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Ratliffe has advice for Japan-bound Thirdy: 'Be super confident'

The Japan-bound Thirdy Ravena has a big believer in South Korea's Ricardo Ratliffe. Ratliffe, the former Star import and current naturalized player for the Korean national team, says that Thirdy is due for big things on the basketball court. The leading scorer and rebounder of the 2019 FIBA World Cup calls Ravena as the future of Philippine basketball. "I definitely think so," Ratliffe said on 2OT with PBA broadcasters Magoo Marjon and Carlo Pamintuan. Ratliffe got a close look at Thirdy when his South Korean national team took on Ravena's Ateneo Blue Eagles in the 2018 Jones Cup. [Related: JONES CUP: Blue Eagles get burned by red-hot Korea] Korea won the game, 90-73, but Thirdy earned a believer despite the loss. The Koreans finished that Jones Cup at third place while the Blue Eagles went fourth. "He's like a Filipino Russell Westbrook. I saw him in the Jones Cup and he killed us. We brought our real national team and he played well against us," Ratliffe recalled. "I'm like who is this dude? And he's in college? His athleticism is off the charts," Ratliffe added. As a veteran international player himself, Ratliffe likes Thirdy's move to Japan to play pro ball. Ravena is set to take flight in the B.League after signing with San-en NeoPhoenix. [Related: Thirdy, NeoPhoenix open home campaign against powerhouse Jets] "I know he's gonna go out there and represent for the Philippines. I think he has a bright future ahead of him," Ratliffe said of Thirdy. In NeoPhoenix, Thirdy joins a team that only won five games in the COVID-19 shortened 2019-2020 season. As a young player making the jump, Ratliffe believes it was the best move Ravena could make. "I think he made a right decision choosing a lesser team, especially at the start, just to test the waters and see how he likes it. It's a big culture difference out there. Japan is kinda similar to Korea where we're really strict on stuff," Ratliffe said of Thirdy. "So I think he just has to go out there with a free mind and be super confident, he gotta always know that he's still one of the best players in the country so just go out there with that mindset and play like it. At the end of the day, if it doesn't work out and he doesn't like it in Japan, he can always go home so there's no need to stress about it," Ratliffe added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 16th, 2020

PBA: Ginebra s solution to no Slaughter? More of Stanley Pringle

Without Greg Slaughter, Barangay Ginebra's campaign in the PBA was dealt with a huge blow. Slaughter's sudden sabbatical back in February came as a shock for the Gin Kings and it will surely be a different dynamic for Ginebra the next time the team takes the court in the PBA, whenever that is. Regardless, the Gin Kings will have to figure things out and part of the adjustment is to unleash Stanley Pringle and pair him with Japeth Aguilar. "We still have a lot of weapons," Ginebra coach Tim Cone said on Coaches Unfiltered. "We have Stanley. Stanley is somebody who is still very much exploring how to best use his talent and where he fits. There's a lot to still find out about him," coach Tim added. While Pringle ended up winning his first PBA title with Ginebra last season, he's only been with the Gin Kings for less than two full conferences. Stanley was acquired in a trade with Northport in the middle of last year's Commissioner's Cup where the team lost in the semifinals to TNT. By the Governors' Cup, Ginebra was back as champions after taking down Meralco in the Finals. [Related: PBA: Pringle relishes "special" PBA title with Ginebra] Aside from Pringle, Cone says Ginebra will cope up without Slaughter by giving larger roles for their crew of younger players. "We feel very good about our young guys, some of our younger veterans in Aljon Mariano, of course Art Dela Cruz," Cone said. "Then our young rookies, we have a lot of fate in Arvin Tolentino, I like Arvin's game. It's just a matter of whether we could get him to our culture and get him turned on playing how we want him to play," coach Tim added. [Related: Greg Slaughter signs with same agent as Nikola Jokic] Slaughter, who recently signed with the same agent as that of Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets, is a huge loss for the Barangay. But the Gin Kings will be alright. "We'll make up for Greg in other ways. It's gonna be tough because he can be a force at times and it's real tough having something ripped away from you like that without having being given anything in return," Cone said. "But we'll find ways to replace him, maybe a little more Japeth, a little bit more of Stanley," coach Tim added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 15th, 2020

PBA: Erram trade could be 'blessing in disguise' for NLEX

Things were set up quite nicely for NLEX in the 2019 PBA Governors's Cup. The Road Warriors finally had access to all of their weapons, and after playing with two quality imports through the course of the elimination round, they entered the playoffs as the no. 1 seed. Unfortunately, NLEX didn't even get out of the first round, becoming the fifth top-ranked team to lose to a no. 8 seed in the quarterfinals. For the next PBA conference, whenever that is, the Road Warriors won't even have a chance to run things back as the team traded away star center Poy Erram after just one full season. However, while that could lead to a struggle, NLEX is looking at that blockbuster trade with a different perspective. "Of course we were sad na na-trade si Poy, parang kapatid na rin namin siya, napa-lapit na siya samin," guard Kevin Alas said on 2OT with teammate Jericho Cruz and PBA broadcasters Magoo Marjon and Carlo Pamintuan. "But at the same time, naging blessing in disguise samin, iniisip namin kasi siguro the last time na nag-semifinals kami, wala pa si Poy noon. Right now nadagdagan pa kami. Iniisip na lang namin na dati kaya natin without Poy, so ibig sabihin kaya din natin now," he added. NLEX's breakthrough semifinals came during the 2018 Philippine Cup where the Road Warriors took on the Magnolia Hotshots for six games. That was Kiefer Ravena's very first conference with the team and Poy Erram was still with the Blackwater Elite. The Road Warriors were locked in a 2-2 series with the Hotshots before Alas tore his ACL for the first time very early in Game 5. NLEX just slowly fell apart after, getting eliminated by the next game. "Yung perspective na lang namin, parang blessing in disguise," Alas said of the Erram trade, which netted NLEX Anthony Semerad, Rabeh Al-Hussaini, as well as Blackwater's 2020 first-round pick and a 2021 second-round pick. "Baka mas paghihirapan natin pagpasok sa semis this time," Alas added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 12th, 2020

GREATEST PERFORMANCES: Angels’ miraculous comeback

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 9th, 2020

ONE Championship: Eduard Folayang wants Eddie Alvarez rematch

In August of 2019, Filipino mixed martial arts icon and two-time ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang came painfully close to recording what would have been the biggest win of his MMA career when he faced former UFC and Bellator Lightweight World Champion Eddie “The Underground King” Alvarez in a high-stakes lightweight matchup.  The winner would earn a spot in the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix Finals against Turkey’s Saygid Guseyn “Dagi” Arslanaliev at ONE: CENTURY in Tokyo, Japan, later that year.  Early in the first round, it looked like Folayang was on his way to Tokyo after chopping Alvarez down with a nasty leg kick that obviously hurt the American star.  What followed suit however, was a heartbreaking turn of events for Folayang, and an impeccable comeback from Alvarez.  Looking to finish Alvarez off, Folayang pounced and began raining down heavy shot after heavy shot. Alvarez meanwhile, covered up and then waited for his opportunity to reverse things. Alvarez flipped Folayang over, took his back, and locked in the rear naked choke for the first-round submission win.  Folayang admitted to rushing things as he was a tad bit too excited to get the finish.  (READ ALSO: WHAT IF: Eduard Folayang had stopped Eddie Alvarez back in 2019?) Now, looking to make his way back up to the top of the lightweight ladder, Folayang hopes to be able to draw another meeting with Alvarez.  “[If I could face anybody], it’s definitely Eddie Alvarez,” Folayang told ONE Championship’s Christian Jacinto. “I want to face him again.” As he had said before, Folayang acknowledges that he could have done a lot of things better in their first encounter.  “Back in our match, I had a lot of regrets, I made a lot of mistakes…If given the chance, I believe my performance would be a whole lot better,” the Team Lakay star stated.  “I definitely got careless in that match. We expected Eddie to be more of a striker, so I was confident when the match hit the ground,” he continued.  Indeed, Alvarez has been known to be a brawler, which has helped him become a crowd favorite during his time in the UFC and in Bellator.  Against Folayang however, Alvarez - who’s a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt under Ricardo Almeida - let his grappling and his experience shine.  In the past, Folayang has shown that he can hold his own against some dangerous grapplers, as evidenced by his stunning world title win against former champion Shinya Aoki back in 2016.  Folayang hopes that he can channel that same level of defense again if and when he gets to share the cage with Alvarez again.  “If there would be a rematch, I’d address my issues in the ground, and hopefully, I’ll be better this time around.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 5th, 2020

Meet the trusted trainer making sure Thirdy s true focus is on Japan

Thirdy Ravena will have to play guard for San-En NeoPhoenix in Japan's B.League. "He can play shooting guard. He can play small forward," Phoenix Co., Ltd. President Kenjiro Hongo said in his native tongue in the three-time UAAP Finals MVP's introductory press conference last Friday. "We will also try him at point guard. He will be a key player for us this season." Only, Ravena has been, for the most part, a forward in his time in Ateneo de Manila - both Jrs. and Srs. - and has only dabbled at the 2-spot for times under head coach Tab Baldwin. As it turns out, though, the 6-foot-2 all-around player has long been prepping and priming for this. And he has been doing so with the help of a trusted trainer - Jolo Tamayo of True Focus. "We have been doing things he has never done before because he's trying to become a point guard or a shooting guard. That's why we focused on ballhandling and improved his perimeter shooting to make him a deadly three-point shooter," he said. For Tamayo, it's no surprise at all that Ravena is getting the golden opportunity to showcase his skills abroad as, from the very start, the latter has proven his discipline and determination to the former. "Thirdy is very humble and hardworking. He trains as if he was an underdog and is always hungry for improvement," the youthful trainer said. Tamayo then recounted two inspiring instances of Ravena's fire and desire to be better. "One time, we were doing a drill and his nose was bleeding, but he didn't stop until the drill was over. I was so in awe because I thought he would relax when he realized (what was happening to his nose), but he still gave his 110 percent," he said. "Another instance was during the holidays when the gyms were closed early and since he came from Antipolo, I thought he wouldn't be able to train. But he said, 'Kahit dyan lang tayo sa harap ng kotse. Basta makapag-training,'" the founder of True Focus said. "We still trained in the parking lot until 12 midnight. That's how thirsty Thirdy is in training and I think this is what separates him from the rest of the competition. With all those, Tamayo just feels fortunate to have the golden opportunity to help Ravena spread his wings even further. "We were just introduced by a common friend and, to be honest, I thought it was a long shot for us to work with Thirdy," he shared. He then continued, "We were just lucky that Thirdy was free one day and he gave us a chance to show how we make things work." Even better for True Focus, having Ravena with them gives them just the boost they need to keep moving forward with their program. In particular, this is all more than enough proof for Tamayo that he is on the right path after he had to take a detour in his playing career because of an ACL injury. "This is all very fulfilling because I never had a trainer who made me better. I'm still chasing my dream to be a basketball player, but I'm very ecstatic because while doing so, I could help other young players achieve their dreams and become better in the sport they love," he said. The guard-turned-trainer once suited up for Colegio de San Juan de Letran in the NCAA Jrs. from 2015 to 2017 before a knee injury sidelined him. While on the shelf, he used all the time he had in his hands to learn tips and tricks to improve his game - tips and tricks that until now, he's sharing with students of True Focus. While their no. 1 student is now headed to Japan, Tamayo said his education with them is far from over. "We can always try out new things like virtual training and coaching, but of course, everything would still depend on Thirdy's availability. For me, I'll just watch his games in Japan and shares insights on what we need to tweak," he said. He then continued, "I will always be here to support him and once he comes back here after Japan, I'm sure he'll be a beast - a beast that will still want to be better." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 27th, 2020

Wallace, NASCAR s agent of change, doing what feels right

By DAN GELSTON AP Sports Writer LONG POND, Pa. (AP) — Being an agent of change in NASCAR cuts both ways for Bubba Wallace. He is seen as a hero to some, particularly those who have longed for a Black driver to shake things up in a predominantly white sport. To others, the 26-year-old Wallace represents something else entirely and he has seen plenty of haters out on social media over his career. It has intensified in recent days. He has brushed them off, especially the ones accusing Wallace or his No. 43 team of being involved in a hoax, of somehow being behind the garage door pulldown rope fashioned as a noose that was found in their garage stall at Alabama's Talladega Superspeedway last weekend. “You quickly realize,” Wallace said, “they don’t give a damn about you and I don’t give a damn about them.” It has been a remarkable and exhausting three weeks for Wallace since he helped spark NASCAR to ban the Confederate flag at its races and venues. That is seen as a sea change for the 72-year-old stock car series with its core Southern fan base, but then came the noose and a federal investigation that ultimately determined Wallace had not been the target of a hate crime. He’s been besieged with media requests and made the rounds on morning talk shows and chatted with late night hosts. Wallace even unified the sport when every one of the 40 teams on the grid lined up with Wallace and their series in an effort to show they do not and will not tolerate racism. The face of a movement is a tough haul for anyone, especially when he stands as the lone Black driver at the top level of NASCAR. “It’s just what I feel in my heart, what feels right,” Wallace said Friday. “I’m finally voicing my opinion on the tough subjects that a lot of people are afraid to touch on. I’m not afraid to speak my mind. I’ve done it and gotten in trouble and learned from it. People that know me, I’m 100% raw and real.” It’s part of his appeal, and why a small number of Black fans rushed the fence and cheered for Wallace after he finished 14th at Talladega. He wants more Black fans in NASCAR -- he said his social media following has exploded and scores of famous fans like LeBron James have offered support - and said he is ready to lead the charge. He would also like some of his newfound fame to lead to more sponsorship to fund the No. 43 Chevrolet for Richard Petty Motorsports. He's not going to change his approach for them. “Ever since I’ve been speaking out, I haven’t been thinking about my sponsors,” Wallace said. “I’ve been thinking about me being a human being and standing up for what’s right. I would hope that sponsors would see that and back me up on that.” But he’s tired. His free time has been chewed up and life in the spotlight as a national newsmaker has him “wore the hell out" and there are two more races this weekend for a team that has been running well. “It’s not like I wanted to be in this position or asked to be in this position,” Wallace said. “It just kind of happened." He is grateful NASCAR released the photo of the rope; NASCAR President Steve Phelps stated “the noose was real,” though it remains unknown who tied it. Phelps said NASCAR determined the noose was not in place when the October 2019 race weekend began but was created at some point during that weekend. “We can’t say it was directed toward me, which is good,” Wallace said. “But somebody still knows how to tie a noose. Whether they did it as a bad joke or not, who knows? It was good for the public to see. It still won’t change some people’s minds of me being a hoax. But it is what it is.” He has received support from NASCAR friends and foes, like fellow driver Aric Almirola who started a text with “we’re not friends and we don’t act like we are” but was ready to stand next to Wallace as a brother. Wallace even had fun on the Talladega grid after drivers pushed his car to the front, joking, “I don’t like half you guys, but I appreciate all of you guys.” NASCAR is at Pocono Raceway this weekend for Cup Series races on Saturday and Sunday, just one more piece of a grueling schedule where all eyes are on Wallace. “Let’s get away from what happened at Talladega,” Wallace said. “Let me go out and have some good races, have some bad races, try and figure out what the hell we’re going to do to rebound from those bad races and get back to race car life.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 27th, 2020

The extreme former life of Ginebra star Scottie Thompson

(This story was originally published on February 23, 2017.) For a guard that stands barely above six feet, Scottie Thompson sure has a knack for gobbling up rebounds as if he's five to six inches taller. Through the elimination round of the 2017 PBA Philippine Cup, Scottie averaged 10.4 rebounds per game, good for fourth behind 6'11" June Mar Fajardo (16.0 rebounds), 6'9" Raymond Almazan (11.6 rebounds), and 6'5" Sean Anthony (10.7) rebounds. Again, Thompson stands barely above six feet, and he's a guard. With the sophomore star doing the dirty work down low, among other things, Brgy. Ginebra San Miguel is back in the PBA Finals. And before you accuse of Scottie having special powers or magnets or something because the ball almost always end up in his possession, Scottie does have a strange past that may explain his affinity for the extreme and hauling down rebounds and other stuff for the barangay. We're talking about volleyball, dance, drag racing with motorcycles, and BMX biking. Let Scottie explain for himself. "Varsity ako samin sa basketball pero ang dami kong sports. BMX. Di pa ako mahilig sa basketball nun," Thompson said, recalling his days growing up in Davao del Sur. "Kung ano sinasalihan ko nun—sayaw, volleyball. Kahit ano. Naloko din ako sa motor, sa drag race. Siguro, dun ko rin nakuha yung pagiging versatile ko. Kahit anong nilalaro kong sports dati, ganun kasi sa probinsya kung ano lang uso," he added. Wow Scottie, BMX bicycles? Really? For those who may not be familiar with what those are, BMX bikes are those off-road sports bicycles that people mainly use to do crazy and fancy stunts. Turns out, the typically low-key Scottie was 'bout that life. And he has the scar to prove it. "Dito nga, natusok ako sa manibela," he said, pointing to a scar on his neck. "Wala eh, pinalipad ko. Tapos [inikot] ko yung manibela, pag land ko di na bumalik." "Tapos pag-uwi ko naka [takip damit sa leeg] ako kasi papagalitan ako," he added. After turning his back on the extreme, Scottie has had quite a basketball career, which is good news for Ginebra fans. So far in his young PBA stint, Thompson has been to the Finals in two out of four conferences, hoping to give the barangay back-to-back titles. "Unang-una nagpapa-salamat ako kasi youngest ako dito uli," Scottie said. Panagalawa ko na to, sobrang blessed and sobrang thankful kay God." In the Philippine Cup, the Gin Kings now face two-time defending champion San Miguel Beer, a matchup that hasn't been seen in 10 years or since Mark Caguioa and Jay-jay Helterbrand led Ginebra in a six-game conquest of Danny Seigle and the Beermen. While he was already a basketball fan then, Scottie couldn't even remember if he even watched that series. He was still probably busy with his bike. "Malamang nasa Digos pa ako nun. High School, mga first year pa ako, magse-second year," he said.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 20th, 2020

All that pressure turned CJ Perez, Robert Bolick into diamonds

CJ Perez and Robert Bolick are now the lead guards of upstart teams Terrafirma and NorthPort, respectively. Having wrapped up their first years in the PBA as members of the All-Rookie Team, the future surely shines bright for the former rivals. This, even though Perez continues to juggle five-on-five and 3x3 national teams and Bolick continues to recover from an ACL injury. After all, both of them know rocky roads all too well. Perez was already a shining star in San Sebastian College-Recoletos, but then took his talents to Ateneo de Manila University. However, he fell short of the academic requirements in Katipunan and did not play a single game as a Blue Eagle in the UAAP. Still, he is nothing but glad to share that he became a better player and a better person by the end of his time there. "Kahit sa Team B lang ako nakalaro, parang mas natuto pa nga ako doon kasi ang daming laro, ang daming liga. Feeling ko, mas nakundisyon pa ako," he shared in The Prospects Pod last Friday. He then continued, "Tapos sa aral naman, nung pinaghahabol ako dahil sa bagsak, doon ako natuto talagang mag-aral nang mabuti. Nabilib pa nga ako sa sarili ko kasi kaya ko palang mag-aral nang ganun." Fortunately, the 6-foot-2 guard landed on his feet in Lyceum of the Philippines University and proceeded to win MVP and make school history. He was well on his way to being the top overall pick by the Dyip in the 2019 PBA Draft, but even that didn't come easy as complications arose regarding his application. Apparently, Perez failed to notify the NCAA about his draft application and was suspended for Game 1 of the Season 94 Finals. In the end, he and the Pirates lost anew to San Beda University. Nonetheless, he chooses to see silver linings from that. "Yung mga ganung bagay is a lesson. Para sa akin, natuto ako kung paano yung mga moves bago magdesisyon, kung paano paghahandaan muna lahat para yung desisyon mo, mas mapaganda," he said. While he won three championships in a row as a Red Lion, it was not all roses as well for Bolick. A self-proclaimed "bench player" for two years in De La Salle University, he shared that he felt like he didn't belong in Manila. "Parang feeling ko nun, hindi ko pa kaya yung college kasi never pa ako nakapaglaro nang ganung karaming tao. Dati nga, naisip ko, pagpasok ko ng court, ang laki naman nito, ano ba naman 'to," he said. He then continued, "Dati, kaunting takbo lang, pero ngayon, parang ang tagal bago ka makarating sa kabila." Thankfully, teammate Oda Tampus was always there to lift up the spirits of the 6-foot-1 playmaker. As he put it, "Ang nagbukas talaga ng mata sa akin, si Oda, kaming dalawa lang yung Bisaya sa team ko siya yung kuya ko kumbaga. Siya yung nagturo sa akin ng ropes, ng diskarte sa college." Not long after, he only grabbed the golden opportunity over in Mendiola where he came to be known as "The Bus Stop" and then "Big Shot Bolick" and then "50-point man." And not long after, he was drafted third overall by the Batang Pier. Looking back, the Ormoc native has no doubt that he is where he is today all because of the rocky road he had taken. "Minsan, ngayon, kapag naiisip ko yun, grabe napagdaanan ko yun? Papasok, fa-foul tapos babalik sa bench," he said. He then continued, "Pero dahil dun, tumibay talaga ako." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 14th, 2020

Schauffele leads Colonial over host of stars in tour return

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 14th, 2020

Dawn Macandili: It All Started With a Flying Shoe

Libero Dawn Macandili had to start somewhere before becoming Miss Everywhere. Her first venture into volleyball – the start of her successful journey – is as memorable as the pair of shoes she was wearing that day. Coming from a sports-loving family, it’s all but natural for the former De La Salle University star to be into sports. Her father played hoops for Jose Rizal University for a while but had to give it up as he was already juggling his studies and work. Macandili's paternal grandmother was a slugger on a softball team and her brother played basketball before shifting to tennis. Her eldest sister played volleyball and then became a team captain of a cheering squad in college while her other sister fell in love with tennis.   She ended up choosing volleyball as her sport.      “I started playing (volleyball) in the middle of fifth grade,” said Macandili, who recalled that she was around 11-years-old then when she joined the De La Salle University-Lipa team. The national team standout shared a humorous anecdote about her official volleyball game debut. Back then she was a spiker. “My first-ever official volleyball game was back when I was in Grade 5 and I was playing in Skechers with Velcro straps,” she said.   “In the middle of the game while I was running for the ball, one of my shoes came off,” Macandili continued. “That was the most memorable first game ever.” From there Macandili never looked back. Transferring to De La Salle-Zobel, Macandili was given a new role under Ramil De Jesus, who was also the coach La Salle's high school team.    “At first, I was a spiker for DLS-L’s grade school team because my teammates were almost the same height as me. When I moved up to the high school team I played libero as my height wouldn't suffice (as a spiker) anymore,” she said. “Our coach in the high school team was coach Ramil de Jesus. I, being a Lasallian at heart, could not imagine studying anywhere else but in DLSU,” Macandili added. “Another big factor was that coach Ramil is a great mentor and has produced elite players. I thought that if I was going to play in college. I was gonna play for him.” She won three high school UAAP titles from Season 73 to 75. Macandili was also a member of the team that won gold in the 2010 and 2012 Guam Youth Games and helped NCR win the Palarong Pambansa 2013 gold medal where she was also named Best Libero. Naturally, she moved up to play for the Lady Spikers in college. Her first two years weren’t as successful as she wished it to be after DLSU lost to Ateneo in the UAAP Finals in Season 76 and 77. The Lady Spikers got their payback in Season 78 and won two more titles as Macandili closed her collegiate career a champion. In that three-year reign, Macandili bagged two Best Receiver awards, Best Digger honors and the Season 80 Finals Most Valuable Player award.   She brought her success to the Philippine Superliga, winning numerous titles and individual accolades, including the 2016 All Filipino Conference MVP. Macandili joined the national team in 2017 and saw action in the 2017 Kuala Lumpur Southeast Asian Games, 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia and in the Manila SEA Games last December 2019.  Macandili was also recognized as 2nd Best Libero in the 2017 AVC Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship held in Binan, Laguna. Looking back, Macandili can’t help but be grateful on that first volleyball game of hers. After all, the shoe that flew off somewhere brought her to where she is now.     That gem of a memorable moment never fails to put a smile on her face.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 8th, 2020

Bryan Bagunas: Basketball s loss is volleyball s gain

Who would’ve thought that a flubbed lay-up in a basketball game would convince Bryan Bagunas to embrace a different sport that eventually brought him success? The Southeast Asian Games silver medalist shared on The Score’s Kalye Confessions an anecdote on how his volleyball career started. Just like most boys in this hoops-crazy nation, Bagunas initially found interest playing basketball. He tried volleyball just out of curiosity.    During his sophomore year in high school, the Balayan, Batangas native joined both basketball and volleyball competitions in his school’s intramurals. A rather embarrassing moment made him realize that basketball may not be for him. “Naglaro ako ng basketball. Kaso nag-iisa na lang ako, nag-layup ako sablay,” recalled the Oita Miyoshi Weiss Adler import in the Japan V. Premier League. “Kaya sabi ko parang ayoko nang mag-basketball ah.” He fared better in volleyball. “Eh ‘di ‘yun sa volleyball naman. Nag-OK naman, second year high school ata kami nun nu’ng nag-champion kami nun sa Intrams eh,” he said. “Eh ‘di ‘yun kinuha na nila ako. Dun na nagsimula ‘yun.” From there he became a member of Balayan National High School’s volleyball team and was eventually chosen to represent Region IV-A in the 2014 Palarong Pambansa in Sta. Cruz, Laguna in his senior year. Although his team was booted out in the quarterfinals by eventual gold medalist Western Visayas, National University scouts noticed Bagunas' height and talent.     Bulldogs head coach Dante Alinsurin and his assistant Jessie Lopez offered Bagunas a chance to play for the then reigning two-time UAAP men’s volleyball champion NU.   “Si Coach Jessie siya pa kumuha ng phone number ko nun saka si Coach Dante. Tapos pinuntahan nila ako sa bahay sa Balayan, Batangas,” said Bagunas. His first three years with the Bulldogs resulted in heartbreaks as NU fell short in the Finals against the Marck Espejo-bannered Ateneo de Manila University. Bagunas finally won his first UAAP title in Season 80 when the Bulldogs knocked the crown off the Blue Eagles’ heads. He led NU to back-to-back titles the following year where he also bagged the Most Valuable Player award for a perfect collegiate career exit. Bagunas has been a member of the national team since 2017. In the 2019 SEA Games, Bagunas helped the Philippines establish history by taking the silver medal for the first time since 1977. He is also the second homegrown talent to be tapped as an import in Japan after Espejo. Bagunas is enjoying great success in volleyball, all thanks to a missed lay-up.   ---         Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles     .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 4th, 2020

MPBL keen on finishing Lakan season amid pandemic

Stymied in early March, the league's final tournament of the 2019-20 season was suspended indefinitely with only one game each remaining in the Division Finals and a seven-game series in the National Finals......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJun 4th, 2020

LIGA Schedule for Thursday, May 28th, 2020

ABS-CBN S+A may be off the air for now, but don't worry! You can still catch your favorite sports events on LIGA!  Here's what's showing for Thursday, May 28th!   12:00 AM - 2019 SEA Games Swimming 1:30 AM - 2019 SEA Games Women's Volleyball:  3:30 AM - LIGA Rewind - NCAA Season 94 Men’s Basketball: EAC vs. San Sebastian 5:30 AM - Team FitFil 6:00 AM - LIGA Rewind - NCAA Season 94 Men’s Basketball: Letran vs. San Beda 8:00 AM -  UPFRONT: Kat Tolentino / Jema Galanza & Deanna Wong 8:30 AM - Kapamilya Daily Mass 9:00 AM - LIGA Rewind - Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference Battle for 3rd Place: BanKo Perlas vs. PacificTown Army 11:00 AM - LIGA Rewind - Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference Finals Game 2: PetroGazz vs. Creamline 1:00 PM - UPFRONT: Kat Tolentino / Jema Galanza & Deanna Wong 1:30 PM - LIGA Rewind - UAAP Season 79 Men's Volleyball Semifinals: NU vs. FEU 3:30 PM - Team FitFil 4:00 PM - LIGA Rewind - UAAP Season 79 Women's Volleyball: NU vs. Adamson 6:00 PM - UPFRONT: Kat Tolentino / Jema Galanza & Deanna Wong 6:30 PM - LIGA Rewind - UAAP Season 81 Men's Basketball: Ateneo vs. NU 8:30 PM - LIGA Rewind - UAAP Season 81 Men’s Basketball: FEU vs. DLSU 10:30 PM - Pinoy Pride Presents: Milan "El Metodico" Melindo 11:30 PM - 2019 SEA Games Swimming   Catch your favorite sports events on LIGA channel 86 and LIGA HD channel 183 on Sky Cable!  LIGA is also available nationwide thru its 200 Cable affiliates......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 28th, 2020

WHAT IF: Eduard Folayang had stopped Eddie Alvarez back in 2019?

In August of 2019, the Mall of Asia Arena in Metro Manila played host to arguably one of the biggest matches in ONE Championship lightweight history.  In one corner was Filipino mixed martial arts icon and hometown favorite Eduard “The Landslide” Folayang, a two-time ONE Lightweight World Champion who was looking to bounce back after dropping the title to Japanese legend Shinya Aoki in Japan earlier that year.  Standing in the opposite corner was American star Eddie “The Underground King” Alvarez, a former UFC and Bellator Lightweight Champion and one of ONE’s biggest acquisitions in recent memory. Like Folayang, Alvarez was also looking to get back on track after a disappointing KO loss to Timofey Nastyukhin in his ONE debut.  Considered a dream match by ONE Championship fans, Folayang versus Alvarez was billed as East versus West. One of ONE’s pioneers against one of ONE’s newest stars.  As much as the storylines made the match very intriguing, the stakes were quite high as well.  With the semifinals of the then-ongoing ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix doomed by injuries, the Folayang-Alvarez bout was elevated to Grand Prix semifinals status, meaning that the winner would go on to face Turkish knockout artist Saygid “Dagi” Guseyn Arslanaliev in the Finals at ONE: CENTURY.  For Folayang, it was a step towards reclaiming the title that he held at the start of the year. For Alvarez, it was a way to erase the memory of his bitter debut loss and also a step closer towards capturing his third major world championship.  While the Folayang-Alvarez was the third-to-the last bout on the bill, for many of the Pinoy fans in attendance at the MOA Arena that night, it sure felt like the main event.  From the opening bell, the crowd was buzzing, anxious to see of their hometown hero could pull off the massive victory.  Chants of “Folayang! Folayang!” rang through MoA Arena just seconds before the Pinoy connected on a solid counter left hook that definitely got the American star’s attention.  After a flurry of kicks from Folayang, the briefly fell into a nervous silence as Alvarez caught a leg kick and managed to get Folayang to the ground before trapping him in a standing guillotine.  Folayang simply shrugged off the half-hearted submission attempt, much to the delight of the partisan-Pinoy crowd. So far so good for Team Philippines.  A flying knee from Alvarez collided with a spinning back kick from Folayang, which elicited some oohs and ahhs from the crowd, which was ready to go off as soon as their bet landed something big.  Folayang began to pick up steam as he launched strike after strike, throwing kicks, punches, and elbows. It was clear that the Team Lakay star was in control of the stand-up aspect of the fight.  Then, at the 3:37 mark of the first round, the big strike that the fans were waiting for finally came. Folayang, with his massive tree-trunk legs, whipped a right low kick that connected on Alvarez’s left leg, sending the American down to the mat. The way Alvarez sat back down, it looked like he was hurt.  Sensing blood in the water, Folayang went for the kill and began dropping fists as Alvarez tried to defend himself. A failed armbar attempt from Alvarez forced Folayang to reposition himself, moving into side control while still throwing hammerfist after hammerfist.  Then, all of a sudden, Alvarez managed to slip his right hand in between Folayang’s legs and then flip the Pinoy over. Just like that, it was Alvarez who was on top.  Unlike his Pinoy opponent however, Alvarez remained calm and slowly transitioned into full mount. Making things worse, Folayang, likely looking to prevent and ground and pound damage, turned and gave up his back.  Almost immediately, Alvarez sinked his hooks in and flattened Folayang out before locking in a rear naked choke and forcing the Pinoy to tap out.  While he did win, Alvarez would miss out on the Finals anyway after an injury would force him to withdraw as well. As a result, Dagi ended up facing - and losing to - reigning ONE Lightweight World Champion Christian Lee.  Folayang was offered the Finals spot against Dagi, but last-minute visa issues would prevent him from being able to step up.  The loss was quite a painful one to swallow, not just for Folayang, but also for the fans.  Folayang admitted after the fight that he had rushed to get the finish, causing him to be a bit careless and make some costly mistakes.  "I was too eager to get the finish, and I think that’s the mistake, I became impatient, and I wanted to finish him as soon as possible but it didn’t go that way, so, that happened," Folayang explained.  But WHAT IF Folayang hadn’t rushed? Close your eyes and imagine:  After chopping Alvarez down with the leg kick at the 3:37 mark, Folayang pounced and picked his spots, landing some good shots to the head, enough to stun the American and force the referee to step in and stop the fight.  Or, what if instead of pouncing, Folayang allowed the visibly hurt Alvarez to get back up and from there, continued to punish The Underground King’s leg (or legs) en route to a TKO finish.  Folayang would have booked his ticked to the ONE Lightweight Grand Prix Finals. More importantly, Folayang would have been able to add Alvarez to the name of legend’s he’s beaten, and it would have skyrocketed his stock to even greater heights.  Would he have been able to defeat Dagi in the Finale? Of course it was very much possible. At the rate Dagi was knocking guys out up to that point, Folayang would have likely been considered an underdog, but a high-level striker like Folayang is never without his chances.  If Folayang had been able to get past Dagi as well, it would set up a very intriguing matchup between himself and Lee, which could have been a good matchup for the Pinoy star.  Now, Folayang finds himself once again looking to bounce back following a close loss to Dutch striker Pieter Buist.  Still hungry for a third run as world champion, Folayang will need to work his way back to the top of the division.  Who knows? Maybe two or three wins in, Folayang could find himself standing opposite Alvarez once again, with the chance to re-write history. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 27th, 2020

June Mar Fajardo relishes return from sickbay

Fajardo, who hasn't played a single PBA game since 2019, shared that he was nothing short of ecstatic when he was able to join his teammates during practice in Batangas......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJun 5th, 2021

Trojans to parade Iranian Super GM in 2nd conference of PCAP online chess

CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Toledo Trojans are ready to prove that they have already learned the lesson from their failure to qualify in the South Division finals of the Professional Chess Association of the Philippines (PCAP) online tournament 1st Conference last March. Due to a bad internet connection, the Trojans fell to the Iloilo […] The post Trojans to parade Iranian Super GM in 2nd conference of PCAP online chess appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsMay 13th, 2021

MJAS-Talisay forces rubber vs Mandaue

It’s all or nothing for MJAS Zenith-Talisay and KCS Mandaue after the former scored a 63-56 win to force a deciding Game Three in the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup Visayas leg best-of-three finals at the Alcantara Civic Center in Cebu Saturday night......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsMay 10th, 2021

VisMin Super Cup champion to get P500K prize — Chooks-to-Go owner

CEBU CITY, Philippines— True to his unparalleled support in local sports, renowned sports patron Ronald Mascariñas of the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas puts a whopping P500,000 purse for the winner of tonight’s Do-or-Die game in the Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup finals series between the KCS Computer Specialists-Mandaue City and the MJAS Zenith Talisay City Aquastars at the […] The post VisMin Super Cup champion to get P500K prize — Chooks-to-Go owner appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsMay 9th, 2021

Computer Specialists shock Aquastars to stay a win away from VisMin Super Cup crown

CEBU CITY, Philippines — From allegations of game-fixing to the suspension of players to the imposition of hefty fines and the banning of a team from the league, one can say that indeed, strange things are happening in the VisMin Super Cup. Add to that the stunning loss of the erstwhile unbeaten and overwhelming title […] The post Computer Specialists shock Aquastars to stay a win away from VisMin Super Cup crown appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsMay 8th, 2021