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Attack-minded Sarri foresees more goal records for Ronaldo

TURIN, Italy (AP) — With his attack-minded 4-3-3 formation, new Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri foresees Cristiano Ronaldo setting more scoring records. Sarri was presented Thursday after signing a three-year contract with the club that has won Serie A for the last eight seasons. Sarri called the Juventus job the "crowning achievement of a long and difficult career." "I've taken a long road to get here, from Serie C2 to B, A, Premier League and now Juventus. It's special to be here. It's the best squad in Italy," Sarri said. "I'm coming from Chelsea, which has an inferior history to that of Juventus. It's another step forward for me. "Coaching Ronaldo is also an escalation. I coached great players at Chelsea but with him it's the best in the world. He already holds all of the records you can have in world football but I would like help him break some more records." The 34-year-old Ronaldo scored 21 goals in his first Serie A season at Juventus. His single-season record is 48 goals in the Spanish league for Real Madrid in 2014-15. Sarri said that he left Chelsea after only one season because he "felt a need to return to Italy." He succeeds Massimiliano Allegri, who guided Juventus to five straight Italian titles but was unable to bring home the most desired trophy — the Champions League — despite two runner-up finishes in the top European competition. Sarri reportedly has a massive bonus in his contract if he leads Juventus to the elusive European title. "I've never seen a club so determined to hire a coach," Sarri said. "That convinced me right away." Sarri struggled with criticism upon his arrival at Chelsea but then led the London club to the Europa League title. "I've always had the fans skeptical at the start. I come from a different breed and it's fair that there's this skepticism," Sarri said. "There's only one way to get through that and that's to win. We've got to go out there onto the pitch to enjoy ourselves and put on a show.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 20th, 2019

Ronaldo and Van Dijk face off in Nations League final

By Tales Azzoni, Associated Press PORTO, Portugal (AP) — The final of UEFA's newest competition will feature another clash between Cristiano Ronaldo and Virgil van Dijk, two players likely to be competing for the world player of the year award this year. The inaugural Nations League will come to an end on Sunday in Porto with Ronaldo's Portugal taking on the Netherlands of Van Dijk. The Portuguese superstar and the thriving Dutch defender haven't met since last year's Champions League final, when Ronaldo's former team Real Madrid came out on top of Van Dijk's Liverpool. Ronaldo will try to lead Portugal to its first title since the 2016 European Championship, while Van Dijk will look to help the Netherlands lift its first international trophy since the 1988 European Championship. Victory at Estadio do Dragao will give the Dutch some redemption after failing to qualify for the last two major tournaments, the 2018 World Cup and the 2016 European Championship. Van Dijk, touted as one of the best central defenders in the world, called Ronaldo "a fantastic player" but downplayed their matchup. "We play Portugal, we are not playing Cristiano Ronaldo," he said. "They have a very good team. It's going to be tough. We need to be ready." Van Dijk, who hasn't allowed anyone to dribble past him in more than 60 consecutive matches, lifted the Champions League trophy last week with Liverpool, being voted the man of the match in the final against Tottenham in Madrid. He is expected to be in the running for the world player of the year award for the first time. He has already been named player of the year in the English Premier League. Ronaldo has won the world player of the year award five times. "He's already had a really good season," Dutch midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum said of his teammate. "I think he's been trying to stop everyone he plays against. But it's not up to us to decide if he wins the Ballon d'Or. For us, he's the best defender in the world, and if you look at his season, he definitely deserves the Ballon d'Or, but it's not up to us, it's up to other people to decide." Van Dijk also was voted man of the match in the Netherlands' 3-1 win over England on Thursday in the Nations League semifinals. Ronaldo was man of the match for Portugal when it defeated Switzerland 3-1 on Wednesday in the other semifinal. Ronaldo scored a hat trick, with two of his goals coming in the final minutes. "The Netherlands are an excellent team," Ronaldo told UEFA's website. "They have been playing pretty well. I've been watching them in recent matches and they have an excellent squad with great players — young players and more experienced players, which makes their team even stronger." Netherlands manager Ronald Koeman said he is not planning to change his defense plans to adapt to Ronaldo's threat. "We know he's one of the best," Koeman said. "And the nicest thing in football is that you cannot stop (a player like him) 100 percent (of the time) because sometimes he's too good. We know the qualities of that player, and of course we need to defend well when we have the ball, we need good defensive organization, but it's not a special marking (system), one on one, because we don't like that." The Netherlands eliminated the last two World Cup winners in the qualification round of the Nations League, Germany and France. Portugal reached the semis by getting past Italy and Poland. On Sunday, the hosts will be without veteran central defender Pepe, who broke his right shoulder against Switzerland. Koeman, who played at the 1988 Euros, said he should have all of his players available even though the Netherlands had one less day to rest for the final. The winner on Sunday will be crowned the first champion of the competition UEFA created to give national teams more meaningful games and reduce the number of friendlies. The winner receives 10.5 million euros ($11.8 million). The runner-up will get 9 million euros. The amounts include the 4.5 million euros all four semifinalists have already secured. The final marks the swansong of 45-year-old Spanish referee Alberto Undiano Mallenco. England and Switzerland will play the third-place match in Guimaraes earlier on Sunday......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 9th, 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

Nations League: Ronaldo s Portugal looks for another title

By Tales Azzoni, Associated Press PORTO, Portugal (AP) — The inaugural UEFA's Nations League reaches its conclusion this week with the competition's Final Four in Portugal, when Cristiano Ronaldo will try to lead the hosts to another European title. For England, it's a chance to lift an international trophy for the first time since the 1966 World Cup, while a revamped Netherlands squad and Switzerland will also be fighting for the title. Portugal meets Switzerland in the first semifinal on Wednesday in Porto, while England takes on the Dutch on Thursday in the nearby city of Guimaraes in northwestern Portugal. The winners play the final on Sunday in Porto, with the losers meeting in the third-place match in Guimaraes. Ronaldo, who led Portugal to its first major title at the 2016 European Championship, took some time off from the national team after its elimination in the round of 16 of the World Cup last summer, but he is back at full strength for the inaugural Nations League at home. He didn't play in any of the team's matches in the competition last year, though he was back for the European qualifiers earlier this year. "We want to win it not only because we are playing at home, but because we want to win titles," Portugal coach Fernando Santos said. "And winning the first edition of the Nations League would be great." UEFA launched the Nations League to try to give national teams more meaningful games and reduce the number of friendlies. The creation of yet another UEFA competition attracted a lot of criticism at first but eventually it produced some exciting games. With a format in which only the group winners advanced, and which included relegation between leagues, there were several matches with high stakes involved, especially in the final rounds. England needed a late winner by Harry Kane against World Cup runner-up Croatia to eliminate Spain and seal the team's spot in the Final Four. "Some people were skeptical against the Nations League, especially the clubs. They didn't think this could be an interesting competition," Switzerland coach Vladimir Petkovic said, through a translator. "But it's the contrary. Every single team in every single league wanted to win. We are happy to be here, and I think in the future we will see that this competition might become even more interesting." The tournament also gave smaller nations a better chance of qualifying for the 2020 European Championship, as all group winners in the four leagues were guaranteed a place in a qualifying playoff. For a team like England, though, the competition is mainly another opportunity to win an official title, something it hasn't done it in more than five decades since that World Cup at home. The Englishmen have been on a roll recently, having made it to the semifinals of the World Cup last year. They followed that up with convincing wins over Spain and Croatia in the Nations League, and began the year with a 5-0 rout of the Czech Republic and a 5-1 victory over Montenegro in European qualifying. Switzerland is yet to win an international trophy, and the Netherlands hasn't won a title since the 1988 European Championship when current coach Ronald Koeman still played for the national team. The Dutch eliminated World Cup-winner France and Germany in its Nations League group. "You are playing for a trophy," Dutch forward Memphis Depay told UEFA's website. "That's very important for us. We need to try to get used to winning trophies if we want to be a successful team, because that's what successful teams do. And when you're this close, two games away from the prize, then that's a great goal." The Nations League winner will be taking home a prize of 10.5 million euros ($11.7 million), with 9 million euros ($10 million) going to the runner-up......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 5th, 2019

ONE Championship: Bigdash retains title; Catalan, Subora victorious

ONE Championship returned to the Jakarta Convention Center for another evening of world-class mixed martial arts (MMA) action. ONE: QUEST FOR POWER set the tone for what will be an amazing 2017 for ONE Championship with a series of compelling bouts featuring the absolute best in local and international MMA talent. In the main event, ONE Middleweight World Champion Vitaly Bigdash retained his title, defeating top contender “The Burmese Python” Aung La N Sang by unanimous decision after five rounds. div>  /div> div>In the main event of the evening, ONE Middleweight World Champion Vitaly Bigdash of Rostov-on-Don, Russia impressed with a great show of strength in a dominant performance over “The Burmese Python” Aung La N Sang of Myanmar. Throughout the bout, Bigdash kept N Sang at bay with his sharp combinations, while on the mat he connected with multiple elbows. After five rounds of action, it was a clear win for Bigdash who met very little resistance in outlasting the durable N Sang to remain undefeated, retaining his ONE Middleweight World Championship. /div> div>  /div> div>In the co-main event of the evening, 27-year-old Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen of Sydney, Australia authored one of the most spectacular finishes of the evening, stopping Japanese MMA veteran Kazunori Yokota with strikes to win by technical knockout just past the midway point of the first round. Yokota stalked Nguyen, looking to throw combinations but Nguyen timed Yokota with an overhand right that dropped him to the canvas. From there, Nguyen jumped on his foe and rained down punches from the top to earn the stoppage victory. /div> div>  /div> div>Lightweight contenders Vincent “MagniVincent” Latoel and Vaughn “The Spawn” Donayre put on an exciting show for fans in attendance, tagging each other with intense combinations for the majority of the three-round lightweight contest. On the mat, Donayre showcased his grappling skills, threatening with various submissions off his back. Latoel however was more consistent throughout and scored points with his takedowns and cage control. All three judges saw the bout in favor of Latoel to win by unanimous decision. /div> div>  /div> div>The highly-anticipated lightweight showdown between Georgi Stoyanov of Bulgaria and Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev of Russia ended on an unfortunate note, as the bout resulted in a No Contest ruling. Although Arslanaliev swarmed Stoyanov from the beginning of the bout and completely outclassed the Bulgarian, an ill-advised technical ground kick landed for Arslanaliev and Stoyanov was unable to continue. /div> div>  /div> div>Dutch featherweight standout based in Jakarta, Anthony “The Archangel” Engelen, put on a masterful performance, stopping Malaysian fight veteran A.J. “Pyro” Lias Mansor in under two minutes in the first round of a scheduled three-round bout. Engelen pressed Mansor up against the cage fence with a combination before a beautiful right hand felled Mansor, earning Engelen one of the most spectacular knockouts of his career. /div> div>  /div> div>Fans were treated to an action-packed clash of colossal light heavyweights as Igor Subora of the Ukraine and Sherif Mohamed of Egypt pushed each other to the limit in a tremendous three-round show of determination from both fighters. Subora effectively used his reach advantage to keep the smaller, stockier Mohamed at bay with his boxing throughout the bout. In the third round, both fighters fought through sheer exhaustion to make it to the final bell as Subora did just enough to outlast Mohamed to earn the unanimous decision. /div> div>  /div> div>Local martial arts hero from Jakarta, “The Terminator” Sunoto, brought the crowd to its feet with a riveting performance to defeat Cambodia’s Chan Heng by technical knockout just a little under three minutes into the first round. Sunoto wasted no time in taking the fight directly to Heng, challenging the Khun Khmer practitioner to a striking showdown at the center of the ONE Championship cage. Sunoto however, proved too much for the Cambodian after he gained mount and unleashed the ground-and-pound. /div> div>  /div> div>Unbeaten Indonesian flyweight prospect Stefer Rahardian defeated Jakarta-based Liberian fighter Jerome S. Paye via unanimous decision in the second preliminary bout of the evening. Rahardian showcased tremendous cage-control for the majority of the fight, smothering Paye with a consistent attack that left the Liberian stifled throughout the contest. The 30-year-old Rahardian left very little openings for Paye who just couldn’t get his offense going. In the end, Rahardian had just enough in the tank to complete a comprehensive three-round performance, earning the nod on all three judges’ scorecards. /div> div>  /div> div>Strawweights Rene Catalan of the Philippines and Adrian Matheis of Indonesia kicked off ONE: QUEST FOR POWER with a spirited display of mixed martial arts action, on a bustling Saturday night in Jakarta. After a dominant first round from Catalan, one that saw the Filipino attempt various finishes, the end came swiftly in the second when Catalan was able to execute an armbar to earn the submission victory. /div> div>  /div> div> strong>COMPLETE RESULTS /strong> /div> div>  /div> div>MW Title: Vitaly Bigdash defeats Aung La N Sang by Unanimous Decision /div> div>  /div> div>Featherweight bout: Martin Nguyen defeats Kazunori Yokota by TKO (Strikes) at 3:36 minutes of round 1 /div> div>  /div> div>Lightweight bout: Vincent Latoel defeats Vaughn Donayre by Unanimous Decision /div> div>  /div> div>Lightweight bout: Georgi Stoyanov, Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev (No Contest) /div> div>  /div> div>Featherweight bout: Anthony Engelen defeats AJ Lias Mansor by Knockout (KO) at 1:42 minutes of round 1 /div> div>  /div> div>Light Heavyweight bout: Igor Subora defeats Sherif Mohamed by Unanimous Decision /div> div>  /div> div>Bantamweight bout: Sunoto defeats Chan Heng by TKO (Strikes) at 2:30 minutes of round 1 /div> div>  /div> div>Flyweight bout: Stefer Rahardian defeats Jerome S. Paye by Unanimous Decision (UD) /div> div>  /div> div>Strawweight bout: Rene Catalan defeats Adrian Matheis by Submission (Armbar) at 2:08 minutes of round 2 /div>.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 15th, 2017

Cristiano Ronaldo wins FIFA best player award for 4th time

GRAHAM DUNBAR, AP Sports Writer br /> ZURICH (AP) — Capping what he called the best year of his career, Cristiano Ronaldo won his fourth FIFA best player award on Monday. The double European champion with Portugal and Real Madrid beat great rival Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann to complete a sweep of top individual awards. 'It was a year that was magnificent at a personal level and at a sporting level,' the 31-year-old Ronaldo said in Portuguese in his acceptance speech, which he began by exclaiming 'Wow, wow, wow.' Ronaldo's fourth career FIFA award closed the gap on five-time winner Messi, who has been the runner-up to each Ronaldo victory. His 34.54 percent of total voting points in a 23-candidate ballot was clearly better than Messi's 26.42 percent. Griezmann got 7.53 percent. Voting was by national team captains and coaches, selected media, and fans online. Messi did not attend after being pulled out hours before the ceremony by his club Barcelona to prepare for a cup match on Wednesday. 'Of course, I wish that they (Barcelona players) had been here tonight like in the other years. We have to respect the decision,' Ronaldo said. Yet again, Ronaldo and Messi snubbed each other on ballot papers they got as captains of Portugal and Argentina. Ronaldo selected three Real Madrid teammates headed by Gareth Bale, and Messi picked Luis Suarez atop an all-Barcelona ballot. Ronaldo's 2016 trophy haul included the European Championship, Champions League, and Club World Cup, plus individual best player awards from UEFA and France Football magazine. 'I won a lot trophies, collective and individual, so I am proud,' said Ronaldo, adding he would send the inaugural silver FIFA Best trophy to the museum dedicated to his career on his home island, Madeira. Messi's Barcelona won the Spanish league and cup double in 2016, though Argentina lost another Copa America final. Griezmann's France and Atletico Madrid lost their finals to Ronaldo's teams. Ronaldo's mentors for club and country were beaten to the coaching award by Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri, who earned the prize for a stunning English Premier League title. 'What happened last year was something strange. The God of football said Leicester must win,' said Ranieri, who was in his first season at the unfashionable provincial club widely tipped for relegation. Ranieri rose from his seat and politely shook hands with his two opponents, Madrid's Zinedine Zidane and Portugal's Fernando Santos, plus their partners before heading to the stage. The 65-year-old Italian collected his trophy from Diego Maradona, who earlier Monday played in an exhibition match with other retired greats at FIFA headquarters. Carli Lloyd of the United States won a FIFA player prize for the second straight year, despite a quarterfinals exit at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. With gold-medal winner Melanie Behringer of Germany in third place, Lloyd got more than 20 percent of the vote and five-time winner Marta of Brazil was runner-up with 16.6 percent. Behringer got 12.34 percent. 'I honestly was not expecting this,' Lloyd said. 'I know Melanie did fantastic in the Olympics.' Germany did win the women's coaching prize as Silvia Neid earned her second FIFA prize, after also winning the 2010 award. Neid beat two previous winners: last year's winner, Jill Ellis of the United States, and Pia Sundhage of Sweden, the Olympic silver medalist. The Puskas Award for best goal was won in an online poll by Mohd Faiz Subri, who scored with a wildly swerving long-range free kick for Malaysian club Penang. A players' vote organized by international union FIFPro gave a World XI of: Manuel Neuer (Germany, Bayern Munich); Dani Alves (Brazil, Barcelona/Juventus), Sergio Ramos (Spain, Real Madrid), Gerard Pique (Spain, Barcelona), Marcelo (Brazil, Real Madrid); Toni Kroos (Germany, Real Madrid), Andres Iniesta (Spain, Barcelona), Luka Modric (Croatia, Real Madrid); Messi, Luis Suarez (Uruguay, Barcelona), Ronaldo. The First FIFA fan award was chosen by fans and was made to supporters of Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund, who joined in singing the English club's anthem 'You'll Never Walk Alone' before a Europa League quarterfinal. The other nominees were Iceland fans at Euro 2016, and Dutch club ADO Den Haag, whose fans brought soft toys to children supporting rival team Feyenoord. FIFA made its Fair Play Award to Atletico Nacional, the Colombian club which was scheduled to host Chapecoense in the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana final on Nov. 30. After most of the Brazilian team died in a plane crash flying to the match, Atletico Nacional asked the South American soccer confederation to present the title and trophy to Chapecoense. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 10th, 2017

Jason Phillips named to lead NBA Replay Center

NBA press release NEW YORK -- The NBA announced today that Jason Phillips, a top-rated referee with 19 seasons of officiating experience in the league, has been named Replay Center Operations Principal. Get your first look at the NBA’s top Rookies during NBA Summer League LIVE on NBA League Pass! In his new role, Phillips will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the NBA Replay Center in Secaucus, N.J.  His Referee Operations duties will include creating training videos and interpreting the rules of the game for officials, teams, broadcasters and media. “We are excited to add an experienced and highly-respected official in Jason to our operations staff,” said NBA President, League Operations Byron Spruell. “We look forward to the continued success of the Replay Center under his leadership.” Phillips will be assisted in the Replay Center by Senior Lead Pete Williams, who has been a member of the Replay Center staff since September 2014.  In addition to game oversight, Williams creates training curricula, establishes protocol and assigns nightly responsibilities for all Replay Center personnel. Phillips will succeed Senior Vice President, Replay and Referee Operations Joe Borgia, who has served the NBA for 30 years as a game official and a basketball and referee operations executive. Borgia was instrumental in the creation, design and implementation of the NBA’s state-of-the-art Replay Center. Borgia will refocus his efforts and role with the NBA on the newly-created and recently-approved Coach’s Challenge. As he did with the Replay Center, Borgia will develop the rules and handle the execution of this important initiative. “Joe’s background, knowledge and experience make him a natural fit to lead the introduction and application of the Coach’s Challenge,” said Spruell. “After years of having Joe oversee the Replay Center nightly, we’re grateful that he will continue serving the NBA in such a pivotal role.” Phillips, 49, has officiated more than 1,100 regular-season games since joining the NBA for the 2000-01 season. He has also worked 94 NBA playoff games, including nine games in The Finals. He finished his on-court career officiating Games 1 and 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals. “After 19 years of experiencing NBA excitement on the court with the best officials in the world, I look forward to the new challenge of heading up the NBA Replay Center and working alongside the great people who help support our game on a daily basis,” said Phillips.   A native of Cisco, Texas, Phillips earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration at Tarleton State University......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 12th, 2019

Alapag learning a lot with 'first class organization' Kings

Jimmy Alapag says he continues to learn a lot in his role as a coaching assistant on the Summer League team of the "first class organization" Sacramento Kings. In an interview with ABS-CBN North America bureau chief TJ Manotoc, the San Miguel Beermen assistant and Alab Pilipinas head coach said his first week with the NBA team has been "amazing," adding, "I've been amazed at how efficient everything is run, from the preparation, from practice, leading all the way up to the games. .@JAlapag3 is loving his stint as part of the @SacramentoKings coaching staff in #NBASummerLeague ???????? (????: @tjmanotoc) pic.twitter.com/TgF8Knc19p — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) July 4, 2019 "It's really a science in terms of the assistants and even us helping in our own way." Alapag got the opportunity from Kings president Vlade Divac, as the two are both members of the FIBA Players Commission. Get your first look at the NBA’s top Rookies during NBA Summer League LIVE on NBA League Pass! "Whether you're a player or a coach, you're always learning something," said Alapag. "I think this opportunity will let me continue to grow and stretch as a coach, now that I'm making this transition." Sacramento finished with a 1-2 record in the California Classic, which they hosted at the Golden One Center. Up next for the team is the Las Vegas Summer League, which will feature all 30 NBA teams, plus the national squads of China and Croatia. "Obviously it's a much bigger pool with all the NBA teams involved," Alapag acknowledged. "Again I'm just excited to see these people continue to grow...fighting for a spot in training camp, and ultimately, fighting for a spot on an NBA roster. So to be able to help in that capacity, it's a lot of fun." Luckily for Alapag, it turned out he's not the only Pinoy there, as one of the other invited coaches is Fil-Am Jessica Roque, an assistant for the Ryerson University women's basketball team. "I was shocked [to see here], but again, us Filipinos represent all over the world," exclaimed Alapag. "It's awesome to have Jessica here. She's a great young coach as well...so it's cool to have a fellow kababayan here in Sacramento to just go through this experience.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 4th, 2019

James Harden happy to see the likes of Kai Sotto aspire to make it to the NBA

Houston Rockets star James Harden is more than delighted to see international talents aspire to one day reach the NBA as well.  The seven-time All-Star is currently in the Philippines for the adidas Free to Harden Manila 2019 tour, and was able field some questions from the media, Wednesday morning.  One of the questions that Harden was asked was what he thought of young basketball players like our very own Kai Sotto working hard to make it into the league, and what they needed to do to actually realize their dream.  The 7-foot-2 Sotto, who is currently with Gilas Youth for the FIBA U-19 World Championship in Greece, trained in the United States with the intention of pursuing an NBA career in the near future. "Amazing, not just Filipino, but international players, there’s so many international players who are making it into the NBA, it’s great," Harden said during the media interviews. "We’re taking the NBA not just for the US, but worldwide, and it gives kids, not just Filipino, not just in China, all over the world the confidence like ‘Look at my Filipino buddy who made it into the NBA. Look at my Chinese buddy who made it into the NBA. I have the confidence, I have the chance and the opportunity to make it. If I work hard, if I focus, if I keep my head right in school and stay in the gym, I can make it to the NBA too!’ so globally, the game of basketball is at another level." With Harden's steady rise to superstardom all over the world, more and more young hoopers have grown to appreciate Harden's unique style of play. All over the globe, more and more kids have started practicing the stepback jumper or the EuroStep in traffic after seeing Harden execute those moves to perfection.  Harden admits to having also learned those moves from ones who came before him, and hopes to see the next generation of hoops stars also take those moves or create their own moves and make them even better.  "Honestly, it feels great. Those moves, I learned them from someone. I watched Dwyane Wade, Manu [Ginobili], as far as the EuroStep, Paul Pierce had a crazy stepback, so I watched those guys and I learned, and I just studied and I tried to figure out ways to do those moves and be better at them, take those moves to another level, that’s what I’ve done, especially for the stepback."  "Hopefully, these kids, they’re studying and watching the game of basketball and they’re finding was to be better and hopefully they’ll take those moves or create different moves and take their basketball game to another level," he added.  Speaking of confidence, "The Beard" touched on seeing kids having confidence in their game as somewhat a motivating factor. He shared a story of a kid that he met in his most recent trip China that showed an impressive level of confidence at such a young age.  "Back when I was in China, I seen this little kid, who was maybe 7 years old, and he could shoot the ball and he had so much confidence. He hit a couple of shots in a row in front of like 5,000 people in an arena, and I was like ‘You know what, let’s see you make another shot, you can have my shoes.’ and he was like ‘Alright!’, and just shot it with so much confidence, and when he made it, it was like he knew he was going to make it already." "That’s what I love to see, that motivates me to continue to go out there and do it at a high level because you got kids that really follow and pay attention to what you’re doing and your every move, so that keeps me going," Harden continued. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 26th, 2019

One Championship plans 80 shows, big roster expansion in 20

By Greg Beacham, Associated Press One Championship plans to stage about 80 martial arts shows in 2020, and the MMA promotion will roughly double its roster of fighters to do it. One CEO Chatri Sityodtong revealed his latest plans for ambitious expansion to The Associated Press on Wednesday. The promotion is putting on 45 events this year in Asia, but will sharply increase its schedule next year. One also will continue to keep its fights freely available to much of the world in response to what Sityodtong describes as a global desire from its broadcasters for more fighting content. One will still focus on its core Asian markets, but Sityodtong also is in discussions with broadcast partner Turner Sports to stage its first U.S. show next year. "Definitely a very tough task, but I think it's very doable, knock on wood," Sityodtong said of his extraordinary expansion plans. "We're on this rocket ship, and I've just got to hold on." By comparison, the UFC has 43 events currently on its 2019 schedule. One's expansion comes while the UFC is making a push into Asia, including the opening a $13 million performance institute in Shanghai to develop Chinese athletes. Unlike the UFC, One Championship includes fights in several martial arts disciplines on its cards. One's shows in 2020 will feature a mix of competitions, but its primary focus is still mixed martial arts — and a whole lot more of it. "The market can't get enough," Sityodtong said, citing his company's rising viewership figures on broadcast and digital channels. "Our fans can't get enough of our content, so we're trying to satiate demand, but every time we put out more content, things just go more viral. A lot of the free-to-air TV broadcasters, the digital broadcasters, they're all demanding more and more content from us, so we have to provide more and more content to the world." One reached a three-year broadcast deal with Turner last year, and is broadcast around the world on over-the-air television channels. Sityodtong sees an opportunity to increase his company's prominence in the U.S., where the UFC has put much of its fight content on ESPN Plus this year in its lucrative new deal. Sityodtong describes the UFC as One's "archrivals," although the UFC might not see it that way. But where the UFC sees value in exclusivity on ESPN, Sityodtong wants his fights available "everywhere and anywhere at all times." "(The UFC's) approach right now is they're behind a double paywall on ESPN Plus, which limits their reach," Sityodtong added. "That partnership is great for both companies and also great for the sport. That being said, it's a very different strategy from what One Championship is doing. We are focused on maximum distribution, maximum reach, frequency and engagement, and making our product accessible to the entire world. That's just a philosophical difference." Filling out One's ambitious new schedule will require more fighters, more staff and more events in the promotion's core markets such as Singapore, Jakarta, Beijing, Bangkok and various venues in the Philippines. Sityodtong expects to stage four fight cards per year in those main markets, but his ambition remains global — and the Harvard Business School graduate wants to plant a flag in North America. Sityodtong hasn't revealed a time and place for One's first U.S. show, but the company is opening offices in Los Angeles and New York this summer. The Singapore-based One already has a corporate presence across Asia from Tokyo to Bangalore, India. One has signed American fighters Demetrious Johnson, Eddie Alvarez and Sage Northcutt in recent months. Sityodtong is eager to land other non-Asian free agent veterans, but One will stay focused on finding its core talent across Asia. "We look for athletes that we can appreciate and admire for their mastery of martial arts, but also admire their life stories and their values," Sityodtong said. "That's very important, and I think that's the biggest differentiating factor for One Championship versus our global competitor in the West.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 20th, 2019

Warriors hopes hinge on Durant coming back

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — When Game 4 was over, while Toronto fans were waving Canadian flags in celebration inside an otherwise-stunned Oracle Arena, a glum-faced Kevin Durant was outside the Golden State locker room to greet equally glum teammates as they sauntered off the floor. That’s been his only visible role on game nights in the NBA Finals. If that doesn’t change Monday (Tuesday, PHL time), this series is probably going to end. With it, in that case, so would Golden State’s reign as NBA champions. And then it’s possible that Durant, a free-agent-in-waiting, has played for the Warriors for the last time. Durant limped off the floor at Oracle Arena a month ago — Game 5 of the second round — with what the team called a mild calf strain. It’s apparently the most severe “mild” calf strain in the history of injuries, because he hasn’t played since and there’s no way of knowing if that’s going to change on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time). And the Warriors clearly need him if they’re going to pull off a comeback against the Raptors in these NBA Finals. “Nobody’s going to feel sorry for us at all,” Warriors guard Stephen Curry said. “It’s just a matter of can we get it done or not, and we’re going to leave it all out there starting on Monday.” That’ll be the case, with Durant or not. Here’s reality: Any Durant is better than no Durant for the Warriors right now. His mere presence might throw the Raptors off just enough to create more chances for the rest of the Warriors. It’s really the only card the Warriors have left to play at this point. Toronto took full control of the series Friday night (Saturday, PHL time), winning 105-92 for a 3-1 finals lead. Durant wasn’t on the bench for Game 4, and hasn’t been since getting hurt. He’ll be on the plane Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) headed to Ontario, and his uniform will be packed inside the Warriors’ equipment bags. If it goes unworn again, the Warriors are in big trouble. “There’s been hope that he will come back the whole series,” Warriors forward Draymond Green said. “So that’s not going to change now. Obviously we hope to have him, but we’ll see what happens. We don’t make that final call ... he don’t really even make that final call. His body will tell him if he can get out there or not. And if he can, great. And if not, you still got to try to find a way.” They’ve been trying, with limited success. Even with Durant. The Raptors are 5-1 against the Warriors this season, even going 2-0 in the regular season when Durant scored 51 in one game and 30 in another. The Warriors just looked tired on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time), weary against a Toronto team that has had every answer in this series. They haven’t been able to muster the offense they need against Toronto. With Durant, that story could be different. But even if he plays on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time), after not playing for a month, how good could he be anyway? Even someone as talented as Durant, who is in the conversation of “best player in the world” right now, can’t fake rhythm. Throwing him into an elimination game in the NBA Finals, after not playing for a month, is an unbelievably daunting ask. It might be what’s required. “We’re hoping he can play Game 5 or 6,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “And everything in between I’ve decided I’m not sharing because it’s just gone haywire. There’s so much going on, and so it doesn’t make sense to continue to talk about it. He’s either going to play or he’s not.” The Warriors will practice on Sunday (Monday, PHL time). With so much at stake, unless his calf muscle just won’t allow it, Durant will probably try to do something that day. It’s hard to believe that he doesn’t want to play, and the fact that he hasn’t been seen yet in this series just reiterates how not mild this “mild” strain was. A shot at a third straight ring is slipping away. Maybe it was gone the second Durant got hurt. When the Warriors swept Portland in the Western Conference finals, there was silly talk about how the team might be better without Durant. That talk is nonexistent now. Any team is better — a lot better — with Durant. And if he finds a way back to the court, the Warriors might just get a lot better in a hurry. Or else, this era could end Monday night (Tuesday, PHL time). “We’ve got to win one game,” Green said. “We win one, then we’ll build on that.” Without Durant, winning that one game on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) might be too tough an ask, even for the Warriors......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 8th, 2019

Film Study: Little room for Leonard to move in Game 2

By John Schuhmann, NBA.com OAKLAND -- The Golden State Warriors got what they needed out of their trip to Toronto. With their Game 2 victory, they took home-court advantage in The Finals from the Toronto Raptors as the series moves to Oakland for what could be the final two games at Oracle Arena. The Warriors are banged up. Kevon Looney is likely done for the season with a cartilage fracture in his chest, Klay Thompson is questionable for Game 3 with a strained left hamstring, and, as of Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time), Kevin Durant's will not play in Game 3. But the champs are 45-8 in playoff home games over the last five years and they were able to put together one of their best defensive games of the postseason on Sunday. After the Raptors scored 118 points on 97 possessions in Game 1 (their third-best offensive game of the postseason), the the Warriors held them to just 104 points on 101 possessions in Game 2. That was done with Toronto registering a playoff-high 23 second-chance points (so the Raptors scored just 81 points on their 101 initial offensive possessions). The Eastern Conference champions were bound for some regression. In Game 1, the Raptors shot a remarkable 15-for-23 (including 5-for-9 from three-point range) in the last six seconds of the shot clock, according to Second Spectrum tracking. That was unsustainable and, indeed, they shot just 5-for-20 (0-for-6 from three-point range) in the last six seconds of the shot clock in Game 2. If 43 shots in the last six seconds of the shot clock over two seems like a lot, well, it is. In the regular season, no team averaged more than 17.5 field goal attempts in the last six seconds. The Raptors averaged the fifth most, but that was just 14.3 per game. With better defenses and slower pace in the playoffs, that number was at 17.3 through the first three rounds. In this series, with the Raptors working their offense late into the clock even more, it's at 21.5 per game. While Toronto has 43 shots in the last six seconds of the shot clock, Golden State has just 16. On one hand, playing late in the clock slows the overall pace against an opponent that can hurt you in transition. In the regular season, the Warriors' effective field goal percentage of 64.2 percent in the first six seconds was the best mark for any team in any portion of the shot clock. On the other hand, playing late into the clock puts pressure on a team's offense. For every team in the league, effective field goal percentage is lowest in those last six seconds of the clock. In most instances, the Raptors would probably like to get something earlier in the clock. But getting a good shot early in a possession has proven to be difficult. The Raptors have been moving the ball. Their 330 passes in Game 2 were the most they've had in a game since the first round (if you don't count the 349 they had in their double-overtime win in Game 3 of the conference finals). But all those passes mean that Kawhi Leonard, the Raptors' best player and most efficient scorer, isn't getting his in-rhythm shots off the dribble, via pick-and-rolls or isolations. Leonard has been forced to give up the ball more than the Raptors would probably like. All eyes on Kawhi The Warriors have obviously been defending Leonard aggressively. The second defender on pick-and-rolls has generally stayed with Leonard until he has given up the ball. They've doubled him in the post and even sent a second defender at him before he can get into an isolation situation. When Leonard has managed to get into the paint, he's been met by a crowd of defenders. All that attention has resulted in a lot of trips to the line. He's drawn 22 fouls (nine more than any other player in the series) and, with 28 free throw attempts in two games, Leonard's free throw rate (FTA/FGA) in The Finals (0.824) is more than double his rate through the first three rounds (0.397). The attention should also result in some open shots just one or two passes away. But Leonard's teammates have attempted only 25 shots off his passes. That accounts for just 23 percent of the 108 shots his teammates have taken while he's been on the floor, a rate almost in line with his rate from the regular season (22 percent). For context, Giannis Antetokounmpo and LeBron James had rates of *42 percent and 51 percent in the regular season, respectively. * In case that last part was a little confusing, here's the math: Antetokounmpo's teammates took 3,184 shots while he was on the floor. Of those 3,184, 1,133 (42 percent) were off his passes. Leonard is one of the most complete players in the league, but playmaking is his shortcoming. When he had nine assists in Game 5 of the conference finals, it was a career high ... for both the regular season and playoffs (now 574 total games). A look at the film from Game 2 of this series can show us why a guy who has the ball as much as he does and who draws so much attention from opposing defenses is averaging less than four assists per game. It also shows us how the Raptors continue to get stuck in late-clock situations. Dribbling out of the double Leonard's reaction when he's double-teamed is often to dribble out of it. If he can attack quickly and get one defender to screen the other, he can get an open shot ... Leonard did the Michael Jordan trick of attacking the doubling big in the direction from which he came & having the big screen his own teammate. pic.twitter.com/fEVle6tXE4 — John Schuhmann (@johnschuhmann) May 10, 2019 Dribbling out of the double-team could also get him a better angle to make a pass or allow him to attack again, like he did in the second quarter on a play that led to an open Norman Powell three-pointer (with some help from Marc Gasol's screen on Andre Iguodala)... But often, the results aren't so great. Here's a first-quarter play where he dribbled out of a double team, couldn't get the ball to any of the teammates that popped open, and had to take a tough shot with one second left on the clock ... In the second quarter, after dribbling out of a double-team, he was unable to get the ball to an open Pascal Siakam on the baseline ... A couple of Leonard's five turnovers were a result of him driving too deep into a crowd. "I thought we hit an action and something would be there," Raptors coach Nick Nurse said after Game 2, "and they would cover it up with some help defense. Well, when there's help, there's got to be somebody else probably open on the other side of the floor, and I thought we kind of shot a few too many into multiple defenders or two defenders around the basket, where those probably should have been maybe swung to the other side." Unable to deliver Leonard's inability to get the ball to the open man on Sunday wasn't just about passing out of double-teams. Here was Leonard collapsing the Golden State defense with a drive and Kyle Lowry popping open on the left wing ... But Leonard didn't deliver the ball right away and by the time he got it to Lowry, the Raptors had lost the advantage they had gained from the paint attack ... Here was an opportunity to deliver a pick-and-roll pocket pass to a rolling Gasol for a four-on-three situation, with Klay Thompson trailing the play ... But Leonard couldn't make the pass (credit DeMarcus Cousins' defense to some extent), Thompson got back in the play, and Siakam was eventually smothered by Iguodala ... Bad spacing The Raptors' inability to take advantage of the attention paid to Leonard in Game 2 wasn't just about Leonard himself. There were also a few cases of bad spacing, where he was doubled and just didn't have sufficient outlets with which to make a play ... Example 1, which led to a turnover ... Example 2, which led to a Fred VanVleet miss from 3-point range ... Working off the ball Leonard still managed to work his way to 34 points in Game 2. Sometimes, the Warriors gave him a little space to operate. There were multiple occasions in which he bullied his way to the basket (see the Looney injury noted above). There were also a couple of nice off-ball cuts and duck-ins. A need to be better It's tough to nitpick Leonard's performance in these playoffs. He's averaged 30.9 points per game on a true shooting percentage of 62.3 percent (the fifth-best mark among players with at least 100 postseason field goal attempts). He has hit some huge shots and he has played some stifling defense himself. While he can save his team some precious seconds on a lot of these possessions by making better and quicker decisions, Leonard's teammates must ensure the floor is properly spaced around him. Furthermore, Nurse and his staff have to find ways to loosen up the Golden State defense, which will continue to make Leonard play in a crowd in Game 3 on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time). John Schuhmann is a senior stats analyst for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 5th, 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

Bottas takes pole at Spanish GP ahead of Hamilton

By Joseph Wilson, Associated Press MONTMELO, Spain (AP) — Valtteri Bottas is poised to become a major threat to teammate and defending Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton after clocking a scorching lap at the Spanish Grand Prix to take his third consecutive pole position on Saturday. Bottas smashed Hamilton's track record at the Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit in qualifying, finishing the 4.6-kilometer (2.5-mile) track in 1 minute, 15.406 seconds to better Hamilton's mark from 2018. More importantly for Bottas' hopes in Sunday's race was the gap of more than half a second over Hamilton's best effort. With Hamilton second on the grid, Mercedes is in great position to extend its record start after the pair swept the top two spots at the first four races. Bottas, who failed to win a race last season, leads Hamilton by one point in the standings after they have alternated places in their run of one-two finishes. "I really enjoyed that adrenaline rush from those laps," Bottas said. "It started well, this season. Just the way I hoped for. I am feeling better and better in the car." Hamilton praised his teammate, who after two years as a second fiddle has emerged as the No. 1 challenger to stopping him from winning a sixth world title. "Valtteri did a fantastic job. He has been quick all weekend," said Hamilton, who took pole in Spain in the previous three years. "I just didn't do the job on my side." Hamilton was quick to add he hoped to celebrate another Mercedes team victory on Sunday, but with him on top. "I'll be giving it everything. Great for the team to have a one-two. If I can reverse it (in the race) I'll be happy." Hamilton will look to turn the tables on Bottas in a race that he has won three times, including the last two years. But Hamilton is getting accustomed to seeing the back of Bottas' car. Bottas won the last race in Azerbaijan from pole position. He was fastest in practice on Friday, and the Finn showed no jitters in qualifying after spinning into gravel in the final practice. Bottas shouted an emphatic "Yes!" over the car radio when he knew the top spot was his after Hamilton came up short on his last run, with some gravel strewn on the course possibly slowing him down. Bottas and Hamilton both said that the 66-lap race could be decided in the opening meters. "The start and Turn 1 will be particularly important," Bottas said. "Tomorrow, Lewis and I both want to win, so I'm looking forward to a hard and fair fight." Hamilton said: "My starts have been decent so far this year, so hopefully that will continue on Sunday as it's not that easy to overtake on this track." Sebastian Vettel in his Ferrari will start from third, just in front of Red Bull's Max Verstappen. Ferrari's other driver, Charles Leclerc, will start from fifth. Vettel has yet to top qualifying, and it is clear Ferrari has made up no ground despite bringing a new engine to Spain. Vettel is 35 points behind Bottas in third place. "The car doesn't feel bad, but the car is not quick enough," Vettel said. "We are struggling a little bit to bring it together." Pierre Gasly had the sixth best time in his Red Bull, ahead of Haas pair Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen. Nico Hulkenberg was the only driver to go off the track in an otherwise clean qualifying session. The German ran into the barrier and bent one side of his front wing under his Renault. After hasty repairs, Hulkenberg could not make it out of the first qualifying section, which culls the slowest five drivers. Renault partner Daniel Ricciardo finished qualifying 10th but will have to serve a three-place grid penalty that he carried over for causing an accident with Daniil Kvyat in Azerbaijan. Williams' woes deepened after George Russell lost control during practice before qualifying. Damage from the rear-end impact into the wall required a gearbox change, which incurred a five-place grid penalty. Russell and teammate Robert Kubica were again at the bottom of qualifying with the slowest cars......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 12th, 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

Barcelona pulls Messi from attending FIFA awards ceremony

ZURICH (AP) — Lionel Messi will not attend the FIFA awards ceremony later Monday, when Cristiano Ronaldo is expected to be named the world's best player for 2016. Barcelona says it decided Messi would skip the event in Zurich and be 'prioritizing preparations' for a match on Wednesday. Messi's teammates, including Neymar, who could be named in a World XI voted for by players, will also not travel. Ronaldo is favored to win his fourth FIFA player award after helping Portugal and Real Madrid become European champions last year. Messi has five FIFA best player awards and has been runner-up in all other years since 2007. Barcelona hosts Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday in the Copa del Rey. The defending champions lost the first leg 2-1 in Bilbao. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 9th, 2017

Ronaldo's agent confirms $315 M offer from Chinese league

MILAN (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo's agent says the Real Madrid star has been offered 'more than 100 million' euros per season to move to the Chinese Super League. But Ronaldo isn't going anywhere. Asked by Italy's Sky Sport about reports of a 300 million euro ($315 million) transfer offer to Madrid and a 100 million euro ($105 million) per season contract offer from an unspecified club, Jorge Mendes replied, 'It's normal. He's the best player in the world and the best of all time. More than 100.' Mendes adds, 'But Cristiano is happy at Real Madrid. China is a new market which could buy some players. But for Cristiano it's impossible. ... He's going to continue playing at Real Madrid. Money is not everything in life. Speaking at a soccer awards event in Dubai, Mendes did hint at a possible departure from Madrid for James Rodriguez but wouldn't say where the Colombia international might go: 'I'm not going to talk about squads. Let's see what happens.' On Thursday, Argentine striker Carlos Tevez signed to play for Shanghai Shenhua, becoming the latest in a procession of star players to join the Chinese Super League. Chinese clubs have spent heavily over the past year to attract mainly South American stars. Last week, Shenhua's city rival Shanghai SIPG sealed a deal with Oscar from Chelsea. Other stars to join Chinese clubs include the Brazilians Hulk, Ramires and Paulinho, Colombian striker Jackson Martinez and Argentine forward Ezequiel Lavezzi. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 30th, 2016

Ronaldo takes a jibe at video replay at Club World Cup

SEAN CARROLL, Associated Press br /> YOKOHAMA, Japan (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo scored late, and then took a shot at FIFA's new video replay system. The Portugal forward put in an injury-time goal Thursday to help Real Madrid b.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 16th, 2016

8-goal Belgium rout in WCup qualifier; Ronaldo settles for 2

GRAHAM DUNBAR, AP Sports Writer br /> GENEVA (AP) — Belgium enjoyed an eight-goal rout in World Cup qualifying on Sunday, and Cristiano Ronaldo managed just two — and missed a penalty — as Portugal also won. Belgi.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 14th, 2016

Silva's hat-trick helps Portugal rout Faeroe Islands 6-0

GRAHAM DUNBAR, AP Sports Writer   GENEVA (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo may have finally have found a worthy goalscoring partner in Portugal's 6-0 rout the Faeroe Islands in World Cup qualifying on Monday. Andre Silva, the 20-y.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 11th, 2016