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Team Pacquiao happy as Manny goes hard in training

With less than two weeks to go before fight night, it looks like Manny Pacquiao is coming along nicely in training.  Tuesday afternoon in fact, the 39-year old former eight division boxing world champion went hard for sparring day, as he gets ready to challenge reigning WBA (Regular) Welterweight World Champion Lucas Matthysse at Fight of Champions in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia.  Pacquiao went for eight rounds of sparring Tuesday, five against Australian training partner George Kambosos Jr. and five against Pinoy Jheritz Chavez at the Wild Card Gym in Pacquiao's hometown of General Santos City.  Gloves up and helmets on !for @mannypacquiao ‘s sparring session 👍🏻#PacquaioxMatthysseKL pic.twitter.com/bAyOMBzIBz — DYAN CASTILLEJO (@DYANCASTILLEJO) July 3, 2018 @mannypacquiao unleashing more into the heavy bag right after sparring session. #PacquaioxMatthysseKL pic.twitter.com/aUI1d3fk25 — DYAN CASTILLEJO (@DYANCASTILLEJO) July 3, 2018 Pacquiao after 8 rds of sparring this afternoon . Strong 5 with aussie george kombosos and 3 with Pinoy jheritz chavez . Team Pac very happy #PacquaioxMatthysseKL pic.twitter.com/MJvsgDnkmR — DYAN CASTILLEJO (@DYANCASTILLEJO) July 3, 2018 After getting his reps inside the ring, Manny cooled down for a bit before hitting the bag and the speedball.  Pacquiao done from some rounds of sparring. pic.twitter.com/joi5qIiy1G — Karl Cedrick Basco (@cedrickkbasco) July 3, 2018 Pacman showing power of his punches during his training at Wild Card Gym here in GenSan. pic.twitter.com/2yywDTXqnm — Karl Cedrick Basco (@cedrickkbasco) July 3, 2018 WATCH: Manny Pacquiao during his training at Wild Card Gym in GenSan. pic.twitter.com/gVEY142PuV — Karl Cedrick Basco (@cedrickkbasco) July 3, 2018 Phone’s camera having trouble keeping up with @mannypacquiao ‘s speed 😅😂 #speedball #PacquaioxMatthysseKL pic.twitter.com/gMnXyHGtEH — DYAN CASTILLEJO (@DYANCASTILLEJO) July 3, 2018   Catch Fight of Champions: Pacquiao versus Matthysse at 10:00 AM on ABS-CBN channel 2! Replay at 7:00 PM on S+A channel 23. You can catch the whole card LIVE on SkyCable Pay-Per-View. CLICK HERE for more information!  .....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnJul 3rd, 2018

Pacquiao adds Nonito Donaire Sr. to team of trainers for Mathysse fight

Nonito Donaire Sr., father of multi-time boxing world champion Nonito 'The Filipino Flash' Donaire Jr. was tapped to lend his expertise and beef up Manny Pacquiao's think-tank in preparation for the Filipino's title bid against Lucas Matthysse on July 15 at the Axiata Arena in Malaysia. A week after opening training camp, Pacquiao added Donaire to help out in plotting tactical plans against Matthysse, the reigning WBA welterweight champion from Argentina. "Donaire will serve as one of the assistant coaches," said Pacquiao, who did two trial rounds with the mitts with the father of former world champion Nonito Donaire (Junior). It was Donaire Sr. who trained and honed his son, who later won multiple former world championships in three weight divisions. "So far, so good. I am happy with my current team," said Pacquiao, who took two days off on Saturday and Sunday to rest and relax, coming off a controversial loss last year in Australia against local brawler Jeff Horn. Pacquiao went scuba diving Sunday and was refreshed to do his road work the morning after. Pacquiao is trying to have an all-Filipino line-up in his bid to win his 11th world title against a formidable opponent who has knocked out 36 of his 39 wins or a whopping 92 percent ratio. Matthysse has only lost four times in his career. Long time friend and confidant Buboy Fernandez would still act as head coach along with assistant trainer Raides "Nonoy" Neri. Pacquiao is still about to name another team member soon, the person who will help him in his strength and conditioning. - RELEASE.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 8th, 2018

Pacquiao proves critics wrong; next fight still up in the air

KUALA Lumpur---His strength emanates from the Supreme Being but all his achievements are the fruits of hard work and dedication to his sport. A reflective, somber Manny Pacquiao on Monday said the formula to his success is not really a secret even as he declared he will defend his welterweight belt even after he turns 40 years old in December. "My next fight, I want to defend my belt," Pacquiao said. "If boxing is not my passion, I would not fight again." "It's like I'm addicted to boxing and I really love to fight and bring honor to my country." Pacquiao, his family and team arrived in General Santos City on Monday, a day after his seventh-round technical knockout victor...Keep on reading: Pacquiao proves critics wrong; next fight still up in the air.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated News1 hr. 24 min. ago

Manny Pacquiao beats Lucas Matthysse and Father Time in latest win

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News22 hr. 50 min. ago

Sparring partner expects to see ‘vintage’ Pacquiao vs Matthysse

KUALA LUMPUR --- George Kambosos Jr. said the old, deadly version of Manny Pacquiao will finally show up against Lucas Matthysse on July 15. Kambosos had seen it first hand after sparring with Pacquiao for at least 50 rounds throughout the Filipino ring icon's training camp for his duel with Matthysse. "Come Sunday you'll see a vintage Manny Pacquiao," Kambosos said on Wednesday. "Manny sparred for about 100 rounds. We trained smart and we trained hard so he's ready to go." Pacquiao hasn't fought since yielding the WBO welterweight title to Jeff Horn in a controversial decision a year ago in Brisbane, Australia. Kambosos, whose first call-up to join Pacquiao's camp as a sparring pa...Keep on reading: Sparring partner expects to see ‘vintage’ Pacquiao vs Matthysse.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJul 11th, 2018

Pacquiao, Matthysse kick of Fight of Champions fight week with Grand Arrival presser

Fight of Champions headliners Manny Pacquiao and Lucas Matthysse have both arrived in Kuala Lumpur, days before their highly-anticipated world title clash.  The challenger, eight division boxing world champion Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines arrived Monday evening, while Argentinian reigning WBA (Regular) Welterweight World Champion Lucas Matthysse arrived the previous week.  After completing his training camp in his hometown of General Santos, Pacquiao, who's gunning for his 60th win in 68 professional bouts, says he's excited to showcase his world-class talents to the Malaysian fans.  “We are locked and loaded. I am more than ready and excited to show Malaysian fight fans the fruits of hard training and preparation. We had a very great training camp and I cannot wait to fight on Sunday, July 15." The 39-year old Pacquiao will be gunning for an impressive eleventh world championship.  Reigning champion Matthysse on the other hand, will be defending his first world championship for the first time, and it'll be against the biggest challenge he's faced in his career.  “I feel 100 percent sure that I will succeed in this fight. I trained very hard to defend my title in Malaysia. I’ve already gotten used to the weather and time here." The 35-year old Matthysse, who has a staggering 82% KO percentage with 36 of his 39 wins coming via knockout, believes that his power will be enough to put the legendary Pacquiao away.  "I’m in great condition, and I promise a great performance to the entire world. I thank Golden Boy Promotions, Arano Box and everyone involved in the promotion. This will be a first-class combat in which I promise a spectacular victory!” Pacquiao and Matthysse will square off at the Axiata Arena on Sunday, July 15th.    Catch Fight of Champions: Pacquiao versus Matthysse at 10:00 AM on ABS-CBN channel 2! Replay at 7:00 PM on S+A channel 23. You can catch the whole card LIVE on SkyCable Pay-Per-View. CLICK HERE for more information!.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 10th, 2018

Lucas Matthysse banking on power against Manny Pacquiao

Argentinian defending WBA (Regular} Welterweight World Champion Lucas Matthysse and his team believe that he has the power advantage coming into his title defense against Manny Pacquiao at Fight of Champions in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Sunday, July 15th.  Understandably so, given that in his 39 career wins, all but three have come via KO or TKO.  His latest KO win, last January against Thailand's Tewa Kiram, earned him his first world championship.  @LucasMatthysse up close with the speedball pic.twitter.com/kMtGuE1XWt — DYAN CASTILLEJO (@DYANCASTILLEJO) July 9, 2018 Team Matthysse at the pop up gym. @lucasmatthysse getting some speedball action #PacquiaoXMatthysse @GoldenBoyBoxing @lucasmatthysse pic.twitter.com/HS8yLI4M82 — DYAN CASTILLEJO (@DYANCASTILLEJO) July 9, 2018 With less a week to go before fight night, Team Matthysse has already set up shop in Kuala Lumpur, and are working on the Argentinian's power punches.  "I can tell you one thing, I've trained a lot of fighters in the past, all I know about Lucas Matthysse is that he has a devastating punch with both hands." said Mattyhsse's coach Joel Diaz.  Talking to ABS-CBN News' Dyan Castillejo, Diaz believes that if Matthysse gets to tag Pacquiao it could be a short night.  "He has so much power in his punches that if he hits you with a left, he hits you with a right, he hurts you," "That’s why I’m so confident that sooner or later, Manny Pacquiao has to exchange with Lucas, and if he catches him with either hand, it’ll hurt." Diaz added.  Aside from a leaving an impressive mark, Diaz believes that a Matthysse KO would be for the best considering that it's tough to get a decision against a volume puncher like Pacquiao.  "We’re gonna win, and in order to win, we have to be very clear with a win. Not only win, we have to do it convincingly." Diaz said. "If we have to go to the judges, we have to convince the judges, but with the volume of punches that Manny Pacquiao throws, it’s hard to win a decision." At the end of the day, it's going to be Pacquiao's speed against Matthysse's power.  "Manny Pacquiao has fast hands and he has speed. Lucas has the power, speed against power. They’re gonna have to battle it out." Pacquiao has been on the wrong end of a vicious knockout before, most notably against Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez back in 2012.  Can Lucas Matthysse be only the third person to stop Manny Pacquiao?    Catch Fight of Champions: Pacquiao versus Matthysse at 10:00 AM on ABS-CBN channel 2! Replay at 7:00 PM on S+A channel 23. You can catch the whole card LIVE on SkyCable Pay-Per-View. CLICK HERE for more information!.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 9th, 2018

Locked and loaded: Pacquiao flies to KL

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

Category: newsSource:  manilatimesRelated NewsJul 8th, 2018

Matthysse intends on retiring Pacquiao in Kuala Lumpur

KUALA LUMPUR--It's going to be "war" in Malaysia as WBA welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse didn't hide his intentions of defending his championship belt by retiring boxing's living legend Manny Pacquiao nine days from now here. Just right after landing from a grueling 18-hour journey from the other side of the Pacific, Matthysse and his team buckled down to work, hitting the gym and tried to shake the effects of jet lag in his system on Thursday evening. Fight day will be on July 15 at the Axiata Arena with three other world championship fights adding drama to the roadshow presented by Pacquiao's own MP Promotions. So focused is Matthysse that he only has Pacquiao on his mind. How to beat the fighting Senator from the Philippines, the only eight-weight division champion of boxing, is the only order of business for him. "Manny Pacquiao. I want to defeat a legendary fighter like Manny. This is not Judah, Alexander, Postol or Garcia," said Matthysse, who planed in together with manager Mario Arano, trainer Joel Diaz, Golden Boy Promotions PR man Ramiro Gonzalez and three others who are helping out in training. Matthysse has a 39-4 win-loss record with 36 of these fights ending by spectacular knockouts. Incidentally, (Zab) Judah, (Victor) Postol, (Devon) Alexander and (Danny) Garcia are the only boxers who have beaten the 35-year-old fighter in the past. For Arano, Matthysse has gotten over these losses and has become a more dangerous and complete fighter since last losing to Postol in 2015. His lean but mean entourage pales in comparison to Pacquiao's own team, which will arrive on Monday--a whole plane-load of trainers flying on a chartered flight from General Santos City, including utility persons and fans and supporters. Matthysse's early arrival signified his desire to leave nothing behind and ensure victory for Argentina. "This is Manny Pacquiao, and this is the quest for anyone in boxing (to defeat Pacquiao,)" said Matthysse. - RELEASE   Catch Fight of Champions: Pacquiao versus Matthysse at 10:00 AM on ABS-CBN channel 2! Replay at 7:00 PM on S+A channel 23. You can catch the whole card LIVE on SkyCable Pay-Per-View. CLICK HERE for more information!.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 6th, 2018

Mexican players can have beef again at the World Cup

By Carlos Rodriguez, Associated Press MOSCOW (AP) — Mexico's mantra for this World Cup is "No Excuses," and that includes no complaining about the menu. The team brought two tons of food to Russia, along with everything necessary to make their players' favorites, including traditional tacos, cheesy quesadillas and, of course, their hot salsas. When Colombian manager Juan Carlos Osorio took over the Mexico team in 2015, he gathered a staff that includes a mental coach, a kinesiology specialist, a recovery expert and nutritionist Beatriz Boullosa. "Professor Osorio says it all the time, there are no excuses here, he's a man that makes his decisions based on hard facts and he has opened the chance for every one of us in our respective areas to give something to the national team", Boullosa told The Associated Press. "We know that in the past, soccer has been ruled in the belief that: 'since I was a player and that worked, it applies,' but that is not how we run things around here, every decision is based on science." Boullosa has worked for the national teams since 2010. She was part of the staff that won the Under-17 world title in Mexico in 2011, and also worked for the Olympic team that won the gold medal in 2012, but coach Miguel Herrera was not convinced and let her out of the Brazil 2014 World Cup. Osorio heard about Boullosa's work and brought her along to take care of the diet and nutrition of the squad. "Every player has specific needs, not just based on his position but also based on his physique and his performance in training and in games. It's not the same for someone who played 90 minutes, to someone who stayed on the bench, we take every variable into account to make sure every player gets what they need", said Boullosa. The nutritionist is also responsible to monitor the nutrition supplements for the players to avoid any chance of doping violations. She says everything was supervised by a laboratory in Germany before the World Cup. The team did not ingest any red meat from Mexico to avoid any chance of positive tests with clenbuterol, a banned substance that is widely used by Mexican ranchers as a growth-enhancer. In 2011, five players from Mexico's squad tested positive for clenbuterol, among them Guillermo Ochoa, the starting goalkeeper in this World Cup. The country's federation ruled the positive tests were caused by contaminated meat. More recently, Mexican boxer Canelo Alvarez tested positive for the same forcing the postponement of his rematch with Gennady Golovkin. "We started consuming red meat since we arrived in Denmark", Boullosa said. "Players are carnivorous by nature and they are happy to get the red meat back on their diet, and in nutrition terms it was also important because it has great bioavailability and we had it banned while in Mexico". With red meat available, players can now eat all their favorites, and that includes tacos. "We brought a lot of food and we also brought a chef to make every dish as the player likes it, we are making corn tortillas that taste like glory", Boullosa added. "Players ask for their quesadillas and their tacos and that really helps psychologically, because you bring them closest to home". But there can't be a good Mexican taco without their ancestral partner: the hot sauce, an item that also crossed the ocean from Mexico. "We made a spicy chili-peanut sauce that is delicious, and we also have traditional salsas some of the super spicy and some mild ones", added Boullosa. "We also brought cans of beans and corn. We are super loaded.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 23rd, 2018

ONE: Danny Kingad happy to play gatekeeper if Geje Eustaquio wins ONE title

Macau, China - ONE: PINNACLE OF POWER in Macau, China on June 23 is one of the deepest cards from top to bottom offered by ONE Championship for its 24-event calendar this 2018. From the preliminary portion to the main card of ONE: PINNACLE OF POWER, there are plenty of bouts with championship and ranking implications, including the three-round flyweight encounter between former title contender Danny Kingad and Chinese prospect Ma Hao Bin. The winner of the aforementioned 61.2-kilogram tussle could earn a shot at the ONE Flyweight World Championship, which will be on the line in the main event of ONE: PINNACLE OF POWER as Adriano Moraes is slated to duke it out with Geje Eustaquio in a much-awaited rematch and title unification contest. Kingad is now trying to build some momentum towards a second crack at the ONE Flyweight World Championship, while Ma has aced six of his assignments since joining the promotion in 2016. However, the 22-year-old Baguio City native finds himself in a peculiar position if he and his teammate Eustaquio will walk out of the Studio City Event Center with respective victories. Kingad knows that he has to be relegated to a gatekeeping role if Eustaquio will be successful in unifying both titles against Moraes at ONE: PINNACLE OF POWER. “I will be super happy for coach Geje if he wins the match in Macau. It’s an honor to be competing alongside him on June 23. I’ve learned a lot of things from him. For this training camp, I’ve spent more time with him. I want him to win the title,” he said. Although he could be knocking on the door for a world title shot again with a decisive win over Ma, Kingad stressed that he will gladly play gatekeeper to Eustaquio. “I don’t mind filling that role if ever he wins against Adriano Moraes. He is my senior, and we are teammates. He is like a brother to me,” he stated. “I am still young. I believe that my time will come.” Kingad is not fond of the idea of squaring off with Eustaquio for the flyweight crown, pointing out that he would not trade his treasured friendship with his Team Lakay comrade for a shot at the world title. “That's not going to happen. We always go at it in practice anyway. I'm happy that I get to spar with him all the time because he pushes me to the limit. We push each other, and we push each other to the next level,” he shared. “I will support coach Geje all the way. For now, I'll just keep getting better as a competitor. I'll wait for my time,” Kingad added. Following an unsuccessful challenge for the ONE Flyweight World Championship this past November against Moraes, which ended in his first professional defeat, Kingad rebounded with an impressive triumph over a battle-tested veteran in Sotir Kichukov four months later. Kingad seeks to sustain his winning groove in ONE Championship as he is set to take on Ma, a Chinese national freestyle wrestling champion with a mixed martial arts record of 11-2. Diligently preparing under the tutelage of head coach Mark Sangiao at Team Lakay in Baguio City, Kingad is fully aware of his opponent’s capabilities. “Training is, as usual, very tough. We are drilling very hard each and every day. I am still working on all areas, be it my striking or my grappling,” he mentioned. “Knowing my opponent is a good wrestler, however, I am particularly working on my takedown defense for this match. I want to keep this fight standing, so I have worked very hard on my takedown defense,” Kingad explained further. Despite the threat that Ma poses in the grappling department, Kingad assured that he is comfortable wherever the bout goes on June 23. “I want to test his stand-up game. I believe I am stronger, faster, and more explosive than he is,” he disclosed. “I am definitely going for a knockout in this match. However, if he does take me to the ground, I will be ready for anything.” Kingad believes that his in-ring meeting with Ma at ONE: PINNACLE OF POWER is a must-win clash as he embarks on a hazy road towards the organization’s flyweight championship. “I must win this bout because honestly, I don’t know what the future holds. What if we don’t get the result that we want for coach Geje? I am ready to step up. I cannot wait to get right back in there and make another run at the title. I know things will be very different next time,” he ended......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 18th, 2018

Crawford scores TKO over Horn, wins WBO welterweight title

By W.G. RAMIREZ LAS VEGAS (AP) — Terence Crawford threw a bevy of punches toward the end of the ninth round to stop Jeff Horn and win the WBO welterweight title Saturday night. After dropping Horn with 50 seconds left in the ninth round, Crawford unleashed a slew of punches that sent the former champion into the ropes, prompting referee Robert Byrd to stop the fight with 28 seconds left in the round. Crawford (33-0, 24 knockouts) moved up to the 147-pound division and became the sixth fighter in boxing history to win titles at lightweight, junior welterweight and welterweight. Considered by many as boxing’s best pound-for-pound fighter, Crawford relinquished the four major belts he held in the junior welterweight division to move up to a stacked welterweight division. The 30-year-old from Omaha, Nebraska, improved to 11-0 (eight knockouts) in world title fights, the most wins by an active American fighter. The 30-year-old Horn (18-0-1, 12 knockouts) struggled to make weight one day prior to the bout, hitting 148 pounds on his first try at the weigh-in Friday. He originally won the belt by decision from Manny Pacquiao last July in his hometown of Brisbane, Australia. He fought once since, stopping Gary Corcoran in Brisbane in December to retain his title. He wasn’t so fortunate against Crawford, who out-landed Horn 155-58, according to CompuBox. Crawford, a traditional right-hander who fought southpaw most of the bout, dominated from the start, using both hands to pepper Horn. A big left in the second round by Crawford got things going, while an impressive right cross to Horn’s left temple in the third round showed his keen ability as a tactician. Crawford’s skills came to life in the eighth round, as he went upstairs-downstairs near the end of the round, working the head and the body before closing the round with a monster right that staggered Horn. The two fighters were originally scheduled to meet April 14, but Crawford injured a hand in training, which resulted in the fight being postponed. Though it’s been close to one year since Crawford has been in the ring, when he fought at 140 pounds, he looked every bit the part of a hard-hitting welterweight. The fight marked the first attempt to attract boxing fans to ESPN’s new $4.99 per month app, which allowed them to watch the bout from the MGM Grand Garden. In the co-main event, Jose Pedraza defeated Antonio Moran by unanimous decision for a regional lightweight title. With the win, it opened the door for Pedraza to challenge WBO lightweight world champion Ray Beltran in August......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 10th, 2018

Donaire joins Team Pacquiao staff

FORMER General Santos City native Nonito Donaire Sr. was tapped to lend his expertise and beef up Manny Pacquiao’s think-tank in preparation for the Filipino’s title bid against Lucas Matthysse on July 15 at the Axiata Arena in Malaysia. A week after opening training camp, Pacquiao added Donaire to help….....»»

Category: newsSource:  journalRelated NewsMay 8th, 2018

DE JESUS: Genius, disciplinarian, champion coach

This story was originally published on May 7, 2017 De La Salle University head coach Ramil De Jesus came inside the press room of the Big Dome for a post-game interview wearing the same smile he had in the past nine times the Lady Spikers closed the UAAP season as champions. The only difference in those championship interviews were the players that accompanied him to answer questions from reporters. From Iris Ortega-Patrona, Desiree Hernandez, Maureen Penetrante, the legendary Manilla Santos, the Big Three of Cha Cruz, Paneng Mercado and Jacq Alarca, to Michel Gumabao and beast-mode-don’t-care Aby Marano to Ara Galang, Mika Reyes, Kim Dy and gem of a setter in Kim Fajaro – all of them stood beside a genius and architect of DLSU’s successful volleyball program. Victory after victory, De Jesus built his reputation as a one of the best women’s volleyball mentors in the country. Last Saturday, De Jesus added another feather to his cap when he steered the Taft-based squad to back-to-back titles in the 79th UAAP women’s volleyball tournament at the expense of archrival Ateneo de Manila. Two decades since his arrival to the school of a different shade of green after playing for Far Eastern University, delivered 10 titles and brought the Lady Spikers to the Finals 17 times.   De Jesus shared the secret of his success. “Siguro, sistema siguro then hard work. And then, well-disciplined ‘yung mga bata. Siguro, ‘yun ‘yung key,” he said. His success earned him the respect of his peers including three-time UAAP men’s volleyball champion Oliver Almadro of Ateneo, who was once one of his lieutenants, and players alike. DLSU embraced him as one of its own. “Natutuwa ako kasi kahit hindi ako alumnus doon niyakap nila ako bilang parang doon na din nag-graduate,” said De Jesus. “Hindi ko naman napapansin ang mga nanyayari sa akin sila lang ang nakakapansin, binigyan nga ako ng award. Happy, very happy (ako).” De Jesus is known to be a no nonsense coach. Strict, straightforward and a disciplinarian – traits he inherited from FEU men’s coach Kid Santos.                He doesn’t like fanfare and as much as possible keeps attention away from him. De Jesus carefully chooses his words but when he gives one, everybody listens. He means business all the time.   Brilliance of De Jesus 246-65. De Jesus knows how to win and his career win-loss record says it all. The main reason why DLSU trusted De Jesus to handle the team for that many years – a rare feat considering that a UAAP coach’s tenure is very volatile.   It was summer 20 years ago when former basketball Olympian and influential DLSU sport personality Ramoncito Campos brought in a young mentor in De Jesus to save the school’s volleyball program, which then had yet to win a title since joining the league in 1986.           He entered the UAAP volleyball scene during the time when powerhouse teams Far Eastern University and University of Sto. Tomas, then mentored by legendary coach August Sta. Maria, were the ones lording over here the competition. Of course the road to glory didn’t come easy but his first tour of duty gave DLSU a chance to feel what it was to be in the Final Four when the Lady Spikers finished fourth a year when after strings of forgettable seasons. Quenching the thirst to salvage some pride in the sport that will eventually be DLSU’s second most valued contest next to basketball, the Lady Spikers began to hunger for the crown – something the school never felt before since winning it all back in 1976 as a member of the NCAA.   De Jesus submitted his team to Spartan-like training and hammering discipline and slowly molded the Lady Spikers to a championship-caliber squad. In Season 61, DLSU challenged FEU for the crown but the Lady Tamaraws’ championship experience prevailed. The loss only fueled De Jesus’ desire to bring the Lady Spikers to the throne even more. With the core of ace hitter Ortega-Patrona, setter Valerie Bautista, Sally Macasaet, Sheryl Magallanes, Demelle Chua, Hollie Reyes and then sophomore Ivy Remulla, De Jesus steered DLSU on the right track for another shot at the crown. Midway in the season Bautista got pregnant. De Jesus, calm and composed, knew what to do. He converted open spiker Reyes into a setter and the gambit worked as DLSU once again punched a ticket to the Finals, this time against UST – a very hungry team looking to reclaim the title. A year removed from the throne, UST was ready for the kill. But the Espana-based squad went against a famished team – DLSU will not leave the sweltering University of the Philippines Human Kinetics Gym without the championship trophy. In front of a crowd - dwarf-sized compared to the multitude of fans that troop bigger venues of today – the Lady Spikers wrote history. DLSU slew a giant in a thrilling five-set game behind the stellar performance of Ortega-Patrona, who won that Season’s Most Valuable Player award – the first of many incredible volleybelles that will bag the highest individual honor under De Jesus’ tutelage.     It was an incredible feat but it won’t see a repeat in the next three years.              Grand Slam After their breakthrough title, the Lady Spikers had three straight bride’s maid finishes behind FEU. Heartbreaks brought by Ortega-Patrona’s falling out with De Jesus over a disciplinary issue in Season 63 and the unstoppable power of FEU's Monica Aleta, who won three straight MVP awards while towing the Lady Tams to a three-peat. Like a chess master, De Jesus learned from his mistakes before pulling off a feat that will cement his name as one of the greatest. With Hernandez, Penetrante and a young Santos as his main pieces, he steered the Lady Spikers to a rare three-peat. DLSU brought into heel FEU, UST and Adamson to complete a grand slam. A four-peat loomed for the celebrated Lady Spikers but fate played a cruel trick on them after UAAP suspended DLSU in Season 69 because the Green Archers' basketball squad fielded two ineligible players the previous year.       When the ban was lifted in Season 70, De Jesus and the Lady Spikers were again under the radar as title contenders together with the defending champion UST, FEU and Adamson. But team was forced to file a leave of absence from the school while the tournament was ongoing because Alarca saw action despite incomplete academic credentials to be eligible to play. All of the team’s won games where Alarca played where forfeited and the Lady Spikers ended up at seventh place. It was a painful setback but it also served as a rallying point for DLSU. With Santos playing her final year and the emergence of enigmatic but then rookie libero Mel Gohing in Season 71, the Lady Spikers denied the then graduating Rachel Anne Daquis and FEU back-to-back crowns. DLSU relinquished the throne to the Angeli Tabaquero and Aiza Maizo-led Tigresses the following year. The Lady Spikers avenged their loss the next season in a rematch with UST behind Alarca, Mercado, Cruz, Gumabao and Gohing in the start of De Jesus’ second three-peat.   DLSU-Ateneo rivalry Nobody really knows when UAAP volleyball picked up the tremendous following it has today. Maybe it needed something for people to get hooked into. A continuous rivalry, perhaps? For six straight years DLSU and Ateneo did just that. The storied rivalry between La Salle and Ateneo spilled from the basketball court to the taraflex mat of volleyball. De Jesus had in his bench the core of veterans Cruz, Gumabao and Marano back and freshmen Galang, Reyes and Demecillo when they met in the Season 74 Finals a young and promising Lady Eagles side – much like the Lady Spikers De Jesus inherited 14 seasons back. Led by Fille Cainglet, Dzi Gervacio and a fresh recruit from University of Sto. Tomas high school Alyssa Valdez, Ateneo gave DLSU a tough challenge for two seasons but the Lady Spikers repelled them both times. Then came Lady Eagles Thai mentor Tai Bundit. For three years in a row, De Jesus’ system bested the rest of the field including that of then Ateneo coach Roger Gorayeb. However, a coach who barely spoke English or Filipino provided him a challenge in Season 76. DLSU with an intact core led by Marano, swept its way straight to the Finals with a thrice-to-beat advantage. Ateneo crawled its way to the championship round through a series of do-or-die games. De Jesus is an old-school type of coach. His system is hinged on well-planned strategies and tactics. He was pitted against Bundit’s Thai-style of play anchored on a heartstrong mantra and a ‘happy, happy’ approach of the game. Bundit dances on the sideline, an animated fellow during the matches. De Jesus is stoic as always. When the two collided for the title for the first time, Bundit shocked De Jesus and DLSU when Ateneo beat them thrice in a four-game series that went the full distance. Bundit and the Valdez-led Lady Eagles did it again the following year, completing a season sweep at the expense of the Lady Spikers, who struggled to pose any form resistance in the Finals after Galang went down with a season-ending ACL tear in the semis. It was a devastating loss to say the least. But De Jesus, a general who fought many battles for the green and white, stuck with the weapon that brought him success – his ability to adjust. Outdueled by Bundit in their last six matches, De Jesus found a way to stop the rampaging Lady Eagles in their first meeting in Season 78. Ateneo equalized in the second round and even took the top spot after the elimination. The Lady Spikers and the Lady Eagles would eventually meet in the Finals for the fifth year in a row. De Jesus was ready for Ateneo. He knew the strengths and weaknesses of the Lady Eagles and used it to his advantage to win the series opener. The then graduating Valdez brought Ateneo back in Game 2 to tie the series, but DLSU completed its long-awaited revenge in the decider and gave Reyes, Demecillo and Galang a fitting sendoff gift.                  Road to back-to-back Losing five veterans including three of their key players heading into Season 79 gave De Jesus one of the toughest challenges he ever faced as a DLSU mentor.  Setter Kim Fajardo returned for her swan song together with fourth year playes Kim Dy, Dawn Macandili and Majoy Baron. Desiree Cheng also came back after a year of absence due to a knee injury, but De Jesus was still left to navigate with a relatively young crew.  “Sa laht nang nai-form kong team, ito yung medyo (up and down) yung performance,” he said. “Sobrang babaw ng bench, wala ka halos (mahugot) pagtingin mo, wala ka makuha.” DLSU struggled early and was on the losing end of two elims matches against Ateneo. “Ateneo nu’ng buong elimination NU lang ang halos tumalo. Sabi ko ano bang meron ang team na ito?” he said. “Pinilit lang naming habulin.” “Kasi alam ko nag-start kami medyo hilaw ang team namin. Early part ng first round natalo kami sa UP sabi ko pukpok pa tayo, habol pa,” De Jesus added. “Ang nakakatuwa sa mga bata, ang determinasyon na humabol nandoon.” When the De Jesus found himself leading the Lady Spikers to a sixth straight title series against Bundit and the Lady Eagles, he knew his squad was ready to defend their crown. And protect it they did in a series sweep capped by a dramatic five-set victory.    “Siguro buong eliminations, nire-review namin ang mga games, nakikita mo yung difference, ‘yung advantage at disadvantage ng team, so siguro doon kami nag-focus, kung saan kami medyo dehado. Concentrate kami sa training,” he said. “Ine-explain ko rin sa players kung ano yung dapat naming gawin, although mahirap. So, tanggapin na lang nila.” In a rare moment, when Ateneo’s Jho Maraguinot sent her attack long that signaled DLSU’s back-to-back championships, De Jesus let his hair down a little. He was jumping, dancing, celebrating the victory and even held his hands up, both his palms wide open as confetti dropped and the deafening roar of the crowd and banging of the drums echoed inside the arena. De Jesus won his tenth title. When the celebration subsided, De Jesus fashioned the same smile he wore in his past nine championships as he was led inside the pressroom of the Big Dome. Only this time around, Fajardo, Cheng and Dy were the ones who followed him from behind.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 20th, 2018

Refreshed Honorio Banario excited to prove he s a top lightweight contender

When Team Lakay lightweight contender Honorio 'The Rock' Banario steps into the cage at ONE Championship: Heroes of Honor at the Mall of Asia Arena Friday, April 20th it'll be his first time to do so in roughly a year...364 days to be exact.  Banario last outing, a second-round knockout win over Jaroslav Jartim, was back in April 21, 2017, also at the MoA Arena.  As it turns out, Banario's lengthy absence was due to an injury, and it needed half a year to recover.  "May injury ako last year, at least hindi naman gaano ka-lala, pero kailangan ko i-rest kasi yung parts ng katawan ko na na-injure is yung usually na lagi kong ginagamit, so kailangan yung total rest, so I rested it for six months, and I just started training last December until now, then strengthening four months prior to the fight." Banario said during the pre-fight press conference for ONE: Heroes of Honor.  Aside from getting his injuries healed up, Banario adds that the time off has also helped take care of his other aches and pains.  "Parang yung mga wear and tear ng muscle ko, na-repair din, so at least parang maganda yung katawan ulit," "Parang na-refresh, so expect na malakas ulit ako sa laban and in the future fights." Banario added.  On Friday, Banario finally makes his long awaited return to the cage against hard-hitting Australian Adrian Pang, and the 28-year old Baguio native couldn't be more eager to get back in the cage.  "I’m very very excited to come back and fight, especially here in our country, and to challenge myself to  a great opponent like Adrian Pang." For Banario, taking on a tough test like Pang will help solidify his position as a top guy in ONE Championship's lightweight division.  As it stands, Banario is already riding a four-fight winning streak, and a win over a guy like Pang will no doubt add to his stock.  "I’m very happy na they gave him as my opponent, kasi it’s a challenge for me to train hard and answer the question in my mind, if I am a top contender as a lightweight," "I need to fight this great athlete and surpass him and win the fight so that I can call myself a top, world class lightweight athlete." Banario added. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 17th, 2018

2018 MLB preview: AL East

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 29th, 2018

Rose embraces new home, blocks out doubters

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com MINNEAPOLIS – Don’t let go of the rope. It’s one of Tom Thibodeau’s most familiar exhortations, a mantra of sorts to keep his teams locked in, digging down and generally committed through whatever grueling test they’re facing, be it a game, a road trip, a spate of injuries or the entire season. The trouble for Derrick Rose with that particular Thibs-ism is, so often, he has been the rope. On one side of an unfortunate tug o’ war, we’ve had the Rose loyalists, the fans, friends and family who believe that the 2010-11 NBA Most Valuable Player’s return from injury hell to elite status is just one more, legit opportunity away. Pulling from the other side, there is a growing group of Rose skeptics who are convinced that the Chicago kid’s best days – his most explosive, elusive, game-changing moves – are behind him, strewn on the floors of too many surgical rooms and rehab gyms. Rose, 29, knows they’re there. One group pulling for him, the other doubting him. And in an unusually candid and forceful moment Saturday (Sunday, PHL time), the normally soft-spoken Rose delivered a stark message to them all. “Yeah,” Rose said after his first full practice since signing a minimum-salary contract Thursday (Friday, PHL tie) to join the Minnesota Timberwolves. “This is how I feel about the whole perspective on it: You can have your perspective on me as far as I’m a bum, I can’t play, I can’t shoot, this and that. All right. Cool. I have no hard feelings with that. I’m cool with that. If that’s how you feel, that’s how you feel. “But at the same time, I don’t need your [bleeping] validation.” Rose’s eyes burned bright, in a direct response to the many health challenges he has endured from acquaintances and strangers both, picking at whatever good or bad is left of his basketball career. “I know who I am,” Rose continued. “I know the type of player I am. So, you respect that and I respect that, and we should be good. That’s how I feel about it.” In other words, you work your side of the street, Rose will continue to work his. If there are NBA administrators like Thibodeau, the Wolves’ head coach and president of basketball operations, willing to give him another chance, he’ll be chasing the ghost of his own self while trying to help somebody win. One more chance Rose’s latest grab at faded glory could begin in Sunday’s (Monday, PHL time) matinee against the defending champion Golden State Warriors at Target Center (editor's note: Rose wound up playing just seven minutes off the bench. He finished with two points on 1-of-5 shooting with a rebound, two assists, and two turnovers). It probably is his last, best shot to salvage something from a 2017-18 season that’s been largely lost due to injury, yes, but other factors outside Rose’s control as well. What looked like a terrific opportunity back in training camp – signing with Eastern Conference power Cleveland Cavaliers and home to the game’s best player (and Rose nemesis) in LeBron James – got sideways fast. In the Cavs’ second game, on a drive to the rim, Rose got whacked across the face and neck by Milwaukee center Greg Monroe. He landed badly on the baseline, suffering a “jacked-up” left ankle that left him in a walking boot and sidelined him for 11 of Cleveland’s next 15 games. Then word got out just before Thanksgiving that Rose had left the team, reportedly to contemplate his future as an NBA player. He was gone for nearly two weeks, at least part of it back home in Chicago, during what Cavs GM Koby Altman called “a very challenging and difficult time for Derrick.” Rose didn’t play again until Cleveland’s 44th game. In nine appearances over the next three weeks, he was a shell of the three-time All-Star he’d once been, averaging 6.3 points, 1.6 assists and 13.3 minutes, while shooting 39 percent. On Feb. 8 (Feb. 9, PHL time), he was one of six Cavaliers players dealt by Altman at the NBA trade deadline, sent to Salt Lake City as a throw-in to acquire Utah’s Rodney Hood and Sacramento’s George Hill. Two days later, the Jazz waived Rose. Four weeks passed before Thibodeau got the green light from Minnesota owner Glen Taylor to sign Rose. The Oklahoma City Thunder had sniffed in his direction, only to opt for veteran backup Corey Brewer. Rose had family duties to attend to – he and Alaina Anderson had a baby girl in Chicago to start the week – but he also had spent time working out by himself in the Cavs’ facility or at Cleveland State’s gym. The end seemed near. Given Rose’s limited involvement this season, he probably would have been a long shot to land with one of the league’s 30 teams in 2018-19, had Thibodeau not reached out. The people on the dark end of Rose’s rope were winning. Now, this buys him time for a shout-out to the folks on the other end. “‘Don’t give up,’ Rose said he would tell them. Talking later at the downtown Minneapolis hotel where he’s staying, he wanted to assure people that his desire to play remains strong, his passion to keep trying still burns, and his mental fitness for this and future challenges on or away from the court is fine. “I still have faith,” Rose said, two bags of ice strapped to each leg. “No matter what happens, I still have a lot of faith in myself and my ability. It’s just about opportunity and catching a rhythm. Whenever I do catch a rhythm, I’d rather see what it is then. Than to, like, give up knowing I have so much left. Like, ‘Damn, I should have kept playing.’ “I’m going to give it my all. And once I do, then it’s like, ‘All right, cool. I gave it my all, now what’s this next phase in my life?’ “But as far as right now, I’m still in it. I’ve got two kids that can look at me now. The oldest, my boy [P.J.] is 5 years old. He’s looking at me right now. He sees everything. I’m going to tell him, ‘No excuses. Don’t come to me cryin’, this and that. Nah.’ He’ll see what I’ve had to go through. ‘Now suck it up and go out there and do what you’ve got to do.’” A career interrupted For some NBA players whose careers got waylaid by injuries – Brandon Roy, Greg Oden, Penny Hardaway – their bodies finally refused to cooperate. They went from 60-to-0, no wiggle room on whether they would continue. Rose, for all his setbacks, has worked his way back – not back to his previous form – from each and every injury. From the ACL blowout that started him down his hobbled path in April 2012 to three subsequent meniscus knee surgeries, from the left orbital fracture he suffered when he caught teammate Taj Gibson’s errant elbow in the face in the opening practice of 2015-16 to the lingering ankle sprain dealt by Monroe’s blow in October. In that sense, Rose is more like Bernard King, Sam Bowie or Grant Hill, standout players whose career trajectories were forever altered – but not ended – by injuries. Rose speaks as if he has reached some level of peace with his maladies, referring to his injuries as “part of the game” and his particular “cross” to bear. “I’ve just had five surgeries more than other people,” he said. “That’s the way I look at it. That don’t mean that I can’t play. That don’t mean that I lost my love for the game. No.” What Rose doesn’t like is the “fragile” label that’s been affixed to him. He’s less interested that he has played in only 486 of approximately 789 regular-season games so far, while proud of the 130 he logged with the Bulls (2015-16) and Knicks (2016-17) more recently. It seems clear that the reckless abandon with which Rose played – and the excruciating torque he put on his knees with his bounding, zig-zag attacks through the lane – wreaked havoc on his knees. Beyond that, though, he’s not buying any pattern business. “You see how I was injured [in October]? I was taken out of the air,” Rose said. “People are like, ‘Aw, he’s always injured.’ Are you just watching highlights, just looking at clips, like new fans are these days? Or are you watching an entire game? Are you just reading reports that come up on your phone?” Scouts say that Rose has lost both quickness and leaping ability, without developing a perimeter game to compensate. They also bundle his Cleveland hiatus with the AWOL episode last season with the Knicks, when Rose left the team without notice before a game against New Orleans, to question his reliability and commitment. Rose disputes the comments about his game, citing the circumstances in New York and Cleveland. “I could sit here and tell you, ‘I’m gonna try to change this. Do this and do that.’ Nah, I always felt, it starts with my rhythm,” he said. “[In] New York ... I was playing the triangle [offense favored by former Knicks president Phil Jackson] and still playing pretty well [18.0 ppg, 4.4 apg, 32.5 mpg]. In Cleveland, when did I really have a chance to catch a rhythm? When did I play 20 games straight? Or 10 games? Five games?” As for his reliability – or likelihood to take a powder on the Wolves the way he did on the Knicks and seemed to do on the Cavs – Rose said there is no issue there, either. In the past couple weeks, Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan (depression) and Cleveland’s Kevin Love (panic attacks) have opened up about psychological challenges they and other athletes face. But Rose shook his head as the question was asked. “Oh no, no, no,” he said. “I’m blessed, man. Beyond blessed. It’s not even ... what do I have to complain about? I don’t have anything to complain about. Of course, I wish I was on the court more. I think in time, with the right opportunity, I’ll be out there more. “I’m not depressed, even though I think everybody deals with some depression in some way. It’s about how you deal with it. We’re emotional creatures. We hold onto things. I try to meditate, try to do little things to change my mindset and try to read things to easy my nerves.” Rose admitted he did wonder if he would get another chance, once the Cavs traded him to a Jazz team that had no use for him. “Especially when you get dropped by a team like Cleveland, that needed players,” he said. “It makes other teams think, ‘Damn, if they didn’t keep him...’” Rose has not spoken with James since being dealt, he said. “The way I take it, I don’t take it as personal,” Rose said. “They didn’t need my services. That’s the way I look at it, OK? I understand. It’s business. Does that stop me from working hard? Does that stop me from still putting out goals and trying to reach my goals? No.” Familiar faces aid return Now Rose is reunited with Thibodeau, Gibson, Jimmy Butler (sidelined after his own meniscus surgery) and familiar coaches and staff making up the “TimberBulls.” He even trusts Thibodeau, often criticized for the heavy minutes he loads on his top players, not to break him. “If anything, I want him to play me,” Rose said. “I want to show to him that I can still play. I want him to see me and be like, ‘Damn, he’s still got it.’ I want him to count on me. I want to be held accountable. You know what I mean? I don’t just want to be, like, an average guy on the team riding along just to see how far they go. I really want to add.” Said Thibodeau, who ran Rose Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) through a rigorous refresher course on his playbook: “Obviously when he was at an MVP level, that was the peak. But he also, my last year in Chicago, he had a great year. ... He still has the potential to be very good. He’s young, that was the other part of it. He knows some of our guys, he knows the system. “Like all stories, there’s a beginning, there’s a middle and there’s an end,” the Wolves coach added. “I don’t think it’s a finished story.” Gibson thinks Rose can shoulder some of Butler’s late-game duties, simply because the scoring guard has strong muscle memory of such situations. He, too, hopes Rose’s story can take a happy turn. “I’ve got my fingers crossed,” the veteran forward said. “I truly believe in him. He’s got a lot left in the tank. It’s just, sometimes life doesn’t go your way and you have to push through it and keep fighting.” Thibodeau has said that Rose, like starter Jeff Teague and backup Tyus Jones, can play both backcourt spots, so he can mix-and-match based on situations. Rose anticipates no problem walking that line between asserting his game and rocking the Wolves’ boat. “My job coming here, I’m not trying to step on nobody’s toes. I’m not trying to take someone’s spot,” he said. “I’m not trying to show myself. Nah. I’m here to win. Me going out there and playing, hopefully you all see that. ‘He’s making money plays. He’s playing to win. And that’s what we wanted from him.’” Not that Rose, lest we forget from up top, needs anyone’s bleeping validation. Boosters and doubters can pull this way or that, but he said he’ll be the one who decides when his time is up. “When my love of the game is not there,” Rose said, sounding sincere near the end of his 10th season overall. “When I get tired of going to the gym. “Don’t get me wrong, we all go through that. But after a couple of days, I get antsy, I want to be in the gym. When a week or two goes by and I haven’t touched the gym, even in the summer, oh yeah, I’d know it was over.” Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 12th, 2018

Jags ‘threw a tantrum’ when Marrone started making changes

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 17th, 2018

HEADS UP: 10 sporting events to watch out for in 2018

2017 has come and gone, and it delivered some exciting sporting moments that has every sports fan clamoring for more. Worry not, though, as 2018 looks primed to satisfy even the most die-hard Pinoy sports aficionado with its bevy of local and international sporting events. Let's welcome the upcoming year with 10 of the most exciting sporting events to watch out for this 2018.   NCAA 93 & UAAP 80 VOLLEYBALL The cagers are out, and the spikers are in. Volleyball season begins this January 4 with NCAA season 93, followed by the 81st season of the UAAP this February. NCAA volleybelles are once again ready to take center court, and the defending women's champion Arellano University Lady Chiefs, led by heavy hitters Jovie Prado and Regine Arocha are banking on their undisputed team play to propel them to another title. Playing inspired volleyball throughout the season, the Lady Chiefs stunned the thrice-to-beat San Sebastian Lady Stags in the Finals last year, ultimately ending Grethcel Soltones' collegiate career with a dud. Rising stars like San Beda's Ces Racraquin, JRU's Karen Montojo also make the upcoming NCAA volleyball season worth waiting for. UAAP volleyball begins a month later the NCAA tournament, but expect the field to be even more tumultuous. With no clear-cut number 2 team to challenge the two-time defending champions DLSU Lady Spikers, it will be a toss-up against basically the other seven schools to step up. Dangerous squads include the much-improved Adamson Lady Falcons, last year's pleasant surprise UST, the dynastic Ateneo Lady Eagles, and the intact NU Lady Bulldogs and FEU Lady Tamaraws. NBA ALL-STAR GAME & 2018 NBA FINALS The annual showcase of the NBA's brightest stars just got a major revamp. That's right, the league has done away with the traditional East-West teams, and will now have a playground-type pool selection of players between its two captains when the exhibition tips off in Los Angeles. This raises a lot of interesting questions: Will the captains pick their teammates or will they go with a more controversial pick and select a rival? Will we able to know the order of the draft? Will this actually work in making the game better? While answers to those questions might not be answered until a few months, one thing's for sure, the NBA Finals, the spectacle that actually counts, will be epic. Will we be treated to Golden State Warriors vs Cleveland Cavaliers Pt. 4? Or will another squad swoop in to spoil the party? The league has indeed improved, with surprising teams like the Milwaukee Bucks, the Indiana Pacers, the Detroit Pistons out in the East already staking claim to playoff spots, and the Wild, Wild, West staying true to its monicker. The Houston Rockets and the perennial powerhouse San Antonio Spurs are still the favorites to pull the rug under the Warriors, while the Oklahoma City Thunder is right behind. Either way, with months of hoops already invested in it, the NBA Finals will surely be another explosive one, as it always is.   HOMECOMING QUEEN Alyssa Valdez spent the majority of 2017 overseas, spreading her wings in Taiwan with volleyball club Attack Line. This 2018 though, The Phenom plans on staying in the Philippines, armed with two year’s worth of international experience to focus on her home club team in the Creamline Cool Smashers.  "Next year, I'm planning to focus sa Creamline. Just this year, I travelled a lot talaga. They supported me throughout, esepcially doon sa National Team stint ko. They sacrificed a lot for me talaga. I think I have to focus sa team ko talaga,” she said last week.Alyssa Valdez just got scarier.   PINOY HOOP DREAMS: REMY MARTIN, KOBE PARAS  Two proudly Pinoy ballers based in the U.S. set out this 2018 to continue shooting for our island nation’s humble hoop dreams. Kobe Paras is still serving residency this 2017-2018 season with the California State University-Northridge Matadors, but his development is sure to be a joy to watch. The 6’6” Pinoy swingman accomplished a tour of duty with Gilas Pilipinas earlier in the year, and many Pinoys saw why we should all be excited about high-flying forward. Remy Martin, a 5’11” point guard dazzled in his first few games with the Arizona State Sun Devils, with his athleticism, explosiveness and feisty defense. The Filipino-American cager is proud of his roots and hopes to represent flag and country with Gilas Pilipinas in the future.   WHO (OR WHAT) IS NEXT FOR MANNY PACQUIAO? The never-ending saga of what’s next for Manny Pacquiao looks like it'll seep into 2018.  Following a rather controversial loss to Australian boxer Jeff Horn, Pacquiao has been “courting” the likes of Floyd Mayweather Jr. for a rematch, even taking to Instagram to ”greet” MMA superstar Conor McGregor before finally admitting that he’s been in talks with the Irish fighter’s camp. Whether he actually retires from boxing for good, or takes on another foe in the squared circle, one thing’s for sure: we’ll all have our eyes on Manny Pacquiao’s next move.   2018 WORLD CUP RUSSIA™ After four years, the best of world football will once again converge, this time in Russia to crown the Kings of the beautiful sport. The stage is set, the groups are finalized, and the 32 squads are promising the best 30-day football extravaganza in the hopes of dethroning defending champions Germany this June. Some group stage clashes to look out for are Germany vs Mexico, England vs Belgium, Portugal vs Spain, to name a few. June couldn’t come soon enough.   CHRISTIAN STANDHARDINGER'S PBA DEBUT No PBA rookie has probably come into the league as pro-ready as the Filipino-German standout Christian Standhardinger. The 6’9” big man was the consensus top overall pick of the 2017 PBA draft, and was also at the center of the controversial trade that sent Kia Picanto’s rights to the number 1 selection to the already-dominant San Miguel. While the trade did go down, so did former commissioner Chito Narvasa. Standhardinger’s entry to the PBA has come at a cost, but San Miguel is more than ready to wait one more conference to bulk up their already stacked squad. Seeing Standharinger play alongside 6’11” center and reigning MVP June Mar Fajardo, versatile forward Arwind Santos, and the Beermen’s bevy of guards in Alex Cabagnot, Marcio Lassiter, and Chris Ross, is definitely a sight to see, just look at how he's tearing it up in the ASEAN Basketball League.    2018 ASIAN GAMES INDONESIA The Philippines’ less than stellar performance at the 2017 Southeast Asian Games was met with widespread flak. Not directed at our athletes however, but aimed at our sports development and governing body for its subpar work in getting our sports representatives ready. While the 2018 Asian Games isn’t so far away, a handful of Pinoy medalists from the SEA Games are going into the continental meet with high hopes. After dominating the SEA Games’ triathlon event, our Filipino endurance athletes, led by gold medalists Kim Mangrobang, and Nikko Huelgas, are once again primed to take home hardware. Marathoner Mary Joy Tabal, and boxers John Marvin, and Eumir Marcial, all gold medalists at Malaysia, are all bright spots that could soon unravel into full-fledged stars come 2018.   GILAS PILIPINAS IN THE FIBA WORLD CUP QUALIFIERS It’s official, basketball is coming home to the Philippines this 2023 by way of the FIBA World Cup, but Gilas Pilipinas will first have to try its luck in the 2019 meet. After dealing with Chinese Taipei and Japan this 2017 for a perfect 2-0 slate in the qualifiers, Gilas Pilipinas still has to face the Japanese anew, and the powerhouse Australian team early in 2018. A good showing against these squads will help Gilas strengthen its bid to international basketball’s biggest stage before we actually host the event in six years’ time.   UAAP 81 BASKETBALL UAAP season 80 just came to an end, but the next season just got way more interesting. Aside from the title defense of the intact Ateneo Blue Eagles and their ongoing rivalry with La Salle, a certain move by a coach has shaken up the league. With Aldin Ayo reportedly accepting the job as the new head coach of the struggling University of Sto. Tomas, we might just be witnesses to the rebirth of the once proud basketball program under the fiery mentor. That, and the way the DLSU Green Archers can adjust from the departure of Ayo and former two-time MVP Ben Mbala, key cogs to their season 79 championship run. The tight race for the MVP award will also be one to watch, with Mbala gone, it’s up to the local stars to step up to the challenge......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 31st, 2017

Amateur Brillo knocks out opponent in 14 seconds

GENERAL SANTOS CITY—Reymar Brillo of Sultan Kudarat sent Zaldy Ricopuerto of Malungon, Saranggani to the canvas in just 14 seconds during the preliminary round of the Philippine Sports Commission-Pacquiao Amateur Boxing Cup at the Robinsons Place here. A veteran of almost a hundred bouts, the 18-year-old furiously chased his opponent and connected with left and right combinations to the head that instantly floored Ricopuerto and forced the referee to wave him out. ``Sabi ni coach kung makaya mo i-knockout, knockout mo na,’’ said Brillo, who progressed to the Mindanao quarterfinals in February in Kidapawan City with eight other boxers. Brillo has been fighting in the ring since he was nine and not a few offers to turn professional came his way. ``Pag-iisipan ko po ng husto. Sa ngayon, training po muna,’’ said Brillo. Coach Jimmy Cubay, who trains Brillo in the Sultan Kudarat team for the past two years, is confident his boxer can fight for flag and country in international competitions. ``Pag-isipan po namin itong kay Reymar. Wala akong masasabi sa batang ito. May lakas, tapang at mabait pa,’’ said Cubay, whose protege, Carolyn Calungsod, is now a member of the national women’s squad. The PSC-Pacquiao Cup is a joint undertaking between the government sports agency and Senator Manny Pacquiao that hopes to find talents that can be endorsed to the national pool. In coordination with the Philippine Sports Institute (PSI) and the Amateur Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (Abap), the qualifying rounds of the tournament will be held December 16-April 7 in different parts of the country. James Errol Gahaton (44-46kg youth boys) of Barangay Labangal, General Santos City also advanced to the quarterfinals along with Ben John Rey Yagahon of Malaybalay City and Jayson Brillo of Sultan Kudarat in the 48kg division. Also making it to the quarters were Ariel Almamento of General Santos, Jake Sone Saludar of Polomolok, South Cotabato in the 46-49kg; Acreboy Baranggan of Aglayan, General Santos, John Igancius Macas of Cagayan de Oro and Gen San’s Criz Sander Laurente in the 52kg division. The preliminary rounds for the national finals will kick off April 14-15 in Mandaluyong City followed by the quarterfinals on April 21-22 in Bohol. The semifinals will be held in Tagum City in Davao del Norte on April 28 while the finals will return to General Santos City on May 5.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 18th, 2017

Atlanta Hawks get in sync at new practice facility

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com ATLANTA -- The pregnant check written by Hawks owner Tony Ressler for the team’s glossy new 90,000 square foot training center didn’t concern him as much as the more numerous, smaller ones. As in: Double practice courts? Check. Outdoor swimming pool? Check. Grilling area and on-site gourmet chefs? Check. Video game consoles and a fleet of flat-screen TVs? Check and double check. Still, Ressler and the folks at Emory Healthcare, which teamed with the Hawks to blueprint the place, wanted more for the $50 million. And so they checked off another amenity: An East Coast hub of a California sports science lab that developed a cult following among a number of players and over half the league’s teams. Peak Performance Project carted computers, high-tech gadgets and cutting edge fitness equipment from its Santa Barbara headquarters to set up shop in Atlanta. The company, or P3, helped the Hawks raise the bar in what’s become a practice facility building boom in the NBA, where the Bulls, Sixers, Nets, Kings and Raptors all recently moved into or building swanky centers that could double as country clubs. Yes, the gourmet meals, hydrotherapy pools and theater seating is quite a refreshing change from the prehistoric places in which teams trained before. The Hawks’ old setup was inside Philips Arena, where ironically players had to climb stairs to reach the Stairmaster machines and had the disadvantage of only one practice court. Perhaps the Ground Zero of practice centers, however, was used by the Nets some 20 years ago in New Jersey. They shared a gym, weight room and a locker room with pot-bellied drivers from the owner’s trucking company. Yes, Derrick Coleman sometimes showered next to Fred from Bayonne. Not only have facilities come a long way — the Nets now train on the Brooklyn waterfront with a panoramic view of Lower Manhattan — so has sports science and how it’s being embraced as a necessary part of the game. Ten years ago nobody in the NBA had their bodies poked by scientists or 'scoped by modern technology to learn more about the way those bodies function. Then P3 came along and quickly became the gold standard of technology and sports and a go-to place in the offseason for players looking for an edge. If the NBA All-Star Game draws the biggest collection of talent around the league during the year, then an athletic science lab in Santa Barbara might be next. Damian Lillard, Karl-Anthony Towns, Rudy Gobert, Zach LaVine, Andre Drummond and Kyle Korver are just some of those seduced by science. P3 collects data through assessments of a player’s body and his high velocity movements to identify his physical strengths and weaknesses, raise red flags for areas that could be prone to potential injury, and give him and his team information to help improve performance. There’s also training sessions designed to prevent injuries and enhance the muscles and movements needed to reach potential, an elite athlete optimization that’s suddenly vital to careers. “Their assessments and the data they collect are so valuable to helping you understand what needs to be done,” said Korver. “No question it was so important for my career.” In a section of the Hawks facility used exclusively for P3, there’s a straight running track, some free weights, and hi-tech treadmills. It looks simple, and in a sense, it is, although the science and technology sets it apart and makes it unique. The center can test and train 12 to 15 athletes at a time over a two-hour period. Thousands of athletes from various Olympic, amateur and pro sports have been through the doors in Santa Barbara. No athlete can train without an assessment first. Once the data is received, then a workout conducted by bio-mechanists and performance specialists and tailored specifically for that athlete, based on the results. There’s no one-size-fits-all philosophy at P3. “It’s all individualized,” said Adam Hewitt, the director of operations at P3. “All bodies are different. You can have two guys the same size and have completely different systems. One might have flexibility in his lower, but the other doesn’t. Our thought is, how do we make the athlete better using this technology?” Hewitt said this process is light years ahead of what athletes and teams did just a few years ago, mainly because science and technology is evolving and P3 is trying to stay ahead of the curve. “Others aren’t using bio-technology to assess their athletes,” he said. “We’re showing the value that we can offer. We’ve invested so much and for so long.” P3 looks at the bodies in motion with the help of motion-capture technology similar to those used in video games. The images and information allow P3 to craft workouts to strengthen limbs and also to avoid injury. Just as NBA teams have spent millions building new practice facilities and hiring nutritionists and massage therapists, Elliott thinks it’s wise they make an investment in science. “There’s a revolution going on in sports science and athlete care,” he said. “I think it was overdue in professional sports. Your average sprinter or speed skater has more science data in his physical development and he’s working a part time job at a restaurant to make ends meet. He has more resources going for him than someone you’re paying $20 million a year. That made no sense to me. Contracts are too big and players are too important to take anything to chance. There’s a lot to lose. Even if you don’t understand it all, why wouldn’t you at least want the information on the table? If you don’t have all the information then is hard to play the probability game. You’re making bets on big contracts and on players being able to perform and stay healthy.” The use of force plates to measure explosiveness while jumping is of great use for NBA players and why P3 has growing influence on most of the league. “The NBA is leading our pro sports leagues,” Elliott said. “As a league, they should be proud. The other leagues are trying to copy them. The NFL is trying to catch up, baseball, hockey, teams are starting to hire smarter people and investing more in their performance sports science staffs. A lot has changed. I feel the biggest thing is we’ve been so invested in getting insight into the data. “There’s people in academics asking questions, and people in sport are trying to do the best they can. Rarely do they come together. Our motto is bringing these together. It’s super exciting to see. At the risk of sounding pompous I’d say I’m proud of it. I know the NBA is happy because they can see the bar’s being raised.” The P3 in Atlanta will operate same as usual, with no advertising, just word of mouth and a growing number of clients. The lab anticipates helping NBA players improve their ankle and hip mobility and put them in better position to succeed through science. “It’s about turning it back to advantages to the athlete,” Elliott said. “These guys are super unique.” Veteran NBA writer Shaun Powell has worked for newspapers and other publications for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here or follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 16th, 2017