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PVL: Lady Warriors rise to top spot in quarters

Pocari Sweat-Philippine Air Force took another step forward in making sure its title defense goes through at least the semifinals of the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Reinforced Conference. Dropping the first set before regrouping and resoundingly taking the next three, the Lady Warriors sank Iriga-Navy, 23-25, 25-18, 25-20, and 25-22, on Wednesday at the Filoil Flying V Centre. Reinforcements Maddie Palmer and Ari Love showed the way with 19 and 18 points, respectively. Skipper Myla Pablo was also right there with them with 14 markers to her name. The defending champions took time to get going, though, and allowed Macy Ubben and the Lady Oragons to claim the first frame. “Parang diesel (kami). Yun nga, siguro, kailangan muna nilang masaktan siguro,” head coach Jasper Jimenez shared post-game. From that point, Love took charge and led Pocari Sweat-Air Force to an 8-5 start in the second set that blew up to a lead of as much as eight, 19-11. Both the lead and the momentum would stay with the Lady Warriors for the remainder of the match. Pablo and company are now 2-0 in the round robin quarterfinals – putting them closer and closer to the semifinals. “We need two more wins. Siguro, kung makadalawang panalo pa kami, that’s it, semifinals na,” Jimenez said. Disputing the last two seats in the semifinals along with Pocari-Sweat-Air Force and Iriga-Navy are BaliPure, BanKo-Perlas, Petro Gazz, and Tacloban. “Sana, magtuloy-tuloy ‘tong ganitong performance namin,” Jimenez also remarked. The Lady Oragons fell to 0-2 in the quarterfinals even after a 27-point performance from Ubben. Lauren Whyte also added 18 markers. The top two finishers in the round robin quarterfinals will move on to the next round. Already there are Creamline and PayMaya who secured the top spots in the Final Four after their respective impressive runs in the preliminary round. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnJun 13th, 2018

UAAP Women s Basketball: NU wins 78th straight, sweeps elims for outright Finals berth

For the fifth straight season, the ladies of the National University cruised to another sweep of the 14-game elimination round. This UAAP Season 81, the Lady Bulldogs cemented their inevitable history against the Far Eastern University via a 68-44 victory Friday afternoon at the Filoil Flying V Centre. It was also NU's record-setting 78th consecutive win dating back to July 13, 2014. National University Lady Bulldogs sweep the elimination rounds of #UAAPSeason81! This is their fifth straight sweep in the league. @abscbnsports pic.twitter.com/x6PLxuRsDe — Danine Cruz (@the9cruz) November 16, 2018 Dominant forces in the paint, Jack Animam and Rhena Itesi topped the scoreboards once again. Animam towed NU with 19 points, 18 rebounds, and two assists while Itesi added 14 points and 14 rebounds. Animam and Itesi limited FEU's Clare Castro to just six points on 3-of-11 shooting, well below her aveage of 16.5 points prior to the match. To add to NU's growing memorabilia, the NU community present in the venue celebrated the milestone with 14-0 shirts. National University Lady Bulldogs sweeps #UAAPSeason81! This is their fifth straight eliminations sweep. @abscbnsports pic.twitter.com/XpavE1dvax — Danine Cruz (@the9cruz) November 16, 2018 "I'm just happy na nasurvive namin uli yung 14-0 uli. We're just waiting for the championship kung sino man but still yung job namin is not yet done. We hope na we get the championship, that's the most important thing this season," said NU head coach Pat Aquino as his squad enjoyed their advantage. As they wait for their opponent in the finals, Aquino said that their team will be having a series of practice games and a team building. "We'll have a team building this next weekend and we'll continue working hard. Then we'll have practice games again with the boys like we did last few years back yung mga past season, yun ginagawa namin. There will be a Taiwan team na baka mag practice game kami, series of practice games," Aquino added. Valerie Mamaril and Fatima Quiapo produced nine points each to lead the way for the Lady Tamaraws. With a 9-5 record after the elimination round, FEU is tied with Adamson University and is set to have a playoff for the second seed and twice-to-beat advantage in the step-ladder semifinals. Adamson secured a spot in the step-ladder semifinals berth and a playoff for the twice-to-beat bonus in the process following an 80-65 romp of Ateneo. The University of Santo Tomas lost a 10-point third quarter lead but regrouped late in the game to nip De La Salle, 68-65, to extend its season and tie its victims at 8-6. With their ninth win in 14 contests, the Lady Falcons will play the Lady Tamaraws in a playoff for the No. 2 ranking in the semis on Wednesday. The Tigresses and the Lady Archers meet again in a do-or-die playoff for the last semifinals slot on Wednesday. Mariz Cacho scored 20 points while Nathalie Prado also had 20 points and pulled down 12 rebounds for Adamson University, which finished the elims with back-to-back wins. The University of the East beat fellow also-ran University of the Philippines, 71-56, to cap its season with two consecutive wins. The Lady Warriors, who placed second last year, ended up tied with the Lady Eagles in sixth and seven spots at 4-10. The Scores: First Game UE (71) -- Cortizano 15, Requiron 15, Francisco 11, Ganade 11, P. Pedregosa 10, L. Pedregosa 9, Borromeo 0, Nama 0, Brencis 0, Ebeza 0, Gaa 0, Strachan 0. UP (56) -- L. Ordoveza 15, Rodas 13, Cruz 12, Medina 7, Gonzales 6, Bascon 3, Amar 0, De Leon 0, De Guzman 0, Rivera 0, Hidalgo 0, Lebico 0, Moa 0, N. Ordoveza 0. Quarterscores: 14-17, 37-35, 56-49, 71-56 Second Game AdU (80) -- Cacho 20, Prado 20, Alcoy 11, Araja 9, Bilbao 8, Rosario 5, Camacho 3, Razalo 2, Aciro 2, Cabug 0, Osano 0, Tandaan 0. Ateneo (65) -- Buendia 15, Nimes 15, Guytingco 10, Go 7, Villamor 6, Cancio 5, Chu 3, Joson 2, Seigle 2, Newsome 0, Moslares 0, Miranda 0, Payac 0, Gino-gino 0, De Dios 0, Aquisap 0. Quarterscores: 16-14, 40-32, 66-48, 80-65 Third Game NU (68) -- Animam 19, Itesi 14, Pingol 9, Nabalan 7, Del Carmen 6, Camelo 6, Fabruada 4, Bartolo 2. Goto 1, Canuto 0, Cacho 0, Cac 0, Harada 0, Ceño 0, Layug 0. FEU (44) -- Mamaril 9, Quiapo 9, Castro 6, Antiola 5, Adriano 5, Bahuyan 4, Bastatas 2, Abat 2, Vidal 2, Taguiam 0, Payadon 0, Dugay 0. Quarterscores: 20-9, 35-21, 54-30, 68-44 Fourth Game UST (68) -- Larosa 25, Irebu 13, Ferrer 8, Capilit 7, Portillo 6, Aujero 4, Rivera 3, Sangalang 2, Tacatac 0, Magat 0, Gonzales 0. DLSU (65) -- K. Castillo 16, Nuñez 14, Revillosa 11, Claro 10, Paraiso 5, Torres 4, Binaohan 3, Quingco 2, Delcampo 0, Arciga 0, Jimenez 0. Quarterscores: 10-17, 31-28, 54-44, 68-65  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 16th, 2018

PVL: Perlas Spikers eye bounce back win, semis seat

After a shocking loss the last time out, BanKo marches back into action hoping to get back on the winning track and secure a spot in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Open Conference Final Four. The Perlas Spikers take on a desperate Pocari Sweat-Air Force side on Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Opening serve is at 4:00 p.m. and will air live on LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183 and via livestream. BanKo saw its three-game winning streak snapped by PetroGazz in a disappointing 11-25, 23-25, 18-25 defeat just a day after the Perlas Spikers scored a dominating sweep of semis-bound Ateneo-Motolite. BanKo holds an 8-3 win-loss record in third place behind the Lady Eagles (10-3) and Creamline (8-2) and are already secured of at least a playoff for a semis spot. But the Perlas Spikers remain wary of the dangerous Lady Warriors, who nipped them in five sets in their first meeting in Baliwag, Bulacan. Pocari Sweat is in desperate need of wins in their remaining three games to keep its semis hopes alive. The Lady Warriors are outside of the top four, holding a 5-6 mark, a game and a half away from fourth running PetroGazz. Pocari Sweat despite the gallant effort put up by Myla Pablo, Jeanette Panaga, Del Palomata and Iari Yongco fell short in their last outing at the hands of the Alyssa Valdez-led Cool Smashers, 25-23, 21-25, 20-25, 25-22, 9-15, in Legazpi City last Saturday.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 13th, 2018

MVP Ladder: Hot start pushes Curry to forefront

By Sekou Smith, NBA.com When Kevin Durant raised the Finals MVP trophy in the air in June -- his second straight, mind you -- it was supposed to be over for Stephen Curry. The prevailing wisdom said there was no way the former two-time Kia MVP winner Curry would be able to contend for a third Maurice Podoloff Trophy playing alongside Durant (a former Kia MVP himself). Their individual brilliance would be muted by the collective strength of their partnership as the two best players on the best team in the league. This notion they would continue to split Kia MVP votes made sense given their super team required all of its stars to sacrifice personal glory for the greater team good. That was the thinking before the first nine games of this season ... and then Curry decided to attack things as he did in 2015-16. That season, he went nuclear -- averaging 30.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 6.7 assists per game while shooting 50.4 percent overall and 45.4 percent on three-pointers -- becoming the NBA's first unanimous MVP winner as the Warriors won an NBA-record 73 games. Durant was still toiling for the rival Oklahoma City Thunder then, sharing the spotlight with another eventual Kia MVP in Russell Westbrook. Curry’s opening salvo this season, though, has been nothing short of staggering. His pace right now -- leading the league in scoring while shooting nearly 55 percent overall and 53 percent on three-pointers  -- could top that 2015-16 season. Doing all this with teammates who could make their own compelling cases for Kia MVP honors makes Curry’s start even more mind-boggling. Both Durant (check out his 25-point fourth quarter at Madison Square Garden) and Klay Thompson (who topped Curry’s three-pointers made record in Chicago) are taking turns showing out, all of which speaks to the Warriors' mastery of a situation that easily could have overloaded these three stars. Curry’s consistent brilliance sticks out in a sea of transcendent scoring performances in the early stages of this season. He was the one who dropped 51 points in 32 minutes in a win over Washington, making 11 of his 16 three-pointers. He went 6-for-11 on three-pointers en route to 29 points when Durant worked the Knicks for 41 points at MSG. When Thompson was in the zone against the Bulls, Curry scored 23 points (on 7-for-9 shooting) in just 25 minutes. And when the New Orleans Pelicans showed up to Oracle Arena Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time), Curry lit them up for 37 on 12-for-20 shooting and a 7-for-11 night on three-pointers. That's all why Curry sits atop the first Kia Race to the MVP Ladder this season. And if he keeps this up, there’s no reason Curry won't be in the thick of this season's MVP conversation when the dust settles. The top five in the Week 1 edition of the 2018-19 Kia Race to the MVP Ladder: * * * 1. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors Season stats: 33 points, 5.9 assists, 5.0 rebounds Here's the kind of damage Curry is doing so far: he’s not only leading the league in scoring, but doing so while shooting a preposterous 54.9 percent overall and an equally bonkers 52.9 percent on three-pointers. Scoring around the league is on the rise this season, and perhaps no one is taking more advantage of the freedom of movement rule the way Curry has. He’s scoring from everywhere, against any and everyone whenever he wants in a system built around his skills. He’s got one of the league’s early 50-point games (51 points, vs. Washington), and, given the way he’s shooting now, could go for another 50-spot at any time. That’s a warning for the Minnesota Timberwolves, who will see Curry today. 2. Kawhi Leonard, Toronto Raptors Season stats: 27.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists Leonard is off to a monstrous start with Toronto, shattering that pesky myth that he was a product of a system in San Antonio. Anyone who forgot just how devastating a two-way player he could be after his nine-game run with the Spurs last season should have a clearer understanding of what he can do when healthy. Just ask Philadelphia 76ers stud Ben Simmons, who couldn't praise Leonard enough after matching wits with the two-time Kia Defensive Player of the Year. “He’s a freak,” Simmons said after turning the ball over 11 times while being guarded by Leonard on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time). “His hands are huge. He’s got long arms. He’s a great defender.” The scary part for the rest of the league? Leonard is shooting as good or better than ever on three-pointers (44.4 percent) while logging a career-high 34.7 minutes. And, technically, he is still undefeated in a Raptors uniform (he got a rest day for Bucks-Raptors). 3. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks Season stats: 26.1 points, 13.7 rebounds, 5.1 assists It took a franchise-record 24 made three-pointers for the Boston Celtics to hold off Antetokounmpo and the Bucks Thursday night (Friday, PHL time) at TD Garden. It was the Bucks’ first loss this season, but it wasn’t because the "Greek Freak" didn’t show up. He roasted the Celtics for 33 points (on just 22 shots), 11 rebounds, three steals and two assists. The increased floor spacing that comes with the arrival of coach Mike Budenholzer has allowed Antetokounmpo to put opposing defenders in compromising positions. His three-point shot is still in the development stage, but if Budenholzer can help transform that part of his game (as he did for Al Horford and Paul Millsap in Atlanta), the rest of the league will be on notice. As for Antetokounmpo's groove elsewhere on the court, it has made him virtually unstoppable when he’s in attack mode. 4. Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans Season stats: 25.2 points, 13.0 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 3.2 blocks Had there been a top five after the first four games of this season, Davis would have been a runaway pick for the No. 1 spot. He was that good in powering New Orleans' 4-0 start. But the Pelicans have lost four straight and three to the four games since as Davis deals with nagging right elbow pain. Davis missed back-to-back games against Utah and Denver, then played Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) against the Warriors. It was clear he wasn’t at his best, as he had 17 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists. (Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry held him out in a road loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.) Davis hasn’t been shy about proclaiming that he’s chasing both Kia MVP and Kia Defensive Player of the Year honors, a double-dip that only half a handful of players could realistically set as a goal. The talent and high ceiling have never been in question. His availability to chase such lofty goals, however, remains a question at times. 5. Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers Season stats: 29.1 points, 6.0 assists, 5.1 rebounds Lillard entered this season as determined to prove his team’s early 2018 playoff exit wasn't a true measure of Portland's status. Still, getting swept by the Pelicans sent the Blazers into the offseason with tons of questions and skeptics. Since the first whistle of training camp, Lillard has gone about the business of answering those questions. He’s averaging career-highs in points (29.1), field goal percentage (49.7 percent), three-point percentage (40 percent) and free throw percentage (94 percent). The Blazers finished their recent four-game road trip at 3-1, which included wins against Orlando, Indiana and the struggling Houston Rockets. Thursday night’s (Friday, PHL time) win over the Anthony David-less Pelicans was fueled by Lillard’s team-high 26 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Saturday night’s home game against LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers could be another opportunity for Lillard and Co. to show they aren’t stepping aside for anyone. * * * The next five 6.  Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets 7.  Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors 8.  Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz 9.  LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers 10.  Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers And five more: Jimmy Butler, Minnesota Timberwolves; DeMar DeRozan, San Antonio Spurs; Blake Griffin, Detroit Pistons; Kyrie Irving, Boston Celtics; Victor Oladipo, Indiana Pacers Sekou Smith is a veteran NBA reporter and NBA TV analyst. 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 NewsNov 3rd, 2018

PVL: Lady Eagles stomp class over Lady Warriors

IMUS --- Ateneo-Motolite proved that its first round win over Pocari Sweat-Air Force was no fluke as the Lady Eagles crushed the Lady Warriors, 27-25, 25-21, 25-21, Saturday in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Open Conference at the Imus Sports Complex here. The trio of Maddie Madayag, Ponggay Gaston and Kat Tolentino returned to action after skipping the Lady Eagles’ end of first round loss to Creamline to help power the Ateneo-Motolite to its sixth win in eight games. Unlike in their first meeting that went to four sets, the Lady Eagles submitted the Lady Warriors in an emphatic fashion to move up at second spot tied with idle BanKo. Ateneo-Motolite came back from a 19-21 deficit with a 4-0 blitz to take a 23-21 advantage in the third set. Bea De Leon pushed the Lady Eagles at match point with a power tip before the Lady Warriors were called for an error that sealed the 92-minute match. “What I’m telling my players, ‘we have to do more of what we did during the first round.’ Sabi ko naman every game is a learning day,” said Ateneo-Motolite head coach Oliver Almadro. “I guess yung ginawa ng team ko is (ipinakita nila) ‘yung resiliency.”        De Leon and Tolentino led the way for the Lady Eagles as the veterans scored 12 each and combining for 18 of the team’s 32 attack points. Madayag, Gaston and rookie Vanessa Gandler added six each for the Katipunan-based squad, which will take on league-leading Creamline on Sunday in Batangas.    Ateneo-Motolite used its morale-boosting comeback in the first set from a 20-22 deficit to dictate the tempo of the game. The Lady Eagles controlled the second frame early to cruise to a 2-0 match lead.     Myla Pablo was the only Lady Warrior in double figures with 15 points while Jeannete Panaga and Del Palomata finished with eight each for Pocari Sweat, which suffered its second straight defeat to slide down to 4-5 mark.         --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 27th, 2018

UAAP 81 Girls Volleyball: NU sweeps first round

National University is cruising on a rosy road in its five-peat bid. The Bullpups went flawless in the first round of eliminations after crushing hapless University of the East, 25-12, 25-19, 25-13, Friday in the UAAP Season 81 girls volleyball tournament at the Blue Eagle gym. NU swept all of its six games in the first round and solidified its hold of the solo top spot with skipper Faith Nisperos leading the way with 13 points. Head coach Babes Castillo gave all of her girls playing time and each one delivered points while liberos Roma Mae Doromal and Shaira Jardino did their roles on floor defense well. Alyssa Solomon saw only two sets of action but still tallied eight points while Mhicaela Belen, Sheen Toring and Erin Pangilinan had six markers each for the Bullpups, who landed 18 aces with Solomon and Evangeline Alinsug scoring four each from the service line. The Junior Lady Warriors dropped their fifth match in six games. While NU’s making a great run, its archrival University of Sto. Tomas absorbed its third straight loss. Adamson University added woes to the Junior Tigresses, 16-25, 20-25, 25-19, 25-21, 15-10, for a 4-2 card. Kate Santiago poured 21 points off 16 attacks, three aces and two kill blocks while Ayesha Juegos scored 11 for the Baby Falcons. UST slid to 3-3 card despite the 19-point effort of Renee Penafiel. Far Eastern University beat De La Salle-Zobel, 25-20, 25-14, 22-25, 25-23, to tie UST and hand the Junior Lady Spikers their second loss in six outings.   ---            Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 26th, 2018

Rising squads

  Ateneo, thanks to its rising big man star, is back alone on top. University of the Philippines continues to rise from the dumps.   But National University's Lady Bulldogs deserve a lion's share of the spotlight.   Angelo Kouame followed up his best game of the season with another double-double while Thirdy Ravena provided the Blue Eagles a lift in his return with an all-around performance in a 90-70 drubbing of the University of the East Red Warriors Wednesday in UAAP Season 81 men's basketball at Smart Araneta Coliseum.   The 6-foot-10 Kouame, who finished with 33 points and 27 rebounds against Far Eastern U last Saturday, fired 18 points a...Keep on reading: Rising squads.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsOct 25th, 2018

PVL: Valdez, Pablo cross paths in explosive showdown

Two of the league’s biggest names collide on Sunday when Alyssa Valdez and Creamline meet Myla Pablo and the Pocari Sweat-Air Force Lady Warriors in an exciting Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Open Conference battle at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.    Action is set to begin at 6:00 p.m. 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 and via livestream.  Tied at 3-1 win-loss slates, the Cool Smashers and Lady Warriors will dispute the second spot behind league-leading and unbeaten BanKo (5-0). Also at stake for both teams are their winning streaks. The two squads started out on the wrong foot but gained back their confidence by winning their next three games, respectively. Leading Creamline is power hitter Valdez, who is averaging 21 points per game, backed by a solid crew led by Risa Sato, Jema Galanza, setter Jia Morado, veteran libero Mel Gohing and the returning Pau Soriano. Jem Gutierrez also made her presence felt in the Cool Smashers’ emphatic sweep of Adamson-Akari after scoring eight points, thus, giving head coach Tai Bundit another option on offense. But Creamline will definitely need to bring its A-game when they face Pablo and the Lady Warriors. The reigning Most Valuable Player Pablo is averaging 19 points per game and displayed solid floor defense for Poacri Sweat. Pablo will also have a veteran crew to help her with middles Jeanette Panaga and Del Palomata, setter Wendy Semana and hitter May Ann Pantino.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 13th, 2018

No surprise, the West title still runs through the Warriors

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press Golden State coach Steve Kerr is a happy man these days. He’s got a new contract. He’s got his son Nick, who was helping out in San Antonio, working in the Warriors’ video room now. He’s leading a team that has won three of the last four NBA championships and is the overwhelming favorite to win it again this season. Staying happy will be the challenge for Kerr and the Warriors this season, when Western Conference rivals resume their attempts to take down the champs. “Our place in the history of the league is pretty secure,” Kerr said. “I don’t think our guys should feel a ton of pressure. I think they should feel the importance of trying to do it again, because this may be the last time we have this current iteration of the Warriors, just given all the free agents and the money crunch and everything else.” LeBron James took his talents to Los Angeles, signing with the Lakers and moving out of the East for the first time in his career. Houston had the NBA’s best regular-season record a year ago and has reigning MVP James Harden. Utah has a budding superstar in Donovan Mitchell, and certainly got the league’s attention with its playoff run last season. But in the West, until further notice, it’s still the Warriors and then everybody else. “It’s a marathon,” Warriors guard Stephen Curry said. “There’s a lot of time between now and April and May and June, but if we go about it the right way to start the season, it can feed on itself in terms of the expectation we have night in, night out.” A look at the West, in predicted order of finish: PLAYOFF BOUND 1. GOLDEN STATE — Warriors aiming for their third consecutive NBA championship, something only the Lakers, Celtics and Bulls franchises have done. 2. UTAH — Donovan Mitchell is a legitimate star, coach Quin Snyder has been underrated for far too long, and the Jazz went 29-6 to finish last season. 3. HOUSTON — The Rockets have the MVP in James Harden, a leader in Chris Paul and added Carmelo Anthony, but expecting another 67-15 season is a lot. 4. L.A. LAKERS — LeBron James is still the best player in the game and shows no signs of slowing down, so doubting his chances seems less than brilliant. 5. OKLAHOMA CITY — This is a sign of how loaded the West remains: The Thunder are really good, and that won’t assure them home-court for Round 1. 6. DENVER — Losing Game 82 last season to Minnesota and missing the playoffs because of that outcome should serve as a massive motivator for Denver. 7. NEW ORLEANS — DeMarcus Cousins is gone, Rajon Rondo is gone, but Anthony Davis is still there and that should be enough for a Pelicans playoff run. 8. SAN ANTONIO — Dejounte Murray’s ACL tear is a disaster, but any team with LaMarcus Aldridge, DeMar DeRozan and Gregg Popovich still has a lot. IN THE MIX 9. PORTLAND — The West’s No. 3 seed last season, the Blazers were only three games ahead of No. 9 and will face a serious battle in a very loaded West. 10. DALLAS — Luka Doncic is NBA-ready, DeAndre Jordan will make the Mavs better and Dirk Nowitzki deserves to see his franchise trending up again. 11. L.A. CLIPPERS — A possible transitional year for the Clippers, who should be major players in free agency next summer and could add a lottery pick. FACING LONG ODDS 12. MINNESOTA — The Jimmy Butler debacle shows that some big changes in direction are probably going to happen in Minnesota, and sooner than later. 13. PHOENIX — Devin Booker got his max deal and the Suns got No. 1 pick Deandre Ayton, but firing GM Ryan McDonough so close to the season was odd. 14. MEMPHIS — Mike Conley and Marc Gasol are savvy vets, but they are going to need a lot of help if Memphis is going to seriously improve this season. 15. SACRAMENTO — Kings had a league-high 44 games last season where they didn’t score 100 points, and a very young team might not change that much. WHAT TO KNOW L.A. BRON: If he has even an average-for-him season, new Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James will rise to No. 4 on the NBA’s all-time scoring list this season. He’s currently No. 7, with No. 6 Dirk Nowitzki, No. 5 Wilt Chamberlain and No. 4 Michael Jordan well within reach. Add 2,000 or so points to James’ total of 31,038, and only No. 3 Kobe Bryant, No. 2 Karl Malone and No. 1 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — all former Lakers — would still be ahead of him. STEPH RISING: Speaking of rising up career charts, Golden State’s Stephen Curry could easily be No. 3 on the all-time list for 3-pointers made by the end of this season. Curry has 2,129 3s in 625 career games, a rate of 3.4 made per game. The six players ahead of him — Ray Allen, Reggie Miller, Jason Terry, Kyle Korver, Jamal Crawford and Paul Pierce — averaged 1.8 made 3s per game. BIG NUMBERS: The only players in the last 30 seasons to average 30 points and eight assists were Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook in 2016-17 and Houston’s James Harden last season. Probably not coincidentally, Westbrook and Harden won MVP awards for those seasons. There are seven active players with at least one MVP award in the NBA right now, and all seven play in the West. GREAT COACHES: San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich enters the season with 1,197 wins, fifth-most in NBA history — 13 behind Pat Riley and 24 behind Jerry Sloan. Meanwhile, Golden State’s Steve Kerr comes into the year with the highest winning percentages during both the regular season (265-63, .808) and the postseason (63-20, .759) in NBA history. Here’s how far ahead Kerr is on the NBA’s all-time regular season winning percentage list: If the Warriors go 24-58 this season, which seems less than likely, he would still be above Phil Jackson for the No. 1 spot. VERSUS EAST: The West beat the East for the ninth consecutive season in head-to-head matchups, winning nearly 53 percent of the cross-conference matchups in the regular season (and 100 percent of them in the NBA Finals). Over the last nine seasons, West teams have beaten East teams nearly 57 percent of the time......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 11th, 2018

PBA: Hotshots end NLEX s perfect start

NLEX's perfect start is no more. Magnolia demolished the Road Warriors in the 2018 PBA Governors' Cup, taking a convincing 102-72 win Wednesday at the Big Dome. An undermanned NLEX crew entered the game with a 2-0 mark despite missing several key pieces including its head coach and the Hotshots fully took advantage of that fact. Magnolia dominated all game, opening up a 31-12 lead in the first quarter and never let go.  "We prepared hard for NLEX's offense," head coach Chito Victolero said. "In their last two games, they averaged 113 points. We want to limit them under 90 and I'm proud of my players, they did a good job on defense," he added. Former Best Import Romeo Travis played his first PBA game in three years and scored 21 points and had 13 rebounds for the Hotshots. Mark Barroca was the top local for the Hotshots with 13 markers. For the Road Warriors, Olu Ashaolu finished with 21 points. The burly import will have to conced his roster spot to Aaron Fuller for now as he deals with a knee injury. Despite the loss, NLEX keeps first place for the moment with a 2-1 record.   The Scores: Magnolia 102 - Travis 21, Barroca 13, Simon 12, Gamalinda 10, dela Rosa 10 Reavis 8, Melton 7, Jalalon 6, Sangalang 5, Mendoza 4, Ramos 4, Herndon 2, Pascual 0, Brondial 0, Abundo 0. NLEX 72 - Ashaolu 21, Tiongson 8, Fonacier 6, Ighalo 6, Mallari 5, Quinahan 5, Rios 5, Paniamogan 4, Monfort 2, Baguio 2, Miranda 2, Galanza 2, Gotladera 2, Tallo 2, Marcelo 0, Soyud 0.  Quarters: 31-12, 55-30, 76-52, 102-72   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 22nd, 2018

DA s 2018 NBA Offseason Rankings: The Bottom 10

By David Aldridge, TNT Analyst Wonder what the rental market is like in San Luis Obispo, Calif. San Luis Obispo is, give or take a few miles, one of the closest cities that is near the midway point between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Given the events of the NBA’s offseason, it’s not hare to imagine national reporters are going to be spending a lot of time in California next season, bouncing back and forth between the Bay and L.A. Catch LeBron James and the Lakers on Wednesday and then, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and the Warriors on Thursday. The Western Conference only got stronger and deeper with James leaving Cleveland for a second time, this time to go to the Lakers. Add four of the top five Draft picks -- including No. 1 overall selection Deandre Ayton (Phoenix Suns), No. 2 pick Marvin Bagley III (Sacramento Kings) and international phenom Luka Doncic (No. 3 pick, acquired by Dallas Mavericks) -- going to Western Conference teams, and the talent disparity between conferences only seems greater. But did Eastern Conference teams take advantage of Cleveland deflating to make their teams better? And how effective were West teams in making their teams better prepared to at least compete with the Warriors? That’s where this year’s Offseason Rankings come in -- big, bold, definitive. You love them, if the amount of hate tweets and e-mails I get after they’re published are any indication. Every year, we rank how all 30 teams have done since the end of their respective seasons. We look at everything -- how they drafted, what trades they made, what players they signed in free agency, and for how much -- or if they didn’t participate in free agency much at all. We look at if they’ve changed coaches, executives, owners, or if they’re moving into a new building that can generate big revenues. And you have to decide which ones you liked the most. Here's what these rankings ARE NOT: A predicted order of finish for next season. It's an opinion that seeks to answer a question: is the team better now than at the end of last season? The ranking reflects the belief on whether, and how much, that is so. (I liked certain guys who were in the Draft more than others, so if your team took them, I probably weighed it more positively. Doesn't mean I'm right.) I do not expect the Suns, for example, to have a better record than the Celtics, just because they had a better summer. It is not a ranking of the teams in order from 1 through 30 right now; I do not believe the Mavericks are now a better team than Rockets. This is just one person’s opinion about offseason moves -- offseason moves only. Is your team better now than it was before? - If your team is ranked in the top 10, it doesn't mean I love your team.       - If your team is ranked in the bottom 10, it doesn't mean I hate your team. It's an opinion that seeks to answer a question: is the team better now than at the end of last season? The ranking reflects the belief on whether, and how much, that is so. (I liked certain guys who were in the Draft more than others, so if your team took them, I probably weighed it more positively. Doesn't mean I'm right.) What plays into the rankings: - This isn’t science. It’s an educated guess, weighing the impact both of the Draft and free agency, but also assessing whether teams got value in their free-agent signings. Overpaying the right player is as much a sin as signing the wrong player. A good new coach can coax some more wins out of a roster. But if a team’s players don’t believe in the system their team uses, the best Xs and Os on earth don’t matter.       - Teams that are rebuilding obviously have different priorities than teams making a championship push. That's factored in. So Chicago, for example, gets credit for adding young, affordable players as it stockpiles its talent -- but that talent has to fit together, as Wendell Carter Jr. does with Lauri Markannen. And a team like the Warriors that shows it’s willing to go deep into the luxury tax -- which most teams try to avoid -- in order to keep winning has to be commended, and its rankings reflect that commendation.       - Continuity matters here as well. The most successful teams usually not only identify a core group of players, they keep them together for a while, finding that sweet spot: everyone doesn’t get a max contract, but most get paid well enough to keep the train moving down the tracks. That reflects both good roster construction and good financial management -- and, again, is rewarded. The explosion in the cap means everyone has to spend; keeping your powder dry for another day doesn’t have as much cache as it used to. But you still have to manage your money wisely. Salary numbers, with a couple of exceptions, come from Basketball Insiders, whose Eric Pincus does the best job of anyone in the game of keeping track of all the moving financial parts, quickly and accurately -- which is why we use him at NBA TV during the Draft and free agency to tell us what the hell this all means. The Bottom 10 * * * 21. DETROIT PISTONS 2017-18 RECORD: 39-43; missed playoffs ADDED: Coach Dwane Casey; New executive Ed Stefanski; G Bruce Brown (No. 42 pick, 2018 Draft); G Jose Calderon (one year, $2.3 million); C Zaza Pachulia (one year, $2.3 million); G/F Glenn Robinson III (two years, $8.3 million); G Khyri Thomas (No. 38 pick, 2018 Draft) LOST: Former coach Stan Van Gundy; G Dwight Buycks (waived); F/C Eric Moreland (waived); F Anthony Tolliver (signed with Wolves) RETAINED: None THE KEY MAN: F Blake Griffin. And he will be for some time. The Pistons need him to be his former All-Star self again, able to take slower defender to the basket, able to stretch the floor if he plays the five in small-ball lineups. They need him to be a playmaker, to get Reggie Jackson more looks off the ball and Andre Drummond some high-low lobs at the rim. They need him to sell tickets at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit’s revitalized downtown -- a building that seems to be more for the NHL’s Red Wings than the NBA’s Pistons. And they need Griffin to be an anchor that draws players to the Motor City during the life of his extension. THE SKINNY: Owner Tom Gores agonized over firing Van Gundy, but he finally did so, and was fortunate that Casey was available and willing to step right back into the fray after being cashiered in Toronto. Casey will be quite in his element building a defense around Drummond, but, like Van Gundy, Casey will need Jackson to stay healthy; he’s missed a combined 67 games the last two seasons. Detroit did well for not having a first-round pick to come out of the Draft with two solid guard prospects deep in the second in Thomas and Brown. However, the new coaching staff will have to get more out of the team’s last three first-rounders: Stanley Johnson (2015), Henry Ellenson (2016) and Luke Kennard (2017). 22. BOSTON CELTICS 2017-18 RECORD: 55-27; lost in Eastern Conference finals ADDED: G Brad Wanamaker (one year, $838,000); C Robert Williams (No. 27 pick, 2018 Draft) LOST: G Shane Larkin (signed to play in Turkey); F Abdel Nader (traded to Thunder) RETAINED: C Aron Baynes (two years, $10.6 million); F Jabari Bird (two years, $3 million), G Marcus Smart (four years, $52 million) THE KEY MAN: F Gordon Hayward. All indications are he’s well on his way back from that horrific injury he suffered on opening night last season. He can do so many great things in coach Brad Stevens’ system, and if he’s 100 percent by the playoffs, Boston may well be the one team that can match up, player for player, with Golden State in a Finals meeting. (Remember this when people inevitably say I ranked the Celtics 23rd in offseason moves.) THE SKINNY: Boston got its biggest work done after Smart couldn’t loosen up an offer sheet from the Sacramento Kings or Dallas Mavericks, and eventually worked out a deal for less than he sought to return. Smart’s deal puts Boston in the tax for the foreseeable future, but the Celtics knew that was the next step in keeping a Finals-capable core group together. With Kyrie Irving and Hayward expected back on line Stevens can throw so many different lineups out there, all committed to stifling opponent movement with long, switching defenders led by Smart, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. Williams was worth an end of the first flier, though he didn’t get off to a great start. If he gets a good wake-up alarm on his phone, he has a chance to be the Celtics’ center of the future. 23. PHILADELPHIA 76ERS 2017-18 RECORD: 52-30; lost in Eastern Conference semifinals ADDED: F Wilson Chandler (acquired from Nuggets); F/C Mike Muscala (acquired from Hawks); G Zhaire Smith (No. 16 pick, 2018 Draft); G Landry Shamet (No. 26 pick, 2018 Draft); G Shake Milton (No. 54 pick, 2018 Draft) LOST: Former GM Bryan Colangelo (resigned); F Justin Anderson (traded to Hawks); G Marco Belinelli (signed with Spurs); F/C Richaun Holmes (traded to Suns); F Ersan Ilyasova (signed with Bucks); G/F Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (traded to Thunder) RETAINED: C/F Amir Johnson (one year, $1.5 million); G T.J. McConnell (picked up team option); G J.J. Redick (one year, $12.2 million) THE KEY MAN: G Markelle Fultz. His rookie year laid waste by a combination of injury and the yips -- which the Sixers have finally copted to -- Fultz is reportedly rebuilding his shot successfully under the learned eye of development coach Drew Hansen. If that carries over to the fall, Fultz will get a true opportunity (he had some cameos late in his rookie season) to show a skeptical Philly fan base he was worth the top pick in 2017, and worth Philly trading up to get him. He definitely could fill a need with the 76ers for a second playmaker to go with and occasionally in place of reigning Kia Rookie of the Year winner Ben Simmons. But if Fultz has another setback, physically or otherwise, it will be hard for him to stick much longer in Philly -- not a town known for patient reflection with regard to its sports teams. THE SKINNY: Coach Brett Brown was quite clear when he said the Sixers were hunting for a superstar this summer with the cap space they’d assiduously cleared the last couple of years. But the summer has come and gone and there’s no LeBron, no Kawhi, no trade, at least not yet, for Jimmy Butler or anyone else at that level. Belinelli and Ilyasova both played huge roles for Philly in the playoffs; maybe Fultz (see above) takes on some of that role, and Chandler will help. But this doesn’t feel like a successful offseason for one of the real risers in the East. 24. PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS 2017-18 RECORD: 49-33; lost in first round ADDED: G Seth Curry (one year, $2.7 million); G Nik Stauskas (one year, $1.6 million); G Anfernee Simons (No. 24 pick, 2018 Draft); G Gary Trent Jr. (No. 37 pick, 2018 Draft) LOST: G/F Pat Connaughton (signed with Bucks); F/C Ed Davis (signed with Nets); G Shabazz Napier (signed with Nets); C Georgios Papagiannis (waived) RETAINED: C Jusuf Nurkic (four years, $48 million) THE KEY MAN: Assistant coaches David Vanterpool, Nate Tibbets, Dale Osbourne, Jim Moran, John McCullough and Jonathan Yim. With the Blazers mostly landlocked the next two seasons -- they’re currently above the projected luxury tax line both for next season and 2019-20 -- there aren’t likely going to be many significant roster changes for a while. And in the West, especially, standing pat is often falling behind. It will thus fall to Portland’s excellent staff behind coach Terry Stotts to maximize the production of the current group. They can point with some pride to success stories like Will Barton and Allen Crabbe, now in Denver and Brooklyn, respectively, along with Maurice Harkless and Al-Faroqu Aminu. For Portland to take another step up, they’ll have to coach up someone like 2017 first-rounder Zach Collins or this year’s first-rounder, Simons. They must have them exceed expectations to become a third legit star behind Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. THE SKINNY: Lillard insists the rumblings heard in some quarters that he’s unhappy in Portland aren’t true, and the franchise better hope he’s being honest. The decisions the Blazers made in 2016 continue to lock them in place; if they catch a favorable first-round matchup (a grumbling Rockets team in 2014; an injury-strafed Clippers squad in 2016), they can advance a round. But last year’s 4-0 sweep by the New Orleans Pelicans had to give everyone pause. How does Portland respond mentally? Re-upping Big Nurk in the middle on a very reasonable deal -- $12 million for a starting center was the going rate five years ago, when the Wolves gave Nikola Pekovic a five-year, $60 million contract -- was necessary. But losing Davis, a locker room and fan favorite for superior work ethic, will hurt, even though Collins should sop up a lot of those minutes. 25. ORLANDO MAGIC 2017-18 RECORD: 25-57; missed playoffs ADDED: Coach Steve Clifford; C Mohamed Bamba (No. 6 pick, 2018 Draft); G Isaiah Briscoe (three years, $3.9 million); F Melvin Frazier (No. 35 pick, 2018 Draft); F Jerian Grant (acquired from Bulls); F Justin Jackson (No. 43 pick, 2018 Draft); F Jarrell Martin (acquired from Grizzlies); C Timofey Mozgov (acquired from Hornets) LOST: C Bismack Biyombo (traded to Hornets); G Mario Hezonja (signed with Knicks); C Dakari Johnson (traded to Grizzlies); G Shelvin Mack (waived); G Rodney Purvis (traded to Thunder) RETAINED: F Aaron Gordon (four years, $82 million) THE KEY MAN: G D.J. Augustin. A vet’s vet, he’s played 10 years in the league and started 226 games for eight teams, including 56 over the last two for the Magic. He’ll enter this season as the unquestioned starter at the point with Elfrid Payton in New Orleans and Orlando still looking to solve its long-term search for a point guard. It’s Augustin’s turn. THE SKINNY: At some point, Orlando’s yearly gambles on size and potential will pay off. Bamba could be the goods; he’s got a demeanor and toughness that should keep him together while he learns the craft at the pro level. But -- again -- it will take some time for Bamba, like 2017 first-rounder Jonathan Isaac, and Gordon, in whom Orlando invested a sizeable sum in July, to flourish. And Magic fans rightly can ask exactly how long they’re to remain patient. Clifford is supposed to improve the defense, but so was Frank Vogel … and so was Scott Skiles … and so was Jacque Vaughn. 26. NEW ORLEANS PELICANS 2017-18 RECORD: 48-34; lost in Western Conference semifinals ADDED: G Tony Carr (No. 51 pick, 2018 Draft); G Elfrid Payton (one year, $3 million); F Julius Randle (two years, $17 million) LOST: C DeMarcus Cousins (signed with Warriors); G Rajon Rondo (signed with Lakers) RETAINED: G Ian Clark (one year, $1.7 million); F Nikola Mirotic (picked up player option) THE KEY MAN: Owner Gayle Benson. Mrs. Benson took control of the team after the death of her husband, Tom, last March. She displayed great grace in the days and weeks after Tom Benson’s death, making it clear at the time she had no interest in selling the team and would continue to make outlays to keep the team competitive. The Pels didn’t blink last summer giving Jrue Holiday $126 million, and that will have to remain the case going forward if New Orleans is to repeat its surprising run to the Western Conference semifinals last spring. THE SKINNY: Can’t lose your starting point guard and your starting All-Star center in one offseason -- no matter what the circumstances -- and come out of it with high offseason marks. And especially when Rondo seemed like the perfect fit for the team. Mirotic mentioned during the Warriors series how good Rondo was at picking him up and connecting him quickly with the team after he was traded to New Orleans from Chicago. And, yes, coach Alvin Gentry mentioned he may have exchanged cusses with Rondo every now and again, too. Life in RondoWorld. The path forward is narrower, but not impassible; Randle can be tantalizing at times, maddening at others, but he could plug-and-play at the four, and he can take some of the playmaking burden off of Holiday. But big minutes on the ball for Holiday again is not what New Orleans had in mind. Payton is going to have to perform immediately. And losing “Boogie” Cousins is a big minus. It’s not what the Pelicans gave up to get him. It’s the fit and flow he had with Anthony Davis before the injury, and what the promise of a return this season could have meant toward carrying the momentum of last year forward. 27. MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES 2017-18 RECORD: 47-35; lost in first round ADDED: F Anthony Tolliver (one year, $5.7 million); G Josh Okogie (No. 20 pick, 2018 Draft); F Keita Bates-Diop (No. 48 pick, 2018 Draft) LOST: C Cole Aldrich (waived); F Nemanja Bjelica (signed with Kings) RETAINED: G Derrick Rose (one year, $1.5 million) THE KEY MAN: Vikings QB Kirk Cousins. He signed for big, big money by NFL standards (three years, $84 million), and the Vikings have Super Bowl aspirations. So all the light will be on the Vikes most of the fall and winter in Minneapolis, keeping it off of the still-young Wolves, who won’t be able to sneak up on anyone after breaking their long postseason drought. THE SKINNY: The Wolves should be positioned to build on their playoff run, especially if Butler can get through a full season healthy and Karl-Anthony Towns adds consistency to his prodigious talents. But they didn’t do much in the offseason, and the team that they beat out on the last day of the regular season, Denver, looks to be much improved. Tolliver should help the Wolves’ depth; they essentially traded him for Bjelica, and he shot slightly better on 3-poiners last season than Belly. Plus, they don’t come better as a guy than Tolliver and he can help Minnesota in the locker room. The issue of Butler’s contract isn’t going away; there will be a reckoning at some point, and he’ll have a lot more options next summer than free agents had this summer. Until then, coach Tom Thibodeau has pretty much the same team that he has to cajole better defense out of next season (22nd in Defensive Rating; 17th in points allowed). 28. CHARLOTTE HORNETS 2017-18 RECORD: 36-46; missed playoffs ADDED: Coach James Borrego; GM Mitch Kupchack; C Bismack Biyombo (acquired from Magic); F Miles Bridges (No. 12 pick, 2018 Draft); G Devonte' Graham (No. 34 pick, 2018 Draft); F Arnoldas Kulboka (No. 55 pick, 2018 Draft); ; G Tony Parker (two years, $10.2 milliion) LOST: G Michael Carter-Williams (signed with Rockets); C Dwight Howard (traded to Nets); C Timofey Mozgov (traded to Magic); G Julyan Stone (traded to Bulls) RETAINED: None THE KEY MAN: C Cody Zeller. It’s a guess -- Borrego could opt for Frank Kaminsky III -- but Zeller would seem to be the replacement at center for Dwight Howard, who wound up in Washington after the Hornets traded him to the Nets. Zeller started 58 games two years ago and was very good in screen and rolls with Kemba Walker. Zeller only played in 33 games last season because of a left knee injury; if he returns to form, the Hornets could pick up offensively and actually have a little more diversity at that end than last season. THE SKINNY: Team owner Michael Jordan cleaned house after a disappointing 2017-18, bringing another Tar Heel back home in the veteran Kupchak. Kupchak dispatched Howard and then got Mozgov’s guaranteed 2019-20 season off his books to take back Biyombo, who’d left Toronto two years ago for $72 million from the Magic and who’s got a player option for 2019-20. Well before then, the Hornets are going to have to decide what to do with Walker, who’ll be one of the top free agents available next summer if Charlotte can’t get him re-signed or extended. The Hornets were 8.8 points worse when the two-time All-Star was off the court rather than on. Nicolas Batum has to make a return to the all-around talent that enticed Charlotte to trade for him and give him a $120 million extension; he averaged just 11.6 points per game last year, his lowest in three years. Howard’s presence in the paint may have clogged things up some, but that’s no longer the case. 29. CLEVELAND CAVALIERS 2017-18 RECORD: 50-32; lost in The Finals ADDED: F Channing Frye (one year, $2.3 million); G Collin Sexton (No. 8 pick, 2018 Draft) LOST: G Jose Calderon (signed with Pistons); F Jeff Green (signed with Wizards); F LeBron James (signed with Lakers); C Kendrick Perkins (waived); F Okaro White (waived) RETAINED: F Kevin Love (contract extension) THE KEY MAN: GM Koby Altman. Altman has a blank slate now after trying to steer a championship-contending ship that had been stripped of a few propeller blades in the last 13 months. With James gone, as well as former GM David Griffin, the 35-year-old Altman has team owner Dan Gilbert’s charge to rebuild the Cavs without taking them down to the studs (as the Cavs did after James first departure in 2010). Altman’s next task after working out Kevin Love’s $130 million extension is clearing the roster of all the veterans brought in the last three years mainly because of their ability to play off of James. THE SKINNY: There weren’t any widespread jersey burnings this time in the Land. James left for L.A. with relative good will from his hometown, having delivered the championship it had waited 52 years for in 2016. Truly, the Cavs’ rebuild started the minute Kyrie Irving demanded a trade; last season seemed more rearguard action than an attack at another title. Extending Love through 2023 with no outs -- keeping him locked with rookie Sexton through the latter’s last controllable season before hitting unrestricted free agency -- gives Cleveland a base upon which to build. Cap room will follow in 2019, but next season will be difficult; Sexton has a lot of toughness and potential, but rookie point guards tend to get their lunch handed to them. 30. MIAMI HEAT 2017-18 RECORD: 44-38; lost in first round ADDED: None LOST: None RETAINED: G Wayne Ellington (one year, $6.2 million); F/G Derrick Jones Jr. THE KEY MAN: G Josh Richardson. Like many of his teammates, Richardson got an extension a couple of years ago -- four years and $42 million. Last season, he was (again) a solid two-way player for Miami -- almost 13 points per game, 84.5 percent from the line, 37.8 percent on 3-pointers. But if the Heat is going to shake out of the middle lane in which it currently seems stuck, Richardson will have to expand. Miami’s current roster makes it complicated; Pat Riley thinks Richardson’s probably more of a two, but he plays mostly three for coach Erik Spoelstra because Miami’s best lineups were small ball ones. Another offseason at P3 in California will help Richardson continue his development. THE SKINNY: No, Heat people: I don’t hate your team. But when you have no Draft picks, and you have no cap space, and thus you literally could do nothing in the offseason, and basically did nothing in the offseason, and your biggest, most newsy event was whether your 36-year-old future Hall of Fame guard will come back for one more season or play over in China … well, what am I supposed to do with that information? Rank you first? The question is, how much better is your team now than it was at the end of last season? It’s essentially the same team; other than the likes of Richardson (see above) or Justise Winslow, it’s not like there’s a great step up expected from Hassan Whiteside or Goran Dragic, is there? The Heat is not any better than last season. It isn’t any worse. It just … is. So, 30. Longtime NBA reporter, columnist and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer David Aldridge is an analyst for TNT. 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 NewsAug 8th, 2018

Foton claims seventh spot, Cherrylume upsets Cocolife

Foton settled for a seventh place finish after making a short work of University of the Philippines-United Auctioneers Inc. (UP-UAI), 25-14, 25-14, 25-14, Thursday in the Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Invitational Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Jaja Santiago and Dindin Manabat carried the Tornadoes to a strong finish with three straight wins, capped by an impressive win over the Lady Maroons in just 64 minutes. Santiago and Manabat poured 13 and 12 points, respectively, while Bea De Leon chipped in seven hits for Foton, which only had eight errors compared to the 21 miscues of UP-UA. Isa Molde was the lone bright spot for the Lady Maroons with 14 points in a losing effort as her team settled for eight-place. UP-UAI had only one win in the tourney beating Cocolife last Tuesday in the first phase of the classification round. Meanwhile, University of the East-Cherrylume hung on tight to upset the Cocolife in five sets, 22-25, 26-24, 25-19, 21-25, 22-20, and capture the ninth place. The Iron Lady Warriors saved the best for last as they survived five match points before dispatching the Asset Managers in two hours and 12 minutes and settle for the ninth place.  Mary Anne Mendrez provided the clutch blows for UE-Cherrylume denying Cocolife‘s last three match points of the seven deuces.  Down from 19-20, Mendrez nailed the equalizer and Cocolife’s Justine Tiu overcooked her attack giving the Lady Warriors the set point, 21-20, before Mendrez hit the game-winning service ace. Mendrez erupted for 27 points off 24 kills and three service aces, including 28 digs. Juliet Catindig was also impressive with 18 points, including 18 digs and 12 excellent receptions, while Judith Abil and Mariella Gabarda added 13 and 11 markers, respectively. “‘We gave our all in our last game” said UE-Cherrylume head coach Rod Roque after getting a gracious exit in the midseason conference. “When we joined, our only aim is to gain experience, learn from the senior players and adapt their strategy, mindset and communication in this exposure and preparation for UAAP.” The Iron Lady Warriors squandered a 2-1 set lead but did not back down in their neck-and-neck duel in the fifth set with the Asset Managers.  UE-Cherrylume reached match point first with a precarious 14-13 lead but Cocolife forced six more deuces before Mendrez’s heroics sealed the victory. Cocolife crashed down in the last place of the 10-team Invitational conference. Gyra Barroga and Tiu finished with 15 points each and had 19 digs and 13 receptions, respectively. Denice Tan and Marge Tejada were also instrumental with 13 and 10 markers, while libero Denden Lazaro had 34 digs......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 19th, 2018

Golden State Warriors not just good, they re lucky too

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com LAS VEGAS -- In this town, fates and fortunes can turn drastically any day, hour or minute. A flip of the card, pull of the switch or roll of the dice can make or break souls. Which brings us to NBA Summer League, the Golden State Warriors and the field. The league is holding its annual gathering of executives, coaches and player hopefuls here, and 29 of the 30 NBA teams are wondering about their chances this upcoming season and why the Warriors are the Chosen Ones. Meanwhile, the Warriors, winners of three of the last four championships, are no doubt doing some head-scratching about how a key injury is once again helping their cause and making them stronger. This is about luck, then, and why those chasing the Warriors can’t seem to get a break, and how the Warriors managed to make themselves both good and lucky. There is considerable buzz among the basketball throng in Vegas regarding the Warriors, who are less than a month removed from a convincing sweep of LeBron James and the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals and how they won twice this summer: championship and then free agency. The collective moan from the rest of the NBA seems to say: What the hell? DeMarcus Cousins agreed to a one-year deal with the Warriors for the NBA equivalent of loose change in a sofa: $5.3 million. Just like that, the Warriors added a dominant and versatile center, maybe the best in the game, which made coach Steve Kerr wisecrack about how the Warriors “needed another All-Star.” This was made possible because of a quirky circumstance that caused Cousins a lot of pain, which translated into plenty of gain for Golden State. When Cousins tore his Achilles last spring with the Pelicans, his market value in free agency fell to the floor right along with him. Suddenly, the rest of the league, including the Pelicans, became wary about investing heavily in a hulking center who most certainly would need most of the 2018-19 season to rehab, without any guarantee Cousins would return to form once medically cleared to play. Cousins averaged 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 1.6 blocks last season, perhaps the best of his career. He turns 28 in late August. Had he avoided injury, he would’ve been far too expensive for the Warriors to afford. They’re well over the luxury tax and are limited to exceptions, which allow them to sign players but only on the cheap. A healthy Cousins was destined to command in excess of $20 million a season, more had he stayed with the Pelicans. “If he’s healthy, he’s the best player at his position in the league,” said Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry. Well, when free agency opened, Cousins’ phone didn’t ring, and you probably know the story by now: He personally called the Warriors and signed up on the spot. His reasoning: If my only choice in this league is a short-term deal, might as well be with the team in the midst of a dynasty. The Warriors understandably were shocked, but why would they be? This isn’t the first time an injury went their way. Steph Curry’s chronic ankle sprains once threatened his career. He underwent surgery in the summer of 2011 and played only 26 games the next season. At that time, Curry was a good player, but far from the superstar who’d win a pair of MVPs and destroy three-point shooting records. So the Warriors were understandably worried, especially once Curry was due a contract extension. The two sides made a compromise that protected both parties: Four years, $44 million. The risk the Warriors took is Curry would continue having ankle issues and never see a full season. Curry’s risk: He’d remain healthy and see his production swell and spend most of that contract as a bargain. A bargain, for sure: At the end of that deal, Curry was the fourth-highest-paid player. On his own team. The upside for the Warriors and Curry: That contract helped them extend Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala and more importantly, add Kevin Durant. When you’re good and lucky -- remember, the Warriors won their first title over the Cavs when Cleveland was largely without Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, and beat the Rockets last spring after Chris Paul suffered a series-ending hamstring injury -- then you get plenty of rings. The beauty of the Cousins situation is the Warriors don’t need him during the regular season. This was mentioned more than a few times by rival general managers and coaches in Vegas. Cousins’ rehab is expected to require another five or six months -- full recovery form Achilles surgery is usually a year -- yet there’s no rush. Golden State won 73 games a few years ago without him and won 58 games last season on cruise control. They can wait until next spring, where Cousins could return, say, in March and use the final few weeks as a warm-up for the playoffs. After using the likes of the plodding Zaza Pachulia and quirky JaVale McGee in the middle, the Warriors are legit at center. Cousins fits the Warriors’ style because he can shoot 3s and is a willing and efficient passer from the high and low post. “That’s really an area where they’ve struggled and been inconsistent,” said Gentry, a former Warriors assistant coach before taking the top job in New Orleans. “It’s going to be a position where they make an upgrade." Meanwhile, Houston lost Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute, a pair of athletic swingmen, this summer from free agency and therefore aren’t a better team on paper than last season, although the Rockets might soon add Carmelo Anthony, for whatever that’s worth. The Lakers welcome LeBron, but they didn’t get Paul George, who stayed in Oklahoma City, and the idea of trading for Kawhi Leonard this season remains a fantasy, at least for now. Which means the Warriors are once again the odds on favorites across town in the Vegas casinos to sip champagne next June. “Hey, that’s the NBA,” said Gentry with a shrug. “It’s supposed to be that way. You’re supposed to put out the best team you can. It’s up to the rest of us to catch them. They’ve put together a great team, drafted great, and guys in free agency wanted to come there. That’s what it’s all about. We have to pick up our game, it’s not that they should say, 'Oh we’re too good, let’s give away players.’ We all have to find a way to catch them, not them coming back to us.” Damian Lillard, the star guard for the Trail Blazers, spoke for the field when he said: “It's just going to get tougher and tougher. It is what it's always been, but just a little tougher. But you know what? Once the season starts, we gotta go. Nobody’s got time to be out there, not having fun and being stressed and all that BS. We gotta find to make it happen.” Twenty-nine teams, and especially the contenders in the West, are at a disadvantage regarding the Warriors because of a lack of All-Stars; not only do the Warriors now have five, but they’re all in their prime years. It’s one thing to try to be as good as the Warriors. Nowadays, you must rise to their level of luck as well. Veteran NBA writer Shaun Powell has worked for newspapers and other publications for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here or follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 12th, 2018

PVL: Final Four scenarios

Only three teams remain in the hunt for the last two Final Four berths in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Reinforced Conference. BanKo Perlas, defending champion Pocari Sweat-Air Force and Petro Gazz are all in a good position to join Creamline and PayMaya in the best-of-three semifinals, which will start on Saturday or Sunday. But their semis hopes will depend on the result of the last round robin quarterfinals playdate on Wednesday which will pit the unbeaten Perlas Spikers against the Angels. BanKo sports a perfect 4-0 record on top of the quarters standing followed by the Lady Warriors (4-1) and Petro Gazz (3-1). The Perlas Spikers and Pocari Sweat both secured at least a playoff for a semis seat. If necessary, the semis berth playoff is scheduled on Friday, 4:00 p.m., at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.     SCENARIO 1 BanKo has the hot streak after winning their previous four matches in the quarterfinals and sixth overall since the prelims. Peaking at the right time after a slow start, the Perlas Spikers are now moving as one cohesive unit behind American import Kia Bright and Thai reinforcement Jutarat Montripila. What BanKo needs to do to advance in the semis is to complete a sweep of the quarters against Petro Gazz. A win will give the Perlas Spikers the no. 3 seed in the semis against the well-rested PayMaya. Pocari Sweat will then automatically earn the fourth seed and take on top seed Creamline in the other Final Four pairing.   SCENARIO 2 Petro Gazz has its back against the wall but the Angels could pull off an upset over BanKo if they’ll use the momentum of their three-game winning streak – all in straight sets. A straight or four-set win by Petro Gazz will hand the Jerry Yee-mentored squad the no. 3 seed in the semis. BanKo will then take on Pocari Sweat in a do-or-die match for the no. 4 seat.   SCENARIO 3 Petro Gazz is not out of the woods yet if they win in five sets over BanKo. In this scenario, both the Angels, Perlas Spikers and Pocari Sweat will end up with 4-1 win-loss cards but BanKo will have a higher tiebreak of 12 points. The Perlas Spikers and Lady Warriors currently have 11 points each while the Angels have nine. A three or four set win earns a team three points while a five set win will give the victor two points and the loser a point. A five-set win by Petro Gazz will hand BanKo the no. 3 seed against PayMaya while the Angels will face Pocari Sweat in a playoff for the right to challenge Creamline.   ---       Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 25th, 2018

Ateneo crushes NU by 34 points to stay spotless in Filoil Preseason

Ateneo de Manila University remains the pacesetter in the 2018 Filoil Flying V Preseason Tournament all while flexing its muscle up against a UAAP rival. Drawing contributions from up and down their lineup, the Blue Eagles routed National University for a convincing 94-60 victory on Thursday at the Filoil Flying V Centre. Thirdy Ravena fronted the charge with 20 points while new reinforcement Angelo Kouame had 12 markers to his name. With Ravena on-point from the get-go, the reigning and defending UAAP champions blazed to a 26-10 start in the first quarter. They would never look back all the way to a still spotless 5-0 slate – good for joint first in Group A. Ateneo needs just one more win to secure a spot in the quarterfinals. Conversely, the Bulldogs now find themselves in a must-win situation as their latest lost drops their record to 2-5. Shaun Ildefonso was the only one in double-digits for them in this one with 16 points. Also still in the running for a quarters berth is the University of the Philippines which took care of business against University of the East, 66-61, even without top guns Paul Desiderio and Gomez de Liano brothers Javi and Juan. Nigerian powerhouse Bright Akhuetie posted a 17-point, 16-rebound double-double and Jun Manzo chipped in 13 markers of his own in the Fighting Maroons’ fifth win in a row after a 0-3 start to the tournament. With Juan GDL injured and Desiderio and Javi GDL tending to their studies, Janjan Jaboneta also stepped up with nine points, none bigger than a big-time triple with under a minute remaining. Overcoming the absence of its top guns, State U moved to solo fifth in Group A still win one assignment left in its schedule. Reymark Acuno paced the now 2-4 Red Warriors with 14 points. Meanwhile, Adamson University is the first team to deal a defeat to College of St. Benilde with an 80-60 whopping. Sean Manganti showed the way with 17 points, nine rebounds, and five assists while Jerom Lastimosa contributed 13 markers, five dimes, and three steals as the Soaring Falcons ascended to a 5-1 standing. Now tied with them for first-place in Group B are the Blazers who had Kendrix Belgica topping the scoring column with 18 points. In other results, Arellano University edged out Jose Rizal University, 76-74, to improve to 3-3. On the other hand, the Heavy Bombers finished the preseason without a win. BOX SCORES FIRST GAME ARELLANO (76) – de la Torre 15, Sera Josef 14, Alban 11, Chavez 8, Meca 7, Concepcion 6, Bayla 5, Ongolo Ongolo 4, Abdurasad 2, Abanes 2, Santos 2, Filart 0, Labarda 0, de la Cruz 0, Alcoriza 0, Dumagan 0, Codinera 0. JRU (74) – Mendoza 15, de la Virgen 15, Ramos 9, Bordon 9, Esguerra 7, Padua 6, Silvarez 5, de la Rosa 5, de Guzman 3, David 0, Estrella 0, Mallari 0. QUARTER SCORES: 12-20, 27-38, 44-50, 76-74. SECOND GAME UP (66) – Akhuetie 17, Manzo 13, Jaboneta 8, Gozum 7, Prado 7, Vito 6, Murrell 3, Lim 3, Dario 2, Santiago 0, Espanola 0, Tungcab 0, Longa 0. UE (61) – Acuno 14, Conner 13, Pasaol 13, Varilla 12, Antiporda 4, Ph Manalang 3, Gagate 2, Maloles 0, Strait 0, Dimayuga 0, Bartolome 0, Cullar 0, Sobrevega 0. QUARTER SCORES: 15-12, 26-24, 52-43, 66-61. THIRD GAME ADAMSON (80) – Manganti 17, Lastimosa 13, Ahanmisi 11, Catapusan 9, Mojica 8, Colonia 6, Sarr 6, Camacho 5, J Espeleta 2, Zaldivar 2, V Magbuhos 1, Orquez 0, W Magbuhos 0, Macion 0. CSB (60) – Belgica 18, Leutcheu 15, Carlos 9, Domingo 6, Dixon 5, Naboa 3, Haruna 0, Young 0, Flores 0. QUARTER SCORES: 18-8, 32-21, 63-47, 80-60. FOURTH GAME ATENEO 94 — Ravena 20, Kouame 12, Mi. Nieto 11, Mendoza 9, Ma. Nieto 8, Navarro 7, Asistio 6, Tio 6, Belangel 5, Black 3, Maagdenberg 3, Mamuyac 2, Wong 2. NU 60 — S. Ildefonso 16, Mosqueda 8, Mangayom 7, Joson 6, Aquino 5, Clemente 5, D. Ildefonso 5, Galinato 3, Gallego 2, Salim 2, Diputado 1, Gaye 0, Sinclair 0, Tibayan 0, Yu 0. QUARTER SCORES: 26-10, 48-33, 69-46, 94-60. —— Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 31st, 2018

Semana could miss remainder of PVL tournament due to ankle sprain

Pocari Sweat-Air Force setter Wendy Semana could miss the remainder of the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference after injuring her right ankle Wednesday at Filoil Flying V Centre. Semana suffered a high ankle sprain during the second set of their game against PetroGazz after she accidentally landed on Paneng Mercado's foot. Semana will undergo a medical checkup on Thursday to fully diagnose the extent of her injury. The playmaker's absence would be a big blow to the Lady Warriors who have now dropped to a 3-3 record after losing to the Angels, 25-19, 20-25,28-26, 25-21. As of Sunday, Semana is at the fourth spot of the Best Setters list with an average of 6.79 ...Keep on reading: Semana could miss remainder of PVL tournament due to ankle sprain.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsMay 30th, 2018

Warriors also force rubber

An awful start followed by three quarters of utter dominance, spot-on shot-making and beautiful defense – even against one of the game’s greatest and hardest to stop in James Harden. That’s the way it’s been for these up-and-down, uber-talented Warriors, who leave even their coach perplexed......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsMay 28th, 2018

UAAP VOLLEYBALL: Kailangang trabahuhin ang NU -- Pons

Far Eastern University is already through to the Final Four but the Lady Tamaraws will treat their last 80th UAAP women’s volleyball tournament elimination round game against National University on Sunday as a do-or-die match. At stake in the all-important game is a golden opportunity for FEU to clinch a twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four against Ateneo de Manila University. FEU defeated University of the East 25-17, 25-15, 25-20, Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan to tie the Lady Eagles at 9-4 win-loss record with both teams engaged in a wild race for the semis incentive.       “Sobrang importante pa rin talaga ‘yung NU game namin ‘yun nga sabi nga na nabigyan kami ng opportunity para makuha namin ‘yung no. 2 spot,” said graduating hitter Bernadeth Pons, who had a triple-double performance of 13 points, 13 digs and 13 excellent receptions. “Pero kailangan pa rin namin trabahuin yung natitirang game namin which is yung NU,” she added. “So paghahandaan pa rin namin sila, aaralin namin yung galaw ng kalaban.” The Lady Tamaraws handed the Lady Bulldogs their first loss of the season in four sets. NU bounced back after that loss but FEU’s win exposed the Lady Bulldogs’ weaknesses as the Jaja Santiago-led squad struggled in the second round with five straight losses before bouncing back with a win over the lowly Lady Warriors. “Although bumaba ‘yung standing ng NU ng second round then nakabawi sila ng isa, sa player kasi walang gustong natatalo so andun pa rin yung babawi, magba-bounce back,” Pons stressed. “So kami din ayaw namin na mabawian kami kasi sobrang importante ng game namin so pagtatrabahuan talaga namin.” The Morayta-based squad can clinch the semis advantage with a win over NU and Ateneo loses to the defending two-time champion De La Salle University. In case both the Lady Tams and Lady Eagles drop their last assignments or if FEU falls to NU and Ateneo wins over the Lady Spikers both teams will dispute the semis advantage via playoff.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 11th, 2018

DOC VOLLEYBALL: FIVE FOR (FINAL FOUR) FIGHTING

A couple more games in and the elimination round will soon come to a close. Even up to this point, the women’s volleyball tournament of UAAP Season 80 continues to prove to be the most unpredictable year in recent UAAP history. While the top two seeds, the DLSU Lady Spikers and the Ateneo Lady Eagles have already secured spots in the Final Four, it’s still an on-going Battle Royale for the remaining two spots among teams gunning for a chance at either redemption or ascendancy.  With the FEU Lady Tamaraws, NU Lady Bulldogs, Adamson Lady Falcons, UP Lady Maroons, and the UST Golden Tigresses still slugging it out to prove their worth, the last few games of the eliminations couldn’t be more exciting and interesting at the same time. FEU Lady Tamaraws (7 – 4) Numerically speaking, the Lady Tamaraws have the best chances of booking the 3rd spot based on their team’s performance in the different skill departments. Despite being 7th overall in spiking, the Lady Tamaraws have shown consistency in the more crucial departments such as serve (2nd), receive (4th), and setting (3rd). At a relatively more comfortable standing of 7 – 4, FEU just needs one win to seal their Final Four spot or 2 to guarantee at least a 3rd rank finish. In their upcoming game against their 1st round tormentors, the Adamson Lady Falcons, the Lady Tamaraws’ services would definitely be challenged by the resurgent passing and commendable first point conversion of the Lady Falcons. Likewise, FEU would be expected to capitalize on the relatively less aggressive serving of Adamson to run their bread and butter combination plays. A revenge win against Adamson, avoiding an upset against a confident UE Lady Warriors squad and a repeat over skidding NU will enable the Lady Tamaraws to bag the best possible ranking at the end of eliminations. NU Lady Bulldogs (6 – 6) Despite the downward spiral that the Lady Bulldogs have found themselves in this second round, their stellar performance during the first round could still be enough of a cushion for them to keep their Final Four dreams alive. In their recent matchup with the Lady Maroons, Queen Bulldog Jaja Santiago was being maximized with her relatively more unstoppable attack from the right wing and back row. At times that the team was able to go for a high enough dig or pass, despite the location quality, a safety set to Santiago proved to be much needed relief. However, despite this dominance by Santiago, the team still sorely lacks output from the left wing as a much needed support. Had the left wing been more successful in attempt-to-point ratio, the match would have had a different tone. But moving forward, now that the team has had some positional adjustments that ensures libero Gayle Valdez’s stint is fully utilized, a few adjustments in passing formation is needed to ensure that Valdez has the best coverage. With the current struggles in their floor defense, the Lady Bulldogs will benefit more with slowing the rally down will high first balls regardless if on a perfect location just so setter Jasmine Nabor can better shoot to the wings. Adamson Lady Falcons (5 – 6) With a recent commanding win against the NU Lady Bulldogs and an almost statement win versus the Ateneo Lady Eagles, the Adamson Lady Falcons have found a much needed momentum boost amidst a slow second round start. In recent games, the Lady Falcons have seen a resurgence in their receiving prowess which has enabled them to beat powerhouses like DLSU and FEU in the first round. In their recent outings, the Lady Falcons have shown that they have superior side-out game as they have relatively higher first point conversion coming from a serve but have had some struggles in earning points off the transition. In addition, perhaps the most significant limiting factor for Adamson is their serving, which is notably the least aggressive in the league. Though successful in their first encounters against DLSU and FEU, the Lady Falcons’ upcoming rematch against these two teams would be their toughest challenge yet as they would heavily rely in their steady passing against the top two serving teams. To increase their chances of a first round repeat against these two teams, serving adjustments should also be made to ensure that they can limit the DLSU’s Majoy Baron from the middle as well as FEU setter Kyle Negrito from setting up their combination plays. UST Golden Tigresses (4 – 8) Despite a rough and disheartening initial run in this season, the UST Golden Tigresses have started to show what they are seriously capable of achieving. Albeit a too little too late with their current resurgence, a fully intact team is not to be discredited yet. Although much like the UP Lady Maroons in that their fate relies on the succeeding outcome for both NU and Adamson, UST still has a slightly better chance given that they can ensure a win against the Lady Falcons. Able to stretch out the Lady Eagles into a five-set thriller recently is much of a testament that UST is indeed final four material given a fully functioning roster. Much like how Adamson capitalized on Ateneo’s passing, UST proved to be one of the leagues better serving team, but also felt quite short when it came to transition play compared to the Lady Eagles. In line with that, the Golden Tigresses will also have to rely on their serving for their match against the Lady Spikers to ensure easier transition when the middle is eliminated from the attack. Interestingly enough, UST’s situation is mirrored by the Adamson Lady Falcons and their fate relies on each other as both teams are yet to face off against top seed DLSU and are set to face each other for their last elimination match. UP Lady Maroons (4 – 8) Despite a rough start early on in the league that casted some doubts on the inclusion of new coach Godfrey Okumu, the Lady Maroons have slowly found their groove as well as their identity. Though the hopes of a Final Four finish are not as feasible as their fate relies on the further performance of both NU and Adamson, the Lady Maroons are in a good position to prepare for the next season. With all the rotational adjustments Okumu has utilized throughout the season, the current setup is perhaps their best bet to build on. Perhaps the main challenge UP has faced the entire season is that with the short stint under a new coach, the tournament has been more of an unlearning process first before Okumu’s new system, a more scientific one as he claims, is infused. For their upcoming match against the Lady Eagles, the Lady Maroons will find much benefit in aggressive serving to take opportunity of the less threatening passing proficiency of their opponent but at the same time, the challenge is ensuring they convert every possession since the Ateneo has shown much skill in winning the point the longer the transition rally progresses. Final Four Probabilities As with the standings in UAAP History, the elusive 7th win is always the magic number to strive for to get an assurance of a Final Four spot. At this point, FEU is almost guaranteed of that spot given that they just win another game. Should NU finally get out of their slump and manage their first win in the second round, they can guarantee an extension in their stint which would be enough time to at least familiarize their new rotation. Adamson undeniably has the best chances based on numbers as they still have 3 more games but these last elimination games will be relatively challenging as they will have to perform a repeat of their first round win against the top seeded teams FEU and DLSU. Finally, both UP and UST should ensure a win for their last 2 games and hope for upsets against NU and Adamson to at least be within striking distance for the last Final Four spot.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 5th, 2018

UE: Rod Roque – The Accidental Coach

“Nakakatawa nga eh. I’ve never played volleyball in my life! Never!” A fact University of East head coach Rod Roque admitted when he talked to sports scribes after his first stint with the Lady Warriors in just the sixth game of the squad in the UAAP Season 80 women’s volleyball tournament. Just two days before, Francis Vicente parted ways with UE after three and a half seasons with a futile 2-45 win-loss record. The Lady Warriors absorbed their 12th straight defeat since Season 79 a day before he resigned. Then they found Roque, the school’s representative to the UAAP Board, a perfect fit. But with a losing record and a team lacking confidence, why would UE hire an interim coach that had no volleyball background? The answer is simple. The school’s management wanted someone that they can trust, a person who has been loyal to the Recto-based university and a tactician that can hold the fort until they can find a proper replacement. Plus, it’s an added bonus that the man they chose for the interim spot made miracles in their boy’s volleyball program. Heck, the man gave UE high school more titles than the other teams’ number of boy’s crowns combined. But Roque is also quick to temper UE management’s expectations. “Siympre mahirap because people might expect a miracle. Sabi ko naman sa management when they told me, sabi ko, ‘Don’t expect a miracle because a miracle doesn’t happen overnight.”   A Twist of Fate Roque may not have the volleyball background like the other UAAP coaches but he excelled in a different kind of sport.      “High school, college, noong estudyante pa ako gymnast ako,” said Roque, a true-blooded Red Warrior with a BS Physical Education degree. He was a member of the national men’s all-around gymnastics team and even represented the country in different international tournaments. “Nakapunta kami sa Asian Youth, sa National games. Di ko lang nalaro yung SEA (Southeast Asian) Games,” he said. After finishing his Masters degree in UE in 1992, Roque grew tired of gymnastics and decided to pursue his love of teaching, working as a PE instructor in the same university. Then fate brought him into coaching high school boy’s volleyball.         “Una ko na-discover sa intramural volleyball. Kumuha kami ng player noong intrams. Nagtayo kami ng team, nananalo naman kami. So yun na yung umpisa,” he said. With the UE boy’s team success, the late athletic director Brenn Perez saw a lot of potential with the Junior Warriors and he decided to field the squad in the UAAP.   “Nakita ng director namin, si Mr. Perez na nagtsa-champion kami sa mga invitational. So nag-propose siya sa UAAP na isama na ‘yung UAAP jrs volleyball. Ayun. Since 1996 nagstart yung UAAP Jrs. volleyball sa (UE),” said Roque. But UE wasn’t as successful as it was in the other tournaments the Junior Warriors joined. De La Salle-Zobel was lording it over since the boy’s tournament started in 1995. The Junior Spikers built a dynasty from Season 57 to 62. Then Roque’s crew got its payback. UE completed a grand slam from 2001 to 2003. DLSU-Zobel snatched a crown in Season 66 but Roque was set to make history. The Junior Warriors reigned supreme for the next 11 years. Under Roque’s tutelage, UE was invincible for more than a decade, dating from 2005 to 2015 - the longest title streak of any team in any UAAP volleyball division. From 1995 to 2016 the Junior Warriors landed 22 straight Final Four appearances. Roque handled the National Capital Region’s boy’s volleyball team for 10 years, earning five Palarong Pambansa gold medals. Out of UE’s 14 titles, Roque had 10 for the Junior Warriors before taking a bigger role as UE’s athletic director after Perez passed away from a heart attack in 2009. “Nag-retire (ako as coach) kasi na-promote ako. Naging assistant director na ako. After that, two years, ginawa na akong director,” he said. “Busy na ‘yung schedule. Hindi ako makapag-ensayo.”   Back as Coach UE has been lumbering at the cellar for years both in the men’s and women’s divisions. While the Junior Warriors were copping titles, the school’s college teams were getting beaten black and blue season after season. Under Vicente’s watch, the Lady Warriors sported a 2-45 win-loss record. The Red Warriors, who named a new coach before Season 80 in national men’s volleyball team coach Sammy Acaylar, didn’t fare any better. Five games into the season, UE decided to part ways with their coaches. Acaylar resigned citing conflict of schedule a he was appointed as Perpetual Help athletic director while Vicente left because of ‘personal reasons’. But sources said that Vicente was sacked a day before Acaylar tended his resignation. While Roque struggled to turn around the campaign of the Red Warriors, his stint with the Lady Warriors was sort of ‘miraculous’. He dropped a four-setter against Far Eastern University in his debut but again became an architect of UE’s historic feat – this time in the women’s division. The Lady Warriors closed the first round with a surprise 25-22, 22-25, 14-25, 25-20, 15-13 shocker over Adamson University that ended their 12-game slide since Season 79. Just three days later, UE stunned University of Sto. Tomas, 25-23, 18-25, 28-26, 26-24, in a historic first win against the traditional powerhouse Tigresses at least since the start of the Final Four format in 1994. It marked the first time since Season 74 that the Lady Warriors won back-to-back games. It opened the eyes of volleyball fans that the Lady Warriors have talented players like Shaya Adorador, Mary Anne Mendrez and libero Kath Arado. “Na-notice kasi namin na takot silang magkamali. Takot silang magkamali kaya lalo silang nagkakamali. Pero para sa akin OK lang magkamali but make sure babawi ka,” said Roque. “Natutuwa naman ako kasi nagkakamali sila pero bumabawi.” The Lady Warriors eventually dropped their next three games after that back-to-back wins but gave Adamson, Ateneo de Manila University and De La Salle University quite a scare before succumbing. But with the change of culture brought by Roque, teams are now wary of the Lady Warriors, which will return to action on April 8 against slumping National University. UE will wrap up its campaign against FEU and University of the Philippines – the last remaining games of Roque before he leaves his post to make way to a new head coach. “This season lang talaga ako,” said Roque. With him on board, the Lady Warriors are playing like a team looking to prove that they are better than just being a win fodder for other squads. Roque made the players respect themselves. He gave UE volleyball the respect it deserves.   ---   Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 31st, 2018

Kevin Durant ejected in return as Bucks rout Warriors

By Jeff Faraudo, Associated Press OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 32 points, Kevin Durant's return from a rib injury ended early with a second-quarter ejection, and the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Golden State Warriors 116-107 on Thursday night (Friday, PHL time). The Bucks beat the Warriors for just the second time in their past 10 meetings and stayed five games ahead of Detroit for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Sidelined by a fractured rib the previous six games, Durant argued after no foul was called on a drive through three defenders. Official Tre Maddox whistled him for a technical foul, then gave him another and tossed him with 2.4 seconds left. Khris Middleton converted two free throws to cap an 11-0 run that gave Milwaukee a 58-49 halftime lead. Still without Stephen Curry (ankle sprain) and Klay Thompson (broken thumb), the Warriors lost their third straight game and seventh in their past 10 outings. Houston clinched the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, and Golden State fell a game behind East-leading Toronto for the NBA's second-best record. This wasn't what Warriors coach Steve Kerr had in mind when he said during his pregame news conference, "It should be a lot more fun" with the return of Durant and Draymond Green. Durant had 10 points, six assists and three rebounds in 17 first-half minutes. Green, who had missed the three previous games with a pelvic contusion and flu-like symptoms, contributed 11 points and six assists. But the Warriors never threatened again after Durant was tossed. The All-Star forward leads the NBA with five ejections and now has 14 technical fouls, two short of the threshold for a one-game suspension. The Bucks led 92-72 after three quarters. Middleton scored 23 for Milwaukee. Antetokounmpo scored 30 for the sixth time this month, the 21st time on the season. Quinn Cook, starting for Curry, set a career-high with 30 points to lead the Warriors in scoring for the fifth time in the past seven games. TIP-INS Bucks: Guards Malcolm Brogdon (left quadriceps) and Matthew Dellavedova (right ankle), both sidelined since February, remained out with no timetable for their return, according to interim coach Joe Prunty. Center Thon Maker (right groin) missed his third straight game. Warriors: Kerr said Thompson could return as soon as Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) at Sacramento, but isn't even certain to play on Sunday (Monday, PHL time) at home against Phoenix. "It's day-to-day, but it's getting close," he said. Thompson missed his eighth straight game with a fractured right thumb. UP NEXT Bucks: At Los Angeles Lakers on Friday (Saturday, PHL time). Warriors: At Sacramento on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 30th, 2018