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Acer backs PUBG Continental Series 2 APAC

After the successful and meaningful collaboration for the PCS Charity Showdown in May---the one that marked the start of the continental esports tournament series lined up this year---PUBG and Acer are coming together once more in the competition that will determine the third APAC region champion of 2020. .....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnSep 26th, 2020

Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise CEO encourages businesses to digitize now

Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise, the global leader in business communications and collaboration solutions today concluded its first-ever Connex20 APAC Partner Virtual Series. .....»»

Category: techSource:  thestandardRelated NewsAug 17th, 2020

Angels recover after giving up late lead, beat Astros in 10

By The Associated Press ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Matt Thaiss scored on Michael Hermosillo’s bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the 10th inning, and the Los Angeles Angels snapped their three-game skid with a 5-4 victory over the Houston Astros on Saturday night. Jason Castro delivered a tying RBI double in the ninth for the Angels, who improved the majors’ worst record to 3-6 despite blowing a two-run lead in the ninth. David Fletcher hit a leadoff single in the 10th off Nivaldo Rodriguez (0-1), sending Thaiss to third. After the Astros walked Anthony Rendon to load the bases, Thaiss scored on Josh Reddick’s inaccurate throw from medium right field. Angels reliever Noé Ramirez got two outs in the 10th, and Ryan Buchter (2-0) struck out Abraham Toro with the bases loaded in a rare bright moment for the Halos’ struggling relievers. YANKEES 5, RED SOX 2 NEW YORK (AP) — Gio Urshela hit his first big league grand slam, Aaron Judge homered for a career-high fourth straight game and New York won its fifth straight. Nick Nelson (1-0) pitched three hitless innings to win his major league debut. At 6-1, the Yankees are off to their best start since 2003. Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka made his season debut after recovering from a concussion sustained when he was hit in the head by Giancarlo Stanton’s line drive during practice on July 4. Tanaka lasted just 2 2/3 innings and 51 pitches, tiring in his second time through the order. David Hale finished the six-hitter for his third career save, his first this year. Judge homered in the first inning off Zack Godley (0-1), a 455-foot drive to left-center. Urshela hit his second homer of the season an inning later for a 5-0 lead. TWINS 3, INDIANS 0 MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Miguel Sanó homered twice and Kenta Maeda pitched six scoreless innings in his home debut for Minnesota. Eddie Rosario added a solo homer for the Twins, who got another strong start from a veteran newcomer to its starting rotation. Maeda (2-0) retired 13 of the first 14 batters he faced and didn’t allow a hit until Bradley Zimmer beat out a weak ground ball to second base in the fifth inning. Carlos Carrasco (1-1) gave up six hits in six innings for Cleveland and was done in by three solo home runs from the Twins. Maeda, acquired in an offseason trade from the Dodgers, was one of three key additions to strengthen Minnesota’s rotation along with Rich Hill and Homer Bailey. BRAVES 7, METS 1 ATLANTA (AP) — Ronald Acuña Jr. shook off a slow start by driving in two runs with two hits, including his first homer, and Atlanta won its fourth straight. The Mets have lost four straight, including the first two games of the four-game series between the NL East rivals. Marcell Ozuna hit a two-run homer, his third, off Michael Wacha (1-1) in the first inning. Acuña led off the game with his 18th strikeout, the most in the majors, before emerging from his funk. He doubled in a run in the second for his first RBI as the Braves stretched the lead to 5-0. Acuña lined his first homer into the left-field seats in the sixth off right-hander Franklyn Kilome. Josh Tomlin (1-0) pitched 2 1/3 perfect innings with three strikeouts for the win. WHITE SOX 11, ROYALS 5 KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Gio Gonzalez made his first start for the hot-hitting Chicago White Sox more than 16 years after they drafted him, and the veteran responded by holding the Kansas City Royals scoreless into the fourth inning. Eloy Jimenez hit a three-run homer and finished with a career-high four hits, and rookie Luis Robert had four hits while finishing a triple shy of the cycle, leading a White Sox barrage of 21 hits in all. Leury Garcia also pounded out four hits, Yoan Moncada added three and Yasmani Grandal had a pair of hits while driving in two runs. That was plenty of support for Gonzalez, who scattered five hits and three walks while striking out six in 3 2/3 innings. Matt Foster (1-0), one of six White Sox relievers, got the win. Much of Chicago’s damage came off spot starter Ronald Bolanos (0-2), who allowed five runs in 1 2/3 innings. Whit Merrifield hit a two-run homer for the Royals. Ryan O’Hearn drove in their other two runs. ROCKIES 6, PADRES 1 DENVER (AP) — Kyle Freeland pitched six innings of two-hit ball and was backed by the superb defense of Trevor Story and Nolan Arenado as Colorado beat San Diego. Freeland (2-0) allowed a two-out single to Tommy Pham in the first and then retired 13 in a row before Francisco Mejia’s double in the sixth. The left-hander struck out four and walked one in throwing an economical 83 pitches. Story contributed at the plate as well with a solo shot in the fourth. It was his second straight game with a homer. Matt Kemp hit a solo homer in the third for the Rockies. Padres lefty Joey Lucchesi (0-1) had a forgettable outing in going 1 2/3 innings and giving up three runs. Trent Grisham homered to center in the eighth off Rockies reliever Yency Almonte. DODGERS 11, DIAMONDBACKS 2 PHOENIX (AP) — Chris Taylor hit a three-run homer, A.J. Pollock and Edwin Ríos added two-run shots and Los Angeles rolled past Arizona. The bottom of the Dodgers' order showed big power in the fourth inning when Ríos — who was hitting seventh — smashed a two-run homer over the 413-foot sign in center field. Two batters later, Matt Beaty ripped another homer that barely stayed fair down the right-field line. D-backs starter Luke Weaver (0-2) took the loss after giving up six runs in four-plus innings. The Dodgers broke the game open with a five-run fifth when the first six batters reached base on Weaver and reliever Yoan López. Justin Turner hit a two-run triple and Pollock added a two-run homer as Los Angeles pushed its lead to 8-2. Taylor’s three-run homer in the eighth made it 11-2. Dodgers starter Julio Urías (1-0) gave up two runs over six innings while striking out five......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 2nd, 2020

GREATEST PERFORMANCES: Angels’ miraculous comeback

PetroGazz was considered a dark horse when it joined the Premier Volleyball league two years ago. The Angels surprised everyone when it toppled a powerhouse the following season. Despite just being in its second year in the league, PetroGazz displayed an impressive performance when it shocked then reigning champion Creamline in the best-of-three Finals series of the 2019 Reinforced Conference that went the full distance. It’s true that the Angels paled in comparison to the Cool Smashers when it came to big names in their local lineup. Creamline was obviously the favorite during the championship series with its experience and a star-studded crew led by Alyssa Valdez, setter Jia Morado, Michele Gumabao, Risa Sato and Mel Gohing backed by Thai import Kuttika Kaewpin and towering Venezuelan Ale Blanco. The first game as expected went to Creamline in four sets although marred by a late controversial call. The next two games were nothing short of miracles. American Janisa Johnson and Cuban Wilma Salas willed the Angels back in the series three days after getting their backs pushed against the wall. That game didn’t start the way PetroGazz wanted it to but the Angels were quick to recover to walk away with a four-set revenge win and force a rubber match – scheduled the following day on the highlands of Antipolo.      “I mean after the first set it was like okay a reality check and it kicked in,” said Johnson after that all-important Game 2 in where she and Salas dropped 23 points each. “It’s now or never so we kicked in just in time.” With momentum on its side, the Angels controlled Game 3 early on. PetroGazz did tumble in the extended second frame and had to hang tough in the closing stretch of the third following a 22-22 tie. Salas and Johnson did their usual role on offense but it was the locals led by Jeanette Panaga, Cherry Nunag, Jonah Sabete, setter Djanel Cheng and libero Cienne Cruz that stepped up big time to help dismantle Creamline with a 25-15, 28-30, 25-23, 25-19 victory to clinch PetroGazz’s breakthrough crown. "Answered prayers. These two imports namin played a big role but again siyempre as a team talaga di naman namin makukuha ito basta-basta kung walang help ng locals," said PetroGazz coach Arnold Laniog. "But the moment na nag-commit talaga sila doon sa goal namin, sabi ko 'Atin na di na talaga papakawalan.'"  Many would argue that the Angels won their breakthrough title relying on the caliber of their imports. PetroGazz would deflect its doubters by saying that it was a collective effort from the team. It’s true that the Angels that time tapped the services of a pair of top foreign imports. But isn’t the Reinforced Conference a tournament about imports? A test for the management of clubs to pluck the best reinforcements to complement their locals? No one can deny that PetroGazz indeed made a miracle happen… against a team that had good imports and the deepest local lineup in the league.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 9th, 2020

From Cellar-Dweller to Contender: Basilan s phenomenal rise in the MPBL

Coming off a rough 2018-19 MPBL Datu Cup campaign, Basilan Steel-Jumbo Plastic has no way to go but up, with the help of Phenom Sports, its new management team. Phenom, led by Jax Chua, took over Basilan late last season when the Steel have already spiraled down to the bottom of the MPBL and finished the tournament tied with Rizal for the last spot of the Southern division behind a dismal 7-18 win-loss record. From there, Phenom rebuilt the team, starting with the coaching staff that has what it takes to maneuver a losing team to a victorious one. “Coming in, ‘yung outlook naming sa team, we want to bring a winning culture ditto sa Basilan. We took the challenge kahit alam naming cellar-dweller noong Datu Cup,” said Chua, who also serves as the general manager of the Steel. Coach Jerson Cabiltes took the helm for Basilan, alongside deputies Noy Catalan, Florian Pineda, Arnold Oliveros, Jinino Manansala, Joseph Guion, Migs Montero, and Dands Javier. Then came the task to build a team that exhibits the same qualities of the Basileños: determined, full of perseverance, hardworking, and has something to prove. Phenom, who also ventured into player management aside from sportswear-making, then made the moves to improve Basilan’s lineup by taking players who are no big names but can contribute in a variety of ways. “To have a winning team, not necessary naman to get big name players. Ang hinanap namin ay mga hardworking players who will buy into the system at magsa-sacrifice talaga,” Chua said. The management retained veteran Dennis Daa for his leadership while activating Cris Dumapis, who has emerged as a reliable force in the paint. They then acquired the services of shifty playmaker Hesed Gabo and sharpshooting big man Jay Collado from Quezon City, marksman Jhapz Bautista from Makati, high-leaping Bobby Balucanag and Shaq Alanas from Pasay, sparkplug Gab Dagangon from Bataan, and Michole Sorela from Navotas. They also signed PBA veterans Jonathan Uyloan and Anthony Bringas alongside Irven Palencia, an integral cog for St. Clare in NAASCU, who is also managed by Phenom. Philip Manalang, Mark Trinidad, Ar Raouf Jilkipli, Junjie Hallare, Darwin Lunor, Jett Vidal, Melgar Murillo, Harold Ng, and Reiner Bazan completed the lineup of Basilan. The Turnaround When the Chooks-to-Go MPBL Lakan Cup opened, the retooled Basilan started on the right foot with two straight wins against Bicol and Pampanga. But when the adrenaline ran out, the Jumbo Plastic-backed squad saw its win-loss standing at 9-8 midway through the season. Then Basilan scorched the league in its remaining 13 games, tallying 11 victories while only losing two matches. The main reason for the brilliant playoff push? The arrival of Phenom-managed collegiate talents in Allyn Bulanadi, NCAA Season 95 leading scorer and San Sebastian College-Recoletos superstar, and Philip Manalang, lead floor general of University of the East. Bulanadi, a 6-foot-3 up-and-coming star, played in the Steel’s last seven games in the elimination round on an impressive 21.71 points on 46 percent clip and 4.5 rebounds averages. Meanwhile, Manalang is a sparkplug off the bench who brings the tenacity on the defense all while contributing on the other end in various ways. Basilan entered the playoffs with a 20-10 record, good for the third spot in the tough Southern division just behind top seed Davao Occidental and second-ranked Bacoor. “Our main goal was to for a competitive team and we want to redefine Basilan through basketball. In this way, I think we have garnered so many fans and inspired yung buong Basilan province that’s why I think we have already succeeded in redefining Basilan,” Chua said. But the grind did not stop for the Steel as they marched into the postseason with the whole Basilan province rallying behind their backs. In the quarterfinals, Basilan swept Iloilo advancing into the semifinals, with a daunting task of beating second seed powerhouse Bacoor City. The Steel survived a grueling three-game series against the Strikers, coming up on top despite having home-court disadvantage for Games Two and Three. In the division finals, Basilan faced the toughest team in the South, the Davao Occidental Tigers. But Basilan showed, again and again, its heart, escaping Game One with a 74-72 victory at the Davao Sports and Tourism Complex in Tagum City. And with a shot to glory and barging into the National Finals, Basilan looked to become South kings in front of their huge following at Lamitan City Gym in Game Two, but the Tigers have other plans, spoiling Basilan’s home court and surviving with an 81-76 win. Game Three was supposed to happen last March 14, but MPBL decided to suspend the Division Finals due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. “Nandito na rin kami eh, we are not here to participate lang. Given the chance and we will gladly take it. We will go all out to bring more pride to the Basileños and to repay the trust na binigay sa amin ng leaders ng Basilan especially Congressman Mujiv Hataman, Mayor Julz Hataman Governor Jim Hataman Salliman and Councilor Hegem Furigay,” added Chua. Will Basilan Steel continue their astounding playoff run to the National Finals or will Davao Occidental retain its crown in the South? No matter what, Basilan has already won the hearts of the Basileños and the whole MPBL fanbase with its tremendous turnaround from a lowly team in Datu Cup to a powerhouse in the Chooks-to-Go MPBL Lakan Season. More than Basketball But “Redefining Basilan” is more than basketball. Phenom Sports not only wanted to turn around people’s perception of Basilan the basketball team but give Basilan the province the appreciation it deserves. Basilan has been a hotbed of misconceptions due to the armed conflicts that happened there, but those were the days and the province has moved on. “Right from the start na nakapunta ako sa Basilan, sobrang iba nito kasi akala natin magulo ang Basilan, ang mga tao iba ang ugali pero hindi. Basilan has been enjoying a long peace na. For more than 15 years now under the leadership ng mga Hataman, naging maayos, naging focused sila sa peace and progress,” Chua on Basilan province. And basketball has played a huge part in giving the young Basileños a dream to hold on. “Yung mga kabataan, nabibigyan ng chance na mangarap na maging katulad ng idols nila,” said Chua. “They want to be the next Allyn Bulanadi, the next Hesed Gabo, the next Irven Palencia. This is what basketball is giving to the Basilan people.” The Steel has built a cult following in Basilan and it is the best feeling a player could feel. “Paglapag pa lang ng pier, everybody knows the players. They follow them like rockstars, like celebrities. They send food to the hotels, they watch our practices. Ganoon kamahal ng Basilan yung mga players nila. They saw a hardworking team who really represents Basilan’s culture - the determination, the perseverance and the hard work of the Basileños,” Chua concluded. But how did Basilan Steel get popular in the province? Meet the team behind Phenom Sports. Phenom is all-in in redefining Basilan and that’s why they have a team to do so. They have photographers in Marl Castro, Thel Suliva, and Michael Ordoñez who captured in-game pictures and the team’s interaction with the fans. Rion Balin and Jeff Palaganas are the videographers who make the video highlights of the Basilan players for the fans. Juls Claudio and Dands Javier are graphic artists who create the posters and other publication materials to be posted on the team’s social media accounts. The latter also serves as the marketing man of Phenom. Emma Bueno and Joseph Guion complete the team as coordinator and director, respectively. In a span of just a year, Phenom Sports has reached its goal of redefining Basilan, turning it to #BasilanRedefined......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 19th, 2020

A look at the status of Olympic qualifying events

By The Associated Press As the IOC attempts to keep the 2020 Olympics on schedule, many of the events that determine who would compete in Tokyo have been postponed or canceled. Here is the status of U.S. or world qualifying in many of the Olympic disciplines: ATHLETICS The U.S. Olympic track and field trials are still scheduled for June 19-28 in Eugene, Oregon. Other countries use a variety of methods, including trials, world rankings, and appointment based on results. BASEBALL Four countries — Israel, Mexico, South Korea and host Japan — are in the six-team field. The final two spots are to be determined by tournaments that were postponed: An Americas qualifier in Arizona has been indefinitely postponed, and a last-chance qualifying tournament in Taiwan slated for April is now scheduled for June 17-21. BASKETBALL Men: Eight teams, including the United States, have already qualified. The remaining spots in the 12-nation field will be determined in four winner-take-all, six-team tournaments scheduled from June 23-28 in Serbia, Canada, Croatia and Lithuania. Women: The 12-team field was filled in February with four tournaments. Although defending world champion United States and the host Japanese were already guaranteed spots, both finished in position to qualify anyway. 3x3: FIBA has postponed the qualifying tournament scheduled for March 18-22 in India. A second qualifying tournament scheduled for April in Hungary is in limbo. Four women’s teams and four men’s teams have already qualified for the eight-country fields. BEACH VOLLEYBALL Most Olympic spots are earned over a two-year points race on the international tour. At least three of the final 10 events have been canceled or postponed, and the final event is scheduled for Rome on June 9-14. BOXING Two of the four regional Olympic qualification tournaments have already taken place, and the third for European fighters began Saturday in London. The Americas qualifier scheduled for March 26 in Buenos Aires has been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak, and organizers haven’t set a plan for the final steps in qualification, including the last-chance World Olympic Qualifying Tournament scheduled for May 13 in Paris. CYCLING The selection criteria is different for each discipline: BMX freestyle and racing, mountain biking, track cycling, and the road race and time trials. Each discipline has a series of automatic qualification standards, and a committee will choose athletes to fill out the U.S. team. The world championships May 30-31 in Houston is crucial for BMX, and at this point is still scheduled. The last Olympic qualification event in freestyle BMX, the World Series in Hiroshima April 3-5, has been postponed. Final rosters for each discipline are announced in June. DIVING Dozens of divers have already qualified based on their performances at last summer's world championships or other major meets over the last eight months. The last big qualifier is the Diving World Cup, set for the new Olympic aquatics venue in Tokyo on April 21-26; FINA is still considering whether to proceed. U.S. divers also must get through the national trials in Indianapolis on June 13-21 to confirm their Olympic spots. No decision has been announced on the Canadian trials scheduled for March 30-April 5 in Toronto. EQUESTRIAN All of the equestrian qualifying events have been completed in every discipline. None of the events was affected by the virus. FENCING Qualification was to be based on rankings set to be released on April 4, with some additional slots to be determined in zonal events from April 15-26. But the International Fencing Federation suspended all international competitions for 30 days, delaying five major competitions that must be completed before zonal qualifying. The FIE is requesting an extension of the qualification period. FIELD HOCKEY Tournaments to fill the 12-team men's and women's fields were completed in 2019. Ten countries qualified for both: Australia, Argentina, Germany, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, the Netherlands and Britain. GOLF Sixty golfers are determined by the world rankings, two per country with a maximum of four if they are among the top 15. The PGA Tour and European Tour, which offer the most ranking points, have canceled or postponed all events at least through April 12. GYMNASTICS The team fields for both men’s and women’s gymnastics were set at last year's world championships. The remaining individual all-around and single apparatus spots are determined at World Cup events. The International Gymnastics Federation has cancelled an all-around World Cup event in Germany and postponed an apparatus World Cup event in Qatar from March until early June. HANDBALL The International Handball Federation has postponed the final qualifying tournaments until June. The host nations were Spain, Hungary and Montenegro for the women and Norway, France and Germany for the men. Six of 12 spots remain open for each field. JUDO The International Judo Federation has canceled all Olympic qualifiers through April 30, including a Grand Slam and two Grand Prix. Another Grand Prix last weekend, in Morocco, was canceled earlier. Qualifying ends on May 25. ROWING World Rowing has canceled a European Olympic qualifying regatta that was scheduled for April 27-29 in Varese, Italy, and relocation is being considered. US Rowing said Olympic trials in Sarasota, Florida, from March 16-21 and April 13-18 have been postponed and the organization will not hold a national team event for at least 30 days. SAILING Many spots in the 10 classes have been clinched. An Asian Olympic qualifier in Abu Dhabi has been postponed until mid-April, and a World Cup Series regatta in Genoa, Italy, that would have been a qualifier for African, Asian and European countries, has been canceled. The IOC has granted World Sailing an extension of the qualification period to June 30. SOCCER Men: Fourteen of 16 teams have already qualified. The tournament to produce the two teams from the North and Central American and Caribbean region was scheduled for March 20 to April 1 in Guadalajara, Mexico, but was indefinitely postponed. Women: Ten of 12 teams have already qualified, including the reigning World Cup champion United States. China and South Korea were scheduled to play in a two-legged playoff that has been pushed back to early June. Cameroon is set to play Chile in a two-legged playoff in early April but no announcement on those matches has been made. SOFTBALL The field for the six-nation competition was set in four qualifying tournaments in 2018 and 2019. SWIMMING Most Olympic berths will be determined at national trials. The U.S. meet is scheduled for Omaha, Nebraska, on June 21-28; Australia's is scheduled for June 14-19 in Adelaide; Japan's national championship is in Tokyo on April 1-8. The final two events on the TYR Pro Swim Series, a big part of pre-Olympic training, are scheduled for April 16-19 in Mission Viejo, California, and May 6-9 in Indianapolis. TABLE TENNIS The U.S. already wrapped up qualifying, with three men and three women earning spots in Tokyo. Qualifying elsewhere was still in progress and scheduled to continue through May. But the International Table Tennis Federation suspended all activities until the end of April and recommended that continental associations follow that decision. An emergency meeting of the ITTF executive committee is scheduled for Monday. TENNIS The International Tennis Federation says Olympic eligibility still will be based on the WTA and ATP rankings of June 8, even though more than a month of the tours' schedules in March and April have been scrapped. Requirements related to minimum participation in Fed Cup or Davis Cup remain in place — as does an appeal process for players who do not meet those standards. VOLLEYBALL The qualification was completed in January with the 12 teams for both the men’s and women’s competitions already set. WATER POLO Men's and women's qualification tournaments scheduled for this month have been postponed until May. At stake are the final three spots for the 12-team men's field and the last two openings in the 10-team women's competition. The U.S. men and women have already qualified. WEIGHTLIFTING Spots are decided by the world ranking. The continental championships next month were meant to be the last gold-level events offering extra qualifying points. However, the European, Asian and African championships have all been postponed along with another gold-level event, junior worlds. WRESTLING The U.S. trials that had been scheduled for April 4-5 in State College, Pennsylvania, have been postponed......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 15th, 2020

MPBL: Bacoor s passion for their club keeps their title hopes alive

Even in the undercard of Thursday night's South Semifinals game 2 between Bacoor and Basilan, the STRIKE Gymnasium in Baccor City was already packed to the gills. While Davao Occidental was busy eliminating Zamboanga, there was already a crush of people trying to jam themselves into the arena through the corner entrance. At the final buzzer there was an awkward moment when some fans tried to squeeze out the door while many other Bacoorenos were forcing themselves in. A man who seemed to be in charge of the traffic tried to close the door and prevent others from streaming in. But it was useless. Bacoor has fallen hard for their Strikers, and nothing could stop them from catching their team in a do-or-die home playoff game against Basilan Steel Jumbo Plastic. Basilan took the first game, Bacoor had to have this one. The situation was a bit less chaotic from the VIP entrance, which leads to the stage behind one of the goals. From there the sight of so many Bacoor fans crammed into the arena could be properly beheld. The STRIKE Gym is a small arena, but on top of its first level of seating is a second tier. Both areas had every single square inch filled with humanity. Sure, the Strikers had their backs against the wall in this series, down 0-1 in this best-of-three, but some Bacoor fans literally had their backs against the wall as well. As in glued to the back windows and walls because there simply was no other place to be. On either side of the gym there are staircases with a view of the court. They were crammed as well, with Bacoor fans all looking to take a peek, no matter how obstructed, of their beloved team. The upper level of seating has a stainless steel railing in front. Fans were leaning on the railing, two or three deep, all around. Below them sat youngsters fixated on the action, clinging on to the lower bars of the railings. Many dangled legs over the edge. One wonders what would happen if one of them suddenly needed to go to the bathroom. These young urchins were pretty much trapped. In every MPBL game there is a DJ playing music and other sound effects to boost the atmosphere. Tonight his work can barely be heard, as the crowd itself makes an avalanche of noise. Bacoor fancies itself as the Marching Band Capital of the Philippines. There is a band in one corner, with a tuba sticking out into the air, playing lustily, even though this time there is nowhere to march. The home team races to a 20-6 first quarter lead, with the joint heaving with noise with every Bacoor basket. Bacoor fans choose passion over passiveness, roaring with every hustle play, and bombarding the Basilan coach with jeers of “EEE-YA-KIN” every time he complains to the referee. Mac Andaya is an obvious fan favorite. With his old testament beard paired with a messy man bun, the big man draws an extra-large helping of oohs and whenever he goes to the cup. The Strikers lead 43-21 at the half, with Basilan's offense in disarray. In the third quarter Striker King Destacamento executes a perfect putback jam, and underneath the din you can almost hear the rivets of the roof creak as they strain to hold the arena together in one piece. The Philippines has never really had a history of home-and-away sports. Basketball, volleyball and football have mostly been played in shared venues, where fan allegiance is split. Apart from a brave section of Basilan fans, everyone here tonight is cheering on the Strikers. Gilas games are home games, but they are mostly played in cavernous venues, with pricey tickets that only wealthy, “prawn sandwich” fans can afford. It seems that these fans would rather sit and watch than actively participate. The atmosphere is often wanting. But Bacoor fans, like many in MPBL communities, are blue collar, and the league is slaking their long-suppressed thirst for quality live hoops. And it happens in small, intimate bandboxes all over the country, where the cheering bounces off the walls and is amplified tenfold. This makes the MPBL playoff game is an experience unlike any other in Filipino hoops. There is a speedbump in the fourth quarter, as the visitors unleash a late run to cut the deficit to just seven with a minute and a half remaining. But when Bacoor marksman Michael Mabulac hauls down a crucial offensive board, the jugular is well and truly severed, and the party can begin. Final score: 80-69 Bacoor. What else is there left to do for the fans but stream out onto the court for selfies and hugs with the players. Bacoor is alive in the playoffs as the series goes 1-1. And best of all: as the higher seed, Bacoor fans get to do it all over again on Saturday in the deciding Game 3......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 6th, 2020

NBA 2K League to host 2nd APAC Invitational

NBA 2K press release SEOUL AND NEW YORK – The NBA 2K League announced today that the 2020 NBA 2K League APAC Invitational, the league’s second international qualifying event in the Asia-Pacific region, will take place Monday, Jan. 20 - Tuesday, Jan. 21 at Nexon Arena in Seoul, South Korea. The two-day event will identify several elite players from the Asia-Pacific region who will become eligible for the 2020 NBA 2K League Draft *. The NBA 2K League APAC Invitational will feature 20 of the top NBA 2K players from Australia, China, New Zealand, the Philippines and South Korea competing over two days of gameplay, including scrimmages and a tournament, and participating in interviews with league representatives. The tournament on Jan. 21 will be livestreamed on the NBA 2K League’s Twitch and YouTube channels and in China on Tencent’s Penguin Esports, Douyu and Huya beginning at 3:30 p.m. local time. The two Filipinos participating are Custer George Galas (Gamertag: PBE_Custer) and Aminolah "Rial" Polog Jr. (Gamertag: PBE_Rial). The NBA 2K League also today launched the league’s official Weibo channel in China. NBA 2K League fans in China can follow along for the latest news, updates and content from the NBA 2K League. “We’re excited to be holding our second Asia-Pacific invitational in Seoul and that Gen.G will be working with us on the event as part of our strategic relationship to develop elite NBA 2K talent across the Asia-Pacific region,” said NBA 2K League Managing Director Brendan Donohue. “Last season’s APAC Invitational identified several players who became eligible for the NBA 2K League Draft, and given the talent in the region we fully expect the level of competition to be even greater this year.” The NBA 2K League identified players for the APAC Invitational through Gen.G’s recent Shanghai Invitational (Gen.G’s first-ever Pro-Am tournament in China that featured 20 of the best Chinese NBA 2K players), the NBA 2K League Combine and historical performances in NBA 2K events. At the end of the APAC Invitational, a committee comprised of league representatives, select NBA 2K League players and team personnel serving as scouts on the league’s behalf will identify several players who will become eligible for the 2020 NBA 2K League Draft. As part of the APAC Invitational, on Jan. 20 Gen.G CEO Chris Park will unveil Gen.G’s NBA 2K League team name, logo and social media channels. On Jan. 21 the NBA 2K League will host the NBA 2K League Global Invitation Match, a series of exhibition matches featuring APAC Invitational players and 2019 NBA 2K League Finals MVP Michael “BearDaBeast” Key (T-Wolves Gaming) playing against top representatives from NBA2K Online 2 (a free-to-play online game published in China), including National League Champion “Shy.” The NBA 2K League Global Invitation Match will also be livestreamed in China on Tencent’s Penguin Esports, Douyu and Huya beginning at 11:30 a.m. local time. Last season Jack “Jaacko” Stevenson (New Zealand) became the first player ever drafted from the APAC Invitational when he was selected 50th overall by Pistons GT, the NBA 2K League affiliate of the Detroit Pistons.   In September, the NBA 2K League announced that Gen.G, the global esports organization connecting the best gamers in the U.S. and Asia, would launch an NBA 2K League team from Shanghai that will join the other 22 NBA 2K League teams for the 2020 season. In addition to launching the Shanghai franchise, Gen.G and the NBA 2K League announced a long-term relationship to grow the NBA 2K League’s global player pool and fanbase. Last summer, Tencent, a leading provider of comprehensive Internet services in China, streamed condensed 2019 NBA 2K League Playoff and Finals games to its hundreds of millions of daily users across Tencent Sports, Tencent Video and Tencent News. For more information, fans can follow the NBA 2K League on Twitter (NBA2KLeague), Instagram (nba2kleague), Facebook (NBA 2K League), Twitch (NBA2KLeague) and YouTube (NBA 2K League) and visit NBA2KLeague.com. *Players will become draft-eligible upon passing a background check......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 15th, 2020

Lefty Madison Bumgarner, D-backs reach $85M, five-year deal

By Janie McCauley, Associated Press SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Longtime Giants ace Madison Bumgarner has reached agreement with the Arizona Diamondbacks on an $85 million, five-year contract that ends his run of success in San Francisco, a person with direct knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Sunday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the 2014 World Series MVP still needed to pass a physical to complete the contract. Bumgarner pitched 11 seasons for the Giants but knew his time likely had ended. He bid farewell along with retiring manager Bruce Bochy on the season's final day. The Giants said during the winter meetings this past week in San Diego they had remained in contact with representatives for the 30-year-old Bumgarner, who helped them win World Series titles in 2010, ‘12 and ’14. The seven-time defending NL West champion Dodgers also were among the clubs interested in signing the free agent. Bumgarner went 9-9 with a career-high 3.90 ERA in 34 starts last season. The lefty has been especially valuable in postseason play — he is 4-0 with a memorable Game 7 save and an 0.25 ERA in World Series play, and has pitched two shutouts in NL wild-card games. ___ AP Sports Writer John Marshall in Phoenix contributed to this report......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 16th, 2019

Suns rout Warriors; Curry breaks left hand

By Janie McCauley, Associated Press SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Stephen Curry broke his left hand and became the latest injured Warriors player when he fell hard in the third quarter of another embarrassing defeat by Golden State, 121-110 to the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time). The two-time MVP drove to his left defended by Kelly Oubre Jr. and with big man Aron Baynes standing solidly in the paint. Curry leapt with the ball then came down head first landing awkwardly on his hands to brace himself from the court, with Baynes crashing onto Curry's left hand. Curry grimaced in pain grabbing at his fingers then walked to the locker room with 8:31 left in the third quarter. Baynes had 24 points, 12 rebounds seven assists and three blocked shots, Devin Booker scored 31 points as the Suns jumped out to a huge lead they never relinquished. The Warriors have lost badly in their first two home games at sparkling new Chase Center. The ailing, undermanned Warriors welcomed back two players but still fell behind 39-11 shooting 4 for 17 as the Suns made 14 of their first 23 shots and 8 of 12 3-pointers. Curry had nine points on 3-for-11 shooting before getting hurt. Losing Curry, Golden State's longest-tenured player and oldest at age 31, for an extended period would be a huge blow for a young Warriors team. Golden State is struggling to start the season with Kevin Durant's departure to Brooklyn and Klay Thompson out for perhaps the entire season recovering from July 2 surgery to repair a torn ACL in his left knee. This was another rough one after an embarrassing season opener in the first game at Chase Center, a 141-122 loss to the Clippers last Thursday (Friday, PHL time) that saw some fans leaving after the third quarter. Golden State returned home with a 1-2 record and amid a stretch with five games over seven days and two back-to-backs. The Warriors trailed 72-46 at halftime Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) after falling behind 70-37 at the break in Oklahoma City on Sunday (Monday, PHL time). Golden State center Willie Cauley-Stein, who missed all of training camp with a sprain in his left foot, had 12 points and five rebounds in his Golden State debut. He checked in for the first time at the 8:23 mark of the first quarter. LGBTQ NIGHT The Warriors held LGBTQ Night with a panel following the game featuring Golden State COO Rick Welts — the first openly gay NBA executive — WNBA and Olympic champion Sue Bird of the Seattle Storm and her partner, Megan Rapinoe, of the World Cup-winning U.S. women's soccer team. Warriors coach Steve Kerr tried to connect with Rapinoe over the summer to have her speak to the World Cup basketball team he coached that went to China. It didn't work out but he hoped to get a few minutes with her Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time). "She's such an incredible athlete and advocate and Sue has been one of the best women's players in the game for a long time," Kerr said. "I know Rick is close with both of them so it's important I think, especially on a night like tonight where we're celebrating the idea of being accepting of everyone, it's great to have them here." The women also spoke to members of the Warriors organization earlier in the day. Bird and the U.S. women's basketball team play at Stanford on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). TIP-INS Suns: Phoenix beat Golden State for just the third time in the last 21 regular-season meetings. ... The Suns' 115-111 win at Golden State on March 10 (Mar. 11, PHL time) this year snapped an 18-game losing streak to the Warriors and a 14-game road skid in the series. ... Suns assistant coach Willie Green spent the past three years with the Warriors. Warriors: Kerr said F Kevon Looney, who missed his fourth straight game because of a right hamstring injury, is scheduled to be evaluated early next week by a team of specialists because of an "on-going presence of a neuropathic condition in his body, which has a direct correlation to his recent injury." Looney is limited to controlled workouts with the training staff for now. "He's frustrated and we're frustrated for him," Kerr said. ... Rookie Eric Paschall made his first career start. ... Alec Burks, who missed all five preseason games and the first three of the regular season, also returned for the Warriors and scored seven points in his first game with Golden State. ... G Jacob Evans III sat out Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) after exiting Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) against the Pelicans in the first quarter with a left adductor strain. UP NEXT Suns: At Grizzlies on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). Warriors: Host Spurs on Friday (Saturday, PHL time) in the first of two games in two nights with Charlotte visiting Saturday night (Sunday, PHL time)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 31st, 2019

Jordan bans online game PUBG over negative effects

AMMAN, Jordan – Jordan on Saturday, July 6, banned the hugely popular but brutal online game PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG), citing its "negative effects" on the kingdom's citizens. Often likened to the blockbuster book and film series "The Hunger Games", PUBG pits marooned characters against each another in a virtual fight ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsJul 7th, 2019

Durant s return looms large heading into potential clincher

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com TORONTO — Let us dismiss the tasty-yet-faulty comparison folks will try to make regarding Game 5 and Kevin Durant and the fate of the Warriors in these NBA Finals: In 1970, when Knicks center Willis Reed famously limped out of the tunnel at Madison Square Garden for Game 7, he only hit two jumpers and was done, too gimpy to go any further. The Warriors, starved for points against a toothy Raptors defense, will require plenty more than that from Durant before he’s done. Back then, it was winner-take-all, New York vs. L.A. Durant and the Warriors are trailing 3-1 and face elimination at Scotiabank Arena. They’re staring down a far deeper and darker tunnel. This is the stark reality for a would-be savior and his recuperating calf and the desperate two-time defending champions. Durant was upgraded to questionable for Monday (Tuesday, PHL time), which means it's likely he’ll at least be on the floor. Whether he stays long enough to break a sweat or plays well enough to make the Raptors perspire is the real issue. Perhaps never before has an injury to a superstar of this magnitude been this mysterious – and perhaps costly – in the history of The Finals. Remember, with Reed, the Knicks won at the end. Maybe there's more in common with Magic Johnson pulling a hamstring in 1989 during Game 1, but again, Magic was finished for the series, and so were the Lakers, swept by the Pistons. Durant is trying to return and in the process squelch the innuendo swirling about his recovery and also trigger a historic comeback. Can he pull this off after not playing since May 8 (May 9, PHL time), and practicing for the first time only Sunday? It was a practice, but only in the tamest sense. Durant joined his teammates and took part after the media was hustled off the court, leaving no outside witnesses or sneaky TMZ footage. The Warriors, this time of year, only conduct light drills. And it was over within an hour. To recap: Durant is supposed to step into an intense basketball game after missing a month, and battle a Toronto defense led by Kawhi Leonard, and thwart a championship bid by a team and city bracing for a maddening celebration around midnight, and … rescue the Warriors? OK, then. “I think it’s pretty easy to realize we obviously miss him out there and he’s propelled us to two championships in two years,” said Warriors guard Klay Thompson. “So it would be pretty storybook if he could come back and help us do the same.” If it sounds like the Warriors are so stretched for answers and solutions that they’re banking on Durant being close to normal after a lengthy layoff, well … maybe they are. When you’re facing elimination, there’s really no other choice. And the Warriors haven’t been able to solve the Raptors without him. Yet Durant has set himself a high bar. Before his injury, which occurred in the conference semifinals against Houston, he was on another level, nearly galactic. He averaged 34 points, five rebounds and five assists in 11 games and was a finalist for everyone’s “best player in the playoffs" honors with Giannis Antetokounmpo. Since then Leonard, the postseason leader in points, and rebounds, and minutes, has yanked that praise for himself. The Raptors, as a result, are heavy favorites to lift the trophy. Durant may not be 100 percent, leaving what he can possibly do an open question: Will he be more of a decoy than a legitimate offensive threat? And on defense, how can the Warriors cover for him, since the Raptors will surely try to exploit the situation by running Durant through screens? Without Durant, the scoring burden had to be carried by Thompson and Steph Curry, and while both have done fairly well, the Warriors have had little margin for error. Whenever Draymond Green or Andre Iguodala or DeMarcus Cousins failed to lend support for Thompson and Curry, the results have been disastrous for Golden State. Coach Steve Kerr feels Durant’s presence will be enough to cause a ripple effect that influences what both teams do when he’s on the floor. “The game plan changes if Kevin is out there, or if he’s not,” Kerr said. “So you adapt accordingly. It changes matchups, it changes rotations, all that stuff.” It’ll be a surprise if Durant’s return causes issues within the Warriors and the system that was tweaked in his absence. Although they’ve been without him for nine games, he did play three seasons with the club, so there shouldn’t be any adjustment problems. Quite the contrary, says Curry. “We’ll be able to adjust in transition pretty smoothly,” said Curry. “He’s been in plenty of Finals and has played well. No matter what the percentage he’s at, I’m sure he’ll be impactful and effective.” It’s always tricky to play doctor and determine how much time Durant should’ve missed, although that never deters anyone from doing so. Taking it a step further, while none of his teammates or coaches publicly questioned the depths of Durant’s injury, dealing with the daily dose of “is he or isn’t he?” became tiring to some. They all suspect that if Durant could’ve played, he would. What possible motive would encourage him to stay out longer than necessary? To show everyone how much the Warriors need him? That seems a stretch for someone who craves a championship. Possibly not his pending free agency either; if anything Durant would get bonus points for playing through pain and would have all summer to recover in the event of re-injuring the calf, which is not considered career-threatening. Injured players have no obligation to speak to the media, and Durant hasn’t, with his silence only feeding speculation. “I feel for Kevin,” Thompson said. “I know what type of competitor he is and we obviously miss him dearly. But whether it’s tomorrow or Game 6, we just have to do everything in our power to help him get back. He will be very welcome, I’ll say that much. Kevin’s (injury) is serious and I know how badly he wants to be out there. He’s one of the best competitors I’ve been around.” The stretchy shooting range, the high release of a shot that’s nearly impossible to block or discourage, the energy and determination and ability to make plays in tense moments, those are the elements Durant brings and the Warriors have missed in The Finals. They’ll take whatever he can give, whatever that might be.   “I would like to think he would make a difference,” Shaun Livingston said. “Again, it’s just any time a player of that caliber comes back or goes out of the lineup, it’s going to be felt certain ways. We’ll see what happens.” And if Durant is unable to play extended minutes or sputters around the floor, making mistakes and dogged by rust and fatigue and inefficiency? Then it’ll fall on his teammates, a group that couldn’t beat the Raptors in two games at Oracle Arena yet somehow must thrive in a Canadian madhouse that awaits Monday (Tuesday, PHL time). “You’re going to see a resilient Warriors team,” Thompson said. “We’ve had our backs against the wall with this same group. Obviously, it’s a little more daunting being down 3-1 but usually when our backs are against the wall, we respond the best.” Question is, will Durant have their back? Or will he and that wall crumble under pressure from these hungry Raptors and the long odds? 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: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 10th, 2019

Lopez sticks to the Bucks plan, and it s more fun for everyone

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com MILWAUKEE — Come for the three-point melodrama, stay for the rim protection, the put-backs, the block-outs and the blocked shots. Come for the anguish and frustration that plays out across Brook Lopez’s face over the course of a typical NBA game, stay for the maniacal, jubilant, fourth-quarter clapping that gets turned into a GIF and goes viral within minutes. Brook Lopez clapping violently dot gif pic.twitter.com/a22arVkUSc — CJ Fogler (@cjzero) May 16, 2019 Come for the unbuttoned Fresno Grizzlies minor league baseball jersey, stay for the Disney fashion T-shirt showing beneath it and the Pizza Planet cap up top. “I’ve always tried to have fun when I go out and play basketball,” said Lopez. The Milwaukee Bucks’ center embodied his team’s performance as they clawed back Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals, beating the Toronto Raptors, 108-100, Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time) at Fiserv Forum. [Watch the Playoffs on NBA League Pass for 30% less with this limited time offer! Select Annual package and use code SAVE30 at checkout to redeem] “I obviously love playing the game,” said Lopez, dressed like a 7-foot 10-year-old for his podium appearance. “But no question I’ve been having a great time here.” Lopez, 31, scored 29 points, a personal playoff best, and grabbed 11 rebounds. It was his first 20-point night of the Bucks’ 10 playoff games so far, only the fourth of his career (he has appeared in just 23 postseason games in 11 seasons). And it came on the heels of a Game 5 effort against Boston a week ago in which Lopez was held scoreless. Milwaukee clinched anyway. This one was an ordeal for Lopez and for the Bucks, an opener in the best-of-seven series in which they slogged through three quarters without much touch or rhythm. The style of play they’ve embraced over 82 games and the past month of postseason was betraying them; Milwaukee kept hoisting and missing three-pointers, as single-mindedly in spite of horrid results as if they all wore beards and played for Houston. The resulting nastiness: A 6-for-34 (17.6 percent) showing from the arc, while digging an 83-76 hole that maxed out at 13 points. Lopez was a notable offender. He missed his first three from deep and only broke through midway through the second quarter. His shot from out front that got the Bucks within 42-37 was followed by a reaction of one part frustration, one part exasperation and a couple parts relief. That’s the wide open space of Lopez’s game, out there on the wing or in the corner launching for all the world to see. Home fans seem to live and die on each attempt, riding an emotional rollercoaster while – on nights such as this one – they wait for his results to regress to the mean. That finally happened in the fourth quarter. Lopez – who shot a total of 31 three-pointers in his first eight seasons, 300-plus in each of the next two and ultimately 512 in 2018-19 with the Bucks – hit two to get his team going in the quarter. His third in the period, one possession after Lopez finished a slo-mo fast-break for a 101-100 lead, sent Toronto into a timeout, down four with 1:55 left. That was when Lopez came with the clapping. And when play resumed, there was Lopez again, getting a hand on Kawhi Leonard’s attempt to attack the rim, stripping and corralling the ball for a block and rebound. As good as Kyle Lowry was over the final 12 minutes, as potent as the Raptors’ offense was at certain points earlier, they were done scoring for the night. Lopez did the small stuff all night, even finishing off the dribble a couple times. It’s just that, by virtue of how he and the Bucks have played this season, those things get overshadowed by the broad strokes that didn’t go his way until late. “This is the Brook we all know and we all love,” said Giannis Antetokounmpo. Said Khris Middleton: “He’s a beast. Inside the paint, made some big plays for us. On the defensive end, he covers up so much for our mistakes.” The Bucks’ adherence to what works has been tested for quarters, for halves, but so far only for one whole game in these playoffs – they dropped the opener against Boston. Milwaukee won the next four in a row to oust the Celtics. In the dressing room afterward, there was chatter that they’d snatched one away, that they couldn't have played worse – at least on offense. In that fourth quarter, outscoring Toronto 32-17, Milwaukee made up for a multitude of sins. The Bucks hit 50 percent of their shots, missed only 1-of-10 free throws and dominated the boards (14-4) to finish with a 60-45 edge. The Raptors were held to 5-of-22 shooting in the quarter. And Lopez, dragging a minus-5 plus/minus rating through three quarters, was sitting on a plus-7 by the horn. The key? Absolutely faith in the style they’ve honed since late September, and a commitment to letting it fly. Whether we’re talking about a conscienceless approach to three-pointers or Lopez’s irrepressible good nature. He has made as many as eight three-pointers in a game this season (at Denver, Nov. 12, PHL time) and attempted as many as 15 (vs. Brooklyn, Dec. 30, PHL time). There is no such thing as too many. “That’s what my teammates have been telling me,” Lopez said. “George Hill specifically and then [Giannis], too. They just stick in my mind: ‘Keep shooting the ball, you just need one to go down. Keep letting it fly.” 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 NewsMay 16th, 2019

No need for Malone to sell Nuggets: Their time is now

By Sekou Smith, NBA.com PORTLAND, Ore. — Give Michael Malone credit, the Denver Nuggets coach is as relentless a salesman as there is in basketball. Whether it’s moving speeches delivered to his own team or pleading with television audiences to stand up and take notice of the splendid compilation of talent the franchise has stockpiled in recent years, he refuses to let up. From building the legend of Jamal Murray or waxing poetic about the virtues of Nikola Jokic, the nimble giant prone to triple-doubles on the regular, Malone is prepared to use the bully pulpit to make sure no one overlooks the Nuggets. [Watch the Playoffs on NBA League Pass for 30% less with this limited time offer! Select Annual package and use code SAVE30 at checkout to redeem] A seven-game series win over San Antonio in the first round produced some of Malone’s best stuff to date, including him trumpeting Jokic as not only a legitimate Kia MVP candidate (true, this season) but also a surefire future Hall of Famer (could be, the way he’s playing). So you had to know Malone was going to be on his Nuggets informercial grind after they refused to lose Sunday (Monday, PHL time) in Portland, bouncing back after losing a grueling four-overtime thriller to the Trail Blazers here Friday night (Saturday, PHL time) with a gritty 116-112 triumph to tie this series at 2-2 headed back to Denver for Tuesday’s (Wednesday, PHL time) critical Game 5. “I’m so proud of our group,” Malone said, after his talented crew showed off the chops needed to regain the homecourt advantage they surrendered in their Game 2 loss at Pepsi Center. “And in the closing moments, I really was confident because in close games this year we were 13-3 [in games] decided by three points or less, best record in the NBA. We’re 12-1 in the second nights of back-to-backs, best record in the NBA. Our guys are tough; to come in here and win this game some 36 hours after losing a four-overtime game speaks to just how tough we are. So I wasn’t worried, we had our starting group out there. “Jamal, who I thought was phenomenal tonight, goes 11-for-11 from the foul line in a hostile environment and really kind of with the series hanging in the balance. You go down 1-3, and we all know how that story ends. I think the confidence of doing the same thing in the first round against San Antonio helped us, but our guys stepped up. We never frayed. We stayed together. And I can’t speak enough about the resiliency and toughness of our team.” And he shouldn’t. The Blazers had won 12 straight games at home dating back to the regular season and were 22-2 on their home floor since January 5. When the Nuggets saw their 10-point lead shrink to just a point with 3:02 to play as Portland closers Damian Lillard (28 points) and C.J. McCollum (29) led the charge, Denver could have easily folded up under the emotional weight of Game 3 and their current predicament. But they proved to be as resilient and tough as Malone said they were. Jokic was brilliant again, collecting his fourth triple-double (21 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists) in his first postseason, second only to the five Magic Johnson piled up during his rookie season with the Los Angeles Lakers. And Murray was even better, finishing with a game-high 34 points and draining six straight free throws in the frantic closing seconds to seal the win for a Nuggets team that didn’t allow fatigue, a raucous and sellout Moda Center crowd or the pressure to avoid that 3-1 hole rattle them. “It wasn’t the first time,” Murray said of his embrace of the pressure with the game on the line at the line. “I think free throws are my thing. My dad and I do a lot of training [on] free throws. Blindfolded, he’ll talk to me just like how the crowd is, put pressure on me. I take 1,000 free throws in practice to make or or two … and tonight, it ended up being six.” The number Malone focused on afterwards was 11, as in the number of playoff games Murray and Jokic have played in as they continue to establish themselves as postseason stars. “You think about how young we are and and what we are doing, going on the road and winning a tough game in a hostile environment,” Malone said, “and for Jamal to be the centerpiece of that has been phenomenal. If you’re a Denver Nuggets fan, how excited are you about this team now. More importantly, how excited are you for our future? We have a chance to be a really good team for many, many years and Jamal is going to be a big part of that.” The same goes for Jokic, obviously. He’s already an All-Star and is going to end up on the All-NBA first or second team as well as the top five of the voting for Kia MVP after the regular season he put together. That might explains why the entire Nuggets bench froze as they watched him limp to the sideline in the final moments after being kneed in the leg in the final seconds. “Your heart skips a beat,” Malone said. “Nikola is the face of our franchise, but he just got kneed, it was nothing serious and and we were able to hold on for the win.” For all of Malone’s bluster about his group, it’s not even necessary at this stage of the season. The Nuggets earned the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference playoff chase on the strength of a talented and deep roster that might not resonate with casual NBA fans, but is celebrated by those in the know. Touting their accomplishments in real time makes sense for a coach trying to empower his team to believe in themselves in what could and perhaps should be a nice stretch of playoff runs in the future. But anyone paying attention can tell that the future could be now for these Nuggets. A trip to the conference finals one year after they failed to make the postseason field on the final night of the season in what amounted to a play-in game in Minneapolis last April, is a hell of a start. Malone knows it. His team knows it. And so do the Trail Blazers, who are well aware of the opportunity they squandered in a series where wavering confidence by the Nuggets might have been the only advantage they could exploit. “The good thing for us is that we won a game on their court,” Lillard said. “So it’s not like we lose both games there. We’re in a good space, 2-2, we know we’re capable of winning on their floor and that’t what we’ve got to get done. Obviously, it’s disappointing … we didn’t want to let an opportunity like this slip, but it happens. It’s playoff basketball and we’ve got to move forward.” So do the Nuggets, which is where Malone the master motivator comes into play. And just so we’re clear about something, his sell job is genuine. He knows of what he speaks in assessing a young team on the rise, having spent time coaching in Cleveland and Golden State during the formative stages with what would turn out to be teams that made it to The Finals (2007 in Cleveland). He was on Mark Jackson’s Warriors staff when they turned the corner from a lottery team to  playoff outfit (2012-13 season), helping nurture the core group of a team that has won three of the past four NBA titles and become a potential dynasty that no one saw coming at the time. So if Malone sees special things in his current team, it’s his responsibility to shout about it every now and then, both to the basketball public and especially internally. Youngsters like Jokic and Murray, Gary Harris and Malik Beasley, Torrey Craig and Monte Morris and even veterans like Paul Millsap, Mason Plumlee and Game 4 hero Will Barton, who knocked down huge shots to help seal the deal, need to hear the positive reinforcement from their coach. And that’s not even taking into account what absorbing these moments means for Michael Porter Jr., who is spending his rookie season recovering from back surgery, and is certainly going to be a part of that bright future Malone is so passionate about. If anything, this Nuggets team is ahead of schedule, two wins shy of a trip to the Western Conference finals with three games to play. Two of those are coming on their home floor, where Denver compiled the best record (34-7) in the league during the regular season. Maybe Malone is right to speak the Nuggets’ success into existence rather than wishing and hoping for it to come to fruition without a word otherwise. But he won’t have to go all car salesmen on the final day of month much longer. A couple more performances like the one the Nuggets put on Sunday (Monday, PHL time) and this whole thing, the refurbished franchise with all the boxes checked on the roster -- now and for the foreseeable future -- sells itself. Sekou Smith is a veteran NBA reporter and NBA TV analyst. 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 NewsMay 6th, 2019

Celtics ready to take best charge by Giannis, Bucks

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com MILWAUKEE -- Giannis Antetokounmpo and his Milwaukee Bucks teammates are eager to get going in the Eastern Conference semifinals, as bottled up as they’ve felt in waiting six days between playoff games. A perfect offensive start to Game 1 of their best-of-seven series against Boston would look something like Giannis grabbing the basketball, racing downcourt with one of his breathtaking, three-dribble, end-to-end run-outs and attacking the rim with the ferocity and scowl with which he’s played all season. [Watch the Playoffs on NBA League Pass for 30% less with this limited time offer! Select Annual package and use code SAVE30 at checkout to redeem] Perfect, that is, until Jaylen Brown slides over to plant himself between Antetokounmpo and the restricted area. Whoops! Pancaked Jaylen gets the whistle, while chastened Giannis picks up his first foul and turnover of the Sunday matinee (early Monday, PHL time). It's a strategy out of judo or jiu-jitsu, using your opponent’s power and aggression to your advantage, and it’s one the Celtics likely will deploy against the Bucks’ star and Kia MVP candidate. Getting between Antetokounmpo and the rim isn’t the most comfortable way to defend the against the Greek Freak’s drives into the lane, his maddening Euro Step and his ability to reach up, over and beyond with arms fit for a crane. He’s all elbows and knees, muscles and bones, and at 6'11" and 242 pounds, he’s been giving as much physical punishment as he takes this season. A defender has to absorb that and then sell the move, too, falling backward to the floor. No fun. But it might be one of the few effective ways to slow – if not stop – Antetokounmpo on a Bucks possession, with the added benefits of killing momentum, planting some doubt and ticking up his personal fouls count closer toward an all-critical sixth. Brown and Celtics teammate Terry Rozier both suggested Antetokounmpo could be slowed by such a maneuver. Celtics coach Brad Stevens, in a conference call with reporters Saturday (Sunday, PHL time), wasn’t so sure. “The bottom line is, if you go downhill with the force and speed that he does, there are going to be moments where he charges,” Stevens said. “There also are moments where he draws blocking fouls and scores 'and-ones.' He does that a lot more than he charges. “So you’d better not let him get that head of steam very often.” Easier said than done. Antetokounmpo has become one of the most ferocious rim attackers in the league. He was seemingly unstoppable inside this season, shooting 72.6 percent from five feet or less per NBA.com stats. With 583 field goals from that range, Antetokounmpo had nearly 100 more than the league’s No. 2, Detroit center Andre Drummond (486). Oh, and counting the games against the Pistons in the first round, Antetokounmpo has successfully dunked the ball 289 times – 119 of which have come without assists, meaning either put-backs or throwdowns in which he brought the ball in there with him. Here’s where the 24-year-old’s attack mode can be used against him: He also committed 68 offensive fouls this season – tied for most in the NBA with Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns. Certainly he got fouled with the ball way more than he fouled – Antetokounmpo shot 686 free throws, second only to James Harden’s 858. Nearly seven of his 27.7 points per game came from the line. But foul trouble can slow Antetokounmpo’s roll, as with anybody. If it’s early enough or severe enough, it can take him off the floor completely, and for long stretches. At the least, it might make him a bit less assertive, a wee more passive the next time he might otherwise barrel downcourt. “I definitely keep it in my mind,” Antetokounmpo said Friday (Saturday, PHL time), asked about the charge/block challenge he might face against the Celtics. “It’s not just them. A lot of teams try to stop me by taking charges. “But that’s the fun part about it. They’re not thinking about how they’re going to defend me; they’re thinking about how they’re going to try to take charges. If I can be under control and be at my own pace and try to be smart with not taking charges, if I get to my spot it’s going to be tough.” Here’s a breakdown of Antetokounmpo’s impact with and without nagging foul concerns: In the 31 games in which he was called for four fouls or more (including two disqualifications with six), the Bucks star averaged 25.7 points and eight times logged fewer than 30 minutes. Milwaukee’s record: 23-8 (.742). In the 41 games Antetokounmpo finished with three fouls or fewer, he averaged 29.2 points. He played at least 30 minutes in 34 of the 41, and the Bucks went 33-8 (.805). Boston has defenders willing to give up their bodies, including three of the NBA’s top 20 in charges drawn: Aron Baynes (18), Marcus Smart (15) and Kyrie Irving (13). Smart, still out with a left oblique tear, won’t play in at least the first two games of the series. But Semi Ojeleye is a physical forward who drew Antetokounmpo as an assignment at times in the three regular season meetings – he started twice – and took three charges this season. In the three games, Antetokounmpo was called for a total of seven fouls, including three charges. (For the record, Milwaukee’s Ersan Ilyasova led the NBA in that defensive category with 50, despite playing only 1,231 minutes in 67 games.) Several Celtics will try standing in or stepping in, depending how the referees call it, against Antetokounmpo. It will take timing, footwork, physical sacrifice … and some good fortune. “It’s one of those things that’s easier said than done,” said Milwaukee coach Mike Budenholzer. “Luckily for us, it’s nothing that he hasn’t seen or nothing new.” Said Stevens: “The No. 1 thing [Giannis] has always been is exceptional downhill, exceptional in transition. And when I say ‘exceptional’ I mean one of very few to ever have played the game. “I just think, ultimately, you have to be able to move your feet. You have to be able to guard with pride. You have to be able to do all that, but nobody can do that by themselves against him.” 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 NewsApr 28th, 2019

Durant gets first triple-double with Warriors, win over Mavs

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