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No fans, no work: Arena workers caught in sports shutdown

By TIM REYNOLDS AP Basketball Writer MIAMI (AP) — David Edelman can usually be found at a Denver Nuggets basketball game or a Colorado Rapids soccer game. As an usher, he interacts with fans in a role he calls a staple of his life. But there are no Nuggets games for at least a month. No Rapids games, either. And Edelman has no idea what he’ll do now. “This is what I do for a living,” Edelman said earlier this week, as the realization hit that sports were going on hiatus because of the coronavirus. “This is my income.” Thousands of workers would have staffed the 450 NBA and NHL games that will not be played over the next month in response to the pandemic. And then there are the more than 300 spring training and regular-season baseball games, 130 NCAA Division I men’s and women’s tournament games, 50 or so Major League Soccer matches, all international golf and tennis tournaments, and who-knows-how-many high school, small college and other entertainment events canceled or postponed because of the global health crisis. The total economic impact of the loss of sports and other events because of the pandemic — assuming only a month shutdown — is impossible to calculate but will reach the billions, easily. Tickets aren’t being sold, so teams and leagues and organizing bodies lose money. Fans aren’t going to events that aren’t happening, so taxi drivers and ride-share operators have no one to ferry to and from those places. Hotel rooms will be empty. Beers and hot dogs aren’t being sold, so concessionaires and vendors lose money. Wait staff and bartenders aren’t getting tips. Without those tips, their babysitters aren’t getting paid. The trickle-down effect sprawls in countless directions. Some teams are trying to help. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, within minutes of the NBA shutdown announcement, said he wanted to find a way to help workers who will lose money because games won’t be played. By Friday, he had his plan: “We will pay them as if the games happened,” he told The Associated Press in an email. Other teams, including the Cleveland Cavaliers, have made similar commitments to workers at not just NBA events but also the building’s minor-league hockey games. The Miami Heat, Toronto Raptors, Washington Wizards, Golden State Warriors and Atlanta Hawks were among the earliest NBA franchises to reveal they’re working on how they’ll take care of arena staffs. So have the NHL’s Washington Capitals, among others, and the ownership group for Detroit's Pistons, Red Wings and Tigers on Friday said they were setting up a $1 million fund “to cover one month's wages for our part-time staff for games, concerts and events that they would have otherwise worked." “Our teams, our cities and the leagues in which we operate are a family, and we are committed to looking out for one another,” New Jersey Devils owner Josh Harris said. There were many more significant gifts revealed later Friday. Zion Williamson of the New Orleans Pelicans said he would “cover the salaries” for workers at the team’s arena for the next 30 days. Blake Griffin of the Detroit Pistons pledged $100,000 for workers there, the San Jose Sharks said part-time arena workers would get paid for all games not played and Florida Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky said he was giving $100,000 to workers in that club’s arena -- a donation matched by his teammates and followed by another pledge from the team’s ownership group. “This is a small way for me to express my support and appreciation for these wonderful people who have been so great to me and my teammates and hopefully we can all join together to relieve some of the stress and hardship caused by this national health crisis,” Williamson wrote on Instagram. At Chicago Blackhawks hockey games alone, about 1,500 workers are in or outside the building on event nights: guest services, concessions, parking, security, box office and so on. “The per game payroll is more than $250,000,” said Courtney Greve Hack, a spokeswoman for the United Center. If that’s the NHL norm — no official numbers are available — then workers around the league would stand to lose more than $60 million if hockey does not return this season. “I get it,” said Chris Lee, who owns a coffee and smoothies franchise in Arizona that draws 70% of its annual revenue sales at spring training and Arizona Coyotes hockey games. “But this is going to be really tough.” Lee was packing up cups that won’t be used when baseball announced Thursday that spring training was ending about two weeks early. He and his staff — one full-timer, 14 part-time employees — aren’t sure what comes next. The enormity of the numbers stacks up quickly. The group that owns the Raptors and other pro sports clubs in Toronto, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, says it's trying to help 4,000 workers in that city. Extrapolate that across other Canadian and U.S. pro sports cities, and those teams could be looking at 100,000 workers feeling some sort of pinch — not counting the impact at college and other levels. Cavaliers star Kevin Love pledged $100,000 to help the workers in Cleveland address what he described as their “sudden life shift.” On Friday, reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks made a $100,000 pledge on behalf of his family “It’s bigger than basketball! And during this tough time I want to help the people that make my life, my family’s lives and my teammates lives easier," Antetokounmpo wrote on Twitter. The NCAA men’s Division I tournament generates about $900 million annually through television and marketing rights alone. In Albany, New York, which was scheduled to host men’s tournament games for the first time in 17 years, organizers estimated the economic loss from the three-day event to be about $3 million. Bars and restaurants bought tons of additional stock and perishables to prep for crowds that won't arrive. It’ll probably take a few years before the NCAA can bring the tournament back to many of the cities slated to host games next week. “It’s incredibly disheartening. There’s no question about that,” said Mark Bardack, president of public relations and management firm Ed Lewi and Associates, which had worked for more than a year on the planning of the tournament in Albany. “To have it all disappear, though obviously no one’s fault.” Some arena workers, many not wanting to be identified because of workplace policies about speaking to reporters, said they are living paycheck-to-paycheck. They’re not alone, of course: A study last fall by the American Payroll Association said 74% of workers in the U.S. would “experience financial difficulty” if their usual payday was delayed by as little as one week. In Philadelphia, Rodney Thompson works on commission selling popcorn and beer at 76ers basketball games, Flyers hockey games and Phillies baseball games. They’re all on hold. "The more I sell, the more I make,” the 56-year-old said. “The less I sell, the less I make. It would hurt me, financially. I would have no income coming in. ... I make pretty good money. But if there's no fans, there's no work.” ___ AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno in Washington, AP Sports Writers Tom Withers in Cleveland, David Brandt in Scottsdale, Arizona, Josh Dubow in San Francisco, Stephen Hawkins in Dallas and Dan Gelston in Philadelphia, and Associated Press Writers Matthew Carlson and Tim Cronin in Chicago contributed to this report. ___ The Associated Press receives support for health and science coverage from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content......»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnMar 14th, 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

MLB players begin reporting for tests as first workouts near

By DAVE SKRETTA AP Sports Writer Yoán Moncada has spent the past couple of months working out in what he called a “controlled and limited environment” in Florida, where the White Sox slugger could continue to get at-bats while protecting himself from the coronavirus. That's a good description of the environment that greeted him upon his return to Chicago. Players began reporting to their teams and home ballparks Wednesday in the most significant step yet as Major League Baseball presses ahead with its plan for a 60-game sprint of a season. Most players underwent a battery of health checks, not only for COVID-19 but also for any other lingering ailments from spring training, ahead of planned workouts beginning Friday and Saturday. “We were doing workouts by time, you know? You have to reserve a time. I wasn't interacting with a lot of people there,” Moncada said of his sessions in Florida. “The last couple of weeks I started lifting a little bit. I was hitting with limitations that we had during this situation. But I feel good. I'm ready to go.” Much like other clubs, the White Sox intend to split their 60-man roster into two groups, one working out in the morning and the other in the afternoon. All players will have their temperatures checked multiple times each day, observe increased social distancing and get accustomed to stringent safeguards that MLB has put into place for the season. “That's going to be different to see and feel as a team,” Moncada said. “We'll have to wait and see Friday how it goes.” The Yankees won't hold their first full-team workout until Saturday, even though manager Aaron Boone said players began intake testing Wednesday. That's when he plans to address the team for the first time — also in waves. “We’ll have to get creative with how we communicate,” said Boone, who plans to make the same speech three or four times. Faced with the prospect of playing 60 games in 66 days, time-consuming safety protocols, the responsibility to remain diligent health-wise off the field and the general anxiety of working amid a pandemic, Boone believes focus and toughness can be as important to a team this season as baserunning or bullpen management. “How do you deal with that mentally and emotionally?” Boone asked. “How you’re able to separate that out when you take the field each and every night? There’s an advantage to be had there." After gauging workloads for pitchers during the shutdown, Boone expects his starters will be ready to face live hitters on the first day of summer camp. He plans to stay flexible on usage and may consider using a six-man rotation or openers, but nothing has been determined yet as all teams adjust to a new norm. “An injury can wipe out a season in a hurry,” Boone said, adding that he’s likely to be cautious with players early after New York placed a major league record 30 players on the injured list a total of 39 times last season. Orioles general manager Mike Elias said there had been no positive tests for COVID-19 among players and staff who were examined Wednesday, but he acknowledged that “it's going to be an ongoing process.” Elias has thus far named only 44 players of the 60 available to participate in the preseason workout. He will decide later which prospects will fill out the preseason roster in advance of a projected season-opener July 23 or July 24. And despite rising numbers of COVID-19 across the country, and a few players opting out, most players and executives have been bullish on the season taking place. They believe in protocols hammered out during lengthy negotiations between MLB and its players' association and are eager to provide fans with some much-needed diversion. “We’ve got to make sure we understand best practices in social distancing, make sure we know we are keeping ourselves not only apart from one another but also behaving in a way that’s consistent to what’s going to keep us all healthy," Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen said. “Provided we can all work together to comply with these protocols and respect — as I said earlier —- respect each other and respect the rules, I’m optimistic that we can make this happen.” ___ AP Sports Writers David Ginsburg, Jake Seiner and Mike Fitzpatrick contributed to this report......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 2nd, 2020

10 things that make Alyssa Valdez phenomenal

Alyssa Valdez has arguably made the biggest impact in Philippine volleyball.   Her skills, passion and charisma endeared her to volleyball supporters, purists or casual fans, from all walks of life. She brings energy and leadership to every team that she’s joined. Valdez draws a huge crowd every time she plays. Valdez is the poster girl of the sport that for years struggled to draw mainstream attention in a nation which considers basketball as its biggest sporting event. The 27-year old pride of San Juan, Batangas is the face of local volleyball. So on her birthday today, let’s look at some of the things that makes the Phenom really phenomenal.   Two-time UAAP women’s champion Valdez is Ateneo de Manila University’s undisputed Queen Eagle. Talks about the Lady Eagles’ breakthrough championship will not be complete without the mention of her name. After two years of bridesmaid finishes, Ateneo bagged its first-ever UAAP title in 2014 after beating the thrice-to-beat De La Salle University in four games in the Finals despite leading a young band of Lady Eagles playing under the new system of Thai coach Tai Bundit. The following year, Ateneo, with Valdez at the helm, retained its crown in a tournament-sweeping fashion.      Three-time UAAP Most Valuable Player Her skills during her collegiate career stood out among her peers. Valdez’s effort was rewarded with three Most Valuable Player awards in Season 76, Season 77 and in her last playing year in Season 78 in 2016. She also pocketed the Season 76 Finals MVP award.   Young phenom Valdez didn’t build her reputation overnight. It was her hard work and effort that brought her where she is right now. She was still a diamond in the rough when she was recruited by University of Sto. Tomas in a regional meet. But the Espana-based squad polished Valdez into a real gem of a player. Valdez, backed by a powerful lineup that featured the likes of Kim Fajardo and Jaja Santiago, won three straight UAAP girls’ titles and in the process collected three season MVPs. She was also named UAAP high school athlete of the year twice.        National team mainstay With her talents, dedication and good work ethics, Valdez has been a mainstay with the national team. Her first tour of duty was in 2008 when she represented the country in the Asian Youth Championship held in Pasig City. She joined the PHI Team in the 2014 FIVB Southeast Asian Zone qualifier in Vietnam. In 2015, she donned the tricolors for the Asian U-23 Championship and on the same year saw action in the country’s return in the Southeast Asian Games in Singapore after a decade of absence. Since then Valdez participated in the 2017 Kuala Lumpur and 2019 Manila SEA Games. She also took part in the 2017 Asian Senior Women’s Championship and the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games.     2015 SEA Games flagbearer Valdez also carries the honor as being the first-ever volleyball player to become the PHI flag-bearer in the SEA Games. She marched holding the national color in front of Team Philippines during the traditional parade of nations inside the OCBC Arena in the 2015 Singapore SEA Games.   Accomplished commercial league star She has been collecting commercial league titles since high school starting from the Shakey’s Girls Volleyball League. Valdez was also successful in the different conferences of the defunct V-League, racking up championships and individual accolades. In the Premier Volleyball League, she powered Creamline to three titles including a sweep of the Season 2 Reinforced and Open Conferences in 2018. She won three conference MVP awards.      Import abroad International leagues took notice of Valdez’s talents and charm so it’s not surprising that she landed offers to play abroad. Valdez played as an import in Thailand for 3BB Nakornnont from 2016 to 2017. After her stint in Thailand, Valdez flew to Taiwan to play for Attack Line.   Host, Actress, TV personality Valdez is a regular fixture in different sports shows in ABS-CBN S+A. She’s a host, courtside reporter and a game analyst.   Valdez also had a few showbiz stints. She appeared in some Kapamilya teleserye including a cameo in ‘And I Love You So’ in 2016 alongside Julia Barretto and Miles Ocampo and in the movie ‘My Letters to Happy’ with by TJ Trinidad and Glaiza De Castro.    Aside from her TV and movie career, Valdez is also one of the most recognizable athlete product endorsers.   Social media influencer She is also one of the most popular Filipino athlete on social media. As of posting, Valdez has 1.9 million Twitter followers, 1.3 million followers on Instagram and her YouTube channel has more than 76,000 subscribers.   Featured in the Olympics Channel website While the likes of Sisi Rondina, Jaja Santiago and Bryan Bagunas were featured in the FIVB website, Valdez’s impact on Philippine Volleyball was highlighted in a feature article in no less than the Olympic Channel website. The article touched about her humble beginnings to her meteoric rise and why she is regarded as the nation’s brightest star in the sport. These are just some of the things take make Valdez a true pride of our nation in the sport Happy birthday, Alyssa!.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 29th, 2020

Fil-Am UFC veteran Mark Muñoz shares his thoughts on the state of Filipino MMA

Apart from basketball and, as of recent years, volleyball, combat sports like boxing and mixed martial arts have been quite popular among Filipino sports fans.  A lot of credit for that goes to the likes of eight-division boxing world champion Manny Pacquiao, four-division boxing champion Nonito Donaire Jr., Donnie Nietes, and those who came before them like Gabriel “Flash” Elorde, Pancho Villa, and Gerry Peñalosa, all of whom made it big on the world stage.  In recent years, a number of Filipinos are have also made a name for themselves in the global mixed martial arts arena, and one of the early big stars was none other than former UFC veteran Mark “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” Muñoz.  From 2009 to 2015, Muñoz was one of the UFC’s top middleweight contenders and proudly carried the Filipino flag with him each time he stepped inside the Octagon.  In May of 2015, on the UFC’s inaugural fight card in Manila, Muñoz retired in front of his kababayans after a unanimous decision win over Luke Barnatt.  (READ ALSO: Filipino-American MMA star Mark Muñoz recalls retirement bout in Manila) Muñoz’s run in the UFC came at a time when the North American promotion was easily accessible to fans in the Philippines, and he became a household name in terms of Filipino MMA.  Now, five years after Muñoz’s retirement, MMA in the Philippines has never been more popular, thanks in large part to promotions like the Asia-based ONE Championship, which holds around four events in Manila every year, and of course, the URCC, the Philippines’ first-ever MMA promotion.  Today, homegrown Filipino talents like Eduard Folayang, Joshua Pacio, Kevin Belingon, Denice Zamboanga, Chris Hoffman, an many others have also gotten their time to shine on the world stage, and Muñoz believes that it’s because Filipinos are natural fighters.  “I just feel Filipinos in general have that combat mentality. That’s already inside of them,” Muñoz said on The Hitlist vodcast. “I feel that Filipinos, from the days that we have to get our independence from the Spanish, Jose Rizal, he’s a hero in the nation, it’s just embedded in our culture, in our blood, so I just feel like Filipinos in general would be amazing fighters.” Munoz made special mention of guys like former ONE world champions Folayang and Belingon, as well as URCC champions Hoffman, and Ernesto Montilla Jr.  “I mean you just look at the…Filipinos now, it’s growing and getting better. I’ve been following Eduard Folayang. He’s an amazing representative of the Philippines, Kevin Belingon, he’s the man. I think there’s another one that was on the card when I fought, Mark Eddiva is good. I know I’m leaving out a lot of fighters, there’s Ernesto Montilla Jr., when I was there in training, a guy caught my eyes, Chris Hoffman trained with me and helped me out. I know he’s doing big things in the Philippines. I think he’s URCC champion.”  “There’s a lot of good fighters in the Philippines. I know I’m leaving out a lot and I don’t want to do that but there’s a lot of good talents in the Philippines and I wanna come, I wanna be there and help them in wrestling, in MMA wresting, in ground and pound, in everything that was my specialty in MMA,” he added.  While Filipinos have indeed excelled in mixed martial arts, one aspect continues to be perceived as the Filipino fighter’s weakness is the ground game, whether it be wrestling or grappling.  (READ ALSO: Mark Muñoz not ruling out MMA return) Today’s young stars, guys like Team Lakay’s Pacio and Danny Kingad have displayed some exceptional grappling in their past performances, but Muñoz, a former collegiate wrestler and current wrestling coach, made a living off taking guys down and keeping them grounded.  “I think the common thing that everyone says with MMA is wrestling. Wrestling is the ultimate neutralizer. If you don’t have a good understanding of wrestling, you’re gonna have a really hard time becoming one of the, being ranked in the world or even be a champion,” Muñoz explained. “If you look at all the champions now, or the ones that are ranked in the world. A lot of them have background in wrestling. I feel that that’s something that the Philippines needs.” Muñoz has always said that one of the things he would most like to do is to help develop wrestling in the Philippines and hopes to one day be able to finally fulfill that mission.  “I’m the guy to do that for them. I need to make sure I spend time in the Philippines to be able to help that,” he continued......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 19th, 2020

Virus-proofing sports facilities presents a big challenge

By DAVE CAMPBELL AP Sports Writer MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The jersey-wearing camaraderie. The scent of sizzling sausages. The buzz before a big game. The distinctive atmosphere of live sports, that feeling in the air, will return in time as pandemic restrictions are eased. But will that very air be safe in a closed arena with other fans in attendance? The billions of dollars spent on state-of-the-art sports facilities over the last quarter-century have made high-efficiency air filtration systems more common, thanks in part to the pursuit of green and healthy building certifications. Upgrades will likely increase in the post-coronavirus era, too. The problem is that even the cleanest of air can’t keep this particular virus from spreading; if someone coughs or sneezes, those droplets are in the air. That means outdoor ballparks have high contaminant potential, too. “Most of the real risk is going to be short-distance transmission, people sitting within two, three or four seats of each other,” said Ryan Demmer, an epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health. “It’s not really about the virus spreading up, getting into the ventilation system and then getting blown out to the entire stadium because this virus doesn’t seem to transmit that way. It doesn’t aerosolize that well.” The three hours spent in proximity to thousands of others is part of the fan experience. It's also why major sports leagues have been discussing plans to reopen in empty venues, for now. High-touch areas with the potential to spread the virus — called fomite transmission — are plentiful at the ballgame, of course. Door handles. Stair rails. Restroom fixtures. Concession stands. Hand washing by now has become a societal norm, but disinfectant arsenals need to be brought up to speed, too. “I can’t really find good hand sanitizer easily in stores. So think about trying to scale that up, so everybody who comes into U.S. Bank Stadium gets a little bottle of Purel. Things like that can be modestly helpful,” Demmer said. There is much work to be done. Vigilant sanitizing of the frequent-touch surfaces will be a must. Ramped-up rapid testing capability during pre-entry screening could become common for fans. Minimizing concourse and entry bottlenecks, and maintaining space between non-familial attendees, could be mandatory. Mask-wearing requirements? Maybe. Most experts, including those at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, believe the primary mode of transmission for COVID-19 is close person-to-person contact through breathing, coughing or sneezing but there's no consensus on some of the details. “There’s still widespread disagreement between experts on which mode of transmission dominates for influenza. So the likelihood of us figuring this out soon for this virus is low,” said Joe Allen, director of the Healthy Buildings Program and an assistant professor at Harvard’s School of Public Health. “We may never figure it out, but I also think it’s irrelevant because it’s a pandemic and we should be guarding against all of them.” Including, of course, the air. The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers designed the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) scale to measure a filtration system's effectiveness (from 1-16) at capturing microscopic airborne particles that can make people sick. Not just viruses, but dust, pollen, mold and bacteria. Most experts recommend a MERV rating of 13 or higher, the minimum standard for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. An emerging technology in this area is called bipolar ionization. Connecticut-based AtmosAir has a bipolar ionization air treatment system in about 40 sports venues. Staples Center in Los Angeles was one of the first major sports customers. TD Garden in Boston and Bridgestone Arena in Nashville are among the others who’ve signed on. The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority approved last year a 10-year contract for a little more than $1 million with AtmosAir to install its system in U.S. Bank Stadium, home of the Vikings and the first indoor NFL stadium to use it. The building, which measures 1.8 million square feet, has 53 air handling units with AtmosAir tubes installed, including 30 in the seating bowl. The ions act like fresh air, reducing the amount of outside air needed to be introduced for the cleansing process. The protein spikes in the coronavirus particles make them easier to catch and kill, said Philip Tierno, a New York University School of Medicine professor of microbiology and pathology. Said AtmosAir founder and CEO Steve Levine: “We’re never going to create a mountaintop, but we’re going to put in maybe three to four times the ions over the ambient air and then let those ions attack different pollutants in the air. The ions grab onto particles and spores and make them bigger and heavier, so they’re much easier to filter out of the air." The next time fans do pass through the turnstiles, in a few weeks or a few months, in most cases they will probably encounter an unprecedented level of cleanliness. “There will be some controls that are visible, extra cleaning and disinfection, but some of it will be invisible, like for what’s happening in the air handling system,” said Allen, the Harvard professor. “The consumers will decide when they feel comfortable going back, and that’s going to depend on what strategies are put in place in these venues and stadiums and arenas and, most importantly, how well these organizations communicate that to the paying public.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 1st, 2020

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

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 27th, 2020

Closed-door set up works if games are good says East Asia Super League boss

Playing games with no audience present looks like one of the first key steps in having sports leagues resume in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. That seems to be the safest compromise for now and while it still has its drawbacks, playing games with no live crowd can certainly work. "I was listening to a podcast of Bill Simmons and he was talking about the difference between UFC and WWE and what does it look like with no audience? He was saying that the UFC was really cool because the core product and the fight was so real, you can hear things like the groaning and the hitting. It was much more live," East Asia Super League CEO Matt Beyer said. "With the WWE, essentially just choreographed moves, he said it was terrible," the EASL boss added. Beyer was with a webinar with Blackwater's Ariel Vanguardia for Hoops Coaches International, discussing how basketball can be after COVID-19. [Related: The Terrific 12 can be first venue for PBA teams after COVID-19] Playing with no live audience can and will work if the product presented is good and engaging. In the advent of social media, now is also a perfect time to take advantage of the technology. After all, more and more fans are watching games from smaller screens anyway. "I think if the core product, if the game itself is really good, then you can make the production perhaps cooler in a different way with no audience," Beyer said. "It's just that you have to realize, you're playing for the fans in their homes on their devices and you're not playing for a live crowd, which I think for the players is going to be a different experience for sure," he added. With no cure for COVID-19 yet, a new normal will have to be strictly implemented if sports are to come back. Playing inside a controlled bubble might as well be the only way to have basketball come back at least for this year, and that will mean playing with no live crowd. "I think that from the player experience, a big part is gonna be having players tested on a regular basis to be able to take part. And then it's going to be a regulation of the ecosystem around the players, who's in the arena, the people from the TV crew, etc.," Beyer said. "The challenge will be as people interact before we have a vaccine, there's just so many question marks. So how do you keep a controlled environment with all the variables?" the EASL boss added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 22nd, 2020

Gov. Cuomo can envision baseball in NYC this summer

By The Associated Press New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he can envision baseball games being played without fans this summer at Yankee Stadium and the Mets' Citi Field. “Be creative. Try to figure it out,” the Democrat said during his briefing Sunday. “But if players could get paid more than staying home and owners would get some revenue versus total shutdown, why not? I’d love to watch.” Cuomo says he has spoken with owners of professional sports teams, but he did not identify which ones. They would have to make the economics work without gate revenue but with broadcast revenue. “It would have to be up to them, that they do an economic analysis that says, yeah, some revenue is better than no revenue, and my players are willing to negotiate a contract reduction,” Cuomo said. “Everybody has to think outside the box, right? Because there is no box.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 27th, 2020

From Hopkinton to Boston, marathon absence is seen and felt

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 20th, 2020

Sports leagues seek return to play but with no guarantees

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 19th, 2020

MPBL: Bacoor s passion for their club keeps their title hopes alive

Even in the undercard of Thursday night's South Semifinals game 2 between Bacoor and Basilan, the STRIKE Gymnasium in Baccor City was already packed to the gills. While Davao Occidental was busy eliminating Zamboanga, there was already a crush of people trying to jam themselves into the arena through the corner entrance. At the final buzzer there was an awkward moment when some fans tried to squeeze out the door while many other Bacoorenos were forcing themselves in. A man who seemed to be in charge of the traffic tried to close the door and prevent others from streaming in. But it was useless. Bacoor has fallen hard for their Strikers, and nothing could stop them from catching their team in a do-or-die home playoff game against Basilan Steel Jumbo Plastic. Basilan took the first game, Bacoor had to have this one. The situation was a bit less chaotic from the VIP entrance, which leads to the stage behind one of the goals. From there the sight of so many Bacoor fans crammed into the arena could be properly beheld. The STRIKE Gym is a small arena, but on top of its first level of seating is a second tier. Both areas had every single square inch filled with humanity. Sure, the Strikers had their backs against the wall in this series, down 0-1 in this best-of-three, but some Bacoor fans literally had their backs against the wall as well. As in glued to the back windows and walls because there simply was no other place to be. On either side of the gym there are staircases with a view of the court. They were crammed as well, with Bacoor fans all looking to take a peek, no matter how obstructed, of their beloved team. The upper level of seating has a stainless steel railing in front. Fans were leaning on the railing, two or three deep, all around. Below them sat youngsters fixated on the action, clinging on to the lower bars of the railings. Many dangled legs over the edge. One wonders what would happen if one of them suddenly needed to go to the bathroom. These young urchins were pretty much trapped. In every MPBL game there is a DJ playing music and other sound effects to boost the atmosphere. Tonight his work can barely be heard, as the crowd itself makes an avalanche of noise. Bacoor fancies itself as the Marching Band Capital of the Philippines. There is a band in one corner, with a tuba sticking out into the air, playing lustily, even though this time there is nowhere to march. The home team races to a 20-6 first quarter lead, with the joint heaving with noise with every Bacoor basket. Bacoor fans choose passion over passiveness, roaring with every hustle play, and bombarding the Basilan coach with jeers of “EEE-YA-KIN” every time he complains to the referee. Mac Andaya is an obvious fan favorite. With his old testament beard paired with a messy man bun, the big man draws an extra-large helping of oohs and whenever he goes to the cup. The Strikers lead 43-21 at the half, with Basilan's offense in disarray. In the third quarter Striker King Destacamento executes a perfect putback jam, and underneath the din you can almost hear the rivets of the roof creak as they strain to hold the arena together in one piece. The Philippines has never really had a history of home-and-away sports. Basketball, volleyball and football have mostly been played in shared venues, where fan allegiance is split. Apart from a brave section of Basilan fans, everyone here tonight is cheering on the Strikers. Gilas games are home games, but they are mostly played in cavernous venues, with pricey tickets that only wealthy, “prawn sandwich” fans can afford. It seems that these fans would rather sit and watch than actively participate. The atmosphere is often wanting. But Bacoor fans, like many in MPBL communities, are blue collar, and the league is slaking their long-suppressed thirst for quality live hoops. And it happens in small, intimate bandboxes all over the country, where the cheering bounces off the walls and is amplified tenfold. This makes the MPBL playoff game is an experience unlike any other in Filipino hoops. There is a speedbump in the fourth quarter, as the visitors unleash a late run to cut the deficit to just seven with a minute and a half remaining. But when Bacoor marksman Michael Mabulac hauls down a crucial offensive board, the jugular is well and truly severed, and the party can begin. Final score: 80-69 Bacoor. What else is there left to do for the fans but stream out onto the court for selfies and hugs with the players. Bacoor is alive in the playoffs as the series goes 1-1. And best of all: as the higher seed, Bacoor fans get to do it all over again on Saturday in the deciding Game 3......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 6th, 2020

Louis Vuitton and NBA announce global partnership

PARIS AND NEW YORK, Jan. 22, 2020 – Louis Vuitton and the National Basketball Association (NBA) today announced a multiyear partnership that makes the French fashion house the first official Trophy Travel Case provider of the NBA.  The partnership marks Louis Vuitton’s first and only partnership with a North American sports league. Expertly hand-crafted in Louis Vuitton’s historic Asnières workshop on the outskirts of Paris, the trunk is coated in the House’s emblematic Monogram canvas and fitted with traditional brass fixtures.  The bespoke case will house and display The Larry O’Brien Trophy that is presented annually in June to the NBA team that wins The Finals. “Louis Vuitton and the NBA are both icons and leaders in their respective fields, and the joining of the two promises exciting and surprising moments, forging historic memories together,” said Louis Vuitton Chairman and CEO Michael Burke.  “Louis Vuitton has long been associated with the world’s most coveted trophies, and with this iconic partnership the legacy continues – victory does indeed travel in Louis Vuitton!” “The NBA Finals is defined by iconic players and memorable performances, culminating with the presentation of The Larry O’Brien Trophy,” said NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum.  “The tradition, heritage and identity of Louis Vuitton create a natural synergy with the NBA, and this partnership provides a unique and befitting way to showcase our championship trophy to our fans around the world.” The NBA and Louis Vuitton will also work together to co-author compelling stories regarding one of sport’s most symbolic trophies and its unique travel companion.  As part of the expansive partnership with the NBA, Louis Vuitton will create an annual limited-edition capsule collection, with details to be announced at a later date. The announcement was made ahead of The NBA Paris Game 2020 Presented by beIN SPORTS, which will feature the Charlotte Hornets and Milwaukee Bucks playing the first-ever regular-season NBA game in France on Friday, Jan. 24 at the AccorHotels Arena. About the NBA The NBA is a global sports and media business built around four professional sports leagues: the National Basketball Association, the Women’s National Basketball Association, the NBA G League and the NBA 2K League.  The NBA has established a major international presence with games and programming in 215 countries and territories in nearly 50 languages, and merchandise for sale in more than 100,000 stores in 100 countries on six continents.  NBA rosters at the start of the 2019-20 season featured 108 international players from 38 countries and territories.  NBA Digital’s assets include NBA TV, NBA.com, the NBA App and NBA League Pass.  The NBA has created one of the largest social media communities in the world, with 1.6 billion likes and followers globally across all league, team, and player platforms.  Through NBA Cares, the league addresses important social issues by working with internationally recognized youth-serving organizations that support education, youth and family development, and health-related causes. About Louis Vuitton Since 1854, Louis Vuitton has brought unique designs to the world, combining innovation with style, always aiming for the finest quality. Today, the House remains faithful to the spirit of its founder, Louis Vuitton, who invented a genuine “Art of Travel” through luggage, bags and accessories which were as creative as they were elegant and practical.  Since then, audacity has shaped the story of Louis Vuitton. Faithful to its heritage, Louis Vuitton has opened its doors to architects, artists and designers across the years, all the while developing disciplines such as ready-to-wear, shoes, accessories, watches, jewelry and fragrance. These carefully created products are testament to Louis Vuitton’s commitment to fine craftsmanship......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 23rd, 2020

ONE Championship: Pinoy Roel Rosauro victorious at ONE: A NEW TOMORROW in Bangkok

BANGKOK, THAILAND - The largest global sports media property in Asian history, ONE Championship™ (ONE), put together another electric martial arts extravaganza at Bangkok’s sprawling IMPACT Arena last Friday night, 10 January. ONE: A NEW TOMORROW featured the absolute best in local and international martial arts talent, who all showcased their incredible skills inside the ONE Championship ring. Kicking off the action at ONE: A NEW TOMORROW were featherweights Roel Rosauro of the Philippines and “The Ice Man” Yohan Mulia Legowo of Indonesia. Rosauro, a Filipino national Muay Thai champion, put together a clinical display of striking for three rounds, tagging Legowo with punishing combinations to the head and midsection. Although Legowo would give Rosauro a good challenge, he was a step behind constantly throughout the bout. All three judges saw the bout in favor of the Filipino to win by unanimous decision. In the main event, Thailand’s own Rodtang “The Iron Man” Jitmuangnon put on a striking clinic, needing just three rounds to finish off former world champion Jonathan “The General” Haggerty of England to retain the ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Championship.  Rodtang closed the show in impressive fashion, stopping Haggerty via technical knockout behind staggering body shots and his usual forward aggressiveness. Rodtang set the tone early in the bout, landing a shot to the body that sent Haggerty down to the canvas in round one. Rodtang continued to put the pressure on Haggerty in the third round as the Thai star scored three consecutive knockdowns to put the challenger away and successfully defend his title. In the co-main event, two-sport world champion Stamp Fairtex of Thailand remained perfect in her mixed martial arts career after defeating India’s Puja “The Cyclone” Tomar by first-round technical knockout. A botched takedown attempt from Tomar led to Stamp taking her back and eventually getting to back-mount. From there, Stamp began to punish Tomar with punches and elbows to get the stoppage victory and move one step closer to the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Championship. Thailand’s own “The Million Dollar Baby” Sangmanee Sathian Muaythai put on a kicking clinic as he punished Japan’s Kenta Yamada en route to a unanimous decision win in a ONE Super Series Muay Thai contest. From the opening bell, Sangmanee peppered Yamada with a barrage of kicks to the legs, body, and head. Yamada remained game and kept coming forward, but that did little to stop Sangmanee from unloading even more kicks, as the seven-time world champion cruised to a dominant decision victory in his home country.  Vietnamese-American Thanh Le continues to steamroll through the featherweight division after knocking out Japan’s Ryogo “Kaitai” Takahashi in the first round. Le connected on a thunderous right hand that dropped Takahashi and spelled the beginning of the end. Le, sensing a finish was within reach, turned up the aggression and swarmed on Takahashi, landing punches and knees to end the bout midway through the opening round.  England’s Liam “Hitman” Harrison opened the main card in spectacular fashion, scoring a first-round knockout win over Malaysia’s Mohammed “Jordan Boy” Bin Mahmoud in a Muay Thai bout. Harrison, an eight-time Muay Thai world champion, scored the first knockdown early in the first round after connecting on a well-placed left hook. Mohammed answered the count, but would be sent right back down moments later, courtesy of a succession of elbows from Harrison. “Hitman” then took “Jordan Boy” out with a flurry of punches that forced the referee to step in and end the bout.  In a ONE Super Series Muay Thai contest, three-time Muay Thai World Champion “The Elbow Zombie” Muangthai PK.Saenchaimuaythaigym put on a show in front of his hometown fans, eking out a split decision win over Algerian former ONE World Title challenger Brice “The Truck” Delval. Muangthai got off to a slow start but picked up steam in the second round, as he began to walk through Delval’s shots while landing punches and kicks of his own. Muangthai continued to push the action in the final round, coming forward and landing strikes as Delval tried to evade the contact. The continuous pressure was enough for Muangthai to earn the hard-fought unanimous decision.  Russian Hand-to-Hand Combat World Champion Raimond Magomedaliev impressed in his second appearance on the ONE Championship stage, dominating American newcomer and COGA Welterweight Champion Joey “Mama’s Boy” Pierotti. Pierotti was certainly a game challenger for the duration of the contest, however, Magomedaliev picked this evening to show off his impeccable striking. He sliced the American with a plethora of sharp elbows to start the bout. Pierotti tried to fall back on his wrestling, but Magomedaliev proved his ring savvy by avoiding a war on the mat with great takedown defense. Just under four minutes in, Magomedaliev swept Pierotti from underneath and then quickly sunk in the bout-ending guillotine choke. In a ONE Super Series kickboxing bout, 2-time IFMA Muay Thai World Champion Adam Noi of Algeria delivered a thorough three-round performance, defeating Victor “Leo” Pinto of France by decision. Noi shocked Pinto in the first round, catching him with a question mark kick that put his opponent on the canvas. Pinto, however, beat the count and was back on his feet to end the frame. Action continued in the second round, with both men going back and forth with powerful combinations. The third round was again close, as the two warriors traded strikes at the center of the ONE Championship ring. Though Pinto showed great defense, Noi’s attacks were on point, enough for the judges to award him the unanimous nod. ONE Warrior Series contract winner Shinechagtga Zoltsetseg of Mongolia made his ONE Championship main roster debut in spectacular fashion, knocking out top-rated Chinese featherweight “Cannon” Ma Jia Wen of China in under a minute. Shinechagtga was aggressive from the opening bell, actively seeking to finish with explosive striking combinations. At the 55-second mark, Shinechagtga caught Ma coming in, connecting on a thudding overhand right that turned the lights out on the Chinese athlete. Shinechagtga threw 29 total strikes, seven of which were significant strikes to the head. In a ONE Super Series Muay Thai contest, ISKA and WBC World Champion Mehdi “Diamond Heart” Zatout of Algeria took on Top King Muay Thai World Champion and former ONE World Title challenger Han Zi Hao of China. Zatout was aggressive to start the bout, but Han was slightly more accurate with his shots. In the second round, Han started off strong, while Zatout came on late with a flurry. By the end of the frame, Han began to fall behind as Zatout picked up the pace. In a close final round, Zatout pulled away in the last minute with accurate combinations to earn a close split decision. Japanese female strawweight Ayaka Miura continued her run of excellence with a dominant showing against Brazilian newcomer and Pan American Sanda Champion Maira Mazar. Miura, a 3rd degree Judo Black Belt, showcased her tremendous grappling skills early, scoring on a spectacular headlock takedown. On the mat, Miura went to her favorite scarfhold position to do damage. In the second round, another headlock takedown from Miura led to an Americana submission, which forced Mazar to tap. Official results for ONE: A NEW TOMORROW ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Championship: Rodtang Jitmuangnon defeats Jonathan Haggerty by Technical Knockout (TKO) at 2:39 minutes of round 3 Mixed Martial Arts Atomweight: Stamp Fairtex defeats Puja Tomar by Technical Knockout (TKO) at 4:27 minutes of round 1 Muay Thai Bantamweight: Sangmanee Sathian Muaythai defeats Kenta Yamada by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds Mixed Martial Arts Featherweight: Thanh Le defeats Ryogo Takahashi by Knockout (KO) at 2:51 minutes of round 1 Muay Thai Bantamweight: Liam Harrison defeats Mohammed Bin Mahmoud by Knockout (KO) at 2:03 minutes of round 1 Muay Thai Bantamweight: Muangthai PK.Saenchaimuaythaigym defeats Brice Delval by Split Decision (SD) after 3 rounds Mixed Martial Arts Welterweight: Raimond Magomedaliev defeats Joey Pierotti by Submission (Guillotine Choke) at 3:50 minutes of round 1 Kickboxing Bantamweight: Adam Noi defeats Victor Pinto by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds Mixed Martial Arts Featherweight: Shinechagtga Zoltsetseg defeats Ma Jia Wen by Knockout (KO) at 0:55 minutes of round 1 Muay Thai Bantamweight: Mehdi Zatout defeats Han Zi Hao by Split Decision (SD) after 3 rounds Mixed Martial Arts Strawweight: Ayaka Miura defeats Maira Mazar by Submission (Americana) at 3:01 minutes of round 2 Mixed Martial Arts Featherweight: Roel Rosauro defeats Yohan Mulia Legowo by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 13th, 2020

Brady says I still have more to prove in Instagram post

By Kyle Hightower, Associated Press BOSTON (AP) — Whether Tom Brady will return as quarterback of the New England Patriots next season is still an open question. But the 42-year-old on Wednesday gave another indication that he isn't done playing football. In an Instagram post to fans, Brady said “I still have more to prove” following a season that ended with the Patriots failing to reach the Super Bowl for the first time since 2015.         View this post on Instagram                   I just wanted to say to all of our fans, THANK YOU! After a few days of reflection, I am so grateful and humbled by the unconditional support you have shown me the past two decades. Running out of that tunnel every week is a feeling that is hard to explain. I wish every season ended in a win, but that’s not the nature of sports (or life). Nobody plays to lose. But the reward for working hard is just that, the work!! I have been blessed to find a career I love, teammates who go to battle with me, an organization that believes in me, and fans who have been behind us every step of the way. Every one of us that works at Gillette Stadium strived to do their best, spent themselves at a worthy cause, and prepared to fail while daring greatly (h/t Teddy Roosevelt). And for that, we’ve been rewarded with something that the scoreboard won’t show - the satisfaction of knowing we gave everything to each other in pursuit of a common goal. That is what TEAM is all about. In both life and football, failure is inevitable. You dont always win. You can, however, learn from that failure, pick yourself up with great enthusiasm, and place yourself in the arena again. And that’s right where you will find me. Because I know I still have more to prove. A post shared by Tom Brady (@tombrady) on Jan 8, 2020 at 5:50am PST “In both life and football, failure is inevitable," he wrote. “You dont always win. You can, however, learn from that failure, pick yourself up with great enthusiasm, and place yourself in the arena again.” New England's season ended with a 20-13 loss in the wild-card round to the Tennessee Titans on Saturday night. A six-time Super Bowl champion, four-time Most Valuable Player of the NFL title game and three-time winner of the league MVP, Brady could become an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career when his contract ends in March. That has placed team owner Robert Kraft and coach Bill Belichick on the clock to either bring back Brady for his 21st season or watch the franchise’s greatest player depart from the only team he's called home. Belichick said this week that there isn't an established timeline to resolve Brady's status, but he acknowledged that his case is unusual. “Everybody's situation is different," Belichick said. "Certainly, Tom is an iconic figure in this organization. And nobody respects Tom more than I do.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 8th, 2020

Stern was a big-city guy and a friend to the small markets

By Brian Mahoney, Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) — David Stern had been NBA commissioner for barely a year when the Knicks won the 1985 draft lottery, sending Patrick Ewing on the way to New York. Skeptics cried conspiracy, that the league rigged the result to bail out the faltering franchise in its largest market. Stern would shrug it off, knowing he wouldn’t do anything illegal to help the Knicks, or any of the big boys. He did far more for the little guys. Cities like Sacramento and New Orleans needed Stern more, and his efforts helped them retain teams that might otherwise have been playing elsewhere. In New Orleans’ case, that even included running the organization at the same time as running a league. “I used to think that he just showed up on draft day and shook hands, but then I got to work with him when I was in New Orleans when the NBA took over the Pelicans. I was amazed how much he did,” said Phoenix coach Monty Williams, who was coaching the team when the league stepped in to run it until new ownership could be found. Tributes flowed for hours Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) after Stern died at 77, from grateful players and teams who benefited from his 30 years of leadership. Most focused on his vision that led to the NBA’s massive worldwide growth, but some had more personal stories to tell about closer to home. Like the Kings, who at times appeared ticketed for Seattle, Southern California, Las Vegas or some other city before Stern rejected the team’s plans to bolt and gave Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson the chance to put together plans for local ownership and a new arena that kept the team in California’s capital city. A street is named in Stern’s honor there. “David will always be remembered as Superman in Sacramento,” owner Vivek Ranadivé said, adding that Stern’s “fierce support of the team and this community is the reason why the Kings stayed in Sacramento. David’s enthusiasm for our city and belief in our fans will never be forgotten.” The Kings played a tribute video Thursday (Friday, PHL time) acknowledging Stern’s role in their revival before their home game against the Memphis Grizzlies, another team in a minor market that’s struggled at times to fill its building after the team relocated there from Vancouver. “David will always be remembered as Superman in Sacramento." In Memoriam - David J. Stern ???? pic.twitter.com/g8cdh2sr14 — Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) January 1, 2020 Business may have boomed better in other places, but one move for the franchise was hard enough. Stern had no interest in another. “Commissioner Stern’s support of Memphis as an NBA market and the resulting arrival of the Grizzlies franchise in 2001 forever changed the trajectory of our city,” the Grizzlies said. “His continued support in standing alongside the Grizzlies organization in its creation of the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Game in Memphis reflected his commitment to using the power of sport to transform lives.” The NBA loves its big stars and benefits from them being in the biggest markets, from Magic Johnson to Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant, and now LeBron James being in Los Angeles, or Michael Jordan playing in Chicago. But Stern and the league admired the parity of the NFL, where small-market squads such as Green Bay, New Orleans, Pittsburgh and Indianapolis have thrived. A better chance of achieving that was a driving force that led to the 2011 lockout, with the league hoping a more favorable salary structure and improved sharing of revenues would give any well-managed team a chance to compete, no matter its location. Teams such as Oklahoma City, Portland and Utah have since been relatively consistent winners, and Milwaukee currently sports the NBA’s best record. Occasionally, it took a larger effort from the league, especially in New Orleans. The NBA has never proven over the long term it will flourish in the city after moving from Charlotte, with Chris Paul and Anthony Davis both eventually seeking to be traded. But even though the Hornets were well-supported in Oklahoma City after playing home games there following Hurricane Katrina, Stern felt it was important to return the team to New Orleans when it was ready to host games again, then sent the 2008 All-Star Game soon after. Later, he had the league take ownership of the franchise from George Shinn until it could find an owner who would keep the team in the city. That situation became uncomfortable when Stern had to make the heavily criticized decision to kill a trade that would’ve sent Paul to the Lakers, but the Pelicans are still there nearly two decades after arriving. “Mr. Stern was a catalyst in professional basketball returning to New Orleans in 2002,” the team said. “His commitment to the New Orleans community and the Gulf South region was further shown when he guided the franchise through an ownership transition to Tom Benson in 2012.” Stern couldn’t win all the fights, failing to convince local leadership to approve arena funding that could have kept the SuperSonics in Seattle, a city whose fans were strong supporters. They moved to Oklahoma City, where the Thunder have been a small-market success. Just the kind Stern liked. ___ AP Sports Writer Beth Harris in Los Angeles contributed to this report......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 3rd, 2020

SEA Games champions captivate the nation with inspiring performances

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 17th, 2019

ONE: MARK OF GREATNESS Results: Filipina Denice Zamboanga impressive in ONE debut

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - The largest global sports media property in Asian history, ONE Championship™ (ONE), closed 2019 on a high note, giving fans another thrilling evening of world-class martial arts action. The Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur played host to ONE: MARK OF GREATNESS, featuring the absolute best in global martial arts talent. In the main event, Muay Thai legend Sam-A Gaiyanghadao made history by becoming a two-sport and two-division World Champion by defeating China’s “Golden Boy” Wang Junguang by unanimous decision to become the new ONE Strawweight Kickboxing World Champion. In a five-round back-and-forth bout, Sam-A’s speed and experience shone through as he outstruck and outmaneuvered Wang for the majority of the contest. In the end, it was Sam-A who prevailed, capturing his second World Championship in ONE.  In the co-main event, Alaverdi “Babyface Killer” Ramazanov of Russia survived China’s “Muay Thai Boy” Zhang Chenglong to become the new ONE Bantamweight Kickboxing World Champion. Ramazanov started out strong, using his reach to connect on Zhang, leading to a knockdown in the third round. Zhang came to life in the later rounds, looking to swing the momentum in his favor. After five rounds of striking action, it was Ramazanov who earned the decision and finally realized his dream of becoming a ONE World Champion.  Denice “The Menace Fairtex” Zamboanga of the Philippines was impressive in her ONE Championship debut, edging out hometown favorite Jihin “Shadow Cat” Radzuan by unanimous decision. Zamboanga was relentless in her takedown attempts as she was able to take Radzuan down at will and control her on the ground in the first two rounds. Radzuan tried to bounce back in the final round, throwing up submission attempt after submission attempt, but in the end, it wasn’t enough to sway the judges, as Zamboanga came away victorious. Malaysia’s own Agilan “Alligator” Thani had the hometown crowd on their feet after scoring an exciting split decision win over American newcomer Dante Schiro. Thani was able to control Schiro on the ground in the opening round, but the American rallied in the second and nearly finished the bout with a deep rear naked choke. Thani, however, was more effective with his game plan all throughout the contest. After three rounds of action, it was Thani who walked away with a razor-thin decision win.  Former ONE World Title challenger Reece “Lightning” McLaren of Australia returned to the winner’s circle in spectacular fashion, submitting Indian rising star Gurdarshan “Saint Lion” Mangat in the first round. McLaren put on a grappling clinic as he took Mangat down and imposed his will on the ground early. Towards the closing moments of the first round, McLaren was able to get to the mounted position and seamlessly transitioned into a rear naked choke, forcing Mangat to tap out with just seconds remaining.  Andrei “Mister KO” Stoica of Romania recorded the biggest win of his kickboxing career, knocking out Brazilian star Anderson “Braddock” Silva in just the first round. Stoica did well in keeping his distance from the hard-hitting Silva before uncorking a massive right hook of his own that had the Brazilian on unsteady footing. Stoica put Silva down with a thunderous right jab that spelled the beginning of the end for his opponent, who tried to answer the count but was visibly too rocked to continue.  Highly-touted South African standout Bokang “Little Giant” Masunyane announced his arrival to ONE Championship with a dominant unanimous decision win over ONE Warrior Series contract winner Ryuto “Dragon Boy” Sawada of Japan. Masunyane’s grappling was simply too much to handle, as he was able to take Sawada down and keep him grounded. After three rounds of action, Masunyane walked away with the clear-cut victory.   In a ONE Super Series Muay Thai contest, Elias “The Sniper” Mahmoudi of Algeria authored a masterful performance, trumping Thai legend Lerdsila Phuket Top Team across three tough rounds. Lerdsila was aggressive, showcasing his trademark power kicks from start to finish. Mahmoudi, however, was long and stayed mostly out of range with his reach. From the outside, Mahmoudi sniped Lerdsila with his combinations. Although the bout was close and both men had their moments, it was Mahmoudi who emerged the victor in the end with all three judges scoring the bout in his favor. China’s “The Ghost” Chen Rui came forth with a virtuoso performance against Malaysian hometown bet Muhammad “Jungle Cat” Aiman, bagging a unanimous decision for his efforts across all three judges’ scorecards. Chen stormed out of the gates in round one, pushing the pace with his aggression. Chen had Aiman hurt on the back foot on a couple of occasions, but the Malaysian was able to recover well. Action continued much the same for the rest of the bout, with Chen landing a handful of big shots while Aiman played defense and was a shade behind the majority of the contest. Myanmar’s “The Dragon Leg” Tial Thang came out to a thunderous chorus of cheers, as he made his walk to the ONE Circle with teammates ONE Light Heavyweight and Middleweight World Champion “The Burmese Python” Aung La N Sang, and ONE Featherweight World Champion Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen. Thang certainly did not disappoint, putting together a noteworthy performance against game challenger “The Kid” Kim Woon Kyoum of South Korea. Thang was aggressive all throughout, doing some good damage both on the feet and on the ground. Kim stood right in front of him, but was slightly a step behind for the majority of exchanges. In the end, all three judges scored the bout in favor of Thang to win by unanimous decision. South Korea’s “The Big Heart” Yoon Chang Min turned in another dominant performance, battering Filipino opponent Rodian “The Redeemer” Menchavez on the feet before finishing him with a submission. Yoon picked Menchavez apart methodically in the first round, wearing the Filipino down with pinpoint accurate strikes. In the second round, Yoon continued his dominance, beating Menchavez to the punch on every occasion. Not long after, Yoon locked in a Ninja Choke to force the tap, notching his fourth straight victory in ONE. In a Muay Thai contest, former Shoot Boxing Super Bantamweight Champion Taiki “Silent Sniper” Naito of Japan continued his unbeaten run so far in ONE Super Series, defeating former WKA European Champion Rui Botelho of Portugal by unanimous decision. Naito unleashed a bevy of leg kicks and body attacks to keep Botelho off center for the duration of the bout. Although Botelho would try his best to remain competitive, Naito was far too slick and accurate. In the end, all three judges scored the bout in favor of Naito. ONE Championship newcomer Rayane Bastos of Brazil made a triumphant promotional debut, finishing the highly-regarded Sovannahry Em via first-round submission to kick off the festivities at ONE: MARK OF GREATNESS. After a brief exchange of strikes on the feet, action hit the mat, giving Bastos an opportunity to showcase her ground skills. Not long after, Bastos caught Em in a guillotine choke in full mount, forcing the tap. Official results for ONE: MARK OF GREATNESS ONE Strawweight Kickboxing World Championship: Sam-A Gaiyanghadao defeats Wang Junguang by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 5 rounds ONE Bantamweight Kickboxing World Championship: Alaverdi Ramazanov defeats Zhang Chenglong by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 5 rounds Mixed Martial Arts Atomweight: Denice Zamboanga defeats Jihin Radzuan by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds Mixed Martial Arts Welterweight: Agilan Thani defeats Dante Schiro by Split Decision (SD) after 3 rounds Mixed Martial Arts Flyweight: Reece McLaren defeats Gurdarshan Mangat by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 4:35 minutes of round 1 Kickboxing Light Heavyweight: Andrei Stoica defeats Anderson Silva by Knockout (KO) at 1:57 minutes of round 1 Mixed Martial Arts Strawweight: Bokang Masunyane defeats Ryuto Sawada by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds Muay Thai Flyweight: Elias Mahmoudi defeats Lerdsila Phuket Top Team by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds Mixed Martial Arts Bantamweight: Chen Rui defeats Muhammad Aiman by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds Mixed Martial Arts Bantamweight: Tial Thang defeats Kim Woon Kyoum by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds Mixed Martial Arts Catchweight (77 KG): Yoon Chang Min defeats Rodian Menchavez by Submission (Ninja Choke) at 1:45 minutes of round 2 Muay Thai Flyweight: Taiki Naito defeats Rui Botelho by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds Mixed Martial Arts Atomweight: Rayane Bastos defeats Sovannahry Em by Submission (Guillotine Choke) at 2:40 minutes of round 1.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 9th, 2019

MPBL: Sta. Lucia hoops tradition lives on in Pasig

"I am a true basketball man. We were 34 years in basketball. We will represent the city we all love." Those are the words of Salvador "Buddy" Encarnado, the boss of the Pasig Sta. Lucia Realtors of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League. For him, this team is more than just a job, it seems to be a calling. The old Sta. Lucia Realtors played for 17 years in the PBA, winning two titles with Encarnado a fixture in the team's leadership. Some of their players are etched into Pinoy hoops lore, like Marlou Aquino, Kelly Williams, Dennis Espino, and MPBL commish Kenneth Duremdes. When SLR departed from the league in 2010, the real estate conglomerate continued to dabble in hoops, fielding teams in amateur leagues. But their takeover of the Pasig franchise in the MPBL represents their biggest hoops project since fleeing the pro league. Sta. Lucia Basketball thus entered a new era. This team is also very close to Encarnado's heart. The GM grew up in Barangay Sumilang, a 13-minute walk away from the Realtors' home court, the Pasig Sports Center. Exequiel "Exy" Robles, the president of Sta. Lucia Realty, is also a native of Pasig. Both were dismayed when the Pasig Pirates finished the Datu Cup in dead last in the table, at 4-21. "As a Pasigueno I could not help but feel bad for the negative image of Pasig with a team that went 4 out of 21," said Encarnado, who has retired as a day-to-day executive of SLR but helps out in their sporting ventures. Sta. Lucia took the reins of the troubled club, rechristened them the Pasig Sta. Lucia Realtors, and quickly moved to upgrade the roster. There wasn't a great deal of time, just two and-a-half weeks before the June start to the season. "We were pressured to make a fighting team in such a short window. It was like being the last in a buffet lunch. We had so few choices," laments Encarnado. Despite the slim pickings Pasig brought in a trio of studs in guard Robbie Manalang, swing man Jeric Teng, and former Mapua standout Josan Nimes. Manalang, a Filipino-American guard from Orange County in California, starred for Adamson but didn't sign with a team in the PBA after being drafted by Rain or Shine in the second round. The Realtors nabbed him on the last day of the preseason transfer period. "The management and team welcomed me with open arms since day one. Playing here has revived my career," says the guard. Manalang is norming just under 14 points per game and is a real weapon from beyond the arc. Encarnado locked down coach Bong De La Paz, who he had worked with in the past. "He knows my standard and my system," says the GM. Richard Velchez and Argel Mendoza were also roped in. In the recent midseason trading period the team strengthened their frontcourt with veteran Leo Najorda and 6'5" former NLEX Road Warrior Fonso Gotladera. "They bring experience and height," says the team chief. Pasig also has a powerful secret weapon: the rabid fans in the Pasig Sports Center. It's a cozy, intimate bandbox of an arena, and Realtors fans regularly fill it to the brim. "Hands down some the best fans in the league, if not the best," says Nimes. "The atmosphere is loud, crazy, and energetic. Almost all our games are jampacked and the fans are always engaged." "I have never seen a whole venue stand up and put three fingers in the air before I shoot a three like the Pasig fans do. I don't think I will ever forget that," says Manalang. "I'm usually the last to leave the dugout after games. And fans will still be there waiting for pictures. It's an amazing feeling," continues the former Soaring Falcon. "The fans relate to people who represent them," explains Encarnado. "Without the fans we are nothing. Basketball is not just basketball. They want to be entertained. The crowds are knowledgeable. They know what they are watching." Pasig is not invincible at home, having dropped games to Batangas and Bacoor. But both were close contests settled in the final seconds. Pasig's home is still one of the league's fortresses. Encarnado is cautiously optimistic about their chances this season. But for the next competition, the expectations will be high. "Next year some of my old players will be free and hopefully they will come back. I expect good things to happen." One thing that will never change is the Sta. Lucia culture, which Encarnado hopes will live on in this team's new iteration. "Ever since it has been about the work ethic of the group. We select people with good values who believe in hard work and have passion." The passion was in full view last Monday when the Realtors tangled with the Iloilo United Royals inn Makati. The Pasigueños battled hard, and Najorda had a superb day including a neat left-handed hook shot in the first quarter. But Pasig once again missed the services of the injured Jeric Teng, and could not neutralize Iloilo's white-hot Al Francis Tamsi, who scattered 26 points. Pasig shot just 34 percent from the field and lost 79-65. Encarnado sat at the end of Pasig bench, dressed in a team-supplied green-and white Sta. Lucia polo jack. He mostly observed the loss with little emotion. But near the end, during a dead ball situation, the boss strolled onto the court, and with glasses in hand, upbraided an official for not calling an elbow on one of his charges. His team falls short but they are still very much in the playoff race. The fire in Encarnado's belly still burns for the game. And it will not be extinguished anytime soon, if his words are to be believed. "I will never retire from basketball.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 19th, 2019

Davis, James begin Lakers partnership with sky-high hopes

By Greg Beacham, Associated Press LOS ANGELES (AP) — Anthony Davis doesn’t raise a brow at the high expectations he’s accepting with the Los Angeles Lakers. The 26-year-old superstar engineered his move from New Orleans to Hollywood knowing that championships are the only acceptable result to the Lakers’ legions of demanding fans. After spending his entire NBA career struggling to lift the underdog Pelicans, he welcomed the chance to play for a team and in a city where every game means something big. And Davis doesn’t have to carry his new team, either. LeBron James is here to share the work. “We’re going to feed off each other tremendously,” Davis said. “I think we’re two guys who are very selfless and just want to win. When we have two guys like that, it makes both of our jobs easier.” James has spent his entire adult life facing championship pressure, and his chances of meeting those expectations for a fourth time got exponentially better when the Lakers put these two superstars together. James looks forward to finding chemistry with Davis to create an immediate winner — and to persuade Davis to stick around when he hits free agency next summer. “We’ve got a brand-new coaching staff and brand-new players coming to our system, but we do all know how good Anthony Davis is,” James said. “If we’re not playing through Anthony Davis while he’s on the floor, then it makes no sense to have him on the floor, because he’s that great.” This 16-time championship franchise is currently mired in a record six-year postseason drought, but everything is different and everything is possible this winter. The buzz around the Lakers never truly dissipates in LA, but it hasn’t been this loud since 2012. “When your starting point of your roster is two of the best players in the universe, that’s a really strong starting point,” Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka said. Frank Vogel is spending his first few months as the Lakers’ coach figuring out how to mold a cohesive team around his two superstars. He’ll experiment with lineups, rotations and rest while the Lakers figure out how to play together in a season they expect to last well into the spring. “The belief is strong in what we can be as a team,” Vogel said. “Everybody is looking at their teammates, and there’s a healthy respect going into the season. When the belief is strong at the outset, it’s just about focusing in on the work.” Here are more things to watch in a tantalizing season in Lakerland: KUZMA STAYS Kyle Kuzma is the only component remaining from the Lakers’ talented young core after Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart were shipped to New Orleans for Davis. Kuzma didn’t participate in training camp while dealing with a stress injury in his leg, but he should be ready soon. The high-scoring forward’s skill set could fit well alongside the Lakers’ two superstars, and Kuzma realizes he has a golden opportunity. “I’m looking forward to reaching the next level with my own game,” he said. “This is a great chance for me to reach my potential.” DWIGHT’S RETURN The Lakers’ decision to re-sign Dwight Howard might have been the most shocking development of the entire offseason. The mercurial center spent one season with the Lakers in 2012-13 before clashing with Kobe Bryant and then fleeing town as a free agent. Howard has been booed mercilessly at Staples Center ever since, but he became the Lakers’ backup plan in the middle after DeMarcus Cousins tore a knee ligament shortly after signing with LA. Howard campaigned for a spot with the Lakers, and they gave him a non-guaranteed contract. If the newly humbled Howard recaptures his game, the Lakers will have an enormous asset at a minor cost. SUPPORTING ACTORS The Lakers supplemented their roster with an intriguing mix of veterans, including newcomers Danny Green, Jared Dudley, Avery Bradley, Troy Daniels and Quinn Cook. Vogel will look for perimeter scoring to complement James’ drives and Davis’ inside play, with Green and Daniels particularly expected to provide 3-point shooting proficiency. Every signee probably will get ample opportunity to play their way into a regular rotation spot while competing with holdovers Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Alex Caruso and Rajon Rondo. VOGEL’S FLOCK When they replaced Luke Walton after three straight losing seasons, the Lakers chose the 46-year-old Vogel over Tyronn Lue, who landed down the hallway with the Clippers instead of reteaming with James. Vogel got impressive results with limited resources in Indiana, but he has never coached stars of the Lakers’ dual magnitude. He also has a coaching staff including Jason Kidd and Lionel Hollins, two former NBA head coaches. The early results from this arranged marriage are promising, with James praising Vogel’s attention to detail. LA TAKEDOWN James wasn’t joking when he labeled Staples Center as the true winner of the NBA’s offseason moves. The Lakers and the Clippers both created probable title contenders, and their shared arena will be the center of basketball for much of the winter, with 82 sold-out games a distinct possibility. Out-of-towners shouldn’t get it twisted about which team is preferred in their shared hometown, however: The Lakers’ fan base wildly outnumbers the Clippers’ faithful, to the point where Kawhi Leonard and Paul George have already been booed while attending other sports events around Los Angeles. The teams meet Tuesday in their season openers, and again on Christmas......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 16th, 2019

NBA postpones media sessions in Shanghai amid China rift

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press NBA Commissioner Adam Silver told the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday that the league is still expecting them to play as scheduled this week, even while the rift between the league and Chinese officials continued in ways that clearly suggested the two planned games in Shanghai and Shenzhen were anything but guaranteed. The NBA called off scheduled media sessions Wednesday for both teams. At least two other NBA events to be held Wednesday before the start of the China games were canceled as part of the fallout that started after Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey posted a since-deleted tweet last week that showed support for anti-government protesters in Hong Kong. "Given the fluidity of the situation, today's media availability has been postponed," the league said. They were not rescheduled Wednesday, though having them on Thursday — game day in Shanghai — remains possible. Later Wednesday in Washington, a bipartisan group of lawmakers — including the rare alignment of Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York — sent a letter to Silver saying the NBA should show the "courage and integrity" to stand up to the Chinese government. They asked the NBA to, among other things, suspend activities in China until what they called the selective treatment against the Rockets ends. "You have more power to take a stand than most of the Chinese government's targets and should have the courage and integrity to use it," the lawmakers told Silver. The NBA did not have any immediate comment on the letter, and it was unclear if Silver had even seen the document. In Shanghai, the mood surrounding the game that — if played — will feature LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and other big NBA names was anything but festive. An NBA Cares event that was to benefit the Special Olympics was called off, as was a "fan night" celebration that was to be highlighted by the league announcing plans to refurbish some outdoor courts in that city. And workers in multiple spots around Shanghai were tearing down large outdoor promotional advertisements for Thursday's Lakers-Nets game. The teams are also supposed to play Saturday in Shenzhen. Chinese smartphone maker Vivo has joined the list of companies that have suspended ties with the NBA for now, only adding to the uncertainty surrounding the China games. Vivo was a presenting sponsor of the Lakers-Nets games, and on Wednesday there was no reference to the game in Shanghai on the list of upcoming events scheduled at Mercedes-Benz Arena. Other firms such as apparel company Li-Ning announced similar moves earlier this week, as the rift was just beginning. Silver said Tuesday in Tokyo that he supports Morey's right to free speech. Several Chinese companies have suspended their partnership with the NBA in recent days, and Chinese state broadcaster CCTV said it will not broadcast the Lakers-Nets games. "I'm sympathetic to our interests here and to our partners who are upset," Silver said. "I don't think it's inconsistent on one hand to be sympathetic to them and at the same time stand by our principles." All around China, stores that sell NBA merchandise were removing Rockets-related apparel from shelves and many murals featuring the Rockets — even ones with Yao Ming, the Chinese great who played for Houston during his NBA career — were being painted over. Effects were even felt in at least one NBA arena Tuesday night. In Philadelphia, where the 76ers were playing a Chinese team — the Guangzhou Loong Lions — two fans were removed by arena security for holding signs and chanting in support of Hong Kong. The signs read "Free Hong Kong" and "Free HK." The sentiment was not different from Morey's since-deleted tweet last week of an image that read, "Fight For Freedom. Stand With Hong Kong." The 76ers and Wells Fargo Center, the team's home arena, released statements Wednesday confirming that the fan removal took place and explaining why. "During the second quarter of last night's 76ers game, Wells Fargo Center security responded to a situation that was disrupting the live event experience for our guests," the arena's statement said. "After three separate warnings, the two individuals were escorted out of the arena without incident. The security team employed respectful and standard operating procedures." The NBA is not the first major corporation to deal with criticism from China over political differences. Mercedes-Benz, Delta Air Lines, hotel operator Marriott, fashion brand Zara and others also have found themselves in conflicts with China in recent years. After Morey's tweet was deleted, Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta said Morey does not speak for the organization. Joe Tsai, who recently completed his purchase of the Nets and is a co-founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, has said the damage to the NBA's relationship with China "will take a long time to repair." ___ Reynolds reported from Miami. AP Sports Writer Dan Gelston in Philadelphia and Associated Press writer Yanan Wang in Beijing contributed to this report......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 9th, 2019