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FIFA suspends Brazilian soccer president Marco Polo del Nero

By Stephen Wade and Mauricio Savarese, Associated Press RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Marco Polo del Nero was suspended as president of Brazil's soccer confederation on Friday, two years after he was indicted in the United States on charges of wire fraud conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy. FIFA said Del Nero was under an ethics investigation and has been banned for 90 days from all soccer activities. Del Nero fled Zurich in May 2015 when other FIFA colleagues were arrested. They included Jose Maria Marin, who was at the time the head of the Brazilian confederation, known as the CBF. Marin and two other South American soccer officials have been on trial in New York. Del Nero was indicted on Dec. 2, 2015. "As many Brazilians that love soccer, my hope is that he is banned for good," soccer great Romario — now a Brazilian federal senator — wrote on his Facebook page. "Del Nero has already had his crimes exposed along with those of other crooks like Jose Maria Marin, who is in jail in the United States, and (former CBF president) Ricardo Teixeira who is still on the loose in Brazil. They all used CBF to get illegally rich." Del Nero's lawyers said in a statement that he is going to appeal FIFA's suspension. They insisted there was no evidence against him. The attorneys labelled the ethics committee report "funny investigative speculations." They argued Del Nero took office as CBF president in 2015 and should not be linked to contracts from previous administrations. FIFA failed to ban Del Nero until Friday. FIFA President Gianni Infantino has been questioned about him in recent days. Infantino was photographed at last year's Olympics receiving a Brazilian soccer shirt from Del Nero, and reporters questioned him about Del Nero at the World Cup draw this month in Moscow. "So whatever comes out of these trials, we will deal with it," Infantino said of the U.S. investigation. "We have ethics committees, disciplinary committees. They will deal with these questions. It's not for the FIFA president to deal with them. We have institutions for that." Del Nero has not traveled from Brazil for several years, fearing arrest and extradition to the United States. Brazil has an extradition treaty with the U.S. but seldom sends its own citizens abroad for trial. Brazil's team is among the favorites to win next year's World Cup, but many doubt Del Nero will go there to support the team. The CBF appointed vice president Antonio Carlos Nunes to fill in for Del Nero and did not offer an immediate comment on Del Nero's suspension. Brazilian law does not ban private or commercial corruption. There needs to be a government body or official involved, or taxpayer money. Carlos Nuzman, the head of the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, was arrested two months ago in Brazil, partly for trying to hamper an investigation into his Brazilian tax declaration. He was eventually charged with money laundering and running a criminal organization. Brazilian and French authorities say Nuzman helped channel $2 million in bribes to help win votes from International Olympic Committee members to stage the 2016 Olympics. Del Nero's name has come up in the U.S. corruption trial. Prosecution witness Jose Hawilla, a Brazilian sports marketing executive, testified Del Nero was among top South American soccer officials who needed to be bribed to secure media contracts to tournaments. In one taped conversation, jurors heard Hawilla in an exchange talk about a $900,000 payment apparently owed to Del Nero or Marin. Del Nero has also been openly criticized by Brazil coach Tite, who is credited with making the team a World Cup favorite. Tite signed an open letter opposing Del Nero before Tite was hired as coach last year. Since then, he has softened his stance but still opposes Del Nero. "This is the best way I can contribute to soccer, offering what I know," he said after being hired as coach. "The ideas of transparency and democratization remain as my principles." ___ Savarese reported from Sao Paulo......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: Sports7 hr. 38 min. ago Related News

NBA: James registers 59th triple-double, leads Cavs past Lakers

LeBron James recorded his 59th career triple-double in front of Lonzo Ball and his brothers, Kevin Love scored 28 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers won for the 16th time in 17 games, 121-112 over the Los Angeles Lakers. #BeFullyInformed NBA: James registers 59th triple-double, leads Cavs past Lakers LeBron James recorded his 59th career triple-double… link: NBA: James registers 59th triple-double, leads Cavs past Lakers.....»»

Source: Manilainformer ManilainformerCategory: 14 hr. 51 min. ago Related News

LeBron gets triple-double, Cavs beat Lonzo’s Lakers 121-112

CLEVELAND — LeBron James recorded his 59th career triple-double in front of Lonzo Ball and his brothers, Kevin Love scored 28 points and the Cleveland Cavali.....»»

Source: Philstar PhilstarCategory: Sports17 hr. 24 min. ago Related News

A season of love

’TIS the season for love, love and love. It’s truly the perfect time for unity, reconciliation and understanding. So when the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) raises the curtain for its much-awaited 43rd season tomorrow at the Araneta Coluseum -- or exactly a week before Christmas -- there’s an undeniable feeling….....»»

Source: Journal JournalCategory: News17 hr. 50 min. ago Related News

What did LeBron James tell Lonzo Ball after the game? Only they know

MANILA, Philippines - Give all the credit to TNT's Kristen Ledlow for asking the one question everyone had in mind following the final buzzer to the Cleveland Cavaliers vs Los Angeles Lakers game, but LeBron James wasn't letting the secret out of the bag.  James showed love to the Lakers' young ........»»

Source: Rappler RapplerCategory: News19 hr. 25 min. ago Related News

Tougher, more aggressive LPU to be seen starting in PBA D-League

Lyceum of the Philippines University stayed true to its word following a disappointing end to the season. Sweeping the eliminations only to get swept in the Finals, the Pirates said they will be going to work immediately after their loss. “I’m really excited because Season 94 will start tomorrow for us,” head coach Topex Robinson said then. “We have a good group of young men who are just so hungry to really improve. I told them to just lick your wounds and tomorrow will be a new day for us.” Reports have stated that Season MVP CJ Perez, team captain MJ Ayaay, and the rest of the Intramuros-based crew went back to the gym not long after they were defeated by San Beda College. Now, however, they will be bringing all that work to the PBA D-League. LPU has tied up with formerly one-win Zark’s Burgers for a partnership that is nothing but determined to win. There, up against many collegiate rivals as well as veterans, the Pirates have one promise. “We have to be tough, we have to be more aggressive. There is no room for kindness from the first game to the last game,” big man Mike Nzeusseu shared. He then continued, “We need to play with a champion’s mentality in all our games. There is no room for excuses anymore.” Mentor Robinson, while steering away from strong statements, just promised continued improvement. “What I love and brag about my players is that they success didn’t really come to their heads. That’s why I’m really excited,” he said. He then continued, “The experience that we gained in the NCAA and will gain in the D-League is just gonna make us better – a better team and more importantly, better individuals.” --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: Sports19 hr. 51 min. ago Related News

Let your creativity shine! Manila Bulletin is inviting everyone to join this ye…

Let your creativity shine! Manila Bulletin is inviting everyone to join this year’s Newspaper Christmas Design Contest with the theme “Love for the Family”. Entrant can be group or individual. Categories are: a. Christmas Tree with Belen; and b. Creative and Functional Use of Newspaper All entries shall be submitted at the Manila Bulletin office… link: Let your creativity shine! Manila Bulletin is inviting everyone to join this ye….....»»

Source: Manilainformer ManilainformerCategory: Dec 15th, 2017Related News

BLOGTABLE: Is Joel Embiid the NBA s best big man?

NBA.com blogtable Joel Embiid says he is the best big man in the NBA. What say you? * * * David Aldridge: I say he may be right. Who's better? We all see what Karl-Anthony Towns can do on the block and wings offensively, but until very recently, he's been a terrible defender. Embiid has been, if not a stopper, a very good defender, both on the ball and helpside. You can make a case for Anthony Davis, sure, but he seems to have as much trouble staying on the floor as Embiid has had. Rudy Gobert is an elite defender, but Embiid is clearly superior offensively. Marc Gasol is 32 and has fallen off defensively. And while I love DeMarcus Cousins's game, Embiid has it all over him on Twitter. I'm Trusting The Process on this one. Steve Aschburner: I say, he’s generally right but it’s always best to let others say it for you, big guy. In Embiid’s case, the skill set, the production and the personality are all present and accounted for. The question remains, is he durable enough? If he can minimize his absences, playing 70 games or so a year, and stay on the floor as needed like he did in Minnesota Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) – 39 minutes in the Sixers’ OT victory, leading with 28 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists head-to-head with Karl-Anthony Towns – then I’m right there with Embiid in his assessment. But if he breaks down again or has to be restricted to, oh, 60 games or fewer going forward, then I’d stick with Towns, DeMarcus Cousins or Marc Gasol as best big for the short-term. Shaun Powell: Slow down, young man. Perhaps in due time most of us might agree with Embiid, but for now he's just throwing shade at other big men who are his equal if not better. DeMarcus Cousins is at the head of the list, and Karl-Anthony Towns isn't far behind. Here's what I want to see from Embiid before I throw rose petals at his feet (carefully, that is): A full season and an All-NBA selection. Without those, I'm looking elsewhere. John Schuhmann: In the context of the team he plays on, Draymond Green is the best big in the league, because both ends of the floor are equally important. Green is the league's best defender, a versatile big who can protect the rim and defend guards on switches. He's not as polished offensively as DeMarcus Cousins or Joel Embiid, but (this is where context comes into play) he's a terrific complement to the Warriors' perimeter All-Stars, a smart screener and passer who's a critical cog in the best offense in NBA history. In a vacuum, Embiid has a case as an impact player on both ends of the floor. And sooner than later, the title of "best big in the league" will surely belong to him. But right now, it belongs to the only big who played more than 15 minutes per game for the team that went 16-1 in the playoffs. Sekou Smith: Joel Embiid says lots of interesting things that other players with his limited amount of time on the floor in actual games might keep quiet about. But part of Embiid's appeal and aura is his unabashed belief in himself and the fact that he is indeed the best big man in the NBA. He's not there just yet. I'd argue DeMarcus Cousins has a thicker body of work to make that claim right now. But Embiid is certainly on the short list and definitely a guy who has the entire skill set to earn that distinction and carry that best big man flag for years to come. He'll have to battle other young stars like Karl-Anthony Towns and Nikola Jokic for the title in the future, which should be entertaining, but you can't wear the crown before your time......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsDec 14th, 2017Related News

PSL coaches embrace tablet system

MANILA, Philippines – Head coaches are starting to love the tablet system, stealing the thunder from the ongoing Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga PSL Grand.....»»

Source: Philstar PhilstarCategory: NewsDec 14th, 2017Related News

WATCH: Max Collins, Pancho Magno s emotional wedding video

MANILA, Philippines - The wedding video of actors Max Collins and Pancho Magno was released by Nice Print Photography on Tuesday, December 12. The couple, who married before friends and familly at the Marriott Hotel became emotional as they exchanged their vows. "Pancho, I love you. Today is the day I become your forever ........»»

Source: Rappler RapplerCategory: NewsDec 14th, 2017Related News

Reports: Lakers ask LaVar to tone down criticisms of Walton

NBA.com staff report The Los Angeles Lakers' front office and LaVar Ball -- the father of rookie point guard Lonzo Ball -- recently had a meeting in which LaVar Ball was asked to tone down his public criticism of coach Luke Walton. The news, which was reported by both the Los Angeles Times' Tania Ganguli and ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne, comes roughly a week after it was reported the Lakers were re-enforcing the "LaVar Ball rule" at home games. This latest meeting concerning Walton, though, took place in the last few weeks and was called by Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka. Here's more from Ganguli on the meeting: The meeting followed an interview with Bleacher Report in which Ball said the Lakers coaching staff was too soft on point guard Lonzo Ball and didn't know how to properly coach him. ... "It was a good conversation," LaVar said after Tuesday's game at Madison Square Garden. "What I love about [Johnson] is just the communication that we have as a family and as friends to fix the situation they're just solutions that we throw off each other. That's all it is. The press is going to make it out like I'm trying to demean them or they're trying to demean me. And it's not. "We're just talking, we're just talking. We're trying to do what's best for the team. That's all." Although LaVar appreciated the chat, it did not change the way he spoke to reporters. Six days later, an interview aired on Sirius XM in which Ball detailed his concerns with the way Lakers coach Luke Walton was playing Lonzo, including the fact that he should get more playing time in the fourth quarter. In an interview with Shelburne, LaVar Ball confirmed the meeting took place and said he ultimately wants to do what is best for his son: "It was the best thing, man. Everybody's going to try to make it an ego thing, like I'm trying to tell them what to do or they're trying to tell me to tone it down. It's not about that. It's about coming together and to get a solution to this problem. "It may sound crazy to other people, but I really just want the best for Lonzo, and the best for Lonzo is going to be what's best for the organization. Because if everybody winning, we good." ... A Lakers insider said the main message to Ball was that they've tried to keep their relationship positive, while still allowing him to speak his mind, and they'd prefer he did the same. Ball said he agreed with that characterization, for the most part, and that he told Johnson and Pelinka he understood their position and would try to abide by that request. "I'm going to say whatever I want to say, however I want to say it," Ball said. "And they said, 'LaVar, come and talk to us first.' So that's fine too. "But I am going to say, to plant a seed, 'Let's look for this now.' They may not want to hear that, but it's going to be successful if you listen to what I'm saying on that fact that I know what it takes for my son to run like this. LaVar Ball also told ESPN.com he does not have a direct relationship with Walton and that he hasn't talked to him due to time constraints on both of their schedules......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsDec 14th, 2017Related News

Oladipo, Sabonis helping Pacers move forward

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com INDIANAPOLIS – Victor Oladipo has a fever and the only prescription is ... no, not more cowbell. Cowbell might make sense, if you factor in Oladipo’s love of and commitment to music (his debut R&B album has been available since Oct. 6). But the fever currently afflicting Oladipo, shooting guard for the Indiana Pacers, has nothing to do with extracurriculars and everything to do with the odes and anthems he’s been performing within the confines of 94 feet by 50 feet. If the fifth-year guard out of Indiana University, by way of the Orlando Magic and Oklahoma City Thunder, looks comfortable in his new star turn for the Pacers, well, just remember that’s your word. Not his. “You could say I’m comfortable with the people here,” says Oladipo, who spent three seasons with the Hoosiers before becoming the No. 2 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. “I played in front of these fans, they mean a lot to me and I gave a lot to them just like they gave a lot to me while I was in college. “But I’m never comfortable in any situation I’m in. I will never be comfortable. That’s what kind of makes me get up and work every day. It’s like, never be satisfied. Because for some reason, ever since I was a little kid, I always wanted more.” Oladipo’s eyes just about glow after a weekend practice as he delves into his unflagging intensity. He doesn’t undercut it with a smile or a token laugh. This is real heat. “Maximize my talent and exhaust my potential,” he says. “In order to do that, I’ve got to come to work every day. That’s my thought process. Wake up each day and be great that day.” Each day would include tonight, when Oladipo will share center stage at Bankers Life Fieldhouse with the more decorated and once-beloved star who preceded him in the Pacers lineup. Paul George, a four-time All-Star and Olympic gold medalist during his seven seasons in Indiana, was due to face his old team for the first time since being traded to Oklahoma City in July. It was a parting necessitated by George, who had made clear his desire to sign a maximum-salary contract with the Los Angeles Lakers in the summer of 2018. But the trade was orchestrated by Kevin Pritchard, the Pacers’ president of basketball operations, and Chad Buchanan, their general manager, who surprised the NBA by swapping George to OKC for Oladipo and big man Domantas Sabonis. You want intense? The initial reaction to that deal was intensely negative, quickly reaching hysterical proportions. The Pacers immediately were mocked for having traded George for nickels on the dollar. Reports out of Boston characterized Indiana’s POBO as more of a bobo for allegedly spurning a Celtics’ offer of multiple players and draft picks. *Takes a well deserved nap for 3 hours ** Opens Twitter: pic.twitter.com/xWNYaVfKTy — Myl3s Turn3r (@Original_Turner) July 1, 2017 The west is sick!!!! Best conference in the world!!!! — Patrick Beverley (@patbev21) July 1, 2017 Vic to the Pacers?! He might as well run for governor while he's at it! — Cody Zeller (@CodyZeller) July 1, 2017 Former Thunder star Kevin Durant called the move “shocking” and of George said “Indiana just gave him away.” Among much of the media that covers the league, there was a general feeling of “rubes” afoot -- that the Pacers had been snookered in taking back an overpaid ($21 million annually through 2020-21) second-tier talent and an overbilled guy who had disappeared in OKC’s postseason. And now? Not so much on any of those fronts. ‘He knows how good he is’ George’s stats are down in the “OK3” core he’s formed with reigning Kia MVP Russell Westbrook and aging Carmelo Anthony. The Thunder (12-13) are the NBA’s consensus disappointment, team category, with nearly a third of their season in the books. Sabonis has boosted the Pacers off the bench in a half dozen ways. And Oladipo has all but earned himself a spot on the Eastern Conference All-Star team while speeding his new team’s fans past their heartbreak over George’s jilting. Generally, the best trades in sports are win-win, but for Indiana right now, a bit of win-lose has made the start of 2017-18 downright sublime. “We happened to really like Sabonis in the draft,” former Pacers president and ongoing consultant Donnie Walsh said last week. “We wanted more of everything in the trade too. But when it came down to it, we had this offer with Oladipo, who we also liked. They’ve come in here and the more they’ve been here, the more we like ‘em. We’re happy.” The Pacers also are 16-11, two weeks ahead in the victory column over their 42-40 finish last season that was good for a playoff berth. Oladipo is the biggest reason why, averaging more points per game (24.5) than George ever has. The 6'4" guard who attended famous DeMatha High in Hyattsville, Md., spent much of last season being beaten up for his contract and negligible impact in Oklahoma City. He had taken grief earlier for his status as the second pick in 2013, a lofty status not of his doing. And here he was again in the summer, hearing it all over again for a transaction he didn’t design. “He came in with a chip [on his shoulder],” Pacers coach Nate McMillan said. “I thought he should come in with a chip.” Some would have flinched from the pressure. A few might have curled up, full blown fetal. Oladipo has gone entirely the other way. “His confidence is at an all-time high,” backup point guard Cory Joseph said. “He knows how good he is.” As Joseph spoke after the Pacers’ upset of Cleveland Friday, a game in which Oladipo scored 20 of his game-high 33 points in the third quarter, a lilting voice drifted from behind the scenes in the home dressing room. “Look at it right now, he’s singing in the shower,” Joseph said, tilting his head and laughing. “He’s confident. You guys are all in here, he’s just singing. He’s a confident guy. Everybody in this locker room, everybody in this organization definitely welcomes that.” Trade not driving Oladipo’s breakout season Don’t misunderstand. The critics still are out for Oladipo. “My mom told me yesterday I need to work on my free throws,” he said with an eye roll after practice Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). She had noticed, during her son’s run of big games in December -- 36 points at Toronto, 27 vs. Chicago, 33 against the Cavs the night before her chiding text -- that he had missed 18-of-31 foul shots. This, by a career 80 percent shooter from the line. “I’m over that,” Oladipo said. “I’m not going to miss no more. I’ll make ‘em next time. And if I miss ‘em, I’ll make ‘em the next. If that’s my problem right now, I think I can fix it.” Twenty-four hours later, Oladipo took 13 free throws against Denver and made 11. He scored 47 points in all, hitting 15-of-28 shots and half of his 12 three-pointers. The comeback victory in OT got the Pacers to 4-for-4 on their six-game homestand and continued to shrink whatever chip it was that the 25-year-old was shouldering. “In the beginning of the year, I said, ‘I don’t have a chip. I have a brick house on my back,’” Oladipo said. But not anymore, right, now that some folks are referring to it as “the Victor Oladipo trade” rather than “the Paul George trade?” “That’s what I feel like every morning, no matter what’s going on,” he said. “I don’t even think about the trade, honestly. It’s in the past for me. People’s opinions are going to be there whether you like it or not. From the outside looking in, I guess you could say [then] that was a great trade for OKC. That’s what they believed. But it wasn’t going to change the way I worked. It wasn’t going to change my approach.” This step up in status is considered perhaps the most difficult an NBA player can make. Suddenly, opposing coaches are X&O-ing him to death. The player dogging him up and down the court is the other guys’ best defender. Often, they’ll send double-teams to get the ball into one of his teammates’ hands. “He hadn’t had that,” McMillan said. “When he was in OKC, the game plan was focused on Westbrook. When he was in Orlando, he was just a young player. Now he is seeing the defenders like a LeBron [James], like a [DeMar] DeRozan, what these stars are seeing. He’s seeing the best defenders and he’s seeing teams game-plan to take him out. “Learning how to play and be consistent every night with that challenge is something he’s going through.” Oladipo’s quick success with the Pacers has kept any crowd critics at bay. They were pre-disposed to like him just as their rebound date after George, but had he underperformed, Oladipo’s service time in Bloomington wouldn’t have protected him for long from criticism. But now, it’s George who likely will get the harsh reception. Oladipo, overtly after each of the recent victories, has made it clear to the home fans via some emphatic pointing and body language that the Fieldhouse happens to be his house. “I don’t say it, they say it,” he said. “I just do the gesture and they do the rest of the work for me. I let them do all the talking. We feed off them -- when they’re into it, we play better. I don’t know why, that’s just how basketball’s always been. They’re our sixth man and we need ‘em every night.” Oladipo’s breakout season has been bolstered, too, by the Pacers’ second-through-15th men. Those who already were in Indy knew how valuable George was at both ends. Those who, like Oladipo and Sabonis, were new this season were within their rights to be as skeptical as the national headlines of the guys coming in trade. Go-to guy emerges for Pacers OKC was a specific challenge, Oladipo having to learn on the fly how to fit his own darting, ball-heavy style to only the second man in NBA history to average a triple-double. Westbrook’s usage was off the charts, rendering the other Thunder players to supporting cast whether suited to that role or not. Just like that, Oladipo had to catch and shoot as someone to get Westbrook into double digits in assists. It wasn’t his nature and it made for an individually forgettable season. “I had a role. I tried to play that role to the best of my ability. And I improved certain areas of my game in that role,” was all he’d say Saturday, stiffly, about the OKC experience. Said Walsh: “I felt like he was going to get a different opportunity here. ... When he got to Oklahoma City, he was playing wih a guy who was averaging a triple-double. And he liked Russell Westbrook. But he comes here, he’s got an opportunity to be ‘our guy.’ “I think he might have been looking for that. I never asked him. He’s a really cool guy. He knows what he wants to be, I think.” Oladipo needed this and the Pacers needed him to need it. With George gone, they were like a smile missing a front tooth. The other teeth weren’t just going to move up in the pecking order -- no matter how good young big man Myles Turner is -- and replace the one they’d lost. If they were going to have any success this season, if McMillan was going to be able to coach and adjust in his second year taking over for Frank Vogel, the players needed to fill their roles and welcome this new addition. That’s why this tale of Oladipo’s growing success is about what the Pacers have done for him, as much as it is what he’s done for them. “We didn’t really present it like that,” McMillan said, “because we were still trying to develop who our ‘go-to guy’ was. He has been slowly taking on that role through the things he’s done. I haven’t had to say anything. He’s making good decisions with the ball. And the guys are getting a feel for what we’re doing down the stretch because we’ve had some success, and we’ve had it with Victor having the ball.” Chemistry change for Pacers There might be NBA teams with chemistry as solid as the Pacers’ right now, but it’s hard to imagine there are any with better. It’s more than mere relief that someone has stepped up, easing their own loads a bit. It is a genuine eagerness for Oladipo to max out, for each of the rest of them to do the same in whatever lane they’re riding. “Vic’s been everything at this point,” Turner said. “He’s done a great job of stepping up and being that guy, being that dude. It’s amazing to have that when you’re going through a situation where it’s a brand-new team. We’re still learning each other and he’s showing that he’s ready.” Did Turner know this would happen and, if so, when? “First couple days he started texting me in the summertime,” the big man said. “I saw what his mindset was, and I loved it from the jump. He carried that right in when we started playing pickup this summer. “Vic’s been traded, what, [two] times? He finally comes back home and he has a team that’s telling him to go, telling him to be him. I don’t think he had that with his former teams. Now that he’s here and he’s doing that, I’m pretty sure he’s [enjoying it].” Said Joseph: “He’s been a beast for us and he’s going to continue to be a beast for us. ... He’s been running with that opportunity and opening eyes around the world.” Even strong-willed, uber-confident Lance Stephenson, has backed up for Oladipo. “There’s no hate, know what I mean?” he said over the weekend. “Some guys get mad about somebody doing good. This team wants its teammates to do good. That’s what’s going to make us even better.” Oladipo keeps referring to the other Pacers in a legit lubricating of the “no I in Indy” process. “Honestly I think it’s the personalities and the men that we have in this locker room,” he said. “My teammates are phenomenal people -- not just basketball players, phenomenal people. When you surround yourself with great people, people who sincerely care about you and your team, the chemistry just comes naturally.” Sabonis shows glimpses of success, too The other guy in the trade, Sabonis, has developed more organically, his maturation seemingly inevitable regardless of locale when you tote up his youth, his work ethic and his bloodlines (son of Hall of Famer Arvydas Sabonis). He has gone from that rookie who logged just six minutes in the Thunder’s five 2017 playoff games against Houston to an essential piece in McMillan’s rotation. “Once I got traded, I knew this was a great opportunity for me to show people what I can really do,” said Sabonis, the No. 11 pick in 2016. “I was a rookie last year. Everything was new. Here, I’m being used more at the 5. That’s more the position I’ve been used to playing my whole life.” Sabonis’ minutes are up from 20.1 in OKC to 24.6 off Indiana’s bench. His scoring has doubled from 5.9 ppg to 12.1. And his PIE rating has soared from 4.9 last season to 12.6, a sign of the versatility the skilled big man possesses. “I love Sabonis,” Walsh said. “His father was one of the greatest players in the world, so I don’t like that comparison -- it kills him. He [Domantas] is just more of everything you think he is. He’s stronger than you think. He can shoot the ball better. He’s got good hands, he can catch the ball. I’ve seen him make moves in game that I’ve never seen him make in practice.” Said Turner: “I played against Domas in college -- I knew what kind of player he was. I was excited when we got him. He’s gotten bigger and stronger since then, obviously, and he just didn’t have a chance to show himself last year. But he’s been big for us now, especially when I was out with the concussion. He stepped up huge in that role and we’ve played well since then.” The Pacers are playing faster this season, up from 18th in pace last season to 10th now, part of their improvement from 15th in offensive rating (106.2) to 6th (108.3). They’re doing better, too, in contesting shots and throttling opponents’ field-goal accuracy. The biggest reason why has been Oladipo’s blossoming. Whether due to the sunshine of new, happier surroundings or from that darker, more intense place, to prove cynics wrong. No one can now talk of the Pacers’ bungling of what, after all, was a deal to rent George, not to have him long-term. Fans at Bankers Life figure to boo George on his first visit back, with an inventory they haven’t needed or used on Oladipo. Some might see that as ingratitude, others as respect. It’s a little bit of love lost, too. “Look, they loved Paul when he was here,” Walsh said. “They guy is a great player. One thing I’ve always felt: These guys that play here, they always know more about what they want for their lives than we do. How you gonna argue with that? He treated us good, we treated him good. No bad blood here. I don’t know about fans.” Folks in Indy have a new crush now, one they hope lasts for a while. 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: SportsDec 14th, 2017Related News

Michael Carter-Williams remains optimistic after uneven start to career

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The 2013-14 home opener of the Philadelphia 76ers drew a large and hyper crowd for a game against LeBron James and the Miami Heat, not necessarily because of who was playing; actually, the object of the affection was someone who wasn’t. There he stood in baggy jeans, a jacket one size too big, a do-rag defiantly wrapped around his head and showing puppy eyes that lied about his image and age. Allen Iverson was approaching his 40s and uncomfortably retired. Based on his outfit, he couldn’t let go of yesterday. Nor could nostalgic Philly fans who applauded and shouted during a ceremony to honor the iconic former Sixer, who playfully cupped his ear with his hand to encourage the love. Then, something unexpected happened: Philly honored a second Sixers point guard that same night. Much like Iverson well before him, Michael Carter-Williams buzzed around the floor, getting buckets, attacking the rim, finding the open man and cutting off Miami passing lanes. If he couldn’t upstage Iverson, he certainly outdid LeBron by scoring 22 points with 12 assists, seven rebounds and nine steals in a Sixers’ upset win. It was his first game as a pro, with his misty-eyed family in the stands, with Iverson pumping a fist, with LeBron feeling flat, and the night felt surreal, dreamy, galactic. How could he or anyone not see that this was the beginning of something special? “A great night,” Carter-Williams recalled the other day. “I always wanted to play that way, against guys like LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. After I had, like, seven points, my mom told someone that she’d be happy if the game ended right now.” That smash opening act led to the Kia Rookie of the Year award, which of course then led to a series of injuries, trades, bad fits, false starts, airballs, benchings and a failure to secure the kind of blockbuster contract that allows you to live XXL. Four years and four teams later, Carter-Williams is the backup point guard for the Charlotte Hornets with a career creeping down the path of the unknown, already sitting at the crossroads at age 26. This wasn’t a totally self-created spiral. His body betrayed him as much as his jump shot. He found himself trapped in situations that ranged from weird to woeful. He had the timing of a fake Rolex. An award-winning rookie was put through the NBA wringer and fell through the cracks and has now landed a few seats down the bench from Michael Jordan, although symbolically, he’s worlds away from the Hornets owner. Bitter? Angry? Confused? Yeah, just a bit. “It was tough, given the situations I’ve been in,” he said, “and the backlash I received wasn’t worthy or fair to what I’d been going through. I was in tough situations with injuries and being traded and it affected my performance on the floor. I got real low, with everybody asking, `What happened to him?’ It wasn’t right.” He’s on a one-year deal with the Hornets, which he hopes to leverage into security next summer in free agency, though the big-paycheck prospects are hardly encouraging so far. Still searching for durability with his body and respectability for his game, Carter-Williams is averaging 17.3 minutes in role-playing duty. And he’s once again haunted by his faulty shooting, now dragging at 27 percent, deadly for a guard. It’s a cautionary tale about fate and the curvy nature of pro sports, and about the 2013 NBA Draft, headlined by the one and only Anthony Bennett. From almost every conceivable measuring tool and metric, that class lurks as perhaps the quietest in NBA history. The only All-Star is Giannis Antetokounmpo, who went 15th, and he, Rudy Gobert and CJ McCollum are the only franchise cornerstones. Half of the top 10 are already on different teams. Another way to apply context is with money. Only Giannis, McCollum, Gobert, Otto Porter Jr. and Steven Adams received max contracts, and half of the top 10 didn’t see multi-year extensions. Several players sat on the free-agent market last summer for weeks and even months, collecting cobwebs as they nervously stared at a market that turned chilly a year after doling out millions. They begrudgingly settled for qualifying offers that amounted to pocket change: one year and $4 million for Nerlens Noel (the No. 6 pick), one year and $4.2 million for Alex Len (No. 5). The No. 9 pick and consensus college player of the year, Trey Burke, is playing for the Knicks. The Westchester Knicks of the G League. As a whole, that class was astonishingly light at the top, lacked any second-round surprises (besides Allen Crabbe) and quickly became a wash. And of course, the No. 1 pick is already out of the league. Bennett wasn’t even the consensus top choice prior to the Draft among NBA talent scouts, some of whom had Noel rated higher, even though Noel was coming off knee surgery. That said plenty about the class and also Bennett, who leveraged a decent stretch at UNLV to hear his name called first by Cleveland. That joy didn’t last long; Bennett was a hopeless ‘tweener at forward in his pitstop NBA career and instantly exposed for his lack of shooting and low-post grit. He quickly became a throw-in for the Kevin Love trade but couldn’t salvage his career in Minnesota, Toronto or Brooklyn. He currently plays for the Northern Arizona Suns in the G League. It’s a fate that the most celebrated rookie of that class hopes to avoid, and praying he isn’t running out of chances. Carter-Williams, the 11th pick, was consistent and steady that first season. A 6'6" guard who caused matchup problems and brought good vision and defensive instincts, he averaged 16.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 1.9 steals. He led all rookies in points, rebounds, assists and steals. Only Magic Johnson and Oscar Robertson did that, although for the sake of context, Magic’s competition in his first year was fellow Hall of Famer Larry Bird, and Oscar came in with Hall of Famers Jerry West and Lenny Wilkens. Carter-Williams became the lowest-drafted player to win Rookie of the Year since Mark Jackson in 1987. But coming from that 2013 Draft, it was like winning a sack race without using a sack. After that, he was no longer blessed by the basketball gods; he still hasn’t matched the numbers or impact he had as a rookie. The Sixers were in the early stages of a crash-and-burn rebuilding philosophy managed by former GM Sam Hinkie. Rather than having the chance one day to throw lobs to Joel Embiid, who was drafted a year later but sat with a foot injury, Carter-Williams was dealt midway through his second season by Hinkie. Carter-Williams was exchanged right before the 2015 trade deadline for a package that included three picks (a first-rounder belonging to the Lakers is now property of the Celtics and unprotected for 2018). “Being traded was hard for me,” he said. “I didn’t see that coming. To this day, I still don’t understand it. I never got any answers and never went to ask for any. Of course I felt pretty bad but I was fine with it once I realized the situation I was going into — or thought I was going into.” He was in Milwaukee to be coached and tutored by Jason Kidd, one of the all-time great point guards. Carter-Williams gave Milwaukee a big backcourt with Khris Middleton and the Bucks had a long and lean starting five. He scored 30 against the Cavs and another 30 in his first game back in Philly, and in the playoffs went for 22 points and nine assists in a game against the Bulls. The next season he looked forward once again to feeding passes to Giannis, until Kidd had another idea: Giannis would take Carter-Williams’ position and do the feeding to others. Suddenly and once again, an ideal situation turned sour quickly for Carter-Williams, who couldn’t believe the sharp turn his career took. “I don’t know how to describe it,” he said about his relationship with Kidd. “We didn’t see eye to eye on different things. He was a great player but he hadn’t been coaching for that long and he was still learning. I learned from him but my expectations going there were high and it wasn’t the situation I thought I was going to be in.” On one hand, Kidd and Milwaukee put Carter-Williams out of his misery by trading him; on the other, Carter-Williams went to the struggling, chaotic Chicago Bulls, who were in the process of being stripped to the bone, at the start of the 2016-17 season. Once again, Carter-Williams was swept up by the winds of change and spit out. Not only did his teams change, so did the league, which gravitated to players and especially guards who brought shooting range and consistency. Then and now, that’s his biggest flaw. He’s a career 25-percent shooter from deep (just 40 percent overall), and in a three-point league, that’s a deal breaker. Also, injuries didn’t help. The last three years he has played only 165 out of 246 games due to shoulder, ankle and hip conditions. He needed platelet-rich injections in both knees last summer to quicken the healing process of his patella tendons. “He’s had some difficult injuries and it has clearly hampered his development,” said Jim Boeheim, his college coach at Syracuse. “Let me tell you, he knows how to play. He’s always been a good passer and defender. But the injuries, especially with the shoulder, have held him back in his shooting development. I told him to keep playing and hope the ball goes in.” Those circumstances both within and beyond his control have prevented Carter-Williams from cashing in. He was the first Rookie of the Year in NBA history to fail to have his rookie contract extended and is on a one-year deal with the Hornets for $2.7 million. “You know what? I’m in a good place now,” he said. “It took me a while to regroup and restart and resurface and get healthy, which I’m still trying to do. I’m still young and my game is still growing. I haven’t reached my potential. I still believe I’m a starter in this league. I’ll play a role right now, because that’s what my team needs to win, but I want to lead a team. “Each game I go out and play with a chip on my shoulder. I probably lost some respect from some guys in the league. But ultimately my goal is to make all the teams that gave up on me say, `We had him once.’ I’m going forward.” He’ll always have that opening night with Iverson leading the cheers, that near triple-double against LeBron, and that Rookie of the Year hardware. But that’s the thing, you see. After that launch, Michael Carter-Williams expected more. For one year, he was the king of that 2013 draft. Four years later, he’d rather not become a symbol of what that draft became. Veteran NBA writer Shaun Powell has worked for newspapers and other publications for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here or 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: SportsDec 14th, 2017Related News

Light & love

Nene Leonor recently celebrated her birthday with a jovial dinner and dance party held at her family’s opulent residence in Pasay City......»»

Source: Philstar PhilstarCategory: NewsDec 13th, 2017Related News

Duterte to media: I am not your enemy 

  President Rodrigo Duterte's tough guy image turned mellow as he hosted Malacaang reporters, photographers, and cameramen to a Christmas Party on Tuesday night.   Known for his love-haterelationship with themedia,Duterte assured journalists that he was not an enemy of the press.   "I am not your enemy. Your quest for truth, that is your business, not mine. At the end of the day, it's not my property. It's just public interest," he said.   "Never mind about our relations. It's always adversarial. Wala naman tayong galit. We do not fight with each other. I do not hate anybody here or else I would not be inviting you to my place," he added. &...Keep on reading: Duterte to media: I am not your enemy .....»»

Source: Inquirer InquirerCategory: Dec 13th, 2017Related News

Dawn wants a ‘part 2 with Vic

DAWN Zulueta says M-Zet Productions didn’t have a hard time convincing her to do comedy in the filmfest entry, “Meant to Beh”. “In 2015, I did ‘Love Affair’ with Richard Gomez and in 2016, ‘Love Me Tomorrow’ with Piolo Pascual, na parehong drama, so I really welcome the chance to….....»»

Source: Journal JournalCategory: NewsDec 12th, 2017Related News
Source: Philstar PhilstarCategory: NewsDec 12th, 2017Related News

Julia Barretto: Joshua Garcia is the best thing that happened to me in 2017’

MANILA, Philippines — Kapamilya love team Joshua Gar.....»»

Source: Philstar PhilstarCategory: NewsDec 12th, 2017Related News

Lessons from the Calata case

Not every story has a good ending. The ones about love and money almost always leave somebody’s heart torn into pieces. The world knows that by now......»»

Source: Philstar PhilstarCategory: FinanceDec 12th, 2017Related News

Sean Chambers to UST?

With the UST coaching job vacant, several names have been mentioned with regards to taking over from Boy Sablan. La Salle head coach Aldin Ayo has been rumored to transfer for a while now but it seems like he's staying at Taft. Current Globalport mentor Pido Jarencio really, really, wants to come back but it appears UST would rather not go through that road again. A left field choice is Sean Chambers. The legendary PBA import, for some reason, has been linked to the job after he resurfaced a couple of weeks ago. It seems highly unlikely but you never really know. Stranger things have happened in the UAAP and in Philippine basketball in general. The rumor has had some traction though, enough for Ginebra head coach Tim Cone, Chambers' former mentor at Alaska, to talk about it among other things last week. "I don’t know. I had a lunch with Sean the day before he left," Cone said last week during Ginebra's grand fans day after defending the PBA Governors' Cup. "I don’t really know anything about it. But he’s got a family, he’s got kids, he’s got a wife, he has a good job. And it’s hard to bring him over here and make him settle here and get his kids in school. He got young kids I think 9 and 11 years old," he added. Chambers is currently a middle school administrator back in the States in the Sacramento City Unified School District in California. The PBA legend was in town a couple of weeks back and was seen watching the UAAP and several practices of Gilas Pilipinas. Still, if and when Chambers decides on coaching basketball, here or elsewhere, Cone believes his former import will do well. "I don’t know but Sean is a great guy, a great coach and a great motivator. He teaches the game the right way," the 20-time PBA champion said. "And if anybody picks him up, it would be great. It is actually my dream to bring him over and be part of my coaching staff. If anybody picks him up, they would love Sean," Cone added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsDec 11th, 2017Related News