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For these athletes, this is a spring break they don t want

By ERIC OLSON AP Sports Writer OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Creighton right-hander Ben Dotzler was supposed to be in the bullpen at TD Ameritrade Park this weekend, readying himself to pitch against Northern Colorado. Molly Little, who plays lacrosse for Denver, expected to be on the road for a much anticipated match against Michigan, the team the Pioneers beat to reach the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament last year. Avrey Steiner thought she would be with her softball teammates for Illinois' first home games of the season against Bowling Green and Green Bay. Everything changed for thousands of college athletes when the NCAA announced Thursday it was canceling all spring sports championships, along with remaining winter championships, because of the coronavirus pandemic. Conferences followed, saying they were temporarily or permanently shutting down their regular seasons. Suddenly, athletes who put in long hours juggling commitments to their sports and academics had lots of free time. And they're miserable. “We didn't work a whole year,” Dotzler said, “to play 15 games.” Little said she woke up at 6:30 every morning to go to the training room to rehab an injury and stretch before lifting weights and running — all before going to a 2 1/2-hour practice and then her classes. “There's nothing that can prepare you for the feeling of your season being done, and it's not because you lost in NCAAs,” Little said. “I spent many hours crying with teammates. You work your whole life to get to this point, to play on this big stage, and to have it taken from you is devastating.” Steiner said she was doing fine emotionally until she started cleaning out her locker Friday. “That really got me,” she said. “A lot of people are going to say, 'Oh, yeah, this is like a week off or getting a couple days off. I guarantee you it's going to hit me and other people in the coming weeks.” Some good news arrived on Friday when the NCAA informed schools that spring athletes would be given another year of eligibility to make up for their lost season. Details must be worked out. States Fort, a senior on the Coastal Carolina men's golf team, hopes to return for another year even though he'll graduate in May. “I would try to make it work with grad courses,” he said. “I would do everything in my power as long as the finances are there. I would love to come back and play with these guys." Not all seniors will be able to take advantage of being granted an extra year. Some already have jobs lined up. Others have been accepted into graduate programs at other schools. There are athletes who currently are on partial scholarships, and they may not be able to afford paying the difference for another year. Though the eligibility extension offers some consolation, it will be impossible for athletes to duplicate the experiences of playing with their 2020 teams. The Richmond women's lacrosse team, for example, was off to a program-best 7-0 start and ranked in the top 20 nationally for the first time since 2008. “We just accelerated into the season and started off so hot,” senior goaltender Megan Gianforte said. "Personally, I thought I was peaking this year. I felt I was in the best condition for this season. That's why I was so excited for it. We brought in so much talent, which helps me defensively. “I'm leaving Richmond now with such unfinished business, knowing all the potential we could have had. I just know how much more we have to give.” Now the spring athletes are left to wonder what they'll do with themselves. “It is just heartbreaking to see these kids face this unfortunate situation,” longtime University of San Francisco baseball coach Nino Giarratano said. “They are too young.” Creighton sophomore Tommy Steier said he and Dotzler, his roommate, have been spending a lot of time hanging out with teammates, rehashing old stories and plotting their immediate futures. Creighton isn't allowing athletes to use the school's training facilities during the shutdown. Baseball players will work out on their own and prepare to join summer teams in a few months — if the summer leagues operate. Fort, the Coastal Carolina golfer, said a temporary sports stoppage would have been more appropriate, followed by a reassessment of the situation. He wishes the NCAA would have waited before canceling championships scheduled for months from now. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover from the virus. “Obviously I'm biased because I play a small outdoor sport where spectators aren't much of an issue,” Fort said. “It was kind of quick and a little rash and short-sighted on the NCAA's part, especially to blanket cancel all sports. "I can understand basketball. That's a spectator sport where you have a ton of people constantly rubbing shoulders. I can almost understand baseball. But sports like (men's) volleyball, softball, golf and lacrosse don't have as much of a pronounced fan base.” Creighton's baseball team was busing back to Omaha from Minnesota on Thursday when the players' Twitter feeds started showing conference basketball tournaments being canceled. An hour after the players got home they received a text telling them to return to campus for a meeting. Steier and Dotzler said everyone sensed what was coming. As coach Ed Servais broke the news, seniors, who wouldn't know for another 24 hours they would be allowed to come back next year, broke into tears. “It was hard to see all of them knowing they were losing what they love to do,” Steier said. Gianforte, the Richmond lacrosse goalie, said she and her teammates had a feeling as early as Wednesday afternoon their season might be in jeopardy. That's when the Ivy League announced it was closing down spring sports. “I think the other conferences were feeling some peer pressure,” she said. Then the NBA announced Wednesday night it was suspending its season. “That," Gianforte said, “is when we knew we were goners.” ___ AP Sports Writer Janie McCauley in San Francisco contributed to this report......»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnMar 15th, 2020

Cray primed for Tokyo slot

The long break brought by the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic turned into a blessing for Filipino-American hurdler Eric Cray. Speaking at the latest edition of The Athletes Tribune, Cray said the pandemic had given him a chance to rest and recuperate, giving him fresh legs as he shoots for a slot in the Tokyo […] The post Cray primed for Tokyo slot appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsNov 24th, 2020

SEA GAMES: The silver that glittered like gold

When the editorial staff of ABS-CBN Sports was tasked to come up with our most memorable coverage, it didn’t take long for this writer to respond. The Philippine men’s volleyball team’s Southeast Asian Games semifinal match was the first thing that came to mind. Pesonally, that game against the highly-fancied Thailand squad topped all the countless volleyball matches that I’ve covered in my career. I’m at a loss for words on how to describe the emotions I felt that chilly night of December 8, 2019. Around 6,700 fans filled the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City not knowing that what they were about to witness was something historic. A magical night that would take away the frustrations they felt the day before when the more popular women’s team finished the preliminary round winless. For us sportswriters covering that assignment, we knew the Filipinos were up for a tough ride. Thailand ruled the last four editions of the event. On the other hand, the Philippines’ last significant outing in the biennial meet was a bronze medal finish back in 1991 – or when the current national team’s oldest member, setter Jessie Lopez was just five-years old.      Did we doubt our own team? Let’s just say we prayed to the high heavens to give us something positive to write about. But don’t get us wrong. Those who followed the formation and preparation of the squad knew it would yield results come the SEA Games. After all, in all three batches of the Nationals that participated in the regional sports meet since 2015, this particular team had the longest time to prepare – around eight months to be exact. The team’s composition itself looked really promising. For the first time, two of country’s best hitters in Marck Espejo and Bryan Bagunas, who both have experience playing in the Japan V. League,  donned the tricolors together. Espejo returned after skipping the 2017 edition so did his teammates in the 2015 squad Rex Intal and setter Ish Polvorosa. Bagunas was on his second tour of duty along with team captain John Vic De Guzman, Mark Alfafara, RanRan Abdilla and libero Jack Kalingking. Head coach Dante Alinsunurin, who was appointed to handle the team after Oliver Almadro and Sammy Acaylar in 2015 and 2017, respectively, tapped an old hand in Lopez and injected young bloods in playmaker Owa Retamar, Jau Umandal, Kim Malabunga, Ricky Marcos and Francis Saura. As part of their buildup the Nationals joined the Thailand Open Sealect Tuna Championship July last year.          The Filipinos achieved a great feat when they won bronze. Fans were able to witness the Nationals’ campaign via YouTube streaming while we volleyball writers, got to file our full stories through the help of De Guzman and Bagunas (God bless their beautiful hearts) who supplied us with game stats and granted postgame interviews. It’s just a shame I never got to cover the team’s training in Japan when the Nationals’ preparation went on full throttle. (Note: A little confusion in the training camp coverage assignments had me flying to Japan with the women’s squad and Lance Agcaoili of Spin.ph joining the men’s team. But it was a great experience, nonetheless, and I’m grateful for Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. for the opportunity.)     I was as confused as the other sportswriters present during the draw for the group stage a couple of months before the SEA Games when Alinsunurin chose to join the four-team bracket with Indonesia, Vietnam and Cambodia. Those three teams are considered contenders every SEA Games edition. And earning a semifinal spot would be harder compared to the other group composed of Thailand, Myanmar and Singapore. Fortunately, the gamble was worth it. Espejo and Bagunas were superb offensively, Malabunga and Retamar made their presence felt and the Nationals’ blocking shocked Cambodia and Vietnam as the Filipinos swept them both to secure a semis seat.   Then came the steamrolling Indonesians. Honestly, I thought the Nationals would sweep their way to the group’s top seeding. That way the PHI’s would've avoided a semis clash with Thailand. Forced to take on the defending champions, the Filipinos found themselves down in the first set. They got back in the second frame before yielding the third. And when the Thais came to match point, 24-21, in the fourth we all thought it was over. Fans were slowly emptying the bleachers not wanting to see the impending defeat. I was already waiting for the final score. Ready break the result. Then a miracle happened. The Nationals nibbled on the Thais' lead to force a deuce. After another deadlock, the Filipinos stole the set. The fifth frame was classic story of ‘who wants it more will win.’ An extended set made it even more dramatic. I vividly remember that sequence when Bagunas hammered the game-clinching kill off a lob from Lopez. After that all that I can recall was me pumping my fist up in the air and slapping the hardest high-fives I ever did with those inside the press room while howling like a madman.    The national team assured itself of a silver after 42 years. A silver after four freaking decades. They did it. Of course, the Indonesians bullied their way to winning the gold medal in a sweep of the inexperienced Filipinos. But who cares, the host team exceeded its podium expectations. That silver that glittered like gold made that coverage truly memorable. But it never crossed my mind that it would be the last important volleyball event that I will get to report. (Note: It would’ve been the UAAP if not for the health crisis that put all sporting events to a halt. Sad.) And that’s why I ended up writing these last few paragraphs. A farewell from this section. From my first article for this website back on December 1, 2014 – a post-mortem of Petron’s breakthrough title in the Philippine Superliga Grand Prix – to my last published story, these were all written with only one thing in mind: in the service of the Filipino sports fan worldwide. Our run may have not been perfect, of course, we had our flaws. We had our fair share of criticisms from fans, athletes, sports personalities and sometimes even from our partner leagues and properties. We accepted our shortcomings. We tried to be better. But we are proud of what we did. We take pride with how we delivered sports stories through various digital executions that showcased sports beyond the confines of competition. On midnight of September 1 while most of you lay sound asleep, deep in slumber, hopefully, having a good dream and hours away from waking up looking forward to a better day, this website will be snapped out of existence.  More than half a decade of sharing stories to the Filipino sports fan will be seeing its last presence online on Monday – a holiday to celebrate the nation’s heroes. This website will then hear its final buzzer, its final whistle. Thousands of articles – written with passion, dedication and love – will be taken down as this website goes offline together with majority of ABS-CBN Sports’ social media accounts. But soon, hopefully, it will once again see the light of day.    We do hope that you will remember us, for we will remember all of you who made us your Kapamilya.   -- 30 --   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles Mark Escarlote has served as a sub-section editor for ABS-CBN Sports' website since 2014. He is among thousands of ABS-CBN employees who will be retrenched on August 31, 2020.   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 29th, 2020

SEA GAMES: The silver that glittered like gold

When the editorial staff of ABS-CBN Sports was tasked to come up with our most memorable coverage, it didn’t take long for this writer to respond. The Philippine men’s volleyball team’s Southeast Asian Games semifinal match was the first thing that came to mind. Pesonally, that game against the highly-fancied Thailand squad topped all the countless volleyball matches that I’ve covered in my career. I’m at a loss for words on how to describe the emotions I felt that chilly night of December 8, 2019. Around 6,700 fans filled the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City not knowing that what they were about to witness was something historic. A magical night that would take away the frustrations they felt the day before when the more popular women’s team finished the preliminary round winless. For us sportswriters covering that assignment, we knew the Filipinos were up for a tough ride. Thailand ruled the last four editions of the event. On the other hand, the Philippines’ last significant outing in the biennial meet was a bronze medal finish back in 1991 – or when the current national team’s oldest member, setter Jessie Lopez was just five-years old.      Did we doubt our own team? Let’s just say we prayed to the high heavens to give us something positive to write about. But don’t get us wrong. Those who followed the formation and preparation of the squad knew it would yield results come the SEA Games. After all, in all three batches of the Nationals that participated in the regional sports meet since 2015, this particular team had the longest time to prepare – around eight months to be exact. The team’s composition itself looked really promising. For the first time, two of country’s best hitters in Marck Espejo and Bryan Bagunas, who both have experience playing in the Japan V. League,  donned the tricolors together. Espejo returned after skipping the 2017 edition so did his teammates in the 2015 squad Rex Intal and setter Ish Polvorosa. Bagunas was on his second tour of duty along with team captain John Vic De Guzman, Mark Alfafara, RanRan Abdilla and libero Jack Kalingking. Head coach Dante Alinsunurin, who was appointed to handle the team after Oliver Almadro and Sammy Acaylar in 2015 and 2017, respectively, tapped an old hand in Lopez and injected young bloods in playmaker Owa Retamar, Jau Umandal, Kim Malabunga, Ricky Marcos and Francis Saura. As part of their buildup the Nationals joined the Thailand Open Sealect Tuna Championship July last year.          The Filipinos achieved a great feat when they won bronze. Fans were able to witness the Nationals’ campaign via YouTube streaming while we volleyball writers, got to file our full stories through the help of De Guzman and Bagunas (God bless their beautiful hearts) who supplied us with game stats and granted postgame interviews. It’s just a shame I never got to cover the team’s training in Japan when the Nationals’ preparation went on full throttle. (Note: A little confusion in the training camp coverage assignments had me flying to Japan with the women’s squad and Lance Agcaoili of Spin.ph joining the men’s team. But it was a great experience, nonetheless, and I’m grateful for Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. for the opportunity.)     I was as confused as the other sportswriters present during the draw for the group stage a couple of months before the SEA Games when Alinsunurin chose to join the four-team bracket with Indonesia, Vietnam and Cambodia. Those three teams are considered contenders every SEA Games edition. And earning a semifinal spot would be harder compared to the other group composed of Thailand, Myanmar and Singapore. Fortunately, the gamble was worth it. Espejo and Bagunas were superb offensively, Malabunga and Retamar made their presence felt and the Nationals’ blocking shocked Cambodia and Vietnam as the Filipinos swept them both to secure a semis seat.   Then came the steamrolling Indonesians. Honestly, I thought the Nationals would sweep their way to the group’s top seeding. That way the PHI’s would've avoided a semis clash with Thailand. Forced to take on the defending champions, the Filipinos found themselves down in the first set. They got back in the second frame before yielding the third. And when the Thais came to match point, 24-21, in the fourth we all thought it was over. Fans were slowly emptying the bleachers not wanting to see the impending defeat. I was already waiting for the final score. Ready break the result. Then a miracle happened. The Nationals nibbled on the Thais' lead to force a deuce. After another deadlock, the Filipinos stole the set. The fifth frame was classic story of ‘who wants it more will win.’ An extended set made it even more dramatic. I vividly remember that sequence when Bagunas hammered the game-clinching kill off a lob from Lopez. After that all that I can recall was me pumping my fist up in the air and slapping the hardest high-fives I ever did with those inside the press room while howling like a madman.    The national team assured itself of a silver after 42 years. A silver after four freaking decades. They did it. Of course, the Indonesians bullied their way to winning the gold medal in a sweep of the inexperienced Filipinos. But who cares, the host team exceeded its podium expectations. That silver that glittered like gold made that coverage truly memorable. But it never crossed my mind that it would be the last important volleyball event that I will get to report. (Note: It would’ve been the UAAP if not for the health crisis that put all sporting events to a halt. Sad.) And that’s why I ended up writing these last few paragraphs. A farewell from this section. From my first article for this website back on December 1, 2014 – a post-mortem of Petron’s breakthrough title in the Philippine Superliga Grand Prix – to my last published story, these were all written with only one thing in mind: in the service of the Filipino sports fan worldwide. Our run may have not been perfect, of course, we had our flaws. We had our fair share of criticisms from fans, athletes, sports personalities and sometimes even from our partner leagues and properties. We accepted our shortcomings. We tried to be better. But we are proud of what we did. We take pride with how we delivered sports stories through various digital executions that showcased sports beyond the confines of competition. On midnight of September 1 while most of you lay sound asleep, deep in slumber, hopefully, having a good dream and hours away from waking up looking forward to a better day, this website will be snapped out of existence.  More than half a decade of sharing stories to the Filipino sports fan will be seeing its last presence online on Monday – a holiday to celebrate the nation’s heroes. This website will then hear its final buzzer, its final whistle. Thousands of articles – written with passion, dedication and love – will be taken down as this website goes offline together with majority of ABS-CBN Sports’ social media accounts. But soon, hopefully, it will once again see the light of day.    We do hope that you will remember us, for we will remember all of you who made us your Kapamilya.   -- 30 --   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles Mark Escarlote has served as a sub-section editor for ABS-CBN Sports' website since 2014. He is among thousands of ABS-CBN employees who will be retrenched on August 31, 2020.   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 28th, 2020

Olympic event NSAs seek IATF OK

Olympic aspirants from rowing, fencing, archery, BMX cycling, 3×3 basketball, karatedo, taekwondo, table tennis, weightlifting, canoe-kayak and wrestling are ready to spring back into action pending the approval of their resumption guidelines by the government. National training director Marc Velasco said health professionals from the Philippine Sports Commission-Medical Scientific Athletes (PSC-MSAS) Services unit have been […] The post Olympic event NSAs seek IATF OK appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJul 27th, 2020

UAAP Season 82 celebrates unity and sportsmanship in virtual closing ceremony

Despite an abrupt end to UAAP Season 82 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the country’s premier collegiate league will officially wrap up the season on a high note with a virtual closing ceremony that will celebrate unity and sportsmanship in the entire UAAP community. The special online event, hosted by Mico Halili and Denice Dinsay of ABS-CBN Sports, will go live on July 25 (Saturday) at 4 pm on the ABS-CBN Sports website (sports.abs-cbn.com), Facebook, and YouTube accounts, with delayed telecast on LIGA cable sports channel at 7 pm. The closing ceremony will be a culmination of the first and second semester UAAP sports, highlighting the success and hard work of the eight member schools while also putting the spotlight on the athletes who were unable to finish their season due to the cancelation of the games. “Lalabas 'yun doon sa closing ceremonies, just to highlight na, one, as a community, as a nation, we are here to help everyone, that's one. And two, itong mga atleta na 'to na mga hindi nakapaglaro or natapos, they are part of Season 82," said UAAP Season 82 president Em Fernandez of host school Ateneo de Manila University in an interview with ABS-CBN News. UAAP announced the cancelation of Season 82 on April 7 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Second semester sports such as volleyball, football, baseball, softball, track and field, lawn tennis, and 3x3 basketball were not completed or did not start at all. The UAAP will also be awarding UST as general champions for both the high school and seniors divisions. This is the sixth straight overall championship for the Tiger Cubs and fourth straight for the Growling Tigers. Also set to receive their awards are the Season 82 MVPs for high school and college, while selected athlete-scholars from the different universities will also be recognized. The league, however, will be unable to award an Athlete of the Year for this season. The online gathering, according to ABS-CBN Integrated Sports head Dino Laurena, will celebrate the dedication of all athletes and the efforts of the entire UAAP community, noting that it has always been their mission in ABS-CBN Sports to honor and pay tribute to the work and dedication of athletes, no matter what the circumstances or challenges the sports organization is confronting.  “ABS-CBN Sports remains faithful to its advocacy of promoting the values that sports teaches all of us.  It is in this light that we want to pay tribute to our athletes who put in months of sacrifice and preparation to be able to play at a high level in the UAAP. We hope they stay hungry and passionate about the game they love, and we cannot wait to see them playing again,” he said.    Spicing up the celebration are feature performances by ABS-CBN artists Ylona Garcia and Inigo Pascual. Sponge Cola and Itchyworms, the Pinoy rock bands that performed the official UAAP Season 82 anthem “Ang Ating Tagumpay” at the opening ceremony, will also make a special appearance.  Sticking to Season 82’s theme of “All For More,” the UAAP will also recognize the efforts of schools and athletes by honoring those who have done charity work during the pandemic.  Fans will also be able to look back at last season’s game highlights as well as hear from some of their favorite players. To formally symbolize the end of UAAP Season 82, there will be a virtual turning over of hosting duties of Ateneo to its rival school De La Salle University for Season 83. ABS-CBN Sports has been the official broadcaster of the UAAP since 2000. Together, they have championed sports among the Filipino youth, have given a break to many young, talented athletes, and strengthened the local sports community in the past two decades. Celebrate sports culture in the Philippines with Kapamilya sports fans by watching the UAAP Season 82 closing ceremony on July 25 (Saturday) at 4 pm on the ABS-CBN Sports website (sports.abs-cbn.com) and ABS-CBN Sports Facebook and YouTube accounts. Catch also the delayed telecast on cable sports channel LIGA at 7 pm, with a replay on July 26 at 4:30 pm. For more sports news, follow @ABSCBNSports on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, subscribe to the ABS-CBN Sports YouTube channel, or visit sports.abs-cbn.com. For updates, follow @ABSCBNPR on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram or visit www.abscbnpr.com......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 21st, 2020

LeBron James group touts sports venues as mega-voting sites

By BILL BARROW Associated Press ATLANTA (AP) — If basketball icon LeBron James gets his way, NBA arenas and other sports venues around the country will be mega polling sites for the November general election. James and his voting rights group, formed this spring with other black athletes and entertainers, are joining with other professional basketball leaders and Michigan’s top elections official to push for mega voting sites to accommodate in-person balloting amid the COVID-19 pandemic. More Than A Vote, the James organization dedicated to maximizing Black turnout in November, shared its plans with The Associated Press on Wednesday after the Detroit Pistons became the second NBA franchise to announce plans to use its arena for voting later this year. In Georgia, Fulton County elections officials this week approved the Atlanta Hawks’ proposal to use State Farm Arena as a polling site. Plans call for the arena to serve as a countywide early voting site ahead of Election Day. The idea, which comes after Kentucky used large facilities in its June 23 primary, is to use large spaces that allow for in-person voting while still enforcing social distancing guidelines. It also underscores the attention on the mechanics of voting amid the pandemic, with the intensity already reflected in both President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden warning that state and local officials have the power to “corrupt” the election. Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson called her “partnership” with the Pistons an “blueprint for other teams and leagues seeking to advance our common goal of protecting access to the vote for all.” Lloyd Pierce, head coach of the Atlanta Hawks, said the arrangement in his city ensures “high turnout” in a safe environment. Benson, Pierce and David Fizdale, former New York Knicks head coach, will advise NBA franchises and arena management entities around the country on how to replicate the existing deals. The Milwaukee Bucks also confirmed they are willing to use their home arena as a voting site in the most populous city in the key battleground of Wisconsin. The coordinated push is a turnabout, of sorts, in the often-partisan jousting over voting procedures. Some Democrats panned Kentucky elections officials for limiting in-person June primary voting in the state’s two most populous counties to Louisville’s Exposition Center and the University of Kentucky football stadium in Lexington. Voting rights advocates argued in federal court that the plan, part of culling voting sites statewide amid coronavirus concerns, would harm minority voters. A federal judge rejected their claims, and voting proceeded without the melee that some advocates had forecast. Now, Benson, a Democrat, is pushing the arena model not as an example of potential voter suppression, but a way to fight it. “One of our greatest challenges in protecting voters’ access to democracy this November is identifying accessible locations where citizens can safely vote in person,” she said. Amid COVID, that could outweigh potential logistical difficulties of large sites. Lines for such venues can still be long — just as with normal polling locations — as was seen in Lexington at some points on primary day. Voters also could face traffic jams or public transit hiccups given the number of people involved. General elections also have considerably larger turnout than primaries. Nonetheless, there’s a growing bipartisan push for large-venue voting. NFL executive Scott Pioli last week presented the National Association of Secretaries of State a plan for widespread use of professional and college sports facilities. James’ group is officially nonpartisan. But the NBA star has been open about its emphasis on the Black community, where Trump faces intense opposition for his white identity politics. James has not endorsed Biden, but he endorsed Hillary Clinton over Trump in 2016. In Milwaukee, meanwhile, the Bucks owners, the Lasry family, are major Democratic Party donors. Bucks executive Alex Lasry helped lead the effort that landed the Democratic National Convention in the city.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 2nd, 2020

When We Were Volleyball Queens (Part 2)

(This story was originally published back in March 24, 2015) Back in 1993 the Philippine national team defied the odds by toppling the region’s women’s volleyball giant Thailand. Rosemarie Prochina, part of the national team sent to the 17th Southeast Asian Games, continues with her story of the things that transpired during the last shining moment of our Filipina athletes in the sport.    Buy gold? No, we’ll win them   Prochina revealed that they had an extra motivation in the championship match against Thailand after an incident involving her teammate Bernadeth Burcelis. A Thai tried to get into their heads. A warning shot of psychological warfare, perhaps an attempt to bully the Filipinas out of their wits.      “Actually yung team manager nila kinantyawan kami nu’ng mag-shopping kami,” Prochina said. “Sinabihan niya si Burcelis, sabi niya “Oh you buy many, many golds now because tomorrow you will only get silver.” The Filipina didn’t talk back, she and the national team simply let their game do the talking.      “Yun ang sabi niya. So kami parang di naman din niya sinabi sa amin (kaagad), pero sa kanya (Burcelis) OK lang yun. Basta maglaro lang kami,” Prochina said. During the game, Prochina said that everybody was doing their part even those sitting on the bench. “Yun ang maganda sa team namin na kahit na kaming nasa bench, di ako first six kasi,” she admitted. “Kaming nasa bench kahit parang di kami makakalaro nandoon kami sa bench nagpi-pray, lahat todo support. Tapos kapag may timeout, magma-massage kami sa mga teammates namin.” Zenaida Ybanez also won the Best Spiker and Most Valuable Player award while Leonora Escolante was named Best Setter.  For Prochina their feat showed the never-say-die spirit of the Filipinas. “So yun very (inspiring) ang pagkapanalo dun kasi underdogs kami,” she said.    Coach Tai, the lover boy?  SEA Games is not just about athletes trying to outplay their opponents for a podium spot. The biennial meet is organized for the purpose of developing friendship and camaraderie among nations. And some tried to take this fellowship into another level. Prochina gave away a secret that involves a name that is very famous in the volleyball circle today. Ateneo de Manila coach Tai Bundit did capture the hearts of local fans with his charm and heart strong mantra proven by the Lady Eagles’ back-to-back UAAP crown but 22 years ago the Thai had an early encounter with the Filipinos – and we are not talking about how he and his team demolished the PHI men’s squad. It was about something romantic. “Yung coach nila (Ateneo) magkasabayan kami sa national team,” said Prochina, who’s an Ateneo fan herself. “Yung coach nila na si Tai nagpang-abot kami.” The Thai women’s team looked at the Filipinas with fire in their eyes, but not Bundit as he glowed with sparks of stars and moonshine while focused on a Pinay whose name gives happiness to his heart.   Yes, before Bundit danced his signature ‘kitiki-Tai’ moves, he tried to tango.            “Kami yang (magkakasabayan) noong nanliligaw-ligaw pa yan sa teammate ko, si Joy Degoroztisa,” Prochina said in a chuckle. “Ewan ko kung nagkasagutan sila, huh!” she continued. “Naku baka (mapagalitan ako ni Joy) kasi nanligaw siya (Bundit) dun. Si Joy nasa Kuwait na siya ngayon.” Asked for more juicy details, Prochina said that her memory is a bit sketchy about the whirlwind romance.   “Actually, di ko masyado (nasubaybayan na yung nangyari) kasi nga yung laro di ba ilang weeks lang yun tapos hindi ko na alam kung anong nangyari,” Prochina added. And she really has no idea if Bundit got one through the block or totally got shut down. Bundit is now happily married while Degoroztisa is based in Kuwait.   “Masakit para sa amin”  After the team brought home the mint, the Pinays failed to win it all in the next SEAG editions paving way for Thailand’s domination in the region.  The Thais got their revenge on their turf in 1995 against the Filipinas in the finals. Again winning another gold after two years at the expense of PHI, who had bronze finishes in 2001, 2003 and in 2005 edition held in Manila.  Sadly, in the next four SEA Games no women’s team were fielded and the Pinays were overtaken by in terms of competitiveness by Vietnam and Indonesia.     “Masakit para sa amin kasi hanggang ngayon hindi pa rin na-break,” a regretful Prochina said. “Nag-20 years na hindi pa rin na-break yung record, nag-post ako sa FB sabi ko “Happy 20th year sa pagka-gold naming”, ganyan, pero napakasakit kasi wala pang pumalit,” she added. “Hindi ka-proud na kayo lang kasi siyempre parang anong nangyari sa programa ng volleyball sa Pilipinas?” A degradation of the sport she painfully watched. “Yung 1995 malakas pa rin yun kahit nawala na yung iba,” she said. “Maraming mga matatangkad gaya nina Cherry Rivera Macatangay, Roxanne Pimentel, si Joy Degoroztisa, Estrella Tan Enriquez na nag-convert na lang sa basketball kasi nawala na nga yung (volleyball program).”   New beginning  The dream of standing taller than Thailand may still be years away, but Prochina is happy that there is a rebirth of volleyball in the country. With the sport having an avenue outside of collegiate leagues with the Shakey’s V-League and Philippine Superliga and the interest of the nation to volleyball taking its roots again, the future looks bright. “Yung volleyball sa atin paangat na talaga saka sobrang happy kaming mga older players na nakikitang ganoon na ang progress ng volleyball sa Pilipinas,” she said. It’s a fact that we are not at par in skills and development wise with the Thais – a solid proof of it is having their players fielded as imports to raise the level of competition in our local leagues – but Prochina is glad that we are now taking small steps.      “Kasi lumayo na ang Thailand e, lumayo ng milya-milya and nawala tayo. Pero kaya yang (mahabol) wala namang imposible,” she said. “Pero mas malalaki nga tayo actually. Ang players natin may 6-foot-5, may mga ganoon. Yung mga players natin malalaki. “Sa atin lang siguro yung continuity ng training, at ng support.” Larong Volleyball ng Pilipinas, Inc. as part of their volleyball program has formed an Under-23 men’s and women’s team that will compete in the Asian age group championships on May. After skipping volleyball events in four SEAG editions, the PHI will field both men’s and women’s teams for the meet in Singapore on June.            Promise of tomorrow          Prochina believes that PHI volleyball has a bright future and a repeat of their feat two decades ago is not far away.  “Of course. Malalaki and mas may advantage ang mga bata ngayon kasi sila yung skills at techniques nila meron na. Yung sa katawan, sa bilis, sa talon, meron,” she said. “Kami noon dinevelop pa. Ako personally dinevelop ako, kung hindi dahil sa coaches ko na sina coach Kid Santos and coach Emil Lontoc, na naniwala sa akin na gagaling ako at aabot ako sa level na ganoon, hindi ako tutuloy,” Prochina added. “Hindi katulad ngayon sobrang andami nating players na malalakas.” She is also overwhelmed by the fan base this generation of players built. “Marami talaga ngayon. Pero noong 2005 na naglaro kami ng V-League (for PSC (Lady Legends) nakakatawa lang noon na mayroong mga nagdadala (ng mga gamit) na mayroong mga signature naming na mga lumang players. Sinasabi nila na “Ay fan kami sa inyo.” Kami naman “Ay talaga, mayroon pala kaming mga fans,”” she said. “Mas malaki na (ang fanbase) kasi sa social media, alam na ng lahat ng tao ang nangyayari sa volleyball.”    Comparison Prochina picked Ateneo when asked if what team in her opinion mirrors the character of the 1993 team. “Kasi sila nag-start sila from scratch e. Tapos yung mga bata alam mong obedient sila sa nakikita mo sa laro. Hindi ko naman sinasabi na hindi obedient yun ibang teams ha,” she justified. “Pero kasi yung Ateneo galing talaga sila sa baba.” She also cited that long before Ateneo practiced meditation before and during games, they were already doing it as part of their routine. “Yes matagal na. Kasi nung nakita ko sila (Ateneo in meditation) sabi ko “Ah Ok. Kasi nag-coach din ako ng mga five years ago (in University of Asia and the Pacific) yun din ang itinuturo ko sa mga players na malaking bagay yung meditation,” she said. “Kasi sa SMAP (Sports Medicine Association of the Philippines) dati sa PSC (Philippine Sports Commission) sila ang nag-handle sa amin na nilagay kami sa isang room (for meditation),” Prochina added. “Tinantanong pa nga namin ang isa’t isa kung nakakatulong. Nakakatulong talaga siya tapos tinuruan nila kami na bago matulog, ayun, dapat may relaxation technique kami. Na dapat relaxed, alisin ang tension sa katawan tapos isipin mo na kinabukasan madali lang yung game. Yun talaga, malaking bagay siya." Just like Ateneo, they enjoyed every game. They are the original happy team. “Oo. Kasi yang si coach Emil Lontoc ang sinasabi niyan kapag maglalaro na kami “tiwala sa sarili at mag-enjoy sa game.” Yun yung sinasabi nila kapag magi-game kami. Kasi kung hindi ka naman magi-enjoy the game wala na, ano yun? E volleyball ito,” she said. And she agrees that Ateneo’s Alyssa Valdez is the new face of volleyball in the country – the phenom that was yet to be born a few days after they bagged the SEAG gold.  “Of course, siya talaga. Kahit asawa ko idol siya. Humble yung bata, bilib ako sa bata,” Prochina explained. “Nakikita ko yung eagerness niya. ‘Yung kapag umatras siya na papatay siya ng bola, makikita mo talaga yung killer’s instinct niya. Kapag naglaro na 100% talaga siya.” For Prochina, Valdez is Barina-Rojas of her time -- a sign of hope.    --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles          .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 5th, 2020

From Hopkinton to Boston, marathon absence is seen and felt

By JIMMY GOLEN AP Sports Writer HOPKINTON, Mass. (AP) — “It All Starts Here.” The motto is bannered on the Hopkinton website, laid into the floor of the Marathon Elementary School, painted on a sign that sends Boston Marathon participants off on their way to Copley Square. Since 1924, this 300-year-old town serendipitously located 26.2 miles west of Boston has been the starting line for the world’s most prestigious road race and, like Marathon and Athens themselves, the two are enduringly linked. “It gets stronger and stronger every year, this relationship,” said Tim Kilduff, a longtime Hopkinton resident and former Boston Marathon race director. “We see it as: The spirit of the marathon resides in Hopkinton, and we lend it out one day a year.” From the starting line in this leafy Colonial town to the finish on Boylston Street, residents and runners are preparing for a spring without the Boston Marathon — the first in 124 years. Organizers and authorities have postponed the race originally scheduled for Monday until Sept. 14 because of the coronavirus pandemic, stripping the streets of brightly colored singlets and opening a gap in the sporting schedule for runners from all over the world. “Tradition’s an overused word. But this really is a rite of spring,” Kilduff said. “So this year it will lead into a beautiful fall season in New England.” ___ On a regular marathon weekend, Hopkinton triples in size from its 16,000 residents to absorb a field of more than 30,000 runners, wheelchair racers and hand cyclists. The Town Common teems with people, along with food carts and other vendors serving both tourists and race participants previewing the course. But while others may think of Hopkinton only on the third Monday in April, the marathon and its essence permeates the town all year. Residents drive over the starting line painted on Main Street on their way to work or to concerts at the gazebo. An International Marathon Center is planned for the town, a sister city of Marathon, Greece, where the long-running tradition was birthed. There are three marathon-related statues in Hopkinton, including “The Starter,” which stands at the starting line, pistol raised, ready to send the field off for another race to Boston’s Back Bay. These days, his face is covered with a cloth mask. “This is not the NBA or baseball or the NFL. This is ours,” said Kilduff, who was the race director in 1983-84, ran the marathon in 1985 and for the last 33 years has been a spotter on the truck that leads the men’s field to the finish line. “Anybody who has run the race, volunteered for the race, supported the race, feels that they own a part of the race. They own just a little bit. So it’s ours,” he said. “The Boston Marathon is almost bigger than itself in the emotion it elicits, and the respect that people have for it.” ___ Training for a marathon can be a solitary endeavor, but the event itself is a social distancing calamity. Participants crowd into corrals to wait for the start, then run in packs to minimize air resistance. Volunteers hand out water on the course and medals at the finish. Fans and family are waiting with high fives or hugs. At Wellesley College, where the cheering is so loud it is known as the Scream Tunnel, students traditionally wave signs encouraging the runners to stop for a kiss. It’s hard to imagine this custom — already a relic of another era — surviving post-pandemic. “A lot of the signs are jokes about kissing. That’s part of the tradition, too,” said Erin Kelly, a senior who returned home to San Diego when the campus closed. “The marathon is just a big part of Wellesley’s culture. I was looking forward to seeing it as a student one last time.” ___ Oncologist Amy Comander decided to run the Boston Marathon in 2013, when colleagues at Massachusetts General Hospital treated many of those injured when two pressure-cooker bombs exploded at the finish line. “I just told myself: You’re running next year. And I did,” she said. And every year since. After starting work at Newton-Wellesley Hospital, right around the Mile 16 marker, Comander has used it as a base for her training runs. During the race itself, the sight of coworkers, friends and even patients out front cheering her on gives her a boost of energy right when she needs it: just before making the turn toward Heartbreak Hill. “I see it as a true privilege that I can go to work and I’m on the marathon course," Comander said. “You’re talking to someone who truly loves everything about the Boston Marathon." Comander is registered to run for her seventh year in a row, this time to raise money for cancer survivors and their families; she is still determined to do so in September. But on Monday, she will be caring for cancer patients, a task more stressful because of the danger the coronavirus poses to their weakened immune systems. “I will be a little sad,” said Comander, who plans to take a break from the clinic to get in an 8-mile run — but not on the course, per the request of authorities concerned about crowds. “I feel like I need to do that for myself.” ___ The daffodils are in bloom now from Hopkinton Green to Copley Square and all along the 26.2-mile route in between. Thousands of the bright yellow flowers were planted after the 2013 bombing as a symbol of rebirth and resilience, and they have the benefit of blossoming in mid-April — right around Patriots' Day — to cheer the runners along. Thousands more potted daffodils have decorated the course each year since the explosions at the finish line that killed three people and wounded more than 180 others. With the state holiday and the race postponed until the fall, the blooms will have long since withered. Instead, many of the flowers grown to decorate the course were placed outside of hospitals to thank health care staffers for working through the pandemic. Outside Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, just down the road from the 1 Mile To Go marker in Kenmore Square, the flowers were arranged in a heart. A sign encouraged workers to take a plant home. ___ Just a few steps from the finish line, the Marathon Sports shoe store on Boylston Street gets especially busy over the weekend leading up to the race, when tens of thousands of runners descend on the Back Bay. Things typically cool off on Monday, giving the staff a chance to pop out and cheer the finishers. "We don’t have any official party," said Dan Darcy, the chain’s marketing director. “It’s really just a celebration of the runners that day." Marathon participants are easily recognizable after the race: There is the medal around their neck, of course, and a mylar warming blanket draped around their shoulders if the weather is cold. Often their bib number is still pinned to their chest. “If we have any runners coming through our doors on Marathon Monday, I can tell you they’ll be recognized and they’ll hear the support from our staff,” Darcy said in a telephone interview from Fairbanks, Alaska, where he is working remotely. Marathon Sports has been a reluctant landmark since the first of the two bombs exploded outside its window at 2:49 p.m. on April 15, 2013. Darcy was watching the race from a different spot that day and tried unsuccessfully for hours to get in touch with his coworkers. A few were injured; others turned the store into a field hospital, treating the wounded until trained first responders could arrive. A memorial stands on the sidewalk outside to the three killed in the explosions and the two police officers who died in the ensuing manhunt, which shut down the city and surrounding area for much of the week. The store reopened about two weeks later. Now it’s closed again. “We are going to be encouraging runners to go out and get a run in on their own, keeping the social distancing, but not to run the race route itself,” Darcy said. “We’re not able to do any sort of celebration.” ___ Last month, as Americans began to isolate indoors and one sporting event after another was canceled, the Boston Athletic Association sacrificed its spring start in the hopes of keeping its 124-year tradition alive. Since the first edition in 1897, the race had always coincided with the state holiday of Patriots' Day that commemorates the first shots in the Revolutionary War. As the snow melts in New England, the course becomes increasingly populated with joggers emerging from a winter indoors to get in their training runs. To Kilduff, this year's fall race will be an opportunity to come out of a different kind of isolation. “You know what happened in the year after the bombing: There’s going to be this huge buildup of pent-up energy. And it’s going to be exhibited on the course,” he said. "It’s going to create a brand new chapter in the history of the Boston Marathon. "I’m excited as hell about this.” ___ Jimmy Golen has covered the Boston Marathon for The Associated Press since 1995......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 20th, 2020

Sports leagues seek return to play but with no guarantees

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 19th, 2020

AJ Mitchell drops brand-new single

Pop phenom AJ Mitchell has officially released his brand new song “Spring Break” featuring Rich the Kid via Epic Records. .....»»

Category: entertainmentSource:  thestandardRelated NewsApr 3rd, 2020

Boxing: Irish Magno books ticket to Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Filipina boxer Irish Magno was given a second chance, and she made good on it, booking a spot in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo after winning her Women's Flyweight Olympic Box-off bout in the 2020 Asia and Oceania Boxing Olympic Qualifiers, Wednesday in Amman, Jordan.  Magno, a 2019 SEA Games Silver Medalist, used her size and power to overwhelm Tajikistan's Sumaiya Qosimova en route to a unanimous decision victory.  Magno was swinging hard from the opening bell, throwing wild haymakers to put the pressure on the 19-year old Qosimova. The young Tajik had no answer for the bigger Magno, who coasted to a dominant opening round, even getting 10-8 scores.  Round 2 was even more dominant for Magno, as she never let up, pushing Qosimova back with powerful punches and scoring a 10-8 across the board.  Round 3 was no different, as Magno closed things out in dominant fashion with another 10-8 round across the boards for a clear-cut decision win.  "I am so very happy, and I made it because of my coach Boy Velasco, this is for you coach," said Magno post-fight.  The 28-year old Magno joins Eumir Marcial on Tokyo 2020's Pinoy boxing contingent so far. Gymnast Caloy Yulo and pole vaulter EJ Obiena are the other Filipino athletes who have so far qualified for the Summer Olympics.  Filipino flyweight Carlo Paalam still could not get over the hump however, as he came up short in his Men's Flyweight Olympic Box-off bout against Kazakhstan's Saken Bibbosinov, losing via a 4-1 Split Decision.  Paalam was aggressive from the get-go as he tried to control the pace and overwhelm the taller Kazakh.  Bibbosinov's range and reach would ultimately be the x-factor, as Paalam simply could not break through without getting hit.  Down on the cards and needing a knockout in the final round to secure a spot in Tokyo, Paalam turned things up and landed a couple of clean shots that rocked Bibbosinov's head back, but none significant enough to get a count.  All is not lost for Paalam however, as he can still earn a spot in the Summer Games through the Global Qualifiers in Paris this May. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 11th, 2020

A step ahead? Nike s Vaporfly shoe changing marathon game

By PAT GRAHAM and ALEXANDRA OLSON Associated Press To pick the favorites in this year's Olympic marathon, just glance at the shoes of the runners on the starting line. Anyone wearing Nike's Vaporfly model may already have a head start. The shoe has shaken up distance running since the world’s largest sports apparel company introduced it four years ago, with technology credited for helping runners shave minutes off their times. To some, the advances are an exciting revolution. Others have called it “technology doping” that risks reducing marathons to a shoe competition. “Running is so simple. That's why people love it so much. Now we have a shoe that is blurring that," said Geoff Burns, a runner and Ph.D candidate at the University of Michigan's School of Kinesiology. The controversy prompted World Athletics, the sport’s governing body, to issue its most stringent shoe regulations in decades ahead of the Tokyo Games. But the Vaporfly escaped a ban, and the debate continues. Now, Nike has a new racing shoe that also squeaks by the new rules: The Air Zoom Alphafly Next%, which was unveiled at a flashy fashion show in New York on Wednesday night. Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya wore a prototype of the shoe when he ran the world's first sub-2-hour marathon in an unofficial race in October. Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei was also in a version of the shoe when she set the world record for women in Chicago last year. Geoffrey Kamworor of Kenya wore a version of Vaporfly when he won the New York Marathon in November. All three of the men’s marathon medalists at the 2016 Rio Olympics laced up a version of the shoe as well. Vaporfly shoes have become a common sight at marathons all over, easily spotted with their neon green or pink hue. Many marathoners are gladly paying the $250 price tag on Nike’s website — and sometimes more — even as they wonder how much credit they can personally take for improved results. Bryan Lam, an amateur marathoner in Washington, D.C. said he spent $400 for a pair of StockX ahead of the London Marathon last spring because the version he wanted was sold out elsewhere. He ran the marathon in 2:59.30, seven minutes faster than his previous personal best, a result he called “insane.” It helped him achieve his lifelong goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon this year. “I’d like to think that it was because of all of my training for the London Marathon but I do think the shoes had something to do with my performance,” Lam said. “It’s definitely not a level playing field when those who can afford the shoes have that type of advantage." What differentiates the Vaporfly is a foam midsole that is lighter and less dense than others, allowing for extra cushioning without adding weight. The shoe also has a carbon-fiber plate that acts like a lever to reduce the work at the ankle. Independent and company-sponsored studies have found that the shoe gives runners a 4% edge in energy efficiency. The Air Zoom Alphafly Next% steps it up a notch with two “air pods" in the sole for extra cushioning. Both the Vaporfly and the Alphafly meet a World Athletic rule that limits the sole thickness to no more than 40 millimeters. The Alphafly will be available for sale to Nike members starting Feb. 29, meaning it meets a new rule that shoes must be available on the open market by April 30 to be allowed at the Tokyo Games. Kyle Barnes, an exercise science assistant professor at Grand Valley State University in Michigan, conducted a study around two years ago that compared the Vaporfly shoes to Nike’s Zoom Matumbo 3 (a track spike) and Adidas Adizero Adios 3. His findings showed about 4.2% more efficiency by wearing the Vaporfly model. Bottom line: Barnes estimated that slipping into the Vaporfly could potentially trim several minutes off a professional’s time and in the vicinity of 10 minutes for, say, a 4-hour marathoner. “It is a form of technology doping,” said Barnes, who co-authored the study with exercise physiology professor Andrew Kilding from Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand. “You're at a disadvantage not being in those shoes. ... Everything is happening so quick right now in the shoe industry.” World Athletics sought a middle ground in its recent decision, making clear that wearing the Vaporfly will not constitute cheating. But in tightening its rules, the Monaco-based organization signaled a new era of vigilance. The governing body said an expert working group will be created to assess new shoes entering the market and placed a moratorium on certain criteria for shoes. It also banned any shoe with a sole thickness of more than 40-millimeters, or that contains more than one plate. The Vaporfly controversy has drawn comparisons to the advantages that swimmers received wearing the Speedo LZR Racer, a full-body compression suit that trapped air for buoyancy and improved performance, leading to a slew of world records. Swimming's world governing body later banned all body-length swimwear. But the minimal technology involved in running has evolved only gradually, said Burns. The last major changes, he said, came in the 1960s and '70s, when shoe manufacturers developed EVA-based foam midsoles and all-weather tracks began replacing cinder tracks. N ike also is working on a fast shoe for the 100 meters. It's called the Nike Air Zoom Viperfly and as of now will not be at the Olympics because its design does not meet the new World Athletics regulations. Nike is looking at ways to adjust the shoe so that it will comply with regulations, according to a person familiar with the discussion. The person spoke on condition of anonymity of the ongoing process since it's not public. Other companies are also pushing the boundaries of shoe technology. Saucony has a carbon-plated shoe called the Endorphin Pro, which m arathoner Jared Ward wrote in a blog felt like the shoes were “pushing me forward into more of a half-marathon cadence.” Translation: It’s fast. Joyciline Jepkosgei won the women’s marathon in New York wearing an Adidas Adizero Pro prototype, which the company said in a statement conforms with the new rules. Adidas did not release details about the shoe's technical design. Hoka One One recently came out with the Carbon X, which was described as a cushioned, carbon-plated “speed machine” for a "propulsive, responsive ride.” “We’re all fans of the sport,” said Colin Ingram, director of product for Hoka One One. “We’re all for (technology advances) as long as we're able to do it within our own DNA when we decide to jump into the foray.” For the moment, though, Nike appears to hold a sizable lead over any rival. "I suspect they're three years behind, minimum, and so it'll take a long time before race results have any real integrity in a competitive sense," sports scientist Ross Tucker wrote in an email. “It turned athletes from 2:06 to 2:04. It decided results. It changed the relationship between physiological input and performance outputs.” Burns said a new era of advanced shoe technology could potentially disrupt the prevailing sponsorship model in running, in which shoe companies generally serve as the main sponsors of athletes. Burns said more athletes may look beyond shoe companies if a contract forces them to wear a shoe that puts them at a competitive disadvantage. "If you have guys bringing knives to a gunfight, it's not a good look for the knife sponsors," Burns said. American distance runner Roberta Groner doesn't have a shoe deal and trains in a variety of brands, including a version of the Vaporfly. She could be wearing that model at the U.S. Olympic marathon trials in Atlanta later this month. "I don't get into the science," Groner said. “I just go with how I feel.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 7th, 2020

Packers hold off Seahawks 28-23 to reach NFC title game

By Dave Campbell, Associated Press GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers connected with Davante Adams eight times for 160 yards and two touchdowns, Green Bay's spruced-up defense fended off a spirited Seattle rally, and the Packers held on for a 28-23 victory Sunday night to reach the NFC championship game for the third time in six years. Aaron Jones rushed for 62 yards and two first-half scores for the Packers (14-3), who will travel next weekend to take on top-seeded San Francisco. Russell Wilson carried the Seahawks (12-6) on yet another comeback, this time from a 21-3 halftime deficit, but the Packers forced a punt just before the two-minute warning on the second sack of the game by Preston Smith. That was Green Bay's fifth of the game. Za'Darius Smith, the other big-money free agent added to the defense last spring, had two sacks himself. The Seahawks never got the ball again. Rodgers sealed the win with two third-down throws: first a 32-yard pass to Adams on third-and-8 with 2:19 left and then 9 yards to Jimmy Graham on third-and-9 right after the two-minute warning to take down a Seahawks team that was 8-1 on the road this season entering the game. Rodgers exacted some payback for five years ago, when the Packers blew a 16-0 halftime lead in the NFC championship game at Seattle and lost 28-22 in overtime. The Seahawks haven’t been back to the conference title game since, let alone the Super Bowl. Rodgers is running out of time faster than Wilson, though, nine years after his only championship. The Seahawks had just a plus-seven scoring margin during the regular season, making quite the habit of second-half rallies. Wilson did some of the finest work of his eight-year career in 2019, helping the Seahawks stay on track despite a steady stream of injuries, including the late setbacks in the backfield that prompted the emergency call for Marshawn Lynch. Racking up 64 yards rushing on seven scrambles and completing 21 of 31 passes for 277 yards, Wilson directed touchdown drives of 69, 84, 79 right out of the gate after halftime. Lynch finished two of them with scores, and Wilson threw to Tyler Lockett for the other one. Lynch’s second touchdown with 9:33 left cut the lead to 28-23, but Jaire Alexander blew up the 2-point conversion attempt with a sack on an unblocked blitz. The Packers gave the ball back to the Seahawks with a second consecutive punts, this time with 4:54 left at the Seattle 22, but Wilson ran out of tricks in his seemingly bottomless bag of them. FORCEFUL FIRST HALF The Seahawks brought their pass rush to life with seven sacks while grinding out a 17-9 win at Philadelphia last week in the wild card round, with Jadeveon Clowney making his presence felt including a hit that knocked Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz out of the game with a concussion. The Packers mostly kept Rodgers much better protected, though. The Packers had three touchdown drives of 75 yards apiece over the first three quarters, plus a 60-yard march preceded by a missed 50-yard field goal try from Jason Myers. Rodgers hasn't had much help beyond Adams and Jones this season, but he and coach Matt LaFleur did a masterful job of getting them the ball with some Tyler Ervin and Jimmy Graham mixed in. On the opening possession, Adams and Geronimo Allison ran angled routes toward each other before faking the pick and zagging away. Seahawks cornerback Tre Flowers was caught in the confusion, allowing Adams to break free for the 20-yard score. OH, NO, LAMBEAU Seahawks fans have plenty of bad memories of their favorite team's performances in Green Bay, with the losing streak at Lambeau Field now at nine straight games. The last such win for Seattle was on Nov. 1, 1999. There was the hot mike that picked up Matt Hasselbeck's ill-fated boast during the overtime coin toss that the Seahawks would win, preceding his pick-six in the 2003 playoffs. There was the blowout in the snow in the 2007 playoffs, which turned out to be Brett Favre's final win for the Packers. There were also the regular season losses with Wilson in 2015, 2016 and 2017. INJURY REPORT Seahawks: LG Mike Iupati was out with a neck injury, and Jamarco Jones left in the second quarter with a concussion. That forced rookie Phil Haynes into action. ... Clowney, who has fought through a core muscle injury this season, was holding his midsection in the second quarter and briefly absent for the first TD run by Jones. ... Backup DEs Ziggy Ansah (neck) and L.J. Collier were inactive, and DE Quinton Jefferson left with a foot injury in the third quarter. Packers: RT Bryan Bulaga, one of six players the team reported this week as being limited by illness, was active for but did not play. Jared Veldheer replaced him. ... FB Danny Vitale (ankle/illness) was inactive. ... WR Allen Lazard hurt his ankle in the second quarter after Jones collided with the back of his right leg. UP NEXT Seahawks: head into the offseason, needing replenish their depth on the offensive line and on defense while Wilson remains in his prime. Packers: advance to their third NFC championship game in six years. They lost 37-8 on Nov. 24 to the 49ers, who beat Minnesota 27-10 on Saturday in their divisional round game......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 13th, 2020

Russia confirms it will appeal 4-year Olympic ban

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia confirmed Friday that it will appeal its four-year Olympic ban for manipulating doping data. The Russian anti-doping agency, known as RUSADA, sent a formal letter disagreeing with the sanctions imposed earlier this month by the World Anti-Doping Agency. The case is now heading to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). Next year's Olympics in Tokyo will be the third consecutive edition of the games preceded by a legal battle over Russian doping issues. RUSADA said it “disputes the (WADA) notice in its entirety," including the evidence of tampering with the data archive. The data was handed over in January and was meant to clear up past cover-ups, but has led to more legal tussles. RUSADA's own CEO, Yuri Ganus, attached his own note of protest to Friday's letter. Ganus is critical of Russian officials and had disagreed with the decision to appeal. He was overruled by his agency's founders, which include some of Russia's most influential sports leaders. The WADA sanctions ban the use of the Russian team name, flag or anthem at a range of major sports competitions over the next four years, including next year's Olympics and the 2022 soccer World Cup. Ganus said he believes any appeal has little chance of success and could even lead to harsher sanctions, including a ban of all Russian athletes, who under the current ban are allowed to compete as neutrals. “There is a possibility of entering the case new players which may demand from the court not to soften the sanctions but to toughen them,” Ganus said. "The sanctions regime that is in place against the Russian sport is not full, it is not a 100 percent. There were greater sanctions, up to a ban of all athletes." Russians will be allowed to compete in Tokyo as unaffiliated athletes if they pass a vetting process that examines their history of drug testing, and possible involvement in cover-ups at the lab. That has prompted anger from some Western athletes and organizations like the United States Anti-Doping Agency, which wanted a blanket ban on Russian athletes. The appeal was widely expected with Russian President Vladimir Putin having branded the ban “unfair.” RUSADA's supervisory board voted Dec. 19 to file an arbitration case with CAS in Switzerland after WADA ruled Russia had manipulated doping laboratory data to cover up past offenses. Putin has said it was not fair to threaten Russia with more doping-related punishment, and that any sanctions should be on an individual basis. “I think it is not just unfair but not corresponding to common sense and law,” Putin said. After a panel of three CAS arbitrators is chosen, a verdict will be issued within three months. Putin added that WADA's recommended four-year ban on Russia hosting major sports competitions would have little effect, pointing to the 2022 men's volleyball world championships as an event Russia intends to keep. WADA demands events are moved unless it's "legally or practically impossible" to do so, which could create a loophole for event organizers who don't want to break financial commitments. That ban already doesn't apply to next year's European Championship soccer games in St. Petersburg or the 2021 Champions League final, both of which are exempt because they're continental, not world, championships. Russia handed over the lab's doping data archive in January in return for having earlier sanctions lifted in 2018. WADA investigators found evidence that Russia was intensively editing the data in the weeks before the handover to remove signs of failed drug tests. Ganus has said he believes the editing took place, and he said a hearing reveal further evidence of data manipulation. “What are the risks? First of all, it is a public hearing, which will reveal to the whole world the supporting information of the official position of sports authorities on changes in the computer database,” Ganus said. WADA said it found fake messages spliced into chat logs in an apparent attempt to smear former lab director Grigory Rodchenkov, who's become a key witness for WADA since leaving Russia. Rodchenkov went public with allegations of a vast state-sponsored doping scheme after the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, where Russia was the top medal-winning country......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 28th, 2019

Simone Soars: Biles named 2019 AP Female Athlete of the Year

By Will Graves, Associated Press They’re called “Simone Things,” a catchall phrase for the casual ease with which Simone Biles seems to soar through her sport and her life. The irony, of course, is that there’s nothing casual or easy about it. Any of it. The greatest gymnast of all time and 2019 Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year only makes it seem that way. Those jaw-dropping routines that are rewriting her sport's code of points and redefining what can be done on the competition floor? Born from a mix of natural talent, hard work and a splash of ego. The 25 world championship medals, the most by any gymnast ever? The result of a promise the 22-year-old made to herself when she returned to competition in 2017 after taking time off following her golden run at the 2016 Olympics. The stoicism and grace she has shown in becoming an advocate for survivors — herself included — and an agent for change in the wake of the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal that’s shaken USA Gymnastics to its core? The byproduct of a conscious decision to embrace the immense clout she carries. “I realize now with the platform I have it will be powerful if I speak up and speak for what I believe in,” Biles told The Associated Press. “It’s an honor to speak for those that are less fortunate. So if I can be a voice for them in a positive manner, then of course I’m going to do whatever I can.” And it's that mission — combined with her otherworldly skill and boundless charisma — that's enabled Biles to keep gymnastics in the spotlight, a rarity for a sport that typically retreats into the background once the Olympic flame goes out. She is the first gymnast to be named AP Female Athlete of the Year twice and the first to do it in a non-Olympic year. Biles edged U.S. women's soccer star Megan Rapinoe in a vote by AP member sports editors and AP beat writers. Skiing star Mikaela Schiffrin placed third, with WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne fourth. Biles captured the award in 2016 following a showstopping performance at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, where she won five medals in all, four of them gold. She spent most of the following 12 months taking a break before returning to the gym in the fall of 2017, saying she owed it to herself to mine the depth of her talent. Check social media following one of her routines and you’ll find people -- from LeBron James to Michelle Obama to Chrissy Teigen -- struggling to distill what they’ve witnessed into 280 characters or fewer, with whatever they settle on typically followed by multiple exclamation points and a goat emoji, a nod to Biles being considered the Greatest Of All Time. Her triple-twisting double-flip (the “triple double”) at the end of her first tumbling pass on floor exercise is a wondrous blur. Her double-twisting double-flip beam dismount (the “double double”) is so tough the International Gymnastics Federation made the unusual decision to downplay its value in an effort to deter other gymnasts from even trying it. This is both the blessing and the curse of making the nearly impossible look tantalizingly attainable. When Biles learned about the FIG's decision, she vented on Twitter, her palpable frustration highlighting the realness she's maintained even as her first name has become synonymous with her sport's royalty. It can lead to a bit of a balancing act. In some ways, she's still the kid from Texas who just wants to hang out with her boyfriend and her dog and go to the grocery story without being bothered. In other ways, she's trying to be respectful of the world she's built. Take the GOAT thing. It’s a title she embraces — Biles wore a goat-themed leotard during training at the national championships in August — but also takes with a grain of salt, determined to stay grounded even as the hype around her grows. Yes, GOAT happens to be the acronym for her planned post-Olympic “Gold Over America Tour,” but ask her where the inspiration came from and she laughs and gives credit to a friend, Kevin, who came up with it in a group chat. It is both paying tribute to and winking at her status at the same time. Biles has become well aware over the last three years that her every word and action carries far greater weight than she ever imagined. Her most impactful moment of 2019 might not have come during a meet but sitting for an interview on the eve of winning her record sixth national title, when she fought back tears while talking about how USA Gymnastics, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee and the FBI failed to protect athletes during an investigation into Nassar's abusive behavior. The moment went viral, as most things surrounding her tend to do these days. “I’m starting to realize it’s not just the gymternet anymore,” Biles said, using the term for her sport's dedicated fans. "It’s an overall thing. It’s weird to get that kind of attention, but at the end of the day, I feel gymnastics has been overlooked in non-Olympic years. Yeah, it puts pressure on me. But I’m not trying to think about all the attention from the outside world.” The attention figures to only grow in the run-up to Tokyo, where she will attempt to become the first female gymnast in more than half a century to repeat as Olympic champion. Her smiling face serves as the exclamation point at the end of every television promo for the Summer Games. Let it be known: The smile is real. That might not have always been the case, but is is now. Heading into the final months of a singular career, she is trying to revel in the journey while anxiously awaiting what's next. Add it to the list of Simone Things. “I feel like this is the beginning of my life and I don’t want gymnastics to be my whole entire life,” she said. “I’m definitely going to soak in the moment and enjoy it so 10 years from now I can look back and say ‘I had the time of my life out there’ ... rather than ‘I was good, but I was miserable.’”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 26th, 2019

Leipzig top in Germany at halfway stage, but Bayern revived

By James Ellingworth, Associated Press Is this the season when Bayern Munich's seven-year hold on the German title ends? A poor start and a humiliating 5-1 loss to Frankfurt cost Niko Kovac his job as Bayern coach and gave teams like Leipzig and surprise title contender Borussia Mönchengladbach hope of victory. Bayern has bounced back under interim coach Hansi Flick, though, and is third in the table, four points behind leader Leipzig. That's earned Flick an extension until at least the end of the season. It's been a tale of dueling goalscorers, with Robert Lewandowski having scored 19 goals in 17 games for Bayern, and Timo Werner one goal behind for Leipzig. For Gladbach, goalkeeper Yann Sommer has been crucial to their title challenge. Borussia Dortmund has been powerful on its day, but the team is also inconsistent and brittle. Losing to Bayern 4-0 last month was a big dent to Dortmund's title belief. Last Sunday's games were the last of 2019 and the Bundesliga returns from its winter break on Jan. 17. PLAYER OF THE SEASON SO FAR He turned 31 in August and Lewandowski shows no sign of slowing down. The Polish forward scored in Bayern's first 11 Bundesliga games and has racked up 30 goals across all competitions. He's taking time off during the winter break to have groin surgery. Werner has been almost as prolific, including a remarkable performance with three goals and three assists in an 8-0 thrashing of Mainz last month. For Dortmund, Jadon Sancho's in hot form with eight goals in his last six Bundesliga games. But perhaps no one's been as vital to their team as Rouwen Hennings. The 32-year-old Hennings doesn't have the star status of Lewandowski or Sancho but his 11 goals for struggling Fortuna are four more than the rest of the team put together. SURPRISE OF THE SEASON Gladbach's golden age was the 1970s, when it won five Bundesligas in eight years. With its run to second, Gladbach has been a feelgood story for German fans of other clubs who dislike Bayern's wealth and see Leipzig as less a soccer club than an advertising board for energy drinks giant Red Bull. Gladbach has nothing like the budget of Bayern or Leipzig, but has built a solid team with attacking firepower from Marcus Thuram, son of former French defender Lilian Thuram, and Swiss forward Breel Embolo. A comeback 2-1 win over Bayern this month showed its a serious contender. Kai Havertz experienced the season's most unwelcome surprise when fans of his own team, Bayer Leverkusen, booed him this month. The attacking midfielder started the season rated as one of Germany's most promising young players, but he's looked listless in recent games and last scored in September. GOAL OF THE SEASON Bayern's 46 goals in the Bundesliga have included some gems. Philippe Coutinho scored with an outrageous flick from the outside of his foot against Werder Bremen last week. Lewandowski's hit some long-range free kicks and shrugged off four defenders to score against Frankfurt, the only bright spot in a heavy loss for Bayern. The highlight of Leipzig's title charge might just be Christopher Nkunku juggling the ball through the Bayer Leverkusen defense and past the goalkeeper in October. For sheer fireworks, no one beats Hertha Berlin's Javairo Dilrosun. The Dutch winger picked up the ball on the left wing and cut inside past four defenders — beating one of them twice — before scoring against Paderborn. WHO'LL BE CHAMPION? If Bayern's recovery under Flick continues, an eighth straight title is definitely possible, if only because of the depth in its squad. The Munich team was packed with individual talent, even if Kovac was defeated by the puzzle of how to make them all play well together. There's also a bench filled with hungry young players such as New Zealand midfielder Sarpreet Singh and the Dutch forward Joshua Zirkzee, who's scored in each of his first two Bundesliga appearances. Leipzig takes a four-point lead into 2020, but depends heavily on core players such as Werner and the in-form Marcel Sabitzer and Patrik Schick. Losing any of them to injury could be a fatal blow. Gladbach has less depth than either of them, but unlike them, it won't be balancing the Bundesliga with any European competitions in the spring. CHAMPIONS LEAGUE QUALIFICATION The fight for the four Champions League spots is wide open, with at least eight teams making a strong claim. Behind the leading trio of Leipzig, Gladbach, and Bayern, there's a chasing pack of Borussia Dortmund, Schalke, Leverkusen, Hoffenheim, and Freiburg. All have played Champions League football in recent years, with the exception of Freiburg, but they have all been inconsistent this season. WHO'S GOING DOWN? The relegation fight is just as close as the scrap for European places. Promoted Paderborn is last but showed it has claws by beating Frankfurt 2-1 last weekend. The other automatic relegation spot is occupied by Werder Bremen, which is in danger of its first relegation since 1981. Werder ended 2019 with four straight defeats, two of them by five-goal margins, and with club management embroiled in conflict with fans over the sale of their stadium's naming rights. If Werder can climb out of danger, it would likely be at the expense of one of two Rhineland rivals, Cologne or Fortuna Düsseldorf, or else Mainz......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 25th, 2019

SEA Games champions captivate the nation with inspiring performances

Winning the hearts of Filipinos everywhere with their discipline, perseverance, and hard work, MILO Champions Carlos Yulo, Kiefer Ravena, Pauline Lopez, Mary Joy Tabal, and Alyssa Valdez brought pride and honor to the country during the recently concluded 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games. With an entire nation energized and rallying support for five of the brightest stars in Philippine sports, they reasserted our position in the regional arena and proved why the future is bright for the next generation of champions. MILO congratulates its sports ambassadors for their impressive medal finishes and hard-fought efforts in the SEA Games, of which the Philippines also earned the overall championship, besting the 10 other countries with a tally of 387 medals: 149 gold, 117 silver, and 121 bronze. “The 30th Southeast Asian Games marked another historic milestone for the advancement of Philippine sports,” says Nestlé Philippines-MILO Vice President Veronica Cruz. “As a longstanding partner and advocate, MILO is honored to be a part of the journeys of Caloy, Kiefer, Pauline, Mary Joy, and Alyssa while remaining steadfast in building a nation of champions, bannering our one Laban Pilipinas battlecry.”  Yulo has come a long way from playing in the streets with his friends and competing in the MILO Little Olympics. The first Filipino gymnastics world champion, and just the second countryman to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, continued his meteoric rise as he competed in front of a spirited home crowd for the first time, bagging two gold medals (all-around and floor exercise) and five silvers (pommel horse, steady rings, vaults, parallel bars, and horizontal bar). Before Lopez began reaping numerous awards here and abroad, she tested her mettle by winning the 2007 MILO-PTA (Philippine Taekwondo Association) tournament gold medal. As one of the brand’s newest ambassadors, she continues to empower other Filipinas to break barriers and overcome obstacles as seen in her women’s under 57kg gold medal victory. Securing his record fifth straight SEA Games gold medal in men’s basketball, Ravena proudly exemplified how comebacks are stronger than setbacks. The MILO BEST Center 2001 graduate and longtime ambassador proved doubters wrong with his unbreakable spirit and unquestionable dedication to the country, even as a late addition to the team’s lineup. A six-time regining National MILO Marathon Queen and first Filipino marathon Olympian, Tabal gave her all in an inspired showing, finishing with a silver in the women’s marathon. She is optimistic in her pursuit of other key tournaments next year as she competes in the Tokyo 2020 Marathon and looks to qualify in the 2020 Olympics. Valdez and company exceeded expectations, putting up a valiant effort with a fourth-place finish in front of their adoring fans at the 30th SEA Games. With a near-podium finish, the MILO sports ambassador and volleyball MVP remains determined to win a medal for the country. “We are one with the people in celebrating the Champions and all the athletes who represented the country in the 30th SEA Games, showcasing what it truly means to be a champion in sports and in life. More than the wins and recognition, MILO believes in the importance of  lifelong values learned in sports and remains committed to nourishing the ambitions of Filipinos,” adds MILO Sports Executive Lester P. Castillo.  As a gold partner of the 30th SEA Games, MILO helped energize a nation of champions with the first taste of the NEW MILO for tomorrow’s champions. Attendees of the games in select fan zones and venues were able to try the more delicious and nutritious Champion formula. ### About MILO MILO has been in the Philippines for over 50 years and is the country’s favorite chocolate malt powdered milk drink that can be prepared with hot or cold milk or water.  Every mug of MILO contains the goodness of Cocoa, Malt, Milk, and Activ-Go® - a special blend of Protomalt®, Vitamins, and Minerals. It is high in Vitamins B2, B3, B6, B12, C, and is a good source of Iron, for energy release from food.  About Nestlé Philippines Over a hundred years after it first started operations in the country, Nestlé Philippines, Inc. (NPI) today is a robust and stable organization, proud of its role in bringing the best food and beverage throughout the stages of the Filipino consumers’ lives. The Company employs more than 3,200 men and women nationwide, and is among the country’s Top 10 Corporations.  Driven by its purpose of enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future, Nestlé today produces and markets products under some of the country’s trusted brands such as NESCAFE, NIDO, MILO, NESTEA, MAGGI, BEAR BRAND, NESTLÉ and PURINA, among others. Its product range has expanded to include coffee, milk, beverages, non-dairy creamer, food, infant nutrition, ice cream and chilled dairy, breakfast cereals, confectionery and pet care......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 17th, 2019

Olympic champion Biles to headline post-Olympic tour

By Will Graves, Associated Press Simone Biles wants to bring gymnastics to the masses and plans to bring some of her friends along for the ride. The Olympic and world champion is headlining a tour in the fall of 2020 that will be a mixture of sports and entertainment intended to inspire the next generation of female athletes. The “Gold Over America” tour will visit more than 35 cities, including Biles' hometown of Houston as well as New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. The idea originated when Biles was in the early stages of her return to gymnastics in the fall of 2017 after taking a year off following her memorable performance at the 2016 Olympics, where she won four gold medals and five in all, becoming the face of her sport. “When we found out I was coming back, we kind of sat down and talked about things I would want to do,” Biles told The Associated Press on Wednesday. “They said it could be as small as starting a perfume line or maybe as big as a tour. I was like, 'Actually, that would be pretty sweet. That would be the coolest thing ever.'" The women-only roster will reunite Biles with longtime friend Katelyn Ohashi. Ohashi and Biles competed against each other growing up. Like Biles, Ohashi — the 2012 junior national champion — had designs on competing at the Olympics before injuries sidetracked her elite career. She instead attended UCLA, helping the Bruins win the national title in 2018 and becoming a viral sensation last winter with her Michael Jackson-themed floor routine. "She made her mark," Biles said. “She put college gymnastics and gymnastics ... back on the map. She has impacted a lot of female gymnasts and I think this really brings us full circle." The tour will also finally allow Biles to join forces with former UCLA coach Val Kondos Field. Biles verbally committed to compete for the Bruins before turning professional in 2015. Kondos Field, who retired last spring, will serve as executive producer and supervising choreographer for the tour. Biles said the goal is to bring the sport closer to the audience and also to loosen things up a bit. The plan is to utilize giant video screens, pyrotechnics and an in-house DJ. “We want this to be completely different," Biles said. “There will be dancing. Hopefully trampoline. Something people have never seen before." Biles captured five gold medals at the 2019 world championships to boost her career total to 25 medals overall, a record for both men and women. She is widely considered the greatest gymnast of all time and her face has been at the forefront of television promos for the 2020 Olympics, where she will try to become the first woman in more than 50 years to repeat as gymnastics champion. While there are times she admits she's still processing her fame, she's is starting to understand her influence on the sport. It's one of the reasons she agreed to headline the tour. “In a way, it’s scary," Biles said. "But at this point I also feel like it’s really exciting to have a platform that I do and to be able to do some of the things that I’ve been blessed with. I think it’s a combination of both. So I don’t know. We went back and forth on if we wanted my name in it, but you never know. I think it’ll be OK.” USA Gymnastics typically coordinates a post-Olympic tour of its own, though there are no plans for one in 2020. The organization remains in bankruptcy court as it tries to reach a resolution with athletes who were sexually abused by former national team doctor Larry Nassar, who abused gymnasts — Biles included — under the guise of treatment. Biles said she hasn't spoken to anyone at USA Gymnastics directly about her tour but added, “I know they’re aware about it and they’ve been pretty supportive." “Simone is an amazing athlete and person, and having her own tour will give her a stage to showcase her skills and talent, as well as those of other women," USA Gymnastics said in a statement. Just how many athletes will join Biles and Ohashi remains uncertain. “We’re looking at the top of the line and the best gymnasts from elite and maybe we did think from around the world, but that gets really, really difficult just because of the visas and all of that stuff," Biles said. “Right now in the circle I know a couple of college gymnasts and then elite gymnasts (who will be on the tour), like world class.” Biles is in the midst of a recovery period following her record-breaking performance at the world championships. She said she anticipates returning to competition in April before the US Championships, the Olympic Trials and then the Olympics next summer. Then it's likely off to retirement and a chance to make an impact far beyond the competition floor, a process that will start with the tour, where she will have her hand in selecting the group and helping put the show together. “I feel like everyone’s creative vision coming together is very unique,” she said. “And so I think once we get together and we have a set plan on what we’ll do, it'll be very exciting.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 5th, 2019

SEA Games: PHI sepak takraw bets hope gold medals shine light on sport

SUBIC - The Philippines made history in sepak takraw in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games. With their double gold in the women's and men's hoops last Sunday, the Filipinos won an event in the sport for the first time in the regional meet. And for the country's sport officials, that should just be the start. "Out of six (events), sana makakuha tayo ng tatlo. You have to understand that powerhouse Thailand is here, but makatatlo lang tayo, boundary na," Pilipinas Sepak Takraw president Karen Tanchanco-Caballero said. She then continued, "This is the realistic forecast. Sino ba ayaw ng six (golds), but we know our limitations." Still up for grabs in the sport are six gold medals in doubles and regu in the coming days. Whether or not the Philippines gets its goal, though, it already has two golds to show for its trouble - and that is already a much-welcome development. With that, Tanchanco-Caballero said that they are only hoping that this encourages the country's youth to try out sepak takraw. As she put it, "I told (the athletes) that this would make or break the sport in terms of pagkilala. This is very popular in Visayas and Mindanao, but Metro Manila is yet to discover how we are built for the sport." She then continued, "We want to inspire the youth na meron pang ibang sport na magagaling tayo. This is as Filipino as it can get." After all, the Philippine governing body is already going all-out in supporting the growth of the sport. "Our athletes really worked hard. They spent time away from their families and nag-commit talaga sila," its president said while also mentioning that the national team had a three-month camp in Thailand as well as month-long training in South Korea before the regional meet. And of course, that only proved to be a big boost to the Filipinos' gold medal bid. "Yung support ng government, malaking tulong. Pinadala kami sa abroad kaya malaking tulong yun sa preparation," coach Romulo Ruedas said. He then continued, "Pagdating ng panahon, yung Thailand, baka mabi-beat natin." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 2nd, 2019

When Kids’ Hearts May Be Broken

My best friend coaches three volleyball teams, from grade schoolers to college students. In one of her emails, she related to me her dilemma over choosing players for the grade school team, knowing full well that her decisions will mean heart break for some of these young aspiring athletes. She is my best friend for […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  metrocebuRelated NewsNov 30th, 2019