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Federer gracious in praise of Sunday opponent at Aussie Open

DENNIS PASSA, AP Sports Writer br /> MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — As befitting his status as a 17-time Grand Slam champion and as an astute judge of the sport, Roger Federer's reply to a simple question about his next opponent was handled with the same aplomb as one of his stylish groundstrokes. The player in question was Kei Nishikori, who plays Federer in a fourth-round night match Sunday at Rod Laver Arena. 'I'm a big fan of his game,' Federer said. 'He's got one of the best backhands out there. I love how he can crush it down the line or cross-court. He's got wonderful second serve returns. He's fast on his legs. Strong in his mind. I know how tough he is as the match goes along. He finds his range and his rhythm, he's tough to stop.' Federer said he'll need another strong service game if he's going to give Nishikori some trouble. In Federer's win over Tomas Berdych on Thursday, he didn't face a break point and he won points on 95 percent of the first serves he got into play — 39 of 41, and all 16 in the third and final set. 'This one's going to be completely different to Tomas ... there's going to be more rallies, even though the surface remains fast. I said it at the beginning of the week, it's not easy to control the ball. Today again, when you serve well, it pays dividends. I hope I can keep that up against Kei.' Asked if Nishikori should be considered the favorite because of the No. 5 seeding (Federer is 17th after a six-month left knee injury layoff) Federer replied, smiling: 'Yeah, sure, he's the favorite. Maybe. I don't know.' Nishikori said he watched some of the Federer-Berdych match and was impressed. 'Roger, it's a big challenge for me,' Nishikori said. 'I'm just happy to play him because I think we needed him on the tour. Happy to see him back 100 percent.' Here are some other featured matches Sunday: ___ NO PRESSURE: Top-seeded Andy Murray plays Mischa Zverev in an afternoon match at Margaret Court Arena. Murray, a five-time Australian Open finalist, is heavily favored. The 50th-ranked Zverev, the older brother of 19-year-old rising star Alexander Zverev — who lost to Rafael Nadal in the third round — says Murray could go either way while pondering his ranking advantage. 'I don't know if it's more pressure on him or maybe it's a relief,' Mischa Zverev said. 'If someone like Novak (Djokovic) is out of the tournament, I feel like the whole rhythm of the tournament changes a little bit, so we'll see what's going to happen.' Zverev hopes to possibly rile the often volatile Murray. 'If he plays his best tennis, obviously I don't think I have a lot of chances, but it'll depend on the day,' he said. 'Let's see if I can annoy him a little bit. If I'm serving well and not missing any volleys, maybe I can do some damage.' ____ KERBER IN CONTROL?: Defending champion Angelique Kerber plays American CoCo Vandeweghe in the match following Federer-Nishikori on Rod Laver. Kerber holds a 2-0 career edge, although the last time the two played — in Wuhan, China in 2015 — Vandeweghe retired from the match with a left ankle injury while trailing 6-1, 3-1. 'CoCo is a tough opponent ... she's serving well,' Kerber said. 'I have to move good ... bring a lot of balls back, but also be aggressive.' ___ IN BRIEF: Venus Williams, who is appearing in her 73rd Grand Slam main draw — a record for the Open era — plays Mona Barthel in an afternoon match. U.S. Open champion Stan Wawrinka continues his quest for titles in consecutive Grand Slams — and his fourth major overall — when he plays Andreas Seppi. French Open champion Garbine Muguruza plays Sorana Cirstea. ___ Associated Press writer Justin Bergman contributed to this story. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 21st, 2017

Serena Williams reaches 4th round without dropping a set

JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer br /> MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Serena Williams is still on track in her bid to win a record 23rd Grand Slam title. The six-time Australian Open winner beat fellow American Nicole Gibbs 6-1, 6-3 in the third round on Saturday, when she didn't face a break point until she was serving for the match. Dropping serve in that game was her only lapse in a match that then extended just beyond the hour — to 63 minutes to be precise. That made it one minute and one game longer than her only other match against Gibbs. Williams started the tournament with difficult assignments in the first two rounds, but also got through those — against Belinda Bencic, with a career-high ranking of 7, and Lucie Safarova, a French Open finalist in 2015 — without dropping a set. She has set the tone for the tournament. Williams will next play No. 16 Barbora Strycova, who beat No. 21 Caroline Garcia 6-2, 7-5. Ekaterina Makarova led by a set and 4-0 but needed three sets and almost three hours to finally beat WTA Finals champion Dominika Cibulkova 6-2, 6-7 (3), 6-3. 'An amazing fight,' Makarova said of her first win over sixth-seeded Cibulkova, the 2014 finalist at Melbourne Park. 'I got, to be honest, a bit tight at 4-0 in the second set. But I'm still here. I love this Grand Slam.' In a momentum-swing match featuring some long streaks of games and 11 service breaks, Makarova got the decisive break in the eighth game of the deciding set and closed it next. Makarova will play either 2016 semifinalist Johanna Konta, who beat her in the fourth round here last year, or former No. 1-ranked Caroline Wozniacki. Mirjana Lucic-Baroni continued her unlikely run with a 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 win over Maria Sakkari, and so did American qualifier Jennifer Brady. Before this week, the 34-year-old Lucic-Baroni hadn't won a match at Melbourne Park since her debut at the Australian Open in 1998. The 19-year gap in between match wins at a Grand Slam tournament broke the record set by Kimiko Date-Krumm, who went 17 years between match wins at Wimbledon. Lucic-Baroni reached the semifinals of Wimbledon in 1999 as a 17-year-old and captured the Australian Open doubles title a year before that with Martina Hingis. She next plays Brady, ranked No. 116, who had never played in the main draw of a major before she qualified for this week. The 21-year-old American had a 7-6 (4), 6-2 win over 14th-seeded Elena Vesnina on Show Court 2, and is making the most of the occasion. By saving five match points before rallying to beat Heather Watson in the second round, Brady effectively doubled her number of career wins. On the men's side, No. 8 Dominic Thiem beat Benoit Paire 6-1, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 to set up a fourth-round match against No. 11 David Goffin, who ended Ivo Karlovic's run 6-3, 6-2, 6-4. The 37-year-old Karlovic's win in the first round set an endurance record — the 84 games in the win over Horacio Zeballos, which ended 22-20 in the fifth, was an Open-era mark for the tournament. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 21st, 2017

A tournament without Djokovic to hit home in Australia

DENNIS PASSA, AP Sports Writer br /> MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The stark reality of an Australian Open third round without Novak Djokovic — for the first time in 11 years — hits home on Saturday when the remaining players in his half of the draw, Rafael Nadal and Milos Raonic among them, attempt to advance to the second week of the tournament. Djokovic was beaten on Thursday in five sets by wild-card entry Denis Istomin, the earliest that the Serbian star has left Melbourne Park in singles since his first appearance here in 2006 when he was beaten by American Paul Goldstein in the first round. 'What Novak did here is just amazing, six victories here, six titles ... so it is not possible to be every time in that situation, no?' Nadal said after his second-round win. 'So then today was probably an accident, that's all. We are athletes. We know when we are going on court we can lose and we can win. It probably was a combination that Denis played a great match and Novak didn't play his best. When this combination happens, then you are in trouble. Everything can happen. And (it) happened.' Istomin, meanwhile, plays on. He's up against 30th-ranked Pablo Carreno Busta on Show Court 2 on Friday. Here's a look at some of the key matchups Saturday: ___ RAFA'S TOUGH ASSIGNMENT: Nadal plays 19-year-old Alexander Zverev in an afternoon match at Rod Laver Arena. The young German was voted the ATP Star of Tomorrow in 2015 and has mostly lived up to the hype, seeded 24th here. 'He is one of the best players in the world, without a doubt ... and one of the next Grand Slam winners,' Nadal said. 'He has a big chance to become the future world No. 1 if he's able to keep improving the way that he's doing.' Nadal has been playing well since his return to the circuit after two lengthy injury spells last year, the 14-time major winner looking almost flawless in his straight sets win over Marcos Baghdatis in the second round. Still, he's expecting to have his hands full with Zverev: 'I know I have a very tough match ... I know I need to play my best if I want to have a chance.' ___ A SERENA BREATHER?: Six-time Australian Open champion Serena Williams had two fairly tough matches through the first two rounds, facing Belinda Bencic, a former No. 7-ranked player now sitting at 59, and Lucie Safarova, ranked No. 61 but who Williams beat in the 2015 French Open final. Williams won both matches in straight sets. Her third-round match is against fellow American Nicole Gibbs, who Williams beat in straight sets at Stanford in 2012 in their only previous meeting. Williams said she feels she's better for the experience of having had tough opposition in the first two rounds. 'When I play players like Bencic and Safarova, they force me to play better,' Williams said. 'It forces my game from the very first day to be at a high level. I needed something to start really fast. I'm not going to complain about it.' ___ CONTRASTING STYLES: Third-seeded Milos Raonic plays Gilles Simon on Hisense Arena and the Canadian holds a 3-1 edge in career meetings. Their only Grand Slam match came in the fourth round of the 2014 French Open, when Raonic won in five sets, including 7-5 in the fifth. 'I know a lot about his game. I've watched him play a lot,' Raonic said. 'He's going to be there really trying to get me to play at his speed, his rhythm. Obviously he tries to slow things down, play low. I won't have the opportunity to get too many swings at many shots.' Which means Raonic, with one of the best serves in the game, will try to get points over quickly. 'I've got to serve well and I've got to be aggressive and I've got to take it to him. The last thing I want to do is get into this sort of game of playing long rallies with him.' ___ KONTA vs WOZNIACKI: Last year's semifinalist Johanna Konta and Caroline Wozniacki, a former No. 1 who made it to the final four here in 2011, meet for the first time in an afternoon match at Margaret Court Arena. Both have been playing well, Konta coming off a win in the Sydney International last week, and Wozniacki having dropped just seven games in her first two matches at Melbourne Park. 'She had a good last year,' Wozniacki said. 'But at the end of the day, it doesn't matter who is on the other side.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 20th, 2017

Federer joins Murray in 4th round at Australian Open

JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer br /> MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Roger Federer showed against 10th-seeded Tomas Berdych that his first two wins against qualifiers at the Australian Open really were warmups. The 17-time Grand Slam champion, seeded a lowly-by-his-standards 17th after spending six months on the sidelines last season, only needed 90 minutes to beat Berdych 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 in the third round on Friday night. This was against a rival who played the Wimbledon final in 2010 and reached the quarterfinals or better in Australia the previous six years. And he'd beaten Federer in six of their previous 22 matches. Federer hit some vintage backhand winners, one that earned a hearty applause from the great Rod Laver — sitting in the crowd at the stadium named in his honor — in the second set. He had 40 winners and won 95 percent of points when he got his first serve into play. He didn't face a breakpoint. 'Crazy how quick I got out of the blocks — I did surprise myself,' Federer said of his almost flawless performance against Berdych. 'I did feel like I struggled a bit in the first two rounds.' He next plays fifth-ranked Kei Nishikori, who beat Lukas Lacko 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 to reach the fourth round for a sixth straight year at Melbourne Park. Federer leads that matchup 4-2, winning the last three. The winner of that has a potential quarterfinal against top-ranked Andy Murray, who showed no signs of trouble with his sore ankle as he advanced to the Round of 16 for the ninth straight year with a 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 win over No. 31 Sam Querrey. It was Querrey who ended then No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic's impressive Grand Slam run in the third round at Wimbledon last year. At that time, Djokovic had won four straight major titles — Wimbledon and U.S. Open in 2015 and Australian Open and French Open in 2016. Murray, who replaced Djokovic at No. 1 last November, said he was surprised at the six-time Australian Open champion's second-round loss to Denis Istomin the previous night. But the five-time Australian Open runner-up didn't think it changed anything for him, unless he reached the final. 'I wasn't scheduled to play Novak today, so my job's to concentrate on Sam and to go into that match with a clear head and a good game plan and try to play well,' said Murray, who lost to Djokovic in four of the five finals he has contested in Melbourne. 'I did that. 'Obviously, if you're to get to the final, then it has an effect.' Murray injured his right ankle in the second round, and said he was hesitant at first but warmed into the match against Querrey. 'I felt better and better as the match went on in terms of my movement,' Murray said. 'I was moving well at the end — it was very positive.' Murray next plays Mischa Zverev. Seven-time major winner Venus Williams routed Duan Yingying 6-1, 6-0 in less than an hour to progress to the fourth round for the 10th time since her Australian Open debut in 1998. 'It's good (but) it's never enough,' she said, looking ahead to her fourth-round match against Mona Barthel. 'I've tasted it before and it's always a great feeling because it means, hey, I have an opportunity for the quarterfinals. That's what I'm going to go for.' The last two Americans in the men's draw lost within an hour of each other. After Querrey's exit, No. 23-seeded Jack Sock lost 7-6 (4), 7-5, 6-7 (8), 6-3 to No. 12 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. There are no more Australians in the men's draw, either, after Daniel Evans beat Bernard Tomic 7-5, 7-6 (2), 7-6 (3). U.S. Open champion Stan Wawrinka had 3-6, 6-2, 6-2, 7-6 (7) win over Viktor Troicki to move into a fourth-round match against Andreas Seppi. In the last match of day five, French Open champion Garbine Muguruza closed out with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Anastasia Sevastova. Top-ranked Angelique Kerber had a straight-sets win for the first time in her first Australian Open title defense, 6-0, 6-4 against Kristyna Pliskova. She next play 35th-ranked CoCo Vandeweghe, who reached the fourth round in Australia for the first time with a 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 win over 2014 semifinalist Eugenie Bouchard. Two-time major winner Svetlana Kuznetsova held off former No. 1-ranked Jelena Jankovic 6-4, 5-7, 9-7 in 3 ½ hours. Australian Open organizers were briefed by Victoria state police over an incident in downtown Melbourne where a man deliberately drove into a street crowded with pedestrians, killing three people and injuring 20. Police said the incident, about three kilometers (two miles) from Melbourne Park, had no links to terrorism. 'Be assured there is no threat to the precinct,' Australian Open organizers said in a statement. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 20th, 2017

After good start, time for Balotelli to score away from home

JEROME PUGMIRE, AP Sports Writer   PARIS (AP) — It is about time for Mario Balotelli to start scoring away from home. The Italian striker's return from suspension is much needed for Nice, which faces a difficult match at Bastia on Friday after losing ground last weekend. Nice unexpectedly dropped points by drawing 0-0 against struggling Metz, and Balotelli's absence — through suspension — was felt. The draw played into the hands of free-scoring Monaco, which moved to the top on goal difference, and defending champion Paris Saint-Germain, now only three points behind. Nice will be stronger with Balotelli leading the line, considering he averages nearly a goal a game since joining on a free transfer from Liverpool in the offseason. But the worrying statistic for Nice is that his eight league goals — and nine of the 10 he has scored overall — have all been at home. When Nice plays at home, it often dominates possession through its slick midfield and Balotelli, with his outstanding ability to hold the ball up, is regularly involved in the quick and neat approach play. It's a different story away from home, where Balotelli often drifts in and out of position as he roams for space to create opportunities out of nothing. Nice coach Lucien Favre needs Balotelli to be at his disciplined best on Friday, rather than in improvisational mode. Balotelli, who has a long history of controversy on and off the field, will also have to keep this cool. Although Bastia is only one place above the relegation zone, the Corsican side is always fiercely motivated at home, where the passionate locals at the compact 20,000-capacity Armand Cesari Stadium reserve their most vitriolic and hostile welcomes for southern clubs Nice and Marseille, and for PSG. Because of the seething animosity between Bastia and Nice fans — there have been violent clashes in the past — France's Interior Ministry decreed a ban on travelling fans. Any daring Nice fans trying to circumnavigate the ban will be prevented from trying to reach the island of Corsica either by sea — via the ports of Nice, Marseille and Toulon — or by air. Nice deplored the ban, which it says 'automatically deprives its fans of passion for the umpteenth time.' Favre, who took charge in the offseason after leaving German side Borussia Moenchengladbach, is bracing himself for a heated encounter. 'There's always something special about this game, so I've been told,' said Favre, who replaced Claude Puel after he joined Premier League club Southampton. 'In football, you always have commitment, headers, tackles. It's part of the game, if it's fair. It's up to us to react properly. You must control your emotions.' ___ GOALS GALORE Lorient's players can hardly be looking forward to the trip to play Monaco, given how many goals the French leaders are scoring. Last weekend's 4-1 rout of Marseille made it 60 league goals in 20 games — comfortably more than any other team in Europe's top five leagues — and 86 in 33 games overall this season. Bad news for Lorient, which is languishing in 19th place and has conceded 39 goals — more than any other team in the league. Monaco must be relieved it did not sell Colombian striker Radamel Falcao after he spent two unsuccessful seasons on loan at Manchester United and Chelsea as he fought back from a serious injury. Falcao has been an inspirational captain, scoring eight in the past seven games and 17 in all competitions this season. Behind him and strike partner Valere Germain, the midfield quartet of Tiemoue Bakayoko, Fabinho, Thomas Lemar and Bernardo Silva is striking a good balance. Bakayoko and Fabinho do much of the holding work, thus freeing up the skillful Lemar and the quick Silva to roam free. They were unstoppable against Marseille, with Lemar scoring an audacious lob and Silva netting twice. ___ A TIGHTER DEFENSE PSG is looking for a fifth straight win when it travels to play Nantes on Saturday. Following a rocky spell just before the mid-season winter break, PSG has won its two league games and two cup games since without fuss and without conceding a goal. But Nantes could be a different proposition, especially given how well the team is playing under coach Sergio Conceicao. Wednesday's 1-0 win over Caen was the sixth in seventh games since the former Portugal winger took charge in early December. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 19th, 2017

John Wall posts 29 points, 13 assists as Wizards top Knicks

NEW YORK (AP) -- John Wall had 29 points and 13 assists, scoring Washington's final four points in the last 32 seconds as the surging Wizards beat the New York Knicks 113-110 on Thursday night (Friday, PHL time). Otto Porter Jr. made six three-pointers for the second straight night and added 23 points, but the Wizards needed big plays from Wall down the stretch to win their fourth in a row. He made two free throws to put Washington back on top after New York had rallied to take a 110-109 lead, then rebounded Carmelo Anthony's miss and left all the Knicks in his dust as he raced down the floor for a dunk with 13.7 seconds to play. Anthony finished with 34 points but Wall stole the ball from Brandon Jennings to prevent the Knicks from attempting a three-pointer that could have tied it. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 19th, 2017

PBA: TNT triumphs

Coach Nash Racela may have not achieved his immediate call for changes yesterday, but he got the win TNT KaTropa desperately needed after downing Mahindra, 104-92, in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome......»»

Category: newsSource:  tempoRelated NewsJan 18th, 2017

Young guns carry fight for KaTropa as TNT stops Mahindra

With TNT looking more vulnerable than ever, the KaTropa's top picks from the last two PBA Drafts took matters into their own hands to at least right the ship momentarily. The flagship MVP franchise arrested a two-game slide Wednesday as the KaTropa stopped Mahindra, 104-92, in the 2017 PBA Philippine Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City. TNT picked things up in the second half, outscoring the Floodbuster by 18 points to move out of a five-team logjam for 5th-9th places and join Blackwater for fourth with a 5-4 record. Troy Rosario led the KaTropa in scoring with 18 points to go along with nine rebounds while RR Pogoy had a career-high 16 points on top of four assists and four steals. Mo Tautuaa added 14 points, four rebounds, two assists and one block for TNT. 'I see my players finding ways to play together and deliver a positive outing for us. I know it's a porcess but I'm hoping that it takes us to the right direction,' head coach Nash Racela said. 'The earlier they accept that reality, it'll be better for our team overall,' he added. After putting up an early 10-point lead, TNT actually fell behind in the first half as the Floodbuster immediately turned the game around in the second quarter, carrying a 57-51 cushion at the break. However, Rosario, Pogoy, and Tautuaa waxed hot in the third, nearly matching Mahindra's entire output as the KaTropa regained control. Behind their young guns, TNT veterans Larry Fonacier (11 points), Kris Rosales (11 points), and Jayson Castro (10 points) also finished in double figures. Alex Mallari led the way for the Floodbuster with 19 as Mahindra dropped to 2-6 after a two-game run came to an end.   The scores: TNT 104 - Rosario 18, Pogoy 16, Tautuaa 14, Rosales 11, Fonacier 11, Castro 10, Reyes 7, Rosser 7, De Ocampo 7, Golla 2, Carey 1, Williams 0.  MAHINDRA 92 - Mallari 19, Paniamogan 10, Yee 10, Revilla 8, Deutchman 7, Celda 7, Escoto 6, Salva 6, Arana 6, Galanza 5, Ballesteros 3, Elorde 3, Eriobu 2, Digregorio 0,  Quarterscores: 29-25, 51-57, 82-78, 104-92   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 18th, 2017

Lady Chiefs out to secure second semis berth

Arellano University shoots for a Final Four berth while Lyceum of the Philippines University guns for at least a playoff for a semis spot Wednesday in the 92nd NCAA women’s volleyball tournament at The Arena in San Juan. The Lady Chiefs pulled the rug from under defending champion College of St. Benilde Lady Blazers, 25-21, 25-21, 25-21, last week to nail their sixth straight win in seven outings to secure at least a playoff for a Final Four spot. A victory in their 11:30 a.m. showdown with Lady Pirates, who are precariously clinging to a spot in the magic four, would send Arellano to the next round alongside the Grethcel Soltones-led San Sebastian College Lady Stags, the lone unbeaten squad with seven victories. LPU currently owns a 5-2 (win-loss) record and would be in dire need of a win that will secure it of at least a playoff for a berth in the semis. It plays San Sebastian on Jan. 23 in its last elimination round game. In juniors' action, LPU seeks the first of needed two triumphs to barge straight to the finals as it tackles Arellano (4-1) at 8:30 a.m. The Junior Pirates shocked the Perpetual Help Junior Altas, 19-25, 20-25, 25-22, 26-24, 15-12, Friday to remain unscathed in five outings that put the former two wins away from booking a slot in the finals where they will enjoy a thrice-to-beat edge. In men's play, LPU (3-4) and Arellano (5-2) collide at 10 a.m. while ousted Jose Rizal (1-6) and Jose Rizal (1-6) face off at 2:30 p.m. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 17th, 2017

BOC 2017 revenue collection target

HINDI naman lihim na tuwing sumasapit ang Chinese New Year ay halos dalawang linggo ang holiday sa bansang China. And this can affect the incoming import goods from China na kailangan ng mga pantalan sa needed revenue collection. Lalo na ngayong tinaasan na naman ng ilang percent ang revenue target collection ng Bureau of Customs. ........»»

Category: filipinoSource:  hatawtabloidRelated NewsJan 16th, 2017

Draxler scores again as PSG wins 1-0 at Rennes

JEROME PUGMIRE, AP Sports Writer br /> PARIS (AP) — Winger Julian Draxler's second goal in as many games showed why Paris Saint-Germain signed him as the defending champion won at Rennes 1-0 in the French league on Saturday. Running onto an astute pass from midfielder Marco Verratti, and without breaking stride, the German curled in a delightful shot from the left of the penalty area into the bottom right corner in the 40th minute. 'It was a great goal,' Verratti said. 'We needed a player like this.' PSG moved level on points with Monaco, which is in second place thanks to a better goal difference and plays on Sunday, as does leader Nice. Draxler joined from Wolfsburg this month in a deal reportedly worth up to 47 million euros (about $49 million), and scored an equally good goal on debut in a 7-0 rout of Bastia in the French Cup last weekend. 'He worked hard, scored a good goal,' PSG coach Unai Emery said. 'He's brought his quality to the team.' The 23-year-old Draxler, a regular for Germany at last year's European Championship, struggled to settle in at Wolfsburg after joining from Schalke early into last season and failed to score this season. His arrival may not be great news for Angel Di Maria, who has been mostly out of form this season and faces tough competition from Draxler on the left wing, and from Lucas on the right. It was a good day for Draxler, but not for Edinson Cavani, who stormed angrily past Emery when he was substituted with 20 minutes left. Di Maria also came on, and fell over backward trying to play a quick pass on a PSG counterattack. PSG won its previous three games, scoring 14 goals and conceding none, but they were at home and against poor sides. A trip to Rennes — which had lost only once at home — offered a much tougher test, especially considering PSG lost four times away from home in the first half of the season. 'It's a big win for us,' PSG midfielder Blaise Matuidi said. 'We're not very confident away from home and needed the points.' PSG started in determined fashion and Cavani should have scored after just 40 seconds. Having missed four chances in midweek when PSG beat Metz 2-0 to reach the League Cup semifinals, Cavani fluffed this one by poking wide of goal after being put clean through. PSG dominated the first half, with Rennes panicking and frequently losing the ball. Verratti was enraged when he was not given a penalty after running onto Draxler's excellent pass and rounding goalkeeper Benoit Costil, who appeared to take him down. But the referee instead gave Verratti a yellow card. 'It's a huge mistake. It was a penalty,' Verratti said. He was still arguing with referee Benoit Bastien as the players prepared to start the second half. Bastien also showed PSG midfielder Thiago Motta a yellow card in the 62nd, although he appeared to fall down as he rounded Costil. 'Well done to the referee for not getting conned,' Costil said after the game. '(Verratti) was falling down before I came out and the second one (Motta's) was even more blatant.' ___ OTHER MATCHES Forward Majeed Waris scored twice as Lorient beat fifth-place Guingamp 3-1 to earn a vital win in its relegation scrap. The win moved the Brittany side off the bottom of the table, with Metz dropping to last ahead of its game on Sunday. Having started the season strongly, Toulouse is drifting further away from the top five after losing at home to Nantes 1-0, with Emiliano Sala scoring. Winger Issiar Dia scored the winner as Nancy climbed up to 11th by beating Corsican side Bastia 1-0. Also, it was Angers 1, Bordeaux 1, and Montpellier 1, Dijon 1. On Sunday, Nice faces Metz, while Monaco has a tough game at Marseille, and Caen hosts Lyon. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 14th, 2017

Reyes transfers, signs deal with Petron

Petron pulled off a huge recruitment coup after signing former three-time UAAP champion Mika Reyes to beef up its middle for the next season of the Philippine Superliga. The De La Salle product, last year's league ambassadress, inked a deal with the Tri-Activ Spikers after parting ways with F2 Logistics and long-time mentor Ramil De Jesus.  Reyes signed her contract Wednesday. 'It was indeed a very tough decision but Petron made it easier as we've laid out concrete plans for my personal and volleyball career,' said Reyes, who signed her contract at the San Miguel Corporation headquarters in Pasig with Virtual Playground manager and agent Charlie Dy and SMC sports director Alfrancis Chua. Petron made a well-timed decision of getting the services of the 22-year-old Reyes to fill in the gaping hole left by CJ Rosario, who is now pursuing a new career as a flight attendant. Reyes was a vital cog for DLSU, winning three championships in her five-year stay with the Taft-based squad including an incredible swan song in the UAAP Season 78. In the PSL, the 5-foot-11 Reyes was F2 Logistics' muscle in the middle when the Cargo Movers clinched its breakthrough title in the 2016 All-Filipino Conference against Foton. She also helped F2 Logistics salvage a third place finish in the import-laden Grand Prix. Reyes, who was a member of the F2 Logistics Manila that competed in the 2016 FIVB Women's Club World Championship held in Manila, is Petron's biggest recruited star since landing former players Gretchen Ho, Rachel Anne Daquis, Aby Marano, Fille Cainglet-Cayetano and Dindin Santiago-Manabat.  The Pulilan, Bulacan native will join FIVB WCWC teammate Ces Molina and multi-awarded lefty hitter Aiza Maizo-Pontillas.    --- br /> Follow this writer in Twitter @fromtheriles .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 13th, 2017

PBA not messing around with player fines

The PBA is not messing around with its fines imposed on erring players. After just a week of action in 2017, the PBA has collected a total of P102,900 on fines mostly courtesy of flagrant fouls committed in the first week of the new year as well as the league's last couple of game days in December of last year. Globalport forward Rico Maierhofer shouldered the burden of the player expenses as the former La Salle star was penalized for P20,000 after a flagrant foul 2 against the Bolts last week. The TNT KaTropa pair of Troy Rosario and RR Pogoy were fined P15,000 each for separate incidents last December 23 and January 7 respectively. In the case of Pogoy, his large fine was courtesy of his third flagrant foul penalty 1 call for this season. The money collected by the PBA through penalties goes straight to the Players' Trust Fund that is to be used for the retired players scholarship program. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 12th, 2017

Warriors' Zaza Pachulia has Kerr, not critics, in his head

JANIE McCAULEY, AP Sports Writer OAKLAND, California (AP) — Zaza Pachulia heard all the negative noise from his Golden State Warriors fans, and he began taking it personally. He was the new guy at the start of this NBA season, the lone non-All-Star in Golden State's decorated starting lineup. He was no Andrew Bogut, the imposing big man he replaced, and fans got nasty with their frustration. Now, Pachulia constantly recalls what coach Steve Kerr preaches: The only thing that matters is how the Warriors feel about each other, not what anyone outside thinks or says. Not that it was easy for Pachulia to ignore the scrutiny. 'That was one of the biggest challenges I've had. I've never been in this situation,' he said on Monday. 'It's a lot of responsibility, I understand it. It was very emotional for me at the beginning. I was kind of taking it very personal. But that's where mental toughness kicks in. 'I'm fortunate I have friends who have been in this situation throughout the league, but most importantly, the biggest help came from my coaching staff.' With Kerr in his ear, Pachulia has made an effort to tune out the critics. As expected, the Warriors have needed time to jell this season, and Pachulia's been at the center of the development. Early on, the center from Georgia took a passive approach, and also found himself in subpar shape. Now he's getting more comfortable, and is emerging at the perfect time. The Warriors are headed into the second half, and Pachulia has found his place complementing Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson. Last month, Pachulia had season-bests of 15 points and 14 rebounds in a win at Brooklyn, and he believes that helped him turn a corner. He has four straight games scoring in double figures entering Tuesday's home matchup with Miami after doing so just twice in his first 32 games. In a victory at Sacramento on Sunday, Pachulia made a jaw-dropping, no-look backward heave that was right on target to Curry and led to an easy basket by the league MVP. 'He's tried some crazy stuff before, but he made a good, timely read as the best way to get me the ball,' Curry said. 'It was right on target, one bounce into my lap and I was able to finish it. I'm sure Coach will make sure he's not experimenting too much more with that.' Pachulia's enjoyed being part of the 'fancy stuff' these pass-happy Warriors get up to — Golden State wracks up 30-assist performances at an astonishing rate. 'Zaza's got a little flair to him,' Kerr said on Monday. 'He likes making plays like that. Not that he's constantly making them, but he's got a little of that in him. I know he had fun with that play.' Never before had the big man been part of a team with so many great players, and finding his way with this group made for a daunting adjustment. That core of talent is the reason he chose to join Golden State for his 14th season. 'No disrespect to Dallas, Milwaukee, but we weren't this type of team. No one was expecting a championship from us,' Pachulia said. 'This team is different, right? Let's be honest. So every time you make a mistake on the court, and that's very normal, especially in the beginning, it looks like 10 times, 100 times worse. 'Fans are spoiled here because of the types of seasons they had — last year, where they broke the record even though they lost in the Finals, it was amazing. The year before they won the championship, so they were feeling really comfortable with the players and the personalities they had.' For Pachulia, the improvements have come from focusing on the small things — such as minor footwork adjustments and working to better defend the perimeter. That has come with a willingness to learn. 'The thing that I'm most proud of in watching him this year is his growth. I'm talking about a guy who's played a lot of basketball,' Warriors assistant coach and defensive guru Ron Adams said. 'The ability to be coached at his age has really been fun. ... He is one of those lifelong learners.' Still, Pachulia knows the compliments from those around him must be earned. From the basketball-crazed Bay Area fans, too. 'My skin got thicker,' Pachulia said. 'I don't listen to stuff from outside or even if I hear or if I read something, I just let it go very easily. It's not bothering me, because the truth is that Steph or Klay or KD or Draymond or Andre (Iguodala), all these guys, they either like playing with me or they don't. That's what matters. The coaching staff is happy with my presence or not. 'Maybe the first day, you're not expecting any of your teammates to give you some good words. We've played enough games that my teammates have a lot of compliments to say about me. My coaching staff has a lot of compliments to say about me. Those compliments don't come just like that. They are professionals and you get a compliment because you deserve it. That means a lot.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 10th, 2017

Inigo providing much-needed voice for newbie Kaohsiung

Kaohsiung once again fell to Alab Pilipinas last Sunday. But still, the Truth’s 1-1 record over the weekend was their best-ever showing in their short history. Much of it has to do with reinforcements Derek Hall and Cedric Oliver who dominated Saigon before giving a good scare to the Filipinos. However, it also has to do with the emergence of Asean Heritage import Achie Inigo as a floor leader. Against the Heat, the Filipino collected 18 points, four assists, and three rebounds and then against his countrymen, he was behind the steering wheel of repeated rallies. Coincidentally, Inigo’s steadying of the ship comes on the heels of a coaching change from Tryston Lawrence to Sabatino Chen. For someone who has been used to a champion coach like Nash Racela, the shift was much-needed. Talking about his new Taiwanese mentor as compared to the now-departed American, he said, “Mas maayos siya and mas detailed mga sinasabi niya. Yung coach namin dati, walang board.” He then continued, “Experienced si coach Chen kaya mas alam niya ginagawa niya.” Chen was only quick to return the favor. “Achie is great. He’s my voice on the court. We understand each other because we have similar philosophies,” he expressed. Kaohsiung’s coach then went on to recall how, at one point, his floor leader subbed himself in for defensive purposes and it turned out to be the correct decision. For Inigo, he’s slowly but surely realizing that his stint in the ABL has a more personal goal – to help out with development of the startup Truth. “Baka nga kaya ako dinala rito ni God kasi may purpose para tulungan sila. Kasi kahit nga, dynamic stretching, ako pa nagpa-stretch sa amin,” he narrated. He the continued, “Willing akong tumulong kahit anong need nila kasi wala pa talaga silang experience.” Fortunately for Kaohsiung, Inigo has, without a doubt, taken a thing or two from his more than four years under Racela. “Natutunan kong maging court general talaga sa FEU. Siyempre, yung experience ko kina coach Nash at coach Eric (Gonzales), lalong tumaas yung IQ ko,” he said. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 9th, 2017

NLEX comes "home" to ambush KaTropa

The answer to NLEX's struggles, at least to the team's horrible five-game losing skid, was found at 'home.' Travelling to the home province of head coach Yeng Guiao, the Road Warriors rode a solid second half to pummel sister team TNT, 110-98, Saturday in the 2017 PBA Philippine Cup at the Angeles University Gym in Angeles, Pampanga. In trouble after the KaTropa erased a 12-point deficit to take a 94-93 lead with 6:13 to go, NLEX went on a 17-4 tear the rest of the way to win only its second game of the new season. The Road Warriors lost their previous five games by double digits before taking care of TNT, improving to 2-5 and leaving idle Mahindra at the bottom of the team standings. After fighting to a stalemate in the first half, NLEX came out firing in the third quarter, leading by as much as 12, 74-62, after an Eric Camson basket. However, in typical TNT fashion, the KaTropa would respond and even take the lead back before the period ended courtesy of a Larry Fonacier trey, 80-78. Carlo Lastimosa showed his scoring prowess by dropping a game-high 22 points for the Road Warriors on 72 percent shooting. Sean Anthony added a double-double and ended up with 13 points and 13 rebounds. TNT lost a golden opportunity to move into solo second with the loss and is now tied with idle Phoenix and Globalport for third place with identical 4-3 cards. Jayson Castro, who is also from Pampanga, once again came off the bench to lead the KaTropa with 17 points. TNT actually got 72 points from its reserves with Mo Tautuaa and Kris Rosales adding 15 points apiece. No TNT starter scored in double figures.   br /> The scores:  NLEX 110 - Lastimosa 22, Anthony 13, Alas 12, Camson 12, Guinto 11, J. Villanueva 7, E. Villanueva 7, Rios 6, Baracael 5, Lanete 4, Taulava 3, Monfort 3, Khobuntin 3, Gotladera 2. TNT 98 - Castro 17, Tautuaa 15, Rosales 15, Fonacier 9, Reyes 7, Rosario 7, De Ocampo 7, Williams 6, Rosser 6, Carey 5, Seigle 4, Golla 0, Pogoy 0, Tamsi 0. Quarters: 24-26, 52-52, 85-81, 110-98 br /> --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 7th, 2017

Patriots clinch home-field advantage

The Associated Press br /> MIAMI GARDENS, Florida (AP) — Tom Brady threw for 276 yards and three scores Sunday as the Patriots clinched home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs by beating the Dolphins 35-14. New England took a 20-0 lead in the first half, and turned away Miami's comeback bid with the help of a 77-yard touchdown catch-and-run by Julian Edelman and a 69-yard fumble return by linebacker Shea McClellin. The Patriots (14-2), already assured of a first-round bye, became the ninth team since 1972 to go undefeated on the road during the regular season. The Dolphins (10-6), beaten for only the second time in the past 11 games, had already earned an AFC wild-card berth. They play their first postseason game since 2008 next weekend at Pittsburgh. STEELERS 27, BROWNS 24 PITTSBURGH (AP) — Steelers backups assured the Browns of the top pick in the 2017 draft. Landry Jones hit Cobi Hamilton with a 26-yard touchdown with 2:57 left in overtime. The Browns took a lead on Cody Parkey's 34-yard field goal with 7:17 remaining in the extra session. Jones, who started while the playoff-bound Steelers rested Ben Roethlisberger, took the Steelers 75 yards in nine plays. The last was a pretty lob to the end zone that Hamilton hauled in to give Pittsburgh (11-5) its seventh straight victory. Jones finished with 277 yards passing and three touchdowns and one interception. Isaiah Crowell ran for a career-high 152 yards for the Browns (1-15), who finished with the worst record in franchise history. JETS 30, BILLS 10 EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (AP) — Ryan Fitzpatrick threw two touchdown passes in what was likely his final game for the Jets. Despite a 5-11 record, the Jets are making no changes in leadership, meaning both coach Todd Bowles and general manager Mike Maccagnan will remain with the team next season. Bowles is 15-17 in his two-year tenure with New York, which hired him in January 2015 after firing Rex Ryan. Maccagnan is also in his second season with the Jets, and had also been criticized for the team's roster, which likely faces an overhaul this offseason. The Bills (7-9) also face some uncertainty this offseason after firing Ryan earlier in the week and elevating offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn to the interim role. Two other people with direct knowledge of the situation told the AP before the game that Lynn is the clear favorite to take over the job permanently. TITANS 24, TEXANS 17 NASHVILLE, Tennessee (AP) — A concussion that sidelined quarterback Tom Savage could have the biggest impact coming out of the Texans' loss. Savage started for the AFC South champions, left in the second quarter to be evaluated for a concussion and was cleared. He took a snap to kneel down on the final play of the first half and was diagnosed with a concussion after being re-evaluated at halftime. That left Brock Osweiler, benched for Savage last month, running the offense. He threw for 253 yards and a touchdown and also ran for a 1-yard TD on fourth-and-goal in the fourth quarter. Houston (9-7) will host Oakland next weekend, possibly with uncertainty at quarterback. DaQuan Jones recovered a fumble for a touchdown in the first quarter and the Titans never trailed to finish with their first winning season since 2011. EAGLES 27, COWBOYS 13 PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Tony Romo threw his first touchdown pass in nearly 14 months as the playoff-bound Cowboys played it safe. The Cowboys (13-3) had already locked up the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs so Dak Prescott played only two series and Ezekiel Elliott watched from the sideline. Carson Wentz tossed two TD passes to Zach Ertz to help Philadelphia finish with a two-game winning streak. Prescott was 4 for 8 for 37 yards before giving way to Romo, who hadn't played in a regular-season game since Thanksgiving 2015 when he broke his left collarbone for the second time in less than three months. Romo broke a bone in his back in the third preseason game against Seattle this season, paving the way for Prescott to have one of the best years by a rookie quarterback in NFL history. BUCCANEERS 17, PANTHERS 16 TAMPA, Florida (AP) — Jameis Winston threw for 202 yards and one touchdown as the Buccaneers broke up Cam Newton's 2-point conversion throw in the closing seconds for their first winning season in six years. Winston threw a 10-yard pass to Mike Evans to snap a fourth-quarter tie and became the first player in NFL history to start his career with consecutive 4,000-yard seasons. But the Bucs (9-7) were eliminated from playoff contention, not getting the help they needed in other games for their first berth since 2007. Winston's franchise record-setting 28th TD pass put the Bucs ahead 17-10 with 3:10 remaining. Newton, however, moved the Panthers (6-10) right down the field, with help of a 47-yard pass to Kelvin Benjamin and two fourth-down completions to set up a 5-yard scoring pass to trim Carolina's deficit to one with 17 seconds left. VIKINGS 38, BEARS 10 MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Sam Bradford concluded his first season with Minnesota with three first-half touchdown passes. Bradford went 25 for 33 for 250 yards and one interception, finishing with a 71.6 percent completion rate to set an NFL single-season record. Kyle Rudolph caught 11 passes for 117 yards and a score for the Vikings (8-8), who started 5-0 before stumbling out of their bye week and never recovering. The Bears (3-13) wound up with their fewest wins in a non-strike year since 1973 after turning the ball over five times. Everson Griffen returned one of their three lost fumbles for a touchdown. Jordan Howard, the lone bright spot, rushed for 135 yards on 23 carries to break Matt Forte's franchise rookie record and finish with 1,313 yards for the season for Chicago. COLTS 24, JAGUARS 20 INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Andrew Luck threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Jack Doyle with 9 seconds left. Indy (8-8) went 75 yards in 84 seconds with no timeouts to avoid its first losing season since 2011, sending retiring linebacker Robert Mathis out with a win in his final NFL game. Jacksonville (3-13) matched the second-worst record in franchise history after blocking a punt with 1:54 to go and breaking a 17-17 tie with 1:33 left. Instead, Luck took the Colts right downfield for the score. Mathis extended his league record of strip-sacks to 41 in the fourth quarter, two days after announcing he would retire. BENGALS 27, RAVENS 10 CINCINNATI (AP) — Andy Dalton completed his first 10 passes, one for a touchdown, and Rex Burkhead ran for a pair of scores in the Bengals' fifth straight win at home over the Ravens. The Bengals (6-9-1) missed the playoffs for the first time in six years. Coach Marvin Lewis says he'll return in 2017. Baltimore (8-8) failed to reach the playoffs for the third time in four years. The Ravens played their final game as if they were emotionally hung over from a last-minute loss at Pittsburgh last Sunday that eliminated them. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 1st, 2017

Texters trip Aces, gain share of 2nd

MANILA, Philippines - TNT KaTropa handled Alaska Milk’s vaunted pressing defense well, beating the Aces on fastbreak plays and on halfcourt set in a one-side.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsDec 23rd, 2016

Rosario’s best game steers Katropa past Alaska Aces

IN its most impressive victory thus far, TNT KaTropa came out with a lot of fire to snap Alaska’s streak and score a decisive 109-100 triumph—its second straight win in the 2016-17 Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup at the PhilSp.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsDec 23rd, 2016

TNT neutralizes Alaska’s press, posts 109-100 win

MANILA, Philippines – TNT KaTropa handled well Alaska Milk's vaunted pressing defense, beating the Aces on fastbreak plays and on halfcourt set in a one-side.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsDec 23rd, 2016