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UAAP 82: NU s Shaun I.: I believe we re gonna make the Final Four

For the second straight game in the UAAP 82 Men's Basketball Tournament, National University lost in heartbreaking fashion. The Bulldogs battled back from a 14-point deficit to snare away a one-point lead, 82-81, late in their game last Wednesday. Still with 28.1 ticks to go, however, Kurt Lojera emerged as the unlikely hero for De La Salle University with a baseline jumper that proved to be the game-winner. And so, National U remained winless in two tries. This, just four days after their hearts were also broken by Lenda Douanga's improbable game-winning three for Adamson University. Coming from that contest, team captain Shaun Ildefonso promised a mighty rebound. "The night after the Adamson game, we couldn't really sleep. Sabi talaga namin sa sarili namin, we hope that never happens again," he said. Ildefonso, without a doubt, did his part and turned in a career game of 26 points on top of five steals against the Green Archers. "To be honest, I didn't really know I would play like this. I think, career-high ko na 'to sa buong buhay ko e," he told reporters through chuckles. As it turns out, however, the third-year forward was only inspired by the inspired play of his younger brother. As he put it, "Ang ganda nung game ni Dave nung first game e so sabi ko, ako naman kaya? Sinasabihan ko sila, 'Pre, pasahan mo lang ako sa labas, bibitaw talaga ako,'" he shared. He then continued, "One thing I lacked the first game was confidence, pero ngayon, no hesitation na. Good thing they were going in." Unfortunately, each of the Ildefonsos' big games eventually ended as heartbreaking losses. Still, kuya Shaun has full faith that the Bulldogs will get going sooner than later. As he put it, "We still have 12 games left. No reason to give up now kasi I really believe we're gonna make the Final Four." He then continued, "Malakas ang paniniwala ko dun kahit dalawang talo na kami ngayon." For that to happen, the NU skipper knows full well he has to build on his big-time outing. "Hopefully, mas maging consistent ako not just in bringing energy to the team, but also helping on offense," he said. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnSep 12th, 2019

UAAP Season 81 Final Four: Lady Tams prove doubters wrong with good season run

Far Eastern University may have fallen short of making it back to the Finals, but the Lady Tamaraws proved all of their doubters, wrong by achieving what many thought was impossible for a team that lost two of its best scorers heading into UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament. “I’m really proud of how far our team has come this season, especially since a lot of people were saying that our team wasn’t gonna make it to the Final Four,” said graduating hitter Jerrili Malabanan, who made her final bow as a Lady Tamaraw on Wednesday. FEU bid farewell to the season after losing to Ateneo de Manila University, 20-25, 25-21, 23-25, 14-25, in the winner-take-all match for the right to face University of Sto. Tomas in the best-of-three Finals.        “I think our team really grew and gained a lot of character over this season from our wins and our losses,” added Malabanan, who finished with 18 points highlighted by 16 attacks. The Lady Tamaraws saw the departure of scoring ace Bernadeth Pons last year after their runner-up finish while veteran Toni Basas was sidelined by a shoulder injury during the offseason, preventing her from suiting up for FEU. It diddn’t help that prized rookie Lycha Ebon suffered a season-ending knee injury at the start of the second round.    “’Yun nga po sobrang saya dahil nakarating po kami kung saan man kami ngayon,” said a sobbing Heather Guino-o, who in her last game with FEU delivered 12 points and 14 digs. “Kasi parang simula parang sobrang dami na nagda-doubt sa amin pero pinakita naming lahat na hindi kami basta-bastang team.” FEU finished the elimination round with a 9-5 win-loss record, good for a fourth spot in the Final Four for a showdown with twice-to-beat Ateneo.    But despite playing short-handed, the Lady Tams pushed the Lady Eagles to the limit, taking the first semis match in five sets to force a rubber match.  “Sobrang proud ako sa narating ng team namin ngayon,” said outgoing setter Kyle Negrito. “Sobrang ipinakita ng teammates ko, ng buong team, na lumaban bawat game. Na walang alinlangan na ilaban nila para sa amin (seniors).” Head coach George Pascua thanked his three graduating seniors for a job well done as Lady Tamaraws. “Ako, very proud ako sa kanila umpisa pa lang nagpapa-‘thank you’ na ko sa kanila,” he said. “Team building pa lang na nadyan sila para sumupport sa team.” “’Yung unfinished business last season gusto namin ma-achieve na unfortunately hindi namin nagawa yun,” he said. Pero siyempre, sobrang proud ako sa kanila bilang Ates ng team. They did well.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 8th, 2019

UP, UE share 2019 s king of recruiting crown

Who was our King of Recruiting in 2018? Find out here. --- Last season, the University of the Philippines, at long last, broke through in the UAAP. Behind the leadership of Paul Desiderio and key contributions from Season MVP Bright Akhuetie and Mythical selection Juan Gomez de Liano, the Fighting Maroons made their first Final Four since 1997 and first Finals in 32 years. Now, even without the iconic Desiderio, State U is nothing but confident it could build on its breakthrough. The reason? Well, because two of the brightest young stars in Kobe Paras and Ricci Rivero are now orbiting Diliman. Paras has all the physical tools to take any league by storm and now in maroon and green, he is out to continue the legacy of his father Benjie who delivered the school’s first and only championship. Meanwhile, the Euro-stepping Rivero already knows a thing or two about taking the UAAP by storm, having been chosen for the Mythical Team when he was still playing for De La Salle University in 2017. Add big man J-Boy Gob, another transferee, to that and, indeed, UP is only equipped to keep contending. On the strength of the transfers of Paras and Rivero alone, the Fighting Maroons would have been worthy of the title of 2019 King of Recruiting. Right up there with them, though, in terms of getting a big boost in the offseason is University of the East. Absent from the Final Four in the last decade, the Red Warriors will be heading into the upcoming season with a fully stocked arsenal. Now up front for them – alongside stalwart Philip Manalang, of course – will be 6-foot-9 Senegalese Adama Diakhite, three-time champion and two-time MVP in the CESAFI Rey Suerte, and college-ready Harvey Pagsanjan, the no. 7 high school player in the 2019 NBTC 24. Diakhite is a hulking presence who will prove to be a tough matchup even for the likes of reigning MVP Akhuetie and last year’s Rookie of the year Ange Kouame. Suerte, a gifted scorer from anywhere on the court, fills right into the hole left behind by scoring dynamo Alvin Pasaol while Pagsanjan can continue making all the right plays he had been doing as the longtime beacon of hope for Hope Christian High School. Also flanking them are former Ateneo de Manila University forward John Apacible, defensive stopper Neil Tolentino, Filipino-Kiwi swingman Richie Rodger, and Filipino-Australian point guard Jasper Rentoy. And with that, UP and UE will have joint custody of the crown of the 2019 King of Recruiting. They dethrone National University which claimed the crown a year ago behind a big-time recruiting class that included Ildefonso brothers Dave and Shaun, John Lloyd Clemente, and John Galinato. Just like last year, there remains no doubt that the new Fighting Maroons and Red Warriors will make their respective sides forces to reckon with come UAAP 82. Still, several squads also made it a point to be better in the offseason. In fact, the graduating players in the 2019 NBTC 24 have been spread out among eight different teams. From the 2019 NBTC 24, the annual ranking of the best high school players in the country, 14 are moving on up to the Seniors. Adamson University is the biggest winner in terms of recruits from that ranking, with three of the top 15 players now in San Marcelino. Ninth-ranked Aaron Fermin is a double-double machine in the NCAA Jrs. and is nothing but determined to realize his potential as a two-way force under multi-titled mentor Franz Pumaren. In CESAFI standout Joshua Yerro and UAAP Jrs. Mythical selection Joem Sabandal, coach Franz also has young blood to bolster the backcourt that will no longer have Koko Pingoy. The Soaring Falcons also scored four other former Baby Falcons in big man Lorenz Capulong and wings Adam and Andrey Doria and AP Manlapaz. When it comes to reaping the rewards of its high school program, though, nobody could still touch Mapua University which again got two keep its Jrs. studs in Clint Escamis and Dan Arches, both of whom made it into the top two-thirds of the 2019 NBTC 24. Escamis and Arches are offensive guards who will give much-needed firepower to a promising core comprised of fellow Mapua HS products Warren Bonifacio, Eric Jabel, Noah Lugo, and Laurenz Victoria. Also, the Cardinals are the favorites to land NCAA 94 Jrs. Finals MVP Paolo Hernandez, another Red Robin. Also bagging two prized prospects from the 2019 NBTC 24 is La Salle which is now the place where the talented tandem of Joel Cagulangan and Joshua David get to work. Cagulangan has long been a star in the making and the NCAA 94 Jrs. MVP is, without question, Taft Avenue’s point guard of the future. The even better news is that he will still have wingman David, a tried and tested glue guy, to grow with. Also set to debut for the Green Archers are Filipino-Americans Jordan Bartlett, a speedster guard; Tyrus Hill, a high-flying forward; and Kurt Lojera, a big-bodied swingman. In all, there are six graduates from the top 10 of the 2019 NBTC 24. All of them would be on different teams in the Srs. Two players from 2019 NBTC 24 are yet to commit to any school, but there is no doubt that Red Robin Hernandez and Greenie Inand Fornilos will be able additions to any collegiate team. For the second straight year, Aldin Ayo will be adding a top three recruit out of high school as incoming sophomore CJ Cansino will now join forces with another triple-doubling talent in Mark Nonoy, a rookie who plays way beyond his years. But wait, there’s more as UST also welcomes with open arms its newest foreign student-athlete in Beninese Soulemane Chabi Yo whose speed and skill will make him a problem for the other foreign student-athletes more used to being powerhouses. Sprinkle in stretch four Sherwin Concepcion as well as versatile forwards Rhenz Abando and Brent Paraiso and there’s a reason why the Growling Tigers are now very much a darkhorse contender. L-Jay Gonzales and RJ Abarrientos remain FEU’s backcourt for tomorrow, but in the meantime, the former is poised for a breakout just as the latter is poised to wrap up his K-12 schooling. Yes, Abarrientos is not yet good to go come UAAP 82, but his steady hand is still the perfect pairing for the burst of energy that is Gonzales. Make no mistake, however, the Tamaraws have gotten help in the form of 6-foot-10 Cameroonian Patrick Tchuente as well as former Baby Tams Daniel Celzo and Jack Gloria. Letran is already the biggest it has ever been up front with NCAA 94 Rookie of the Year Larry Muyang alongside Jeo Ambohot, Christian Balagasay, and Christian Fajarito. Now, the Knights have also beefed up at the wings with Allen Mina and Mark Sangalang as well as former Red Warrior and Growling Tiger Jordan Sta. Ana. LPU will have to prove it could continue contending even without NCAA 93 MVP CJ Perez, but the good news is that now backtopping Marcelino twins Jaycee and Jayvee are former San Sebastian College-Recoletos key cogs Alvin Baetiong, Jayson David, and Renzo Navarro. That’s still a pretty solid lineup in our books. Just like last year, the now two-time UAAP champions are mostly intact, only losing team captain Anton Asistio as well as reserve guard Aaron Black. That doesn’t mean, however, that there are no new faces in Ateneo. Geo Chiu, Kai Sotto’s twin tower, decided to stay in Katipunan just as fellow ex-Blue Eaglets RV Berjay and Jason Credo are now seeing minutes in head coach Tab Baldwin’s rotation. And oh, there is a possibility that double-double machine Fornilos, who placed no. 13 in the 2019 NBTC 24, is bound to be a Blue Eaglet. Perps is nothing but determined to build on the triumphant return to the NCAA of head coach Frankie Lim and to do that, they will be leaning on former San Beda University pillar Ben Adamos as well as ex-Adamson HS workhorse Jefner Egan. Count out the Altas at your own risk. JRU is just on the first phase of a grand rebuild, but there is no doubt that things are looking up for Kalentong. In John Amores, they now have an end-to-end force who is all set to make an immediate impact as a rookie. These are the new names to watch for the teams: Baste CSB National U San Beda --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 3rd, 2019

PVL: Adamson, UST out to sweep group stage

Completing a sweep of their respective groups are in the minds of semifinals-bound teams University of Sto. Tomas and Adamson University on Saturday in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Collegiate Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Both squads have secured a ticket to the Final Four last week after claiming their fourth win in as many games. They now set their sights on building momentum for ten next round. First up at 10:00 a.m. are the Lady Falcons, who will take on also-ran Letran in Group A before the Tigresses take the spotlight in a showdown with NCAA champion Arellano University in Group B at 12:00 noon. Adamson is fresh from a morale-boosting 14-25, 25-21, 25-15, 25-21, win over reigning UAAP champion Ateneo de Manila University with Trisha Genesis and rookies Lucille Almonte and setter Louie Romero leading the way.   The Lady Knights hold a 1-3 win-loss record tied with other eliminated teams San Sebastian College and University of Perpetual Help. Meanwhile, UST is coming off a five-set, 25-14, 25-17, 10-25, 23-25, 15-12, victory over Far Eastern University last week to secure its semis ticket in its group. The game against the Lady Chiefs, who still have a chance to make it to the Final Four, will also be head coach Kungfu Reyes and Eya Laure’s last for the Tigresses before they fly to Thailand to join the national team in its training camp and participate in the inaugural ASEAN Grand Prix in Nakhon Ratchasima on Sept. 20.      Arellano still has a chance to force a playoff for the last semis seat if it defeats UST and College of St. Benilde loses to winless TIP on Sunday.    Opening up the triple-bill playdate is the Group A clash between San Beda University and San Sebastian College. All games are available on iWant and via livestream. The Lady Red Spikers carry a 2-2 slate and a win over the Lady Stags coupled by a loss by the Lady Eagles (3-1) to Perpetual on Sunday will give San Beda a chance to play in a sudden death against Ateneo for the last semis seat in the group.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles      .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 13th, 2019

PVL: Laure sisters reunite as UST eyes third win

Sisters EJ and Eya Laure make their much-awaited reunion for University of Sto. Tomas on Sunday when the Tigresses take on Technological Institute of the Philippines in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Collegiate Conference Group B at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. UAAP Season 81 Rookie of the Year Eya Laure will suit up for the Tigresses for the first time when UST meets the Lady Engineers at 10:00 a.m. The game will air via iWant and livestream. The match will also be the first official game that the sisters will play together since the defunct Shakey’s V-League back in 2016 where the then high school standout Eya suited up as a guest player. UST is undefeated in two games and a win will assure the Espana-based squad, who lost hitter Ysa Jimenez due to an ankle injury before the start of its campaign three weeks ago, at least a playoff for a semifinals spot. The Tigresses are coming off a tough five-set win over College of St. Benilde last week but with the arrival of prolific scorer Eya Laure, UST holds a huge advantage over listless TIP. The Lady Engineers dropped their first two outings and another loss will boot them out of the Final Four race to join also-ran Lyceum of the Philippines University (0-3). Meanwhile, Adamson University seeks to join unbeaten Ateneo de Manila University at the top spot in a showdown with San Sebastian College at 12:00 noon in Group A. The Lady Falcons are at second spot with a 2-0 card behind the Lady Eagles (3-0) while the Lady Stags are on the brink of elimination with a 0-2 mark. In the other Group A pairing, University of Perpetual Help (1-1) squares off with Letran (0-2) in the curtain-raiser at 8:00 a.m.   ---    Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles            .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 31st, 2019

UAAP 82: Ildefonsos hard at work at changing the culture on and off court for NU

National University’s Cinderella run to the UAAP Men’s Basketball championship sure feels like a lifetime ago. After ending the school's 60-year title drought in 2014, the Bulldogs have made the Final Four just once and have missed out on the playoffs in the last three years. While recent history has not been kind to the Sampaloc faithful, though, the future is quite bright as a brand new era has already dawned: The Ildefonso Era. Shaun and Dave, sons of NU legend and PBA Hall of Famer Danny Ildefonso, finally made their debuts for the Bulldogs a year ago and while it was largely a disappointing season for all of them, there was still a lot of promise to be seen. Coming from an Ateneo Jrs. program that had consistent success, missing out on the Final Four was indeed a new experience for the brothers. “As a team, I think I would honestly say that it was kind of disappointing. Kahit anong team naman, ayaw maging seventh, you always want to be in the Final Four, at least,” Shaun said. “Siyempre it was difficult to take in, pero before going into NU naman, we knew that it was going to be hard, there were no promises naman na magcha-champion kami pagdating namin,” said Dave. “We were rebuilding din, the team was rebuilding,” Shaun added. Without a doubt, bringing NU back to Men’s Basketball prominence is a task that now falls on the shoulders of the talented brothers. At the same time, though, they are well aware that when they were brought into the program, it wasn’t all about on-court success, but about changing the culture as well. “We were told na we’re going to bring you guys in to change the culture, bring a different culture in NU and really change how things are run in NU,” said Dave. “And how people see the school itself, not just the team, but also the school,” Shaun added. That change in culture goes beyond the basketball court, he further explained. “We’ve started in school actually, not in the team, because, of course, Ateneo and NU, it’s really different 'di ba? That's why yung habits namin na natutunan sa Ateneo, at least, nadala namin sa NU and we also share it with our teammates. We encourage them na ‘Guys, let’s go to class, we’re also students,'" the older Ildefonso shared. “We’re starting to change the culture and we’re starting with class and academics itself kasi we want to change yung perception of people so they see that NU can also have a higher standard of education as well,” he continued. With their maiden season with NU now behind them, Shaun and Dave are coming into Season 82 with more confidence and more experience. The realistic target, according to Dave, is to compete for a spot in the Final Four and just work from there. “Our goal really is to get to the Final Four. That’s realistically speaking, pero once we get to the Final Four, bilog naman yung bola e, no one knows what can happen, but you can expect that we’re going to go out there and live up to the Bulldogs name na makulit and even though we are underdogs, we’re still going to go out there and compete until the last second,” he said. For Shaun, he sees this year’s Bulldogs as a more unselfish and more united squad. “Like Coach Jamike [Jarin] said, yung motto niya, ‘The Selfless Way’, and I can tell that this team is really selfless. One thing I can say, from the team last year, that we were kind of selfish, we go on our own ways during the games, but now we learned that we have to relax, we have to be composed, and we have to trust each other.” --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @honasantino......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 28th, 2019

UAAP 82: One more chance for NU to put the pieces of the puzzle together

HOW’D THEY DO LAST SEASON? 4-10, seventh YES, THEY’RE STILL HERE: John Lloyd Clemente, John Galinato, JV Gallego, Issa Gaye, Enzo Joson, Dave Ildefonso, Shaun Ildefonso, Jonas Tibayan WELCOME TO THE FAMILY: Robert Minerva, Migs Oczon, Chino Mosqueda (returning from injury) GOOD LUCK ON FUTURE ENDEAVORS: Matt Aquino, Rev Diputado, Troy Rike, Dave Wilson Yu WHAT SHOULD WE EXPECT FROM NU? NU still has each and every one of its recruits from its big-time offseason a year ago when it was named ABS-CBN Sports’ first-ever King of Recruiting. With Ildefonso brothers Shaun and Dave, John Lloyd Clemente, and John Galinato coming in, the Bulldogs were poised to break out and barge back into the playoffs – only, that wasn’t what happened and they only had four wins to show for that big-time offseason. Still, that young core, now battle-hardened, has remained intact and UAAP 82 may very well they year it lives up to the hype. Hey, better late than never and both Dave I. and JLC are bound to keep moving on up all while Shaun I. takes the reins of leadership. Even better, the bench that already includes the likes of John Galinato and Jonas Tibayan has only been bolstered by the entries of Robert Minerva and Migs Oczon, two promising prospects used to winning. WHO IS/ARE THE PLAYER/S TO WATCH OUT FOR FROM NU? Sophomore slumps will be put to the test when both Dave I. and JLC put a heavier burden on their backs at the forefront of the NU offensive. Dave I. was given all the freedom in the world in his first season in Sampaloc, but at the same time, looked like he was being asked to do too much, too quickly. JLC, meanwhile, proved to be inconsistent in his first go-round trying to prove that he was, indeed, college-ready. Those two rising stars are, more likely than not, going to take the next step, but a shinier spotlight may very well be put on Shaun I. who will have to make sure that all of the Bulldogs push forward with the game plan and play to their strengths. WHY SHOULD WE ROOT FOR NU? NU is young as they come with two sophomores in Dave I. and JLC showing the way. Without a doubt, youth will be served for the Bulldogs and who doesn’t love seeing upstarts stand up to traditional powerhouses? And you just know head coach Jamike Jarin will have his boys running all over the court – the only question is if he will still have his voice to keep yelling in Jamike-like fashion. WHERE WOULD NU BE AT THE END OF UAAP SEASON 82? The playoffs is still a ways away for NU, but there is, indeed, light at the end of the tunnel. What matters more for the Bulldogs this season is for Dave I. and JLC to fulfill their potential as leading men and everybody else to do their best to be the two’s strong supporting cast. WHEN IS NU’S FIRST GAME IN UAAP SEASON 82? Ildefonso brothers Dave and Shaun join forces with John Lloyd Clemente to shoot NU to an upset victory versus Adamson on September 7 at Araneta Coliseum Of course, everybody goes All for More and, as always, all of the action will be on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166, LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183, iWant and livestream. HERE’S WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THE SEVEN OTHER TEAMS IN UAAP SEASON 82: With its arsenal fully loaded, UE’s ambush good to go in UAAP 82 --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 28th, 2019

UAAP 82 Preview: Can FEU s big man vault them into the Final Four?

With that big man in the middle, FEU can make things very interesting in the race for a Final Four slot......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsAug 28th, 2019

With its arsenal fully loaded, UE s ambush good to go in UAAP 82

HOW’D THEY DO LAST SEASON? 1-13, eighth YES, THEY’RE STILL HERE: Chris Conner, Philip Manalang WELCOME TO THE FAMILY: John Apacible, Alex Diakhite, Jed Mendoza, Harvey Pagsanjan, Richie Rodger, Rey Suerte, Neil Tolentino GOOD LUCK ON FUTURE ENDEAVORS: Reymark Acuno, Wilson Bartolome, Alvin Pasaol, Jason Varilla WHAT SHOULD WE EXPECT FROM UE? UE operated in the shadows in the offseason – begging off the 2019 Filoil Flying V Preseason Tournament and hiding its true form once it played games. Still, the red and white made the loudest noise in the lead-up to UAAP 82 – so much so that it was named ABS-CBN Sports' co-King of Recruiting for 2019. Indeed, the Red Warriors of this year will look definitely different from last year’s iteration as all of 6-foot-9 Senegalese Alex Diakhite, Hope Christian High School standout Harvey Pagsanjan, three-time champion and two-time MVP in CESAFI Rey Suerte, ex-Jose Rizal University super scorer Jed Mendoza, former Ateneo de Manila University forward John Apacible, defensive stopper Neil Tolentino, and Filipino-Kiwi swingman Ritchie Rodger are now flanking team captain Philip Manalang. Without a doubt, that fully loaded lineup is the best Recto has had in recent history – and it is nothing but ready and raring to take everybody by surprise and take the league by storm. Now, the only question is if its coaching staff has what it takes to make it all work. ????? IGMA KADIMA COMING SOON A team of new beginnings, the Red Warriors hit the hardcourt in 8 days ????? #UAAPSeason82 pic.twitter.com/rERUFKrpC2 — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) August 27, 2019 WHO IS/ARE THE PLAYER/S TO WATCH OUT FOR FROM UE? The early exit of Alvin Pasaol will be a big blow to any team, but UE has full faith it has a ready-made replacement in Suerte. While the 6-foot-3 long-limbed forward does not have the blend of size and speed Pasaol had, he is a scoring machine in his own right and has long terrorized Visayan defenses with his shot-taking and shot-making ability from all over the court. The same can be said for Pagsanjan who has long been college-ready. For now, however, the pride of Hope Christian will only be needed to contribute whatever and whenever he can with the likes of Manalang, Suerte and Jed Mendoza, another one-and-done recruit, carrying the offensive load. Add to that Diakhite, who has all the confidence and the capability to position himself right away alongside Bright Akhuetie and Ange Kouame as one of the best foreign student-athletes, and the Red Warriors are sure to be pushoevers no more. WHY SHOULD WE ROOT FOR UE? The last time UE was in the Final Four and the Finals, Paul Lee was still donning the red and white. It has been a decade since and this fully loaded lineup may very well put an end to that drought – that is if and only if there are no complications when it comes to coaching. Whatever it is, the Red Warriors are overdue for a breakthrough and it will not be farfetched to see our co-King of Recruiting for 2019 coming through. WHERE WOULD UE BE AT THE END OF UAAP SEASON 82? UE will be far, far away from the bottom of the standings it had been languishing in as of late. With Diakhite dominating inside, Suerte and Mendoza scoring in bunches, Pagsanjan doing it all, and Manalang showing the way, the Red Warriors will be battling for a playoff berth. And if they do not get derailed by their own doing, it also will not be a surprise if the red and white will be fighting for the championship itself. WHEN IS UE’S FIRST GAME IN UAAP SEASON 82? UE finally comes out of the shadows in a matchup with fellow upstart UST on September 4 at Araneta Coliseum Check the dates. Set your alarms. Save as wallpaper. This is UE BASKETBALL! ?????#UAAPSeason82 pic.twitter.com/ZEsKG3ZA3Z — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) August 27, 2019 Of course, everybody goes All for More and, as always, all of the action will be on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166, LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183, iWant and livestream. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 27th, 2019

Shaun Ildefonso here to take the lead for NU in UAAP 82

Shaun Ildefonso is the team captain of National University for the upcoming UAAP 82 Men's Basketball Tournament. He himself still couldn't believe the fact that the leadership reins were handed to him in only his second season as a Bulldog and third overall in the UAAP Seniors Divison. "Nope. Never in my life did I expect this," he said. He then continued, "I've never been team captain in my life, but I know it's a big responsibility." For Ildefonso's mentor, however, he was well worthy to lead the blue and gold from the moment he transferred to Sampaloc from Katipunan. "'Di naman ako ni-recruit ng NU diba and sumama lang ako sa dad ko so pagpunta ko, I really worked my ass off be it in practices or in games," he said, recalling the time when he decided to go with tatay Danny Ildefonso as he became an assistant coach in his alma mater. He then continued, "I think that's why si Coach Jamike [Jarin], all year, saw leadership habits sa akin and sinabi niya at the end of last season, 'Shaun, you're gonna be the team captain.'" From there, NU head coach Jamike Jarin had one task and one task only for the eldest son of Philippine basketball legend Danny Ildefonso. "Sinasabi lang ni coach lagi sa akin, 'I-lead mo lang yung team. Ikaw talaga ang magsisilbing spark natin," Shaun shared. In that light, the 6-foot-2 forward is the very first one to accept his role for the Bulldogs - even if that means taking a backseat to younger brother Dave. "Sinasabi ko lagi sa kanila, 'Guys, kahit ano sabihin niyo, kapag NU, si Dave yan so you just have to accept your roles,'" he narrated. He then continued, "Dun kasi kami mag-aachieve. 'Di naman kakayanin ni Dave mag-isa so kami, accept our roles lang. Dun kami magiging iisa." After all, the now 21-year-old had a frontrow seat to how a team that had everybody accepting their roles was able to climb to the mountaintop. In his last year in Ateneo de Manila High School back in 2015, Shaun was a key cog for a championship machine led by Mike Nieto. And there, each and every Blue Eaglet had no problem with their role - Mike being the paint presence, Matt Nieto being the playmaker, Jolo Mendoza being the sharpshooter, Gian Mamuyac and Enzo Joson doing it all, and Shaun himself doing the dirty work. That kind of well-oiled machine is what the team captain hopes to turn on now in NU. "Si Mike, siya talaga yung naging glue namin kaya kami sobrang lakas kahit 'di kami ganun katangkad," he said, referring to how Ateneo paled in comparison to runner-up Nazareth School of National University which was then fronted by Mark Dyke, Jordan Sta. Ana, and John Lloyd Clemente as well as Justine Baltazar. He then continued, "Pero sinasabi lang niya lagi nun, do your roles. Ayun, gumana naman diba." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 22nd, 2019

James Spencer ready, raring to don different kind of Pilipinas

James Spencer was made to wait a little longer for the golden opportunity to represent the Philippines. The Filipino-Australian came to the Philippines last year with the primary purpose of suiting up for Gilas Youth - then still known as Batang Gilas. "I've been eyeing the (youth) team since before I was even thinking to play college basketball out here. Batang Gilas was my first connection to the Philippines," he shared. However, he fell short of being eligible for the 2018 FIBA Asia Under-18 Championship in Thailand. "I got to practice with the team a bit before they went to the qualifiers. Unfortunately, my Filipino passport, basically, wasn't in line then," he recalled. Spencer made it clear, however, that his Filipino passport was actually good to go before that regional meet, but some complications apparently arose when it was forwarded to FIBA. The 6-foot-3 promising prospect would have been a much welcome addition to a Batang Gilas side that reached the semifinals of the qualifiers. Not only is he a big-bodied guard, he is also a knockdown shooter. He showed that sort of promise in last season's UAAP where he was part of the University of the Philippines' Cinderella run to the Finals. Spencer totaled two points, 10 rebounds, and 40 minutes in nine games that gave him a taste of how it feels like to have "Pilipinas" on his jersey. Fast forward a year and now, he is all set to contribute to Gilas Youth who will wage war in the 2019 FIBA Under-19 World Cup as he has been named into the 14-man pool going to Qatar for training camp and then to Greece for the tournament proper. For that, the 19-year-old is nothing but thankful. "Once the new coaching staff was in place, coach Sandy [Arespacochaga] gave me a call and said I should try out with my team. That's what I did and I've been given an opportunity to play in Qatar to play in a few tuneup games and participate in training camp," he said. He then continued, "From there, they're gonna make a decision on who will play in Greece. I'm just glad to be part of it all and I'm just excited to play for the country." And so, Spencer is now cherishing the golden opportunity to wear "Pilipinas" in international competition - "Pilipinas" without "Unibersidad ng" accompanying it. If and when he makes the cut for the national youth team, he hopes he can be part of the process that will smooth over relations between the Philippines and Australia. After all, a Fil-Aussie is the ideal candidate to prove that Filipinos and Australians can play nice once more. "I don't think people outside the Philippines understand Filipino hoops properly. I think it's something they really have to experience firsthand to appreciate how we play," he said. He then continued, "There might be that stereotype that we're rough players who are not skillful and just wanna be rough. But really, we're just physical." Whatever it is, Spencer promises to go all out for his family who have roots in Fairview, Quezon City. "I'm just happy for all of this and thankful my family is with me for all of this," he said. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 17th, 2019

Durant s injury devastates victorious Warriors as they head home

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com TORONTO — When a superstar crumples to the floor like that, after everything he’d been through, after mustering the will to return to action, after giving his team the lift it so desperately needed in a win-or-go-home game, everything that happens next is muted: The flow of a tense game, the pulsating fourth quarter, even the Warriors’ inspired Game 5 victory in the final seconds. All that’s left is a siren blaring and asking … Why? Why did the Warriors clear Kevin Durant to return to the NBA Finals on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time)? Why did he feel compelled to do so after missing nearly a month with a calf strain? Why did a segment of the basketball populace question the severity of his injury -- and, by extension, his heart -- during the lead-up? And why do the basketball Gods seem to have it in for a two-time Finals MVP and all-time great who put his team first, and possibly just put his career in jeopardy? The Raptors fans who lined up 24 hours early in the rain just to watch on TV outside Scotiabank Arena aren’t shook. The citizens who braced for a championship celebration into the wee hours and now must deal with deflation aren’t shook. Not even the Raptors, who coughed up a six-point lead with 3.5 minutes left and now must fly 3,000 miles for another tip. No, it’s the Warriors who were left dazed and confused despite extending the series to another game with the 106-105 victory, and it was all captured in the quivering voice of team president Bob Myers while revealing Durant suffered an Achilles injury early in the second quarter. “He’s a good teammate,” Myers finally managed to say. “He’s a good person … it’s not fair … he just wants to play basketball and right now he can’t.” No, he can’t, and Tuesday's (Wednesday, PHL time) MRI will determine when that can happen again. Slow-motion TV replays that showed Durant executing a dribble move past Serge Ibaka and then dropping quickly to the floor were not positive. When Durant grabbed his leg on May 8 (May 9, PHL time), he reached high on his calf. This time, he reached low. A segment of the fans initially cheered Durant’s misfortune, and when Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka put them in check, the reaction quickly flipped from insensitive to respectful. But it didn’t matter in the big picture that they applauded Durant. He was helped to the locker room by director of sports medicine and performance Rick Celebrini and Andre Iguodala. Stephen Curry left the bench and walked behind Durant, consoling him. Durant cursed loudly as he reached the tunnel. Then he disappeared from view and later left the arena by crutches right after halftime. In the history of the NBA Finals, there was no tougher scene to witness, no matter the rooting interest. This was a basketball betrayal, pure and simple, that happened to Kevin Durant. But should it have? Plenty of questions now surround the medical protocol used by the Warriors. Durant took part in what was loosely termed a practice for the first time just a day earlier. Was that enough? Did he pass all the stress tests by then? Did the exams and MRIs give a green light? Were the experts fully apprised? And, perhaps most crucially, how much of this Achilles injury could be directly related to the calf injury and should that have been perhaps a larger concern? “He went through four weeks with a medical team and it was thorough and we felt good about the process," Myers insisted. "He was cleared to play tonight, that was a collaborative decision. I don’t believe there is anyone to blame, but I understand in this world that if you have to, you can blame me.” Beyond that, was there any pressure -- either implied or indirectly placed or discreetly suggested -- within the organization for Durant to return and rescue the Warriors? They were down 3-1 without him. Durant is famously sensitive about how he’s perceived, especially regarding his toughness. Maybe he felt pressure himself to quiet the noise and whispers. Complicating matters is his pending free agency. Durant stood to make hundreds of millions on the market this summer, and a torn Achilles, if that’s what the MRI will show, can require a year to rehab. In the moment, Durant's injury had a temporary bonding effect between the two teams; a handful of Toronto players approached Durant before he checked out and both benches appeared equally stunned. “In this league,” explained Lowry, “we’re all brothers, and it’s a small brotherhood and you never want to see a competitor like him go down.” Before the injury, Durant showed flashes of the next-level skills that helped him lead the Warriors to the last two championships. He hit his first two shots, both from deep. He commanded coverage from Kawhi Leonard, Toronto’s best defender. He had a presence. This injected confidence within the Warriors, who broke out a nine-point lead with Durant on the floor and seized early command. He, Curry and Thompson were 12-for-19 shooting for 36 points through the early second quarter. With their missing star in the fold for the first time this series, Golden State looked whole again. Once Durant left the floor, the game tightened until the fourth. Leonard (26 points), who shot poorly to that point, made his move, with 10 quick points to send a quake through the arena. Curiously, Raptors coach Nick Nurse called a timeout with his team buzzing and up five with three minutes left. Did that kill the momentum? Curry and Thompson answered with consecutive three-pointers to tie and then take the lead with 56 seconds left. Then, on Toronto’s final possession, Thompson and Andre Iguodala trapped Leonard and forced him to surrender the ball. It found its way to Lowry, deep in the corner. But Draymond Green got his fingertips on the ball, Lowry’s shot was harmless and the buzzer sounded. No confetti fell from the ceiling, no bottles were popped in the home locker room, no trophy was ceremoniously awarded. Curry and Thompson combined for 57 points and took 27 three-pointers, making 12. They’ll need to duplicate that production Thursday (Friday, PHL time) in Oakland and beyond if the Warriors force a seventh game. DeMarcus Cousins was helpful post-Durant and had 14 points. “They’ve accomplished so much over the years and that doesn’t happen just with talent,” Kerr said. “There has to be more that goes into it and it’s that fight, that competitive desire and ability to stay poised under pressure. It was brilliant to watch.” And yet: There was little joy. “It’s hard to even celebrate this win,” said Klay Thompson. “I told the team I didn’t know what to say because, on one hand I’m so proud of them for the amazing heart and grit they showed, and on the other I’m just devastated for Kevin," Kerr said. "So it’s a bizarre feeling that we all have right now.” It’s a reflex to say the Warriors were inspired by Durant and perhaps they were. When he fell, they had their excuse, yet thought otherwise. For them to play the final 2.5 quarters while dealing with a fractured state of mind says plenty about their mental toughness. “It had made it difficult, especially with the start we got off to and Kevin was playing so well, so it was a real shock when he went down,” said Kerr. “So I give our guys credit.” Durant at times became a magnet for his personality quirks and especially his non-commitment regarding free agency; it was even raised by Green when the two infamously clashed on the bench earlier this season. If nothing else, the injury further endeared Durant to the locker room and, in particular, to his fellow MVP. “Everybody gets so wrapped up in chasing championships, but life is more important in terms of caring about an individual and what they’re going through,” Curry said. “And you see the commitment and the challenges and just what has been thrown at KD this whole year, really. He gave us what he had, he went out there and sacrificed his body and we know how that turned out. “When you get to know somebody and see how genuine they are and how committed they are to basketball, you root for those type of guys. All those emotions come into play when you see him go down like that. It’s not even about this series; it’s about long term, his mindset and being able to get back to being the player and the person he has shown consistently over the course of his career.” The Warriors return to Oracle Arena for the final game in the old barn before moving to San Francisco next season, so there is motivation to shut it down in style. Of course, there’s the goal of forcing a seventh game, and finally, to win a title so Durant’s injury won’t be in vain. “We do it for Kevin,” said Thompson. “He wants us to compete and the highest level, and we’ll think of him every time we step on the hardwood. You think of him every time you dive for a loose ball or go for a rebound, because I know him and I know how bad he wants to be out there. I’m going to miss him, man. It’s not the same being out there without him.” Shaun Powell has covered the NBA for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here, and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 11th, 2019

PBA: Jones delivers finest defensive performance so far vs. SMB twin towers

ANTIPOLO CITY, Rizal — In five PBA games, Terrence Jones has hit 30 points four times and broke the 40-point barrier thrice. But Saturday at the Ynares Center here, Jones delivered his finest defensive performance so far in leading TNT to a huge win over San Miguel Beer. Jones still got buckets, scoring 30 points, but he also had 18 rebounds and had five blocks. Late in the fourth as the Beermen tried to mount a final rally, Jones protected the paint and at one point, blocked both June Mar Fajardo and Charles Rhodes in one possession. “I think they made a great run in the fourth quarter and you know, that’s where my defensive presence had to take over,” Jones said. “I had to be at the rim protecting and you know, I just happened to have five blocks,” he added. With five-time MVP June Mar Fajardo and former Best Import Charles Rhodes roaming the paint for San Miguel, the Beermen had a dominant frontline more than capable of taking over. While both Rhodes and Fajardo ended up with double-doubles, TNT managed to do a good enough job to limit their offensive production as the two combined barely outscored Jones, 33-30. “They’re both very good big men. We knew we’re gonna have a challenge guarding them just because of how offensively talented both guys are. I knew I was gonna guard JMF most of the time but then [Rhodes] got it going so I had to try to make a switch just to you know, we stay with that lead,” Jones said. “But both bigs are very good, a lot of credit to those guys. They just won a championship so we give them a lot of respect, a lot of credit. We just try to get better as a team each day,” he added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 8th, 2019

Raptors a win away from first-ever championship

By Janie McCauley, Associated Press OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Kawhi Leonard’s hot hand is sending the Raptors home to Toronto on the cusp of a startling upset for Canada. Leonard out-dueled the Splash Brothers for 36 points and 12 rebounds, and the Raptors moved within one victory of the franchise’s first championship by winning a second straight game on Golden State’s home floor, beating the Warriors 105-92 on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time) for a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals. Klay Thompson made a strong return after missing Game 3 with a strained left hamstring and scored 28 points with six three-pointers in what might have been the final game after 47 seasons at Oracle Arena before the team’s move to new Chase Center in San Francisco next season. Stephen Curry added 27 points but shot just 9-for-22 and 2-of-9 from three-point range on the heels of his postseason career-best 47-point outing in a 123-109 Game 3 defeat. Serge Ibaka scored 20 points on 9-of-12 shooting in 22 minutes off the bench for the composed and confident Raptors, who for a second straight game found an answer to every Warriors threat at raucous Oracle — where home fans were stunned and silenced when the final buzzer sounded. A huge section of Toronto fans over, repeatedly singing “O Canada!” The two-time defending champions’ quest for a three-peat is suddenly in serious jeopardy. Toronto will take its first try at the title in Game 5 on Monday night (next Tuesday, PHL time) back at Scotiabank Arena. Golden State, still hopeful of injured star Kevin Durant’s return, must stave off elimination to guarantee one more game at Oracle. It would be next Thursday (next Friday, PHL time). Leonard’s 2017 postseason with San Antonio got cut short against the Warriors in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals after he re-injured his troublesome left ankle when Zaza Pachulia’s foot slid under his. He’s picked up where he left off in that game. Leonard’s two jumpers in the final 42 seconds of the third put the Raptors up 79-64 heading into the final 12 minutes. Fred VanVleet then dealt another dagger on the first possession of the fourth with a 30-footer. A bloodied VanVleet then went to the locker room with 9:35 left after being hit in the face by Shaun Livingston’s left elbow when the Warriors guard went up for a shot and VanVleet was just behind him. Replays showed a tooth in the middle of the key even after play resumed. These poised Raptors kept level heads again after falling behind by 11 points in the first half. Pascal Siakam scored 19 for Toronto. Two days earlier, Kyle Lowry was praised for staying calm when shoved on the sideline by Warriors minority owner Mark Stevens, who received a one-year ban by the team and NBA along with a $500,000 fine for the incident. Now, the Raptors as first-time finalists and in their 24th year of existence can bring Canada its first NBA championship. Toronto outscored Golden State 37-21 in the decisive third, a complete reverse of the Warriors’ dominance after halftime with an 18-0 run in the Game 2 victory. Draymond Green delivered another impressive all-around performance with 10 points, 12 assists, nine rebounds, two blocks and a steal. Warriors coach Steve Kerr challenged his team to do a better job defensively and Golden State did so early but couldn’t handle Toronto’s depth. Kevon Looney, a key backup big man, scored 10 points for the Warriors after it was initially believed he would be out the remainder of the series because of fractured cartilage near his right collarbone. He was hurt in the first half of Game 2. Looney drew huge applause as he checked into the game at the 6:45 mark of the first. Danny Green, who hit six three's in Game 3, began 0-for-6 with five missed three's before finally connecting from deep midway through the fourth. His 48th three-pointer in the finals tied him with Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher for seventh place on the NBA list. TIP-INS Raptors: Toronto overcame being outrebounded 29-18 in the first half and a 42-38 deficit overall. ... The Raptors were 10-of-32 from deep after making 17 three's in Game 3, but converted 23-of-24 free throws Friday (Saturday, PHL time). Warriors: The Warriors’ streak this year of 19 straight postseason games scoring 100 points ended. It was 25 dating to last season’s run. ... Golden State fell to 4-2 this postseason in games following a loss. ... Livingston played in his 100th career playoff game with the Warriors, the fifth in team history to reach the mark. ... The Warriors held a closed pregame shootaround 2.5 hours before game time. ATTLES’ PRESENCE Hall of Famer Al Attles, the Warriors’ former general manager, coach and player, attended Game 4. It was the first game in approximately eight months for the 82-year-old Attles, who has had health issues. DURANT’S STATUS Durant missed his ninth straight game since the injury May 8 (May 9, PHL time) in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Rockets. Kerr is done providing every detail and step of Durant’s rehab progress. “We’re hoping he can play Game 5 or 6. And everything in between I’ve decided I’m not sharing because it’s just gone haywire,” Kerr said. “There’s so much going on, and so it doesn’t make sense to continue to talk about it. He’s either going to play or he’s not. So tonight he’s not playing.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 8th, 2019

Warriors head into Game 3 vulnerable, yet pressure is on Raptors

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com OAKLAND, Calif. -- The two-time defending champion Warriors will be of divided attention here in the next few days. They’ll be occupied by Game 3 of The Finals … and Game 1 of Kevin Durant’s rehabilitation. The two go hand-in-hand, actually, and hold equal importance. With untimely injuries threatening to delay the Warriors’ third straight title or downright prevent it from happening, the club teeters on edge, unsure whether its next step will be on the gas pedal or a banana peel. Klay Thompson is iffy for Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) because of a gimpy hamstring that cut short his floor time in Game 2, which the Warriors managed to win anyway. He did some light shooting on the eve of Game 3 against the Raptors and, Klay being Klay, counted himself in after three days’ rest. But it’s not really up to him, is it? It’s up to the team medical staff and mostly a tendon that’s moody and doesn’t always cooperate with the human attached to it. And so: This all depends on what side of the bed the hamstring lands on Wednesday morning. Kevon Looney, the fast-developing big man who has been a pleasant surprise throughout the postseason, is done for the summer with a cartilage fracture in his collarbone area. At least in this case, his loss is minimized by the re-emergence of DeMarcus Cousins, back from two months off with a bum quad muscle and feeling frisky about it and his encouraging effort in Game 2. OK, now here’s the elephant in the emergency room: What does the future of The Finals hold for Durant, MIA for roughly a month now, who has been ruled out for Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time)? Durant didn’t practice with the team Tuesday morning (Wednesday evening, PHL time), but he did go through an individual workout that afternoon. There is no scheduled team practice on Thursday (Friday, PHL time), the only off-day between Games 3 and 4 at Oracle Arena. Yet all signs point to Durant putting his body through a workout/practice/scrimmage at some point between now and Friday’s (Saturday, PHL time) Game 4 because coach Steve Kerr said the former MVP is “ramping up” his workouts. It’s safe to say the Warriors will be interested spectators for that one, biting their fingernails to the knuckle, although Kerr indicated Durant’s availability for The Finals is more “when” than “if.” That means Durant has given them some reason to feel optimistic about Friday (Saturday, PHL time) if not Game 5 in Toronto. “Klay and Kevin, we’re very hopeful we’re going to get them back out there,” Kerr said. In a worst-case scenario, the Warriors in Game 3 would be without two players averaging more than 50 points combined in the postseason, and their scoring and defensive presence is impossible to replace. That would put them in a tough spot, needing to rely on replacements who aren’t familiar with, or quite capable of, carrying that amount of minutes with impact. Yes, it’s true the Warriors finished Game 2 without either player and managed to win. Yet, no disrespect to the champs, that’s a big chore to do for four full quarters and against a solid defensive team such as the Raptors. Even if Thompson plays, will he be healthy enough to supply the energy and flexibility needed to perform his usual top-notch defense and running through screens for his jumper? “If I can just be out there even at 80 percent, I still think I can be very effective,” he said. “From the progress I've made these last two days, I'm very encouraged that I'll be able to go out there. As long as nothing is torn or really injured, I'm not too fearful of it because, knock on wood, I've been very blessed with not very many traumatic injuries in my career. I don't think this one is of greatest concern. It's just the day and age we live in where little things can just grow to be big problems, but I don't think this will be one of them.” How would a diminished or missing Klay affect the Warriors? Well, Stephen Curry could not afford to be anything less than MVP-ish. He’d see doubles and triples thrown his way by the Raptors and that would cause him to take tougher shots than normal. In that situation, as the Warriors’ only volume scorer and shooter on the floor, Curry could feel overwhelmed and force the issue. Cousins would be required to ratchet up his shooting and intensity on offense, but will he stay clear of foul trouble, which would put a crimp in his playing time? Finally, the Warriors would lean more on Shaun Livingston, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala and Quinn Cook than normal. Cook made a pair of important shots in Game 2 after Thompson limped off and could be an X-factor, or at least he’d need to be for Golden State’s sake. “Our team is very adaptable,” Kerr said. “We have a lot of versatility. What it requires is bench players being ready to step up, like they always are, and guys just playing hard and playing together. I think you have to be fearless, too, which our team is. You can't worry about anything. You just go out there and play and compete and let it fly and whatever happens, happens.” And then there’s Toronto. A weakened or missing Thompson would be an opportunity they simply couldn’t afford to blow. How many times does a gift present itself in the biggest series of the season? Not often. It must be seized. In such a situation, the Raptors would be wise to occupy Curry and dare others to produce for four quarters. If Thompson plays, they’d be best to take advantage by running him ragged through screens on defense, putting that hamstring to the test. That would be one less player with high defensive credentials for Kawhi Leonard to deal with. Assuming that scoring will be an issue for the Warriors, the Raptors must get a bounce-back game from Pascal Siakam (who regressed from 32 points to 12) and more punch from Kyle Lowry (six baskets total for the series) to make it tough if not impossible for the Warriors to keep up. If the Raptors have any shot at winning this title, they must win at least one game at Oracle anyway, and from a practical standpoint, Game 3 is the most inviting. They may never see the Warriors this vulnerable, this ripe for the taking again. “I think we come into a sense of urgency, period,” said Lowry, “no matter the situation. We want to be the first to four, and every game is an urgent game. You're in the NBA Finals, so it doesn't matter. They still have professional basketball players down there, and they're really talented basketball players. So you still got to be ready to go out there and play your butt off and play hard.” The Warriors do not feel the same level of urgency because they’re not down 0-2, and the next two games are at home, and the core group is championship tested. As they demonstrated in Game 2, they don’t get rattled by tense championship games, even with Thompson and Durant off the floor. They also know, or at least feel strongly, that Thompson and Durant will suit up soon. “If there’s pain, it will be a no-go (for Game 3) because of the position we’re in,” Thompson said. “This could be a longer series, so there's no point in trying to go out there and re-aggravate it and potentially keep myself out of the whole entire Finals instead of just one game.” The Warriors might not get much sympathy from a basketball world that perhaps feel the champs are finally getting their just due. Everyone saw them play the 2015 championship series against Cleveland without Kevin Love and all but one game without Kyrie Irving. In the 2017 Western Conference finals, Leonard, then with San Antonio, went down after lighting it up for most of Game 1. And how can anyone forget Chris Paul missing Houston's final two games of a seven-game playoff series last season? Not saying those were the reasons for three championships in four years; still, all of those misfortunes suffered by others favored the Warriors. But who’s keeping score? “There's a certain amount of luck involved with this, and we know that,” Kerr said. “We have been on both sides of that. Some of our opponents have suffered injuries. We have suffered injuries. It's just part of the deal. You just keep pushing forward.” Shaun Powell has covered the NBA for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here, and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 5th, 2019

Things to know about these most-international NBA Finals

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press TORONTO (AP) — Sometime in the next couple weeks, either the Toronto Raptors or Golden State Warriors will proclaim themselves to be world champions. They won’t be true “world” champions, of course. But these NBA Finals have a very distinct international feel. [Watch the Playoffs on NBA League Pass for 30% less with this limited time offer! Select Annual package and use code SAVE30 at checkout to redeem] Game 1 of the series on Thursday night (Friday, PHL time) is in Canada, the first time a finals game will be played outside the U.S. Raptors President Masai Ujiri was born in Nigeria. There are players from eight different countries — the U.S., along with Canada (Chris Boucher), Spain (Marc Gasol), Britain (OG Anunoby), Cameroon (Pascal Siakam), Congo (Serge Ibaka), Australia (Andrew Bogut) and Sweden (Jonas Jerebko). “It says a lot that the first NBA Finals outside of America is being played here,” Ujiri said. “Maybe one day it will be real ‘world champions’ or something, but this is what we dream of.” It’s even a homecoming of sorts for Warriors guard Stephen Curry, again. His first four trips to the finals pitted him against Cleveland, not far from Akron, Ohio — where he and LeBron James both were born. Toronto has even more direct ties than Cleveland does for Curry; his wife Ayesha was born and raised in Toronto until she was 14, and his father Dell Curry played for the Raptors. So Stephen Curry lived in Toronto for a bit, and went to school there. “A lot of family history,” Stephen Curry said. The finals will be aired in 215 countries, three Canadian networks will air the series live (one of them in French), and broadcasters speaking in 50 different languages will work the games. There are a half-dozen networks from Australia, Estonia, Hong Kong and New Zealand airing the finals for the first time. More of what to know going into this series: FAREWELL, ORACLE Game 4 or Game 6 of this series will be the last time the Warriors call Oracle Arena home. The team is moving from Oakland to the new Chase Center in San Francisco next season. The Warriors have played more than 2,000 games at Oracle, and since this run of NBA Finals appearances began when Steve Kerr took over as coach five years ago they are a staggering 218-40 in their soon-to-be-former home building. “You cannot tell the story of professional basketball without including Oracle,” said ESPN analyst Mark Jackson, a former Warriors coach. “Those fans have been incredibly loyal from the beginning to the end. ... As a former coach, as a former player coming into that building, as an analyst, it’s as good as it gets.” STILL WAITING With Toronto now in the finals for the first time, that means there are only six active franchises that still haven’t been to the championship series. The Los Angeles Clippers, Charlotte Hornets, Denver Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans and Memphis Grizzlies are still waiting for their first trip to the NBA Finals. MONEY MATTERS The Warriors and the Raptors are playing for a little bit of money — $1,295,117, to be exact. That’s the difference between winning the finals and losing the finals, at least in terms of the take from the NBA playoff pool. The Warriors are already guaranteed $4,435,312 from the playoff pool; the Raptors have clinched $4,325,888. This year’s playoff pool was $21,676,510, which all 16 postseason teams shared. No playoff team got less than $323,506. Milwaukee got the most, by far, of any non-finals team — after finishing with the NBA’s best record and reaching the Eastern Conference finals, the Bucks will share $2,516,774. SECOND TO ONE Golden State is in the finals for the fifth consecutive year. That’s the second-longest such streak in NBA history, only to Boston’s run of 10 consecutive appearances from 1957 through 1966. Boston (this time in 1984 through 1987, separate from the 10-straight streak), Miami (2011-2014), Cleveland (2015-2018) and the Los Angeles Lakers (1982-1985) had all reached the finals in four consecutive seasons. FINISHING STRONG Even with the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference locked up, the Raptors finished the regular season with a flourish — winning seven of their last eight games. This was why. A 58-24 record meant the Raptors finished a game ahead of Golden State’s 57-25 mark, and that’s why Game 1 of this series is in Toronto. A good omen for the Raptors: Under the current playoff format, teams with home-court advantage in the NBA Finals have ultimately prevailed 26 out of 35 times. ’NOVA NATION It’s been a long time since a Villanova player won a championship ring, and even longer since a Villanova player actually played in a series where his team won the title. Kyle Lowry is looking to change all that. The Raptors’ point guard — who played for Jay Wright at Villanova — is in the NBA Finals for the first time. He’s looking to be the first Villanova player to win a ring since John Celestand got one with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2000; Celestand didn’t appear in any playoff games that season. The last player from Villanova to actually play in a victorious NBA Finals was Chris Ford with Boston in 1981. Lowry spoke on the eve of Game 1 about the lessons he learned from Wright that still apply. “If you make a mistake, apologize, kind of just accept everything,” Lowry said. “Accept everything as a man and bounce back from it. If anything negative, just bounce back, take it and keep going. I think those are the things that stick with me today. I never shy from anything, I never shy from negative criticism, constructive criticism, I take it all, I understand it, learn from it, digest it and move on.” RECORD CHASING Stephen Curry already has the NBA Finals record for most 3-pointers made in a career, with 98. He enters this series with 247 attempted 3s in his finals appearances, four shy of tying LeBron James for the most in NBA history. And while not a record, here is an odd stat: If Shaun Livingston makes his first shot of these finals, he’ll pass Wilt Chamberlain and move into fourth place on the NBA Finals all-time shooting percentage list. STARTING EARLY The May 30 (May 31, PHL time) start date for these finals is the earliest for the NBA’s title series since 1986, when the Houston-Boston matchup began on May 26. So the 2019 finals started earlier than has been the norm. That doesn’t mean they’ll be over early. If they go the distance, they’ll end on June 17 (June 18, PHL time) — nine days later than last season’s final game......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 30th, 2019

Ateneo s Ravena flanked by two UP Maroons in 2019 All-Collegiate Team

Four different schools will be represented in this year's All-Collegiate Team. Robert Bolick of NCAA three-peat titlist San Beda and Thirdy Ravena of UAAP back-to-back champion Ateneo are the headliners of the Mythical Five in the 2019 Chooks-to-Go Collegiate Awards presented by SportsVision scheduled for Monday at Amelie Hotel Manila in Malate. Bolick ended his collegiate career with a bang, averaging 16.8 points in 49.1 percent shooting, 5.4 rebounds, and 4.8 assists in the Red Lions' 20-1 romp through the 94th Season of the NCAA. That included a 50-point outburst against Arellano in the elimination round - one of the highest individual marks in the history of the Grand Old League. For his part, Ravena flew the highest he ever has with norms of 14.9 points, 3.1 rebounds, 1.2 steals, and 1.0 blocks as the Blue Eagles' dominated UAAP Season 81 with an overall 15-2 record. He saved his best for last when he imposed his will on UP en route to being hailed as Finals MVP. Completing this year's All-Collegiate Team selected by the Collegiate Press Corps, made up of scribes from print and online outfits covering the NCAA and UAAP, are NCAA 94 MVP Prince Eze of Perpetual and the UP pair of Bright Akhuetie and Paul Desiderio. Eze put the Altas on his back all season long as they barged back into the playoffs. Akhuetie's own MVP campaign as well as Desiderio's heroics were also more than enough to bring the Fighting Maroons to their first Final Four since 1997 and first Finals in 32 years. All five will be honored in the annual event also supported by Amelie Hotel Manila, Rain or Shine, NorthPort, World Balance, Arellano, and AXA Team EDS. They will be alongside fellow awardees in NU Lady Bulldogs who will receive the Award of Excellence, Ateneo's Ange Kouame and San Beda's Javee Mocon who will receive Pivotal Player plums, Adamson's Sean Manganti and Lyceum's CJ Perez who will receive Impact Player citations, Red Lions' mentor Boyet Fernandez and Blue Eagles' tactician Tab Baldwin who will be recognized as Coaches of the Year, and UST's Sisi Rondina and Arellano's Regine Arocha who will make history as the first-ever SportsVision Volleyball Players of the Year. The 2019 Chooks-to-Go Collegiate Press Corps Awards presented by SportsVision will be aired live over Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas and Tiebreaker Times on Facebook......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 25th, 2019

UAAP 81 Finals: Coach O to Kat: Wag niya muna kaming paiyakin ngayon

Will Kat Tolentino be back for her fourth and final year for Ateneo de Manila University? "Let's just focus on the championship celebration first," she stated in the Lady Eagles' post-game interview following their championship win in the UAAP 81 Women's Volleyball Tournament. Unlike Bea De Leon, Kim Gequillana, and Maddie Madayag, Tolentino has a choice to come back next year. Whether or not she does is still unknown, however. For today, though, Ateneo indeed just wants to celebrate. "Sabi ko naman kay Kat, wag niya muna kaming paiyakin ngayon. Let's make this day a happy day," head coach Oliver Almadro said. And for today, Coach O said he just hopes she goes for what's best for her. As he put it, "I'm praying for Kat to discern well. Hindi pa kami umaabot sa semifinals, I confessed to Kat na I'm really praying for her na magkakaroon siya ng right discernment." For her part, Tolentino is also hopeful for whatever her mentor is saying. "I'm not sure yet. With what Coach O said, we just have to pray for it, but I don't wanna say anything now," she said. Whatever it is, the Lady Eagles' opposite hitter now has one championship under her belt. "I'm just thankful to God for making the journey hard, but memorable because without those three ACL injuries, I wouldn't have had as much passion. I wouldn't be here today because of that," she said. If and when Tolentino makes her decision, the defending champions will be right behind her. "Irerespeto ko naman kung ano yung desisyon niya," Coach O said. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 18th, 2019

UAAP 81: NU captain Dave Wilson Yu now a licensed engineer

National University may have missed out on the Final Four in the UAAP 81 Men's Basketball Tournament, but team captain Dave Wilson Yu just scored the biggest of wins off the court. Yu is now a licensed engineer as he is among nearly 3,400 people who passed the May 2019 Board exam, according to the Professional Regulatory Commission. Of course, the 23-year-old was nothing but overjoyed. "I am very happy and fulfilled. All the hard work, yung walang tulog, and yung sacrifices, they paid off," he said. Yu had spent the last five years taking up civil engineering - already a tough task made even more difficult by the fact he is a student-athlete. Still, he persevered and turned his lifelong dream into reality. For that, the former Bulldogs captain has nothing but gratitude to his alma mater. "Thank you to the NU community and to my parents, Wilson, Cherry, Manny, and Claire. They have always been there for me," he said. He then continued, "Also, to sir Hans Sy, now I understand what he told my father when we all first met that he will personally look after my future. Thank you to all of you for making me a civil engineer." Now he is already an engineer, Yu said he is ready and raring to make good use of his brand new license. "I want to pursue being an engineer. Balak kong mag-apply sa top construction firms dito sa Manila," he said. That means that - for now, at the very least - his playing career would remain on hold. As he put it, "As of now, gusto ko muna mag-engineer talaga." Whatever it is, there is no doubt that Engr. Dave Wilson Yu has just made NU proud. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 11th, 2019

Harden, Durant both covet championship, mantle of best player

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com Houston -- Steve Kerr’s mind is made up. He’s seen enough. The debate is closed and conquered, the election over and the firm conclusion has been reached, at least from where he stands. Kevin Durant “is the best player in the world, the most skilled player in the world” according to Kerr, who may be biased, but he didn’t sound like it. Kerr said this not once, but four times in the last two weeks, just in case someone didn’t get the message. [Watch the Playoffs on NBA League Pass for 30% less with this limited time offer! Select Annual package and use code SAVE30 at checkout to redeem] It’s hard to see where the Warriors’ coach is going wrong. Durant is evidently on a mission to (a) win his third and perhaps final championship with the Warriors, and (1-a) become universally recognized as the singularly greatest force in the league, a distinction that means so much to him. To paraphrase Durant, y’all know who he is by now. Durant is sitting at the mythical 50-40-90 threshold in the playoffs, the benchmark for shooting accuracy and efficiency from the floor, three-point range and free-throw line. He’s averaging 35 points in the postseason, 39 in the last seven games. He has two near-masterpieces, the 50-point closeout of the Clippers in the first round and 46 on the Rockets in Game 3 of this series. He’s making contested jumpers from all over the floor and from all angles. There’s really no defense for him. But when this series is over, James Harden hopes to change the conversation. If he does, that means (a) the Rockets will pull off a stunning comeback from being down two games, and (b) Harden out-dueled Durant in the process. Is either possible? Well, Harden might be the only player qualified to do so, even with a left eye that still looks like the Japanese flag. He managed to minimize if not eliminate that poked eye by chopping down the Warriors and pulling the Rockets within 2-1 of the series. “I was just being aggressive,” he said. “I was in attack mode.” He’s attacking something else. Harden, too, wants exactly the same as his friend and former Oklahoma City teammate. A championship would be his first, so obviously that’s paramount. The mantle of “game’s greatest player” is also desired because Harden believes the last four years bear that out. In that span, he won the MVP award and finished runner-up twice, better than anyone. Of course, the missing prize is the championship, which is the final and most authentic validation, and this season at least he must go through Durant to achieve that. Harden’s postseason hasn’t been as stellar as Durant’s, although perhaps Game 3 marked a shift. Harden scored 41 points and sent the Warriors home on a step-back three-pointer in the final seconds of overtime. He and the Rockets are bringing a fresh sense of confidence and also have Game 4 in their house. Sending this series all square back to Oakland wouldn’t be beyond his or their abilities. “In `Harden World,’ that was good, but he can play better,” said Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni. “That’s James. That’s what he does.” There’s a growing sense among the Warriors, and with some justification, that Harden’s bloody eye is no longer an issue. Harden’s vision was pure when it counted two nights ago and every day brings him a step closer to normalcy, if he isn’t already there. “I think he’s good to go,” said D’Antoni. The other concern for Golden State: Harden’s beginning to figure out the rotations and the Warriors’ defensive scheme. They know Harden adapts quickly to defenders and their tendencies because, at this point, he’s seen it all. Harden is a tough cover because of his shooting range and unwillingness to lose confidence after a string of misses, and his craftiness off the dribble while attacking the rim. “He had 41 points and it was a good chess game,” said Andre Iguodala. “He made some really tough shots. Some shots, where you pat him on the butt, and you say ‘helluva shot’. I felt like it was a little bit of cat and mouse. A guy like that -- you can’t stop him one on one. The defense did a good job of helping off and stopping him. We just have to try to make it hard as possible for him.” The nightmare game for the Warriors is Harden hitting enough early baskets and forcing them to double, then finding teammates for open looks that they make, such as Eric Gordon. In that scenario, points would come in an avalanche and place stress on the defense and possibly get key players into foul trouble, most notably Draymond Green and a suddenly-foul-prone Steph Curry. There’s also an intriguing subplot in the works: The Harden-Durant can-you-top-this drama. With Curry and Chris Paul both performing below their standards in this series, the series seems fixated on Harden and Durant and  what they’re capable of doing to the other team and, by extension, against each other. There’s a genuine and hefty amount of respect between the two, who are friends away from the floor as well. Both left OKC and have since generated millions in endorsement money and find themselves near or at the top of the superstar pecking order. Durant has what Harden doesn’t, a championship. But perhaps Harden has what Durant craves, a team to call his own. That would be the only reason Durant leaves the Warriors in free agency this summer, because it’s difficult to imagine him signing with a team that offers a better chance to win championships or make more in salary than the one he’s already on. Durant earned more points with Harden a few days ago when he defended the Rockets guard, saying Harden doesn’t “cheat the rules” when he tries to draw fouls and manipulate the referees. Durant added: “He can do everything. If you’re not focused, he can drive past you, hit you with the shoulder because he’s strong, and finish with either hand. He can shoot floaters now. Obviously the step-back 3-pointer is one of his staples, but I never believed he was just a free throw guy. He can score in a variety of ways.” Harden must prove that in this series. Last season in the Western Conference finals, he turned to vapor as that series stretched seven games. He made just 24 percent from deep and, after Paul suffered a hamstring pull in Game Five, couldn’t handle the load. In the elimination game, he missed 11-of-13 from deep. Durant, meanwhile, was the star and weeks later would clinch another title and Finals MVP award, outplaying LeBron James in the process. So Kerr’s contention about Durant has much weight and credibility. Through three games of this second-round series, there’s been no reason to question the coach’s claim. Only one person can flip that perception and create doubt. James Harden, therefore, has a tough job ahead. Veteran NBA writer Shaun Powell has worked for newspapers and other publications for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here or follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 6th, 2019

UAAP Season 81 Final Four: Hindi pa kami tapos – Guino-o

Not today. Graduating players Heather Guino-o, Jerrili Malabanan and setter Kyle Negrito made sure that Saturday’s match won’t be their last game as part of the Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws. The seniors gave everything they got to carry FEU past twice-to-beat Ateneo de Manila University, 10-25, 25-23, 25-22, 12-25, 15-8, and force a decider in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball Final Four at the MOA Arena. “Sobrang saya sa pakiramdam kasi dito namin malalaman eh kung last na namin ito o magtutuluy-tuloy pa kami. Pero pinatunayan namin na hindi pa po kami tapos,” said Guino-o, who led the Lady Tamaraws with 17 points. The do-or-die match is set on Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.    “I told the team earlier during the game that this wasn’t gonna be our last game. We’re really happy we achieved that goal,” said Malabanan, who scored eight markers. “Me and Kyle and Heather like last night we had a meeting and then we told each other that this isn’t gonna be our last game,” added Malabanan. “We’re happy that our season is extended.” The Lady Tams won against the Lady Eagles for the first time this season and it came in a situation that FEU’s very familiar with. For the sixth time in seven five-setter matches this season, the Lady Tams emerged victorious. FEU broke a 7-7 deadlock in the fifth set with a pivotal 6-0 rally capped by a Malabanan hit for a 13-7 advantage. Maddie Madayag stopped the bleeding for Ateneo with a kill block on Malabanan but the Lady Eagles committed back-to-back miscues to yield the match. “Kahapon pa lang iniisip na namin na hindi kmai papayag na huli na naming laro ito. Hindi pwedeng huli na namin silang makakasamang maglaro. Kaya sobrang saya po, sobrang sarap sa pakiramdam na na-extended pa,” said Guino-o.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 4th, 2019