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Liverpool's pursuit of Chelsea frustrated; Man City and United win

ROB HARRIS, AP Global Soccer Writer br /> LONDON (AP) — Liverpool's pursuit of English Premier League leader Chelsea stalled on Monday as Juergen Klopp's four-match winning run ended at Sunderland. Liverpool's 2-2 draw against a relegation-threatened Sunderland side gives Chelsea the platform to open up an eight-point lead by beating Tottenham on Wednesday. Twice Liverpool led in northeast England — through Daniel Sturridge and Sadio Mane — but on both occasions Jermain Defoe scored penalties to draw Sunderland level. Mane's hand-ball was responsible for conceding the second spotkick. 'I must be honest, it doesn't feel good and it's not because of the point, it's because two penalties in a game,' Klopp said. 'Usually what you have to do to get a penalty, to get two, that was harsh, very hard to accept. 'But obviously I have to accept it, so I will do it.' ___ MAN CITY 2, BURNLEY 1 A victory for City but Pep Guardiola was still tetchy after the game, even suggesting he might not have long left in management. Halfway through his first season at City, the 45-year-old former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach said: 'It might be one of my last teams.' English football is proving far tougher for Guardiola than Spanish or German. After losing at Liverpool on Saturday, City started badly against Burnley when captain Fernandinho was sent off in the 32nd minute for a two-footed lunge on Johann Gudmundsson. City held off Burnley with 10 men and seized the lead in the second half through Gael Clichy. Sergio Aguero came off the bench to score a second, ensuring Ben Mee's goal for Burnley would only be a consolation. City regained third place ahead of Arsenal, which is at Bournemouth on Tuesday, and Tottenham. ___ WEST HAM 0, MAN UNITED 2 United reeled off a sixth successive league victory in a match that turned on Sofiane Feghouli being harshly sent off for a late challenge on Phil Jones in the 15th minute. Even with a man advantage, United took until the 63rd to score when substitutes Marcus Rashford and Juan Mata combined. Mata turned Rashford's pullback past goalkeeper Darren Randolph before Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored his 17th goal in his first season with United. ___ EVERTON 3, SOUTHAMPTON 0 Everton scored three times in the last 17 minutes to ensure manager Ronald Koeman emerged victorious against the club he left in the offseason. Enner Valencia was the game-changer, coming off the bench to score the opener in the 73rd minute and then winning the penalty that Leighton Baines converted. Romelu Lukaku contributed the third as 10th-place Southampton lost a third match inside a week. Everton is seventh. ___ WEST BROM 3, HULL 1 Hull is now without a win in nine games and three points from safety after throwing away the lead at West Bromwich Albion. Robert Snodgrass' opener was canceled out by Chris Brunt before Gareth McAuley and James Morrison put the hosts in front. ___ MIDDLESBROUGH 0, LEICESTER 0 With Islam Slimani and Danny Drinkwater out injured and Jamie Vardy suspended, Leicester was satisfied with a point and a second successive clean sheet. It's all about avoiding a relegation dogfight for struggling champion Leicester, which is six points from danger. 'Middlesbrough pushed a lot but we were so solid and I am pleased with the spirit we showed,' Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri said. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 3rd, 2017

Liverpool's pursuit of Chelsea frustrated; Man City and United win

ROB HARRIS, AP Global Soccer Writer br /> LONDON (AP) — Liverpool's pursuit of English Premier League leader Chelsea stalled on Monday as Juergen Klopp's four-match winning run ended at Sunderland. Liverpool's 2-2 draw against a relegation-threatened Sunderland side gives Chelsea the platform to open up an eight-point lead by beating Tottenham on Wednesday. Twice Liverpool led in northeast England — through Daniel Sturridge and Sadio Mane — but on both occasions Jermain Defoe scored penalties to draw Sunderland level. Mane's hand-ball was responsible for conceding the second spotkick. 'I must be honest, it doesn't feel good and it's not because of the point, it's because two penalties in a game,' Klopp said. 'Usually what you have to do to get a penalty, to get two, that was harsh, very hard to accept. 'But obviously I have to accept it, so I will do it.' ___ MAN CITY 2, BURNLEY 1 A victory for City but Pep Guardiola was still tetchy after the game, even suggesting he might not have long left in management. Halfway through his first season at City, the 45-year-old former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach said: 'It might be one of my last teams.' English football is proving far tougher for Guardiola than Spanish or German. After losing at Liverpool on Saturday, City started badly against Burnley when captain Fernandinho was sent off in the 32nd minute for a two-footed lunge on Johann Gudmundsson. City held off Burnley with 10 men and seized the lead in the second half through Gael Clichy. Sergio Aguero came off the bench to score a second, ensuring Ben Mee's goal for Burnley would only be a consolation. City regained third place ahead of Arsenal, which is at Bournemouth on Tuesday, and Tottenham. ___ WEST HAM 0, MAN UNITED 2 United reeled off a sixth successive league victory in a match that turned on Sofiane Feghouli being harshly sent off for a late challenge on Phil Jones in the 15th minute. Even with a man advantage, United took until the 63rd to score when substitutes Marcus Rashford and Juan Mata combined. Mata turned Rashford's pullback past goalkeeper Darren Randolph before Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored his 17th goal in his first season with United. ___ EVERTON 3, SOUTHAMPTON 0 Everton scored three times in the last 17 minutes to ensure manager Ronald Koeman emerged victorious against the club he left in the offseason. Enner Valencia was the game-changer, coming off the bench to score the opener in the 73rd minute and then winning the penalty that Leighton Baines converted. Romelu Lukaku contributed the third as 10th-place Southampton lost a third match inside a week. Everton is seventh. ___ WEST BROM 3, HULL 1 Hull is now without a win in nine games and three points from safety after throwing away the lead at West Bromwich Albion. Robert Snodgrass' opener was canceled out by Chris Brunt before Gareth McAuley and James Morrison put the hosts in front. ___ MIDDLESBROUGH 0, LEICESTER 0 With Islam Slimani and Danny Drinkwater out injured and Jamie Vardy suspended, Leicester was satisfied with a point and a second successive clean sheet. It's all about avoiding a relegation dogfight for struggling champion Leicester, which is six points from danger. 'Middlesbrough pushed a lot but we were so solid and I am pleased with the spirit we showed,' Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri said. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 3rd, 2017

Largest MNLF faction wants harsh punishment for bombers

COTABATO CITY, Philippines – The largest of three factions in the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) yesterday recommended the severest punishment possibl.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsSep 4th, 2016

Liza Diño defends Mocha Uson on BOC issue: She doesn't deserve all the hate

Liza Diño defends Mocha Uson on BOC issue: She doesn't deserve all the hate.....»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsAug 6th, 2016

Liza Diño defends Mocha Uson against bashers: 'She doesn't deserve all these hate.'

Liza Diño defends Mocha Uson against bashers: 'She doesn't deserve all these hate.'.....»»

Category: entertainmentSource:  pepRelated NewsAug 5th, 2016

For US men, Gold Cup finally brings chance for revival

By Dave Campbell, Associated Press BLAINE, Minn. (AP) — The overarching goal for the fledgling U.S. men's soccer team, as frequently stated by new coach Gregg Berhalter, has been to improve the perception of this sputtering program within the cutthroat hierarchy of global soccer. Though a strong performance in the CONCACAF Gold Cup probably won't move the needle much, the Americans surely would benefit, simply, from winning. Their opening game against Guyana on Tuesday night at Allianz Field in St. Paul, the new home of Major League Soccer's Minnesota United, will mark the first competitive match for the U.S. since the infamous defeat at Trinidad and Tobago on Oct. 10, 2017, that kept the team for qualifying for the 2018 World Cup. It follows a stretch of 18 consecutive friendlies. "There will be some nerves, but for us it's just about continuing to make progress throughout this tournament," Berhalter said last week after a training session at the National Sports Center in Blaine, a suburb of Minneapolis. "I think part of our profession is playing under pressure, playing in big events, and this is a great opportunity for us to learn." The 20-month gap between competitive games is the longest for the Americans since a 38-month span following a loss to Costa Rica on May 31, 1985, their final qualifier for the 1986 World Cup. Their next match that counted was a draw at Jamaica on July 24, 1988, their first qualifier for the 1990 World Cup. The U.S. won the biennial Gold Cup in 2017, a sixth title in 14 editions of the championship of North and Central America and the Caribbean. Mexico, the clear favorite, has won seven such crowns. Before any mental energy can be spent on assessing the ability to compete with their border rival to the south, though, the Americans, who are ranked 30th in the world, must advance from the group stage. On the surface, Panama (75th), Trinidad and Tobago (92nd) and Guyana (177th) don't appear to be daunting competition, but the way the U.S. team played this month in exhibition losses to Jamaica (1-0) and Venezuela (3-0) there will be no guarantees of automatic wins. The Americans are missing injured players DeAndre Yedlin, John Brooks and Tyler Adams, all first-choice starters. "If it doesn't go well you can just feel that more pressure is going to build, more questions will be asked, more scrutiny will be on Berhalter and the federation, and the outside noise is only going to get louder," said former U.S. midfielder Stu Holden, now a Fox analyst. "That's why it's really important that this team has a really good showing in this tournament." With the U.S. women leading their side of the world rankings and off to a dominant start this month in France at the Women's World Cup , the men's team won't be able to avoid the comparison game. The Americans can't mute the fan angst that has followed them for nearly two years, either, but they can at least take a meaningful step forward in the Berhalter era by displaying some potential within the pressing, possession-prioritized style he has rolled out . "We want to progress. Of course that also means winning the games, but we want to develop our style," midfielder Weston McKennie said. "Our goal is to make people see U.S. Soccer as something different as what they see now, probably." McKennie is one of the 20-year-old up-and-comers the program has staked itself to in the quest to not only return to the World Cup in 2022 but do some damage on the sport's biggest stage. The other, of course, is Christian Pulisic , who is joining English Premier League power Chelsea from Germany's Borussia Dortmund for a $73 million transfer fee. That is a record price for an American player. Veterans of the national side like Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley are still around, among just six holdovers from the roster that went to Trinidad. They are joined by Pulisic, defenders Omar Gonzalez and Tim Ream, and forward Paul Arriola on what has become a youngster's team. Getting this team in sync, socially and psychologically, might be just as important of a task for Berhalter as with the technical implementation of his system. "In warmups, they have to give each other high-fives," Berhalter said. "We do team events off the field, like going to movies together and going to restaurants together. I think that's really important to build that team chemistry." Now more than ever. "Everyone right now outside has their opinions about us, and the past couple of games, and that's perfectly fine," forward Paul Arriola said. "For us the message stays the game, and it's staying together as a team. That's how you're going to win an international tournament.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News7 hr. 48 min. ago

A House leader Filipinos deserve

A House leader Filipinos deserve.....»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated News13 hr. 47 min. ago

Culver, Reddish top list of shooting guards in NBA draft

By Aaron Beard, Associated Press Jarrett Culver made himself a top-flight NBA prospect by pushing Texas Tech to within a win of its first national championship. Culver is regarded by many as the top shooting guard in Thursday’s (Friday, PHL time) draft, part of a rapid rise from solid freshman contributor to Associated Press All-American. He could be picked in the top five, joining Duke’s Cam Reddish as lottery picks to headline off-ball guards in the draft. Here’s a look at the top prospects: JARRETT CULVER, Texas Tech The sophomore can make a big impact at both ends on the court. STRENGTHS: Culver offers size (a nearly 6'7" measurement with shoes at the scouting combine) and the versatility to defend multiple positions for one of the nation’s toughest defensive units. After averaging 11.2 points as a freshman, Culver developed into the no-doubt first option and Big 12 player of the year while leading Texas Tech in scoring (18.5), rebounding (6.4) and assists (3.7). CONCERNS: Culver must improve his outside shooting after making 49-of-161 (.304) three-pointers in his first run in a leading role. That was down nearly eight percentage points from his freshman year and included a 4-for-26 showing (.154) in the last five games of the team’s run to the NCAA title game. He must also improve at the line after shooting 68.7% there over two college seasons. CAM REDDISH, Duke Reddish offers two-way potential, though an uneven freshman year has created some uncertainty about his development. STRENGTHS: Reddish has size (6'8", 208 pounds) to play shooting guard or small forward. He’s a solid athlete with the potential to be a good defender with a seven-foot wingspan. And he’s known for his shooting range, illustrated by his three-pointer with 0.8 seconds left to win at Florida State. CONCERNS: Reddish arrived as a top-five recruit but it was a bit difficult to evaluate his college transition. He was a third option (13.5 points) as classmate Zion Williamson rocketed to stardom and classmate RJ Barrett became the Atlantic Coast Conference’s leading scorer. He didn’t shoot the ball as well as his reputation would suggest (35.6% overall, 33.3% on three-pointers) and was a surprise late scratch against Virginia Tech in the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 with a left knee injury. TYLER HERRO, Kentucky Kentucky’s latest one-and-done talent brings outside shooting and plenty of swagger as a first-round prospect. STRENGTHS: The 6'6" Herro can create space to get his shot and stretch defenses. He averaging 14.0 points with a team-best 60 three-pointers, including the go-ahead triple with 25.8 seconds left against Houston in the NCAA Sweet 16. He also hit 93.5% of his free throws, earning him late-game minutes in close games. And he’s got confidence to take any shot, notably telling an Arkansas player after making a key free throw: “I’m a bucket.” CONCERNS: He doesn’t have much length to disrupt ballhandlers (6'3" wingspan) and needs to add strength to his 192-pound frame. He could also improve his outside accuracy after making 35.5% on three's, which included him making 2-of-15 in the NCAA Tournament outside of the Houston winner. ROMEO LANGFORD, Indiana The Indiana freshman looks set to go midway through the first round. STRENGTHS: There’s no questioning his physical gifts. The 6'6" Langford measured well at the combine with a 6'11" wingspan that could serve him well on the defensive end. Langford averaged 16.5 points and 5.4 rebounds, and he was aggressive enough to rank among the Big Ten leaders at getting to the foul line (6.1 attempts per game). CONCERNS: What’s his range? Langford made 34-of-125 three-pointers while playing with a thumb injury on his shooting hand for much of the year. That was a 27.2% conversion rate with a shorter shot than he’ll see in the NBA — the lowest for any Hoosier with more than 100 attempted three's dating to at least 1992-93, according to Sports Reference LLC’s college basketball site. OTHERS TO WATCH — NICKEIL ALEXANDER-WALKER, Virginia Tech: The 6'5" sophomore averaged a team-best 16.2 points and looks likely to be picked in the middle of the first round, which would make him Virginia Tech’s second first-rounder in program history (joining Dell Curry from 1986). — KELDON JOHNSON, Kentucky: The 6'6", 216-pound one-and-done talent looks likely to be a first-round pick with his ability to attack the rim or hit from outside (38.1% on three's). — KEVIN PORTER JR., USC: The freshman played just 21 games due to injury and a team suspension, but is a first-round prospect with his athleticism and 6'6", 213-pound build. — MATISSE THYBULLE, Washington: The senior averaged 9.2 points for his career, but could go late in the first round with his stopper potential as a two-time Pac-12 defensive player of the year......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 17th, 2019

Strong finish not enough for Woods at US Open

By Josh Dubow, Associated Press PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) — The crowd was roaring, the birdies were dropping and Tiger Woods looked like his vintage self for the final 12 holes of the U.S. Open. The problem for Woods was what happened on the first 60 holes. Woods salvaged an otherwise disappointing weekend at Pebble Beach by birdieing six of his final 12 holes Sunday to finish the tournament at 2-under par, far behind the top contenders on a weekend made for low scores. Woods finally got in on the action after bogeys on four of the first six holes with an impressive turnaround that even he couldn't explain. "I wish I would have known because I would have turned it around a little earlier than that, he said. "Again, got off to another crappy start and was able to fight it off. Turned back around and got it to under par for the week which is — normally it's a good thing, but this week the guys are definitely taking to it." The problem for Woods all weekend was his inability to take advantage of the scoring opportunities on the first seven holes at Pebble Beach. He played that stretch at 2-over par for the tournament and 4 over in the final two rounds. Woods left his approach shots short on three of the early bogeys on Sunday and hit a tee shot into the rough at the par-3 fifth hole on the other. As he walked off the sixth green after his fourth bogey, Woods trudged toward the seventh tee, head down, seemingly defeated. But then he made a 15-footer for birdie at 7, hit an approach to 5 feet on 8 for another birdie and drained a 40-foot putt on 13, prompting a fan to yell, "The comeback has started!" While that might have been a bit of hyperbole, Woods hit another great approach shot on 16 to get back under par for the tournament and closed it out with another on 18 to the delight of the fans. "Just because I got off to a bad start doesn't mean it's over," he said. "Keep grinding, keep playing. And I was able to turn my round around today as well as yesterday. So rounds that could have easily slipped away and kind of gone the other way pretty easily I was able it to turnaround." The final round of 69 tied for Woods' second-best closing round ever at a U.S. Open, behind only the 67 at Pebble Beach in 2000 when he had a record-setting 15-stroke win. Now after starting the year by winning his first major since 2008 at the Masters, Woods has missed the cut at the PGA Championship last month and finished far out of the lead at the U.S. Open. He plans to take a few weeks off from competition before gearing up for a run at his 16th career major next month at the British Open, played on an unfamiliar course to him at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland. "I'm looking forward to getting up there and taking a look at the golf course and trying to figure out," Woods said. "I hope that my practice rounds are such that we get different winds, especially on a golf course that I've never played, and to get a different feel how it could play for the week. And definitely have to do my homework once I get there.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 17th, 2019

The ten most intriguing NBA free agents for 2019

By John Schuhmann, NBA.com We knew that the postseason would affect free agency. But the idea was that the success or failure of certain teams would affect what their free agents' thoughts about staying or leaving. Unfortunately, the last two games of The Finals brought devastating injuries to two of the three most coveted free agents on the market. Kevin Durant, arguably the best player in the world, tore his Achilles in Game 5, just 12 minutes into his return from a calf injury. And Klay Thompson tore his ACL in Game 6. The two injuries will certainly have repercussions beyond the two players and the Golden State Warriors. Maybe they already have. With the Western Conference seemingly wide open next season, the Los Angeles Lakers have reportedly made a deal for Anthony Davis, sending a bevy of young players and future picks to New Orleans so they can team the 26-year-old star with 34-year-old LeBron James ... and maybe another star added in free agency. As always, the free agent market and the trade market are tied together. The pending Davis trade could affect the decisions of players and teams come July 1. And if teams miss out on the free agents they're seeking, they could always fill their cap space by making a trade. With all that in mind, the players listed below aren't necessarily the 10 best free agents (or potential free agents). They're the 10 (actually 12) most interesting in regard to where they're going and what kind of contract they get. For players to be on this list, there needs to be some intrigue regarding their (and/or their team's) decision this summer. That's why Thompson isn't included. 1. Kawhi Leonard, Toronto (Player option) Whether he leaves or not, trading for Leonard last summer was well worth it for the Raptors, who won their first championship, with Leonard averaging 30.5 points per game in the postseason. The Raptors' "load management" program (which limited Leonard to just 60 games in the regular season) clearly worked, and director of sports science Alex McKechnie should be seen as a major asset in the quest to keep Leonard in Toronto. There should be a "run-it-back" sentiment for the new champs, with Danny Green also a free agent and Marc Gasol holding a player option this summer. A short-term deal would make sense, unless Leonard is looking for long-term security, having missed almost all of the 2017-18 season with a leg injury. It's all up to Leonard, maybe the toughest player in the league to read. If he takes his two-way talent elsewhere, the Raptors may have to go in a new direction. Number to know: In the postseason, Leonard had a true shooting percentage of 69.1 percent, the highest mark for a player that averaged at least 30 points per game in the playoffs and won the championship. 2. Kevin Durant, Golden State (Player option) Durant's torn Achilles probably won't scare any team, including the Warriors, from paying him as much as possible. As deep and talented as this free agent class is, the top two guys on this list are in a class by themselves. Rumors have long had Durant ready to leave Golden State and even with his injury, he seems more likely than Thompson to find a new home. But an ESPN report had Thompson's father talking about "unfinished business" after overhearing a conversation between the two injured Warriors. Durant could always put free agency off for a year by exercising his player option and remaining on the Warriors' payroll through his rehab. Number to know: Durant was the first player in NBA history to average 30 points per game in at least 10 playoff games while shooting at least 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from three-point range and 90 percent from the free throw line. 3. Kyrie Irving, Boston The disappointment of the Celtics' season, along with Irving's questionable leadership with a group that underachieved, has taken some of the shine off his star. Irving's injury history also must be taken into consideration. But talent is the most important thing in this league and Irving is one of its most talented players. He's still just 27-years-old and he can still get buckets when buckets are needed. A return to Boston appears far less likely than it did six months ago (especially with Davis being traded elsewhere) and there have been a lot of signals that Irving is bound for Brooklyn. Number to know: In the regular season, Irving had an effective field goal percentage of 56.1 percent with the score within five points in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime, the second-best mark among player with at least 50 clutch field goal attempts. 4. Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris, Philadelphia The Sixers lost to the eventual NBA champions on a Game 7 buzzer-beater that bounced on the rim four times before falling through. They're right there. But their starting lineup, which outscored its opponents by more than 21 points per 100 possessions in 334 total minutes (regular season and playoffs), includes three free agents. In regard to future assets, the Sixers didn't give up as much for Butler as they did for Harris. And of course, Butler has more baggage in regard to accepting his role. But, with his defense and his ability to get his own shot, he's is the most important of the three. Harris struggled a bit in the conference semifinals against Toronto and is the least important of the Sixers' three free-agent starters; J.J. Redick's shooting was clearly more critical in the postseason. But Harris isn't easily replaceable and he appears to be the most likely to leave, with a lot of teams looking for versatile forwards. Number to know: In the regular season, Harris shot 41.3 percent on pull-up three-pointers, the second-best mark among 69 players who attempted at least 100. 5. Kemba Walker, Charlotte Walker has expressed some level of loyalty to the Hornets. But immediately after the Davis trade was agreed to, there was a report that Walker would be a "top target" of the Lakers with their cap space. Walker would be an ideal offensive complement to James and Davis, in that he can play off the ball (though he shot less than 35 percent on catch-and-shoot three-pointers last season) and take some of the playmaking burden off of James' shoulders. The Hornets, meanwhile, would likely have a tough time upgrading their roster around Walker, with Nicolas Batum, Bismack Biyombo, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Marvin Williams and Cody Zeller all under contract next season for a total of $85 million. Number to know: Walker led the league with 126 field goal attempts with the score within five points in the last five minutes. That was 43 percent of the Hornets' total (295). His effective field goal percentage on those shots (49.6 percent) ranked 15th among 45 players with at least 50 clutch field goal attempts. 6. D'Angelo Russell, Brooklyn (Restricted) A finalist for the Most Improved award, Russell took a big step forward this season, both in regard to his production and his maturity. He earned himself an All-Star appearance and helped the Nets reach the playoffs with a 14-win increase from last season. He's only 23-years-old and is one of the league's most flammable shooters. But because he doesn't get to the basket or the free throw line very often, Russell is neither all that efficient (his true shooting percentage of 53.3 percent ranked 66th among 94 guards with at least 500 field goal attempts) nor consistent, and he struggled (shooting 36 percent) in Brooklyn's first-round loss to Philadelphia. If the Nets are targeting another ball-handler in free agency (with Caris LeVert and Spencer Dinwiddie already under contract), they'll probably let Russell head elsewhere. Number to know: In the regular season, Russell ranked second with 11.4 pick-and-roll ball-handler possessions per game. He scored 0.89 points per possession as a pick-and-roll ball-handler, the 26th best mark among 44 players that averaged at least five ball-handler possessions. 7. DeMarcus Cousins and Kevon Looney, Golden State Cousins hadn't made it back to 100 percent from his Achilles tear before he suffered a torn quad in his second career playoff game. He made it back for The Finals from that injury and showed flashes of his old self with 14 important points in the Warriors' Game 5 win and a big bucket in the final minute of Game 6. But he also struggled on both ends of the floor at times, and the Warriors were outscored with him on the floor in seven of his eight playoff games. Now he goes back on the free agent market with teams still not sure of what they're getting. Looney is an unrestricted free agent at 23-years-old, and he was the Warriors' most important center this season. The Western Conference champs have Looney's Bird rights, but they could also be spending a lot of money to retain Durant and Thompson (and possibly extend Draymond Green). Another team might have a larger role and more money for an improving young big. Number to know: In the regular season, the Warriors' lineup of Curry, Thompson, Durant, Green and Looney scored 121.5 points per 100 possessions and outscored opponents by 18.7 per 100. Those were the best marks for points scored and point differential per 100 possessions among 40 league-wide lineups that played at least 200 minutes together. 8. Malcolm Brogdon, Milwaukee (Restricted) The Milwaukee Bucks were the best team in the league through the first two games of the Eastern Conference finals. But, with four of their top eight players being free agents (or potential free agents) this summer, they have a lot of work to do if they want to keep Giannis Antetokounmpo surrounded by players who can get it done on both ends of the floor. Brogdon, Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez are the three key pieces. They're all due a pay raise and they all belong on this list. Brogdon is the restricted free agent, but he's also the youngest of the three (he'll be 27 in December) and the one that could be projected into a larger role on another team. Number to know: Brogdon shot 47.5 percent on catch-and-shoot three-pointers, the third-best mark among 223 players who attempted at least 100. 9. Julius Randle, New Orleans (Player option) After five years in the league, Randle is still just 24-years-old. So he's not necessarily a bad fit for David Griffin's plans for the future in New Orleans. But the Pelicans might not be ready to commit the money Randle is seeking (should he opt out of the final year of his contract) after averaging a career-high 21.4 points per game. Defense remains an issue, but Randle has expanded his offensive skill set; he was a respectable 34.4 percent from three-point range this season, taking 18 percent of his shots from beyond the arc (up from six percent over his three previous full seasons). Number to know: Randle averaged 13.2 points in the paint per game, seventh most in the league, and he made more three-pointers (67) than all but one of the six players in front of him. 10. Ricky Rubio, Utah According to Rubio himself, he's not Utah's top priority in free agency. He remains a good defender and one of the league's best passers, but the Jazz need to get more potent offensively if they're going to take the next step. At 31.1 percent, Rubio ranked 153rd in three-point percentage among 163 players with at least 200 attempts. There could be as many as 10 teams (not including the Jazz) in need of a starting point guard this summer, and Rubio could have more value on a team more in need of a distributor. Number to know: The Jazz were 5.8 points per 100 possessions better offensively with both Rubio and Donovan Mitchell on the floor (scoring 110.4 per 100) than they were with Mitchell on the floor without Rubio (104.6). John Schuhmann is a senior stats analyst for NBA.com. 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 17th, 2019

Analysis: Anthony Davis trade a win-win for both sides

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press The saga is over. When this trade is done, everybody can say they won. The Lakers, the Pelicans, Rich Paul, LeBron James, they all can take a victory lap. The trade that will be official in the coming weeks sending Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans to the Los Angeles Lakers for Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart and three first-round draft picks — first reported by ESPN, later confirmed to The Associated Press by several people with knowledge of the matter — is perfect for both sides. James gets the superstar teammate he wanted. Paul, the agent James and Davis share, pulls off a power move. The Lakers instantly become major players in a suddenly open Western Conference. Davis finally gets his wish to leave New Orleans. The Pelicans don’t begin Zion Williamson’s era with a disgruntled superstar in the locker room. They load up on young players and have tons of draft chips to play around with. For the Pelicans, it’s a new beginning. For the Lakers, it’s about winning now. Draft picks, including No. 4 in this year’s class, smartly were not overvalued by the Lakers — a team with a superstar who is turning 35 in December and should be doing anything necessary to help him win a fourth championship before his window closes. The Lakers have tons of money to spend starting June 30 and the sales pitch to Kemba Walker, Kyrie Irving or anyone else changes mightily after this move. Before Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) it would have been Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka saying, “We’re trying to get Anthony Davis.” Now it’ll be Pelinka saying, “We’ve got Davis, we’ve got LeBron and they want you with them.” That’ll be a tough offer for anyone to ignore. James is going to get another Big Three out of this: It was Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and him in Miami; Kevin Love, Irving and him in Cleveland; Davis, him and TBA with the Lakers. Clearly, the focus will be on a guard, which is why the rumor mill will be all about either Walker or Irving going to Los Angeles in free agency. The offseason is already in high gear. Hard to believe it really just got started. This deal got agreed to before the newly crowned NBA champion Toronto Raptors — this is true — hoisted the Larry O’Brien Trophy on Canadian soil for the first time. They won Thursday night at Oracle Arena to end Golden State’s reign, then stopped for a party in Las Vegas before the parade in Toronto on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time). Not even 48 hours after they popped corks, the Lakers were starting their own celebration. Williamson will get drafted No. 1 overall on Thursday night (Friday, PHL time), and he’ll go to New Orleans in the awkward spot of being an 18-year-old (he doesn’t turn 19 until July 6) with a franchise on his shoulders. The Lakers will still be drafting No. 4 overall, though they’ll be doing so on New Orleans’ behalf because the trade cannot be consummated beforehand. The Pelicans need a center, and will likely look at the trade market. The Pelicans have to watch an incredible player, one of the league’s very best, leave. But David Griffin — the man tasked with rebuilding the Pelicans — clearly had concluded that there was no way of convincing Davis to not leave as a free agent next summer anyway. Had Griffin waited to make a deal in-season, there’s almost no way he could have pulled off this kind of haul in return. The longer he waited, the less the value. So they push the reset button and move on, which was the most prudent play. Let the ripple effects begin. The Warriors not only have to figure out what to do if Kevin Durant leaves, but how to contend next year without the Achilles-rehabbing Durant and the ACL-rehabbing Klay Thompson (for at least much of the season). Other contenders in the West — Houston, Denver, Portland — will be viewing the Warriors’ woes as opportunity, so they’ll be looking at ways to get better as well. And Boston will be dealing with the reality that not only are its hopes of landing Davis gone, but that Irving is likely leaving as well. There will be countless big moves in the coming weeks. The Lakers, who have missed the playoffs in the last six seasons and have been stuck in dysfunction mode for the last couple months following the resignation of Magic Johnson and soap opera that followed, got the first one of the offseason to go their way. Welcome to summer. Game on. ___ Tim Reynolds is a national basketball writer for The Associated Press. Write to him at treynolds@ap.org.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 16th, 2019

Seven takeaways from Lakers reported trade for Anthony Davis

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com Here are seven takeaways on the reported blockbuster trade sending New Orleans star forward Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers. 1. Davis gets what he wanted all along Davis and his camp, fronted by agent Rich Paul, first made noise about getting out of New Orleans in January, when he still had a year and a half to go before he even reached the player-option year in his Pelicans contract extension. New Orleans management, notably GM Dell Demps, resisted the power play then. Of course, Demps lost his job after resisting the trade demand and seeing the ripple effects undermine his own team’s season. Demps’ replacement, David Griffin, took over on a more traditional timeline -- one year out from the dreaded possibility of having a star free agent walk without compensation. After apparently trying to change Davis’ mind, Griffin did what he felt he had to do. So the six-time All-Star doesn’t have to wait until the summer of 2020, or even the trade deadline in February, to swap a less glamorous market for the bright lights and a franchise that has never won for the Lakers’ legacy of champions built around elite big men. 2. Will future franchise players do the same? What cost did Davis pay for his trade demand? Not much. His playing time plummeted from about 37 minutes in the first four months of 2018-19 to 22 in the 16 games he actually played after Jan. 18 (Jan. 19, PHL time). He did not participate at all in 21 games as New Orleans tried to protect its asset, which derailed any ambitions with which the Pelicans began the season. They went 12-24 in those 36 games to fall into the lottery – and land the No. 1 pick. But that didn’t concern Davis. He got what he wanted. The Pelicans got what they could. 3. Right package at right time for Pelicans There’s a time-value to money and there’s a time-value in trades, too. The best time for Griffin to deal was now, with the No. 4 pick in this year’s Draft in play to team with the No. 1 pick that presumably will be on Duke’s Zion Williamson. Landing that, along with two more first-round picks from the Lakers, a Draft pick swap, and players Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart (per ESPN’s report), shifts New Orleans into full rebuild mode with an exciting core of current and maybe future young players. Could Griffin have gotten more had he waited deeper into the offseason or heading toward the in-season trade deadline? Perhaps. But Boston, the other oft-purported suitor for Davis, no longer could count on teaming Davis with Kyrie Irving, who will explore free agency (and likely leave). Besides, the Celtics never did want to part with Jayson Tatum, so what they could offer the Pelicans was limited. Didn’t matter, anyway. Griffin didn’t want to drag this into a new season. In fact, he might work the phones to find point guard Jrue Holiday’s market value. As strong as Holiday is as a leader and two-way player, at 29 with 10 seasons in, he’s out of sync with the new era in N’Awlins. 4. Griffin should have held out for Kyle Kuzma OK, the Lakers had committed publicly to keeping Kuzma, the overachieving forward and No. 27 pick in 2017, out of the deal. And as noted above, the Pelicans were on the clock to make a clean break with Davis pre-Draft. But would the Lakers really have scuttled the deal if Griffin had held out for Kuzma? Some say yes, as the time factor gave them leverage. I’m not so sure. I’m reminded of the blockbuster deal that sent Kevin Garnett from Minnesota to Boston in 2008. Word eventually got out that Kevin McHale, the Wolves’ president of basketball operations, had wanted a raw point guard named Rajon Rondo in the package of players Minnesota received. His Celtics’ counterpart and buddy, Danny Ainge, pushed Sebastian Telfair instead. But with Paul Pierce and Ray Allen on board, and Garnett so close to his wearing o’ the green, would Ainge have blown up the trade over young Rondo? Same applies here. So the positive spin on Kuzma staying put is, the Lakers did well to keep him. 5. LeBron gets his greatest sidekick yet That statement might offend a few folks. Dwyane Wade for one. Maybe Irving, Chris Bosh or Kevin Love, too. Heck, Davis might bristle at the idea of being anyone’s “sidekick” after being the man in Mardi Gras to this point in his career. But the truth can’t be controversial, and the success of this deal will be measured in the short-term by how well Davis meshes with James in the superstar’s quest for a fourth ring and beyond. Some believed that agent Rich Paul, who represents both James and Davis, was more concerned with helping the former than the latter, which Paul refuted a few days before news came out on this blockbuster trade. Who’s to say AD wouldn’t have thrived and won sooner in Boston had the Celtics and Pelicans worked out a Kawhi-like rent-a-player price? What if James not only is past his best years, but his most durable ones, and injuries intervene as he heads to age 35 and beyond to stymie title hopes? For James, though, there’s no downside to this. Ingram, because of the blood clot issue that cut short his 2018-19 season, is an unknown for now. Ball isn’t essential with James as a ball dominator. Hart actually backslid in his second season. And James has little or no use for draft picks at this stage of his career. Davis is good enough to carry the bigger load relative to James, more than any of his past Super Friends who all caught him in his extended prime. But it’s still to be determined how they’ll work that out – the two previous elite big men that he played alongside, Bosh and Love, wound up as No. 3 options once they teamed with James. 6. Kemba Walker might be next in Lakers’ sights Walker is a free agent who has served his time in Charlotte, a team that might not want to be locked into a super-max deal for their lone star anyway. He would be a nice backcourt complement to James and Davis, another scorer if not the pure shooter L.A. would seem to need. Speaking of which, that suggests other free-agent implications as the Lakers search for shooters. Say, if not J.J. Redick himself, then the next Redick perhaps. 7. So long Warriors, hello Lakers in 2020 Finals? You’ve got to admit, it would be something to see LeBron James pop up on the Western Conference’s finalist vying for a championship, in what lately has been Golden State’s accustomed spot. That’s what some anticipated for this June, until the Lakers went sideways with injuries and dysfunction. But with ESPN’s report of the Davis trade, a team that already was ranked atop the NBA’s contenders for 2020 saw its odds improve. Caesars Sportsbook put the Lakers as 7-2 favorites, ahead of the Bucks (6-1), the L.A. Clippers (6-1), the newly crowned Raptors (8-1), the Rockets (8-1) and what would be a distinctly different Warriors team (11-1). 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 16th, 2019

Good gifts : Putin presents Xi with birthday ice cream

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan – Russian President Vladimir Putin presented his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping with a giant box of ice cream for his 66th birthday before a summit in Tajikistan on Saturday, June 15, the Kremlin said, in a sign of the pair's warm ties. "Happy birthday, my best wishes... I am delighted ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsJun 16th, 2019

Duterte-Xi ties face test in hit-run issue

Keeping low and quiet will not spare President Duterte from the harsh judgment of a public incensed by the ramming and sinking on June 9 by a Chinese vessel of a fishing boat manned by 22 Filipinos near Recto Bank off Palawan......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJun 16th, 2019

Carpio: Filipinos must demand compensation, punishment on sinking of Philippine boat

Filipinos must demand compensation from China over the sinking of a Philippine fishing boat by a Chinese fishing vessel, Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJun 15th, 2019

With the Raptors, a global game now has a truly global champion

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The Canadian flag, soaked in beer and champagne, was waved in the Toronto locker room. Pascal Siakam wore the flag of Cameroon around his shoulders. Marc Gasol was yelling some happy phrase in Spanish. Every team that wins an NBA title calls itself “world champions.” These Toronto Raptors might actually be worthy of such a moniker. The new kings of NBA basketball are the first outside the U.S. to wear the crown. And they come from all corners of the globe. Team President Masai Ujiri was born in England and raised in Nigeria. Serge Ibaka is from the Congo. Gasol will play again for his native Spain this summer in the FIBA World Cup. Coach Nick Nurse won his first championship in Britain, where reserve OG Anunoby comes from. Even the team’s superfan, Nav Bhatia, comes from India. It’s a global game. It’s a global team. They’re the global champions. “It meant a lot, just having guys from different countries and speaking different languages,” Siakam said. “I think it kind of got us closer together. And you kind of have all those little kinds of friendship with guys that you can speak the same language with, and from Spanish to French to English, different cultures. I think kind of it represents Toronto in general, having that diversity.” He doesn’t even have the whole list. Jeremy Lin, an Asian-American, speaks Mandarin. The assistants on Nurse’s staff have backgrounds from stints as players or coaches in France, England, Germany, Italy, Australia, Israel and more. The director of sports science is Scottish. The head trainer is from Ontario. Jamaal Magloire, who has been on the staff since his playing days ended, is a Toronto native. “It means a lot,” Magloire said as he watched champagne spray all over the locker room. “Canada and Toronto especially are very diverse places. And this team, all the diversity that we have, it served us well.” There’s a parade — Ujiri said it was scheduled for Monday (Tuesday, PHL time), though he also wasn’t exactly certain at the time — coming to Toronto. The red and white flag with the giant maple leaf will wave. There will be plenty of other flags there as well. And more than a few proud Americans will be on that route as well, like NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard and the longest-tenured Raptors player, Kyle Lowry. “I’m very happy for them,” Golden State coach Steve Kerr said, tipping his cap to the Raptors. “Winning a championship is the ultimate in this league, and they have got a lot of guys who have earned this. So congrats to Toronto, to their organization, to their fans. They are a worthy champion.” At NBA headquarters in New York, they truly didn’t care who won the series. That doesn’t mean they don’t realize the Raptors’ title is a good thing for the league’s future. Basketball Without Borders is the vehicle that basically helped Siakam start his journey to the league seven or so years ago. There are NBA academies popping up in Africa and Asia. The league is helping to establish a new pro league in Africa that’s set to begin play early next year. The sport takes every opportunity it gets to promote what it bills as the Jr. NBA Global Championship, a tournament for kids. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said before the series that the league is aware of 700 million cellphones being in use in Africa, more than half of those being smartphones. The NBA wants people watching on those phones, and the infrastructure is such now in many places that it is actually possible. “It’s been revolutionary in terms of the people of Africa’s ability to watch our games in real time on hand-held devices,” Silver said. “So we see enormous growth opportunities both in terms of players and for participation and ultimately an interest for the league.” Having champions from Cameroon and the Congo, having the executive who gets credited for putting it all together being from Nigeria ... it’s not going to hurt the game in Africa one bit. The NBA champions are, indeed, champions of the world. “As a kid, I didn’t have the opportunity to dream about this moment,” Siakam said. “I didn’t think I could make it. I didn’t think this was possible as a kid. And I think a lot of kids don’t think that it’s possible. Just me being able to be here today and telling them that, ’Hey, look at me, I was a little scrawny kid from Cameroon ... but here I am, as a champion.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 14th, 2019

Germany gets another 1-0 win at World Cup, beating Spain

By Rob Harris, Associated Press VALENCIENNES, France (AP) — As Germany clung on for another 1-0 win at the Women's World Cup, Martina Voss-Tecklenburg could sense the unease in her team. And considerable relief in edging past Spain. So when the final whistle blew in northern France on Wednesday the coach quickly gathered her players on the field. "There was some tension," she said. "I told my players we pushed our limits." The way her side lost possession of the ball still grated. But Voss-Tecklenburg ultimately reminded the squad to be proud and united in the pursuit of a third world title. The Germans are finding it far from easy going at the start of Group B, relying on Sara Däbritz's goal in the 42nd minute against the run of play to prevail against the skillful Spanish. "In the last 15 minutes in the first half," said defender Sara Doorsoun, "we came together and said, 'OK be more self-confident.'" Däbritz had the confidence to be in the right place to pounce. After goalkeeper Sandra Paños couldn't keep hold of Alexandra Popp's header, Däbritz got on the end of the loose ball and bundled it into the net. "We were playing some great football," Spain coach Jorge Vilda said through a translator, "and in the end some mistakes cost us dearly against a strong side." Until that point, the confident passing, the intensity and much of the verve had been coming from Spain in heavy rain. "When we got the ball they put a lot of pressure on our defense," Doorsoun said. "It was definitely tough to get the ball." Playing in only their second World Cup, the Spanish were more than just equals to a second-ranked team that has made at least the quarterfinals in all eight editions of the FIFA tournament. What was missing was the ability to complete well-worked moves with a goal. When a high ball was sent to Nahikari Garcia in the 14th minute, the forward broke through the center backs. But with only goalkeeper Almuth Schult to beat, Garcia sent the ball wide. "We showed what Spain can do on the pitch and I think the team is strengthened by our performance," said Vilda, whose side opened with a victory over South Africa. "We have to never been as close as we are now ... and we need to use this as a basis for growth." So does Germany, which opened with the 1-0 victory over China. "We know that we have to play better," Doorsoun said. "But mentality of the team is good." But Germany will still be without Dzsenifer Marozsan for the final group game against South Africa as the midfielder recovers from a broken toe. "In the difficult situations she helps out every player," Voss-Tecklenburg said, "because she doesn't lose many balls. It would have been great to have her with us. We tried to compensate her loss.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 12th, 2019

Warriors play final game at Oracle trying to force Game 7

By Janie McCauley, Associated Press OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Stephen Curry offered a long list of things motivating the Golden State Warriors to extend their season once more and keep alive the chase for a third straight championship. Winning for injured teammate Kevin Durant certainly ranks No. 1 heading into Game 6 of the NBA Finals. A victory in the last game at Oracle Arena is right up there, too. “I don’t think much needs to be said about the motivation that we have or are going to have tomorrow,” Curry said Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time). ”... To protect our home court, feed off our crowd’s energy, play for ‘K’ and try to keep our season alive. There are a lot of things that you can kind of tap into for energy tomorrow. We’ll be ready.” Kawhi Leonard, Kyle Lowry and the Raptors are playing for Canada’s first NBA crown, not to mention the country’s first major title since the Toronto Blue Jays won the World Series in 1993. Toronto lead the series 3-2 series and are 3-0 on the Warriors’ home floor this season. “For some reason I think both teams are really good road teams and have been all season,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “That’s one thing. Two, two really tough-minded teams playing and you’ve got to be a little more tough-minded on the road. And I think a lot of those games probably could have went either way.” The Warriors might have to overcome being both emotionally and physically spent after watching two-time reigning Finals MVP Durant go down again. Durant had returned from a monthlong absence with a strained right calf to start Game 5 only to rupture his right Achilles tendon in the second quarter. Durant announced Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) on Instagram the severity of his injury and that he had undergone surgery. The Warriors also lost reserve big man Kevon Looney as he re-aggravated a cartilage fracture in his right collarbone area. Klay Thompson expects more energy than ever given the Warriors have recently gone through, not to mention all of the highs and lows during 47 seasons at Oracle. “We’re just thinking about enjoying this last show at Oracle we’re about to give our fans. And I expect our fans to be the loudest they have ever been, especially in the name of Kevin and bringing his type of spirit he would bring to the fight and the competitiveness,” Thompson said. “I know our fans will do that because we deserve it, but more importantly Kevin does for what he gave this team, this organization. There wouldn’t be banners if it wasn’t for his presence.” Here are some other things to watch for going into Game 6: SPLASH AWAY Splash Brothers Curry and Thompson will be looking to repeat their hot shooting from Game 5, when they combined to go 19-for-44 from the field and 12-of-27 from deep. “We don’t want to give up that many to those guys,” Nurse said. “I think you got to guard them, got to find them in transition. They get a good chunk of them in that.” Momentum maybe? “It’s definitely a real thing,” Curry said. SUPPORTING DURANT Some well-intentioned Raptors fans, meanwhile, started a campaign to support Durant’s foundation as a way to offer their care and concern after some fans at Game 5 cheered the injury. “Sorry KD. That’s not what Canada is about. We want to make it up to you!” the post read. GREEN’S TECHS Draymond Green has six technicals during this postseason, and one more draws an automatic suspension. Green needs to control is emotions in Game 6 because should the Warriors win he would not want to sit out Game 7 in Toronto on Sunday (next Monday, PHL time). Green had 10 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists in Game 5. MOVIN’ ON UP Leonard goes into Game 6 with 710 points this postseason, 14 shy of passing Allen Iverson (723) for fourth place on the NBA’s single-postseason scoring list and 16 from moving past Hakeem Olajuwon (725) for third. LeBron James is second with 748 last year behind Michael Jordan’s 759 points in 1992. “He’s a gamer. He’s shown that. He’s a Finals MVP back in the San Antonio Spurs days for a reason,” Curry said of Leonard. “He just makes winning plays. He’s obviously expanded his game since then and shown offensively how dynamic he is. He requires attention at all times.” END OF AN ERA Game 6 will be the final hurrah for Oracle. Golden State’s players have said all season the want to leave a legacy on this special home court — and winning a Game 6 would be the ideal outcome for Warriors fans. The Warriors already watched LeBron James and the Cavaliers clinch a Game 7 finals win in Oakland three years ago — it’s not something the home team wants to repeat. “This has been just an incredible environment in which to coach and play back in the day,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “Even when the Warriors weren’t any good, to come in here as a visitor and feel the energy in this building, you could tell that the fans loved the game. This was a basketball hotbed. And just the atmosphere out there, the energy, the noise, over the last five years with our team’s rise, combined with that organic energy that this place has always had, it’s just been an incredible experience to coach here.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 12th, 2019

Durant s injury devastates victorious Warriors as they head home

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com TORONTO — When a superstar crumples to the floor like that, after everything he’d been through, after mustering the will to return to action, after giving his team the lift it so desperately needed in a win-or-go-home game, everything that happens next is muted: The flow of a tense game, the pulsating fourth quarter, even the Warriors’ inspired Game 5 victory in the final seconds. All that’s left is a siren blaring and asking … Why? Why did the Warriors clear Kevin Durant to return to the NBA Finals on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time)? Why did he feel compelled to do so after missing nearly a month with a calf strain? Why did a segment of the basketball populace question the severity of his injury -- and, by extension, his heart -- during the lead-up? And why do the basketball Gods seem to have it in for a two-time Finals MVP and all-time great who put his team first, and possibly just put his career in jeopardy? The Raptors fans who lined up 24 hours early in the rain just to watch on TV outside Scotiabank Arena aren’t shook. The citizens who braced for a championship celebration into the wee hours and now must deal with deflation aren’t shook. Not even the Raptors, who coughed up a six-point lead with 3.5 minutes left and now must fly 3,000 miles for another tip. No, it’s the Warriors who were left dazed and confused despite extending the series to another game with the 106-105 victory, and it was all captured in the quivering voice of team president Bob Myers while revealing Durant suffered an Achilles injury early in the second quarter. “He’s a good teammate,” Myers finally managed to say. “He’s a good person … it’s not fair … he just wants to play basketball and right now he can’t.” No, he can’t, and Tuesday's (Wednesday, PHL time) MRI will determine when that can happen again. Slow-motion TV replays that showed Durant executing a dribble move past Serge Ibaka and then dropping quickly to the floor were not positive. When Durant grabbed his leg on May 8 (May 9, PHL time), he reached high on his calf. This time, he reached low. A segment of the fans initially cheered Durant’s misfortune, and when Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka put them in check, the reaction quickly flipped from insensitive to respectful. But it didn’t matter in the big picture that they applauded Durant. He was helped to the locker room by director of sports medicine and performance Rick Celebrini and Andre Iguodala. Stephen Curry left the bench and walked behind Durant, consoling him. Durant cursed loudly as he reached the tunnel. Then he disappeared from view and later left the arena by crutches right after halftime. In the history of the NBA Finals, there was no tougher scene to witness, no matter the rooting interest. This was a basketball betrayal, pure and simple, that happened to Kevin Durant. But should it have? Plenty of questions now surround the medical protocol used by the Warriors. Durant took part in what was loosely termed a practice for the first time just a day earlier. Was that enough? Did he pass all the stress tests by then? Did the exams and MRIs give a green light? Were the experts fully apprised? And, perhaps most crucially, how much of this Achilles injury could be directly related to the calf injury and should that have been perhaps a larger concern? “He went through four weeks with a medical team and it was thorough and we felt good about the process," Myers insisted. "He was cleared to play tonight, that was a collaborative decision. I don’t believe there is anyone to blame, but I understand in this world that if you have to, you can blame me.” Beyond that, was there any pressure -- either implied or indirectly placed or discreetly suggested -- within the organization for Durant to return and rescue the Warriors? They were down 3-1 without him. Durant is famously sensitive about how he’s perceived, especially regarding his toughness. Maybe he felt pressure himself to quiet the noise and whispers. Complicating matters is his pending free agency. Durant stood to make hundreds of millions on the market this summer, and a torn Achilles, if that’s what the MRI will show, can require a year to rehab. In the moment, Durant's injury had a temporary bonding effect between the two teams; a handful of Toronto players approached Durant before he checked out and both benches appeared equally stunned. “In this league,” explained Lowry, “we’re all brothers, and it’s a small brotherhood and you never want to see a competitor like him go down.” Before the injury, Durant showed flashes of the next-level skills that helped him lead the Warriors to the last two championships. He hit his first two shots, both from deep. He commanded coverage from Kawhi Leonard, Toronto’s best defender. He had a presence. This injected confidence within the Warriors, who broke out a nine-point lead with Durant on the floor and seized early command. He, Curry and Thompson were 12-for-19 shooting for 36 points through the early second quarter. With their missing star in the fold for the first time this series, Golden State looked whole again. Once Durant left the floor, the game tightened until the fourth. Leonard (26 points), who shot poorly to that point, made his move, with 10 quick points to send a quake through the arena. Curiously, Raptors coach Nick Nurse called a timeout with his team buzzing and up five with three minutes left. Did that kill the momentum? Curry and Thompson answered with consecutive three-pointers to tie and then take the lead with 56 seconds left. Then, on Toronto’s final possession, Thompson and Andre Iguodala trapped Leonard and forced him to surrender the ball. It found its way to Lowry, deep in the corner. But Draymond Green got his fingertips on the ball, Lowry’s shot was harmless and the buzzer sounded. No confetti fell from the ceiling, no bottles were popped in the home locker room, no trophy was ceremoniously awarded. Curry and Thompson combined for 57 points and took 27 three-pointers, making 12. They’ll need to duplicate that production Thursday (Friday, PHL time) in Oakland and beyond if the Warriors force a seventh game. DeMarcus Cousins was helpful post-Durant and had 14 points. “They’ve accomplished so much over the years and that doesn’t happen just with talent,” Kerr said. “There has to be more that goes into it and it’s that fight, that competitive desire and ability to stay poised under pressure. It was brilliant to watch.” And yet: There was little joy. “It’s hard to even celebrate this win,” said Klay Thompson. “I told the team I didn’t know what to say because, on one hand I’m so proud of them for the amazing heart and grit they showed, and on the other I’m just devastated for Kevin," Kerr said. "So it’s a bizarre feeling that we all have right now.” It’s a reflex to say the Warriors were inspired by Durant and perhaps they were. When he fell, they had their excuse, yet thought otherwise. For them to play the final 2.5 quarters while dealing with a fractured state of mind says plenty about their mental toughness. “It had made it difficult, especially with the start we got off to and Kevin was playing so well, so it was a real shock when he went down,” said Kerr. “So I give our guys credit.” Durant at times became a magnet for his personality quirks and especially his non-commitment regarding free agency; it was even raised by Green when the two infamously clashed on the bench earlier this season. If nothing else, the injury further endeared Durant to the locker room and, in particular, to his fellow MVP. “Everybody gets so wrapped up in chasing championships, but life is more important in terms of caring about an individual and what they’re going through,” Curry said. “And you see the commitment and the challenges and just what has been thrown at KD this whole year, really. He gave us what he had, he went out there and sacrificed his body and we know how that turned out. “When you get to know somebody and see how genuine they are and how committed they are to basketball, you root for those type of guys. All those emotions come into play when you see him go down like that. It’s not even about this series; it’s about long term, his mindset and being able to get back to being the player and the person he has shown consistently over the course of his career.” The Warriors return to Oracle Arena for the final game in the old barn before moving to San Francisco next season, so there is motivation to shut it down in style. Of course, there’s the goal of forcing a seventh game, and finally, to win a title so Durant’s injury won’t be in vain. “We do it for Kevin,” said Thompson. “He wants us to compete and the highest level, and we’ll think of him every time we step on the hardwood. You think of him every time you dive for a loose ball or go for a rebound, because I know him and I know how bad he wants to be out there. I’m going to miss him, man. It’s not the same being out there without him.” Shaun Powell has covered the NBA for more than 25 years. 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 11th, 2019

Sugod Malaya working to promote diversity in Football

Football has yet to shed its image of being a rich kid’s sport in the country, but Allianz Philippines and Sugod Malaya are showing that “the most beautiful sport in the world” is best played in an equal playing field. It doesn’t matter what your background or social standing is, as long as you are committed and dedicated to playing the game. “Globally, Allianz is known to be a staunch supporter of football, and we want to promote that same passion here in the Philippines. When Sugod Malaya came to us for help, we immediately saw that they are an organization that represents our goals and ideals for the sport—that it’s not just a game to be played by a few, but by all,” said Gae Martinez, Chief Marketing Officer of Allianz Philippines. Established six years ago, Sugod Malaya is a nonprofit football club that has close to 300 active members today—from the well-to-do to the poorest of the poor. “When we started, our dream was to establish a club that is really free, regardless of whatever the player’s background is,” said Mark Duane Angos, Secretary General and one of the founders of Sugod Malaya. He acknowledged that football in the Philippines suffered the reputation of being a game that is only played in gated communities and Sugod Malaya seeks to change that. “We were forming a team back then and realized that it lacked diversity. At that time, I was doing a community outreach program for San Beda and got in touch with folks in Tondo,” Angos said. The club eventually got four kids from the area to play with their team in Bacolod which, along with Iloilo, are considered the “Meccas” of football. “When they played in Bacolod, they really played well together,” Angos shared. From the 11 kids they had back then, the club has grown significantly. More than half of its members come from impoverished backgrounds, with 30-40 percent coming from the poorest of the poor. “At first, we were only relying on the generous donations of our club’s parents until we wanted to expand and solidify the program. In the end, it became more than just a football club; it also became a tool for community development. It is now a club that provides an opportunity for kids from all backgrounds to play and, at the same time, have their talent seen and discovered by the global community,” Angos said. While they consider their games in Iloilo and Bacolod to be memorable ones, nothing could beat their excitement in playing for international leagues. Sugod Malaya has played in the Borneo Cup in Malaysia and the Singa Cup in Singapore, and has likewise done well in their stints in other Asian countries. Most recently, Sugod Malaya experienced how it is to play European football when they played in Barcelona, Spain. They played in the Mediterranean Cup and competed against Barcelona FC’s famed La Masia squad, the youth team that produced global football megastars Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta. Angos said they almost gave up the idea of joining while they were in their planning stage. “We knew, from the perspective of cost, that Barcelona would be too much even though its organizers were nice enough to give us partial subsidy. At some point, we thought of backing out because we felt that participating in one tournament might affect our entire program—we have a team playing in Europe and getting that experience, but then the other scholars would be suffering because we’d run out of funds and resources. So when Allianz and like-minded individuals came in, we saw the light at the end of the tunnel,” he revealed, adding that they knew of Allianz’ dedication to football. “When we heard that they were willing to help us, we were excited. We are very thankful and, at the same time, excited to see that we have represented Allianz well,” he pointed out. Even though the much stronger Barcelona team defeated Sugod Malaya, the kids remain determined. “You can see that it (playing against Barcelona) reinforced their determination,” Angos said. In playing in Barcelona, the kids realized how different football is being played in Europe. “In the Philippines, they would cheer for you when you make a goal. In Spain and the rest of Europe, the crowd will clap and appreciate your good pass, even if you don’t score, and when you make a good save. They can appreciate the strengths of the whole team,” Angos shared. He added that because of Allianz’ support in getting the kids to play in Spain, many other opportunities for the club came up. They were invited to play in Colombia (a team that they won over during the friendly competition), Ireland, and Portugal, among others. “The Colombian coach said that our play is unpolished, which is not a bad thing because it makes it unpredictable and exciting,” Angos said, adding that the other clubs have compared their style to that of Manny Pacquiao’s. In the end, what Mark and the rest of Sugod Malaya wants to achieve for the sport in the country, is to make Filipinos realize that “Football is a sport for the Filipinos.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 11th, 2019