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Trade wars lose U.S. its competitiveness top spot: WEF

Geneva, Switzerland (AFP) — The United States fell to second place behind Singapore in the World Economic Forum’s flagship Global Competitiveness Report, with the slippage linked in part to President Donald Trump’s trade wars. The Forum, organizers of the glitzy annual gathering of business and political elite in Davos, have released an annual competitiveness report […] The post Trade wars lose U.S. its competitiveness top spot: WEF appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource: tribune tribuneOct 10th, 2019

Player Movement: What teams have gained, lost this offseason

By John Schuhmann, NBA.com There's still a lot of work to be done before rosters are set for the 2019-20 season. Some teams (Charlotte, Utah) still have roster spots to fill. Other teams (Memphis, Washington) still have some roster trimming to do. There are about 25 two-way-contract slots that can be filled around the league. And it's certainly possible that players like Chris Paul and Andre Iguodala will be traded a second time before the end of the summer. But it's already been a season of change. At the start of training camp last September, 15 of the league's 30 teams rostered players who played at least 75 percent of the team's minutes in the previous season (2017-18). Right now -- midway through July -- only four teams are set to bring back players who played at least 75 percent of last season's minutes. Continuity Not every team has made big changes. The Denver Nuggets are set to return at least 12 of the 18 guys that played for them last season (the status of two-way, restricted free agent Brandon Goodwin is still in the air), along with Michael Porter Jr., who was with the team all season. The only players that have left the Nuggets -- Tyler Lydon, Trey Lyles and Isaiah Thomas -- played a total of eight minutes in the playoffs. Over the last three years, there has been a correlation between summer continuity and win increase the following season. But the correlation has been small. During that span, 33 teams have brought at least 75 percent of the previous season's minutes back, and only 15 of those 33 increased their win total. The highest individual return percentage of the stretch belonged to last season's Miami Heat, who brought back 97 percent of their minutes from 2017-18 ... and proceeded to win five fewer games. This summer, the two biggest winners in free agency -- the Brooklyn Nets and LA Clippers -- rank 24th and 26th, respectively, by this measure (as of Wednesday morning). And while the Nuggets have a young core that can improve on its second-place finish in the West, the Orlando Magic are bringing back an ensemble that won just 42 games in the Eastern Conference, and the San Antonio Spurs have an older group that was ousted by Denver in the first round, albeit in seven games. Gained and lost math Going forward, we'll be talking about totals gained or lost this summer. These were accumulated by non-rookies for any team last season. For example, in calculating the minutes that Indiana lost (and Milwaukee gained) with Wesley Matthews' departure, we're using all 2,091 minutes that Matthews played for Dallas and Indiana last season. That way, it's a more realistic measure of total production coming in and going out. In that regard, most teams have lost more '18-19 minutes than they've gained. In total, there are more than 230 players who were on rosters (with two-way contracts included) at the end of the season and are either on a new team (via free agency or trades) or remain unsigned. More than half of those players (about 120) have been replaced by other non-rookies. About 70 more have been replaced by rookies (including those on two-way contracts). As an example, here's the roster math for the Golden State Warriors: - LOST 11 non-rookies off their end-of-season roster - GAINED six non-rookies - ADDED three rookies - STILL HAVE one main roster spot and one two-way spot they can fill Minutes gained and lost The Warriors are one of 22 teams that have lost a group of players who played more minutes last season than the group of players that they've added. There are a few teams that have added a lot more '18-19 minutes to their roster. That group is led by the New York Knicks, who have added almost 12,000 '18-19 minutes while seeing almost 9,000 minutes exit. The Knicks have lost four guys - Mario Hezonja, DeAndre Jordan, Emmanuel Mudiay and Noah Vonleh - who played at least 1,000 minutes. They added seven, and all seven started at least 28 games last season. Of course, how many of those seven are difference makers is up for debate, as is the idea of whether the Knicks should have used at least some of their cap space to take on bad contracts -- often spiced up with future picks -- from other teams. The Nets lost as many players (6) who played at least 1,000 minutes last season as they gained. But they added four of the 31 2,000-minute players to have changed teams this summer, most notably in Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Utah (3) is the only other team with more than two additions that played at least 2,000 minutes last season. The eight guys that Brooklyn brought in started a total of 363 games in '18-19, while the nine guys they lost started just 179. That's the biggest increase, with New York (+100) and Utah (+84) also seeing differentials of more than 82 games. The Sacramento Kings lost two guys that played at least 1,000 minutes last season, and one of those guys -- Alec Burks -- played only 127 minutes for the Kings. They added four 1,000-minute players, including two - Trevor Ariza and Cory Joseph -- that played more than 2,000 minutes last season. As noted above, the Nuggets lead the league in continuity, bringing back all 10 guys that played more than 1,120 minutes for them last season. But they've also added Jerami Grant, who played 2,612 minutes for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Though they've added more players (11, including four rookies) than they've lost (nine) and need to trim their roster between now and opening night, the Washington Wizards are set to see the biggest discrepancy in regard to '18-19 minutes. They've lost more than 11,000 (with Trevor Ariza, Jeff Green and Tomas Satoransky accounting for more than half of that total) and added less than 5,000. The group of players that the Wizards lost also started 208 more '18-19 games than the players added -- the biggest discrepancy in that regard. The Charlotte Hornets not only lost more than 1,000 '18-19 minutes in their Kemba Walker-Terry Rozier swap, they also lost three other guys - Jeremy Lamb, Shelvin Mack and Tony Parker - who played more than 1,000 minutes last season. There's a general consensus that the Indiana Pacers are in the "winners" category this summer, adding Malcolm Brogdon, Jeremy Lamb and T.J. Warren. But they also lost five guys (four of their five playoff starters plus Cory Joseph) to have played at least 2,000 minutes last season. The only other teams who lost more than two 2,000-minute players were the the Clippers (3), Oklahoma City Thunder (3) and Wizards (3). Still available Most '18-19 minutes among still-available free agents... - Justin Holiday - 2,607 - Iman Shumpert - 1,481 - Wayne Selden - 1,439 - Jeremy Lin - 1,436 - Shaquille Harrison - 1,430 In regard to minutes played last season, the top 18 available free agents are all perimeter players (unless you want to count Jonas Jerebko as an interior guy). Among available non-perimeter players, Dante Cunningham (928), Cheick Diallo (896) and Zaza Pachulia (878) are the guys who played the most minutes last season. It's all about shooting Putting the ball in the basket is the most important thing in the NBA, and every team is always on the hunt for more shooting. But in regard to '18-19 3-pointers, half of the league (15 teams) has lost more than it's gained. There are a few teams to have seen big increases, however. The Knicks added Reggie Bullock (148-for-393, 37.7 percent), Marcus Morris (146-for-389, 37.5 percent) and Wayne Ellington (138-for-372, 37.1 percent), though creating open shots for those guys might be an issue. None of the six players that the Kings have lost made more than 61 3-pointers last season. Ariza (145) is the big gain in that regard, but they also added Dewayne Dedmon, a big man who shot 38 percent on 217 attempts from beyond the arc. On the other end of the spectrum, it's the Hornets that lost the most 3s, with Walker having ranked fifth in the league in total makes. The Atlanta Hawks ranked fourth in the percentage of their shots that were 3-pointers, but traded Taurean Prince (39 percent on 315 attempts), lost Dedmon, haven't re-signed Vince Carter (39 percent on 316 attempts) and swapped Kent Bazemore (32 percent; 300 attempts) for Evan Turner (21 percent; 52 attempts). The Toronto Raptors, meanwhile, haven't really replaced two of the four guys who made more than 100 threes for them last season. Still available Most '18-19 3-pointers among still-available free agents... - Justin Holiday - 162-for-465 (34.8 percent) - Kyle Korver - 138-for-348 (39.7 percent) - Vince Carter - 123-for-316 (38.9 percent) - Iman Shumpert - 95-for-273 (34.8 percent) - Lance Stephenson - 73-for-197 (37.1 percent) J.R. Smith, waived by the Cavs on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time), made 143 threes (shooting 37.5 percent) in 2017-18, but played just 11 games last season. More notes - Eastern Conference - The Boston Celtics are one of three teams (Atlanta and Washington are the others) with a discrepancy of at least 300 between the steals + blocks registered by the non-rookies they've lost (503) and those registered by the non-rookies they've added (194). Swapping Al Horford (145 steals + blocks in 1,973 minutes) for Enes Kanter (58 in 1,639 minutes) obviously hurts. - The Chicago Bulls have seen the second biggest increase in 3-point percentage between the non-rookies they've added (36.9 percent) and the non-rookies they've lost (30.3 percent). Tomas Satoransky (39.5 percent on 162 attempts) was the big add in that regard. - The Cleveland Cavaliers are the only team that hasn't added a single player (via free agency or trade) that played last season, though they still have to add at least one player to their main roster. The only players they've added are the three guys they selected in the first round of the Draft and another rookie (Dean Wade) on a two-way contract. - The Detroit Pistons have had eight non-rookies leave (five have found new NBA teams, three haven't been re-signed) and have added only four. But the four they've added -- Tim Frazier, Markieff Morris, Derrick Rose and Tony Snell -- started the same number of games (60) and played just 11 more minutes in '18-19 as the eight that have left. They did add more scoring, with the four new guys having registered 436 more points than the eight guys on their way out. - As noted above, the Miami Heat led the league in continuity last summer, bringing back 97 percent of their minutes from '17-18. This year, with the retirement of Dwyane Wade and trades that sent Josh Richardson and Hassan Whiteside out, they're in the middle of the pack. In regard to out vs. in (Jimmy Butler and Meyers Leonard), they've lost total production, but have improved in regard to shooting and free throw rate. Only Denver, Brooklyn and Dallas have seen bigger increases in true shooting percentage from the non-rookies they've lost to the non-rookies they've added. - With the departure of Malcolm Brogdon, the Milwaukee Bucks lost some playmaking. Only the Magic (who didn't lose anybody from their playoff rotation) saw a bigger drop in in assist-turnover ratio from the non-rookies they lost (2.47) to the non-rookies they've gained (1.33). Tony Snell (traded to Detroit) had the fifth lowest turnover ratio (4.9 per 100 possessions) among 299 players that averaged at least 15 minutes in 40 games or more last season. - The Orlando Magic rank second in continuity, one of two teams (Dallas is the other) with nobody on their end-of-season roster having signed with (or been traded to) another team. But they've added one rotation piece by signing Al-Farouq Aminu, who represents the biggest jump in '18-19 rebounds between the non-rookies a team has added (610) and those they've lost or remain unsigned (195). The Magic were already a good rebounding team, ranking 11th in total rebounding percentage and third in defensive rebounding percentage last season. - The Philadelphia 76ers have seen the biggest discrepancy in '18-19 games played between the players they've lost (478) and the players they've added (223), though most of those lost games came from guys who weren't in their playoff rotation. More notes - Western Conference - The Dallas Mavericks have seen the second-biggest jump in effective field goal percentage (lower than only that of Denver) between the players they added (54.4 percent) and the players they've lost (47.3 percent) this summer. Swapping Trey Burke (48.2 percent) for Seth Curry (57.7 percent) goes a long way in that regard. The Mavs are also one of two teams (Orlando is the other) with nobody on their end-of-season roster having signed with (or been traded to) another team. - It remains to be seen how well James Harden and Russell Westbrook fit together and how much the Westbrook-for-Chris Paul swap hurts the Houston Rockets' defense. But we can say for certain that the Rockets got better in the rebounding department. - After ranking 28th in rebounding percentage (and 29th in defensive rebounding percentage) last season, they swapped Paul (who grabbed 7.0 percent of available boards while he was on the floor) for Westbrook (14.1 percent - highest among guards) and also added Tyson Chandler, who had a higher rebounding percentage (15.4 percent) than Nene (10.5 percent). - Good news for the team that ranked 29th in 3-point percentage last season: The non-rookies the Los Angeles Lakers have lost attempted 75 more 3-pointers than those they've gained. But the non-rookies they've gained made 34 more 3s than those they've lost. Among players that attempted at least 200 3-pointers last season and changed teams this season, Danny Green (45.5 percent) ranked first in 3-point percentage, while Quinn Cook (40.5 percent) ranked seventh. - The Memphis Grizzlies had a pretty motley rotation after making multiple trades at the deadline in February. And now they've seen the biggest roster more than any other team this summer, with 11 non-rookies leaving and nine coming in. They currently have guys that played for the Hawks, Warriors, Wolves, Pelicans, Suns, Raptors, Jazz and Wizards last season. - The six non-rookies that the Minnesota Timberwolves have added -- Jordan Bell, Treveon Graham, Jake Layman, Shabazz Napier, Noah Vonleh and Tyrone Wallance -- averaged just 6.3 points per game last season. That's the lowest mark for players added among the 29 teams that have added at least one non-rookie this summer. - In regard to vets, the New Orleans Pelicans have swapped interior players for perimeter players. The (five) non-rookies that they've added had 360 fewer '18-19 field goals, but 127 more 3-pointers than the (10) non-rookies that they've lost. Chicago is the other team with a loss in '18-19 field goals (-38) and a gain in '18-19 3-pointers (+47). - The Oklahoma City Thunder have seen the most '18-19 points walk out the door, with the six guys they've lost having scored 5,619 points last season. One thing they definitely gained in the Westbrook-Paul trade (if they keep Paul) was mid-range shooting. Paul has shot 48.9 percent from mid-range the last five seasons, the second best mark (behind only that of Kevin Durant) among 55 players with at least 1,000 mid-range attempts over that time. Westbrook (37.5 percent) ranks 52nd among the 55. - The 10 non-rookies that have left the Phoenix Suns (five that have found new NBA teams and five that haven't) racked up a cumulative plus-minus of minus-1,709 last season. None of the 10 had a positive plus-minus. The five non-rookies that they've added -- Aron Baynes, Jevon Carter, Frank Kaminsky, Ricky Rubio and Dario Saric -- had a cumulative plus-minus of plus-257. That's the league's biggest differential between players in vs. players out. - The Portland Trail Blazers improved their shooting by swapping Turner for Bazemore and Aminu (34.3 percent on 280 3-point attempts) for Anthony Tolliver (37.7 percent on 215), but are one of four teams - Brooklyn, Indiana and the Lakers are the others - that have lost six players who played at least 1,000 minutes in '18-19. They've added four. - As noted above, the San Antonio Spurs are near the top of the league in regard to continuity. But they've seen the biggest increase in free throw rate (FTA/FGA) between the non-rookies that they've gained (0.335) and the players they've lost (0.181). The pair of vets that they've added (having ranked 24th in free throw rate last season) includes DeMarre Carroll (0.421), who ranked eighth in free throw rate among non-bigs with at least 500 field goal attempts last season. - The Utah Jazz rank 13th in the percentage of '18-19 minutes they're set to bring back, but are one of five teams that have added at least 9,000 '18-19 minutes and lost at least 9,000 '18-19 minutes (when we include unsigned free agents). They parted ways with four of the eight guys that played at least 1,000 minutes for them last season, but all five of their additions - Bojan Bogdanovic, Mike Conley Jr., Ed Davis, Jeff Green and Emmanuel Mudiay - played at least 1,400 minutes. John Schuhmann is a senior stats analyst for NBA.com. 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 NewsJul 18th, 2019

DTI sees further gains in competitiveness ranking

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is optimistic of improvements in the Philippines’ ranking in other competitiveness surveys after the country advanced by four notches to reach the 46th spot out of 63 countries in the latest World Competitiveness Yearbook of the International Institute Management for Development (IMD)......»»

Category: financeSource:  philstarRelated NewsMay 29th, 2019

Federer, Djokovic both lose in Shanghai quarterfinals

By Sandra Harwitt, Associated Press SHANGHAI (AP) — Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic went from perfectly unbeatable to unbelievably beaten in the quarterfinals of the Shanghai Masters. Federer and Djokovic had been a combined 13-0 in Shanghai with a spot in the semifinals on the line, but both lost Friday. Federer saved five match points in the second set and received a point penalty in the third in the 6-3, 6-7 (7), 6-3 loss to fifth-seeded Alexander Zverev. Djokovic, the defending champion, lost to sixth-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas 3-6, 7-5, 6-3. "He deserved the victory," Djokovic said of the 21-year-old Tsitsipas. "He was the better player in the second and third sets. I started well in the first set, but I wasn't sharp enough." Djokovic had been 8-0 in quarterfinal matches at the Shanghai Masters, and won four titles. Federer had been 5-0. Federer received a code violation for hitting a ball into the stands, and then received a point penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct after flicking a ball into the air when trailing 3-0 in the third set. When asked about the point penalty after the match, Federer didn't want to go into any detail. "So you could write on Twitter, you mean?" Federer answered. "No, it would be nice to write something nice once also about the game. "Next question." The 22-year-old Zverev now leads Federer 4-3 in career meetings. "I mean, they're knocking on the door big time, the young guys," Federer said. "It's exciting. They're great. It's really open now, I think, for the finish of this tournament." Zverev will next play Matteo Berrettini, an 11th-seeded Italian who defeated fourth-seeded Dominic Thiem 7-6 (8), 6-4. Until Friday's match, Djokovic had won 24 straight sets in Asia, a run that included last year's Shanghai Masters and the title in Tokyo last week. Tsitsipas has now beaten Djokovic twice in three matches. The Greek player defeated Djokovic in their first meeting at the 2018 Toronto tournament and Djokovic won their match in Madrid this season. "It's the best comeback that I have ever had probably," Tsitsipas said of Friday's victory. Tsitsipas also earned a place at the year-end ATP Finals for the first time on Friday. But that was guaranteed when third-seeded Daniil Medvedev beat Fabio Fognini 6-3, 7-6 (4) in another quarterfinal match. Medvedev, who will face Tsitsipas in Saturday's semifinals, is one match away from reaching a sixth consecutive tournament final. He reached his first Grand Slam final at the U.S. Open, and then won titles in Cincinnati and St. Petersburg. Medvedev leads the tour with 57 match wins this season and is 40-1 on hard courts when winning the first set. The only time he lost a hard-court match after winning the first set was against Gael Monfils in Rotterdam. Prior to Friday's match, Fognini said Medvedev was one of the most dangerous players to face. "If some top players like Fabio can say this about me, shows that I'm on the good way, I'm playing good, and it's not easy to play against me," Medvedev said. "Surely, yeah, that's what I tried to show today on the match and it worked out.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 12th, 2019

Harden-Westbrook duo ready to do something really special

By Michael C. Wright, NBA.com HOUSTON -- Well-dressed men in the Texas heat scurried, snatching keys and pointing directions to the visitors arriving, car after car. On the third floor, down the hall from a mezzanine overlooking a lobby, sparkling with custom Calcutta marble flooring, they all gathered in a quiet, dim room, just steps away from two Rolls-Royces bathing in the sun gushing through floor-to-ceiling glass. Here in Uptown, at Tilman Fertitta’s Post Oak Hotel -- a 38-floor, $350 million property housing a Rolls-Royce showroom and Bentley and Bugatti dealership, below a heliport -- the Houston Rockets' owner has turned the team’s annual media day into a posh, star-studded event. With good reason, too. Houston’s blockbuster July trade that sent Chris Paul off to the Oklahoma City Thunder for picks and pick swaps for Russell Westbrook reunites MVPs and former Thunder stars with James Harden already in the fold for a squad now at the forefront as favorites in a now suddenly wide-open Western Conference. “I think we are a better team,” Fertitta said. “It’s gonna be extremely exciting to have one of the greatest scorers of all time, and one of the most athletic people that has played the game. I know I’m really excited. I hope they don’t let me down.” Rockets general manager Daryl Morey thinks this all-star pairing “could be really special.” “It’s so exciting because James Harden is like the best half-court player I’ve ever seen, honestly,” Morey said. “Then, Russell is maybe the best transition player, one of the best of all time as well. If you put those things together, I think we have a chance. Now, you’ve got something really special.” Searching for same goal The reality is it’s been seven years since Westbrook and Harden last teamed with Oklahoma City in the 2012 NBA Finals, and while both have developed into MVP winners and perennial All-Stars, neither has made it back to The Finals. So, burning hotter than the pomp and glitz at the Post Oak Hotel this hot summer day is the question of whether this will all work for a pair of ball-dominant stars, accustomed to running their own respective shows. They’ve certainly got a believer in former Thunder teammate Kendrick Perkins. “They’ve played together in OKC. These two former MVPs still are in their primes. There’s no way that it’s not going to work,” Perkins told NBA.com. “Am I guaranteeing they’re going to win a championship? No, I’m not doing that. But I still believe this might be the most dynamic backcourt we’ve ever seen in NBA history. We probably haven’t seen a point guard and a shooting guard like this on the same team in forever. You can’t really name one going into the season that’s better than these two guys. I just think it’s going to work.” Now retired from the NBA, Perkins joined a 21-year-old Harden and a 22-year-old Westbrook in 2010-11, when he was traded there in the middle of the season from the Boston Celtics to OKC. Perkins describes the childhood friends and former Thunder teammates as “two guys that were still trying to find their identity” back then. Still, both were destined to reach the levels they currently occupy, he says. “When I first got there, those guys were working, man. They turned out to be some beasts, dog,” Perkins told NBA.com. “Gym rats, I’m telling you. It was unreal the amount of work those guys were putting in. Russ was always the heart and soul of the team. There was no debate about it to me. He gave the team swagger. With James, we just knew it was only in due time. People always say they should’ve kept that team together in OKC. But James wouldn’t have been able to be the player he is today if he hadn’t left. Plus, James was deserving of having his own team.” Now that he’s had it since joining the Rockets in 2012-13, Harden welcomes Westbrook, who like himself, began playing the game as a child at the Challengers Boys & Girls Club in South Central Los Angeles. Interestingly, Westbrook and Harden are the only players over the last five seasons to score more than 10,000 points. Westbrook nodded in agreement with the notion his new uniform provides somewhat of a new lease on life, after spending the first 11 years of his career in Oklahoma City. Harden, meanwhile, pointed out how his new teammate “doesn’t have to stress or worry about the pressure of carrying an entire organization,” because that responsibility now falls on them both. “I think it’s good for both of us because we understand the amount of energy and effort, time and commitment it takes to be able to do that for an entire season,” Westbrook said. “Now, being together on the same team, I think it’s important that we can lean on [one another], sacrifice, and not do as much to still have an impact on the game. I think [what] a lot of people don’t know is we have a friendship first outside of basketball. I think me and him communicate and understand each other. In the games, it’s going to be easy.” 'Sit back and watch the show' Perkins saw signs of maturity from Westbrook last season, when the guard at the detriment of his own stats, deferred to Paul George in crucial situations. But both Westbrook and Harden in 2018-19 ranked in the top 15 in usage rate. So, the phrase uttered most often at media day above the guests clutching cold drinks at the hotel pool was “figure it out.” Everyone, whether Fertitta, Morey, coach Mike D’Antoni or the players, seems confident in the duo’s ability to do so. Harden already said he’s willing to take a backseat to Westbrook. “If Russ has got it going, and Russ is having one of those games that we’ve all seen before, guess what I’m going to do?” Harden asked. “Sit back and watch the show, and vice versa. You can’t sit up here and say, ‘Oh, Russ is going to have the basketball for the first half, and I’m going to have the ball the second half.' No, things happen through the course of the game that you just flow with and go with.” Perkins believes that Harden welcomes the opportunity to defer to someone else, given the physical demands of his playing style. Harden ranked No. 3 last season in minutes per game (36.8), while Westbrook was fourth (36.0). “If you’ve watched James throughout the course of a game, the things he did, he had to do because nobody else was stepping up at the time. James wants somebody else to step up so that he can take a backseat sometimes,” Perkins told NBA.com. “If you watched Russ on the court last year, what a lot of people don’t realize is that he deferred to Paul George a lot. Russ took a backseat. You’ve got to understand, too, that he’s matured, man. He’s starting to show that he can be a better leader. Think about it. When you have kids, man, and you start having a family, sh--, your whole thought process changes. You know what I mean? I just see the maturity in Russ. To me, they have to just get it done. There’s no debate about it. Like, to me, the most pressure is on Mike D’Antoni.” Entering the final year of his contract after extension talks broke down over the summer, D’Antoni will proceed cautiously throughout the preseason implementing Westbrook (who is recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery). D’Antoni and Morey believe Westbrook, one of the game’s most lethal penetrators, will excel in D'Antoni's wide-open offense (which focuses on keeping shooters posted on the perimeter as guards drive in). Morey mentioned that under D’Antoni, guards have historically produced career years. “You look historically at players that have worked with Mike, guards especially, they always play better,” Morey said. “I think it’s just the way he sets up the team, sets up the offense. He finds ways to get people to do the things they do well more, and again, like he said, we’re not here to change anybody or do anything. Historically like pretty much every guard that’s worked with, Mike has had their career year. That’s gonna be a little tough with Russell, given that he’s had so many.” Wearing a salmon-hued polo shirt, D’Antoni discussed plans to stagger the minutes of Harden and Westbrook throughout the season. The expectation is Harden rests in the neighborhood of 13 minutes per game, while Westbrook sits 16 minutes. In his first preseason game -- a 134-129 loss to the Toronto Raptors in Tokyo -- Westbrook logged 20 minutes, finishing with 13 points, two rebounds and six assists. D’Antoni said the final five minutes of games are “the most important thing” for Westbrook to figure out as the team approaches the regular season. “They both want to do this. So, we’ll just sit down and work it out,” D’Antoni said. “I don’t have to tell someone they have to do this, or they have to do that. We’ll figure it out together. But just the vibe of being able to discuss things, the respect they have [for one another] will translate. We’re in a good spot. Right now, it’s great. All we’re trying right now is to win a title. That’s the only agenda that anybody has, and we’ve just got to figure it out.” When word first spread about Houston’s acquisition of Westbrook, opinions naturally flowed about how he’d fit alongside Harden. Westbrook is a career 30.8% 3-point shooter on a squad that has led the league in 3-point attempts four of the last five seasons. He’s also a ball-dominant, high-usage player just like Harden. Still, everyone, insists they won’t ask Westbrook to change his style of play. That puts the pressure squarely on D’Antoni to tweak what Houston does on the floor. “The system they’ve run, just shooting layups and shooting threes with no in-between game, you have to change that with Russell Westbrook, because one of his main things is his mid-range pull-up,” Perkins explained. “The pressure is on Mike D’Antoni. Does he have to change up his style of play? Yes, he will, in order for Russell Westbrook to be who he is. We all know that Russ is not a three-point shooter. Bottom line is they’ve got two of the top 10 players in the league now, if not top 15. "These guys get it done. Back in the day when they were in OKC, they were trying to find out who they were as players. Now, it’s a whole lot different. Now, they know who they are. They’ve done everything to accomplish all the individual accolades. They only thing they haven’t done is win a championship. It’s not the players. Houston has all the players.” In addition to the glitz, glamour and star power for a franchise starving to add more Larry O'Briens to its trophy case. Michael C. Wright is a senior writer for NBA.com. 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 NewsOct 9th, 2019

PVL: Motolite halts skid, Angels’ win streak

Motolite bared its teeth in the closing stretch of the fifth set to breathe new life to its semifinals bid after snapping PetroGazz’s eight-game winning streak with a 22-25, 25-13, 25-16, 16-25, 15-11, decision on Wednesday in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Open Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Down, 5-7, in the fifth, Tots Carlos, Isa Molde and Bern Flora connived in a decisive run that gave Motolite a three-point cushion that kept the Angels at bay to improve to 8-5 win-loss record and snap a two-game slide. Carlos dropped 20 points with 17 coming off kills including the game-clinching hit that put PetroGazz’s winning run to a screeching halt. The University of the Philippines standout also had three kill blocks and spiked her stats with 21 digs and 15 excellent receptions. “It was a hard game. PetroGazz is very very good and experienced team,” said Motolite coach Godfrey Okumu. “To us today was one of those do-or-die games like if we lose this game then maybe say bye-bye to the semifinals. By winning this game, we kept our hopes alive to make it to the Final Four. It’s a big relief.” Molde got 12 markers while Aie Gannaban posted 10 points for Motolite, which received 37 points off PetroGazz’s errors. Flora got nine points in four sets of action while Fhen Emnas dished out 24 excellent sets for Motolite. Motolite erased an early deficit in the fifth set with a 6-1 counterattack to take an 11-8 advantage. The Angels closed in at 12-10 but an attack from Flora followed by a Cai Baloaloa attack error put Motolite at match point. Carlos sealed the two-hour, eight-minute match with a hit. PetroGazz, which beat Motolite in the first round, remained at second spot despite absorbing its third defeat in 12 games. Jonag Sabete led the Angels with 14 points including 12 kills and added 19 digs and 16 excellent receptions. Baloaloa had 11 points, Jeanette Panaga had a quiet 10-point outing while Jovielyn Prado finished with seven points, 13 digs and 15 excellent receptions.   ---   Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 9th, 2019

US unemployment falls to 50-year low of 3.5% in September

Washington, United States — America’s jobless rate tumbled in September to its lowest level in 50 years, according to government data released Friday, delighting the White House even though it may not assuage recession fears as President Donald Trump’s trade wars persist. Meanwhile, with a strong dollar and slowing global economy, the US trade deficit […] The post US unemployment falls to 50-year low of 3.5% in September appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsOct 4th, 2019

U.S. consumers, industry falter

Washington, United States (AFP) — US consumer spending slowed sharply in August, according to the latest government data Friday, suggesting turmoil from President Donald Trump’s trade wars was hitting home for the general public. And in another sign trade tribulations are weighing on American industry, demand for big-ticket manufactured goods also showed unwelcome weakness, economists […] The post U.S. consumers, industry falter appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsSep 28th, 2019

TERRIFIC 12: Shenzhen beats champion Ryukyu, SMB not sure in semis yet

MACAU — Down goes the Terrific 12 champions. Shenzhen rebounded big time and crushed the Golden Kings Wednesday here, dominating defending champion Ryukyu at the Tap Seac Multi-sport Pavillion, 115-77. The Aviators turned around quickly after losing to San Miguel Beer Tuesday, destroying the Golden Kings by 38 points. Group B play just got more interesting with this result as San Miguel (1-0) has to beat Ryukyu (0-1) to seal its spot in the semifinals. If the Beermen lose, they play the quotient game against Ryukyu and Shenzhen. San Miguel already beat the Aviators by 14 points Tuesday. Shabazz Muhammad debuted in the Terrific 12 and scored 30 points for Shenzhen. Demon Brooks led Ryukyu with 21 points. The Beermen draw the Golden Kings at 7:00 p.m. Thursday here and a win sets up a semis clash against Lance Stephenson and the Liaoning Flying Leopards.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 18th, 2019

30 Teams in 30 Days: Solid finish, playoff push prompts Magic to run it back

Like most summers in the NBA, the 2019 edition was chock full of trades, free agent news and player movement. From the defending-champion Toronto Raptors to just about every other team in the league, change was the most applicable word when it came to describing team rosters for the 2019-20 season. With the opening of training camps just around the corner, NBA.com's Shaun Powell will evaluate the state of each franchise as it sits today -- in order of regular-season finish from 2018-19 -- as we look at 30 teams in 30 days. * * * Today's team: Orlando Magic 2018-19 Record: 42-40, lost to Raptors in first round of playoffs Key additions: Al-Farouq Aminu (free agency), Chuma Okeke (Draft) Key departures: Timofey Mozgov The lowdown: It perhaps escaped your notice, but the Magic actually raised a banner in 2018-19. They won the admittedly-weakened Southeast Division, and while that might make folks snicker, any progress is good progress for a franchise still looking to gain traction in this, the unfulfilled post-Dwight Howard era. They were beastly down the stretch, going 11-2 to fight their way out of a midseason slump to reach the playoffs. Plus, they took a game from the eventual-champion Toronto Raptors in the first round. It helps to be in the Eastern Conference, but let’s not water-down what the Magic did too much. They received solid seasons from Aaron Gordon and Evan Fornier, a career season from Terrence Ross and an All-Star season from Nikola Vucevic. (It didn’t hurt that Vucevic and Ross were pending free agents playing for money.) The club also responded well to new coach Steve Clifford. However, there were mild disappointments -- mainly from the last two first-round picks. Jonathan Isaac didn’t take a leap in his second season and seemed unsure whether to be a stretch-four or use his size advantage in the paint. He wound up being just OK at both (9.6 points, 5.5 rebounds per game). Rookie Mo Bamba looked like a project throughout the season as injuries limited him to just 47 games. All told, the Magic made the playoffs for the first time in seven years and won more games in any strike-shortened season since 2010-11. That was enough to pacify the home crowd and finally show up on NBA radar, however faint. Summer summary: For the second time this decade, the Magic arrived at a crossroads regarding their All-Star center and had to make a decision with fairly large future ramifications. Last time, it was Howard. This time, it was the guy who replaced Howard. The decision now, as then: Should they re-sign the big man? Actually, it was a dual decision. Orlando had to want "Vooch" and vice-versa, considering he was an unrestricted free agent, and it wasn’t an automatic call in either case. Vucevic and his family enjoyed Orlando, yet the franchise, despite finally posting a winning season, was hardly in contender condition. He had options as a number of teams -- the LA Clippers among them -- expressed interest in the center with a soft touch and sound footwork. As for the Magic, they’d just drafted Bamba in 2018 with the No. 6 overall pick. The idea, at least you’d think, was having Bamba replace Vucevic at some point. By keeping Vucevic, what signal were they sending to Bamba? Why would they stifle the growth of a player whom they took over Wendell Carter Jr. and Collin Sexton? In the end, both the Magic and Vucevic agreed and Orlando delivered a four-year, $100 million deal. The team's thinking? Vucevic is an asset and so it’s better to keep him, even at a high price, rather than let him walk and get nothing back. Bamba must wait his turn, and he’ll need more time to develop after a raw rookie season. The other investment was in Ross, who spent much of his previous six NBA seasons as an athletic swingman who teased a lot. Last season, he was (for once) a primary option and shot well from deep (38.3 percent), earning himself a four-year, $54 million deal from Orlando. The Magic believe Ross, 27, is tapping into his prime later than usual. Then Orlando added depth at that position with Aminu. He can spread the floor and is decent defensively ... but isn’t a shot creator because of a weak dribble. At three years and $29 million, Aminu was a reasonable buy. In recent years past, Orlando was a fixture at the Draft lottery, and then their fate changed abruptly by making the playoffs. The downside, though, is Orlando had a middle first-round pick, where future superstars don’t normally live. Those picks are where teams take risks, and the Magic did so by selecting Okeke, who missed Auburn’s Final Four appearance after injuring his knee in the Sweet 16. Before the injury, the 6-foot-8 Okeke showed strong instincts around the basket, especially rebounding, while also shooting 3-pointers. Most scouts believe he would’ve been a lottery pick, and perhaps taken in the top-10, if not for the injury. The Magic spent the summer mulling whether to “redshirt” Okeke as they have another young player at his spot in Isaac. Plus, Okeke can heal thoroughly and also get reps in the NBA G League. There's also former No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz here, too, whom the Magic added in a deadline-day trade last season with the Philadelphia 76ers. He's still recovering from the thoracic outlet syndrome he was diagnosed with last season and hasn't played a game for the Magic. Still, Orlando believed in him enough to exercise his contract option for 2020-21. If he's ever healthy and shows the talent that made him a star a Washington, Fultz could help Orlando rise up as a real East contender. Other than big-money decisions on Vucevic and Ross, the Magic was content to make only minor changes. They still lack the superstar needed to rise the ranks in the East, yet their core is proven and capable of knocking on playoffs' door for a second straight season. Shaun Powell has covered the NBA for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here, and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 18th, 2019

Telco boosts investment pledges 126.1% over 8 months

To further increase the capacities of our manufacturing base, we will continue to aggressively promote increased bilateral business ties with our biggest trading partners despite their trade wars The post Telco boosts investment pledges 126.1% over 8 months appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsSep 11th, 2019

RICE TRADE LIBERALIZATION | RCEF cannot protect farmers

The plummeting prices of unhusked rice are convincing more and more farmers that safeguards in the Rice Trade Liberalization Law flaunted by the Duterte government like the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund are ineffective to cushion the destructive impact of trade liberalization in the agriculture sector. The post RICE TRADE LIBERALIZATION | RCEF cannot protect farmers appeared first on A people's news site in Northern Luzon......»»

Category: newsSource:  nordisRelated NewsSep 11th, 2019

30 Teams in 30 Days: Pelicans could be in for seamless rebuild

Like most summers in the NBA, the 2019 edition was chock full of trades, free agent news and player movement. From the defending-champion Toronto Raptors to just about every other team in the league, change was the most applicable word when it came to describing team rosters for the 2019-20 season. With the opening of training camps just around the corner, NBA.com's Shaun Powell will evaluate the state of each franchise as it sits today -- in order of regular-season finish from 2018-19 -- as we look at 30 teams in 30 days. * * * Today's team: New Orleans Pelicans 2018-19 Record: 33-49, did not qualify for the playoffs Key additions: Zion Williamson (Draft), Lonzo Ball (trade), Brandon Ingram (trade), JJ Redick (free agency), Derrick Favors (trade), Josh Hart (trade), Jaxson Hayes (Draft), Nickeil Alexander-Walker (Draft) Key departures: Anthony Davis, Julius Randle, Elfrid Payton The lowdown: There were teams with worst records and teams with more drama. But no team had a combination of both quite like the Pelicans. It all swirled around Davis, the best player in franchise history, who pulled a power move by switching agents to Rich Paul, business partner of LeBron James. Everyone saw what was coming next except Dell Demps, the beleaguered GM who refused to be proactive and instead tried to fight a losing battle. Through Paul, Davis made a private trade request in the fall and then went public a week prior to the trade deadline when Demps hesitated. When the deadline passed, Davis was still in New Orleans and that was a problem. The rest of the season was a disaster, as Davis was in an awkward state of limbo and the Pelicans, anxious to preserve their only true asset, managed his minutes. The fallout was severe: Fan backlash toward Davis, a fractured locker room, a state of emergency within a franchise that wasn’t among the league’s healthiest to begin with, and Demps getting the boot. Everything else about the Pelicans was overshadowed, such as Randle’s solid production in his first (and subsequently only) season in New Orleans and Jrue Holiday’s continued splendid play on both ends. In the end, Davis had long checked out, the Pelicans fell back into the lottery a year after reaching the second round of the playoffs, and a housecleaning was ordered by ownership. Summer summary: History might reflect that the Davis fiasco, in hindsight, was the most important moment in franchise history, and in a positive way. That’s because a much-needed series of changes were forced to happen because of it, and just maybe the Pelicans will be better off for it. It created a change in command, with David Griffin replacing Demps and tackling the Davis situation head-on rather than tiptoeing around it. And because Davis was essentially benched the entire second half of the season, that allowed the Pelicans to fall into the lottery, where they got lucky and landed the first overall pick in one of those drafts that contained a potential game-changer. New Orleans flipped almost overnight, getting an impressive haul for Davis in the long-awaited trade with the Lakers, and adding Zion Williamson, an explosive talent with gate appeal. It was a best-case scenario for the Pelicans, who went from laughingstock to landing a game on Christmas Day this season. Griffin played his hand skillfully, unlike Demps. Griffin didn’t create distrust or burn bridges and instead maintained good communication with Davis and all potential trading partners. He created a robust market for Davis and then negotiated with the one team that needed Davis the most: the Lakers with an aging LeBron James. Not only did Griffin get promising young players in Ball, Ingram and Hart, he also acquired the Lakers’ future with a collection of first-round picks and first-round swaps. Essentially, if the Lakers collapse in the post-LeBron era, the Pelicans will be awash in assets similar to the Boston Celtics when those Brooklyn Nets’ first-rounders turned to gold. Williamson should never have to worry about talent around him in New Orleans as Davis did. And unlike Davis, Williamson won’t be in a hurry to leave in a huff. There’s no reason for the Pelicans to tank, knowing that ample picks are coming their way. With that in mind, Griffin seized the moment to ramp up the rotation, adding some much-needed shooting in Redick and a reliable veteran in Favors. It’s very possible that the Pelicans can compete for a playoff spot in 2019-20, and again, this seemed remote when last season ended. There’s plenty of hope for Ball. He’ll have the relief of playing away from L.A. for the first time in his life and the advantage of suiting up next to Holiday, who can play off the ball if necessary. Ingram will be returning from a health scare related to blood clots that cut short his season but the prognosis is good. In addition to Williamson, the draft also produced Alexander-Walker, who brings good size (6-foot-5) to the backcourt, and Hayes, a raw big man who’ll instantly enroll in the Pelicans’ development school. To make the upcoming season as stress-free as possible, Griffin handed coach Alvin Gentry a one-year extension. The pair once worked together in Phoenix, when Gentry led the Suns to the Western Conference finals. For the first time in his tenure with the Pelicans, Gentry has ample talent and a solid plan. Now it’s up to him to put the right pieces in place. Clearly, though, the big prize is Williamson, who comes with robust talent and also a personality that reflects well on him and the franchise. Williamson can be a savior and, once Drew Brees retires, the face of New Orleans sports. It all depends if he makes good on the immense expectations. Given his knack for making crowd-pleasing plays on both ends, the burly forward has star potential -- which is exactly what a small market needs. There’s a reason why the Draft lottery results caused Gentry to curse with joy and team employees to dance on tables. Perhaps never before has a franchise fallen hard, then rose suddenly, quite like the Pelicans did in a matter of weeks. They’re still partying in New Orleans. Shaun Powell has covered the NBA for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here, and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 10th, 2019

Trump hardens tone on China as trade war rattles economy

WASHINGTON, USA – Amid fresh signs his trade wars are rattling the United States economy, President Donald Trump on Tuesday, September 3, sent stern warnings to China, urging the Pacific power not to drag its feet in trade negotiations. After a month of escalations in the yearlong battle with Beijing ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsSep 4th, 2019

30 Teams in 30 Days: Cavaliers to lean heavily on young roster

Like most summers in the NBA, the 2019 edition was chock full of trades, free agent news and player movement. From the defending-champion Toronto Raptors to just about every other team in the league, change was the most applicable word when it came to describing team rosters for the 2019-20 season. With the opening of training camps just around the corner, NBA.com's Shaun Powell will evaluate the state of each franchise as it sits today -- in order of regular-season finish from 2018-19 -- as we look at 30 teams in 30 days. * * * Today's team: Cleveland Cavaliers 2018-19 Record: 19-63, did not qualify for the playoffs Key additions: Darius Garland (Draft), Kevin Porter Jr. (Draft), Dylan Windler (Draft), John Beilein (coach) Key departures: JR Smith, Cameron Payne, David Nwaba The lowdown: The first season in the post-LeBron James era, Part II, was almost a carbon copy of the first one: He leaves and the team crumbles. This was pretty much expected from a team that was built around LeBron and then suddenly grew old overnight once he left. It didn’t help matters when Kevin Love, given a rich contract the previous summer, played only 22 games because of injury. That ensured the Cavs would be locked into a rebuilding season and rookie point guard Collin Sexton would receive ample playing time as a result, which was not necessarily a bad thing at all. After shaky initially, Sexton finished strong and averaged 20 points the last 2 1/2 months to make the All-Rookie Second Team. Also, swingman Cedi Osman benefited from increased playing time and had moments in his second season. In a mild disappointment, Larry Nance Jr. failed to take a generous step in his development and there’s fear he will be nothing more than a scrappy, hard-working role player who’ll make the occasional highlight dunk. Otherwise, the Cavs’ season served no major purpose. The remaining pieces from the LeBron era either crumbled in various ways or simply disappeared: JR Smith was suspended, essentially for insubordination; Love was hurt; Tristan Thompson plateaued; George Hill and Kyle Korver were traded. The Cavs sunk toward the bottom of the East, fell off radar for the first time in six years, and once again found themselves back in the lottery looking for help. Summer summary: In a summer of surprises around the NBA, one of the more under-rated events happened when the Cavs’ coaching search ended with a 66-year-old grandfatherly type who never spent a day on an NBA bench. John Beilein might well be a revelation, one way or another. He spent much of his college career at Michigan, where he was highly respected for his strategy, composure and character -- three elements he’ll need in Cleveland. Beilein had flirted with the NBA in years past; when nothing materialized, some NBA people thought his time had passed, especially once he reached retirement age. But the Cavs went with an out-of-the-box choice anyway, plucking Beilein even as the college-to-NBA transition comes with inconsistent results and yellow flags. Brad Stevens is the exception, and besides, he was in his mid-30s when he left Butler and took the Celtics job. The one current college coach whose name surfaces the most in NBA conversation is Jay Wright of Villanova, who has served on Team USA and appears NBA-ready (temperament, two-time champ, even wardrobe). Word is Wright will be on the Sixers’ short list if and when that job opens. Because of Beilein's age and the state of the Cavs, he seems a bridge-gap coach; if so, that’s a smart choice. He’s experienced at managing young players, and the Cavs will build their next era through the Draft. Top free agents don’t make Cleveland a destination choice, even when presented with the chance to play alongside LeBron. Given how quiet the Cavs were this summer, the odds are great that they’ll return to the draft lottery in 2020 and give Beilein additional players in their early 20s to nurture. He’ll have five this season, with Sexton and Osman returning, plus Darius Garland, Dylan Windler and Kevin Porter Jr. coming on via first-round picks. The prize is Garland, the No. 5 pick who was limited by a meniscus injury to five games in his one and only season at Vanderbilt. This seems eerily similar to years earlier when the Cavs took another guard with a limited (11-game) college career: Kyrie Irving. Garland was a three-time Mr. Basketball in Tennessee and was considered the best recruit ever at Vandy, and that’s about all NBA scouts had to work with this spring. Not only was his college career brief, but he also left the combine early. Apparently, that was enough for the Cavs, smitten by Garland’s instincts. The only question is how he fits with Sexton; both can play off the ball, although each is more comfortable as the lead playmaker. Porter represents a wild card of sorts. Talent-wise, he can be considered a steal with the 30th pick ... after being red-flagged by teams following a suspension at USC for poor conduct that cost him much of that single season. Porter was a workout beast prior to the draft, a swingman who brings great size (6-foot-6) and can create off the dribble. The Cavs had nothing to lose by choosing him at that point. Windler benefited from four years in college, steering underdog Belmont to the NCAA tourney and developing into a prospect by his senior year. The Cavs and Beilein can figure out how it all fits later. Right now, Cleveland is all about stockpiling as many assets as possible and giving that young core plenty of time to make their mistakes now, rather than later. And speaking of assets, they didn’t trade Love this summer. But that doesn’t mean he’ll be on the roster when next season ends, either. If the right price comes along — and that’ll be tricky because of his age, injury history and salary — Love can and will exit. LeBron James will eventually get a statue outside Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse (formerly Quicken Loans Arena), but he isn’t walking through that door again. The Cavs must take another road to respectability, and it could be a long one. Shaun Powell has covered the NBA for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here, and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 3rd, 2019

Asian factories lashed by trade wars, slowing demand in August

Asian factories lashed by trade wars, slowing demand in August.....»»

Category: newsSource:  bworldonlineRelated NewsSep 2nd, 2019

Verstappen doubtful he can catch Hamilton in F1 title race

By Jerome Pugmire, Associated Press SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, Belgium (AP) — Even the devoted legions of orange-clad fans forming a wall of noise may not be enough to convince Max Verstappen he can catch Lewis Hamilton and win the Formula One title race this season. Making up a 69-point gap to Hamilton is a tall order even for Verstappen. Tens of thousands of Dutch fans are expected to descend on the Spa-Francorchamps circuit nestled in the Ardennes forest, travelling in from the nearby Netherlands to cheer on Verstappen at Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix. They've attended every race in droves this season, but the sea of orange will be even bigger in Spa given the proximity to Belgium. "It's amazing to see the big following. Obviously with the orange it's quite easy to spot a Dutch fan. Here we created our own grandstand, they're going crazy already before the race is even (started)," Verstappen said Thursday. "They get a bit crazy with flares and stuff, I remember going up the straight and it was almost turning orange. It's great to see and I'm happy to have such a big following, and I hope over the years it will only get bigger." The way things are going for the 21-year-old Verstappen, that seems a certainty. His popularity has soared in recent weeks thanks to an astonishing drive to win the Austrian GP , an ice-cool victory at the rain-soaked German GP in Hockenheim , and a fabulously long duel against Lewis Hamilton in Hungary where he held off the faster Hamilton right until the end, when Hamilton overtook him to clinch victory. Still, one look at the leaderboard and Verstappen is realistic enough to acknowledge that it will be difficult to catch Hamilton, a five-time world champion driving for a faster Mercedes car which has experienced very few reliability issues. Especially since Spa and the Monza track for the Italian GP which follows are more suited to Mercedes than Red Bull. "I think it's just going to be a bit track-dependent for us, where we are going to be more competitive. I'm expecting (Spa) to be a bit more tricky and especially Monza," Verstappen said. "From there onwards with upgrades coming to the car, we'll have a few tracks where we can have a good go. But for (winning) the championship I don't think so." Verstappen is touted as a future F1 champion and shares the unshakeable self-confidence of Hamilton and others before them, like seven-time F1 champion Michael Schumacher and the late Ayrton Senna — arguably F1's two best-ever drivers. The unflappable Verstappen seems to take even his rise to the top in his stride. "It's quite natural, you get older and more experienced so for me it's not a big surprise what is happening at the moment," he said. "I think it's a natural process. I think it would be bad if you were already declining at 21." But even with his exceptional driving skills, winning at Spa remains complicated. Spa is the longest circuit of the season at 7 kilometers (about 4.3 miles) and Red Bull is expected to be the third-quickest car overall behind Mercedes and Ferrari, which won here last year after an accomplished drive from Sebastian Vettel. "It will be a bit tougher for us because of the long straights. We just need to find a good balance in the car," Verstappen said. "It's flat out and then in sector two there are a lot of corners; so you have to find the right compromise." Hamilton leads the championship by 62 points ahead of his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, but thinks Bottas and Verstappen can still push him. "It could be either of them. Max is catching (Bottas) up and getting quite close on points," Hamilton said. "Red Bull have a couple of really strong tracks. Look at the end of last year; they were really strong towards the end. So I see them being a threat throughout the rest of the season." Verstappen's race-day craft, uncommon speed and ability to withstand pressure is something to be wary of. "You have to look at all the possibilities," Hamilton said. "If I don't turn up this weekend or the following one, if I don't deliver in the next races, if I make mistakes, I could easily lose the championship. There are points (available) to turn the tables.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 29th, 2019

Shaky start to No. 1 Naomi Osaka s US Open title defense

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) — Naomi Osaka put her right hand in the shape of a gun and pointed two fingers at her temple, her face grim, while she looked toward her guest box. She'd just dropped the second set, moments after wasting a match point, as her U.S. Open title defense got off to a shaky start Tuesday. Her body language told the story: the eye rolls, the balled up fists covering her face at a changeover, the racket resting atop her head. Stretched to a third. Anna Blinkova takes the second set 7-6(5) off of defending champion Naomi Osaka!#USOpen pic.twitter.com/bb7WEuJZPz — US Open Tennis (@usopen) August 27, 2019 Back in Arthur Ashe Stadium, where she beat Serena Williams in last year's chaotic final, the No. 1-seeded Osaka kept digging holes and kept climbing out of them, eventually emerging with a 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-2 victory over 84th-ranked Anna Blinkova of Russia in the first round. "I don't think I've ever been this nervous in my life," Osaka told the crowd during her post-match interview. "For me, I just came off really slow and I never really found my rhythm." The 21-year-old from Japan wore a black sleeve over her left knee, which has been an issue recently. But it wasn't so much her movement as her erratic strokes that presented problems for Osaka, who finished with 50 unforced errors, more than double Blinkova's total of 22. "You kind of want to do well after you did well last year," Osaka said, when asked why she felt so many jitters while trailing 3-0 and 4-1 at the outset. "Just definitely," she said, "didn't want to lose in the first round." Osaka avoided that sort of disappointment. Stefanos Tsitsipas, a 21-year-old from Greece who was seeded No. 8, did not. He lost in the first round for the second Slam in a row — and made a lot of noise on his way out, saying during a late dispute with chair umpire Damien Dumusois: "You're all weirdos." After getting broken to trail 4-3 in the last set of his 6-4, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (7), 7-5 loss to Andrey Rublev, Tsitsipas was fiddling around with a plastic bag of sweat bands and head wraps at a changeover when Dumusois announced it was time for play to resume. Tsitsipas said he wasn't ready; Dumusois, essentially, told him that was too bad. Tsitsipas told the official, who already had warned him about getting coaching help, to go ahead and call him for a violation; Dumusois obliged, docking a point. "This chair umpire, I don't know, he has something against me. I don't know why," said Tsitsipas, who upset Roger Federer en route to the Australian Open semifinals in January but bowed out of Wimbledon in the first round. Another highly seeded man went out when No. 10 Roberto Bautista Agut, a Wimbledon semifinalist, was defeated by Mikhail Kukushkin 3-6, 6-1, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, while No. 14 John Isner and 2014 champion Marin Cilic each won in straight sets. No. 2 Rafael Nadal and No. 4 Dominic Thiem were in later matches. In other women's results on Day 2, two-time major champion Garbine Muguruza was eliminated by Alison Riske of the U.S. 2-6, 6-1, 6-3, while two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova and No. 13 seed Belinda Bencic both won in two sets. During the professional era, which began in 1968, only two U.S. Open women's champions have lost in the first round the following year: It happened in 2005 to Svetlana Kuznetsova and again in 2017 to Angelique Kerber — who was beaten by none other than Osaka, ranked 45th at the time and yet to get past the third round at a major tournament. Osaka thought back to that match Tuesday. "I could kind of see how stressed out (Kerber) was and that was in my favor," Osaka said. "I don't want to give people that look." This victory, difficult as it was, stretched Osaka's winning streak in hard-court Grand Slam matches to 15, which includes her run to the titles at Flushing Meadows in 2018 and at the Australian Open in January. Those helped her become the first Japanese tennis player to be ranked No. 1, a spot she regained this month. Osaka has spoken rather openly about the struggles she's had dealing with pressure and expectations this season. She said Tuesday that she hoped figuring out how to get past Blinkova — who is now 0-2 at the U.S. Open and 0-4 against top-10 opponents — would boost her moving forward. "It helps me a lot, because I learn from the tougher matches," Osaka said. "It helps me be prepared and try to learn and adjust my game plan.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 27th, 2019

G7 wrestles with Iran, Amazon fires and trade, but own unity shaky

BIARRITZ, France –  G7 leaders close their summit Monday, August 26, with discussion of world problems including the fires ravaging the Amazon rainforest , but overshadowed by President Donald Trump's trade wars and questions over the group's unity. The summit in Biarritz, a high-end surfers' paradise in southwestern France, saw a dramatic shift of ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsAug 26th, 2019

Salah double helps Liverpool to 3rd straight win in EPL

By Steve Douglas, Associated Press Mohamed Salah was just inside Arsenal's half when he collected the ball, befuddled David Luiz with a nonchalant jink and homed in on goal from the right wing. The Liverpool star made the finish look easy, too, whipping the ball into the bottom corner. With one of the best goals so far this season, Salah capped Liverpool's 3-1 win over Arsenal in a one-sided game between the top two teams in the Premier League. Liverpool will be the only team to end the third round of games with a maximum nine points. The Reds appear well set for another tilt at an English top-flight title they haven't won since 1990. If only Manchester United was in such a strong position. Liverpool's traditional rival got a reality check Saturday with a 2-1 loss at home to Crystal Palace that exposed the deficiencies that still exist in the team. United is no closer to solving its penalty woes, either, with Marcus Rashford reclaiming spot-kick duties after Paul Pogba's miss against Wolverhampton on Monday but also failing to score. Worse was to come as United conceded a stoppage-time goal to lose for the first time this season and slip five points behind Liverpool. There was also a first win for Frank Lampard as Chelsea manager, and away victories for Leicester, Southampton and West Ham. LUIZ AT FAULT David Luiz has established a reputation as a classy but error-prone defender during his time in English soccer with Chelsea and now Arsenal, and he marred his performance against Liverpool with a big mistake in the second half. The Brazil defender tugged the jersey of Salah as a ball was slipped through to the Liverpool forward, and even had the temerity of complaining when a penalty was inevitably awarded. Salah dispatched the spot kick in style, right in the top corner, giving Liverpool a 2-0 lead after Joel Matip had put the hosts in front with a header from Trent Alexander-Arnold's outswinging corner. Salah's stunning solo effort — his second goal of the game — made the points safe for Liverpool, with Luiz's defending again leaving a lot to be desired. Arsenal, which grabbed a late consolation through substitute Lucas Torreira, was the only other team to win its first two games. PENALTY PROBLEM Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer prompted debate this week by saying he has two designated penalty takers in Pogba and Rashford, despite concerns that it might cause confusion. And Rashford followed Pogba in missing from 12 yards (meters) in the surprise loss against Palace. In the end, Solskjaer preferred to focus on penalties that weren't awarded to his team at Old Trafford on Saturday, with Anthony Martial and Rashford both tumbling under challenges in the second half but seeing claims waved away. United was poor, though, conceding a weak goal to go 1-0 down when a goalkeeper clearance was flicked on for Jordan Ayew to run free and slot home in the 32nd minute. Daniel James curled a brilliant equalizer in the 89th minute, seemingly earning United a point, only for Palace left back Patrick van Aanholt to squeeze a shot under the body of goalkeeper David de Gea at the end of a counter-attack in the second minute of stoppage time. WIN FOR LAMPARD At the fourth time of asking, Frank Lampard finally has a win as Chelsea manager. Tammy Abraham scored twice and another young English player, Mason Mount, also netted in the 3-2 win at Norwich. Lampard, Chelsea's all-time scorer who took over from Maurizio Sarri this offseason, has shown faith in youth in his early weeks at the helm and was rewarded with the goals from Abraham and Mount. Chelsea had lost 4-0 at Manchester United and was held 1-1 by Leicester in its opening two league matches, while also losing the UEFA Super Cup to Liverpool in a penalty shootout. Finland striker Teemu Pukki made it five goals in his first three games in the English top flight by scoring Norwich's second goal. AWAY WINS Watford is the early-season crisis club after slipping to a third straight defeat by losing 3-1 at home to West Ham. Watford has lost its last seven matches in all competitions dating back to last season. Harvey Barnes' spectacular second-half strike clinched Leicester a 2-1 win at Sheffield United, while Southampton won 2-0 at 10-man Brighton......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 25th, 2019

Ligue 1 2019-20: PSG set to dominate once again

By Samuel Petrequin, Associated Press PARIS (AP) — After winning its sixth French championship in seven years last season, Paris Saint-Germain is expected to continue its dominance in what at times can look like a one-team league. For the Qatari-backed PSG, the minimum requirement remains the same: win the French league. PSG's ultimate goal is also unchanged: win the Champions League after years of repeated failures. With its 500-million euro budget — more than five times that of last season runner-up Lille — huge sponsorship deals and top-class players, PSG simply has no rival in a league lacking strength in depth. On paper, Thomas Tuchel's team looks even stronger than last season, when it was crowned champion with five games to spare despite a late dip of form. Amid persistent rumors that Neymar will leave the club and return to Barcelona, PSG remains a formidable attacking force with the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Edinson Cavani and Angel Di Maria. It also strengthened its backline this summer with the addition of Dortmund defender and France Under-21 international Abdou Diallo, while recruits Idrissa Gueye, Ander Herrera and Pablo Sarabia will provide midfield stability and experience. Sarabia, Herrera and Diallo were included in Tuchel's starting XI last weekend as PSG sealed a seventh consecutive Trophee des Champions — the French equivalent of the Charity Shield — with a 2-1 win over Rennes. PSG took pride in the win, insisting on the importance of the trophy, the 40th since the club's inception back in 1970. But in reality, the only title that really matters in the French capital is the Champions League. Success in Europe's top competition has so far proved elusive for PSG, which has never been beyond the quarterfinals since Qatari backers QSI started funding the club with huge investment eight years ago. In the past three seasons PSG has gone out in the Round of 16, twice wasting strong first-leg leads. The last time it was against Manchester United in March, when PSG became the first team to be eliminated from the competition after winning the away leg 2-0. "We need to carry on in the league, we need to extend our domination," Mbappe said. "We lost two national Cups (last season), we will try to recover them. And there is the Champions League. We have come to a halt in recent years, it's up to us to find a solution and reach a new milestone." More than the offseason recruits, Leonardo's return as sporting director could be the decisive ingredient that was missing in PSG's quest for European glory. Leonardo, who became PSG's sporting director for the first time in July 2011 and held his role until May 2013, has been given full powers by club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi. At a club where star individuals often appear more important than the team itself, Leonardo's return will mark a change of style in the players' management. A disciplinarian, Leonardo has warned Neymar that he would not let him go unless a juicy offer arrived and has reportedly criticized the Brazil star in front of his teammates after he reported late for PSG's pre-season training. "I don't have the key that is going to open the door to the Champions League," Leonardo said in an interview with Le Parisien newspaper. "Who has it? Not me. I just want to be clear about our goal: the club is THE great institution at the heart of the entire project." PSG starts the defense of its title on Sunday at the Parc des Princes against Nimes. Lille hosts Nantes, Marseille plays Reims at home and Lyon travels to Monaco on Friday night in the season's opening game. NO MONEY, BIG GOALS After a calamitous season, Marseille's main goal is to return to the Champions League under new coach Andre Villas-Boas. Three years after American billionaire Frank McCourt pledged to revive the 1993 Champions League winners, Marseille failed in its bid to qualify for Europe's top competition and did not even get a spot in the Europa League. Villas-Boas subsequently replaced Rudi Garcia and, despite very limited funds to spend on new players, has promised to deliver quickly in his bid to restore Marseille's past luster. "I don't want to lose time with excuses," he said. "I'm hoping for a podium finish." Villas-Boas has lured 29-year-old forward Dario Benedetto from Boca Juniors and hopes he will be able to keep Valere Germain, Florian Thauvin, Dimitri Payet and Luis Gustavo at the southern club. "We don't have money, it's a shame but it's a reality," Villas-Boas said. "We have some problems related to Financial Fair Play regulations. Now I'm waiting anxiously for the end of the English transfer market because that could change everything for the other teams." STARS' EXILE Nicolas Pepe and Nabil Fekir have become the latest big names to depart the French league as the talent exodus to foreign clubs continues. After scoring 22 league goals for Lille, Pepe left for Arsenal while World Cup winner Nabil Fekir joined Real Betis from Lyon. Lyon's new coaching setup of sporting director Juninho and coach Sylvinho have yet to find a replacement for Fekir, who left in the wake of other top players including Tanguy Ndombele and Ferland Mendy......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 7th, 2019