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Time to give back to Abainza

For many years, veteran international boxing referee and judge Silvestre Abainza has made his country proud as one of the world’s top arbiters, working in fights all over the globe wherever the sound of the bell brought him. Now at 67, Abainza isn’t sure if he can continue doing what he loves......»»

Category: newsSource: philstar philstarFeb 12th, 2019

Foton downs UVC in Grand Prix opener

Foton flirted with disaster before eking out a 26-24, 25-20, 15-25, 25-21 victory over United VC in the opening salvo of the 2019 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix Saturday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City. American import Courtney Felinski provided the firepower, towing the two-time champion Tornadoes to a sizzling start. Felinski was on fire as she delivered 19 attacks for a total of 23 points while former Turkish national team member Selime Ilyasoglu chipped in 19 markers and 14 digs for Foton, which is looking to bring back its old glory. Tornadoes coach Aaron Velez said he was surprised with how well they played, especially in the crucial stretch where they were managed to stop Filipino-American spiker Kalei Mau and import Yasmeen Bedart-Ghani from doing damage. “I’m very happy on how the girls played. Also, the imports were able to step up, especially down the stretch,” said the youthful Velez, who is entering his second season with the Tornadoes. Already ahead, 2-0, Foton looked disoriented in the third set, allowing United VC to pull away, 11-4, all the way to extend the match. The Tornadoes were again behind, 4-10, in the fourth set but they countered with a 6-0 spurt, capped off a Ilyasoglu attack, to tie the contest, 10-10. UVC refused to give up and pushed Foton to its limits, 18-18, but Ilyasoglu and Felinski were on fire down the stretch to hand the Tornadoes their first win of the season. “I’m surprised because in training we don’t normally talk, we just train hard, and today the imports were able to jell properly with the team,” said Velez. Bedart-Ghani delivered 23 points and 14 digs while Mau registered 17 markers for UVC, which also committed 30 unforced errors.        .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 16th, 2019

Jordan s weight reaches farther than court in NC

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com CHARLOTTE -- Unlike Mark Cuban and James Dolan, the host of the 2019 NBA All-Star Game was voted in 14 times to participate and played in 13. Quite different from Micky Arison and Glen Taylor, the team owner whose arena and city will be the center of All-Star 2019 averaged 20.2 points in those 13 All-Star appearances, was named MVP three times and posted the first triple-double in the game’s history (1997). And not at all like Steve Ballmer and Joe Lacob, the guy most often credited with making Charlotte All-Star worthy this weekend ignited the annual Slam Dunk Contest with his takeoff from the foul line in 1988. He also regularly irritated former NBA commissioner David Stern into a series of fines for golfing when he should have been sitting through mandatory Friday media sessions. With a level of celebrity as arguably the game’s greatest player ever, morphed now into an off-radar role as owner of the Charlotte Hornets, Michael Jordan remains as famous, as popular and as successful as any or all the active All-Star participants who’ll cavort at the Spectrum Center in the city’s Uptown business district. Ain’t no other NBA owner who can say that. “You think about all these wealthy, successful owners in our league,” said Hornets president Fred Whitfield, “no one knew who any of them were, really, until they bought their team. Everybody in the world knew who Michael Jordan was before he bought his team.” Jordan’s place in the All-Star galaxy in the coming days is reflective of his unique position among those who oversee the NBA’s 29 other franchises. His impact on the team, on its fans, on their city and on the state in returning to his native North Carolina -- he grew up in coastal Wilmington before attending college in Chapel Hill -- to anchor and lend stability to the Hornets will be on full display, even if he’s hard to spot this weekend. It’s all a reminder, too, of the old movie line from a remarkably blessed character, wondering “What do you do when your real life exceeds your dreams?” Most don’t dare to imagine playing in an All-Star Game, never mind hosting one as the owner of the local team. “No,” Jordan told some Charlotte reporters Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time), coming forward for one of his few appearances of the week. “As a kid growing up here in North Carolina, the first thing [was] playing basketball. And then things evolved from there -- from the University of North Carolina to Chicago. Obviously you know the history from that. “[The] opportunity to represent North Carolina in an All-Star Game from a different seat is truly amazing. It tells the path that I have taken. It gives me great pleasure to give that back to the community. It’s been a long-traveled road.” The celebration of the league’s brightest stars, and the ubiquitous banners and signage devoted to it will make it even harder than usual to visibly spot signs of Jordan’s ownership of the Hornets. For a typical regular season game, you might spy a flag emblazoned with his well-known “Jumpman” logo. Occasionally he’ll watch part of the game, rarely all, from seats at the end of his team’s bench, though he’s as likely to retreat to his suite atop the arena’s lower bowl. An in-game, timeout scoreboard video meant to stoke the crowd includes shots of GM Mitch Kupchak (“Architect of Champions”) and coach James Borrego (“Elite Pedigree”) but ends right about the time you expect some dramatic silhouette of His Airness to appear. It’s as if Jordan is as protective of his brand in running the Hornets as he is in maintaining its exclusivity in the marketplace. Doesn’t matter, though. His fingerprints are all over the franchise, as a basketball team, as a business enterprise and as a member of the community. On court, Jordan trusts his team Jordan’s greatest notoriety as an owner in a basketball setting may have come in December, when he was courtside for a tense game against Detroit. Guard Jeremy Lamb drained a 22-foot jumper with 0.3 seconds left, sending reserves Malik Monk and Bismack Biyombo onto the floor in celebration of what would be a 108-107 home victory. Trouble was, that sliver of time on the clock. Too many men. The Hornets were whistled for a one-shot technical foul and Jordan impulsively smacked Monk lightly, twice, on the back of the head. Any other owner does that, the player’s agent might file a grievance with the players union. Jordan does it and, thanks to his in-the-trenches, in-the-fraternity credibility, it comes across as a goof. “A tap of endearment,” Jordan called it later in a statement. “It was like a big brother and little brother tap. No negative intent. Only love!" Said Monk: “Big, big, big brother. But it was nothing. He was just playing.” The arc of Jordan’s career and his reputation as a stone-cold competitor make it OK if he wants to vent -- or swipe -- when things don’t go the Hornets’ way. Doesn’t matter that Jordan, who will turn 56 on All-Star Sunday, is old enough to be any of his players' dad. He still carries himself like an athlete, and their frame of reference remains, “That’s Mike.” “I’ve seen kids come up through camps,” said Buzz Peterson, Charlotte’s assistant general manager under Kupchak. “You could say Julius Erving, you could say Larry Johnson, Karl Malone, whatever, and the kids’ eyes are like, ‘Who?’ But you say Michael Jordan, they’re gonna know. That’s the separation there.” Peterson is among Jordan’s closest friends -- he beat him out as North Carolina’s prep player of the year in 1981, won an NCAA title with him as a Tar Heels teammate and is described by those who know both as someone who can disagree with the boss while staying comfortably in the inner circle. For Borrego, Charlotte’s first-year coach, interviewing to run Jordan’s team could have been intimidating. “We’re all human beings -- there’s a presence that comes with ‘Michael Jordan’ when he’s around,” Borrego told NBA.com in January. “But it’s healthy. He comes with a competitive spirit that you feel. “Michael was straight with me from Day 1. When I interviewed, he said, ‘I’m going to give you space to do your job. Whatever you need, you come to me. I’ll give you the resources you need.’ He has not tried to interfere one time. I feel his full support. … We’re starting to speak each other’s language, which is pretty healthy for us now.” Jordan keeps the coach apprised of his interactions with players, Borrego said. Other coaches should have such a resource at the ready. Hornets guard and 2019 All-Star starter Kemba Walker probably has benefited most from Jordan’s counsel. They text frequently, a pinch-me arrangement to this day for Walker. “I grew up wearing Jordans, grew up wanting to be like Jordan,” Walker said recently. “So for me to get this opportunity to be on his team means the world to me. He’s the one who believed in me -- I had no idea where I was going to go on draft night and he traded up for me. I’ve always heard the story, he was the one who actually drafted me. So it’s unbelievable. “He’s such a good dude. He understands what it is to be good. His delivery is always good. Only in a positive way, honestly.” Said rookie wing Miles Bridges: “You think there’ll be a lot of pressure having MJ as an owner. I’d seen how he got on his teammates when he played. So I was nervous, thinking if I had a bad game, he’d go at me like, ‘What’re you doing?’ But after meeting him and bonding with him, I feel like he’s the coolest owner out there. I don’t feel any pressure, I feel like he wants the best for us.” Big man Frank Kaminsky typically sits at the end of the bench, which puts him cheek to cheek with Jordan when he’s courtside. “He’s talking about what he’s seeing out on the court. Talking to the refs,” Kaminsky said. “Things other players don’t necessarily see. He still thinks the game. “You see things on the court that he sees. One game, the roll, pocket-pass, skip to the corner was open. He was saying that. We made an adjustment in a timeout, but he saw it a couple plays before that. At the end of that game, we had a big play that was a roll, pocket-pass, into the corner that put the game away. It worked the way he’d seen it.” The Hornets’ struggles during Jordan’s tenure as owner wouldn’t suggest it -- the last time this organization won a playoff series (2002), Jordan still was a player -- but there is a prestige to playing for his team. It’s not unlike being welcomed onto the list of elite athletes who endorse Jordan Brand. “I’m one of the lucky ones who’s in both,” Kaminsky said. “You’re talking about the most iconic player in sports history -- I might be biased because I grew up in Chicago -- but when you have his approval, it means a lot. You have it in the back of your mind that he wants you here.” Head smack or no head smack. Jordan grows as owner, businessman Basketball is a zero-sum game and the NBA is full of stars, even if none shines quite as brightly as Jordan. But business has room for negotiation and compromise, and deals get struck daily that leave both sides happy. There, Jordan has been beyond clutch. Funnel down everything he’s accomplished -- six NBA championships, the league’s highest career scoring average (30.1), five MVP awards, six Finals MVP, 10 scoring titles, nine All-Defensive team nods -- and it invariably ends with clammy hands. The “wow” factor is real and the Hornets are extremely careful about leveraging it. “It gives our organization a certain cachet,” said Whitfield, another longtime friend who goes back more than 35 years with Jordan. “For him to be majority owner, for him to do it in his home state as a local hometown hero, and to be able to come back and not just lead the team and the rebranding from the Bobcats to the Hornets, but his commitment to the community in giving back, it’s something that’s so special.” That’s a lot to unpack. When Jordan initially signed on with the Hornets, he did so as head of its basketball operations in 2006, purchasing a small minority stake in the team. The team was bad, the business was worse and trending down. “Back in ’08-09, the economy was in the tank and I was mandated to ‘displace’ 42 of our executives here on the business side,” Whitfield said. “When Michael bought the team, we were losing $30 million a year.’ Brought back into the league in 2004 two years after the original Hornets (1988-2002) were moved to New Orleans by reviled owner George Shinn, the Charlotte expansion team was owned -- and nicknamed -- by Bob Johnson, a co-founder of the BET television network. The Bobcats excelled only at losing and were 122 games under .500 in their first five seasons. The front office was understaffed, Spectrum Center (then known as Time Warner Cable Arena) needed renovations almost from its inception and there was a real sense that, if a buyer with deep pockets and a commitment to the area weren’t found, the franchise could be moved. In March 2010, Jordan ponied up the cash to become majority owner. But it says something that the deal stands as one of the few, if ever, instances of an NBA franchise being sold at a discount. Johnson paid $300 million for the team; Jordan purchased it for $275 million. Forbes.com recently had Charlotte worth $1.25 billion -- which ranks 28th. And Jordan reportedly has one of the biggest stakes of all NBA owners, with his share estimated at upwards of 90 percent, possibly as high as 98 percent. That’s a lot of success in nine years, despite the basketball team’s mostly middling performance. “With MJ being with the team, you got instant credibility in the marketplace,” said Pete Guelli, the chief operating officer who started on the job about 10 months before Jordan took ownership. “There had been a lot of uncertainty previously, but with his brand and his resources and his commitment, that just dissipated immediately. It was much, much easier to walk in the door and tell people about our vision for this franchise.” Rebranding the team as “Hornets” gave the franchise an existential boost -- it suddenly had a history again, complete with records, archives and true alumni. The arena got a makeover and, per Guelli, is credited for events there that generate an alleged $1 billion in revenues for local businesses. “Fortunately, we’ve been profitable pretty much since [Jordan took over],” Whitfield said. “That’s huge, especially since we haven’t gotten where we want to be on the basketball side.” Closing a new kind of game now It’s hard to overstate Jordan’s added value, not so much as some corporate or financial whiz but as a presence who brought instant motivation and energy to the staff. He imported executives with whom he had developed relationships at Nike or in other ventures and, after taking early criticism for an uncertain level of involvement, has been more diligent in recent years. “I love seeing him sitting at the end of the bench encouraging his players when he attends a game” said Charles F. Bowman, Bank of America’s market president for Charlotte and North Carolina. “And as a business person what impresses me is that he has empowered his management team to focus not only on the court but also on building bridges with the community. “He had a vision for where he was taking the team and a clear plan to get there. He has hired good people, gives them latitude to make decisions and he expects them to perform. Michael is unique -- the best player ever who is determined to keep getting better year over year as an owner.” The NBA has gotten a taste of Jordan’s growth and transition at some pivotal times. This is the legendary voice of the players who, during rancorous negotiations in the 1998 lockout, countered Washington owner Abe Pollin’s gripes about losing money by telling Pollin to sell his team. By the lockout of 2011, Jordan had moved to the other side of the table. But several members of the National Basketball Players Association’s executive committee saw him not as an opponent or turncoat but as a role model: someone who had transformed himself from employee to employer at the game’s highest level. “The players understood, he had been in their shoes,” Whitfield said. “He’s not forgetting what it meant to be a player. He was in the process of learning what it meant to be an owner.” When the current collective bargaining agreement was negotiated with commissioner Adam Silver and union director Michele Roberts leading the talks, Jordan was an active, powerful voice. He is an influential member of the NBA’s labor relations and competition committees. One Charlotte insider spoke to Jordan’s clout with his fellow owners in getting this weekend’s showcase -- jeopardized by a political squabble in 2017 -- back onto the league’s short list. “There’s no All-Star Game here in Charlotte if it’s not for MJ,” the person said. Last summer in Las Vegas, Silver lauded Jordan for his ability to straddle the basketball and business worlds. “He brings unique credibility to the table when we're having discussions [with the players],” he said, “and even just among the owners, he's able to represent a player point of view… Michael can say, 'Well, look, this is how I looked at it when I was a player, and these are the kind of issues we need to address if we're going to convince players that something is in everyone's interest.’ ” Jordan’s powers of persuasion apparently have been even more impressive in Charlotte and North Carolina. The executives are careful about relying on him too often -- Jordan’s most precious commodity, now that his net worth is estimated to be upwards of $1.7 billion -- is his time. But when they need Mariano Rivera to walk in from the bullpen, he is lights out. “We’ve had corporate sponsors at a golf outing, and he’s been there, maybe stayed at one hole to tell off with everybody,” Whitfield said. Or they’ll invite certain corporate sponsors to one of a few games each season in which “Club 23” is up and running at the Spectrum Center, a private club built for such purposes. They get a chance to visit, talk with and pick Jordan’s brain on the Hornets and much more. “We’ve closed all those deals,” Whitfield said. Then there was the time a local CEO wanted to finalize a sizeable sponsorship deal with the team, and had his No. 2 invite Jordan over to their headquarters for the meetings. Whitfield told the tale: “This guy says, 'You have to come to our office. Our CEO is the man in our business.' But we’re like, 'Nah, typically, CEOs come and meet in Michael’s office or in ‘Club 23’ over here.' He said no, that wasn’t going to work for them. “So Pete Guelli said, 'Let’s make a deal: We’ll take your CEO and drop him off in Beijing. And we’ll drop off Michael in Beijing. Then we’ll see who more people gravitate to. Whoever gets the least people, he has to come to the other guy’s office.'” Point made. Point taken. Said Whitfield: “The guy says, ‘You know what, I got it. We’ll be over 10 o’clock Friday morning.’” A community he calls home The Michael Jordan who once seemed determined to float above cultural and political frays as the most prudent way to serve commerce has not held back in recent years from making his presence felt. He has been more philanthropist than activist and, let’s face it, in times of the most dire need, cash beats talk every time. Charity and investing in the community can be good for business, sure. Making that a priority after Guelli’s arrival and Jordan’s purchase helped the Hornets build bridges with fans and merchants that Shinn and the original franchise’s departure had torched. More than that, though, giving back for Jordan and his team at this point in his life was the right thing to do. And do, and do, and do. The list of charitable and civic efforts Jordan and the Hornets have undertaken is long, with few outside the region or state aware of most of it. Among the highlights: - Donating $2 million to relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Florence, particularly meaningful because of the damage it did in Jordan’s hometown of Wilmington. - Dedicated $7 million in partnership with Novant Health to fund two Michael Jordan Family Clinics, set to open in Charlotte in 2020. - Serving as Make-A-Wish’s Chief Wish Ambassador since 2008, while donating more than $5 million to the organization. His relationship with Make-A-Wish began more than 30 years ago. - Contributing $5 million as a founding donor of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. - Addressing the issue of police shootings and community policing in 2016 by donating $1 million each to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the International Association of Chiefs of Police. After the hurricane in September devastated so many homes and businesses in and near Jordan’s roots, he wanted to do more than to stroke a fat check. In a meeting covered by The Associated Press, he met with Stephanie Parker and her family, including four young children, after they lost their apartment in two feet of flooding. A call from the director of the Cape Fear chapter of the Red Cross brought them together. The meeting took place at a Lowe’s home improvement store. “I look around the corner, and it’s Michael Jordan. ‘Oh my God!’" Parker said. “I look at my kids, ‘It’s Michael Jordan!’ I’m not going to lie, some tears came in my eyes, because the first thing that went through my mind was when I was younger, his last game when he was on the Chicago Bulls team, and that flashback just came right in my mind.” Afterward, Jordan was coaxed by the Charlotte Observer to talk about why that disaster resonated so deeply for him. “You gotta take care of home,” he said. “Wilmington truly is my home. Kept thinking about all those places I grew up going to … You don’t want to see any of that anywhere, but when it’s home, that’s tough to swallow.” There’s basketball, there’s business and then there’s real life, which sometimes intrudes in the most desperate ways. “We didn’t know how many people in our community were hungry,” Whitfield said. “There are people in dire need, and it’s special to have that hometown hero have in his heart that ‘This is where I can help.’ “It gives not only him as a person but our organization a platform to really speak out. That commitment is what has made him a special owner, and why he’s even more beloved in our community.” Winning title No. 7 drives Jordan now To date, Jordan’s greatest achievements have come elsewhere, at least since his baseline shot as a freshman propelled North Carolina to the 1982 NCAA championship. Those Bulls championships, the “Dream Team” magnificence, his partnership with that sneaker company in Beaverton, Ore., his Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame induction, shooting “Space Jam,” all of it -- his legacy has been crafted with others, for others, mostly far from home. (For the record, Jordan, his wife Yvette and their two daughters own a mansion outside Charlotte and an estate in south Florida). “Look, this has always been home for him,” Whitfield said. “Even though he was drafted by Chicago, WGN became a very popular station. And he just continued to elevate, so people in this state were proud to say, even though he’s a Bull, we love him. When the Bulls would come here and play at the old Coliseum, these fans who were avid Hornets fans were all pulling for Michael Jordan. “He’d score, they’d cheer loudly. The Hornets would score, they’d cheer loudly. North Carolina always felt like he was their native son who went off and achieved greatness.” Coming back first to head the franchise’s basketball operations and then as owner, Jordan’s role -- in light of the modest results on the court -- has been custodial. Yes, the club’s improved financial stability is important. But for this driven winner and NBA owner unlike all others, custodial isn’t going to cut it for long. “He did an interview with Cigar Aficionado magazine a while back,” Peterson said, “and the question was asked, ‘What would you like to do?’ And he said, ‘Win a seventh championship. Win as an owner.’ So for me, every day, I’m thinking, here’s a close friend and you want to make your friends happy, right? So each day I think, do the best you can to reach this goal for him.” Said Hornets wing Nicolas Batum: “I understand. He wants to win. He wants to compete since he was born.” It hasn’t been for lack of trying, although Jordan has made sure to keep fiscal responsibility high on every agenda. The team’s payroll for 2018-19 is approximately $122.3 million, which ranks near the middle of the NBA pack. “That Michael Jordan is one cheap dude,” said an impassioned cab driver on a recent airport run. “He’s only going to spend so much and the players they get shows it.” The Hornets never have spent into the league’s luxury-tax, and if Walker is retained when he hits free agency this summer, he’ll likely become the first Charlotte player to sign a full maximum-salary contract (though the five-year, $120 million deal Batum landed in 2016 came awfully close). Injuries and dubious moves have taken a toll, a situation that Kupchak, Borrego and their staffs have been tasked with fixing. Jordan, by all accounts, is engaged yet patient, with a playoff berth and potentially a record above .500 within reach. “I’m sure he feels like,” Whitfield said, “if he were still 30 years old and could lace ‘em up and get out there, he’d help us get over the hump. I think he would cherish it as much or more than the first six. Because I think he realizes how hard it is to get it done. “But it doesn’t bother us if the fans see his frustration sitting next to our bench. It’s important to us that they see he’s not only invested, he’s vested in what our team is trying to do. They can relate to him because they’re feeling that same frustration.” Jordan is theirs again and that’s what matters. For basketball, for business, for community and in time, just maybe, in championship. 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 NewsFeb 16th, 2019

FIBA WORLD CUP: Nervous Thirdy preparing for Gilas Pilipinas role

Ateneo de Manila University star and UAAP Season 81 Finals MVP Thirdy Ravena is the only amateur included in the current Gilas Pilipinas pool. As if that’s not a big enough deal, Thirdy is also in the line-up during the time that the Philippine national team is under the most pressure. Currently sitting at fourth place in Group F, Gilas Pilipinas is faced with two must-win situations as the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers draws to a close. Thirdy, who’s in the running to make the final 12 for the Philippines-Qatar and Philippines-Kazakhstan games, is naturally nervous. However, if he makes the main roster, those nerves will have to go away immediately because there’s simply no room for error once Gilas takes the court next week. “Unang-una medyo kinakabahan ako kasi first time ko sila makasama, lahat ng mga players ng Gilas,” Ravena said. “But kapag nandoon na, wala na room para kabahan, kailangan mag-perform ako,” he added. Thirdy’s slot in the final 12 is no sure thing. Even if he makes it, who knows how many minutes he’ll play in a national team stacked with international veterans. Still, the high-flying Blue Eagle is making sure he’s on his toes, ready to take flight when he’s number is up. “I need to prepare as best as a I can para if ever the time comes na kailangan ko, may role ako na kailangan gawin sa team, dapat ready ako,” he said. “I’m preparing the best I can to give back the to the trust na binigay ni Coach Yeng sakin in getting me and bringing me to the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers,” Thirdy added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 15th, 2019

Currys excited for mini family reunion at All-Star weekend

By Steve Reed, Associated Press CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Dell Curry looks forward to those nights when he can open a bottle of wine, take a seat on his recliner in front of the fireplace alongside wife Sonya and watch their NBA sons play basketball simultaneously on two large-screen television sets in his living room. Those are the nights he has to pinch himself realizing how blessed his family is. Everyone in the Curry clan has been pinching themselves lately; the family has been downright giddy about NBA All-Star Weekend. “It’s going to be incredible,” said Curry, a former NBA player and color commentator for the Hornets TV network who still lives in Charlotte. “It’s going to be a mini family reunion.” There will be plenty of fellowshipping in Charlotte, including family dinners and group outings. Of course there also will be a little basketball. Stephen and Seth Curry will be returning to their hometown for the festivities. Stephen, a two-time league MVP, will join younger brother Seth in the 3-point shootout Saturday night (Sunday, PHL time) at the Spectrum Center and then play in his sixth straight All-Star game Sunday (Monday, PHL time). “This just has the feel of the Curry family All-Star weekend,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. The fact that Seth is involved makes it extra special. Stephen said that the family group text was “buzzing” when everyone learned Seth was invited to compete in the 3-point contest. The Currys have been prepping for this weekend for months. Sonya is taking care of the family’s logistics, including tickets, travel plans and hotel reservations. On top of the invite list are the boys’ grandmothers, who haven’t been to an All-Star weekend since Dell competed in the 3-point shootout in Orlando in 1992. “It was very important to us that they were here to see this,” Dell said. Former coaches including Davidson’s Bob McKillop and other family friends will be there, too. The NBA is accommodating the Currys with extra tickets, knowing how big of a weekend it is for the family. Stephen has his own guest list — separate from the rest of the family — and hopes to limit it to 30 people. “I want you to write that loud and clear so you can help me keep the list small,” Stephen said with a laugh. Most of the out-of-towners will be staying in a downtown Charlotte hotel, and Dell and Sonya are considering bunking there, too, so they can be close to everyone and not miss a minute. “I want to see my grandchildren as much as possible,” Dell said. Stephen and Seth arrived Thursday (Friday, PHL time) together in Charlotte after Seth’s Trail Blazers hosted Stephen’s Warriors on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time) in Portland, Oregon. Their families came here, too. Stephen is married to Ayesha and the couple has three children. Seth has a child with Callie Rivers, the daughter of NBA coach Doc Rivers. And the players’ sister, Sydell, who recently married Stephen’s Warriors’ teammate Damion Lee, a two-way player with Golden State, will be in town, too. The Curry family has a community event planned in Charlotte in association with Stephen’s partnership with Under Armour. “We want to give back and remind people, hey, this is where they were raised,” Dell said. “We want to make this a special weekend.” One of the highlights of the Curry family reunion weekend might be the 3-point shootout where the highly competitive brothers will square off against each other on a national stage. Trash talking is almost sure to be part of the event. Dell doesn’t know what to expect once his sons take the floor. He said both are equally competitive, whether it’s on the golf course or at family get-togethers. “At my daughter’s wedding we played Liar’s Dice for about two hours and that was the most competitive thing I have seen in a long time,” Dell said with a laugh. “Anytime there is a game that somebody has to win or lose, you can’t give anyone the edge as to who is more competitive. We all are competitive.” Added Seth: “I’m trying to win it, so I’m going to target everybody. It should be very entertaining to watch us both shoot out there. But I gotta beat everybody, not just him, to win it.” Warriors All-Star guard Klay Thompson said he decided not to participate in the 3-point shootout this year simply so he could just sit back and “be a fan” and watch the Currys go at it. For Stephen, the whole idea of the amped-up circus-like atmosphere that is looming has him excited about the weekend. “It will be a packed house with our family supporting us for sure,” Stephen said. “It’s rare when we are all together during basketball season,” Seth said. “So to have everyone there, it’s always fun. It’ll be a good weekend.” ___ AP Sports Writer Janie McCauley in San Francisco, California, and Anne Peterson in Portland, Oregon, contributed to this report......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 15th, 2019

PBA D-League: Bulanadi, Valencia-Baste sink Marinero in OT

Valencia City Bukidnon-San Sebastian College Recoletos scored its breakthrough win in the 2019 PBA D-League, repulsing Marinerong Pilipino, 110-104 in overtime Thursday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig. Allyn Bulanadi starred for the Golden Harvest, dropping a game-high 32 points, 12 coming in the big 28-point third quarter assault for his side before scoring four more to put the game away in extra time. He also had nine rebounds, three blocks, and two assists as he emerged as the new go-to-guy for San Sebastian. Coach Egay Macaraya, though, felt that the credit shouldn't be given solely to Bulanadi given how good the team recovered after squandering a 14-point fourth quarter lead. "Isang factor si Allyn, but everybody, noong extension, hindi nag-give up ang mga bata. I guess yun ang bini-build namin ngayon, building character ng Baste," he said. "Nakita ko na 'di kami nag-give up and that's the very thing na I'm very happy." Valencia-Baste looked poised to run away with the win after taking an 84-70 lead, but Mike Ayonayon and Art Aquino conspired to bring Marinerong Pilipino back in the game and tied it at 100 just as the regulation clock expired. But Bulanadi had other plans as he commanded the finishing kick the Golden Harvest needed to score the breakthrough and gain the first victory in the Foundation Group. RK Ilagan also added 28 points on a 5-of-9 shooting from threes, while also collecting seven rebounds, six assists, and three steals, while JM Calma scattered nine points, 10 boards, and two dimes for Valencia-Baste. The loss spoiled Ayonayon's 23-point night, as well as the 19 points and five rebounds from Aquino as the Skippers fell on their season opener. BOX SCORES VALENCIA-BASTE 110 -- Bulanadi 32, Ilagan 28, Calma 9, Villapando 8, Capobres 7, Dela Cruz 6, Are 5, Altamirano 5, Sumoda 4, Desoyo 3, Bonleon 3, Calahat 0, Tero 0, Loristo 0. MARINERONG PILIPINO 104 -- Ayonayon 23, Aquino 19, Wamar 15, Rodriguez 15, Santillan 12, Asistio 9, Mendoza 6, Reyes 3, Serrano 2, Victoria 0, Bonifacio 0, Bunag 0. QUARTER SCORES: 30-26, 50-53, 78-68, 100-100, 110-104......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 14th, 2019

PBA: Paul Lee has happiest birthday ever despite loss

Even though the Magnolia Hotshots fell to 0-3 after a James Yap game-winner, Paul Lee still thinks there will be something to look forward to on his birthday tomorrow, Valentine's Day. The Best Player of the Conference of the 2018 PBA Governors' Cup will be celebrating his 30th birthday  as a member of the Gilas Pilipinas pool in practice tomorrow morning. Lee said he will then have a simple dinner with his family along with a very special guest, the couple's new treasure, daughter Tokyo. Tokyo, who just turned four months old last Feb. 8, will be celebrating her daddy's special day for the first time, which has clearly made the spitfire guard all the more exciting Thursday. "['Y]un ang pinaka-maganda dun, 'yung magbi-birthday ako na may baby. So, wala ng mas okay pa doon. 'Yun na ang pinakamasarap na feeling, na birthday ko na mangyayari," Lee said after the Hotshots' 75-74 loss against red-hot Rain or Shine Wednesday evening. Now talking about the game, the UE alumnus thought that the game was over after he hit a difficult step-back jumper which gave his team the 74-72 lead with 6.1 left. Paul Lee for the lead! 6.1 left in regulation. Magnolia up 74-72. #PBA2019 • @abscbnsports pic.twitter.com/csRpWZmEW8 — Philip Martin Matel (@philipptionary) February 13, 2019 However, former star James Yap had some other plans, spoling what should have been Magnolia's first win by drilling a classic patented one-hander, which became a three-point play to decide the game. JAMES YAP WITH THE FLOATER FOR THE LEAD! ROS back on top, 75-74, 2.5 left. #PBA2019 • @abscbnsports pic.twitter.com/hAG0kz9JjE — Philip Martin Matel (@philipptionary) February 13, 2019 "We thought sa amin na 'yung game, then 'yun nga, si James. So... ayun, we have a break after this game so we need to figure out kung ano talaga 'yung problema ng team, or kung ano 'yung dapat naming gawin. So we have time para ma-figure out," shared Lee.  As the whole league heads to a two-week break to give way for Gilas' most important stretch, he did note that his teammates are already in win-now mode and is confident that they could bounce back from their setbacks. "...[N]apag-usapan namin kanina sa dugout, kailangan 'yung sense of urgency andoon na talaga. Siguro alam naman ng lahat kung ano 'yung sitwasyon namin ngayon, so there's no point na magre-relax pa kami or what," Lee mentioned. __   Follow this writer on Twitter, @philipptionary. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 13th, 2019

I believe we would be in the Final Four -- Okumu

The University of the Philippines showed what it could do during the pre-season after collecting titles in the Premier Volleyball League and the Philippine Superliga. It is but natural for Lady Maroons fans to expect more from the Godfrey Okumu-mentored squad come UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament. Their pre-season romp, according to Okumu, is a morale boost, but at the same time it created pressure for his wards to live up to expectations. “The excitement is there but also the stress, the pressure. We cannot count that out,” said Okumu, who has done wonders to the squad in just his second year as mentor. “The fans are excited, we are excited, the players are excited as well because most of them believe that it's a time for them to show themselves to the UAAP community.” Okumu’s first year with the squad was a period of adjustment and the Lady Maroons struggled to adapt to the new system and ended up at fifth to sixth spot tied with Adamson University, tallying six wins in 14 games. For the second straight year UP missed the Final Four.     “The last season was quite challenging, Season 80. I barely had enough time to prepare the team the way I wanted,” he said. During the offseason, the Lady Maroons were able to fully grasp Okumu’s system and it paid dividends.       UP made history by capturing the PVL Collegiate Conference award, the Diliman-based team’s first major women’s volleyball crown since winning it all in UAAP Season 45 back in 1982, despite playing without injured spiker Tots Carlos. The Lady Maroons followed it up with another championship run in the PSL Collegiate Grand Slam without Isa Molde, who was rested following her stint in the UAAP beach volleyball tournament. UP’s PSL win also earned them an all-expense paid training camp in Thailand, where they got a chance to play against club team Supreme Chonburi led by Thai national team stars Pleumjit Thinkaow and Wilavan Apinyapong.   “They never had a pre-season like this. Playing together as a team. This was a good opportunity for them to test themselves. They were tested well and they've land their position but this were just preseason tournament,” said Okumu. But for Okumu, the real battle will start come February 16 in the UAAP wars. “I expect them to give their best, I expect them to play like this is their last tournament of their lives,” said the mentor, who will parade a battle-tested core led by Molde, Carlos and graduating setter Ayel Estranero. “That's what I say every time they play, ‘Make it look like it's your last. Don't play thinking that oh we still have another game. Don't serve that ball thinking that oh I still have another serve to six rotations. Always make it look like it's your last so give it your best everything you do and also have disciplining, know your court, respect your opponents and respect the game that you're playing and you'll get your returns.’” Also back in the fold are veterans Marist Layug, Justine Dorog, Jessma Ramos and Marian Buitre, giving UP a mature and experienced core.     “What I expect is for them to go hard, they came from far, some of them four years ago, some of them five, like Ayel, she's coming, five years, playing and training to win. I think some of them in their first years that was when they were in the Final Four,” said Okumu. “Last season they thought they were gonna be in the Final Four but it was bad luck that that we didn't make it. I think this time we should start strong, and finish strong.” With the Lady Maroons pre-season showing, Okumu is confident that his team will make it to the Final Four this time and even beyond if they stick to their game plan, focus and work hard to achieve their goals. “This season, 81, I think I believe we would be in the Final Four based on how we played. That is my strong belief,” he said. “Like every other team, we have a chance of winning like all the strong teams. We have a chance and we wanna go out there and take that chance because as I said before, it's not gonna be easy.” “We have to go there hard, nobody is gonna give it to us. We have to go out and take it so that's what we are trying to do. Go out there and take it because everybody else is trying to take the same so we tread carefully, very politely, and with a lot of discipline towards our goal,” Okumu added. “As I said before, it's not gonna be easy because everybody wants the same thing.”   ---   Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 11th, 2019

7s Football League Match Day 2: Tondo FC, Super Eagles, Deportivo Matu, Ghana FC and Delimondo remains undefeated; Bohemians bounces back from first game loss

p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; text-align: justify; font: 12.0px Helvetica; color: #454545} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica; color: #454545; min-height: 14.0px} The Philam Life 7s Football league is back at the McKinley Hill Stadium this week with its matchday 2 for both its youth and seniors division. Once again, youth teams had proven that football in the country is growing and that youth talent only need an avenue to practice their skills in the sport. Youth teams opened the matchday 2 of the league with an action-packed set of games with the Kaya youth teams seemingly dominate the league in all four age groups. Giving them a run for their money is the Simon Greatwich –led G8 and Bohemians Sporting Club. Over at the Seniors Division, the boys from Tondo had once again proven that they are a force to be reckoned with at the league as they whipped H&J All-Stars with an impressive 3-1 victory. Coming into the game, Tondo FC did make some adjustments, mainly getting reinforcements from players from Marikina, something that Coach Mark Balbin is thankful for. “Kasi in Tondo, we play the attacking side so more of us specialize in dribbling which makes the defensive side our loophole. The ones na kinuha namin from Marikina, mga defenders, we know yung caliber nila kaya ni-recruit namin sila as part of the team. Yung squad namin is composed of 14 players and sinabi namin is we know those players [H&J All Stars] who are not young, unlike some of our players na mas bata sa kanila who are more technically and physically good," said Balbin. "Sinabi ko na lang sa kanila is to pressure kasi may mga subs naman na pwedeng pumalit so all out kapag nasa field, wag magpipigil sa sarili and pagurin yung sarili nila. Kahit yung mga subs ganun din sinabi ko, all out din kapag nasa field. Yung lang ang ginamit namin na tactic against sa kanila. Tactically speaking, sa loob, wala kaming ginagawa masyado kasi alam naman namin na mabibilis kami so all out lang ng all out.” After being down 0-1 and then 1-2 at the end of the first half, Bohemian made an epic come back at the second half and score the equalizer that sent the game to extra time. The extra five minutes is all that they need to regroup in order to score the golden goal to seal their comeback with the win. “A come from behind win is always difficult. I think we started out a little bit too relaxed, Real Amigos came out with intensity, came out really with high pressure, I think out players were a bit too relaxed but then we got the first goal - unlucky because it was a rebound, they scored one goal, but you know that’s football, breaks of the game. But like you’ve said, we’ve kept our game, we continued to play our game, eventually, we were able to come back and get to 1-1. Then they were able to get to it again at 2-1 and then at the second half, I think we put on much pressure or intensity. We picked it up and we got to get the equalizer. In the last few seconds, they gave up a 6th foul and that’s a penalty so we got to 2-2, then I didn’t know that there was extra time. Anton was saying that there’s still 5 minutes of extra time and then we were able to get that golden goal and the victory.” Says Coach Mikee Carrion At the second set of games scheduled for matchday 2; Superbad became the next team to have fallen into the Super Eagles’ prey. The defending champions led as much as 3-0 at the end of the first half and were even more resilient in protecting their lead at the second half, scoring five more goals to prove that they are determined to win the league title for the third time in a row. “I think it was just hard work and determination. We are the defending champions and we are committed, we really want to win again. I don’t need to say that they will fall into our prey because it is all about 7 versus 7 but in the game of soccer, anything can happen. But I just want to assure you that Super Eagles is going to win, there is no doubt about it, we are going to win.” A very satisfied Coach Prince says On the other side of the field, Delimondo-Laro FC and Ceres FC were inseparable at the first half, giving the fans present at the stadium an all the more exciting game as they anticipate which of these two teams will draw first blood. Ceres FC went on to take the lead at the beginning of the second half, but Delimondo-Laro FC was able to equalize not long enough. Another goal scored by Ceres broke the lead but it was not for long as Delimondo-Laro FC was able to bounce back, scoring another goal from the penalty area and then eventually scoring another one to seal off their come from behind win. “We pushed a bit more, then they got the lead then we pushed again to pressure them after they got the lead again, we kept on pushing. I think our game tonight was more entertaining in the second half compared to the first one,” says Joaco Canas at the post-match interview For the last batch of fixtures of match day 2; Ghana FC lived up to their statement from opening day that they will give each team a run for their money as they led against Stallions FC at the end of the first half. However, Stallions tried to make a comeback at the start of the second half only to fall short against the league runner-ups. “It was a very intense game, Stallions is one of the professional teams in the Philippines and they even started training before the season began, they prepared really well. Playing against them, you know, it’s really going to be tough. Our game plan today was to play 3 defenders, 2 midfielders and one attacker, first half, we scored the only one which we tried to hold down to the 1 up until halftime and then we got another goal at the start of the second half, which is really a good goal. Then when we conceded a goal, we started panicking especially when we conceded a penalty, good thing our goalie saved it, and then less than two minutes later, another penalty which our goalie saved again. We have to give all the glory to our goalkeeper for saving those two penalties.” Coach Ayi Bimbo narrates “It was so hard, really wasn’t easy. 2 players down and our Coach is out. It’s very frustrating but we came together, we played together as a team and focused at the game, played how it is.” Sam Yakubu, who scored the winning goal added. Deportivo Matu, on the other hand, lived up to extend their winning streak as they trounce the Futbol Fanatics with a clean sheet; 5-0. “Great feeling, obviously, especially being here, great people, a lot of people supporting us. It started off really rough. First half, I think we manage to have a lot of composure when Nico starting, obviously and we managed to keep the ball quite well, we managed to keep them out of our 6 meters because it is the most important thing for us – starting off and then we capitalized it on the second half so we’re quite satisfied with that.” Coach Chris Johnson says after the game.   Complete Game Results are as follows: Youth Division [U9]: FFast vs. Loyola (0-1) BSC vs. FFast (2-0) G8 vs. FFast (1-1) Kaya vs. FFast (5-0) Sugod vs. G8 (0-8) Kaya vs. Ceres (2-0) Sugod vs. Loyola (0-0) BSC vs. Socceroo (0-0)   Youth Division [U13]: Loyola vs. Super Fanatics (0-1) BSC vs. Futbol Funatics (3-0) Kaya vs. Fanatics (5-0) Soccerro vs. G8 (0-1) Kaya vs. Ceres (2-0) Socceroo vs. Loyola (0-0) G8 vs. Fanatics (1-0) BSC vs. Ceres (2-0)   Youth Division [U11]: Loyola vs. FFast (0-1) BSC vs. Kaya (0-0) G8 vs. FFast (0-0) Kaya A vs. Kaya B (2-0) Socceroo vs. G8 (0-0) Sugod vs. Kaya (0-1) Loyola vs. Ceres (2-1) BSC vs. Sugod (0-1)   Youth division [U15]: Loyola vs. Futbol Funatics (0-0) Kaya vs. Futbol Funatics (2-2) Voltes vs. Futbol Funatics (0-1) Kaya A vs. Kaya B (1-4) Sugod vs. BSC (3-0) Kaya vs. G8 (6-1) BSC vs. Loyola (0-3) BSC vs. G8 (2-1)   Seniors Division: BSC vs. Real Amigos (3-2) Tondo FC vs. H&J All Stars (3-1) Delimondo-Laro FC vs. Ceres FC (3-2) Super Eagles vs. Superbad (8-0) Ghana FC vs Stallions FC (3-1) Deportivo Matu vs Futbol Funatics (5-0).....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 11th, 2019

Cousins late free throws lead Warriors past Heat 120-118

By Josh Dubow, Associated Press OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Kevin Durant scored 39 points and DeMarcus Cousins made two free throws with 5.4 seconds to play that helped the Golden State Warriors cap a comeback from a 19-point deficit in the first quarter to beat the Miami Heat 120-118 on Sunday night (Monday, PHL time). Cousins rebounded a missed three-pointer by Durant and drew a foul, setting the stage for his winning free throws that gave the Warriors their 11th double-digit comeback of the season, and second straight after rallying from 17 points down in the first quarter Friday (Saturday, PHL time) in Phoenix. Miami overcame an eight-point deficit in the fourth quarter to tie the game on a three-pointer by Justise Winslow. Josh Richardson and Dwyane Wade then had back-to-back steals and layups to put the Heat up 118-115 with 51.5 seconds to play. Durant then tied it with a three-pointer and Cousins made his big shots after both teams missed from long range to give the Warriors their 15th win in 16 games. Klay Thompson scored 29 points and Stephen Curry added 25 for Golden State. Richardson helped shoot Miami to the big early lead and finished with a career-high 37 points with help from eight three-pointers. Waiters added 24 and Winslow had 22 in Miami's fifth loss in six games. The Warriors went on a 12-0 run early in the third quarter starting with a three-pointer from Curry to take a 66-61 lead. But Miami wouldn't go away and the Warriors needed to fight until the final horn to secure the win. The Heat went on a 24-2 run early in the first quarter and quickly built a 19-point lead against the slow-starting Warriors. But Golden State scored the final six points of the frame, including a three-pointer from Jonas Jerebko to cut the deficit to 10 points after one. TIP-INS Heat: Wade played despite a scary fall Friday (Saturday, PHL time) in Sacramento that left him with a bruised back. "Any one of us would probably be in a body brace right now. But he's built like Captain America," coach Eric Spoelstra said. Wade got a standing ovation following a video tribute during the first quarter timeout in his final regular season game in the Bay Area before retiring after the season. Wade finished with 10 points. Warriors: F Andre Iguodala sat out after tweaking his left hamstring on Friday (Saturday, PHL time). ... The Warriors have scored at least 100 points in 26 straight games, their longest streak since a 36-gamer in 2016-17. ... Draymond Green was called for his 11th technical foul early in the fourth quarter when he wanted a goaltending called when Bam Adebayo blocked Shaun Livingston's shot. Durant was called for his 10th later in the quarter. FREE AGENCY TALK The Warriors have grown tired of talk about NBA free agency, but coach Steve Kerr was happy to chime in when it came to baseball's market. When asked about the possibility that free agent slugger Bryce Harper could sign with the San Francisco Giants, the noted Los Angeles Dodgers fan was all in favor of it. "I'd love it if Bryce Harper came here," Kerr said. "Does my opinion matter? Bryce, come to the Giants. Let's go!" UP NEXT Heat: Visit Denver on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time). Warriors: Host Utah on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 11th, 2019

FACES OF THE NEWS: Feb. 10, 2019

  Pope Francis   The Pope became the first Pontiff to visit the Arabian Peninsula after a pilgrimage to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates on Monday.   Francis signed a document with the grand imam of Al Azhar in a bid to give a "clear and decisive sign" that respect and dialogue is possible between the Christian and Islamic worlds.   But on the way back to Rome, the Pope also showed how much change was needed within the Catholic Church when he admitted --- also for the first time --- that some bishops and priests have sexually abused nuns and that the crime may be continuing to this day.   Francis made the admission as he prepar...Keep on reading: FACES OF THE NEWS: Feb. 10, 2019.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsFeb 9th, 2019

Redick scores 34 points, 76ers beat Nuggets 117-110

By ROB MAADDI,  AP Sports Writer PHILADELPHIA (AP) — JJ Redick scored a season-high 34 points, Jimmy Butler had 22 and the new-look Philadelphia 76ers beat the Denver Nuggets 117-110 on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time). Tobias Harris had 14 points and eight rebounds in his first game for Philadelphia and Joel Embiid scored 15 and grabbed 12 boards despite playing with a stomach flu. Nikola Jokic led Denver with 27 points and Jamal Murray had 23. The Nuggets, who have the second-best record (37-18) in the Western Conference behind Golden State, were missing two of their top five scorers: Gary Harris and Paul Millsap. The Sixers made a flurry of moves before Thursday's trade deadline, acquiring Harris, Boban Marjanovic and Mike Scott from the Clippers, James Ennis from Houston and Jonathon Simmons from Orlando. Harris hit a jumper to give the Sixers a 105-103 lead with under four minutes left and then grabbed a rebound to set up Embiid's layup. Butler stole the ball, got fouled and hit a pair of three throws to extend the lead to 109-103. Ben Simmons' driving, left-handed dunk over Mason Plumlee thrilled the crowd and deflated the Nuggets. Sixers legend Allen Iverson jumped from his courtside seat and smacked hands with fans after Simmons' thunderous slam. Philadelphia (35-20) is ted with Boston for the fourth spot in the East. The Sixers took a 50-34 lead when Simmons lobbed an alley-oop pass to Butler for a one-handed jam and Ennis hit a 3 off a cross-court pass from Harris. But Denver answered with a 22-6 run to tie it at 56 at halftime. Philly led 83-82 after three quarters. Harris helped ignite an early 10-0 run. He hit a 3-pointer, 8-footer and dished to Redick for an open 3 to cap the burst. Marjanovic got a loud ovation when he entered the game midway through the first and another one after he scored on a driving layup. KEEP THE CORE Sixers GM Elton Brand said the team plans to retain Butler and Harris, who are both playing the final years of their contracts. "I've gotten all assurances from the managing partners that we can bring them back and sign them for whatever it takes to sign them. We want to keep this core long term," Brand said. TIP-INS Nuggets: Harris missed his fifth consecutive game with a strained right groin. Millsap missed his third straight with right ankle soreness. ... Beat the Sixers 126-110 at home on Jan. 26. 76ers: The Sixers retired Hall of Famer Moses Malone's No. 2 in a halftime ceremony. Malone helped lead Philadelphia to its last championship 36 years ago. ... Members of the 1983 NBA championship team, including "Dr. J" Julius Erving, rang the team's ceremonial bell at midcourt before the game. ... Ennis had six points and Marjanovic had four. Both played 15 minutes. ... Butler made all 14 of his free throws. UP NEXT Nuggets: Host the Miami Heat on Monday night. 76ers: Host the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 9th, 2019

Markkanen leads Bulls to 125-106 rout of Nets

By DENIS P. GORMAN,  ASSOCIATED PRESS NEW YORK (AP) — Lauri Markkanen scored 31 points and grabbed 18 rebounds to lead the Chicago Bulls to a 125-106 rout of the Brooklyn Nets on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time). Markkanen scored at least 30 points in his third straight game, while Chicago scored more than 100 points for the 17th straight game. Zach Levine added 23 points, Otto Porter Jr. had 18 in his first game with the Bulls, Robin Lopez and Kris Dunn each had 12, and Wayne Selden Jr. finished with 11. The win snapped a two-game skid for the Bulls. Chicago has still lost three of five, seven of nine, and 16 of 19 dating to Dec. 30. D'Angelo Russell, named to the Eastern Conference All-Star team earlier in the week, led the Nets with 23 points but Brooklyn dropped to 29-28 with its third loss in five games. Allen Crabbe and Joe Harris each finished with 19 points. At first glance, the game seemed liked a mismatch. The Nets have been one of the NBA's surprise stories as they find themselves in the Eastern Conference playoff picture, while the Bulls are in a heated race with Atlanta, Cleveland, Phoenix and the New York Knicks to be in the best position to win the NBA draft lottery and potentially select Duke power forward Zion Williamson. But, the Bulls led 55-48 at halftime. Chicago's biggest lead in the first half was 10 at 40-30, but the Nets used 17-6 run spanning 6:28 to go up by 1 at 47-46, before the Bulls ended the first half by outscoring Brooklyn 9-1. Chicago made 21 of 44 shots from the field in the first half, including 6 of 11 from 3-point range, while the Nets struggled at 16 for 43 overall, and 5 of 17 from beyond the arc. Chicago extended its lead to as many as 14 in the third quarter, and had a 93-80 advantage going into the fourth. Among the keys to the Bulls strong third quarter was the play of their starting front court of Robin Lopez, Markkanen and Porter, who combined for 25 of the Bulls' 38 third-quarter points. The lead grew to 18 in the fourth after Timothe Luwauw-Cabarrot made two free throws with 8:09 left. TIP-INS: BULLS: The win snapped Chicago's six-game losing streak to Brooklyn, and its four-game losing streak at Barclays Center. The Bulls had lost the three previous meetings this season. NETS: About 45 minutes before the opening tip-off, Brooklyn general manager Sean Marks spoke to reporters about the state of the team. While he spoke cautiously, Marks was unquestionably proud of how his team has played through the first 56 games. "I give our players a heck of a lot of credit for how they've handled this first, you know, over half of the season," he said. "It's really been led by them. They took the reins of this thing and they've been pushing and believing." COMEBACK CARIS Third-year guard Caris LeVert played for the first time since suffering a subtalar dislocation of the right foot in the Nets' 120-113 loss to the Timberwolves in Minnesota on November 12. He had missed 42 games. Nets coach Kenny Atkinson announced after Thursday's practice LeVert would play, and the third year guard finished with 11 points in 14:56. LeVert checked in for the first time 1:21 into the second quarter and received a nice ovation from the 15,267 in attendance, and he scored his first basket on a floater with 5:15 left before halftime, which prompted chants of "Welcome back!" from the crowd. BULLS CALLED ON PORTER: The Nets weren't the only team welcoming a fresh body. Friday's game was Chicago's first since trading Jabari Parker, Bobby Portis and a 2023 protected second round pick to Washington for Porter on Wednesday. Porter started at small forward. "I think we'll have a limited package when he's in there," Bulls coach Jim Boylen said before the game. "We're not going to add anything for him. I met with him last night (when) we got in and met with him at our walkthrough. We'll try to get him up to speed as fast as we can." UP NEXT: Bulls: Host Washington on Saturday night. Nets: Visits Toronto on Monday night......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 9th, 2019

Justin Brownlee, Juan Gomez de Liaño star as Mighty Sports earns semis berth

MANILA, Philippines---Mighty advanced to the semifinals after turning back Iraqi club Al Nift Oil in the 30th Dubai International Basketball Championship Friday (Manila time) at Al Ahli Club. Justin Brownlee led Mighty Sports with 26 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists playing through the pain of a swollen left knee he suffered in the team's 85-81 win over Al Wahda on Tuesday. It was Juan Gomez de Liao and Randolf Morris who did the early damage for Mighty putting up 10 points apiece to lead the club to a 29-18 lead after the first quarter. Jeremiah Gray, Brownlee, and Roosevelt Adams then hit their shots in the second quarter to give Mighty Sports a 41-20 lead midway ...Keep on reading: Justin Brownlee, Juan Gomez de Liaño star as Mighty Sports earns semis berth.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsFeb 8th, 2019

Hawks fly to 137-129 win over Wizards

By Ian Quillen, Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) — Taurean Prince scored 12 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter and hit five of Atlanta's 20 three-pointers, helping the Hawks defeat the Washington Wizards 137-129 on Monday night (Tuesday, PHL time). Rookie guard Kevin Huerter added 19 points and also hit five three's in his return to the region where he played college ball at Maryland. Two of those three's came during an early 16-2 run that put Atlanta up 28-16 late in the first quarter, a lead they did not give back. Vince Carter scored 16 points in 16 minutes after halftime. John Collins had 15 points and 11 rebounds despite exiting at halftime with a cut on his face. Trae Young added 10 points and 10 assists as nine Hawks reached double figures. Atlanta outrebounded the Wizards 51-39 and finished 20-of-41 from beyond the arc to close a 4-3 road trip. Bradley Beal had 18 of his 27 points in the fourth for the Wizards, who slipped into a 10th-place tie with Orlando in the Eastern Conference playoff race, three games back of eighth-place Miami. Jeff Green scored 26 points, Trevor Ariza had 25 and Jordan McCrae added a season-high 20 off the bench. But the Wizards never got within a possession after halftime. STILL GOT IT Carter entered to a notable ovation in the third quarter. The 42-year-old, who is 12 years removed from his 10th and final All-Star appearance, then hit his first three shots — including two three's. He finished 6-of-8 from the floor and 4-of-6 from beyond the arc. TIP-INS Hawks: Are 9-7 when grabbing at least 50 rebounds. . Collins' double-double was his 21st of the season. . C DeWayne Dedmon fouled out with 5:30 remaining. Wizards: Started 0-for-10 from three-point range before Tomas Satoranksy made one with 9:18 left in the first half. They finished 12-of-38. . Beal picked up his third foul with 8:41 left in the first half and sat until the break. . Reserve F Troy Brown sat out and will miss at least one more game with an ankle injury. UP NEXT Hawks: Host the Toronto Raptors on Thursday night (Friday, PHL time). Wizards: At the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 5th, 2019

FIBA WORLD CUP: Two road wins a must for Blatche, Gilas

Andray Blatche is back and he knows what he’s in for. As it stands Gilas Pilipinas holds an even 5-5 record in the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers. That’s only good for fourth place in the now competitive Group F. With two games remaining, both on the road, the Philippines is in a must-win situation for both. Andray Blatche is well aware of that. “For sure, everybody in this country knows the importance of these next two games,” Blatche said. “I know all my teammates know how bad we need this next win.  So it’s a do-or-die for us and I know we’re gonna give our all and leave everything on the court and come home with the two wins,” he added. Finishing his first official practice with the national team, Blatche says he’s doing fine. Adjusting to coach Yeng Guiao’s system has been fluid for the naturalized center. He’s even taken time to drop by practices of NLEX and Rain or Shine to speed up the process. “His offense is more of going off instinct, you know. Just gotta be in the right spots at times and then after that, you just play basketball. You know this is I think my third.. my third day here where I’m going over offense everyday. So it’s coming to me easy,” Blatche said of Guiao’s system. “It was like clockwork. It was like clockwork because, you know, I know what guys on this court are capable of doing and I know which guys are shooters, which guys are the slashers. His offense, like I said, is based off just knowing your teammate and knowing what they’re gonna do next and instinct. And that actually works out in my favor for me,” he added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 5th, 2019

PBA: TNT gets third win after OT decision against Magnolia

TNT takes down another SMC rival. The KaTropa got back on the winning track in a big way Sunday, surviving Magnolia in overtime, 80-75, in the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup at the MOA Arena. After somehow forcing extra time with a timely Troy Rosario basket with 2.1 seconds to go in regulation, TNT turned to RR Pogoy to finish the job. Pogoy scored five straight, a triple and a pretty fallaway, to give TNT a crucial 79-74 lead in the final minute. It was enough for the KaTropa to take the victory.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 3rd, 2019

Her knees broken beyond repair, Vonn retiring after worlds

By Pat Graham and Andrew Dampf, Associated Press Lindsey Vonn transcended her sport in a way only a handful of Olympic athletes could even imagine. She was about more than skiing. She was about more than medals. She was about more than winning. She was often in the spotlight, appearing in the pages of mainstream and sports magazines, walking the red carpets, mingling with A-list celebrities and dating high-profile sports figures. The record-setting racer who grew up in Minnesota, then relocated to Colorado, became a household name in mountain towns and big cities — to people who knew a lot about racing and those who only tuned in every four years. But now, conceding her body is "broken beyond repair," Vonn is nearing the finish line for the final time. The woman who won more World Cup races than any other female is calling it quits at 34. On Friday, she said she'll retire after the world championships this month. "She's accomplished so many things and has overcome so much adversity in her life, with her injuries, and comebacks, and setbacks and comebacks," U.S. Ski and Snowboard CEO Tiger Shaw said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "Very few people can focus and train as hard as she does. We're all in awe of what she's accomplished in her career." Vonn's original plan was to step away in December, after one final charge down the course in Lake Louise, Alberta — a course she won on so often it's now named in her honor. She was forced to move up her retirement due to persistent pain in both knees, which she fully realized after failing to finish a race in Cortina d'Ampezzo , Italy, last month. Now, she's down to two races: The women's super-G on Tuesday in the Swedish resort of Are, and the downhill scheduled for Feb. 10. That's it. That's all her knees have left. "My body is broken beyond repair and it isn't letting me have the final season I dreamed of," Vonn wrote on Instagram . "My body is screaming at me to STOP and it's time for me to listen. "It's been an emotional 2 weeks making the hardest decision of my life," she wrote, "but I have accepted that I cannot continue ski racing." Vonn's impressive resume: three Olympic medals, including downhill gold at the 2010 Vancouver Games. Four overall World Cup titles. And 82 World Cup wins, leaving her four behind the all-time mark held by Ingemar Stenmark of Sweden. Her off-the-slopes portfolio includes: Appearing in the pages of everything from Vogue to the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, earning sponsorship deals with companies such as Red Bull, meeting actors like Dwayne Johnson and even being an extra on one of her favorite shows, "Law & Order." The spotlight only increased when she dated golfer Tiger Woods. She's now seeing Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban . She's big on social media, with 1.6 million Instagram followers. A recent post from Vonn was cryptic in nature and yet all-too-insightful as she quoted the French philosopher Voltaire: "Each player must accept the cards life deals him or her: but once they are in hand, he or she alone must decide how to play the cards in order to win the game." Translation: She simply had no more cards to play. Her aching knees and beat-up body finally applied the brakes to her hard-charging ways. Vonn's right knee is permanently damaged from previous crashes. She has torn ACLs, suffered fractures near her left knee, broke her ankle, sliced her right thumb and had several concussions — to name a few. She's limited to about three runs per day, and her body just can't handle the workload of other skiers. "Honestly, retiring isn't what upsets me. Retiring without reaching my goal is what will stay with me forever," Vonn said. "However, I can look back at 82 World Cup wins, 20 World Cup titles, 3 Olympic medals, 7 World Championship medals and say that I have accomplished something that no other woman in HISTORY has ever done, and that is something that I will be proud of FOREVER!" Her first World Cup start was Nov. 18, 2000, in a slalom race in Park City, Utah, and she didn't qualify for the second run. She was Lindsey Kildow then, before changing her name to Vonn after marrying her now ex-husband and ex-coach, Thomas. Her first World Cup win came four years later, in a downhill event at Lake Louise. Retiring in Sweden brings Vonn full circle. She won her first two major championship medals — two silvers — at the 2007 worlds in Are. As for how she will be remembered, that's simple for U.S. coach Paul Kristofic: Her comebacks. "That never-give-up attitude is something that everyone can take away from," Kristofic said. "She has created that character and lived it. Those are life lessons that everybody can take. Give it your all and never give up. That's a very strong legacy." ___ Associated Press writer Eric Willemsen in Maribor, Slovenia, contributed to this report......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 2nd, 2019

LOOK: Here are the 2019 NBA All-Star Game reserves

NBA press release NEW YORK – Two-time Kia NBA All-Star MVP Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder and four first-time All-Stars lead the list of 14 players selected by the NBA’s head coaches as reserves for the 2019 NBA All-Star Game. The 68th NBA All-Star Game, featuring Team LeBron vs. Team Giannis, will take place on Sunday, Feb. 17 at 8 p.m. ET at Spectrum Center in Charlotte, N.C. (Feb. 18, PHL time). NBA All-Star 2019 will reach fans in more than 200 countries and territories in more than 40 languages. Joining Westbrook as reserves in the Western Conference player pool are San Antonio Spurs forward-center LaMarcus Aldridge, New Orleans Pelicans forward-center Anthony Davis, Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokić, Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson and Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns.  Jokić has been named an NBA All-Star for the first time. The Eastern Conference reserve pool includes three first-time NBA All-Star selections: Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton, Philadelphia 76ers guard-forward Ben Simmons and Orlando Magic center Nikola Vučević.  They are joined by Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal, Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin, Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry and Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo. Team captains LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers and Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Bucks will draft the NBA All-Star Game rosters from the pool of players voted as starters and reserves in each conference. The team rosters will be revealed on TNT in a special NBA All-Star Draft Show on Thursday, Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. ET (Feb. 8, PHL time). James and Antetokounmpo will make their picks without regard for a player’s conference affiliation or position.  Each captain will choose 11 players to complete a 12-man roster. The 2019 NBA All-Star Draft rules include: - The eight starters (aside from James and Antetokounmpo) will be drafted in the First Round. - The 14 reserves will be drafted in the Second Round. - As the top overall vote-getter among fans, James will have the first pick in the First Round (Starters).  Antetokounmpo will have the first pick in the Second Round (Reserves). - The captains will alternate picks in each round until all players in that round have been selected. The 10 All-Star Game starters, unveiled last week, were selected by fans, current NBA players and a media panel.  The Eastern Conference starter pool consists of Antetokounmpo, Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid, Toronto’s Kawhi Leonard, the Boston Celtics’ Kyrie Irving and the Charlotte Hornets’ Kemba Walker. The Western Conference starter pool is James, Golden State’s Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City’s Paul George and the Houston Rockets’ James Harden. The 14 All-Star Game reserves were selected by the NBA’s 30 head coaches. The coaches voted for seven players in their respective conferences – two guards, three frontcourt players and two additional players at either position group. They were not permitted to vote for players from their own team. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will select the replacement for any player unable to participate in the All-Star Game, choosing a player from the same conference as the player who is being replaced. Team LeBron will be coached by the head coach from the Western Conference team with the best record through games played on Sunday, Feb. 3 (Feb. 4, PHL time). Team Giannis will be led by the head coach from the Eastern Conference team with the best record through games played on Feb. 3 (Feb. 4, PHL time). Below is a closer look at the NBA All-Star Game reserves: 2019 NBA ALL-STAR GAME RESERVES Western Conference Player Pool The Western Conference @NBAAllStar Reserve Pool!@aldridge_12 @AntDavis23 Nikola Jokic@Dame_Lillard @KlayThompson @KarlTowns @russwest44 #NBAAllStar pic.twitter.com/BHu2JnxiHg — NBA (@NBA) February 1, 2019 • LaMarcus Aldridge, Spurs (7th All-Star selection): Aldridge is an All-Star for the seventh time in the last eight seasons. The Spurs have now had at least one player selected to 21 consecutive All-Star Games, the NBA’s longest active streak. • Anthony Davis, Pelicans (6th All-Star selection): An All-Star for the sixth year in a row, Davis scored a record 52 points in the 2017 All-Star Game. • Nikola Jokić, Nuggets (1st All-Star selection): Selected with the 41st overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, the Serbian center is Denver’s first All-Star since the 2010-11 season (Carmelo Anthony).   • Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers (4th All-Star selection): Lillard is the fourth player to earn at least four All-Star nods with Portland, joining Clyde Drexler (eight), Aldridge (four) and Sidney Wicks (four). • Klay Thompson, Warriors (5th All-Star selection): This marks the fifth consecutive All-Star selection for Thompson, who made a game-high five three-pointers and scored 15 points in the 2018 All-Star Game. • Karl-Anthony Towns, Timberwolves (2nd All-Star selection): Towns is the third player to be named an All-Star multiple times with Minnesota, along with Kevin Garnett (10) and Kevin Love (three). • Russell Westbrook, Thunder (8th All-Star selection): An All-Star for the eighth time in the last nine seasons, Westbrook is the only player to win the Kia NBA All-Star MVP Award outright in back-to-back years (2015 and 2016). Eastern Conference Player Pool The Eastern Conference @NBAAllStar Reserve Pool!@RealDealBeal23 @blakegriffin23 @Klow7 @Khris22m @VicOladipo @BenSimmons25 @NikolaVucevic #NBAAllStar pic.twitter.com/LfwuSBvA1P — NBA (@NBA) February 1, 2019 • Bradley Beal, Wizards (2nd All-Star selection): This is the second straight All-Star selection for Beal, who scored 14 points in his All-Star Game debut last year. • Blake Griffin (6th All-Star selection): Griffin is set to appear in the All-Star Game for the first time since 2014, when he scored 38 points as a member of the LA Clippers. • Kyle Lowry, Raptors (5th All-Star selection): With his fifth consecutive All-Star nod, Lowry becomes the second player to be named to at least five All-Star teams after not being selected in any of his first eight seasons, joining Chauncey Billups. • Khris Middleton, Bucks (1st All-Star selection): The 39th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft joins Antetokounmpo to give Milwaukee multiple All-Stars in the same season for the first time since 2000-01 (Ray Allen and Glenn Robinson). • Victor Oladipo, Pacers (2nd All-Star selection): Oladipo has been named an All-Star in each of his two seasons with Indiana. He sustained a season-ending ruptured quad tendon in his right knee on Jan. 23 (Jan. 24, PHL time). • Ben Simmons, 76ers (1st All-Star selection): The reigning Kia NBA Rookie of the Year makes his All-Star debut in his second season – just as Philadelphia teammate Embiid did last year. • Nikola Vučević, Magic (1st All-Star selection): The eight-year NBA veteran from Montenegro is Orlando’s first All-Star selection since the 2011-12 season (Dwight Howard).  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 1st, 2019

Coutinho nets 2, Barca routs Sevilla 6-1 to reach Copa semis

By Joseph Wilson, Associated Press BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — For Lionel Messi, Barcelona's 6-1 win over Sevilla on Wednesday that put it into the Copa del Rey semifinals means his team will aim for nothing less than another treble of titles. Barcelona completed the rare sweep of Copa del Rey, Spanish league and Champions League trophies in 2011 and 2015. Since then it has gone on to win all three editions of the cup and two more La Liga titles, but its failure to repeat in Europe had led to speculation that Barcelona would not prioritize the Copa del Rey this season to save energy. But Barcelona's commanding performance to overturn a 2-0 first-leg loss speaks otherwise. "They said that we didn't want to win this Copa," Messi said. "This team wants to fight for all three competitions. We are in it for everything and don't give anything away." Messi and Luis Suarez both scored late goals with the pair of star strikers back in Barcelona's starting lineup after getting some rest when their teammates lost in Seville. Phillipe Coutinho netted two goals in his best game of an up-and-down season for the Catalan club. Messi helped Coutinho get going by earning a foul in the area by Quincy Promes, and then stepping aside for his teammate to convert the spot kick. Barcelona goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen, who only regularly starts in the cup, made excellent saves to push Andre Silva close-range shot onto his post and stop Ever Banega's penalty after Gerard Pique fouled Roque Mesa. "Lionel was very generous with his teammate and Coutinho took on the big responsibility to open the scoring," said Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde. "The penalty saved by Cillessen kept us in the tie. When they took risks with the score 4-1, we found more space and finished them off." Ivan Rakitic turned in a perfectly-weighted long pass by Arthur for Barcelona's second goal in the 31st. Coutinho got his second in the 54th with a glancing header from Suarez's lobbed pass. Sergi Roberto played Messi wide, made a run into the area where Messi had a pass waiting for him to drill in a fourth goal in the 54th. Sevilla wing back Guilherme Arana blasted in a long strike in the 66th to give his team hope until Suarez and Messi rounded off the victory in the final minutes. Messi, who had missed two clear chances, culminated a brilliant buildup to take his haul this season in all competitions to 27 goals. "It is a tough loss," said Sevilla manager Pablo Machin. "It is very hard to head back to Seville after conceding six goals." Coutinho arrived a year ago to Camp Nou after Barcelona paid Liverpool a club record fee of 160 million euros (then $192 million). His erratic play this season had led Valverde to drop him from his group of unquestionable first-choice players, but he has scored in Barcelona's last two Copa del Rey ties to keep it on course to another title. BETIS ADVANCES Real Betis scored two goals in extra time to eliminate 10-man Espanyol and advance on a 4-2 aggregate score. Espanyol was leading thanks to Leo Bapistao's headed goal until Giovani Lo Celso leveled in the 76th. Espanyol had Marc Roca sent off stoppage time for second booking before Betis scored twice through Sergio Leon and Aissa Mandi......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 31st, 2019

Juve out of cup, Roma s Dzeko sent off after ref incident

By Daniella Matar, Associated Press MILAN (AP) — Four-time defending champion Juventus lost in the Italian Cup quarterfinals on Wednesday, while Roma lost 7-1 at Fiorentina and had forward Edin Dzeko sent off after appearing to spit at the referee. Juventus is on course for a record-extending eighth successive Serie A title and had won the league and cup double in the past four seasons, but it surprisingly lost 3-0 at Atalanta. Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri was also sent to the stands for dissent shortly before halftime after throwing his coat to the floor in anger at something in the buildup to Atalanta's second goal. "It was right to send me off, I was losing my temper and the refereeing was impeccable during the whole match," Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said. "Compliments to the referee. At that moment I paid for my anger. The lads are feeling low, but now we'll grit our teeth. These matches can happen. There's nothing to blame the guys for, especially given what they've done up until now." Fiorentina will play Atalanta in the two-legged semifinal. The other match pits AC Milan against either city rival Inter Milan or Lazio, which face each other on Thursday. Atalanta had not beaten Juventus since a 2-0 victory in the Italian Cup in 2004, with five draws and 21 defeats in all competitions since that victory. Both teams lost key players to injury in the 27th minute, as Josip Ilicic and Giorgio Chiellini limped off. Ten minutes later Chiellini's replacement, Joao Cancelo, was caught in possession by Timothy Castagne, who sprinted forward and smashed it into the far bottom corner to give Atalanta the lead. Duvan Zapata doubled Atalanta's lead two minutes later with his 16th goal in his past 10 games. The Bianconeri tried to fight back after the break but couldn't find a way past a determined Atalanta performance and Zapata sealed the result with his second of the match four minutes from time. DREAM FOR CHIESA, NIGHTMARE FOR DZEKO Fiorentina forward Federico Chiesa scored his first career hat trick against Roma, which was already 4-1 down when Dzeko was shown a straight red card in the 72nd minute after arguing with referee Gianluca Manganiello and then appearing to spit at him. Dzeko could be facing a lengthy ban if Manganiello confirms he was spit at in his official match report. Roma has struggled this campaign after selling the backbone of its squad in the offseason, but had won four of its past five matches. However, it started badly and Chiesa netted twice in the opening 18 minutes and also hit the post. Aleksandar Kolarov got one back for Roma in the 28th but Luis Muriel restored Fiorentina's two-goal advantage shortly after. Roma was better at the start of the second half but its defense let it down again and Marco Benassi extended Fiorentina's tally before Dzeko lost his head. Chiesa completed his hat trick in the 74th before going off minutes later to a standing ovation. There was still time for substitute Giovanni Simeone to score twice. It was the first time Roma had conceded six goals or more in an Italian Cup match since May 1961, also against Fiorentina. However, Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco said he will not resign. "In my head there is never that thought," he said......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 31st, 2019