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Hamilton title chase returns to track he s dominated

By Jim Vertuno, Associated Press AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Lewis Hamilton usually feels at ease in the U.S. And why not? It's pretty easy to be happy when he's usually finishing first. Yet despite his commanding lead over Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel in the chase for the Formula One championship, the Mercedes driver barely cracked a smile Thursday as he dismissed scenarios that he could clinch the title with a win and another Vettel collapse. Hamilton also fended off speculation that he might take a knee when the American national anthem is played before Sunday's race. Hamilton, the only black driver in Formula One, said he supports the demonstration that began as a protest over treatment of minorities by police that has roiled the National Football League and drawn heavy criticism from President Donald Trump. But when asked if he would kneel on Sunday, the British driver said "I don't have any plans" and was concentrating on the race. "I know black and white people that live here in America, so I get quite a view of what's happening here in the States," Hamilton said, calling the protest movement "awesome." "I'm very much in support of it. But I'm here to win and that's the top of my priorities at the moment and I'm not really focused on anything else." Hamilton dismissed the notion of winning the championship in Texas as "silly." He would clinch his fourth F1 season title Sunday if he finishes 16 points ahead of Vettel. For example, if Hamilton again wins a race which he's won four of the last five years, Vettel would have to finish sixth or lower to give the title to Hamilton. Outside of the two races he didn't finish, Vettel has finished lower than fourth just once. "Sebastian, you cannot expect him to have a difficult weekend, they are going to be quick," Hamilton said. "He has been strong all year. He has had a few technical issues, but the car is as good as it has always been ... I have to continue to keep the pressure on." Yet the Circuit of the Americas would seem Vettel's last realistic chance to keep the title chase alive. He's had some success here, winning in 2013 as part of a dominant season with Red Bull when he won nine consecutive races. He finished second in 2012 when he lost a duel with Hamilton's McLaren. Hamilton has made the Austin race something of a personal playground. He cruised to wins in 2014 and 2016 and his rain-soaked victory in 2015 clinched the season championship with three races left on the schedule. Hamilton won from pole last year and from P2 in 2012, 2014 and 2015. The Briton's American success dates back to 2007 when he won the U.S. Grand Prix in Indianapolis. And he's gotten stronger through the second half of this season. Hamilton has four victories and one second-place finish over the last five races as his lead over Vettel has ballooned to 59 points. "The championship, as long as it is done in the last four races that is my focus. I honestly don't care if it is here or the last race, as long as it is done," Hamilton said. Vettel's problems struck late in the season. After two wins in the first three races, many hoped for an epic title fight after years of dominance by Mercedes. But Vettel's season has been hit by car troubles and a crash in recent weeks. In Singapore, Vettel started on pole but a first-turn crash with teammate Kimi Raikkonen and Red Bull's Max Verstappen knocked out all three. In Japan, he was foiled by the smallest of engine parts — a spark plug — that again knocked him out on the first lap. Even when he finished a brilliant drive in Malaysia, coming from the back to finish fourth, he lost ground to Hamilton. Ferrari team principle Maurizio Arrivabene has pledged the team will fight "right up to the last corner of the last grand prix." The U.S. Grand Prix will be the Formula One debut of Toro Rosso driver Brendon Hartley, who will be the first New Zealander on the grid since Mike Thackwell at the 1984 Canadian Grand Prix. Hartley is a former World Endurance Championship winner in 2015 and a winner of this year's 24 hours at Le Mans. Hartley said the call from Toro Rosso and the trip to Austin happened so fast he's hardly had time to meet his team. "Obviously I want to do the best I can. I'm trying not to put too many expectations on it," Hartley said......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 20th, 2017

Hamilton aiming to build championship lead at Japanese GP

SUZUKA, Japan (AP) — Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton can widen his lead when Formula One wraps up its Asian leg at the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday. With five races remaining, Hamilton leads Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel by 34 points after finishing second at the Malaysian GP. Vettel, despite starting last on the grid, finished fourth in Sepang. Hamilton has won twice before in Suzuka, in 2014 and 2015, and was runner-up to former Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg in last year's race. A win in Suzuka would move Hamilton a step closer to a third F1 title in four years with Mercedes and his fourth overall. Mercedes was slower than Ferrari and Red Bull for the second straight race in Malaysia after similarly struggling for pace in Singapore. 'We're still leading the championship, we've still got a great car,' Hamilton said Thursday. 'Each race is just really trying to understand more about the car because there's constantly something new thrown in the mix, (that) can catch us off guard.' Mercedes was debating whether to run the team's latest aerodynamic package for the Japanese GP. 'After Malaysia, we have found ourselves analyzing our problems, beginning to understand their causes and working on solutions,' Mercedes head of motorsport Toto Wolff said. 'While we work to improve in those areas, we must not forget the many strengths we have shown this season,' Wolff added. 'Our car has taken more pole positions and race wins than any other and we lead both championships.' Vettel, who had a new engine for the race in Malaysia, is a four-time winner in Japan. Red Bull driver Max Verstappen, who overtook Hamilton with ease early on to win the race in Malaysia, is sixth in the standings and will be looking to build on his momentum in Japan. 'Suzuka will always be a special place for me because I made my Formula One debut there,' Verstappen said. 'It's a proper old-school track.' br />   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 6th, 2017

Grosjean escapes injury as loose drain causes practice crash

em>By Jerome Pugmire, Associated Press /em> SEPANG, Malaysia (AP) — French driver Romain Grosjean escaped without injury after clipping a loose drain and flying into the crash barriers in the second practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix on Friday. His tire shredded on impact, catapulting him at full speed from one side of the track to the other. It ended the session with 20 minutes left and, moments later, race director Charlie Whiting and another official from motorsport governing body FIA inspected the damage. It was a spectacular incident but without consequence. Grosjean climbed out of his Haas car unharmed, and was even able to talk about it pretty calmly moments later. 'I didn't see anything. Next thing I knew I was spinning and heading for the wall,' he said. 'I am fine, that is the most important thing.' But it could have been much more serious, with images showing the drain cover sticking up at an angle before Grosjean clipped it. 'It was on the racing line and I had a big hit and impact on rear right. I was spinning and heading to the wall,' Grosjean said, after reviewing footage. 'They need to sort things out, it is a shame. Hopefully we find a good setup for tomorrow and the drains stay in place.' Haas team principal Guenther Steiner was furious. 'Things like this in 2017 shouldn't happen on any circuit,' he said. 'In my opinion this is not acceptable. In a race this would have been a disaster.' Explaining the incident, Whiting said that some welding came loose on a Sepang circuit he claims is 'fatigued' as it hosts a race for the last time. 'One drain grate has come up. It just seems that it has broken away,' said Whiting, explaining that further checks would be made on other drains during the evening. 'We have to get it fixed for tomorrow, of course.' Red Bull team principal Christian Horner was confident the issue would be taken care of. 'The good thing is no one was hurt,' Horner said. 'I'm pretty confident we won't see a repeat issue.' By the time the second practice was over, Ferrari had done enough to secure a 1-2 as Sebastian Vettel set the fastest time followed by Kimi Raikkonen. Vettel has reason to feel confident of securing a second straight pole position in Saturday's qualifying. But it was a different story for Mercedes. Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas struggled with grip and went off track into the gravel within moments of each other. Bottas' left wheel locked as he came out of Turn 10. Hamilton, out of Turn 7, skidded sideways and then backward into the dirt. Hamilton was sixth and Bottas seventh on a poor day for a team that has won three straight drivers' and constructors' championships. 'The car seems to be unbalanced,' Mercedes head of motorsport Toto Wolff said. 'One of the worst Fridays I can remember.' Renault driver Jolyon Palmer and Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz Jr. — who is replacing Palmer next year — also went off track. Although there was a heavy downpour before the first practice, the track had largely dried out by the afternoon. Drivers have raced in far worse conditions. There is a third and final practice on Saturday before qualifying at 5 p.m. local time. Hamilton has won the last two races and holds a 28-point lead over Vettel, who crashed from pole in Singapore two weeks ago. Earlier, in first practice, Max Verstappen posted the fastest time, followed by Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo. Vettel and Hamilton were fifth and sixth respectively. 'We just lacked pace today and we have 12 hours to understand why,' Wolff said. It promises to be a long night in the Mercedes garage. 'We're definitely lacking performance, it seems like Ferrari and Red Bull are very strong,' Bottas said. 'We have work to do if we want to be on the front row. The key area we are going to need to focus on tonight will be getting the maximum out of the tires over one lap.'   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 29th, 2017

On-court digital experience unlocks access to basketball training in Manila

In a city where basketball is the pulse and access to data and training is limited, Nike is launching Nike Hyper Court, the first ever on-court digital experience that unlocks exclusive HD basketball content without the need for data, to inspire ballers across the city to take their game to the next level. Turn up to one of the initial five courts across Manila and ballers can connect to Nike Hyper Court and gain free access to content, powered by Google technology, that includes training drills, elevated member activities and the best of Nike global basketball content. “The passion for basketball in Manila is unlike any other city in Asia. We want to inspire young ballers to realize their full potential through the physical and digital aspects of their sport. Nike Hyper Court enables these ballers to train anytime without worrying about access to training drills and data costs,” said Nike Southeast Asia & India Senior Marketing Director, Bulbul Khera. “Nike Hyper Court, powered by Google, presents a great example of how businesses can partner with the community to customize technology and provide an original, digital solution aimed at empowering Filipino basketball players and youth across the capital. We are excited to see Nike Hyper Court use Google’s technology to change the game. This technology allows for endless possibilities on and off the court,” mentioned Miguel de Andrés-Clavera, Google Creative Technology Lead. The content is designed with a hyperlocal approach with the help of experienced coaches. Features include drills and skills training programs addressing power, quickness and versatility tailored for different types of players, all delivered through a program that learns and makes recommendations from continuous user interaction. Each of the Nike Hyper Courts in the five Barangays (districts) are visually stunning thanks to the design of Arturo Torres, internationally renowned artist known for his signature superhero themed illustrations of rappers, basketball stars and New York Times bestselling books. Arturo’s design for each court features an emblematic identity of five basketball superstars: LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Kyrie Irving. “I want the kids that play on these courts to know that they can be like the superstars I’ve drawn. Sure you have to put in the work, but no one can tell that you can't do something. With Nike Hyper Court you can go out there and prove them wrong – to anyone that's ever said no to you,” said Torres. The first five courts are launching this holiday season: 1. Titan Love Court, BGC – LeBron James Court 2. Ususan Court, Taguig – Kobe Bryant Court 3. Comembo Covered Court, Makati – Kevin Durant Court 4. Scarlet Homes Covered Court, Paranaque – Russell Westbrook Court 5. YCL Covered Court, Quezon City – Kyrie Irving Court.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 17th, 2017

San Beda’s Mocon: ‘Mas malaki ang heart namin cause we’re the champions’

Lyceum of the Philippines set the NCAA 93 Men’s Basketball Tournament on fire in the elimination round. Coming into Game 1 of the best-of-three Finals, however, they didn’t have something San Beda College had in abundance – championship experience. And so, the Red Lions finally solved the puzzle that once was the Pirates to seize a 1-0 lead in the series last Friday. Along with moving one win away from their league-leading 21st title, the Mendiola-based squad wanted nothing more than to flex the muscles of their championship experience. “This is the Finals, this is a test of character. We’d like to show everybody na sinasabing Lyceum has all the heart,” veteran forward Javee Mocon said. He then continued, “We’d like to show na mas malaki ang heart namin ‘cause we’re the champions.” Indeed, that heart has been proven time and again in the last decade or so as they have won nine of the last 11 championships. Now in a series where they are the unlikely underdogs, San Beda actually has extra fuel to the fire. “We want to show everybody na we’re the best team. Lahat, pinag-uusapan sila e,” Mocon furthered. He then continued, “Kami, low-key lang, pero we will show everybody na ‘di kami mag-back down.” Indeed, being all too familiar in playing on the biggest stage and under the brightest lights is the Red Lions’ biggest advantage over their upstart challengers. “The last 12 years na Finals kami, siyempre big pressure and nako-control na namin lahat. Na-experience na namin ‘to lahat so we know how to handle everything already,” he said. And in heading into Game 2, Mocon had one more challenge for himself and his teammates. As he put it, “Sila lang nakatalo sa amin, twice pa. Na-sweep nila ang eliminations so we have to sweep them sa Finals.” Game 2 of the Finals between San Beda and LPU is on Thursday at the Araneta Coliseum. All of the action will be on S+A, S+A HD, and livestream. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 15th, 2017

Sebastian Vettel wins Brazilian GP after 7 winless outings

SÃO PAOLO, Brazil – Sebastian Vettel bounced back from his world championship disappointment in fine style on Sunday, November 12 when he won a sunlit Brazilian Grand Prix for Ferrari. The 4-time champion took the lead at the start and, apart from a period after his pit-stop, controlled an incident-packed race ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsNov 13th, 2017

Towns leads Timberwolves past floundering Mavericks 112-99

MINNEAPOLIS -- Karl-Anthony Towns had 31 points and 12 rebounds, Andrew Wiggins added 23 points on 9-for-14 shooting and the Minnesota Timberwolves beat the floundering Dallas Mavericks 112-99 on Saturday night for their first four-game winning streak in nearly five years. Holding Mavericks star Harrison Barnes scoreless in the second half, the Wolves enjoyed a blowout for once after the margin of their previous five victories totaled just 17 points. The last time they won four games in a row was Dec. 7-15, 2012, when Towns was just a junior in high school. Coming off a career-low two points Wednesday at New Orleans, when foul trouble against bulwarks DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis limited him to 22 minutes, Towns responded like the Timberwolves needed him to and thought he would. He had seven points and two rebounds during a 13-0 run late in the third quarter that pushed their lead to 25 points. Barnes finished with 17 points for the Mavericks, who have the worst record in the NBA and their first 1-10 start since the 1993-94 season when they staggered out of the gate at 1-23 and finished 13-69 in coach Quinn Buckner's only year on the job. With franchise cornerstone Dirk Nowitzki not the same as his younger self, they've been relying heavily on their bounty of point guards. Dennis Smith Jr. had 18 points and Devin Harris (15 points) and J.J. Barea (14 points) provided a few sparks off the bench, but there's just not enough production to be found. The Mavericks entered the game with the third-lowest scoring average in the league. The Wolves improved to 6-1 with linchpin Jimmy Butler on the floor, having lost both games the tenacious, versatile small forward missed with a virus, but the upside to this one was that they won with minimal impact from their offseason headliner acquisition. Butler averaged 21.3 points over the previous three games, but the player getting the third-most minutes per night in the NBA was able to rest more than usual down the stretch with the Wolves in command from the middle of the first quarter on. Butler finished with a season-low four points in 34 minutes. Taj Gibson picked up some slack with 12 points and 10 rebounds, and Jeff Teague had 11 points and 10 assists. The reserves, playing as a five-man unit for long stretches, contributed often, too. Nemanja Bjelica and Tyus Jones each sank a pair of 3-pointers in the second quarter. Jamal Crawford used a shake-and-bake move for a 20-foot pull-up jumper he swished for a 90-62 lead that was the largest of the game for the Wolves. ROUGH ROAD AHEAD The Mavericks might have to wait a while longer for that next win. Their next 10 games include two matchups each with Oklahoma City and San Antonio and one against Cleveland, and all but one of them are against teams that made the playoffs last season. The vastly improved Timberwolves are the only outlier. They visit Dallas on Nov. 17. TIP-INS Mavericks: Nowitzki had seven points on 3-for-8 shooting in 22 minutes. ... Salah Mejri started at center for the first time this season and only the 18th time in 114 career games. The 7-foot-2 Tunisian, who had 13 rebounds and five blocks against the Pelicans, went scoreless in nine minutes of action while picking up three fouls. Timberwolves: Bjelica is second in the NBA in 3-point shooting, behind Oklahoma City's Raymond Felton. He's the only player on the team with at least one make from behind the arc in all nine games this season. ... The Wolves have attempted more free throws than their opponent in all nine games. UP NEXT Mavericks: Travel to Washington to play the Wizards on Tuesday night, their only game in the next six days before hosting the defending Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers next weekend. Timberwolves: Stay home for the second half of a back-to-back set, hosting the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday night before a road trip to face the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 5th, 2017

U2 releases full album details, tour dates

U2 has announced details of its hotly anticipated album "Songs of Experience", which is due out Dec. 1, and revealed that it will be supported by a North American tour kicking off next spring. "Songs of Experience", the band's 14th studio album, is inspired by advice given to lead singer Bono to "write as if you're dead" and is being called "a collection of songs in the form of intimate letters to places and people close to the singer's heart." On Wednesday, U2 revealed the album's track listing, with 13 tracks included on the album and four bonus tracks added to the deluxe version. Those who pre-order the album will get three instant downloads: the previously released track...Keep on reading: U2 releases full album details, tour dates.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsNov 2nd, 2017

Scorpions eye solo UCBL lead vs Pirates

MANILA, Philippines — Defending champion Centro Escolar University seeks to regain the solo lead today as it takes on Lyceum-Batangas in the Universities and.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsOct 18th, 2017

24 NBA questions before 17-18 tips off

By David Aldridge, TNT analyst The season starts on Tuesday night (Wednesday, PHL time). You’ve been waiting patiently all summer with your questions. Fire away.     1. So … what’s the point of playing this season? The Golden State Warriors are still the prohibitive favorites to repeat this season, next season and into the foreseeable future. But it was good to see a good chunk of the Western Conference -- the Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder and Denver Nuggets, to name three teams -- not fold before the first card is dealt. That fact alone is incredibly important. The Warriors are still the best team in the West, without question. But if teams don’t even try to get better, or spend money to compete, the whole rationale for playing fades away. The Thunder could have rode Russell Westbrook alone to another first-round playoff loss, watched him walk out the door in free agency next summer and thrown up its hands, plead ‘woe is us and all small-market teams,’ and enjoyed a luxury tax-free life for the next few years. The Rockets could have just kept selling tickets to fans to watch James Harden and his pals shoot 50 threes a game for the next two or three years. It’s an appealing brand of basketball. Denver could have just kept building through the Draft, climbing a few more wins here or there for a while, and snuck into the eighth seed, choosing to be comfortable rather than bold. But they didn’t. They’ve called and raised. In all likelihood, it won’t be enough to beat Golden State. But those teams can sleep well at night. They’re not cheating their players, or fans. 2. So, is OKC now a legit threat to the Warriors? The short answer: no. But it’s closer. Carmelo Anthony will be as good a third option as anyone in the league has, though; he will eat regularly on the weak side as defenses scramble to handle Westbrook-Paul George pick and rolls; a quick seal and ‘Melo will be off to the races. If coach Billy Donovan goes small ball with Patrick Patterson at the five, there will be many nights when OKC drops a 130 spot. Yes, the Thunder’s defense is going to be an issue; while Enes Kanter was a sieve off the bench, he was coming off the bench, playing behind Steven Adams. Anthony will be starting and playing big minutes, many at the four. But it won’t matter most nights when the Thunder is up 20 to start the fourth quarter, after 36 minutes of Westbrook sorties, George 3-pointers and transition dunks, and Carmelo post-ups and spot-ups (he shot 44.8 percent last season on catch and shoot shots. Among forwards who played 30 or more minutes last season, per NBA.com/Stats, only Kevin Durant, Otto Porter and Kawhi Leonard shot better). The Thunder can guard you with George, Andre Roberson and Adams and they can outscore you with Westbrook and George and ‘Melo. They have a solid bench (Patterson, Ray Felton, Jerami Grant, Alex Abrines) and Westbrook won’t be physically spent by the end of the 2018 playoffs. Wait; what am I saying? Of course he’ll be spent. But he’ll also be playing way deeper into May. 3. Did not getting Anthony hurt Houston or nah? The Rockets -- okay, Chris Paul -- wanted this done bad. It won’t hurt Houston in the regular season, when Paul and James Harden will dominate. And while Harden didn’t like Kevin McHale’s critique of his leadership, Mac was spot on. That doesn’t make “The Beard” a bad guy or teammate -- people gravitate to their comfortable roles in life, and CP3 is a natural-born leader. Harden will, one thinks, be more comfortable with slightly less light on him. They’ll do fine playing together and off one another. But the shadow of the Rockets’ implosion from deep -- 29 of 88 on three-pointers the last two games against the Spurs in their Western Conference semifinals series -- still hangs over them. Ryan Anderson was negated in the postseason. There’s a reason CP3 pushed for ‘Melo so hard. The Rockets will need unexpected consistent offense from a P.J. Tucker or Luc Mbah a Moute in May if they have any hopes of playing in June. 4. Can we just start the Cleveland-Boston East finals now? Maybe Toronto, with C.J. Miles shooting 40 percent on 3-pointers to complement Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, will break up what seems inevitable. Maybe Washington, with its super-solid starting five intact, now has the mental toughness to bust past the second round, where it’s been beached three of the last four postseasons. But it doesn’t feel like that. Boston, ultimately, should be a lot better this season than last. It will take a while for coach Brad Stevens to figure out the rotation and whether Jaylen Brown can really stick at the two, but ultimately, the Celtics have two dynamic playmakers/scorers in Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, and with Al Horford providing the glue at both ends, they’re going to be a load by the end of the season. And while Cleveland will have to wait a while for Isaiah Thomas, the Cavs have more than enough firepower until Thomas can make his debut. Whatever Dwyane Wade has left will be accentuated playing with James, and Kevin Love (holy moly, is he underrated) will feast drawing slower, bigger centers out to him on the perimeter. J.R. Smith doesn’t like losing his starting job to Wade, and he should be ticked. But he nonetheless will help Cleveland’s bench, which will be incredibly difficult in its own right with Tristan Thompson and Kyle Korver complementing Smith. And that’s before Thomas returns, which will put Derrick Rose on that second unit. There won’t be any rest for defenses who’ll then have to contend with a rested James, et al, coming back. It says here that not only will the Cavs not miss Irving offensively, they could be even more diverse and difficult to guard this season. Not to mention that James is supremely motivated to make an eighth straight Finals. 5. Could Curry break his record of 402 3-pointers in a season? At first glance, with Durant and Klay and Draymond (and, now, Nick Young) all needing to get fed as well, it would seem impossible for Curry to best the mark he set two years ago, on the 73-9 regular season team. But consider: coach Steve Kerr thinks a new guy always blossoms in his second year with the Warriors, which means Durant should be even more lethal offensively this year, as the Warriors’ offense reaches an even higher level of efficiency. And the way they move the ball, it’s not a stretch to think that with defenses tripping over themselves to get to Durant, Curry could get into one of those ridiculous grooves that could leave him within striking distance of 402 by the end of the season. 6. Could the last one in the Eastern Conference turn out the lights? The New York Knicks were hardly a power in the East before trading Anthony, but his departure creates one more team that will struggle to win 35 games this season. With the paucity of talent there should be at least four 50-win teams in the East -- Cleveland, Boston, Toronto and Washington -- with the Milwaukee Bucks knocking on the door. 7. Who’s going to regret their offseason? The Bucks were fine off the court -- their new arena is already more than halfway constructed and looks like it’s going to be a gem -- although the surrounding mall that is supposed to be part of the complex is not going up as quickly. But the Bucks didn’t address their bigs-heavy roster and move some of the surplus -- how can coach Jason Kidd keep all of Greg Monroe, Jabari Parker and John Henson happy with Thon Maker scarfing up more and more frontcourt minutes? -- for the shooting Milwaukee still needs. The East is so open, and Milwaukee is so close to breaking through into elite status with Giannis Antetokounmpo an elite performer. 8. Rudy Gay -- sneaky good pickup? Gay says he’s cool starting or coming off the bench for the Spurs, but he’d best as San Antonio’s sixth man, at least to start things. Bringing Pau Gasol off the bench didn’t work so well, so if he’s starting at center, coach Gregg Popovich can’t go small ball with “Cousin” LaMarcus Aldridge at the five and Gay at the four alongside Kawhi Leonard. (Current state of Spurs fans’ cuticles here and here as they consider a season with an extended Klaw absence if this quad injury doesn’t improve soon.) The Spurs could have some serious firepower in reserve if Gay and Patty Mills come off the bench, but Mills or Dejounte Murray will likely have to start at the point until Tony Parker comes back. 9. Speaking of Popovich … Should he and Steve Kerr and Stan Van Gundy stick to sports? No. 10. Who’s gonna be Kia Rookie of the Year? I say Markelle Fultz. What, you thought I was gonna pick against a DeMatha Catholic man? (Actual unretouched photo of me as a sophomore at the most successful high school in the history of the United States may or may not be here). Playing off of Joel Embiid, J.J. Redick, Robert Covington … it’s hard to see Fultz not looking really good when he should have all kinds of room to operate. Lonzo Ball will put up bigger numbers, and Tatum will be on a better team. But Boston was good last year, and Jayson Tatum will likely not play as much as the others. The Sixers are poised for a big jump up in the standings, and that’s always a narrative that voters like and get behind -- which is what will hurt Dennis Smith Jr.'s chances in Dallas. 11. What does Dwyane Wade really have left? Now that the inevitable buyout of Wade’s $24 million deal by the Bulls has led to the equally inevitable trek to Cleveland to play with James, can the 35-year-old Wade still be a significant contributor on a title contender? Given the general dysfunction in Chicago last season, you can dismiss most of the good and bad numbers Wade put up, with two exceptions: he still averaged almost five free throw attempts per game, and he shot 31 percent on 3-pointers -- not great, but more than double his anemic 15.9 percent behind the arc in 2015-16, his last with the Miami Heat. Wade obviously knows the cheat code for how to most effectively play off of James, so he’ll use the regular season to learn his teammates and be ready for the playoffs. But can Wade hold up over seven games defensively if he has to chase, say, Bradley Beal around, or try to deny DeRozan his preferred mid-range spots, and still be productive offensively? 12. Back to the Sixers -- how good will they be? My guess is they’ll pretty good in the 60 or so games I anticipate Embiid will play this season -- I’m assuming several designated off days for him during the season, not another injury. The mix of young talent (Fultz, Embiid, Ben Simmons, Dario Saric, Covington) and crafty vets (Redick, Amir Johnson) should mesh to make the 76ers a very tough team to defend. But Philly has to resolve the Jahlil Okafor situation, and in fairness to him, give him a fresh start somewhere else with a trade as soon as possible. If I were a good team that would be hard-pressed to add a free agent any time soon and feels a player short of true contention -- I’m looking at you, Memphis Grizzlies and Wizards -- I’d work hard to get the new, slimmed-down Okafor on my squad while he’s still on his rookie contract and make him the focal point of a kick-ass second unit. 13. Should we feel some kind of way about the Trail Blazers? I’m picking up what you’re putting down. A full season of the “Bosnian Beast” in the middle, it says here, will vault Portland into the top four in the West. Note I said “full season.” That means Jusuf Nurkic has to give coach Terry Stotts between 65-70 starts for the above premonition to be, as they say in the legal world, actionable. If so, Nurkic’s underrated scoring and passing out of the post will only make Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum that much more deadly out front, along with improving Portland’s defense. Per Basketball-Reference.com, the Blazers were 11.6 points per game better than the opposition with those three on the floor together and a +5 when their regular five-man lineup with Maurice Harkless and Al-Farouq Aminu joined the guards and Nurkic. And that’s pronounced, “Noor-kitch,” accent on Noor. 13. A little movie break ... Kevin Costner’s accent in “Robin Hood” -- worst ever, right? Yes, but Natalie Wood’s in “West Side Story” was painful, too. 14. Many have written the post-CP3 Clippers off. Should they? The Clippers are my darkhorse this season -- if they do the right thing and go small more often. They’re doing it more in practice so far than in games because Danilo Gallinari is working through a foot injury, but Blake Griffin at the five and Gallinari at the four could be spicy during the regular season. That would mean Sam Dekker and/or Wes Johnson would have to become credible and dependable at the three, allowing coach Doc Rivers to play a Pat Beverly-Milos Teodosic backcourt more often, which will just be fun. This would, of course, mean less DeAndre Jordan, and … that may not be the worst thing. Nothing against DJ, who is the best defensive big in the league, bar none. Unfortunately, the NBA isn’t about defense any more -- at least not in the traditional sense. Even someone like Jordan who doesn’t just block shots, but also helps snuff out opposing pick and rolls, becomes less valued by the league’s advanced stats crowd if he doesn’t contribute more offensively. The three has gone a long way to tyrannizing the defense-dominant big man out of the game. (Zach Lowe recommends the Wizards try to get Jordan via trade, and it’s not the first time I’ve heard that name mentioned in connection with Washington, the idea being the only chance the Wizards have of beating Cleveland or Boston is to slow them down enough defensively that Wall-Beal-Porter can try and keep up offensively. Washington is definitely a load when Wall gets locked in on D and creates turnovers, and the idea of Jordan inhaling lobs from Wall is enticing to think about. But the Wizards are not -- not -- going to take on a fourth big contract, and Jordan’s surely going to opt out after this season; he’s rightly expecting a massive payday in 2018, and the Clippers certainly now have motive and means to retain him.) Anyway, some Lou Williams, Austin Rivers and/or Teodosic and Willie Reed off the bench isn’t bad, either. 15. Could Kyle Kuzma be the best rookie on the Lakers this season? Don’t @me, LaVar. Kuzma has followed up a very strong Vegas Summer League with high notes in preseason, averaging better than 19 points per game for the Lakers. He’s been dazzling at times, displaying in-between skills that intrigue, and showing why so many teams were trying to trade back into the first round to get the Utah forward before L.A. snagged him with its second and much less heralded first-round pick last June. And there will be minutes available at the four this season. So far, Kuzma has displayed unusual strength for a rookie and confidence in his ability to score. Of course, he’s inexperienced, and like all rookies, has to differentiate between an open shot and a good shot. The other, more famous first-rounder, Lonzo Ball, will almost certainly be the better all-around player in time. For this year, though … hmmm. 16. What does a Hawks fan have to look forward to this season? Honestly, not much. But they’ll always be well-coached and get better. I’d pick one of the young players, like rookie John Collins or second-year small forward Taurean Prince, and concentrate on them during the season. See what they do with their minutes on the floor, and watch how they gradually expand their games at both ends. Seeing a young guy get better as he gains experience and accepts coaching is one of the great joys of watching the NBA every night. 17. Orlando? What gives there? The team’s new braintrust of Jeff Weltman and John Hammond will need some time to fix the roster -- a mélange of athletic wings that have trouble defending and guards that have trouble shooting. The former is addressed somewhat with the signing of Jonathon Simmons from San Antonio, but I don’t see a solution to the latter with any of the existing backcourt contributors. Unless coach Frank Vogel figures out some way to get more turnovers/runouts from his group, they just can’t get in transition enough for their length and legs to make a difference. 18. New Orleans? What gives there? The short answer is, I have no idea. All of NBA Earth has DeMarcus Cousins out of there one way or another (he’s an unrestricted free agent in ’18 and wants to be on a contender/the Pelicans will never pay him what he wants and will have to trade him by the deadline/no way he and Anthony Davis fit together/Wall agitates for a reunion with his former Kentucky big man in D.C./your departure theory here) by this time next year, but we’ll see what coach Alvin Gentry has come up with for “Boogie” and “the Brow” after a summer to think it over. Rajon Rondo being out hurts their depth, but I have to be honest -- I don’t see how he and Jrue Holiday can possibly work together in a backcourt, and Holiday’s the guy the Pelicans just gave $125 million to, so he should probably have the ball in his hands every night, shouldn’t he? I like Ian Clark and Frank Jackson down there, but that untethered three spot burns a hole in the New Orleans sun. Well, at any rate, should be more fun than watching reruns of My Life on the D-List. 19. Favorite D-List Muppet? Beaker. 20. LeBron is leaving Cleveland again after this season, isn’t he? Everything points to yes, and a relocation to Los Angeles to play with the Lakers or Clippers next year – except … what if the Cavs win it all again this year? That’s not an impossible scenario -- in fact, it’s a pretty simple one to lay out: Cavs run roughshod through the Eastern Conference in the playoffs again, get through a good but hardly great Boston team in the conference Finals and set up a fourth straight encounter with Golden State. It’s easy now to say the Warriors dominated the Cavs in last season’s Finals -- but only if you ignore the fact that Cleveland led by six with just more than three minutes remaining in Game 3, only to see the Warriors score the game’s last 11 points to take a 3-0 lead instead of 2-1. And given that Cleveland vaporized the Warriors in Game 4, a 2-2 series would have meant the Cavs just needed to win once in Oracle -- which they’d done twice in the 2016 Finals -- to have a real shot at repeating. The point is, the difference between the teams isn’t as big as Draymond Green would have you believe; the Cavs have no fear of the Warriors, and Jae Crowder gives coach Tyronn Lue a viable on-ball defender for Kevin Durant, leaving LeBron free to play off of Green. And: that unprotected Nets pick, whether one or three or five or seven, is Cleveland’s best recruiting tool. LeBron knows everyone in college basketball and he can literally pick whoever he’d like to finish his career with in Cleveland before handing over the reins. I’m not saying he’s definitely staying, either -- only that his departure isn’t the lead pipe cinch some would have you believe. The season to come will have a lot to do with his next decision. 21. So, how will the playoffs go this season? Eastern Conference (seeds No. 1-8): Cleveland, Boston, Washington, Toronto, Milwaukee, Miami, Detroit, Philadelphia Western Conference (seeds No. 1-8): Golden State, Houston, Oklahoma City, Portland, San Antonio, Memphis, Utah, Minnesota Eastern Conference semifinalists: Cleveland, Boston, Washington, Milwaukee Western Conference semifinalists: Golden State, Houston, OKC, San Antonio Eastern Conference finals: Cleveland over Boston Western Conference finals: Golden State over OKC (you heard me) NBA Finals: Golden State over Cleveland (in seven games) 22. Tell me something crazy that’s going to happen this season that no one’s predicting! Giannis Antetokounmpo. NBA MVP, 2017-18. 23. Are you high? No, ma’am. 24. So, why 24 questions? As always, we start the season with 24 questions (or predictions, or issues, whatever) in honor of Danny Biasone, the late owner of the Syracuse Nationals, whose discovery in 1954 helped save the league. At that time, the NBA was in the midst of a literal slowdown, in large part by teams that were desperate to figure out some kind of way to stay competitive with George Mikan, the league’s first superstar big man, and his team, the Minneapolis Lakers. Teams would hold the ball for minutes at a time without shooting in an effort to shorten the game and give them a chance to beat Minneapolis late. But the end result was boring -- very boring -- basketball. At the owners’ meetings that year, Biasone came up with an idea. NBA games were 48 minutes long. Biasone figured out that in a normal game, one not waylaid by the slowdown tactics, about 120 shots -- 60 per team -- were taken. So, why not just divide the number of minutes in every game -- 2,880 -- by the number of shots in an average game -- 120 -- to come up with some kind of a time limit in which a team had to shoot. And thus, the 24-second shot clock (2,800/120) was born. With the implementation of the shot clock in the 1954-55 season, scoring went way up, as did the quality of play. Teams were now running up and down the floor in order to try and beat the shot clock, complementing the “fast break” game that many colleges had played for years. But the new style in the pros was immensely popular with fans. And it still is. Plus, there’s just something iconic about that clock counting down every 24 seconds. It’s unique to the NBA. Thus, we ask 24 questions, in honor of the guy who owned a bowling alley as well as the Nationals for much of his adult life, and probably enjoyed the bowling more. Longtime NBA reporter, columnist and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer David Aldridge is an analyst for TNT. 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 17th, 2017

NBA names Michelle D. Johnson senior VP, head of ref ops

em>NBA press release /em> NEW YORK – The NBA announced today that retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Michelle D. Johnson, the first woman to lead the United States Air Force Academy, has been named Senior Vice President and Head of Referee Operations. She will begin on Oct. 16 and report to President, League Operations Byron Spruell. Johnson, a distinguished 1981 graduate of the Air Force Academy and one of the top women’s basketball players in school history, will direct the NBA’s officiating program with responsibility for the recruitment, training, development and evaluation of all referees. She will also oversee the NBA Replay Center and leverage the new Officiating Advisory Council as well as manage the league’s transparency initiatives and harness advanced technologies to enhance all facets of the officiating program. “Michelle has decades of experience successfully leading large, highly professionalized organizations and spurring growth through innovation,” said Spruell. “With a disciplined, analytical approach to problem solving and a proven track record of building consensus and acting with the utmost integrity, Michelle has the qualities to maximize the effectiveness of our officiating program.” Johnson will replace Mike Bantom, who is transitioning into a new role with the league after five years as Executive Vice President, Referee Operations. Bantom, a 28-year NBA executive, will be a senior adviser on several development initiatives critical to the league’s operations. “Mike has represented the best of the NBA during his nearly 30 years of service,” said Spruell. “His passion and diligence are reflected in the strength of our officiating program. We’re fortunate to continue benefiting from his expertise and counsel as he serves in a new but familiar capacity with the NBA.” Johnson served with distinction in various Air Force assignments before retiring in August. Most recently, she spent four years as the Air Force Academy’s 19th superintendent – equivalent to a college president. The first woman to hold the position, Johnson directed a four-year regimen of military training, academics, athletics and character-development programs for more than 4,000 cadets. “My love for basketball and the opportunity to help shape the direction of a key operational group within the NBA made this position incredibly appealing to me,” said Johnson. “In the military, I always embraced the challenge of using all available resources to design and implement an ambitious agenda. I look forward to applying that experience to further elevate the NBA’s officiating program.” Johnson’s tenure as superintendent of the Air Force Academy marked her latest trailblazing accomplishment. Previously, she was the Air Force’s first female cadet wing commander, first female Rhodes Scholar (1981-83) and first female inductee into the coSIDA Academic All-America Hall of Fame (2007). A three-time basketball team captain and the second-leading scorer in school history, she was also the first woman inducted into the Air Force Sports Hall of Fame (inaugural class of 2007). Before becoming superintendent, Johnson spent two years as NATO’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Intelligence (2011-13) and served stints at the Pentagon as the Air Force’s Deputy Director for Information and Cyberspace Policy (2007-09) and Director of Public Affairs (2005-07). A command pilot with more than 3,600 flight hours, she was the Air Force aide to Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton from 1992-94. Upon retirement in August, Johnson received the Distinguished Service Medal. Her awards and decorations also include the Defense Superior Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, the Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters and the Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster. In addition, she earned the Aerial Achievement Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Air Force Achievement Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 13th, 2017

Documentary about anxiety taps Michael Phelps

em>By Mark Kennedy, Associated Press /em> NEW YORK (AP) — A new documentary about anxiety argues that everyone to some extent suffers from stress, nerves and social fear. And, to make their point, the filmmakers have enlisted as Exhibit A the most decorated Olympian in history. Michael Phelps appears in 'Angst' to share his story of being bullied and depressed, leading to severe anxiety. The swimmer, winner of 28 Olympic medals, would look in the mirror and not like what he saw. 'Once I opened up about that and things that I had kept inside of me for so many years, I then found that life was a lot easier. I got to the point where I understood that it's OK to not be OK,' he says in the film. 'Angst,' an IndieFlix film designed to be screened at schools and community centers, features candid interviews with children and young adults discussing their anxiety, along with advice from mental health experts and resources and tools. Phelps is like a muscular explanation mark for what the filmmakers wanted to show — that even world champions can feel low. 'I'm grateful because my mission with this film is to help make the world a better place and I believe he is so additive on that level,' said Scilla Andreen, CEO and co-founder of IndieFlix. 'If we can introduce prevention, self-care and well-being to our children — even in the pre-K and kindergarten years — they can have a completely different life.' Andreen hopes the film will reach more than 3 million people around the world from 25,000 community and school screenings. 'Angst' was filmed in the U.S. and United Kingdom and is appropriate for children starting at age 10. 'Anxiety is totally treatable,' she said. 'It can be a precursor to so many things that can then lead to addiction, homelessness, dropping out of school and a host of other mental health challenges.' Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health challenge in the U.S., impacting 54 percent of females and 46 percent of males, with age 7 being the median age of onset, according to the World Health Organization. The American College Health Association has found that undergraduates reporting 'overwhelming anxiety' jumped to 62 percent in 2016 from 50 percent in 2011. 'Talking about it is the most effective thing you can do and, of course, the last thing you want to do,' said Andreen. In addition to talking, writing about your feelings or connecting to music can help. 'Anything that helps you to take a break from the anxiety and move the energy to the front of the brain.' Andreen, whose distribution streaming service embraces projects that push for social change, was bullied as a child and learned something about herself while working on the film. 'Everyone has anxiety. And I learned in making the movie that I have social anxiety. I never even knew that. I just thought I was born less than everyone else and that was my lot in life. I would always have to work harder, try harder, never fit in,' she said. 'I don't feel so alone.' In addition to the documentary, IndieFlix is creating a web-based series on anxiety to dig deeper into the issue and has produced a virtual reality component that allows users to experience a panic attack firsthand. Andreen believes anxiety levels are so high in part because of the pace of modern life and the amount of time people spend with their electronic devices, which takes away from connecting in person and developing empathy. 'We need more face time with each other,' said Andreen, a former Emmy-nominated costume designer. 'We just stopped doing it. We're out of practice, that's all.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 12th, 2017

Colts celebrate Manning's return with 26-23 win over 49ers

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — After blowing a 14-point lead in the final eight minutes of regulation and surviving an interception in scoring position in overtime, Marlon Mack's 35-yard run set up Adam Vinatieri for a 51-yard field goal as the Indianapolis Colts beat the San Francisco 49ers 26-23 on Sunday. Vinatieri made four field goals to move into second on the NFL's career list, one ahead of Gary Anderson (538). Mack and Jacoby Brissett each scored on TD runs for the Colts (2-3), who have won both games against winless teams. San Francisco (0-5) is one of three teams that still has not won this season. The Browns and Giants are the others. In many ways, the mistake-prone game became a sideshow for what happened around it. While many showed up to thank Manning, who played his final home game in Indy on Jan. 8, 2011, most didn't anticipate becoming part of another political statement. Vice President Mike Pence, the former Indiana governor, left shortly after about a dozen San Francisco players dropped to their knees for the national anthem. The Colts locked arms, but none took a knee. Some reports indicated Pence's walkout was planned. President Donald Trump later tweeted: 'I asked @VP Pence to leave stadium if any players kneeled, disrespecting our country. I am proud of him and @SecondLady Karen.' And Peyton Manning was inducted into the Colts' Ring of Honor. strong>PACKERS 35, COWBOYS 31 /strong> ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Aaron Rodgers threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Davante Adams with 11 seconds remaining, lifting Green Bay over the Dallas Cowboys in another thriller nine months after the Packers' divisional playoff win on the same field. Rodgers capped a 75-yard drive in just 1:02, going toward the same end zone as in the playoff game. Adams, active 10 days after leaving the field on a stretcher on a helmet-to-helmet hit that resulted in a suspension for Chicago linebacker Danny Trevathan, had seven catches for 66 yards and two touchdowns. Dak Prescott had given Cowboys the lead on an 11-yard touchdown run with 1:13 remaining to cap a 17-play drive that lasted almost nine minutes. Dallas (2-3) has already matched the number of losses from the magical rookie season for Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott. The Packers (4-1) had gone ahead earlier on Damarius Randall's 21-yard interception return for a touchdown, the third of five lead changes in the fourth quarter. Green Bay rallied from 15 points down in the first half. Aaron Jones had 19 carries for 125 yards and a TD, becoming the first Green Bay running back with 100 yards in his first start as a rookie since Samkon Gado in 2005. Elliott finished with 116 yards on 29 carries. Prescott was 25 of 36 for 251 yards and three first-half touchdowns, two to Cole Beasley and one to Dez Bryant. Rodgers was 19 of 29 for 221 yards and three touchdowns and set up the winning score with an 18-yard scramble. strong>CHARGERS 27, GIANTS 22 /strong> EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (AP) — Philip Rivers threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Melvin Gordon with 2:58 to play and the Chargers rallied to beat the Giants in a game worthy of two teams that started the season 0-4. The touchdown pass was Rivers' third of the game and came three plays after Kyle Emanuel had a sack, forced fumble and recovery against Eli Manning at the Giants 11-yard line. It also came four plays after Odell Beckham Jr. hurt an ankle and become the fourth Giants receiver knocked out of the game. Rivers also hit Gordon on a 6-yard TD pass in the second quarter and had a 25-yarder to tight end Hunter Henry in the third as the Chargers ended a nine-game losing streak dating to late November. Manning had given the Giants a 22-17 lead early in the fourth quarter with a 48-yard TD pass to a wide-open Beckham. New York missed the 2-point conversion attempt after being hit with a delay of game penalty. Manning, who was sacked five times, also threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to backup Roger Lewis Jr. in the third quarter. Orleans Darkwa scored on a 23-yard run and the Giants got a safety in scoring their first first-quarter points this season. strong>JAGUARS 31, STEELERS 9 /strong> PITTSBURGH (AP) — Telvin Smith and Barry Church returned a pair of Ben Roethlisberger's interceptions for touchdowns and Jacksonville stunned Pittsburgh. Jacksonville (3-2) beat the Steelers for the first time in a decade by relying heavily on the NFL's top-ranked pass defense. The Jaguars picked off Roethlisberger five times in all and sacked him twice. Rookie Leonard Fournette ran for 181 yards and two touchdowns for the Jaguars, who are over .500 after five games for the first time since 2010 and have already matched their victory total from 2016. Roethlisberger completed 33 of 55 for 312 yards and his career-high five interceptions, the most by a Pittsburgh quarterback since Mark Malone threw five against Cleveland in 1987. A week after a sideline outburst generated headlines and drew Roethlisberger's ire, wide receiver Antonio Brown caught 10 passes for 157 yards for Pittsburgh (3-2). Brown was also the intended receiver on a pair of third-quarter passes the opportunistic Jaguars turned into points. The Steelers led 9-7 when Roethlisberger looked left for Brown. Jacksonville defensive lineman Abry Jones tipped it into the hands of Smith, who chugged 28 yards to put Jacksonville in front with 6:38 left in the period. The Jaguars defense struck again on Pittsburgh's next series. Roethlisberger tried to hit Brown down the sideline. Jalen Ramsey deflected it and Church came down with it. A 51-yard sprint later and Jacksonville had turned a two-point deficit into an 11-point lead without taking an offensive snap. strong>EAGLES 34, CARDINALS 7 /strong> PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Carson Wentz threw a career-best four touchdown passes and the Eagles continued their impressive start. Wentz tossed three scoring passes in the first quarter, including 59 yards to Torrey Smith, 11 yards to Zach Ertz and 15 yards to Trey Burton. He connected with Nelson Agholor for a 72-yard TD in the third quarter that left six-time Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson shouting on the sideline. The Eagles (4-1) have won three straight games. Carson Palmer and Arizona's one-dimensional offense were held to 279 yards. The Cardinals (2-3) have alternated losses and wins since Week 1. Wentz torched a secondary that features Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu, finishing 21 of 30 for 304 yards. Peterson held Alshon Jeffery to three catches for 31 yards, but Wentz spread the ball around. strong>DOLPHINS 16, TITANS 10 /strong> MIAMI GARDENS, Florida (AP) — Jay Cutler finally silenced the boobirds with a fourth-quarter touchdown pass, and the Dolphins overcame another dismal offensive showing. The jeers started in the first quarter of the Dolphins' home debut, and soon the crowd was chanting for backup quarterback Matt Moore. But coach Adam Gase stuck with Cutler, who capped a 58-yard drive with a 6-yard touchdown pass to Jarvis Landry for the tiebreaking score. The Titans (2-3) played without quarterback Marcus Mariota, who was inactive because of a left hamstring injury suffered a week ago. Replacement Matt Cassel went 21 for 32 for 141 yards and was sacked six times. Miami (2-2) came in ranked last in the NFL in points and yards per game, and struggled against a Titans team that allowed 57 points against Houston a week ago. strong>PANTHERS 27, LIONS 24 /strong> DETROIT (AP) — Cam Newton showed he was very focused on football, throwing three touchdowns to help the Panthers build a lead big enough to hold off the Lions. The Panthers (4-1) scored 24 straight points after trailing 10-3 early in the second quarter. Detroit rallied, but could not stop Newton on his last drive to get the ball back. Newton came under fire for making sexist comments to a female reporter this week. He apologized after losing an endorsement deal and getting criticized by the NFL. He was 26 of 33 for a season-high 335 yards. On perhaps the game's key play, he converted a third-and-19 from the Carolina 24 with a sharp, 17-yard pass to Kelvin Benjamin with 2:00 left while clinging to a three-point lead against a team out of timeouts. Newton threw a 6-yard TD pass to rookie Christian McCaffrey to pull the Panthers into a 10-10 tie early in the second quarter and a 10-yard pass to Devin Funchess for a tiebreaking score with 48 seconds left in the first half. With a perfectly lofted 31-yard pass to Benjamin, the 2015 NFL MVP put Carolina up 24-10 early in the third. Detroit (3-2) struggled to move the ball in the air and on the ground until late in the game. strong>BENGALS 20, BILLS 16 /strong> CINCINNATI (AP) — A.J. Green had a hand in three turnovers that kept it close, but the receiver also pulled off a 77-yard touchdown and another long catch that set up a score. After losing their first three games, the Bengals (2-3) have salvaged their season by getting the ball to their playmakers at decisive moments. Green's 47-yard catch set up a 5-yard touchdown run by Joe Mixon that put Cincinnati ahead to stay in the fourth quarter. The Bills (3-2) got off to an encouraging start by relying heavily on kicker Stephen Hauschka and a defense that led the league, allowing only 13.5 points per game in the first four. The combination wasn't enough this time. Buffalo's depleted offense couldn't take advantage of Cincinnati's three turnovers. Tyrod Taylor's off-target pass was picked off near midfield with 2:14 left, clinching it for Cincinnati. Taylor finished 20 of 37 for 166 yards and was sacked six times. The Bengals changed offensive coordinators after failing to get a touchdown in their first two games. Green complained that they weren't getting the ball to their difference makers. He made the difference Sunday, catching seven passes for 189 yards. strong>JETS 17, BROWNS 14 /strong> CLEVELAND (AP) — Josh McCown came back to Cleveland and beat the team that cut him, throwing two touchdown passes and leading the surprising Jets over the winless Browns, who benched rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer and fell to 1-20 under coach Hue Jackson. McCown went 1-10 in two seasons as a starter for the Browns, who released him on Feb. 7 in a cost-cutting move. The 38-year-old wasn't seeking revenge, but he got it with two second-half scoring tosses. McCown threw a 2-yard TD pass to Austin Seferian-Jenkins in the third quarter and a 24-yarder to Jermaine Kearse in the fourth to give the Jets (3-2) a 17-7 lead en route to their third straight victory. Kearse's TD capped a 97-yard drive after Jackson decided not to try a potential tying field goal — rookie kicker Zane Gonzalez missed two attempts in the first half — and went for it on fourth down. However, running back Isaiah Crowell was stopped short by New York's defense. Jackson also decided to replace Kizer in the second half for backup Kevin Hogan, perhaps a sign the coach is worried about losing his job. Hogan threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to rookie tight end David Njoku. The Browns (0-5) dropped to 2-30 in their past 32 games, but they did finally get to see No. 1 overall draft pick Myles Garrett. Garrett, who missed Cleveland's first four games with a high ankle sprain, got a sack on his first play and finished with two. strong>RAVENS 30, RAIDERS 17 /strong> OAKLAND, California (AP) — Joe Flacco hit Mike Wallace on two deep passes to spark Baltimore's struggling offense, and the Ravens got a fumble return for a touchdown by Jimmy Smith to beat short-handed Oakland. Flacco had struggled to get the ball downfield in losing the past two weeks. He changed that on the opening drive of the game for the Ravens (3-2) when he connected on a 52-yard pass to Wallace that set up an early touchdown and established the tone for the day. The Raiders (2-3), playing without injured star quarterback Derek Carr and two key cornerbacks, played from behind all game as Smith returned Jared Cook's fumble 47 yards for a touchdown that made it 14-0 just 3:50 in. Backup quarterback E.J. Manuel , making his fourth start in the past three seasons, threw a 41-yard touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree and led another TD drive that ended in Marshawn Lynch's 3-yard run . He finished 13 for 26 for 159 yards. But that wasn't nearly enough for the Raiders, who have dropped three straight following a 2-0 start, putting a severe dent in their hopes to challenge in the AFC West. strong>SEAHAWKS 16, RAMS 10 /strong> LOS ANGELES (AP) — Russell Wilson passed for 198 yards and a touchdown, and Earl Thomas forced two of the Rams' five turnovers in Seattle's win. Jimmy Graham scored late in the first half in a defense-dominated win for the Seahawks (3-2), who shut out the NFL's highest-scoring offense in the second half of their second straight win over their NFC West rivals. Thomas made enormous defensive plays early and late for Seattle. The veteran safety stripped the ball from Todd Gurley at the goal line to kill the Rams' opening drive, and he intercepted Jared Goff's fluttering pass at midfield with 6:02 to play. Sheldon Richardson also came through with two big plays, diving to intercept a deflected pass in the third quarter before scooping up Goff's fumble near midfield with 2:45 left. Goff moved the Rams 55 yards in the final 1:09, but Seattle's defense made its final stop. Rams rookie Cooper Kupp barely missed a diving TD grab on third down, and Goff's fourth-down pass to Kupp was too low. Tavon Austin rushed for a 27-yard TD for Los Angeles (3-2), and Goff went 22 of 47 for 288 yards with three costly turnovers. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 9th, 2017

Hamilton wins Japanese GP to move closer to F1 title

em>By Jim Armstrong, Associated Press /em> SUZUKA, Japan (AP) — Championship leader Lewis Hamilton won the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday, taking a major step toward winning his fourth Formula One title. The Mercedes driver crossed the finish line 1.2 seconds ahead of Malaysia GP winner Max Verstappen to claim his eighth F1 victory of the season and third at the Suzuka circuit. Verstappen's Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo was third. 'The track was fantastic today and the team did an unbelievable job,' Hamilton said. 'Max drove an outstanding race. Obviously, it wasn't easy for us.' Hamilton moved 59 points clear of title rival Sebastian Vettel with four races left. Vettel was forced to retire on the third lap when his Ferrari lost power. Starting from pole position next to Vettel, Hamilton held the lead through the first turn. With Vettel out of the race, it quickly became a showdown between Hamilton and Max Verstappen. Hamilton built up a four-second lead over the Red Bull driver through the first 15 laps and made his only pit stop on the 23rd lap. Verstappen pitted a lap earlier than Hamilton, then produced some good laps to cut the lead to 1.7 seconds midway through the race. Verstappen closed to within a second at the start of the final lap but traffic allowed Hamilton to escape once more and seal the narrow win. 'I was able to hold him behind me but he got very close,' Hamilton said. 'We had a bit of traffic but it was very close at the end.' Hamilton's Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas was fourth followed by Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen. The Force India duo of Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez was sixth and seventh, respectively. Haas driver Kevin Magnussen was eighth followed by teammate Romain Grosjean. Williams driver Felipe Massa rounded out the top 10. Vettel's early retirement put a serious dent in his fading hopes of coming back to win the championship. He also had mechanical issues at Malaysia and started at the back of the grid before working his way to a fourth-place finish. 'It is obviously a pity the last two races with the reliability issues,' Vettel said. 'But you know, it's like that sometimes. Of course it hurts, and we're all disappointed.' Sauber driver Marcus Ericsson also retired early when he ran across the gravel and dived nose-first into the barriers. Carlos Sainz lost control of his Toro Rosso, spinning across the gravel into the wall on the outside and retiring after the second lap. Mercedes also increased its lead in the Constructors' standings to 145 points over Ferrari. Red Bull is in third place with 303 points. The next race is Oct. 22 in the United States. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 8th, 2017

Hendricks outduels Strasburg as Cubs top Nats 3-0 in Game 1

em>By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press /em> WASHINGTON (AP) — Kyle Hendricks goes about things completely differently than Stephen Strasburg does on the mound. The kid from Dartmouth relies on a fastball that on a good day reaches 88 mph — about 10 mph slower than Strasburg's — and a deceptive changeup. Instead of power, he gets by on precision, guile and smarts. Hendricks outpitched Strasburg in Game 1 of the NL Division Series, giving up only two hits in seven innings to help the Chicago Cubs open defense of their first World Series title in 108 years by beating the Washington Nationals 3-0 on Friday night. 'That's why we call him Professor,' Chicago second baseman Javier Baez said about Hendricks. 'He knows what he's doing.' Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo produced RBI singles with two outs in the sixth inning for the first two hits off an otherwise-dominant Strasburg. Rizzo added a run-scoring double in the eighth off Ryan Madson. Carl Edwards Jr. threw a perfect inning and Wade Davis finished the two-hitter for a save. Unlike No. 1 overall draft pick Strasburg, Hendricks went in the eighth round. Unlike Strasburg, Hendricks has never been an All-Star. Unlike Strasburg, who already has signed a $175 million, seven-year deal that begins next season, Hendricks earned less than $800,000 in 2017. But this was Hendricks' time to shine. 'He was tricking us tonight,' Nationals manager Dusty Baker said, 'and seems like those kind of guys give us more trouble than guys who throw hard.' The slender righty, who led the NL in ERA last season, gave up a single in the first and another in the second — and that was it for the Nationals. He walked three batters and struck out six. 'He knows the scouting report,' said Jon Lester, who starts Game 2 on Saturday for Chicago against fellow lefty Gio Gonzalez. 'He knows where guys' weaknesses are.' Harper — wearing shoes with 'Pray for Las Vegas' written on the side following the recent mass shooting in his hometown — was 1 for 4 as he tries to regain his timing after returning last week from a 42-game injury absence. Otherwise, Washington's elite hitters — Anthony Rendon, Ryan Zimmerman, Daniel Murphy, Trea Turner and Jayson Werth — were a combined 0 for 17 with three walks. 'Definitely, your confidence builds,' Hendricks said, 'when you start seeing those swings.' The fact that Hendricks approached 90 mph as often as he did was an aberration he and teammates attributed to adrenaline, but one that helped, of course. He also knew he needed to be really good, because of what Strasburg was doing. Strasburg didn't allow a hit until there were two outs in the sixth. Baez reached on Rendon's error at third base to start the inning and was sacrificed to second by Hendricks. One out later, Bryant drove in the first run with a single to right-center and went to second when Harper's throw missed the cutoff man. Bryant, Rizzo said, managed to 'get the monkey off the back in the dugout for all of us.' Rizzo followed by singling to right in front of a diving Harper to make it 2-0. With a heavy beard and a lot of sweat on a muggy, 77-degree night, Strasburg dialed up his fastball to 98 mph and mixed in an unhittable changeup. To cheers of 'Let's go, Strasburg!' from many in a sellout crowd of 43,898, he struck out 10 to set a playoff record for the Expos-Nationals franchise. Strasburg wound up allowing just those two unearned runs in seven innings, with three hits and one walk. 'You're aware of it,' Hendricks said about Strasburg. 'You know how well he's throwing on the other side.' Hendricks threw well, too. 'It was,' Cubs catcher Willson Contreras said, 'a masterpiece.' strong>SUSPENSION /strong> Less than a half-hour before the game, the Nationals announced that assistant hitting coach Jacque Jones has been suspended with pay pending an internal investigation. The team said the suspension is connected to a legal matter. The 42-year-old Jones retired as a player in 2008 after 10 years with four teams. 'That was kind of a downer before the game,' Baker said, 'because he's a big part of the team.' strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Cubs: /strong> /em> Lester makes the 20th postseason start of his career, which includes three World Series titles and an NLCS MVP award last year. He is 9-7 with a 2.63 ERA over his postseason career. em> strong>Nationals: /strong> /em> Gonzalez goes in Game 2 instead of two-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer, who is slated for Game 3 at Wrigley Field on Monday. Scherzer has been dealing with a sore right hamstring. It will be Gonzalez's first playoff start at home since Game 5 of the 2012 NLDS against St. Louis, when he was staked to a 6-0 lead in a game Washington lost 9-7. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 7th, 2017

Altuve hits 3 homers, Astros beat Red Sox 8-2 in ALDS opener

em>By Kristie Rieken, Associated Press /em> HOUSTON (AP) — Jose Altuve hit three home runs in an unprecedented show of power for the diminutive major league batting champion as the Houston Astros roughed up Chris Sale and the Boston Red Sox 8-2 Thursday in Game 1 of the AL Division Series. Buoyed by chants of 'MVP' in each trip to the plate, the 5-foot-6 Altuve hit solo homers in the first and fifth innings off Sale. He connected again in the seventh off reliever Austin Maddox to give Houston a quick boost in the best-of-five series. It was just the 10th time a player hit three homers in a postseason game, and first since Pablo Sandoval for the Giants in the 2012 World Series opener against Detroit. Babe Ruth did it twice. After Altuve rounded the bases on his third solo homer, which landed on the train tracks atop left field, George Springer grabbed the All-Star second baseman's right biceps and examined it as if searching for an explanation for his out of the ordinary pop. Altuve's teammates then goaded him into exiting the dugout for a curtain call. And as he tipped his hat to the crowd one fan near the dugout held a sign that proclaimed in blue block letters: 'That Kid Can Hit.' 'As soon as I cross the white line, I feel the same size as everyone else,' Altuve said after the win. Justin Verlander pitched six effective innings and improved to 6-0 since Houston got him in late trade with Detroit. Sale, the major league strikeout leader, was tagged for seven runs in five-plus innings of his postseason debut. Game 2 is Friday, with Dallas Keuchel starting for the Astros against Drew Pomeranz. Among the shortest players in the majors, Altuve couldn't be a bigger leader for the Astros. He's one of the few players remaining who languished through a rebuilding process that led to three straight 100-loss seasons from 2011-13, and is perhaps the biggest reason this team ran away with the AL West title this year. Altuve hit .346 this year, his fourth straight 200-hit season. He had 24 home runs this year — this was his third career multihomer game, and the first time he'd hit three all at once. Quite a comeback from his only previous postseason — in 2015, he batted just .154 (4 for 26) without an extra-base hit. Alex Bregman and Altuve hit back-to-back homers in the first inning, making Sale look a bit rattled. The Red Sox tied it up by scoring a run each in the second and fourth innings before Marwin Gonzalez lined a two-run double in the fourth for a 4-2 lead. There were two outs in the fifth inning when Altuve connected again to push the lead to 5-2 and make him the third player in franchise history with a multihomer game in the postseason, joining Carlos Correa and Carlos Beltran. The crowd of 43,402, which included Hall of Famers Nolan Ryan, Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio, waved bright orange towels as Altuve trotted around the bases. Sale never got into a rhythm and was chased after walking Josh Reddick with no outs in the sixth. The left-hander was tagged for nine hits and matched a season high for most runs allowed. After fanning 308 in the regular season, he struck out six. But he allowed three homers and three doubles, marking just the second time in his career that he's given up six extra-base hits. Verlander, a playoff veteran who was starting his 17th postseason game, yielded six hits, struck out three and walked two to help the Astros take the early lead in the series. Sandy Leon had two hits and drove in a run and Rafael Devers added an RBI for the AL East champs. strong>TRAINER'S ROOM /strong> Red Sox designated hitter Eduardo Nunez was carried off the field in the first inning with a right knee injury and did not return. Nunez pulled up running to first base on a groundout in the first inning before falling to the ground. He writhed in pain as manager John Farrell and trainers ran to his aid. He remained on the ground for a couple of minutes before trying to walk off the field with their help. Nunez appeared to be unable to put any weight on his knee. Farrell and another Red Sox employee eventually picked him up and carried him off the field and into the dugout as he winced in pain. Nunez missed 19 of Boston's last 20 regular-season games with what the team called a sore knee, but the club thought he had recovered enough to contribute in the postseason. The Red Sox said he had re-aggravated his knee injury and he was replaced by Hanley Ramirez. strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Red Sox: /strong> /em> Pomeranz will make his first career postseason start after going 0-0 with a 4.91 ERA in two relief appearances in the playoffs. em> strong>Astros: /strong> /em>Keuchel believes that the experience he got pitching — and winning — two games in the 2015 playoffs will help him in his second trip to the postseason. 'I'm grateful that we got some experience in 2015 and hopefully that will carry us to the championship series,' he said. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 6th, 2017

Vettel saves face for Ferrari after Raikkonen's misfortune

em>By Jerome Pugmire, Associated Press /em> SEPANG, Malaysia (AP) — Sebastian Vettel rescued a woeful day for Ferrari at the Malaysian Grand Prix with a brilliant drive from last place to fourth. It was purely damage limitation, as he drifted 34 points behind Lewis Hamilton in the title race, but it softened the blow for Ferrari. Red Bull's Max Verstappen won the race ahead of Hamilton with the other Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo in the final podium position. Having seen both of its cars fail to score points at the previous race in Singapore, Ferrari lost Kimi Raikkonen moments before this race. Vettel started from the back of the grid after engine problems on Saturday, while Raikkonen did not start at all. With less than 10 minutes before qualifying, Ferrari's mechanics hurriedly wheeled the Finnish driver's car back to the garage. Team principal Maurizio Arrivabene was wiping his face anxiously moments before the start. Raikkonen failed to get back on track in time. He could ultimately have made a start from the pit lane but could not even do that. 'Obviously we had some issue, I don't know what it is exactly, I don't think any of us know right now,' Raikkonen said after the race. 'It's far from perfect, but it's one of those things that happen.' Raikkonen had qualified in second place behind Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton and, given how fast Ferrari was in dominating both practice sessions on Saturday, he may well have had a shot at victory. 'I'm pretty certain I would have had a very good car today,' the 2007 F1 champion said. 'We'll never know.' Within 15 minutes of the race, the Finnish driver was already in his shorts and walking back to the team's motorhome, while Vettel was charging through the field. 'We were the quickest car for the majority of the race,' Vettel said. 'It was more entertaining, the first couple of laps in particular.' As if Ferrari's luck could not get any worse, Williams driver Lance Stroll later smashed into the side of Vettel's car on the warm-down lap, cutting it almost in half. 'That's impossible,' a stunned Vettel said. 'He's shunted into my car.' In a light-hearted moment, the German driver hitched a lift back to the paddock by sitting on the side of countryman Pascal Wehrlein's Sauber. Stewards took no action after investigating the incident, but Vettel blamed Stroll. 'I went on the outside to pick up a bit of rubber. I think Lance wasn't looking and wanted to do the same, but that was too late, I was there already,' Vettel said. 'That's completely unnecessary. I think he just didn't look.' Before the race, Vettel was handed a 20-place grid penalty after Ferrari made three component changes to his engine. Teams are allowed to make four power unit changes per season before incurring penalties. Ferrari had already made the fourth change on Saturday, when an electronic malfunction was detected late into the third practice session. Vettel then encountered further problems in the first part of qualifying when his car lost power. Because he failed to set a time in qualifying, the four-time F1 champion was at the back of the grid anyway, so the 20-place grid drop made no difference on the day. Hamilton, who was second here, won in Singapore after Vettel crashed from pole position heading into the first turn, taking out Raikkonen with him. Mercedes is moving closer to a fourth straight drivers' and constructors' championship, although fortunes might change for Vettel if he maintains his pace. The title race continues next weekend at the Japanese GP in Suzuka.   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 2nd, 2017

Bottas downbeat after 5th place in Malaysia

em>By Jerome Pugmire, Associated Press /em> SEPANG, Malaysia (AP) — A downbeat Valtteri Bottas is experiencing 'the most difficult time' in his career, despite being third overall in the Formula One championship race. Bottas drives for Mercedes, the dominant team in F1. He has won two races and secured 10 podiums overall since joining this year from Williams. He has illustrious company, with three-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton his teammate. But after starting and finishing fifth in Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix, Bottas looked and sounded totally despondent. 'For sure it's difficult. Being honest maybe the most difficult time in my career so far in terms of how it feels every time we go in the car,' the 28-year-old Finnish driver said in the Mercedes motorhome. 'If you're one second off the pace it's not nice and it definitely is stressful.' He had reason for concern, given that Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel started from last but overtook him to finish fourth on the Sepang track. 'If I keep doing races like this it's not going to be a good thing for anyone. The team needs the points, I need the points,' Bottas said. 'For various reasons there are still various question marks. I just want to turn it around quickly.' Even though Bottas finished third two weeks ago in Singapore, he was sixth in qualifying there. His podium place owed much to Vettel causing a crash on the first turn that took out Vettel's teammate Kimi Raikkonen, Max Verstappen of Red Bull and McLaren's Fernando Alonso. Heading into the summer break, Bottas was touted as an outsider for the F1 title. But now talk is of how Hamilton gets the most from the car's tires, whereas Bottas does not. 'Valtteri seems to struggle more having the car in that sweet spot than Lewis,' Mercedes head of motorsport Toto Wolff said. '(But) I have no doubt with his intelligence he is going to put the jigsaw together. The very good drivers are able to pick themselves out of a very difficult situation.' Hamilton, who finished second in Malaysia, has transformed complicated practice sessions into pole positions and valuable points. He leads Vettel by 34 points with five races left and the British driver is arguably performing as well as ever. 'He just drives the car perfectly, he manages to cope with a car that is maybe a little bit capricious,' Wolff said of Hamilton. 'When it matters he is able to put it in the right place.' Still, having recently awarded Bottas a new contract for 2018, Mercedes is hardly about to shut the door on a key investment. 'I think he will overcome this period. Somebody clever said: 'Smooth seas don't make tough sailors,'' Wolff said. 'I think if he can dig himself out of this current underperformance he's going to come out much stronger.' The Japanese GP in Suzuka next weekend will give a clearer indication of that.   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 2nd, 2017

Beyond the loss, it showed a lot of our potential -- De Leon

Ateneo de Manila University team captain Bea de Leon seemed to have accepted the fact that the Lady Eagles’ chances of clinching the last semifinals berth is already out of their hands. Even after a devastating loss, the fourth year middle blocker was proud of how the rebuilding Katipunan-based squad fared against the veteran-laden National University on Saturday. “I could say it was a pretty good game,” said De Leon after Ateneo dropped a heartbreaker, 21-25, 25-13, 19-25, 22-25, against the Lady Bulldogs at the close of their Group A elimination round campaign in the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. “Beyond the loss, it showed a lot of our potential because, coming into the league, we knew were very raw,” added De Leon. “So there was no pressure on us.” NU secured a seat in the semifinals and completed a sweep of the elimination round but not after facing a tough resistance from the former UAAP back-to-back champion. Ateneo tried to extend the match in the fourth set with a telling run that saw the Lady Eagles overhaul a 4-11 deficit into a 16-14 advantage. Ateneo held a 20-18 lead but failed to stop the rampaging Lady Bulldogs from blasting a 7-2 rally to seal the victory. The Lady Eagles dropped to a 3-2 slate. “I'm very happy with how our team played this season. I wouldn't say I was that surprised that we played well. I always knew that it was in the girls,” De Leon said. “I think we just need more experience. We're rebuilding and a lot of us are trying to get into our new positions,” she added. “Mahaba pa naman before UAAP.” “Like I said, I think we showed how much potential we have this conference.” Ateneo still has an outside chance of making it to the semis, but they will need to to pray hard for Lyceum of the Philippines University (1-3) to win against Far Eastern University (3-1) on Monday to force a playoff for the last Final Four spot. The loss may have potentially shut the door for Ateneo in the conference, but De Leon would rather look at the bright side of their experience as they move on to prepare for the UAAP wars. “Honestly, from my perspective, if we focus on the loss, that's a big negative and it's sad,” she said. “But there's another side to it. Out of all the games we played, that was the best we played so far and it was against the toughest team. It shows a lot of heart also.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 30th, 2017

Pete Mackanin out as Phillies manager after 2.5 seasons

em>By Rob Maadi, Associated Press /em> PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Pete Mackanin got a contract extension when the Philadelphia Phillies were scuffling and lost his job after they turned it around. Mackanin is out as manager after 2½ seasons but will remain in the dugout for the final three games this weekend and return as a special assistant to general manager Matt Klentak in 2018. “I’m disappointed, surely,” Mackanin said Friday. “But I understand it and I’m happy to be part of it down the road. I believe in Matt Klentak and I believe in what he’s doing and the fact that he wants me to continue in this (new) capacity is the most important thing.” The Phillies are 64-95 this season, last in the NL East and with the second-worst record in the league. Philadelphia has not been to the postseason since 2011. The 66-year-old Mackanin succeeded Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg on June 26, 2015. His record with Philadelphia is 172-237. “Pete is a trusted ally, a partner in this rebuild and a friend,” Klentak said. “I’m very happy he’s agreed to stay with us. I trust Pete and his opinion. I want to make sure that when we spill champagne over each other’s head that Pete is proudly wearing the P.” Mackanin received a contract extension through next season on May 11 after the Phillies had lost nine of 11 games. They went 4-16 in 20 games afterward. But Philadelphia has improved since the All-Star break, going 35-37. That wasn’t enough to secure Mackanin’s return. Klentak said members of the coaching staff will be determined by the new manager. “The way the rebuild is evolving, a new voice in the dugout and a new style is necessary,” Klentak said. The Phillies have a solid group of young players to build around, including several rookie hitters who significantly bolstered the offense. First baseman/left fielder Rhys Hoskins, outfielder Nick Williams and infielder J.P. Crawford have been impressive since their debuts. “We’ve reached a turning point in this rebuild,” Klentak said. “We see our roster littered with young players who have a very bright future. It’s time to look forward.” Pitching has been Philadelphia’s biggest problem and Mackanin recently said the team needs to add an ace to join Aaron Nola in the rotation. Klentak has been Mackanin’s biggest fan since he arrived as GM in October 2015. It’s possible the Phillies will seek a younger, analytics-minded manager and coaching staff to lead the team out of its rebuild. “Pete was an excellent manager for the time he was here,” Klentak said. “I was a rookie general manager and I learned a ton from Pete and will continue to do so.” It’s no surprise players were taken aback by the decision. Mackanin was popular in the clubhouse. “Obviously it’s tough,” outfielder Aaron Altherr said. “Wish we could’ve played better for him to stay. Everybody is shocked. I thought he’d be around for next year after he got the extension.” Hoskins, who came up in August, thrived under Mackanin. “I really enjoyed having him around,” Hoskins said. “He’s a great baseball mind. To have that in your corner is something that will stick with me.” Klentak said he’ll immediately begin identifying candidates to replace Mackanin. He said guys with a variety of backgrounds will be considered and they don’t need to have managerial experience. Dusty Wathan, who managed several of Philadelphia’s young players in the minor leagues at Double-A and Triple-A, likely will be a top internal candidate. Cubs bench coach Dave Martinez and White Sox bench coach Joe McEwing also could be on the list.   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 29th, 2017