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Elite face biggest Philippine Cup test against Ginebra

If Blackwater is truly serious about being a true PBA contender, then passing a crucial test Friday is going to be big for the Elite. Fresh from winning their fifth game last week, their most in one conference and only two short of their entire total last season, the Elite battle Brgy. Ginebra San Miguel with a chance to go for a top 2 finish on the line. With one playoff bonus still up for grabs, a win by Blackwater certainly gives the Ever Bilena franchise an inside track especially since eight teams basically remain in contention to join defending champion San Miguel Beer at the top. Being one of those eight teams, the Gin Kings would like to further their own campaign by notching what would be their first winning streak for the season. Through eight games so far, the reigning Governors' Cup champions have stumbled to an even 4-4 mark but the team is coming off a huge win over rival Meralco back in Iloilo City. Gametime is set at 7:00 p.m. from the Cuneta Astrodome. Also one of the eight teams in contention for a top 2 spot, Rain or Shine takes on a free-falling Meralco Bolts in the first game at 4:15 p.m., looking to bounce back from a sorry loss at the hands of the Beermen. Armed with a 5-3 record, the Elasto Painters are out to make sure they maintain solo second place for at least a day while the Bolts simply want to arrest a six-game slide. The Bolts are currently tied for last place with a woeful 2-7 card. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 20th, 2017

Steelers hold off Chiefs on Boswell's 6 field goals, 18-16

BARRY WILNER, AP Pro Football Writer br /> KANSAS CITY, Missouri (AP) — Who needs to reach the end zone when you have Le'Veon Bell chewing up yards and the clock, and Chris Boswell setting an NFL playoff record with six field goals? Throw in a stingy Pittsburgh defense for most of Sunday night, and a multitude of mistakes by Kansas City, and the Steelers' 18-16 victory sent them into the AFC championship game. The Steelers (13-5) needed to hold off a last-ditch threat by the Chiefs (12-5) before advancing to face New England next Sunday night for a spot in the Super Bowl. The Patriots won at Pittsburgh 27-16, but Ben Roethlisberger was injured and didn't play. Spencer Ware's 1-yard touchdown run took Kansas City within 18-16. The Chiefs at first converted the 2-pointer to tie it, but tackle Eric Fisher — the first overall selection in the 2013 draft — was penalized for holding. The next try failed. With 2:43 remaining, Justin Gilbert misplayed the kick return and was tackled at the Pittsburgh 5. Roethlisberger hit Antonio Brown for 7 yards on third down and Pittsburgh then ran out the clock, securing a ninth straight victory for the Steelers. The Chiefs have not won a home playoff game since 1994, losing five in a row. The scoring started furiously in the opening minutes, then the game became a kicking exhibition by Boswell, who also had six field goals in the regular season against Cincinnati. And Bell put on a virtuoso running performance, patiently finding holes and then exploding through them. He added a team-record 170 yards rushing to the 167 he had in a win over Miami last week. The Steelers became first team to win a playoff game without a TD since eventual Super Bowl champion Indianapolis in the 2006 AFC divisional round at Baltimore. Using a no-huddle attack almost to perfection early on, the Steelers drove deep into Kansas City territory. But they bogged down inside the 5 and Boswell made a 22-yard field goal. The Chiefs were just as efficient on a six-play march capped by receiver Albert Wilson lining up in the backfield, then slipping uncovered into the end zone for a 5-yard score. Pittsburgh's answer came on a 52-yard heave to All-Pro Brown, who somehow was covered by linebacker Justin Houston. That led to Boswell's second field goal, a 38-yarder. He added a 36-yarder to cap a 14-play drive on which Pittsburgh again barely huddled. A clean game up until then turned to, well, turnovers, on successive series. Bud Dupree pounded Alex Smith, whose pass shot high into the air and was caught by linebacker Ryan Shazier. The Steelers got to the Kansas City 5, where Frank Zombo leaped to deflect Roethlisberger's throw, and All-Pro safety Eric Berry — burned for 26 yards on the previously play — picked it off in the end zone. Boswell's fourth field goal, from 45 yards, made it 12-7 at the half. His 43-yarder, setting the franchise record for a postseason game and tying the league mark of five, came on Pittsburgh's first series of the second half. A 43-yarder midway in the fourth quarter gave Boswell the NFL record. Kansas City's Cairo Santos got in on the kicking act with a 48-yarder to make it 15-10. At that point, 10 seconds from the end of the third quarter, the Chiefs were outgained 333 yards to 150. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 16th, 2017

Steelers hold off Chiefs on Boswell's 6 field goals, 18-16

BARRY WILNER, AP Pro Football Writer   KANSAS CITY, Missouri (AP) — Who needs to reach the end zone when you have Le'Veon Bell chewing up yards and the clock, and Chris Boswell setting an NFL playoff record with six field goals? Throw in a stingy Pittsburgh defense for most of Sunday night, and a multitude of mistakes by Kansas City, and the Steelers' 18-16 victory sent them into the AFC championship game. The Steelers (13-5) needed to hold off a last-ditch threat by the Chiefs (12-5) before advancing to face New England next Sunday night for a spot in the Super Bowl. The Patriots won at Pittsburgh 27-16, but Ben Roethlisberger was injured and didn't play. Spencer Ware's 1-yard touchdown run took Kansas City within 18-16. The Chiefs at first converted the 2-pointer to tie it, but tackle Eric Fisher — the first overall selection in the 2013 draft — was penalized for holding. The next try failed. With 2:43 remaining, Justin Gilbert misplayed the kick return and was tackled at the Pittsburgh 5. Roethlisberger hit Antonio Brown for 7 yards on third down and Pittsburgh then ran out the clock, securing a ninth straight victory for the Steelers. The Chiefs have not won a home playoff game since 1994, losing five in a row. The scoring started furiously in the opening minutes, then the game became a kicking exhibition by Boswell, who also had six field goals in the regular season against Cincinnati. And Bell put on a virtuoso running performance, patiently finding holes and then exploding through them. He added a team-record 170 yards rushing to the 167 he had in a win over Miami last week. The Steelers became first team to win a playoff game without a TD since eventual Super Bowl champion Indianapolis in the 2006 AFC divisional round at Baltimore. Using a no-huddle attack almost to perfection early on, the Steelers drove deep into Kansas City territory. But they bogged down inside the 5 and Boswell made a 22-yard field goal. The Chiefs were just as efficient on a six-play march capped by receiver Albert Wilson lining up in the backfield, then slipping uncovered into the end zone for a 5-yard score. Pittsburgh's answer came on a 52-yard heave to All-Pro Brown, who somehow was covered by linebacker Justin Houston. That led to Boswell's second field goal, a 38-yarder. He added a 36-yarder to cap a 14-play drive on which Pittsburgh again barely huddled. A clean game up until then turned to, well, turnovers, on successive series. Bud Dupree pounded Alex Smith, whose pass shot high into the air and was caught by linebacker Ryan Shazier. The Steelers got to the Kansas City 5, where Frank Zombo leaped to deflect Roethlisberger's throw, and All-Pro safety Eric Berry — burned for 26 yards on the previously play — picked it off in the end zone. Boswell's fourth field goal, from 45 yards, made it 12-7 at the half. His 43-yarder, setting the franchise record for a postseason game and tying the league mark of five, came on Pittsburgh's first series of the second half. A 43-yarder midway in the fourth quarter gave Boswell the NFL record. Kansas City's Cairo Santos got in on the kicking act with a 48-yarder to make it 15-10. At that point, 10 seconds from the end of the third quarter, the Chiefs were outgained 333 yards to 150. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 16th, 2017

Thomas sets 36-hole record and leads by 5

DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf Writer br /> HONOLULU (AP) — Justin Thomas finished with another eagle and put himself in the PGA Tour record book again Friday in the Sony Open. One day after his 59 made him only the seventh player in PGA Tour history break 60, Thomas made an 8-foot eagle putt on the 18th hole at Waialae for a 6-under 64 to set the 36-hole scoring record on the PGA Tour. Thomas was at 17-under 123 and had a five-shot lead over Gary Woodland. The previous mark was 124, last matched at the 2015 BMW Championship by Jason Day at Conway Farm. 'It's cool,' Thomas said. 'Just like yesterday, anytime you can get your name in the record book, it's awesome. I had no idea until I finished.' Thomas started slowly, not picking up his first birdie until the fifth hole. Irritation from a three-putt bogey on the eighth hole got him going, and Thomas ran off four straight birdies around the turn. From there, no one got closer than four shots on another ideal day for scoring off the shore just up the road from Waikiki Beach. Woodland made a 10-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole for his second straight 64. Woodland and Thomas as part of the final group could be a real power show — Woodland is regarded as one of the premier power players in golf, though he has been far more reserved off the tee, despite being tempted to hit driver. 'I did that my first couple times here and that didn't work out for me,' he said. 'I'm very comfortable with where my game is. Driver feels great, I just don't get many opportunities out there. I'm not complaining about being in the fairway, either.' Thomas wasn't bashful. He smashed a 355-yard drive down the 12th fairway that set up a flip wedge to 12 feet for his fourth straight birdie. He also took an unusual line on the 14th, hammering a high drive over the trees and bunker down the left side and back into the fairway, leaving him 70 yards to the green on the 430-yard hole. He pitched that up to just under 5 feet and missed the putt, one of the few he failed to convert. Zach Johnson had a 61 and Olympic gold medalist Justin Rose shot 64. They were in the group seven shots behind along with Hudson Swafford, who opened with a 62 but could only manage a 68. Jordan Spieth felt empty after rounds of 65-67, partially because he was nine shots behind and primarily because he had as many chances as Thomas over the last two days. Only one of them has been converting putt after putt. 'Just has a really cold putter this week,' Spieth said. 'I think it added to the frustration on the green, because the game is looking so easy to him. I felt like I was hitting the ball in the same location, I'm just being outdone on the green. That's something a little abnormal to me.' That made Thomas, his best friend in golf for the last 10 years, chuckle. 'Now he knows how a lot of people feel,' Thomas said. Thomas never made it to the North Shore on Thursday after his 59, though he was happy to have missed out on Spieth and Smylie Kaufman's ocean adventure that included a capsized kayak. He approached the next day like any other, trying to hit good shots, get birdie chances and expand his lead. He ticked every box, even picking up a record he knew nothing about. Thomas rolled in a 12-foot birdie from the collar left of the 15th green, only to give the shot back with a tee shot he pulled into the bunker. From the left rough, with the sun in his face, he belted it out and onto the green for another closing eagle. Coming off a three-shot victory last week at Kapalua, he is in prime position to join Ernie Els in 2003 as the only players to sweep Hawaii. 'He's not stopping, as we can see,' Spieth said. 'Someone has to go out and chase him.' Rose was one shot out of the lead when he finished — Thomas had yet to tee off — and was hopeful of staying in range. Rose knows from experience that starting strong and holding it together for four rounds isn't easy. He shot 60 in the first round at Disney in 2006, stretched his lead early in the second round and by the end of the week was five shots behind the winner. 'You definitely need the mindset when you're that far ahead to keep the accelerator down,' Rose said. 'But it's hard to keep that sort of momentum going, for sure.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 14th, 2017

Higuain helps Juventus to record 26th straight home win

ANDREW DAMPF, AP Sports Writer   ROME (AP) — It's no coincidence that Juventus has won Serie A every season since the Juventus Stadium opened in September 2011. The Bianconeri have been virtually unbeatable in the Italian league's only major club-owned stadium and improved on their own Serie A record with a 26th consecutive home win Sunday. Gonzalo Higuain scored his fourth brace of the season as Juventus beat Bologna 3-0. Juventus held the previous record of 25 straight home wins, established at the stadium between 2013 and 2015. The current streak began against Bologna on Oct. 24, 2015, and Bologna never really had a chance to prevent the latest record. Higuain opened the scoring with a volley from a lobbed pass from Miralem Pjanic seven minutes in, Paulo Dybala added a penalty before the break and then Higuain headed in another early in the second half. Juventus, which still has a game in hand, restored its four-point lead over Roma, which beat Genoa 1-0 earlier. ___ ROMAN VICTORIES Roma finally found a way to win away from home — with an own goal. Armando Izzo redirected a cross from Bruno Peres into his own net in the first half as Roma won 1-0 at Genoa for its first victory away from the Stadio Olimpico since October. Roma has won all nine of its home matches, while its away record now reads four wins, two draws and four losses. 'It's a big win. This is a tough league and we've faced some difficult opponents,' Roma midfielder Daniele De Rossi said. 'If we had won all of our away matches, too, we would be champions of Italy by now.' Roma's last win outside the capital had been a 3-1 victory over Sassuolo on Oct. 26 in Reggio Emilia. The Giallorossi also beat Lazio 2-0 in the Rome derby early last month when they were technically the visitors. Roma forward Edin Dzeko hit the post near the hour mark, the fourth time the Bosnia and Herzegovina striker has found the woodwork this season — more than any other player in the league. Roma goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny preserved the win with a difficult save on a shot from beyond the area by Lucas Ocampos in stoppage time. 'For Genoa, I think in 38 matches they won't play one that's not physical. Because that's the type of football they play — very aggressive, man against man,' De Rossi said. 'We needed to put our work boots on and we did.' Genoa goalkeeper Mattia Perin tore his ACL early on and will miss the rest of the season. Lazio also won 1-0, over struggling Crotone with a last-minute goal from Ciro Immobile after Lucas Biglia hit the crossbar with a penalty in the first half. Lazio is fourth, one point behind third-placed Napoli, which beat Sampdoria 2-1 on Saturday. ___ MILAN CLUBS WIN Fresh off its Italian Super Cup win over Juventus, fifth-placed AC Milan needed a late goal to beat visiting Cagliari 1-0. Carlos Bacca scored from close range two minutes from the end after being set up by Gianluca Lapadula. Cagliari ended with 10 men when Bruno Alves was sent off for pulling down Bacca just outside the area to prevent a clear scoring opportunity in added time. Earlier, Ivan Perisic scored twice and seventh-placed Inter Milan came from a goal down to beat Udinese 2-1 and win its fourth straight game. Perisic equalized in first-half added time, slotting a shot inside the near post after receiving a pass from Mauro Icardi, then headed in from a free kick three minutes from the end. It was the first brace in Serie A for Perisic, a Croatia international who joined Inter from Wolfsburg in 2015. Jakub Jankto, a 20-year-old Czech midfielder, had put Udinese ahead early in the first half after being set up by French talent Seko Fofana. ___ OTHER MATCHES: Atalanta revived its chances of finishing in the Europa League spots with a convincing 4-1 win at Chievo Verona. Alejandro 'Papu' Gomez scored twice for Atalanta, with Andrea Conti and Remo Freuler also finding the target for the Bergamo club. Sergio Pellissier's goal for Chievo temporarily made it 3-1. Domenico Berardi returned from a long injury layoff for Sassuolo in a 0-0 draw with Torino. The Pescara-Fiorentina match was postponed due to too much snow and ice inside and around the Stadio Adriatico. ___ Andrew Dampf on Twitter: www.twitter.com/asdampf .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 9th, 2017

Memories of recent meltdown fueled Romeo to clutch outing

With memories of their most recent collapse still fresh in his mind, Terrence Romeo made sure no such thing would happen to his squad to open a new year of PBA basketball. The explosive Globalport point guard came through with 12 points in the fourth quarter to help the Batang Pier hold off Meralco Friday in the very first PBA game of 2017, erasing some of the bitter memories from a 26-point meltdown to end 2016. Losing a 16-point lead to the Bolts, it was almost all Romeo in the final 12 minutes as the reigning two-time scoring champion gave the Batang Pier some much-needed lift to keep Meralco at bay. 'Yun yung topic namin, kung paano kami magme-maintain ng lamang namin tapos hindi na mahahabol,' Romeo said who went on and finished with 27 points, five rebounds, and five assists. 'Kasi kagaya niyan, na-sustain lang namin nung last minute. Paano kung hindi na naman namin [napanalo], ang sakit na naman di ba?' he added. Globalport suffered no such heartbreak against Meralco and the victory more importantly put the Batang Pier back in the thick of the playoff race with a 4-3 record. Half a game behind the teams currently sitting with the league's second best records, the Batang Pier are most definitely going for a top two spot and a twice-to-beat edge in the quarterfinals. 'Sabi samin ni coach Franz [Pumaren], hawak pa rin namin. Kung ibibigay yung talagang all out namin, tapos laruin yung tamang basketball, may chance pa rin sa atop 2,' said Romeo. However, Globalport's journey to a playoff bonus is not a walk in the park as the Batang Pier play NLEX, San Miguel, TNT, and Rain or Shine to close out the Philippine Cup. Three of those teams currently sit in the top three in the team standings. Still, Romeo remains unfazed. 'Tingin ko, wag nalang namin sigruo tignan kung sino yung kalaban,' he said. 'Basta pag nandun kami sa court, laruin lang namin yung tamang basketball tapos mangyari na lang kung ano yung mangyayari.' br /> --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 6th, 2017

Stock Market: Stocks off to a weak start dragged by blue chips

THE local stock market failed to sustain the positive momentum seen at the end of last week as index heavyweights fell amid lingering uncertainties, analysts said......»»

Category: financeSource:  bworldonlineRelated NewsOct 17th, 2016

Stock Market: PSEi to try to chase away gloom this week

LOCAL STOCKS are expected to tread water this week -- returning to 7,500 level at best, or at worst, breaching the 7,300 territory that could set off a fresh bout of heavy selling after Friday's reprieve, analysts said over the weekend......»»

Category: financeSource:  bworldonlineRelated NewsOct 16th, 2016

Asian stocks rally resumes on stimulus hope

HONG KONG: Asian markets got back into their positive groove Thursday following a fresh Wall Street record as traders are pumped up by strong corporate results and expectations for fresh stimulus. After a slight stumble Tuesday and Wednesday caused by .....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilatimes_netRelated NewsJul 21st, 2016

Imus deals Iriga s first loss in NBL Season 2

Imus handed Iriga City its first loss after a 99-96 victory in overtime last Sunday in the National Basketball League (NBL) Season 2 at the Dominican College Gym in Sta. Rosa, Laguna. The Bandila improved their record to 3-2, while sending the Oragons to their first defeat after winning their first four games of the season. Kim Cinco had 26 points including five threes, and Jepoy Sarao had 23 points and 14 rebounds for the Bandila, who bounced back from their overtime defeat against Nueva Ecija in their previous game. Lerry Jhon Mayo had 21 points including the go-ahead basket with 8.7 seconds left in the game as the Taguig Generals defeated the Laguna Pistons, 94-93, to pick up their third win in four outings. Last Saturday, JP Rabe had 23 points and 14 rebounds as the Dasmariñas Ballers nipped the Nueva Ecija Rice Makers, 95-94, to even their record to 2-2. Jeff Comia had 22 points and 10 rebounds as the Quezon City Rising Stars also won their second straight game after defeating the Zamboanga Valientes, 94-82, to improve their mark to 3-4......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 21st, 2019

Leonard stars in Raptors Game 3 adjustments

By John Schuhmann, NBA.com TORONTO -- Kawhi Leonard has grown into one of the best offensive players in the world, a machine that ranks second in this postseason in scoring (32.0 points per game), with an ultra-efficient true shooting percentage of 65.5 percent (third-best among players with at least 50 postseason field goal attempts). But what makes Leonard truly special is how good he can be on both ends of the floor ... in the playoffs ... having played more than 50 minutes ... while hobbled by a leg injury ... and with his team's season on the line. [Watch the Playoffs on NBA League Pass for 30% less with this limited time offer! Select Annual package and use code SAVE30 at checkout to redeem] The Toronto Raptors are still alive in the Eastern Conference finals, having escaped with a 118-112, double-overtime victory in Game 3 on Sunday (Monday, PHL time). They're still alive because Marc Gasol finally made the shots the Milwaukee Bucks have been daring him to shoot all along, because Pascal Siakam had his best game of the series, and because Fred VanVleet and Danny Green picked timely moments for their only buckets on a night in which they combined to shoot 2-for-20. But mostly, the Raptors have a chance to even this series in Game 4 because Leonard was the better of the two superstars on the floor. And he was just that, in part, because he was defending the other one. Through the first two games of the series, Pascal Siakam has been the primary defender on Giannis Antetokounmpo, with Leonard defending Khris Middleton. Antetokounmpo hadn't exactly gone wild in the first two games (totaling 54 points and 11 assists), but the Raptors needed to change something. And the primary adjustments in Game 3 were in the matchups. On the first possession, Leonard was guarding Antetokounmpo, Siakam had shifted over to Eric Bledsoe, and Kyle Lowry had taken the Middleton assignment. Things didn't stay that way all game long. The Raptors switched often and couldn't worry about matchups when defending the Bucks in transition. And no matter who the initial defender is, guarding Antetokounmpo is always a five-man job, with the other four needing to be ready to help on Antetokounmpo's relentless attacks of the basket. "One man can't guard him," Leonard acknowledged. "It takes the whole team." But in regard to 1-on-1 defense, Leonard is the best that the Raptors have. And the adjustment worked. The Bucks scored just seven points on their first 13 possessions of Game 3 and only three of their 26 first-quarter shots came in the restricted area. "We wanted to take a look at it early to see how it looked," Nurse said of the Antetokounmpo-Leonard matchup. "It looked pretty good, so we stuck with it." Leonard played Antetokounmpo tighter than the MVP favorite had been defended in the first two games. "He was up and not giving him quite as much runway to get flying off of," Nurse said. "But so were the other guys that ended up on him in a switch or in different parts of the game. They were all a little bit more locked in. We took steps forward to get physical. The other night we were backing away from everything." The Bucks punished the Raptors with a few transition three's and eventually got to the basket. But their 112 points on 120 possessions was their second-worst offensive output of the postseason. Antetokounmpo, who entered Game 3 averaging a postseason-best 15.1 points in the paint per game, finished with just 10 points in the paint on Sunday (Monday, PHL time). It wasn't his lowest total of the postseason, but it was a low mark considering the season-high 45 minutes that he played before fouling out on the Raptors' first possession of the second overtime. The 8.1 points in the paint per 36 minutes were Antetokounmpo's third-lowest output in his 84 games this season. Leonard, meanwhile, scored a game-high 36 points despite suffering an apparent left leg injury less than three minutes in, either on the take-off or the landing of a fast-break bucket after one of Milwaukee's 20 turnovers. He looked hobbled for the rest of the night, but a hobbled Kawhi Leonard is still the best that the Raptors have. "Obviously, he wasn't moving very fast," VanVleet said. "But if he's out there, he's good enough." And he was, seemingly, all the Raptors had offensively late in the game. When they couldn't get him the ball in the post against Malcolm Brogdon, he had to go out to the perimeter to get it. Most of the iso-ball stuff didn't work, but all the work the Raptors' did defensively eventually allowed them to break through in the second overtime. With the Raptors up one and a little more than three minutes to go, Bledsoe got a switch onto Gasol and attacked. Danny Green came from the weak side to help, leaving Brogdon wide-open in the corner. That's where Bledsoe was looking to go with it, but Green got his hand on the pass, Leonard picked up the loose ball, and raced down the floor for a lefty dunk over Nikola Mirotic. Three possessions later, Toronto's lead was back to one point when Middleton got a switch onto VanVleet. Leonard came over to double and deflected the pass. Brogdon was the first to get to the loose ball, but Leonard snatched it away from him and took it the other way for another dunk. "His defense was probably the biggest key of the game," Nurse said of Leonard. "Offense was hard to come by there for both teams for a while, and any time you can get a steal and a breakout, it's a huge momentum play." In 568 career games prior to Sunday (Monday, PHL time), Leonard had never played more than 46 minutes. He played 52 minutes and eight seconds in Game 3, and the Raptors needed every last bit of it. They'll need more in Game 4 on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time), and they'll have to hope that Leonard can recover in the next 48 hours. "Fifty-two minutes and it's in the playoffs," Leonard said, "so you definitely feel it. When you play 30 minutes, you feel it still. You just got to not worry about it, get my treatment and move on to the next one." There was always going to be a next one. But Leonard and the Raptors have made sure that Game 4 won't be the last one. John Schuhmann is a senior stats analyst for NBA.com. 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 NewsMay 20th, 2019

Messi hits 50 goals for Barca, Madrid ends season to forget

By Joseph Wilson, Associated Press BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Lionel Messi scored twice to hit the 50-goal mark for the sixth time in his career on Sunday while Real Madrid put a fittingly poor ending to its worst season in recent memory after losing in the final round of the Spanish league. Messi scored his 49th and 50th goals in all competitions this season to give Barcelona a 2-2 draw at Eibar and finished as the league's top scorer with 36 goals for the Spanish champions. This is the sixth season Messi has finished as the top La Liga scorer, equaling a record held by Athletic Bilbao striker Telmo Zarra from the 1950s. Barcelona, which had clinched the league title with three rounds to play, will now look to also retain the Copa del Rey title next weekend when it faces Valencia. Its chance of a rare treble of major titles was ended by Liverpool in the Champions League semifinals. Barcelona won the league with 11 points more than second-place Atletico Madrid. It also finished 19 points ahead of Madrid, the biggest-ever points advantage by Barcelona over its fiercest rival. "We were very consistent all season long and that's what allowed us to win the league by such a comfortable margin," Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said. JEERS FOR MADRID Madrid endured the jeers of its own frustrated fans after a 2-0 loss to Real Betis at the Santiago Bernabeu. Most of Madrid's supporters have long placed their hopes on what changes the club will make to an underperforming squad in the summer. Not even coach Zinedine Zidane could find a saving grace to the campaign. "It isn't that we don't want to (play better), we aren't able to," Zidane said. "The best thing is for this to be over. We are already thinking about the future and next season." Madrid entered the match with nothing to play for, locked into a third-place finish for the second consecutive season for the first time since 1974. Since the return of Zidane to take charge of the club after its shock loss to Ajax in the round of 16 in the Champions League, Madrid has finished the campaign with a record of five wins, two draws and four losses. "The fault is ours," Madrid defender Marcelo said. "We didn't start well and we didn't finish it well either. In no way was this the season we wanted to have." MESSI'S DOUBLE Messi moved four goals ahead of Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappé — who has 32 in the French league with a round left — as the top scorer in Europe's major domestic leagues. Marc Cucurella, a Barcelona youth player on loan to Eibar, opened the scoring before Messi got his first goal from a pass by Arturo Vidal in the 31st. Messi added a second just a minute later when he broke behind Eibar's high defensive line, received the ball from Ivan Rakitic and chipped it over goalkeeper Marco Dmitrovic. Eibar defender Pablo de Blasis leveled just before halftime when he scored from distance into an open net after Barcelona goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen made a poor clearance with his head outside the area. Barcelona right back Nelson Semedo was taken to the hospital for tests after he received a knock on the head and had to be substituted. Youth player Carles Pérez debuted for Barcelona in the second half. TEAM WINS, SETIÉN LOSES The victory at Madrid didn't save Quique Setién's job. Betis announced shortly after that Setién and the Seville-based club had agreed to part ways after two seasons together, confirming weeks of speculation that he was on his way out. At least Setién's last match in charge was one to remember for the coach. Betis outplayed the hosts from the start and got second-half goals from Loren Morón and former Madrid forward Jesé Rodríguez. A long ball by Giovani Lo Celso set Andrés Guardado free down the left as he sprinted clear of Raphael Varane before crossing for Morón to score. Lo Celso then slipped a ball through to Junior Firpo, who found Jesé unmarked at the edge of the six-yard box. Betis, which beat both Madrid and Barcelona at their stadiums, ended the season in 10th place. "This allows us to finish a season that has been a bit disappointing with a victory against a team and at a stadium that will always be a nice memory," Setién said before the club announced his departure. HOW IT ENDED Champion Barcelona, Atletico, Madrid and fourth-place Valencia qualify for the Champions League. Getafe, Sevilla and Espanyol took the Europa League spots. Girona, Huesca and Rayo Vallecano were relegated......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 20th, 2019

Warriors miss Kevin Durant, but do they need him?

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com PORTLAND, Ore. — Along with the equipment, uniforms, basketballs and the confidence that comes with being up 2-0 in the Western Conference finals, the Warriors brought along another piece of cargo to Portland and it is the heaviest of them all. It didn’t come packed in luggage or a box; instead, it’s just wrapped in a hunch and tied with a question mark, and it is this: When do the Warriors start missing Kevin Durant? [Watch the Playoffs on NBA League Pass for 30% less with this limited time offer! Select Annual package and use code SAVE30 at checkout to redeem] The back-to-back champs are now 3-0 in these playoffs without their superstar and his aching calf. And 4-0 overall in games in which Durant didn’t finish. That probably says something about the Rockets, and so far about the Trail Blazers — two teams unable to exploit his absence. However, while the (bleeping) Giants — Steve Kerr’s description of his undermanned team — are honorably playing with a sense of urgency, they aren’t buying the notion that they don’t need Durant. It’s an easy trap to fall into, to believe the outside chatter that they’re better off without him. The next two games, both at Moda Center, will either feed that belief or destroy it. Yes, because the Blazers must beat the Warriors four out of five to advance, there’s little to no chance of them denying Golden State a fifth trip to the Finals regardless of whether Durant shows up in this series or not. And that’s good for the visitors, since Durant didn’t make the trip for Games 3 and 4. “There's no mental adjustment,” said Kerr. “You just play. You go out there with what you have, and this is our third game, 3 1/2 games, really without him, and so we're just trying to hold down the fort. Hopefully he continues to progress and he has made progress, but it's a little more serious than we thought at the very beginning. So we'll see where it all goes, but he's in there all day long getting treatment. He's done a great job of committing himself to that process.” There’s a thought that, even if Durant was 80 percent, the Warriors will keep him benched to prevent a chance of re-injury, and that’s a wise decision with wide-ranging ramifications. By protecting Durant’s best interest here in this free agent year, the Warriors score big points with him and his camp less than two months before Durant must make a decision on his future. That said, what are the Warriors doing right to remain unharmed by his absence? The easy answer is they won championships without Durant and so this is more of the same-old, same-old. Except it isn’t. This actually might be more impressive. Understand that Golden State's system had to be changed here on the fly and in the middle of the postseason, not only to compensate for Durant’s 37 points per game in these playoffs, but also his defense. Once Durant was lost late in the third quarter of the fifth game of the second round, Kerr had to reach down his bench and rely on players who weren’t thrust into roles of significance and seldom saw fourth-quarter minutes up until this point. Meaning, Jonas Jerebko, Quinn Cook, Kevon Looney, Jordan Bell and Alfonzo McKinnie have either seen their minutes rise and/or their roles inflated in the process. Of course, most of the burden fell on the proven core: Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala. Each of those four, in his own way, is playing at a premium, even if it’s a small sample size. “That’s what it takes in the playoffs," said Kerr. "You have to have guys playing at a really high level.” Curry seems reborn or at least sprung free of a playoff fog where his numbers and production didn’t match his regular season. He finished strong in a pair of fourth quarters while closing out the Rockets and is the most impactful player in this series so far. He’s averaging 35 points on 51 percent shooting in the three games without KD. It wouldn’t be a stretch to suspect Curry is getting a charge out of this, and his ego, which he keeps hidden, is being fed. Thompson is now clearly the second option, whereas before he was often No. 3 and often only if his shot was falling. The green light never turns yellow without Durant around, like Curry, Thompson is working without handcuffs or a leash. After hitting 20 shot attempts once in the playoffs before Durant’s injury, Thompson is now hoisting 22 a game, good for a respectable 25-point average. The Warriors are constantly feeding him and running screens for him and urging him to take the shot, even if it’s contested. For a player who insists he’ll re-sign with Golden State this summer, Thompson is getting a taste of what life must be like if he played for, let’s say, the Clippers and was the focal point of the offense. “This team's been together a long time and they trust each other,” said Kerr. “When the ball starts moving, that's when we're tough to guard.” Green has never been better this season than in the last few weeks. Recharged after losing weight immediately following the All-Star break and no longer feeling pain in his previously-injured shoulder, Green is menacing on the defensive end where once again he’s guarding all positions except point guard and doing it marvelously. In addition, he’s pushing the ball up court to help Curry and Thompson stay as fresh as possible and directing the offense from the high post. He’s averaging 10 rebounds, 6.5 assists and three blocks without KD. “You know, we can't sit and look over our shoulder and say, `Hey, man, when is K going to be back?’ We just got to play with whatever we got,” Green said. “We got to play and give him an opportunity to get back, and I think that's what really falls on our shoulders. We're a very confident group. Hopefully he's back sooner than later, but as a guy who is in the battle every night, we can't sit and look over our shoulder and wonder when he or DeMarcus [Cousins] is coming back. We have to assume they are not coming back and play with what we got. Obviously, we are hoping that they do. But while they are not out there, we just got to play.” Finally, there’s Iguodala. He stayed hibernated all regular season while averaging career lows across the board. At age 35, it appeared time had finally caught up. Instead, this was a case of a crafty veteran preserving himself for springtime, and with the amount of talent on the Warriors, he could afford to do so. Iguodala had solid moments guarding James Harden in the second round and is among those trapping Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum this round. One of the signature plays of the series was Iguodala coming up with a walk-off strip of Lillard as time expired in Game 2. “You're kind of in awe of it because not many guys can make plays like that consistently,” said Curry. So this is where the Warriors are without Durant and also DeMarcus Cousins. They were good enough to stump the Rockets (again), then proved too much for the Blazers in a pair of home games. Nobody would be shocked if they take a game in Portland or maybe finish the sweep. It’s a luxury that few teams have or could pull off even if they did. This comes from a core that’s been together for six years, a coach pulling the proper strings and a bench that isn’t shrinking in the moment. “We feel like we can still win no matter who is out there on the floor, and that's why we're in the position that we’re in and have won championships with all the injuries and all types of stuff,” said Curry. “We know what the mission is, and we're on it right now.” These Warriors are playing flashback basketball to the time before Durant came aboard — and prepping themselves for next season, when and if Durant jumps overboard this summer. Shaun Powell has covered the NBA for more than 25 years. 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 NewsMay 18th, 2019

Caduyac, Nzeusseu power LPU past Letran

Raymar Caduyac poured 10 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter as Lyceum of the Philippines came back from 13 points down to beat Letran, 101-96, Friday in the 2019 FilOil Flying V Preseason Tournament. The Pirates recovered from a shaky first half to remain unbeaten in three games in Group B while handing the Knights first loss in four games. Caduyac provided the much-needed offensive firepower in the pivotal stretch of the fourth frame but it was Mike Nzeusseu who dropped the hammer with a one-handed and one slam with nine ticks left to wrap the win. “We beat ourselves in the first half,” said Pirates coach Topex Robinson. “Nabulaga kami with a very good first half from Letran.” Nzeusseu led LPU with 20 points and 10 rebounds, Jaycee Marcelino had 18 points, four boards and two steals while Jayson David contributed 11 markers for the Pirates. Letran saw its winning run snapped for a 3-1 card despite  the 30-point explosion of Allen Mina. Fran Yu got 15 points, five rebounds and three assists while Tommy Olivario had 10. In other results, De La Salle University weathered Centro Escolar University’s upset scare, 71-67, for a 3-1 win-loss record in Group A while San Sebastinan College beat University of the Philippines, 73-64. Encho Serrano led the Green Archers with 18 points while Justin Baltazar finished with a double-double with 14 markers and 10 boards. Aljun Melecio chipped in with 11 points for the Taft-based squad. The Scorpions cut DLSU’s lead to 69-67 with just a minute left off a Jan Formento triple. The Green Archers came up empty in the next possession but Formento missed his triple before Serrano drilled a layup to secure the win. Formento scored 22 for CEU, which slid to 2-1 mark. RK Ilagan posted 18 points while Allyn Bulanadi finished with 16 for the Stags. Ricci Rivero scored 19 points, Jun Manzo got 12 while reigning UAAP MVP Bright Akhuetie had 11 markers in a lost cause for the Maroons.   Meanwhile, College of St. Benilde defeated Jose Rizal University, 79-56. Yankie Hanruna caught fire as he steered the Blazers to its first win in  three outing, scoring 19 points in 7-of-10 field goal shooting to go with five rebounds. Justin Gutang and James Pasturan added nine markers each as CSB dictated the tempo of the game early with a backbreaking 18-4 first quarter blitz. The Bombers were no match to the guns of the Blazers as they dropped to 0-2 mark in Group B. MJ dela Virgen scored 11 points while freshman Marwin Dionisio posted 11 for JRU.   Box scores: First game: ST. BENILDE (79) -- Haruna 19, Pasturan 9, Gutang 9, Naboa 8, Pangalangan 7, Belgica 6, Dixon 5, Young 3, Flores 3, Carlos 2, Nayve 2, Leutcheu 2, Lim 2, Javillonar 2, Lepalam 0. JRU (56) -- Dela Virgen 11, Dionisio 11, Delos Santos 10, Estrella 6, Arenal 5, Miranda 5, Jungco 2, Aguila 2, Vasquez 2, Bordon 2, Amores 0, Steinl 0, Padua 0. Quarters: 18-4, 34-23, 55-46, 79-56.   Second game: LYCEUM (101) -- Nzeusseu 20, Caduyac 18, Jc. Marcelino 18, David 11, Navarro 8, Tansingco 7, Ibanez 6, Jv. Marcelino 5, Valdez 4, Guinto 2, Santos 2, Laurente 0, Remulla 0. LETRAN (96) -- Mina 30, Yu 15, Olivario 10, Balagasay 9, Sangalang 8, Pambid 7, Reyson 7, Guarino 4, Ular 4, Muyang 1, Caralipio 0, Gallano 0. Quarters: 25-26, 48-58, 71-68, 101-96.   Third Game: DLSU (71) -- Serrano 18, Baltazar 14, Melecio 11, Caracut 9, Manuel 4, David 4, Capacio 4, Cu 2, Bates 2, Bartlett 2, Manaytay 1, Lim 0, Lojera 0, Escandor 0. CEU (67) -- Formento 22, Diouf 13, Chan 10, Fuentes 10, Lisbo 4, Uri 3, Rojas 3, Sunga 2, Caballero 0, Diaz 0, Bernabe 0. Quarters: 11-13, 26-28, 47-48, 71-67.   Fourth Game: SSC-R (73) -- Ilagan 18, Bulanadi 16, Sumoda 13, Calabat 8, Bonleon 6, Dela Cruz 4, Villapando 3, Altamirano 3, Calma 2, Desoyo 0, Loristo 0, Suico 0, Baclay 0, Tero 0, Isidro 0, Are 0. UP (64) -- Rivero 19, Manzo 12, Akhuetie 11, Gomez de Liano, Ju. 8, Murrell 6, Prado 4, Jaboneta 2, Gozum 2, Spencer 0, Tungcab 0, Gob 0. Quarters: 19-13, 37-31, 56-52, 73-64......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 17th, 2019

PBA D-League: Paraiso helps UST ward off NAASCU champ St. Clare

Ironcon-UST boosted its 2019 PBA D-League playoff hopes with a cardiac 78-75 win over St. Clare College Virtual Reality Thursday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig. Dave Ando buried the go-ahead undergoal stab with 20.4 seconds remaining, before Brent Paraiso sealed the win with two free throws in the final 4.3. Junjie Hallare tried to heave a hail mary three to force overtime, but his shot went way short as time expired Paraiso scored 14 points, five rebounds, and four assists for Ironcon-UST, while Mark Nonoy and Rhenz Abando chipped in 13 points in the victory. "We just executed the game plan and the players did not deviate from the game plan kasi yun yung tendency ng mga bata. They just executed," said coach Aldin Ayo. Ando and Renzo Subido also combined for 20 to improve the Growling Tigers' slate to a 6-2 record in the Aspirants Group. They missed the services Beninese forward Soulemane Chabi Yo, who is down with a flu. Ironcon-UST survived a late spurt from Irven Palencia, who scored all of his eight points as St. Clare rallied back from a 73-67 deficit. Joshua Fontanilla top-scored for St. Clare (5-3) with 19 points, as Rojay Santos got 16 points built on five triples. Meanwhile, Valencia City Bukidnon-San Sebastian remained in the hunt for the Foundation Group top spot, dismantling CD14 Designs-Trinity, 105-82. Emmanuel Bonleon stepped up for the Golden Harvest, uncorking 20 of his 23 points in the first half as his side took the 36-23 lead at the end of the first period. Allyn Bulanadi was at his lethal self with a team-high 28 points, alongside six rebounds, three steals, and two assists, while JM Calma had a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds. It was the Golden Harvest's fourth straight win and pulled them once again on level with CEU at the no. 1 spot in the group at 7-1. Clark Derige paced the winless CD14 Designs-Trinity (0-9) with 22 points and five rebounds. In the day's other game, FamilyMart-Enderun finally broke through, drubbing AMA Online Education, 116-94. Valandre Chauca hit eight triples on his way to 24 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists as five others got to double-digits to help the young Titans nab their first win in the developmental ranks and halt a six-game losing skid. BOX SCORES FIRST GAME VALENCIA-BASTE 105 -- Bulanadi 28, Bonleon 23, Calma 16, Dela Cruz 10, Ilagan 9, Desoyo 4, Villapando 4, Calahat 4, Tero 3, Sumoda 2, Loristo 2, Are 0, Altamirano 0, Baclay 0. CD14 DESIGNS-TRINITY 82 -- Derige 22, Tayongtong 19, Barua 10, Balucanag 8, Biteng 6, Medina 6, Vitug 4, Juanico 4, Ortega 2, Mabayo 1, Tadeo 0, Chua 0, Dela Cruz 0, Ingel 0, Juico 0. QUARTER SCORES: 36-23, 69-48, 85-68, 105-82. SECOND GAME FAMILY MART-ENDERUN 116 -- Chauca 24, Escoto 17, Vidal 17, Gatdula 14, Sacundo 13, Hayes 12, Gotladera 8, Dela Cruz 5, Mariano 4, Nunez 2, Dungan 0, Tancioco 0, Oebanda 0. AMA 94 -- Munzon 30, Johnson 24, Parcero 13, Sayat 8, Estibar 6, Alao 5, Dela Rosa 4, Asuncion 3, Sabile 1, Catequista 0. QUARTER SCORES: 31-26, 64-52, 81-78, 116-94. BOX SCORES THIRD GAME IRONCON-UST 78 -- Paraiso 14, Nonoy 13, Abando 13, Ando 10, Subido 10, Concepcion 7, Bataller 4, Marcos 4, Huang 3, Herrera 0. ST. CLARE 75 -- Fontanilla 19, Santos 16, Lunor 11, Hallare 8, Palencia 8, Rubio 7, Pare 4, Ambuludto 2, Bolos 0. QUARTER SCORES: 18-11, 37-33, 60-57, 78-75......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 16th, 2019

DOC VOLLEYBALL: Storming The (Blue) Keep

Winning twice in the elimination round to continue a 15-game streak, the Ateneo Lady Eagles couldn’t have asked for a better match-up in the Finals in the form of the UST Golden Tigresses as past encounters would easily sway towards a blue momentum. The top seed however went in for a surprise as the Sisi Rondina-led pack showed a whole different UST team from the eliminations and proved why her team was the best offensive team at the expense of the best defensive team for a crucial first game sweep. With a dominant three-set win over the Lady Eagles, the Golden Tigresses have breached the gates and are within reach of the throne. At this point, with momentum undoubtedly behind the Tigresses, it is quite interesting how the Lady Eagles will be able to hold their ground and last wall of defense and eventually mark a counter offensive from the inside should they wish to extend the series to a deciding championship match. Swift Claws One glaring difference between how UST played in the elimination round and the way they won Game 1 of the Finals series was the speed of their play. Despite being in the back seat for most of the elimination round, veteran setter Alina Bicar dug deep since the semifinals and has been the crucial factor in their win against the Lady Eagles even more so than the stellar dominance of Queen Tigress Sisi Rondina. Throughout her UAAP career, Bicar has been a fairly overlooked setter due to noticeable lapses in consistency, decision making and quality (height and speed) of sets. Perhaps one saving grace Bicar had prior to this season’s step-up since the semifinals would be how fast the ball is released from her hands. In Game 1 however, it was a more potent Bicar who was on display as her setting (even the bump sets at that) was noticeably faster and with better trajectory that enabled her spikers to play through the solid net defense of the Lady Eagles. Though still utilizing the combination plays in the middle that are more likely to get blocked by tall and anticipating middles such as Bea De Leon and Maddie Madayag, Bicar’s decision-making was also a massive level up from how she played during the eliminations and the past seasons. Perhaps now that she has established a consistent shoot play to the left wing that proves problematic against the Atenean blockers, Bicar would find less reliance on combination plays that have less efficiency than a simple fast open to Rondina or Eya Laure. It is however an injustice to UST if credit won’t be given to the massive performance of their queen, Sisi Rondina. Just a quick look of her highlight reel is enough to tell the whole story of how she led the pack in decimating the Blue Defense be it up front or on the floor. Though expected to drop cherry bombs straight to the middle of the court to showcase her athleticism as seen throughout her career, Game 1 showed a Sisi Rondina who had long targets that proved to be a one-two punch for both the blockers and floor defenders of Ateneo. First, by going for long angle or line shots, Rondina ensures that she hits her maximum reach enough to work around the tall walls of the opponent. Second, by going for long targets, Rondina often landed her attacks on the perimeter of the blue court (a floor defense lapse exposed and exploited by rival Lady Spikers in their second round encounter). With Bicar’s fast sets, Rondina had more time and reach to work around the block and floor which proved too problematic for the Lady Eagles. Lastly, though it was a given that Rondina had the spotlight, the collective effort from Laure, Ysa Jimenez, KC Galdones and Caitlyn Viray was also a massive difference from the elimination round where UST has been branded as just a two-woman attacking team. Viray’s unorthodox set-up for a right pin attack despite being a middle and Galdones’ power from the middle earned crucial points for the team. Despite taking a backseat from her usual numbers, Eya Laure showed enough firepower to support Rondina a couple of which came from a low fast back play from Bicar which I’d like to see more of albeit pushed a little more to the right pin but with the same height and speed. Blunted Talons Right from the start of the match, the early assault of the Tigresses proved too much of a challenge for the Lady Eagles much like a dragon queen swooping over an army and decimating the wall of defense. UST clearly made prior work of how to circumvent the main asset of the Lady Eagles being their block by going for fast plays and long shots targeting unguarded zones such as high line and sharp angle. UST evading De Leon and Madayag’s defense set-up was already a big part of the equation as their offense proved successful in limiting the block points of the two middles to an unusual two and one kill blocks, respectively. It has been shown throughout the season that the main scoring output of the Lady Eagles are primarily the two middles and opposite Kat Tolentino. While there have been noticeable improvement from the second round towards the end of eliminations from both openers Ponggay Gaston and Jules Samonte, output from the left wing was sorely missing for the Lady Eagles for Game 1. A high output from transition could have been Ateneo’s saving grace as UST was successful in limiting them to just 17% in the passing department which is clearly not enough to active their main assets which are their middles. A combined effort of 16% efficiency by Samonte and Gaston (25% and 7% respectively) was clearly not enough to support Tolentino’s 28% efficiency to mount a counter offensive on the instances they had control of the first ball. In addition, it was noticeable how the Lady Eagles failed to capitalize with their block to hold UST at bay on a particular rotation in which only Rondina and Viray are up front and would attack from both pins without any benefit of a middle going for at least a decoy quick hit. With two relatively obvious spiker options, no quicker approaching, and no pipe or backrow attack tendencies, that specific rotation would have been the easiest for the Lady Eagles to earn points in succession. Moving forward, should the elimination top seed wish to force a Game Three, the main concern is obviously to ensure that Rondina can be neutralized. Sisi will definitely rack up the points, but by limiting her options in her attack angles, the Lady Eagles can have a relatively easier work with their defense. First option would be to slow down the setup of Bicar by serving her blind side. Should this option prove ineffective, the best possible option would be to serve long in the seam of zone 5 and 6 and target Rondina or Laure’s right side of their axis to keep them in the court as much as possible as they wind up for the approach. Doing so, their down the line shots would be a challenging option making it easier for Madayag and De Leon to block the sharp angle. Though Rondina is just one piece of the equation and much more can be expected of Laure, Jimenez, Viray, and Galdones in the upcoming match, ensuring that Bicar is hard pressed in setting up a fast play through well placed serves will be Ateneo’s best bet to force a decider match for the Season 81 throne.    .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 14th, 2019

No extra drama needed for Nuggets, Blazers in Game 7

By Sekou Smith, NBA.com DENVER -- All the posturing you can muster won’t win you this all-important game. No amount of name-calling, shoving, screaming, shouting or tough guy antics and gestures will save you when it’s all on the line in Game 7 of the NBA playoffs. And there are enough guys playing for both the Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers that know it, even if most of them have only observed a Game 7 from the stands or even further afar. [Watch the Playoffs on NBA League Pass for 30% less with this limited time offer! Select Annual package and use code SAVE30 at checkout to redeem] It’s a simple proposition, these Game 7 affairs. You win, you play on. Your season continues and all of the goals you set are still attainable. You lose, you’re done. None of the things you believed in before that last opening tip of the season remain. Pack up your stuff and head home for the summer. That’s the reality, the fate both the Nuggets and Trail Blazers are facing Sunday afternoon (Monday morning, PHL time) at Pepsi Center, the all-important Game 7 showdown in the Western Conference semifinals that will define one team’s season and render the other’s mute. There’s a finality to it, a certain air of drama that cannot be found anywhere else in the postseason. So it doesn’t matter if you have “sassy *** dudes, frontrunners,” as Blazers reserve guard Seth Curry put it after things got chippy late in Game 6 Thursday night (Friday, PHL time), one side or broadcast talent on the other taking cheap and unnecessary shots at injured Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic, Sunday afternoon's (Monday, PHL time) business is an up-and-down affair for all involved. Win and you play on or lose and you’re done. “I’m looking forward to Game 7,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. “Games 7s are special.” No extracurricular activity from either side will change that fact. “Both teams want to win the game,” said Nuggets center Nikola Jokic. “Basketball is an emotional game. Of course, we’re going to talk trash or whatever. Both teams just want to win the game.” That doesn’t mean you don’t look for every advantage possible to help fuel your cause. Blazers big man Zach Collins played a huge role in making sure this series found its way to Game 7, joining Rodney Hood in providing a huge boost off the bench in Game 6. And it was more than just his season-high 29 minutes and playoff career-high 14 points and five blocks. It was his physicality and activity around the rim and in the paint on both ends of the floor, his refusal to allow the Nuggets to find a groove. “We’ve just got to go in and keep playing our game,” Collins said. “I said it after the game, [Denver] has been way too comfortable for a lot of games in this series and [in Game 6] we made them a little uncomfortable. We just need to continue that, regardless of if it’s a Game 7 or not. Obviously, it’s win or go home for both teams. It’s going to be very difficult, especially in [Denver] to go in and get a win, but we can do it.” The Nuggets leaned on their sterling 34-7 record at Pepsi Center during the regular season, the best home mark in the league, as a confidence booster two weeks ago. “We have the best home court advantage in the NBA,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “We’re going to rely on that once again and try to close it out in Game 7.” The Nuggets owning that recency advantage: they needed a Game 7 win here to survive the San Antonio Spurs in the first round, means something. The game and that series provided lessons Malone’s postseason rookies need to tap into this time around, even if they don’t realize it now. “It’s weird,” Nuggets guard Jamal Murray said. “Everybody keeps talking about experience. And I just want to say that we’ve been here before. [We go] back home and regroup like we did for San Antonio, come back with energy and just … be ready to play. I think we had too many lapses [in Game 6]. Dame [Lillard] felt really comfortable, he wasn’t comfortable last time, so we need to be tougher on him … like I said, just regroup, come back and get a win.” If only it was that simple. The pressure to get out of the first round is one thing. The opportunity to make the conference finals is a different monster. The Nuggets last played in a conference final in 2009, when Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Kenyon Martin, J.R. Smith and Nene led the way. That group had a mix of seasoned pros who had championship (Billups) and extensive experience (Billups and Martin) competing on a championship level, to go along with younger and emerging superstar talent like Anthony. And they were ultimately no match for the Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol-led Los Angeles Lakers. So these current Nuggets are well within their right to acknowledge the very real anxiety that comes with a game of this magnitude. “No nerves, “Jokic said. “I just felt something different the first game of the playoffs because it was something different. Just because we call it the playoffs, Besides that, everything else is the same.” The Blazers haven’t seen a Game 7 since a 2003 first-round series against Dallas. But they do not believe the absence of experience in this case makes any bit of difference. “It’s just another game -- a game we want to win, obviously,” Blazers guard CJ McCollum said. “We understand what’s at stake. Somebody’s got to go home. Somebody’s got to go to Cabo, go to Cancun, as Chuck [Barkley] would say. For us, it’s go out there and compete, find the coach’s game plan, understanding that it’s going to be a pretty hostile crowd and they’ll be confident at home, but we’ve got to bring the energy and pressure just like we did [in Game 6].” Damian Lillard has guided his team this far and promised to stick to the basics in the days and hours leading up to the game. Rested bodies and minds are crucial. “The number one thing is have our minds right,” he said. “Don’t overthink, don’t make some big crazy deal or anything like that. We’re going to play a basketball game. It’s a big game and we’ve won on their floor before and we know what type of mentality we had when we did that. We’ve got to go out there, be tough, be physical, be sharp in our scouting report, play for each other, play with each other on both ends and just put the pressure on them. “Make them earn everything on their offensive end and then when we get the ball, make sure that we get shots up,” Lillard continued with his simple but extremely detailed breakdown of what needs to be done. “Value every possession, don’t go out there turning the ball over, playing into their hands where they get an opportunity to get their crowd involved. So that has to be our mentality, to just be sharp, be physical, go in there ready to take the game, because the only way it’s going to happen is us going in there and taking it.” It’s a Game 7, after all, no extra drama needed. Sekou Smith is a veteran NBA reporter and NBA TV analyst. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 12th, 2019

Bottas takes pole at Spanish GP ahead of Hamilton

By Joseph Wilson, Associated Press MONTMELO, Spain (AP) — Valtteri Bottas is poised to become a major threat to teammate and defending Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton after clocking a scorching lap at the Spanish Grand Prix to take his third consecutive pole position on Saturday. Bottas smashed Hamilton's track record at the Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit in qualifying, finishing the 4.6-kilometer (2.5-mile) track in 1 minute, 15.406 seconds to better Hamilton's mark from 2018. More importantly for Bottas' hopes in Sunday's race was the gap of more than half a second over Hamilton's best effort. With Hamilton second on the grid, Mercedes is in great position to extend its record start after the pair swept the top two spots at the first four races. Bottas, who failed to win a race last season, leads Hamilton by one point in the standings after they have alternated places in their run of one-two finishes. "I really enjoyed that adrenaline rush from those laps," Bottas said. "It started well, this season. Just the way I hoped for. I am feeling better and better in the car." Hamilton praised his teammate, who after two years as a second fiddle has emerged as the No. 1 challenger to stopping him from winning a sixth world title. "Valtteri did a fantastic job. He has been quick all weekend," said Hamilton, who took pole in Spain in the previous three years. "I just didn't do the job on my side." Hamilton was quick to add he hoped to celebrate another Mercedes team victory on Sunday, but with him on top. "I'll be giving it everything. Great for the team to have a one-two. If I can reverse it (in the race) I'll be happy." Hamilton will look to turn the tables on Bottas in a race that he has won three times, including the last two years. But Hamilton is getting accustomed to seeing the back of Bottas' car. Bottas won the last race in Azerbaijan from pole position. He was fastest in practice on Friday, and the Finn showed no jitters in qualifying after spinning into gravel in the final practice. Bottas shouted an emphatic "Yes!" over the car radio when he knew the top spot was his after Hamilton came up short on his last run, with some gravel strewn on the course possibly slowing him down. Bottas and Hamilton both said that the 66-lap race could be decided in the opening meters. "The start and Turn 1 will be particularly important," Bottas said. "Tomorrow, Lewis and I both want to win, so I'm looking forward to a hard and fair fight." Hamilton said: "My starts have been decent so far this year, so hopefully that will continue on Sunday as it's not that easy to overtake on this track." Sebastian Vettel in his Ferrari will start from third, just in front of Red Bull's Max Verstappen. Ferrari's other driver, Charles Leclerc, will start from fifth. Vettel has yet to top qualifying, and it is clear Ferrari has made up no ground despite bringing a new engine to Spain. Vettel is 35 points behind Bottas in third place. "The car doesn't feel bad, but the car is not quick enough," Vettel said. "We are struggling a little bit to bring it together." Pierre Gasly had the sixth best time in his Red Bull, ahead of Haas pair Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen. Nico Hulkenberg was the only driver to go off the track in an otherwise clean qualifying session. The German ran into the barrier and bent one side of his front wing under his Renault. After hasty repairs, Hulkenberg could not make it out of the first qualifying section, which culls the slowest five drivers. Renault partner Daniel Ricciardo finished qualifying 10th but will have to serve a three-place grid penalty that he carried over for causing an accident with Daniil Kvyat in Azerbaijan. Williams' woes deepened after George Russell lost control during practice before qualifying. Damage from the rear-end impact into the wall required a gearbox change, which incurred a five-place grid penalty. Russell and teammate Robert Kubica were again at the bottom of qualifying with the slowest cars......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 12th, 2019

BLOGTABLE: What s most impressive about Bucks?

NBA.com blogtable What impresses you most about Milwaukee’s 8-1 postseason record? * * * Steve Aschburner: The Bucks’ depth. Everyone knows who Giannis Antetokounmpo is. But not everyone notices how frequently this team adds to its leads when Antetokounmpo is on the bench, at least in these playoffs. During the regular season, Milwaukee was 9.7 points better, per 100 possessions, when "The Greek Freak" was on the floor. During this postseason? The Bucks are 10.3 points better when Antetokounmpo sits down. Now, those playoff on/off numbers are 11.4 vs. 21.7, so it’s hard to go wrong either way. Small sample size, but it indicates how well the reserves are playing, how much coach Mike Budenholzer and GM Jon Horst have cultivated this bench and how effectively these guys play in whatever combination they need. [Watch the Playoffs on NBA League Pass for 30% less with this limited time offer! Select Annual package and use code SAVE30 at checkout to redeem] John Schuhmann: Giannis Antetokounmpo can't not be the most impressive thing about the Bucks, but the most noteworthy aspect of Milwaukee's postseason thus far is the play of their bench. While other teams have been forced to shorten their rotations because some reserves have been disappointing (or downright unplayable) in the playoffs, the Bucks have had some reserves play better than they did in the regular season. George Hill's regular season's contributions were rather minimal, but he was huge in the conference semis, averaging 15.5 points on 62 percent shooting over the Bucks' four wins. Pat Connaughton, meanwhile, has given them some important rebounding and floor spacing. And the Bucks have outscored their opponents by more than 21 points per 100 possessions with Hill and Connaughton on the floor together. Now, they've added more depth with the return of Malcolm Brogdon. Sekou Smith: The most impressive thing about the Bucks' 8-1 postseason run is that, save for Game 1 against the Boston Celtics, they treated each and every other game the same way. They didn't show the Celtics any more respect than they did the Detroit Pistons in that first round sweep. That's the mark of a champion, a team willing to disregard the opposition completely in its quest to win 16 games and bring home a Larry O'Brien Trophy. Like most everyone else, I needed to see if what the Bucks did during the regular season would translate to the postseason. And the overmatched Pistons couldn't provide the evidence needed in the first round. Punishing the Celtics the way they did, though, speaks to me in a completely different manner......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 10th, 2019

Che’lu shuts down AMA in PBA D-League

CHE'LU Bar and Grill hammered AMA Online Education en route to the 115-77 win Thursday in the 2019 PBA D-League at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig. The Revellers' balanced attack improved their record to 5-3 in the Aspirants Group, while also eliminating the Titans, carrying a 2-5 card, in the process. Che'Lu kickstarted the game with a 10-0 spurt which set the tone for the mugging that was about to happen as the Revellers held a lead as much as 44 late. Stephen Siruma led the five Revellers who got to double-digits with his 13 points and five assists. JayR Taganas added a double-double with his 12 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists, while Rey Suerte, Mark Bringas, and Jhaps Bautista all scored 11. "Yun din ang gusto namin sa team, fighting team. Hindi man kami kasing beterano nung last season, we still need our players to play their role," said coach Stevenson Tiu. Joshua Munzon paced the Titans in the losing effort with 26 points, four rebounds, and two assists.   The Scores: CHE'LU 115 -- Siruma 13, Taganas 12, Suerte 11, Bautista 11, Bringas 11, Batino 9, Collado 9, Viernes 8, P. Manalang 8, Ng 7, Gabo 5, Dagangon 5, Dumapig 4, Chua 2. AMA 77 -- Munzon 26, Parcero 11, Rike 8, Estibar 7, Jocson 7, Asuncion 6, Paras 4, Dela Rosa 4, Alina 2, Alao 2, Catequista 0, Sabile 0. Quarters: 31-13, 62-31, 95-62, 115-77......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 9th, 2019