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Column: No fans means same sport, different arena

By DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer Rory McIlroy contemplated what golf would be like without fans. This was five days before there was no golf at all. “I'd be OK with it,” he said at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, unaware the new coronavirus was about to shut down golf for at least three months. “It would be just like having an early tee time on the PGA Tour.” And then he added with a laugh, “I guess for a few guys, it wouldn't be that much different.” McIlroy had one of those early times when he was a 20-year-old rookie on the PGA Tour. He teed off in the second round of the Honda Classic at 6:59 a.m. So this will be going back in time for McIlroy, along with the rest of the sport. The PGA Tour set a target of June 8-14 at Colonial in Texas to resume its schedule, with no fans for at least a month. Even if the Charles Schwab Challenge doesn't prove to be the return, golf will be without spectators whenever it starts. Will it matter? Low score still wins, no matter who's there to see it. But it will be a new arena. “I could play without fans, but I don't think I'd play as well,” McIlroy said Tuesday on his GolfPass podcast with Carson Daly and Stephen Curry. “Especially on a Sunday, back nine, you feed off that energy. You hear roars on other parts of the golf course and you sort of know what's going on. All those dynamics are in play when you have people there." The dynamics go beyond noise, of course. Nathan Grube, the tournament director of the Travelers Championship in Connecticut, is preparing it to be the third tournament, the last weekend in June, if golf resumes on schedule. There is hope. There is excitement. There are no grandstands being erected. That wouldn't be a big problem at the TPC River Highlands, which features a stadium design and allows for good viewing, especially over the closing holes. But imagine other courses without stands, without hospitality suites, with nothing but green grass, white sand in the bunkers, the occasional water hazard. Think about Mackenzie Hughes trying to play a cut into the 18th green at the Honda Classic, only to pull it into the middle of the bleachers. He was given a free drop. Years ago, the safe play on the 18th at Doral was to put it into the grandstands beyond the green to take water out of the equation, knowing there would be a free drop. “They're not going to catch errant shots on some holes,” said Mark Russell, a senior rules official on the PGA Tour. They are temporary immovable obstructions, and they are a big part of modern golf. That's why the USGA, and then the R&A, created a number of drop zones (white circles) in front of the grandstands around the 18th hole, starting with Winged Foot in 2006, to avoid taking too much time figuring out where to drop for shots into or behind the stands. In a few cases, it allowed for a player to advance his ball closer to the hole without hitting it. Speaking of Winged Foot, consider that no fans on the course means the rough will remain just that. Phil Mickelson, as an example, has been known to hit tee shots so far off line that the ball comes to rest in an area where gallery traffic has trampled thick grass and led to a reasonable lie. (Maybe if there were no fans at Winged Foot, he would have had to play toward the 18th fairway instead of hitting 3-iron, which led to double bogey and a runner-up finish in the 2006 U.S. Open.) Fans were Arnold Palmer's best friends — literally, in so many cases, but also keeping some of his wild shots from straying too far off line. Tiger Woods once came to the 18th hole at Bay Hill tied for the lead when he pulled his tee shot. It was headed out of bounds but instead struck one of the thousands of spectators in the neck. From grass that had been flattened by the gallery, he hit 5-iron to 15 feet and made birdie to beat Mickelson by one shot. No gallery? It's happened before, most recently in Japan because of flooding. Before that, Congressional had no fans for the third round of the AT&T National because of trees downed by a wind storm. Woods, the biggest draw in golf, won both tournaments. Sound is underrated in golf, especially at scenic Augusta National. Woods spoke to studying every leaderboard so when he heard a roar, he would have a better idea of who did what. Max Homa recalled his first PGA Tour victory, a year ago this week at the Wells Fargo Championship, and how electric it was walking up the 18th fairway. The next tournament he plays will be different. “It will be weird,” Homa said Tuesday. “I imagine the first person to win, it probably will be the strangest of their lives. It sounds very selfish of us to not want to play in front of fans because it won't be electric. But people are craving sports, craving entertainment. I'd carry my bag in front of nobody if needed.” Without fans, without noise and excitement, it won't be the same. But it will be golf. And for the time being, that will do......»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnApr 29th, 2020

ONE Championship: Mixed martial arts gold could be on the horizon for two-sport champion Stamp Fairtex

In just two matches under the ONE Championship banner, Thailand’s Stamp Fairtex has already achieved history by becoming the promotion’s first and only two-sport champion after capturing the ONE Women’s Atomweight Kickboxing and Muay Thai World Championships.   Now, the 21-year old could be setting her sights on a third world title: the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Championship in mixed martial arts.   “I do have plans of getting the third belt, the mixed martial arts World Championship,” Stamp shared. “This third belt will be the most difficult belt for me to get because there are many great fighters in ONE, and mixed martial arts is not my strong point, so this is where I have to improve my wrestling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and mixed martial arts.”   “If I fight in mixed martial arts, I know that everyone will try to take me down and fight on the ground. I will have to try harder and harder to climb up and get some experience before I fight for the belt,” she added.   Already in ONE’s history books, Stamp sees becoming a champion in mixed martial arts as an even bigger deal.   “If I win the belt, it will be my greatest achievement,” she said.   Before thinking about a world title in mixed martial arts however, Stamp will need to focus on defending one of her two belts in the ONE Women’s Atomweight Muay Thai World Championship.   Stamp puts her title on the line against Australian teenager Alma Juniku in the main event of ONE: Legendary Quest this Saturday, 15 June at the Baoshan Arena in Shanghai, China.   “I am preparing hard for this bout, especially since it will be a title defense. I respect Alma and I know what she can bring to the table, but I also know what I am capable of and I have the utmost belief in my skills,” Stamp stated.   “Alma is very patient in her approach, and we have developed a gameplan to be able to use that patience to our advantage. Alma has impeccable timing and her counters are indeed dangerous, but I have nothing but faith in myself, my camp, and my coaches, and I am confident that I can overcome a tough challenger like Alma,” she continued.   For the young Thai champion, her motivation lies in not letting the people behind her down. Stamp knows that being a champion means being a marked woman, and she understands that part of the being the best is preparing for all comers.   “Everyone has high hopes for me. I can’t let my family, Fairtex, and my fans down. I have to keep training hard and learn something new every day so I can keep retaining my belts. I know everyone wants to come for these belts and they will be in perfect condition and will have the perfect gameplan, so for me, I have to stay focused and I have to be ready for anything.” Catch Stamp Fairtex put her ONE Women’s Atomweight Muay Thai World Championship on the line against challenger Alma Juniku at ONE: Legendary Quest on Saturday, June 15th at 11:00 PM. Full event broadcast will be on Sunday, Jun 16th at 8:00 PM  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 14th, 2019

Remember KYK’s kind words to Pinoy volleyball fans?

Filipino volleyball fans are the best in the world. They are extremely passionate, warm and very friendly.      Ask any foreign player who has played in the country about the local fans and the answer will be the same: it’s quite an experience. Even Korean volleyball star Kim Yeon-Koung experienced firsthand the one of a kind love of Pinoy fans for the sport. Three years ago KYK, who is one of the highest-paid and most popular volleyball stars in the world, came to the country to represent South Korea in the 19th AVC Asian Senior Women's Volleyball Championship. Fourteen teams participated in the competition held at the Alonte Sports Arena in Binan, Laguna and at the Muntinlupa Sports Center. South Korea played in both venues and Pinoy fans would fill the arena to watch and cheer for the Koreans. Even KYK was surprised for the amount of love she and her teammates received from the crowd. “I didn’t expect that there’s much people supporting me here in the Philippines. When I came here I’m really surprised that a lot of people are supporting me and they know me,” she said then. The Korean superstar even went as far as saying that the Filipino fans made her feel like playing on home soil. “Thank you so much to the Filipino fans, when I play here (it feels) like I’m playing at home. It was great to play here,” she said. KYK's most memorable experience was when she received a bouquet of flowers from a four-year-old boy after Korea’s bronze medal win. But aside from the warmth of the supporters, the Philippine national team in that tournament earned the respect of KYK and Koreans. Although the Jaja Santiago and Alyssa Valdez-led Filipinas bowed down to the powerhouse opponents in straight sets in the quarterfinals classification round, the gritty host squad forced Korea to field KYK throughout the whole match for the first-time in the tournament. KYK also admired the improvement of the PHI squad compared to their match in the 2015 edition. KYK sat out in the said encounter in China. Overall, KYK truly enjoyed her stay in the country. All thanks to the Filipino fans.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 14th, 2020

10 things that make Alyssa Valdez phenomenal

Alyssa Valdez has arguably made the biggest impact in Philippine volleyball.   Her skills, passion and charisma endeared her to volleyball supporters, purists or casual fans, from all walks of life. She brings energy and leadership to every team that she’s joined. Valdez draws a huge crowd every time she plays. Valdez is the poster girl of the sport that for years struggled to draw mainstream attention in a nation which considers basketball as its biggest sporting event. The 27-year old pride of San Juan, Batangas is the face of local volleyball. So on her birthday today, let’s look at some of the things that makes the Phenom really phenomenal.   Two-time UAAP women’s champion Valdez is Ateneo de Manila University’s undisputed Queen Eagle. Talks about the Lady Eagles’ breakthrough championship will not be complete without the mention of her name. After two years of bridesmaid finishes, Ateneo bagged its first-ever UAAP title in 2014 after beating the thrice-to-beat De La Salle University in four games in the Finals despite leading a young band of Lady Eagles playing under the new system of Thai coach Tai Bundit. The following year, Ateneo, with Valdez at the helm, retained its crown in a tournament-sweeping fashion.      Three-time UAAP Most Valuable Player Her skills during her collegiate career stood out among her peers. Valdez’s effort was rewarded with three Most Valuable Player awards in Season 76, Season 77 and in her last playing year in Season 78 in 2016. She also pocketed the Season 76 Finals MVP award.   Young phenom Valdez didn’t build her reputation overnight. It was her hard work and effort that brought her where she is right now. She was still a diamond in the rough when she was recruited by University of Sto. Tomas in a regional meet. But the Espana-based squad polished Valdez into a real gem of a player. Valdez, backed by a powerful lineup that featured the likes of Kim Fajardo and Jaja Santiago, won three straight UAAP girls’ titles and in the process collected three season MVPs. She was also named UAAP high school athlete of the year twice.        National team mainstay With her talents, dedication and good work ethics, Valdez has been a mainstay with the national team. Her first tour of duty was in 2008 when she represented the country in the Asian Youth Championship held in Pasig City. She joined the PHI Team in the 2014 FIVB Southeast Asian Zone qualifier in Vietnam. In 2015, she donned the tricolors for the Asian U-23 Championship and on the same year saw action in the country’s return in the Southeast Asian Games in Singapore after a decade of absence. Since then Valdez participated in the 2017 Kuala Lumpur and 2019 Manila SEA Games. She also took part in the 2017 Asian Senior Women’s Championship and the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games.     2015 SEA Games flagbearer Valdez also carries the honor as being the first-ever volleyball player to become the PHI flag-bearer in the SEA Games. She marched holding the national color in front of Team Philippines during the traditional parade of nations inside the OCBC Arena in the 2015 Singapore SEA Games.   Accomplished commercial league star She has been collecting commercial league titles since high school starting from the Shakey’s Girls Volleyball League. Valdez was also successful in the different conferences of the defunct V-League, racking up championships and individual accolades. In the Premier Volleyball League, she powered Creamline to three titles including a sweep of the Season 2 Reinforced and Open Conferences in 2018. She won three conference MVP awards.      Import abroad International leagues took notice of Valdez’s talents and charm so it’s not surprising that she landed offers to play abroad. Valdez played as an import in Thailand for 3BB Nakornnont from 2016 to 2017. After her stint in Thailand, Valdez flew to Taiwan to play for Attack Line.   Host, Actress, TV personality Valdez is a regular fixture in different sports shows in ABS-CBN S+A. She’s a host, courtside reporter and a game analyst.   Valdez also had a few showbiz stints. She appeared in some Kapamilya teleserye including a cameo in ‘And I Love You So’ in 2016 alongside Julia Barretto and Miles Ocampo and in the movie ‘My Letters to Happy’ with by TJ Trinidad and Glaiza De Castro.    Aside from her TV and movie career, Valdez is also one of the most recognizable athlete product endorsers.   Social media influencer She is also one of the most popular Filipino athlete on social media. As of posting, Valdez has 1.9 million Twitter followers, 1.3 million followers on Instagram and her YouTube channel has more than 76,000 subscribers.   Featured in the Olympics Channel website While the likes of Sisi Rondina, Jaja Santiago and Bryan Bagunas were featured in the FIVB website, Valdez’s impact on Philippine Volleyball was highlighted in a feature article in no less than the Olympic Channel website. The article touched about her humble beginnings to her meteoric rise and why she is regarded as the nation’s brightest star in the sport. These are just some of the things take make Valdez a true pride of our nation in the sport Happy birthday, Alyssa!.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 29th, 2020

Filipino-American MMA star Mark Muñoz recalls retirement bout in Manila

In 2015, Filipino mixed martial arts fans’ prayers were answered when the UFC, finally brought the legendary Octagon to the Philippines.  UFC Fight Night Manila was headlined by Frankie Edgar and Urijah Faber, two former world champions and two of the world’s best at the time.  But while the main event was indeed on worthy of a pay-per-view card, Pinoy fans flocked to the Mall of Asia Arena to see one of their own compete in the Octagon for the very last time.  The UFC’s inaugural card in Manila also featured the retirement bout of Filipino-American Mark “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” Muñoz.  (READ ALSO: Mark Muñoz ends career on the highest of notes) Muñoz was 37 at the time, and was already a veteran in the UFC, having fought 14 times for the North American promotion. During his peak in the UFC, the California-native won seven out of eight fights and came within a win away from becoming a title contender, before losing to eventual middleweight titleholder Chris Weidman.  Following the loss to Weidman, Munoz went on to drop three of his next four bouts.  In the final fight of his MMA career, Muñoz had the chance to go out on top and retire in front of his fellow Filipinos. In front of over 13,000 strong, Muñoz did just that, beating Luke Barnatt via unanimous decision and announcing his retirement durung the post-fight speech.  (READ ALSO: The MMA community reacts to Mark Munoz's final fight and retirement) On an episode of The Hit List Vodcast, Muñoz recalled that night and what it meant for him to end his career that way.  “Oh man. I would cherish that night forever,” Muñoz said. “Even when I came to the Philippines early and I visited my family, I still have four generations of my family still there and it was so cool to see my whole family and just to have the support there from everybody. It was amazing and for me, you know, I just felt the love.” “I loved it. And when I walked out, I heard just people cheering and as I was walking out, I slapped somebody’s hand and I started crying you know. Like, whoah, that’s crazy, I’m getting ready to fight and you know like, dude that’s nuts. For me to be able to have that impact on people because they love the sport I love and I’m able to do it in a high level, it made me just wanna give,” he continued.  Following the hard-fought three-round victory, Muñoz addressed the Pinoy crowd and gave a heartfelt message, thanking his fans and then expressing his desire to help the Philippines out in terms of wrestling, an aspect that has long been deemed lacking or inadequate among Filipino mixed martial artists.  “Like I said before, when I got on the microphone, they handed the microphone to me and they never do that, so when they handed the mic to me, I told everybody that I wanna go back to the Philippines and I wanna help in any way I can and so, right now I’m actually building a website that people could access from all around the world, so it’s a wrestling website and I have the best people on there.  Muñoz’s commitment to helping Filipino wrestlers remains to this day, saying that he would gladly fly out to the motherland if he was asked to do so.  “I have my wrestling room where you could have the capability of getting on there and learning from me, and if someone wants to bring me for a seminar out there, I’ll come. In a heartbeat. I’d love to go back to the Philippines and help my kababayan. Just be able to support and help everybody I can,” he said.  While Muñoz did decide to call it a career that night, the former collegiate wrestling star believed that he could still compete at a high level, especially since he was working with world champions and elite-level talent on a daily basis.  “I honestly felt that I was still in my prime,” Muñoz admitted. “I honestly felt that I could have fought more and I felt like I could beat still the guys that beat me. I trained with all the best guys. I trained with Lyoto Machida and fought him and I do very well with him inside the gym. Michael Bisping was a training partner of mine. Anderson Silva I trained with him for a very long time. I know that level and I can be at that level. I felt like I could still compete at that level.” The reason why he left the sport, Muñoz explained, is to be able to spend more time with his family.  “To answer your question, the reason why I stepped away from the sport was not because my body wasn’t able to do it. I stepped away because my family needed me more than me being in the sport. Because, I’m telling you it was hard for my wife, she was a single mom with all the kids for a long time so it was hard. Things at home was pretty rough for us and I didn’t like that at all. All the while I was coaching and travelling all the time so something has to give. I felt like yes, it was a storybook ending but a the same time, I can still compete with the best guys in the division.” Check out the full interview HERE .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 15th, 2020

Virus-proofing sports facilities presents a big challenge

By DAVE CAMPBELL AP Sports Writer MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The jersey-wearing camaraderie. The scent of sizzling sausages. The buzz before a big game. The distinctive atmosphere of live sports, that feeling in the air, will return in time as pandemic restrictions are eased. But will that very air be safe in a closed arena with other fans in attendance? The billions of dollars spent on state-of-the-art sports facilities over the last quarter-century have made high-efficiency air filtration systems more common, thanks in part to the pursuit of green and healthy building certifications. Upgrades will likely increase in the post-coronavirus era, too. The problem is that even the cleanest of air can’t keep this particular virus from spreading; if someone coughs or sneezes, those droplets are in the air. That means outdoor ballparks have high contaminant potential, too. “Most of the real risk is going to be short-distance transmission, people sitting within two, three or four seats of each other,” said Ryan Demmer, an epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health. “It’s not really about the virus spreading up, getting into the ventilation system and then getting blown out to the entire stadium because this virus doesn’t seem to transmit that way. It doesn’t aerosolize that well.” The three hours spent in proximity to thousands of others is part of the fan experience. It's also why major sports leagues have been discussing plans to reopen in empty venues, for now. High-touch areas with the potential to spread the virus — called fomite transmission — are plentiful at the ballgame, of course. Door handles. Stair rails. Restroom fixtures. Concession stands. Hand washing by now has become a societal norm, but disinfectant arsenals need to be brought up to speed, too. “I can’t really find good hand sanitizer easily in stores. So think about trying to scale that up, so everybody who comes into U.S. Bank Stadium gets a little bottle of Purel. Things like that can be modestly helpful,” Demmer said. There is much work to be done. Vigilant sanitizing of the frequent-touch surfaces will be a must. Ramped-up rapid testing capability during pre-entry screening could become common for fans. Minimizing concourse and entry bottlenecks, and maintaining space between non-familial attendees, could be mandatory. Mask-wearing requirements? Maybe. Most experts, including those at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, believe the primary mode of transmission for COVID-19 is close person-to-person contact through breathing, coughing or sneezing but there's no consensus on some of the details. “There’s still widespread disagreement between experts on which mode of transmission dominates for influenza. So the likelihood of us figuring this out soon for this virus is low,” said Joe Allen, director of the Healthy Buildings Program and an assistant professor at Harvard’s School of Public Health. “We may never figure it out, but I also think it’s irrelevant because it’s a pandemic and we should be guarding against all of them.” Including, of course, the air. The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers designed the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) scale to measure a filtration system's effectiveness (from 1-16) at capturing microscopic airborne particles that can make people sick. Not just viruses, but dust, pollen, mold and bacteria. Most experts recommend a MERV rating of 13 or higher, the minimum standard for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. An emerging technology in this area is called bipolar ionization. Connecticut-based AtmosAir has a bipolar ionization air treatment system in about 40 sports venues. Staples Center in Los Angeles was one of the first major sports customers. TD Garden in Boston and Bridgestone Arena in Nashville are among the others who’ve signed on. The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority approved last year a 10-year contract for a little more than $1 million with AtmosAir to install its system in U.S. Bank Stadium, home of the Vikings and the first indoor NFL stadium to use it. The building, which measures 1.8 million square feet, has 53 air handling units with AtmosAir tubes installed, including 30 in the seating bowl. The ions act like fresh air, reducing the amount of outside air needed to be introduced for the cleansing process. The protein spikes in the coronavirus particles make them easier to catch and kill, said Philip Tierno, a New York University School of Medicine professor of microbiology and pathology. Said AtmosAir founder and CEO Steve Levine: “We’re never going to create a mountaintop, but we’re going to put in maybe three to four times the ions over the ambient air and then let those ions attack different pollutants in the air. The ions grab onto particles and spores and make them bigger and heavier, so they’re much easier to filter out of the air." The next time fans do pass through the turnstiles, in a few weeks or a few months, in most cases they will probably encounter an unprecedented level of cleanliness. “There will be some controls that are visible, extra cleaning and disinfection, but some of it will be invisible, like for what’s happening in the air handling system,” said Allen, the Harvard professor. “The consumers will decide when they feel comfortable going back, and that’s going to depend on what strategies are put in place in these venues and stadiums and arenas and, most importantly, how well these organizations communicate that to the paying public.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 1st, 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

UFC champ Miocic welcomes octagon s return, has concerns

By TOM WITHERS AP Sports Writer CLEVELAND (AP) — Heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic welcomes UFC's plans to reopen the octagon. The fighter — and firefighter — does have some concerns, though. After scrapping an idea to hold fights on tribal land in California and cancelling or postponing several events since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, UFC will return to competition May 9 in Jacksonville, Florida. UFC President Dana White recently announced UFC 249 will be held without fans at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena. Two additional fight cards are scheduled for May 13 and May 16 at the venue. Miocic said his only reservation about the sport's reopening is related to health reasons. “As long as everyone is safe, I hope it works out,” said Miocic, who has continued to work as a firefighter and paramedic during the outbreak. "And not just the fighters, I worry about everyone’s safety. It takes one person to (infect) three people, and how fast it can spread, it’s crazy.” Miocic recaptured his title belt in August by pummeling Daniel Cormier at UFC 241. On Thursday, the affable 37-year-old said his recovery following surgery to repair a torn retina continues to go well — “I have some spots, but definitely I can see" — and that he misses his training routine while awaiting a return to normalcy. Until then, Miocic has been working shifts for the Valley View (Ohio) Fire Department. Personal safety is always a priority in his “other” job, and Miocic said he and his co-workers have remained vigilant during these unprecedented times. “I have a job to do, and when I go to the station I make sure I stay clean,” he said on the phone from his home in North Royalton, Ohio, “We’re smart. We’re clean. We’re masked. We wear goggles, gloves and gowns when he have to. It’s our routine, so I’m not really worried about that.” Miocic has teamed with Modelo beer to raise funds for personal protection equipment for first responders during the pandemic. On May 5, the brewer has pledged to donate $1 (up to $500,000) for any social media post using the hashtag #CincUp. Miocic also has been working out, but not like he normally would while training for a fight. A third matchup with Cormier, who knocked him out in the first round in 2018, appears likely but isn’t official. He joked that most of his cardio work these days comes from chasing his young daughter around the house. Already proven to be adept with his hands, Miocic has filled idle time with home projects. He’s surprised himself with a knack for wallpapering. Removal, that is. “I’m good at bringing things down,” he joked. A die-hard Cleveland sports fan, Miocic was pleased with the Browns’ selections in last week’s NFL draft. “I thought we did really well actually,” said Miocic, who trained last year with Browns star defensive end Myles Garrett. “We were smart. I think we got a few of the pieces that we need. I think we’re doing the right things.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 1st, 2020

Sports leagues seek return to play but with no guarantees

By EDDIE PELLS AP National Writer With no games being played, recent sports headlines have centered around hopes and dreams — namely, the uncharted path leagues and teams must navigate to return to competition in the wake of the pandemic. Virtually all leagues talk publicly about their desire to return before summer. But behind closed doors, they are hatching different potential plans: all 30 baseball teams playing in Arizona; home run contests to decide tie games; the Stanley Cup being hoisted in an empty arena that neither team calls home; end-of-season soccer standings decided by vote; college football games in spring. Over the past week, The Associated Press spoke to more than two dozen policymakers, coaches and players across the globe to get their candid assessments of plans to return from the stoppages caused by the coronavirus. The conclusion: While it’s critical to put optimistic restart scenarios in place, there is no certainty any of these plans will work without buy-in from politicians and an OK from players and medical experts. Underpinning it all would have to be a drastic ramp-up in testing, a vaccine or treatment breakthrough, or some other solution. In short, the return of any sports, no matter how innovative the plan, will be risky and uncertain for the rest of this year and into 2021. “It’s not about 22 players walking onto a pitch and throwing a ball out,” said FIFA Vice President Victor Montagliani, whose concerns about restarting soccer mirror those of all sports worldwide. The organizers of the Olympics were among the last to postpone their event, then among the first to set a new date – exactly 52 weeks after the original July 24 cauldron lighting had been scheduled. The decision to reschedule for a date 15 months down the road came just before an unexpected spike in cases hit Japan. The worry that followed underscored the many open questions about the arc of the outbreak. “I think everyone’s probably working on multiple options. It’s ’If this, then what?'” said Tim Hinchey, the CEO of USA Swimming, the sport's governing body in the United States. Virtually all the big-time team sports are coming up with scenarios to play games with no fans in the stands. The Washington Post reported that while the NFL is publicly committed to its usual kickoff date in September, it is looking into contingencies that include shortening the season or playing in front of half-full or empty stadiums. College athletic directors have come up with a half-dozen or more scenarios for football season, including, according to Oklahoma's Joe Castiglione, a scenario in which part of the season would be played in spring. One theme gaining wide acceptance: If it's not safe enough for students to return to school or attend games, then athletes shouldn't be asked to return either. Without the millions from football, all college sports are in peril. NASCAR, which has been holding virtual races, has given teams a tentative schedule under which the season would resume May 24 without fans. The NHL has drawn up plans that include resuming the season this summer, going directly to the playoffs and/or playing games in empty arenas in neutral-site cities. The PGA Tour announced a mid-June restart and meshed its schedule with the already reworked majors calendar. In a nod to the precariousness of it all, Andy Pazder, the tour’s chief officer of tournaments and competition, said if events cannot be held in compliance with health regulations, then “we will not do anything.” That's also where the NBA appears to be for now. The league that got in front of the coronavirus pandemic first, calling off games on March 11, is in a holding pattern. Most of the league’s conversations center on how to resume the season, not whether to cancel it. In Australia, ambitious plans to resume play in the National Rugby League by the end of May got shot down by Prime Minister Scott Morrison. England’s Premier League also says it wants to finish its season but would only do so “with the full support of the government” and when “medical guidance allows.” Meanwhile, in Scotland, a wild round of voting has already taken place to decide whether to lock in standings for leagues there and get ready for next season. Major League Baseball in the U.S. is talking about bringing all 30 teams to Maricopa County, Arizona, for a regular season at spring training sites. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the infectious disease expert who has been calling for restraint in resuming any normal activities, offered a glimmer of hope when he suggested sports could conceivably return. He suggested no fans in arenas and constant testing for the players, who would likely need to be quarantined in hotels for weeks or months. Not all the players are on board. “I’m going to go four or five months without seeing my kid when it’s born? I can tell you right now that’s not going to happen,” Ryan Zimmerman of the Nationals wrote in a diary for AP. Zimmerman’s third child is due in June. Whether Zimmerman shows or not, baseball could be a vastly different game if it returns in 2020. Some other ideas floated include wrapping up the season in December, scheduling a multitude of doubleheaders with seven-inning games and quickly deciding ties with home run derbies. Yet for all those scenarios, nobody's quite sure what will happen if, despite all the precautions, an outbreak hits a team. Could one positive test eviscerate an entire season? Before setting anything in motion, all the leagues are waiting for a consensus to emerge from government and health experts, to say nothing of players and owners. Right now, Montagliani said, "the paramount skill set required from us is risk management and nothing else.” ___ Reporting by AP Sports Writers Doug Ferguson, Jenna Fryer, Rob Harris, Stephen Wade, Ron Blum, Steve Douglas, Ben Walker, Dennis Passa, Stephen Whyno, Tim Reynolds, Brian Mahoney, Howard Fendrich, Ben Walker, Rob Maaddi, Ralph Russo, Larry Lage......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 19th, 2020

British Open canceled, Masters to November in major rescheduling

By DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer The Masters goes from that annual rite of spring to two weeks before Thanksgiving. The U.S. Open now is scheduled in September for the first time since amateur Francis Ouimet took down Britain’s best at Brookline in 1913 to put golf on the map in America. And the oldest championship of them all won’t even be played. Golf organizations tried to salvage a season unlike any other Monday with a series of changes, starting with the British Open being canceled for the first time since 1945. The PGA Championship, which last year moved to May, would go back to August. That would be followed by the PGA Tour’s postseason, the U.S. Open and Ryder Cup in consecutive weeks, and then the Masters on Nov. 12-15. “Any Masters is better than no Masters,” Augusta native Charles Howell III said. Still to be determined was when — or even if — golf could resume because of the COVID-19 pandemic that has shut down sports worldwide. Augusta National Chairman Fred Ridley said the Masters identified November as “intended dates.” CEO Seth Waugh said the PGA of America was “holding” Aug. 6-9 as dates for the PGA Championship at Harding Park in San Francisco. USGA chief Mike Davis said moving from June to September was the best chance to mitigate health and safety concerns — Winged Foot is 5 miles from New Rochelle, New York, a virus hot spot — to have “the best opportunity” of staging the U.S. Open. The British Open effectively is pushing its schedule back one year, saying the 149th Open still is set for Royal St. George’s on July 15-18, leaving the 150th Open for St. Andrews the following year. “I can assure everyone that we have explored every option for playing The Open this year, but it is not going to be possible,” R&A chief Martin Slumbers said. Golf’s major organizations, starting with the PGA Tour and its calendar filled with tournaments, have been trying to piece together a puzzle for the last three weeks. Each agreed to announce their plans together in a show of collaboration. Still missing is the starting line, along with some details on what could be the most hectic pace golf has ever known. “We hope the anticipation of staging the Masters Tournament in the fall brings a moment of joy to the Augusta community and all those who love the sport,” Ridley said. “We want to emphasize that our future plans are incumbent upon favorable counsel and direction from health officials.” Augusta National closed early this year because of the coronavirus and does not open until October. The bloom of dogwoods and azaleas will give way to fall foliage. Instead of being the second full week in April, it will compete against football. “It feels like in these extraordinary times, we need to do extraordinary things,” said Kevin Kisner, who grew up 20 miles away in Aiken, South Carolina. “We can sacrifice a little bit of our life being perfect.” The PGA Tour has tentatively planned to complete its FedEx Cup season close to schedule, with the Tour Championship finishing on Labor Day. It is contemplating putting tournaments in dates that previously belonged to the U.S. Open, British Open and Olympics. “It’s a complex situation, and we want to balance the commitments to our various partners with playing opportunities for our members — while providing compelling competition to our fans,” PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said. “But all of that must be done while navigating the unprecedented global crisis that is impacting every single one of us.” The new schedule: — Aug. 6-9: PGA Championship. — Aug. 13-16: End of PGA Tour regular season at Wyndham Championship. — Aug. 20-23: Start of FedEx Cup playoffs at The Northern Trust. — Aug. 27-30: BMW Championship, second playoff event. — Sept. 4-7: Tour Championship for the FedEx Cup. — Sept. 17-20: U.S. Open at Winged Foot. — Sept. 25-27: Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits. It was not immediately clear how the teams from Europe and the United States would be determined for the Ryder Cup, although European captain Padraig Harrington has said he would not be opposed to picking all 12 players. For the 24 players, that means going from what long has been regarded as the toughest test in golf to what has become the most tiresome three days in golf. “It’s definitely better than leaving the Tour Championship and going to France, or leaving the Bahamas to go to Australia,” said Patrick Cantlay, referring to the Americans' most recent Ryder and Presidents cup itineraries. Like everything else, so much remains up in the air until golf get the signal to resume. Gian Paolo Montali, the general director for the 2022 Ryder Cup, said on Italian radio Monday that officials faced a May deadline to postpone the Ryder Cup to odd-numbered years (as it was before the matches were postponed by the Sept. 11 attacks). He described the chances as 50-50. Montali also said players already have vetoed a Ryder Cup without its raucous fans. Other details must be sorted out, such as U.S. Open qualifying. The next tournament on the PGA Tour schedule is Colonial on May 21-24, though that appears unlikely. Ridley said every player who has received invitations to play the Masters in April will stay on the list. He said the Augusta National Women’s Amateur was canceled, and every player can keep their spots for next year provided they don’t turn pro. The U.S. Senior Open at Newport Country Club in Rhode Island and the U.S. Senior Women’s Open at Brooklawn Country Club in Connecticut have been canceled. As for the British Open, Shane Lowry gets to keep the claret jug longer than anyone since Dick Burton, who won in 1939 at St. Andrews in the last Open before World War II. Burton went from “champion golfer of the year” to member of the Royal Air Force. Lowry said in a video tweet he understood and supported the R&A’s decision. “You can trust me when I say the claret jug is going to be in safe hands for another year,” Lowry said. ___ AP Sports Writer Andrew Dampf in Italy contributed to this report......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 7th, 2020

NBA-hopeful Fil-Am Remy Martin takes pride in Filipino roots

The NBA could be getting even more Filipino flavor soon in the form of draft hopeful Remy Martin.  The Arizona State University junior has declared for the upcoming NBA draft and could be a highly-sought after prospect after posting averages of 19.1 points, 4.1 assists, and 3.1 rebounds for the Sun Devils in the 2019-2020 season. Martin and the Sun Devils likely would have made it to their third-straight NCAA Tournament, if not for the league's cancellation due to the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic.  Born to an American father and a Filipino mother, the 21-year old Martin has been nothing short of proud of his Filipino roots, and admits that he has dreams of one day being able to represent a basketball-crazy country like the Philippines.  "My mom is Filipino, and that’s everything. If you know me, I will always wear the Filipino stuff. It just made me who I am. Everything we did was honestly, around family," Martin said.  "That’s more than basketball, that’s always something that I’ve wanted to do, is always to represent another country at a sport that they love. They love basketball, they love watching everything about the games," he added.  Martin says that through his platform, he hopes to be able to serve as an inspiration for others to pursue their dreams and achieve their goals.  "It’s a privilege, to go out there and play the game that you love, especially at this level, and I’m just trying to help. That’s all I wanna do, is help them know that if I can do it, they can do it as well." "I have ASU fans already in the Philippines, which is crazy. It means a lot. Those people that are reaching out, I want to help them, and I can help them, so why not?" Martin continued.  The six-foot playmaker shared that he hopes to follow in the footsteps of fellow Fil-American Jordan Clarkson and suit up for Gilas Pilipinas one day. "I’ve always wanted to go, especially play for the national team. I know one day I’m gonna make my way out there and it’s gonna be a blast. I’m gonna give them everything I have." Martin shares more about himself and his journey in basketball in the video below:          View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Remy Macaspac Martin (@remymartin1fk) on Apr 4, 2020 at 9:01pm PDT.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 5th, 2020

Greatest Performance: Marck Espejo’s 55-point game

Playing in a sport where posting records is hard to do, Marck Espejo proved that he is a cut above the rest. In his last year in the UAAP, Espejo led then-defending champion Ateneo de Manila University in an amazing Final Four victory, defying the odds stacked against the Blue Eagles. The five-time Most Valuable Player not only carried Ateneo on his shoulders for another trip to the Finals, but Espejo also registered a league scoring record in an incredible display of his offensive prowess, determination and heart.      Espejo did that two years ago in the UAAP Season 80 semifinals against twice-to-beat Far Eastern University on a balmy Saturday morning. Fans inside the Mall of Asia Arena were all up on their feet in the closing stretch of the fifth set. The raucous crowd were about to witness history unfold before their eyes.  Playing in his final year for the blue and white, Espejo knew that their three-year reign was hanging in the balance. The Blue Eagles survived the nip-and-tuck fourth set to force a decider after going down, 1-2, in the match against the confident Tamaraws. Espejo already had 44 points. In the first four sets the open spiker fired missile after missile to frustrate FEU, which was already committing three blockers on Espejo to no avail. He just kept coming. He was unstoppable. One more final push and Ateneo will get a chance to live to fight another day.   Espejo assumed the Herculean task of providing the much-needed firepower in the deciding frame. He was running on pure adrenaline. Espejo stepped up big time in the deciding frame when he scored 11 of Ateneo’s points. The King Eagle, who held the Blue Eagles together in the fourth frame, wreaked havoc in the fifth set and gave Ateneo an 8-5 lead. FEU closed the gap 8-9 before the Blue Eagles extended their advantage to 11-8 off an off the block kill by Espejo. The Ateneo star finished off FEU with a thunderous spike to cap the Blue Eagles' closing 4-1 assault with the last four points all coming from Espejo.  “’Yung points naman po, hindi ko siya iniisip. Basta iniisip ko lang, ‘pag binigay sa akin 'yung bola, kailangan ko pumuntos, kasi para sa team ko naman 'yun eh,” said the soft-spoken Espejo, whose monster production in the series opener came from 47 attacks, six kill blocks and two aces. The King Eagle pushed Ateneo at match point with a kill block before Espejo put the icing on the cake with a powerful smash that shattered the two-man block of FEU. That was the last of Espejo’s league-record 55 points – the highlight of the Blue Eagles’ 18-25, 25-13, 24-26, 25-23, 15-9 win. WATCH:  “Nagulat nga ako, sabi ko, typographical error ba ito?” said a surprised Ateneo coach Oliver Almadro, who was on his last year with the Blue Eagles before taking over the Lady Eagles the following season The mentor, who in Season 81 steered Ateneo back to the women’s division throne, admitted that no one on his bench knew that Espejo was already putting up record numbers. He just instructed his setter Ish Polvorosa to toss the ball to Espejo for a high percentage attack. “Hindi namin alam. Hindi nga namin alam eh,” said Almadro. “Minsan nga, naano pa ako kay Ish (Polvorosa) - 'Ish, bigay mo na kay Marck, bigay mo na kay Marck.' 'Yun pala, he is making these points na.” Espejo again wreaked havoc in the winner-take-all match, scoring 37 points as the Blue Eagles booted out FEU for a fifth straight championship dance with archrival National University.         However, Ateneo’s dynasty crumbled at the hands of the Bryan Bagunas-led Bulldogs.    It was a painful defeat to close Espejo’s collegiate career. But didn’t diminish the sparkle of Espejo’s performance in his swan song especially is record feat, which might stand as the league’s scoring benchmark for years.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 1st, 2020

UAAP Season 82: Volleyball tickets for as low as P35

With the success of the ‘Student Wednesdays’ during the recently concluded basketball tournament, the UAAP decided to carry it over to the volleyball tournament. The first round of the second semester's centerpiece sport of Season 82 is set to fire off on Tuesday, March 3, at the SM Mall of Asia Arena. This time however, it won't just apply to Wednesday games but to Tuesdays as well. It is now called the 'Student Weekdays Promo'. The promo encourages students of the member schools to come and support their teams during the weekday games of the league's Volleyball tournaments. Tickets for Upper Box and General Admission in both the Big Dome and the SM Mall of Asia and the Gallery section of the Philsports Arena will only cost PHP 35.00 each. "Nothing beats watching the games live. And as we saw during the basketball tournaments, the more affordable the ticket prices during the weekday games, the better the turnout. This is why we decided to do the promo for the volleyball tournaments," said UAAP President Emmanuel Fernandez. Student Weekdays will run throughout the elimination round. Fans can also show their school spirit by getting official UAAP university licensed merchandise from www.uaapstore.com......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 2nd, 2020

Joshua Pacio and Alex Silva face off at ONE: FIRE & FURY Open Workouts

ONE Championship returns to the Philippines for the first time in 2020 with ONE: FIRE & FURY this coming Friday, January 31st at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. Before 'The Home of Martial Arts' puts on yet another exciting show for its loyal Pinoy fans however, some of the athletes seeing action on Friday's must-see card gave the media a taste of what to expect on fight night during the official ONE: FIRE & FURY Open Workouts, Tuesday afternoon at One Esplanade.  Headlining Friday's card will be an intriguing ONE Strawweight World Championship bout between the Philippines' very own reigning titlist Joshua "The Passion" Pacio and former champion Alex "Little Rock" Silva of Brazil.  The champ is here! ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua Pacio will be defending his title against Alex Silva this Friday. Pacio will look for his second successful title defense | #FireAndFury pic.twitter.com/9IPuy5IVlk — Santino Honasan???? (@honasantino) January 28, 2020 The 24-year old Pacio, a member of the famed Team Lakay stable up in Benguet, will be looking to defend his ONE Strawweight World Championship for a second time, as he's coming off a successful title defense against compatriot Rene "D' Challenger" Catalan also in Manila last November.  Former ONE Strawweight World Champion Alex Silva of Brazil will try to regain his title against reigning champ Joshua Pacio this Friday | #FireAndFury pic.twitter.com/ZZ9AjY7hHk — Santino Honasan???? (@honasantino) January 28, 2020 Standing opposite Pacio will be a dangerous test in former ONE Strawweight World Champion Silva, who captured the title back in 2017 with a decision win over Yoshitaka Naito. Silva's reign would not be a long one however, as Naito would reclaim the title the following year. Silva has managed to bounce back successfully and has racked off two straight wins over Stefer Rahardian and Peng Xuewen to earn another shot at gold.    Two-time ONE Lightweight World Champion @efolayang returns to action against Pietr Buist. He’s looking to kick off another run to the top of the division | #FireAndFury pic.twitter.com/3pT963fEbi — Santino Honasan???? (@honasantino) January 28, 2020 In the co-main event, Filipino mixed martial arts icon and two-time ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard "Landslide" Folayang of Team Lakay returns to action to face Dutch up-and-comer Pietr "The Archangel" Buist.  Coming off his technical decision win over Amarsanaa Tsogookhuu in Manila back in Noveber, Folayang looks to score back-to-back wins and work his way back to the top of the ONE Championship lightweight title picture. Buist on the other hand, is looking to make a big impact on short notice, as he meets a big name in the Pinoy star. The Dutchman is currently 2-0 under the ONE banner.    ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix finalist Danny Kingad of Team Lakay returns to action against Xie Wei. He’s coming off a great performance in a loss against Demetrious Johnson | #FireAndFury pic.twitter.com/qSVTtg2Igq — Santino Honasan???? (@honasantino) January 28, 2020 Fresh off his ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix finals bout against Demetrious Johnson, Danny "The King" Kingad steps back into the circle to face China's "The Hunter" Xie Wei. In spite of falling to Johnson in the flyweight tournament finale, the young Kingad, also a member of Team Lakay, drew praise from the American MMA star, and now looks to use his experience as fuel to return to the upper echelon of the flyweight division. With a five-fight winning streak in tow, Xie will look to score the biggest win of his career against a proven contender in Kingad.    ONE Warrior Series contract winner Lito Adiwang of Team Lakay does some shadow boxing before hitting the mitts. He faces Pongsiri Mitsatit on Friday. | #FireAndFury pic.twitter.com/hPwePNnOAt — Santino Honasan???? (@honasantino) January 28, 2020 Looking to build off his explosive debut, strawweight Lito "Thunder Kid" Adiwang makes his way back to the Circle to face Thai veteran Pongsiri "The Smiling Assassin" Mitsatit.  Team Lakay's Adiwang, a ONE Warrior Series contract winner, announced his arrival with quick submission win over Senzo Ikeda in Tokyo back in October. He hopes to keep the momentum going as he faces another tough test in the form of Mitsatit.  With four losses in his last five bouts, Mitsatit is definitely hungry for a victory, and he hopes to finally return to the winners column at the expense of Team Lakay's newest soldier in the ONE ranks.    Women’s Atomweight contender and #SEAGames2019 Kickboxing Gold Medalist Gina Iniong of Team Lakay out next. She faces Asha Roka on Friday | #FireAndFury pic.twitter.com/X5hVVAUOzt — Santino Honasan???? (@honasantino) January 28, 2020 After dominating the field in kickboxing during the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, gold medalist Gina "Conviction" Iniong returns to MMA and the ONE Circle to face India's Asha "Knockout Queen" Roka.  Team Lakay's Iniong is coming off an impressive split decision win over Jihin Radzuan back in 2019, and look to keep her momentum going as she faces one of the division's newest faces.  Losing to Stamp Fairtex in her maiden ONE appearance, Roka finds herself against an even more experienced opponent in perennial contender Iniong.    Filipina Jomary Torres of Catalan Fighting System first out. She trains with former title contender Rene Catalan. She faces Jenny Huang on Friday | #ONEChampionship #FireAndFury pic.twitter.com/hJTCNemV1J — Santino Honasan???? (@honasantino) January 28, 2020 Kicking things off on Friday will be Jomary "The Zamboanginian Fighter" Torres of Catalan Fighting System taking on former title contender Jenny "Lady GoGo" Huang of Chinese Taipei.  After a scorching start in ONE which saw her win her first three outings, Torres has cooled down drastically, losing her last four bouts. She hopes to finally arrest her losing skid against someone on the same boat in Huang.  Much like Torres, Huang was impressive to begin her ONE career, winning her first four assignments to earn a shot at Angela Lee and the ONE Women's Atomweight World Championship. Huang would lose to Lee and then drop her next four bouts to make it an excruciating five-fight losing streak.    Catch ONE: FIRE & FURY on Friday, January 31st at 8:30 PM on ABS-CBN S+A channel 23! .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 28th, 2020

ONE Championship: Lito Adiwang looking for a finish against Pongsirit Mitsatit

A tremendous opportunity awaits rising superstar Lito Adiwang at ONE: FIRE & FURY. The Team Lakay standout will put his six-bout win streak on the line against Pongsiri Mitsatit on January 31 from inside the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines.  Following his run through Rich Franklin’s ONE Warrior Series, Adiwang finds himself in prime position to begin the year strong after securing a finish at ONE: CENTURY last October. “I feel confident heading into this match up,” Adiwang said. “I love Pongsiri’s style. He’s an exciting fighter. It just gives me more motivation and confidence knowing I am up against a good challenge. “The fact that my teammates are also on the card with me, it is even more special.” A distinct Team Lakay flavor will be present, as Joshua Pacio defends his ONE Strawweight World Championship against Alex Silva. Eduard Folayang, a former two-time ONE Lightweight World Champion, is also scheduled for action along with Danny Kingad. Pacio, Folayang and Kingad are all teammates of Adiwang.  The bout serves as a special one for many reasons for Adiwang, including because of the location. He has not competed on home soil since 2013. “This is my first fight in Manila with ONE Championship, so naturally, I am really excited to fight in front of my countrymen,” he said. “Filipino fans are the best in the world, and I cannot wait to bring the heat.” Adiwang has done just that since joining the promotion in 2018, earning three first round finishes among his four bouts. Along with besting Pancrase Flyweight World Champion Senzo Ikeda in the opening two minutes of their battle, he also holds stoppage wins over Alberto Correia and Jose Manuel Huerta to go with a decision against Anthony Do.  Known as “Thunder Kid,” Adiwang hopes to make an impression against Mitsatit. Through his preparation for the bout, he believes there is a potential spot to exploit against “The Smiling Assassin” from Tiger Muay Thai.  “Pongsiri is a great striker,” Adiwang said. “He is good in the clinch and he has powerful knees. I know his Muay Thai will be exceptional, but I think I see weakness in his ground game. “I am heading into this fight full of confidence. I know I am going to win. That is my mindset right now. The only thing left to do is perform to the best of my abilities. Then, I will claim victory.” Over his 10 career victories, Adiwang has secured six knockout wins and three more submission triumphs. His plans for Mitsatit include earning another stoppage by any means necessary. “I want to win this fight in an impressive way,” he said. “I want the finish, whichever way it comes - on the feet or on the ground.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 27th, 2020

Bryant death draws tributes from Asian fans, politicians

BEIJING (AP) — Kobe Bryant was a hugely popular figure in Asia, no more so than in China where basketball rivals soccer as the most popular sport. However, his death Sunday in a helicopter accident comes at an awkward time between the country and the league. National broadcaster CCTC pulled all NBA games off the air following a tweet in October from Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey expressing support for Hong Kong's pro-democracy protests. The Chinese Basketball Association, led by former Rockets MVP Yao Ming, announced it would suspend all cooperation with the Texas-based team. Yao and the association have yet to comment on the crash that killed Bryant, daughter Gianna and seven others. Bryant's popularity among Chinese fans was rivaled only by Yao, LeBron James and Michael Jordan. His playing appearances, including the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics won by the U.S., were far exceeded by his promotional appearances in the country, both on behalf of his own brand and basketball generally. At a 2013 Lakers preseason game against Golden State in Beijing, the arena rang out with chants of “Kobe! Kobe!” despite the injured super-star not even having suited up for the game. Commemorations begin rolling in online, many of the accompanied by photos of Yao and Gianna with the letters R.I.P. Others showed the two dressed in uniform walking away into clouds under a basketball net. “For our generation, our memories of the NBA begin with Jordan, and move through Kobe and Yao Ming. You were a part of our youth. Already missing the bright sun of Kobe. Go well,” wrote commentator “ZhanHao” on the popular Twitter-like Weibo messaging service. “Your willpower has inspired a generation. Thank you,” wrote “Teacher Kai Ting.” “I hope there is basketball in heaven. Kobe just went to another world to play basketball with his daughter,” wrote “Cici’s green paper.” In Taiwan, where the NBA also is an enormous draw, President Tsai Ing-wen tweeted that her “thoughts go out to the Bryant family & the families of all those who lost loved ones today." “Kobe inspired a generation of young Taiwanese basketball players, & his legacy will live on through those who loved him," Tsai wrote. Philippine presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo noted that Bryant had been a frequent visitor to the Philippines . “He was well-loved by his Filipino fans," Panelo said in a statement. “On the hard court, he was a sight to behold with his dexterity and accuracy in sinking that ball in the ring. He was a master of his craft. The basketball world has lost one of its legendary greats," Panelo said. “The Palace extends its deepest condolences to the family, friends, colleagues, loved ones and fans around the globe who Kobe left behind. We share in their grief." In Japan, Tetsunori Tanimoto, an official at the Kobe Beef Marketing & Distribution Promotion Association, in Kobe, central Japan, expressed his deep condolences for Kobe Bryant’s death. “He helped make Kobe Beef known throughout the world,” he said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press Monday. Kobe got his name, the legend goes, after his father ate Kobe beef during a visit to Japan and loved the taste. Tanimoto, who watches NBA games on TV but has never met Bryant, said people know the story about how Bryant got his name. “We have always felt a closeness to him,” he said. “It is so sad. And we offer our deepest condolences.” ___ Associated Press reporters Yuri Kageyama in Tokyo and Kiko Rosario in Bangkok, Thailand contributed to this report......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 27th, 2020

Louis Vuitton and NBA announce global partnership

PARIS AND NEW YORK, Jan. 22, 2020 – Louis Vuitton and the National Basketball Association (NBA) today announced a multiyear partnership that makes the French fashion house the first official Trophy Travel Case provider of the NBA.  The partnership marks Louis Vuitton’s first and only partnership with a North American sports league. Expertly hand-crafted in Louis Vuitton’s historic Asnières workshop on the outskirts of Paris, the trunk is coated in the House’s emblematic Monogram canvas and fitted with traditional brass fixtures.  The bespoke case will house and display The Larry O’Brien Trophy that is presented annually in June to the NBA team that wins The Finals. “Louis Vuitton and the NBA are both icons and leaders in their respective fields, and the joining of the two promises exciting and surprising moments, forging historic memories together,” said Louis Vuitton Chairman and CEO Michael Burke.  “Louis Vuitton has long been associated with the world’s most coveted trophies, and with this iconic partnership the legacy continues – victory does indeed travel in Louis Vuitton!” “The NBA Finals is defined by iconic players and memorable performances, culminating with the presentation of The Larry O’Brien Trophy,” said NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum.  “The tradition, heritage and identity of Louis Vuitton create a natural synergy with the NBA, and this partnership provides a unique and befitting way to showcase our championship trophy to our fans around the world.” The NBA and Louis Vuitton will also work together to co-author compelling stories regarding one of sport’s most symbolic trophies and its unique travel companion.  As part of the expansive partnership with the NBA, Louis Vuitton will create an annual limited-edition capsule collection, with details to be announced at a later date. The announcement was made ahead of The NBA Paris Game 2020 Presented by beIN SPORTS, which will feature the Charlotte Hornets and Milwaukee Bucks playing the first-ever regular-season NBA game in France on Friday, Jan. 24 at the AccorHotels Arena. About the NBA The NBA is a global sports and media business built around four professional sports leagues: the National Basketball Association, the Women’s National Basketball Association, the NBA G League and the NBA 2K League.  The NBA has established a major international presence with games and programming in 215 countries and territories in nearly 50 languages, and merchandise for sale in more than 100,000 stores in 100 countries on six continents.  NBA rosters at the start of the 2019-20 season featured 108 international players from 38 countries and territories.  NBA Digital’s assets include NBA TV, NBA.com, the NBA App and NBA League Pass.  The NBA has created one of the largest social media communities in the world, with 1.6 billion likes and followers globally across all league, team, and player platforms.  Through NBA Cares, the league addresses important social issues by working with internationally recognized youth-serving organizations that support education, youth and family development, and health-related causes. About Louis Vuitton Since 1854, Louis Vuitton has brought unique designs to the world, combining innovation with style, always aiming for the finest quality. Today, the House remains faithful to the spirit of its founder, Louis Vuitton, who invented a genuine “Art of Travel” through luggage, bags and accessories which were as creative as they were elegant and practical.  Since then, audacity has shaped the story of Louis Vuitton. Faithful to its heritage, Louis Vuitton has opened its doors to architects, artists and designers across the years, all the while developing disciplines such as ready-to-wear, shoes, accessories, watches, jewelry and fragrance. These carefully created products are testament to Louis Vuitton’s commitment to fine craftsmanship......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 23rd, 2020

ONE Championship: Pinoy Roel Rosauro victorious at ONE: A NEW TOMORROW in Bangkok

BANGKOK, THAILAND - The largest global sports media property in Asian history, ONE Championship™ (ONE), put together another electric martial arts extravaganza at Bangkok’s sprawling IMPACT Arena last Friday night, 10 January. ONE: A NEW TOMORROW featured the absolute best in local and international martial arts talent, who all showcased their incredible skills inside the ONE Championship ring. Kicking off the action at ONE: A NEW TOMORROW were featherweights Roel Rosauro of the Philippines and “The Ice Man” Yohan Mulia Legowo of Indonesia. Rosauro, a Filipino national Muay Thai champion, put together a clinical display of striking for three rounds, tagging Legowo with punishing combinations to the head and midsection. Although Legowo would give Rosauro a good challenge, he was a step behind constantly throughout the bout. All three judges saw the bout in favor of the Filipino to win by unanimous decision. In the main event, Thailand’s own Rodtang “The Iron Man” Jitmuangnon put on a striking clinic, needing just three rounds to finish off former world champion Jonathan “The General” Haggerty of England to retain the ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Championship.  Rodtang closed the show in impressive fashion, stopping Haggerty via technical knockout behind staggering body shots and his usual forward aggressiveness. Rodtang set the tone early in the bout, landing a shot to the body that sent Haggerty down to the canvas in round one. Rodtang continued to put the pressure on Haggerty in the third round as the Thai star scored three consecutive knockdowns to put the challenger away and successfully defend his title. In the co-main event, two-sport world champion Stamp Fairtex of Thailand remained perfect in her mixed martial arts career after defeating India’s Puja “The Cyclone” Tomar by first-round technical knockout. A botched takedown attempt from Tomar led to Stamp taking her back and eventually getting to back-mount. From there, Stamp began to punish Tomar with punches and elbows to get the stoppage victory and move one step closer to the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Championship. Thailand’s own “The Million Dollar Baby” Sangmanee Sathian Muaythai put on a kicking clinic as he punished Japan’s Kenta Yamada en route to a unanimous decision win in a ONE Super Series Muay Thai contest. From the opening bell, Sangmanee peppered Yamada with a barrage of kicks to the legs, body, and head. Yamada remained game and kept coming forward, but that did little to stop Sangmanee from unloading even more kicks, as the seven-time world champion cruised to a dominant decision victory in his home country.  Vietnamese-American Thanh Le continues to steamroll through the featherweight division after knocking out Japan’s Ryogo “Kaitai” Takahashi in the first round. Le connected on a thunderous right hand that dropped Takahashi and spelled the beginning of the end. Le, sensing a finish was within reach, turned up the aggression and swarmed on Takahashi, landing punches and knees to end the bout midway through the opening round.  England’s Liam “Hitman” Harrison opened the main card in spectacular fashion, scoring a first-round knockout win over Malaysia’s Mohammed “Jordan Boy” Bin Mahmoud in a Muay Thai bout. Harrison, an eight-time Muay Thai world champion, scored the first knockdown early in the first round after connecting on a well-placed left hook. Mohammed answered the count, but would be sent right back down moments later, courtesy of a succession of elbows from Harrison. “Hitman” then took “Jordan Boy” out with a flurry of punches that forced the referee to step in and end the bout.  In a ONE Super Series Muay Thai contest, three-time Muay Thai World Champion “The Elbow Zombie” Muangthai PK.Saenchaimuaythaigym put on a show in front of his hometown fans, eking out a split decision win over Algerian former ONE World Title challenger Brice “The Truck” Delval. Muangthai got off to a slow start but picked up steam in the second round, as he began to walk through Delval’s shots while landing punches and kicks of his own. Muangthai continued to push the action in the final round, coming forward and landing strikes as Delval tried to evade the contact. The continuous pressure was enough for Muangthai to earn the hard-fought unanimous decision.  Russian Hand-to-Hand Combat World Champion Raimond Magomedaliev impressed in his second appearance on the ONE Championship stage, dominating American newcomer and COGA Welterweight Champion Joey “Mama’s Boy” Pierotti. Pierotti was certainly a game challenger for the duration of the contest, however, Magomedaliev picked this evening to show off his impeccable striking. He sliced the American with a plethora of sharp elbows to start the bout. Pierotti tried to fall back on his wrestling, but Magomedaliev proved his ring savvy by avoiding a war on the mat with great takedown defense. Just under four minutes in, Magomedaliev swept Pierotti from underneath and then quickly sunk in the bout-ending guillotine choke. In a ONE Super Series kickboxing bout, 2-time IFMA Muay Thai World Champion Adam Noi of Algeria delivered a thorough three-round performance, defeating Victor “Leo” Pinto of France by decision. Noi shocked Pinto in the first round, catching him with a question mark kick that put his opponent on the canvas. Pinto, however, beat the count and was back on his feet to end the frame. Action continued in the second round, with both men going back and forth with powerful combinations. The third round was again close, as the two warriors traded strikes at the center of the ONE Championship ring. Though Pinto showed great defense, Noi’s attacks were on point, enough for the judges to award him the unanimous nod. ONE Warrior Series contract winner Shinechagtga Zoltsetseg of Mongolia made his ONE Championship main roster debut in spectacular fashion, knocking out top-rated Chinese featherweight “Cannon” Ma Jia Wen of China in under a minute. Shinechagtga was aggressive from the opening bell, actively seeking to finish with explosive striking combinations. At the 55-second mark, Shinechagtga caught Ma coming in, connecting on a thudding overhand right that turned the lights out on the Chinese athlete. Shinechagtga threw 29 total strikes, seven of which were significant strikes to the head. In a ONE Super Series Muay Thai contest, ISKA and WBC World Champion Mehdi “Diamond Heart” Zatout of Algeria took on Top King Muay Thai World Champion and former ONE World Title challenger Han Zi Hao of China. Zatout was aggressive to start the bout, but Han was slightly more accurate with his shots. In the second round, Han started off strong, while Zatout came on late with a flurry. By the end of the frame, Han began to fall behind as Zatout picked up the pace. In a close final round, Zatout pulled away in the last minute with accurate combinations to earn a close split decision. Japanese female strawweight Ayaka Miura continued her run of excellence with a dominant showing against Brazilian newcomer and Pan American Sanda Champion Maira Mazar. Miura, a 3rd degree Judo Black Belt, showcased her tremendous grappling skills early, scoring on a spectacular headlock takedown. On the mat, Miura went to her favorite scarfhold position to do damage. In the second round, another headlock takedown from Miura led to an Americana submission, which forced Mazar to tap. Official results for ONE: A NEW TOMORROW ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Championship: Rodtang Jitmuangnon defeats Jonathan Haggerty by Technical Knockout (TKO) at 2:39 minutes of round 3 Mixed Martial Arts Atomweight: Stamp Fairtex defeats Puja Tomar by Technical Knockout (TKO) at 4:27 minutes of round 1 Muay Thai Bantamweight: Sangmanee Sathian Muaythai defeats Kenta Yamada by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds Mixed Martial Arts Featherweight: Thanh Le defeats Ryogo Takahashi by Knockout (KO) at 2:51 minutes of round 1 Muay Thai Bantamweight: Liam Harrison defeats Mohammed Bin Mahmoud by Knockout (KO) at 2:03 minutes of round 1 Muay Thai Bantamweight: Muangthai PK.Saenchaimuaythaigym defeats Brice Delval by Split Decision (SD) after 3 rounds Mixed Martial Arts Welterweight: Raimond Magomedaliev defeats Joey Pierotti by Submission (Guillotine Choke) at 3:50 minutes of round 1 Kickboxing Bantamweight: Adam Noi defeats Victor Pinto by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds Mixed Martial Arts Featherweight: Shinechagtga Zoltsetseg defeats Ma Jia Wen by Knockout (KO) at 0:55 minutes of round 1 Muay Thai Bantamweight: Mehdi Zatout defeats Han Zi Hao by Split Decision (SD) after 3 rounds Mixed Martial Arts Strawweight: Ayaka Miura defeats Maira Mazar by Submission (Americana) at 3:01 minutes of round 2 Mixed Martial Arts Featherweight: Roel Rosauro defeats Yohan Mulia Legowo by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 13th, 2020

Stern was a big-city guy and a friend to the small markets

By Brian Mahoney, Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) — David Stern had been NBA commissioner for barely a year when the Knicks won the 1985 draft lottery, sending Patrick Ewing on the way to New York. Skeptics cried conspiracy, that the league rigged the result to bail out the faltering franchise in its largest market. Stern would shrug it off, knowing he wouldn’t do anything illegal to help the Knicks, or any of the big boys. He did far more for the little guys. Cities like Sacramento and New Orleans needed Stern more, and his efforts helped them retain teams that might otherwise have been playing elsewhere. In New Orleans’ case, that even included running the organization at the same time as running a league. “I used to think that he just showed up on draft day and shook hands, but then I got to work with him when I was in New Orleans when the NBA took over the Pelicans. I was amazed how much he did,” said Phoenix coach Monty Williams, who was coaching the team when the league stepped in to run it until new ownership could be found. Tributes flowed for hours Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) after Stern died at 77, from grateful players and teams who benefited from his 30 years of leadership. Most focused on his vision that led to the NBA’s massive worldwide growth, but some had more personal stories to tell about closer to home. Like the Kings, who at times appeared ticketed for Seattle, Southern California, Las Vegas or some other city before Stern rejected the team’s plans to bolt and gave Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson the chance to put together plans for local ownership and a new arena that kept the team in California’s capital city. A street is named in Stern’s honor there. “David will always be remembered as Superman in Sacramento,” owner Vivek Ranadivé said, adding that Stern’s “fierce support of the team and this community is the reason why the Kings stayed in Sacramento. David’s enthusiasm for our city and belief in our fans will never be forgotten.” The Kings played a tribute video Thursday (Friday, PHL time) acknowledging Stern’s role in their revival before their home game against the Memphis Grizzlies, another team in a minor market that’s struggled at times to fill its building after the team relocated there from Vancouver. “David will always be remembered as Superman in Sacramento." In Memoriam - David J. Stern ???? pic.twitter.com/g8cdh2sr14 — Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) January 1, 2020 Business may have boomed better in other places, but one move for the franchise was hard enough. Stern had no interest in another. “Commissioner Stern’s support of Memphis as an NBA market and the resulting arrival of the Grizzlies franchise in 2001 forever changed the trajectory of our city,” the Grizzlies said. “His continued support in standing alongside the Grizzlies organization in its creation of the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Game in Memphis reflected his commitment to using the power of sport to transform lives.” The NBA loves its big stars and benefits from them being in the biggest markets, from Magic Johnson to Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant, and now LeBron James being in Los Angeles, or Michael Jordan playing in Chicago. But Stern and the league admired the parity of the NFL, where small-market squads such as Green Bay, New Orleans, Pittsburgh and Indianapolis have thrived. A better chance of achieving that was a driving force that led to the 2011 lockout, with the league hoping a more favorable salary structure and improved sharing of revenues would give any well-managed team a chance to compete, no matter its location. Teams such as Oklahoma City, Portland and Utah have since been relatively consistent winners, and Milwaukee currently sports the NBA’s best record. Occasionally, it took a larger effort from the league, especially in New Orleans. The NBA has never proven over the long term it will flourish in the city after moving from Charlotte, with Chris Paul and Anthony Davis both eventually seeking to be traded. But even though the Hornets were well-supported in Oklahoma City after playing home games there following Hurricane Katrina, Stern felt it was important to return the team to New Orleans when it was ready to host games again, then sent the 2008 All-Star Game soon after. Later, he had the league take ownership of the franchise from George Shinn until it could find an owner who would keep the team in the city. That situation became uncomfortable when Stern had to make the heavily criticized decision to kill a trade that would’ve sent Paul to the Lakers, but the Pelicans are still there nearly two decades after arriving. “Mr. Stern was a catalyst in professional basketball returning to New Orleans in 2002,” the team said. “His commitment to the New Orleans community and the Gulf South region was further shown when he guided the franchise through an ownership transition to Tom Benson in 2012.” Stern couldn’t win all the fights, failing to convince local leadership to approve arena funding that could have kept the SuperSonics in Seattle, a city whose fans were strong supporters. They moved to Oklahoma City, where the Thunder have been a small-market success. Just the kind Stern liked. ___ AP Sports Writer Beth Harris in Los Angeles contributed to this report......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 3rd, 2020

Liverpool lands 1st world title, Qatar passes pre-2022 test

By Rob Harris, Associated Press DOHA, Qatar (AP) — After tens of billions of dollars spent on infrastructure, and skepticism over this tiny gas-rich nation's suitability as a sporting host, a World Cup has finally been handed out in Qatar. It was Liverpool lifting FIFA's lesser-regarded Club World Cup trophy on Saturday night. In three years, the biggest prize in soccer will be handed out in a stadium yet to be completed. The Club World Cup, which ended Saturday with Roberto Firmino sealing Liverpool's 1-0 victory over Flamengo in extra time, has been the first major international footballing test of Qatar's readiness. With a 45,000-strong crowd packed into Khalifa Stadium, Qatar has shown it can fill a venue with sports fans —- unlike at the track and field world championships earlier this year. “Everybody was for different reasons on the edge pretty much but I saw so many sensationally good performances and I'm really happy of course for our supporters,” Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said. “The atmosphere in the stadium was great." But it is a stadium touched by the welfare concerns that have dogged Qatar's building work since being awarded the main 32-team World Cup in 2010 by FIFA. A British worker plunged to his death during the construction phase in conditions later deemed to be dangerous. This was a Club World Cup trip also tinged in tragedy for the losing finalists from Brazil. When fire engulfed a dormitory at Flamengo's academy in Brazil in February, 10 players — all between 14 and 16 years old — died. “It was a very sad moment in Flamengo's history and, I believe, in Brazilian football as well," midfielder Everton Ribeiro said in Doha. “Lives were lost, dreams were lost.” Flamengo was ordered by a Rio de Janeiro judge earlier this month to pay the equivalent of $2,500 a month to the families of 10 victims and three injured players. Flamengo, which appealed the decision, is already paying families about $1,200 a month. “If the situation is settled with the families, as soon as possible, including the support that Flamengo is already giving, it will be better for everybody,” Ribeiro said. Flamengo's grief was followed by success not achieved by a Brazilian side since Pele's Santos in 1963. The Brazilian championship was won in November, 24 hours after clinching a first Copa Libertadores title since 1981 in a continental triumph which earned a reunion with Liverpool. When the European champions and South American champions met in a single-game version of the Club World Cup 38 years ago, Flamengo beat Liverpool 3-0. Since the 1981 Intercontinental Cup, football has tilted in Europe's favor over South America but the very staging of this seven-team Club World Cup in the Persian Gulf shows where so much of the wealth now comes from in the sport. And it was a Brazilian player prized away from his homeland to Europe as a 19-year-old, initially by Hoffenheim in Germany, who settled this final for Liverpool in the 99th minute. Firmino was still inside his own half when captain Jordan Henderson launched the defense-splitting pass that set Liverpool on the path to glory. As Firmino raced through Flamengo territory unchallenged, Sadio Mane held up the ball received from Henderson. When Firmino reached the penalty area, Mane squared to the Brazilian, who took three touches to control the ball past defender Rodrigo Caio before knocking it into the net. Firmino also struck in the semifinal victory over Monterrey on Wednesday, giving him two goals in as many games in the Khalifa Stadium, having only netted once in the previous 16 games for Liverpool in all competitions. “I couldn't be more happy for him that he could score that goal because ... (of) what this competition means to Brazil, to South American people,” Klopp said. After netting the World Cup winner, Firmino raced away in celebration, ripping off his jersey and leaping into the air. Firmino and his teammates will have to wait some time to attach FIFA's gold Champions Badge to their jerseys. Liverpool anticipates it will only be allowed to be worn in the Champions League, which resumes in February, rather than weekly in the Premier League. It may have to settle with lifting the Premier League trophy in May for the first time. As Liverpool added the world title to its sixth European Cup collected in June, back in England its pursuit of the Premier League was helped by Leicester losing to Manchester City. A domestic title drought stretching back to 1990 for the 18-time English champions is well-placed to end with Liverpool holding a 10-point lead over Leicester ahead of Thursday’s game against its second-place rival. “Liverpool are enjoying their best time in their decade,” Flamengo coach Jorge Jesus said. "They played a tremendous match and Flamengo were excellent also. "We were a match for Liverpool. I'm fully pleased with what Flamengo have done. Brazilian clubs in future will be contenders to European clubs and we have exhibited that today.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 22nd, 2019

Federer says a star s legacy isn t at risk with late decline

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Roger Federer arrives for his interview at the precise appointed time, steering his white sedan into a parking spot in an industrial area dotted by art galleries about 15 minutes from his luxury apartment in this home-away-from-home. After obliging a selfie request from someone on the street, Federer makes his way up to a second-story loft area and sits. He crosses his legs, kneads his right calf and winces. “Just started training. I'm surprised I could walk the stairs as good as I have,” Federer says with a laugh. “My calves are, like, killing me. Just getting back into it. The shock on the body is, I don't want to say 'immense,' every time, but I've been on vacation for two weeks. The shock just hits you hard.” Ah, the ravages of age. Federer, who won the first of his men's-record 20 Grand Slam titles when he was 21 and now is 38, explains to The Associated Press that he must “go back to the drawing board” after “just missing out on The Big One,” a reference to his fifth-set tiebreaker loss to Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final in July. So all of just two days into Federer's preparation for next season -- he flies to Melbourne on Jan. 9, a week before the Australian Open draw -- he is taking a 48-hour break, sitting out his two-a-day fitness sessions and not lifting a racket. No one this old has won a Grand Slam title in the professional era. As a younger man, Federer says, he didn't allow himself such a respite, working six or eight days in a row to get going. But now? The “waves,” he calls them, making an undulating motion with his famous right arm -- time on, then time off -- offer his body a chance to recover. They also let him “go through the wall” on the day before a rest period, because “otherwise, you maybe would hold back just ever so slightly, because you just don't know how you're going to feel the next day.” Federer recognizes that continuing to play tennis at a high level long past the age when many greats of the past were done (his idol, Pete Sampras, competed for the final time at 31) means he repeatedly faces questions -- from fans, from the media, from those around him -- about how long he will continue on tour. And while he can't provide a definitive answer -- because, quite simply, he says he doesn't have one -- Federer is willing to discuss this aspect of the subject: He does not consider it important to walk away at the top of his game and the top of his sport. When he's told about a newspaper opinion piece from way back in 2013 -- 2013! -- that posited he should quit then to avoid ruining his legacy, Federer just smiles and waves his hand. He knows, of course, that he's managed to reach another seven Grand Slam finals since the start of 2014, winning three. But he also says the notion that an older athlete could harm his or her status by hanging around too long is nonsense, no matter what the decline looks like. “I don't think the exit needs to be that perfect, that you have to win something huge ... and you go, 'OK. I did it all.' It can be completed a different way, as long as you enjoy it and that's what matters to you," Federer says. “People, I don't think, anyway, remember what were the last matches of a John McEnroe, what were the last matches of a Stefan Edberg. Nobody knows. They remember that they won Wimbledon, that they won this and that, they were world No. 1. I don't think the end, per se, is that important.” That doesn't mean, of course, that he isn't as competitive as ever or doesn't want to win a 21st major championship -- above all, No. 9 at Wimbledon, after it slipped away despite two match points in 2019 -- or his first Olympic singles gold at the Tokyo Games next year. Or win any tournaments, for that matter, which would push him closer to Jimmy Connors' professional era record of 109 trophies (Federer has 103). He's still good enough, after all, to be ranked No. 3 — having spent a record 310 weeks at No. 1, he is currently behind No. 1 Rafael Nadal and No. 2 Djokovic — and to go 53-10 with four titles this season. If it seems as though the rest of the world is insisting it needs to know when and how retirement will arrive, Federer says it's not something on which he expends a lot of energy. Not anymore, anyway. “I mean, I don't think about it much, to be honest,” Federer says. “It's a bit different (now) that I know I'm at the back end of my career. But I feel like I've been toward 'the back end of my career' for a long, long time.” So much so that when he got sick while on a skiing trip in January 2008 with what eventually was diagnosed as mononucleosis, he vowed to stay off the slopes, a decision he stuck to, although not without some regret. His children -- twin daughters, 10, and twin sons, 5 -- all ski, and he and his wife, Mirka, have a home in a resort in his native Switzerland. Yet Federer sticks to his role as “the chief 'getting the kids ski-ready' operator guy.” “I was like, 'OK, you know what? That's a sign. I'm going to stop skiing, because I don't want to get hurt at the back end of my career. Maybe I have another four good years left in me. This was (12) years ago now. So it shows you how long ago I've been thinking: 'Maybe I have another four years. Maybe I have another three years. Maybe I have another two years.' ... I've been on this sort of train for long enough for me not to actually think about it a whole lot,” he says. “But sure, sometimes with family planning, discussions with my wife, we talk a little bit sometimes. But never like, 'What if?' Or, 'What are we going to do?' Because I always think, like, we have time for that and then we'll figure it out when that moment comes." Even his agent, Tony Godsick, who has represented Federer since 2005, raises the topic. “It would help make my job easier,” Godsick says in a telephone interview. “I don't want to know for my own personal travel. Or I don't want to know to have the scoop before anyone else. I want to know so I can plan. ... I mean, he won't go on a retirement tour, but I'd like to have some advance notice, maybe throw some more cameras around when he's out playing, so we can capture some more footage.” Godsick pauses, then spaces out the next five words for emphasis: “But. He. Really. Doesn't. Know.” “I really do think he has the flexibility to actually not decide ... until he feels like it's the time. And that will come when Mirka says, 'I can't do it anymore,' and 'I can't be on the road with the kids,' and 'The kids are not enjoying it.' Or his body might say, ‘Hey, Rog, stop pushing me so hard,'” Godsick says. “Maybe it's a time when he realizes on the practice court he doesn't either have the motivation or the ability to get better. And at that point, then maybe he says, 'I certainly have squeezed all the juice out of this lemon in terms of innovating and getting better.' And I don't think that time is there yet. Which is good news.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 19th, 2019