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The Headlines So Far in the 2017-18 NBA Season

The new NBA season is still in its early stages, but it feels like we’re already in the thick of things with so much happening already. Luck of the Irish The Celtics, despite losing Gordon Hayward to a season-ending injury, currently have the best record in the league and own the longest winning streak so far this year with 16 games won consecutively. Kyrie Irving and Al Horford have been leading the charge, with young guns Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum upping their game. It certainly won’t be surprising to see them secure the top seed in the East this season if their remarkable play continues. Steve Kerr even declared the Celtics as the East’s “team of the future.” International Beasts of the East Giannis Antetokounmpo is already staking his claim as the league’s MVP, averaging nearly 30 points a game at a very efficient 55% clip as of this writing. With Eric Bledsoe assisting with ball-handling duties, the young Buck’s play is only bound to get better. Remember, Antetokounmpo still hasn’t even developed an outside shot yet. Imagine what the Greek Freak can do when he finally does. Kristaps Porzingis has also been unleashed in New York after the departure of Carmelo Anthony and Phil Jackson. The Latvian big man has been on a roll, taking advantage of an increased usage rate to average 27.3 points per game. The Knicks are exceeding expectations—The Playoffs doesn’t seem to be a far-fetched reality for them if Porzingis and the rest of the team can keep this up. After playing only 31 games last season, Joel Embiid has been making up for lost time. Along with Ben Simmons, the Cameroonian standout has been leading the Philadelphia to its best start in years, averaging 22.7 points and 11 boards. Additionally, Embiid has been posting roughly 2 blocks per game, and he says that he’s going to go for the Defensive Player of the Year Award this season. It looks like the Sixers fans’ are finally being rewarded for trusting the process. The Rookies Have Been Doing Work In his first season on the floor, Ben Simmons has been averaging 18. 7 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 7.6 assists per outing. And in almost every game, he’s been flirting with a triple-double. At this rate, it looks like he’s going to be the frontrunner in the Rookie of the Year race. Another solid performer is Jayson Tatum, who is one of the primary contributors in the Celtics’ stellar start. He’s been averaging an efficient 14.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 1.5 assist per game in around 30 minutes of play. From deep, Tatum has been drilling 48% of his threes. With his smart play, sometimes, it feels like we’re not watching a rookie. Kyle Kuzma, perhaps the biggest steal in this year’s draft class, is currently outperforming most rookies picked ahead of him, including fellow Laker and #3 draftee Lonzo Ball. Kuzma has been averaging 16.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 15 assists, and he’s shooting nearly 50% from the field and 36% from deep. While he still has a bit of work to do on the defensive end, he’s shaping up to be a cornerstone in LA’s post-Kobe era. Warriors still Super Team to Beat During the offseason, several teams secured major acquisitions to reinforce their lineups. The Cavs were able to reload with future Hall of Fame guards and versatile wings on board. OKC acquired two All-Stars in Paul George and Carmelo Anthony, but are still in the process of figuring things out. Minnesota was able to add Jimmy Butler to its young core. But despite the trades and signings, the Golden State Warriors remain the most “super” of the squads with the “super team” tag. After starting the season 1-2, the Warriors have regained their dominating form and are now back with their winning ways—and it seems that they won’t be slowing down anytime soon. Kevin Durant has been on a tear, but it’s Steph Curry that currently leads the team in points per game (25.5), steals per game (1.8), and in Player Efficiency Rating (27.6). He remains the fulcrum of Golden State’s offense, the man that won’t let the Dubs down. Steph Curry continues to perform at a high level because he depends on the World’s No. 1 Deodorant to stay cool and confident. The two-time MVP only trusts Rexona Ice Cool to help him fee dry and fresh all day, so he can be his best on the court, and even off it. It’ll be interesting to see if these stories and trends continue as we go along the new season. Stay tuned, hoops fans!  .....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnDec 21st, 2017

Talk about political football: No Eagles at the White House

By Jill Colvin and Jonathan Lemire, Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) — Taking on the NFL and football's Super Bowl champs, President Donald Trump gave the boot to a White House ceremony for the Philadelphia Eagles on Tuesday and instead threw his own brief "Celebration of America" after it became clear most players weren't going to show up. Both sides traded hot accusations about who was to blame. Trump tried to turn the fracas into a referendum on patriotism and tie it to the dispute over players who have taken a knee during the national anthem to protest racism and police brutality. However, Eagles players never knelt during the "Star-Spangled Banner," throughout the 2017 season and their march to the Super Bowl. The White House accused Eagles team members of pulling a "political stunt" and abandoning their fans by backing out at the last minute. Indeed, few apparently were going to come, though some expressed disappointment that they'd been disinvited and complained Trump was unfairly painting them as anti-American. Through it all, Trump appeared to revel in fanning the flames of a culture war that he believes revs up his political base. Trump had long been leery of the Eagles' planned visit to the White House, in part because the team's owner, Jeffrey Lurie, has been a Trump critic, and because several players have been vocal critics of the league's new policy that requires players to stand if they're on the field during the national anthem or else stay in the locker room. White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the team notified the White House last Thursday that 81 people, including players, coaches, managers and others would be attending the Super Bowl celebration. But she said the team got back in touch late Friday and tried to reschedule, "citing the fact that many players would not be in attendance." The Eagles proposed a time when Trump would be overseas. Eagles officials declined comment on the White House version of events, sticking with a simple earlier statement: "We are truly grateful for all of the support we have received and we are looking forward to continuing our preparations for the 2018 season." No one connected with the team said the players' reluctance to attend had anything to do with the national anthem, as Trump tried to portray the situation. And comments by star players in the current pro basketball finals indicated it's not about football. "I know no matter who wins this series, no one wants the invite anyway. So it won't be Golden State or Cleveland going," said LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers. There was no disagreement from Stephen Curry, who angered Trump last year when he said he wouldn't go to the White House after the Warriors' NBA triumph, leading the president to disinvite him and his team. Trump, furious about the small number of Eagles who were coming, scrapped Tuesday's visit, believing a low turnout would reflect poorly upon him. He had told aides last year he was embarrassed when Tom Brady, star quarterback of that season's champion New England Patriots, opted to skip a White House visit. Instead, the president held what he dubbed a "patriotic celebration" that was short and spare. A military band and chorus delivered the Star-Spangled Banner and God Bless America, with brief Trump remarks sandwiched in between. "We love our country, we respect our flag and we always proudly stand for the national anthem," Trump said. The White House crowd of roughly 1,000, mostly dressed in business suits, was light on Pennsylvanians and heavy on administration and GOP Party officials. Several in attendance blamed the players, not the president, for torpedoing the Eagles event. John Killion, a lifelong Eagles fan who now lives in Florida and traveled to Washington to see his team, said he was "devastated and infuriated" by a breakdown he blamed on the Eagles owners. "I waited my whole life for the Eagles to win the Super Bowl and they were going to be congratulated at the White House. And I don't really care who you like or dislike, it shouldn't be about that," he said. Bill Fey, a Republican state committeeman from southern New Jersey and an Eagles fan, called the decision "a black eye as far as I'm concerned with the NFL. I think that everyone should come to the White House. This is the peoples' house." Still, he said, "I think the Eagles did what they thought was necessary. I don't blame anyone." Trump's own patriotic event was not without its controversy. Following the playing of the anthem, a heckler shouted from the audience: "Stop hiding behind the armed services and the national anthem!" prompting boos. A Swedish reporter posted video of a man kneeling as the anthem was played. In a statement Monday, Trump placed the blame on Eagles players he said "disagree with their President because he insists that they proudly stand for the National Anthem, hand on heart, in honor of the great men and women of our military and the people of our country." Besides the fact that none of the Eagles had taken a knee during the anthem in 2017, defensive end Chris Long said the NFL anthem policy change and Trump's reaction to it were not even discussed by the players in meetings about making the visit. Those deciding to stay away had various reasons beyond Trump's opposition to the protests, including more general feelings of hostility toward the president, one official said. Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, who had planned to skip the ceremony "to avoid being used as any kind of pawn," said in a statement that at the White House a "decision was made to lie, and paint the picture that these players are anti-America, anti-flag and anti-military." Trump has long railed against the protests that began in 2016 when San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began silently kneeling on the sidelines during the anthem to raise awareness around racism and, specifically, the killing of black men by police. At a rally last September, Trump suggested NFL owners fire "son of a bitch" players who "disrespect" the flag by kneeling. As for politics, Trump believes the anthem controversy is a winning issue for him and was pleased that last month's announcement of the league's new policy returned it to the news, according to people familiar with the president's thinking but not authorized to discuss private conversations. Even so, Trump made clear Tuesday he doesn't believe the policy goes far enough, tweeting: "Staying in the Locker Room for the playing of our National Anthem is as disrespectful to our country as kneeling. Sorry!" The president told one confidant Monday that he aims to revive the issue in the months leading up to the midterm elections, believing its return to the headlines will help Republicans win votes. Trump's attempt to drive a wedge between the team and its fervent fan base could have political consequences in Pennsylvania, which Trump won by just 44,000 votes in 2016. The politics are already playing out in the state's Senate race, where Republican Rep. Lou Barletta is challenging Democratic incumbent Bob Casey. Barletta attended the White House ceremony sans Eagles, "representing the proud Pennsylvanians who stand for our flag." Casey tweeted he would be "skipping this political stunt at the White House" and invited the Eagles on a tour of the Capitol instead. ___ Lemire reported from New York. Associated Press writers Darlene Superville and Catherine Lucey in Washington, Errin Haines Whack in Philadelphia and Associated Press Pro Football writer Rob Maaddi contributed to this report......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 6th, 2018

All eyes will be on Patrick in her IndyCar return

By Jenna Fryer, Associated Press Sebastien Bourdais was back at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Monday. So was Helio Castroneves, who returned to his home away from home to re-acclimate to an Indy car. But the show really begins on Tuesday when Danica Patrick's farewell tour returns to her biggest stage. The world's most famous female race car driver returns to IndyCar for the first time since 2011 to prepare for her final drive around Indianapolis Motor Speedway in advance of the Indianapolis 500. Her preparations will help kick off IndyCar's beloved "Month of May" — and Patrick is sure to own the headlines. "I imagine I'll probably pop up into the seat fully kitted up once before I get in, just to make sure everything is good, and go over things like, 'How the hell do I start this thing?'" Patrick said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. And by that, Patrick literally meant how she starts the car and begins her final drive. She's been chasing her dreams since she was a little girl in Illinois, and two decades later, she's ready to call it a career. Her farewell began with NASCAR's season-opening Daytona 500, where Patrick was collected in a crash and finished 35th. But the "Danica Double" was always about bringing her career full circle and walking away at Indy, the place that made her a household name. Patrick led 19 laps and finished fourth as a rookie in 2005 and she was a career-best third in 2009. She's always thrived on Indy's main stage, and she doesn't anticipate that changing this year. Patrick, who spent last week at boyfriend Aaron Rodgers' Green Bay, Wisconsin, home "watching the snow melt," was already shifting into race mode and talked confidently about her next hurdle. Yes, it's been more than six years since she's been in an Indy car and it has had two body modifications during her absence. She's approaching Tuesday much like she did her very first Indy test, in 2004. "When I first drove an Indy car back in the day at Kentucky when no one was watching, now they are going to be watching," she said. "I've got a feeling that if it's comfortable, it could come back to me really quick. I have to remember the very first time I ever drove an Indy car, having never driven one before, it went fine. So I've got to trust that everything will be fine." Like it or not, Patrick has earned her spot on the central stage for the final month of her racing career. With Patrick back at Indy for the May 27 race, everything she does in her GoDaddy-sponsored Chevrolet will be scrutinized. Even Monday, the first day the track opened for testing, had a buzz about Patrick's presence and she wasn't even on the track. Instead, it was Bourdais back on the big oval for the first time since he broke his hip and pelvis when he wrecked qualifying his car for last year's 500. The injury was supposed to sideline him all year, but he was back in the IndyCar Series before the end of 2017 and already has a win and a pole on his resume this season. Castroneves, the three-time Indy 500 winner, also got his first laps around Indy in the 2018 configuration of the car. Because he was moved by Roger Penske to the sports car series this year, the Brazilian will only run this month at Indy and try to grab a record-tying fourth victory. Tony Kanaan, in an A.J. Foyt Racing car, was fastest on the day at 226.181 mph, and Marco Andretti wasn't too shabby at third on the speed chart. IndyCar closed the afternoon with a brief test session of a windscreen it is developing to protect drivers' heads in the open cockpit cars. Defending series champion Josef Newgarden spent about 45 minutes behind the windscreen at the end of the day and seemed to struggle a bit with glare bouncing off the screen and vision. Next comes Patrick's return on Tuesday, which was originally scheduled for late March but was postponed because of a cold and rainy weather. She's used to attention, she thrives under pressure, and she's ready for the cameras when she gets back into the car. There are 35 entries for this year's race, which means two drivers won't qualify for the 500. Patrick will be in a Chevrolet fielded by Ed Carpenter Racing, a team that is traditionally strong at Indy, and hasn't thought at all about potentially missing her retirement race. "Why would I?" she said. "I'm thinking about going to win the race.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 1st, 2018

The Headlines So Far in the 2017-18 NBA Season

The new NBA season is still in its early stages, but it feels like we’re already in the thick of things with so much happening already. Luck of the Irish The Celtics, despite losing Gordon Hayward to a season-ending injury, currently have the best record in the league and own the longest winning streak so far this year with 16 games won consecutively. Kyrie Irving and Al Horford have been leading the charge, with young guns Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum upping their game. It certainly won’t be surprising to see them secure the top seed in the East this season if their remarkable play continues. Steve Kerr even declared the Celtics as the East’s “team of the future.” International Beasts of the East Giannis Antetokounmpo is already staking his claim as the league’s MVP, averaging nearly 30 points a game at a very efficient 55% clip as of this writing. With Eric Bledsoe assisting with ball-handling duties, the young Buck’s play is only bound to get better. Remember, Antetokounmpo still hasn’t even developed an outside shot yet. Imagine what the Greek Freak can do when he finally does. Kristaps Porzingis has also been unleashed in New York after the departure of Carmelo Anthony and Phil Jackson. The Latvian big man has been on a roll, taking advantage of an increased usage rate to average 27.3 points per game. The Knicks are exceeding expectations—The Playoffs doesn’t seem to be a far-fetched reality for them if Porzingis and the rest of the team can keep this up. After playing only 31 games last season, Joel Embiid has been making up for lost time. Along with Ben Simmons, the Cameroonian standout has been leading the Philadelphia to its best start in years, averaging 22.7 points and 11 boards. Additionally, Embiid has been posting roughly 2 blocks per game, and he says that he’s going to go for the Defensive Player of the Year Award this season. It looks like the Sixers fans’ are finally being rewarded for trusting the process. The Rookies Have Been Doing Work In his first season on the floor, Ben Simmons has been averaging 18. 7 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 7.6 assists per outing. And in almost every game, he’s been flirting with a triple-double. At this rate, it looks like he’s going to be the frontrunner in the Rookie of the Year race. Another solid performer is Jayson Tatum, who is one of the primary contributors in the Celtics’ stellar start. He’s been averaging an efficient 14.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 1.5 assist per game in around 30 minutes of play. From deep, Tatum has been drilling 48% of his threes. With his smart play, sometimes, it feels like we’re not watching a rookie. Kyle Kuzma, perhaps the biggest steal in this year’s draft class, is currently outperforming most rookies picked ahead of him, including fellow Laker and #3 draftee Lonzo Ball. Kuzma has been averaging 16.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 15 assists, and he’s shooting nearly 50% from the field and 36% from deep. While he still has a bit of work to do on the defensive end, he’s shaping up to be a cornerstone in LA’s post-Kobe era. Warriors still Super Team to Beat During the offseason, several teams secured major acquisitions to reinforce their lineups. The Cavs were able to reload with future Hall of Fame guards and versatile wings on board. OKC acquired two All-Stars in Paul George and Carmelo Anthony, but are still in the process of figuring things out. Minnesota was able to add Jimmy Butler to its young core. But despite the trades and signings, the Golden State Warriors remain the most “super” of the squads with the “super team” tag. After starting the season 1-2, the Warriors have regained their dominating form and are now back with their winning ways—and it seems that they won’t be slowing down anytime soon. Kevin Durant has been on a tear, but it’s Steph Curry that currently leads the team in points per game (25.5), steals per game (1.8), and in Player Efficiency Rating (27.6). He remains the fulcrum of Golden State’s offense, the man that won’t let the Dubs down. Steph Curry continues to perform at a high level because he depends on the World’s No. 1 Deodorant to stay cool and confident. The two-time MVP only trusts Rexona Ice Cool to help him fee dry and fresh all day, so he can be his best on the court, and even off it. It’ll be interesting to see if these stories and trends continue as we go along the new season. Stay tuned, hoops fans!  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 21st, 2017

Oladipo, Sabonis helping Pacers move forward

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com INDIANAPOLIS – Victor Oladipo has a fever and the only prescription is ... no, not more cowbell. Cowbell might make sense, if you factor in Oladipo’s love of and commitment to music (his debut R&B album has been available since Oct. 6). But the fever currently afflicting Oladipo, shooting guard for the Indiana Pacers, has nothing to do with extracurriculars and everything to do with the odes and anthems he’s been performing within the confines of 94 feet by 50 feet. If the fifth-year guard out of Indiana University, by way of the Orlando Magic and Oklahoma City Thunder, looks comfortable in his new star turn for the Pacers, well, just remember that’s your word. Not his. “You could say I’m comfortable with the people here,” says Oladipo, who spent three seasons with the Hoosiers before becoming the No. 2 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. “I played in front of these fans, they mean a lot to me and I gave a lot to them just like they gave a lot to me while I was in college. “But I’m never comfortable in any situation I’m in. I will never be comfortable. That’s what kind of makes me get up and work every day. It’s like, never be satisfied. Because for some reason, ever since I was a little kid, I always wanted more.” Oladipo’s eyes just about glow after a weekend practice as he delves into his unflagging intensity. He doesn’t undercut it with a smile or a token laugh. This is real heat. “Maximize my talent and exhaust my potential,” he says. “In order to do that, I’ve got to come to work every day. That’s my thought process. Wake up each day and be great that day.” Each day would include tonight, when Oladipo will share center stage at Bankers Life Fieldhouse with the more decorated and once-beloved star who preceded him in the Pacers lineup. Paul George, a four-time All-Star and Olympic gold medalist during his seven seasons in Indiana, was due to face his old team for the first time since being traded to Oklahoma City in July. It was a parting necessitated by George, who had made clear his desire to sign a maximum-salary contract with the Los Angeles Lakers in the summer of 2018. But the trade was orchestrated by Kevin Pritchard, the Pacers’ president of basketball operations, and Chad Buchanan, their general manager, who surprised the NBA by swapping George to OKC for Oladipo and big man Domantas Sabonis. You want intense? The initial reaction to that deal was intensely negative, quickly reaching hysterical proportions. The Pacers immediately were mocked for having traded George for nickels on the dollar. Reports out of Boston characterized Indiana’s POBO as more of a bobo for allegedly spurning a Celtics’ offer of multiple players and draft picks. *Takes a well deserved nap for 3 hours ** Opens Twitter: pic.twitter.com/xWNYaVfKTy — Myl3s Turn3r (@Original_Turner) July 1, 2017 The west is sick!!!! Best conference in the world!!!! — Patrick Beverley (@patbev21) July 1, 2017 Vic to the Pacers?! He might as well run for governor while he's at it! — Cody Zeller (@CodyZeller) July 1, 2017 Former Thunder star Kevin Durant called the move “shocking” and of George said “Indiana just gave him away.” Among much of the media that covers the league, there was a general feeling of “rubes” afoot -- that the Pacers had been snookered in taking back an overpaid ($21 million annually through 2020-21) second-tier talent and an overbilled guy who had disappeared in OKC’s postseason. And now? Not so much on any of those fronts. ‘He knows how good he is’ George’s stats are down in the “OK3” core he’s formed with reigning Kia MVP Russell Westbrook and aging Carmelo Anthony. The Thunder (12-13) are the NBA’s consensus disappointment, team category, with nearly a third of their season in the books. Sabonis has boosted the Pacers off the bench in a half dozen ways. And Oladipo has all but earned himself a spot on the Eastern Conference All-Star team while speeding his new team’s fans past their heartbreak over George’s jilting. Generally, the best trades in sports are win-win, but for Indiana right now, a bit of win-lose has made the start of 2017-18 downright sublime. “We happened to really like Sabonis in the draft,” former Pacers president and ongoing consultant Donnie Walsh said last week. “We wanted more of everything in the trade too. But when it came down to it, we had this offer with Oladipo, who we also liked. They’ve come in here and the more they’ve been here, the more we like ‘em. We’re happy.” The Pacers also are 16-11, two weeks ahead in the victory column over their 42-40 finish last season that was good for a playoff berth. Oladipo is the biggest reason why, averaging more points per game (24.5) than George ever has. The 6'4" guard who attended famous DeMatha High in Hyattsville, Md., spent much of last season being beaten up for his contract and negligible impact in Oklahoma City. He had taken grief earlier for his status as the second pick in 2013, a lofty status not of his doing. And here he was again in the summer, hearing it all over again for a transaction he didn’t design. “He came in with a chip [on his shoulder],” Pacers coach Nate McMillan said. “I thought he should come in with a chip.” Some would have flinched from the pressure. A few might have curled up, full blown fetal. Oladipo has gone entirely the other way. “His confidence is at an all-time high,” backup point guard Cory Joseph said. “He knows how good he is.” As Joseph spoke after the Pacers’ upset of Cleveland Friday, a game in which Oladipo scored 20 of his game-high 33 points in the third quarter, a lilting voice drifted from behind the scenes in the home dressing room. “Look at it right now, he’s singing in the shower,” Joseph said, tilting his head and laughing. “He’s confident. You guys are all in here, he’s just singing. He’s a confident guy. Everybody in this locker room, everybody in this organization definitely welcomes that.” Trade not driving Oladipo’s breakout season Don’t misunderstand. The critics still are out for Oladipo. “My mom told me yesterday I need to work on my free throws,” he said with an eye roll after practice Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). She had noticed, during her son’s run of big games in December -- 36 points at Toronto, 27 vs. Chicago, 33 against the Cavs the night before her chiding text -- that he had missed 18-of-31 foul shots. This, by a career 80 percent shooter from the line. “I’m over that,” Oladipo said. “I’m not going to miss no more. I’ll make ‘em next time. And if I miss ‘em, I’ll make ‘em the next. If that’s my problem right now, I think I can fix it.” Twenty-four hours later, Oladipo took 13 free throws against Denver and made 11. He scored 47 points in all, hitting 15-of-28 shots and half of his 12 three-pointers. The comeback victory in OT got the Pacers to 4-for-4 on their six-game homestand and continued to shrink whatever chip it was that the 25-year-old was shouldering. “In the beginning of the year, I said, ‘I don’t have a chip. I have a brick house on my back,’” Oladipo said. But not anymore, right, now that some folks are referring to it as “the Victor Oladipo trade” rather than “the Paul George trade?” “That’s what I feel like every morning, no matter what’s going on,” he said. “I don’t even think about the trade, honestly. It’s in the past for me. People’s opinions are going to be there whether you like it or not. From the outside looking in, I guess you could say [then] that was a great trade for OKC. That’s what they believed. But it wasn’t going to change the way I worked. It wasn’t going to change my approach.” This step up in status is considered perhaps the most difficult an NBA player can make. Suddenly, opposing coaches are X&O-ing him to death. The player dogging him up and down the court is the other guys’ best defender. Often, they’ll send double-teams to get the ball into one of his teammates’ hands. “He hadn’t had that,” McMillan said. “When he was in OKC, the game plan was focused on Westbrook. When he was in Orlando, he was just a young player. Now he is seeing the defenders like a LeBron [James], like a [DeMar] DeRozan, what these stars are seeing. He’s seeing the best defenders and he’s seeing teams game-plan to take him out. “Learning how to play and be consistent every night with that challenge is something he’s going through.” Oladipo’s quick success with the Pacers has kept any crowd critics at bay. They were pre-disposed to like him just as their rebound date after George, but had he underperformed, Oladipo’s service time in Bloomington wouldn’t have protected him for long from criticism. But now, it’s George who likely will get the harsh reception. Oladipo, overtly after each of the recent victories, has made it clear to the home fans via some emphatic pointing and body language that the Fieldhouse happens to be his house. “I don’t say it, they say it,” he said. “I just do the gesture and they do the rest of the work for me. I let them do all the talking. We feed off them -- when they’re into it, we play better. I don’t know why, that’s just how basketball’s always been. They’re our sixth man and we need ‘em every night.” Oladipo’s breakout season has been bolstered, too, by the Pacers’ second-through-15th men. Those who already were in Indy knew how valuable George was at both ends. Those who, like Oladipo and Sabonis, were new this season were within their rights to be as skeptical as the national headlines of the guys coming in trade. Go-to guy emerges for Pacers OKC was a specific challenge, Oladipo having to learn on the fly how to fit his own darting, ball-heavy style to only the second man in NBA history to average a triple-double. Westbrook’s usage was off the charts, rendering the other Thunder players to supporting cast whether suited to that role or not. Just like that, Oladipo had to catch and shoot as someone to get Westbrook into double digits in assists. It wasn’t his nature and it made for an individually forgettable season. “I had a role. I tried to play that role to the best of my ability. And I improved certain areas of my game in that role,” was all he’d say Saturday, stiffly, about the OKC experience. Said Walsh: “I felt like he was going to get a different opportunity here. ... When he got to Oklahoma City, he was playing wih a guy who was averaging a triple-double. And he liked Russell Westbrook. But he comes here, he’s got an opportunity to be ‘our guy.’ “I think he might have been looking for that. I never asked him. He’s a really cool guy. He knows what he wants to be, I think.” Oladipo needed this and the Pacers needed him to need it. With George gone, they were like a smile missing a front tooth. The other teeth weren’t just going to move up in the pecking order -- no matter how good young big man Myles Turner is -- and replace the one they’d lost. If they were going to have any success this season, if McMillan was going to be able to coach and adjust in his second year taking over for Frank Vogel, the players needed to fill their roles and welcome this new addition. That’s why this tale of Oladipo’s growing success is about what the Pacers have done for him, as much as it is what he’s done for them. “We didn’t really present it like that,” McMillan said, “because we were still trying to develop who our ‘go-to guy’ was. He has been slowly taking on that role through the things he’s done. I haven’t had to say anything. He’s making good decisions with the ball. And the guys are getting a feel for what we’re doing down the stretch because we’ve had some success, and we’ve had it with Victor having the ball.” Chemistry change for Pacers There might be NBA teams with chemistry as solid as the Pacers’ right now, but it’s hard to imagine there are any with better. It’s more than mere relief that someone has stepped up, easing their own loads a bit. It is a genuine eagerness for Oladipo to max out, for each of the rest of them to do the same in whatever lane they’re riding. “Vic’s been everything at this point,” Turner said. “He’s done a great job of stepping up and being that guy, being that dude. It’s amazing to have that when you’re going through a situation where it’s a brand-new team. We’re still learning each other and he’s showing that he’s ready.” Did Turner know this would happen and, if so, when? “First couple days he started texting me in the summertime,” the big man said. “I saw what his mindset was, and I loved it from the jump. He carried that right in when we started playing pickup this summer. “Vic’s been traded, what, [two] times? He finally comes back home and he has a team that’s telling him to go, telling him to be him. I don’t think he had that with his former teams. Now that he’s here and he’s doing that, I’m pretty sure he’s [enjoying it].” Said Joseph: “He’s been a beast for us and he’s going to continue to be a beast for us. ... He’s been running with that opportunity and opening eyes around the world.” Even strong-willed, uber-confident Lance Stephenson, has backed up for Oladipo. “There’s no hate, know what I mean?” he said over the weekend. “Some guys get mad about somebody doing good. This team wants its teammates to do good. That’s what’s going to make us even better.” Oladipo keeps referring to the other Pacers in a legit lubricating of the “no I in Indy” process. “Honestly I think it’s the personalities and the men that we have in this locker room,” he said. “My teammates are phenomenal people -- not just basketball players, phenomenal people. When you surround yourself with great people, people who sincerely care about you and your team, the chemistry just comes naturally.” Sabonis shows glimpses of success, too The other guy in the trade, Sabonis, has developed more organically, his maturation seemingly inevitable regardless of locale when you tote up his youth, his work ethic and his bloodlines (son of Hall of Famer Arvydas Sabonis). He has gone from that rookie who logged just six minutes in the Thunder’s five 2017 playoff games against Houston to an essential piece in McMillan’s rotation. “Once I got traded, I knew this was a great opportunity for me to show people what I can really do,” said Sabonis, the No. 11 pick in 2016. “I was a rookie last year. Everything was new. Here, I’m being used more at the 5. That’s more the position I’ve been used to playing my whole life.” Sabonis’ minutes are up from 20.1 in OKC to 24.6 off Indiana’s bench. His scoring has doubled from 5.9 ppg to 12.1. And his PIE rating has soared from 4.9 last season to 12.6, a sign of the versatility the skilled big man possesses. “I love Sabonis,” Walsh said. “His father was one of the greatest players in the world, so I don’t like that comparison -- it kills him. He [Domantas] is just more of everything you think he is. He’s stronger than you think. He can shoot the ball better. He’s got good hands, he can catch the ball. I’ve seen him make moves in game that I’ve never seen him make in practice.” Said Turner: “I played against Domas in college -- I knew what kind of player he was. I was excited when we got him. He’s gotten bigger and stronger since then, obviously, and he just didn’t have a chance to show himself last year. But he’s been big for us now, especially when I was out with the concussion. He stepped up huge in that role and we’ve played well since then.” The Pacers are playing faster this season, up from 18th in pace last season to 10th now, part of their improvement from 15th in offensive rating (106.2) to 6th (108.3). They’re doing better, too, in contesting shots and throttling opponents’ field-goal accuracy. The biggest reason why has been Oladipo’s blossoming. Whether due to the sunshine of new, happier surroundings or from that darker, more intense place, to prove cynics wrong. No one can now talk of the Pacers’ bungling of what, after all, was a deal to rent George, not to have him long-term. Fans at Bankers Life figure to boo George on his first visit back, with an inventory they haven’t needed or used on Oladipo. Some might see that as ingratitude, others as respect. It’s a little bit of love lost, too. “Look, they loved Paul when he was here,” Walsh said. “They guy is a great player. One thing I’ve always felt: These guys that play here, they always know more about what they want for their lives than we do. How you gonna argue with that? He treated us good, we treated him good. No bad blood here. I don’t know about fans.” Folks in Indy have a new crush now, one they hope lasts for a while. 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 NewsDec 14th, 2017

Cherie Gil headlines REP’s 2017 season opener

Cherie Gil headlines REP’s 2017 season opener.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilatimes_netRelated NewsJan 28th, 2017

Cherie Gil headlines REP’s 2017 season opener ‘Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike’

Cherie Gil headlines REP’s 2017 season opener ‘Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike’.....»»

Category: entertainmentSource:  thestandardRelated NewsJan 18th, 2017

Harden s 50-point triple-double leads Rockets over Lakers

By Kristie Rieken, Associated Press HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden had 50 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists, scoring 11 points during a big fourth-quarter run to lead the Houston Rockets to a 126-111 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night (Friday, PHL time). Harden grabbed his 10th rebound with less than 90 seconds left to give him his second triple-double this season and the 37th of his career. LeBron James finished with 29 points for the Lakers, who had won their previous two games. Houston's lead was three after Kyle Kuzma's soaring dunk, but Harden was fouled on a three-pointer and made all three free throws to make it 112-106. Harden then made three-pointers on consecutive possessions to push the lead to 12 and cause Lakers coach Luke Walton to call a timeout. James was in Harden's face on the second one and Harden fell to the court as the ball rolled around the rim for a couple of seconds before dropping in. James added a dunk before Clint Capela and Harden made consecutive baskets to compete the 13-2 run and make it 122-108 to put the game out of reach. It was the first meeting between these teams since Chris Paul and Rajon Rondo got into a fight on Oct. 20 (Oct. 21, PHL time) that led to suspensions for both players and Brandon Ingram. There wasn't an altercation this time around in a game where Rondo sat out as he recovers from surgery to repair a broken right hand. But there was a spate of technical fouls late in the third quarter that led to the ejection of Nene. The Lakers scored six straight points, highlighted by a dunk from James, to get within 74-72 midway through the third quarter. Los Angeles ran off six in a row later in the period to tie it up before Harden ended the run with a jump shot. Nene then received a foul after being knocked to the ground trying to defend Kuzma as he drove to the lane. He yelled at officials and received a technical foul. Kuzma made his free throws but Kentavious Caldwell-Pope missed the technical shot. Nene made a hook shot before fouling Kuzma again on the next possession. He continued to scream at officials and was hit with a second technical foul and was ejected. Harden attempted to calm him down, but Nene continued to be agitated until he was escorted to the locker room. Kuzma made all three foul shots and added a three-pointer with Harden in his face after a triple by Harden to leave the Lakers up 88-87 with 9.9 seconds left in the quarter. Kuzma was called for a foul after that and Walton got a technical for arguing about that call. Harden made the technical shot and Paul added two more free throws to leave Houston up 90-88 after three. TIP-INS Lakers: Kuzma received a technical foul in the first quarter for arguing about a foul call. ... Brandon Ingram missed his fourth straight game with a sprained left ankle. ... Kuzma had 24 points to give him 20 or more points in a career-best six straight games. Rockets: Brandon Knight played in his first game since Feb. 15, 2017, after recovering from surgery to repair a torn left anterior cruciate ligament. He came in with about four minutes left in the first quarter and played about four minutes with one assist and one rebound. ... James Ennis sat out with a strained right hamstring. UP NEXT Lakers: Visit Charlotte on Saturday night (Sunday, PHL time). Rockets: Visit Memphis on Saturday night  (Sunday, PHL time)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 14th, 2018

LOOK: NBA playoff teams get Earned Edition uniforms

MANILA, Philippines – NBA teams that reached the playoffs during the 2017-2018 season now get to showcase their achievement through their jerseys. Nike unveiled the Earned Edition uniforms, which can only be worn by the 16 NBA teams that pulled through the regular season grind to clinch a coveted spot ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsDec 13th, 2018

Dominant defense leads Bears over Rams 15-6

By Andrew Seligman, Associated Press CHICAGO (AP) — Eddie Goldman led a dominant effort by the defense, and the Chicago Bears shut down Jared Goff and Los Angeles' high-powered offense in a 15-6 victory over the NFC West champion Rams on Sunday night. The Rams (11-2) missed a chance to secure a first-round playoff bye and fell into a tie with New Orleans for home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. Goff threw a career-high four interceptions and was sacked three times, with Goldman getting to him for a tiebreaking safety early in the third quarter. Bradley Sowell became the first Bears offensive lineman in 11 years with a touchdown reception when he caught a 2-yarder from Mitchell Trubisky in the third quarter. "For them to go out and do it (against) a team that had only one loss all year long ... is so powerful for our guys now because it helps us grow," coach Matt Nagy said. "It helps us grow with confidence. It helps us grow togetherness. When you teach that and you talk about it over and over and over — as a culture, as a building, everyone together as a family — and then they do it, it lights a fire. It puts us in a great position. We do talk about one game at a time. They're gonna enjoy tonight and then we're gonna get right back in it and get ready for next week." Coming off a shaky outing against Detroit, Goff was 20 of 44 for 180 yards with a 19.1 rating. NFL rushing leader Todd Gurley ran for a season-low 28 yards on 11 carries, and the Rams' three-game win streak came to an end. The Rams' only other loss was at New Orleans. But against the Monsters of the Midway, they managed just 214 yards. "Tonight was a humbling experience for me as a head coach," Los Angeles' Sean McVay said. The NFC North-leading Bears (9-4) bounced back from a wild overtime loss at the New York Giants and won for the sixth time in seven games. Trubisky was about as bad as Goff. After missing the previous two games because of a right shoulder injury, he was 16 of 30 for 110 yards and three interceptions. But Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks had sacks. Roquan Smith, Prince Amukamara, Eddie Jackson and Kyle Fuller had interceptions, helping Chicago beat the team that came in with the NFL's best record. Goldman broke a 6-6 tie in the opening minute of the third quarter when he sacked Goff for Chicago's first safety this season. The Bears then used a trick play they call "Santa's Sleigh" to make it 15-6, when Sowell hauled in a 2-yarder from Trubisky on a play-action with defensive end Hicks. That made him the first Bears offensive lineman with a TD reception since John St. Clair against Kansas City on Sept. 16, 2017. The Rams had a big opportunity late in the third when John Johnson III returned an interception 35 yards to the Chicago 27. But Fuller picked off a wobbly pass from Goff intended for Josh Reynolds on the next play. Los Angeles' Greg Zuerlein missed a 40-yard field goal off the right upright in the opening minutes of the fourth after making a 50-yarder earlier in the game. INJURIES Rams: CB Dominique Hatfield was taken from the field on a cart with an ankle injury in the third quarter. He was hurt on the kickoff following Sowell's TD. ... C John Sullivan was evaluated for a concussion after being shaken up blocking on a run by Gurley late in the first quarter. But he returned in the second half. Bears: CB Bryce Callahan left the game with a foot injury late in the first half. UP NEXT Rams: Host Philadelphia on Dec. 16. Bears: Host Green Bay on Dec. 16......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 10th, 2018

UAAP Season 81 volleyball: Mag-La Salle na sila all the way -– Macandili on DLS-Z volleybelles

Top libero Dawn Macandili watched intensely as De La Salle-Zobel inched closer to ending a long high school girls’ volleyball title drought. When the Junior Lady Spikers nailed the last point to topple the four-year reign National University and rule the UAAP Season 81 tournament, Macandili together with the DLS-Z supporters inside the FilOil Flying V Centre on a breezy Sunday afternoon celebrated the triumph that took the Alabang-based squad six years to achieve. From her red leather seat in the courtside section, Macandili, with a big smile on her face cheered loudly for the new generation of Junior Lady Spikers.           “Sobrang nakaka-proud kasi siyempre part din ako ng alumni ng Zobel and nakita ko na gusto ring manalo ng girls and nagawa nila yun,” said Macandili after DLS-Z completed a best-of-three finals series sweep of the Bullpups with a hard-earned, 25-21, 25-23, 15-25, 16-25, 15-8, Game 2 win. Macandili together with F2 Logistics teammate Kim Kianna Dy and Ateneo de Manila University’s Jules Samonte were part of the DLS-Z squad that ruled UAAP Season 75 before the school’s five-year title drought. The defense specialist, who was named 2nd Best Libero in the 2017 Asian Women’s Senior Championship, couldn’t help but admire the Junior Lady Spikers’ composure and determination in the series.   “Sobrang nakaka-stress pala na nanonood lang instead of playing inside the court. Pero bilb na bilib ako sa kanila kasi nandoon ‘yung composure although sobrang bata pa nila. Pero iba na talaga ang level ng volleyball (sa Pilipinas) kahit sa high school pa lang,” she said. Macandili added that if given a chance she’d like to see the core of the squad play together up until college for a team known for its championship culture. “Sobrang prospects sila ng mga college teams. Ngayon pa lang ang gagaling na nila and I look forward to when they’re playing in college na… for La Salle, yes!” she said. “Ituloy na nila, mag-La Salle na sila all the way,” exclaimed Macandili, who joined the DLSU Lady Spikers together with Dy after graduating in high school. The duo helped the Lady Spikers’ complete a three-peat from Season 78 to 80.     Macandili was impressed with skills of towering Alleiah Malaluan and season MVP Angel Canino. She also saw a lot of potential with DLS-Z starting libero Lyka De Leon. “Lahat naman tayo nagi-start somewhere and I can see myself in her na nag-start na ganoon ang level pero nandoon naman yung talent niya and I can see that’s she’s gonna go far,” said Macandili.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 10th, 2018

Alab scares off visiting Indonesians for strong start in ABL title defense

STA. ROSA, LAGUNA – In just its first game in the 2017-2018 Asean Basketball League, Alab Pilipinas is already as good as advertised. Renaldo Balkman picked up where he left off, PJ Ramos powered his way through anything and everything, and the Filipinos pounded on outmatched CLS of Indonesia for a 94-67 decision on Sunday at the Sta. Rosa Multi-Purpose Complex here. The Philippines wasted no time in showing off its new and improved firepower as Balkman, their returning reinforcement, did damage from the outside just as Ramos, their new hulking help, had his way inside. Those two merged for 17 points in the opening salvo, by themselves outscoring the Knights who only mustered 14 in the same timeframe. The Alab lead would only balloon to as much as 31. Balkman wound up with 33 points, 11 rebounds, three assists, three steals, and three blocks while Ramos had 20 markers, 13 boards, and five dimes. Back-to-back Ray Parks Jr. Local MVP, with just 10 points and two assists, didn’t even have to do much for the Filipinos to get off its title defense off on the right foot. Maxie Esho topped the scoring column for the Indonesians with 20 points. They fall to 1-4 in the season. The two teams meet again a week from now, only that time, in Surabaya. BOX SCORES ALAB PILIPINAS 94 – Balkman 33, Ramos 20, Parks Jr. 10, Domingo 6, Rosser 6, Alvano 5, Tiongson 4, Javelona 4, Urbiztondo 3, Torres 3, Alabanza 0, Rivero 0 CLS KNIGHTS 67 – Esho 20, Hurt 19, Utomo 12, Brandon 7, Baskoro 3, Jawato 2, Wong 2, Panagan 2, Kurniawan 0, Hidayat 0, Nugroho 0 QUARTER SCORES: 23-14, 46-27, 74-67, 94-67 —— Follow this writer on Twitter, @riego.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 9th, 2018

Short but sweet search lands Fisher as coach of LA Sparks

By Beth Harris, Associated Press LOS ANGELES (AP) — It was a “short but sweet” search to find the new coach of the Los Angeles Sparks. Turns out he has been sitting in the courtside seats for years. Derek Fisher was introduced Friday as coach of the team that he watched play at Staples Center while helping the Lakers win five NBA championships as their point guard. It’s Fisher’s second stint as a head coach in the pro ranks. He was fired from the New York Knicks in 2016. “This opportunity is not a step down, sideways, backwards, somehow different than the men’s game,” Fisher told a room full of media at a downtown hotel, insisting the WNBA isn’t a steppingstone. “There isn’t a future outside of what we’re here to talk about today.” Executive vice president and general manager Penny Toler didn’t look far in finding a replacement for Brian Agler, who resigned last week. “Our coach’s search was short but sweet,” she said. “The first person who came to mind was Derek Fisher. Derek has been a huge supporter of the Sparks, but even more importantly, he’s been a huge supporter of the WNBA from day one. He would leave his practice and fly and watch us play.” Toler said that during her 20 years as GM she would discuss the team with Fisher and seek his advice and suggestions. “He’s invested,” she said. Fisher becomes the 12th coach in franchise history. He takes over a team that went 19-15 in the regular season this year before losing in the second round of the playoffs. Agler resigned without explanation after four years that included winning the WNBA championship in 2016. He had an 85-51 career mark with the Sparks. “I don’t know why he wanted to. I didn’t ask,” Toler said. “When someone wants to resign, it’s not my job to talk them out of it.” Former league MVP Candace Parker was on hand to welcome Fisher. She waved her right hand in the air, showing off her WNBA championship ring that made a clunking noise when her hand hit the table. “I want more,” she said. Besides Parker, the Sparks have another former league MVP in Nneka Ogwumike and hope to re-sign guard Chelsea Gray. “We have chemistry,” Parker said. Parker noted she first met Fisher when she was 8 or 9 and her older brother’s agent was based in Arkansas, where Fisher is from. Fisher was fired in New York after going 40-96 in 1 ½ seasons while working under then-Knicks executive Phil Jackson, who coached him on the Lakers. Fisher said it took a while for him to come to terms with the fact that he was “overly fixated with what other people thought about my experience in New York as opposed to what I felt about my experience in New York.” Fisher peppered Toler with what she said were “about 2,000 questions” before agreeing to take the Sparks job. He indicated the homework was necessary after his time with the Knicks. “What I learned is, if there is not clarity in purpose, vision and mission from ownership to management to coaches to players to staff, it doesn’t work,” he said. “Some of the basketball things are irrelevant if ownership, management, staff, players, if we are not aligned in the way we see going about our jobs and achieving our purpose and our mission.” Since leaving New York, Fisher has worked as a TV analyst. He said he explored jobs with college and men’s pro teams but the timing wasn’t right. He also experienced upheaval in his personal life. In June 2015, he and former teammate Matt Barnes got into an altercation at the home of Gloria Govan, Barnes’ ex-wife who is now Fisher’s fiancée. In June 2017, Fisher was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving after his vehicle flipped on a Los Angeles freeway. He and Govan weren’t injured. Govan and two of Fisher’s children from his first marriage were on hand Friday. “The book is not finished yet,” Fisher said. “I feel like this is an opportunity for me to continue writing my coaching book and I’m excited to do it here in LA with the Sparks.”  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 8th, 2018

Eovaldi agrees to $68 million, 4-year deal with Red Sox

By Kyle Hightower, Associated Press BOSTON (AP) — Nathan Eovaldi’s marathon relief performance in Game 3 of the World Series is a moment that will resonate in Red Sox history. Boston rewarded him with a $68 million, four-year contract. “We’re very happy to have Nathan back with us,” Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said in a statement as the deal was announced Thursday. “He did a tremendous job for us last season, playing a significant role in helping us win the division and the World Series. His performance in the postseason was outstanding, both as a starting pitcher and as a reliever.” A 28-year-old right-hander who has had a pair of Tommy John surgeries, Eovaldi was acquired by Boston from Tampa Bay on July 25. He went 3-3 with a 3.33 ERA down the stretch. He made four starts against the Yankees, going 2-0 with a 0.39 ERA, and beat the New York in Game 3 of the AL Division Series, when he gave up one run in seven innings. In six postseason appearances, including two starts, Eovaldi went 2-1 with a 1.61 ERA, a .185 opponent’s batting average, 16 strikeouts, and three walks Eovaldi pitched one inning of relief in each of the first two games of the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He entered Game 3 in the 12th inning and threw 97 pitches over six-plus innings, preventing the bullpen from enduring additional stress. Boston lost the game when Eovaldi surrendered an 18th-inning home run to Max Muncy, but his performance inspired his teammates. Manager Alex Cora credited Eovaldi’s effort with being one of the catalysts that helped Boston win its fourth World Series title in 15 years. At the premiere of the Red Sox’s 2018 season highlight video, Eovaldi got the biggest cheers when his name was mentioned, with the crowd chanting “Bring him back!” “Nobody’s going to remember who won that game. Everybody’s going to remember Nate Eovaldi,” Cora said. Eovaldi is part of a projected starting rotation that includes Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello and Eduardo Rodriguez. Eovaldi had Tommy John surgery in 2007 when he was a junior in high school and his second in August 2016 while with the Yankees. He was let go by New York after the season and signed with Tampa Bay, a deal that guaranteed $2 million in 2017 and included a $2 million option for 2018. He had arthroscopic surgery late in spring training to remove loose bodies in his pitching elbow and did not make his season debut until May 30 — his first major league game since Aug. 10, 2016. Boston earlier reached a $6.25 million, one-year contract with first baseman Steve Pearce, the World Series MVP. Remaining unsigned players who became free agents after winning the Series include closer Craig Kimbrel, left-hander Drew Pomeranz, right-hander Joe Kelly and second basemen Brandon Phillips and Ian Kinsler......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 7th, 2018

Cardinals strike gold, get Goldschmidt from Diamondbacks

By Bob Baum, Associated Press PHOENIX (AP) — The St. Louis Cardinals struck gold in their search for a big hitter, getting All-Star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt from the Arizona Diamondbacks in a multiplayer trade Wednesday. Eager to push for the playoffs after a three-year absence, the Cardinals sent pitcher Luke Weaver, catcher Carson Kelly, minor league infielder Andy Young and a 2019 draft pick to Arizona. A six-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove winner at 31, Goldschmidt was among the top players available in the trade market. He hit .290 with 33 home runs and 83 RBIs last season and has often finished high in the NL MVP voting. “We’ve been busy this offseason working to upgrade our lineup, and today we are excited to announce the acquisition of one of the game’s premier players,” Cardinals President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak said in a statement. Goldschmidt has a $14.5 million salary next year, receives a $1 million assignment bonus for the trade and will be eligible for free agency after next season. The Cardinals have a history of acquiring top hitters and then signing them to long-term deals, including Mark McGwire and Matt Holliday. St. Louis went 88-74 and believed it needed a boost in the middle of a lineup that includes Matt Carpenter, Marcell Ozuna and Yadier Molina to compete with the likes of Milwaukee and the Cubs in the NL Central. The Cardinals’ postseason drought is their longest 1997-99. Free agent slugger Bryce Harper has supposedly been on the Cards’ wish list, too, as the winter meetings approach this weekend. Last offseason, the Cardinals had worked out a deal with Miami for NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton, but he refused to waive his no-trade clause. Arizona went 82-80 in the NL West and finished behind the Los Angeles Dodgers and Colorado, who both made the playoffs. The Diamondbacks, obviously in rebuilding mode, parted ways with a homegrown player who grew to be the face of the franchise but is nearing the end of an extremely team-friendly contract. The quiet slugger, an eighth-round draft pick out of Texas State in 2009, quickly moved through the Arizona minor league system and advanced to the big league club in 2011. In 2013, Goldschmidt hit 36 home runs and drove in 125. In 2017, he matched that home-run high with 36 and drove in 120. He is a career .297 hitter with 209 home runs, and was runnerup in the NL MVP voting in 2013 and 2015. Despite an awful start to last season, he bounced back to once again become a powerful force. Goldschmidt was the Diamondbacks’ franchise leader in slugging percentage and on-base percentage. “This was an extremely difficult decision given how much Paul has meant to our team both on and off the field. He represents everything it means to be a D-back, and we are very thankful to him for all that he has done for our franchise and our fans,” Diamondbacks President Derrick Hall said. Weaver, a 25-year-old right-hander, was 7-11 with a 4.95 ERA last season. He was long rated among the top St. Louis prospects. The 24-year-old Kelly has played for the Cardinals in parts of the past three seasons, batting .154. He’s been highly regarded for his defensive ability. Young, 24, hit a combined .289 in Double-A and high-A ball. The draft choice that Arizona got will come after the second round, likely a pick somewhere in the high 70s or low 80s......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 6th, 2018

NHL adds Seattle as league s 32nd team, play begins in 2021

By Stephen Whyno, Associated Press SEA ISLAND, Ga. (AP) — Seattle is getting a National Hockey League team. It will just have to wait a little bit longer to drop the puck. The NHL Board of Governors unanimously approved adding Seattle as the league's 32nd franchise on Tuesday, with play set to begin in 2021 instead of 2020 to allow enough time for arena renovations. The as-yet unnamed franchise will be the Emerald City's first major winter sports team since the NBA's SuperSonics left town in 2008. "Today is a day for celebration in a great city that adores and avidly supports its sports teams and for our 101-year-old sports league," Commissioner Gary Bettman said. "Expanding to Seattle makes the National Hockey League more balanced, even more whole and even more vibrant. A team in Seattle evens the number of teams in our two conferences, brings our geographic footprint into greater equilibrium and creates instant new rivalries out west, particularly between Seattle and Vancouver." The announcement came a few moments after Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan let the news slip at a watch party in Seattle, prompting cheers: "I got a call from a mole in the room and it was a unanimous vote. We're getting hockey." The decision was widely expected after the Seattle Hockey Partners group impressed the board's executive committee in October with a plan that had all the ingredients the NHL was looking for. Strong ownership led by billionaire David Bonderman and producer Jerry Bruckheimer, a downtown arena in a sports-crazed city and a season-ticket drive that drummed up 10,000 orders in 12 minutes all cleared the way for the NHL to add another team less than three years after approving a franchise in Las Vegas. Seattle Hockey President and CEO Tod Leiweke joked that he'd have to throw out some Seattle 2020 business cards because of the pushed-back timing. But all sides agreed 2021 was the best time to start. "They've always felt that we should have a little more time to build the arena right," Bruckheimer said. "We wanted to bring it to 2020-21 because we want to get going right away, but it's not fair to the fans or to the players to not have a 100 percent finished arena when we start." The owners will pay a $650 million expansion fee, up from the $500 million the Vegas Golden Knights paid to join the league just two years ago. Leiweke said arena renovations will cost $800 million and the addition of a state-of-the-art practice facility makes it a total investment of over $1.5 billion. "(That's) a few bits of change which aren't around anymore," Bonderman said of the spending. "Seattle is one of my favorite cities and it's a pleasure to be here. If it was someplace else, I wouldn't have done it." The NHL will also realign its two divisions in the West for the 2021-22 season: Seattle will play the Pacific, home to its closest geographic rivals like Vancouver, Calgary and San Jose, and the Arizona Coyotes will move to the Central Division. "It was at the end of the day the simplest, most logical and least disruptive option we had available to us and I think it'll work well for the Coyotes," Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said. The remarkable debut by Vegas in 2017, which included a run to the Stanley Cup Final, gave the league more confidence about moving forward so quickly. Seattle will benefit from the same expansion draft rules Vegas had. Its front office is expected to be led by Dave Tippett, a former coach who would lead the search for the club's first general manager and staff. Tippett signed on to the project because of a connection to Leiweke, a major force in delivering an NHL team to Seattle. Leiweke got his start in hockey with the Minnesota Wild. He also worked in Vancouver and most recently helped build Tampa Bay into a powerhouse in the Eastern Conference. Leiweke left the Lightning in 2015 to become the COO of the NFL and didn't have any interest in leaving the league office until the project in Seattle began to gain traction. Leiweke's job will be to capitalize on a market whose demographics have changed significantly since he left the NFL's Seahawks in 2010 after being largely responsible for the team hiring coach Pete Carroll. Seattle is the largest market in the country without a winter pro sports franchise and has seen an influx of wealth in recent years. Even when he was running the Seahawks, Leiweke believed Seattle was ripe for the NHL and the response to the season-ticket drive only strengthened that belief. "I woke up today thinking about the fans," Leiweke said. "What did they feel on March 1 when they put down deposits without knowing anything? No team name, an ownership group they didn't know very well, a building plan that was back then somewhat defined but fairly vague. Today is a great day for the fans and we owe them so much. That's why today happened." The NHL's launch in Seattle will show how starved fans are for another team. Basketball is embedded in the DNA of the region thanks to 41 years of the SuperSonics and a lengthy history of producing NBA talent. When the rain of the fall and winter drive young athletes inside, they grab a basketball and head for the nearest gym to play pickup games. Basketball courts and coffee shops seem to be on every corner, but ice rinks are scarce. A lot about Seattle is different from 2008, when the Sonics moved to Oklahoma City. The skyline is filled with construction cranes. Amazon has taken over an entire section of the city, joined nearby by satellite offices of Google and Facebook. The amount of wealth now in the Seattle market is part of the reason Tim Leiweke, Tod's older brother and the CEO of event facilities giant Oak View Group, has regularly calls the city one of the most enticing expansion opportunities in pro sports history. Seattle has become a city of transplants due to the booming local economy. A hockey franchise would provide those newcomers a team to rally around, much like what happened when the Sounders of Major League Soccer arrived in 2009 — the last team added to the city's sport landscape. The Sonics were the first, joining the NBA in 1967, followed by the arrival of the Seahawks in 1976 and Mariners in 1977 after construction of the Kingdome. There have been several attempts at solving Seattle's arena issues and landing either an NHL or NBA team in the years since the Sonics left, but none had the support of the city or the private money attached until now. Asked Tuesday about possibly adding an NBA team, Bonderman responded: "One miracle at a time." While Seattle basks in the news, it's not clear the NHL will be satisfied at 32 teams even with the new team providing balance between the conferences and a natural, cross-border rival for the Vancouver Canucks. Daly said recently that there's no magic number, even though no major North American sports league has ever grown beyond 32 teams. Houston, Quebec City and Toronto have all been touted as possible new homes someday, but they'll also have to wait. "We're not looking right now and I think for the foreseeable future at any further expansion," Bettman said. ___ AP Sports Writer Tim Booth in Seattle contributed......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 5th, 2018

Futility in Phoenix wears on Devin Booker

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com He is already a star at age 22 but on this particular play, Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker had role player instincts Sunday (Monday, PHL time) at Staples Center. The basketball bounced toward the baseline, beyond his reach, and he hustled anyway. And so the predictable happened: The ball beat him off the court and into the first row. Then the unthinkable happened: He grabbed his left leg and bent over in pain. The first player who rushed over to him yelled: “Book! Book! Hamstring?” ]It was thoughtful of LeBron James to check on Booker, even better if LeBron did this last summer as a free agent when Booker really could’ve use a hand. Instead, Booker is not only limping right now -- hopefully just temporarily for the team’s sake -- but also losing, something he has done more prolifically in Phoenix than get buckets. One of the shames of the NBA is how one of its breakout stars and franchise players is stuck on a habitually bad team, with no playoff shine in sight, and mostly invisible. Yes, only LeBron and Kevin Durant have reached 4,000 career points faster than Booker, but neither ever took Ls like this. Booker is now up to 136 in slightly over three seasons and once again the Suns, now 4-19, are on pace to be forgotten by Christmas. You could hardly blame their fans for getting their basketball fix these days by watching Duke games. All roads lead to the lottery, as it has since 2015 when Booker became one of the few draft decisions that actually worked out. But for Booker and the Suns, that’s some tough medicine, playing another 55 games, swallow many depressing nights along the way, and then pray the odds work in their favor come June. It’s fair to wonder how much of a toll this culture takes on Booker, who’s once again a player who demands a double team, averaging nearly 25 points a game and doing decently as a stand-in at point guard. Some perspective is needed, though. Booker signed a five-year, $158 million contract extension in July, giving plenty of living and den space for all the losing he takes home at night. Still, he said, "It sucks." Booker lost 58 games as a rookie, then 58 again, then 61 last year and may reach 65 or more this season. He’s lost 13 straight games twice, and the Suns once lost 28 of 30 with Booker on the floor. In an 82-game season, it shouldn’t be terribly difficult to put together, say, a four-game win streak. Booker is still waiting on that. For years the situation just wasn’t pretty in Phoenix and it’s only slightly less ugly now. Too many poor Draft picks have delayed progress and ruined the team. Former lottery picks Dragan Bender, Marquese Criss and Alex Len couldn’t earn rookie extensions and there was Phoenix's infamous point guard fetish of recent years when they went through Isaiah Thomas, Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight for little or nothing in return when they left. Sprinkle in some weird free-agent decisions -- like signing Tyson Chandler only to buy him out three years later -- and hilariously chasing LaMarcus Aldridge and it smacked of a team lacking both direction and a plan. Most of these moves were made by former GM Ryan McDonough and while James Jones represents a refreshing front-office change, he comes with little experience in that role. When you examine the fast-track of Booker, you get the best young scorer the league has seen since Durant and LeBron. You also get these numbers: Two, four and 47. That’s how many general managers, coaches and teammates Booker has had in less than four NBA seasons, heavy turnover storming all around him. “My whole career except for the NBA, I’ve been a winner,” Booker said. “I want to get back to that. I’m done with not making the playoffs.” Well, the circumstances say otherwise. The Suns are essentially holding tryouts for the future now, though. Chandler was the first one thrown overboard and if Phoenix could get anything for Ryan Anderson and his contract, he’d be next. For some reason Phoenix gave a head-scratching $15 million this season last summer to aging swingman Trevor Ariza. He's shooting 37.2 percent and scoring 9.9 ppg, taking minutes from young players. Among rotation players, the lone holdovers from 2017-18 are Booker, TJ Warren and Josh Jackson. Taking some advice he received from Chandler, who became a mentor, Booker believes it’s necessary for him to adopt a more forceful role on the court and in the locker room even if, from an age perspective, he needs more seasoning for that. But what are the alternatives, given the ever-changing lineup? “I’m doing more leading by example and being more vocal about it, holding people accountable and hold myself accountable too,” he said. It’s a chore trying to pick up others when, after taking yearly poundings, you need a hand yourself. This is the mountain Booker is up against. Again. “I know losing is tough on him because last year as a rookie I struggled with it,” said Jackson. “I’m just keeping my head on straight now. We show flashes but we need consistency.” Or you could say they need LeBron. And if Booker misses any extended time with a hamstring that has given him trouble before Sunday, well, as Jackson said: “Everybody knows we need him desperately. The sooner we get him back, the better.” With the possible exception of the Knicks, no franchise has splattered the concrete with the speed and consistency as the Suns. Before Booker was born, the Suns were a destination franchise, a place most players wanted to sign with, get drafted by and be traded to. The balmy winter weather was an obvious attraction but in the mid-1990s with Charles Barkley, and then 10 years later with Steve Nash, the Suns were also entertaining and won everything except a championship. Sellouts were common, the arena was a tough place for visitors and fans frolicked along with the Gorilla mascot. All this happened on Jerry Colangelo’s watch and prosperity under owner Robert Sarver is on hourglass time. At least Booker is locked up for four more years and there’s no danger of losing him, at least to another team, in the immediate future. They could lose him to frustration, though, fairly soon, especially when he sees other teams playing meaningful games and listens to other players during USA Basketball gatherings talk about what he’s missing. “I’ll do whatever I have to do,” Booker said, when asked about recruiting help in the near future. “I think Phoenix is a place where people can see the potential, see our young nucleus.” Unless there’s a reversal of fortune in the near future, Phoenix could remain a basketball wasteland and no player, not even Booker, wants to wallow in that. Problem is, until there’s a positive roster shakeup, the Suns lack enough to convince another superstar to sign up next summer or maybe even by 2020. At least when their lone star falls to the floor, as he did Sunday against the Lakers, Booker carries enough clout and respect to get a hand of a different sort from LeBron James. For now, that must do. 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 3rd, 2018

Animam-led NU a win away from five-peat in UAAP Women s

National University faced another opponent in the Finals of the UAAP 81 Womens Basketball Tournament. The result, though, stayed the same. Jack Danielle Animam muscled her way into another double-double and the Lady Bulldogs manhandled returning challenger Far Eastern University for a 71-59 decision on Saturday at the MOA Arena. “Well, one game away from another championship. I’m just glad and happy that we won the game,” head coach Pat Aquino said post-game. Animam was a force all over with 19 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, five steals, and two blocks as the four-time defending champions marched forward to just a win away from yet another title. The Lady Tamaraws were actually ahead early on until last year’s Season MVP imposed her will. “Naging rusty kami because we were away from competitive basketball for two weeks. We’re just happy that Jack came to play,” coach Pat said, talking about their long layoff after having swept the elimination round and automatically advancing into the Finals. Pounding in eight points in a 17-4 run, Animam powered her side in erasing a two-point deficit and erecting a 26-15 advantage in the second quarter. Both the double-digit and the momentum remained with NU for the remainder of the game. Rhena Itesi and Jeanne Camelo also added 13 and 11 points, respectively, for them. With that, they also won for the 79th time in a row dating back from 2014. More than the eliminations, the Lady Bulldogs’ dominance is actually even more evident in the Finals where they have downed FEU in 2014, Ateneo de Manila University in 2015, De La Salle University in 2016, and University of the East in 2017. Now, they are once more on the brink of getting the better of the Lady Tamaraws. Clare Castro paced FEU with a 15-point, 13-rebound double-double. They try to slay the giant and stay alive in Game 2 on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum. BOX SCORES NU 71 – Animam 19, Itesi 13, Camelo 11, Nabalan 8, Fabruada 5, Del Carmen 4, Pingol 3, Cacho 2, Cac 2, Layug 2, Goto 2, Canuto 0, Harada 0, Ceno 0, Bartolo 0 FEU 59 – Castro 15, Taguiam 11, Bahuyan 10, Mamaril 7, Quiapo 6, Adriano 6, Antiola 4, Vidal 0, Bastatas 0, Payadon 0, Dugay 0, Rebleza 0 QUARTER SCORES: 22-13, 37-23, 58-38, 71-59 --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 1st, 2018

Harris has 27 and Nuggets edge Blazers 113-112

By Anne M. Peterson, Associated Press PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Gary Harris, who had missed Denver’s last two games with a sore left ankle, scored 27 points and the Nuggets won their fifth straight game by edging the Portland Trail Blazers 113-112 on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time). Paul Millsap added 22 points for the Nuggets, who led by as many as 17 points but nearly squandered it in the frantic final minutes. CJ McCollum had 33 points, but missed a short jumper at the final buzzer as the Blazers came up just short. Jusuf Nurkic added 17 points and 11 rebounds for Portland, which has lost four of its last five games. The Blazers started to chip away at Denver’s lead late in the third quarter. McCollum’s jumper got Portland within 98-97 with 6:04 left but Monte Morris answered with a three-pointer for the Nuggets and the Blazers couldn’t get any closer until Nurkic’s basket with 1:30 left counted on a goaltending call to close the gap to 108-106. McCollum added step-back jumper to tie it at 108 with less than a minute left. Jamal Murray made a pair of free throws for Denver before McCollum came through again with a layup to re-tie it with 37.1 seconds left — but Harris nailed a corner three-pointer to put the Nuggets in front 113-110. McCollum dunked on the other end and Murray was called out of bounds after the inbound to give Portland back the ball. After a review, the call was overturned. The game clock was re-set to 6.9 seconds and Murray was again called out of bounds on the inbound, but McCollum’s jumper at the buzzer was off to end it. It was the first of a five-game road trip for the Nuggets, who were coming off of a 117-85 victory at home over the L.A. Lakers. Harris hit a three-pointer that capped a 14-2 run that put the Nuggets in front 28-17 late in the first quarter. Denver led by as many as 14 points in the opening period. Meyers Leonard had an emphatic dunk over Mason Plumlee as Portland struggled to close the gap. McCollum got the Blazers within single digits with a layup that made it 53-45, but Harris’ layup and free throw extended Denver’s lead again. Millsap had 16 first-half points and the Nuggets went into the break with a 68-53 lead. Portland was hurt by 10 turnovers. Nurkic had a tip-in that got Portland within 79-72 with just over five minutes left in the third. Damian Lillard’s three-pointer closed the gap to 88-85, but Trey Lyles answered with his own long triple for Denver. The Trail Blazers snapped a three-game losing streak with a 115-112 victory over Orlando on Wednesday. Lillard had 41 points in the game, including a franchise-record 10 three-pointers. But against the Nuggets he was cold at the start, and had just five first-half points and finished with 15. TIP-INS Nuggets: It was the first of four games between the two teams this season. Denver won last year’s series 3-1. ... The Nuggets held opponents under 100 points in each of the previous three games. Trail Blazers: Nurkic played for the Nuggets for more than two seasons before he was traded to Portland in early 2017. ... Portland has lost four straight to the Nuggets. UP NEXT The Nuggets visit Toronto on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time). The Trail Blazers visit San Antonio on Sunday (Monday, PHL time)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 1st, 2018

Despite underdog tag vs Ateneo, UP will fight like hell for that UAAP title

The disparity between Ateneo and University of the Philippines in the UAAP basketball landscape is as clear as the summer's sky and no amount of arguments can change that. Ateneo holds nine titles while UP has one and the Blue Eagles have become the dominant power of the decade winning six championships from 2008 until 2017. This great divide between the two teams obviously puts Ateneo in a pedestal but Fighting Maroons head coach Bo Perasol said they will enter the UAAP Season 81 men's basketball finals with all the fight in the world. "Everybody thinks we're the underdog and that we don't stand a chance but I know we are going to fight for that title," said Perasol. "I kno...Keep on reading: Despite underdog tag vs Ateneo, UP will fight like hell for that UAAP title.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsNov 30th, 2018

UAAP 81 By the Numbers: UP has date with destiny after first Final Four win in 21 years

How was that for a Final Four weekend? UAAP Season 81 is going down the wire as only three teams remain in the all-important title race. Before we move on to the UAAP Finals, a quick look back at the Final Four weekend that was simply awesome.   5 Number of times the FEU Tamaraws lost to the eventual UAAP champion in the playoffs from 2010 to 2017. Over that time period, the Tamaraws made the Final Four seven times and won it all once. Five of the UAAP champions from that era had to go through FEU. Defending champion Ateneo beat FEU on its way to another Finals this season. Can the Blue Eagles bank on this trend and win another championship?   3 Straight UAAP Finals for the Ateneo Blue Eagles, the longest active streak in the league so far. Ateneo lost the Season 79 Finals to La Salle before winning the rematch last season. In Season 81, Adamson or UP will challenge the Blue Eagles for the title.   2 Total three-pointers made by the Adamson Falcons in their last two games, both losses. Adamson shot an incredible 2/42 from three in consecutive losses to FEU and UP and now the Falcons are on the brink of elimination despite taking the no. 2 seed.   8 Total field goals for Papi Sarr in Adamson's Final Four loss to UP. Papi shot 8/12 from the field, leading the Falcon offense. The rest of the team shot 8/42. Yeah that's not ideal.   6 Total points for UAAP MVP Bright Akhuetie in UP's Final Four win over Adamson. While he struggled all game long, Bright connected when it counted, finishing a brilliant after timeout play by coach Bo Perasol with five seconds to go, completing the upset for the Fighting Maroons. UP will meet Adamson once again thanks to that play and the winner moves on to the Finals.   2 Total number of Final Four wins for UP. What a way for the Fighting Maroons to score their first Final Four win in 21 years Saturday. If UP goes 2 of 2, they have the chance to win their first championship since 1986. Meanwhile if the Falcons recover, they win their first Final Four game ever. Adamson is now 0-7 in the Final Four.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 26th, 2018