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Piercy makes most of US Open chance with fast start

By Josh Dubow, Associated Press PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) — After missing the cut last week at the Canadian Open, Scott Piercy spent the weekend on his couch hoping that wouldn't cost him a spot in the U.S. Open. Piercy ended up getting one of the final qualification spots and now finds himself in good position after taking advantage of an early tee time Thursday to get off to a fast start at Pebble Beach. Piercy raced to 5-under par in the first six holes and finished with a 4-under 67 after bogeying the 18th hole. He briefly held the clubhouse lead and was one shot back of leaders Rickie Fowler, Louis Oosthuizen and Xander Schauffele after the morning rounds. "Anytime you can be under par at the U.S. Open is a good thing," Piercy said. "I got off to kind of a fiery start, which is great, and then tried to hold on there in the middle and tried to make a couple coming in. Overall the putter was there, it felt good. The ball-striking needs to be cleaned up a little bit, so I'll be on the range for a little while. But 4-under par the first round of the U.S. Open, I'll take that every time." Especially when just qualifying for the tournament was a bit dicey. Piercy went to sectional qualifying in Columbus, Ohio, last week and missed out by one shot on getting into Pebble Beach. The 40-year-old from Las Vegas still had another route into the tournament as one of the top 60 players in the golf rankings. Piercy was ranked 60th going into the week and went to play the Canadian Open at Hamilton Golf and Country Club, where he earned his second career PGA Tour win back in 2012. But Piercy missed the cut and had to sweat it out. "So then you've got to sit at home and not root against guys, but hope that they don't kick you out," he said. "I was happy to get in and I was happy with the start." He ended up at 59 in the rankings and earned the spot into his eighth U.S. Open. He has missed the cut in four of his previous seven trips but also finished tied for second in 2016 at Oakmont. Piercy went off in the second group of the day off No. 1 and hooked his opening drive and drove into a bunker on No. 2. But he managed to make a great save for birdie on that hole, sparking the fast start. "That kind of just gives you a little bump of good thoughts and 'hey let's get this going,'" he said. "We kind of stole one, maybe." Piercy then added birdies on the fourth and fifth holes before his eagle on six dropped him to 5-under. Piercy then bounced back from a double-bogey on the eighth hole with a pair of birdies on the back nine. He then made a good par save out of the bunker at the par-3 17th but then ran into trouble on the final hole when he drove it into the rough and hit his second shot into a fairway bunker. Piercy then left his birdie putt from 25 feet about 8 feet short and three-putted the par-5 18th to finish at 4 under. Piercy also bogeyed the 18th hole here in the final round at the tour event earlier this year, dropping from sixth place to 10th. "I think I've made 6 the last few times," he said. "Maybe I need to learn how to play it better.".....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnJun 14th, 2019

Marin makes fast start at Thailand Open

Bangkok---Spain’s Carolina Marin sailed through the Thailand Open badminton first round on Tuesday as she made a fast start to her season, six months before her Olympic title defence......»»

Category: sportsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsJan 13th, 2021

Texans roar past Bills for 22-19 win in OT

By Kristie Rieken, Associated Press HOUSTON (AP) — Deshaun Watson’s teammates talked all week about how they never feel as if they’re out of any game when No. 4 is on the field. On Saturday Watson showed why the Houston Texans have so much trust in him, when the quarterback’s dazzling performance late after a tough start led them to a playoff victory. Watson spun out of a would-be sack and coolly completed a pass that set up the winning field goal in overtime as the Texans rallied from a double-digit second-half deficit for a 22-19 victory over the Buffalo Bills in the first round of the playoffs. DeAndre Hopkins was asked to describe Watson’s play on Saturday to somebody who might have missed the game. “I hope everyone watched this today, but he's amazing,” Hopkins said. “You can't put too many words on it.” Both teams punted on their first possessions of overtime — the first extra period in an AFC wild-card game since January 2012. On Houston’s next drive, Watson evaded a sack by wriggling away from one defender and bouncing off another before rolling out to find Taiwan Jones for a 34-yard reception to set up first-and-goal. Watson flexed both arms as the crowd at NRG Stadium went wild — knowing their team was in position to pull off another comeback win to Houston's playoff history. “I told myself to stay up. I mean, it's do-or-die now. I just had to make the play,” Watson said. Ka'imi Fairbairn then kicked a 28-yard field goal to lift Houston to the victory. The Texans (11-6) advanced to the divisional round of the playoffs next weekend where they’ll face the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. The Texans got a boost from the return of J.J. Watt, who had a sack that helped spark his team. Houston scored 19 straight points to take the lead before Stephen Hauschka’s 47-yard field goal tied it with 5 seconds left to force overtime. “We never quit, regardless,” Watson said. “Whatever it takes to get the win. I mean, we're going to keep fighting.” Watt was wowed by the play of Watson. “The play he made at the end of the game — nobody makes that play,” he said. “The guy’s unbelievable. I’m very thankful and lucky to have him as my quarterback. That’s why you play the whole game.” It was Watt's first game after sitting out since October with a torn pectoral muscle. “This is why you come back,” Watt said. “I don't know if I meant to come back for these many plays or this much extra time, but these feelings, these emotions, these fans, these players, Deshaun Watson and all the guys on this team, this is why you come back.” The win gives the Texans their first playoff victory since the 2016 season and extends Buffalo’s postseason losing streak to six games, with their most recent playoff win coming in 1995. It’s the first wild-card overtime game since the Broncos beat the Steelers 29-23 in the 2011 season. The game conjured memories of another huge comeback in a wild-card game. The last time teams from Houston and Buffalo met in the playoffs it was in a game that is known as “The Comeback.” The Bills set an NFL record for the largest comeback in NFL history by rallying from a 32-point deficit for a 41-38 overtime win against the Houston Oilers in a wild-card game in 1993. This time Josh Allen and the Bills (10-7) used a dominant first half to build a 13-point lead and were up 16-0 in the third quarter, before Allen began to struggle. “He was just trying to do too much and getting a little bit extreme with what he felt like we needed at the time,” coach Sean McDermott said. “But overall, we just didn’t make enough plays.” Watson had 247 yards passing and ran for 55 yards and Hopkins had 90 yards receiving. Watson led the Texans to the victory despite being sacked seven times, led by three from Jerry Hughes, and hit 12 other times. Allen threw for 264 yards, ran for 92 and caught a touchdown pass on a trick play in the first quarter, but often looked rattled late in his playoff debut. Houston couldn’t get anything going on offense before halftime and had 81 yards in a first half where Hopkins didn’t catch a pass for the first time since Week 16 of the 2017 season. They were finally able to sustain a drive on their second possession of the third quarter when Hopkins had receptions of 14 and 10 yards to help move the ball. The Texans cut the lead to 10 when Watson dragged two defenders into the end zone on a 20-yard touchdown run. Watson then dived into the end zone for a 2-point conversion that got Houston within 16-8 with about two minutes left in the third. The Bills were driving early in the fourth quarter when Allen was sacked by Whitney Mercilus and fumbled, and it was recovered by Jacob Martin at the Buffalo 47. Houston cashed in on the miscue with a 41-yard field goal that cut the lead to 16-11 with about 11 minutes to go. Watson connected with Carlos Hyde on a 5-yard touchdown pass and Hopkins on a 2-point conversion with about five minutes left to put the Texans on top 19-16. Hopkins had a 41-yard reception earlier in that drive. The Bills were in field-goal range on their next drive when Allen got a 14-yard penalty for intentional grounding and Buffalo lost a down to bring up fourth down. They went for it and Allen was sacked by Jacob Martin for a 19-yard loss to give Houston the ball back with 1:41 left. “We didn’t execute how we should have, and we didn’t make as many plays as we should have,” Allen said. “That’s what it really comes down to. They made one more play than us.” The Texans trailed 13-0 at halftime and Hopkins fumbled on their opening drive of the third quarter to give Buffalo the ball at the Houston 32. Watt sacked Allen for a loss of 8 yards on third down and the Bills settled for a 38-yard field goal to extend the lead to 16-0. Allen scrambled 42 yards for a first down on Buffalo’s first possession for its longest rush of the season. Two plays later, the Bills used some trickery to take the lead when John Brown threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Allen to make it 7-0. Brown’s pass was wobbly, but Allen was wide open despite having to slow down to grab it. It was early in the second quarter when Allen appeared to fumble, and it was recovered by Houston. But the play was reviewed and overturned, giving Buffalo the ball at the Houston 32. The Bills were unable to move the ball after that and made a 40-yard field goal to make it 10-0. The Bills added another 40-yard field goal at the end of the second quarter to push the lead to 13-0 at halftime. NOT SO FAST Houston’s DeAndre Carter looked to have made a major mistake when caught the opening kickoff of the second half in the end zone and tossed the ball toward a referee without taking a knee. The Bills scooped it up and thought they had scored a touchdown on the play. But the play was reviewed, and it was determined that Carter “gave himself up” so it was called a touchback and Houston kept the ball. WATT’S HEALTH Watt was pleasantly surprised with how good he felt on Saturday in his return from injury. But there was one moment where he was a bit worried that his surgically repaired pectoral muscle wouldn’t hold up. As he was about to dive to try and grab Allen, he wondered if that could be the moment where he was re-injured. “But I dove and landed right on it, popped up, checked it out and looked over at the doctor who was standing like 10 feet away,” he said. “And I was like: ‘It’s all right.’” UP NEXT Bills: Season over. Texans: Advance to divisional round......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 5th, 2020

Federer says a star s legacy isn t at risk with late decline

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Roger Federer arrives for his interview at the precise appointed time, steering his white sedan into a parking spot in an industrial area dotted by art galleries about 15 minutes from his luxury apartment in this home-away-from-home. After obliging a selfie request from someone on the street, Federer makes his way up to a second-story loft area and sits. He crosses his legs, kneads his right calf and winces. “Just started training. I'm surprised I could walk the stairs as good as I have,” Federer says with a laugh. “My calves are, like, killing me. Just getting back into it. The shock on the body is, I don't want to say 'immense,' every time, but I've been on vacation for two weeks. The shock just hits you hard.” Ah, the ravages of age. Federer, who won the first of his men's-record 20 Grand Slam titles when he was 21 and now is 38, explains to The Associated Press that he must “go back to the drawing board” after “just missing out on The Big One,” a reference to his fifth-set tiebreaker loss to Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final in July. So all of just two days into Federer's preparation for next season -- he flies to Melbourne on Jan. 9, a week before the Australian Open draw -- he is taking a 48-hour break, sitting out his two-a-day fitness sessions and not lifting a racket. No one this old has won a Grand Slam title in the professional era. As a younger man, Federer says, he didn't allow himself such a respite, working six or eight days in a row to get going. But now? The “waves,” he calls them, making an undulating motion with his famous right arm -- time on, then time off -- offer his body a chance to recover. They also let him “go through the wall” on the day before a rest period, because “otherwise, you maybe would hold back just ever so slightly, because you just don't know how you're going to feel the next day.” Federer recognizes that continuing to play tennis at a high level long past the age when many greats of the past were done (his idol, Pete Sampras, competed for the final time at 31) means he repeatedly faces questions -- from fans, from the media, from those around him -- about how long he will continue on tour. And while he can't provide a definitive answer -- because, quite simply, he says he doesn't have one -- Federer is willing to discuss this aspect of the subject: He does not consider it important to walk away at the top of his game and the top of his sport. When he's told about a newspaper opinion piece from way back in 2013 -- 2013! -- that posited he should quit then to avoid ruining his legacy, Federer just smiles and waves his hand. He knows, of course, that he's managed to reach another seven Grand Slam finals since the start of 2014, winning three. But he also says the notion that an older athlete could harm his or her status by hanging around too long is nonsense, no matter what the decline looks like. “I don't think the exit needs to be that perfect, that you have to win something huge ... and you go, 'OK. I did it all.' It can be completed a different way, as long as you enjoy it and that's what matters to you," Federer says. “People, I don't think, anyway, remember what were the last matches of a John McEnroe, what were the last matches of a Stefan Edberg. Nobody knows. They remember that they won Wimbledon, that they won this and that, they were world No. 1. I don't think the end, per se, is that important.” That doesn't mean, of course, that he isn't as competitive as ever or doesn't want to win a 21st major championship -- above all, No. 9 at Wimbledon, after it slipped away despite two match points in 2019 -- or his first Olympic singles gold at the Tokyo Games next year. Or win any tournaments, for that matter, which would push him closer to Jimmy Connors' professional era record of 109 trophies (Federer has 103). He's still good enough, after all, to be ranked No. 3 — having spent a record 310 weeks at No. 1, he is currently behind No. 1 Rafael Nadal and No. 2 Djokovic — and to go 53-10 with four titles this season. If it seems as though the rest of the world is insisting it needs to know when and how retirement will arrive, Federer says it's not something on which he expends a lot of energy. Not anymore, anyway. “I mean, I don't think about it much, to be honest,” Federer says. “It's a bit different (now) that I know I'm at the back end of my career. But I feel like I've been toward 'the back end of my career' for a long, long time.” So much so that when he got sick while on a skiing trip in January 2008 with what eventually was diagnosed as mononucleosis, he vowed to stay off the slopes, a decision he stuck to, although not without some regret. His children -- twin daughters, 10, and twin sons, 5 -- all ski, and he and his wife, Mirka, have a home in a resort in his native Switzerland. Yet Federer sticks to his role as “the chief 'getting the kids ski-ready' operator guy.” “I was like, 'OK, you know what? That's a sign. I'm going to stop skiing, because I don't want to get hurt at the back end of my career. Maybe I have another four good years left in me. This was (12) years ago now. So it shows you how long ago I've been thinking: 'Maybe I have another four years. Maybe I have another three years. Maybe I have another two years.' ... I've been on this sort of train for long enough for me not to actually think about it a whole lot,” he says. “But sure, sometimes with family planning, discussions with my wife, we talk a little bit sometimes. But never like, 'What if?' Or, 'What are we going to do?' Because I always think, like, we have time for that and then we'll figure it out when that moment comes." Even his agent, Tony Godsick, who has represented Federer since 2005, raises the topic. “It would help make my job easier,” Godsick says in a telephone interview. “I don't want to know for my own personal travel. Or I don't want to know to have the scoop before anyone else. I want to know so I can plan. ... I mean, he won't go on a retirement tour, but I'd like to have some advance notice, maybe throw some more cameras around when he's out playing, so we can capture some more footage.” Godsick pauses, then spaces out the next five words for emphasis: “But. He. Really. Doesn't. Know.” “I really do think he has the flexibility to actually not decide ... until he feels like it's the time. And that will come when Mirka says, 'I can't do it anymore,' and 'I can't be on the road with the kids,' and 'The kids are not enjoying it.' Or his body might say, ‘Hey, Rog, stop pushing me so hard,'” Godsick says. “Maybe it's a time when he realizes on the practice court he doesn't either have the motivation or the ability to get better. And at that point, then maybe he says, 'I certainly have squeezed all the juice out of this lemon in terms of innovating and getting better.' And I don't think that time is there yet. Which is good news.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 19th, 2019

Dinwiddie scores 30, leads Nets over Knicks 103-101

By Brian Mahoney, Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) — Spencer Dinwiddie scored 30 points in another strong start in place of the injured Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets beat the New York Knicks 103-101 on Sunday (Monday, PHL time) for their season-high third straight victory. Irving continues to rest an injured right shoulder, and Dinwiddie is making sure they get by without him, scoring 20 or more points in a career-best five straight games after stepping into the starting lineup. He was 13 of 14 from the foul line, where the Nets had a whopping 27-9 advantage in makes. Jarrett Allen had 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Nets, and Taurean Prince added 14 points, 11 rebounds and five assists. Joe Harris scored 13 points, with four coming after the Knicks had cut it to one with 1:20 remaining. Marcus Morris scored 26 points for the Knicks, who lost their third straight. They played without rookie RJ Barrett. He was scratched after feeling sick before the game. The Nets have ruled out Irving for at least two more games, which would have included his return to Boston on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time). But they have won four of five to even their record at 8-8. The Nets opened a 29-15 lead, but struggled when Dinwiddie and Allen went to the bench and let the Knicks quickly close the gap. It was down to 52-46 by halftime and tied in the third quarter, before Brooklyn pulled away again to open a 10-point lead entering the fourth. New York cut it to one after back-to-back 3s by Morris and another by Wayne Ellington, but Harris scored on a drive and later added a pair of free throws. TIP-INS Nets: Coach Kenny Atkinson said Irving wouldn’t travel with the team to Cleveland on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time), but wasn’t sure yet about Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) to Boston. The Cavaliers and Celtics were Irving’s first two NBA homes. ... It was the most points Dinwiddie has scored in 12 games against the Knicks. Knicks: Mitchell Robinson was called for a sixth foul with 4:54 remaining, but David Fizdale challenged the call and it was overturned, allowing Robinson to stay on the floor. Not for long: He then picked up the sixth 42 seconds later and was given a technical foul after saying something to a referee on his way off the floor. ... Morris has scored 20 or more in four straight and six of his last seven games. KNOX’S CHANCE Kevin Knox II had five points starting in place of Barrett. He not only hadn’t started this season, but his minutes off the bench had been dwindling. He had been limited to 10 or fewer in the last two games, with Fizdale seeking a more consistent defensive effort from the 2018 lottery pick. So he was hoping to make the most of his opportunity Sunday (Monday, PHL time), but picked up his fourth foul less than four minutes into the second half. “Like I say you’ve got to be ready when your name gets called,” Knox said. “My dad used to always tell me growing up: You’re an ankle sprain away from that time.” MORE NOISE The sound around the Nets has changed — on and off the court — since the recent signing of Iman Shumpert, who began his career with the Knicks, won a title with Cleveland and has done some rap music. “I just see Theo (Pinson), DeAndre (Jordan), the communication is better because he talks a ton and his aggressiveness, he’s pushing the other guys,” Atkinson said. “And then our music has definitely improved in the locker room. We’ve taken a step up in our music selection. Obviously, he’s pretty sophisticated there.” UP NEXT Nets: Visit Cleveland on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time). Knicks: Visit Toronto on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 25th, 2019

Lionel Messi and Liverpool shine in the Champions League

By Andrew Dampf, Associated Press ROME (AP) — Lionel Messi and titleholder Liverpool were in top form in the Champions League on Wednesday. Messi scored one goal and set up another as Barcelona beat Slavia Prague 2-1 to take control of Group F at the group stage's midpoint. Liverpool overwhelmed Genk 4-1 to end a four-game losing streak away from home in the group phase. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain made the most of a rare start to score twice and Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah also got on the scoresheet for last season's champion. Still, Liverpool remained one point behind Napoli in Group E after the Italian club won 3-2 at Salzburg with a brace from Dries Mertens, who surpassed Diego Maradona for second spot on the team's all-time scoring list. Inter Milan and Borussia Dortmund trail Barcelona by three points in a group where three heavyweights are vying for two spots in the knockout stage. Inter beat Dortmund 2-0 in the other Group F game with goals from Lautaro Martinez and Antonio Candreva. Messi floated a free kick to Luis Suárez at the far post and the Uruguayan's shot was deflected in by Slavia forward Peter Olayinka for Barcelona's winner. Earlier, Messi finished off a fast move he had started. It was the first goal for the Argentine in the campaign, taking his overall tally in Europe's top club competition to 113. TREMENDOUS TEENAGER Salzburg's 19-year-old forward Erling Haaland scored twice in the loss to Napoli, giving him six goals in three matches. That makes him only the second teenager in Champions League history to score in each of his first three appearances in the competition, after current Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema achieved the feat with Lyon. And he's the first player to score six goals in his first three Champions League appearances. Haaland now has 20 goals in all competitions for the Austrian club this season. Haaland's first goal came with a penalty, then he made it 2-2 by taking advantage of his 6-foot-4 (1.94 meter) frame for a precise header. He also had a score disallowed early on by the VAR for offside. SUPER SUBS Michy Batshuayi came off the bench and scored a late winner as Chelsea rode its luck to beat Ajax 1-0 and throw Group H wide open. The Belgium striker fired in off the underside of the bar from close range in the 86th, 15 minutes after coming on. United States international Christian Pulisic, another of coach Frank Lampard's subs, provided the cross. "It's what you want from subs," Lampard said. "Sometimes the toughest part of management is leaving out players that really want to play week in, week out, and you rely on them being positive, coming on and making an impact and they both did. Delighted for them both." The result left both teams on six points after three matches. Valencia, which drew 1-1 with Lille, is next with four points. It was another late Champions League stinger at the hands of a London team for Ajax, which lost the semifinal last season to Tottenham thanks to a Lucas Moura goal deep in stoppage time. LEIPZIG LEADS Leipzig leads Group G following a 2-1 comeback win over Zenit St. Petersburg and is in position to advance to the knockout rounds for the first time. Marcel Sabitzer scored with a sublime volley for the winner near the hour mark "It's without doubt one of the best goals of my career," Sabitzer said. Sabitzer also set up the equalizer for Konrad Laimer after Ukrainian defender Yaroslav Rakitskiy opened the scoring for Zenit. Leipzig has six points, two more than Zenit and Lyon, which lost 2-1 at last-place Benfica......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 23rd, 2019

Nabor set to join PHI team’s Japan training camp

TOKYO --- Depending on how fast her papers will be processed, reserve setter Jasmin Nabor is set to join the Philippine national team in its Japan training camp here. Head coach Shaq delos Santos is expecting the playmaker to fly in on Wednesday at the earliest together with Eya Laure, Jovelyn Gonzaga and assistant coach Kungfu Reyes. “Ang target dapat 23 if maayos ang papers niya,” said Delos Santos on Monday during the start of the Nationals’ 12-day training camp as preparation for the 30th Southeast Asian Games in Manila next month. Nabor’s latest chance to join the team is on the 26th when Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. official and national team program head Peter Cayco flies in to check on the squad. Nabor’s inclusion is timely as starting setter Jia Morado and winger Alyssa Valdez’s stint will be cut short to just five days to play for their club team Creamline in the PVL Season 3 Open Conference semifinals. The duo will return to Manila on Friday and will miss the rest of the training camp including three of the five scheduled tune-up games. “Mabuting nandito na rin si Jas para may kapalitan din si Rhea (Dimaculangan) kasi mahirap din na pilitin dahil kababalik lang nya sa (calf injury),” said Delos Santos. But more than serving as a reliever, Delos Santos considers Nabor’s participation as an investment for the future. “Kasi future setter din siya for the national team kasi bata pa siya and yung skills niya OK din siya. I think exposure din. Malaking bagay ito kung may mga tune-ups kami, nakakalaro siya, malaking bagay ‘yun,” said Delos Santos of the playmaker who played for the Nationals in the second leg of the ASEAN Grand Prix in Sta. Rosa, Laguna three weeks ago. Nabor is the third reserve player in the squad together with Aiza Maizo-Pontillas and Roselyn Doria.          --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 21st, 2019

A new format for FedEx Cup brings clarity and curiosity

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press ATLANTA (AP) — Justin Thomas has a two-shot lead, and the Tour Championship hasn't even started. If that seems difficult to fathom, consider that someone could win this week without having the lowest 72-hole score. And remember, such a radical change was to make the FedEx Cup finale easier to follow. The first staggered start in PGA Tour history — Thomas begins at 10-under par, the bottom five players are at even par — unfolds Thursday at East Lake when 30 players who reached the final stage of the FedEx Cup playoffs chase the $15 million prize, the biggest payout in golf history. "I could see a scenario where come Sunday, 15 guys might have a chance to win the entire thing," Rory McIlroy said Wednesday. "It will be exciting. It will be different. But at the same time, you've just got to go out there and try to play some good golf and not look around at what other guys are doing, and trust that by the end of the week things will hopefully even out." The idea behind the new format was to bring clarity to the FedEx Cup by having only one winner Sunday. Each of the last two years, one player won the Tour Championship and another player won the points-based FedEx Cup. It was especially awkward last year because while Justin Rose won the FedEx Cup, all anyone cared about was seeing Tiger Woods in his red shirt celebrating a two-shot victory, his first in five years. "My bank manager didn't mind," Rose said. One function of the FedEx Cup hasn't changed: It was designed to give an advantage to players who had the best season, and who played their best golf in the postseason when the points were valued four times higher. Now, the advantage is strokes to par. Thomas, who won the BMW Championship last week to become No. 1 in the FedEx Cup, tees off Thursday already at 10-under par. Patrick Cantlay is No. 2 and will start at 8 under, followed by Brooks Koepka at 7 under, Patrick Reed at 6 under and McIlroy at 5 under. The next groups of five players in the standings will be at 4 under, 3 under, 2 under, 1 under and even par. The leaderboards on the course, online and on television will show only the score to par, not what was shot each day. "The FedEx Cup is not a tournament. The Tour Championship is now for the FedEx Cup," PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said. "So when you make that transition, you have to recognize there are 45 tournaments that precede it." If nothing else, the new format eliminates the kind of math that would give even Bryson DeChambeau a headache, computing where players needed to finish to earn points to win. Last year for example, Rose was the No. 2 seed and his birdie on the last hole gave him a three-way tie for fourth, enough points to win the cup. Dustin Johnson was the No. 4 seed and finished third. If he had finished in a two-way tie for second, he would have won the cup. Using this year's format, Rose would have won the FedEx Cup by one shot over Woods because as the No. 2 seed, Rose would have started six shots better. Now it's time to see if it will work. "I think it's hokey," Cantlay said. "It's weird to have a format no one has ever seen. And I think it's a shame we lose the Tour Championship. I haven't gone through it. No one has. I'm going to reserve final judgment until I've gone through the week." Whoever finishes with the lowest score to par wins the FedEx Cup and gets credit for winning the Tour Championship, even if he doesn't have the lowest score in the Tour Championship. Meanwhile, the tour will keep track of conventional scoring — everyone will the first year — to award world ranking points. "For all of us guys chasing, the first day will be important," said Rose, who is No. 17 and thus starts at 2 under. "You can't give up more shots." Most curious about the format is how many players have a reasonable chance of winning. McIlroy won his first PGA Tour event at Quail Hollow in 2010 when he made eagle on his 16th hole Friday to make the cut on the number. He shot 66-62 on the weekend to rally from nine shots behind. "And that was just two rounds," McIlroy said. "With two extra rounds, you can free-wheel it. There's a lot more volatility." There have been a number of players who made the cut on the number and rallied from big deficits over 36 holes. Carl Pettersson shot 60-67 on the weekend to come from nine back in the 2010 Canadian Open. Brad Faxon rallied from 12 shots behind with a 65-61 finish in Hartford in 2005. It could be wild on the weekend. Or maybe Thomas opens with a pair of 64s and makes it a runaway. He is keeping it simple. "I'm just going to have to try to play another golf tournament and act like everyone's starting at zero and try to shoot the lowest 72 holes," Thomas said. "Because I know if I do that, then I should be OK.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 22nd, 2019

Lots of questions, few answers as Team USA opens training camp

By John Schuhmann, NBA.com LAS VEGAS -- The U.S. Men's Senior National Team tipped off training camp on Monday. This was the start of a six-week process that they hope ends with the gold medal game of the FIBA World Cup in Beijing on Sept. 15. This week includes four days of practice, followed by an intrasquad scrimmage on Friday (Saturday, PHL time). Before we get into the next six weeks, let's review how we got to Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) with a much different pool of players than national team managing director Jerry Colangelo originally anticipated. The originals - Last year, there were 35 players named to the 2018-20 USA roster for a 2018 minicamp, this year's World Cup and next year's Olympics. - Of those 35, only 14 were on the 20-man training camp roster for the World Cup when it was announced on June 10. - Between June 10 and the start of camp on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time), nine of those 14 backed out. - The five remaining are Harrison Barnes, Kyle Lowry, Khris Middleton, Myles Turner and Kemba Walker. The additions - As part of the 20-player training camp announcement on June 10, six players were added to the 14 from the original 35-player list. - Since then, one of those six - Paul Millsap - backed out. - Six more players were added on July 25. - In the 10 days since then, two of those six - Montrezl Harrell and Julius Randle - backed out. - Last week, Bam Adebayo was added to the roster. - Before camp opened, De'Aaron Fox and Joe Harris were (sort of) promoted from the Select Team to the Senior Team. The absences Going back to who's not here: There are 33 players - 30 from the 2018-20 roster and three that signed up and backed out this year - who have decided not to play. That's almost three full rosters of American players, and it doesn't include any guys that were offered a spot, but declined before being named to the roster. J.J. Redick is a player that reportedly declined an invite. They can't all be lumped into one group of guys who just don't want to make the six-week commitment. Some have family business to tend to. But one reason cited by multiple players who have backed out is preparing for next season. And in that regard, the World Cup schedule, along with the travel, is not ideal. The gold medal game is Sept. 15. So players will be returning from China (on a flight of 15 hours or so) on Sept. 16. The start of NBA training camps has been pushed back one week this year, but national team players will have less than two weeks between their return and the opening of camps. Players on the Brooklyn Nets, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers and Toronto Raptors will have even less than that, along with a trip back to Asia for early-October exhibition games in Japan or China. Colangelo also cited the fact that the World Cup and Olympics are in back-to-back years (with an NBA season in between), instead of two years apart like they were in the past. And while this year's World Cup is toward the end of the summer, next year's Olympics start July 25, with training camp probably opening not long after The NBA Finals. (If it were the same six-week period from the start of camp to the gold medal game as it is this year, next year's camp would actually open on June 29). 17 players for 12 spots Fox and Harris aren't on the official Senior Team roster, but Colangelo said Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) that they have a chance of making the final 12-man roster for the World Cup. So that makes 17 players for 12 spots. By position, they are: PG: De'Aaron Fox, Kyle Lowry, Kemba Walker SG: Joe Harris, Donovan Mitchell, Marcus Smart SF: Jaylen Brown, Kyle Kuzma, Khris Middleton, Jayson Tatum PF: Harrison Barnes, P.J. Tucker, Thaddeus Young C: Bam Adebayo, Brook Lopez, Mason Plumlee, Myles Turner There's obviously some flexibility in there. Two point guards could play together, Mitchell could play some point guard, and all of the small forwards could play some at the four. Lowry, who had surgery on his left thumb just a few weeks ago, isn't participating in camp this week. He's hoping to be cleared to practice when the team reconvenes in Los Angeles from Aug. 13-16 for three more days of practice and an exhibition game against Spain. But right now, it's not guaranteed that he'll be able to play. With or without him, it's still a very talented group. "Thank goodness we're blessed with the depth of talent we have in this country," Colangelo said. "You find guys that want to play and you go with them." Cutting down the list from 17 to 12 won't be easy. Point guard, where Lowry has the experience (see below) and Walker is the star, may be the only position where there's a clear hierarchy. At each of the other positions, different players bring different skill sets, but it's not clear that Player A is better than Player B, who is better than Player C. The World Cup doesn't require final rosters until the day before the tournament starts (it's earlier for the Olympics), so the final decisions don't have to be made before the team flies from L.A. to Australia for three more exhibition games. "We're flexible," Colangelo said. "If we have a tough decision to make, we'll bring an extra guy or two with us." The experience Of the 17 players in camp, only three have played for the United States in an international competition on the senior level. Plumlee was on the 2014 World Cup team, and both Lowry and Barnes were on the 2016 Olympic team. And neither Plumlee (11th on the '14 team in total minutes) nor Barnes (last on the '16 team in total minutes) played integral roles. The 2010 World Cup team was similarly inexperienced - Chauncey Billups and Tyson Chandler played on the 2007 FIBA Americas team - but had four future MVPs: Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook. The talent That 2010 team had seven players who had been selected in the top five in the NBA Draft. Since 1992, there have been 15 U.S. National Teams comprised of NBA players. And those 15 teams have had an average of seven top-five picks on them, with *no fewer than four. * The two teams with only four top-five picks: The 2002 team that finished sixth at the World Championship and the 2016 Olympic team that won gold in Rio. This 17-man group includes only three top-five picks: Brown (No. 3 in 2016), Fox (No. 5 in 2017) and Tatum (No. 3 pick in 2017). And it would be a surprise if Fox makes the final roster. Since 1992, the only one of those 15 U.S. teams that didn't have a No. 1 pick on it was the 2000 Olympic team, which had nine players who were selected second (4), third (1), or fifth (4). This 17-man roster includes just one player who has made an all-NBA team in the last three years. That's Walker, who was a Third Team selection this year. The opportunity With the ball in his hands Walker could be the star of this team. And he sees the roster attrition as an opportunity. "I think a lot of us are happy those guys pulled out," Walker said Monday. "This is our chance, our chance to get on the big stage and showcase our talent. It's a chance for us to do something new. It'll be a new-look team. Everybody's kind of doubting us, but I think we're hungry." When he was asked why he remained committed, Walker's explanation was pretty simple. "I love basketball," he said. "I love to play. What better opportunity can you have than to play for your country? This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a lot of us." A monstrous sacrifice Lopez has nominated himself as the player that has made the biggest sacrifice to be in Vegas, because if he wasn't, he'd be in the Scottish Highlands with the rest of his family. "I could be looking for Nessy!" Lopez said. 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 6th, 2019

Fowler and the USGA off to a good start at US Open

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Rickie Fowler had an ideal start Thursday in the U.S. Open, and so did the USGA. Pebble Beach was as gentle as could be in the opening round, and Fowler was among those who took advantage with six birdies for a 5-under 66, giving him a share of the early lead with Xander Schauffele and Louis Oosthuizen. The notorious wind off the Pacific coast was little more than a breeze. The course was lush green and relatively soft. The USGA wanted to start conservatively and make it progressively more difficult, a forecast of dry weather gives officials a lot more control. This was the day to take advantage. Schauffele, who keeps showing up in golf's biggest events, holed a 12-foot eagle putt on the par-5 18th to join Fowler at 66. Oosthuizen holed out for eagle from 95 yards at No. 11, his second hole of the day. "It's a very soft start to a U.S. Open, which is a good thing," Rory McIlroy said after a 68, his first sub-70 round at the U.S. Open since he won at Congressional in 2011. "They can do whatever they want with from here. It's not as if you're starting with a course that's in the condition like a Sunday, and then you get three days and it sort of starts to get away from you." Two-time defending champion Brooks Koepka and Tiger Woods played in the afternoon. Koepka reached 4 under through seven holes until a bogey on No. 8, while Woods had three birdies to atone for a double bogey on par-3 fifth. He was 1 under through seven. Scott Piercy made bogey on the 18th for a 67. He was the first player to get everyone's attention when he made three birdies and an eagle through the opening six holes — the scoring holes at Pebble — and was 5 under. Graeme McDowell saw the score when he walked off the 10th green at the start of his round and quipped to his caddie, "All the USGA radios are going off and they're saying, 'Turn off the water — NOW!'" McDowell won the last U.S. Open at Pebble Beach in 2010 when it was so difficult he made only one birdie in the final round and no one broke par for the week. Even as he saw low scores on the board — he had a bogey-free 69, one of 16 rounds in the 60s among the early starters — McDowell feared what was to come. What really got his attention was Phil Mickelson being some 30 feet above the hole at No. 1, which should ordinarily have been a lightning fast putt. Mickelson left it short. "I don't think level par wins this week," he said. "Careful what you wish for, because I think we're going to see it come the weekend." Mickelson, in his fifth attempt at the career Grand Slam, opened with a 72 that certainly didn't hurt him, but only two birdies held him back. Two of his bogeys came from missing the fairway with an iron off the tee. The other was a careless three-putt — he missed from 22 inches. Dustin Johnson was only one shot better, and he could have been a lot worse except for a magnificent short game, no shot better than his flop shop from well behind the eighth green to 2 feet. He nearly drove the green on No. 4, a dangerous shot because the coast line hugs the right side. Why driver? "Because I'd bogeyed the last two holes," Johnson said with a wry smile. "I needed a birdie." That wasn't impatience that often dooms chances at a U.S. Open. That was recognition that scores were to be had, and this might be the best day. Fowler picked up three birdies in seven holes, dropped a shot at the turn and added three birdies on the back. It's the second time in three years at the U.S. Open he has started well — he had a 65 in the first round at Erin Hills — but the focus is on how he finishes. Even though he's 30, with seven victories on the PGA Tour and European Tour combined, Fowler is on that list of best without a major, perhaps because he's had so many top finishes. So the start was important. "It was very stress free," Fowler said. "You never feel in cruise control at a major, especially a U.S. Open, but the execution was very good today. ... It was the worst I could have shot, so that's a good thing. I'm happy with the start. You can't go out and win it up the first day, but you can obviously take yourself out of it and you're having to fight back." Schauffele also appears poised to break through in his third full year on tour. He first gained attention with his tie for fifth in his U.S. Open debut two years ago, and he tied for sixth last year at Shinnecock Hills. He also has runner-up finishes in the British Open and the Masters. His big break came at the end when he caught his drive off the toe and it hit off a rock framing the left side, bounding down the fairway. From there, he only had 8-iron to set up his eagle. "Very fortunate, and happy we capitalized on a really lucky break," he said......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 14th, 2019

Whirl’d Cup 2019 draws 27 teams, 550 players

MANILA, Philippines —While summer calls to mind a long, relaxing vacation, most Filipinos see the season as a great time to make plans with their friends or even a good time to get active and enjoy the outdoors. For Jamba Juice, summer is not just a good time to start enjoying a healthful and active routine, but to also blend this passion with finding and bonding with a community. To encourage more Filipinos to embrace and enjoy a healthful lifestyle, Jamba Juice hosted the second edition of Whirl’d Cup, a two-day mixed (read: co-ed) Ultimate Frisbee tournament organized with JMJ Sports Training Services, in partnership with the Philippine Flying Disc Association. Whirl’d Cup 2019 happened last May 11-12, 2019, at the Ayala Alabang Country Club. Over 550 players and 27 teams participated in the tournament, which was open to first-timers, regulars, and veteran players, with no age limits or other requirements. Aside from the matches, Ultimate regulars and newer players alike also tested their athletic prowess and worked up a sweat at the Whirl’d Cup Skills Challenge Games. “At Jamba, we believe in blending goodness into every moment. In our stores, we use real whole fruits blended with our juices to create our smoothies, juices, and bowls—whether the combination is unusual or expected—the experience and taste is still great,” shared Jamba Juice Marketing Manager Steph Elumba. “When we looked at Ultimate Frisbee, we saw how the community blended each individual player into one big family. From ages 15 to 50, men and women blended together for a weekend of Ultimate fun and Jamba Juice smoothies.” The Whirl’d Cup also served as a great introduction to Ultimate, a fast-paced, no-contact sport requiring only a disc and a well-lit space to play. The sport has rapidly grown since it was first introduced in the Philippines in the early 2000s, making the local Ultimate community one of the fastest-growing in Asia.   “For us, Ultimate is the sport that best encapsulates our values and our vision for how anyone can live a Better Blended life,” added Elumba. “Ultimate is a great way to blend people of different ages, sexes, professions, and backgrounds in one space, as the sport’s inclusive nature makes it easier for people who share a passion for sports, fitness, and good food and drink to come together.” Beyond introducing more Filipinos to Ultimate, Jamba Juice also provided players with an opportunity to support the sport’s growing community. A portion of the sales from the Jamba Juice food truck, the Fender Blender, will support Pilipinas Ultimate, the national Ultimate team, as they take part in tournaments in Japan and China. “Just as it’s important to nourish our bodies with delicious and nutritious food, we believe that it is important for more Filipinos to enjoy a more inclusive experience of sports. A better you starts with better food (in this case, our smoothies), and when you can tap into the better you, you can help create a better world,” said Elumba. “We hope that more people will be inspired by the Whirl’d Cup, start creating their vision of a healthful life, and get blended into Ultimate’s exciting and fun scene.” To catch up on the highlights of the Whirl’d Cup, check out facebook.com/jambajuiceph/.    .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 22nd, 2019

Leonard stars in Raptors Game 3 adjustments

By John Schuhmann, NBA.com TORONTO -- Kawhi Leonard has grown into one of the best offensive players in the world, a machine that ranks second in this postseason in scoring (32.0 points per game), with an ultra-efficient true shooting percentage of 65.5 percent (third-best among players with at least 50 postseason field goal attempts). But what makes Leonard truly special is how good he can be on both ends of the floor ... in the playoffs ... having played more than 50 minutes ... while hobbled by a leg injury ... and with his team's season on the line. [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] The Toronto Raptors are still alive in the Eastern Conference finals, having escaped with a 118-112, double-overtime victory in Game 3 on Sunday (Monday, PHL time). They're still alive because Marc Gasol finally made the shots the Milwaukee Bucks have been daring him to shoot all along, because Pascal Siakam had his best game of the series, and because Fred VanVleet and Danny Green picked timely moments for their only buckets on a night in which they combined to shoot 2-for-20. But mostly, the Raptors have a chance to even this series in Game 4 because Leonard was the better of the two superstars on the floor. And he was just that, in part, because he was defending the other one. Through the first two games of the series, Pascal Siakam has been the primary defender on Giannis Antetokounmpo, with Leonard defending Khris Middleton. Antetokounmpo hadn't exactly gone wild in the first two games (totaling 54 points and 11 assists), but the Raptors needed to change something. And the primary adjustments in Game 3 were in the matchups. On the first possession, Leonard was guarding Antetokounmpo, Siakam had shifted over to Eric Bledsoe, and Kyle Lowry had taken the Middleton assignment. Things didn't stay that way all game long. The Raptors switched often and couldn't worry about matchups when defending the Bucks in transition. And no matter who the initial defender is, guarding Antetokounmpo is always a five-man job, with the other four needing to be ready to help on Antetokounmpo's relentless attacks of the basket. "One man can't guard him," Leonard acknowledged. "It takes the whole team." But in regard to 1-on-1 defense, Leonard is the best that the Raptors have. And the adjustment worked. The Bucks scored just seven points on their first 13 possessions of Game 3 and only three of their 26 first-quarter shots came in the restricted area. "We wanted to take a look at it early to see how it looked," Nurse said of the Antetokounmpo-Leonard matchup. "It looked pretty good, so we stuck with it." Leonard played Antetokounmpo tighter than the MVP favorite had been defended in the first two games. "He was up and not giving him quite as much runway to get flying off of," Nurse said. "But so were the other guys that ended up on him in a switch or in different parts of the game. They were all a little bit more locked in. We took steps forward to get physical. The other night we were backing away from everything." The Bucks punished the Raptors with a few transition three's and eventually got to the basket. But their 112 points on 120 possessions was their second-worst offensive output of the postseason. Antetokounmpo, who entered Game 3 averaging a postseason-best 15.1 points in the paint per game, finished with just 10 points in the paint on Sunday (Monday, PHL time). It wasn't his lowest total of the postseason, but it was a low mark considering the season-high 45 minutes that he played before fouling out on the Raptors' first possession of the second overtime. The 8.1 points in the paint per 36 minutes were Antetokounmpo's third-lowest output in his 84 games this season. Leonard, meanwhile, scored a game-high 36 points despite suffering an apparent left leg injury less than three minutes in, either on the take-off or the landing of a fast-break bucket after one of Milwaukee's 20 turnovers. He looked hobbled for the rest of the night, but a hobbled Kawhi Leonard is still the best that the Raptors have. "Obviously, he wasn't moving very fast," VanVleet said. "But if he's out there, he's good enough." And he was, seemingly, all the Raptors had offensively late in the game. When they couldn't get him the ball in the post against Malcolm Brogdon, he had to go out to the perimeter to get it. Most of the iso-ball stuff didn't work, but all the work the Raptors' did defensively eventually allowed them to break through in the second overtime. With the Raptors up one and a little more than three minutes to go, Bledsoe got a switch onto Gasol and attacked. Danny Green came from the weak side to help, leaving Brogdon wide-open in the corner. That's where Bledsoe was looking to go with it, but Green got his hand on the pass, Leonard picked up the loose ball, and raced down the floor for a lefty dunk over Nikola Mirotic. Three possessions later, Toronto's lead was back to one point when Middleton got a switch onto VanVleet. Leonard came over to double and deflected the pass. Brogdon was the first to get to the loose ball, but Leonard snatched it away from him and took it the other way for another dunk. "His defense was probably the biggest key of the game," Nurse said of Leonard. "Offense was hard to come by there for both teams for a while, and any time you can get a steal and a breakout, it's a huge momentum play." In 568 career games prior to Sunday (Monday, PHL time), Leonard had never played more than 46 minutes. He played 52 minutes and eight seconds in Game 3, and the Raptors needed every last bit of it. They'll need more in Game 4 on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time), and they'll have to hope that Leonard can recover in the next 48 hours. "Fifty-two minutes and it's in the playoffs," Leonard said, "so you definitely feel it. When you play 30 minutes, you feel it still. You just got to not worry about it, get my treatment and move on to the next one." There was always going to be a next one. But Leonard and the Raptors have made sure that Game 4 won't be the last one. 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 NewsMay 20th, 2019

He makes us go : Green elevates Warriors to 3-0 series lead

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com PORTLAND, Ore. — There is nothing Draymond Green failed to do Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) when he helped push the Blazers to the edge and the Warriors to the verge. Here is the checklist of his duties: Dribbler, pace-setter, rescuer, shooter, director, shot blocker, shot-caller and the one that probably escaped most witnesses, psychiatrist. Yes, Dr. Dray suddenly offered his services and sofa when poor Jordan Bell blew a breakaway dunk during a critical moment, just as the Warriors were in the process of flipping an 18-point deficit during their 110-99 victory in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals. [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] Bell immediately hung his head as he returned downcourt, and seconds later at the next timeout, he slowly headed toward the Warriors bench with slumped shoulders. But who intercepted him before he could take another step? That’s right, it was Green, famously known for his cool and soothing words in times of crisis. (OK, put the laugh track here.) But seriously … The type of leader every team needs ????pic.twitter.com/Tr3JblKAyX — Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) May 19, 2019 “I knew he wasn’t going to lecture me or anything like that,” said Bell. “He just told me that everybody misses dunks, that I shouldn’t worry about it, that mine happened to be an open one, and to keep my head into the game because I’d get another chance.” Bell paused. “I was down here,” he said, lowering his hand, “and he lifted me up here.” And wouldn’t you know, Bell got that next chance minutes later. This time, the dunk was thrown down ferociously and completed with a chin-up that belonged at LA Fitness. We can give Green credit for the 20-point, 13-rebound, career playoff-high 12-assist triple double, and we can give Green partial credit for that second-chance slam, too. That’s more like it JB ???? pic.twitter.com/JUvMfKQDsl — Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) May 19, 2019 The man was that multi-layered. “I don’t even know what to say about Draymond,” said Warriors coach Steve Kerr. Once again, Green demonstrated his value to the Warriors in these playoffs with a magnificent all-around game. He left fingerprints all over the Moda Center court and various Blazers' efforts. He was there for the Warriors when nothing else worked, and he was there for the Warriors when everything finally began to click and they needed a finishing touch. His desire and will do not show up directly on the stat sheet, yet those elements made the victory possible. The Warriors won for the fourth straight game without Kevin Durant and are one more away from reaching the NBA Finals for the fifth straight year. It makes you wonder: As great as Durant is, would the Warriors be more vulnerable if it was Green who were out with a calf strain instead? That question stands valid because the Warriors lack anyone who does what he does. The energy, intensity, floor direction, ability to defend three and sometimes four different positions, as well as the rebounding were all apparent Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) and in heavy doses. They came alongside leadership, evidenced by Green giving Bell a pat on the back during that down moment. Green played Game 3 as a blur, grabbing rebounds, pushing the ball up the floor, creating scoring chances for himself or his teammates and providing help defense that triggered the pace. Green was forceful because Steph Curry and Klay Thompson were 9-for-24 shooting in the first half, at times overwhelmed by the trapping Blazers defense. So Green took it upon himself to make things happen and provide the foundation for a second-half comeback. The Golden State defense held Portland to 13 points in the third quarter, Curry had 11 points in the fourth quarter, and this series simply continued along the same path. “He was the difference-maker,” said Blazers coach Terry Stotts. “His energy, the way he was pushing the ball, he kept them going. He makes his teammates better and defensively he’s all over the place. He impacted the game.” In the third quarter, Green poked the ball loose from Damian Lillard for one of his four steals. At the time, the Warriors were down 12 and in dire need of a jolt. But here’s what was remarkable about the play. Not only did the 6'7" Green stoop and strip one of the NBA's most composed ballhandling point guards (although perhaps not in this series), but he also managed to search for and grab it while it bounced between him and Lillard, then dribbled downcourt without missing a beat. The dexterity, quickness, daring and smarts sets Green apart from others who play his role, or at least try to emulate it. “More than reacting, he acts,” said Warriors assistant coach Ron Adams, who oversees the team’s defensive schemes. “There’s reacting and then there's acting. He’s an actor. He sees things. He’s decisive.” Green is averaging 18 points, 12 rebounds and almost 10 assists across the last two games and those numbers barely tell the real story. It’s just heightened because of Durant’s absence. In those two games, the Warriors trailed Portland by 17 and 18 points and Green was the point man on the rally. He says his main purpose is to give Thompson and Curry a breather from the load and responsibility. With the Blazers throwing traps at those two guards to limit their scoring, Green is forcing Portland to pay him respect. He is, in essence, breaking down Portland’s defense by pushing the ball and directing the attack. “I know I have to be more aggressive,” he said. “I think it’s easy to get (Curry and Thompson) to take more shots, but we can’t put that much pressure on them, so I just take it upon myself to get the tempo where I want it and make plays for other guys as well.” It was no coincidence that six Warriors off the bench managed to get at least one basket with Green directing traffic. And Green managed to play such a high-energy game without making constant mistakes; he had only two turnovers in 38 minutes. “He’s playing with force and he’s playing with discipline,” said Kerr. “He’s playing under control. He’s not letting anything bother him, like officiating, bad shots, he’s just moving on to the next play. From that standpoint, he’s as good as he’s ever been.” This is the Draymond Green that makes the Warriors more than willing to put up with the occasional nonsense, mostly stemming from his short temper and low tolerance with the officiating yet also with teammates and coaches at times. The constant technical fouls, the early-season clash with Durant, the high maintenance that often comes with coaching him, those are all part of the package. Taken as whole, that package is more positive than negative. And when there’s no negative, as it’s been through much of this postseason, the package is irresistible. “It’s nothing new; I’ve seen him do this for seven years,” said Thompson. “I’m just so proud of Dray. He makes us go.” There was no more positive reinforcement from Green than when he comforted Bell and told the young player to shake off a missed dunk seen by millions and laughed at by thousands inside Moda Center. Green gave Bell the encouragement needed to forget the embarrassment and maintain composure, which was important because Kerr kept Bell in the game. That set Bell up to gain redemption. And the Warriors, after struggling through a sloppy start, to gain complete control of a series that could end Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) in a sweep. “I’m one of the leaders of this team and in those situations you either go one of two ways. You’re either going to do your job and lift everybody up or you’re going to go the opposite way,” said Green. And so Green, with passing, defense and pace-setting, is stamping his signature on this series. His floor direction is flawless. He hasn’t shown the ability to direct the Blazers right out of the playoffs, but that’s perhaps just a matter of time. 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 19th, 2019

A tournament without Djokovic to hit home in Australia

DENNIS PASSA, AP Sports Writer br /> MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The stark reality of an Australian Open third round without Novak Djokovic — for the first time in 11 years — hits home on Saturday when the remaining players in his half of the draw, Rafael Nadal and Milos Raonic among them, attempt to advance to the second week of the tournament. Djokovic was beaten on Thursday in five sets by wild-card entry Denis Istomin, the earliest that the Serbian star has left Melbourne Park in singles since his first appearance here in 2006 when he was beaten by American Paul Goldstein in the first round. 'What Novak did here is just amazing, six victories here, six titles ... so it is not possible to be every time in that situation, no?' Nadal said after his second-round win. 'So then today was probably an accident, that's all. We are athletes. We know when we are going on court we can lose and we can win. It probably was a combination that Denis played a great match and Novak didn't play his best. When this combination happens, then you are in trouble. Everything can happen. And (it) happened.' Istomin, meanwhile, plays on. He's up against 30th-ranked Pablo Carreno Busta on Show Court 2 on Friday. Here's a look at some of the key matchups Saturday: ___ RAFA'S TOUGH ASSIGNMENT: Nadal plays 19-year-old Alexander Zverev in an afternoon match at Rod Laver Arena. The young German was voted the ATP Star of Tomorrow in 2015 and has mostly lived up to the hype, seeded 24th here. 'He is one of the best players in the world, without a doubt ... and one of the next Grand Slam winners,' Nadal said. 'He has a big chance to become the future world No. 1 if he's able to keep improving the way that he's doing.' Nadal has been playing well since his return to the circuit after two lengthy injury spells last year, the 14-time major winner looking almost flawless in his straight sets win over Marcos Baghdatis in the second round. Still, he's expecting to have his hands full with Zverev: 'I know I have a very tough match ... I know I need to play my best if I want to have a chance.' ___ A SERENA BREATHER?: Six-time Australian Open champion Serena Williams had two fairly tough matches through the first two rounds, facing Belinda Bencic, a former No. 7-ranked player now sitting at 59, and Lucie Safarova, ranked No. 61 but who Williams beat in the 2015 French Open final. Williams won both matches in straight sets. Her third-round match is against fellow American Nicole Gibbs, who Williams beat in straight sets at Stanford in 2012 in their only previous meeting. Williams said she feels she's better for the experience of having had tough opposition in the first two rounds. 'When I play players like Bencic and Safarova, they force me to play better,' Williams said. 'It forces my game from the very first day to be at a high level. I needed something to start really fast. I'm not going to complain about it.' ___ CONTRASTING STYLES: Third-seeded Milos Raonic plays Gilles Simon on Hisense Arena and the Canadian holds a 3-1 edge in career meetings. Their only Grand Slam match came in the fourth round of the 2014 French Open, when Raonic won in five sets, including 7-5 in the fifth. 'I know a lot about his game. I've watched him play a lot,' Raonic said. 'He's going to be there really trying to get me to play at his speed, his rhythm. Obviously he tries to slow things down, play low. I won't have the opportunity to get too many swings at many shots.' Which means Raonic, with one of the best serves in the game, will try to get points over quickly. 'I've got to serve well and I've got to be aggressive and I've got to take it to him. The last thing I want to do is get into this sort of game of playing long rallies with him.' ___ KONTA vs WOZNIACKI: Last year's semifinalist Johanna Konta and Caroline Wozniacki, a former No. 1 who made it to the final four here in 2011, meet for the first time in an afternoon match at Margaret Court Arena. Both have been playing well, Konta coming off a win in the Sydney International last week, and Wozniacki having dropped just seven games in her first two matches at Melbourne Park. 'She had a good last year,' Wozniacki said. 'But at the end of the day, it doesn't matter who is on the other side.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 20th, 2017

Fresh off a victory, Justin Thomas joins the 59 club

DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf Writer   HONOLULU (AP) — Staring over the top of a bunker on his final hole, the prudent play for Justin Thomas might have been to make sure he got out of the sand and avoided a big number. But then, Thomas didn't care about a big number. It was about golf's magic number. 'This isn't a time for me to lay it up,' Thomas said Thursday at the Sony Open. He hit a 5-iron so clean and so high that it carried 207 yards into a light Pacific breeze to 15 feet on the par-5 ninth hole at Waialae Country Club. Thomas poured in the eagle putt for an 11-under 59, becoming the seventh player to post a sub-60 round in PGA Tour history. For a brief moment, he reacted as if it were little more than the perfect finish to a great opening round. He stretched out his putter that was still in his left hand, smiled and punched the air with his right fist. Only when he looked over at Jordan Spieth and Daniel Berger, the two witnesses to a 59 that Thomas made look easy, did the sense of history start to hit him. Berger thrust his arm in the air. Spieth, his best friend in golf since they were 13, crouched as the ball neared the cup and delivered a left-handed fist pump as both raced over to congratulate him. 'I think I got more excited from seeing them get excited than I did my putt going in,' Thomas said. 'I thought about it going up to the green. I'm like, 'If I make it, what am I going to do?' It's not like winning a tournament. You have three days left to try to play well. So I didn't really know how to react. I never had a putt on the last hole on a Thursday mean that much.' It was different from the feeling he had four days ago when he won the SBS Tournament of Champions at Kapalua. That was his third victory on the PGA Tour, and the 23-year-old Thomas is sure to win more. 'I don't have many chances to shoot 59,' he said. Jim Furyk was the last player with a sub-60 round when he closed with a record 58 at the Travelers Championship last summer. Furyk also had a 59 in 2013 at the BMW Championship, joining the exclusive group that includes Al Geiberger (1977 Memphis Classic), Chip Beck (1991 Las Vegas Invitational), David Duval (1999 Bob Hope Classic), Paul Goydos (2010 John Deere Classic) and Stuart Appleby (2010 Greenbrier Classic). This was special because he made it look so easy. He began by pitching in for eagle from 35 yards. Thomas never hit more than a 7-iron into the par 4s at Waialae on a perfect day for scoring — very little breeze, fast fairways and soft greens. That 7-iron was chipped under the trees and into a bunker on No. 8 when he was trying to save par. His only bogey came on his second hole, the par-3 11th, when his tee shot went into a bunker and he missed an 18-foot par putt. Duval was the only other player to shoot 59 with an eagle on the last hole. Furyk at Conway Farms is the only other player to shoot 59 with a bogey. Spieth was more nervous than Thomas and far more demonstrative. Thomas had a 30-foot birdie putt on No. 7 that looked good even when it was inches from the cup until burning the edge. Spieth clutched the back of his neck and was still asking how the putt didn't fall when he walked onto the next tee. He was talking to himself, of course. He gave Thomas his space. 'It's like sitting on the bench with a teammate throwing a perfect game,' Spieth said. 'It was awesome. What an awesome last five rounds he's had.' Thomas first thought about a 59 when he found an extra long tee at the par-5 18th and figured that was an omen for him to tee it high and hammer a high draw, which left him only an 8-iron into the green. He narrowly missed his eagle putt and settled for a 29. The way he was playing, he expected to go lower, and he did. 'When I was on 18, I thought about 59. I don't know if that's a good or a bad thing, but I just knew that I was driving it well,' he said. 'And if you drive it well out there, you can make a lot of birdies.' He followed with three birdies in four holes, and two years at Alabama was enough for him to start doing the math. 'He had full control of his golf swing,' Spieth said. Spieth and Berger were along for the ride. They all graduated high school in 2011 and grew up in junior golf. They were together a few weekends ago at a resort in Maui ahead of the Tournament of Champions. And they put on quite a show, with Spieth and Berger each shooting 65. On only three holes — No. 15, 5 and 8 — did someone in the group not make birdie or better. Their best-ball score was 17 under. Thomas started to think a 59 wasn't in the works when he was fooled on a 10-foot birdie chance on No. 5 and the putt on No. 7 somehow stayed out. He kept his hopes alive with a 10-foot par save on No. 8, knowing he could get home in two on the par-5 ninth hole. And then he hit into a bunker. 'I saw some sand flying and I was ready to punch something,' Thomas said. 'I was pretty upset about that, because I felt like all chances right there gone.' But then he saw Berger hit out of the bunker with a 4-iron, and Thomas took 5-iron and 'absolutely flushed it.' One putt later, he posted the eighth sub-60 score in history, and became the youngest to shoot 59. Thomas planned to go to the North Shore in the afternoon. Even watching from the beach, he can appreciate the feeling of catching a big wave. He's on one right now. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 13th, 2017

A clean slate and a fresh start for Jordan Spieth

br /> DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf Writer   KAPALUA, Hawaii (AP) — Three victories around the world. A chance to win another major. A Ryder Cup victory. Jordan Spieth had every reason to celebrate his year. Part of him, however, couldn't wait for it to end. 'I was happy when the ball touched down and 2017 started,' Spieth said Wednesday. He wasn't the least bit bothered by what he achieved last year, especially a pair of PGA Tour victories that ran his total to eight before he turned 23. He just knew he faced endless comparisons with the year before, and even matching that was going to be close to impossible. Spieth was coming off the best season in golf over the last 40 years by anyone not named Tiger Woods. His five victories included the Masters and U.S. Open and as close as anyone has come to the modern Grand Slam. He capped it off with a FedEx Cup title and all the big awards. And it didn't help when he started the next year with an eight-shot victory in Kapalua. 'Off of this week last year, it didn't necessarily help my own and anyone else's expectations, given the performance that we had,' Spieth said. 'But I also knew that wasn't realistic to continue to do. It's also a 30-something event ... which makes your chances of winning significantly higher, even though it is a world-class field. 'But I learned a lot on both end of things, highs and lows, which I didn't really have many lows in 2015,' he said. 'I think I can use that to my advantage.' One bad swing on the 12th hole at Augusta National could have changed that. Spieth lost a five-shot lead on the back nine of the Masters and never caught up, and then he never had much of a chance. But consider his outlook a year ago. Asked what he would consider a good season, Spieth at first joked, 'Last year.' He's not one to be specific about goals, though he did mention giving himself a serious chance in a couple of majors and closing out individual events. He had a chance in one major. He closed out victories at Kapalua, Colonial and the Australian Open. The Masters was the only tournament he had a chance to close out and let get away. Not a bad year. Just not like the previous year. And now, 2015 is far enough in the past that it's easier to look forward. Another reminder is the world ranking. Even with three victories and a runner-up in a major, Spieth went from No. 1 to No. 5. 'Just have to get it back,' he said. It starts on a Plantation Course that is far different from a year ago, when Spieth became only the second player in PGA Tour history to finish 72 holes in 30-under par or lower. It was dry with light wind throughout the week. This year, nearly two months of rainy weather makes has made the fairways lush. More rain this past weekend made it so soggy that instead of balls running down the fairways, tee shots were backing up from pitch marks. That would seem to be more suited to U.S. Open champion Dustin Johnson, who will be paired with Spieth in the opening round. Then again, length has nothing to do with why Spieth loves it here. In his only other appearance in 2014, he was in a three-way tie for the lead going into the final round and finished one shot behind Zach Johnson. 'I think this course, a lot like Augusta National, a few other ones, with the amount of slope and uneven lies and the amount of imagination you need in approach shots and on and around the greens, it brings out more the feel side of my game,' Spieth said. 'More kind of the quick-twitch, reactionary-type golf that I just love playing and I feel like is my DNA, my golf DNA. So that's why I feel like I've had success. 'When your swing isn't a driving range swing other than tee balls, I tend to hit the ball better than I do if it's just a dead-flat golf course,' he said. 'I don't know necessarily why. I think it's just the strength of mind to be able to adapt my swing to different lies.' Spieth has played only twice since the Ryder Cup, winning the Australian Open and tying for sixth in the Hero World Challenge. He's not alone. Jason Day, the world's No. 1 player, last played Sept. 23 at the Tour Championship. Dustin Johnson played only twice since the Ryder Cup. Everyone gets a chance to see where their game is against a 32-man field in paradise. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 5th, 2017

Wawrinka, Nishikori reaches quarterfinals in Brisbane

JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer br /> BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — A change of scenery didn't change much about the outcome of Stan Wawrinka's opening match of the season. The U.S. Open champion won his debut match at the Brisbane International tournament on Wednesday, beating Viktor Troicki 7-6 (5), 6-4 to move into the quarterfinals against Kyle Edmund. Wawrinka previously made a habit of winning the title in Chennai to warm up for the Australian Open. From 2014-16, he won the Indian event without dropping a set. At 31, though, he decided it was time for a change. He is seeded second in Brisbane, his main tuneup for the season's first Grand Slam tournament beginning Jan. 16. 'For sure it's a bit different conditions, but I don't think it will change much for the preparation for Australia,' said Wawrinka, who won his first major title at Melbourne Park in 2014. 'When you've been on the tour for so long, to play some new tournaments, it makes you a little bit fresher mentally.' Third-seeded Kei Nishikori was rusty in his season-opening match against Jared Donaldson but found enough to hold off the American qualifier 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. Eighth-seeded David Ferrer didn't make it that far, saving four match points on serve late in the third set before losing to Australian wild-card entry Jordan Thompson 4-6, 7-5, 7-5. Thompson, who won only three of his 13 matches in 2016, is already 2-0 this week and reached his first ATP Tour-level quarterfinal match. Next up is Nishikori. Nishikori, a three-time semifinalist in Brisbane, had a first-round bye and started the second round by racing to a 4-0 lead. But Donaldson responded and won the next six games to take the opening set in less than an hour. After jumping to a 3-0 lead in the second, Nishikori dropped another service game but this time used his experience in pressure situations to calmly regain control. 'I had a great start, and then I had one bad game after 4-0,' Nishikori said. 'I think it's a matter of my concentration ... a mental thing. After that he started playing much better ... and his forehand was on fire. 'It was really close. He had many chance to win a set and win the match, so, I mean, finally, in the last set I started playing like first couple of games and started dominating.' Sixth-seeded Lucas Pouille was trailing Edmund 6-3, 3-1 when he retired from their second-round match because of blisters. A day after becoming the first player born in the 2000s to win a main draw match at an elite WTA event, Destanee Aiava lost to two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4, 6-3 in the women's second round. 'It's pretty scary (but) I learned a lot out of that match,' said the 16-year-old Aiava, adding that she had gained 'confidence, maybe, in my game and myself, knowing that I do belong here.' Aiava will return to her hometown Melbourne, where she will play an exhibition tournament next week to continue preparations for her first Grand Slam event. She has a wild-card entry for the Australian Open, where she is set to be the first player born this millennium to play a Grand Slam main draw match. Kuznetsova will play French Open champion and fourth-seeded Garbine Muguruza in the quarterfinals. Second-seeded Dominika Cibulkova rallied from a set and a break down to beat Zhang Shuai 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 in her first competitive match since beating No. 1 Angelique Kerber to clinch the season-ending WTA Finals title. No. 8-seeded Roberta Vinci beat Misaki Doi 6-4, 6-2 in another second-round match. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 4th, 2017

Fired-up Djokovic makes perfect start

Melbourne---Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic got his season off to a perfect start with a battling win over hot-shot Denis Shapovalov in the ATP Cup Tuesday, but world number three Dominic Thiem crashed to defeat......»»

Category: sportsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsFeb 3rd, 2021

Ma, what’s on my plate?

THE WEEKEND READER: This submitted essay proposes an alternative way of living this new year, with a mind set to be more international and conscious of what we do—beginning with what we eat By Khennan John Suarez The year 2020 has been… unhealthy. But if there’s one thing we were given a chance for, it’s to take a harder look at our lifestyles in retrospect. For some, myself included, this means becoming more conscious of the food that goes into my body. The advancement in nutritionism over the past 20 years has changed the way we look at our plates. Once colorful meals that consisted of “go, grow, and glow” staples are now replaced with single, nutrient-packed breakfast bars coupled with energy drinks endorsed by the influencer-of-the-week. One would think that all these diet bars, and pills, would’ve transformed people healthier, with lifestyle diseases kept at bay. Sadly, this remains a dream today as it was 10 years ago. (Manila Bulletin/Unsplash) Data from WHO, CDC, and UN reveal that some of the top killer diseases in our country are attributed to lifestyle. And while life expectancy has increased over the past decade, so have cases of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and stroke. This fact raises more questions in nutrition. Despite crazy fads that promise longevity, what are we doing wrong? It makes sense to start a closer examination of what goes into our bodies. In An Eater’s Manifesto—highly recommended!—by Sam Pollan, there is a mantra that could be an ultimate guide to eating better. Eat food. And by this, he means eat whole food. For a beat, let’s forget about these canned goods, boxed cereals, processed fruit juices, and everything with ingredients we can’t even pronounce. Let’s forget about the most recent trend in nutrition and trace back to what our bodies (and our ancestors’ bodies) instinctively know as good food—whole grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables, sizeable portions of animal meats, milk, nuts, and all other products that are organic. Food products that are as close to their most natural forms as possible. Let’s assemble our plates in a way that pushes highly processed and artificial products away from it, whenever we can. For as hard as science has been working to understand nutrition better, and until we eventually come up with a “fountain-of-youth” pill, there remain cellular processes that we are yet to discover. For the meantime, it makes more sense to stick with natural basics. (Manila Bulletin/Unsplash) It’s also quite notable to know that while nutritionists still argue about which diet is best for us, they can all agree that plants do not kill us. Becoming more in tune with our nutrition is also an opportunity to start building relations to our farmers, and ask how produce is grown. Is the ground healthy? Are they showered with chemicals? Are the animals that supplied our food well-fed? This even raises ethical questions as to how they were raised and slaughtered. This strengthens the relationships we have with people that grow our food, our connection to our community, and the relationship we have with the earth around us. After all, nutrition is just a portion of more complex symbiotic relationship bigger than all of us. With the dawn of a new year, it pays that we become more intentional and more conscious of what we do. And today, we can start by asking, “Ma, what’s on my plate?” About the author: Khennan John is a 20-something health enthusiast with a knack for writing. The Weekend Reader is a Sunday submission segment of Manila Bulletin Lifestyle Arts + Culture. Those who wish to submit their essays for the Weekend Reader may do so via email: mblifestyleonline@gmail.com. As subject of the email, write WEEKEND READER followed by the title of your essay. The opinions and views expressed in The Weekend Reader are of the respective authors and not of the Manila Bulletin......»»

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

Rahm channels frustrations into big win with big moments

By DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. (AP) — Jon Rahm is no stranger to wild shifts in emotions, whether it was irritation from an absent-minded penalty that led to his only bogey of the weekend or his 65-foot birdie putt that capped an amazing victory at the BMW Championship. The difference now is he enjoyed it. All of it. The shot that will be remembered at Olympia Fields was a putt in the playoff Sunday that was just over 65 feet from the hole and had to travel even farther to get there, across the 18th green toward a ridge and then down the slope toward the cup, 11 seconds of watching, hoping and celebrating. Rahm wonders how different it might have been if not for his mental blunder. That happened on the fifth hole Saturday, when he was five shots behind. He might never be able to explain how he could walk up to his golf ball on the green, pick it up and freeze upon realizing he never marked it. He feared even after a 66 to get back in the mix that one shot could cost him. “I just hope I don't lose by one,” Rahm said that day. “I'm just going to say that. I just hope. And if I do, well, my fault.” He allowed his mind to think back to the penalty while on the range Sunday afternoon after a 64, the best score of the week, and hearing that Dustin Johnson was one shot behind facing a birdie putt just inside 45 feet. “I was like, that extra-shot cushion would be extremely nice right now, I'm not going to lie,” Rahm said. "But at the same time, it happened. I don't know if I would have won had it not happened. It kind of made me mad at myself, and I just went on with my focus after that and was able to play amazing golf. “I can tell you after making that 6-footer for bogey, I was like, ‘OK, that’s it. No playing around. Go.' That's kind of what mentally did it for me.” Rahm has always said he needs time to process success and failure, and this one could take a while. Even after it was over, and he posed with the BMW Championship and Western Golf Association trophies, part of him still felt like he was on the golf course in a playoff. He looked like a winner when his tee shot on the par-5 15th sailed into the trees and ricocheted out into the rough, avoiding a penalty, and his third shot was a 6-iron from 218 yards to 10 feet for birdie. He followed that with a 30-foot birdie putt across the 16th green for a two-shot lead. He feared for the worse when Johnson, down to his last shot, rolled in his improbable birdie putt down the slope on the 18th green for a 67 to force the playoff. That penalty shot looked as though it might be the difference when Johnson's drive on the 18th in the playoff hit a tree and came back to the fairway, and Rahm's shot from deep rough rolled out to the back of the green, leaving a putt so difficult that Rahm was hopeful of making par. “Honestly, I hoped it would be a decent putt for par coming back and have a chance to keep the playoff going,” he said. It was better than decent. It was perfect. The heart rate never eased up as Rahm watched Johnson's 30-foot birdie putt track toward the cup until it peeled away by inches and Rahm was the winner. “I still can’t believe what just happened,” Rahm said. "That stretch of waiting for DJ, him making the putt, going in the playoff, me making the putt, then trying to stay mentally in it just in case he made the last putt, it’s been a roller coaster. But so much fun. ... I set out to enjoy even the uncomfortable moments we had out there. “And man, it was fun.” Johnson took plenty away, too. He twice beat Rahm in 2017 in the span of a month at World Golf Championships, holding off a Rahm rally in the Mexico Championship and withstanding another ferocious comeback attempt in the Match Play. For Johnson, it was his third straight tournament with the 54-hole lead. He shot 68 in the PGA Championship and was beaten by a 65 from Collin Morikawa, which featured the driver onto the 16th green at Harding Park for eagle. Johnson shot 67 at the BMW Championship and lost to a 65-foot birdie putt in a playoff. Johnson held onto No. 1 in the world ranking and in the FedEx Cup, the latter meaning he will start the Tour Championship with a two-shot advantage. Rahm now has multiple victories worldwide for the fourth straight year. What stands out from this year is winning on the two toughest tests — Memorial, where the greens were allowed to bake out because they were being replaced after the tournament, and Olympia Fields, which played as hard as a U.S. Open. Rahm will get another U.S. Open test in three weeks at Winged Foot. The U.S. Open is billed as the ultimate test, most of that between the ears. Rahm looks more capable of that with each victory......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 31st, 2020

Always About the People

“Solid!” That was the only reaction, or lack thereof, that I could muster after that first breakaway slam of Kiefer Ravena’s UAAP collegiate basketball career over the outstretched arms of UST’s foreign center, Karim Abdul. Moments before, you could see Kiefer was going to go hard, as it was a one-on-one breakaway and he had the speed advantage over Abdul, who was hot on his heels. Little did I know that he was going to go for that highlight that would announce his entry into college basketball. That reaction, that loss for words, can pretty much sum up my past 10 years of covering college basketball for ABS-CBN Sports.  They first asked me to write about my most memorable UAAP game coverage; but I must confess, I was never really good at remembering exact details of games, unlike some of my fellow sportscasters, or even coaches I know, who remember almost detail for detail, or play by play. My memories come in highlights, or sometimes even just flashes of good or memorable plays.  I remember a 6’8”, 18-year old Ben Mbala, whom we first saw a glimpse of while Anton Roxas and I were covering the CESAFI league in the hot and humid Cebu Coliseum, sometime around 2012. He was playing for the Southwestern University Cobras, wasn’t as built and polished as when he was with DLSU, but you could already see the raw talent and athleticism. Fast forward a few years, I remember well how he took the UAAP by storm, with his monster dunks, and how he piloted La Salle to a championship while winning league MVP in Season 79.  I remember the heralded rookie season of Kiefer Ravena in the men’s division, after a storied juniors career. Kiefer won Rookie of the Year honors and helped lead Ateneo to two more titles to round up their 5-peat, before it was Jeron Teng’s turn to lead the Green Archers to a championship over his elder brother Jeric and the UST Growling Tigers.  I remember Bobby Ray Parks Jr. and his back-to-back MVP seasons. He was arguably the most complete college player during that time. It was painful to see his team fall short especially during his second MVP year. The Bulldogs made history the year after though, with Alfred Aroga, Troy Rosario, and Gelo Alolino now at the helm, winning the school’s first ever championship after more than forty years. I would argue that the past decade saw some of the brightest UAAP college basketball stars, both local and foreign, take to the hard court. It would almost be unfair to start naming them because I’ll surely end up leaving some names worthy enough to be mentioned. But we all remember Greg Slaughter, Ryan Buenafe, RR Garcia, Terence Romeo, Mac Belo, RR Pogoy, Roi Sumang, Charles Mamie, Alex Nuyles, Jericho Cruz, Papi Sarr, Jeron Teng, Jason Perkins, Aljun Melecio, Kiefer and Thirdy, Bobby Ray, Alfred Aroga, Kevin Ferrer, Karim Abul, Jeric Teng, Ange Kuoame, Matt and Mike Nieto, Paul Desiderio, Juan GDL, and the list goes on and on… all of them making their mark in the UAAP the past ten years. Aside from the highlights, there were the more mundane, behind-the-scenes memories, especially covering out-of-town games when we used to do the CESAFI and the PCCL. That was basketball coverage at its purest. There was a time we traveled to Lanao Del Sur to cover the Mindanao regional selection of the PCCL. Lanao was about another two to three hour drive from Cagayan de Oro along a dark highway with trees and mountains all around; and where there was only one mall in the entire town. Or when we traveled by van to La Union to cover the north regional selection of the PCCL… or even staying a whole week at the Cebu Grand Hotel, for the VisMin regional selection. Coverages then were bare bones: no real-time stats or live graphics, and I would even sometimes have to tally the points and rebounds of each player in-game on my notebook just so that I’d have some semblance of stats to mention on the coverage. Still, those games were so much fun because the players, getting their first shot at national TV coverage, would leave everything out on the floor.  In a year or so, both the UAAP and the NCAA will announce their respective new homes, and new broadcast teams will have the privilege of covering the best collegiate basketball players in the country. That’s how the ball bounces. I’m a firm believer that in life there are seasons, and a perfect time for everything. I’m just thankful for the opportunities thrown my way. If you were to ask me why the coverage of the UAAP helped build the league into what it is today, my answer would be simple: it was always about the people. At the end of the day, what makes the UAAP and its coverage great are the stories of the people that play, coach, officiate, cover, and run the games. It’s not really about the championships or the awards, but rather the challenges, hardships, and journeys of each of the individuals that brought them there.  And it is also about the directors, producers, cameramen, reporters and make-up artists that make sure that the audience sees what is supposed to be seen – the winning basket, a fan’s priceless reaction, the agony in defeat, and the glory of victory. It’s what Boom Gonzalez or Mico Halili would always say, that our job as anchors and analysts is to tell the people watching at home the story of what is happening in the game in the best way possible.  I just want to tip my hat to all the people that allowed us to do our jobs the best way possible. From our directors, producers, cameramen, floor directors, fellow panelists, courtside reporters, league officials, statisticians, make-up artists, and all those people behind the scenes whom we worked with, know that we were able to give our best because of you; and the UAAP coverage will not be what it is if not for all of your hard work and dedication.  It was, is, and will always be about the people. Marco Benitez was the team captain for the Ateneo Blue Eagles when they won the UAAP Season 65 men's seniors basketball title in 2002. Marco eventually covered collegiate basketball as analyst for ABS-CBN Sports starting in 2010. He is presently the President of the Philippine Women's University (PWU)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 23rd, 2020