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30 Teams in 30 Days: Cavaliers to lean heavily on young roster

Like most summers in the NBA, the 2019 edition was chock full of trades, free agent news and player movement. From the defending-champion Toronto Raptors to just about every other team in the league, change was the most applicable word when it came to describing team rosters for the 2019-20 season. With the opening of training camps just around the corner, NBA.com's Shaun Powell will evaluate the state of each franchise as it sits today -- in order of regular-season finish from 2018-19 -- as we look at 30 teams in 30 days. * * * Today's team: Cleveland Cavaliers 2018-19 Record: 19-63, did not qualify for the playoffs Key additions: Darius Garland (Draft), Kevin Porter Jr. (Draft), Dylan Windler (Draft), John Beilein (coach) Key departures: JR Smith, Cameron Payne, David Nwaba The lowdown: The first season in the post-LeBron James era, Part II, was almost a carbon copy of the first one: He leaves and the team crumbles. This was pretty much expected from a team that was built around LeBron and then suddenly grew old overnight once he left. It didn’t help matters when Kevin Love, given a rich contract the previous summer, played only 22 games because of injury. That ensured the Cavs would be locked into a rebuilding season and rookie point guard Collin Sexton would receive ample playing time as a result, which was not necessarily a bad thing at all. After shaky initially, Sexton finished strong and averaged 20 points the last 2 1/2 months to make the All-Rookie Second Team. Also, swingman Cedi Osman benefited from increased playing time and had moments in his second season. In a mild disappointment, Larry Nance Jr. failed to take a generous step in his development and there’s fear he will be nothing more than a scrappy, hard-working role player who’ll make the occasional highlight dunk. Otherwise, the Cavs’ season served no major purpose. The remaining pieces from the LeBron era either crumbled in various ways or simply disappeared: JR Smith was suspended, essentially for insubordination; Love was hurt; Tristan Thompson plateaued; George Hill and Kyle Korver were traded. The Cavs sunk toward the bottom of the East, fell off radar for the first time in six years, and once again found themselves back in the lottery looking for help. Summer summary: In a summer of surprises around the NBA, one of the more under-rated events happened when the Cavs’ coaching search ended with a 66-year-old grandfatherly type who never spent a day on an NBA bench. John Beilein might well be a revelation, one way or another. He spent much of his college career at Michigan, where he was highly respected for his strategy, composure and character -- three elements he’ll need in Cleveland. Beilein had flirted with the NBA in years past; when nothing materialized, some NBA people thought his time had passed, especially once he reached retirement age. But the Cavs went with an out-of-the-box choice anyway, plucking Beilein even as the college-to-NBA transition comes with inconsistent results and yellow flags. Brad Stevens is the exception, and besides, he was in his mid-30s when he left Butler and took the Celtics job. The one current college coach whose name surfaces the most in NBA conversation is Jay Wright of Villanova, who has served on Team USA and appears NBA-ready (temperament, two-time champ, even wardrobe). Word is Wright will be on the Sixers’ short list if and when that job opens. Because of Beilein's age and the state of the Cavs, he seems a bridge-gap coach; if so, that’s a smart choice. He’s experienced at managing young players, and the Cavs will build their next era through the Draft. Top free agents don’t make Cleveland a destination choice, even when presented with the chance to play alongside LeBron. Given how quiet the Cavs were this summer, the odds are great that they’ll return to the draft lottery in 2020 and give Beilein additional players in their early 20s to nurture. He’ll have five this season, with Sexton and Osman returning, plus Darius Garland, Dylan Windler and Kevin Porter Jr. coming on via first-round picks. The prize is Garland, the No. 5 pick who was limited by a meniscus injury to five games in his one and only season at Vanderbilt. This seems eerily similar to years earlier when the Cavs took another guard with a limited (11-game) college career: Kyrie Irving. Garland was a three-time Mr. Basketball in Tennessee and was considered the best recruit ever at Vandy, and that’s about all NBA scouts had to work with this spring. Not only was his college career brief, but he also left the combine early. Apparently, that was enough for the Cavs, smitten by Garland’s instincts. The only question is how he fits with Sexton; both can play off the ball, although each is more comfortable as the lead playmaker. Porter represents a wild card of sorts. Talent-wise, he can be considered a steal with the 30th pick ... after being red-flagged by teams following a suspension at USC for poor conduct that cost him much of that single season. Porter was a workout beast prior to the draft, a swingman who brings great size (6-foot-6) and can create off the dribble. The Cavs had nothing to lose by choosing him at that point. Windler benefited from four years in college, steering underdog Belmont to the NCAA tourney and developing into a prospect by his senior year. The Cavs and Beilein can figure out how it all fits later. Right now, Cleveland is all about stockpiling as many assets as possible and giving that young core plenty of time to make their mistakes now, rather than later. And speaking of assets, they didn’t trade Love this summer. But that doesn’t mean he’ll be on the roster when next season ends, either. If the right price comes along — and that’ll be tricky because of his age, injury history and salary — Love can and will exit. LeBron James will eventually get a statue outside Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse (formerly Quicken Loans Arena), but he isn’t walking through that door again. The Cavs must take another road to respectability, and it could be a long one. Shaun Powell has covered the NBA for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here, and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. .....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnSep 3rd, 2019

2020 king of recruiting crown remains on UP’s head

Who was our King of Recruiting in 2018? Find out here. Who was our King of Recruiting in 2019? Find out here. --- From 2007 to 2015, the University of the Philippines only had 13 wins to show in 126 games total. That time is self-deprecatingly called in Diliman as the dark days. Due to that disappointing standing, the Fighting Maroons had the toughest time bringing in recruits. And due to that lack of pieces to the puzzles, they lost even more. Safe to say, State U was stuck in a vicious cycle in the dark days. That’s not to say they didn’t have blue-chip recruits back then as in their time, all of Woody Co, Mark Juruena, Mike Gamboa, Kyles Lao, Jett Manuel, and Mikee Reyes were among the best high school players. Only, a blue-chip recruit or two does not make a team. Fast forward to now and oh, how things have changed. Last year, UP was hailed as ABS-CBN’s King of Recruiting alongside University of the East. “On the strength of the transfers of Kobe Paras and Ricci Rivero, the Fighting Maroons… are worthy of the title,” it said then. And the season before that, the maroon and green was also up there with the best of them in terms of recruitment, having brought in the likes of eventual Season MVP Bright Akhuetie, Will Gozum, and Jaydee Tungcab. Indeed, there was nowhere to go but up. That has only continued this year as UP has left no doubt that it is now a force to reckon with in terms of recruitment. Early on, they already had a solid haul in Joel Cagulangan, once the best point guard in high school, and tireless workhorse Malick Diouf. And then, the shock of shocks. As it turned out, Nazareth School of National University stalwarts Carl Tamayo and Gerry Abadiano were going to be Fighting Maroons. Meaning, for the first time in recent history, the most promising prospect coming out of high school is headed to Diliman. Not only that, State U also answered its biggest question heading into next season – the question at point guard, filling in for Jun Manzo. But as it turned out, they weren’t done just yet - no, our friends, they weren’t done just yet. Tamayo and Abadiano’s departure from National U was shocking, without a doubt, but CJ Cansino’s exit from University of Sto. Tomas was even more so. Cansino, against his will, decided to move on from his alma mater since 2015 due to personal reasons. Fortunately for him, he landed on his feet. Now, the Fighting Maroons have ready-made replacement for Rivero as well as a leader in the shades of Paul Desiderio for UAAP 84. And that, our friends, is why we have no choice but to put the 2020 King of Recruiting crown on UP’s head once more. Tamayo and Abadiano are the bluest of blue-chip recruits this year and Cagulangan, Cansino, and Diouf are among the most talented transferees, but also joining them in the maroon and green will be scoring machine RC Calimag from La Salle Green Hills, burly big Miguel Tan from Xavier High School, Filipino-American playmaker Sam Dowd, Filipino-Australian tower Ethan Kirkness, physical forward Jancork Cabahug from University of Visayas, and versatile wing CJ Catapusan from Adamson University. The former Bullpups are guaranteed ato be contributors even as rookies while Calimag, Tan, and Dowd are going to shore up a bench that had just lost Gomez de Liano brothers Javi and Juan. Of course, Diouf, Kirkness, Cansino, Cabahug, and Cagulangan are still serving residency, but when they will be eligible, they will get a shot at a squad that will look brand new. All of Bright Akhuetie, J-Boy Gob, David Murrell, Noah Webb, and Rivero are graduating players while Paras is only guaranteed to play one more year. That means that after Season 83, the Fighting Maroons may very well have to fill six spots. That means that UP is not only beefing up for UAAP 83, it is also securing its future. If not for the shock of shocks, though, the crown would have been claimed by De La Salle University which sent a statement that it is back and better than ever. Justine Baltazar and Aljun Melecio may be playing their fifth and final years in college, but the green and white’s future has only brightened following this prolonged preseason. First and foremost, Kevin Quiambao, the third leg in that National U tripod of talent out of high school, has the capability and confidence to follow in the footsteps of Baltazar. Hopefully, he will be eligible for Season 83, but if not, what’s certain is he will be playing in UAAP 84. Alongside him as pieces for the future are super scorers CJ Austria and Emman Galman, all-around swingman Joshua Ramirez, and Filipino-Americans Jeromy Hughes, Kameron Vales, and Philips bros. Benjamin and Michael. Among all those, Jonnel Policarpio, likened to a young Arwind Santos, has the highest upside, but the Fil-Ams have much potential as well. And don’t forget that Evan Nelle, the primetime playmaker from San Beda University, is just getting primed and prepped to take the reins when Melecio leaves. Of course, the caveat here is that we are all in uncharted territory due to the continuing COVID-19 crisis. And in that light, the next season of the UAAP remains far away and a lot could still happen until then. While majority of the local blue-chip recruits have already committed, talents from abroad and transferees from other schools could still come and change the game. With that being said, there remains no doubt that UP and La Salle have made the biggest noise in the offseason. However, it’s not actually the Fighting Maroons or the Green Archers who got the lion’s share of the best graduating players in the 2020 NBTC 24. Yes, that honor belongs to Lyceum of the Philippines University which is finally reaping the rewards of its rising Jrs. program with NCAA 95 Jrs. MVP John Barba and Batang Gilas playmaker Mac Guadana being promoted as full-fledged Pirates. Guadana could do it all and looks like the next great guard in the Grand Old League while fearless slasher is Barba is a perfect complement to him. Add another fiery guard in John Bravo and sweet-shooting big man Carlo Abadeza and LPU has restocked its coffers after losing Marcelino twins Jaycee and Jayvee and Cameroonian powerhouse Mike Nzeusseu. In all though, the 2020 NBTC 24 was dominated by UP… and San Beda. Of the annual rankings’ 15 graduating players, four would be Fighting Maroons and another four would be Red Lions. Yes, San Beda’s grassroots program is back on track with its Jrs. championship core all remaining in red and white. Rhayyan Amsali, ranked no. 1 in the 2020 NBTC 24, is the most college-ready high school player while Justine Sanchez is a long-limbed forward who could turn out to be the next Calvin Oftana, you know, the NCAA 95 MVP. Yukien Andrada, meanwhile, is only continuing to develop his two-way game and Tony Ynot is a 3-and-D weapon who had even left an impression on Jalen Green. And hey, as somebody said, don’t sleep on the UAAP’s three-time defending champions. Ateneo may already be missing Isaac Go, Thirdy Ravena, Adrian Wong, and Nieto twins Mike and Matt and they may not be making noise as of late, but they are still welcoming Dave Ildefonso and Dwight Ramos with open arms. Ildefonso will only be good to go come UAAP 84, but Ramos is already being seen by head coach Tab Baldwin as a difference-maker for the Blue Eagles in Season 83. Eli, Dwight’s younger brother, is also in the mix to backstop SJ Belangel and Tyler Tio. Note also that former blue-chip recruit Inand Fornilos may very well finally get his shot while both Jolo Mendoza and Raffy Verano are also back. Ateneo’s foe in the Finals last year also reloaded quite a bit as for the third year in a row, UST will be sending the Tiger Cubs’ best player to the Srs. squad. Following in the footsteps of Cansino and Mark Nonoy, post player Bismarck Lina will be a Growling Tiger next season. Alongside him to fortify the frontcourt are Christian Manaytay, Bryan Samudio, and Bryan Santos while bolstering the backcourt are Joshua Fontanilla and Paul Manalang. Speaking of fortifying the frontcourt, Far Eastern University is the team that got the biggest boost in terms of size. With 6-foot-7 Nigerian Emman Ojoula’s residency over and done with, the go-go guards of the Tamaraws have yet another weapon to burn opponents with. CESAFI MVP Kevin Guibao and transferee Simone Sandagon are no slouches either while Cholo Anonuevo has a roster spot waiting for him if and when he decides to come home after trying his luck in the US. RJ Abarrientos no longer appears here as he was already in FEU’s list last year. These are the new faces to see for the other teams: CSB Blazers LETRAN Knights JRU Heavy Bombers MAPUA Cardinals ADAMSON Soaring Falcons UE Red Warriors --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 26th, 2020

Lakers block 20 shots, hold off Pistons 106-99 in wild 4th

By Greg Beacham, Associated Press LOS ANGELES (AP) — LeBron James had 21 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists, and Anthony Davis had eight of the Los Angeles Lakers' 20 blocked shots in their fifth straight victory, 106-99 over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday night (Monday, PHL time). Davis scored 11 of his 24 points in the final 3:40 and added 11 rebounds for the Lakers, who blew a late 11-point lead in a wild fourth quarter and nearly lost to a team with a losing record for the first time all season. Instead, Alex Caruso scored 13 points and the Lakers finished one blocked shot short of their franchise record while they hung on to remain unbeaten since Christmas, when they had a four-game skid. Los Angeles had 21 blocks against Denver in April 1982. James finished with his 90th career triple-double, his ninth of the season and his second in five days. Derrick Rose scored 28 points and former Lakers guard Svi Mykhailiuk had 14 — one off his career high — for the Pistons, who have lost nine of 11 despite a strong effort against the Western Conference leaders. Andre Drummond added 12 points on 2-of-13 shooting and 18 rebounds before fouling out late, and the Pistons finished the California portion of their six-game road trip with a heartbreaker. The Lakers scored the first 15 points of the fourth quarter in a rally spearheaded by James and Caruso, turning a four-point deficit into a 90-79 lead. After finally scoring nearly five minutes into the quarter, Detroit strung together nine straight points and a 13-1 run to reclaim the lead with 4:51 left. James' driving, two-handed dunk put the Lakers up 96-92 with 3:22 left, and Davis was unstoppable down the stretch. After Rose hit a 3-pointer with 1:52 left to trim LA's lead to one point, Davis replied with a corner 3, and Dwight Howard got the Lakers' 20th blocked shot moments later. Howard finished with 11 points, nine rebounds and five blocks. Avery Bradley sprained his right ankle shortly before halftime and didn't return for the Lakers. The starting guard missed 13 games earlier in this season with a hairline fracture in his leg. The Lakers blocked eight shots in the first quarter alone, including four by Davis and three by JaVale McGee, who finished with six. Los Angeles blocked 12 shots and held Detroit to 35% shooting in the first half, but Rose and Drummond still kept the Pistons close. Detroit also stayed in it by making its first 21 consecutive free throws until Drummond missed midway through the third quarter. The Pistons still took their first lead late in the third on back-to-back 3-pointers by Mykhailiuk and Langston Galloway. TIP-INS Pistons: Blake Griffin missed his fourth straight game with knee soreness. The injury forced the longtime Clippers star to miss both of Detroit's games at Staples Center this season. ... Coach Dwane Casey got a technical foul in the third quarter for arguing the severity of a foul call against James. ... Detroit again had five players out with injuries, leaving an 11-man active roster. Lakers: Caruso had a strong game off the bench after missing Friday's (Saturday, PHL time) game with tightness in his right calf. ... Ohio State defensive end Chase Young watched the game from courtside next to agent Rich Paul, who represents Davis and James. Young announced Friday (Saturday, PHL time) he'll enter the NFL draft, where he could be the first overall pick. ... Coach Frank Vogel got a technical foul between the third and fourth quarters. INJURED LAKERS Bradley and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope both went to the Lakers' locker room shortly before halftime after apparently rolling their ankles. Caldwell-Pope walked it off and returned in the third quarter, while Bradley's sprain raised worries about the Lakers' perimeter depth, although X-rays were negative. UP NEXT Pistons: Visit Cleveland on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time) to begin a home-and-home set with the Cavaliers. Lakers: Host the New York Knicks on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 6th, 2020

Love at peace, not worried about trade chatter

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press Kevin Love knows change could be coming. A couple of years ago, uncertainty might have been something that stressed him out, triggered the sorts of feelings like the ones that manifested themselves in the form of an in-game panic attack in 2017, rendered him unable to compete as efficiently as he wanted. Not this time. Even though he has three full years and about $90 million left on his contract after this season, it’s no secret that Love could be traded by the Cleveland Cavaliers. Plenty of teams even make sense for such a move — Portland, Dallas, Denver, Miami among others. But going public with the details of his panic attack — and his ongoing involvement in the conversation about the need to take care of mental health — has not left Love feeling vulnerable. He’s more at peace than anything else, and that’s why the rumors that are out there aren’t gnawing at him. “I’m just going to let the chips fall,” Love said. “I know that this is a young team. I think I can help them. I’m going to do right by Cleveland, the organization. This is a league where teams want to rebuild, teams want to go young but certain teams are looking for a piece, a guy who’s played in the finals, a guy who has playoff experience. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I think it definitely lessens the burden and the anxiety.” Cleveland is 5-12 and Love missed Monday’s (Tuesday, PHL time) game against Brooklyn with back issues. Now in his 11th season, the five-time All-Star can still play — he’s averaging 17.9 points and 11.8 rebounds, is a 36% shooter from 3-point range and won a ring with the Cavs in 2016. Even with him, the Cavs are likely a long shot for a playoff spot in the East. But Love insists that he isn’t forcing a change. “I’ve been committed to Cleveland since Day 1,” Love said. “I know it’s been a little shaky at some points. It’s been really great at some points. But now I’ve found some semblance of balance in my life, not only on the court but away from it.” Love also doesn’t shy away from the mental health questions. Players like Love and DeMar DeRozan helped bring the conversation into the NBA mainstream by opening up about their own private and personal issues. “I kind of played all my cards and spoke my truth,” Love said. “I just feel like there’s not a lot out there that could really hurt me. I feel like, not only for other people but selfishly for myself, it’s been very therapeutic.” HISTORY LESSON The Spurs are in trouble. Monday’s (Tuesday, PHL time) loss to the Lakers dropped San Antonio to 6-12, and seeing that is all anyone would probably need to realize that the Spurs’ record-tying 22-year streak of postseason appearances is in major jeopardy. But the numbers really hammer the point home. Over the last 14 seasons, not including this one, there have been 103 instances of teams starting 6-12 or worse. Of those, only four have made the postseason — and none of those four came from the Western Conference. And the last time the Spurs were under the .500 mark 18 games into a season was 1995-96, when they started 3-15. That’s the point where they fired Bob Hill for a guy named Gregg Popovich. “They’re going to be OK,” said Charlotte coach James Borrego, a former longtime Spurs assistant, who crossed paths with Popovich in Washington recently. “At the end of the day, he’s coaching his team, I’m coaching my team. I know what they’re going through. But they’ve been in this territory before. I don’t know if they’ve lost as much as they’ve lost this early, but they’ll bounce back. There’s high character there. They know what they’re doing.” The last West team to start 6-12 or worse and get into the playoffs was the 2004-05 Memphis Grizzlies, who began 5-11, went through two different coaches before bringing in Mike Fratello. He fashioned a 40-26 finish, the Grizzlies sneaked into the playoffs at 45-37 and as the eighth seed. They got swept in the first round. The NBA champions that year? San Antonio. KEMBA’S NECK Boston guard Kemba Walker took a scary hit last week when he collided with teammate Semi Ojeleye during the Celtics’ game at Denver. The way Walker fell, and how he had to leave the game on a stretcher, understandably raised plenty of concern. He was diagnosed with a sprained neck, which was probably about the best possible outcome given how bad the play looked in real time. Perhaps overlooked is this: The sprain is Walker’s second neck issue in less than three months. He played some games for USA Basketball at the FIBA World Cup in China in September while dealing with neck pain, which intensified to the point that he sat out the Americans’ finale there — the seventh-place game in Beijing against Poland. MIGHTY MAVS With MVP candidate Luka Doncic leading the way, Dallas is flying. The Mavericks have scored 137 points or more in each of their last three games. Only two teams in league history have gone on longer such streaks — Denver in November 1988 and Portland in November 1990, both of those being four-game runs. The Mavs have reached the 125-point mark five times already this season. That matches their total from all of last season. THE WEEK AHEAD A game to watch each day in the coming week: (PHL times listed) Wednesday, L.A. Clippers at Dallas: Doncic is rolling right now. Here comes a very big test. Thursday, L.A. Lakers at New Orleans: Welcome back to New Orleans, Anthony Davis. Friday, Happy Thanksgiving: It’s one of the days the NBA has no games on the schedule. Saturday, Boston at Brooklyn: A noon start time. Could it be Kyrie Irving versus the Celtics? Sunday, Charlotte at Milwaukee: For some reason, few seem to be talking about the Bucks. Next Monday, Memphis at Minnesota: Through Monday (Tuesday, PHL time), Grizzlies rookie Ja Morant averaged 19 ppg. Next Tuesday, Utah at Philadelphia: A matchup of really good teams that usually put defense first......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 26th, 2019

Jamal Crawford on still being a free agent: It s baffling to me

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com In the final game of last season, he scored 51 points -- a rather remarkable distinction just by itself. Today, it carries a degree of historical significance that is rather uncomfortable and maybe unfair for Jamal Crawford. Only one player in NBA history scored more points in Game No. 82 and did not play the following season. In that instance, Kobe Bryant was OK with that as he retired after dropping 60 on the Utah Jazz to close out the 2015-16 season. Meanwhile, Crawford is most definitely not retired, at least not willingly, as he waits to see if that last ballistic game was in fact the last he’ll ever play in the NBA. Officially, he’s currently living in Seattle, where he was raised and always maintained a home throughout his career. But metaphorically he’s residing in a basketball Twilight Zone that annually collects veterans in their, well, twilight. They’re not done playing -- at least in their minds -- and feel fresh enough to extend their careers by another year or two. Yet their fate is being controlled by a season that already began and 30 teams who don’t have an opening for a proven veteran. Unless, of course, there’s an injury or a sudden change in philosophy or, in the case of the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday (Friday, PHL time), a twinge of desperation. A 4-8 start prompted the Blazers to reach a deal with one of Crawford’s fellow residents, Carmelo Anthony. He spent the summer and most of the fall waiting by the phone and wondering if his time had passed. Congrats Melo!!!!!!!!!! — ???? Jamal Crawford (@JCrossover) November 15, 2019 Yeaaa @imanshumpert , congrats bro! — ???? Jamal Crawford (@JCrossover) November 13, 2019 Crawford tweeted out support for ‘Melo and for Iman Shumpert (who signed with the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday). In a sense for these veterans, this is like the NBA Draft green room all over again -- you’re happy the room is emptying … but you don’t want to be the last one sitting at the table. “I know I can play,” Crawford told NBA.com, “and I would think my reputation is still solid. It’s baffling to me.” If you go strictly on how he finished with the Phoenix Suns last season, it’s bizarre that not only is Crawford not in the league, but that he’s not prominently in some team’s rotation. Crawford played (as a reserve) in four of the Suns’ five April games last season, scoring 19, 28, 27 and 51 points while shooting at an extremely healthy clip. If this was a showcase for 2019-20, albeit at a small sample size, Crawford proved he had something left even after 19 seasons. But the July free agency period came and went without a text message. The season tipped off in October without Crawford on a roster for the first time since the 2000-01 season. Almost a full month later, the three-time Kia Sixth Man Award winner is still watching from home. It’s the first time since he began playing organized basketball as a kid that he isn’t wearing a uniform in November. This isn’t restricted to Crawford as every year players with NBA experience must watch the basketball world spin without them. Anthony and Shumpert were just lifted off the pile and yet the list of players waiting by the phone, once again, is lengthy enough. “A lot of teams take a wait and see approach, not only for me, but vets in general,” Crawford said. The group includes, among others: Kenneth Faried, Devin Harris, J.R. Smith, Corey Brewer, Jodie Meeks, Joakim Noah, Jonathon Simmons and Dante Cunningham. Most already had their big contracts, so making money is no issue for them. That’s a good thing, too, because team salary-cap space is, for the most part, swallowed up at this point. Of course, the obvious concerns held by teams with most of these players are age and declining skills. The NBA is an unforgiving league that doesn’t give tenure. If the decision to keep a young player or a veteran is a toss-up, some teams -- especially those needing bodies in their player development program -- will lean toward the young. Crawford was caught in between last season as the Suns were yet again rebuilding while also needing solid-character veterans in the locker room. Tyson Chandler, Trevor Ariza and Crawford served those mentor roles until a sudden philosophical shift hit barely a month into the season. Ariza was traded to Washington, Chandler was bought out and the Suns went full-blast young with Crawford averaging 18.9 mpg (his lowest since 17.2 mpg in 2000-01). “I guess everything changed,” he said. The Suns used Crawford at point guard, not his natural two-guard position. As a result, he didn’t average double-digit scoring for the first time since his sophomore season. The silver lining is that he remained fresh and preserved his body for a possible 20th season. And of course, he had the energy for that 51-point game. In that April 9 game against Dallas, he shot 18-for-31 and 7-for-13 on 3-pointers in a 120-109 loss. The game carried no other significance except for it being the last one played by the great Dirk Nowitzki. Crawford’s output was almost forgotten in that sense. But because he’s not on an NBA roster right now, that 51-point performance could become the ultimate trivia answer. “I’m kind of an outlier because you don’t see anyone my age having games like that,” Crawford said. “And I did it off the bench. A year earlier, in my 18th year, I was still averaging double figures. I can bring a multitude of things. I’ll be ready for whatever team decides how I can fit into what they’re trying to do.” At 39, NBA teams will express concerns about his defense, which is usually the first area that suffers when players age. But players at this stage are used in spot situations anyway, and mainly by contending teams looking for depth and experience. The problem for Crawford and others like him is the numbers game; only a few of these spots open every season. “Physically, I feel better than I did last season,” he said. “I’m able to get my body together. My skill set is sharp. I feel that I’m good. My mindset is be patient and hopefully something good comes about it. I’ll be ready for the opportunity.” Until then, Crawford and others must live a surreal experience for them, though not all of it is bad or uncomfortable. There are kids to take to school; Crawford has three and is also afforded the rare chance to watch their youth games, too. “I’ve missed a lot of that,” he said. “And it’s cool because they enjoy that, too. I’m making up for that this time. I’m the Uber driver.” Beyond that, he stays connected to the NBA but only from a distance. “It’s weird watching games and being apart from it but seeing teams that could use you in certain situations,” he said. “You see where you could help different clubs in different ways.” For Crawford, it’s the love of the game, not a need for anything beyond that, which drives him. He’s the ultimate gym rat who not only hosts a pro-am league in Seattle every summer, but he plays in it, too. There are also legendary stories of Crawford randomly showing up at local parks and gyms for pickup games, something you don’t normally see from players, especially those with nearly two decades of NBA tread. The most famous Crawford cameo: Years ago, then with the Bulls and fresh off the team bus, he appeared at his favorite Seattle park and played pickup ball for three hours the day before a game with the Sonics. The next night, he scored 31 points. “I love the game and stay in the gym anyway,” he said. “Whenever I retire, I’ll still be playing the game, whether that’s at an LA Fitness or somewhere else. At this point, the regular players around here are kind of used to seeing me, although sometimes I’ll go to a different gym and people are surprised,” he said. “Like, the other night, I went to new one and played from 10 o’clock to midnight. They did double takes.” Were they surprised Crawford was actually at their gym, or that he’s not somewhere in the NBA instead? The man who scored 51 in his last NBA game laughed at that. “Probably a little of both,” he said. Shaun Powell has covered the NBA for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here, and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 16th, 2019

Diaz hits 2 homers, Rays beat A’s 5-1 in AL wild-card game

By Janie McCauley, Associated Press OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — When he got to second base, Yandy Diaz stole a glance back toward the dugout and saw all his teammates going crazy. He gleefully kept running. Out for two months, no matter. Diaz slugged baseball's lowest spender into a playoff matchup with mighty Houston, Charlie Morton silenced the powerful Athletics on the mound, and the Tampa Bay Rays beat Oakland at its own game with a 5-1 win in the AL wild-card round Wednesday night. After playing only one game since late July because of a foot injury, Diaz hit a leadoff homer and went deep again in the third inning. “When I looked to the bench and saw the guys super excited, it pumped me up to go around the bases,” Diaz said through a translator. “I thought we had to carry that momentum throughout the game.” Avisail Garcia hit a two-run drive in the second, and Morton had all the support he needed as Tampa Bay advanced to face the AL West champion Astros in a best-of-five Division Series. Game 1 is Friday at Houston, which piled up a major league-best 107 wins this season. “We have a tough road ahead of us, Houston’s a great team, but we played them well this year. It’s going to be a dogfight,” Tommy Pham said. Pham homered in the fifth for the 96-win Rays, who had the smallest payroll in the majors at $66.4 million. And in a playoff meeting between creative, small-budget teams that make the most of limited resources, it was Tampa Bay that came out on top. The Rays were unfazed by a towel-swirling Oakland crowd of 54,005 that established a wild-card record, having recently played at Dodger Stadium and on the road against the Yankees and Red Sox during the season's final two weeks. “I really feed off the energy of this situation. I that helped us,” Morton said. “It helped us to come in here and be in a high-pressure situation. The stadium was pretty rowdy but I think that helped us focus.” And when Marcus Semien struck out to end it, Tampa Bay players raced out of their dugout to celebrate and put on fresh playoff T-shirts and caps. Once in the clubhouse, the Rays drenched Morton with booze. "It's a beautiful thing having the lowest payroll in baseball and having the success we did," center fielder Kevin Kiermaier said before the game. "It always feels good to stick it to the man any time you're able to in this game, and that's something to be very proud of." The A's have lost nine straight winner-take-all games since 2000, going 1-15 with a chance to advance to the next postseason round. Their only win came in 2006 against the Twins before being swept in the AL Championship Series by the Tigers. A year ago in the wild-card game, Oakland's first time back in the playoffs since 2014, the A's fell behind fast and lost 7-2 at Yankee Stadium. They won 97 games again to earn a wild card. This game had a far different feel in the familiar, friendly confines of the Coliseum, but the A's dug themselves another quick hole. And the visitors were the ones putting on a happy home run show this time. Oakland, which hit a franchise-record 257 homers, is 0-6 in winner-take-all playoff games at home since 2000. Even a day earlier, Rays manager Kevin Cash wasn't sure Diaz would play given how much time he missed during the season’s second half. Diaz returned for the finale last Sunday at Toronto after being sidelined since July 23. He played in just 79 games this season, 22 of those at first base with 17 starts. "He probably caught us off guard a little bit with how quickly he turned around over the last five, six days," Cash said. Never one to shy from the unorthodox _ the Rays used four outfielders against Matt Olson _ Cash started Diaz at first to make sure his best bat against lefties was in the lineup. Kiermaier noted Diaz is "just one of those guys, he just wakes up out of bed and rakes. Everyone knows him for his muscles and what he can do in the weight room and stuff like that, but the guy finds the barrel so much throughout this whole season, and any time we're able to have him available, we're happy." Morton, with a career-high 16 wins and his best ERA yet of 3.05 this season, counted on his playoff experience giving him an edge. He won Game 7 of the ALCS and World Series for the Astros in 2017. Morton gave up five hits without an earned run over five innings. He struck out four and walked three in his seventh postseason start and eighth appearance, having spent the last two seasons with Houston. The right-hander walked Mark Canha to load the bases with two outs in the first before retiring Jurickson Profar on a flyball and had already thrown 32 pitches. Morton quickly settled in and once his turn was done, the Rays’ shutdown bullpen did the rest. “When the first inning ended, I kind of said to myself, we were fortunate to have Charlie Morton on the mound. We get the 1-0 lead. A young pitcher in that situation, that environment, you just wonder how he's going to be able to handle that,” Cash said. “But Charlie, been there, done that, his veteran, his experience, I think allowed that. And I would still say, I don't think Charlie was at his best today, but he certainly made his best pitches when they counted the most.” Semien reached third on a three-base error by third baseman Mike Brosseau in the third and scored on Ramon Laureano's sacrifice fly. Oakland did little else. Diaz hit the fifth pitch of the night from Sean Manaea over the wall in right-center. Manaea then struck out the side after Diaz's drive, but was done after two innings. “That’s kind of our game. They kind of beat us with our game. We’re normally a home run-hitting team,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. Melvin handed Manaea the ball based on his triumphant September return after missing nearly a year following shoulder surgery. Manaea went 4-0 with 1.21 ERA in five starts last month. Manaea earned his first career playoff start over 15-game winner Mike Fiers, who pitched a no-hitter May 7 against the Reds to begin a 21-start unbeaten stretch in which he went 12-0. “That’s the tough part about a one-game playoff. Those nights where it’s not happening are going to be your last game,” Semien said. “That’s what happened.” ALL OVER THE INFIELD Brosseau started at second then moved to third and first, becoming the first to play three infield spots in one wild-card game. TRAINER'S ROOM Rays: INF Eric Sogard, who played for the A's from 2010-15, could be on the ALDS roster as he is close to healthy from a bone bruise in his right foot, Cash said. Sogard hasn't played since Sept. 15 at the Angels. "He's getting closer," Cash said. Athletics: RF Stephen Piscotty, out with a sprained right ankle since Aug. 25, wasn't on the roster. Piscotty, who batted .249 with 13 homers and 44 RBIs, also missed extended time with a sprained right knee from June 30 to Aug. 2. "The hard part is getting him at-bats against live pitching. That was part of the thinking leading up is he just didn't have enough at-bats,” Melvin said. UP NEXT RHP Tyler Glasnow is a strong candidate to start Friday for the Rays at Houston, with 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell following in Game 2. Tampa Bay had success against the Astros this year, winning four of seven meetings. Three of those victories came in a season-opening series at Tropicana Field......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 3rd, 2019

Order restored: US beats Canada in pre-World Cup basketball

SYDNEY (AP) — Order restored. After losing for the first time in nearly 13 years two days earlier, the United States rebounded to outclass Canada 84-68 in a pre-World Cup exhibition basketball game Monday. At the same arena where the Americans won Olympic gold at the Sydney 2000 Games, the U.S. never trailed, leading 20-9 after the first quarter and 46-31 at halftime. On Saturday, Australia stunned the U.S. 98-94 before a crowd of more than 52,000 in Melbourne, a result that ended the Americans' 78-game winning streak. The U.S. is missing top NBA players such as LeBron James, James Harden, Paul George and Stephen Curry. It was a dour scoring game after the exciting Saturday result in Melbourne, with both teams committing numerous turnovers Monday. Jaylen Brown had 19 points to lead the Americans, who out-rebounded Canada 55-37. Donovan Mitchell added 12 points and four assists; Kemba Walker scored 12 points and Myles Turner finished with 10 points and 15 rebounds. "We have to speed up that learning curve," Brown said of the Americans with less than a week to go before the World Cup starts. "We have a lot of room for growth. It's going to be good when it comes together, the sky is the limit for this group." Kyle Wiltjer had 21 points for Canada, while Orlando Magic forward Khem Birch — Canada's lone NBA player in the game — had 13 points and six rebounds. "We've got a lot of work to do, but we've enjoyed our time here," Wiltjer said. "Let's not forget these are practice games." Overall, the Canadians shot just 35% from the field and 6-for-23 (26%) from three-point range. Andrew Nembhard, who injured his knee last week, and Kaza Kajami-Keane (ankle) both returned for Canada, while Brady Heslip, a late arrival for the Canadians, played his first game in Australia. The last time the Americans — counting major international tournaments and exhibitions with NBA players on the floor — lost a game was the semifinals of the 2006 world championships. The American program has won gold in every competition since, including three straight in the Olympics and two consecutive World Cup titles. Canada has also been hit hard by missing NBA players, with Miami Heat's Kelly Olynyk the latest big-name player to pull out after sustaining a knee injury. ___ TIP-INS Canada: It was the third head-to-head meeting between Canada coach Nick Nurse and U.S. coach Gregg Popovich. They went 1-1 against each other in NBA play last season, Nurse's Toronto Raptors losing in San Antonio on Jan. 3 but beating Popovich's Spurs in Canada on Feb. 22. Canada finished 4-3 in its pre-World Cup exhibitions, starting with a split of a two-game series with Nigeria before five games in Australia. USA: The Americans finished their four-game World Cup warm-up tour 3-1 after beating Spain and splitting two games with Australia. The U.S. is planning to stay in Sydney until mid-week, then arrive in Shanghai early Thursday. NURSE TOUR Nurse is getting the full tour of the other side of the world this year. The Canadians have been in Australia for a week or so, and now head to China for the World Cup. Then, Nurse will be in Japan when the world champion Raptors (albeit now without NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard) play preseason games against Houston on Oct. 8 and Oct. 10. KUZMA DEPARTURE Popovich was disappointed that Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma's left ankle injury meant he wouldn't be able to compete in the World Cup. The Americans sent Kuzma home Saturday with the injury, a move that finalized the 12-man U.S. roster. They were in Australia with 13 finalists for 12 World Cup spots. "It's a huge disappointment, because he was a young, energetic guy who was really learning and could play a lot of positions for us," Popovich said. "Hopefully he'll heal quickly." UP NEXT Canada: Opens World Cup play Sept. 1 vs. Australia in Dongguan, China. USA: Opens World Cup play Sept. 1 vs. Czech Republic in Shanghai......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 26th, 2019

Lots of questions, few answers as Team USA opens training camp

By John Schuhmann, NBA.com LAS VEGAS -- The U.S. Men's Senior National Team tipped off training camp on Monday. This was the start of a six-week process that they hope ends with the gold medal game of the FIBA World Cup in Beijing on Sept. 15. This week includes four days of practice, followed by an intrasquad scrimmage on Friday (Saturday, PHL time). Before we get into the next six weeks, let's review how we got to Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) with a much different pool of players than national team managing director Jerry Colangelo originally anticipated. The originals - Last year, there were 35 players named to the 2018-20 USA roster for a 2018 minicamp, this year's World Cup and next year's Olympics. - Of those 35, only 14 were on the 20-man training camp roster for the World Cup when it was announced on June 10. - Between June 10 and the start of camp on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time), nine of those 14 backed out. - The five remaining are Harrison Barnes, Kyle Lowry, Khris Middleton, Myles Turner and Kemba Walker. The additions - As part of the 20-player training camp announcement on June 10, six players were added to the 14 from the original 35-player list. - Since then, one of those six - Paul Millsap - backed out. - Six more players were added on July 25. - In the 10 days since then, two of those six - Montrezl Harrell and Julius Randle - backed out. - Last week, Bam Adebayo was added to the roster. - Before camp opened, De'Aaron Fox and Joe Harris were (sort of) promoted from the Select Team to the Senior Team. The absences Going back to who's not here: There are 33 players - 30 from the 2018-20 roster and three that signed up and backed out this year - who have decided not to play. That's almost three full rosters of American players, and it doesn't include any guys that were offered a spot, but declined before being named to the roster. J.J. Redick is a player that reportedly declined an invite. They can't all be lumped into one group of guys who just don't want to make the six-week commitment. Some have family business to tend to. But one reason cited by multiple players who have backed out is preparing for next season. And in that regard, the World Cup schedule, along with the travel, is not ideal. The gold medal game is Sept. 15. So players will be returning from China (on a flight of 15 hours or so) on Sept. 16. The start of NBA training camps has been pushed back one week this year, but national team players will have less than two weeks between their return and the opening of camps. Players on the Brooklyn Nets, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers and Toronto Raptors will have even less than that, along with a trip back to Asia for early-October exhibition games in Japan or China. Colangelo also cited the fact that the World Cup and Olympics are in back-to-back years (with an NBA season in between), instead of two years apart like they were in the past. And while this year's World Cup is toward the end of the summer, next year's Olympics start July 25, with training camp probably opening not long after The NBA Finals. (If it were the same six-week period from the start of camp to the gold medal game as it is this year, next year's camp would actually open on June 29). 17 players for 12 spots Fox and Harris aren't on the official Senior Team roster, but Colangelo said Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) that they have a chance of making the final 12-man roster for the World Cup. So that makes 17 players for 12 spots. By position, they are: PG: De'Aaron Fox, Kyle Lowry, Kemba Walker SG: Joe Harris, Donovan Mitchell, Marcus Smart SF: Jaylen Brown, Kyle Kuzma, Khris Middleton, Jayson Tatum PF: Harrison Barnes, P.J. Tucker, Thaddeus Young C: Bam Adebayo, Brook Lopez, Mason Plumlee, Myles Turner There's obviously some flexibility in there. Two point guards could play together, Mitchell could play some point guard, and all of the small forwards could play some at the four. Lowry, who had surgery on his left thumb just a few weeks ago, isn't participating in camp this week. He's hoping to be cleared to practice when the team reconvenes in Los Angeles from Aug. 13-16 for three more days of practice and an exhibition game against Spain. But right now, it's not guaranteed that he'll be able to play. With or without him, it's still a very talented group. "Thank goodness we're blessed with the depth of talent we have in this country," Colangelo said. "You find guys that want to play and you go with them." Cutting down the list from 17 to 12 won't be easy. Point guard, where Lowry has the experience (see below) and Walker is the star, may be the only position where there's a clear hierarchy. At each of the other positions, different players bring different skill sets, but it's not clear that Player A is better than Player B, who is better than Player C. The World Cup doesn't require final rosters until the day before the tournament starts (it's earlier for the Olympics), so the final decisions don't have to be made before the team flies from L.A. to Australia for three more exhibition games. "We're flexible," Colangelo said. "If we have a tough decision to make, we'll bring an extra guy or two with us." The experience Of the 17 players in camp, only three have played for the United States in an international competition on the senior level. Plumlee was on the 2014 World Cup team, and both Lowry and Barnes were on the 2016 Olympic team. And neither Plumlee (11th on the '14 team in total minutes) nor Barnes (last on the '16 team in total minutes) played integral roles. The 2010 World Cup team was similarly inexperienced - Chauncey Billups and Tyson Chandler played on the 2007 FIBA Americas team - but had four future MVPs: Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook. The talent That 2010 team had seven players who had been selected in the top five in the NBA Draft. Since 1992, there have been 15 U.S. National Teams comprised of NBA players. And those 15 teams have had an average of seven top-five picks on them, with *no fewer than four. * The two teams with only four top-five picks: The 2002 team that finished sixth at the World Championship and the 2016 Olympic team that won gold in Rio. This 17-man group includes only three top-five picks: Brown (No. 3 in 2016), Fox (No. 5 in 2017) and Tatum (No. 3 pick in 2017). And it would be a surprise if Fox makes the final roster. Since 1992, the only one of those 15 U.S. teams that didn't have a No. 1 pick on it was the 2000 Olympic team, which had nine players who were selected second (4), third (1), or fifth (4). This 17-man roster includes just one player who has made an all-NBA team in the last three years. That's Walker, who was a Third Team selection this year. The opportunity With the ball in his hands Walker could be the star of this team. And he sees the roster attrition as an opportunity. "I think a lot of us are happy those guys pulled out," Walker said Monday. "This is our chance, our chance to get on the big stage and showcase our talent. It's a chance for us to do something new. It'll be a new-look team. Everybody's kind of doubting us, but I think we're hungry." When he was asked why he remained committed, Walker's explanation was pretty simple. "I love basketball," he said. "I love to play. What better opportunity can you have than to play for your country? This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a lot of us." A monstrous sacrifice Lopez has nominated himself as the player that has made the biggest sacrifice to be in Vegas, because if he wasn't, he'd be in the Scottish Highlands with the rest of his family. "I could be looking for Nessy!" Lopez said. John Schuhmann is a senior stats analyst for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 6th, 2019

Player Movement: What teams have gained, lost this offseason

By John Schuhmann, NBA.com There's still a lot of work to be done before rosters are set for the 2019-20 season. Some teams (Charlotte, Utah) still have roster spots to fill. Other teams (Memphis, Washington) still have some roster trimming to do. There are about 25 two-way-contract slots that can be filled around the league. And it's certainly possible that players like Chris Paul and Andre Iguodala will be traded a second time before the end of the summer. But it's already been a season of change. At the start of training camp last September, 15 of the league's 30 teams rostered players who played at least 75 percent of the team's minutes in the previous season (2017-18). Right now -- midway through July -- only four teams are set to bring back players who played at least 75 percent of last season's minutes. Continuity Not every team has made big changes. The Denver Nuggets are set to return at least 12 of the 18 guys that played for them last season (the status of two-way, restricted free agent Brandon Goodwin is still in the air), along with Michael Porter Jr., who was with the team all season. The only players that have left the Nuggets -- Tyler Lydon, Trey Lyles and Isaiah Thomas -- played a total of eight minutes in the playoffs. Over the last three years, there has been a correlation between summer continuity and win increase the following season. But the correlation has been small. During that span, 33 teams have brought at least 75 percent of the previous season's minutes back, and only 15 of those 33 increased their win total. The highest individual return percentage of the stretch belonged to last season's Miami Heat, who brought back 97 percent of their minutes from 2017-18 ... and proceeded to win five fewer games. This summer, the two biggest winners in free agency -- the Brooklyn Nets and LA Clippers -- rank 24th and 26th, respectively, by this measure (as of Wednesday morning). And while the Nuggets have a young core that can improve on its second-place finish in the West, the Orlando Magic are bringing back an ensemble that won just 42 games in the Eastern Conference, and the San Antonio Spurs have an older group that was ousted by Denver in the first round, albeit in seven games. Gained and lost math Going forward, we'll be talking about totals gained or lost this summer. These were accumulated by non-rookies for any team last season. For example, in calculating the minutes that Indiana lost (and Milwaukee gained) with Wesley Matthews' departure, we're using all 2,091 minutes that Matthews played for Dallas and Indiana last season. That way, it's a more realistic measure of total production coming in and going out. In that regard, most teams have lost more '18-19 minutes than they've gained. In total, there are more than 230 players who were on rosters (with two-way contracts included) at the end of the season and are either on a new team (via free agency or trades) or remain unsigned. More than half of those players (about 120) have been replaced by other non-rookies. About 70 more have been replaced by rookies (including those on two-way contracts). As an example, here's the roster math for the Golden State Warriors: - LOST 11 non-rookies off their end-of-season roster - GAINED six non-rookies - ADDED three rookies - STILL HAVE one main roster spot and one two-way spot they can fill Minutes gained and lost The Warriors are one of 22 teams that have lost a group of players who played more minutes last season than the group of players that they've added. There are a few teams that have added a lot more '18-19 minutes to their roster. That group is led by the New York Knicks, who have added almost 12,000 '18-19 minutes while seeing almost 9,000 minutes exit. The Knicks have lost four guys - Mario Hezonja, DeAndre Jordan, Emmanuel Mudiay and Noah Vonleh - who played at least 1,000 minutes. They added seven, and all seven started at least 28 games last season. Of course, how many of those seven are difference makers is up for debate, as is the idea of whether the Knicks should have used at least some of their cap space to take on bad contracts -- often spiced up with future picks -- from other teams. The Nets lost as many players (6) who played at least 1,000 minutes last season as they gained. But they added four of the 31 2,000-minute players to have changed teams this summer, most notably in Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Utah (3) is the only other team with more than two additions that played at least 2,000 minutes last season. The eight guys that Brooklyn brought in started a total of 363 games in '18-19, while the nine guys they lost started just 179. That's the biggest increase, with New York (+100) and Utah (+84) also seeing differentials of more than 82 games. The Sacramento Kings lost two guys that played at least 1,000 minutes last season, and one of those guys -- Alec Burks -- played only 127 minutes for the Kings. They added four 1,000-minute players, including two - Trevor Ariza and Cory Joseph -- that played more than 2,000 minutes last season. As noted above, the Nuggets lead the league in continuity, bringing back all 10 guys that played more than 1,120 minutes for them last season. But they've also added Jerami Grant, who played 2,612 minutes for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Though they've added more players (11, including four rookies) than they've lost (nine) and need to trim their roster between now and opening night, the Washington Wizards are set to see the biggest discrepancy in regard to '18-19 minutes. They've lost more than 11,000 (with Trevor Ariza, Jeff Green and Tomas Satoransky accounting for more than half of that total) and added less than 5,000. The group of players that the Wizards lost also started 208 more '18-19 games than the players added -- the biggest discrepancy in that regard. The Charlotte Hornets not only lost more than 1,000 '18-19 minutes in their Kemba Walker-Terry Rozier swap, they also lost three other guys - Jeremy Lamb, Shelvin Mack and Tony Parker - who played more than 1,000 minutes last season. There's a general consensus that the Indiana Pacers are in the "winners" category this summer, adding Malcolm Brogdon, Jeremy Lamb and T.J. Warren. But they also lost five guys (four of their five playoff starters plus Cory Joseph) to have played at least 2,000 minutes last season. The only other teams who lost more than two 2,000-minute players were the the Clippers (3), Oklahoma City Thunder (3) and Wizards (3). Still available Most '18-19 minutes among still-available free agents... - Justin Holiday - 2,607 - Iman Shumpert - 1,481 - Wayne Selden - 1,439 - Jeremy Lin - 1,436 - Shaquille Harrison - 1,430 In regard to minutes played last season, the top 18 available free agents are all perimeter players (unless you want to count Jonas Jerebko as an interior guy). Among available non-perimeter players, Dante Cunningham (928), Cheick Diallo (896) and Zaza Pachulia (878) are the guys who played the most minutes last season. It's all about shooting Putting the ball in the basket is the most important thing in the NBA, and every team is always on the hunt for more shooting. But in regard to '18-19 3-pointers, half of the league (15 teams) has lost more than it's gained. There are a few teams to have seen big increases, however. The Knicks added Reggie Bullock (148-for-393, 37.7 percent), Marcus Morris (146-for-389, 37.5 percent) and Wayne Ellington (138-for-372, 37.1 percent), though creating open shots for those guys might be an issue. None of the six players that the Kings have lost made more than 61 3-pointers last season. Ariza (145) is the big gain in that regard, but they also added Dewayne Dedmon, a big man who shot 38 percent on 217 attempts from beyond the arc. On the other end of the spectrum, it's the Hornets that lost the most 3s, with Walker having ranked fifth in the league in total makes. The Atlanta Hawks ranked fourth in the percentage of their shots that were 3-pointers, but traded Taurean Prince (39 percent on 315 attempts), lost Dedmon, haven't re-signed Vince Carter (39 percent on 316 attempts) and swapped Kent Bazemore (32 percent; 300 attempts) for Evan Turner (21 percent; 52 attempts). The Toronto Raptors, meanwhile, haven't really replaced two of the four guys who made more than 100 threes for them last season. Still available Most '18-19 3-pointers among still-available free agents... - Justin Holiday - 162-for-465 (34.8 percent) - Kyle Korver - 138-for-348 (39.7 percent) - Vince Carter - 123-for-316 (38.9 percent) - Iman Shumpert - 95-for-273 (34.8 percent) - Lance Stephenson - 73-for-197 (37.1 percent) J.R. Smith, waived by the Cavs on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time), made 143 threes (shooting 37.5 percent) in 2017-18, but played just 11 games last season. More notes - Eastern Conference - The Boston Celtics are one of three teams (Atlanta and Washington are the others) with a discrepancy of at least 300 between the steals + blocks registered by the non-rookies they've lost (503) and those registered by the non-rookies they've added (194). Swapping Al Horford (145 steals + blocks in 1,973 minutes) for Enes Kanter (58 in 1,639 minutes) obviously hurts. - The Chicago Bulls have seen the second biggest increase in 3-point percentage between the non-rookies they've added (36.9 percent) and the non-rookies they've lost (30.3 percent). Tomas Satoransky (39.5 percent on 162 attempts) was the big add in that regard. - The Cleveland Cavaliers are the only team that hasn't added a single player (via free agency or trade) that played last season, though they still have to add at least one player to their main roster. The only players they've added are the three guys they selected in the first round of the Draft and another rookie (Dean Wade) on a two-way contract. - The Detroit Pistons have had eight non-rookies leave (five have found new NBA teams, three haven't been re-signed) and have added only four. But the four they've added -- Tim Frazier, Markieff Morris, Derrick Rose and Tony Snell -- started the same number of games (60) and played just 11 more minutes in '18-19 as the eight that have left. They did add more scoring, with the four new guys having registered 436 more points than the eight guys on their way out. - As noted above, the Miami Heat led the league in continuity last summer, bringing back 97 percent of their minutes from '17-18. This year, with the retirement of Dwyane Wade and trades that sent Josh Richardson and Hassan Whiteside out, they're in the middle of the pack. In regard to out vs. in (Jimmy Butler and Meyers Leonard), they've lost total production, but have improved in regard to shooting and free throw rate. Only Denver, Brooklyn and Dallas have seen bigger increases in true shooting percentage from the non-rookies they've lost to the non-rookies they've added. - With the departure of Malcolm Brogdon, the Milwaukee Bucks lost some playmaking. Only the Magic (who didn't lose anybody from their playoff rotation) saw a bigger drop in in assist-turnover ratio from the non-rookies they lost (2.47) to the non-rookies they've gained (1.33). Tony Snell (traded to Detroit) had the fifth lowest turnover ratio (4.9 per 100 possessions) among 299 players that averaged at least 15 minutes in 40 games or more last season. - The Orlando Magic rank second in continuity, one of two teams (Dallas is the other) with nobody on their end-of-season roster having signed with (or been traded to) another team. But they've added one rotation piece by signing Al-Farouq Aminu, who represents the biggest jump in '18-19 rebounds between the non-rookies a team has added (610) and those they've lost or remain unsigned (195). The Magic were already a good rebounding team, ranking 11th in total rebounding percentage and third in defensive rebounding percentage last season. - The Philadelphia 76ers have seen the biggest discrepancy in '18-19 games played between the players they've lost (478) and the players they've added (223), though most of those lost games came from guys who weren't in their playoff rotation. More notes - Western Conference - The Dallas Mavericks have seen the second-biggest jump in effective field goal percentage (lower than only that of Denver) between the players they added (54.4 percent) and the players they've lost (47.3 percent) this summer. Swapping Trey Burke (48.2 percent) for Seth Curry (57.7 percent) goes a long way in that regard. The Mavs are also one of two teams (Orlando is the other) with nobody on their end-of-season roster having signed with (or been traded to) another team. - It remains to be seen how well James Harden and Russell Westbrook fit together and how much the Westbrook-for-Chris Paul swap hurts the Houston Rockets' defense. But we can say for certain that the Rockets got better in the rebounding department. - After ranking 28th in rebounding percentage (and 29th in defensive rebounding percentage) last season, they swapped Paul (who grabbed 7.0 percent of available boards while he was on the floor) for Westbrook (14.1 percent - highest among guards) and also added Tyson Chandler, who had a higher rebounding percentage (15.4 percent) than Nene (10.5 percent). - Good news for the team that ranked 29th in 3-point percentage last season: The non-rookies the Los Angeles Lakers have lost attempted 75 more 3-pointers than those they've gained. But the non-rookies they've gained made 34 more 3s than those they've lost. Among players that attempted at least 200 3-pointers last season and changed teams this season, Danny Green (45.5 percent) ranked first in 3-point percentage, while Quinn Cook (40.5 percent) ranked seventh. - The Memphis Grizzlies had a pretty motley rotation after making multiple trades at the deadline in February. And now they've seen the biggest roster more than any other team this summer, with 11 non-rookies leaving and nine coming in. They currently have guys that played for the Hawks, Warriors, Wolves, Pelicans, Suns, Raptors, Jazz and Wizards last season. - The six non-rookies that the Minnesota Timberwolves have added -- Jordan Bell, Treveon Graham, Jake Layman, Shabazz Napier, Noah Vonleh and Tyrone Wallance -- averaged just 6.3 points per game last season. That's the lowest mark for players added among the 29 teams that have added at least one non-rookie this summer. - In regard to vets, the New Orleans Pelicans have swapped interior players for perimeter players. The (five) non-rookies that they've added had 360 fewer '18-19 field goals, but 127 more 3-pointers than the (10) non-rookies that they've lost. Chicago is the other team with a loss in '18-19 field goals (-38) and a gain in '18-19 3-pointers (+47). - The Oklahoma City Thunder have seen the most '18-19 points walk out the door, with the six guys they've lost having scored 5,619 points last season. One thing they definitely gained in the Westbrook-Paul trade (if they keep Paul) was mid-range shooting. Paul has shot 48.9 percent from mid-range the last five seasons, the second best mark (behind only that of Kevin Durant) among 55 players with at least 1,000 mid-range attempts over that time. Westbrook (37.5 percent) ranks 52nd among the 55. - The 10 non-rookies that have left the Phoenix Suns (five that have found new NBA teams and five that haven't) racked up a cumulative plus-minus of minus-1,709 last season. None of the 10 had a positive plus-minus. The five non-rookies that they've added -- Aron Baynes, Jevon Carter, Frank Kaminsky, Ricky Rubio and Dario Saric -- had a cumulative plus-minus of plus-257. That's the league's biggest differential between players in vs. players out. - The Portland Trail Blazers improved their shooting by swapping Turner for Bazemore and Aminu (34.3 percent on 280 3-point attempts) for Anthony Tolliver (37.7 percent on 215), but are one of four teams - Brooklyn, Indiana and the Lakers are the others - that have lost six players who played at least 1,000 minutes in '18-19. They've added four. - As noted above, the San Antonio Spurs are near the top of the league in regard to continuity. But they've seen the biggest increase in free throw rate (FTA/FGA) between the non-rookies that they've gained (0.335) and the players they've lost (0.181). The pair of vets that they've added (having ranked 24th in free throw rate last season) includes DeMarre Carroll (0.421), who ranked eighth in free throw rate among non-bigs with at least 500 field goal attempts last season. - The Utah Jazz rank 13th in the percentage of '18-19 minutes they're set to bring back, but are one of five teams that have added at least 9,000 '18-19 minutes and lost at least 9,000 '18-19 minutes (when we include unsigned free agents). They parted ways with four of the eight guys that played at least 1,000 minutes for them last season, but all five of their additions - Bojan Bogdanovic, Mike Conley Jr., Ed Davis, Jeff Green and Emmanuel Mudiay - played at least 1,400 minutes. John Schuhmann is a senior stats analyst for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 18th, 2019

Durant, Irving make Nets the talk of the town in New York

By Brian Mahoney, Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) — Just three seasons ago, the Brooklyn Nets were the worst team in the NBA. On Sunday (Monday, PHL time), they were the story of the league. They agreed to deals with superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving as part of a sensational start to free agency, giving the longtime No. 2 team in New York top billing in the Big Apple. They landed two of the top players available, both perennial All-Stars and NBA champions, and they weren't finished. They also added center DeAndre Jordan, who played with Durant and Irving on the 2016 U.S. Olympic team that won the gold medal, and veteran swingman Garrett Temple. It was such a powerful victory that the crosstown Knicks even put out a statement acknowledging their fans' disappointment, just three hours after shopping season had started. And it was even more remarkable given where the Nets were not long ago. An ill-fated trade with Boston in 2013, when the Nets acquired Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in hopes of competing for a championship but didn't even get out of the second round, cost them years of high draft picks and contributed to them becoming the worst team in the league. They bottomed out at 20-62 in 2016-17, when Durant won NBA Finals MVP in his first season with Golden State after the Warriors beat Irving's Cleveland Cavaliers for the title. Now those players will try to win one together. Irving, who grew up in New Jersey, said in a video posted Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) by his representation at Roc Nation Sports that he always wanted to play back home. Part of the video was shot with Irving on the Brooklyn Bridge. "I wouldn't change anything about this journey, at all," Irving said. "It's brought me back here and that's home, and home is where my family is. Home is where I want my legacy to continue. And, I'm happy to be in Brooklyn." .@KyrieIrving is home. pic.twitter.com/usvbxqkyZA — Roc Nation Sports (@RocNationSports) July 1, 2019 Roc Nation, which announced Sunday (Monday, PHL time) it is now representing Irving, said he had agreed to a four-year, maximum contract. Official: Kyrie Irving has agreed to a four-year maximum contract with the Brooklyn Nets. pic.twitter.com/bI7e09D9k6 — Roc Nation Sports (@RocNationSports) July 1, 2019 He might have to wait a year to play with Durant, who could miss next season while recovering from a ruptured Achilles tendon. But with Irving taking controls of the offense and a promising young core around him, the Nets should be a playoff team, even while Durant recovers. The Nets got back to the playoffs last season after going 42-40, stamping themselves as a team on the rise. Brooklyn might be able to keep rising all the way to the top after Sunday's moves. Even after winning titles in his first two seasons with the Warriors, there was season-long speculation that Durant might leave. But much of that speculation had been focused on the Knicks, who had more than $70 million and the ability to sign two top free agents after trading Kristaps Porzingis during the season. Right city, but wrong team. The Nets felt confident with what they could offer, from their roster, to their medical staff, to their facilities. And when they made a cap-clearing trade last month, they became even more attractive by freeing up salary to bring in two stars. Irving wasn't expected to be one of them a few months ago, after he'd said last fall he planned to re-sign in Boston. But despite his good stats it was a bad season for him with the Celtics, who were considered an Eastern Conference favorite but instead lost in the second round. Irving became frustrated and reconsidered his plans, deciding his future was not in Boston, but in Brooklyn. Now he'll play for the team he watched while growing up in New Jersey, where the Nets played before moving to Barclays Center in 2012. Even when the Nets had better teams, the Knicks still got more attention and it sometimes felt as if they would always be the marquee team in the city. That changed Sunday (Monday, PHL time) in a New York minute. The Nets were not only the talk of the town but of the whole league, and when the Knicks were shut out early on, they took the rare step of commenting about their situation. "While we understand that some Knicks fans could be disappointed with tonight's news, we continue to be upbeat and confident in our plans to rebuild the Knicks to compete for championships in the future, through the draft, targeted free agents and continuing to build around our core of young players," Knicks President Steve Mills said in a statement. The Knicks eventually agreed to deals with forwards Julius Randle, Taj Gibson and Bobby Portis, so they did get something. Just nowhere near as much as the Nets......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 2nd, 2019

Five things we learned from Game 1 of the 2019 Finals

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com TORONTO – Five things we learned from the Toronto Raptors’ 118-109 victory over the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of The Finals Thursday (Friday, PHL time) at Scotiabank Arena ... 1. So much for ‘glad to be here’ If we thought we had learned one thing about the Toronto Raptors when it comes to the NBA playoffs, it was this: They back their way into most series. Losing the opener was a tradition for this franchise -- they were 3-15 in Game 1s prior to Thursday (Friday, PHL time), dating back to their inaugural playoff run in 2000. Nothing shoves a team closer to elimination in a best-of-seven showdown than a lousy start. That’s why grabbing the opener against Golden State was so essential. Had the Raptors squandered their home-court advantage on the first night, we all would be assuming the worst for these Finals in competitive, stylistic and entertainment terms. Only by rocking the Warriors in Game 1 -- and most impressively, by refusing to cough up all of their 12-point lead in the second half -- could the Raptors generate legitimate excitement for Game 2 and beyond. Had we all been honest (and able to pull this off), we would have begun this series by spotting Toronto to a 1-0 lead -- just to handicap the defending champions and force them to show us something they haven’t in their four previous Finals trips. But such a move would have been demeaning, of course, to the Raptors. Instead, coach Nick Nurse and his affable newbies seized early control themselves. How Portland looked in the Western Conference finals, as if the Trail Blazers had maxed out and were just happy to still be involved? Toronto wanted none of that. It found a way to win when Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry were ordinary at best. And now we have a series worthy of the Larry O’Brien Trophy. 2. Triple-doubles continue to decline in value It’s fun as a game progresses to track stats, whether it’s Pascal Siakam’s absurd 11 consecutive field goals or Stephen Curry’s refusal to miss a free throw. We’re always aware of the leading scorer and his growing point total, particularly as it passes the big round numbers (30, 40, 50…). But Draymond Green’s latest triple-double was a reminder that the bar has been set too low for that stat from its inception. Green finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, which makes it a minimalist’s triple-double at best and more of a statistical fluke than an achievement. Ten assists? That’s strong any night. Ten rebounds? Solid, and necessary if no one else on your roster is claiming more than six. Ten points, though? Come on now. Green had a Jason Kidd triple-double, which isn’t mean to disparage the Hall of Fame point guard but speaks to Kidd’s limitations as a scorer for most of his career. Heck, the Warriors’ versatile forward had six turnovers, inspiring the bad “quadruple-double watch” that Kidd sparked on occasion. What Green didn’t do was put the ball through the net effectively, shooting 2-for-9 overall and 0-for-2 on three-pointers. Yes, his value to Golden State usually doesn’t rise or fall on his scoring, but he could have been more helpful in that area Thursday. When Oscar Robertson averaged a triple-double in 1961-62 (and cumulatively did it over his first six NBA seasons), he was scoring 30 points per game. When Russell Westbrook matched what had been a rare feat two years ago, he too was up above 30 points nightly. But Westbrook has done it the past two seasons as well, with his scoring average dipping below 23 this season. That would seem to be near the minimum -- say, 20 points -- to gush over a player’s triple-double on a given night. We get it, double figures means 10 or more. But 10 points is no big deal at all in the NBA, so it seems silly to celebrate it when it’s the free rider on the triple-double quirk. 3. Don’t double-dawg dare an NBA player Warriors coach Steve Kerr admitted after Game 1 that, by mistake more than by design, his team didn’t defensively do its job well in the early minutes against center Marc Gasol. “Gasol we left a couple times early in the game and didn't rotate, we just gave him a couple of dare shots and he knocked them down,” Kerr said. Daring is not defending, and the Warriors would be well-advised not to do that again to a player as proud and as accomplished as Gasol. He’s struggled at times as a shooter in these playoffs, shooting 34 percent in the Eastern Conference finals while going 2-for-9 on three-pointers in Games 1 and 2 of that series (both losses). It was embarrassing at times to see the affable 7'1" Spaniard miss shots badly, whether he felt that way or not. But Gasol was 10-for-20 on three-pointers entering The Finals, all during the Raptors’ four consecutive victories to eliminate the Bucks. He went 2-for-4 in Game 1 of The Finals, scoring a playoff-high 20 points to help compensate for Leonard’s and Lowry’s muted firepower. Asked about it afterward, on taking such a “dare” personally, the big man shrugged. “If you're open, you got to shoot them. Dare, no dare,” he said. “And then we go from there. If they go in, great. If not you keep taking them with confidence.” That’s speaking truth to a dare. 4. The ratings for Game 1 will soar… … if they can somehow count the number of times the Warriors and the Raptors watch and re-watch the video tape. A big theme heading into this series was the relative lack of familiarity the teams had with each other. Now, that’s a common aspect of The Finals, pitting the champs of opposite conferences and all. But given Golden State’s knowledge of the Cleveland Cavaliers after four consecutive Finals, Toronto is a relative stranger. Beyond that, key players from both sides were absent in the two regular-season meetings. But now they have a whole 48 minutes to dissect, digest and learn from. For the Warriors, who spoke about it the most, they saw things they might not have expected and things they definitely did not like. Such as? Try Siakam’s attacks on the basket (in transition and otherwise), their own inability to be the team that pushes pace and Fred VanVleet as the game’s essential reserve (15 points on a night when his three-point shot was MIA). Green, in particular, sounded as if he was going to binge-watch Siakam’s romp and figure a way to thwart the unorthodox flip shots the forward from Cameroon deployed. “He's become ‘a guy,’” Green said phrasing that as a nod of respect. “He put a lot of work into get there and I respect that. But like I said, I got to take him out of the series and that's on me.” Toronto can make use of the video for as long as the Warriors roster stays the way it is, which means sans Kevin Durant. Which leads into … 5. Who's here (and who isn't)? (And no, we don’t mean LeBron James.) Durant’s continued absence with a calf injury since Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals became an official problem in Game 1 of The Finals (the team’s first loss without him). Questions that had been bottled up for a couple weeks -- What did you miss most without Durant? How might he have changed your offense or defense? -- came spilling out from the large media crew that covers the NBA’s glamour team. Neither Kerr nor his players took the bait, which was smart. Not only would it look like excuse-making (considering how they hadn’t needed those before), it might have opened a crack of vulnerability into something wider and more troublesome. Durant is out for Game 2, but per a Yahoo Sports report is expected back at the series’ midway point (read: Game 3 or Game 4).  “KD's an all-time great player on both ends of the floor,” Curry said, “so I could sit here and talk for days about what he adds to our roster.  We obviously have proven that when he's out we can have guys step up, and that's going to be the case until he gets back.” Rushing him back would seem desperate, something the Warriors aren’t and shouldn’t be. Plus, it is early in a long series. And it really is irrelevant: NBA players and teams’ medical staffs don’t “rush back” anyone these days. Then again, once they’re ready to play -- as Golden State showed in using DeMarcus Cousins in Game 1 -- there’s no sense in letting talent help languish in street clothes. No time too, either. Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 1st, 2019

Literary Fiesta

Filipino dining in Philippine literature Pahiyas festival, illustration by Manuel Baldemor It’s not Pinoy dining if it’s not a feast. And our Philippine literature has told many stories that illustrate our healthy appetite, traditional palayok (clay pot) cooking, siesta, fiesta, flavors, and fusions.  Doña Victorina fans herself amid the smoke of a roasting pig. Her guests are coming, their noses up in the air sniffing the flavors. On the table, adorned with gilded copa de vino (wine glass) and plato, are sinigang na dalag with alibambang leaves, callos, adobo, tinola, and pochero. Everybody was in high spirits. Never mind if the doña is broke (to begin with). At least her guests are full. Jose Rizal drew a perfect picture of the Pinoy fiesta and salu-salo (gathering) culture. Our national hero himself loves to eat. He prefers a hefty serving of champorado and tuyo for breakfast. For dessert, he likes minatamis na santol (sweetened santol) made from boiled santol slices soaked for three days in hugas bigas (water used to wash rice). Before starving in Europe, where he published El Filibusterismo, Rizal would feast in carneng asada (beefsteak with sauce), made from lean meat marinated in olive oil, lime juice, and parsley and served with fried potatoes. Gabriela Silang loved pinakbet. Emilio Aguinaldo listed sardines with tomatoes among his favorites. Marcelo H. del Pilar would die (pun intended) for his apparent favorite, pochero, the local version of the Spanish cocido. Andres Bonifacio got his strength and protein source in nilitsong manok sa zaha (grilled chicken wrapped in sampaloc and banana leaves). The Filipino salu-salo Never mind if some of our celebrated dishes are not “purely” Pinoy. “What is Filipino food and how does food become Filipino?” asks the late food critic Doreen Fernandez. She argued that food only became Pinoy by process of indigenization, like patis (fish sauce) put in a foreign dish. And this is how Pinoy fusion came to life. What we have on our modern plates are many fusions, crazy or ingenious, like paella with lechon, sinigang na steak, adobong tapa, pancit with kangkong. Yes, you get the picture.  Could their favorite Filipino flavors be the reason behind the intelligence and nationalism of our heroes Rizal and Bonifacio? Too bad, many young Pinoys nowadays barely know what minatamis na santol is, or any Pinoy traditional merienda for that matter. What replaced maruya, nilagang kamote, turon, kutsinta, and ginataang mais are French fries, burger, pizza, and pasta. You know what they say: You are what you eat.   In another table setting, Padre Damaso looks across the dining table. Everybody’s enjoying tinola, a stew of chicken and green papaya, but not him. Who wants chicken neck for lunch? He didn’t finish his plate. And this, people, was how the concepts of degustation and small plates were born. They’re not, after all, a French discovery or New York’s. We can blame our mañaña habit. We’re too slow to grab the credit. And oh, we are pioneers of the culture of not finishing plates, too. Blame these all to Padre Damaso (or Jose Rizal?). The tinola brouhaha scene in Noli Me Tangere started it all.  Lechon haus mural by boonsai While it’s rude in other cultures not to devour all the food served on the plate, in the Philippines, it’s not. Pinoy eating tradition tells you it’s okay to have leftovers. Telenovela , movies, and literature are great examples. When a family fights over the dining table, the father (or any member) walks away with an unfinished plate. In Ibong Adarna, over a scrumptious dinner, the brothers were all too busy planning how to catch the elusive bird that they forgot to finish their plate.       Besides books, paintings also tell our delicious food experience. Fernando Amorsolo captured Pinoy eating habits in his painting Afternoon Meal of the Rice Workers. It shows Pinoy families cooking meals in a palayok and eating under the shade of a tree, seemingly ready to sleep after an afternoon feast. With all the food trends coming and going on our plates and literature pages flying off to oblivion, what remains steadfast in our eating habit is this: Siesta. –NICKKY FAUSTINE P. DE GUZMAN.....»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsOct 18th, 2020

WHAT IF… Pocari Sweat maintained its championship core

In 2016, Pocari Sweat bolted out of the Philippine Superliga to join the now defunct Shakey’s V-League. Shedding their former team name Philip’s Gold, the Lady Warriors immediately made their mark in the 13th and final season of the V-League. Led by power-hitter Myla Pablo, seasoned opposite spiker Michele Gumabao, setter Gyzelle Sy and veteran libero Mel Gohing, Pocari Sweat dominated the season by claiming the Open and Reinforced Conferences.     Gumabao parted ways with Pocari Sweat the following year, but the Lady Warriors were able to sign Jeanette Panaga and Fille Cainglet-Cayetano. With key additions and good imports, Pocari Sweat extended its championship run in the inaugural Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference. The Lady Warriors suffered an upset at the hands of BaliPure the following Open Conference and from there Pocari Sweat began its decline. The Air Force-backed Pocari Sweat finished fourth in the import-laden tournament in 2018, fell short of a Final Four appearance in the Open Conference before eventually disbanding with its franchise-player Pablo bought out by Motolite last year. But what if Pocari Sweat maintained the core that brought them all their success? One thing is for sure, the Lady Warriors will remain a title contender if not win a couple more championships. Imagine Pablo, Gumabao, Sy, Gohing, Elaine Kasilag, Desiree Dadang and Panaga at the helm. Then you have Shola Alvarez, Jessey De Leon, Fil-Am setter Iris Tolenada, Cai Baloaloa, Cainglet-Cayetano, Lutgarda Malaluan, Rica Enclona, Gayle Valdez, Erika Alkuino and Sarah Espelita backing them up. A pretty solid roster, right? Gumabao’s leadership will keep Pocari Sweat sailing in the right direction even in the roughest situation. Her offense and net defense including her energy-boosting swag paired with Pablo’s tenacity and Kasilag’s consistency will bring fear to any team that gets in their way. Panaga and Dadang manning the net will surely frustrate the opposing team’s attackers. Gohing and Sy have proven their connection in transition from defense to offense in the V-League. Imagine developing that connection a few years more?     Pocari Sweat’s front office is also known for bringing in caliber imports that can jell and complement its local line-up. For sure, the Lady Warriors will come up with better and stronger reinforcements every import-laden tournament. Then, of course, if Pocari Sweat kept its championship core you would be looking at a different Creamline, PetroGazz and Motolite teams. As we all know, the transfer of Gumabao and Gohing boosted the Cool Smashers’ roster that eventually led to Creamline’s three titles. Same goes with the Angels, who had Panaga, Baloaloa, De Leon and Enclona in their Reinforced Conference championship run last year. The young Motolite squad looks up to Pablo and Tolenada as its leaders. One could only imagine how much success Pocari Sweat could’ve made if the management maintained its best roster.   The Lady Warriors truly are a powerhouse before its demise.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 15th, 2020

MLB players begin reporting for tests as first workouts near

By DAVE SKRETTA AP Sports Writer Yoán Moncada has spent the past couple of months working out in what he called a “controlled and limited environment” in Florida, where the White Sox slugger could continue to get at-bats while protecting himself from the coronavirus. That's a good description of the environment that greeted him upon his return to Chicago. Players began reporting to their teams and home ballparks Wednesday in the most significant step yet as Major League Baseball presses ahead with its plan for a 60-game sprint of a season. Most players underwent a battery of health checks, not only for COVID-19 but also for any other lingering ailments from spring training, ahead of planned workouts beginning Friday and Saturday. “We were doing workouts by time, you know? You have to reserve a time. I wasn't interacting with a lot of people there,” Moncada said of his sessions in Florida. “The last couple of weeks I started lifting a little bit. I was hitting with limitations that we had during this situation. But I feel good. I'm ready to go.” Much like other clubs, the White Sox intend to split their 60-man roster into two groups, one working out in the morning and the other in the afternoon. All players will have their temperatures checked multiple times each day, observe increased social distancing and get accustomed to stringent safeguards that MLB has put into place for the season. “That's going to be different to see and feel as a team,” Moncada said. “We'll have to wait and see Friday how it goes.” The Yankees won't hold their first full-team workout until Saturday, even though manager Aaron Boone said players began intake testing Wednesday. That's when he plans to address the team for the first time — also in waves. “We’ll have to get creative with how we communicate,” said Boone, who plans to make the same speech three or four times. Faced with the prospect of playing 60 games in 66 days, time-consuming safety protocols, the responsibility to remain diligent health-wise off the field and the general anxiety of working amid a pandemic, Boone believes focus and toughness can be as important to a team this season as baserunning or bullpen management. “How do you deal with that mentally and emotionally?” Boone asked. “How you’re able to separate that out when you take the field each and every night? There’s an advantage to be had there." After gauging workloads for pitchers during the shutdown, Boone expects his starters will be ready to face live hitters on the first day of summer camp. He plans to stay flexible on usage and may consider using a six-man rotation or openers, but nothing has been determined yet as all teams adjust to a new norm. “An injury can wipe out a season in a hurry,” Boone said, adding that he’s likely to be cautious with players early after New York placed a major league record 30 players on the injured list a total of 39 times last season. Orioles general manager Mike Elias said there had been no positive tests for COVID-19 among players and staff who were examined Wednesday, but he acknowledged that “it's going to be an ongoing process.” Elias has thus far named only 44 players of the 60 available to participate in the preseason workout. He will decide later which prospects will fill out the preseason roster in advance of a projected season-opener July 23 or July 24. And despite rising numbers of COVID-19 across the country, and a few players opting out, most players and executives have been bullish on the season taking place. They believe in protocols hammered out during lengthy negotiations between MLB and its players' association and are eager to provide fans with some much-needed diversion. “We’ve got to make sure we understand best practices in social distancing, make sure we know we are keeping ourselves not only apart from one another but also behaving in a way that’s consistent to what’s going to keep us all healthy," Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen said. “Provided we can all work together to comply with these protocols and respect — as I said earlier —- respect each other and respect the rules, I’m optimistic that we can make this happen.” ___ AP Sports Writers David Ginsburg, Jake Seiner and Mike Fitzpatrick contributed to this report......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 2nd, 2020

No paychecks for 11 big leaguers: advance larger than salary

By RONALD BLUM AP Baseball Writer NEW YORK (AP) — Grant Dayton will notice one glaring absence this season after he reports to the Atlanta Braves: his twice-a-month salary. He is among 11 major leaguers whose prorated pay for the abbreviated 60-game season amounts to less than the $286,500 advance already received by the 32-year-old left-hander. “It’s going to be weird not getting a paycheck,” he said Friday, “but we already got paid.” Dayton gave up the 6,776th and final home run of of last season's record total, to the New York Mets' Dominic Smith. To resume preparation for the new season he will drive Monday from his home in Winter Haven, Florida, to Atlanta with wife Cori, 2 1/2-year-old son Decker and nearly 6-month-old Nolan for Braves' workouts at Truist Park. After opening day was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic, Major League Baseball and the players’ association agreed March 26 to a deal that called for teams to advance $170 million in salaries over the first 60 days of the season. Others who won’t get paychecks because of lower prorated salaries are Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Jimmy Nelson and New York Yankees reliever Jonathan Holder ($277,778 each), Pittsburgh infielder Erik Gonzalez and Minnesota pitcher Matt Wisler ($268,519 apiece), Philadelphia catcher Andrew Knapp ($262,943), Chicago Cubs pitcher Jharel Cotton ($237,037), pitchers Collin McHugh of Boston, Ross Stripling of the Dodgers and Jesse Hahn of Kansas City ($222,222 each) and Milwaukee pitcher Freddy Peralta ($575,200). “My first reaction was, wow, if we don’t have any games this year, I’m going to get paid the same amount that Freddie Freeman’s getting paid, so that’s pretty cool,” Dayton said in a reference to his teammate, a four-time All-Star first baseman with a $22 million salary that was cut to about $8.15 million. “I knew that there was going to be a point that if we resume games, I wouldn't get paid. And I was OK with that because we still received significant amounts of money and we’re fine.” Each of the roughly 480 players with so-called “straight” contracts that call for a single salary received $286,500. The 769 players with “split” contracts that have a lower salary in the minor leagues — generally a younger group not yet eligible for arbitration — got either $16,500, $30,000 or $60,000, depending on their minor league pay level. Dayton, who has spent parts of three seasons in the majors, has a $655,000, one-year contract. His prorated salary for the short season will be $242,593, assuming the contagion does not cause more games to be canceled. The group won’t have to return any cash because the March deal states “in the event there is a 2020 championship season, any amounts advanced to individual players that cannot be recouped by clubs via payroll deduction during the 2020 season for any reason shall be reimbursed to clubs from the International Tax Fund at the conclusion of the 2020 season.” That tax fund is money collected from teams that exceeded their specified bonus pools to sign high-priced Latin American amateurs. “We’re blessed because we’re getting more money than the prorated amount,” Dayton said. Most of the group has relatively low salaries for arbitration-eligible players because of injuries that sidelined them and reduced their statistics. Nelson returned last June from shoulder surgery and was limited to three starts and seven relief appearances. McHugh missed September and the postseason with a sore right elbow and signed a deal with a $600,000 salary and $3.65 million in performance and roster bonuses. Cotton, Dayton, Hahn and Stripling all were interrupted by elbow surgery early in their careers, and Gonzalez missed more than half of last season after breaking his collarbone. Peralta has a low salary in 2020 as part of a $15.5 million, five-year contract he agreed to in March. Dayton was 0-1 with a 3.00 ERA in 14 relief appearances last year and is 1-3 with a 3.34 ERA in 68 big league games that included time with the Dodgers in 2016-17. He wonders how he will fare in arbitration next winter. “It's going to be a weird year and a short season, but I guess they’re going to have to treat it on paper like a real season, a championship season," he said. "And as far as contracts go in the future, they’re going to have to take the stats this year, which is kind of scary for a relief pitcher, to be honest because you have one bad game, it takes a whole year to get that back. The slow starters can't be slow starters anymore." Stripling, a financial adviser for B. Riley Wealth Management when he’s not playing baseball, negotiated a $2.1 million deal in January but was able to have $1.5 million designated as a signing bonus, which is protected and not reduced. Only the $600,000 specified as salary in the contract gets prorated. “It will be strange to receive no money or paychecks throughout the year,” he said. “I’m thankful for my background in finance, because I’m comfortable with my ability to budget. I do worry about the 10 other guys in my situation. Technically will be receiving zero income until next April. That’s a long time to budget ahead.” One option for players could be licensing money they are owed that had been retained for them by the union. “Our PA is offering a stipend of sorts for guys in similar situations,” Stripling said. “But I don’t know how much money or how often they can receive it. It also comes from our `war chest,′ which is money saved for salaries in case of a work stoppage in 2022. Most guys will try to avoid pulling money from that unless they are in dire situations.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 27th, 2020

Schauffele leads Colonial over host of stars in tour return

By DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — The PGA Tour went three months without playing. It took three days to show fans what they were missing, even if all they could do was watch on TV. Eight players had at least a share of the lead at some point Saturday in the Charles Schwab Challenge. When the third round at Colonial ended, 14 players were separated by three shots. And not just anybody. Xander Schauffele, among the growing roster of young stars in golf, finished off his six-birdie round with a 12-footer on the last hole for a 4-under 66. The six players one shot behind included Jordan Spieth, whose short game helped him navigate some early trouble and nerves. He had the lead until going not making a birdie on the back nine. Still, his 68 gave him his best 54-hole position since Colonial a year ago as he tries to end three years without winning. Also one shot behind was Justin Thomas (66) and U.S. Open champion Gary Woodland, who quickly got into the mix with birdies on his last two holes for a 66. Rory McIlroy (69) and Justin Rose (68) were among those three shots behind. Patrick Reed, who had to birdie three of his last six holes Friday to make the cut with one shot to spare, shot 63 and was three back. All this with hardly any noise. “I don’t have like a huge effect on the crowd I’d say, so not having fans isn’t the craziest thing to me,” Schauffele said. “It just does feel like I’m playing at home with some of my buddies. It’s quiet. You make three birdies in a row, you can kind of give yourself a pat on the back.” This wasn't entirely a TV show. A few houses in the Colonial neighborhood put up their own hospitality tents to see limited golf, the rowdiest behind the 16th tee and another down the 15th fairway. Fans gathered on the balcony of an apartment complex along the 14th, which also brought ou the first, “Get in the hole!” since the PGA Tour returned for the first since since March 12 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. On the course, there were no bursts of cheers as Spieth rammed in a 40-foot putt on the eighth hole or stuffed his approach to 3 feet on No. 9 to take the lead. A few dozen of the essential personnel — broadcast crews, volunteers for scoring — were around when Schauffele made his birdie for the lead at 13-under 197. But there are leaderboards that show only the score — no need for updates on FedEx Cup leaders or statistical data for each player as he prepares a shot because that's for the fans, and there are none. That will be the only way anyone knows where they stand in what figures to be a wild chase to the finish. “When you have spectators and things, you get on a roll, and most of the time you feed off of that,” said Branden Grace, whose third straight 66 left him one shot behind. “I remember when I won Hilton Head and played well in the majors, the crowd started getting behind you and you start feeling like you can’t do anything wrong. At the moment, it’s just you and your caddie out there.” Colonial is the first of five tournaments in the return to golf that doesn't allow spectators. Players have had three days to adjust to the lack of sound. Sunday is different, everyone trying to generate their own momentum without the energy typically delivered from outside the ropes. “When you get into contention and have a chance to win a golf tournament, that adrenaline starts pumping,” Woodland said. “It’s been a little different. The first two days there wasn’t too much adrenaline. There will be adrenaline going, which you have with fans or without fans. Tomorrow should be fun.” Spieth passed a big test, with another to come as he tries to end nearly three years without a victory. Five times last year, he started a tournament with two rounds in the 60s and was left behind when he couldn't break par on Saturday. There were a few anxious moments for him, such as an iron off the fifth tee that would have finished on the practice range if not for a fence in place for the tournament. He got up-and-down from short of the green to escape with birdie. His next tee shot was right and banged off a cart — one the loudest sounds of the day — leaving him blocked by a tree. He punched it low into a back bunker and saved par. But he didn't make a birdie over the final nine holes, and the 15th cost him when he decided to wait for the players to hit on the 16th tee and started thinking too much about an 81-yard wedge. He hit it fat and made bogey. “ I feel comfortable going into tomorrow that I can shoot a good score,” Spieth said. “If it happens, it happens, and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. But I learned a bit about what was going on when I really felt kind of the nerves kick in today, and hopefully compensate for that tomorrow and hit some better shots.” The field was the strongest Colonial has seen, not surprising because so many players stuck at home for the last three months were eager for competition. And this week has made clear that so many of them came to play......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 14th, 2020

Gilas goal in 2023 is second round of FIBA World Cup

Tab Baldwin is not resting on his laurels as Gilas Pilipinas program director even during the continuing COVID-19 crisis. Despite the pause in play in all of the Philippines, the seasoned mentor reiterated that plans remain in place for the future of the national team. "First of all, we have decided, as the SBP (Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas), on the direction we're going to go to," he said in the inaugural episode of Coaches Unfiltered. He then continued, "That is to build this program with an injection of youth looking forward to 2023 and ultimately, to 2027." Earlier in the year, the Gilas pool was announced and it had young stars such as Nieto twins Mike and Matt, Gomez de Liano brothers Javi and Juan, Allyn Bulanadi, Isaac Go, Dwight Ramos, Thirdy Ravena, Rey Suerte, and Jaydee Tungcab. The 2019 PBA Draft even had the Nietos, Bulanadi, Go, and Suerte be part of a so-called "special" selection process after which, in essence, they have been loaned by their mother teams to Gilas. The national team's close ties with the PBA would remain under Coach Tab's watch as program director. At the same time, though, the goal is for Gilas to not have to depend on the PBA too much. "Maybe in the early days, we'll be looking for the younger players to complement the PBA player injection, but as time goes by, the roles will reverse," he said. He then continued, "We'll be looking for PBA players to complement what we're trying to do with the young players that we're bringing in to be, basically, full-time Gilas players." The architect of Ateneo de Manila University's three-peat then said further that in the same light, change must come as well in terms of the national team's style of play and preparation. As he put it, "The other big umbrella that will govern what we will do is the philosophy that a smaller nation in basketball terms, an underdog nation, a nation that doesn't compete in the elite (level), but wants to compete in the elite (level), in my opinion, must develop a playing point of difference." For Coach Tab, Philippine basketball just could not do anymore what it had been doing since time immemorial. "What is insanity? Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result so insanity in terms of trying to compete at the elite level is trying to do what your opponents do with them having superior talent and experience and expecting to be able to beat them," he shared. He then continued, "With that, it means we're truly trying to look for something that will be a point of difference in terms of how we play." All things considered, the brilliant tactician remains upbeat about the Filipinos chances in the 2023 FIBA World Cup - and even in the 2027 edition of the world meet. "I think that in 2023, we want to be a team that will make a very, very strong run at the second round and, I think, even achieves that. Then by 2027, I think we want to be a team that has aspirations to be in the medal round," he said. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 12th, 2020

MLB: Players want more games, no more salary cuts

By RONALD BLUM AP Baseball Writer NEW YORK (AP) — Baseball players appeared likely to propose increasing the number of regular-season games this year while holding to their demand for full prorated salaries, people familiar with their deliberations told The Associated Press. A day after Major League Baseball proposed a sliding scale of salary slashing for a pandemic-delayed season in ballparks without fans, the union held a conference call that included its executive board, player representatives and alternate player representatives, the people said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because no details were announced. One of the people said many players were angered by the proposal teams made Tuesday. It was unclear when the union will respond to MLB's plan, the people said. Stars Mike Trout and Gerrit Cole would lose the most under MLB's plan, about 77% of the $36 million each they were set to be paid this season. In all, there are 133 players whose contracts call for salaries of $10 million or more, not including shares of signing bonuses. A big leaguer earning $1 million or less would keep at least 43% of his salary under the six-tier scale. That includes a share of $200 million earmarked for players that is contingent on the postseason being completed. About 460 of approximately 900 players on rosters and injured lists when spring training was stopped in mid-March due to the new coronavirus make $1 million or less. Trout and Cole would be cut to about $8 million each. Colorado’s Nolan Arenado would drop from $35 million to $7.84 million. “Interesting strategy of making the best most marketable players potentially look like the bad guys,” Milwaukee pitcher Brett Anderson tweeted. The players’ association called the proposal “extremely disappointing.” The union has argued players already accepted a cut to prorated shares of their salaries in a March 26 agreement and should not have to bargain again. MLB would like to start the season around the Fourth of July in empty ballparks and proposed an 82-game regular-season schedule. It claims teams would lose billions of dollars by playing with no ticket money and gate-related revenue. “This season is not looking promising,” New York Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman tweeted. “Keeping the mind and body ready regardless.” Union head Tony Clark has not commented publicly on MLB’s proposal and has said very little publicly since late March. Agent Scott Boras has repeatedly criticized MLB for proposing more salary reductions and has questioned the accuracy of management’s financial claims. “Hearing a LOT of rumors about a certain player agent meddling in MLBPA affairs,” Cincinnati pitcher Trevor Bauer tweeted Wednesday. “If true — and at this point, these are only rumors — I have one thing to say... Scott Boras, rep your clients however you want to, but keep your damn personal agenda out of union business.” Boras did not respond to a request for comment on Bauer’s remarks. “Working together to manage the public health issue has brought great solidarity among the players,” Boras said earlier in the day. “They are a strong united front and resolute in their support of the MLBPA.” A season with more games would lead to players earning a higher percentage of their original salaries. MLB says that without fans each additional game would result in a $640,000 loss. Brewers chairman Mark Attanasio told the Greater Milwaukee Committee on Tuesday “the be-careful-what-you-wish-for part is hours every day.” “It’s got to come together very quickly or we won’t be able to, we will just run out of time," he said. “To pay players at a full contract rate, pretty much 90% of that would go to pay them and wouldn’t cover any other costs.” Details of the plan have been disclosed to the AP by several people familiar with the proposal. They spoke on condition of anonymity because details had not been announced. MLB’s proposal says that within 48 hours of the ratification of an agreement for player compensation terms and health and safety protocols, the commissioner’s office would announce a proposed timeline for the resumption of the season. The resumption would include a training period of at least 21 days, and each team would be allowed a maximum of three exhibition games, all in the final seven days of the training period. Opening day would be in early July, and the final scheduled regular-season game would be no later than Sept. 27 — the same as in the original 2020 schedule. Issues such as roster size, trade deadlines, series length and treatment of the luxury tax would be delegated to a subcommittee. ___ AP Sports Writer Steve Megargee in Milwaukee contributed to this report......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 28th, 2020

Ateneo s Fab 5: The Fearless Underdogs of UAAP Volleyball

(This story was originally published on April 20, 2018) Newly-appointed head coach Roger Gorayeb looked at his line-up heading into UAAP Season 71. A champion mentor of NCAA powerhouse San Sebastian College - Recoletos, Gorayeb had in his hands a gargantuan task of rebuilding the Ateneo de Manila University women’s volleyball program. Just a few months before, Ronald Dulay, the mentor before him, landed a trio of blue chip recruits who were fresh from a successful stint in the Palarong Pambansa. Angeline "Dzi" Gervacio, Fille Saint Cainglet and Jamenea "Jem" Ferrer just joined the Katipunan-based squad. Gervacio and Cainglet were products of St. Scholastica's College in Manila while Ferrer was a gem from Hope Christian School under girl’s volleyball guru Jerry Yee. Looking at his 15-woman line-up with the season just a few months ahead, Gorayeb knew he needed to do something drastic. The roster just won’t do. Talking to then athletic director Ricky Palou and team manager Tony Boy Liao, the mentor told the team officials that he intended to cut five players from the list. One could just imagine the shock in their faces. “Nakita ko may line-up pero player-playeran lang yung ganoon bang tipo, 15 ata yun. Sabi ko ‘Magtatanggal ako ng lima then magre-recruit ako,’” he said. The three rookies were in. Middle Bea Pascual, Kara Acevedo and libero Steph Gabriel retained their spots. He needed more. “Sa mga tinira kong players, si Kara Acevedo sabi niya, ‘Coach mayroong player ang ICA (Immaculate Conception Academy) na gumraduate naka-exam na rito pasado.’ Sabi ko, ‘Sige papuntahin mo,’” said Gorayeb. It was Gretchen Ho. “Sa akin kasi ang talagang nagyaya sa akin si Coach Ron Dulay. Si Kara Acevedo teammate ko and she’s been recruited by Ateneo. So one summer wala akong magawa naki-train lang ako noon tapos nagustuhan nila ang laro ko and then fourth year noong graduate na ako I passed the ACET then niyayaya na nila ako,” Ho said. “Then nagbago ng coach na si Coach Roger and dun niya ako nakita.”   “Pagdating ko ng March (sa Ateneo) wala na akong way para maka-recruit pa. Ang nangyari yung tatlo accepted na kaagad. Si Gretchen tinanong ko sabi ko, ‘ano ba ang laro mo?’ Sabi niya the usual panggitna, tres,” Gorayeb recalled. “So sinubukan ko pero ang laro niya tres hindi quick. Siya panggitna pero hindi quicker na gusto ko saka yung height niya (maliit). Kaya lang si Gretchen takbo ng takbo, mahilig magtatakbo so sabi ko sige pwede na yan. Wala namang player na during that time. So kinuha ko si Gretchen.” Gorayeb just needed just one more. “Ngayon nagkaroon ng STCAA (Southern Tagalog Calabarzon athletic association) eh kulang pa ako ng isa, wala akong panggitna. Ang gitna ko during that time si Bea lang tapos si Gretchen so wala akong pamalit. So naisipan ko may nakita ako sa STCAA,” he said. He spotted a lanky player from Canossa Academy-Lipa, Aillysse Nacachi. “Sabi ko kay Sir Tony pagtyagaan ko na lang ito kahit hindi naman kalakasan at wala naman na rin akong choice na makapili kasi rush ang pagdating ko dyan. Nakiusap lang sila sa akin na magbuo ako ng team kasi si Ronald nag-resign,” said Gorayeb. Another freshman could’ve had ended up with Ateneo, Hope’s libero Melissa Gohing. But a few obstacles prevented her from fulfilling her promise to join Ferrer in Ateneo. She instead chose to join the ladies in green and white in Taft.    SOMETHING PROMISING December 7, 2008. Far Eastern University Gym. Excitement filled the air. Fans, mostly volleyball purists and some who just came to support their classmates or were just curious to see a new spectacle after the basketball season ended, slowly settled in their seats for the women’s division’s second game. It was Adamson University, the previous year’s runner-up, which just visited the turf of their arch nemesis and defending champion FEU, which was led by that era’s finest and most popular volleybelle Rachel Anne Daquis. Fans wanted to see if the Lady Falcons still had the same firepower they had the previous season with the loss of top setter Janet Serafica and power hitter Sang Laguilles. A rookie-laden Ateneo squad should be easy pickings with Angela Benting, rookie Pau Soriano and libero Lizlee Anne Gata in the roster. Besides the Lady Falcons got the Lady Eagles’ number. Or so they thought. “Naalala ko nu’ng time namin sinasabi sa amin ng seniors namin na, ‘Hay naku ang lakas ng Adamson, never kami nanalo dyan,’” Cainglet, now happily married to Taguig mayor Lino Cayetano and with three beautiful children, recalled.  But the Lady Eagles stunned Adamson in the opening set. The Lady Falcons took the next two frames. Ateneo stole the fourth.  “Ako naalala ko ano eh, parang alam namin na lahat kasi kami palaban. Nasa amin yun. Tapos binigyan kaming lahat ng chance to be in the first six so parang dream come true,” said Ho, now an ABS-CBN host. “Naalala ko rin na palaban kaming lahat kumbaga nothing to lose eh so ang ano namin, sumasabay kami sa laro and nu’ng nakita na namin na ‘Ay kaya pala natin ‘to guys. Kaya pala naming lumaban.’” Still, Adamson had the upper hand in experience. The Lady Falcons, used to pressure and were steady at crunch time, outlasted Ateneo.           The young Katipunan-based squad fell short, 25-22, 22-25, 15-25, 25-15, 8-15. But for the Fab 5, it was a loss that felt like a resounding victory. “Parang sobrang natutuwa kami and everybody in the crowd, kaya siguro kami natawag na Fab 5 kasi rookies kami pero kahit ganoon palaban kami,” said Ho. “Saka close game. Five sets yun.” However, it was the first of five five-set matches that Ateneo will drop that season including one in the second round against the Manilla Santos-bannered De La Salle University. “Pero ang problema di kami nananalo ng five sets. Parang ilan lang ang naipanalo namin na ganoon. Feeling ko na-overwhelm kami na ‘Uy nananalo tayo.’ May ganoong disbelief ng konti pero alam namin na may ibubuga kami,” said Ho. “Definitely, our rookie season was full of five-set matches. It was tough, we felt like we were so close, but still so far away. At some point, it gave us frustration also. We just couldn't figure out that time what is it that's still lacking because we couldn't win the five-set matches,” according to Nacachi. “People said, it was because the team was still so inexperienced. We still didn't have the tenacity unlike of those more matured teams. But we didn't take it as bad, it was a learning experience for us all at the end. We had to learn how to develop that finishing will to be able to win games like that in the future.” The Fab 5 finished their rookie season with a 6-8 slate at fifth spot.   ‘MAY MEDAL NA TAYO’ Gorayeb remembered on their second year the look on Pascual’s face in their last elimination game match against Adamson. Already wrapping up their first win over the Lady Falcons, Pascual was giddy. “Natatawa nga ako dyan kay Bea kasi papanalo na kami nu’n tapos sumesenyas na siya ng tres. Sabi ko, ‘Hoy anong ginagawa mo?’ Yun pala sobrang saya na niya kasi for the first time in 30 years magkaka-medal na sila,” he said. It was the most important match of the season for the Lady Eagles. With the Fab 5 already in their sophomore year, Ateneo was already making great strides. The Lady Eagles closed that season’s elims with five straight wins capped off with a victory over Adamson. Ateneo posted a 10-4 win-loss mark to enter the Final Four legitimately. “Ang nangyari kasi nu’ng time nila Charo (Soriano) kaya sila nakapasok sa semis kasi may nag-squeal na si (Jacq) Alarca di pala naka-enroll nu’n kaya na-forfeit mga laro ng La Salle,” said Gorayeb. The Fab 5 proved that they were not just a bunch of much-hyped up pretty faces. They backed it up with their skills on court. It didn’t matter that Ateneo were swept by eventual champion University of Sto. Tomas in the Final Four.      But the podium finish of Season 72 was short-lived. Adamson got its revenge in the last game of Season 73 elims, bumping off the Lady Eagles for a podium finish. The loss put Ateneo in a collision course with the twice-to-beat DLSU, who could’ve completed an elims sweep if not only for a forfeited match against University of the East after UAAP found out that Carmela Garbin and Clarisse Yeung participated in a ‘ligang labas’ while the season was onoing, in the Final Four. Ateneo gave the Lady Spikers a scare before succumbing in another heartbreaking five-set match. The Lady Eagles finished fourth but that lone semis game gave Ateneo and its maturing Fab 5 enough experience to dream for something big – A ticket into the Finals.      ‘HINOG NA KAYO’ The first three years saw the gradual improvement for Ateneo. But Season 74 proved to be the turning point for the Fab 5. A fresh new recruit from University of Sto. Tomas high school, who just completed a year of residency, came into picture and with the Fab 5 armed with years of experience, the Lady Eagles’ fate will forever be changed. Alyssa Valdez, a highly recruited open spiker just like Gervacio, Cainglet-Cayetano and Ferrer years back, gave renewed excitement for the Ateneo faithful. “Alyssa's joining with Ateneo was a great turning point for us. We needed as much support we can get, and Alyssa's entrance to the team was a great boost to the team's morale,” said Nacachi. “The girl is a powerhouse and we felt like with her presence, the team finally became solid.” “We were able to play around with the positions and the rotations, since we had different versatile open players who can also greatly play other roles,” she added. “We were also able to formulate a lot of plays and attacks because Alyssa can generally do all kinds; open, running, quick, name it all. She gave the team the power and the versatility that we previously lacked from the past seasons.” Social media was just gaining traction then but the Lady Eagles were already on the radar of volleyball purists through online forums. For the first time, Ateneo was considered a legitimate contender.   The Fab 5 proved it by winning 11 games in the elimination round, losing only to UST once and dropping two against the Lady Spikers. Valdez’s arrival gave Ferrer an even broader option on offense. It eased the scoring load off the shoulders of Cainglet and Gervacio, who was then moved to an opposite position. “I guess sakto lang din yung dating niya because by that time Kara Acevedo graduated so someone had to fill in her spot so coach Roger decided for me to move to utility or opposite,” said Gervacio. “And then sakto Alyssa naman could fill in the spot na other open spiker.” “So timing din na we had all the pieces put together at the right time,” she added. With a good performance in the elims despite missing a legit middle in Bea Pascual and the entry of Aerieal Patnongon barred by academic problems, Ateneo finished second and for the first-time was armed with a twice-to-beat advantage in the stepladder semifinals. The Lady Eagles faced an experienced Tigresses side in the last stepladder semis stage. UST just came from a hard-fought four-set do-or-die match against FEU and were banking on their four-set win over Ateneo in the second round to force another sudden death. Ateneo’s date with destiny was sealed with a four-set win over the Tigresses, who then bid goodbye to Maika Ortiz and Judy Anne Caballejo. “Pinu-push na rin kami ni Coach Roger noon eh, ‘Hinog na kayo ngayon. Kasi dalawang taon na lang, kailangan makapasok na kayo sa Finals,’” said Ho. “Somehow senior na rin kami,” added Cainglet.  “Season 74 was really the target season for us to be in the finals and target even to win the championship,” according to Nacachi. “During this time, we were already thinking we could not afford to not go in the finals.” “So it was with our mindset and our level of commitment that we were able to finally reach our goal of reaching the finals,” she added. “We had enough experience that time already, and it was really time for us to show the level of game maturity the team had obtained from the past seasons.” But then they had to face an unbeaten team. Unscathed in 14 games, De La Salle University was poised to complete a perfect season. The Lady Eagles spoiled it. Ferrer outplayed DLSU setter Mika Esperanza, 57-42, in excellent sets as Ateneo handed the Lady Spikers its first loss after 25 straight victories in a come-from-behind 23-25, 28-26, 25-23, 25-17, Finals opener win. Witnessed by 3,002 spectators inside the then The Arena in San Juan, all of the Fab 5 produced points. Cainglet had 19 behind Valdez’s 24, Gervacio scored 12, Ho had 10, Nacachi finished with five while Ferrer had one. Gorayeb made a big gambit and it worked. “Dahil sa wala kong panggitna, yung laro namin ng La Salle, ginawa kong quicker si Alyssa. Kasi si Alyssa nakakapalo. Nagulat si Ramil (de Jesus) dun.” It was a big win. A huge upset. Unfortunately, Ateneo needed to win two more.  DLSU held a thrice-to-beat advantage.   THAT SWAG After Ateneo made a miracle in Game One, fans began to feel a new rivalry born. The attendance spiked. From just 3,000 spectators, the gate attendance more than doubled its size. The interest was there. Fans of traditional powers began to notice the Lady Eagles as a rising team. For the first time, a squad with no previous championship experience except for a title during the Marcos era in a different collegiate league, made a giant jolt. Everybody wanted to see what these girls would do next.    The Lady Eagles, still high on adrenaline after their Game 1 upset, took the opening set in Game 2. But just like in their opener, a well-experienced DLSU squad adjusted to take the next three frames to move a step closer to a repeat crown. With then Rookie of the Year Ara Galang, Season Most Valuable Player Aby Marano, an intimidating Michele Gumabao and a very efficient Finals MVP Cha Cruz teaming up for the kill, the Lady Spikers ripped Ateneo apart in Game 3 in straight sets, 25-16, 25-22, 25-13. “Sabi nga ni Dzi na nadyan na lahat eh. So I guess noong Season 74 nandoon na pero may kulang pa rin,” said Ho. “I guess we we’re able to make it to the Finals pero wala pa kaming championship experience.” Ferrer agreed. "Siguro ang kulang yung championship experience kasi nasa La Salle na ‘yun eh. Ilang years na silang nagpa-finals, nag-champion and for Ateneo doon pa lang namin sinimulan," said the three-time Best Setter. Lacking championship experience is one thing, but Ateneo during that time wasn’t ready for DLSU’s most feared weapon: the Lady Spikers’ swag.  “They have that swag,” said Gervacio. “Everyone knows about it naman. It’s really Coach Ramil’s style talaga kasi as I remember when we were first year, four out of six of the players inside the court were rookies and even if we go against the powerhouses UST, FEU, Adamson, hindi sila yung nakikita nyo na kapag championship na rivalry, na swag, angas, stare down. Pero La Salle talaga kahit sino ang kalaban nila they’ll bring that attitude inside the court.” That Finals series cemented a new rivalry that will become one of the most celebrated in the sport. “I think it also helped that Ateneo-La Salle basketball didn’t face also,” said Gervacio. “Siyempre nandoon ang hunger for the rivalry eh and timely din na its been Ateneo-La Salle na rin sa volleyball.”   CLOSING A CHAPTER The Fab 5 were now in their fifth and last year. They wanted to leave a winning legacy. The pieces were already there. Gorayeb had at his disposal five seniors, a rising star in Valdez, a sophomore middle in Amy Ahomiro, a versatile Ella De Jesus, a steady libero in Denden Lazaro and a new kind of weapon – a massive crowd that can turn any venue into a sea of blue.              As expected, the second installment of the Ateneo-DLSU rivalry was set into place. Both sweeping their semis opponents. The Lady Spikers crushed National University while the Lady Eagles shot down Adamson. Game One was a shocker. DLSU heading into the Finals are on a 14-game roll but were stunned in the first two sets with Ateneo stepping on the gas. But a string of miscues, mostly from the service line, did the Lady Eagles in as they allowed the Lady Spikers to force a decider. DLSU, smelling blood, punished Ateneo to eke out a 20-25, 17-25, 25-22, 25-22, 15-6, victory inside the Big Dome witnesses by 17,342-strong gate attendance. Then the series transferred to a newly-built, state-of-the-art Mall of Asia Arena that drew a crowd of 18,799. The first two frames were frustrating for the Lady Eagles.   Ateneo came back to life in the third set to gain a 9-5 lead. But DLSU easily erased it with Ateneo crumbling under pressure. The Lady Spikers were on an onslaught. Sophomore Galang pushed DLSU at matchpoint with a cold-blooded ace that went in a few inches from the baseline. The score, 24-16. It was a tense moment for the Fab 5. A long rally ensued in the next play. Gervacio, with all her might pounded a kill. Her hand making a great contact on the ball off Ferrer’s backset.     Smack! The ball ricocheted off the hands of DLSU’s Wensh Tiu before falling on the same landing area of Gervacio, who tried to dive for a dig together with Lazaro. DLSU swept Ateneo, 25-23, 25-20, 25-16. Game over.          “Kahit hindi kami nanalo alam naming ibinigay namin ang lahat namin, all-out talaga kaya wala kaming pagsisisi,” said Ho. It was the end of the Fab 5 era, but they left more than what any of them could have imagined. "I remember so many people or fans telling me that they started really watching UAAP Volleyball because of our batch. And that is really touching and fulfilling to know. Knowing that you were able to leave an impact like that to people. We were not able to bring even a single championship to our school, Ateneo, but we were able to touch a lot of people's hearts despite that," Nacachi shared. The Fab 5 closed a colorful chapter of Ateneo volleyball in tears. They were there during the Lady Eagles’ birth pains. They labored. They shed tears, blood and sweat. They laid the foundation for something big. The Fab 5 planted the seeds that would eventually bear fruit and would change the course of Ateneo women’s volleyball program forever. Glory didn’t happen during their time. It started in theirs.    Amidst the roar of the crowd, the falling confetti, banging of drums and the echoing chant of ‘Animo La Salle’ from the sea of green, the Fab 5 hugged each other tight. They found comfort in each other. It was their time to say goodbye. For those who remained – Valdez, Lazaro, Ahomiro, De Jesus – the defeat added fuel to their already blazing desire to bring glory for the blue and white. They were the next in line, heirs to an unfinished business. WATCH: FAB 5 Reunion Part 1 and Part 2 --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 24th, 2020

BEST-OF-5 SERIES: The Pingoy Rules Part 1

Pingoy Rule: Never give up. --- Jerie Pingoy is not a disappointment. He is disappointed in himself, no doubt about that, but he is not a disappointment. Not just yet - so he says. "'Di ako susuko na makapag-PBA. I still want to prove to everyone na kaya ko pang makipagsabayan," he said, full of confidence, in a phone interview. "Kasi nakikita ko pa sa sarili kong kaya ko pa eh - as in, kaya ko pa. Sana, sana mabigyan ako ng chance to prove na I'm still worthy." Many dream of playing in the PBA, but only a few get to do so. Even fewer get to do so after going missing in action for more than a year. The last time we saw the 5-foot-9 point guard, he and Adamson University were at the wrong end of the University of the Philippines' breakthrough in 2018. No, that's not right. The last time we actually saw Pingoy was in the now-suspended 2020 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup where he played two games with Karate Kid-Centro Escolar University. "Sa ngayon, I'm trying to come back. Since bata ako, gusto ko mag-PBA, pero sa ngayon, sa nakikita ko sa sarili ko, kailangan ko magdoble-kayod para dun," he said. "Ang hirap pa ngayon, nawala ako ng (higit isang) taon kaya mas lalong dapat ipakita kong worthy akong mapunta dun." In between his last game as a Soaring Falcon and his first one with the Scorpions, indeed, it seemed as if the 25-year-old just went off the grid - something that would have been thought to be impossible years ago when he was still the toast of high school basketball and a hoped-for contributor in collegiate hoops. GOOD OLD DAYS "One of the best players I've ever seen. He was the complete package," Mike Oliver, Pingoy's head coach at Far Eastern University-Diliman, answered when asked to look back at his former ward. Oliver would be one of the few people who would have a good grasp of the top talents at the high school level as he was a champion coach there as well as mentor of Batang Gilas. "It was a transition from Coach Norman [Black] to Coach Bo [Perasol] and we were trying to rebuild the program. He was one of the first recruits talaga that Coach Bo wanted," Kiefer Ravena, Pingoy's teammate in Ateneo de Manila University, answered when asked to recall one of the prized prospects he helped recruit. Ravena would be one of the people who would know a thing or two about the Blue Eagles' recruitment plans in the early '10s as, of course, playing with him would have been one of the reasons why a player would want to wear blue and white. "We're just scratching the surface of what he can do right now. If he will just follow what we're trying to teach him, he will be a better all-around player," Franz Pumaren, shot-caller at Adamson University where Pingoy transferred to, said right after one of the better games he had in college. Pumaren would be one of the few people who would have the power to make somebody believe that his system leads to wins and championships - and the power to judge the potential of a player. NEW YEAR, NEW ME After two years in Adamson, though, Pingoy decided against playing his fifth and final playing year in the UAAP and decided to instead nurse his troublesome left foot back to full strength. Along with that, for the good of his mind, he decided to stay away from all the noise. And so, for more than a year, not much was heard from Pingoy nor did he hear anything from anyone. That was until Karate Kid-CEU came calling by getting him in the 2020 PBA D-League Draft. With his up-and-down collegiate career a thing of the past, Pingoy was nothing but grateful for yet another shot. "I'm so thakful sa CEU kasi sobrang inaalagaan nila ako. Sina Coach Jeff [Napa] pati mga boss dun, tinutulungan talaga nila akong mabalik yung career ko," he said. So much was he grateful that he wasted no time in returning their trust in him. In fact, in just a month, he was able to shed off excess fat - something he has been known to be unable to get away from in his last years in college - and shape up. "After practices, may workout pa ako and dahil dun, from 250 lbs., naging 211 lbs. na lang ako nung may D-League pa. Ngayon, tuloy-tuloy pa rin and 197 lbs. na lang ako," he was glad to report. He also added, "Kailangan nasa 170 lbs. Sana makuha." HERE WE GO AGAIN Just when it looked like all was finally coming together for Pingoy, however, COVID-19 turned into a pandemic and forced the D-League, as well as all other sporting events, to be postponed. And with the crisis continuing, it is yet to be determined when the developmental league would resume - or if it would even resume considering that all but one of its 11 participating teams are college-based. This is just the latest challenge in a young career that has already been through several starts and stops. Start with back-to-back UAAP Jrs. MVPs as well as a championship in FEU-Diliman. Stop with brand new residency rules from high school to college. Start with the starting point guard position in your first game in Ateneo. Stop with a logjam of point guards and then academic deficiencies. Start with a long-awaited breakout as a two-way player for Adamson. Stop with a foot injury that failed to fully heal. Start with Karate Kid-CEU taking a chance on you. Stop with COVID-19 shutting down anything and everything. Still, Pingoy chooses to see the silver linings. "I think it's God's plan. Hindi yung virus ha," he shared with a laugh. He then continued, "For me, sinasabing bago ka maglaro ulit, kailangang fit na fit ka. Dapat, 'di na ganun kataba. Dapat, ipakita sa CEU na kahit walang training, ready pa rin." For sure, his future is yet to be written - and only his hand is holding the pen. Still, it could not be argued that after all those starts and stops, the very first one remains to have left the biggest mark. NEXT ON BEST-OF-5 SERIES: THE PINGOY RULES: "Nasasayangan ako sa years na 'di ako nakapaglaro. Kung nakapaglaro ako nung mga yun, mag-iiba yung takbo ng panahon." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 8th, 2020

SUPER SHOWDOWN: UST four-peat vs La Salle four-peat

It has been a week since the legend of Aric Del Rosario came to a close. And of course, the passing of the always amiable mentor fondly called "Tatay Aric" only recalled his most memorable milestone - that of four consecutive championships for University of Sto. Tomas. In the same way that Del Rosario and the Growling Tigers lorded over the early-to-mid '90s, however, so did De La Salle University dominate the late '90s and early '00s. With first-time head coach Franz Pumaren at the helm, the Green Archers ran roughshod over the rest of the league for their very own four consecutive championships. And so, from 1993 to 2001, the UAAP became a battleground for supremacy between two teams - two teams that each won four titles in a row and two teams that would ultimately go down in history. Which four-peat was more impressive, however? This is the question we hope to answer in ABS-CBN Sports' Super Showdown. To concretize the strengths and weaknesses of Coach Aric's UST and Coach Franz's La Salle when compared to one another, we will be judging them in five categories (talent, system, level of competition, legacy, and impact) with a boxing-style 10-point must system determining the decision. TALENT You can't win four consecutive championships without talent - and without a doubt, both UST and La Salle were filled to the brim with talent in those days. All of Estong Ballesteros, Chris Cantonjos, Bal David, Dennis Espino, Rey Evangelista, Patrick Fran, Gerard Francisco, Henry Ong, Dale Singson, Siot Tangquincen, and Richard Yee were Growling Tigers in their four-peat. Meanwhile, the Green Archers had Dino Aldeguer, Don Allado, Mac Cardona, Mike Cortez, Mac Cuan, BJ Manalo, Renren Ritualo, Carlo Sharma, Adonis Sta. Maria, Mon Jose, Dominic Uy, Cholo Villanueva, Willy Wilson, and Joseph Yeo in their four-peat. Weighed against one another, La Salle had more players who became key contributors for PBA contenders in Cardona, Cortez, Ritualo, and Yeo. UST makes up for this with consistency, however, as not only did the likes of Espino, David, Evangelista, and Yee turn into rotation players in the PBA, they did so for a longer time compared to their green and white counterparts. More than that, the Growling Tigers hold a trump card over the Green Archers in this department in the form of national team players Espino and Evangelista. Advantage UST's four-peat, 10-9 SYSTEM In terms of name recognition, the famed "Pumaren Press" remains well-known to this day. With dogged defenders such as Aldeguer, Cortez, Jose, Cuan, and Villanueva at the head of the attack, playing against La Salle back then was not at all a fun proposition for opponents. Those turnovers were then quickly converted into easy baskets that, more often than not, led to wins - a recipe for success that still works until now. However, UST had some of the most complete teams in UAAP history during its four-peat and would most probably have had all the answers in the face of full-court pressure. In David, Fran, Francisco and Tangquincen, the Growling Tigers had steady ballhandlers who would have been prepared to the utmost by "Tatay Aric." And once they crossed over to their side of the court, good luck trying to stop, or even just slow down, Espino or Cantonjos at the post. Put simply, Del Rosario's black and gold machine just didn't have any holes or leaks back then. Advantage UST's four-peat, 10-9 LEVEL OF COMPETITION The UAAP was a gauntlet of good to great teams in La Salle's four-peat. For sure, winning a championship - let alone four in a row - was a tall task back then. Standing in the Green Archers' way were an Ateneo side that had Rich Alvarez, Rico Villanueva, Paolo Bugia, Larry Fonacier, and LA Tenorio; an FEU side that had Leo Avenido and Celino Cruz; a National U side that had Edward Asoro, Froilan Baguion, Alfie Grijaldo, and Rey Mendoza; a UE side that had Paul Artadi, Ronald Tubid, and James Yap; and a UST side that had Cyrus Baguio. Through its dynasty, the green and white had to down their archrival Blue Eagles once in the Finals, the Tamaraws twice in the Finals and once in the semis, the Growling Tigers twice in the semis and once in the Finals, and the Bulldogs once in the semis, That's not to say UST's four-peat was way easier, however. When the Growling Tigers sat on the throne, coming for them were Adamson's Kenneth Duremdes, who averaged more than 30 points per game in 1993, and EJ Feihl; Ateneo's Vince Hizon and Ritchie Ticzon; FEU's Long David and Nestor Echano; La Salle's Tony Boy Espinosa, Elmer Lago, Alvin Magpantay, Cali Orfrecio, Mark Telan, and Jason Webb; and National U's Danny Ildefonso and Lordy Tugade. Make no mistake, many of those names would go on to be PBA superstars themselves and the black and gold went through all of them and came away as winner. It's just that, during the Green Archers' four-peat, the league was fast becoming the killer competition from top to bottom that it is today. Advantage La Salle's four-peat, 10-8 IMPACT UST's 14-0 season sweep in 1993 forced the league to change its rules - rules that are enacted up to now. That year saw the supposed debut of the Final Four, but with the Growling Tigers winning each and every game of the elimination round, the new format wasn't meant to be. According to the then-league rule, a team that goes perfect through the elims is automatically the champion of the tournament. And so, after that year, that rule was no more and now, a team that goes perfect through the elims would still have to play in the Finals. How that UST dynasty was built also became the template for many championship cores to come as it heavily recruited outside Metro Manila. In fact, Tatay Aric was the pioneer in bringing over talent from Pampanga, now considered one of the hotbeds of Philippine basketball, with recruits like Espino. In the same light, La Salle's four-peat also expanded the league's horizons abroad with the likes of Cortez and Wilson taking their talents from the US to their native land. From then until now, Filipino-foreign players have actually become some sort of signature for Coach Franz, but there could be no doubt that he has only used it to great effect. The Green Archers' time at the top also coincided with archrival Ateneo's rise, rekindling a rivalry that would bring all of the UAAP to greater and greater heights. In all, however, UST just set the bar for what a team could win in the modern era - a bar that La Salle itself did its very best to clear. Advantage UST's four-peat, 10-9 LEGACY In Taft Avenue, championships have become the standard as La Salle has taken home three more trophies since its four-peat. In Espana, that '90s four-peat remains the glory days as UST has only been able to add one more title from there. Meaning, up to today, the Growling Tigers' four consecutive championships from 1993 to 1997 mean the world to Thomasians. Meanwhile, for Lasallians, that run from 1998 to 2001 is only expected for their teams - not the consecutive championships per se, but the continued contention, at the very least. Advantage UST's four-peat, 10-9 (Photo courtesy of UAAP Classics on Facebook) FINAL SCORE, 48-46, for UST's four-peat.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 2nd, 2020