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Bolts zap Rain or Shine to keep fading playoff hopes alive

Meralco hit two birds with one stone Friday at the Cuneta Astrodome. Not only did the Bolts kept their flickering playoff hopes alive, Meralco put a dent in Rain or Shine's own race after scoring a convincing 82-72 victory in the 2017 PBA Philippine Cup. Snapping a six-game losing skid, Meralco improved to 3-7 for the season, still mathematically alive for the quarterfinals although the Bolts' destiny is not exactly in their hands. Meralco needs to win its last game and hope other teams already at four wins lose out in order to sneak into the playoffs of the season-opening tournament. With Cliff Hodge and Jonathan Uyloan at the helm, Meralco got to a fast start and unloaded a 35-20 lead on the Elasto Painters in the very first quarter, setting the tone for the rest of the contest. While the Bolts never scored above 20 points in each of the three succeeding quarters, Meralco was able to hold off Rain or Shine effectively with its defense, allowing the Elasto Painters to only shoot 31 percent from the field. Reigning Rookie of the Year Chris Newsome paced Meralco with 19 points and six rebounds while Hodge added a 17-point, 16-rebound double-double. Uyloan ended up with 14 for the Bolts. Rain or Shine, who was tied for second place coming in but now fell to 5-4 for the conference, got 17 from James Yap. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 20th, 2017

Pursuing a record 23rd major title, Williams opens with win

JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer   MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — For the first five games in the second set, Serena Williams played almost flawless tennis in her first-round match at the Australian Open. Then came the rustiness that tends to follow a lengthy layoff, giving Belinda Bencic a glimmer of hope, before Williams regained her composure to win 6-4, 6-3 on Tuesday. The six-time Australian Open champion improved her impressive record in the first round of Grand Slam tournaments to 65-1. The No. 2-ranked Williams' priority here is an Open era record 23rd major title. She's one win down — beating a player who was seeded 12th here last year and reached a career-high No. 7 ranking last February — and is targeting six more at Melbourne Park. 'She was just recently in the top 10. I knew it would be one of the toughest first-round matches I've ever played,' the newly engaged Williams said. In round two she'll meet Lucie Safarova, who beat Yanina Wickmayer 3-6, 7-6 (7), 6-1. Bencic got one service break in the first set, but only took two points in the first three games on Williams' serve in the second. Serving for the match at 6-4, 5-1, things changed. Williams finished her 2016 after the U.S. Open, resting injuries. And started 2017 with an error-prone loss in Auckland, New Zealand. Williams served only her second double-fault of the match to give Bencic a break-point chance, and Bencic converted it with a crosscourt winning forehand. The Swiss teenager held at love and then faced a match point, when Williams double-faulted again. The 35-year-old Williams made no mistake on her second match point and pumped her first in celebration. She finished with 30 winners and 30 unforced errors, eight errors and four double-faults. Karolina Pliskova and Johanna Konta both had their Grand Slam breakthroughs last year, both prepared for the season's first major with title runs in Australia and both advanced with straight sets wins. U.S. Open finalist Pliskova following her title win at the Brisbane International with a 6-2, 6-0 victory over Sara Sorribes Tormo. The fifth-seeded Pliskova, who beat Serena Williams in the U.S. Open semifinals before losing the final to Angelique Kerber, has never advanced past the third round at Melbourne Park — losing at that stage in the last two years to Ekaterina Makarova. Pliskova is feeling more confident this time. 'I feel good on the court, especially when I win my first title in the first week of the year,' Pliskova said. 'So I'm ready for the tournament.' Konta, who won the Sydney International title last week, had a tougher time in beating Kirsten Flipkens 7-5, 6-2 on Margaret Court Arena. 'I definitely love playing here. It's a dream. A lot has happened in the last year, but I'm just enjoying playing and getting better each day.' Ninth-seeded Konta was a surprise semifinalist in her debut at the Australian Open last year, starting with a first-round win over Venus Williams and sparking a strong 2016 season which ended with her in the top 10. In other early results, No. 21 Caroline Garcia beat Kateryna Bondarenko 7-6 (4), 6-4 and No. 30 Makarova had a 6-0, 4-6, 6-1 win over Ekaterina Alexandrova. On the men's side, No. 25 Gilles Simon beat U.S. wild-card entry Michael Mmoh 6-1, 6-3, 6-3. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 17th, 2017

Bottas replaces Rosberg at Mercedes, Massa back at Williams

LONDON (AP) — Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas will race alongside three-time champion Lewis Hamilton at Formula One team Mercedes this season. The 27-year-old Bottas will fill the seat left by world champion Nico Rosberg's retirement. With Bottas moving on, F1 team Williams said Monday that Felipe Massa will come out of retirement to race with them for a fourth consecutive season. Rosberg retired only five days after beating Hamilton to his first world title in November. Mercedes also won its third straight constructors' championship. 'Sometimes in life, unexpected circumstances provide interesting opportunities,' Mercedes head of motorsport Toto Wolff said in a statement. 'Nico's decision in December was a big surprise - certainly a challenging situation for the team to handle. But weathering the storm makes you more resilient and we see this as another opportunity for the team to grow.' Bottas finished eighth in the drivers' standings with 85 points last season. In four seasons with Williams, he started 77 races and achieved nine podium finishes. Wolff said it was time for him to step up to the next level and 'how he can challenge for race wins and championships.' 'Valtteri is a no-nonsense guy: down to earth, straightforward and very focused,' Wolff said. 'Pretty Finnish, to be honest, and a great fit for us.' Massa will head back to Williams only a few months after retiring from Formula One. The Brazilian has agreed to a one-year deal and will race alongside F1 debutant Lance Stroll. 'I am very happy to have an opportunity to return to Williams. I always intended to race somewhere in 2017, but Williams is a team close to my heart and I have respect for everything it is trying to achieve,' Massa said. 'Valtteri has a great opportunity, given the turn of events over the winter, and I wish him all the best at Mercedes.' Earlier, Mercedes' young driver Pascal Wehrlein, who had been linked with replacing Rosberg, joined Swiss team Sauber. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 17th, 2017

Hold the panic button, TNT remains confident despite slump

At the end of 2016, TNT was primed to make a run at the top-2 spots in the Philippine Cup. But after two weeks of play in 2017, the KaTropa suddenly find themselves in a crowded pack where one is surely to be eliminated in about a month. Stuck at 4-4, TNT is tied with four other teams for the 5th-9th spots after a loss on Sunday. A win would have put them tied for second with three games to go. 'Lahat ng teams nasa gitna. Lahat may chance na maka-abot sa twice-to-beat, sayang yung opportunity,' rued TNT star guard Jayson Castro after dropping a 77-88 decision to the Hotshots, their second straight for the new year. Despite the unusual situation they are in right now, no panic buttons have been pressed on the part of TNT. With eight teams separated by only one game in ythe standings, things can certainly chance with three games to go in each of their respective schedules. 'Hindi naman [alarming]. From day one, I've been telling them that there has to be changes. I've been calling out their attention, their names, yung mga dapat nilang baguhin. Change doesn't happen overnight. It's not just letting you know of your mistake and the next day, iba na agad,' head coach Nash Racela said. 'Mindset is to still get as much wins because your position after the eliminations, you don't have control over. Sa amin lang, subukan natin ipanalo every game and kung saan tayo malagay, you just have to prepare for the next battle,' he added. Instead of being worried, Castro shares his head coach's sentiment and remains confident of their chances moving forward. 'Confident pa rin kami kasi alam naman namin na ginagawa namin yung mga kailangan namin gawin,' the Blur said.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 16th, 2017

Cawaling delivers the goods as Alab stretches streak to three

Ray Parks Jr. did not score in double-digits for the first time in the 2016-2017 Asean Basketball League. And yet, there was still no problem for Alab Pilipinas. JR Cawaling stepped up to the plate and knocked every pitch out of the park as the Filipinos had all the answers for defending champion and home team Malaysia in a 65-54 decision on Sunday. Cawaling scored 11 points built on three triples, none bigger than his last one inside the last two minutes that punctuated a 10-3 run for the Philippines and re-established a 63-51 lead. Parks Jr. only had nine points in what was his lowest-scoring game in the tournament. The former Far Eastern University standout and the rest of the reserves had his back, however, and outplayed their counterparts, 31-13. With Alab starting slow, it was also Cawaling standout who sparked the 18-6 second quarter surge that snared away a 28-22 advantage. They would never relinquish the lead all the way to their third win in a row and fifth win in seven games overall. Although falling short of double-digits in scoring, Parks Jr. collared 10 rebounds while imports Sampson Carter and James Hughes also combined to contribute 15 points and 15 rebounds. The Filipinos have now scored back-to-back wins against the defending champion Dragons and runner-up Singapore. They remain in third-place, but are breathing down the necks of 5-1 Hong Kong and 7-2 Slingers. Malaysia dropped to 1-5 in its title defense. BOX SCORES ALAB PILIPINAS 65 — Cawaling 11, Parks 9, Carter 9, Acuna 6, Hughes 6, Thiele 6, Hubalde 5, Domingo 5, Fortuna 4, Celiz 4, Knuttel 0. MALAYSIA DRAGONS 54 — Melvin 15, Spencer 11, Yeo 9, Loh 7, Goldstein 6, Ting 4, Teo 2, Ma 0. QUARTER SCORES: 16-18, 32-28, 51-41, 65-54. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 15th, 2017

Worth a mention: Williams aiming for record 23rd major title

JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer   MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Serena Williams definitely doesn't want to talk about the No. 23. She doesn't really want to think about planning a wedding, either, while she's pursuing a Grand Slam record. Newly engaged Williams brushed off concerns about the 88 unforced errors she had in a loss in New Zealand last week in her only warmup tournament ahead of the Australian Open, which starts Monday and where she's aiming for Open-era record 23rd major title. 'I've moved on,' she said. 'I'm feeling relaxed, calm, ready and poised.' Williams responded to questions about milestone achievements last year when she had 21 Grand Slam titles, and it didn't help — she lost the final here to Angelique Kerber and to Garbine Muguruza at the French Open before winning Wimbledon to equal Steffi Graf's Open era mark of 22. She's being more superstitious this time. 'I'm not talking about that,' Williams, a six-time Australian Open winner, said as she shut down questions during a promotional activity this week. 'I said I'm not talking about that. Move on.' Another Australian title is also high on the agenda for Novak Djokovic, who already has won six. But he isn't thinking much beyond his opening match after drawing Fernando Verdasco. A first is the priority for Andy Murray, recently knighted in Britain after finishing 2016 at No. 1. He is looking at the draw from the top for the first time at a major and is hoping it comes with a change in fortunes at Melbourne Park. He has lost five Australian Open finals — the first to Roger Federer in 2010, the other four to Djokovic. Federer could again stand in his way, only at the quarterfinal stage this time. The 17-time major winner slipped down the rankings during six months off last year recovering from an injured left knee and was seeded No. 17. Williams took time off after the U.S. Open, where she lost in the semifinals for the second year running and lost the top ranking to Kerber. The big news during her break was her engagement to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian last month, when she posted a poem on the news website to confirm she'd accepted his proposal. After hitting this week with 16-year-old Destanee Aiava, who will be the first person born in the 2000s to play in the main draw of a major when she meets a qualifier in the first round, Williams said her mind was back entirely on business. 'I told (Ohanian) my main goal was to win this title,' she said. 'Yeah, it really doesn't feel like anything different.' No date has been set for the wedding, with Williams' mind on one major thing, so she's not thinking about a dress or a cake, and she's not wearing a ring to practice. 'Oh my God. I don't think about it really,' she said, responding to questions about her marriage plans. 'I'm just ... I don't know I'll have to ask him that. I have a job — I mean, he does too. I kinda gotta focus.' Kerber won the Australian and U.S. Open titles last year, so will be attempting to defend a major for the first time in Melbourne. She may be feeling pressure as the No. 1 seed, having won only one match in two warmup tournaments in Brisbane and Sydney. That doesn't take any pressure off Williams. 'I am No. 2, I guess. I definitely don't feel like anyone's saying that, 'Oh, there's no pressure on Serena,'' she said. 'It's always there, I'm used to it. 'I feel like I've been No. 1 for so long, so many times. I've done things that are amazing. Sometimes that ranking really means a lot, but also I feel like sometimes just winning events ... means just as much.' That's something Djokovic understands. His 122-week streak at No. 1 ended amid Murray's incredible finish to last season, when he won Wimbledon and defended the Olympic gold medal among eight titles he won after reuniting with Ivan Lendl as coach. Before then, Djokovic had beaten Murray in the Australian and French Open finals, his 11th and 12th major titles. Half of those have come in Melbourne, where his victory last year equaled the record six Australian titles Roy Emerson won (1961 and 1963-67). 'I'm feeling phenomenal,' Djokovic said after arriving in Australia following a win over Murray in his season-opening event at Doha. 'Maybe this is the year — 2017 for seven. I'm not a numerologist, but it sounds good.' Murray jumped on a flight almost immediately after last year's final to be with his wife, who was expecting their first child. There have been plenty of changes for him since, becoming a father for the first time, No. 1 in the world for the first time, and reuniting with Lendl. 'Each time I come, I think I've got a chance of winning but it's just never happened,' he said. 'Hopefully, this year will be different. 'I do think the last few months of last year can help me with giving me confidence — other players look at that and see you're playing well and (I) feel physically and mentally strong.' Fourth-seeded Stan Wawrinka, who ended the run of wins by Djokovic and Murray when he won the U.S. Open last September, said the next generation of players such as Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic and 2014 U.S. Open runner-up Kei Nishikori would be among the contenders for the Australian title. But he thinks it will be difficult for any new champion to emerge against the likes of the in-form Murray and Djokovic, and the returning Federer and Rafael Nadal. 'So far, last 10 years, the 'Big Four' was really strong,' Wawrinka said, 'so it's going to be interesting to see this year how Novak, Andy, Rafa, and Roger will play.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 13th, 2017

Match-fixing back in spotlight on eve of first Grand Slam

JUSTIN BERGMAN, Associated Press   For Rafael Nadal and the other stars of tennis, there's a familiar ring to the questions being raised as the first ball is about to be struck at the Australian Open. Recent match-fixing sanctions and a new case are bringing fresh scrutiny to the integrity of the sport a year after corruption allegations cast a pall over the first Grand Slam of the year. '(It's) obviously negative, always in the first month of the season starts to happen,' Nadal said at the season-opening Brisbane International. 'You get tired about this kind of stuff, but the most important thing is fight against these kinds of things.' The headlines started appearing early in the new year. On Jan. 5, police in Australia charged an 18-year-old player with a match-fixing offense at a lower-tier tournament last October in Traralgon, near Melbourne. Days later, another Australian player, Nick Lindahl, now retired but once ranked in the top 200, was handed a seven-year ban and $35,000 fine from the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) for offering to throw a match at a minor tournament in the city of Toowoomba in 2013. Lindahl had already been fined after a criminal trial. Two other Australian players received lesser punishments in connection with the incident. While Traralgon and Toowoomba are far removed from the glittering lights of Melbourne Park, the timing of the developments was troubling nonetheless. Last season began similarly beneath a cloud of suspicion after a report by BBC and Buzzfeed alleged that tennis authorities had suppressed evidence of match-fixing and failed to investigate possible cases of corruption. The reports went over old ground, but the timing and the headlines overshadowed the tournament. 'I haven't heard anything (about match-fixing) since last year's Australian Open,' German player Mischa Zverev told The Associated Press last week in Brisbane. 'I think it was funny timing. ... Like the day before the Oscars, they're going to bring something up to make somebody not win it, or win it.' Since then, tennis leaders have gone into overdrive to restore confidence in the sport. An independent panel was created to review the TIU, the internal body tasked with combating corruption, and authorities promised to implement all of its recommendations when it is completed this spring. The TIU also took separate steps to strengthen its monitoring and investigation efforts, develop new anti-corruption education programs for players, and improve the transparency of its operations. In an email statement to The AP, the agency said nine players and officials were sanctioned last year for match-fixing — the most for a single year since the unit was established in 2008. Several were banned for life, including a young South African player and four officials from Turkey and Uzbekistan. The unit also expanded its outreach efforts with betting operators and regulators, leading to increased reporting of suspicious wagers. In 2016, the TIU received 292 betting alerts — an 18 percent increase over the previous year. The vast majority of those came from the Challenger and Futures circuits on the men's tour, considered the most at-risk for match-fixing given the lower likelihood of detection and the smaller earnings of the players. However, the TIU said three alerts were generated at Grand Slam events, as well. The agency was quick to note, though, that an alert isn't necessarily proof of match-fixing. Of the more than 114,000 matches played last year on the professional tours, only 0.2 percent triggered a suspicious betting alert. 'Tennis was one of the first major sports to recognize the potential threat of betting-related corruption and do something about it,' the TIU said. 'It will be for the independent review panel to take a view on the conduct and effectiveness of the unit and to put forward recommendations to improve the current structure and approach.' Whatever the investigators recommend, the fact remains the TIU faces an uphill battle. Technology has shifted the gambling landscape in such a way, it's increasingly difficult for monitors to keep up. In tennis, wagers aren't just placed on who wins or loses; bets can be placed during matches in real time on everything from total points won in a game to whether a set goes to a tiebreak. 'We're talking individual player activities here,' said Hans Westerbeek, dean of the College of Sport and Exercise Science at Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia. 'It's much easier to get into a situation where you approach individual players to do things that can be, if done well, quite well hidden from it being suspicious.' He likens it to the ongoing battle against performance-enhancing drugs. 'You're always struggling to keep up with the innovations that a better-resourced front of gambling operators, legal or illegal, will have available to advance their technology.' Ryan Rodenberg, an associate professor of forensic sports law analytics at Florida State University, says this is one reason a more sophisticated approach is critically needed. He recommends an internal monitoring system that analyzes each match for suspicious activity in real time, rather than relying solely on betting alerts. 'A robust betting data-monitoring operation would have both in-house capabilities and a number of collaborative information sharing agreements with third parties such as sportsbooks, private monitoring firms or academics,' he said. 'Anything less is sub-optimal.' With a limited budget of just $3.23 million for 2017, however, there is only so much the TIU can do. As such, preventative measures such as education have become a priority. More than 25,000 players and officials have completed the TIU's online anti-corruption training program, and a new version will be launched that players will be required to complete every two years. 'Educating players who are up-and-coming and those who support those players is a very good, positive and necessary thing to do,' Westerbeek says. 'Because the root of the problem is ... people not really (understanding) they're engaging in criminal activity.' ___ AP Sports Writer John Pye contributed to this report. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 13th, 2017

Giants need to turn their attention to fixing the offense

TOM CANAVAN, AP Sports Writer br /> EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (AP) — Hiring Ben McAdoo to replace Tom Coughlin as coach, spending a mint on the defense in free agency and picking up a couple of gems in the first two rounds of the NFL draft got the New York Giants back to the playoffs for the first time since 2011. Despite a one-sided wild-card loss to the Packers on Sunday, there is much optimism looking toward 2017. The team went from 6-10 the past two seasons to an 11-5 regular-season mark that included a pair of wins over the NFC top-seeded Dallas Cowboys. All general manager Jerry Reese has to do in the offseason is fix the offense this time around, with a lot less money to spend in free agency. The unit that was supposed to be the strength of the team failed to score 30 points in any game and wrapped up the year by scoring less than 20 in the final six games, including Sunday's 38-13 setback to the Packers. The running game was among the worst in the league and 36-year-old Eli Manning never had much time to throw. Odell Beckham Jr. was his big weapon — 101 catches, including 10 touchdowns — but there was little else outside of him and rookie Sterling Shepard, the second-round pick. 'We felt that we had the talent and the coaching in the scheme this year to have a better year than we had,' McAdoo said. 'We obviously fell short from an offensive prospective.' The offensive line might need the most attention. Left tackle Ereck Flowers, the No. 1 pick in 2015, has underperformed, and right guard John Jerry and right tackle Marshall Newhouse will be unrestricted free agents. A decision has to be made on the future of receiver Victor Cruz. He played after missing most of the last two seasons but was limited to 39 catches playing on the outside instead of his normal slot position, which was given to Shepard. 'Obviously you can't do everything in one year, or one draft, or one free agency period,' Reese said. 'We have things that we can build on. We want to continue to build on every position and upgrade where we can, and build as strong a football team as we can, moving forward.' Most of the players in the locker room felt the foundation was set for the future and a fifth Super Bowl title for the Giants. 'I'm by no means satisfied,' linebacker Devon Kennard said. 'I don't think anybody in this locker room is satisfied with how things ended. It's going to be motivation for us moving forward.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 10th, 2017

Pliskova routs Cornet, wins Brisbane title

JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer br /> BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Karolina Pliskova won all but five points in the first six games to set up a 6-0, 6-3 rout of Alize Cornet in the Brisbane International final on Saturday, setting an ominous tone for the first Grand Slam. The U.S. Open finalist will move to a career-high No. 5 ranking for the Australian Open, which begins on Jan. 16, after winning her first Brisbane title and seventh on the WTA tour. The first set lasted less than 20 minutes, with third-seeded Pliskova not dropping a point on serve until the last game. Cornet, who was unseeded and ranked No. 41, didn't get on the scoreboard until she held to open the second set. 'I didn't miss in almost the whole first set,' Pliskova said. 'Yeah, I was feeling pretty good.' Cornet said she couldn't get a read on Pliskova's serve, rating it as more difficult to handle than 22-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams' serve. Pliskova is 'serving really, really well. I mean, I played Serena a few times, and I could always be able to return a first serve ... somehow,' Cornet said. 'When you have a serve like this, it's such a weapon. It's pretty much nightmare, actually.' On Sunday, Sydney International organizers said Pliskova, who was scheduled to be seeded fourth there, withdrew due to a left inner thigh injury. Pliskova had a breakout season in 2016, reaching her first Grand Slam final — beating both Venus and Serena Williams before losing to Angelique Kerber at the U.S. Open — and helping the Czech Republic win the Fed Cup. On the men's side, Milos Raonic's title defense ended in a 7-6 (7), 6-2 semifinal loss to Grigor Dimitrov, who will play third-seeded Kei Nishikori in Sunday's final. Dimitrov fended off set point in the tiebreaker and converted his own moments later. He broke Raonic's serve twice in the second set. Raonic didn't blame a late finish on Friday in his quarterfinal win over Rafael Nadal, or the toll that playing the 14-time Grand Slam winner took on his body. Dimitrov 'made it obviously very difficult (and) I didn't turn around and bring the performance I needed to bring,' Raonic said. 'I was just a tidbit slow.' Raonic made the semifinals at the Australian Open last year, reached his first Grand Slam final at Wimbledon, and finished the year ranked No. 3. But he hasn't won a title since his success in Brisbane last year. He thinks his preparation can change that in 2017. 'I'm on that right track,' he said. 'I feel like if I can avoid that hiccup, I can have a very, very good time in Melbourne.' Nishikori beat U.S. Open champion Stan Wawrinka 7-6 (3), 6-3 to reach the Brisbane final for the first time, ending a run of three semifinal defeats. He has a 3-0 record against Dimitrov, who lost the 2013 Brisbane final to Andy Murray. Wawrinka had treatment on his left ankle in the first and second sets but didn't expect it to cause him any trouble at the Australian Open. Nishikori took full advantage, converting his first break point in the second set to take a 3-1 lead when Wawrinka missed consecutive backhands. The No. 2-seeded Wawrinka broke back immediately, but dropped his serve again in the next game. Wawrinka beat Nishikori in the U.S. Open semifinals; his only win in their past four matches. Now they're 4-4 in career meetings. Nishikori is making his seventh trip to Brisbane. 'This is my first time to get Sunday, so I'm really happy,' the 2014 U.S. Open finalist said. 'And especially beating Stan today, it was a good start of the year.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 7th, 2017

Al Qaeda in 2017: Slow and steady wins the race

Al Qaeda in 2017: Slow and steady wins the race.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilatimes_netRelated NewsJan 7th, 2017

World No. 1 Murray wins his opening match of 2017 in Doha

DOHA, Qatar — Top-ranked Andy Murray extended his winning streak to a career-best 25 matches by defeating Jeremy Chardy of France 6-0, 7-6 (2) in his first m.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJan 4th, 2017

ONE champ Angela Lee to defend title against Huang in Thailand

CHRIS LINES, AP Sports Writer   BANGKOK (AP) — Hawaiian Angela Lee will defend her women's atomweight title against Taiwan's Jenny Huang when ONE Championship hosts its second mixed martial arts promotion in Thailand on March 11. The 20-year-old Canadian-born Lee improved her perfect career record to six wins when she won the title in a unanimous decision against Mei Yamaguchi in May last year. The fight in Bangkok will be her first defense. 'I had back to back fights leading up to the title fight, and after I won the belt I took some time off,' Lee said. 'The goal for 2017 is to be an active champion and to stay busy. 'Since my last fight, I've been training extremely hard, improving my skill set and I can't wait to show everyone.' Huang also has a perfect record, winning her fifth fight against April Osenio by submission last month. Five years older than Lee, Huang was later to start her MMA career than her upcoming opponent. 'I have been working so hard to come to this point in my career, and now that I'm finally here it all feels very surreal to me,' Huang said. 'Inside the cage I only have one goal and that's to win this bout at any cost. She better be prepared for what I bring to the table because I will go to battle with my full arsenal.' The event in Bangkok will be ONE's second promotion in Thailand after the inaugural event in May last year. ONE has an expanded schedule this year, including five fight nights in China and a first in Vietnam. The first event of the year will be in Jakarta this month. Marcin Prachnio has withdrawn from the middleweight title fight against Vitaly Bigdash due to injury and will be replaced by Aung La N Sang of Myanmar. Russia's Bigdash will be making the first defense of the title he won back in 2015. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 4th, 2017

World No. 1 Murray wins his opening match of 2017 in Doha

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Top-ranked Andy Murray extended his winning streak to a career-best 25 matches by defeating Jeremy Chardy of France 6-0, 7-6 (2) in his first match of the year at the Qatar Open on Tuesday. Murray attained the No. 1 ranking in his final match of the season last year, winning a career-best ninth title by upsetting then No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the ATP Finals championship match. Murray, who won back-to-back Doha titles in 2008 and 2009, was greeted enthusiastically by the crowd when he took to the court. One fan held up a handwritten sign, 'Welcome to Doha Sir Andy,' referencing his recently being knighted by Britain's Queen Elizabeth. Murray won the opening set by posting only one unforced error and seven winners. In all, Murray had nine unforced errors and 18 winners. The 69th-ranked Chardy settled into the second set, even managing to break Murray's serve in the first game. But from 2-2 in the second set tiebreaker, Murray reeled off five straight points to finish off the match. Murray, who has beaten Chardy in nine of the 10 matches they have played, will face Gerald Melzer of Austria in the next round. Fifth seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France, playing in Doha for the first time since he won the title in 2012, ousted Andrey Kuznetsov of Russia 6-1, 4-6, 6-2. The win booked Tsonga a second-round outing against Dustin Brown of Germany. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 4th, 2017

Patriots clinch home-field advantage

The Associated Press br /> MIAMI GARDENS, Florida (AP) — Tom Brady threw for 276 yards and three scores Sunday as the Patriots clinched home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs by beating the Dolphins 35-14. New England took a 20-0 lead in the first half, and turned away Miami's comeback bid with the help of a 77-yard touchdown catch-and-run by Julian Edelman and a 69-yard fumble return by linebacker Shea McClellin. The Patriots (14-2), already assured of a first-round bye, became the ninth team since 1972 to go undefeated on the road during the regular season. The Dolphins (10-6), beaten for only the second time in the past 11 games, had already earned an AFC wild-card berth. They play their first postseason game since 2008 next weekend at Pittsburgh. STEELERS 27, BROWNS 24 PITTSBURGH (AP) — Steelers backups assured the Browns of the top pick in the 2017 draft. Landry Jones hit Cobi Hamilton with a 26-yard touchdown with 2:57 left in overtime. The Browns took a lead on Cody Parkey's 34-yard field goal with 7:17 remaining in the extra session. Jones, who started while the playoff-bound Steelers rested Ben Roethlisberger, took the Steelers 75 yards in nine plays. The last was a pretty lob to the end zone that Hamilton hauled in to give Pittsburgh (11-5) its seventh straight victory. Jones finished with 277 yards passing and three touchdowns and one interception. Isaiah Crowell ran for a career-high 152 yards for the Browns (1-15), who finished with the worst record in franchise history. JETS 30, BILLS 10 EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (AP) — Ryan Fitzpatrick threw two touchdown passes in what was likely his final game for the Jets. Despite a 5-11 record, the Jets are making no changes in leadership, meaning both coach Todd Bowles and general manager Mike Maccagnan will remain with the team next season. Bowles is 15-17 in his two-year tenure with New York, which hired him in January 2015 after firing Rex Ryan. Maccagnan is also in his second season with the Jets, and had also been criticized for the team's roster, which likely faces an overhaul this offseason. The Bills (7-9) also face some uncertainty this offseason after firing Ryan earlier in the week and elevating offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn to the interim role. Two other people with direct knowledge of the situation told the AP before the game that Lynn is the clear favorite to take over the job permanently. TITANS 24, TEXANS 17 NASHVILLE, Tennessee (AP) — A concussion that sidelined quarterback Tom Savage could have the biggest impact coming out of the Texans' loss. Savage started for the AFC South champions, left in the second quarter to be evaluated for a concussion and was cleared. He took a snap to kneel down on the final play of the first half and was diagnosed with a concussion after being re-evaluated at halftime. That left Brock Osweiler, benched for Savage last month, running the offense. He threw for 253 yards and a touchdown and also ran for a 1-yard TD on fourth-and-goal in the fourth quarter. Houston (9-7) will host Oakland next weekend, possibly with uncertainty at quarterback. DaQuan Jones recovered a fumble for a touchdown in the first quarter and the Titans never trailed to finish with their first winning season since 2011. EAGLES 27, COWBOYS 13 PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Tony Romo threw his first touchdown pass in nearly 14 months as the playoff-bound Cowboys played it safe. The Cowboys (13-3) had already locked up the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs so Dak Prescott played only two series and Ezekiel Elliott watched from the sideline. Carson Wentz tossed two TD passes to Zach Ertz to help Philadelphia finish with a two-game winning streak. Prescott was 4 for 8 for 37 yards before giving way to Romo, who hadn't played in a regular-season game since Thanksgiving 2015 when he broke his left collarbone for the second time in less than three months. Romo broke a bone in his back in the third preseason game against Seattle this season, paving the way for Prescott to have one of the best years by a rookie quarterback in NFL history. BUCCANEERS 17, PANTHERS 16 TAMPA, Florida (AP) — Jameis Winston threw for 202 yards and one touchdown as the Buccaneers broke up Cam Newton's 2-point conversion throw in the closing seconds for their first winning season in six years. Winston threw a 10-yard pass to Mike Evans to snap a fourth-quarter tie and became the first player in NFL history to start his career with consecutive 4,000-yard seasons. But the Bucs (9-7) were eliminated from playoff contention, not getting the help they needed in other games for their first berth since 2007. Winston's franchise record-setting 28th TD pass put the Bucs ahead 17-10 with 3:10 remaining. Newton, however, moved the Panthers (6-10) right down the field, with help of a 47-yard pass to Kelvin Benjamin and two fourth-down completions to set up a 5-yard scoring pass to trim Carolina's deficit to one with 17 seconds left. VIKINGS 38, BEARS 10 MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Sam Bradford concluded his first season with Minnesota with three first-half touchdown passes. Bradford went 25 for 33 for 250 yards and one interception, finishing with a 71.6 percent completion rate to set an NFL single-season record. Kyle Rudolph caught 11 passes for 117 yards and a score for the Vikings (8-8), who started 5-0 before stumbling out of their bye week and never recovering. The Bears (3-13) wound up with their fewest wins in a non-strike year since 1973 after turning the ball over five times. Everson Griffen returned one of their three lost fumbles for a touchdown. Jordan Howard, the lone bright spot, rushed for 135 yards on 23 carries to break Matt Forte's franchise rookie record and finish with 1,313 yards for the season for Chicago. COLTS 24, JAGUARS 20 INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Andrew Luck threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Jack Doyle with 9 seconds left. Indy (8-8) went 75 yards in 84 seconds with no timeouts to avoid its first losing season since 2011, sending retiring linebacker Robert Mathis out with a win in his final NFL game. Jacksonville (3-13) matched the second-worst record in franchise history after blocking a punt with 1:54 to go and breaking a 17-17 tie with 1:33 left. Instead, Luck took the Colts right downfield for the score. Mathis extended his league record of strip-sacks to 41 in the fourth quarter, two days after announcing he would retire. BENGALS 27, RAVENS 10 CINCINNATI (AP) — Andy Dalton completed his first 10 passes, one for a touchdown, and Rex Burkhead ran for a pair of scores in the Bengals' fifth straight win at home over the Ravens. The Bengals (6-9-1) missed the playoffs for the first time in six years. Coach Marvin Lewis says he'll return in 2017. Baltimore (8-8) failed to reach the playoffs for the third time in four years. The Ravens played their final game as if they were emotionally hung over from a last-minute loss at Pittsburgh last Sunday that eliminated them. .....»»

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