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Figueiredo defends title, submits Perez in Round 1

Saturday night’s UFC 255 was a flyweight division showcase, as both the men’s and women’s 125-pound champions defended their titles at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. In the evening’s main event, Deiveson Figueiredo (20-1) lent credence to the growing notion that he’s on his way to becoming one of the sport’s next great champions. […] The post Figueiredo defends title, submits Perez in Round 1 appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource: inquirer inquirerNov 22nd, 2020

Bolick bares coach Boyet s key to success - tireless scouting

Boyet Fernandez has brought home four championships to San Beda University. In fact, last year was the first and, thus far, only time he has missed out on a title as head coach of the Red Lions. Through it all, he has overseen the lighting up of shining stars such as Baser Amer, Ola Adeogun, James Canlas, Javee Mocon, and Calvin Oftana. Among all those, there is one standout who made the most out of the full faith Coach Boyet had in him. In his first year in red and white, Robert Bolick came to be known as an impact player at either end. Still, he was known more for his defense - becoming "The Bus Stop" to the "Bus Driver" Jiovani Jalalon - than his offense, even though at that time, San Beda was a run-and-gun team under Jamike Jarin. With Fernandez at the helm, however, the tables turned and the 6-foot-1 playmaker got into his groove on offense. The then-King Lion became a fearless gunner with the capability and confidence to score from all over their side of the court. In NCAA Season 93, he posted per game counts of 13.8 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 5.1 assists and saved his best for last, sinking elimination round-sweeping Lyceum of the Philippines University by his lonesome in the Finals. For reference, his averages from the season before were 9.9 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 3.5 assists. Clearly, Coach Boyet unlocked something in Bolick. And up until present, the now-NorthPort lead guard is nothing but grateful for that. "Si Coach Boyet kasi, pro style ang ginawa niya sa amin e. Na-ready na niya kami para sa pros," he said in The Prospects Pod last Friday. He then continued, "Siguro, sa utak, si Coach Boyet ang isa sa pinakamautak na coach na nakilala ko kasi grabe siya mag-scout e." And all of that came to be thanks to the veteran mentor's tireless work ethic. "Siguro, kung pwede lang siya pumunta kunwari sa practice nina (LPU star) CJ [Perez], pupunta siguro yun," he said, through chuckles. He then continued, "Lahat, ini-scout e. Lahat, meron siyang film, mula Filoil (Preseason) hanggang ibang lugar. Minsan nga, sinasabi ko nang, 'Pano mo nakuha yan?'" Indeed, there have been more than a few times when reporters have seen Coach Boyet in the venue for the first game of the day even though the Red Lions were scheduled to take the floor for the third of the tripleheader. He has also been seen alongside his trusted assistants and trusty notebook in other leagues - whether it be preseason or in-season - doing his due diligence for their opponents. Without a doubt, Fernandez is one of the most hardworking - if not the most hardworking - mentors in all of college. "Yung work ethic talaga ni Coach Boyet, yun yung mapapabilib ka," his one-time prized ward said. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 13th, 2020

WHAT IF… Back-to-back MVP Allwell Oraeme stayed in Mapua

History lesson: Mapua University was a legitimate championship contender for two years in NCAA Men's Basketball. In the time when the Grand Old League was as star-studded as it had been in recent history, there were the Cardinals who had one surefire superstar in Allwell Oraeme. Oraeme, a towering talent from Nigeria, then had several perfect pieces in his orbit as the likes of three-point threats Exi Biteng, CJ Isit, Darrell Menina, and JP Nieles spread out defenses for him to be able to make a living in the paint. Behind averages of 16.3 points, 20.3 rebounds, and 2.9 blocks, the then first-year player bested the likes of Art Dela Cruz of San Beda University, Bright Akhuetie and Scottie Thompson of University of Perpetual Help, and Jiovani Jalalon of Arellano University to convincingly claim the MVP award in Season 91.  Next year, he then normed 15.8 markers, 19.8 boards, and 2.3 rejections to get the better of big names such as Emilio Aguinaldo College's Hamadou Laminou and San Beda's Donald Tankoua as well as Akhuetie and Jalalon once more for another top individual player trophy. In those two seasons, Oraeme posted per game counts of 16.0 points, 20.5 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks - unfortunately, he could not push Mapua to the Finals as they fell to Season 91 champion Colegio de San Juan de Letran and then Season 92 runner-up Arellano in the Final Four. Still, with just two go-rounds under his belt, the then 20-year-old had three more seasons to play in red and gold. However, that wasn't meant to be. As ex-Cardinals head coach Atoy Co put it then, "Wala nang Oraeme. Nagpaalam siya at ang katwiran ay hindi na raw siya masaya sa Mapua kaya uuwi na lang daw siya sa Nigeria." Whispers were heard that some schools, including ones from the UAAP, were wooing him over to their side. Ultimately, though, the back-to-back MVP was never seen in action and never heard from again. In the years since, Coach Atoy could only lament what could have been for the Intramuros-based squad. Indeed, what could have been if, and only if, Oraeme decided to build on back-to-back MVP campaigns still in Mapua? If that would have been true, he would have seen action in a tournament that, pretty much, had a new look. Gone were Akhuetie, Dela Cruz, Jalalon, and Thompson and taking their places were Robert Bolick and Javee Mocon from San Beda, Prince Eze from Perpetual, and CJ Perez from Lyceum of the Philippines University. In NCAA 93, LPU memorably swept the elimination round to not only punch its first-ever playoff ticket, but its breakthrough Finals appearance as well. As the Pirates had all the answers for Perpetual's Eze, EAC's Laminou, and San Beda's Tankoua, it would not be farfetched that they also would have been able to take care of business against the Nigerian and his Cardinals. The other three playoff berths that year went to San Beda, Jose Rizal University, and San Sebastian College-Recoletos. Safe to say, only San Beda was the sure thing and Mapua, on the back of Oraeme, would have been able to replace the Golden Stags. Come the stepladder, Oraeme would turn in his best postseason performance yet and carry his team over the Heavy Bombers and to the next step in the ladder. Opposite the Red Lions, however, Bolick and Mocon would be much too much and stamp their class on the upstarts en route to upsetting LPU in the Finals. And so, Mapua falls short of the championship round anew. Still, finally having tasted a playoff win, Oraeme comes back for his fourth season, hungrier than ever and reclaims the MVP that Perez won the year before. NCAA 94 featured, more or less, the same cast of characters and so we fast forward to the Final Four where the Cardinals would be the fourth-seed behind top-seed San Beda, second-seed LPU, and three-seed Letran. Unfortunately, their Final Four opponent are the Red Lions, only this time, with Bolick and Mocon determined to close their collegiate careers with a big bang. Oraeme and his three-point threats would still be no match for that and they bow out yet again. The three-time MVP would then think hard about staying, but eventually ends up forgoing his fifth and final season to take his talents overseas. He wouldn't have known that NCAA 95 was actually his best shot, and the other's best shot, at a title as San Beda was to be a very, very young team led into battle by James Canlas, Evan Nelle, and Calvin Oftana. Still, Oraema would be showcasing his skills in Korea and in Europre, ala two-time UAAP MVP Ben Mbala. And as for Mapua, they still switch to Randy Alcantara for Season 95 who wastes no time enforcing a modern game plan that would lead to continued contention. In the end, the Cardinals would still be unable to hoist their first championship since 1992. However, they would still have a four-year run of legitimate title chances - led by a three-time MVP who may very well go down as the NCAA's greatest of all time. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 20th, 2020

SUPER SHOWDOWN: CJ s 2017 LPU vs Calvin s 2019 San Beda

A perfect run in NCAA Men's Basketball, as it stands today, has not been done. Yes, San Beda University scored a season sweep in 2010, but that tournament totaled nine teams - meaning, the Red Lions won 16 elimination round games as well as two more in the best-of-three Finals for an overall record of 18-0. Even farther back, San Sebastian College-Recoletos didn't lose once in several seasons from the 1980s to the 1990s, but played, at maximum, 13 games. As it stands today, the Grand Old League has 10 squads - making for 18 elims matches and then a race-to-two championship round. As such, an eye-popping 20-0 perfect run has not been done. In the last three years, two teams have come close - CJ Perez's Lyceum of the Philippines University in 2017 and Calvin Oftana's San Beda in 2019. After winning each and every game in the elims, however, both squads went on to lose in the Finals - and so, not only did they miss out on a season sweep, but also got denied of a championship. Looking back, which almost-but-not-quite was more powerful - and therefore, more painful? That is what we hope to answer in this ABS-CBN Sports Super Showdown. In reviewing the elims masterpiece and Finals meltdown of the two teams, we will be judging them in five categories (elims dominance, expectations exceeded, inherent talent, competition, and Finals fight) with a boxing-style 10-point must system determining the decision. ELIMS DOMINANCE Simply put, San Beda just ran roughshod over the rest of the league in the NCAA 95 elims. Doubted after having lost Robert Bolick and Javee Mocon, the Red Lions sent a statement that the title still goes through them and beat up their opponents by an average of 18.9. In the end, their closest call was a four-point triumph over archrival Colegio de San Juan de Letran and the number of their single-digit wins were a staggering, well, three out of 18. For comparison, LPU normed a winning margin of 12.8 in the Season 93 elims - with more than a few close calls against also-rans in Arellano University, Emilio Aguinaldo College, and Mapua University. After ambushing the rest of the league with their run-and-gun game, the Pirates had to fight tooth and nail in the stretch run of the elims. In fact, in the last game before the playoffs, LPU needed two extra periods to put away San Beda. Yes, a win is a win, but it's clear as day that between the wo teams, it was the 2019 Red Lions who dominated the elims. Advantage San Beda, 10-8 EXPECTATIONS EXCEEDED As aforementioned, San Beda was expected to go through growing pains in 2019 as they had lost Bolick and Mocon and would have to rely on a talented yet young core of James Canlas, Evan Nelle, and Calvin Oftana. Still, the Red Lions were the Red Lions - and in recent history, a playoff fixture in the Grand Old League. And so, expectations were quite a bit lower - for the dynasty in Mendiola, that is - and the red and white did nothing but far exceed them with an unbeaten run in the elims. Still, back in 2017, LPU literally came out of nowhere to go undefeated in the elims. On a sunken ship in their first years in the NCAA, the Pirates finally got winds in their sails in the form of Perez and Marcelino twins Jaycee and Jayvee. Those three, alongside captain MJ Ayaay and Cameroonian powerhouse Mike Nzeusseu, led them to their first-ever playoff berth which they got with their 13th win in as many games in the season. And with an 18th consecutive victory, LPU then booked for itself an automatic advance into its first-ever Finals. Expectations were highest in school history for the Pirates with Perez in tow, but nobody at all assumed they were sailing straight to the championship round. Advantage LPU, 10-9 INHERENT TALENT 2017 was the year that Perez became Perez. Putting up per game counts of 19.3 points in 45.1 percent shooting on top of 6.5 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 1.9 steals, the 6-foot-1 swingman was the undisputed MVP. At the same time, the Marcelino twins terrorized opposing backcourts by making an immediate impact as end-to-end menaces. Add to that Ayaay and Nzeusseu and LPU had a championship core - just about everybody else didn't know it just yet. On the other hand, 2019 was the first time that, arguably, San Beda wasn't the most talented team in the tournament. Make no mistake, the Red Lions remained loaded with the likes of "Bandana Bros." Canlas and Nelle, but it was actually former reserve forward Oftana who emerged as the league's top individual player with norms of 15.6 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.2 blocks. Still, in the end, San Beda went 18-0 in the elims by staying true to itself - utilizing an uncompromising total team effort. Advantage LPU, 10-9 COMPETITION LPU had to traverse rough seas in 2017 for its elims sweep. Back then, San Beda had Bolick and Mocon, Jose Rizal University had Teytey Teodoro and Jed Mendoza, San Sebastian had Michael Calisaan and Allyn Bulanadi, Letran had Rey Nambatac and Bong Quinto, and Arellano had Kent Salado and Lervin Flores. Even more, the Mythical Team had Perez, teammate Nzeusseu, Red Lion Mocon, Sidney Onwubere from non-Final Four team EAC, and University of Perpetual Help's Nigerian tower Prince Eze. Fast forward to 2019 and household names were hard to come by as the Mythical Team had San Beda's Oftana, a former reserve forward; Nelle, a former backup point guard; Canlas, a former secondary scorer; as well as San Sebastian late-bloomer Bulanadi and LPU playmaker Jaycee Marcelino. Of those five, Marcelino was the most recognizable name - and he was not necessarily known for putting a team on his back. Safe to say, Season 93 was much more competitive than Season 95. Even more, 2019 was the last year with foreign student-athletes and by then, only three remained. Tankoua is as solid as they come, Nzeusseu is spectacular at times, and College of St. Benilde's Clement Leutcheu is serviceable. The crop of reinforcements in 2017, though, had those three as well as MVP runner-up Eze of Perpetual, Hamadou Laminou of EAC, and JRU's Abdul Wahab Abdul Razak and Abdel Poutuouchi. Advantage LPU, 10-8 FINALS FIGHT Both LPU and San Beda woke up from dreaming of a perfect season in Game 1 of the Finals. The Pirates were sent crashing back to earth by the defending champion Red Lions and were ultimately swept in the championship round of Season 93. On the other hand, San Beda went the distance with archrival Letran in the Season 95 Finals, but was also at the losing end. Also, if not for Bonbon Batiller's botched reverse layup in the dying moments, Game 2 may have had a different ending, and the Red Lions may have been swept as well. Still, the fact that San Beda was able to take one from the eventual champions nudges it ahead of LPU which went winless in the championship round after a perfect elims. Advantage San Beda, 10-9 FINAL SCORE, 47-46, for LPU.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 7th, 2020

3 exciting matches to watch at ONE: KING OF THE JUNGLE

There will be no shortage of action this Friday, 28 February, when ONE Championship lights up “The Lion City” for ONE: KING OF THE JUNGLE at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.  In the main event, Stamp Fairtex defends her ONE Women’s Atomweight Kickboxing World Title against Janet “JT” Todd in the main event, while Sam-A Gaiyanghadao takes on Rocky Ogden for the inaugural ONE Strawweight Muay Thai World Title in the co-main event.  Three Filipinos will also enter the Circle that night when Honorio “The Rock” Banario tangles with Shannon “OneShin” Wiratchai, Denice “The Menace Fairtex” Zamboanga battles Mei “V.V” Yamaguchi, and Mark “Tyson” Fairtex Abelardo clashes with “Pretty Boy” Troy Worthen.  But the action does not end there. Here are three more must-see match-ups on the card.    Yoshihiro Akiyama vs Sherif Mohamed When Yoshihiro “Sexy Yama” Akiyama competes, everybody watches. That has been the case for pretty much his whole martial arts career, which spans nearly two decades. And not much will change when he battles Sherif “The Shark” Mohamed on the main card.  It will be a battle between two top-notch grapplers – Akiyama bringing in his judo background and Mohamed showcasing his wrestling. They are also two athletes who are more than willing to exchange on the feet, setting up what could be an exciting tactical battle.  And with both men coming off losses, it would not be surprising to see either athlete go for broke in this match.    Amir Khan vs Kimihiro Eto The lightweight division has always been loaded with talent, and the clash between Amir Khan and Kimihiro Eto will highlight that.  With both men looking to solidify their spot in the division, expect non-stop action the moment the opening bell rings.  Coming off a loss against "Crazy Dog" Dae Song Park, Eto would want nothing more than to pick up an impressive win against the hometown favorite to get himself back in contention for the World Title.  Despite coming off a win against Ev “ET” Ting, Khan also has something to prove as he was criticized for playing it safe in the win.    Ritu Phogat vs Wu Chiao Chen 2016 Commonwealth Wrestling World Champion Ritu "The Indian Tigress" Phogat made a successful debut when she stopped Nam "Captain Marvel" Hee Kim in just one round at ONE: AGE OF DRAGONS. Now training at Evolve MMA, the expectations for Phogat are through the roof, and those expectations will only intensify if she defeats “Miss Red” Wu Chiao Chen.  A win for Phogat would add another player to the already loaded ONE women’s atomweight strawweight division. But that will be easier said than done against Chen, who hopes to have a debut to remember by pulling the upset rug from underneath on the Indian wrestler.    ONE Championship returns to “The Lion City” for ONE: KING OF THE JUNGLE this Friday, 28 February, at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. Three Filipinos in Honorio “The Rock” Banario, Denice “The Menace Fairtex” Zamboanga, and Mark “Tyson” Fairtex Abelardo will also enter the Circle that night.   Catch ONE: KING OF THE JUNGLE on Friday, January 28th, LIVE at 8:30 PM on ABS-CBN S+A channel 23! .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 27th, 2020

With Guadana and Barba, Pirates ship still headed for treasure island

This year's NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament will be the true test for Lyceum of the Philippines University as legitimate contenders. Now without all of CJ Perez, MJ Ayaay, Mike Nzeusseu, and Marcelino twins Jaycee and Jayvee, the Pirates will have to prove they have both the capability and the confidence to build on their breakthrough from also-ran to title hopeful. The good news for Intramuros is that it has already secured the services of its first homegrown stars - Mac Guadana and John Barba. Those two connived a season ago to carry the Jr. Pirates to their first-ever Final Four and Finals. Now, those two are nothing but hopeful to keep doing the same for what would be a new-look LPU Srs. squad. "Sobrang sarap po nung last season namin sa Jrs. Ako, anim na taon ko yung pinangarap kasi first five years ko, 'di kami naka-Final Four," Guadana recalled. He then continued, "Nung last year namin, binuhos na namin lahat kaya naging ganun. Sana, tuloy-tuloy hanggang sa LPU (Srs.)" Those two also made up two-fifths of the Mythical Team in the NCAA Jrs. "Sobrang blessed lang po namin. Ako po, team player naman talaga ako so yung mga ganun, extra na lang din yun," Guadana said after averaging 17.7 points, 6.9 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 2.0 steals. And the even better news for the Pirates? Their young cornerstones have got each other's backs no matter what. In fact, after the first round of eliminations last year, Guadana was the frontrunner for MVP. Ultimately, however, Barba managed to overtake him and eventually ended as the top individual player. Still, Guadana was only proud of his partner-in-crime. "Deserve niya po yun. Kitang-kita natin kung paano siya naglaro," he said. He then continued, "Talagang binigay niya best niya. Deserve ng kapatid ko po yun." With that, LPU looks like it remains in good hands for now until the foreseeable future. And Guadana and Barba vow to make sure the maroon and grey ship is still headed for treasure island. "Ibibigay po namin ang best namin. Walang magbabago," the former said. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 30th, 2020

20 for 20: Pinoy Sports Personalities to Watch in 2020

As we enter a new decade, ABS-CBN Sports takes a look at 20 Pinoy sports personalities destined to shine in 2020.    Kiefer Ravena After an 18-month wait, Kiefer Ravena is finally back in basketball. Despite only playing in the PBA’s third conference, his impact was immediate, leading NLEX to the number 1 seed in the Governors’ Cup. The Road Warriors didn’t advance sure, but if Kiefer can impact a team that way in limited time, wait until you see what he can do with a full offseason.   Alex Eala At just 14 years old, Filipina tennister Alex Eala is already turning heads, and she’s yet to turn pro. With a runner-up finish at the ITF Mayor’s Cup in Osaka, Japan and her first ITF Juniors title in Cape Town, South Africa, Alex has had quite the fruitful year, leading to a career-best 11th-place ranking in the ITF Juniors table to finish the year.  Heading into 2020, Eala now has her sights set on turning pro as she plans to join more professional tournaments to raise her ranking even more. Expect the young tennis star to make even more headlines in the coming year.     Bryan Bagunas A vital cog in the national team’s silver medal finish in the 30th Southeast Asian Games, Bagunas is considered as one of the best Filipino volleyball players in this generation. Eyes will be on his blossoming international career playing as an import in the Japan V. Premier League.         Margielyn Didal While already a household name in Philippine skateboarding due to her success in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Margielyn Didal made even more waves in 2019. The 20-year old Cebuana reached the semifinals of the 2019 SLS World Championships in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and captured gold in the 2019 National Championships and the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.  Didal is currently looking to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, and if she can do so, it’s highly likely that the Pinay skater can become an even bigger star in the industry.    Marck Espejo After his spectacular collegiate career with the Ateneo Blue Eagles, Marck Espejo's colorful career as part of the men's national volleyball team and in the club league continues to blossom. Just like Bryan Bagunas, Espejo will be showing his skills internationally with a stint in Thailand following a historic silver medal finish at the 30th SEA Games.   Yuka Saso After a decorated amateur career that saw her  participate in major tournaments such as the Ladies’ European Tour, the Summer Youth Olympics and claim top honors in the 2018 Asian Games, 2018 and 2019 Philippine Ladies Open, and the 2019 Girls’ Junior PGA Championship, 18-year old Pinay golfer Yuka Saso finally made the jump to pro in November of 2019.  With even more competitions in store plus a 2020 Tokyo Olympics berth in her crosshairs, it’s quite likely that we hear more about Saso in the coming months.  Carlos Yulo Perhaps no other young athlete in the Philippines shot to stardom faster than gymnastics phenomenon Carlos Edriel Yulo. After a gold medal finish in the floor exercise at the 2019 World Championships in Stuttgart, Yulo hauled in even more hardware in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, taking home two more gold medals and five silvers.  Yulo’s spectacular 2019 earned him a spot in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, and if his SEA Games and World Championships performances are any indication, Caloy is bound for another podium finish on the biggest stage there is.   Eya Laure Last UAAP season’s rookie of the year will return as the heir apparent of Season 81 MVP Sisi Rondina. With her national team stint, all eyes will be on the younger Laure as she reunites with older sister EJ as they try to bring University of Sto. Tomas back in the Finals after falling short last year. Hidilyn Diaz 2019 was another big year for Olympic silver medalist weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, highlighted by her first ever gold medal in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games. Diaz also finished with silver medals in the 2019 Asian Championships and a bronze in the 2019 World Championships.  All those podium finishes are crucial in Diaz’s quest for another Olympics berth in 2020. Should the 28-year lock up another spot in the Summer Games in Tokyo, we could see another Olympic medal coming home.    Kat Tolentino  After initially announcing that she would not come back for her final season in the UAAP, Kat Tolentino changed her decision and will suit up for the Ateneo Lady Eagles once last time, providing a great morale-booster in their bid for back-to-back titles. Tolentino’s leadership will be tested as she will be leading a young team.      Joshua Pacio 23-year old Joshua “The Passion” Pacio proved to be the brightest spot for Philippine MMA stable Team Lakay in 2019. After opening the year with a questionnable decision loss to Yosuke Saruta, Pacio silenced any doubts in the rematch and regained the ONE Strawweight World Championship with a highlight-reel headkick knockout. Pacio would follow that up with another masterful performance, this time with a second-round submission win over top contender Rene Catalan before the end of the year.  2020 is shaping up to become another banner year for the rising Pinoy star, as he’s scheduled for another title defense on January 31st in Manila, this time against former champ Alex Silva of Brazil. A win for Pacio will solidify his claim of being the best strawweight ever in ONE Championship history.     Louie Romero The Adamson University freshman displayed great potential during the pre-season when she piloted the Lady Falcons to title win in the PVL Season 3 Collegiate Conference. Romero is expected to be a gem of a setter for the young Adamson squad hoping make a return in the UAAP Final Four. Manny Pacquiao While eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao is certainly in the twilight of his professional boxing career, 2019 showed that he is still one of the best around. A successful title defense over Adrien Broner followed by an impressive dismantling of the previously-undefeated Keith Thurman to capture the WBA’s primary world title proved that even at 40, Manny Pacquiao is still a big name in the sport.  With Pacquiao targeting an early return in 2020, more big names are lined up to fight “the People’s Champ”, including names like Danny Garcia, Shawn Porter, and even a title-unification bout against Errol Spence. Still, the biggest fight that is out there proves to be a rematch against Floyd Mayweather Jr, granted that “Money” finally bites.    Faith Nisperos A key addition for the repeat-seeking Ateneo de Manila University. The highly-touted rookie hitter will add height and firepower for the Lady Eagles in UAAP Season 82 women’s volleyball. In the previous PVL Collegiate Conference, Nisperos flashed her scoring prowess, exploding for 35 points in one outing.   Robert Bolick The two best rookies of 2019 were CJ Perez and Robert Bolick. We know what we can expect from CJ, but Bolick is an interesting case as 2020 will be his return from knee injury. Bolick could still win Rookie of the Year, but even if he doesn’t, his return to Northport could push the reloaded Batang Pier from a Cinderella team to full-on PBA title contender.   Joshua Retamar His playmaking skills as well as his efficiency on net defense during the national team’s silver medal finish in the 30th Southeast Asian Games makes him a setter to watch out for come UAAP. Retamar is an asset for National University’s three-peat bid.       Kai Sotto The Philippines' 7-foot-2, 17-year-old is opening eyes as he suits up for Atlanta-based The Skills Factory - so much so that he has already gotten interest from quite a few US NCAA schools. Before Sotto continues breaking the glass ceiling for Filipinos, though, he will go home for a while to wear the flag with Mighty Sports-Pilipinas in the 2020 Dubai International Basketball Tournament.   Jema Galanza Coming off a great outing to close the PVL Season 3 highlighted by copping the Open Conference MVP award, expectations are high for Jema Galanza as Creamline aims to reclaim the PVL Reinforced Conference crown and complete an Open Conference three-peat.      Kobe Paras Many questioned just what the 6-foot-6 tantalizing talent would bring to the table for UP - but more often than not, he had all the answers as he led the Fighting Maroons to their second straight Final Four. In the end, Paras was actually the steadying force State U needed in what was a hyped up season. They may not have made it back to the Finals, but they still got much more motivation as they run it back for next year.   Pat Aquino What's next for the most decorated mentor in women's basketball? Pat Aquino followed up a six-peat for National U with the Philippines' first-ever gold medal in women's basketball in the SEA Games. Without a doubt, he will only continue steering the sport forward especially as the likes of UST and FEU are already gearing up to put up greater challenges in the new year.   Isaac Go Isaac Go is technically not the no. 1 pick of the 2019 PBA Draft but he is without a doubt, the no. 1 prospect of the year. His top selection from the special Gilas Pilipinas Draft is proof of that. Gilas Pilipinas has the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers on deck in 2020 and as a new era dawns on the national team, all eyes will be on the biggest piece for the future that’s already drafted into the new Philippine squad......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 1st, 2020

ONE Championship: Joshua Pacio breaks down masterful performance against Rene Catalan at ONE: Masters of Fate

ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua “The Passion” Pacio cemented his status as ONE Championship’s top strawweight after successfully defending his title against compatriot Rene “D’ Challenger” Catalan in the main event of ONE: Masters of Fate in Manila last November 8th.  In Catalan, Pacio was facing a challenger that was riding a six-fight winning streak that included an impressive demolition of former two-time titleholder Yoshitaka Naito.  Still, the 23-year old Team Lakay star imposed his will against Catalan, dominating the striking aspect before getting the Arm-Triangle submission in the second round. It was a performance that further solidified Pacio’s status as the division’s top dog.  While Pacio was nothing short of dominant against Catalan, he believed that the Pinoy veteran was indeed deserving of a title shot, especially after coming in with an impressive winning streak.  “Para sa akin, oo naman. Siyempre, nakita ko yung improvements niya. Six-fight winning streak, lalo na nung tinalo niya si Naito, dun talaga ako na-impress,” Pacio stated after the fight. “Naimpress ako dun sa pagka-panalo niya kay Naito, masasabi ko worthy talaga siya na challenger.” To his credit, Catalan came prepared to test Pacio - arguably one of Team Lakay’s most talented grapplers - on the mats, as he threatened the defending champion with a couple of submission attempts.  “Nasurprise ako nung nag-heel hook siya,” Pacio admitted. “Sabi niya lumagatok yung paa ko, oo pero baka dahil lang kulang sa stretching, pero hindi talaga ako nakuha doon. Medyo tight yung kneebar, pero sa training, nirereview na namin yun eh. Kunyari nakuha ka sa ganitong posisyon, anong gagawin mo? Wag kang mag-papanic, maghanap ka kung paano ka aalis, so ganun yung ginawa ko, hindi ako nag-panic.” Pacio tried to counter with a submission of his own, but decided to abandon the attempt after deciding that he would not be able to execute it completely. “Mali kasi yung posisyon ko eh. Hindi ko din yun makukuha, kaya ako yung unang bumitaw, tapos roll, roll, roll hanggang matanggal,” Pacio explained. “The Passion” did end up getting the submission later on, which he says was the game plan all along. It was Pacio’s striking however, that got everything going.  “Submission talaga, pero hindi ko ine-expect na siya yung mag-aattempt ng takedown, kasi nung nag-back kick ako nung round one, nginitian ako, tapos biglang nag-takedown,” Pacio detailed.  “Ay, alam ko na 'to. Wrestler ka na ngayon. Na-feel ko eh. 'Yes, dito na.' sabi ko, siya yung nag-takedown, nag-initiate, mas gusto ko yun, kasi dun pupunta yung gameplan ko.” It was indeed a masterful performance on the young Lakay’s part, as he successfully defends his title for the first time, something that he wasn’t able to do during his first run as champion.  “Siyempre, napaka-saya kasi gaya nga nung sabi ko nung sa unang interview, you're not a champion until you defend your belt, so napaka-saya ko kasi na-defend ko successfully.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 22nd, 2019

ONE Championship: Joshua Pacio submits Rene Catalan to retain ONE Straweight World Championship at ONE: Masters of Fate

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - Team Lakay's Joshua "The Passion" Pacio survived an early submission scare to rally back and score a submission of his own, forcing challenger Rene 'D' Challenger' Catalan to tap out to an arm-triangle choke in the second round and retain his ONE Strawweight World Championship in the main event of ONE: Masters of Fate, Friday evening at the Mall of Asia Arena, here.  An early scramble on the ground saw Pacio and Catalan both going for heel-hook submissions, with Catalan holding on longer. Pacio eventually escaped and managed to control the veteran on the ground for the rest of the opening round.  In the second frame, Catalan shot in for a takedown, only to be stuffed and reversed by Pacio, who was abel to transition into mount.  Once in mount, Pacio then locked Catalan in an arm-triangle choke, ultimately forcing the tap.  The official stoppage came at the 2:29 mark of the second round.  Pacio successfully defends his ONE Strawweight World Championship for the first time, and improves to 15-3 in his MMA career.  Catalan sees his six-fight winning streak come to an end, and drops to 6-3 in his MMA career. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 8th, 2019

US Open 19: No. 1 Osaka defends; Serena Williams eyes 24th

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press Women to watch at the U.S. Open, where play begins Monday: ___ NAOMI OSAKA Seeded: 1 Country: Japan Age: 21 2019 Match Record: 26-10 2019 Singles Titles: 1 Career Singles Titles: 3 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 2 — U.S. Open (2018), Australian Open (2019) Last 5 U.S. Opens: 2018-Won Championship, 2017-3rd, 2016-3rd, 2015-Did Not Play, 2014-DNP Aces: Defends Slam title for first time. ... 2 of 3 tour-level titles came at hard-court majors. ... 4th this season in total aces; averages 7.2 per match. Topspin: After winning two major titles in a row, has lost two Grand Slam matches in a row. If her head is in the right place, certainly capable of a deep run, given how good her serve, strokes and movement are. Matchup to Watch For: Could play 15-year-old Coco Gauff in 3rd round. ___ ASH BARTY Seeded: 2 Country: Australia Age: 23 2019 Match Record: 42-8 2019 Singles Titles: 3 Career Singles Titles: 6 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 1 — French Open (2019) Last 5 U.S. Opens: 2018-Lost in 4th Rd, 2017-3rd, 2016-Did Not Play, 2015-DNP, 2014-1st Aces: Made second week of last 4 majors, including first Slam title in Paris. ... 27-5 on hard courts in 2019. ... Played professional cricket while away from the tennis tour for about 1½ years after 1st-round exit at 2014 U.S. Open. Topspin: Really came into her own this season, but renaissance started with fourth-round showing at Flushing Meadows last year. A title threat on all surfaces. Matchup to Watch For: Could play two-time major champ Angelique Kerber in 4th round. ___ KAROLINA PLISKOVA Seeded: 3 Country: Czech Republic Age: 27 2019 Match Record: 42-12 2019 Singles Titles: 3 Career Singles Titles: 14 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 0 — Best: Runner-Up, U.S. Open (2016) Last 5 U.S. Opens: 2018-QF, 2017-QF, 2016-Runner-Up, 2015-1st, 2014-3rd Aces: Might be best server not named Williams — leads tour in total aces (averages 7.4), service games won (80.6. ... Tied with Ash Barty for most match wins this year. Topspin: 14-3 U.S. Open record over past three years shows what she's capable of when her serve is clicking and the rest of her game helps support that skill. Matchup to Watch For: Could play Johanna Konta, Marketa Vondrousova, Daria Kasatkina or 2011 U.S. Open champ Sam Stosur in 4th round. ___ SIMONA HALEP Seeded: 4 Country: Romania Age: 27 2019 Match Record: 39-12 2019 Singles Titles: 1 Career Singles Titles: 19 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 2 — French Open (2018), Wimbledon (2019) Last 5 U.S. Opens: 2018-1st, 2017-1st, 2016-QF, 2015-SF, 2014-3rd Aces: Winning 44.4% of return games, second on tour in 2019. ... Hasn't won a match in New York since 2016. Topspin: Tends to play better with less pressure and outside expectations — see results at French Open vs. Wimbledon this year — so maybe will show her best at Flushing Meadows. Matchup to Watch For: Could play Wimbledon semifinalist Barbora Strycova in 3rd round. ___ SERENA WILLIAMS Seeded: 8 Country: United States Age: 37 2019 Match Record: 19-5 2019 Singles Titles: 0 Career Singles Titles: 72 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 23 — U.S. Open (6: 1999, 2002, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2014), Australian Open (7: 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2015, 2017), French Open (3: 2002, 2013, 2015), Wimbledon (7: 2002, 2003, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2015, 2016) Last 5 U.S. Opens: 2018-RU, 2017-DNP, 2016-SF, 2015-SF, 2014-W Aces: Winning 74.3% of first-serve points this season, No. 1 on tour. ... Runner-up at 3 of past 5 Slams, including last year in New York. ... Trying for 24th major singles trophy to equal Margaret Court for most in history. Topspin: Ankle, knee, back issues in 2019. Health could be key for her at U.S. Open, where she has been to the final in 7 of last 9 appearances. Matchup to Watch For: Plays five-time major champ Maria Sharapova in 1st round. ___ SLOANE STEPHENS Seeded: 11 Country: United States Age: 26 2019 Match Record: 21-15 2019 Singles Titles: 0 Career Singles Titles: 6 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 1 — U.S. Open (1: 2017) Last 5 U.S. Opens: 2018-QF, 2017-W, 2016-DNP, 2015-1st, 2014-2nd Aces: 11-2 in tiebreakers this season. ... Reunited with coach Kamau Murray after splitting with Sven Groeneveld. Topspin: Will be interesting to see how returning to work with Murray, her coach when she won her title at Flushing Meadows two years ago, sparks Stephens. Matchup to Watch For: Could play two-time major champ Svetlana Kuznetsova in 2nd round. ___ BIANCA ANDREESCU Seeded: 15 Country: Canada Age: 19 2019 Match Record: 38-4 2019 Singles Titles: 2 Career Singles Titles: 2 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 0 — Best: 2nd Round, Australian Open and French Open (2019) Last 5 U.S. Opens: 2018-DNP, 2017-DNP, 2016-DNP, 2015-DNP, 2014-DNP Aces: 7-0 against top-10 opponents, including 4-0 against top 5, during breakout season. Topspin: Biggest impediment is injuries, including to her right shoulder, but if she feels well, should be able to make a run in her U.S. Open debut. Matchup to Watch For: Could play 2018 Australian Open champ Caroline Wozniacki in 3rd round......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 23rd, 2019

10 NCAA players to watch in Season 95

It’s important to note that half of the players who were picked in the first round of the 2018 PBA Draft were products of the country’s first collegiate sports league. CJay Perez and Robert Bolick have immediately become the cornerstones of Columbian Dyip and NorthPort Batang Pier, respectively. Javee Mocon, Jesper Ayaay, Michael Calisaan and JP Calvo have all received high praise from the coaches of their new teams. While last season’s heroes are now living their lifelong dreams in the PBA, new stars are looking to shine as NCAA Season 95 opens on July 7 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. James Kwekuteye (SBU)   If there is one player worthy enough to succeed Bolick as the King Lion of Mendiola, it’s the 6’3” Fil-Canadian shooting guard, James Kwekuteye. As a rookie, Kwekuteye came off the bench for majority of the season and had limited time to really put his talent on display. But, when he did start, particularly in San Beda’s second round game against LPU, Kwekuteye proved that he could be a major threat as he scored a career-high 18 points for the Red Lions, matching the scoring output of Bolick. In that game, Bolick motivated Kwekuteye by saying, “they can’t stop you.” James Kwekuteye introduces himself to Lyceum with 18 big points! #NCAASeason94 #GalingNCAA pic.twitter.com/OQS5eZBTJL — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) October 18, 2018 As the new starting shooting guard of Coach Boyet Fernandez, Kwekuteye led San Beda in scoring in the 2019 Fil-Oil Flying V Pre-season Cup averaging 14.1 points per game.    Evan Nelle (SBU)   Another talented player who didn’t see the floor much last year due to the loaded roster of guards on the San Beda lineup was former NCAA Jrs. Finals MVP Evan Nelle. Evan Nelle repays coach Boyet Fernandez' trust by drilling the early three! #NCAASeason94 #GalingNCAA pic.twitter.com/kpfdsnro2i — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) September 11, 2018 Nelle was the fourth string point guard behind Bolick, Jo Presbitero and Radge Tongco in Season 94. But, with the graduation of all three aforementioned players, the keys to the Red Lions’ offense has fallen straight into Nelle’s hands. While sharing the backcourt with Kwekuteye, Nelle led San Beda to the 2019 FilOil Championship and averaged a league-best 4.7 assists per contest.    Donald Tankoua (SBU)   Aside from capturing the title in the country’s most prestigious pre-season tournament, Kwekuteye and Nelle were also named to the Mythical Five along with their starting center, Donald Tankoua.  Donald Tankoua drops 23 points to help San Beda end the eliminations on a high note. #NCAASeason94 #GalingNCAA pic.twitter.com/EUFpXnAt8T — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) October 23, 2018 The 6’6” Cameroonian big man has always been one of the most consistent players, year in and year out in the NCAA and will continue to be as he plays out his final year of eligibility in Season 95. Because he’s a walking double-double, expect Tankoua to be the early favorite to win MVP.   Mike Harry Nzeusseu (LPU)   Now, if there is anybody who possesses the physical attributes and the numbers to challenge Tankoua’s MVP campaign, it’s LPU’s Mike Harry Nzeusseu. Mike Harry Nzeusseu gets NASTY ???? #NCAASeason94 #NCAAFinals pic.twitter.com/yEAr0ywBPd — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) November 12, 2018 Nzeusseu ended last season without confirming that he would return to play one more year with the Pirates but his participation in the Fil-Oil tournament tells us that he will be back to anchor the defense of Coach Topex Robinson. And without Perez, the 6’6” center from the Republic of Cameroon will also have to do major damage on the offensive end as well.  Jayson David (LPU)   Jayson David picks Robert Bolick's pocket for the transition finish! #NCAASeason93 #NCAAStrong pic.twitter.com/Inl17UZbKq — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) November 7, 2017 Back in Season 91, the NCAA added a Most Improved Player trophy to their list of awardees for every basketball tournament. Based on the pre-season, former San Sebastian guard Jayson David has emerged as the frontrunner for that award as he has assumed the starting spot of Perez with LPU. David is no “Baby Beast”, but it seems that Robinson trusts him enough to be a critical piece in the Pirates’ quest to capture that elusive NCAA championship. He averaged 7.3 PPG, 6 RPG and 2.1 APG in the Fil-Oil tourney.   Jeo Ambohot (CSJL)   Another player who seems to have earned the trust of his coach is Jeo Ambohot. Under Coach Jeff Napa, the ‘23 for 23’ Gilas World Cup pool member came off the bench and underachieved, only averaging 7.2 PPG and 7.2 RPG for the Knights in Season 94. Jeo Ambohot can hit this all game long! ???? #NCAASeason94 #GalingNCAA pic.twitter.com/5NCj7tV7Gt — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) October 9, 2018 However, under new Letran Head Coach Bonnie Tan, Ambohot was being utilized as the starting center with last year’s Rookie of the Year, Larry Muyang coming off the bench in their pre-season games. Nevertheless, a player like Ambohot should not be happy with his dismal outing last year and should come out stronger in Season 95.    Renato Ular (CSJL)   Here’s a guy you probably haven’t heard about before. His name is Renato Ular. Ring a bell? Probably not. The last time he saw action was during his rookie year in Season 92. Actually, he didn’t even do much back then. He only played in four games in did not score a single point in any of those games. After two years as a spectator, Ular has finally rejoined the Letran lineup and was their best player in the Fil-Oil tournament averaging 9.8 PPG and 8.1 RPG. The last left-handed legend from Letran was Rey Nambatac. This lefty’s got a long way to go to get on the Sting Rey’s level, but expect him to be one of the Knights' primary attackers this year.   RK Ilagan (SSC-R)   RK Ilagan was FEELING IT from downtown, dropping a new career-high 2??6?? PTS vs Mapua! #NCAASeason94 #GalingNCAA pic.twitter.com/SDIaVmtzCF — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) October 12, 2018 Speaking of attacking, one player who will be more relentless than he’s ever been this Season 95 is RK Ilagan. The pride of Barrio Fugoso, Tondo, Manila ranked seventh in scoring last year, averaging 15.2 PPG and was the Golden Stags’ leading scorer despite the presence of Calisaan. Coach Egay Macaraya loves a shooter and will continue to give the green light to Ilagan who made more triples (40) than any player in the NCAA in Season 94.    Kent Salado (AU)   Prior to injuring his right knee on October 10, 2017 in an 85-79 Arellano win over SSC-R in Season 93, Kent Salado was one of the most exciting players in the NCAA. The spitfire point guard from Cagayan de Oro was averaging 19.1 PPG (2nd behind Perez) and 5.0 APG (2nd behind Bolick) for the Chiefs, taking over the driver’s seat that Jiovani Jalalon occupied during their run to the Finals in Season 92. Lervin Flores with a nice block, Kent Salado with an even better finish! #NCAASeason93 #NCAAStrong pic.twitter.com/ohK28fFFhS — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) September 15, 2017 Now that he’s finally had surgery to repair what was eventually revealed to be a torn ACL, Salado is looking to excite fans anew especially since Arellano University will serve as the host of the NCAA for the first time in league history. Justin Gutang (CSB)   Recently, I asked former Arellano Head Coach Jerry Codi?era who he thought had the makings of a star in the NCAA now that the likes of Perez and Bolick are in the pros. The “Defense Minister” immediately mentioned one name: Justin Gutang. The 6’3” Fil-American forward from San Francisco, California had an impressive rookie season, averaging 13.4 PPG, 6.2 RPG and 4.3 APG for the Blazers and winning the Slam Dunk contest along the way. Although we haven’t heard much from Gutang in the off-season, the fact that a PBA Legend still has him on his radar means that the kid’s potential cannot be ignored. ?Editor's Note: The list is based on pre-season performances of teams. There are some NCAA teams who have not partcipated in pre-season tournaments nor released line-ups.  ?Catch NCAA Season 95 starting July 7, Sunday, 11:30 am LIVE on S+A, S+A HD, Liga, Liga HD, iWant and via livestream.    .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 27th, 2019

Koepka survives Bethpage Black to win PGA Championship

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press FARMINGDALE, N.Y. (AP) — Brooks Koepka took his place in PGA Championship history with a wire-to-wire victory, minus the style points. In a raging wind that turned Bethpage Black into a beast, Koepka lost all but one shot of his record seven-shot lead Sunday. He lost the brutal Long Island crowd, which began chanting "DJ!" for Dustin Johnson as Koepka was on his way to a fourth straight bogey. But he delivered the key shots over the closing stretch as Johnson faded with two straight bogeys, and Koepka closed with a 4-over 74 for a two-shot victory and joined Tiger Woods as the only back-to-back winners of the PGA Championship since it went to stroke play in 1958. Koepka said at the start of the week that majors are sometimes the easiest to win. This one should have been. It wasn't. His 74 was the highest final round by a PGA champion since Vijay Singh won in a playoff in 2004 at Whistling Straits. "I'm just glad I don't have to play any more holes," Koepka said. "That was a stressful round of golf. I'm glad to have this thing back in my hands." Koepka appeared to wrap it up with a gap wedge from 156 yards to 2 feet on the 10th hole for a birdie, as Johnson made his first bogey of the round up ahead on the 11th. That restored the lead to six shots, and the coronation was on. And then it all changed in a New York minute. Koepka missed three straight fairways and made three straight bogeys, having to make a 6-foot putt on No. 11 to keep it from being worse. The wind was so fickle that it died as he hit 7-iron to the par-3 14th that sailed over the green, leading to a fourth straight bogey. The crowd sensed a collapse, and began chanting, "DJ! DJ! DJ!" as Koepka was playing the hole. Ahead of him, Johnson made birdie on the 15th — the toughest hole at Bethpage Black all week — and the lead was down to one. That was as close as Johnson got. His 5-iron pierced through a wind that gusted close to 25 mph, over the green and into a buried lie. He missed the 7-foot par putt, went long of the green on the par-3 17th for another bogey and had to settle for 69. "Hit the shot I wanted to right at the flag," Johnson said of his 5-iron from 194 yards on the 16th. "I don't know how it flew 200 yards into the wind like that. Johnson now has runner-up finishes in all four of the majors, the wrong kind of career Grand Slam. "I gave it a run," he said. "That's all you can ask for." Koepka returned to No. 1 in the world with a performance that defines his dominance in golf's biggest events. He becomes the first player to hold back-to-back titles in two majors at the same time, having won a second straight U.S. Open last summer 60 miles down the road at Shinnecock Hills. He was the first wire-to-wire winner in the PGA Championship since Hal Sutton at Riviera in 1983. And what stakes his claim as one of the best in his generation was a third straight year winning a major. He joins a most elite group — only Woods, Phil Mickelson, Tom Watson, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer have done that since the Masters began in 1934. He now has four majors in his last eight, a streak not seen since Woods won seven out of 11 when he captured the 2002 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black. Next up is the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, where Koepka defends his title for the third time. No one has won the U.S. Open three straight years since Willie Anderson in 1905. No one will doubt whether Koepka is capable the way he is playing. The 29-year-old Floridian is an imposing figure, a power off the tee and out of the rough with no obvious weakness in his game and the kind of mental fortitude that majors require. He needed all of it over the final hour of this one. Koepka doesn't know his resting heart rate, and he said on the eve of the final round that it probably was not much different on the first tee of a major than when he was chilling on his couch. But he could feel this one getting away from him. He could sense Johnson making a charge. He could hear it. "How could you not with the 'DJ' chants," Koepka said. "I heard everything." Bethpage has a reputation for being over the top, and it irritated Harold Varner III, who shot 81 playing in the final group. "I thought it was pretty weird how they were telling Brooks to choke," Varner said about the 14th hole. "That's not my cup of tea. I was pulling for him after that." Koepka held it together at the most crucial moment. He piped his driver down the 15th fairway and two-putted for par. And he drilled another one into the 16th, which played the most difficult in the final round because it was into the wind. Johnson hit 5-iron just over the green. The wind died enough 20 minutes later that Koepka hit 7-iron only to 50 feet and had another good lag putt to get par. He kept it interesting to the end, three-putting the 17th as the lead went back to two shots, and pulling his driver on the 18th into fescue so thick it left him little choice but to lay up and scramble for par. Once his medium lob wedge settled 6 feet away, he could relax. Finally. Woods won the Wanamaker Trophy in consecutive years twice, in 1999 and 2000, and again in 2006 and 2007. Koepka was starting to draw comparisons with Woods for the way he obliterated the competition, much like Woods in his 12-shot victory in the 1997 Masters and 15-shot victory in the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. Koepka tied the PGA Championship record by opening with a 63. He broke the major championship record for 36 holes at 128. He set another PGA Championship record with his seven-shot lead. In the end, just having his name on the heaviest championship trophy in golf was all that mattered. Jordan Spieth registered his first top 10 since the British Open last summer with a 71 to finish at 2-under 278, six shots behind. He tied for third with Patrick Cantlay (71) and Matt Wallace (72). This really was a two-man race over the back nine that not many would have seen coming at the start of the final round. Only the outcome was expected......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 20th, 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

Justin Thomas holds on to beat Hideki Matsuyama at Kapalua

br /> DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf Writer   KAPALUA, Hawaii (AP) — Justin Thomas kept reminding himself that a one-shot lead with two holes to play is never a bad place to be on the PGA Tour. Ignoring that his five-shot lead was nearly gone against Hideki Matsuyama, Thomas thought more about the great golf that had put him in this position Sunday at the SBS Tournament of Champions. He responded by hitting an 8-iron from 214 yards on a downhill lie that was so pure he stopped to admire it before it landed. It plopped down in front of the pin and settled 3 feet away for a birdie. Matsuyama three-putted for bogey, and Thomas was on his way to a comfortable victory at Kapalua that moved him into the conversation of golf's young stars. 'The best shot I hit this week,' Thomas said. 'There's a tree that's a little slanted, and it's a perfect aiming point. I just kind of aimed it there and made sure I held onto the club, if anything, to make sure my miss was right. ... And really, I just flushed it. As soon as it came off, I knew it was going to be perfect.' Matsuyama, going after his fourth straight victory worldwide, knew he needed to make his 30-foot birdie putt to stay in the game. He ran it 8 feet by, missed the par putt coming back and was out of chances when Thomas hammered another tee shot on the par-5 18th. Thomas closed with a two-putt birdie for a 4-under 69 and a three-shot victory, his second of the PGA Tour season that moved him to No. 12 in the world. His other two PGA Tour title were at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia. 'I think it's potentially floodgates opening,' said Jordan Spieth, his best friend in golf since they were teenagers. 'The guy hits it forever. He's got a really, really nifty short game. He manages the course well. He's playing the golf course the way it should be played, and honestly, he's taking advantage of the easier holes. 'It's awesome to see,' Spieth said. 'He's going to be tough to beat next week, too.' Spieth closed with a 65 and tied for third with Pat Perez (67) and Ryan Moore (71). Matsuyama, who made two soft bogeys on the front nine to fall five shots behind, made it more of a game than anyone expected. The 24-year-old from Japan holed a flop shot for eagle on the 14th hole, and then Thomas hooked a 4-iron into the hazard on the par-5 15th hole and made double bogey. Just like that, Thomas went from a five-shot lead to a one-shot lead, and Matsuyama had a 10-foot birdie putt on the 16th to tie for the lead. The putt narrowly missed, and Thomas answered with his 8-iron for birdie to end it. Matsuyama closed with a 70. 'My putter let me down there at 16, 17 and 18,' Matsuyama said. 'I tipped my hat to Justin. He played well all day long.' Thomas is the only player to beat Matsuyama over the last three months. In his last six tournaments worldwide, Matsuyama had four victories and a pair of runner-up finishes — both to Thomas, in Kuala Lumpur and Kapalua. Thomas, who finished at 22-under 270, said his immediate thoughts were booking a return trip to Kapalua next year for the winners-only event. 'It changes things going forward because I know I'm coming back here,' Thomas said. The scenery down the 18th toward the blue Pacific, where humpback whales spent the afternoon breeching and splashing their tails, was even better because his parents were watching him win for the first time. His father, Mike Thomas, is a longtime head pro in Harmony Landing in Kentucky who is still his coach. Spieth closed with a 65 to tie for third with Pat Perez (67) and Ryan Moore (71). Spieth and Jimmy Walker came down to the 18th to congratulate the winner. Thomas started the final round with a two-shot lead and no one got closer until his blunder on the 15th. One of the longest hitters in golf with his slight build, Thomas really did miss a shot until the ninth hole, and that's when he got a huge break. With the wind stiff and in his face, he got quick with his driver and hit a snap-hook into the knee-high weeds left of the fairway. He hit a provisional for a lost ball and was about ready to abandon the search when a TV spotter was summoned to give an indication where it went. They found the ball, and it was sitting up a few inches above the roots, allowing Thomas to at least hack out into the fairway. He followed with a 3-wood onto the green for a two-putt par after starting with a shot that made double bogey appear likely. Thomas wasn't so fortunate on the 15th. 'I stumbled more than I would have liked to do,' Thomas said. 'But it shows where my game is at right now. I had some woes there, but I stuck it out to still get it done.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 9th, 2017

Donaire won’t take Puerto Rican foe lightly

Nonito Donaire, Jr. isn’t taking Puerto Rico’s Emmanuel Rodriguez lightly as he steps up training for their scheduled 12-round fight for the vacant WBC bantamweight title at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, on Dec. 19......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsNov 19th, 2020

Crawford crushes Brook with fourth-round TKO

LOS ANGELES: Unbeaten Terence Crawford won his first fight of 2020 on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) by defending his World Boxing Organization welterweight title with a stunning fourth-round knockout of Kell Brook in Las Vegas. American Crawford shook off ring rust from a long layoff due to the coronavirus epidemic with a statement victory over […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilatimes_netRelated NewsNov 16th, 2020

Unbeaten Crawford TKOs Brook, eyes Pacquiao next

Los Angeles, United States—Unbeaten Terence Crawford won his first fight of 2020 on Saturday (Sunday Philippine time) by defending his World Boxing Organization welterweight title with a stunning fourth-round knockout of Kell Brook in Las Vegas......»»

Category: sportsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsNov 15th, 2020

Crawford wins over Brook, targets Pacquiao

  LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Unbeaten Terence Crawford won his first fight of 2020 on Saturday by defending his World Boxing Organization welterweight title with a stunning fourth-round knockout of Kell Brook in Las Vegas. American Crawford shook off ring rust from a long layoff due to the coronavirus epidemic with a statement victory over […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  tempoRelated NewsNov 15th, 2020

Tiger in hunt, but Casey leads Masters with best major start

Augusta---Paul Casey seized the clubhouse lead in the darkness-halted opening round of the Masters on Thursday at rain-softened Augusta National while defending champion Tiger Woods showed the form to threaten for a 16th major title......»»

Category: sportsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsNov 14th, 2020

Adiwang inching towards world title conversation

Adiwang will take on former Shooto Champion Hiroba Minowa of Japan in a three-round strawweight mixed martial arts contest at ONE: INSIDE THE MATRIX III, a previously-recorded event from the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore, scheduled for global air this Friday, November 13......»»

Category: sportsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsNov 10th, 2020

Not over for Magramo

Giemel Magramo is back home in Parañaque, none the worse for wear after losing to Junto Nakatani on an eighth round TKO for the vacant WBO flyweight crown in Tokyo last Friday but raring to prove himself all over again as deserving of another title crack......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsNov 10th, 2020