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James Harden happy to see the likes of Kai Sotto aspire to make it to the NBA

Houston Rockets star James Harden is more than delighted to see international talents aspire to one day reach the NBA as well.  The seven-time All-Star is currently in the Philippines for the adidas Free to Harden Manila 2019 tour, and was able field some questions from the media, Wednesday morning.  One of the questions that Harden was asked was what he thought of young basketball players like our very own Kai Sotto working hard to make it into the league, and what they needed to do to actually realize their dream.  The 7-foot-2 Sotto, who is currently with Gilas Youth for the FIBA U-19 World Championship in Greece, trained in the United States with the intention of pursuing an NBA career in the near future. "Amazing, not just Filipino, but international players, there’s so many international players who are making it into the NBA, it’s great," Harden said during the media interviews. "We’re taking the NBA not just for the US, but worldwide, and it gives kids, not just Filipino, not just in China, all over the world the confidence like ‘Look at my Filipino buddy who made it into the NBA. Look at my Chinese buddy who made it into the NBA. I have the confidence, I have the chance and the opportunity to make it. If I work hard, if I focus, if I keep my head right in school and stay in the gym, I can make it to the NBA too!’ so globally, the game of basketball is at another level." With Harden's steady rise to superstardom all over the world, more and more young hoopers have grown to appreciate Harden's unique style of play. All over the globe, more and more kids have started practicing the stepback jumper or the EuroStep in traffic after seeing Harden execute those moves to perfection.  Harden admits to having also learned those moves from ones who came before him, and hopes to see the next generation of hoops stars also take those moves or create their own moves and make them even better.  "Honestly, it feels great. Those moves, I learned them from someone. I watched Dwyane Wade, Manu [Ginobili], as far as the EuroStep, Paul Pierce had a crazy stepback, so I watched those guys and I learned, and I just studied and I tried to figure out ways to do those moves and be better at them, take those moves to another level, that’s what I’ve done, especially for the stepback."  "Hopefully, these kids, they’re studying and watching the game of basketball and they’re finding was to be better and hopefully they’ll take those moves or create different moves and take their basketball game to another level," he added.  Speaking of confidence, "The Beard" touched on seeing kids having confidence in their game as somewhat a motivating factor. He shared a story of a kid that he met in his most recent trip China that showed an impressive level of confidence at such a young age.  "Back when I was in China, I seen this little kid, who was maybe 7 years old, and he could shoot the ball and he had so much confidence. He hit a couple of shots in a row in front of like 5,000 people in an arena, and I was like ‘You know what, let’s see you make another shot, you can have my shoes.’ and he was like ‘Alright!’, and just shot it with so much confidence, and when he made it, it was like he knew he was going to make it already." "That’s what I love to see, that motivates me to continue to go out there and do it at a high level because you got kids that really follow and pay attention to what you’re doing and your every move, so that keeps me going," Harden continued. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 26th, 2019

Espejo tows Nat’l squad back in win column

Wih Marck Espejo back, Rebisco-Philippines made quick work of the Philippine Army Troopers, 25-12, 25-20, 25-8, in the 2019 Spikers’ Turf Reinforced Conference at the Paco Arena in Manila on Thursday. Espejo led the Philippines’ balanced attack with 13 points while Mark Alfafara added 10 to up Rebisco’s standing to 4-1. After cruising through the first two sets, Team Philippines proved to be too much for Army. Up by 16 points in the third frame, Espejo put an emphatic end to the match with a powerful kill. “Nag-rotate lang talaga kami sa ilang tao eh, kumbaga kasi ‘yung iba naglaro kanina, tapos may problema ‘yung ibang player kaya nag rotate lang kami sa i-ilang tao kaya siguro mas maganda ‘yung laro,” said assistant coach Dong Dela Cruz, who was sitting in for Dante Alinsunurin as he is in Japan. The 3-2 Troopers were led by Pj Rojas with seven markers. Meanwhile, defending champion Philippine Air Force-Go for Gold added more woes to winless AFP Olympics rival Philippine Coast Guard Dolphins,  25-15, 24-26, 25-18, 25-19. Ranran Abdilla scored 24 points built on 18 attacks, five aces, and a block while Kim Malabunga added 15 points on 11 attacks, three blocks and an ace for the 4-1 Air Force. Esmail Kasim had 21 points for the Coast Guard who fell to 0-5 in the tournament. In the first game, the IEM Phoenix Volley Masters scored an upset, come-from-behind victory against the Animo Green Spikers, 17-25, 22-25, 25-20, 25-18, 15-10, for their breakthrough win in the tournament. Former San Beda star Mark Enciso fired 19 points for IEM while Razzel Palisoc chipped in 18. Animo, who fell to a 3-2 card, was led by Green Archer Cris Dumago with 14 points while Joshua De Sequera added 11 points.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 6th, 2019

Cousins returns from injury, returns to form and delivers win

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com TORONTO — It was the moment the Warriors waited so long to see, and finally it arrived in the nick of time: The still-recovering former All-Star, out of the starting lineup for more than a minute, returning and dismissing the noise about how the team is better without him by impacting the game in multiple ways and pulling the Warriors to victory. And get this: If the Warriors are truly fortunate, Kevin Durant will recover soon and duplicate what DeMarcus Cousins just did. In the NBA Finals. If he does, it could serve a critical blow to Toronto’s chances of pulling off a late-series surprise. “We know what we’re dealing with here,” said Raptors guard Fred VanVleet. Cousins provided the help that the two-time defending champions needed Sunday (Monday, PHL time) to draw even in the series and snatch momentum with a 109-104 victory at Scotiabank Arena. He played more than anyone thought, rebounded more than anyone imagined, defended and scored more than Toronto bargained for, and gave the Warriors what they missed the last 6 1/2 weeks with him on the shelf. The 11 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and two blocked shots from Cousins didn’t fully encapsulate how much relief he brought to the Warriors. He had a galvanizing effect on a team that used an 18-0 run to start the second half to seize control of Game 3 and then used Andre Iguodala’s three-point shot to ice it. They haven’t been in one piece since April 15 (April 16, PHL time), in the first round against the Clippers, when Cousins chased a loose ball, stumbled and grabbed his left leg. The torn quad required no surgery but a lengthy rehab period, and this after Cousins went through a 10-month rehab for a torn Achilles' tendon in the spring of 2018. He was feeling beat up. Cousins attacked the process anyway, determined to return from an injury that normally would mean the end to his postseason, for the simple reason that he hadn’t been to the playoffs in his career to this point. There’s also a matter of free agency awaiting in July; a strong return could improve his bottom line. “Once they told me I have a chance, a slight chance, of being able to return, it basically was up to me and the work I put in,” he said. “So I put the work and the time in and with God’s grace I’m able to be out here and play the game I love.” Cousins was clearly out of rhythm from the layoff in Game 1, his timing rusty, his execution unsure. He played just eight minutes without scoring a basket or drawing much attention from Toronto. But Warriors coach Steve Kerr made the surprise decision to start Cousins three nights later, and that faith was repaid handsomely. Cousins was active, his confidence growing stronger by the minute -- 27 of them, actually, and he only asked to be subbed out once. “We came in thinking he can maybe play 20 minutes,” said Kerr. “He was fantastic and we needed everything he gave out there: his rebounding, his toughness, his physical presence, getting the ball in the paint, and just playing big, like he does. We needed all of that.” What the Warriors hoped was for Cousins to be the best big man on the floor. In Game 1, that honor went to Raptors center Marc Gasol, who uncharacteristically became a prime scoring option for the Raptors with 20 points, most on open jumpers. Cousins didn’t give him that amount of breathing space in Game 2, and Gasol (six points) was never a factor. Cousins' teammates offered rave reviews. Steph Curry: “Obviously you get more comfortable with more minutes and playing aggressive. He puts a lot of pressure on their defense. It’s a big lift for us. More to come.” Draymond Green: “The more he plays, the better feel he gets. He was great on both ends. It allowed us to play through him in the post. Toronto knows. They’ve got to honor that, and we know what he’s capable of doing if they don’t.” Cousins had an amusing reaction to learning he was in the starting lineup — “I was like, ‘Cool’” — and feels as though he has more to give. “When I step on the floor, I’m going to leave it out there,” he said. “I want to be on this stage. This is what I’ve worked for my entire career, to have this opportunity to play for something.” Cousins spent seven years in purgatory in Sacramento, where he racked up losses and technicals. It was a frustrating time for him; he had no faith in the franchise's leadership and it soured his attitude. His trade to the Pelicans two years ago was met with enthusiasm; he teamed with Anthony Davis to form an intimidating front line, but the Achilles’ injury cut short his time on the floor and, ultimately, in New Orleans. The team refused to offer him a contract last summer, leading him to join the Warriors at a discount. So his purpose is to salvage what’s left of the season, capture a ring for his troubles and see what it brings this summer. And then there’s the matter of Durant. The two-time Finals MVP hasn’t been cleared for full-contact practice, and the Warriors will hold only one prior to Game 3. Kerr said it’s “feasible” that Durant could play with only one practice under his belt, yet that’s not the ideal scenario. What Cousins does is buy them more time with Durant. With the series tied 1-1, and the next two games in Oakland, and Cousins apparently rounding into form, there’s a bit less urgency to see Durant on the floor. Yet it appears to be a matter of when, not if, Durant will see action in this series. And it might be at the perfect moment, with Klay Thompson suffering a hamstring injury in the fourth quarter that forced him off the court. The All-Star guard later told Kerr he’s fine and that the hamstring tightness is minor, but his status will be determined by MRI. Given what’s happened so far, the Warriors can never be too careful or take the rosy view when it comes to muscle issues. They’ve established a theme that tells the story of their 2019 postseason, and it’s not one they designed or even wanted, but it fits their existence nonetheless: “recovery” and their ability to do so on all front. It's not just injuries. Even in sweeping Portland, Golden State had to recover from deficits of 17, 18 and 17 points in the Western Conference Finals. Trailing 1-0 in these NBA Finals, they recovered from 12 down to win on the road for a 23rd straight series, an NBA record. What the Warriors reminded everyone at Scotiabank Arena, in case folks forgot, is that they’re champions and bring plenty of know-how to this series, and are fully capable of winning games by any means necessary. “It’s big respect for them,” said Kawhi Leonard. “They have been here each of the last four years, won the last two, and you’ve got to take the challenge. They’re a great team.” But the Warriors would rather put a fully-loaded and healthy squad -- one that is clearly the class of the NBA -- on the court and win with that. This NBA Finals might finally get the Warriors at full strength. If not, they still might be more than the Raptors can handle. Shaun Powell has covered the NBA for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here, and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 3rd, 2019

Antetokounmpo learning how to deal with playoff disappointment

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com TORONTO – Whenever LeBron James struggled through the sort of playoff performance Giannis Antetokounmpo had Sunday (Monday, PHL time), he seemed to want to put it behind him as swiftly as he could. His routine – assuming it wasn’t The Finals, where he got summoned to the podium, win or lose – typically went like this: the door to the Cleveland or Miami dressing room would swing open and there James would be, ready to face the questions, antsy to move on ASAP. Once he ‘fessed up to the shots he’d missed or the plays he’d botched, that was it. Oh, you knew he’d be looking plenty at video of that game in the hours before he played again, as a way to find and fix the flaws. But for public consumption at least, he shed it fast, like an ill-fitting suit. Antetokounmpo, the Milwaukee Bucks’ young star, is still learning this face-of-the-franchise and cutthroat competitor stuff. He took his time afterward in the spartan visitors’ room at Scotiabank Arena. [Watch the Playoffs on NBA League Pass for 30% less with this limited time offer! Select Annual package and use code SAVE30 at checkout to redeem] There he sat, with his knees wrapped and his feet plunged into an ice bath. The Kia MVP candidate stared at the score sheet that had been handed to him, the one bearing all sorts of dreary news from the double-overtime setback that cut Milwaukee’s lead in the best-of-seven series to 2-1. Antetokounmpo barely looked up as the semicircle of cameras, microphones and reporters around him grew with media people tip-toeing that fine line between giving him some space and blocking out for position whenever he’d finally take their questions. (“Talk,” as we say in the trade). Heck, Antetokounmpo barely looked up when Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer strode through the dressing room and tapped him on his left knee, a little atta-boy bonding near the end of a long, disappointing night. While teammates poked habitually at their phones in the aftermath of Milwaukee’s 118-112 loss, Antetokounmpo mostly let his lie there on the seat next to him. By the standards he set this year as an MVP favorite, he knew he’d had a lousy night. The reporters standing there, like fans everywhere, knew he’d struggled, of course, in ways rarely seen since his first taste of the postseason four years ago. And he knew that they knew, so… “Obviously it wasn’t my best game,” Antetokounmpo said eventually. “I’ve got to be more aggressive… I’ve got to make the right play.” Defensively, Antetokounmpo was pretty much his usual self, grabbing 23 rebounds for the Bucks, challenging Toronto’s players out on the floor and close to the rim, and blocking four shots. Offensively, though, Antetokounmpo was a mess. He scored only 12 points, his fewest in a playoff game since he was first dipping his toe into postseason waters as a 20-year-old back in 2015. Through three quarters, Antetokounmpo had only six points on 3-for-8 shooting. Seven Milwaukee players and five Raptors had outscored him to that point, and he hadn’t earned his way to the foul line even once. What made it all worse was that the game was sitting there, aching to be taken by someone, anyone. Antetokounmpo got himself going a bit in the fourth quarter, making a couple of shots and earning five free throws. But he missed three. Then he went scoreless while playing the entire first overtime. And then he fouled out just 36 seconds into the second OT. He didn’t object, either, when that sixth foul for stepping in front of Toronto’s Pascal Siakam sent him to the side. Antetokounmpo just took it and exited, sealing it as one of those “not your night, kid” hard lessons. Asked about the frustration that Antetokounmpo might have shown to teammates, if not the public, Bucks guard Eric Bledsoe said: “If you don’t feel bad when you play bad, you don’t need to be playing this game. That’s the feeling that drives you to success. I’m happy he’s feeling like that.” Antetokounmpo’s game didn’t just spin sideways on its own. Raptors coach Nick Nurse switched some defensive duties around and assigned Kawhi Leonard – a two-time Defensive Player of the Year with the wingspan, instincts and reflexes to confound any open-court player – as the tip of Toronto’s spear against the Greek Freak. Then, as expected, Toronto sent second defenders at him, the surest way to get the ball out of Antetokounmpo’s hands or force him into difficult shots. So he tried to make the right basketball plays, as they say, and sometimes he did – he dished a team-high seven assists. Sometimes, though, he did not, turning over the ball eight times. For the record, Antetokounmpo has played 31 postseason games in his young career. In the games in which he has scored fewer than 19 points, his team’s record is 3-6. When he scores 19 or more, the Bucks are 14-8. Not to lay it all at Antetokounmpo’s feet. Fellow All-Star Khris Middleton was way off his usual offensive form, missing 13 of his 16 shots. And Bledsoe matched that. Together, those three starters were a combined 11-of-48. The rest of the team shot 50 percent (27 of 54). “We have the utmost respect and belief that the next game is not going to be as bad as [this] was,” said guard George Hill, who scored 24 points off the bench. “But I know it's sitting in their head that they go for a combined 11-of-48 or something like that. We're not worried about it.” Right. Who’s even counting? Budenholzer and his staff are going to have to figure out ways to get scoring opportunities without being stymied by all the defensive traffic. Teammates are going to have to shoot better, to keep those diggers honest in their matchups. And Antetokounmpo is going to need to play more aggressively and take what happened in Game 3 very personally. He wasn’t quite there yet, Sunday night (Monday, PHL time). “Obviously I want to stay aggressive. But we stick to our game plan,” Antetokounmpo said. “Some days I’m going to have a bad night. But my team has to focus on doing their job and I’ll do mine.” Said Brook Lopez, after watching the throng swallow Antetokounmpo on the opposite side of the room: “We know he’s not going to quit or stop playing. He’s going to continue to be him.” As he talked, Lopez’s phone began vibrating next to him. He said it was Bucks GM Jon Horst calling and, in a bit of gallows humor after a stinging loss, joked that maybe he shouldn’t answer. “I don’t know if I should pick up or not,” the Milwaukee center said, “’cause I want to be here tomorrow.” Antetokounmpo has a call to answer now, too. In Game 4, Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time). 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 NewsMay 20th, 2019

Steph or Seth? Coin flip to decide who mom, dad represent

By Steve Reed, Associated Press Dell Curry was standing near the loading dock at the Pepsi Center in Denver when Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum approached, gave him a big hug and asked, “Which shirt are you wearing” for the Western Conference final? “Got to flip a coin,” Curry responded. Literally. With sons Stephen and Seth Curry becoming the first siblings to face each other in an NBA conference final, it’s a dilemma most any parent would love to have. [Watch the Playoffs on NBA League Pass for 30% less with this limited time offer! Select Annual package and use code SAVE30 at checkout to redeem] Dell and his wife, Sonya, decided wearing a split jersey with the Warriors and Blazers would be “too easy.” Instead, they’ll flip a coin before each game in the best-of-seven series to determine which team they’ll represent. It will go something like this: If Sonya flips heads, she’ll wear Blazers attire to support Seth, while Dell wears Stephen’s Warriors colors. If the coin lands on tails, she’ll dress in Warriors clothing while Dell dons Blazers gear. The next game Dell gets to flip the coin, and so on — until the series is decided. So who gets to flip the coin for Game 1 on Tuesday night (Wednesday, PHL time)? “Well, we have to flip to see who flips first,” Dell said with a laugh. “There’s going to be a lot of coin flipping going on.” And a lot of traveling. Dell and Sonya Curry plan to attend every game, sitting with Stephen’s wife Ayesha at Warriors home games and with Seth’s fiance Callie Rogers when the Blazers host. But Dell, who played 16 seasons in the NBA and is currently a TV analyst for the Charlotte Hornets, said the entire situation is just a bit unnerving for him. “I normally don’t get nervous for games when either one of them play,” he said. “But I got a little nervous knowing how they’re going to play against each other.” As hard as this will be on the parents, Dell knows it will be even more difficult for his sons. “It’s going to be tough to put everything aside and battle each other because as siblings they want each other to do well,” Dell said. “They watch each other’s games and cheer for each other.” Earlier this year, the Curry boys competed against each other in the three-point shootout at the All-Star game in their hometown of Charlotte, with 31-year-old Steph getting the best of his younger brother. Seth, 28, said it’s hard to believe they’ll now meet in the playoffs. “So many years I’ve watched Steph play in the Western Conference final, the NBA Finals, being in the crowd,” Seth Curry said. “It’s going to be fun to be out there on the court, competing, to get to that final. It’s a dream come true for us, but our families are going to have a lot of fun as well.” Steph Curry has been to the NBA Finals four times, winning three with the Warriors. This is his brother’s first playoff run. “It would be great for Seth to get a (championship) ring, but we can’t root for one son over the other,” 54-year-old Dell Curry said. “We’re just going to let it play out and have fun watching them both play.” Dell said it’s been fun, and exhausting. The Currys have been jetting around the country for the last month on commercial flights, back and forth between Oakland, Portland, Los Angeles, Denver and Houston to see their sons play. They’ve attended 21 of their sons’ combined 24 playoff games, only missing two Blazers’ first-round games in Oklahoma City and one second-round game in Denver. Sometimes, they wake up in a hotel unsure of what city they’re in. “Everybody says to us, ‘you guys have to be tired,’” Dell said. “I’m like, well, we’ll probably sleep for a week when it’s over.” __ AP Sports Writer Pat Graham in Denver, Colorado contributed to this report......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 13th, 2019

Celtics ready to take best charge by Giannis, Bucks

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com MILWAUKEE -- Giannis Antetokounmpo and his Milwaukee Bucks teammates are eager to get going in the Eastern Conference semifinals, as bottled up as they’ve felt in waiting six days between playoff games. A perfect offensive start to Game 1 of their best-of-seven series against Boston would look something like Giannis grabbing the basketball, racing downcourt with one of his breathtaking, three-dribble, end-to-end run-outs and attacking the rim with the ferocity and scowl with which he’s played all season. [Watch the Playoffs on NBA League Pass for 30% less with this limited time offer! Select Annual package and use code SAVE30 at checkout to redeem] Perfect, that is, until Jaylen Brown slides over to plant himself between Antetokounmpo and the restricted area. Whoops! Pancaked Jaylen gets the whistle, while chastened Giannis picks up his first foul and turnover of the Sunday matinee (early Monday, PHL time). It's a strategy out of judo or jiu-jitsu, using your opponent’s power and aggression to your advantage, and it’s one the Celtics likely will deploy against the Bucks’ star and Kia MVP candidate. Getting between Antetokounmpo and the rim isn’t the most comfortable way to defend the against the Greek Freak’s drives into the lane, his maddening Euro Step and his ability to reach up, over and beyond with arms fit for a crane. He’s all elbows and knees, muscles and bones, and at 6'11" and 242 pounds, he’s been giving as much physical punishment as he takes this season. A defender has to absorb that and then sell the move, too, falling backward to the floor. No fun. But it might be one of the few effective ways to slow – if not stop – Antetokounmpo on a Bucks possession, with the added benefits of killing momentum, planting some doubt and ticking up his personal fouls count closer toward an all-critical sixth. Brown and Celtics teammate Terry Rozier both suggested Antetokounmpo could be slowed by such a maneuver. Celtics coach Brad Stevens, in a conference call with reporters Saturday (Sunday, PHL time), wasn’t so sure. “The bottom line is, if you go downhill with the force and speed that he does, there are going to be moments where he charges,” Stevens said. “There also are moments where he draws blocking fouls and scores 'and-ones.' He does that a lot more than he charges. “So you’d better not let him get that head of steam very often.” Easier said than done. Antetokounmpo has become one of the most ferocious rim attackers in the league. He was seemingly unstoppable inside this season, shooting 72.6 percent from five feet or less per NBA.com stats. With 583 field goals from that range, Antetokounmpo had nearly 100 more than the league’s No. 2, Detroit center Andre Drummond (486). Oh, and counting the games against the Pistons in the first round, Antetokounmpo has successfully dunked the ball 289 times – 119 of which have come without assists, meaning either put-backs or throwdowns in which he brought the ball in there with him. Here’s where the 24-year-old’s attack mode can be used against him: He also committed 68 offensive fouls this season – tied for most in the NBA with Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns. Certainly he got fouled with the ball way more than he fouled – Antetokounmpo shot 686 free throws, second only to James Harden’s 858. Nearly seven of his 27.7 points per game came from the line. But foul trouble can slow Antetokounmpo’s roll, as with anybody. If it’s early enough or severe enough, it can take him off the floor completely, and for long stretches. At the least, it might make him a bit less assertive, a wee more passive the next time he might otherwise barrel downcourt. “I definitely keep it in my mind,” Antetokounmpo said Friday (Saturday, PHL time), asked about the charge/block challenge he might face against the Celtics. “It’s not just them. A lot of teams try to stop me by taking charges. “But that’s the fun part about it. They’re not thinking about how they’re going to defend me; they’re thinking about how they’re going to try to take charges. If I can be under control and be at my own pace and try to be smart with not taking charges, if I get to my spot it’s going to be tough.” Here’s a breakdown of Antetokounmpo’s impact with and without nagging foul concerns: In the 31 games in which he was called for four fouls or more (including two disqualifications with six), the Bucks star averaged 25.7 points and eight times logged fewer than 30 minutes. Milwaukee’s record: 23-8 (.742). In the 41 games Antetokounmpo finished with three fouls or fewer, he averaged 29.2 points. He played at least 30 minutes in 34 of the 41, and the Bucks went 33-8 (.805). Boston has defenders willing to give up their bodies, including three of the NBA’s top 20 in charges drawn: Aron Baynes (18), Marcus Smart (15) and Kyrie Irving (13). Smart, still out with a left oblique tear, won’t play in at least the first two games of the series. But Semi Ojeleye is a physical forward who drew Antetokounmpo as an assignment at times in the three regular season meetings – he started twice – and took three charges this season. In the three games, Antetokounmpo was called for a total of seven fouls, including three charges. (For the record, Milwaukee’s Ersan Ilyasova led the NBA in that defensive category with 50, despite playing only 1,231 minutes in 67 games.) Several Celtics will try standing in or stepping in, depending how the referees call it, against Antetokounmpo. It will take timing, footwork, physical sacrifice … and some good fortune. “It’s one of those things that’s easier said than done,” said Milwaukee coach Mike Budenholzer. “Luckily for us, it’s nothing that he hasn’t seen or nothing new.” Said Stevens: “The No. 1 thing [Giannis] has always been is exceptional downhill, exceptional in transition. And when I say ‘exceptional’ I mean one of very few to ever have played the game. “I just think, ultimately, you have to be able to move your feet. You have to be able to guard with pride. You have to be able to do all that, but nobody can do that by themselves against him.” 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 NewsApr 28th, 2019

PSA to honor Diaz as 2016 Athlete of the Year

Behind her powerful arms and legs, a young petite lady gave Philippine sports a lift it badly needed in the year just passed. Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz gave this country of 100 million people something to cheer about at the break of dawn one rainy day in August after copping an Olympic medal that was long overdue during the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Games. A combination of hard work, effort, heart, and sheer luck paved the way for the 25-year-old pride of Zamboanga City to run away with the silver in the women’s 53-kg weight division behind eventual winner Hsu Shu-Ching of Chinese Taipei. Diaz totaled a combined 200 kgs. in both the snatch and clean and jerk to the 212 of the Taiwanese bet. An Airwoman First Class at the Philippine Air Force, Diaz was only hoping for a bronze medal finish, but ended up a surprise runner up when fancied Li Yaiun of China – who earlier set an Olympic record in the snatch - failed to complete her final two attempts in the clean and jerk. “Sabi ko thank you Lord. Bronze lang ang hinihingi ko, pero silver ang ibinigay mo,” said Diaz moments after her triumph as the first-ever Filipina to win an Olympic medal. The Cinderella finish by Diaz was the first for the country in the last 20 years since boxer Mansueto ‘Onyok’ Velasco punched his way to a similar silver medal feat during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Hidilyn also became the first Filipino weightlifter to win an Olympic medal for the country and the only one to bag a silver outside of boxers Velasco and the late Anthony Villanueva (1964 Tokyo Games). In the light of her outstanding feats, the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) was one and unanimous in naming Diaz its 2016 Athlete of the Year during its traditional Awards Night presented by MILO and San Miguel on Feb. 13 at the LE PAVILION in Pasay City. Diaz is the first lady to be feted by the country’s oldest media organization with its highest individual honor after boxer Josie Gabuco and the Team Manila women’s softball team in 2012. “This one is a no-brainer. Hidilyn Diaz is truly the hands-down choice as the 2016 PSA Athlete of the Year,” said PSA president Riera Mallari, sports editor of The Standard. Last year, pro boxers Nonito Donaire Jr. and Donnie Nietes, along with young golfer Miguel Tabuena were the recipient of the coveted award annually handed out by the PSA, comprised by editors and sportswriters from the different broadsheets, tabloids, and online portals in the country. Diaz, who came home empty handed during both the 2008 (Beijing) and 2012 (London) Olympics, respectively, leads a long list of personalities and entities to be recognized during the formal rite co-presented by CIGNAL/HYPHER TV. In the coming days and weeks, recipients of the President’s Award, Lifetime Achievement honor, Executive of the Year, National Sports Association of the Year, Mr. Basketball, Mr. Golf, Mr. Football, and Ms. Volleyball will also be named as part of the two-hour program backed by Smart, Foton, Mighty Sports, Philippine Basketball Association, ACCEL, Gold Toe, SM Prime Holdings Inc., Globalport, Rain or Shine, ICTSI, and MVPSF. There will also be major awardees in different sports and citations to various personalities and entities in the annual rite backed by the Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, and Federal Land. Not to be missed out is the PSA’s recognition to young promising achievers such as the Tony Siddayao Awards and the Milo Male and Female Junior Athletes of the Year, as well as posthumous awards to those dearly departed friends of the local sportswriting community.   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 19th, 2017

Valdez spreads wings, begins Thailand journey

Alyssa Valdez’s international club league career started Sunday when the Filipina volleyball superstar flew to Thailand to join 3BB Nakornnont.   The former UAAP three-time Most Valuable Player will start training with the club as 3BB Nakornnont prepares for the second round of the Thai League. Valdez will debut for 3BB on January 29 against King-Bangkok. “Siguro hindi ko rin ma-explain kung gaano ako ka-excited at kung gaano ako kinakabahan kasi it’s a different challenge,” said the 23-year-old Valdez in an interview with ABS-CBN Sports. “Kasi mag-isa lang ako, 'yung lahat ng mga external factors nandoon na rin.” Valdez, who was given the green light by the Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. to play abroad Saturday, will join her former Bureau of Customs teammates Kanjana Kuthaisong and Nattanicha Jaisaen. “At least naging teammates ko naman ang few players doon,’ she said. Valdez will stay in Thailand until early April as the team will also play in the Thai-Denmark Suepr League. But what excites Valdez, who bannered the national women’s volleyball team in its return to the Southeast Asian Games two years ago in Singapore, the most is the chance to go up against Thai superstar and Southeast Asia’s most popular player Pleumjit Thinkaow.   “Di ko ba nakakalaban sina Pleumjit and 'yung mga senior (players ng mga) teams,” said the Team Philippines flag-bearer during the 2015 SEA Games. “Noong SEA Games naman kasi last time hindi natin sila ka-bracket. I’m really excited.” “I’m really looking forward na makalaban talaga sila o makaharapan lang sila di ba?” she added. “Iba 'yung excitement kasi makakalaban mo ‘yung mga experienced teams tapos ‘yung team namin sobrang bata rin. Feeling ko matututo ako sa mga kids at the same time sa mga veteran ng Thailand also para ma-help pa kung ano 'yung mga kailangan kong i-improve as a player and as an individual also.”     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles       .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 15th, 2017

Thomas steadies Celtics, Horford triumphant in return home

em>By George Henry, Associated Press /em> ATLANTA (AP) -- Isaiah Thomas scored 13 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter, Al Horford made a triumphant return and the Boston Celtics snapped the Atlanta Hawks' seven-game winning streak with a 103-101 victory Friday night (Saturday, PHL time). Paul Millsap and Tim Hardaway Jr. each had 23 points for Atlanta. The Hawks had won 12-of-16 to move into fourth place in the Eastern Conference. But the third-place Celtics hit 17 three-pointers and got a season-high 26 points from reserve forward Kelly Olynyk to push past a Hawks team that missed too many open looks from the perimeter. Horford, a fan favorite during his nine seasons in Atlanta, was booed many times throughout the night after leaving the team as a free agent last summer. He received a standing ovation, though, and waved happily to the crowd after the Hawks showed a brief video tribute between the first and second quarters. Horford finished with 10 points, six rebounds and six assists in 35 minutes. Thomas was unstoppable in the closing minutes, hitting a 15-footer and a three-pointer before knocking down a 19-footer just with two seconds remaining to make it 103-101. Millsap missed a jumper at the buzzer. Boston blistered Atlanta in the third, using a 20-5 run to go up 77-57 on Terry Rozier's 21-footer. Hardaway's short jumper trimmed the lead to 91-85 with 4:24 remaining, and Mike Dunleavy, making his Atlanta debut for the first time since last week's trade, rattled in a corner triple to pull the Hawks within two at the 2:12 mark. The Celtics hit eight of its first 11 beyond the arc to take a 28-16 lead at the 2:33 mark of the first, but missed their next 10 attempts on three’s to help Atlanta force a 42-all tie on a pair of free throws by Millsap. Jae Crowder added 18 points, including four three’s, for Boston. strong>TIP-INS /strong> em> strong>Celtics: /strong> /em>Began the night ranked 29th in rebounding -- 18 spots behind Atlanta -- but each team grabbed 43 boards. Crowder had a game-high nine and Olynyk had eight. em> strong>Hawks: /strong> /em>G Dennis Schroder picked up his fourth foul midway through the third and finished with just four points on 2-for-11 shooting. Reserve forward Mike Muscala went 0-for-7 from the field and didn't score. Dunleavy, acquired in the trade that sent Kyle Korver to Cleveland on Jan. 7, scored six points on a pair of three’s. strong>KEEP IT COMING /strong> Olynyk, a reserve forward, played so well in the first half, going 7-for-9 from the field for 18 points, that Celtics coach Brad Stevens put him on the floor over Amir Johnson to begin the third. Johnson played just eight minutes of the second half and ended the game scoreless. strong>TRIBUTE TO PISTOL PETE /strong> The Hawks wore dark blue and lime green-trimmed uniforms for the first time since the early 2000s. The strange-looking design was made memorable by Pete Maravich, the star guard who played his first four seasons in Atlanta through 1973-74. strong>MORE TESTS /strong> Celtics C Tyler Zeller, sidelined with a sinus infection, didn't make the trip and was inactive for the sixth straight game. Stevens said Zeller has undergone a gamut of tests because he still feels disoriented. 'He gets final results tomorrow but he's feeling a lot better in the last couple of days,' Stevens said. 'It's dissipated a little bit.' strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Celtics: /strong> /em> Host Charlotte on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time). em> strong>Hawks: /strong> /em> Host Milwaukee on Sunday (Monday, PHL time). .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 14th, 2017

Valdez promises to return to V-League after Thailand stint

Filipina volleyball superstar Alyssa Valdez will be away for four months to play overseas but promised to still see action in the next season of the V-League. Valdez is set to leave for Thailand on January 15 to join 3BB Nakornnont for the second round of the Thai League and for the Thai-Denmark Super League which will run until the second week of April. But the former Ateneo de Manila Queen Eagle said that she’ll return after her stint in Thailand to play in the 14th season of the V-League.    “Yun nga din. Well I think naiintindihan din naman nila (V-League) ang schedule so I guess if aabot or may team din na willing tanggapin ako kahit may mga ganoong circumstances OK naman ‘yun sa akin. Pero then again if wala naman Ok lang din sa akin,” said the three-time UAAP Most Valuable Player. The V-League will open in March with the staging of the Reinforced Conference. If a V-League team taps Valdez, the open hitter won’t be available until midway in the conference. “Basta no matter what kung aabot ako o hindi ako aabot. Kung may willing magpalaro sa akin, basta kung kaya lalaro naman talaga ako here,” added the 23-year-old two-time UAAP champion. Valdez last played for Bureau of Customs in the V-League Reinforced Conference, leading the young team to a runner-up finish after absorbing a Finals series sweep against powerhouse Pocari Sweat in the import-laden season-ending tournament.   But the pride of San Juan, Batangas’ contract with BoC has expired after the conference and she is open to entertain other interested clubs. Valdez played for BaliPure in the Open Conference before transferring to BoC. “Wala akong (contract sa BoC) kasi di ba new season, new year na din? So I think it’s a brand new discussion and brand new (contract) na rin,” said Valdez. Valdez debuts for 3BB Nakornnont, where she will be reunited with BoC teammates Kanjana Kuthaisong and Nattanicha Jaisaen, on January 29.         --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 10th, 2017

SSC-R targets at least a semis playoff

strong>Games Wednesday: /strong> (The Arena, San Juan) 8:30 a.m. --- AU vs. CSB (jrs) 10:00 a.m. --- AU vs. CSB (m) 11:30 a.m. --- AU vs. CSB (w) 12:30 p.m. --- Perpetual vs. SSC-R (w) 2:00 p.m. --- Perpetual vs. SSC-R (m) 3:30 p.m. --- Perpetual vs. SSC-R (jrs)     Unbeaten San Sebastian College goes for at least a playoff for a semifinals spot on Wednesday when the Lady Stags return to action in the 92 sund /su NCAA women’s volleyball competition at The Arena in San Juan. Carrying an immaculate 6-0 win-loss record, SSC-R looks to remain on top of the standings and plant a foot to the next round when it takes on a dangerous Perpetual Help side in the scheduled 12:30 p.m. clash. Behind reigning back-to-back Most Valuable Player winner Grethcel Soltones, who is averaging 16.16 points per game, the Lady Stags won its first six games including a straight sets victory over the Emilio Aguinaldo College Lady Generals last December 6 before the long holiday break. SSC-R is just three wins away from sweeping the elimination round that will propel them straight to the Finals with a thrice-to-beat advantage. In this scenario, the top three teams after the elims will play in a stepladder semis format with the no. 2 team enjoying a twice-to-beat advantage.    But Lady Stags head coach Roger Gorayeb is concerned with the mentality of his team heading into the crucial stretch of the elims with Perpetual, Lyceum of the Philippines and defending champion College of St. Benilde standing in their way.    “’Yung kasing kilos nila kung oobserbahan ko ngayon, ‘yang kilos nilang ‘yan hindi yan pang-straight (elims sweep) na panalo,” said Gorayeb. “Wala, ang dami pa nilang butas.” The mentor added that facing Perpetual will serve as an acid test for his wards. “Ang iniisip ko ngayon ay yung laro ng team ko at hindi yung laro ng iba,” he said. “Masusubukan kami sa huling tatlong laro namin.” The Lady Altas after a sluggish start won three games in a row for a 3-2 slate with Lourdes Clemente, who is averaging 10.6 points per outing, leading the way. Perpetual is coming off a 29-27, 25-15, 25-21 win over Letran last December 7. Meanwhile, CSB is also gunning for a semis spot playoff against streaking Arellano University at 11:30 a.m. The Lady Blazers sit a solo second with 6-1 slate ahead of the Lady Chiefs and idle LPU, who are tied at third and fourth spots with identical 5-1 cards. In men’s play, the league-leading Blazers (6-1) and Chiefs (5-1) face off at 10:00 a.m. while the Altas (4-1) and Stags’ showdown is slate at 2:00 p.m. In the juniors play, AU (3-2) and CSB (0-4) clash in the 8:00 a.m. opener while Perpetual (3-1) and SSC-R (0-4) collide in the 3:30 p.m. match.     ---       Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles        .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 10th, 2017

Pinay singer Ivy Grace Paredes leaves The X Factor UK with standing ovation

Pinay singer Ivy Grace Paredes leaves The X Factor UK with standing ovation.....»»

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Big Brother says teen housemates ‘too touchy’

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‘The X Factor’ is back

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Category: entertainmentSource:  thestandardRelated NewsSep 13th, 2016

WATCH: Filipina stuns judges in 'X-Factor UK' with Whitney hit

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Pinay mom Ivy Grace Paredes impresses X Factor UK 13 judges with Whitney Houston hit

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High court probes 4 ‘narco-judges’

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Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsAug 9th, 2016

‘Du30 exposé premature’

CHIEF Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno on Monday admonished President Rodrigo Duterte for naming seven judges who have been accused of coddling drug lords, describing his exposé as “premature” and saying it could put their lives at risk......»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsAug 8th, 2016

4TH Impact in New Season of ‘The X Factor UK’

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Category: entertainmentSource:  thestandardRelated NewsAug 3rd, 2016

‘Elder statesmen’

It was a sight to behold, one incumbent and four former presidents standing next to each other. President Rodrigo Duterte and former Presidents Fidel Ramos, Joseph Estrada, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Benigno Aquino III were photographed together as they .....»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsJul 27th, 2016