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Nurmagomedov can be greatest of all time, says UFC’s White

UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov can take a step closer to becoming the greatest of all time (GOAT) in his class if he beats Justin Gaethje at UFC 254, the mixed martial arts promotion’s chief Dana White has said. Russian Nurmagomedov will put his belt and a 28-0 win-loss record on the line on Saturday […] The post Nurmagomedov can be greatest of all time, says UFC’s White appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource: inquirer inquirerOct 24th, 2020

What next for Trump? Golf, Twitter and maybe another run?

When networks projected he had lost his bid for reelection to Joe Biden, President Donald Trump was playing golf. He’ll soon have plenty more time to enjoy the links if he so desires.  US President Donald Trump (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP/ MANILA BULLETIN) But if there’s one constant for Trump, it is his love of the limelight and few expect this most unusual of presidents to pursue a traditional post-White House life of public reticence, reflective memoir-writing and occasional charitable events. He will lose the keys to the White House but not his login on Twitter, where Trump and his itchy fingers could still wield powerful control over his Republican Party. Some allies have already spoken of Trump planning a rematch in 2024. Only one other president, Grover Cleveland, has served non-consecutive terms, winning in 1892 after narrowly losing reelection four years earlier. Former White House chief of staff Mark Mulvaney said with understatement that Trump — who has refused to concede and made unsubstantiated claims of widespread fraud — “doesn’t like losing.” “I would absolutely expect the president to stay involved in politics and would absolutely put him on the shortlist of people who are likely to run in 2024,” he told an Irish think tank. “He’s a very high-energy 74-year-old.” Trump’s children have made clear that they are still demanding loyalty from Republicans. “The total lack of action from virtually all of the ‘2024 GOP hopefuls’ is pretty amazing,” Donald Trump Jr. tweeted on Thursday. He called out by name Senator Lindsey Graham, a former Trump critic turned supporter who coasted to reelection. Hours afterward, Graham was on Trump’s favorite Fox News show pledging money for the president’s legal defense and repeating unsubstantiated accusations of election irregularities. – Trump TV? – The thrice-married New York-born hotel developer and television celebrity has made no secret that he longs for some comforts of his pre-White House days. “I had a nice life. I had the greatest life,” Trump said in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in his final campaign rally. His main product to fund that lifestyle has been his own name. According to his disgraced former lawyer Michael Cohen, the 2016 presidential run itself was conceived as a “branding opportunity” — until he unexpectedly won. Trump had rebuilt his public profile in the 2000s as the host of reality TV series “Celebrity Apprentice” following a string of bankruptcies. The president has hinted about seeking to start a “Trump TV” brand as he has increasingly complained about Fox News, accusing the channel that helped fuel his rise of being insufficiently right-wing. Viewers, he tweeted, “want an alternative now. So do I!” And no one can deny Trump has the gift of the gab.  At his innumerable rallies, he held large crowds in a kind of mesmerized attention with stream-of-consciousness shifts from conspiracy theories to jokes to pet peeves, like his peculiarly passionate criticism of feeble water pressure in bathroom faucets. And he has a potential readymade vehicle for the project in the form of openly Trump-supporting cable channels One America News and NewsMax TV — current minnows that a Trump takeover could turn into giants. – Prison, or a road trip? – No less plausible is a scenario where Trump is embroiled in serious legal problems. Prosecutors in New York are already probing Trump’s hush money payment to a porn star, his tangled business dealings and mysterious accounting practices. Then there are those old rape and other sexual assault allegations. As president, Trump is largely protected from prosecution. Some have speculated that he may again challenge accepted norms by trying to issue a pre-emptive pardon to himself. Eight Trump associates, including men who served as his campaign managers, lawyer and national security advisor, have already been indicted or imprisoned for serious crimes including over the 2016 campaign’s links to Russia. Or, just maybe, Trump will want to get away from it all. However implausible this sounds, he has dropped a few hints. In June at the White House he mused about taking a road trip in an RV with his former model wife Melania. Less romantic but equally heartfelt, he paused mid-speech during a campaign rally in Pennsylvania to admire parked trucks. “Nice trucks,” the president said. “You think I could hop into one of them and drive it away? I’d love to do it, just drive the hell out of here. Just get the hell out of this.”.....»»

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

Biden knocks Trump as rivals barnstorm heartland in election finale

Joe Biden intensified his attacks Friday on President Donald Trump as they battled over the American Midwest, chasing every last vote with four days to go in a region that propelled the Republican to victory in 2016. RUS President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Rochester International Airport October 30, 2020 in Rochester, Minnesota. With Election Day only four days away, Trump is campaigning in Minnesota despite the recent surge in coronavirus cases in the state. In accordance with state orders, only 250 people will be able to attend the rally with Trump while thousands of others will gather outside the airport to watch on a large television screen. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/AFP) Trump and Biden barnstormed three heartland states each — with a resurgent coronavirus passing the milestone of nine million cases as they hit the stump — highlighting their differences in a race overshadowed by the pandemic. Trump, heralded a “big day” of campaigning as he left the White House, then held a rally in Michigan before heading to Wisconsin and Minnesota, all states battling climbing numbers of virus cases. “We just want normal,” Trump told supporters — many of them unmasked — at an outdoor rally near Detroit as he pushed states to relax public health restrictions and resume daily life. He again bucked his own administration’s health experts as he downplayed the Covid-19 threat, saying “if you get it, you’re going to get better, and then you’re going to be immune.” Covid-19 has killed nearly 230,000 people in the US, which is experiencing surges in most states as the winter flu season looms. The outbreak has ravaged the economy, and while there have been signs of recovery, millions remain jobless. Biden was also stumping in Wisconsin and in Minnesota, where he sharpened his attacks on the president on everything from Trump seeking to dismantle Obama-era health care protections and keep his taxes secret to climate change and trade policy with China. “We can not afford four more years of Donald Trump,” the 77-year-old Democrat said at a socially distanced drive-in rally in St. Paul, Minnesota. “So honk your horn if you want America to lead again!” he said, embracing the awkward pandemic-era campaign trend of rallying supporters in their vehicles. “Honk your horn if you want to have civility again, and honk your horn if you want America to be united again!” Earlier in Iowa he attacker Trump over his handling of the pandemic. “Donald Trump has given up (and) waved the white flag,” Biden told a drive-in rally with more than 300 cars in Des Moines. – ‘Less divided’ – Trump flipped Iowa, Michigan and Wisconsin from the Democrats to clinch his shock victory four years ago.  Now polls show Biden leading in all three, albeit narrowly in Iowa. It was Biden’s first visit to Iowa since his inauspicious campaign start in February, when he placed a dismal fourth in the opening Democratic nominating contest. So can Biden win over enough voters to prevail in the Hawkeye State? “I wouldn’t put money on it,” Iowa attorney Sara Riley, 61, said at Biden’s event, although she was more confident about him clinching the White House. “I think Americans, even Trump supporters, want to get to a place where the country is less divided,” Riley said. With voters concerned about the health hazards of crowded polling stations on November 3, a record 86 million have already cast early ballots by mail or in person. Even as the US hit a grim new high in daily Covid-19 infections Thursday, Trump has stuck to his guns, downplaying the dangers and branding Democrats as rampaging “socialists” intent on shuttering the country. And while Trump has touted the economic successes of his presidency, including positive GDP figures Thursday, US stocks closed out their worst week since March, highlighting concerns about a shaky recovery. – ‘Turn Texas blue?’ – After a campaign largely muted by the pandemic, Biden is on the offensive, pushing Trump onto the back foot in unexpected battlegrounds like Texas, a large, traditionally conservative bastion now rated a toss-up by multiple analysts. On Friday the state reported that a staggering nine million residents had already voted, surpassing its entire 2016 total. Biden’s running mate Kamala Harris visited Texas Friday in a bid to turn the state Democratic for the first time since president Jimmy Carter in 1976. “We have a chance to turn Texas blue,” the 96-year-old Carter said in a fundraising email. Biden winning there would be a dagger to Trump, but the president dismissed the notion, saying: “Texas, we’re doing very well.” Trump and Biden are focusing their greatest efforts on traditional battlegrounds that will decide the election — such as Florida, where both campaigned on Thursday. On Saturday Biden returns to the Midwest bringing with him perhaps his strongest surrogate: ex-president Barack Obama, making his first joint in-person campaign appearance of the year with his former VP. Motown music legend Stevie Wonder will join them, the Biden campaign said. Trump will spend the day campaigning in the critical state of Pennsylvania, where he narrowly trails Biden in polls. Biden will follow suit there both Sunday and Monday in a clear sign that his campaign sees the Keystone State as absolutely crucial to his victory......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsOct 31st, 2020

For Mike Nieto, all roads lead to leading

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 27th, 2020

Miocic retains heavyweight crown with decision over Cormier

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Stipe Miocic defeated Daniel Cormier by unanimous decision in a five-round bout Saturday night to win the rubber match in a fantastic trilogy between the fighters and retain his heavyweight championship at UFC 252. Miocic (20-3) swept the scorecards 49-46, 49-46 and 48-47 to stake his claim as perhaps the greatest heavyweight in UFC history. “I'm happy to cement my legacy,” Miocic said. Miocic tagged Cormier with a vicious poke to his left eye late in the third round that sent the challenger staggering to his corner. Cormier's eye was about swollen shut, but he gamely fought on the final two rounds in the main event of UFC 252 at the UFC APEX complex in Las Vegas “I can't see anything out of my left eye,” Cormier said. “It's black.” Miocic said he apologized to Cormier for the poke. “I totally poked him in the eye, my bad," Miocic said. Cormier was taken to the hospital after the bout. There was no immediate word about his condition. The 41-year-old Cormier (22-3, 1 NC) is a former two-division champion and has already cemented his status as one of the greatest pound-for-pound fighters in UFC history. The amiable Cormier, who has found his niche as a successful broadcaster, had vowed to retire after Saturday and end a career in which 10 of his last 11 fights were fought with a championship on the line. Cormier said he stood by his decision to retire. He won the first fight between the two but dropped two straight to Miocic. “I’m not interested in fighting for anything but titles and I don’t imagine there’s going to be a title in the future,” Cormier said. “That will be it for me. I’ve had a long run, it’s been great, I just fought my last fight for a heavyweight championship and it was a pretty good fight.” UFC President Dana White had said Francis Ngannou was next in line for a heavyweight title shot. “Great performance to both guys. ... Congrats to Stipe on the performance. See you soon,” Ngannou tweeted. Jon Jones, the reigning UFC light heavyweight champion, tried to stir the pot on social media by teasing a challenge to Miocic. “Heavyweight world championships I will be seeing you real soon. Victorious,” Jones tweeted. Miocic nearly got the finish at the end of the second round and had Cormier in trouble until time ran out. “One hundred percent I would have finished him,” Miocic said. Cormier knocked out Miocic at UFC 226 in the first round in their 2018 bout to win the heavyweight belt. Miocic defeated Cormier last August in the rematch at UFC 241. The winner of this bout could make an argument as the greatest heavyweight champion in UFC history. Miocic has plenty left in the tank to keep cementing his legacy as the best big man UFC has seen inside the cage. “Great heavyweight fight!! #UFC252 #TeamStipe,” Lakers star LeBron James tweeted. Cormier finished with a 1-2 mark against Miocic and a losing mark against Jones. Cormier lost both fights to Jones, though the second one was overturned when Jones failed a doping test. The result was changed to a no contest. Miocic, who continues to work shifts for the Valley View (Ohio) Fire Department, has won eight of his last night fights. “I don't get any special treatment,” Miocic said. “I'm just one of the dudes.” The only thing missing was the crowd. UFC hasn't missed a beat during the pandemic and continued to run some of its most successful shows over the last few years. But no doubt a packed and crazed crowd would have added another dimension to the epic trilogy. White said UFC will return to Fight Island in Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island. “I don't see fans happening any time soon,” White said. “I'm not even thinking about it.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 16th, 2020

DID YOU KNOW? Ben Mbala wanted to go to Ateneo

Ben Mbala spent three years of his life undergoing residency for De La Salle University. Once he was eligible, however, he left no doubt that he was worth the wait, teaming up with Jeron Teng to lead the Green Archers to a dominant 16-1 title run in UAAP 79. At the same time, the 6-foot-8 center was the league's undisputed top individual player - posting per game counts of 20.6 points in 54 percent shooting, 16.2 rebounds, 2.4 blocks, 1.4 steals, and 1.2 assists. He wound up more than 20 statistical points ahead of his closest competitor. A year later, he won his second straight MVP and carried the Taft-based team to just a win shy of back-to-back championships. For sure, Mbala is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, La Salle Green Archers. Way back when, though, if only he had his way, he wouldn't even have been clad in green and white. "Ateneo was my first choice. I am going to be honest," he said, with a laugh, in the inaugural episode of The Prospects Pod last Friday. Yes, La Salle wasn't "Big Ben's" first choice - and even worse for their faithful, he wanted to go with the enemy. Asked why that was so, he answered, "A lot of their bigs were graduating and I was looking for a team where I can have a lot of stability and get playing time." He then continued, "Going to La Salle, they had [Arnold] Van Opstal, Norbert Torres, Yutien Andrada, [Jason] Perkins. I gotta go over them and compete to have playing time so I was like, I'm gonna go to Ateneo." By that point, all of Greg Slaughter, Poy Erram, and Justin Chua were no longer in blue and white. Already a two-way force in Southwestern University, Mbala opened eyes of the big leagues and the big programs in Metro Manila and just about everybody had interest in him. Ultimately, it came down to two choices - the Green Archers and the Blue Eagles. Apparently, he even got to visit an Ateneo practice. "I remember seeing you in one of our practices, actually," then-King Eagle Kiefer Ravena recalled. "After 5 to 10 minutes in the office across that library, I went to the gym. They told me to dunk and I didn't stretch yet so I just made a two-handed dunk and they were like, 'Woah. Yeah,'" the Cameroonian replied. Imagine a team with Ravena and Mbala. Just imagine that. History had other plans, however, and the now 25-year-old wound up with the Green Archers. "Coach Yayoy, one day, he called me to go to La Salle and I was like, 'What do you mean? I want to go to Ateneo,'" he shared, talking about SWU head coach Yayoy Alcoseba. "But he was like, 'You go to La Salle. It's going to be better for you because I know people there." Fast forward to now and, of course, Mbala has no regrets - the Animo spirit lives in him through and through. As he put it, "At the end of the day, I feel like going over there and competing with all those bigs made me improve. When you et there, you can't just lay down and say I'm going to wait for my turn." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 6th, 2020

Kai Sotto s greatest performances in the UAAP Jrs.

When he was just 15-years-old, Kai Sotto recorded the first triple-double in the high school ranks since 2003. Not only that, he did it on the biggest stage and under the brightest lights he had been on at that point. With 22 points, 16 rebounds, and 11 blocks, the 7-foot-2 tantalizing talent lifted Ateneo de Manila High School to an 86-70 Game 1 triumph over Nazareth School of National University in the UAAP 80 Juniors Basketball Finals. N????PE! WATCH! Every single block from Kai Sotto's triple-double performance vs NU! (22P 16R 11B) #UAAPSeason80Jrs pic.twitter.com/VZwusEMV42 — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) February 23, 2018 The Blue Eaglets needed each and every one of those as, early on, they found themselves down, 0-8, and then, 17-30. Come the third quarter, however, Sotto stood strong and got together with SJ Belangel, Jason Credo, and Dave Ildefonso for a white-hot 33-5 blast that erased the double-digit deficit and erected a 50-35 advantage for the blue and white. They wouldn't look back from there to move one win away from the championship. That power performance proved, once and for all, that the son of PBA veteran Ervin Sotto was the real deal. And look where he is now, about to see action in the G League and only one step away from the NBA. Right after that game, Ateneo was nothing but proud of its towering teen who answered the call of his head coach. "Actually, he (has been) playing subpar. Maybe, it's because he's not in shape, pero me and Kai, we have a personal relationship," then-mentor Joe Silva said. He then continued, “I text him, he texts me and he texted me, ‘Coach, abangan niyo. Eto na, makikita niyo yung totoong Kai Sotto.’ True enough, he proved to be a man of his word.” Apparently, in the eyes of the Blue Eaglets, Sotto's per game counts of 12.9 points in 57.4 percent shooting, 11.5 rebounds, and 3.9 blocks before the Finals left much room for improvement. And in Game 1, he indeed answered the call en route to a championship and a Finals MVP. At 15-years-old, he had already been making history - so it's no surprise he's only continuing to do so now until the foreseeable future. Here are Kai Sotto's other power performances from his time as an Ateneo Blue Eaglet: Career-high 36 points, 11 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 3 assists as Ateneo def. the University of the Philippines Integrated School, 77-60, in the UAAP 81 first round 27 points, 22 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 blocks as Ateneo def. Far Eastern University-Diliman, 77-61, in the UAAP 81 second round 26 points, 20 rebounds, and 3 blocks as Ateneo def. De La Salle Zobel, 88-59, in the UAAP 81 second round 26 points, 25 rebounds, and 4 blocks as Ateneo bowed to National U, 53-64, in the UAAP 81 Finals Game 2 --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 18th, 2020

Gian Mamuyac vows to continue channeling his inner Gabe Norwood

Gian Mamuyac is a determined defender. That's why he had a highlight at the expense of three-time champion and two-time MVP Stephen Curry: OMG! Batang Gilas & former Blue Eaglet Gian Mamuyac @mamuinthesea just blocked @StephenCurry30 game winning three! pic.twitter.com/t9YQQtywfE — TJ Manotoc (@tjmanotoc) Setyembre 6, 2016 As well as back-to-back MVP and one-time champion Ben Mbala: Ben Mbala will not be denied. #UAAPSeason80Finals pic.twitter.com/8zPdZfuwWN — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) Disyembre 3, 2017 Coupling his long limbs with quick feet and sprinkling in a whole of energy and effort, the Ateneo de Manila University swingman looks like he has a lot of Gabe Norwood in him. As it turns out, that was all by design. "I've always been a fan of underrated guys. When I watched Gabe play, nakita ko talaga agad na he's my type of player," Mamuyac himself told Norwood himself in an online learning session a week ago. Of course, Gian Mamuyac DID pattern his play after Gabe Norwood. pic.twitter.com/Rk2F1wK4K8 — Normie Riego (@riegogogo) May 1, 2020 He then continued, "He's not the scorer, he's not the best ball-handler, but he does it all for his team. Kaya I tried to make my game na katulad talaga ng game ni Gabe." Mamuyac, alongside Far Eastern University's Ken Tuffin, San Beda University's Calvin Oftana, and the University of the Philippines' James Spencer got to converse with the Gilas Pilipinas skipper through a Zoom meeting initiated by GOAT Academy. The fledgling program has organized several online learning sessions that aim to connect pros with collegiate stars and let the former enrich the minds of the latter. Now, along with defense, the Blue Eagles' Swiss Army knife would have to take after Norwood's leadership as well. The blue and white would be heading into their title defense in UAAP 83 now without all of Nieto twins Mike and Matt, Isaac Go, Thirdy Ravena, and Adrian Wong. Even before they left, however, captain Mike already entrusted the reins of leadership to Mamuyac. "Actually, matagal ko na siyang kinausap tungkol dyan. Sabi ko sa kanya na kayang-kaya niya yun kasi parte rin ng 'next man up' namin yun," he said. Fortunately for him, he just got much-welcome advice from somebody who knows a thing or two about stepping up as captain. "You definitely have to take it upon yourself to be more vocal. For me, being the captain after Jimmy Alapag, probably the greatest leader I've come across in any level of basketball, that was tough," Norwood advised. He then continued, "You can't try to be like the leaders ahead of you. You learn from them, but you don't wanna be them because that's not necessarily what the team needs. The biggest thing is trying to be yourself." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 1st, 2020

Greatest Performance: Marck Espejo’s 55-point game

Playing in a sport where posting records is hard to do, Marck Espejo proved that he is a cut above the rest. In his last year in the UAAP, Espejo led then-defending champion Ateneo de Manila University in an amazing Final Four victory, defying the odds stacked against the Blue Eagles. The five-time Most Valuable Player not only carried Ateneo on his shoulders for another trip to the Finals, but Espejo also registered a league scoring record in an incredible display of his offensive prowess, determination and heart.      Espejo did that two years ago in the UAAP Season 80 semifinals against twice-to-beat Far Eastern University on a balmy Saturday morning. Fans inside the Mall of Asia Arena were all up on their feet in the closing stretch of the fifth set. The raucous crowd were about to witness history unfold before their eyes.  Playing in his final year for the blue and white, Espejo knew that their three-year reign was hanging in the balance. The Blue Eagles survived the nip-and-tuck fourth set to force a decider after going down, 1-2, in the match against the confident Tamaraws. Espejo already had 44 points. In the first four sets the open spiker fired missile after missile to frustrate FEU, which was already committing three blockers on Espejo to no avail. He just kept coming. He was unstoppable. One more final push and Ateneo will get a chance to live to fight another day.   Espejo assumed the Herculean task of providing the much-needed firepower in the deciding frame. He was running on pure adrenaline. Espejo stepped up big time in the deciding frame when he scored 11 of Ateneo’s points. The King Eagle, who held the Blue Eagles together in the fourth frame, wreaked havoc in the fifth set and gave Ateneo an 8-5 lead. FEU closed the gap 8-9 before the Blue Eagles extended their advantage to 11-8 off an off the block kill by Espejo. The Ateneo star finished off FEU with a thunderous spike to cap the Blue Eagles' closing 4-1 assault with the last four points all coming from Espejo.  “’Yung points naman po, hindi ko siya iniisip. Basta iniisip ko lang, ‘pag binigay sa akin 'yung bola, kailangan ko pumuntos, kasi para sa team ko naman 'yun eh,” said the soft-spoken Espejo, whose monster production in the series opener came from 47 attacks, six kill blocks and two aces. The King Eagle pushed Ateneo at match point with a kill block before Espejo put the icing on the cake with a powerful smash that shattered the two-man block of FEU. That was the last of Espejo’s league-record 55 points – the highlight of the Blue Eagles’ 18-25, 25-13, 24-26, 25-23, 15-9 win. WATCH:  “Nagulat nga ako, sabi ko, typographical error ba ito?” said a surprised Ateneo coach Oliver Almadro, who was on his last year with the Blue Eagles before taking over the Lady Eagles the following season The mentor, who in Season 81 steered Ateneo back to the women’s division throne, admitted that no one on his bench knew that Espejo was already putting up record numbers. He just instructed his setter Ish Polvorosa to toss the ball to Espejo for a high percentage attack. “Hindi namin alam. Hindi nga namin alam eh,” said Almadro. “Minsan nga, naano pa ako kay Ish (Polvorosa) - 'Ish, bigay mo na kay Marck, bigay mo na kay Marck.' 'Yun pala, he is making these points na.” Espejo again wreaked havoc in the winner-take-all match, scoring 37 points as the Blue Eagles booted out FEU for a fifth straight championship dance with archrival National University.         However, Ateneo’s dynasty crumbled at the hands of the Bryan Bagunas-led Bulldogs.    It was a painful defeat to close Espejo’s collegiate career. But didn’t diminish the sparkle of Espejo’s performance in his swan song especially is record feat, which might stand as the league’s scoring benchmark for years.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 1st, 2020

In appreciation: Kobe Bryant, a life defined by hard work

By TIM REYNOLDS AP Basketball Writer It was April 14, 2016. It was the first full day of Kobe Bryant’s new chapter as a retired NBA player. All he had done the night before was score a mind-boggling 60 points in his farewell game, not getting out of Staples Center until around midnight. His staff at Kobe, Inc. were certain they would beat their boss to the office that morning. They were wrong. He beat everyone there by two hours. “We have a lot of work to do,” Bryant told them. Even in retirement, Bryant found no substitute for hard work. Kobe Bean Bryant was many things: one of the greatest players in basketball history, a five-time NBA champion, Olympic gold medalist, a fluent speaker of multiple languages, a resident of the world, an Oscar winner, the self-described Black Mamba that started as a nickname and became his brand, someone so good he had two numbers retired by the Los Angeles Lakers. And he never stopped. Basketball was his obsession for 20 years in the NBA. Storytelling was the obsession for the rest of his life. Tears, as would be expected once the news broke of Bryant’s death in a helicopter crash in Southern California on Sunday, flowed freely in the NBA world. LeBron James was inconsolable when he got the news, a day after passing Bryant for No. 3 on the all-time scoring list. Doc Rivers struggled when he tried to put feelings into words. Even from the normally beyond-stoic Kawhi Leonard had his eyes well up when he was talking about Bryant. But the pain was obvious elsewhere: Oregon women’s basketball star Sabrina Ionescu didn’t hide her anguish when she said she was dedicating the rest of her season to Bryant’s memory, soccer’s Neymar held up a “24” with his fingers after scoring a goal for Paris Saint-Germain, and marquees at the Super Bowl in Miami were lit up in the Lakers’ colors of purple and gold as a tribute. The elite ones, the ones like James and Leonard and Ionescu and Neymar, were all like Bryant. Driven. Obsessed with their craft. Those are the sort of people Bryant enjoyed most. He didn’t have much patience for anything else. Teammates were never immune from his criticism; not even Shaquille O’Neal, a fellow all-time NBA great, could avoid clashes with Bryant. O’Neal was half-a-foot taller and probably an easy 100 pounds heavier than Bryant. Didn’t matter. Bryant wanted to fight one day in practice, so they fought. His toughness was legendary; Bryant blew out his Achilles on a play in 2013 where he’d been fouled and made the two free throws knowing that his season would be over a few seconds later. It was against Golden State; the Lakers trailed at the time, and Bryant — who hyperextended a knee in that same game and played through it because the game was so important in the playoff race — swished both shots. “We were down two. Had to tie the game first,” Bryant said years later, when asked why he stayed in the game. His commitment was legendary; there was a game in 2011 in Miami where the Lakers lost by six, and Bryant was so displeased with how he played that he went back onto the court for 90 minutes of uninterrupted shooting that went on until after midnight. His teammates were on Miami Beach for dinner. Bryant was working instead. “It’s my job,” Bryant said. His swagger was legendary; during the FIBA Americas tournament in 2007, Bryant was less-than-impressed with how Brazil thought it had a chance to beat Team USA. So, he tasked himself with guarding Leandro Barbosa, who until that point had been the leading scorer in the tournament. With Bryant blanketing him — making it difficult for him to even dribble at times — Barbosa made one shot all night. The Americans won by 37. “Looking at a great white shark is one thing,” Bryant told teammates, “but jumping into the pool with one is another thing.” He played in Los Angeles, but he was a star everywhere. Everywhere. At the Basketball World Cup in China this past summer, Bryant was on the court for a game during the medal round. He said a few words in Mandarin and the fans in Beijing screamed in more delight than they had for the guy who had taken the floor just before Bryant, a fellow by name of Yao Ming. He was as driven in his storytelling life as he was in his playing days. Kobe, Inc. wasn’t just a cool name. It was his world. He wanted to inspire kids through books that combined the worlds of sports and fantasy. He was toying with the idea of taking his stories to Broadway. He won an Oscar for “Dear Basketball,” a short animated film in 2018 that had been converted from a poem that he penned when he decided it was time to retire from playing the game. He had a podcast for kids and families, not with him blathering on about whatever he wanted to talk about but with characters talking about how to be a good teammate. He had a franchise of shows called Detail, where he broke down the nuances of basketball and had other huge names from other sports do the same thing. He wasn’t kidding around when talking to his staff on April 14, 2016. Kobe Bryant still had a lot of work to do. He was just getting started. And now he’s gone. The tributes will continue, though eventually fade away. The legacy will be forever. ___ Tim Reynolds is a national basketball writer for The Associated Press. Write to him at treynolds(at)ap.org  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 27th, 2020

UAAP 82 Finals: Ateneo finishes off UST, finishes job on perfect season

Ateneo de Manila University has tied a ribbon on top of the greatest season any team has had in the UAAP Men's Basketball Tournament. Firing on all cylinders yet again, the Blue Eagles put the finishing touches on a perfect season by dominating University of Sto. Tomas anew, 86-79, in Game 2 of the Season 82 Finals, Wednesday at MOA Arena. Thirdy Ravena's Finals MVP form was still engaged and totaled 17 points, seven rebounds, and five assists. Just like they have all season long, though, the defending champions just overwhelmed their opponents with their depth. Of course, the Growling Tigers didn't make it any easy as Dave Ando and CJ Cansino even pulled them within one, 66-67, inside the last eight minutes. SJ Belangel and Ravena had the quick counter, however, conniving for an 8-2 run that re-increased their lead to 75-68. Again, UST kept coming and crept to within four, 71-75, with under five minutes left only to see the Finals MVP and Ange Kouame conspire for nine unanswered points and an 84-71 advantage. Kouame wound up with seven points and eight rebounds while SJ Belangel also added 15 big markers off the bench. Playing in their last game for the blue and white, Matt Nieto collected 14 points, six rebounds, and five assists and twin Mike had three markers, five boards, and two dimes of his own. Fellow graduating players Isaac Go and Adrian Wong also contributed a combined 11 points for Ateneo which just had all the answers for its 16th win in 16 games through the tournament. This is the first time that any team has had a 16-0 standing as all previous season sweeps in men's basketball wound up with 14-0 records. At the same time, the Blue Eagles' perfect season has led to yet another three-peat for the league's most successful squad of the last decade. For the Growling Tigers, Rhenz Abando fronted the effort with 16 points while Season MVP Soulemane Chabi Yo posted an 11-marker, 19-rebound double-double. Renzo Subido and Zach Huang, meanwhile, leave Espana with eight and seven points, respectively. BOX SCORES ATENEO 86 - Ravena 17, Belangel 14, Ma. Nieto 14, Kouame 7, Navarro 7, Go 6, Maagdenberg 6, Wong 5, Daves 4, Mi. Nieto 3, Mamuyac 2, Andrade 0. UST 79 - Abando 16, Nonoy 14, Chabi Yo 11, Concepcion 8, Subido 8, Huang 7, Ando 6, Paraiso 5, Cansino 4, Bataller 0, Pangilinan 0. QUARTER SCORES: 31-18, 42-32, 67-62, 86-79. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 20th, 2019

Rookie Survey: Zion Williamson, Ja Morant early favorites to shine in 2019-20

By John Schuhmann, NBA.com Last season was the first time in 34 years (since 1984-85) that the top five picks of the previous Draft went on to be the five players who comprised the All-Rookie First Team. One year later, the teams that had those top five picks should feel pretty good about their decisions. Time will tell about the five teams that had the top five picks in this year's Draft. But it's clear that fellow rookies approve of the guys selected in the top two. In this year's NBA.com Rookie Survey, 62 percent of responders picked the New Orleans Pelicans' Zion Williamson or the Memphis Grizzlies' Ja Morant to win the Kia Rookie of the Year award. Williamson made Rookie Survey history with how many votes he got in the "Most athletic" question, while Morant was a clear favorite for "Best playmaker." The two top picks received the most total votes on the survey, but it was No. 7 pick Coby White (of the Chicago Bulls) and No. 33 pick Carsen Edwards (Boston Celtics) who each received votes on a survey-high five questions. In total, 38 different rookies received votes on at least one of the seven questions about their class, a deep one if these guys got it right. For the 11th time in the last 13 years, NBA.com sat down with the rookie class at the annual Rookie Photo Shoot. In addition to the seven questions about their fellow rookies, this year's group (of 42) answered a few about the current player they most admire and what they're expecting as they make the jump to the NBA. * * * NOTE: Players were asked not to vote for themselves, college teammates or NBA teammates. (Some still did, and those votes were discounted.) * * * Who will be the 2019-20 Kia Rookie of the Year? 1. Zion Williamson, New Orleans -- 35% 2. Ja Morant, Memphis -- 27% 3. R.J. Barrett, New York -- 5%     Cam Reddish, Atlanta -- 5% Others receiving votes: Nickeil Alexander-Walker, New Orleans; Goga Bitadze, Indiana; Brandon Clarke, Memphis; Carsen Edwards, Boston; Darius Garland, Cleveland; Kyle Guy, Sacramento; Rui Hachimura, Washington; Romeo Langford, Boston; Coby White, Chicago; Grant Williams, Boston Last year: DeAndre Ayton and Collin Sexton -- 18% Worth noting: Williamson feels like a strong pick, but in the previous 10 years of the survey, the top vote-getter has gone on to win the Kia Rookie of the Year award just once. That was in 2007 (the first year of the survey), when Kevin Durant received 54 percent of the vote. Williamson is the first player in the last five years to receive at least one third of the vote, and he might have had more if some of his fellow rookies (those that voted for the six guys selected outside the Lottery) had studied their history. Of the 67 Rookie of the Year winners (that weren't territorial picks in the 1950s and early '60s), 61 (or 91 percent) were selected in the top 10 of the Draft, and 52 (or 78 percent) were selected in the top five. Which rookie will have the best career? 1. Cam Reddish, Atlanta -- 19% 2. Ja Morant, Memphis -- 16% 3. De'Andre Hunter, Atlanta -- 11% 4. R.J. Barrett, New York -- 5%     Jaxson Hayes, New Orleans -- 5%     Coby White, Chicago -- 5%     Zion Williamson, New Orleans -- 5% Others receiving votes: Nickeil Alexander-Walker, New Orleans; Jarrett Culver, Minnesota; Carsen Edwards, Boston; Darius Garland, Cleveland; Rui Hachimura, Washington; Keldon Johnson, San Antonio; Mfiondu Kabengele, LA Clippers; Romeo Langford, Boston; Cody Martin, Charlotte; Eric Paschall, Golden State; Tremont Waters, Boston; Dylan Windler, Cleveland Last year: Wendell Carter Jr. -- 13% Worth noting: This is the sixth straight year that a Duke player has earned (or tied for) the most votes on this question, with Reddish joining Jabari Parker (2014), Jahlil Okafor (2015), Brandon Ingram (2016), Jayson Tatum (2017) and Carter. The seven players who received multiple votes were all selected in the top 10, though there were another eight votes for players selected outside the Lottery. Which rookie was the biggest steal at where he was selected in the Draft? 1. Bol Bol (44), Denver -- 19%     Kevin Porter Jr. (30), Cleveland -- 19% 3. Carsen Edwards (33), Boston -- 5%     Nassir Little (25), Portland -- 5%     Isaiah Roby (45), Dallas -- 5%     Coby White (7), Chicago -- 5%     Grant Williams (22), Boston -- 5% Others receiving votes: Nickeil Alexander-Walker (17), New Orleans; Brandon Clarke (21), Memphis; Jaxson Hayes (8), New Orleans; Talen Horton-Tucker (46), L.A. Lakers; Keldon Johnson (29), San Antonio; Mfiondu Kabengele (27), LA Clippers; Romeo Langford (14), Boston; Jordan Poole (28), Golden State; Cam Reddish (10), Atlanta; Luka Samanic (19), San Antonio; Admiral Schofield (42), Washington; Quinndary Weatherspoon (49), San Antonio; Dylan Windler (26), Cleveland Last year: Keita Bates-Diop -- 13% Worth noting: As it often does, this question got the biggest range of answers, including each of the last six picks of the first round. But Bol and Porter, two of the six players from the Pac-12 Conference, clearly stood out among the group. Draymond Green is the only one of the previous 16 players to earn (or tie for) the most votes on this question (which was worded "Which rookie is being most overlooked" through 2014) that has ever been an All-Star, though Donovan Mitchell is certainly a potential All-Star in the years to come. Which rookie is the most athletic? 1. Zion Williamson, New Orleans -- 87% 2. Brandon Clarke, Memphis -- 8% Others receiving votes: Jaxson Hayes, New Orleans; Kevin Porter Jr., Cleveland Last year: Zhaire Smith -- 24% Worth noting: The 87 percent that Williamson earned here is the greatest percentage of the vote that any player has earned on any question in the history of the Rookie Survey, surpassing the 79 percent that Stephen Curry got for "Best Shooter" in 2009. That's good company. Which rookie is the best shooter? 1. Tyler Herro, Miami -- 33% 2. Kyle Guy, Sacramento -- 29% 3. Cameron Johnson, Phoenix -- 13% 4. Ty Jerome, Phoenix -- 8% 5. Jordan Poole, Golden State -- 4% Others receiving votes: Ignas Brazdeikis, New York; Carsen Edwards, Boston; Darius Garland, Cleveland; Zion Williamson, New Orleans; Dylan Windler, Cleveland Last year: Trae Young -- 47% Worth noting: Guy made twice as many 3-pointers (120 at a 43-percent clip) for Virginia last season than Herro did in his one season for Kentucky (60 at 36 percent). Johnson (47 percent) shot better than both of them and the Suns could benefit from having two of the top four players here. Phoenix ranked 29th or 30th in effective field goal percentage from outside the paint in each of the last three seasons. Which rookie is the best defender? 1. Matisse Thybulle, Philadelphia -- 37% 2. De'Andre Hunter, Atlanta -- 29% 3. Brandon Clarke, Memphis -- 8%     Jaxson Hayes, New Orleans -- 8%     Nassir Little, Portland -- 8% Others receiving votes: Bol Bol, Denver; Jarrett Culver, Minnesota; Bruno Fernando, Atlanta; Coby White, Chicago Last year: Jevon Carter -- 29% Worth noting: This is the only question for which Thybulle received any votes, but he received the greatest percentage of the vote on this question since Victor Oladipo (63% in 2013). While Thybulle is joining a team with a handful of guys that have already proven to be impact defenders, Hunter's defense is more critical to the success of the Hawks, who ranked 28th on that end of the floor last season. Which rookie is the best playmaker? 1. Ja Morant, Memphis -- 40% 2. Darius Garland, Cleveland -- 15% 3. Ty Jerome, Phoenix -- 10%     Coby White, Chicago -- 10% 5. Nickeil Alexander-Walker, New Orleans -- 8% 6. Kevin Porter Jr., Cleveland -- 6%     Tremont Waters, Boston -- 6% Others receiving votes: Carsen Edwards, Boston; Kyle Guy, Sacramento Last year: Trae Young -- 35% Worth noting: Morant led the nation in assists by a pretty wide margin. In Memphis, the latest winner on this question is replacing the first; Mike Conley received 45 percent of the vote for best playmaker in the initial, 2007 survey. The Grizzlies would surely love to see Morant stick around as long as Conley did. Winning this category as a Laker -- as Lonzo Ball and D'Angelo Russell both once did -- apparently means that you're going to be traded less than two years after doing so. What will be the biggest adjustment for you, playing in the NBA? 1. Speed or pace of the game -- 40% 2. Physicality (athleticism, size and strength of opponents) -- 21%     Schedule/Length of season -- 21% 4. Lifestyle/Time management -- 12% Also receiving votes: Longer 3-point distance, Playing NBA defense Last year: Speed or pace of the game -- 31% Worth noting: According to the great Ken Pomeroy, the average pace in NCAA Division I was just 69.0 possessions per 40 minutes last season. When adjusted for a 48-minute game (82.8), that would be almost 18 possessions per 48 slower than the average NBA pace (100.7 per 48). So yeah, speed of the game should be an adjustment. What is the most important skill you need to develop? 1. Shooting -- 32% 2. Ball-handling -- 16% 3. Passing -- 9% 4. Strength -- 7% 5. Decision-making -- 5%     Defense -- 5%     Everything -- 5%     Money management -- 5% Also receiving votes: Leadership, Mindset, Patience, Playmaking, Playing off the ball, Post skills, Time management Last year: Ball-handling and shooting -- 19% Worth noting: Self-improvement is both a physical and mental thing. There are five votes in here for the mental aspects of improvement (even more if you consider "passing" and/or "defense" to be more of a mindset than anything else), and a few more for managing things (time and money) off the court. Who is your favorite player in the league? 1. LeBron James, L.A. Lakers -- 38% 2. Kevin Durant, Brooklyn -- 20% 3. Kawhi Leonard, LA Clippers -- 8%     Damian Lillard, Portland -- 8% 5. Devin Booker, Phoenix -- 5%     James Harden, Houston -- 5% Others receiving votes: Jamal Crawford; Kevin Garnett; Paul George, LA Clippers; C.J. McCollum, Portland; Steve Nash; Pascal Siakam, Toronto; Russell Westbrook, Houston Last year: LeBron James -- 29% Worth noting: In the 10-year history of this question, only three players have been the top vote-getter. James, named the top guy for the fourth time, separates himself from Durant (3) and Kobe Bryant (3). Interestingly, Bryant wasn't one of the two retired guys -- Garnett and Nash, this time -- to get votes. John Schuhmann is a senior stats analyst for NBA.com. 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 NewsAug 20th, 2019

Rookie Survey: Film study revealing much to this year s class

By John Schuhmann. NBA.com The incoming rookie class may be done with college, but study time is never over. Preparing for the NBA is about more than just the work on the floor and in the weight room. At the annual Rookie Photo Shoot in early August, NBA.com asked several rookies about watching film, whether their coaches [or trainers] want them focusing on certain players or certain aspects of the NBA game. A lot of names came up more than once, but the young guys aren't just watching current stars. In fact, you may be surprised by some of the vets that they're studying. Here's what the rookies had to say ... * * * Zion Williamson | New Orleans Pelicans | No. 1 overall pick "They just want me to be myself and play ... [Watches his own film] to see what kind of mistakes I made, where I could have made a better read." R.J. Barrett | New York Knicks | No. 3 overall pick "I like to watch LeBron [James], James Harden and Michael Jordan, because Michael Jordan is just the greatest, and I love the way that LeBron and James Harden play. They can score and pass." De'Andre Hunter | Atlanta Hawks | No. 4 overall pick "One of my coaches told me to watch Kawhi Leonard and focus on how he beats his defender and how he finishes at the rim ... He's really strong with the ball. He doesn't do a lot of moves to get past his defender. He just does what he needs to do and once he gets to the rim, there's no games either. It's a dunk or a strong finish." Darius Garland | Cleveland Cavaliers | No. 5 overall pick Have the coaches asked?: "Not yet." Who do you like to watch?: "D'Angelo Russell, Kyrie [Irving], [Dame] Lillard ... Just to see how they play pick-and-rolls, their reads ... Coming off the pick-and-roll coming toward the middle, you always have the back-side corner, because they always sink in to help the roller ... Opposite corner's always open, especially if you're going downhill like Russell Westbrook." Jarrett Culver | Minnesota Timberwolves | No. 6 overall pick "They talked about Scottie Pippen, players like that ... He can bring the ball up, he defends well ... Versatile for sure ... I go back and watch the games. I'm a big Jordan fan, so I watch Scottie Pippen all the time." Coby White | Chicago Bulls | No. 7 overall pick "They want me studying a little bit of everybody, a little bit of Dame... The way he moves without the ball whenever C.J. [McCollum] has it ... We watch Chris Paul pick-and-rolls, little things." Cam Reddish | Atlanta Hawks | No. 10 overall pick "Not anybody specific, but they want me watching film, definitely ... Players at my position ... So I watch Kevin Huerter, because he was at my position last year ... Just catching up on the [Hawks'] plays." P.J. Washington | Charlotte Hornets | No. 12 overall pick "I'm looking at guys like Draymond Green. I feel like me and him have similar body types, similar games as well. He's been really successful, so that's one of the guys that the coaches want me to embody ... Both [offense and defense] ... The way he pushes the break, gets everything set up at his position is crazy. He pushes the ball and gets everybody involved." Tyler Herro | Miami Heat | No. 13 overall pick "They want me watching Klay Thompson, J.J. Redick, guys that run off screens ... Just the footwork they have, how they run at one level coming off a screen, how quick they get off their shot, and really just how they move without the ball." Romeo Langford | Boston Celtics | No. 14 overall pick "Paul George and Devin Booker ... How they use their bodies to create contact and create shots." Nickeil Alexander-Walker | New Orleans Pelicans | No. 17 overall pick "We watch a lot of Wes Matthews, mainly for defensive purposes, how he guards ball screens ... The valuable things like guarding the ball Wes does really well ... Being a great teammate, things that you can't really teach he wants us to look at." On guarding screens: "It's positioning, knowing who you're going up against, knowing the scouting report, knowing the plays and when the play might happen, and what's going to happen after a pass is made, after a cut is made, stuff like that." Goga Bitadze | Indiana Pacers | No. 18 overall pick "I watch the bigs like Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol, most of the European bigs and try to get something ... Playmaking, reading situations and making plays." Matisse Thybulle | Philadelphia 76ers | No. 20 overall pick "My trainers will tell me to watch [Andre] Iguodala on defense and Manu Ginobili off the ball on offense." Brandon Clarke | Memphis Grizzlies | No. 21 overall pick [The coaches haven't asked] "as of right now ... I like to watch some old players, just to see the moves that they used, guys like Kevin Garnett, Shawn Marion, Michael Jordan, all of those dudes ... [Watching Garnett] I'm watching his heart, really, how hard he's playing, how much fun he's having, stuff that I would like to mimic." Grant Williams | Boston Celtics | No. 22 overall pick "I love watching guys like Draymond and Kawhi Leonard, how they play on both ends of the court, whether it's Draymond's passing and versatility on the offensive end, and Kawhi playing the mid-range." Ty Jerome | Phoenix Suns | No. 24 overall pick "I asked [about film] and there response was just to be my best self, as far as being focused on really trying to improve my game and master our offense and our principles." "So he sent me clips of Philly [where Suns coach Monty Williams was an assistant last season] ... I'll probably be playing a lot on the ball ... It's about how they move, the different reads off it, and where you can be." Nassir Little | Portland Trail Blazers | No. 25 overall pick "They haven't asked me that yet, but it's probably going to come up soon ... I watch Kawhi Leonard, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, guys like that ... I'm looking at where they get to, where they get their shots off, their different spots." Admiral Schofield | Washington Wizards | No. 42 overall pick "P.J. Tucker, Tony Allen, Shane Battier, Stanley Johnson, Marcus Smart, Kawhi Leonard ... Just how they're able to switch on different guys, be physical, play smart and not foul ... Just their motor on defense, and what they do on the offensive end as well, keeping it simple, especially my first couple of years." John Schuhmann is a senior stats analyst for NBA.com. 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 NewsAug 20th, 2019

Zion Williamson brings rare potential to New Orleans

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Eventually, as with every NBA Draft, there will be a “re-draft” of the Class of 2019. That’s the irresistible exercise in hindsight from media outlets that rank a particular year’s prospects not on their projected value but on actual demonstrated value five, 10 or more seasons into their professional careers. Some players will rise. Others will fall. “Bust” and “sleeper” tags will be dispersed accordingly. This team or GM will be lauded for an especially savvy selection, that one will be razzed for the quality player or players on whom it whiffed. But the through line of the dreams-come-true event Thursday night (Friday, PHL time) at Barclays Center, the lone selection that will not or at least should not change, is Zion Williamson. Williamson is the sure thing, the “can’t miss,” consensus No. 1 pick bound for the New Orleans Pelicans. He’s a 6'7", 285-pound freshman from Duke whose comps aren’t merely established players currently in the NBA but some of the game’s legends. So think Blake Griffin, sure. But also think LeBron James. And Charles Barkley. And, for that matter, every other wide-body who’s ever played with muscles on muscles, above-the-rim explosiveness, balletic body control and an instantly recognizable game that’s as charismatic as it is freakish. Yeah, awfully small subset. “I’m looking forward to playing against everybody,” Williamson said soon after his selection. “I want to be the best. I feel I have to earn everybody’s respect.” It’s not just a matter of Williamson’s game tickling NBA fans’ fancy, either. He managed, in almost his first official pro moment, to capture a lot of their hearts too. No sooner had Williamson – the first No. 1 pick to be born in this millennium (July 6, 2000) – strode to the stage in his cream-white suit, tugged on a Pelicans draft cap and embraced NBA commissioner Adam Silver, he dropped his guard to let the world share his emotions in the moment. His status as college basketball’s best and his draft position had been established months ago. There was no new mystery as to when his name would be called by Silver at the podium. And yet, when the first ESPN microphone was poked in front of him, with his mother Sharonda Sampson at his side, the big guy lost it. He choked up and blinked back tears, not quite winning that battle. “My mom sacrificed a lot for me,” Williamson said. “I wouldn’t be here without my mom. She did everything for me. I just want to thank her.” Several interviews and maybe 20 minutes later, Williamson explained how the horribly kept secret of his No. 1 selection could trigger his response. “Because I love the game of basketball,” he said. “You can hear people say things like, ‘Oh, it was likely I was going to go No. 1.’ But I guess you don’t know until you actually go through it.” What mattered most to Williamson about his mother’s role in his life? “Tough love,” he said. “She was always be the first one to keep it real with me. … She put aside her dreams just so me and my brothers could have a chance at ours.” The love already heading Williamson’s way in New Orleans was less tough and more unconditional at this stage, for the teenager represents a re-birth for a Pelicans franchise rocked by the loss of All-Star forward Anthony Davis. Davis, coincidentally, was the No. 1 pick in 2012 and generally considered the top prospect to hit the Draft before Williamson. But after six-and-a-half seasons and only two trips to the playoffs, Davis asked in December to be traded, despite having more than two-plus seasons left on his contract. David Griffin, the Pelicans' new vice president of basketball operations, had hoped that Williamson’s arrival might convince Davis to stay. When that didn’t happen, Griffin swiftly shifted to Plan B, arranging to trade the discontented big man to the Los Angeles Lakers in a deal that won’t be official until July. Now New Orleans, which has won just two playoff series in its 17 seasons and failed to qualify 10 times, has a new cornerstone. Williamson figures to be under team control contractually for as long or longer than Davis stuck around, with teammates relocated from L.A. such as Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart to run with him and Pelicans holdovers. “What excites me the most is the fact that they’re young and they’re close to my age,” said Duke’s third No. 1 overall pick (Elton Brand in 1999, Kyrie Irving in 2011). “So they can help me a lot more, like how to deal with this transition. I think we can build something over there.” The essential block is Williamson, who swept college basketball’s major awards with a game that strains credulity. At 285 pounds, his listed weight is greater than almost every big man in the NBA, but he has quick-twitch speed and thrives in the open court. He can stare down into the rim before slamming home dunks with unnerving ferocity, and he is a deft and willing passer. Williamson averaged 22.6 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in 30 minutes for the Blue Devils, while making 68 percent of his shots. He and fellow Top 10 picks R.J. Barrett (New York, No. 3) and Cam Reddish (Atlanta, No. 10) helped Duke reach the Elite Eight, with Williamson earning ACC Tournament MVP along the way. He’s not a perfect player – his jump shot and range need work – but he already is working to complement his transition and low-post repertoire. Defensively, Williamson has the motor and mobility to switch assignments and quick hands to dislodge the ball without fouling. As a rebounder, his verticality is matched by, well, his horizontality in controlling the air space above and around him. “His size, his athleticism, his power is visible,” former St. John’s coach and Naismith Hall of Famer Chris Mullin said. “But to me his speed is really incredible from end to end. “I would morph Charles Barkley and Shawn Kemp and put them together [as a comparison]. When he gets to the NBA and he plays with that extra space they have in the wide key, he’s going to be a monster.” Williamson arrives with hype – no, make that expectations, because of all he’s shown already on courts around America – that rival what James shouldered when he arrived from high school in 2003. His plan for lugging that responsibility: “Whatever the team needs me to do, I’m willing to do it, because I feel people remember winners.” The selections immediately after Williamson were nearly as predictable, based on intelligence and mock drafts that solidified in the days before the Draft. Murry State guard Ja Morant was chosen by Memphis at No. 2, and Barrett’s ensuing selection by the Knicks delighted their always boisterous fans in the stands at Barclay. The order of the next four choices was jumbled from some predictions. Yet by the time the smoke cleared, sure enough, the seven players projected to come off the board soonest had slotted into the night’s top seven spots. That included Virginia forward De’andre Hunter to Atlanta at No. 4 (via the Lakers, in the aforementioned Davis trade that has yet to be completed), Vanderbilt point guard Darius Garland to Cleveland at No. 5, Texas Tech wing Jarrett Culver to Minnesota at No. 6 and North Carolina guard Coby White to Chicago at No. 7. Just because there wasn’t a lot of suspense at Barclays didn’t mean there was no intrigue. Much of that came from unusually heavy trade action – all technically unofficial – that had teams moving up, down and all around to snag picks, dump picks or clean up their salary-cap positions in anticipation of free agency that starts June 30. The timing of the Draft, relative to when the NBA’s new business year begins, had players donning caps of teams they’ll never play for, while speaking guardedly about those for whom they really were picked. A reported nine trades impacted draft decisions made in the first round alone. There even was a moment when Morant, in his post-Draft media session, gave a shout-out to veteran Grizzlies guard Mike Conley, whose spot he’ll presumably be taking once Conley’s trade to Utah officially goes through. But there’s no such uncertainty about Williamson, the through line of this year’s class, the true line in his heartfelt reactions Thursday (Friday, PHL time) and broad-shouldered hope of a Big Easy franchise in need. Williamson showed his grasp of the NBA’s and sports’ need for fresh icons, in effect accepting his status as a legend in waiting. “You know, times change,” he said. “That’s why there are so many debates about who people think the greatest players of all time are. If you were in the time of Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell, you’d probably say one of those two. If you were in the time of Jordan, you’d say Jordan. In our generation, a lot of them say LeBron. “So times changes and I think younger fans like younger players.” You don’t have to be young, though, to have your eye on Zion. 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 NewsJun 21st, 2019

On ballot for final time, Tim Raines hopes for Hall entry

SEAN FARRELL, Associated Press br /> MONTREAL (AP) — The 1982 All-Star Game at Olympic Stadium was the first outside the United States, the host Montreal Expos giving the event a distinctive international flair. As Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn looked on, center fielder Andre Dawson, catcher Gary Carter and left fielder Tim Raines were among five players wearing that tri-color hat of the hometown team. On Wednesday, Raines is likely to join Dawson and Carter as Expos in the Hall of Fame, expected to be voted the honor in his 10th and final year of eligibility. 'If I get in, that's the team I deserve to go in for, regardless if they no longer have a team,' Raines said in a phone interview from his home in Phoenix on Tuesday. 'That was the team I played with and I'm real comfortable with that.' Despite falling short of the 75 percent of votes necessary for election last year, Raines was named on 69.8 percent of the ballots cast by eligible members of the Baseball Writers of America. That was up significantly from 2015, when he finished seventh in voting with 55 percent. 'I was happy that I had gained a lot more votes,' Raines said. 'I was only 23 short and this is actually the first year of the 10 years that I really feel pretty excited about the prospect of it happening. But this will be the first year that I really feel that I have a legitimate shot.' An All-Star in each of his first seven seasons with the Expos, Raines is the only player to have four seasons hitting .300 or higher with at least 70 stolen bases; Ty Cobb and Rickey Henderson each had three. A switch-hitter, Raines batted .294 with 2,605 hits, including 713 for extra bases, and 1,330 walks. He scored 1,571 runs and ranks fifth with 808 stolen bases in a career from 1979 to 2002 with Montreal, the Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees, Oakland, Baltimore and Florida. His 84.7 percent stolen base success rate is the best of any player with at least 400 attempts. Raines finished with a .385 on-base average. 'When you think about the caliber of career that Timmy had, he was an impact player,' Dawson said in a phone interview from Miami on Monday. 'You think about all the greatest leadoff hitters of all time, he measures right there.' To some, Raines' only fault was that he wasn't as great as Rickey Henderson, considered the best leadoff man ever. Carter became the first player inducted into the Hall with an Expos cap on his plaque in 2003, his sixth year on the ballot. Dawson was inducted in 2010 after his ninth try. 'I think it's a tribute to that organization that they are probably going to have three Hall of Famers that were teammates at the same time,' Dawson said. 'I do think that it's going to happen, first of all, but you didn't really get the notoriety, you didn't really get the same publicity as if you had been playing in the States. So it was a really, really tough environment I think playing across the border when it came to recognition.' Traded by Montreal after the 1990 season, Raines spent five seasons with the White Sox. He hit .444 and scored five runs in the 1993 AL Championship Series, which Chicago lost to the Toronto Blue Jays, and then won the World Series twice in three seasons with the Yankees from 1996-98. He signed with Oakland as a free agent in 1999 but was diagnosed with lupus midway through the season. A failed bid to make the United States Olympic team in 2000 fueled Raines' desire to prove he could still play, and Montreal offered him that opportunity in 2001. Raines was greeted with a standing ovation when he returned to Olympic Stadium as the starting left fielder for the Expos' home opener. The crowd of 45,183 remained on its feet all through his first plate appearance and cheered wildly when he drew a walk from Mets starter Glendon Rusch. 'The ovation that I got was really, really emotional,' Raines said. 'I remember I stole my 800th base against the Expos with the Yankees, and that was kind of emotional. The fans gave me a really big standing ovation, but the ovation I got in '01 topped anything that I could have even imagined, and at that time I knew that I was in love with Montreal.' Raines got to play with Vladimir Guerrero, who is on the ballot for the first time this year and could also enter the Hall as an Expos player if he is elected. 'Well, I think he's among the top players that ever played the game, that's for sure,' Raines said. '... He didn't really say much, but when the game started, you know who was top dog out on the field, and it was going to be him.' Late in the 2001 season, the Expos traded Raines to Baltimore to give him the opportunity to play with his son, Tim Jr., who was called up to make his major league debut with the Orioles. Raines, who retired after playing with Florida in 2002, was back with the Expos as a special coach at the end of the 2004 season when Major League Baseball announced that the team, which joined the National League in the 1969 expansion, was moving to Washington, D.C. The world's second-largest French-speaking city, which embraced Jackie Robinson when he played for the Montreal Royals of the International League in 1946, still pines for 'nos amours,' a term of endearment so profoundly French that it defies appropriate translation into English other than to say Montrealers love their Expos. 'Timmy happened to be one of those individuals that really made an impact not only with that organization but with the country for what he did, what he brought to the game, how he played the game, and how he was perceived all around baseball amongst his peers,' Dawson said. 'But I do feel that the Hall of Fame itself is the due recognition in the end.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 16th, 2017

Trump bows out in campaign style, vows to be & lsquo;back in some form& rsquo;

Donald Trump left the White House for the last time Wednesday with a vow to stay in the spotlight and an extraordinary snub of Joe Biden, skipping his inauguration as the 46th president of the United States......»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsJan 21st, 2021

Fans show support for Red Velvet’s Irene as she apologizes anew for past behavior

Red Velvet’s Irene (Instagram)  K-pop girl group Red Velvet’s leader Irene sent a letter to fans to apologize again for her past behavior and promised that she will “become a more mature person.”  Irene was embroiled in a controversy last October when a stylist-editor Kang Kook-hwa exposed her for rude behavior towards her and said she had a recording of the incident as evidence.  Kang compared Irene to “nut rage” Heather Cho, the Korean Air vice president who went berserk on a company-owned plane in 2014 after she was served nuts in original packaging by a crew member.  “The 20 minutes in the unfamiliar room was like hell. No hellos exchanged, shouting in my face with [her] phone in hand pointing [her] fingers while I stood and [she] sat in a chair, blurting out the words. Tears flooded out of my eyes after listening to the venomous words spewed out by [her] tongue. I just couldn’t help, it just burst out. Why must I be humiliated? For whom? For what? For money?” wrote Kang on Instagram, Korea JoongAng Daily reported.  After Kang made the post, Irene personally apologized to her and also issued an apology on Instagram. The incident prompted a Korean fan community of Red Velvet on DC Inside to demand that Irene should leave the group. In her new apology, which she posted on Jan. 15, Irene wrote, “First of all, I wanted to say that I apologize for causing so much pain and worry to many people because of inadequacy.” She said she started as a trainee at age 19 in 2009 and up to now, being Irene of Red Velvet “has been all of my life.” “I have lived while thinking that I was getting along with the people around me in my own way that I didn’t know that my communication method or expressions could be a problem, and I only thought that each has a different way of communication,” she said.  She added, “I received a lot of concerns and reprimand not only from the public but also from people around me for the past event and this gave me time to quietly reflect on myself.” “As I cannot turn back time, I am making a lot of effort not to go back to the way I used to be. I realized the weight of words and actions, and I will try to become a more mature person,” Irene promised.  Irene added that in the future, as leader and singer of Red Velvet, “I will not only show you a good image, but also as the person Bae Joo-hyun, I will try not to disappoint you.”  “I hope that somebody will no longer be criticized for what happened because of my inadequacy,” she said.  Last December, or two months after the incident, it was reported that Kang was still receiving hate for what happened.  “Please stop bothering me. Don’t threaten me. It’s a crime and costs dearly. She doesn’t want it either. I’m doing silent for her sake. This is my last request. Please and please,” according to a post by Kang uploaded on an online community.  Fans of Red Velvet welcomed Irene’s apology and expressed their support to her.  “Irene you didn’t do anything wrong. It’s normal for people to have mood swings, the case here is because you’re a celebrity,” one fan wrote.  Other messages are “Irene best leader,” “Irene we love you! Cheer up, we will always have your back,” and “Irene unnie you’re the greatest woman of this generation! We love you 3000!!!!”.....»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsJan 17th, 2021

Georgia on my Mind

The title of this article is a song popularized by Ray Charles which was selected by Rolling Stone magazine as the 44th greatest song of all time......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJan 10th, 2021

Lakers legend, NBA players tips off hat to Curry after 62-point explosion

      By CARLO ANOLIN Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry proved to all and sundry why he’s arguably the greatest shooter in NBA history. Curry posted a career-high 62 points as the Warriors routed the Portland Trail Blazers, 137-122, Sunday night (Saturday, Manila time). Even Portland’s Damian Lillard could not help but to […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  tempoRelated NewsJan 5th, 2021

The things we are still learning

  CEBU CITY, Philippines— Learning has no age limit. Either we learn a different language, learn a different course, or learning how to better ourselves, learning knows no age. Read: Here’s why time is the greatest gift during this pandemic As 2020’s end draws near, let us be gentle with ourselves and remind ourselves that […] The post The things we are still learning appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsDec 21st, 2020

Diego: I represent the nobodies

Naples---Few places will mourn the death of Diego Maradona as much as Naples, the downtrodden, gritty Italian city that clasped the troubled Argentine to its heart at his time of need and was repaid with the best years of perhaps the greatest footballer to ever play the game......»»

Category: sportsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsNov 26th, 2020