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Sotto ready, confident

LOOKING forward to play against the big boys, Kai Sotto is up to the challenge when the Philippines compete in the Fiba U17 World Cup in Argentina starting on June 30. The 7-foot-1 Ateneo standout may have been so dominant here, but for Sotto, going up against the world's best….....»»

Category: newsSource: journal journalJun 23rd, 2018

Manny Pacquiao beats Lucas Matthysse and Father Time in latest win

The fire is back in the eyes and belly of 39 year old Philippine senator Manny Pacquiao who scored an emphatic knockout victory over Lucas Martin Matthysse to win his 11th world title at 2:43 of the seventh round Sunday afternoon at the Axiata Arena here. Proving his critics wrong, Pacquiao put on a clinic of sorts as he showed facets of his ring brilliance that were missing in his previous fights since 2009 where he last won by knockout. Before a screaming horde of fans led by the heads of state of Malaysia and the Philippines, Pacquiao was brilliant, fast and accurate with his timing and combinations, completely frustrating and flustering the former WBA king. "You have to love what you do in order to do what I still do as a 39-year-old fighter," said Pacquiao, who trained hardest despite his age, pushing himself to the limit. But this time around, his new team of mostly Filipinos led by chief trainer Buboy Fernandez, acknowledged his conditions and custom-fit a new training regimen that brought back the power and the speed, however diminished a bit. "Do I look old,?" asked Pacquiao laughing in front of the members of media at the post-fight press conference. Every masterful stroke dealt by Pacquiao befuddled Matthysse who secretly plotted to retire Pacquiao. "Not today," said Pacquiao, who was cheered on by Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte who watched in the presidential suite with new Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. "Of course, it was an extra motivational tool for me to fight well and careful." Fernandez warned his ward not to be too confident when he knocked down Matthysse for the second round, the Argentine taking a knee at the end of the fifth round. "It might have been a trick. But we were ready for Matthysse," said a beaming Fernandez, who for the first time, acted as chief trainer aided by strength and conditioning coach Justin Fortune and assistant Raides "Nonoy" Neri. Cutman Edgardo de la Vega was not much needed as Pacquiao was never in trouble. "We will take a rest for now before we decide what to do next," said Pacquiao, who goes back to work this week as the Philippine Senate opens its sessions. - RELEASE.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 16th, 2018

Croatia will be ready for France in World Cup final, says coach Dalic

MOSCOW -- Ecstatic Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic is confident tiredness will not be an issue for his side when they face France in the World Cup final despite once again coming through extra time to beat England on Wednesday......»»

Category: financeSource:  bworldonlineRelated NewsJul 12th, 2018

Locked and loaded: Pacquiao flies to KL

GENERAL SANTOS CITY: A retooled eight-division champion Manny Pacquiao flies with his team for Kuala Lumpur today confident of reclaiming his place in the elite list of belt-owners he lost just a year ago. “Manny prepared long and hard for this fight and he’s ready to prove he still belongs to that list of world [...] The post Locked and loaded: Pacquiao flies to KL appeared first on The Manila Times Online......»»

Category: newsSource:  manilatimesRelated NewsJul 8th, 2018

Manny Pacquiao 85 percent ready as Matthysse fight draws near

GENERAL SANTOS CITY--With just less than three weeks left before his defining fight with WBA  champion Lucas Matthysse, Manny Pacquiao's handlers were pleased with the work ethic shown by the 39-year-old legend. Just moments after Pacquiao displayed his old and fiery form on Tuesday, staggering sparring partner Gherich Chavez with a single solid straight to the jaw, chief trainer Buboy Fernandez and strength and conditioning coach Justin Fortune gave high marks for their champion. Pacquiao had to pause for ten seconds to give Chavez a respite, as old timers recalled memories of the Filipino's single knockout punch that took the lights out of Emmanuel Lucero in 2003 in Los Angeles. "I would say he is 85 already percent ready and we don't want him to peak too soon," said Fernandez, who is leaving no stone unturned in their preparation for "Fight of Champions," the biggest boxing event in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia slated on July 15 at the Axiata Arena. Fortune concurred with Fernandez. "He is right there where we want him to be right now," said the Australian coach who is seeing a resurgent spirit of the only boxer in history who has won eight world titles in eight different divisions. Pacquiao challenged himself Monday morning, testing himself to the limit by climbing the steepest route in Maasim, Sarangani province. "It's a sign that Manny is trying to ask himself questions whether he still has it or not. That talks a lot about his warrior spirit," said Fortune. Meanwhile, Matthysse is also doing all he can to match whatever firepower Pacquiao will be bringing to battle. Under the tutelage of Joel Diaz in Indio, California, Matthysse promised to keep his belt at all costs. Matthysse's promoter Oscar Dela Hoya also dispelled rumors that the fight might be cancelled due to financial problems as alleged by Pacquiao's long-time and former promoter Bob Arum of rival Top Rank Promotions. "I feel very, very confident the fight is going to happen, let's put it that way," said Dela Hoya in an interview with boxing scribe Steve Kim. Matthysse is planning to arrive in Kuala Lumpur ahead of everyone to acclimatize for 10 days prior to the match. "I might be there for about ten days, I want to go out there and help Manny promote and do my rounds in Malaysia. I have my plane tickets already. So we're set to go, we have a fight," De La Hoya insisted. - RELEASE.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 26th, 2018

ConCom ready to submit new constitution draft by July 9 as regional road shows start this week

THE CONSULTATIVE Committee to Review the 1987 Constitution (ConCom) is confident of meeting the August 19 deadline for the proposal on the Federal Constitution as stipulated under Executive Order 10 issued in 2016. The post ConCom ready to submit new constitution draft by July 9 as regional road shows start this week appeared first on BusinessWorld......»»

Category: newsSource:  bworldonlineRelated NewsJun 17th, 2018

ICC to inquire on raps vs Rody

ROQUE: MERE PROCESS TO DETERMINE BASIS President Duterte intends to defend himself, “if need be,” on the crimes against humanity charges that his opponents filed against him before The Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC), presidential spokesman Harry Roque said yesterday. Roque, an international law expert, explained that the ICC’s recognition was simply a proceeding to determine if the case has basis to proceed or not.Roque said Malacañang has received ICC’s notice for a “preliminary examination” on the complaints filed by the lawyer of self-confessed Davao Death Squad (DDS) assassin Edgar Matobato, who is under the care of Duterte’s chief critic Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV.Roque said the 72-year-old Chief Executive is ready to submit himself before the proceedings once he is summoned to The Hague.“The President and I met about this extensively for two hours last night. The President welcomes the preliminary examination because he is sick and tired of being accused,” Roque told reporters. “Obviously, this is intended to embarrass the president. They will fail. The President said that if need be, he will argue his case before the ICC,” he added.Matobato’s counsel Jude Sabio, in April last year, submitted to the ICC a petition against Mr. Duterte on the basis of his apparent admission of “killing” suspected drug traffickers and criminals in Davao City when he was still its Mayor.By June, Trillanes and Magdalo Partylist Rep. Gary Alejano filed a supplemental complaint against the Chief Executive also at the ICC. The complaint is based on the series of extrajudicial killings attributed to the Duterte administration’s narcotics crackdown.Sabio, in a text message, claimed that the given development is already a victory on their end.“I feel so elated and vindicated. Finally, Mr. Duterte and his cohorts will face criminal investigation by the ICC prosecutor as a prelude to formal criminal investigation,” Sabio said. “It is a huge triumph toward justice. Duterte’s system of death squad killings that he continued in his war on drugs will be investigated and hopefully an arrest warrant will be issued against him and justice will be done,” he added.“I am confident that, based on my communication, as well as that of Sen. Trillanes’ and (Magdalo) Rep. (Gary) Alejano’s, we will hurdle this first big step, and hopefully a warrant of arrest will be issued soon by the ICC against Duterte and his cohorts,” he added. Critics overjoyedTrillanes, for his part, claimed that the ICC’s recognition of their complaint should remind Mr. Duterte that he is not above the law.“This development should jolt Duterte into realizing that he is not above the law. More importantly, this is the first step for the victims’ families’ quest for justice,” the senator said.But Roque said Trillanes and his group should not celebrate yet.“No one should claim victory… If they think the President has been indicted, they are so wrong,” he said.“There will be no formal investigation to be conducted in the country because at the level of the preliminary examination, where the Court does not include the budget for the prosecutor to come to the Philippines because it is not yet a preliminary investigation,” he said.“Now the objective is to determine if there is reasonable basis to proceed with the formal investigation,” he added.In Sabio’s complaint addressed to ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, he said that the international criminal court’s action “would... be the beginning of the end of this dark, obscene, murderous and evil era in the Philippines.”“Crimes against humanity are crimes of universal jurisdiction, but where a State like the Philippines fails to assume such universal jurisdiction for crimes against humanity continuously being committed in its very own territory, then the International Criminal Court will have to intervene into a situation that is grave by any human standard,” Sabio said.“The grim statistics of more than 7,000 drug-related killings cannot be anything but grave, especially if viewed in the context of just seven months since Rodrigo Duterte became the President, compared to only about 3,000 committed during the 20-year Marcos regime. These more than 7,000 drug-related killings translate to roughly 1,000 killings per month,” he added.Two other opposition senators urged Malacañang, instead of criticizing this development, to deal with the issues being hurled at the President.“That shouldn’t come as a surprise considering the magnitude of deaths reaching thousands upon thousands in less than two years,” Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan.“This is the chance for the government to answer the accusations raised against them. There is no reason to be afraid if the administration is not hiding anything,” Sen. Bam Aquino said.Aquino said this should be a welcome opportunity for the administration to make their case to an unbiased and globally respected tribunal. Villarin wants Roque charged, tooAkbayan Rep Tom Villarin said the entry of the ICC into the issues raised against Duterte gives hope to the thousands killed under the latter’s war on drugs. “It is a welcome development and gives hope to thousands of EJK (extra judicial killings) victims that finally justice will be served,” Villarin said.“This will also hold President Duterte and other top officials involved in the bloody war against drugs accountable as well as it gives us an opportunity to implead other enablers of EJKs, including possibly Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque,” Villarin added.While the Akbayan lawmaker said that the investigation may not lead to Duterte’s puster, he said that it will be damning and damaging to his administration in the eyes of our people and the international community.“I am hopeful that people will now realize the truth and demand accountability from him with all constitutional options available,” Villarin said.Alejano said that the preliminary examination will determine whether there is sufficient evidence to warrant an investigation. “I hope that the preliminary examination will be allowed to carry on – unhindered and with full cooperation from concerned authorities, organizations, and personalities,” Alejano, one of those who brought the EJK issue before the ICC, said.“I am confident on the communication we sent to the ICC and strongly believe that President Duterte and those who perpetuate and defend this policy of killing should be held accountable before the law,” Alejano said. Angie M. Rosales, Gerry Baldo.....»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsJun 7th, 2018

Warriors ready for road test vs confident Cavs in NBA Finals

CLEVELAND, United States – Defending champion Golden State returns to an all-too familiar NBA Finals venue Wednesday, June 6 (Thursday, June 7 in Manila) at Cleveland with hopes of putting a stranglehold on the best-of-7 championship series. The Warriors opened up a 2-0 lead after back-to-back opening wins at home ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsJun 6th, 2018

Will injury-hit Standhardinger be ready for FIBA 3x3 World Cup?

Christian Standhardinger is confident he’ll be okay for the World Cup that will run June 8-12......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJun 5th, 2018

Tigers draft Auburn right-hander Casey Mize with No. 1 pick

By Dennis Waszak Jr., Associated Press SECAUCUS, N.J. (AP) — Casey Mize went from undrafted three years ago all the way to No. 1. The Detroit Tigers selected the Auburn right-hander with the top pick in the Major League Baseball draft Monday night. The announcement at MLB Network studios marked the second time the Tigers led off the draft, and first since they took Rice pitcher Matt Anderson in 1997. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Mize had long been linked to the Tigers, and he pitched his way this season to the top spot on Detroit's list. Mize went undrafted out of high school three years ago, but developed into a potential big league ace while in college. "It means a ton," Mize said in an interview on MLB Network's broadcast. "I'm very thankful that the Tigers thought of me enough to take me with their first selection. I can't describe this feeling right now." Mize is 10-5 with a 2.95 ERA and 151 strikeouts with just 12 walks in 109 2/3 innings while helping the Tigers to the NCAA Tournament super regionals. Mize has solid command of four pitches, including a fastball that hovers in the mid-90s (mph). His outstanding command and wicked split changeup whip up lots of swings and misses. Mize became only the seventh player in draft history to go from undrafted in high school to the No. 1 pick since Stephen Strasburg went to the Washington Nationals in 2009. "All of us in the Tigers organization are thrilled to select Casey with this pick, and are confident that he will become a pillar in our player development system that's going to bring winning baseball to Detroit for seasons to come," Detroit general manager Al Avila said. "Being a college pitcher — especially coming from the Southeastern Conference — we know Casey has seen elite competition before." With the second selection, San Francisco took slugging Georgia Tech catcher Joey Bart, the Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year. Perhaps Buster Posey's replacement someday, Bart follows in the footsteps of big league backstops Matt Wieters and Jason Varitek, who also came out of Georgia Tech. Bart led the conference in hitting with a .359 average and topped the Yellow Jackets with a .632 slugging percentage, 79 hits, 16 home runs, 55 runs and a .471 on-base percentage. He's also one of the country's best defensive catchers, with a .992 fielding percentage on the season while throwing out 12 of 33 would-be base stealers. Wichita State third baseman Alec Bohm was the first of six players attending the draft to be selected, going third overall to Philadelphia. He had some trouble buttoning his white Phillies jersey before heading to the podium to shake hands with Commissioner Rob Manfred. "The holes are pretty tight. It was pretty tough," said the 6-foot-5 Bohm, later adding that his biggest strength is probably his maturity at the plate. "I'm just ready to go play ball." Bohm is one of the top offensive players in the draft, hitting .339 with 16 homers — the most by a Wichita State player since 2004 — and 55 RBIs with 14 doubles and 39 walks. He also showed a knack for hitting in the clutch by setting a school record with three grand slams this year, and led the team with 10 go-ahead RBIs. "Alec Bohm is a tremendous offensive player," Phillies director of amateur scouting Johnny Almaraz said in a statement. "He is a middle of the order bat, a big power-hitting third baseman who could be a .300 hitter and drive in 100-plus runs." Oregon State second baseman Nick Madrigal went fourth to the Chicago White Sox. Despite his short stature — 5-foot-7, 160 pounds — Madrigal is considered by many to be the best overall hitter in the draft. He rebounded nicely for the Beavers after missing half the season with a broken left wrist. He was hitting .406 with three homers, 32 RBIs and just five strikeouts in 133 at-bats while helping lead Oregon State to the NCAA Tournament super regionals. Rounding out the top five was Cincinnati, which took Florida third baseman Jonathan India. The Southeastern Conference player of the year has been an offensive force for the defending College World Series champions. He's the 12th player in school history to post 20 or more homers, 100 or more RBIs and 30 or more stolen bases in his career......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 5th, 2018

Mexico opens World Cup prep with scoreless draw vs Wales

By Dan Greenspan, Associated Press PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — Mexico opened its World Cup preparations with a 0-0 draw against Wales at the Rose Bowl on Monday night, but El Tri showed it has plenty more to offer in Russia than the score might indicate. Playing the first of three tuneup matches before its Group F opener against defending champion Germany on June 17 in Moscow, a rampant Mexican attack could not find a way to beat Wales goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey. However, Mexico was just as adept in keeping the Dragons under wraps. Wales took two shots and Mexico goalkeeper Jesus Corona did not have to make a save, getting some help when Hugo Ayala made a last-ditch tackle to keep Tom Lawrence from getting his try on goal in the 8th minute. Aside from that attempt and some early jitters in the opening few minutes, Mexico's defense settled in well in its first game without Nestor Araujo, who left the team Wednesday following a setback in his recovery from a knee injury. Araujo had been practically an automatic selection for coach Juan Carlos Osorio, and his absence was exacerbated by not having Diego Reyes of Porto FC and Hector Moreno of Real Sociedad available. Osorio expects both Reyes and Moreno to be healthy enough to play against Scotland in Mexico City on Saturday. "And I'm sure if they are in the starting line, we will improve the quality in many ways and I think we will have a very strong back line," Osorio said. Mexico, which will try to advance past the round of 16 for the first time since reaching the quarterfinals when it hosted the 1986 tournament, looks to be even more confident in its attacking prowess. Hennessey made eight saves, including sticking out his right foot to deny Mexico captain Hector Herrera's shot in the 56th minute from the edge of the 6-yard box. Hennessey also tipped Herrera's shot from outside the penalty box over the crossbar in the 40th minute and parried away Javier Aquino's attempt in the 22nd minute. "Mexico made us work for a clean sheet, they made us work hard," said Wales manager Ryan Giggs, praising the organization and tenacity of El Tri as much as its individual skill. Mexico took 17 shots and attempted 12 corners as it kept the pressure on a Welsh side mostly lacking in experience at the international level. "They've got a lot of quality, and what we've seen in the buildups with the videos is a team that likes to press," Giggs said. "When they lose the ball, get it back quickly, which puts you under pressure. It's very hard to keep the ball, so a very good team." The attack looks to be strengthened with the Los Angeles-based MLS trio of brothers Giovani and Jonathan dos Santos representing the Galaxy, and Carlos Vela from expansion team Los Angeles FC. Jonathan dos Santos came on in the 61st minute, and Giovani dos Santos was a 69th-minute substitute. They finished out the game without any apparent limitations from hamstring injuries that have limited both brothers this season. Osorio set a Saturday deadline to prove their fitness and make the final roster. Vela, who did not play against Wales, should be called upon against Scotland. He has scored seven goals in 12 MLS games. All three could be especially valuable if South Korea or Sweden decide to emphasize defense and force Mexico to break them down. Though they were unable to score against Wales, Osorio believes Mexico showed it is ready for that challenge, provided it can improve its chemistry in the final third. "Any team that will drop off will present the same questions in how we are going to penetrate them, how we are going to get entries into the attacking third. It will be a major factor. It was a big challenge for us," Osorio said. "However, we penetrated them enough times to score and the goalkeeper rescued them.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 29th, 2018

Alarmed: LeBron, Cavs facing win-or-else Game 6 vs Celtics

By Tom Withers, Associated Press CLEVELAND (AP) — Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue was answering a question about Boston’s defense on LeBron James during a teleconference when he tripped the security system at his home. A piercing alarm sounded. “Uh-oh,” Lue said Thursday (Friday, PHL time) as he punched in a code to silence the screaming siren. While Lue and his home were clearly safe, and the light-hearted moment passed quickly, it was also symbolic of Cleveland’s urgent situation. The Cavs are in a dangerous spot. Beaten for the third time in Boston in these home-sweet-home Eastern Conference finals, Cleveland will face its second elimination game of the postseason on Friday night at Quicken Loans Arena. Game 6 is for everything. Except, of course, if there’s a Game 7 on Sunday (Monday, PHL time) in Boston. Fueled by fueled-up Boston fans who must feel some sort of birthright to see their cherished team play in the Finals, the youthful Celtics again showed zero fear or hesitation on their parquet floor on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time) during a 96-83 win in Game 5 that was never in any doubt. Despite shooting only 36 percent, the Celtics improved to 10-0 at home in the playoffs as coach Brad Stevens changed his starting lineup, shortened his rotation to seven and released waves of defenders at James, who looked worn down as he attempts to advance to the NBA Finals for the eighth consecutive year. Lue noticed early in Game 5 that James was dragging, but he’s confident the 33-year-old, who was chosen All-NBA first team for a record 12th time, will be ready to save his season and prolong what could be his final games with the Cavs. “I know he’ll be ready to play Game 6, so fatigue won’t be a problem and an issue,” Lue said. “I’m pretty sure a lot of guys are tired during this stretch of the year. If I had to pick one guy and choose one guy to prevail, it would be LeBron. I know he’ll be great come tomorrow.” Stevens started center Aron Baynes for the first time in the series and the move helped slow James, who had been crushing the Celtics when guard Terry Rozier switched on him. Rozier fronted James and got help from Baynes, the 6'10", 254-pound Australian who contributed seven rebounds, six points and attitude. “We’ve got a lot of tough guys on our team,” Stevens said. “But I think they all will tell you Baynes is one of the toughest we’ve all been around.” Now Stevens needs his team to show that same tenacity on the road, where Boston is just 1-6. The Cavs, on the other hand, are counting on James to rebound. He pushed as hard as he could in Game 5, but for one of the only times in what has been a transcendent 13th postseason, he couldn’t summon greatness. He didn’t have his usual burst. He bent at the waist grabbing his shorts, his breathing labored. During timeouts, he wiped sweat and perhaps some frustration from his forehead. James is tired — for good reason. His teammates are draining him. Once again, James, who will play in his 99th game this season Friday, didn’t get nearly enough help from Cleveland’s other starters and Lue didn’t do him any favors, either. James had 26 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Solid, but sub-par by his standards and he committed six turnovers and missed some makeable layups. James still managed to outscore the rest of Cleveland’s starters — Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson, George Hill and J.R. Smith — 26-24. Lue inexplicably left Kyle Korver off the floor for long stretches and following the game he curiously explained that Stevens’ rotation “kind of threw us for a loop.” Asked Thursday (Friday, PHL time) if he wished he had done anything differently, Lue bluntly said: “No.” Thankfully, he’s got James, who has six 40-point games and two buzzer-beaters in these playoffs, to save the season. He’s done it once already this spring, playing through cramps and scoring 45 points in a Game 7 win over Indiana. But he’s played nine games since, and gotten less and less rest as the playoffs have progressed. His body has been forced to handle more than he imagined. James has been down 3-2 in the conference finals before. In 2012, he faced a Game 6 elimination in Boston and scored 45 points with 15 rebounds and five rebounds as Miami won. Now he’s trying to keep this flawed Cavs team alive long enough for another trip to Boston. On Friday (Saturday, PHL time), James will take the floor with his future hanging in the air. His second stint with the Cavs could end this summer if he opts out of his $35.6 million contract for next season and leaves again as a free agent, a decision he can delay again with a win. But before he picks home or Philadelphia or Los Angeles or anywhere else, he’s got at least one more game in Cleveland. Game 6. “No question in my mind that he’ll bounce back,” Lue said......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 25th, 2018

Miscues push Warriors to brink of elimination

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com HOUSTON — The hefty equipment bag sitting next to the visitor’s locker room entrance after Game 5 of the Western Conference finals never had a chance. Whack! went Draymond Green’s fist against it as he walked by. Well, at least the Warriors hit something as the night grew late. Once again, the defending champions, the team with four All-Stars, the franchise with a pair of former MVPs still in their prime and two of the most efficient machines of this generation went flatter than Texas when it counted. Missed shots, failed stops and poor decisions all piled on their heads. That fourth quarter was mostly a 12-minute mess. It doomed them at the finish, for the second straight game, and now has them on the brink — really! — in the conference finals. The Warriors awaken today with a pair of potential saving graces: Game 6 is in Oakland and Chris Paul is gimpy, and might be done for good. That could be enough to push this series to seven games. Yet nothing is for certain anymore in the Warriors’ world, if only because of the weird and uncharacteristic — for them — developments in the clutch. Simply put, their lack of composure and smarts is the reason they’re in a bind. Imagine: The Rockets don’t score 100 and James Harden missed all 11 of his three-pointers and the Warriors still lose. It was a strange, empty night for the Warriors where nothing made sense for them. Yes, Paul went nuts in the fourth quarter and Houston’s defensive rotations and traps are catching the Warriors — and especially Kevin Durant — by surprise, and yet the Warriors are also doing a good job of stabbing themselves. Thursday's (Friday, PHL time) 98-94 loss was another blown opportunity, another one that got away, and for the first time since The Finals two summers ago the Warriors are staring at elimination. The face of the Warriors in these back-to-back losses belongs to Durant, and it wears the look of a man confused and dumbfounded. He is 1-for-9 shooting over the last two fourth quarters, reduced to a supporting actor, a backup singer, instead of a beast. He’s not the total reason for this, but a strong symptom nonetheless. Could they fall short of The Finals, a place where they were all but destined to go? It’s a reality, obviously, and their margin for error is toothpick-like. But that’s not what coach Steve Kerr’s gut tells him. “I feel great about where we are right now,” he said. “That may sound crazy, but I feel it. I know exactly what I’m seeing out there … we got everything we needed. Just too many turnovers, too many reaches. If we settle down a little bit we’re going to be in really good shape.” Maybe some of Kerr’s mood has something to do with Paul grabbing a hamstring in the final moments, perhaps stripping the Rockets of their best player in this series. Maybe it’s just hard to fathom the Warriors losing four times in a best-of-seven. All that talent and past success can make a man stubborn, almost refusing to ponder the possibility of defeat. Fine, but Kerr and crew must find a way to clean up the bad choices they’ve made with the game on the line, before it becomes habit-forming. Eighteen turnovers isn’t a recipe for winning. “We can learn from it,” said Durant, “and we’ve got another opportunity at home. We’ll be ready to play.” Trailing by a point with 49 seconds left, here’s what the Warriors coughed up: * Quinn Cook missed a three-pointer. The big surprise is that the ball found Cook and he actually took a shot at that stage of the game. * Curry missed a driving layup, and rather than grab the rebound, Green slapped it out toward the perimeter, hoping a teammate would grab it. Trevor Ariza scooped the lose ball instead. * Then: Down three points and seconds left, the play was designed for Curry to spring loose for a three, but Green fumbled a pass that hit him in both hands. Game over. “We were supposed to score,” said Green. “I lost the ball. Nothing more, nothing less.” Before these self-inflicted misadventures, the Warriors were repeatedly punished by Paul, who recovered from an 0-for-7 first half with 18 points in the second half — complete with a payback shimmy aimed at Curry — before pulling up lame with 22 seconds left. Also, Eric Gordon dropped 24 points and went to the line 10 times, thanks to reach-in fouls by beaten Warriors defenders. “What we can’t live with is reaching and jumping on Eric Gordon’s pump fakes,” said Kerr. “We reached on James and he shot nine free throws. We’ve got to be a little more disciplined.” Overall, the Warriors withstood a manic Toyota Center and were locked in a tight finish against a 65-win team, but never led after the eight-minute mark and weren't nearly sharp enough to capture the lead. They were without Andre Iguodala again, but he’s a defensive specialist and for much of the night defense wasn’t a big issue for the Warriors; the Rockets shot 37 percent and Harden didn’t hurt them. Their problems were mistakes and missed shots. Anyway, Golden State has four All-Stars to Houston’s two, and now with Paul’s status questionable, maybe just one. That means, although the Warriors trail 3-2, they’re in a reasonably good position to keep the series alive. They’re not worried. There’s another emotion running through their bodies. “I think they’re angry,” said Kerr. “As they should be. They’re competitors.” This is new territory in the Durant Era. Remember, the Warriors lost only once last season and until the West Finals didn’t perspire much. As expected, the Rockets are indeed the biggest threat they’ve faced. It’s the series that’s meeting the high expectations for drama and suspense and a chance to see the mighty Warriors ousted. Does Paul’s injury linger and ultimately bail out the Warriors? Can Durant rediscover his touch in the clutch? Will the Warriors wise up or once again wig out? There’s nothing at stake, really, except a dynasty that a loaded team was created to become. Curry plans to remain cool and confident, and the Warriors really don’t have any other choice but to adopt that mentality. “We’ve played the last two games good enough to win but just haven’t gotten the job done," he said. "The way we played tonight, if we can repeat that, take care of turnovers, just stay mentally locked on the details for 48 minutes, we know we can get a win. “Just the talent we have on this team and the resiliency, you know we can get the job done. We know we haven’t been in this position before, so it’s a chapter we need to figure out and finish the story.” Veteran NBA writer Shaun Powell has worked for newspapers and other publications for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here or follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 25th, 2018

PBA: Mama na Paul Zamar ready to do battle for Blackwater

Four years after getting drafted but left unsigned, Paul Zamar is all set and all ready to make his PBA debut on Friday at the Alonte Sports Arena in Binan, Laguna. Suiting up for Blackwater, the now 30-year-old is nothing but confident he is ready to go to war in Asia’s first pay-for-play league. For that readiness, Zamar credits his stint with Mono Vampire. “I think, (the biggest change for me) is being a boy to becoming a man. Hindi lang sa ABL (Asean Basketball League), pati na rin sa TBSL (Thailand Basketball Super League), marami akong natutunan,” he said. He then continued, “Sa Thailand, naging mama na talaga ako.” After a stellar career with University of the East, the gunslinger threw his hat in the 2012 PBA Draft. There, he was drafted in the fourth round by Ginebra, but was not able to sign a contract. Since then, he returned to the PBA D-League and then ventured to Bangkok where he has only found success – national titles in the TBSL, international contention in the ABL, and personal fame with the growing basketball nation. More than that, Zamar said he has also made huge strides off the court. “Ang laki ng naturo sa akin (nung time ko dun), especially sa pagiging independent. Kahit masakit na iwan ko family ko, full support pa rin sila sa akin,” he said. He then continued, “And ngayong may chance na akong makauwi, ‘di ko na pakakawalan.” Giving him the chance to come home and prove himself here are the Elite who are in need of a boost for their backcourt. Mono head coach Douglas Marty said that Blackwater will only get better with the arrival of the 5-foot-11 guard. “Any team in the PBA will be wise to give Paul a contract because he can play and he’s such a team guy. He’s a glue on and off the court,” he said. The always amiable mentor continued, “Paul is such a great individual – the character he brings to the team, the leadership, the dedication to the game, and the unselfishness are amazing. Not to mention, he’s a great basketball player too.” Proving Marty right and staying true to his identity, Zamar flew back to Thailand with Mono after they lost the ABL championship to Alab Pilipinas a week ago. There, he settled all things and made it clear how grateful he is for the opportunity given to him by the Vampire. Now he’s back home, the son of coach Boycie Zamar only wants to keep taking full advantage of his chances. “Ang goal ko lang is magbigay ako ng positive energy sa kanila. Alam kong nasa losing streak ang Blackwater so I’m just gonna give my best to them like what I gave to Mono Vampire,” he said ahead of their matchup with Ginebra. Whatever happens now, Paul Zamar will be able to say he has fulfilled his dream of playing in the PBA. And whatever happens now, Paul Zamar will always have a bridge he can cross once more – a bridge he made sure not to burn. “Kung ayaw nila sa akin sa PBA after my contract, babalik ako (sa Thailand). Gusto ko rin namang mag-champion sa ABL balang araw,” he expressed. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 10th, 2018

ONE Championship: Pinoy MMA legend Andrew Benibe to be in Rome Trinidad s corner in Jakarta

Filipina warrior Rome “Rebel” Trinidad will walk to the ONE Championship cage on Saturday, May 12 with a mixed martial arts legend by her side. Andrew Benibe, a household name in the established local mixed martial arts scene in the Philippines, will be part of the entourage of Trinidad as she is scheduled to square off with hometown hero Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaol on the undercard of ONE: GRIT AND GLORY in Jakarta, Indonesia. It was a bitter pill to swallow for a young and dedicated cage competitor like Trinidad when she yielded to Thai standout Rika Ishige in her promotional debut this past December. Trinidad suffered a second-round submission loss to Ishige at ONE: WARRIORS OF THE WORLD in the Thai dynamo’s homebase of Bangkok, failing to ace her maiden assignment under the ONE Championship banner. Although the thrilling atomweight bout against Ishige put fans at the state-of-the-art Impact Arena on the edge of their seats, Trinidad was left disappointed with the outcome of the match. “I believe that I could have done better in that match, but I came up short. I just realized that there was something missing,” she admitted. “It was my first time to fight internationally, and I lost. It gave me motivation to keep going, get better, and be more aggressive. Most of all, it taught me to be humble in all aspects of my life,” Trinidad added. The submission defeat to Ishige forced Trinidad to reassess on how she handles her training camp when she prepares for an upcoming bout. During her time of contemplation, Trinidad found a much-needed help in Benibe, a former Philippine bantamweight champion who currently works a mixed martial arts trainer at Maic’s Gym in Marikina City. “Right now, I have a tremendous support system in my training, especially with the help of my coach Andrew Benibe. He knows how to bring out the best in me,” Trinidad said of Benibe. Having 17 professional bouts under his belt, Benibe has been a staple of the Philippine mixed martial arts circuit since 2006 and has shared the stage with the industry’s notable figures such as Mark Eddiva, Jessie Rafols, Will Chope, Reysaldo Transmonte and Mark Striegl. Moreover, Benibe made a one-off appearance inside the ONE Championship cage when he took on Team Lakay’s Honorio Banario at the organization’s first event on Philippine soil in August 2012. Now sitting on the coach’s stool to oversee Trinidad’s training, Benibe claimed that his pupil is ready for anything as they have been working on all elements of the game in preparation of her cage encounter with Gaol. “We have trained her for both stand-up and grappling in anticipation of anything,” he shared. “But whatever the condition, Rome Trinidad’s best bet is a stand-up game and finishing the match with striking.” The partnership between Trinidad and Benibe will be tested for the very first time as the Filipina combatant returns to action on Saturday to face the hot-streaking Gaol at ONE: GRIT AND GLORY. Gaol has won two-straight matches to kick off her 2018, defeating Malaysia’s Audreylaura Boniface via first-round stoppage last January before submitting Filipina newcomer Krisna Limbaga a month later. The 21-year-old Marikina City resident seeks to make an astonishing statement in her second ONE Championship outing as she battles Gaol at ONE: GRIT AND GLORY. “I want to win so bad. I have dreams and aspirations as a competitor. In order to turn those into a reality, I have to win first. This is the first step,” she stated. With the desire to reinsert her name into the winner’s column, Trinidad is confident that her support system has geared her up splendidly for her three-round clash with Gaol on Saturday “I have the best coach in my corner. I trained with the most talented athletes in the sport for this bout. With that said, I’m oozing with confidence coming into this match because I have my team behind me,” she concluded......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 7th, 2018

Liverpool considers itself warned of possible Roma comeback

By Andrew Dampf, Associated Press ROME (AP) — Liverpool has already seen how things can go badly wrong at the Stadio Olimpico. The Reds, however, are confident they will not face the same fate as Chelsea and Barcelona did this season. Liverpool takes a 5-2 advantage into Wednesday's second leg of the Champions League semifinal against Roma, which can still advance if it replicates the 3-0 victories it produced first in the group stage against the English Premier League champion then again in an even more stunning result against the Spanish champion in the second leg of the quarterfinals. "I cannot say it's not possible. I can say we are not Chelsea. We are not Barcelona," Liverpool coach Juergen Klopp said Tuesday. "Tomorrow we have to be ready and we will be ready. "Rome was more ready than Barcelona. Barcelona probably thought it was decided. Us, everyone is telling us that it's quite difficult and it's possible," Klopp added. "Nobody told Barcelona that. "If a warning was needed — I didn't need a warning — but if a warning was needed then there's the warning." Roma needs to win by a three-goal advantage but don't expect Liverpool to sit back and defend. Not with an attacking trio of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino — the strikers who scored all five of Liverpool's goals in the first leg. "We are difficult to play — not to forget — we are really difficult to play," Klopp said, pointing out that Roma has not conceded a goal at home in this season's Champions League. "If you really want to win you have to accept that you could lose. You have to use their situation much more than they use their situation. Because they have to win against us." A five-time European champion, Liverpool knows a thing or two about big comebacks. The Reds trailed AC Milan 3-0 at halftime of the 2005 Champions League final before storming back to win their last title in a penalty shootout. After conceding two late goals in the first leg, fans felt like they gave Roma more hope than they should have had. "After the (first leg) there was a feeling we lost. We didn't. We are still 5-2 up," Klopp said. "A lot of people think, 'Oh, Roma only has to win 3-0.' But that's quite a result. We will be there as well tomorrow." "There's a football game to play and that's what you want, to play for big stakes." There are concerns over fan violence surrounding the match after two men from Rome were arrested on suspicion of attempted murder following an assault outside the stadium before the first leg that left a Liverpool fan in critical condition. "We were devastated," Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum said of when the team learned the news. "But we have to move forward and go on. "It's not good to wait for those things to motivate you," Wijnaldum said. "We are already motivated." Klopp warned his club's fans to avoid a reprisal attack. "It's a football game and the fight around the game is only on the pitch," the German coach said. "Anybody who does not accept these rules will be sent off.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 2nd, 2018

Silva ready, confident

READY and cofindent. That’s how ONE strawweight world champion Alex Silva described himself in his much-awaited rematch against Yoshitaka Naito in the ONE Championship in Jakarta Convention Center, Jakarta, Indonesia on May 12. Billed as “ONE: Grit and Glory”, the event will feature the headliner bout between 35-year-old Brazilian submission….....»»

Category: newsSource:  journalRelated NewsApr 29th, 2018

Getting champion coach Joe Silva just the first step in rebuild of UE basketball

After a number of false starts, University of the East finally has a new head coach all ready and all set to go. According to several sources, the Red Warriors will be announcing the appointment of two-time UAAP Juniors champion Joe Silva as new head coach next week. This, confirming the report first broken by Matthew Li of Tiebreaker Times. Silva’s hiring will, at long last, put an end to the Recto-based squad’s long, long search for a replacement for former mentor Derrick Pumaren who resigned late last year. He registered a record of 21-35 in his four years at the helm for his alma mater. Asked for comment, Silva responded, “We’re in talks, but nothing is sure yet.” As per sources, though, UE is already certain to go all-in on a young coach coming off a UAAP Juniors championship with Ateneo de Manila High School in Season 80. Following that championship, he stepped down from his position in late March. In all, Silva won two championships for the Blue Eaglets, both near-season sweeps, and had a 77-20 overall record. During all that, he had a hand in the development of the likes of Thirdy Ravena, Nieto twins Matt and Mike, SJ Belangel, Dave Ildefonso, and Kai Sotto. Now, Silva takes the next step in his career as tactician in college basketball. The good news for him is that both Alvin Pasaol and Philip Manalang will still be wearing red and white for at least one more season. Both are also already back in training after stints in the PBA D-League. Still, sources said that Silva, along with team patron Bong Tan and team manager Lawrence Chongson, remain on the lookout for more talent – possibly even taking in a foreign student-athlete. Along with being UE Seniors head coach, sources also said that Silva will be a consultant for the Junior Warriors who have been languishing at the bottom of the standings for almost a decade now. Apparently, both the school and its newly-hired mentor are nothing eager for a culture change for UE’s Seniors and Juniors basketball programs. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 28th, 2018

2018 MLB preview: AL East

By The Associated Press Capsules of American League East teams, listed in order of finish last year: ___ Boston Red Sox 2017: 93-69, first place, lost to Houston in ALDS. Manager: Alex Cora (first season). He's Here: DH J.D. Martinez. He's Outta Here: Manager John Farrell, RHP Doug Fister, OF Chris Young, RHP Addison Reed, OF Rajai Davis, LHP Henry Owens, LHP Fernando Abad. Projected Lineup: RF Mookie Betts (.264, 24 HRs, 102 RBIs), LF Andrew Benintendi (.271, 20, 90), 1B Hanley Ramirez (.242, 23, 62) or Mitch Moreland (.246, 22, 79), DH J.D. Martinez (.303, 45, 104 with Tigers and Diamondbacks), 3B Rafael Devers (.284, 10, 30 in 58 games), SS Xander Bogaerts (.273, 10, 62), CF Jackie Bradley Jr. (.245, 17, 63), C Christian Vazquez (.290, 5, 32) or Sandy Leon (.225, 7, 39), 2B Eduardo Nunez (.313, 12, 58, 24 SBs with Giants and Red Sox) or Dustin Pedroia (.293, 7, 62, .369 OBP in 105 games, expected to be out until late May following knee surgery). Rotation: LH Chris Sale (17-8, 2.90 ERA, MLB-best 308 Ks, MLB-high 214 1/3 IP), LH David Price (6-3, 3.38, 11 starts, 5 relief appearances), RH Rick Porcello (11-17, 4.65), LH Drew Pomeranz (17-6, 3.32, expected to begin season on disabled list with strained left forearm), RH Hector Velazquez (3-1, 2.92) or RH Steven Wright (1-3, 8.25 in 5 starts) or LH Eduardo Rodriguez (6-7, 4.19). Key Relievers: RH Craig Kimbrel (5-0, 1.43, 35/39 saves), RH Carson Smith (0-0, 1.35, 1 save in 8 games), RH Matt Barnes (7-3, 3.88), RH Joe Kelly (4-1, 2.79), RH Tyler Thornburg (injured in 2017, expected to begin season on DL). Hot Spot: Starting Rotation. This group has the potential to be the strength of the team, with two Cy Young Award winners and four All-Stars to choose from. But other than Sale, it has been spotty. And in the four-game playoff loss to the eventual World Series champion Astros last year, the Red Sox didn't get a single quality start as the rotation totaled just 11 1/3 innings. The first four spots are spoken for, aside from the injury to Pomeranz. Among those competing with Velazquez for the fifth spot are Wright, Rodriguez and Brian Johnson. Wright, a knuckleballer and 2016 All-Star, had left knee surgery in May and missed the rest of the 2017 season. Rodriguez had major right knee surgery in October. It's possible neither will be ready for opening day, but both could be back by mid-April. Outlook: The Red Sox won 93 games last year for the second straight season and claimed the franchise's first back-to-back AL East titles. But Farrell was fired after they failed to advance in the playoffs for the fourth year in a row. The key — and really only — addition is Martinez, who gives them someone to replace longtime slugger David Ortiz after finishing last in the AL in homers without Big Papi in 2017. The theory behind Boston keeping up with the reloaded New York Yankees goes something like this: A full season of a healthy Price will bolster a rotation that already has a quality ace in Sale, plus 2016 AL Cy Young Award winner Porcello and All-Stars Pomeranz and Wright. The Red Sox also are staking their chances on the hope that Ramirez can be more like the player he was in 2016 (.286, 30, 111); that Pedroia will return quickly and be healthy and productive; that 20-year-old third baseman Devers will be able to stay up for a full season; and that Bradley won't have another second-half slump. The bullpen, anchored by Kimbrel, remains strong. ___ New York Yankees 2017: 91-71, second place, wild card, lost to Houston in ALCS. Manager: Aaron Boone (first season). He's Here: OF Giancarlo Stanton, 2B Neil Walker, 3B Brandon Drury. He's Outta Here: Manager Joe Girardi, 2B Starlin Castro, 3B-1B Chase Headley, 3B Todd Frazier, DH Matt Holliday, LHP Jaime Garcia. Projected Lineup: LF Brett Gardner (.264, 21 HRs, 63 RBIs, 96 runs, 23 SBs), RF Aaron Judge (.284, AL-leading 52, 114, MLB-high 208 Ks), 1B Greg Bird (.190, 9, 28 in 48 games), DH Giancarlo Stanton (.281, MLB-leading 59, MLB-best 132, 163 Ks with Marlins), C Gary Sanchez (.278, 33, 90, 120 Ks in 122 games), SS Didi Gregorius (.287, 25, 87), CF Aaron Hicks (.266, 15, 52 in 88 games), 2B Neil Walker (.265, 14, 49 with Mets and Brewers), 3B Brandon Drury (.267, 13, 63 with Diamondbacks). Rotation: RH Luis Severino (14-8, 2.98 ERA, 230 Ks in 193 1/3 IP), RH Masahiro Tanaka (13-12, 4.74, 194 Ks), LH CC Sabathia (14-5, 3.69), RH Sonny Gray (10-12, 3.55 with Athletics and Yankees), LH Jordan Montgomery (9-7, 3.88 in 29 starts). Key Relievers: LH Aroldis Chapman (4-3, 3.22, 22/26 saves, 69 Ks, 50 1/3 IP in 52 games), RH David Robertson (9-2, 1.48, 14/16 saves in 61 games with White Sox and Yankees), RH Dellin Betances (3-6, 2.87, 10/13 saves, 100 Ks, 50 2/3 IP in 66 games), RH Tommy Kahnle (2-4, 2.59, 96 Ks in 62 2/3 IP with White Sox and Yankees), RH Chad Green (5-0, 1.83, 103 Ks in 69 IP), RH Adam Warren (3-2, 2.35 in 44 games), LH Chasen Shreve (4-1, 3.77 in 44 games). Hot Spot: Starting Rotation. There is little seasoned depth if injuries develop, with Luis Cessa the first candidate to step up, and Chance Adams and Justus Sheffield needing more time in the minors. Sabathia turns 38 in July and while he is coming off his best and most durable season in five years, his surgically repaired right knee requires periodic injections of painkiller. Severino must maintain his consistency of 2017 after going 3-8 the previous year, when he was demoted to the minors. Montgomery is expected to increase his innings from 155 1/3. The back end of New York's rotation puts pressure on its bullpen: While Severino averaged 99 pitches per start, Gray 98 and Tanaka 94, Sabathia and Montgomery were at 87 each. Outlook: New York figures to score a lot and strike out a lot, a reason the Yankees signed the switch-hitting, high-contact Walker during spring training. Drury also was a late addition, enabling New York to start prospects Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar in the minors. Betances faded in the second half last season, struggling with his mechanics and control and diminishing from a four-time All-Star to a mop-up man. After a pair of injury-decimated seasons, Bird is being counted on as a left-handed power bat in the middle of the batting order who can prevent opponents from bringing in right-handed relievers to attack Judge, Stanton and Sanchez. Hicks missed nearly half of last season with oblique injuries but has displaced Jacoby Ellsbury as the regular center fielder. Having never managed or coached at any level, Boone succeeded Girardi and must establish with players and the public that he knows what he is doing. ___ Tampa Bay Rays 2017: 80-82, third place. Manager: Kevin Cash (fourth season). He's Here: OF Denard Span, 1B C.J. Cron, RHP Nathan Eovaldi, OF Jake Bauers. He's Outta Here: 3B Evan Longoria, RHP Alex Cobb, RHP Jake Odorizzi, OF-DH Corey Dickerson, OF Steven Souza Jr., 1B Logan Morrison, 1B-DH Lucas Duda, RHP Brad Boxberger, RHP Steve Cishek, RHP Tommy Hunter, OF Peter Bourjos, INF Trever Plouffe, RHP Chase Whitley. Projected Lineup: LF Denard Span (.272, 12 HRs, 43 RBIs, 31 2Bs, 12 SBs in 129 games with Giants), CF Kevin Kiermaier (.276, 15, 39 in 98 games), C Wilson Ramos (.260, 11, 35 in 64 games), RF Carlos Gomez (.255, 17, 51 with Rangers), 1B C.J. Cron (.248, 16, 56 with Angels), DH Brad Miller (.201, 9, 40), 3B Matt Duffy (sidelined by Achilles tendon injury), 2B Daniel Robertson (.206, 5, 19) or Joey Wendle (.285, 8, 54 in 118 games with Triple-A Nashville), SS Adeiny Hechavarria (.261, 8, 30 with Marlins and Rays). Rotation: RH Chris Archer (10-12, 4.07 ERA, 249 Ks in 34 starts), LH Blake Snell (5-7, 4.04 in 24 starts), RH Nathan Eovaldi (missed season following Tommy John surgery), RH Jake Faria (5-4, 3.43 in 16 games, 14 starts). Key Relievers: RH Alex Colome (2-3, 3.24, 47/53 saves), RH Matt Andriese (5-5, 4.50), RH Sergio Romo (3-1, 3.56 in 55 appearances with Dodgers and Rays; 2-0, 1.47 in 25 games with Rays), LH Dan Jennings (3-1, 3.45 in 77 games with White Sox and Rays), RH Andrew Kittredge (0-1, 1.76 in 15 games), RH Chaz Roe (0-0, 9.00 in 3 games with Braves), RH Austin Pruitt (7-5, 5.31), LH Joe Alvarado (0-3, 3.64). Hot Spot: Starting Rotation. Normally, the Rays are built around good, young starting pitching and solid defense, a formula that will be tested after losing Cobb to free agency, trading Odorizzi and settling on a plan to use a four-man rotation, instead of the customary five. Cash intends to use multiple relievers on floating "bullpen days" slotted to allow the four starters to pitch on regular rest. It may not be a conventional setup, but the Rays are confident they have enough good arms to make it work. Outlook: The Rays sport a new look after a winter of trimming payroll. In addition to the departures of Cobb and Odorizzi, the heart of a batting order that hit a club-record 228 homers — Longoria, Dickerson, Souza and Morrison — is gone, too. Archer, a two-time All-Star, is set to make his franchise-record fourth opening day start, and Colome is back at closer, too. The question that remains unanswered is, for how long? Cash and general manager Erik Neander aren't making any bold predictions but they insist that despite all the changes, the Rays have a chance to be a lot more competitive than it appears on paper. ___ Toronto Blue Jays 2017: 76-86, fourth place. Manager: John Gibbons (sixth season of second stint, 11th overall with Blue Jays). He's Here: LHP Jaime Garcia, OF Randal Grichuk, OF Curtis Granderson, RHP Seung-hwan Oh, INF Yangervis Solarte, INF Aledmys Diaz, RHP John Axford, RHP Tyler Clippard, INF Danny Espinosa, RHP Taylor Guerrieri, INF Gift Ngoepe, LHP Sam Moll, RHP Sam Gaviglio. He's Outta Here: OF Jose Bautista, OF Ezequiel Carrera, RHP Dominic Leone, LHP Brett Anderson, INF Darwin Barney, RHP Leonel Campos, OF Darrell Ceciliani, RHP Taylor Cole, INF Ryan Goins, C Raffy Lopez, RHP Tom Koehler, RHP Dominic Leone, C Miguel Montero, INF Rob Refsnyder, OF Michael Saunders, RHP Bo Schultz, RHP Cesar Valdez. Projected Lineup: 2B Devon Travis (.259, 5 HRs, 24 RBIs in 50 games), 3B Josh Donaldson (.270, 33, 78), 1B Justin Smoak (.270, 38, 90), DH Kendrys Morales (.250, 28, 85), LF Steve Pearce (.252, 13, 37) or Curtis Granderson (.212, 26, 64 with Mets and Dodgers), C Russell Martin (.221, 13, 35), SS Troy Tulowitzki (.249, 7, 26 in 66 games), RF Randal Grichuk (.238, 22, 59 with Cardinals), CF Kevin Pillar (.256, 16, 42). Rotation: LH J.A. Happ (10-11, 3.53 ERA), RH Aaron Sanchez (1-3, 4.25 in 8 games), RH Marco Estrada (10-9, 4.98), RH Marcus Stroman (13-9, 3.09), LH Jaime Garcia (5-10, 4.41 with Braves, Twins and Yankees). Key Relievers: RH Roberto Osuna (3-4, 3.39, 39/49 saves), RH Ryan Tepera (7-1, 3.59, 2 saves), RH Danny Barnes (3-6, 3.55), RH Seung Hwan Oh (1-6, 4.10, 20 saves with Cardinals), LH Aaron Loup (2-3, 3.75), RH John Axford (0-1, 6.43 with Athletics), RH Tyler Clippard (2-8, 4.77, 5 saves with White Sox, Yankees and Astros). Hot Spot: Shortstop. Tulowitzki is owed $20 million in each of 2018 and 2019, and $14 million in 2020, the final season of a 10-year contract he received from Colorado. Tulo has missed at least 30 games in six straight seasons, and will begin 2018 on the disabled list because of a bone spur in his right heel. Although the Blue Jays have multiple backup options, they could be waiting at least a month, if not longer, for the five-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove winner to return. Tulowitzki sustained a season-ending injury to his right ankle in late July last year. Outlook: The powerful Yankees and reigning division champion Red Sox are considered playoff favorites in the AL East, so the expectation is the Blue Jays will be left to compete for the second wild card. If Donaldson and Smoak help the offense rebound from last season's injury-induced stumble, when Toronto scored an AL-low 693 runs, and the starting pitching stays strong and healthy, the Blue Jays might be able to mount a playoff push. Health concerns remain plentiful, however. Besides Tulowitzki's troublesome heel, Travis will need scheduled downtime to rest his surgically repaired right knee. Stroman was slowed by a sore shoulder in spring training, and Sanchez will be closely monitored after making just eight starts last year because of blister issues. ___ Baltimore Orioles 2017: 75-87, fifth place. Manager: Buck Showalter (ninth season). He's Here: RHP Alex Cobb, RHP Andrew Cashner, OF Colby Rasmus, LHP Nestor Cortes Jr., C Andrew Susac, INF Engelb Vielma, OF Austin Hays. He's Outta Here: C Welington Castillo, SS J.J. Hardy, RHP Ubaldo Jimenez, LHP Wade Miley, RHP Jeremy Hellickson. Projected Lineup: LF Trey Mancini (.293, 24 HRs, 78 RBIs), 2B Jonathan Schoop (.293, 32, 105, 35 2Bs), SS Manny Machado (.259, 33, 95, 33 2Bs), CF Adam Jones (.285, 26, 73), 1B Chris Davis (.215, 26, 61, 61 BBs, 195 Ks), 3B Tim Beckham (.259, 12, 36 in 87 games with Rays; .306, 10, 26 in 50 games with Orioles), DH Mark Trumbo (.234, 23, 65, 149 Ks), RF Colby Rasmus (.281, 9, 23 with Rays), C Caleb Joseph (.256, 8, 28). Rotation: RH Dylan Bundy (13-9, 4.24 ERA, 152 Ks), RH Kevin Gausman (11-12, 4.68, 179 Ks), RH Alex Cobb (12-10, 3.66 with Rays), RH Andrew Cashner (11-11, 3.40 with Rangers), RH Chris Tillman (1-7, 7.84) or RH Miguel Castro (3-3, 3.53 in 39 games, 1 start). Key Relievers: RH Brad Brach (4-5, 3.18, 18/24 saves), RH Darren O'Day (2-3, 3.43, 2 saves), LH Richard Bleier (2-1, 1.99), RH Mychal Givens (8-1, 2.75). Hot Spot: Starting Rotation. The late addition of Cobb fills out a previously shaky unit, but depth and experience are still an issue. Bundy and Gausman were decent last season, but the young right-handers must take another step forward. Jimenez and Hellickson have been replaced by Cashner, on his third team in four years, and Castro, a converted reliever with one career start. Tillman, re-signed as a free agent, has to prove that his miserable 2017 season was merely a fluke rather than the beginning of the end of a career that two years ago appeared to be blooming. Should any of the starters get injured, the team has very few options on the staff and in the minors beyond right-hander Mike Wright, who's got a lifetime ERA of 5.86. Outlook: The Orioles were 25-16 and in first place last year before fading to their first losing season since 2011. The prospect for improvement will rest on a power-laden lineup that needs Davis and Trumbo to rebound from poor performances, but both sluggers fought through injuries this spring and Trumbo will be on the disabled list on opening day. With a shaky rotation and a bullpen that is without injured closer Zach Britton, the Orioles must score plenty of runs to make some noise in the AL East. Baltimore's defense, usually a strong point, was not particularly efficient in 2017. The team addressed the problem by switching Machado to shortstop and working hard on fundamentals this spring. Most important, this could be the last season in Baltimore for Jones and Machado, whose contracts expire after 2018. If the Orioles are sputtering in July, the most intriguing aspect of the team might be whether one or both stars get jettisoned before the July 31 trade deadline......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 29th, 2018

Will Alab Pilipinas be rooting for Hong Kong against China’s Chong Son?

Taking care of their own business last Sunday, Alab Pilipinas just need one more thing to happen to claim the two-seed in the 2017-2018 Asean Basketball League. In the elimination round-ending matchup between China’s Chong Son and Hong Kong, both 14-5, on Wednesday, the Filipinos are hoping for a win by the latter. An Eastern win would give them the one-seed, give the Filipinos the two-seed, and give Kung Fu the three-seed. A Chong Son win, on the other hand, would give them the one-seed, give Hong Kong the two-seed, and give the Philippines the three-seed. And so, Alab will have to root for the team which had swept them in the eliminations – if they want the second spot and the automatic advance into the semifinals it entails. “I hope we get the number two spot so we can rest a little bit and maka-recover sina [Renaldo] Balkman and Josh [Urbiztondo] going to the playoffs,” Pao Javelona said. He then continued, “As coach Jimmy [Alapag] said, we need everyone going to the playoffs.” In their head-to-head matchups thus far, Kung Fu owns a 2-1 edge over Eastern. Whatever happens, however, the Filipinos remain confident they can take on any opponent across them. “Kampi tayo sa Hong Kong sa Wednesday, pero either way, we’re good. Ang importante, we’re playing well,” assistant coach Mcc Cuan said. Ray Parks Jr. could only agree. “We’ll be ready for whichever outcome. Let God’s plan prevail,” he said. Indeed, with a 38-point win to end the elims and with players like Pao Javelona and Pamboy Raymundo ready and raring to step up, Alab will be a force to reckon with for any among Chong Son, Hong Kong, Thailand’s Mono, Singapore, or Vietnam’s Saigon. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 26th, 2018

UAAP VOLLEYBALL: Sana we went past that down na -- Madayag on Ateneo s improvement after a bad start

Ateneo de Manila University has put its bad start in UAAP Season 80 Women’s Volleyball tournament behind. After a 0-2 start – its worst in 11 years – the Lady Eagles are now on a roll and are already knocking on the Final Four door. During the pre-season and at the start of their campaign, many thought that Ateneo would be limping in the race for a semifinals spot after the departure of prized setter Jia Morado. They proved them wrong. Ateneo’s heart strong mantra remained alive and the Katipunan-based squad is just two wins away from formally clinching a Final Four seat.     The Lady Eagles edged the upset-conscious University of the East, 25-14, 18-25, 25-13, 25-18, Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan for a 7-3 win-loss slate at solo second spot behind archrival grand slam-seeking De La Salle University (8-2).  Another victory will secure Ateneo at least a playoff for a Final Four berth. “Well, I mean it's a really great achievement na mag-eight wins kasi we were just expecting to play our best naman,” said skipper Maddie Madayag, who had 11 points off seven kills, three kill blocks and an ace. “But then our goal was to reach talaga the Final Four,” she added. But nakakataas ng confidence, and nakakasaya for the team. And 'yung improvements din.” The Lady Eagles have won three straight in the secomnd round of eliminations. Ateneo took down first round tormentors Far Eastern University and National University - both in straight sets - before flooring the Lady Warriors. “I guess for teams naman, there will always be up and downs. Sana we went past that down na,” said the team captain. Madayag also credited for their good campaign the vast improvement of setter Deanna Wong, who filled the important shoes left by Morado. Wong had 50 excellent sets against UE that helped Ateneo hammer down 54 attacks.      “She's really improving a lot. Like you can see from the first round to the second round, she's being more aggressive and more confident in her sets,” said Madayag of Wong, who had four markers.  Ateneo can secure at least a playoff for a semis spot with a win over Adamson University on Sunday before the league goes on a Holy Week break. And the former two-time champion Lady Eagles will be ready.  “Wala talagang complacency,” said Madayag. “We're not gonna be complacent with the teams, because everybody's like magka-level.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles      .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 21st, 2018