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Cariño, Navy dominate Le Tour de Filipinas, eye SEAG slots

After their show of force, newly minted Le Tour de Filipinas team champion Philippine Navy Standard Insurance, led by individual titlist El Joshua Cariño, expressed willingness to lend their services to the national squad in the coming Asian Games and next year’s Southeast Asian Games on home soil......»»

Source: philstar philstarCategory: sports2 hr. 45 min. ago Related News

Jumamoy shines as NU bags Freego Cup crown

Reinhard Jumamoy completed a fastbreak play with five seconds left as National University nipped La Salle Greenhills, 66-65, to capture the 15-year-old division crown in the fifth HDBL Freego Kids Cup at the SGS Stadium in Quezon City recently......»»

Source: philstar philstarCategory: sports2 hr. 45 min. ago Related News

Archers aim for No. 5 against Warriors

La Salle, dishing out big games even without its former stars, shoots for its fifth straight victory as it faces University of the East in the Filoil Flying V Preseason Cup at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan today......»»

Source: philstar philstarCategory: sports2 hr. 45 min. ago Related News

Lady Warriors bounce back, sink Oragons

American Arielle Love and Jeanette Panaga imposed their will at the net as defending champion Pocari Sweat-Air Force repulsed Iriga-Navy, 25-8, 23-25, 25-18, 25-16, to bounce back in the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan late Wednesday......»»

Source: philstar philstarCategory: sports2 hr. 45 min. ago Related News

Foton, F2 pull thru in PSL beach volley

Foton and F2 Logistics hammered out a pair of straight-set romps over Smart and Cocolife B, respectively, to bolster their bids in the Philippine Superliga Beach Volleyball Challenge Cup at the Sands By the Bay in Mall of Asia yesterday......»»

Source: philstar philstarCategory: sports2 hr. 45 min. ago Related News

Cebuano Batang Gilas player Steve Nash Enriquez joins NU

Nazareth School of National University is not yet done further stocking up on its already loaded arsenal. Just a week after getting the commitment of Bacolod’s Harold Alarcon, the Bullpups are welcoming another Visayan star in Steve Nash Enriquez from University of Visayas. Enriquez, all 5-foot-7 of him, wowed just about everybody in the Elite 60 Development Camp in early May. There, he showcased the skills of a playmaking point guard. As such, he was recognized as the training program’s Best Camper and was named to the Batang Gilas pool, alongside Alarcon and Filipino-Australian Royce Mantua. Now, Enriquez and Alarcon will also be teammates for an NU side that is heading into the UAAP Juniors season as the heavy favorites to reclaim the crown it last wore in 2016. They will be beefing up a roster that already includes now longest-tenured player Terrence Fortea and incoming studs Gerry Abadiano and Carl Tamayo --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Source: abscbn abscbnCategory: sports9 hr. 45 min. ago Related News

PBA: Maliksi pressured to defend 3-point crown against loaded list of challengers

BATANGAS CITY, Batangas --- The three-point shootout might just steal the show once again in the main leg of the 2018 PBA All-Star Games. Blackwater's Allein Maliksi is set to defend his title against a loaded cast of challengers Friday. Last year in Lucena, Maliksi beat Ginebra's LA Tenorio with the final money ball. This year's joust has the potential to even top that exciting finish as the league's finest shooters go after the title. “Nakakakaba pa rin kasi siyempre gusto mong ma-defend yung crown,” Maliksi said in an earlier statement. “Ever since naman talaga yung dream ko makasali sa three-point shootout simula nung pumasok ako sa PBA. Kasi sa [slam] dunk hindi naman tayo makasali, lalo ngayon hindi na tayo masyadong makatalon, so sa three-point shootout na lang,” he added. Terrence Romeo hopes to regain the title he lost last season and if the TNT star manages to top everyone, it will be his third 3-point championship in four years. Former champion James Yap is also in the mix while Tenorio is back to try and finish last year's job. The rest of the participants are Marcio Lassiter, Paul Lee, Stanley Pringle, Matthew Wright, Larry Fonacier, Ronald Tubid, and Garvo Lanete. Loaded from top to bottom right? The Three-point shootout will be one of the side events at the Batangas City Sports Center here together with the Slam Dunk Contest and the Obstacle challenge. The 2018 PBA All-Star Games are presented by Phoenix Fuel with Phoenix Pulse Technology and backed by Peak Sports Apparel, Molten, PBA Rush-Cignal, Nature's Spring, TAGHeuer, Gatorade, and Rain or Shine.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Source: abscbn abscbnCategory: sports9 hr. 45 min. ago Related News

ABS-CBN, SkyCable to broadcast upcoming Pacquiao-Matthysse world title bout

Fight fans in the Philippines will be able to catch eight-division world champion and Filipino boxing legend Manny Pacquiao attempt to capture yet another world title as he challenges reigning WBA (Regular) Welterwewight World Champion Lucas Matthysse of Argentina at Fight of Champions on July 15th, via ABS-CBN or SkyCable Pay-Per-View. In a special Media Partners Press Conference for Fight of Champions, MP Promotions Head of Sales and Marketing Arnold Vegafria announced that the top broadcast networks in the country will be working together to bring Manny Pacquiao’s latest bout to Filipino television screens. “On behalf of Senator Manny Pacquiao and MP Promotions, I am very happy to announce that we are making another TV history,” Vegafria said. “All the major networks have agreed to join forces for the carrying of the Pacquiao-Mathysse Fight of Champions,” ABS-CBN channel 2 will be airing the bout on free-TV starting at 10:00 AM on July 15th. “This will be the second time that we’re doing this, with all these networks participating to cover this event.” said ABS-CBN Group CFO Rolando Valdueza. SkyCable on the other hand, will be providing a pay-per-view service, which will air the whole nine-bout card live starting as early as 9:00 AM. “SkyCable is again very proud to be carrying the fight, it will be carried on pay-per-view on July 15, and we will be announcing our pricing very soon.”  said SkyCable President March Ventosa. The last time that all the top networks in the country came together to broadcast a Manny Pacquiao bout was back in 2015, when Pacquiao took on Floyd Mayweather Jr. in one of the most-highly anticipated bouts in boxing history. “This is going to be a big, big fight. Very excited ang MP Promotions because this is the first time that MP Promotions will handle the event, will be the promoter, and fortunately, we’ll cover the whole world to air the fights.” Vegafria added. Fight of Champions: Pacquiao vs. Mathysse will take place at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia......»»

Source: abscbn abscbnCategory: sports9 hr. 45 min. ago Related News

Batang Gilas stars Padrigao, Cortez to join BWB Asia Camp in India

NBA press release NEW YORK, MIES, MUMBAI – The National Basketball Association (NBA), the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the Basketball Federation of India (BFI) today announced the top 66 boys and girls from 16 countries and territories who will participate in the 10th edition of Basketball Without Borders (BWB) Asia. BWB Asia 2018 will be held May 30 – June 2 at The NBA Academy India in Delhi National Capital Region (NCR), marking the second time that the NBA and FIBA’s global basketball development and community outreach program will be held in India. Nike will serve as the official partner. Corey Brewer (Oklahoma City Thunder; U.S.), Caris LeVert (Brooklyn Nets; U.S.), Kelly Olynyk (Miami Heat; Canada; BWB Americas 2009), Dwight Powell (Dallas Mavericks; Canada), two-time WNBA Champion Ruth Riley, and former WNBA player Ebony Hoffman will coach the top high school age campers from throughout the Asia-Pacific region. BWB Asia 2018 will feature two current prospects from NBA Academies, the league’s signature elite player development initiative that consists of a network of elite basketball training centers around the world for top male and female prospects from outside the U.S. Since October 2016, NBA Academies have been launched in Canberra, Australia; Jinan, Urumqi and Zhuji, China; Delhi NCR, India; Mexico City, Mexico; and Thies, Senegal. Players and coaches will lead the campers through a variety of activities on and off the court, including movement efficiency, positional skill development, shooting and skills competitions, 5-on-5 games, and daily life skills seminars focusing on health, leadership and communication. One boy and one girl will be named BWB Asia 2018 MVPs at the conclusion of the four-day camp. BWB Asia 2018 will be preceded by a basketball development camp May 27 – 29 for the 18 female prospects from throughout India as part of The NBA Academies Women’s Program. 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist and Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame member Jennifer Azzi, Riley and former college coach Blair Hardiek – the global technical directors for women’s programming across the league’s seven academies – will oversee the camp. BWB Asia 2018 and The NBA Academies Women’s Program camp will also include a variety of NBA Cares and Jr. NBA community outreach efforts with youth in New Delhi in partnership with local community organizations, including basketball clinics for more than 150 youth from the Reliance Foundation Jr. NBA program and the NBA Basketball Schools in New Delhi. These programs will highlight the power of sport to promote cultural understanding while teaching the importance of a healthy, active lifestyle and the values of the game, including teamwork, respect, determination and community. Current NBA assistant coaches Bret Brielmaier (Nets), Darvin Ham (Atlanta Hawks), Ryan Saunders (Minnesota Timberwolves), and Mike Wells (Utah Jazz) will also serve as BWB Asia 2018 coaches. Patrick Hunt (President of the World Association of Basketball Coaches; Australia) will be the camp director. Casey Smith (Mavericks) will serve as the camp’s athletic trainer. Nike, a BWB global partner since 2002, will outfit the campers and coaches with Nike apparel and footwear. BWB has reached more than 3,190 participants from 127 countries and territories since 2001, with more than 50 former campers drafted into the NBA or signed as free agents. A record 24 former BWB campers were on opening-night rosters for the 2017-18 season. The NBA and FIBA have staged 53 BWB camps in 33 cities across 27 countries on six continents. More than 250 current and former NBA, WNBA and FIBA players have joined more than 200 NBA team personnel from all 30 NBA teams to support BWB across the world. BWB Asia was previously held in India in 2008. The NBA Academy India, an elite basketball training center in Delhi NCR for the top male and female prospects from throughout India and the first of its kind in the country, officially opened in May 2017 and builds on the NBA’s existing basketball and youth development initiatives in India. The Reliance Foundation Jr. NBA program has reached more than 6 million youth and trained more than 5,000 physical education instructors nationwide since its launch in 2013. In April 2017, the NBA launched The NBA Basketball School, a network of tuition-based basketball development programs open to male and female players from outside the U.S. ages 6-18. NBA Basketball Schools have been launched in Mumbai, New Delhi, Pune and Punjab as part of a multiyear agreement with India On Track (IOT), one of India’s leading sports management, marketing and development companies. NBA Champion Kevin Durant became the first active NBA player to visit The NBA Academy India in July 2017. Follow BWB using the hashtag #BWBAsia on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Follow The NBA Academies Women’s Program using the hashtag #NBAAcademy on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Find out more about NBA Academies at nbaacademy.nba.com and on Instagram (nbaacademy). Additional 2018 BWB camps in Serbia and South Africa will be announced at a later date. The following is a complete list of players participating in the 10th BWB Asia camp (rosters are subject to change): Girls Boys *Current NBA Academies Prospect **NBA Academies Women’s Program Participant.....»»

Source: abscbn abscbnCategory: sports9 hr. 45 min. ago Related News

UAAP: Kailangan ibalik ang character ng Lady Eagles -- Almadro

Bringing back the confidence, intensity and heart that brought success to the Lady Eagles in the past are the first order of business for new Ateneo de Manila University women’s volleyball head coach Oliver Almadro.    Formally named as replacement for Tai Bundit on Thursday, Almadro is expected to buckle down to business in the first week of June. Almadro puts his focus in bringing back the same fire that fueled the Lady Eagles in their UAAP Season 76 and 77 title conquests. After their back-to-back reign behind ace hitter Alyssa Valdez, prized setter Jia Morado and top libero Denden Lazaro, the Lady Eagles seemed to have lost the magic that made them the most popular collegiate team in this generation and ultimately fell short of making it into Season 80 Finals after six straight championship appearances.       “Unang-una siguro kailangang ibalik ko muna ang confidence nila kasi coming from sa pinaka-last game nila, kahit kami talo rin kami ng Finals, yung confidence bababa yun eh,” said Almadro, who steered the Blue Eagles to three-straight titles from Season 77 to 79 before relinquishing the crown to archrival National University. “Pero yun ang una, ibalik ang confidence.” The Lady Eagles finished third in Season 80 and were booted out by Far Eastern University in the Final Four.  “(Kailangan) ibalik ang intensity, ibalik yung playing with heart, yun muna. Yun ang kailangang ibalik muna, yung character nila as Lady Eagles,” Almadro said. “Hindi naman sinasabi ko na pangit ang end nila (sa Season 80). They still ended up in a podium finish but siyempre alam mo naman na ang Ateneo binabantayan ng marami and they are expecting a lot from them.” “Sabi ko let’s put back muna yung confidence, let’s put back muna yung chemistry, yung trust with each other and saka natin tingnan kung anong character ang kailangan i-build ng team,” added Almadro, who was replaced by longtime assistant coach Timmy Sto. Tomas in the men’s team.   Bringing a DLSU twist in Lady Eagles’ new system Almadro has been coaching volleyball for two decades and calling the shots for a women’s team is not new to the passionate and vocal mentor. For 10 years, Almadro worked as a deputy for De La Salle University Lady Spikers head coach Ramil De Jesus.  After his stint with the Taft-based squad, Almadro became the chief tactician of the Ateneo men’s team before transferring to NU. He returned to the Katipunan-based squad half a decade ago, bringing with him a dangerous scorer and all-around player in Marck Espejo. Now working on a different challenge of handling the Lady Eagles, who took the spotlight before the start of Season 80 with their ‘internal issues’ that went public, Almadro will be adopting a different approach. A deviation from the ‘happy, happy and heartstrong mantra’ used by Bundit. A no-nonsense coach like his former mentor, Almadro is leaning on using the formula that brought success to Ateneo’s bitter rival – his own twist to the system of the reigning three-peat champion Lady Spikers.   “Ire-recall ko na lang ulit kung ano yung nangyari sa La Salle, noong humawak pa ako ng women’s,” said Almadro. De Jesus has been known to instill strict discipline and Spartan-like training to the Lady Spikers. Almadro will be doing the same with the Lady Eagles.  “Pero sabi ko nga ang Ateneo Lady Eagles mababait naman ang mga yan. They are good followers. They are great athletes. Ang great athlete mate-test kung gaano sila kabilis maga-adjust,” he continued. Almadro will try to work on the power and speed of the Lady Eagles, who will have the core of Season 80 Best Setter Deanna Wong, Kat Tolentino, Ponggay Gaston and seniors Maddie Madayag and Bea De Leon, who are yet to commit to playing their swan songs. “Sa women’s sana madala ko yung bilis at yung power ng men’s. Yun sana ang maidagdag ko sa kanila,” he said. “Pero iba pa rin ang women’s eh. More on defense, more on variation pero ang importante volleyball naman yan eh. Ang importante lang maka-cope up with the system.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles      .....»»

Source: abscbn abscbnCategory: sports9 hr. 45 min. ago Related News

Archers shoot for win No. 5 in Filoil cagefest

The De La Salle Green Archers, hardly missing a beat despite the graduation and departure of many of its stars from previous seasons, look to bag their fifth win......»»

Source: philstar philstarCategory: sports14 hr. 45 min. ago Related News

Wary of hungry Sultan, Ancajas vows not to be overconfident

IBF super flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas understands that he has everything to lose in his upcoming title defense against countryman Jonas Sultan......»»

Source: philstar philstarCategory: sports14 hr. 45 min. ago Related News

PBA Luzon All-Stars test undersized Gilas

The Luzon All-Stars will give the Philippine national team a dose of their own medicine when they lock horns in the second stop of the PBA All-Star festivities in Batangas on Friday night......»»

Source: philstar philstarCategory: sports14 hr. 45 min. ago Related News

Newsome, Maliksi stake dunk, 3-point titles at PBA All-Star

Work does not stop for Chris Newsome and Allein Maliksi during the PBA’s break as they are set to defend their respective titles as the All-Star festivities reach its second leg here in Batangas on Friday afternoon......»»

Source: philstar philstarCategory: sports14 hr. 45 min. ago Related News

Golden State s Iguodala still struggling with bruised knee

Andre Iguodala's bruised left knee improved Thursday, but he was still listed as questionable for the Golden State Warriors in Game Five against the Houston Rockets.....»»

Source: philstar philstarCategory: sports14 hr. 45 min. ago Related News

Foton downs Smart for 2nd win in PSL beach volley tiff

Foton made some key adjustments to hammer a 21-10, 21-17 victory over Smart in the Philippine Superliga Beach Volleyball Challenge Cup......»»

Source: philstar philstarCategory: sports14 hr. 45 min. ago Related News

Powerhouse PBA Luzon selection gets crack at Gilas

The PBA Luzon All-Stars take their turn to challenge the national pool the second leg of the 2018 PBA All-Star festivities on Friday night......»»

Source: philstar philstarCategory: sports14 hr. 45 min. ago Related News

Ovechkin, Holtby shine in Game 7, Caps beat Lightning 4-0

By Fred Goodall, Associated Press TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Alex Ovechkin lifted the Prince of Wales Trophy, spun around and set it back down on a table. The rest of the Capitals joined him for a team photo after beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-0 on Wednesday night in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final, a victory that sent Washington to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in 20 years. A decade of playoff frustration is fading fast. "I think Ovie has been on a mission," Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. "They wanted this game, no question." Ovechkin scored early and Andre Burakovsky added two second-period goals as the Caps continued to shed a label as postseason underachievers. Braden Holtby stopped 29 shots for his second straight shutout and the Lightning, who led the NHL in goals during the regular season, failed to score in the last 159 minutes, 27 seconds of the series — a stretch of nearly eight periods. Ovechkin, who had never advanced beyond the second round, scored 1:02 into the winner-take-all showdown he had described as probably the "biggest game in my life." "The first goal was very important," Ovechkin said. "After that you could see we have all the momentum on our side. Holts was unstoppable today. He was special. Everybody was all in. Everybody was sacrificing their bodies. I think we all deserve the win." To earn a spot in the Stanley Cup Final, where they'll play the Vegas Golden Knights, the Capitals beat the top-seeded Lightning three times on the road, improving to 8-2 away from home this postseason. It's Washington's first Cup Final appearance since 1998, and the first during Ovechkin's 13-year career. "We played a great game," defenseman John Carlson said. "We deserved to win this." Two games after being a healthy scratch for Game 5, Burakovsky became the 17th player to score a goal for Washington in the playoffs this year — four shy of the NHL record — when he beat Andrei Vasilevskiy on a breakaway at 8:59 of the second period. The winger, who played two games in the first round against Columbus before sitting out 10 straight with an upper-body injury, added a breakaway goal to make it 3-0 heading into the last period. Nicklas Backstrom had an empty-netter to complete the rout. "What a game. What an experience. We had a lot of guys pitching in," winger T.J. Oshie said. "The biggest guy of all had to be Holts. He played fantastic, back to back shutouts." Tampa Bay, which rebounded from losing the first two games at home to win three straight for a 3-2 series lead, had plenty of chances. A couple of shots clanged off the post, Yanni Gourde was unable to get his stick on a loose puck in front on an empty net and the game gradually slipped away. Washington was the more physical team in evening the series with a bruising 3-0 victory in Game 6. They played with urgency from the start again Wednesday night and never let up. Tampa Bay's last goal in the series came 33 seconds into the second period of Game 5, which the Lightning went on to win 3-2. "We're here to win as team, no matter who gets the credit," said Holtby, the fifth goalie to deliver a Game 7 shutout to clinch a spot in the Stanley Cup Final. "I felt we could have won every game," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "We ran into a tough Washington team that was probably feeling the same thing, and once you get this far you've probably done some magical things on the way." It was the 33rd time in league history that a Game 7 was required to determine a Stanley Cup finalist. Home teams are 21-12 in those games. Tampa Bay also played Game 7 in the Eastern Conference final in 2015, when they blanked the New York Rangers, and again two years ago, when they lost 2-1 to Pittsburgh. Both of those deciding games were on the road. The Lightning had never lost a Game 7 at home before Wednesday night. "It's going to take a few days to digest this. It's tough to sit here right now and think of positive things and how it was a pretty great season," Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said. "It doesn't seem that way when you have this group — and we've been to this position before — and you can't find a way to give yourself a chance a win. We thought we had that group. It's just an empty feeling right now." Notes: Ovechkin and Backstrom made their 11th career Game 7 appearance, one shy of Boston's Zdeno Chara for the most among active NHL players. In addition to Chara, only five other players in NHL history have appeared in more Game 7s: Patrick Roy (13), Scott Stevens (13), Glenn Anderson (12), Ken Daneyko (12) and Stephane Yelle (12). ... Evgeny Kuznetsov's assist on Ovechkin's early goal extended his points streak to 10 games. ... Vasilevskiy made 19 saves. The Lightning outshot the Capitals (29-23) for the first time in the series......»»

Source: abscbn abscbnCategory: sports22 hr. 11 min. ago Related News

NBA viewing guide: May 14-29, 2018

The 2018 NBA Conference Finals will kick off very soon. With just two Finals berths at stake, the action is sure to be fast and furious. Check out the local schedules below for games from May 14 to 24 and don't miss any of the action! May 14 - 3:30AM - CLE vs BOS - ABS-CBN ch. 2 (delayed - 9:00AM), NBA Premium, BTV May 15 - 9:00AM - GSW vs HOU - S+A, NBA Premium, BTV May 16 - 8:30AM - CLE vs BOS - ABS-CBN ch. 2 (delayed - 9:00AM), NBA Premium, BTV May 17 - 9:00AM - GSW vs HOU - S+A, NBA Premium, BTV May 20 - 8:30AM - BOS vs CLE - ABS-CBN ch. 2 (delayed - 9:15AM), NBA Premium, BTV May 21 - 8:00AM - HOU vs GSW - S+A, NBA Premium, BTV May 22 - 8:30AM - BOS vs CLE - ABS-CBN ch. 2 (delayed - 9:00AM), NBA Premium, BTV May 23 - 9:00AM - HOU vs GSW - S+A, NBA Premium, BTV May 24 - 8:30AM - CLE vs BOS - ABS-CBN ch. 2 (delayed - 9:00AM), NBA Premium, BTV May 25 - 9:00AM - GSW vs HOU - S+A, NBA Premium, BTV May 26 - 8:30AM - BOS vs CLE - ABS-CBN ch. 2, NBA Premium, BTV May 27 - 9:00AM - HOU vs GSW - S+A, NBA Premium, BTV (if needed) May 28 - 8:30AM - CLE vs BOS - ABS-CBN ch. 2 (delayed - 9:00AM), NBA Premium, BTV (if needed) - May 29 - 9:00AM - GSW vs HOU - S+A, NBA Premium, BTV.....»»

Source: abscbn abscbnCategory: sports22 hr. 11 min. ago Related News

Future is now: Tatum, Celtics push Cavaliers to the brink

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com BOSTON - Someone might want to change their All-Rookie team ballot after this one. Jayson Tatum, so young that he actually drinks the Gatorade that’s on the table when he has a podium game rather than leaving it there for cameras and branding, got 99 out of a 100 possible first-place votes from media folks for the newbie honors announced Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time). That left him a vote shy of both Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons and Utah’s Donovan Mitchell, the dueling favorites for the NBA’s Rookie of the Year Award when it’s announced next month. If Tatum merely is the Boston Celtics’ favorite rookie, though, that’s plenty. And wherever Simmons and Mitchell are at the moment, their seasons and postseasons are over. The Boston kid still is playing. Tatum scored 24 points, grabbed seven rebounds, dished four assists, pilfered four steals and blocked two shots to led the Celtics to their 96-83 Game 5 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time) at TD Garden. His plus/minus rating of plus-19 was second only to veteran Al Horford’s (plus-22) and in a pivotal game in which his teammates shot a combined 34 percent, Tatum -- who turned 20 on March 3 -- hit three of his seven three-pointers, all but one of his eight free throws and seven of his 15 field-goal attempts overall. “I think his composure [is impressive], he plays above his age,” LeBron James said earlier in the day. “I think the unfortunate events of the injuries that they’ve had have allowed him to, I believe, get better faster than I believe they expected here. It’s given him an opportunity to make ... make mistakes and learn from them and still be on the floor.” Losing Gordon Hayward to a gruesome leg injury in the season’s opening game and having Kyrie Irving limp into knee surgery and the sunset of this season in March did bump most of Boston’s players, the rookie included, up a couple spots in coach Brad Stevens’ pecking order. The No. 3 pick in last June’s Draft, Tatum was going to get his share of playing time. But he wound up becoming the fifth rookie in NBA history, and the first since Stephen Curry in 2009-10, to score at least 1,000 points and hit at least 40 percent of his three-pointers. Only eight previous rookies in Boston’s storied franchise history totaled 1,000 or more points. Jaylen Brown, Boston’s second-year wing, developed in tandem with Tatum. The pair of lithe, skilled players dripping with potential has most of the league’s personnel execs and coaches drooling. Except, with Game 6 on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time) in Cleveland for the first of two shots at eliminating the Cavaliers, the Celtics are playing as if their future is now. A truism in the NBA is that, by the end of a rookie’s first arduous season, he’s not a rookie anymore. Mix in some force-feeding due to Boston’s two injured stars and now three playoff rounds, and Tatum is racing to the right on his learning curve. “I think that we misuse the word ‘development’ sometimes,” Stevens said. “I think we're in the business of ‘enhancement.’ I think Jayson was ready to deal with everything that comes with this because of who he is and his family and all his coaches before, because he's a very emotionally steady, smart player that was going to perform at a high level above his age. “I don't know that anybody could guess this as a rookie, but you knew he was going to be really good.” Tatum sorta had to be in Game 5. Brown got matched up in a lot of Boston’s defensive coverage of James and picked up his second and third personal fouls in the second quarter. Point guard Terry Rozier looked like his road alter ego, missing 6-of-7 shots in the game’s first 24 minutes. But Tatum -- who averaged 12.7 points against Cleveland in three regular-season meetings but is at 17.2 so far in the East finals -- had 12 points by halftime, helping the Celtics to their 53-42 lead. “I just enjoy playing in the big moments, in the big games,” Tatum said. “I think that’s when I have the most fun, when things are on the line.” It was Tatum racing downcourt to chase down Kevin Love’s errant pass into the backcourt and finish with a layup that had Boston up 74-58. And it was Tatum who drew a foul on Kyle Korver with 3:11 left, prompting Cavs coach Tyronn Lue to pull a weary James. “I thought he was aggressive. I thought he was poised,” Lue said of Tatum. “Even though he was scoring the basketball, he didn’t try to rush or he didn’t press. ... He played like a veteran.” Tatum put in his work defensively Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time), but also got as good as he gave. It’s become a familiar tactic for defenders to get physically aggressive with him, trying to exploit what at this stage still is limited strength by NBA standards. His father Justin, a basketball coach in St. Louis, has said he plays tall and hasn’t yet learned to utilize his base. “JR [Smith], Jeff Green, they're playing really hard on Tatum and making it very tough,” Stevens said. “He's had a lot of experiences over the last couple weeks dealing with playoff defense. I thought Milwaukee guarded him exceptionally hard and were really committed when he drove to the rim to having multiple bodies there. I thought that Philly obviously guarded him very hard. It's hard to make plays at this level in these games, and he's done that pretty consistently.” The numbers back that up. Tatum by halftime had become only the sixth rookie in league history to reach 300 points in the postseason, the first since Jack Sikma in 1978. It was his ninth playoff game of 20 points or more, tying him with Mitchell this season and David Robinson in 1990 for second most by a rookie since 1964; Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had 10 in 1970. Tatum, Brown and a few other young Celtics have given credit for the team’s unexpected success -- considering the injuries, anyway -- to Al Horford, the most obvious grown-up in Boston’s locker room. When Horford was asked late Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time) what it’s like for him being around “these kids,” he sounded a little like James three years ago. That’s when Irving was hobbling, eventually blowing out a knee that spring, and Kevin Love was done for the playoffs due to a shoulder injury suffered in the first round. That’s also when James looked at the raw help he had from guys such as Tristan Thompson and Matthew Dellavedova, and locked in on the possibility of reaching the Finals. “It's a lot of fun, just because these guys, they want to play the right way,” Horford said. “They play hard. I feel like we hold each other accountable out there. I think that's a big thing.  And when those things happen, it becomes fun. It's fun to me. And there's no coincidence why we're in this position right now.” Youth is being served, at least on the Celtics’ floor. 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......»»

Source: abscbn abscbnCategory: sports22 hr. 11 min. ago Related News