SEA Games boxing matters little, but Philippines doesn't mind the medals

SEA Games boxing matters little, but Philippines doesn't mind the medals.....»»

Category: newsSource: rappler rapplerJul 17th, 2017

Is Johnny A the best point guard the PBA has ever seen?

Johnny Abarrientos is celebrating his birthday today, and at 47 years old, the Flying A looks like he can still run a play or two in the PBA. Of course, he shouldn't since he already did his best work in the PBA years ago. Work that that may put him on top as the best point guard the PBA has ever seen. Before all of you go crazy though, let's look at all the point guards from the PBA 40 Greatest list and then decide if Johnny A is really the best ever. And because since it's his birthday, we'll make the case for Abarrientos first. br /> strong>JOHNNY ABARRIENTOS /strong> Selected third in the 1993 draft out of FEU, Abarrientos was beastly for the Alaska Aces throughout the decade, helping the team win eight championships including the 1996 Grand Slam, his MVP season. He was so good that in 1997, he got an offer to try out for the Charlotte Hornets. Yes, the Flying A almost got a chance to play in the NBA. Abarrientos was also a staple in the Philippine national team, winning bronze in the 1998 Asian Games. After later stints with Coca-Cola and Brgy. Ginebra, Abarrientos retired as a 12-time PBA champion and the PBA all-time leader in steals. He was one of the original players named in the PBA's 25 Greatest list.   br /> strong>RICARDO BROWN /strong> Also an original from the 25 Greatest list, Brown won Rookie of the Year in 1983 and was already MVP by 1985. The man they call The Quick Brown Fox, the first Fil-Am to play in the PBA won six championships and was part of the 1989 San Miguel Grand Slam team. Brown holds the record for highest scoring average by a local at 23.1 points per game.   br /> strong>FRANCIS ARNAIZ /strong> A founding member of the PBA in 1975, Arnaiz played with Toyota and won all nine of his championships with the team. With scoring as one of his specialties, Arnaiz dropped 10,292 points in his career, going for 16.8 points per game. Arnaiz not only shine for Toyota as he was also part of the Philippine team that won gold in the 1973 FIBA-Asia Championships in Manila.   br /> strong>HECTOR CALMA /strong> 'The Director' was one of the driving forces behind the powerful San Miguel Grand Slam team from 1989. Despite not posting gaudy numbers, Calma piloted some of the best teams not only in the PBA but on the international scene as well. The diminutive floor general was part of the Northen Consolidated Cement national team that won the 1985 Jones Cup and FIBA-Asia championship. Calma also led the Adamson Falcons to the 1978 UAAP title, proving that he was one of the best even before he made it to the PBA.   br /> strong>BERNIE FABIOSA /strong> The Sultan of Swipe won 15 PBA championships, including the 1976 and 1983 Grand Slams with the fabled Crispa Redmanizers. Also an original from the 25 Greatest list, Fabiosa ranks third all-time in steals behind Abarrientos and Ramon Fernandez. He's also in the top 15 in all-time assists after dishing out almost 3,000 dimes.   br /> strong>ROBERT JAWORSKI /strong> The Living Legend, Jaworski is responsible for the now-enduring 'Never Say Die' attitude of Brgy. Ginebra. Very few players can say that they were the face of one franchise, it can be argued that the Big J was the face of two after memorable stints with Toyota and the Gin Kings. Winner of the 1978 MVP award, Jaworski won 13 PBA titles, nine as a player and four more as a playing coach. Jaworski was also pretty incredible as a member of Team Philippines, winning two FIBA-Asia championships, one in 1967 and another in 1973. The Living Legend likewise made it to the Olympics, seeing action in the 1968 Summer Games in Mexico City and in the 1974 World Championships. Jawo leads the PBA in all-time assists and is in the top 10 in scoring.   br /> strong>RONNIE MAGSANOC /strong> One of the key players responsible for UP's lone UAAP men's seniors basketball title, the Point Laureate was also key in the pros. Playing alongside college buddy Benjie Paras, Magsanoc won four PBA championships with Shell and was a member of the Philippine team that won silver in the 1990 Asian Games in Beijing. Magsanoc later transitioned into coaching, winning the NCAA championship with San Beda during his rookie season.   br /> strong>JAY-JAY HELTERBRAND /strong> One of of the famous Fast and Furious Ginebra duo, Jay-jay Helterbrand actually beat Mark Caguioa to the MVP award, winning the highest individual honor in the PBA in 2009, three years before the Spark. At his peak, Helterbrand was the true driving force behind the barangay, winning a total of five championships in the process. Sure, Jay-jay is a little older now but Ginebra can still count on him when it matters most, see Game 4 of the 2016 Governors' Cup Finals.   br /> strong>JIMMY ALAPAG /strong> Fun fact: Jimmy Alapag, as a rookie, won his first PBA title by beating Johnny Abarrientos in the Finals. Since that first championship in 2003, the Mighty Mouse would win another five titles in his career and was one win short from the Grand Slam in 2011, his lone MVP season. Alapag's list of achievements include winning the first Perpetual Trophy in 2013 on top of being the PBA all-time leader in three-point shots made. The Captain is also famous for his national team work, leading Gilas Pilipinas to a silver medal finish in the 2013 FIBA-Asia Championships and to te country's first win in the World Cup back in 2014.   br /> strong>JAYSON CASTRO /strong> Alapag's runningmate in Talk 'N Text, Jayson Castro has no MVP awards yet but he does have four Best Player of the Conference Award, second most in PBA history. The Blur has six PBA titles so far including two Finals MVP awards. At the prime age of 31, it's almost safe to say that Castro, who can be practically unstoppable on offense, has another title run or two in his career, maybe even challenging the mighty June Mar Fajardo for the MVP award if he actually wants to. After a career year in 2016 averaging 20.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 6.1 assists per game, the Chinese Basketball came calling according to several reports but Castro ultimately stayed in the PBA, signing a max contract with TNT. The Blur has two FIBA-Asia silver medals and a World Cup appearance. More importantly, he is the reigning two-time best point guard in Asia, taking the citation in 2013 and 2015. br /> So who is the best point guard the PBA has ever seen? Is it our birthday boy or somebody else? Let the debates begin but make sure you greet the Flying A first.   br /> --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 17th, 2017

Boxers eye 6 SEAG medals

MANILA, Philippines - From 11 in 2015 in Singapore, the gold medals that will be disputed in boxing in next month’s Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur are.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJul 15th, 2017

Team PHI yet to complete SEAG delegation lineup

Sixteen national sports associations (NSAs) have yet to submit their respective lineup of athletes that will compete in the 29th Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia two months from now. Team Philippines SEA Games chef de mission Cynthia Carrion said that as of Thursday morning only 21 NSAs out of the 37 sports that the country will participate in the biennial meet have given the names of their entries. The SEA Games will take place August 19 to 30. The NSAs were given until June 15 to submit their respective lineups to give ample time for the Team Philippines Secretariat to input the names of the athletes, arrange their flights, accommodations, food and other requirements. The Secretariat wants to complete the entry of names as soon as possible so that they can meet the deadline of delegation submission to Malaysia SEA Games Organizing Committee (MASOC) on June 30.           Those who have yet to submit their lineups are volleyball, compulsory sports athletics and swimming, badminton, basketball, fencing, football, karate, rugby football, sailing, squash, table tennis, taekwondo, weightlifting, netball and waterskiing. “We really wanted to set-up everything early so we don’t cram,” said Carrion. “That is why we wanted all our NSAs to submit to us their entry by names early so we can allocate their accommodations, prepare the billeting, their foods and other matters so we will have a smooth campaign.” Team Philippines is composed of a total of 719 athletes, coaches and support personnel. With a large contingent, Carrion wanted to accomplish the entry by names and other requirements as soon as possible.    “We need to prepare everything now so that we will not burn the lines and cram at the last minute. We still need to confirm our participation by assuring them of the US$400,000 as advance for the billeting of our athletes,” she said. Only archery, billiards-snooker, boxing, cycling, equestrian, golf, gymnastics, indoor hockey, ice hockey, ice skating, judo, sepak takraw, shooting, tennis, tenpin bowling, triathlon, wushu, lawn bowls, muaythai, pencak silat and petanque have submitted their lineups as of posting. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 15th, 2017

Doc Volleyball: Unfinished Business

It has been 2 years since I got a call from my former college coach Oliver Almadro inviting me to suit up for the team he was tasked to organize for the 2015 South East Asian Games (SEA Games) in Singapore. Back then, I was already starting my medical practice through a moonlight stint at Boracay Island. I thought I was done with the sport. I had no more volley responsibilities and had no commitments whatsoever. My only allegiance was to my budding practice. It was not an easy invitation for my part as I knew the trade-offs that I would make. Not only will I impair my current earning to settle for a measly compensation, I would also have to put on hold the momentum of my medical profession which admittedly hasn’t taken off yet. I asked Coach O why still ask me when there’s a ton of emerging stars back there at the metro. His explanation was simple. He already had a “dream team” in mind, but despite the many he called, only a few answered. In line with that, given the tight schedule he was tasked by the NSA, it would be logical for him to enlist players he has already worked with. At that time, everyone had high hopes for Philippine Volley. With a new governing body at the helm, it was already a victory for everyone that the country was once again fielding both a men’s and women’s team for the SEA Games after a long hiatus. While both us and our female counterparts fell short in qualifying for podium finishes, our mere re-joining and tallying a couple of wins definitely spelled a sense of hope to a continuously increasing volley community. Were our teams good? No doubt about it. Was it the best the country could have offered? I would have to admit no. As the host country passes the torch to Malaysia and the ceremonies come to a close, we were all in high hopes that in two years perhaps, with continuous training and support, we would make the country proud not just with our mere presence in the tourney but with actual podium finishes and medals around our necks. We packed our bags, flew back to Manila, went on back to our daily lives. Fast forward to 2017 and we are now once again in a familiar scene. Only a few months left before a major tourney and we are yet to field in an actual line-up. Whatever happened to the long term plans of 2015, one can only imagine. This 2017 Malaysia SEA Games should be the fruition of the unfinished business of 2015. A podium finish is expected now and I admit that it’s definitely a tall order given the level of preparation. However, with an ever growing pool of talents, this new selection process can serve as a new ray of hope for the volley community. It is of no doubt that the newly appointed Head Coaches were able to put up a commendable list of national team hopefuls. Looking at the individuals enlisted for both men’s and women’s team, I can already imagine the ideal team set-up. Indeed, the players considered are outstanding individually, but the challenge still remains in synergizing them and working on a system that is internationally competent. strong>Men’s Training Pool: Initial Thoughts /strong> I had the pleasure of playing with or against some of the names included in the men’s training pool. One quick glance at the list and I can easily surmise that head coach Sammy Acaylar is building up a wall. From middles to setters, Acaylar has a pool of tall players at his disposal. I can definitely see the trio of Ran-Ran Abdilla, Mark Alfafara and Howard Mojica gunning from the left pins and the pipe while John Vic De Guzman blasts away from the right pin and back row. Reyson Fuentes and Herschel Ramos will man the wall for net defense while a tall setter in Mark Deximo further fortifies it. While Peter Torres is a shoo-in for another middle position, his bread and butter slide attack might pose some problems in synchronization with De Guzman’s right wing and back row attack. This is due to the fact that if in the first middle position, the slide can be an obstacle to a right back row attack and as a second middle, the slide attack will force the opposite to hit more combination x-plays which are proving to be easily mitigated in the international scene especially against teams with tall pin blockers. It would be definitely be easy for the coaches to come up with a strong team with the men’s pool. Though still short in height by western standards, the size of the potential team would be competent enough at the SEA Games level. That doesn’t mean though that we can still apply the local level of play with heavy reliance on combination x-plays. Based on experience, teams like Thailand and Myanmar are not only tall but also agile and can serve aggressively. Heavy reliance on the local offensive style of combination plays will prove problematic since it is to be expected that passing will not be accurate enough to run such offense consistently. Rather, the team would have better chances scoring in running consistent tempo plays to the pins, pipe or back right in which the timing gap between the quicker and pin hitter are minimized as much as possible. strong>Women’s Training Pool: Initial Thoughts /strong> Looking at the short list for the women’s team, it is of no surprise that head coach Vicente is also building up a vertically competent roster. While Acaylar will have an easy time handpicking the men’s hopefuls, such cannot be said for Vicente. With the continuous emergence of the sport especially in the women’s division, the talent pool of both collegiate and professional players continues to grow. My initial thoughts on a potentially formidable lineup would have Alyssa Valdez, Myla Pablo and Dindin Manabat from the left pins, Jaja Santiago and Aiza Maizo-Pontillas from the right, Aby Marano and Maika Ortiz to add impeccable block timing from the middle, Rhea Dimaculangan and Kim Fajardo orchestrating the play, while Denden Lazaro mans the floor. One crucial factor here is the ability of the outside hitters to hit a pipe and the opposites with the right back row. Much like their male counterparts, the challenge for the women’s team would be on running an offensive system that is internationally competent and updated. While it works here in the local scene, heavy reliance on combination x-plays as the bread and butter offense would also prove problematic since teams like Thailand and Vietnam also have tall players who are much more agile and disciplined in terms of blocking. In line with that, the women’s team cannot just rely on the height in terms of blocking since the top SEA Games teams also run fast tempo plays. Blocking at the SEA games level would entail careful observation of opponent setter biomechanics especially for the Middles since tentative and instinct blocking would not be effective against the likes of Thailand’s Nootsara Tomkom. More than the height, middles will be hard pressed in improving their agility and footwork to ensure that they can easily close the gap while penetrating the arms across the net especially against fast tempo plays not commonly seen in the local setting. strong>Missing in Action /strong> Given the list of considered athletes, we go back to the question – will it be a good team? Definitely! Will it be the best the country can offer though? Well, that is still up for debate. To address the elephant in the room, the most notable exclusions are Marck Espejo and Bryan Bagunas for the men’s team and Jia Morado and Melissa Gohing over at the women’s side. Standing at 6’4” with commendable vertical reach, Bagunas has proven himself to be a force to reckon with at the net be it in offense or defense. Since top teams in the SEA Games have highly threatening opposites like Thailand’s ace, Jirayu Raksakaew, Bagunas’ size and leap would be of benefit for the team. On the other hand, Espejo would be sorely missed for his overall versatility. While it is of no doubt that Espejo has proven himself as the best left pin hitter in UAAP history to date, what makes him stand out is his impeccable work at the back row. Aside from his pipe attacks, Espejo’s passing and digging ability has made him stand out amongst other left pin hitters. His previous SEA Games experience especially in passing Thailand’s aggressive serving could have been a crucial factor for the team to run consistent offense. Despite ending her collegiate career with a gold medal, Melissa Gohing has proven that she can definitely improve more. With back to back championships in the V-League, Gohing has shown tremendous growth in terms of her ball control and placement. Despite facing hard hitters especially with the reinforced conference, she was able to hold her ground and contribute significantly to her team’s defense. That consistency and experience could have been also a much needed boost for the upcoming team. Perhaps the most surprising exclusion that sparked community intrigue would be that of Jia Morado. In the UAAP, Morado has so far been the only setter to date to actually implement an updated style of setting that blends consistency and agility. The manner by which she runs tempo plays to the pins and middles has been a major factor for her team to disrupt the blocking strategies of their opponents. Morado, with her international experience, could definitely be of tremendous help in increasing the agility of our team’s offense. Her fast tempo plays could have been crucial in circumventing the blocks of other countries a preview of which is how her team was able to dismantle the defense of a relatively good blocking team such as UP in their recent encounter.     .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 16th, 2017

Pelicans' Davis relishing chance to play All-Star host

em>By Brett Martel, Associated Press /em> NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Anthony Davis is tiring of the narrative that his pro basketball career would be better served if he played somewhere other than New Orleans. During All-Star weekend, the face of the Pelicans franchise will have a chance to exhibit why building a winner in the Big Easy matters to him. And if his enthusiasm for his adopted hometown proves contagious among some of the elite talent gathering in the NBA's Gulf South outpost, all the better for the 'Brow.' 'I was definitely excited for All-Star to come to New Orleans again; New Orleans is a fun place,' said Davis, who was a second-year pro and first-time All-Star when the NBA's annual marquee event last came to the city in 2014. 'It will be a good chance for other players to experience our city, the culture in New Orleans with Mardi Gras and all, and see why we feel New Orleans is one the best places to play basketball as far as the fan base that we have and the culture of the city and everything like that.' The All-Star game wasn't supposed to return to New Orleans quite this quickly, but the league pulled the game Charlotte earlier this year because of a North Carolina state law that limits protections of LGBT people. But this All-Star weekend will be different for Davis than his first, when he was still getting comfortable with pro basketball and life in New Orleans. Davis, nicknamed 'the Unibrow' since his college days at Kentucky, was a Western Conference reserve in 2014. Now he's among the most popular players in the world and an All-Star starter boasting gaudy statistics of nearly 28 points and 12 rebounds per game — not to mention season-highs of 50 points, 22 rebounds and six blocks. What Davis needs now is more help. The Pelicans missed the playoffs in three of his first four pro seasons, and their postseason prospects are in doubt again. Entering Wednesday night's (Thursday, PHL time) action, New Orleans was 12 games below .500 and 3.5 games out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. While Davis doesn't expect to spend the whole weekend recruiting, he acknowledged that playing host to the NBA's elite gives him an opportunity to help them envision what it might be like if, via a trade or free agency, they wound up joining him. 'There definitely is a time for that,' Davis said. 'The main focus is for everybody to just go out there and have fun.' Davis was pleased that this year's All-Star festivities coincide with Mardi Gras. Normally, the NBA schedule takes the Pelicans away from New Orleans during most of pre-Lenten Carnival, which draws millions of tourists to New Orleans for rollicking festivities centered on parades and balls. 'I'm excited to actually be in town,' Davis said. Then there's the food. Davis expects to double as a restaurant guide this week. Growing up in Chicago, Davis was all about pizza, which he still eats when he goes home. But in New Orleans, he's refined his palette, sampling the city's renowned creole cuisine and fresh Gulf seafood. 'The food is amazing. The little spice it has to it is amazing. The gumbo is amazing,' Davis said. 'When you go to other cities and they have New Orleans gumbo or New Orleans-style food or whatever, it tastes nothing like it. I've been around the city and got a chance to experience all types of food. 'I actually eat seafood now.' Davis' strengthening ties to New Orleans go well beyond fun and flavor. He arrived in the first decade after Hurricane Katrina, an epic disaster from which rebuilding is not entirely complete. Some of the hardest-hit neighborhoods needed help before the storm and even more so afterward, and Davis has immersed himself charitable and community endeavors. His AD's Flight Academy features events with kids such as basketball camps, bowling and movie nights. 'He keeps himself involved in the community whether that's helping kids or building up the city. He truly cares,' said Pelicans forward Terrence Jones, who won a NCAA national title with Davis at Kentucky in 2012 and rejoined his college teammate in the NBA this season. 'People have so much joy when they see him at any events we have for the Pelicans,' Jones said. 'He's excited to be able to represent the city.' Pelicans general manager Dell Demps got a sense of Davis' commitment to New Orleans when the star big man seized the earliest possible opportunity to sign a five-year, $127 million extension that runs through 2020-21. Said Demps: 'Although Anthony's from Chicago, he treats New Orleans like it's his home.' He wouldn't mind if one or two of his fellow all-stars did, too. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 15th, 2017

Beermen couldn't care less about record-tying winning streak

In the grand scheme of things, only one winning streak matters for two-time defending Philippine Cup champion San Miguel Beer. Right now, that streak currently stands at a mere 1-0. The Beermen need three more and they don't mind if they lose a couple of games in between. Of course, if those next three wins come in succession, they don't mind it either. As of Wednesday night, San Miguel has won 11 straight games, tying a franchise record. However, that amazing run is taking a back seat as the Beermen currently have their full attention on their semifinal series against rival TNT, which they currently now lead, 1-0. 'I didn't even know we won 11 straight honestly. I didn't even know that. I feel like once you come in a new series, the streak pretty much doesn't exist,' said gunner Marcio Lassiter, who topscored for San Miguel in Game 1 with 22 points. 'What we all got to think about is a clean slate because TNT and us we both came in at 0-0,' he added. Head coach Leo Austria shares the same sentiment, saying that the Beermen couldn't care less about the streak since they play to win every game anyway. It just so happened that they did a lot of winning this season, 11 straight so far to be exact. 'Well I don't know kung paano nangyari yun. Basta ang sabi ko sa kanila, just play, play to win,' Austria said. 'They understand how to win, and yun ang nangyayari,' he added. Game 2 of the series is scheduled on Friday at the MOA Arena.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 9th, 2017

PATAFA is PSA's 2016 NSA of the Year

The Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association won’t be missing the honor roll list of the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Annual Awards Night presented by San Miguel and MILO at the LE PAVILLON next week. For adopting a sound program that netted three Filipino tracksters making it to the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympics, Patafa was chosen by the country’s oldest media organization as its National Sports Association (NSA) of the Year during its Feb. 13 event co-presented by CIGNAL/HYPHER HD. Eric Shaun Cray, Marestella Torres-Sunang, and Mary Joy Tabal all met the qualifying standards needed to earn berths to the Rio Games and ensured the most number of tracksters the country had in the quadrennial meet in recent years, Patafa had been previously named NSA of the Year by the PSA twice, the last of  which was in 2009 when the federation delivered seven gold medals during the Southeast Asian Games in Laos. Previous winners of the award include the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, Philippine Taekwondo Association, Wushu Federation of the Philippines, Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines, Philippine Aquatics Sports Association, Philippine Dragonboat Association, among others. It will be a double celebration for Patafa as its president Philip Ella Juico will be bestowed the Executive of the Year award in the same gala night with Smart, Philippine Sports Commission, Phoenix Petroleum, Gold Toe, Foton, ICTSI, Globalport, Mighty Sports, and Rain or Shine as major sponsors. A total of 92 personalities and entities make up this year’s list of awardees for the two-hour program backed by the Philippine Basketball Association, SM Prime Holdings Inc., ACCEL, MVP Sports Foundation, PCSO, NLEX, Meralco, and Federal Land. Rio De Janeiro Olympic silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz is the consensus choice as the 2016 PSA Athlete of the Year.   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 8th, 2017

This perfect Pirate ship runs on Perez-Ayaay engine

Lyceum of the Philippines University is off to its best start to the season in school history. With three wins in three games, the Pirates find themselves alone atop the leaderboard – looking over defending champion San Beda College and the rest of the field. Of course, CJ Perez has been the most distinguishable difference this year as his all-around brilliance has allowed his teammates to shine as well. That still held true on Friday as the do-it-all swingman collected 20 points, five rebounds, three assists, and two steals. It also helps the cause of the Intramuros-based squad, however, that they have another player who can come close, if not even match, the production of Perez. “Parehas kami ng posisyon tapos parehas kami na kahit saan, pwedeng ilagay. Malaking bagay yun sa amin kasi makakatulong talaga kami sa team,” MJ Ayaay said. Ayaay – who, like Perez stands at six-foot-one and shifts from forward to guard without a hitch – scored all of his team’s last four points and a total of 17 points in LPU’s big-time victory versus San Sebastian College-Recoletos. The team captain also had four rebounds, one assist, one steal, and one block. So alike are the two in being do-it-all players that they have also been the ones huddling up and talking up their teammates in-game. “Kami kasi yung captain ball kaya kami yung laging kumakausap sa team,” Ayaay shared. While they have similar styles of play, the two, of course, still had to work on their partnership. Talking about when Perez arrived in Intramuros in 2016, Ayaay said, “Pagdating niya, siyempre, season namin, tapos siya nasa Team B. Kaya noon, ‘di pa kami nag-uusap.” He then continued, “Ngayon, close na kami, lagi na kaming nagkukulitan.” Now they are doing it all together, the team captain said they only have one thing on their mind. “Brothers na kami and wala na kaming ibang gusto kundi maabot yung goal namin – Final Four para sa LPU,” he said. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 21st, 2017

Westbrook, Biles win athlete of year honors at The ESPYS

em>By Beth Harris, Associated Press /em> LOS ANGELES (AP) — Russell Westbrook won best male athlete at The ESPYS, while Olympic gymnast Simone Biles earned best female athlete honors Wednesday night. The 25th annual show honoring the past year's top athletes and sports moments was hosted by Peyton Manning, who humorously mocked his reputation as a control freak and an overexposed commercial pitchman in the retired NFL quarterback's opening monologue. Westbook was the NBA MVP, led the league in scoring and set a record for most triple-doubles in a season with 42. The Oklahoma City Thunder star won the trophy over Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs, Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps. 'It's been an unbelievable journey for me,' said Westbrook, a fashion fiend who adjusted his black shirt and green pants with wide white stripes before he spoke. 'I want to make sure I look good first.' Biles became the most decorated U.S. Olympic gymnast at the Rio de Janeiro Games, winning five medals, including four golds and a bronze. She beat out Olympic swimmer Katie Ledecky, WNBA star Candace Parker and Serena Williams for the honor. 'Ever since Rio it has been an amazing year,' Biles said. 'I want to thank you all for believing in me.' She was one of three double winners. Biles also won best female Olympic athlete. Phelps won record-setting performance for extending his record Olympic medal haul and as best male Olympic athlete. Aaron Rodgers won best NFL player and shared best play with then-Green Bay Packers teammate Jared Cook. Another Packer, Jordy Nelson, earned best comeback honors. The biggest ovation of the night belonged to former first lady Michelle Obama, who posthumously honored Eunice Kennedy Shriver with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award for championing the rights and acceptance of people with intellectual disabilities through her founding of Special Olympics. Her son, Tim Shriver, accepted the trophy. 'Once a great first lady, still a great first lady,' Shriver told Obama as the crowd roared its approval. The Patriots and Falcons shared the best-game award for the Super Bowl, won in a furious comeback by New England. LeBron James, a five-time winner last year, was named best NBA player. Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels won best MLB player, while Crosby won best NHL player. The show's most bizarre bit involved Bill Murray accepting the best moment award for the Chicago Cubs' World Series victory that ended a 108-year championship drought. Wearing a red party hat on top of a backward Cubs cap, Murray cracked, 'One hundred eight years of waiting is hardly a moment. This is the culmination of 108 years of momentum by momentous men.' The actor and comic plucked a bottle of champagne out of a mop bucket being pushed by retired Cubs catcher David Ross disguised as a janitor. Murray used a sword to open the bottle and took a swig. He gave presenter Nick Offerman a bottle to open with the sword, and the longtime Cubs fans toasted and drank. Ross eventually shed his disguise and writhed on the stage mimicking moves from his 'Dancing With the Stars' appearance. Ross opened his own champagne bottle with the sword and chugged as Cubs owner Tom Ricketts watched from the audience at Microsoft Theater. The trio then poured champagne on each other's heads. The NBA champion Golden State Warriors earned best team honors, while Warriors newcomer Kevin Durant received the championship performance trophy. 'It was an unbelievable year,' Warriors guard Stephen Curry said. 'A lot of noise and hype around it from the beginning of the year, but we tried to keep our head down and focus on the process. Hope to represent exactly what a team means.' Actor Bryan Cranston presented the Icon Award to 89-year-old Vin Scully, who retired in October after a record 67 years broadcasting for the Dodgers. 'Hi everybody and a very pleasant good evening to you,' Scully said, drawing cheers at his signature greeting. 'I hope you don't mind, but I wanted to hear it one more time.' Comedian Jon Stewart gave the Pat Tillman Award for Service to Air Force Master Sgt. Israel Del Toro for his strength through adversity and continued service to his country. The Jimmy V Award for Perseverance was given to 15-year-old New Orleans Saints superfan Jarrius 'JJ' Robertson, who is fighting a rare and chronic liver disease.   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 13th, 2017

Horn feels 'relief' after judging review, welcomes rematch

em>By Greg Beacham, Associated Press /em> LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jeff Horn already felt confident he had won his bout with Manny Pacquiao, no matter what Filipino government officials or U.S. television commentators thought. When an independent review this week affirmed the three ringside judges' decision, the new WBO welterweight champion took the news as yet another victory. 'I feel like I've defended the title again already, and I've only had it for a week,' Horn said after arriving in California from his native Australia. After claiming Pacquiao's 147-pound title July 2 in a stunning upset, Horn would welcome the chance to leave no doubt in anybody's mind in a second bout with Pacquiao. 'I kind of feel it's been put to bed now that I definitely won the fight, because they re-scored it,' Horn said. 'But people are always going to have their opinions, and you're never going to change some of those. I guess the only way to do it is to do it again, to have a rematch, and I think I would do even better the second time.' While Horn and many of the 51,000 fans in Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium agreed with the three ringside judges' verdict, Pacquiao was seen as the winner by everyone from ESPN analyst Teddy Atlas to a department of the Philippines government, which requested the WBO's official review of the scores. Three of the five independent judges awarded the fight to Horn (17-0-1, 11 KOs), and an aggregation of those judges' scores also favored the new champ. 'I felt like I had won, so if it had come back with (the independent judges) saying I hadn't, I would have still felt like I did anyway,' Horn said Tuesday over lunch in downtown Los Angeles, where he is attending ESPN's sports awards show on Wednesday. 'But to have them say that everyone else that studied it (felt) I had definitely won the fight gives me another sense of relief.' Horn, whose fight injuries already have healed nicely, pressured Pacquiao (59-7-2) for 12 rounds and forced the eight-division champion to back up. While Pacquiao landed plenty of shots, Horn credits his persistence for the result — along with his resilience after he was rocked in the ninth round. 'At the end of that (ninth) round, I actually didn't feel that bad,' Horn said. 'But when (the referee) came over and said, 'Show me something,' I was just like, 'Hold on a second, I'm not that bad!' I'm pretty good at that stage. I thought, 'All right, I'll show you something over the next few rounds.'' Horn's enjoyment of his victory in the frenzied stadium was dampened in his post-fight interview with Atlas, who flatly told Horn that he disagreed with the decision. 'To hear someone like him say it straight to my face was a little bit heartbreaking,' Horn said. 'But I easily just forget. I kind of lost a little bit of respect for Teddy after that.' The victory has thrust instant stardom on Horn, the London Olympian and former schoolteacher who traveled to LA with his pregnant wife, Jo. Horn plans to upgrade the couple's cars, and probably to pay off the mortgage on their home, but he also plans to keep pushing forward in his boxing career. Pacquiao repeated his disagreement with the verdict this week, but also indicated on Twitter that he 'will continue to fight' until he loses his passion. That likely means the Filipino senator isn't retiring, and a big-money rematch with Horn is a logical step. Promoter Bob Arum plans to visit Pacquiao in the Philippines soon to discuss their next move. A rematch sounds great to Horn, although logistical hurdles loom at Suncorp Stadium in his hometown. 'Obviously, doing it again in Brisbane is a good place,' Horn said. 'I love fighting at home, so having it there again would be the preference to me.'   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 13th, 2017

Puerto Princesa to host Asian Junior boxing meet

MANILA, Philippines - While the country’s elite boxers gear up for the Southeast Asian Games and the World Championships, the young guns are also primed to c.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJul 11th, 2017

Heat make it official, signing Waiters, Johnson and Olynyk

em>By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press /em> MIAMI (AP) — They came to the Miami Heat a year ago almost as afterthoughts, two guys with less-than-stellar reputations who didn’t exactly have an abundance of options. Those days are long gone for James Johnson and Dion Waiters. They’re now cornerstones of Miami’s plan to return to contention. Capping several days of salary-cap maneuvering to make sure all the pieces fit the right way, the Heat announced the signings of Johnson, Waiters and newcomer Kelly Olynyk on Friday (Saturday, PHL time) to new four-year contracts. All were agreed upon earlier this week, though Miami didn’t start closing those deals until more cap space was created earlier in the day by trading Josh McRoberts to Dallas. Combined, Johnson, Waiters and Olynyk’s deals have a maximum value of about $165 million. Those three played for $10 million last season. “As soon as Kelly Olynyk became an unrestricted free agent, we pursued him,” Heat President Pat Riley said. “He is not only a post player, he can also play away from the basket. What we like the most is that he is a playmaker, tough defender and rugged rebounder. At just 26-years-old, he fits in perfect with our young core that will play together in their primes.” Olynyk thinks he and Miami will be a great fit. “The culture here, I’ve heard so much about it,” Olynyk said. “I’m really excited about it.” Olynyk being added to the mix was the lone surprise. Johnson and Waiters had made clear they wanted to stay in Miami long ago. Johnson was courted by the Utah Jazz after Gordon Hayward left for Boston and said he was still getting used to the idea of being a sought-after commodity. “It was my first time ever being in a situation like this,” Johnson said on Friday night. “Everything was mind-boggling and exciting at the same time. I was just riding the rollercoaster.” As intoxicating as it was, he had so many reasons to stay. Johnson could make over $60 million in the next four seasons, a huge bump from the $4 million he played for last season. He dropped 40 pounds, changed his body, changed his outlook and went from someone who bounced around the league — and carried a bit of an underachiever label — to someone Miami trusted to have on the floor at the end of games last season. “It’s not just what they did for his game, it’s what they did for his life,” said Mark Bartelstein, Johnson’s agent. “When you look at where he was a year ago and where he is now, it’s an amazing story and it’s been a great marriage there between James and the Heat.” Heat guard Wayne Ellington — whose $6.3 million team option for next season is set to become officially picked up at midnight Saturday — said Johnson’s payday was both inspiring and well-deserved. “Congratulations to my guy J on his new deal!” Ellington wrote on social media. “We came in to the league together and I watched your journey and your transformation!” “Not only does Miami want me back,” Johnson said, “but my guys want me back as well.” Waiters transformed as well. He slimmed down at the team request, and his game took off — making him a go-to player in Miami last season. “Dion was so important to us,” Heat point guard Goran Dragic said. “He worked hard and you saw what that did for his game.” Much of the space Miami used this summer was created by the waiving of Chris Bosh, who still gets his $25.3 million salary for this season but doesn’t have it count against the Heat books. The Heat went after Hayward and lost out when he picked Boston, so that meant Miami went to what Riley described as Plan B: keeping its own guys. Waiters was the first big domino to fall Miami’s way in that plan, agreeing to his deal on Wednesday. Johnson and Olynyk agreed on Thursday (Friday, PHL time). Waiters averaged 15.9 points on 42 percent shooting last season, but his effect on Miami’s success was clear simply in won-lost numbers. When he played, the Heat won 59 percent of their games — a rate that would have been good enough for a No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference. When Waiters didn’t play, Miami won only 39 percent of the time. “This is where I want to be,” Waiters said earlier this summer. It’s where he’ll be for a while now. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 8th, 2017

WBO says it will re-score Pacquiao fight, result stands

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — The World Boxing Organization says it will re-score the Manny Pacquiao-Jeff Horn welterweight world title fight due to the contentious unanimous decision awarded to the Australian fighter, but there is no plan to change the result. The WBO was responding to a Philippines government department's request to review last Sunday's fight after Pacquiao said the decision against him was unfair. The Philippines Games and Amusements Board's (GAB) said it based their request on protecting boxing's integrity, citing possible miscalls by the referee and judges. But the WBO reiterated its only hope of revoking the fight judges' decision rests on proving fraud in match officiating. WBO president Francisco Valcarcel says 'I would be very grateful if the GAB can provide any evidence indicating fraud or violation of law.'   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 7th, 2017

Startling screams as Mattek-Sands injures knee at Wimbledon

em>By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press /em> LONDON (AP) — The screams were startling. Bethanie Mattek-Sands, a 32-year-old American who came to Wimbledon eyeing a fourth consecutive Grand Slam doubles title, fell to the grass when her right knee buckled as she moved toward the net in a second-round singles match Thursday. She immediately clutched her knee and, down on the turf, wailed loudly, imploring for someone to 'Help me! Help me!' Her opponent, Sorana Cirstea, immediately climbed over the net to check on Mattek-Sands, who after about 20 minutes was removed from Court 17 on a stretcher and taken to a hospital. 'Her knee was in a very weird position. I've never seen anything like this, probably, except in the movies. And, yeah, I panicked a little bit, as well,' Cirstea said. 'Then I called for help, but no one was coming. Then tried to comfort her as much as I could. But, I mean, you could feel the pain.' The extent of Mattek-Sands' injury, which came in the third set's opening game, was not immediately known. But word quickly spread around the grounds, generating concern among players. She's popular on tour, known for her gregarious personality, loud laugh and original fashion choices, including the stars-and-stripes knee-high socks she wore while teaming with Jack Sock to win a mixed-doubles gold medal for the U.S. at last year's Rio Olympics. 'It's the peak of her career right now,' said Bob Bryan, whose twin brother Mike won the 2015 French Open mixed-doubles title with Mattek-Sands. 'She's a fun-loving girl. She doesn't have any enemies in the locker room.' She's also quite a doubles player, ranked No. 1 right now after teaming with Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic to win the past three major championships and a total of five. Safarova heard about Mattek-Sands on TV and ran to her court, then stood nearby and wiped away tears as she saw her friend and playing partner in distress. 'Just terrible what happened. Obviously, I'm very sad for her. Doesn't matter about whatever goals we had,' Safarova said, her voice barely above a whisper, after losing her singles match to Shelby Rogers of the U.S. in three sets. 'It's just about her being healthy.' Mattek-Sands — who was born in Minnesota, lived in Wisconsin and now calls Arizona home with her husband Justin — thought about quitting tennis years ago after a series of injuries. There was hip surgery less than a week after her wedding in late 2008, a torn shoulder in 2011, a broken right big toe in 2012. Her ranking dropped outside the top 250 in singles and doubles in 2014, when she missed six months after another hip operation. 'I'm just, like, really hurt for her,' Safarova said. There was no indication that the condition of the grass on the court had anything to do with Mattek-Sands' fall, but playing surfaces around the All England Club were a source of complaints by others Thursday. In particular, the areas near many baselines are brown and worn, with little or no grass in spots — looking the way Wimbledon's courts usually do by late in Week 2, not as soon as Day 4 — something players said they were told was a result of unusual heat and lack of rain in recent weeks. 'The patch near the baseline is eaten up and the dirt underneath is like ice. Look around, people are going down left and right,' said 46th-ranked Alison Riske of the U.S., whose 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory over 12th-seeded Kristina Mladenovic of France at Court 18 was one of a handful of upsets in the women's draw, including No. 3 Karolina Pliskova's three-set loss to Magdalena Rybarikova. 'I was worried about, maybe, our safety, to be honest,' Riske said. 'The court was pretty slippery.' Both she and Mladenovic complained to the chair umpire before play started, and again after each took a tumble in the first two games. 'I did feel strongly about it, but I knew in my mind: Where else are they going to put us and is it going to be better? Kiki and I had a conversation,' Riske said, referring to Mladenovic by her nickname. 'And I said, 'Look, Kiki. Are the other courts going to be any different?' And obviously, they're not.' Mladenovic said she twisted her ankle during the warmup period and said she'll have an MRI on her right knee, which turned awkwardly in the second game. 'There's no grass. I don't know how to describe it,' said Mladenovic, who held a bag of ice on her swollen knee. 'It's not even clay. It's not flat. I mean, I don't know.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 7th, 2017

Camaraderie, not medals, the priority for Philippines in 2017 Youth Games

Camaraderie, not medals, the priority for Philippines in 2017 Youth Games.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJul 6th, 2017

Pacman backs GAB call to review fight

MANILA, Philippines -  Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao is supporting the appeal of the Games and Amusements Board (GAB), the regulatory body for all prof.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJul 5th, 2017

DepEd hopes to surpass previous best in ASEAN School Games

Team Philippines guns to bag at least a second place overall finish when Pinoy student-athletes compete in the 2017 Asean School Games from July 13 to 21 in Singapore. A total of 159 Pinoy athletes, mostly top performers in the recent Palarong Pambansa in San Jose, Antique, will carry the nation’s pride and Department of Education assistant secretary Tonisito Umali is confident the country can surpass its best finish of fourth place three years ago. Back in 2014, the Philippines wound up with 11 golds, 14 silvers, and 22 bronzes behind first placer Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia. Umali said the creation of the K-12 program in the Philippines has given the country a deep pool of talent for the ASEAN School Games. 'Dahil basic education at hindi pa tayo K-12, medyo bata pa ang ating mga manlalaro na nanalo. Pero ngayon, may Grade 11 to 12, doon pa lang, nakakapantay na tayo sa edad ng maglalaro,' said Umali during Tuesday's Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum at the Golden Phoenix Hotel. Among the athletes that made it to the delegation and are expected to contend for gold in the ASEAN School Games are swimmers Sacho Ilustre and Jerald Jacinto, and tracksters Francis Obiena and Jie Anne Calis. Aside from swimming and athletes, the Philippines will compete in seven other sports in badminton, sepak takraw, basketball, gymnastics, table tennis, tennis, and volleyball. 'Ngayong taon, we hope to land second or third. When we do that, it will be a big achievement in itself,' said Umali. More than winning gold medals, Umali said another aim of the Philippine delegation to the Asean School Games is to develop the values of sports to the athletes. 'The reason we are participating which is incidental ang dahilan ay 'yung disiplina na nais natin maikintal sa isipan ng mga manlalaro ay ang konsepto na tayo sa Asean ay dapat magsama sama at sa pagkakataong ito, sama sama tayong maglaro sa lingwahe ng palakasan na tayo ang magkakaunawaan,' said Umali. Umali said, for the very first time, the athletes will be housed in different parts of Metro Manila including the PhilSports complex for a 10-day training period before leaving for Singapore. Coaches and technical officials will also undergo training as well during that timeframe. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 4th, 2017

Discussing crash, Venus Williams sheds tears at Wimbledon

em>By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press /em> LONDON (AP) — Venus Williams wiped tears from her eyes during her Wimbledon news conference Monday. She shook her head, fiddled with her hair and sat, silently. The wave of emotion came as Williams attempted to answer a question about the two-car crash that police say she caused June 9 in Florida; a 78-year-old passenger in the other vehicle died 13 days later. Williams' 7-6 (7), 6-4 victory over Elise Mertens at the All England Club was the five-time Wimbledon champion's first match anywhere since the accident — and the first time she has spoken about it publicly. Well, tried to speak about it. She began by saying: 'There are really no words to describe, like, how devastating and ...' Williams paused. 'Yeah, I'm completely speechless,' she briefly continued. 'It's just ...' 'Yeah, I mean, I'm just ...' Then she sat there, silently. Eventually, the moderator seated next to Williams temporarily halted the news conference, allowing the 37-year-old American to leave the room for a bit. She huddled nearby with her older sister, Isha, before returning. When the proceedings resumed, the moderator asked that the topic of the crash be avoided, saying, 'Venus is willing to take a couple more questions about other things. Tennis, perhaps.' The 10th-seeded Williams' return to action, and difficulty in addressing the off-court matters with the media — just last week, the police report was released, and a day later, the estate of the man who died sued her — were the most noteworthy happenings on Day 1 at the grass-court Grand Slam tournament. There was, though, on-court news, too, of course, starting with this: No. 3-ranked Stan Wawrinka, a three-time major champion and the runner-up at the French Open just three weeks ago, dealt with a bothersome left knee and bowed out 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 to Daniil Medvedev, a 21-year-old Russian ranked 49th who had never won so much as one Grand Slam match in his career. 'For sure, I wasn't feeling the way I wanted to feel,' Wawrinka said. 'Apparently,' he said with a grin, 'grass is not the best surface for my knee.' Wawrinka has won each of the other majors once apiece but Wimbledon has given him fits over the years. He has yet to get past the quarterfinals and this was his sixth exit in the first round. Another seeded man hobbled by an injury departed when No. 20 Nick Kyrgios, a talented if temperamental Australian, stopped playing because of a hip problem. He dropped the first two sets against Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France before calling it quits. Two of the four men who have divvied up the past 14 Wimbledon trophies won easily Monday: Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal. Murray was asked about what advice he might give Williams. 'I don't know exactly what happened. I just read kind of more, like, headlines, rather than the whole stories about it. But it's obviously horrific when anything like that happens,' he said. 'I'm sure it must be tough for her to focus on her tennis just now. But I don't know how you advise someone on that. ... Unless you've been through it, you don't know. You don't know what to do.' Williams has not been cited or charged, and police say she was not drunk, on drugs or texting, but that she drove her SUV into the path of a car carrying a married couple. Williams, who owns a home near the crash site, told investigators her light was green when she entered the six-lane intersection but she got stopped midpoint by traffic and didn't see the other car before she crossed their lane. 'I mean, obviously, I think it would weigh on any human being, and Venus is no different,' said Williams' coach, David Witt. 'Venus is the nicest person, and (this is) just some random thing that could happen to anybody, any day. But she's looking to focus on the tennis. I'm sure it's weighing on her but we're going day by day and getting good practice in. Once she enters the court, I think her mind's on the match and tennis and winning here at Wimbledon.' Asked Monday how difficult the recent weeks have been, Williams replied: 'Tennis is still the love of my life. You know, it gives me joy.' She is a former No. 1 and the owner of seven major singles titles, along with 14 Grand Slam doubles titles, all won with her younger sister, Serena. Against Mertens, whom she beat 6-3, 6-1 on red clay at the French Open last month, Williams played unevenly. She took a 3-0 lead, then let that evaporate. She led 6-3 in the tiebreaker, then needed five set points to close it. She fell behind 2-0 in the second set, then took five of the next six games. She failed to convert two match points at 5-3, before a 33-minute rain delay. She needed three more match points to finally end the first match of her 20th Wimbledon appearance. 'I have no idea what tomorrow will bring. That's all I can say about it,' Williams said. 'That's what I've learned.'   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 4th, 2017

Utah Summer League begins with high expectations for Exum

em>By Kareem Copeland, Associated Press /em> SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — NBA Summer League rosters are typically comprised of rookies getting their first taste of the league or players trying to catch the eye of an organization. Utah’s Dante Exum doesn’t quite fit either category. The Jazz guard was the No. 5 overall pick in the 2014 draft and will be running a summer league team — again. No other lottery pick from 2014 or 2015 is currently on an Orlando or Utah Summer League roster. But Exum finds himself in the unusual position of trying to find a more secure place in the 2017-18 Utah rotation. “He’s not the young guy anymore,” Jazz summer league coach Alex Jensen said. “It’s time. You’ve got to stand out. “I don’t think it’s any one thing. When you watch the game, he can’t blend in. You’re too talented and too good to blend in, because a lot of guys are in their first and second year.” San Antonio, Boston, Philadelphia and Utah begin play in Salt Lake City on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time); Play started Saturday (late Saturday, PHL time) in the eight-team Orlando summer league. Exum said he wasn’t planning to play Summer League after the season concluded, but the team would like to see more from him going into his fourth year. Time could be running out for the 21-year-old as the Jazz continue to try to upgrade the roster and build on last season’s return to the playoffs. One area of particular focus is point guard. Utah traded into the lottery to draft guard Donovan Mitchell and took Nigel Williams-Goss in the second round. The Jazz also traded for Ricky Rubio over the weekend. Exum was moved to off guard down the stretch of the season and averaged 6.2 points, 1.7 assists and 2.0 rebounds and shot 42.7 percent from the field. His career progression stalled when he missed all of 2015-16 with a torn ACL. He said he’s focused on working on his jumper, his mid-range game, three-point shot, driving to the basket and facilitating the offense. The Jazz are hoping to re-sign Gordon Hayward, add depth to the roster and become even more of a player in the Western Conference after earning the No. 5 playoff seed in 2017. That means the clock is ticking for Exum, who needs to show he’s more than just athletically gifted in a 6’6” frame. “One of the biggest things for me is I just want to play,” Exum said. “It was an emphasis this summer just to get out and play.” Some other things to look for during play in Utah: strong>SPURS’ MURRAY /strong> Second-year guard Dejounte Murray is preparing for an increased role with San Antonio next season. Murray was considered a steal at No. 29 in the 2016 draft, but he still just played 38 games and averaged 8.5 minutes. Tony Parker is 35-years-old, and Patty Mills recently re-signed. But Murray’s minutes should see a significant uptick. “I get to come out here and show the coaching staff that I can lead a group of guys,” Murray said, “and I’m ready to accept a new role — whether it’s coming off the bench or starting. Whatever coach [Gregg Popovich] needs me to do.” Murray has plans to work out with MVP finalist Kawhi Leonard in San Diego after summer league. strong>FULTZ vs. TATUM /strong> The first matchup in Utah on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) will be the most anticipated game of the three-day session. The 76ers and No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz face the Celtics and No. 3 pick Jayson Tatum. The teams swapped picks before the draft, and the two are likely to be compared throughout their careers. strong>BODY PRESENT, MIND ELSEWHERE /strong> The Jazz will be playing Summer League games on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time), but many thoughts will be in San Diego, where general manager Dennis Lindsey, coach Quin Snyder and others are scheduled to meet with Hayward. He met with the Heat on Saturday and the Celtics on Sunday (Monday, PHL time). Hayward just concluded the most productive season of his career that included his first All-Star selection, career highs in points and rebounds per game. He was one of four players to average at least 21.5 points, five rebounds, 3.5 assists, one steal and two three-pointers per game this season. The others were the three MVP finalists: Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Leonard. strong>JAZZ HOSTING, KIND OF /strong> Utah is hosting a four-team summer league in Salt Lake City, but not at their facilities. Vivint SmartHome Arena is in the midst of a $125 million renovation, so summer league games are being played at the University of Utah. Teams are preparing at Utah’s new practice facility that opened last year because the Jazz practice facility is also being remodeled. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 3rd, 2017

Brazil's 16-year-old baseball wonder turning MLB heads

MAURICIO SAVARESE, Associated Press   IBIUNA, Brazil (AP) — A prospect with a 94 mph fastball gets a lot of attention, no matter where he is pitching — even when that prospect is a diminutive 16-year-old from a country with little baseball tradition. Eric Pardinho's blazing fastball has brought scouts to this city 50 miles west of Sao Paulo in soccer mad Brazil. The 5-foot, 8-inch tall right-hander could get a lot more attention July 2, when Major League Baseball teams can begin signing international players. Pardinho is No. 5 on's list of 30 world prospects to watch. Pretty impressive for a kid who was introduced to baseball almost by accident. 'I am only here because at 6 years of age I was playing paddleball on the beach and my uncle thought my control could be good for baseball back in Bastos,' he said. Bastos is a small town outside of Sao Paulo with a sizeable Japanese population. The Japanese began bringing their love of baseball and sushi to Brazil in the early 1900s. Pardinho, whose mother's parents are Japanese, started gaining attention last year when he struck out 12 in a win over the powerhouse Dominican Republic at the under-16 Pan Am Games. In September he got two outs against Pakistan — both strikeouts — in a qualifier for the World Baseball Classic, a 10-0 win played in New York City. The young Brazilian's changeup and slider have also earned praise from local coaches, who already see at him as a potential national star for baseball's return to the Olympics in 2020 at Tokyo. At the moment Brazil has only one player in MLB, the Cleveland Indians catcher Yan Gomes. Since January, more and more visitors have come to watch Pardinho workout at a new MLB-sponsored training center in Ibiuna, another city influenced by baseball-loving Japanese immigrants. Pardinho is eager to sign with a team and move to the United States. 'There is a lot that I will only learn when I go,' said Pardinho. The pitcher said his height should not be an issue, though his family members still hope that he will grow more in the next year. 'Some time ago there was an issue with shorter players, but now there are teams that don't care. It matters more that I have a safe fastball and two more good options, including a curveball that I control well,' he said. Other MLB hopefuls agree: facing Pardinho is a huge challenge. 'Pardinho's curveball is amazing, he is more than fast. His height doesn't matter because his arm can do wonders,' said third baseman Victor Coutinho, also 16. Also a pitcher, Heitor Tokar practices with Pardinho every day and believes in his friend's future in the sport. 'Pardinho doesn't feel any difference when he throws against players taller than him, he destroys them all,' Tokar said. Even Pardinho's coach, Mitsuyoshi Sato, knows the teen is headed for bigger challenges, and protects his arm. Sato pitches the soon-to-be pro no more than two innings at weekend tournaments. Pardinho's father Evandro makes the hour-plus drive from Bastos to check on his son, and Sato makes sure Pardinho is a priority for Yakult training center medics. Pardinho has the support of an orthopedist, a physiotherapist and a fitness trainer. He also has a technical trainer. 'He still has to improve physically and mentally. I don't want him to do too many fastballs now because I worry about a possible injury,' said Sato. 'No arm is prepared to pitch that fast, much less the arm of a kid.' Sato believes Pardinho has room for improvement in the control of his changeup so he can spare his arm and shoulder. Pardinho thinks if he has success, he could change baseball in Brazil. If I do well, maybe more and more Brazilians, not only those of Japanese heritage, will think of playing on a diamond, too.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 1st, 2017