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No reason for confidence

The country’s vaccine czar has been doing quite a bit of apologizing lately. None of this is good for public confidence amid a pandemic......»»

Category: newsSource: thestandard thestandardFeb 23rd, 2021

Duterte affirms confidence in Duque, Villar

Two Cabinet members have earned praises anew from President Duterte for their integrity and competence. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (ARMAN BAYLON / PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN) In a meeting on the government’s typhoon response Monday, the President has voiced his confidence in Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, saying he cannot find a reason to suspend him.The President also described Public Highways Secretary Mark Villar as “an honest man,” adding that he needs his expertise in the Cabinet.Both Duque and Villar were present in the meeting with the President, other Cabinet members and government officials at the Malago clubhouse in Malacañang Park to discuss disaster response and relief efforts Monday.The President first commended Duque after the latter delivered his report on the Department of Health’s efforts to address the needs of the communities hit by typhoon Rolly.“Thank you, Secretary Duque. It was a good report. Ang nahalata ko dito sa panahon mo is the surveillance and the vigilance in keeping track of possible outbreaks, I like that, and you have been doing it,” Duterte said.“That’s why I cannot find any plausible or even a meager argument for your — for your suspension. Wala akong nakitang ano — ang trabaho mo maganda (I cannot see… your work is good). The surveillance that you are doing and the vigilance sa public health is amply protected,” he said.Some lawmakers earlier called for the removal and prosecution of Duque over the alleged irregularities in the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth). The President, however, has rejected calls for Duque’s dismissal, saying he has not stolen public funds.In the same meeting, the President said he has no question about the integrity of Villar.“Not only that he is honest, he has money. Siya ang — may pera siya (He has money) and I do not question his integrity or loyalty,” Duterte said about the DPWH secretary.“If not, bakit nandito pa nga siya sa Cabinet? Meaning to say that kailangan ko siya (If not, why is he still in the Cabinet? Meaning to say, I need him). I need his expertise, his talent,” he said.The President earlier directed the Department of Justice to conduct allegations of corruption in the entire government and prosecute those involved. Frustrated with the rampant corruption in the bureaucracy, Duterte told the DOJ to expand its corruption probe on PhilHealth to cover the Department of Public Works and Highways and other state agencies.Duterte, in his remarks Monday, lamented that corruption in government has persisted regardless of the sitting administration. He noted that long before his Cabinet members were appointed, corruption has already been prevalent in some agencies.He warned anew that those implicated in corruption in PhilHealth and other government offices would be held liable. He noted that several PhilHealth officials have already been placed on preventive suspension by the Office of the Ombudsman pending a probe.“They are being investigated and if there’s enough evidence, they will be prosecuted in court. And eventually they will land in jail. And that could be a problem not only for the family and everybody,” he said......»»

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

Aljun Melecio s never-ending quest to prove he belongs

Aljun Melecio has these hardware sitting pretty on his trophy case: UAAP 78 Jrs. MVP, UAAP 79 Rookie of the Year, UAAP 79 champion. Now heading into his fifth and final year in De La Salle University, he remains recognized as one of the best point guards in all of college. Well, recognized by just about everybody except himself. Asked if he feels worthy to stand alongside the likes of NCAA 95 Finals MVP Fran Yu or UAAP 82 Rookie of the Year Mark Nonoy, he answered, modest as always, "Nope. I don't. Wala pa akong napapatunayan." Yes, the 5-foot-8 super scorer who was then head coach Aldin Ayo's "most-wanted recruit" feels he is yet to prove himself. Yes, the primetime playmaker who was once comforted by Tab Baldwin after the Green Archers had lost the championship despite his 16 points in Game 3 of the Finals feels he is yet to prove himself. That in itself is not necessarily surprising, though. And that's because all throughout his young career, Melecio has felt, again and again, that he has to prove himself. He had to prove himself even to La Salle, his home of nine years now. "Actually, 'di naman ako ni-recruit ng Zobel dati," he shared. "To be honest, my mindset at that time ay mag-Team B lang sa Zobel para pag may games, mas magagamit ako. Kaysa naman mag-Team A ako and nakaupo lang sa bench." BREAK IN Aljun Melecio, now a graduating guard, is La Salle's most recent homegrown product. Of the Green Archers' probable UAAP 83 roster, the now-22-year-old is the lone player to have come from the Taft-based school's Jrs. programs - and mind you, they have two in La Salle Zobel and La Salle Green Hills. In DLSZ, Melecio was a scoring dynamo who once dropped 42 points on archrival Ateneo de Manila High School. Did you know, though, that he wasn't even supposed to wear the green and white? "I was supposed to transfer sa UST nung high school," he recalled. "Pero napag-usapan naming family na since si kuya, nasa Zobel na nung time na yun, mas okay sigurong Zobel na lang din ako para magkasama kami." Aljun was referring to older brother Aleck who was also his teammate for three years with the Jr. Archers. If not for Aleck, however, Aljun would have suited up for University of Sto. Tomas High School where good friend Renzo Subido had already committed to play for college. After all, it was Subido, and dad Henry, who had convinced the Melecios to move to Manila from Bukidnon. "The reason talaga why we took the risk to come here was because of Coach Henry," Aljun shared, looking back at the time when all of them were repping Lourdes School of Mandaluyong. "They invited us to play basketball in Manila kaya malaki ang utang na loob namin sa Subido family." While Coach Henry and Renzo have been always there to lend a helping hand, that did not necessarily make the transition any easier - especially for a 10-year-old kid who was born and bred in Valencia City. "Grabe yung sacrifice na ginawa namin just for me to have more opportunities in life. That was a big adjustment not just for me, but also for my parents," Melecio said. He then continued, "Dumating yung time na ayoko nang bumalik sa Manila kasi na-homesick ako. Looking back now, normal lang naman siguro yun, lalong-lalo na bata pa ako." BREAKTHROUGH Make no mistake about it, looking back now, Aljun Melecio has no regrets. As he put it, "It was all worth it." Of course, he also had lady luck smile on him somewhat as, yet again following the footsteps of Subido, he transferred from Lourdes to DLSZ. And there, he found yet another mentor willing to believe in him. "Sina Coach Boris [Aldeguer], pagdating ko sa Zobel, they invited me to join yung practice ng Team A. Nagulat ako na kaya ko naman pala so doon na nag-start yung confidence ko," he said. Indeed, Melecio did not let Coach Boris down as in his first year, he proved to be a building block in their rebuild. While the boys from Alabang eventually ended outside the playoff picture, he had made more than enough noise to get the attention of the Philippine national youth team. There, DLSZ's top gun got his first taste of wearing the flag as part of the Batang Gilas training pool. "Masayang-masaya ako nun na makasama sa practice team dahil dream ko talaga maging part nun," he narrated. "May jersey lang and makasali lang ako sa practice, masayang-masaya ako." There, Melecio showcased his skills alongside other promising prospects such as Nieto twins Mike and Matt as well as Jolo Mendoza of Ateneo, Renzo Navarro of San Sebastian College-Recoletos, and Jollo Go of Hope Christian High School. And there, yet again, he knew full well he had to prove himself. During training itself, the new kid on the block believed he was doing so. At the same time, however, he had to come face-to-face with another beast altogether - how to get to practice in the first place. As it turned out, the then-13-year-old had to commute from south to north each and every time he participated in Batang Gilas training. How did his trips go? "From Alabang, mag-tricycle ako to [Alabang] Town [Center] then jeep going to Starmall [Alabang]. After nun, bus to Magallanes, MRT, then LRT, tapos jeep ulit," he shared. He then continued, "So papunta pa lang to Moro, pagod na ako. Then after practice, mag-commute na naman pauwi." Fortunately for him, there were also kind hearts like the Nieto twins who took him to the LRT station in Katipunan or Evan Nelle whom he rode with going back south. Still, around 33km and about an hour separated DLSZ in the south and Ateneo's Moro Lorenzo Sports Center in the north - indeed, that was some sort of workout already. BREAKDOWN In the long run, that was, unfortunately, much too much for young Aljun Melecio. While wearing the flag would have meant much, he also felt circumstances, such as that hell of a commute that cost him PHP 200 for a one-way trip, held him back from giving his all. Instead, Melecio felt he could do much more if he just rechanneled his energy to DLSZ. "After ilang weeks na ginagawa ko yung routine na yun, I started asking myself kung paano maayos yung priorities ko. Pinakiramdaman ko kung saan ako mag-iimprove so I talked to Coach Boris," he said. He the continued, "And I decided na mag-all in sa Zobel." All in for the Jr. Archers, he did, and boy, did it prove to be the right call. He was just getting started in UAAP 76, slowly but surely getting a grasp of both his capabilities and confidence as he helped the green and white barge back into the Final Four. Then in Season 77, it all clicked as he shot the green and white to the second rung of the stepladder all while putting up per game counts of 16.6 points, 6.2 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 2.3 steals. Without a doubt, he willed his way into the Mythical Team that included the Nieto twins, his batchmates in Batang Gilas. The following year, with averages of 22.7 points, 7.1 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 2.3 steals, he carried DLSZ all the way to the Finals where they stole one game from eventual champion Nazareth School of National University. And oh, he was the unanimous MVP of Season 78, besting the likes of future Gilas Pilipinas pool members Justine Baltazar and Gomez de Liano brothers Javi and Juan. Even then, though, he wouldn't call himself the best of the best. "I didn't think na I belonged kasi never kong gustong isipin na ganun ako," he said. He then continued, "Ang alam ko lang, I worked extra hard, I had extra motivation to play. Thankfully, coach Boris supported my decision and dahil dun, na-boost yung confidence ko." BREAK FREE From there, Aljun Melecio did nothing but go onto greater and greater heights in La Salle's Srs. squad. Never tell him he has accomplished anything, though, as he would be the first to tell you that you're wrong. Up until now, he feels that he is yet to prove himself. He hopes to prove that he has what it takes to be behind the wheel for the Green Archers' new era. He hopes to prove that he could bounce back following the worst statistical season for him. And he hopes to prove that he has every right to be mentioned in the same breath as his one-time teammates in the Batang Gilas pool and his batchmates who are now part of the Gilas Pilipinas pool. "Lahat naman, ginagawa kong motivation," he said. "May it be positive or negative, we all have our timing so I'm just being patient para sa kung anuman ang ibibigay na chance sa akin." If and when that next shot at wearing the flag comes along, Melecio only vows to do what he has never stopped doing. Asked about getting a golden opportunity at the Gilas pool, he answered, "That's still a dream for me. I know I still have a lot to prove." He then continued, "But I will give my all if given the chance to represent. I always do." If and when that time comes, there would be no more 33km distance, one-hour travel time, or PHP 200 cost. Still, Aljun Melecio would work just as hard - if not more - as he did when he once had to commute south to north just to get to practice. Don't forget, proving himself is already second nature to him. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 29th, 2020

Cleanfuel Strengthens Retail Network in Southern Manila

Now serving with the newest technologies implemented to create high-tech fuel for your vehicles, Cleanfuel, believes in the resiliency of the Filipino people that would bring and sustain solid economic recovery amid health crisis. Their recently opened retail station at Doña Soledad in Parañaque City shows a testament that the company remains upbeat in expanding their network footprints in Southern portion of Metro Manila.   “While 2020 is a challenging year, Cleanfuel has remained optimistic riding in the resiliency of Filipinos towards economic recovery. This is the reason why Cleanfuel Group of Companies continues to invest and opened more stations as a testament and commitment to its people to provide top-notch fuel to every motorist,” said Atty Bong Suntay, President of Cleanfuel. “The opening of the new station in Doña Soledad is in line with Cleanfuel’s goal to expand its reach and strengthen its customer base in the Southern part of Metro Manila,” Suntay said. Situated at the busy thoroughfare of Doña Soledad Avenue Extension at Barangay Don Bosco in Parañaque City, the new station offers a top-notch fuel and lubricants including Clean91 (Unleaded), Premium 95 gasoline, and Euro-4 diesel. It provides access to both public and private motorists from Better Living going to Moonwalk, connecting in the bustling intersection of eastern Parañaque.  In addition, the second district of Don Bosco is the primary residential Barangay of Ninoy Aquino International Airport and one of the 16 Barangays in Parañaque City. Key factors of the city’s progress include banks, shopping malls, restaurants, residential properties, and commercial manufacturing. Motorists heading towards the busy streets of Doña Soledad Avenue Extension from east-west and northern side of Parañaque can gas up to experience Cleanfuel’s brand mantra: Quality fuel for Less! Further, Cleanfuel Doña Soledad station will become a key driver of growth to more than 60,000 population of Barangay Don Bosco. As the city relies on shopping centers as part of major contributors, the company sees that the opening of Cleanfuel Doña Soledad will further strengthen and boost economic confidence. “We’re grateful and honor to inaugurate Cleanfuel Doña Soledad as our first station to open in these unprecedented times. The economy in the City of Parañaque has been growing consistently with massive projects in property and commercial manufacturing,” the company’s chief executive said.  Suntay adds that in the next coming months Cleanfuel is adding more stations not only in NCR but also in provinces to provide quality fuel for business and opportunities for others. “We intend to leverage our business aggressively and expand our retail network across the country, focusing on Mega Manila and Northern Luzon,” concludes Suntay.  Cleanfuel is expected to open more stations in coming weeks in Ortigas Avenue Extension in Pasig and mega branch in Mabalacat Pampanga as part of the long-term business expansion plan. Aside from expansion, the company has extended its support by providing fuel subsidy for the Department of Transportation’s (DOTr’s) Free Bus Ride for Health Workers Program and drive relief donations to northern provinces, which include Pangasinan (Villasis, Binalonan, Pozorrubio) and San Fernando (La Union) and other cities in Metro Manila......»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsAug 1st, 2020

It s a Muyang-Sangalang fearsome frontcourt in Coach Bonnie Tan s NCAA First 5

Bonnie Tan has been calling the shots for Colegio de San Juan de Letran from 2019 to present. Before this, the always amiable mentor was at the helm for Lyceum of the Philippines University from 2011 to 2013. Through all of that, he has had a hand in the discovery and the development of young talent for his teams as well as the game planning for the opposing rising stars. Among all of those, who are the best of the best for him? Here is Bonnie Tan's NCAA First 5, as he told ABS-CBN Sports: LARRY MUYANG Muyang is the first and foremost reason Letran could no longer be called undersized. The 6-foot-5 behemoth is the very definition of a paint presence and is the pillar of the Knights' legitimate contention. Former coach Jeff Napa recruited and returned Muyang's confidence - and he only became better in his first year under coach Bonnie. IAN SANGALANG Before Muyang, there was another Kapampangan who made a living at the post. Sangalang used all of his 6-foot-7 frame to will his way inside and win a championship and an MVP. From the other sidelines, Coach Bonnie had, without a doubt, more than a few headaches thanks to him. JERRICK BALANZA Balanza is the homegrown star turned head surgery survivor. Having gotten through a life-threatening operation, the 6-foot-2 swingman no longer had any fear once he was cleared to play again. And in his last year, he only inspired his teammates to be just as courageous - all the way to the championship. ROBERT BOLICK Bolick was the biggest thorn on the side of Letran in coach Bonnie's turn as team manager. In fact, the 6-foot-1 playmaker went undefeated against San Beda's archrival. And so, coach Bonnie is nothing but relieved that "Big Shot Bolick" is now his lead guard over at NorthPort. JIOVANI JALALON The reason Jalalon was dubbed as "Bus Driver" by ABS-CBN Sports analysts was because he took everybody to school. And on more than one occasion, coach Bonnie and his LPU teams were taken for a ride by the primetime playmaker. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 17th, 2020

Building the ideal UAAP baller for modern times

There is no perfect player. Each and every one who sees action in the UAAP Men's Basketball Tournament is an unfinished product who needs to realize there remain many, many holes in his game. Improvement and rounding out one's game is a constant for all these talented youngsters. But if we were given a chance to build the ideal baller for modern times, how would he turn out? Well, this is our take on all the physical attributes and skills that he should have: L-JAY GONZALES's vision Far Eastern University's floor leader is a pass-first point guard. L-Jay Gonzales has been a playmaker through and through and has the skill to set up his teammates for the right play. In UAAP 82, he was the league-leader in assists with 4.3 per game and was the engine that drove the young Tamaraws to a pleasant surprise of a playoff berth. CJ CANSINO's nose for the ball CJ Cansino seems to have a knack for being at the right place, at the right time. Whether it be a defensive or offensive rebound, University of Sto. Tomas' do-it-all guard has long had positioning down pat. Because of that, he has, time and again, gotten boards away from bigger opponents as evidenced by his 5.2 rebounds a game - with 1.7 coming from the offensive glass. MIKE NIETO'S voice Born leader is the forever descriptor for Mike Nieto. A co-captain in his third year and skipper in his last two seasons in Ateneo de Manila University, "Big Mike" knows how to take charge all over the court - be it inside huddles or in-game. While he would not be the first to take charge in terms of scoring, it is him who is, without a doubt, the first to make sure the Blue Eagles are in position to make something happen. REY SUERTE's veteran smarts Showcasing his skills for University of the Visayas in CESAFI before moving to Manila, Rey Suerte has seen it all. And that experience proved key as he led University of the East to a respectable showing despite a 4-10 standing. At the end of it all, Suerte's most memorable moment in his one-and-done year is a game-winning dagger straight through the heart of De La Salle University - a play he was able to make thanks to cool, calm, and collected moves that had him inbounding the ball, getting it back, and then firing a cold-blooded triple over the outstretched arms of 6-foot-2 Kurt Lojera. SOULEMANE CHABI YO's size The UAAP 81 Season MVP has the build to be able to take a beating - and he has all of it in a compact 6-foot-6 frame that could viably be put in all five positions. We could go with Ange Kouame's blend of height and length, of course, but that would not necessarily be the perfect fit for the ideal player for the modern times we're building. Position-less basketball is all the rave nowadays and Soulemane Chabi Yo's size is the perfect fit for just that. RHENZ ABANDO's length Limbs for days has been Rhenz Abando's calling card and thanks to those, he now has quite the trademark after just his first year - chasedown blocks. With his long legs never letting him get too far left behind and his long arms granting him greater reach than normal, UST's two-way force is as devastating a rim protector with a 1.3-block average as he is a determined defender. Then at the other end, those same long limbs allow him to launch his long-range missiles from a high point that not many opponents could even contest. ALJUN MELECIO's hands Jerrick Ahanmisi of Adamson University remains the best shooter in the league, but he is more of a catch-and-shoot player compared to De La Salle University's scoring guard who has both the ballhandling and the range to get any shot he wants from anywhere he wants. Aljun Melecio has long been compared to Stephen Curry and that's with good reason as he is a threat from the moment he steps over to their side of the court - as anybody could see in his conversion clip of 32.5 percent from behind the arc. And even when he ventures into the paint, he has the confidence and capability for fine finishes at the rim. KOBE PARAS's legs We could go with Thirdy Ravena from Ateneo here, but the University of the Philippines' shining star just seems to have a bit more explosion in his hops. Of course, Kobe Paras was once known as just a high-flyer and has now rounded out his game. Still, high-flyer, he remains, for sure. MARK NONOY's feet Speed kills and in UST's run-and-gun system, the turbo is always on for their lead guard. In all of the league, perhaps only FEU's Gonzales could come close to Mark Nonoy. And not only is he deadly on the open court, he also has an explosive first step that could leave an opponent in the dust even in the face of a set defense. Taking all of these together, doesn't it look like.. Thirdy Ravena comes close? No? Yes? Well, we would never know for sure. What we do know is we would love to hear your take on this: what is your ideal baller for modern times? --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 22nd, 2020

BEST-OF-5 SERIES: The Pingoy Rules Part 5

In case you missed it: BEST-OF-5 SERIES: The Pingoy Rules Part 1 BEST-OF-5 SERIES: The Pingoy Rules Part 2 BEST-OF-5 SERIES: The Pingoy Rules Part 3 BEST-OF-5 SERIES: The Pingoy Rules Part 4 --- Pingoy Rule: Never lose hope. --- For the second time in two years, Jerie Pingoy had to have surgery done on his left foot. In November 2017, he injured his left foot in the final frame of the last game of the elimination round of the UAAP. In December 2017, the 5-foot-11 guard went to Pampanga to rid his left foot of bone spurs. Fast forward to June 2019 and his left foot was yet to be fully healed. A failed surgery as well as playing through pain worsened the bone spurs that had long been building up in Pingoy's left foot and he had no other choice but to go to famed sports doctor Raul Canlas. "Nung pinatingin namin kay Doc Canlas, sabi niya, bakit daw hindi inoperahan yung mismong may bone spurs," he shared in a phone interview. "Ako, wala naman akong kaalam-alam. Eh tapos na yun, wala na akong magagawa. Alangan namang habulin ko pa yung doktor dati." As the now-25-year-old was no longer with Adamson University, he had to pay for the new surgery out of his own pocket. Fortunately, he had his girlfriend not only to help him raise funds, but also to find a way to decrease the amount. "Yung girlfriend ko, nagwo-work sa Maxicare (a health maintenance organization) so yun, nag-apply kami ng health card. Buti naman, na-approve," he said. With that, Pingoy went under the knife for the second time in two years. And, as it turns out, it was an outpatient operation. "Ang kasama ko lang nun, girlfriend ko. Pasok kami Sunday, labas ng Monday kasi wala naman kaming ipon e. Binayad na namin lahat ng meron kami sa opera," he said. The good news is that at long last, his left foot is all well and good. As he put it, "At least, ngayon, okay na okay na." NOT ALONE That’s just one of the reasons why Pingoy believes he already has his life partner beside him. Talking about girlfriend Dixie Soberano, he said, full of love, "Through all the darkness na nangyari sa akin, she stayed with me. Alam niya kung gaano ka-struggle yung nangyari sa akin, pero nag-stay siya." He then continued, "Sobrang nagpapasalamat ako sa kanya kasi nandito siya, 'di niya ako iniwan. Siya pa nga laging nagpapaalala sa aking magpakundisyon ka, magpapayat ka para sa future natin." Not only that, Soberano was also how Pingoy received the biggest blessings in his life. In one-year-and-three-month-old Kaeden Jared and two-month-old Jaeden Keith, the Cebuano has even more will to go on and prove that his career is far from finished. "Sila yung nagbibigay ng inspirasyon sa akin. Ang practice namin sa CEU, alas sais ng umaga, pero gumigising ako ng alas kwatro kasi iniisip ko, para sa anak ko 'to, para sa kinabukasan nila 'to," he said. He leaves home motivated - and comes home even more motivated as he has a brand new dream to go alongside the one of him playing in the PBA. "Every time umuuwi ako, naiisip kong sana soon, yayaman ako at pag-uwi ko, sasabihan ko mga anak kong, 'Magbihis kayo, kakain tayo sa labas,'" he said. He then continued, "Tapos makikita ko kung gaano sila ka-excited. Talagang nagbago na buhay ko dahil sa kanila." NOT THE END Before COVID-19 shut down anything and everything, Pingoy looked like he was doing all in his power to put his career back on track. Just a month after Karate Kid-CEU took a chance on him, he proved diligent and disciplined in his extra work and trimmed down from 250 lbs. to just 197 lbs. Of course, having a life partner and two children, as well as his parents, relying on him is more than enough fuel to the fire. "Mahirap walang income eh. Nung isang taong nawala ako, as in walang income talaga eh kaya ngayon, kailangang magtulungan kami as a family," he said. Fortunately, the Scorpions have Pingoy's back as he claws and climbs the mountain once more. "Everybody deserves a second chance eh. Sakto kailangan ko rin ng point guard na leader para ma-guide yung mga bata namin," head coach Jeff Napa said. And there remains more than a few who have not lost faith. "If Koko can be given a chance and the confidence, he can still realize the potential that he has," Bo Perasol, the head coach who recruited and then mentored him in Ateneo de Manila University, said. In Napa, team manager Johnny Yap, and all of Karate Kid-CEU, Pingoy has another shot - as long as he keeps at it. "Maganda pa rin naman ang future ng batang yan basta mag-work hard lang siya nang todo at bumalik yung game shape niya. Yung talent at basketball sense kasi, meron na siya e," his new mentor said. FORGET-ME-NOT However, it is yet to be determined when the 2020 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup would resume action - or if it would even resume action. With COVID-19 posing more questions than answers, hope is all that Pingoy has for his career that has seen more starts and stops than rush hour traffic in EDSA. Still, hope is what he has been holding to all throughout - and is the reason he still stands even after having seen half of his collegiate career go to waste because of residency. Back-to-back MVP seasons in the UAAP Jrs. were followed by two years in a row of residency. A rookie year in Ateneo was followed by another season on the sidelines after transferring to Adamson. Two years as a Soaring Falcon were followed by a year out of the grid. Now, Jerie Pingoy, once thought to be special, just wants to have a shot at normal. This, even though what he has been through in his young life is already ripe for the pickings for a TV drama. "Sa lahat ng nangyari, parang gusto ko na ngang magpa-MMK e," he kidded. And who, if ever, would portray him on Maalala Mo Kaya? The answer to that is pretty clear in his eyes. "Si Gerald Anderson. Sakto pareho kaming Bisaya, pareho kaming gwapo." Without a doubt, after all that happened to him, the sense of humor is still there with Jerie Pingoy. Hopefully, the game that once made him a promising prospect is still there too. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 12th, 2020

BEST-OF-5 SERIES: The Pingoy Rules Part 2

In case you missed it: BEST-OF-5 SERIES: The Pingoy Rules Part 1 --- Pingoy Rule: Never look back. --- Along with being a champion and back-to-back MVP in UAAP Jrs., Jerie Pingoy is best known for a league rule that was put in effect after his actions. There's even a possibility that many know Far Eastern University-Diliman's once promising prospect just from having been the poster boy of the so-called "Pingoy Rule." Back in 2012, Pingoy had for himself a title run and a second straight top individual player award in his last year in high school. And so, more than a few were interested in securing the services of the 5-foot-11 point guard. Ultimately, the decision came down to moving on up to FEU's Srs. squad or moving on to Ateneo de Manila University. The latter was what Pingoy decided to be best for him. Not long after, the league instituted a new rule that required two-year residency for student-athletes who transfer from one UAAP high school to another UAAP college. As such, the then-18-year-old was forced to stay on the sidelines for two years. And even then, he already knew how much those two years would mean to his future. Fast forward to now and Pingoy is far removed from being a true blue-chip recruit out of high school or even a talented transferee in college. Now, he is just like any other player hoping for another shot to prove himself. Now, the Cebuano could only rue what could have been. "Unang-una, nasasayangan ako sa years na 'di ako nakapaglaro. Kung nakapaglaro ako ng dalawang taon, mag-iiba yung takbo ng panahon," he said in a phone interview. He then continued, "'Di magiging ganito." CODE RED Momentum is a true thing in sports - much more in basketball where the action goes on and on and on. And coming off a championship and back-to-back MVPs, Pingoy's confidence and capabilities were as high as they have been as he took on a new challenge in Ateneo. Only, he was not eligible to play in the UAAP Seniors just yet. Simply put, Pingoy lost all the momentum he already had after leaving FEU-Diliman. "For sure, mag-iiba talaga yung laro ko kapag nakapag-start ako agad. Once makapaglaro ako right after high school, mas magiging mature ako eh, mas malalaman ko agad yung laro sa college," he shared. He then continued, "Hindi ko natantsa agad sa Ateneo na ganun pala sa college. Nung naglaro na ako, 'di na ako rookie sa age, pero rookie pa rin ako sa laro." Indeed, after putting up per game counts of 21 points to go along with 5.1 assists, 4.2 rebounds, and 2.1 steals in his championship and MVP season as a Baby Tamaraw, two years later, he averaged 3.5 points and 2.8 assists as a rookie Blue Eagle. For Pingoy's former mentor, it was clear as day that the long layoff, as well as all the talk surrounding his decision, had a negative effect. "May impact sa bata yung nangyari kasi naka-distract lahat yun sa pag-usad ng career niya. Sa tingin ko lang, if he (would have stayed) in FEU, magkakaroon siya ng peace of mind," former FEU-Diliman head coach Mike Oliver answered when asked to look back at one of the most controversial college commitments the country has witnessed. He also added, "Yung nangyari kasi, because naging talk of the town siya, I think nagkaroon ng malaking pressure sa kanyang every time na maglalaro siya, he has to show how good he really is." GOLD IS GOLD Of course, Pingoy was still seeing action - albeit with Ateneo's Team Glory Be on the smaller stage and under the dimmer lights of minor tournaments like the Fr. Martin Cup. Still, that could not compare to the competition of the UAAP - a level of competition that was already at the tip of his fingers in high school and only needed to be grasped in college. "Nahirapan akong mag-adjust kasi for two years, 'di ko naman alam laro ng Team A. Siyempre, iba naman yung nasa Team B kasi iba pa rin yung nandun ka (sa UAAP) at nakakalaro kahit konti lang," he said. Still, years later, Pingoy has no regrets about transferring to Katipunan. As he put it, "Nalungkot lang ako kasi nga sayang, pero 'di ako nagsisisi." And while he did not necessarily tap into his potential, he remains nothing but proud of his time wearing the blue and white - from Team Glory Be to the Blue Eagles. "Proud ako na yung batch namin nina Fonzo Gotladera yung unang Team B na nag-champion. Masayang-masaya ako dun," he shared. He then continued, "At least, nakapabigay ako ng isang championship sa Ateneo - kahit Team B lang." At the same time, Pingoy said he also made it a point then to get to know the Atenean way. "Sa Ateneo, tinuturo maging 'man for others.' Yun talaga ang natutunan ko dun aside from matututong mag-English," he shared with a laugh. He then continued, "Pero ngayong naaalala ko nga, iba talaga sa Ateneo. Magiging wiser ka talaga eh." WHITE LIGHT That wisdom has apparently allowed Pingoy to bear no ill will towards those who disagreed with his decision. From then to now, he remains adamant that he has no problems whatsoever against the ill-fated "Pingoy Rule." "'Di talaga ako nagalit kahit kanino. Iniisip ko lang lagi that time na okay lang yan and everything happens for a reason," he said. He then continued, "Kung ginagawa nila yun, ibig sabihin, ayaw ka nila." Now, the "Pingoy Rule" is no more as Congress had passed the "Student-Athlete Protection Act (SAPA)" which, for one thing, prohibits residency rules on high school graduates transferring to a different school for college. If this were already law before he committed to any college, he wouldn’t have had to undergo residency at all. However, the SAPA was passed in 2015 and by then, Pingoy had already served two years. Meaning, it was a case of too late the hero. While it didn't do him any favors personally, though, Pingoy is nothing but glad to have been part of a much-welcome change. "Deep inside, naramdaman ko rin naman dating napaka-unfair nila, pero ngayon, okay na yun. Unfair sa akin dati, pero masaya ako ngayon kasi yung mga bata, makakapili na ng school na gusto nila talaga," he said. He then continued, "Sobrang masaya ako dun. Sobrang thankful ako dun." That means that now, any recruit, from blue-chippers to solid players, could choose whatever college they want without having to think that they could lose their momentum from high school. Indeed, he could rest assured that anybody as highly recruited as he was would now be free to decide what’s best for them. However, it may very well take some time before we witness anybody like him - because without a doubt, Jerie Pingoy was a man among boys in high school. NEXT ON BEST-OF-5 SERIES: THE PINGOY RULES: "Ateneo gave me an opportunity na matulungan yung family ko. I wasn't thinking of myself lang that time. The opportunity was there e, why not grab it?" --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 9th, 2020

EYES ON YOU, KID: UAAP 82 Jrs. players to watch

The first round of the UAAP 82 Juniors Basketball Tournament is over and done with. And we can’t wait for the second round to get started just so we could get even more glimpses of the future of Philippine basketball courtesy of these players: CARL TAMAYO and KEVIN QUIAMBAO – Nazareth School of National University TAMAYO’S ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 12.7 points, 52.3 percent shooting, 8.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists QUIAMBAO’S ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 12.7 points, 51.4 percent shooting, 10.7 rebounds, 1.7 blocks, 1.7 assists 7-foot-2, 17-year-old Kai Sotto was, hands down, the top individual talent last year in UAAP Jrs. – but even he was no match for National U’s twin towers who stood as the pillars in their dominant championship. A year later, Carl Tamayo and Kevin Quiambao have only been better all while the Bullpups have breezed to a clean sweep of Round 1. The 6-foot-7 Tamayo is yet to explode, but is still posting per game counts that any team would want their big man to have. The 6-foot-8 Quiambao, on the other hand, has had for himself a couple of powerful performances and finds himself in the league’s top five in rebounds and blocks. Either of them would have no problem whatsoever making this list on their own, but together, National U’s twin towers, well, tower over all the competition. LEBRON LOPEZ and JOSH LAZARO – Ateneo de Manila University LOPEZ’S ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 16.3 points, 10.1 rebounds, 2.1 blocks, 1.1 steals LAZARO’S ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 13.7 points, 12.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.3 blocks, 1.1 steals What National U has in imposing big men, Ateneo has in versatile forwards. Lebron Lopez and Josh Lazaro are long-limbed, athletic, and agile and it is when they share the floor together that the Blue Eagles do the most damage. Lopez, standing at 6-foot-5, has the higher ceiling between the two and is now already in the league’s top five in blocks and rebounds, but he remains in the process of putting it all together after having a tough time seeing the court when he was still in La Salle Green Hills. The 6-foot-4 Lazaro, meanwhile, has always been solid even when he was reppin’ San Beda and has only translated that, as well as a more well-rounded game, now in blue and white. Katipunan may have lost Sotto, but its future remains secure with these talented transferees who have done nothing but make an immediate impact. GERRY ABADIANO – Nazareth School of National University ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 11.7 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.5 steals Other guards have the highlights and the numbers, but in terms of being a court general, Gerry Abadiano is still the standard. National U has the most loaded team in all of high school, but its engine remains in good condition with much thanks to the leadership of Abadiano. The Bullpups’ boat just could not be rocked with the 5-foot-11 guard’s hands at the wheel as everybody from Carl Tamayo to Echo Laure and from Terrence Fortea to Steve Nash Enriquez heeds the call of their captain. And when the blue and gold needs a shot all of a sudden? All of us could count on Abadiano to hit his patented midrange jumper. Now that’s a leader. FORTHSKY PADRIGAO – Ateneo de Manila University ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 19.4 points, 19 total threes, 4.4 rebounds, 4.0 steals, 3.9 assists No doubt about it, Ateneo is now Forthsky Padrigao’s show to run for the foreseeable future. With his running mate in Sotto having taken his talents to the US, Padrigao has been thrust into the spotlight by his lonesome – and he has done nothing but shine. The playmaking is still there as the 5-foot-11 guard is tops in the league in assists, but he has now also unleashed his scoring skills to the tune of 19.4 points per game – second-best among all players. The shooting percentages have a long ways to go, but it’s just a matter of time before Padrigao truly makes himself into Katipunan’s next great point guard. PENNY ESTACIO – Far Eastern University-Diliman ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 17.1 points, 16 total threes, 6.1 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 2.7 steals There’s a reason FEU-Diliman went all-out in securing the services of Penny Estacio – and he has wasted no time repaying their full faith. A year after showing promise at the point of the attack for San Beda, Estacio has now blossomed into a primetime playmaker for the Baby Tamaraws. The 5-foot-11 guard could make plays for his teammates, of course, but as of right now, his capabilities and confidence are all about making plays for himself all the way to the top five in scoring. And make no mistake, Estacio is no points guard – he also uses his long limbs to good use by harassing opposing guards into turnovers he quickly converts into scoring opportunities for the green and gold. TERRENCE FORTEA – Nazareth School of National University ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 12.6 points, 19 total threes, 2.1 rebounds, 2.0 assists To be honest, Terrence Fortea has not had a good season – for his high standards, at the very least. The shooting percentages have not been kind to Fortea thus far as he is yet to hit the mark, especially from beyond the arc. Still, the 5-foot-10 scoring guard remains a frightening sight for opponents with the ball in his hands and with his uber-quick release always threatening. Terrence gonna Terrence and shooters gonna shoot – and all of the league is not at all looking forward to the game where the shots finally fall and fall and fall for Fortea. JOHN EROLON – Adamson High School ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 14.6 points, 25 total threes, 3.6 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.1 steals There’s a new marksman in town – and he is wearing the colors of Adamson. John Erolon, the Baby Falcons’ prized recruit from Dumaguete’s St. Louis of Don Bosco, has only proven that his shooting touch in the 2019 National Basketball Training Centre was no mirage as he has scorched the UAAP Jrs. nets for the second-most total threes after the first round. The other facets of his game have much room for improvement, of course, but there is no doubt that the rookie already has an elite skill on lock. KEAN BACLAAN – De La Salle Zobel ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 17.1 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.1 steals DLSZ has not had its day under the sun since the days of Aljun Melecio, but with the entry of talented transferee Kean Baclaan, it hoped its time would come again. Thus far, Baclaan has held up his end of the bargain with his super scoring already making its way to the UAAP Jrs. all while doing a little bit of everything else. Now, all that’s left for the 5-foot-8 playmaker to do is to energize the rest of his teammates so that the Jr. Archers could finally put an end to their three-year playoff drought. SEAN TORCULAS – University of the Philippines Integrated School ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 10.6 points, 17.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2.3 steals, 2.4 blocks Yes, UPIS remains winless. Yes, head coach Paolo Mendoza’s eight-man rotation plays somewhere between 15 to 34 minutes per game. Yes, statistics never tell the true story. Still, being first in rebounds, first in blocks, second in assists, and third in steals in a league filled to the brim with talent is nothing to brush aside – especially if you are an undersized forward. That’s exactly what Sean Torculas has done after Round 1, though, and it is, without a doubt, all because his motor never stops working. That’s exactly what a rebuilding team wants and needs from its building block. JACOB CORTEZ – University of Sto. Tomas ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 16.1 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.0 steals UST has its own talented transferee who has, thus far, flown under the radar, in Jacob Cortez. Nonetheless, the son of ex-pro Mike Cortez has begun to open eyes as he has the ability to score from all over the floor. With “Cool Cat” genes in him, the 5-foot-9 has only made sure that the Tiger Cubs remain a threat in the post-Mark Nonoy era. HONORABLE MENTIONS Jorick Bautista – Far Eastern University-Diliman John Dalisay – De La Salle Zobel --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 28th, 2019

PBA: Losing skid worries coach Yeng as no. 1 NLEX enters playoffs

Despite being the no. 1 seed in the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup playoffs, NLEX’s road to the quarterfinals is not exactly inspiring. The Road Warriors lost their last two games of the elimination round and no. 8 Northport was one of the teams that beat up NLEX. “Hindi ko rin alam nangyari eh. We’re just playing badly. The last two games were our worst games,” head coach Yeng Guiao said. “It’s kind of worrying to me kasi we should be peaking at this point, but pababa yung laro namin. I think that’s a reason to worry,” he added. Still, not all is lost for NLEX. Being the no. 1 team means that the Road Warriors have been pretty good all tournament long. Being no. 1 also comes with a twice-to-beat advantage. That playoff bonus should come in handy for NLEX. “I guess it’s also good for us to have lost the first game. We know we have a twice-to-beat advantage, we know that false sense of confidence that we probably had the last time is going to be erased because they beat us,” Guiao said. “We know we have a hard game because they already know they can beat us so we will need all the intensity and preparation to beat NorthPort. Of course, even if you have a twice-to-beat advantage, your mentality is you only have one chance,” Coach Yeng added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 22nd, 2019

The NBA s new coach s challenge could be a timely tool for teams to wield

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com Cleveland’s John Beilein, the only new-to-the-league coach this season, actually got a jump on his 29 rivals in one department. To better familiarize himself with the Cavaliers team he was taking over, Beilein broke from the tradition that has assistant coaches working the sideline at NBA Summer League. When the situation arose in a game in Las Vegas for Cleveland to invoke the experimental “coaches’ challenge” rule, Beilein was the one calling for it. And the one getting shot down. “It was an out-of-bounds play,” Beilein recalled during a break at the coaches’ meetings in Chicago last month. “My player came to the bench saying, ‘It’s definitely our ball.’ I thought, ‘Great, this is why we have it now.’ “We came back out. It was their ball.” There will be a lot of dashed hopes in 2019-20, as well as some pivotal reversals, with the NBA’s adoption of the latest replay wrinkle. As in MLB and the NFL, coaches will have the opportunity to appeal, in real time, certain referees’ decisions. All the “triggers” of the existing replay system remain, but now the teams will have a sense of control. One time each game. “I’ve been a proponent of it for many years, just as an additional layer of security,” said Dallas coach Rick Carlisle, who also serves as president of the NBA Coaches Association. “If a call’s inaccurate for any reason, it’s just an extra chance -- particularly if the game’s on the line -- to get it right. “The question has always been, how to execute it. Where to start. Sounds like this is going to start with a high level of simplicity. Then we’ll see where it goes.” Denver Nuggets coach Michael Malone thought back to 2017-18, when the Nuggets missed the postseason after a loss at Minnesota in the season’s final game. Like every game, there were a handful of what-if moments. “Think about it,” Malone said. “Two years ago, one play could have been the difference for us between the lottery and playoffs. That saves jobs, that gets home/road seeding, there are a lot of things that it can affect.” How the coach’s challenge works For this season, the challenge can be made in three situations: to question a foul called against that team’s player, to dispute an out-of-bounds decision or to question a goaltending/basket interference ruling against that team. The first type applies to the entire game; the others to the first 46 minutes (and first three minutes of overtime), after which the established triggers take over. Challenging a call requires the coach to first call a timeout and then inform the referees he wants a review. There are new court administrators at every game this season to help with the process. Also, fans will notice green “challenge lights” at the scorer’s table -- the one nearest the challenging bench will blink. Beilein said he sought redress a couple of times in Las Vegas, without satisfaction. “They never reversed their decisions,” he said, “but it’s really a good idea to do, to let us have this say in a game. You ask, they review it. If they don’t see it, you just move on with the game. It puts things away, so we’re not grinding away all night on that call. It’s over. It’s done.” If a call is reversed, the challenge is successful and the team’s timeout is restored. If the initial ruling stands, the challenge is deemed unsuccessful and that timeout is gone. Win or lose the appeal, the allotment stays the same: One challenge per team per game. The early chatter among coaches has been, when is the best time to use it? In Sunday’s Hornets-Celtics game, Brad Stevens and James Borrego waited until the final minute. Both challenges failed. “I’ll probably save it till the fourth quarter,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “I’m going to be really excited about it when it helps wins me some games. And I’m going to really hate it when it costs me.” Said Malone: “The funny thing is, we always say, ‘The game never comes down to just the last play. Something that happened in the first quarter was just as important.’ But the reality it, when you get to the last two minutes, if you have the coaches challenge in your pocket, that could come up with a really big play or give you momentum.” The refs’ crew chief will have the final determination of fouls. He or she also will be able to “clean up” the play in question if, for instance, they notice the foul was assessed incorrectly or if a different foul by either side occurred before the one being reviewed. Note: infractions such as 3-second violations or traveling, if uncalled initially, can’t be assessed in a challenge review. The league’s Replay Center in Secaucus, N.J., will adjudicate out-of-bounds and goaltending challenges. Confidence key in using challenge At the NBCA September meetings in Chicago, the feature -- also given a trial run in the G League in recent seasons -- was discussed in a ballroom session with referees and supervisors of the officials. The next day, they all spent time on a basketball court, walking through the particulars. Borrego took advantage of his proximity in Charlotte to talk with Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera about his strategy in using the NFL’s version. Those coaches physically throw a red flag to signal their challenge and have time to hear from assistant coaches in a stadium booth upstairs who have seen video to determine their chances of reversal. The NBA won’t have either flags to throw or helpers checking. The coaches will have to alert the refs by twirling their fingers in the air, the current universal symbol for “replay.” They’ll need to act before an opposing player is handed the ball to shoot free throws or toss it inbounds, or before a jump ball. “We haven’t had this conversation with them yet, but players never think they fouled,” Milwaukee Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said Monday. “It’s never out on them. We’re gonna have to say, ‘OK, did you really not foul?’ Somehow figure out, ‘OK, you have to tell the truth.’ “That kind of feedback from them is going to be important in a challenge situation.” The preseason was only a few days old but, in this era of analytics, Chicago Bulls coach Jim Boylen had his crew gather data on every early challenge. He’s working up a list of situations in which to use it. Late in games? Sure. But not so late that the existing triggers take over for a disputed out-of-bounds play. Then the coach might go home without using it. “You’re always concerned about [burning] the timeout,” Boylen said. “You’d better be sure. Your [viewing] angles better be good.” Not everyone is a fan of the experiment, which will be evaluated after the season by the NBA’s Competition Committee. Some skeptics fret that adding reviews will mean more delays in games that already have replay interruptions. Then there was Monty Williams, the Phoenix Suns’ new coach. Part of his dislike? Genuine empathy for the referees. “I’m not a fan of it at all,” Williams said. “Sometimes it’s to your detriment, but I think human error is part of our game. I know we’re trying to get it right, but sometimes [replay] causes referees to get second-guessed a lot. They already are. “And this is just one more thing for coaches to have to do. Now we’re all going to have to delegate a guy on our bench to monitor things.  “If we’re gonna challenge, I wish it was a segment -- say, the last three minutes of the game. I want to coach. I don’t want to be focused all night on, ‘Should I have challenged [a call made earlier]?’ ” Fans might notice other rules changes and priorities for officials this season: * Coaches will be required to submit their starting lineups earlier now, making them public at least 30 minutes before tipoff. This change is seen largely as a nod to the looming arrival of legal sports betting. Knowing the starters earlier -- and which regulars might be sitting out with injuries or for “load management” -- means more wagers can be made with the most updated information. (A change still can be made if a player gets hurt or aggravates an injury during warm-ups.) * The Replay Center will take over determinations of 2-pointers vs. 3-pointers, operating automatically. * There figures to be a spate of traveling calls early this season. The referees have made that infraction one of their “Points of Education” for 2019-20. That means a “more stringent enforcement” of the existing rule, according to Monty McCutchen, the NBA’s VP, head of referee development and training. The league has gone so far as to include the concept of “the gather” in its rule book now. That -- the moment when a player has full control of the ball and thus the point from which he can take two steps – has been used for years by game officials. But now it has been codified, which helps when discerning variations such as steps taken backward (rather than in forward progress) or in the “Euro-step.” McCutchen noted that, in years past, the NBA game was played through the post at a slower pace. Referees evaluated plays starting with the defenders. Now, with hand-checking long gone and 3-pointers pulling players farther out on the court, the refs’ sequence of viewing plays has shifted to feet, then release, then defender. Other Points of Education for the refs this year have focused on illegal contact initiated by offensive players, “freedom of movement” issues and “respect for the game” moments, which basically are emotional overreactions to calls that exceed allowable guidelines. Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 12th, 2019

Chiefs Patrick Mahomes more comfortable with his emotions

By Dave Skretta, Associated Press KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Patrick Mahomes was put on his backside before he had time to blink, a mix-up along his offensive leaving one of the Baltimore Ravens' big defensive linemen with a clear path to the quarterback. A year ago, Mahomes probably would have picked himself up, made sure all his limbs were still attached, then walked back to the Kansas City Chiefs huddle to call another play. That wasn't the case at all last Sunday. No, the record-setting league MVP went right after Austin Reiter, pointing his finger directly at the young center in equal parts instruction and admonishment. It was the kind of move that quarterbacks such as Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers, who have been in the game long enough to earn a certain measure of gravitas, are likely to make more so than a quarterback only in his second year as a starter. Mahomes' teammates will say it's nothing new, that he has always been a feisty one. But there is a marked difference in his willingness to put that emotion on display this season. "He's competitive. He's the leader of that bunch. He's the one that's on the field," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. "He wants certain things out of a play that as a player, you got to get those things done. That's where my trust in him and the other coaches' trust in him comes in." That's also why you'll see him giving his offensive linemen an occasional earful. It isn't just when things have gone sour that the emotion flows, though. Mahomes is usually right in the middle of touchdown celebrations, or pumping his fist after a big play. He's only bringing his own unique energy to the sideline, engendering confidence in everyone around him. "We hold each other accountable," Mahomes said. "It's not just me saying stuff to those guys. They will say stuff right back to me if I do something wrong." Mahomes said that is what makes the Kansas City locker room unique. People may point fingers, but it is always with the greater good in mind, and it is always followed by a high-five or a hug. Egos are checked at the door. Grudges are left to die. "I think we got the group of guys to play fast and have fun and play through each other," Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins said. "It feels good to go out there and get a win." Even if it means having Mahomes in your grill? "We see it all week during practice. I think this is the time where people be like, 'Oh wow!' But all week he goes through practice, tries these hard throws, and he comes into the game and literally he's on point. We just looking like, 'Oh yeah, that's just Pat being Pat.'" Rarely does a quarterback have the confidence to take on such a leadership role so early in his career. But in the case of Mahomes, the reason it has worked is twofold: He has the undeniable talent to back up whatever he might say to anyone else on the field, and he grew up around professional sports as the son of big league ballplayer Pat Mahomes — meaning any sense of awe went away long ago. Mahomes also has the kind of magnetic personality, Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce said, that seems to draw everybody in. It's the kind of charisma that allows him to rip into you one play, then put your body on the line to protect his blindside on the very next play. "Everything's about our quarterback," Robinson said. "He's our head coach when we're on the field, he makes all the calls and we go out and try to execute for him.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 27th, 2019

EYES ON YOU, KID: NCAA 95 Jrs. players to watch

The first round of the NCAA 95 Juniors Basketball Tournament is over and done with. And with the second round already underway, we’re getting even more glimpses of the future of Philippine basketball courtesy of these players: MAC GUADANA – Lyceum of the Philippines University ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 18.7 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 2.1 steals LPU is on the brink of its first playoff appearance in school history – and throughout its quest to do just that, Mac Guadana has been its constant. For a long time, the 6-foot playmaker has stood as the pillar for the Jr. Pirates, but now, he has taken the leap all the way up there as one of the best players in all of high school. The former Batang Gilas guard has been stuffing the stat sheet and is tops in steals, fourth in scoring, and fifth in assists in the league. Without a doubt, he can and he is doing it all in his fifth and final year in maroon and grey. Most importantly, LPU has only followed his lead all the way to a place well inside the playoff picture. Of course, it remains to be seen if the Jr. Pirates can continue their sail to treasure island. What’s certain, though, is that their 18-year-old homegrown star will keep giving his all for them. RHAYYAN AMSALI – San Beda High School ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 16.3 points, 7.2 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 1.7 steals For four years running now, Rhayyan Amsali has been one of the most promising prospects in the Jrs. Now in his last year in high school, he has only brought over all the confidence and capabilities he had honed in National U all the way to San Beda. Now donning red and white, the 6-foot-3 forward has unleashed a more well-rounded game as he is actually the league’s best playmaker while at the same time, its third-best pilferer and fifth-best scorer. And if not for a controversial suspension, he would have also been the frontrunner for MVP as he has been a key cog for the league-leading Red Cubs. Still, what matters most for the now 18-year-old is another championship – and at the end of it all, he may very well be in select company of players who have won two titles in two different high schools in two different leagues. JONNEL POLICARPIO – Mapua High School ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 16.1 points, 10.6 rebound, 2.6 assists, 1.3 blocks The biggest reason Mapua has found itself in the bottom third of the standings is the inconsistency of main man Jonnel Policarpio. From missing the first three games due to personal problems to getting irregular playing time due to mental lapses, the 6-foot-4 energizer has only proven he has got much room for improvement when it comes to intangibles. Still, whenever he’s on the floor, Policarpio has always made his presence felt and that is very much evident with him being the MVP leader even after only playing seven games. However, the league’s top rebounder needs to prove he can stay on the court and lead his team to victory if he wants to have a hold of that top individual trophy and, more importantly, extend his team’s title reign. JUSTINE SANCHEZ – San Beda High School ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 12.5 points, 62.8 percent shooting, 7.5 rebounds Justine Sanchez is turning in a career year in his last year for San Beda. From coming off the bench a year ago to claiming a starting spot for himself, the long-limbed forward is on pace to be hailed as the league’s Most Improved Player. All the proof he needs for that is already there as he is an automatic finisher of set-ups by his teammates, with an astounding 62.8 shooting clip from the field. At the same time, though, he has also shown flashes of shooting and playmaking – showing that even the favorite for Most Improved Player looks like he can still keep growing. JOHN BARBA – Lyceum of the Philippines University ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 20.4 points, 8.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists Mac Guadana does it all, but if and when LPU needs a basket badly, it turns to John Barba. A fearless slasher that boasts of one of the best – if not the best – upper body strengths, the 6-foot-2 swingman can score however he wants once he gets to the paint. That is exactly why he is the league’s second-best scorer. Of course, Barba has to work on his shooting, but as of right now, that hole in his game is only offset by his energy and activity that allow him to haul in offensive rebounds and make good on second chance points. TONY YNOT – San Beda High School ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 10.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.3 steals Tony Ynot missed San Beda’s first five games due to a knee injury, but once he was good to go, he did nothing but make an immediate impact. A defensive specialist who made noise in the preseason with a poster block on Jalen Green, the Filipino-American blue-chip recruit in the US NCAA, he is only proving to be more of a two-way force now in his second season in red and white. The 5-foot-11 wing now has the confidence to let it fly from deep or venture inside the paint for a closer look, but when it all boils down to it, defense is and will always be his calling card. RC CALIMAG – College of St. Benilde-La Salle Greenhills ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 20.7 points, 23-of-60 from three, 5.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.0 steals RC Calimag has always been in love with the midrange shot in his time in DLSZ and now in his second season in LSGH. The 6-foot-2 forward knocks those down at a respectable rate, but his transition into taking more threes this year has unlocked his entire offensive arsenal. Calimag is the league’s top scorer, with a bulk of his output coming from deep where he has hit 23 in total. Without a doubt, he has always been a deadly scorer, but with his outside shot now a legitimate threat, he has become an elite offensive player. JOSHUA RAMIREZ – Colegio de San Juan de Letran ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 15.1 points, 29-of-90 from three, 5.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists Joshua Ramirez’s game will not blow anybody away at all as he is yet to have a skill that will put him above everybody else. What the 6-foot-3 forward is, however, is an all-around player who will do whatever it takes to help out his team – if Letran needs points, he will be there; if Letran needs playmaking, he will be there; if Letran needs defense, he will be there. No doubt about it, he is the quintessential glue guy that any other team will want to have on their side. EMMAN GALMAN – University of Perpetual Help ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 19.5 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.5 steals One word perfectly encapsulates Emman Galman – gunner. The 6-foot-2 swingman is a volume shooter who has the greenest of green lights to take shots for Perpetual. That’s not a bad thing at all, though, because he actually makes good on many of those and finds himself as the third-best scorer in all of the league. SHAWN UMALI – Colegio de San Juan de Letran ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 9.7 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.4 blocks, 1.1 steals What Joshua Ramirez is from the perimeter, Shawn Umali is inside the paint for Letran. The undersized big man will not wow everybody, but his do-it-all game has been the engine that has kept the Squires running for two years now. And don’t let his 6-foot-4 height and wide frame fool you, he actually has great timing and is the league’s fifth-best shot blocker. HONORABLE MENTIONS Yukien Andrada – San Beda High School Gholam Garcia – Jose Rizal University High School CJ Saure – Colegio de San Juan de Letran Ezdel Galoy – University of Perpetual Help --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 17th, 2019

UAAP 82: NU s Shaun I.: I believe we re gonna make the Final Four

For the second straight game in the UAAP 82 Men's Basketball Tournament, National University lost in heartbreaking fashion. The Bulldogs battled back from a 14-point deficit to snare away a one-point lead, 82-81, late in their game last Wednesday. Still with 28.1 ticks to go, however, Kurt Lojera emerged as the unlikely hero for De La Salle University with a baseline jumper that proved to be the game-winner. And so, National U remained winless in two tries. This, just four days after their hearts were also broken by Lenda Douanga's improbable game-winning three for Adamson University. Coming from that contest, team captain Shaun Ildefonso promised a mighty rebound. "The night after the Adamson game, we couldn't really sleep. Sabi talaga namin sa sarili namin, we hope that never happens again," he said. Ildefonso, without a doubt, did his part and turned in a career game of 26 points on top of five steals against the Green Archers. "To be honest, I didn't really know I would play like this. I think, career-high ko na 'to sa buong buhay ko e," he told reporters through chuckles. As it turns out, however, the third-year forward was only inspired by the inspired play of his younger brother. As he put it, "Ang ganda nung game ni Dave nung first game e so sabi ko, ako naman kaya? Sinasabihan ko sila, 'Pre, pasahan mo lang ako sa labas, bibitaw talaga ako,'" he shared. He then continued, "One thing I lacked the first game was confidence, pero ngayon, no hesitation na. Good thing they were going in." Unfortunately, each of the Ildefonsos' big games eventually ended as heartbreaking losses. Still, kuya Shaun has full faith that the Bulldogs will get going sooner than later. As he put it, "We still have 12 games left. No reason to give up now kasi I really believe we're gonna make the Final Four." He then continued, "Malakas ang paniniwala ko dun kahit dalawang talo na kami ngayon." For that to happen, the NU skipper knows full well he has to build on his big-time outing. "Hopefully, mas maging consistent ako not just in bringing energy to the team, but also helping on offense," he said. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 12th, 2019

Koepka at British Open with a local lad as his caddie

By Chris Lehourites, Associated Press PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland (AP) — Brooks Koepka's biggest asset during this year's British Open won't be in his bag, it'll be on his bag. The four-time major winner will be walking around Royal Portrush, a course new to most of the players in the field, with a native expert helping him negotiate the sharp elevation changes of the century-old links course on the northern coast of Northern Ireland. His caddie, Ricky Elliott, is a local lad. "Every hole I just step up on, 'You tell me what to do. You've played it more than anybody,'" said Koepka, who is on such a roll at majors he may be one of the few players who doesn't need extra help. "So just let him figure it out. He knows his spots to miss it. The spots to come in from, with different hole locations and different winds." Elliott grew up in Portrush, and grew up playing at Royal Portrush. The pair started working together shortly after the 2013 British Open, when Phil Mickelson won at Muirfield. It only took a phone call to put things in motion. "We had about a 30-minute phone conversation. I liked the way he went about things," Koepka said Tuesday. "He was kind of light. He was joking on the phone. And that's somebody I want, I want somebody that's not going to be so focused in all the time. My personality, I laugh and joke on the golf course. I know it doesn't look like it, but the camera is not on us all the time. He's pretty laid back." Koepka has excelled over the last couple of years with Elliott on his bag, particularly at the major tournaments. After winning his second straight U.S. Open title last year, Koepka won his second straight PGA Championship this year. And he didn't do badly at the other two majors this season either, finishing second at the Masters and at the U.S. Open. "The whole reason I show up is to win. That's what I'm trying to do," Koepka said of his major results. "It's incredible. But at the same time, it's been quite disappointing, you know? Finishing second sucks. It really does." Tiger Woods, the one who edged Koepka to win this year's Masters, came to Northern Ireland looking for a little local knowledge. He said he texted Koepka, hoping to get some advice on the course. "What he's done in the last four major championships has been just unbelievable. To be so consistent, so solid. He's been in contention to win each and every major championship," Woods said. "And I said, 'Hey, dude, do you mind if I tag along and play a practice round?' I've heard nothing." Koepka will play his first two rounds at Royal Portrush alongside 2010 British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen and Shubhankar Sharma. And like many great champions in all sorts of sports, Koepka is full of self-belief heading into the final major of the season. "I think you always have to have a chip on your shoulder, no matter what it is," Koepka said. "Every great athlete and every major sport always has one. "Over the last year and a half, I just felt like if other guys had done what I had done it would be a bigger deal. Now it doesn't matter to me. I've got my own chip on my shoulder for what I'm trying to accomplish. ... How many majors I want to win, how many wins, my own accomplishments." With his trust in his own ability to deliver the big shots and his trust in his caddie's ability to deliver that little bit of extra insight on a course that hasn't hosted the British Open since 1951, Koepka is on the short list of favorites this week. "Definitely have a little bit more confidence having him on the bag this week," Koepka said of Elliott, "knowing this golf course so well.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 17th, 2019

Warriors injuries create opening with Finals in balance

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com OAKLAND, Calif. — From now until further notice, each game of the 2019 NBA Finals will be largely influenced not by a go-ahead basket or a big stop or a rally-induced comeback, but a hot-off-the-press medical update prior to tipoff. Is Klay Thompson's tweaky hamstring a go? Will this be the day Kevin Durant finally shakes that lingering calf strain and suits up? The hints and subtle signs seem to point toward the positive for Golden State. Thompson was a late scratch Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time) because the Warriors -- with a mixture of confidence and arrogance and concern -- felt the guard missing Game 3 was perhaps best for his recovery without proving deadly in the long run. And as for Durant, he’s still “ramping up” his workouts, in the description of coach Steve Kerr, and so his status has been upgraded to "stay tuned." It has become must-watch after a 123-109 loss. Yet if the answer is negative to all of the above, the next entry on the medical report might be the grim health of the dynasty built by these two-time defending champions. Their still-under-construction monument now teeters, prone to a nudge from Toronto. The Warriors find themselves down 2-1 to the Raptors, lacking any guarantee they’ll see two of their three leading scorers back in the lineup Friday (Saturday, PHL time) for Game 4 ... or for however long this series lasts. Thompson joined Durant on the sideline, and the Raptors (as could be anticipated) pounced on the gift to seize control of the series. It was a game the Raptors had to win, and they did. The production came from multiple players, with Kyle Lowry finally making an imprint on this series and Danny Green rediscovering his long-lost three-point touch. Meanwhile, the Warriors consisted of Steph Curry and not much else. The two-time Kia MVP dazzled and fought through traps and triple-teams all night to drop a career-high 47 points, some of it on shot-making wizardry. But the short-handed Warriors were doomed when Draymond Green and DeMarcus Cousins in particular were underwhelming on a night they needed to be stellar for Golden State to have a chance. As a result, the atmosphere inside Oracle Arena was flatter than most of the shots taken by Curry's teammates, and this was partly due to the introduction of the starting lineups, when Thompson’s name wasn’t announced. The fans knew then, officially, that their eyes and the home team were in for a long night. While the Warriors fought, scrappy doesn’t win games at this point in the postseason, not when the other team is good and opportunistic. Playing in a hostile building for the first time in the Finals, the Raptors made a collective decision to greet fire with fire. Or, as they wrote on the blackboard inside the visitor’s locker room: Let It Rip. “I think we all kind of followed that advice,” said Danny Green. “We hadn’t really had a good team shooting night and I knew we were due.” For Toronto, it wasn’t just that they won, but that they did so with their most impressive outing in the series. And now, the question for the Raptors is this: Will their inconsistent players use this outing to turn the corner and push the Warriors, even if Thompson and/or Durant return? This is aimed, first and foremost, at Lowry. He took the “let it rip” plea personally. Entering this game, he had six baskets total in this series and at times suffered defensively. Challenged by a pregame talk from coach Nick Nurse, Lowry embraced his inner pit bull and was relentless all night. The All-Star point guard took 16 shots, making eight, for 23 points and nine assists while making his presence felt for the first time this Finals. “For me, it was just not being so passive and trying to get everyone else involved and get myself going and let everyone else feed off that,” Lowry said. He and Green re-introduced the three-pointer to the Raptors’ offense. The two shot 11-for-19 and repeatedly stole whatever momentum Golden State could generate by responding with long-distance daggers that forced fans to slump back into their seats. This from the same player who had five total three's in his previous five playoff games, ruining more than a handful of runs with momentum-deflating misses. There’s no other way to describe the last three weeks of Green’s postseason shooting but dreadful. He has only one job: Stand in the corner and shoot open 3s. He’s made a career of that. So what do the Raptors make of Green shooting 6-of-10 from deep Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time)? In the short term, it helped win Game 3. In the big picture, will this confidence carry over from one night to another, or does it depend on whether Green hits his first few? Nurse said: “Danny’s buckets boosted our whole team’s confidence because we were used to relying on those most of the year.” With better production from players who had been mostly missing, the Raptors had the balance needed to deliver their highest-scoring and most efficient (52 percent shooting) contest of the series. Green and Lowry joined Kawhi Leonard (30 points) and Pascal Siakam (18) and Marc Gasol (17) to take turns pummeling the Warriors from all different directions and manners. One reason for this was Thompson’s absence. Not only is he a proven outside shooter, but his defense is top-notch as well. You could even argue that Thompson’s missing defense was just as costly as his jumper. Yet the 109 points Golden State did manage were mainly because of Curry providing nearly half the offense. Given the circumstances of being without Thompson and Durant, and the constant pressing by Toronto whenever he had the ball, this was Curry’s finest post-season effort. His shooting was superb all across the floor, making three's (six) and free throws (13-14) and in general (14-31). “It’s the Finals,” Curry said. “You give everything you’ve got, sacrifice your body when you have the opportunity. Just competitiveness and trying to play until the buzzer.” “He does things that honestly I don’t think anyone has done before," Kerr added. "The way he plays the game, the way he shoots and the combination of his ball-handling, it’s incredible to watch.” If only he had someone riding shotgun. Cousins was sloppy on both ends, with three turnovers and one basket, and a step slow on defense against Gasol. This came one game after he seemingly regained his legs and confidence to gave Golden State a much-needed lift. Green’s continued recklessness was mystifying; he often made questionable decisions as a playmaker, suffered four turnovers and once again struggled to contain Siakam. The Warriors needed Green’s best, given their missing parts, and received something less. “We’ve got to be more solid with the ball and it starts with me,” he said. “I’ve had a bunch of turnovers in every game of this series. I think if I played better with the night (Curry) had, we would have won.” And so the Warriors, while talking bravely about their next-man-up mentality and embracing their “Strength in Numbers” slogan, must realize, deep down, that preventing the Raptors from winning two more games with a handicapped team might be difficult, if not impossible. Keep in mind that Golden State hasn’t sparkled for four quarters since the first game of the Western Conference finals. The last three games of that series, and the first three of the NBA Finals, the Warriors trailed by double digits. Thompson has an off day and Friday's (Saturday, PHL time) pregame period for therapy on his hamstring, although such strains are unpredictable and tricky. Will he be able to cut and fight through screens and be bouncy for 35-plus minutes through the intensity of an NBA Finals game, or will the injury restrict him and cause Kerr to seek a healthier, yet less productive replacement? “The whole point was to not risk a bigger injury that would keep him out the rest of the series,” said Kerr, explaining a decision made in consultation with the team doctors. “I feel very comfortable with it. I never would have forgiven myself if I played him and he had gotten hurt. So you live with the decision you made. The good thing is Klay has done well the last two days; hopefully he’ll be out there Friday.” Then there’s Durant, who last played May 8 (May 9, PHL time). After doing nothing but individual drills the last few days, he’ll go through a more normal practice session that will be simulated with the help of some assistant coaches and bench players. They'll see how Durant holds up. But that won’t match the stress level of a real game. And even if Durant gets clearance for Game 4, he hasn’t played in roughly a month. What about his timing? His wind? His touch? His ability to bring the same energy on defense? All legit questions and concerns for the Warriors -- until they’re not, whenever that is. “No one cares if guys are hurt,” Green said. “Everyone wants to see us lose anyway. So I’m sure people are happy they’re hurt.” Chances are that basketball fans, even if they’re against the Warriors, want to see stars on the floor this time of year. That’s what the NBA Finals is always about: Premium players doing premium things, or failing to do so, and letting the championship odds rise or fall on their performances. This year’s Finals have been denied one star for every game, and an additional star for one game. The battle with star attrition finally cost the Warriors a postseason loss, and at the worst possible time. The flow of the remainder of the NBA Finals, then, could rest with aching tendons and muscles and the recovery powers of those who own them. “We’re missing 50 points with KD and Klay, but we’ll adjust,” said a confident Curry. “It’s a long series, you know. It’s going to be fun for us.” The next Warriors medical update will arrive Thursday afternoon (Friday, PHL time). And another one Friday (Saturday, PHL time) just prior to tipoff. All along, the Warriors have led everyone to believe that it’s only a matter of time before they’re fully healthy. But will it be in time? And even then, will it be enough against a Toronto team suddenly thinking big? Shaun Powell has covered the NBA for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here, and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 6th, 2019

Cousins returns from injury, returns to form and delivers win

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com TORONTO — It was the moment the Warriors waited so long to see, and finally it arrived in the nick of time: The still-recovering former All-Star, out of the starting lineup for more than a minute, returning and dismissing the noise about how the team is better without him by impacting the game in multiple ways and pulling the Warriors to victory. And get this: If the Warriors are truly fortunate, Kevin Durant will recover soon and duplicate what DeMarcus Cousins just did. In the NBA Finals. If he does, it could serve a critical blow to Toronto’s chances of pulling off a late-series surprise. “We know what we’re dealing with here,” said Raptors guard Fred VanVleet. Cousins provided the help that the two-time defending champions needed Sunday (Monday, PHL time) to draw even in the series and snatch momentum with a 109-104 victory at Scotiabank Arena. He played more than anyone thought, rebounded more than anyone imagined, defended and scored more than Toronto bargained for, and gave the Warriors what they missed the last 6 1/2 weeks with him on the shelf. The 11 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and two blocked shots from Cousins didn’t fully encapsulate how much relief he brought to the Warriors. He had a galvanizing effect on a team that used an 18-0 run to start the second half to seize control of Game 3 and then used Andre Iguodala’s three-point shot to ice it. They haven’t been in one piece since April 15 (April 16, PHL time), in the first round against the Clippers, when Cousins chased a loose ball, stumbled and grabbed his left leg. The torn quad required no surgery but a lengthy rehab period, and this after Cousins went through a 10-month rehab for a torn Achilles' tendon in the spring of 2018. He was feeling beat up. Cousins attacked the process anyway, determined to return from an injury that normally would mean the end to his postseason, for the simple reason that he hadn’t been to the playoffs in his career to this point. There’s also a matter of free agency awaiting in July; a strong return could improve his bottom line. “Once they told me I have a chance, a slight chance, of being able to return, it basically was up to me and the work I put in,” he said. “So I put the work and the time in and with God’s grace I’m able to be out here and play the game I love.” Cousins was clearly out of rhythm from the layoff in Game 1, his timing rusty, his execution unsure. He played just eight minutes without scoring a basket or drawing much attention from Toronto. But Warriors coach Steve Kerr made the surprise decision to start Cousins three nights later, and that faith was repaid handsomely. Cousins was active, his confidence growing stronger by the minute -- 27 of them, actually, and he only asked to be subbed out once. “We came in thinking he can maybe play 20 minutes,” said Kerr. “He was fantastic and we needed everything he gave out there: his rebounding, his toughness, his physical presence, getting the ball in the paint, and just playing big, like he does. We needed all of that.” What the Warriors hoped was for Cousins to be the best big man on the floor. In Game 1, that honor went to Raptors center Marc Gasol, who uncharacteristically became a prime scoring option for the Raptors with 20 points, most on open jumpers. Cousins didn’t give him that amount of breathing space in Game 2, and Gasol (six points) was never a factor. Cousins' teammates offered rave reviews. Steph Curry: “Obviously you get more comfortable with more minutes and playing aggressive. He puts a lot of pressure on their defense. It’s a big lift for us. More to come.” Draymond Green: “The more he plays, the better feel he gets. He was great on both ends. It allowed us to play through him in the post. Toronto knows. They’ve got to honor that, and we know what he’s capable of doing if they don’t.” Cousins had an amusing reaction to learning he was in the starting lineup — “I was like, ‘Cool’” — and feels as though he has more to give. “When I step on the floor, I’m going to leave it out there,” he said. “I want to be on this stage. This is what I’ve worked for my entire career, to have this opportunity to play for something.” Cousins spent seven years in purgatory in Sacramento, where he racked up losses and technicals. It was a frustrating time for him; he had no faith in the franchise's leadership and it soured his attitude. His trade to the Pelicans two years ago was met with enthusiasm; he teamed with Anthony Davis to form an intimidating front line, but the Achilles’ injury cut short his time on the floor and, ultimately, in New Orleans. The team refused to offer him a contract last summer, leading him to join the Warriors at a discount. So his purpose is to salvage what’s left of the season, capture a ring for his troubles and see what it brings this summer. And then there’s the matter of Durant. The two-time Finals MVP hasn’t been cleared for full-contact practice, and the Warriors will hold only one prior to Game 3. Kerr said it’s “feasible” that Durant could play with only one practice under his belt, yet that’s not the ideal scenario. What Cousins does is buy them more time with Durant. With the series tied 1-1, and the next two games in Oakland, and Cousins apparently rounding into form, there’s a bit less urgency to see Durant on the floor. Yet it appears to be a matter of when, not if, Durant will see action in this series. And it might be at the perfect moment, with Klay Thompson suffering a hamstring injury in the fourth quarter that forced him off the court. The All-Star guard later told Kerr he’s fine and that the hamstring tightness is minor, but his status will be determined by MRI. Given what’s happened so far, the Warriors can never be too careful or take the rosy view when it comes to muscle issues. They’ve established a theme that tells the story of their 2019 postseason, and it’s not one they designed or even wanted, but it fits their existence nonetheless: “recovery” and their ability to do so on all front. It's not just injuries. Even in sweeping Portland, Golden State had to recover from deficits of 17, 18 and 17 points in the Western Conference Finals. Trailing 1-0 in these NBA Finals, they recovered from 12 down to win on the road for a 23rd straight series, an NBA record. What the Warriors reminded everyone at Scotiabank Arena, in case folks forgot, is that they’re champions and bring plenty of know-how to this series, and are fully capable of winning games by any means necessary. “It’s big respect for them,” said Kawhi Leonard. “They have been here each of the last four years, won the last two, and you’ve got to take the challenge. They’re a great team.” But the Warriors would rather put a fully-loaded and healthy squad -- one that is clearly the class of the NBA -- on the court and win with that. This NBA Finals might finally get the Warriors at full strength. If not, they still might be more than the Raptors can handle. Shaun Powell has covered the NBA for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here, and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 3rd, 2019

Stephen bests Seth in Curry brothers backyard basketball showdown

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com OAKLAND, Calif. — For a special moment, Game 2 of the Western Conference finals relocated from Oracle Arena to a backyard court with a hoop in suburban Charlotte, N.C., and every player save for two suddenly disappeared, and 19,595 witnesses were reduced by 19,593, with the remaining pair watching and pointing from the kitchen window. Yes, late-1990s nostalgia intervened in a tight contest between the Warriors and Trail Blazers. It was Curry vs. Curry all over again, an entertaining spectacle for their amused parents yet a tense one for their sons, Steph and Seth, fiercely trying to take down the other. [Watch the Playoffs on NBA League Pass for 30% less with this limited time offer! Select Annual package and use code SAVE30 at checkout to redeem] Even if you weren’t there at the Curry household for those brotherhood battles back in the day, couldn’t you just envision how they developed, much as it did on a dramatic Thursday, two decades later on the other side of the country? There was so much riding on those 1-on-1s then, such as a noogie for the loser, the last remaining cookie for the winner, and most certainly bragging rights, at least for the day. This time, the stakes were tame by comparison, just an ordinary game in mid-May that could dictate which brother eventually goes to the NBA Finals and which one sits next to Dell and Sonya in the stands and watches, nothing more or less. “Yeah, sure,” laughed Seth. “Something like that.” OK, perhaps this was huge after all. This was Steph with 37 points and eight assists rallying the Warriors back from 17 points down, only to get push-back from his brother, who played the best game of his NBA career. This was Seth, younger by three years, getting 16 points and four steals in the game -- all four out of Steph's pocket -- to give the Blazers an unexpected lift. The performance earned enough confidence from coach Terry Stotts that he played the entire fourth quarter. Seth was assigned to check Steph, and vice-versa, and it was a family issue played out before the basketball world. It was a thrilling one at that, because at one point you weren’t sure which Curry would get the best of the other. “This was like the coolest experience I think I’ve ever had playing against him,” said Steph. “Every minute he was out there defensively, he was a pest. Made big shots in the fourth quarter. He was amazing tonight.” Seth made all three of his shots in the fourth quarter, all of them on three-pointers, and a few in Steph’s mug. If he wasn’t the Blazers’ best option, at least he was an option, one that the Warriors -- and the other Curry -- had to respect. He helped the Blazers cling to an eight-point lead with four minutes and change left, until the expected happened and those early bragging rights were rudely snatched back. Playing once again without the comfort of Kevin Durant, Steph shot and willed his team to victory and a 2-0 lead in the series, drawing a foul beyond the arc and draining three free throws to put the Warriors up two. Seth had one last answer, a 29-footer that temporarily regained the lead before the Warriors wore down Portland and went home, 114-111, on Andre Iguodala's last-second strip of Damian Lillard. In all, it was a must-see contest … and the game wasn’t too bad, either. “I mean, they’re brothers,” said Lillard. “For me, having my own older brother, I know what it’s like to go against your brother and what it means. They both know there’s going to be conversations about this at some point when this series is over and they’re going to play like it.” Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, there wasn’t much chatter between them; Seth said they were too involved in the game for that. Well, maybe just a touch: “He tried to distract me at the free-throw line in the fourth quarter and I knew I had to go back at him to stay focused on what I needed to do,” admitted Steph. There was more of an urgency on Seth’s part to make this game and this drama happen. After his brother and Klay Thompson took turns dropping an avalanche of jumpers on the Blazers in Game 1, Portland needed a new strategy to defend the pick and roll. So they decided to trap constantly, and they needed agile players for that, which meant less time for Enes Kanter and more time for others, including Seth. Of course, there was another reason to play Seth for 29 minutes: Who else knows Steph Curry better than him? “I’ve seen every Warriors game and every Steph game for the past 10 years,” he said. “I feel like I know some things he likes to do, but it wasn’t enough.” That’s true. You can have all the scouting reports and, in this case, all the backyard hoop experience in the world. There’s only so much one can do against a two-time Kia MVP and widely-regarded Best Shooter Of All Time. Still: there were those four steals by Seth, two of them clean picks off Steph, who’s difficult to strip because of his crafty dribble. And those shots against him. Seth was a problem Thursday (Friday, PHL time), and an irritating one. “I felt like he was thinking where I was at times,” Seth said. I was just trying to make it tough on him. He’s going to do what he does, but if you make him work a little more, make it tough on him, that’s all you can ask.” Seth's had the harder road to this point. While Steph became a basketball icon, Seth kept bouncing between teams over five years, never securing the big contract, fighting to carve a spot in the rotation, and finally getting the chance to do just that. Just a few years ago, Seth played for the Warriors’ G-League team in Santa Cruz, in the shadow of his brother, wondering when he’d get his chance to make his own path. “I don’t take this for granted,” he said. “To get to this point and be a contributor, this is what I worked for all those years. I was confident I could be here, and now that I’m here, I will try to make the most of it. I always want the ball and try to be aggressive and tonight when I found the ball in my hands, I was locked in.” This will give Stotts and the Blazers something to ponder as the series moves to Portland, where they’ll try to keep from becoming another piece of Warriors playoff roadkill. Chances are good, then, that Seth’s spot in heavy rotation is safe. “Every time we played them this season, Seth has played great and I think it has something to do with playing his brother,” said Lillard. “This time I thought he guarded Steph well, and Steph is always on the move, out there running around, coming off screens and just looking to shoot the ball. That’s what he does.” Well, there’s one little detail that Lillard left out, one that Steph Curry was too happy to provide: “It worked out perfectly tonight: He played well and we won.” Shaun Powell has covered the NBA for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here, and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 17th, 2019

Harden, Durant both covet championship, mantle of best player

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com Houston -- Steve Kerr’s mind is made up. He’s seen enough. The debate is closed and conquered, the election over and the firm conclusion has been reached, at least from where he stands. Kevin Durant “is the best player in the world, the most skilled player in the world” according to Kerr, who may be biased, but he didn’t sound like it. Kerr said this not once, but four times in the last two weeks, just in case someone didn’t get the message. [Watch the Playoffs on NBA League Pass for 30% less with this limited time offer! Select Annual package and use code SAVE30 at checkout to redeem] It’s hard to see where the Warriors’ coach is going wrong. Durant is evidently on a mission to (a) win his third and perhaps final championship with the Warriors, and (1-a) become universally recognized as the singularly greatest force in the league, a distinction that means so much to him. To paraphrase Durant, y’all know who he is by now. Durant is sitting at the mythical 50-40-90 threshold in the playoffs, the benchmark for shooting accuracy and efficiency from the floor, three-point range and free-throw line. He’s averaging 35 points in the postseason, 39 in the last seven games. He has two near-masterpieces, the 50-point closeout of the Clippers in the first round and 46 on the Rockets in Game 3 of this series. He’s making contested jumpers from all over the floor and from all angles. There’s really no defense for him. But when this series is over, James Harden hopes to change the conversation. If he does, that means (a) the Rockets will pull off a stunning comeback from being down two games, and (b) Harden out-dueled Durant in the process. Is either possible? Well, Harden might be the only player qualified to do so, even with a left eye that still looks like the Japanese flag. He managed to minimize if not eliminate that poked eye by chopping down the Warriors and pulling the Rockets within 2-1 of the series. “I was just being aggressive,” he said. “I was in attack mode.” He’s attacking something else. Harden, too, wants exactly the same as his friend and former Oklahoma City teammate. A championship would be his first, so obviously that’s paramount. The mantle of “game’s greatest player” is also desired because Harden believes the last four years bear that out. In that span, he won the MVP award and finished runner-up twice, better than anyone. Of course, the missing prize is the championship, which is the final and most authentic validation, and this season at least he must go through Durant to achieve that. Harden’s postseason hasn’t been as stellar as Durant’s, although perhaps Game 3 marked a shift. Harden scored 41 points and sent the Warriors home on a step-back three-pointer in the final seconds of overtime. He and the Rockets are bringing a fresh sense of confidence and also have Game 4 in their house. Sending this series all square back to Oakland wouldn’t be beyond his or their abilities. “In `Harden World,’ that was good, but he can play better,” said Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni. “That’s James. That’s what he does.” There’s a growing sense among the Warriors, and with some justification, that Harden’s bloody eye is no longer an issue. Harden’s vision was pure when it counted two nights ago and every day brings him a step closer to normalcy, if he isn’t already there. “I think he’s good to go,” said D’Antoni. The other concern for Golden State: Harden’s beginning to figure out the rotations and the Warriors’ defensive scheme. They know Harden adapts quickly to defenders and their tendencies because, at this point, he’s seen it all. Harden is a tough cover because of his shooting range and unwillingness to lose confidence after a string of misses, and his craftiness off the dribble while attacking the rim. “He had 41 points and it was a good chess game,” said Andre Iguodala. “He made some really tough shots. Some shots, where you pat him on the butt, and you say ‘helluva shot’. I felt like it was a little bit of cat and mouse. A guy like that -- you can’t stop him one on one. The defense did a good job of helping off and stopping him. We just have to try to make it hard as possible for him.” The nightmare game for the Warriors is Harden hitting enough early baskets and forcing them to double, then finding teammates for open looks that they make, such as Eric Gordon. In that scenario, points would come in an avalanche and place stress on the defense and possibly get key players into foul trouble, most notably Draymond Green and a suddenly-foul-prone Steph Curry. There’s also an intriguing subplot in the works: The Harden-Durant can-you-top-this drama. With Curry and Chris Paul both performing below their standards in this series, the series seems fixated on Harden and Durant and  what they’re capable of doing to the other team and, by extension, against each other. There’s a genuine and hefty amount of respect between the two, who are friends away from the floor as well. Both left OKC and have since generated millions in endorsement money and find themselves near or at the top of the superstar pecking order. Durant has what Harden doesn’t, a championship. But perhaps Harden has what Durant craves, a team to call his own. That would be the only reason Durant leaves the Warriors in free agency this summer, because it’s difficult to imagine him signing with a team that offers a better chance to win championships or make more in salary than the one he’s already on. Durant earned more points with Harden a few days ago when he defended the Rockets guard, saying Harden doesn’t “cheat the rules” when he tries to draw fouls and manipulate the referees. Durant added: “He can do everything. If you’re not focused, he can drive past you, hit you with the shoulder because he’s strong, and finish with either hand. He can shoot floaters now. Obviously the step-back 3-pointer is one of his staples, but I never believed he was just a free throw guy. He can score in a variety of ways.” Harden must prove that in this series. Last season in the Western Conference finals, he turned to vapor as that series stretched seven games. He made just 24 percent from deep and, after Paul suffered a hamstring pull in Game Five, couldn’t handle the load. In the elimination game, he missed 11-of-13 from deep. Durant, meanwhile, was the star and weeks later would clinch another title and Finals MVP award, outplaying LeBron James in the process. So Kerr’s contention about Durant has much weight and credibility. Through three games of this second-round series, there’s been no reason to question the coach’s claim. Only one person can flip that perception and create doubt. James Harden, therefore, has a tough job ahead. Veteran NBA writer Shaun Powell has worked for newspapers and other publications for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here or follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 6th, 2019

Chile amateur goes from no big victories to Masters

DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf Writer   HONOLULU (AP) — Toto Gana hit what he described as the 'best shot I've hit in my whole life,' a wedge to 3 feet for a birdie to win the Latin America Amateur Championship and earn a trip to the Masters in April. His best shot produced his biggest trophy. Asked what his greatest achievement in golf was before his victory in Panama, the 19-year-old from Chile said: 'I didn't have any achievements, to be honest. I had won a couple of tournaments at home when I was really, really young.' The Latin America Amateur completed its third year, a stroke-play tournament created by Augusta National, the USGA and the Royal & Ancient to spur growth in that part of the world. It follows the successful launch of the Asia Pacific Amateur. The Asia Pacific Amateur is producing a higher pedigree of champions — Hideki Matsuyama won twice, and the winner last year was Curtis Luck, the reigning U.S. Amateur champion. The last two Latin America winners were surprises — Gana and 16-year-old Paul Chaplet of Costa Rica last year. The other winner was Matias Dominguez of Chile, who was a junior at Texas Tech. Gana said the only hard part about his victory was beating Joaquin Niemann of Chile, one of his best friends who won the Junior World in 2015 at Torrey Pines. 'I really never thought I could win this tournament because all the other players have won many other tournaments, very big tournaments,' Gana said in a conference call after his victory Sunday. 'What I did was keep a cool head. When I saw that I had a chance to win, I believed in myself that I could do. And I gave it my all.' Chile will have a player represented at Augusta National for the second time in three years. The only other Chilean player at the Masters was Enrique Orellana, who missed the cut in 1964. Gana has flair, and he showed how much passion he has for golf when explaining how he got started. 'When I was a little boy, 8 years old, my stepfather taught me to play golf on the practice range,' he said. 'When I shot a really nice shot, I never quit.' Gana will be enrolling at Lynn University in Florida. ___ BLOOMING START: Justin Rose played the Sony Open as part of the new 'strength of field' regulation on the PGA Tour that requires players who played fewer than 25 events last year to add a tournament they had not played in four years. Rose was so excited about this year that he might have started earlier if he would have been eligible. He failed to win a PGA Tour event for the first time since 2009. But in a year slowed by injury, Rose geared himself for golf's return to the Olympics and won the gold medal in Rio. That was worth an exemption into the four majors (Rose already is eligible for them), but the PGA Tour did not offer a spot in SBS Tournament of Champions. 'I didn't inquire,' Rose said about Kapalua. 'But in my mind, I was surprised that it didn't count in a way, just because, why wouldn't it? It's a one-off thing.' He thought maybe the tour would only give a spot to Kapalua if the gold medalist was already a PGA Tour member, much like it treated the HSBC Champions early on in its World Golf Championships history. Rose chuckled, however, when he realized his history in Hawaii. 'It's funny enough, I don't have the right to say I should have been at Kapalua,' he said. 'Because I've won six years in a row and I've only been once.' A birdie on the final hole at the Sony Open gave him second place alone, which was worth $648,000. ___ PLAYING TO HIS STRENGTH: Jason Dufner is the defending champion at the CareerBuilder Challenger, where he won last year for the first time since the 2013 PGA Championship at Oak Hill. What changed? Very little. He attributed the drought to a neck and shoulder injury that he suffered at the 2014 Masters. Dufner tried to play through it all year until he was forced to pull out of his title defense in the PGA Championship at Valhalla, which kept him off the Ryder Cup team. Playing with the injury led to bad habits with his swing, which led to bad shots, too many memories of bad shots and eventually shattered confidence. 'People don't realize, once you start playing, you have to redo everything,' Dufner said. 'You see it with a lot of guys coming back. It takes them 6, 8, 12 months. I spent 2015 trying to get back to where I was.' Where he wants to be is one of the top ball-strikers in the game. As for putting? He manages. Dufner has finished no higher than No. 143 in the key putting statistic over the last four years, and while he has to pay attention to his setup, it's not as though he's going to abandon what got him here (his swing) to pour everything into becoming Jordan Spieth. 'I've been putting bad for 17 years,' he said. 'It's tough to change. I can hit it good enough to make up for it. I'll wait for my weeks where I putt good and try to win.' ___ THE RACE TO MEXICO: Mackenzie Hughes won the RSM Classic, and his first thought was going to the Masters. Now that it's beginning to sink, the Canadian rookie has reason to consider other tournaments that were not on his schedule at the start of the season. First up is the World Golf Championship in Mexico. The top 10 in the FedEx Cup standings through the Honda Classic are eligible for the Mexico Championship, and there are only six tournaments between now and then. That's also true for Pat Perez, who tied for third at Kapalua and is No. 3 in the FedEx Cup. Rod Pampling is at No. 6. The other World Golf Championships event in March is based off the world ranking, so those three players have much more to do for them to get into the top 64. One player who might have secured his spot was Kevin Kisner, who shot 60 in the third round of the Sony Open and wound up in a tie for fourth. That took Kisner from No. 51 to No. 41, making it difficult to fall that far in two months. ___ DIVOTS: Justin Thomas moving to No. 8 in the world means that six of the top 10 players are under 30. ... The Golf Writers Association of America has voted former PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem for the William D. Richardson Award for outstanding contributions to golf. For the GWAA's award for press cooperation, it was a tie between Ben Crenshaw and Stewart Cink. They will be honored at the GWAA annual awards dinner on April 5 in Augusta. ... The three courses used for the CareerBuilder Challenge — PGA West Stadium Course, PGA West Nicklaus and La Quinta — ranked among the top 10 in easiest courses on the PGA Tour last year. ... The fourth Latin America Amateur Championship will be played at Prince of Wales Country Club next year in Santiago, Chile. ... The European Tour now has eight events in its Rolex Series with China-based HNA Group signing a five-year deal to be title sponsor of the French Open. That will raise the purse to $7 million in line with other Rolex Series events. ___ STAT OF THE WEEK: Justin Thomas hit 34 drives that went at least 330 yards during his two weeks in Hawaii — 20 on the Plantation Course at Kapalua, 14 at Waialae Country Club. ___ FINAL WORD: 'If there's no defense, then you ought to be able to make birdies. If there's wind, you ought to be struggling.' — Kevin Kisner. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 18th, 2017

Seahawks suffer yet another road divisional playoff loss

CHARLES ODUM, AP Sports Writer br /> ATLANTA (AP) — Another road divisional round playoff loss didn't shake Russell Wilson's confidence the Seahawks can win away from Seattle at this stage of the postseason. The list of road postseason losses is daunting, however. Seattle's 36-20 loss at Atlanta on Saturday marked the second straight year the Seahawks' season ended with a road divisional round playoff loss, following last year's loss at Carolina. The Seahawks had home-field advantage through the NFC playoffs while making two straight Super Bowl appearances in the 2013 and 2014 seasons. They lost road divisional playoff games in the 2012 and 2010 seasons, to Atlanta and Chicago, respectively. 'I don't think you have to be at home,' Wilson said. 'I think you just have to find a way to win.' Wilson said he was reminded of the loss five years ago in Atlanta when he was a rookie. He said all the success he and the Seahawks have experienced since that loss is a good reason to remain confident — even in road playoff games. 'I think back to 2012, I was young and I was a rookie and I was being put in a position to play and a lot of people told me I couldn't do it,' Wilson said. 'Now for me I think about how far I've come, winning a Super Bowl, winning multiple playoff games, winning as many games as we have. Why would I doubt anything else when I think about what's ahead?' The Seahawks might have pulled off Saturday's road win over the Falcons if not for two key plays. Seattle appeared to be in excellent position to extend a 10-7 lead when Devin Hester returned a punt 80 yards to the Atlanta 7. Instead, a costly holding call against Kevin Pierre-Louis pushed the Seahawks all the way back to the Seattle 7. Cheap flag? Nope. Pierre-Louis conceded 'I was holding' on Atlanta's LaRoy Reynolds. 'I grabbed him a little bit so he wouldn't get down to Hester,' Pierre-Louis said. 'But the referee was able to see it. It cost us.' Two plays later, Wilson was tripped by backup right guard Rees Odhiambo and fell in the end zone for a safety. Hester, who played for the Falcons in 2014-15, said the play 'kind of put a dent in the momentum.' If so, it was a huge dent. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll called the penalty 'a huge turnaround. Just as obvious as you can get, a 70-something yard penalty was just ridiculously large play in the game.' Carroll said the safety 'wasn't the worst thing that happened.' The Falcons seized momentum, however, and scored 10 points on their next two drives to lead 19-10 at halftime. Wilson said the punt return wasn't the only game-changing play. His 58-yard completion to Paul Richardson to the Atlanta 22 with less than 3 minutes remaining was ruled no catch on a review. 'We believe if we had hit that, we score on the next play and the game is real close,' Wilson said. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 15th, 2017