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Rose embraces new home, blocks out doubters

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com MINNEAPOLIS – Don’t let go of the rope. It’s one of Tom Thibodeau’s most familiar exhortations, a mantra of sorts to keep his teams locked in, digging down and generally committed through whatever grueling test they’re facing, be it a game, a road trip, a spate of injuries or the entire season. The trouble for Derrick Rose with that particular Thibs-ism is, so often, he has been the rope. On one side of an unfortunate tug o’ war, we’ve had the Rose loyalists, the fans, friends and family who believe that the 2010-11 NBA Most Valuable Player’s return from injury hell to elite status is just one more, legit opportunity away. Pulling from the other side, there is a growing group of Rose skeptics who are convinced that the Chicago kid’s best days – his most explosive, elusive, game-changing moves – are behind him, strewn on the floors of too many surgical rooms and rehab gyms. Rose, 29, knows they’re there. One group pulling for him, the other doubting him. And in an unusually candid and forceful moment Saturday (Sunday, PHL time), the normally soft-spoken Rose delivered a stark message to them all. “Yeah,” Rose said after his first full practice since signing a minimum-salary contract Thursday (Friday, PHL tie) to join the Minnesota Timberwolves. “This is how I feel about the whole perspective on it: You can have your perspective on me as far as I’m a bum, I can’t play, I can’t shoot, this and that. All right. Cool. I have no hard feelings with that. I’m cool with that. If that’s how you feel, that’s how you feel. “But at the same time, I don’t need your [bleeping] validation.” Rose’s eyes burned bright, in a direct response to the many health challenges he has endured from acquaintances and strangers both, picking at whatever good or bad is left of his basketball career. “I know who I am,” Rose continued. “I know the type of player I am. So, you respect that and I respect that, and we should be good. That’s how I feel about it.” In other words, you work your side of the street, Rose will continue to work his. If there are NBA administrators like Thibodeau, the Wolves’ head coach and president of basketball operations, willing to give him another chance, he’ll be chasing the ghost of his own self while trying to help somebody win. One more chance Rose’s latest grab at faded glory could begin in Sunday’s (Monday, PHL time) matinee against the defending champion Golden State Warriors at Target Center (editor's note: Rose wound up playing just seven minutes off the bench. He finished with two points on 1-of-5 shooting with a rebound, two assists, and two turnovers). It probably is his last, best shot to salvage something from a 2017-18 season that’s been largely lost due to injury, yes, but other factors outside Rose’s control as well. What looked like a terrific opportunity back in training camp – signing with Eastern Conference power Cleveland Cavaliers and home to the game’s best player (and Rose nemesis) in LeBron James – got sideways fast. In the Cavs’ second game, on a drive to the rim, Rose got whacked across the face and neck by Milwaukee center Greg Monroe. He landed badly on the baseline, suffering a “jacked-up” left ankle that left him in a walking boot and sidelined him for 11 of Cleveland’s next 15 games. Then word got out just before Thanksgiving that Rose had left the team, reportedly to contemplate his future as an NBA player. He was gone for nearly two weeks, at least part of it back home in Chicago, during what Cavs GM Koby Altman called “a very challenging and difficult time for Derrick.” Rose didn’t play again until Cleveland’s 44th game. In nine appearances over the next three weeks, he was a shell of the three-time All-Star he’d once been, averaging 6.3 points, 1.6 assists and 13.3 minutes, while shooting 39 percent. On Feb. 8 (Feb. 9, PHL time), he was one of six Cavaliers players dealt by Altman at the NBA trade deadline, sent to Salt Lake City as a throw-in to acquire Utah’s Rodney Hood and Sacramento’s George Hill. Two days later, the Jazz waived Rose. Four weeks passed before Thibodeau got the green light from Minnesota owner Glen Taylor to sign Rose. The Oklahoma City Thunder had sniffed in his direction, only to opt for veteran backup Corey Brewer. Rose had family duties to attend to – he and Alaina Anderson had a baby girl in Chicago to start the week – but he also had spent time working out by himself in the Cavs’ facility or at Cleveland State’s gym. The end seemed near. Given Rose’s limited involvement this season, he probably would have been a long shot to land with one of the league’s 30 teams in 2018-19, had Thibodeau not reached out. The people on the dark end of Rose’s rope were winning. Now, this buys him time for a shout-out to the folks on the other end. “‘Don’t give up,’ Rose said he would tell them. Talking later at the downtown Minneapolis hotel where he’s staying, he wanted to assure people that his desire to play remains strong, his passion to keep trying still burns, and his mental fitness for this and future challenges on or away from the court is fine. “I still have faith,” Rose said, two bags of ice strapped to each leg. “No matter what happens, I still have a lot of faith in myself and my ability. It’s just about opportunity and catching a rhythm. Whenever I do catch a rhythm, I’d rather see what it is then. Than to, like, give up knowing I have so much left. Like, ‘Damn, I should have kept playing.’ “I’m going to give it my all. And once I do, then it’s like, ‘All right, cool. I gave it my all, now what’s this next phase in my life?’ “But as far as right now, I’m still in it. I’ve got two kids that can look at me now. The oldest, my boy [P.J.] is 5 years old. He’s looking at me right now. He sees everything. I’m going to tell him, ‘No excuses. Don’t come to me cryin’, this and that. Nah.’ He’ll see what I’ve had to go through. ‘Now suck it up and go out there and do what you’ve got to do.’” A career interrupted For some NBA players whose careers got waylaid by injuries – Brandon Roy, Greg Oden, Penny Hardaway – their bodies finally refused to cooperate. They went from 60-to-0, no wiggle room on whether they would continue. Rose, for all his setbacks, has worked his way back – not back to his previous form – from each and every injury. From the ACL blowout that started him down his hobbled path in April 2012 to three subsequent meniscus knee surgeries, from the left orbital fracture he suffered when he caught teammate Taj Gibson’s errant elbow in the face in the opening practice of 2015-16 to the lingering ankle sprain dealt by Monroe’s blow in October. In that sense, Rose is more like Bernard King, Sam Bowie or Grant Hill, standout players whose career trajectories were forever altered – but not ended – by injuries. Rose speaks as if he has reached some level of peace with his maladies, referring to his injuries as “part of the game” and his particular “cross” to bear. “I’ve just had five surgeries more than other people,” he said. “That’s the way I look at it. That don’t mean that I can’t play. That don’t mean that I lost my love for the game. No.” What Rose doesn’t like is the “fragile” label that’s been affixed to him. He’s less interested that he has played in only 486 of approximately 789 regular-season games so far, while proud of the 130 he logged with the Bulls (2015-16) and Knicks (2016-17) more recently. It seems clear that the reckless abandon with which Rose played – and the excruciating torque he put on his knees with his bounding, zig-zag attacks through the lane – wreaked havoc on his knees. Beyond that, though, he’s not buying any pattern business. “You see how I was injured [in October]? I was taken out of the air,” Rose said. “People are like, ‘Aw, he’s always injured.’ Are you just watching highlights, just looking at clips, like new fans are these days? Or are you watching an entire game? Are you just reading reports that come up on your phone?” Scouts say that Rose has lost both quickness and leaping ability, without developing a perimeter game to compensate. They also bundle his Cleveland hiatus with the AWOL episode last season with the Knicks, when Rose left the team without notice before a game against New Orleans, to question his reliability and commitment. Rose disputes the comments about his game, citing the circumstances in New York and Cleveland. “I could sit here and tell you, ‘I’m gonna try to change this. Do this and do that.’ Nah, I always felt, it starts with my rhythm,” he said. “[In] New York ... I was playing the triangle [offense favored by former Knicks president Phil Jackson] and still playing pretty well [18.0 ppg, 4.4 apg, 32.5 mpg]. In Cleveland, when did I really have a chance to catch a rhythm? When did I play 20 games straight? Or 10 games? Five games?” As for his reliability – or likelihood to take a powder on the Wolves the way he did on the Knicks and seemed to do on the Cavs – Rose said there is no issue there, either. In the past couple weeks, Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan (depression) and Cleveland’s Kevin Love (panic attacks) have opened up about psychological challenges they and other athletes face. But Rose shook his head as the question was asked. “Oh no, no, no,” he said. “I’m blessed, man. Beyond blessed. It’s not even ... what do I have to complain about? I don’t have anything to complain about. Of course, I wish I was on the court more. I think in time, with the right opportunity, I’ll be out there more. “I’m not depressed, even though I think everybody deals with some depression in some way. It’s about how you deal with it. We’re emotional creatures. We hold onto things. I try to meditate, try to do little things to change my mindset and try to read things to easy my nerves.” Rose admitted he did wonder if he would get another chance, once the Cavs traded him to a Jazz team that had no use for him. “Especially when you get dropped by a team like Cleveland, that needed players,” he said. “It makes other teams think, ‘Damn, if they didn’t keep him...’” Rose has not spoken with James since being dealt, he said. “The way I take it, I don’t take it as personal,” Rose said. “They didn’t need my services. That’s the way I look at it, OK? I understand. It’s business. Does that stop me from working hard? Does that stop me from still putting out goals and trying to reach my goals? No.” Familiar faces aid return Now Rose is reunited with Thibodeau, Gibson, Jimmy Butler (sidelined after his own meniscus surgery) and familiar coaches and staff making up the “TimberBulls.” He even trusts Thibodeau, often criticized for the heavy minutes he loads on his top players, not to break him. “If anything, I want him to play me,” Rose said. “I want to show to him that I can still play. I want him to see me and be like, ‘Damn, he’s still got it.’ I want him to count on me. I want to be held accountable. You know what I mean? I don’t just want to be, like, an average guy on the team riding along just to see how far they go. I really want to add.” Said Thibodeau, who ran Rose Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) through a rigorous refresher course on his playbook: “Obviously when he was at an MVP level, that was the peak. But he also, my last year in Chicago, he had a great year. ... He still has the potential to be very good. He’s young, that was the other part of it. He knows some of our guys, he knows the system. “Like all stories, there’s a beginning, there’s a middle and there’s an end,” the Wolves coach added. “I don’t think it’s a finished story.” Gibson thinks Rose can shoulder some of Butler’s late-game duties, simply because the scoring guard has strong muscle memory of such situations. He, too, hopes Rose’s story can take a happy turn. “I’ve got my fingers crossed,” the veteran forward said. “I truly believe in him. He’s got a lot left in the tank. It’s just, sometimes life doesn’t go your way and you have to push through it and keep fighting.” Thibodeau has said that Rose, like starter Jeff Teague and backup Tyus Jones, can play both backcourt spots, so he can mix-and-match based on situations. Rose anticipates no problem walking that line between asserting his game and rocking the Wolves’ boat. “My job coming here, I’m not trying to step on nobody’s toes. I’m not trying to take someone’s spot,” he said. “I’m not trying to show myself. Nah. I’m here to win. Me going out there and playing, hopefully you all see that. ‘He’s making money plays. He’s playing to win. And that’s what we wanted from him.’” Not that Rose, lest we forget from up top, needs anyone’s bleeping validation. Boosters and doubters can pull this way or that, but he said he’ll be the one who decides when his time is up. “When my love of the game is not there,” Rose said, sounding sincere near the end of his 10th season overall. “When I get tired of going to the gym. “Don’t get me wrong, we all go through that. But after a couple of days, I get antsy, I want to be in the gym. When a week or two goes by and I haven’t touched the gym, even in the summer, oh yeah, I’d know it was over.” Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnMar 12th, 2018

Legacies at stake for Rockets, Warriors in Game 7

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com HOUSTON — So much riding on one game, which goes beyond which team reaches The Finals and which one reaches for the golf clubs. Reputations and images and legacies also can and will be determined in this winner-take-all battle between the Warriors and Rockets. Such is the way of professional sports and instant analysis and fortunes, both teams and players and coaches. That said, here’s what’s on the line for the main figures in Game 7 of the Western Conference finals: * James Harden. He can make a solid case for being the second-best player in the NBA over the past three seasons, having finished top three in Kia MVP voting twice and will perhaps take home the award this season. But LeBron James went to The Finals three times in that span and won once. Harden, on the other hand, doesn’t know what June basketball feels like since he joined the Rockets. He’ll have his best chance Monday (Tuesday, PHL time). He’ll be on his court, playing before his crowd, 48 minutes away from facing LeBron and the Cavaliers for a championship. If he loses against the Warriors, then Harden will keep the crown as Best Active Player Without A Championship, which isn’t an honor he embraces. With the possibility of playing this game without Chris Paul, Harden might need to explode for 40 points or more. And that still might not be enough. He’s still in his prime, but reaching The Finals, much less winning, isn’t guaranteed to happen. Remember how Oklahoma City was “destined” to return to The Finals when Harden played there? * Kevin Durant. His championship demons were destroyed last summer when he joined a loaded team and did exactly what everyone expected. Yet Durant didn’t sign up for a one-and-done. The only way to justify leaving OKC is by winning multiple titles. His performance in this series has gone hot and cold. This isn’t the same Durant who tore through everyone last spring and summer; he seems bewildered at times by the Houston defense. If he comes up flat and the Warriors lose, the sensitive Durant might want to stay off social media. * Chris Paul. Warriors coach Steve Kerr said what everyone feels about Paul and his hamstring injury: It stinks. Paul deserves so much more, especially after such a solid run through the playoffs in every round, including outplaying Steph Curry until the injury. Paul never reached the conference finals until now and at 33 is running out of chances to play for the championship. He’ll become an instant hero in Houston if he pulls a Willis Reed and inspires the Rockets in Game 7, then again if he beats his pal LeBron in The Finals. If not? Then he’ll wonder why the Basketball Gods are against him. * Steph Curry. A fourth straight trip to The Finals would make Curry the LeBron of the West. He shook himself free from a shooting slump to recover nicely in this series and save the Warriors from elimination in six games. * Mike D’Antoni. Validation would come finally for D’Antoni should he mastermind a victory over the four All-Star Warriors, especially so should he do it without Paul in Game 7. D’Antoni heard too often about how his offenses weren’t built to last in the postseason but nobody’s saying that now. Anyway, the Rockets employ a far different system than the one he used in Phoenix. Translated: Give him credit for adjusting and cooking up an offense to suit the talents of his players and not vice versa. Also, with the help of lead assistant coach Jeff Bzdelik, the Rockets’ defense is causing plenty of issues for the Warriors this series. Overall, D’Antoni has pushed all the right buttons. * Steve Kerr. Has he already done enough for induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame as a coach just off two championships alone? If not, then a fourth straight trip to The Finals might be the trick. But Kerr hasn’t always convinced his players to remain calm in fourth quarters. Why did the Warriors’ offense suffer costly breakdowns in Games 4 and 5? Yes, Houston’s defense rose up, but adjustments by Golden State were slow to come, if at all. * Andre Iguodala. He isn’t expected to play Game 7 and if the Warriors advance, you wonder if he’ll be ready for another shot at LeBron. The Warriors gave him a nice contract extension here in his twilight because of what he means to them in spring and summer. They could use his on-court leadership. * Draymond Green. The Warriors are still looking for a breakout game in this series from their emotional leader. It’s not that Green has been a ghost; rather, he just hasn’t stood out in the small lineup or made his presence known in a big way, other than with the referees (as usual). It would help if Green began hitting those open three-pointers the Rockets are generously giving him. * Daryl Morey. Often celebrated as one of the top general managers in the game, Morey built this Rockets team with beating the Warriors in mind. He traded for Paul and signed P.J. Tucker last summer, and those two have repaid that faith with solid playoff performances. How many more times must Morey tweak the Rockets here in the Harden era before Houston finally strikes gold. For his sake, hopefully, this was the final time. But again, much depends on Paul’s hamstring. Sometimes, the fate of your team is beyond your control. Sometimes, you need luck. * Houston. This city endured a deadly flood, then lifted itself with the help of ordinary citizens and a handful of local athletes and celebrities, then celebrated its first World Series triumph courtesy of the Astros. For the last several months, therefore, Houston has been in the headlines, and would like to add another late Monday night (Tuesday, PHL time). Veteran NBA writer Shaun Powell has worked for newspapers and other publications for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here or follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 28th, 2018

Harden, Rockets pass first postseason test

By Sekou Smith, NBA.com HOUSTON — If the long road to June basketball is to come to fruition for the best regular-season team in basketball, it had to start like this for the Houston Rockets. That first step, that first foray into the great postseason abyss, required this sort of confirmation from the No. 1 overall seed in the entire tournament, so to speak. There’s no room for Cinderellas around here, no slaying of Goliath, not on Clint Capela’s watch. Not with James Harden on the case when the Rockets needed it most, and especially at crunch time. And not with Chris Paul, chip planted firmly on his shoulder as always, eyeballing bigger and better things than being the best from late October to mid-April. So it won’t be easy. Nobody said it would be. And let’s be clear, the Minnesota Timberwolves are not a normal eight seed. Not really. A healthy Jimmy Butler and the infusion of veteran talent that helped end the second longest playoff drought in NBA history this season makes that big a difference. They certainly did Sunday night (Monday, PHL time) at Toyota Center, when the Rockets were forced to battle until the very end for a 104-101 win despite a 44-point masterpiece from Harden. But like everyone else who dealt with these juggernaut Rockets all season long, Harden and his crew proved to be too much with the game on the line. With Harden on the bench and the game tied at 85 with 6:49 to play, the script was already written. He came in for Paul with 6:07 to play and the Rockets up a point, and promptly scored on a driving layup. He stole the ball and then scored on a driving floater. After a Capela block, he scored on a driving layup. By the time he knocked down a three-pointer with 4:27 left, the Rockets’ lead was back up to eight points, 94-86, and it was clear that Harden was going to do whatever it took — scoring, playmaking and even defending — to keep Game 1 from going awry. It was vintage work from the maestro who has owned the floor most every night since the season opener, when Harden and the Rockets went into Oracle Arena as the reigning champion Golden State Warriors hung another banner and collected those diamond-laced title rings and walked off the floor winners. “Another day for James,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said after Harden finished one point shy of his playoff career-high. “He’s done it all year and he really stepped up. We were struggling to make shots, struggling to really have any kind of rhythm of play and James put us on his back and he’s been doing it for a while now.” D’Antoni will have to forgive the rest of us, including the frontrunner for the Kia MVP this season, for not digesting his theory about the playoffs being something other than a referendum on his team’s magical regular season. Harden operated like someone keenly aware of what was at stake with the Timberwolves, each and every one of them, trying in vain to slow him down. “Honestly, I just try to be aggressive and make the right play,” Harden said. “Things got slowed up a little bit, just try to be aggressive with my shot and fortunately it went in.” Jimmy Butler is an All-Star and one of the league’s best two-way players. Derrick Rose is a former Kia MVP himself, and still has enough juice left to make things difficult for someone when he locks in the way he did on this night. And neither one of them had any luck slowing Harden down during his second-half blitz. He scored 25 of his points in the final 18 minutes, making play after play when the Timberwolves appeared to be on the verge of potentially pulling off a shocker. “There were several plays in which I thought we defended well and he made shots,” Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau said. “James is that type of player and we’ve seen it all year, [he’s] very difficult to guard. Basically, you have to guard him with your whole team. And it’s not just his scoring, but his playmaking and all the things that he does.” The Rockets won on a night when they shot a brutal 27 percent (10-for-37) from beyond the three-point line, where they’ve feasted on the opposition all season. They roasted the Timberwolves from distance during their regular season match ups to the tune of 43.4 percent and more than doubled them up in three-point makes during those games, but made just two more Sunday night (Monday, PHL time). Harden was 7-for-12 from deep, a playoff career-high for makes, while the rest of the Rockets shot a combined 3-for-25. And he was draining his shots with hands in his face routinely. “He’s an MVP candidate and you know why,” said Timberwolves big man Taj Gibson. “Every time the game was ‘mono e mono’ and they were in a tight spot, he just took over the game. He made some tough shots, he played phenomenal tonight. We were trying to throw everything at him, he’s a talented player.” He’s clearly much more than that. “I mean yeah, he’s a hell of a player,” Butler said. “Everyone knows that. But you don’t just guard him with one guy. It’s everybody out there, everybody has to be in the correct position. Challenge shots; contest them at the rim, but more than anything, if there is a miss we’ve got to get the rebound and take off the other way. But we didn’t do any of that tonight, we’ve got to be better [in Game 2] on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time).” Thibodeau had to turn to his bench to stay in the game before halftime and they delivered, scoring 19 points and playing with an energy level that matched what the Rockets did regardless of who was on the floor. Rose (nine points), Jamal Crawford (seven) and Gorgui Dieng (three) did all that bench scoring, which was the only way to offset the furious 49 points Capela and Harden combined for before the break. Jeff Teague’s three fouls and Butler’s defensive task, trying to keep Harden under wraps, required so much of his attention that the scoring load had to be picked up by someone else. He went scoreless in the first quarter and just never seemed to get untracked early on, finishing with just 13 points on 4-for-11 shooting. It’s an issue the Timberwolves won’t be able to scheme their way out of in this series, not as long as Capela is the most energetic and effective young big man on either team. He outscored the All-Star Towns 20-3 before the break and out rebounded him 10-5, adding two blocks and a steal to drive home the point that he’s up for this challenge all series long. “Man, Clint was all over the place, both ends of the court offensively and defensively,” Paul said. “You see him defending KAT, who’s a tough cover in the post. You know I’m low, and I weak side and I’m watching him go up for the hook, and then I’m watching Clint block it, and then he’s running. he was unbelievable tonight and we’re going to need that all season.” Capela finished his night with 24 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks while Towns didn’t crack double digits in the scoring column (eight points on 3-for-9 shooting, 12 rebounds in a team-high 40 minutes of action). Chalk it up as a lesson learned for the playoff rookie. That must-win game the Timberwolves won at home over Denver Wednesday night had all the hype and intensity of a playoff game, only it wasn’t. Thibodeau credited the Rockets’ defense, the swarming and double-teaming of Towns, for slowing the big man down. “He has to be more active,” Thibodeau said, before praising the Rockets for perhaps their most underrated trait this season: The ability to lock down defensively. “They’re good, they’re very good. They’re tied together, they do a lot of switching and after the switch they read the ball extremely well. They react, they swarm, and so you have ti make good decisions, you have to make good plays. You have to have the ability to read and react.” Funny, that’s what the Rockets’ best player does perhaps as well as any other player in the league right now. Harden reads and reacts accordingly, always seemingly coming up with the right play at the right time. That’s how you know he’s in the moment right now, as are the rest of the Rockets. No matter how many times and how many different ways anyone tries to deflect attention from the obvious, they comprehend every bit of what lies ahead for a team riding into the postseason on the strength of a 65-win regular season that saw them run away from the competition. They wouldn’t have souls if they didn’t. They wouldn’t be human if they hadn’t already calculated the weight of the best regular season in franchise history times a wide-open postseason equaling something that’s never been done here, which says a lot for a franchise that has two Larry O’Brien trophies to show off. They know how important each and every step on this current journey is, starting with Sunday night’s very first choppy ones. Any suggestion to the contrary is, shall we say, a distant cousin of the truth. But we’ll play along for now, at the beginning. Sekou Smith is a veteran NBA reporter and NBA TV analyst. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 16th, 2018

LeBron, Cavs win 12th straight at home, 115-112 over Bulls

By Tom Withers, Associated Press CLEVELAND (AP) — LeBron James scored 34 points, Kevin Love added 27 and the Cleveland Cavaliers won their 12th straight home game, 115-112 over the Chicago Bulls on Thursday night (Friday, PHL time) as injured point guard Isaiah Thomas moved even closer to his return. James had 11 points in the fourth quarter and dropped a pair of free throws with 11.1 seconds left as the Cavs won for the 19th time in 21 games and ended Chicago's seven-game winning streak. With Cleveland's Jae Crowder guarding him closely, Chicago's Denzel Valentine was short on a tying three-pointer in the final second. Dwyane Wade had three steals and two blocks in the fourth quarter for Cleveland, which improved to 3-0 against the Bulls this season. Rookie Lauri Markkanen scored 25 points, Valentine had 18 and Nikola Mirotic 15 for the Bulls, who lost for the first time since Dec. 6 (Dec. 7, PHL time). Chicago's win streak followed a 10-game losing skid. The Bulls battled back from a 10-point deficit early in the fourth and were within four at 111-107 when James, who has been so clutch in the fourth quarter all season, sank a fadeaway baseline jumper. Chicago pulled to 113-112 on Valentine's layup before James made his two free throws and Cleveland got the key defensive stop to end it. Cavs coach Tyronn Lue missed the game with an undisclosed illness. Assistant coach Larry Drew filled in for Lue, who conducted his usual media session about 90 minutes before tip-off and was in Cleveland's locker room before the team announced he was sick. That wasn't the only news during a hectic pregame for the Cavs as starting guard J.R. Smith was a late scratch with a sore left knee and Thomas took the floor dressed in his uniform and participated in pregame warmups with his teammates for the first time since arriving in Cleveland. Earlier in the day, Thomas was assigned to the Cavs' Canton G-League affiliate so he could practice and take part in a full-court scrimmage. There's still no definitive date for Thomas to make his debut with Cleveland, but he's closer than ever. Lue did rule Thomas out of Monday's (Tuesday, PHL time) Christmas Day marquee matchup with Golden State, but it's possible the 28-year-old All-Star, who was acquired this summer in a blockbuster trade with Boston, could play next week when the team heads to Sacramento and Utah. TIP-INS Bulls: Bulls: G Zach LaVine (left knee) and G Cameron Payne (right foot) have yet to play this season and remain out. ... Dropped to 3-13 on the road. ... Valentine, who has stepped up his game lately, made three consecutive three-pointers early in the third. ... Chicago attempted just one free throw in the first half. Cavaliers: Cleveland has made at least 10 three-pointers in a franchise-record 22 straight games. ... James became the first player to appear in 800 games for Cleveland. ... Smith's knee flared up following the morning shootaround and he was kept out as a precaution. ... G Derrick Rose still isn't ready to return to the floor after being sidelined with an ankle injury that had him evaluating his future. Lue said Rose is doing some light workouts, but "nothing too fast right now as far as on the court. But his spirits are great, great having him back. Just the most important part, just getting him back healthy." UP NEXT Bulls: Continue three-game trip at Boston on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). Chicago beat the Celtics 108-85 at home on Dec. 11 (Dec. 12, PHL time). Cavaliers: Visit Golden State on Christmas (Dec. 26, PHL time) in a holiday rematch of the last three NBA Finals......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 22nd, 2017

NCAA: Prince Eze wins game, then Player of the Week for Perpetual

Not wanting to get embarassed by the San Sebastian Golden Stags on their own home floor last Thursday, Prince Eze made sure to not let the Perpetual Help Altas and the Perpetualites in attendance down. "At halftime, I got mad actually," admitted first-year Perpetual head coach Frankie Lim as the Altas fell behind by as much as 21 points against their visitors. "I told them, guys, it's not about the Xs and Os. It's about your desire to win." Prince Eze and the Altas responded with a huge third quarter-outing to give themselves a chance to stun the Golden Stags. In the final frame, Perpetual and San Sebastian figured in a nip and tuck affair that saw the tilt go down to the final possession. With 3.3 ticks left, the two proud squads were knotted at 76-all. Burning his last timeout, Lim crafted a play for his main man Prince Eze, who had anchored his defense all game long. After the timeout, Eze received a well-time lob from AJ Coronel, perfectly angling his hands in the air to lay-in the game-winner with .5 seconds to spare. Disaster averted. "I don't want to lose whatever it takes," the 21-year-old Nigerian student-athlete said. "I know if I tap the ball, I'm still gonna catch it back. So I went inside." For his heroics, Eze, who finished the game with 22 points, 18 rebounds, and six blocks, was crowned as the Chooks-to-Go NCAA Press Corps Player of the Week. Though Eze says that luck has been on their side so far that has led them to solo fourth in the standings, their current mindset is something that they must sustain the rest of the way. "I mean, a win is a win. And we have to live with that," last season's Defensive Player of the Year shared. Eze bested CJ Perez of Lyceum, Robert Bolick of San Beda, Bong Quinto of Letran, and Alvin Capobres of San Sebastian for the weekly honor handed out by print and online writers covering the league......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 12th, 2018

NCAA: Eze wins it for Perps at home against Baste

The smiles on the faces of the University of Perpetual Help faithful inside their home gym in Las Pinas on Thursday was up to the left hand of Prince Eze. The Nigerian powerhouse did nothing but come through as his tip-in with his left hand proved to be the difference for the Altas against visiting San Sebastian College-Recoletos, 78-76. Eze ended with 21 points, 12 rebounds, three blocks, and three steals, but his most important contribution was the tip-in that put Perps back inside the winner’s circle now at 3-2 in the NCAA 94 Men’s Basketball Tournament. With the two teams tied at 76 with 3.3 ticks to go on the clock, coach Frankie Lim called a timeout. “I would really go to Prince on that last shot. It was a tip-in and he made it,” he told reporters post-game. Off of that, Jielo Razon inbounded to AJ Coronel who then had a good look for a baseline jumper. “I really designed it that way. Ang ine-expect ko, ide-deny nila si [Edgar] Charcos so sabi ko kay AJ, you have to be available for the pass,” their mentor said. Instead, Coronel lobbed the ball near the top of the rim and right-handed Eze directed it off the board and down the net with his left hand. Moments later, Perpetual finished the job in successfully defending its home court and rising to solo fourth at 3-2. This, even though they fell behind by as much as 18-39 in the second quarter. “Beggars can’t be choosy. We were down by 21 at the half and we won by two, still a great win for us,” coach Frankie said. Charcos played big in the second half, with all but one of his 18 points while Coronel also chipped in all of his nine points in the final frame. The Altas also welcomed contributions from Kim Aurin who stuffed the stat sheet with four points, eight assists, five rebounds, two steals, and two blocks as well as Razon who had three markers, six dimes, and five boards. For the Golden Stags, Allyn Bulanadi topped the scoring column with 21 points to go along with 12 rebounds, three steals, and two assists while Alvin Capobres also scored 19 markers. Unable to stop Eze in that pivotal play, however, they dropped to 3-5. BOX SCORES PERPETUAL 78 – Eze 22, Charcos 18, Peralta 11, Coronel 9, Mangalino 5, Aurin 4, Razon 3, Gallardo 2, Cuevas 2, Sese 2, Tamayo 0, Pasia 0 SAN SEBASTIAN 76 – Bulanadi 21, Capobres 19, Dela Cruz 11, Calma 8, Are 6, Calisaan 5, Desoyo 2, Isidro 2, Villapando 2, Valdez 0, Sumoda 0 QUARTER SCORES: 12-20, 27-46, 51-57, 78-76 --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 9th, 2018

NCAA: Jr. Altas give home fans reason to cheer with W over Staglets

STANDINGS LSGH 5-1 ARELLANO 4-1 PERPETUAL 4-1 MAPUA 4-2 SAN BEDA 2-2 SAN SEBASTIAN 3-5 JRU 2-3 LPU 2-5 EAC 1-4 LETRAN 1-4 University of Perpetual Help successfully defended its home court as well as its winning streak in the 94th Season of the NCAA Juniors Basketball Tournament. Joshua Gallano’s game-long brilliance and clutch credentials proved to be the difference for the Junior Altas as they warded off very game San Sebastian College-Recoletos, 70-64, on Thursday at home at the Perpetual Gym in Las Pinas. The tireless forward put up 20 points on top of 14 rebounds, three blocks, two assists, and two steals and was backstopped by Emman Galman who had an 18-marker, 10-board performance of his own. Still, the Staglets came charging and rallied in the last three minutes of regulation to force overtime. With the tally tied at 62-all early in the extra period, however, Gallano made good on a booming triple that fronted an 8-2 finishing kick for his team. Not long after, Perps was celebrating with its own crowd its second straight win and fourth overall in five games. At 4-1, they stand alongside preseason favorites College of St. Benilde-La Salle Greenhills, Arellano High School, and Mapua High School. On the other hand, Baste’s downward spiral continues now at 3-5. Kean Baclaan and Milo Janao fronted their effort with 17 and 15 points, respectively. BOX SCORES PERPETUAL 70 – Gallano 20, Galman 18, Galoy 7, Barcuma 5, Nunez 4, Orgo 4, Kawamura 4, Duka 2, Defante 2, Dela Cruz 2, Romilla 2, Coloma 0, Oguinsanya 0 SAN SEBASTIAN 64 – Baclaan 17, Janao 15, Bonalos 9, Are 7, Pinero 6, Suico 4, Timbancaya 2, Perez 2, Austria 2, Balo 0, Loristo 0 QUARTER SCORES: 10-17, 24-30, 50-44, 60-60, 70-64 (OT) --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 9th, 2018

MPBL: Risers steal spotlight from Capitals for fifth straight W

Bataan began the 2018 Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League with a loss. Since then, however, they have been rolling. The Risers registered their fifth consecutive victory, this one coming at the expense of home team Quezon City, 101-68, last Wednesday at the Blue Eagle Gym in Katipunan Avenue. Gary David turned back the clock for a vintage performance of 21 points in 72 percent shooting. “El Granada” was on fire and his teammates only followed suit as they scored no less than 23 points in each quarter. He was backstopped by youngsters Jeepy Faundo and J-Jay Alejandro who had 12 and 10 markers, respectively, as Bataan rose to 5-1. Janus Collado topped the scoring column for the Capitals with 15 points. With a non-existent defense, however, they lost for the fourth time out of five games. Meanwhile, Zamboanga also stretched its streak by dispatching Navotas, 89-78. As always, Reed Juntilla showed the way with a 29-point, 11-rebound double-double as the Valientes improves to 4-2. On the other hand, the Clutch lost their third game in a row. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 9th, 2018

DA s 2018 NBA Offseason Rankings: The Bottom 10

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 8th, 2018

MPBL: Rodriguez makes sure San Juan keeps perfect record intact

Larry Rodriguez did it all to help San Juan keep its spotless slate in the 2018 Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Anta-Datu Cup. Rodriguez tallied 10 points, seven rebounds, four assists, four blocks, and two steals as the Knights stampeded all over visiting Laguna, 81-56, last Wednesday at the Filoil Flying V Centre. The ex-pro was at the front of the charge as the home team would score no less than 20 points in the first three quarters. John Wilson and Rian Ayonayon also added 13 and 11 points, respectively, as San Juan marched forward to a still league-leading 5-0 standing. Meanwhile, Bulacan extended its win run to three in a row after rallying past competitive Davao Occidental, 88-85, in overtime. Hans Thiele scored four of his 13 points in the extra period while also adding four rebounds for the now 4-1 Kuyas. Their respective losses dropped the Heroes and the Tigers to similar 2-3 records. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 2nd, 2018

NCAA: Muyang, Fajarito give Letran reason to look up

Now in his third season in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, Jeff Napa finally has a team he can call his own. That means that the Knights have a big, big lineup – just how their head coach likes it. Coach Jeff won several titles in the UAAP Juniors by discovering and then developing bigs such as Mark Dyke and Justine Baltazar. And so, he knows full well the importance of a big, big lineup. “Ever since naman, kahit naglalaro ako o kahit nung sa high school ako (coach), mahirap maglaro na wala kang big man. Kailangan talaga, kahit hindi naman nagdo-dominate, pero role player na bigs para mag-complement sa guards mo,” he shared. He then continued, “Yun ang naging problema namin last years so in-address namin. Naniwala sa akin itong dalawa at nagtiwala din sila sa Letran. Siguro, give-and-take lang kaya sinuklian nila yung binigay na opportunity ng school.” Coach Jeff was referring to Larry Muyang and Christian Fajarito who had transferred from De La Salle University and College of St. Benilde, respectively. Those two, alongside Gilas cadet Jeo Ambohot and veteran Christian Balagasay, have given Letran a frontline that stands not an inch shorter than 6-foot-5. Those two also did the heavy lifting as the Knights grounded Jose Rizal University on Friday for their first winning streak in the season. Muyang ended with 14 markers, nine boards, and three assists while Fajarito finished with his own 14 points, eight rebounds, and two blocks. According to Muyang, he’s merely making the most of his second chance – two years after his unceremonious exit from Taft Avenue. “Para sa akin, nahanap ko na yung home ko. Nandito kasi si coach Jeff na nagbigay sa akin ng kumpyansa,” he said. He then continued, “Dito ko na nakikita yung future ko kay coach Jeff at sa Letran.” Nonetheless, coach Jeff said he wants much more from Muyang and the rest of his frontline. As he put it, “Marami pa rin siyang kailangang i-improve. Ayoko ring makuntento sila sa ganitong sitwasyon so kailangan pa ring mag-doble effort pa rin sila.” He then continued, “Kailangang mag-all out pa rin kami every game, every practice kasi pabigat nang pabigat ang kalaban namin.” --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 27th, 2018

Sex workers sing, dance for legalization of oldest profession

Sex workers took centre stage at the International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam Thursday, using music and dance to press home a serious message: "We are people too, and we have rights." The cast of a show entitled "Sex Worker's Opera" performed to a full house at the meeting venue, with songs and recitals advocating that "sex work is work," and "there are no bad whores, just bad laws." "We're all human beings at the end of the day and nobody should judge us for what we do for a living," performer Charlie Rose, a 37-year-old sex worker from London, told AFP after the show. "Human rights state that we are entitled to earn a living and provide for our families, and that's exact...Keep on reading: Sex workers sing, dance for legalization of oldest profession.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJul 27th, 2018

Matty Ice gives Ateneo its own Atin to moment

The young Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles spread their wings in the recently concluded 2018 William Jones Cup. With a 5-3 record and a fourth-place finish, the Blue Eagles – the only collegiate team in the tournament – did nothing but prove they belonged in the regional tournament. Among many, many unforgettable moments, however, one stands out for the reigning UAAP champions. Let’s just hear Gian Mamuyac’s take on it. Asked about their most memorable moment in the Jones Cup, he answered while laughing, “Tinatanong pa ba yan? Siyempre, Matt Nieto game-winner.” Last Saturday, the kids from Katipunan were trailing by two with 3.1 ticks to go in their matchup against the home team before head coach Tab Baldwin had the perfect play with Thirdy Ravena inbounding and finding Nieto for a good look from beyond. “Matty Ice” then rose and launched a triple and the defense was unable to do anything as the ball found the bottom of the net, winning the game for Ateneo. Videos showed that Nieto was mouthing words after he hit that shot – and make no mistake about it, he wasn’t taunting Chinese Taipei. Was he saying “Atin ‘to?” “Oo, atin ‘to kasi talagang gusto naming manalo sa laro na yun. Nung tinira ko yun, tinignan ko teammates ko tapos sinabi ko ‘Atin ‘to,’” he shared. He then continued, “Parang nagpaka-Paul Desiderio ako.” Yes, the Blue Eagles’ court general took inspiration from neighboring University of the Philippines’ main man. Last season, Desiderio coined a rallying cry for the Fighting Maroons when he said “Atin ‘to! Papasok ‘to!” He said that during a timeout in the dying moments after which, he proceeded to take and make the game-winning three that downed University of Sto. Tomas. "Atin to, papasok to!" -- Paul Desiderio during the timeout. Moments later...#UAAPSeason80 pic.twitter.com/7yafSpldJM — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) Setyembre 10, 2017 Now, Nieto has given Ateneo its own “Atin ‘to!” moment – and he’s sur Gilas cadet teammate Desiderio wouldn’t mind. “Magkakampi rin naman kami e tsaka idol ko rin naman siya. Nothing wrong in doing the same,” he said. He then continued, “Para sa bayan din naman yun.” --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 26th, 2018

NCAA: Streaking Perpetual piles onto woes of frustrated EAC

Edgar Charcos stayed hot just as University of Perpetual Help’s other guys also got going in the NCAA 94 Men’s Basketball Tournament. Charcos yet again showed the way and joined forces with Prince Eze and Kim Aurin in the Altas’ 76-74 escape act from Emilio Aguinaldo College on its home floor in San Marcelino, Manila on Thursday. With the two teams all even at 64-all inside the last five minutes, Eze’s split and Aurin’s midrange jumper sparked the 12-5 charge that put the visitors up, 75-69, with 59.5 ticks to go. The Generals weren’t quitting just yet, however, as Jeric Diego and Maui Cruz connived for a 5-0 run that neared them to within 74-75 with 12 seconds remaining. “Ang feeling ko, yung Generals played with a lot of confidence kasi siyempre, andito sila sa bahay nila,” Perps head coach Frankie Lim said post-game. He then continued, “In the end, it went down to making stops.” Indeed, that was the closest EAC could come as Aurin’s free throw and ensuing defense on Jerome Garcia cemented Perpetual’s rise to 2-1. Charcos wound up with 22 points on top of three assists and two steals. This is his third game in a row breaching the 20-point marker. Eze and Aurin then both stuffed the stat sheets with the former finishing with 15 points, 22 rebounds, and nine blocks and the latter ending with 12 markers, nine boards, and eight assists. Now on their first win run in the season, the Altas believe they’re ready for what’s next – a date with undefeated Lyceum of the Philippines University. “Magandang boost sa amin ‘to bago yung game namin against LPU,” coach Frankie said. On the other hand, the Generals remained winless in three games. Cruz continued opening eyes with 18 points, but to enter the win column, they will need much more from Hamadou Laminou who only had 12 points and eight rebounds. BOX SCORES PERPETUAL 76 – Charcos 22, Eze 15, Aurin 12, Peralta 11, Coronel 6, Razon 5, Cuevas 2, Pedrosa 2, Mangalino 1, Tamayo 0 EAC 74 – Cruz 18, Garcia 17, Laminou 12, Natividad 10, Bautista 5, Diego 4, Mendoza 3, Gonzales 2, Robin 2, Tampoc 1, Magullano 0, Neri 0, Bugarin 0, Fuentes 0 QUARTER SCORES: 20-17, 38-34, 56-57, 76-74 --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 26th, 2018

PVL: Domingo steps up to the challenge

With Far Eastern University missing the services of Toni Rose Basas and the departure of top hitter Bernadeth Pons after last UAAP season, the Lady Tamaraws needed someone to step up on offense. Celine Domingo embraced that role with her recent performance for FEU in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Collegiate Conference said it all. The UAAP Season 80 Best Blocker averaged 18 points per game as she led the Lady Tams to an early share of the lead with University of Sto. Tomas with back-to-back wins to open their campaign. However, instead of feeling pressured on her new role, Domingo treats it as a challenge.     “Nararamdaman ko naman (ang pressure), pero hindi ganoon totally kabigat. Hindi ko siya tine-take as pressure, kasi 'di naman kami pine-pressure ni coach eh,” she said. Domingo had her scoring prowess in full display Wednesday when she led FEU to a 25-16, 21-25, 25-19, 25-22, win over San Beda University. The incoming sophomore, a transferee from University of the East, posted a personal conference-best 22 points built on 15 attacks, four kill blocks and three aces.     Domingo was the main weapon of the Lady Tams with her quick kills as they dismantle the Lady Red Spikers, who gave FEU a scare after taking the second frame.  “Siguro part kasi 'yun ng game plan namin na i-feed muna sa quickers, para pag binato sa open, magiging madali na para sa spiker na paluin,” said Domingo. Playing with na slew of newcomers, Domingo provided the maturity and composure as FEU dodged another upset-scare since escaping College of St. Benilde in five sets in their conference opener last Sunday. “Siguro isa na ding factor 'yung kailangan mag-step up din kami, tapos isa na rin ako sa nakakatanda, ayun po,” added Domingo. Still, Domingo admitted that she still has a lot to improve on as she prepares for UAAP Season 81. “Siguro 'yun ano pa rin, 'yung blockings. Siyempre may puhunan na ako doon, kailangan ko lang i-continue and mas mag-improve pa,” she said. “Big thing din 'yun, pag na-block na, wala ng kailangang gawin eh. So 'yun, kailangan ko pa i-improve 'yun.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 25th, 2018

McIlroy loses ground with tough finish at British Open

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press CARNOUSTIE, Scotland (AP) — Rory McIlroy pledged to "go down swinging" in his bid to win a major for the first time in four years. He might have to swing for the fences after the way he finished Saturday at the British Open. On a day of low scoring, McIlroy bogeyed two of his last three holes for a 1-under 70. Instead of being two shots behind, he was four back, certainly not out of it. And he wasn't about to change his strategy of being aggressive. "Go out and hit a lot of drivers," McIlroy said. "I felt like today the course was perfectly set up to take advantage of it and attack it. Tried to do that for the most part. Maybe my wedge play wasn't quite as good as it should have been, but I gave myself plenty of chances." McIlroy said he felt like he left some shots out on the course, and was disappointed at the way he finished. Still, he's won the Open before and believes he has a reasonable shot to do it again. "I've got a bit of experience at this," he said. "Maybe more so than some of the other guys on the leaderboard. But the leaderboard is packed with a lot of very, very good players." McIlroy and other players on the leaderboard are keeping an eye on the notoriously fickle Scottish weather going into the final round. The wind is expected to pick up some and if it shifts direction the scores could go a different direction than they did on Saturday. The best thing, McIlroy said, is there are only five players in front of the group bunched four shots off the lead. "Just need to get off to a fast start tomorrow," he said. "I'm obviously disappointed after the way I finished, but I'm still in the tournament. I'm only a few shots behind. The wind is supposed to pick up a little bit. So it will make things interesting." ___ WINDWARD FINALE Kevin Kisner has been hearing all week that the strongest wind would be on Sunday, which is fine by him. "I think it's going to be a true test, and we'll get to see really who's hitting it the best and playing the best tomorrow," Kisner said. He only had one wish. "As long as 18 is downwind, I don't really care," he said. "I played with Zach (Johnson) today and he said the last time they were here, they hit 3-woods all four days on 16 and 4-iron on 18. So I can't imagine that direction and how difficult that finish would be." ___ REDEMPTION Zander Lombard dropped two shots on the 17th hole when he pulled it into a ditch, took a drop, hit into a bunker and missed the cut. He made up for it in a big way. "I said to my caddie walking down the fairway, 'Let's have a finish for the crowds at least,'" Lombard said. After a strong drive on the 18th, the South African hit a gap wedge from 132 yards that landed in front and to the left of the hole, checked and turned to the right and then dropped in for an eagle. "It was just awesome soaking up the energy and taking it in," Lombard said. "I feel really positive for tomorrow, and I'm going to fight for it." ___ ONE BAD SWING Rickie Fowler opened with two birdies in four holes and was one shot out of the lead with a par 5 coming up at No. 6. That turned out to be his undoing. Fowler pulled his tee shot so far left that it went out-of-bounds. He sent his next shot from the tee some 40 yards to the right, and he wound up making a triple-bogey 8. That wasn't his only mistake. He made three more bogeys, including on the 18th, and that offset the eagle he made on the par-5 14th. But it added to a 73 — only Pat Perez with a 74 had a higher score among the last 14 players to tee off Saturday. "Obviously wanted to head in the right direction today, but didn't do that," Fowler said. "Back to the drawing board. We'll come out hot tomorrow and see what we can do. Made some good swings coming in, but like I said, just didn't execute through the middle of the front nine and (it) cost me." Fowler was eight shots behind and plays Sunday with Patrick Reed. ___ ROSE RALLY Justin Rose was about 18 feet away from going home Friday when he made the birdie putt on the 18th to make the cut on the number. One day later, he was five shots out of the lead. No one took advantage of the calm conditions like Rose, who played bogey-free from the third group out and shot 64. It was his lowest score at the British Open by two shots, and at the end of the day, Rose was in a tie for 13th. "There's a difference between being 3 over on Friday and way off the lead and 3 over and way off the lead on Saturday morning," Rose said. "You kind of feel a bit more grateful to be here rather than Friday night, you feel frustrated to be there. So I think the birdie on 18 last night freed me up, and I'm just very happy to be out on this golf course and not down the road somewhere else this morning. "Obviously, I had nothing to lose." He won't be losing much sleep. Rose had the entire afternoon off to rest, and he gets to sleep more on Sunday. ___ AP Sports Columnist Tim Dahlberg contributed to this report......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 22nd, 2018

JONES CUP: ‘Matty Ice’ says game-winner was for all of Philippines

Matt Nieto won a game not just for Ateneo de Manila University, but for all of the Philippines in the 2018 William Jones Cup. “Sobrang saya namin cause hindi lang Ateneo ang nanalo, buong Philippines ang nanalo,” he said in an online interview with media. The Blue Eagles were trailing by two with 3.1 ticks to go in their matchup against home team Chinese Taipei Blue last Saturday before head coach Tab Baldwin had the perfect play with Thirdy Ravena inbounding and finding Nieto for a good look from beyond. “Matty Ice” then rose and launched a triple and the defense was unable to do anything as the ball found the bottom of the net, winning the game for Ateneo – the first collegiate team to be wearing the flag in the tournament. And yes, he hit that shot with much of the crowd against him. “First time namin to play na buong arena, puro kalaban kaya nakaka-pressure. At the same time, nakaka-excite din kasi minsan lang mangyari ito,” he said. The noise was all around when coach Tab designed the play, when Ravena inbounded the ball, and when Nieto took the shot. After Nieto made it, however, the silence was deafening from the home crowd. In the end, modest as always, the hero for Chooks-to-Go-powered Ateneo Pilipinas deflected all credit. “I’m so happy pero I give all the credit to my coaches and teammates. Coach Tab for coming up with a brilliant play, George for the solid screen, and Thirdy for the terrific pass,” he expressed. —— Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 22nd, 2018

May remittances up 6.1% to $2.75B

MONEY sent home in May by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) rose from a year earlier and April, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported on Monday. Personal remittances, which sum up the net compensation of OFWs, personal transfers whether in cash or in kind and also capital transfers between households, totaled $2.746 billion for the month. [...] The post May remittances up 6.1% to $2.75B appeared first on The Manila Times Online......»»

Category: newsSource:  manilatimes_netRelated NewsJul 17th, 2018

The British Open returns to the nasty links of Carnoustie

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press Carnoustie is known as much for the calamity it causes as the British Open champions it crowns. Any mention of Carnoustie immediately brings back that image of Jean Van de Velde, equal parts tragedy and comedy, standing in Barry Burn on the 18th hole with water up his shins and rising. He made triple bogey to lose a three-shot lead, and then completed as great a collapse as can be found in a major championship by losing in a three-man playoff in 1999. Just don't get the idea Van de Velde owns all the rights to bad endings at Carnoustie. Jose Jurado was the first victim. He had a three-shot lead going into the final round in 1931 and was still two shots clear late in the round until coming undone in the brutal closing stretch, topping one shot on the 17th hole into the burn. He lost out to Tommy Armour. More recently was Padraig Harrington , only it worked out well for him in 2007. Playing the 18th with a one-shot lead, the Irishman hit his tee shot into the Barry Burn. He took a penalty drop and then hit his next shot into the winding stream. Harrington managed the best double bogey of his life. It got him into a playoff when Sergio Garcia made bogey from the bunker, and Harrington went on to win his first major. Of the six previous Opens on these menacing links, Ben Hogan is the only winner to hold a 54-hole lead. For most everyone else, Carnoustie always seem to dish out its share of carnage. Rod Pampling once opened with a 71 and had the lead. He followed with an 86 and missed the cut. Phil Mickelson still hasn't seen a weekend at Carnoustie. Garcia made his major debut as a professional at Carnoustie. He shot 89. "That's a brutal course," Bernhard Langer said. He speaks from experience in 1999, when Langer had his third-highest score of the 23 Opens he completed. He shot 297, and he tied for 18th that week. The first time Tiger Woods went an entire round without a birdie in a major was in 1999 at Carnoustie. "I think I made one birdie on the weekend and I finished three or four back of the playoff," Woods said. "That was ridiculous how hard it was." One month after Shinnecock Hills was punishing as ever in the U.S. Open, golf's oldest championship doesn't figure to be much of a reprieve. Scotland has been going through a warm, dry patch of weather, which figures to make it firm and bouncy. Mickelson, who played Carnoustie a week before the Open, said it was unlikely he would even carry a driver. "I'm either going to carry a driver or that hot 3-wood, but there's only two or three holes — there's actually only two holes I plan on using it, both par 5s. I have a low 1-iron that I've been putting in the bag and ... it's very low. Gets on the ground quick. I'll hit that on probably the last ten holes, almost every hole." Carnoustie in any conditions is regarded as a beast, with a reputation as the toughest links in the world. Sir Michael Bonallack, the former R&A secretary, might have sized it up the best when he said, "When the wind is blowing, it is the toughest course in Britain. And when it's not blowing, it's probably still the toughest." In recent Opens, it has picked up a nickname: Car-nasty. For so much of the field, it will be a new experience. Only two players from the top 10 in the world have played a British Open at Carnoustie — Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy , who was an 18-year-old amateur in 2007 and immediately showed his potential when he opened with a 68. He tied for 42nd that week. Only 33 players in the 156-man field have played an Open at Carnoustie, and only 12 have played it twice. Defending champion Jordan Spieth only knows it from television. He was 13, just starting to blossom as a junior, and he watched the Open from home as Garcia and Harrington tried to survive the finish. "I remember ... how good of a score par was on that hole and will continue to be for Opens going forward," Spieth said. "It's one of probably the toughest closing holes in the Open Championship anywhere, and that creates some drama when it comes down to Sunday, as we've seen. And I don't think it will be any different this year." Carnoustie gets its mean streak from the way the course was set up in 1999, with narrow fairways and high grass. But its strength comes from the wind, like most links courses, and this course near the North Sea is particularly exposed. It measures 7,402 yards, which is 19 yards shorter — yes, shorter — than it was in 2007, the last time the Open was at Carnoustie. Spieth will try to become the first player in 10 years to repeat as British Open champion, and right now he'd simply settle for a chance. Since his closing 64 at the Masters to finish third, Spieth has finished at least 12 shots out of the lead in four of his seven tournaments. He missed the cut in the other three. Like most majors these days, the Open figures to be wide-open. Dustin Johnson, who lost a four-shot lead over the final two rounds at Shinnecock, is back to No. 1 in the world and eager to pick up another major. He has not played since the U.S. Open. The next three players behind him in the world ranking — PGA champion Justin Thomas, Rose and U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka — all have a chance to replace him at No. 1. Recent history would suggest a young American — the last five majors have been won by Americans in their 20s. "It's definitely been pretty one-sided, and the Americans are dominating," Rose said. "So it would be lovely to turn that around next week." Woods is happy to get another crack at it. Carnoustie was his first experience with links golf in 1995, when he was still at Stanford and came over for the Scottish Open at Carnoustie ahead of the British Open at St. Andrews. He opened with a 69, closed with a 78 finished 48th. "Carnoustie is an unbelievable driving golf course," Woods said. "You have to drive the ball well there, but also it's not your traditional in (and) out golf course. It's a lot of different angles, so a lot of different crosswinds. I have to be able to maneuver the golf ball both ways there efficiently. You just have to hit the golf ball well." There is no faking. Nothing comes easily. No one really conquers Carnoustie. It's more about survival. The highest compliment might have come from Tom Watson, who won his first major at Carnoustie in 1975 in a playoff over Jack Newton. "Carnoustie is like an ugly, old hag who speaks the truth no matter how painful," Watson once said. "But it's only when you add up your score, you hear exactly what she thinks of you.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 13th, 2018

PVL: Jet Spikers advance to the Finals

Ranran Abdilla blasted 22 points to spearhead Philippine Air Force’s march in the Finals after sweeping Vice Co., 25-14, 25-23, 27-25, Friday night in Game 3 of the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Reinforced Conference men’s best-of-three semifinals at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. The Jet Spikers arranged a Finals showdown against archrival repeat-seeking Cignal. Game 1 of the best-of-three Finals is on Sunday at the MOA Arena. Abdilla hammered 19 kills and added two kill blocks for Air Force, which will face the HD Spikers for the crown for the fifth time in three years. Bryan Bagunas added 15 points – all from attacks – and 22 excellent receptions while Fauzi Ismail got 12 markers for the Jet Spikers, who rebounded from a five-set loss in Game 2 last Wednesday. “Gumanda ang laro ni Ranran. Then kasi nu’ng second game namin hindi naming nabasa ang blocking nila saka yung opensa. So this time binago namin ang patern ng offense namin lalo na sa open spiker saka sa blocking namin,” said Air Force coach Rhovyl Verayo. Richard Solis was the lone Blockbusters player in double figure with 10 points while Peter Quiel and JP Bugaoan combined for 15 markers. Vice Co. will face PLDT Home Fibr in the best-of-three battle for third.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles        .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 6th, 2018

PVL: Ultra Fast Hitters force semis decider

PLDT Home Fibr’s one-two punch Mark Alfafara and John Vic De Guzman delivered when it mattered the most to power the Ultra Fast Hitters past the defending champion Cignal, 22-25, 27-25, 20-25, 25-22, 15-11, Wednesday in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Reinforced Conference men’s Final Four at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Alfafara and De Guzman posted 24 points each and provided the swag and energy especially in the fifth set to even the best-of-three series to 1-1. Game 3 is on Friday. De Guzman pounded 22 attacks while Alfafara had 19 kills, three aces and a pair of kill blocks for the Ultra Fast Hitters, who rebounded from a straight sets beating in the series opener last Sunday. Henry Pecana got 12 points while Jayvee Sumagaysay added 10 markers for PLDT, which came back from a 1-2 match deficit. “Bunga ‘yan ng preparation. Off kami last time nawalan kami ng pasa, this time we made sure na mako-cover namin ang mga lapses noong nakaraan so it paid off naman,” said PLDT coach Odjie Mamon. The Ultra Fast Hitters pulled away late in the fifth set, building a 13-9 lead. The HD Spikers fought back with back-to-back hits capped by a Marck Espejo kill. But Ysay Marasigan committed a net touch on the next play as he tried to block De Guzman before Sumagaysay sealed the win with a kill block on Marasigan. Espejo had 24 points, 22 off kills, while adding 17 excellent receptions and 16 digs for the HD Spikers. Marasigan and Rex Intal had 17 and 14 markers, respectively.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 4th, 2018