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Early voting starts in Florida as US race enters home stretch

Early voting kicked off Monday in Florida, a pivotal state fought over relentlessly by President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden as their contentious White House race enters its final 15-day stretch......»»

Category: newsSource: thestandard thestandardOct 20th, 2020

US votes on Trump’s fate under threat of election turmoil

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Americans vote Tuesday in an election amounting to a referendum on Donald Trump and his uniquely brash, bruising presidency that Democratic opponent and frontrunner Joe Biden urged supporters to end, restoring “our democracy.” US President Donald Trump leaves after speaking during a Make America Great Again rally at Fayetteville Regional Airport November 2, 2020, in Fayetteville, North Carolina. – The US presidential campaign enters its final day Monday with a last-minute scramble for votes by Donald Trump and Joe Biden, drawing to a close an extraordinary race that has put a pandemic-stricken country on edge. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) The United States is more divided and angry than at any time since the Vietnam War era of the 1970s — and fears that Trump could dispute the result of the election are only fueling those tensions. Despite an often startlingly laid-back campaign, Biden, 77, leads in almost every opinion poll, buoyed by his consistent message that America needs to restore its “soul” and get new leadership in the midst of a coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 231,000 people. “I have a feeling we’re coming together for a big win tomorrow,” Biden said in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a vital electoral battleground where he was joined by pop superstar Lady Gaga. “It’s time to stand up and take back our democracy.” But Trump was characteristically defiant to the end, campaigning at a frenetic pace with crowded rallies in four states on Monday, and repeating his dark, unprecedented claims for a US president that the polls risk being rigged against him. After almost non-stop speeches in a final three-day sprint, he ended up in the early hours of Tuesday in Grand Rapids, Michigan — the same place where he concluded his epic against-the-odds campaign in 2016 where he defeated apparent frontrunner Hillary Clinton. Despite the bad poll numbers, the 74-year-old Republican real estate tycoon counted on pulling off another upset. “We’re going to have another beautiful victory tomorrow,” he told the Michigan crowd, which chanted back: “We love you, we love you!” “We’re going to make history once again,” he said. Packing Trump’s bags While Tuesday is formally Election Day, in reality Americans have been voting for weeks. With a huge expansion in mail-in voting to safeguard against the Covid-19 pandemic, nearly 100 million people have already made their choice. Biden has the wind in his sails after indications that Democratic enthusiasm in the early voting may be matching the more visible energy at Trump’s impressive rallies. In one of US history’s great political gambles, Biden stuck to socially distanced gatherings with small crowds right up to the last moment, in stunning contrast to Trump’s constant, large rallies where few supporters so much as bothered with masks. But the Democrat, making his third attempt at the presidency, clearly senses that his calmer approach and strict attention to pandemic protocols is what Americans want after four tempestuous years. “It’s time for Donald Trump to pack his bags and go home,” Biden told supporters in Cleveland. “We’re done with the chaos! We’re done with the tweets, the anger, the hate, the failure, the irresponsibility.” In chilly downtown Pittsburgh, Justine Wolff said she had cast her ballot for Biden already and was cautiously hopeful he would carry Pennsylvania, which along with Florida may be the tightest of all the swing states that decide close national elections. “I hope that people have seen the writing on the wall,” said the 35-year-old nurse. “We need some kind of change because this isn’t working for anybody.” But where many early votes are believed to have been cast by Democrats, Trump’s side is hoping for a massive wave of Republican supporters voting in person on Tuesday. “Whether he wins or loses, this is history,” said Kolleen Wall, who turned out to cheer Trump in Grand Rapids. But “when you come to one of these rallies, all you think is, how could he not win?” The first polling stations opening were in two New Hampshire villages, Dixville Notch and Millsfield, starting at midnight. Most polling stations on the East Coast were to open at 6:00 am or 7:00 am (1100 or 1200 GMT). A tiny hamlet of 12 residents in the middle of the forest, near the Canadian border, Dixville Notch has traditionally voted “first in the nation” since 1960. The vote took minutes, as did the count: five votes for Biden, and none for Trump. Warning of violence Trump himself is planning to visit his campaign headquarters in Virginia on Tuesday, while Biden will travel to his birthplace of Scranton, the scrappy Pennsylvania town where Trump also visited on Monday. There are worries that if the election is close, extended legal chaos and perhaps violent unrest could ensue — not least because Trump has spent months trying to sap public trust in the voting process in a nation already bitterly divided along political fault lines. He ramped up these warnings in the final days, focusing especially on Pennsylvania’s rule allowing absentee ballots received within three days after Tuesday to be counted. In a tweet flagged with a warning label by Twitter on Monday, he said this would “allow rampant and unchecked cheating.” “It will also induce violence in the streets. Something must be done!” Trump tweeted......»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsNov 3rd, 2020

No paychecks for 11 big leaguers: advance larger than salary

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 27th, 2020

Struggling Suns try to stay in playoff race

By David Brandt, Associated Press PHOENIX (AP) — Devin Booker is playing some of the best basketball of his career and starting center Deandre Ayton is back in the lineup after missing a long stretch because of a suspension and an ankle injury. But the Phoenix Suns are still struggling to win basketball games. It's been a frustrating month for a franchise that's hungry to get back to the playoffs after a nine-year absence, which is the second-longest current drought in the NBA. The Suns have dropped 11 of their past 14 games and now have a 14-23 record, which ranks 13th out of 15 teams in the Western Conference. “Coach always says that everything you want is on the other side of hard,” Booker said. “I think we're in the middle of that right now.” The team's toughest loss might have been the last one on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time), when the Suns fell 114-103 to the Sacramento Kings. Phoenix had a 21-point lead late in the third quarter before coughing up the advantage and losing its second straight game at home. “It feels bad when you lose games the way we've lost them,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “But as I've said before, I was under no inclination that this would be an easy task. I still feel that way. It's just going to take time to get to the point where we're playing consistently and feeling good about ourselves.” The Suns were among the worst teams in the NBA last season, finishing with a 19-63 record, but a flurry of offseason moves had the franchise excited. They added veterans like Ricky Rubio, Aron Baynes and Dario Saric and re-signed Kelly Oubre Jr., who has played well since he was traded from Washington last year. Then Phoenix started this season with a 7-4 record and optimism soared. But Booker said the main traits that led to the early success — especially a gritty, physical defense — have been missing. He added that there's nothing the coaches can do to bring it back because it's on the players. “That extra 10% from everybody is what we need,” Booker said. “I don't think we're talented enough to go in there, go down by 10 and then say we're going to turn it on and win.” Booker scored 34 points in the loss to the Kings, continuing his run of prolific scoring. The fifth-year guard is making a convincing case that he should be an All-Star for the first time in his career after scoring at least 30 points in seven straight games, which is a franchise record. He's averaging 26.2 points per game and shooting a career-high 51% from the field. But it's clear he needs more help. Ayton's recent return from a 25-game suspension was supposed to provide that help and statistically the second-year player has been productive, averaging 15.4 points and 11.9 rebounds. But his return to the starting lineup has meant other players — like Baynes and Saric — have had their roles change and the adjustment hasn't been easy. The good news for the Suns is they're still very much in the playoff race as the season nears the halfway mark. Just 2 1/2 game separate the six teams between the 8th and 13th spots in the Western Conference. But the wins have to start coming soon. “I still am pleased with the way we fight and battle and compete,” Williams said. “We give ourselves a chance every night. We've just got to learn how to close the deal.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 10th, 2020

San Francisco roars back into playoffs as NFC s top seed

By Arnie Stapleton, Associated Press For the first time since 1997, the San Francisco 49ers are the top seed in the NFC playoffs, a stunning turnaround for a team that owned the second overall pick in the NFL draft just nine months ago. After four straight losing campaigns, including only 10 wins in coach Kyle Shanahan's first two seasons, the 49ers went from 4-12 to 13-3 this season. They emerged as the top team in the NFC thanks a big-play offense and a vastly improved defense sparked by Nick Bosa, whom they chose with that No. 2 draft pick. They earned the top seed with a thrilling finale at Seattle when rookie linebacker Dre Greenlaw made a stop inches from the goal line, earning his team a week off and up to two home games in the 49ers' quest to reach the Super Bowl for the first time in seven years. "It feels good to get where we're at," Shanahan said. "Our goal was to get in the playoffs, it feels much better with being the one seed. By now everyone knows there is only one team that is happy at the end of year." The Green Bay Packers secured the other first-round bye. The Seahawks visit the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday and the Minnesota Vikings visit the New Orleans Saints in the other NFC wild-card game. 1. SAN FRANCISCO 49ers (13-3). AP Pro32 Ranking: No. 3. Last Lombardi: Super Bowl 29, 49-26 over San Diego Chargers on Jan. 29, 1995. Last year: 4-12. First trip to NFC playoffs since 2013. YEA: The 49ers have won different ways with the defense dominating early and the offense playing better late. The returns of edge rusher Dee Ford and S Jaquiski Tartt should help the defense return to its early season form. If QB Jimmy Garoppolo and the offense can maintain its play from the second half when the team ranked second in plays of at least 20 yards, the Niners should be tough to beat. NAY: The Niners will still be missing at least one key defensive piece at the start of the playoffs in LB Kwon Alexander and several depth pass rushers also are out for the year. That could limit the improvement on defense and there is little playoff experience on offense with WR Emmanuel Sanders the only key skill position player who has been in the postseason. Garoppolo has improved the past few weeks but still has a propensity for turnovers, which could prove costly. SAY: "We knew going into the year we had a chance to be pretty good with what we had on paper and watching the guys throughout training camp. We knew that pretty well after the first five games, we could feel it. Then you go through a number of injuries and stuff and you never know how you're going to be able to fully handle that. That's what I have been impressed the most with the guys, no one has wavered." — Shanahan. 2. GREEN BAY PACKERS (13-3). AP Pro32 Ranking: No. 5. Last Lombardi: Super Bowl 45, 31-25 over Pittsburgh Steelers on Feb. 6, 2011. Last year: 6-9-1. First trip to NFC playoffs since 2016. YEA: RB Aaron Jones is the team MVP. The third-year pro is Green Bay's first 1,000-yard rusher since Eddie Lacy in 2014 and his 19 total touchdowns (16 rushing, three receiving) tied Carolina's Christian McCaffrey for the league high. In the Packers' three losses this season, Jones averaged fewer than 42 scrimmage yards. If first-year coach Matt LaFleur gets Jones the ball early and often and QB Aaron Rodgers can add in a splash of his old magic, Green Bay could find itself in Miami in February. NAY: Though Rodgers has had flashes of his old greatness, the 36-year-old two-time MVP has played far below his soaring standards. Rodgers had a passer rating of less than 80.0 in each of his last three starts and had a career-high 16 overthrows against Detroit in the regular-season finale. If the Packers are going to win another Super Bowl, they're going to need the Rodgers of old, not the old Rodgers. SAY: "We haven't always made it easy and we haven't always made it pretty, but for the most part, we've found a way to win every game. You have to say a lot about the resiliency of this team, because we've gotten ourselves into a lot of different scenarios, but we always believe we can go out there and put up a bunch of points in a hurry." -- WR Davante Adams 3. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (13-3). AP Pro32 Ranking: No. 2. Last Lombardi: Super Bowl 44, beat Indianapolis 31-17 on Feb. 7, 2010. Last year: No. 1 seed, beat Philadelphia Eagles 20-14 at home in divisional round, lost to Los Angeles Rams 26-23 (OT) in NFC championship at home. Third consecutive trip to NFC playoffs. YEA: QB Drew Brees, who'll turn 41 on Jan. 15, has been in vintage form lately with a big assist from the NFL's top WR Michael Thomas. Brees has passed for 1,188 yards and 15 TDs in the past four games, evidence of his strong comeback from a thumb surgery that sidelined him five games. Thomas racked up a single-season record 149 catches for 1,725 yards and nine TDs. The Saints' eight turnovers are an NFL record low for a season. New Orleans had 51 sacks, third most in the NFL and ranked fourth against the run. NAY: While the Saints don't have many weaknesses, they can be their own worst enemy. Their 120 penalties for 1,036 yards ranked sixth worst in the NFL in both categories and their minus-323 net penalty yards ranked second worst. New Orleans' secondary has been beset with late-season injuries. Both starting safeties and a starting cornerback did not play in Week 17. SAY: "Down the stretch here I think we've been an ascending team. We've been playing a little bit better each and every week, despite the fact that we have had some guys go down." — Brees 4. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (9-7). AP Pro32 Ranking: No. 11. Last Lombardi: Super Bowl 52, 41-33 over New England Patriots, Feb. 4, 2018. Last year: No. 6 seed, beat Chicago Bears 16-15 in wild-card game on road, lost to New Orleans Saints 20-14 in divisional round on road. Third consecutive trip to NFC playoffs. YEA: The Eagles are hungry and Carson Wentz is determined to do what Nick Foles did in his absence two years ago — win a Super Bowl. If Wentz continues playing at the MVP level he displayed in December, the Eagles are dangerous. They have a strong rushing attack that can control the clock and an experienced defense that shuts down the run and forces teams to be one-dimensional. NAY: Seattle beat the Eagles in Philadelphia 17-9 on Nov. 24. Russell Wilson is 4-0 against Philly. The Eagles have been riddled by injuries and finished the regular season without seven starters on offense. Three of those players could return to face the Seahawks but it's likely two will be game-time decisions. SAY: "In the last couple games, (Wentz) has really put this team on his back and said, 'Hey, follow me.' And I think that's a sign of growth, a sign of maturity. I spent eight years in Green Bay with Brett Favre, and that's what Brett did. Brett just put the team on his back when the chips were against us and just said, 'Follow me.' And that's what Carson can do." — Coach Doug Pederson. 5. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (11-5). AP Pro32 Ranking: No. 6. Last Lombardi: Super Bowl 48, 43-8 over Denver Broncos on Feb. 2, 2014. Last year: No. 5 seed, lost to Dallas Cowboys 24-22 in wild-card game on road. Second consecutive trip to NFC playoffs. YEA: Unlike years past, if the Seahawks are going to make a deep playoff run, it's going to be because of QB Russell Wilson. He's coming off the second-best season in terms of passing yards, completion percentage and a career-low five interceptions. Wilson's never been asked to carry Seattle in the playoffs but if he can rediscover the success from when he was in the MVP conversation with Lamar Jackson, Seattle has enough other parts to make some noise. NAY: Injuries have stacked up for Seattle. The Seahawks lost their top three running backs, a starting edge rusher, tight end and center to season-ending injuries. Jadeveon Clowney is playing through a painful core muscle injury. Bobby Wagner has a bad ankle as does safety Quandre Diggs. Left tackle Duane Brown underwent knee surgery after Week 16. Eventually the lack of some key stars is likely to catch up with Seattle. SAY: "We have everything we want in the locker room. We have everything that we could need. We have everything that it takes. So it's been a tremendous season. It's been a battle so far. It's been a long one, but it's been a great one so far. The good thing is it's a refresh button, you get to hit the refresh button, start over, 0-0, see how far we can go." — Wilson. 6. MINNESOTA VIKINGS (10-6). AP Pro32 Ranking: No. 8. No Lombardis. Last year: 8-7-1. First trip to NFC playoffs since 2017. YEA: The Vikings have an experienced, accomplished defense that can pose problems for elite QBs and clever play-callers on the other side. The Vikings were sixth in the NFL with an average of 18.9 points allowed and fourth with 31 takeaways. Their play-action passing attack with Pro Bowl RB Dalvin Cook poses a dual threat and QB Kirk Cousins throwing deep to WR Stefon Diggs, can be awfully dangerous, too. NAY: The downside on defense is the erosion of the pass coverage. After ranking in the top three in passing yards allowed in the league in each of the past three years, the Vikings dropped to 15th in 2019. They also fell to 19th in the NFL in third down conversions allowed after leading the league in 2017 and 18. The offense carries its own reasons to doubt a playoff run, with Cousins never having won a postseason game in the NFL and a recent dud at home against division rival Green Bay. SAY: "I know it's been done before. Why not us?" — coach Mike Zimmer on the prospect of winning three road games to reach the Super Bowl. ___ AP Pro Football Writers Josh Dubow, Rob Maaddi and Dave Campbell and AP Sports Writers Tim Booth, Brett Martel and Keith Jenkins contributed to this report......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 2nd, 2020

Suns look to prove mettle after buzz cools down

By Michael C. Wright, NBA.com Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams challenged his squad Thursday night (Friday, PHL time) in the wake of a third consecutive loss, falling 124-121 to the New Orleans Pelicans. “I told our guys, ‘Look, we had a nice run. We got hit in the mouth with injuries. Let’s see what we’re made of,’” he said. Phoenix caught the basketball world by surprise early this season with a 5-2 start, which included wins over the LA Clippers and Philadelphia 76ers, but the Suns have since fallen on hard times. Having lost three consecutive games, in part due to injuries to point guard Ricky Rubio (back) and center Aron Baynes (hip) altering the club’s style of play, the early-season buzz generated by the team is gone. But the truth is we haven’t seen the Suns at full strength since their season-opening 124-95 win over the Sacramento Kings, a game in which Deandre Ayton registered a double-double (18 points and 11 rebounds) along with four blocks in his only game this season. Ayton received a 25-game suspension by the league after that game for violating the NBA/NBPA anti-drug policy for testing positive for a diuretic. Ayton won’t be eligible to return to action until Dec. 17 (Dec. 18, PHL time), when Phoenix meets the LA Clippers at the Staples Center. So, it’s tough to gauge at this point whether the Suns are indeed the real deal. But Williams isn’t concerned. He prefers that the Suns fly under the radar. “The buzz will die down a bit, and now we can just focus on getting better,” Williams told his team after Thursday’s (Friday, PHL time) loss. “This is the NBA. Our guys are more than able to do what they need to do to get better.” The Suns aren’t sure when Rubio and Baynes will be set to return to action. Rubio has missed two of the team’s last three games, and when he tried to play Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time) at Sacramento, the point guard could only will himself through 16 minutes in the first half, shooting 0-for-7 from the field. Baynes has missed two games in a row with Phoenix mired in its first three-game skid of the season. Two of Phoenix’s last three losses came by single-digit margins. “This is kind of our first time hitting adversity, losing three in a row, and now we’re on the road for two tough games back to back, so we’re going to see how we’re going to go out there and play,” said Mikal Bridges, who contributed 12 points to go with six rebounds and three steals in the loss to New Orleans. “I think we’re mentally strong, and we’re together as a team. So, I think we’re going to push through and play hard the next few games, and try to leave out of there with a W. But it’s going to test our mentality to see what we’re going to be right now.” The Suns have struggled defensively over the past two games, most notably at defending the 3-point line. Sacramento knocked down 41.9% from deep on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time) against the Suns, while the Pelicans on Thursday (Friday, PHL time) hit on 45.7% from range. Baynes had been filling in during Ayton’s suspension, but Frank Kaminsky has replaced Baynes the last two games as he’s dealt with a strained right hip flexor. Going into the loss to New Orleans, Kaminsky (hip) was listed on the injury report along with Dario Saric (knee) and Cam Johnson (knee). Williams said “you hope” Rubio and Baynes return for the start of Phoenix’s upcoming back-to-back set on the road that starts Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) in Minnesota and concludes Sunday (Monday, PHL time) at Denver. But the team has “got to start planning as if they’re not,” Williams said. Those contests wrap up a stretch of five games in seven nights. “It’s next man up mentality,” said guard Devin Booker, who has connected on 50% or better from the field in 11 of the team’s 14 games. “We’re dealing with a couple injuries right now, and for guys to come in who have just been on the practice court the whole season and get an opportunity to perform it’s a very big time. It’s professionalism at its finest. It says a lot about a person’s character.” As for Ayton, who anxiously awaits his return for suspension, the center can only watch and wait. Provisions of the suspension allow Ayton to practice and travel with the team, but he can’t be in an arena -- home or away -- two hours before game. During the down time, Ayton has been working to refine his shot; most notably his 3-point shot with Suns assistant Mark Bryant. After this latest road trek, the Suns come back home to host Washington and Dallas before hitting the road for four consecutive outings over five nights to start the month of December. So surely, there’s more adversity to come for the young, upstart Suns. “We don’t quit. We compete,” Williams said. “That’s one of our values, our core values. We compete every possession. Sometimes, you can’t always dictate whether the ball goes in, but you can compete every night. I always tell the guys if you do the right thing it will come back to you. It may not come back to you in this game, but over the long haul, you’ll be better for it.” Michael C. Wright is a senior writer for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here, and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 24th, 2019

LeMahieu, Hicks lift Yanks over Astros, close to 3-2 in ALCS

By Ronald Blum, Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) — James Paxton was filled with nerves, and so were New York Yankees fans, worried the season was slipping away. Tension only surged when the top of the first featured a little grounder that got away, a passed ball and a run-scoring wild pitch. No worries. Boom! DJ LeMahieu drove Justin Verlander's second pitch over the wall to tie the score. Clang! Aaron Hicks hit a three-run homer off the foul pole later in the inning. Just like that, the Bronx Bombers were back — in the game, and in this matchup of powerhouses. A day after a brutal loss, and with little margin for more errors, the Yankees played like a 103-win team. Paxton chilled Houston's bats and the bullpen followed with shutdown relief to beat the Astros 4-1 Friday night, cutting New York's AL Championship Series deficit to 3-2. "I wasn't ready to go home yet," Paxton said, "so I wanted to go out and give my team everything I had and just battle away." Now the teams rush to Texas, where the series resumes Saturday night without a day off. With pitching plans disrupted by a rainout earlier this week, both teams plan all-bullpen efforts in Game 6. But Gerrit Cole, 19-0 since May, looms as the Astros' starter on Sunday if New York manages to extend the matchup to the seven-game limit. "We've just got to go back home and finish the job," Houston's Carlos Correa said. Paxton, a fishing aficionado born outside Vancouver in Ladner, British Columbia, wore three-quarter-length sleeves on a night with a game-time temperature of 52 degrees. That was the coldest for a Verlander start since last year's ALCS opener at Boston, according to STATS — he had on long sleeves and half of Houston's fielders had hoodies or balaclavas. After lasting just 2 1/3 innings in Game 2, Paxton struck out nine in six innings, allowing four hits and four walks. Punching his pitching hand into his glove after big strikeouts, he saved his biggest emotion for his 112th and final pitch. Manager Aaron Boone had just made a trip to the mound, unsure whether he would make a change. "He just said, 'Are you ready? Do you have anything more left in the tank?'" Paxton said. "And I said, 'Yeah, let's go. I want this.'" Robinson Chirinos hit a first-pitch fastball that Brett Gardner caught in front of the left-field scoreboard with a runner on. "When it first left the bat: 'Oh, no!'" Boone remembered thinking to himself. After Tommy Kahnle allowed George Springer's one-out single in seventh and walked José Altuve, Zack Britton retired Michael Brantley and Alex Bregman. Britton struck out two in a perfect eighth, and Aroldis Chapman finished with a 1-2-3 ninth for the save. Paxton outpitched Verlander, an eight-time All-Star and former AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner, on a night when each team had five hits. Verlander opened with a JV first inning — not Justin vintage, but junior varsity. He allowed a pair of first-inning homers for the first time in 28 postseason starts and gave up four runs in an inning for the first time since Houston acquired him from Detroit in August 2017. "Fastball command wasn't very good, and the slider was just hanging," Verlander said. Verlander retired 10 in a row after Hicks' homer and wound up allowing five hits in seven innings with nine strikeouts and no walks. "We took advantage of his missed locations when he was a little vulnerable," LeMahieu said. "And that's the difference in the game." A night after the Yankees made four errors in one of their messier games this season during an 8-3 loss, Paxton fell behind after 14 pitches. Springer reached on an infield hit, took second on Gary Sánchez's passed ball, advanced on a groundout and scored when Paxton bounced a breaking ball off Sánchez's glove for a wild pitch. "A lot of nerves," Paxton said. "I was just overthrowing a little bit early." New York came out swinging against Verlander, who had been 4-0 with a 2.38 ERA against the Yankees in seven postseason starts. LeMahieu fouled off a pitch, then drove a fastball 355 feet to right-center for New York's first postseason leadoff homer since Derek Jeter in the 2009 ALCS against the Angels. "Woke up the building," Astros manager AJ Hinch said. Aaron Judge singled and Gleyber Torres doubled. Verlander struck out Giancarlo Stanton, who went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts after missing three games with a strained right quadriceps. Hicks was sidelined for more than two months by a right elbow injury that made him wonder whether he would need Tommy John surgery, then made a surprise return for the ALCS and re-entered the starting lineup for Game 3. He fell behind 0-2, took three straight balls and sent a chest-high slider down the right field line. He dropped his bat, turned and watched the ball, took a half-dozen slow steps toward first and started jogging after it clanked off the pole for his first home run since July 24. "It curved a lot more than I thought it would," Hicks said. New York had never hit a pair of first-inning homers in 404 previous postseason games. Verlander could only crouch on the infield grass as Hicks circled the bases. Hicks ended a stretch of 15 straight hitless at-bats for the Yankees with runners in scoring position. New York has relied on the long ball, scoring 12 of its 17 runs against the Astros on seven homers. "We just always fight back," Judge said. "That's what we talked about in our meeting today. Let's go back to being ourselves." FIRSTS This was the 1,609th postseason game in major league history, and the first in which both teams scored in the first inning and neither scored the rest of the game. SABATHIA CC Sabathia dislocated his left shoulder while pitching in Game 4 and was replaced on the Yankees active roster by RHP Ben Heller. That ended the 19-season career of the 39-year-old left-hander, who is retiring. He was given a big ovation when shown on the video board in the sixth and waved to fans from the dugout. UP NEXT Neither team announced a Game 6 starter. Rookie RHP José Urquidy is Houston's most likely option, and New York could go with RHP Chad Green as an opener or start LHP J.A. Happ. New York would start RHP Luis Severino in a Game 7......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 19th, 2019

Cole fans 15, Bregman homers as Astros top Rays 3-1

By Kristie Rieken, Associated Press HOUSTON (AP) — Houston's pair of aces dealt the Astros a pair of wins. Gerrit Cole carried his splendid September into an outstanding October with a 15-strikeout performance and Alex Bregman handed fans chanting MVP the mighty swing they craved. The Astros survived a wild ninth inning to beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 on Saturday night for a 2-0 lead in their AL Division Series. Houston is one win from reaching the AL Championship Series for the third straight year. "We've got a lot more work to take care of," Cole said. "There's a few months this winter that maybe we can sit back and have a drink about it. Right now, it's on to the next one." Cole, 5-0 with a 1.07 ERA in six starts last month, set an Astros postseason strikeouts record over 7 2/3 scoreless innings to win his franchise-record 17th straight decision. The strikeouts tied for third-most in a postseason game, behind only Bob Gibson's 17 in the 1968 World Series and Kevin Brown's 16 in a 1998 NL Division Series. "He was incredible," manager AJ Hinch said. "He had complete command of the entire game." Cole's performance came after fellow ace and Cy Young Award contender Justin Verlander pitched seven scoreless innings to lead the Astros to a 6-2 win in Friday's opener. Throwback performances from another era. "Whether it's about the new-age opener or pulling guys third time through, most of the people that support that haven't had Verlander or Cole on their team," Hinch said. "It's hard for me to relate to having to pull guys early or wanting to pull guys early when these guys are putting up these kinds of performances. ... I'm going to roll with these boys while we have them." Cole (1-0), who led the majors with 326 strikeouts in the regular season, extended his big league record with his 10th straight game with at least 10 Ks. The Rays were unable to string anything together off of him on a night he induced 33 swings and misses — the most in a postseason game since MLB started tracking the stat in 2008 — and threw a career-high 118 pitches. "I don't think anything he did was surprising," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "He's just that good." "He was majestic," the Rays' Willy Adames said. Kevin Kiemaier doubled with two outs in the eighth and Cole was lifted after putting on Adames with Tampa Bay's first walk. The right-hander received a standing ovation as he walked off the mound and waved to the crowd just before he reached the dugout. Roberto Osuna took over and struck out Yandy Díaz to end the inning before loading the bases with no outs in the ninth. Austin Meadows and Tommy Pham hit consecutive singles, Ji-Man Choi walked and Avisaíl Garcia grounded into a forceout that scored Meadows. Osuna walked Brandon Lowe, reloading the bases, and Hinch brought in Will Harris. Travis d'Arnaud worked the count full, then struck out on a high cutter. Kiermaier grounded to first baseman Yuli Gurriel, who flipped to Harris, who stepped on first for the save. Tampa Bay is hitting .177 with two extra-base hits. Game 3 of the best-of five series is Monday in Florida. "I don't think there's a real message," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "They know what's at stake." Bregman, who hit a career-best 41 home runs in the regular season, homered off Blake Snell (0-1) leading off the fourth. "It's just lack of a pitch," Snell said. "I'm still finding it, still trying to get there. I know I can, so that's why it's frustrating." All seven of Bregman's homers have come off All-Stars, including two against Chris Sale and one each vs. Trevor Bauer, Clayton Kershaw, Corey Kluber and Kenley Jansen. His shot gave the Astros a home run in 27 straight games, extending a franchise record. After Lowe's error at second gifted Houston two runs in the opener, another error on helped in the seventh. Adames bobbled Gurriel's leadoff grounder to shortstop, then bounced the throw to first. Carlos Correa doubled and Martín Maldonado blooped a run-scoring single to left. Correa added a two-out RBI single off Nick Anderson in the eighth for a 3-0 lead. Snell, the 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner, sat out from July 22-Sept. 17 after arthroscopic surgery to remove bone chips in his left elbow. He didn't get out of the third inning in any of his three September starts, but said he hoped to give the Rays five innings on Saturday. Instead he was lifted one batter after Bregman's homer, finishing with four hits and a strikeout in 3 1/3 innings. "I wish I would have gone deeper," Snell said. "When you face a guy like that, you want to be out there as long as him."    DAZZLING DEFENSE Correa helped Cole out with a fantastic defensive play to start the game. Díaz led off with a grounder toward Correa, who grabbed the ball backhanded while on the run and spun around for the throw to Gurriel that just beat a sliding Díaz. "It's stuff that people don't see, but for me I always say that if you are going to win championships you have to pitch and you have to play defense, and then the offense comes," Correa said. UP NEXT Former Astro Charlie Morton, who got the win in the Rays wild-card victory, will start against Zack Greinke. Morton pitched for the Astros from 2017-18 and played a big role in their 2017 World Series title. He won Game 7 of AL Championship Series against the Yankees and Game 7 of the World Series at Dodger Stadium to give Houston its first championship. Morton had a tough time in his last start against Houston when he gave up a season-high six runs in four innings, which tied his shortest start of season, in a 15-1 win by Astros on Aug. 27. Greinke, acquired from Arizona at the trade deadline, went 8-1 with a 3.02 ERA in 10 starts after the trade capped by a gem in his last start when he came two outs shy of his first no-hitter on Sept. 25 against Seattle......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 6th, 2019

Chile amateur goes from no big victories to Masters

DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf Writer   HONOLULU (AP) — Toto Gana hit what he described as the 'best shot I've hit in my whole life,' a wedge to 3 feet for a birdie to win the Latin America Amateur Championship and earn a trip to the Masters in April. His best shot produced his biggest trophy. Asked what his greatest achievement in golf was before his victory in Panama, the 19-year-old from Chile said: 'I didn't have any achievements, to be honest. I had won a couple of tournaments at home when I was really, really young.' The Latin America Amateur completed its third year, a stroke-play tournament created by Augusta National, the USGA and the Royal & Ancient to spur growth in that part of the world. It follows the successful launch of the Asia Pacific Amateur. The Asia Pacific Amateur is producing a higher pedigree of champions — Hideki Matsuyama won twice, and the winner last year was Curtis Luck, the reigning U.S. Amateur champion. The last two Latin America winners were surprises — Gana and 16-year-old Paul Chaplet of Costa Rica last year. The other winner was Matias Dominguez of Chile, who was a junior at Texas Tech. Gana said the only hard part about his victory was beating Joaquin Niemann of Chile, one of his best friends who won the Junior World in 2015 at Torrey Pines. 'I really never thought I could win this tournament because all the other players have won many other tournaments, very big tournaments,' Gana said in a conference call after his victory Sunday. 'What I did was keep a cool head. When I saw that I had a chance to win, I believed in myself that I could do. And I gave it my all.' Chile will have a player represented at Augusta National for the second time in three years. The only other Chilean player at the Masters was Enrique Orellana, who missed the cut in 1964. Gana has flair, and he showed how much passion he has for golf when explaining how he got started. 'When I was a little boy, 8 years old, my stepfather taught me to play golf on the practice range,' he said. 'When I shot a really nice shot, I never quit.' Gana will be enrolling at Lynn University in Florida. ___ BLOOMING START: Justin Rose played the Sony Open as part of the new 'strength of field' regulation on the PGA Tour that requires players who played fewer than 25 events last year to add a tournament they had not played in four years. Rose was so excited about this year that he might have started earlier if he would have been eligible. He failed to win a PGA Tour event for the first time since 2009. But in a year slowed by injury, Rose geared himself for golf's return to the Olympics and won the gold medal in Rio. That was worth an exemption into the four majors (Rose already is eligible for them), but the PGA Tour did not offer a spot in SBS Tournament of Champions. 'I didn't inquire,' Rose said about Kapalua. 'But in my mind, I was surprised that it didn't count in a way, just because, why wouldn't it? It's a one-off thing.' He thought maybe the tour would only give a spot to Kapalua if the gold medalist was already a PGA Tour member, much like it treated the HSBC Champions early on in its World Golf Championships history. Rose chuckled, however, when he realized his history in Hawaii. 'It's funny enough, I don't have the right to say I should have been at Kapalua,' he said. 'Because I've won six years in a row and I've only been once.' A birdie on the final hole at the Sony Open gave him second place alone, which was worth $648,000. ___ PLAYING TO HIS STRENGTH: Jason Dufner is the defending champion at the CareerBuilder Challenger, where he won last year for the first time since the 2013 PGA Championship at Oak Hill. What changed? Very little. He attributed the drought to a neck and shoulder injury that he suffered at the 2014 Masters. Dufner tried to play through it all year until he was forced to pull out of his title defense in the PGA Championship at Valhalla, which kept him off the Ryder Cup team. Playing with the injury led to bad habits with his swing, which led to bad shots, too many memories of bad shots and eventually shattered confidence. 'People don't realize, once you start playing, you have to redo everything,' Dufner said. 'You see it with a lot of guys coming back. It takes them 6, 8, 12 months. I spent 2015 trying to get back to where I was.' Where he wants to be is one of the top ball-strikers in the game. As for putting? He manages. Dufner has finished no higher than No. 143 in the key putting statistic over the last four years, and while he has to pay attention to his setup, it's not as though he's going to abandon what got him here (his swing) to pour everything into becoming Jordan Spieth. 'I've been putting bad for 17 years,' he said. 'It's tough to change. I can hit it good enough to make up for it. I'll wait for my weeks where I putt good and try to win.' ___ THE RACE TO MEXICO: Mackenzie Hughes won the RSM Classic, and his first thought was going to the Masters. Now that it's beginning to sink, the Canadian rookie has reason to consider other tournaments that were not on his schedule at the start of the season. First up is the World Golf Championship in Mexico. The top 10 in the FedEx Cup standings through the Honda Classic are eligible for the Mexico Championship, and there are only six tournaments between now and then. That's also true for Pat Perez, who tied for third at Kapalua and is No. 3 in the FedEx Cup. Rod Pampling is at No. 6. The other World Golf Championships event in March is based off the world ranking, so those three players have much more to do for them to get into the top 64. One player who might have secured his spot was Kevin Kisner, who shot 60 in the third round of the Sony Open and wound up in a tie for fourth. That took Kisner from No. 51 to No. 41, making it difficult to fall that far in two months. ___ DIVOTS: Justin Thomas moving to No. 8 in the world means that six of the top 10 players are under 30. ... The Golf Writers Association of America has voted former PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem for the William D. Richardson Award for outstanding contributions to golf. For the GWAA's award for press cooperation, it was a tie between Ben Crenshaw and Stewart Cink. They will be honored at the GWAA annual awards dinner on April 5 in Augusta. ... The three courses used for the CareerBuilder Challenge — PGA West Stadium Course, PGA West Nicklaus and La Quinta — ranked among the top 10 in easiest courses on the PGA Tour last year. ... The fourth Latin America Amateur Championship will be played at Prince of Wales Country Club next year in Santiago, Chile. ... The European Tour now has eight events in its Rolex Series with China-based HNA Group signing a five-year deal to be title sponsor of the French Open. That will raise the purse to $7 million in line with other Rolex Series events. ___ STAT OF THE WEEK: Justin Thomas hit 34 drives that went at least 330 yards during his two weeks in Hawaii — 20 on the Plantation Course at Kapalua, 14 at Waialae Country Club. ___ FINAL WORD: 'If there's no defense, then you ought to be able to make birdies. If there's wind, you ought to be struggling.' — Kevin Kisner. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 18th, 2017

Pistons rally past short-handed Heat

em>By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press /em> MIAMI (AP) — Reggie Jackson scored 27 points, Andre Drummond finished with 25 points and 18 rebounds and the Detroit Pistons wore down the depleted Miami Heat for a 107-98 victory Sunday night (Monday, PHL time). Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 23 for Detroit, which improved to 1-17 this season when trailing at halftime. The Pistons out-rebounded Miami 48-34 and held the Heat to 36 percent shooting over the final 39 minutes. James Johnson scored 20 points and Wayne Ellington had 18 for Miami, which got 14 from Josh Richardson and had a 14-point lead before the game turned. Miami had 66 points in the first half, and 32 in the second. The Heat were without what could have been a starting lineup -- Goran Dragic (back), Dion Waiters (groin), Justise Winslow (shoulder), Josh McRoberts (foot) and Hassan Whiteside (eye). With those five players out, along with Chris Bosh, those on the unable-to-go list for the Heat on Sunday (Monday, PHL time) are making more than $70 million this season. The starting five Miami used Sunday (Monday, PHL time) makes about a combined $9.7 million -- most of that $6 million for Ellington -- or roughly six times less than what Detroit's starters will earn this season. Yet for a while, none of that mattered. Miami made its first eight shots, plus connected on 10 of its first 15 three-pointers. And then the bubble burst. After that sizzling first half, Miami scored 15 points in the third quarter and zero points in the first five minutes of the fourth. Detroit took command with a 27-8 run over a stretch of a little more than eight minutes. strong>TIP-INS /strong> em> strong>Pistons: /strong> /em>Marcus Morris returned after missing Friday's (Saturday, PHL time) game in Atlanta with a sore left knee. The Pistons committed five fouls in the first 1:45 of the second quarter, but the Heat only got one trip to the line while in the bonus. Detroit lost Aron Baynes to an injury to his left leg early in the fourth quarter. em> strong>Heat: /strong> /em> Whiteside was the only Miami player to been in every game this season. Miami has now used 14 different starting lineups in the last 29 games. Miami plans to have its injured players, except McRoberts, travel with them when they leave on Monday for a six-game trip that starts in Phoenix on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time). Dragic, Winslow and Whiteside could all be back as early as then. strong>UDONIS AND UDRIH /strong> The only current players in the NBA with names that start with 'Ud' -- Miami's Udonis Haslem and Detroit's Beno Udrih, a former Heat guard -- chatted for a few minutes at midcourt before the game. Haslem logged a season-high 21 minutes for the shorthanded Heat. Udrih didn't play. strong>SPO AND STAN /strong> Even as both endure rough seasons, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy remain among the NBA's winningest active coaches. Among coaches with at least 500 games, San Antonio's Gregg Popovich is No. 1 in terms of winning percentage, Washington's Scott Brooks is No. 2 -- followed by Spoelstra and Van Gundy, respectively. strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Pistons: /strong> /em> Host Indiana on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time), opening a quick two-game homestand. em> strong>Heat: /strong> /em>Visit Phoenix on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time). The Heat don't play at home again until Jan. 17 (Jan. 18, PHL time). .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 2nd, 2017

Coaching great John Thompson of Georgetown dead at 78

By JOSEPH WHITE AP Sports Writer WASHINGTON (AP) — John Thompson, the imposing Hall of Famer who turned Georgetown into a “Hoya Paranoia” powerhouse and became the first Black coach to lead a team to the NCAA men’s basketball championship, has died. He was 78 His death was announced in a family statement released by Georgetown on Monday. No details were disclosed. “Our father was an inspiration to many and devoted his life to developing young people not simply on but, most importantly, off the basketball court. He is revered as a historic shepherd of the sport, dedicated to the welfare of his community above all else,” the statement said. “However, for us, his greatest legacy remains as a father, grandfather, uncle, and friend. More than a coach, he was our foundation. More than a legend, he was the voice in our ear everyday.” One of the most celebrated and polarizing figures in his sport, Thompson took over a moribund Georgetown program in the 1970s and molded it in his unique style into a perennial contender, culminating with a national championship team anchored by center Patrick Ewing in 1984. Georgetown reached two other title games with Thompson in charge and Ewing patrolling the paint, losing to Michael Jordan’s North Carolina team in 1982 and to Villanova in 1985. At 6-foot-10, with an ever-present white towel slung over his shoulder, Thompson literally and figuratively towered over the Hoyas for decades, becoming a patriarch of sorts after he quit coaching in 1999. One of his sons, John Thompson III, was hired as Georgetown’s coach in 2004. When the son was fired in 2017, the elder Thompson -- known affectionately as “Big John” or “Pops” to many -- was at the news conference announcing Ewing as the successor. Along the way, Thompson said what he thought, shielded his players from the media and took positions that weren’t always popular. He never shied away from sensitive topics -- particularly the role of race in both sports and society -- and he once famously walked off the court before a game to protest an NCAA rule because he felt it hurt minority athletes. “I’ll probably be remembered for all the things that kept me out of the Hall of Fame, ironically, more than for the things that got me into it,” Thompson said on the day he was elected to the Hall in 1999. Thompson became coach of the Hoyas in 1972 and began remaking a team that was 3-23 the previous season. Over the next 27 years, he led Georgetown to 14 straight NCAA tournaments (1979-92), 24 consecutive postseason appearances (20 NCAA, 4 NIT), three Final Fours (1982, 1984, 1985) and won six Big East tournament championships. Employing a physical, defense-focused approach that frequently relied on a dominant center -- Alonzo Mourning and Dikembe Mutombo were among his other pupils -- Thompson compiled a 596-239 record (.715 winning percentage). He had 26 players drafted by the NBA. One of his honors -- his selection as coach of the U.S. team for the 1988 Olympics -- had a sour ending when the Americans had to settle for the bronze medal. It was a result so disappointing that Thompson put himself on a sort of self-imposed leave at Georgetown for a while, coaching practices and games but leaving many other duties to his assistants. Off the court, Thompson was both a role model and a lightning rod. A stickler for academics, he kept a deflated basketball on his desk, a reminder to his players that a degree was a necessity because a career in basketball relied on a tenuous “nine pounds of air.” The school boasted that 76 of 78 players who played four seasons under Thompson received their degrees. He was a Black coach who recruited mostly Black players to a predominantly white Jesuit university in Washington, and Thompson never hesitated to speak out on behalf of his players. One of the most dramatic moments in Georgetown history came on Jan. 14, 1989, when he walked off the court to a standing ovation before the tipoff of a home game against Boston College, demonstrating in a most public way his displeasure against NCAA Proposition 42. The rule denied athletic scholarships to freshmen who didn’t meet certain requirements, and Thompson said it was biased against underprivileged students. Opposition from Thompson, and others, led the NCAA to modify the rule. Thompson’s most daring move came that same year, when he summoned notorious drug kingpin Rayful Edmond III for a meeting in the coach’s office. Thompson warned Edmond to stop associating with Hoyas players and to leave them alone, using his respect in the Black community to become one of the few people to stare down Edmond and not face a reprisal. Though aware of his influence, Thompson did not take pride in becoming the first Black coach to take a team to the Final Four, and he let a room full of reporters know it when asked his feelings on the subject at a news conference in 1982. “I resent the hell out of that question if it implies I am the first Black coach competent enough to take a team to the Final Four,” Thompson said. “Other Blacks have been denied the right in this country; coaches who have the ability. I don’t take any pride in being the first Black coach in the Final Four. I find the question extremely offensive.” Born Sept. 2, 1941, John R. Thompson Jr. grew up in Washington, D.C. His father was always working — on a farm in Maryland and later as a laborer in the city — and could neither read nor write. “I never in my life saw my father’s hands clean,” Thompson told The Associated Press in 2007. “Never. He’d come home and scrub his hands with this ugly brown soap that looked like tar. I thought that was the color of his hands. When I was still coaching, kids would show up late for practice and I’d (say) ... ‘My father got up every morning of his life at 5 a.m. to go to work. Without an alarm.‘” Thompson’s parents emphasized education, but he struggled in part of because of poor eyesight and labored in Catholic grammar school. He was moved to a segregated public school, had a growth spurt and became good enough at basketball to get into John Carroll, a Catholic high school, where he led the team to 55 consecutive victories and two city titles. He went to Providence College as one of the most touted basketball prospects in the country and led the Friars to the first NCAA bid in school history. He graduated in 1964 and played two seasons with Red Auerbach’s Boston Celtics, earning a pair of championship rings as a sparingly used backup to Bill Russell. Thompson returned to Washington, got his master’s degree in guidance and counseling from the University of the District of Columbia and went 122-28 over six seasons at St. Anthony’s before accepting the job at Georgetown, an elite school that had relatively few Black students. Faculty and students rallied around him after a bedsheet with racist words was hung inside the school’s gym before a game during the 1974-75 season. Thompson sheltered his players with closed practices, tightly controlled media access and a prohibition on interviews with freshmen in their first semester -- a restriction that still stands for Georgetown’s basketball team. Combined with Thompson’s flashes of emotion and his players’ rough-and-tumble style of play, it wasn’t long before the words “Hoya Paranoia” came to epitomize the new era of basketball on the Hilltop campus. Georgetown lost the 1982 NCAA championship game when Fred Brown mistakenly passed the ball to North Carolina’s James Worthy in the game’s final seconds. Two years later, Ewing led an 84-75 win over Houston in the title game. The Hoyas were on the verge of a repeat the following year when they were stunned in the championship game by coach Rollie Massimino’s Villanova team in one of the biggest upsets in tournament history. Success allowed Thompson to rake in money through endorsements, but he ran afoul of his Georgetown bosses when he applied for a gambling license for a business venture in Nevada in 1995. Thompson, who liked playing the slot machines in Las Vegas, reluctantly dropped the application after the university president objected. Centers Ewing, Mourning and Mutombo turned Georgetown into “Big Man U” under Thompson, although his last superstar was guard Allen Iverson, who in 1996 also became the first player under Thompson to leave school early for the NBA draft. “Thanks for Saving My Life Coach,” Iverson wrote at the start of an Instagram post Monday with photos of the pair. The Hoyas teams in the 1990s never came close to matching the achievements of the 1980s, and Thompson’s era came to a surprising and sudden end when he resigned in the middle of the 1998-99 season, citing distractions from a pending divorce. Thompson didn’t fade from the limelight. He became a sports radio talk show host and a TV and radio game analyst, joining the very profession he had frustrated so often as a coach. He loosened up, allowing the public to see his lighter side, but he remained pointed and combative when a topic mattered to him. A torch was passed in 2004, when John Thompson III became Georgetown’s coach. The younger Thompson, with “Pops” often watching from the stands or sitting in the back of the room for news conferences, returned the Hoyas to the Final Four in 2007. Another son, Ronny Thompson, was head coach for one season at Ball State and is now a TV analyst. ___ Joseph White, a former AP sports writer in Washington who died in 2019, prepared this obituary. AP Sports Writer Howard Fendrich contributed......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 15th, 2020

Biden knocks Trump as rivals barnstorm heartland in election finale

Joe Biden intensified his attacks Friday on President Donald Trump as they battled over the American Midwest, chasing every last vote with four days to go in a region that propelled the Republican to victory in 2016. RUS President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Rochester International Airport October 30, 2020 in Rochester, Minnesota. With Election Day only four days away, Trump is campaigning in Minnesota despite the recent surge in coronavirus cases in the state. In accordance with state orders, only 250 people will be able to attend the rally with Trump while thousands of others will gather outside the airport to watch on a large television screen. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/AFP) Trump and Biden barnstormed three heartland states each — with a resurgent coronavirus passing the milestone of nine million cases as they hit the stump — highlighting their differences in a race overshadowed by the pandemic. Trump, heralded a “big day” of campaigning as he left the White House, then held a rally in Michigan before heading to Wisconsin and Minnesota, all states battling climbing numbers of virus cases. “We just want normal,” Trump told supporters — many of them unmasked — at an outdoor rally near Detroit as he pushed states to relax public health restrictions and resume daily life. He again bucked his own administration’s health experts as he downplayed the Covid-19 threat, saying “if you get it, you’re going to get better, and then you’re going to be immune.” Covid-19 has killed nearly 230,000 people in the US, which is experiencing surges in most states as the winter flu season looms. The outbreak has ravaged the economy, and while there have been signs of recovery, millions remain jobless. Biden was also stumping in Wisconsin and in Minnesota, where he sharpened his attacks on the president on everything from Trump seeking to dismantle Obama-era health care protections and keep his taxes secret to climate change and trade policy with China. “We can not afford four more years of Donald Trump,” the 77-year-old Democrat said at a socially distanced drive-in rally in St. Paul, Minnesota. “So honk your horn if you want America to lead again!” he said, embracing the awkward pandemic-era campaign trend of rallying supporters in their vehicles. “Honk your horn if you want to have civility again, and honk your horn if you want America to be united again!” Earlier in Iowa he attacker Trump over his handling of the pandemic. “Donald Trump has given up (and) waved the white flag,” Biden told a drive-in rally with more than 300 cars in Des Moines. – ‘Less divided’ – Trump flipped Iowa, Michigan and Wisconsin from the Democrats to clinch his shock victory four years ago.  Now polls show Biden leading in all three, albeit narrowly in Iowa. It was Biden’s first visit to Iowa since his inauspicious campaign start in February, when he placed a dismal fourth in the opening Democratic nominating contest. So can Biden win over enough voters to prevail in the Hawkeye State? “I wouldn’t put money on it,” Iowa attorney Sara Riley, 61, said at Biden’s event, although she was more confident about him clinching the White House. “I think Americans, even Trump supporters, want to get to a place where the country is less divided,” Riley said. With voters concerned about the health hazards of crowded polling stations on November 3, a record 86 million have already cast early ballots by mail or in person. Even as the US hit a grim new high in daily Covid-19 infections Thursday, Trump has stuck to his guns, downplaying the dangers and branding Democrats as rampaging “socialists” intent on shuttering the country. And while Trump has touted the economic successes of his presidency, including positive GDP figures Thursday, US stocks closed out their worst week since March, highlighting concerns about a shaky recovery. – ‘Turn Texas blue?’ – After a campaign largely muted by the pandemic, Biden is on the offensive, pushing Trump onto the back foot in unexpected battlegrounds like Texas, a large, traditionally conservative bastion now rated a toss-up by multiple analysts. On Friday the state reported that a staggering nine million residents had already voted, surpassing its entire 2016 total. Biden’s running mate Kamala Harris visited Texas Friday in a bid to turn the state Democratic for the first time since president Jimmy Carter in 1976. “We have a chance to turn Texas blue,” the 96-year-old Carter said in a fundraising email. Biden winning there would be a dagger to Trump, but the president dismissed the notion, saying: “Texas, we’re doing very well.” Trump and Biden are focusing their greatest efforts on traditional battlegrounds that will decide the election — such as Florida, where both campaigned on Thursday. On Saturday Biden returns to the Midwest bringing with him perhaps his strongest surrogate: ex-president Barack Obama, making his first joint in-person campaign appearance of the year with his former VP. Motown music legend Stevie Wonder will join them, the Biden campaign said. Trump will spend the day campaigning in the critical state of Pennsylvania, where he narrowly trails Biden in polls. Biden will follow suit there both Sunday and Monday in a clear sign that his campaign sees the Keystone State as absolutely crucial to his victory......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsOct 31st, 2020

Claiming COVID immunity, Trump hits election trail again

WASHINGTON (AFP) — US President Donald Trump will launch a campaign marathon Monday, holding rallies in three key swing states over the next few days as his White House race against surging rival Joe Biden enters its critical final weeks. The Republican leader will hold a rally in Florida, followed by Pennsylvania and Iowa — […] The post Claiming COVID immunity, Trump hits election trail again appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsOct 13th, 2020

James and Lakers advance with 131-122 win over Trail Blazers

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — While the ultimate objective is to win a title, LeBron James said the Los Angeles Lakers achieved a key goal against the Portland Trail Blazers — and it wasn't simply to win the first-round playoff series. It was improvement. “We got better throughout the course of the series,” James said. “We knew we were coming into a series versus a hot Portland team that was playing the best basketball inside the bubble along with Phoenix. So we wanted to just come in and try to work our game, get better and better as the games went on, as the series went on. And I believe we did that.” James had 36 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists and the Lakers advanced to the Western Conference semifinals, beating the short-handed Blazers 131-122 in Game 5 on Saturday night (Sunday morning in the Philippines). Anthony Davis had a playoff-best 43 points for the top-seeded Lakers in their first playoff appearance since 2013. The Lakers hadn't won a playoff series since 2012. James has never lost a first-round playoff series, going 14-0. The Lakers will play the winner of the series between Houston and Oklahoma City. The Rockets took a 3-2 lead with a 114-80 victory earlier Saturday. CJ McCollum had 36 points for the surprisingly scrappy Trail Blazers, who played without injured All-Star guard Damian Lillard. Carmelo Anthony added 27 points. Down 14 in the third quarter, Portland got to 100-97 on McCollum's layup and tied it on Anfernee Simon's 3-pointer to cap an 8-point run with 9:46 left. James answered with a 3. Gary Trent Jr.'s 3-pointer tied it at 109 with just under seven minutes to go. Again the Lakers held off Portland with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope's 3. After Trent's 3-pointer closed it to 114-112 with 4:53 left, Davis had a personal 11-0 run to put Los Angeles up 123-112 and all but seal it. The game was originally set for Wednesday night, but players collectively decided not to play in the three playoff games scheduled for that day to protest racial injustice following the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Games on Friday were also postponed. James said he hopes the past few days made a difference. “Obviously, the bubble season will never be forgotten. In sports this is the first time we’ve been able to do something like this, but this moment is so much bigger than us playing basketball,” James said. “Hopefully, years on down the line, when America is in a better place, you can look back to this moment and be like, that was one of the catapults that kind of got it going.” Lillard injured his right knee in Game 4 that prompted him to leave the bubble in Florida and return to Portland to see team doctors. Lillard was named MVP of the seeding games heading into the playoffs, averaging 37.6 points and 9.6 assists in eight games. Trent Jr. took his Lillard's spot in the opening lineup. But because of injuries the eighth-seeded Blazers had just nine players available for the game. “All you can do is hope to hang around and make it a fourth quarter game and win in the end, and we didnt quite win it in the end," Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. Portland's lone win in the first-round series came in Game 1. TIP INS Trail Blazers: In addition to Lillard, Portland was without Zach Collins because of left ankle inflammation, Nassir Little with dehydration and Wenyen Gabriel with right quad tendonitis. Lakers: Rajon Rondo practiced on Friday but remained inactive for Game 5 as he recovers from a fractured right thumb and back spasms. ... Dion Waiters was game-time decision with a migraine but was available. MOURNING UNCLE CLIFFY: There was a moment of silence before the game for former Trail Blazer Cliff Robinson. He died Saturday at 53. Robinson played 18 seasons in the NBA, his first eight in Portland, and later made the city his home. Portland players also wore headbands during the game in his honor. “His personality and energy were unmatched, and his contributions on the court were unmistakable, helping the Trail Blazers into the playoffs each of his eight seasons with the team,” the Blazers said in a statement. The moment of silence also recognized former Arizona coach Lute Olson and actor Chadwick Boseman. CIVIC DUTY: The Lakers announced before the game than that Staples Center will serve as a voting center for the upcoming general election. Voters can cast ballots at the arena from Oct. 30 through Nov. 3. The arena will also serve as a drop-off site for ballots......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 30th, 2020

Win or Go Home: Trail Blazers, Grizzlies clash for last playoff spot

After a watertight race for the eighth and ninth seeds in the West, the Portland Trail Blazers and Memphis Grizzlies are set to clash to fight another day in the NBA bubble in Orlando, Florida......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsAug 15th, 2020

Fight mars A s 9th straight win, 7-2 over Astros

By The Associated Press Benches cleared and even the stands emptied during Oakland’s 7-2 victory over the Astros on Sunday, tempers flaring at last between the AL West rivals months after Houston’s sign-stealing scandal was brought to light by Oakland pitcher Mike Fiers. Oakland’s Ramon Laureano got hit by a pitch — for the third time in the three-game series — this one by Humberto Castellanos with one out in the seventh. Laureano began exchanging words with animated Astros hitting coach Alex Cintron, then left first base, threw down his batting helmet and began sprinting toward him. Astros catcher Dustin Garneau tackled Laureano before the A’s outfielder reached Cintron, and a wild scene ensued. Players rushed out of both dugouts to join the fray. A’s and Astros players who were sitting in the seats, observing COVID-19 social-distancing protocols, also rushed onto the field. Laureano was ejected by plate ump Ted Barrett. Oakland won its ninth straight, and Houston lost its fifth in a row. Matt Olson hit a three-run homer in the third and Matt Chapman connected the very next pitch, taking the score from 1-0 to 5-0 on consecutive offerings from Astros starter Cristian Javier (1-1). Robbie Grossman also homered and Mark Canha contributed an RBI single. A’s rookie left-hander Jesus Luzardo (1-0) earned his first major league win in his second career start. BRAVES 5, PHILLIES 2, 1st game; BRAVES 8, PHILLIES 0, 2nd game PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Ronald Acuna Jr. homered twice and Freddie Freeman also went deep to spoil Spencer Howard’s big league debut and Atlanta Braves completed a sweep of the doubleheader with an 8-0 win in the second game. Acuna also homered in Atlanta’s 5-2 victory in the first game. He had four hits in the second game and added his his fourth career multihomer game. The Phillies had waited since the restart to send Howard (0-1) to the mound. Freeman hit a two-run homer in the third for the early lead and Acuna had a solo shot to the opposite field in right for a 3-0 lead. Atlanta’s Max Fried (3-0) hummed along against the Phillies until needed to get out of a bases-loaded, two-out jam in the fifth. Acuna hit a two-run shot off Trevor Kelley for a 6-0 lead in the sixth. In the first game, Acuna hit a two-run homer off Deolis Guerra (1-1) and Adam Duvall had a three-run double to lead the Braves. Tyler Matzek (2-0) pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings for the win, and Mark Melancon worked a scoreless ninth for his third save. INDIANS 5, WHITE SOX 4, 10 innings CHICAGO (AP) — Delino DeShields snapped a tie with a perfectly placed squeeze bunt in the 10th inning to lift Cleveland. DeShields’ bunt drove in José Ramírez, who started the inning on second as part of baseball’s extra-inning rule for the pandemic-shortened season. Mike Freeman added a two-out RBI single that gave Cleveland a 5-3 lead. Veteran left-hander Oliver Perez got the final two outs following a 46-minute rain delay for his first save. It was just the fifth save of his 18-year career. Phil Maton (1-0) pitched a scoreless inning for the win. Jimmy Codero (0-1) allowed two runs, one earned, in the loss. José Abreu and James McCann homered for Chicago. ROYALS 4, TWINS 2 KANSAS CITY, Mo (AP) — Hunter Dozier hit a two-run single in his first at-bat since testing positive for COVID-19, and prized prospect Brady Singer earned his major league win to lead Kansas City. The Royals won their fourth in a row overall. The Twins lost all three at Kauffman Stadium and have dropped four straight. Dozier hadn’t played this season while recovering from the virus. He quickly delivered, putting the Royals ahead 2-0 in the first inning. Singer (1-1) allowed two runs and five hits in five innings. The Kansas City bullpen threw four shutout innings with Scott Barlow closed for his first save. Jose Berrios (1-2) went 5 1/3 innings giving up four runs. He allowed Maikel Franco’s leadoff homer in the sixth. RANGERS 7, ANGELS 3 ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Los Angeles Angels right fielder Jo Adell was charged with a rare four-base error when a fly ball from Texas’ Nick Solak popped out of the rookie’s glove and flew the few remaining feet over the fence in the Rangers’ win. The play was initially ruled a home run for Solak, but the official scorer changed it to an error after consulting with the Elias Sports Bureau. Texas completed a three-game sweep as Lance Lynn (2-0) earned his 100th career win, losing a shutout on Tommy La Stella’s two-run homer in the fifth. Shin-Soo Choo capped a four-run fourth with a two-run single that chased Angels starter Andrew Heaney (1-1). Rougned Odor ended an 0-for-18 skid with an RBI single for the first run in the fourth. BREWERS 9, REDS 3 MILWAUKEE (AP) — Christian Yelich homered, tripled and drew a bases-loaded walk Milwaukee got its first home victory. The Brewers avoided falling to 0-5 at home for the first time since 1970, the franchise’s inaugural season in Milwaukee. Justin Smoak broke out of a slump and delivered hits from each side of the plate during a six-run rally in the sixth that put the Brewers ahead for good. Milwaukee poured it on in the seventh with back-to-back homers from Keston Hiura and Yelich. Sonny Gray (3-1) gave up three hits to the Brewers’ first four batters of the sixth and left with the score tied and runners on the corners with one out. Michael Lorenzen replaced Gray and didn’t retire any of the four hitters he faced as the Brewers eventually built a 7-2 lead. Brent Suter (2-0) earned the win with two innings of shutout relief. METS 4, MARLINS 2 NEW YORK (AP) — Jacob deGrom dodged trouble for five innings, rookie Andrés Giménez had three hits and scored three runs, and New York won a home series for the first time this season. DeGrom (2-0) allowed two runs and seven hits, marking the 25th time in his past 27 starts he permitted three runs or fewer. Jesus Aguilar hit a two-run homer in the fifth for the Marlins, who lost their second straight after getting off to a 7-1 start despite 18 players testing positive for the coronavirus. Seth Lugo tossed a scoreless ninth for his third save. Pablo Lopez (1-1) allowed three runs — two earned — and five hits in five innings. RED SOX 5, BLUE JAYS 3 BOSTON (AP) — Mitch Moreland hit two home runs, including a walk-off shot over the Green Monster to lead Boston. Xander Bogaerts drew a two-out walk from Thomas Hatch (0-1) to set up Moreland’s game-winner. Matt Barnes (1-1) pitched a scoreless ninth to get the win. The Blue Jays now head to Buffalo, New York, where they’ll play their remaining home games at the site of their Triple-A affiliate across the Niagara River from Canada. Rafael Devers also homered for the Red Sox. RAYS 4, YANKEES 3 ST. PETERSURG, Fla. (AP) — Michael Perez had an RBI single with two outs in the ninth inning to lift Tampa Bay. Mike Brosseau started the ninth with a double off Zack Britton (0-1) but was thrown out at third on Brandon Lowe’s grounder. Lowe advanced to second on a wild pitch before Manuel Margot walked. After both runners advanced on Willy Adames grounder to first, Perez lined a single to right as the Rays took three of four from the AL East leaders. Brosseau and Lowe both homered in the seventh, when the Rays tied it at 3. Ryan Thompson (1-0) worked a perfect ninth for his first major league win. TIGERS 2, PIRATES 1 PITTSBURGH (AP) — Spencer Turnbull pitched seven strong innings and Miguel Cabrera singled home the tiebreaking run in the eighth for Detroit. Cabrera’s single to left-center field off Richard Rodriguez (0-1) scored Jonathan Schoop, who was hit by a pitch with two outs and took second on a wild pitch. Turnbull (2-0) allowed only one run and five hits while striking out four and walking two. Buck Farmer pitched a scoreless eighth inning and Joe Jimenez retired the side in order for his fifth save. PADRES 9, DIAMONDBACKS 5 SAN DIEGO (AP) — Dinelson Lamet was brilliant in taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning and Fernando Tatis Jr. continued his remarkable power surge with a two-run homer off winless Madison Bumgarner, who allowed four of San Diego’s club-record six long balls as the Padres beat Arizona. Manny Machado homered twice off Bumgarner. Wil Myers, Francisco Mejia and Ty France also went deep for San Diego. Lamet (2-0) had allowed only one baserunner, on a hit by pitch, until Kole Calhoun homered leading off the seventh. The right-hander struck out 11 and walked none in 6 2/3 innings. The Padres remain the only major league team without a no-hitter, having played 8,154 games since 1969 without one. With the Padres leading 9-1, Diamondbacks catcher Carson Kelly pitched a scoreless eighth. Bumgarner (0-3) has struggled with the Diamondbacks, who gave him an $85 million, five-year contract in December after he spent a decade with the San Francisco Giants, helping them win three World Series titles in five seasons. He allowed six runs and five hits in two innings. Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said the 31-year-old lefty exited after experiencing back spasms. DODGERS 6, GIANTS 2 LOS ANGELES (AP) — AJ Pollock and Mookie Betts each hit a three-run homer to rally Los Angeles past San Francisco. The Dodgers have won nine of 12, and they took two of three in the series from their NL West rivals. Their 29 long balls lead the majors. With the Dodgers trailing 2-0, Cody Bellinger singled off Giants starter Kevin Gausman with one out in the seventh inning and Justin Turner followed with a single off submariner Tyler Rogers (1-3). Max Muncy took a called third strike, but Pollock sent a full-count pitch to left-center for his fourth homer and a 3-2 lead. Betts’ shot in the eighth made it 6-2. Jake McGee (1-0) got the win with a hitless inning. Mike Yastrzemski had a two-run single in the fifth for the Giants. MARINERS 5, ROCKIES 3 SEATTLE (AP) — Justus Sheffield pitched six shutout innings for his first major league win, Dylan Moore hit a two-run homer and Seattle slowed down Colorado. Sheffield (1-2) gave up four hits without a walk and struck out seven in his longest stint this season. He worked his way out of a jam with a strikeout to end the fifth, then sat down two more Rockies in the sixth before reaching his pitch limit. Charlie Blackmon extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a first-inning double for Colorado. The loss snapped a three-game win streak for the Rockies, who had won seven of eight in August -- including two straight over the Mariners. Colorado starter German Marquez (2-2) allowed six hits in seven innings......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 10th, 2020

WHO warns of drawn out pandemic as South Africa cases top 500,000

The UN health agency warned that the coronavirus pandemic would be lengthy and could lead to “response fatigue”, as the case count in South Africa topped half a million. Although many Latin American countries have begun relaxing stay-at-home measures, the virus is still spreading quickly across much of the region Six months after the World Health Organization declared a global emergency, the novel coronavirus has killed more than 680,000 people and infected more than 17.5 million, according to an AFP tally. South Africa is by far the hardest hit country in Africa, accounting for more than half of diagnosed infections, although President Cyril Ramaphosa said the fatality rate is lower than the global average. Health authorities had been expecting a surge in cases after the gradual loosening of a strict lockdown that was imposed at the end of March. Nigeria on Saturday also announced it would ease a lockdown in the commercial capital Lagos, allowing churches and mosques to reopen next week.  An emergency WHO committee reviewing the pandemic “highlighted the anticipated lengthy duration of this COVID-19 outbreak, noting the importance of sustained community, national, regional, and global response efforts”. “WHO continues to assess the global risk level of COVID-19 to be very high,” it said in its latest statement. The agency also said the effects of the pandemic “will be felt for decades to come”. Mexico overtook Britain to become the third hardest hit country in virus deaths — after Brazil and the United States — with more than 46,600 fatal cases. Although many Latin American countries have begun relaxing stay-at-home measures, the virus is still spreading quickly across much of the region, which has now recorded more than four million cases and almost 200,000 deaths. Half of them are in Brazil, where President Jair Bolsonaro said he believes “nearly everyone” will catch the virus eventually, after himself recovering from it. The US, the hardest-hit country in the world, has now tallied more than 4.6 million cases and 154,319 deaths. Vaccine race The outlook was bleak in Asia as well, where India and the Philippines reported record increases in new daily infections. “We are waging a losing battle against COVID-19, and we need to draw up a consolidated, definitive plan of action,” said an open letter signed by 80 Filipino medical associations. Japan’s Okinawa declared a state of emergency after a record jump in cases on the islands — many linked to US military forces stationed there. The pandemic has spurred a race for a vaccine with several Chinese companies at the forefront, while Russia has set a target date of September to roll out its own medicine. However, US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said it was unlikely his country would use any vaccine developed in either nation. “I do hope that the Chinese and the Russians are actually testing the vaccine before they are administering the vaccine to anyone,” he said. As part of its “Operation Warp Speed”, the US government will pay pharmaceutical giants Sanofi and GSK up to $2.1 billion for the development of a COVID-19 vaccine, the companies said. ‘Day of freedom’ France, Spain, Portugal and Italy all reported huge contractions in their economies for the April-June quarter, while Europe as a whole saw gross domestic product fall by 12.1 percent.  Daily case numbers in Switzerland have crept up again in recent weeks, while Norway recorded its first virus death in two weeks. At least 36 crew members confined to a Norwegian cruise ship have tested positive for the new coronavirus, the operator Hurtigruten said on Saturday.  Despite the resurgence in cases, there have been demonstrations in Europe against the curbs.  Thousands protested in Berlin on Saturday urging “a day of freedom” from the restrictions, with some demonstrators dubbing the pandemic “the biggest conspiracy theory”. In South Korea, the elderly leader of a secretive sect at the centre of the country’s early coronavirus outbreak was arrested for allegedly hindering the government’s effort to contain the epidemic. People linked to Lee Man-hee’s Shincheonji Church of Jesus accounted for more than half of the South’s coronavirus cases in February and March, but the country has since appeared to have brought the virus under control. The pandemic has also continued to cause mayhem in the travel and tourism sectors, with more airlines announcing mass job cuts. Latin America’s biggest airline, the Brazilian-Chilean group LATAM, said it would lay off least 2,700 crew, and British Airways pilots overwhelmingly voted to accept a deal cutting wages by 20 percent, with 270 jobs lost......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 2nd, 2020

Hurricane Isaias lashes Bahamas on path to virus-hit Florida

Hurricane Isaias lashed the Bahamas Friday as it churned toward Florida, bringing new dangers to a US state suffering record deaths from an unrelenting coronavirus outbreak. Soldiers carry out cleaning work on destroyed houses after the overflow of the Magua river due heavy rains caused by Isaias storm in the city of Hato Mayor, northwest of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, on July 31, 2020. (Photo by Erika SANTELICES / AFP) The category one storm, packing winds of 75 miles (120 kilometers) an hour, gained strength Thursday night after sweeping over the Dominican Republic. As of 2100 GMT, it was an expansive storm, moving northwest at a speed of 15 mph, kicking up heavy squalls and whipping the southeastern Bahamas and Turks and Caicos island chains with strong winds, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center said. “Hurricane conditions will continue to spread northwestward into the central and northwestern Bahamas tonight (Friday) and Saturday,” it added. The eye of the storm was expected to pass over the southeastern Bahamas sometime during the evening Friday and reach the central Bahamas during the night. Hurricane warnings were up across the low-lying Bahamas while parts of Florida’s east coast — including Palm Beach, the location of President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort — were under a hurricane watch. Florida could start the feeling the effects of the storm by late Saturday, according to the National Hurricane Center. Florida governor Ron DeSantis signed an emergency declaration for counties on the exposed Atlantic coast. But a slight shift westward in the storm’s trajectory raised hopes that Florida would be spared a direct hit.  DeSantis said it was too early to open shelters, but urged residents to stock up on enough water, food and medicine to last a week. Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis on Thursday relaxed strict stay-at-home orders imposed because of the coronavirus to allow residents to prepare for the hurricane. “I beg you, do not use this period for hurricane preparation to go socializing and visiting friends or family,” Minnis said at a news conference. “If you do not need to be out, please, please, STAY AT HOME! We are in the midst of a pandemic and if we do not act responsibly, the consequences could be dire,” he said. It is the Bahamas’ first hurricane since Dorian, a maximum strength Category 5 storm last year that devastated two islands, pummeling them for three days.   Hurricane plus pandemic Isaias left a shambles in Puerto Rico, downing trees and electric lines and inundating houses as it cut a path through the island on Thursday. “If you are seeing this, please, we need help,” a man in Mayaguez, on the island’s western side, begged in a video that showed his family clinging to the roof of their car as rising waters inundated their house. In Florida, the concern was that if Isaias does hit, it would cause havoc at a time when hospitals are flooded with a surge of COVID-19 cases. On Friday, Florida reported another 257 deaths, setting a fourth consecutive single day state record and pushing its virus death toll to 6,843. The state’s coronavirus testing centers, meanwhile, were closed Thursday and won’t reopen until they get the all-clear.  The state’s emergency management division explained that the testing centers are housed in tents and could not withstand tropical force winds. For several weeks, Florida has had nearly 10,000 new coronavirus cases a day.  The Republican-run state is now second in the nation in number of cases at 470,386, surpassing early epicenter New York.  Only California, with almost double Florida’s 21 million population, has had more......»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsAug 1st, 2020

Indians Bieber strikes out 13 against Twins to tie record

By The Associated Press CLEVELAND (AP) — Cleveland’s Shane Bieber tied the major league record for strikeouts in a pitcher’s first two starts of the season, punching out 13 Minnesota Twins over eight innings in the Indians’ 2-0 victory on Thursday night. Bieber (2-0) fanned 14 over six scoreless innings on Friday against Kansas City. His 27 strikeouts in the two games matched the record set by Karl Spooner of the Brooklyn Dodgers in September 1954 during the first two starts of his short career. Facing a Twins team that came in with the second-best run differential in baseball, Bieber allowed three singles in his eight innings. Francisco Lindor supplied all the offense Cleveland needed with a two-run homer in the third inning off Jose Berríos (0-1). After Jose Ramirez singled with two outs, Berrios left an 0-2 pitch up over the plate, and Lindor drove it over the fence in right for his second homer of the season. YANKEES 8, ORIOLES 6 BALTIMORE (AP) — Aaron Judge hit a three-run homer in the ninth inning after New York blew an early five-run lead, and the Yankees swept an impromptu two-game series. Luke Voit hit his first career grand slam for the Yankees, who stretched their winning streak against Baltimore to 18 games and notched their 17th consecutive victory at Camden Yards. New York has swept six straight series from the Orioles dating to early last year. Judge’s second homer in two games — a no-doubt shot to left off Cole Sulser (0-1) — came after Pedro Severino put Baltimore in front with a two-run drive in the eighth against Jonathan Loaisiga (1-0). Zack Britton worked the ninth for his second save. After Voit connected in a five-run first inning against John Means, Hanser Alberto hit a two-run drive in the bottom half off J.A. Happ. Rio Ruiz homered for the third time in five games with a man on in the second to cut the deficit to 5-4. RED SOX 4, METS 2 NEW YORK (AP) — Christian Vázquez hit two more homers and Martín Pérez gave Boston’s patchwork rotation a much-needed lift. Pérez (1-1) overcame four walks and some shaky defense behind him, allowing only two hits while striking out five in 5 2/3 innings for his first win with the Red Sox. Vázquez connected twice off Steven Matz (0-1), including a two-run shot on an 0-2 pitch in the fourth that put Boston ahead 3-2. Boston loaded the bases with nobody out in the ninth and added an insurance run when Edwin Díaz hit José Peraza with a pitch. Brandon Workman, on the mound for the third straight day after throwing 30 pitches Wednesday, got the last three outs for his second save — both in the last two nights. ROYALS 5, TIGERS 3 DETROIT (AP) — Trevor Rosenthal pitched a scoreless ninth for his first save since 2017 and Kansas City overcame Miguel Cabrera’s first multihomer game since 2016. Once a standout closer for St. Louis, Rosenthal has struggled with his health and his effectiveness in recent years, finishing 2019 with a 13.50 ERA in 22 appearances with the Nationals and Tigers. When he retired JaCoby Jones on a grounder to end the game, he gave his glove a little celebratory tap. The Royals' offense came through late. Whit Merrifield scored on Salvador Perez’s grounder to break a 2-all tie in the seventh. Bubba Starling added a double the following inning that gave Kansas City two insurance runs it ended up needing. Cabrera hit solo homers in the first and eighth, and Jonathan Schoop added one for Detroit in the fourth. It was Cabrera’s first multihomer game since Sept. 30, 2016 at Atlanta, and he’s gone deep three times in the first seven games this year after hitting only 12 home runs in 2019. Greg Holland (1-0) won in relief for the Royals, and Jose Cisnero (1-1) took the loss. BRAVES 2, RAYS 1 ATLANTA (AP) — Max Fried retired Tampa Bay’s first 14 batters and combined with three relievers on a four-hitter to lead Atlanta. Dansby Swanson had a run-scoring single in Atlanta’s two-run second inning. Fried (1-0) struck out seven and walked one while allowing one run in 6 2/3 innings. The left-hander improved to 4-0 in four interleague starts. Luke Jackson, and Shane Greene combined for four outs before Mark Melancon pitched the ninth for his second save. Ryan Yarbrough (0-1) allowed two runs on only two hits with three walks in 6 1/3 innings. NATIONALS 6, BLUE JAYS 4 WASHINGTON (AP) — Michael A. Taylor’s second homer of the season helped the “visiting” Nationals knock around struggling Hyun-Jin Ryu and beat home-away-from-home Toronto before both teams head into a coronavirus-caused mini break. Kurt Suzuki delivered a two-run double and Asdrúbal Cabrera added an RBI double off Ryu (0-1), who gave up Taylor’s two-run shot to straightaway center that he celebrated with a socially distanced dugout dance in the fourth. Erick Fedde, making his second start in place of a sidelined Stephen Strasburg, gave up two runs in 3 1/3 innings. Ryne Harper (1-0) followed and got five outs for the win. Daniel Hudson pitched the ninth to earn his first save of the year. Nationals rookie third baseman Carter Kieboom reached base four times — two singles, two walks — and scored twice. Teoscar Hernández homered twice, giving him four during this four-game series at Washington, and Cavan Biggio hit a solo shot for Toronto. Neither team will play again until Tuesday, a four-day gap that is normally unheard of in baseball, where clubs can go weeks at a time without any respite......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 31st, 2020

Nationals beat Blue Jays 4-0 in 10 in road game at home

By The Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) — Adam Eaton’s bases-loaded chopper broke a scoreless tie in the 10th inning on a close play and Asdrúbal Cabrera followed with a three-run triple, helping the Nationals snap a three-game losing streak by beating the Toronto Blue Jays 4-0 Wednesday night. In a quirky game befitting this pandemic-altered, upside-down season, Toronto’s team played its “home opener” at Washington — batting in the bottom half of each inning, wearing its white uniforms, playing its players’ walk-up music and even blaring the song “OK Blue Jays,” the club’s traditional seventh-inning stretch staple. Toronto’s Nate Pearson, in his big league debut, and Washington’s Max Scherzer, in his 358th start in the majors, put up plenty of zeros. So did the relievers that followed. In the top of the 10th, though, Washington moved ahead on an odd-looking play. After starting with the automatic runner on second base Washington loaded the bags with two walks from Toronto’s sixth pitcher, Shun Yamaguchi (0-2). After two strikeouts, Eaton bounced a ball off the mound. Second baseman Cavan Biggio grabbed it and tried to dive glove-first at the bag, but was edged out by runner Andrew Stevenson. After a replay review of more than two minutes, the “safe” call was upheld, making it 1-0. Cabrera then homered. Daniel Hudson (1-0) got five outs for the win. DODGERS 4, ASTROS 2, 13 INNINGS HOUSTON (AP) — The Dodgers and Astros showed no carry-over from a fracas in the series opener that led to suspensions, and Edwin Ríos hit a two-run homer in the 13th inning to lift Los Angeles over Houston. No pitches were thrown above or behind any batters, nobody made any ugly faces and everyone remained in their respective dugouts. The loudest noise was the crack of Ríos’ bat when he took Cy Sneed (0-1) deep for a leadoff homer — a two-run drive under the new extra-innings rule that starts with an automatic runner on second base. The Dodgers played without manager Dave Roberts, suspended one game for his part in Tuesday night’s testy matchup that saw the dugouts clear. Bench coach Bob Geren managed the team in Roberts’ absence. Los Angeles used nine pitchers, but not Joe Kelly. The reliever was suspended for eight games by Major League Baseball after buzzing a fastball behind the head of Alex Bregman, then striking out Carlos Correa and mockingly taunting him by sticking out his tongue and pouting his bottom lip. TIGERS 5, ROYALS 4 DETROIT (AP) — JaCoby Jones hit a tiebreaking solo homer in the seventh inning, and Detroit’s bullpen came through again to beat Kansas City. A night after pitching six scoreless innings in a win over the Royals, the Tigers’ relievers held Kansas City without a baserunner for four. Detroit rallied from a 4-0 deficit thanks in large part to Jones, who doubled twice before connecting off Ian Kennedy (0-1) for his third homer. Jonathan Schoop also went deep for the Tigers. Maikel Franco hit two doubles and a single for Kansas City, and Whit Merrifield had two hits and scored twice. Bryan Garcia (1-0) earned his first big league win, one of four Detroit relievers who pitched in the game. Joe Jimenez worked the ninth for his fourth save. YANKEES 9, ORIOLES 3 BALTIMORE (AP) — The New York Yankees stepped in for the Miami Marlins and ruined Baltimore’s home opener, hitting three home runs to back right-hander Gerrit Cole. The Orioles were originally slated to launch the home portion of the abbreviated 60-game schedule against Miami, but the Marlins were ordered to take a hiatus after several players and coaches contracted COVID-19 over the weekend. New York was scheduled to play Philadelphia on Wednesday, but the Phillies’ season was put on hold as a precaution because they were Miami’s opponent in the opening series. So Major League Baseball thrust the Yankees and Orioles together while the Marlins and Phillies recover. Cole (2-0) gave up three runs and four hits in 6 2/3 innings to win his 18th straight decision. After DJ LeMahieu homered off Asher Wojciechowski (0-1) on the game’s second pitch, Aaron Judge and Aaron Hicks both went deep in the third for a 5-1 lead. GIANTS 7, XXX 6 SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Mike Yastrzemski homered twice, the second a towering solo shot into McCovey Cove in the ninth inning, lifting San Francisco past San Diego. Donovan Solano had a three-run home run in the eighth and Alex Dickerson also went deep as the Giants rallied to beat the Padres, who entered the the game tied for the best record in baseball. Brandon Crawford added three hits for San Francisco. Manny Machado and Trent Grisham homered for San Diego. The Giants trailed 6-3 with two outs in the eighth before rallying. MARINERS 10, ANGELS 7 ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Kyle Seager drove in three runs, Dylan Moore hit a three-run homer and Seattle rallied from two late deficits. Moore connected during the Mariners’ five-run sixth, and Seager put the Mariners ahead for good with a sacrifice fly in the seventh inning of Seattle’s second victory of the season. Shohei Ohtani had a three-run homer, Mike Trout got three hits and Justin Upton hit his 300th career homer for the Angels, who have lost four of six. Brian Goodwin homered and added a two-run double that put the Angels ahead in the sixth. Seattle surged back in front by battering Los Angeles’ bullpen, which flopped mightily in a game featuring four lead changes. The Angels’ bullpen yielded eight runs — one more than it had given up in LA’s first five games combined. The Mariners made their decisive rally in the seventh against Jacob Barnes (0-1). Bryan Shaw (1-0) allowed five baserunners and gave up three runs in the sixth. Dan Altavilla pitched the ninth for his first save. WHITE SOX 4, INDIANS 0 CLEVELAND (AP) — Yasmani Grandal and Eloy Jiménez hit sacrifice flies and Chicago scored four runs in the ninth inning — three charged to ineffective Cleveland closer Brad Hand. The Indians got eight terrific innings from No. 5 starter Zach Plesac. He struck out a career-high 11, shut out the White Sox on three hits and continued a strong run of Cleveland pitching to start the season. Rookie Luis Robert hit a two-run single in the ninth as Chicago snapped a three-game losing streak and salvaged one game in the series. Chicago starter Lucas Giolito matched Plesac pitch for pitch through six, holding the Indians scoreless on four hits. It was a nice bounce back by the All-Star right-hander, who gave up a home run in Minnesota on his first pitch of the season and was touched for seven runs in 3 2/3 innings. RED SOX 6, METS 5 NEW YORK (AP) — Christian Vázquez hit a tying home run off Seth Lugo in the seventh inning and a two-run single against Justin Wilson in a three-run eighth, rallying Boston. Boston had lost four in a row following its opening day win over Baltimore -- the equivalent of 11 straight over a full season -- that included a pair of defeats to the Mets at Fenway Park. New York closed with a run in the ninth, when a diving stop by third baseman Rafael Devers helped Brandon Workman strand the bases loaded. Workman recovered for his first save of the year by striking out Yoenis Céspedes and retiring Robinson Canó on a soft liner to shortstop. Jacob DeGrom, throwing at up to 101 mph, extended his consecutive scoreless streak to 31 innings before allowing a pair of runs in the fourth but got his second straight no-decision, allowing two runs and three hits in six innings with four strikeouts. He left with a 3-2 lead, but Vázquez tied the score when he drove a hanging curveball from Lugo for his second home run this season. RANGERS 7, DIAMONDBACKS 4 ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) —Joey Gallo hit a tying, two-run homer in the eighth inning and Texas scored three more runs after that to snap a three-game losing streak. After Gallo lined an opposite-field shot to left off Andrew Chafin (0-1) for his second homer of the season, the Rangers loaded the bases with two outs. Elvis Andrus then hit a two-run single before Nick Solak added an RBI single. Todd Frazier hit his first homer and had two doubles for Texas, whose five-run inning accounted for only one run fewer than it had scored combined in their first four games in the new $1.2 billion stadium with a retractable roof. Jonathan Hernandez (1-0) got the win despite giving up two runs in the eighth, and Nick Goody worked a perfect ninth for his first save. ROCKIES 5, ATHLETICS 1 OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — German Márquez struck out eight over six impressive innings to bounce back after losing on opening day, and Colorado wrapped up a successful season-opening road trip. Charlie Blackmon delivered an insurance run with an RBI double in the eighth, then reached on an error in the ninth that led to a pair of runs. Garrett Hampson hit a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the fourth to help back Márquez (1-1). Carlos Estévez relieved Márquez and escaped the seventh unscathed with the tying run on second. Jairo Diaz struck out Robbie Grossman with the bases loaded in the eighth, putting Oakland at 0 for 14 with runners in scoring position during these two games. Matt Chapman homered in the bottom of the first for the A’s. Colorado came right back when Tony Wolters hit a tying single in the top of the second against Frankie Montas (0-1). BRAVES 7, RAYS 4 ATLANTA (AP) —Freddie Freeman homered and drove in three runs on a four-hit night, leading Atlanta in its home opener. Freeman, stricken with the coronavirus before the shortened season and became so ill that he feared for his life, has quickly reclaimed his place as one of the game’s most feared hitters. He hit his first homer of the season in the third, a two-run shot into the empty seats in right field, and added an RBI single that capped a three-run sixth after Tampa Bay pulled ahead with three runs in the top half. The Braves snapped Tampa Bay’s four-game winning streak. Tampa Bay scrapped out an unearned run off Mike Soroka in the fifth and pulled ahead for the first time in the sixth, doing the bulk of the damage after Darren O’Day (1-0) took over for the Atlanta starter. With two outs, Kevin Kiermaier drove in the tying run and Hunter Renfroe followed with a two-run single that put the Ray ahead 4-2. But the Tampa Bay bullpen couldn’t hold the lead. Andrew Kittredge gave up back-to-back doubles, retiring only one hitter before giving way to Oliver Drake (0-1). The funky right-hander had a chance to escape with the lead intact, but Willy Adames bobbled a high chopper by Ozzie Albies that was ruled an infield hit. Freeman followed with his fourth hit of the night, lining an RBI single to right-center. Albies was thrown out at third to end the inning, but Ender Inciarte had already crossed the plate with the go-ahead run. BREWERS 3, PIRATES 0 PITTSBURGH (AP) — Milwaukee’s Brandon Woodruff allowed one hit and struck out 10 while working into the seventh inning as the Brewers beat struggling Pittsburgh. Woodruff (1-1) retired 19 of 21 batters, allowing a swinging bunt single to Phil Evans in the first. Pittsburgh didn’t manage another baserunner until Evans walked leading off the seventh. Woodruff threw 92 of his 61 pitches for strikes against a lineup that is struggling to produce. The Pirates are hitting a majors-worst .171 during their 2-4 start. Ben Gamel gave Woodruff all the support he would need with a third-inning two-run homer over the right-field seats off Joe Musgrove (0-2). REDS 12, CUBS 7 CINCINNATI (AP) — Mike Moustakas and Nick Senzel homered in their returns from a COVID-19 scare, Nick Castellanos added a grand slam, and Cincinnati ended a four-game losing streak. Sonny Gray (2-0) extended his major league record to 35 consecutive starts allowing six hits or fewer. He gave up only Ian Happ’s double and fanned 11 as he pitched into the seventh inning. Moustakas and Senzel missed the last three games after feeling sick a day after teammate Matt Davidson went on the injured list because he tested positive for the coronavirus. After passing tests, they returned and helped the Reds to their best run total of the season. Kyle Hendricks (1-1) threw a three-hit shutout against the Brewers in the season opener but couldn’t make it through the fifth inning against Cincinnati. Moustakas had a two-run shot in the fourth, and Hendricks left after Eugenio Suárez’s bases-loaded single an inning later. TWINS 3, CARDINALS 0 MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Rich Hill pitched five scoreless innings in a smooth Minnesota debut, backed by Eddie Rosario’s homer and Nelson Cruz’s RBI double. Alex Avila, another Minnesota newcomer, had an RBI single. Taylor Rogers pitched a perfect ninth for his first save, and the Twins finished a two-game sweep to improve to 4-1. Currently the second-oldest player in the majors, the 40-year-old Hill needed only 68 pitches to pick up his first victory for a Twins team that signed him this winter with the assumption he’d be ready around midsummer after his recovery from elbow surgery. The Cardinals, after winning their first two games against Pittsburgh, have scored four runs on 15 hits over a three-game losing streak. Daniel Ponce de Leon (0-1) struck out eight over 3 2/3 innings......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 30th, 2020

NBA says races for the season’s individual trophies are over

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Florida — The NBA’s MVP race is over. So is the battle for every other individual regular-season trophy. The league told teams Friday that none of the seeding games will be taken into consideration for any postseason award, and that voting for those honors — such as All-NBA, rookie of the year […] The post NBA says races for the season’s individual trophies are over appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJul 19th, 2020