Advertisements


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

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

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnAug 13th, 2019

PVL: Flying Titans begin Open Conference quest

All eyes are on ChocoMucho when the much-hyped about newcomer charges into its first battle in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Open Conference against BaliPure on Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Game time is at 2:00 p.m. and will air live on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166, LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183, iWant and via livestream. The Flying Titans are considered to be one of the teams to watch in the season-ending conference after making noise with their composition. ChocoMucho parades a very competitive lineup with the trio of Bea De Leon, Kat Tolentino and Maddie Madayag but what made the Flying Titans more interesting is the inclusion of De La Salle University legend Manilla Santos-Ng. Santos-Ng is making a comeback since her last competitive volleyball stint 10 years ago when she led the Lady Spikers to the UAAP Season 71 throne during her swan song. Santos-Ng also won the Most Valuable Player award that season. But the Oliver Alamdro-mentored squad has yet to prove that they are as good as advertised. And the Water Defenders are no pushovers. Though BaliPure finished the Reinforced Conference winless, the Water Defenders gained the much-needed experience in the import-laden tournament. Back for BaliPure are power-hitters Grazielle Bombita, Sandra Delos Santos, Menchie Tubiera, setter Vira Guillema and Satrianni Espiritu.     ---    Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 13th, 2019

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

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 14th, 2019

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

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 13th, 2019

PVL: I have to prove myself – Manilla Santos-Ng

Returning Manilla Santos-Ng has to reintroduce herself. The volleyball legend may have an impressive résumé under her belt but after a decade removed from competitive play, Santos-Ng will have to start from scratch. It’s like her rookie year with De La Salle University all over again. Santos-Ng is staging a comeback since her last stint in the UAAP in 2009 after signing up with newcomer ChocoMucho in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Open Conference. “It’s 10 years ago [since I last played]. Sa totoo lang, I consider myself a rookie in this pro-league, bago lang ako,” said the four-time UAAP champion. Just like other newbies, Santos-Ng, who during her time in the UAAP was known for her high-leaping exploits, high-octane offense and solid floor defense, has to vie for playing time under head coach Oliver Almadro. “I really have to prove myself also kung talagang karapa’t dapat kang makalaro,” said Santos-Ng. “Kung maglalaro ka go, if you can contribute go. If not, maybe in some other ways like inspiring the kids.” Santos-Ng has to compete against her younger and taller teammates to convince Alamdro for minutes. And earning her playing time won’t be easy for the 34-year old, 5-foot-4 hitter in a Flying Titans team stacked with young and very talented wing spikers in Kat Tolentino, Shang Berte, Carla Sandoval, Bang Pineda, Cindy Imbo, Shannen Palec and Gyra Barroga.    It’s a big challenge that Santos-Ng knows she has to face. “One thing I like about Coach Oliver is that he’s very honest with us,” said the UAAP Season 71 Most Valuable Player, who played under Almadro back when the mentor worked as deputy to DLSU head coach Ramil De Jesus.   “Kilala ko rin siya na, 'Hindi porke’t kilala kita bibigyan kita ng spot,'” she added. Santos-Ng also acknowledges that she has to work double time to adapt to this generation’s level of play and try to bring back if not exceed her vintage form.    “Honestly speaking may pressure because people are expecting a lot,” said Santos-Ng, who knows very well the hype that was built in her return. “But as I said, I consider myself a rookie here. Naga-adjust pa ako.” The three-time UAAP Best Receiver decided to come back to fulfill her son Kenzi's wish of seeing her in action. “When I decided to come back, I started losing weight muna, low impact. Adaptive phase kasi matagal akong di nakapaglaro tapos nagdyi-gym ako,” she said. Santos-Ng then trained with ChocoMucho’s sister-team Creamline for a few months. “I told my husband I need court skills also so he said since affiliated naman siya sa Rebisco, he asked the management and the management is gracious enough to accept me to train with them,” Santos-Ng said. “And then during training, there was a new team being formed under Coach Oliver. Sinabi ko naman if I could join sa ChocoMucho because Coach Oliver’s there,” she continued. The former Queen Lady Spiker, who had her jersey no. 14 retired by DLSU, is now working on bringing back her hops and hang time that wowed fans a decade ago when the sport’s following was limited only to Filipino volleyball purists.   “Ngayon lang ulit ako tumalon, nitong June. Nu’ng nag-start ako mag-training with Creamline noong February hanggang May more on floor defense lang ako, hindi pa ako kaagad tumatalon,” she said. “Again it’s been 10 years, it’s been a long time baka if nabigla ako ma-injury lang. So noong June pa lang ako nag-start, sakto noong nasa ChocoMucho ako.”         When asked if this generation will have a chance to see the vintage Illa Santos operate inside the court, Santos-Ng answered. “Let’s just say na my teammates nagsasabi na may talon pa rin naman,” she said.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 10th, 2019

PVL: Flying Titans make good impression in debut

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 14th, 2019

NEW TEAMS ADD FIRE TO 2019 PVL OPEN CONFERENCE ON ABS-CBN S+A, iWANT

  The Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Season 3 Open Conference fires away this Sunday (August 11) LIVE from the FilOil Flying V Center in San Juan City on S+A, LIGA, and iWant featuring new teams raring to snatch the crown from defending champions Creamline Cool Smashers. From six teams last conference, PVL will feature nine star-studded and talented squads in this tournament including the returning Philippine Air Force Lady Jet Spikers led by multi-awarded setter Wendy Semana and outside hitter May Ann Pantino. NCAA Season 94 Women’s Volleyball champions, the San Beda Lady Red Spikers and their star hitters the Viray twins, Nieza and Ella, will banner the Chef’s Classic Lady Red Spikers. While the Choco Mucho Flying Titans will be led by the triple towers of Kat Tolentino, Maddie Maddayag, and Bea De Leon, who are fresh from a title run in UAAP Season 81 with the Ateneo Lady Eagles. The 2019 PVL Open Conference will also mark the much-anticipated comeback of legendary DLSU Lady Spiker Manilla Santos-Ng, who will suit up with the Titans. Volleyball fans can expect an all-out battle right away in the opening day with a double header at 2 pm between the Lady Jet Spikers and the Cool Smashers of Alyssa Valdez and Jia Morado, who are more than eager to defend their Open Conference title after losing to the PetroGazz Angels last conference. Meanwhile, the Angels led by Paneng Mercado and breakout star Jonah Sabete are out to prove they are still a powerhouse even without their reinforcements as they take on the gutsy BanKo Perlas Spikers of Nicole Tiamzon and Dzi Gervacio at 4 pm. Don’t miss the opening of the 2019 PVL Open Conference this Sunday (August 11) LIVE on S+A and LIGA, on high definition on S+A HD and LIGA HD, online on iWant, sports.abs-cbn.com, and TFC.tv. For more stories and news on the PVL, follow @ABSCBNSports on Twitter and Facebook or visit sports.abs-cbn.com. For updates, follow @ABSCBNPR on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram or visit www.abscbnpr.com......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 8th, 2019

A US Open, and a summer of stress for Gary Woodland

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) — Gary Woodland made sure plans were in place for him to leave tournaments before he even arrived. And when he did show up, just the sight of officials in a golf cart made him nervous. Most of the time, they were on their way to administer a ruling. Woodland always assumed they were coming to tell him his wife had gone into labor. It was like that for the last six weeks. So the smile that never left him Tuesday at Liberty National Golf Club had nothing to do with the $15 million prize at stake as the FedEx Cup playoffs begin. It was all about his twin daughters Maddox and Lennox born Thursday, making his best year in golf the greatest year of his life. "I feel 100 pounds lighter," Woodland said as he walked off the course during a weather delay in a practice round Tuesday for The Northern Trust. "Obviously, I had a huge win and that was great. But it's been stressful every week because every cart I see ... 'Are they coming to get me? Is Gabby going into labor?' The last month has been stressful for both of us." That huge win was the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, which was filled with plenty of tense moments. Woodland handled those with ease, no small task with two-time defending champion Brooks Koepka chasing him all the way to the finish line. He drilled a 3-wood from 263 yards onto the 14th green to set up a pivotal birdie, and then turned to another high-risk shot by using a 64-degree wedge to pitch the ball off one end of the green to a pin some 90 feet away on No. 17, a shot that will take its place in U.S. Open lore. That still didn't equip him for six weeks of nerves that followed. "At Pebble, I felt in control. The last month, I've had no control," Woodland said. "That was the hardest part for Gabby and I, the uncertainty." It was at the Dell Match Play two years ago when Woodland learned that one of the twins his wife Gabby was carrying had died. Their son, Jax, was born at 30 weeks and spent six weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit. The following April, she had a miscarriage. So imagine the surprise — and trepidation — when they learned in January that she was pregnant with twins. "One, they told us she couldn't get pregnant," Woodland said. "Two, they didn't think there was any chance she'd make it to 36 weeks. That was almost as much a miracle as her getting pregnant." Her last trip was to the PGA Championship at Bethpage, where she was sick and never made it out to the golf course. She stayed up late at home in Florida to watch Woodland hold off Koepka at Pebble Beach, and she saw that rare burst of emotion when he made a 30-foot birdie putt on the 18th to win by three. With the silver trophy at his side that evening, Woodland thought about the next two months and said life was about to get real. The U.S. Open, his greatest achievement in golf, didn't feel real at all. Woodland went home to Florida, and soon thereafter brought his family to Kansas, where Jax had been born. He went to Topeka, Kansas, so his hometown could celebrate his U.S. Open victory with a block party. Gabby was in the hospital that day and couldn't make it. "It was awesome to win," Woodland said, "but I haven't really enjoyed it." That was a time to wait and to hope. Woodland anticipated the twins being born prematurely and having to spend a month or two in the neonatal intensive care. He tried to keep playing, and golf never felt so hard. He missed the cut in Detroit. He missed the cut in the British Open. There was no cut at the FedEx St. Jude Invitational, where Woodland failed to break par in any round and tied for 55th. "Detroit, I shouldn't have played. I wasn't ready to go and I got into bad habits," Woodland said. "The British, and even Memphis, it was like I wasn't there." He had a plane ready to go in Memphis that would have taken him the just over an hour to get to the hospital in Kansas. Woodland saw plenty of carts at that week on the golf course and held his breath as they drove past. No news was good news. The best news was four days after he got home. The twins were born Thursday, 15 seconds apart. His wife was released from the hospital on Sunday. If all goes well, the twins will be ready to come home by the end of the week. Woodland spent five hours on the range with Pete Cowen when he arrived at Liberty National — the first time in more than a month that he didn't make arrangements for a quick exit — and said Tuesday was the best he has hit the ball since he won the U.S. Open. He never looked happier. Woodland has three FedEx Cup events to play, and then he'll be home with his wife, his son, his twins, the U.S. Open trophy, everything he could want. "I can enjoy it now," he said of his major victory. "I think it will hit me more after I get home from East Lake, not having to think about the stress and everything. I'm excited to play these three weeks. I'm excited to have three kids at home.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 7th, 2019

ABL official is new UAAP basketball commissioner

The UAAP has tapped the technical director of the ABL as commissioner for its basketball tournaments. Jensen Ilagan will now serve as the chief administrator for the basketball tournaments of the UAAP, with the Men's and Women's tourneys beginning on September 4. "I'm humbled to be the new UAAP commissioner. I will do my best to uphold the league's integrity through fair competition," said Ilagan. Though just 37 years young, Ilagan already has a wealth of experience under his belt. Besides being the technical director of the ABL for the last four years, the Asia Pacific College graduate is also a FIBA-certified table official. "His experience working in the ABL made us decide to tap him as our commissioner," said UAAP Season 82 president Emmanuel Fernandez. "His youth will bring more technological advancements to our league this season." "I commend the UAAP's choice, spearheaded by this season's host, as we continue to open our doors to candidates other than the traditional names in basketball," added UAAP executive director Atty. Rebo Saguisag. One of the innovations Ilagan plans to introduce for this season is the "Video Review Initiative." With this, every member of the officiating pool will be mandated to review the games that were played after every game day. "If it's a good game, it will be the standard. If it's a bad game, then it will serve as a lesson for the officials as well," shared the youthful commissioner. The league, though, has yet to finalize the pool of game officials for the season. Ilagan held a tryout last July 22 and 23 where 174 referees from 12 officiating groups attended. The pool was then trimmed down to 73 referees who will all undergo intensive training next week. "We have very high expectations and we will continue to watch him. I wish Mr. Ilagan luck in leading his office with pride and honor - his success is our success," expressed Saguisag. Assisting Ilagan as tournament director is a former Ateneo Blue Eagle and ex-Lyceum Jrs. head coach in LA Mumar......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 6th, 2019

PVL: Santos to don jersey no. 24, De Leon keeps no. 14

Making a comeback to competitive volleyball, Manilla Santos-Ng hopes to display her vintage form for ChocoMucho albeit donning a different jersey number this time. Best-known as one of the greatest De La Salle University hitters wearing jersey no. 14, which the school retired as recognition for her valuable contribution for the school, Santos-Ng will be using jersey no. 24 in the Flying Titans’ maiden run in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Open Conference. DLSU Lady Spikers’ living legend- Manila “Illa” Santos-Ng is proud to make a comeback as she soars with the Choco Mucho Flying Titans! ????????#ChocoMucho #FlyingTitans #TitanPride pic.twitter.com/Iph7nSmQVF — Choco Mucho Flying Titans (@CMFlyingTitans) August 3, 2019 The season-ending conference opens on August 11. Former Ateneo de Manila University standout Bea De Leon will keep her no. 14 jersey. Santos-Ng was officially introduced by ChocoMucho management on Saturday. The announcement came months after talks of Santos-Ng’s return to competitive volleyball following her training sessions with ChocoMucho’s sister-team Creamline.      We fly high. We stand proud. We are #TitanPride We are the Choco Mucho Flying Titans. Catch us at the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference this August!#chocomucho #flyingtitans #titanpride@_beadel @Maddie7Madayag @ErikaGel17 @crlsndvl @KimGequillana @yanangustia pic.twitter.com/US9Q1GjIYH — Choco Mucho Flying Titans (@CMFlyingTitans) August 3, 2019 Five-foot-5 Santos-Ng led DLSU back into the UAAP throne in Season 71 a decade ago where she also bagged the Best Receiver and Finals Most Valuable Player award. That was her last competitive volleyball stint......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 4th, 2019

PVL: Manilla Santos makes comeback as a Flying Titan

Newcomer ChocoMucho made a recruitment coup after tapping legendary Manilla Santos-Ng to add more depth to an already promising Flying Titans roster for the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Open Conference. A decade after leading De La Salle University to the UAAP throne, Santos-Ng is making a return to competitive volleyball, beefing up the Oliver Almadro-mentored ChocoMucho bannered by former Ateneo de Manila standouts Kat Tolentino, Bea de Leon and Maddie Madayag. A giant in volleyball proudly walks among the Titans! ???????? #ChocoMucho #FlyingTitans #TitanPride pic.twitter.com/itzXoVzclO — Choco Mucho Flying Titans (@CMFlyingTitans) August 3, 2019 The Flying Titans announced the signing of Santos-Ng through their Twitter account on Saturday. It's OFFICIAL! The legendary Manilla "Illa" Santos-Ng proudly stands with the Choco Mucho Flying Titans in the Premier Volleyball League! ???????? #ChocoMucho #FlyingTitans #TitanPride pic.twitter.com/Mv0oKVRHey — Choco Mucho Flying Titans (@CMFlyingTitans) August 3, 2019 Talks of Santos-Ng’s comeback circulated as early this year with the former Queen Lady Spiker practicing with ChocoMucho’s sister-team Creamline.       [Related story: Look Manilla Santos trains with Creamline] The high-flying, power-hitting five-foot-5 Santos-Ng led DLSU back into the UAAP throne in Season 71 where she also bagged the Best Receiver and Finals Most Valuable Player award.  La Salle retired Santos' number 14 jersey. The season-ending conference opens on August 11.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 3rd, 2019

NBA veteran Muggsy Bogues believes he can play in today s less physical game

In basketball, height is often might, but throughout the years, there have been a number of guys on the smaller side who have managed to impact the game on so many levels.  Today, the likes of Stephen Curry, Chris Paul, Kemba Walker, and Kyle Lowry among others are some of the NBA's most notable stars just a little over six feet tall.  But if we're talking about small guards, probably no other player in NBA history impacted the game quite like the legendary Tyrone "Muggsy" Bogues.  At just 5-foot-3, Bogues played 14 seasons in the league and was one of the key pieces of the original Charlotte Hornets franchise back in the 90s. The 12th-overall pick from Wake Forest had career averages of 7.7 points and 7.6 assists.  Currently in the Philippines for an NBA 3X event on August 3 and 4, Bogues got to do some media rounds with ABS-CBN and got to talk a bit about his career as well as the major differences of today's NBA and the NBA that he played in.  "I had a decent career, I believe," Muggsy shared. "I had a career where I was able to play in three decades, in the 80s, the 90s, and the 2000s. I played with amazing talent, I played against some amazing talent. Got drafted by the Washington Bullets in 87, so I thank them for that opportunity to be selected 12th overall, then I went on to showcase most of my talents in Charlotte, played two years in Golden State, two years in Toronto, I went to New York but didn’t really play, I was hurt, got traded and went to Dallas." "After the 14th year, my mom passed away, and had three years left on my contract, but I just couldn’t go out there anymore, I just didn’t have the energy. Mr Cuban, at the time, the owner of the Mavs, he decided to honor my contract and just allowed me to ride off into the sunset. 14 years of playing, 15 years of payment, but throughout all of it, I wouldn’t change, not one minute. My journey was an amazing journey. No one thought that I would be able to do what I was able to do." During his time with the Hornets, Muggsy got to play alongside the likes of Larry Johnson and Alonzo Mourning, and was able to help the team to three playoffs appearances.  "It was awesome, I mean it was a dream come true, playing in the NBA and playing with the best in the world and having teammates like Larry and Alonzo and Dell Curry and those guys made the cause that much more special. The bond and the war that you went to so many battles with." "We had some great moments in Charlotte, I spent nine years of my NBA career in Charlotte and played with some talented players and played against some amazing talents, like Michael Jordan and the Bulls, but we just couldn’t get past those guys because of that number 23, it was kinda tough, but again, that was the nature of the business back then," he added.  The diminutive Bogues earned a reputation as being a hard-nosed defender during his time in the NBA, something that he's extremely proud of.  When asked about todays game and who he would like to try his hand at stopping, Bogues welcomed the challenge of containing today's best stars.  "I’d like to guard ‘em all today, the way the salaries are," he said with a chuckle before detailing how different today's game is compared to when he was on court. "It’s truly fun to watch today, the game is totally different than what we played. It’s more uptempo, there’s not as many positions, just be able to be on the floor depends on what type of skillset you have. You got 7-footers now facing the basket, opposed to when we played, guys played with their backs to the basket, at that size, but it’s a great game today, there’s a lot of entertainment, a lot of long-ball shooting, so guys really have to work on that skillset to try to compete. The NBA is a trend, you have to be able to match that thing that’s happening, that trend that’s going on today." Muggsy believes that his tenacity and his defensive skillset is something that would translate well into today's NBA as well.  "Well every player feels like they can play in any era, and I believe that I can play in this era. It’s not as physical as it was back then, the lane is more open, so I feel like I can move my way anywhere on the court and still be able to be effective, and for defensively, I don’t want to say there’s not much defense taking place, but nobody plays defense the way I play," said Bogues. "I don’t see no guys hitting you up 94-feet. A couple of them you got, like [Eric] Bledsoe or maybe Patrick Beverley, maybe those guys that may get into you really aggressively, but there’s not as many," he added......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 2nd, 2019

NCAA 95: Navarro, David the latest former Stags to find form in LPU

Two years ago, Renzo Navarro and Jayson David were part of a resurgent San Sebastian College-Recoletos that returned to the Final Four. Now in the NCAA 95 Men's Basketball Tournament, Navarro and David are part of a rejiggered Lyceum of the Philippines University crew on a quest for continued contention. And on Tuesday, Navarro and David proved their worth to the Pirates - up against their former teammates with the Golden Stags, no less. The two connived for the bookending threes to the 13-0 run inside the last seven minutes that erased a five-point deficit and erected the edge the their side would keep for the rest of the game. In the end, Navarro turned in his best game in maroon and grey with 11 points while David contributed 10 markers, six rebounds, and three assists of his own. The two follow in the footsteps of the likes of ex-MVP CJ Perez, Nino Ibanez, Jeff Santos, and Rhanzelle Yong who once donned the red and yellow before rising and shining bright for the Pirates. Head coach Topex Robinson, himself a Sebastino, made it a point to say, however, that the much-anticipated match-up was never about them against their former team. "We were not out there to play for ourselves. Yes, they played for San Sebastian two years ago and they played their first game against their former team, but it's not Jayson and Renzo against San Sebastian," he said. He then continued, "It's about LPU vs San Sebastian. 'Di nila laban yun. They're just here to support each other." Indeed, the transferees could only agree with their mentor. As Navarro put it, "Since high school kasi, dun ako naglaro e tapos ngayon, kalaban ko sila. Siyempre, laging may extra motivation for me, pero enjoy lang talaga kasi pag kalaro mo mga kapatid mo, mga teammate mo." He then continued, "'Di naman ako naglaro para may mapatunayan. Gusto ko lang mag-enjoy kasi parang nasa practice lang kami sa laro kanina." David shares the same sentiment. "In-enjoy ko lang yung game kasi parang nasa scrimmage lang ako nung sa Baste e. Parang dati lang," he said. In the end, Coach Topex is only grateful to have fellow Sebastinos with him in Intramuros. "Renzo's been struggling a bit, but today, he showed his character. We're just so bless to have Renzo here and that also goes with Jayson," he said. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 23rd, 2019

Team Lakay s Gina Iniong and Joshua Pacio: Two paths, one goal

Lakay. It is the Ilocano word for old man.   But when you go up to Baguio, it has an altogether different meaning. You cannot miss that word when you drive down Benguet road, on a nifty sign attached to a normal-looking office building: Team Lakay.   The home of the best Philippine mixed martial arts team in history. Almost all of the big names local fight fans have come to cheer and love as our modern-day heroes trace their roots to the relatively small, packed training room down Benguet road, where mats are soaked with the sweat of the fighters.   Eduard Folayang, Kevin Belingon, Geje Eustaquio, Honorio Banario, Rey Docyogen, Roldan Sangcha-an, and Mark Eddiva are all hallowed names in the annals of Philippine mixed martial arts, disciples of Mark “The Machine” Sangiao, who established, and groomed Team Lakay to the fearsome fighting factory that it is today.   While all the names above have ensconced themselves on pedestals, Team Lakay’s pipeline includes two more who have been fighting for recognition in recent fights: lone female fighter Gina Iniong, and ONE’s current Strawweight lynchpin and youngest champion, Joshua Pacio.   Both fighters may have started their professional fighting careers for different reasons, but Iniong and Pacio still have a lot to offer and prove for mixed martial arts in the country and in the international stage, such as being prominent fighters in the prestigious cage of ONE Championship.   CHANCE OF A LIFETIME   Gina, the first female Filipino mixed martial artist to fight and win abroad, started boxing back in high school as part of her after-school activities. When she was about to graduate, she actively sought scholarships in order to finish her education. One such opportunity presented itself in the form of an athletic scholarship, concentrating on the martial art of Wushu, which has a huge following in her hometown of Baguio City, with the University of the Cordilleras having a team of its own.   “Our former boxing coach, who was a former student of Coach Mark (Sangiao), approached me one day, telling me to join the upcoming wushu competition then for the college scholarship. So I joined it, and took a chance,” Iniong shared, recounting how she got into the world of combat sports as a young lady.   However, it was too good to be true, as she had to hurdle quite a huge problem if she wants that scholarship: a fight record. Sangiao told the young Iniong it would be difficult to get her a scholarship if she does not have a record to show in active combat in Wushu.   “I was lucky because there was a Wushu National Games here in Manila and we immediately went down and made our way there. Thankfully, I got the gold after the competition, and that paved the way for my scholarship,” said Iniong.   From there, the “Conviction” was born. After competing in numerous Wushu tournaments, Iniong finally caught the eye of Sangiao, who decided to take her under his wings and train her to be his female version inside the MMA cage.   After debuting in the Universal Reality Combat Championship in 2010, Iniong hasn’t looked back in the 12 bouts she has figured in, compiling a professional record of 8-4.  As the lone female representative of the most-successful mixed martial arts team in the Philippines, she has displayed that trademark fearsome striking prowess of fighters coming from the Lakay camp.   When asked about the fact that she is one of the only five Filipinas making the country proud inside the ONE cage, the 29-year old’s face lit up, in disbelief, in honor, in humility, for she cannot believe it herself.   “I’m very proud, and humbled, of the fact that I am the lone female fighter representing Team Lakay in ONE Championship. Many very skilled female fighters dream of being part of ONE Championship, and fight under Team Lakay, yet I am the one that Coach Mark has seen with the most potential to carry the flag inside the cage,” she said.   However, what drives Gina to fight, and it has been a well-known fact, is her mother, diagnosed with a stage 5 chronic kidney disease. In her fight against Jihin Radzuan last February, Iniong dedicated the fight to her mother, who to this day, is scared of seeing her daughter mix it up in the ring.   “To this day, she hasn’t watched me fight live, not even on TV because she is quite the nervous person, and she would only watch if she knew I won, during replays. She is very unlike my dad, who has fully supported my life as an athlete, after being a boxer himself in his younger days,” she shared.   CHALLENGE ACCEPTED   Joshua “The Passion” Pacio never intended to make mixed martial arts fighting a career growing up. The 23-year old fighter deemed it impossible back then, to reach a stage as huge as ONE Championship, due to the excellence of the fighters that he used to watch with his uncle through videos.   Add to the fact that Pacio was overweight. Obese, specifically. It made it all the more difficult for the kid to follow his dream and passion to be a fighter.   It all changed when his uncle started training him in Muay Thai, the art of the eight limbs that originated from Thailand, and considered one of the deadliest forms of combat striking. It started out as training just for fitness, but as if seeing a tiny ray of light in a dark tunnel, Pacio wanted more.   “At first, it was only for fitness, with my uncle training me, and watching videos of various MMA fights, which really inspired me to push myself harder. I really wanted to test myself, compete with the best, and it all seemed impossible when I was out of shape. My uncle really pushed me starting with Muay Thai. I started competing a few months after that, but I suffered defeat after defeat in amateur competitions. I questioned myself why I still trained afterwards. But at the same time, that’s when I realized that this is really my passion, that even if I lost my last fight,” shared the ONE Championship Strawweight king, who has not looked back since then.   “The goal for me has ever been to prove to myself that I have improved in skills, and be the best fighter I can be,” Pacio added.   He made his ONE debut three years ago, finally fulfilling his lifelong dream of professional mixed martial arts, facing a more experienced Filipino fighter in Robin Catalan at the age of 20, one of the youngest to enter ONE’s cage.   “Before I got to represent Team Lakay in ONE Championship, the roster spot was actually up for grabs. Fighters of the team figured in a Team Lakay Championship, a grand-prix style tournament within the team, for the ONE Championship contract. I fought twice victoriously in one night to get it. Two weeks later, with a ONE Championship event in Manila, that’s when I found out I am making my professional debut,” said an astounded Pacio.   Everything about the man they call “The Passion” has been hard earned. He finally tasted gold last 2018 when he decisioned the famed Yoshitaka Naito, a Japanese ground and wrestling master that forced Pacio to tap via a rear-naked choke when they first met. Facing, and losing to Naito, according to Pacio, was a revelation that he has to improve his overall skills, especially his ground game in order to play with the big boys of the cage.   Striking will definitely get you somewhere, as is with Pacio’s base as a martial artist, but one has to have more tricks up his sleeve when they aspire for the pinnacle of the competition. Joshua came back with a vengeance in 2018 to show “Nobita” that “The Passion” is no longer the young kid who will be submitted easily.   However, 2019 did not start of great for Pacio and Team Lakay, after he lost the belt in January to Naito’s contemporary in Yosuke “Tobizaru” Saruta in a questionable split decision. But that did not deter the young man, who has made it his personal goal to continue improving and treat each loss as a lesson, in ONE Championship’s “Roots of Honor” fight card, where he faced Saruta once more.   This time, in front of a racous Filipino crowd inside the Mall of Asia Arena, Pacio did not let the judges’ cards decide as he detonated a right knee to the side of Saruta’s head late in the fourth round to reclaim his throne. The dreaded Team Lakay striking power knocked the lights out from the Japanese fighter as Baguio’s young lion let out a furious roar to celebrate his redemption.   TWO PATHS, ONE GOAL   One did it for education, the other for health. Nowadays, however, MMA means more to Iniong and Pacio than just a stepping stone to something else. It is their passion, their advocacy, their bread and butter.   They continue to grind each day, waiting for another opportunity to show what they got and get the win, not just for personal glory, but also for the country and their family.   Inspired by her ailing mother, the “Conviction” promises to keep her current winning streak up despite being up against a formidable foe in her next match. After tasting defeat from Brazilian Istela Nunes, Iniong bounced back with a split decision over Radzuan last February to get herself back on track. Right now, Gina has one thing in mind with their goal: chase that ONE Women’s Atomweight division title, currently held by Angela Lee, and become the Philippines’ very first female ONE world champion.   However, Iniong acknowledges that the path towards the gold may not be easy, as she is currently eyeing a rematch with Japanese tormentor Mei Yamaguchi, the number one-ranked Atomweight fighter whom she has fought with twice, in order to settle who the rightful challenger to Lee’s belt is.   “Everyone has gotten belts. My big brothers in the team have tasted championship. I felt jealous because I do not have a belt, and lost my fight that would have given me a title shot. This time, I will make sure that I will do my best to secure a title fight,” rued Iniong in a previous interview with ONE Championship prior to fighting Radzuan.   While Iniong wants hit paydirt, it’s all about keeping the belt on his waist for Pacio, the reigning ONE Strawweight champion. His most probable foe is his nemesis Yoshitaka Naito who he does not have a problem with facing for the third time.   “I really want to prove I am the champion, and if it’s by facing him (Naito), so be it. I also want to prove that I have greatly improved as well from the last time we fought,” he shared.   While Iniong and Pacio await their next fighting assignment, their teammates are in the thick of training for the upcoming “Dawn of Heroes” megafight card happening on August 2 at the Mall of Asia Arena. It features Team Lakay members, led by Edward “Landslide” Folayang, Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio, and Danny “The King” Kingad, who will face the best of the world as represented by Eddie Alvarez, Reece McLaren, and Yuya Wakamatsu.   The entire country will be cheering on them as the whole world watches. And maybe somehow, somewhere there will be new blood encouraged and inspired by them to take on the challenge of continuing the legacy of the nation’s best fighting team alongside Iniong and Pacio.   After all, Sangiao did not establish Team Lakay just to be some Bagiuo-based fitness gym down Benguet road. He made Team Lakay to provide a home, a family, for young Filipinos who have the heart to fight for their dream, their family, and the country.     Watch “ONE: Dawn of Heroes” on August 2 at the Mall of Asia Arena, to be broadcast LIVE on ABS-CBN S+A and S+A HD with livestreaming on iWant for all the Pinoy fight fans to see. For more stories and news one ONE Championship, follow @ABSCBNSports on Twitter and Facebook or visit sports.abs-cbn.com. For updates, follow @ABSCBNPR on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram or visit www.abs-cbn.com/newsroom......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 18th, 2019

Ryder Cup behind him, Jim Furyk still going strong

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland (AP) — Nothing short of an eagle on the 592-yard seventh hole at Royal Portrush was going to win the hole in a friendly fourballs match during practice for the British Open. Leave it to 49-year-old Jim Furyk to have the best chance. "Don't do anything crazy here," Patrick Cantlay, born the same year Furyk turned pro, said to his opponent. Furyk's 18-foot putt from below the hole paused on the right edge of the cup before dropping, and he looked over in Cantlay's direction with a grin. These are good times. Under the circumstances, not many people would have been surprised if Furyk was past his time by now. He was last seen at the British Open in 2016 at Royal Troon when he finished 29 shots behind the record performance of Henrik Stenson. Furyk played only two majors last year, both on exemptions. He wasn't eligible for any of the World Golf Championships last year for the first time since they were created in 1999. Small wonder that fans who recognized him in the airport on his way to Northern Ireland asked if he was playing. "I thought that was kind of funny," Furyk said. He has heard a lot of questions over the last decade that he found funny, if not irritating. One that still sticks with him was a writer who asked him 10 years ago if he feared the game was passing him by. "I wouldn't say it (ticked) me off, but I kind of chuckled," Furyk said Tuesday. "I said, 'Yeah, it's going to pass me by some day, but not now.' The next year, I had my best year and was player of the year." It's not just about age. Phil Mickelson is 49, born a month after Furyk, and he won the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Mickelson is a special talent, with five majors and one of his 47 victories worldwide coming when he was still in college. Part of it is devoting nearly two years of his life as Ryder Cup captain, with players appointed in their late 40s toward the end of their careers. Most are rarely heard from again on a big stage, with one exception being Davis Love III — another power player — who won at age 51 during his second stint as captain. Furyk never had great length off the tee, and it stands out even more now. He is a pea shooter in an era of cannons. And he's still going strong. "So impressive," said Brooks Koepka, the No. 1 player in the world. "I've played with him a little bit. He really understands his game. And I think when you fully understand what you can and can't do is when you reach your maximum potential. He's doesn't have the big miss. He doesn't have really any weakness. He's very solid all throughout the bag. ... That probably won't be me when I'm 49, I can promise you that." Furyk was determined to press on after Europe won the Ryder Cup in France last fall. He was coping with a shoulder injury that no one paid much attention because there was more interest in his captain's picks. Now that's sorted out. He had every reason to go into ceremonial mode, especially with the PGA Tour Champions — golf's greatest mulligan — available to him next year. Instead, Furyk toiled in the offseason to find balance at home and work, to give himself the best chance to win. "You have to have a motivation and a drive and a hunger to still compete," Furyk said. "And as you get older, you run through different phases of your life. When I first came out on tour, golf was the most important thing in life. I got married, started a family, and the realization we're going to be empty-nesters in a few years has hit me." His daughter, a pole vaulter, will be a senior in high school. His son will be a sophomore. He wants to watch them compete. Furyk said he was pacing the field at the Florida state high school championship in May when she finished ninth. He's coming up on 50. He's short off the tee. And his time is stretched thin. It all changed in March when he tied for ninth in the Honda Classic to get in The Players Championship, and then was runner-up at the TPC Sawgrass, one shot behind Rory McIlroy. That got him into a World Golf Championship. He nearly made it into the Masters, but returning to the top 50 in the world put him in the next three majors. He now is No. 48 in the world, giving him another World Golf Championship next week. He is No. 36 in the FedEx Cup, and the Tour Championship is in sight. "I enjoy seeing the game change," Furyk said. "I don't want to be that old, crusty guy that says, 'Back when I was a kid, the game was different.' It was. The game is always changing. But the best players will always evolve. ... Right now, I'm trying to figure out how to keep adapting." And it keeps working. He is one year older than his world ranking. At his age, with his length, that's not a bad thing......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 17th, 2019

Young guns to be wind beneath JRU s wings for NCAA 95

HOW’D THEY DO LAST SEASON? 3-15, 10th YES, THEY’RE STILL HERE: Ry Dela Rosa, MJ Dela Virgen, Agem Miranda WELCOME TO THE FAMILY: John Amores, John Delos Santos, Marwin Dionisio, Thomas Vasquez, Louie Gonzalez (coach) GOOD LUCK ON FUTURE ENDEAVORS: Jed Mendoza, Junmark Silvarez, Darius Estrella (injured), Vergel Meneses (coach) WHAT SHOULD WE EXPECT FROM JRU? With Jed Mendoza transferring to University of the East, JRU was supposed to be Darius Estrella’s show to run in NCAA Season 95. Unfortunately, Estrella, a former MVP in the NCAA Jrs., suffered another ACL injury and will be out for the year. That makes the Heavy Bombers even more of a young team as the mantle of leadership will now fall on second-year players Ry Dela Rosa and Agem Miranda. “Every day, I talk to Agem and Ry, I give them more responsibility. With their attitude, they're really up to it. Agem is really special. Ry is a team player, he does the small things.” – head coach Louie Gonzalez While those two are solid pieces, the future of Kalentong will fall upon the shoulders of a quartet of recruits from the school’s Juniors program. First and foremost among them is fearless slasher John Amores, the 17th-ranked player in last season’s NBTC 24, but playmaker John Delos Santos, steady forward Marwin Dionisio, and sparkplug Thomas Vasquez are no slouches themselves. “Yung rookies ko from high school, sobrang promising talaga. Sakin, napagandang opportunity ito to show na may connection yung program from Light Bombers to Heavy Bombers.” – head coach Louie Gonzalez WHO IS/ARE THE PLAYER/S TO WATCH OUT FOR FROM JRU? Without a doubt, several players will take turns in doing the heavy lifting for JRU. And so, there is no definitive player to watch from them. “The way things are running, come NCAA, wala naman akong ma-ask sa players ko. They are a young team, pero sobrang promising naman. What's good with the players right now, nag-buy in agad dun sa sistema. Yung commitment at effort na binigay sakin, sobra-sobra.” – head coach Louie Gonzalez What would be must-watch, however, is how new head coach Louie Gonzalez tries to rejigger a program that fell to the back of the pack last season with a 3-15 record. This, after an eight-year run that saw them posting an overall 81-61 record under school legend Vergel Meneses. Fortunately for Coach Louie, he will have championship experience to draw from as he was an assistant for both Colegio de San Juan de Letran’s NCAA Season 91 championship and De La Salle University’s UAAP Season 79 championship. WHY SHOULD WE ROOT FOR JRU? Again, JRU is a young team. Aside from point guard MJ Dela Virgen, nobody from their lineup saw heavy minutes in the last two seasons. That gives all their young talent – such as second-year players Miranda and Dela Rosa and rookies Amores, Delos Santos, Dionisio, and Vasquez – the golden opportunity to break out. Coach Louie also turned La Salle into a team of scrappy upstarts that leaned on third-year studs Justine Baltazar and Aljun Melecio for a run that just fell a win shy of the Final Four in the UAAP a year ago – meaning, he is more than capable of doing the same for the Heavy Bombers. “One thing's for sure, lalaban 'to.” – head coach Louie Gonzalez WHERE WOULD JRU BE AT THE END OF NCAA SEASON 95? No question, JRU will not be in the Final Four next season. “Wala naman kaming pupuntahan kundi pataas. For this one, sana 7th or 8th, medyo okay na ako kasi it’s a rebuilding team. Ang goal namin is mag-improve nang mag-improve.” – head coach Louie Gonzalez Instead, what NCAA Season 95 will mean for the Heavy Bombers is the first step in a grand plan to take flight once more. As such, at the moment, getting experience for their young talent is their primary purpose. WHEN IS JRU’S FIRST GAME IN NCAA SEASON 95? JRU’s new era commences opposite San Sebastian College-Recoletos on July 9 at Filoil Flying V Centre. As always, the latest season of the first and oldest collegiate league in the country will be on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166, LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183, iWant and livestream. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 27th, 2019

Real Madrid signs Eden Hazard from Chelsea

MADRID (AP) — Real Madrid signed Eden Hazard from Chelsea on Friday for its second major offseason addition, and reportedly its most expensive ever. The 28-year-old forward joined Madrid on a five-year contract and a transfer fee reported to be around 100 million euros ($113 million) plus variables, which would make him the club's biggest signing. Madrid is rebuilding after one of the worst seasons in club history and had added forward Luka Jovic from Eintracht Frankfurt earlier this week. The Spanish club hadn't made any blockbuster signings in years and was yet to bring in a top player to try to replace Cristiano Ronaldo after the Portugal forward left to join Juventus last season. Real Madrid called Hazard "one of the best players in the world," known for his "attacking flair, assists and goals." "Hazard has world class technique, vision, dribbling, pace and finishing," Real Madrid said. "These qualities saw him stand out in his seven years in England." Hazard had already indicated his final game for Chelsea was last week's Europa League final victory over Arsenal. With two goals in his 352nd appearance for the club, he finished with a total of 110. "Although it is with sadness we say goodbye to Eden and we made it absolutely clear to him the club wished him to stay," Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia said, "we respect the decision he has made to take on a new challenge in a different country and follow his childhood dream of playing for Real Madrid." Since joining Chelsea from French club Lille in 2012, Hazard has won both the Premier League and Europa League twice, the FA Cup and the League Cup. The Belgium international, who still had a year left in his contract with Chelsea, had already tried to leave the English club a year ago. "The memories he leaves us with will not fade," Granovskaia said. "He provided all who watched Chelsea play with great entertainment and many match-winning contributions, and for that we thank Eden enormously. "He has been a model professional throughout his time at the club, a wonderful individual to have around and a joy to work with." Hazard was a standout player with Belgium at the World Cup in Russia last year, helping his team earn a historic third-place finish. He scored three goals in six games and won the man of the match award three times. He was named the tournament's second-best player, behind Croatia's Luka Modric, his new Real Madrid teammate. Hazard is expected to be officially introduced to Madrid fans next week after undergoing a medical. Real Madrid finished third in the Spanish league and was eliminated early in the Champions League and the Copa del Rey. It went through two coaching changes this season, its first without Ronaldo. Zinedine Zidane returned to the helm a few months ago to try to get the team back on track after winning three straight Champions League titles. Madrid earlier this year had signed Brazilian defender Eder Militao, who will join from Porto next season. Teenage forward Rodrygo, bought from Brazilian club Santos for nearly 45 million euros ($50.6 million) last year, also will be added to the squad for next season......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 8th, 2019

Warriors injuries create opening with Finals in balance

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com OAKLAND, Calif. — From now until further notice, each game of the 2019 NBA Finals will be largely influenced not by a go-ahead basket or a big stop or a rally-induced comeback, but a hot-off-the-press medical update prior to tipoff. Is Klay Thompson's tweaky hamstring a go? Will this be the day Kevin Durant finally shakes that lingering calf strain and suits up? The hints and subtle signs seem to point toward the positive for Golden State. Thompson was a late scratch Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time) because the Warriors -- with a mixture of confidence and arrogance and concern -- felt the guard missing Game 3 was perhaps best for his recovery without proving deadly in the long run. And as for Durant, he’s still “ramping up” his workouts, in the description of coach Steve Kerr, and so his status has been upgraded to "stay tuned." It has become must-watch after a 123-109 loss. Yet if the answer is negative to all of the above, the next entry on the medical report might be the grim health of the dynasty built by these two-time defending champions. Their still-under-construction monument now teeters, prone to a nudge from Toronto. The Warriors find themselves down 2-1 to the Raptors, lacking any guarantee they’ll see two of their three leading scorers back in the lineup Friday (Saturday, PHL time) for Game 4 ... or for however long this series lasts. Thompson joined Durant on the sideline, and the Raptors (as could be anticipated) pounced on the gift to seize control of the series. It was a game the Raptors had to win, and they did. The production came from multiple players, with Kyle Lowry finally making an imprint on this series and Danny Green rediscovering his long-lost three-point touch. Meanwhile, the Warriors consisted of Steph Curry and not much else. The two-time Kia MVP dazzled and fought through traps and triple-teams all night to drop a career-high 47 points, some of it on shot-making wizardry. But the short-handed Warriors were doomed when Draymond Green and DeMarcus Cousins in particular were underwhelming on a night they needed to be stellar for Golden State to have a chance. As a result, the atmosphere inside Oracle Arena was flatter than most of the shots taken by Curry's teammates, and this was partly due to the introduction of the starting lineups, when Thompson’s name wasn’t announced. The fans knew then, officially, that their eyes and the home team were in for a long night. While the Warriors fought, scrappy doesn’t win games at this point in the postseason, not when the other team is good and opportunistic. Playing in a hostile building for the first time in the Finals, the Raptors made a collective decision to greet fire with fire. Or, as they wrote on the blackboard inside the visitor’s locker room: Let It Rip. “I think we all kind of followed that advice,” said Danny Green. “We hadn’t really had a good team shooting night and I knew we were due.” For Toronto, it wasn’t just that they won, but that they did so with their most impressive outing in the series. And now, the question for the Raptors is this: Will their inconsistent players use this outing to turn the corner and push the Warriors, even if Thompson and/or Durant return? This is aimed, first and foremost, at Lowry. He took the “let it rip” plea personally. Entering this game, he had six baskets total in this series and at times suffered defensively. Challenged by a pregame talk from coach Nick Nurse, Lowry embraced his inner pit bull and was relentless all night. The All-Star point guard took 16 shots, making eight, for 23 points and nine assists while making his presence felt for the first time this Finals. “For me, it was just not being so passive and trying to get everyone else involved and get myself going and let everyone else feed off that,” Lowry said. He and Green re-introduced the three-pointer to the Raptors’ offense. The two shot 11-for-19 and repeatedly stole whatever momentum Golden State could generate by responding with long-distance daggers that forced fans to slump back into their seats. This from the same player who had five total three's in his previous five playoff games, ruining more than a handful of runs with momentum-deflating misses. There’s no other way to describe the last three weeks of Green’s postseason shooting but dreadful. He has only one job: Stand in the corner and shoot open 3s. He’s made a career of that. So what do the Raptors make of Green shooting 6-of-10 from deep Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time)? In the short term, it helped win Game 3. In the big picture, will this confidence carry over from one night to another, or does it depend on whether Green hits his first few? Nurse said: “Danny’s buckets boosted our whole team’s confidence because we were used to relying on those most of the year.” With better production from players who had been mostly missing, the Raptors had the balance needed to deliver their highest-scoring and most efficient (52 percent shooting) contest of the series. Green and Lowry joined Kawhi Leonard (30 points) and Pascal Siakam (18) and Marc Gasol (17) to take turns pummeling the Warriors from all different directions and manners. One reason for this was Thompson’s absence. Not only is he a proven outside shooter, but his defense is top-notch as well. You could even argue that Thompson’s missing defense was just as costly as his jumper. Yet the 109 points Golden State did manage were mainly because of Curry providing nearly half the offense. Given the circumstances of being without Thompson and Durant, and the constant pressing by Toronto whenever he had the ball, this was Curry’s finest post-season effort. His shooting was superb all across the floor, making three's (six) and free throws (13-14) and in general (14-31). “It’s the Finals,” Curry said. “You give everything you’ve got, sacrifice your body when you have the opportunity. Just competitiveness and trying to play until the buzzer.” “He does things that honestly I don’t think anyone has done before," Kerr added. "The way he plays the game, the way he shoots and the combination of his ball-handling, it’s incredible to watch.” If only he had someone riding shotgun. Cousins was sloppy on both ends, with three turnovers and one basket, and a step slow on defense against Gasol. This came one game after he seemingly regained his legs and confidence to gave Golden State a much-needed lift. Green’s continued recklessness was mystifying; he often made questionable decisions as a playmaker, suffered four turnovers and once again struggled to contain Siakam. The Warriors needed Green’s best, given their missing parts, and received something less. “We’ve got to be more solid with the ball and it starts with me,” he said. “I’ve had a bunch of turnovers in every game of this series. I think if I played better with the night (Curry) had, we would have won.” And so the Warriors, while talking bravely about their next-man-up mentality and embracing their “Strength in Numbers” slogan, must realize, deep down, that preventing the Raptors from winning two more games with a handicapped team might be difficult, if not impossible. Keep in mind that Golden State hasn’t sparkled for four quarters since the first game of the Western Conference finals. The last three games of that series, and the first three of the NBA Finals, the Warriors trailed by double digits. Thompson has an off day and Friday's (Saturday, PHL time) pregame period for therapy on his hamstring, although such strains are unpredictable and tricky. Will he be able to cut and fight through screens and be bouncy for 35-plus minutes through the intensity of an NBA Finals game, or will the injury restrict him and cause Kerr to seek a healthier, yet less productive replacement? “The whole point was to not risk a bigger injury that would keep him out the rest of the series,” said Kerr, explaining a decision made in consultation with the team doctors. “I feel very comfortable with it. I never would have forgiven myself if I played him and he had gotten hurt. So you live with the decision you made. The good thing is Klay has done well the last two days; hopefully he’ll be out there Friday.” Then there’s Durant, who last played May 8 (May 9, PHL time). After doing nothing but individual drills the last few days, he’ll go through a more normal practice session that will be simulated with the help of some assistant coaches and bench players. They'll see how Durant holds up. But that won’t match the stress level of a real game. And even if Durant gets clearance for Game 4, he hasn’t played in roughly a month. What about his timing? His wind? His touch? His ability to bring the same energy on defense? All legit questions and concerns for the Warriors -- until they’re not, whenever that is. “No one cares if guys are hurt,” Green said. “Everyone wants to see us lose anyway. So I’m sure people are happy they’re hurt.” Chances are that basketball fans, even if they’re against the Warriors, want to see stars on the floor this time of year. That’s what the NBA Finals is always about: Premium players doing premium things, or failing to do so, and letting the championship odds rise or fall on their performances. This year’s Finals have been denied one star for every game, and an additional star for one game. The battle with star attrition finally cost the Warriors a postseason loss, and at the worst possible time. The flow of the remainder of the NBA Finals, then, could rest with aching tendons and muscles and the recovery powers of those who own them. “We’re missing 50 points with KD and Klay, but we’ll adjust,” said a confident Curry. “It’s a long series, you know. It’s going to be fun for us.” The next Warriors medical update will arrive Thursday afternoon (Friday, PHL time). And another one Friday (Saturday, PHL time) just prior to tipoff. All along, the Warriors have led everyone to believe that it’s only a matter of time before they’re fully healthy. But will it be in time? And even then, will it be enough against a Toronto team suddenly thinking big? Shaun Powell has covered the NBA for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here, and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 6th, 2019

Here s why the Raptors will win the 2019 NBA Finals

By Brian Mahoney, Associated Press TORONTO (AP) — Last time Kawhi Leonard played Golden State in the playoffs, he was running the Warriors off the floor. The only thing that stopped him that day was Zaza Pachulia’s foot, which Leonard landed on after taking a jumper in the third quarter of Game 1 of the 2017 Western Conference finals. Before he left soon after that play with an ankle injury, he scored 26 points and San Antonio led by 23 on Golden State’s home floor. [Watch the Playoffs on NBA League Pass for 30% less with this limited time offer! Select Annual package and use code SAVE30 at checkout to redeem] “He was having a great game,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr recalled. “The Spurs were kicking our butts.” Leonard might even be a better player now. And he might be on a better team. One that could be the very best in the NBA. The Toronto Raptors are tough, battle-tested, and way more complete than the Cleveland team that cakewalked through a weak Eastern Conference the last couple years and was ultimately no match for Golden State. “Yeah, they have a very good team, and they’re here for a reason,” Warriors guard Klay Thompson said. “So you can’t take them lightly just because they haven’t been here before. They have our respect and we’ll come correct” on Thursday. The Raptors are new to the NBA Finals, but their roster is loaded with veteran guys who understand how to play. Like Leonard, the 2014 NBA Finals MVP who has been perhaps the best player in this postseason. Kyle Lowry, Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka and Danny Green have all played in plenty of big games, and won’t be intimidated by the defending champions or the bright lights. They have high basketball IQs and defensive mindsets — Leonard and Gasol have been Defensive Players of the Year. That helped them fight out of a 2-0 hole to win four straight against Milwaukee, which had the best record in the NBA, in the last round. Coach Nick Nurse said there were times in that series when the Raptors may have been in the wrong coverage, but the players on the floor would talk among themselves and figure it out. “I think against this team, I think against most teams in the NBA, you have to play that way, especially this time of year,” Nurse said. With Leonard, Gasol, Pascal Siakam and Ibaka, the Raptors have length in the frontcourt that can make it tough for anyone — even MVP finalist Giannis Antetokounmpo — to get good looks around the rim. It will be even tougher for Golden State if the injured Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins remain out of the lineup much longer. The Warriors didn’t need them in the last round, but Toronto is a different challenge. Leonard is scoring better than 30 points per game and playing shutdown defense, Lowry is throwing his body all over the floor, and Fred VanVleet and Norman Powell are coming off the bench to deliver clutch shooting. The Raptors had the best record in the East last season but shook things up after getting swept by Cleveland in the second round, firing coach Dwane Casey and trading All-Star DeMar DeRozan in the deal for Leonard, who can be a free agent in a month. They were aggressive moves which might have been too risky for some teams, but the kind that can turn a team that couldn’t beat the Cavaliers into one that can topple the Warriors. “That’s why we play the game is to win,” Raptors President Masai Ujiri said, “and that’s what we want to do here, is to win.” They will. Raptors in seven......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 30th, 2019

Spaniards with little to cheer for in Champions League final

By Tales Azzoni, Associated Press MADRID (AP) — It will be an unusual Champions League final for Spain. Madrid will be hosting the final again after nearly a decade, but the country's streak of having at least one team playing for the European title ended this year after five straight seasons, giving home fans little to cheer for when Liverpool faces Tottenham at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium on Saturday. The all-English matchup will be the first Champions League final without a Spanish club since 2013, when Bayern Munich defeated Borussia Dortmund in a match between German teams. Since then, Real Madrid made it to the final four times, Atletico Madrid twice and Barcelona once. "We were used to seeing Real Madrid in the final all these years," said Francisco Javier Diaz de Castro, a 55-year-old Real Madrid supporter. "It's a weird feeling to think that this time we won't see it fighting for the Champions League trophy. When we finally get to watch the final in Madrid, the team struggles and can't make it. I guess that's how it goes in soccer." Real Madrid won four titles in its recent streak, beating Atletico in 2014 and 2016, Juventus in 2017 and Liverpool in 2018. Barcelona lifted the trophy in 2015, and it had also won it in 2006, 2009 and 2011. There was at least one Spanish club in seven of the last 10 Champions League finals. This time, tough, as the Spanish capital prepares to host its first final since Inter Milan defeated Bayern Munich at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in 2010, Spanish clubs are already starting to plan their offseason. On Saturday, there are only two Spanish players with a chance of playing in the final — Tottenham forward Fernando Llorente and Liverpool defender Alberto Moreno. Here's a look at some of the reasons why there won't be any Spanish clubs in this year's final in Madrid: BARCELONA After dominating in the domestic competitions in recent years, Barcelona turned its focus on trying to win the Champions League again. It last won the competition in 2015, when it defeated Juventus in the final in Berlin. Barcelona cruised through a group that included finalist Tottenham, Inter Milan and PSV Eindhoven, winning four matches and drawing two to end six points ahead in first place. It also didn't face major difficulties as it got past Lyon in the round of 16 and Manchester United in the quarterfinals, being able to make it to the semifinals after three straight eliminations in the last eight. The team's dominance continued in the first leg of the semifinals against Liverpool, when it won 3-0 at the Camp Nou and looked set to finally return to the final. But the team collapsed in England, losing 4-0 to see its title hopes vanish. "We are still recovering from what happened in Liverpool. At least I am," Lionel Messi said last week. "Our performance was lamentable. It was a very tough loss for us." REAL MADRID The three-time defending champions never really got close to making it to the final. In a frustrating season that included two coaching changes, Real Madrid couldn't advance past the round of 16 in the European competition, being eliminated after a demoralizing 4-1 loss to Ajax at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. It had won its group against Roma, Viktoria Plzen and CSKA Moscow, but its campaign included consecutive losses to CSKA — 1-0 in Russia and 3-0 at the Bernabeu. The early Champions League elimination led to the return of coach Zinedine Zidane, who was at the helm when the club won its last three European titles. ATLETICO MADRID After four straight seasons reaching at least the quarterfinals, Atletico was coming off a disappointing group-stage elimination and was hopeful of playing in the final again at its own stadium. It qualified from a group that included Borussia Dortmund, Club Brugge and Monaco, but the draw for the round of 16 set up an encounter against Juventus and old foe Cristiano Ronaldo. Things went well in the first leg, with the Spanish team winning 2-0 at home, but Ronaldo thrived in the return match, scoring a hat trick in a 3-0 win that ended Atletico's hopes. VALENCIA Valencia was the only other Spanish club in the Champions League this season, and it couldn't get past a group that included Juventus, Manchester United and Young Boys. It finished third, ahead only of the Swiss club......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 30th, 2019

Common threads: Warriors and Raptors

The Golden State Warriors are back in the Finals for a fifth straight year, but standing across from them is a new face: the Toronto Raptors, who are playing for the Larry O'Brien trophy for just the first time in franchise history. [Watch the Playoffs on NBA League Pass for 30% less with this limited time offer! Select Annual package and use code SAVE30 at checkout to redeem] Warriors versus Raptors isn't exactly a matchup that screams "historic rivalry." Golden State is 28-17 in the overall series against Toronto, with Canada's club winning both their encounters this season. Still, the two clubs do have some overlap - players having suited up for both teams, plus some on- and off-court history. Here are eight common threads between the two teams in the 2019 NBA Finals. 1. Patrick McCaw Patrick McCaw has made the NBA Finals in all three season of his NBA career, something not many players can say. The first two years, he was with the Warriors, but now, he's facing his old club as a Raptor. McCaw was a second round pick by the Warriors in 2016. The team's long-term hope was that he could possibly succeed Andre Iguodala as a versatile, defense-first swingman, but he opted not to re-sign with GSW this past offseason. Sitting out most of the latter part of 2018, he eventually inked a loaded offer sheet (he was a restricted free agent) with Finals rivals the Cleveland Cavaliers, which the Warriors did not match. The Cavaliers waived him after three appearances, but he eventually found his way to Toronto. McCaw has averaged 2.7 points, 1.7 rebounds, and 1.0 assists up north, but has only logged seven appearances, norming 5.1 minutes, in the postseason. With his ex-teammates decidedly miffed about his decision not to come back to the Bay, things could get interesting if he sees playing time in the Finals. SAY WHAT YOU WANT 3 STRAIGHT NBA FINALS APPEARANCES?! I CAN'T MAKE THIS UP ... MY FAITH GOT ME HERE, NOTHING BUT GOD!!! ???????? ZERO WORRIES ZERO DOUBTS ???? — Patrick McCaw (@PMcCaw0) May 26, 2019 2. Jeremy Lin We're a long way from the highs of Linsanity with the New York Knicks, but let's not forget that it was the Golden State Warriors that first had a roster spot for the Harvard product. After going undrafted in 2010, the Warriors snapped up Lin, fielding him as a backup behind Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis. In his rookie season, Lin managed 9.8 minutes, 2.6 points, 1.2 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 1.1 steals in 29 games. Golden State opted not to keep Lin following the 2011 lockout, which paved the way for him to sign, first with the Houston Rockets, and then with the New York Knicks. We know what happened there, right? Recently though, Lin has struggled due to injuries. He started this season getting traded from the Brooklyn Nets to the Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks then bought him out in February, which allowed the Raptors to sign him after he cleared waivers. He put up 7.0 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 2.2 assists in 23 regular season games for Toronto, but has played even less than McCaw in the Playoffs (7 games, 3.7 minutes, 1.3 points). 3. Alfonzo McKinnie 4. Chris Boucher Same story, different teams. Warriors swingman McKinnie and Raptors big Boucher began last season with the opposite ball club, though they actually spent more time with their respective G League affiliates. McKinnie, who went undrafted in 2015, bounced around playing as an import in Luxembourg and Mexico, before landing in the G League in 2016 with the Windy City Bulls. He signed a multi-year deal with the Raptors the next season, but got waived last July. McKinnie bounced back as a training camp invitee for Golden State, but with McCaw not signing, that opened up a roster spot for the journeyman. He's made the most of the opportunity since, averaging 4.7 points and 3.4 rebounds in 72 regular season games, 3.3 points and 2.5 rebounds in 16 postseason games. Boucher got a two-way contract from the Warriors last season, but was waived this past offseason. He got another two-way contract from the Raptors shortly after, before having his deal converted to a standard contract back in February. Appearing in 28 regular season games, Boucher normed 3.3 points and 2.0 rebounds. He really made his presence felt on Raptors 905, the G League affiliate of Toronto, getting named G League MVP and DPoY. He's been fielded in a pair of postseason games, amassing a total of 5 points and 1 rebound. 5. Stephen Curry The first time Stephen Curry shot hoops in Toronto was not as a Warrior, but as a kid. Curry's father Dell closed out his NBA career with three seasons in Toronto, and Steph and his brother Seth were a familiar presence in the arena, shooting hoops with their dad. The team's star back then, Vince Carter, even played 1-on-1 against him back in the day. In addition, Steph's wife Ayesha was born in Toronto and lived there until the age of 14. 6. Phil Handy He's far from a household name, but Phil Handy might be an x-factor in this series. The long-time player development guru was an assistant coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2013 to 2018, which includes those four straight Finals matchups against the Warriors. Handy's worked with names like Kobe Bryant, Derek Fisher, Pau Gasol, Steve Nash, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, and LeBron James, before bringing his talents to aid Kawhi Leonard and Pascal Siakam, among others. Ironically though, Handy's a California native, and lived in Oakland until the age of 11. 7. Kawhi Leonard The journey that saw Kawhi Leonard go from San Antonio Spur to Toronto Raptor began in a series against the Golden State Warriors. Back in the 2017 Western Conference Finals, Leonard's 26 points had the San Antonio Spurs up big against the Warriors, before he landed on then-Golden State center Zaza Pachulia's foot. That re-aggravated an ankle injury he suffered in the previous series against the Houston Rockets, and Kawhi subsequently missed the rest of the series. Leonard would play just nine more games for the Spurs, due to a right quadriceps injury. The extent though of said injury is something we'll probably never know. Some Spurs players believe Kawhi could have played had he wanted to, while Leonard himself opted to rehab on his own, away from the Spurs medical staff. Regardless of the origin of the animosity between the franchise and the player, the Spurs moved to trade Leonard to the Raptors this past offseason. Safe to say, it's a deal that's worked out swimmingly for Toronto. 8. Will they stay or will they go? Speaking of Kawhi, he's in a similar boat with the currently-injured Warriors star Kevin Durant. Both Leonard and Durant could become free agents this offseason, with both possessing player options. It's largely believed that should they opt out and test the market, they would be the two top options for teams seeking a superstar. Who knows? No matter what the outcome of the Finals is, there's a possibility that a team like the Clippers or the Knicks could put the two of them on the same squad come 2019-20. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or ABS-CBN Sports......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 27th, 2019