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Uruguay happy that Suarez, Cavani find their rhythm together

By Pablo Elias Giussani, Associated Press NIZHNY NOVGOROD, Russia (AP) — Uruguay waited for 12 long years before the national team could celebrate goals from Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani in the same match at a World Cup. For the first time in coach Oscar Tabarez's tenure, both forwards scored in the same game and they couldn't have chosen a better time: The convincing 3-0 defeat of host Russia secured Uruguay's status as group winner and as one of the most solid teams of the tournament's opening stage after taking a full nine points. "It's important that goal scorers score goals," Tabarez said. "Let them get into their flow. Not because of selfishness, but because they contribute a lot. I believe it's very important that both Edi and Luis scored." Both players will need to be at their best when Uruguay faces Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo in the round of 16 on Saturday in Sochi. Against Russia on Monday, Suarez scored from a free kick with a low shot that sailed past Russia's wall and into the right corner. Cavani pounced on a loose ball after the goalkeeper parried it from a header by Diego Godin. Cavani poked it home for Uruguay's third goal. It was Suarez's seventh goal in three World Cups, while it was only a third for Cavani. Cavani, one of the world's greatest scorers in club football with 323 goals in 12 years with Danubio, Palermo, Napoli and current team Paris Saint Germain, hasn't had the same success at World Cups. He scored one goal in each tournament in South Africa in 2010, when Uruguay reached the semifinals, and in Brazil in 2014, when the South Americans were eliminated in the round of 16. But Suarez and Cavani now join an exclusive club of players that have scored in three consecutive World Cups. "Statistics are there to be broken," Suarez said......»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnJun 27th, 2018

Suarez scores again and Uruguay downs host Russia 3-0

    SAMARA, Russia --- Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani scored a goal each and Uruguay went on to defeat Russia 3-0 on Monday, finishing undefeated in group play and handing the host nation its first loss of the World Cup.   Both teams were already assured of spots in the knockout round, but Uruguay's victory put it at the top of Group A and looking toward a match in Sochi on Saturday against the second-place finisher from Group B.   Uruguay, which also benefited from an own-goal in the first half, had its third straight shutout of the tournament after consecutive 1-0 victories over Egypt and Saudi Arabia.   By advancing to the round of ...Keep on reading: Suarez scores again and Uruguay downs host Russia 3-0.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJun 25th, 2018

Gimenez scores to lift Uruguay over Egypt 1-0 in Group A

By KAREL JANICEK,  AP Sports Writer YEKATERINBURG, Russia (AP) — Jose Gimenez came to Uruguay's rescue by scoring the lone goal in a 1-0 victory over Egypt on Friday in Group A of the World Cup. The Uruguay defender jumped in the area and headed home a free kick late in the 89th minute. Russia leads Group A on goal difference after beating Saudi Arabia 5-0 on Thursday in the tournament's opening match. Uruguay is now second, also with three points. Egypt forward Mohamed Salah was on the bench for his country's first World Cup match since 1990 after injuring a shoulder while playing for Liverpool in last month's Champions League final. Salah was the Premier League's player of the season after scoring a league-leading 32 goals, with 44 in all competitions. At the other end, Uruguay strikers Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani missed their chances. Suarez failed to beat Egypt goalkeeper Mohamed El Shennawy in two one-on-one situations and Cavani hit the post from a free kick two minutes from the end. Egypt has yet to win a World Cup game while Uruguay won its opening match at the tournament for the first time since 1970......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 15th, 2018

Rose embraces new home, blocks out doubters

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com MINNEAPOLIS – Don’t let go of the rope. It’s one of Tom Thibodeau’s most familiar exhortations, a mantra of sorts to keep his teams locked in, digging down and generally committed through whatever grueling test they’re facing, be it a game, a road trip, a spate of injuries or the entire season. The trouble for Derrick Rose with that particular Thibs-ism is, so often, he has been the rope. On one side of an unfortunate tug o’ war, we’ve had the Rose loyalists, the fans, friends and family who believe that the 2010-11 NBA Most Valuable Player’s return from injury hell to elite status is just one more, legit opportunity away. Pulling from the other side, there is a growing group of Rose skeptics who are convinced that the Chicago kid’s best days – his most explosive, elusive, game-changing moves – are behind him, strewn on the floors of too many surgical rooms and rehab gyms. Rose, 29, knows they’re there. One group pulling for him, the other doubting him. And in an unusually candid and forceful moment Saturday (Sunday, PHL time), the normally soft-spoken Rose delivered a stark message to them all. “Yeah,” Rose said after his first full practice since signing a minimum-salary contract Thursday (Friday, PHL tie) to join the Minnesota Timberwolves. “This is how I feel about the whole perspective on it: You can have your perspective on me as far as I’m a bum, I can’t play, I can’t shoot, this and that. All right. Cool. I have no hard feelings with that. I’m cool with that. If that’s how you feel, that’s how you feel. “But at the same time, I don’t need your [bleeping] validation.” Rose’s eyes burned bright, in a direct response to the many health challenges he has endured from acquaintances and strangers both, picking at whatever good or bad is left of his basketball career. “I know who I am,” Rose continued. “I know the type of player I am. So, you respect that and I respect that, and we should be good. That’s how I feel about it.” In other words, you work your side of the street, Rose will continue to work his. If there are NBA administrators like Thibodeau, the Wolves’ head coach and president of basketball operations, willing to give him another chance, he’ll be chasing the ghost of his own self while trying to help somebody win. One more chance Rose’s latest grab at faded glory could begin in Sunday’s (Monday, PHL time) matinee against the defending champion Golden State Warriors at Target Center (editor's note: Rose wound up playing just seven minutes off the bench. He finished with two points on 1-of-5 shooting with a rebound, two assists, and two turnovers). It probably is his last, best shot to salvage something from a 2017-18 season that’s been largely lost due to injury, yes, but other factors outside Rose’s control as well. What looked like a terrific opportunity back in training camp – signing with Eastern Conference power Cleveland Cavaliers and home to the game’s best player (and Rose nemesis) in LeBron James – got sideways fast. In the Cavs’ second game, on a drive to the rim, Rose got whacked across the face and neck by Milwaukee center Greg Monroe. He landed badly on the baseline, suffering a “jacked-up” left ankle that left him in a walking boot and sidelined him for 11 of Cleveland’s next 15 games. Then word got out just before Thanksgiving that Rose had left the team, reportedly to contemplate his future as an NBA player. He was gone for nearly two weeks, at least part of it back home in Chicago, during what Cavs GM Koby Altman called “a very challenging and difficult time for Derrick.” Rose didn’t play again until Cleveland’s 44th game. In nine appearances over the next three weeks, he was a shell of the three-time All-Star he’d once been, averaging 6.3 points, 1.6 assists and 13.3 minutes, while shooting 39 percent. On Feb. 8 (Feb. 9, PHL time), he was one of six Cavaliers players dealt by Altman at the NBA trade deadline, sent to Salt Lake City as a throw-in to acquire Utah’s Rodney Hood and Sacramento’s George Hill. Two days later, the Jazz waived Rose. Four weeks passed before Thibodeau got the green light from Minnesota owner Glen Taylor to sign Rose. The Oklahoma City Thunder had sniffed in his direction, only to opt for veteran backup Corey Brewer. Rose had family duties to attend to – he and Alaina Anderson had a baby girl in Chicago to start the week – but he also had spent time working out by himself in the Cavs’ facility or at Cleveland State’s gym. The end seemed near. Given Rose’s limited involvement this season, he probably would have been a long shot to land with one of the league’s 30 teams in 2018-19, had Thibodeau not reached out. The people on the dark end of Rose’s rope were winning. Now, this buys him time for a shout-out to the folks on the other end. “‘Don’t give up,’ Rose said he would tell them. Talking later at the downtown Minneapolis hotel where he’s staying, he wanted to assure people that his desire to play remains strong, his passion to keep trying still burns, and his mental fitness for this and future challenges on or away from the court is fine. “I still have faith,” Rose said, two bags of ice strapped to each leg. “No matter what happens, I still have a lot of faith in myself and my ability. It’s just about opportunity and catching a rhythm. Whenever I do catch a rhythm, I’d rather see what it is then. Than to, like, give up knowing I have so much left. Like, ‘Damn, I should have kept playing.’ “I’m going to give it my all. And once I do, then it’s like, ‘All right, cool. I gave it my all, now what’s this next phase in my life?’ “But as far as right now, I’m still in it. I’ve got two kids that can look at me now. The oldest, my boy [P.J.] is 5 years old. He’s looking at me right now. He sees everything. I’m going to tell him, ‘No excuses. Don’t come to me cryin’, this and that. Nah.’ He’ll see what I’ve had to go through. ‘Now suck it up and go out there and do what you’ve got to do.’” A career interrupted For some NBA players whose careers got waylaid by injuries – Brandon Roy, Greg Oden, Penny Hardaway – their bodies finally refused to cooperate. They went from 60-to-0, no wiggle room on whether they would continue. Rose, for all his setbacks, has worked his way back – not back to his previous form – from each and every injury. From the ACL blowout that started him down his hobbled path in April 2012 to three subsequent meniscus knee surgeries, from the left orbital fracture he suffered when he caught teammate Taj Gibson’s errant elbow in the face in the opening practice of 2015-16 to the lingering ankle sprain dealt by Monroe’s blow in October. In that sense, Rose is more like Bernard King, Sam Bowie or Grant Hill, standout players whose career trajectories were forever altered – but not ended – by injuries. Rose speaks as if he has reached some level of peace with his maladies, referring to his injuries as “part of the game” and his particular “cross” to bear. “I’ve just had five surgeries more than other people,” he said. “That’s the way I look at it. That don’t mean that I can’t play. That don’t mean that I lost my love for the game. No.” What Rose doesn’t like is the “fragile” label that’s been affixed to him. He’s less interested that he has played in only 486 of approximately 789 regular-season games so far, while proud of the 130 he logged with the Bulls (2015-16) and Knicks (2016-17) more recently. It seems clear that the reckless abandon with which Rose played – and the excruciating torque he put on his knees with his bounding, zig-zag attacks through the lane – wreaked havoc on his knees. Beyond that, though, he’s not buying any pattern business. “You see how I was injured [in October]? I was taken out of the air,” Rose said. “People are like, ‘Aw, he’s always injured.’ Are you just watching highlights, just looking at clips, like new fans are these days? Or are you watching an entire game? Are you just reading reports that come up on your phone?” Scouts say that Rose has lost both quickness and leaping ability, without developing a perimeter game to compensate. They also bundle his Cleveland hiatus with the AWOL episode last season with the Knicks, when Rose left the team without notice before a game against New Orleans, to question his reliability and commitment. Rose disputes the comments about his game, citing the circumstances in New York and Cleveland. “I could sit here and tell you, ‘I’m gonna try to change this. Do this and do that.’ Nah, I always felt, it starts with my rhythm,” he said. “[In] New York ... I was playing the triangle [offense favored by former Knicks president Phil Jackson] and still playing pretty well [18.0 ppg, 4.4 apg, 32.5 mpg]. In Cleveland, when did I really have a chance to catch a rhythm? When did I play 20 games straight? Or 10 games? Five games?” As for his reliability – or likelihood to take a powder on the Wolves the way he did on the Knicks and seemed to do on the Cavs – Rose said there is no issue there, either. In the past couple weeks, Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan (depression) and Cleveland’s Kevin Love (panic attacks) have opened up about psychological challenges they and other athletes face. But Rose shook his head as the question was asked. “Oh no, no, no,” he said. “I’m blessed, man. Beyond blessed. It’s not even ... what do I have to complain about? I don’t have anything to complain about. Of course, I wish I was on the court more. I think in time, with the right opportunity, I’ll be out there more. “I’m not depressed, even though I think everybody deals with some depression in some way. It’s about how you deal with it. We’re emotional creatures. We hold onto things. I try to meditate, try to do little things to change my mindset and try to read things to easy my nerves.” Rose admitted he did wonder if he would get another chance, once the Cavs traded him to a Jazz team that had no use for him. “Especially when you get dropped by a team like Cleveland, that needed players,” he said. “It makes other teams think, ‘Damn, if they didn’t keep him...’” Rose has not spoken with James since being dealt, he said. “The way I take it, I don’t take it as personal,” Rose said. “They didn’t need my services. That’s the way I look at it, OK? I understand. It’s business. Does that stop me from working hard? Does that stop me from still putting out goals and trying to reach my goals? No.” Familiar faces aid return Now Rose is reunited with Thibodeau, Gibson, Jimmy Butler (sidelined after his own meniscus surgery) and familiar coaches and staff making up the “TimberBulls.” He even trusts Thibodeau, often criticized for the heavy minutes he loads on his top players, not to break him. “If anything, I want him to play me,” Rose said. “I want to show to him that I can still play. I want him to see me and be like, ‘Damn, he’s still got it.’ I want him to count on me. I want to be held accountable. You know what I mean? I don’t just want to be, like, an average guy on the team riding along just to see how far they go. I really want to add.” Said Thibodeau, who ran Rose Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) through a rigorous refresher course on his playbook: “Obviously when he was at an MVP level, that was the peak. But he also, my last year in Chicago, he had a great year. ... He still has the potential to be very good. He’s young, that was the other part of it. He knows some of our guys, he knows the system. “Like all stories, there’s a beginning, there’s a middle and there’s an end,” the Wolves coach added. “I don’t think it’s a finished story.” Gibson thinks Rose can shoulder some of Butler’s late-game duties, simply because the scoring guard has strong muscle memory of such situations. He, too, hopes Rose’s story can take a happy turn. “I’ve got my fingers crossed,” the veteran forward said. “I truly believe in him. He’s got a lot left in the tank. It’s just, sometimes life doesn’t go your way and you have to push through it and keep fighting.” Thibodeau has said that Rose, like starter Jeff Teague and backup Tyus Jones, can play both backcourt spots, so he can mix-and-match based on situations. Rose anticipates no problem walking that line between asserting his game and rocking the Wolves’ boat. “My job coming here, I’m not trying to step on nobody’s toes. I’m not trying to take someone’s spot,” he said. “I’m not trying to show myself. Nah. I’m here to win. Me going out there and playing, hopefully you all see that. ‘He’s making money plays. He’s playing to win. And that’s what we wanted from him.’” Not that Rose, lest we forget from up top, needs anyone’s bleeping validation. Boosters and doubters can pull this way or that, but he said he’ll be the one who decides when his time is up. “When my love of the game is not there,” Rose said, sounding sincere near the end of his 10th season overall. “When I get tired of going to the gym. “Don’t get me wrong, we all go through that. But after a couple of days, I get antsy, I want to be in the gym. When a week or two goes by and I haven’t touched the gym, even in the summer, oh yeah, I’d know it was over.” Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 12th, 2018

Atletico puts new stadium to the test in Champions League

A look at what's happening around the Champions League this week: ___ strong>ATLETICO'S HOME SUCCESS /strong> Atletico Madrid will try to extend its successful home streak when it makes its Champions League debut at the new Wanda Metropolitano Stadium on Wednesday against Chelsea. It will be Atletico's third match at the venue which replaced the Vicente Calderon Stadium, where Atletico was unbeaten in its last 11 games in the European competition. Atletico has won both of its matches at the Wanda Metropolitano — 1-0 against Malaga and 2-0 against Sevilla, both in the Spanish league 'The Metropolitano has the feel of a Roman circus,' Atletico coach Diego Simeone said. Barcelona travels to Portugal to face Sporting Lisbon on Wednesday, riding a seven-game winning streak that includes the emphatic 3-0 win over Juventus in its Champions League opener. Sporting, off to a great start in the Portuguese league, can make it two wins in a row to start its Group D campaign. On Tuesday, Sevilla will host Maribor, which is coming off its first loss of the season against Atletico Madrid. ___ strong>MOSCOW CHALLENGE /strong> The Champions League provides Russian authorities with a key test of their World Cup readiness this week, and a glimpse at the welcome fans can expect next year. Two of England's fiercest rivals, Liverpool and Manchester United, play on consecutive nights in Moscow. Liverpool is first up against Spartak Moscow on Tuesday, and CSKA Moscow plays United the following night. There isn't typically disorder when the teams — separated by about 30 miles (48 kilometers) in northwest England — meet on home soil. But since England fans were attacked by Russians at the 2016 European Championship in Marseille, concerns have heightened about hooliganism in the 2018 World Cup host nation. United and Liverpool fans have been advised by the British government not to wear club colors on the streets of Moscow and to avoid walking alone. On the pitch, United and CSKA both won their opening games in Group A. Liverpool and Spartak are chasing their first wins after starting Group E with draws. ___ strong>DORTMUND THRIVING BUT FLAWED /strong> Real Madrid heads to Germany to face on Tuesday a Borussia Dortmund side enjoying its best start to the Bundesliga. Dortmund hadn't even conceded a goal in five domestic games until Lars Stindl netted Borussia Moenchengladbach's consolation in a 6-1 rout on Saturday. While Dortmund has scored 19 goals in six league games, there is no perfection in the high pressing game. The team remains prone to lapses at the back and opponents can suddenly find themselves with wide spaces to run into behind the Dortmund defense. That happened three times alone in the first half against 'Gladbach but it didn't prove as costly as when Dortmund visited London earlier this month and lost its Group H opener against Tottenham 3-1. ___ strong>NEEDING NEYMAR /strong> A bust-up between Edinson Cavani and Neymar combined with a goalless draw at Montpellier have generated a sense of trouble at Paris Saint-Germain ahead of Bayern Munich's visit on Wednesday. Cavani and Neymar have reportedly made peace after arguing on the pitch, but PSG dropped its first points this season following a dismal performance at Montpellier that raised concerns about the side's dependence on its Brazilian star. Neymar sat out Saturday's game because of a toe injury and his absence was obvious. Facing a very defensive side which closed spaces efficiently, PSG did not find a way to break the deadlock in a 4-3-3 system that lacked rhythm and creativity. 'We need to push more in order to score goals,' PSG coach Unai Emery said. 'This match leaves us with a lot of things to analyze in order to continue our progression.' Neymar is expected to return for the Bayern game in Group B. ___ strong>ROMA'S NEGATIVE STREAK /strong> Roma will be hopeful of ending a woeful away record in the Champions League when it travels to Azerbaijan for the first time, to play Qarabag on Wednesday. Including qualifying, Roma has won only one of its past 13 matches on its travels in Europe's elite competition, with that sole victory coming against Basel in 2009. But coach Eusebio Di Francesco will be hopeful of success against Qarabag, which lost 6-0 at Chelsea in the last round. He will again look to an in-form Edin Dzeko, who netted his fifth goal in three matches in Saturday's 3-1 win over Udinese. Stephan El Shaarawy scored twice in that match and Di Francesco has described him as 'the ideal attacker' for his preferred 4-3-3 formation, which he hopes will boost Roma in Europe as well as domestically. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 25th, 2017

Messi scores record 400th goal in Spanish league

By Joseph Wilson, Associated Press BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — That's 400 and counting. Lionel Messi took his all-time Spanish league scoring record to 400 goals on Sunday after contributing to a 3-0 win over Eibar to keep defending champion Barcelona comfortably at the top of the Spanish league. Messi scored Barcelona's second goal shortly after halftime to reach a milestone in the competition after 435 league matches. Former Real Madrid rival Cristiano Ronaldo is second all-time in La Liga with 311 goals. In all competitions, Barcelona says the 31-year-old Messi has scored an astonishing 575 goals in 658 appearances. "He is from another galaxy," Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said. "They are incredible numbers. But he does much more than score goals, he also does so much to generate scoring chances for others." Barcelona's all-time top scorer got the landmark goal in the 53rd minute after Luis Suarez passed to him inside Eibar's area. The Argentine did the rest by opening an angle around a defender and driving in a low left-footed shot. It was also Messi's league-leading 17th league goal and his 23rd goal overall this season. "He should be proud," said Suarez, who scored Barcelona's other two goals. "Game after game he shows what a great player he is. I am happy for him and for the history that he is writing for this club." Barcelona stayed five points ahead of second-placed Atletico Madrid, which edged Levante 1-0 thanks to a penalty from Antoine Griezmann, as the league reached its midway point. Real Madrid lost Karim Benzema to a right-hand injury in a 2-1 win at Real Betis to stay 10 points back in fourth place. HAPPY SIMEONE After 90-plus minutes of prowling the sideline, yelling at his players and stoking his fans, Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone normally hurries off the pitch when the final whistle sounds. But after the victory over Levante, Simeone took time to embrace each of his players — a show of appreciation for their efforts that kept Atletico in the title chase. "I felt the need to hug them," Simeone said. "I congratulated them because they maintained the same level of play throughout the entire match." Despite only scoring one goal, Simeone called it "one of, if not our best, performances of the season." True to Simeone's defense-first approach, Atletico stifled a Levante attack that is among the best in the league. Griezmann did the rest, scoring his team-leading ninth league goal of the season when he fired a spot kick over Levante goalkeeper Oier Olazabal in the 57th minute following a handball by defender Nikola Vukcevic. CEBALLOS TO THE RESCUE Dani Ceballos was greeted with jeers when he went on as a late Real Madrid substitute to face his former club, Real Betis. But he silenced the crowd, and saved his current club from another setback, when he sent a free kick through a gap in the defensive wall to grab the win with two minutes remaining. "I was eager to show what I can do," Ceballos said. Luka Modric struck from distance to open the scoring for Madrid, only for Sergio Canales to equalize in the second half. SEVILLA SLIPS Sevilla lost 2-0 at Athletic Bilbao, ending its unbeaten run in nine rounds. Bilbao forward Inaki Williams scored both goals for the hosts to help lift them out of the relegation zone. Sevilla remained in third place, level on points with Madrid. Sevilla had won 3-1 at Bilbao's San Mames Stadium in the Copa del Rey on Thursday. They will meet again on Wednesday in Seville in the return leg of their round-of-16 game......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 14th, 2019

Irving says team meeting helped Celtics clear air, find rhythm

NBA.com staff report The Boston Celtics are perhaps starting to show the kind of teamwork they've been looking for all season. Star guard Kyrie Irving said Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) that a team meeting held after a Dec. 21 (Dec. 22, PHL time) home loss to the Milwaukee Bucks helped players to clear the air about several topics. "We could pinpoint a lot of turning points," Irving told reporters after yesterday's win vs. Indiana, per ESPN's Tim Bontemps. "We just want to build that chemistry first. Just getting with one another, really put everything out there and then move on from that point. "At that point, playing against Milwaukee, we weren't at rock bottom, but we needed to address some [expletive] in this locker room. It's just good to get stuff out in the air. As grown men and guys that have expectations for themselves, it was good to hear guys talk about what they wanted for themselves and what they wanted for this team." The Celtics dismantled the Indiana Pacers 135-108 to notch their fourth straight win, with the victory coming largely because of Boston's willingness to share the ball. The victory marked their fifth straight game with at least 30 assists (after failing to reach that mark in nine of their previous 10 games). Since Dec. 23 (Dec. 24, PHL time), the Celtics rank No. 2 in assist percentage (70.2) and are among the league leaders in offensive rating, net rating, true shooting percentage and more during that span. The Celtics had 32 assists last night and put together their highest scoring game this season. Boston (25-15) also ended a three-game skid against the Pacers, who entered the night third in the Eastern Conference having won seven of eight. Additionally, Boston led 68-53 at halftime after shooting 56.5 percent (26-for-46) in the first half. That Dec. 23 (Dec. 24, PHL time) date is an important one, since it was Boston's next game after the Bucks loss that capped off a three-game losing streak. After that loss to the Bucks, the Celtics were mired in the lower-half of the Eastern Conference standings and had their team meeting. The Celtics have seen a slight uptick in pace (they rank 18th in that category overall) since Dec. 1 (Dec. 2, PHL time), and are getting more comfortable in terms of team chemistry. Overall, Boston has won seven of its last nine games to stay within striking distance of the upper crust in the East. ''We're all understanding that we're trying to play faster and the ball movement has been working for us,'' said Al Horford, who led Boston last night with eight assists. ''It keeps the defense on their toes, really makes the other team work. It's kind of contagious.'' “Well, you see the type of connection that we have out there in terms of our pick-and-roll and what we do and how we talk is pretty seamless,” Irving said, per Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald. “We came in the same time and have this understanding of where our journeys have started and where it is now and an appreciation of where we are. So we just want to take full advantage of it for this year.” Since Thanksgiving, the Celtics are No. 1 in offensive rating, have a net rating of 11.2 (tops in the NBA) and are 16-6 (the best record in the league). In short, Boston is finding its way -- at least over the last few weeks -- and developing chemistry with a roster filled with talent. “It was hard to find good clips at the start of the year,” coach Brad Stevens said, per the Boston Herald. “And I think some of that was because we were pressing; some of that was because we missed shots when the ball was moving.  All looks a little bit better when it finishes with a make, but that’s who we have to be." Information from The Associated Press was used in this report......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 10th, 2019

ONE Championship: Honorio Banario looks to showcase skills in ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix

Former ONE Featherweight World Champion Honorio "The Rock" Banario is ready to make a huge splash in ONE Championship's stacked lightweight division this 2019.   Banario went on a five-bout unbeaten streak for two years before it was snapped by Singaporean sensation Amir Khan at ONE: BEYOND THE HORIZON last September when he lost by way of first-round submission.   "The Rock" ultimately concluded 2018 on a winning note, picking up a unanimous decision win over Rahul Raju at ONE: CONQUEST OF CHAMPIONS this past November.   Banario aims to muster all the lessons and experiences that he has had thus far and utilize it in his upcoming bouts.   "I learned a lot in 2018, and I’m hoping to learn a lot more and grow more this 2019. I think the biggest lesson for me is to continue to stay hungry to learn, and to achieve more," he said.   "The loss to Amir once again humbled me, and I was sent back on a path of learning. Improving my skills and getting in prime condition, as well as staying active and on my toes, is important to keep my edge.   "You can’t relax in this game, because things change rapidly all the time. It’s always evolving."   Banario is also keen on proving his worth in the highly-anticipated ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix, which will be participated by the best athletes that the world and his division have to offer.   With the eagerness to test his mettle in the eight-man tourney, the 29-year-old native of Mankayan, Benguet is confident that he will leave a lasting impression.   "I plan to show that I am one of the best lightweights in the promotion. There is a lot of buzz surrounding our division because of the tournament, and because of the new crop of athletes who joined ONE. There is a lot of pressure to perform," Banario stated.   "I would be happy to put on a show for the fans against anyone ONE puts me in the cage with. It doesn’t matter to me. I am confident in myself and in my team. Through hard work, we will achieve great things."   The tournament winner would a guarantee a shot at the intricately-crafted ONE Lightweight World Title that is currently held by Banario's teammate Eduard Folayang.   However, Banario cites that the goal is not to come after Folayang's gold-plated strap, but to challenge himself and find out who's the second best in the talent-filled lightweight division.   "It is a great way to really see who is the best in the division, apart from my brother Eduard Folayang, who is the world champion," he stressed. "I am definitely aiming to be the Grand Prix tournament champion. That’s my number one goal next year.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 2nd, 2019

Boxing: Donnie Nietes captures WBO Super Flyweight World Championship

The second time was the charm for Filipino boxing star Donnie "Ahas" Nietes, as on his second attempt, he finally captured the WBO Super Flyweight World Championship.  Nietes outworked Japanese star Kazuto Ioka at the Wynn Palace in Cotai, Macau on New Year's Eve to earn a split decision decision win and become a four-division boxing world champion.  The younger Ioka started out strong, keeping Nietes at bay with piston-like jabs to take the first round.  Nietes began to find his rhythm in the succeeding rounds, as he slowly began to outwork Ioka, landing well-placed hooks and uppercuts and forcing the Japanese star to switch up his movement.  The 36-year old Murcia, Negros-native continued to frustrate Ioka as the fight progressed.  Sensing a bit of urgency, Ioka began to rally back in the ninth round, pushing forward and taking advantage of Nietes, who began to slow down a bit.  Ioka continued to push the pace in the tenth round as closed the gap between himself and Nietes.  Nietes regained a bit of steam in the final two rounds, keeping active as Ioka tried to end the fight strong and sway the judges' decision.  At the end of 12 rounds, it was Nietes who walked away with the split decision win (118-110, 112-116, 116-112) to capture the WBO's 115-pound title and make history at the end of 2018.  With the title win, Nietes now joins fellow legends Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire Jr. as the only Filipinos to capture four world championships in as many weight divisions. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 31st, 2018

New chapter awaits LeBron-Warriors rivalry

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com Oakland, Calif. — You cannot engage in a meaningful discussion or debate about the greatest player who ever lived without mentioning a team. They are the gate-crashers of this exclusive party and the shot-callers, the wedge that nudges the verdict away from one player and in the direction of another. They are, quite simply, a better sidekick for Michael Jordan than Scottie Pippen ever was. They are the Golden State Warriors, who ruin it for LeBron James. Or at least, so far anyway. If not for the Warriors, talk show hosts and sports bars and folks at the water cooler who discuss these things would be forced to get their neck hairs up over another touchy subject. Anything but the GOAT. That would be settled. Without the Warriors, LeBron would own more than three championships — everyone would most likely agree to that — and less competition from the immortalized player who went 6-0 in the NBA Finals. Even now, here in his first year with a new team, and astonishingly playing at MVP level just a week away from his 34th birthday, LeBron must deal with a persistent problem. For The King, the Warriors are this recurring kryptonite-mare. Christmas Day will provide LeBron and the Lakers their first shot this season at the winners of the last two NBA titles and three of the last four, all done at the expense of James when he carried the Cavaliers. New team brings the same challenge and a clear sense of reality. LeBron knows he’s up against a wall that’s bigger than the one holding up Congress right now. “We can’t measure ourselves against them,” he said, repeating the same thoughts he held on his first day as a Laker, when he said back in October: “We’ve got a long way to go to get to Golden State.” That “long way” might require the Lakers to put someone else in the shotgun seat for the journey, and that mystery player — Anthony Davis? Kawhi Leonard? Kevin Durant? — is at least a year away, if that. The future, both near and far, involves too many issues and complications and factors, and all of those revolve around LeBron’s stare-down with Father Time. A championship with a third team would weigh in LeBron’s favor against Jordan mainly because it would be accomplished in his mid-30s, at a time when the bodies of even great players begin to squeak. Such high-level consistency is juicing LeBron in the GOAT talk; right now he shows no slow-down with the exception of the occasional defense lapse, and is dropping 27.6 points, 8.2 rebounds and 7.2 assists nightly. He’s a considerable factor, for the first time in his career, beyond the 3-point line, and he still attacks the rim with the intensity of annoyed Draymond Green. Understandably, LeBron has lost three times to two other teams before in the championship round, although one comes with a disclaimer. It was to the peak-time Spurs in 2007 when LeBron was the definition of a one-man show. The next loss to the Spurs was somewhat understandable because San Antonio was solid that season against the Heat; the hiccup against Dirk-led Dallas was less forgiving. It is the Warriors who’ve squirted mustard on the legacy, not because LeBron’s teams were better, but because they’ve beaten him three times. That puts LeBron’s Finals record at 5-6, though not totally his fault, but still cannot compete with MJ’s 6-0. There’s the argument that Jordan never won a championship against anyone on the Warriors’ level; although it’s always tricky to compare eras and teams because of different rules (hand-checking, for one) and trends (three-point shooting, for another), LeBron faced Steph Curry and Kevin Durant the last two summers. Jordan had John Stockton-Karl Malone twice, Gary Payton-Shawn Kemp and Charles Barkley-Kevin Johnson once each. For what it’s worth. That’s all in the past, which is beyond LeBron’s control. Now the discussion will be fixated on the next few years and what he can or cannot do to win a sixth title, which may once again be determined by the Warriors to some degree. “He’s still LeBron James,” said Green. “He’ll boost any team he’s on and he’ll make them a contender. It’s a different look for him, more than what he’s used to, because of the makeup of the team, but they have him and so they’ll be a tough test. Any team with LeBron is a tough test for anyone.” LeBron is bringing Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and also a batch of veterans to the Warriors challenge. It’s a bit daunting, especially since the Lakers have suffered some bad losses lately, to the Wizards, Nets and Grizzlies. Yes, Ingram and Rajon Rondo just returned from injuries. That’s all in the Lakers’ favor. Also consider that the Lakers you see after the All-Star break could be a more accurate version should the young players keep developing and trending up. “We're a team that's trying to get better every week, better every month,” LeBron said. “We want to have championship habits.” But will that make them better than, say, the Oklahoma City Thunder in a playoff series? The Nuggets? Trail Blazers? No one has stepped forth as a solid No. 2 team in the West, assuming the Warriors, despite their record at the moment, remain the clear No. 1. That’s why LeBron’s best chance to repel the Warriors will happen with his next team, not this one. The Warriors haven’t exactly stormed through the season’s first 30 or so games; Curry was hurt, Durant and Green had a spat and even wins against the likes of Dallas, Utah, Sacramento and Orlando were a grind. But for a team like the Warriors, the regular season just gets in the way. Also, at some point they’ll welcome All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins to the mix. Coach Steve Kerr said: “I really like where we are. I don’t think we’ve played great basketball for a while. I think we started out really well, 10-1, and the last five or six weeks we’ve been through an awful lot with injuries and with just trying to find a rhythm, a chemistry and a groove with the new groups that we put on the floor. So to not be there yet, but to still have the record that we do, I think we are in a good position. I think we are going to get a lot better.” It’s a good time to get a first look at the player who only figured them out once in The Finals. "We've seen him a lot over the last four years," Curry said. Another championship for LeBron would match Jordan’s win total and would liven up the debate. Surely the Warriors will factor in one way or another: their demise at some point, or continued choke-hold. Veteran NBA writer Shaun Powell has worked for newspapers and other publications for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here or follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 25th, 2018

Left alone: Alba proving perfect sidekick for Lionel Messi

By Joseph Wilson, Associated Press BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — With Lionel Messi wowing fans game after game, it's easy to overlook Jordi Alba, the player who often puts him in position to score so many impressive goals. Alba has become the indispensable sidekick for Barcelona's all-time leading scorer. "Leo and Jordi understand one another perfectly," coach Ernesto Valverde said after Saturday's 2-0 win over Celta Vigo when Alba helped set up both of Barcelona's goals. Alba first passed for Messi to shoot, with a rebound of a save falling to Ousmane Dembele to finish off. Alba then assisted Messi for his league-leading 15th goal of the season. "Their relationship clicks," Valverde said. "Sometimes rivals try to block their passing angles, but Jordi has a great sense of timing. And even though adversaries know it's coming, it continues to work." Alba has been running up and down Barcelona's left flank for seven seasons now, but his importance to his team's attack used to be secondary to the sparkling play of former stars Neymar, Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez. Neymar's exit two summers ago marked a turning point for Alba. With the Brazil forward no longer soaking up all the weight of the attack on Barcelona's left side, Alba was free to fully exploit his speed and passing ability. As Alba told Spanish sports daily Sport in 2017, "now I have the entire left side to myself, and that is much better." Messi often starts his attacks from the right or center of the field to have his preferred left boot set to shoot. That leaves Alba in an ideal position to stretch the defense with carefully timed bursts of speed to break into the area behind the opposition's backline, often after exchanging passes with Messi. The 29-year-old Alba has developed the knack of knowing where Messi will dart to in the box, often behind a dummy run by Luis Suarez, where he can receive Alba's passes in a scoring position. "They are very quick moves against defenses that really close down the open spaces," Alba said after Saturday's strong performance. "But Messi always waits for the opportune moment to find space, and I connect with him." Alba has done his part in ensuring Barcelona went into the Spanish league's winter break with a three-point lead atop the standings. "Most of the passes that I give Messi end up in goal," Alba said. "Leo never misses." ADIOS ATLETICO? Second-placed Atletico Madrid heads toward the winter transfer window with big questions about two of its top young players: France defender Lucas Hernandez and midfielder Thomas Partey. Hernandez has been linked to interest by Bayern Munich in triggering the 80 million euro ($91 million) buyout clause that would free him from his contract. While Atletico has denied that Hernandez wants to leave, coach Diego Simeone appears to accept that he could lose the 22-year-old defender. "Lucas knows what I told him. I love him a lot, we have watched him grow up," Simeone said after Saturday's 1-0 victory over Espanyol. "Let him decide what he thinks is best and I will support him." Thomas, who can play either as a holding midfielder or further up in the formation, has also made it publicly known that he wants to play more. "I have a deep affection for Atletico and I am grateful for all that it has done, as well as for the fans, but sometimes I feel unhappy at Atletico," Thomas said Saturday. LLORENTE'S MOMENT Ignored by previous managers, 23-year-old Marcos Llorente is playing well enough to threaten Casemiro's spot in the starting 11 as Real Madrid's holding midfielder. Llorente has started nine matches since Santiago Solari took over from the fired Julen Lopetegui two months ago, benefiting from Casemiro twisting an ankle. Llorente scored his first goal for Madrid on Saturday when he struck a powerful shot from outside the area to help beat Al Ain 4-1 in Abu Dhabi. Madrid won its third straight Club World Cup. "Life, like football, can change just like that," Llorente said......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 24th, 2018

How Empress got her groove back

  Empress Schuck entered show biz when she was only 7 years old. Acting is her passion, she said. But when she reached 20, her drive started to wane. Though she had opportunities to portray different kinds of roles, she didn't feel she was making enough progress in her career. "There was a point when I felt like quitting," she admitted at a recent press conference for the upcoming movie, "Kahit Ayaw Mo Na." "I started working when I was a kid, and after many years, I was still doing the same thing. I was tired and wasn't happy anymore. I just did what I was asked to do." "Sometimes, I would find myself wondering whether or not this is still the right thing for me," Empr...Keep on reading: How Empress got her groove back.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsDec 4th, 2018

How ex-child star Kevin Zegers ‘hit the jackpot’

Kevin Zegers' film career included starring in the popular "Air Bud" movies, back when he was a kid actor. He eventually grew up before audiences' eyes, and took on riskier roles, such as the one in the acclaimed drama, "Transamerica." More recently, he appeared in "Fear the Walking Dead" as the suave villain Melvin. The 34-year-old actor, however, is unlike his most recent portrayal, as he is a happy family man---married for a couple of years already, and a father to twin kids. On Instagram, he often talks about his wife, Jaime Feld. "Lucky men find women like this: strong, loving, powerful, sensitive, successful and kind," Zegers wrote alongside one of her photos. "I'm proud ...Keep on reading: How ex-child star Kevin Zegers ‘hit the jackpot’.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsDec 2nd, 2018

Green scores in last second to lift Raptors over Magic 93-91

By Bill Fay, Associated Press ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Danny Green made a fade-away jumper with less than a second remaining to lift the Toronto Raptors over the Orlando Magic 93-91 on Tuesday night (Wednesday, PHL time). "Danny Green for the win... YES HE DID!" The @Raptors newcomer nails the GAME-WINNER to improve to 14-4 on the season! #WeTheNorth pic.twitter.com/7BKDyA9qlz — NBA (@NBA) November 21, 2018 Green caught Kyle Lowry's inbound pass with 2.3 seconds left, pulled up on the left side of the lane and hit a jumper with 0.5 seconds remaining. Orlando's Nikola Vucevic missed on a 67-foot heave as time expired. Kawhi Leonard led Toronto with 18 points, and Pascal Siakam had 15. Serge Ibaka added 14 points and nine rebounds, and Green finished with 13. Evan Fournier led the Magic with 27 points, 22 of them in the second half when he was about the only offense Orlando could generate. Aaron Gordon had 16 points, and Vucevic had 14 points and 18 rebounds for the Magic, who ended a three-game winning streak. Fournier drove past Green for a tying dunk with 2.3 seconds left. The Raptors took a full timeout, and Green scored on the ensuing inbound. Neither team had it going offensively for most of the game, especially in the fourth quarter. The Magic missed 11 straight field-goal attempts in a four-minute stretch early in the period. Their only points were two free throws from Jonathan Isaac, but the drought didn't cost them much. Toronto could only put together a three-pointer from Green and a layup by Jonas Valanciunas during that stretch to take an 80-77 lead. The teams traded baskets from there until Ibaka drilled a jumper from the top of the key to put Toronto in front 91-89. Toronto led by 18 during a first half when both teams struggled to find or maintain an offensive rhythm. The Raptors made enough shots to jump out to a 40-22 advantage in the middle of the second quarter, as Orlando labored under 30 percent shooting. The Magic finally got some rhythm and cut the deficit to 10 by halftime, then caught Toronto by the middle of the third. Fournier started the second half with a three-pointer, the first of six three's in the period for the Magic. Another triple from Fournier tied it at 59 with 5:05 left, and his free throw gave Orlando a 75-73 lead going into the fourth. Fournier had 14 points in the quarter. TIP-INS Raptors: Toronto didn't have a player reach double-figure scoring in the first half. ... Toronto got 17 second-chance points. Magic: Backup F Terrence Ross, the hottest shooter on the Magic over the last five games, was just 2-of-10 against his old team. ... The Magic shot only 41.5 percent for the game. UP NEXT Raptors: Finish a four-game road trip at Atlanta on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time). Magic: Start a six-game Western Conference swing in Denver on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 21st, 2018

Quite the contrast: Senator Manny vs Adrien Broner

By Barry Wilner, Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) — Dressed in a sharp gray suit and tie, Manny Pacquiao looked every bit the senator he is. It was his other job, though, that he was working Monday when the eight-time champion announced a Jan. 19 defense of his WBA welterweight belt against Adrien Broner. "He's one of the top boxers out there," Pacquiao said of Broner, who attended the news conference in slightly different garb: torn jeans adorned with spangles, a T-shirt and black jacket. "Adrien Broner is a high-caliber fighter. "I have no problem to fight at 140 (pounds), it's my natural weight. I can't say I am avoiding (opponents), that is not my style. I am willing to find other fighters to fight, too, I am available to fight at 140, 147. It is 147 for this fight." Pacquiao will be 40 when he enters the ring at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas to take on the 29-year-old Broner. It will be the Filipino's 70th fight in a career that began in 1995 and has included titles in weight classes from flyweight to welterweight. He hasn't fought in the United States in two years. Referred to by his followers as Senator Manny, Pacquiao won and then lost the WBO welterweight crown following his lopsided loss to Floyd Mayweather in a May 2015 megafight. In July, he knocked out Lucas Matthysse for the WBA title, Pacquiao's first KO victory since 2009 when he stopped Miguel Cotto in the final round. His government role will be placed aside, Pacquiao claims, while he prepares for Broner. "My opponent is fast, good, and I have to work hard and train hard so the people will be happy on Jan. 19 when we give them a good fight," said Pacquiao, who flashed a mischievous smile when asked if another encounter with the currently retired Mayweather might be in the future. "I am fighting Adrien Broner," Pacquiao said, adding he was with Mayweather in Japan and mentioned that he, not Mayweather, owned a belt, so "you come challenge me." Broner views this as his chance to "become a legend." As he strutted around the stage, his words at first were respectful toward Pacquiao, whom Broner "dreamed of fighting when I was a kid." Soon, though, Broner was back to being Broner, the boastful, say-anything-character who likes talking trash as much as throwing leather. "He ain't fighting Floyd, he's fighting me," Broner said. "He's gotta get past me first. "Of course, things he's done in the game are unbelievable. I know Jan. 19 I gotta be at the top of my game. I'm gonna (mess) him up." Broner, from Cincinnati, is 33-3-1 with 24 knockouts. But he didn't win either of his most recent fights, losing a unanimous decision to Mikey Garcia, who won his 36th straight, in July last year, and then drawing with Jessie Vargas. Which means recent results indicate neither he nor Pacquiao is in his prime or close to it. Still, they are big enough names for Showtime to put the fight on pay-per-view television. Both men were asked if they are elite boxers now. Neither flinched in answering. "Yes, of course," Pacquiao insisted. "I want to fight the greatest opponents in the world and one of them is Adrien Broner. I can fight anybody." Broner shook his head and smirked when queried on his skill level these days. "I'm gonna do me; he's gotta worry about what I do," Broner said. "I know what he can do. "I got three losses, he's got (seven). He's been knocked out; we know he can go to sleep. I got the stuff to do it. I'll hit the jackpot overnight.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 20th, 2018

PBA: Tenorio, Gin Kings quick to move on to Game 4

While it was Justin Brownlee that did most of the heavy liftin to bring back Barangay Ginebra from an 18-point deficit in Game 3 of the 2018 PBA Governors' Cup semifinals, it was actually LA Tenorio who hit the final marginal basket to keep the Gin Kings' title defense alive. Tied at 103, Tenorio hit the go-ahead floater with 14 seconds to go. And after Ginebra forced a Magnolia miss, Tenorio also hit the last two free throws to seal the final tally. "Na-shoot siya eh," Tenorio said on his final field goal. "Well opportunity yun na nabigay sakin on that particular possession, might as well take it di ba? Everyone is expecting Justin to get the ball. We got nothing to lose in that possession, I was just thinking of being aggressive and see what was gonna happen," he added. Tenorio was terrible all game long for the Gin Kings, struggling to find his shot. While LA did finish with 14 points for the game, 11 of them came in the final period to help Ginebra pull through. "Actually struggling ak othe whole game, medyo iba yung pakiramdam ko today eh. But that's not an excuse," he said. "I think the whole team was really focused today but I cannot say na we really played well," he added. Despite cutting their Manila Clasico deficit in half, Tenorio and the Gin Kings are not quite happy yet. It's just one game after all. "We only got one game, inside the locker room after the game it was nothing, we moved on right away and are thinking about Friday's game right away," Tenorio said.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 14th, 2018

‘For the dog, it’s a game’: Sniffing out truffles in Italy

"Go on Rocky, find it! Good boy!" The labrador wags his tail, happy to have found the hidden treasure as he graduates from Italy's "truffle dog university", doing his master proud. Giovanni Monchiero is the dean of the unusual academy in Roddi in northwestern Italy and, like his father, grandfather and great-grandfather, transforms "normal" dogs into expert seekers of the lucrative fungus. "Teaching a dog to find truffles is very simple, you just need plenty of patience and to realize that for the dog, it's a game," said Monchiero, 55. "We start by getting the dog to play with the truffle. Personally, I use a fresh truffle, but if you don't have one you can put some truffle-...Keep on reading: ‘For the dog, it’s a game’: Sniffing out truffles in Italy.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsNov 11th, 2018

With Messi out, Suarez takes leadership role for Barcelona

By Joseph Wilson, Associated Press BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Even though it ended up a blowout, there was a moment in Barcelona's 5-1 win over Real Madrid on Sunday when the result seemed in the balance. Madrid had just pulled a goal back after overcoming the control Barcelona had imposed to take a 2-0 lead into halftime, and the hosts didn't have Lionel Messi to come to the rescue. That was when Luis Suarez stepped up to add two more goals to his first-half penalty to complete a hat trick that has placed Madrid coach Julen Lopetegui's job in serious peril. "Almost every season I score against Madrid," Suarez said. "They came out of the restart going for the match. They pressured us a lot and had chances to draw level. We scored the third goal and took advantage of our speed and the open space to wrap it up." His second goal was a superb header, as he powered a soft lob from Sergi Roberto past goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. That goal came when his teammates were under pressure after Marcelo had scored and Luka Modric hit the post. Suarez also showed quality marksmanship on his penalty, driving it just inside the post and the diving Courtois, as well as fine finishing to chip in his third goal. "He scored three goals today, but the work of Luis is always there," Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said. As work goes, Suarez multitasks. The Uruguayan bumps and battles with opposing defenders, makes runs to free up teammates, offers an outlet up front, and helps form part of Barcelona's intricate passing attack. Suarez dedicated his first goal to his family by lifting his shirt up to reveal a T-shirt with a image of this three children on it. "This week my third child was born and her siblings wanted to come with me today, since mommy and Lauti are watching from home," Suarez said. The 31-year-old Suarez has scored nine times in 11 matches against Madrid since joining the Spanish champions after he left Liverpool following his biting of an Italy defender in the 2014 World Cup. Since then, Suarez has been on his best behavior, and become one of the club's veteran leaders. Suarez scored the winner in a 2-1 victory over Madrid that helped Barcelona secure the league title late in the 2014-15 season. The next season he scored twice in a 4-0 win at the Santiago Bernabeu that Messi also missed. He netted in a 1-1 draw with Madrid in 2016-17, and also in a 3-0 win at Madrid and a 2-2 draw at home last season. But the Uruguay striker has been especially important recently with Messi on the sidelines. Since Messi broke his arm in the first half against Sevilla on Oct. 20, Barcelona has outscored its opponents 9-3, including four goals by Suarez. Messi went down while Barcelona was leading Sevilla 2-0. Suarez immediately stepped up by scoring a third goal in an eventual 4-2 victory. He set the tone against Inter Milan in the Champions League last week, assisting Rafinha for the opening goal of a 2-0 win. But Suarez had saved his best for Sunday night, when he fueled a lopsided win that Barcelona's fans will savor. THE RIGHT MOVES Madrid's comeback attempt was triggered by Lopetegui sending on Lucas Vazquez as a right back at the start of the second half. Lethargic until then, Madrid surged forward in waves and Vazquez helped start the move that led to Marcelo's goal. Valverde then made three moves that all contributed directly to goals by catching Madrid off-balance in defense. Valverde swapped Rafinha for right back Nelson Semedo, which allowed him to move Roberto into attack. The versatile Roberto created three scoring chances for Suarez. Valverde also sent on forward Ousmane Dembele and midfielder Arturo Vidal. Dembele dribbled free in the area and crossed for Vidal to head in the fifth goal to complete Madrid's humiliation. "I thought we needed players who could use their speed because we no longer had the control we had in the first half," Valverde said. "The back-and-forth was risky. Sergi helped us get out on the attack.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 29th, 2018

Bulls Carter Jr. undergoing NBA big man s trial by fire

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com CHICAGO – Every August, the NBA holds its rookie transition program to give its newly minted pros an idea of what life in the league is going to be like, from handling their money and dealing with reporters to fending off assorted unsavory outside forces. And then, every October, the young guys begin their real rookie transition. Consider Wendell Carter Jr. of the Chicago Bulls. In a span of five days, he will have gone through a gauntlet of imposing NBA big men that would have some 10-year veterans flinching and wondering if their tendinitis needed a night off. Carter’s on-the-job rigors began Thursday (Friday, PHL time), when he became only the 10th Bulls rookie to start on opening night and was met in his matchup at center with Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid. It continued Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) in Chicago’s home opener against Detroit, with Carter banging at various times against both Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin. Now the 19-year-old will travel to Dallas, where he’ll get his first test against the Mavericks’ salty DeAndre Jordan. And just for the record, in the Bulls’ final preseason game, he had to cope with Denver’s crafty Nikola Jokic. For someone so young, against such a slate of established or eventual All-Stars, Carter’s early lessons have been difficult. There really is no other way. “I’m sure it’s just chaos and confusion right now for him,” Griffin said after leading the Pistons with 33 points, 12 rebounds and five assists in a 118-116 victory at United Center. “He doesn’t look that way, but that’s just how you feel – no matter what – when you’re a rookie. The game is moving so fast.” Carter, the No. 7 pick from Duke in this year's Draft, fell victim to foul trouble early and the Bulls’ need to play catch-up late, which had coach Fred Hoiberg sticking with Jabari Parker at the end. Carter logged less than 18 minutes, finishing with eight points, two rebounds and two blocks. Drummond had foul issues of his own, exiting with his sixth after just 23:33. Still, Drummond and Griffin won the frontcourt battle with 43 points and 25 boards to Carter and Bobby Portis’ combined 14 and 16. It wasn’t the sort of Windy City debut Carter would have scripted. This was, after all, kind of a big deal – he’s the player Chicago landed after an entire 2017-18 season spent gaming the NBA’s Draft lottery system. The Bulls consciously tried to dive deep, won a little too counterproductively in December and January and wound up waiting until after the first six picks were gone. That tortuous process led everyone to Saturday, when 21,289 in the stands got their first official look at the alleged silver lining from last season’s dark cloud. Carter wasn’t happy with either his or his team’s performance afterward, pulling his clothes from the hangers in his locker as he dressed and bemoaning the Bulls’ lack of defensive communication (they’ve given up 245 points in two games). Not to worry, though, Griffin said. “He’s so talented, he’s going to be fine,” the Pistons star said. “It’s just a matter of time for him. I watched him play probably more than any other player in college last year – I really like his game. I’ve known of him since he was in high school. He would be the least of my concerns if I was over there in the front office or on the coaching staff.” Hoiberg and his staff have approached Carter’s trial by fire by starting him in response to the challenges he handled in summer league and in the preseason. He arrived with a maturity, poise and defensive bent some players never achieve – a young Al Horford was a frequent comp – and isn’t about to blow that image, no matter how many lumps he takes. “I appreciate the fact I’m able to play against these very talented bigs early on in my career,” Carter said. “Learn what I’ve got to work on. I’ve got to get stronger, that’s the first thing I recognized. … Just being up against the best, I love the competition. I love going against the best players.” Truth be told, Hoiberg said he talked with Carter on Friday (Saturday, PHL time) about handling the frustrations he’ll surely encounter. He’s a little cranky about the officiating, for example, picking up at least three fouls in all six preseason and regular-season appearances while playing fewer than 23 minutes every time. He’s does the “verticality” thing as if from a textbook and still hears a whistle. “At this point, I just feel like it’s rookie calls. I don’t care what nobody’s saying, that’s how I really feel,” Carter said. “I still have respect for the game, though. I have respect for the referees. If they call it, it’s a foul. I’ve just got to do better, learn from it.” Then there was the chatter from Embiid in Philadelphia, a 19-point Sixers romp. “He was telling me what I should and shouldn’t do,” Carter said. “‘C’mon rookie, you’ve got to do’ something ‘better.’ Carter didn’t chatter back, he said. “Not yet. I’m gonna get there at some point though.” Drummond didn’t pile on, thanks perhaps only to the referees. "If I played more, I think it woulda been more of a schooling,” the Detroit center said. “This is a helluva three games for him.” Drummond, 25, remembers what it was like six years ago, when he was the one absorbing the lessons. His rookie year got dinged 22 games due to a stress fracture in his back, an injury that compounded the basketball education. “I learned my lessons the hard way,” Drummond told NBA.com. “Physically. I started out being hurt. I had to just play and figure it out game by game. Watched films. Learned the guys that I played against. And figured it out.” Drummond wound up averaging 7.9 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks. He had nine double-doubles and earned all-rookie status. But he’s glad to be wiser now in the NBA’s ways, given how few the shortcuts were. “It was more of a sponge season for me,” he said. “Learning the NBA. I mean, I was a young kid. Just tried to have fun with it. It was the game I loved and I was playing it at the highest level, so I just tried to enjoy every moment and take it in.” That’s Carter today, way at the front end of his career. He’s got a notebook, he said, that he scribbles in bullet points, tips and lessons from each game after he’s left the arena, his mind clear. Portis said he’ll share more with Carter as the season goes on – there hasn’t been much time and the Bulls haven’t really hit the road yet – but most of this stuff will be hands-on. “It’s as important a thing as you’re going to face in this league,” Hoiberg said. “When you’ve got a 19-year-old kid out there, it’s human nature I think when you’re playing against an opponent like Wendell has gone against, to hang your head a little bit.” The coach added: “It’s something every player goes through in this league. It’s understanding who you’re playing against. We’re showing him a lot of personnel, film on who he’s going to be going up against.” Until the day, and it will come, when young guys are studying film of Carter, going through gauntlets of their own. Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 21st, 2018

Paco Alcacer making most of 2nd chance with Spain

By Joseph Wilson, Associated Press BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Close to seeing his career stagnate, Paco Alcacer is making the most of a second chance to become Spain's top striker. Alcacer scored twice in his first appearance for Spain in two-and-a-half years to lead a 4-1 away win at Wales in a friendly last week. On Monday, the former Barcelona player will likely feature again when Spain hosts England in Seville seeking a second win over Gareth Southgate's team in the incipient Nations League. "I'm happy that I was able to help the team by doing what we strikers are supposed to, which is provide goals," Alcacer said after Thursday's match in Cardiff. "I just have to keep this good dynamic going." The 25-year-old Alcacer has been rejuvenated since leaving Barcelona on loan for Borussia Dortmund in August, a turnaround that has ended a hiatus from Spain's national team that was in danger of becoming a permanent adios. Previous to his two goals for Spain against Wales, Alcacer had scored seven times in a four-match scoring run for Dortmund. That streak included netting a spectacular hat trick that he completed on the last kick of the game for a 4-3 win over Augsburg. Ironically, Alcacer's slide toward oblivion at Barcelona began under current Spain coach Luis Enrique when he was condemned to a reserve role behind the superstar trio of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez in 2016-17. Not even Neymar's departure at the start of last season changed the situation at Camp Nou for Alcacer. Favoring other players, new coach Ernesto Valverde gave him fewer appearances than Luis Enrique. So Alcacer decided that his best option was to leave Spain and try his luck in Germany. And it turned out that Alcacer just needed a chance to play. With his brace against Wales, Alcacer showed his leading quality as a striker. He is not the fastest, the strongest, nor the slickest passer; he is a pure goal scorer who excels at putting one-touch shots in-between the posts. Against Wales, Alcacer fired a rising right-footed shot into the near corner for the lead— and his first goal with Spain since Oct. 2015. He then put the win beyond doubt by poaching a clearance in the area to make it 3-0. "Alcacer is playing superbly because he is on a scoring streak, but overall his attitude has been marvelous," said Luis Enrique, who called Alcacer up to fill the void left by the injured Diego Costa. Alcacer was not supposed to need a comeback story. Four years ago, former Spain manager Vicente del Bosque considered Alcacer, along with Alvaro Morata, as his strikers of the future. The then Valencia player led Spain in qualifying for the 2016 European championship with five goals, but when he struggled to score for his club in the run-up to the tournament Del Bosque dropped him from his squad. Banished to the bench following his move to Barcelona from Valencia, Alcacer was also ignored by Julen Lopetegui in his two-year tenure that took Spain to last summer's World Cup. Circumstances, however, have put Alcacer in good position to now succeed for "La Roja." While competition remains fierce in the positions of midfielder and playmaker for Spain, the striker job is up for grabs. Long gone are the days when David Villa and Fernando Torres flourished up front for the 2010 world champions, as both Costa and Morata have failed to show they can be counted on for goals. Alcacer said that he had been preparing for this return to his best form. "It's about several things," he said, "about getting on a hot streak, about self-confidence, about having playing time, and, above all, about working each day when you are not playing so you can be ready.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 15th, 2018

LSGH denies San Beda s entry into NCAA 94 Final Four

STANDINGS LSGH 13-2 (Final Four) MAPUA 11-4 SAN BEDA 10-5 JRU 9-6 LPU 8-7 ARELLANO 6-8 PERPETUAL 6-9 SAN SEBASTIAN 5-10 (eliminated) LETRAN 3-11 (eliminated) EAC 3-12 (eliminated) College of St. Benilde-La Salle Greenhills remains the first and only team assured of a place in the next round of the NCAA 94 Men’s Basketball Tournament. San Beda High School tried its best to get that as well on Thursday at the Filoil Flying V Centre, but was instead resoundingly rejected by the Junior Blazers who registered a 91-78 come-from-behind win. Main man Joel Cagulangan topped the scoring column with 24 points to go along with six rebounds and three assists, but only made 9-of-22 shots from the field In the endgame, it was Sydney Mosqueda who came through, scoring 10 of his 19 points in the tight final frame. “We’re happy with the win because our boys showed resiliency,” head coach Marvin Bienvenida said post-game. The defending champions were down by five points inside the last four minutes until Mosqueda went on a 5-0 run to tie the tally. The Red Cubs again took the lead, 75-72, and even had a chance to increase it, but Inand Fornilos stole the ball and the possession from them. At the other end, Mosqueda then set up Fornilos for an easy look inside that proved to be the go-ahead basket. San Beda would keep coming from that point, but Cagulangan had all the answers for CSB-LSGH which strengthened its stranglehold on the top-seed. Now at 13-2, they are one win away from clinching the twice-to-beat advantage. “We are still taking it one game at a time. We are not done proving to ourselves that we are getting better each and every game,” coach Marvin said. For the now 10-5 Red Cubs, Zach Estacio showed the way with 13 points while Joshua Lazaro also had a 10-point, 12-rebound double-double. A win would have assured them of at least a playoff for a Final Four spot. Instead, they now find themselves still behind 11-4 Mapua High School and barely ahead of 9-6 Jose Rizal High School and 8-7 Lyceum of the Philippines University. In the day’s other game, University of Perpetual Help stayed alive after beating down San Sebastian College-Recoletos, 82-67. Emman Galman was on fire all game long and wound up with a career-best 30 points and was backstopped by Tony Ogunsanya who posted a 20-point, 14-rebound double-double. Just at halftime, Galman already had 17 markers to his name, almost matching the output of their opponents at 22. At 6-9, the Junior Altas still have a boxer’s chance at snatching a playoff berth. On the other hand, now at 5-10, the Staglets are no longer in contention for the Final Four. Kean Baclaan fronted their effort in this one with 24 points, six rebounds, five steals, and four assists. BOX SCORES FIRST GAME PERPETUAL 82 – Galman 30, Ogunsanya 20, Galoy 12, Kawamura 8, Orgo 3, Duka 3, Barcuma 2, Nunez 2, Defante 2, Romilla 0, Lauchengo 0, Dela Cruz 0 SAN SEBASTIAN 67 – Baclaan 24, Pinero 13, Are 10, Cortes 4, Cruz 4, Dela Cruz 4, Timbancaya 2, Janao 2, Balo 2, Perez 0, Loristo 0, Solatorio 0, Suico 0, Gomez 0, Austria 0 QUARTER SCORES: 22-10, 43-22, 60-53, 82-67 SECOND GAME CSB-LSGH 81 – Cagulangan 24, Mosqueda 19, Calimag 11, Fornilos 7, Palencia 6, David 5, Sangco 3, Lepalam 2, Morales 2, Valenzuela 2, Cortez 0, Lopez 0. SAN BEDA 78 – Estacio 13, Coyoca 12, Lazaro 10, Llarena 10, Talampas 10, Oliva 9, Sanchez 9, Ynot 2, Andrada 2, Pelipel 1, Alcantara 0. QUARTER SCORES: 23-23, 41-36, 59-57, 81-78. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 4th, 2018