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DOC VOLLEYBALL: Breaking Down the UAAP Final Four match-ups

After what has been considered as the most unpredictable elimination round for the women’s division as well as an exciting triple threat fight for dominance over at the men’s side, the Final Four of UAAP Season 80 volleyball has finally arrived. With three out of four teams almost similar for both divisions, fans and supporters of these semifinal teams couldn't be more excited at who will emerge as the final contenders for the crown. Men's Division Final Four Season 80 became witness to a more exciting men's division as the Far Eastern University Tamaraws finally reclaimed its powerhouse status to challenge the perennial rivalry in recent history involving the Ateneo Blue Eagles and the National University Bulldogs. The elimination round became a rock-paper-scissor match-up amongst the three as FEU’s agility, NU’s strength and Ateneo’s skill challenged each other. NU (1) vs. UST (4) The NU Bulldogs are poised to reclaim the crown after edging out their rival Ateneo to secure top seed and twice-to-beat advantage. Fortune favored them once again by dodging a bullet as the team that upset them in round two, the Adamson Soaring Falcons, fell to the UST Golden Tigers in a close decider. NU has proven this season that they can outmuscle the league as their offense greatly compensates for their defense. The Bulldogs are expected to still get output from Bryan Bagunas on all ends while the middles provide stable support. Bryan Bagunas' hit was so strong it ricochets to the announcers' table! #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/MqdtjNfgts — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) March 14, 2018 Kim Malabunga says N🚫PE to Marck Espejo! #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/j3FJxhd2Gj — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) April 15, 2018 Not to be discredited, the UST Golden Tigers can significantly challenge the NU defense with continuous assaults from their middles most notably Tyrone Carodan, who has been providing high outputs in the second round. Likewise, the make or break factor for UST would be the consistency of left wing hitter Josh Umandal, whose height is a good match against the NU wall. Should UST be able to disrupt NU’s quick set-up and load up on the wings, they might have a chance at extending their run to a do-or-die encounter.  Josh Umandal WHAT A HIT 😱 #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/a9QlDj5Yty — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) April 11, 2018   FEU (2) vs. Ateneo (3) After a crucial loss to the Bulldogs for the top spot, the defending champions Ateneo Blue Eagles are in a tight spot as they lost a chance at a twice-to-beat advantage and are now up against their season tormentors, the FEU Tamaraws. In both encounters during the season, the Tamaraws exerted dominance over the defending champions as their bread and butter combination plays were left unchallenged by the Blue Eagle defense. JP Bugaoan taking over for FEU! #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/SRkL6wANi7 — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) February 4, 2018 FEU’s strength whole season long lies on solid floor passing care of their libero Rikko Marmeto that enables them to run their combinations. They also employ an unusual rotation where middles shift hitting positions in certain rallies in order to confuse opposing defenders. It would still be in the Tamaraws’ best interest to have their libero cover the most passing responsibility to ensure they can run their plays. You know you're hot when even your libero is scoring! What a smart hit by Rikko Marmeto! #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/Xa8uaGh4gu — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) February 4, 2018 With their crown on the edge of being snatched by a team they haven't beaten all season, the Blue Eagles are hard pressed to rely on their solid passing and serving to at least prevent the Tamaraw assault. The Blue Eagles have proven that their service is the best in the league and it will be the most crucial factor in making the finals. Consistent aggressive serving to key locations would be their best option in mitigating the Tamaraw combination. No second touch needed for Marck Espejo 😳 #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/Y7OqGUlAUH — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) April 7, 2018   Women's Division Final Four After a highly unpredictable elimination round filled with upsets and the most number of five set matches to date, the top four contenders during the first round were able to hold their ground in their quest for the crown. What's interesting for these Final Four match-ups is that all the teams have beaten each other and that the twice-to-beat advantage is indeed a breath of relief for the top two seeds De La Salle Lady Spikers and Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws. DLSU (1) vs. NU (4) Securing a twice to beat advantage against an NU team that is yet to recover their groove, the Lady Spikers are in the best position to defend their title in the Finals. Sticking to their guns of excellent serving and passing up until their last elimination game against rival Ateneo, La Salle would be once again expected to capitalize on NU’s passing struggles to prevent the Lady Bulldogs from setting up their offense especially Jaja Santiago from the middle. Aside from that, it can also be expected that the Lady Spikers will load up on another of their best assets which is blocking to capitalize on the lackluster output from the wings of NU recently. Majoy Baron BL🚫CKS Kat Tolentino, AND THEN SOME 😤 #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/H55UobHbJO — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) April 15, 2018 On the other hand, the NU Lady Bulldogs have proven before that they can challenge the Archer supremacy. The challenge for them would be how to minimize La Salle’s free ball chances through better passing. While it is to be expected that the Lady Spikers will serve aggressively to limit Santiago’s quick attack opportunities, NU’s passers will be hard pressed to bring the ball at least on a settable location so Santiago can still hit a safety high ball. Likewise, output from the wings will be crucial in taking the spotlight off from Santiago. The set by Nabor! The quick by Sato! 💪 #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/Qs3hWOGYqW — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) March 25, 2018   FEU (2) vs. Ateneo (3) A more exciting match-up would be the battle between the Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws and the Ateneo Lady Eagles since both teams have cancelled each other out in their elimination encounters. The Lady Tamaraws caught Ateneo off guard in three sets to start the season while the Lady Eagles were able to exact a revenge to FEU in five sets in their second round encounter. FEU, like La Salle, will pretty much utilize their best asset in their service and receive game to take advantage of Ateneo’s passing to limit Maddie Madayag and Bea De Leon from the middle while fortifying the floor to defend the wings. In addition, FEU would ensure that their passing is on point as well so that they can run their usual combinations to circumvent the Eagle’s wall. Bernadeth Pons tears right through the wall for the sharp, sharp kill! #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/AHjQ2Pmgqs — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) February 4, 2018 On the other hand, the Lady Eagles would be challenged to pass better compared to their most recent game against their rivals. It was highly noticeable that although not a lot of shank passes were made, the quality of the passes were not sufficient enough to at least be set by Deanna Wong to the wings. The Lady Eagles would be hard pressed to do high settable passes to at least drive a hard ball from the wings and extend the transition to involve the middles. Maddie Madayag CLUTCH. #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/UTTdUyk0Ns — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) March 25, 2018        .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: Sports6 hr. 0 min. ago Related News

UAAP Volleyball: Jho Maraguinot: I know I could have done better

Ateneo Lady Eagle Jho Maraguinot says that she could have done a better performance after her team was swept by arch-rival De La Salle, sending the girls from Katipunan to a twice-to-beat disadvantage for the first time since Season 76. Maraguinot, who finished with six points, was not a fan of her own showing, as her team was left helpless under the merciless La Salle attack, which finished at the top of the league standings at the conclusion of the eliminations. "Syempre I'm disappointed lalo na sa sarili ko.  Cause I know I could do better. But kinulang eh. I think I just have to accept it. Bawi nalang next game," the fourth-year player said. As they face second-seed FEU, who holds the twice-to-beat advantage, the Alitagtag, Batangas native seems to be doubting herself for the win-or-go-home scenario on Saturday, and added that she'll do everything to forget such a disheartening performance and subsequent loss Sunday afternoon. "Tomorrow is a new day. Bounce back na lang. It all starts with ourselves naman eh. Siguro confidence sa sarili. Para maging confident din kami na magperform for the team." In spite of the loss, the hitter managed to praise her opponents, and lamented the unfortunate results for their side, and gave all credit to them. "Nag-uusap naman kami.  Siguro bad day lang talaga. Hindi siguro obvious but naguusap naman kami sa loob eh. Every point naman, tinutulungan namin ang isa't isa. Siguro La Salle played better lang today. "   -- Follow this writer on Twitter, @philipptionary......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsApr 15th, 2018Related News

Okumu vows UP will be in Final Four in Season 81

University of the Philippines was two spots away from cracking the UAAP Season 80 Final Four and that didn't stop head coach Godfrey Okumu from making the boldest prediction for Season 81. Okumu vowed that the Lady Maroons will make the Final Four next year. "In every tournament, I think everyone wants to win and next season you'd be interviewing me for the playoffs not here," Okumu told reporters after their final game of the eliminations Saturday at Blue Eagle Gym. The Lady Maroons ended their Season 80 campaign with a convincing four-set win over University of the East, 14-25, 25-22, 25-23, 25-23, to finish with a 6-8 record. Although UP failed to enter the semifinals,...Keep on reading: Okumu vows UP will be in Final Four in Season 81.....»»

Source: Inquirer InquirerCategory: Apr 15th, 2018Related News

Lady Maroons trim Warriors in duel of ousted teams

University of the Philippines unleashed strong finishing kicks in the last three sets as it turned back University of the East, 14-25, 25-22, 25-23, 25-23, to check a slow start and an error-prone game in a battle of ousted teams in the UAAP season 80 women’s volleyball tournament at the Blue Eagle Gym on the Ateneo campus yesterday......»»

Source: Philstar PhilstarCategory: NewsApr 14th, 2018Related News

UAAP VOLLEYBALL: Adamson routs UST to end Season 80

Adamson University made short work of University of Sto. Tomas, 25-6, 25-23, 25-23, Saturday as the Lady Falcons ended their campaign in the 80th UAAP women’s volleyball tournament on a winning note at the Blue Eagle Gym.   The Lady Falcons arrested a three-game losing slump for a 6-8 win-loss record and gave graduating players Jema Galanza, Mylene Paat, setter Fenela Emnas and libero Jellie Tempiatura a graceful exit. Eli Soyud, Galanza and Paat led the way for Adamson, which exacted revenge on its first round tormentor. Soyud finished with 14 points with all but one coming off attacks, Paat added 13 markers while team captain Galanza had 12 for the San Marcelino-based squad. Galanza added 10 digs and eight excellent receptions while Emnas tallied 24 excellent sets and seven markers for Adamson.    The Tigresses struggled the whole match to close their season with a disappointing 4-10 slate. Sisi Rondina got 15 points but was the only UST player in double figures. Caitlin Viray posted six markers while 6-foot-2 Fil-Italian Milena Alessandrini was limted to only five.    ---      Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsApr 14th, 2018Related News

UAAP VOLLEYBALL: Adamson finally got one over its Season 80 nemesis

Adamson University will look at UAAP Season 80 with a lot of what ifs. The Lady Falcons played seven games that reached a deciding fifth set. They lost five. What if Adamson won a couple more of those five-set games? The Lady Falcons are probably in the Final Four right now. In an emotional and trying season, the Lady Falcons basically got beat by their own selves on most games. That's why in the final outing of the year, Adamson at least wanted to beat its own worst enemy in Season 80. In the final outing of the year, the Lady Falcons finally won against themselves, convingcingly too. "Today I was like, you know you’re not playing UST. We’re playing the enemy that we’ve been playing the entire season, which is all of our fears, all of our doubts, the breaking under pressure, the non-consistency. All these things that people, when you think of Adamson this year, that’s what comes to mind," head coach Airess Padda said. "And today, I was like that’s exactly who we’re playing against. It’s not just about the seniors, it’s about everyone on this team. Is this how you want to end your season? You have one more opportunity to defeat the enemy that’s beating you all-season. You have one more opportunity to do it. And man, they kicked the enemy’s ass today. The enemy we’re talking about is the stuff that I said, not UST," she added. Coach Air's Lady Falcons smashed the Tigresses in three sets Saturday at the Blue Eagle Gym still, scoring a 25-6, 25-23, 25-23, win. Maybe that counts as two wins? Adamson finished the season with a 6-8 record, at least one game out of the Final Four. And while the Lady Falcons were already eliminated before the start of this game, the team still played like their chasing the playoffs. They wanted to at least get one over their own selves. And they did. "It was bittersweet. They were playing to get into the Final Four today and that’s the team that I wish would’ve showed up in all the other opportunities we had," Padda said. "That’s Adamson volleyball. I’m very, very, very proud with the way they showed up today, but they knew, we told them, I know not making the Final Four was like a really, really, really big sayang. You know, heartbreaking," coach Air added.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsApr 14th, 2018Related News

UP ends UAAP volleyball Season 80 on high note, trips UE

University of the Philippines finished off its campaign with its head held high after turning back University of the East, 14-25, 25-22, 25-23, 25-23, in the UAAP Season 80 women's volleyball tournament Saturday at Blue Eagle Gym. The Lady Maroons, who failed to enter the Final Four anew, ended their season with a 6-8 record while the Lady Warriors settled at the eighth seed with a 3-11 record. Holding a precarious 2-1 set lead, the Lady Maroons found themselves on the receiving end of the Lady Warriors' constant attack and trailed 20-17 late in the fourth set. UE's lead, however, quickly dissipated thanks to Isa Molde's clutch heroism. The Season 78 Rookie of the Year we...Keep on reading: UP ends UAAP volleyball Season 80 on high note, trips UE.....»»

Source: Inquirer InquirerCategory: Apr 14th, 2018Related News

UAAP volleyball: Adamson sends seniors off with dominant win over UST

Adamson University made sure its seniors would leave the team on a happy note as it bludgeoned University of Santo Tomas, 25-6, 25-23, 25-23 in the UAAP Season 80 women's volleyball tournament Saturday at Blue Eagle Gym. The Lady Falcons bid farewell to seniors Jema Galanza, Mylene Paat Fhen Emnas, and Jellie Tempiatura, who all played their final game for the school, as they ended as the tournament with a 6-8 record....Keep on reading: UAAP volleyball: Adamson sends seniors off with dominant win over UST.....»»

Source: Inquirer InquirerCategory: Apr 14th, 2018Related News

UP Lady Maroons end Season 80 with win over UE

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The University of the Philippines (UP) Lady Maroons rallied from a slow start to finish strong with a victory over the University of the East (UE) Lady Warriors in 4 sets, 14-25, 25-22, 25-23, 25-23, on Saturday, April 14, at the Blue Eagle Gym of ........»»

Source: Rappler RapplerCategory: NewsApr 14th, 2018Related News

Adamson Lady Falcons cap off season, avenge skid with sweep of UST

MANILA, Philippines – The Adamson Lady Falcons made up for their 3-game losing streak with a strong finish to Season 80 as they defeated the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Golden Tigresses in 3 sets, 25-6, 25-23, 25-23, on Saturday, April 14, at the Blue Eagle Gym of the Ateneo ........»»

Source: Rappler RapplerCategory: NewsApr 14th, 2018Related News

UP belles eye fiery finish vs Warriors

The “bottom four” take the court to try to end their respective UAAP Season 80 women’s volleyball campaign on a bright note today at the Blue Eagle Gym......»»

Source: Philstar PhilstarCategory: SportsApr 13th, 2018Related News

Rahm tucked in behind leaders at Spanish Open

MADRID (AP) — Home favorite Jon Rahm shot a 5-under 67 to finish one off the lead after the first round of the Spanish Open Thursday. Marc Warren of Scotland and Paul Dunne of Ireland set the pace on 66 at the Centro Nacional de Golf. Warren birdied five of his last seven holes and Dunne also finished strongly with a birdie three at the 16th and an eagle three at the 18th. Rahm, who was fourth at the Masters Sunday, eagled the 18th too, the ninth hole of his round. "I played a lot better than I expected, especially off the tee," said the world No. 4 from Spain, who has never won professionally in his home country. "Too bad that I couldn't make a couple of putts but I guess it's happening to everyone, the greens are not easy to read. Still, 5-under is fine and hopefully I can keep playing the same way to the green and make some putts for the rest of the week." Spanish amateur Victor Pastor was in a group of 10 other players tied with Rahm. Defending champion Andrew Johnston launched his campaign with a 68......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsApr 13th, 2018Related News

Woods improves in final round at Masters, welcomes break

By Mark Long, Associated Press AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Tiger Woods nearly aced a hole and made his lone eagle of the week. The four-time Masters champion somewhat returned to form at Augusta National. It was just a few days too late to be more than an afterthought at golf's first major. .@TigerWoods records his first eagle of the Tournament on No. 15 in the final round of #themasters. pic.twitter.com/ykAqxyNo7F — Masters Tournament (@TheMasters) April 8, 2018 Woods closed with a flurry, recording a 3-under 69 in the final round at the Masters. He finished 1 over for the tournament and left the hallowed grounds feeling a little better about his game. Woods last played the event in 2015. He returned the last two years for the champions' dinner, but didn't get on the course. The hiatus left him feeling nostalgic during his walk to the 18th green. "This is one of the greatest walks in all of golf," Woods said afterward. "And I had missed it for the last couple of years. I hadn't been able to play in it, so now I'm glad I'm competing in this tournament. And to face the challenges out there, I missed it. I really did. I missed playing out here. I missed competing against these guys. Such a great event. Best (event) in all of our sport." Woods started the weekend more than a dozen shots out of the lead and knew he would need something special to happen to get back in contention. It never happened. Never even came close, either. But there were some glimpses Sunday in his traditional red shirt. Woods had two birdies and an eagle on the back and looked like he would get to even par for the event. He lamented his iron play for the fourth straight day and loathed two three-putts, including one for bogey on No. 18. "Another loose day with the irons," he said. "And I putted awful. It was possibly the highest score I could have shot today. All in all, a bittersweet ending." He still drew one of the round's largest galleries, giving spectators a reason to get to the course long before the leaders arrived at the practice range. They simply wanted to catch a glimpse of one of golf's greatest players. Woods is assured of moving back into the top 100 in the world, notable only because he was at No. 1,199 just over four months ago when he returned from yet another long layoff following a fourth back surgery. "I think things are progressing," he said. "It was a little bit disappointing I didn't hit my irons as well as I needed to for this particular week. You miss it just a touch here it gets magnified. And I just didn't do a good enough job this week in that regard. But overall I'm five or six tournaments into it, to be able to compete out here and to score like I did, it feels good." Woods plans to take some time off in April, maybe even putting the clubs in the closet for a few weeks to "kind of get away for a while." "The run up to this event is pretty hard and pretty grueling," said Woods, who finished 12th, tied for second and tied for fifth in three tournaments on the Florida Swing. "I pushed myself pretty hard to get ready. And I peaked at it four times over the course of my career, and it's tiring." He can take some solace in making six birdies or better in the final round — nearly as many as he made in the first three rounds combined. The best one came early Sunday. Woods nearly aced the 240-yard, par-3 fourth. His tee shot landed a few feet short of the flag, bounced a couple of times and then skirted by the left edge of the hole. He was left with a left-to-right-breaking 10-footer that he dropped in the left side of the cup. His eagle putt at the par-5 15th was even better. He drained a sweeping 30-footer after reaching the green in two. Those shots provided a brief snippet of what might have been at Augusta National had Woods had better control with his irons. Woods missed greens right and left, never really getting approach shots in the precise spots on treacherous greens. His errant ways left him starting a lot sooner than expected Sunday and finishing shortly after the leaders teed off. "My swing is slightly off," he said. "I was pleased with the way I was able to drive it, but I just could not convert with my irons. I struggled with obviously controlling the shape. Can't control the shape. Can't control the distance. And it was one of those weeks in that regard.".....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsApr 9th, 2018Related News

LOOK: Volleyball queens bring the heat for ABS-CBN 'JustLove summer station ID

The summer follow-up to the widely-successful #JustLove anthem for the ABS-CBN station ID will be graced by volleyball royalty.  Former Queen Eagle Alyssa Valdez, Binibining Pilipinas-Globe Michele Gumabao, former Queen Falcon Amanda Villanueva, and  Queen Lady Red Spiker Ces Racraquin all donned #JustLove shirts as they joined the shoot for the summer TV ad for ABS-CBN.   Had a great time with these Queens 👸🏻 felt out of place pero laban lang 😅✌🏼 A post shared by Cesca Racraquin (@cescarac) on Apr 5, 2018 at 9:31pm PDT     Ako talaga ang Dyosa hanggang sa Dumating sila @alyssa_valdez2 @gumabaomichele @cescarac and @aamandavillanueva ⛰🌳 A post shared by Mikygandara (@mikygandara) on Apr 5, 2018 at 9:34pm PDT      Shooting for the ABS CBN Summer Station ID ☀️☀️☀️ #JustLove #GameChangersPH A post shared by The Game Changers (@gamechangersph) on Apr 5, 2018 at 10:27pm PDT #JustLove 💙💙 Shooting for the ABSCBN summer station ID. ☀️☀️☀️ Can't wait for this to be out very soon!!! #MomagerDuties #GameChangersPH pic.twitter.com/uKCHAB2f7t — Vania PadillaEdralin (@vaniaedralin) April 6, 2018 Joined by Kapamilya star Kim Chiu (a known UAAP volleyball fan herself), the queens of the court more than held their own, making sure the sport we all know and love gets proper representation in the annual TV spot. If you needed more reasons to be excited for the upcoming summer iteration of #JustLove, then here you go: .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsApr 6th, 2018Related News

Market recovery seen as new quarter starts

The stock market could begin to post a recovery with the first quarter over and the end of a Lenten break, analysts said. “The index has held the 7,900 support area which to me may potentially be a bottom for this correction,” Eagle Equities, Inc. research head Chris Mangun said in a comment over the [...] The post Market recovery seen as new quarter starts appeared first on The Manila Times Online......»»

Source: Manilatimes_net Manilatimes_netCategory: NewsApr 2nd, 2018Related News

Hundreds line Cambridge streets to honor Stephen Hawking

LONDON --- Hundreds of people lined the streets of the English city of Cambridge on Saturday, breaking into applause as the hearse carrying the remains of famed British scientist Stephen Hawking arrived at the church. Some 500 guests had been invited to the private funeral at St. Mary the Great church for the service honoring Hawking, who died on March 14 at age 76 after capturing popular imagination with his writings about space and time. Actor Eddie Redmayne, who portrayed Hawking in the 2014 biographical drama "The Theory of Everything," gave a reading from Ecclesiastes during the service. There was also a reading by Astronomer Royal Martin Reese and eulogies by one of Ha...Keep on reading: Hundreds line Cambridge streets to honor Stephen Hawking.....»»

Source: Inquirer InquirerCategory: Mar 31st, 2018Related News

2018 MLB preview: AL Central

By The Associated Press Capsules of American League Central teams, listed in order of finish last year: ___ Cleveland Indians 2017: 102-60, first place, lost to Yankees in ALDS. Manager: Terry Francona (sixth season). He's Here: 1B-DH Yonder Alonso, LF Rajai Davis, RHP Alexi Ogando. He's Outta Here: 1B Carlos Santana, OF Jay Bruce, RHP Bryan Shaw, RHP Joe Smith, OF Austin Jackson, LHP Boone Logan. Projected Lineup: SS Francisco Lindor (.273, 33 HRs, 89 RBIs, 44 2Bs, 15 SBs, 10 errors), 2B Jason Kipnis (.232, 12 HRs, 35 RBIs in 90 games), 3B Jose Ramirez (.318, 29, 83, AL-leading 56 2Bs), DH Edwin Encarnacion (.258, 38, 107), 1B Yonder Alonso (.266, career-high 28 HRs, 67 RBIs with Athletics and Mariners), RF Lonnie Chisenhall (.288, 12, 53 in 82 games), C Roberto Perez (.207, 8, 38, club went 44-22 in his starts) or Yan Gomes (.232, 14, 56), CF Bradley Zimmer (.241, 8, 39, 18 SBs, 0 errors), LF Michael Brantley (.299, 9, 52 in 90 games) or Rajai Davis (.235, 5, 20, 29 SBs with Oakland and Boston). Rotation: RH Corey Kluber (18-4, 2.25 ERA, 265 Ks, 2nd Cy Young Award), RH Carlos Carrasco (18-6, 3.29, 226 Ks), RH Trevor Bauer (17-9, 4.19, 10-1 in final 13 starts), RH Mike Clevinger (12-6, 3.11, 137 Ks in 121 2/3 innings), RH Danny Salazar (5-6, 4.28, 12.67 Ks per 9 innings). Key Relievers: RH Cody Allen (3-7, 2.94, 30/34 saves, 96 saves past 3 seasons), LH Andrew Miller (4-3, 1.44, 2 saves), RH Dan Otero (3-0, 2.85, walked just 19 of 511 batters since 2016), LH Tyler Olson (1-0, 0.00 in 20 innings over 30 games), RH Zack McAllister (2-2, 2.61 in 50 games). Hot Spots: Kipnis and Brantley. The former All-Stars have been hindered by injuries in recent years, but both appear on track to bounce back in 2018. The Indians need them to produce. Cleveland is better defensively with Ramirez at second base, but he'll stay at third as long as the 31-year-old Kipnis hits. Kipnis has been mentioned in trade talk for two years. Brantley, once considered one of baseball's best all-around talents, has played in only 101 games since 2015. Outlook: No team has felt postseason pain lately quite like the Indians. They blew a 3-1 lead and lost the 2016 World Series to the Cubs, and squandered a 2-0 advantage in last year's best-of-five Division Series against the Yankees. With arguably baseball's strongest rotation led by Kluber, the Indians are poised to possibly end a championship drought approaching its 70th anniversary. Alonso must help the offense offset the losses of Santana and Bruce. Francona won't have Shaw in the bullpen anymore after the durable reliever pitched in at least 74 games each of the past four seasons. Winning the AL Central won't suffice for the Indians, who are determined to finish the job this year. ___ Minnesota Twins 2017: 85-77, second place, lost to Yankees in wild-card game. Manager: Paul Molitor (fourth season). He's Here: RHP Lance Lynn, RHP Jake Odorizzi, DH-1B Logan Morrison, RHP Fernando Rodney, RHP Addison Reed, LHP Zach Duke, SS-3B Erick Aybar, RHP Michael Pineda. He's Outta Here: RHP Matt Belisle, RHP Bartolo Colon, C Chris Gimenez, DH-1B Kennys Vargas, LHP Hector Santiago, LHP Glen Perkins, LHP Buddy Boshers, RHP Michael Tonkin. Projected Lineup: 2B Brian Dozier (.271, 34 HRs, 93 RBIs, 106 runs), 1B Joe Mauer (.305, 7, 71, .384 OBP), 3B Miguel Sano (.264, 28, 77, 173 Ks in 114 games), DH Logan Morrison (.246, 38, 85, .868 OPS with Rays), LF Eddie Rosario (.290, 27, 78), SS Eduardo Escobar (.254, 21, 73), CF Byron Buxton (.253, 16, 51, 29/30 SBs), RF Max Kepler (.243, 19, 69), C Jason Castro (.242, 10, 47). Rotation: RH Ervin Santana (16-8, 3.28 ERA, 5 CGs, 211 1/3 IP, expected to begin season on DL), RH Jose Berrios (14-8, 3.89), RH Lance Lynn (11-8, 3.43 with Cardinals), RH Jake Odorizzi (10-8, 4.14 with Rays), RH Kyle Gibson (12-10, 5.07). Key Relievers: RH Fernando Rodney (5-4, 4.23, 39/45 saves with Diamondbacks), RH Addison Reed (2-3, 2.84, 19 saves with Mets and Red Sox), LH Taylor Rogers (7-3, 3.07), LH Zach Duke (1-1, 3.93 in 18 1/3 IP with Cardinals), RH Ryan Pressly (2-3, 4.70), RH Trevor Hildenberger (3-3, 3.21, 1 save), RH Phil Hughes (4-3, 5.87 in 53 2/3 IP). Hot Spot: Left Side Of The Infield. Sano had surgery in November to have a rod inserted in his left shin after a stress reaction kept him out for the last six weeks of the 2017 regular season, and the burly slugger has struggled to keep his weight down. He's also been under investigation by Major League Baseball, facing potential discipline, for alleged harassment of a woman during an encounter in 2015. Jorge Polanco, who got so hot at the plate down the stretch of his first full season as a regular in the lineup that he wound up third in the batting order, was suspended for the first 80 games this season for testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance. Escobar can fill in capably at shortstop, but he's also the top backup for Sano if the All-Star has to sit for any reason. Outlook: After their massive 26-win turnaround last season, earning Molitor the AL Manager of the Year award and a new contract through the 2020 season, the Twins were already on the upswing with their 25-and-under core of Berrios, Buxton, Sano, Rosario and Kepler. Then, after spring training began, they traded for Odorizzi and signed Morrison and Lynn, all at market-bargain prices. They've already had some setbacks, with finger surgery for Santana expected to keep him out for most or all of April, and the gut-punch news of Polanco's suspension, plus the uncertainty that surrounds Sano. But this is a team, even with the bold offseason moves made by AL heavyweights Boston and New York, and the strength of reigning AL Central champion Cleveland, that has the talent and spunk to be right in the playoff mix. With Hughes and Tyler Duffey on track for long-relief roles and a spate of well-regarded prospects set to fill out the rotation at Triple-A Rochester, this is as much starting pitching depth as the Twins have had in years. After using 16 different starters in 2017, they needed that. Rodney, Reed and Duke were important additions to bolster the bullpen, too, after Minnesota relievers ranked 22nd in the majors with a collective 4.40 ERA. ___ Kansas City Royals 2017: 80-82, third place. Manager: Ned Yost (ninth season). He's Here: RHP Jesse Hahn, CF Jon Jay, 1B Lucas Duda, RHP Wily Peralta, RHP Justin Grimm. He's Outta Here: 1B Eric Hosmer, CF Lorenzo Cain, LHP Jason Vargas, RHP Joakim Soria, LHP Mike Minor, OF Melky Cabrera, LHP Scott Alexander, DH Brandon Moss, RHP Mike Morin, LHP Ryan Buchter, RHP Trevor Cahill. Projected Lineup: CF Jon Jay (.296, 2 HRs, 34 RBIs with Cubs), 2B Whit Merrifield (.288, 19, 78, AL-leading 34 SBs), 3B Mike Moustakas (.272, 38, 85), C Salvador Perez (.268, 27, 80), 1B Lucas Duda (.217, 30, 64 with Mets and Rays), DH Jorge Soler (.144, 2, 6), LF Alex Gordon (.208, 9, 45), RF Paulo Orlando (.198, 2, 6), SS Alcides Escobar (.250, 6, 54). Rotation: LH Danny Duffy (9-10, 3.81 ERA), RH Ian Kennedy (5-13, 5.38), RH Jason Hammel (8-13, 5.29), RH Jakob Junis (9-3, 4.30), RH Nate Karns (2-2, 4.17). Key Relievers: RH Kelvin Herrera (3-3, 4.25, 26/31 saves), RH Wily Peralta (5-4, 7.85 in 19 games, 8 starts with Brewers), RH Brandon Maurer (2-2, 8.10 in 26 games with Royals; 1-4, 5.72 in 42 games with Padres), RH Justin Grimm (1-2, 5.53 with Cubs), LH Brian Flynn (5-3, 5.40 at Triple-A Omaha), RH Kevin McCarthy (1-0, 3.20), RH Brad Keller (10-9, 4.68 ERA at Double-A Jackson). Hot Spots: Just About Everywhere. The Royals struggled to score last year, and losing Hosmer and Cain in free agency won't help. They'll turn to Moustakas, who set a club record for home runs in a season, and newcomers Jay and Duda to ignite the offense. The only starting pitcher with a track record of success is Duffy, while the bullpen features plenty of unproven talent that must show it can close down games if the Royals are to approach .500 this season. Outlook: This was supposed to be a rebuilding year in Kansas City, when most of the Royals' top players hit free agency en masse. With Moustakas and Escobar finding little market, both returned to Kansas City with prove-it contracts. That gives the Royals a fighting chance to stay competitive into July, and then all bets are off. But the reality is there are still far too many holes, both in the lineup and on the pitching staff, for the Royals to be considered contenders. They would do well to match the 80 wins they had last season, and could be a big seller at the July 31 trade deadline, which would allow them to replenish a shallow farm system and begin their rebuilding job in earnest. ___ Chicago White Sox 2017: 67-95, fourth place. Manager: Rick Renteria (second season). He's Here: RHP Miguel Gonzalez, C Welington Castillo. He's Outta Here: LHP Derek Holland, RHP Mike Pelfrey, RHP Al Alburquerque, RHP Jake Petricka, C Geovany Soto, OF-2B Alen Hanson, RHP Zach Putnam. Projected Lineup: 2B Yoan Moncada (.231, 8 HRs, 22 RBIs), RF Avisail Garcia (.330, 18, 80), 1B Jose Abreu (.304, 33, 102), DH Matt Davidson (.220, 26, 68), C Welington Castillo (.282, 20, 53 with Orioles), SS Tim Anderson (.257, 17, 56), 3B Yolmer Sanchez (.267, 12, 59), LF Nicky Delmonico (.262, 9, 23), CF Adam Engel (.166, 6, 21). Rotation: RH James Shields (5-7, 5.23 ERA), RH Lucas Giolito (3-3, 2.38), RH Reynaldo Lopez (3-3, 4.72), RH Miguel Gonzalez (8-13, 4.62 with White Sox and Rangers), RH Carson Fulmer (3-1, 3.86) or LH Hector Santiago (4-8, 5.63 with Twins). Key Relievers: RH Nate Jones (1-0, 2.31, 11 appearances), LH Luis Avilan (2-3, 2.93 with Dodgers), RH Joakim Soria (4-3, 3.70, 1 save with Royals), RH Juan Minaya (3-2, 4.53, 9 saves), RH Gregory Infante (2-1, 3.13), RH Danny Farquhar (4-2, 4.20 with White Sox and Rays). Hot Spot: Bullpen. A particular strength for the first half of 2017 is now a major question mark after Chicago traded away Tommy Kahnle, Anthony Swarzak, Dan Jennings and closer David Robertson last season. Soria has 204 career saves but his best days might be behind him, and there aren't many other proven late-inning options. Renteria and respected pitching coach Don Cooper might have their hands full mixing and matching while trying to figure out how to hold leads. Outlook: For a team with five straight losing seasons and a record that ranked among baseball's worst last year, the White Sox are generating plenty of buzz. That's because they're loaded with promising young players after going all-in on a rebuild prior to last season. The moves have sparked a belief that better days are ahead. Moncada and hard-throwing pitchers Giolito and Lopez showed promise in the majors last season. Right-hander Michael Kopech, outfielder Eloy Jimenez and outfielder Luis Robert are elite prospects on their way in the minors. Garcia, coming off a breakout season, is looking to prove he's not a one-hit wonder. Anderson hopes to bounce back from a trying season in which a close friend was shot to death. Abreu is back after the slugger was viewed as a potential trade candidate this winter. Left-hander Carlos Rodon is expected to be out until at least June following shoulder surgery last September. It's not clear when he'll be ready. Rodon also was sidelined at the start a year ago because of shoulder and biceps problems. The big question is whether he'll ever develop into the pitcher the White Sox envisioned when they drafted him with the No. 3 overall pick in 2014. ___ Detroit Tigers 2017: 64-98, fifth place. Manager: Ron Gardenhire (first season). He's Here: OF Leonys Martin, RHP Mike Fiers, LHP Francisco Liriano, OF Victor Reyes. He's Outta Here: Manager Brad Ausmus, 2B Ian Kinsler, RHP Anibal Sanchez, INF Andrew Romine, RHP Bruce Rondon. Projected Lineup: CF Leonys Martin (.172, 3 HRs, 9 RBIs with Mariners and Cubs), 3B Jeimer Candelario (.283, 3, 16 with Cubs and Tigers), 1B Miguel Cabrera (.249, 16, 60), RF Nicholas Castellanos (.272, 26, 101), DH Victor Martinez (.255, 10, 47), C James McCann (.253, 13, 49), LF Mikie Mahtook (.276, 12, 38), SS Jose Iglesias (.255, 6, 54), 2B Dixon Machado (.259, 1, 11). Rotation: RH Michael Fulmer (10-12, 3.83 ERA), RH Jordan Zimmermann (8-13, 6.08), LH Francisco Liriano (6-7, 5.66 with Blue Jays and Astros), RH Mike Fiers (8-10, 5.22 with Astros), LH Daniel Norris (5-8, 5.31) or LH Matthew Boyd (6-11, 5.27). Key Relievers: RH Shane Greene (4-3, 2.66, 9/13 saves), RH Joe Jimenez (0-2, 12.32), RH Alex Wilson (2-5, 4.50, 2 saves), LH Daniel Stumpf (0-1, 3.82). Hot Spot: The Farm System. After finishing tied for the worst record in baseball last year, the Tigers enter 2018 with no real expectations of success at the big league level, so the question is how quickly the franchise can make it through this rebuilding stage. Franklin Perez, a right-hander acquired last season when Detroit traded Justin Verlander, is expected to be out at least until June with a lat strain, and right-hander Matt Manning is also dealing with an injury. Alex Faedo and Beau Burrows are other pitching prospects to watch as they try to work their way toward the majors. Wins may be few and far between in Detroit, but Tigers fans will hope Cabrera — one star who avoided the roster purge of the last year — can rebound from a rough season. Outlook: The Tigers traded Verlander, Justin Upton and J.D. Martinez last season, then dealt away Kinsler during the offseason. There could be more big moves on the horizon — Fulmer, Iglesias and Castellanos should all have some trade value, but each of them is young enough that he could be useful to the Tigers when they become competitive again. That's especially true of Fulmer, the 2016 AL Rookie of the Year. Barring a huge surprise in terms of on-field results, the biggest suspense this season might revolve around how general manager Al Avila approaches the next few steps in the rebuild......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsMar 29th, 2018Related News

PVL Team Preview: Creamline

Creamline is dead serious in its campaign of claiming a breakthrough title in the second season of Premier Volleyball League. After disappointing bronze medal finishes in the inaugural edition, the Cool Smashers made a recruitment coup to help its prized star Alyssa Valdez capture the elusive crown in the Reinforced Conference set on May 6. Valdez, the reigning conference Most Valuable Player, has fully committed with the team after a short stint in the Open Conference to fulfill her duties as part of the national team. The former Queen Eagle's last title was in 2015 when she led the star-studded PLDT to a V-League Reinforced Conference championship.    To beef up their lineup, the Cool Smashers tapped the services of their last year’s import Kuttika Kaewpin and Serbian middle blocker Nikolina Asceric.   Also out to help Valdez are holdovers from last year’s team in veteran setter Jia Morado, Alex Cabanos, Pau Soriano, Ivy Remulla, Coleen Bravo and Rizza Mandapat.   Creamline also landed a deal with seasoned libero Mel Gohing to strengthen its floor defense and opposite hitter Michele Gumabao, who recently won the Binibining Pilipinas-Globe crown.    The Cool Smashers lost versatile hitter Cesca Racraquin, Jamela Suyat, Aerieal Patnongon, veteran Mary Jean Balse-Pabayo and Rosemarie Vargas. Risa Sato and Jema Galanza, who were earlier reported to have joined the team, were not in the initial lineup submitted by Creamline. PVL teams are given at least a month before the start of the season to finalize their respective rosters and clear their imports’ international transfer certificates (ITCs).     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsMar 29th, 2018Related News

Hole-in-one helps South Korean Ji Eun-hee to Kia Classic crown

LOS ANGELES — South Korea’s Ji Eun-hee aced the par-three 14th hole en route to a two-shot victory on Sunday in the LPGA Kia Classic in Carlsbad, California. Ji finished with five birdies and her eagle one in a five-under par 67 at the par-three 14th at Aviara Golf Club. Her 16-under par total of […] The post Hole-in-one helps South Korean Ji Eun-hee to Kia Classic crown appeared first on BusinessWorld......»»

Source: Bworldonline BworldonlineCategory: NewsMar 26th, 2018Related News

Lone dog: No. 11 Loyola joins list of regulars at Final Four

By Eddie Pells, Associated Press Three teams that need no introduction. One from out of nowhere. Though the 2018 NCAA Tournament produced the biggest upset in the history of the event along with a seemingly endless string of wild finishes and unexpected results, the Final Four will look very much like it has over the last handful of seasons. In one of next Saturday's semifinals, it's a barnburner of a matchup between top-seeded programs with rich histories: Villanova vs. Kansas. In what will quickly become known as the "other" semifinal, it's an upstart vs. another school that knows this road: No. 11 Loyola-Chicago vs. No. 3 Michigan . Remarkable as Loyola's run — and this tournament — have been, this marks the fifth time over the last six seasons that three teams seeded 1 through 4 have been joined by another seeded 7 or higher. The four previous times, the underdog has bowed out in the semifinal. "Why not us?" Ramblers coach Porter Moser said, repeating his team's oft-used mantra this month — one he hopes can lead to yet another history making upset. "You have to have high-character guys that believe to truly do that." The teams will have trouble topping the show Kansas and Duke put on Sunday with the last spot in San Antonio up for grabs. The Jayhawks topped the Blue Devils 85-81 in overtime to send Kansas back to the site of its last national title, in 2008. The Kansas-Villanova matchup is sure to re-ignite calls for some form of reseeding heading into the Final Four. The winner between the top seeds will almost certainly be favored in the final. This year's most-notable underdog — outside of Maryland-Baltimore County, which beat Virginia in the tournament's first week to pull off the first 16 vs. 1 upset — is Loyola-Chicago. Urged on by their 98-year-old nun, Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, the Ramblers are the fourth 11th seed to make college basketball's final weekend — joining LSU (1986), George Mason (2006) and VCU (2011). A look at some of the history behind these Final Four teams: LOYOLA-CHICAGO: It's not totally accurate to say the Ramblers are from nowhere. This program won the title in 1963 in one of the most significant championship runs in the sport's history — including a game known as the "Game of Change." The Ramblers, with a mostly black roster, defeated an all-white team from Mississippi State, which served as prelude to the better-known title game in which Texas Western and its all-black starting lineup defeated Kentucky. Loyola went on to beat Cincinnati in overtime for the title. After the win Saturday, Les Hunter, a member of the 1963 team, said the Ramblers are capable of bringing home another championship. "I think they're the best right now," Hunter said. "They work so well together. They can play with anybody — anybody — right now." MICHIGAN: All the freshmen dominating today's game should pay homage to the Fab Five — the group of five freshmen, including Jalen Rose and Chris Webber, who made baggy shorts the rage and took the Wolverines to the Final Four in 1992. This year's Wolverines were a middle-of-the-pack Big Ten team in early February, after a loss at Northwestern dropped them to 8-5 in the conference. They haven't lost since, and their 13-game winning streak is second in the country only to the Ramblers, who have won 14 straight. "We don't get caught up in the win streak that we're on," guard Charles Matthews said. "We didn't even know we were on a 13-game win streak." VILLANOVA: Juniors Jalen Brunson and Mikal Bridges were there for Villanova's national title two years ago. They are the team's leading scorers. The Wildcats haven't been seriously pushed yet in the tournament, winning every game by double-digits and paying no mind to the upsets that have busted brackets for the past two weeks. The key to all this success? "At this point, you don't really try to figure out why," coach Jay Wright said. "You're kind of saying, 'Why us,' you know, and just soaking it in." KANSAS: Since winning it all in 2008, the Jayhawks had been seeded No. 1 five times and failed to make the Final Four any of those times. If Grayson Allen's shot at the buzzer in regulation hadn't gone in and out — twice — this might have marked No. 6. But Malik Newman scored all 13 of Kansas' points in overtime to help the Jayhawks top Duke. "There's a lot of players out there who deserve the best of the best," Jayhawks coach Bill Self said. "They get to experience the very best there is. I'm happy for them.".....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsMar 26th, 2018Related News