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T-wolves' Rubio to miss Nuggets game for personal reasons

em>By Jon Krawczynski, Associated Press /em> MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio will miss the game on Sunday (Monday, PHL time) against the Denver Nuggets, but it has nothing to do with the trade rumors that have surrounded him of late. Rubio left the team on Friday (Saturday, PHL time) for personal reasons and will not rejoin the Wolves until late Sunday or Monday, coach Tom Thibodeau said Saturday after practice. Rubio had to return home to Spain, and his brother posted on Instagram that their grandmother had passed away. Rubio did not play in the second half against the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday (Friday, PHL time) because of tightness in his left hip, but Thibodeau said Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) that was not a concern going forward. Kris Dunn and Tyus Jones filled in admirably, helping the Wolves defeat the Clippers, 104-101. Rubio said after the game he was not concerned about the injury, though it did interrupt an impressive run for the pass-first point guard. In his previous five full games, Rubio was averaging 13.2 points and 14.0 assists, looking more like the playmaker he was earlier in his career. 'I'm playing better, feeling better and the results are there,' Rubio said last week after a win over Oklahoma City. 'But I don't want it to be just a four-game stand. I want to be all season long like that. It's hard. We have a lot of games, but my expectations are high and I keep them high because I work hard to do it.' It has taken time for Rubio to acclimate to a new system in Thibodeau's first year as coach, leading many across the league to believe that the sixth-year pro could be traded to make room for Dunn, the fifth overall pick in last summer's draft. Thibodeau has historically preferred a point guard who is more of a scorer than Rubio, a career 37 percent shooter and a 31 percent shooter from 3-point range. But shooting has never been Rubio's strong suit. He excels at getting others involved, playing good defense and controlling the tempo of the game. With the trade deadline less than a month away, and Rubio on a hot streak, trade chatter has expectedly picked up. The Wolves are just 15-28, though they are 9-10 since a 6-18 start. Still, it's clear that they have a lot of improving to do to become a factor in the Western Conference, and Rubio appears to be one of the few assets they are willing to part with that could fetch a decent player in return. ESPN reported that the Wolves and Detroit Pistons had discussions about a Rubio-for-Reggie Jackson trade, but Pistons coach and team president Stan Van Gundy shot that down on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). Van Gundy told reporters in Detroit that he texted Jackson to tell him 'this is the crazy season. We're not trading you for Ricky Rubio.' Dunn hasn't been any better as a shooter in his rookie season, making 37.6 percent from the field and shooting a ghastly 27 percent from three-point range. But he had played more than 20 minutes in a game just three times in the previous two months before Rubio's injury on Thursday night (Friday, PHL time). 'When you have shorter minutes, you have to try to be more ready,' Dunn said Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). 'Try to go out there and impact the game right away. You can get the feel when you have more minutes, but I understand. Ricky's a great player. I'm just trying to learn off him.' Dunn likely will start against the Nuggets, with Jones serving as the backup point guard. Dunn said he has been getting more and more comfortable in his first season and will be ready when Thibodeau calls on him. 'I'm starting to understand who I am as a player (and) what's my role on the team,' Dunn said. 'Just figuring out guys, what's their tendencies and trying to understand coach's philosophy.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 21st, 2017

LeBron considering return to US Olympic team under Popovich

em>By Tom Withers, Associated Press /em> INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) — LeBron James might make another run at Olympic gold with Gregg Popovich. James, who already has two gold medals, said that Popovich taking over as coach of the U.S. team will influence his decision on whether to play in the 2020 Tokyo Games. 'It factors a lot,' James said Saturday as the Cavaliers prepared to host Popovich's San Antonio Spurs. 'I've said that before. He's just a great mastermind of the game of basketball.' James skipped last summer's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro to get rest after leading Cleveland to an NBA championship. But he's still connected with Team USA and Popovich replacing outgoing coach Mike Krzyzewski could be enough to draw James back to the Olympics. James will be 36 in 2020, but his game is showing no signs of decay and the three-time NBA champ has relished his previous Olympic appearances. He was a key member of the American teams that captured gold in Beijing (2008) and (2012), performances that helped him and the U.S. squad erase some of the disappointment from taking bronze in Athens (2004). Krzyzewski, the Duke coach who led the U.S. team to three consecutive gold medals, had a hand in naming Popovich as his successor. For James, the pick was perfect. 'Team USA is in good hands with him,' James told The Associated Press in 2015. 'It was in good hands with Coach K. It's almost like 'The Godfather.' We hand it off to Michael Corleone now.' Earlier this week, James said he considers Popovich, who has led the Spurs to five NBA titles, 'the greatest coach of all time. I've said that over and over and over. You have to be sharp, mentally and physically, when you go against his ballclub. If you were an NFL player, it's probably the same as going against a [Bill] Belichick team. 'What they're going to do, they're going to do and you have to try to figure it out.' James has lost twice to teams coached by Popovich in the NBA Finals — in 2007 with Cleveland and in 2014 with Miami. He admires the way the 67-year-old coach has adjusted and adapted over the years. 'A guy that's been able to do what he's done in an era of basketball where it's changed so much and he's been able to have a growth mindset and be able to change with the game,' James said. 'Obviously Tim Duncan was a huge part of that because Timmy was allowed to change with the game as well, but he's just continued to build around Timmy and Manu [Ginobili] and Tony [Parker] and bring pieces in and out throughout his whole tenure.' On Saturday (Sunday, PHL time), the Spurs will play their first game without center Pau Gasol, sidelined indefinitely with a broken left hand. James said that won't change San Antonio much — because of Popovich. 'It doesn't matter who is in the lineup for the Spurs,' James said. 'They'll play Spurs basketball and Pop will have them ready. I mean, what's their record, 33-9, I believe? And if you asked me how things would change without Timmy D., they still pushing forward, man. It's just nothing out of the ordinary.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 21st, 2017

PSA to honor Diaz as 2016 Athlete of the Year

Behind her powerful arms and legs, a young petite lady gave Philippine sports a lift it badly needed in the year just passed. Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz gave this country of 100 million people something to cheer about at the break of dawn one rainy day in August after copping an Olympic medal that was long overdue during the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Games. A combination of hard work, effort, heart, and sheer luck paved the way for the 25-year-old pride of Zamboanga City to run away with the silver in the women’s 53-kg weight division behind eventual winner Hsu Shu-Ching of Chinese Taipei. Diaz totaled a combined 200 kgs. in both the snatch and clean and jerk to the 212 of the Taiwanese bet. An Airwoman First Class at the Philippine Air Force, Diaz was only hoping for a bronze medal finish, but ended up a surprise runner up when fancied Li Yaiun of China – who earlier set an Olympic record in the snatch - failed to complete her final two attempts in the clean and jerk. “Sabi ko thank you Lord. Bronze lang ang hinihingi ko, pero silver ang ibinigay mo,” said Diaz moments after her triumph as the first-ever Filipina to win an Olympic medal. The Cinderella finish by Diaz was the first for the country in the last 20 years since boxer Mansueto ‘Onyok’ Velasco punched his way to a similar silver medal feat during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Hidilyn also became the first Filipino weightlifter to win an Olympic medal for the country and the only one to bag a silver outside of boxers Velasco and the late Anthony Villanueva (1964 Tokyo Games). In the light of her outstanding feats, the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) was one and unanimous in naming Diaz its 2016 Athlete of the Year during its traditional Awards Night presented by MILO and San Miguel on Feb. 13 at the LE PAVILION in Pasay City. Diaz is the first lady to be feted by the country’s oldest media organization with its highest individual honor after boxer Josie Gabuco and the Team Manila women’s softball team in 2012. “This one is a no-brainer. Hidilyn Diaz is truly the hands-down choice as the 2016 PSA Athlete of the Year,” said PSA president Riera Mallari, sports editor of The Standard. Last year, pro boxers Nonito Donaire Jr. and Donnie Nietes, along with young golfer Miguel Tabuena were the recipient of the coveted award annually handed out by the PSA, comprised by editors and sportswriters from the different broadsheets, tabloids, and online portals in the country. Diaz, who came home empty handed during both the 2008 (Beijing) and 2012 (London) Olympics, respectively, leads a long list of personalities and entities to be recognized during the formal rite co-presented by CIGNAL/HYPHER TV. In the coming days and weeks, recipients of the President’s Award, Lifetime Achievement honor, Executive of the Year, National Sports Association of the Year, Mr. Basketball, Mr. Golf, Mr. Football, and Ms. Volleyball will also be named as part of the two-hour program backed by Smart, Foton, Mighty Sports, Philippine Basketball Association, ACCEL, Gold Toe, SM Prime Holdings Inc., Globalport, Rain or Shine, ICTSI, and MVPSF. There will also be major awardees in different sports and citations to various personalities and entities in the annual rite backed by the Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, and Federal Land. Not to be missed out is the PSA’s recognition to young promising achievers such as the Tony Siddayao Awards and the Milo Male and Female Junior Athletes of the Year, as well as posthumous awards to those dearly departed friends of the local sportswriting community.   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 19th, 2017

Schroder hits go-ahead triple, leads Hawks past Knicks

em>By Brian Mahoney, Associated Press /em> NEW YORK (AP) — Dennis Schroder gave the Hawks the lead and the New York Knicks had three chances to take it back. Derrick Rose, Carmelo Anthony and Joakim Noah, whom they hoped would be the backbone of a contending team, all failed from inside a few feet. 'When things are not going your way, sometimes they go all the way left,' Anthony said. 'That's a shot that I think I could hit in my sleep.' Schroder scored 28 points, including the go-ahead three-pointer with 22 seconds left, to lead the Hawks to a 108-107 victory on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time). Tim Hardaway Jr. added 20 points and Paul Millsap had 17 for the Hawks, who won for the ninth time in 10 games to reach the midpoint of their schedule at 24-17. 'Guys got heart on this team,' said Millsap, who blocked Rose's shot on a drive to the basket before Anthony missed a fairly easy follow. 'Guys compete and when you compete good things happen.' Anthony scored 30 points for the Knicks, who changed their lineup but it wasn't quite good enough. They lost for the 11th time in 13 games. The Hawks rested Dwight Howard, while the Knicks were without Kristaps Porzingis again because of a sore left Achilles tendon. They gave undrafted rookie Ron Baker his first career start and moved Courtney Lee to the bench. Baker helped spark a 10-0 run to start the fourth with a pair of three-pointers, but Schroder kept the Hawks in it all the way while making 13-of-16 shots. 'We knew they were going to make their run,' Hardaway said. 'Their second group does a tremendous job raising the intensity on both ends of the floor. We just had to match that.' It was a much better effort for the Knicks than Sunday (Monday, PHL time), when they reached an embarrassing low by being outscored 27-8 in the third quarter of a 116-101 loss at Toronto. But as usual with the Knicks, the game was only a minor part of the chaos. Anthony responded to questions about a Fanragsports.com piece written by Charley Rosen, a Phil Jackson confidante, that said he had 'outlived his usefulness in New York' by saying that maybe he needed to have a conversation with Jackson if he felt that way. It's unclear if Jackson does, because he has barely spoken publicly this season and not at all to the New York media since preseason, though Rosen posted another piece Monday that his thoughts were his alone. Anthony said he hadn't heard from Jackson and didn't need to. 'My job is to go out there and play ball and I'm not concerned about that,' Anthony said. Anthony made buzzer-beaters to end the second and third quarters, but the Knicks needed one more. 'I was surprised he missed that one,' Millsap said. 'He's made a bunch of tough shots.' strong>TIP-INS /strong> em> strong>Hawks: /strong> /em>The Hawks have won five in a row on the road, their longest streak since a 12-game run in the 2014-15 season. Hardaway, a former Knicks guard, had his ninth 20-point game of the season. em> strong>Knicks: /strong> /em>The Knicks were also without forward Lance Thomas because of a fractured left orbital bone. strong>MARTIN KING LUTHER JR. DAY STATS /strong> The Hawks improved to 17-9 on the holiday, with seven straight victories. The Knicks fell to 20-11 with a two-game winning streak snapped. strong>CARMELO CONCERNS /strong> Anthony has a no-trade clause and would need to agree to any deal. Coach Jeff Hornacek, though only in his first season here, says Anthony, like all players, has to deal with trade speculation. 'I think he does a great job of dealing with it and handling that kind of stuff. But does it affect him? I am sure it does in some way,' Hornacek said. 'But hopefully like most players, the trade deadline comes and goes every year.' strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Hawks: /strong> /em>Visit Detroit on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time). The teams have split two meetings, with the Pistons winning 121-85 in Atlanta on Dec. 2 (Dec. 3, PHL time). em> strong>Knicks: /strong> /em> Visit Boston on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time). The Knicks have lost four straight in the series and four in a row in Boston. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 16th, 2017

Chinese football: action planned on 'irrational' salaries

BEIJING (AP) — China's football association said Monday it plans a series of measures in response to 'irrational' spending by clubs on transfer fees and player salaries, amid concerns that foreign stars are crowding out local talent and harming the country's goal of becoming a global force in world football. The Chinese Football Association said in a statement Monday that the unidentified steps would target the 'operations and management' of teams in the top-tier China Super League and the China Premier League one step below it. The new measures will address 'recent irrational investments by clubs, high-figure transfer fees and salaries paid to domestic and international athletes and other issues,' the CFA said in a news release. Gaudy spending by Chinese clubs on players such as Argentina's Carlos Tevez has drawn global attention, raising fears among some that foreign stars are depriving local players of opportunities to grow. That could stifle the government's attempts to produce talent capable of achieving its stated goal of winning the World Cup by 2050, part of Chinese President Xi Jinping's push to make football success a national priority. Even in that endeavor, China is relying heavily on foreign talent, having hired veteran Italian coach Marcello Lippi to helm the men's national team. Other rules announced by the CFA appeared firmly aimed at addressing the lack of opportunities for Chinese players. They reduce the number of foreign club players who can appear at any given time from four to three and state that each team's starting list must include at least two Chinese players under age 23. Despite misgivings, Chinese clubs have continued to spend heavily over the past year to attract mainly South American stars. Apart from Tevez, whom Shanghai Shenhua said it paid an $11 million transfer fee to Argentine club Boca Juniors to acquire, they include Oscar, purchased from Chelsea, Brazilians Hulk, Ramires, Alex Teixeira and Paulinho, Colombian striker Jackson Martinez and Argentine forward Ezequiel Lavezzi. Altogether, Chinese Super League clubs splashed out close to $300 million in the winter transfer window on big names. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 16th, 2017

Diego Maradona hopeful of future Napoli role

  NAPLES, Italy (AP) — Former Napoli star Diego Maradona is in talks to work with the Serie A side, where he is still idolized nearly 27 years after leaving the club. Maradona, who is in Naples for a theatrical event on Monday celebrating the club's first title win, met with Napoli President Aurelio de Laurentiis on Saturday night. 'It was the first step,' Maradona said Sunday. 'First of all I have to sort out the problems I have here in Italy, then I can work for Napoli in Italy and in the world. 'We have to do things well because I want a winning team, a team that can play on level terms against Juve, Inter, Milan and Roma. He understood immediately because in these years he has grown from a president who didn't know much about football to become an expert today.' An Italian court is scheduled to finally end the decades-long battle between Maradona and the Italian government on Feb. 28. Maradona has always insisted he does not owe any of the millions in back taxes the government claims are due. The 56-year-old Argentine arrived in the city on Saturday night and was greeted by more than 100 cheering Napoli fans, who had waited in freezing temperatures outside his hotel for a glimpse of their idol. 'It continues to surprise me,' Maradona said. 'There are kids who have never seen me play and today they get excited and cry for a photo with me. 'Every day I feel the affection and love the Neapolitan people have for me. The father has transmitted it to his son, who has then transmitted it to his and this will never end. After 30 years the same love continues, like the first woman you have in your life.' Maradona led Napoli to its only two league titles in 1987 and 1990 and scored a club record 115 goals between 1984 and 1991. 'After a match against Cremona at the beginning of the season which didn't count for anything but which drew 80,000 people, I understood that here at Napoli we needed to play for the title,' Maradona said. 'I came from Barcelona, where we could win, draw or lose, but here at Napoli no, I couldn't lose, I told myself then. 'I would have been ashamed to have 80,000 people and then not to win. And we won everywhere, at Juve, at Inter, at Roma... And if now Napoli can think it can win the title, it is thanks to me.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 15th, 2017

Bypassing Obama, Russia invited Trump team to Syria talks – report

Bypassing Obama, Russia invited Trump team to Syria talks – report.....»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsJan 14th, 2017

Thomas steadies Celtics, Horford triumphant in return home

em>By George Henry, Associated Press /em> ATLANTA (AP) -- Isaiah Thomas scored 13 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter, Al Horford made a triumphant return and the Boston Celtics snapped the Atlanta Hawks' seven-game winning streak with a 103-101 victory Friday night (Saturday, PHL time). Paul Millsap and Tim Hardaway Jr. each had 23 points for Atlanta. The Hawks had won 12-of-16 to move into fourth place in the Eastern Conference. But the third-place Celtics hit 17 three-pointers and got a season-high 26 points from reserve forward Kelly Olynyk to push past a Hawks team that missed too many open looks from the perimeter. Horford, a fan favorite during his nine seasons in Atlanta, was booed many times throughout the night after leaving the team as a free agent last summer. He received a standing ovation, though, and waved happily to the crowd after the Hawks showed a brief video tribute between the first and second quarters. Horford finished with 10 points, six rebounds and six assists in 35 minutes. Thomas was unstoppable in the closing minutes, hitting a 15-footer and a three-pointer before knocking down a 19-footer just with two seconds remaining to make it 103-101. Millsap missed a jumper at the buzzer. Boston blistered Atlanta in the third, using a 20-5 run to go up 77-57 on Terry Rozier's 21-footer. Hardaway's short jumper trimmed the lead to 91-85 with 4:24 remaining, and Mike Dunleavy, making his Atlanta debut for the first time since last week's trade, rattled in a corner triple to pull the Hawks within two at the 2:12 mark. The Celtics hit eight of its first 11 beyond the arc to take a 28-16 lead at the 2:33 mark of the first, but missed their next 10 attempts on three’s to help Atlanta force a 42-all tie on a pair of free throws by Millsap. Jae Crowder added 18 points, including four three’s, for Boston. strong>TIP-INS /strong> em> strong>Celtics: /strong> /em>Began the night ranked 29th in rebounding -- 18 spots behind Atlanta -- but each team grabbed 43 boards. Crowder had a game-high nine and Olynyk had eight. em> strong>Hawks: /strong> /em>G Dennis Schroder picked up his fourth foul midway through the third and finished with just four points on 2-for-11 shooting. Reserve forward Mike Muscala went 0-for-7 from the field and didn't score. Dunleavy, acquired in the trade that sent Kyle Korver to Cleveland on Jan. 7, scored six points on a pair of three’s. strong>KEEP IT COMING /strong> Olynyk, a reserve forward, played so well in the first half, going 7-for-9 from the field for 18 points, that Celtics coach Brad Stevens put him on the floor over Amir Johnson to begin the third. Johnson played just eight minutes of the second half and ended the game scoreless. strong>TRIBUTE TO PISTOL PETE /strong> The Hawks wore dark blue and lime green-trimmed uniforms for the first time since the early 2000s. The strange-looking design was made memorable by Pete Maravich, the star guard who played his first four seasons in Atlanta through 1973-74. strong>MORE TESTS /strong> Celtics C Tyler Zeller, sidelined with a sinus infection, didn't make the trip and was inactive for the sixth straight game. Stevens said Zeller has undergone a gamut of tests because he still feels disoriented. 'He gets final results tomorrow but he's feeling a lot better in the last couple of days,' Stevens said. 'It's dissipated a little bit.' strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Celtics: /strong> /em> Host Charlotte on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time). em> strong>Hawks: /strong> /em> Host Milwaukee on Sunday (Monday, PHL time). .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 13th, 2017

Mexico, U.S. clash over wall as tough trade talks loom

Mexico, U.S. clash over wall as tough trade talks loom.....»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsJan 12th, 2017

US, Mexico could team up and meet FIFA's World Cup need

GRAHAM DUNBAR, AP Sports Writer   ZURICH (AP) — The United States and Mexico could team up and meet FIFA's need for the biggest-ever World Cup in 2026 being staged by the most host nations. Canada has also joined the North American neighbors for informal talks about a three-way bid in a contest that FIFA will complete during American President-elect Donald Trump's first term, according to persons familiar with the talks. They spoke on grounds of anonymity because the talks are confidential. FIFA's decision Tuesday to expand the 2026 tournament — to 48 teams from 32, playing 80 games instead of 64 — increased the chances of co-hosting to share the load. 'In some regions not only does it make more sense, it's the only sense,' said FIFA vice president Victor Montagliani, who leads the Canadian soccer federation. 'I think when more countries share (hosting) it's an opportunity to grow the game.' Asked specifically about a potential three-way bid with the U.S. and Mexico, Montagliani said: 'It's definitely a possibility because the rules now allow for it. 'I also respect the fact that each country has the possibility to put on the World Cup (alone) and I think the discussions will happen quite soon as to what is our region is going to look like at this World Cup as I think it is an opportunity for CONCACAF.' U.S. Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati also took part in a unanimous FIFA Council decision. Though Mexico soccer leader Decio de Maria does not sit on FIFA's strategy-setting panel, he was also in Zurich with a top-level delegation from the regional soccer body, known as CONCACAF. The region was already favored to get its first World Cup since the U.S.-hosted 1994 edition, even before Tuesday's expansion decision. It now demands more high-quality training camps, hotels and transport for 48 teams, plus FIFA officials and hundreds of thousands of visiting fans. 'It means the number of countries that can host it without building major infrastructure and stadiums is limited,' said Gulati, adding his board has a 'fundamental decision' whether to bid. The U.S. could go alone, or bid with one or both neighbors. Uniting the U.S. and Mexico could win support from more than 20 Spanish-speaking federations among 211 FIFA members that now choose the World Cup hosts. It should also appeal to FIFA's sense of soccer having a role in society, amid tense cross-border relations caused by Trump's outspoken comments on Mexico. 'Listen, I'm a football guy, I'm not a politician,' said Montagliani, who like Gulati speaks fluent Spanish. 'The only thing I know from afar about Trump is that he's a big sports guy and he's proven that in the past ... so you would hope that football will trump politics. No pun intended.' FIFA typically looks for strong government support, and has it in the next two World Cup host nations Russia and Qatar. Russian deputy prime minister Vitaly Mutko is a FIFA Council member and attended Tuesday's meeting. FIFA has allowed co-costing at just one of 22 World Cups from 1930 through 2022, which included Mexico hosting alone in 1970 and '86. FIFA's former leaders later pledged not to repeat their 'two of everything' experience of 2002 in Japan and South Korea. Still, Infantino campaigned for the presidency last year promising an open mind about pan-regional hosting. FIFA's target is May 2020 to choose the 2026 host, though that could change during meetings being held in Bahrain in May. Asked if bidding could be accelerated if only three candidates emerged, and who all wanted to work together, Infantino said: 'It is premature to discuss about it now.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 10th, 2017

FIFA to expand World Cup to 48 teams in 2026

GRAHAM DUNBAR, AP Sports Writer br /> ZURICH (AP) — FIFA will expand the World Cup to 48 teams, adding 16 extra nations to the 2026 tournament which is likely to be held in North America. President Gianni Infantino's favored plan — for 16 three-team groups with the top two advancing to a round of 32 — was unanimously approved Tuesday by the FIFA Council. It meets Infantino's election pledge of a bigger World Cup, and should help fund promised raises for FIFA's 211 member federations. With 80 matches instead of 64, FIFA forecasts the equivalent of $1 billion extra income at current rates from broadcasting and sponsor deals, plus ticket sales, compared to $5.5 billion revenue forecast for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. FIFA projects an increased profit of $640 million despite some extra operating costs and prize money for teams. FIFA's six continents should find out by May how many extra places they will each get. UEFA wants 16 European teams at the tournament, which is strongly favored to be played in North America. The CONCACAF region has not hosted the World Cup since the 1994 tournament in the United States. American, Canadian and Mexican soccer leaders have had informal talks about a co-hosting bid. Africa and Asia could be winners in a bigger World Cup with up to nine places each. They had only five and four teams, respectively, at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Still, FIFA said it expects the standard of soccer to drop compared to the 32-team format locked in for the next two World Cups in Russia and Qatar. The 'absolute quality' of play, defined by high-ranked teams facing each other most often, is achieved by 32 teams, FIFA acknowledged in a research document sent to members last month. It made 10,000 tournament simulations to reach that conclusion. Instead, Infantino wants to create fervor and months of anticipation back home in the 16 extra nations which would qualify, some probably making their World Cup debut. FIFA has pointed to Costa Rica, Wales and Iceland as examples of teams which overachieved at recent tournaments. FIFA must break with soccer tradition to make its new format work after an original 48-team plan — with an opening playoff round sending 16 'one-and-done' teams home early — was unpopular. Instead, three-team groups will replace the usual groups of four to create simple progress to a knockout bracket. However, it leaves one team idle for final group games and could risk collusion between the other two teams. FIFA said it could guard against result-rigging by introducing penalty shootouts after group games that end in draws. Despite the 16 extra games, FIFA believes the current maximum of stadiums needed will stay at the 12 used by Brazil and Russia. However, the demand for more training bases and hotels means developed countries would be better equipped to win future hosting contests. North America is the strong favorite for 2026 because European and Asian countries are blocked by a FIFA rule excluding continents which hosted either of the two previous tournaments. Russia will host the World Cup next year and Qatar in 2022. South America has been focused on a centenary tournament including original 1930 host Uruguay, and African nations are seen as lacking existing capacity and unlikely to fund multi-billion dollar infrastructure spending. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 10th, 2017

Taiwan leader heads to Americas; US stops set to irk China

BEIJING — An official with President-elect Donald Trump's transition team said yesterday that neither Trump nor transition officials would be meeting with Ta.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJan 7th, 2017

Cavaliers acquire Kyle Korver from Hawks

em>Cleveland Cavaliers press release /em> CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The 2016 NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers have acquired guard Kyle Korver from the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for guard/forward Mike Dunleavy, guard Mo Williams, cash considerations and a protected first-round draft pick (first possible pick is Cleveland's 2019 first round pick), Cavaliers General Manager David Griffin announced Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) from Cleveland Clinic Courts.   “We are extremely pleased to be able to add a player and person the caliber of Kyle Korver to our Cavs family,” said Griffin. “Among the most prolific and dynamic three-point shooters in NBA history, a selfless, and team first competitor, Kyle brings all of the elements of Cavs DNA that we covet on and off the floor. We look forward to welcoming Kyle, his wife, Juliet and their three children to Northeast Ohio and are certain our fans will embrace them with open arms.” In Atlanta, President of Basketball Operations/Head Coach Mike Budenholzer issued the following statement: “We are incredibly grateful to Kyle for his contributions to the Hawks over the last five years. He is a professional in every sense of the word and played a significant part in establishing our culture and in the success this franchise has seen. This is a difficult decision, but one we felt was in the best interest of the organization.” Korver (6'7', 212) played in 32 games (21 starts) for Atlanta this season with averages of 9.5 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 27.9 minutes. He is also shooting .889 from the foul line and .409 from the three-point line, while scoring in double figures 16 times in 2016-17. Korver has spent the last four-plus seasons with the Hawks and currently ranks first on the team’s all-time free throw percentage list at .887 (329-371) and third on the club’s all-time three-point field goals made chart with 818 triples. Korver shot .452 (818-1,811) from the three-point line in his career with Atlanta and hit at least one triple in 311 of 332 games played with the team. Playing in his 14th NBA season, Korver has appeared in 996 games (417 starts) with Philadelphia, Utah, Chicago and Atlanta, owning career averages of 10.0 points and 3.1 rebounds in 26.6 minutes per game. He was an NBA All-Star in 2015 and ranks eighth in NBA history with 1,952 career three-pointers (fifth among active players) and eighth all-time in three-point field goal percentage (.429). Korver has hit 100 threes or more 11 times in his career, including each of the last six seasons. Dunleavy (6'9', 220), who was acquired in a trade with Chicago on July 7, 2016, played in 23 games (two starts) for the Cavaliers this season, averaging 4.6 points and 2.0 rebounds in 15.9 minutes. Williams (6'1', 198) was part of the Cavaliers’ 2016 NBA championship team after signing as a free agent on July 10, 2015 and averaged 8.2 points and 2.4 assists in 18.2 minutes in 41 games (14 starts) last season. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 7th, 2017

NLEX look to ambush TNT in its "home court"

The answer to NLEX's struggles may be found at 'home.' Losers of five straight games by double digits, the Road Warriors are nowhere near the look of contenders in the Philippines Cup. However, Yeng Guiao's boys can start turning things around Saturday as NLEX battles sister team TNT KaTropa in Guiao's home province of Pampanga. Since beating Alaska in overtime to start the season, NLEX has been on a free-fall, a laundry list of disappointments that included injuries and even a trade demand from veteran big man Asi Taulava. But, as the first out of town game of 2017, the Road Warriors can do their coach proud by taking advantage of what should be a home court advantage for NLEX. Standing in their way of redemption is TNT as the flagship MVP franchise look to keep piling up victories to keep in step with Rain or Shine and San Miguel for that twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals. Winning four of their last five games, the KaTropa have adjusted themselves quite nicely in new head coach Nash Racela's system, making TNT fulfill its tag as preseason favorites. Gametime of the MVP sister act is scheduled at 5:00 p.m. at the Angeles University Foundation in Angeles City, Pampanga. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 6th, 2017

Chris Bosh talks about getting a 'taste of retirement'

em>By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press /em> Chris Bosh still is unclear about what his future holds, and while mentioning how he's getting a 'taste of retirement' stopped short of saying he will no longer pursue an NBA career. Bosh has been sidelined since last February because of complications related to blood clots. He's still technically a member of the Miami Heat, though has not been around the team in any official capacity since he failed a physical in September and was not permitted to resume on-court activities. Bosh, speaking at the CES gadget show in Las Vegas, was asked how he's spent time away from the court. 'For me, I kind of just follow my passions and follow what I love to do and use my free time to kind of answer those questions and go through my bad moods and maybe a little light case of depression,' Bosh said. 'Really, to search for what I'm looking for. And I've come to some interesting conclusions. It's all about following my heart and what made me happy.' Bosh did not specifically mention whether he will or will not try to play again, nor did he mention his health status. It's expected that the Heat will waive him sometime after February, after the one-year anniversary of his last game appearance passes. The $76 million that Bosh is owed for this and the next two seasons remains guaranteed, but he would no longer be taking up a massive amount of Miami's salary-cap space. Bosh was speaking on a panel alongside St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Dexter Fowler and Golden State Warriors guard Draymond Green. The panel, titled 'Life Off The Court,' was moderated by Maverick Carter, the CEO of SpringHill Entertainment and the business partner of Bosh's former Miami teammate LeBron James. Bosh said he went to the CES event to meet with people and leverage some business relationships. 'I don't know what's going to come out of it,' Bosh said. 'But we're here.' Bosh had his 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons cut short at the All-Star break after the discovery of blood clots. He missed the last 30 games of the 2014-15 season because of the first known occurrence of the clot issue, and the last 43 games — including playoffs — last season after a second separate situation. Bosh said 'there's still a lot of things' that he has to figure out. 'I'm still learning more about myself and my situation, and really off the court how to function there because I'm kind of getting the taste of retirement now,' Bosh said. 'Just trying to navigate those waters because it gets a little complicated sometimes. ... Hoping one day that the stars align and I figure some things out and things kind of just go my way and I'll be able to do what I want to do. I don't know what that is yet.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 5th, 2017

Heat still struggling, and now hit road for six-game trip

em>By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press /em> MIAMI (AP) — When the Miami Heat return home from their road trip, the season will officially be half over. It's already seemed like a marathon. Barely seven months removed from being a game shy of the NBA's Final Four, the Heat were the first team this season to reach the 25-loss mark. Only Philadelphia and Brooklyn are keeping Miami from having the league's worst record, and it's a paper-thin buffer right now between the Heat and the cellar. Injuries have piled up as well, further adding to the struggle of rebuilding. 'It's not so much frustration,' Heat forward Justise Winslow said, talking about the team's collective mood. 'It's more just like sympathy.' Banged-up and usually beaten, the Heat start a six-game trip in Phoenix on Tuesday night (Wednesday, PHL time). The good news is that the first three games on this swing are against teams that are like the Heat, well below the .500 mark. The bad news is that Miami hasn't beaten anybody on the road in more than a month, and seems to have a different lineup every night. Just in Sunday's (Monday, PHL time) loss to Detroit alone, the Heat were without Goran Dragic, Hassan Whiteside, Dion Waiters, Josh McRoberts and Winslow. McRoberts is out indefinitely with a stress fracture in his left foot, and Whiteside (scratched right eye) and Winslow (right shoulder stinger) did not travel with the team Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) — though that doesn't mean they can't meet the Heat somewhere on this trip. 'We'll get guys back,' coach Erik Spoelstra said. Dion Waiters hasn't played since late November because of a torn groin muscle; he was on the team flight Monday (Tuesday, PHL time), a sign that his return might finally be coming. Whiteside got poked in the eye during Miami's game at Boston on Friday (Saturday, PHL time), when Winslow got hurt on the final play of the game. At this rate, there will be a point where Miami starts thinking more about the future than the present. Plenty of trade talk in the next few weeks will involve the Heat, who have a ton of salary-cap space to use this summer and will undoubtedly hear from contending teams looking to add a player or two for the looming playoff runs. And unless there's some seismic improvement, Miami's NBA draft lottery odds might look pretty good as well. 'I know this about Erik's teams: They're going to play really, really hard,' Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy said of Spoelstra, his longtime friend going back to when they were both part of the Heat staff. Just take some examples from Sunday's (Monday, PHL time) loss: James Johnson dove on the floor to salvage what looked like a sure turnover, setting up a three-pointer. He leaped into the Detroit bench a couple minutes later to save a ball, and the Heat got another triple out of that possession. Rodney McGruder thwarted a 4-on-1 Detroit fast break later in the game as well, though the Pistons wound up scoring on that possession. That's sort of the theme for the Heat season so far. Even when things go right, it's not right enough. 'I'm seeing the guys out there diving on the floor, making winning plays, putting their bodies out there, putting themselves out there,' captain Udonis Haslem said. 'That's how you become a championship team.' Even with Whiteside's numbers looking good — averages of 17.3 points and 14.3 rebounds per game — he's far from a lock for the All-Star team, in part because there's no true center designation in the roster-choosing process. No one currently playing for the Heat has ever been an All-Star, and it's probably reasonable to think that won't change in the next few weeks. For comparison's sake, last year's Heat lineup featured players with a combined 38 All-Star trips. Dwyane Wade's now in Chicago, Joe Johnson is in Utah, Luol Deng is with the Lakers, Amare Stoudemire is in Israel and Chris Bosh is in basketball exile, sidelined by concerns about his blood-clot situations and now seen with Heat teammates only in photos from New Year's Eve gatherings. 'It is what it is,' Winslow said. 'Take it with a grain of salt. Not going to make any excuses. We're all basketball players. We get paid to do this. We get paid to show up on time, get paid to have your brother's back on the court.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 2nd, 2017

Taiwan leader urges China for calm talks as pressure grows

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taiwan's leader on Saturday urged China to engage in "calm and rational" dialogue to maintain peace, vowing not to give in to Beijing's rece.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsDec 31st, 2016

AP Exclusive: Solo talks about future, fight for equal pay

ANNE M. PETERSON, AP Sports Writer   Hope Solo says she hopes that someday she can return to the U.S. women's national team, but in the meantime she vows to keep fighting for equal pay for the players. Solo was handed a six-mon.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 22nd, 2016

Racela stays with FEU

Olsen Racela’s dream of coaching a collegiate team became a reality after he was named to handle the Far Eastern University Tamaraws in the next UAAP season, succeeding his younger brother Nash who is now plying his trade for TNT KaTropa in the PBA.....»»

Category: newsSource:  tempoRelated NewsDec 21st, 2016

Second round of Philippines-European Union free trade talks deferred

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines and the European Union (EU) have pushed back to next year the second round of negotiations for a free trade agreement (.....»»

Category: financeSource:  philstarRelated NewsDec 12th, 2016