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PVL: Flying Titans make good impression in debut

ChocoMucho made its presence felt with an explosive debut on Wednesday after crushing BaliPure, 25-12, 25-18, 25-18, in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Open Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. The Flying Titans played sans Bea De Leon, who was rested by head coach Oliver Almadro, but showed no signs of slowing down with their deep arsenal flexing their muscle to dominate the Water Defenders. Kat Tolentino, Bang Pineda and Maddie Madayag showed the way for ChocoMucho, which came back from four points down in the second frame. Tolentino finished with 14 points off 10 spikes, two kill blocks and two aces with 10 digs for an all-around performance for the Flying Titans, who landed 10 aces. Madayag had 11 markers while Pineda scored eight with four excellent receptions for ChocoMucho. Acy Masangkay tallied 18 excellent sets to help the Flying Titans hammer 33 kills. Legendary Manilla Santos-Ng made her return to competitive volleyball midway in the opening set with the Flying Titans up 15-8. Santos-Ng subbed in for Shang Berte and immediately made an impact as ChocoMucho blasted a 6-0 spurt capped by an ace by the former De La Salle University star, who last played in the UAAP Season 71 back in 2009 where she also won her fourth title and the Most Valuable Player award in her swan song. The Flying Titans went behind, 9-13, in the second set before mounting a rally to tie the frame at 13 off a Madayag kill block on Grazielle Bombita. Pineda gave ChocoMucho the lead as the Flying Titans regained their bearing to control the frame. BaliPure showed signs of resistance in the third but were easily repulsed by ChocoMucho, which got a chance to field in its bench. "We’re happy na we won on our first game. Sabi ko nga sa kanila kanin sa huddle, normally people will say first game jitters, but sabi ko sa kanila, ‘Mawawala yun if you play maturely. So we really have to play maturely and we really have to stick together and be one,’" said Almadro.   The Water Defenders bowed down in their first game in  the tournament and absorbed their 11th straight overall since an empty trip in the Reinforced Conference. No BaliPure player finished in double figures with Menchie Tubiera and Bombita scoring nine each.   ---     Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnAug 14th, 2019

PVL: Bea de Leon remains day-to-day

ChocoMucho head coach Oliver Almadro is not in a hurry to activate middle blocker Bea de Leon. The multi-titled mentor wants De Leon to get into tip-top shape before fielding the two-time UAAP champion in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Open Conference. De Leon sat out the Flying Titans’ debut on Wednesday as ChocoMucho made quick work of BaliPure, 25-12, 25-18, 25-18, at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.     “Kailangan namin i-strengthen pa ‘yung legs niya kasi after UAAP, nag-therapy muna siya and then hindi pwedeng kailangan sabak kaagad so strengthening muna, kailangan maibalik,” said Alamdro on his main piece during Ateneo de Manila University’s title run in UAAP Season 81. De Leon was in the venue helping the team during their warm-ups and during their huddles. “Slowly nagpa-practice naman na siya. So, we just miss her now,” said Almadro. The mentor added that he’s just waiting for the green light to field in De Leon.   “Ang kailangan ko talaga 100 percent. Kami namang coaches, nagre-rely kami sa report ng mga therapists namin, PT namin at tsaka ng mga doctors. ‘Pagka sinabi ng doctors, o 100 percent, good,” said Almadro, who relied on Arianna Angustia and Shannen Palec in the absence of De Leon. “’Pag sinabi 80 percent, no, I like one hundred percent. Ganoon naman kami as a team so we have to make sure na 100 percent sila para they can give 100 percent also,” he added. “Sa ngayon, day-to-day siya e.” De Leon will also be doubtful in the Flying Titans' game against PacificTown Army on August 21.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 14th, 2019

ONE Championship: Team Lakay s Lito Adiwang ready for the big stage at ONE: CENTURY

  ?Lito "Thunder Kid" Adiwang is nothing short of grateful to make his ONE Championship main roster debut in the biggest event that the promotion has ever put up.   The ONE Warrior Series contract winner will battle Pancrase Flyweight World Champion Senzo Ikeda in ONE: CENTURY on 13 October at the Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan.   That is the perfect way to make an entry.   “I was wowed when I first heard that I got the match,” Adiwang shared.   “This is the perfect timing for me. It’s my debut in the big league and it happens to be in the biggest event of ONE. I’m really happy.”   “Thunder Kid" bagged a lucrative six-figure contract after he defeated Anthony "The Antidote" Do by unanimous decision at OWS 7 in August.   Though excited and eager for his debut, the Team Lakay representative cannot help but feel some kind of pressure, especially since he is taking on a hometown favorite.   “Of course there’s pressure. It’s ONE’s biggest event, and it’s my opponent’s hometown so there’s definitely pressure,” the Filipino athlete admitted.   “But as days go by, it slowly dissipates. I’m beginning to focus on what I need to do, and I definitely won’t be affected with his hometown advantage.”   Ikeda will not only enjoy familiarity when he takes on Adiwang, he will also come in bigger than him.   Adiwang is also wary of Ikeda’s punching power - the Japanese athlete was a former professional boxer - but he says that his entire focus is on getting better.   “We’re not really fixated on that. Our focus is on how I’ll be putting pressure on my opponent and how I’ll impose my game,” Adiwang said.   “We expect his power. He’s heavier, so the strategy is putting as much pressure on him in the fight.”   They say first impression lasts, and that is exactly what “Thunder Kid" will be thinking of when he makes his main roster debut on 13 October.   "Fans can expect an explosive and thunderous Adiwang," he promised.   "I’ll give everything because it’s my debut. I will give my best and impress them. I want to give back to the fans by putting on a good show.”   ONE: CENTURY is the biggest World Championship martial arts event in history. No organization has ever promoted two full-scale World Championship events in one day. But The Home Of Martial Arts breaks new ground as 28 World Champions compete in multiple World Title bouts, three World Grand Prix Championship Finals, and several World Champion versus World Champion matches at the famous Ryogoku Kokugikan on 13 October in Tokyo, Japan.   In the meantime, watch ONE Championship’s next event, ONE: IMMORTAL TRIUMPH, on ABS-CBN S+A at 9:30pm PHT.   To catch the prelims, go to ONE’s Facebook and Twitter pages at 6:30pm PHT.   Read More from ONE Championship:   Latest ONE Warrior Series Contract Awarded To Team Lakay’s Lito Adiwang Top Five Highlights From ONE Warrior Series 7 How Lito Adiwang’s Homecoming Set Him For Breakout Success    .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 4th, 2019

PVL: It feels so good to be back -- Santos-Ng

It was a fitting homecoming for legendary hitter Manilla Santos-Ng. A decade after playing her last game as a De La Salle University Lady Spiker in the UAAP at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan, Santos-Ng made her return to competitive volleyball on Wednesday but this time donning the ChocoMucho’s purple jersey. The four-time UAAP champion saw action – albeit in a reserve role – in the newcomer Flying Titans’ 25-12, 25-18, 25-18, victory over BaliPure in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Open Conference.   Santos-Ng, a mother of two, was fielded midway in the first set with ChocoMucho holding on to a 15-8 lead as she was subbed in for Shang Berte.   “Same venue 10 years ago. It feels so good to be back,” said Santos-Ng, whose last game in the venue minus the taraflex was back in March 8, 2009 in Game 3 of the UAAP Season 71 Finals when DLSU dethroned the then Rachel Anne Daquis-led Far Eastern University.   “I really can’t believe na makapaglaro ako. I was given this opportunity to play again. Super happy,” added Santos-Ng, the UAAP Season 71 Most Valuable Player. The 34-year old, 5-foot-4 hitter, also known to be a dangerous player at the service line, displayed her vintage form as ChocoMucho scored six straight points including two aces from Santos-Ng with her last service winner giving the Flying Titans their biggest lead, 21-8. “Sa totoo lang super excited ako to play at the same time may kaba kasi it’s been a long time,” she admitted. “Pero kanina nu’ng naka-serve ako pumasok siya medyo nagkaroon ako ng kumpiyansa. Thankful ako na napagbigyan ako ng ganoon chance and I’ll make sure na kung ano yung pinagawa sa akin ni coach ma-execute ko ng maayos.” Santos-Ng finished with two points, playing only in the first and second sets. “Nasa 7 or 8, we’re working on it and hopefully makahabol pa,” rated Santos-Ng on her performance. Head coach Oliver Almadro was all praises on Santos-Ng’s presence inside the court. “For me, hindi ko na kailangan ipakilala si Illa pa kasi we know naman what she can do,” said Almadro, who also worked with Santos-Ng during her college days as head coach Ramil De Jesus’ deputy. “Sabi ko nga medyo yung muscle magde-deteriorate ng konti but yung presence, will, determination will always be there.” Santos-Ng didn’t get a chance to attack during her first stint but remains very patient for that opportunity to display her signature high-flying power hits. “Darating din yun,” she said.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 14th, 2019

PVL: Watch Manilla Santos-Ng’s last UAAP match 10 years ago

Former De La Salle University star Manilla Santos-Ng will make a comeback to competitive volleyball a decade since leading the Lady Spikers to the UAAP throne back in 2009. Known for her amazing elevation despite standing only 5-foot-4 and power as well as for her solid floor defense, Santos-Ng made a name for herself during her heydays with the green and white. One could just imagine the impact she could’ve made if she continued to play in the semi-professional league. Santos-Ng, instead, chose a different path after claiming her fourth UAAP title in Season 71 coupled by bagging the Most Valuable Player award in her swan song. DLSU retired Santos-Ng's jersey no. 14 as an appreciation for contribution to the school.  Here’s a look at her last performance in the UAAP in Game 3 of the Finals against the then Rachel Anne Daquis-led defending champion Far Eastern University. But fans will once again see Santos-Ng in action as she makes her comeback with newcomer ChocoMucho alongside this generation’s notable names in Bea De Leon, Kat Tolentino and Maddie Madayag in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Open Conference. The Flying Titans will take on BaliPure on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. in their debut match that will air live on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166, LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183, iWant and via livestream......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 13th, 2019

PVL: Five teams to debut in Open Conference; Collegiate Conference begins

Five clubs will make their respective debuts in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Open Conference this week while action in the Collegiate Conference gets underway with 12 teams vying for the crown. Newcomer ChocoMucho bannered by the trio of former Ateneo de Manila University stars Maddie Madayag, Kat Tolentino and Bea De Leon along with legendary Manilla Santos-Ng gets an early acid test on Wednesday against another debuting team BaliPure. All eyes will be fixed on four-time UAAP champion and Season 71 Most Valuable Player Santos-Ng in her return to competitive volleyball after a decade when the Flying Titans march into battle at 2:00 p.m. and will air live on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166, LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183, iWant and via livestream. The loaded Wednesday match will also feature the opening game of Motolite against defending champion Creamline while BanKo takes on PacificTown Army in a rematch of the Reinforced Conference battle for third won by the Lady Troopers. The Cool Smashers and Perlas Spikers opened their respective campaigns with victories over Air Force and PetroGazz, respectively. Both games will air live on LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183, iWant and via livestream. On Saturday, another newcomer Chef’s Classics will make its first appearance in the tournament in a clash with Motolite at 4:00 p.m. while Air Force hopes to bounce back against BanKo at 6:00 p.m.. Both games will air live on LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183, iWant and via livestream. Reinforced Conference champion PetroGazz seeks to rebound from its opening-day loss as the Angels square off with BaliPure at 4:00 p.m. The game will air live on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166, LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183, iWant and via livestream. Chef’s Classics lock horns with Creamline at 6:00 p.m. in a match that will air live on LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183, iWant and via livestream. The much-awaited sneak peek of college teams opens on Saturday. College of St. Benilde clashes with Far Eastern University at 8:00 a.m. followed by reigning UAAP champion Ateneo’s crack at Letran at 10:00 a.m. San Beda University and Adamson will meet at 12:00 noon On Sunday, University of Sto. Tomas opens up the triple-header against Lyceum of the Philippines University followed by NCAA three-peat champion Arellano University’s battle with Technological Institute of the Philippines and the San Sebastian College-University of Perpetual Help match at 12:00 noon. The 12 noon games are available via iWant and livestream.    .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 13th, 2019

UP, UE share 2019 s king of recruiting crown

Who was our King of Recruiting in 2018? Find out here. --- Last season, the University of the Philippines, at long last, broke through in the UAAP. Behind the leadership of Paul Desiderio and key contributions from Season MVP Bright Akhuetie and Mythical selection Juan Gomez de Liano, the Fighting Maroons made their first Final Four since 1997 and first Finals in 32 years. Now, even without the iconic Desiderio, State U is nothing but confident it could build on its breakthrough. The reason? Well, because two of the brightest young stars in Kobe Paras and Ricci Rivero are now orbiting Diliman. Paras has all the physical tools to take any league by storm and now in maroon and green, he is out to continue the legacy of his father Benjie who delivered the school’s first and only championship. Meanwhile, the Euro-stepping Rivero already knows a thing or two about taking the UAAP by storm, having been chosen for the Mythical Team when he was still playing for De La Salle University in 2017. Add big man J-Boy Gob, another transferee, to that and, indeed, UP is only equipped to keep contending. On the strength of the transfers of Paras and Rivero alone, the Fighting Maroons would have been worthy of the title of 2019 King of Recruiting. Right up there with them, though, in terms of getting a big boost in the offseason is University of the East. Absent from the Final Four in the last decade, the Red Warriors will be heading into the upcoming season with a fully stocked arsenal. Now up front for them – alongside stalwart Philip Manalang, of course – will be 6-foot-9 Senegalese Adama Diakhite, three-time champion and two-time MVP in the CESAFI Rey Suerte, and college-ready Harvey Pagsanjan, the no. 7 high school player in the 2019 NBTC 24. Diakhite is a hulking presence who will prove to be a tough matchup even for the likes of reigning MVP Akhuetie and last year’s Rookie of the year Ange Kouame. Suerte, a gifted scorer from anywhere on the court, fills right into the hole left behind by scoring dynamo Alvin Pasaol while Pagsanjan can continue making all the right plays he had been doing as the longtime beacon of hope for Hope Christian High School. Also flanking them are former Ateneo de Manila University forward John Apacible, defensive stopper Neil Tolentino, Filipino-Kiwi swingman Richie Rodger, and Filipino-Australian point guard Jasper Rentoy. And with that, UP and UE will have joint custody of the crown of the 2019 King of Recruiting. They dethrone National University which claimed the crown a year ago behind a big-time recruiting class that included Ildefonso brothers Dave and Shaun, John Lloyd Clemente, and John Galinato. Just like last year, there remains no doubt that the new Fighting Maroons and Red Warriors will make their respective sides forces to reckon with come UAAP 82. Still, several squads also made it a point to be better in the offseason. In fact, the graduating players in the 2019 NBTC 24 have been spread out among eight different teams. From the 2019 NBTC 24, the annual ranking of the best high school players in the country, 14 are moving on up to the Seniors. Adamson University is the biggest winner in terms of recruits from that ranking, with three of the top 15 players now in San Marcelino. Ninth-ranked Aaron Fermin is a double-double machine in the NCAA Jrs. and is nothing but determined to realize his potential as a two-way force under multi-titled mentor Franz Pumaren. In CESAFI standout Joshua Yerro and UAAP Jrs. Mythical selection Joem Sabandal, coach Franz also has young blood to bolster the backcourt that will no longer have Koko Pingoy. The Soaring Falcons also scored four other former Baby Falcons in big man Lorenz Capulong and wings Adam and Andrey Doria and AP Manlapaz. When it comes to reaping the rewards of its high school program, though, nobody could still touch Mapua University which again got two keep its Jrs. studs in Clint Escamis and Dan Arches, both of whom made it into the top two-thirds of the 2019 NBTC 24. Escamis and Arches are offensive guards who will give much-needed firepower to a promising core comprised of fellow Mapua HS products Warren Bonifacio, Eric Jabel, Noah Lugo, and Laurenz Victoria. Also, the Cardinals are the favorites to land NCAA 94 Jrs. Finals MVP Paolo Hernandez, another Red Robin. Also bagging two prized prospects from the 2019 NBTC 24 is La Salle which is now the place where the talented tandem of Joel Cagulangan and Joshua David get to work. Cagulangan has long been a star in the making and the NCAA 94 Jrs. MVP is, without question, Taft Avenue’s point guard of the future. The even better news is that he will still have wingman David, a tried and tested glue guy, to grow with. Also set to debut for the Green Archers are Filipino-Americans Jordan Bartlett, a speedster guard; Tyrus Hill, a high-flying forward; and Kurt Lojera, a big-bodied swingman. In all, there are six graduates from the top 10 of the 2019 NBTC 24. All of them would be on different teams in the Srs. Two players from 2019 NBTC 24 are yet to commit to any school, but there is no doubt that Red Robin Hernandez and Greenie Inand Fornilos will be able additions to any collegiate team. For the second straight year, Aldin Ayo will be adding a top three recruit out of high school as incoming sophomore CJ Cansino will now join forces with another triple-doubling talent in Mark Nonoy, a rookie who plays way beyond his years. But wait, there’s more as UST also welcomes with open arms its newest foreign student-athlete in Beninese Soulemane Chabi Yo whose speed and skill will make him a problem for the other foreign student-athletes more used to being powerhouses. Sprinkle in stretch four Sherwin Concepcion as well as versatile forwards Rhenz Abando and Brent Paraiso and there’s a reason why the Growling Tigers are now very much a darkhorse contender. L-Jay Gonzales and RJ Abarrientos remain FEU’s backcourt for tomorrow, but in the meantime, the former is poised for a breakout just as the latter is poised to wrap up his K-12 schooling. Yes, Abarrientos is not yet good to go come UAAP 82, but his steady hand is still the perfect pairing for the burst of energy that is Gonzales. Make no mistake, however, the Tamaraws have gotten help in the form of 6-foot-10 Cameroonian Patrick Tchuente as well as former Baby Tams Daniel Celzo and Jack Gloria. Letran is already the biggest it has ever been up front with NCAA 94 Rookie of the Year Larry Muyang alongside Jeo Ambohot, Christian Balagasay, and Christian Fajarito. Now, the Knights have also beefed up at the wings with Allen Mina and Mark Sangalang as well as former Red Warrior and Growling Tiger Jordan Sta. Ana. LPU will have to prove it could continue contending even without NCAA 93 MVP CJ Perez, but the good news is that now backtopping Marcelino twins Jaycee and Jayvee are former San Sebastian College-Recoletos key cogs Alvin Baetiong, Jayson David, and Renzo Navarro. That’s still a pretty solid lineup in our books. Just like last year, the now two-time UAAP champions are mostly intact, only losing team captain Anton Asistio as well as reserve guard Aaron Black. That doesn’t mean, however, that there are no new faces in Ateneo. Geo Chiu, Kai Sotto’s twin tower, decided to stay in Katipunan just as fellow ex-Blue Eaglets RV Berjay and Jason Credo are now seeing minutes in head coach Tab Baldwin’s rotation. And oh, there is a possibility that double-double machine Fornilos, who placed no. 13 in the 2019 NBTC 24, is bound to be a Blue Eaglet. Perps is nothing but determined to build on the triumphant return to the NCAA of head coach Frankie Lim and to do that, they will be leaning on former San Beda University pillar Ben Adamos as well as ex-Adamson HS workhorse Jefner Egan. Count out the Altas at your own risk. JRU is just on the first phase of a grand rebuild, but there is no doubt that things are looking up for Kalentong. In John Amores, they now have an end-to-end force who is all set to make an immediate impact as a rookie. These are the new names to watch for the teams: Baste CSB National U San Beda --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 3rd, 2019

Alab faces Kaohsiung

New imports Sampson Carter and James Hughes look to make a good impression as they make their debut for Alab Pilipinas today against the Kaohsiung Truth in the ASEAN Basketball League at the Kaohsiung Municipal Senior High School gym in Taiwan......»»

Category: newsSource:  tempoRelated NewsJan 7th, 2017

Paul Lee says he felt like a rookie in his Star debut

It's safe to say that Paul Lee didn't make a good overall impression in his debut with the Star Hotshots Sunday in the PBA Philippine Cup. Despite offering a glimpse of what he can do as the new face of Star after finishing with 12 points, 10 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 20th, 2016

Nadal secures Spain s victory at ATP Cup; Croatia, Japan win

By John Pye, Associated Press BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Weeks after leading Spain to a Davis Cup title, Rafael Nadal is doing his best to do it again at the the ATP Cup, the newest of the men's international team competitions. The top-ranked Nadal beat Pablo Cuevas 6-2, 6-1 in Perth on Monday to secure Spain's win in the best-of-three encounter against Uruguay ahead of the doubles. Spain now has two wins from two starts in Group B and next faces unbeaten Japan to determine first place and automatic qualification for the playoffs in Sydney. Roberto Bautista Agut was equally ruthless in getting Spain started when he beat unranked 19-year-old Franco Roncadelli 6-1, 6-2. Nadal won his fourth title in the Davis Cup, the traditional men's team competition, in November. He said he thrives in the team environment. The six group winners and the two best second-place teams qualify for the quarterfinals. Second-ranked Novak Djokovic gave Serbia a shot at a second victory when he extended his tour-level unbeaten streak against Gael Monfils to 16 wins with a 6-3, 6-2 victory in Brisbane. Benoit Paire had given France the lead with a 6-2, 5-7 (6), 6-4 win in his singles against Dusan Lajovic. The Group A match will now be decided by doubles. In Sydney, Austria clinched victory over Argentina with wins in both singles matches. Fourth-ranked Dominic Thiem beat Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 7-6 (3) after Dennis Novak rallied from a slow start to beat Guido Pella 0-6, 6-4, 6-4. Both countries are 1-1 in the Group E standings, which are led by unbeaten Croatia. Novak, ranked No. 101, said a few pointers from Austria captain Thomas Muster helped calm him down after the first set. "After the first set I went to a break with Thomas, and I came out and changed a little bit my game and fought back," Novak said. “I think at the end I played really good tennis." Former U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic had too much experience for No. 448-ranked Kacper Zuk, setting up Croatia's victory over Poland with a 7-6 (8), 6-4 win. Cilic, who has a career-high ranking of No. 3 but slipped to 38 after an injury-shortened 2019 season, was only able to convert one of his 13 break-point chances against Zuk, who was making his tour-level debut. Hubert Hurkacz beat Borna Coric 6-2, 6-2 to split the singles results, but Croatia pair Ivan Dodig and Nikola Mektic clinched the encounter with a 6-2, 6-1 win in the doubles over Hurkacz and Lukasz Kubot. "If I have to pick some things that I need to do better, it's just converting break points. I had a lot of them," Cilic said. “Otherwise, I felt that the level was quite good.” Two-time Grand Slam finalist Kevin Anderson led South Africa to victory over Chile in Group A in Brisbane, keeping his team in contention for the playoffs despite an opening loss to Serbia, and Japan clinched its second straight win with victory in both singles matches against Georgia in Perth. Anderson, who is coming off a six-month injury layoff and pushed Djokovic in two tight sets over the weekend, outclassed Cristian Garin 6-0, 6-3 after Lloyd Harris beat Nicolas Jarry 6-4, 6-4. The South African doubles combination made it a 3-0 sweep. Anderson said the goal was now to win the last round of the group stage to have a chance of reaching the quarterfinals, which start Thursday in Sydney. “We had to get a win today, so we were able to do that,” Anderson said. "Some of it is out of our hands as well, already having, well, taking the loss against Serbia. “We'll bring back our full intensity for our match against France.” Japan followed up its 3-0 sweep against Uruguay with its win over Georgia. Go Soeda beat Aleksandre Metreveli 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 and Yoshihito Nishioka upset No. 26-ranked Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-2, 6-3. Georgia won the doubles to make the final result 2-1......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 6th, 2020

Texans roar past Bills for 22-19 win in OT

By Kristie Rieken, Associated Press HOUSTON (AP) — Deshaun Watson’s teammates talked all week about how they never feel as if they’re out of any game when No. 4 is on the field. On Saturday Watson showed why the Houston Texans have so much trust in him, when the quarterback’s dazzling performance late after a tough start led them to a playoff victory. Watson spun out of a would-be sack and coolly completed a pass that set up the winning field goal in overtime as the Texans rallied from a double-digit second-half deficit for a 22-19 victory over the Buffalo Bills in the first round of the playoffs. DeAndre Hopkins was asked to describe Watson’s play on Saturday to somebody who might have missed the game. “I hope everyone watched this today, but he's amazing,” Hopkins said. “You can't put too many words on it.” Both teams punted on their first possessions of overtime — the first extra period in an AFC wild-card game since January 2012. On Houston’s next drive, Watson evaded a sack by wriggling away from one defender and bouncing off another before rolling out to find Taiwan Jones for a 34-yard reception to set up first-and-goal. Watson flexed both arms as the crowd at NRG Stadium went wild — knowing their team was in position to pull off another comeback win to Houston's playoff history. “I told myself to stay up. I mean, it's do-or-die now. I just had to make the play,” Watson said. Ka'imi Fairbairn then kicked a 28-yard field goal to lift Houston to the victory. The Texans (11-6) advanced to the divisional round of the playoffs next weekend where they’ll face the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. The Texans got a boost from the return of J.J. Watt, who had a sack that helped spark his team. Houston scored 19 straight points to take the lead before Stephen Hauschka’s 47-yard field goal tied it with 5 seconds left to force overtime. “We never quit, regardless,” Watson said. “Whatever it takes to get the win. I mean, we're going to keep fighting.” Watt was wowed by the play of Watson. “The play he made at the end of the game — nobody makes that play,” he said. “The guy’s unbelievable. I’m very thankful and lucky to have him as my quarterback. That’s why you play the whole game.” It was Watt's first game after sitting out since October with a torn pectoral muscle. “This is why you come back,” Watt said. “I don't know if I meant to come back for these many plays or this much extra time, but these feelings, these emotions, these fans, these players, Deshaun Watson and all the guys on this team, this is why you come back.” The win gives the Texans their first playoff victory since the 2016 season and extends Buffalo’s postseason losing streak to six games, with their most recent playoff win coming in 1995. It’s the first wild-card overtime game since the Broncos beat the Steelers 29-23 in the 2011 season. The game conjured memories of another huge comeback in a wild-card game. The last time teams from Houston and Buffalo met in the playoffs it was in a game that is known as “The Comeback.” The Bills set an NFL record for the largest comeback in NFL history by rallying from a 32-point deficit for a 41-38 overtime win against the Houston Oilers in a wild-card game in 1993. This time Josh Allen and the Bills (10-7) used a dominant first half to build a 13-point lead and were up 16-0 in the third quarter, before Allen began to struggle. “He was just trying to do too much and getting a little bit extreme with what he felt like we needed at the time,” coach Sean McDermott said. “But overall, we just didn’t make enough plays.” Watson had 247 yards passing and ran for 55 yards and Hopkins had 90 yards receiving. Watson led the Texans to the victory despite being sacked seven times, led by three from Jerry Hughes, and hit 12 other times. Allen threw for 264 yards, ran for 92 and caught a touchdown pass on a trick play in the first quarter, but often looked rattled late in his playoff debut. Houston couldn’t get anything going on offense before halftime and had 81 yards in a first half where Hopkins didn’t catch a pass for the first time since Week 16 of the 2017 season. They were finally able to sustain a drive on their second possession of the third quarter when Hopkins had receptions of 14 and 10 yards to help move the ball. The Texans cut the lead to 10 when Watson dragged two defenders into the end zone on a 20-yard touchdown run. Watson then dived into the end zone for a 2-point conversion that got Houston within 16-8 with about two minutes left in the third. The Bills were driving early in the fourth quarter when Allen was sacked by Whitney Mercilus and fumbled, and it was recovered by Jacob Martin at the Buffalo 47. Houston cashed in on the miscue with a 41-yard field goal that cut the lead to 16-11 with about 11 minutes to go. Watson connected with Carlos Hyde on a 5-yard touchdown pass and Hopkins on a 2-point conversion with about five minutes left to put the Texans on top 19-16. Hopkins had a 41-yard reception earlier in that drive. The Bills were in field-goal range on their next drive when Allen got a 14-yard penalty for intentional grounding and Buffalo lost a down to bring up fourth down. They went for it and Allen was sacked by Jacob Martin for a 19-yard loss to give Houston the ball back with 1:41 left. “We didn’t execute how we should have, and we didn’t make as many plays as we should have,” Allen said. “That’s what it really comes down to. They made one more play than us.” The Texans trailed 13-0 at halftime and Hopkins fumbled on their opening drive of the third quarter to give Buffalo the ball at the Houston 32. Watt sacked Allen for a loss of 8 yards on third down and the Bills settled for a 38-yard field goal to extend the lead to 16-0. Allen scrambled 42 yards for a first down on Buffalo’s first possession for its longest rush of the season. Two plays later, the Bills used some trickery to take the lead when John Brown threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Allen to make it 7-0. Brown’s pass was wobbly, but Allen was wide open despite having to slow down to grab it. It was early in the second quarter when Allen appeared to fumble, and it was recovered by Houston. But the play was reviewed and overturned, giving Buffalo the ball at the Houston 32. The Bills were unable to move the ball after that and made a 40-yard field goal to make it 10-0. The Bills added another 40-yard field goal at the end of the second quarter to push the lead to 13-0 at halftime. NOT SO FAST Houston’s DeAndre Carter looked to have made a major mistake when caught the opening kickoff of the second half in the end zone and tossed the ball toward a referee without taking a knee. The Bills scooped it up and thought they had scored a touchdown on the play. But the play was reviewed, and it was determined that Carter “gave himself up” so it was called a touchback and Houston kept the ball. WATT’S HEALTH Watt was pleasantly surprised with how good he felt on Saturday in his return from injury. But there was one moment where he was a bit worried that his surgically repaired pectoral muscle wouldn’t hold up. As he was about to dive to try and grab Allen, he wondered if that could be the moment where he was re-injured. “But I dove and landed right on it, popped up, checked it out and looked over at the doctor who was standing like 10 feet away,” he said. “And I was like: ‘It’s all right.’” UP NEXT Bills: Season over. Texans: Advance to divisional round......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 5th, 2020

The NBA’s showcase day - Christmas - has arrived

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press The MVP is playing. So are the reigning champions, north of the border. And out in LA, the NBA’s newest dynamic duos will square off as well. On the 65th day of the season, with 454 games — more than one-third of the schedule — already in the books, the NBA’s unofficial start date has arrived. The annual Christmas Day quintupleheader of games is Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time), the day when the casual fan typically turns his or her attention toward the NBA. “It’s going to be cool, man,” said Toronto guard Kyle Lowry, who’ll be making his Christmas debut. “It’s going to be very cool. I’ve always watched it on TV ever since I was a young child. And it’s going to be awesome to step foot on that floor on Christmas Day, have my family and friends around and have the whole world watching.” The good news from a ratings perspective: Four of the Eastern Conference’s five best teams so far are on the schedule, all playing each other. The bad news: The two worst teams in the Western Conference so far also are on the schedule. But LeBron James and Anthony Davis’ first Christmas as Los Angeles Lakers teammates — facing off against the crosstown rival Clippers — should certainly draw plenty of eyeballs. “I hope everybody has a great holiday and spends some time with their families, but it’s about the next opponent in front of us,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “We have to get a win.” The other matchups: Boston goes to Toronto in the NBA’s first Christmas game in Canada, followed by Milwaukee visiting Philadelphia, Houston going to Golden State, the Lakers-Clippers contest and then a nightcap between New Orleans and a Denver team led by Nikola Jokic and off to the best start in franchise history at 20-8. “You’re always told that the best teams play on Christmas, the All-Star players play on Christmas and the whole world is watching this game,” said Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo, the league’s reigning MVP who has even better numbers this year than he did a year ago. The potential certainly exists for some playoff-preview matchups. It’s not a stretch to think that the Raptors and Celtics or 76ers and Bucks will wind up meeting in a best-of-seven come April or May. And the same holds true in Los Angeles, where the Clippers and Lakers might be the best of the West. The Lakers have Davis and James. The Clippers now have Paul George and two-time NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard. Those two pairings shook up the league’s landscape considerably when they came together this past summer, and so far with the Lakers at 24-6 and the Clippers at 22-10, neither side has much to complain about. “I think we’re good,” George said. “I think we’re good.” The Clippers are 10-3 in games where both Leonard and George start. Davis and James are one of two duos where both are averaging more than 25 points per game; Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins in Minnesota are the other. The pairing of James and Davis has looked spectacular at times already. If there was any confusion about whether those two superstar talents could work together, those questions have been answered. “We know what the end goal is,” Davis said. “And when you have guys like that, with veteran leadership, when everyone is locked in to our goal, it’s easy for us to jell together.” James puts it even more simply. “It’s about getting better, each and every day,” James said. Christmas is where last year’s Lakers season went wrong — they were fourth in the West, then James got hurt on Dec. 25 and LA went on a free fall out of the playoff picture. And injuries will affect some of what the league gets to display on Christmas this year as well. Golden State has been doomed by injuries all season, with no Klay Thompson and no Stephen Curry for much of this season. New Orleans was picked to be part of the showcase day because of No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson, who has yet to appear in a regular-season game — his summer league was cut short by injury, and a stellar preseason ended the same way. And Toronto is missing several top players right now, including Pascal Siakam and Marc Gasol. But make no mistake: The Raptors have been waiting a long time to be part of NBA Christmas. Wednesday is their first time on the holiday schedule since 2001. “It’ll be interesting,” Toronto coach Nick Nurse said. “I wish we had more of our regular guys playing in it, but we’ve got to go play the game nevertheless. So we’ll see. I think it’ll be fun. I’m getting a lot of messages from back home. Everybody’s going to be watching.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 25th, 2019

New Stars and New Eras: A look back at MMA in 2019

2019 was once again a pretty eventful year in terms of mixed martial arts, especially on the local front. In 2019, we saw Pinoy stars rise and fall, and some have managed to rise again before the decade’s end. Before we look forward to 2020, let’s take a look back at some of the biggest storylines in the world of Filipino, Asian and international mixed martial arts.   Team Lakay’s Troubles 2019 kicked off with not one, not two, but five world champions from the famed Filipino MMA stable Team Lakay. Pinoy MMA icon Eduard Folayang was on his second run as the ONE Lightweight World Champion, Kevin Belingon was enjoying his status as the ONE Bantamweight World Champion, Geje Eustaquio reigned over the flyweight division as the ONE Flyweight World Champion, and rising star Joshua Pacio, the ONE Strawweight World Champion, was the team’s youngest titleholder. Outside ONE, Stephen Loman continued on his reign as the BRAVE CF Bantamweight World Champion. And then, the dominoes began to fall. Pacio was the first to drop his title, losing a close split decision to Japan’s Yosuke Saruta. Eustaquio followed suit, dropping a controversial decision to rival Adriano Moraes, and then Folayang and Belingon would also lose their titles in heartbreaking fashion at ONE: A New Era in Japan. It was, to say the least, a rough start to the year for the Benguet-based team, but they would manage to bounce back before the year was done, with Folayang and Eustaquio both claiming wins to end the year.   The Rise of "The Passion" 23-year old prodigy Joshua “The Passion” Pacio was the youngest member of Team Lakay to hold a title heading into 2019, and heading into 2020, he remains the lone member of  Team Lakay to hold a ONE world title. After losing to Yosuke Saruta in January, Pacio was granted an immediate rematch and made good on the second opportunity by blasting Saruta with a head kick to score the KO and reclaim the ONE Strawweight World Championship. Pacio would then take on the clear-cut number one contender in fellow Pinoy Rene “D’ Challenger” Catalan, and make quick work of him as well, scoring a second-round submission win to retain the title. Even before the end of the year, Pacio already has his next assignment, as he’s set to face former champion Alex Silva at ONE: Fire and Fury in Manila on January 31st. A win for Pacio cements his status as one of, if not, the best ONE strawweight ever. While Team Lakay’s 2019 was, for the most part, a struggle, Pacio was no doubt the Team’s brightest spot.   A New Era 2019 proved to be another milestone year for Asia-based martial arts promotion ONE Championship, as they were able to penetrate new markets in terms of live shows as well as broadcast deals. ONE began the year with a new partnership with Turner Broadcasting, which gave North American fans access to ONE’s brand of martial arts through B/R Live and TNT. In terms of live events, ONE was able to finally plant their flag in one of the biggest markets for MMA in the world, Japan. In March, ONE put on their first ever show in Japan, ONE: A New Era in Tokyo, which featured some of the promotion’s biggest names including  Demetrious Johnson, Eddie Alvarez, Shinya Aoki, Angela Lee, Aung La N Sang, Eduard Folayang, and many more. To celebrate their historic 100th event, ONE returned to Tokyo for ONE: Century, their biggest card ever, featuring seven world title bouts and the promotion’s biggest stars, and then some.   In 2020, ONE plans to break through to even more new markets, possible including a show in the United States.   The ‘Return’ of Jon Jones While Jon Jones officially reclaimed his spot at the top of the UFC’s light heavyweight division in December of 2018, it was in 2019 that he returned to his dominant ways. After stopping Alexander Gustafsson in 2018 to reclaim the UFC Light Heavyweight crown, Jones handily defeated tough challengers in Anthony Smith and Thiago “Maretta” Santos to retain the titles. While the Smith and Santos bouts were lackluster in the eyes of many, it showed that even on his bad days, Jon Jones is better than most people on their best days.   “Rush” Retires Again While it was something that was expected, 37-year old Georges St-Pierre officially retired from MMA, again, in February. The former long-time welterweight king and pound-for-pound great made a triumphant return to the UFC in 2017, dethroning Michael Bisping to become the new UFC Middleweight Champion. GSP would never get to defend the title, as he would relinquish it not long after due to concerns with ulcerative colitis. While GSP has remained inactive since, the whispers of a super-fight with reigning UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov remain present, and 2020 could possibly see that coming to fruition.   Grand Prix Greatness In 2019, ONE Championship introduced a new and exciting attraction, the ONE Lightweight and Flyweight World Grand Prix tournaments.  Eight of the best fighters from each division would battle it out in a tournament-style competition, and the winner would become the ONE World Grand Prix Champion and earn a title shot against the division's respective titleholder.  Making their debuts in the lightweight and flyweight tournaments were former UFC champs Eddie Alvarez and Demetrious Johnson respectively, and as it played out the two would have very different outcomes.  Alvarez saw himself get upset in the quarterfinals by Russian knockout artist Timofey Nastyukhin. The former UFC lightweight king would get another chance in the tournament after defeating Eduard Folayang in a last-minute semifinal matchup, but another injury would keep him out of the finale at ONE: Century in Tokyo. Reigning ONE Lightweight World Champion Christian Lee ended up stepping in on short notice to defeat tournament favorite Saygid Guseyn Arslanalieve and become a double-champion.  Johnson, meanwhile, breezed through his quarterfinals and semifinals bouts to set up a finale showdown with Filipino star Danny Kingad. In the Finale, Kingad fought valiantly but ultimately fell to Johnson via Unanimous Decision, setting up a must-see matchup between DJ and reigning ONE Flyweight World Champion Adriano Moraes in 2020.    Baddest Motherf**ker Jorge Masdival has long been a staple in the UFC’s lightweight ranks for years, but it wasn’t until 2019 that “Gamebred” made headlines. After a hiatus in 2018, Masvidal returned with a bang in 2019, knocking out former title challenger Darren Till, and then followed that up with a 5-second flying knee knockout over former ONE Welterweight king Ben Askren. The popularity and momentum that Masvidal had garnered was enough to bring a certain Stockton star out of retirement and that set up one of the most talked-about UFC title bouts in 2019: Masvidal vs. Nate Diaz for the title of Baddest Motherf**ker. Masvidal lived up to the name and pieced Diaz up with strikes in the early rounds, before eventually opening up a cut that was just too big for the fight to go on. Much to the dismay of Masvidal, Diaz, and the crowd in New York, the fight was stopped. Still, it was nothing short of a testament to just how dangerous the new and improved version of Jorge Masvidal is. Expect him to challenge for a title in 2020.   MMA stars shine in 2019 SEA Games A number of Pinoy mixed martial artists showcased their skills in different battlegrounds during the recently-concluded 2019 Southeast Asian Games, which was held in the Philippines. from November 30 to December 11. Reigning URCC champion Mark “Mugen” Striegl took home gold in Combat Sambo, while former ONE title challenger Rene Catalan settled for Silver after an injury dashed his dreams of getting gold. Another URCC veteran in Ariel Lee Lampacan also took home SEA Games gold, this time in the Muay Thai competition. ONE Super Series veteran Ryan Jakiri took home silver. The SEA Games kickboxing event saw three MMA stars from Team Lakay take home gold medals, as Gina Iniong, Jerry Olsim, and Jean Claude Saclag all reigned over their respective divisions. Iniong, of course, is a ONE Women’s Atomweight contender, while Olsim is a veteran of Rich Franklin’s ONE Warrior Series. Saclag, meanwhile, is one of Team Lakay’s representatives in the Japan-based promotion Shooto.       .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 24th, 2019

Texans grab AFC South lead with 24-21 victory over Titans

By The Associated Press NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Houston Texans grabbed control of the AFC South by beating the Tennessee Titans 24-21 Sunday. The defending division champs are looking for Houston's fourth AFC South title in six years under coach Bill O'Brien. The Titans haven't won this division since 2008, and Mike Vrabel is Tennessee's third coach since then. Ka'imi Fairbairn kicked a 29-yard field goal with 3:26 left for the winning points. The Texans (9-5) nearly blew a 14-0 halftime lead. Deshaun Watson threw for 243 yards and two touchdowns, but Tennessee also intercepted him twice inside the Titans 1. The Titans (8-6) snapped a four-game win streak with only their second loss in seven games. Now they will need help in the final two games to earn their second playoff berth in three seasons. When the Titans tied it at 14 early in the fourth quarter, the Texans scored 10 straight points. Carlos Hyde ran for a 10-yard TD, then Fairbairn's field goal finished Houston's scoring. Ryan Tannehill hit Dion Lewis with an 11-yard TD pass with 2:04 left to pull Tennessee within 24-21. But the Titans used backup kicker Ryan Santoso on the onside kick, and the ball only went 7 yards before being smothered by Texans safety Justin Reid. BILLS 17, STEELERS 10 PITTSBURGH (AP) — Josh Allen threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Kroft with 7:55 to play and Buffalo clinched a playoff spot, beating Pittsburgh. The Bills secured their second playoff berth in three seasons under coach Sean McDermott. Buffalo trailed 10-7, but scored on two possessions in the fourth quarter, as Allen rallied the Bills for a comeback win for the fifth time this season. Consecutive interceptions by Jordan Poyer and Levi Wallace on Pittsburgh’s last two possessions sealed the victory. The surging Steelers had an opportunity to leapfrog the Bills for the top AFC wild card spot, but Buffalo snapped Pittsburgh’s three-game win streak. Buffalo won for the fourth time in five games and recorded its first 10-win season since 1999. The Bills also beat the Steelers for the second time ever in Pittsburgh. Allen completed 13 of 25 passes for 139 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Allen, who also rushed for a score, has only lost consecutive games once in his career. Kroft scored his first touchdown since 2017 when he played for Cincinnati. Devin Singletary rushed for 87 yards and John Brown caught seven passes for 99 yards. He became Buffalo’s first 1,000-yard receiver since 2015. Devlin Hodges completed 23 of 38 passes for 202 yards with one touchdown and four interceptions. PACKERS 21, BEARS 13 GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Jones ran for two scores, Davante Adams caught another in the 200th edition of he NFL's oldest rivalry. With the win, the Packers (11-3) clinched a playoff spot and swept the regular-season series between the teams for the 15th time in the last 26 seasons and the seventh time in the last 11 seasons. Green Bay defeated Chicago 10-3 in the season opener. Green Bay now leads the all-time series 99-95-6. The Bears (7-7) saw their three-game win streak end. The Packers improved to 19-5 against their NFC North rival with Rodgers as the starting quarterback. Rodgers completed just 16 of 33 passes for a pedestrian 203 yards but did enough to secure the victory. The two-time MVP entered the day with a 103.2 career passer rating against the Bears, the highest in league history of quarterbacks with at least 250 passes against Chicago. He had a 78.2 rating on Sunday. Mitchell Trubisky completed his first five pass attempts for the Bears but for only 18 yards. Chicago's offense opened the game with three straight punts and a turnover on downs. Trubisky finished 28 of 53 for 321 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. PATRIOTS 34, BENGALS 13 CINCINNATI (AP) — Tom Brady threw a pair of touchdown passes to move within one of the NFL career record, Stephon Gilmore returned one of his two interceptions 64 yards for a score, and the Patriots clinched a playoff berth. A week that started with intrigue — a Patriots crew videotaping the Bengals' sideline in Cleveland — concluded with more New England history. The Patriots have made the playoffs 11 consecutive seasons, extending their NFL record. Brady had touchdown passes of 23 and 7 yards that left him with 538 for his career, one shy of Peyton Manning's record. The Patriots (11-3) haven't been as overwhelming in this playoff push, getting just enough out of the 42-year-old Brady and more than enough out of the league's top-ranked defense. Thousands of Patriots fans filled the stadium and chanted Brady's name as the minutes ran off. Brady was 15 of 29 for 128 yards and a pair of sacks. The Patriots broke a two-game losing streak with four interceptions in the second half. Gilmore picked off Andy Dalton twice in the third quarter, with his second pick-6 of the season putting New England in control. The Patriots pushed their league-leading interception total to 25. The Bengals (1-13) got a touchdown pass from Dalton that ended a streak of 20 straight games without reaching the end zone on their opening drive. All they managed the rest of the way was a pair of field goals. CHIEFS 23, BRONCOS 3 KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Patrick Mahomes threw for 340 yards and two touchdowns, and Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce were on the receiving end of many of his biggest throws, as the AFC West champions romped to remain in the hunt for the No. 2 playoff seed and a potential first-round bye. Like a bunch of kids getting a snow day from school, the Chiefs enjoyed every minute of it. Hill caught five passes for 67 yards and both scores, and Kelce hauled in 11 catches for 142 yards to become the first tight end in NFL history with four consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons, helping the Chiefs (10-4) beat the Broncos for the ninth straight time. Denver (5-9) hasn't won in Kansas City since Sept. 17, 2015. The Chiefs outscored their longtime division rival 53-9 this season. Whether it was the snowy weather or the suddenly stout Chiefs defense, the Broncos were so inept offensively that Kelce had more yards receiving at the start of the fourth quarter than they had total offense (139 yards). Phillip Lindsay was bottled up on the ground, and former Missouri standout Drew Lock — who grew up in the Kansas City suburb of Lee's Summit, Missouri — spent most of the day seeing red jerseys bearing down on him. The rookie quarterback was 18 of 40 for 208 yards and an egregious interception in the end zone. COWBOYS 44, RAMS 21 ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Dak Prescott threw two touchdown passes and Ezekiel Elliott ran for two scores. The Cowboys (7-7) ended their second three-game losing streak of the season, and the defending NFC East champions stayed even with Philadelphia atop the division with a showdown looming next week. The defending NFC champion Rams (8-6), who already needed help to get into the playoffs, didn't help themselves with another poor showing a week after their most impressive game of the season in a win over Seattle. Their loss clinched playoff berths for Seattle, San Francisco and Green Bay. After rushing for a franchise playoff-record 273 yards in a 30-22 divisional win over the Cowboys last January, the Rams were held to 22 while Dallas churned out a season-high 263. Todd Gurley had 11 carries for 20 yards. Coming off two of his better games of the season, Rams quarterback Jared Goff had a rough outing that looked better because of his fourth-quarter numbers with the outcome decided. He finished 33 of 51 for 284 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. The Cowboys' No. 1-ranked offense kept rolling with a season high in points to go with 475 yards, including scoring drives of 90 and 97 yards. FALCONS 29, 49ERS 20 SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Matt Ryan teamed with Julio Jones on a 5-yard pass that was ruled a touchdown after a replay reversal with 2 seconds left. Jones was called short of the goal line with the Falcons (5-9) trailing 22-17. But a replay showed the ball breaking the plane with the Jones in the air while being tackled by Jimmie Ward. When things couldn't get crazier, they did: On the final kickoff, Atlanta scored another touchdown when Olamide Zaccheaus came up with the ball as the 49ers were tossing it around in desperation. The 49ers (11-3) still clinched their first playoff berth since a 2013 run to the NFC championship game with the Rams' loss at Dallas. In an afternoon when Jimmy Garoppolo and the offense hardly shined, San Francisco's other units did their best to hold off Ryan until the quarterback exhibited the poise of a former MVP in a dramatic final minute — or, make that 12 seconds. Facing his former team and now in his third year as 49ers coach, Kyle Shanahan's high-powered offense fizzled much of the day. Shanahan spent two seasons as offensive coordinator in Atlanta coaching Ryan during his 2016 MVP year when the Falcons set a franchise record by scoring 540 points and Ryan had career bests in yards passing (4,944), TD passes (38) and passer rating (117.1). Then the Falcons blew a 28-3 lead on New England in the Super Bowl and Shanahan left for the Bay Area shortly after. VIKINGS 39, CHARGERS 10 CARSON, Calif, (AP) — Dan Bailey kicked four field goals and Ifeadi Odenigbo scored Minnesota's second defensive touchdown in three games. Los Angeles led 10-9 midway through the second quarter before Minnesota scored 30 unanswered points. The Chargers (5-9), who have dropped four of their last five, committed seven turnovers, their most since having seven against the Giants in 1986. The seven turnovers resulted in 20 Minnesota points. Mike Boone ran for two touchdowns in the fourth quarter and Kirk Cousins threw for 207 yards and a TD for the Vikings (10-4), who have won four of their last five to remain in possession of the NFC's last playoff spot. Melvin Gordon fumbled twice and Philip Rivers threw three interceptions. Rivers, who threw for 307 yards, has been picked off 10 times in the past five games. LA appeared to be in field goal range at the Vikings 26. But on second-and-2, Rivers fumbled when he was sacked by Danielle Hunter. Austin Ekeler recovered it at the 38 and tried to make a play but also fumbled. Odenigbo then scooped up the loose ball and went 56 yards for a touchdown to give Minnesota a 19-10 lead. Boone, who had 49 yards on 13 attempts, had most of his carries in the second half after Dalvin Cook was injured. He had touchdown runs of 8 and 2 yards in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach. SEAHAWKS 30, PANTHERS 24 CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Russell Wilson threw for 286 yards and two touchdowns, Chris Carson ran for 133 yards and two scores. The Seahawks (11-3) wrapped up a postseason berth for the seventh time in the last eight seasons with a Rams loss at Dallas. They also tied San Francisco for the NFC West lead. It was the 100th regular season win for Seahawks coach Pete Carroll. Seattle scored on its first three possessions as Wilson completed 8 of 10 passes for 175 yards, with 19-yard touchdown passes to DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett for a perfect 153.8 QB rating. Chris Carson added a 16-yard TD run as the Seahawks built a 20-7 lead at halftime. But Seattle had to hold on after nearly surrendering a 30-10 lead with 7:28 left in the game as Carolina (5-9) got two touchdowns. Christian McCaffrey scored on a 15-yard run and Kyle Allen found Curtis Samuel for a 5-yard score to make it a one-possession game with 3:19 left. But the Seahawks overcame two holding penalties and Wilson connected on a 14-yard pass to Lockett on a third-and-11 to help the Seahawks run out the clock. EAGLES 37, REDSKINS 27 LANDOVER, Md. (AP) — Carson Wentz recovered from a late fumble by leading a 75-yard, go-ahead scoring drive and throwing his third touchdown pass of the day to keep the Eagles' NFC East hopes on track. Wentz threw TD passes to running back Miles Sanders, tight end Zach Ertz and receiver Greg Ward and was 30 of 43 for 266 yards. The 4-yard pass from Wentz to Ward with 26 seconds left put Philadelphia up for good and electrified a stadium full of green-clad Eagles fans. Wentz's ability to bounce back from some accuracy issues and a turnover means the Eagles (7-7) are tied with Dallas in the division race with a game against the Cowboys coming next week. Of course, Wentz didn't do it by himself. Sanders rushed for 122 yards and a touchdown and caught six passes for 50 yards. The Eagles defense that struggled to stop Washington's Dwayne Haskins most of the afternoon got him to fumble for a touchdown return by Nigel Bradham on the game's final play. Coming off an overtime victory against Eli Manning and the New York Giants, a loss to Washington (3-11) could've had the Eagles facing elimination next week. CARDINALS 38, BROWNS 24 GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Kenyan Drake ran for four touchdowns, Kyler Murray threw for 219 yards and a score and the Cardinals snapped a six-game losing streak. Murray got the best of a much-anticipated showdown with Cleveland quarterback Baker Mayfield. The two were teammates in college at Oklahoma and both won Heisman Trophies before being selected with the No. 1 overall picks by their respective teams in back-to-back years. Murray completed 19 of 25 passes and also ran for 58 yards. Drake, acquired midseason in a trade with the Dolphins, ran for a season-high 137 yards and scored a touchdown in every quarter. He's the first Cardinals player to score four rushing touchdowns in a game since 1993. Arizona pushed ahead 28-17 late in the third quarter when Drake scored his third touchdown on a 1-yard run, one play after the Cardinals won a pivotal challenge. Cleveland's Damarious Randall was called for defensive pass interference after a review, reversing the no-call on the field. Cleveland's Nick Chubb — who came in as the NFL's leading rusher — finished with 127 yards on the ground. Mayfield completed 30 of 43 passes for 247 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. JAGUARS 20, RAIDERS 16 OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Gardner Minshew threw two TD passes to Chris Conley in the final 5:15 of the game and the Jaguars spoiled the final scheduled game at the Oakland Coliseum. The Raiders (6-8) broke out to a 16-3 lead and appeared comfortably ahead before falling apart in the closing minutes to put a damper on an already somber day in Oakland. The Jaguars (5-9) drove 79 yards to draw within 16-13 on Minshew's 6-yard TD pass to Conley. The Raiders tried to run out the clock and got a pair of first-down runs from Josh Jacobs and another from Derek Carr. But Carr was ruled out of bounds with 2:05 to play after sliding down, sparing the Jaguars from using a timeout. Oakland then got a delay of game in the confusion and Tyrell Williams dropped a third-down pass. Daniel Carlson then missed a 50-yard field goal, only to get another chance after Parry Nickerson was called for running into the kicker. Carlson missed again from 45 yards and the Jaguars took over at the 35 with 1:44 to go. Minshew moved them downfield and connected with Conley on the 4-yard score with 31 seconds left. GIANTS 36, DOLPHINS 20 EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning threw two touchdowns in what might have been his final home start for the Giants and New York snapped a franchise record-tying nine-game losing streak. Saquon Barkley ran for 112 yards and scored two walk-in touchdowns and New York's much-maligned defense added a safety as the Giants (3-11) handed the Dolphins (3-11) their second loss in as many weeks at MetLife Stadium. Manning, who lost his starting job to first-round draft pick Daniel Jones in Week 3 and got it back last week when the rookie sprained an ankle, threw a 51-yard scoring pass to Golden Tate in the second quarter. He threw a go-ahead 5-yarder to Darius Slayton on the opening series of the second half. The 38-year-old also threw three interceptions, two of which set up by field goals by Dolphins kicker Jason Sanders. With 1:50 left, Manning (20 of 28 for 283 yards) was taken out by coach Pat Shurmur and replaced by Alex Tanney, drawing his second standing ovation from those left in the crowd. He walked to the sideline and was congratulated by teammates while the crowd chanted "Eli Manning.'' He even smiled. Ryan Fitzpatrick, whose game slipped after taking a big hit on a third-quarter scramble, threw two touchdowns to DaVante Parker, the second one with the game out of reach. BUCCANEERS 38, LIONS 17 DETROIT (AP) — Jameis Winston became the first player in NFL history to throw for 450 yards in consecutive games. Winston threw three touchdowns in the first half — four overall — and a career-high 458 yards one week after throwing for 456 yards. The Buccaneers (7-7) have won four straight and five of six, but their surge started too late for them to get in the playoffs race. Detroit (3-10-1) has dropped seven games in a row and 10 of 11, increasing the scrutiny of embattled coach Matt Patricia. The Lions looked like they were still competing for their coach, and themselves, after falling behind 21-0 in the first half. Running back Wes Hills, signed Saturday, ran for a second TD early in the fourth quarter to cut Tampa Bay's lead to 24-17. The comeback hopes ended with a thud. Sean Murphy-Bunting returned an interception 70 yards for a score and a 14-point lead. Winston followed with his fourth TD pass, connecting with Breshad Perriman for a third time......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 16th, 2019

LeBron s worlds collide as son s team, alma mater meet

By Nicole Kraft, Associated Press COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — They crowded into Nationwide Arena, 13,000 strong, cheering every shot, roaring with every basket. Many were not there to see the game. They came to see LeBron. Bronny James made his Ohio debut Saturday, and hit the go-ahead shot in the Sierra Canyon Trailblazers' 59-56 victory over the St. Vincent-St. Mary Irish. Sierra Canyon is 8-0. Watching, cheering loudest of all and pacing the sideline, was LeBron James, NBA great, father to Bronny, and St. Vincent-St. Mary’s most famous alum. The elder James led the Irish to three state titles in four years, bringing their games to the airwaves of ESPN airwaves and the pages of Sports Illustrated. Now it’s Bronny’s turn.   More than 400 credentialed media encircled the court to capture every pass, every dribble, every shot of the King’s firstborn, who would likely have worn an Irish jersey had the family not moved west so James could shine for the Los Angeles Lakers. LeBron James put Akron’s St. Vincent–St. Mary High School on the map nearly 20 years ago and has donated $2 million to the school, renovating the gymnasium that now bears his name and writing a $250,000 check to buy new uniforms for athletes and band members. His best friend, Willie McGee, is the athletic director. But his heart Saturday was clearly with the Trailblazers, as he yelled tips and encouragement from his court-side seat. With a timeout, James walked halfway on to the court, calling, “Let’s go! Let’s go!” to the Sierra Canyon bench and leaping to his feet when the Trailblazers took a first-half lead. “Before LeBron went to the Lakers, it was assumed Bronny would stay in Ohio and play at St. Vincent -St. Mary, and carry on the tradition,” Zach Fleer of 270 Hoops, central Ohio’s premiere prep basketball site, said. “Among freshman class, he is among the elite players, but he is not the best player in country. He’s not like his dad yet—he still has a ways to go, Right now I think he is a better shooter than LeBron was at that age. He’s 6-foot-2 now. If he stretches out to his dad size, there is no telling how good he can he.” James took a private plane from Miami to watch his son play high school ball live for the first time, but the game was about more than family by blood. He started the night having dinner with his St. Vincent-St. Mary teammates — the “Fab Five,” they were called when they were the biggest thing in high school basketball 17 years ago. Joining James court-side was his wife, Savannah, childhood friend and business partner Maverick Carter, and former Irish teammate Romeo Travis, who cheered his alma mater but shouted as Bronny James drove down the court, “Here we go young King!” LeBron James has anticipated the sight of his son facing his alma mater for some time. “A pretty surreal, come-full-circle, unbelievable thing,” LeBron James said. James and Dwyane Wade decided months ago that they would have their sons pair up at Sierra Canyon — just as they did in Miami from 2010 through 2014, winning two championships together with the Miami Heat. Now their kids are chasing a title, although Wade’s son Zaire was injured and did not play Saturday. LeBron James’ said his only regret so far being that his schedule with the Los Angeles Lakers takes him away from Trailblazers’ games. “I love what I do. I don’t take this for granted. This is a dream come true,” LeBron James said. “But missing my son, missing LeBron Jr., missing (younger son) Bryce’s first game the other day when we left for Orlando, missing my daughter at gymnastics and things of that nature, I understand it’s the business, but it sucks.” Sierra Canyon has been a well-known program in high school circles for some time — the Trailblazers have won the last two California Open Division state championships and were ranked nationally last year with a roster loaded with blue-chip prospects. Celebrity sightings are an everyday thing at the school where it costs $37,700 a year in tuition alone for high schoolers to attend: Recent Sierra Canyon rosters included the sons of former NBA players Scottie Pippen and Kenyon Martin. Marvin Bagley III played there. Kendall and Kylie Jenner attended the school. Drake has been to games as a fan. This year — with the oldest sons of James and Wade added to the mix — it has become a full-on spectacle. Saturday’s game was part of a four-game run that will see them play in four different states, California, Arizona, Ohio and next up will be Nevada in a few days. They’ve played in Texas already. Games in Massachusetts and New Jersey are later this season. ESPN will air 10 more Sierra Canyon games this season, with other games either on television or streamed. Bronny James being compared to his father is inevitable. The attention he draws is also enormous — videos of his first dunk, when he was 13, have been viewed on YouTube more than 20 million times and he has 3.8 million followers on Instagram. For now, the family is trying to squash any talk of how good a player he can be or if he’ll one day make the NBA. “My son is in the ninth grade; he’s a kid,” LeBron James said. “We’re not even thinking about anything besides how he can be a great teammate, how he can be a great son, how he can be a great brother to his sister and little brother, how he can continue to be a great kid.” ___ AP Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds in Miami contributed to this report......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 15th, 2019

SEA Games 2019: Carlos Yulo caps off medal haul with 5th silver medal

Make it seven medals for Filipino gymnast Carlos Yulo in his Southeast Asian Games debut.  The 19-year old star capped off his astonishing run in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games with a silver medal in the Artistic Gymnastics Men's Horizontal Bars Final event, Wednesday evening at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum.  Yulo's mesmerizing bar routine was good enough to score a 13.667.  #SEAGames2019 | Gymnastics - Artistic CALOY YULO WOW pic.twitter.com/zczKezOS5t — Santino Honasan???? (@honasantino) December 4, 2019 It wouldn't be enough however, to surpass Vietnam's Phuong Thanh Dinh, who scored a 13.767 in his routine.  Nevetheless, it was nothing short of a stellar SEA Games campaign for the 2019 World Champion, who brings home a total of seven medals: two gold medals and five silver medals.   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 4th, 2019

Love at peace, not worried about trade chatter

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press Kevin Love knows change could be coming. A couple of years ago, uncertainty might have been something that stressed him out, triggered the sorts of feelings like the ones that manifested themselves in the form of an in-game panic attack in 2017, rendered him unable to compete as efficiently as he wanted. Not this time. Even though he has three full years and about $90 million left on his contract after this season, it’s no secret that Love could be traded by the Cleveland Cavaliers. Plenty of teams even make sense for such a move — Portland, Dallas, Denver, Miami among others. But going public with the details of his panic attack — and his ongoing involvement in the conversation about the need to take care of mental health — has not left Love feeling vulnerable. He’s more at peace than anything else, and that’s why the rumors that are out there aren’t gnawing at him. “I’m just going to let the chips fall,” Love said. “I know that this is a young team. I think I can help them. I’m going to do right by Cleveland, the organization. This is a league where teams want to rebuild, teams want to go young but certain teams are looking for a piece, a guy who’s played in the finals, a guy who has playoff experience. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I think it definitely lessens the burden and the anxiety.” Cleveland is 5-12 and Love missed Monday’s (Tuesday, PHL time) game against Brooklyn with back issues. Now in his 11th season, the five-time All-Star can still play — he’s averaging 17.9 points and 11.8 rebounds, is a 36% shooter from 3-point range and won a ring with the Cavs in 2016. Even with him, the Cavs are likely a long shot for a playoff spot in the East. But Love insists that he isn’t forcing a change. “I’ve been committed to Cleveland since Day 1,” Love said. “I know it’s been a little shaky at some points. It’s been really great at some points. But now I’ve found some semblance of balance in my life, not only on the court but away from it.” Love also doesn’t shy away from the mental health questions. Players like Love and DeMar DeRozan helped bring the conversation into the NBA mainstream by opening up about their own private and personal issues. “I kind of played all my cards and spoke my truth,” Love said. “I just feel like there’s not a lot out there that could really hurt me. I feel like, not only for other people but selfishly for myself, it’s been very therapeutic.” HISTORY LESSON The Spurs are in trouble. Monday’s (Tuesday, PHL time) loss to the Lakers dropped San Antonio to 6-12, and seeing that is all anyone would probably need to realize that the Spurs’ record-tying 22-year streak of postseason appearances is in major jeopardy. But the numbers really hammer the point home. Over the last 14 seasons, not including this one, there have been 103 instances of teams starting 6-12 or worse. Of those, only four have made the postseason — and none of those four came from the Western Conference. And the last time the Spurs were under the .500 mark 18 games into a season was 1995-96, when they started 3-15. That’s the point where they fired Bob Hill for a guy named Gregg Popovich. “They’re going to be OK,” said Charlotte coach James Borrego, a former longtime Spurs assistant, who crossed paths with Popovich in Washington recently. “At the end of the day, he’s coaching his team, I’m coaching my team. I know what they’re going through. But they’ve been in this territory before. I don’t know if they’ve lost as much as they’ve lost this early, but they’ll bounce back. There’s high character there. They know what they’re doing.” The last West team to start 6-12 or worse and get into the playoffs was the 2004-05 Memphis Grizzlies, who began 5-11, went through two different coaches before bringing in Mike Fratello. He fashioned a 40-26 finish, the Grizzlies sneaked into the playoffs at 45-37 and as the eighth seed. They got swept in the first round. The NBA champions that year? San Antonio. KEMBA’S NECK Boston guard Kemba Walker took a scary hit last week when he collided with teammate Semi Ojeleye during the Celtics’ game at Denver. The way Walker fell, and how he had to leave the game on a stretcher, understandably raised plenty of concern. He was diagnosed with a sprained neck, which was probably about the best possible outcome given how bad the play looked in real time. Perhaps overlooked is this: The sprain is Walker’s second neck issue in less than three months. He played some games for USA Basketball at the FIBA World Cup in China in September while dealing with neck pain, which intensified to the point that he sat out the Americans’ finale there — the seventh-place game in Beijing against Poland. MIGHTY MAVS With MVP candidate Luka Doncic leading the way, Dallas is flying. The Mavericks have scored 137 points or more in each of their last three games. Only two teams in league history have gone on longer such streaks — Denver in November 1988 and Portland in November 1990, both of those being four-game runs. The Mavs have reached the 125-point mark five times already this season. That matches their total from all of last season. THE WEEK AHEAD A game to watch each day in the coming week: (PHL times listed) Wednesday, L.A. Clippers at Dallas: Doncic is rolling right now. Here comes a very big test. Thursday, L.A. Lakers at New Orleans: Welcome back to New Orleans, Anthony Davis. Friday, Happy Thanksgiving: It’s one of the days the NBA has no games on the schedule. Saturday, Boston at Brooklyn: A noon start time. Could it be Kyrie Irving versus the Celtics? Sunday, Charlotte at Milwaukee: For some reason, few seem to be talking about the Bucks. Next Monday, Memphis at Minnesota: Through Monday (Tuesday, PHL time), Grizzlies rookie Ja Morant averaged 19 ppg. Next Tuesday, Utah at Philadelphia: A matchup of really good teams that usually put defense first......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 26th, 2019

Team Lakay s Geje Eustaquio gets unexpected challenge from Cuban Gustavo Balart

After his scintillating KO victory against Toni Tauru at ONE: Masters of Fate in Manila, Geje Eustaquio is looking forward to enjoying the upcoming holiday season with his family.  For now, there isn’t anything on tap for the former ONE Flyweight World Champion in 2020, but there is someone who’s issued a challenge to “Gravity”.  Eustaquio shared that during the ONE Masters of Fate Open Workouts a few days before event night itself, he was challenged by Cuban wrestler Gustavo “El Gladiador” Balart, who was also competing on the last Manila card for 2019. As he explained, the diminutive Balart - who had endeared himself to Pinoy fans because of his heart and his fighting style during his last time out in Manila - expressed his willingness to get inside the Circle with the Team Lakay star.  The challenge came as a bit of a surprise to the former flyweight king. “Na-surprise ako eh. Iniisip ko kung ano yung point ni Gustavo, does he want to earn money, or does he want to have more fights dun sa resume niya?” After competing at flyweight for his first three ONE Championship bouts, Balart made his strawweight debut at ONE: Masters of Fate but apparently had a hard time passing the weight and hydration tests.  Fight night wasn’t any better for the former Olympian wrestler, who ended up getting knocked out by Robin Catalan in the preliminary card.  Being that the Team Lakay members aren’t really the type to choose opponents, Eustaquio says he’s willing to welcome Balart back to the flyweight division.  “It's a good fight naman siguro, and as we have seen, nag-susuffer naman pala siya sa strawweight, medyo hirap siya sa hydration, malaking factor din yun siguro, so if he is willing to go back to flywieght, I can fight him in flyweight.” On paper, it may not make a lot of sense to match up a former titleholder with someone who’s yet to record a win under the ONE banner, but Eustaquio isn’t looking at it that way. Rather, he’s taking it as an opportunity to test himself against a high-caliber grappler.  Wrestling, after all, is one of the perceived weak points of the Benguet-based MMA stable.  “I understand he came from three losses, but if you're going to check the guy, he's an Olympian. He's a very good wrestler, and you know na ang isang laging bina-bash sa atin, mahina daw tayo sa wrestling, wala tayong takedown defense, kaya kung siya siguro yung maipapartner sa akin, I have to work on my wrestling, kasi I'm going to face an Olympian wrestler.” While it may seem unlikely that this match actually gets made, Eustaquio is just staying ready for whoever he draws next.  “At the end of the day, whoever the opponent is, if they say it's Gustavo, I'm going to take the positive things and take the negative out.”  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 22nd, 2019

Thiem beats Federer at ATP Finals; Djokovic cruises

By Mattias Karen, Associated Press LONDON (AP) — Dominic Thiem keeps getting the better of Roger Federer. Thiem beat Federer 7-5, 7-5 Sunday in their opening match at the ATP Finals for his fifth win in seven meetings with the Swiss great — and third straight this year. Thiem broke in the opening game of the match and again for a 6-5 lead in the first set after Federer had leveled at 2-2. The second set went with serve until Thiem broke at love for another 6-5 lead. Federer, a record six-time champion at the ATP Finals, then missed two break points in the next game before netting a backhand return on Thiem's second match point. Thiem also beat Federer at the Madrid Masters and in the Indian Wells final this year, but lost to him in the group stage at last year's ATP Finals. Novak Djokovic had a much easier start to the tournament, easing past Matteo Berrettini 6-2, 6-1 in their first round-robin match. But despite a near flawless performance, Djokovic still found a way to berate himself. Leading 4-0 in the second set against the Italian, Djokovic hit a backhand wide to concede a break to the Italian, and then angrily turned toward his player's box and shouted out his frustration. It was a clear sign that even at the end of another grueling season, Djokovic won't tolerate any dips in his game as he pursues a record-equaling sixth ATP Finals title. "There's no other reasonable explanation (to that reaction) than trying to play as perfect as possible," Djokovic said. "But I guess that's me, you know." It was certainly the same Djokovic that the O2 Arena crowd has become used to seeing. Although the second-ranked Serb — who won four straight titles at the year-end event in London between 2012 and 2015 — only needed to hit a total of 10 winners in the match as Berrettini's 28 unforced errors handed him an easy victory to start round-robin play. Berrettini's forehand was responsible for 18 of those errors, including two shots into the net to hand Djokovic the only two breaks of the first set. After giving up that lone break to make it 4-1 in the second, Djokovic broke right back and then clinched the victory with an easy forehand putaway at the net. "He missed a relatively easy forehand for him that gave me a break (in the first set)," Djokovic said. "And after that I started reading his serve better." Berrettini was making his debut at the event for the world's top eight players and had never faced Djokovic before. He also said he struggled a bit with the speed of the indoor hard court at the O2. "The ball is not jumping a lot, so it's tough to mix, especially my forehand," Berrettini said. "I think it's better when I have a little bit more time and the ball takes more spin. I think I started the match pretty good, but he was just better than me today." The other four-man group features Rafael Nadal, defending champion Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitispas and Daniil Medvedev. They begin play on Monday. Djokovic has a chance to overtake Nadal for the year-end No. 1 ranking with a strong showing in London. He trails the Spaniard by 640 ranking points, with a maximum of 1,500 points up for grabs......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 11th, 2019

Rookie Ladder: With Zion out, surprises take top spots

By Drew Packham, NBA.com With one injury, everything changed. When news came down that No. 1 pick Zion Williamson would miss 6-8 weeks with a torn meniscus in his right knee, the Kia Rookie of the Year race was officially up for grabs. Williamson, the No. 1 pick who was dominating the preseason and was a clear favorite to win Kia ROY, will miss anywhere from 20-30 games based off the initial timetable. The Pelicans are being cautious with their prized big man, meaning the door is wide open for other rookies to take advantage. So that begs the question: Can Williamson miss 25-30% of the season and still return to claim the top prize? If what we’ve seen so far from the rest of this rookie class is any indication, Zion will have his work cut out for him when he gets back on the court. Here’s how the race looks after the first week. * * * 1. Kendrick Nunn, Miami Heat The biggest surprise of the first week has been Kendrick Melvin Nunn, who spent last season in the G League after going undrafted in 2018. The Heat clearly saw something in Nunn, signing the guard to a deal in April, although he wouldn’t see action until Opening Night this season. Nunn burst onto the scene, scoring 24 (one shy of the Heat rookie debut record) in Miami’s 120-101 win over the Grizzlies and hasn’t slowed down since, despite Jimmy Butler’s return to the lineup. "I've never seen him look like he's under stress or pressure," Spoelstra said of Nunn, who leads all rookies in scoring (21.0 ppg) while shooting 48.6% from the floor. "He's an experienced older young player." For now, the starting job seems to be Nunn’s. Whether he keeps up this hot start will be something to watch, but he’s already winning over fans and his underdog story will only help his case. The Flying Nunn! pic.twitter.com/oRQEVth17z — Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) October 28, 2019 2. P.J. Washington, Charlotte Hornets The No. 12 pick didn’t take long to make his case for playing time in Charlotte. While GM Mitch Kupchak previously suggested the Kentucky product would spend time in the G League, Washington wasn’t having it. Washington scored 27 points and hit 7 3s in the opener, setting an NBA record for a debut. And he hasn’t showed many signs of slowing. Through five games as a starter, he’s averaging 15.8 points and 7.0 rebounds (tied for 1st among rookies) while shooting 54.7% from the field and 52.0% on 3s. Another ???? night for @PJWashington! ? 23 PTS ? 8 REB ? 76% (10-for-13)#AllFly pic.twitter.com/HwLNyoW6Jg — Charlotte Hornets (@hornets) October 31, 2019 3. RJ Barrett, New York Knicks The No. 3 pick has looked like a star, starting all five games and proving he’s one of the best shooters in this rookie class. Through five games, Barrett is averaging 18.2 points and 6.4 rebounds while shooting 47.4% from the field and 42.1% from beyond the arc. Barrett’s only issue so far is one that plagued him at Duke: He’s just 11-for-27 (40.7%) from the free-throw line. Coach David Fizdale is experimenting with Barrett at the point, with mixed results so far. First career double-double ?@rjbarrett6 went to work. pic.twitter.com/hXxyibWIO0 — NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) October 29, 2019 4. Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies Morant has had his ups and downs, but he certainly had a signature moment in one of his first big tests. Squaring off against Kyrie Irving, Morant scored 30 points (17 in the 4th) and sealed the win with a block on Irving before setting up the game-winning 3 as the Grizzlies beat the Nets 134-133 in OT. Morant is averaging 17.5 points and 5.0 assists through four games, but he’ll have to cut down on his 5.0 turnovers per game. Still, Morant’s flashes of brilliance in a big matchup earn him a top 5 spot on the first Ladder. ?? ????? in the ?? ?17 points in clutch time ?Block to send the game into OT ?Became 1 of 3 players in NBA history to have a 30+ point 9+ ast night within his first 3 games. (shouts @GrizzliesPR) @JaMorant | #GrzNxtGen pic.twitter.com/wa5LynMl7h — Memphis Grizzlies (@memgrizz) October 28, 2019 5. Rui Hachimura, Washington Wizards Hachimura is winning over fans and teammates alike with his early play. The No. 9 pick has started all four games for the 1-3 Wizards, averaging 18.0 points and 7.0 rebounds (tied for 1st among rookies) on 46.9% shooting. Coach Scott Brooks is giving the former Gonzaga forward free rein, so he should be a regular on the Ladder. “He's going to be special in this league. I think he has the potential to be a star," Isaiah Thomas said of his teammate. "I always tell him he reminds me of Kawhi Leonard when he first came into the league; big body, big hands, midrange game, he knows the game really well." Just missed the cut: Coby White, Chicago Bulls White started the season hot, scoring 17 and 25 in the first two games, but hasn’t reached double-digits since, shooting 8-for-31 in the Bulls’ next three games. Still, White has proven to be a capable change-of-pace off the bench and could climb with more playing time. Tyler Herro, Miami Heat Herro has been a key piece to the Heat’s 3-1 start to the season, averaging 16.3 points and 6.3 rebounds while shooting 45.8% from the field (36.8 on 3s). The No. 13 pick, who was tabbed “best shooter” by his fellow rookies, scored 29 points (exploding for 19 in the 2nd quarter) in Miami’s 112-97 win over the Hawks. DeAndre Hunter, Atlanta Hawks Hunter has started all four games for the Hawks, averaging 9.5 points and 4.3 rebounds in 26.4 minutes per game. This team is clearly built around Trae Young and John Collins at this point, but Hunter is sliding right into his role and his numbers should only rise as he gains experience. Matisse Thybulle, Philadelphia 76ers Thybulle’s numbers on offense won’t wow you, but the No. 20 pick out of Washington makes his money on the defensive end. Through four games, Thybulle has 12 steals (leading all NBA players) and 6 blocks, both tops among rookies. He’s had multiple steals in all four games (setting a Sixers rookie record) and two or more blocks in three of the four, even more impressive considering he’s only seeing about 20 minutes per game. * * * (All stats through Thursday, Oct. 31, PHL time) Send any questions or comments to my email or find me on Twitter @drewpackham. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 1st, 2019

Beware of early overreactions after the NBA s opening week

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press Beware the overreaction. It’s an easy trap to fall into at this time of year: Look at the early numbers in the NBA, extrapolate those over 82 games and envision the statistically improbable somehow becoming real. Don’t do it. Atlanta’s Trae Young is averaging 38.5 points per game right now which won’t hold up over an entire season. Same goes for Houston’s James Harden, who isn’t going to stay at his current shooting rate of 24% from the field and 12% from 3-point range. Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo isn’t going to foul out of every game, either. And Golden State isn’t going to go 0-82. The Warriors may be the biggest disappointment of the first week of this NBA season, blown out by 19 at home to the Los Angeles Clippers and then by 28 — a game where the deficit was as much as 42 — on Sunday (Monday, PHL time) at Oklahoma City. “We’re just not that good right now,” Warriors forward Draymond Green said. “I don’t know a better way to frame that for you. I could try in Spanish, but I’m not really that good in Spanish.” They haven’t just lost. They haven’t even led yet — not for a single second. They got down 14-0 in the opener to the Clippers, then 8-0 to the Thunder. But to write off the Warriors — the five-time defending Western Conference champions — after two games would be beyond short-sighted. “We’re trying to develop an identity as a team and it doesn’t happen overnight,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “And when you play in the NBA every single night, you’re going against amazing basketball players.” Golden State still has Green and Stephen Curry. The Warriors added D’Angelo Russell. They won’t have Klay Thompson until late this season, if at all in 2019-20. The NBA Finals MVPs from 2015, 2017 and 2018 — Andre Iguodala and Kevin Durant — aren’t there anymore. It’s not starting over. It’s definitely a restart, though. The Warriors’ halftime deficit of 33 points on Sunday (Monday, PHL time) was their largest since 1997. “This is not where we finish,” said Omari Spellman, one of the Warriors’ new faces. “It’s Game 2. But there are only so many times we can keep saying that. ... We’ve got to compete.” The Warriors used 11 players on Sunday (Monday, PHL time), and seven of them were playing elsewhere last season — whether in the NBA or still in college. That’s why Kerr says the Warriors “don’t have a sense of who we are as a team yet.” “I realize I’m making plenty of excuses,” Kerr said. “But they’re real.” JENKINS’ PATH Champions of the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas don’t get rings. They get T-shirts. Memphis won the title this past summer, and Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins — who decided to coach the team in Las Vegas as well — keeps his championship shirt in his wardrobe rotation as a reminder of what happened over those two weeks. “I bust it out every now and then,” Jenkins said. The next championship will be a little bit tougher. Jenkins is one of two first-time NBA coaches this season, with Cleveland’s John Beilein being the other. Beilein is 66 and went to the Final Four twice with Michigan. Jenkins is 35 and his most notable experience as a head coach before now was in the G League. No one asks Beilein if he’s ready for the NBA. Jenkins — who has studied under Gregg Popovich and Mike Budenholzer — has heard that question a lot. “I’ve been preparing,” Jenkins said. He knows he still has a ton to learn, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t feel prepared for where he is. WHAT TO WATCH A game to watch each day this week (days in PHL time): — Tuesday, Oklahoma City at Houston: Russell Westbrook faces the Thunder for the first time. — Wednesday, Atlanta at Miami: Jimmy Butler is expected to finally make his debut for the Heat. — Thursday, Indiana at Brooklyn: Malcolm Brogdon guarding Kyrie Irving will be must-watch TV. (Also, if the World Series goes seven games, Houston’s basketball team will be in Washington while Washington’s baseball team is in Houston.) — Friday, San Antonio at L.A. Clippers: The Clippers have won their last five Halloween games. — Saturday, L.A. Lakers at Dallas: First matchup between LeBron James and Kristaps Porzingis since Nov. 13, 2017. — Sunday, Toronto at Milwaukee: A rematch of last season’s Eastern Conference finals. — Next Monday, Sacramento at New York: Kings have missed 13 straight postseasons, Knicks six......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 28th, 2019