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T-wolves' Rubio to miss Nuggets game for personal reasons

em>By Jon Krawczynski, Associated Press /em> MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio will miss the game on Sunday (Monday, PHL time) against the Denver Nuggets, but it has nothing to do with the trade rumors that have surrounded him of late. Rubio left the team on Friday (Saturday, PHL time) for personal reasons and will not rejoin the Wolves until late Sunday or Monday, coach Tom Thibodeau said Saturday after practice. Rubio had to return home to Spain, and his brother posted on Instagram that their grandmother had passed away. Rubio did not play in the second half against the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday (Friday, PHL time) because of tightness in his left hip, but Thibodeau said Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) that was not a concern going forward. Kris Dunn and Tyus Jones filled in admirably, helping the Wolves defeat the Clippers, 104-101. Rubio said after the game he was not concerned about the injury, though it did interrupt an impressive run for the pass-first point guard. In his previous five full games, Rubio was averaging 13.2 points and 14.0 assists, looking more like the playmaker he was earlier in his career. 'I'm playing better, feeling better and the results are there,' Rubio said last week after a win over Oklahoma City. 'But I don't want it to be just a four-game stand. I want to be all season long like that. It's hard. We have a lot of games, but my expectations are high and I keep them high because I work hard to do it.' It has taken time for Rubio to acclimate to a new system in Thibodeau's first year as coach, leading many across the league to believe that the sixth-year pro could be traded to make room for Dunn, the fifth overall pick in last summer's draft. Thibodeau has historically preferred a point guard who is more of a scorer than Rubio, a career 37 percent shooter and a 31 percent shooter from 3-point range. But shooting has never been Rubio's strong suit. He excels at getting others involved, playing good defense and controlling the tempo of the game. With the trade deadline less than a month away, and Rubio on a hot streak, trade chatter has expectedly picked up. The Wolves are just 15-28, though they are 9-10 since a 6-18 start. Still, it's clear that they have a lot of improving to do to become a factor in the Western Conference, and Rubio appears to be one of the few assets they are willing to part with that could fetch a decent player in return. ESPN reported that the Wolves and Detroit Pistons had discussions about a Rubio-for-Reggie Jackson trade, but Pistons coach and team president Stan Van Gundy shot that down on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). Van Gundy told reporters in Detroit that he texted Jackson to tell him 'this is the crazy season. We're not trading you for Ricky Rubio.' Dunn hasn't been any better as a shooter in his rookie season, making 37.6 percent from the field and shooting a ghastly 27 percent from three-point range. But he had played more than 20 minutes in a game just three times in the previous two months before Rubio's injury on Thursday night (Friday, PHL time). 'When you have shorter minutes, you have to try to be more ready,' Dunn said Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). 'Try to go out there and impact the game right away. You can get the feel when you have more minutes, but I understand. Ricky's a great player. I'm just trying to learn off him.' Dunn likely will start against the Nuggets, with Jones serving as the backup point guard. Dunn said he has been getting more and more comfortable in his first season and will be ready when Thibodeau calls on him. 'I'm starting to understand who I am as a player (and) what's my role on the team,' Dunn said. 'Just figuring out guys, what's their tendencies and trying to understand coach's philosophy.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 21st, 2017

Darvish wants to prove himself in final year of Texas deal

STEPHEN HAWKINS, AP Sports Writer br /> DALLAS (AP) — Yu Darvish marked his five-year anniversary as a Texas Ranger this week. Now healthy again, he wants to prove how good a pitcher he is. 'It's not much about my contract, but coming back from Tommy John surgery,' Darvish said through his interpreter at the Rangers' winter banquet Friday night. 'This will be my second year to see how my body reacts and how much I can do to prove how good of a pitcher I am. That's what I'm looking forward to.' Darvish is entering the sixth and final year of the contract he signed with the Rangers in January 2012 after seven seasons in Japan. While the 30-year-old Darvish is 46-32 with a 3.29 ERA in 100 career starts for Texas, he missed all of the 2015 season because of the surgery and didn't pitch for the Rangers last season until May 28. Darvish was 7-5 with a 3.41 ERA and 132 strikeouts in 100 1/3 innings during the regular season. But in his first AL Division Series start last October, he gave up a career-worst four homers. Three of them were in the same inning of a 5-3 loss to Toronto in Game 2 of the best-of-five series that the Blue Jays swept. 'I would love to pitch in that kind of situation again this year,' Darvish said. 'And I would like to pitch very well.' Darvish said he just started throwing again and feels 'really good.' Texas spent more than two years scouting Darvish and getting to know him personally before committing more than $107 million to get him. On top of his guaranteed $56 million contract, the Rangers had to pay in the old system a massive $51,703,411 posting bid to the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, his team in Japan. The 2017 season could have become a player option without a buyout had Darvish won the Cy Young and finished second-through-fourth another time, or finished second in the voting once and second-through-fourth two other times. Darvish finished second behind Max Scherzer in the 2013 AL Cy Young voting, when the Rangers right-hander was 13-9 with a 2.83 ERA and a league-high 277 strikeouts. He was an All-Star each of his first three seasons (2012-14), a span in which he had 680 strikeouts before getting shut down late in the 2014 season because of elbow inflammation. 'I am really grateful to the Texas Rangers organization by just giving me this big of a contract. They've been taking care of me really well,' he said. 'So I just want to show the Rangers how much I can do and then show them that they were right giving me that contract.' Darvish said he considered it too much of a risk just two years after surgery to compete in the World Baseball Classic this spring. Then, he smiled and said, 'At the end, let me tell you that I didn't get offered' a spot. NOTES: The Rangers announced they will retire uniform No. 7 during an August ceremony to honor former catcher Ivan Rodriguez, who was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame this week and will be inducted with the class of 2017 on July 30 in Cooperstown, New York. The only other Rangers to have their numbers retired by the club are Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan (No. 34) and former manager Johnny Oates (No. 26). .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 21st, 2017

A tournament without Djokovic to hit home in Australia

DENNIS PASSA, AP Sports Writer br /> MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The stark reality of an Australian Open third round without Novak Djokovic — for the first time in 11 years — hits home on Saturday when the remaining players in his half of the draw, Rafael Nadal and Milos Raonic among them, attempt to advance to the second week of the tournament. Djokovic was beaten on Thursday in five sets by wild-card entry Denis Istomin, the earliest that the Serbian star has left Melbourne Park in singles since his first appearance here in 2006 when he was beaten by American Paul Goldstein in the first round. 'What Novak did here is just amazing, six victories here, six titles ... so it is not possible to be every time in that situation, no?' Nadal said after his second-round win. 'So then today was probably an accident, that's all. We are athletes. We know when we are going on court we can lose and we can win. It probably was a combination that Denis played a great match and Novak didn't play his best. When this combination happens, then you are in trouble. Everything can happen. And (it) happened.' Istomin, meanwhile, plays on. He's up against 30th-ranked Pablo Carreno Busta on Show Court 2 on Friday. Here's a look at some of the key matchups Saturday: ___ RAFA'S TOUGH ASSIGNMENT: Nadal plays 19-year-old Alexander Zverev in an afternoon match at Rod Laver Arena. The young German was voted the ATP Star of Tomorrow in 2015 and has mostly lived up to the hype, seeded 24th here. 'He is one of the best players in the world, without a doubt ... and one of the next Grand Slam winners,' Nadal said. 'He has a big chance to become the future world No. 1 if he's able to keep improving the way that he's doing.' Nadal has been playing well since his return to the circuit after two lengthy injury spells last year, the 14-time major winner looking almost flawless in his straight sets win over Marcos Baghdatis in the second round. Still, he's expecting to have his hands full with Zverev: 'I know I have a very tough match ... I know I need to play my best if I want to have a chance.' ___ A SERENA BREATHER?: Six-time Australian Open champion Serena Williams had two fairly tough matches through the first two rounds, facing Belinda Bencic, a former No. 7-ranked player now sitting at 59, and Lucie Safarova, ranked No. 61 but who Williams beat in the 2015 French Open final. Williams won both matches in straight sets. Her third-round match is against fellow American Nicole Gibbs, who Williams beat in straight sets at Stanford in 2012 in their only previous meeting. Williams said she feels she's better for the experience of having had tough opposition in the first two rounds. 'When I play players like Bencic and Safarova, they force me to play better,' Williams said. 'It forces my game from the very first day to be at a high level. I needed something to start really fast. I'm not going to complain about it.' ___ CONTRASTING STYLES: Third-seeded Milos Raonic plays Gilles Simon on Hisense Arena and the Canadian holds a 3-1 edge in career meetings. Their only Grand Slam match came in the fourth round of the 2014 French Open, when Raonic won in five sets, including 7-5 in the fifth. 'I know a lot about his game. I've watched him play a lot,' Raonic said. 'He's going to be there really trying to get me to play at his speed, his rhythm. Obviously he tries to slow things down, play low. I won't have the opportunity to get too many swings at many shots.' Which means Raonic, with one of the best serves in the game, will try to get points over quickly. 'I've got to serve well and I've got to be aggressive and I've got to take it to him. The last thing I want to do is get into this sort of game of playing long rallies with him.' ___ KONTA vs WOZNIACKI: Last year's semifinalist Johanna Konta and Caroline Wozniacki, a former No. 1 who made it to the final four here in 2011, meet for the first time in an afternoon match at Margaret Court Arena. Both have been playing well, Konta coming off a win in the Sydney International last week, and Wozniacki having dropped just seven games in her first two matches at Melbourne Park. 'She had a good last year,' Wozniacki said. 'But at the end of the day, it doesn't matter who is on the other side.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 20th, 2017

Federer joins Murray in 4th round at Australian Open

JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer br /> MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Roger Federer showed against 10th-seeded Tomas Berdych that his first two wins against qualifiers at the Australian Open really were warmups. The 17-time Grand Slam champion, seeded a lowly-by-his-standards 17th after spending six months on the sidelines last season, only needed 90 minutes to beat Berdych 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 in the third round on Friday night. This was against a rival who played the Wimbledon final in 2010 and reached the quarterfinals or better in Australia the previous six years. And he'd beaten Federer in six of their previous 22 matches. Federer hit some vintage backhand winners, one that earned a hearty applause from the great Rod Laver — sitting in the crowd at the stadium named in his honor — in the second set. He had 40 winners and won 95 percent of points when he got his first serve into play. He didn't face a breakpoint. 'Crazy how quick I got out of the blocks — I did surprise myself,' Federer said of his almost flawless performance against Berdych. 'I did feel like I struggled a bit in the first two rounds.' He next plays fifth-ranked Kei Nishikori, who beat Lukas Lacko 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 to reach the fourth round for a sixth straight year at Melbourne Park. Federer leads that matchup 4-2, winning the last three. The winner of that has a potential quarterfinal against top-ranked Andy Murray, who showed no signs of trouble with his sore ankle as he advanced to the Round of 16 for the ninth straight year with a 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 win over No. 31 Sam Querrey. It was Querrey who ended then No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic's impressive Grand Slam run in the third round at Wimbledon last year. At that time, Djokovic had won four straight major titles — Wimbledon and U.S. Open in 2015 and Australian Open and French Open in 2016. Murray, who replaced Djokovic at No. 1 last November, said he was surprised at the six-time Australian Open champion's second-round loss to Denis Istomin the previous night. But the five-time Australian Open runner-up didn't think it changed anything for him, unless he reached the final. 'I wasn't scheduled to play Novak today, so my job's to concentrate on Sam and to go into that match with a clear head and a good game plan and try to play well,' said Murray, who lost to Djokovic in four of the five finals he has contested in Melbourne. 'I did that. 'Obviously, if you're to get to the final, then it has an effect.' Murray injured his right ankle in the second round, and said he was hesitant at first but warmed into the match against Querrey. 'I felt better and better as the match went on in terms of my movement,' Murray said. 'I was moving well at the end — it was very positive.' Murray next plays Mischa Zverev. Seven-time major winner Venus Williams routed Duan Yingying 6-1, 6-0 in less than an hour to progress to the fourth round for the 10th time since her Australian Open debut in 1998. 'It's good (but) it's never enough,' she said, looking ahead to her fourth-round match against Mona Barthel. 'I've tasted it before and it's always a great feeling because it means, hey, I have an opportunity for the quarterfinals. That's what I'm going to go for.' The last two Americans in the men's draw lost within an hour of each other. After Querrey's exit, No. 23-seeded Jack Sock lost 7-6 (4), 7-5, 6-7 (8), 6-3 to No. 12 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. There are no more Australians in the men's draw, either, after Daniel Evans beat Bernard Tomic 7-5, 7-6 (2), 7-6 (3). U.S. Open champion Stan Wawrinka had 3-6, 6-2, 6-2, 7-6 (7) win over Viktor Troicki to move into a fourth-round match against Andreas Seppi. In the last match of day five, French Open champion Garbine Muguruza closed out with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Anastasia Sevastova. Top-ranked Angelique Kerber had a straight-sets win for the first time in her first Australian Open title defense, 6-0, 6-4 against Kristyna Pliskova. She next play 35th-ranked CoCo Vandeweghe, who reached the fourth round in Australia for the first time with a 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 win over 2014 semifinalist Eugenie Bouchard. Two-time major winner Svetlana Kuznetsova held off former No. 1-ranked Jelena Jankovic 6-4, 5-7, 9-7 in 3 ½ hours. Australian Open organizers were briefed by Victoria state police over an incident in downtown Melbourne where a man deliberately drove into a street crowded with pedestrians, killing three people and injuring 20. Police said the incident, about three kilometers (two miles) from Melbourne Park, had no links to terrorism. 'Be assured there is no threat to the precinct,' Australian Open organizers said in a statement. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 20th, 2017

Impressive Phoenix outing puts NLEX on the ropes

The Philippine Cup woes continue for NLEX. Phoenix caught fire in the second half and simply burned the Road Warriors, 102-91, Wednesday at the Cuneta Astrodome. Looking to get out of a four-team logjam for the 6th-9th spots in the standings, the Fuel Masters used a big third-quarter effort to blow the game wide open against a struggling NLEX team that has now lost seven out of its last eight games. With the win, Phoenix created a new three-team tie with Blackwater and TNT for the 4th-6th spots, sporting identical 5-4 marks. But the tie is not a cause for celebration though. 'There's nothing to celebrate pa dahil yung mga ka-tie namin tinalo kami,' head coach Ariel Vanguardia said talking about the Elite and the KaTropa. 'Right now, we are victrually tied with them but we are still in seventh or eight place,' he added. After a rough first half, the Fuel Masters exploded in the third quarter behind the efforts of JC Intal and Simon Enciso and went on to outscore the Road Warriors by 13, 28-15. Enciso finished with a team-high 21 points, built around five treys, five rebounds, and four assists for Phoenix while Intal added 12. Cyrus Baguio came off the bench to drop 13. Rookie Matthew Wright almost had his first career triple-double after posting 12 points, 12 rebounds, and nine assists, and Willie Wilson returned from sickness to chip in another 12 markers. As for NLEX, who now has lost all seven of its games by double digits, only Sean Anthony served as the bright spot as the forward tallied 23 points and eight boards.   The scores: PHOENIX 102 - Enciso 21, Intal 16, Baguio 13, W. Wilson 12, Wright 12, Borboran 7, Lanete 7, Miranda 5, Torres 5, J.Wilson 2, Caperal 2. NLEX 91 - Anthony 23, J. Villanueva 11, Soyud 10, Guinto 9, Alas 8, Rios 6, Lanete 6, Taulava 4, Khobuntin 3, Lastimosa 3, Monfort 3, Camson 2, E. Villanueva 2, Gotladera 1, Baracael 0. Quarters: 20-22, 53-48, 81-63, 102-91 br /> --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 18th, 2017

Chile amateur goes from no big victories to Masters

DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf Writer   HONOLULU (AP) — Toto Gana hit what he described as the 'best shot I've hit in my whole life,' a wedge to 3 feet for a birdie to win the Latin America Amateur Championship and earn a trip to the Masters in April. His best shot produced his biggest trophy. Asked what his greatest achievement in golf was before his victory in Panama, the 19-year-old from Chile said: 'I didn't have any achievements, to be honest. I had won a couple of tournaments at home when I was really, really young.' The Latin America Amateur completed its third year, a stroke-play tournament created by Augusta National, the USGA and the Royal & Ancient to spur growth in that part of the world. It follows the successful launch of the Asia Pacific Amateur. The Asia Pacific Amateur is producing a higher pedigree of champions — Hideki Matsuyama won twice, and the winner last year was Curtis Luck, the reigning U.S. Amateur champion. The last two Latin America winners were surprises — Gana and 16-year-old Paul Chaplet of Costa Rica last year. The other winner was Matias Dominguez of Chile, who was a junior at Texas Tech. Gana said the only hard part about his victory was beating Joaquin Niemann of Chile, one of his best friends who won the Junior World in 2015 at Torrey Pines. 'I really never thought I could win this tournament because all the other players have won many other tournaments, very big tournaments,' Gana said in a conference call after his victory Sunday. 'What I did was keep a cool head. When I saw that I had a chance to win, I believed in myself that I could do. And I gave it my all.' Chile will have a player represented at Augusta National for the second time in three years. The only other Chilean player at the Masters was Enrique Orellana, who missed the cut in 1964. Gana has flair, and he showed how much passion he has for golf when explaining how he got started. 'When I was a little boy, 8 years old, my stepfather taught me to play golf on the practice range,' he said. 'When I shot a really nice shot, I never quit.' Gana will be enrolling at Lynn University in Florida. ___ BLOOMING START: Justin Rose played the Sony Open as part of the new 'strength of field' regulation on the PGA Tour that requires players who played fewer than 25 events last year to add a tournament they had not played in four years. Rose was so excited about this year that he might have started earlier if he would have been eligible. He failed to win a PGA Tour event for the first time since 2009. But in a year slowed by injury, Rose geared himself for golf's return to the Olympics and won the gold medal in Rio. That was worth an exemption into the four majors (Rose already is eligible for them), but the PGA Tour did not offer a spot in SBS Tournament of Champions. 'I didn't inquire,' Rose said about Kapalua. 'But in my mind, I was surprised that it didn't count in a way, just because, why wouldn't it? It's a one-off thing.' He thought maybe the tour would only give a spot to Kapalua if the gold medalist was already a PGA Tour member, much like it treated the HSBC Champions early on in its World Golf Championships history. Rose chuckled, however, when he realized his history in Hawaii. 'It's funny enough, I don't have the right to say I should have been at Kapalua,' he said. 'Because I've won six years in a row and I've only been once.' A birdie on the final hole at the Sony Open gave him second place alone, which was worth $648,000. ___ PLAYING TO HIS STRENGTH: Jason Dufner is the defending champion at the CareerBuilder Challenger, where he won last year for the first time since the 2013 PGA Championship at Oak Hill. What changed? Very little. He attributed the drought to a neck and shoulder injury that he suffered at the 2014 Masters. Dufner tried to play through it all year until he was forced to pull out of his title defense in the PGA Championship at Valhalla, which kept him off the Ryder Cup team. Playing with the injury led to bad habits with his swing, which led to bad shots, too many memories of bad shots and eventually shattered confidence. 'People don't realize, once you start playing, you have to redo everything,' Dufner said. 'You see it with a lot of guys coming back. It takes them 6, 8, 12 months. I spent 2015 trying to get back to where I was.' Where he wants to be is one of the top ball-strikers in the game. As for putting? He manages. Dufner has finished no higher than No. 143 in the key putting statistic over the last four years, and while he has to pay attention to his setup, it's not as though he's going to abandon what got him here (his swing) to pour everything into becoming Jordan Spieth. 'I've been putting bad for 17 years,' he said. 'It's tough to change. I can hit it good enough to make up for it. I'll wait for my weeks where I putt good and try to win.' ___ THE RACE TO MEXICO: Mackenzie Hughes won the RSM Classic, and his first thought was going to the Masters. Now that it's beginning to sink, the Canadian rookie has reason to consider other tournaments that were not on his schedule at the start of the season. First up is the World Golf Championship in Mexico. The top 10 in the FedEx Cup standings through the Honda Classic are eligible for the Mexico Championship, and there are only six tournaments between now and then. That's also true for Pat Perez, who tied for third at Kapalua and is No. 3 in the FedEx Cup. Rod Pampling is at No. 6. The other World Golf Championships event in March is based off the world ranking, so those three players have much more to do for them to get into the top 64. One player who might have secured his spot was Kevin Kisner, who shot 60 in the third round of the Sony Open and wound up in a tie for fourth. That took Kisner from No. 51 to No. 41, making it difficult to fall that far in two months. ___ DIVOTS: Justin Thomas moving to No. 8 in the world means that six of the top 10 players are under 30. ... The Golf Writers Association of America has voted former PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem for the William D. Richardson Award for outstanding contributions to golf. For the GWAA's award for press cooperation, it was a tie between Ben Crenshaw and Stewart Cink. They will be honored at the GWAA annual awards dinner on April 5 in Augusta. ... The three courses used for the CareerBuilder Challenge — PGA West Stadium Course, PGA West Nicklaus and La Quinta — ranked among the top 10 in easiest courses on the PGA Tour last year. ... The fourth Latin America Amateur Championship will be played at Prince of Wales Country Club next year in Santiago, Chile. ... The European Tour now has eight events in its Rolex Series with China-based HNA Group signing a five-year deal to be title sponsor of the French Open. That will raise the purse to $7 million in line with other Rolex Series events. ___ STAT OF THE WEEK: Justin Thomas hit 34 drives that went at least 330 yards during his two weeks in Hawaii — 20 on the Plantation Course at Kapalua, 14 at Waialae Country Club. ___ FINAL WORD: 'If there's no defense, then you ought to be able to make birdies. If there's wind, you ought to be struggling.' — Kevin Kisner. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 17th, 2017

Disappointing end, promising future for Prescott-led Cowboys

STEPHEN HAWKINS, AP Sports Writer   ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is more convinced than ever that his rookie quarterback can play at the highest level. And that the Cowboys were good enough to maybe win the Super Bowl this season with Dak Prescott and fellow rookie Ezekiel Elliott. But another Super Bowl shot will have to wait for another season after an impressive Prescott-led comeback came up just short in the NFC divisional playoff game against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, who won 34-31 on a game-ending field goal Sunday. 'I know now that this team was capable of playing all the way through this thing, and even with rookies in key spots I know now we were ready to have a win,' Jones said. 'We didn't. That's very real. ... It hurts, it really hurts.' After the Cowboys were down 21-3 midway through the second quarter, their largest deficit in a season when they won 13 games and were the NFC's top seed, Prescott threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Dez Bryant. Prescott, who replaced injured veteran Tony Romo in the preseason, threw two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter. After finding Bryant again, Prescott powered through the middle for the 2-point conversion that tied the game at 28. Then came the exchange of long field goals only 58 seconds apart after the two-minute warning before Rodgers and the Packers got one more shot, and set up Mason Crosby's 51-yard field goal. Asked about his emotions, Prescott responded, 'I think as low as they could get at this point. This is a terrible feeling.' Prescott threw for 302 yards while becoming the first rookie in the Super Bowl era with three TD passes in a playoff game. After his lone interception in the third quarter, the Cowboys responded with one off Rodgers. Elliott ran for 125 yards. With the loss, the Cowboys (13-4) have now failed to make it past the divisional game in their nine playoff appearances since winning their most recent Super Bowl 21 seasons ago. 'Once we put that behind us, I think there's nothing but good things looking forward in what this team can do,' Prescott said. Prescott had an 11-game winning streak during the regular season, and kept the starting job after Romo was ready to return from the back injury he suffered in the third preseason game. Jones wasn't yet ready to address the future for Romo, a starter for 10 seasons. 'We'll obviously look at what we're doing. We won't do it tomorrow. We won't do it the next day,' Jones said. 'We'll be looking at where we are relative to Tony and relative to other players, but not tonight.' After Mason Crosby kicked a tiebreaking 56-yard field goal for Green Bay with 1:33 left, Prescott was ready for another shot. 'He didn't blink. He didn't do anything but lead, as well as play, in a way that you can win championships,' Jones said. The only thing Prescott thought of was the two-minute drills that end Thursday practices. 'I don't think about what this means, what this exact drive means, just concentrate on each and every play coach called,' he said. Prescott had two completions for 35 yards to the 40 before spiking the ball to stop the clock. After a 7-yard completion to Cole Beasley, Prescott's third-and-2 pass was knocked down at the line. Dan Bailey then kicked his third field goal, but Rodgers — who with the Packers won a Super Bowl in the same building six seasons ago — still had 35 seconds. His scrambling 36-yard pass to a toe-dragging Jared Cook on the sideline set up the winning kick. 'It was a great game all the way around, just hate to be on the losing end,' Prescott said. 'These are games I dreamed of as a little kid of playing, and plan to play in many more of them.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 15th, 2017

High-scoring Falcons to host Packers in NFC title game

CHARLES ODUM, AP Sports Writer   ATLANTA (AP) — Matt Ryan and the high-scoring Falcons offense will have one more game in the Georgia Dome after all. The Falcons will host the NFC championship game next Sunday against Green Bay after the Packers beat Dallas 34-31 in Sunday's divisional playoff game. Ryan continued his hot streak of turnover-free passing in leading Atlanta to a 36-20 win over Seattle in Saturday's first divisional game. The MVP candidate threw for 338 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions against the Seahawks. It was Ryan's fifth straight game without an interception, leading to a five-game winning streak for Atlanta. He has 14 touchdown passes in that span. Ryan and the NFL's top-scoring offense impressed cornerback Richard Sherman and the Seahawks. 'They do a lot of things well,' Sherman said. 'The quarterback gets the ball out, he doesn't turn the ball over, so that will do it.' Ryan was in top form in leading Atlanta to a 33-32 home win over Green Bay on Oct. 30. He completed 28 of 35 passes for 288 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. The Falcons (12-5) have leaned on Ryan and their balanced offense in their pursuit for the second Super Bowl appearance and first championship. Ryan kept the offense moving against Seattle even as All-Pro Julio Jones aggravated a toe injury. Jones spent much of the second half on the sideline, but still had a game-high six catches for 67 yards and a touchdown in his highly anticipated matchup with Sherman. Jones' status will be closely watched this week. He missed two games this season with the sore toe. He still finished second in the NFL with 1,409 yards receiving on 83 catches, including six for touchdowns. Coach Dan Quinn said Saturday that Jones' injury was 'no concern at the moment' but acknowledged 'it'll be sore.' Added Quinn: 'I anticipate him being ready to rock next week.' Jones was not available for postgame interviews, adding to speculation about the severity of the injury. Ryan has a large list of targets behind Jones. He completed passes to eight receivers against the Seahawks. Running backs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman combined for seven catches for 102 yards, including a 14-yard scoring catch by Coleman. 'The ability for them to add another receiver to our offense has been critical for us. It really has,' Quinn said. Coleman had 11 carries for 57 yards. Freeman had 14 carries for 45 yards and a touchdown. Seattle coach Pete Carroll said Atlanta's run game wasn't overwhelming, but it was effective. 'They didn't run for a lot of yards today but they ran well enough,' Carroll said. 'They ran with authority, I thought. It was a very impressive component. Somewhere in the fourth quarter, they were pounding us pretty good and we couldn't stop them.' Receivers Mohamed Sanu and Taylor Gabriel each had four catches. The NFC championship game will be a dramatic final bow for the Georgia Dome. The facility, the team's home for 25 years, will be demolished as the Falcons move into their new $1.5 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the 2017 season. The Falcons regularly play before sellout crowds, but they rarely open games with the stands full as fans battle Atlanta traffic. On Saturday, most in the crowd of 71,155 were there well before the opening kickoff. Late in the game, with the win a certainty, fans chanted 'MVP! MVP!' for Ryan. 'From the opening kickoff, the dome was rocking,' Ryan said. 'That's got to be as loud as it's ever been in here.' Ryan's reward is another home game with a Super Bowl berth on the line. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 15th, 2017

Yes Sir: Andy Murray confident he can break Aussie drought

JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer br /> MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Andy Murray has become a father, gained the No. 1 ranking and received a knighthood since he left Melbourne Park 50 weeks ago after losing a fifth Australian Open final. Stress weighed him down at the season-opening Grand Slam in 2016, to the point where he thought about quitting the tournament to head back to Britain to be with his heavily pregnant wife. But even that would have presented problems, considering his father-in-law was in a Melbourne hospital after collapsing with an illness while watching a match at the Australian Open. Clearly, he's in a better place this year as he seeks to end his Australian drought. 'I obviously feel pretty confident after the way that last season finished,' he said. 'I do love it here. I love the conditions. I have played really well here over the years, and just haven't managed to get over the final hurdle. 'But, yeah, I think I'm in a decent position, for sure, to do it. I think I have a chance to win here. I'm playing well. Practice has been good. I feel healthy. I'll give it a good shot.' Rumors circulated last year that Murray would go home before facing Djokovic, his Melbourne nemesis, in the final. As it was, he was on the first flight to Heathrow after losing in straight sets — his fourth Australian Open final defeat to Djokovic and fifth overall dating back to 2010. His wife, Kim Sears, gave birth to their first child, Sophia Olivia, the following week. He confirmed Saturday, two days before he opens the 2017 tournament against Illya Marchenko of Ukraine, that he really had thought about leaving early. 'It was a tough tournament, obviously the situation with Kim and the baby coming was tough,' he said. 'Then with what happened with Nigel during the event made it really kind of awkward because there was times ... it was like 'I want to home for the birth,' but then I'm not just going to leave while my father-in-law is also in hospital. 'It was tough, and certainly not a position I would want to put myself in again, or my wife, or any of my family really.' Murray had a stunning end to 2016 after reuniting with Ivan Lendl as coach in June, winning his second Wimbledon title, defending his Olympic gold medal, and adding titles in Beijing, Shanghai, Vienna and Paris to end Djokovic's 122-week stint at No. 1. He then clinched the year-end No. 1 ranking by winning the ATP Finals, beating the players seeded second, third, fourth and fifth. He set a record for most time between gaining the No. 2 and No. 1 rankings — seven years, and 82 days. But he has set a lot of timely records for British tennis in the last three seasons and, in Queen Elizabeth II's New Year's honors list, he received a knighthood from the British monarch for reaching the pinnacle of the sport. Roger Federer was asked if he could remember what it was like back in 2004 when he first became No. 1, and how he'd explain it to Murray. 'It definitely feels different because everybody comes up to you and says, 'You're the best,'' said Federer, who spent a record 302 weeks at No. 1. 'You start walking around a bit differently. Just feel more confident overall in your shots.' Murray said he hasn't really felt a difference yet, but it has only been eight weeks. Considering how hard it was to achieve the top spot, he's hoping it doesn't take twice the energy to hang on to it. 'It is a mindset thing, because I think it could be quite easy that once you get to No. 1 that you think, 'Well, actually, I just need to keep doing what I've been doing,'' he said. 'The reality is that things obviously keep moving on, the game will get better, I'll obviously get older, the young guys will continue to improve, and also Novak and Roger and Stan (Wawrinka) and Rafa (Nadal) and all the guys at the top are still going to be wanting to get there. 'I need to continue to improve. I for sure need to keep working hard.' One thing he doesn't really want to change is how people refer to him now that formally he's recognized as Sir Andy Murray, particularly the broadcasters. 'I'm more than happy just being Andy. That's enough for me,' he said. 'Yeah, if they call me Andy, I'd be happy with that.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 14th, 2017

Tennis stars look forward to start of Australian Open

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Two days before the Australian Open begins, a stream of top players fronted news conferences Saturday to talk about their chances in the first Grand Slam tournament of the year. Here are excerpts of what they said: ___ — Novak Djokovic handed out dairy free, gluten free healthy sweets at the end of his opening news conference, something of a tradition of his at the Australian Open. Here's Djokovic on his confidence at the Australian Open, where he's won six of his 12 major titles: 'Nobody is invincible. I never thought of myself as a superior player on the court, even though, of course, at times, I was very confident. I was winning a lot of matches. But knowing how it feels on the court if you get overconfident, that's why I don't want to get into that kind of state of mind. I still want to put myself in a position where I'm quite even to other players, fight for this trophy as anybody else, even though I'm defending champion.' ___ — Serena Williams on her first-round match against Belinda Bencic, a former top-10 player: 'I didn't come here to lose in the first round, or the second round, or at all. If I can play the way I've been practicing, it will be fine. I know she's been playing well, so it will be good for both of us.' — Serena Williams on her recent engagement to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian: 'It's almost a little unreal right now because I haven't taken it in. I'm being rather selfish and focused on my career.' ___ — Belinda Bencic on how she first discovered she'd be opening against Williams, against whom she has a 1-1 record: 'My Twitter was blowing up. I was like, 'What's going on?' That's when I saw it. My first reaction was actually really happy. I think I'm super pumped, excited I get to play on the big court.' ___ — Roger Federer on his physical readiness to play 5-set matches at a slam again after his lengthy injury layoff: 'I guess it's slightly the unknown. I trained as hard as I possibly could, so I will be ready for it. I did numerous sessions where I trained over 2 ½, three hours. I feel I'm ready.' ___ — Andy Murray on how hard he'll have to work to retain the No. 1 ranking he took from Djokovic at the end of 2016: 'I do think it is a mindset thing, because I think it could be quite easy that once you get to No. 1 that you think, 'Well, actually, I just need to keep doing what I'm doing.' The reality is, in sport, that things obviously keep moving on, the game will get better. I'll obviously get older, the young guys will continue to improve, and also Novak (Djokovic) and Roger (Federer) and Stan (Wawrinka) and Rafa (Nadal) and all the guys at the top are still going to be wanting to get there. ... I need to continue to improve. I for sure need to keep working hard.' ___ — Kei Nishikori on whether he can break through and win his first Grand Slam title: 'I hope I can get a Grand Slam title sometime. But I haven't got a big title yet, even the Masters tournaments. That's something I need for my confidence and experience. Yeah, my goal this year is to win a big tournament.' ___ — Milos Raonic on hiring former Wimbledon champion Richard Krajicek as his coach in the off-season: 'It's really to help me be more efficient going forward. I believe you have these two guys (Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic) that are phenomenal right now at the top of the game covering the baseline. It's really hard to get by them, especially with the way they move. I can't expect to move like they do. I've got to be at least 20, 25 pounds heavier than them. It's going to be about moving forward.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 14th, 2017

Ross makes it clear, he was calling for a timeout

Turns out that Chris Ross knew they still had a couple of timeouts left late in regulation of San Miguel's game against Rain or Shine Friday. He also had a perfect explanation why he didn't call for stoppage in the last 10 seconds and the Beermen down by two, opting to go for a pass that resulted in a turnover. 'I tried to call a timeout, we all tried to call a timeout,' Ross explained. 'But they [referees] didn't give it to us so when I got it [ball], I thought we'll get an eight-second call so I just threw it,' he added. After the turnover, the Beermen were forced to foul but since the champs were still not in penalty, Rain or Shine whould have to inbound the ball with a chance to milk the clock out and hold on for a win. However, Ross had other plans in mind as the reigning Defensive Player of the Year more than made up for his mistake by swiping the ball off of Beau Belga, setting up Alex Cabagnot's game-tying jumper on the other end before stealing the victory in overtime. 'After that, I was lucky I had the chance to make up for it when I got the deflection for the steal and got a couple of assists to start the overtime,' Ross said. With the Beermen sitting pretty at number 1 with a seven-game winning streak, the champs are obviously feeling good but are still on the hunt for another win that would for sure clinch the top overall seed for the playoffs. 'We're playing really good ball. We need one more game to clinch first to be sure, that feels good but we got to put that on the side and go on to our next goal,' Ross said.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 14th, 2017

Thomas sets 36-hole record and leads by 5

DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf Writer br /> HONOLULU (AP) — Justin Thomas finished with another eagle and put himself in the PGA Tour record book again Friday in the Sony Open. One day after his 59 made him only the seventh player in PGA Tour history break 60, Thomas made an 8-foot eagle putt on the 18th hole at Waialae for a 6-under 64 to set the 36-hole scoring record on the PGA Tour. Thomas was at 17-under 123 and had a five-shot lead over Gary Woodland. The previous mark was 124, last matched at the 2015 BMW Championship by Jason Day at Conway Farm. 'It's cool,' Thomas said. 'Just like yesterday, anytime you can get your name in the record book, it's awesome. I had no idea until I finished.' Thomas started slowly, not picking up his first birdie until the fifth hole. Irritation from a three-putt bogey on the eighth hole got him going, and Thomas ran off four straight birdies around the turn. From there, no one got closer than four shots on another ideal day for scoring off the shore just up the road from Waikiki Beach. Woodland made a 10-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole for his second straight 64. Woodland and Thomas as part of the final group could be a real power show — Woodland is regarded as one of the premier power players in golf, though he has been far more reserved off the tee, despite being tempted to hit driver. 'I did that my first couple times here and that didn't work out for me,' he said. 'I'm very comfortable with where my game is. Driver feels great, I just don't get many opportunities out there. I'm not complaining about being in the fairway, either.' Thomas wasn't bashful. He smashed a 355-yard drive down the 12th fairway that set up a flip wedge to 12 feet for his fourth straight birdie. He also took an unusual line on the 14th, hammering a high drive over the trees and bunker down the left side and back into the fairway, leaving him 70 yards to the green on the 430-yard hole. He pitched that up to just under 5 feet and missed the putt, one of the few he failed to convert. Zach Johnson had a 61 and Olympic gold medalist Justin Rose shot 64. They were in the group seven shots behind along with Hudson Swafford, who opened with a 62 but could only manage a 68. Jordan Spieth felt empty after rounds of 65-67, partially because he was nine shots behind and primarily because he had as many chances as Thomas over the last two days. Only one of them has been converting putt after putt. 'Just has a really cold putter this week,' Spieth said. 'I think it added to the frustration on the green, because the game is looking so easy to him. I felt like I was hitting the ball in the same location, I'm just being outdone on the green. That's something a little abnormal to me.' That made Thomas, his best friend in golf for the last 10 years, chuckle. 'Now he knows how a lot of people feel,' Thomas said. Thomas never made it to the North Shore on Thursday after his 59, though he was happy to have missed out on Spieth and Smylie Kaufman's ocean adventure that included a capsized kayak. He approached the next day like any other, trying to hit good shots, get birdie chances and expand his lead. He ticked every box, even picking up a record he knew nothing about. Thomas rolled in a 12-foot birdie from the collar left of the 15th green, only to give the shot back with a tee shot he pulled into the bunker. From the left rough, with the sun in his face, he belted it out and onto the green for another closing eagle. Coming off a three-shot victory last week at Kapalua, he is in prime position to join Ernie Els in 2003 as the only players to sweep Hawaii. 'He's not stopping, as we can see,' Spieth said. 'Someone has to go out and chase him.' Rose was one shot out of the lead when he finished — Thomas had yet to tee off — and was hopeful of staying in range. Rose knows from experience that starting strong and holding it together for four rounds isn't easy. He shot 60 in the first round at Disney in 2006, stretched his lead early in the second round and by the end of the week was five shots behind the winner. 'You definitely need the mindset when you're that far ahead to keep the accelerator down,' Rose said. 'But it's hard to keep that sort of momentum going, for sure.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 14th, 2017

Texans look for improvement ahead of rematch with Patriots

KRISTIE RIEKEN, AP Sports Writer br /> HOUSTON (AP) — Despite a decisive win over the Raiders in the wild-card round, the Houston Texans know improvement is necessary if they hope to get the first divisional playoff win in franchise history on Saturday against New England. 'There's always room for improvement,' coach Bill O'Brien said. 'That's what the league is all about — who can improve the fastest to get to where you want to go?' Brock Osweiler returned to the starting lineup on Saturday after being benched two weeks ago after inconsistent play and multiple turnovers. He looked better than he had before he was pulled, throwing a touchdown pass and running for another score. He also took care of the ball in just his fourth start this season where he didn't throw an interception. But he only finished with 168 yards passing, leaving the Texans looking for more from him this week. 'We were more consistent than we have been,' O'Brien said of the offense. 'I think we can still be better. There's always improvement to make.' A key to Osweiler's success on Saturday was his ability to get DeAndre Hopkins involved in the game after struggling to get him the ball this season. 'There's certainly been some ups and downs as far as getting him the football throughout the course of the year,' Osweiler said. 'But I think the one thing that you were really able to see (Saturday) was that Hop and I were on the same page ... (and) anytime I can get the ball to Hop, I'm going to do it.' Hopkins finished with 67 yards receiving and a touchdown, giving the Texans something to build on this week against the Patriots. The offense got a boost by the return of running back Lamar Miller, who missed the last two regular-season games with an ankle injury. He ran for 73 yards and a touchdown, but was disappointed that he averaged just 2.4 yards a carry after averaging 4 per run in the regular season. Despite those numbers, O'Brien was happy with his work. 'I think he looked good ... it was good to have him back in there,' O'Brien said. 'I thought it was the right move for his health, for our football team to do what we did. 'I don't think he was totally 100 percent for the last two weeks of the season and I think he feels better now. He's meant a lot to our team.' The Texans had often been settling for field goals instead of touchdowns when they got in the red zone in recent weeks. But on Saturday they solved that problem when they scored touchdowns in all three trips to the red zone. They know doing that again must be a focus this week. This will be Houston's second game against the Patriots this season after New England got a 27-0 win in Week 3 with third-string quarterback Jacoby Brissett running the offense. As the Texans work to improve this week they'll have to listen to chatter about their underdog status entering this game. The Patriots are heavy favorites but O'Brien insists that they aren't worried about the odds against them. 'What does that matter? The only thing that matters is what takes place in between the lines on Saturday night,' he said. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 9th, 2017

Fun and games, Dimitrov finds a way to break title drought

JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer br /> BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Grigor Dimitrov concentrated on fun and games at the season-opening Brisbane International, looking for something a bit different to his regular routine. It turns out, that's what he'd been missing. Dimitrov ended a title drought that dated back to 2014 when he beat third-seeded Kei Nishikori 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 in the final on Sunday. The 25-year-old Bulgarian attributed some late-night trips to the game arcades in downtown Brisbane for the change of fortunes. 'I played motor bikes, we played cars, basketball, I mean, I went there with my fitness coach and we were — I think we were the biggest kids out there,' he said. 'You know, it's something so childish, if you want to say it. 'Well, every time I was going to bed, I was, like, 'Wow, that feels so good.' It's just something so small.' Dimitrov, dubbed 'Baby Fed' earlier in his career for his style similarities with Roger Federer, lost the Brisbane International final to Andy Murray in 2013. He won three titles and reached the Wimbledon semifinals in 2014 as he rose to a career-high ranking of No. 8. But his form faded and he slipped down the rankings to No. 40 by the middle of last year. That's when he had to make some decisions, refocus, set some goals. The first was to win a tournament in 2017 — he's achieved that in the first week of the season. There are other goals, including better runs at the Grand Slams — he hasn't been past the fourth round since a career peak in the Wimbledon semifinals in 2014, when he beat Murray but lost to Novak Djokovic. He entered the season-opening Brisbane event ranked No. 17 and seeded seventh, and could rise to No. 15 for the Australian Open, which starts Jan. 16. 'It's been pretty emotional,' Dimitrov said. 'This trophy means a lot.' He didn't elaborate too much on any emotional upheaval, saying it's part and parcel of touring so much as a professional player. But he did say he needed to adjust how he spends his time on the road. 'I'm the kind of guy that I cannot just lock myself in the room and just think tennis for 24 hours. It hasn't helped me,' he said. 'And since I have been here, every night I've been going to the arcades, for example, for an hour and a half, been playing arcades. It's given me tremendous joy. 'That's why I say those, I think, these 10 days that I have been here — I don't remember having so much fun, but in the same time I was very focused, played quite solid all the matches. So I was just — overall, I just felt good.' He beat defending champion Milos Raonic in the semifinals, improving his career record to 3-1 against the big-serving Canadian. He'd never beaten Nishikori in three previous matches, and he had to save break points in the first game and again in the third. After that, he went on a roll. Nishikori, who reached his first Brisbane final after losing three previous semifinals, fended off a breakpoint early in the second set and went on to break Dimitrov's serve twice in an almost reverse of the first set. But the Japanese star lost momentum after a medical timeout for a left hip problem after the second set, and Dimitrov dominated before getting the decisive break in the eighth game and then serving out at love. Nishikori said the hip pain was intense in the second set, and may force him out of a scheduled exhibition match in Sydney on Monday before he heads to Melbourne. 'Well, sort of it was OK, but yeah, a little bit sad to finish (the tournament) like this,' he said. 'But I think it was great week to start of the year. I had good four matches here. Well, I try to stay healthy next week and hope I can be ready for,' for the Australian Open. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 9th, 2017

Red-hot SMB put winning streak on the line vs. Ginebra

After coming out to a relatively slow start by their own awesome standards, two-time defending Philippine Cup champion San Miguel has put together an impressive run as of late, blowing out everybody for a league-leading 6-1 mark. And with a quarterfinal berth already secured following five straight wins, the Beermen start working on taking one of the two playoff bonuses as the PBA continues Sunday at the Big Dome. Standing in their way is sister team Brgy. Ginebra, the same team that elimated them in the semifinals of the past Governors' Cup. Unlike the Beermen, the Gin Kings have suffered a bit of a championship hangover to start the season, stumbling to a 3-3 record so far. However, a big win last Christmas was a boost for Ginebra as they play their first game of the new year. Gametime is set at 7:00 p.m. In the first game at 4:30 p.m., Rain or Shine and Phoenix duel for solo second place, hoping to create some space between them and a crowded set of teams with four victories each. With TNT losing to NLEX Saturday, the Elasto Painters currently sit alone at the no. 2 spot with a 4-2 mark while the Fuel Masters, winners of back-to-back games, enter with a 4-3 record. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 7th, 2017

Djokovic beats Murray to successfully defend Qatar title

SANDRA HARWITT, Associated Press br /> DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Novak Djokovic successfully defended his Qatar Open title by beating top-seeded Andy Murray 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 in the final on Saturday. The dramatic match showcased the best of men's tennis for 2 hours, 54 minutes. Djokovic needed four match points - three in the second set and one in the third - to prevail. He was also fortunate not to be defaulted for accidentally hitting a woman in the stands with a ball hit in anger. 'Best scenario I could ask for for beginning of the season,' Djokovic said. 'Playing all five matches in this tournament and then three hours against No. 1 of the world, (my) biggest rival, and winning in a thrilling marathon match is something that definitely can serve as a positive incentive for what's coming up in Australia. 'It's only the beginning of the season, so we had a little laugh at the net actually about it. We both felt like if every match we're going to play against each other is going to be this way this season, we're going to have a fun time.' Murray's loss ended his 28-match winning streak that dated to Sept. 18. Djokovic had three match points in the 10th game of the second set, but couldn't prevent Murray from making it 5-5 and eventually winning the second set. Murray finally capitalized on his fourth break point - second in that 10th game - with an inside out forehand winner. Despite going up 0-30, Murray wasn't able to come up with the same magic when Djokovic served for the match a second time at 5-4 in the third set. Murray also failed to take advantage of a break point in the sixth game of the set. 'Physically, it was a good test to start the year,' Murray said. 'My body feels all right just now, so that's positive. 'Still think there are things I can do better. I wasn't that clinical on break points this week, which maybe that comes with playing a few more matches.' Djokovic's frustration got the better of him twice, which caused umpire Carlos Bernardes to hand the Serb two warnings, including the loss of a point on the second warning. The second warning resulted when Djokovic smashed his racket in frustration at 40-30 to end the 11th game of the second set prematurely. The first warning came in the sixth game of the first set. Annoyed at losing a point, Djokovic angrily smacked a ball to the ground that accidentally flew into the stands and hit a woman. While that could have resulted in a default, Bernardes just issued Djokovic a warning. 'I definitely didn't want to hit the ball at anybody,' Djokovic said. 'Just happened. Fortunate not to get a bigger fine. I have to be more careful I guess. I accept that I made a mistake. It was not intentional at all.' The top-ranked Murray has lost all 20 matches he's played against Djokovic when he's lost the first set. Overall, Djokovic held a 25-11 career record over Murray. 'Playing against Andy, somehow it feels like playing the mirror image of (me) because we have very similar styles of game,' Djokovic said. 'I can't recall out of the 35-plus matches how many were kind of one-sided really. Most of the matches we play it's always going down to the very last few points to decide the winner.' Murray won their last encounter 6-3, 6-4 in the ATP Finals in November. That victory catapulted Murray ahead of Djokovic to the year-end No. 1 ranking for the first time. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 7th, 2017

Cabagnot skips surgery to try and win Philippine Cup

The Philippine Cup is just so big of prize that there are certain things you let go while you go out trying to win it. Certian things like getting your broken nose fixed. Suffering a fractured nose on the last game of 2016, San Miguel's Alex Cabagnot has postponed surgery because having it means that he's going to miss the rest of the Philippine Cup. With the Beermen trying to become only the second PBA team to win three straight All-Filipino crowns, the veteran point guard is risking it. 'Actually it does [need surgery] but if I do surgery it would take six weeks [recovery] so I'll miss [the rest of Philippine Cup]. I'm just gonna suck it up and wait it out,' Cabagnot said Friday in San Miguel's impressive win over Blackwater to start the new year. He finished with 14 points, nine rebounds, three assists, and two steals with 27 and a half minutes of play. Playing with a broken nose, Cabagnot had to wear a facial mask in order to play. It was the compromise he made with his doctor after deciding to postpone surgery for a couple of weeks. 'It's actually doctor's orders. I would love to take it off but I can't. That's the deal we made, I have to wear a mask and I can play or I don't wear a mask and I don't play,' Cabagnot said. 'It's still a little bit swollen, I got hit a couple times but hopefully it can, I just have to ice it. It's still fractured but we'll try to work through it, no excuses,' he added. While he doesn't plan to miss any time in the Philippine Cup, Cabagnot is likely to miss the start of the Commissioner's Cup as he has to do surgery to fix his nose. His injury is going to heal over time but it will take some procedure to make it normal and good as new. 'It's fractured so there's nothing I can do about it. It's gonna heal pero it's still gonna be displaced. Parang kailangan ko lang i-tyaga, tyaga lang ng konti,' Cabagnot said. 'We're in the middle of the season now and there are certain things you gotta do and you gotta take care of. Put the priorities at hand first,' he added. br /> --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 6th, 2017

Woods adds Dubai to complete busy start to the year

DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf Writer br /> KAPALUA, Hawaii (AP) — After playing one tournament in 15 months, Tiger Woods feels good enough to schedule four events in five weeks that cover opposite sides of the country and the world. Woods filled out the rest of his early schedule Thursday by saying he would return to the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. He had not played since August 2015 while recovering from two back surgeries, returning last month in the Bahamas at the Hero World Challenge. Woods made 24 birdies in 72 holes, but he finished 15th in a 17-man field. 'I am working hard to sharpen my game for 2017, and my goal is simple: to win,' Woods said in a blog on his website. Woods makes his 2017 debut at Torrey Pines on Jan. 26-29, and then he will cross 12 time zones to play in Dubai. After a week off, he returns to California for the Genesis Open at Riviera, and the following week heads to Florida for the Honda Classic. The last time the 41-year-old Woods played four times in five weeks was early in 2013 — the Match Play in Arizona, followed by three of the four tournaments that made up the Florida swing. What pleased him about his return at the Bahamas, beyond his 24 birdies, was his health. 'The only doubt I had was the physicality of the round — the length and duration — because I hadn't been able to practice or play much golf,' Woods said. Woods said he and his two children were hit with a virus before Thanksgiving, and he ran out of energy toward the end of the tournament. He attributed some of the energy loss to be host of the Hero World Challenge and having other functions to attend. 'I know many people doubted whether I would play competitive golf again, and to be honest, even I wasn't sure,' Woods said. 'My love for the game never left. It's just that the body would not allow me to play. Now my body is allowing me to do it again.' Woods got in one high-profile round after the Bahamas. He played with President-elect Donald Trump at Trump International in West Palm Beach, Florida. 'What most impressed me was how far he hits the ball at 70 years old,' Woods said. 'He takes a pretty good lash.' He said they didn't have a match, covered a variety of topics and 'enjoyed the bantering, bickering and needling.' Woods said he still was testing equipment because Nike announced last year will no longer be making clubs and golf balls. Woods recently signed a deal with Bridgestone Golf to plays its ball, noting that Bridgestone once make the Nike golf ball he has used since 2000. He said he likely would keep using his Nike irons and his old Scotty Cameron putter. Woods, whose 79 PGA Tour victories are three short of the career mark set by Sam Snead, is an eight-time winner at Torrey Pines (including the 2008 U.S. Open). He last played there in 2014 when he missed the 54-hole cut. A week later in Dubai, where he had won twice, Woods tied for 41st. That year was the start of back trouble that led to the first of his three surgeries and caused him to miss the Masters for the first time. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 5th, 2017

BIRDS OF THE SAME FEATHER: Intal, Kramer still lifting up one another

Doug Kramer is doing really good almost three months since his heart scare. Of course, right there by his side through it all were his wife and three daughters. Along with his girls, however, there was also Kramer’s bro who has got his back from when they were in college up until now. When the 33-year-old was traded to Phoenix in the offseason, it signaled some sort of a reunion with JC Intal. The two served as the core of Ateneo de Manila University’s contention in the UAAP in the mid-2000’s. “No doubt, he has been a big help,” Kramer said, talking about his fellow former Blue Eagle. “This is really special now because 10 years ago, we entered this league and then we’re together again.” Intal and Kramer were taken fourth and fifth overall, respectively, by Air21 in the 2007 PBA Draft. They were then both traded to Ginebra before making their names elsewhere. And now, they have been reunited. For Intal, that’s nothing but a good thing as he said, “Nakakatuwa kasi ilang years na kami sa PBA and ngayon, magkasama na ulit kami. Everyday, nagkikita kami tapos yung families namin, close din.” He then continued, “I’m looking forward na magkasama na ulit kami ni Doug (on-court) this January.” In the eyes of “The Rocket,” there is no doubt that his good old friend will be in full health once he returns to action. As he put it, “Doug is a tough guy. Every since nakilala ko yan, malakas ang loob nyan.” He then continued, “He’ll be okay, he’s super okay now. Makikita niyo na pagbalik niya, hopefully, nandun pa rhythm ng game niya.” --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 1st, 2017

'Bato' hopes to finally bring Ginebra good luck in Game 5

PNP Chief Ronaldo 'Bato' dela Rosa is a Ginebra lifer, so naturally, he wants the Gin Kings to win the 2016 PBA Governors' Cup title. He's been watching live as well, taking time off from his busy schedule to personally witness the games at th.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 16th, 2016