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New-look House leadership off to a good start, say solons

House members can’t help but notice a sense of synergy between Speaker Lord Allan Velasco and Majority Leader Martin Romualdez in just their first few days of working together. Case in point, according to Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr., San Jose del Monte City Rep. Florida Robes, and Ang Probinsyano Party-list Rep. Alfred delos Santos, were the two important bills that the House leadership was able to deliver without a hitch during the conduct of special sessions this past week. The Majority Bloc solons were referring to the passage on third and final reading of measures House Bill (HB) No.7727, or the P4.506-trillion General Appropriations Bill (GAB) of 2021; and HB No.7884, or the proposed Act authorizing the President to expedite the processing and issuance of national and local permits, licenses and certifications. “The performance of the new leadership during special session was very commendable. This is a very encouraging sign in our mission to approve the legislative agenda of President Duterte,” Barzaga said. “The Velasco-Romualdez leadership (is) off to a good start,” added the veteran congressman and former Dasmariñas mayor. For her part, Robes said she is “extremely delighted that the leadership impasse in the House of Representatives had been resolved peacefully and amicably by our two honorable leaders, Lord Alan Velasco and former Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano.” “I look forward to a renewed, more united and inclusive leadership at the House of Representatives led by Speaker Velasco with Majority Leader Ferdinand Martin Romualdez. I believe that Speaker Velasco and Majority Leader Romualdez are both righteous and committed to steer the House of Representatives to new heights to become a more effective and responsive institution to serve the Filipino people especially in these trying times,” she stressed. On the other hand, Delos Santos believes that the new-look leadership of the Lower Chamber will continue to work beyond 2020 even as he praised his colleagues for passing next year’s budget bill. “We are very happy that it (GAB) already finished the third reading. Our goal is always to fast-track the process to help out fellow Filipinos. These are not normal times, and gusto po nating matugunan agad yung mga pangangailangan ng mga kababayan natin (we want to quickly address the needs of our people),” Delos Santos said. “We want to assure government agencies (will have enough) resources for them to be able to function in the new normal,” he added. The passage of HB No.7884 or the Anti-Red Tape Bill followed soon after the chamber gave its final nod to the 2021 GAB. Both had been certified as urgent by President Duterte......»»

Category: newsSource: mb.com.ph mb.com.phOct 18th, 2020

Duterte appoints Galvez as vaccine czar; ‘good choice’, say lawmakers

By Genalyn D. Kabiling and Charissa Luci-Atienza In a meeting with government officials on the disaster response Monday, President Duterte announced he wanted former AFP chief and now Presidential peace adviser Carlito Galvez Jr Galvez to lead the government’s vaccine acquisition and distribution effort.  Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr. (NTF AGAINST COVID-19 / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN) Duterte said Galvez would be the only authorized official to negotiate for the country’s’ vaccine supply. He expressed his dislike with the creation of committees since the process will take long.  “As I have said earlier during the start of the COVID, I only want one line of authority coming from dito sa the Task Force sa pagbili ng bakuna, the negotiation, manufacture, negotiation, production or distribution is ibinigay ko ‘yan kay Secretary Galvez,” he said. “I have great faith in Charlie to really come up with the solutions for the problem,” he added. Presidential spokesman Harry Roque defended the additional assignment given to Galvez, saying the planned immunization drive would involve “more of a logistics challenge than a medical challenge.” Galvez, who joined the Duterte Cabinet in 2018, also currently serves as chief implementer of the government’s plan to fight the coronavirus outbreak. Meanwhile, members of the House of Representatives lauded Galvez’s designation as vaccine war, among them: Representatives Michael Defensor, Roger Mercado, Ronnie Ong, Alfred Vargas and Rosanna Vergara. “It’s more of a logistics challenge than a medical challenge,” Roque explained. He said the only medical issues involved in the vaccine purchase are related to safety and efficacy of the drugs. This matter, he said, will be handled by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  He said Galvez is expected to continue his close coordination with the Department of Health and other agencies that will be involved in the vaccination drive. “Gen. Galvez would have the hindsight of what happened and the understanding of the COVID baseline. What we need is the leadership and managerial skills in taking the lead of the COVID vaccine campaign,” Defensor, chairperson of the House Committee on Public Accounts, said in a text message when asked if the vaccine czar should have been a medical doctor.  “I support the President’s appointment of Sec Galvez.  Galvez is an innovative  administrator. He can be trusted to implement the program well,”  Mercado said in a separate text message.  “We are happy that the president is preparing early and appointing someone to lead is good news,” Ong said.  Vargas also rallied behind the  the decision of President Duterte to appoint Galvez, saying that “we don’t need a doctor but a manager for this job.” Vergara also gave her vote of confidence to Galvez.  “Being the COVID-19 policy chief implementer, he has a clear overview of the COVID-19 situation in the county and such knowledge is very crucial in the distribution of the vaccine. I am sure, there are medical experts who advise the good Secretary,” she said.  “I am assuming  the vaccine chosen has already passed all testing and FDA approvals , the challenge will be to properly allocate and distribute it fairly across the country to the most vulnerable  and this is the challenge anyone who heads this Task Force will face– how do you properly allocate this should the vaccine supply be limited because of world wide demand? Thus, the need to plan for equally expedited distribution and delivery. Building a delivery system that is quick, fair and will not result to inequitable distribution,”  Vergara added......»»

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

Solons to gov’t: Heed the plea of medical workers

Lawmakers expressed all-out support on Sunday (August 2) to the appeal made by Philippine College of Physicians and the Philippine Medical Associationto shift Mega Manila back to a 15-day enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), even as they sought a change in leadership in the Department of Health (DOH) and other agencies handling the country’s response against COVID-19. (JANSEN ROMERO / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN) Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman, Anakalusugan partylist Rep. Michael Defensor, Bayan Muna partylist Rep.  Carlos Isagani Zarate, and Quezon City  2nd District Rep. Precious Hipolito Castelo called on the government to heed the plea of the medical experts and frontliners for more stringent health protocols in critical areas. “While both the health and economic crisis wrought by  the still ravaging COVID-19 pandemic must be both effectively addressed, the relief and recovery of the people’s health must be prioritized. Lives lost are forfeited forever but businesses lost can be redeemed,” Lagman said in a statement.“We must learn from the bitter lesson experienced by other countries like Japan which prematurely reopened economic, leisure and domestic travel activities only to be besieged later by a resurgence of the viral contagion,” he stressed.  Defensor, chairperson of the House Committee on Public Accounts, said, “If our leading doctors are prescribing it, then as good patients, we are all for Mega Manila’s brief return to an ECQ.” “Our sense is, our public health system is on the verge of collapse, and the momentary return to an ECQ will buy everybody more time to gird for a longer battle against the coronavirus disease,” he said. He said once the government gives in to the appeal, the COVID-19 National Task Force should take that opportunity to fix the lack of hospital staff due to doctors, nurses and other personnel getting infected and still recovering, or undergoing routine seclusion after possible exposure; expand the bed capacities of makeshift hospitals and quarantine facilities; and improve case-finding and the isolation of suspected cases. Defensor said the government should also step up contact-tracing and quarantining; upgrade public transportation options and safety; strengthen workplace protection; build up enforcement of and public compliance with self-protective measures such as the wearing of face masks and face shields, handwashing as well as social and physical distancing; and increase financial and livelihood support to distressed households. Zarate said they are one with our frontliners in demanding a reprieve from the overwhelming cases of COVID-19, particularly in the National Capital Region. “Reverting back to ECQ or whatever level of lockdown is useless or will be for naught if the primary recommendation of frontliners like free mass testing, pro-active contact tracing, isolation and treatment will not be seriously implemented by the government,” he said in a statement. For her part, Castelo said, “Let us listen to them. They are the ones on the frontline. Indeed, after five months of fighting this pandemic, they are exhausted physically, emotionally and mentally.” She laments that several doctors and nurses have died and many others have fallen sick while battling COVID-19. “Our medical workers are asking for a short time to recuperate. Let us give it to them,” she said. In a radio interview, Surigao del Norte 2nd district Rep. Robert Ace Barbers said the government should strike a balance between the economy and health of the Filipinos, but it should be tilted somehow, in favor of health amid the appeal made by physicians to shift Mega Manila back to a 15-day ECQ. He asked the DOH to come up with “a system, a policy, or even perhaps a strategy” to reinforce the country’s health system by augmenting the medical force.  In a separate statement, Assistant Minority Leader and ACT Teachers Representative France Castro said the Inter Agency Task Force for COVID-19 should be headed by medical experts instead of generals who have done nothing but to impose military solutions to combat a public health crisis.  “Our frontliners are already pleading to the Duterte administration to implement a comprehensive medical plan to address the COVID-19 pandemic in the country. The government needs to listen and take concrete actions with the demands of our healthcare workers,” she said.   “It is high time that medical experts lead in the fight against COVID-19 instead of military generals. Medical experts who will not twist data and try to sanitize the numbers. We need medical experts who use science and not allow an entire population to be used as guinea pigs in a failed response and inadequate policies for public health safety.”.....»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsAug 2nd, 2020

Congratulations flood in for Biden’s ‘historic’ win

Congratulations poured in for US president-elect Joe Biden from around the world, with Washington’s allies, particularly in Europe, seeing his win as a chance at a fresh start after the antagonistic years under Donald Trump. From the EU to the UAE president-elect Joe Biden has received congratulations from around the world (AFP/ MANILA BULLETIN) As crowds rushed into the streets of Washington and other cities in exuberant celebration after US networks declared Biden the winner, here are some reactions from across the globe:  – Germany – “Congratulations!” said Chancellor Angela Merkel. “I wish luck and success from the bottom of my heart. “Our transatlantic friendship is irreplaceable if we want to overcome the great challenges of our times,” she said in a tweet issued by a government spokesman. – France – French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted: “The Americans have chosen their President. Congratulations @JoeBiden and @KamalaHarris! We have a lot to do to overcome today’s challenges. Let’s work together!”  – Britain – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson congratulated Biden “on his election as President of the United States and Kamala Harris on her historic achievement. “The US is our most important ally and I look forward to working closely together on our shared priorities, from climate change to trade and security.” – European Union – In a joint statement, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel, president of the European Council, which represents the leaders of EU member states, said: “We take note of the latest development in the electoral process.  “On this basis the EU congratulates President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on reaching enough Electoral Votes.”  – NATO – NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg described Biden as a “strong supporter of our Alliance”. Stoltenberg, who often had to adapt to President Donald Trump making unexpected announcements about US troop drawdowns from NATO deployments, said in a tweet he looked forward to working with Biden. “A strong NATO is good for both North America and Europe,” he said.  – Canada – Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said: “I look forward to working with President-elect Biden, Vice President-elect Harris, their administration, and the United States Congress as we tackle the world’s greatest challenges together.” – Barack Obama – Former US president Barack Obama hailed Biden’s win as “historic and decisive” and appealed to Americans to overcome bitter divides and “find some common ground.” “Once every vote is counted, President-Elect Biden and Vice President-Elect Harris will have won a historic and decisive victory,” Obama, Donald Trump’s White House predecessor, said in a statement. – Ireland – The republic’s prime minister Micheal Martin was one of the first to take to Twitter, tweeting: “I want to congratulate the new President Elect of the USA @JoeBiden. Joe Biden has been a true friend of this nation throughout his life and I look forward to working with him in the years ahead. I also look forward to welcoming him back home when the circumstances allow!”  – Greece – Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis tweeted: “Congratulations to US President-Elect @JoeBiden. Joe Biden has been a true friend of Greece and I’m certain that under his presidency the relationship between our countries will grow even stronger.” – Italy –  Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte tweeted: “Congratulations to the American people and institutions for an outstanding turnout of democratic vitality. We are ready to work with the President-elect @JoeBiden to make the transatlantic relationship stronger. The US can count on Italy as a solid Ally and a strategic partner.” – Spain – Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez tweeted: “The American people have chosen the 46th President of the United States. Congratulations @JoeBiden and @KamalaHarris. We wish you good luck and all the best. We are looking forward to cooperating with you to tackle the challenges ahead of us.” – India – “Congratulations @JoeBiden on your spectacular victory!” Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted. In a separate tweet to Biden’s running mate Kamala Harris, whose mother was Indian, Modi wrote: “Your success is pathbreaking, and a matter of immense pride not just for your chittis, but also for all Indian-Americans.” “Chitti” is a Tamil term of endearment for the younger sisters of one’s mother, which Harris used in her acceptance of the Democratic nomination for vice president. She is the first woman of color elected to the US vice presidency. – Nigeria – In his congratulations, President Muhammadu Buhari, leader of Africa’s most populous nation, called for “greater engagement” with the continent. He said he looked forward to “enhanced cooperation between Nigeria and the United States, especially at economic, diplomatic and political levels, including especially on the war against terrorism”. – Ukraine – President Volodymyr Zelensky tweeted in English: “Congratulations to Joe Biden, Kamala Harris! Ukraine is optimistic about the future of the strategic partnership with the United States. Ukraine and the USA have always collaborated on security, trade, investment, democracy, fight against corruption. Our friendship becomes only stronger!”  – South Africa – President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Twitter his government looked forward to “working with you and deepening our bonds of friendship and cooperation”. – Iraq – President Barham Saleh extended “warmest congratulations” to Biden, describing him as “a friend and trusted partner in the cause of building a better Iraq. We look forward to working to achieve our common goals and strengthening peace and stability in the entire Middle East”. – Egypt – President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said Egypt, the most populous Arab country, looked forward to “strengthening strategic bilateral ties between Egypt and the US in the interest of both countries and peoples”. – UAE –  “Congratulations to @JoeBiden and @KamalaHarris on winning the US elections. Our sincere wishes for further development and prosperity for the American people. The UAE and USA are friends and allies with a strong historic partnership that we look forward to strengthening together,” tweeted Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan......»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsNov 8th, 2020

House’s PhilHealth probe temporarily shelved

The Lower Chamber’s continued probe on the graft and corruption cases in Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) will be temporarily shelved after the House leadership decided to cancel all committee meetings or hearings for one week starting Monday, Oct. 19.  This was disclosed by Anakalusugan partylist Rep. Michael Defensor, chairperson of the House Committee on Public Accounts, in a Viber message to the House media, a day before the scheduled joint investigation of the House Committees on Public Accounts and Good Government and Public Accountability on the PhilHealth anomalies.  “In compliance with the memo of the Majority Leader as per guidance of the Speaker, all committee hearings are cancelled temporarily for the leadership to regroup and coordinate priority legislative measures. I apologize for this, but I’m assured the Committee on Public Accounts may resume its deliberations after this,” Defensor said.  This week, eight committee meetings/hearings have been scheduled.  House Majority Leader and Leyte 1st District Rep. Martin Romualdez issued a one-page memorandum to all committee chairpersons directing the cancellation of meetings.  “Upon the instructions of the Speaker, all committee meetings/hearings are hereby ordered cancelled for the period October 19-26, 2020. This is to allow the House to review and refocus its priorities for the 2nd Regular session,” according to the memo dated October 18. Aside from the House Committees on Public Accounts and Good Government and Public Accountability, the House Committees on Rural Development,  People’s Participation, Public Works and Highways, Suffrage and Electoral Reforms, Aquaculture and Fisheries, Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), and Overseas Workers Affairs are scheduled to conduct meetings this week.  The meeting of the Public Works and Highways was already marked as cancelled, according to the chamber’s committee schedule posted on its website......»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsOct 18th, 2020

For Mike Nieto, all roads lead to leading

Mike Nieto's leadership is not just for the basketball court. Apparently, his voice carries just as much weight inside the Nieto household in Cainta. "Hanggang bahay, umaabot yung pagli-lead ko," he shared with a laugh. "Rinig na rinig palagi boses ko sa bahay. Since I've proven to them na I can be a leader sa court, siyempre, I can also be a leader dito sa bahay." What does that mean exactly? Well, let's just say that whenever the Nieto family decides they want and need some quality time together, it's the 23-year-old who sets the time and the place where it would happen. "I think nasanay na rin kasi sila na ako ang palaging nagsasalita kahit sa ganyang bagay so most of the time, ako na talaga nagsasabi saan at anong oras kami pupunta," he said. This is not at all that surprising as when you talk about Mike Nieto, you talk about leadership. That has long been the calling card of the 6-foot-2 swingman - from his days as a Blue Eaglet to his time as a Blue Eagle and from his stint in Batang Gilas to his current run in the Gilas Pilipinas pool. But… Why do people say that in the first place? What is it with Mike Nieto that just speaks, leader? FTW: For The tWin To get the answer, we need to go back to the start. As in, the very, very start. Technically, Mike is the leader of the four Nieto siblings as he is the firstborn of Ateneo de Manila legend Jett and super mom and dentist Girlie. Matt is his brother, but is younger by two minutes. Make no mistake, though, the twins have always gotten along. "Kami ni Matt, ever since, close na talaga kami. We started playing basketball at the age of six and from then on, naging magkasama na kami sa lahat ng bagay," Mike said. He then continued, "Even course namin sa college, pareho kaya almost lahat ng classes namin, classmates kami. Ever since talaga, unusual na hindi kami magkasama." Indeed, the Nieto twins have always been some sort of a package deal. Hence, the reports of their commitment to Ateneo for college had headlines such as "Ateneo scores 'twin kill' as Nieto brothers commit to play for Blue Eagles." Through and through, however, Mike was thought to be the leader - even though Matt is the point guard. The reason for that? Because "Big Mike" is more vocal. And why is he more vocal" Well, because he had a two minute headstart on "Matty Ice" at letting his voice be heard. Seriously, though, Mike said it was just because he doesn't waste any time at all in being vocal - and that's why he's being heard first and more often. "Siguro, mas maingay lang kasi ako kay Matt. Ako kasi, kapag may nakita akong mali sa ginagawa ng teammates ko, siguradong makakarinig agad sila sa akin," he shared. He then continued, "Hindi ako papayag na lilipas ang isang bagay na alam kong makakasama sa team. Talagang maglalabas at maglalabas ako ng mga salita hanggang ma-solve ang problema." That doesn't mean that Matt doesn't lead, though. As his twin put it, "Matt is the leader on the court. That's the assignment Coach Tab [Baldwin] gave him and I think he has done well with that." Well, yeah, Matt has three rings as court general of the Blue Eagles' dynasty to show for that. LOL: Lead out Loud It was another court general altogether, however, who had made the biggest mark on Mike Nieto. While he never was a point guard due to his wide frame, he was always trying to emulate one of the best ball-handlers in the history of Philippine basketball. "Jimmy Alapag is my role model when it comes to leadership," he said. "I'm just very lucky that for a long time now, he would talk to me on how I can affect the team positively on and off the court." When Alapag was in his prime as captain of Gilas Pilipinas, Nieto was put on the pedestal as skipper of Batang Gilas. While he knew full well that was a tall task, he was also eager to prove himself worthy. "Sa Batang Gilas under coach Jamike [Jarin], he made me team captain kahit second year high school pa lang ako. But that made me realize na I have the capabilities of being a leader," he said. With that, Mike had the responsibility of making sure the likes of Paul Desiderio, Richard Escoto, Jollo Go, Jolo Mendoza, and Renzo Navarro were kept in line. And from then on, he just did not stop keeping at it. Whether it be as the Jrs. MVP as a Blue Eaglet or a rotation regular as a Blue Eagle, Nieto's biggest contribution has always been his leadership. "Being a leader is never easy. At the end of the day, you have to gain the trust of your teammates and your coaches - that's the hardest part," he said. Ask his teammates from high school, many of whom were still his teammates come college, and they would say they always have his back. "Buti na lang nakuha ko ang tiwala ng lahat ng tao na nakapaligid sa akin. Kaya rin ako nag-succeed being the team captain ng every team na nagiging part ako," he said. While he has always had the full faith of longtime teammates and good friends Thirdy Ravena, Gian Mamuyac, Mendoza, and of course, twin Matt, Mike could only acknowledge that it was another challenge altogether being the voice of the team that swept the season. "Ang malaking naging difference ngayong college from high school, kinailangan kong magsalita ng English mas madalas," he said, through chuckles. With foreigners such as Ange Kouame and Filipino-foreigners like Raffy Verano, Nieto, indeed, did have to make sure his communication lines were crystal clear. The thing about leaders, though, is that they give their all in anything and everything - whether that be giving a pep talk or passing the message to somebody like Kouame who only started learning English in 2017. IMO: In My Opinion And the thing about leaders? They do not necessarily care about themselves. Imagine Mike Nieto, a Jrs. MVP, a team captain for Batang Gilas, a literal blue-blood in Katipunan. Do you know his averages through their three-peat? In 47 games total, he saw 14.2 minutes of action and had 5.2 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. Still, that did not matter at all. All that mattered for Mike are all those Ws. "To be a leader, you have to prove palagi that you can lead on and off the court," he said. "I think yun ang napatunayan ko kay coach Tab - na handa akong i-sacrifice ang personal goals ko para sa ikabubuti ng team. Wala akong pakialam sa sarili ko since ang nasa utak ko lang is kung ano ang makabubuti para sa team namin." But did he? Did Nieto prove himself to Coach Tab - a coach who has gone around the world and seen it all? The talented tactician's statement right after Ateneo completed its perfect run through UAAP 82 speaks volumes. “Look at all of us and think about where we’re gonna be in 10 or 15 years, you’ll forget most of us,” he said in the post-game conference where he sat alongside the Nieto twins, Ravena, Isaac Go, and Adrian Wong. “But you won’t forget Mike Nieto.” Coach Tab then went on to explain why he said so. As he put it, "Mike is a natural leader. Mike is a communicator. Mike is a thinker. In terms of touching people, making lives better, and making sure that everybody around him has a better chance than what he has, that’s our captain." High praise coming from the very mentor who has been getting nothing but high praise. Safe to say, though, Mike has proven himself to coach Tab. TBC: To Be Continued In doing so, Mike Nieto has also made it possible for the two of them to continue working together. Mike, twin Matt, fellow Blue Eagle Go, University of the East's Rey Suerte, and San Sebastian College-Recoletos' Allyn Bulanadi were the first five names listed for the Gilas pool. The likes of Ravena, Dwight Ramos of Ateneo, Justine Baltazar of De La Salle University, Dave Ildefonso then of National University, and the University of the Philippines foursome of Javi and Juan Gomez de Liano, Kobe Paras, and Jaydee Tungcab also made the list not long after. But the fact remains that "Big Mike" - he of zero starts, but three titles in a row in his last three years in blue and white - was one of the first names there. With that, he is now one of the few Batang Gilas players who have successfully gotten promoted to the Men's team. "Of course, sino bang ayaw i-represent ang bansa natin, 'di ba? That's why I'm very grateful for this opportunity to be part of the Gilas pool," he said. He then continued, "That's why I've been working on my game even harder so that I can provide whatever Gilas needs from me." Of course, what Gilas would need from Nieto is, first and foremost, his leadership. After all, that is still and would always be his greatest strength. To do so, though, the youngster would have to prove himself yet again - not only to Filipinos who are forever invested in their national team, but more importantly, his teammates, many of whom are already superstars in the PBA. For Mike, however, this is nothing new - nothing new at all. "Ever since I was in grade school, people have been doubting that I can progress my game to the next level. What we can't forget is that at the end of the day, it's in your hands if you want to prove them wrong or prove them right," he said. He then continued, "I actually enjoy these kinds of moments since dito talaga lalabas ang totoong pagkatao mo. Ang sigurado ko lang, I will fight for my spot in Gilas." And so, from a successful high school career and then an even more successful college career, Nieto is now seeking success as part of the Gilas pool. Does he deserve to be there? That's for the haters to hate, the doubters to doubt, and the bashers to bash. And that's for Mike Nieto to lead them out of the darkness. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 27th, 2020

What’s in style? Safe shopping.

Rustan’s goes all out with safety measures, including the latest in disinfection and sanitation. THANK YOU FOR SMOKING. Rustan’s utilizes Spanish technology Sanivir, which contains active ingredients proven to kill bacteria, molds, and coronavirus These extraordinary times have completely shifted the definition of so many ordinary words. Take, for example, “weekends.” What does a weekend even mean, when everyone is living their weekends day in, day out? People cooped up inside their homes, Netflix and chilling (or pacing, depending on current anxiety levels), wearing their Natori Fortuna Mandarin all day, as governments all over the world caution to shelter in place.  Or “homecooked.” Everything’s veritably homecooked now—whether it’s cooked in your home, by you, or cooked in somebody else’s home, by an upstart baker you support because she’s your niece, or by your favorite chef, who is left with no choice but to create his oeuvres from his home kitchen.  Or “luxury.” Let’s be honest. Luxury—its BC (before Covid) definition—contained overused keywords like glamour, opulence, indulgence, lavishness. But times, they’ve changed.  Fancy things now seem so unnecessary, so excessive, so out of touch, so…pointless—in a world that has hastily pivoted back to the basics. Sipping tea from a Royal Albert 1980 Roseblush cup doesn’t seem as luxurious as being able to score some actual, hard-to-acquire Gold Yen Zhen tea from TWG, even if you have to gulp it from those ubiquitous bamboo cups.  The pandemic has changed what luxury meant. Now, luxury is the feeling of being safely ensconced in our cocoons, safe from the virus, safe from the madding crowds. Safety is luxury. To be more accurate: Luxury is being safe, while experiencing as few inconveniences as possible. One Home, One HopeMarketers and entrepreneurs are now realizing, after putting in all necessary work to convince their clients to come back, that a sense of safety is beyond physical, it is psychological. It’s Plexiglass with perception, masks coupled with marketing.  Brands, to successfully ride out these challenging times, need to do more than just tick off government checklists—they need to bank on their legacies, their ethos, their abiding sense of connection to loyal clientele.  AT YOUR SERVICE. Rustan’s opened up a Sanivir desk to allow its customers to avail of its method In the travel industry, as it is in the retail industry, it’s about leveraging on your loyal clientele’s sense of home. “Home” is no longer just their place of residence, but their familiar zones. It’s about “feeling at home.” As people start to nervously and grudgingly go out, they will only want to stay and explore sacred spaces where they’ve “felt at home.” Luxury retailer Rustan’s understands this well. “Our goal for the past 70 years has always been to serve the community with great service and to provide a safe environment that feels like home,” Nedy Tantoco, chairman of Rustan Commercial Corporation, says. “In this new chapter, we are committed to the idea of ‘One Home, One Hope.’ As an establishment that has been a second home for many shoppers, we will stay dedicated in implementing thorough safety protocols to ensure that our employees and shoppers are protected and can visit us with ease of mind.” And this is why higher-end businesses like Rustan’s will flourish, despite the financial challenges Covid-19 brings. They have the space, and they obviously can very well afford to put stringent safety measures in place. Precise precautions are in their DNA. These are establishments that cater to the VVIPs, whose exacting standards they’ve always tried to meet.  And it’s not just loyal clients who will seek out these private spaces—the occasional and habitual shopper will gravitate toward businesses that offer them this hushed environment. Going inside cramped little boutiques have lost their novelty, and many will shirk away from places that tend to be crowd favorites.  At Rustan’s, shoppers have always counted on the intimacy of the shopping experience. Unobtrusive but alert sales personnel have always kept their distance as you scan the racks, and there’s always a sense of quiet order—a serene retail floor space, backed by an efficient team who anticipate your needs and who move with the fluidity of a well-directed orchestra.  This efficiency will be in full display when you visit the store again—that is if you still haven’t since it reopened in June.   Opened after three months of closure, the luxury retailer has implemented, in compliance with government regulations, security measures like foot baths, thermal scans, hand sanitation, and mandatory wearing of masks. You’ll also see staff repeatedly disinfecting touchpoints like escalator rails and elevator buttons, and alcohol dispensers are going to be ubiquitous.   RETAIL WONDER. Sanivir is perfect for retail spac-es as smoke is dry and won’t stick to clothing Managers, sales associates, security personnel, and cleaners are all wearing masks, face shields, and goggles. But it’s the little touches that will remind you how they’ve set the bar high—sanitation boxes are placed in fitting rooms for clothes that are not purchased, fitting rooms are sanitized after every use, and store personnel are required to steam the clothes before putting them back on display.  At the payment counter, all credit cards will be sanitized, and packages will be disinfected before being handed to the customer. At the store’s East Café, tables are separated with plastic shields, and so are the wash basins in the restrooms, which will each have a sanitary officer, whose only job is it to disinfect the toilet after every use.  And that’s just the stage. Backstage, it’s just as—if not more—exacting. Introducing Sanivir, the latest in disinfection technology “Even in our employees’ canteens we have placed plastic shields to protect each of our employees while they are having their lunch break,” Nedy says. The company has required all returning employees to be tested for Covid-19.  Rustan’s is also continually disinfected using Sanivir, a technology introduced in the Philippines by chemist Pinky Tobiano of KPP Powers Commodities, who is also CEO of Qualibet Testing Services. “Sanivir is a smoke disinfectant from Spain, which contains glutaraldehyde and orthopenyl phenol—two active ingredients have been tested that can kill bacteria, molds, and viruses that have been proven against coronavirus by laboratories in EU.” PINKY’S PROMISE. Pinky Pe Tobiano, the chemistwho brought the technology to the Philippines “It was great timing and serendipitous that we found the product right before the pandemic escalated to the level it is now,” Pinky tells Manila Bulletin Lifestyle. “Sanivir was both an innovative and unique product that addresses the problem we currently have—it is easy to use, cost-friendly, effective, and safe.” It is a perfect disinfectant for a retail space—it only utilizes smoke, is dry, and won’t stick to clothing. “When Pinky introduced to me her disinfection program, I immediately asked her to do my father’s house and my own house,” Nedy shares. “I was so satisfied with the service that I asked her if she could open a service desk at Rustan’s to allow our customers the chance to avail of this disinfecting method. It’s so easy. Any housewife can do it. It allows us the ease of disinfecting without a fuss. It also works for our cars. The service desk has been open for two weeks at Rustan’s Ayala Avenue. And I am happy to say that it has met full acceptance with quite a number of Rustan’s customers.” Its ease of use is an advantage. “Just open the can, remove the plastic cover of the wick, set on a flat surface, light the wick, and leave for the next six to eight hours. The smoking process lasts for only one to two minutes, then disinfection takes place for the next six to eight hours,” Pinky says. “That’s good for 14 days.” And the cost? Surprisingly very minimal.  “One can of Sanivir of 25 grams is P1,750 and it’s good for 14 days for a room of 30 to 50 square meters,” Pinky says. “The cost per day is only a P125 investment. If you have five people in the room, the investment per person per day is only P25.”    But for those who are not in the mood to shop in-store, Rustan’s online service has amped up its service. Apart from its website, fortuitously launched a year ago, you can also tap the Personal Shoppers on Call Service, where sales associates respond to you on Viber, after which you can have your items delivered to you, or picked up by the curbside. Nedy shares, “And very soon, we will launch our Rustan’s Concierge Service, where customers can call a single number, and will be immediately assigned a personal shopper to attend to their needs.”  Now, many ways words and concepts are redefined in these troubled times—but having your own personal shopper, one who’ll do your shopping for you as you leisurely read the latest Kevin Kwan Sex and Vanity book in the comfort of your home?  We’re guessing that that’s a definition of luxury that won’t likely ever change—unprecedented crisis or not.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 2nd, 2020

5 players withdraw, 1 tests positive, nerves frayed on virus

By DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer Brooks Koepka and Webb Simpson were among five players who withdrew from the Travelers Championship, four of them out of a chain-reaction abundance of caution over the coronavirus that put the PGA Tour on notice. “The snowball is getting a little bit bigger,” Graeme McDowell told The Associated Press after withdrawing Wednesday because his longtime caddie, Ken Comboy, tested positive for the virus. The tour released results that showed three positive tests at the TPC River Highlands in Connecticut — Cameron Champ and the caddies for Koepka and McDowell. There were no positive tests on the Korn Ferry Tour event in Utah. As it enters the third week in its return from the COVID-19 pandemic that shut down golf for three months, the tour has administered 2,757 tests at PGA Tour and Korn Ferry Tour events in five states, with seven positive results. On the PGA Tour alone, there have been 1,382 tests and four positive results. “It's a low number on a percentage basis, but every number hurts,” PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said. “I think we all need to remind ourselves that we're all learning to live with this virus. "It's pretty clear that this virus isn't going anywhere.” Nick Watney was the first player to test positive last week at the RBC Heritage in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, which was teeming with people on summer vacation. Champ tested positive on Tuesday at the Travelers and immediately withdrew. Four more players withdrew even with negative test results. Koepka said his caddie, Ricky Elliott, tested positive and then took another test that came back negative. No matter. He chose to withdraw, and was especially gutted that his younger brother, Chase Koepka, withdrew after earning a rare chance to play through a Monday qualifier. When his brother made it, Koepka arranged a house for him to stay in starting Tuesday, so he had his brother stay with him in the meantime. Then, the brothers played a practice round with McDowell and British Open champion Shane Lowry. Both Koepkas said they felt they should withdraw because they were in close contact with someone who tested positive. “I feel terrible for Chase,” Koepka said. “This course is made for him, he's playing as good as I've ever seen him. And I put him in that situation. It's one thing if I withdraw. He doesn't get this opportunity very often.” Simpson, who won the RBC Heritage last week with a record score that moved him to No. 5 in the world, withdrew when he learned a family member had tested positive. Monahan said the tour would continue, and that there was no set number of positive tests that would lead to golf shutting down again. “We feel like we're on a path that's going to allow us to continue to sustain our return to golf,” Monahan said. “But rest assured, there won't be many sleepless nights. When you're working in a world of uncertainty, these are the things you worry about.” Monahan sent a memo to players that outlined increased measures in its health and safety protocols. Those include testing players before and after they take charter flights. Swing coaches now face mandatory testing each week and will be considered part of the bubble, and the fitness trailer will be at tournaments to keep players from going to gyms. He also said the tour will no longer pay for players or caddies to be in self-isolation for positive tests if they have not followed the health and safety plan. “All of us have an extraordinary responsibility to follow these protocols,” Monahan said, adding he has been guilty at times as he adjusts to a new way of living. “For any individual that does not, there will be serious repercussions.” He did not say what the punishment would be. The tour does not publicize disciplinary actions or fines. McDowell says his caddie flew on a commercial flight that was packed from Dallas to Orlando, Florida, after he missed the cut at Colonial. That Monday, they went to a memorial service — along with Elliott, who grew up with McDowell in Northern Ireland, and McDowell's trainer — and then they all drove six hours to Hilton Head. “The problem is, people are out here passing tests when they could still have the virus,” McDowell said. “That’s what we’re learning. Ricky passed a test on Monday and he just failed it this morning.” The PGA Tour's return to tournaments started with a perfect record — 487 tests for players arriving at Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas; 98 players on the charter flight to South Carolina; 369 tests at Hilton Head Island. All came back negative. But there now has been four positive tests in the last six days, and Monahan said no one should be surprised if there are more next week in Detroit, or the following two weeks in Ohio. “I think this is the reality of what we're all living under,” he said. “We are doing everything we can to make that not be the case. But I don’t think anybody should be surprised. I’m certainly hopeful we won’t. But to be able to say that we’re going to not have any cases ... would be disingenuous because we're all learning as we're going.” McDowell said he would take two weeks off and hoped to return in July for the first of two weeks in Ohio. So much depends on the virus and whether it reaches a level that it's not prudent for golf to continue. “Do we shut down, start up in a month's time, two months' time? You come back and what's changed?” McDowell said. “I think the tour is doing a pretty good job. It's just so difficult to control everybody outside the gates. “We have to get through to the other side of this.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 25th, 2020

4-way tie for lead at Heritage as another wild finish looms

By DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (AP) — The PGA Tour's return to competition has brought together the strongest fields of the year on courses that have not been overly punishing, and the result is the same. It's another free-for-all at the RBC Heritage. Webb Simpson practically had to apologize for a 3-under 68, in which he managed just one birdie on the back nine. He was part of a four-way tie for the lead, and that was good enough for him. He also knows good probably won't cut it Sunday at Harbour Town,. “It's not like I've got a three- or four-shot lead and could shoot a couple under,” he said. “It's going to take a good one.” Tyrrell Hatton had one of six rounds at 63, giving the 28-year-old from England a share of the lead as he goes for his second straight victory, albeit three months apart because of the shutdown from the COVID-19 pandemic. Abraham Ancer, so solid with his irons, had a 65 and joined the lead along with Ryan Palmer, who had a 66. They were at 15-under 198, a number that didn't even start to explain the low scoring. Even with Jordan Spieth and Xander Schauffele sputtering to 75s, the field was 223-under par, the lowest for any round since the RBC Heritage began in 1969. There were 35 players at 10 under or better, compared with only one player (Dustin Johnson) a year ago. The previous mark was seven players at double digits under par through 54 holes. Most telling were the opportunities on Sunday. There were 21 players separated by just three shots going into the final round. A week ago at Colonial, there were 14 players separated by three shots. “I think the fields have been extremely strong,” Ancer said. “Everybody out here was just eager to come out and play. Thre greens are a little bit soft, especially this week, and the ball isn't really rolling out as much as you're used to on the greens and on the fairways. That's yielding a little bit more birdies, for sure." Carlos Ortiz, who started this tournament with two double bogeys after playing only five holes, suddenly has a chance to grab his first PGA Tour victory after two eagles in a round of 63. He was one shot behind, along with Colonial winner Daniel Berger and Joel Dahmen, both with 63s. And there was more testing than usual. Players and caddies on the charter flight to Connecticut for next week's event had to take a saliva test Saturday for the coronavirus before they can get on the plane. Eleven others had testing Friday night because they were deemed to have been in close contact with Nick Watney, whose positive test on Friday was the first in golf's return. Among them was Sergio Garcia, who flew with Watney from Austin, Texas. The initial test was negative. Garcia was nervous as he waited for the result, though not so nervous he couldn't put down a 65 to join the chase. He was two shots behind, along with Ian Poulter and Joaquin Niemann. Bryson DeChambeau, starting the day one shot behind, hit his approach into the par-5 second in the trees and it never came down. He has added 40 pounds of mass, still not enough to uproot the tree and shake it loose. That led to a bogey, and more damaging was no birdies on the back nine for a 70. Even so, he remained three shots behind in a group that included Johnson, who birdied three of his last four holes to go from around the middle of the pack to 12-under 201, three shots behind and very much in the picture. That's all it took Saturday, and it likely won't be any different in the final round. Brooks Koepka quietly posted a 68 and was in the group three shots behind. Chalk it up to June, a new date for the RBC Heritage because of the pandemic. The tournament usually is the week after the Masters in April, when the temperature is slightly cooler, the greens are firmer and the rye grass hasn't been taken over by Bermuda. It's soft. And these are the best players in the world, all of them eager to get going again. “Because we're not at a major championship-style golf course last week or this week, where you're going to have separation because of bad scores, I think that's probably why,” Simpson said when asked to explain the bunched score. Perhaps that explains why Justin Thomas called it “the worst 66 I've ever shot in my life.” Hatton has won back-to-back before in his career, under entirely different circumstances. In 2017, he won in Scotland and Italy in consecutive weeks. Now he goes after two in a row three months apart, having won at Bay Hill in March before the pandemic shut down sports. It apparently wasn't long enough for anyone to accumulate much rush. “I think we’ve all had enough notice to try and get ready to play tournaments again,” said Hatton, who rented a house in Orlando, Florida, during the stay-at-home mandate. “So it’s not massively surprising to see guys playing as well as they are, and hopefully the guys at home are enjoying it, watching on TV.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 21st, 2020

Workout buddies keep Valdez, Lazaro-Revilla motivated to stay in shape

Even athletes like Alyssa Valdez and Denden Lazaro-Revilla find it hard to work out at home and stay in shape with most of the country still under community quarantine. Three months – and still counting – of not being able to train, practice, do their usual routine and compete can take its toll. “For me it’s really hard because probably sabi mo nga this is the longest time (na di nakakalaro),” said Creamline star Alyssa Valdez in an interview on the Crossover podcast Tuesday night. “Usually, the whole year naglalaro [ako] with PVL, national team all throughout the year. Training twice a day sometimes.” All sporting events were halted last March as the government put Luzon under enhanced community quarantine in an effort to curb the contagion.    “So, sobrang nu’ng start ng quarantine, medyo okay pa eh. May time tayo for rest. Minsan lang ito. You took it positively na, ‘Okay para ito sa katawan ko’,” added Valdez. “But after a while, nu’ng na-extend na siya nang na-extend, parang nade-demotivate ka na rin to workout kasi we don’t know, ‘yung uncertainty kung kailan babalik ‘yung team trainings and tournament.” The newest member of ChocoMucho Lazaro-Revilla shared that although she had experienced taking a year-long hiatus from volleyball before to attend med school, she couldn’t agree more with Valdez’s sentiments. “I have more time on my hands to stay physically fit but then like what Alyssa said, may times na mawawalan ka ng gana because of the situation,” Lazaro-Revilla said. “So much uncertainty and you don’t know when training’s gonna resume, when the tournament’s gonna resume? So there are times na you’ll feel down, parang may times ako na wala akong gana to do anything actually.” Luckily for these ladies, they have the best workout buddies at home. “I think I’m lucky lang din na I’m surrounded by people na sobrang competitive, athletic so napu-push din ako na to really workout every single day,” said Valdez, who during this lockdown is staying at her boyfriend Kiefer Ravena’s house. The former Queen Eagle also has Kiefer’s siblings Ateneo basketball star Thirdy and Lady Eagles libero Dani to workout with.     Lazaro-Revilla, on the other hand, trains with husband NorthPort guard LA.    “Luckily, I have LA na sinasabayan kong mag-workout,” she said. Lazaro-Revilla added that the Flying Titans check and encourage each other to stay in shape via online meetings.   “Buti na lang I have good teammates, we encourage each other when we have team meetings and all that,” she said. Both players stressed that staying in shape and keeping themselves healthy physically and mentally is essential. Especially with the Premier Volleyball League looking at staging the fourth edition of the Open Conference late this year.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 17th, 2020

Kib Montalbo taught Ben Mbala just what it takes to be a leader

Game in and game out, Ben Mbala plays with a fire that could light up just about anybody playing with him - or even playing against him. Safe to say, the two-time MVP and one-time champion puts his heart on his sleeve and puts it out there for everybody to see. Of course, he wants his teammates to have the same sort of fire whenever they play. One of Mbala's biggest realizations, however, is that not all are wired that way. "During practice, I was the guy with the hot temper. You know when you want to do so good, so well that you start pushing everybody else. A guy like Abu [Tratter], I can tell him, 'Man, come on, you're a man. Move your ass!" he said in the inaugural episode of The Prospects Pod last Friday. He then continued, "But some other guys, you got to be a little bit gentle and take them to the side and talk to them differently." Apparently, his eyes wouldn’t have been opened if not for Kib Montalbo. "I'm just lucky Kib was there because he taught me that," he shared, "He taught me how to communicate with my teammates, how to get across messages I was lucky to have a guy like that." Indeed, Montalbo is highly regarded for his leadership - and he proved that to the Cameroonian powerhouse time and time again not just in practice, but in-game as well. "I'm an emotional player and he was always one of those to get me like, 'Calm down! The game is not over. Stay focused!' After, I was like, 'Okay, my bad,'" the latter recalled. That leadership, without a doubt, only rubbed off on Mbala. "I'm just glad to have guys like that to push me over and over. I'd like to say thank you to him for pushing me so much," he said. He then continued, "I wouldn't probably where I am if it wasn't for guys like Kib." At the same time, Montalbo, also known as "The Man of Steal," was the key to the now-25-year-old's development at the defensive end. "He pushed me to play defense on everybody else - guards, big guys - because the (defense) you see him do during games, he does that to me every practice," Mbala shared. He then continued, "I would be so mad when I'll try to post then he'll come steal the ball without me seeing him coming. In the end, that helped me play better." From there, challenged by Montalbo, we were all witnesses to how "Big Ben" guarded all sorts of players from Papi Sarr to Alvin Pasaol and from Thirdy Ravena to Paul Desiderio. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 7th, 2020

UFC champ Miocic welcomes octagon s return, has concerns

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 1st, 2020

No games, big losses: Money crisis faces US Olympic sports

By EDDIE PELLS AP National Writer DENVER (AP) — The postponement of the Tokyo Games has catapulted the sports organizations that make up the backbone of the U.S. Olympic team into crisis. At least one has already started layoffs and others are desperate to stay solvent. Some are expecting a major downturn in membership dues, while others are reeling from event cancellations totaling more than 8,000 across all sports. A database analyzed by The Associated Press shows combined projected losses of more than $121 million in revenue between February and June for 43 of the 50 national governing bodies that responded to a survey from the NGB Council in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. As much or more as the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, which serves as an umbrella regulator of the country's Olympic sports, it's the NGBs that provide funding and other support for athletes to pursue their dreams at the Olympic and other elite levels. About 80% of the typical NGB's budget goes toward supporting athletes. Not including the U.S. Tennis Association — an outlier because of the massive revenue it generates from the U.S. Open — the NGBs have a combined annual revenue of about $685 million. By comparison, the NFL and NBA each reportedly brought in about $8 billion during the latest completed season. Half the NGBs are little more than ma-and-pop operations, working with small staffs and on revenue not more than $5 million a year. The USOPC, which sent cash grants to the individual NGBs to the tune of around $65 million in 2018, is also in uncharted territory. The postponement of the Olympics forces the federation to make up for a shortfall nearing $200 million without the NBC payout that comes during Olympic years. The USOPC broke with recent practice by not taking out insurance against that possible loss, instead deciding to self-insure. Some of the shortfall is expected to come from an endowment fund created out of a surplus from the 1984 LA Olympics. The USOPC says the losses across American sports could range from $600 million to $800 million. A good portion of these losses can be recouped if the games go forward, as expected, in 2021. But staying financially healthy until that time is not a given for some of the more vulnerable NGBs. “I haven't heard anyone say their NGB itself was going to go out of business,” said Max Cobb, the president of U.S. Biathlon, who doubles as leader of the USOPC's NGB Council. “But there's very little buffer to absorb any revenue loss for an NGB. They all run on a very tight revenue and expense model, and very few have much in the way of savings.” Already, USA Cycling, a mid-sized NGB with an approximate annual revenue of $15 million, laid off eight of its 70-person staff. And USA Rugby, which existed on about $14 million in revenue through 2017, was already teetering and could be nearing closer to bankruptcy with the added uncertainty the Olympic postponement has brought. Many NGBs, such as cycling, are event driven — reliant on cash brought when people sign up for local and national competitions that they sanction. Others, such as USA Swimming, get their lion's share of funding from membership dues, which are taking a hit as facilities around the nation close on the order of state and local governments. “We, as an NGB, will feel it next fall when memberships start rolling in. That shortfall could have a profound effect,” said USA Swimming's Tim Hinchey. “We can overcome a lot of these things, I think, if all comes back to normal. But we have to wait and see like everyone else.” The only event that makes money for swimming is its Olympic trials, which are also a significant revenue source for track, gymnastics and other sports that send large teams. All have been postponed, to be rescheduled when the IOC sets a new date for the Olympics in 2021. The USOPC recently sent a letter to Congress asking for $200 million to be included in the $2 trillion coronavirus relief package that passed through the House of Representatives on Friday. The money, it said, was to be used to support about 2,500 athletes and to help NGBs, which have a total of about 4,500 full-time employees. “On short notice, we surveyed NGBs and then made additional assumptions about the current and future impact of the pandemic on athlete financial support,” CEO Sarah Hirshland said. “Reflective of that work, funds were requested on behalf of athletes and NGBs only.” That request wasn't granted — the federal government has a long history of not providing financial support to the Olympics — though Cobb said he was encouraged that not-for-profit businesses such as the NGBs are allowed to apply for loans as part of the stimulus package's $349 billion “Paycheck Protection Program.” Hinchey said he'll direct some struggling swim clubs to also seek relief from the loan program. What's clear to Cobb is that without some help, more layoffs could be imminent at some NGBs, while others will suffer in ways that the broad public might not recognize right away. Without as much revenue to support a wider swath of coaching and training programs, to say nothing of equipment and state-of-the-art training facilities, some sports' pipelines might suffer. “The athletes receiving the support right now have earned that by being the best in the country,” Cobb said. “But it's that next generation of athletes, and all the NGBs rely on that next generation, that's the group that's the most impacted.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 28th, 2020

From Cellar-Dweller to Contender: Basilan s phenomenal rise in the MPBL

Coming off a rough 2018-19 MPBL Datu Cup campaign, Basilan Steel-Jumbo Plastic has no way to go but up, with the help of Phenom Sports, its new management team. Phenom, led by Jax Chua, took over Basilan late last season when the Steel have already spiraled down to the bottom of the MPBL and finished the tournament tied with Rizal for the last spot of the Southern division behind a dismal 7-18 win-loss record. From there, Phenom rebuilt the team, starting with the coaching staff that has what it takes to maneuver a losing team to a victorious one. “Coming in, ‘yung outlook naming sa team, we want to bring a winning culture ditto sa Basilan. We took the challenge kahit alam naming cellar-dweller noong Datu Cup,” said Chua, who also serves as the general manager of the Steel. Coach Jerson Cabiltes took the helm for Basilan, alongside deputies Noy Catalan, Florian Pineda, Arnold Oliveros, Jinino Manansala, Joseph Guion, Migs Montero, and Dands Javier. Then came the task to build a team that exhibits the same qualities of the Basileños: determined, full of perseverance, hardworking, and has something to prove. Phenom, who also ventured into player management aside from sportswear-making, then made the moves to improve Basilan’s lineup by taking players who are no big names but can contribute in a variety of ways. “To have a winning team, not necessary naman to get big name players. Ang hinanap namin ay mga hardworking players who will buy into the system at magsa-sacrifice talaga,” Chua said. The management retained veteran Dennis Daa for his leadership while activating Cris Dumapis, who has emerged as a reliable force in the paint. They then acquired the services of shifty playmaker Hesed Gabo and sharpshooting big man Jay Collado from Quezon City, marksman Jhapz Bautista from Makati, high-leaping Bobby Balucanag and Shaq Alanas from Pasay, sparkplug Gab Dagangon from Bataan, and Michole Sorela from Navotas. They also signed PBA veterans Jonathan Uyloan and Anthony Bringas alongside Irven Palencia, an integral cog for St. Clare in NAASCU, who is also managed by Phenom. Philip Manalang, Mark Trinidad, Ar Raouf Jilkipli, Junjie Hallare, Darwin Lunor, Jett Vidal, Melgar Murillo, Harold Ng, and Reiner Bazan completed the lineup of Basilan. The Turnaround When the Chooks-to-Go MPBL Lakan Cup opened, the retooled Basilan started on the right foot with two straight wins against Bicol and Pampanga. But when the adrenaline ran out, the Jumbo Plastic-backed squad saw its win-loss standing at 9-8 midway through the season. Then Basilan scorched the league in its remaining 13 games, tallying 11 victories while only losing two matches. The main reason for the brilliant playoff push? The arrival of Phenom-managed collegiate talents in Allyn Bulanadi, NCAA Season 95 leading scorer and San Sebastian College-Recoletos superstar, and Philip Manalang, lead floor general of University of the East. Bulanadi, a 6-foot-3 up-and-coming star, played in the Steel’s last seven games in the elimination round on an impressive 21.71 points on 46 percent clip and 4.5 rebounds averages. Meanwhile, Manalang is a sparkplug off the bench who brings the tenacity on the defense all while contributing on the other end in various ways. Basilan entered the playoffs with a 20-10 record, good for the third spot in the tough Southern division just behind top seed Davao Occidental and second-ranked Bacoor. “Our main goal was to for a competitive team and we want to redefine Basilan through basketball. In this way, I think we have garnered so many fans and inspired yung buong Basilan province that’s why I think we have already succeeded in redefining Basilan,” Chua said. But the grind did not stop for the Steel as they marched into the postseason with the whole Basilan province rallying behind their backs. In the quarterfinals, Basilan swept Iloilo advancing into the semifinals, with a daunting task of beating second seed powerhouse Bacoor City. The Steel survived a grueling three-game series against the Strikers, coming up on top despite having home-court disadvantage for Games Two and Three. In the division finals, Basilan faced the toughest team in the South, the Davao Occidental Tigers. But Basilan showed, again and again, its heart, escaping Game One with a 74-72 victory at the Davao Sports and Tourism Complex in Tagum City. And with a shot to glory and barging into the National Finals, Basilan looked to become South kings in front of their huge following at Lamitan City Gym in Game Two, but the Tigers have other plans, spoiling Basilan’s home court and surviving with an 81-76 win. Game Three was supposed to happen last March 14, but MPBL decided to suspend the Division Finals due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. “Nandito na rin kami eh, we are not here to participate lang. Given the chance and we will gladly take it. We will go all out to bring more pride to the Basileños and to repay the trust na binigay sa amin ng leaders ng Basilan especially Congressman Mujiv Hataman, Mayor Julz Hataman Governor Jim Hataman Salliman and Councilor Hegem Furigay,” added Chua. Will Basilan Steel continue their astounding playoff run to the National Finals or will Davao Occidental retain its crown in the South? No matter what, Basilan has already won the hearts of the Basileños and the whole MPBL fanbase with its tremendous turnaround from a lowly team in Datu Cup to a powerhouse in the Chooks-to-Go MPBL Lakan Season. More than Basketball But “Redefining Basilan” is more than basketball. Phenom Sports not only wanted to turn around people’s perception of Basilan the basketball team but give Basilan the province the appreciation it deserves. Basilan has been a hotbed of misconceptions due to the armed conflicts that happened there, but those were the days and the province has moved on. “Right from the start na nakapunta ako sa Basilan, sobrang iba nito kasi akala natin magulo ang Basilan, ang mga tao iba ang ugali pero hindi. Basilan has been enjoying a long peace na. For more than 15 years now under the leadership ng mga Hataman, naging maayos, naging focused sila sa peace and progress,” Chua on Basilan province. And basketball has played a huge part in giving the young Basileños a dream to hold on. “Yung mga kabataan, nabibigyan ng chance na mangarap na maging katulad ng idols nila,” said Chua. “They want to be the next Allyn Bulanadi, the next Hesed Gabo, the next Irven Palencia. This is what basketball is giving to the Basilan people.” The Steel has built a cult following in Basilan and it is the best feeling a player could feel. “Paglapag pa lang ng pier, everybody knows the players. They follow them like rockstars, like celebrities. They send food to the hotels, they watch our practices. Ganoon kamahal ng Basilan yung mga players nila. They saw a hardworking team who really represents Basilan’s culture - the determination, the perseverance and the hard work of the Basileños,” Chua concluded. But how did Basilan Steel get popular in the province? Meet the team behind Phenom Sports. Phenom is all-in in redefining Basilan and that’s why they have a team to do so. They have photographers in Marl Castro, Thel Suliva, and Michael Ordoñez who captured in-game pictures and the team’s interaction with the fans. Rion Balin and Jeff Palaganas are the videographers who make the video highlights of the Basilan players for the fans. Juls Claudio and Dands Javier are graphic artists who create the posters and other publication materials to be posted on the team’s social media accounts. The latter also serves as the marketing man of Phenom. Emma Bueno and Joseph Guion complete the team as coordinator and director, respectively. In a span of just a year, Phenom Sports has reached its goal of redefining Basilan, turning it to #BasilanRedefined......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 19th, 2020

So many good bills in the House

  THE principal story coming out of the House of Representatives this week was about the continuing fight for House leadership, with two top Congress leaders losing their key positions – Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab as chairman of the Committee on Appropriations and Oriental Mindoro Rep. Salvador Leachon as chairman of the House Electoral […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  tempoRelated NewsMar 6th, 2020

Harden s 37 points leads Rockets over Knicks 123-112

By KRISTIE RIEKEN AP Sports Writer HOUSTON (AP) — For James Harden, it wasn't a choice. He had to be at Kobe and Gianna Bryant’s memorial service in Los Angeles on Monday even though his Houston Rockets had a game that night. “It was everything just to pay my respects," Harden said. “To show my condolences to the family. Obviously it's a tough time for them, for the entire world, so it was a must that I be there and show my respects." Harden, Russell Westbrook and P.J. Tucker arrived at the arena about 70 minutes before tip-off after attending the memorial service. Harden scored 37 points, and the Rockets beat the New York Knicks 123-112 for their fourth straight victory. “It's unbelievable what he can do tired or distracted and not in his routine but he just keeps plugging away," coach Mike D'Antoni said. “That's why we value him. He doesn't miss games or minutes and he just plays." Harden had 31 by halftime, helping Houston to a 72-57 lead at the break. He cooled down eventually, but his first-half work put the Rockets in control against the struggling Knicks, who lost their fourth in a row. He looked worn out after the game as he prepared to spend his first night at home since before the NBA All-Star Game. “Long very, very emotional day," he said. Harden was asked what he'd remember most about Bryant, who was killed along with his daughter and seven others in a helicopter crash last month. “Just his competitive spirit," Harden said. “He always talked about your ... path that you're on and how there's always going to be tough times. There's going to be times when you don't want to work hard or you just don't feel like it, but those are the times you have to push through." Harden, who had a career-high 61 points against the Knicks in January 2019, didn't score in the fourth quarter before sitting down for good with about three minutes left and the game well in hand. He also finished with nine assists and six rebounds. Westbrook was expected to play against the Knicks, but was scratched with a sore thumb. The Rockets were up still up by 15 to start the fourth quarter and pushed the lead to 111-91 with about 9½ minutes left after an 8-2 run, highlighted by five points from Austin Rivers. The Knicks got 21 points from RJ Barrett, and Julius Randle added 17 points with 12 rebounds. “You have a team that can attack you in so many different ways," Knicks coach Mike Miller said. “You have to make them earn everything and I think they got too many easy ones early." BIG-TIME BENCH The Rockets got 47 points from their reserves, led by Ben McLemore's 17. Starter Danuel House raved about the value of such contributions from the backups. “It makes your team very dangerous," he said. “If your starting five is capable of putting up points and your bench is capable (too), the team can stay consistent." TIP-INS Knicks: G Elfrid Payton missed his second straight game with a sore right ankle. ... Dennis Smith Jr. had 15 points. ... New York made 11 of 29 3-pointers. Rockets: G Eric Gordon started in place of Westbrook and had 16 points in his second game back after missing three games with a bruised left leg. But he left early in the fourth quarter with a sore knee. UP NEXT Knicks: Visit Charlotte on Wednesday night. Rockets: Host the Grizzlies on Wednesday night......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 25th, 2020

4 PDP-Laban solons switch to NUP

Four senior congressmen bolted President Duterte’s PDP-Laban party yesterday to join the National Unity Party and threatened the leadership term-sharing pact from being realized in the House of Representatives. Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga, NUP president, said the political party has not decided to close its doors to new members but stressed that there is no […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  tempoRelated NewsFeb 5th, 2020

The King reigns: LeBron James is AP’s male athlete of decade

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press He left Cleveland for Miami, finally became a champion, went back to his beloved northeast Ohio, delivered on another title promise, then left for the Los Angeles Lakers and the next challenge. He played in eight straight finals. No NBA player won more games or more MVP awards over the last 10 years than he did. He started a school. He married his high school sweetheart. “That’s all?” LeBron James asked, feigning disbelief. No, that’s not all. Those were just some highlights of the last 10 years. There were many more, as the man called “King” spent the last decade reigning over all others — with no signs of slowing down. James is The Associated Press male athlete of the decade, adding his name to a list that includes Tiger Woods, Wayne Gretzky and Arnold Palmer. He was a runaway winner in a vote of AP member sports editors and AP beat writers, easily outpacing runner-up Tom Brady of the New England Patriots. “You add another 10 years of learning and adversity, pitfalls, good, great, bad, and any smart person who wants to grow will learn from all those experiences,” James, who turns 35 Monday, told the AP. “A decade ago, I just turned 25. I’m about to be 35 and I’m just in a better (place) in my life and have a better understanding of what I want to get out of life.” Usain Bolt of Jamaica was third for dominating the sprints at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, soccer superstar Lionel Messi was fourth and Michael Phelps — the U.S. swimmer who retired as history’s most decorated Olympian with 28 medals, 23 gold — was fifth. James was revealed as the winner Sunday, one day after Serena Williams was announced as the AP’s female athlete of the decade. In his 17th season, he’s on pace to lead the league in assists for the first time while remaining among the NBA’s scoring leaders. “When LeBron James is involved,” Denver coach Michael Malone said, “I’m never surprised.” Including playoffs, no one in the NBA scored more points than James in the last 10 years. He started the decade 124th on the league’s all-time scoring list. He’s now about to pass Kobe Bryant for No. 3. No. 2 Karl Malone and No. 1 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are within reach. Is Abdul-Jabbar in his sights? Is catching him the new decade’s goal? “I would be lying if I said I don’t see it,” James said. “Obviously I’m not trying to say, ‘OK, well if I play this amount of time, if I average this’ ... I’m not doing that because I’ve never done that with my career. I’ve always just kind of let it happen. Whatever happens, happens. But I see it. I do see it.” His work ethic, even now, makes even those closest to him marvel. Here’s a typical day this past summer for James, who remains obsessed with working even though fame and fortune found him long ago: He’d wake up at 3 a.m. and be at the Warner Bros. lot by 3:45 — where a weight room and court, built just for him, were waiting. He’d be lifting by 4 a.m., getting shots up by 5:30 and be ready to start another day of shooting the remake of “Space Jam” that he has been planning for years by 7 a.m. “That’s who he is,” said Mike Mancias, one of the longest-tenured and most trusted members of James’ inner circle, tasked for more than 15 years with keeping James fit. “He does whatever it takes when it comes to fulfilling his commitments to everything — especially his game and his craft.” The 2010s for James started with “The Decision,” the widely criticized televised announcement of his choice to leave Cleveland for Miami. (Lost in the hubbub: The show raised more than $2.5 million for charity.) He was with the Heat for four years, went to the NBA Finals all four times with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, finally won the title in 2012 — “it’s about damn time,” he said at the trophy celebration — and led the way in a Game 7 win over San Antonio to go back-to-back the following year. “He grew immensely here as a leader,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. “He impacted winning as much as with his leadership as he did with his talent. I think that was the most important thing he learned with us. And he’s been able to take that to different franchises and continue using that as a template.” Cleveland was devastated when he left. It forgave him. James returned home in 2014, took Cleveland to four consecutive finals, then led the Cavaliers to the 2016 title and came up with one of the biggest plays of his life by pulling off a chase-down block of Golden State’s Andre Iguodala in the final seconds of Game 7 of that series. And in 2018, he was off to LA. Going Hollywood made so much sense — he’s making movies, has a production company, has a program called “The Shop” as part of his ‘Uninterrupted’ platform featuring an array of guests from Drake to California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who signed a bill on the show that will allow college athletes to get paid for the use of their likeness and sign endorsement deals. “There’s a lot of moments from this decade that would be up there, winning the two Miami championships, winning a championship in Cleveland, the chase-down block,” James said. “But the best moment? Definitely marrying Savannah. That would be No. 1.” James and longtime partner Savannah Brinson got married six years ago. They already had two sons — both are very good basketball players already — and added a daughter in 2014. James also spent most of the last decade as a lightning rod for critics. He used his voice often on social matters, speaking out after the killing of unarmed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin and campaigning for Hillary Clinton. He supported Colin Kaepernick’s methods of protesting police brutality and racial injustice. Most recently, he was criticized by many — including top U.S. lawmakers — for his remarks after Houston general manager Daryl Morey sparked a massive rift between the NBA and China by sending out a tweet supporting pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. “I don’t live in regret,” James said. “There’s no moment in this last decade that I wish I could have back. If a situation was bad or you feel like you could have done better, then I learned from it.” He doesn’t know how much longer he’ll play. He laments missing time with his children. His “I Promise” school that opened in 2018 in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, has been an immediate success story, and he wants to see that enterprise continue growing. Some love him. Some don’t. He doesn’t mind. “When you believe in your calling or you believe in yourself, then it doesn’t matter what other people say or how other people feel,” James said. “And if you allow that to stop you or deter you from your mission, then you don’t get anywhere.” And in the 2010s, nothing deterred James......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 30th, 2019

Woods comeback at Masters named AP Sports Story of the Year

By Eddie Pells, Associated Press A green jacket. A heart-melting embrace. A stirring return to the top of golf by one of the sport’s all-time greats. In choosing Tiger Woods’ victory at the Masters as The Associated Press sports story of the year, voters went with the uplifting escape of a great comeback over options that were as much about sports as the issues that enveloped them in 2019: politics, money and the growing push for equal pay and equal rights for women. The balloters, a mix of AP member sports editors and AP beat writers, elevated Woods’ rousing victory at Augusta National over the runner-up entry: the U.S. women’s soccer team’s victory at the World Cup. That monthlong competition was punctuated by star Megan Rapinoe’s push for pay equality for the women’s team and an ongoing war of words with President Donald Trump. Rapinoe’s efforts to use sports as a platform to discuss bigger issues was hardly a one-off in 2019. Of the top 12 stories in the balloting, only three — titles won by the Toronto Raptors, Washington Nationals and University of Virginia basketball team — stuck mainly to what happened between the lines. All the rest — including the blown call that cost the Saints a chance at the Super Bowl, a California law that threatens to upend the NCAA and Simone Biles’ dominance at gymnastics' world championships, set against the backdrop of the sex-abuse crisis consuming the sport in the U.S. — were long-running sagas that went beyond a single day or event. They painted sports not as an escape from the world’s problems but merely another window into them. It’s no stretch to say that the whole of the Woods saga — namely, the sordid, pain-riddled, decadelong prelude to his victory at Augusta National in April — would fit into that category, as well. His downfall began in the wee hours the day after Thanksgiving in 2009, when he ran over a fire hydrant outside his house in Florida, triggering an avalanche of stories about infidelity that would lead to the breakup of his marriage and play into the near-destruction of his career. Part 2 was the injuries. Woods came close but did not return to his dominant form after his return to golf following his breakup with his wife. And as time went on, his physical condition deteriorated. He didn’t play in 2016 or 2017, and at the end of '17, he conceded his back was so bad that his days of competitive golf might be behind him. There were four risky back surgeries. Woods also required a good deal of inner healing after a mortifying DUI arrest in 2017 that exposed his reliance on painkillers. Through it all, Woods somehow kept nurturing his love for golf. And eventually, he found his game again. He climbed his way back to the top. He had close calls at two majors in 2018 — the British Open and PGA Championship — and then won the season-ending Tour Championship, as good a sign as any that, at 43, he could take on the best and win. But regular tournaments are not the majors, and no major is the Masters. It was on those hallowed grounds at Augusta National where Woods set the marker, starting a decade of dominance that would redefine the game. He blew away the field by 12 strokes in 1997 to win the first of what has become five green jackets and 15 major titles. On that day, Woods came off the 18th green and wrapped himself in a warm embrace with his father, Earl, whose death in 2006 left an undeniable void in the player's life. Though there had been a handful of close calls between his U.S. Open victory in 2008 and the start of 2019, it was clear that if there was a single course where Woods could conjure the old magic and end a major drought, it would be Augusta National. As a four-time champion, Woods built a career on studying every inch of the layout, knowing every fault line and every sneaky twist and turn of the slickest greens on earth. But where, at one time, he might have overpowered the course and intimidated the competition, in 2019, he simply outlasted them both. He avoided mistakes while everyone else was making them. Instead of taking a lead into the last day, then never giving anyone a whiff of hope, this was a comeback. He started the day two shots behind. As AP Golf Writer Doug Ferguson wrote in his wrapup of the final day: “Woods never missed a shot that mattered over the final seven holes, taking the lead with a 5-iron to the fat of the green on the par-5 15th for a two-putt birdie, delivering the knockout with an 8-iron that rode down the ridge by the cup and settled 2 feet away for birdie on the par-3 16th.” When it was over, Woods came to the same spot where he’d met Earl 22 years before. He scooped up his son, Charlie, and held him in a long embrace, then did the same with his 11-year-old daughter, Sam, and mother, Tilda. “For them to see what it’s like to have their dad win a major championship, I hope that’s something they will never forget,” Woods said. Very few golf fans will. And in a sports year dominated by weightier topics, Woods at the Masters stood out — a comeback story that left people smiling at the end......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 26th, 2019

The NBA’s showcase day - Christmas - has arrived

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press The MVP is playing. So are the reigning champions, north of the border. And out in LA, the NBA’s newest dynamic duos will square off as well. On the 65th day of the season, with 454 games — more than one-third of the schedule — already in the books, the NBA’s unofficial start date has arrived. The annual Christmas Day quintupleheader of games is Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time), the day when the casual fan typically turns his or her attention toward the NBA. “It’s going to be cool, man,” said Toronto guard Kyle Lowry, who’ll be making his Christmas debut. “It’s going to be very cool. I’ve always watched it on TV ever since I was a young child. And it’s going to be awesome to step foot on that floor on Christmas Day, have my family and friends around and have the whole world watching.” The good news from a ratings perspective: Four of the Eastern Conference’s five best teams so far are on the schedule, all playing each other. The bad news: The two worst teams in the Western Conference so far also are on the schedule. But LeBron James and Anthony Davis’ first Christmas as Los Angeles Lakers teammates — facing off against the crosstown rival Clippers — should certainly draw plenty of eyeballs. “I hope everybody has a great holiday and spends some time with their families, but it’s about the next opponent in front of us,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “We have to get a win.” The other matchups: Boston goes to Toronto in the NBA’s first Christmas game in Canada, followed by Milwaukee visiting Philadelphia, Houston going to Golden State, the Lakers-Clippers contest and then a nightcap between New Orleans and a Denver team led by Nikola Jokic and off to the best start in franchise history at 20-8. “You’re always told that the best teams play on Christmas, the All-Star players play on Christmas and the whole world is watching this game,” said Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo, the league’s reigning MVP who has even better numbers this year than he did a year ago. The potential certainly exists for some playoff-preview matchups. It’s not a stretch to think that the Raptors and Celtics or 76ers and Bucks will wind up meeting in a best-of-seven come April or May. And the same holds true in Los Angeles, where the Clippers and Lakers might be the best of the West. The Lakers have Davis and James. The Clippers now have Paul George and two-time NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard. Those two pairings shook up the league’s landscape considerably when they came together this past summer, and so far with the Lakers at 24-6 and the Clippers at 22-10, neither side has much to complain about. “I think we’re good,” George said. “I think we’re good.” The Clippers are 10-3 in games where both Leonard and George start. Davis and James are one of two duos where both are averaging more than 25 points per game; Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins in Minnesota are the other. The pairing of James and Davis has looked spectacular at times already. If there was any confusion about whether those two superstar talents could work together, those questions have been answered. “We know what the end goal is,” Davis said. “And when you have guys like that, with veteran leadership, when everyone is locked in to our goal, it’s easy for us to jell together.” James puts it even more simply. “It’s about getting better, each and every day,” James said. Christmas is where last year’s Lakers season went wrong — they were fourth in the West, then James got hurt on Dec. 25 and LA went on a free fall out of the playoff picture. And injuries will affect some of what the league gets to display on Christmas this year as well. Golden State has been doomed by injuries all season, with no Klay Thompson and no Stephen Curry for much of this season. New Orleans was picked to be part of the showcase day because of No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson, who has yet to appear in a regular-season game — his summer league was cut short by injury, and a stellar preseason ended the same way. And Toronto is missing several top players right now, including Pascal Siakam and Marc Gasol. But make no mistake: The Raptors have been waiting a long time to be part of NBA Christmas. Wednesday is their first time on the holiday schedule since 2001. “It’ll be interesting,” Toronto coach Nick Nurse said. “I wish we had more of our regular guys playing in it, but we’ve got to go play the game nevertheless. So we’ll see. I think it’ll be fun. I’m getting a lot of messages from back home. Everybody’s going to be watching.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 25th, 2019

Jose Mourinho brings passion to task of reviving Tottenham

By Rob Harris, Associated Press LONDON (AP) — Ousted from previous jobs for fomenting friction, Jose Mourinho is returning to coaching trying to show he is rejuvenated with the smile back. Will Tottenham be getting a mellowed manager, rather than the one who stoked internal feuds at Chelsea and Manchester United? Mourinho’s exile from management ended after being appointed on Wednesday by Tottenham within 12 hours of the announcement of Mauricio Pochettino’s firing. “I couldn’t be happier and look forward to the challenge,” Mourinho said in a video released by Tottenham. “What can I promise? Passion, real passion. “Passion for my job, but also passion for my club, that’s the way I have been all my career and I want to try, obviously, everything to bring happiness to everyone who loves the club.” Mourinho has always delivered happiness in the form of trophies and title successes. But several of his stints have also seen the atmosphere around the team sour as his relationship broke down with club officials, players and even fans. There was the “palpable discord” that curtailed Mourinho’s second spell at Chelsea in December 2015. A turbulent 2½-year spell followed at Manchester United that ended in December 2018 when the club tired of the volatile coach constantly picking fights and criticizing his own players as the team struggled. But he won three Premier League titles during his two spells at Chelsea, and lifted the Europa League trophy as the highlight of his time in Manchester. He now arrives at a club without a track record of winning titles, with no trophy lifted since the 2008 League Cup. While Pochettino transformed Tottenham, achieving an unprecedented four consecutive Champions League qualifications as the team rose in status, a trophy eluded the Argentine during his 5½-year stint. He led the club to its first Champions League final last season, only to lose to Liverpool. Rather than being a springboard for a sustained challenge in the Premier League to deliver Tottenham’s first championship since 1961, Pochettino sounded increasingly unsettled. Having said on the eve of the Champions League final he could choose to walk away from Tottenham, that decision was taken out of Pochettino ’s hands 173 days later when he was fired on Tuesday night. Tottenham’s improbable run to a first European Cup final masked a drop-off in form in the Premier League that has seen the team win just six of its 24 games since February, straddling the end of last season and the start of this season. Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy said he turned to Mourinho to bring “energy and belief” back to the club. “He has a wealth of experience,” Levy said, “can inspire teams and is a great tactician.” Mourinho takes charge of Tottenham for the first time on Saturday at West Ham with the team 14th in the Premier League after 12 games, 11 points off the four Champions League qualification positions where Tottenham grew accustomed to finishing under Pochettino. “It’s a privilege when a manager goes to a club and feels that happiness in relation to the squad he is going to have,” said Mourinho, who oversaw his first Tottenham training session on Wednesday. Since leaving Porto for Chelsea in 2004, Mourinho has always worked at clubs with big budgets so Tottenham is not necessarily a natural fit. Pochettino had to battle against the biggest teams in Europe while working with strict financial constraints, particularly as Tottenham prepared to move into its new stadium last season. The club has prioritized developing young talent from within the academy, including striker Harry Kane and midfielder Harry Winks, and Mourinho knows he has to follow the same philosophy. "There is not one manager in the world who does not like to play young players and help young players to evolve,” Mourinho said. “The problem is sometimes you get into clubs and the work that is below you is not good enough to produce these players.” Tottenham’s players will certainly respect Mourinho’s resume, which also includes league titles with Porto in Portugal, Inter Milan in Italy and Real Madrid in Spain. He has won the Champions League with two clubs, Porto in 2004 and Inter Milan in 2010. It is Mourinho’s man-management that has mostly been questioned in the latter years of his coaching career, given his penchant for publicly criticizing his own players. The 56-year-old Portuguese is surrounded by a new coaching staff at Tottenham, with Joao Sacramento and Nuno Santos joining from Lille. Mourinho signed a contract to the end of the 2022-23 season with Tottenham but has never spent more than 3½ years in a single stint at one club. While Mourinho says Tottenham has “good players that the majority of the big clubs in Europe would be looking for”, the squad needs a revamp after growing stale because of the lack of recent recruitment. He will need to quickly fix Tottenham’s leaky defense and get more out of the team’s underperforming midfielders, Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen. The main playmaker, Eriksen appeared to be on his way out of the club as he seeks a new challenge but working under Mourinho might offer that. Mourinho, who still has a house in London, will be back coaching the Champions League next week, too, with Tottenham needing one win from its final two group-stage games to qualify for the knockout stage. The team is out of the English League Cup, having been eliminated by fourth-tier Colchester in one of a number of humiliating results under Pochettino this season. ___ AP Sports Writer Steve Douglas contributed to this report......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 21st, 2019