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YOUR MOVE, UST: Pido once again expresses desire to return to coach Tigers

Your move, UST. Pido Jarencio has once again expressed his desire to return home and coach the Growling Tigers again, saying he's willing to help in restoring the school's once proud basketball program. However, Pido wanting the job is just half of the equation. UST has to want him back too. "Kung gusto nila ako, wala namang problema. I'll take that position. Open naman ata yun position. Kung may doubt ang UST sakin, kung ayaw nila sa akin wala namang problema nasa PBA naman ako," Jarencio said. Pido is taking over the Globalport Batang Pier in the PBA right now with Franz Pumaren taking a leave of absence from the team. "Pero I'm willing to help. Alam ko naman ang formula dun at sikreto dun eh," coach Pido added. Coaching UST from 2006-2013, Jarencio led the Tigers to three Finals and one UAAP championship, earning him the love of the legion of UST fans. Since he left, the team made it to another UAAP Finals only to fall short. However, the core of that Tigers team was still basically that one that Pido built before he moved on to the PBA. "I was there for 8 years. Yung 8 years na program ko yung last two years ko nasa championship pareho. We fell short pero yun point na andun ka lagi, iba yun," Jarencio said. "After ko dun yung players ko pa rin naman yung mga naiwan e, and then nagpunta na naman sila ng championship. Natutuwa ako kasi same program, akin pa rin yung mga yun. I don't take the credit away from coach Bong [dela Cruz] kasi sistema nya yun. Pero ang point ko, yun na yun e. Nabuild ko na yun, tuloy tuloy na dapat yun," he added. With the UST program reaching rock bottom particularly in Season 80, Jarencio says it's now all about recovery for the Tigers. And he's willing to help out if he's given the second chance. "Yung last two years sa UST siguro destiny yan e. Kung bumagsak na ganun wala na tayong magagawa e. Ang kailanan lang recovery na lang uli," Jarencio said. "Pero ako I'm willing to return to coaching as long as UST wants me. Kung di naman nila ko gusto anong magagawa ko?" he added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnDec 7th, 2017

Pido Jarencio sure is disappointed about the UST-Ayo move

Safe to say Pido Jarencio was rather disappointed with UST's decision to go with Aldin Ayo as the next head coach for the Growling Tigers. Posting on his official Twitter account, Jarencio took offense in the fact that UST chose an "outsider" for the vacant slot instead of choosing one of their own. Ang dami naming magkakapatid na pwede pagkatiwalaan, ang AMA namin kumuha pa ng taga labas! Tsk tsk tsk #no delicadesa #sino may pakana — pidojarencio (@pidojarencio1) December 29, 2017 Jarencio, who played for UST and even coached the Growling Tigers to three UAAP Finals and one title, didn't hide his intention to return and coach UST again. He was a favorite among alumni and fans alike. However, news broke a couple of days ago that Ayo will be moving on from La Salle to take over the UST basketball program that just suffered its worst season in team history.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 29th, 2017

Boy Sablan out as UST head coach

UST fans rejoice? According to a source, head coach Boy Sablan, together with his entire coaching staff, will be leaving the Growling Tigers. The move is set to take effect on November 30 but the entire staff's compensations will continue until May of 2018 because of their live contracts. Sablan coached two seasons for UST, finishing with a 3-11 record in Season 79 and a 1-13 card in Season 80, barely avoiding the school's first winless season. At one point during Sablan's tenure, the Tigers went 393 days without a UAAP victory. Following Sablan's exit, UST should be starting its search for a new head coach although Pido Jarencio, who led the Tigers to three UAAP Finals including the Season 69 championship, has made it known that he wants to return home. [Related: Jarencio ready to come back and coach UST again] Jarencio first left in 2013 to coach the Globalport Batang Pier in the PBA. Bong dela Cruz replaced him, coaching UST to a 5-9 record in Season 77 and to a Finals stint in Season 78. After a rather controversial break-up between dela Cruz and UST, Sablan took over the post.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 21st, 2017

LeBron s free agency decision could swing NBA s balance of power

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com CLEVELAND -- These combo coronation-funerals can be tricky. Imagine the crowning of a new monarch where the royal subjects couldn’t stop chattering about the freshly deposed or deceased predecessor. Where the traditional cry of continuity and succession, “The king is dead! Long live the king!” got flipped, with what was overshadowing what is. That’s pretty much how it went Friday night (Saturday, PHL time) at Quicken Loans Arena, with the Golden State Warriors’ latest NBA championship having to share the stage with speculation, instantly revved up, about LeBron James and the choice he’ll soon make about his next employer. The Warriors are the kings, claiming pro basketball’s throne yet again by completing a sweep of James’ Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2018 Finals. But of course, James is the King, and as so many of us learned in sophomore English – thanks, CliffsNotes! – “Uneasy lies the head (of those who fret and obsess about the future whereabouts of the NBA superstar) that wears a crown.” Long live the kings! The King is ... gone? There was so much energy before, during and after Game 4 Friday (Saturday, PHL time) poured into the last game/next game conjecture about James, the Cavaliers and seismic shifts in the league’s 2018-19 landscape that even the player’s surprise reveal near the end of the night – a bruised and bandaged right hand – couldn’t derail it. Turns out, as James ‘fessed up, the sore shooting paw was an injury he had been playing with ever since Game 1 in Oakland eight days earlier. He had “self-inflicted” it in a fit of pique when he smacked a whiteboard in the visitors’ dressing room at Oracle Arena after Cleveland’s overtime loss in the series-setter, an outcome driven at least in part by some teammates’ mistakes and an arcane wrinkle in the NBA’s replay rules regarding block/charge fouls. Despite the hordes of media people chronicling every waking detail of the Finals, James had kept the injury on the down-low (along with the possibility that J.R. Smith’s nickname amongst his Cavs teammates might be “whiteboard”). The cameras zoomed in and clicked in a paparazzi frenzy of motor drives every time James raised the hand, wrapped in black tape, above the table during his postgame podium remarks. Whether a legit Page-2-the-rest-of-the-story factor in the championship series or a too-late alibi, the contused hand wound up as a sidebar to where James plans to be using it when training camps open in a few months. As of Friday (Saturday, PHL time), it had been 95 months since “The Decision,” the 2010 announcement that James made in a tone-deaf vanity TV production that he was taking his talents from Cleveland to South Beach. Nearly 47 months had passed since he broke the news of his return in a Sports Illustrated ghost-written essay, envisioning much of what actually has unfolded in the four years since. Now savvy insiders and casual observers alike presume James will be on the move again, pushed to leave the franchise he has defined in an urgent search for more and better talent with which he can compete. As in, y’know, some horses, some horses, his kingdom for some horses. James’ free-agency process next month (he can opt out of a $35.6 million deal in the final season of his current contract) is expected to dictate the market of player movement this summer like an oversized domino. It easily could swing the balance of power, if not quite at Golden State’s lofty level then immediately below it. The monster he helped create Dr. Frankenstein eventually was done in by his macabre creation, and it can similarly be argued that James has no one but himself to blame for the predicament in which he again finds himself. He set in motion the machinery of the super team, after all, when he chose to join forces with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami eight years ago. Oh sure, the Boston Celtics in 2007-08 got there first by luring Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to join Paul Pierce, but that was about knitting together three stars, all age 30 or older, for what would be their last best chance to win in an extremely limited run. That group won one title, went to two Finals in three seasons and was done, Allen leaving to join James & Co. with the Heat while Garnett and Pierce morphed into trade chips for Boston POBO Danny Ainge. When James, Wade and Bosh teamed up, they were in their basketball primes and their initial giddy boasts of “not four, not five, not six” championships turned off fans league-wide as much for its portent as its pretension. That crew went 4-for-4 in Finals, winning two rings before James, nudged by staleness and chafing as well as his grand plan for northeast Ohio, went home. From there, a line can be drawn through the ill-conceived 2012-13 L.A. Lakers of Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol all the way to this season’s Houston Rockets of James Harden and Chris Paul and the talent-gorged Golden State roster. James was the centerpiece as Cleveland replicated the Big Three concept around him with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, two younger, playoff-stymied All-Stars. The new-look Cavaliers went to the Finals in their first season together and clambered atop the basketball world to win the franchise’s first NBA title by the end of the second, becoming the first team in league history to do so after digging a 1-3 hole in the best-of-seven series. In that moment, regardless of the two Finals trips that followed, James’ bill was stamped: Paid In Full. Misguided fans might burn his jersey if he leaves again, but James burned the mortgage after that Game 7 in Oakland in 2016 as far as any remaining obligation to fulfill. “I came back because I felt like I had some unfinished business,” he said after elimination Friday (Saturday, PHL time). “To be able to be a part of a championship team two years ago with the team that we had and in the fashion that we had is something I will always remember. Honestly, I think we'll all remember that. It ended a drought for Cleveland of 50-plus years, so I think we'll all remember that in sports history.” James added: “When you have a goal and you're able to accomplish that goal, it actually – for me personally – made me even more hungry to continue to try to win championships. And I still want to be in championship mode. I think I've shown this year why I will still continue to be in championship mode.” In other words, James intends to sustain his high level of performance. He expects to win. And he presumably will do whatever – and go wherever – is necessary to achieve that. There’s no perfect fit So what does that mean for the NBA’s best player (never mind what the annual MVP balloting says in any given season)? It means this: compromise. There is no ideal situation, certainly no easy answer to the guesswork surrounding James’ looming free agency. He could transform any of the 30 teams, but not without some trade-offs for him, for them or for both. Most of them won’t be in play. Teams in markets such as Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Portland, Sacramento, the Twin Cities and so on can’t scratch James’ itches for either championship-worthy depth chart or spotlight. New York and Chicago, among the biggies, are out of synch with his timeline. Toronto? No way James is resettling his brand north of the border, and given his stated desire for teammates who have not just sufficient basketball skills but also mental toughness, well, the Raptors teams he and the Cavs have dominated do not qualify. The Boston club that stretched Cleveland to seven games in the Eastern Conference finals is built for the long haul and would have to surrender much of that to adjust to James’ career calendar. There’s a little Kyrie problem lurking there and, truth be told, the Celtics look to be on their way and are doing just fine without the 33-year-old heading, one of these years, toward decline. At some point in each of the 2018 Finals’ final three days, James spoke admiringly of the Warriors and the San Antonio Spurs title teams that blocked his path whether in Miami or Cleveland. He was at it again even as the Warriors were dousing the opponent’s locker room at The Q with Moet champagne. “I made the move in 2010 to be able to play with talented players, cerebral players that you could see things that happen before they happened on the floor,” James said. “When you feel like you're really good at your craft, I think it's always great to be able to be around other great minds as well and other great ballplayers. “That's never changed. Even when I came here in '14, I wanted to try to surround myself and surround this franchise with great minds and guys that actually think outside the box of the game and not just go out and play it.” Where might James find that now or recruit that swiftly? Hard to say. There are asterisks and “buts” everywhere: * If he were to sign with the Houston Rockets, James would be hitching his star to Chris Paul, a buddy with an injury history that’s about the mirror opposite of his own. He would be teaming up with an elite coach in Mike D’Antoni, something he’s never had (though Miami’s Erik Spoelstra was just young and unproven, on his way to big things). But it also would require another big ask of James Harden, who had to adapt last summer to Paul’s arrival and need for the ball. * If James chooses the Lakers, he has the chance to hit reset with the league’s glitziest franchise, in a market that can meet his every off-court wish and where he and his family already own one or more ultra-comfortable homes. The Lakers have young talent to help James transition into a lower-usage veteran’s role, favored status as a destination team for other top free agents and the salary-cap space to get it done this summer with the likes of Paul George or his pal Paul. But that roster might not be capable of insta-contending, which could burn a season or two when James’ clock most definitely is clicking. * If it’s San Antonio, James could link up with the elite coach in Gregg Popovich, where the winning culture is in the DNA rather than some acquired taste. The Spurs have talent, particularly if Kawhi Leonard finds happiness again there. But they might not have enough to rattle the Warriors’ cage. And for all their professed admiration, James and Popovich might both fare better by keeping their relationship long-distance vs. the 82-game grind. * If it’s Golden State? Perish the thought. The NBA might have to board up itself if competitive balance were capsized to that extent. And as Draymond Green shrewdly noted on Thursday (Friday, PHL time), if James climbed aboard, it likely would require him and several other Golden State teammates to be dispatched to parts unknown. * If James prefers to stay East, where the winning comes easier, he could pick Philadelphia. The Sixers have two foundational young stars at positions that matter most, center Joel Embiid and point guard Ben Simmons. But Simmons is a non-shooter at the moment, the antithesis of what makes a great complementary LeBron teammate. As for Embiid, James never has had to play off of and service a top center. And Philly might feel like a basketball-only move, with the hungriest and most demanding of any new fan base he would embrace. * If it’s Miami – wait, could it be Miami? Could he go second-home again? The Heat always strive to be competitive and offer a talent base deep enough for the East and lots of familiarity. But they also have players such as Hassan Whiteside and Dion Waiters whose mental approaches don’t seem to fit the model James was cooing about in Golden State and with the Tim Duncan-era Spurs. * That brings us to Cleveland, where it’s possible James might choose to remain. Staying with the Cavaliers, after leading them to four Finals and that heady 2016 title, would be the easiest choice as far as pressure to win. He owes these fans nothing anymore – in fact, had the bargain been offered to them in 2010 (“LeBron will leave and win elsewhere for four years, but will come back and deliver a championship and four Finals trips”), most would have grabbed it. Here, James and the fans who have watched him even through the interruption develop from ridiculously touted high schooler to one of the world’s most famous athletes could grow older together. Then he could partner up and buy the team from owner Dan Gilbert for a long-term future. Certainly, staying has a certain place in his and the rest of the James clan’s hearts. “The one thing that I've always done is considered, obviously, my family,” he said at series end Friday (Saturday, PHL time). “Understanding especially where my boys are at this point in their age. They were a lot younger the last time I made a decision like this four years ago. I've got a teenage boy, a pre-teen and a little girl that wasn't around as well. So sitting down and considering everything, my family is a huge part of whatever I'll decide to do in my career, and it will continue to be that.” It’s worth noting that as James contemplates his options as a modern pursuer of championship excellence, the prospect of him moving again qualifies at some level as a failure. Not just by the support system in Cleveland, where he and Gilbert have their friction and James gets snidely mentioned as the team’s unofficial GM and head coach, but by him too. He’s the one who went off to seek his “college education” in south Florida in what it takes to win, whether on the court, in the front office or in and around the seams 365 days a year, straight out of the Pat Riley handbook. The teams about which James talks so glowingly in Oakland now and in San Antonio then have cultures he covets, stability up and down the flowchart he craves. In Cleveland, for a variety of reasons, his team has been incapable of establishing and maintaining that to a lasting degree. He is part of that missed opportunity and he has to own it, no matter if he goes or stays. James is inseparable from the dynamic of the Cavaliers’ ever-changing and often melodramatic roster maneuvers. Spending big, swapping out draft picks to import current stars and supporting players, and overvaluing secondary guys like Smith and Tristan Thompson are risks the Warriors and the Spurs largely avoided thanks to shrew drafting and laudable continuity. The Cavs’ scrap heap, by contrast, is high with traded picks, scuttled plans, panic deals, short-term patches and folks such as former coach David Blatt and former GM David Griffin. And maybe James could have nurtured a little better relationship with All-Star point guard and 2016 title sidekick Kyrie Irving, enough to have kept Irving from bailing on them all with his trade demand last summer. Now he’s on the verge of casting about again, prioritizing what matters most for however long he continues to play. James is more at peace with it than he was before, particularly in 2010, and surely can enjoy the leverage he wields and the riches it delivers. But there is a burden there as well, one that could be seen as completing a circle. So many of the NBA’s greatest stars have been stuck playing and living in the Age of LeBron, right? Their paths to the Finals blocked, on one whole side of the league, by him and his? Well, LeBron James is stuck now in the Era of the Warriors, freshly swept and anxious to close the gap. What goes around comes around, though the key more pressing of the big W’s now is, where? Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 11th, 2018

2018 MLB preview: NL East

By The Associated Press Capsules of National League East teams, listed in order of finish last year: ___ Washington Nationals 2017: 97-65, first place, lost to Cubs in NLDS. Manager: Dave Martinez (first season). He's Here: 1B-OF Matt Adams, C Miguel Montero, RHP Jeremy Hellickson, RHP Joaquin Benoit, INF Matt Reynolds. He's Outta Here: Manager Dusty Baker, LF Jayson Werth, 1B-LF Adam Lind, C Jose Lobaton, RHP Matt Albers. Projected Lineup: SS Trea Turner (.284, 11 HRs, 45 RBIs, 46 SBs in 98 games), LF Adam Eaton (.297, 2, 13 in 23 games), RF Bryce Harper (.319, 29, 87), 3B Anthony Rendon (.301, 25, 100, 41 2Bs), 2B Daniel Murphy (.322, 23, 93, 43 2Bs, expected to begin season on DL recovering from knee surgery), 1B Ryan Zimmerman (.303, 36, 108, 33 2Bs), CF Michael A. Taylor (.271, 19, 53), C Matt Wieters (.225, 10, 52). Rotation: RH Max Scherzer (16-6, 2.51 ERA, NL-high 268 Ks, 200 2/3 IP, 3rd Cy Young Award), RH Stephen Strasburg (15-4, 2.52, 204 Ks), LH Gio Gonzalez (15-9, 2.96, 79 walks), RH Tanner Roark (13-11, 4.67), RH A.J. Cole (3-5, 3.81 in 11 appearances) or RH Jeremy Hellickson (8-11, 5.43 with Phillies and Orioles). Key Relievers: LH Sean Doolittle (2-0, 2.81, 24/26 saves with Athletics and Nationals), RH Ryan Madson (5-4, 1.83, 2 saves with Athletics and Nationals), RH Brandon Kintzler (4-3, 3.03, 29/35 saves with Twins and Nationals), LH Sammy Solis (1-0, 5.88, 1 save), RH Shawn Kelley (3-2, 7.27, 4 saves), RH Joaquin Benoit (1-6, 4.65, 2 saves with Phillies and Pirates). Hot Spots: Fifth Starter and Catcher. The Nationals have as good a 1-2 combination at the front of their rotation as anyone in the big leagues, with Scherzer and Strasburg. Their 3-4 slots aren't too shabby, either, with Gonzalez and Roark. But the big question is, who will be the fifth starter — the inexperienced Cole or late free-agent pickup Hellickson? The only other spot with some real doubts is catcher, where Wieters is coming off a terrible year at the plate. Outlook: This might very well be the end of an era at Nationals Park, with Harper eligible to leave as a free agent after the season and GM Mike Rizzo's contract set to expire, too. The team has won four NL East titles in the past six years but has zero playoff series wins to show for it. That's why yet another manager (Baker) lost his job, and yet another rookie skipper has been brought in (will Martinez have more success than Matt Williams?). Rizzo has made no secret of the need to start making postseason inroads — a World Series is the stated goal, and that's certainly not an outrageous aim, given all the talent he's assembled. The lineup remains almost exactly the same, although Werth is gone after playing out his seven-year contract, and the rotation and bullpen are also nearly identical to the way they looked at the end of 2017. ___ Miami Marlins 2017: 77-85, second place. Manager: Don Mattingly (third season). He's Here: INF Starlin Castro, CF Lewis Brinson, OF Cameron Maybin, 1B Garrett Cooper, RHP Jacob Turner, OF-1B Scott Van Slyke, RHP Jumbo Diaz, RHP Sandy Alcantara. He's Outta Here: RF Giancarlo Stanton, LF Marcell Ozuna, CF Christian Yelich, 2B Dee Gordon, RHP Tom Koehler, OF Ichiro Suzuki, RHP Dustin McGowan, C A.J. Ellis. Projected Lineup: RF Cameron Maybin (.228, 10 HRs, 35 RBIs, 33 SBs with Angels and Astros), CF Lewis Brinson (.106, 2, 3 in 21 games with Brewers), 2B Starlin Castro (.300, 16, 63 in 112 games with Yankees), 1B Justin Bour (.289, 25, 83, .902 OPS in 108 games), C J.T. Realmuto (.278, 17, 65), LF Derek Dietrich (.249, 13, 53), 3B Brian Anderson (.262, 0, 8 in 25 games), SS Miguel Rojas (.290, 1, 26 in 90 games). Rotation: RH Jose Urena (14-7, 3.82 ERA), RH Dan Straily (10-9, 4.26, 170 Ks), RH Odrisamer Despaigne (2-3, 4.01), RH Jacob Turner (2-3, 5.08 with Nationals), LH Justin Nicolino (2-3, 5.06). Key Relievers: RH Brad Ziegler (1-4, 4.79, 10/15 saves), RH Kyle Barraclough (6-2, 3.00, 1 save), RH Drew Steckenrider (1-1, 2.34, 54 Ks in 34 2/3 IP), RH Junichi Tazawa (3-5, 5.69), RH Nick Wittgren (3-1, 4.68). Hot Spot: Starting Rotation. Urena had a breakout season in 2017, and Straily tied for the NL lead with 33 starts, but they're the only established starters. The other three spots will likely be a revolving door occupied by a mix of prospects and journeymen, and the results could be ugly. One potential bright spot is the 22-year-old Alcantara, who had a 4.32 ERA in eight games for the Cardinals last year. He'll begin the season in the minors but might join the Marlins before summer. Outlook: New CEO Derek Jeter is accustomed to winning, and that is about to change. He traded away half of last year's starting lineup, including the NL MVP in Stanton, which means the Marlins are rebuilding yet again. Even with an entirely new outfield, the offense could be decent. But Castro and Realmuto are potential trade bait and might be gone before August, and the season will almost surely end Sept. 30, leaving the Marlins out of the playoffs for the 15th year in a row. This season is really all about developing prospects acquired in those offseason trades, and if youngsters such as Brinson and Alcantara perform well, 2018 will be considered a successful start for the Jeter regime. ___ Atlanta Braves 2017: 72-90, third place. Manager: Brian Snitker (third season). He's Here: RHP Brandon McCarthy, RHP Anibal Sanchez, LHP Scott Kazmir, INF Charlie Culberson, OF Preston Tucker, OF Ronald Acuna, 3B Austin Riley, OF Jeff Decker, 2B Christian Colon, RHP Shane Carle. He's Outta Here: OF Matt Kemp, RHP R.A. Dickey, 3B Adonis Garcia, 1B Matt Adams, INF Jace Peterson, RHP Jason Motte. Projected Lineup: CF Ender Inciarte (.304, 11 HRs, 57 RBIs, 22 SBs, Gold Glove), 2B Ozzie Albies (.286, 6, 28, 8 SBs in 57 games), 1B Freddie Freeman (.307, 28, 71 in 117 games), C Tyler Flowers (.281, 12, 49) or Kurt Suzuki (.283, 19, 50), RF Nick Markakis (.275, 8, 76), LF Ronald Acuna (.325, 21, 82, 44 SBs with 3 minor league teams) or Lane Adams (.275, 5, 20, 10 SBs), 3B Johan Camargo (.273, 14, 65) or Charlie Culberson (.154, 0, 1 in 15 games with Dodgers), SS Dansby Swanson (.232, 6, 51). Rotation: RH Julio Teheran (11-13, 4.49 ERA), RH Mike Foltynewicz (10-13, 4.79), RH Brandon McCarthy (6-4, 3.98 in 19 games with Dodgers), LH Sean Newcomb (4-9, 4.32 in 19 games), RH Anibal Sanchez (3-7, 6.41 with Tigers), LH Scott Kazmir (10-6, 4.56 with Dodgers in 2016) or LH Luiz Gohara (1-3, 4.91 in 5 games). Key Relievers: RH Arodys Vizcaino (5-3, 2.83, 14/17 saves, 64 Ks in 57 1/3 IP), RH Jose Ramirez (2-3, 3.19), LH A.J. Minter (0-1, 3.00, 26 Ks, 15 IP in 16 games), RH Dan Winkler (1-1, 2.51 in 16 games), LH Sam Freeman (2-0, 2.55 in 58 games). Hot Spot: Third Base. Camargo was the probable starter before an oblique injury left his status uncertain for the beginning of the season. Culberson, expected to play a utility role, or Rio Ruiz would be next in line. Austin Riley, a 2015 first-round pick who has not yet reached Triple-A, might be a year or two away. Camargo, who shared time with Swanson at shortstop last year, could be more than a stopgap if he can provide some of the power the Braves need at a corner infield spot. Outlook: Teheran, Foltynewicz and Newcomb have provided reasons this spring to believe they can improve their 2017 numbers. The progress of Newcomb, one of the team's many touted pitching prospects, became especially important when Gohara sustained a groin injury that will keep him from being ready for the start of the season. For a change, the spring spotlight was on a position player; Acuna was hitting .432 with four homers, 11 RBIs and four steals when he was sent to minor league camp. The move involving the 20-year-old top prospect was expected. It was made to maintain an extra full season of contractual control down the road, but Acuna likely will be recalled in April and immediately start in left field. He could provide a needed power bat to help Freeman in the middle of the lineup. The Braves likely are still at least a year away from contending in the NL East, but improved starting pitching could push them closer to .500 this year. ___ New York Mets 2017: 70-92, fourth place. Manager: Mickey Callaway (first season). He's Here: 3B Todd Frazier, RF Jay Bruce, LHP Jason Vargas, 1B Adrian Gonzalez, RHP Anthony Swarzak, LHP Matt Purke, C Jose Lobaton. He's Outta Here: Manager Terry Collins, LHP Josh Smoker, LHP Josh Edgin, RHP Chasen Bradford, OF Norichika Aoki, RHP Erik Goeddel, RHP Tyler Pill, LHP Tommy Milone, OF Travis Taijeron. Projected Lineup: 2B Asdrubal Cabrera (.280, 14 HRs, 59 RBIs, .351 OBP), LF Yoenis Cespedes (.292, 17, 42, .892 OPS in 81 games), RF Jay Bruce (.252, 36, 101 with Mets and Indians), 3B Todd Frazier (.213, 27, 76, .344 OBP with White Sox and Yankees), 1B Adrian Gonzalez (.242, 3, 30, .642 OPS in 71 games with Dodgers) or Dominic Smith (.198, 9, 26, .658 OPS, 49 Ks in 49 games), C Travis d'Arnaud (.244, 16, 57, .293 OBP in 112 games) or Kevin Plawecki (.260, 3, 13, .364 OBP in 37 games), CF Brandon Nimmo (.260, 5, 21, .379 OBP, .797 OPS in 69 games) or Juan Lagares (.250, 3, 15, .296 OBP, .661 OPS in 94 games), SS Amed Rosario (.248, 4, 10, 49 Ks, 3 BBs, .271 OBP, .665 OPS in 46 games). Rotation: RH Noah Syndergaard (1-2, 2.97 ERA, limited to 30 1/3 innings by lat injury), RH Jacob deGrom (15-10, 3.53, 239 Ks, 201 1/3 IP), LH Jason Vargas (18-11, 4.16, 179 2/3 IP in 32 starts with Royals), RH Matt Harvey (5-7, 6.70, 110 hits, 21 HRs, 67 Ks, 47 BBs in 92 2/3 IP), LH Steven Matz (2-7, 6.08 in 13 starts), RH Zack Wheeler (3-7, 5.21, 97 hits, 81 Ks, 40 BBs, 86 1/3 IP in 17 starts). Key Relievers: RH Jeurys Familia (2-2, 4.38, 6 saves in 26 games), RH AJ Ramos (2-4, 3.99, 27 saves with Marlins and Mets), RH Anthony Swarzak (6-4, 2.33, 91 Ks, 22 BBs, 58 hits, 77 1/3 IP in 70 games with White Sox and Brewers), LH Jerry Blevins (6-0, 2.94, 1 save, 69 Ks, 24 BBs, 49 IP in 75 games), RH Paul Sewald (0-6, 4.55, 69 Ks, 21 BBs, 65 1/3 IP in 57 games), RH Seth Lugo (7-5, 4.71, 101 1/3 IP in 19 games, 18 starts) or RH Robert Gsellman (8-7, 5.19, 119 2/3 IP in 25 games, 22 starts). Hot Spot: First Base. The 35-year-old Gonzalez, a five-time All-Star weakened by a bad back last season, was signed at a bargain price to provide competition and short-term insurance for Smith, a top prospect who struggled in his initial taste of the majors last year. Smith, 22, slimmed down in the offseason but was disciplined early in camp for arriving late one day. Then he strained a quad, keeping him out of the lineup for most of spring training, so it seems unlikely he'll make the opening day roster. Gonzalez, meanwhile, batted .182 with one extra-base hit and 11 strikeouts in his first 44 Grapefruit League at-bats before connecting for a home run. Wilmer Flores can play first against left-handers, but vs. righties the Mets either need Gonzalez to find the Fountain of Youth or Smith to live up to his first-round hype. Outlook: Callaway had great success with Cleveland's arms and the injury-plagued Mets are counting on his methods, along with new pitching coach Dave Eiland, to keep their talented but fragile rotation intact. New York also overhauled its medical department, hoping to keep star players on the field. Syndergaard and deGrom make for an imposing 1-2 punch. So if Harvey, Matz and Wheeler — even one or two of them — can finally stay healthy and approach their initial big league form, the pitching staff could be terrific again after unraveling last year with a 5.01 ERA that ranked 28th in the majors. Vargas was signed to eat innings but will miss some time at the beginning of the season following surgery for a broken right (non-pitching) hand. All-Star outfielder Michael Conforto (27 HRs, .384 OBP, .939 OPS) is targeting a May 1 return from surgery for a dislocated left shoulder. His status is critical to a lineup that lacks speed and a natural leadoff hitter. Nimmo made strides last season and is a potential candidate for that role while platooning early with Lagares to fill Conforto's spot in center field. After the Mets spent nearly $90 million to plug holes in free agency, it still might be a stretch to envision them seriously challenging star-studded Washington for NL East supremacy. But with better health in a soft division, they could certainly rejoin the wild-card hunt. ___ Philadelphia Phillies 2017: 66-96, fifth place. Manager: Gabe Kapler (first season). He's Here: RHP Jake Arrieta, 1B Carlos Santana, RHP Pat Neshek, RHP Tommy Hunter. He's Outta Here: Manager Pete Mackanin, SS Freddy Galvis, INF Andres Blanco, OF Daniel Nava, OF Hyun Soo Kim, RHP Clay Buchholz, 1B Tommy Joseph. Projected Lineup: 2B Cesar Hernandez (.294, 9 HRs, 34 RBIs, 15 SBs), 1B Carlos Santana (.259, 23, 79 with Indians), RF Nick Williams (.288, 12, 55) or Aaron Altherr (.272, 19, 65), LF Rhys Hoskins (.259, 18, 48), CF Odubel Herrera (.281, 14, 56), C Jorge Alfaro (.318, 5, 14), 3B Maikel Franco (.230, 24, 76), SS J.P. Crawford (.214, 0, 6 in 23 games). Rotation: RH Aaron Nola (12-11, 3.54 ERA, 184 Ks), RH Jake Arrieta (14-10, 3.53, 163 Ks with Cubs), RH Vince Velasquez (2-7, 5.13 in 15 starts), RH Nick Pivetta (8-10, 6.02), RH Zach Eflin (1-5, 6.16) or RH Ben Lively (4-7, 4.26). Key Relievers: RH Hector Neris (4-5, 3.01, 26/29 saves), RH Pat Neshek (5-3, 1.59, 1 save with Phillies and Rockies), RH Tommy Hunter (3-5, 2.61, 1 save with Rays), LH Adam Morgan (3-3, 4.12), RH Luis Garcia (2-5, 2.65). Hot Spot: Starting Rotation. There are a lot of question marks beyond Nola, who emerged as a reliable starter in 2017. Arrieta, the former Cubs ace, had a rough first half in 2017 but finished strong. Yet he was a free agent until mid-March. He's getting paid big bucks to be a No. 1 guy again. Jerad Eickhoff will begin the season on the DL and Velasquez is coming off a disappointing year after showing promise in 2016. Pivetta has upside but needs more maturity. The team has plenty of depth at Triple-A, including several pitchers who have big league experience, in case any of the starters falter or get hurt. Outlook: The decision to sign Arrieta signals the rebuild is over. The Phillies added Santana, Neshek and Hunter to a talented young roster in hopes of being competitive. A month into spring training, they added Arrieta because management thinks it's time to contend now. The lineup has the potential to be dynamic if the young hitters continue to emerge and Santana does what he did in Cleveland. The bullpen should be formidable with Hunter-Neshek-Neris at the back end. If Arrieta regains his old form, Nola lives up to his promise and a couple other starters take steps forward, the Phillies can not only end their five-year run of losing seasons but maybe even make a surprise push for a postseason berth......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 29th, 2018

Jarencio leaves door open for UST: ‘I’m just here’

Pido Jarencio holds no ill will towards his alma mater University of Santo Tomas following the appointment of Aldin Ayo as the new head coach of the Growling Tigers. "If they don't want our help, there's no problem," he said. The 53-year-old mentor had long coveted a return to his roots in Espaa since leaving the squad back in 2013. READ:Jarencio vocal on return to Tigers but 'no response' from UST yet Jarencio collected a 56-54 record at the helm for UST in his eight-year tenure from 2006 to 2013, and also delivered the Growling Tigers' last championship back in UAAP Season 69. UST administration, however, had other things in mind as it locked Ayo for the next six yea...Keep on reading: Jarencio leaves door open for UST: ‘I’m just here’.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJan 6th, 2018

Carroll still believes Seahawks can be title contender

By Tim Booth, Associated Press RENTON, Wash. (AP) — Pete Carroll insisted again that he's not going anywhere. He's intent on remaining the leader of the Seattle Seahawks even if it means many of the faces he spoke to this week while closing out the 2017 season are gone by the time Carroll finally gets to coach his team again. "I'm pumped up about it. I'm excited about that challenge," Carroll said Tuesday. "I'm upset that we have to face it this early. I'd like another six weeks here, that would be nice. But that's not what this one is. We got to go after it. Nothing's going to change other than maybe our resolve." For just the second time in his eight years in Seattle, Carroll spent Tuesday explaining why the Seahawks were not in the postseason. It's the first playoff miss for Seattle since the 2011 season and with the rapid rise of division foe Los Angeles indicated — at least for one year — a significant change in the hierarchy of the NFC West. Injuries played a major role in Seattle's slide to 9-7. So, too, did inconsistency on offense, continued problems with penalties and salary cap constraints that limited adjustments the Seahawks could make during the season. It's likely to be a busy offseason as Seattle attempts to manage its tight cap situation while making key decisions about how to move forward and if it still is a championship contender needing slight tweaks or a major overhaul. "I think there is a championship team sitting in this meeting room right here," Carroll said. Here are some of the issues to know about Seattle's 2017 season and going into next year: REDISCOVER THE RUN: Perhaps nothing irritated Carroll more, or had a great impact on the efficiency of the offense, than Seattle's inability to run. It's been a staple of Carroll's program from the day he arrived in Seattle. This year the Seahawks had one rushing touchdown by a running back. Quarterback Russell Wilson was the leading rusher with 586 yards, 346 more than any other player. Seattle had hopes for promising rookie Chris Carson, but he was sidelined by an ankle injury early in the season and never made it back. The lack of a running game affected Wilson as a passer as well, as defenses didn't have to commit an extra safety to stopping the run, leading to smaller throwing windows and some tentative decisions by Wilson. "There are tremendous examples of teams around the league that have turned their fortunes around with a formula that should sound familiar to you: teams running the football, playing good defense and doing the kicking game thing," Carroll said. INJURY CONCERNS: Carroll wouldn't get into specifics, but there is a chance Cliff Avril and Kam Chancellor have played their final games. Avril and Chancellor suffered neck injuries during the season. Carroll said on the radio Tuesday that both would have a "hard time" playing football again. A couple of hours later, he softened his stance, saying each have quality-of-life decisions to address with their football future. "Both those guys are marvelous people and competitors and all that. We'd love to see them through the rest of their career. I don't know what's going to happen there," Carroll said. LEGION OF WHOM: If Chancellor does not return, it could be the start of a major makeover for Seattle's secondary. Richard Sherman is coming off a torn Achilles tendon and was openly shopped by Seattle last offseason. Earl Thomas is entering the last year of his contract and his actions toward the end of the season indicated a desire to be elsewhere for the 2018 season. A big key will be if Seattle can re-sign versatile safety Bradley McDougald after he played both free and strong safety this season. HOME-FIELD AVERAGE: Seattle went 4-4 at home, its first .500 record at CenturyLink Field since 2011. The Seahawks have always thrived at home, but some of their uglier performances this year came in front of their own fans. OFF THE FIELD: Seattle was among the most active teams in the league with a significant number of players participating in national anthem protests. The protests, on top of the incident Michael Bennett had with police in Las Vegas in August, created a number of unexpected issues. Carroll said he believed that only once this season — Seattle's loss at Tennessee — did discussions of off-field issues affect the team's performance. Seattle had long discussions following comments by President Donald Trump about NFL players and opted to remain in the locker room as a team during the anthem before that game. "That was an extraordinarily heated time," Carroll said. "I think that was a different amount of emotional output that occurred before the game and it looked like it the way we played.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 3rd, 2018

Ausmus out as manager of Detroit Tigers after season

em>By Noah Trister, Associated Press /em> DETROIT (AP) — The rebuilding Detroit Tigers will start fresh next season with a new manager. The Tigers announced Friday that Brad Ausmus will not return in 2018 after four years in charge. General manager Al Avila said the team was not extending Ausmus' contract. 'We didn't win,' Avila said while announcing the move in the Detroit dugout before Friday night's game. 'The organization, the club, got to a point where we needed change on the field. We needed to change the roster, and we started trading players, so the conclusion is: OK, you know what? Let's just take a whole brand new road and opening up to new things.' Detroit was the first team this season to announce a managerial change. Ausmus was 312-325 heading into Friday's game against Minnesota. His tenure included an AL Central title in his first season, but the Tigers have not made the postseason since. Detroit has been shedding payroll this year, trading stars Justin Verlander , Justin Upton and J.D. Martinez , and the Tigers are assured of no better than a fourth-place finish in their division. 'Al and I have become very good friends over the four years I was here, so it was a little emotional when he told me he wasn't going to bring me back,' the 48-year-old Ausmus said. 'Quite frankly, I told him I fully understood, and I told him, if he had walked in and offered me a contract, I probably wouldn't have come back, because I think this team, this organization is starting over. They need a new voice.' Ausmus took over for Jim Leyland before the 2014 season, inheriting a star-laden roster, but one that was starting to show the effects of age. Detroit went 86-75 last year and nearly made the playoffs, and the Tigers kept their team largely intact, hoping they could contend again in 2017. Ausmus returned as well this year after Detroit exercised his option, but the Tigers weren't even able to mount a challenge for a wild card. Ausmus had little managerial experience when he took over for Leyland, but the former major league catcher initially looked like exactly the type of younger, fresher voice who could help the Tigers keep their run of success going. Detroit started 27-12 in 2014, but that turned into an up-and-down season in which the Tigers finally wrapped up their fourth straight division title on the final day of the regular season. They were then swept by Baltimore in the Division Series. After an 11-2 start in 2015, Detroit eventually fell well behind first-place Kansas City, and the Tigers traded stars David Price and Yoenis Cespedes during that season. The Tigers spent big in an attempt to return to the playoffs the following season, but after acquiring Upton and Jordan Zimmermann, the team fell just short of a wild card in 2016. Avila indicated he'd be interested in hiring someone with a bit more experience as a manager or coach than Ausmus had when he took over. 'I would say the manager doesn't have to have managerial experience at the major league level,' Avila said. 'But he certainly has to have managerial experience, in my opinion, in the minor leagues or coaching experience at the major leagues, so that the person that comes in is well prepared in that sense.' Whoever becomes the next manager will have a roster much different than what Ausmus took over when he arrived. Miguel Cabrera is still under contract for a while, but Detroit's success will likely hinge on the contributions of its younger players. Right-hander Michael Fulmer was solid this year after winning Rookie of the Year honors in 2016, and third baseman Jeimer Candelario has hit well since coming to the organization in a July trade . 'Whoever calls or has interest in this position comes in fully aware, wide eyed, of what he's walking into,' Avila said. 'But in saying that, while it's a very difficult process, it's also going to be a tremendous opportunity.' Avila said he'd be open-minded about any current Detroit coach interested in the job. Hitting coach Lloyd McClendon, for example, has managed multiple major league teams in the past. Ausmus said he'd like to manage again at some point, but it's time for him and the Tigers to go on different paths. 'Everyone will just part ways very amicably. No hard feelings,' Ausmus said. 'I wish Al the best. I think he's got the organization pointed in the right direction.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 23rd, 2017

Phelps has 'no desire' to return to swimming

em>By Paul Newberry, Associated Press /em> Michael Phelps wondered if watching others compete at the world championships would pique his desire for another comeback. Nope. Phelps said Tuesday he has 'no desire' to return to competitive swimming, but he is eager to stay involved with the sport and cheer on those who follow in his enormous wake. In an interview with The Associated Press while promoting a healthy pet food campaign, Phelps said he is excited about having his second child and building a life beyond swimming. 'For me, it's about being happy where I am and happy where my family is,' Phelps said. 'We have more goals we want to accomplish outside the sport.' It was around this time four years ago when Phelps got serious about ending his first retirement, but he now seems content with his decision to step away again after the Rio Olympics. His wife, Nicole, is about four months pregnant. The couple already have a 16-month-old son, Boomer. 'I've got no desire — no desire — to come back,' the 32-year-old Phelps said flatly. Phelps has attended a handful of swimming meets since the Rio Games, where the winningest athlete in Olympic history added to his already massive career haul by claiming five gold medals plus a silver . A few months ago, he conceded to the AP that he wasn't sure how he would feel about a possible comeback after watching the worlds in Budapest, Hungary. 'We'll see if I get that itch,' he said in April . Turns out, it had no impact. Phelps said the second-biggest meet after the Olympics 'truly didn't kick anything off or spike any more interest in coming out of retirement again.' He is excited to follow the development of his heir apparent, Caeleb Dressel, who emerged as the sport's newest star by winning seven gold medals at Budapest . The 21-year-old Floridian joined Phelps and Mark Spitz as the only swimmers to accomplish that feat at a major international meet. 'I'm happy Caeleb decided to go off this year instead of last year,' quipped Phelps, who won 23 golds and 28 medals overall in his Olympic career. 'I'm kind of happy to see him swimming so well when I'm not there.' While he still travels extensively for his many sponsors, Phelps said he's much more involved in his wife's second pregnancy than he was before Boomer's birth, when he was consumed by full-scale training for the Olympics. 'It's definitely different going through it again,' he said. Boomer, meanwhile, is a chip off the old block. 'He skipped the walking part and went right to running,' Phelps said, chuckling. 'He just scoots around the house. It's funny when we get him in the pool. He basically just splashes around the whole time. He's literally nonstop. As soon as he wakes up from a nap or his night's sleep, he's just go, go, go. There's no time for slow moving in our family. He likes to go fast. I guess that's a good thing.' Boomer is even starting to show some good form in the pool. His mom and Phelps' longtime coach, Bob Bowman, have detected a bit of the stroke that was his father's strongest. 'Nicole and Bob both say he's got a good butterfly technique that he's working on,' Phelps said. 'I guess he's seen his dad doing it a couple of times and kind of picks it up. He's also now in a stage where it's like all five senses are coming together. He feels everything, recognizes everything. It's really fun to watch, as a dad, just watching these transitions in his life.' In his latest business endeavor, Phelps is spearheading a marketing campaign for Nulo Pet Food , which he describes as a healthy alternative for dogs and cats. He's an investor in the company and accompanied in ads by his French bulldogs, Juno and Legend. 'Our bodies are like a high-performance car. You have to make sure you're putting the correct fuel in your body,' Phelps said. 'We obviously treat our pets like human beings. I'd like my animals to be fed in the right way, with good nutrition and healthy foods. If we can do that with a company that's putting good, natural ingredients into a pet food, it makes sense for me with what I'm doing in my own life. It's something that goes hand in hand.' With Dressel and Katie Ledecky now leading the American team, the U.S. is expected to remain the world's dominant swimming country heading into the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Even without Phelps. 'It's time to kind of move on,' he said, 'and watch other people come into their own.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 20th, 2017

TERRIFIC 12: Howell doubtful for iECO s next game due to knee injury

MACAU --- Top import Richard Howell will be doubtful for iECO once the Green Warriors return to action in the Terrific 12 Thursday against the Xinjiang Flying Tigers. Howell injured his left knee three and a half minutes into iECO's Tuesday loss to the Ryukyu Golden Kings at the Studio City Event Center here. The former PBA Best Import was going for a block in transition when he slipped and hurt his knee. Howell slipped while going for a block. It appears his left knee is hurt and he’s been stretchered off the court #TheTerrific12 | @abscbnsports pic.twitter.com/donhu5K4zf — Paul Kennedy Lintag (@paullintag8) September 18, 2018 He was stretchered out of the court but he later returned to the iECO bench in the second half to finish watching the game. Richard Howell is back in the iECO bench after hurting his knee in the first quarter #TheTerrific12 | @abscbnsports pic.twitter.com/q0pBMNxj4e — Paul Kennedy Lintag (@paullintag8) September 18, 2018 "I pray that he can play but it's not only his knee, it's his knee and his ankle. He can't put any weight on his left foot," iECO head coach Ariel Vanguardia said of Howell. "We hope it's nothing serious, this is a short tournament and he's got a good career ahead of him. He's gonna play for Israel in FIBA so I wish him all the best," he added. The Green Warriors simply fell apart the moment Howell went down early in the opening period. iECo gave up 17 straight points to start the game, trailed by as many as 35, and ended up losing by 28 to Japan's Ryukyu Golden Kings. "We lost our heart and soul whic is really Rich Howell," Vanguardia said. "We pray for him that his injury is not that serious," he added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 18th, 2018

Returning Renzo Subido believes he’s ready to lead UST

    MANILA, Philippines – When the UST Growling Tigers open their first season under head coach Aldin Ayo against National U on Saturday, September 8, it will also mark the return of spitfire guard Renzo Subido. A former La Salle Zobel standout, Subido sat out last year’s UAAP season ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsSep 7th, 2018

PVL: FEU to bank on Finals experience against newbie UP

If there will be one specific advantage in the Finals that Far Eastern University will look to capitalize on when the Lady Tamaraws face University of the Philippines for the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Collegiate Conference crown, it’s definitely their championship experience. Head coach George Pascua sees it as a weapon that they could use against the first-time finalists Lady Maroons when their best-of-three title showdown begins Sunday. FEU finished runner-up in last year’s edition and took home silver in UAAP Season 80. The Lady Tamaraws also enjoy the luxury of having a seasoned and battle-tested core.    UP’s best finish in a high level tournament was a Final Four stint in the UAAP three years ago.        “Ah oo, malaking advantage ‘yun kasi ‘yun na nga experienced na ‘yung players namin. ‘Yung UP first time nila so kahit papano (lamang kami doon),” said Pascua, whose squad booted out University of Sto. Tomas in the Final Four in a come-from-behind series win for a return stint in the Finals. Pascua will pin his hopes on veterans Jerrili Malabanan, Celine Domingo, Heather Guino-o, setter Kyle Negrito and top rookie Lycha Ebon. Still, the mentor knows that UP isn’t a pushover team especially after the fourth seed Lady Maroons scored a huge upset over Adamson University, which swept the elimination.         “Pero syempre mahirap din magkumpyansa kasi ang labanan ngayon character na lang eh kasi lahat ng teams unpredictable eh,” he said. “Hindi mo alam kung sino ‘yung mananalo that day so depende na lang sa player kung ano ang magiging desire nila.” FEU defeated UP in the elims but the Lady Tams will face a different Lady Maroons side. UP started out shaky but slowly jelled and found their rhythm as the conference progressed. The Lady Maroons’ veterans also stepped up their game with the likes of Marian Buitre, Marist Layug, Aie Gannaban and sophomore Roselyn Rosier helping out prized hitter Isa Molde on offense and in floor defense.  UP head coach Godfrey Okumu also has at his disposal veteran setter Ayel Estranero and a young but steady playmaker Marianne Sotomil. With the Lady Maroons' seemingly diverse rotation despite the absence of injured Tots Carlos and Nicole Magasarile, Pascua and his coaching staff are devicing a good game plan to defeat the Diliman-based squad.   “‘Yung UP very unpredictable din ang laro nila kumbaga hindi mo alam kung sino ang magle-level up sa kanila,” Pascua said. “Every game kasi iba ‘yung ano nila so meron din kaming specific person na binabantayan sina Molde, Buitre.” “Siyempre paplanuhin namin ‘yang game plan for UP,” he closed.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 3rd, 2018

Fortuna makes unexpected PBA return, reunion with former coach

It was a bad start to what should've been a sappy reunion as Jeric Fortuna's first game back with Pido Jarencio got off on a wrong note. Playing in his first professional basketball game after almost three years, Fortuna's return in the PBA ended in disappointment after Magnolia blasted NorthPort, 104-87,in the Governors' Cup Saturday at Smart Araneta Coliseum. Fortuna was out of the basketball circuit for two-and-a-half years as he went to pilot school but the urge to play professional ball got him and he knew he could count on Jarencio, his college coach at University of Santo Tomas, to give him a break. "I texted coach Pido that went like 'coach can I at least practice wi...Keep on reading: Fortuna makes unexpected PBA return, reunion with former coach.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsSep 1st, 2018

At 39, Schnyder returns to Slam tennis; loses to Sharapova

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) — As her 40th birthday approaches, Patty Schnyder came back to tennis for nights like this — facing Maria Sharapova at the U.S. Open under the lights in a 14,000-seat arena. It was Schnyder's first main-draw appearance at a major tournament since 2011, and she did make things interesting, erasing a big deficit in the second set only to fall short of pushing their match to a third, eventually losing to five-time major champion Sharapova 6-2, 7-6 (6) on Tuesday night. "That," Schnyder said, "was fun." Schnyder is ranked 186th, so she had to go through qualifying rounds to make it into the main draw — and she became the oldest woman to successfully do that at any Grand Slam tournament. She also was the oldest member of this year's 128-woman singles field, and the third-oldest in U.S. Open history. "Doesn't feel like I've been gone for such a while," said Schnyder, who after initially retiring seven years ago, returned to a full tour schedule in 2016. "It has been a part of my life for so long, that it feels like it's just great. And it's the passion of my life, and it's just great to be out there." This was her ninth career meeting against 2006 U.S. Open champion Sharapova, but first in 10 years. "I knew we'd go out on the court today and kind of relive the memories," said the 31-year-old Sharapova, who is now 8-1 against Schnyder. "I know what a competitor she is. To come back and still have the desire is admirable." The match was in Louis Armstrong Stadium and, every so often, Schnyder would peek at the large video screens and catch a glimpse of her 3-year-old daughter, Kim, who sat in the stands and was allowed to stay up way past her bedtime on this occasion. Sharapova raced through the first set, winning all four of Schnyder's service games and holding a 9-0 edge in winners. The second set began with more of the same, as Sharapova went ahead 5-1. But she began to miss more and more, even clutching at her left elbow after one miscue, and that allowed Schnyder — using that familiar looping lefty forehand — to get to 5-all, then force the tiebreaker. Even then, Sharapova didn't have an easy time of things, needing four match points before she was finally able to close things out and move her U.S. Open night-session record to 21-0. Schnyder, meanwhile, had never before lost in the first round of this hard-court tournament, going 14-0 during her "first" career. "She still has incredible hands," was Sharapova's report on Schnyder afterward. "Moves incredibly well for being out of the game for so long. Still very competitive." Schnyder said she isn't sure quite what to make of this trip to New York. She had tasted success all those years ago, a semifinalist at the 2004 Australian Open and a quarterfinalist six other times, including at Flushing Meadows in 2008 and — wait for it — 1998. So does this return trip to the bright lights and big city make Schnyder want more? Or did it satisfy a craving and she's ready to go back to retirement? "I don't know. I'm not really planning (ahead). And now that I'm here and I made the main draw, maybe it gives me different thoughts," replied Schnyder, who turns 40 in December. "I really don't know what I'm up to the next few months.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 29th, 2018

Cowboys move on at center with ill Frederick on their mind

By Schuyler Dixon, Associated Press FRISCO, Texas (AP) — A year ago, Dallas Cowboys offensive lineman Joe Looney grabbed the spotlight during training camp as the prankster who took the field in star running back Ezekiel Elliott's jersey, his cover blown by the gut sticking out under No. 21. Now that Looney has become the starting center under the serious circumstances of Travis Frederick's battle against a rare neurological disorder, the career backup plans to keep his sense of humor. "Things are still the same," Looney said Thursday, almost exactly a year after a similar throng of reporters surrounded his locker to discuss his antics in practice at team headquarters. "Football is a game. And I'm going to come out here and have fun every day doing it. Sometimes it's not going to be perfect. But at the end of the day, this is a game and I've got to enjoy it." Looney and the rest of the Cowboys will have Frederick on their mind as they prepare to start the regular season. The 27-year-old Frederick will likely miss the visit to Carolina on Sept. 9 and any number of games after that. The Cowboys simply don't know how long Frederick will be out as he undergoes treatment for Guillain-Barre Syndrome, an auto-immune condition that causes the body to attack a network of nerves around the brain and spinal cord. Weakness is one of the primary symptoms, in some cases signaled by burning sensations similar to what football players call "stingers," usually injuries around the neck. That's what Frederick was describing to the team when the Cowboys were still in California for training camp. Frederick was cleared by a specialist in the Los Angeles area over concerns about his neck. But symptoms persisted after the Cowboys returned to Texas. He got the diagnosis this week and was in his third day of treatment Thursday. The 2016 All-Pro said in a statement issued by the team that treatment will continue for several days. And while Frederick and his teammates are optimistic he will return soon, nobody can say when. Most people recover from even the most severe cases of the disease, but some will continue to have some degree of weakness, according to the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Former NFL lineman Mark Schlereth missed the second half of the 1993 season with Washington because of Guillain-Barre and wrote on Twitter that he didn't fully regain his strength for a year. But Schlereth played until 2000 and won two Super Bowls with Denver after the diagnosis. "It's tough," said 2014 All-Pro guard Zack Martin, one of Frederick's best friends on the team. "During training camp, he really didn't know what was going on. He was kind of telling us how he was feeling. It's tough that he didn't know until a couple of days ago." Owner Jerry Jones said he was relieved to get the diagnosis but deflected several questions about the severity of the illness, which likely will determine how long Frederick is out. Frederick said he was encouraged by doctors telling him they thought they caught the disease early. In retrospect, there was a telling moment early in camp in California when Frederick was uncharacteristically pushed back several feet right after the snap by defensive tackle Antwaun Woods in one-on-one drills. A frustrated Frederick shoved Woods, causing a brief scuffle. "It's amazing to me that he's been out here going through two-a-days and creating half the fights because he probably wasn't satisfied within himself how he was responding (as) I look back on it," Jones said. "But that's Frederick." Jones didn't want to discuss the idea of adding another center, although the Cowboys did sign undrafted rookie Jacob Ohnesorge this week. "I haven't and I don't have a plan as to how we'll work through this relative to the position on the team," Jones said. Martin, the right guard, has taken snaps at center occasionally since joining Dallas but is still viewed as an emergency option. He will miss the rest of the preseason but expects to be ready for the opener after hyperextending his left knee in the exhibition loss to Cincinnati last weekend. Looney, who turns 28 next week, has started 13 of 59 games in six years. He has played all 32 games in two seasons with the Cowboys, with three starts. Looney started a career-best six games in his only season with Tennessee in 2015. "Joe's played more football with the ones this year than he ever has," coach Jason Garrett said. "I think we're playing better in combination because of the reps he's gotten. He's a veteran. He's poised. He's composed. He's smart. I think he's fit in really well." The 315-pound Looney didn't fit into Elliott's jersey very well. The increased importance of his role — replacing a four-time Pro Bowl player who hasn't missed a game in five seasons — doesn't mean Looney has stopped thinking about his next gag. "You've got to be the same person every day," he said. "It's unfortunate what's going on right now. We're praying for Travis and wish nothing but the best for him. I'm definitely going to crack some jokes when I see him." The Cowboys can use the humor right now......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 24th, 2018

Ohio St suspends Meyer for 3 games for mishandled abuse case

By Mitch Stacy, Associated Press COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio State on Wednesday night suspended head football coach Urban Meyer three games for mishandling domestic violence accusations, punishing one of the sport's most prominent leaders for keeping an assistant on staff for several years after the coach's wife accused him of abuse. The move followed a two-week investigation into how Meyer reacted to accusations that former Buckeyes assistant Zach Smith abused his ex-wife, Courtney Smith. Zach Smith was fired last month after she asked a judge for a protective order. Courtney Smith alleged her husband shoved her against a wall and put his hands around her neck in 2015. The university put Meyer on paid leave and began an investigation after Courtney Smith spoke out publicly, sharing text messages and photos she traded in 2015 with Meyer's wife, Shelley Meyer. Shelley Meyer is a registered nurse and instructor at Ohio State. Trustees discussed the decision to punish Meyer in a marathon meeting Wednesday while Meyer awaited the decision. The investigation prompted a tweet from Meyer in which he insisted he followed proper protocols after learning of the 2015 accusations. But he also acknowledged lying to reporters a week earlier when he said he hadn't heard of the incident until shortly before he fired Zach Smith. The probe directly centered on the question of what Meyer knew and when. Meyer said in his tweet that he always elevated issues through the proper channels, and did so with the Smith situation in 2015. That contradicted what he told reporters at Big Ten media day a week earlier: "I was never told about anything and nothing ever came to light. I've never had a conversation about it. I know nothing about it." Speaking after the investigation was announced, Zach Smith said he spoke with Meyer at the time and athletic director Gene Smith also knew about the allegations. Zach Smith said Meyer told him he would be fired if the head coach found out Smith had hit his wife. Zach Smith — the grandson of late Ohio State coach and Meyer mentor Earle Bruce — has never been criminally charged or convicted of abuse. He has a charge of criminal trespass pending, and the Smiths are due in court next month for a hearing on a restraining order Courtney Smith was granted July 20. Meyer was heading into his seventh season at Ohio State, where he is 73-8 with a national title in 2014 and two Big Ten Conference championships. Ohio State's Title IX sexual misconduct policy includes reporting allegations of domestic violence made against university employees. Violating that policy allows Meyer to be fired with cause, according to provisions placed in his contract when it was extended in April by two years. The deal through 2022, increasing Meyer's salary to $7.6 million in 2018, with annual 6 percent raises. Meyer had about $38 million left on his contract. Ohio State's season starts Sept. 1 with a game against Oregon State in Columbus. In 2009, Zach Smith was accused of aggravated battery on his pregnant wife while he was working a graduate assistant for Meyer at Florida. The charge was dropped because of insufficient evidence. The Smiths separated in June 2015 and divorced in 2016. Meyer is one of the most accomplished coaches in college football history, with three national championships and a 177-31 record in 16 seasons at Bowling Green, Utah, Florida and Ohio State, the team he grew up rooting for in Northeast Ohio. Meyer won national championships with Florida in 2006 and '08, but his teams also had more than two dozen players get into trouble with the law. He resigned twice at Florida, citing health reasons, first in the 2009 season after the Gators lost the Southeastern Conference championship game while trying to repeat as national champs. He changed his mind soon after and coached another season. The Gators went 8-5 in 2010, and afterward, Meyer stepped down for good. Meyer was out of coaching for a season but was hired by Ohio State in November 2011. The Buckeyes had fired Jim Tressel, another national championship-winning coach, before that season for lying to the NCAA and university about rules violation committed by some of his players. Since returning to coaching, Meyer's program has been one of the most dominant in college football, and his players have mostly stayed out of major trouble. Meyer faced some criticism in 2013 for allowing running back Carlos Hyde to return to the team after he was charged with striking a woman in a bar. The case was dropped by police when the woman chose not to pursue charges, but Hyde was suspended three games. The Meyer investigation cost $500,000 and was conducted by the national law firm Debevoise & Plimpton. Ohio State began investigating Meyer while also facing three federal lawsuits about its response to allegations of groping, leering and other misconduct by a deceased athletic department doctor who treated wrestlers and other students for two decades. The lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by Dr. Richard Strauss say Ohio State facilitated the abuse by ignoring complaints. Since Ohio State announced an independent investigation in April, more than 100 former students have come forward with accounts of sexual misconduct by Strauss. The allegations range from 1979 to 1997 and involve male athletes from 14 sports, as well as his work at the student health center and his off-campus medical office......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 23rd, 2018

Ronaldo relies on teammates for winning league start at Juve

By Daniella Matar, Associated Press VERONA, Italy (AP) — A smile, a wink and a thumbs-up: Cristiano Ronaldo didn't seem too perturbed at not scoring on his Juventus debut. The 33-year-old forward appeared relaxed after Saturday's 3-2 victory against Chievo Verona and, although Ronaldo did not stop to speak to reporters, he responded with those gestures when asked how he felt his debut had gone. His coach wasn't too troubled either. "Cristiano Ronaldo had a good game. He had several shots on goal. Today he didn't score because clearly it was written somewhere that he wouldn't score," said Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri with a smile. For the thousands of fans who descended on the medieval city of Verona, this was one of the rare occasions when the five-time world player of the year couldn't score. Ronaldo had scored in both pre-season friendlies he played for Juventus since his surprise 112 million euro (then $131.5 million) move from Real Madrid but could not find the back of the net on his competitive debut. And it was up to Federico Bernardeschi to rescue Juventus, with a stoppage-time winner as the Bianconeri fought back from a goal down to beat Chievo and get their pursuit of an eighth straight league title off to a winning start. Ronaldo should make his home debut next week against Lazio and there were encouraging signs for Juventus from this game. He linked up well with Douglas Costa, notably in the 18th minute when Ronaldo's effort went just the wrong side of the left post. Ronaldo also fired narrowly over from a tight angle on the half-hour, while he drew several smart saves from Chievo goalkeeper Stefano Sorrentino, who is still going strong at the age of 39. The Portugal international almost scored the winner at 2-2, but Sorrentino got down quickly to beat away his angled free kick. "(Ronaldo) moved well at times but he wasn't picked out by his teammates," Allegri said. "He's a different footballer, you can see that. He's integrated into the team with ease." BALL TRICKS The excitement had been building in Verona since the fixtures were announced. The match at the Stadio Bentegodi was sold out and long queues to get in formed more than three hours before kickoff. The team bus carrying Ronaldo and his Juventus teammates was greeted by huge cheers, with fans crowding onto the balconies of the stadium. Ronaldo warmed up with crowd-pleasing ball tricks and Juventus fans cheered his every touch. BONUCCI BACK Juventus took the lead after just 162 seconds as Chievo failed to properly clear a free kick and Sami Khedira fired Juventus in front. The Bianconeri wasted chances to double their lead, with Ronaldo going close on several occasions. Mariusz Stepinski headed Chievo level shortly before halftime and Emanuele Giaccherini converted a penalty after being brought down by Juventus debutant Joao Cancelo. But Leonardo Bonucci marked his return to Juventus with a role in the equalizer after the Italy defender spent just one season at AC Milan. Bonucci headed in a corner in the 75th. The goal, which went down later as an own-goal from Chievo defender Mattia Bani, was met with a mix of cheers and jeers by the visiting fans. Mario Mandzukic's goal was ruled out by the video assistant referee shortly before full time following a foul on Sorrentino which led to an anxious few minutes as the goalkeeper received medical treatment on the pitch. ___ LOOK WHO'S BACK Carlo Ancelotti had a winning start to his return to Italian football as his Napoli team fought back to beat Lazio 2-1. Ciro Immobile scored a stunning opener for host Lazio but Arkadiusz Milik leveled in first-half stoppage time and Lorenzo Insigne netted the winner in the 59th. The 59-year-old Ancelotti took over from Maurizio Sarri at Napoli, who finished second last season, four points behind Juventus. Ancelotti has not worked in Italy since leaving AC Milan in 2009 after leading the Rossoneri to a number of trophies, including two Champions League titles......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 19th, 2018

High-priced, established pitchers could be on the move soon

By Rob Maaddi, Associated Press From aces to closers, pitchers will be on the move this month. Teams trying to make a push for the postseason are always looking to add new arms. There are some big names available on the trade market who can make a difference in the starting rotation or bullpen. Here are 10 pitchers — five starters and five relievers — who could be changing uniforms before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline: COLE HAMELS: The MVP of the 2008 World Series and NLCS has been through this before, going from the Phillies to the Rangers in July 2015. Hamels has a career-worst 4.36 ERA and he's already allowed 21 homers, but he's a proven lefty who could benefit from pitching away from a hitter-friendly ballpark. Hamels has a 2.93 ERA in 10 starts on the road. Texas may have to eat some of his salary, however. His contract includes a team option for $20 million next year or a $6 million buyout. Hamels also has a no-trade clause for 20 teams. J.A. HAPP: Another former Phillies lefty, Happ is in the final season of his contract with Toronto. He had three rough starts leading to his first All-Star appearance but has been a consistent starter in baseball's toughest division for a few years. Happ is 10-6 with a 4.29 ERA and is averaging more than one strikeout per inning for the first time in his career in a season in which he's pitched at least 100 innings. MATT HARVEY: After rejuvenating his career in Cincinnati following his release from the Mets earlier this season, Harvey could find himself back in a pennant race. The righty is 5-3 with a 3.64 ERA in 12 starts. JORDAN ZIMMERMANN: He's 4-1 with a 3.79 ERA in 12 starts after an atrocious 2017 season. Zimmermann has the highest strikeout percentage of his career (23.6 percent) but he's owed $50 million over the next two seasons, so the Detroit Tigers might have to pay some of his salary to deal him. NATHAN EOVALDI: Back on the mound after missing 2017 following Tommy John surgery, Eovaldi is 3-4 with a 4.59 ERA in nine starts for the Rays. The righty was roughed up in his final start before the All-Star break but pitched well in his previous three starts. He is only making $2 million this season, so he's a cheap option for budget-conscious teams. ZACH BRITTON: The hard-throwing lefty had 120 saves between 2014-16 before injury cut his season short in 2017. He's back healthy and hasn't allowed a run in 13 of his 15 appearances. Britton is making $12 million this season, and the Baltimore Orioles will have plenty of suitors. BRAD HAND: A two-time All-Star, Hand is signed through 2020 with a team option for 2021 and will be one of the most pursued relievers. He has 24 saves with 65 strikeouts in 44 1/3 innings, and the San Diego Padres will be asking for a lot in return. RAISEL IGLESIAS: The Reds have no urgency to move a 28-year-old closer who won't become a free agent until 2022, but Iglesias can net solid prospects in a trade. He has 19 saves and a 2.36 ERA. JOAKIM SORIA: After returning to closing, Soria is having his best season since 2015 in his first year with the White Sox. He has 14 saves and a 2.75 ERA for a team that should be a seller. KYLE BARRACLOUGH: He has a 1.28 ERA and nine saves for Miami in 44 appearances and is under team control for multiple years, so the Marlins will get plenty of calls for the tough righty......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 19th, 2018

Teams looking for hitters have options besides Manny Machado

By Rob Maaddi, Associated Press Manny Machado will be wearing a new uniform when he plays his next game, and other hitters will be on the move in the next couple weeks. Even after Machado was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers, teams seeking to boost their offense will have several options to land a big bat. The four-time All-Star with the Baltimore Orioles was the most coveted player available on the trade market. There's only one Machado, but several guys can bolster a team's starting lineup and make an impact down the stretch. Here are eight hitters who may have new teams before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline: MIKE MOUSTAKAS: After smacking a career-best 38 homers for the Kansas City Royals last year, the two-time All-Star third baseman didn't get a lucrative deal in free agency and returned on a one-year deal for $6.5 million plus a mutual option for 2019. He has 19 homers and 58 RBIs but is only batting .249 for the worst team in the majors. SCOOTER GENNETT: The Cincinnati Reds aren't going anywhere and they'd be selling high on their All-Star second baseman. Gennett, a waiver claim last year, had a breakout season in 2017 when he swatted 27 homers and drove in 97 runs. He's batting .326 with 16 homers and 63 RBIs this season. Gennett is a fan favorite in his hometown and can't become a free agent until 2020, so prying him away from the Reds might be difficult. ASDRUBAL CABRERA: The 32-year-old infielder is batting .281 with 17 homers and 52 RBIs for the hapless New York Mets. He's only played second base this season but started at shortstop and third base last year. Cabrera is a switch hitter who would give a team versatility and pop. He's also slated to become a free agent after the season, so the Mets can't expect to get too much in return for the two-time All-Star. SHIN-SOO CHOO: A first-time All-Star, Choo has 18 homers and is on pace to hit a career-best 30 for the last-place Texas Rangers. Choo is batting .291 with a .405 on-base percentage, but the left-handed-hitting right fielder just turned 36 and is owed $42 million over the next two seasons. EDUARDO ESCOBAR: The versatile infielder has a .271 average, 14 homers and 57 RBIs with 35 doubles for the Minnesota Twins. Escobar can play shortstop, second base or third base, plus he's started in left field during his career. He's making $4.85 million this season and will be a free agent in the fall. WILSON RAMOS: An All-Star catcher for the second time in three years, Ramos is batting .297 with 14 homers and 53 RBIs for the Tampa Bay Rays. But he injured his hamstring and is heading to the disabled list, decreasing his trade value. NICK CASTELLANOS: He's having another strong season for the Detroit Tigers after hitting 26 homers and knocking in 101 runs last year. The 26-year-old right fielder is batting .305 with 15 homers and 56 RBIs and is under team control for another season. JOSH DONALDSON: The 2015 AL MVP is struggling through an injury-riddled season and has only played 36 games, but he averaged 35 homers and 100 RBIs between 2014-17 and is entering free agency after the season. The Toronto Blue Jays should be eager to move Donaldson if another team is willing to gamble that he'll be healthy enough to make a difference......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 19th, 2018

Ibinigay niya ang love niya sa laro -- Jimenez on Love

Defending champion Pocari Sweat-Air Force head coach Jasper Jimenez admired the fighting heart displayed by import Ari Love in the pivotal Game 1 win of the Lady Warriors in the best-of-three Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Reinforced Conference semifinals. Love finished with 20 points in a great display of her offensive arsenal to lead Pocari Sweat to a 25-23, 25-12, 25-23, demolition of top seed Creamline, Sunday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. The American highlighted her performance with her heroics late in the third frame despite suffering from cramps on both legs a few plays back. Love had to be subbed out midway in third set because of cramps and returned in the crucial closing stretch of the frame to help put a stop on the Cool Smashers’ desperate comeback attempt. “Actually, galing sa sakit si Love. Kanina parang dehydrated siya,” said Jimenez of his prized reinforcement. “Actually, dalawang (binti) na nga ang bumigay sa kanya pero nandyan pa rin ang desire to win,” he added.   Creamline tied the set at 19 in a tight contest before the Lady Warriors answered with four straight points punctuated by Love’s down the line kill in her return to action. Love sealed the win with a solid kill block over Cool Smashers’ Alyssa Valdez to complete the sweep in the one-hour, 17-minute match. Love finished with 15 attacks, four kill blocks and an ace.    “Ibinigay din niya ang love niya sa laro, yung puso niya, pusong palaban talaga,” said Jimenez.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 1st, 2018

Report: Paul George opts out, becomes unrestricted free agent

NBA.com staff report The Oklahoma City Thunder have reportedly been informed by All-Star guard Paul George that he will not opt into his contract for next season. The move, which was reported by ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, will make George an unrestricted free agent. He had until 11:59 p.m. on June 29 to decide whether or not to opt in. Here's more from Wojnarowski on the move and what it means for George, the Thunder and free agency at large: George, who will decline a $20.7 million salary for the 2018-19 season, remains seriously interested in returning to the Thunder in free agency, league sources said. The Los Angeles Lakers will receive serious consideration too, sources said. Several teams, including Philadelphia and Houston, are interested in pursuing George too, league sources said. ... Indiana traded George to the Thunder a year ago, where the five-time All-Star forward came to build a strong relationship with All-Star guard Russell Westbrook and averaged 21.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists. Before his trade, George had told the Pacers that he planned to sign with the Lakers in free agency this summer. Nevertheless, Oklahoma City GM Sam Presti, coach Billy Donovan and Westbrook have made a strong case on a future with the Thunder and moved the franchise into contention with the Lakers. George, a native of Southern California, and LeBron James are the focus of the Lakers free agent recruiting efforts. This summer, George can sign a five-year, $176 million extension with OKC, Wojnarowski reports, or he could do a "one-plus one" deal and return to free agency next summer. George's decision is not wholly surprising, given that he has been one of the top free-agent targets for many teams all season long......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 28th, 2018