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ONE Championship: Heading into cage return, Geje Eustaquio’s focus is on getting better

Former ONE Flyweight World Champion Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio has a great opportunity to get back on track this coming Friday, May 17th at ONE: Enter The Dragon in Singapore.   In his first match since dropping the title to Adriano Moraes in Manila back in September, the former flyweight king makes his return against South Korean Kyu Sung Kim.   And while Eustaquio’s journey back to the title could begin with a win against Kim, the Team Lakay star says that his only focus is on getting better.   “For now, ang nasa isip ko is to get better and better, and of course to implement yung gameplan na ginawa namin ni Coach Mark [Sangiao] and the rest of the team sa upcoming May 17,” Eustaquio told ABS-CBN Sports. “Yun lang muna ang nasa attention ko as of now.”   [RELATED: Geje Eustaquio hungry and motivated in comeback, says head coach]   Against the taller and younger Kim, Eustaquio faces a competitor who is a proven finisher, with seven of his nine wins coming via stoppage, five coming via KO or TKO.   Eustaquio, a gifted striker in his own right, welcomes the challenge that the South Korean possesses.   “Based sa mga nakita namin na competition niya, he’s more of a striker, most of his wins are via punches, so sa tingin ko it’s going to be a good fight.”   And while he’s more than willing to stand and trade with Kyu, Eustaquio isn’t afraid to take whatever opportunities that fight may present.   “Sa akin, I believe we have the best, world class striking in Team Lakay, we can do that, but of course, this is mixed martial arts, if you have the opportunity, you have to take it.” Eustaquio stated. “Sometimes, you have to focus on the game plan, but if you have the opportunity, why not take it? Capitalize on the opportunity and take the chance.”   Former ONE Flyweight World Champion Geje "Gravity" Eustaquio, who will be fighting on May 17th at ONE #EnterTheDragon in Singapore, sparring with Brave CF bantamweight Jeremy Pacatiw | @abscbnsports pic.twitter.com/RybPltvsuj — Santino Honasan???? (@honasantino) May 11, 2019   For the past few years, Eustaquio has enjoyed seeing his name on the marquee of ONE Championship cards, headlining his last four events all over Asia.   This time around, the 30-year old finds himself on the middle of the card, but maintains that this isn’t much of an issue to him.   After all, he’s been here before, he says.   “Sa akin, actually it doesn’t matter. It’s just another day in the office. I’ve been there for many times, it’s just another day in the office.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 15th, 2019

ONE Championship: Eduard Folayang chases gold in Singapore

Five long years of waiting and working will come to a head for Filipino mixed martial arts star and Team Lakay member Eduard 'The Landslide' Folayang as he challenges reigning and defending ONE lightweight champion Shinya 'The Tobikan Judan' Aoki at ONE.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 11th, 2016

Team Lakay's April Osenio won her biggest fight so far while also battling illness

Team Lakay standout and ONE Championship women's flyweight April Osenio scored arguably the biggest win in her young career back in September after choking out Asian women's mixed martial arts pioneer Ann Osman in her own backyard in Malaysia. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 27th, 2016

Eduard Folayang "80-percent ready", says coach Mark Sangiao

With around three weeks to go before Filipino mixed martial arts star and Team Lakay standout Eduard Folayang challenges Shinya Aoki for the ONE Championship lightweight belt, Folayang's head coach says that he's 80-percent ready for what could be the b.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 25th, 2016

Pinoy strawweight Joshua Pacio goes for gold in Yangon

20-year old Team Lakay star and Filipino strawweight Joshua Pacio sets his sights on becoming the youngest Filipino mixed-martial arts world champion when he challenges reigning ONE Championship strawweight champion Yoshitaka 'Nobita' Naito in the main .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 7th, 2016

PH’s Kelly collides against veteran Latoel in ONE Jakarta

Team Lakay mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Edward “The Ferocious” Kelly will battle Dutch-Indonesian veteran Vincent Latoel in ONE: Titles and Titans today at the Jakarta Convention Center in Jakarta, Indonesia. Fighting out of Baguio City, K.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilatimes_netRelated NewsAug 26th, 2016

Chile amateur goes from no big victories to Masters

DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf Writer   HONOLULU (AP) — Toto Gana hit what he described as the 'best shot I've hit in my whole life,' a wedge to 3 feet for a birdie to win the Latin America Amateur Championship and earn a trip to the Masters in April. His best shot produced his biggest trophy. Asked what his greatest achievement in golf was before his victory in Panama, the 19-year-old from Chile said: 'I didn't have any achievements, to be honest. I had won a couple of tournaments at home when I was really, really young.' The Latin America Amateur completed its third year, a stroke-play tournament created by Augusta National, the USGA and the Royal & Ancient to spur growth in that part of the world. It follows the successful launch of the Asia Pacific Amateur. The Asia Pacific Amateur is producing a higher pedigree of champions — Hideki Matsuyama won twice, and the winner last year was Curtis Luck, the reigning U.S. Amateur champion. The last two Latin America winners were surprises — Gana and 16-year-old Paul Chaplet of Costa Rica last year. The other winner was Matias Dominguez of Chile, who was a junior at Texas Tech. Gana said the only hard part about his victory was beating Joaquin Niemann of Chile, one of his best friends who won the Junior World in 2015 at Torrey Pines. 'I really never thought I could win this tournament because all the other players have won many other tournaments, very big tournaments,' Gana said in a conference call after his victory Sunday. 'What I did was keep a cool head. When I saw that I had a chance to win, I believed in myself that I could do. And I gave it my all.' Chile will have a player represented at Augusta National for the second time in three years. The only other Chilean player at the Masters was Enrique Orellana, who missed the cut in 1964. Gana has flair, and he showed how much passion he has for golf when explaining how he got started. 'When I was a little boy, 8 years old, my stepfather taught me to play golf on the practice range,' he said. 'When I shot a really nice shot, I never quit.' Gana will be enrolling at Lynn University in Florida. ___ BLOOMING START: Justin Rose played the Sony Open as part of the new 'strength of field' regulation on the PGA Tour that requires players who played fewer than 25 events last year to add a tournament they had not played in four years. Rose was so excited about this year that he might have started earlier if he would have been eligible. He failed to win a PGA Tour event for the first time since 2009. But in a year slowed by injury, Rose geared himself for golf's return to the Olympics and won the gold medal in Rio. That was worth an exemption into the four majors (Rose already is eligible for them), but the PGA Tour did not offer a spot in SBS Tournament of Champions. 'I didn't inquire,' Rose said about Kapalua. 'But in my mind, I was surprised that it didn't count in a way, just because, why wouldn't it? It's a one-off thing.' He thought maybe the tour would only give a spot to Kapalua if the gold medalist was already a PGA Tour member, much like it treated the HSBC Champions early on in its World Golf Championships history. Rose chuckled, however, when he realized his history in Hawaii. 'It's funny enough, I don't have the right to say I should have been at Kapalua,' he said. 'Because I've won six years in a row and I've only been once.' A birdie on the final hole at the Sony Open gave him second place alone, which was worth $648,000. ___ PLAYING TO HIS STRENGTH: Jason Dufner is the defending champion at the CareerBuilder Challenger, where he won last year for the first time since the 2013 PGA Championship at Oak Hill. What changed? Very little. He attributed the drought to a neck and shoulder injury that he suffered at the 2014 Masters. Dufner tried to play through it all year until he was forced to pull out of his title defense in the PGA Championship at Valhalla, which kept him off the Ryder Cup team. Playing with the injury led to bad habits with his swing, which led to bad shots, too many memories of bad shots and eventually shattered confidence. 'People don't realize, once you start playing, you have to redo everything,' Dufner said. 'You see it with a lot of guys coming back. It takes them 6, 8, 12 months. I spent 2015 trying to get back to where I was.' Where he wants to be is one of the top ball-strikers in the game. As for putting? He manages. Dufner has finished no higher than No. 143 in the key putting statistic over the last four years, and while he has to pay attention to his setup, it's not as though he's going to abandon what got him here (his swing) to pour everything into becoming Jordan Spieth. 'I've been putting bad for 17 years,' he said. 'It's tough to change. I can hit it good enough to make up for it. I'll wait for my weeks where I putt good and try to win.' ___ THE RACE TO MEXICO: Mackenzie Hughes won the RSM Classic, and his first thought was going to the Masters. Now that it's beginning to sink, the Canadian rookie has reason to consider other tournaments that were not on his schedule at the start of the season. First up is the World Golf Championship in Mexico. The top 10 in the FedEx Cup standings through the Honda Classic are eligible for the Mexico Championship, and there are only six tournaments between now and then. That's also true for Pat Perez, who tied for third at Kapalua and is No. 3 in the FedEx Cup. Rod Pampling is at No. 6. The other World Golf Championships event in March is based off the world ranking, so those three players have much more to do for them to get into the top 64. One player who might have secured his spot was Kevin Kisner, who shot 60 in the third round of the Sony Open and wound up in a tie for fourth. That took Kisner from No. 51 to No. 41, making it difficult to fall that far in two months. ___ DIVOTS: Justin Thomas moving to No. 8 in the world means that six of the top 10 players are under 30. ... The Golf Writers Association of America has voted former PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem for the William D. Richardson Award for outstanding contributions to golf. For the GWAA's award for press cooperation, it was a tie between Ben Crenshaw and Stewart Cink. They will be honored at the GWAA annual awards dinner on April 5 in Augusta. ... The three courses used for the CareerBuilder Challenge — PGA West Stadium Course, PGA West Nicklaus and La Quinta — ranked among the top 10 in easiest courses on the PGA Tour last year. ... The fourth Latin America Amateur Championship will be played at Prince of Wales Country Club next year in Santiago, Chile. ... The European Tour now has eight events in its Rolex Series with China-based HNA Group signing a five-year deal to be title sponsor of the French Open. That will raise the purse to $7 million in line with other Rolex Series events. ___ STAT OF THE WEEK: Justin Thomas hit 34 drives that went at least 330 yards during his two weeks in Hawaii — 20 on the Plantation Course at Kapalua, 14 at Waialae Country Club. ___ FINAL WORD: 'If there's no defense, then you ought to be able to make birdies. If there's wind, you ought to be struggling.' — Kevin Kisner. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 18th, 2017

Despite doping scandals, Russia could bid for 2028 Olympics

div>MOSCOW (AP) — Still mired in a doping scandal and with a track team banned from international competition, the president of the Russian Olympic Committee said his country may put forth a bid to host the 2028 Games. /div> div>  /div> div>Alexander Zhukov said Friday that Russia is considering three cities as candidates for a 2028 bid, even as it battles accusations of a mass doping cover-up at the Sochi Olympics three years ago. /div> div>  /div> div>'It's hard to say now, but why not? I think it's completely possible to try,' Zhukov told state news agency RIA Novosti. 'It's not just St. Petersburg, we also have Kazan which is a possibility. It's also possible in Sochi.' /div> div>  /div> div>Bidding for the 2024 Games is still under way, with a vote in September set to choose between Los Angeles, Paris and Budapest. The 2028 host is expected to be decided in 2021. /div> div>  /div> div>Russia hosted the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, spending about $51 billion on the games, but is under intense pressure following accusations of a massive doping cover-up at the games. World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren has said there is evidence that doping test samples given by 12 Russian medal winners at the games were tampered with. /div> div>  /div> div>The doping scandals also heavily depleted Russia's team for last year's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Evidence of widespread doping meant the entire Russian weightlifting team was banned and only one of the 68-strong track and field team was allowed to compete. /div> div>  /div> div>Following McLaren's report last month, a group of 19 national anti-doping agencies on Tuesday called for Russian teams to be banned from all international sports competitions and for the country to be stripped of hosting major events, including the 2018 World Cup. National anti-doping agencies, however, do not have the powers to impose such sanctions. /div> div>  /div> div>Zhukov said the anti-doping agencies were 'creating a certain backdrop, putting pressure on the federations.' /div>.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 14th, 2017

FIFA to expand World Cup to 48 teams in 2026

GRAHAM DUNBAR, AP Sports Writer br /> ZURICH (AP) — FIFA will expand the World Cup to 48 teams, adding 16 extra nations to the 2026 tournament which is likely to be held in North America. President Gianni Infantino's favored plan — for 16 three-team groups with the top two advancing to a round of 32 — was unanimously approved Tuesday by the FIFA Council. It meets Infantino's election pledge of a bigger World Cup, and should help fund promised raises for FIFA's 211 member federations. With 80 matches instead of 64, FIFA forecasts the equivalent of $1 billion extra income at current rates from broadcasting and sponsor deals, plus ticket sales, compared to $5.5 billion revenue forecast for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. FIFA projects an increased profit of $640 million despite some extra operating costs and prize money for teams. FIFA's six continents should find out by May how many extra places they will each get. UEFA wants 16 European teams at the tournament, which is strongly favored to be played in North America. The CONCACAF region has not hosted the World Cup since the 1994 tournament in the United States. American, Canadian and Mexican soccer leaders have had informal talks about a co-hosting bid. Africa and Asia could be winners in a bigger World Cup with up to nine places each. They had only five and four teams, respectively, at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Still, FIFA said it expects the standard of soccer to drop compared to the 32-team format locked in for the next two World Cups in Russia and Qatar. The 'absolute quality' of play, defined by high-ranked teams facing each other most often, is achieved by 32 teams, FIFA acknowledged in a research document sent to members last month. It made 10,000 tournament simulations to reach that conclusion. Instead, Infantino wants to create fervor and months of anticipation back home in the 16 extra nations which would qualify, some probably making their World Cup debut. FIFA has pointed to Costa Rica, Wales and Iceland as examples of teams which overachieved at recent tournaments. FIFA must break with soccer tradition to make its new format work after an original 48-team plan — with an opening playoff round sending 16 'one-and-done' teams home early — was unpopular. Instead, three-team groups will replace the usual groups of four to create simple progress to a knockout bracket. However, it leaves one team idle for final group games and could risk collusion between the other two teams. FIFA said it could guard against result-rigging by introducing penalty shootouts after group games that end in draws. Despite the 16 extra games, FIFA believes the current maximum of stadiums needed will stay at the 12 used by Brazil and Russia. However, the demand for more training bases and hotels means developed countries would be better equipped to win future hosting contests. North America is the strong favorite for 2026 because European and Asian countries are blocked by a FIFA rule excluding continents which hosted either of the two previous tournaments. Russia will host the World Cup next year and Qatar in 2022. South America has been focused on a centenary tournament including original 1930 host Uruguay, and African nations are seen as lacking existing capacity and unlikely to fund multi-billion dollar infrastructure spending. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 10th, 2017

Cristiano Ronaldo wins FIFA best player award for 4th time

GRAHAM DUNBAR, AP Sports Writer br /> ZURICH (AP) — Capping what he called the best year of his career, Cristiano Ronaldo won his fourth FIFA best player award on Monday. The double European champion with Portugal and Real Madrid beat great rival Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann to complete a sweep of top individual awards. 'It was a year that was magnificent at a personal level and at a sporting level,' the 31-year-old Ronaldo said in Portuguese in his acceptance speech, which he began by exclaiming 'Wow, wow, wow.' Ronaldo's fourth career FIFA award closed the gap on five-time winner Messi, who has been the runner-up to each Ronaldo victory. His 34.54 percent of total voting points in a 23-candidate ballot was clearly better than Messi's 26.42 percent. Griezmann got 7.53 percent. Voting was by national team captains and coaches, selected media, and fans online. Messi did not attend after being pulled out hours before the ceremony by his club Barcelona to prepare for a cup match on Wednesday. 'Of course, I wish that they (Barcelona players) had been here tonight like in the other years. We have to respect the decision,' Ronaldo said. Yet again, Ronaldo and Messi snubbed each other on ballot papers they got as captains of Portugal and Argentina. Ronaldo selected three Real Madrid teammates headed by Gareth Bale, and Messi picked Luis Suarez atop an all-Barcelona ballot. Ronaldo's 2016 trophy haul included the European Championship, Champions League, and Club World Cup, plus individual best player awards from UEFA and France Football magazine. 'I won a lot trophies, collective and individual, so I am proud,' said Ronaldo, adding he would send the inaugural silver FIFA Best trophy to the museum dedicated to his career on his home island, Madeira. Messi's Barcelona won the Spanish league and cup double in 2016, though Argentina lost another Copa America final. Griezmann's France and Atletico Madrid lost their finals to Ronaldo's teams. Ronaldo's mentors for club and country were beaten to the coaching award by Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri, who earned the prize for a stunning English Premier League title. 'What happened last year was something strange. The God of football said Leicester must win,' said Ranieri, who was in his first season at the unfashionable provincial club widely tipped for relegation. Ranieri rose from his seat and politely shook hands with his two opponents, Madrid's Zinedine Zidane and Portugal's Fernando Santos, plus their partners before heading to the stage. The 65-year-old Italian collected his trophy from Diego Maradona, who earlier Monday played in an exhibition match with other retired greats at FIFA headquarters. Carli Lloyd of the United States won a FIFA player prize for the second straight year, despite a quarterfinals exit at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. With gold-medal winner Melanie Behringer of Germany in third place, Lloyd got more than 20 percent of the vote and five-time winner Marta of Brazil was runner-up with 16.6 percent. Behringer got 12.34 percent. 'I honestly was not expecting this,' Lloyd said. 'I know Melanie did fantastic in the Olympics.' Germany did win the women's coaching prize as Silvia Neid earned her second FIFA prize, after also winning the 2010 award. Neid beat two previous winners: last year's winner, Jill Ellis of the United States, and Pia Sundhage of Sweden, the Olympic silver medalist. The Puskas Award for best goal was won in an online poll by Mohd Faiz Subri, who scored with a wildly swerving long-range free kick for Malaysian club Penang. A players' vote organized by international union FIFPro gave a World XI of: Manuel Neuer (Germany, Bayern Munich); Dani Alves (Brazil, Barcelona/Juventus), Sergio Ramos (Spain, Real Madrid), Gerard Pique (Spain, Barcelona), Marcelo (Brazil, Real Madrid); Toni Kroos (Germany, Real Madrid), Andres Iniesta (Spain, Barcelona), Luka Modric (Croatia, Real Madrid); Messi, Luis Suarez (Uruguay, Barcelona), Ronaldo. The First FIFA fan award was chosen by fans and was made to supporters of Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund, who joined in singing the English club's anthem 'You'll Never Walk Alone' before a Europa League quarterfinal. The other nominees were Iceland fans at Euro 2016, and Dutch club ADO Den Haag, whose fans brought soft toys to children supporting rival team Feyenoord. FIFA made its Fair Play Award to Atletico Nacional, the Colombian club which was scheduled to host Chapecoense in the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana final on Nov. 30. After most of the Brazilian team died in a plane crash flying to the match, Atletico Nacional asked the South American soccer confederation to present the title and trophy to Chapecoense. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 10th, 2017

US forward Carli Lloyd wins 2nd FIFA best player award

ZURICH (AP) — Carli Lloyd of the United States won her second FIFA's best woman player award, even if an Olympic gold medal eluded her. Lloyd seemed surprised to retain the prize she first won after an outstanding 2015 Women's World Cup on the title-winning U.S. side. Still, Melanie Behringer of the Germany team that won the Olympic title in Rio de Janeiro, placed third in the voting totals, and five-time winner Marta of Brazil was runner-up. 'I honestly was not expecting this,' Lloyd, who captained the U.S. team that exited in the Olympics quarterfinals, said in her acceptance speech. 'I know Melanie did fantastic in the Olympics. (She and Marta are) both so deserving of this award,' the Houston Dash forward said. Lloyd tallied 20.68 percent of the voting points, Marta got 16.60 percent and Melanie Behringer, who retired from national team duty after the Olympics, got 12.34 percent. Behringer acknowledged she was 'disappointed' but declined to criticize the result. Lloyd said she was 'incredibly honored' to have won the support of her peers in a poll by national team captains and coaches, selected media and fans voting online. Germany did win the women's coaching awards as Silvia Neid earned her second FIFA prize. She also won the 2010 award. Neid beat two previous winners: Last year's winner, Jill Ellis of the United States, was runner-up edging former U.S. coach Pia Sundhage, who guided Sweden to the Olympic silver medal. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 10th, 2017

FIFA set to approve bigger, richer World Cup on Tuesday

GRAHAM DUNBAR, AP Sports Writer   FIFA is set to make the World Cup bigger and richer, even if the price to pay is lower quality soccer. FIFA President Gianni Infantino hopes his ruling Council will agree Tuesday to expand the 2026 World Cup to 48 nations, playing in 16 groups of three teams. A decision could be delayed if some Council members demand to know exactly how many qualifying places each continent will get before agreeing to scrap the 32-team format. It has been successful, popular and profitable since 1998 and is locked in for the next two World Cups in Russia and Qatar. The prize of 16 extra places, and the biggest increases to Africa and Asia, has 'overwhelming' support from FIFA's 211 member federations, Infantino has said. Their promise of extra funding from Zurich could also be secured by FIFA's forecast 20 percent rise in rights fees paid by broadcasters and sponsors. 'Financially, the 48-team format is the most appealing or successful simply because the sporting element is prevailing and every match is important,' Infantino said two weeks ago. 'The decision should not be financially driven, neither in terms of revenue or costs ... but the driver should really be the development of football and boosting football all over the world.' World Cup champion Germany is not in favor. It argued that diluting the number of European and South American teams — which won all 20 titles since 1930 — could 'strengthen the imbalance' seen at some tournaments. 'The (German soccer federation) fundamentally believe that the current 32-team format is the best option,' its president Reinhard Grindel said last week. Germany has no delegate at Tuesday's meeting though Grindel is set to join the FIFA Council in May. FIFA acknowledged the risk of lower standards in a research document sent to members last month, as first reported by The Associated Press. The 'absolute quality' of soccer, defined by high-ranked teams playing each other most often, is achieved by 32 teams, FIFA said, citing 10,000 tournament simulations made to reach that conclusion. Still, Infantino promised voters more World Cup places and funding raises before his election last February. FIFA expects $5.5 billion income tied to the 2018 World Cup in Russia, though 25 of 34 sponsorship slots are unsold. The research document predicted the equivalent of $6.5 billion revenue from a 48-team tournament in the '16x3' format, which would send two teams from each group to a new Round of 32 knockout bracket. All 80 matches would play in an exclusive time slot. Currently, 64 World Cup matches have 56 broadcast slots because the eight four-team groups play their last matches simultaneously. FIFA predicts organizing costs for '16x3' rising from $2 billion to $2.3 billion, giving a potential profit rise of $640 million. Though a '16x3' World Cup would still need a maximum of 12 stadiums, the demand for 16 more top-quality training camps and hotels suggests FIFA would look for 2026 hosts with existing capacity. A North American bid from two or three of the United States, Canada and Mexico is currently favored in a contest that could start within weeks. Five options are open Tuesday, including staying with 32 teams. Infantino campaigned last year on a 40-team promise, in either eight groups of five teams or 10 groups of four teams. Neither impressed voters in recent regional meetings of FIFA member federations. When the FIFA leader first proposed 48 teams, it included an opening playoff round. The 16 winners would join 16 seeded teams in a traditional 32-team group stage. FIFA members disliked 'one-and-done' teams going home before the 'real' World Cup kicks off. It would also stretch to a 39-day event with more short-notice travel for fans. Africa and Asia could be the big winners, and FIFA hopes new teams would include another Iceland, Wales and Costa Rica — over-achieving teams and feelgood stories at recent tournaments. Still, hapless Tahiti was outclassed at the 2013 Confederations Cup, conceding 24 goals in three games. 'The goal of expanding the FIFA World Cup,' it has told members, 'is to further advance the vision to promote the game of football, protect its integrity and bring the game to all.' ___ Entry quotas for 2018 World Cup: Europe 14 (including host Russia to qualify direct); Africa 5; Asia and South America 4.5 each; North, Central America and Caribbean 3.5; Oceania 0.5. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 9th, 2017

A guide to FIFA's options for expanding the 2026 World Cup

GRAHAM DUNBAR, AP Sports Writer   FIFA is preparing to decide Tuesday on adding 16 more teams to the 2026 World Cup for a 48-team tournament. President Gianni Infantino's favored format would break with soccer tradition to play in groups of only three teams. Two would advance from each group to a Round of 32 knockout bracket. If agreed by the Infantino-chaired FIFA Council in Zurich, the 2026 hosting contest could formally open in weeks. A co-hosted North American bid is widely seen as the best option. Here are some things to know about overhauling the greatest competition in the world's most popular sport: ___ WHY EXPAND? A bigger World Cup was an Infantino campaign promise before his election last February, when his plan was 40 teams. It might have been key. Infantino's momentum for victory in a second-round poll was a three-vote lead over Sheik Salman of Bahrain in the first. Sheik Salman had promised only to review if more World Cup teams were wanted. Infantino also pledged to give more of FIFA's money to member federations — all 211 are now entitled to $5 million from each World Cup — and send more to continental and regional soccer bodies. So, more teams also had to mean more games, earning more revenue from broadcasters and sponsors. The '16x3' format arguably works better with only group winners advancing. But that would leave total matches unchanged at 64. Infantino also wants to create fervor in the extra countries which would qualify. In the short-term, competing national teams attract more sponsors. The long-term goal is appealing to more young people who are the future players, fans and officials. Expect to hear much FIFA talk of helping the next Costa Rica or Iceland — feelgood stories at the 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016 — by inviting 16 more teams to the party. ___ 48-TEAM OPTIONS A near-consensus is growing around the '16x3' option revealed just one month ago. All 80 games would be played in exclusive time slots. That's more hours of TV exposure for sponsors and sales time for broadcasters in the same 32-day tournament period. By advancing two teams from each group, a Round of 32 ensures most teams still play at least three matches. FIFA's own analysis predicts this format will raise revenue by 20 percent from the equivalent $5.5 billion forecast from the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The flaw for purists is planning for penalty shootouts to settle drawn group matches. If each game has a 'winner' that guards against teams colluding on a mutually favorable result in the last group games. Previously, Infantino suggested an opening playoff round of 16 matches to decide who would join 16 seeded teams in a traditional 32-team group phase. That was unacceptable to many FIFA members federations who said 'one-and-done' teams were not part of a real World Cup. It also would stretch the tournament to 39 days. ___ 40-TEAM OPTIONS Infantino's plan from one year ago is now almost friendless. Either of two options, 10 groups of four teams or eight five-team groups, gives lopsided or weak match schedules, FIFA judged. In '10x4,' only 76 matches are played and only six group runners-up advance from a muddled tiebreaker process to a Round of 16. In '8x5,' the 88 matches include meaningless ones in a flabby group phase ripe for collusion. Also, the four semifinalists would play eight matches and that workload is unacceptable to European clubs releasing employees to national-team duty. ___ PROVEN 32-TEAM FORMAT Why fix something that is not broken? Germany, the defending champion, has publicly asked this question. The 32-team format and perfect 64-match bracket has worked well since being introduced at the 1998 World Cup in France (where Europe had 15 teams). FIFA acknowledged that it produces the best soccer — 'the highest absolute quality' of games pitting high-ranked teams against each other. Recall that former winners Italy, England and Uruguay were drawn in the same 2014 World Cup group — and yet Costa Rica finished top. Still, enough of FIFA's 211 members want change and their chance to play. ___ WHO WILL PLAY? A big question is likely not being resolved Tuesday. FIFA has yet to announce exactly how many entry slots each of six confederations would get for their own qualifying program. Quotas for a 40-team World Cup were proposed in December 2015 by a FIFA advisory group that included Infantino, then UEFA's general secretary. Some saw a cynical move to sweeten skeptical FIFA voters who were being asked to vote through modernizing and anti-corruption reforms on the same day they picked a new president. Then, assuming a single host nation would get automatic entry, the proposal for sharing 39 qualifying slots was: Europe 14; Africa 7; Asia 6; South America 5; North, Central America and Caribbean 5; Oceania 1; plus a final slot awarded 'based on sporting merits using a method yet to be defined.' Going from 40 to 48 can add at least one more from each continent. Who could those new teams be? On current form, maybe Wales and Panama, Congo and Burkina Faso, Uzbekistan and Oman, will bring something new to the 2026 World Cup. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 9th, 2017

Rooney equals record as United beats Reading 4-0 in FA Cup

JUSTIN PALMER, Associated Press br /> LONDON (AP) — Wayne Rooney stands one goal away from becoming Manchester United's outright record goal-scorer after equaling club great Bobby Charlton's mark of 249 on Saturday. With the 79-year-old Charlton watching from the stands, Rooney guided in Juan Mata's cross after seven minutes as the defending FA Cup champion swept aside second-tier Reading 4-0 in the third round. English Premier League teams Bournemouth, West Bromwich Albion and Stoke City all bowed out to lower-league opponents while Arsenal needed second-half goals from Aaron Ramsey and Oliver Giroud, the Frenchman netting late on, to wipe out Preston North End's halftime lead. Third-tier Millwall, Cup finalist in 2004, caused the biggest shock by thumping a much-changed Bournemouth 3-0, West Brom went down at home to Championship team Derby County 2-1, while Wolverhampton Wanderers, also from the second tier, ensured Stoke lost in the third round for the first time since 2009 by winning at Britannia Stadium 2-0. In all-Premier League matches, Ahmed Musa scored twice as Leicester fought back from a goal down to defeat Everton 2-1, while in the battle of the new managers, Marco Silva saw his Hull side get the better of Paul Clement's Swansea 2-0. Silva, appointed on Tuesday in place of the fired Mike Phelan, would have noted the large number of empty seats at Hull's KCOM Stadium with home fans staying away in protest against the club's owners. Non-league sides Sutton United and Lincoln City earned replays but there was no fairytale for the lowest-ranked team in the competition Stourbridge as it went down at Wycombe 2-1. ___ MANCHESTER UNITED 4, READING 0 Rooney's latest milestone — he is the record scorer for England — came in front of Old Trafford fans who have adored him, on and off, since he joined as a teenage prodigy from Everton in 2004. 'It is a really proud moment for me,' Rooney said. 'It was not something I could have imagined. You don't think that far ahead, but I have been at this club a long time, it is a huge part of my life, and it is an honor to be up there alongside Sir Bobby.' United manager Jose Mourinho, who won the FA Cup when in charge of Chelsea in 2007, was effusive in his praise of Rooney. 'A more special day will arrive,' he said. 'It was great but I want one more goal. He is an amazing guy in the group and we all want him to do that. To have Wayne as the top scorer in a club like this is magnificent for him.' The game will be not be so fondly remembered by former United defender Jaap Stam, whose Reading side he coaches was outclassed. Rooney set up Anthony Martial for 2-0 not long after he scored the opener. United, winning for the eighth consecutive game in all competitions, added two more in quick succession after the break through Marcus Rashford, his second coming after a mistake from goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi. PRESTON NORTH END 1, ARSENAL 2 Arsenal preserved manager Arsene Wenger's feat of never having lost a third-round match, but the Gunners did it the hard way. After their dramatic comeback from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 at Bournemouth in midweek, Arsenal started slow again as second-tier Preston fully deserved its halftime lead. But whatever words Wenger barked during the break, they had an immediate effect with Ramsey rifling in an equalizer 50 seconds after the restart. Arsenal, 11-times FA Cup winners, six of which have come under Wenger's long reign, dominated after that but had to wait until two minutes from time to seal victory through Giroud. EVERTON 1, LEICESTER 2 A turgid first half at Goodison Park was followed by an entertaining second as Leicester showed the mettle that made it English champion last season. It fell behind to Romelu Lukaku's goal on 53 minutes but Musa's equalizer was a rebound after he struck the post, and his second goal five minutes later was a fine finish after he played a one-two with Danny Drinkwater. WEST BROMWICH ALBION 1, DERBY COUNTY 2 Tom Ince, son of former England midfielder Paul Ince, struck a fine winner to upset top-flight West Brom. The hosts led through a Matt Phillips long-range strike but Derby hit back in the second half as Darren Bent levelled and Ince curled home a superb free kick. MILLWALL 3, BOURNEMOUTH 0 Bournemouth made 11 changes from its last game and suffered an embarrassing defeat against a side in ninth place in League One. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 7th, 2017

Ronaldo favored to win his 4th FIFA award as world's best

GRAHAM DUNBAR, AP Sports Writer br /> Cristiano Ronaldo's remarkable run of success can continue with a fourth FIFA award as the world's best player on Monday. A European champion with club and country last year, the Real Madrid and Portugal forward is favored to beat great rival Lionel Messi and France forward Antoine Griezmann when winners of the rebranded Best FIFA Football Awards are presented in Zurich. Messi leads Ronaldo 5-3 in their career-long duel for FIFA's top individual prize. However, Ronaldo is set to complete a hat-trick of major awards for 2016 after taking home trophies presented by UEFA and France Football magazine's prestiguous Golden Ball. FIFA will also name the best women's player, and the best coaches in men's and women's soccer. Voting is by national team captains and coaches, selected journalists and — for the first time — an online poll of fans. Each category counts for 25 percent of the points. Here is a look ahead to the awards ceremony: ___ CRISTIANO RONALDO After Messi in 2015, it was Ronaldo's turn to win the Champions League in 2016 as the prolific scorer netted 16 goals in the competition. He also got the decisive penalty in a shootout after a 1-1 draw with Griezmann's Atletico Madrid. But where he really dominated Messi was on the national-team stage. Ronaldo captained Portugal to a long-awaited first title at the European Championship — two weeks after Messi's Argentina again lost the Copa America final to Chile. Portugal seemed a long way from glory, and faced a humiliating group-stage exit, before Ronaldo's two goals helped salvage a 3-3 draw with Hungary. He also netted in the 2-0 semifinal win against Wales. In the final against host France, Ronaldo went off injured in the first half, then returned to the bench for extra time as — with his knee strapped — he passionately urged teammates on to a 1-0 win. For good measure, Ronaldo scored a Club World Cup final hat trick against Kashima Antlers in December, but that was after FIFA voting had closed. ___ LIONEL MESSI Messi looks to extend a streak of being winner or runner-up in nine straight seasons since placing second behind Kaka of Brazil in 2007. Last year, Messi and won a Spanish league and Cup double with Barcelona. Yet there was another painful Copa America final loss — a third straight year Argentina lost a major final without scoring — and a Champions League quarterfinal exit against Atletico. Nearing his 30th birthday, Messi's prolific scoring rate has not slowed, and 10 goals in the Champions League group stage means that Ronaldo's season record of 17 — set in 2013-14 — is within his sight this year. ___ ANTOINE GRIEZMANN Griezmann's goals helped get France and Atletico Madrid into major finals in 2016. In the Champions League final in Milan, Atletico trailed 1-0 to its city rival when Griezmann missed with a penalty kick that struck the crossbar. Still, he confidently converted his kick in the penalty shootout. Griezmann's six goals at Euro 2016 made him the tournament top scorer. In a tricky round of 16 match, his two goals overturned an early Ireland lead, and he also struck twice — including a coolly taken penalty — against favored Germany in the semifinals. However, he missed two good chances in the final against Portugal as France 1-0 in extra time. ___ COACHING AWARD Could the coach of a provincial club side beat the men who coached European champions Real Madrid and Portugal? Yes, when that coach is Italian Claudio Ranieri and his team, unheralded Leicester City, won an English Premier League title that delighted and stunned fans worldwide. Zinedine Zidane started 2016 having never coached a senior match. The newly appointed Madrid coach won a Champions League title within five months and started 2017 riding a 37-match unbeaten run. Fernando Santos marshalled one of the less obviously talented Portugal teams of recent years to win Euro 2016 despite winning only one of its seven matches during the 90 minutes. ___ WOMEN'S AWARDS Germany's Olympic gold medal-winning team is favored to sweep the awards. Midfielder Melanie Behringer is challenging two past FIFA award winners: defending champion Carli Lloyd of the United States and five-time winner Marta of Brazil. All three coaching candidates are previous FIFA award winners: Silvia Neid of Germany, last year's winner Jill Ellis of the United States and Pia Sundhage of Sweden. ___ FIFA AWARDS FIFA has added a Fan Award to its annual ceremony, and all three candidates from an online poll are European. Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund, whose fans sang You'll Never Walk Alone before a Europa League match at Anfield; Dutch club ADO Den Haag, whose fans brought soft toys to children supporting rival team Feyenoord; and the Iceland fans at Euro 2016 for their inspirational clapping salute to players after games. A fans' vote will also decide the Puskas Award for best goal. The candidates are: Marlone of Corinthians, Daniuska Rodriguez of the Venezuela women's Under-17 team, and Mohd Faiz Subri of Malaysian side Penang. FIFA will also present a Fair Play award, and members of the players' union FIFPro worldwide have voted to select a World XI team. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 7th, 2017

Chelsea gets 13th straight win, Liverpool maintains pursuit

ROB HARRIS, AP Global Soccer Writer br /> LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Chelsea fought off a dogged Stoke for a record-equaling 13th successive Premier League win as Liverpool maintained its pursuit of the leaders with a victory over Manchester City. Thanks to Saturday's 4-2 win, Chelsea will enter the second half of the season holding a six-point advantage over Liverpool in Antonio Conte's first season in charge of the London club. Juergen Klopp is also satisfied with Liverpool's progress as he looks to deliver the club's first title since 1990 by chasing down Chelsea over the next 19 games. 'Can you imagine how annoying it is when you have won 13 games in a row and another team is only six points behind,' Klopp said after Liverpool's 1-0 win over City. 'It is unbelievably difficult this league.' It was Pep Guardiola with little to celebrate on New Year's Eve as City slipped 10 points behind leader Chelsea. ___ CHELSEA 4, STOKE 2 Chelsea has emulated Arsenal's 2002 side by reeling off 13 wins in a row in the same season and it's thanks to Willian's double. Goals from Gary Cahill and Willian were canceled out by Stoke duo Bruno Martins Indi and Peter Crouch. When Willian put Chelsea in front for a third time in the 65th minute, Stoke could find no way back this time and Diego Costa added a fourth. 'When you win a lot there is a great danger to be satisfied, to be relaxed, to think, 'OK, but we won a lot in the past, now if arrive the draw, if we don't lose, if we don't win it's not important,'' Conte said. 'No. My players showed me great will, great will to fight, great will to win, great will to take this great achievement for us. I'm pleased for them and they deserved this. I'm their coach, but they deserved this.' ___ LIVERPOOL 1, MAN CITY 0 Georginio Wijnaldum's eighth-minute header secured Liverpool's fourth successive league win. Wijnaldum will take the plaudits for providing his second goal of the season, but Adam Lallana's contribution underscored how the midfielder is an essential ingredient in the title bid. It was Lallana's seventh assist of the season — he has also scored seven — that set up Wijnaldum. The Dutch midfielder climbed above City defender Aleksandar Kolarov to meet Lallana's well-placed cross from the left flank before planting a header beyond goalkeeper Claudio Bravo. 'It was kind of a wild game,' Klopp said. 'It was intense. It's not about having a philosophy, it's about adapting to the quality of the opponent and in this case we needed to defend from a compact formation.' ___ MAN UNITED 2, MIDDDLESBROUGH 1 Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba scored late goals in the 85th and 86th minutes to rescue a fifth successive win for Jose Mourinho's United. Grant Leadbitter had given Middlesbrough the lead but United gave the watching former manager Alex Ferguson the perfect 75th birthday gift. 'If the fans remember this not just for Sir Alex's birthday but for the kind of performance we had, I think it's a great tribute,' Mourinho said. United's in-house television channel received a shock after the game when nine-time Olympic Usain Bolt called in with his analysis. ___ LEICESTER 1, WEST HAM 0 Leicester moved six points clear of the relegation zone on Saturday after the struggling champions ended a three-game winless streak courtesy of Islam Slimani's header. Leicester moved up one spot to 15th. ___ SWANSEA 0, BOURNEMOUTH 3 Swansea's miserable form continued in the first game following Bob Bradley's firing. Benik Afobe and Ryan Fraser scored first-half goals and substitute Josh King completed a comfortable win for Bournemouth in the 88th minute. ___ SOUTHAMPTON 1, WEST BROM 2 In the final five minutes of the first half, Shane Long put Southampton ahead and Matt Phillips equalized. But Hal Robson-Kanu struck a second-half winner for West Bromwich Albion before Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk was sent off in the 88th for bringing down striker Salomon Rondon. ___ BURNLEY 4, SUNDERLAND 1 Burnley moved closer to mid-table safety powered by Andre Gray's hat trick against relegation-threatened Sunderland. ___ SUNDAY'S GAMES Fourth-placed Arsenal and fifth-placed Tottenham are both in action on New Year's Day. Tottenham is at Watford before Arsenal hosts Crystal Palace. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 1st, 2017

Kapuso stars big winners at 2016 FAMAS Awards

Several Kapuso stars brought pride and honor to GMA Network after being proclaimed as winners in this year’s Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences (FAMAS) Awards last Sunday at the Century Park Hotel in Manila......»»

Category: entertainmentSource:  thestandardRelated NewsDec 7th, 2016

Sangiao happy for 'brother' Folayang, but knows work doesn't stop with title win

div> span style="font-size: 13px;">If there's anyone that has seen the progression of Eduard Folayang as a mixed martial artist, it's Team Lakay head coach Mark Sangiao.  /span> /div> div>  /div> div>Once teammates with the Philippine na.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 12th, 2016

ONE Championship CEO calls Folayang vs. Aoki a 'superfight'

Friday night, arguably the best homegrown Filipino mixed martial artists finally gets a shot at world championship gold when Team Lakay's Eduard 'The Landslide' Folayang challenges Japanese champion Shinya 'The Tobikan Judan' Aoki for the ONE Championsh.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 9th, 2016

ONE champ Aoki sees experience as biggest advantage over Pinoy challenger Folayang

Reigning ONE lightweight kingpin Shinya Aoki will put his title on the line for the third time on November 11th, when he meets arguably the best homegrown mixed martial artist from the Philippines in Team Lakay standout Eduard 'The Landslide' Folayang.&.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 3rd, 2016