Angelique Kerber, has never advanced past the third round at Melbourne Park — losing at that stage in the last two years to Ekaterina Makarova. Pliskova is feeling more confident this time. 'I feel good on the court, especially when I win my first title in the first week of the year,' Pliskova said. 'So I'm ready for the tournament.' Konta, who won the Sydney International title last week, had a tougher time in beating Kirsten Flipkens 7-5, 6-2 on Margaret Court Arena. 'I definitely love playing here. It's a dream. A lot has happened in the last year, but I'm just enjoying playing and getting better each day.' Ninth-seeded Konta was a surprise semifinalist in her debut at the Australian Open last year, starting with a first-round win over Venus Williams and sparking a strong 2016 season which ended with her in the top 10. In other early results, No. 21 Caroline Garcia beat Kateryna Bondarenko 7-6 (4), 6-4 and No. 30 Makarova had a 6-0, 4-6, 6-1 win over Ekaterina Alexandrova. On the men's side, No. 25 Gilles Simon beat U.S. wild-card entry Michael Mmoh 6-1, 6-3, 6-3. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 16th, 2017

On ballot for final time, Tim Raines hopes for Hall entry

SEAN FARRELL, Associated Press br /> MONTREAL (AP) — The 1982 All-Star Game at Olympic Stadium was the first outside the United States, the host Montreal Expos giving the event a distinctive international flair. As Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn looked on, center fielder Andre Dawson, catcher Gary Carter and left fielder Tim Raines were among five players wearing that tri-color hat of the hometown team. On Wednesday, Raines is likely to join Dawson and Carter as Expos in the Hall of Fame, expected to be voted the honor in his 10th and final year of eligibility. 'If I get in, that's the team I deserve to go in for, regardless if they no longer have a team,' Raines said in a phone interview from his home in Phoenix on Tuesday. 'That was the team I played with and I'm real comfortable with that.' Despite falling short of the 75 percent of votes necessary for election last year, Raines was named on 69.8 percent of the ballots cast by eligible members of the Baseball Writers of America. That was up significantly from 2015, when he finished seventh in voting with 55 percent. 'I was happy that I had gained a lot more votes,' Raines said. 'I was only 23 short and this is actually the first year of the 10 years that I really feel pretty excited about the prospect of it happening. But this will be the first year that I really feel that I have a legitimate shot.' An All-Star in each of his first seven seasons with the Expos, Raines is the only player to have four seasons hitting .300 or higher with at least 70 stolen bases; Ty Cobb and Rickey Henderson each had three. A switch-hitter, Raines batted .294 with 2,605 hits, including 713 for extra bases, and 1,330 walks. He scored 1,571 runs and ranks fifth with 808 stolen bases in a career from 1979 to 2002 with Montreal, the Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees, Oakland, Baltimore and Florida. His 84.7 percent stolen base success rate is the best of any player with at least 400 attempts. Raines finished with a .385 on-base average. 'When you think about the caliber of career that Timmy had, he was an impact player,' Dawson said in a phone interview from Miami on Monday. 'You think about all the greatest leadoff hitters of all time, he measures right there.' To some, Raines' only fault was that he wasn't as great as Rickey Henderson, considered the best leadoff man ever. Carter became the first player inducted into the Hall with an Expos cap on his plaque in 2003, his sixth year on the ballot. Dawson was inducted in 2010 after his ninth try. 'I think it's a tribute to that organization that they are probably going to have three Hall of Famers that were teammates at the same time,' Dawson said. 'I do think that it's going to happen, first of all, but you didn't really get the notoriety, you didn't really get the same publicity as if you had been playing in the States. So it was a really, really tough environment I think playing across the border when it came to recognition.' Traded by Montreal after the 1990 season, Raines spent five seasons with the White Sox. He hit .444 and scored five runs in the 1993 AL Championship Series, which Chicago lost to the Toronto Blue Jays, and then won the World Series twice in three seasons with the Yankees from 1996-98. He signed with Oakland as a free agent in 1999 but was diagnosed with lupus midway through the season. A failed bid to make the United States Olympic team in 2000 fueled Raines' desire to prove he could still play, and Montreal offered him that opportunity in 2001. Raines was greeted with a standing ovation when he returned to Olympic Stadium as the starting left fielder for the Expos' home opener. The crowd of 45,183 remained on its feet all through his first plate appearance and cheered wildly when he drew a walk from Mets starter Glendon Rusch. 'The ovation that I got was really, really emotional,' Raines said. 'I remember I stole my 800th base against the Expos with the Yankees, and that was kind of emotional. The fans gave me a really big standing ovation, but the ovation I got in '01 topped anything that I could have even imagined, and at that time I knew that I was in love with Montreal.' Raines got to play with Vladimir Guerrero, who is on the ballot for the first time this year and could also enter the Hall as an Expos player if he is elected. 'Well, I think he's among the top players that ever played the game, that's for sure,' Raines said. '... He didn't really say much, but when the game started, you know who was top dog out on the field, and it was going to be him.' Late in the 2001 season, the Expos traded Raines to Baltimore to give him the opportunity to play with his son, Tim Jr., who was called up to make his major league debut with the Orioles. Raines, who retired after playing with Florida in 2002, was back with the Expos as a special coach at the end of the 2004 season when Major League Baseball announced that the team, which joined the National League in the 1969 expansion, was moving to Washington, D.C. The world's second-largest French-speaking city, which embraced Jackie Robinson when he played for the Montreal Royals of the International League in 1946, still pines for 'nos amours,' a term of endearment so profoundly French that it defies appropriate translation into English other than to say Montrealers love their Expos. 'Timmy happened to be one of those individuals that really made an impact not only with that organization but with the country for what he did, what he brought to the game, how he played the game, and how he was perceived all around baseball amongst his peers,' Dawson said. 'But I do feel that the Hall of Fame itself is the due recognition in the end.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 16th, 2017

Romeo in the middle of Globalport's maturation process

Terrence Romeo is in the middle of the ongoing maturity of Globalport as a team in 2017. Since they suffered a 26-point fourth quarter collapse to Phoenix late last year, the Batang Pier have won back-to-back games, playing well enough in crunch time to hold on for victories even if they still have a tendency to let go of big leads. It's a lesson they would probably take for the rest of their careers. 'Tumatak yun, kasi parang isa yata yun sa biggest comeback eh,' said Terrence Romeo and he's absolutely right as the Phoenix rally was the biggest fourth-quarter miracle in a decade. 'Dapat di na mangyari yun,' he added. In order to not let that sort of thing happen again, Romeo is leading by example for Globalport as the dynamic guard out of FEU has slowly learned to pick his spots in games. Sure, he's still scoring an insane amount of points (27.6 points per game after Friday's 32-point effort), but the Bro is timing his scoring explosions effectively. Romeo scored a season-high 22 points in the first half against the Road Warriors, setting the tone early for Globalport. He then took a backseat in the third perid and allowed runningmate Stanley Pringle do his thing. But when NLEX cut a once 21-point lead to eight in the fourth and final quarter, it was Romeo that put the finishing touches for the Batang Pier, scoring another seven points for good measure. 'Natutunan ko yun nung mga last games ko,' Romeo admits. 'Pagka first half okay laro ko, pagdating ng third and fourth pag pinilit ko pa rin na ako pa rin, masyadong nakatutok sakin yung depensa. Ginawa ko nag spot up lang ako, hinayaan ko sila maglaro.' 'Pero pag tingin ko naman na kailangan nila ako, kukunin ko din ang bola at didiskarte din ako,' he added. Aside from managing his scoring opportunities, part of Romeo and Globalport's maturation process is not to get excited over one big win. With a chance to go for the top-2 spots in the All-Filipino and a matchup against the mighty San Miguel Beer on the horizon, the Batang Pier remain all business. 'Kailangan wag namin isipin yung panalo namin dito, hindi naman sa minamaliit namin yung NLEX pero kailangan yung goal namin is mapunta dun sa number one or number two so hindi kami pwede matuwa dahil natalo namin NLEX. Kumbaga after one day celebration, next day back to focus na kami,' Romeo said.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 13th, 2017

Top-ranked Kerber loses her opening match in Sydney

SYDNEY (AP) — Top-ranked Angelique Kerber lost her opening match at the Sydney International on Tuesday, upset 7-6 (5), 6-2 by Darya Kasatkina in a setback ahead of her Australian Open title defense next week. Kerber, who won last year's Australian and U.S. Open for her first major titles, has opened the new season with one win in two tournaments in Brisbane and Sydney. The Australian Open starts Monday in Melbourne. Eugenie Bouchard continued her resurgent run, meanwhile, with a 6-4, 6-3 win over WTA Finals champion Dominika Cibulkova to reach the quarterfinals in Sydney. Bouchard improved her career record to 4-1 against Cibulkova, who was ranked No. 5 and was voted the WTA's comeback player of the year in 2016 after her title win at the season-ending championship. 'Any time you play one of the best players in the world it's like a standard of where you're at,' said Bouchard, who had a wild-card entry in Sydney. 'Every time I have played a match with Domi, we have had the toughest battles. 'I have won, I guess, more often than not, but everyone is a really tough battle.' Bouchard had an early break in the second set, but dropped serve and allowed Cibulkova, a finalist at the 2014 Australian Open, a way back into the match. But the Canadian star broke again quickly and held onto the advantage. Bouchard had a breakout season in 2014, reaching the semifinals at the Australian Open and French Open before making the final at Wimbledon. But she has only gone past the fourth round at a major once since then and slipped to No. 46 at the end of last year. After winning back-to-back matches at a tournament for the first time since August in Cincinnati, she will play a quarterfinal against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who beat defending champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-5, 6-3. 'I have taken a couple of solid steps this week, but I'm far from where I want to be,' Bouchard said. 'Even though I won, to me, I could do a lot of things better.' Barbora Strycova had a 6-2, 6-3 win over No. 9-seeded Roberta Vinci. At the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand, fifth-seeded Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinola lost 6-1, 7-5 in the first round to friend and training partner Joao Sousa. Ramos-Vinola, ranked 27, and Portugal's Sousa, ranked 44, are both based in Barcelona and are supporters of the city's rival football clubs and Sousa described their match as 'a kind of a derby.' 'On court we are no friends but off court we are,' he said. Ramos-Vinola's main weapon is his powerful forehand but he lacked accuracy in his first match of the season, missing too many easy points in the first set and making 18 unforced errors to Sousa's eight. He dropped serve in the fourth game and again in the sixth to lose the first set in 32 minutes. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 10th, 2017

Towns, Rubio lead Timberwolves over Mavericks

em>By Patrick Donnelly, Associated Press /em> MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Karl-Anthony Towns had 34 points and 11 rebounds, Ricky Rubio added 13 points and a season-high 15 assists, and the Minnesota Timberwolves snapped a four-game losing streak with a 101-92 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night (Tuesday, PHL time). Harrison Barnes scored 30 points for the Mavericks and Dirk Nowitzki had 26, including five three-pointers. Towns hit 15-of-19 shots from the floor as the Timberwolves shot 56.3 percent. Rubio scored nine points in the fourth quarter, including consecutive baskets during an 8-0 run that gave the Timberwolves some breathing room after Dallas had whittled a 21-point lead to 81-77. He hit three free throws with 2:08 to play to give Minnesota a 97-83 lead. Towns got the Wolves off to a fast start, scoring Minnesota's first seven points and 16 total in the first seven minutes. He finished with 20 in the period as the Timberwolves took a 33-14 lead after one quarter. The Wolves shot 65 percent from the field in the quarter. They stretched the lead to 44-23 before the Mavericks responded with a 15-2 run to get back in the game. Nowitzki hit three-pointers on three straight possessions to close the first half as Dallas pulled to 54-46 at the break. strong>TIP-INS /strong> em> strong>Mavericks: /strong> /em>Dallas had won seven straight against the Timberwolves, including four in a row at Target Center. This was the first meeting of the season between the Midwest Division foes. Nowitzki topped his previous season-high of four three-pointers. The last time he had six in a game was April 1, 2014. Andrew Bogut missed the fourth quarter with an injured hamstring. em> strong>Timberwolves: /strong> /em>Towns scored 20 points in a quarter for the second time in his career. He had 22 in the first quarter against New York on Nov. 30 (Dec. 1, PHL time). Zach LaVine left early in the fourth with a bruised left hip and did not return. LaVine grabbed Devin Harris to get called for a foul, then limped off the court and into the Minnesota locker room. He was replaced by Tyus Jones. Shabazz Muhammad scored in double figures off the bench for the sixth time in his last eight games, finishing with 11 points in 20-plus minutes. strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Mavericks: /strong> /em>Dallas plays the Phoenix Suns on Thursday (Friday, PHL time) in Mexico City. em> strong>Timberwolves: /strong> /em>Minnesota hosts the Houston Rockets on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time). .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 9th, 2017

Former No. 1 Wozniacki beats Olympic champion Puig in Sydney

SYDNEY (AP) — Former No. 1-ranked Caroline Wozniacki stepped up her preparations for the Australian Open with 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 win over Olympic gold medalist Monica Puig at the Sydney International on Monday. Wozniacki, who finished back-to-back years at No. 1 in the rankings in 2010 and '11, has never won a major and is determined to make up for a first-round exit at the Australian Open last year. Puig fought back to win the second set and force a decider but the Rio champion eventually succumbed after 2 hours and 10 minutes. Third-seeded Dominika Cibulkova, last year's WTA Finals champion and a finalist at the Australian Open in 2014, opened in Sydney with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Laura Siegemund, advancing along with No. 6-seeded Johanna Konta and No. 9 Roberta Vinci. Americans Christina McHale and CoCo Vandeweghe had wins over seeded players, with McHale beating No. 4 Kateryna Bondarenko 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 and Vandeweghe leading 6-2, 4-0 when No. 8 Elena Vesnina retired from their match. Australian hope Sam Stosur, the 2011 U.S. Open champion, had another first-round defeat, losing 6-3, 6-1 to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in 63 minutes. On the men's side, fifth-seeded Philipp Kohlschreiber beat Fabio Fognini 6-4, 6-4, Matthew Barton beat Kyle Edmund 7-6 (3), 7-6 (5) and Daniel Evans had a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 win over Thiago Monteiro. At the Hobart International, Andrew Petkovic opened with a 6-4, 6-0 win over Nicole Gibbs and No. 11 Johanna Larsson beat Kristyna Pliskova 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-1. Lucie Safarova also advanced, while former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone lost to Jana Jett and No. 7-seeded Kristina Mladenovic was beaten by Elise Mertens. At Auckland, New Zealand, seventh-seeded Steve Johnson overcame an early struggle in a match of contrasting styles to beat Stephane Robert of France 6-4, 6-3 in the opening round of the ASB Classic. Johnson struggled to bring his heavy serve to bear at the start of the match and quickly found himself a break down at 3-1 in the first set. He also took time to find his feet against Robert who troubled him with his softer groundstrokes, deft touches and his thread-the-needle passing shots. 'At the start of the year you don't have much momentum and you try to figure out your game again and how everything works,' Johnson said. 'He came out and played a great game. 'I was in a lot of games on his serve in the first so I just sort of hung around and then fortunately got a break in the second and held onto my serve.' The match pivoted on eighth game when Johnson was finally able to draw level on his sixth breakpoint chance. He then began to serve more confidently, taking the ninth game with his sixth ace of the match and breaking Robert again to end the set. Sixth-seeded Feliciano Lopez rebounded to beat No. 1,035-ranked local wild-card entry Michael Venus 3-6, 6-4, 6-3. Also advancing were Jiri Vesely, who won his only ATP title to date in Auckland in 2015, and Robin Haase. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 9th, 2017

LeBron James, Cavaliers hold off Suns

em>By Bob Baum, Associated Press /em> PHOENIX (AP) — LeBron James scored 12 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter and the Cleveland Cavaliers fought off Phoenix down the stretch to beat the Suns 120-116 on Sunday night (Monday, PHL time). Kyrie Irving added 27 points and Kevin Love 25 for the Cavaliers. They led by as many as 22 in the first half and 20 early in the third quarter. The Suns tied it late in the third and got within one in the fourth but never took the lead. Eric Bledsoe scored 31 points and Devin Booker had 28 for the Suns. James sank consecutive 3-pointers, his only 3s of the game, to give Cleveland a 115-109 lead with 2:46 to play and scored on a driving layup with 44 seconds left to make it 120-114.   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 8th, 2017

Jericho shines in his own version of the "flu game"

Jericho Cruz was beastly for Rain or Shine in its first PBA game 0f 2017, going for 21 points in a 15-point Elasto Painters victory. More importantly, the underrated former Adamson Falcon buried a trifecta of dagger treys in the fourth quarter to put a stop on an impending Phoenix uprising, handing ROS its fifth win for the season. However, what's more impressive of Cruz's efficient outing was the fact that he came into the game battling flu. In fact, he didn't even expect to play much but ended up logging over 27 minutes agains tthe Fuel Masters. 'Siguro coming into this game, di ko ine-expect na bibigyan ako ni coach Caloy ng playing time kasi I was sick for three, four days na. Typical flu lang, nung second quarter sobrang hirap makahinga sa court,' Cruz said. 'Pero ayun, yung trust niya sakin nandun, kaya siguro pinaglaro niya ako. It paid off naman,' he added. As for his trio of long-range bombs though, Cruz is happy he got to do it in a PBA game but he's not at all surprised that hes' starting to make those looks. After all, he's going to practice everyday competing with Jeff Chan and James Yap, two expert marksmen on their own right. 'Siguro may tima na nagulat, pero kasi, araw-araw mi naman pina-practice ang shooting,' he said. 'I double my hardwork. Everyday I come in early and after practice I try to improve on my shooting. Para kahit papano ma-math ko lang shooting nila [Jeff and James],' Cruz added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 8th, 2017

ROS takes over solo second after burning Phoenix

Phoenix appeared to be in the middle of another comeback Sunday against Rain or Shine, cutting a 21-point deficit by more than half with ample time to go in the fourth quarter. However, the Fuel Masters didn't take into account Jericho Cruz suddenly going Splash Brother all over the Big Dome. Cruz fired three straight treys in the payoff period, providing insurance for Rain or Shine as the Elasto Painters scored an impressive 97-82 victory in the 2017 PBA Philippine Cup. With the Fuel Masters gaining momentum behind rookie Matthew Wright, Cruz connected a trifecta on long-range bombs in a span of 68 seconds to turn a nine-point lead into a 90-74 cushion. Cruz ended up with 21 points, 15 from deep, and eight rebounds off the bench, leading the Elasto Painters to their fifth win against two defeats for solo second place. Down one game against two-time defending champion San Miguel, Rain or Shine set up a mega showdown against the Beermen next week for first place. Not playing a game since Dec. 23 of last year, Rain or Shine didn't show signs of rust one bit, scoring 30 points in the first 12 minutes to put up an early double-digit lead. Phoenix cut the deficit to one in the middle of the second quarter before the Elasto Painters recovered and took a 53-45 lead at the break. The game took a turn for worse for the Fuel Masters in the second half as Rain or Shine went on a big 16-0 run to establish the biggest lead of the contest at 21 points, 66-45. Aside from Cruz, Jeff Chan and James Yap also finished in double figures for ROS, going for 12 and 10 points respectively. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 8th, 2017

Heat snap six-game skid with win over Kings

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- Tyler Johnson scored 23 points and the Miami Heat beat the Sacramento Kings 107-102 on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time) to snap a six-game losing streak. The Heat squandered a 19-point third-quarter lead and trailed on several occasions in the fourth before Johnson gave them a 105-102 lead on a three-point play with 27 seconds left. The victory was Miami's sixth straight over Sacramento and 16th in 17 meetings. Goran Dragic had 19 points and seven assists for the Heat. James Johnson had 14 points and Wayne Ellington had 13. Miami had dropped nine of its last 10 games. Arron Afflalo, Garrett Temple and Ty Lawson each had 15 points for the Kings. Anthony Tolliver had 14 points, DeMarcus Cousins had 13 and Matt Barnes added 10. Cousins made 1-of-2 free throws to tie it at 102 before Tyler Johnson's three-point play -- Johnson later added two free throws to stretch the lead to five. Sacramento scored the first six points of the final quarter to tie it at 87. A 23-2 run that started in the third gave the Kings their first lead since early in the game. Trailing by 19 points in the third quarter and looking lethargic, the Kings closed the period with 13 straight points to pull within 87-81 entering the fourth. Hassan Whiteside (bruised right eye) was one of four injured players who were back in Miami. This is the first of seven straight home games over 14 days for the Kings, the longest homestand of the season. Sacramento played 20 of its first 34 games on the road. strong>TIP-INS /strong> em> strong>Heat: /strong> /em> Prior to the game, the Heat announced that Justise Winslow will have surgery to repair of torn labrum in his right shoulder. The team expects he will miss the remainder of the season. Miami dressed 11 players after having only eight Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time) in its first loss to Phoenix since Nov. 3, 2009. The Heat shot 63 percent and led 64-59 at the half. em> strong>Kings: /strong> /em>Rudy Gay, the team's second leading scorer, sat out for the 10th time in 11 games with a strained right hip flexor. Afflalo made all five shots, including three triples, and had 15 points in 13 first-half minutes. The Kings had nine rebounds at the half and didn't get another one until the 8:46 mark of the third quarter. strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Heat: /strong> /em>Continue a six-game trip against the Lakers on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time). em> strong>Kings: /strong> /em> Host the slumping, injury-plagued Clippers on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time). .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 5th, 2017

Group effort helps Clippers rally past Grizzlies

em>By Beth Harris, Associated Press /em> LOS ANGELES (AP) — Austin Rivers scored a season-high 28 points and helped rally the Los Angeles Clippers from a 12-point deficit in the third quarter to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 115-106 on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time) for their second win in a row. Jamal Crawford added 22 points off the bench and DeAndre Jordan had 18 points and 20 rebounds for the Clippers, who improved to 4-9 in the regular season without Blake Griffin and Chris Paul. Both injured stars watched from the bench; Paul could return from a sore hamstring this week. Marc Gasol scored 23 points and Mike Conley had 17 points and a season-high 12 assists for the Grizzlies. Memphis closed to 97-96 on seven straight points in the fourth. Jordan missed a pair of free throws but got bailed out by Crawford's three-pointer that kept the Clippers ahead, 100-96. The Grizzlies were limited to two field goals in the final 4:19. They have lost four of their last six games. The Clippers snapped a six-game skid Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) against Phoenix but they were in a close game early against the Grizzlies and fell into a 13-point hole in the second quarter. Memphis led by 12 early in the third before the Clippers engineered a dramatic turnaround. They ran off 11 consecutive points, including seven by J.J. Redick, to close to 73-70. Redick finished with 19 points. From there, Rivers took over. He scored seven in a row before Jordan's three-point play on a dunk and free throw. Crawford had seven of the Clippers' final nine points to give them an 89-85 lead heading into the fourth. Redick scored 10 points during the spurt, which brought the crowd back into the game. Memphis built a 13-point lead in the second when the Grizzlies closed on a 26-13 run for a 63-53 halftime lead. Four players hit three-pointers in that span. strong>TIP-INS /strong> em> strong>Grizzlies: /strong> /em>C Deyonta Davis (left foot), F JaMychal Green (maxilla fracture), G Chandler Parsons (rest) and F-C Brandan Wright (left ankle) sat out, leaving the Memphis bench thin. Green sustained his facial injury against the Lakers a night earlier. em> strong>Clippers: /strong> /em>Paul had a full workout and went up and down the court during practice. Los Angeles coach Doc Rivers said if Paul doesn't have any soreness on Thursday he could return Friday (Saturday, PHL time) at Sacramento. Jordan had 20 rebounds for the second straight game. Rookie F Brice Johnson (acute herniated disk in lower back) also played at practice and was moving well. strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Grizzlies: /strong> /em> Visit Golden State on Friday (Saturday, PHL time) to conclude a four-game trip out West. They beat the Warriors 110-89 at home on Dec. 10 (Dec. 11, PHL time). em> strong>Clippers: /strong> /em>Visit Sacramento on Friday (Saturday, PHL time) in their only road game during a seven-game home stretch. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 5th, 2017

Suns shine, beat short-handed Heat

em>By Bob Baum, Associated Press /em> PHOENIX (AP) — Devin Booker scored 27 points — 18 in the second half — and rookie Marquese Chriss added a career-best 18 as the Phoenix Suns handed the severely short-handed Miami Heat their sixth consecutive loss, 99-90 on Tuesday night (Wednesday, PHL time). The Suns snapped a 12-game losing streak against Miami. Phoenix hadn't beaten the Heat since Nov. 3, 2009. Goran Dragic scored 22 of his 24 points in the first half for the Heat, who had just eight available players in the opener of a six-game road trip. Willie Reed had 22 points and 18 rebounds, both career highs, for Miami. Eric Bledsoe added 17 points for the Suns, who stretched a four-point halftime lead to 19 in the second half. The Heat led by nine early and were up 42-37 on Dragic's inside basket with 8:34 left in the first half, but Bledsoe and Chriss sank consecutive three’s in a 9-0 spurt that put Phoenix up 46-42 when Booker made one of two free throws 3:13 before the break. Dragic cut the lead to 54-52 with a left-handed driving layup with 9.3 seconds left before Bledsoe's two free throws with 4.2 seconds remaining put the Suns up 56-52 at the break. The Suns opened the second half with an 11-3 run and were up 79-62 when Booker sank a 28-foot three-pointer with 1:59 left in the third quarter. Phoenix led 83-66 entering the fourth. Wayne Ellington's triple cut the Suns' lead to 85-74 with 8:13 to play, but Booker sank a three-pointer with 6:36 to go to boost the lead back to 14. Miami cut the lead to eight in the final two minutes but got no closer. strong>LONG LIST /strong> The list of missing Miami players was long: James Johnson (food poisoning), Tyler Johnson (migraine), Dion Waiters (pectineus tear), Hassan Whiteside (right retinal contusion), Justise Winslow (right shoulder), Josh McRoberts (left foot stress fracture). That doesn't include Chris Bosh, who has not played all season. strong>TIP-INS /strong> em> strong>Heat: /strong> /em>Miami last lost to the Suns in Phoenix on Jan. 5, 2007. Heat players not named Dragic were 13-of-34 shooting in the first half. Reed's previous career highs were 14 points and 11 rebounds. em> strong>Suns: /strong> /em>G Brandon Knight was out with a sprained right wrist. Phoenix is 8-4 against Eastern Conference foes, 7-2 at home. Phoenix improved to 3-4 on the second night of back-to-back games. strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Heat: /strong> /em> Miami plays at Sacramento on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time) in the second stop of a six-game road trip. em> strong>Suns: /strong> /em> Phoenix travels to Dallas to face the Mavericks on Thursday night (Friday, PHL time). .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 4th, 2017

Nadal continues comeback with a 1st win in Brisbane

JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer br /> BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Rafael Nadal was in need of some sleep, so he didn't waste much time against Alexandr Dolgopolov on Tuesday. The 14-time major champion, playing his opening match at the Brisbane International a day after arriving in Australia following a win in an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi, beat the Ukrainian 6-3, 6-3 after getting on court at almost 10:30 p.m. local time. Returning from a wrist injury which curtailed the end of his 2016 season, Nadal said he's determined to use every match as preparation for a shot at the title in the season-opening Grand Slam event in Melbourne. The 30-year-old Spaniard dropped serve in the third game but recovered to win the last five games of the first set against the 2012 finalist. In all, he converted all four of his break points and fended off three of the four he faced. 'A little bit of jet lag. It's tough, these kinds of things at the beginning,' said Nadal, who added that he was still sleeping in the early afternoon and felt 'destroyed' after the travel. 'There wasn't a lot of time to adapt.' He only made nine unforced errors, and his most glaring miss of the night was when whiffed at a ball as he tried to hit it into the crowd to celebrate his win. In a post-match news conference, he apologized after stifling a yawn, but said he still preferred the late start to help him overcome the jetlag. Nadal has changed his preparation for the Australian Open, arriving two weeks ahead of time to fine tune his game in a bid to make amends for a shocking first-round exit last year. He will next play Mischa Zverev, who opened with a 6-3, 6-3 win over teenage Australian qualifier Alex De Minaur, and has a potential quarterfinal match against defending champion and top-seeded Milos Raonic. Also, sixth-seeded Lucas Pouille lost the first five games before rebounding for a 7-6 (6), 7-6 (4) win over Gilles Simon, while Viktor Troicki beat Japanese qualifier Yoshihito Nishioka 6-4, 7-5 and Diego Schwartzman had a 6-2, 6-4 win over Sam Querrey. In the women's draw, Garbine Muguruza, Karolina Pliskova and Elina Svitolina, who all had career-highlight victories over Serena Williams last season, are already through to the quarterfinals. Destanee Aiava, a 16-year-old high school senior who was inspired to take up tennis when she was 5 after watching Williams on TV, also made a mark. Aiava became the first player born in the 2000s to win a main draw match in an elite WTA event when she beat Bethanie Mattek-Sands 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 in a first-round match that spanned two days. She already has a wild-card entry to the Australian Open but, before then, will face two-time major winner Svetlana Kuznetsova in the second round in Brisbane. The third-seeded Pliskova, who beat Williams in the U.S. Open semifinals last year before losing the final to Angelique Kerber, defeated American qualifier Asia Muhammad 6-1, 6-4 to secure the first spot in the quarterfinals. Svitolina, seeded sixth and the only woman to beat both Williams and Kerber when in 2016, advanced with a 7-5, 2-6, 7-5 win over Shelby Rogers. The fourth-seeded Muguruza wasted a match point and saved one before clinching a 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (7) win over Daria Kasatkina in a three-hour night match. Both players had eight service breaks and Muguruza, who beat Williams in the French Open final last year to claim her first Grand Slam title, dropped her opening serve in all three sets. Her next match will be against either Kuznetsova or Aiava, who was born on May 10, 2000, was No. 386 in the latest rankings and is very new to the tour. 'Pretty crazy,' Aiava said of her first trip to the locker rooms in the main draw. 'I walk in, and there is people I have watched on TV before and it's, like, 'Oh!'' Her mother, Rosie, has been her coach since she showed interest in the game. She keeps the teenager grounded. After her milestone win, Aiava said her mother just said 'good job' and took her back onto the practice courts for 20 minutes to work on her serve. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 3rd, 2017

Pistons rally past short-handed Heat

em>By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press /em> MIAMI (AP) — Reggie Jackson scored 27 points, Andre Drummond finished with 25 points and 18 rebounds and the Detroit Pistons wore down the depleted Miami Heat for a 107-98 victory Sunday night (Monday, PHL time). Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 23 for Detroit, which improved to 1-17 this season when trailing at halftime. The Pistons out-rebounded Miami 48-34 and held the Heat to 36 percent shooting over the final 39 minutes. James Johnson scored 20 points and Wayne Ellington had 18 for Miami, which got 14 from Josh Richardson and had a 14-point lead before the game turned. Miami had 66 points in the first half, and 32 in the second. The Heat were without what could have been a starting lineup -- Goran Dragic (back), Dion Waiters (groin), Justise Winslow (shoulder), Josh McRoberts (foot) and Hassan Whiteside (eye). With those five players out, along with Chris Bosh, those on the unable-to-go list for the Heat on Sunday (Monday, PHL time) are making more than $70 million this season. The starting five Miami used Sunday (Monday, PHL time) makes about a combined $9.7 million -- most of that $6 million for Ellington -- or roughly six times less than what Detroit's starters will earn this season. Yet for a while, none of that mattered. Miami made its first eight shots, plus connected on 10 of its first 15 three-pointers. And then the bubble burst. After that sizzling first half, Miami scored 15 points in the third quarter and zero points in the first five minutes of the fourth. Detroit took command with a 27-8 run over a stretch of a little more than eight minutes. strong>TIP-INS /strong> em> strong>Pistons: /strong> /em>Marcus Morris returned after missing Friday's (Saturday, PHL time) game in Atlanta with a sore left knee. The Pistons committed five fouls in the first 1:45 of the second quarter, but the Heat only got one trip to the line while in the bonus. Detroit lost Aron Baynes to an injury to his left leg early in the fourth quarter. em> strong>Heat: /strong> /em> Whiteside was the only Miami player to been in every game this season. Miami has now used 14 different starting lineups in the last 29 games. Miami plans to have its injured players, except McRoberts, travel with them when they leave on Monday for a six-game trip that starts in Phoenix on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time). Dragic, Winslow and Whiteside could all be back as early as then. strong>UDONIS AND UDRIH /strong> The only current players in the NBA with names that start with 'Ud' -- Miami's Udonis Haslem and Detroit's Beno Udrih, a former Heat guard -- chatted for a few minutes at midcourt before the game. Haslem logged a season-high 21 minutes for the shorthanded Heat. Udrih didn't play. strong>SPO AND STAN /strong> Even as both endure rough seasons, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy remain among the NBA's winningest active coaches. Among coaches with at least 500 games, San Antonio's Gregg Popovich is No. 1 in terms of winning percentage, Washington's Scott Brooks is No. 2 -- followed by Spoelstra and Van Gundy, respectively. strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Pistons: /strong> /em> Host Indiana on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time), opening a quick two-game homestand. em> strong>Heat: /strong> /em>Visit Phoenix on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time). The Heat don't play at home again until Jan. 17 (Jan. 18, PHL time). .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 1st, 2017

Young Phoenix Suns making strides during early stages of season

Young Phoenix Suns making strides during early stages of season.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 5th, 2016

World Sports: Fuel Masters in crucial match with Ginebra

WITH their playoff spot still hanging in the balance, the Phoenix Fuel Masters are gunning for a win when they take on the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings today to formalize their entry to the quarterfinals of the season-ending Philippine Basketball Ass.....»»

Category: financeSource:  bworldonlineRelated NewsSep 13th, 2016

Team Philippines loses another bet as Nakano bows out

RIO DE JANEIRO – Kodo Nakano, a last-minute Filipino entry in the judo competitions of the 2016 Rio Olympics, took an early exit Tuesday here......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsAug 9th, 2016

PBA: Phelps lifts Phoenix

Phelps, a muscular 6-foot-5 forward from Long Beach State, obliged nonetheless, revealing a gap in his upper incisors and blood clot in his lower lip where he got hit with an elbow by Globalport counterpart Michael Glover early in the third quarter......»»

Category: newsSource:  tempoRelated NewsJul 31st, 2016