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We shot the ball just abysmally -- Baldwin

Ateneo de Manila University missed 45 of its field goal attempts.  The Blue Eagles just couldn’t find the bottom of the net. And that pretty much summed up how the Katipunan-based squad surrendered the match against Far Eastern University, 67-80, on Sunday in the 80th UAAP men’s basketball tournament at the Big Dome. Good thing Ateneo is armed with a twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four so the Blue Eagles still have a chance to clinch a Finals spot against repeat-seeking De La Salle University on Wednesday.      But Ateneo head coach Tab Baldwin would definitely want to forget his wards terrible shooting day. “I think FEU played real well,” said the mentor, who saw his team go down 17 points late in the fourth. The Blue Eagles had a hellish 26-of-71 field goal clip (36.62%). They heaved 32 attempts behind the arc but swished in only 10. “We shot the ball just abysmally,” said Baldwin, whose squad suffered its second straight loss after winning its first 13 games. “We had open shots particularly in the first half, and we didn't hit them. I think our confidence kind of went down, and I hate to see that because with young kids, you don't ever want to see their confidence sort of erode a little bit,” he added. “And then in the second half, we started forcing it. I think our offense got worse because we tried to force shots, and you know, you just don't see our guys shoot airballs. We shot airballs tonight. Can't really tell you why, we just shot the ball badly.” It didn’t help that the Blue Eagles turned the ball over 16 times that FEU converted to 17 points. Baldwin also pointed out his boys were ‘too soft’ in contesting shots and the Tams took advantage, nailing their shots almost at 50% with 31-of-63 field goal shooting. “If you look at the stats, almost all of their shots were contested field goal attempts. But I don't think our contests had any sort of vigor to them,” he said. “Our defense seemed to lack the last 10% of effort that it needs to have an impact on a good offensive team, and tonight FEU was a good offensive team.” “Forget the regular season, whatever it means,” he added. “This is playoff basketball, and they were sharper on both ends. I have to figure out why we weren't.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnNov 19th, 2017

Matty Ice gives Ateneo its own Atin to moment

The young Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles spread their wings in the recently concluded 2018 William Jones Cup. With a 5-3 record and a fourth-place finish, the Blue Eagles – the only collegiate team in the tournament – did nothing but prove they belonged in the regional tournament. Among many, many unforgettable moments, however, one stands out for the reigning UAAP champions. Let’s just hear Gian Mamuyac’s take on it. Asked about their most memorable moment in the Jones Cup, he answered while laughing, “Tinatanong pa ba yan? Siyempre, Matt Nieto game-winner.” Last Saturday, the kids from Katipunan were trailing by two with 3.1 ticks to go in their matchup against the home team before head coach Tab Baldwin had the perfect play with Thirdy Ravena inbounding and finding Nieto for a good look from beyond. “Matty Ice” then rose and launched a triple and the defense was unable to do anything as the ball found the bottom of the net, winning the game for Ateneo. Videos showed that Nieto was mouthing words after he hit that shot – and make no mistake about it, he wasn’t taunting Chinese Taipei. Was he saying “Atin ‘to?” “Oo, atin ‘to kasi talagang gusto naming manalo sa laro na yun. Nung tinira ko yun, tinignan ko teammates ko tapos sinabi ko ‘Atin ‘to,’” he shared. He then continued, “Parang nagpaka-Paul Desiderio ako.” Yes, the Blue Eagles’ court general took inspiration from neighboring University of the Philippines’ main man. Last season, Desiderio coined a rallying cry for the Fighting Maroons when he said “Atin ‘to! Papasok ‘to!” He said that during a timeout in the dying moments after which, he proceeded to take and make the game-winning three that downed University of Sto. Tomas. "Atin to, papasok to!" -- Paul Desiderio during the timeout. Moments later...#UAAPSeason80 pic.twitter.com/7yafSpldJM — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) Setyembre 10, 2017 Now, Nieto has given Ateneo its own “Atin ‘to!” moment – and he’s sur Gilas cadet teammate Desiderio wouldn’t mind. “Magkakampi rin naman kami e tsaka idol ko rin naman siya. Nothing wrong in doing the same,” he said. He then continued, “Para sa bayan din naman yun.” --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 26th, 2018

JONES CUP: ‘Matty Ice’ says game-winner was for all of Philippines

Matt Nieto won a game not just for Ateneo de Manila University, but for all of the Philippines in the 2018 William Jones Cup. “Sobrang saya namin cause hindi lang Ateneo ang nanalo, buong Philippines ang nanalo,” he said in an online interview with media. The Blue Eagles were trailing by two with 3.1 ticks to go in their matchup against home team Chinese Taipei Blue last Saturday before head coach Tab Baldwin had the perfect play with Thirdy Ravena inbounding and finding Nieto for a good look from beyond. “Matty Ice” then rose and launched a triple and the defense was unable to do anything as the ball found the bottom of the net, winning the game for Ateneo – the first collegiate team to be wearing the flag in the tournament. And yes, he hit that shot with much of the crowd against him. “First time namin to play na buong arena, puro kalaban kaya nakaka-pressure. At the same time, nakaka-excite din kasi minsan lang mangyari ito,” he said. The noise was all around when coach Tab designed the play, when Ravena inbounded the ball, and when Nieto took the shot. After Nieto made it, however, the silence was deafening from the home crowd. In the end, modest as always, the hero for Chooks-to-Go-powered Ateneo Pilipinas deflected all credit. “I’m so happy pero I give all the credit to my coaches and teammates. Coach Tab for coming up with a brilliant play, George for the solid screen, and Thirdy for the terrific pass,” he expressed. —— Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 22nd, 2018

Filoil Pre-season Cup: Ateneo holds off San Beda in battle of collegiate champs

UAAP champion Ateneo Blue Eagles survived a late run by NCAA titleholders San Beda Red Lions, 69-68 to remain unscathed in the 12th Filoil Flying V Preseason Cup at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.  The Blue Eagles were up five points with 15.8 ticks remaining, 69-64, before AC Soberano launched and swished a corner triple which cut the lead to two, 67-69. Ateneo then turned the ball over, as San Beda fed the rock in the hands of their shooter Soberano, drove to the basket and got fouled inside with 10.2 left. However, Soberano missed the game-tying free throw, but the boys fro  Mendiola were able to get the ball back. Red Lion James Canlas got trapped in the corner, but passed it to the open Jayvee Mocon for the one-handed push shot, but missed it.  NCAA Season 93 Finals MVP Donald Tankoua got the rebound, but was not able to hit inside as Ateneo earns their second win in as many tries. San Beda meanwhile fell to an even 1-1 slate.  Ateneo head coach Tab Baldwin clearly was not satisfied with the UAAP champion's effort, as they were sloppy throughout the contest, turning the ball over 20 times. "Well, it's only two games in but I'm kind of disappointed. Again, we are not worried about wins but our composure was poor. I think we reacted too slowly. San Beda was prepared for us and I understand that because their season is about to begin," the former Gilas Pilipinas head coach said after the game. Baldwin also ripped through his team's lackadaisical approach in the first quarter, ending up tied with their opponents at 11-apiece at the conclusion of the first ten minutes. "We played selfish in the first quarter. I think we were affected by the TV cameras. Cameras are good but we didn't do well. I'm very disappointed right now." Isaac Go was the highest scorer for Ateneo with 14 points, while new import Angelo Kouame tallied 12 points and 12 rebounds. Thirdy Ravena meanwhile recorded nine markers and 10 caroms.  Mocon led San Beda's offense with 17 points, and six rebounds, while Tankoua added 13 markers and 13 boards.  In the first game of the day, the LPU Pirates notched their first win in Group B, as they thrashed the JRU Heavy Bombers, 90-69. Four Pirates finished in double-figures, with Casper Pericas leading the way with 16 markers. Yancy Remulla tallied 15. Jarvy Ramos paced the Heavy Bombers with 12 points. In the second game, Arellano, also of Group B, got their first win at the expense of the San Sebastian Stags, 68-61.  Michael Canete scored 12 points in 31 minutes of action, while Levi Dela Cruz added 9 markers. Arjan Dela Cruz topscored for the Stags with 17 points.   THE SCORES: 1st Game: LPU (90) -- Pericas 16, Remulla 15, Pretta 11, Guinto 11, Mahinay 8, Liwag 8, Ibanes 7, Garing 6, Salo 6, Barbero 3. JRU (69) -- Ramos 12, Mendoza 9, Steinl 9, Estrella 7, Dela Virgen 7, Silvarez 6, Dulalia 6, De Guzman 5, Bordon 3, Butcon 3, Dela Rosa 2, Serafica 0, Ocay 0, Yu, 0. 2nd Game: AU (68) -- Canete 12, Dela Cruz 9, Concepcion 9, Dela Tore 8, Meca 6, Villoria 4, Alcoriza 4, Alban 3, Dumagan 3, Ongolo Ongolo 2, Cahigas 2, Codinera 1, Abanes 0, Sacramento 0, Chavez 0, Taywan 0, Camacho 0. SSC-R (61) -- Dela Cruz 17, Mercado 10, Sumoda 8, Villapando 7, Calma 6, Baytan 5, Cossari 3, Valdez 2, Baetiong 1, Calahat 0, Isidro 0, Risma 0, Abella 0. 3rd Game: ADMU 69 - Go 14, Kouame 12, Ravena 9, Nieto Mi. 8, Nieto Ma. 7, Navarro 6, Credo 6, Asistio 3, Mamuyac 32, Maagdenberg 2, Belangal 0, Mallillin 0. SBU 68 - Mocon Ja. 17, Tankoua 13, Soberano 7, Doliguez 6, Nelle 4, Oftana 4, Toba 4, Cuntapay 4, Bahio 4, Carino 3, Canlas 2, Tongco 0, Abadeza 0, Cabanag 0, Mocon Ju. 0. --   Follow this writer on Twitter, @philipptionary. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 27th, 2018

This time around, Isaac Go made it count against Ben Mbala

With Ateneo de Manila University holding onto a three-point lead with under 20 seconds remaining in Game 1 of the UAAP 80 Men’s Basketball Tournament, Thirdy Ravena had Isaac Go with a good look near the basket. And so, Ravena passed the ball to Go and the latter made good on a short stab – even with the defense of Ben Mbala and Kib Montalbo all over him.   It's GO time. #UAAPSeason80 pic.twitter.com/vSOoUfsTpb — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) Nobyembre 25, 2017   He also made good on the free throw that came with the foul from it. That and-one proved to be the icing on the cake that was the Blue Eagles’ big-time Game 1 win. This was a complete turning of the tides from when Go missed a semi-hook that could have very well changed the result in the Katipunan-based squad’s loss to De La Salle University to end the elimination round. Then, they were down by one with 12.6 ticks to go on the clock and perfectly executed the play drawn up by coach Tab Baldwin as inbounder Anton Asistio had a wide open Go near the basket. And so, Asistio inbounded to Go. The good look turned bad, however, and the six-foot-six got bothered by an oncoming Ben Mbala. The semi-hook, a shot he usually makes good on, missed and not long after, Mbala and the Green Archers completed a comeback win. For the 21-year-old, however, this was never about his redemption. Rather than talk about his big shot, he gave all the credit to Ravena’s assist. “I guess it’s just trust again. Thirdy passed me the ball to show that we don’t care who scored the crucial baskets,” he shared. He then continued, “We’re just looking at it na, at the end of the day, it’s two points for Ateneo.” It wasn’t just on offense that Go made a mark, though. In fact, his more important contributions were at the other end where he, together with Chibueze Ikeh, shackled down soon-to-be back-to-back MVP Mbala to a career-low eight points and three turnovers. “You saw that a lot of us got into foul trouble and coach had to go deeper into the bench, but everybody stepped up, everybody was ready to play,” he shared. He then continued, “That’s how we’re more mature, that’s how we’re better.” Indeed, how the Ateneo centers held their own against DLSU’s Cameroonian powerhouse was a big part of their big-time win. “I thought it was telling that Mbala and [Abu] Tratter played 57 minutes (combined) and had eight fouls then Ikeh and (Isaac) played 38 minutes (combined) and had nine fouls and we consider that a victory somehow,” coach Tab Baldwin said. He then continued, “That’s crazy to think of as some kind of victory, but when you play La Salle, it is.” --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 26th, 2017

NCAA: Frankie Lim s green light gives Jielo Razon confidence in the clutch

Even as a rookie, Jielo Razon has shown that he can steady the ship. Tied at 72 with under two minutes to go, Razon took matters into his own hands and drilled two straight triples for the Perpetual Altas to keep the upset-conscious JRU Heavy Bombers at bay and got the 78-72 win at the Filoil Flying V Centre.  Edgar Charcos, NO! Jielo Razon, YES! THREE! #NCAASeason94 #GalingNCAA pic.twitter.com/oefWtv3PNO — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) August 14, 2018 Jielo Razon ANOTHER triple. Cold-blooded. #NCAASeason94 #GalingNCAA pic.twitter.com/uP9LebO86N — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) August 14, 2018 Those shots are bound to stick with his name for the rest of his collegiate career, all thanks to a confidence booster from none other than head coach Frankie Lim.   "Si coach rin ang nagbibigay ng kumpiyansa, hindi lang sa akin, kundi sa lahat. Lahat naman po kami ready. Alam po namin nira-run namin. Siguro nangyari na yun. Sabi rin ni coach yun, kung open, wala nang hesitate-hesitate," the homegrown Razon said after the game. Lim previously gave praise to his poised rookie as he has made the most of set plays. "Great shots, great shots. Our offense keeps our shooters outside opportunities to take open shots. Nasa players lang on how they want to use it. Big shot from a rookie. He's been playing well for the past games." With the Altas rising to 4-2, Lim acknowledges that the gritty team's wins have never come easy. "Pero ano, a win is a win. Something remarkable happened in the second half. We had like just two turnovers. And I think we're beginning to take care of the ball. Mas maraming nangyayari."   __   Follow this writer on Twitter, @philipptionary. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 14th, 2018

Putts won’t drop, but Woods moves up the board at PGA anyway

ST. LOUIS --- Tiger Woods knew the shot was good. He struck it pure from 240 yards on the 17th hole and started strutting down the fairway, watching the ball land 20 feet from the pin --- one good putt away from an eagle that would have vaulted him into second place. And Woods knew the putt was bad. He muscled it 3 feet past the hole, then pulled the comebacker off line and, after settling for a disappointing par, he briefly grabbed the putter with both hands, as if to bend it, before deciding better of it. That par was the most disappointing of the 10 straight Woods made to finish his third round Saturday at the PGA Championship. He shot 4-under 66 to reach 8 under. That wa...Keep on reading: Putts won’t drop, but Woods moves up the board at PGA anyway.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsAug 12th, 2018

Woodland sets PGA record but leads by only a stroke at PGA

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press ST. LOUIS (AP) — Sirens blared across Bellerive, putting the second round of the PGA Championship on hold and ending a day of scoring rarely seen in a major. Gary Woodland set the 36-hole record — for now, anyway — after a round where his driver wasn't as reliable, he didn't see many putts drop and he didn't hit the ball quite as well as the day before. "I can live with that," he said Friday after a 4-under 66. That put him at 10-under 130, breaking by one the PGA Championship record and tying the 36-hole score for all majors. And it was only good for a one-shot lead over Kevin Kisner. There were two rounds of 63, one 64 and six 65s. And that was only half of the 156-man field. Still to be determined was whether Woodland's score even holds up as the lead. Storms arrived forcing a two-hour suspension, and the PGA of America declared the rest of the day a wash when rain pounded the course. Rickie Fowler had just birdied the 10th hole and was at 7 under. Tiger Woods had three birdies through seven holes as he tried to get in range. "I felt I was headed in the right direction," said Woods, who was at 3 under. "Tomorrow is going to be a long day for a lot of us." The second round was to resume at 7 a.m. local time. The greens would be slightly smoother, the course slightly longer, the approach unchanged — see flag, aim at flag. Perhaps it was easy for Woodland not to be overly impressed. He was playing with Kisner, who shot 29 on the back nine and was in the middle of the ninth fairway — his final hole — needing a birdie to become the first player to shoot 62 in the PGA Championship. He came up short of the green, chipped too strong and made bogey for a 64, leaving him one shot out of the lead Friday. Right in front of them was U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka, who had a 20-foot birdie putt he wanted to make for no other reason than he likes to make birdies. This one missed, and only later did Koepka realize it was for 62. Instead, he was the 15th player to shoot 63 in the PGA Championship. "My caddie said something walking off," Koepka said. "I didn't even think of it. I've been so in the zone, you don't know where you are." And then Charl Schwartzel made it 16 players with his eight-birdie round of 63. No one from the afternoon draw completed more than 12 holes. The plan was to finish the second round, make the cut and then immediately start the third round in threesomes off both tees. "I feel like we're in a good spot," Fowler said. "But the nice thing about the delay and going back out tomorrow morning, we'll get fresh greens." Bellerive really had no defense. Woodland and Kisner played in the same group, and they offered a great example that Bellerive is accommodating to just about any game. Woodland is among the most powerful players in golf. Kisner is not. He relies more on a clean hit with his irons and a great short game. The course is so soft — not so much from Tuesday's rain, but the extreme heat that requires more water on the turf — that every flag is accessible provided players find the ample fairways. "Greens are receptive, so my 4-iron stops as quick as his 7-iron," Kisner said. "If they were firm, I don't think I would have a chance with the way the greens are situated and the places they're putting the flags. But being receptive, that's my only hope." Woodland's 36-hole score broke the PGA record by one shot, most recently set by Jimmy Walker and Robert Streb at Baltusrol. It also tied the 36-hole record for all majors, matching Jordan Spieth at the 2015 Masters, Martin Kaymer at the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 and Brandt Snedeker (Royal Lytham & St. Annes in 2012) and Nick Faldo (Muirfield in 1992) at the British Open. Koepka was at 8-under 132, two shots behind. Dustin Johnson, the world's No. 1 player, had a 66 and joined Schwartzel and Thomas Pieters (66) at 133. Spieth still has hope in his second try at a career Grand Slam. Spieth didn't get under par for the tournament until his seventh hole Friday — the par-3 16th hole — and he managed to do enough right for a 66 to get within seven shots of the lead. Spieth has battled with his game all year, and his confidence isn't at its peak. It's the nature of the course that makes him feel he has a farther climb than the seven shots that separate him from Woodland. "A little frustrated at this place in general," Spieth said. "This course would be phenomenal — and probably is phenomenal — if it's not playing soft. You get away with more. You don't have to be as precise. ... Personally, I would prefer more difficult and firmer, faster conditions on the greens. Having said that, I would have shot a much higher score yesterday." Defending champion Justin Thomas was at 2 under through seven holes, while Rory McIlroy was frustrated with all pars in his seven holes. On a day like this, that meant losing ground. "It's been 16 pars in a row from yesterday to today, so hopefully I can break that run in the morning," McIlroy said. Midway through the afternoon round, the cut was projected to be even par. Woodland, even with the lowest 36-hole score in 60 years of stroke play at the PGA Championship, still had a long way to go. In conditions like Bellerive, no lead was safe. "I feel safe because I feel safe where my game is," Woodland said. "I'm not too worried with what anyone else is doing out there.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 11th, 2018

NCAA: Eze wins it for Perps at home against Baste

The smiles on the faces of the University of Perpetual Help faithful inside their home gym in Las Pinas on Thursday was up to the left hand of Prince Eze. The Nigerian powerhouse did nothing but come through as his tip-in with his left hand proved to be the difference for the Altas against visiting San Sebastian College-Recoletos, 78-76. Eze ended with 21 points, 12 rebounds, three blocks, and three steals, but his most important contribution was the tip-in that put Perps back inside the winner’s circle now at 3-2 in the NCAA 94 Men’s Basketball Tournament. With the two teams tied at 76 with 3.3 ticks to go on the clock, coach Frankie Lim called a timeout. “I would really go to Prince on that last shot. It was a tip-in and he made it,” he told reporters post-game. Off of that, Jielo Razon inbounded to AJ Coronel who then had a good look for a baseline jumper. “I really designed it that way. Ang ine-expect ko, ide-deny nila si [Edgar] Charcos so sabi ko kay AJ, you have to be available for the pass,” their mentor said. Instead, Coronel lobbed the ball near the top of the rim and right-handed Eze directed it off the board and down the net with his left hand. Moments later, Perpetual finished the job in successfully defending its home court and rising to solo fourth at 3-2. This, even though they fell behind by as much as 18-39 in the second quarter. “Beggars can’t be choosy. We were down by 21 at the half and we won by two, still a great win for us,” coach Frankie said. Charcos played big in the second half, with all but one of his 18 points while Coronel also chipped in all of his nine points in the final frame. The Altas also welcomed contributions from Kim Aurin who stuffed the stat sheet with four points, eight assists, five rebounds, two steals, and two blocks as well as Razon who had three markers, six dimes, and five boards. For the Golden Stags, Allyn Bulanadi topped the scoring column with 21 points to go along with 12 rebounds, three steals, and two assists while Alvin Capobres also scored 19 markers. Unable to stop Eze in that pivotal play, however, they dropped to 3-5. BOX SCORES PERPETUAL 78 – Eze 22, Charcos 18, Peralta 11, Coronel 9, Mangalino 5, Aurin 4, Razon 3, Gallardo 2, Cuevas 2, Sese 2, Tamayo 0, Pasia 0 SAN SEBASTIAN 76 – Bulanadi 21, Capobres 19, Dela Cruz 11, Calma 8, Are 6, Calisaan 5, Desoyo 2, Isidro 2, Villapando 2, Valdez 0, Sumoda 0 QUARTER SCORES: 12-20, 27-46, 51-57, 78-76 --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 9th, 2018

NCAA: Frankie Lim designs the play, Prince Eze executes it

The NCAA on Tour for Season 94 is over, capped off by a great ending at the University of Perpetual Help gym in Las Piñas. The Altas had just clawed back from a 21-point deficit in the first half, 18-39, and were tied with the San Sebastian Stags at 76 with 3.3 seconds left.  Coach Frankie Lim had designed a very unusual play, but an effective one. Jielo Razon was supposed to inbound to scorer Edgar Charcos. But somehow, the ball was passed to the open AJ Coronel, who lobbed it to Prince Eze, who tipped the ball in with 0.5 left.  AJ Coronel NO! Prince Eze YESSSS! FOR THE WIN! #NCAASeason94 #GalingNCAA pic.twitter.com/XwAe8FndZw — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) August 9, 2018 Game over. Perpetual wins, 78-76, in front of a very supportive crowd. Students up in the hallway of the UPHSD Gym witness Prince Eze's game-winner •#NCAASeason94 #GalingNCAA @abscbnsports pic.twitter.com/OOVfUL2aV7 — Philip Martin Matel (@philipptionary) August 9, 2018 Thought it was a broken play? Nope, it was exactly how the experienced Lim wanted it to be.  "It was designed that way. Inexpect ko kasi i-dedeny nila si Charcos. Sabi ko kay AJ, you have to be available for the pass, which happened. If ever, if you have that shot, itira mo. Taas mo kay Eze. Ganoon lang yan. It made me look good," the former San Beda coach said after the game. It was not supposed to happen this way as the now 3-2 Altas dug themselves a very deep hole, because the team, Lim says, had been too aggressive to put up a show in front of the adoring fans. "Feeling ko they froze. Hindi na natin kailangan magkaroon ng ganyan. Do just like what you do in practice. That's all I ask. Do what you do in practice and you'll be all right." For Eze, who made the game-winner, he never wanted to disappoint the home crowd, who filled the building to the rafters. "I don't want to lose whatever it takes. Because I know if I tap the ball, I'm still gonna catch it back. So I went inside. I guess, he knows me very, very well. We've been lucky, I mean, a win is a win. And we have to live with that.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 9th, 2018

DA s 2018 NBA Offseason Rankings: The Bottom 10

By David Aldridge, TNT Analyst Wonder what the rental market is like in San Luis Obispo, Calif. San Luis Obispo is, give or take a few miles, one of the closest cities that is near the midway point between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Given the events of the NBA’s offseason, it’s not hare to imagine national reporters are going to be spending a lot of time in California next season, bouncing back and forth between the Bay and L.A. Catch LeBron James and the Lakers on Wednesday and then, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and the Warriors on Thursday. The Western Conference only got stronger and deeper with James leaving Cleveland for a second time, this time to go to the Lakers. Add four of the top five Draft picks -- including No. 1 overall selection Deandre Ayton (Phoenix Suns), No. 2 pick Marvin Bagley III (Sacramento Kings) and international phenom Luka Doncic (No. 3 pick, acquired by Dallas Mavericks) -- going to Western Conference teams, and the talent disparity between conferences only seems greater. But did Eastern Conference teams take advantage of Cleveland deflating to make their teams better? And how effective were West teams in making their teams better prepared to at least compete with the Warriors? That’s where this year’s Offseason Rankings come in -- big, bold, definitive. You love them, if the amount of hate tweets and e-mails I get after they’re published are any indication. Every year, we rank how all 30 teams have done since the end of their respective seasons. We look at everything -- how they drafted, what trades they made, what players they signed in free agency, and for how much -- or if they didn’t participate in free agency much at all. We look at if they’ve changed coaches, executives, owners, or if they’re moving into a new building that can generate big revenues. And you have to decide which ones you liked the most. Here's what these rankings ARE NOT: A predicted order of finish for next season. It's an opinion that seeks to answer a question: is the team better now than at the end of last season? The ranking reflects the belief on whether, and how much, that is so. (I liked certain guys who were in the Draft more than others, so if your team took them, I probably weighed it more positively. Doesn't mean I'm right.) I do not expect the Suns, for example, to have a better record than the Celtics, just because they had a better summer. It is not a ranking of the teams in order from 1 through 30 right now; I do not believe the Mavericks are now a better team than Rockets. This is just one person’s opinion about offseason moves -- offseason moves only. Is your team better now than it was before? - If your team is ranked in the top 10, it doesn't mean I love your team.       - If your team is ranked in the bottom 10, it doesn't mean I hate your team. It's an opinion that seeks to answer a question: is the team better now than at the end of last season? The ranking reflects the belief on whether, and how much, that is so. (I liked certain guys who were in the Draft more than others, so if your team took them, I probably weighed it more positively. Doesn't mean I'm right.) What plays into the rankings: - This isn’t science. It’s an educated guess, weighing the impact both of the Draft and free agency, but also assessing whether teams got value in their free-agent signings. Overpaying the right player is as much a sin as signing the wrong player. A good new coach can coax some more wins out of a roster. But if a team’s players don’t believe in the system their team uses, the best Xs and Os on earth don’t matter.       - Teams that are rebuilding obviously have different priorities than teams making a championship push. That's factored in. So Chicago, for example, gets credit for adding young, affordable players as it stockpiles its talent -- but that talent has to fit together, as Wendell Carter Jr. does with Lauri Markannen. And a team like the Warriors that shows it’s willing to go deep into the luxury tax -- which most teams try to avoid -- in order to keep winning has to be commended, and its rankings reflect that commendation.       - Continuity matters here as well. The most successful teams usually not only identify a core group of players, they keep them together for a while, finding that sweet spot: everyone doesn’t get a max contract, but most get paid well enough to keep the train moving down the tracks. That reflects both good roster construction and good financial management -- and, again, is rewarded. The explosion in the cap means everyone has to spend; keeping your powder dry for another day doesn’t have as much cache as it used to. But you still have to manage your money wisely. Salary numbers, with a couple of exceptions, come from Basketball Insiders, whose Eric Pincus does the best job of anyone in the game of keeping track of all the moving financial parts, quickly and accurately -- which is why we use him at NBA TV during the Draft and free agency to tell us what the hell this all means. The Bottom 10 * * * 21. DETROIT PISTONS 2017-18 RECORD: 39-43; missed playoffs ADDED: Coach Dwane Casey; New executive Ed Stefanski; G Bruce Brown (No. 42 pick, 2018 Draft); G Jose Calderon (one year, $2.3 million); C Zaza Pachulia (one year, $2.3 million); G/F Glenn Robinson III (two years, $8.3 million); G Khyri Thomas (No. 38 pick, 2018 Draft) LOST: Former coach Stan Van Gundy; G Dwight Buycks (waived); F/C Eric Moreland (waived); F Anthony Tolliver (signed with Wolves) RETAINED: None THE KEY MAN: F Blake Griffin. And he will be for some time. The Pistons need him to be his former All-Star self again, able to take slower defender to the basket, able to stretch the floor if he plays the five in small-ball lineups. They need him to be a playmaker, to get Reggie Jackson more looks off the ball and Andre Drummond some high-low lobs at the rim. They need him to sell tickets at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit’s revitalized downtown -- a building that seems to be more for the NHL’s Red Wings than the NBA’s Pistons. And they need Griffin to be an anchor that draws players to the Motor City during the life of his extension. THE SKINNY: Owner Tom Gores agonized over firing Van Gundy, but he finally did so, and was fortunate that Casey was available and willing to step right back into the fray after being cashiered in Toronto. Casey will be quite in his element building a defense around Drummond, but, like Van Gundy, Casey will need Jackson to stay healthy; he’s missed a combined 67 games the last two seasons. Detroit did well for not having a first-round pick to come out of the Draft with two solid guard prospects deep in the second in Thomas and Brown. However, the new coaching staff will have to get more out of the team’s last three first-rounders: Stanley Johnson (2015), Henry Ellenson (2016) and Luke Kennard (2017). 22. BOSTON CELTICS 2017-18 RECORD: 55-27; lost in Eastern Conference finals ADDED: G Brad Wanamaker (one year, $838,000); C Robert Williams (No. 27 pick, 2018 Draft) LOST: G Shane Larkin (signed to play in Turkey); F Abdel Nader (traded to Thunder) RETAINED: C Aron Baynes (two years, $10.6 million); F Jabari Bird (two years, $3 million), G Marcus Smart (four years, $52 million) THE KEY MAN: F Gordon Hayward. All indications are he’s well on his way back from that horrific injury he suffered on opening night last season. He can do so many great things in coach Brad Stevens’ system, and if he’s 100 percent by the playoffs, Boston may well be the one team that can match up, player for player, with Golden State in a Finals meeting. (Remember this when people inevitably say I ranked the Celtics 23rd in offseason moves.) THE SKINNY: Boston got its biggest work done after Smart couldn’t loosen up an offer sheet from the Sacramento Kings or Dallas Mavericks, and eventually worked out a deal for less than he sought to return. Smart’s deal puts Boston in the tax for the foreseeable future, but the Celtics knew that was the next step in keeping a Finals-capable core group together. With Kyrie Irving and Hayward expected back on line Stevens can throw so many different lineups out there, all committed to stifling opponent movement with long, switching defenders led by Smart, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. Williams was worth an end of the first flier, though he didn’t get off to a great start. If he gets a good wake-up alarm on his phone, he has a chance to be the Celtics’ center of the future. 23. PHILADELPHIA 76ERS 2017-18 RECORD: 52-30; lost in Eastern Conference semifinals ADDED: F Wilson Chandler (acquired from Nuggets); F/C Mike Muscala (acquired from Hawks); G Zhaire Smith (No. 16 pick, 2018 Draft); G Landry Shamet (No. 26 pick, 2018 Draft); G Shake Milton (No. 54 pick, 2018 Draft) LOST: Former GM Bryan Colangelo (resigned); F Justin Anderson (traded to Hawks); G Marco Belinelli (signed with Spurs); F/C Richaun Holmes (traded to Suns); F Ersan Ilyasova (signed with Bucks); G/F Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (traded to Thunder) RETAINED: C/F Amir Johnson (one year, $1.5 million); G T.J. McConnell (picked up team option); G J.J. Redick (one year, $12.2 million) THE KEY MAN: G Markelle Fultz. His rookie year laid waste by a combination of injury and the yips -- which the Sixers have finally copted to -- Fultz is reportedly rebuilding his shot successfully under the learned eye of development coach Drew Hansen. If that carries over to the fall, Fultz will get a true opportunity (he had some cameos late in his rookie season) to show a skeptical Philly fan base he was worth the top pick in 2017, and worth Philly trading up to get him. He definitely could fill a need with the 76ers for a second playmaker to go with and occasionally in place of reigning Kia Rookie of the Year winner Ben Simmons. But if Fultz has another setback, physically or otherwise, it will be hard for him to stick much longer in Philly -- not a town known for patient reflection with regard to its sports teams. THE SKINNY: Coach Brett Brown was quite clear when he said the Sixers were hunting for a superstar this summer with the cap space they’d assiduously cleared the last couple of years. But the summer has come and gone and there’s no LeBron, no Kawhi, no trade, at least not yet, for Jimmy Butler or anyone else at that level. Belinelli and Ilyasova both played huge roles for Philly in the playoffs; maybe Fultz (see above) takes on some of that role, and Chandler will help. But this doesn’t feel like a successful offseason for one of the real risers in the East. 24. PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS 2017-18 RECORD: 49-33; lost in first round ADDED: G Seth Curry (one year, $2.7 million); G Nik Stauskas (one year, $1.6 million); G Anfernee Simons (No. 24 pick, 2018 Draft); G Gary Trent Jr. (No. 37 pick, 2018 Draft) LOST: G/F Pat Connaughton (signed with Bucks); F/C Ed Davis (signed with Nets); G Shabazz Napier (signed with Nets); C Georgios Papagiannis (waived) RETAINED: C Jusuf Nurkic (four years, $48 million) THE KEY MAN: Assistant coaches David Vanterpool, Nate Tibbets, Dale Osbourne, Jim Moran, John McCullough and Jonathan Yim. With the Blazers mostly landlocked the next two seasons -- they’re currently above the projected luxury tax line both for next season and 2019-20 -- there aren’t likely going to be many significant roster changes for a while. And in the West, especially, standing pat is often falling behind. It will thus fall to Portland’s excellent staff behind coach Terry Stotts to maximize the production of the current group. They can point with some pride to success stories like Will Barton and Allen Crabbe, now in Denver and Brooklyn, respectively, along with Maurice Harkless and Al-Faroqu Aminu. For Portland to take another step up, they’ll have to coach up someone like 2017 first-rounder Zach Collins or this year’s first-rounder, Simons. They must have them exceed expectations to become a third legit star behind Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. THE SKINNY: Lillard insists the rumblings heard in some quarters that he’s unhappy in Portland aren’t true, and the franchise better hope he’s being honest. The decisions the Blazers made in 2016 continue to lock them in place; if they catch a favorable first-round matchup (a grumbling Rockets team in 2014; an injury-strafed Clippers squad in 2016), they can advance a round. But last year’s 4-0 sweep by the New Orleans Pelicans had to give everyone pause. How does Portland respond mentally? Re-upping Big Nurk in the middle on a very reasonable deal -- $12 million for a starting center was the going rate five years ago, when the Wolves gave Nikola Pekovic a five-year, $60 million contract -- was necessary. But losing Davis, a locker room and fan favorite for superior work ethic, will hurt, even though Collins should sop up a lot of those minutes. 25. ORLANDO MAGIC 2017-18 RECORD: 25-57; missed playoffs ADDED: Coach Steve Clifford; C Mohamed Bamba (No. 6 pick, 2018 Draft); G Isaiah Briscoe (three years, $3.9 million); F Melvin Frazier (No. 35 pick, 2018 Draft); F Jerian Grant (acquired from Bulls); F Justin Jackson (No. 43 pick, 2018 Draft); F Jarrell Martin (acquired from Grizzlies); C Timofey Mozgov (acquired from Hornets) LOST: C Bismack Biyombo (traded to Hornets); G Mario Hezonja (signed with Knicks); C Dakari Johnson (traded to Grizzlies); G Shelvin Mack (waived); G Rodney Purvis (traded to Thunder) RETAINED: F Aaron Gordon (four years, $82 million) THE KEY MAN: G D.J. Augustin. A vet’s vet, he’s played 10 years in the league and started 226 games for eight teams, including 56 over the last two for the Magic. He’ll enter this season as the unquestioned starter at the point with Elfrid Payton in New Orleans and Orlando still looking to solve its long-term search for a point guard. It’s Augustin’s turn. THE SKINNY: At some point, Orlando’s yearly gambles on size and potential will pay off. Bamba could be the goods; he’s got a demeanor and toughness that should keep him together while he learns the craft at the pro level. But -- again -- it will take some time for Bamba, like 2017 first-rounder Jonathan Isaac, and Gordon, in whom Orlando invested a sizeable sum in July, to flourish. And Magic fans rightly can ask exactly how long they’re to remain patient. Clifford is supposed to improve the defense, but so was Frank Vogel … and so was Scott Skiles … and so was Jacque Vaughn. 26. NEW ORLEANS PELICANS 2017-18 RECORD: 48-34; lost in Western Conference semifinals ADDED: G Tony Carr (No. 51 pick, 2018 Draft); G Elfrid Payton (one year, $3 million); F Julius Randle (two years, $17 million) LOST: C DeMarcus Cousins (signed with Warriors); G Rajon Rondo (signed with Lakers) RETAINED: G Ian Clark (one year, $1.7 million); F Nikola Mirotic (picked up player option) THE KEY MAN: Owner Gayle Benson. Mrs. Benson took control of the team after the death of her husband, Tom, last March. She displayed great grace in the days and weeks after Tom Benson’s death, making it clear at the time she had no interest in selling the team and would continue to make outlays to keep the team competitive. The Pels didn’t blink last summer giving Jrue Holiday $126 million, and that will have to remain the case going forward if New Orleans is to repeat its surprising run to the Western Conference semifinals last spring. THE SKINNY: Can’t lose your starting point guard and your starting All-Star center in one offseason -- no matter what the circumstances -- and come out of it with high offseason marks. And especially when Rondo seemed like the perfect fit for the team. Mirotic mentioned during the Warriors series how good Rondo was at picking him up and connecting him quickly with the team after he was traded to New Orleans from Chicago. And, yes, coach Alvin Gentry mentioned he may have exchanged cusses with Rondo every now and again, too. Life in RondoWorld. The path forward is narrower, but not impassible; Randle can be tantalizing at times, maddening at others, but he could plug-and-play at the four, and he can take some of the playmaking burden off of Holiday. But big minutes on the ball for Holiday again is not what New Orleans had in mind. Payton is going to have to perform immediately. And losing “Boogie” Cousins is a big minus. It’s not what the Pelicans gave up to get him. It’s the fit and flow he had with Anthony Davis before the injury, and what the promise of a return this season could have meant toward carrying the momentum of last year forward. 27. MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES 2017-18 RECORD: 47-35; lost in first round ADDED: F Anthony Tolliver (one year, $5.7 million); G Josh Okogie (No. 20 pick, 2018 Draft); F Keita Bates-Diop (No. 48 pick, 2018 Draft) LOST: C Cole Aldrich (waived); F Nemanja Bjelica (signed with Kings) RETAINED: G Derrick Rose (one year, $1.5 million) THE KEY MAN: Vikings QB Kirk Cousins. He signed for big, big money by NFL standards (three years, $84 million), and the Vikings have Super Bowl aspirations. So all the light will be on the Vikes most of the fall and winter in Minneapolis, keeping it off of the still-young Wolves, who won’t be able to sneak up on anyone after breaking their long postseason drought. THE SKINNY: The Wolves should be positioned to build on their playoff run, especially if Butler can get through a full season healthy and Karl-Anthony Towns adds consistency to his prodigious talents. But they didn’t do much in the offseason, and the team that they beat out on the last day of the regular season, Denver, looks to be much improved. Tolliver should help the Wolves’ depth; they essentially traded him for Bjelica, and he shot slightly better on 3-poiners last season than Belly. Plus, they don’t come better as a guy than Tolliver and he can help Minnesota in the locker room. The issue of Butler’s contract isn’t going away; there will be a reckoning at some point, and he’ll have a lot more options next summer than free agents had this summer. Until then, coach Tom Thibodeau has pretty much the same team that he has to cajole better defense out of next season (22nd in Defensive Rating; 17th in points allowed). 28. CHARLOTTE HORNETS 2017-18 RECORD: 36-46; missed playoffs ADDED: Coach James Borrego; GM Mitch Kupchack; C Bismack Biyombo (acquired from Magic); F Miles Bridges (No. 12 pick, 2018 Draft); G Devonte' Graham (No. 34 pick, 2018 Draft); F Arnoldas Kulboka (No. 55 pick, 2018 Draft); ; G Tony Parker (two years, $10.2 milliion) LOST: G Michael Carter-Williams (signed with Rockets); C Dwight Howard (traded to Nets); C Timofey Mozgov (traded to Magic); G Julyan Stone (traded to Bulls) RETAINED: None THE KEY MAN: C Cody Zeller. It’s a guess -- Borrego could opt for Frank Kaminsky III -- but Zeller would seem to be the replacement at center for Dwight Howard, who wound up in Washington after the Hornets traded him to the Nets. Zeller started 58 games two years ago and was very good in screen and rolls with Kemba Walker. Zeller only played in 33 games last season because of a left knee injury; if he returns to form, the Hornets could pick up offensively and actually have a little more diversity at that end than last season. THE SKINNY: Team owner Michael Jordan cleaned house after a disappointing 2017-18, bringing another Tar Heel back home in the veteran Kupchak. Kupchak dispatched Howard and then got Mozgov’s guaranteed 2019-20 season off his books to take back Biyombo, who’d left Toronto two years ago for $72 million from the Magic and who’s got a player option for 2019-20. Well before then, the Hornets are going to have to decide what to do with Walker, who’ll be one of the top free agents available next summer if Charlotte can’t get him re-signed or extended. The Hornets were 8.8 points worse when the two-time All-Star was off the court rather than on. Nicolas Batum has to make a return to the all-around talent that enticed Charlotte to trade for him and give him a $120 million extension; he averaged just 11.6 points per game last year, his lowest in three years. Howard’s presence in the paint may have clogged things up some, but that’s no longer the case. 29. CLEVELAND CAVALIERS 2017-18 RECORD: 50-32; lost in The Finals ADDED: F Channing Frye (one year, $2.3 million); G Collin Sexton (No. 8 pick, 2018 Draft) LOST: G Jose Calderon (signed with Pistons); F Jeff Green (signed with Wizards); F LeBron James (signed with Lakers); C Kendrick Perkins (waived); F Okaro White (waived) RETAINED: F Kevin Love (contract extension) THE KEY MAN: GM Koby Altman. Altman has a blank slate now after trying to steer a championship-contending ship that had been stripped of a few propeller blades in the last 13 months. With James gone, as well as former GM David Griffin, the 35-year-old Altman has team owner Dan Gilbert’s charge to rebuild the Cavs without taking them down to the studs (as the Cavs did after James first departure in 2010). Altman’s next task after working out Kevin Love’s $130 million extension is clearing the roster of all the veterans brought in the last three years mainly because of their ability to play off of James. THE SKINNY: There weren’t any widespread jersey burnings this time in the Land. James left for L.A. with relative good will from his hometown, having delivered the championship it had waited 52 years for in 2016. Truly, the Cavs’ rebuild started the minute Kyrie Irving demanded a trade; last season seemed more rearguard action than an attack at another title. Extending Love through 2023 with no outs -- keeping him locked with rookie Sexton through the latter’s last controllable season before hitting unrestricted free agency -- gives Cleveland a base upon which to build. Cap room will follow in 2019, but next season will be difficult; Sexton has a lot of toughness and potential, but rookie point guards tend to get their lunch handed to them. 30. MIAMI HEAT 2017-18 RECORD: 44-38; lost in first round ADDED: None LOST: None RETAINED: G Wayne Ellington (one year, $6.2 million); F/G Derrick Jones Jr. THE KEY MAN: G Josh Richardson. Like many of his teammates, Richardson got an extension a couple of years ago -- four years and $42 million. Last season, he was (again) a solid two-way player for Miami -- almost 13 points per game, 84.5 percent from the line, 37.8 percent on 3-pointers. But if the Heat is going to shake out of the middle lane in which it currently seems stuck, Richardson will have to expand. Miami’s current roster makes it complicated; Pat Riley thinks Richardson’s probably more of a two, but he plays mostly three for coach Erik Spoelstra because Miami’s best lineups were small ball ones. Another offseason at P3 in California will help Richardson continue his development. THE SKINNY: No, Heat people: I don’t hate your team. But when you have no Draft picks, and you have no cap space, and thus you literally could do nothing in the offseason, and basically did nothing in the offseason, and your biggest, most newsy event was whether your 36-year-old future Hall of Fame guard will come back for one more season or play over in China … well, what am I supposed to do with that information? Rank you first? The question is, how much better is your team now than it was at the end of last season? It’s essentially the same team; other than the likes of Richardson (see above) or Justise Winslow, it’s not like there’s a great step up expected from Hassan Whiteside or Goran Dragic, is there? The Heat is not any better than last season. It isn’t any worse. It just … is. So, 30. 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 NewsAug 8th, 2018

First-ever Metro Manila Inter-Village League season launched

Residents from different villages across National Capital Region (NCR) flocked to the Kerry Sports Center in Bonifacio Global City to witness the opening of the inaugural Metro Manila Inter-Village League last Saturday, Aug. 4.  The newly-launched league of PLDT Home Fibr will feature 59 teams spread across two age groups, the under-29 and the 30-and-above brackets. Key villages throughout Metro Manila sent representatives to one of the biggest village leagues yet. Subdivisions and villages such as Ayala Heights and Philam Homes in the north; Ayala Alabang in the south; Valle Verde in the east; and Lexington Garden in the west will all be fighting for basketball supremacy, as well as cash prizes and a full makeover of their local basketball court. PLDT Home Fibr formally launched the league with some of the best and brightest in the local basketball scene today, including players from the PBA and the UAAP. TNT Katropa's Terrence Romeo, Kelly Williams, Anthony Semerad and Roger Pogoy along with Meralco Bolts such as Ranidel de Ocampo, Chris Newsome and Nico Salva graced the opening ceremonies. The event was also graced by members of the defending UAAP men's basketball champions and Jones Cup fourth-placers Ateneo Blue Eagles, who were represened by Thirdy Ravena, Isaac Go, twins Matt and Mike Nieto along with their coach Tab Baldwin. Adding excitement to the launch was a slam dunk contest with FIBA 3x3 slam dunk contest participant David Carlos, Darwin Cantong, and former UP Maroon Rob Ricafort vying for a PHP 40,000 cash prize. Carlos wowed the crowd as he took home the top prize with a heart-stopping windmill jam. The professional dunker added to the degree of difficulty of after catching the ball from a man riding the back of another man, then swooping through the air for the right-handed finish. The launch of the basketball tournament wouldn't be complete without a game and the day was capped off by the match-up between two villages from the south: Multinational and Tahanan Village. Games had already started last July 21 and the game at the Kerry Sports Arena will be counted as part of the regular season schedule. Multinational came out on top in a back-and-forth affair, 81-79, after Ricky Lopez swished the jumper from the baseline with 2.6 seconds left in the game to cap off the comeback bid in the fourth quarter. Raul Reynoso of Tahanan's heroics was nullfied after nailing his only three-pointer of the game to knot things up at 79 with about 11 ticks left. Mike Bernal led Multinational with 22 points while Jay Valdez paced Tahanan with 21. The league will run through the next two months before the post-season in October. The tournament comes after the formal partnership of PLDT with the NBA in launching NBA League Pass on the platform, where users can enjoy the NBA's streaming service for 50 pesos a day. The tournament’s games will run every weekend. Schedules will be posted in PLDT Home’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/PLDTHome. For more information on the Metro Manila Inter-Village League and PLDT Home-Fibr powered products and services, visit www.pldthome.com......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 8th, 2018

Thomas takes over at Firestone as Woods fades away

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press AKRON, Ohio (AP) — Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy have become friends more by location than youth. They live near each other in South Florida and said they spent last weekend practicing together at The Bear's Club. Sunday at Firestone will be the eighth time this year they play together in a tournament, and the number grows next week when they play the opening two rounds with Tiger Woods at the PGA Championship. But this is the first time a trophy is at stake. Thomas pulled away from the pack with five birdies in the middle of his round Saturday for a 3-under 67, giving him a three-shot lead over McIlroy and Ian Poulter going into the final round of the Bridgestone Invitational. "We've played together a lot in tournaments, but never in this kind of situation," Thomas said. McIlroy played bogey-free on a Firestone course that finally started to get firm, atoning for a few missed birdie chances with key par putts. He already has won at Bay Hill this year, though he felt he should have won more. He has been runner-up three times, most recently at the British Open two weeks ago. "I played well enough to win a few times this year and I only got over the line once," McIlroy said. "Tomorrow is a great opportunity to try and win again. I'll need a good round. I'm still a few behind. But yeah, I'm getting a little sick of the second places." McIlroy made up three shots in the final round in 2014 when he rallied to beat Sergio Garcia at Firestone. It might be a taller order to take on Thomas, who already has won twice this season and appears to have found his touch with the putter. Starting with a pitching wedge from 129 yards into the breeze to 6 feet at No. 6, Thomas made birdie on every other hole through the 14th to pull away. No one could keep pace with Thomas, least of all Tiger Woods. Starting the third round Saturday five shots behind, Woods didn't make a birdie until a 12-foot putt on the 12th hole, and he didn't make another. He wound up with a 73, leaving him 11 shots back and ending his streak of 10 straight rounds at par or better dating to the U.S. Open. "It was very similar to the first day," Woods said. "Wasn't very sharp that first day, but I made everything. So today was about the same, and I didn't make anything." That wasn't a problem for Thomas, whose six birdies included a chip-in from 30 feet behind the green on the par-3 12th. He was at 14-under 196. Thomas fell behind early with two bogeys in three holes, and a 10-foot par save in between from behind the fourth green kept him from falling farther behind. Poulter set the pace early and had a three-shot lead at one point until he dropped his shot from the bunker on the par-3 seventh, and then had a mixed bag of birdies and bogeys that kept him from getting closer to the lead. Jason Day, who threw away a chance to win the Bridgestone Invitational two years ago, had a 69 and was four shots behind. Marc Leishman, who played alongside Woods, shot 67 and joined Kyle Stanley (70) five shots behind. The course started to get a little firmer. Poulter had a 62 on Thursday. Tommy Fleetwood shot 63 on Friday. The best anyone could do in the third round was a 65 by Rickie Fowler, which only got him within six shots. Thomas figured that out quickly. He made an unusual birdie on the par-5 second by hitting his tee shot in the first cut of the third fairway. Blocked by threes, he opted for a 5-wood that started out toward the third tee and sliced over the trees to the rough, pin-high about 15 feet away from an up-and-down. After a bogey from the trees at No. 3, Thomas went at a back pin on the tough fourth hole and the ball bounded over the green in thick rough. He chopped at his chip and did well to run it 10 feet by the hole, making it for par. He bogeyed the next from a bunker, and fell three shots behind, but that par save on No. 4 helped by not dropping a shot, and by understanding how the course was playing. Thomas said he told caddie Jimmy Johnson, "We can't see pin, hit pin." Fleetwood went so far long on the fourth hole that it went 30 yards over the green. He chipped 50 feet by the hole and three-putted for a double bogey, the start of what turned out to be a sloppy day and a 74 that dropped him seven shots behind. Poulter already has won at the Houston Open in what has been a big turnaround for the Englishman, who is on the cusp of qualifying for the Ryder Cup. He made a pair of medium-length birdie putts to offset bogeys from the bunkers, but fell out of a chance to be in the last group when he missed a 6-foot par putt on the 17th. "I'm going to have a chance," Poulter said. "So starting this week, tied 13th I think was my best ever result. I'm tied second right now, so huge improvement and a little bit of work left to do. And hopefully, we can do it.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 5th, 2018

Rodgers gets Packers up to speed in practice vs. new defense

By Genaro C. Armas, Associated Press GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers' no-look touchdown pass is still the talk of Green Bay Packers training camp. The defense was called for offsides to give Rodgers a free play during a two-minute drill in practice Thursday. The play was going left. Rodgers was looking left. But he threw the ball to his right. Touchdown, Geronimo Allison. The play looks even better on film to coach Mike McCarthy. "I think you appreciate it more when you watch the video. I know I did, because he spoils you," McCarthy said Friday. "You don't have too many practices around here where he doesn't make that throw where you're just like, 'OK, file that onto the library. That's the way you want to teach it.'" Packers fans who dared to worry about Rodgers' seven interceptions during the first five days of camp can breathe easy. The two-time NFL MVP likes how the offense has worked in the first week. "Well, I'm working on things in training camp. I'm working on throws, whether it's looking or no-looking. Trying different plays that we we're working in," Rodgers said. A 7-9 finish last season ended a streak of eight straight playoff appearances for the Packers. The offense struggled while Rodgers was out with broken collarbone, and the defense had familiar problems against the pass. McCarthy overhauled the coaching staff after the season, which included bringing back Joe Philbin as offensive coordinator. Philbin was the coordinator when the Packers won the Super Bowl in the 2010 season. "We've done a medium overhaul of some offensive concepts, so working on some new stuff and trying to get on the same page with receivers," Rodgers added. An added wrinkle for Rodgers is the new looks in practice from coordinator Mike Pettine's defense. His units have finished in the top 10 in the league when he's been in charge. "Well, they're just so multiple. They have a lot of different pressures and types of pressures," Rodgers said. "They're giving you pressures where they can actually get home. We haven't had that issue in a while, where they scheme pressures to have a free guy on the play." It gives the linemen good practice for the regular season, too, since the NFC North-rival Minnesota Vikings are among teams that run pressures similar to what the Packers' defense is doing now. "So the protection elements for offense are really challenged by his defense, which is great for us," Rodgers said. Getting Bryan Bulaga back will help too. The veteran right tackle was activated off the physically-unable-to-perform list on Friday and returned to practice on a limited basis for the first time since tearing his right ACL in Week 9 last year. "I am very optimistic about Week 1, I really am," Bulaga said. "I still have some work to do to get to it but it's definitely looking better than it did, say, four months ago, even though I thought I'd still get to that point." His return would solidify a right side of the line that will already have a new starter at guard. Bulaga is a steady, reliable presence up front who has played in big spots with Rodgers. "He's a pro's pro. He knows how to play the game," Rodgers said. "Unfortunately, he's sustained a couple of tough injuries. But when he's out there, he's a rock." At its best, a starting five with Bulaga gives Rodgers just enough time to get out of trouble and outside the pocket, where the quarterback might be most dangerous. As he showed with his no-look TD throw to Allison. NOTES: WR Jake Kumerow, an undrafted free agent in his second year out of Division III Wisconsin-Whitewater, continues to impress with his hands and route-running ability. He could be a long shot to make the roster, especially after the Packers drafted three receivers this year. But the 6-foot-4 Kumerow has earned some reps with the first-string offense and caught Rodgers' attention. "So there's going to be some tough decisions when the cutdown happens," Rodgers said. "We drafted three guys, so. If you're playing today, you'd like him on the field.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 4th, 2018

Robert Bolick now a scholar of the Kiefer Ravena school

Always one to strive for greatness, Robert Bolick was looking at how to improve right after he recorded his career-high a week ago. “Gusto kong matuto nang matuto nang matuto hangga’t kung sino yung pwede dyang makatulong sa game ko. No limit naman yung dreams and expectations mo sa sarili mo e ako, gusto ko, dun sa taas e,” he told reporters after dropping a personal best 24 points last Tuesday. Then, he reached out to PBA star and San Beda alumnus LA Tenorio, who was calling his first game for the S+A panel, for tips. Also, he revealed his plans to get-together with one of basketball’s shining stars. “Mine-message ko rin si Kiefer kasi ‘di naman siya naglalaro this time so may free time siya and pwede niya ako turuan,” he shared. Just two days later, Bolick got what he wanted. As it turns out, Ravena went to Mendiola to work out with him. As much aa we can say about his game, he still works harder than everybody else. Much respect. Ps. Remember when u guarded me during your rookie year? Ha. Psych. 🤣 Goodluck, 👑🦁 pic.twitter.com/ACl2uK1oEB — Kiefer Ravena (@kieferravena) Hulyo 26, 2018 For that, the King Lion is nothing but thankful. “Medyo busy lang talaga siya, pero nagpapasalamat ako na he made time to come to school. Nagpapasalamat lang ako na tinuruan niya ako ng libre at walang bayad,” he said. He then continued, “He’s a big part of my game. Lahat ng mga tinuturo niya sa akin, ginagawa ko rin.” Ravena is not even halfway into his 18-month suspension in the PBA in FIBA and so, he has all the time in the world to help out Bolick. Help out Bolick, Ravena did. “Nakakatulong talaga yung training with him. Marami siyang drills na itinurong bago sakin,” the former said, already feeling like a better player after their training session. The graduating guard is only hoping that would not be their last get-together. “Hopefully, if ever libre siya, magcha-chat naman siya sa akin,” he said. Ball’s on your court now, “Phenom.” “Big Shot Bolick” is just waiting for a follow-up training session. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 31st, 2018

Nowhere To Go But UP

Akhuetie secures the defensive rebound! In one motion, turns and makes the outlet pass to Juan Gomez De Liaño streaking from the wing… before he even puts the ball on the floor he makes another forward pass to Paras who then takes a power dribble from the 3-point line, takes two steps and then soars for the tomahawk slam… Two possessions later, it’s a ball screen set by Akhuetie for Juan at the left wing. The defender – who fights over the screen – is left behind; as Bright’s man tries to hedge, Akhuetie sucks the help defense in with a strong roll to the hoop. Juan whips a pass to the right corner to an open Ricci Rivero, who shot fakes, gets his man in the air, drives baseline and eludes the last defender with his trademark euro-step to the middle, before kissing the layup softly off the glass… Deep in the fourth period, UP enters the ball into Akhuetie in the post. He backs his man down, and after a couple dribbles, sees the double team from the middle and makes a kickout pass to a wide open Javi GDL at the top of the key. The weakside defender rushes to close out against an open 3, but Javi passes it off to his brother Juan at the wing, who knocks down the booming triple!   These are just some of the plays that UP fans will bask in the glory of come UAAP Season 82, when their highly-touted all-UAAP 5 are finally all eligible to suit up for the Fighting Maroons. Before we get ahead of ourselves however, let’s dial it back and take a look at each of these players at this point of their college careers and what they bring to the Diliman stable. Javi Gomez De Liaño A product of the UPIS system, Javi is the first of the De Liaño brothers to play in the Seniors division after a successful stint in the high school ranks. Although not as highly-touted as his younger sibling, Javi is a stretch 4, standing 6’5” with lots of length and athleticism, and a reliable outside touch. Definitely one of Coach Bo’s blue-collar glue guys, who has stepped up his game (8.3ppg, 5.9rpg, 30% 3P% 21.2mpg in S80) as his minutes have increased. He will play both ends of the floor, can defend an opponent’s best scoring big or forward, and will be Mr. Intangibles on the court. Juan Gomez De Liaño Season 80’s Rookie of the Year, Juan GDL is already one of the UAAP’s most exciting and explosive players to watch. Arguably the most athletic and shifty guard in the league today, he’s a natural born scorer who can finish at the rim but has also shown the ability to run a team and make great decisions. While he needs to raise his 3pt shooting percentage to the high 30’s to be a real threat from the outside, he has that same winner’s mentality as his fellow fighting Maroon, Mr. “Atin to!” Paul Desiderio. Bright Akhuetie The two-time NCAA Mythical Five member and former Perpetual Help double-double machine could easily be the most dominant big man in the UAAP after Ben Mbala. Not only will he bring the much needed inside scoring UP has sorely lacked for the past several years, but he will immediately be a dominant inside presence on both ends of the floor – commanding double and even triple teams on offense, and altering shot after shot as the last line of UP’s defense. After serving a year of residency after transferring from UPHSD, Akhuetie is surely raring to stamp his mark in the UAAP, much like he did in the NCAA during his two seasons with the Altas. Ricci Rivero The biggest surprise and recruiting coup this summer belonged to UP Diliman, if only for the transfer of Ricci Rivero from DLSU. The prized former LSGH swingman was already making waves as the possible next King Archer when his career at Taft was cut short due to out-of-court issues. But on the court, Rivero has dazzled UAAP fans the past two years with a combination of athleticism and finesse not seen in decades. His natural scoring ability (12.9ppg, 35% 3P%, 5.9rpg, 1.6apg in Season 80) and trademark euro-step have left many defenders bewildered, and have unleashed a social media fandom unlike any we’ve seen so far. Kobe Paras As if the UP Community didn’t already have enough to watch out for in season 82, they pulled off another big catch when Kobe Paras, son of former UP legend Benjie Paras, committed to Diliman just early this month. Another LSGH product, Kobe played for the Creighton Bluejays in the US NCAA and has represented the country in multiple FIBA tournaments, including a gold medal finish in the 2017 SEA Games. Another prolific and high-flying scorer, Paras stands 6’6” but plays the wing position; and while he has a respectable outside touch, he is more known for his thunderous finishes, as a 2-time FIBA 3x3 dunk champion. With Paras and Rivero, UP would have the most athletic wing combination the UAAP has seen in years.   BUT, before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s remember that basketball is still won by an entire team, and not just the five on the floor, star-studded as they may be. And more importantly, not only will UP be able to seriously contend for the final four and even a championship in Season 82, they could in fact contend for one as early as this Season 81. Paul Desiderio, their undisputed leader, will be playing out his final year, coinciding with Akhuetie’s first year with the team. Together with the GDL brothers, Jun Manzo, Noah Webb, Gelo Vito, Diego Dario, Jan Jaboneta,  Jerson Prado, Jarrell Lim, and even Will Gozum, among others, UP will have its deepest roster in more than a decade; and will definitely be a favorite to finally barge into the Final Four. Thus, while Season 82 is ripe with championship promise; as early as now, there is nowhere to go but UP for the Fighting Maroons.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 27th, 2018

NCAA: Levi Dela Cruz’s big heart causes heartbreak for Baste

It was a terrible day from the free throw line for San Sebastian College-Recoletos on Friday, but JM Calma’s split from the stripe still granted them a two-point edge over Arellano University. Still, 14.2 ticks were on the clock and Levi Dela Cruz was not letting the Chiefs go down that easily. The Golden Stags were up, 81-79, in the dying moments of the extra period until Arellano’s lead guard got the ball and decided to launch a triple try over the outstretched arms of both Arjan Dela Cruz and Michael Are. The ball proceeded to graze the back of the rim before falling to the bottom of the net. Baste still had 4.2 seconds to make something happen, but Dela Cruz intercepted Alvin Capobres’ inbound pass to Dela Cruz to finish off the Chiefs’ return to the win column now at 2-1. Of course, head coach Jerry Codinera gave credit where credit is due. “Si Levi, he has a big heart. He’s a make or break kid and that was a desperate shot. Yun nay un,” he told reporters post-game. He then continued, “Talagang he doesn’t back down from an opportunity.” Indeed, even though he was scoreless in three quarters, the second-year guard still came through in the endgame – scoring seven points in the final frame and then hitting the game-winner in overtime. “Masyado akong gigil nung mga unang quarter kaya masama laro ko. Sabi ko, bawi na lang ako kapag binunot ako ni coach Jerry ulit,” he shared. He then continued, “Bawi ako sa depensa kasi sa opensa, walang pumapasok talaga. Buti ayun, nakakuha rin ng last minute tapos last second, na-steal ko.” This wasn’t the first time in the season that Dela Cruz won a game for the Chiefs. In their first win of the season, also in overtime, he scored his team’s last seven points. And today, he was the tip of the upset ax that felled favored San Sebastian. Still, coach Jerry is challenging him to keep on improving. “He’s a strong kid, malakas ang katawan, but he just has to learn a lot of things as a point guard. He also needs more consistency,” he said. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 27th, 2018

JONES CUP: Ateneo has begun ‘repairing reputation’ of PH ball

Ateneo de Manila University only knew they were going to be the Philippines’ representatives one week before the 2018 William Jones Cup. The Gilas cadets were supposed to be wearing the flag, but after the free-for-all that erupted between Gilas Pilipinas and Australia during a FIBA World Cup Qualifier, those plans were put on hold. Enter the Blue Eagles – the first-ever collegiate team tasked to represent the country in the regional tournament. And in Taiwan, the young UAAP champions only made the country proud. “The fact that we had success there, I think that’s important,” head coach Tab Baldwin said in their homecoming lunch on Tuesday in Ortigas. He then continued, “There were very strong teams and basketball programs in that tournament so to pit ourselves against that level of competition and to be standing at the end, I think that speaks positively about this team.” Indeed, Ateneo had to settle for a fourth-place finish with a 5-3 record at the end of the tournament, but also showed just what Filipino basketball is all about throughout. “Parang, ang expectation nung una was just for the Philippines to participate, pero for them to go this far, I never expected it,” Ronald Mascarinas, president of team backer Chooks-to-go, said. He then continued, “Ateneo did not win the championship nor did they make a podium finish, but the fourth-place shone more brightly than gold.” And more than the standing and the statistics, the Blue Eagles proved that, when it comes down to it, Filipinos are full of sportsmanship. In one particular instance during their matchup against Korea, Thirdy Ravena and Matt Nieto proved as such by helping a floored opponent get back up on his feet and get to his team’s bench. That act became etched in the mind of the team’s backer – so much so that the two kids from Katipunan were recognized and rewarded once they returned home. “We are recognizing Thirdy and Matt for their supreme act of sportsmanship so we are giving them a token of appreciation,” Mascarinas said. For that, Ravena and Nieto collectively received a cash prize of PhP 100, 000. That act, and the general sportsmanship Ateneo showed all throughout, is a welcome development for all of Philippine basketball – especially on the heels of the free-for-all between Gilas and Australia. As Mascarinas put it, “It’s a redeeming grace for us that they were really excellent goodwill ambassadors for the country. Somehow, they’ve started the process of repairing the reputation of the Philippines.” He then continued, “Ateneo earned the respect of all the other teams. Itong collegiate team pa yung nakagawa nun para sa atin.” —— Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 24th, 2018

PBA: Ginusto ko ang bola –- Thompson on nasty rebound over Johnson

It’s rare to hear the crowd roar over a rebound play. And fans inside the Big Dome, especially the Barangay Ginebra faithful, just witnessed one of those moments when Scottie Thompson, a 6-foot-1 guard, soared up high to snatch the rock over a wide-bodied, nine inch taller Rain or Shine import Reggie Johnson. It was a play deserving of a spot in a highlight countdown. Thompson grabbed 10 rebounds including the nasty one with just 1:37 left in the fourth quarter Monday in the Gin Kings’ Finals spot-clinching 96-94 Game 4 nail-biter over Rain or Shine that sealed the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup best-of-five semifinals series at the Big Dome. With the Ginebra protecting a 93-90 lead, Elasto Painters gunner Chris Tiu shot a triple that bounced off the rim. The 290 lbs. Johnson successfully boxed out Gin Kings’ Japeth Aguilar for a spot under the basket to collar the rebound. Just when Johnson thought that he got the ball, Thompson came running down, jumped over his back and snatched the rock with one hand. One could just hear the loud collective ‘oohs’ from the crowd.                 “’Yun lang talagang tinalon ko lang ang bola kasi crucial,” said Thompson, who in the series averaged nine rebounds per game. “Ginusto ko ang bola so buti nakuha ko.” That was his ninth board. A minute after, Thompson again plucked another crucial offensive rebound that led to an LA Tenorio floater that put the Gin Kings up, 95-90. To cap up his night, Thompson sealed the win with a steal off the Elasto Painters’ inbound with just 1.4 ticks left. Thompson may have sacrificed his offense with his effort on the boards and on defense but it’s a role the University of Perpetual Help product learned to embrace. He averaged only 5.4 points in the semis series but his defensive effort earned him a norm of 1.25 steals per game.       “Ang sabi sa amin ni coach Tim (Cone) na be the aggressor lagi kasi kailangan sila ang mag-react sa amin,” said Thompson. “’Yun ang ginagawa namin especially ako, talagang yun ang ginawa ko para makatulong sa team.” And Cone praised Thompson for his work. “A few? It seemed like he was grabbing everything and jumping over everybody, jumping over Johnson, jumping over Almazan. I mean, my gosh, getting that offensive rebound. He is just... he makes me speechless, he really does,” said Cone when asked about his reaction on Thompson’s rebounding. “Those were the plays of the game,” he added. “Joe (Devance) played great, but I thought Scottie was gonna get the Player of the Game just because of the rebounds he got, because they were all super clutch. And if he hadn't gotten a couple of those rebounds, Johnson would have gotten really easy putbacks.” “He did not only denied (Johnson) the rebound, but he denied the easy putback. So he just leaves me speechless some times,” Cone continued. “His timing is otherworldly. That's the only way I can explain that, I've never seen anybody with that kind of timing. Amazing.” Now, playing against a tough opponent in sister-team San Miguel Beer in the best-of-seven Finals starting Friday, Thompson just want to focus on the thing he does best. “Ang akin lang naman stay aggressive lang. Gusto ko lang maging aggressive lagi sa offense, defense especially sa defense kasi yun ang role ko para sa team,” he said.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 23rd, 2018

JONES CUP: Matty Ice wins it for Ateneo against Chinese Taipei

Because of a questionable call, Ateneo de Manila University found itself trailing by two to Chinese Taipei with 3.1 ticks to go in their matchup in the 2018 William Jones Cup. And so, for their final play, the Blue Eagles left no doubt as Matt Nieto coolly converted the game-winning triple that took down the host country, 77-76, on Saturday at the Xinzhuang Gymnasium in Taiwan. Nieto ended with 13 points, none bigger than the triple with a defender draped all over him in the dying moments. This, coming from the other end where Thirdy Ravena appeared to have tipped the ball loose from Ying Chung-Chen, but was instead called for a foul. Chen made good on his two free throws, putting Chinese Taipei Blue up, 76-74, with 3.1 seconds remaining. Head coach Tab Baldwin had the perfect play, however, as the ball was inbounded to Ravena who then found Nieto for the big-time trey that silenced the home crowd and bolstered the young UAAP champions’ bid for a podium finish in the regional tournament. William Navarro impressed for the second straight game with 11 points and six rebounds while Angelo Kouame and Tyler Tio also chipped in eight markers each. Ravena turned in his worst scoring output in the tournament with just seven points, but made his presence felt elsewhere with five rebounds and four assists. Still, the hero is Nieto who let the Philippines stayed alive for a podium finish. Ateneo, 5-2, tries to claim its place there up against Iran B on Sunday. BOX SCORES ATENEO PILIPINAS 77 - Nieto Ma. 13, Navarro 11, Tio 8, Kouame 8, Ravena 7, Mamuyac 7, Wong 6, Verano 6,  Nieto Mi. 4, Go 4, Maagdenberg 3, Mendoza 0. CHINESE TAIPEI BLUE 76 - Liu 24, Chen Y 17, Chou Y 12, Hu 9, Chou P 6, Chen G 6, Douglas 2, Peng 0, Chang 0, Lin 0, Zhen 0. QUARTER SCORES: 18-18, 36-35, 57-56, 77-76. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 21st, 2018

PBA: Coach Tim: ‘We’re very fortunate James missed that shot’

At one point on Saturday, Ginebra had a 25-point lead over Rain or Shine. That didn’t hold, however, as the Gin Kings witnessed the Elasto Painters battle back to just within 72-74 with 9.8 ticks to go. After LA Tenorio’s split from the stripe, Rain or Shine even had a golden opportunity to force overtime, but James Yap's triple try fell short. Import Reggie Johnson got the offensive rebound and passed the ball back to Yap, but time ran out before he could launch another triple try that fell short. In the eyes of Ginebra head coach Tim Cone, that shot looked all too familiar. As he put it, “James got two cracks at it, I don’t know if the second would have counted, and he usually makes that shot. I know him. We’re very, very fortunate that he missed that shot.” Coach Tim and Yap spent years together back in their days in Purefoods/San Mig Coffee. Perhaps, that is the reason why Scottie Thompson’s challenge of the shot proved to be more effective than usual. “Scottie did a good job in pushing him out a bit farther than where he likes to shoot it, but I’ve seen James take and make shots from that spot at the end of the game all the time,” the multi-titled mentor said. He then continued, “He makes more than he misses.” Indeed, Yap missed and his former coach got away with a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five semifinals series. That doesn’t take away the fact that the Elasto Painters didn’t go down without a fight and even came oh so close to causing heartbreak for the crowd favorites. “Yeah, (we’re) a win away, but obviously, we’re coming away from this game with a lot of concerns. They played down the stretch really well, they’re very poised, and they’re a veteran team,” coach Tim said. He then continued, “There’s a reason why they’re the number one seed. Looking at that, we’re happy to be up 2-1.” --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 21st, 2018