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Stable Packers embark on offseason of change with GM search

By Genaro C. Armas, Associated Press GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — One of the NFL’s model franchises for stability and success, the Green Bay Packers have embarked on an offseason of change after missing the playoffs and finishing with a losing record for the first time since 2008. Ted Thompson is out after 13 years as general manager but will remain as senior adviser of football operations. President/CEO Mark Murphy said a search for a replacement has started. This should be an attractive opening since the Packers aren’t far off from returning to contender status. Two-time NFL MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers is expected to return to full health next season following a collarbone injury. “I think with our organization, the success we’ve had in the past, I think very realistically we can win Super Bowls in the near future,” Murphy said Tuesday at Lambeau Field. “And it’s now on us to get the right people in place and move forward.” The Packers have several in-house candidates. But whoever replaces Thompson will have Mike McCarthy under contract through 2019, after Murphy said the coach was given a one-year extension during the season. The extension prevents McCarthy from having lame-duck status with a new GM. “Kind of like Ted, the two of them together have had a great run. We have all the confidence in the world in Mike,” Murphy said. The Packers’ Super Bowl victory in 2010 was the highlight of Thompson’s 13-year tenure, which also included four NFC championship game appearances. The Packers abided by a “draft-and-develop” philosophy on Thompson’s watch. “The organization, our fans and our community were fortunate to have had one of the NFL’s all-time great general managers leading our football operations,” Murphy said. But Green Bay lost its season finale 35-11 on Sunday to the Detroit Lions, slipping below .500 in a season in which Rodgers missed nine games with the collarbone injury. The offense struggled with backup Brett Hundley, and a defense stocked with high draft picks failed to improve again. Murphy said the subject of a transition was broached with Thompson after the season finale. Thompson, who has often spoken about his love of scouting, was given options. But Murphy said he wasn’t forced out. “It was a decision we made jointly,” Murphy said. “It was something in my mind I think it’s going to be good for the organization and Ted.” Thompson, notoriously media shy, did not attend the news conference. “This is a special place and we’ve had some success along the way, but it’s the relationships that I value most,” he said in a statement. “I look forward to supporting this team in my new role as we strive to win another championship.” Several players spoke about the transition as they cleaned out their lockers on Tuesday after a team meeting. “It is a little uncharted territory for us. It’s going to be different, we’re going to have some different voices, some different faces in here,” said kicker Mason Crosby, one of the team’s longest tenured players. “Ted Thompson with his transition through my 11 years here, it’s always hard to see people leave.” Thompson took over on Jan. 14, 2005, and selected Rodgers in the first round of the draft that year. He hired McCarthy as head coach the following year, and the Packers won six NFC North titles under his watch. “It’s tough to see him step down. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for him, taking a shot on me coming out as a free agent meant a little more,” said guard Lane Taylor, a fifth-year player who rose from undrafted free agent to starter. But standards are high in a city nicknamed “Titletown.” The Packers are the only publicly owned team in the NFL and play in the league’s smallest market, about a two-hour drive north of Milwaukee. Thompson has long been a target for some restless fans eager for the club to take a more aggressive approach in free agency. A defense plagued by injuries at cornerback had some moments trying to adjust to the loss of Rodgers on the other side of the ball. But production slacked off toward the end of the season. Green Bay lacked a consistent pass rush and didn’t force a turnover over the season’s final three weeks. While the team has not made a formal announcement about the departure of veteran defensive coordinator Dom Capers, Murphy said McCarthy has the go-ahead to search for a replacement without waiting for a new GM. “Mike has that authority,” Murphy said when asked about the coordinator search. “This is the time of year when things move pretty quickly, and I think on the coaching side, you don’t want to put yourself at a disadvantage.” Green Bay, which finished 22nd in total defense for a second consecutive year, used its top draft pick in each of the past six seasons on defensive players. The Packers were 15th in defense in both 2014 and 2015......»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnJan 3rd, 2018

An NBA first: Every coach who started last season is back

em>By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press /em> MIAMI (AP) — Dozens of NBA players found new homes this offseason. A few front offices dealt with hirings and firings. There’s a new arena in Detroit and an ownership change looms in Houston. The league’s logo was even tweaked. Change was everywhere. That is, except the coaches’ offices. Here’s a first for the NBA: Every coach is back. From the start of last season to the start of this season — barring something happening in training camps, anyway — not a single NBA team has changed coaches. That’s an unprecedented run of retention and an obvious source of pride for coaches across the league as the first practices of the season get set to occur this weekend. “I think what people are seeing is what this league needs, what these players need more than anything, is stability and a consistent message,” said Miami coach Erik Spoelstra, who’s going into his 10th season. “Otherwise we’re just losing ground if you have to start all over every year. That’s a tough way to win in this business. That’s a tough way to build any sort of culture or consistency.” No one is starting over in the next few days, at least in the sense that a new staff is taking over a team. Last season was the first since 1963-64 — and only the fourth in league history — where there were no in-season changes. The league was much smaller back then as well, with only nine coaches having to keep their bosses happy. It’s a 30-team league now, and a year ago at this time 10 of those clubs had a new coach. “From top to bottom, we have a very high quality level of coaching,” said Dallas coach Rick Carlisle, the president of the National Basketball Coaches Association. “This is as stable as our profession has been in decades. Contracts are strong, the league is constructed in a way now where coaching is extremely important and ownership understands the importance of the coaching process.” There hasn’t been a coaching hire since Jeff Hornacek was formally announced by the New York Knicks on June 2, 2016 — which might not sound that long ago, but in a field without any real job security that’s an eternity. So when coaches gathered last week for their annual preseason meeting, they celebrated the fact that there were no new faces in the room. “We’ve talked about the importance of supporting one another — and at the same time, the need to try to beat each others’ brains in,” Carlisle said. “It’s a conflicting sort of concept from afar, but internally we are the only ones that know all the challenges that head coaches in the NBA face. And because of that, there’s a real healthy respect for one another.” Summer vacations are ending now. Coaches will all be grabbing their whistles in the next few days, starting with Golden State’s Steve Kerr and Minnesota’s Tom Thibodeau on Saturday when the Warriors and Timberwolves open training camp — those teams can start early because they’re going to China in the preseason. The other 28 teams start practice on Tuesday. “In team-building and pro sports, a lot of times the methodical long game is what’s necessary,” said Spoelstra, the second-longest-tenured coach in the league behind San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich. “But you’re seeing less and less of that. That’s why last year was such a pleasant surprise. I think it really was a celebration of stability and an acknowledgment of how complex this position can be.”   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 21st, 2017

Search for 2018 Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipino Teachers Begins

In partnership with the Department of Education (DepEd), the Metrobank Foundation, Inc. (MBFI) opens the nominations for the 2018 Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipinos – Award for Teachers. The Award aims to recognize outstanding Filipinos who are responsible citizens, exemplary public servants, and agents of positive change in their respective communities. Four teachers will join three […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  metrocebuRelated News10 hr. 20 min. ago

Jags ‘threw a tantrum’ when Marrone started making changes

By Mark Long, Associated Press JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Jacksonville’s locker room was abuzz late last season. Four guys played table tennis while others crowded around a small table for dominoes. Two 80-inch televisions were tuned to a sports highlight show, and music blared from one corner of the room. Doug Marrone, the team’s offensive line coach at the time, walked through and shook his head. “Can you believe this?” Marrone whispered. The Jaguars were in the middle of a nine-game losing streak that would ultimately cost coach Gus Bradley his job. Marrone had watched from afar for two years, witnessing an atmosphere he felt was too loose, too laid-back and too lenient amid losing. So when Marrone was hired to replace Bradley last January, high on his to-do list was to change the culture in Jacksonville. His success is one reason the Jaguars (12-6) are in the AFC championship game against New England (14-3). The ping pong table was the first to go. Dominoes followed. The locker room stalls were overhauled, too, with Marrone mixing and matching position groups and putting certain players next to veteran leaders and/or NFL role models. “We definitely threw a tantrum,” Pro Bowl defensive tackle Malik Jackson said. “Went in there and talked to him about it. Definitely wasn’t happy. I learned just to be quiet, you know, and go with the flow. He’s been at it longer than I have, and I’m just the football player. He says do this and I go do it. Just learn to follow him, and I’m glad I did.” Marrone saved the most significant changes for the practice fields. Marrone, top executive Tom Coughlin and general manager Dave Caldwell wanted a much tougher and more physical team. They drafted bruising running back Leonard Fournette and fiery left tackle Cam Robinson to complement a defense that was significantly beefed up in free agency with the addition of All-Pro pass-rusher Calais Campbell, Pro Bowl cornerback A.J. Bouye and veteran safety Barry Church. They also designed an offseason program that was more grueling than most players had experienced. Marrone’s message was clear: Go hard or go home. “You remember guys in camp talking about this took a few years off their lives,” Jackson said. “It’s pretty funny just to see us now. I guess he does know what he’s doing.” The Jaguars were in full pads nearly every day during training camp, a tortuous stretch in draining heat and humidity that left rookies and veterans questioning the process and wondering if it would pay off. It was the NFL’s version of boot camp. Break them down, then build them up. It ultimately brought players closer, making them accountable to each other and causing them to care more for each other. Winning was the final piece, and thumping Houston 29-7 in the season opener was all the proof players needed. “It was the toughest training camp I’ve ever been a part of,” said linebacker Paul Posluszny, in his 11th season. “Coach Marrone would talk to us and say, ‘Listen, I have a plan and you have to trust me.’ With that, guys were able to say, ‘OK, we haven’t gotten what we wanted in years past doing things a certain way, so we have to buy in, trust the head man and know that that’ll bring us success when it’s time.’ “It was difficult just because of so many changes from what we were used to. I think the most important thing is we always said, ‘Well, if it helps us win, then it’s all good.’” Jacksonville had lost 63 of 80 games over the previous five seasons — the worst record in the NFL during that span — and had been through two coaching changes. Coughlin’s return was a key part of the team’s revival, and although the two-time Super Bowl-winning coach with the New York Giants gets much of the outside credit for the team’s turnaround, the reality is Marrone was the one pushing all the right buttons. Marrone has been other places where players resisted, prompting personnel moves that would slow progress. That wasn’t the case in Jacksonville, and he credited his players for being open to change. “They gave our staff the opportunity to say, ‘This is what we want to do. This is what we believe in as coaches or as an organization. This is how we want to handle ourselves,’” Marrone said. “We are still working toward that. It is not perfect by any means.” It’s clearly working, though. The Jaguars are in the title game for the third time in franchise history, one victory away from their first Super Bowl appearance. “They say (stuff) rolls downhill,” Jackson said. “Well, the good stuff rolls downhill, too. ... It’s all worth it when you win.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 17th, 2018

Warriors keep evolving in rivalry with Cavs

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com CLEVELAND -- You might expect, given the familiarity from what’s gone on for four years now, that the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers have worked up some serious mutual contempt. They both covet what the other wants -- in fact, the Warriors or the Cavs could make a persuasive case that, if not for the other guys, one already would have notched a three-peat and be chasing Bill Russell’s Celtics in pursuit of a fourth consecutive championship. They both have poured buckets of blood, sweat, tears, money, Gatorade and offseason counter moves into their nouveau NBA rivalry. And they both, well, as Golden State coach Steve Kerr phrased it to the San Jose Mercury News Sunday (Monday, PHL time), “We just want to kick each other’s ass.” And yet the Warriors and the Cavaliers -- who play again Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) at Quicken Loans Arena in the NBA’s prime-time MLK showdown -- have more in common with each other than they do with any of the league’s other 28 teams. Playing 100 games or so every year. Locking in mentally and surviving physically longer than anyone else. Showing up each night targeted as a measuring stick, even a season maker, by the opponents. While trying like heck to keep things fresh. Renew. Find and tap into a new source of energy, because old ones wane over time. “It’s the biggest challenge of this whole season,” Kerr told NBA.com late last week, with the Warriors starting a back-to-back in Milwaukee and Toronto on their way back to The Land. Even if it were possible -- and it realistically is not, given free agency, injuries, trades, the salary cap, luxury taxes, hirings and firings each NBA offseason -- playing a pat hand from one championship-level season to the next isn’t desirable. Voices, locker rooms, relationships get stale. Rivals adjust and escalate in the arms race. Some players ebb in the pecking order, others flow. It’s important to inject new faces, add skills and even find fresh themes to fend off monotony, even boredom, through the 82-game slogs. The Warriors, in winning 20 of 23 games over the past seven weeks, largely have managed to do that. The Cavaliers, at 26-15 after 2-7 stretch that started at Golden State on Christmas (Dec. 26, PHL time)? Not so much. Golden State shifts gears after each season It’s easy to think of Golden State’s success since Kerr’s hiring before the 2014-15 season as one uninterrupted run of excellence. Three-pointers, “death lineups,” and the rest. But the differences from one year to the next have been fairly pronounced. “In Year 1, we were trying to prove ourselves to the world,” Kerr said. “Then we win the championship -- it was all so fresh. There were no letdowns at all that year. It was the most exciting, it was the most energized, it was the most refreshing. It was brand new to all of us. It felt like we were riding this wave all year -- we were all giddy, like, ‘Oh my God, we’re really good!’ We didn’t know we could be like that. And for me, it was my first year coaching.” Steph Curry won his first MVP award. He and Klay Thompson generated considerable conversation about the best shooting backcourts in league history. Draymond Green forever changed the old NBA notion of “’tweeners.” The Warriors finished 67-15, ranked second in the league in offense (111.6) and first in defense (101.4) and beat Cleveland in the Finals in six games. “It was maybe like the first stages when you fall in love,” Kerr said. “You’re just on Cloud 9 and she can’t do anything wrong. There’s infatuation and then you truly fall in love, and it’s amazing. “The second year, we sort of rode that wave of euphoria of being the best team in the league and having won the title. The next thing you know, we’re 24-0 and we’ve got a chance to set an all-time record. That 73-win mark carried us all year. We were going to prove that, not only were we the champs but we were one of the best teams ever.” The Warriors were -- by regular season standards. Curry won his second MVP award. Kerr missed the first 43 games due to health issues but assistant coach Luke Walton steered them to a 39-4 mark. They bought into the chase for 73 victories fairly late, but instead of a 16-5 playoff run like the previous spring’s, the Warriors went 15-9 -- coming up one victory short when the Cavaliers became the first team to claw back from a 3-1 deficit. That led directly to Golden State’s next new wrinkle, a reconfiguration that came close to buckling the league’s knees. “We got KD,” Kerr said. “Now we’re changing our team, right? Last year was about incorporating KD, welcoming this incredible player into our organization and our roster. Figuring how to do it, how we were going to adjust. I felt like there were times last year that were tiring, where our guys were done a little bit. But it was ‘new’ again.” Even the challenges were fresh, like counting Curry’s or Klay Thompson’s touches relative to Durant’s or closing ranks around Golden State’s thin man as his reputation took blows for the first time in his NBA career. Not interested in shooting for 74 victories, the Warriors simply took care of business and stayed coiled for the postseason. Then it was a 16-1 dash to title No. 2, Durant snagging the Finals MVP trophy after the five-game dispatching of the Cavs. All of which just set the Warriors’ bar higher, requiring them to search for something new, somebody borrowed, presumably nothing blue. “This year it’s just survive and advance,” Kerr said. “It’s ‘let’s get to April, May, June in one piece.’ There’s a reason we’ve lost six home games already. We don’t have the driving force that we had the last few years. We’re dealing with what any team in NBA history that’s tried to do this has dealt with. The Lakers (1982-85), the Celtics (1984-87, 1957-66)... It’s just really hard and you need that driving force.” Said Warriors vet Andre Iguodala: “Your body is mindful of it, because it hurts.” A couple of young guys -- Patrick McCaw, Kevon Looney -- have taken on bigger roles. Nick Young brings some sort of buzz into any locker room that will have him. Still, as veteran guard Shaun Livingston said: “We’re not chasing any records. We’re not adding another All Star. We’re just trying to make it through the marathon.” Cavs' challenges mount during 2017-18 The Cavaliers are just trying to make it through the marathon, too. But if they could, they might do it like Rosie Ruiz, the 1980 women’s “winner” of the Boston Marathon who perpetrated a hoax by hopping the subway and running only the final mile of Beantown’s famous race. The 2017-18 has been anything but fun for Cleveland so far. It began with the departure of All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, a not-so-funhouse mirror image of Durant’s arrival a year earlier in the Bay Area. Irving, for reasons still not quite explained, made it known in the offseason that he wanted out. He wanted to be the man on his own team. Or he didn’t want to be left in the lurch if (when?) LeBron James took his talents elsewhere again. Or both. Or neither. Regardless, once the Cavaliers made his request come true by dealing him to Boston for All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas and Brooklyn’s coveted first-round pick this June, their task got tougher and their season longer. Losing one of the league’s best ball handlers and shot makers doesn’t qualify as “renewal” any more than what went on in Oklahoma City when Durant packed up. There’s been more. Shooting guard J.R. Smith seemingly got old overnight. Jae Crowder, who came from the Celtics in the Irving deal, hasn’t meshed with the Cavs’ style. Kevin Love has been moved to center but hasn’t done anything to satisfy the Cavs’ need for rim protection. Thomas only returned to action from a hip injury as the calendar turned to 2018 and has played only four games in these two weeks. Even with so many new faces -- seven of the top 12 in coach Tyronn Lue’s rotation weren’t here 12 months ago -- it’s a group heavy on veterans, players a little too established or mature to naturally instill raw energy. James said recently that none of this is new, it’s another case of the Cavs biding their time for the “second” season that means everything. But Lue also introduced the topic of “agendas,” suggesting that some of his guys were looking out for their own responsibilities and performances -- particularly on defense -- rather than the group’s. At best, this is another dose of the midseason blahs, the Cavs in their doldrums in need of an All-Star break. At worst, though, they might be honing some bad habits that won’t be so easy to break in May or June. Especially if East rivals such as Toronto, Boston or Washington are emboldened after witnessing or administering some of the Cavs’ more embarrassing beat downs this season. Will any of this matter come spring? It will if the switch each team is minding stubbornly decides not to flip. “That’s the key. You’ve got to find that balance,” Kerr said. “Are you flipping the switch or are you navigating? The idea is, don’t let bad habits slip in. Right now, this moment, we’re into some bad habits. Our defensive efforts  the last five, six games [before the weekend] were awful. We got away with it because Steph was going nuts.” The Cavaliers repeatedly have not gotten away with bad defensive habits, even on nights when James has been dominant. “It’s tough,” Livingston said. “They’re a team that’s built for the playoffs. But our core guys still are in there prime. Their core guys are still good. But we’re talking about ‘prime.’” Most still would pick both Golden State and Cleveland to advance all the way to a “Finals Four” (after last year’s “Rubber Match” series). But one of these years, most will be wrong -- about one or both. That alone might be motivation enough. 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 NewsJan 15th, 2018

Kyrgios beats Harrison to win Brisbane International title

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Nick Kyrgios won an ATP title on home soil for the first time with a commanding 6-4, 6-2 victory over Ryan Harrison at the Brisbane International on Sunday night. It was a fourth title for the enigmatic 22-year-old Australian, and his first since 2016. Harrison had five breakpoint chances in the first set but couldn't convert, and third-seeded Kyrgios bounced back to get the decisive break in the seventh game and took control with a mix of unorthodox shot-making and pure power on his serve. He closed with his 17th ace. "It's a good feeling. As the week went on, I started serving better and hitting the ball better," Kyrgios said. "There was pressure on me today because I was the favorite and most people expected me to win, so I was proud of the way I handled that expectation and pressure." Kyrgios had trouble with his left knee during the tournament, and needed to change the tape on the joint late in the first set of the final. After that, he appeared to move more freely and didn't expect it to trouble him at the Australian Open beginning Jan. 15. His best run at an Australian Open was a quarterfinal exit in 2015. Kyrgios is hoping to improve on that after a confidence-boosting performance in Brisbane, where he beat defending champion and No. 3-ranked Grigor Dimitrov in the semifinals. "For me, that's just confidence not only mentally but physically as well, and battling and fighting hard," he said. "It's good to see the work I was doing in the offseason is paying off. But pretty happy with my performance today.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 7th, 2018

Bengals give coach Marvin Lewis 2-year extension

By Joe Kay, Associated Press CINCINNATI (AP) — Coach Marvin Lewis got a two-year contract extension Tuesday, providing more chances to try to get the Cincinnati Bengals that playoff victory that has eluded him for 15 seasons. The agreement came after a second straight losing season and two days of discussions with owner Mike Brown. Lewis has the second-longest active coaching tenure in the NFL, behind Bill Belichick’s 18 seasons with New England. Unlike Belichick, who has won five Super Bowls and made two other appearances in the title game, Lewis is 0-7 in the playoffs, the worst coaching record in NFL history. The Bengals haven’t won a playoff game since the 1990 season, the sixth-longest streak of futility in league history. Paul Brown Stadium was half-empty for the final home game, an indication fans had given up on the team and were hoping for change. Instead, Brown decided to stay the course and keep Lewis, who wanted more say over the coaching staff and the roster if he stayed. Brown’s aversion to change won out. “Marvin has made significant contributions during his time here,” Brown said in a statement. Lewis planned to meet the media on Wednesday. He said in a statement that he was committed “to making the necessary improvements to put this team in the best position to win.” Lewis has acknowledged that he would have been fired in any other NFL city. Instead, he’s gotten second and third chances — and now a 16th chance — to lead the Bengals to a postseason win. Brown, an owner who values loyalty, has decided to keep Lewis around. It marks a stay-the-course coaching offseason for both of Ohio’s teams. The Browns are keeping coach Hue Jackson after they became only the second team in NFL history to go 0-16. On Monday, Lewis said he was interested in staying only if he and ownership had a common vision for changes that needed to happen. He said the organization needs to do a better job building a roster that can contend for an AFC North title. Lewis has by far the longest coaching tenure in team history — founder Paul Brown and Sam Wyche are tied for second at eight years — and a 125-119-3 record, including that 0-7 playoff mark. Under Lewis, the Bengals have had some of their best regular seasons and some of the worst playoff moments. The mastermind of Baltimore’s Super Bowl championship defense in 2000, Lewis came to Cincinnati before the 2003 season — a rare outside hire by the Brown family. Lewis turned the Bengals into a competitive team and then a playoff team after years of languishing as a laughingstock. He hasn’t been able to win a playoff game, though. His best chance came in 2015, when the Bengals matched the franchise record with 12 wins and were in control in the final minutes of a playoff game against rival Pittsburgh at Paul Brown Stadium. Lewis’ team unraveled, fumbling to give Pittsburgh a final chance and then committing two unthinkable penalties — Vontaze Burfict and Adam “Pacman” Jones got 15-yard fouls — that set up the Steelers’ field goal for an 18-16 win. It was one of the worst meltdowns in NFL playoff history. At yet, Lewis survived it. His team never recovered. The Bengals won only six games last season. When Lewis and Brown met afterward, they couldn’t agree on terms of an extension of his deal that ended after the 2017 season. A 23-20 Monday night loss to Pittsburgh on Dec. 4 essentially ended the Bengals’ chances. Paul Brown Stadium was less than half-full for the final home game, a 26-17 victory over the Lions on Dec. 24. In the final game at Baltimore, the Bengals rallied for a 31-27 win that eliminated the Ravens. The Bengals now have to sell tickets by convincing fans that things are changing, even if the head coach is the same......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 3rd, 2018

Carroll still believes Seahawks can be title contender

By Tim Booth, Associated Press RENTON, Wash. (AP) — Pete Carroll insisted again that he's not going anywhere. He's intent on remaining the leader of the Seattle Seahawks even if it means many of the faces he spoke to this week while closing out the 2017 season are gone by the time Carroll finally gets to coach his team again. "I'm pumped up about it. I'm excited about that challenge," Carroll said Tuesday. "I'm upset that we have to face it this early. I'd like another six weeks here, that would be nice. But that's not what this one is. We got to go after it. Nothing's going to change other than maybe our resolve." For just the second time in his eight years in Seattle, Carroll spent Tuesday explaining why the Seahawks were not in the postseason. It's the first playoff miss for Seattle since the 2011 season and with the rapid rise of division foe Los Angeles indicated — at least for one year — a significant change in the hierarchy of the NFC West. Injuries played a major role in Seattle's slide to 9-7. So, too, did inconsistency on offense, continued problems with penalties and salary cap constraints that limited adjustments the Seahawks could make during the season. It's likely to be a busy offseason as Seattle attempts to manage its tight cap situation while making key decisions about how to move forward and if it still is a championship contender needing slight tweaks or a major overhaul. "I think there is a championship team sitting in this meeting room right here," Carroll said. Here are some of the issues to know about Seattle's 2017 season and going into next year: REDISCOVER THE RUN: Perhaps nothing irritated Carroll more, or had a great impact on the efficiency of the offense, than Seattle's inability to run. It's been a staple of Carroll's program from the day he arrived in Seattle. This year the Seahawks had one rushing touchdown by a running back. Quarterback Russell Wilson was the leading rusher with 586 yards, 346 more than any other player. Seattle had hopes for promising rookie Chris Carson, but he was sidelined by an ankle injury early in the season and never made it back. The lack of a running game affected Wilson as a passer as well, as defenses didn't have to commit an extra safety to stopping the run, leading to smaller throwing windows and some tentative decisions by Wilson. "There are tremendous examples of teams around the league that have turned their fortunes around with a formula that should sound familiar to you: teams running the football, playing good defense and doing the kicking game thing," Carroll said. INJURY CONCERNS: Carroll wouldn't get into specifics, but there is a chance Cliff Avril and Kam Chancellor have played their final games. Avril and Chancellor suffered neck injuries during the season. Carroll said on the radio Tuesday that both would have a "hard time" playing football again. A couple of hours later, he softened his stance, saying each have quality-of-life decisions to address with their football future. "Both those guys are marvelous people and competitors and all that. We'd love to see them through the rest of their career. I don't know what's going to happen there," Carroll said. LEGION OF WHOM: If Chancellor does not return, it could be the start of a major makeover for Seattle's secondary. Richard Sherman is coming off a torn Achilles tendon and was openly shopped by Seattle last offseason. Earl Thomas is entering the last year of his contract and his actions toward the end of the season indicated a desire to be elsewhere for the 2018 season. A big key will be if Seattle can re-sign versatile safety Bradley McDougald after he played both free and strong safety this season. HOME-FIELD AVERAGE: Seattle went 4-4 at home, its first .500 record at CenturyLink Field since 2011. The Seahawks have always thrived at home, but some of their uglier performances this year came in front of their own fans. OFF THE FIELD: Seattle was among the most active teams in the league with a significant number of players participating in national anthem protests. The protests, on top of the incident Michael Bennett had with police in Las Vegas in August, created a number of unexpected issues. Carroll said he believed that only once this season — Seattle's loss at Tennessee — did discussions of off-field issues affect the team's performance. Seattle had long discussions following comments by President Donald Trump about NFL players and opted to remain in the locker room as a team during the anthem before that game. "That was an extraordinarily heated time," Carroll said. "I think that was a different amount of emotional output that occurred before the game and it looked like it the way we played.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 3rd, 2018

Bye week means job search for Patriots assistant coaches

By Jimmy Golen, Associated Press FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — It's another bye week for the New England Patriots, and that means time for Bill Belichick's assistants to interview for head coaching jobs. Both offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia are expected to be coveted by the six or more teams looking to fill openings this offseason. With the Patriots off until their divisional playoff game on Jan. 13, McDaniels and Patricia will have a chance to make their case. "There's a time and a place for all of that," McDaniels said Monday in a conference call with reporters. "My focus here when I come into this building will always be on what's best for the Patriots and trying to do what I can to help us prepare to play our best game the next time we go out on the field." McDaniels and Patricia said Monday morning that they hadn't heard from any suitors yet. Coach Bill Belichick praised his assistants and said, "We'll see how it goes." McDaniels has gone through this before, when he was hired to coach the Denver Broncos in 2009; he lasted less than two seasons. As a top assistant in one of the most successful regimes in NFL history, he is annually a top target, including last year when he interviewed with the Jaguars and 49ers while the Patriots were on their way to a fifth Super Bowl victory. "I've gone through it before, which is helpful in terms of being able to balance that and multitask it," McDaniels said. Patricia brushed aside questions about his next job, saying he was concentrating on his current one. "None of that is even really applicable for me right now because I don't have any information on that," he said a day after Sunday's 26-6 victory over the New York Jets left New England at 13-3 and the No. 1 seed in the AFC. "I'm in normal mode — came in and graded the Jets," Patricia said. "(I'm) working to make sure that we have a good, productive week this week and try to improve those things.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 2nd, 2018

Mahomes leads Chiefs past Broncos 27-24 in 1st start

By Arnie Stapleton, Associated Press DENVER (AP) — Patrick Mahomes II made both his first NFL start and his first NFL relief appearance a success Sunday, leading the Kansas City Chiefs past the Denver Broncos 27-24 on Harrison Butker’s 30-yard field goal as time expired. Starting in place of Alex Smith, Mahomes handed off a 24-10 lead to No. 3 QB Tyler Bray midway through the fourth quarter but came back with the score tied at 24 and less than three minutes left. He drove the Chiefs 67 yards in 11 plays for the game-winning field goal that sent the Chiefs (10-6) to their fifth straight win over the Broncos (5-11). Mahomes became the first quarterback drafted by the Chiefs to win a game for them since Todd Blackledge in 1987. He threw for 284 yards on 24-of-35 passing with no touchdowns and an interception. Broncos QB Paxton Lynch was 21 of 31 for 254 yards with two TDs, two interceptions and was sacked five times. Rookie Kareem Hunt scored on a 35-yard run on his only carry, securing the NFL rushing title over Todd Gurley II and Le’Veon Bell, both of whom were inactive Sunday. And C.J. Anderson gained 61 yards to top 1,000 for the first time in his five-year with the Broncos. The Chiefs rested QB Smith and several other starters because they were locked into the No. 4 seed in the AFC playoffs, allowing coach Andy Reid and his staff to essentially use this regular season finale as their playoff bye. Bray handed off late to fullback Anthony Sherman — who carried 14 times for 40 yards after coming into the game with six career carries in seven NFL seasons — and linebacker Zaire Anderson scooped up the loose ball and scored from 38 yards out. Lynch added a 6-yard TD pass to Demaryius Thomas with 2:53 left, and Brandon McManus’ extra point tied it at 24. Mahomes returned to the game with 2:45 left and was promptly sacked by DeMarcus Walker but recovered nicely to drive K.C. to victory. Lynch threw an interception late in the first half and was sacked three times in a five-snap span in the third quarter, losing the ball on one of them with linebacker Ramik Wilson scooping it up and scoring from 11 yards out. Mahomes made a good first impression, connecting with tight end Demetrius Harris for 51 yards on third-and-10 from his own 14 on Kansas City’s opening drive. Then, he handed off to Hunt, who dashed for a 35-yard touchdown less than a minute into the game. Kansas City moved up 17 spots to take the Texas Tech standout quarterback last April, ending three decades of avoiding quarterbacks in the first round. He watched all year as Smith had the best season of his 13-year career, throwing for 4,042 yards to go with 26 touchdowns and just five interceptions. Mahomes was intercepted by Darian Stewart on his second drive but engineered a 73-yard TD drive that Sherman capped with a 1-yard run to give Kansas City a 14-10 halftime lead. It was 17 degrees at kickoff, the fifth-coldest home start in Broncos history and the coldest temperature for any of Lynch’s starts, in the pros or at Memphis. Just like he did at Oakland a month earlier, Lynch struggled after throwing an interception. But before that, he threw a screen pass that rookie running back De’Angelo Henderson turned into a 29-yard score . CLADY HONOR: The Broncos honored retired tackle Ryan Clady during the game. The 12th overall selection out of Boise State in 2008, Clady was one of the best linemen in team history but he was often injured in his career, missing both of Denver’s Super Bowl appearances during his playing career. INJURIES: Chiefs backup punt returner De’Anthony Thomas was carted off after injuring his right leg on the final play of the first quarter. He was dragged down by Marcus Rios after backtracking to field Riley Dixon’s punt at his 5. CB Phillip Gaines was knocked out with an elbow injury just before halftime. Broncos S Will Parks went out in the fourth quarter with a neck injury. UP NEXT: The Chiefs turn their attention to the wild-card round of the AFC playoffs, where the Chiefs are seeking their first playoff win at Arrowhead Stadium in their history. The Broncos head into another offseason where the only certainty is change......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 1st, 2018

Letters From Davao by Jun Ledesma

‘It was a good year’ We have seen the litany of achievements of Duterte administration. It dwarfed the entire six years of the Aquino regime. It could have done better except that it has to first fix a lot of damages wrought by an inept regime that has likewise institutionalized corruption and abetted crime the most horrific of it all – the drug syndicates.  Space or brevity must have limited some significant achievements of the  Department of Finance and am referring to the upgrades of credit ratings of the Philippines from investment grade to investment grade and stable. While early on Standard & Poor’s claimed that President Duterte’s war on drugs and alleged extra-judicial killings are factors that account for the static rating by December 2017 it grudgingly acceded that something good is happening in the Philippines under Duterte’s watch.  Finance Sec. Sonny Dominguez and his team deserves the credit. Fitch and Moody’s in their “investment grade and stable” rating in December enunciated that the issues surrounding drugs and EJK have nothing to do with the rosy economy of the country and its image as capital investment destination. The country’s economic performance for one is top in Asia and there is no turning back with the expected massive spending on infrastructures and government services starting 2018 and beyond.  The Duterte government achievements scoreboard makes the moribund opposition drooling. Still on Finance, expect the billionaires who are also the country’s tax dodgers to cough up. TRAIN or the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion gives a huge relief to 99 percent of those small taxpayers saving the ar least P50,000.00 in tax cut!  But demands and exacts the reasonable taxes from the rich especially the filthy rich. Last year sampling of Lucio Tan (P6-billion), Mighty Cigarettes (P40-billion) and the Prieto and Rufinos’ one-mile asset that they are accountable to the government in still unquantifiable amount as yet? There is a subliminal message to be absorbed why candidate Rodrigo R. Duterte refused to accept donations from the rich and famous: just pay your taxes correctly and you’re okay.  The Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Bureau of Customs are churning more collections under a continuing reforms.  President Duterte himself did dramatic and radical transformations in the area of Foreign Affairs and security. He was chided and lectured on by self proclaimed experts in diplomacy and security alliances especially with the generous expletives he is famous for. But as he admitted to the point of being apologetic, he told media men in this year’s Christmas party, “but that is me”.  Duterte’s foray into foreign affairs and diplomacy might be severely lacking in refinements but he put across his message clearly and direct and one cannot quarrel with what he achieved in such a brief moment. He virtually altered the outlook of the western countries on small sovereign nations. He overhauled alliances by an unwritten rule of mutual respect and cognizance of sovereignty. While Aquino made enemies with China which is the world’s second largest economy resulting in unquantifiable losses of opportunities Duterte reversed that with the resumption of trade, financial assistance with cheap money interest, massive infrastructure projects that will come into fruition by 2018. World leaders to include Xi Jinping of China, Vladimir Putin of Russia, PM Shinzo Abe of Japan and, to the dismay of the so-called Yellowtards, US Pres. Donald Trump who became his virtual phone pal.  The Department of Agriculture under Sec. Manny Pinol, did exemplary well. Productivity is better than expected and could have performed better if not for the natural calamities that the country has to contend with. Maybe the Bureau of Fisheries under it may try something out of the box. Propose to China to convert that disputed island into a one big marine laboratory. China provides the infrastructures while the Philippines the technical aquatic expertise. Make a 10-mile no-fishing marine haven around the island and guarded by the joint coastguard forces of China, Philippines and Vietnam. The Philippine Coconut Authority under Cabinet Sec. Jun Evasco is about to embark on a massive replanting program.  The Aquino government allocated billions of pesos to fight ‘cocolisap’ infestation but applied the wrong solution. Well, what do we expect from a certain Kiko Pangilinan? The replanting program was a big failure on account of  massive graft in high and low places. Replanting as well as new areas had been programmed by PCA.  Finally we have to give accolade to our Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police for combating internal threats, terrorism and syndicated crime. The AFP and PNP are more prepared and better equipped now than any other time in history. Furthermore we see a disciplined forces in the AFP and while there are a few remaining scalawags in the PNP the cleansing process is done without let-up. We from Mindanao are comfortable and secured with their presence even under the aegis of martial law. If you do not believe me look at the various surveys on the popularity and trust of Filipinos on President Duterte and his government.  This will end my perspectives for year 2017 and we look forward to 2018 the Build, Build, Build era. The beginning of the new Philippines. Mindanao and Davao City, from where I live and write, may have suffered from natural calamities but we had seen, suffered and endured worse scenarios and even man made tragedies than […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanaoexaminerRelated NewsDec 29th, 2017

Atlanta Hawks get in sync at new practice facility

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com ATLANTA -- The pregnant check written by Hawks owner Tony Ressler for the team’s glossy new 90,000 square foot training center didn’t concern him as much as the more numerous, smaller ones. As in: Double practice courts? Check. Outdoor swimming pool? Check. Grilling area and on-site gourmet chefs? Check. Video game consoles and a fleet of flat-screen TVs? Check and double check. Still, Ressler and the folks at Emory Healthcare, which teamed with the Hawks to blueprint the place, wanted more for the $50 million. And so they checked off another amenity: An East Coast hub of a California sports science lab that developed a cult following among a number of players and over half the league’s teams. Peak Performance Project carted computers, high-tech gadgets and cutting edge fitness equipment from its Santa Barbara headquarters to set up shop in Atlanta. The company, or P3, helped the Hawks raise the bar in what’s become a practice facility building boom in the NBA, where the Bulls, Sixers, Nets, Kings and Raptors all recently moved into or building swanky centers that could double as country clubs. Yes, the gourmet meals, hydrotherapy pools and theater seating is quite a refreshing change from the prehistoric places in which teams trained before. The Hawks’ old setup was inside Philips Arena, where ironically players had to climb stairs to reach the Stairmaster machines and had the disadvantage of only one practice court. Perhaps the Ground Zero of practice centers, however, was used by the Nets some 20 years ago in New Jersey. They shared a gym, weight room and a locker room with pot-bellied drivers from the owner’s trucking company. Yes, Derrick Coleman sometimes showered next to Fred from Bayonne. Not only have facilities come a long way — the Nets now train on the Brooklyn waterfront with a panoramic view of Lower Manhattan — so has sports science and how it’s being embraced as a necessary part of the game. Ten years ago nobody in the NBA had their bodies poked by scientists or 'scoped by modern technology to learn more about the way those bodies function. Then P3 came along and quickly became the gold standard of technology and sports and a go-to place in the offseason for players looking for an edge. If the NBA All-Star Game draws the biggest collection of talent around the league during the year, then an athletic science lab in Santa Barbara might be next. Damian Lillard, Karl-Anthony Towns, Rudy Gobert, Zach LaVine, Andre Drummond and Kyle Korver are just some of those seduced by science. P3 collects data through assessments of a player’s body and his high velocity movements to identify his physical strengths and weaknesses, raise red flags for areas that could be prone to potential injury, and give him and his team information to help improve performance. There’s also training sessions designed to prevent injuries and enhance the muscles and movements needed to reach potential, an elite athlete optimization that’s suddenly vital to careers. “Their assessments and the data they collect are so valuable to helping you understand what needs to be done,” said Korver. “No question it was so important for my career.” In a section of the Hawks facility used exclusively for P3, there’s a straight running track, some free weights, and hi-tech treadmills. It looks simple, and in a sense, it is, although the science and technology sets it apart and makes it unique. The center can test and train 12 to 15 athletes at a time over a two-hour period. Thousands of athletes from various Olympic, amateur and pro sports have been through the doors in Santa Barbara. No athlete can train without an assessment first. Once the data is received, then a workout conducted by bio-mechanists and performance specialists and tailored specifically for that athlete, based on the results. There’s no one-size-fits-all philosophy at P3. “It’s all individualized,” said Adam Hewitt, the director of operations at P3. “All bodies are different. You can have two guys the same size and have completely different systems. One might have flexibility in his lower, but the other doesn’t. Our thought is, how do we make the athlete better using this technology?” Hewitt said this process is light years ahead of what athletes and teams did just a few years ago, mainly because science and technology is evolving and P3 is trying to stay ahead of the curve. “Others aren’t using bio-technology to assess their athletes,” he said. “We’re showing the value that we can offer. We’ve invested so much and for so long.” P3 looks at the bodies in motion with the help of motion-capture technology similar to those used in video games. The images and information allow P3 to craft workouts to strengthen limbs and also to avoid injury. Just as NBA teams have spent millions building new practice facilities and hiring nutritionists and massage therapists, Elliott thinks it’s wise they make an investment in science. “There’s a revolution going on in sports science and athlete care,” he said. “I think it was overdue in professional sports. Your average sprinter or speed skater has more science data in his physical development and he’s working a part time job at a restaurant to make ends meet. He has more resources going for him than someone you’re paying $20 million a year. That made no sense to me. Contracts are too big and players are too important to take anything to chance. There’s a lot to lose. Even if you don’t understand it all, why wouldn’t you at least want the information on the table? If you don’t have all the information then is hard to play the probability game. You’re making bets on big contracts and on players being able to perform and stay healthy.” The use of force plates to measure explosiveness while jumping is of great use for NBA players and why P3 has growing influence on most of the league. “The NBA is leading our pro sports leagues,” Elliott said. “As a league, they should be proud. The other leagues are trying to copy them. The NFL is trying to catch up, baseball, hockey, teams are starting to hire smarter people and investing more in their performance sports science staffs. A lot has changed. I feel the biggest thing is we’ve been so invested in getting insight into the data. “There’s people in academics asking questions, and people in sport are trying to do the best they can. Rarely do they come together. Our motto is bringing these together. It’s super exciting to see. At the risk of sounding pompous I’d say I’m proud of it. I know the NBA is happy because they can see the bar’s being raised.” The P3 in Atlanta will operate same as usual, with no advertising, just word of mouth and a growing number of clients. The lab anticipates helping NBA players improve their ankle and hip mobility and put them in better position to succeed through science. “It’s about turning it back to advantages to the athlete,” Elliott said. “These guys are super unique.” 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 NewsDec 16th, 2017

How will the Spurs meld Aldridge, Leonard?

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com A top-three team in the Western Conference is ready to get its best player back from injury. He's someone who, last season, made first-team All-NBA, had a seat at the MVP roundtable and nearly chopped down the champion Golden State Warriors in a playoff game (before being chopped down himself). And this will be good for the San Antonio Spurs, most would agree. What’s less certain is what Kawhi Leonard’s return from an achy quadricep means for LaMarcus Aldridge, who looks comfortable playing the lead right now without his co-star, yet squirmed to find peace when he had to ride shotgun. The Spurs star could make his season debut on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time) against the Mavericks. The Spurs’ season rides on a happy balance between the two and a way to once again lurk as the team that gives the Warriors a severe case of the creeps, more than any other in the West. Despite all the fuss made over Chris Paul joining James Harden in Houston, and the star-infused Thunder in Oklahoma City, it’s the same-old Spurs who spooked Golden State in Game 1 before losing the Western Conference finals. They were also the last non-Warriors team to reach the NBA Finals. And look who’s sitting a bounce pass from the top of the West, despite missing Kawhi all season? That opening playoff game last May against Golden State was a flash point for San Antonio. The series of events that followed managed to put Leonard in a bad place physically, saw Aldridge melt epically the rest of that series and generate trade talk in the off-season, forced a major sit-down/showdown between coach Gregg Popovich and Aldridge and then, out of seemingly nowhere and somewhat surprisingly, a peaceful resolution was reached and wins followed. “As you can see, based on the evidence,” said Aldridge the other day, “everything’s good.” Yes, it appears so. With Kawhi out of the lineup, the Spurs are doing what they usually do, using disciplined basketball to stamp themselves as a contender. Some nights, Aldridge has been a force, ripping double-doubles and looming large in close games. The ball is finding him in a greedy groove; Aldridge is taking almost 17 1/2 shots a game and the Spurs’ No. 2 shooter, Rudy Gay, is getting nine. As a result, his scoring average is up from a year ago, from 17.3 points per game to 22.6 ppg, matching his best production during his peak with the Portland Trail Blazers. Now in his third season with the Spurs, Aldridge has never felt this frisky and once again is leaning on his money maker: the floating 18-foot jumper. Most important, the Spurs are winning because of him, and Popovich is gloating over him. “Are you kidding?” Popovich said. “We’d be in the toilet if it wasn’t for L.A. He’s been a complete basketball player at both ends of the floor, great rebounding, defensively, running the floor, scoring. What’s really been great is his leadership. And him bringing it every night.” It’s a short sample size after 25 games, but Popovich and the Spurs are cautiously encouraged by this. The Spurs veered from their usual draft-and-develop ways when they signed Aldridge to a big free-agent contract three summers ago. Because of that, Aldridge was considered an outsider, someone who wasn’t a true Spur, but who was needed by a team that craved proven talent to remain a contender in the post-Tim Duncan era. But it’s been a learning process for Aldridge, Popovich and the Spurs. He came from the Blazers anxious to break free of a team that began to orbit around Damian Lillard, but wouldn’t you know it, Leonard turned into a superstar almost overnight after Aldridge arrived. The timing was good for the Spurs ... and awkward for Aldridge, who was forced to adjust his game with prodding from Popovich. Aldridge bit his tongue last season when he averaged his lowest point total since his rookie season. When Leonard suffered his ankle sprain against the Warriors, Aldridge suddenly had the burden of carrying the load, and he failed spectacularly for the rest of that series. He averaged just 11.3 points in the final three games and became low hanging fruit for critics. Popovich was asked the other day if Aldridge had to atone for that this season and the coach came to his player’s defense. “I don’t know if the word ‘atone’ is accurate,” Popovich said. “If your leading scorer and also your point guard (Tony Parker, who was also out against the Warriors) isn’t there, then it falls on someone else. If you take away the two top players from any playoff team, it’s probably going to be tough to move on. I don’t think he has anything to atone for.” Still, something wasn’t right; anyone could see that. Aldridge requested a summertime meeting with Popovich and came with demands. On the surface, that might seem a risky strategy, given the coach’s credentials vs. someone without a single title, and Aldridge knew he was walking on eggshells. “I didn’t know how it would go because he’s Gregg Popovich. I didn’t know how he’d take me saying things. I didn’t know what to expect, with me coming at a person a different way but I was very honest and I think he could tell this was maybe different from what he was used to. But I was not disrespectful. I was trying to express how I was feeling and he was very receptive to it. We kept talking and things got better. I was pleasantly surprised.” For anyone who thought one of the game’s greatest coaches didn’t have a humble side, guess again. Popovich said: “We broke bread a few times, talked about it, laughed about it, discussed what we thought needed to happen, and frankly 95 percent of it fell on me because I made an error in trying to change him too much. That might sound odd, but he’d been in the league nine years and there’s one way he plays on the offensive end and feels comfortable with. I tried to turn him into Jack Sikma, told him I was going to teach you how to play on the elbow, go on the wing, face up. It was confusing for him. It really didn’t fit his style of play. I was guilty of over coaching in a sense. “We came to an agreement on what had to happen. Well, on defense, I told him ‘I’m going to get on you like I do everyone else. But on offense, I don’t even want to talk to you. When they double you, kick it. Other than that, you be LaMarcus Aldridge.’ You see the result right now. He’s happy, confident and kicking everybody’s butt.” Every star player’s ego needs a degree of pampering, and Popovich did admit that dealing with Aldridge was different than any player he’s ever had, yet says there’s a reason for that. “When guys like Kawhi and Tony Parker and others came to me, they were young kids. When a guy’s been in a league nine years and is used to doing something and I try to take it away, that’s not right. That wasn’t very wise on my part.” Popovich didn’t pull rank in the meeting with Aldridge and if anything, he put his ego in check, something you see from coaches who haven’t accomplished one-fourth of what he’s done. But Pop has never strayed from the first rule in coaching players, especially the good ones: Keep them happy by any means necessary. “You gotta look at things and make it better as a coach,” he said. “It’s your responsibility. This was mostly me.” Here’s Aldridge this season so far: Back-to-back 33- and-41-point games a few weeks ago, sharper court awareness, better rebounding and passing than a year ago. Aldridge: “I was frustrated. I just wanted to help more and I think he understood that. Now I feel as confident as I was in Portland. I’m definitely being myself and playing my game and not overthinking and not worried about what’s going to happen if I don’t play well. I’m not a face-up guy. I like to have my back to the basket more. Pop’s given me the freedom to be myself again and that has shown itself on the court.” The issue, both say, wasn’t necessary the number of shots, though that was certainly one of the issues. It also was about the spot on the floor, when those shots needed to be taken. Aldridge said he has no problem with Leonard as the core -- he called Kawhi “our main guy” -- but wanted the same amount of comforts within the system. “He’s a go-to guy also,” said Aldridge. “The plan is to have him be the guy he is, and I be who I am now.” And there’s the key word: now. Leonard was bothered by the quad all last season and it didn’t respond quickly to offseason treatment. But now he’s nearly 100 percent and hopes a quick return to the level of last season when he jacked his scoring and finished third in the MVP voting, one spot ahead of LeBron James. Count Parker among the teammates who’ve said the obvious about Aldridge and how the power forward, in Leonard’s absence, has looked All-Star quality. “Everything’s going through him right now and he’s doing a better job knowing when to score and when to pass,” Parker said, “along with reading double teams and playing good defense.” But then Parker, the most senior Spur after Manu Ginobili, stressed that everyone, including Aldridge, must sacrifice for Leonard and not vice-versa, for the sake of the system and ultimately, wins. “When you play for the Spurs you don’t get a lot of big stats,” Parker said. “Now that Kawhi is out, he obviously has the ball more and he’s going to shoot more shots.” Then he added the kicker: “When Kawhi comes back we will share” -- Parker said while smiling -- “like we always do here.” 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 NewsDec 9th, 2017

Philip Rivers: Decision to bench Eli Manning is 'pathetic'

By Greg Beacham, Associated Press COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) — Philip Rivers will have the NFL's longest active streak of consecutive starts by a quarterback after Eli Manning gets benched by the New York Giants this weekend. And Rivers isn't happy about it. "I honestly thought it was pathetic, really," Rivers said Wednesday when asked about the Giants' decision. "The guy, he's been out there 210 straight games with no telling how many bumps and bruises and injuries for his team," Rivers added before practice with the Los Angeles Chargers. "Won two Super Bowls, MVPs, the respect he's had in the locker room over the years, really the respect he's gained throughout the league, you feel like the guy has earned the opportunity, if they are deciding in fact to go another direction (after the season) ... to finish off these last five weeks." Manning's streak of 210 consecutive regular-season starts is expected to end Sunday when Geno Smith starts for the Giants against Oakland. Manning has started 222 consecutive games overall, including 12 playoff games, since getting the starting job during his rookie season on Nov. 21, 2004. Although Rivers and Manning aren't close friends, their careers have been inextricably linked ever since both quarterbacks were chosen high in the 2004 draft and then traded for each other. Rivers said he had been thinking a great deal about Manning since hearing the news. "I just thought it was too bad, just the way it was handled," Rivers said. "As a fellow quarterback, it was tough to watch him yesterday. You can only imagine how he felt. But he handled it like a pro, like he's handled everything. But you just hate to see him ... you felt he's earned that. He's earned that, to go out there for the last five weeks." Rivers will start his 188th consecutive regular-season game on Sunday when the surging Chargers (5-6) host the winless Cleveland Browns. Rivers has started 196 consecutive games overall, including all nine of the Chargers' playoff games since he became their starter for the 2006 season opener. Rivers' streak was in jeopardy two weeks ago after he self-reported symptoms of a concussion, but he has given back-to-back outstanding performances for the Chargers, who are surging into the playoff race. His regular-season streak is the fourth-longest in NFL history, trailing only the streaks by Brett Favre (297) and the Manning brothers. Peyton Manning started 208 straight regular-season games. "Eli and Peyton both, you think about those two Mannings and what they've done over 400-something games those guys were out there in a row," Rivers said. "Speaks to their toughness, their competitiveness, and to their team." Rivers, Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger were all first-round picks in the 2004 draft, and all three are now among the top 10 passers in NFL history. The San Diego Chargers had the top pick, but Manning and his father, Archie, said Eli would refuse to play for them. The Chargers selected Manning anyway, forcing him to pose with a jersey and then-commissioner Paul Tagliabue for one of the most awkward photos in draft history. The Giants then selected Rivers with the fourth overall pick and traded him to the Chargers along with draft picks used on two eventual Pro Bowl players: linebacker Shawne Merriman and kicker Nate Kaeding. While Manning broke into the Giants' starting lineup as a rookie, Rivers waited two years behind Drew Brees. Rivers took over in 2006 and eventually became the 10th-leading passer in NFL history with 48,781 yards. Manning is seventh with 50,625 yards. Manning has endured an up-and-down season with the injury-plagued Giants, but Rivers is still going strong with the revitalized Chargers. He is the AFC's offensive player of the week after putting up one of the best games of his career in Dallas on Thanksgiving, going 27 of 33 for 434 yards with three touchdowns. Rivers will turn 36 years old next week, and he hasn't decided how much longer he wants to play. He kept his family in San Diego when the Chargers relocated to Orange County in the offseason, but he has shown no public interest in slowing down, and his starting job is in no jeopardy. But Rivers also realizes that could all change at any time. "Shoot, I don't take it for granted," Rivers said of his streak. "A lot of it is I've been blessed to be healthy enough to be out there, and there's probably a little element of toughness, I guess, thrown in there, and then it's a heck of a job by your teammates all collectively to help you stay upright." NOTES: The Chargers signed kicker Travis Coons to their practice squad in case Nick Novak can't recover from his back injury in time for Sunday's game. Novak missed most of the Chargers' win in Dallas. Coons kicked for the Browns in 2014 and 2015, and he spent part of training camp last summer with the Rams. ... The Chargers waived tight end Braedon Bowman to make room......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 30th, 2017

DENR and DILG tie up in search for disaster-resilient barangays

The government seeks to educate and empower local communities to be more adaptive and resilient to the devastating effects of climate change. #BeFullyInformed DENR and DILG tie up in search for disaster-resilient barangays The government seeks to educate and empower local communities to be more adaptive and resilient to the devastating effects of climate change.… link: DENR and DILG tie up in search for disaster-resilient barangays.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilainformerRelated NewsNov 29th, 2017

Braves hire former Dodgers, Blue Jays exec Anthopoulos as GM

By Charles Odum, Associated Press ATLANTA (AP) — The remake of the Atlanta Braves' management was completed Monday when Alex Anthopoulos was named general manager and John Hart was removed as team president. Anthopoulos, a former Dodgers and Blue Jays executive, will have autonomy of baseball operations, giving him more power than any Braves general manager since John Schuerholz served from 1990 to 2007. Anthopoulos also was given the title of executive vice president, while Hart will assume a senior adviser role, team chairman Terry McGuirk announced at a news conference that Hart did not attend. Anthopoulos was to fly to Orlando on Monday night to represent the Braves at baseball's general managers' meetings. He spent the last two seasons as the Dodgers' vice president of baseball operations after six years as Toronto's general manager. Anthopoulos succeeds John Coppolella, who was forced to resign as general manager on Oct. 2 after an investigation by Major League Baseball disclosed rule violations committed by the Braves in the international player market. "Alex is a man of integrity and he will operate in a way that will make all of our Braves fans proud," McGuirk said. McGuirk apologized to fans "on behalf of the entire Braves family" for the scandal. "The past few months have been the toughest in the storied history of the Atlanta Braves franchise," he said. "Frankly, the Atlanta Braves have not lived up to our standard that the fans expect of us and that we expect of ourselves." McGuirk said he was told by Commissioner Rob Manfred on Monday "the investigation has been completed for some time." He said he expects to learn within two weeks what fine or other penalties the Braves will receive. When asked who made the decision for Hart to immediately hand over control of baseball operations, McGuirk said, "It just became obvious this was the right thing to do at this time, and he and I made that decision together." Hart temporarily assumed general manager duties while leading the search for Coppolella's replacement. Gordon Blakeley, the team's international scouting chief, also resigned last month following the disclosure of international scouting violations. Anthopoulos said the investigation had no impact on his interest in the Braves. "For me more than anything else, who are you going to work for and who are you going to work with?" Anthopoulos said. "Regardless of what the fallout was going to be or what the sanctions may be, that's not going to change who I'm going to go to war with day in and day out." Anthopoulos said the Braves, who opened SunTrust Park in 2017 and whose minor league organization was named the best in the game by Baseball America, are "one of the premier jobs in all of sports." "The young talent here is as good as you're going to get in the game, and even here at the big league level, you have some exciting players as well," he said. "The opportunity here, the upside, is through the roof." Braves manager Brian Snitker and former manager and current senior adviser Bobby Cox attended the news conference. Cox was part of the Braves management team that met with Anthopoulos at SunTrust Park during a break between Games 5 and 6 of the World Series. Cox said Anthopoulos was "a home run" in the interview. "He's smart as heck and a workaholic," Cox said. "I've heard that from everyone." Anthopoulos began his baseball career with the Montreal Expos as a publicity intern before moving to scouting for three years. He joined Toronto after the 2003 season as a scouting coordinator and earned a promotion to VP of baseball operations and assistant GM in 2006 before taking over as GM......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 14th, 2017

49ers earn first win of the season, top Giants

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — C.J. Beathard threw for 288 yards and two touchdowns and ran for a third score to lead the San Francisco 49ers to their first win of the season, 31-21 over the New York Giants on Sunday. Beathard connected on an 83-yard TD to Marquise Goodwin and a 47-yarder to Garrett Celek in the second quarter as the 49ers (1-9) took advantage of another listless effort by the Giants (1-8) to win for the first time under coach Kyle Shanahan. Beathard's time as starting quarterback in San Francisco figures to be numbered after the team acquired Jimmy Garoppolo two weeks ago in trade from New England. Garoppolo has been learning the offense and could take over when the team returns from the bye in two weeks. While the Niners could be making a quarterback change soon, this performance will only heighten the questions about whether the Giants will need to change coaches. Ben McAdoo has been under fire after a report this past week from ESPN that quoted an anonymous player as saying the players have given up on the season and don't view McAdoo as a leader. The Giants have not fired a coach during the season since 1976 when Bill Arnsparger was let go after a 0-7 start and replaced by John McVay. FALCONS 27, COWBOYS 7 ATLANTA (AP) — Adrian Clayborn set an Atlanta record with six sacks, Matt Ryan threw a pair of short touchdown passes and the Falcons romped to victory over Dallas. The Cowboys looked anemic offensively in their first game without suspended running back Ezekiel Elliott. Ryan hooked up with Justin Hardy on a 3-yard pass for Atlanta's first offensive touchdown in the third quarter this season. Early in the fourth, Ryan put the game away for the Falcons (5-4) by tossing one to Austin Hooper for a 1-yard score. While the Cowboys (5-4) sure missed Elliott, who finally began serving a six-game suspension for allegations of domestic abuse after three legal reprieves, they really noticed the absence of left tackle Tyron Smith. He sat out the game with back and groin injuries, leaving third-year player Chaz Green to protect Dak Prescott's blind side. It didn't go well for Dallas. Beating Green time after time, Clayborn forced two fumbles, recovered one of them and surpassed the team record of five sacks, held by Chuck Smith and Hall of Famer Claude Humphrey. Even more impressively, Clayborn's performance matched the second-most sacks in NFL history. RAMS 33, TEXANS 7 LOS ANGELES (AP) — Robert Woods caught two of Jared Goff's three touchdown passes during a dominant third quarter, and surging Los Angeles returned after a month away from home for their fourth straight victory, 33-7 over depleted Houston. After struggling to a 9-7 lead during a quiet first half for the NFL's highest-scoring team, the Rams (7-2) ran away with a series of big throws by Goff, who passed for a career-high 355 yards. Woods caught a 94-yard TD pass to break it open before Sammy Watkins and Woods made TD catches 19 seconds apart late in the third quarter. The Rams defense shut out Houston in the second half and won at the Coliseum for just the third time in 11 games since returning to Los Angeles last season. Woods finished with eight catches for 171 yards, making the longest catch of his NFL career before following it up with a 12-yard TD. Bruce Ellington caught a 26-yard TD pass for the Texans (3-6), who have lost three straight and four of five. Tom Savage passed for 221 yards with two interceptions for Houston, which lost its second straight since losing rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson for the season with a knee injury. SAINTS 47, BILLS 10 ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Mark Ingram scored a career-best three touchdowns and New Orleans won its seventh straight game by plowing through a porous Buffalo defense. Alvin Kamara also had a 3-yard touchdown rushing as the Saints blew the game open by scoring five times on their first six possessions, not including a one-play series to close the first half. Ingram finished with 131 yards rushing. He scored twice from 3 yards and again on a 1-yard plunge. The Saints finished with 298 yards rushing and 32 first downs. Their defense was just as dominating in limiting Buffalo to 198 yards and 10 first downs. And five of those first downs came on Buffalo's meaningless final drive that ended with backup quarterback Nathan Peterman hitting Nick O'Leary on a 7-yard touchdown pass. New Orleans set a franchise record by scoring six touchdowns rushing, and it marked the most allowed by Buffalo in team history. Even Saints quarterback Drew Brees got involved in the run of rushing touchdowns by scrambling in from 6 yards in the final minute of the third quarter. Trey Edmunds capped the scoring with a 41-yard touchdown run. The Saints never punted, the only thing to stop them was tight end Josh Hill losing a fumble at the Buffalo 9 in the first quarter. The Saints (7-2) haven't lost since dropping their first two games and matched their longest winning streak since closing the 2011 season 8-0. New Orleans has already matched its win total from each of the past three seasons. The Bills (5-4) simply unraveled in losing their second straight and dropping to 4-1 at home. STEELERS 20, COLTS 17 INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Ben Roethlisberger's 32-yard completion to Antonio Brown with 35 seconds set up a 33-yard field goal from Chris Boswell as time expired. The Steelers (7-2) have won four straight overall and five in a row in the series. But it sure wasn't easy as the Colts (3-7) held Roethlisberger, Brown and Le'Veon Bell in check. Pittsburgh needed two second-half TD passes from Roethlisberger to fight its way out of a 17-3 third-quarter deficit. And Roethlisberger reverted to his traditional form on the Steelers' final possession. The two -time Super Bowl champion methodically marched the Steelers 70 yards in the final 3 minutes, 10 seconds to give Pittsburgh its only lead. Roethlisberger was 19 of 31 for 236 yards with one interception. Bell had 26 carries for 80 yards and Brown, the league's leading receiver, caught three passes for 47 yards. VIKINGS 38, REDSKINS 30 LANDOVER, Md. (AP) — Case Keenum threw touchdowns to four different receivers to build a big lead, and the NFC North-leading Vikings won their fifth in a row. With Teddy Bridgewater active for the first time since January 2016 after a devastating knee injury, Keenum was 21 of 29 for 304 yards and TD passes to Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, David Morgan and Jarius Wright. He was picked off on consecutive throws by D.J. Swearinger. Thielen had eight catches for a season-high 166 yards. Latavius Murray also ran for a score as five players got into the end zone for Minnesota (7-2), which was 8 of 12 on third downs. The Vikings won their first game out of the bye week for the second time in eight seasons as they try to avoid a repeat of the swoon that cost them a playoff spot last season. Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins had three TDs — two rushing and one passing — and was 26 of 45 for 327 yards with an interception. The Redskins (4-5) failed to build off an upset victory at Seattle and now find themselves on an uphill climb in the wild-card race. PACKERS 23, BEARS 16 CHICAGO (AP) — Brett Hundley threw for 212 yards and a touchdown, Nick Perry had three sacks and the Packers snapped a three-game losing streak. Hundley, starting his third game for an injured Aaron Rodgers, threw a 17-yard touchdown to Davante Adams to make it 23-13 with 5:29 to play, and the Packers (5-4) hung on to beat the Bears (3-6) for the eighth time in nine games. It was the first victory for a Packers QB not named Rodgers or Brett Favre since 1989. Chicago's Mitchell Trubisky threw for a career-high 297 yards. The rookie hit Josh Bellamy for a 46-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter, but the Bears dropped their second in a row after winning back-to-back games. The win was Green Bay's first since a narrow victory at Dallas on Oct. 8. A week later, Rodgers got driven to the turf by the Vikings' Anthony Barr in a loss at Minnesota week and the Packers haven't been the same since then. Hundley completed 18 of 25 passes to help the Packers win their eighth straight at Soldier Field counting the playoffs. TITANS 24, BENGALS 20 NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Marcus Mariota tossed a 7-yard touchdown pass to DeMarco Murray with 36 seconds left , and the Titans rallied for their fourth consecutive victory. It's the longest winning streak for the Titans (6-3) since takin five straight in 2009, and it's their best start to a season since 2008 when the Titans last reached the playoffs as the AFC's No. 1 seed. Murray ran for two touchdowns, and Mariota finished with 264 yards passing. The Bengals (3-6) lost for the third time in four games despite sacking Mariota four times. They started with three defensive starters scratched and lost a fourth when linebacker Vontaze Burfict was ejected in the second quarter after pushing the arm of an official. Cincinnati took its only lead at 20-17 on a 70-yard TD pass from Andy Dalton to A.J. Green with 5:03 left, but the Bengals couldn't stop the Titans, who drove 73 yards for the winning TD. JAGUARS 20, CHARGERS 17, OT JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Josh Lambo kicked a 30-yard field goal with 3:12 remaining in overtime, lifting the Jaguars in a wild game. Lambo's kick got tipped at the line of scrimmage and still cleared the crossbar. The former soccer player and one-time Charger ran the other way and slid on both knees near midfield before getting mobbed by teammates. It gave Jacksonville its first three-game winning streak since 2013. The game ended up in overtime after a wacky final two minutes of regulation that included a fumble, two interceptions, a taunting penalty and a costly flag for roughing the passer. At times, it looked as if neither team wanted to win. After all the chaos, Lambo drilled a 34-yard field goal to send it to the extra period. After Jacksonville punted, A.J. Bouye intercepted a pass from Philip Rivers on third down and returned it to the 2-yard line. But a taunting call on cornerback Aaron Colvin pushed the Jaguars (6-3) back 15 yards. Lambo hit the winner a few plays later. The Chargers are 3-6. LIONS 38, BROWNS 24 ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) — Matthew Stafford lofted a 29-yard, tiebreaking touchdown to Eric Ebron early in the fourth quarter and the Lions went on to beat the winless Browns. The Lions (5-4) rallied from first- and second-half deficits to earn consecutive victories for the first time since winning the first two games this season. The Browns, who fell to 0-9 on the season, led 10-0 early in the game for their first double-digit lead of the season, and were up 24-17 in the third after Deshone Kizer led two consecutive touchdown drives. Detroit is the only franchise to have a 0-16 season in 2008. Cleveland's chances to finally win this season were hurt when Kizer took a shot to the ribs by blitzing defensive back Quandre Diggs late in the third period. The rookie quarterback, who came back to play late in the fourth, had perhaps his best game. He completed 21 of 37 passes for 232 yards with a 19-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Britt in the first quarter. Kizer ran seven times for 57 yards, including a go-ahead, 1-yard sneak with 6:01 left in the third. BUCCANEERS 15, JETS 10 TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Ryan Fitzpatrick led two long scoring drives and Tampa Bay limited the Jets to less than 200 yards of offense until late in the fourth quarter to snap a five-game losing streak. With Fitzpatrick filling in for injured quarterback Jameis Winston, the Buccaneers (3-6) used three field goals to build a 9-3 lead. Charles Sims put the game out of reach with a 6-yard touchdown reception with just over six minutes remaining. Fitzpatrick, facing the team he played for the past two seasons, completed 17 of 34 passes for 187 yards and was intercepted once. The 34-year-old Fitzpatrick, one of just four players in NFL history to throw TD passes for seven different teams, led a seven-minute drive that produced a field goal in the first quarter. He finished a 15-play, 81-yard march, also lasting more than seven minutes, with his TD pass to Sims to make it 15-3. Josh McCown, also facing one of his former teams, was 23 of 39 for 263 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Robby Anderson caught a 38-yard TD pass in the final minute for the Jets (4-6), scoring for the fourth straight game to give New York one last chance......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 13th, 2017

Packers struggles without Rodgers go beyond offense

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Green Bay Packers Mike McCarthy still believes in backup quarterback Brett Hundley, but he wants to see everyone on his roster — including Hundley — elevate their games. "We all need to do better," McCarthy said Tuesday night, less than 24 hours after his team's 30-17 loss to the Detroit Lions. "We had an injury to Aaron Rodgers, and nobody has stepped up." Rodgers was knocked out Oct. 15 with a broken right collarbone. He underwent surgery four days later and was placed on injured reserve, with the hope of the bone healing quickly enough for him to return this season. Since the injury, the Packers' offense hasn't been the same with Hundley under center, the defense hasn't generated enough stops or turnovers, the special teams haven't created a single momentum-shifting play and the Packers (4-4) have lost three games — to the Vikings, the New Orleans Saints and the Lions "No group has stepped up yet," McCarthy said. "We've had two games that have been very similar in nature — New Orleans and Detroit. ... We need to get more production out of this new path. And it hasn't happened yet." Although McCarthy insisted after Monday night's loss that Hundley was not to blame, the third-year quarterback has not played well. Against the Lions, his numbers — 26 of 38 for 245 yards with no interceptions for a passer rating of 86.0 — looked better because of a late touchdown drive after the Lions had the game in hand. An offense that was one of the league's best on third-down conversions and red-zone production with Rodgers at the helm has managed just 44 points in the past three games. Before Rodgers' injury, the Packers were averaging 27.4 points per game. Hundley acknowledged after the game that the improvement he showed against the Lions was insufficient. "Everybody wants to score five touchdowns and have a perfect quarterback rating and win," Hundley said. "This game was a step in the right direction. I think I did some good things. Obviously, it wasn't enough. But the first start (against the Saints) for sure wasn't." Green Bay's defense hasn't put together a strong performance since a 35-14 victory over the Chicago Bears on Sept. 28. The teams meet again Sunday in Chicago, and the Packers enter that game ranked 22nd in scoring defense, 25th in yards allowed per game, 20th in pass defense and 23rd in run defense. Only one NFL team has fewer sacks than the Packers' 13 through eight games, and defensive leaders Mike Daniels, Nick Perry, Clay Matthews and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix haven't been the difference-makers they need to be. "We've got to do a better job of applying the plan, make sure that we're executing it," McCarthy said. "We've got to play to who we are. We're halfway through the season. So we're not going to change our pass-rush techniques and so forth. If anything, less volume, more creativity." BULAGA OUT McCarthy announced Tuesday night that the knee injury suffered by veteran right tackle Bryan Bulaga is season-ending — the third time in the past six years he's had a season-ending injury. Bulaga hurt his ankle in August and missed the first two weeks of the regular season. He re-injured the ankle in Week 3 and missed more time, and he also suffered a concussion at Minnesota on Oct. 15. "It's very unfortunate," McCarthy said. "He's had a stretch of bad luck this year. ... I feel bad for him. I thought he had clearly come off his best season last year. Tough news." McCarthy also said veteran safety Morgan Burnett, who returned Monday night after a two-game absence because of a hamstring injury, will not play against the Bears because of the groin injury he sustained against the Lions......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 8th, 2017

West Ham fires Slaven Bilic with team in relegation zone

By Steve Douglas, Associated Press Slaven Bilic was fired as manager of West Ham on Monday after the team dropped into the Premier League's relegation zone following another big loss. Bilic had acknowledged his position was precarious after the 4-1 home loss to Liverpool on Saturday. "Disappointed, but not in the club. I expected it," Bilic said outside the West Ham's training ground after meeting with members of the club's board. "It's a very logical move." West Ham said in a statement that a change in manager was necessary "in order for the club to move forward positively and in line with their ambition." "Sadly, performances and results have not been of the expected standard," West Ham co-chairmen David Gold and David Sullivan said, "and, in recent weeks, we have not seen enough indication of the required improvement to give us the encouragement that things would change and we would meet our Premier League aspirations this season." Former Manchester United manager David Moyes is reportedly favored to replace Bilic. Moyes quit Sunderland following its relegation from the Premier League last season. West Ham has won only two of its 11 matches in the Premier League and is in third-to-last place heading into the two-week international break. "This season we hoped we would make the step from the start, we just didn't make it," Bilic said. "As with many clubs in Premier League and in Europe, the manager is the one who is paying the price for it." Bilic was hired in June 2015 and guided West Ham, a team he also played for, to a seventh-place finish in his first season with its highest number of points (62) and goals in a Premier League season. The team left its Upton Park home of 112 years to move to the Olympic Stadium the following season and the change has coincided with West Ham's problems. The team has been prone to collapsing after going behind — it has already lost by at least a three-goal margin on four occasions this season — and lacked any real identity. Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta, Marko Arnautovic and Javier Hernandez joined in the offseason as high-profile signings but haven't improved West Ham. Bilic's assistants, Nikola Jurcevic, Edin Terzic, Julian Dicks and Miljenko Rak, have also left the club with immediate effect but goalkeeping coach Chris Woods appears to have been retained. Woods worked with Moyes at Everton and Man United. "I am interested but at the moment that vacancy has not become available," Moyes said on TV channel Bein Sports on Sunday. "I know what Slaven must be going through." West Ham said an announcement regarding Bilic's successor is expected to be made "over the coming days." "We see this as an exciting opportunity to appoint a quality manager to the position to inject fresh ideas, organization and enthusiasm into a very talented squad," West Ham's co-chairmen said. Bilic is the fourth manager to lose his job in the Premier League after Frank De Boer (Crystal Palace), Craig Shakespeare (Leicester) and Ronald Koeman (Everton)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 6th, 2017

Pair of losses enough to leave Real Madrid reeling

By Tales Azzoni, Associated Press MADRID (AP) — It's only been two losses, but when it comes to Real Madrid, that's enough to put the team on the brink of turmoil. Consecutive defeats to newcomer Girona in the Spanish league and to Tottenham in the Champions League have left the team reeling. Madrid struggled in both matches despite playing with its top players, prompting a wave of criticism. Although Cristiano Ronaldo dismissed talk of a crisis and coach Zinedine Zidane said he is not worried, they both admitted that there's some work to do to get Madrid back on track. "We are not going to play well every time," Ronaldo said after Tuesday's 3-1 loss in England. "We have to change things and admit that we are not where we wanted to be right now." Zidane said it will take some time to restore the team's morale after the consecutive losses. "It's two defeats in a row and we can't be happy about it," Zidane said. "It's a difficult moment but you have to accept it. We have to keep our heads cool because this is soccer and we have a lot of games to play and there's still a lot of time to turn things around, and that's what we will do." Madrid remains in good position to advance from Group H in the Champions League, and it can do it with a victory at APOEL later this month. But the team is already eight points behind leader Barcelona in the Spanish league, a deficit it has never been able to overcome. Madrid had won four in a row in the league before last weekend's loss at Girona, but it got off to a slow start in which it failed to win its first three home games. Madrid is defending both the Spanish league and the Champions League titles this season. "We have to say calm," Ronaldo said. "Things are not as bad as they look. The team is not playing that badly, so we must remain confident. We have to think positively because it's the end of the season that counts, not the beginning." Zidane blamed the team's letdown on its numerous missed opportunities in front of goal. "There are moments in a season when you score goals from very few chances, and others when you struggle to do that," the former France midfielder said. "We have been creating opportunities but we are not being able to capitalize on them." Zidane said he has a group of experienced players who will be able to quickly steer the team back in the right direction. Ronaldo would have liked to see even more experience in the team at a moment like this. He said some of the players that the club let go in the offseason could have been making a difference right now, including Pepe, Alvaro Morata and James Rodriquez. "The new players who came to the squad have a lot of potential and they are the future of Madrid," said Ronaldo, who scored the team's goal on Tuesday at Wembley. "But if you ask me, every great player is always needed by a club, and Pepe was a great player, and Morata, James ... All players who have left used to make us a stronger team, obviously." Madrid defender Sergio Ramos said it's natural for fans to be upset with the team's recent struggles, but warned that nobody should count them out just yet. "When Madrid loses a couple of games there's always talk about a crisis," Ramos said. "But we have to remain calm and united. We are convinced that Madrid will overcome this very soon. Madrid always fights back, and if people think that we are done, time will show them wrong.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 3rd, 2017

BLOGTABLE: Which East teams will make the playoffs in 17-18?

NBA.com blogtable Who are your picks for the eight teams that will make the playoffs in the East? +++ Steve Aschburner: Boston Celtics Cleveland Cavaliers Washington Wizards Toronto Raptors Milwaukee Bucks Miami Heat Detroit Pistons Charlotte Hornets The Kyrie Irving/Isaiah Thomas trade should energize both the Celtics and the Cavaliers all season – assuming Gordon Hayward’s brutal misfortune doesn’t torpedo Boston. The Wizards, Raptors and maybe the Bucks will make the East more interesting and competitive than some folks might have expected. Shaun Powell: Cleveland Cavaliers Washington Wizards Boston Celtics Toronto Raptors Milwaukee Bucks Philadelphia 76ers Charlotte Hornets Miami Heat This is really a nine-team conference, because the only other team with a legit chance to make the playoffs are the Pistons. All the others (Hawks, Nets, Bulls, Pacers, Knicks, Magic) are rebuilding. This allows the Sixers to overcome inexperience to make the cut. And the playoff fence will be far more suspenseful than the opposite end, where the Cavs remain clearly the class of the East. John Schuhmann: Tier 1: Cleveland Cavaliers (playoff version) Tier 2: Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers (regular season version), Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors and Washington Wizards Tier 3: Charlotte Hornets and Miami Heat The 8 seed: Philadelphia 76ers over Detroit Pistons The playoff Cavs should be a clear favorite to get back to The Finals, but the regular season Cavs are very different from the playoff Cavs and not a clear favorite to get the 1 seed, even after Gordon Hayward's injury. So, no order of the top five teams (except one that has Cleveland fourth or fifth) would really surprise me come April. Picking Philadelphia over Detroit is being more hopeful about Joel Embiid's health than Reggie Jackson's effectiveness, and the preseason was more discouraging regarding the latter. Sekou Smith: Cleveland Cavaliers Washington Wizards Toronto Raptors Boston Celtics Milwaukee Bucks Miami Heat Charlotte Hornets Philadelphia 76ers The Eastern Conference is wide open after Cleveland at the top. Washington, Toronto, Boston, Miami, Milwaukee, Charlotte and Philadelphia are the teams that should be playoff bound, with the Sixers needing to fend off the crowd for that eighth and final spot. I am trusting that The Process (one Joel Embiid) will play more than 31 games this season and that Ben Simmons will make a huge difference. But I want to reserve the right to change my order in case there is an injury situation with the Sixers. My dark horse crew this season is Toronto. With all of the attention focused elsewhere this offseason, it seems like Dwane Casey's bunch has been overlooked. They have the key pieces needed to handle themselves in a reshuffled Eastern Conference. They are in that mix with the Wizards and Celtics battling it out for real estate at the top of the standings right behind Cleveland......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 19th, 2017