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Pivot to China Rody’s ‘safety net’ vs Donald

Pivot to China Rody’s ‘safety net’ vs Donald.....»»

Category: newsSource: thestandard thestandardNov 9th, 2016

Duterte’s ‘China pivot’ puts economy at risk

Duterte’s ‘China pivot’ puts economy at risk.....»»

Category: financeSource:  thestandardRelated NewsOct 23rd, 2016

‘Du30 drops the ball’

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte may have dropped the ball in insisting that Philippine foreign policy pivot to China and is methodically eliminating all means of leverage with which the Philippines could secure its interests against “its larger, more powe.....»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsOct 12th, 2016

Rody& rsquo;s & lsquo;rape joke& rsquo; turns off Robredo

Rody’s ‘rape joke’ turns off Robredo Source link link: Rody’s ‘rape joke’ turns off Robredo.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilainformerRelated NewsSep 4th, 2018

Worth a thousand words: NBA photographer Andrew Bernstein details his best shots

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com Andrew Bernstein knew he wanted to be a sports photographer or maybe a documentary filmmaker. Trouble was, he recalled recently, his school at the time – the University of Massachusetts Amherst – offered courses in neither photography nor film. Not exactly a well-planned start to his chosen career. So Bernstein transferred to the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif. And once the native of Brooklyn stepped off the plane into 85-degree sunshine, he was hooked. Thus began a professional path that has taken him around the world, yet kept him Los Angeles-centric as the NBA’s senior photographer. A part-time job as an assistant to Sports Illustrated shooters helped Bernstein score his first NBA gig as a photographer the 1983 All-Star Game at L.A.’s famous Forum. He’d eventually serve as team photographer for the city’s Dodgers, Lakers, Clippers and Kings, but it was in his work for the NBA that Bernstein made his greatest mark. In 1986, Bernstein helped create NBA Photos as the league’s in-house licensing agency, for which he served as senior director until 2011. He chronicled Team USA through its 1992, 1996 and 2000 Olympic championships, and has worked 36 NBA Finals and All-Star Games. Next month, his hardcover collaboration with Kobe Bryant -- “The Mamba Mentality: How I Play” -- will hit bookshelves everywhere. This week as part of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, the 60-year-old photographer will be honored as a recipient of the 2018 Curt Gowdy Media Award. To shed light on his craft and share some behind-the-scenes tales, Bernstein -- prior to heading to Springfield, Mass. -- talked with NBA.com about some of his favorite and most famous images. Come fly with him ... Details: Michael Jordan soars with several Lakers in futile pursuit at the 1988 Hall of Fame preseason game between Chicago and Los Angeles at the Springfield Civic Center. Bernstein: “It was one of those crazy moments -- in those days, I could only do one remote camera. Now I can do almost an infinite number because it’s all done by radio. But back then, you had to hard-wire into the strobe [lighting] system for the big flashes, and you could only fire one. I chose the one shooting through the glass, behind the backboard. A lot of things could have gone wrong. His hand could have been in his face. He could have been out of the frame instead of just on the edge. I could only take one shot every four seconds [with the strobe] -- it’s not like I could lean on the motor drive and then pick one frame out of 10. … But it became known as “Come Fly with Me.” It did kind of define him at the time as being able to fly.” Back story: Bernstein added: “If you have a microscope, you can actually see me on the other side of the court, sitting there with a little trigger button. Then there’s the trivia question of all time -- who’s the other guy? That No. 3 happens to be [University of Virginia star and NBA role player] Jeff Lamp.” MJ: Champion, finally Details: Michael Jordan and his father, James, in the visitors’ dressing room at the Forum, after Game 5 of the 1991 Finals. Bulls 108, Lakers 101. Bernstein: “The network would do the trophy presentation in the winning team’s locker room, and the visitors’ side at the Forum was about the size of a closet. There seemed to be a thousand people in there, and all hell was breaking loose. I got up on top of a table in the middle of the room for a vantage point. When they came back live from a commercial, they wanted to have Michael on -- but they couldn’t find Michael. Some sixth sense said, ‘Look to your left,’ and there he was, in the locker, hugging that trophy, crying his eyes out with his dad next to him. I always felt, if he’d had to play that whole season for free to get to the mountain top, he would have. I knew this was a special moment. I banged a couple of frames really quick.” Back story: After James Jordan was murdered in 1993, Bernstein got a phone call from Michael’s office saying he “would love it if I made a print and sent it to him,” Bernstein said. “Which I did. I was very close with my dad and Michael Jordan knew him -- my dad was with me through the entire Dream Team experience [in 1992]. And I knew his dad. So it was a poignant moment in my career to have him request that photo. If I had to pick one photo to put on my tombstone, this would probably be it.” ‘Mamba’ coiled to strike Details: Shot from a camera suspended in the rafters at the Forum, a Hasselblad 120mm with a 350mm lens. “A heavy rig,” Bernstein called it, anchored with multiple clamps and safety cables on the catwalk, aimed straight down. Bernstein: “I love the composition of this photo and how everything just came together. The Forum had that beautiful Laker-gold ‘key.’ This was young Kobe, his first or second year, and he was a dunk machine back then. Look how he’s cocked back like that and flying thorugh the air, the basket right there. All the elements came together. When I saw this the next morning -- I had to take the film to the lab after the game, drop it off, then go back in the morning after sweating it out all night, hoping that I’d see something like this -- I was like, ‘Wow!’ All the preparation, hours and hours, setting the equipment up, and it all paid off.” Back story: It’s not common to see the top of a player’s head and the bottom of his sneakers in the same shot. Bernstein knew he had to share it and, thanks to the large-format film, he knew he could share it big. “As soon as I saw this,” he said, “I immediately made a giant print for Kobe -- I mean, like 50 [inches] by 70. Huge. I framed it and drove it to his house. He was living with his parents in Pacific Palisades at the time. I hope he still has it. I had given players like Magic [Johnson] and whomever 8x10s, but I never had framed something I was super-proud of.” Old Kobe ‘dunking’ again Details: Kobe Bryant, deep in his career, before a game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden in January 2010. Bernstein: “During a long East Coast trip, the Lakers had played the night before in Cleveland and were at the Garden less than 24 hours later. Kobe was banged up that year. This was an hour and a half to game time, and he was literally willing himself to play that night. Both ankles are in ice. He’s got the finger in a little cup of ice. During my pregame routine, walking from the locker room to the training room, I just saw him there. Other guys were coming and going, but he was in this meditative state. I took one frame -- God forbid the click of the camera disturb or distract him. Phil [Jackson] called this ‘The Thinker,’ like Rodin’s sculpture.” Back story: A skilled photographer learns how quickly how to be unobtrusive, a “fly on the wall.” Said Bernstein: “You have to, to get behind-the-scenes intimate photos of players away from the bright lights, and what goes on in the bowels of the arena or during travel. In 2009-10, Phil and I collaborated on a book called ‘Journey to the Ring,’ which took the Lakers from media day to whenever their season would end. They ended up winning it all that year, which was unbelievable for the project. The photos were in black-and-white, which was a conscious decision Phil and I made.” Photographer, shoot thyself Details: Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bernstein before the 2016 NBA All-Star Game, Western Conference locker room at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre. Bernstein: “This was his last All-Star Game and it was a true Kobe love-fest. I spent the entire weekend just with him, followed him everywhere he went. I mean, I didn’t cover it like I normally do for the NBA, and NBA Photos was very generous for letting me cover it through him. It was a beautiful weekend. He took it all in and was very appreciative. His humility came out -- a lot of people don’t think Kobe is humble, but I think he was. And he was very grateful, that he had an impact on all these All-Stars who were grateful to him.” Back story: The locker room was closed to the media, but as the league’s guy, Bernstein always has special access. “A couple of people were coming over to get photos with him -- Gregg Popovich, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul and a couple others,” the photographer said. “And I just jumped in myself. Very, very rarely -- I mean, four times in our 20 years together -- did I jump in the picture with him. But I couldn’t resist.” Shadowing the superstars Details: Another overhead shot at the Forum, this time during the 1991 Finals, with Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan fighting for what eventually will be a rebound. Bernstein: “With this angle, it’s always a crap shoot what you’re going to get. The rim could be blocking a guy’s face. Somebody could be too far under the basket. The focus point is so critical -- you have to be right on where it’s focused. As for the shadows, if you can imagine lights in each corner of the court, way up high. It just depended on where the players were placed. If one of them is blocking the light on one side, you get a shadow off to the other side. It’s always dramatic with the strobe. But just to get these two icons in the same frame was difficult.” Back story: Just as the famous parquet court at Boston Garden looked so iconic on TV and from afar, the Forum was best viewed from a distance. The paint worn off the top of the rim by balls and hands was something few ever saw. “The Forum was a dump,” Bernstein said. “The walls were caked with dirt. Nobody ever cleaned it. They used to feed us under the stands where the rodents were. It was like a Hollywood impostor, and it’s in Inglewood, which is not your glitzy Hollywood location. But they made it look good on TV. It was a tough place to work, I have to tell you.” Brothers in arms Details: A fisheye lens captures the moments immediately after Game 5 of 2017 Finals, with Golden State’s Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry front and center. Bernstein: “I’ve gotten good at getting out and being the first guy in the scrum. When a championship is won, I sharpen my elbows and just go for it. I try to be right next to the TV guy and well, I guess people know me and I make my way to wherever I have to be. This particular time, I knew there had to be a moment in there where Curry and Durant had an interaction. And it was amazing -- they’re almost like one body. It’s Kevin’s first championship and Steph is so happy for him as his teammate. And the pressure that was on the whole team to win this championship. I love this picture. It shows so much about the way I work and how I think about what I need to do in the moment.” Back story: Bernstein’s camera captured Durant’s mother Wanda to the left, crying and enjoying the moment. But a few seconds earlier, he said, “his mom came up and grabbed him by the front of the jersey. She kept yelling, ‘We did it! We did it!’ That’s a great picture too.” ‘Uncoachable?’ Unforgettable Details: Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson share a moment after beating the Magic in Game 5 and winning the 2009 NBA championship at Orlando’s Amway Arena. Bernstein: “If you remember the 2008-09 season, there was a lot of pressure on Kobe. People had been saying that he couldn’t win without Shaq, Phil had actually written that he was ‘uncoachable.’ But there’s such a paternal father-son thing going on in this picture. … I know I’ve got to go to the star player immediately at the buzzer. So I ran out and found Kobe. Phil and he had just come together and they were hugging, which is a nice picture. But I knew the instant after a hug can be just as special. Something told me to wait till after the hug -- because [with the limitation of the strobe lights] I can’t shoot rapidly -- and bing! They broke the hug and Phil’s looking like, ‘Job well done, son.’ And Kobe has this amazing look of relief and sense of accomplishment and exhaustion.” Back story: Bernstein said this is the only print of his work that his wife, Mariel, allows him to hang in their house. “We have three teenagers [at the time] who basically were the same age, all within a year of each other, and when all hell was breaking loose at our house, we’d stand the kids in front of this photo. My wife would say, ‘Look at that! If those two guys can get along and be respectful, we can do it in this house.’ ” Forever linked Details: The Celtics’ Larry Bird and the Lakers’ Magic Johnson fight for rebounding position along the foul lane at Boston Garden in the 1987 Finals. Bernstein: “This is probably my most well-known image, other than the one of Jordan hugging the trophy. Remember, these guys played different positions. They never really matched up. You’d never see Magic D-ing up Bird like you would with Michael or Isiah Thomas. And you’d never, ever see Bird D-ing Magic. I had to be unbelievably conscious of when they were on the court together, where they were on the court and somehow, if they would end up in my frame. The only times, honestly, I could ever get them in the same frame was the ‘captains’ meeting’ five minutes before tip at center court, shaking hands, and a free-throw situation. When, by the grace of God, they would line up facing me. That’s what this was. Back story: Just as Bird and Johnson were linked literally, arm in arm, in this photograph, their careers were linked figuratively through the NBA of the 1980s. “It kind of defined the era,” Bernstein said. “These two great guys intertwined, neither of them looking superior to the other. Jostling for position, just like the Celtics and the Lakers did. I love this picture, and I know both of those guys love it. This picture is hanging in the Hall of Fame.” 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 NewsSep 4th, 2018

PVL: Ebon fuels FEU charge in Game 2

Far Eastern University head coach George Pascua found an unlikely inspiration for his veterans to wake up from an early funk. With their backs against the wall in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Collegiate Conference Final Four, the Lady Tamaraws started on the wrong foot Saturday. The Morayta-based squad opened a 9-0 lead in the first set but saw the Tigresses gobble up their advantage before stealing the frame. Amid their chaotic start in Game 2 of the best-of-three series, Pascua saw a spec of hope in rookie Lycha Ebon. Pascua gave his veterans a little pep talk, pointing out the freshman’s effort in both offense and defense – a work he expected to see from his more seasoned players.         “Sabi ko nga kanina china-challenge ko ang mga beterano ko. Sabi ko sa kanila, “‘yung first year na wala pa talagang sungay kumbaga sa FEU baby pa lang ay lumalaban dapat kayong may mga sungay na kapag sinabing charge, charge,’” he said. And it was enough to lit the fire on the core of the FEU squad which finished runner up in the UAAP Season 80 and in the conference’s inaugural edition. The Lady Tams responded with a rousing 22-25, 25-13, 25-14, 25-20, victory that evened the series to one game apiece and forced a decider Sunday. Ebon scored 10 points and her effort boosted the confidence of her seniors. But the rookie downplayed her role in FEU’s crucial win. “Para sa akin po, basta on-game kami, walang angat o walang mababa. Lahat pantay-pantay lang,” she said. “Ako, as a rookie, kailangan magstep up talaga para makasabay sa mga seniors ko.” The victory snapped the Lady Tams consecutive losses to the Tigresses this conference including a four-set defeat in the series opener last Wednesday. Celine Domingo led FEU with 19 points, Jerrili Malaban scored all of her 17 markers from attacks while setter Kyle Negrito dropped 12 points on top of 26 excellent sets. Pascua now hopes his wards will sustain their momentum to advance in the Finals.   “Hopefully, fresh pa rin ang ginawa nila ngayon, na ‘wag silang makalimot para bukas,” he said. “So ‘yun isa sa pampataas ng morale nila ‘yun.” “Bukas kasi labanan ng character na lang yan, lagi ko yang sinasabi sa mga players ko,” Pascua closed.     ---   Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 1st, 2018

Cracks: Among Rody& rsquo;s partymates on the & lsquo;real& rsquo; PDP-Laban

Cracks: Among Rody’s partymates on the ‘real’ PDP-Laban Source link link: Cracks: Among Rody’s partymates on the ‘real’ PDP-Laban.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilainformerRelated NewsAug 10th, 2018

ONE: No More Detours - Kevin Belingon wants Bibiano Fernandes next

Six years since his ONE Championship debut, Team Lakay’s Kevin ‘The Silencer’ Belingon is finally a World Champion in the martial arts promotion. At ONE: REIGN OF KINGS last 27 July, in front of a partisan pro-Philippines crowd at the SM Mall of Asia Arena, Belingon defeated reigning ONE Featherweight and Lightweight World Champion Martin ‘The Situ-Asian’ Nguyen to capture the ONE Interim Bantamweight World Championship. For Belingon, it was a childhood dream come true. “I can’t explain this feeling. I’m the happiest athlete tonight,” Belingon said during the post-match interview. “Thank you to all the people who came out to support me, and of course to ONE Championship, my team, my coaches and trainers, and my teammates,” With the win, Belingon becomes the fifth Filipino to capture ONE World Championship gold, as he joins reigning ONE Heavyweight World Champion Brandon ‘The Truth’ Vera, as well as Team Lakay stablemates in reigning ONE Flyweight World Champion Geje ‘Gravity’ Eustaquio, former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard ‘Landslide’ Folayang, and former ONE Featherweight World Champion Honorio ‘The Rock’ Banario. And while making history as a world champion is indeed a prestigious feat, even more important for Belingon is that he’s finally secured his spot as the next person to challenge reigning ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano ‘The Flash’ Fernandes. Fernandes is currently recovering from an injury, and when the most dominant champion in ONE Championship history finally returns, Belingon will be right there, waiting for his rematch. (READ ALSO: No longer just a contender, Kevin Belingon has more surprises in store for Bibiano Fernandes) “I respect [Bibiano] as a champion, but we are in the same weight class, and I am the top contender, so there is no escape in facing me. I hope you recover fast, and that we can make the fight this year.” Belingon said. Belingon and Fernandes first shared the cage back in January of 2016 at ONE: DYNASTY OF CHAMPIONS, in Changsha, China, with Fernandes retaining the title via a first-round submission win. The loss did nothing but fuel Belingon’s world championship dreams even more, and the road back to the championship picture was a long one for the 30-year old, who had to run through a gauntlet of former world title contenders and a two-division champion in a just under two years. Currently riding six straight victories dating back to October of 2016, Belingon has taken out the likes of Toni Tauru, Reece ‘Lightning’ McLaren, Andrew Leone, and Nguyen, pretty much a who’s-who in ONE Championship’s bantamweight division. “I have faced many tough opponents leading up to this interim title, and I believe I have earned my spot to face Bibiano again,” Belingon said in an interview with ONE Championship’s official website. Now, the Baguio City native has his sights firmly set on Fernandes and the ONE Bantamweight World Championship. Nothing else, no one else. “I am looking forward to our rematch. No more detours. Bibiano should be next, and I fully expect to be facing him soon.” Surely, ‘soon’ can’t fast enough for Belingon, but the reality is that he’ll have to wait for Fernandes to be cleared to compete. In the meantime however, the newly-crowned interim champion could use some time off as well, to heal up before getting back to business. He is, after all, coming off a tough five-round main event. “Right now, I am just focused on resting and healing my body. I am pretty banged up. My ankle and shin are bruised, and they need time to recover,” Belingon said. “Once everything is good to go, then I will be back in training. But for now, I am going to enjoy the rest. It still has not sunk in that I am a World Champion.” He continued. While indeed, the record books will show that Belingon has already held world championship gold, the Filipino star knows in himself that there’s still one more bit of work to be done, and that’s to avenge his loss to Fernandes and become the undisputed ONE Bantamweight World Champion. “Until I beat Bibiano, [however], I will always feel like there is unfinished business to take care of.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 7th, 2018

Rody& rsquo;s & lsquo;focus& rsquo; list: Corruption, drugs, finance, peace, jobs

Rody’s ‘focus’ list: Corruption, drugs, finance, peace, jobs Source link link: Rody’s ‘focus’ list: Corruption, drugs, finance, peace, jobs.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilainformerRelated NewsJul 28th, 2018

Rody says sorry to his & lsquo;all-forgiving God& rsquo;

Rody says sorry to his ‘all-forgiving God’ Source link link: Rody says sorry to his ‘all-forgiving God’.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilainformerRelated NewsJul 12th, 2018

Flood, illness could not stop Robert Bolick from getting his well-deserved trophy

Until the very end, Robert Bolick had to work for his first-ever individual trophy in the collegiate ranks. The undisputed leader of NCAA champion San Beda University was all set to be recognized as the Player of the Year in the 2018 Chooks-to-Go Collegiate Basketball Awards held last Thursday at The Bayleaf Hotel in Intramuros. Three hours before the event organized by the UAAP-NCAA Press Corps, however, he had bad news. As it turns out, Bolick was not feeling well and his stomach flu had him on the verge of going to the hospital. “Masakit talaga. Two days na nga akong hindi nakapag-practice (with San Beda),” his message read. And so, it appeared that the 5-foot-11 lead guard would not be able to hoist his first-ever individual trophy. With that, the air became heavy inside the venue as, aside from Bolick, also absent from the event were four awardees from Ateneo de Manila University, who were in Greece for tuneup games, and two awardees from Lyceum of the Philippines University, who were in Calatagan, Batangas for team-building. The downpour of rain and, of course the sudden flooding it entailed, didn’t help either as several representatives of the awardees were regrettably forced to miss the awards night as well. And then, right in the middle of the heavy rain, Bolick told the UAAP-NCAA Press Corps that he was willing his way to the event. “Sirs, pupunta (na) ako, for sure. Para sa inyo, sirs, kakayanin ko ‘to,” his message read. Not only that, he was going to Intramuros from Sta. Ana in Manila by booking an Angkas. “Sarap pala mag-Angkas no? Traffic lang saka natakot ako sa mga truck,” he shared. And so, until the very end, the now 21-year-old had to work for his first-ever individual trophy in the collegiate ranks. Whatever it was, though, he said that finally holding the Player of the Year was well worth it. “Ang sarap. Meaning lang nito, mahal niyo ako,” he said, joshing with reporters. True to form, however, he was also quick to add, “Pero sa akin wala talaga yung individual. All I want is a championship.” Along with the trophy, event backer Chooks-to-Go also rewarded all of Bolick’s efforts with PhP 15, 000 in cash. In the end, the stomach flu, the heavy rain, and the flood he had to overcome were no match for the well-deserved recognition as well as pocket money to celebrate it. After all, the pride of Ormoc, Leyte had already proven that he could persevere through the longer, harder route just to get to his destination. While he was the hands-down King Lion, coming through when his team needed him the most, he was left out of any individual hardware after being disqualified for the Mythical Team due to a controversial ejection in an elimination round game and after being edged out by teammate Donald Tankoua for Finals MVP. And so, even with two team championships, Bolick was yet to receive individual honors – from his time as a reserve in De La Salle University to his time as main man of San Beda. Not anymore, as the UAAP-NCAA Press Corps set up the stage for, at long last, his one shining moment. And just like he always does, Robert Bolick, finished it all with a flourish. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 22nd, 2018

Modern bigs to dominate 2018 Draft

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com NEW YORK – There was a ballroom full of NBA centers in midtown Manhattan Wednesday – not one of them eager to follow in the sizeable footsteps of Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Moses Malone, Shaquille O’Neal or Dwight Howard. In fact, on the very day that the top prospects for the 2018 Draft were made available to the media – a talent pool particularly long on length this year – Howard was on the move again, in a reported deal from Charlotte to Brooklyn that will land the eight-time All-Star with his fourth team in four seasons and sixth overall. That bit of news – of an old-school NBA big man being shuffled off again,  primarily for salary-cap purposes, into what looks to be basketball irrelevancy – served as a counterpoint to the young giants just starting out. There will be plenty of guards and forwards selected in the first round Thursday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, including Michael Porter Jr., Trae Young, Collin Sexton, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Mikal Bridges, Kevin Knox and Lonnie Walker. But the lottery will be top-heavy with big men, with Deandre Ayton, Marvin Bagley III, Mo Bamba, Jaren Jackson Jr., Wendell Carter Jr., and Robert Williams all hearing their names called. All six are listed at 6'10" or taller, though they’ll bear little resemblance in style or production to the Hall of Famers cited above or even to Howard. The last time last time six players that size were drafted in the top 10 was 2007, when Greg Oden, Al Horford, Yi Jianlian, Brandan Wright, Joakim Noah and Spencer Hawes all went early. Much has changed in 11 years. These young guys represent basketball’s new-age pivot men, er, which means we’d better drop the “pivot men” nomenclature. Rather, the word that got tossed around most often Wednesday during conversations about these guys’ fit – with specific teams and in the league generally – was modern. Modern centers for a modern NBA. “Modern-day 5,” is how Mamba put it. “Defend multiple positions, can shoot it, handle it a little. Can do a little bit of everything,” the 20-year-old from Harlem, by way of Pennsylvania and Texas. Said Jaren Jackson, Jr., fresh from one season at Michigan State: “At times, I’ve heard that I’m right on time for the way the game is going. A lot of bigs can handle the ball and be versatile and they’re able to make plays.” If you want to feel old, consider the NBA’s prevailing definition of “modern.” With major league baseball, for example, what’s known as the “modern era” historically is thought to have begun in the year 1900. By contrast, the NBA’s modern era dates back to about a week ago last Tuesday. That’s how quickly the contributions from the center position have changed. After ruling the NBA landscape for most of the league’s first 50 years, traditional big men looked at now as dinosaurs, both in form and function. Plodding isn’t allowed. Posting up, back to the basket, and backing into the paint seems as dated in this league as helmetless players in the NHL. There have been noticeable markers along the way. In the ‘90s, players who naturally would have been trained and used as centers – Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Rasheed Wallace, Amare Stoudemire, Antonio McDyess – demanded to face the basket and be referred to as power forwards. Then in 2012, the league joined them, eradicating “center” from its All-Star ballot and opting for “frontcourt” as a catch-all category for everyone from 6'5" wings to seven-foot shot swatters. This latest era dates back just a few years, if you go by a few key analytics. A recent ESPN.com story tracked the minutes played by seven-footers in the playoffs, compared to the regular season, and identified the tipping point as the 2016 postseason. Even if you back it up by a year to include Golden State’s heavy use of small ball in winning its championship in 2015, that’s still barely more than a heartbeat. But the full embrace of the three-point shot and the type of pace favored by a majority of current NBA coaches has put a premium on centers – we’re taking liberties in even calling them that anymore – who are mobile, who can switch defensively, challenge perimeter shooters, do some of that shooting of their own and still crash the boards and protect the rim. The next Shaq or Kareem? Now the model is Houston’s efficient Clint Capela, Boston’s savvy Al Horford or Minnesota’s ridiculously skilled Karl-Anthony Towns. Big guys such as DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis have added range to their shots. Some – Andre Drummond, Jonas Valanciunas, a few more – have status or contracts assure them minutes. Yet other old-style bigs are out of the league (Roy Hibbert, Andrew Bogut) or logging long stretches on the bench (Greg Monroe, Al Jefferson, Hassan Whiteside). Just two years ago, Jahlil Okafor was the No. 3 pick in the 2016 Draft. These days, he’s an afterthought with little market value. Teams don’t want to play the way Okafor and others like him need to play. So the challenge for a fellow such as Ayton, projected to be the near-consensus No. 1 pick this year, is to make sure no one confuses him or his game with DeAndre Jordan. Asked about the trend Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time), Ayton at one point sounded a little defiant. “I’m not changing my way of play in the NBA,” he told reporters. “I’m still an inside-out type of player. I’m going to start inside and establish myself down low until I have to stretch the floor.” It helps, of course, to have that option. Ayton already is built like an NBA veteran, but he has sufficient quickness to cover ground defensively and to keep up with a faster offensive pace. And for those who haven’t been paying attention to him since the NCAA tournament ended – or in Arizona’s case, barely got started with that opening loss to Buffalo – Ayton has a surprise: a more reliable three-point shot he’s willing to unleash. “The NBA three-ball is way farther than the college three-ball,” he said. “I’ve really put on some range and put on some muscle. When I’m fatigued in games, I really can [still] get my shot off in a perfect arc.” Bagley, depending where he lands, might end up playing more out on the floor than the other bigs in this draft. That’s his experience, having had Carter next to him at Duke to handle the basics. Williams will likely benefit from shifting in the opposite direction. He played a lot at power forward for Texas A&M but is rated highly for how his game translates to, you guessed it, modern center play. Bamba has drawn comparisons to Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid, as much for his charisma as for any play similarities. He allegedly has overhauled his shot this spring, and also was eager to tout his three-point range Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time). Then there is Jackson, who has been rated as the best two-way player of the bunch. That includes not just his defense against fellow bigs but his ability to keep up with and guard nearly any position. Jackson seemed to speak for all the big men among the future pros in New York Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time). Unlike a previous generation of centers, many of whom got caught in the NBA’s transition to a smaller, faster, position-less style, the young centers of 2018 grew up watching it. And preparing for it. Nothing frustrating about it, Jackson said, though it’s a far cry from the league in which his father, Jaren Sr., (1989-2002) played. “No. Whatever helps each team do their best is what lineup they’re going to put out,” Jackson said. “They’re going to put the best players on the floor every time. You look at a team like the Warriors, they switch everything. They can play all different positions. That’s what they’re good at.” That’s what these guys, given their size, are remarkably good at too. 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 NewsJun 21st, 2018

China to throw CG & lsquo;bad apples& rsquo; into sea& mdash;envoy

China to throw CG ‘bad apples’ into sea—envoy Source link link: China to throw CG ‘bad apples’ into sea—envoy.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilainformerRelated NewsJun 13th, 2018

Navy standout survives foreign fightback to win 9th Le Tour de Filipinas

BAGUIO CITY —  Philippine Navy-Standard Insurance’s El Joshua Cariño fulfilled a cherished dream as he seized the 2018 Le Tour de Filipinas in dramatic fashion in front of an appreciative Wednesday afternoon crowd at the Burnham Park here. Cariño, 25, poured it all on what’s left in his tank in the homestretch of the back-breaking 154.65-km trek from Lingayen, Pangasinan, and finished a fighting third behind stage winner, Eritrean Metkel Eyob of Terengganu Cycling Team, in the decisive final stage of the annual road race. But that proved enough as the Mangaldan, Pangasinan native accumulated 12 hours, 25 minutes and 13 seconds to become just the third Filipino to rule the only International Cycling Union-sanctioned road race in the country after 7-Eleven standouts Baler Ravina (2012) and Mark Galedo (2014). “Napakasarap…parang hindi ako makapaniwala,” beamed Cariño. “Dati nanood lang ako sa mga foreigners, sa mga Pinoy doon sa Kennon (Road). Ngayon ako na ‘yung pinapanood ng mga siklista. Hindi pa rin ako makapaniwala na ako talaga ‘yung nanalo.” Cariño, who ruled Stage 3 last Tuesday, had ample reasons to feel so because he had to survive a last-ditch figthback from Eyob, who negotiated the decisive stage in just four hours, five minutes and 52 seconds and appeared on pulling off a come-from-behind victory. But Cariño refused to wilt under immense pressure as he tried to make up for lost time once he reached the fabled Lion’s Head, some eight kilometers to the finish, where dozens of local fans provided some needed energy. “Ang plano ko bago mag-Lion’s Head, aatake na ako kasi nakita ko ‘yung mga foreigners medyo nahihirapan na kaya doon ako tumira,” said Carino, whose 19-year-old brother, Daniel Ven, ran away with the Best Young Rider (under-23) award. “Kahit nahihirapan na ako, tiniis ko na lang dahil maraming mag Pilipino ang nagbibigay ng morale boost sa akin.” Carino’s teammate, Ronald Oranza finished third overall with a time of 12:27:49 while current national champion Jan Paul Morales came in at fourth overall in 12:28:09 as the Navymen dominated practically on all fronts. The Navymen had a total clocking of 37 hours, 21 minutes and 41 seconds, more than seven minutes ahead of their 7-Eleven counterparts wound up second in the race. That somehow eased some pain they felt after Navy vital cog Junrey Navarra suffered a suspected pelvic injury after being hit by a race marshal in Umingan, Pangasinan, that negated him out of title contention. Instead of being rattled, the Navymen moved on quick from that sorry incident and still buckled down to work, led by Cariño who also took home the Best Sprinter and Best Filipino Rider honors. Eyob emerged as the King of the Mountain winner with 27 accumulated points, five more than Oranza, while Cariño’s younger brother, Daniel Ven, finished as the Best Young Rider in the 16-team field. Rounding up the Top 10 were Forca Amskins’ John Ebsen (fifth spot, 12:28:45), Galedo (sixth, 12:30:03), Daniel Ven Cariño (seventh, 12:30:35), 7-Eleven Cliqq Roadbike PH’s Marcelo Felipe (eighth, 12:32:36), Go for Gold’s Ismael Grospe (ninth, 12:31:43) and Pishgaman’s Amir Kolahdouzhagh (10th, 12:32:23.) Tour organizers, meanwhile, lauded Baguio City Maurico Domogan and Major Oliver Panabang, chief PNP Baguio City traffic division, for a smooth traffic flow from the Lion’s Head on the way up to the City of Pines. The route to the finish up Kennon Road was lined by more than a hundred uniformed rookie police officers who guaranteed the safety of the riders......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 23rd, 2018

Le Tour de Filipinas: Oranza wins chaos-free Stage 2

Philippine Navy-Standard Insurance skipper Ronald Oranza and his in-form teammates took full advantage of their familiarity of the challenging Stage 2 route as they stamped their class in the 2018 Le Tour de Filipinas under a bright Monday sunshine. Oranza, 26, attacked like a hungry cheetah in the mountainous part of Santa Fe popularly known as Dalton Pass while his fellow Navymen sustained the pressure in the homestretch as they stood at the forefront of the local charge in the 157.9-kilometer journey that started in Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija, and finished just entering the town proper here. Oranza whopped it up as he crossed the finish line in three hours, 48 minutes and 34 seconds before he looked back at the 15-man chase group that included all of his four fellow Navymen with a big smile, savoring his breakthrough lap victory in the annual bikathon. The Villasis, Pangasinan native became just the fourth Filipino stage winner in the only International Cycling Union-calendared road race in the country after veteran riders Oscar Rendole, Arnel Quirimit and 7-Eleven Cliqq RoadBike star Mark Galedo, the 2014 champion. Oranza admitted that his familiarity of the tricky route, made tougher by Category 4 and 2 climbs in the dreaded Dalton Pass, proved decisive because he and his fellow Namen negotiated the same course with relative ease during their unstoppable run to a domestic tour crown last March. “Malaking tulong na pamilyar kami sa ruta kasi ma-survive lang namin ‘yung Dalton Pass, ‘yung daan papunta dito, rolling na,” said Oranza, who also topped the pair of KOM challenges to claim the red polka dot jersey given to the best climber. But he will still wear the coveted yellow jersey given to the general classification leader for today’s Stage 3, the longest at 185.20 kms from Bambang, Nueva Vizcaya, to Lingayen, Pangasinan, in what could be another decisive lap. Not to be outdone was Oranza’s teammate Jan Paul Morales, 32, who seized the green jersey as the best sprinter after sweeping two intermediate sprints inside the first 60 kilometers. He also moved up from fourth spot to third in the individual GC for his six-second time bonus. Galedo’s 7-Eleven teammate, Daniel Ven Carino claimed the white jersey as the best young rider after he finished with the chase group, more than 11 minutes ahead of his Japan-based Interpro Stradalli counterparts Kouki Shinoda and Kouki Mitsuda. A pair of Navymen, climbing specialist Junrey Navarra and El Joshua Cariño, also finished inside the Top 10 at sixth and seventh spots, respectively, while grizzled Bike Xtreme Philippines rider Cris Joven checked in at eighth overall. Korean Jung Hajeon of Uijeongbu Cycling Team and Eritrean Metkel Eyob of Terengganu finished second and third overall respectively while Iranian Reza Hosseini of Pishgaman Cycling Team rounded up the top five finishers. Meanwhile, chief commissaire Louise Jones lauded the organizers and members of the local government units of Nueva Ecija and Nueva Vizcaya who all did an excellent share in ensuring the smooth flow of the race column this time, unlike in Bulacan and Pampanga where the traffic gridlock proved hellish as it could be due to lack of coordination that led to the stoppage of the opening stage last Sunday. “Yesterday was very much a safety issue, I feared for the riders’ lives. Today, everything was 300-percent better,” said Welsh Jones, a two-time Olympian before she became an International Commissaire. “Everyone did their job properly. The organization looked after us pretty well and I’m pleased with the marshals and everyone who made the racing very safe,” added the first Chief Commissaire of the race also sanctioned by the PhilCycling. It was the Navymen, however, who put on a dominant show of force as they set the tone early behind Morales before Oranza made his big move at the mountainous part of Santa Fe where he formed a three-man breakaway that included 7-11 rider Nelson Martin. However, Martin struggled to sustain the pace under the scorching heat in the town of Bambang and was eventually swallowed by their persistent chasers. But Oranza persevered and dug deep in his tank for one final push in the last three kilometers to complete his impressive lap victory......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 21st, 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

New backer set to support Alab Pilipinas long-term

Alab Pilipinas is 8-1 with Justin Brownlee and Renaldo Balkman as reinforcements. That’s outstanding, but there’s an even better mark for the Filipinos’ representatives in the 2017-2018 Asean Basketball League – they are undefeated in two games ever since San Miguel stepped in as primary sponsor. Not only that, those two wins have come at the expense of league heavyweights Chong Son of China and the Slingers of Singapore. Team owner Charlie Dy knew only good things were coming from the start of their conversations with their brand new backer. “Noong pumunta ako sa SMB office, bumukas yung elevator tapos nandun agad yung slogan nila na ‘Serbisyo. Malasakit. Buhay SMB,’” he shared. He then continued, “Dun pa lang, alam ko nang may magandang mangyayari.” Dy and the Alab team management were left searching for a new primary sponsor after Tanduay, their initial backer, withdrew its commitment following reported differences with head coach Jimmy Alapag. Fortunately for them San Miguel, which already has a history with the ABL, was only more than willing to step in. “We’re just very happy and thankful sa San Miguel dahil when they heard (the news), nung lumapit kami sa kanila, they really welcomed us. Ayaw nilang ma-disappoint namin yung mga Pilipinong sumusuporta sa team,” Dy said. The even better news is that, apparently, the partnership is not only for the ongoing season. As the Philippine team’s owner put it, “They want a long partnership. They will continue supporting the team not just for this season, but (also) for the coming seasons.” He then continued, “At least ito, long-term na they’re supporting the team. We’re just very grateful talaga to boss Al (Chua) and RSA (Ramon S. Ang).” Indeed, looks like the “GI-NE-BRA! GI-NE-BRA!” chants were a premonition for Alab. Leading scorer Justin Brownlee is also the resident import of Ginebra, which falls under the umbrella of the San Miguel Corporation. He has been showered with cheers of “GI-NE-BRA! GI-NE-BRA!” wherever he plays, even in Singapore. Now, those chants will not only be for the American reinforcement, but indeed, for the entire Philippine team as well. “Siguro nga, nakatulong din yun. I believe kasi na ganun sila (San Miguel) e – hindi nila hahayaan yung players nila,” he said. He then continued, “Nakita nila na Justin came back to support Alab and now, they’re doing the same.” --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 8th, 2018

Jags ‘threw a tantrum’ when Marrone started making changes

By Mark Long, Associated Press JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Jacksonville’s locker room was abuzz late last season. Four guys played table tennis while others crowded around a small table for dominoes. Two 80-inch televisions were tuned to a sports highlight show, and music blared from one corner of the room. Doug Marrone, the team’s offensive line coach at the time, walked through and shook his head. “Can you believe this?” Marrone whispered. The Jaguars were in the middle of a nine-game losing streak that would ultimately cost coach Gus Bradley his job. Marrone had watched from afar for two years, witnessing an atmosphere he felt was too loose, too laid-back and too lenient amid losing. So when Marrone was hired to replace Bradley last January, high on his to-do list was to change the culture in Jacksonville. His success is one reason the Jaguars (12-6) are in the AFC championship game against New England (14-3). The ping pong table was the first to go. Dominoes followed. The locker room stalls were overhauled, too, with Marrone mixing and matching position groups and putting certain players next to veteran leaders and/or NFL role models. “We definitely threw a tantrum,” Pro Bowl defensive tackle Malik Jackson said. “Went in there and talked to him about it. Definitely wasn’t happy. I learned just to be quiet, you know, and go with the flow. He’s been at it longer than I have, and I’m just the football player. He says do this and I go do it. Just learn to follow him, and I’m glad I did.” Marrone saved the most significant changes for the practice fields. Marrone, top executive Tom Coughlin and general manager Dave Caldwell wanted a much tougher and more physical team. They drafted bruising running back Leonard Fournette and fiery left tackle Cam Robinson to complement a defense that was significantly beefed up in free agency with the addition of All-Pro pass-rusher Calais Campbell, Pro Bowl cornerback A.J. Bouye and veteran safety Barry Church. They also designed an offseason program that was more grueling than most players had experienced. Marrone’s message was clear: Go hard or go home. “You remember guys in camp talking about this took a few years off their lives,” Jackson said. “It’s pretty funny just to see us now. I guess he does know what he’s doing.” The Jaguars were in full pads nearly every day during training camp, a tortuous stretch in draining heat and humidity that left rookies and veterans questioning the process and wondering if it would pay off. It was the NFL’s version of boot camp. Break them down, then build them up. It ultimately brought players closer, making them accountable to each other and causing them to care more for each other. Winning was the final piece, and thumping Houston 29-7 in the season opener was all the proof players needed. “It was the toughest training camp I’ve ever been a part of,” said linebacker Paul Posluszny, in his 11th season. “Coach Marrone would talk to us and say, ‘Listen, I have a plan and you have to trust me.’ With that, guys were able to say, ‘OK, we haven’t gotten what we wanted in years past doing things a certain way, so we have to buy in, trust the head man and know that that’ll bring us success when it’s time.’ “It was difficult just because of so many changes from what we were used to. I think the most important thing is we always said, ‘Well, if it helps us win, then it’s all good.’” Jacksonville had lost 63 of 80 games over the previous five seasons — the worst record in the NFL during that span — and had been through two coaching changes. Coughlin’s return was a key part of the team’s revival, and although the two-time Super Bowl-winning coach with the New York Giants gets much of the outside credit for the team’s turnaround, the reality is Marrone was the one pushing all the right buttons. Marrone has been other places where players resisted, prompting personnel moves that would slow progress. That wasn’t the case in Jacksonville, and he credited his players for being open to change. “They gave our staff the opportunity to say, ‘This is what we want to do. This is what we believe in as coaches or as an organization. This is how we want to handle ourselves,’” Marrone said. “We are still working toward that. It is not perfect by any means.” It’s clearly working, though. The Jaguars are in the title game for the third time in franchise history, one victory away from their first Super Bowl appearance. “They say (stuff) rolls downhill,” Jackson said. “Well, the good stuff rolls downhill, too. ... It’s all worth it when you win.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 17th, 2018

Trump tweet on nuclear button keeps North Korea’s Kim ‘on his toes’ – Haley

US President Donald Trump’s tweet about having a bigger nuclear button than Kim Jong Un’s has kept the North Korean leader “on his toes” and made clear the risks of a nuclear standoff, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on Sunday. Source link link: Trump tweet on nuclear button keeps North Korea’s Kim ‘on his toes’ – Haley.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilainformerRelated NewsJan 8th, 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

BEST OF 5 PART 3: Is San Beda the king of college basketball?

Read Part 1 of ABS-CBN Sports’ Best of 5 series on the San Beda Red Lions here. Read Part 2 of ABS-CBN Sports’ Best of 5 series on the San Beda Red Lions here. --- San Beda College is the only undisputed dynasty in all of college basketball in the Philippines. In the UAAP, since Ateneo de Manila University’s five-peat, four different teams have won the championship. In the CESAFI (Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation, Inc.), both Southwestern University and University of Visayas have caught up with University of Cebu. In the NAASCU (National Athletic Association of Schools, Colleges, and Universities), Centro Escolar University had been the standard, but are no longer in the league. Compare that with what the Red Lions have done in dominating the last 12 years of the NCAA? Only twice during that span have they not been crowned as kings there – and even during those two times, they finished close second. EXTENDED EMPIRE Mendiola’s dynasty isn’t contained to their mother league, even. Teaming up with Cignal HD, they won the 2017 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup. There, current players Robert Bolick and Javee Mocon were key cogs, with the former even recognized as Conference MVP. They were also the winners in two of the last three Filoil Flying V Preseason Tournaments as well as the two most recent National Collegiate Championships. Going by championships alone, there is no other collegiate team that could touch San Beda. Present day team manager Jude Roque believes as much. “Right now, it’s fair to say we have the best program in all of college basketball here if only for the number of major championships in the last five years,” he said. VISION-MISSION While all that winning has been, of course, primarily because of all the top-tier talent they have had in the last dozen years, that top-tier talent would not have been Red Lions if not for an aligned team management as well as instrumental mentors in the likes of Koy Banal, Frankie Lim, Ronnie Magsanoc, Boyet Fernandez, and Jamike Jarin. As Roque put it, “It’s a combination of good recruitment, good coaching, and proper team management.” He then continued, “Of the three, recruitment is still the biggest key to success in college basketball. Of course, it helps that we have generous alumni patrons led by boss MVP (Manny V. Pangilinan).” That much was evident right from the very beginning when, now serious about contending, they brought in Nigerian powerhouse Sam Ekwe and also reeled in Borgie Hermida, one of the top talents in Juniors then who just so happened to be a San Beda Red Cub. Ekwe proved to be the first in what is now a long line of impactful reinforcements they have had in Sudan Daniel, Ola Adeogun, and Donald Tankoua. Meanwhile, Hermida was the pioneer in Cubs turned Lions – something Renren Ritualo and LA Tenorio didn’t do before but is now a common sight in the likes of Baser Amer and Javee Mocon. CULTURE CHANGE Add to that how, right from the get-go, the Red Lions were able to mine hidden gems such as Alex Angeles and Yousif Aljamal. In fact, in Banal’s eyes, it was those two who set the tone for what is now the only undisputed dynasty in all of college basketball in the Philippines. “I believe it all starts with leadership and I was just thankful and blessed that I had captain Alex Angeles and co-captain Yousif Aljamal,” he said, looking back at that magical championship run in 2006. He then continued, “I talked to them, sabi ko lahat ‘to magsisimula sa atin. Kayo ang tinitingala ng players kaya kailangan ko ng tulong niyo. I told them na if I’m expecting somebody to finish the drills first, that (would be) you guys. The rest is history.” WINNING IS CONTAGIOUS Indeed, the rest is now history and Mendiola has, time and again, taken in promising players and turned them into championship contributors. That winning tradition has also led to even transferees choosing to go there. Such was the case for Bolick who had already won a championship with De La Salle University, but saw a greater opportunity and a bigger legacy in red and white. “I chose San Beda because of coach Jamike. He told me he will give me a chance to play,” he shared. He then continued, “But that’s just one reason. I really wanted to play in a winning culture. I wanted to win again, yun lang.” Bolick, who hailed from College of St. Benilde-La Salle Greenhills, could have been a Blazer or could have enrolled in a few other schools who had interest in him. However, he ultimately chose San Beda for its winning tradition. WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER A winning tradition that was seen through from management to coaches to players to community. “Maraming magagandang schools with a solid educational program and a very good basketball program, but dito sa San Beda, everybody works hand-in-hand so we will have a consistent winning tradition year after year,” Fernandez said. A winning tradition that had been witnessed firsthand by Mocon, beginning in high school, that he didn’t even have to think twice about staying. “The unending support of MVP and the excellent support of San Beda are the key factors for this winning tradition. Talent is never wasted in San Beda – there are always results to the time and work you put in,” he said. A winning tradition that gives San Beda the most rightful claim as the only undisputed dynasty in all of college basketball in the Philippines. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 30th, 2017