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Kawhi Leonard: 10 things to know

NBA.com staff report Kawhi Leonard has quickly risen from unheralded prospect to global superstar during his eight-year NBA career. With his highly anticipated free agent decision made, here are 10 things to know about the two-time Finals MVP. * * * Raised In California: Kawhi Anthony Leonard was born on June 29, 1991, in Los Angeles, California. He was the youngest of five children with four older sisters. During his freshman year of high school, his mother was out of town for work during his team's basketball tryouts so he missed the session. He played football instead that season and didn't start playing basketball at Canyon Springs High School until his sophomore year. Mr. Basketball: He played his next two seasons at Riverside King, where he went on to win California's Mr. Basketball during his senior year. After the tragic death of his father in 2008, he scored 17 points the next night and broke down in his mother's arms after the game. "Basketball is my life, and I wanted to go out there and take my mind off it," he said postgame. Aztec Legend: Kawhi took his talents to nearby San Diego State University for his collegiate career. He was dominant in college, especially on defense, as he led the Aztecs to back-to-back Mountain West Conference tournament championships. His team reached the Sweet 16 before being eliminated by eventual NCAA Tournament champion UConn during his sophomore season. After the tournament, Kawhi declared his intention to enter the 2011 NBA Draft. Draft Night Deal: Spurs coach Gregg Popovich called the decision to trade for Kawhi on Draft night the "toughest" decision he had to make during his 20-plus seasons in San Antonio. The decision was difficult because the Spurs had to part ways with valued young guard George Hill in the deal with the Indiana Pacers. But the move paid off for San Antonio as Kawhi quickly adjusted to the NBA game and showed flashes of star potential. He finished fourth in Rookie of the Year voting and earned a spot on the 2012 All-Rookie First Team. Mr. Economical: Despite his early success, Kawhi didn't let his first NBA paychecks steer him away from his frugal ways. During his first few seasons in the NBA, he continued to drive the same Chevy Malibu he drove in college. "It's paid off," he said in 2004. "I don't have a car note on it. It's good on gas. It's a good commuter car if you don't want to drive your luxury car." His friends and family eventually convinced him to buy a Porsche, which he would only drive on gamedays. Daily Grind: Kawhi quickly earned a reputation in San Antonio for his work ethic as he trained alongside legendary Spurs players Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker. Longtime Spurs assistant coach Chip Engelland helped Kawhi perfect his shooting form by having him study the forms of Kobe Bryant and Richard Jefferson. Breakthrough Moment: The hard work paid off for Kawhi as he continued to blossom on the title-contending Spurs. After losing to the Miami Heat in seven games during the 2013 Finals, the Spurs returned to The Finals in 2014 and avenged their defeat with a 4-1 series win over Miami. Kawhi was key for San Antonio with averages of 17.8 points on 61.2 percent shooting, 6.4 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 1.2 blocks. At age 22, Kawhi became the third youngest player in NBA history to win Finals MVP and the youngest since Magic Johnson in 1980. Out Of The Spotlight: His rise to fame during the 2014 Finals didn't change his day-to-day mindset. According to Engelland in 2017, "He hasn’t been tricked by any of the NBA glamour or bright lights, big city. A lot of smart, great players have been. You get lost and forget the process, forget why you began to play. With him, it’s like, ‘What’d you do last night?’ ‘Watched a little TV. I was with friends. My mom cooked dinner.’ Those are very common nights for him.” Derailed By Injury: The two-time Defensive Player of the Year enjoyed a relatively injury-free start to his career with the Spurs. But everything changed when he re-aggravated an ankle injury during Game 1 of the 2017 West finals. The injury, and subsequent recovery, forced Kawhi to miss the remainder of the series and all but 9 games during 2017-18. After the season, Kawhi expressed his desire to be traded by the Spurs. He was dealt to the Toronto Raptors on July 18, 2018. Legendary Company: It was a storybook season for Kawhi and the Raptors as he led Toronto to their first NBA championship in franchise history. Kawhi was unstoppable throughout the playoffs with clutch play after play, including an instantly iconic series-winner in the East semifinals. He joined LeBron James and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the only players in NBA history to win Finals MVP with two different teams......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 6th, 2019

Lucky loser from US upsets 2018 champ Kerber at Wimbledon

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — Lauren Davis wasn't even supposed to be playing in Wimbledon's main draw, let alone upsetting defending champion Angelique Kerber in the second round. It's been quite a week. The 95th-ranked Davis lost in the last round of qualifying and figured that was that. But then another player withdrew from the tournament, opening up a spot, and the 25-year-old American got in — a "lucky loser" in tennis parlance. On Thursday, Davis turned things around after a poor start and knocked off the No. 5-seeded Kerber 2-6, 6-2, 6-1 to get to the third round and equal her best showing at any Grand Slam tournament. "I wouldn't say that I was surprised, because I always believe in myself. She's obviously an incredible champion; I have immense respect for her," Davis said. "I definitely believe in myself and believe that I can hang with these girls and beat them." She seemed to move around just fine despite a heavily wrapped left knee. "The tape is a lot worse than it looks. It's just a little soreness with my meniscus on my left side," Davis said. "It's really just prevention at this point, especially on the grass where it can be slippery potentially." Davis was by far the more aggressive player, compiling a hard-to-believe edge of 45-13 in total winners against Kerber, whom Davis called "a human backboard." This continues what's been an up-and-down season for Kerber, who won her third career major championship a year ago at the All England Club by beating Serena Williams in the final. Kerber hasn't won a title since. "I'm disappointed. Of course it's not the way I would like to finish here or to play here," the German said. "But you sometimes have days like that. You have to accept it. You have to learn from it." DUMPED FOR COCO Just a couple of other ways in which 15-year-old sensation Coco Gauff is gaining attention at Wimbledon: Her third-round match Friday against another unseeded player was scheduled for Centre Court, and she was picked to play mixed doubles by someone who dumped his original partner in that event. First, Gauff was the youngest player to qualify for Wimbledon in the professional era. Then the American went out on No. 1 Court and beat Venus Williams, who is 24 years older and had won four Grand Slam titles before Gauff was born. And then she beat 2017 semifinalist Magdalena Rybarikova, again on No. 1 Court, and again in straight sets. Now she'll face 60th-ranked Polona Hercog at the most hallowed tennis arena anywhere. Gauff is entered in mixed doubles with Jay Clarke, who explained after losing to Roger Federer in singles on Wednesday that he switched things up after initially planning to play with fellow Brit Harriet Dart. "I made the decision a few days ago now to play with Coco, because ... you play with a big name or a past champion," Clarke said. "Yeah, I made the decision to play with probably the biggest name in the draw at the moment." Sorry, Harriet. "Obviously, initially, she was very upset," Clarke said. "She had every right to be; I'd be too." SO LONG, MARCOS Marcos Baghdatis said goodbye to tennis with a kiss. The 2006 Australian Open runner-up played the last match of his career Thursday at Wimbledon, a 6-1, 7-6 (4), 6-3 loss in the second round to 17th-seeded Matteo Berrettini. After it ended, the 34-year-old from Cyprus patted his heart with both hands, then knelt and leaned his forehead on the grass, before planting a kiss on No. 2 Court. He cried as the spectators regaled him with a lengthy standing ovation. Baghdatis, a Wimbledon semifinalist in 2006, said before the tournament began that it would be his last before retirement. His wife, former player Karolina Sprem, is expecting a baby in November, their third child. "I didn't want to leave the court," Baghdatis said. "It was a nice farewell. It felt amazing.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 5th, 2019

Summer of 2020 takes on added importance for Bucks

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com As important as the 2019-20 season and postseason are to the Milwaukee Bucks, in proving to themselves and to the basketball world they can take that next step (Finals) or two (championship), they pale next to the significance of the summer of 2020. That’s when Giannis Antetokounmpo, the NBA’s newly minted Kia Most Valuable Player, can sign a “supermax” contract extension worth approximately $254 million over five years. Or not. And the “or not” might have gotten a nudge on the first day of 2019 free agency Sunday (Monday, PHL time). The Bucks were in a tough situation as it was, with three free agents among the top five players from last season’s 60-22 team. Keeping all of them – wing Khris Middleton, center Brook Lopez and guard Malcolm Brogdon – was going to be a challenge, financially and realistically, given how much demand was outstripping supply in the marketplace (nearly $500 million in available cap space plus exceptions burning holes in 30 teams’ pockets). Milwaukee started scrambling in the days heading toward June 30 (July 1, PHL time) by moving or trying to move pieces such as Tony Snell, George Hill and Ersan Ilyasova for payroll and roster flexibility. Snell’s contract was traded to Detroit along with the No. 30 pick in the 2019 Draft, Hill was waived and Ilyasova essentially was sitting at the curb with a “Free” sign on him and his $7 million salary. It wasn’t enough. The free agent-palooza started well enough for the Bucks when reports leaked early that Lopez would be retained on a four-year, $52 million deal. Frankly, that’s a bargain -- $55 million over five years – if you add Lopez’s 2019-20 salary of $3.4 million, a ridiculously low rate for what wound up as a career-redefining season for the veteran big man. After taking a mere 0.5 percent of his 6,826 field goal attempts from 3-point range through his first eight seasons, Lopez let fly 65 percent of his shots from beyond the arc in his 11th. In hard numbers, that’s 31 attempts over eight years compared to 512 in 81 appearances for the Bucks. Factor in Lopez’s underrated defense and rim protection, and his free-spirit calm in the locker room, and he ranked arguably as the Bucks’ next most valuable player after Antetokounmpo. Soon thereafter, Milwaukee’s next move was reported: Middleton re-upping on an enormous five-year, $178 deal. The soft-spoken 6-foot-7 was named an East All-Star reserve en route to averaging 18.3 points and shifting even more of his offensive game to 3-point territory. But Middleton’s greatest leverage was being viewed as the Bucks’ No. 2 player overall and Antetokounmpo’s Scottie Pippen (relatively) for the past six seasons. And hey, his contract represents a $12 million discount from the $190 million “max” Middleton could have demanded. As it is, starting at an estimated $30.6 million salary, he’ll be getting about $5 million more than Antetokounmpo both this season and next. So two done and one … not done. Not done at all. Just when it appeared the Bucks would take care of their most pressing free-agency issues, the news came: Brogdon to Indiana on an $85 million deal over four seasons. In a sign-and-trade, which meant Milwaukee facilitated the restricted free agent’s departure, rather than match the Pacers’ offer and keep him. Brogdon’s value last season, to a team that got within two victories of The Finals, was evident analytically and by most eye tests. He became only the eighth shooter in NBA history to hit 50 percent of his shots overall, 40 percent of 3s and 90 percent of his free throws. He also showed an uncanny ability to take over for minutes at a time when the Bucks were desperate to generate offense. Brogdon’s threat as shooter enabled him to attack the rim at a high percentage, stopping opponents’ runs or sparking them for his side. Brogdon’s relationship with the Bucks seemed to get strained two years ago, when his reward for being named an unlikely Kia NBA Rookie of the Year was 20 bench appearances in the team’s first 37 games. Here Brogdon had won the award over the likes of Dario Saric, Buddy Hield, Jamal Murray and Jaylen Brown (Joel Embiid only made 31 appearances in 2016-17), yet his role was unclear once Phoenix made Eric Bledsoe available and Milwaukee pounced. Bledsoe pre-empting his own free agency by signing a four-year, $70 million deal with the Bucks raised questions about Brogdon’s spot in their pecking order again. So too, it appears, did Milwaukee nailing down the East’s No. 1 seed, then going 7-1 in the first two playoff rounds while Brogdon nursed a plantar fascia foot injury from mid-March into May. All of a sudden Brogdon’s deal was looking like the one to blame for pushing Milwaukee’s payroll up, up, up into luxury-tax range. And so he was sacrificed to Indiana, an Eastern Conference rival, for a reported first-round draft pick and a couple second-rounders, protections and years still not known. Bucks GM Jon Horst made a nice save in pulling back Hill from the free-agent pool, to the tune of a three-year, $29 million deal. But losing Brogdon was a considerable step backward for a team determined to go forward. Shedding Snell and having Nikola Mirotic head off to the Euroleague to play in Barcelona doesn’t help. As for the draft picks from Indiana and the $12 million trade exception the Bucks might have gained in the trade, the former are out of sync with the team’s life cycle – namely, Antetokounmpo’s ambitions and contract status – and the latter only matters if it’s used smartly. Everything Milwaukee does – has done, actually, since those four staggered defeats against Toronto in the conference finals – has to be about giving Antetokounmpo reasons to stay. That means improving, that means winning, that means at least being in the building when the championship is decided next June. The clock is ticking. The social media vultures will be circling for "The Greek Freak" soon. There is only one way to fend them off, and a part of that now will be playing for the Pacers. Horst, 2019 NBA Executive of the Year, and Mike Budenholzer, NBA Coach of the Year, might need to repeat if they and their team are going to chase the trophies – the Larry and the Giannis – that matter most. Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 2nd, 2019

Brazil beats Paraguay in shootout in Copa América quarters

By Eric Nunez, Associated Press PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil (AP) — Facing early elimination in the Copa América at home, Brazil finally found a way to get past Paraguay in a penalty shootout. After two consecutive eliminations against its southern neighbor, Brazil came out on top on penalties on Thursday to avoid an embarrassing elimination in the quarterfinals of the South American tournament. Goalkeeper Alisson made a save and Gabriel Jesus scored the decisive penalty as Brazil defeated Paraguay 4-3 in the shootout to return to the semifinals for the first time since 2007. Alisson dived to his left to stop the initial penalty by defender Gustavo Gómez, and Gabriel Jesus sealed the victory to keep Brazil on track for its first Copa América title since 2007. Brazil will next face either Venezuela or Argentina, which play on Friday in Rio de Janeiro. Brazil had lost to Paraguay the last two times the teams met in the Copa América quarterfinals, in 2011 and 2015, both times in penalty shootouts. Derlis González also missed from the spot for Paraguay, while Roberto Firmino failed to score for Brazil. Both players sent their shots wide. González, who also missed a penalty in Paraguay's 1-1 draw against Argentina in the group stage, had scored the decisive goal in the 2015 shootout. He was one of the five players back from that team that eliminated Brazil. Willian, Marquinhos and Philippe Coutinho converted their penalties for Brazil, while Miguel Almirón, Bruno Valdez and Rodrigo Rojas netted for Paraguay. "My teammates did their part, they took on the responsibility and succeeded. That was crucial," Alisson said. "This was an important step toward our goal of winning the South American title." Gabriel Jesus had missed a late penalty in Brazil's 5-0 rout of Peru in its last group game, but calmly found the net with his shot from the spot as Paraguay goalkeeper Roberto "Gatito" Fernández went the other way, igniting the Brazilian crowd of more than 48,000 at the Arena Grêmio. "I was confident, I knew that if I took the penalty the way I'm used to taking it, I would have more chances of scoring," Gabriel Jesus said. "I was upset after the other match because I didn't take the shot my own way. This time I waited for the goalkeeper to move and just sent the ball the other way." Gatito had been key in regulation as the visitors held on to a 0-0 draw despite having a defender sent off in the 58th minute. In the Copa America quarterfinals, extra time is not played and the match proceeded straight to penalties. Paraguay played with 10 men after Fabián Balbuena was sent off for a foul that was initially called a penalty kick but was reversed after video review determined the foul happened outside the area. "We have to be proud of the character shown by this team," said Paraguay coach Eduardo Berizzo, an Argentine. "We could have been rewarded with a wonderful and heroic triumph in the penalty shootout, but that doesn't take anything away from my players' great performance." Brazil controlled possession but struggled to create scoring opportunities against Paraguay's solid defensive system. The visitors had one of the best chances of the first half when González's close-range shot was saved by Alisson. Brazil pressed nearly full-time after Balbuena was sent off, but couldn't capitalize on its many opportunities. Gabriel Jesus, Coutinho, Everton and Firmino all missed great chances in front of the goal. Fernández made a great reflex save on a close-range header by Alex Sandro near the end of the match, and in the 90th Fernández could only watch as a low shot by Willian struck the post. Brazil coach Tite said the poor field conditions didn't help Brazil's attack. "It's absurd to have to play on a field where it's difficult to exchange passes," Tite said. Despite reaching the semifinals in 2015 and finishing runner-up in 2011, Paraguay has won only one of its last 21 matches in the Copa América, taking advantage of penalty shootouts to advance. Paraguay reached the last eight this year with only two points, finishing as one of the two best third-place teams from the three groups. Paraguay and Brazil failed to make it out of the group stage in the 2016 Copa América. An eight-time South American champion, Brazil has won the tournament all four previous times it hosted the event, the last time in 1989. Brazil's Neymar, dropped from the squad because of an ankle injury sustained just before the tournament, watched from the tribunes at the Arena Grêmio......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 28th, 2019

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

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 16th, 2019

AP Source: Panthers agree to terms with DT Gerald McCoy

By Steve Reed, Associated Press CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Panthers agreed to terms with six-time Pro Bowl free agent defensive tackle Gerald McCoy on a one-year contract worth up to $10.25 million with incentives, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press on Monday. McCoy, who was cut by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a salary cap move, will receive a $4 million signing bonus. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because he has not yet signed his contract. McCoy chose Carolina over Baltimore and Cleveland. The addition of McCoy gives the Panthers a formidable trio of defensive tackles that includes Kawann Short and Dontari Poe, who have each been to the Pro Bowl twice, and Kyle Love. The 31-year-old McCoy has started 123 games during his nine seasons with the Buccaneers and posted 296 tackles and 54 1/2 sacks. He had 28 tackles and six tackles last season for Tampa Bay in 14 games. He has had at least six sacks in each of the last six seasons. The Panthers are incorporating some 3-4 defensive looks into their scheme this year, which means the 6-foot-4, 300-pound McCoy could be lined up alongside Short, who will move to defensive end in those situations. Or, the team could move the versatile McCoy to the other defensive end spot in the three-man front. The Panthers struggled to apply pressure to the quarterback last season and also lost defensive end Julius Peppers to retirement this offseason. McCoy's best statistical season came in 2013 when he had 50 tackles and 9 1/2 sacks. Along with a $4 million signing bonus, McCoy can earn incentives for sacks, as well as making the Pro Bowl and the playoffs......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 4th, 2019

Sloane Stephens strategy on wasted match points: Forget em

By Andrew Dampf, Associated Press PARIS (AP) — Mulling over what might have been is never a great tactic in tennis. Just ask Sloane Stephens, who managed to regroup from four wasted match points in the second set of a 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 win over 71st-ranked Polona Hercog on Friday to reach the fourth round of the French Open. "Honestly, I don't even remember what happened. It seems like so long ago. But I know that I didn't win them. That was the main point of that," Stephens said after the draining victory on the hottest day of the tournament so far — with temperatures soaring to nearly 80 degrees Fahrenheit (26 Celsius) after the much cooler and rainy opening days. With second-seeded Karolina Pliskova losing to Petra Martic, No. 7 Stephens is the highest-ranked player remaining in the bottom half of the draw. But her next opponent, 2016 Roland Garros champion Garbiñe Muguruza, is looking more and more dangerous every match. Stephens, last year's runner-up in Paris and the 2017 U.S. Open champion, quickly stormed to a 4-0 lead in the third against Hercog then held herself together when it got close at the end "After the second set I just tried to regroup. I got off to a good start and just tried to hang with it," the American said. "When you have match points like that, you have to put it out of your mind, otherwise it just stays with you, lingers, brings you down. It's no fun." With both players hitting the ball tentatively in the final games, Stephens finally whipped an inside-out forehand winner on her sixth match point, then celebrated with a scream and fist pumps. Earlier this week, Stephens credited her engagement last month to U.S. national soccer player Jozy Altidore with helping her tennis. "When your home life is good and your family is good and you're happy, I think that definitely does affect how you play on court," she said. The other fourth-round matchups set Friday: No. 23 Donna Vekic vs. No. 26 Johanna Konta; Marketa Vondrousova vs. No. 12 Anastasija Sevastova; and Kaia Kanepi vs. Martic. Muguruza dispatched ninth-seeded Elina Svitolina 6-3 6-3. "She's playing well; I'm playing well. I think it's a good matchup," Stephens said. "You're playing for a spot in the quarters of a Slam. Just got to leave everything out there and see what happens." And if match points — or any important point for that matter — go wasted, quickly move on......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 1st, 2019

Football: Neil Etheridge fully intent on staying with Azkals and helping them move forward

Filipino-British goalkeeper Neil Etheridge has every intention of suiting up for the Philippine Men's National Men's Football Team moving forward.  The 29-year old has been the Azkals' first-string keeper the better part of his eleven-year career with the national team, and he plans on keeping it that way.  "Of course, I want to be part of the Azkals going into the World Cup Qualifiers," Etheridge said in a press conference in Manila, Thursday morning. "I decided to play for the Philippines at 18 years old. I’m 29 now, so [since] eleven years ago, I’ve been with that team." "Yes, people have said, ‘Is he just gonna play Premier League Football and just drop the Azkals?’ No, because I’ve been a part of that team for eleven years, and you don’t just drop something after eleven years," he continued.  More than just being on the team, Etheridge added that he would also like to be part of the team's progress moving forward, even if he has club commitments abroad.  "I want to be a part of it, I want to move it forward, I’d love to have the responsibility, not just from the Premier League or wherever I’m playing in England or Europe, I want to have a responsibility here. Moving forward, I want to continue being part of the Azkals, I feel like I’ve got a lot more to give, I just hope and pray that the Federation and everyone involved gets along the same lines and moves in the same direction." While Etheridge was part of the lineup that ultimately clinched a historic spot in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, he wasn't able to join his Azkals during the tournament itself due to his club team commitments with Cardiff City FC.  Etheridge believes that while the Azkals were ultimately unable to record a win in the tournament, they were able to show that they indeed deserved to be on that stage of competition.  "Even though I wasn’t part of the Asian Cup, I think the team did extremely well, and they probably exceeded a lot of expectations without winning a game, they were very strong and they did very well," he said.  The promising Asian Cup performance, Etheridge hopes, will be a springboard for the Azkals and everyone involved to aim for an even better result moving forward.  "Do we just stop there and accept it? Or do we move forward and go ‘Right now, we want to try to qualify for the World Cup. Now we want to try to get to the next Asian Cup and do better.’ That’s what I want to see and I think everyone involved in that team wants the National Team, the Azkals to move forward, but that needs to, not just come from the players and the coaching staff, that needs to come from everyone behind the scenes all the way to the top." More than just again qualifying for the Asian Cup, Etheridge hopes to be able to, in his career, see the Azkals earn a coveted spot in the FIFA World Cup.  .@Neil38Etheridge talks about @TheAzkalsPH in the Asian Cup and moving forward | @abscbnsports pic.twitter.com/qGfYw8sFOR — Santino Honasan???? (@honasantino) May 23, 2019 "I’ve always said it, the Philippine National Team, the Azkals have really had a strong base, and I’ve been fortunate enough to play for the team for ten years. Maybe five years ago, we had a very strong team and people were wondering ‘Are we ever coming back to create a team like that?’ and we did and qualified for the Asian Cup, which is a massive achievement...I just hope that we can keep moving forward. Later on this year, we’ve got the World Cup Qualifiers, which I hope to be a part of, and we’ve created waves. First time we’ve ever qualified for the Asian Cup and I hope, maybe, in my career, that we’ll be able to qualify for the World Cup." The Azkals return to the pitch for an international friendly match against China in Guangzhou on June 7th.  The second round of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers will begin on September later this year, with the Philippines among the 40 teams to participate in the qualifying tournament.   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 23rd, 2019

PBA: One game at a time for Anthony, Northport

With a strong opening win, things are looking up for Northport in the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup. However, the Batang Pier are not too high on this one, even if they just blasted a team like the Alaska Aces. Northport also had a strong opening win in the Philippine Cup — the team had two in fact — and then went on to lose six straight, eventually missing out on the playoffs. And so while a 22-point victory against the Aces was nice, the Batang Pier are keeping things grounded. “We just want to take games one game at a time. We don't want to get too up or too down,” forward Sean Anthony said. “We just go back to the drawing board tomorrow and we'll scout this NLEX game on the way home and we'll get ready for them and try to do more of the same stuff,” he added. This early in the new conference, Northport does have some key stuff to capitalize on to avoid a mid-tournament collapse like last time. The Batang Pier were impressive against Alaska even without top star Stanley Pringle and a “decent” game from import Prince Ibeh. Northport’s defense was a bright spot as well. “You saw the ball move to open guys and guys hitting big shots. A lot of assists, a lot of ball movement. But more than that, great defense. I think last conference, we had one of the worst defenses in the league and here, we held Alaska to 81,” Anthony said. “We held a great team like Alaska to that and we made sure we brought in Prince [Ibeh], who stepped up huge and is a great rim protector,” he added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 23rd, 2019

GFG-CSB, St. Clare book tickets to PBA D-League playoffs

Go for Gold-CSB clinched a seat to the 2019 PBA D-League playoffs after dismantling McDavid, 119-101, Tuesday at JCSGO Gym in Cubao. Clement Leutcheu and Edward Dixon teamed up in the Scratchers' early spurt as they took a quick 37-21 advantage. The lead swelled to as much as 31 as McDavid had no answers to Go for Gold-CSB's onslaught. "We're happy we made it to the quarterfinals," said coach Charles Tiu. "That's one of our goals this conference because it's a very stacked conference." Leutcheu topped the balanced attack with 19 points, nine rebounds, three assists, and three steals, as Dixon scored 10 of his 16 points in that opening frame. Roosevelt Adams chipped in 13 points and 10 rebounds, while Justin Gutang had 12 points, six assists, and three boards to rise to 6-3 in the Aspirants Group. Jeremiah Pangalangan, Prince Carlos, and James Pasturan all contributed 11 points apiece for the Scratchers to finish their eliminations campaign on a high. McDavid, meanwhile, exited the tourney at 1-8 slate. Jason Melano led the squad with 26 points and seven rebounds, as Jerwin Gaco had 20 in the defeat. St. Clare College Virtual Reality also punched its ticket to the quarterfinals by drubbing AMA Online Education, 119-89. Joshua Fontanilla and Darwin Lunor teamed up for the Saints' first quarter flurry where it took a 35-20 advantage and never looked back. The diminutive Fontanilla fired 11 of his 16 points in the first half, on top of six rebounds and five assists, as Lunor added 13 to his name as well as collecting six boards and three assists to banner the seven players which got to double-digits. The Saints now sit idle at third place in the pool, but can still move up to the no. 2 spot and own a twice-to-beat edge if Family Mart-Enderun upsets Ironcon-UST on Thursday. In the process, Petron-Letran (6-3) has also been eliminated after owning an inferior quotient. BOX SCORES FIRST GAME GO FOR GOLD-CSB 119 -- Leutcheu 19, Dixon 16, Adams 13, Gutang 12, Pangalangan 11, Carlos 11, Pasturan 11, Haruna 7, Nayve 6, Velasco 5, Naboa 4, Young 2, Lim 2, Belgica 0. MCDAVID 101 -- Melano 26, Gaco 20, Sorela 18, Arboleda 11, Koga 10, Gonzales 6, Monte 3, Caranguian 3, Colina 2, Medina 2, Lozada 0, Canada 0, Ja. Villanueva 0, Pena 0. QUARTER SCORES: 37-23, 68-46, 95-69, 119-101. SECOND GAME ST. CLARE 119 -- Fontanilla 16, Palencia 14, Ambuludto 14, Pare 13, Lunor 13, Santos 11, Decano 10, Hallare 8, Bolos 6, Rubio 5, Tiquia 5, Manacho 2, Penaredondo 2, Fuentes 0. AMA 89 -- Munzon 27, Johnson 19, Rike 15, Parcero 12, Sayat 5, Asuncion 3, Estibar 3, Fuentes 3, Catequista 2, Sabile 0, Nakpil 0, Dela Rosa 0. QUARTER SCORES: 35-20, 68-39, 93-67, 119-89......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 21st, 2019

Stephen bests Seth in Curry brothers backyard basketball showdown

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com OAKLAND, Calif. — For a special moment, Game 2 of the Western Conference finals relocated from Oracle Arena to a backyard court with a hoop in suburban Charlotte, N.C., and every player save for two suddenly disappeared, and 19,595 witnesses were reduced by 19,593, with the remaining pair watching and pointing from the kitchen window. Yes, late-1990s nostalgia intervened in a tight contest between the Warriors and Trail Blazers. It was Curry vs. Curry all over again, an entertaining spectacle for their amused parents yet a tense one for their sons, Steph and Seth, fiercely trying to take down the other. [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] Even if you weren’t there at the Curry household for those brotherhood battles back in the day, couldn’t you just envision how they developed, much as it did on a dramatic Thursday, two decades later on the other side of the country? There was so much riding on those 1-on-1s then, such as a noogie for the loser, the last remaining cookie for the winner, and most certainly bragging rights, at least for the day. This time, the stakes were tame by comparison, just an ordinary game in mid-May that could dictate which brother eventually goes to the NBA Finals and which one sits next to Dell and Sonya in the stands and watches, nothing more or less. “Yeah, sure,” laughed Seth. “Something like that.” OK, perhaps this was huge after all. This was Steph with 37 points and eight assists rallying the Warriors back from 17 points down, only to get push-back from his brother, who played the best game of his NBA career. This was Seth, younger by three years, getting 16 points and four steals in the game -- all four out of Steph's pocket -- to give the Blazers an unexpected lift. The performance earned enough confidence from coach Terry Stotts that he played the entire fourth quarter. Seth was assigned to check Steph, and vice-versa, and it was a family issue played out before the basketball world. It was a thrilling one at that, because at one point you weren’t sure which Curry would get the best of the other. “This was like the coolest experience I think I’ve ever had playing against him,” said Steph. “Every minute he was out there defensively, he was a pest. Made big shots in the fourth quarter. He was amazing tonight.” Seth made all three of his shots in the fourth quarter, all of them on three-pointers, and a few in Steph’s mug. If he wasn’t the Blazers’ best option, at least he was an option, one that the Warriors -- and the other Curry -- had to respect. He helped the Blazers cling to an eight-point lead with four minutes and change left, until the expected happened and those early bragging rights were rudely snatched back. Playing once again without the comfort of Kevin Durant, Steph shot and willed his team to victory and a 2-0 lead in the series, drawing a foul beyond the arc and draining three free throws to put the Warriors up two. Seth had one last answer, a 29-footer that temporarily regained the lead before the Warriors wore down Portland and went home, 114-111, on Andre Iguodala's last-second strip of Damian Lillard. In all, it was a must-see contest … and the game wasn’t too bad, either. “I mean, they’re brothers,” said Lillard. “For me, having my own older brother, I know what it’s like to go against your brother and what it means. They both know there’s going to be conversations about this at some point when this series is over and they’re going to play like it.” Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, there wasn’t much chatter between them; Seth said they were too involved in the game for that. Well, maybe just a touch: “He tried to distract me at the free-throw line in the fourth quarter and I knew I had to go back at him to stay focused on what I needed to do,” admitted Steph. There was more of an urgency on Seth’s part to make this game and this drama happen. After his brother and Klay Thompson took turns dropping an avalanche of jumpers on the Blazers in Game 1, Portland needed a new strategy to defend the pick and roll. So they decided to trap constantly, and they needed agile players for that, which meant less time for Enes Kanter and more time for others, including Seth. Of course, there was another reason to play Seth for 29 minutes: Who else knows Steph Curry better than him? “I’ve seen every Warriors game and every Steph game for the past 10 years,” he said. “I feel like I know some things he likes to do, but it wasn’t enough.” That’s true. You can have all the scouting reports and, in this case, all the backyard hoop experience in the world. There’s only so much one can do against a two-time Kia MVP and widely-regarded Best Shooter Of All Time. Still: there were those four steals by Seth, two of them clean picks off Steph, who’s difficult to strip because of his crafty dribble. And those shots against him. Seth was a problem Thursday (Friday, PHL time), and an irritating one. “I felt like he was thinking where I was at times,” Seth said. I was just trying to make it tough on him. He’s going to do what he does, but if you make him work a little more, make it tough on him, that’s all you can ask.” Seth's had the harder road to this point. While Steph became a basketball icon, Seth kept bouncing between teams over five years, never securing the big contract, fighting to carve a spot in the rotation, and finally getting the chance to do just that. Just a few years ago, Seth played for the Warriors’ G-League team in Santa Cruz, in the shadow of his brother, wondering when he’d get his chance to make his own path. “I don’t take this for granted,” he said. “To get to this point and be a contributor, this is what I worked for all those years. I was confident I could be here, and now that I’m here, I will try to make the most of it. I always want the ball and try to be aggressive and tonight when I found the ball in my hands, I was locked in.” This will give Stotts and the Blazers something to ponder as the series moves to Portland, where they’ll try to keep from becoming another piece of Warriors playoff roadkill. Chances are good, then, that Seth’s spot in heavy rotation is safe. “Every time we played them this season, Seth has played great and I think it has something to do with playing his brother,” said Lillard. “This time I thought he guarded Steph well, and Steph is always on the move, out there running around, coming off screens and just looking to shoot the ball. That’s what he does.” Well, there’s one little detail that Lillard left out, one that Steph Curry was too happy to provide: “It worked out perfectly tonight: He played well and we won.” 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 NewsMay 17th, 2019

Barca s reserves lose, Atletico fails to clinch 2nd place

By Tales Azzoni, Associated Press MADRID (AP) — Spanish champion Barcelona sacrificed its unbeaten streak on Saturday to prepare to reach the Champions League final at Liverpool's expense. With most regular starters rested, Barcelona's 23-match unbeaten run ended in a 2-0 loss at Celta Vigo on Saturday in the Spanish league. It was Barcelona's first setback since January and a loss at Sevilla in the Copa del Rey, and its first defeat in the league since November. The result meant little to the Catalan club, though, as it's fully focused on Liverpool in the second leg of their Champions League semifinal next week, when it will travel to England defending a 3-0 win from the Camp Nou. Of more immediate concern was a leg injury to Ousmane Dembele, who had to be replaced five minutes into the match. "Apparently he has a muscle problem," Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said. "We will have to wait until the tests tomorrow to see how serious it is." Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba, Ivan Rakitic, Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Sergio Busquets were among the players who didn't travel to Vigo. Celta loved the result, which moved it to 14th place and five points clear of the relegation zone. Barcelona clinched its 26th league title last weekend. ATLETICO'S MISS Atletico Madrid earlier missed a chance to secure second place after losing at Espanyol 3-0. A draw would have been enough for Atletico but it struggled from at mid-table Espanyol. Atletico can still clinch a runner-up finish on Sunday if third-placed Real Madrid loses or draws against Villarreal. Real Madrid is nine points behind Atletico with three games left, but it holds the head-to-head tiebreaker between the city rivals. "We still need a point, but it's still up to us to earn this point and finish second," Atletico coach Diego Simeone said. "We have to appreciate the value of a second-place finish in this league." Atletico is seeking consecutive top-two finishes in the Spanish league for the first time since 1973-74. That was also the last time Real Madrid finished out of the top two in consecutive years. Espanyol, unbeaten in seven matches, moved to ninth with the victory, staying in contention for a Europa League spot. The hosts opened the scoring with an own-goal by Atletico defender Diego Godin just before halftime, then striker Borja Iglesias sealed the victory with goals in the 52nd and 89th minutes. Simeone's team hadn't conceded three goals in a match since March, in a 3-0 loss at Juventus in the Champions League. "We played a good first half but we weren't ourselves after conceding the own-goal," Atletico midfielder Jorge "Koke" Resurreccion said. "That was not the Atletico we are used to seeing." LEVANTE'S RELIEF Levante routed Rayo Vallecano 4-1 at home to move five points clear of the bottom three. Rayo, which was coming off a win over Real Madrid, stayed second-to-last, with little hope of escaping demotion. SOCIEDAD STILL BELIEVES Real Sociedad kept alive its hopes of grabbing a Europa League spot in beating Alaves 1-0......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 5th, 2019

Cavani misses late penalty as French champion PSG draws

By Jerome Pugmire, Associated Press PARIS (AP) — Edinson Cavani missed a late penalty given after a video review as French champion Paris Saint-Germain's stuttering form continued in a 1-1 draw with Nice on Saturday. Referee Frank Schneider awarded it for a crude foul by Brazilian defender Dante on Neymar in the 88th minute, although Neymar had already shot over the bar when Dante caught his right foot, and also appeared to handle the ball when he initially controlled it. Neymar converted a penalty in the second half to draw PSG level. It was his 14th league goal. But this time he let Cavani take it, and goalkeeper Walter Benitez guessed right to palm the shot away. The draw means PSG has won only one if its past seven games, including a French Cup final defeat against Rennes last weekend. "We've been struggling a bit recently, but we have to grit our teeth and move forward," PSG goalkeeper Alphonse Areola said. "We have to finish on a high note with some good performances." PSG is 17 points ahead of second-placed Lille, which is at third-place Lyon on Sunday. OTHER MATCHES Last-placed Guingamp looks certain to be relegated after drawing at home to fellow struggler Caen 0-0. Guingamp is five points behind Caen in 18th position — the relegation-promotion playoff spot — with three games remaining. Nimes was promoted last season and is thoroughly enjoying being in the top flight. The southern side is eighth after winning at Reims 3-0, and pushing Reims down to ninth in the process. Also, striker Stephane Bahoken grabbed the winner as Angers won at Bordeaux 1-0. SUNDAY'S GAMES A win for second-placed Lille will move it nine points clear of Lyon and all but seal an automatic place in next season's Champions League. If Lyon loses, then bitter local rival Saint-Etienne can move into third — which earns a place in the Champions League qualifying rounds — with a win at 16th-place Monaco......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 5th, 2019

Dortmund drops more points, Bayern closes in on Bundesliga

By Ciaran Fahey, Associated Press BERLIN (AP) — Bayern Munich won and moved to the verge of a record-extending seventh straight Bundesliga title on Saturday, while rival Borussia Dortmund blew a two-goal lead and drew at Werder Bremen 2-2. Robert Lewandowski, Leon Goretzka, and Franck Ribery scored for Bayern to beat last-placed Hannover 3-1 at home and move four points clear of Dortmund with two rounds to play. Hannover would have lost by more had goalkeeper Michael Esser not produced a fine performance to keep Bayern at bay, but the side has only mathematical hopes of avoiding relegation after its 22nd defeat from 32 games. Lewandowski and Goretzka gave Bayern a deserved 2-0 lead but Hannover was given a lifeline early in the second half when Jerome Boateng was penalized through VAR for handball despite being able to do little about it. "It was a ghost penalty," Hannover coach Thomas Doll acknowledged. Halftime substitute Jonathas scored the spot kick in the 52nd, then was booked for bundling over Sven Ulreich as he went to retrieve the ball. It was to prove costly for the Brazilian forward as he was booked again when his hand caught Joshua Kimmich in the face in a challenge. Jonathas was sent off after less than 10 minutes on the pitch. Ribery sealed the result for Bayern in the 84th and there was further good news for the home side in the final minutes when Arjen Robben went on for his first league appearance since November. "It should have been 4-0 at the break, then you have peace," Bayern coach Niko Kovac said. "Then out of the blue you have what counts as a penalty today. It was none from my point of view. But we did our homework." DORTMUND UNDONE AGAIN Dortmund, which lost at home to Schalke last weekend, was left frustrated again after dropping more points from what seemed a comfortable lead. Christian Pulisic got the visitors off to an ideal start with a fine run and finish in the sixth minute, then Paco Alcacer made it 2-0 with a brilliant free kick before the break. But Kevin Moehwald pulled one back in the 70th and substitute Claudio Pizarro equalized five minutes later. The Peruvian veteran blew kisses as he celebrated, likely to his old friends at Bayern, where he played for two stints and has been offered a job upon his retirement. "If we can help Bayern, why not?" Pizarro said with a smile. RELEGATION LOOMING Like Hannover, second-to-last Nuremberg is likely to be demoted after losing at Wolfsburg 2-0. But the two teams' slim hopes were kept alive thanks to Stuttgart losing at Hertha Berlin 3-1. Stuttgart, which holds the relegation playoff place, remained six points above Hannover and five above Nuremberg. Hannover and Nuremberg must win their remaining two games to maintain any hope of catching Stuttgart. Also, Hoffenheim and Borussia Moenchengladbach drew 2-2. Hoffenheim would have taken the home side's fifth place with a win but had to be content with remaining seventh......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 5th, 2019

UAAP Season 81: Tigresses claw Lady Spikers for twice-to-beat advantage

University of Sto. Tomas head coach Kungfu Reyes said they are ready to face three-time defending champion De La University with or without a twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four after the Tigresses closed the elimination of UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament. But when the golden chance came for the Tigresses to steal the semifinals incentive, UST grabbed the opportunity to move a win away from a return stint to the championship round for the first time in nine years. The Tigresses demolished the Lady Spikers in the playoff for the no. 2 spot and semis incentive with an emphatic, 25-14, 25-23, 23-25, 25-19 victory on Wednesday at the jam-packed FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Graduating hitter Sisi Rondina and rookie Eya Laure caught fire early while the rest of the Tigresses followed suit, playing their roles well to arm UST with a semis advantage for the first time since its runner-up finish in Season 73 behind DLSU. The two teams battled for the twice-to-beat bonus after closing the elims tied at 10-4 win-loss slates.       Rondina had 29 points off 25 attacks, two kill blocks, and two aces for the Espana-based squad. Laure chipped in 17 markers while freshman Ysa Jimenez and Caitlyn Viray got eight and seven markers, respectively for UST. “Maganda ‘yung experience na sa sobrang tagal ng panahon ganoon pala ang experience ng may playoff. Masarap na yung pakiramdam na naglalaro ka pero mas masarap kung nanalo ka doon sa game. Luckily kami ang nanalo. Another history para sa amin,” said Reyes, whose squad fell to twice-to-beat DLSU in the Tigresses last semis stint in Season 79. The Final Four match between UST and DLSU is on Sunday, with the Lady Spikers marching in the semis with a twice-to-win disadvantage for the first time in 11 years. No. 1 seed Ateneo de Manila University and Far Eastern University, which defeated the Lady Spikers at the end of elims that forced a playoff, semis match is on Saturday.          UST broke a 12-12 deadlock in the fourth set with a telling run that saw Rondina send missile after missile for  a 19-13 advantage. The Lady Spikers tried to make a comeback after cutting their deficit to 18-22 but a service error by rookie Jolina Dela Cruz followed by a Rondina ace gave the Tigresses the match point advantage. Lourdes Clemente saved a match point before Laure's game-clinching kill.    The Lady Spikers squandered an early 6-1 lead in the third set as the Tigresses fought back to take a 23-22 lead after an overreaching call on DLSU middle Des Clemente. The transferee from University of Perpetual Help made amend on her error with a kill to tie the frame before Aduke Ogunsanya hammered an attack followed by a Laure mishit as DLSU stole the set.    The Tigresses blasted 10 straight points to turn a 7-5 deficit in the second set to a 15-7 lead capped by a Rondina backrow hit. DLSU answered with a run of its own to cut its deficit to 15-17.    Laure pounded back-to-back hits to put the Tigresses at set point, 24-18, before the Lady Spikers saved five set points capped by a May Luna service ace before Laure put the frame away with a crosscourt hit. UST waxed-hot early in the game, building a comfortable lead in the first frame before cruising to take the set.    Rookie Jolina dela Cruz got 12 points as the only Lady Spiker in double figures while Des Cheng and May Luna finished with nine markers each.    --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 1st, 2019

Celtics ready to take best charge by Giannis, Bucks

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com MILWAUKEE -- Giannis Antetokounmpo and his Milwaukee Bucks teammates are eager to get going in the Eastern Conference semifinals, as bottled up as they’ve felt in waiting six days between playoff games. A perfect offensive start to Game 1 of their best-of-seven series against Boston would look something like Giannis grabbing the basketball, racing downcourt with one of his breathtaking, three-dribble, end-to-end run-outs and attacking the rim with the ferocity and scowl with which he’s played all season. [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] Perfect, that is, until Jaylen Brown slides over to plant himself between Antetokounmpo and the restricted area. Whoops! Pancaked Jaylen gets the whistle, while chastened Giannis picks up his first foul and turnover of the Sunday matinee (early Monday, PHL time). It's a strategy out of judo or jiu-jitsu, using your opponent’s power and aggression to your advantage, and it’s one the Celtics likely will deploy against the Bucks’ star and Kia MVP candidate. Getting between Antetokounmpo and the rim isn’t the most comfortable way to defend the against the Greek Freak’s drives into the lane, his maddening Euro Step and his ability to reach up, over and beyond with arms fit for a crane. He’s all elbows and knees, muscles and bones, and at 6'11" and 242 pounds, he’s been giving as much physical punishment as he takes this season. A defender has to absorb that and then sell the move, too, falling backward to the floor. No fun. But it might be one of the few effective ways to slow – if not stop – Antetokounmpo on a Bucks possession, with the added benefits of killing momentum, planting some doubt and ticking up his personal fouls count closer toward an all-critical sixth. Brown and Celtics teammate Terry Rozier both suggested Antetokounmpo could be slowed by such a maneuver. Celtics coach Brad Stevens, in a conference call with reporters Saturday (Sunday, PHL time), wasn’t so sure. “The bottom line is, if you go downhill with the force and speed that he does, there are going to be moments where he charges,” Stevens said. “There also are moments where he draws blocking fouls and scores 'and-ones.' He does that a lot more than he charges. “So you’d better not let him get that head of steam very often.” Easier said than done. Antetokounmpo has become one of the most ferocious rim attackers in the league. He was seemingly unstoppable inside this season, shooting 72.6 percent from five feet or less per NBA.com stats. With 583 field goals from that range, Antetokounmpo had nearly 100 more than the league’s No. 2, Detroit center Andre Drummond (486). Oh, and counting the games against the Pistons in the first round, Antetokounmpo has successfully dunked the ball 289 times – 119 of which have come without assists, meaning either put-backs or throwdowns in which he brought the ball in there with him. Here’s where the 24-year-old’s attack mode can be used against him: He also committed 68 offensive fouls this season – tied for most in the NBA with Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns. Certainly he got fouled with the ball way more than he fouled – Antetokounmpo shot 686 free throws, second only to James Harden’s 858. Nearly seven of his 27.7 points per game came from the line. But foul trouble can slow Antetokounmpo’s roll, as with anybody. If it’s early enough or severe enough, it can take him off the floor completely, and for long stretches. At the least, it might make him a bit less assertive, a wee more passive the next time he might otherwise barrel downcourt. “I definitely keep it in my mind,” Antetokounmpo said Friday (Saturday, PHL time), asked about the charge/block challenge he might face against the Celtics. “It’s not just them. A lot of teams try to stop me by taking charges. “But that’s the fun part about it. They’re not thinking about how they’re going to defend me; they’re thinking about how they’re going to try to take charges. If I can be under control and be at my own pace and try to be smart with not taking charges, if I get to my spot it’s going to be tough.” Here’s a breakdown of Antetokounmpo’s impact with and without nagging foul concerns: In the 31 games in which he was called for four fouls or more (including two disqualifications with six), the Bucks star averaged 25.7 points and eight times logged fewer than 30 minutes. Milwaukee’s record: 23-8 (.742). In the 41 games Antetokounmpo finished with three fouls or fewer, he averaged 29.2 points. He played at least 30 minutes in 34 of the 41, and the Bucks went 33-8 (.805). Boston has defenders willing to give up their bodies, including three of the NBA’s top 20 in charges drawn: Aron Baynes (18), Marcus Smart (15) and Kyrie Irving (13). Smart, still out with a left oblique tear, won’t play in at least the first two games of the series. But Semi Ojeleye is a physical forward who drew Antetokounmpo as an assignment at times in the three regular season meetings – he started twice – and took three charges this season. In the three games, Antetokounmpo was called for a total of seven fouls, including three charges. (For the record, Milwaukee’s Ersan Ilyasova led the NBA in that defensive category with 50, despite playing only 1,231 minutes in 67 games.) Several Celtics will try standing in or stepping in, depending how the referees call it, against Antetokounmpo. It will take timing, footwork, physical sacrifice … and some good fortune. “It’s one of those things that’s easier said than done,” said Milwaukee coach Mike Budenholzer. “Luckily for us, it’s nothing that he hasn’t seen or nothing new.” Said Stevens: “The No. 1 thing [Giannis] has always been is exceptional downhill, exceptional in transition. And when I say ‘exceptional’ I mean one of very few to ever have played the game. “I just think, ultimately, you have to be able to move your feet. You have to be able to guard with pride. You have to be able to do all that, but nobody can do that by themselves against him.” Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 28th, 2019

Zidane says Ronaldo is still a difference-maker for Madrid

div>  /div> div>MADRID (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo hasn't scored a goal from open play in three games, a run that has Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane on the defensive. /div> div>  /div> div>The glitch isn't exactly a goal drought because Ronaldo did score one from the penalty spot against Sevilla. But the dry period has coincided with Real Madrid's two-game losing streak after a 40-match unbeaten run. /div> div>  /div> div>'Cristiano is fine,' Zidane said Friday. 'He might have a bad day here and there. So what? He will always be a difference-maker in my mind. /div> div>  /div> div>'We have lost a couple of games, but there is no need to go overboard. Nothing is broken. Actually, it might have been a good time to lose two straight, in order to get going again and build up some confidence.' /div> div>  /div> div>Madrid leads the Spanish league with 40 points from 17 matches, holding a one-point lead over surging Sevilla. It was Sevilla that beat Madrid 2-1 on Sunday, after Ronaldo had converted a penalty to give his team the lead. /div> div>  /div> div>Defending champion Barcelona is third in the league and two points behind Madrid, which has a game in hand because of its trip to Japan to win the Club World Cup in December. /div> div>  /div> div>The loss in Sevilla was followed by another setback on Wednesday, when Madrid lost 2-1 at Celta Vigo in the first leg of the Copa del Rey quarterfinals — again raising questions about the after-effects of playing in the Club World Cup. /div> div>  /div> div>'I'm not thinking about that at all,' Zidane said. 'As in life, you can't always win in football. You are going to have some bad days, and you need to overcome them to push ahead. It happened last year. We are going to reverse this. /div> div>  /div> div>'We aren't playing worse football than before. We just had a few bad plays that our opponents took full advantage of. The locker room is fine. The good news is we have another game tomorrow (in the league against 13th-place Malaga), and we are looking forward to it.' /div> div>  /div> div>Zidane said Ronaldo has lately been playing out of position at striker, a move that somewhat surprisingly has not translated into more goals for the Portugal forward. Ronaldo has 12 league goals this season, two behind Barcelona teammates Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez. /div> div>  /div> div>'He played up top against Celta, but his favorite position is on the left wing, and that will not change,' Zidane said. 'The problem is more when he doesn't score, since we have grown used to him taking over. Cristiano will always be subject to criticism. He is used to it.' /div> div>  /div>.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 21st, 2017

Man United soccer's top moneymaker again after 11 years

ROB HARRIS, AP Global Soccer Writer br /> LONDON (AP) — Manchester United is a long way from winning the English Premier League again but is back on top of another table — as soccer's biggest moneymaker. For the first time since 2005, Manchester United overtook Real Madrid in top spot in the soccer finance rankings compiled by accountancy firm Deloitte even as it sits sixth in the Premier League. In 2015-16 when United won only the FA Cup and failed to qualify for the Champions League, the 20-time league champions generated 515.3 million pounds (689 million euros based on the annual average; now about $632 million). Spanish champion Barcelona had 620.2 million euros in revenue and Real Madrid, which won an 11th Champions League title in May, dropped to third on 620.1 million euros in Deloitte's 20th annual rankings. United's stay at the top could be short-lived with the pound weakening since Britain voted to leave the European Union in June and the failure to reach the Champions League. Despite Jose Mourinho replacing Louis van Gaal as manager, United is struggling to break back into the top four Champions League qualification places let alone win the first Premier League title since Alex Ferguson's retirement in 2013. But United, owned by the Florida-based Glazer family and listed on the New York Stock Exchange, has maintained an ability to attract sponsors. 'Manchester United have had to wait 11 years to regain their position as the world's leading revenue-generating club and it has taken phenomenal commercial revenue growth to help them achieve this,' said Dan Jones of the Deloitte sports division. 'In recent years, their ability to secure commercial partnerships with value in excess of that achievable by their peers has been the crucial factor in enabling the club to regain their place at the top of the Money League.' The top five is completed by German champion Bayern Munich and Manchester City. The eight English clubs in the top 20 account for 45 percent of the accumulated revenue in the standings of 7.4 billion euros — up 13 percent from the previous year. Leicester, a first-time winner of the Premier League, makes the cut for the first time, squeezing into 20th place on 128.7 million pounds. West Ham returns to the top 20 and should move up from 18th place (143.8 million pounds) following its move last summer to Olympic Stadium. The other Premier League teams are: Arsenal (seventh at 350.4 million pounds), Chelsea (eight at 334.6 million pounds), Liverpool (ninth at 302 million pounds) and Tottenham (12th at 209.2 million pounds). The weight of English clubs in the revenue rankings should increase next year with the rise in television revenue. Premier League clubs should each earn at least 100 million pounds a season as part of the rights deals worth more than 8.3 billion pounds over three years. The only French team represented in the rankings is Paris Saint-Germain, which fell two places to sixth with revenue of 520.9 million euros. Zenit Saint-Petersburg is the only Russian team included, improving a place to 17th by generating 196.5 million euros. Along with Bayern, German also provides Borussia Dortmund (11th at 283.9 million euros) and Schalke (14th at 224.5 million euros). Juventus heads the list of four Italian teams, in 10th place on 224.5 million euros, followed by AS Roma (15th at 218.2 million euros), AC Milan (16th at 214.7 million euros) and Inter Milan (19th at 179.2 million euros). Deloitte warns that the enhanced English broadcast deals could see at least one of the Milan teams fall out of the top 20 next year. Joining Barcelona and Real Madrid in the rankings from Spain are Atletico Madrid in 13th place at 228.6 million euros. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 19th, 2017

Warriors break ground on San Francisco arena with fanfare

em>By Janie McCauley, Associated Press /em> SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Hard hats on, Steve Kerr and Kevin Durant lifted their golden shovels filled with dirt in a ceremonial moment for the Warriors franchise as it broke ground on snazzy new San Francisco digs at long last. And keeping KD in a Golden State uniform to see it through is a key part of the grand plan. This project has already been 4.5 years in the making. 'Honestly, a relief to some extent,' owner and CEO Joe Lacob said. Kerr is campaigning for the Golden State name to stay put along with his superstar players. 'We are the Golden State Warriors and it's not up to me, but I don't want it to change,' Kerr said. 'It's a unique name. It's the only one like it in the league. I would like to see that remain. I fully believe we are still the Bay Area's team, no matter whether we're playing in Oakland or San Jose or San Francisco. The name Golden State Warriors, there's too much history, there's too much tradition to change.' Even if in a success-oriented business like the NBA, nobody knows who will still be around when 18,000-seat Chase Center is complete. Kerr has no idea if he will even still be on the sidelines then. 'If you're lucky enough in life, like I've been, you reach a point where you get to choose who you work with, you get to choose where you live and you get to choose where you work,' Kerr said. 'By those metrics, I want to stay here forever. I'm also an NBA coach and I'm well aware that this building is going to take about three years to build, so the chances of me standing on the sidelines for the Warriors are slim to hopeful. Maybe as, like, the coach of another team. 'So far, so good, so hopefully I'll still be here.' Next, Golden State will likely work to keep both two-time reigning MVP Stephen Curry and Durant for the long haul by negotiating new deals this year. Kerr speaks to Durant daily and knows he is happy with his new Bay Area surroundings. 'We're going to win for a long time. ... We'll do whatever it takes to be champions again,' Lacob said of spending on players. He even publicly put KD on the spot: 'Kevin Durant came here without a new arena. Thank you, Kevin ... and also for agreeing to re-sign this summer. I have no idea how he's going to respond to that.' The Warriors did a little bit of everything to showcase how this will be far more than just a sports venue: The over-the-top groundbreaking featured a trio of songs by a gospel choir to kick off festivities, included a performance by the San Francisco Symphony and even acrobatic dancers dressed as construction workers for a grand finale of sorts that included beach balls dropping from an excavator before the equipment rigs moved in synchronization to the music in an extravagant routine featuring trampolines. Only boosting the mood was the California Supreme Court's decision earlier in the day to deny a petition by arena opponents seeking to overturn the Warriors' entitlements, further clearing the way for the project to move ahead — 'so we're totally good to go here,' Lacob noted. 'Wow, what a day!' said Warriors COO Rick Welts, noting the team will boast one of the world's premier 'gathering places' — for concerts and conventions, political events and more. 'Every city needs it. We need it. It will be great for San Francisco,' co-owner Peter Guber said. 'We now have proof, not just promises.' Curry got a break from public duties this time, a day after the Warriors pulled off a stunning 126-91 rout of LeBron James and the defending champion Cavaliers. Golden State hosts Oklahoma City on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time). San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee — among dozens of dignitaries in attendance — hollered, 'finally welcoming the Golden State Warriors home to San Francisco!' He rattled off the Warriors' star-studded roster and the energy around the franchise and its long-term mission. 'What's not to love?' he said. Lacob can't wait — and realizes how many people will miss the great vibe at the team's current home of Oracle Arena, an atmosphere the Warriors hope to replicate in many ways. Not only will the 11 acres include restaurants, cafes, businesses and other new additions to add vitality to the neighborhood, there will be a 51.5-acre bay-front park across from the arena. 'It is going to sing,' he said. 'It takes my breath away when we look at the renderings.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 18th, 2017

Juventus' lead cut to 1 point after 2-1 loss at Fiorentina

br /> DANIELLA MATAR, Associated Press   MILAN (AP) — Fiorentina coach Paulo Sousa got his tactics spot on as he steered his side to a 2-1 win over Juventus, which saw the Serie A leader's advantage slashed to only one point on Sunday. Juventus had been seven points clear of second-placed Roma after beating the Giallorossi 1-0 on Dec. 17 and was seemingly on an unstoppable march to a record sixth straight Serie A title. 'Every match should be the big match for Fiorentina — with that attitude almost every team would struggle to beat us,' Sousa said. 'I don't think there is any doubt about the fact Fiorentina deserved this win. 'Beating the best gives you an extraordinary sensation and that should encourage us to continue to believe in our project.' Juventus has played a match less than most other teams due to the Italian Super Cup, which it lost on penalties to AC Milan. 'When you lose, you never feel good,' Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said. 'We had an awful first half, while we did better in the second and also had chances to equalize. 'They were very aggressive, but we made it easier for them with our mistakes ... Against Juventus every team plays the game of its life. We have to remain calm.' Fiorentina dominated from the start and Juventus was given an early warning when Matias Vecino, who had already seen an effort saved by Gianluigi Buffon, hit the left post in the 10th minute. Fiorentina took a deserved lead in the 37th as Nikola Kalinic latched onto Federico Bernardeschi's through ball and slotted into the far bottom corner from a tight angle. The hosts doubled their advantage 10 minutes into the second half as a throw-in found Milan Badelj 30 yards (meters) out and he launched the ball toward Chiesa who attempted to meet it with an acrobatic effort as it bounced in. It was unclear whether Chiesa got a touch or not but his movement was enough to confuse Buffon. The league's official website, which had initially awarded the goal to Chiesa, later credited it to Badelj. Juventus reduced the gap three minutes later when Sami Khedira floated in a cross from the left and it came off opponents Stefano Sturaro and Maximiliano Olivera. Gonzalo Higuain was on hand to slot it home. Juventus almost leveled in the 80th but Higuain's header was stopped by the legs of Fiorentina goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarusanu and Giorgi Chiellini's attempt from the rebound was blocked before the ball was finally cleared. Paulo Dybala also blazed over the bar from a good position. It was only Fiorentina's second home win over Juventus since 1998. ___ NAPOLI 3, PESCARA 1 With Diego Maradona in Naples to celebrate the 30th anniversary of his side's first title win, Marek Hamsik closed in on the Napoli great's goal scoring record. Maradona is still revered in Naples after leading the team to its only two league titles in 1987 and 1990 and that was evident when he was greeted by more than 100 fans upon his arrival in the city on Saturday night. Napoli struggled to get past a well-organized Pescara side in the first half but broke the deadlock immediately after halftime as Lorenzo Tonelli headed in a free kick. It was the defender's second goal in as many matches after sitting on the bench for the first half of the season. Napoli doubled its lead less than two minutes later as Hamsik volleyed in a brilliant chipped pass from Piotr Zielinski. The Slovakia international needs just nine more to equal Maradona's record of 115 goals for Napoli. The home side was in full control and had chances to extend its advantage before Dries Mertens scored five minutes from time following a one-two with Allan. Pescara netted a late consolation as Gianluca Caprari converted a penalty in stoppage time after Elseid Hysaj fouled Alexandru Mitrita. Third-placed Napoli moved four points behind Juventus. ___ UDINESE 0, ROMA 1 Roma recorded another slender win to move to within a point of Juventus. It was Roma's third 1-0 win in its past four victories. Radja Nainggolan scored the only goal, in the 12th minute, volleying Kevin Strootman's ball over the top into the bottom left corner. Edin Dzeko should have extended Roma's lead six minutes later but he blazed his spot kick over the bar after Marco Davide Faraoni had been penalized for handball. Francesco Totti came off the bench shortly after the hour, making it a 25th consecutive year that he has played in Serie A. The 40-year-old almost set up Roma's second with his first touch as he spooned the ball toward Nainggolan, who just failed to meet it six yards from goal. ___ OTHER MATCHES Lazio fought back to beat Atalanta 2-1 to remain a point behind Napoli and extend its advantage over both Milan sides to four points. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic headed in the equalizer in first-half stoppage time after Andrea Petagna had opened the scoring in the 21st. Ciro Immobile converted the winning penalty in the 68th after being tripped by former Lazio goalkeeper Etrit Berisha. Sassuolo and Cagliari both won 4-1, beating Palermo and Genoa respectively. Empoli missed a penalty in a 0-0 draw at Sampdoria. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 16th, 2017