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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

FIBA WORLD CUP: Fajardo, Gilas learn tough lesson in loss to Kazakhstan

MANILA, Philippines --- Gilas Pilipinas is ready to turn a shock loss into a valuable lesson. The Philippines suffered a monumental upset Friday against Kazakhstan in the Asian Qualifiers and the national team's quest to the 2019 FIBA World Cup took a major hit. Still, Gilas is still in the running and is actually tied with Japan for third place with identical 5-4 records. Gilas can basically nullify this loss to Kazakhstan Monday provided they beat Iran in another big game. The Iranians didn't get any additional ground after losing to Australia and their 6-3 record is only one full game better than that of the Filipinos. Despite a disappointing result now, the Philippines has another chance and Gilas is ready to not waste this second opportunity. "Maski matalo lalo na nasa homecourt tayo pero lesson learned yun," June Mar Fajardo said. "Hindi kailangan i-down mga sarili natin dahil sa talong to, di natin pwedeng dalhin yung sama ng loob sa game sa Monday kasi mas lalong maa-apektuhan tayo. Kailangan lang matuto," he added. Gilas is ready to move on from this defeat to Kazakhstan and despite the Philippines actually taking a beating at the hands of Iran in the previous window, the national team is confident they can bounce back. "Buong tiwala ko sa team so kailangan pa nating gawin lahat para manalo," Fajardo said. "Move on na pero di dapat kalimutan yung lesson [vs. Kazakhstan]," he added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 30th, 2018

Gilas will be ready when games count says Guiao

The Philippines had a rather disappointing result in its series of practice games against Jordan and Lebanon. In four games last week, Gilas Pilipinas only came out on top once, an 82-73 decision against Jordan in their second game. That contest ended with about six minutes to go in the fourth quarter after Jordan walked out following a heated verbal altercation betwenn Gilas coach Yeng Guiao and Jordan mentor Joseph Steibing. The rest of the three games Gilas played, they lost, including a sweep at the hands of Lebanon. It's a good thing those games do not count and Guiao is confident that the national team can regroup and win when the games matter against Kazakhstan on Nov. 30 and against Iran on Dec. 3 both at the MOA Arena. "We're very positive naman na we can play a good game against Kazakhstan," Guiao said. "We have to put together all our learnings and try to make them matter in the games that are most important to us, which are the Kazakhstan and Iran game," he added. Additional tune-ups would have allowed Gilas Pilipinas to be sharper. But with a couple of days left before the penultimate window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers, Guiao would rather not risk injuries and the like. "Ilang araw na lang eh, baka may mangyari pa," he said. "It's better to preserve them at this point and also to just do scouting then practice the specifics na for the games," Guiao added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 27th, 2018

Former UP standout Lao joins PBA hopefuls

Kyles Lao, a former University of the Philippines stalwart, has decided to turn professional after he submitted his application for the PBA Rookie Draft set Dec. 16 at the Robinson's Place in Ermita, Manila. The Manila Stars guard in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL), has mixed emotions on his PBA plans but knows he has done enough to prepare for the professional league. “I have mixed feelings about it. I’m excited and yet anxious,” said Lao, a six-foot combo guard who won Rookie of the Year honors with the Fighting Maroons back in 2013 in the UAAP. “It’s a dream for me to play in the PBA ever since I was young. It’s also a dream for my family. But there is also pressure because I don’t know what will happen. It’s not a sure thing if I'll be selected in the first or second round, or if I’ll be picked in the Draft,” added Lao. The 23-year-old Lao said his four seasons at UP under head coaches Bo Perasol, Ricky Dandan and Rey Madrid, his stint with AMA under coach Mark Herrera in the PBA D-League, and currently with coach Philip Cezar with the Manila Stars improved his skills to play at a high level - the PBA. Lao is playing well so far as a backup guard of the Manila Stars, averaging nearly 10 points per game, including 13 points a game in the team’s three-game win streak the past two weeks, and has a +10 efficiency rating. “He has one of the highest basketball IQ players that I’ve coached," said Perasol, a former PBA mentor. "Whatever he may be lacking in some aspects of the game, he works on it with pure determination and grit. His offensive arsenal has also dramatically improved as he had come in age. I hope that teams will give him the chance that he rightly deserves," he added. Lao said he has learned a lot from these coaches, and he is confident all the knowledge imparted to him will be useful for him in the PBA. Whatever happens, Lao, who personally submitted the requirements for local applicants last Thursday ahead of the Dec. 3 deadline at the PBA Commissioner’s Office in Quezon City, is ready for it. “I’m not sure where I’ll end up, or which team would pick me. But my family, they have been fully supportive to me, they told me to be ready. I have to prepare well too for the Draft Combine,” said Lao. "My stint with the UP Fighting Maroons, with the AMA team and now with the Manila Stars, it all helped me as a basketball player. With the people I played with and played for, they all gave me the confidence to aim for my dream to play in the PBA,” he said......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 26th, 2018

Lebanon s Majok on young Kai Sotto: 'NBA s not a given'

Many are looking at Kai Sotto as the can't-miss future of Philippine basketball. It's hard to argue give Kai's near unprecedented combination of size, skill, age, and potential. Many are also looking at the 16-year-old Ateneo high school star as the Philippines' best best to have a homegrown Filipino play in the NBA. It's pretty hard to argue against those people too given Sotto's current talent trajectory and overwhelming opportunities to grow. Still, Kai has a long way to go and at 16 years young, he has plenty to work on. Regardless, the future is looking bright for Sotto and he earned another believer Sunday after Gilas Pilipinas faced off against Lebanon for the second of two tune-up games. Kai shared the court briefly against Ater Majok and the Lebanese powerhouse was impressed with what he saw up close. "I knew he's young but I didn't know he's in high school," Majok said on Kai. "He's gonna be something special, the Philippines has a bright talent ahead of them," he added. Asked about Sotto's potential to make it to the NBA, the 6'10" Majok was very frank about the 7'2" Kai. Majok was drafted in the second round of the 2011 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers. He played for the Lakers' Summer League team in 2012 and for the Los Angeles D-Fenders a couple of seasons later. Clearly, getting to the NBA and staying there are two different things as Majok found out and the veteran anchor of the Lebanon national team believes that Kai can do both. "You know, NBA's not a given," Majok said on Sotto. "If he works hard, I'm pretty sure he's gonna be there. [But the NBA] now is about run, jump, and shoot. So he looks like a guy who has characteristics for it too. He should be okay," he added. During Sunday's clash between the Philippines and Lebanon, Majok was seen talking to Kai multiple times, especially after Sotto tried to dunk on him during one possession in the third quarter. Majok believes that Kai should have played for more than half a quarter in the tune-up but he understands that it was a coaching decision to give Sotto limited minutes. Still, just like everyone else, the Lebanese center believes that Kai going up against older and stronger players will great accelerate his development. "I think he should’ve played more. Get more game experience. Especially during games like this. But that’s the coach’s decision. I think he should play more, play more with grown men so he could understand and know his level of strength and know what he needs to work on," Majok said on Sotto. "That’s what I did. I played with grown men. That helped me a lot to grow at a young age," he added. As for Kai himself, he knows that all of these experiences now are helping him prepare for his eventual NBA chase. He's clearly targeting the big leagues, at least he wants a shot at it, and the work has already begun. "Kailan pa ba ako mag-start? Kung kailan 18 or 19 ako? Too late na yun," Sotto said. "Importante yung oras. So habang may time ako ngayon, start na ako mag-improve para pagdating ng takdang panahon, ready na ako," he added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 26th, 2018

Kai Sotto working double time chasing NBA dream

Kai Sotto has NBA dreams and he is not wasting any second trying to achieve it. "When should I start? When I'm 18, 19? That would be too late," the 16-year-old Sotto said after the Gilas Pilipinas-Lebanon match late Sunday, which the visitors won, 71-60. "Time is off the essence," added Sotto, the 7-foot-1 star of Ateneo in the juniors division. "So while I have the time now, I'll start trying to improve so when the time comes (to take my NBA shot) I'll be ready." Sotto certainly made an impression on one person who had been drafted in the NBA. In a near highlight reel play, Sotto soared for an audacious dunk against Lebanon naturalized player Ater Majok, who rose to block t...Keep on reading: Kai Sotto working double time chasing NBA dream.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsNov 25th, 2018

Kai on first run with Gilas: 'Kapag nilagyan ko ng effort, nakaka-sabay naman ako'

Kai Sotto finally had the chance to run with Gilas Pilipinas Sunday against Lebanon and the Ateneo high school star is more than thrilled. Sotto was in uniform for the national team's last tune-up game ahead of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers and was given the chance to see the court for limited minutes. Kai started for Gilas in the second half and played for about six minutes. He made the most of his limited action and even tried to dunk on Lebanon's Ater Majok. He missed but he was fould and Sotto made the two free throws before he was subbed out. "Sayang, kasi yun na yung chance ko eh," Sotto said of his brave attempt to posterize the Lebanese powerhouse. "Okay lang," he added. As an official part of the 20-man pool for this upcoming FIBA window, Kai can be part of Gilas' final 12 for the very first time. Sotto elated to have an opportunity and he's ready to earn his slot. "Hindi sa mahirap pero kailangan mo talagang pagtrabahuhan. Iba yung mahirap sa yung kaya mo pero pagtatrabahuhan mo talaga," he said. "Kapag nilagyan ko ng effort, nakaka-sabay naman ako kahit papaano. Masaya ako dahil kahit papaano nasa isip pa rin ako ni coach Yeng, nagpapa-salamat ako sa kanya na sinama niya ako sa pool," Sotto said.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 25th, 2018

Sotto welcomes physicality, ready to fight for slot

Kai Sotto may be the youngest among the 20-man Team Pilipinas pool but the Ateneo de Manila University high school center knows that his ‘kuyas’ won’t go easy on him. The towering 16-year old cager boldly said that he welcomes the challenge of going up against experienced pros. Even if it means absorbing the physical nature of their game. “Sana ibigay nila ang lahat nila,” said the lanky 7-foot-1 Sotto. “Dahil siyempre kaya naman ako nandito para maramdaman ‘yung mga bagay na yun. Para ma-experience din kung paano talaga maglaro ‘yung players sa ganitong klaseng level.”      Sotto was one of the 12 players who attended the first practice session of Team Pilipinas, which is preparing for the two home games against Kazakhstan and Iran in the fifth window of the 2019 World Cup Asia Qualifiers. “Sobrang happy and sobrang excited ko na mag-practice rito and makilala yung mga teammates ko rito and looking forward na maraming matutunan sa kanila,” said Sotto, who already donned the national colors under the Batang Gilas banner. Sotto was joined another young player in University of the Philippines Ricci Rivero. Also in attendance were Talk ‘N Text’s Jayson Castro and Troy Rosario, San Miguel Beer’s June Mar Fajardo, Alex Cabagnot, Marcio Lassiter and Arwind Santos, Rain or Shine’s Beau Belga and Gabe Norwood, Phoenix’s Matthew Wright and Blackwater’s Poy Erram. Included in the pool are Barangay Ginebra’s Greg Slaughter, Japeth Aguilar, LA Tenorio and Scottie Thompson and Magnolia’s Ian Sangalang and Paul Lee. The six though skipped practice with their teams clashing in the PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals Game 2.    SMB’s Christian Standhardinger and NorthPort’s Stanley Pringle have yet to arrive for practice as of posting time. Head coach Yeng Guiao said that Sotto and Rivero have the same equal chance as the pros to secure a spot in the final 12-man lineup. “Meron, meron (chance). Actually, the reason they’re here is they’re one of the guys with the opportunity to fight for a slot in the 12-man lineup,” said Guiao. “So kahit na sabihin natin na ang basic purpose natin is for their development, who knows?” “Hindi natin alam baka magpakita sila,” he added. “So I’m not discounting that possibility. It might be a little bit remote but it’s still a possibility.” For Sotto, getting a call up for the pool is already an honor. Whatever the decision of Guiao come the final cut, the experience will definitely improve Sotto’s game for the future.   “Dream ko na makasama sa talagang team and itong pagsama sa pool. Pero kahit ano man ang kalabasan positive lang ako dahil kahit papaano 16 pa lang naman ako,” said Sotto. “Kahit anong mangyari dito alam ko naman na magandang bagay yun para sa akin. Mag-pray lang ako na kahit anong mangyari magiging successful itong Team Pilipinas.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 12th, 2018

MPBL: Lao ready to step up for Manila

Guard Kyles Lao is proving his worth for the Manila Stars. After coming up big in the Stars’ 60-59 win over the Zamboanga Valientes, the former University of the Philippines stalwart is ready to step up once again for Manila in the Datu Cup of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL).  Lao, 23, said his mindset is to go all out when Stars coach Philip Cezar calls his name – just like he did when he stepped up in the team’s last win where he scored 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field. “That has been my approach ever since, to be ready to play and contribute every time coach gives me the playing time,” said the 5-foot-10 Lao, a rookie in the MPBL. “I just play my game and give it my best.”  “I’m very thankful to coach Philip for his trust and confidence, as well as my teammates. I’ll just continue to play my game and keep aggressive in our next games as we aim for a playoff berth,” added Lao, who averages nearly seven points, two rebounds and two assists in the MPBL. The former UAAP Rookie of the Year was clutch for Manila in its win against Zamboanga as buried back-to-back jump shots, including a tough step back jumper that gave the Stars a 56-55 lead with 3:16 left. Lao helped a Manila squad to a victory that played sans PBA veteran Roger Yap, coming off the bench behind amateur stalwart Chris Bitoon and former PBA player Marcy Arellano.  Manila’s win improved its record to 10-2 in the Northern Division of the tournament, and Cezar said Lao will surely get more playing time knowing that he is capable of delivering on both ends.  “Kyles has what it takes to compete at a high level,” said Cezar of Lao. “He’s talented and he’s really helping the team. He just needs to be more confident and play consistent basketball,” added Cezar, a former PBA MVP and member of the 40 Greatest Players......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 4th, 2018

ONE Champinoship: Banario backs teammate Folayang in title clash with Khan

Former ONE Featherweight World Champion Honorio "The Rock" Banario is confident his teammate Eduard "Landslide" Folayang will emerge victorious when he collides with Singaporean sensation Amir Khan for the vacant ONE Lightweight World Title. The pair will square off in the co-main event of ONE: CONQUEST OF CHAMPIONS, which emanates from the state-of-the-art Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines on Friday, 23 November. Banario's five-bout winning streak came to a heartbreaking conclusion when he locked horns with Khan this past September in Shanghai, earning the Evolve athlete his shot at the gold. After exchanging strikes in the opening minutes of the match, Banario was caught in a rear-naked choke that forced him to wave the white flag at the 4:34 mark of the first round. "The Rock" admitted becoming very careless in his bout against the young martial artist from Singapore, but he doesn't see his experienced Team Lakay stablemate falling into the same trap. "I became careless and overconfident in our fight, but I don't see Eduard making the same mistake," Banario said. "We all know that he is a complete fighter. He has a style that Khan will have a hard time dealing with." "When it comes to strength, striking, and wrestling, Amir Khan will have a hard time overcoming Eduard in those areas. I'm not underestimating Amir Khan, but Eduard is simply on another level. Both are complete fighters, but Folayang is a much more experienced veteran." Banario also revealed that Folayang is extremely driven in training for the scheduled five-round championship clash with Khan. "I see a highly-motivated Eduard Folayang in training because he didn't expect to be blessed with another shot at the world title. He's just so motivated for this bout. Eduard is ready to reclaim the world title that he lost nearly a year ago," he disclosed. Since making his triumphant return to the ONE Championship cage this year, the beloved Filipino martial arts superstar is on an upward trajectory. With the intention of climbing back towards the top of his weight class, "Landslide" impressively defeated two unbeaten Russian opponents. First, he dominated Kharun Atlangeriev in three rounds in May, before edging out Aziz Pahrudinov in a lightweight thriller two months later. After returning from defeat and posting consecutive victories over elite opposition, the former ONE Lightweight World Champion refused to sit back and relax, accepting an invitation from a close friend to train in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The 34-year-old Baguio City native flew out to the United States in August for a month-long training trip at the famous Jackson-Wink MMA training facility, which is home to a number of world-class athletes such as Jon Jones, Alistair Overeem, Andrei Arlovski, Donald Cerrone and Diego Sanchez, to name a few. Witnessing his Team Lakay comrade's grind at the gym to be in top physical shape, Banario made a bold prediction on the highly-anticipated ONE Lightweight World Title showdown. "This is the right chance and timing for him to get back to his throne," he declared. "He is ecstatic each and every time he's training. I think Folayang can get an early finish. It won't go the full five rounds. The fans in Manila are in for a treat.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 2nd, 2018

Letran’s coach Jeff: Ngayon pa lang, we re ready sa NCAA 95

Colegio de San Juan de Letran’s strong season ended with a whimper at the hands of rampaging Lyceum of the Philippines University last Friday. All throughout the NCAA 94 Men’s Basketball Tournament, the Knights proved that they are a playoff team – and even more, a title contender. While that didn’t necessarily show in their loss to the Pirates, they nonetheless remain upbeat that they could do all of that all over again next year. In fact, even now, Letran is already talking like a favorite. “Ngayon pa lang, we’re ready sa Season 95,” head coach Jeff Napa said right after their elimination in the ongoing season. With triple-double threat Bong Quinto and steady leader JP Calvo already graduating, it will be a tall task for coach Jeff to back up his claim. Still, he has nothing but full faith on those who will be returning. “Next year, definitely, Jerrick will be 100 percent. I think, January (next year), good to go na siya,” the mentor said, talking about starting off-guard Jerrick Balanza who was forced to undergo brain surgery just two months ago. He then continued, “Nandyan pa naman si Bonbon, si Larry, si Christian, si Jeo so pretty confident talaga ako dun sa maiiwan.” Indeed, Quinto and Calvo were the shining stars, but the likes of Jeo Ambohot, Bonbon Batiller, Christian Fajarito, Koy Galvelo, and Larry Muyang turned the Knights into a force to reckon with. For his part, recovering Balanza gave off the same sort of confidence. “Buo pa rin kaming makakapasok sa Final Four next year. Masasabi ko ngayon pa lang na ramdam na namin kung gaano kahirap sa Final Four so alam na namin kung paano namin tatagusin ito next year,” he said. He then continued, “Expect ninto na magfa-Finals ang Letran next year.” And in the same light, coach Jeff and Balanza have nothing but full faith on those who will be coming in. As the former put it, “Next year is a different story. A lot of guys are coming in from our Team B so actually, pinagpreparahan na rin namin yung pagkawala ni (Bong, JP, Alex Mandreza, at Jeremiah Taladua),” he said. He then continued, “Team B namin, binugbog na namin sa Team A para at least, ma-experience na nila kung ano yung level of competitiveness. It’s a matter of kailangan lang namin i-polish at saka i-jell together yung mga naiwan.” Who are those players on the Knights’ Team B? Former University of Sto. Tomas swingman Jordan Sta. Ana, former Nazareth School of National University versatile forward Allen Mina, and former Squire stud guard Kiefer Cordero, just to name a few. Without a doubt, Letran is adamant that it will still be stacked for next season. As for the rest of the NCAA, though? “At the same time, yung mga kalaban namin, marami rin naman silang mawawala. Problema na nila yun kung paano kami haharapin next year na mas malakas,” coach Jeff said, alluding to the departures of CJ Perez from LPU, Robert Bolick from San Beda University, and Prince Eze from University of Perpetual Help. He then continued, “Mas malakas, tapos mas sugatan ngayon kaya babawi kami next year.” --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 31st, 2018

Q& A: Hornets Walker starts season in scoring groove

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com With the new season underway, and with his game as hot as almost anyone to start, Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker was asked what impressed or surprised him about the first 10 days or so of 2018-19. “Nothing besides my own play,” Walker said, laughing after a shootaround Friday (Saturday, PHL time). “Nothing besides seeing my name near the top of the NBA scoring, which is pretty weird.” Eh, maybe not so weird. Walker, a two-time All-Star, is the Hornets’ all-time leading scorer. At 28, the former ninth overall pick in the 2011 Draft is in his prime as a player. The 41 points he dropped on Milwaukee on opening night and the fact he’s gone for at least 23 every game since (with three more games of 30 or more) seems like the next logical step. It earned him the season’s first Eastern Conference Player of the Week honor and as Week 2 ended, his 31.7 ppg trailed only Golden State’s Stephen Curry (33.9) and Portland’s Damian Lillard (33.8). “It was [gratifying]. Who wouldn’t want it to keep going?” Walker told NBA.com. “I know teams will be gearing up on me and double-teaming me. But I just want to win, man. I want to get back to the playoffs any way possible. I don’t care what I average the rest of the year.” Walker, in the final year of a four-year, $48 million deal he signed in 2014, never has shot the ball so well -- 40.5 percent from the arc, 46.6 percent overall. Neither has he shot it so often and from such range. Walker is averaging 23 shots, including more than 11 3-point attempts. His usage rate of 33.5 trails only Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo (35.1) and his 29.4 PER puts him ahead of Kevin Durant and LeBron James. Is it sustainable? That was one of multiple topics Walker talked about with NBA.com’s Steve Aschburner: *** Steve Aschburner: On Media Day, you made it sound as if you would hit this season hard from the start, and that’s exactly what we’ve seen. How do you explain it? Kemba Walker: I knew I had a good summer. I put in the work and the time and the effort to get better. And I’m healthy -- I haven’t felt healthy like this in a long time. Over the last three summers, I wasn’t healthy, having knee surgeries and ‘scopes. So I was rehabbing. This summer, I had a chance to work on my game. Being able to work on my shooting over a long period of time really helped as well. SA: You took as many 3FGAs last season as you shot your first two seasons combined. Now you’re launching them at a pace (11.3 per game) to break Steph Curry’s single season record (886). Is this a conscious change by you or a reaction to the league’s preferred style? KW: Both. The league definitely has changed from the time I first came in. Everybody’s shooting more threes, no matter their position. Me, I’ve just become more confident. I worked on my shot tremendously to get to this point. I’m comfortable now shooting it, whenever I can get to my spots. SA: What’s your preference -- pull-up threes, spot-up threes or those halfcourt threes like Steph takes? KW: Not at all [laughing]. Steph is a different type of shooter, maybe the best to ever shoot the basketball. But I’m comfortable shooting them however. It doesn’t matter. If I can get ‘em up, I try to make ‘em. But I do love for my teammates to create for me and get me some easy ones. It does take some stress, some pressure, off of me. SA: Your coach, James Borrego, has talked of using you more off the ball. Does that suit you? KW: It really helps. It gets me a little bit of rest, and it opens up a different dynamic in my game. As well as giving other guys a chance to have the ball in their hands and create for others. But the main thing is, it just keeps me fresher, which is huge for me. SA: What’s your take on the Charlotte rookies? KW: Oh, I’m a huge fan. Devonte’ [Graham] really hasn’t gotten a chance to play yet, but I’ve always been a huge fan, even when he was at Kansas. Just love his game, love his poise. And that’s skill -- I don’t think people understand how much of a skill it is to be poised, especially at a young age. It’s something that I didn’t have, something that took me a very long time to get. Miles [Bridges], he’s a hard-playing kid. Smart, always in the right spot on both ends of the floor. I can see him getting more minutes as the season progresses. SA: Malik Monk is a second-year guy who didn’t have the most satisfying rookie season. What do you see from him, and can he become a reliable backcourt mate? KW: Oh yeah, he’s growing. Every single day. His efficiency will come. He needs time to learn, needs time to develop, to figure out where his shots are going to come. He’s getting better already. He’s passing the ball really well, getting other guys involved. He needs to know we need him every night, with him coming off the bench for us. SA: Your rookie season was about as challenging as could be -- delayed by a lockout, rushed through training camp and a quickie preseason, and then a 7-59 experience. Did that set you back as a player? KW: Nah, it wasn’t a setback. It was humbling. I took it as a point in my career where I was going through adversity. It was tough -- nobody likes to lose -- and through my basketball career I felt I had been a winner. But I just stuck to it, just kept working hard. SA: You said you don’t want to talk anymore about your free agency next summer -- and your general manager, Mitch Kupchak, is on record saying, “Our intention is for him to end his career in a Hornet uniform.” Some people wonder what the market might be, though, given how many terrific point guards are out there. So let’s address that another way: what is it like competing with all those rivals? KW: It’s unbelievable, man. Every night. Every single night, somebody is there to … I can’t even explain it. Every team, there’s so many great point guards out there who are just ready to showcase their talents. There are young guys ready to show how good they are. Yeah, it’s a point guard league. SA: We’re seeing more and more teams switching everything defensively. How hard is that on a 6-foot-1 point guard? KW: It’s … tough sometimes. Some matchups, you don’t want to get. But I rely on my teammates to help out as much as possible. The most challenging part probably is boxing guys out. But I’m always up for the challenge. SA: Some players talk or at least play like defense is optional. Your thoughts? KW: Not at all. I’m paid to do it all. It’s not even about being paid -- I’m just competitive. I want to play defense. I want to score. I want to do it all. SA: I’ve often wondered what it’s like to play for the team that Michael Jordan owns. Other teams, the owners aren’t basketball experts. But that’s not the case for the Hornets. Is it intimidating? KW: I wouldn’t say intimidating. I love it. I want my owner to have played. He knows what’s going on, he knows how it feels after losses, after wins. Traveling. Being tired. He’s been through it. He knows what it takes to win games in this league. Even though basketball’s a bit different now from when he played, but still, he knows. I feel like I’m at an advantage because I can go to him, I can ask him things. Or he can just come to me, or text me or call me to let me know things. And let me know how to get past things. No, it’s an honor for us, it’s an honor for me to have him as an owner. SA: How is basketball different from when Jordan played? KW: For me, just the threes. A lot of bigs shooting threes. The bigs are different in general, you know? Back with MJ, I feel like the shooting guards and the forwards were dominant, and it was more of a post-up league. Now it’s a point guard’s league for the most part. And it’s not a post-up league much anymore. There are so many threes up in the air. SA: Do you little guys resent the stretch-fours and stretch-fives coming out onto your turf these days? KW: Yeah, man, it’s crazy. But it’s fun. Just seeing the development and the change. Even from when I first got in the league it wasn’t like that. But guys are so talented nowadays, it’s unbelievable. SA: Tell me about the Big Brothers Big Sisters work you do, mentoring four kids -- two boys and two girls -- in the Charlotte area. KW: Just to be in their lives. I take ‘em out to eat, take ‘em to Dave & Buster’s every now and then. It’s fun. I try to avoid the cameras. It’s not for social media. It’s not for anything but them. The kids are doing great in school. That’s the biggest progress, that’s what you want. They’ve really started to love basketball now -- they come to games sometimes. It’s been fun to see them grow, each and every time I see them. One of the kids, his mom passed away. I know it’s been a struggle for him. For me to be able to help get his mind off of that for a time, just be there for him, that’s definitely rewarding for me but I hope it’s more rewarding for him. SA: You’re in your eighth season, and you’ve played a total of 11 playoff games. What stands out for you about the postseason? KW: I remember every game. We played Miami twice. The first year [2014] was when they had LeBron, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. They swept us, but I thought we played really well. Obviously it wasn’t enough -- they had three Hall of Famers. I remember the level of intensity those guys played with. I remember telling myself, the next time I get to the playoffs, I’m going to try my best to play like that. The next time [2016], that’s what I did. People thought we might get swept again, but we went to seven games. It was really fun. The whole atmosphere was so intense. I loved it. You have to take your game to a whole ‘nother level. You have to play hard every possession, every second of those games. The competitiveness, the toughness, everything goes up. SA: A problem that team had, it still has -- you’re carrying such a big load offensively. Do you need a second reliable scorer, and is that guy on the roster now? KW: Of course. We need it. I’m not going to have huge games every night. It’s on one of these guys to step up. I think guys are still searching for their roles at this point, especially with a new coach, new system. We’re still learning. But as the season progresses, I think they will. We have guys who are capable of putting points up for us. SA: The All-Star Game this season is in Charlotte. You’ve been selected twice. What would you think of playing in that game in your market? KW: That’d be amazing. To be in Charlotte, the team that drafted me, the team I’ve played with for eight years now, it would be a really special moment. Hopefully I can get there. It’d be fun. A really important and fun moment in my career. Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 30th, 2018

ONE Championship: Bibiano Fernandes fully aware of Kevin Belingon s improvement

Throughout his five-year reign atop the ONE Championship Bantamweight Division, reigning ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes of Brazil has taken on all comers, and has prevailed each time. With seven successful title defenses to his name, Fernandes is considered as the most dominant champion in ONE Championship history, setting the record for most successful title defenses in the promotion’s seven-year existence. Come Friday, 9 November at ONE: HEART OF THE LION in Singapore, Fernandes will put his title on the line once again, against a familiar opponent in reigning ONE Interim Bantamweight World Champion Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon of the Philippines. While Fernandes has already turned Belingon back before, the Brazilian star has witnessed his rival's marked improvement since their first encounter back in 2016. “Kevin Belingon has improved immensely. I have seen him grow as a competitor over the past few years,” Fernandes stated during the ONE: HEART OF THE LION global conference call. “I know that in our rematch, Kevin will be a completely different fighter.” Since falling to Fernandes via submission over two years ago, the 29-year old Belingon has been on one of the most impressive winning streaks in ONE Championship today, running through six straight opponents, four of which were former world title contenders, and taking care of business in dominant fashion. As significant as Belingon’s improvement has been, Fernandes is still very confident in his capabilities inside the cage. The defending champion is on a fourteen-match winning streak of his own and hasn’t been on the losing end of a decision since 2010. “Nevertheless, I am very confident that my skills are enough to beat him again. Yes, he is dangerous, but I will control the pace of this fight and the outcome,” Fernandes said. “I am not taking Kevin Belingon for granted, and I am training harder than ever to make sure that I triumph over his best version yet in Singapore,” he added. At 39 years of age, Fernandes could very well be on the tail end of his career, but the “The Flash” has showed no signs of slowing down. Against Belingon, Fernandes says that he has no plans of letting his title slip through his hands. “I have held this World Title for a long time, and I’m not about to give it up now,” he proudly proclaimed. “I am ready to go the full five rounds, but I am also ready to finish the bout by knockout or submission when the opportunity presents itself.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 23rd, 2018

The Future of UST Beach Volleyball Blove Barbon and Jaron Requinton

University of Santo Tomas fielded a super senior-rookie tandem both in the women’s and men’s divisions of the UAAP Season 81 Beach Volleyball Tournament. That decision led to two championships, two MVPs, and two Rookies of the Year. Newbie Blove Barbon partnered up with the graduating Sisi Rondina, who played her fifth and final year on the sands. The rookie was nothing but honored to have partnered up with arguably the G.O.A.T (Greatest of All-Time) of Philippine beach volleyball in her first year playing the sport. She expressed that she was up to the challenge of teaming up with a player as intense as Rondina – an athlete who expects every teammate to go as hard as her. “Tinake ko lang po sya as a motivation kasi yun po yung way ni Ate Si na parang [gumaling] po yung sarili natin. ‘Di naman lahat ng naka-partner ni Ate Si, tumagal sa kanya. Pero para po sa akin, yun po yung ginawa kong motivation para lumaban ng lumaban,” she said after being awarded the Season 81 Rookie of the Year. The bubbly yet shy girl from Bukidnon showed immense improvement from Day 1 to the Finals. Seven game days after, her initial careless errors in the eliminations transformed to mature and smart ball placing. Barbon can’t help but feel regretful that this was her first and last time to play with Rondina. If she were to choose, she would partner with her over and over again. “Syempre, sino ba namang hindi gusto maging ka-partner si Ate Sisi. Diba? Nakita naman natin yung laro niya, di basta basta, siya po yung [pinakamagaling] sa beach volley,” she said with a giddy smile. “Halo halong saya po saka lungkot kasi yun nga po yun na yung last playing year ni Ate Si so next year iba na po makakapartner ko,” she said as she reflected on helping Rondina get the good exit she wanted. As for Rondina, she expressed confidence on leaving UST’s beach volleyball program, an arena she loved so much, to her young yet promising Padawan. “Si Babylove naman sinasabi ko sa kaniya na for her to get these awards, ang naging sangkap sa mga ganito is hard work. Commit kung saan ka naka-commit, wag kang masilaw sa pagiging sikat,” said Rondina. “May potential talaga siya. Sana madala niya 'yung attitude ko towards the game and towards training,” added the four-time MVP. Barbon is shy and still not accustomed to the attention one receives after a championship and a Rookie of the Year award. When reporters got a hold of her, she even joked around asking if someone else can substitute for her. “Pwede bang sub? Sub?” she quipped. With Rondina graduating, Barbon is left with the responsibility of preserving the elite status of UST in beach volleyball. When asked about it, Barbon has this to say. “Sobrang bigat po kasi lahat po kasi baguhan eh. Wala na pong senior na magdadala sa amin. Pero try po namin kung ano yung ginagawa ni Ate Si ngayon,” she said. “Gagawin namin para sa school,” the rookie said. Saying that she will do everything for UST, a sentiment Rondina has always preached, just goes to show that aside from volleyball smarts, she also picked up a rhetoric of her Ate. As for the men’s division, it was Jaron Requinton who had the honor of learning from veteran Krung Arbasto. Just like the women’s, the super senior-rookie tandem brought UST another gold. Requinton’s court presence is beyond his years. For most of the season, opponents always avoid letting the much more experienced Arbasto get the kill. With that, the spiking burden has been mostly on the young Requinton but the rookie was up to the challenge. He held a solid account of himself drilling down balls and blocking attacks as if this was not his first time in the UAAP. To make things more entertaining, he paired his volleyball skills with spunky antics on the sands. This is why no one was surprised when his name was called as the Season 81 Rookie of the Year. “Ito po siguro yung araw na di ko malilimutan as rookie kasi kahit natalo po kami sa eliminations ng FEU, natalo naman po namin sila sa championships. Goal ko po yun. Super salamat po talaga,” said Requinton. In contrast to Barbon’s timidity, Requinton has a confident aura around him. Whether he is playing on the sands or talking to reporters, he always seems to show no hint of intimidation. In his first rivalry game during the eliminations against National University, the lone rookie on the court joined the veterans in the tongue wagging and the arm flexing. Requinton showed all season long that he may be young but he is the real deal. “Siguro po yung hugot ko lang po [para sa confidence ko] ay sa hard training po namin, sa mga pinagdaanan po namin, sa struggles, sa away-bati,” he explained. In the end, just like Barbon, he was able to roll out the red carpet for Arbasto as he exited UAAP beach volleyball.  “Sobrang saya po kasi graduating po si Kuya Krung tapos nabigyan ko po siya ng magandang exit sa beach volley po,” Requinton expressed. Aside from bringing the trophy back to Espana, the rookie is also now responsible of continuing the steady stride of UST’s beach volleyball program. Arbasto expressed full confidence on his apprentice. “Si Jaron, matibay siya. May dedication talaga sya sa beach volley na buong puso naglalaro. Di bumibitaw sa kahit ano mang laban,” said Arbasto who was hailed as the Season 81 MVP. “Kahit na pinapagalitan ko yan, wala, tiyaga pa rin siya,” he added. When asked about the passing of the torch, Requinton embraces the responsibility with open arms. “Ireready ko po sarili ko kasi ayoko po magulat so ready lang po, kasi marami naman po kami. Di ko rin po alam mangyayari sa akin,” he said. This is the inevitable progression of college sports. When great players graduate, programs scramble trying to look for someone to replace them. But as for UST, they can breathe easily knowing that their beach volleyball program is now in the good and promising hands of Barbon and Requinton......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 8th, 2018

Angels Shohei Ohtani to have Tommy John surgery in October

By GREG BEACHAM,  AP Sports Writer ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Los Angeles Angels two-way rookie Shohei Ohtani will have Tommy John surgery next week. The Angels confirmed Ohtani's long-expected decision on elbow ligament replacement Tuesday. Dr. Neal ElAttrache will perform the surgery in Los Angeles. "I think it was the proper decision Shohei made to have surgery, and the sooner the better," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said before his club faced the Texas Rangers, with Ohtani batting cleanup as the designated hitter. Ohtani won't be able to pitch for the Angels in 2019, but he is likely to hit at some point early next season. When asked whether Ohtani is likely to be ready for opening day as a hitter, Scioscia said there are "too many variables" to make a confident prediction. Ohtani wasn't available to reporters before the game, but Scioscia confirmed general manager Billy Eppler's earlier statements that the Angels are committed to Ohtani's determination to be a two-way player in the majors. "It obviously puts him out of pitching in 2019, but he'll be able to hit, and I think he's at peace with that," Scioscia said. "He wants to excel at both phases of the game. The fact he can't pitch (next season), there is a little bit of a void. But he'll be able to hit and focus on that." Ohtani went 4-2 with a 3.31 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 10 mostly outstanding starts for the Angels, but he has pitched just once since early June after developing a strained right elbow. He returned to the mound Sept. 2 but incurred more damage to his elbow ligament. The 24-year-old Ohtani has continued as the Angels' designated hitter. He is batting .280 with 56 RBIs after hitting his 21st homer Monday. Ohtani is a top contender for the AL Rookie of the Year award despite his truncated pitching season. With just 347 plate appearances, he is leading all AL rookies in on-base percentage (.361), slugging percentage (.564) and OPS (.925), while his 21 homers are fourth among AL rookies. He is the first player in major league history to hit at least 15 homers and strike out at least 50 batters in a single season, and he joined Babe Ruth as the only players ever to hit 15 homers and pitch 50 innings. Ohtani and Ruth are the only players since 1900 to hit 10 homers while winning at least four games. Ohtani also has set the big league record for homers by a Japanese-born rookie, surpassing Kenji Johjima's 18 homers in 2006......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 26th, 2018

30 Teams in 30 Days: Jazz on upswing after postseason run

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com What offseason? That's a question many fans ask as the flurry of trades, free agent news and player movement seems to never stop during the summer. Since the Golden State Warriors claimed their third title in four years back on June 8 (June 9, PHL time), NBA teams have undergone a massive number of changes as they prepare for the season ahead. With the opening of training camps just around the corner, NBA.com's Shaun Powell will evaluate the state of each franchise as it sits today -- from the team with the worst regular-season record in 2017-18 to the team with the best regular-season record -- as we look at 30 teams in 30 days. * * * Today's Team: Utah Jazz 2017-18 Record: 48-34, lost in Western Conference semifinals to Houston Rockets Who's new: Grayson Allen (Draft) Who's gone: Jonas Jerebko, David Stockton The lowdown: Left woozy by the summer departure of free agent and franchise star Gordon Hayward, the Jazz gave the ball to a rookie and pulled a surprise by nearly winning 50 games and bouncing Oklahoma City Thunder from the playoffs. Their season was made more remarkable considering center Rudy Gobert played only 56 games because of knee issues. But Donovan Mitchell (20.5 points per game) was an unexpected savior and far better than anyone imagined. He won over his teammates and coach Quin Snyder quickly, then earned respect around the league for taking charge and also bailing out Utah in a number of close games, both rare for a rookie. Mitchell finished as the Kia Rookie of the Year runner-up. Snyder made good use of the rotation and found functional roles for most and the Jazz used Mitchell and defense to flourish. By the playoffs, Mitchell was arguably the best player on a floor that featured former Kia MVP Russell Westbrook and Paul George, and the Jazz entered the offseason feeling confident about the future. In 2016, the young Portland Trail Blazers made the playoffs, stunning the LA Clippers in the first round before giving the Golden State Warriors a feisty series in the semis. Encouraged by the bounce and swagger showed by an emerging club, the Blazers handed out contract extensions and … they haven’t done anything special since. In hindsight, every one of those extensions looks like a mistake. The lesson: Fool’s gold can sometimes, um, fool you. Are the Jazz headed down that path? The situations aren’t exactly the same, yet similar to a degree. Instead of going outside to make a few cosmetic changes to the rotation, Utah was mostly content to keep free agents Dante Exum and Derrick Favors, giving each contracts that were somewhat generous in a soft market that worked against most players. Exum signed for three years and a reported $33 million, or roughly the going rate for a backup point guard. But Exum’s run in Utah has been interrupted by injury and, even when healthy, his play was inconsistent. He perhaps earned the benefit of the doubt in the playoffs when he stepped in for an injured Ricky Rubio and had moments of solid play. Evidently, the Jazz feel Exum’s better days are just ahead. He’s only 23 and after investing so much time in him, Utah wasn’t ready to cut him loose. He brings great size (6-foot-6), is energetic, and point guard isn’t a Jazz strength. If nothing else, Exum gives Utah a sense of security. Favors is richer after signing a reported two-year, $36 million extension as no other team was willing to beat that price for him. The last two seasons weren’t exactly robust for Favors, who battled through injuries, sporadic play and found himself benched because of mismatches in today’s stretch-happy NBA. Favors has worked to develop more of a 3-point shot, but his lack of perimeter shooting was exploited by Houston in the playoffs. But as the case with Exum, the Jazz have years of player-development invested in Favors. As Utah’s longest-tenured player, Favors is a solid defender next to Gobert and the Jazz outscored their opponents by 7.2 points per 100 possessions with the two bigs on the floor together. And even though he’s seemingly been around Utah forever, Favors is just 27 years old. The decisions by the Jazz to maintain the status quo isn’t unusual with this franchise, which has long prided itself on stability and player development. Strangely enough, Mitchell claims to love life in the Wasatch Mountains -- something to remember when and if he ever reaches free agency (unlikely, since the Jazz will surely break the bank for him). Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey moved up to take Mitchell in the 2017 Draft and has a knack for finding talent in places where few others search. He has had a solid track record in the Draft and with the 21st pick took Allen. A year ago, the Duke shooter considered entering the draft, but got mild feedback from NBA types. Allen brings 3-point range to a team that ranked 13th in 3-pointers made and attempted last season. Unless he makes an impact right away, Allen will be in the back end of a rotation that showcases Joe Ingles for distance shooting. The trick for Utah is to match or surpass last season’s effort while catching no one by surprise this time. And the Jazz must do that with virtually the same cast as before. 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 NewsSep 23rd, 2018

Homeward-bound Schooling set for next phase at Asian Games

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — The hardest lap for any swimmer is usually the one coming home. That's when they have to try their hardest, giving it everything they have to get to the finish. Singapore's Olympic gold medalist Joseph Schooling is about to discover what that means when he's not in the competition pool. After spending the last nine years in relative anonymity in the United States, the 23-year-old Schooling is getting ready for the second half of his sporting career back in southeast Asia, knowing he probably won't be able to walk down the street or go for dinner without being noticed. "It's everywhere but it shows that they support you and they're excited to see you, and so you can't complain," Schooling said. "You can never brush aside your fans. You've always got to reciprocate so I'm completely fine with it." Schooling is competing this week at the Asian Games in Indonesia, where he has entered in the 50- and 100-meter butterfly races, three relays and the 50 freestyle. He will bid to defend his title in the 100 butterfly on Wednesday. Despite leaving Singapore in his teens to chase his dream of winning an Olympic gold medal, the island-state has always been in Schooling's heart. But so too has Texas, where he has been studying at University and training under the watchful eye of Eddie Reese. Schooling will complete his economics degree later this year before returning to Singapore, but will take back two permanent reminders of his time in the U.S. that changed his life. One is the tattoo on his left shoulder of the University of Texas mascot, the Longhorn. The other, inked after he won Rio, is the Olympic rings on his right bicep. The Longhorns won the NCAA national title four years in a row while Schooling was on the team and he credits his time there for helping him win the ultimate prize when he beat American great Michael Phelps for the Olympic title in the 100 fly. "It's great, it's a different atmosphere, great teammates," Schooling said. "I feel like it's the perfect environment for high performance." Schooling wants to keep swimming through to the 2024 Olympics in Paris and, although he hasn't made a final decision on his training plans, he has spent the past few months practicing with Singapore's new high-performance unit and likes what he sees. Australia's Stephan Widmer, who helped Libby Lenton and Leisel Jones win Olympic titles, has been appointed performance director at the institute while Gary Tan is the national head coach and Sonya Porter, who has extensive experience coaching in the U.S., is the technical director. Schooling's biggest challenge could be how to deal with his celebrity status but after he held off Phelps on the biggest final lap of his life to date, he's confident he can manage. "It takes some getting used to but at the end of the day if you focus on what you're doing and you don't care about outside distractions it's ok," he said. "I like being in that position and I don't see it as a burden at all.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 21st, 2018

Coach Joe overseeing Pasaol’s transformation into a beast

Unlike De La Salle University and University of Sto. Tomas, who also have new coaches, University of the East will have a Mythical Team member fronting its new era. Alvin Pasaol, who famously scored 49-points in a game last season in the UAAP, will be playing two more years for the Red Warriors. That means that new mentor Joe Silva will have a top five player in his first year as at the helm for UE – as compared to Louie Gonzales with the Green Archers and Aldin Ayo with the Growling Tigers who wont' have that luxury.  Of course, Silva recognized how big is it to have somebody like that. “Siyempre, it helps na may Mythical 5 kami na go-to-guy,” he said of his main man who averaged 20.6 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.7 steals, and 1.6 assists last year. Still, UE’s new head coach, who knows a thing or two about top players, said we haven’t seen the best of Pasaol just yet. As he put it: “Alvin, for me, hasn’t reached his potential yet. Tip of the iceberg pa lang yan.” During his time as coach of the Ateneo De Manila Blue Eaglets, Silva had a hand in the development of the likes of Thirdy Ravena, Nieto twins Matt and Mike, SJ Belangel, Dave Ildefonso, and Kai Sotto. As such, he went on to point out that his new top gun, well-known for his big body, could do much more with better conditioning. “I want him to get stronger. Isipin niyo, he’s kind of on the pudgy side, tapos andami na niyang nagagawa,” he said. He then continued, “Paano pa kung kundisyon? He’ll be a beast.” A toned and tireless Alvin Pasaol? Could he score more than 49 points in a game? For his part, Pasaol said he’s ready and raring to answer his mentor’s challenge. “Sinasabi nga ni coach Joe na kailangang totally fit ako. Agree naman akong kailangan kong pumayat kahit konti para mas shifty pa akong gumalaw at mas kayang tumalon,” he said. That doesn’t mean, however, that the 49-point man we all have come to love is going away. “Kahit pumayat, ‘di naman mawawala yun. Siguro, mas lalo ko lang i-eenhance ginagawa ko para rin ma-break ko yung record ko,” he said. Along with the weight, though, Pasaol said he’s aiming to take the reins of leadership for the new-look Red Warriors. “Yung leadership, yun yung gusto kong ma-achieve ngayon. Gusto ko, lahat ng teammates ko, papagalingin ko,” he said. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 13th, 2018

Batang Gilas twin towers Kai Sotto, AJ Edu ready to roll

    MANILA, Philippines – In the game of basketball, much has been said about the Filipinos’ lack of height despite the abundance of heart. It’s this very principle that launched the puso (heart) mantra of the men's team Gilas Pilipinas. However, for its youth wing, that height problem is all but fixed. ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsAug 5th, 2018

Absent Browns WR Gordon in contact with teammate

By Brian Dulik, Associated Press BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Josh Gordon hasn't reported to Cleveland Browns training camp, but his presence is being felt on the field. Fellow wide receiver Rashard Higgins is wearing Gordon's gear under his uniform at each practice. "That's my locker buddy, and I'm wearing his shirts every day," Higgins said Saturday. "That's why I feel like I've got superpowers when I come out here." Gordon remains away from the team as part of his treatment for drug and alcohol addictions. An NFL spokesman said the former Pro Bowl wideout has not been suspended. Browns general manager John Dorsey and coach Hue Jackson remain confident that Gordon will return at some point, but no timetable has been set. Cleveland opens its preseason Thursday at the New York Giants. "It will be like Josh never was gone when he comes back," said Higgins, a third-year pro. "That's how we're going to treat things. I feel like the team is a good supporting cast for him, just him knowing that we're here for him and we've got his back, no matter what." The 27-year-old Gordon has played in only 10 games since leading the NFL with a franchise-record 1,646 yards receiving in 2013. He is in Stage 3 of the league's substance-abuse program and faces another indefinite ban for any violation. Higgins exchanged texts with his friend one day earlier, saying he is "in good spirits." They have not discussed football in a conversation since Gordon was placed on the reserve/did not report list on July 23. "We know Josh is handling his business off the field, and when he comes back, he'll be ready to go," Higgins said. "We don't talk about anything on the field. We just talk about: 'Hey, what's up bro? How ya' doin'?' Just family, little things like that." Gordon resumed posting workout videos on social media Thursday from the University of Florida, but he has not made any statements since camp began. He has missed 43 of the Browns' last 48 games because of suspensions. Last season, Gordon was reinstated by Commissioner Roger Goodell following a three-month stay in a rehabilitation facility. He played in the final five games — catching 18 passes for 335 yards and a touchdown — after revealing that he had not previously appeared in an NFL game while sober......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 5th, 2018

Kai on his dream tandem with Edu: 'Marami kayong makikita pag pinagsabay kami'

For the dream twin tower combination of Kai Sotto and AJ Edu, chemistry and fit should be no problem. This early in their partnership, the 7'2" Kai and the 6'10" AJ appear to have the basics down already. That should be music to anyone excited for this imposing Batang Gilas frontline. Edu has expressed excited over the potential of his partnership with Kai. Sotto is no different. "Maayos kasama yang si AJ," Sotto said when asked about Edu. "Iba yung samahan namin pag nasa court. Masaya ako na teammate ko siya. Ang tagal ko na rin siya gusto maging teammate simula nung naki-practice siya sa Ateneo. Excited ako. Special siya na player eh," he added. Forming perhaps the most talented youth frontline the Philippines has ever seen, Sotto is confident he can make it work with Edu. The Kai-AJ tandem will be put to the test right away as Batang Gilas is set to compete in the 2018 FIBA Asia Under-18 Championships in Thailand starting Sunday with a slot in the U-19 FIBA World Cup on the line. "Marami kayong makikita pag pinagsabay kami," Sotto said. "Kahit parehas kami na big man, iba rin yung nagagawa namin. Mas lalo sa defense kasi parehas kaming rim protector. Sa offense, salitan lang kami," he added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 2nd, 2018