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HOTSPOT: Diego Loyzaga at Sofia Andres, may label na nga ba?

HOTSPOT: Diego Loyzaga at Sofia Andres, may label na nga ba?.....»»

Category: entertainmentSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 30th, 2016

Diego Loyzaga to Sofia Andres: 'Maganda kang bata.'

Diego Loyzaga to Sofia Andres: 'Maganda kang bata.'.....»»

Category: entertainmentSource:  pepRelated NewsAug 30th, 2016

Sofia Andres at Diego Loyzaga, ilulunsad bilang bagong love team ng Kapamilya Network

Sofia Andres at Diego Loyzaga, ilulunsad bilang bagong love team ng Kapamilya Network.....»»

Category: newsSource:  pinoyparazziRelated NewsAug 27th, 2016

Diego Loyzaga 'kuya-zoned' by Sofia Andres

Diego Loyzaga 'kuya-zoned' by Sofia Andres.....»»

Category: entertainmentSource:  pepRelated NewsAug 27th, 2016

Why Diego Loyzaga still can't court Sofia Andres

Why Diego Loyzaga still can't court Sofia Andres.....»»

Category: entertainmentSource:  pepRelated NewsAug 26th, 2016

Diego Loyzaga 'kuya-zoned' by Sofia Andres

Diego Loyzaga 'kuya-zoned' by Sofia Andres.....»»

Category: entertainmentSource:  pepRelated NewsAug 26th, 2016

Why Diego Loyzaga still can't court Sofia Andres

Why Diego Loyzaga still can't court Sofia Andres.....»»

Category: entertainmentSource:  pepRelated NewsAug 25th, 2016

Diego Loyzaga sings 'Ako'y Sa 'Yo at Ika'y Akin Lamang' for Sofia Andres on her debut

Diego Loyzaga sings 'Ako'y Sa 'Yo at Ika'y Akin Lamang' for Sofia Andres on her debut.....»»

Category: entertainmentSource:  pepRelated NewsAug 25th, 2016

Love Actually: Sofia Andres and Diego Loyzaga, More Than Just Best Friends

Totes kilig over this: "I'm happy when I'm with you," says Sofia......»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 20th, 2016

Phil Mickelson set to return at CareerBuilder Challenge

JOHN NICHOLSON, AP Sports Writer br /> LA QUINTA, Calif. (AP) — Phil Mickelson is set to play in the CareerBuilder Challenge, returning from two sports hernia surgeries a week earlier than he originally expected. 'I feel good and I want to play,' Mickelson said Wednesday in a statement. 'I don't know where my game is, but I figure the only way to find out is to play.' He'll face an unusual wet and chilly start in the desert, with rain expected overnight and Thursday morning and then again Friday. The forecast high for Thursday was 62 degrees, dipping to 59 on Friday. The 46-year-old Mickelson had surgery Oct. 19 — three days after tying for eighth in the season-opening Safeway Open — and again Dec. 12. He has been hitting balls for a week and played a practice round Wednesday. In his first year as the tournament ambassador, Mickelson stuck to his normal routine of playing and practicing at The Madison Club instead of one of the three tournament courses. He wasn't available for comment beyond his short statement. The Hall of Famer was scheduled to open Thursday morning at La Quinta Country Club, then head to PGA West to play the Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course on Friday, the Stadium Course on Saturday and, if he makes the cut, the final round Sunday. Mickelson won the 2002 and 2004 events and tied for third last year. Winless since the 2013 British Open, the 42-time PGA Tour winner plans to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week in his hometown of San Diego and the Waste Management Phoenix Open the following week. Jason Dufner won last year, beating David Lingmerth with a par on the second hole of a playoff. 'Possibly going to have some weather issues this week, which will make it a little bit more challenging,' Dufner said. 'But just excited to be back, excited to be back playing again. Took some time off at the end of the year, so played a couple weeks in Hawaii.' Patrick Reed is the top-ranked player in the field at No. 9. He won the 2014 tournament. 'I never played here when it rained before; it's always sunny and beautiful and perfect,' Reed said. 'The golf courses aren't that long, by the numbers, but if it starts getting cold, now the ball's not traveling. If it gets wet, ball's not going to travel, either. Then also, if it's raining while you're playing, not having that friction on the golf club, the ball's not going to go as far as well. So, it's just going to make it a lot longer.' In 2014, he shot 63-63-63-71 to break the PGA Tour record for relation to par for the first 54 holes at 27 under and become the first player in tour history to open with three rounds of 63 or better. Two other PGA West courses were used that year in the pro-am event. 'These two golf courses are harder than the other two,' Reed said. 'And I don't think it's as much as length as it is you can get away with some golf shots on the other ones. Here, you can get penalized for hitting a poor tee shot or poor iron shot. And the biggest difference I feel like is for the amateurs. The amateurs over there, they could hit some loose shots and they're fine. Over here, when they hit a loose shot, they're really struggling and it just seems to make the rounds a little longer. And now if you're adding weather, some of these amateurs are going to struggle.' Brendan Steele, the Safeway Open winner from nearby Idyllwild, played the PGA West courses as a junior. He also played in a rain-plagued Golden State two-man team event. 'That two-man team event, it actually dumped and we got cut down to 27 holes and barely got in nine holes the second day,' Steele said. 'So, it was really, really bad. So, I have seen them that way. I may be one of the few guys in the field that has seen them that way.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 19th, 2017

Sofia Andres, nagpost ng litrato kasama ang rumored bf na si Daniel Miranda

Sofia Andres, nagpost ng litrato kasama ang rumored bf na si Daniel Miranda.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsMay 24th, 2019

Nadal opens bid for 12th French Open title against qualifier

By Samuel Petrequin, Associated Press PARIS (AP) — Rafael Nadal will start his campaign for a record-extending 12th title at the French Open against a qualifier. And if he makes it to the second round of the clay-court Grand Slam, another qualifier will be waiting. The defending champion was handed what looked like quite an easy draw Thursday at Roland Garros stadium, where the Spanish player attended the ceremony and said he was happy with his form. Nadal won his first title of the season last week at the Italian Open, where he looked close to his best after some uncharacteristic struggles on clay. "It was an important title for me," Nadal said. "I played very well throughout the tournament, I'm very happy to find myself in this situation." In the women's draw, Simona Halep will open the defense of her title against Ajla Tomljanovic. Top-ranked Naomi Osaka, who seeks a third consecutive major championship, will be up against Anna Karolína Schmiedlová. Coming to Paris with only one clay-court match since last year's French Open, 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams was drawn into the top half of the draw with Osaka and Halep. She will take on Vitalia Diatchenko in the first round. Osaka will be up against a tough opponent if she gets past Schmiedlova, facing the winner of a first-round match pitting 2017 champion Jelena Ostapenko and former top-ranked player Victoria Azarenka. Nadal, who last year became the first male player to win 11 titles at the same Grand Slam tournament, could meet his old foe Roger Federer in the semifinals. Federer, in his first French Open match since 2015, will face Lorenzo Sonego of Italy and could face Stefanos Tsitsipas in a potential quarterfinal matchup. Federer is back on clay after skipping that part o the season for the past two years. He reached the quarterfinals in Madrid and Rome, where he withdrew because of a right leg injury. Top-ranked Novak Djokovic will begin his run against Hubert Hurkacz. The Serb has been enjoying a good run of form during the clay season, winning the title in Madrid before losing to Nadal in Rome. Organizers announced before the draw that Tomas Berdych and Milos Raonic had withdrawn from the tournament, which starts on Sunday......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 24th, 2019

Sofia Andres, binura ang mga larawan ng kanyang rumored bf sa kanyang IG account

Sofia Andres, binura ang mga larawan ng kanyang rumored bf sa kanyang IG account.....»»

Category: entertainmentSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 22nd, 2019

Financial case a cloud over unprecedented City titles feat

By Rob Harris, Associated Press LONDON (AP) — After the FA Cup was raised aloft by Manchester City's players, the Wembley Stadium pyrotechnics didn't cast a cloud over the team's unprecedented sweep of English soccer's men's trophies. The only shadow came from the investigations by soccer authorities into leaked documents that allegedly show the game's costliest squad was assembled thanks to mechanisms employed to try to circumvent spending regulations. A 6-0 rout of Watford on Saturday, delivered by players who cost more than $200 million in transfer fees, ensured the FA Cup joined the Premier League trophy, League Cup and Community Shield already in City's possession. The only piece of silverware missing is from the competition City could be banned from next season: the Champions League. City arrived at Wembley reeling from UEFA investigators last week sending the governing body's judges a file into how the Abu Dhabi-owned club sought to allegedly dupe the governing body to comply with Financial Fair Play. And the team left the national stadium with manager Pep Guardiola seething to face questions about the cloud over City's feat. "We are not guilty (until) proven," Guardiola said. "Would I say this club makes a step forward from the big investment from Sheikh Mansour? Definitely. Can you do that without top players? No way. That money helps to buy the incredible players we have? Yes. "After that we wait. If we are punished, we will accept it. But I listen to my chairman and my CEO, they give me the arguments for why they are under investigation and I trust them. When they tell me we were fair, we did it absolutely following the rules, I'm sorry, I believe them. If the opponents and contenders believe that's it's just the money ... it is OK they will be a problem." Guardiola is the only City figure publicly responding to questions about the FFP investigation, despite not being a director. Leaving Wembley, City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak only gave a thumb's up when asked about the club's potential Champions League ban. Leaks of internal correspondence published by German outlet Der Spiegel last year showed how City used companies linked to the Abu Dhabi ownership to boost revenue in an attempt to curb losses and comply with UEFA regulations. City hasn't disputed the authenticity of the documents. The Football Leaks group also published details showing how Roberto Mancini, who managed City from 2009 to 2013, received more pay from a team Sheikh Mansour owns in Abu Dhabi to work as a consultant than from the Manchester club. Mancini was the last City manager to win the FA Cup in 2012. City hasn't responded to questions sent by The Associated Press in November asking if Guardiola had any similar arrangements to Mancini, and the manager was infuriated to be asked Saturday if he received any payments from Abu Dhabi. "Do you know the question you are asking me — if I receive money from another situation today?" Guardiola said. "Do you think I deserve to make this kind of question ... the day I won the treble, if I received money from another situations?" Guardiola is yet to provide an answer. City did not respond to a follow-up text message on the issue......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 19th, 2019

Nadal reaches Rome semis; Federer and Osaka withdraw injured

By Andrew Dampf, Associated Press ROME (AP) — Rafael Nadal put away Fernando Verdasco 6-4, 6-0 at the Italian Open on Friday and ought to be a little nervous. He's conceded only six games in six sets at the Foro Italico but he's reached the semifinals. Nadal has fallen in the semifinals of his last three tournaments — all on his favored clay. And next up is Stefanos Tsitsipas, whom Nadal lost to in Madrid last week. "I know what happened last week, and I (am) going to try to do it better tomorrow," Nadal said. "I have to hold the level or increase a little bit more. If that happens, I (am) going to have my chances. The good thing is during the last month my feeling is every week was better than the previous one." Tsitsipas, 20, is up to No. 7 in the rankings. "Every year, we make (a) prediction with the team which player is going to be at the top 10 at the end of the season," Nadal said. "I put Tsitsipas there. ... He started even better than what I (expected). He deserves to be where he is now." Meanwhile, Roger Federer and top-ranked Naomi Osaka withdrew before their quarterfinals because of injuries. Federer reported a right leg injury ahead of his match against Tsitsipas, and Osaka said her right hand was hurting before she was to play Kiki Bertens. Also reaching the last four was Diego Schwartzman, who beat Kei Nishikori for the first time in four tries, 6-4, 6-2, to reach his first Masters Series semifinal. Schwartzman, ranked 24th, will face top-ranked Novak Djokovic or Juan Martin del Potro. On the women's side, Karolina Pliskova rallied past former No. 1 Victoria Azarenka 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-2 and will face qualifier Maria Sakkari, who rallied past Kristina Mladenovic 5-7, 6-3, 6-0. Bertens, who won the Madrid Open last week, will face Johanna Konta, who beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-3, 3-6, 6-1. Although Osaka won both of her matches on Thursday in straight sets, Federer, 37, had to labor for more than 2 ½ hours to overcome Borna Coric in his second time on court. Federer said after beating Coric that he slid on a wet line and his leg "was hurting a little bit." "I am disappointed that I will not be able to compete today. I am not 100 percent physically and, after consultation with my team, it was determined that I not play," Federer said. "Rome has always been one of my favorite cities to visit and I hope to be back next year." Later, Federer wrote on Instagram: "The fan reaction and crowd energy during my matches yesterday remind exactly why I am still competing on the ATP Tour." View this post on Instagram I had to take the tough decision this morning to pull out of the Italian Open as I am not feeling 100% physically. The fan reaction and crowd energy during my matches yesterday remind me exactly why I am still competing on the ATP Tour. Thank you Roma for an incredible week. Mazie Grille! ???? A presto!???????????????????? A post shared by Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) on May 17, 2019 at 7:14am PDT It's only the fourth time in Federer's career he has had a walkover loss, the ATP Tour said, adding the 20-time Grand Slam champion has never retired in 1,465 matches. Osaka couldn't immediately say how serious her injury is or if it will affect her status for Roland Garros, which starts in nine days. She had yet to see a doctor, but when she held her hand up for reporters, it was clearly swollen. "I woke up this morning and couldn't really move my thumb," Osaka said. "I tried to practice and grip my racket but I couldn't, and I kept feeling this pain when I tried to move my hand in different directions." Osaka's win on Thursday guaranteed she will remain No. 1 going into the French Open. "I didn't feel anything yesterday. That's why I'm kind of confused right now because I literally woke up in the morning and couldn't move my thumb," Osaka said. "So I was like, 'Maybe I slept on it and maybe it will go away.' But it didn't." Osaka also withdrew before a semifinal in Stuttgart, Germany, last month due to an abdominal injury, and she retired from her previous meeting with Bertens at last year's WTA Finals with a leg injury. "I feel like the ab thing could have been helped, but this one I don't think I could have helped it because I don't know what caused it," Osaka said. "I don't know why I have it.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 18th, 2019

Hunt tells Browns, You can trust me, after violent past

By Tom Withers, Associated Press BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Once he found the courage, Kareem Hunt watched the infamous video of him shoving a woman and then kicking her while she was on the ground. Like millions of others, he was disturbed. "I was like, 'Wow, it's pretty bad. That's not me,'" he said, recalling his reaction. "I didn't really watch the video for a long, long time." Hunt swears he's since changed. Given a second chance by his hometown team and the NFL, Hunt spoke Wednesday for the first time since being signed in February by the Browns, who are hoping the 23-year-old has learned from his mistakes and can outrun his violent past. It's been an embarrassing and humbling five months for Hunt, released in December by Kansas City just days after a surveillance video showed him physically abusing a woman during an argument in a Cleveland hotel hallway in February 2018. He wasn't forthcoming to the Chiefs about what transpired and paid the price. But Browns general manager John Dorsey, who drafted him in 2017 while GM with the Chiefs, decided Hunt deserved a shot at redemption. Hunt said he's determined to make the most of it. "I'm just taking it very seriously," he said. "Like day by day, I'm just making the best decisions at the time and place. And doing everything I can and prevent something like that from happening again." Hunt said he's promised Dorsey his violent days are over. "I told him, 'You can trust me.' I've got to earn his trust, and I've got to earn everybody's trust in the whole organization," he said. "I'm not willing to mess that up." Hunt must serve an eight-game league suspension for "physical altercations" before he can play. For now, he's allowed to practice with his teammates during the Browns' offseason training activities, and his time on the field is providing a sanctuary and a place to begin making amends. While he's remorseful about his past, Hunt knows only his actions going forward will help him earn back trust. He's keeping a close circle of friends and working in the community by speaking to high school students about making smarter decisions. "It's very meaningful for them and for me," he said, "just knowing that I can help them, and talk to these kids about just life. A lot of them have dreams to play football and stuff like that, too, and just giving them positive lift-up. Just always believing in themselves." Hunt said part of his motivation for speaking was because he didn't have the same opportunity. "I didn't really have anybody come talk to me when I was in high school," he said. "Somebody to look up to and explain that, 'You know, nobody's perfect and you gotta learn from your mistakes and don't make the same mistakes.'" Hunt has been undergoing weekly counseling to help control his behavior. He denied being treated for an alcohol dependency. "Not so much alcohol, but it was just in there a little bit," he said. "I pretty much just focused on making myself the better person and talking to them about how to control my anger. I'm not an angry person at all, definitely not. I just felt like I had to make better decisions. I want to talk about ways to make better decisions in certain situations I'm put in." Hunt has not reached out to the victim in the video. If he did, he would ask for her forgiveness. "If I was to see her, I would apologize to her face," he said. "But I have not had the chance to do that. I don't know any ways of contacting her." As for the Chiefs, who felt betrayed by his dishonesty, Hunt insists he told them what he could before the video showed a different story. "I know I'm not going to mess this up again," he said. "And the Chiefs, I didn't really lie. I just told them what I knew at the time, and when the video came out, it was me seeing it too for the first time again, it was so long ago. They felt like I lied to them. That's all right." Hunt said a renewed Christian faith has helped him get through this period of his life. He plans to be baptized Sunday. "I'm looking forward, so I can feel reborn," he said......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 15th, 2019

Mother s Day Gift Guide: Kids and Dads Gift To Their Moms

Finding the Mother’s Day gift for the number one woman in your life has become a challenging task. You've run out of tricks—the usual flowers, blouses, and chocolates, just seem so, well, usual. And of course, you know very well that she deserves more than that. Why not give something both pretty and practical as well, something that makes mom look and feel good at the same time? Check out these awesome pairs of Skechers shoes for every type of mom! For the active mom: Skechers Performance and Merrell Merrell and Skechers Performance are ideal for ladies with an active and adventurous lifestyle. Each pair of the technologically advanced footwear will satisfy the most meticulous and quality conscious folks out there. Whether it’s an out-of-town adventure with the kids or a weekend run, these footwear will surely deliver. We recommend: GORun Fast – Valor and GORun 600 – Reactor from Skechers, and  Zoe Soujourn Lace and Riveter Knit from Merrell. For the gym and athleisure mom: Skechers YOU and Skechers Sport Meanwhile, for mommies who are into fitness and wellness, Skechers YOU and Sport are just what they need. These trendy and comfy rubber shoes with cushioned insoles will help mom maintain that active lifestyle. They’re perfect whetherit’s yoga, pilates, Zumba and after workout dates with friends! The best part?  She can wear this one while exercising, and even during days when she’s out running some errands. Plus, athleisure is always in whether mom decides to hit the gym or just dress like it! Top picks include the following: YOU – Spirit, YOU – Rise, Ultra Flex, and Air Element –Prelude. For the modern mom: Skechers Modern Comfort and GOWalk On the other hand, if your mom is the modern type—she loves sharing on social media, taking pictures, dressing up in the latest trends, and having brunch with her barkada at the mall, there’s also something l for her. Skechers Modern Comfort and GOWalk have that gorgeous style and easy wearing comfort perfect for a day of strolling around and doing errands in style. Pick any of these picture-perfect sneaks: Be Light,  Sepulveda Blvd,  GOWalk Miracle, and GOWalk Evolution On the other hand, if your mom is the modern type—she loves sharing on social media, taking pictures, dressing up in the latest trends, and having brunch with her barkada at the mall, there’s also something l for her. Skechers Modern Comfort and GOWalk have that gorgeous style and easy wearing comfort perfect for a day of strolling around and doing errands in style. Pick any of these picture-perfect sneaks: Be Light,  Sepulveda Blvd,  GOWalk Miracle, and GOWalk Evolution For the summer loving mom: Skechers and Merrell Sandals And since Mother’s Day falls right this summer season, a pair of sandals would also be a great gift. Skechers and Merrell have sandals that are perfect for both city walks and beach trips. From a day hanging by the seashore or a candlelight dinner in the resort, Skechers and Merrell have a pairs to pair with their sundresses or evening wear. Choose from any of these: Rumble Up – Cloud Chaser and BOBS – Dessert Kiss from Skechers, and District Mendi Thong from Merrell.  For the career wo-mom: Skechers Modern Comfort  For the lady boss at home and office, Skechers has minimalist black flats that’ll match mom’s business casual outfits. Stylish and comfortable, this must-have is the perfect substitute for her heels when she wants something just as chic but comfier! Get one—or both, of these: Cleo – Skokie or Breathe Easy – Sole Full.   SKECHERS: Skechers is available online and at Glorietta 2, Trinoma, SM North Edsa The Annex, Ayala Malls Cloverleaf, Gateway Mall, Robinsons Galleria, Ayala Malls The 30th, SM East Ortigas, Market! Market!, SM Mall of Asia, Robinsons Place Manila, Lucky Chinatown, Alabang Town Center, Festival Mall, SM Southmall, SM Bacoor, SM Dasmarinas, Robinsons General Trias, SM Lipa, Fairview Terraces, SM Fairview, SM Pampanga, Marquee Mall, SM Clark, Vista Mall Bataan, SM Cabanatuan, Robinsons Place Ilocos, Ayala Malls Legazpi, Ayala Center Cebu, SM City Cebu, SM Seaside Cebu, SM Bacolod, SM Iloilo, SM Davao, Abreeza Mall, Gaisano Mall of Davao, Limketkai Mall and Centrio Mall. For more information, visit skechers.com.ph, like Facebook.com/SkechersPhilippines and on Instagram.  MERRELL:  Visit Merrell stores located at at Glorietta 3, TriNoma, SM North EDSA Annex, Market! Market!, Robinsons Place Manila, Festival Mall, SM Southmall, SM Dasmarinas, Marquee Mall, Harbor Point, SM City Cebu, Ayala Center Cebu, SM Iloilo, SM City Davao, SM Lanang, Abreeza Mall, Gaisano Mall Davao, LimKetKai Mall, and Centrio Mall, select specialty & department stores. Visit Merrell on Facebook, on Twitter, and Instagram......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 12th, 2019

No need for Malone to sell Nuggets: Their time is now

By Sekou Smith, NBA.com PORTLAND, Ore. — Give Michael Malone credit, the Denver Nuggets coach is as relentless a salesman as there is in basketball. Whether it’s moving speeches delivered to his own team or pleading with television audiences to stand up and take notice of the splendid compilation of talent the franchise has stockpiled in recent years, he refuses to let up. From building the legend of Jamal Murray or waxing poetic about the virtues of Nikola Jokic, the nimble giant prone to triple-doubles on the regular, Malone is prepared to use the bully pulpit to make sure no one overlooks the Nuggets. [Watch the Playoffs on NBA League Pass for 30% less with this limited time offer! Select Annual package and use code SAVE30 at checkout to redeem] A seven-game series win over San Antonio in the first round produced some of Malone’s best stuff to date, including him trumpeting Jokic as not only a legitimate Kia MVP candidate (true, this season) but also a surefire future Hall of Famer (could be, the way he’s playing). So you had to know Malone was going to be on his Nuggets informercial grind after they refused to lose Sunday (Monday, PHL time) in Portland, bouncing back after losing a grueling four-overtime thriller to the Trail Blazers here Friday night (Saturday, PHL time) with a gritty 116-112 triumph to tie this series at 2-2 headed back to Denver for Tuesday’s (Wednesday, PHL time) critical Game 5. “I’m so proud of our group,” Malone said, after his talented crew showed off the chops needed to regain the homecourt advantage they surrendered in their Game 2 loss at Pepsi Center. “And in the closing moments, I really was confident because in close games this year we were 13-3 [in games] decided by three points or less, best record in the NBA. We’re 12-1 in the second nights of back-to-backs, best record in the NBA. Our guys are tough; to come in here and win this game some 36 hours after losing a four-overtime game speaks to just how tough we are. So I wasn’t worried, we had our starting group out there. “Jamal, who I thought was phenomenal tonight, goes 11-for-11 from the foul line in a hostile environment and really kind of with the series hanging in the balance. You go down 1-3, and we all know how that story ends. I think the confidence of doing the same thing in the first round against San Antonio helped us, but our guys stepped up. We never frayed. We stayed together. And I can’t speak enough about the resiliency and toughness of our team.” And he shouldn’t. The Blazers had won 12 straight games at home dating back to the regular season and were 22-2 on their home floor since January 5. When the Nuggets saw their 10-point lead shrink to just a point with 3:02 to play as Portland closers Damian Lillard (28 points) and C.J. McCollum (29) led the charge, Denver could have easily folded up under the emotional weight of Game 3 and their current predicament. But they proved to be as resilient and tough as Malone said they were. Jokic was brilliant again, collecting his fourth triple-double (21 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists) in his first postseason, second only to the five Magic Johnson piled up during his rookie season with the Los Angeles Lakers. And Murray was even better, finishing with a game-high 34 points and draining six straight free throws in the frantic closing seconds to seal the win for a Nuggets team that didn’t allow fatigue, a raucous and sellout Moda Center crowd or the pressure to avoid that 3-1 hole rattle them. “It wasn’t the first time,” Murray said of his embrace of the pressure with the game on the line at the line. “I think free throws are my thing. My dad and I do a lot of training [on] free throws. Blindfolded, he’ll talk to me just like how the crowd is, put pressure on me. I take 1,000 free throws in practice to make or or two … and tonight, it ended up being six.” The number Malone focused on afterwards was 11, as in the number of playoff games Murray and Jokic have played in as they continue to establish themselves as postseason stars. “You think about how young we are and and what we are doing, going on the road and winning a tough game in a hostile environment,” Malone said, “and for Jamal to be the centerpiece of that has been phenomenal. If you’re a Denver Nuggets fan, how excited are you about this team now. More importantly, how excited are you for our future? We have a chance to be a really good team for many, many years and Jamal is going to be a big part of that.” The same goes for Jokic, obviously. He’s already an All-Star and is going to end up on the All-NBA first or second team as well as the top five of the voting for Kia MVP after the regular season he put together. That might explains why the entire Nuggets bench froze as they watched him limp to the sideline in the final moments after being kneed in the leg in the final seconds. “Your heart skips a beat,” Malone said. “Nikola is the face of our franchise, but he just got kneed, it was nothing serious and and we were able to hold on for the win.” For all of Malone’s bluster about his group, it’s not even necessary at this stage of the season. The Nuggets earned the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference playoff chase on the strength of a talented and deep roster that might not resonate with casual NBA fans, but is celebrated by those in the know. Touting their accomplishments in real time makes sense for a coach trying to empower his team to believe in themselves in what could and perhaps should be a nice stretch of playoff runs in the future. But anyone paying attention can tell that the future could be now for these Nuggets. A trip to the conference finals one year after they failed to make the postseason field on the final night of the season in what amounted to a play-in game in Minneapolis last April, is a hell of a start. Malone knows it. His team knows it. And so do the Trail Blazers, who are well aware of the opportunity they squandered in a series where wavering confidence by the Nuggets might have been the only advantage they could exploit. “The good thing for us is that we won a game on their court,” Lillard said. “So it’s not like we lose both games there. We’re in a good space, 2-2, we know we’re capable of winning on their floor and that’t what we’ve got to get done. Obviously, it’s disappointing … we didn’t want to let an opportunity like this slip, but it happens. It’s playoff basketball and we’ve got to move forward.” So do the Nuggets, which is where Malone the master motivator comes into play. And just so we’re clear about something, his sell job is genuine. He knows of what he speaks in assessing a young team on the rise, having spent time coaching in Cleveland and Golden State during the formative stages with what would turn out to be teams that made it to The Finals (2007 in Cleveland). He was on Mark Jackson’s Warriors staff when they turned the corner from a lottery team to  playoff outfit (2012-13 season), helping nurture the core group of a team that has won three of the past four NBA titles and become a potential dynasty that no one saw coming at the time. So if Malone sees special things in his current team, it’s his responsibility to shout about it every now and then, both to the basketball public and especially internally. Youngsters like Jokic and Murray, Gary Harris and Malik Beasley, Torrey Craig and Monte Morris and even veterans like Paul Millsap, Mason Plumlee and Game 4 hero Will Barton, who knocked down huge shots to help seal the deal, need to hear the positive reinforcement from their coach. And that’s not even taking into account what absorbing these moments means for Michael Porter Jr., who is spending his rookie season recovering from back surgery, and is certainly going to be a part of that bright future Malone is so passionate about. If anything, this Nuggets team is ahead of schedule, two wins shy of a trip to the Western Conference finals with three games to play. Two of those are coming on their home floor, where Denver compiled the best record (34-7) in the league during the regular season. Maybe Malone is right to speak the Nuggets’ success into existence rather than wishing and hoping for it to come to fruition without a word otherwise. But he won’t have to go all car salesmen on the final day of month much longer. A couple more performances like the one the Nuggets put on Sunday (Monday, PHL time) and this whole thing, the refurbished franchise with all the boxes checked on the roster -- now and for the foreseeable future -- sells itself. Sekou Smith is a veteran NBA reporter and NBA TV analyst. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

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