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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: abscbn abscbnAug 14th, 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

MPBL: Binan cruises to sixth straight win, Bulacan triumphs

BIÑAN, LAGUNA -- Biñan City-Luxxe White cruised to its sixth-straight victory after handing Sarangani Province an 18-point beating, 92-74, in the 2019-20 Chooks-to-Go/MPBL Lakan Cup at the Alonte Sports Arena here, Friday. Biñan, who took control of the match right from the get-go, took its biggest lead of the game with 20 points off a layup from James Mangahas, 58-38, in the third quarter. However, the home team saw their lead dwindle as Sarangani's Jun Dimapiles, Jay Cabanog, Hamsar Macantal, and Miko Estrellante took turns in hitting buckets to slice Biñan's lead to just 10 points with almost seven minutes remaining in the game. It was the closest Sarangani Proving could reach, as Macky Acosta weathered the surge before Jed Mendoza stamped the exclamation point with a three-pointer in the 1:55 mark, 85-68, completely taking the fight out of Sarangani. "Consistency lang. Yun lang naman ang hinahanap ko sa mga players, so nagtatrabaho kami sa practice, in-execute namin yung game plan, and blessed kami ngayon," said Biñan head coach Denok Miranda. James Mangahas, who was held scoreless in the first half, finished the game with 18 points and 10 rebounds for Biñan. Acosta put up 14 points, four boards, and three dimes while Mendoza had 13 markers and seven rebounds for the Luxxe White-backed squad, who now stands at 12-14 -- a game behind eight seed Bicol in the Southern Division. Meanwhile, Dimapiles fired 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting for Sarangani, who is still at the bottom of the Southern Division with a 1-25 record. Sarangani Province dropped their fourth consecutive game in the tournament. In the earlier contest, Bulacan solidified their hold of the fourth spot with a 76-69 triumph over the also-ran Parañaque-Yabo Sports. With the victory, the Kuyas upgraded their standing to 18-8, solidifying the fourth place in the Northern Division. "Mas maganda yung game namin ngayon compared sa previous game namin. I applaud my players, especially yung first group namin with [how] they handled the press," said Bulacan head coach Kerwin McCoy. Bulacan came out strong in the second half, leading by as big as 18 points capped off by a step-back jumper from Rev Diputado, 60-42. With the game looking out of Parañaque's reach, the Patriots rallied behind Keith Pido and Jemal Vizcarra in the final frame. Pido drained timely buckets while Vizcarra nailed a three-pointer which sliced the Kuyas' lead to just three points, 63-66, with 5:05 left in the clock. JR Alabanza, Stephen Siruma, and Jay-R Taganas, though had other things in mind. The troika joined hands in a 7-2 spurt before Lester Alvarez stepped on the Patriot's comeback hopes by connecting a three to put Bulacan up by nine points with 1:47 left. Taganas spearheaded Bulacan -- who won its fifth consecutive outing -- with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Bulacan's homegrown star Stephen Siruma and Rev Diputado added 12 points each for the Kuyas. On the other hand, Pido led Parañaque with 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field. The Yabo Sports-backed team fell to 8-17 to remain at the twelfth spot also in the Northern Division. In the first game, also-ran Navotas-Unipak Sardines ended Valenzuela-Carga Backload Solutions' playoffs hopes with an 88-83 upset. Down by 11 points in the final frame, ex-pros Val Acuña and Paolo Hubalde did not allow Valenzuela to go down without a fight. The duo led a 14-4 surge to trim Navotas' lead to two points, 74-76, with 3:28 remaining left in the game. Navotas led by as much as six points behind Renz Gonzales and Algin Andaya. But with 59 ticks remaining, Acuña was able to pull Valenzuela to within three with a three-point bomb, 83-86. However, a costly inbound violation from Paul Varilla followed by a technical foul from Valenzuela head coach Ronjay Enrile spelled doom for the Classic. Gonzales, Andaya, and Kojack Melegrito combined for four points from the charity stripe to completely seal the deal. "We want to compete because that's the nature of the sport. Kahit na wala na, sabi ko sa kanila, 'We still have to play the right way," said Navotas head coach Gabby Severino. Jhong Bondoc paced the also-ran Navotas with 19 points and seven rebounds while Melegrito and Gonzales followed with 10 points apiece. The Unipak Sardines-owned squad upped their card to 7-19 in the Northern Division -- good for the fourteenth spot -- while also ending their three-game losing streak in the process. Acuña finished with 24 points built on 16 three-pointers for the Classic, who dropped their slate to 10-16. The Scores: First Game Navotas-Unipak Sardines (88) – Bondoc 19, Melegrito 10, Gonzales 10, Andaya 9, Guillen 8, Evangelista 8, Abdurasad 8, Prudente 6, Cabahug 3, Taywan 3, Escobal 3, Mamaclay 1, Matillano 0, Bautista 0 Valenzuela-Carga Backload Solutions (83) – Acuña 24, Hubalde 15, Varilla 10, Ruaya 9, Gimpayan 7, Santos 6, Asuncion 3, Sta. Maria 3, Ricafort 2, Armenion 2, Diego 2, Kalaw 0, Poligrates 0 Quarterscores: 15-11, 35-32, 62-60, 88-83 Second Game Bulacan (76) -- Taganas 16, Diputado 12, Siruma 12, Alabanza 9, Arim 7, Santos 6, Alvarez 5, Dela Cruz 4, Antipiesto 3, Nermal 0 Parañaque-Yabo Sports (69) -- Pido 16, Vizcarra 9, Abugan 8, Mangalino 8, Menguez 8, Begaso 7, Banzala 6, Solis 5, Antonares 5, Lucente 5, Larotin 0, Saguiguit 0, Sunga 0, Rabe 0, Lucente 0 Quarterscores: 19-11, 44-33, 62-51, 76-69 Third Game Biñan City-Luxxe White Krah (92) -- J. Mangahas 18, Acosta 14, Mendoza 13, A. Mangahas 11, Neypes 10, Villanueva 9, Bautista 8, Parala 4, Rivera 3, Adorio 2, Castañares 0, Rosales 0, Stevens 0 Sarangani Province (74) -- Dimapiles 17, Medalla 11, Nocos 9, Estrellante 7, Llagas 7, Macantal 5, Cabanog 4, Morada 4, Alih 4, Catacutan 2, Timon 2, Clavel 2, Trinidad 0, Eman 0, Ballon 0 Quarterscores: 18-16, 40-28, 63-46, 92-74.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 11th, 2020

Struggling Suns try to stay in playoff race

By David Brandt, Associated Press PHOENIX (AP) — Devin Booker is playing some of the best basketball of his career and starting center Deandre Ayton is back in the lineup after missing a long stretch because of a suspension and an ankle injury. But the Phoenix Suns are still struggling to win basketball games. It's been a frustrating month for a franchise that's hungry to get back to the playoffs after a nine-year absence, which is the second-longest current drought in the NBA. The Suns have dropped 11 of their past 14 games and now have a 14-23 record, which ranks 13th out of 15 teams in the Western Conference. “Coach always says that everything you want is on the other side of hard,” Booker said. “I think we're in the middle of that right now.” The team's toughest loss might have been the last one on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time), when the Suns fell 114-103 to the Sacramento Kings. Phoenix had a 21-point lead late in the third quarter before coughing up the advantage and losing its second straight game at home. “It feels bad when you lose games the way we've lost them,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “But as I've said before, I was under no inclination that this would be an easy task. I still feel that way. It's just going to take time to get to the point where we're playing consistently and feeling good about ourselves.” The Suns were among the worst teams in the NBA last season, finishing with a 19-63 record, but a flurry of offseason moves had the franchise excited. They added veterans like Ricky Rubio, Aron Baynes and Dario Saric and re-signed Kelly Oubre Jr., who has played well since he was traded from Washington last year. Then Phoenix started this season with a 7-4 record and optimism soared. But Booker said the main traits that led to the early success — especially a gritty, physical defense — have been missing. He added that there's nothing the coaches can do to bring it back because it's on the players. “That extra 10% from everybody is what we need,” Booker said. “I don't think we're talented enough to go in there, go down by 10 and then say we're going to turn it on and win.” Booker scored 34 points in the loss to the Kings, continuing his run of prolific scoring. The fifth-year guard is making a convincing case that he should be an All-Star for the first time in his career after scoring at least 30 points in seven straight games, which is a franchise record. He's averaging 26.2 points per game and shooting a career-high 51% from the field. But it's clear he needs more help. Ayton's recent return from a 25-game suspension was supposed to provide that help and statistically the second-year player has been productive, averaging 15.4 points and 11.9 rebounds. But his return to the starting lineup has meant other players — like Baynes and Saric — have had their roles change and the adjustment hasn't been easy. The good news for the Suns is they're still very much in the playoff race as the season nears the halfway mark. Just 2 1/2 game separate the six teams between the 8th and 13th spots in the Western Conference. But the wins have to start coming soon. “I still am pleased with the way we fight and battle and compete,” Williams said. “We give ourselves a chance every night. We've just got to learn how to close the deal.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 10th, 2020

San Francisco roars back into playoffs as NFC s top seed

By Arnie Stapleton, Associated Press For the first time since 1997, the San Francisco 49ers are the top seed in the NFC playoffs, a stunning turnaround for a team that owned the second overall pick in the NFL draft just nine months ago. After four straight losing campaigns, including only 10 wins in coach Kyle Shanahan's first two seasons, the 49ers went from 4-12 to 13-3 this season. They emerged as the top team in the NFC thanks a big-play offense and a vastly improved defense sparked by Nick Bosa, whom they chose with that No. 2 draft pick. They earned the top seed with a thrilling finale at Seattle when rookie linebacker Dre Greenlaw made a stop inches from the goal line, earning his team a week off and up to two home games in the 49ers' quest to reach the Super Bowl for the first time in seven years. "It feels good to get where we're at," Shanahan said. "Our goal was to get in the playoffs, it feels much better with being the one seed. By now everyone knows there is only one team that is happy at the end of year." The Green Bay Packers secured the other first-round bye. The Seahawks visit the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday and the Minnesota Vikings visit the New Orleans Saints in the other NFC wild-card game. 1. SAN FRANCISCO 49ers (13-3). AP Pro32 Ranking: No. 3. Last Lombardi: Super Bowl 29, 49-26 over San Diego Chargers on Jan. 29, 1995. Last year: 4-12. First trip to NFC playoffs since 2013. YEA: The 49ers have won different ways with the defense dominating early and the offense playing better late. The returns of edge rusher Dee Ford and S Jaquiski Tartt should help the defense return to its early season form. If QB Jimmy Garoppolo and the offense can maintain its play from the second half when the team ranked second in plays of at least 20 yards, the Niners should be tough to beat. NAY: The Niners will still be missing at least one key defensive piece at the start of the playoffs in LB Kwon Alexander and several depth pass rushers also are out for the year. That could limit the improvement on defense and there is little playoff experience on offense with WR Emmanuel Sanders the only key skill position player who has been in the postseason. Garoppolo has improved the past few weeks but still has a propensity for turnovers, which could prove costly. SAY: "We knew going into the year we had a chance to be pretty good with what we had on paper and watching the guys throughout training camp. We knew that pretty well after the first five games, we could feel it. Then you go through a number of injuries and stuff and you never know how you're going to be able to fully handle that. That's what I have been impressed the most with the guys, no one has wavered." — Shanahan. 2. GREEN BAY PACKERS (13-3). AP Pro32 Ranking: No. 5. Last Lombardi: Super Bowl 45, 31-25 over Pittsburgh Steelers on Feb. 6, 2011. Last year: 6-9-1. First trip to NFC playoffs since 2016. YEA: RB Aaron Jones is the team MVP. The third-year pro is Green Bay's first 1,000-yard rusher since Eddie Lacy in 2014 and his 19 total touchdowns (16 rushing, three receiving) tied Carolina's Christian McCaffrey for the league high. In the Packers' three losses this season, Jones averaged fewer than 42 scrimmage yards. If first-year coach Matt LaFleur gets Jones the ball early and often and QB Aaron Rodgers can add in a splash of his old magic, Green Bay could find itself in Miami in February. NAY: Though Rodgers has had flashes of his old greatness, the 36-year-old two-time MVP has played far below his soaring standards. Rodgers had a passer rating of less than 80.0 in each of his last three starts and had a career-high 16 overthrows against Detroit in the regular-season finale. If the Packers are going to win another Super Bowl, they're going to need the Rodgers of old, not the old Rodgers. SAY: "We haven't always made it easy and we haven't always made it pretty, but for the most part, we've found a way to win every game. You have to say a lot about the resiliency of this team, because we've gotten ourselves into a lot of different scenarios, but we always believe we can go out there and put up a bunch of points in a hurry." -- WR Davante Adams 3. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (13-3). AP Pro32 Ranking: No. 2. Last Lombardi: Super Bowl 44, beat Indianapolis 31-17 on Feb. 7, 2010. Last year: No. 1 seed, beat Philadelphia Eagles 20-14 at home in divisional round, lost to Los Angeles Rams 26-23 (OT) in NFC championship at home. Third consecutive trip to NFC playoffs. YEA: QB Drew Brees, who'll turn 41 on Jan. 15, has been in vintage form lately with a big assist from the NFL's top WR Michael Thomas. Brees has passed for 1,188 yards and 15 TDs in the past four games, evidence of his strong comeback from a thumb surgery that sidelined him five games. Thomas racked up a single-season record 149 catches for 1,725 yards and nine TDs. The Saints' eight turnovers are an NFL record low for a season. New Orleans had 51 sacks, third most in the NFL and ranked fourth against the run. NAY: While the Saints don't have many weaknesses, they can be their own worst enemy. Their 120 penalties for 1,036 yards ranked sixth worst in the NFL in both categories and their minus-323 net penalty yards ranked second worst. New Orleans' secondary has been beset with late-season injuries. Both starting safeties and a starting cornerback did not play in Week 17. SAY: "Down the stretch here I think we've been an ascending team. We've been playing a little bit better each and every week, despite the fact that we have had some guys go down." — Brees 4. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (9-7). AP Pro32 Ranking: No. 11. Last Lombardi: Super Bowl 52, 41-33 over New England Patriots, Feb. 4, 2018. Last year: No. 6 seed, beat Chicago Bears 16-15 in wild-card game on road, lost to New Orleans Saints 20-14 in divisional round on road. Third consecutive trip to NFC playoffs. YEA: The Eagles are hungry and Carson Wentz is determined to do what Nick Foles did in his absence two years ago — win a Super Bowl. If Wentz continues playing at the MVP level he displayed in December, the Eagles are dangerous. They have a strong rushing attack that can control the clock and an experienced defense that shuts down the run and forces teams to be one-dimensional. NAY: Seattle beat the Eagles in Philadelphia 17-9 on Nov. 24. Russell Wilson is 4-0 against Philly. The Eagles have been riddled by injuries and finished the regular season without seven starters on offense. Three of those players could return to face the Seahawks but it's likely two will be game-time decisions. SAY: "In the last couple games, (Wentz) has really put this team on his back and said, 'Hey, follow me.' And I think that's a sign of growth, a sign of maturity. I spent eight years in Green Bay with Brett Favre, and that's what Brett did. Brett just put the team on his back when the chips were against us and just said, 'Follow me.' And that's what Carson can do." — Coach Doug Pederson. 5. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (11-5). AP Pro32 Ranking: No. 6. Last Lombardi: Super Bowl 48, 43-8 over Denver Broncos on Feb. 2, 2014. Last year: No. 5 seed, lost to Dallas Cowboys 24-22 in wild-card game on road. Second consecutive trip to NFC playoffs. YEA: Unlike years past, if the Seahawks are going to make a deep playoff run, it's going to be because of QB Russell Wilson. He's coming off the second-best season in terms of passing yards, completion percentage and a career-low five interceptions. Wilson's never been asked to carry Seattle in the playoffs but if he can rediscover the success from when he was in the MVP conversation with Lamar Jackson, Seattle has enough other parts to make some noise. NAY: Injuries have stacked up for Seattle. The Seahawks lost their top three running backs, a starting edge rusher, tight end and center to season-ending injuries. Jadeveon Clowney is playing through a painful core muscle injury. Bobby Wagner has a bad ankle as does safety Quandre Diggs. Left tackle Duane Brown underwent knee surgery after Week 16. Eventually the lack of some key stars is likely to catch up with Seattle. SAY: "We have everything we want in the locker room. We have everything that we could need. We have everything that it takes. So it's been a tremendous season. It's been a battle so far. It's been a long one, but it's been a great one so far. The good thing is it's a refresh button, you get to hit the refresh button, start over, 0-0, see how far we can go." — Wilson. 6. MINNESOTA VIKINGS (10-6). AP Pro32 Ranking: No. 8. No Lombardis. Last year: 8-7-1. First trip to NFC playoffs since 2017. YEA: The Vikings have an experienced, accomplished defense that can pose problems for elite QBs and clever play-callers on the other side. The Vikings were sixth in the NFL with an average of 18.9 points allowed and fourth with 31 takeaways. Their play-action passing attack with Pro Bowl RB Dalvin Cook poses a dual threat and QB Kirk Cousins throwing deep to WR Stefon Diggs, can be awfully dangerous, too. NAY: The downside on defense is the erosion of the pass coverage. After ranking in the top three in passing yards allowed in the league in each of the past three years, the Vikings dropped to 15th in 2019. They also fell to 19th in the NFL in third down conversions allowed after leading the league in 2017 and 18. The offense carries its own reasons to doubt a playoff run, with Cousins never having won a postseason game in the NFL and a recent dud at home against division rival Green Bay. SAY: "I know it's been done before. Why not us?" — coach Mike Zimmer on the prospect of winning three road games to reach the Super Bowl. ___ AP Pro Football Writers Josh Dubow, Rob Maaddi and Dave Campbell and AP Sports Writers Tim Booth, Brett Martel and Keith Jenkins contributed to this report......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 2nd, 2020

Pats to play in wild-card game, Chiefs get AFC s No. 2 seed

By Dennis Waszak Jr., Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) — Tom Brady and the New England Patriots will be playing in the postseason a week earlier than usual this year. The defending Super Bowl champs open the playoffs during wild-card weekend for the first time since 2009 after they lost 27-24 to Miami on Sunday and Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Los Angeles Chargers 31-21 to earn a first-round bye. “We didn’t play the way we’re capable of playing and it ended up costing us," Brady said. “Just too many bad mistakes." The Patriots (12-4) are the No. 3 overall seed in the AFC and will have to fix things in a hurry as they host Tennessee (9-7) next weekend. “We've got a game next week, we've got to get ready to go," Patriots safety Devin McCourty said. “Nobody should feel sorry for us, we shouldn't feel sorry for ourselves. Our goal is to play in the playoffs. We got a shot next week at all of that." The Titans clinched their spot by beating Houston 35-14, eliminating both Pittsburgh and Oakland in the process. All three teams had a chance at the playoffs, but Tennessee had the easiest path by needing to win — and got it against a Texans squad that rested several starters, including quarterback Deshaun Watson. “I think it’s great when you can determine whether you get to continue to play football," Titans coach Mike Vrabel said. “There was some great effort, but we’re going to have to improve and play better. Everything gets harder from here on out." The last time New England played on wild-card weekend, it lost at home to the Ravens. The Patriots have never made it to the Super Bowl with Brady and coach Bill Belichick while playing in the opening round. “We've got to move forward and get ready to go or the end of our season will be next week if we don't turn the page and play good football, way better than today,” McCourty said. “Nobody feels sorry for the Patriots not getting a first-round bye in the playoffs." Meanwhile, the Chiefs (12-4) are the No. 2 seed and will be able to watch the opening round, along with the top-seeded Baltimore Ravens (14-2). “We'll step back, the guys will come in tomorrow, we'll have a team meeting, I'll give them a schedule for what's going on the next week here during the bye week," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “The main thing is we get work done, but we rest up and get ready for whoever we might play.” Kansas City's victory also locked Houston into the No. 4 seed, and the Texans (10-6) will host the Buffalo Bills (10-6) next weekend. Despite resting several starters, including quarterback Lamar Jackson, running back Mark Ingram, guard Marshal Yanda and safety Earl Thomas, Baltimore cruised past Pittsburgh 28-10 to ride into the playoffs on a 12-game winning streak. “It's the best team in football in the regular season this year, but that doesn't count for anything in the next season," coach John Harbaugh said. “In the next season, we have to obviously go to work this week and become a better football team." In the NFC, Green Bay earned at least a first-round bye with a 23-20 victory at Detroit. Now, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers (13-3) will wait on the result on the San Francisco-Seattle matchup Sunday night to see if they'll have the No. 1 overall seed — and home-field advantage —- in the conference. "The NFC is wide open," Rodgers said. “I think home-field advantage can be very important.” If the 49ers win, they get it. Otherwise, it will be the Packers in the top spot. "We’re hot," Rodgers said after helping his team rally to its fifth straight win. "But you've got to start all over in the playoffs and it’s all great football teams now, so the margin of error is even smaller." New Orleans routed Carolina 42-10 to finish 13-3 in the regular season, but Drew Brees and Co. will also have to wait to see what their playoff path will be. The NFC South champions can't get home-field advantage because of Green Bay's win, but can earn a first-round bye if Seattle beats San Francisco. A win by the 49ers would push the Saints to the No. 3 seed and a home game against Minnesota (10-6) in the wild-card round next weekend. Injury-ravaged Philadelphia (9-7) won the NFC East with a 34-17 win over the New York Giants, eliminating Dallas with the victory. The Eagles, with their second division title in three years, will host the loser of the 49ers-Seahawks showdown. “This team, when it’s crunch time this time of year, we get it done,” Eagles defensive tackle Tim Jernigan said after his team finished the schedule with a four-game inni. ___ AP Pro Football Writer Rob Maaddi, and AP Sports Writers Dave Ginsburg, Kyle Hightower, Larry Lage, Kristie Rieken and Dave Skretta contributed......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 30th, 2019

Lynch s return provides a spark for Seahawks locker room

By Tim Booth, Associated Press RENTON, Wash. (AP) — When Marshawn Lynch played his last game for Seattle in January 2016, a playoff loss to Carolina, the idea of him ever wearing a Seahawks uniform again seemed preposterous. Yet here was Lynch on Tuesday going through his first practice with Seattle in nearly four years, and potentially tasked with playing a major role on Sunday against San Francisco with the NFC West title on the line. When it comes to NFL reunions, this is as unlikely as it gets. Not just Lynch back on a football field after more than a year away, but back in Seattle. “What I needed to hear from him is where his heart is. Is he in it and does he want to go for it, which he totally does," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. "He's worked to prove that. I don't doubt him one bit about that. He's very sincere about how he presents himself to this game and it's very important to him to be at his best and do well, and he's going to do everything he can to make that happen.” The arrival of Lynch was a spark of energy inside a Seattle locker room that was left reeling after Sunday's 27-13 loss to Arizona. Not only were the Seahawks run over by the Cardinals, they lost their most direct path to the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs and their top two running backs to injury. Lynch may end up being great in Seattle's backfield. He may end up looking like a 33-year-old who hasn't played in more than a year. But the idea of “Beast Mode” carrying the ball once again in a Seattle uniform galvanized not only the fan base, but a locker room of players who mostly haven't had Lynch as a teammate. Linebacker K.J. Wright, one of the few holdovers from Lynch's last season, said some of the younger players seemed a bit in awe of Lynch being back in Seattle's locker room. “Only one person can pull this off and that's No. 24," Wright said. "Back in the building, it feels good. When I heard the news I was like, ‘Perfect.’ He's just the ultimate teammate, cool dude, just ballin'. I'm glad to have him back.” Seattle made official the signings of Lynch and Robert Turbin — the same backfield combo it used from 2012-14 — on Tuesday. The Seahawks placed injured running backs Chris Carson (hip) and C.J. Prosise (arm) on injured reserve to open up the roster spots. Lynch made a surprise media appearance after practice for all of 9 seconds, saying, “Happy holidays. Merry New Year. You all have a great day. It’s a great feeling to be back.” But he did expand on his decision in a video posted on his Beast Mode Productions YouTube channel that was shot a few days ago. It was clear in the video that there had been discussions of a return to Seattle before news broke on Monday. It's also clear that Lynch initially thought he was coming back to be the complement to Carson. Now he may be asked to take Carson's role. “At my age, this is a great opportunity to be able to come in and be able to help when needed, get in and do my little thing and get out, hopefully be able to help them go ahead and get to the Super Bowl that they should be playing for,” Lynch said in the video. “I’m going to maximize my opportunity to the fullest.” Lynch also said he had some “unfinished business,” in reference to Seattle's Super Bowl loss to New England. “Like he's been saying, there's some unfinished business,” Seattle linebacker Bobby Wagner said. “Maybe that's the motivation. But we'll welcome him with open arms every single time.” What's uncertain is what Lynch can provide Seattle's offense. The scheme is similar to the last time he was with the Seahawks, but the team has a different offensive coordinator and different offensive line coach. None of the linemen who will block for Lynch on Sunday were around the last time he had a carry for the Seahawks — a divisional round playoff loss to Carolina on Jan. 17, 2016. Lynch averaged 4.2 yards per carry last season with Oakland before suffering a season-ending core muscle injury. Seattle would gladly take that kind of production in concert with Turbin and rookie sixth-round pick Travis Homer. “What he brings and what he offers, he brings a lot to the table," Carroll said. "He's as physical a player as I've ever been around, as great a competitor as I've ever been around and when you get to add somebody like that to your team it only helps and enhances kind of the mentality that we already cherish anyway. We'll find out how he can play and how he does. It's been a little while off.” NOTES: Carroll said DE Jadeveon Clowney (core) and CB Shaquill Griffin (hamstring) were both expected to practice Tuesday and intend to play against the 49ers. ... T Duane Brown underwent minor knee surgery on Monday. Carroll said the surgery was needed but nothing unexpected was discovered. Seattle hopes Brown can return in a few weeks, depending on how far the Seahawks advance in the postseason......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 25th, 2019

Pelicans beat Blazers 102-94; Lillard misses all 10 3s

By Erik Garcia Gundersen, Associated Press PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Jrue Holiday scored 21 points, Brandon Ingram had 19 points and 11 rebounds, and the New Orleans Pelicans capitalized on Damian Lillard’s shooting struggles to beat the Portland Trail Blazers 102-94 on Monday night (Tuesday, PHL time). Carmelo Anthony had 23 points and nine rebounds but Portland had its four-game winning streak snapped. Hassan Whiteside added 16 rebounds and 11 points. Portland’s backcourt duo of Lillard and CJ McCollum was a combined 2 for 20 from the 3-point line. Lillard had an especially tough night, going 0 for 10 beyond the arc, the first time in his career that he’s failed to make a 3-pointer while attempting at least seven. New Orleans was 15 for 35 from the 3-point line while Portland finished 4 for 29. The Pelicans outscored the Blazers 45-12 behind the arc. Derrick Favors had 12 points and 13 rebounds for the Pelicans, while JJ Redick had 16 points. Anthony had 11 points in the first half of his return from injury, including a steal and 3-pointer at the first-quarter buzzer to tie the game at 31. However, Anthony’s 3-pointer was the only one the Blazers made in 12 attempts in the first half. Lillard finished 6 of 21. He didn’t make a field goal in the fourth quarter until there were 58 seconds left. The Blazers led 56-54 at halftime but the Pelicans made six 3-pointers in the third quarter and pushed the ball while Portland continued to struggle shooting the ball from the outside. Anthony had eight points in the third quarter to help keep Portland within single digits. A 3-pointer by Holiday gave the Pelicans a 95-88 lead with 7:09 left in the game. A dunk by Kenrich Williams gave the Pelicans their biggest lead of the game at 101-91 with 3:34 left. TIP-INS Pelicans: Zion Williamson hasn’t played yet this season but while the Pelicans aren’t giving many details about his rehab, Williamson looks like someone who is getting closer to playing condition. Williamson worked up a sweat on Monday night (Tuesday, PHL time) after going through a 20-minute workout prior to the game after participating the Pelicans’ shootaround earlier in the day. “He’s done some stuff,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. “But as I said we’re taking it slow and he’s working his butt off to get back out on the court. When the time comes, we’ll put him out there.” The Pelicans say they will be overly cautious. Trail Blazers: After missing the better part of the last two games, the Trail Blazers got Anthony back. Anthony banged knees with an opposing player in Portland’s win on Friday (Saturday, PHL time) over the Orlando Magic and left after playing only 10 minutes. “He’s been working with the health and performance department over the last three games and it just gradually got to the point where he feels good to play,” coach Terry Stotts said. UP NEXT Pelicans: Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) at Denver Nuggets. Trail Blazers: Thursday (Friday, PHL time) at Utah Jazz......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 24th, 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

PBA: Durham, Bolts make electrifying return to Finals after semis exit last year

ANTIPOLO — Allen Durham playing pretty much guarantees a PBA Governors’ Cup Finals appearance. Back in Meralco for a fourth straight season, Durham has helped lead Meralco to its third Governors’ Cup Finals. Down 1-2 to sister team TNT, the Bolts surged past the KaTropa to in five games to once again have a chance at a first franchise title. “It definitely feels good to be back. It was kinda weird last year not being there,” Durham said. The Bolts were eliminated in the semis last year. “But I’m happy that we’re back. We’re gonna enjoy it tonight, enjoy Christmas, and then it’s back to work,” AD added. The Bolts had to work to make another Finals. Fortunately, the true Meralco team showed up in the deciding game, shutting down TNT in the second half to complete the series comeback. “We felt that in the four games, we felt like we didn’t play our full potential. We knew if we played to our full potential, we can really beat them,” Durham said. “That’s what we did tonight. Defensively we really got it together,” he added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 23rd, 2019

Liverpool lands 1st world title, Qatar passes pre-2022 test

By Rob Harris, Associated Press DOHA, Qatar (AP) — After tens of billions of dollars spent on infrastructure, and skepticism over this tiny gas-rich nation's suitability as a sporting host, a World Cup has finally been handed out in Qatar. It was Liverpool lifting FIFA's lesser-regarded Club World Cup trophy on Saturday night. In three years, the biggest prize in soccer will be handed out in a stadium yet to be completed. The Club World Cup, which ended Saturday with Roberto Firmino sealing Liverpool's 1-0 victory over Flamengo in extra time, has been the first major international footballing test of Qatar's readiness. With a 45,000-strong crowd packed into Khalifa Stadium, Qatar has shown it can fill a venue with sports fans —- unlike at the track and field world championships earlier this year. “Everybody was for different reasons on the edge pretty much but I saw so many sensationally good performances and I'm really happy of course for our supporters,” Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said. “The atmosphere in the stadium was great." But it is a stadium touched by the welfare concerns that have dogged Qatar's building work since being awarded the main 32-team World Cup in 2010 by FIFA. A British worker plunged to his death during the construction phase in conditions later deemed to be dangerous. This was a Club World Cup trip also tinged in tragedy for the losing finalists from Brazil. When fire engulfed a dormitory at Flamengo's academy in Brazil in February, 10 players — all between 14 and 16 years old — died. “It was a very sad moment in Flamengo's history and, I believe, in Brazilian football as well," midfielder Everton Ribeiro said in Doha. “Lives were lost, dreams were lost.” Flamengo was ordered by a Rio de Janeiro judge earlier this month to pay the equivalent of $2,500 a month to the families of 10 victims and three injured players. Flamengo, which appealed the decision, is already paying families about $1,200 a month. “If the situation is settled with the families, as soon as possible, including the support that Flamengo is already giving, it will be better for everybody,” Ribeiro said. Flamengo's grief was followed by success not achieved by a Brazilian side since Pele's Santos in 1963. The Brazilian championship was won in November, 24 hours after clinching a first Copa Libertadores title since 1981 in a continental triumph which earned a reunion with Liverpool. When the European champions and South American champions met in a single-game version of the Club World Cup 38 years ago, Flamengo beat Liverpool 3-0. Since the 1981 Intercontinental Cup, football has tilted in Europe's favor over South America but the very staging of this seven-team Club World Cup in the Persian Gulf shows where so much of the wealth now comes from in the sport. And it was a Brazilian player prized away from his homeland to Europe as a 19-year-old, initially by Hoffenheim in Germany, who settled this final for Liverpool in the 99th minute. Firmino was still inside his own half when captain Jordan Henderson launched the defense-splitting pass that set Liverpool on the path to glory. As Firmino raced through Flamengo territory unchallenged, Sadio Mane held up the ball received from Henderson. When Firmino reached the penalty area, Mane squared to the Brazilian, who took three touches to control the ball past defender Rodrigo Caio before knocking it into the net. Firmino also struck in the semifinal victory over Monterrey on Wednesday, giving him two goals in as many games in the Khalifa Stadium, having only netted once in the previous 16 games for Liverpool in all competitions. “I couldn't be more happy for him that he could score that goal because ... (of) what this competition means to Brazil, to South American people,” Klopp said. After netting the World Cup winner, Firmino raced away in celebration, ripping off his jersey and leaping into the air. Firmino and his teammates will have to wait some time to attach FIFA's gold Champions Badge to their jerseys. Liverpool anticipates it will only be allowed to be worn in the Champions League, which resumes in February, rather than weekly in the Premier League. It may have to settle with lifting the Premier League trophy in May for the first time. As Liverpool added the world title to its sixth European Cup collected in June, back in England its pursuit of the Premier League was helped by Leicester losing to Manchester City. A domestic title drought stretching back to 1990 for the 18-time English champions is well-placed to end with Liverpool holding a 10-point lead over Leicester ahead of Thursday’s game against its second-place rival. “Liverpool are enjoying their best time in their decade,” Flamengo coach Jorge Jesus said. "They played a tremendous match and Flamengo were excellent also. "We were a match for Liverpool. I'm fully pleased with what Flamengo have done. Brazilian clubs in future will be contenders to European clubs and we have exhibited that today.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 22nd, 2019

Federer says a star s legacy isn t at risk with late decline

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Roger Federer arrives for his interview at the precise appointed time, steering his white sedan into a parking spot in an industrial area dotted by art galleries about 15 minutes from his luxury apartment in this home-away-from-home. After obliging a selfie request from someone on the street, Federer makes his way up to a second-story loft area and sits. He crosses his legs, kneads his right calf and winces. “Just started training. I'm surprised I could walk the stairs as good as I have,” Federer says with a laugh. “My calves are, like, killing me. Just getting back into it. The shock on the body is, I don't want to say 'immense,' every time, but I've been on vacation for two weeks. The shock just hits you hard.” Ah, the ravages of age. Federer, who won the first of his men's-record 20 Grand Slam titles when he was 21 and now is 38, explains to The Associated Press that he must “go back to the drawing board” after “just missing out on The Big One,” a reference to his fifth-set tiebreaker loss to Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final in July. So all of just two days into Federer's preparation for next season -- he flies to Melbourne on Jan. 9, a week before the Australian Open draw -- he is taking a 48-hour break, sitting out his two-a-day fitness sessions and not lifting a racket. No one this old has won a Grand Slam title in the professional era. As a younger man, Federer says, he didn't allow himself such a respite, working six or eight days in a row to get going. But now? The “waves,” he calls them, making an undulating motion with his famous right arm -- time on, then time off -- offer his body a chance to recover. They also let him “go through the wall” on the day before a rest period, because “otherwise, you maybe would hold back just ever so slightly, because you just don't know how you're going to feel the next day.” Federer recognizes that continuing to play tennis at a high level long past the age when many greats of the past were done (his idol, Pete Sampras, competed for the final time at 31) means he repeatedly faces questions -- from fans, from the media, from those around him -- about how long he will continue on tour. And while he can't provide a definitive answer -- because, quite simply, he says he doesn't have one -- Federer is willing to discuss this aspect of the subject: He does not consider it important to walk away at the top of his game and the top of his sport. When he's told about a newspaper opinion piece from way back in 2013 -- 2013! -- that posited he should quit then to avoid ruining his legacy, Federer just smiles and waves his hand. He knows, of course, that he's managed to reach another seven Grand Slam finals since the start of 2014, winning three. But he also says the notion that an older athlete could harm his or her status by hanging around too long is nonsense, no matter what the decline looks like. “I don't think the exit needs to be that perfect, that you have to win something huge ... and you go, 'OK. I did it all.' It can be completed a different way, as long as you enjoy it and that's what matters to you," Federer says. “People, I don't think, anyway, remember what were the last matches of a John McEnroe, what were the last matches of a Stefan Edberg. Nobody knows. They remember that they won Wimbledon, that they won this and that, they were world No. 1. I don't think the end, per se, is that important.” That doesn't mean, of course, that he isn't as competitive as ever or doesn't want to win a 21st major championship -- above all, No. 9 at Wimbledon, after it slipped away despite two match points in 2019 -- or his first Olympic singles gold at the Tokyo Games next year. Or win any tournaments, for that matter, which would push him closer to Jimmy Connors' professional era record of 109 trophies (Federer has 103). He's still good enough, after all, to be ranked No. 3 — having spent a record 310 weeks at No. 1, he is currently behind No. 1 Rafael Nadal and No. 2 Djokovic — and to go 53-10 with four titles this season. If it seems as though the rest of the world is insisting it needs to know when and how retirement will arrive, Federer says it's not something on which he expends a lot of energy. Not anymore, anyway. “I mean, I don't think about it much, to be honest,” Federer says. “It's a bit different (now) that I know I'm at the back end of my career. But I feel like I've been toward 'the back end of my career' for a long, long time.” So much so that when he got sick while on a skiing trip in January 2008 with what eventually was diagnosed as mononucleosis, he vowed to stay off the slopes, a decision he stuck to, although not without some regret. His children -- twin daughters, 10, and twin sons, 5 -- all ski, and he and his wife, Mirka, have a home in a resort in his native Switzerland. Yet Federer sticks to his role as “the chief 'getting the kids ski-ready' operator guy.” “I was like, 'OK, you know what? That's a sign. I'm going to stop skiing, because I don't want to get hurt at the back end of my career. Maybe I have another four good years left in me. This was (12) years ago now. So it shows you how long ago I've been thinking: 'Maybe I have another four years. Maybe I have another three years. Maybe I have another two years.' ... I've been on this sort of train for long enough for me not to actually think about it a whole lot,” he says. “But sure, sometimes with family planning, discussions with my wife, we talk a little bit sometimes. But never like, 'What if?' Or, 'What are we going to do?' Because I always think, like, we have time for that and then we'll figure it out when that moment comes." Even his agent, Tony Godsick, who has represented Federer since 2005, raises the topic. “It would help make my job easier,” Godsick says in a telephone interview. “I don't want to know for my own personal travel. Or I don't want to know to have the scoop before anyone else. I want to know so I can plan. ... I mean, he won't go on a retirement tour, but I'd like to have some advance notice, maybe throw some more cameras around when he's out playing, so we can capture some more footage.” Godsick pauses, then spaces out the next five words for emphasis: “But. He. Really. Doesn't. Know.” “I really do think he has the flexibility to actually not decide ... until he feels like it's the time. And that will come when Mirka says, 'I can't do it anymore,' and 'I can't be on the road with the kids,' and 'The kids are not enjoying it.' Or his body might say, ‘Hey, Rog, stop pushing me so hard,'” Godsick says. “Maybe it's a time when he realizes on the practice court he doesn't either have the motivation or the ability to get better. And at that point, then maybe he says, 'I certainly have squeezed all the juice out of this lemon in terms of innovating and getting better.' And I don't think that time is there yet. Which is good news.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 19th, 2019

Holloway, Nunes eager to show championship form at UFC 245

By Greg Beacham, Associated Press LAS VEGAS (AP) — With a months-long barrage of trash talk and provocative posturing, Colby Covington and champion Kamaru Usman have infused their welterweight title bout at UFC 245 with political, racial and very personal overtones. Before they get in the cage Saturday night, two of the UFC's most durable, likable champions will entertain the mixed martial arts world without pandering or preening. Max Holloway and Amanda Nunes are among the toughest and winningest fighters of their generation, and their latest title defenses against Alex Volkanovski and Germaine De Randamie are both likely to be more entertaining than the main event bout between two wrestlers who sometimes talk better than they punch. Holloway and Nunes aren't complaining, however. They know controversy sells pay-per-views, and they're not mad about being along for the ride on this main event that feels more like a sideshow. “I got to talk a little bit less at the press conferences, which is cool,” Holloway said with a laugh. “Those guys, they've got stuff. I wish I was a little bit lighter and I could have grabbed my popcorn. Things are getting heated up.” The T-Mobile Arena crowd is likely to be strongly behind Holloway, the genial Hawaii native who hasn’t fought in Las Vegas since 2015. His scheduled bout here last year was scrapped at late notice when Holloway exhibited symptoms of a concussion. Holloway went back to work with a renewed focus on recovery and health, citing the examples of LeBron James and other elite athletes who spend millions on recovery and training. “I’ve got some of the greatest minds in MMA behind me, and they make sure I’m good all around,” Holloway said. Holloway was on a 13-bout winning streak against some of the sport’s best fighters until earlier this year, when he moved up to lightweight and lost to Dustin Poirier. Holloway rebounded with a featherweight title defense victory over Frankie Edgar, and his acceptance of another title defense against Volkanovski doesn’t mean he has given up multi-belt championship dreams. “It’s not even the belts that intrigue me,” Holloway said. “It’s being the best mixed martial arts fighter in the world that intrigues me. Being the best in the world is not somebody who stays at a weight and dominates his weight. He’s willing to go to whatever weight. But I'm not overlooking Alex. When you overlook somebody, you lose.” Volkanovski (20-1) has emerged from Australia as a serious contender for the featherweight title with 17 consecutive wins since 2013, including seven straight in the UFC. NUNES RETURNS Nunes already beat De Randamie in 2013, back when Nunes was a prominent contender, but not a champion. After a loss to Cat Zingano in her next bout, Nunes began her current nine-fight winning streak against the greatest women’s fighters in MMA history, from Ronda Rousey and Cris “Cyborg” Justino to Holly Holm and Valentina Shevchenko. De Randamie earned this bantamweight title shot with five straight wins, beating Holm and Aspen Ladd along the way. Nunes has beaten every female fighter who has ever held a UFC belt at 135 or 145 pounds, but she isn't bored. “All the work I've put in has paid off, and I will stay here,” Nunes said. “I'll prove it over and over that I'm the best.” MAIN EVENT Usman and Covington will close the show with the champion’s first fight since he dominated Tyron Woodley to take the belt in March. This meeting between two top-shelf wrestlers seems likely to be a tactical fight leading to a decision, but the fighters’ big personalities have generated ample publicity for two less-than-thrilling combatants. Usman has won 14 straight fights, while Covington has won seven in a row. Both welterweights have striking similarities in their styles, preferring to pin their opponents against the cage or on the mat and gradually grinding out victories. Although Covington is an eager striker, he doesn’t appear to have as much punching power as Usman, who appears to be bigger and stronger. ON THE SHOW The traditional big New Year’s Eve show in the UFC’s hometown has been moved up two weeks in the first year of the promotion’s lucrative deal with ESPN. The UFC still stacked the card, which also includes fights for crowd-pleasers Mike Perry and Urijah Faber, up-and-coming contenders Ketlen Vieira and Petr Yan, and veteran stars Jose Aldo, Matt Brown and Ben Saunders......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 14th, 2019

SEA Games: Gilas and Myanmar prove that indeed, “We Win As One”

MANILA — It’s already on the official theme song, “We Win As One” in these 2019 Southeast Asian Games here. After Gilas Pilipinas issued a 69-point beating to an obviously overmatched Myanmar side Saturday, the two national teams got together post-game and took a photo together. There will be winners and losers in the SEA Games but coming together and displaying proper sportsmanship takes priority. It’s not just about beating the other team up. Against Myanmar, Gilas certainly didn’t want to embarrass an opposing country that’s clearly just starting to find its way in the sport. By virtue of a 136-67 win, Gilas coach Tim Cone feels like the Philippines achieved that delicate balance of playing to win but at the same time, giving the opponents the respect they deserve. “We were trying to find a balance between playing the game hard and respecting the game and yet not trying to run up the score. We didn't want to run up the score and embarrass anybody,” Cone said. “Obviously, there's a big gap in talent between the two teams. But, you know, the SEA Games are all about competition and friendship. You compete through friendship. You try to gain friendships,” he added. Just as the official theme song of these SEA Games suggest, “yes we compete but the greatest feat is when we win as one.” It might look tough to look at the scoreboard now but Myanmar having multiple shots at Gilas Pilipinas can only help improve their own basketball program. It's just the same as when the Philippines plays far superior teams at the world level. “You're not trying to create enemies in the SEA Games. That's why we all come together and that's something we want to try to represent tonight. We want Myanmar to keep coming back and keep wanting to play and keep wanting to improve their basketball program,” coach Tim said. “We don't want to discourage them, and no one likes to be embarrassed. No one likes to be humiliated, so we just tried to be respectful and try to continue to play the game hard, create good habits going to the next game,” he added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 7th, 2019

Griffin not rushing Zion Williamson s return to lineup

NBA.com staff report After a report earlier this week that heralded rookie Zion Williamson will return "outside of the 6-8 week window" initially projected for his recovery from knee surgery, Pelicans Executive Vice President of Basketball Operation joined the Fox Sports New Orleans broadcast to clarify Williamson's progress. "I think six weeks (from Oct. 21) was three days ago," Griffin said. "He continues to progress. He's progressing very well. He feels very good about his process. And eight weeks is several days from now, and if we get outside of that, it will be because he hasn't met the metrics for return-to-play that are laid out for him and every player on our team. He will not be treated any differently in terms of the return-to-play metrics. "Now we have been much more cautious with him in terms of how quickly we've ramped him up from stage-to-stage because he's 19 and he's still growing and he was 285 pounds when he had the surgery. That's a different [type of] player, that's a diffferent [type of] person. It's a population of one. So we're obviously going to treat him differently as we ramp him through the stages. But there's been no other setback or mission afoot except to get him back on the court as quickly as possible." The Pelicans announced on October 21 (Oct. 22, PHL time) that Williamson had surgery to repair a torn right lateral meniscus, sidelining him for the start of the regular season. The 6-foot-6, 285-pound former Duke star averaged 23.2 points in four preseason games before missing the final exhibition with right knee soreness. ESPN's Andrew Lopez reports that Williamson has returned to do some on-court work, which includes walk-throughs with the team and spot shooting. In an interview with the assembled media last month, Williamson himself was preaching patience about his recovery time and projected timeline. "Nothing's changed, the timeline has not changed," Griffin said Thursday (Friday, PHL time). "If he hits those [return-to-play] metrics in seven weeks fine; if he hits them in 10 weeks, fine. We don't care when that is, but he's not getting on the court until he proves to us he's healthy, no matter what he wants to do." Griffin said that Williamson likely won't be playing in back-to-back games initially upon returning, with a likely gradual build toward 'full strength' in game situations. The delayed start, which stripped New Orleans of their starting power forward, has contributed to the Pelicans' disappointing 6-16 record thus far. "We're trying to win basketball games and quite frankly we've done a horrible job of that," Griffin said. "And where we might be failing in the short term, I think we're succeeding in the breadth of what we're trying to do, which is build a sustainable winner. And we're well on our way to that despite the current record." The 19-year-old Williamson turned pro after one season in college, during which he averaged 22.6 points and was voted to the Atlantic Coast Conference's All-Defensive Team. He also averaged 8.9 rebounds, 2.1 steals and 1.8 blocked shots. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 6th, 2019

SEA Games: Pinoy spikers motivated, hungry to elevate PHI men s volleyball

Dante Alinsunurin knows very well what it feels like to give everything only to come up short. Fourteen years ago in Bacolod, Alinsunurin was there when the Philippines finished last in five countries that participated in in the 2005 Southeast Asian Games. Now back in the national team but in a different role, the men’s volleyball squad head coach seeks to steer Filipinos to glory and end a 28-year medal drought.       “As a player talaga gustong-gusto ko [mag-podium], kaya lang hanggang doon lang talaga ang nangyari,” said Alinsunurin, who played as utility in the 2005 team alongside Dong Dela Cruz and women’s national team coach Shaq Delos Santos. “Naisip ko na kapag ako ang naging coach paghahandaan ko kung anuman ang mangyari para pagdating ng SEA Games ready na talaga ang mga bata,” he said. The Nationals, who trained in Japan as part of their buildup, begin their campaign on Dec. 2 against Cambodia at the PhilSports Arena. “Sobrang excited ako kasi noong time na naglaro ako na hindi namin nakuha [ang podium finish], sana ngayong taon na napaghandaan natin maka-podium finish na rin,” said Alinsunurin.   Something to prove   For years, men’s volleyball in the country has paled in comparison to the popularity of women’s play. The Nationals see the SEA Games as a chance to boost interest in their division.    “Nagma-minset na lang kami. Paulit-ulit ko na sinasabi sa mga bata na ‘bago tayo magsimula rito ang gusto natin ay makita na ang men’s [volleyball] umangat,’” said Alinsunurin. Aside from a podium finish, the team wants to prove that men’s volleyball in the country has elevated its level of play and is as exciting as that of the women’s.    “Lagi kong sinasabi sa kanila na ito ang pagkakataon natin na mapatunayan naman din dito sa atin sa Pilipinas na kasama rin ang men’s team pagdating sa volleyball. Lagi na lang kasing napag-iiwanan,’” Alinsunurin pointed out. “Lagi kong sinasabi sa kanila na, ‘Ito na ang chance natin, ‘wag na natin bitawan pa.’” Bannered by top hitters in skipper John Vic De Guzman, Marck Espejo, Bryan Bagunas and Ranran Abdilla, hopes are high for the Nationals to claim podium finish in the biennial. Alinsunurin is confident that they can do so. “Ngayon kasi feeling ko ang team namin ay kumpleto, nandyan lahat, at may mga players na may international experience,” he said. “May international exposure, experience na makalaban ang mga club sa Japan. Ito na ang chance talaga ng men’s team na umangat.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 29th, 2019

PBA: Brownlee cherishes beating one of the best teams in the league

More than spoiling San Miguel Beer’s grand slam attempt for the second time in three years, Barangay Ginebra import Justin Brownlee takes great pride in beating one best teams to ever play in the PBA. “Man, happy and luckily we just come away with the win and advance. That’s a great team, definitely,” said Brownlee. “They have two championships and I know it would have been great for them to win a grand slam but you know we're just happy to be able to advance.” Brownlee played the hero’s role on Sunday with a clutch triple and a crucial block as the Gin Kings beat the Beermen, 100-97, to advance in the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals at the Big Dome. The twice-to-beat Ginebra squad denied SMB a season title sweep for the second time since booting out the Beermen in the quarterfinals of the same conference back in 2017.  However, Brownlee stressed that their goal was to advance to the semis and not just rain on SMB’s parade. “It’s just great to advance no matter who we play at this point,” said Brownlee, who finished with 41 points and 11 rebounds in 46 minutes of play. “Like I said, that’s an incredible team. Very talented, probably one of the best teams to ever play in this league. It just always feels good to beat those guys and you know we have a lot of respect for them,” he added. Down by two, Brownlee put the Gin Kings up, 96-95, off a trey with 2:38 left in the fourth and with Ginebra protecting a slim three-point lead, he swatted away Terrence Romeo’s potential game-tying three with 13.1 seconds left. The Gin Kings held on to take the semis seat as Chris Ross missed a long triple. “We just didn’t want to go to a second game with them because they are a very dangerous team and very talented. We just want to do whatever we can to try to close em out in the first game,” Brownlee said. Ginebra will face the winner of the other quarterfinals pairing between twice-to-beat top seed NLEX and NorthPort in a best-of-five semifinals series.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 24th, 2019

Letran solves LPU puzzle, sets up NCAA 95 Finals date with San Beda

Turns out, an older Fran Yu and a healthy Jerrick Balanza were all Colegio de San Juan de Letran needed to get the Lyceum of the Philippines University monkey of its back in the stepladder playoffs of the NCAA 95 Men’s Basketball Tournament. Yu razzled and dazzled in the face of pressure while Balanza came up big in the endgame as the third-seeded Knights charged right through the second-seeded Pirates for a hardfought 92-88 win, Friday at Cuneta Astrodome. Yu and Balanza conspired with Larry Muyang in the 15-2 spurt in the middle of the final frame that erased a one-point deficit and erected an 84-72 advantage. "I'll give this one to my veterans. They never gave up so it was all about determination," head coach Bonnie Tan said post-game. In that pivotal push, the graduating guard was hitting his patented midrange jumpers while the bruising big man was making good on his trademark inside baskets. It was their second-year point guard, though, who was running the show and turned in three of his 20 points and two of his six assists in that five-minute span. LPU still tried to mount a rally from there and even neared to just 87-90 with 24 ticks to go on the clock, but Muyang and Bonbon Batiller turned them back once and for all. Without a doubt, Balanza made the most out of his time on the floor as he missed Letran’s semifinals defeat to the Pirates a year ago due to a brain injury. Yu played in that sorry loss, but fell short in stepping up in  place of starter JP Calvo who incurred a leg injury in the game. That was not happening in this one as he proved capable and confident at the head of the Knights’ charge while also adding five rebounds under his belt. Muyang then pounded in 19 points and nine rebounds while Balanza poured in 11 markers and three boards. Batiller contributed 13 points, six rebounds, and six assists of his own as Letran made its way back into the Finals for the first time since its championship in 2015. "I want to give them something na 'di siguro nabigay the past few years. Siyempre, we're looking forward sa next level na laro," coach Bonnie said. There, they will faceoff with age-old rival San Beda University which is seeking another four-peat. Game 1 of the best-of-three championship round tips off on Tuesday at MOA Arena. For the Pirates, Jaycee Marcelino gave his all with 26 points, three rebounds, and three assists while Mike Nzeusseu posted a 19-marker, 15-board double-double. Falling victim to Letran's balanced attack, however, they finish out of the Finals for the first time in two years. BOX SCORES LETRAN 92 - Yu 20, Muyang 19, Batiller 13, Balanza 11, Reyson 6, Mina 5, Sangalang 5, Balagasay 4, Ular 4, Caralipio 2, Javillonar 2, Ambohot 1, Olivario 0. LPU 88 - Jc. Marcelino 26, Nzeusseu 19, David 11, Caduyac 5, Jv. Marcelino 5, Navarro 5, Tansingco 4, Ibanez 4, Remulla 4, Santos 3, Guinto 2, Valdez 0. QUARTER SCORES: 20-26, 44-40, 67-66, 92-88. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 8th, 2019

NCAA 95: Staglets frustrate Jr. Pirates to force rubber match

San Sebastian College-Recoletos has only made the most of its good fortune in the NCAA 95 Juniors Basketball Tournament. Blessed with the third-seed at the end of the elimination round, the Staglets sent a statement that they are far from finished with a convincing 84-75 victory versus second-seed and twice-to-beat Lyceum of the Philippines University, Tuesday at Cuneta Astrodome. Baste got contributions from up and down its lineup with Milo Janao showing the way, as always, with 15 points, five rebounds, and four assists as well as Nikko Aguilar who had 15 markers of his own. "Isa lang sinasabi ko sa kanila kanina, this is the game of your life. Basta mag-enjoy lang kami sa game na 'to kasi wala namang pressure sa amin," head coach Melo Banua said. Seldom-used Jossel Barroga and Kim Bulasa also brought big boosts with the former finishing with a 12-point, 11-rebound double-double and the latter ending with 10 markers, eight boards, and four assists. That total team effort was just what they needed to discard the Jr. Pirates' playoff privilege. That total team effort was also just what they needed to give back to lady luck. "Sobrang sarap sa pakiramdam nito kasi sabi ko nga, destiny na natin 'to. Kailangan nang i-grab natin," Coach Melo said. He then continued, "Wala na tayong chance tapos binigyan pa tayo ng chance ng Panginoon. Kailangan pa nating i-grab talaga 'to." San Sebastian almost found itself outside the playoff picture, dropping its last assignment in the elimination round. Fortunately for them, however, so did College of St. Benilde-La Salle Green Hills and Arellano High School - and as such, there was a three-way logjam for the third- and fourth-seeds. Due to having the highest quotient among the three teams, the Staglets ascended into the third-seed and avoided a knockout bout for the fourth-seed. Now, they are one win away from an improbable trip to the Finals. "One game at a time lang. Who knows? Baka ibigay pa rin sa amin yung panalo," their mentor said. Still, that's easier said than done against LPU which still features two of the tournament's top players in John Barba and Mac Guadana who had 24 and 12 points, respectively, in this one. Barba and Guadana are certain to go all-out in their do-or-die game on Friday still at the same venue for their school's first-ever Final Four win and first-ever Finals appearance. BOX SCORES SAN SEBASTIAN 84 - Janao 15, Aguilar 15, Barroga 12, Bulasa 10, Perez 7, Darbin 7, Brizo 7, Are 5, Concha 4, Una 2, Lustina 0. LPU 75 - Barba 24, Guadana 12, Omandac 9, Montano 8, Garro 6, Santos 6, Gamlanga 3, Caringal 3, Garing 2, Caduyac 2, Panganiban 0, Dumon 0, Ragasa 0, Gudmalin 0, Dejelo 0. QUARTER SCORES: 18-13, 42-33, 64-46, 85-74. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 5th, 2019

Marami kaming natutunan -- Delos Santos on Japan training camp

TOKYO --- The Philippine national women’s volleyball team wrapped up its 12-day training camp on Thursday with head coach Shaq Delos Santos hoping that his wards absorbed all the lessons learned and valuable experience gained heading into the last stretch of their preparation for the 30th Southeast Asian Games. “Definitely marami kaming natutunan sa mga tune-up games,” said Delos Santos, who is gearing up his squad for the biennial meet that the country will host next month. “Hopefully ma-absorb pa namin siya ng mabuti. Itutuloy namin ito pagdating sa Pilipinas.” The Nationals, whose training camp here was made possible by Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. and the Philippine Sports Commission, played their last of five tune-up game playdates against Nittai University at the Nippon Sports Science University gym in Setagaya here. The Filipinas yielded a 20-25, 25-23, 20-25, 14-25 loss. Overall, the Nationals went through rigorous training and conditioning and endured long bus rides to and from their hotel in Sagamihara to test their mettle against club teams located in different prefectures. The Nationals played Kashiwa Angel Cross, Gunma Bank Green Wings, Yamanashi Chuo Bank and Yamanada of the Japan second division league, Japan V League squad Hitachi and Nittai U. The Filipinas played 25 sets overall, winning three. During the practice games, Delos Santos gave his players equal time on court, not settling on a fixed rotations to allow his wards to get valuable exposure by getting a piece of the action. Though the squad needed to adjust with Alyssa Valdez and setter Jia Morado flying back to Manila after just five days in the camp to fulfill their club duties, the remaining players worked on their cohesion and tried to address their problems on reception, passing and offensive transition. “May mga kailangan pa kaming ma-improve and hopefully makumpleto na kami para mas marami kaming magawa para sa team,” said Delos Santos. The mentor lauded his team for its improvement but stressed that there’s still much to be done. “Nagkaroon ng improvement but it doesn’t mean na OK na. Kailangan pang ituluy ng ituloy hanggang sa dumating ang SEA Games,” he said. “’Yun kasi ang unang-unang problema namin pagdating sa receive, yung pasa especially doon sa end game. So yun kailangan din naming i-develop yun.” “I think kailangan pa namin ng mas maraming scrimmage pa, 6-on-6 na laro para mas makuha namin ang galawan mismo ng team kung ano ang gusto naming mangyari. At the same time yung speed nan a-experience namin dito mas ma-develop pa namin,” he added. The Nationals will fly back to Manila on Friday afternoon via Philippine Airlines PR 421. They will take a rest on Saturday before heading back to training on Sunday to prepare for the 4-team Philippine Superliga Super Cup starting Tuesday. “Good thing mayroon tayong liga, yung Super Cup and mayroon isang Japanese team na darating,” said Delos Santos. “Hopefully, maibuhos namin doon ang mga natutunan namin doon.”     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 31st, 2019

Westbrook wins battle of guards vs. former teams

By Michael C. Wright, NBA.com HOUSTON -- Russell Westbrook scrapping under the rim for a loose ball with good friend Steven Adams set the tone for odd visuals Monday in a clash between star point guards facing their former teams. Oklahoma City point guard Chris Paul returned to Houston for the first time since the Rockets moved him for first-round picks and pick swaps over the summer to acquire Westbrook, who dominated the night of reunions by nearly logging his second consecutive triple-double (21 points, 12 rebounds, 9 assists) to fuel a 116-112 triumph. Brodie coming up big to help us get the W! ????21pts ????12reb ????9ast pic.twitter.com/Q18ZxHsMSJ — Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) October 29, 2019 In doing so, Westbrook nearly became the first player to post triple-doubles against all 30 NBA teams. “This is how it goes,” Westbrook said. “When I hoop, I have no friends. On the court, they know not to talk to me. Steven’s a real close friend of mine. But inside those lines, there’s no friends. Spalding, that’s my friend, and my teammates. That’s it. If you try to be my friend, I ain’t gonna say s--- to you.” Shortly after saying those words, Westbrook walked down the hall to the Thunder locker room, where he hugged coach Billy Donovan before entering as his former teammates dressed. Westbrook played 11 years for the Thunder before the July trade, and earned NBA All-Star recognition on eight occasions in addition to capturing the 2017 Kia NBA Most Valuable Player Award. “He obviously has done an enormous amount for the organization, for the state and the city,” Donovan said. “I’ve always respected how hard he competed and played. We had a chance to spend four great years together. It was good to just connect.” As Westbrook strolled into the locker room, several Thunder officials approached him for hugs. Glass of water in hand, the point guard eventually settled near Adams’ locker adjacent to injured guard Andre Roberson. Nearby, Paul dressed and joked that Westbrook could be fined by the league for entering the opponent’s locker room, which drew laughter from all over the room. Westbrook eventually moved to Paul’s locker, where the two talked quietly for several minutes. On the floor, though, Westbrook overcame a slow start to dominate over the final three quarters which helped push the Rockets to their second consecutive victory. Westbrook finished at a game-best plus-19, while James Harden led all scoring with 40 points. Westbrook has posted a 20-point double-double in all three of Houston’s games this season, including a triple-double Saturday in a win over the New Orleans Pelicans. Westbrook has also pulled down 38 rebounds over his first three games, which ranks as the most by a Rocket through the first three games of the season since Dwight Howard registered 51 rebounds during the 2013-14 season. Congrats to @russwest44 of the @HoustonRockets for moving up to 20th on the all-time ASSISTS list! pic.twitter.com/CAxe023sQd — NBA (@NBA) October 29, 2019 In addition, Westbrook moved into 20th on the NBA’s all-time assists list (6,918). “He just brings a different dynamic to the game: his speed, his pace, his athleticism, his playmaking ability,” Harden said. “He does so much and creates for his teammates. It’s pretty tough to guard. He’s a superstar. But he’s getting offensive rebounds, he’s hustling. He’s doing the dirty things that help you win. It feels good to have that on your side.” On the other side, Paul didn’t fare as well against his former team, finishing with 15 points and four assists. Paul missed his first five shots, making his first bucket with 54.9 seconds left in the first half. At the 5:57 mark of the first quarter during a timeout, the Toyota Center played a tribute video featuring Paul’s days as a Rocket that lasted a minute and 30 seconds, ending with the message of “Thank you CP3.” The crowd gave Paul a standing ovation as he waved to the fans from the bench area, before hugging Houston guard Eric Gordon as he checked back into the game. Thank you, @CP3! pic.twitter.com/xshVifhtFI — Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) October 29, 2019 “The fans here were always great to me. Some of the people here became like family to me,” Paul said. “And I try to stay in touch with those who were as genuine as could be. I had some great memories here. I’m grateful to the fans for how they always treated me and my family. I’ll forever be grateful for that.” Paul played two seasons in Houston (2017-19), averaging 17.1 points, 8.0 assists and 5 rebounds, before the club traded him to Oklahoma City. Paul helped the Rockets to a franchise-best record of 65-17 in his first season, but they fell in the Western Conference Finals to the eventual champion Golden State Warriors. With the Rockets leading that series 3-2, Paul suffered a hamstring injury that forced him out of the last two games. “He’s one of the best point guards that’s ever played and still is. What he does is incredible,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said. “With his knowledge of the game, his competitiveness, he’s going to be around for a while. He was just really good for us. It’s hard to win a whole lot more than what we won with him. We could’ve gone a little bit further in the playoffs. One year, he just got a hamstring problem. Then the next year, it just didn’t work out. It’s hard to be better than what he was.” Michael C. Wright is a senior writer for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here, and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 29th, 2019