Advertisements


Sangalang s big playoff game proves Marc Pingris right

Ian Sangalang is the Magnolia frontline's present and future. In fact, he's the next Marc Pingris, according to Marc Pingris himself. [Related: Sangalang could be the next Pingris] And with Ping possibly out for the season with an ACL tear, Ian is taking the spotlight for himself, just as expected. In Game 3 of their semifinal series against NLEX, Sangalang went off on the Road Warriors, scoring 24 points, 17 in the second half, to help the Hotshots take a 2-1 series lead. That performance was for Pingris, of course. "Unang-una, binibigay ko game kay kuya Ping," Sangalang said. "Siya lang iniisip ko kapag ganoong situations. Iniisip ko mga tinuro ni kuya Ping, ginagawa ko lang best ko," he added. Moving closer to that elusive Finals appearance, Sangalang says now is not the time for the Hotshots to lose composure. And in order the break though, the team will have to rely on its strengths to finish the Road Warriors off. "Pang-apat na semis na namin to so dapat wag sayangin," Sangalang said. "Very positive kami na kaya talaga namin, especially on defense. Kasi pag dumepensa kami, mananalo talaga kami," he added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnMar 14th, 2018

Sangalang excited to play again as Hotshots enter crucial stretch

The absence of Ian Sangalang dealt a major blow to Magnolia, which went 1-4 minus its star big man. The slump left the Hotshots in a precarious position. At 4-5, they still need to win their last two games to avoid elimination. Fortunately for Magnolia, help is on the way. Sangalang is set to return from a wrist injury while Wayne Chism, the former Best Import, will also make his debut in the Hotshots' next game on July 4. "We're almost complete," said Magnolia coach Chito Victolero on Wednesday after wrapping up practice at Ronac Art Center in Ortigas. "Ping (Marc Pingris) is still out but at least Ian's back and he beefs up our frontline. We also have Wayne who is very ...Keep on reading: Sangalang excited to play again as Hotshots enter crucial stretch.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJun 27th, 2018

PBA: Magnolia s frontline takes another hit with Sangalang injury

Magnolia is taking another hit in its frontline. With Marc Pingris practically out for the season with an ACL tear, Ian Sangalang is the latest to get bitten by the injury bug as the top forward is now dealing with an injury on his right wrist. Sangalang hurt his non-shooting hand in the first half of Friday's game against Meralco, an 81-79 win for the Hotshots. "Di ko talaga mailaro. Masakit," Sangalang said. "Feeling ko sumabit, di ko alam kung kanino. May nag-pop sa loob, parang may tumunog. Tapos na-feel ko talaga na masakit, mga ilang segunod di ko na maigalaw," he added. Ian had his hand heavily taped as the game went on. Sangalang and the Hotshots are now waiting official word regarding the severity of the injury. Hopefully, it's nothing serious. "Meron nagsabi na fracture daw pero ipapax-ray namin to confirm," he said. "Sana nothing serious naman. Ganun talaga, hindi maiiwasan. Basketball yan. Sana maging okay agad," Sangalang added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 19th, 2018

Confidence, defense key to Hotshots’ Game 5 win, says Sangalang

ANTIPOLO --- Already without the injured Marc Pingris and coming off a horrible performance in Game 4, Magnolia silenced its doubters with an 87-78 win over NLEX on Sunday to take a 3-2 lead in their 2018 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals series. Ian Sangalang believes the stellar showing in Game 5 was rooted in the team's collective confidence as the Hotshots almost had the perfect game plan in foiling the Road Warriors. "We're confident on each other that we'll be able to perform. We were lucky that we made the right adjustments and they weren't able to keep up in the fourth quarter," he said in Filipino. Sangalang played a key role in Magnolia's killer 16-4 blast to open the ...Keep on reading: Confidence, defense key to Hotshots’ Game 5 win, says Sangalang.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsMar 18th, 2018

Jalalon, Sangalang star as Magnolia beats NLEX for 2-1 lead

Magnolia drew big games from Jio Jalalon and Ian Sangalang to top NLEX, 106-99, and gain a 2-1 edge in the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals Wednesday night at Smart Araneta Coliseum. Jalalon and Sangalang combined for 49 points for the Hotshots, who will shoot for a 3-1 lead on Friday night at Mall of Asia. "Again, it's all about the team effort and sustaining the aggressiveness and intensity. We want to carry this momentum in Game 3," said Magnolia coach Chito Victolero. "I'm thankful because our guards and big men stepped up especially Rafi (Reavis) and Ian. We're undermanned but we managed to dig deep," Victolero added. The Hotshots played minus forward Marc Pingris ...Keep on reading: Jalalon, Sangalang star as Magnolia beats NLEX for 2-1 lead.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsMar 14th, 2018

Magnolia rides on Lee s 27 points to even semis series

Paul Lee bounced back big time after a scoring slump in the series opener by pouring 27 points in Magnolia’s 99-84 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals Game 2 win over NLEX on Monday at the MOA Arena that evened the best-of-seven series to 1-1. Lee waxed-hot with a 9-of-19 field goal shooting to erase a disappointing eight-point performance in Game 1 two nights ago when the Road Warriors drew first blood in a hairline, 88-87, in a match that saw the Hotshots lose Marc Pingris to an ACL tear on his left knee. "We're so happy with Paul kasi nasa attack mode siya eh. Sa start pa lang talagang gusto na niyang manalo," said Hotshots coach Chito Victolero.  Ian Sangalang had 18 points and eight rebounds, Mark Barroca scored 11 while Rome Del Rosa and Aldrech Ramos contributed with 10 markers each for Magnolia, which had a 9-of-18 shooting behind the rainbow arc.     Peter June Simon, who was quiet in the first three quarters, made eight consecutive points capped by back-to-back triples to open the fourth period as Magnolia built an 80-64 separation with 9:48 left. The lead ballooned to 87-70 on a jumper by Lee with 5:30 remaining.     Magnolia opened a 44-32 second quarter lead on an Sangalang jumper with 2:38 remaining before marching at halftime with a 48-39 advantage.     Sangalang poured 15 points in the first two quarters on 7-of-10 field goal shooting while Lee got 12 markers at halftime. Alex Mallari finished with 13 points to lead the Road Warriors while Rabeh Al-Hussaini had 10 markers. Kiefer Ravena, who had 16 markers in the Game 1, was limited to only nine points and seven assists.   The Scores: MAGNOLIA (99) -- Lee 27, Sangalang 18, Barroca 11, Dela Rosa 10, Ramos 10, Jalalon 9, Simon 8, Reavis 4, Brondial 2, Gamalinda 0, Mendoza 0. NLEX (84) --- Mallari 13, Quiñahan 13, Al-Hussaini 10, Ravena 9, Miranda 8, Alas 6, Fonacier 6, Tiongson 6, Soyud 5, Baguio 4, Taulava 4, Ighalo 0, Monfort 0. Quarter Scores: 27-20, 48-39, 70-62, 99-84.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 12th, 2018

Kiefer, Mallari make winning plays as NLEX takes 1-0 lead over Magnolia

Alex Mallari, a former Grand Slam champion with San Mig Coffee, just burned his former team. Taking a pass from Kiefer Ravena, Mallari drilled a wide-open triple in the final 14.4 seconds and NLEX dropped Magnolia, 88-87, in Game 1 of the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals Saturday at the Big Dome. Down one, 83-84, Ravena collapsed the Magnolia defense and then found Mallari for the booming go-ahead triple. In the ensuing possession, Paul Lee missed the answer for the Hotshots and Kiefer secured the rebound, making an additional two free throws for insurance. Lee then made up for his earlier miss, connecting on a corner triple with 4.5 seconds to go to cut the deficit to one, 87-88. Magnolia then actually forced a turnover for a chance to win but Ravena saved NLEX, making a counter steal and forcing the Hotshots to foul. JR Quinahan missed two free throws with less than a second left and the Road Warriors managed to hold on, taking a 1-0 lead in the best-of-7. "We knew coming into this game that it would be a defensive matchup so had to finetune our execution," head coach Yeng Guiao said. "So we really worked hard on our execution and at the same time, sinubukan naming humanap ng paraan para ma-control si Paul [Lee] and we actually succeeded at least partly and we won the game," he added. The first half was an ugly defensive struggle for both teams as NLEX only took a 32-27 lead at the break. However, action picked up in the third period as Mark Barroca sparked the Magnolia offense. Both teams then traded blows in the fourth, setting up the wild finish. Cyrus Baguio put up a vintage performance for NLEX, scoring a team-high 17 points, eight in the fourth quarter. Ravena and Mallari scored 16 and 14 respectively for NLEX while Raul Soyud added another 10. For the Hotshots, it was Ian Sangalang that led the way with 21 points while PJ Simon turned back the clock to finish with 20. A cause of concern for Magnolia, more than being down 0-1, is Marc Pingris as the veteran forward left the game left in the final quarter due to an apparent knee injury. Game 2 is set for Monday at the MOA Arena.     The scores: NLEX 88 - Baguio 17, Ravena 16, Mallari 14, Soyud 10, Miranda 7, Fonacier 7, Al-Hussaini 6, Alas 5, Quiñahan 4, Tiongson 2, Ighalo 0, Taulava 0, Gotladera 0. MAGNOLIA 87 - Sangalang 21, Simon 20, Barroca 9, Lee 8, Ramos 8, Reavis 6, Herndon 5, Pingris 5, Dela Rosa 5, Melton 0, Jalalon 0, Brondial 0. Quarters: 14-12, 32-27, 60-61, 88-87.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 10th, 2018

Marc Pingris, the glue that holds Magnolia together

Marc Pingris is the glue that holds Magnolia together. Where Ping goes, the Hotshots follow. With Magnolia in trouble after losing an 18-point lead to Blackwater Friday in the Philippine Cup, Ping came to the rescue again, issuing what was essentially the game-winning assist to Ian Sangalang. And making the little plays and getting the W makes Ping extremely happy. "Laking tuwa ko na mabigyan ko lang ng assist yung mga teammate ko, masaya na ako dun eh. Hindi ko hinahanap yung ako yung magbe-best player o top scorer," he said. "Hindi naman ako swapang. Gusto ko rin tulungan yung mga teammate ko, binibigyan ko rin sila ng confidence sa sarili nila. Hindi porke't kami yung senior dito, kami lang yung i-iskor," Pingris added. True enough, the veteran forward was in giving mode against the Elite. Ping only scored four points, but he dished out eight assists and grabbed 12 rebounds as the Hotshots took their fifth straight victory, taking a half-game lead over San Miguel for first place. Speaking of San Miguel, the Hotshots have the three-time defending champion Beermen on their schedule next, and Ping is looking forward to a Finals-like showdown. "Ang sa akin, kumbaga ibibigay naming yung best namin, kasi parang nasa finals na rin kami kasi kaharap namin yung defending champion eh," he said. "Wala ng ititira pa, bigay na lahat. Hundred percent," Pingris added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 2nd, 2018

Hotshots survive dogfight against Phoenix

The Hotshots still have Phoenix's number. It was far from the blowouts from last season but Magnolia walked away from a dogfight against the Fuel Masters with a hard-earned 97-91 decision in the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup Saturday at the Cuneta Astrodome. Magnolia erased an eight-point fourth quarter deficit and relied on its veteran anchors in the clutch to frustrate Phoenix and win a third straight game this season. The Hotshots moved to 4-1 in the standings, half a game behind idle San Miguel for the lead. Tied at 89, Ian Sangalang drilled the go-ahead basket for Magnolia with 1:08 to go in the game. Paul Lee was then cold as ice from the free throw line the rest of the way as the Hotshots pulled through. Lee fired 20 points to lead Magnolia while Rome dela Rosa scored 17. Sangalang had 16 points and seven rebounds. Mark Barroca, also effective in the fourth, had 12 points. Marc Pingris, despite scoring only four points, grabbed a game-high 17 rebounds for the Hotshots. "It was all mental toughness in the end," head coach Chito Victolero said. "It's about our perseverance and our desire to win and our chemistry sa dulo. We know in this game, medyo mabigat talaga to kasi I know Phoenix will bounce back coming from a tough loss sa last game nila. Credit sa players, hindi sila naggive up sa pressure," he added. Phoenix, losers of two straight and dropped to 2-3, got 19 points from second-year guard Gelo Alolino. Matthew Wright scored 17 points for the Fuel Masters and Jeff Chan added another 12 in a starting role.   The Scores: Magnolia 97 - Lee 20, dela Rosa 17, Sangalang 16, Barroca 12, Reavis 11, Simon 6, Jalalon 5, Pingris 4, Ramos 3, Pascual 2, Herndon 1. Phoenix 91 - Alolino 19, Wright 17, Chan 12, Jazul 9, Eriobu 8, Chua 7, Mendoza 6, Kramer 6, Intal 3, Revilla 2, Perkins 2 Quarters: 30-23, 47-45, 67-75, 97-91   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 20th, 2018

Ian Sangalang emerging as Magnolia’s next top gun

Magnolia big man Ian Sangalang has been on a tear to start the season and his impressive showing hasn't gone unnoticed. In three games, Sangalang has averaged a double-double with 19.6 points and 10.3 rebounds to help the Hotshots go 2-1, prompting his veteran teammate Marc Pingris to describe the 26-year-old as the Purefoods franchise's next big thing. "Ian Sangalang has really stepped up every game. What I see from him is he's going to be like the next Kerby Raymundo, Marc Pingris before and Alvin Patrimonio," said Pingris. Sangalang, who is in his fifth season in the PBA, nearly notched a third straight double-double with 21 points and nine rebounds in a 124-77 dumping of...Keep on reading: Ian Sangalang emerging as Magnolia’s next top gun.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJan 10th, 2018

SWEEP! Bolts advance to the Finals after tough OT win vs. Star

Meralco's revenge tour is almost complete. The no. 1 Bolts advanced the the Finals of the 2017 Governors' Cup following a pulsating 91-88 overtime win over the Star Hotshots Thursday at the Big Dome. Meralco swept Star in the semifinals, 3-0, and will meet either defending champion Ginebra or sister team TNT in the championship round. After fighting through a stalemate in the first 48 minutes, the Bolts founf just enough offense in extra time to end the Hotshots' season. Jared Dillinger hit a booming three to break an 83-all tie before clamping down on defense to deny Star of multiple good attempts at the basket. Ranidel De Ocampo, acquired in a late-conference trade, then scored a long two with 1:21 to go to give Meralco a five-point lead. Cliff Hodge appeared to nail the dagger after hitting a triple with 18 seconds to go but Mark Barroca immediately took it back four seconds later for the final tally. Down three with seven seconds left, Star won a jump ball but Jio Jalalon's final attempt at a game-tying three was way off. Five players scored in double figures for Meralco led by import Allen Durham with 24 points on top of 19 rebounds and six assists. Cliff Hodge added 18 points and eight boards while RDO was good for 13 markers and seven rebounds. For Star, it was Mark Barroca that led the way as the veteran point guard fired 21 points to go along with 12 rebounds and eight assists. Marc Pingris added 16. However, a bummber for  the Hotshots was import Kris Acox who was practically a non-factor after only scoring four points in almost 35 minutes of play.   The scores: MERALCO 91 - Durham 24, Hodge 18, De Ocampo 13, Amer 10, Dillinger 10, Newsome 9, Hugnatan 7, Lanete 0, Tolomia 0. STAR 88 - Barroca 21, Pingris 16, Jalalon 12, Sangalang 8, Ramos 8, Dela Rosa 7, Reavis 6, Acox 4, Gamalinda 3, Melton 3, Simon 0. Quarters: 30-27, 54-43, 69-68, 91-88.   br /> --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 5th, 2017

Ping wants Ginebra in the playoffs but he'll have to wait until Finals

There's no going around it, Marc Pingris wants defending champion Brgy. Ginebra in the Governors' Cup playoffs. However, Ping will have to wait a while as the final playoff picture has the Hotshots at no. 4 and the Gin Kings at no. 3. This development was made possible after Meralco's stunning win over San Miguel Sunday. If the Beermen managed to hold on, a Manila Clasico quarterfinals would have been in order. 'Mas gusto ko Ginebra. Kahit twice-to-win kami basta Ginebra,' Pingris said Sunday after their win over NLEX and the final playoff pairings still undecided. 'Maraming tao eh, masarap maglaro kasi napakalakas ng team na yun. Kung di mo kayang talunin, paano ka magcha-champion? Mas maganda na mas malakas ang makalaban kaagad,' he added. However, Ping might actually want to step back and reconsider since Ginebra owns the Manila Clasico matchup so far this season. In 10 Clasico games, the Gin Kings have won seven of them and all Star wins came during the semifinals of the Philippine Cup, a series that Ginebra won in seven games. Despite that however, Ping wants Ginebra. It's just that competitive nature to seek out and try to beat your greatest rival. 'Every time na Ginebra ang kalaban namin, para kamin nasa Finals. History kasi nandiyan ang Manila Clasico, maraming fans na nanonood,' he said. 'Pakiramdam ko talaga nasa Finals kami. Sabi ko nga, mas maganda na malakas na ang kalaban mo,' Pingris added. Well, with the current picture, the next Clasico game this season will definitely be in the Finals as both Ginebra and Star can only meet in the championship round. That is if they both make it there. Star starts its playoff run against the Road Warriors in a quick rematch while the Gin Kings take on the Grand Slam-seeking Beermen. Can Pingris' wish be realized? We'll find out soon enough.   --- Follow this writer on TWitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 24th, 2017

Star makes late play for top 4 after rallying past NLEX

Whether or not Star ends up with a twice-to-beat advantage in the Governors' Cup playoffs, the Hotshots have done everything they can to set themselves up for a playoff bonus. Star got a 101-93 come-from-behind win over the NLEX Road Warriors Sunday at the Big Dome, making the playoff picture of the season-ending conference a lot more compicated that it already is. At 7-4, the Hotshots can sneak into the top four depending on the outcome of the Meralco-San Miguel game. The Bolts (8-2) and the Beermen (7-3) are playing as of press time. The only thing that was certain from the Star win is the fact that defending champion Ginebra earned a playoff bonus, joining TNT with a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals. 'We have a proper mindset, ang kailangan lang naming gawin is to win,' head coach Chito Victolero said. 'Whatever happens in the second game [Meralco-SMB] is not in our control. Ang control namin is yung game namin and I'm proud of my players, especially in the second half. They stepped up dun sa defense namin plus yung ball movement sa offense gumanda,' he added. Down by as many as 15 points in the first half, Star exploded in the third period to take control of the ball game. The Hotshots fired 39 points in the pivotal quarter, taking the fight out of the Road Warriors behind a balanced attack. Before NLEX scored the game's last six points, Star had its largest lead of the game at 14 points, 101-87. Five players scored in double figures for Star led by PJ Simon's 16 points. Paul Lee adde 15 while import Kristofer Acox was goodd for 14 points and 10 rebounds. NLEX, who also ended up with a 7-4 record but ended up outside of the top 4 with an inferior quotient, got 16 points from Aaron Fuller. Alex Mallari and Larry Fonacier contributed 13 and 12 points respectively.   The Scores: STAR 101 - Simon 16, Lee 15, Acox 14, Ramos 14, Barroca 13, Dela Rosa 8, Melton 6, Pingris 6, Sangalang 4, Jalalon 3, Brondial 2, Reavis 0. NLEX 93 - Fuller 16, Mallari 13, Fonacier 12, Alas 9, Al-Hussaini 9, Quinahan 9, Lastimosa 8, Taulava 5, Tiongson 5, J. Villanueva 3, Soyud 3, Baguio 1, Rios 0. Quarters: 17-25, 36-44, 72-69, 101-93.   br /> --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 24th, 2017

Rice Jr. comes up clutch as TNT takes crucial win over Star

ANTIPOLO --- TNT won what was practically a playoff matchup against Star. The KaTropa held their ground against the Hotshots Sunday at the Ynares Center here, picking up a big time 104-99 victory in the 2017 PBA Governors' Cup. Now at 7-3, TNT boosted its chances of grabbing a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals by forcing a tie for third place with idle NLEX. With the Hotshots storming back from a 17-point deficit to cut the lead to two. 98-96, with 57 seconds to go, TNT turned to import Glen Rice Jr. in the clutch to avoid a disastrous collapse. Rice scored the final six points for the KaTropa, back-to-back tough layups and a pair of insurance free throws, to seal the deal. Those six points were his only makes in the final period after putting up 37 in the first three quarters. He ended up with 43 markers on top of 19 rebounds, and nine assists. 'We knew going to our last four games that it's gonna be a tough stretch for us. We've been going through ups and downs but I think the more important thing is us finding ways to win,' head coach Nash Racela said. 'And that's exactly the same message I had for Glen during one of our timeouts because he was complaining about the non calls. He was saying we were in penalty while the other team didn't have any fouls in the fourth quarter. I just reminded him that that refs won't adjust for sure, the only thing we could do is find ways to win. Play through it and play above it,' he added. Aside from Rice, TNT's trio of Gilas Pilipinas standouts delivered as Jayson Castro, Troy Rosario, and RR Pogoy all scored 12 points each. After a close first half, the floodgates opened for the KaTropa in the third period and the team led by as many as 17, 89-72, behind Rice. However, in typical Star fashion, the Hotshots would make it a game behind an incredible team effort although it was never enough to actually take control in the fourth quarter. New import Kristofer Acox, who replace young Malcolm Hill, led the way for Star with 18 points and 18 rebounds while Paul Lee and Ian Sangalang dropped 17 points apiece. The Hotshots dropped to 5-4 for the conference.   The scores: TNT 104 - Rice Jr. 43, Castro 12, Pogoy 12, Rosario 12, Williams 8, Semerad 7, Reyes 6, Tautuaa 4, Lingganay 0, Carey 0. STAR 99 - Acox 18, Lee 17, Sangalang 17, Jalalon 13, Ramos 11, Pingris 8, Reavis 6, Dela Rosa 4, Barroca 3, Melton 2, Simon 0, Gamalinda 0. Quarters: 27-22, 51-45, 89-75, 104-99 .   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 17th, 2017

PBA: Back-to-back wins for Meralco after stopping no. 1 Magnolia

ANTIPOLO CITY, Rizal --- Power has been fully restored over at Meralco. The Bolts took down no. 1 Magnolia Friday at the Ynares Center here, scoring a 94-88 win in the 2018 PBA Governors' Cup. Winners of back-to-back games, the Bolts improved to 3-6 for the conference and Meralco is still pretty much alive in the playoff race where only three spots remain up for grabs. Five players scored in double figures for the Bolts led by two-time Best Import Allen Durham with 20 points, 17 rebounds, and 8 assists. Four other locals chipped in at least points led by 16 from Baser Amer. It was a tough outing from the start with no team leading by more than eight points. In the end however, the was Meralco's signature defense that allowed them to secure this victory. For Magnolia, their reign as solo no. 1 ends as the Hotshots drop to 7-2, now tied with two-time champion Brgy. Ginebra for first place. The loss also snapped the Hotshots' five-game winning streak. Former Best Import Romeo Travis led the way with a 25-point, 19-rebound double-double but local support wasn't abundant in this one. Paul Lee and Ian Sangalang were the only other Hotshots in double digits with 12 points each.   The Scores: Meralco 94 - Newsome 20, Amer 16, Hugnatan 15, Newsome 13, Hodge 12, Salva 8, Jamito 5, Caram 3, Tolomia 2, Lanete 0, Faundo 0, Ballesteros 0. Magnolia 88 - Travis 25, Lee 12, Sangalang 12, Jalalon 9, Barroca 8, Reavis 8, Brondial 7, Herndon 3, Simon 2, Dela Rosa 2, Pascual 0, Ramos 0. Quarters: 24-19, 43-43, 70-66, 94-88.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 19th, 2018

Warriors dominance in the West shows no sign of relenting

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com We have reached the point in this Golden State Warriors’ chokehold on the Western Conference where it turns spooky: The last team out West to deny the Warriors (technically) no longer exists. Yes, the LA Clippers are still right where they’ve always been. But all other traces of May 3, 2014, when they beat the Warriors in the first round of the playoffs, have turned to dust. Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, JJ Redick, DeAndre Jordan, Jamal Crawford -- they’re all gone. Usually, it’s the loser who feels the cold repercussions and fallout of a first-round defeat in the playoffs. But what’s often lost as the Warriors run the table in the West is how they’ve shattered so many teams, schemes and dreams along the way. In hindsight, four years ago was not the beginning of “Lob City” and the Clippers. It was the beginning of their end. The wreckage left behind by the Warriors over the ensuing 53 months underlines the undeniable truth: They’ve taken ownership of their very own West Side Story. They had a record-setting 73-win regular season. They’ve won 12 straight West payoff series (and 15 of 16 playoff series overall). Only twice – the West finals in 2016 and '18 -- did they endure the indignity of needing to survive Game 7 in the West playoffs. In short, this dynasty shows no signs of dying this season. If anything, the argument can be made -- even before it’s proven as fact -- that the 2018-19 Warriors are their most talented team yet. All-Stars Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson welcomed a fifth, DeMarcus Cousins, to their mix this summer. That is not typical in the NBA, folks. “This," Durant said, "is going to be an exciting season. Fun.” The Warriors’ five All-Stars (two of whom are former Kia MVPs) are still in their prime. And given that Andre Iguodala tends to transform from a fossil to an X-factor when spring arrives, perhaps only injury or another uncontrollable circumstance will keep the Warriors from making it an NBA-record five straight Western Conference crowns. “In terms of encouraging each other, being in tune with some of the things that might be thrown at you, whether it's injuries, whether it's a couple of slumps on the court, whatever the case is, we adapt really well and we don't stay down for too long,” Curry said. The Rockets, who won 65 games a season ago, are perhaps the most realistic challenger to the Warriors out West. But it's quite possible that Houston is weaker than it was in 2017-18. To understand how high the Warriors are sitting on the throne, you must survey what they’ve left behind. Just look at how the biggest threats in the West have either hit dead ends or maxed themselves out trying to chase the Warriors since 2014. Memphis Grizzlies: At one point, they were considered the toughest matchup for the Warriors because they were polar opposite in style. Half-court and methodical, the Grizzlies took a switchblade to the basketball, slowing the tempo. And they exploited Golden State’s lone weaknesses: Interior size and overall strength. They physically beat up the Warriors in the paint (Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol) and on the perimeter (Tony Allen). Additionally, Mike Conley was at times a handful at point guard at a time when Curry was winning MVP awards. But health and age wore the Grizzlies down and eventually forced them into a current reinvention that likely won’t reap benefits until after the Warriors are finished. Oklahoma City Thunder: As one of only two West teams (Houston being the other) to force the Warriors into a seventh game, OKC was prime for a takeover in 2016. That season, OKC eliminated a 67-win San Antonio Spurs team in the West semfinals. Durant and Russell Westbrook were healthy, humming and helping the Thunder to a 3-1 lead in the West finals. That, however, was their apex, and the costly collapse was heightened by the “Klay Game” (41 points in Game 6). Imagine, if not for a fateful turn of events -- Klay’s 3-point rampage, KD’s second-half Game 7 vapor and the Warriors losing the 2016 Finals to Cleveland -- maybe Durant sticks around in OKC. At any rate, the post-2016 West finals reconstruction being done by the Thunder (Exhibit A: The short-lived Carmelo Anthony experience) is falling short so far. Portland Trail Blazers: They were never seriously considered a thorn to the Warriors, and still aren’t. It’s just that they played themselves. They were fooled by the events in 2016, when they beat the injury-hampered Clippers in the first round. They were then somewhat competitive against the Warriors in the West semifinals (winning one game by 12, losing another in OT and the elimination game by just four). Flushed with false hope, that summer the Blazers handed out rich extensions to rotational players and, unfortunately, locked themselves into a team that hasn’t won a playoff game since. San Antonio Spurs: Like the Grizzlies, the Spurs caused trouble for the Warriors because of their disciplined style that put the brakes on the pace. San Antonio ruled the West just prior to the Warriors’ run and the proud franchise wasn’t willing to relinquish its hold so easily, causing the Warriors to shiver by winning the regular season matchup from 2014-16. Still, like Memphis, the Spurs turned gray almost overnight. Tim Duncan retired, Tony Parker lost some zip and then, of course, came the sneaky Zaza Pachulia foot plant that KO’d Kawhi Leonard in the first game of their 2017 series. It hasn’t been the same for the Spurs, who shipped off the disgruntled Leonard this summer. Houston Rockets: While the Warriors were able to build around Curry to create a dynasty, the Rockets are in their third attempt to do likewise with James Harden. The Dwight Howard experiment was an exploding cigar, and then the strategy of turning Harden into a point guard failed to draw blood. Chris Paul arrived last season and the best record in the West followed, but Paul has always limped at the wrong time. True to form, his body failed him in the conference finals, just when the Rockets were up 3-2 on the Warriors and primed to issue a stunning statement. The conference-wide process of teams searching for the formula to bring an end to this “Golden” era has taken on an interesting twist. Except for the Rockets, who shuffled their deck slightly this summer, other West contenders are on a semi-defeatist two-year plan. As in: We’re not ready now, but look out in a coupla years! LeBron James joined the Lakers this summer, but it’s hard to take them seriously when LeBron himself says his new team isn’t breathing the same air as the defending champs. His supporting cast is a mix of pups with no playoff experience and vets who’ve seen better days. It’s foolhardy to doubt the potential of any team with LeBron — eight straight trips to the championship round is no joke, even if it came through the East. But they’ll stand a better chance next season, especially if they’re bringing Kawhi or Jimmy Butler by then. There’s also the Utah Jazz, a Spurs-like operation led by a pair of Spurs alums in GM Dennis Lindsey and coach Quin Snyder. Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell is a star in the making, but you need more than one of those to match Golden State. Perhaps in time, Mitchell will get a shotgun rider, but Utah is a tough sell for A-list free agents. Houston stands out from the pack with Harden, Paul and center Clint Capela, who gave the Warriors fits last spring. They’re still an attractive, turnkey team. Adding Anthony provides scoring, but does he impact a potential West finals rematch in 2019? With Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute gone, where is the perimeter defense coming from? Is it possible that Houston, with Paul aging, had its best chance last spring and didn’t cash in? It’s also possible the Warriors will do everyone in the West a favor and destroy themselves in the very near future. Durant can become a free agent next summer. Thompson’s contract is up, too, although he’s been very clear about his preference to stay even if that means making below market value. “What’s happening right now is going to be really tough to replicate for anybody,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “You have the proverbial window, however you want to put it. We have an incredible opportunity that’s just not always going to be here. We want to take full advantage not only from a success standpoint but from an enjoyment standpoint. “We’re well aware that it’s not going to last forever.” But that’s getting ahead of the story here, which is whether the Warriors will fall shy of The Finals for the first time since 2014. A three-time champion is bringing everyone back and will add a bonus whenever the healing Cousins returns. Basketball can sometimes be a funny game and anything can happen to throw this scenario for a loop. Until then, however, it's hard to imagine anything derailing another season of Warriors dominance. 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 NewsOct 16th, 2018

No surprise, the West title still runs through the Warriors

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press Golden State coach Steve Kerr is a happy man these days. He’s got a new contract. He’s got his son Nick, who was helping out in San Antonio, working in the Warriors’ video room now. He’s leading a team that has won three of the last four NBA championships and is the overwhelming favorite to win it again this season. Staying happy will be the challenge for Kerr and the Warriors this season, when Western Conference rivals resume their attempts to take down the champs. “Our place in the history of the league is pretty secure,” Kerr said. “I don’t think our guys should feel a ton of pressure. I think they should feel the importance of trying to do it again, because this may be the last time we have this current iteration of the Warriors, just given all the free agents and the money crunch and everything else.” LeBron James took his talents to Los Angeles, signing with the Lakers and moving out of the East for the first time in his career. Houston had the NBA’s best regular-season record a year ago and has reigning MVP James Harden. Utah has a budding superstar in Donovan Mitchell, and certainly got the league’s attention with its playoff run last season. But in the West, until further notice, it’s still the Warriors and then everybody else. “It’s a marathon,” Warriors guard Stephen Curry said. “There’s a lot of time between now and April and May and June, but if we go about it the right way to start the season, it can feed on itself in terms of the expectation we have night in, night out.” A look at the West, in predicted order of finish: PLAYOFF BOUND 1. GOLDEN STATE — Warriors aiming for their third consecutive NBA championship, something only the Lakers, Celtics and Bulls franchises have done. 2. UTAH — Donovan Mitchell is a legitimate star, coach Quin Snyder has been underrated for far too long, and the Jazz went 29-6 to finish last season. 3. HOUSTON — The Rockets have the MVP in James Harden, a leader in Chris Paul and added Carmelo Anthony, but expecting another 67-15 season is a lot. 4. L.A. LAKERS — LeBron James is still the best player in the game and shows no signs of slowing down, so doubting his chances seems less than brilliant. 5. OKLAHOMA CITY — This is a sign of how loaded the West remains: The Thunder are really good, and that won’t assure them home-court for Round 1. 6. DENVER — Losing Game 82 last season to Minnesota and missing the playoffs because of that outcome should serve as a massive motivator for Denver. 7. NEW ORLEANS — DeMarcus Cousins is gone, Rajon Rondo is gone, but Anthony Davis is still there and that should be enough for a Pelicans playoff run. 8. SAN ANTONIO — Dejounte Murray’s ACL tear is a disaster, but any team with LaMarcus Aldridge, DeMar DeRozan and Gregg Popovich still has a lot. IN THE MIX 9. PORTLAND — The West’s No. 3 seed last season, the Blazers were only three games ahead of No. 9 and will face a serious battle in a very loaded West. 10. DALLAS — Luka Doncic is NBA-ready, DeAndre Jordan will make the Mavs better and Dirk Nowitzki deserves to see his franchise trending up again. 11. L.A. CLIPPERS — A possible transitional year for the Clippers, who should be major players in free agency next summer and could add a lottery pick. FACING LONG ODDS 12. MINNESOTA — The Jimmy Butler debacle shows that some big changes in direction are probably going to happen in Minnesota, and sooner than later. 13. PHOENIX — Devin Booker got his max deal and the Suns got No. 1 pick Deandre Ayton, but firing GM Ryan McDonough so close to the season was odd. 14. MEMPHIS — Mike Conley and Marc Gasol are savvy vets, but they are going to need a lot of help if Memphis is going to seriously improve this season. 15. SACRAMENTO — Kings had a league-high 44 games last season where they didn’t score 100 points, and a very young team might not change that much. WHAT TO KNOW L.A. BRON: If he has even an average-for-him season, new Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James will rise to No. 4 on the NBA’s all-time scoring list this season. He’s currently No. 7, with No. 6 Dirk Nowitzki, No. 5 Wilt Chamberlain and No. 4 Michael Jordan well within reach. Add 2,000 or so points to James’ total of 31,038, and only No. 3 Kobe Bryant, No. 2 Karl Malone and No. 1 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — all former Lakers — would still be ahead of him. STEPH RISING: Speaking of rising up career charts, Golden State’s Stephen Curry could easily be No. 3 on the all-time list for 3-pointers made by the end of this season. Curry has 2,129 3s in 625 career games, a rate of 3.4 made per game. The six players ahead of him — Ray Allen, Reggie Miller, Jason Terry, Kyle Korver, Jamal Crawford and Paul Pierce — averaged 1.8 made 3s per game. BIG NUMBERS: The only players in the last 30 seasons to average 30 points and eight assists were Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook in 2016-17 and Houston’s James Harden last season. Probably not coincidentally, Westbrook and Harden won MVP awards for those seasons. There are seven active players with at least one MVP award in the NBA right now, and all seven play in the West. GREAT COACHES: San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich enters the season with 1,197 wins, fifth-most in NBA history — 13 behind Pat Riley and 24 behind Jerry Sloan. Meanwhile, Golden State’s Steve Kerr comes into the year with the highest winning percentages during both the regular season (265-63, .808) and the postseason (63-20, .759) in NBA history. Here’s how far ahead Kerr is on the NBA’s all-time regular season winning percentage list: If the Warriors go 24-58 this season, which seems less than likely, he would still be above Phil Jackson for the No. 1 spot. VERSUS EAST: The West beat the East for the ninth consecutive season in head-to-head matchups, winning nearly 53 percent of the cross-conference matchups in the regular season (and 100 percent of them in the NBA Finals). Over the last nine seasons, West teams have beaten East teams nearly 57 percent of the time......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 11th, 2018

NBA.com 2018-19 GM Survey

By John Schuhmann, NBA.com Can the Golden State Warriors make it three straight and four out of five? The league's decision-makers think so, though a few of them have left the door open for a new champ. In the 17th annual NBA.com GM Survey, the Warriors are once again the overwhelming favorite to win the 2019 championship, just not quite as overwhelming a favorite as they were a year ago, when 93 percent of GMs picked them to repeat. With LeBron James moving to the Western Conference, the GMs have picked the Boston Celtics to return to The Finals after a seven-year absence, and there's some belief out there that the Celtics can dethrone the champs. The Celtics are led by the new "best head coach in the NBA," have one of the league's most promising young cores, and a star that one GM tabbed to win the MVP this season. But Kyrie Irving was just one of nine MVP candidates, the most in the history of the survey. There's no consensus on the player GMs would most like to start a franchise either, with four different players receiving at least five votes on that question. One of those four is LeBron James, who is entering his 16th season and his 13th season as the league's best small forward, according to GMs. He also remains the player that forces coaches to make the most adjustments, the best passer, the best leader, the most versatile player, and the player with the best basketball IQ. The GMs responded to 49 different questions about the best teams, players, coaches, fans, and offseason moves. General managers were not permitted to vote for their own team or personnel. Percentages are based on the pool of respondents to that particular question, rather than all 30 GMs. PREDICTIONS Which team will win the 2019 NBA Finals? 1. Golden State – 87% 2. Boston – 7% Houston – 7% Last year: Golden State – 93% Rank the top four teams in the Eastern Conference Last year: 86 percent picked Cleveland to win the East. Order after the Cavs was Boston, Washington, Toronto, Milwaukee and Charlotte/Miami. Rank the top four teams in the Western Conference Last year: 97 percent picked Golden State to win the West. Order after the Warriors was Houston, San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Minnesota and Portland. PLAYERS Who will win the 2018-19 Kia MVP? 1. LeBron James, L.A. Lakers – 30% 2. Kevin Durant, Golden State –27% 3. Anthony Davis, New Orleans – 17% 4. James Harden, Houston – 10% Also receiving votes: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee; Stephen Curry, Golden State; Kyrie Irving, Boston; Kawhi Leonard, Toronto; Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Last year: LeBron James – 50% If you were starting a franchise today and could sign any player in the NBA, who would it be? 1. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee – 30% 2. Anthony Davis, New Orleans – 23% 3. Kevin Durant, Golden State – 20% 4. LeBron James, L.A. Lakers – 17% 5. Stephen Curry, Golden State – 7% 6. Joel Embiid, Philadelphia – 3% Last year: Karl-Anthony Towns – 29% Which player forces opposing coaches to make the most adjustments? 1. LeBron James, L.A. Lakers – 60% 2. James Harden, Houston – 20% 3. Stephen Curry, Golden State – 10% 4. Kevin Durant, Golden State – 7% 5. Anthony Davis, New Orleans – 3% Last year: LeBron James – 48% Which player is most likely to have a breakout season in 2018-19? 1. Jamal Murray, Denver – 20% 2. Brandon Ingram, L.A. Lakers – 10% Jayson Tatum, Boston – 10% 4. Aaron Gordon, Orlando – 7% Kyle Kuzma, L.A. Lakers – 7% Kawhi Leonard, Toronto – 7% Lauri Markkanen, Chicago – 7% Dejounte Murray, San Antonio – 7% Ben Simmons, Philadelphia – 7% Also receiving votes: Markelle Fultz, Philadelphia; Donovan Mitchell, Utah; Kelly Oubre Jr., Washington; Josh Richardson, Miami; Dennis Smith Jr., Dallas; Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Last year: Karl-Anthony Towns – 21% Who is the best point guard in the NBA? 1. Stephen Curry, Golden State – 57% 2. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City – 17% 3. Kyrie Irving, Boston – 10% Chris Paul, Houston – 10% 5. James Harden, Houston – 7% Last year: Stephen Curry – 62% Who is the best shooting guard in the NBA? 1. James Harden, Houston – 73% 2. Klay Thompson, Golden State – 10% 3. Stephen Curry, Golden State – 7% Also receiving votes: Devin Booker, Phoenix; Paul George, Oklahoma City; Victor Oladipo, Indiana Last year: James Harden – 83% Who is the best small forward in the NBA? 1. LeBron James, L.A. Lakers – 57% 2. Kevin Durant, Golden State – 40% 3. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee – 3% Last year: LeBron James – 61% Who is the best power forward in the NBA? 1. Anthony Davis, New Orleans – 37% 2. LeBron James, L.A. Lakers – 33% 3. Kevin Durant, Golden State – 17% 4. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee – 10% 5. LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio – 3% Last year: Anthony Davis – 41% Who is the best center in the NBA? 1. Anthony Davis, New Orleans – 40% 2. Joel Embiid, Philadelphia – 33% 3. Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota – 7% Also receiving votes: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee; DeMarcus Cousins, Golden State; Andre Drummond, Detroit; Marc Gasol, Memphis; Al Horford, Boston; Nikola Jokic, Denver Last year: Karl-Anthony Towns – 28% OFFSEASON MOVES Which team made the best overall moves this offseason? 1. L.A. Lakers – 70% 2. Toronto – 20% Also receiving votes: Dallas, Indiana, Oklahoma City Last year: Oklahoma City – 43% Which one player acquisition will make the biggest impact? 1. LeBron James, L.A. Lakers – 97% 2. Kawhi Leonard, Toronto – 3% Last year: Paul George – 59% What was the most underrated player acquisition? 1. Tyreke Evans, Indiana – 13% 2. DeMar DeRozan, San Antonio – 10% Jabari Parker, Chicago – 10% Julius Randle, New Orleans – 10% Dennis Schroder, Oklahoma City – 10% 6. Trevor Ariza, Phoenix – 7% DeMarcus Cousins, Golden State – 7% Isaiah Thomas, Denver – 7% Also receiving votes: Avery Bradley, LA Clippers; Ed Davis, Brooklyn; Luka Doncic, Dallas; DeAndre Jordan, Dallas; Brook Lopez, Milwaukee; Luc Mbah a Moute, LA Clippers; De'Anthony Melton, Phoenix; Jakob Poeltl, San Antonio Last year: Paul Millsap – 24% Which team will be most improved in 2018-19? 1. L.A. Lakers – 80% 2. Dallas – 7% Phoenix – 7% Also receiving votes: Chicago, Orlando Last year: Minnesota – 69% What was the most surprising move of the offseason? 1. DeMarcus Cousins to Golden State – 35% 2. Kawhi Leonard - DeMar DeRozan trade – 29% 3. Paul George staying in Oklahoma City – 19% 4. Jimmy Butler trade request – 6% Also receiving votes: Carmelo Anthony to Houston; LeBron James to L.A.; DeAndre Jordan to Dallas Last year: Boston-Cleveland trade – 45% ROOKIES & INTERNATIONAL Who will win the 2018-19 Rookie of the Year? 1. Luka Doncic, Dallas – 43% 2. Marvin Bagley III, Sacramento – 17% Wendell Carter Jr., Chicago – 17% 4. DeAndre Ayton, Phoenix – 13% Also receiving votes: Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis; Kevin Knox, New York; Collin Sexton, Cleveland Last year: Lonzo Ball – 62% Which rookie will be the best player in five years? 1. DeAndre Ayton, Phoenix – 27% Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis – 27% 3. Luka Doncic, Dallas – 17% 4. Marvin Bagley III, Sacramento – 13% Kevin Knox, New York – 13% 6. Wendell Carter Jr., Chicago – 3% Last year: Josh Jackson – 24% Which rookie was the biggest steal at where he was selected in the Draft? 1. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (11), LA Clippers – 27% 2. Svi Mykhailiuk (47), L.A. Lakers – 13% 2. Wendell Carter Jr. (7), Chicago – 10%    Michael Porter Jr. (14), Denver – 10% Gary Trent Jr. (37), Portland – 10% 6. Luka Doncic (3), Dallas – 7% Kevin Knox (9), New York – 7% Also receiving votes: DeAndre Ayton (1), Phoenix; Kevin Huerter (19), Atlanta; Omari Spellman (30), Atlanta; Moritz Wagner (25), L.A. Lakers; Lonnie Walker IV (18), San Antonio Last year: Dennis Smith Jr. – 37% Who is the best international player in the NBA? 1. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee – 73% 2. Kristaps Porzingis, New York – 10% 3. Luka Doncic, Dallas – 7% Nikola Jokic, Denver – 7% 5. Marc Gasol, Memphis – 3% Last year: Giannis Antetokounmpo – 69% Who is the best international player NOT in the NBA? 1. Sergio Llull – 39% 2. Nando de Colo – 29% 3. Alexey Shved – 14% 4. Jan Veseley – 7% Also receiving votes: R.J. Barrett, Andrew Bogut, Nicolo Melli Last year: Luka Doncic – 69% DEFENSE Who is the best defensive player in the NBA? 1. Rudy Gobert, Utah – 37% Kawhi Leonard, Toronto – 37% 3. Draymond Green, Golden State – 17% 4. Anthony Davis, New Orleans – 7% 5. Kevin Durant, Golden State – 3% Last year: Kawhi Leonard – 62% Who is the best perimeter defender in the NBA? 1. Kawhi Leonard, Toronto – 60% 2. Jimmy Butler, Minnesota – 7% Draymond Green, Golden State – 7% Victor Oladipo, Indiana – 7% Also receiving votes: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee; Avery Bradley, LA Clippers; Kevin Durant, Golden State; Jrue Holiday, New Orleans; Andre Roberson, Oklahoma City; Klay Thompson, Golden State Last year: Kawhi Leonard – 72% Who is the best interior defender in the NBA? 1. Rudy Gobert, Utah – 80% 2. Anthony Davis, New Orleans – 10% Also receiving votes: Draymond Green, Golden State; Dwight Howard, Washington; DeAndre Jordan, Dallas Last year: Rudy Gobert - 66% Who is the most versatile defender in the NBA? 1. Draymond Green, Golden State – 53% 2. Kawhi Leonard, Toronto – 30% 3. LeBron James, L.A. Lakers – 7% Also receiving votes: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee; Jimmy Butler, Minnesota; Marcus Smart, Boston Last year: N/A Which is the best defensive team in the NBA? 1. Utah – 45% 2. Boston – 34% 3. Golden State – 17% 4. Oklahoma City – 3% Last year: Golden State – 55% COACHES Who is the best head coach in the NBA? 1. Brad Stevens, Boston – 47% 2. Gregg Popovich, San Antonio – 30% 3. Mike D'Antoni, Houston – 7% Steve Kerr, Golden State – 7% Also receiving votes: Rick Carlisle, Dallas; Quin Snyder, Utah; Terry Stotts, Portland Last year: Gregg Popovich – 82% Which head coach is the best manager/motivator of people? 1. Gregg Popovich, San Antonio – 47% 2. Steve Kerr, Golden State – 20% 3. Brad Stevens, Boston – 17% 4. Erik Spoelstra, Miami – 7% Also receiving votes: Brett Brown, Philadelphia; Dwane Casey, Detroit; Doc Rivers, LA Clippers Last year: Gregg Popovich – 62% Which head coach makes the best in-game adjustments? 1. Brad Stevens, Boston – 53% 2. Gregg Popovich, San Antonio – 13% 3. Rick Carlisle, Dallas – 10% Quin Snyder, Utah – 10% 5. Doc Rivers, LA Clippers – 7% Erik Spoelstra, Miami – 7% Last year: Rick Carlisle – 34% Which head coach runs the best offense? 1. Steve Kerr, Golden State – 40% 2. Mike D'Antoni, Houston – 23% 3. Brad Stevens, Boston – 20% 4. Quin Snyder, Utah – 13% 5. Terry Stotts, Portland – 3% Last year: Steve Kerr – 59% Which head coach has the best defensive schemes? 1. Quin Snyder, Utah – 33% 2. Brad Stevens, Boston – 30% 3. Gregg Popovich, San Antonio – 13% 4. Steve Kerr, Golden State – 7% Tom Thibodeau, Minnesota – 7% Also receiving votes: Steve Clifford, Orlando; Nate McMillan, Indiana; Erik Spoelstra, Miami Last year: Gregg Popovich – 41% Who is the best assistant coach in the NBA? 1. Ron Adams, Golden State – 17% 2. Ettore Messina, San Antonio – 13% 3. Dan Burke, Indiana – 7% Chris Finch, New Orleans – 7% Adrian Griffin, Toronto – 7% Jay Larranaga, Boston – 7% Jay Triano, Charlotte – 7% Also receiving votes: Jim Boylan; Mike Brown, Golden State; Darren Erman, New Orleans; Tim Grgurich, Detroit; Steve Hetzel, Orlando; Alex Jensen, Utah; Roy Rogers, Houston; Stephen Silas, Charlotte; Ime Udoka, San Antonio; David Vanterpool, Portland; Monty Williams, Philadelphia Last year: Ron Adams – 21% Which active player will make the best head coach someday? 1. Chris Paul, Houston – 25% 2. C.J. McCollum, Portland – 7% Jameer Nelson – 7% Rajon Rondo, L.A. Lakers – 7% Garrett Temple, Memphis – 7% Also receiving votes: Steven Adams, Oklahoma City; J.J. Barea, Dallas; Vince Carter, Atlanta; Mike Conley, Memphis; Jared Dudley, Brooklyn; Manu Ginobili; Jarrett Jack, New Orleans; Kyle Korver, Cleveland; Wesley Matthews, Dallas; T.J. McConnell, Philadelphia; J.J. Redick, Philadelphia; Fred VanVleet, Toronto; Kemba Walker, Charlotte Last year: Chris Paul – 39% MISCELLANEOUS Which team is the most fun to watch? 1. Golden State – 60% 2. Boston – 17% 3. Houston – 7% Philadelphia – 7% Also receiving votes: Denver, Milwaukee, Utah Last year: Golden State – 90% Which team has the best home-court advantage? 1. Golden State – 50% 2. Utah – 27% 3. Denver – 13% Also receiving votes: Boston, Oklahoma City, Toronto Last year: Golden State – 76% Which team has the most promising young core? 1. Philadelphia – 47% 2. Boston – 33% 3. Chicago – 7% Phoenix – 7% Also receiving votes: Denver, Utah Last year: N/A Which player is the most athletic? 1. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City – 48% 2. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee – 14% 3. LeBron James, L.A. Lakers – 10% 4. Donovan Mitchell, Utah – 7% Also receiving votes: Aaron Gordon, Orlando; James Harden, Houston; Derrick Jones Jr., Miami; Zach LaVine, Chicago; Victor Oladipo, Indiana; Andrew Wiggins, Minnesota Last year: Russell Westbrook – 62% Which player is the best pure shooter? 1. Stephen Curry, Golden State – 73% 2. Klay Thompson, Golden State – 20% Also receiving votes: Kevin Durant, Golden State; Kyrie Irving, Boston Last year: Stephen Curry – 71% Which player is the fastest with the ball? 1. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City – 50% 2. John Wall, Washington – 33% 3. Kyrie Irving, Boston – 7% Also receiving votes: De'Aaron Fox, Sacramento; Victor Oladipo, Indiana; Ish Smith, Detroit Last year: John Wall – 48% Which player is best at moving without the ball? 1. Klay Thompson, Golden State – 53% 2. J.J. Redick, Philadelphia – 23% 3. Stephen Curry, Golden State – 13% 4. Kyle Korver, Cleveland – 7% 5. LeBron James, L.A. Lakers – 3% Last year: Klay Thompson – 61% Which player is the best passer? 1. LeBron James, L.A. Lakers – 50% 2. Chris Paul, Houston – 17% 3. Rajon Rondo, L.A. Lakers – 7% Ben Simmons, Philadelphia – 7% John Wall, Washington – 7% Also receiving votes: Lonzo Ball, L.A. Lakers; Stephen Curry, Golden State; James Harden, Houston; Ricky Rubio, Utah Last year: LeBron James – 36% What bench player makes the biggest impact when he enters the game? 1. Lou Williams, LA Clippers – 41% 2. Eric Gordon, Houston – 28% 3. Andre Iguodala, Golden State – 10% 4. Terry Rozier, Boston – 7% Marcus Smart, Boston – 7% Also receiving votes: Will Barton, Denver; Fred VanVleet, Toronto Last year: Andre Iguodala – 41% Who is the toughest player in the NBA? 1. Steven Adams, Oklahoma City – 33% 2. LeBron James, L.A. Lakers – 13% Marcus Smart, Boston – 13% 4. Draymond Green, Golden State – 10% James Johnson, Miami – 10% Also receiving votes: Aron Baynes, Boston; Patrick Beverley, LA Clippers; Jimmy Butler, Minnesota; Chris Paul, Houston; P.J. Tucker, Houston; Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Last year: Steven Adams, Draymond Green, Kawhi Leonard – 14% Which player is the best leader? 1. LeBron James, L.A. Lakers – 30% 2. Chris Paul, Houston – 27% 3. Stephen Curry, Golden State – 23% 4. Al Horford, Boston – 7% Damian Lillard, Portland – 7% Also receiving votes: Udonis Haslem, Miami; Kemba Walker, Charlotte Last year: LeBron James – 43% Who is the most versatile player in the NBA? 1. LeBron James, L.A. Lakers – 63% 2. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee – 20% 3. Kevin Durant, Golden State – 13% 4. Draymond Green, Golden State – 3% Last year: LeBron James – 55% Which player has the best basketball IQ? 1. LeBron James, L.A. Lakers – 70% 2. Chris Paul, Houston – 17% 3. Rajon Rondo, L.A. Lakers – 7% Also receiving votes: Stephen Curry, Golden State; Al Horford, Boston Last year: LeBron James – 64% Which player would you want taking a shot with the game on the line? 1. Kevin Durant, Golden State – 40% 2. Stephen Curry, Golden State – 27% 3. LeBron James, L.A. Lakers – 17% 4. Kyrie Irving, Boston – 10% 5. James Harden, Houston – 7% Last year: Stephen Curry – 55% What rule (regarding play, Draft/Lottery, playoff format, etc.) most needs to change? 1. Playoff seeding (1-16) – 18% 2. Draft Lottery odds/system – 14% 3. Schedule (fewer games) – 11% 4. Draft combine process – 7% Draft medical info – 7% Draft eligibility (one-and-done rule) – 7% Replay length – 7% Also receiving votes: Block/charge review; Draft after free agency; Enforce discontinued dribble; Enforce no advance after dribble; Intentional fouling; Number of timeouts; Training-camp roster size; Two-way contract days of service; Two-minute report Last year: Playoff seeding – 27% John Schuhmann is a staff writer for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 3rd, 2018

Players react to Gilas vs. Australia brawl

What was supposed to be a non-bearing FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers meeting between Gilas Pilipinas and Australia ended in infamy, as a massive brawl ultimately put a stop to the game, Monday evening at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan.  With Australia up 31 midway through the third quarter, things got physical between Gilas player RR Pogoy and Australian players Chris Goulding and Daniel Kickert, eventually erupting to a bench-clearing brawl that saw punches, kicks, water bottles, and even chairs get thrown.  Bench-clearing brawl between Gilas and Australia. pic.twitter.com/RotOFNiMgl — Camille B. Naredo (@camillenaredo) July 2, 2018 The incident, of course, became viral almost instantly.  Andrew Bogut, and Australian former NBA player and national team member obviously wasn't pleased with the events that took place.  MAN WTF!!! Disgusting — Andrew Bogut (@andrewbogut) July 2, 2018 Cameras caught a number of Gilas players, led by Marc Pingris, taking a selfie as the officials sorted things out. This didn't sit well with Bogut either.  Blokes taking a team selfie after all that. Down 31. Yep. They really just took a team selfie. — Andrew Bogut (@andrewbogut) July 2, 2018  Being the hosts, it certainly wasn't a good look on the Philippines' part, and a number of former Gilas players and current PBA players expressed their dismay as well.  Embarassing… — Jimmy Alapag (@JAlapag3) July 2, 2018 Roommate!! 😩🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️ — L.A Tenorio (@LA_Tenorio) July 2, 2018 Can’t believe some people are proud of this.... 🤦🏽‍♂️ wrong sport! — Solomon Mercado (@M3rcMyWords) July 2, 2018 Junemar tho... what a beast! And didn’t feel the need to throw one punch or throw any chairs to show his pride. #4timeMVP — Solomon Mercado (@M3rcMyWords) July 2, 2018 Embarrassing!!! — Chris Ross (@cmross6) July 2, 2018 This is unfortunate. — joe devance (@jdv_38) July 2, 2018 Aleast we won the rumble not sure about the game!! — marcus douthit (@DouthitMarcus) July 2, 2018 As a player, what would u do if u are hit or u see ur teammate get hit on the face? U cant just back down. Goes for both 🇵🇭 and 🇦🇺 players. Im not saying that the fight is a good thing. Tough situation really. #GilasPilipinas — Jai Reyes (@jaireyes5) July 2, 2018 This is embarrassing — alex cabagnot (@askcabaggie) July 2, 2018 Congrats .. yall just made shaqtin a fool — alex cabagnot (@askcabaggie) July 2, 2018 Wow man....😔 — Kel Williams (@KelWilliams21) July 2, 2018 Christian Standhardinger, a former Gilas player himself, took to Twitter to stand up for his basketball brothers.  If you attack one of us, you attack all of us! THAT WAS A CHEAP SHOT AGAINST POGOY. I hope nobody got seriously injured. — Chris Standhardinger (@cstandhardinger) July 2, 2018 Wag nalang tayo magmalinis lahat.. kung ikaw yung nasa court at nakita mo yung teammate mo na sadyang sinaktan matutuwa ka?? Isip tayo!! Wag tayo puro embarrasing!! Oo panget tignan masisira name ng bansa pero wag paagarabyado lalo na sarili natin bansa to!! — Ronald Tubid (@ront71) July 2, 2018 Other members of the Philippine basketball community also took to Twitter to share their two cents.  This is not gonna be good for our country in the long run 😕 — Thirdy (@ThirdyRavenaaa) July 2, 2018 😳 — Kib Montalbo (@kibmontalbo) July 2, 2018   It's just so difficult to keep your cool in a crazy situation like that (I probably couldn't) I've always had the highest regard for JMF and Gabe pero lalo pang tumaas ngayon. (And Baser too) — Jason Webb (@Jason_Webb_Phil) July 2, 2018 Even NBA Rookie of the Year runner-up Donovan Mitchell, who was in Manila just a few weeks ago, caught wind of the fiasco. Yo @ThonMaker14 out here tryin hit dudes wit the flying knee😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭 — Donovan Mitchell (@spidadmitchell) July 2, 2018 Thon Maker, a player for the Milwaukee Bucks and the Australian National Team, was seen on camera attempting a flying kick on Gilas guard Terrence Romeo.  Speaking of Romeo, the fan-favorite was unapologetic as he stood up for his Gilas teammates as well.  Dun sa mga kapwa namin players na nag sasabing embarassing kami wala kaming paki alam sa inyo . Kami mag kaka teammate sa loob kailangan namin mag tulungan. Hindi namin pwede pabayaan yung isat isa. Kung embarassing kami sa mata niyo bat di kayo mag convert ng australian. — Terrence Romeo (@tbvromeo) July 2, 2018 Kahit anong sabihin niyo nag lalaro kami para sa isat isa para sa kapwa natin pilipino higit sa lahat para sa bayan. Hindi niyo alam ang sacrifice namin Kung para sainyo mali tulungan namin yung kakampi namin sinasaktan problema niyo na yun basta kami walang iwanan tapos!!! — Terrence Romeo (@tbvromeo) July 2, 2018 In the end, 13 players were ejected, with nine of them coming from Gilas Pilipinas.  The game continued, with Baser Amer, Gabe Norwood, and June Mar Fajardo being the lone Gilas players not to be ejected.  The game waa called eventually, with Australia winning 89-53.  According to FIBA, disciplinary proceedings will be opened and decisions, and most likely sanctions will be handed out in the coming days.  Following the incident that occured in the third quarter of the Philippines-Australia game on Monday in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Asian Qualifiers, FIBA will now open disciplinary proceedings against both teams. The decision(s) will be communicated in the coming days. — FIBA media (@FIBA_media) July 2, 2018.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 2nd, 2018

Brighter days seem to be in store for Knicks, new coach Fizdale

By David Aldridge, TNT Analyst There was only one job that made sense for David Fizdale. Despite all the openings for which he interviewed, his pedigree and background -- and, let’s be honest, ambition -- made one gig stand out above the others. And it’s the one he got, with the New York Knicks. New York agreed to a four-year deal with Fizdale last week, a correct pairing of young coach and franchise that is trying to build back up the right way, with an emphasis on defense and conditioning that is right up Fizdale’s alley. No matter the occasional oddity created by working for Jim Dolan, he is an owner who has been willing to spend money when asked, and his team is in the top media market on earth. When you win there, they have parades for you in the Canyon of Heroes, and you almost always wind up in your particular sport’s Hall of Fame. You can’t not take the shot. The Knicks believe they’re in a place where the things Fizdale did in Miami and what he took to Memphis -- his philosophy of culture-building, team-building, discipline and how he connects to players -- were a good fit for where they are as a franchise. Among the 11 candidates the Knicks interviewed for the job, several had more head coaching experience than Fizdale -- whose tenure in Memphis lasted exactly 101 regular season games and six playoff games. But Fizdale checked the most boxes, and at 43, the Knicks are betting he has a lot of growing and improving to do, just as the team does. The Knicks, of course, looked into just why the Grizzlies fired Fizdale so abruptly last season, after just 19 games. Team president Steve Mills and General Manager Scott Perry didn’t just get started in the league last week; they know a lot of people. The chatter around the league was that Memphis chose star center Marc Gasol over Fizdale after the two clashed during the coach’s season-plus there. As I wrote just after Fizdale was fired, the deterioration in their relationship reached the point of no return when Fizdale went after Gasol hard in a film session, basically dismissing the importance of Gasol’s accomplishments overseas, including as a member of the Spanish national team. That that rankled Gasol to no end should have been no surprise to anyone paying attention. The Spanish team’s international triumphs are a point of considerable and understandable pride for both Marc Gasol and his brother, Pau. They helped lead Spain to the greatest era of basketball accomplishment in that country’s history, including a 2006 gold medal at what was then called the FIBA World Championships. Fizdale tried to fix things with Gasol, even flying to Europe after the season to try and make it right. But Gasol was close with majority owner Robert Pera; Fizdale wasn’t. That closed off a potential area of outreach between the two. Gasol had no interest in rapprochement, a stance that Grizzlies players made clear to Fizdale throughout the season. (Caught most in the middle, per league sources, was Grizzlies veteran point guard Mike Conley, Jr., who did and does have strong relationships with both men.) But, importantly, in his discussions with the Knicks, Fizdale took responsibility for his failures with Gasol. He didn’t blame Gasol or anyone else. As one of his chief calling cards is connecting with players, and not finding common ground with Gasol was an L he has to take. “He knew where he messed up and what he’d try to let it never happen again,” said a source who’s spoken with Fizdale since his firing. But, equally importantly, just because Fizdale couldn’t make it work with Gasol doesn’t mean he’s doomed to a similar outcome with All-Star forward Kristaps Porzingis. The 22-year-old’s relationship with the Knicks has been scrutinized within an inch of its life the last couple of years. The toxicity level reached under former president Phil Jackson has abated some, but Porzingis and the team still have some navigation to do -- a trip that is blurred as Porzingis continues rehabbing and recovering from the torn ACL he suffered in February. (Porzingis’s brother, Janis, who serves as his agent, politely declined comment on the Fizdale hire via text Saturday, though the Knicks were in contact with Janis Porzingis during the coaching search.) Porzingis’s injury keeps the Knicks in flux, a position it seems they’ve been in most years since the Nixon administration. He is a potential superstar -- “potential” is used quite deliberately here, as “The Unicorn’s” stans on social media have made a very talented offensive player into something that he is not, at least not yet -- a transcendent player. But, assuming Porzingis ultimately makes a full and healthy return, New York has a terrific building block around which to build. And, they have a chance to really get in the game in the summer of 2019. First, they’ll have to resolve Joakim Noah’s status -- he has two years and roughly $38 million left on his current deal. It’s likely the Knicks will stretch him and the only question is whether that happens before or after next season. If it’s the former, the Knicks can spread the remainder of his salary across five seasons; if the latter, three seasons. Nothing is certain, but it would be surprising to see Noah still in New York by the start of camp. Why saddle a new coach with an old problem? That would leave the Knicks with more flexibility going into ’19, which is when Perry has said he’d like New York to be ready to pounce in free agency -- and when the likes of Kemba Walker, Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard (player option) and Jimmy Butler (player option) can be free agents. But until that bridge year, Fizdale will have to max out the existing roster. Charitably, there’s not a lot there at present that’s proven and has led to much winning anywhere. The Knicks will need to be lucky in next week’s Lottery -- preferably, getting a high enough pick to land one of the elite big men that should be among the top four or five picks in the Draft. If that doesn’t happen, the hope in New York is that until the roster improves, Fizdale can develop the talents of the Knicks’ trio of guards -- Frank Ntilikina, Emmanuel Mudiay and Tim Hardaway, Jr. -- in which New York has invested Draft and literal treasure the last couple of seasons. (It will help that Fizdale’s relationship with Hardaway, Jr., goes back to when the latter was a kid and his father, the master of the killer crossover, worked in the Heat organization after Tim Hardaway Sr.’s playing days ended.) The additional hope is that Fizdale will get Ntilikina in elite shape while honing his competitive edge, and that a full season under Fizdale will let the Knicks know once and for all if Mudiay can be a significant contributor. Fizdale will also have to adjust his nomenclature. Last week’s story in the New York Daily News correctly identified Fizdale’s consistent referencing “the Miami Way” as shorthand for how he wanted to do things in Memphis alienated Grizzlies people who were -- again, justifiably -- proud of the “Grit-n’Grind” era that produced seven straight playoff appearances before this season’s 22-60 crater. And, he’ll have to be prepared to be, perhaps, the biggest face of the franchise, in a city whose media is dogged and nonplussed and will often go off cockeyed in a crazy, incorrect direction. But its influence should never be underestimated. Fizdale is from Los Angeles, and he has a great way with most. And it didn’t hurt him to work some for ESPN while he was between jobs. But he’ll have to learn the media landscape in New York quickly -- who to befriend, who to be wary of, who he can trust and who he cannot. (Also: I’m sure the Knicks pointed out to him that while he had several causes which were near and dear to him in Memphis, from advocating the removal of Confederate statues in the city to lending his name to other civic causes, he needs to win games in Gotham first.) At base, the Knicks will want to see players throughout the roster held accountable, and charged to compete on a nightly basis. There was not enough of either last season under coach Jeff Hornacek -- who, in fairness, didn’t have all that much time to put his stamp on what was a poor roster. Fizdale will get more time. The Knicks’ roster will look a lot different in two years than it does now. Fizdale will have to be a lot different coach than he was in Memphis, as well. 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 NewsMay 8th, 2018

2018 WORLD CUP: Germany gets reality check before defense

By Ciaran Fahey, Associated Press BERLIN (AP) — Germany coasted through World Cup qualifying with 10 wins out of 10 and a European record 43 goals before getting a reality check. The World Cup holders haven't won any matches since qualifying for Russia. After drawing friendlies against England, France and Spain, Joachim Loew's team lost 1-0 to Brazil to end a 22-game unbeaten run. Becoming the first team since Brazil in 1962 to defend their World Cup title now looks even trickier for the Germans. "We're not as good as we're made out to be, or as some think we are," midfielder Toni Kroos said. "There's huge room for improvement." The recent slump in friendly matches could be a blessing in disguise if it eradicates any complacency going into the World Cup. "I'm not worried. In 2014 and 2010 we also lost in March," Loew said. "You can be sure that we'll improve." The first task for Loew's side will be to top Group F to avoid a likely second-round clash against Brazil. Here's a closer look at the Germany team: COACH Loew was assistant coach to Juergen Klinsmann during Germany's "summer fairytale" hosting of the 2006 World Cup and was promoted to the top job after its third-place finish. Loew favors a fast-paced possession-based game, pressing opponents to recover the ball and switching quickly from defense to attack. He has overseen steady progress since taking over, reaching the final of the 2008 European Championship, claiming third place at the 2010 World Cup and reaching the semifinals at Euro 2012 before finally winning a title in convincing fashion at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. A disappointing semifinal exit to France at Euro 2016 followed, but Loew laid the groundwork for a successful World Cup title defense by winning the Confederations Cup with a young team of promising talent last year in Russia. Loew hasn't been afraid to test young talent, and Germany's strength in depth means one of his hardest tasks is leaving players out of the 23-man squad. Loew also has the unfortunate tendency to find himself in the headlines for other reasons. The 58-year-old has previously apologized after being caught on camera picking his nose or in other compromising positions during games. GOALKEEPERS The biggest concern is captain Manuel Neuer's fitness. The Bayern Munich goalkeeper sustained a repeat of the hairline metatarsal fracture in his left foot while training last September and hasn't played since. Marc-Andre ter Stegen could well establish himself as the No. 1 with doubts over Neuer's fitness. The Barcelona goalkeeper has overcome a shaky start to his international career and helped Germany win the Confederations Cup. Bernd Leno of Bayer Leverkusen and Kevin Trapp of Paris Saint-Germain are also options, while Sven Ulreich has been filling in impressively for Neuer at Bayern. DEFENDERS Bayern defender Jerome Boateng faces a race to be fit with a thigh injury sustained in the Champions League semifinals against Real Madrid in April. Bayern teammate Niklas Suele would be an able replacement to partner Mats Hummels in the center. Another Bayern player, Joshua Kimmich, has emerged to soften the blow of Philipp Lahm's retirement at right back. The modest Jonas Hector will likely keep his place on the left despite Cologne's relegation. MIDFIELDERS Toni Kroos will be among the first names on Loew's team sheet. The Real Madrid midfielder is the driving force behind the side. He will likely be partnered by Juventus' Sami Khedira, who provides more of a defensive presence, with Mesut Ozil in front, flanked on either side by Thomas Mueller and Marco Reus — if the latter proves his fitness. Reus has been unlucky with injuries and has only recently returned to shine again for Dortmund. But Germany has a wealth of options in midfield, with Ilkay Gundogan, Leon Goretzka, Leroy Sane, Julian Draxler, Julian Weigl and Julian Brandt all providing ample backup options. FORWARDS Timo Werner seems sure of his place after another good season for Leipzig, albeit with most of his goals in the first half of the campaign. The 22-year-old Werner has seven goals in 12 international appearances, but it's his runs into space and the problems he causes defenders that benefit the team. Loew will likely bring one of Mario Gomez or Sandro Wagner as a more experienced option for Werner, while Mario Goetze is another option to play up front if he gets recalled following a disappointing season for Dortmund. Goetze scored the winning goal for Germany to beat Argentina in the 2014 final. GROUP GAMES Germany kicks off its title defense near its tournament base in Moscow at the Luzhniki Stadium against Mexico on June 17. The side then faces a long trip south to Sochi for its second game against Sweden on June 23, before wrapping up Group F against South Korea in Kazan four days later......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 30th, 2018