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Psychological tests help Calvin Abueva as he moves on from 'worst' part of career

Calvin Abueva is moving on. 2019 was not kind to Calvin Abueva at the slightest, as multiple incidents on and off the court turned his life and career upside down. Currently still suspended by the PBA, Abueva calls the past year as easily the worst of his career. "Totally mental block ako noong panahon na yun," Abueva told former PBA Commissioner Nolie Eala on Power & Play. "Di ko rin masabi sa sarili ko kung bakit ko ginawa yun. First time nangyari sa buong career ko yun, yun ang gulo na pinaka-malala, pinaka-worst," he added. After leading the Phoenix Fuel Masters to the no. 1 seed and a breakthrough semifinals in the Philippine Cup, Abueva's 2019 took a turn for worse in the team's opening weekend in the Commissioner's Cup. First, Calvin was caught on camera making lewd gestures towards the girlfriend of then Blackwater rookie Ray Parks late in a game Phoenix already wrapped up. Second, Abueva clotheslined TNT import Terrence Jones in a heated game that the KaTropa ended up winning in a blowout. The KaTropa game was the last appearance on the court for Calvin so far as total of P90,000 from the PBA and his own team, an indefinite suspension followed. It didn't help that marital problems soon struck Calvin as well though thankfully, he and his wife Sam have since made up and their relationship looks to be stronger than ever in 2020. In the midst of all this, Abueva has found solace in his psychological sessions. The sessions are mandatory for his PBA reinstatement but he plans to continue taking them on his own even after his suspension is lifted. "Laking tulong sakin yung psychology, the best part sa life mo. Kailangan mo rin makilala yung sarili mo," Abueva said. "Ako sa sarili ko, I want to go back kasi mas magiging peaceful ako na male-learn ko kung ano yung mga dapat ko rin makita sa ugali ko at sa katayuan ko," he added. In experiencing the worst, Calvin learned the value of taking cafe of your own mental health. As he moves on to possibly greener pastures, Abueva hopes to also showcase on new and better version of himself. "Hindi ko na po tino-throwback lahat ng nangyari sakin. Fino-forward ko kung paano ko sila makakalimutan at kung paano ko male-learn yung lesson ko," he said. "Ang sakin, gusto ko mapakita yung ako, hindi lang sa basketball, maski yung sa likod ng backboard na Calvin Abueva," the Beast added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnAug 10th, 2020

PBA: Abueva needs to complete psychological tests to end suspension

Calvin Abueva getting his mind right is the only thing he needs to be reinstated in the PBA. In a rare interview following his now year-long suspension from the league, Abueva revealed the mystery requirement that's holding him back from the PBA. The Phoenix star just needs to complete his psychological tests in order to complete his reinstatement process. "Ngayon, sayang nga nagka-pandemiya, hindi na sunud-sunod yung session ko about sa psychology," Abueva said on the 2OT podcast of PBA broadcasters Magoo Marjon and Carlo Pamintuan. "Sa dalawang psych ko, naka-tulong sakin at naging kumportable ang buhay ko. Hinihintay ko na lang ang apat na session ko dito para maka-balik," he added. Earlier this week during the PSA Forum, Commissioner Willie Marcial gave a vague update on Abueva, saying the COVID-19 pandemic stalled the Beast's reinstatement. [Related: PBA: Phoenix's Calvin Abueva remains indefinitely suspended] However, the PBA chief didn't go into specifics on Abueva's actual requirements. For his part, Calvin reveals that he's completed the rest of what the PBA wants him to do in order to play again. "Actually tapos na, yung mag-hingi ng apology sa Board, sa PBA fans, at lalong-lalo na sa mga nasaktan ko," he said. "Yung mga community service na kailangan kong gawin [tapos na rin]. Yung pinapagawang community service sakin, dinoble ko pa, kasi opportunity ko rin sa buhay ko na maka-tulong din. Di naman ako mayaman, pero alam ko yung lugar ko. Ang pangatlo yung drug test na nakumpleto ko," Abueva added. Abueva has been indefinitely suspended since June 4, 2019. Calvin got his punishment after separate incidents in the 2019 Commissioner's Cup. In a matter of three days, Abueva made lewd gestures towards the girlfriend of then Blackwater rookie Ray Parks Jr. and clotheslined TNT import Terrence Jones.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 13th, 2020

With complete requirements, Abueva waits for PBA decision on his suspension

The Calvin Abueva saga is about to come to an end. Abueva says that he's completed all his requirements and the decision is now up to the PBA to reinstate him or not. [Related: PBA: Abueva needs to complete psychological tests to end suspension] In June, Calvin revealed that he just needs to complete his psychological tests in order to move his reinstatement process along. Two months later, Abueva now says he's all done. "Actually, right now tapos na po lahat. Result na lang ang hinihintay," Calvin told veteran sportscaster Sev Sarmenta on the One Sports show, "Sports Page." "Hanggang ngayon yun na lang hinihintay ko, kung anong result na saabihin ni Commissioner dun sa mga ginawa ko," he added. Abueva has been suspended for over a year now. Calvin's indefinite suspension was handed down in June of 2019 after a series of on-court incidents capped by him giving a clothesline to TNT import Terrence Jones. As time passed and with the help of his treatment, Abueva feels refreshed and is overall just in a better place in his life. "Ang laki ng pagbabago sa mga nangyari sa akin sa past year na dumaan. Naging malinaw lahat sa pagi-isip ko kung ano yung dapat temper at attitude mo," Calvin said.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 20th, 2020

PBA: GAB hopes a more tamed Calvin returns from suspension

Calvin Abueva's PBA suspension has dragged on for more than a year now. While it appears that Abueva is very close to completing his PBA requirements for reinstatement, the ongoing pandemic seen as one of the main reasons for the delay, it's no secret that his return to basketball still could take a while. [Related: PBA: Abueva needs to complete psychological tests to end suspension] Abueva's final reinstatement is still up to the decision of the PBA Commissioner and the PBA Board. When he does come back though, all eyes will definitely be on him. Calvin could be on a more tighter leash and any more of his previous shenanigans might mean harsher punishment in the future. "As everybody knows, we have observed his improper and unprofessional decorum in the games. You think he's worth called being a professional player? Minsan unbecoming na of a professional player," Games and Amusements Board Chairman Baham Mitra said on the recent Philippine Sportswriters Association forum when the name of Calvin was brought up. "Ako I believe in him, he's a very good player. Pero sana naman mag-tame down na ng konti, nakaka-sakit na siya eh. Nakaktakot baka mamaya maka-injure siya ng ibang professional," he added. The GAB has not taken any action regarding the case of Abueva, who was indefinitely suspended last year on top of a P70,000 fine for a number of offenses in Phoenix's opening weekend in the 2019 Commissioner's Cup, including a clothesline on TNT KaTropa import Terrence Jones. If the PBA decides to reinstate Calvin, the GAB will simply acknowledge it although the professional board prefers if Abueva can communicate with them as well. "We are separate with what the PBA is doing. There has been no communication between Calvin and the GAB. In case the PBA thinks na okay na siya, then he will have to also try to at least reach out to us. Sabi ko nga, we don't want to over regulate. We always believe in self-regulation," Mitra said. "Ngayon, kung nadisiplina na siya, he can probably present what steps and proper therapy sessions he has undergone. Then if he convinces the Board, then okay lang din naman samin," he added. Abueva's ongoing suspension is certainly one of the harshest punishments a PBA player has received in recent years. With that being said, the Chairman Mitra has issued a reminder to all players about their responsibilities as professional athletes. "Remind po natin yung mga players no, lahat po kayo may lisensya sa Games and Amusements Board," he said. "We don't want to overstep, but we're here and we're watching. Turning pro comes with responsibilities," Mitra added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 4th, 2020

Nationals beat Blue Jays 4-0 in 10 in road game at home

By The Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) — Adam Eaton’s bases-loaded chopper broke a scoreless tie in the 10th inning on a close play and Asdrúbal Cabrera followed with a three-run triple, helping the Nationals snap a three-game losing streak by beating the Toronto Blue Jays 4-0 Wednesday night. In a quirky game befitting this pandemic-altered, upside-down season, Toronto’s team played its “home opener” at Washington — batting in the bottom half of each inning, wearing its white uniforms, playing its players’ walk-up music and even blaring the song “OK Blue Jays,” the club’s traditional seventh-inning stretch staple. Toronto’s Nate Pearson, in his big league debut, and Washington’s Max Scherzer, in his 358th start in the majors, put up plenty of zeros. So did the relievers that followed. In the top of the 10th, though, Washington moved ahead on an odd-looking play. After starting with the automatic runner on second base Washington loaded the bags with two walks from Toronto’s sixth pitcher, Shun Yamaguchi (0-2). After two strikeouts, Eaton bounced a ball off the mound. Second baseman Cavan Biggio grabbed it and tried to dive glove-first at the bag, but was edged out by runner Andrew Stevenson. After a replay review of more than two minutes, the “safe” call was upheld, making it 1-0. Cabrera then homered. Daniel Hudson (1-0) got five outs for the win. DODGERS 4, ASTROS 2, 13 INNINGS HOUSTON (AP) — The Dodgers and Astros showed no carry-over from a fracas in the series opener that led to suspensions, and Edwin Ríos hit a two-run homer in the 13th inning to lift Los Angeles over Houston. No pitches were thrown above or behind any batters, nobody made any ugly faces and everyone remained in their respective dugouts. The loudest noise was the crack of Ríos’ bat when he took Cy Sneed (0-1) deep for a leadoff homer — a two-run drive under the new extra-innings rule that starts with an automatic runner on second base. The Dodgers played without manager Dave Roberts, suspended one game for his part in Tuesday night’s testy matchup that saw the dugouts clear. Bench coach Bob Geren managed the team in Roberts’ absence. Los Angeles used nine pitchers, but not Joe Kelly. The reliever was suspended for eight games by Major League Baseball after buzzing a fastball behind the head of Alex Bregman, then striking out Carlos Correa and mockingly taunting him by sticking out his tongue and pouting his bottom lip. TIGERS 5, ROYALS 4 DETROIT (AP) — JaCoby Jones hit a tiebreaking solo homer in the seventh inning, and Detroit’s bullpen came through again to beat Kansas City. A night after pitching six scoreless innings in a win over the Royals, the Tigers’ relievers held Kansas City without a baserunner for four. Detroit rallied from a 4-0 deficit thanks in large part to Jones, who doubled twice before connecting off Ian Kennedy (0-1) for his third homer. Jonathan Schoop also went deep for the Tigers. Maikel Franco hit two doubles and a single for Kansas City, and Whit Merrifield had two hits and scored twice. Bryan Garcia (1-0) earned his first big league win, one of four Detroit relievers who pitched in the game. Joe Jimenez worked the ninth for his fourth save. YANKEES 9, ORIOLES 3 BALTIMORE (AP) — The New York Yankees stepped in for the Miami Marlins and ruined Baltimore’s home opener, hitting three home runs to back right-hander Gerrit Cole. The Orioles were originally slated to launch the home portion of the abbreviated 60-game schedule against Miami, but the Marlins were ordered to take a hiatus after several players and coaches contracted COVID-19 over the weekend. New York was scheduled to play Philadelphia on Wednesday, but the Phillies’ season was put on hold as a precaution because they were Miami’s opponent in the opening series. So Major League Baseball thrust the Yankees and Orioles together while the Marlins and Phillies recover. Cole (2-0) gave up three runs and four hits in 6 2/3 innings to win his 18th straight decision. After DJ LeMahieu homered off Asher Wojciechowski (0-1) on the game’s second pitch, Aaron Judge and Aaron Hicks both went deep in the third for a 5-1 lead. GIANTS 7, XXX 6 SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Mike Yastrzemski homered twice, the second a towering solo shot into McCovey Cove in the ninth inning, lifting San Francisco past San Diego. Donovan Solano had a three-run home run in the eighth and Alex Dickerson also went deep as the Giants rallied to beat the Padres, who entered the the game tied for the best record in baseball. Brandon Crawford added three hits for San Francisco. Manny Machado and Trent Grisham homered for San Diego. The Giants trailed 6-3 with two outs in the eighth before rallying. MARINERS 10, ANGELS 7 ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Kyle Seager drove in three runs, Dylan Moore hit a three-run homer and Seattle rallied from two late deficits. Moore connected during the Mariners’ five-run sixth, and Seager put the Mariners ahead for good with a sacrifice fly in the seventh inning of Seattle’s second victory of the season. Shohei Ohtani had a three-run homer, Mike Trout got three hits and Justin Upton hit his 300th career homer for the Angels, who have lost four of six. Brian Goodwin homered and added a two-run double that put the Angels ahead in the sixth. Seattle surged back in front by battering Los Angeles’ bullpen, which flopped mightily in a game featuring four lead changes. The Angels’ bullpen yielded eight runs — one more than it had given up in LA’s first five games combined. The Mariners made their decisive rally in the seventh against Jacob Barnes (0-1). Bryan Shaw (1-0) allowed five baserunners and gave up three runs in the sixth. Dan Altavilla pitched the ninth for his first save. WHITE SOX 4, INDIANS 0 CLEVELAND (AP) — Yasmani Grandal and Eloy Jiménez hit sacrifice flies and Chicago scored four runs in the ninth inning — three charged to ineffective Cleveland closer Brad Hand. The Indians got eight terrific innings from No. 5 starter Zach Plesac. He struck out a career-high 11, shut out the White Sox on three hits and continued a strong run of Cleveland pitching to start the season. Rookie Luis Robert hit a two-run single in the ninth as Chicago snapped a three-game losing streak and salvaged one game in the series. Chicago starter Lucas Giolito matched Plesac pitch for pitch through six, holding the Indians scoreless on four hits. It was a nice bounce back by the All-Star right-hander, who gave up a home run in Minnesota on his first pitch of the season and was touched for seven runs in 3 2/3 innings. RED SOX 6, METS 5 NEW YORK (AP) — Christian Vázquez hit a tying home run off Seth Lugo in the seventh inning and a two-run single against Justin Wilson in a three-run eighth, rallying Boston. Boston had lost four in a row following its opening day win over Baltimore -- the equivalent of 11 straight over a full season -- that included a pair of defeats to the Mets at Fenway Park. New York closed with a run in the ninth, when a diving stop by third baseman Rafael Devers helped Brandon Workman strand the bases loaded. Workman recovered for his first save of the year by striking out Yoenis Céspedes and retiring Robinson Canó on a soft liner to shortstop. Jacob DeGrom, throwing at up to 101 mph, extended his consecutive scoreless streak to 31 innings before allowing a pair of runs in the fourth but got his second straight no-decision, allowing two runs and three hits in six innings with four strikeouts. He left with a 3-2 lead, but Vázquez tied the score when he drove a hanging curveball from Lugo for his second home run this season. RANGERS 7, DIAMONDBACKS 4 ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) —Joey Gallo hit a tying, two-run homer in the eighth inning and Texas scored three more runs after that to snap a three-game losing streak. After Gallo lined an opposite-field shot to left off Andrew Chafin (0-1) for his second homer of the season, the Rangers loaded the bases with two outs. Elvis Andrus then hit a two-run single before Nick Solak added an RBI single. Todd Frazier hit his first homer and had two doubles for Texas, whose five-run inning accounted for only one run fewer than it had scored combined in their first four games in the new $1.2 billion stadium with a retractable roof. Jonathan Hernandez (1-0) got the win despite giving up two runs in the eighth, and Nick Goody worked a perfect ninth for his first save. ROCKIES 5, ATHLETICS 1 OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — German Márquez struck out eight over six impressive innings to bounce back after losing on opening day, and Colorado wrapped up a successful season-opening road trip. Charlie Blackmon delivered an insurance run with an RBI double in the eighth, then reached on an error in the ninth that led to a pair of runs. Garrett Hampson hit a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the fourth to help back Márquez (1-1). Carlos Estévez relieved Márquez and escaped the seventh unscathed with the tying run on second. Jairo Diaz struck out Robbie Grossman with the bases loaded in the eighth, putting Oakland at 0 for 14 with runners in scoring position during these two games. Matt Chapman homered in the bottom of the first for the A’s. Colorado came right back when Tony Wolters hit a tying single in the top of the second against Frankie Montas (0-1). BRAVES 7, RAYS 4 ATLANTA (AP) —Freddie Freeman homered and drove in three runs on a four-hit night, leading Atlanta in its home opener. Freeman, stricken with the coronavirus before the shortened season and became so ill that he feared for his life, has quickly reclaimed his place as one of the game’s most feared hitters. He hit his first homer of the season in the third, a two-run shot into the empty seats in right field, and added an RBI single that capped a three-run sixth after Tampa Bay pulled ahead with three runs in the top half. The Braves snapped Tampa Bay’s four-game winning streak. Tampa Bay scrapped out an unearned run off Mike Soroka in the fifth and pulled ahead for the first time in the sixth, doing the bulk of the damage after Darren O’Day (1-0) took over for the Atlanta starter. With two outs, Kevin Kiermaier drove in the tying run and Hunter Renfroe followed with a two-run single that put the Ray ahead 4-2. But the Tampa Bay bullpen couldn’t hold the lead. Andrew Kittredge gave up back-to-back doubles, retiring only one hitter before giving way to Oliver Drake (0-1). The funky right-hander had a chance to escape with the lead intact, but Willy Adames bobbled a high chopper by Ozzie Albies that was ruled an infield hit. Freeman followed with his fourth hit of the night, lining an RBI single to right-center. Albies was thrown out at third to end the inning, but Ender Inciarte had already crossed the plate with the go-ahead run. BREWERS 3, PIRATES 0 PITTSBURGH (AP) — Milwaukee’s Brandon Woodruff allowed one hit and struck out 10 while working into the seventh inning as the Brewers beat struggling Pittsburgh. Woodruff (1-1) retired 19 of 21 batters, allowing a swinging bunt single to Phil Evans in the first. Pittsburgh didn’t manage another baserunner until Evans walked leading off the seventh. Woodruff threw 92 of his 61 pitches for strikes against a lineup that is struggling to produce. The Pirates are hitting a majors-worst .171 during their 2-4 start. Ben Gamel gave Woodruff all the support he would need with a third-inning two-run homer over the right-field seats off Joe Musgrove (0-2). REDS 12, CUBS 7 CINCINNATI (AP) — Mike Moustakas and Nick Senzel homered in their returns from a COVID-19 scare, Nick Castellanos added a grand slam, and Cincinnati ended a four-game losing streak. Sonny Gray (2-0) extended his major league record to 35 consecutive starts allowing six hits or fewer. He gave up only Ian Happ’s double and fanned 11 as he pitched into the seventh inning. Moustakas and Senzel missed the last three games after feeling sick a day after teammate Matt Davidson went on the injured list because he tested positive for the coronavirus. After passing tests, they returned and helped the Reds to their best run total of the season. Kyle Hendricks (1-1) threw a three-hit shutout against the Brewers in the season opener but couldn’t make it through the fifth inning against Cincinnati. Moustakas had a two-run shot in the fourth, and Hendricks left after Eugenio Suárez’s bases-loaded single an inning later. TWINS 3, CARDINALS 0 MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Rich Hill pitched five scoreless innings in a smooth Minnesota debut, backed by Eddie Rosario’s homer and Nelson Cruz’s RBI double. Alex Avila, another Minnesota newcomer, had an RBI single. Taylor Rogers pitched a perfect ninth for his first save, and the Twins finished a two-game sweep to improve to 4-1. Currently the second-oldest player in the majors, the 40-year-old Hill needed only 68 pitches to pick up his first victory for a Twins team that signed him this winter with the assumption he’d be ready around midsummer after his recovery from elbow surgery. The Cardinals, after winning their first two games against Pittsburgh, have scored four runs on 15 hits over a three-game losing streak. Daniel Ponce de Leon (0-1) struck out eight over 3 2/3 innings......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 30th, 2020

Beast and Baby Beast together in Coach Topex s NCAA First 5

Topex Robinson has been calling the shots for Lyceum of the Philippines University from 2015 to present. Before this, the always amiable mentor was at the helm for San Sebastian College-Recoletos from 2011 to 2014. Through all of that, he has had a hand in the discovery and the development of young talent for his teams as well as the game planning for the opposing rising stars. Among all of those, who are the best of the best for him? Here is Topex Robinson's NCAA First 5, as he told ABS-CBN Sports: CJ PEREZ One phone call - one phone call was all it took for the tides to turn in favor of LPU. When Perez was looking to leave the nest of Ateneo de Manila University, he called one person and one person only - Coach Topex, who discovered and then developed him back in San Sebastian. The rest, as they say, is history as in the first year of their reunion, the 6-foot-2 guard was hailed as MVP all while the Pirates sailed to a historic Finals. CALVIN ABUEVA "The Beast" continued to be unleashed under the watchful eye of coach Topex. Already a force under then-coaches Ato Agustin and Turo Valenzona, Abueva stayed Abueva even as he did not replicate his MVP win in Season 87. And up until now, there is still no end-to-end force quite like one-third of the "Pinatubo Trio." IAN SANGALANG Another third of the "Pinatubo Trio," Sangalang had polished post moves from the moment he stepped into the collegiate ranks. He became an all-around player in his later years in San Sebastian, however, and much of that was thanks to the guidance of Coach Topex. The 6-foot-7 big man's MVP came in the season that went unfinished by Robinson, but there remains no doubt that the latter had a huge hand in the rise of the latter. ROBERT BOLICK LPU was woken up from its dream season in Season 93 by San Beda University - who else but dynastic San Beda University. In particular, it was Bolick who dashed their dreams, dropping seven of his 24 points in the last two minutes of Game 1 and delivering seven of his 22 markers in the last five minutes of Game 2. The only thing unfortunate about the Pirates' transformation into a powerhouse was that it just so coincided with the self-proclaimed bench player in De La Salle University's transformation into "Big Shot Bolick." RAYMOND ALMAZAN (Photo courtesy of Mark Cristino, ABS-CBN News) In the early 2010s, San Beda's challenger in the Finals was either San Sebastian or Colegio de San Juan de Letran. In the same time that Baste was the stage for the "Pinatubo Trio," Letran was home to tantalizing talents such as Kevin Alas, Rey Guevarra, and RJ Jazul. Among them, though, it was only the 6-foot-8 Almazan who stood out enough to be recognized as MVP - and his two-way impact throughout his collegiate career has most definitely not gone unnoticed by opposing coaches. --- Coach Topex did not go into detail as to why he went with these five players. In general, though, he said that these five are "for a fact, the best that the NCAA has produced in the last 10 years." Even better, Robinson said that all of Perez, Abueva, Sangalang, Bolick, and Almazan are, at present, keeping at proving his point as stars in the PBA. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 3rd, 2020

PBA: Abueva vows to double his energy once reinstated

Now that his true requirements have been revealed, it could only be a matter of time before Calvin Abueva finally gets reinstated in the PBA. Once he's back, the Beast will be ready to be unleashed anew. [PBA: Abueva needs to complete psychological tests to end suspension] Calvin's now year-long suspension will certainly not affect his intensity. In fact, Abueva vows to actually double his energy. "Hindi the same. Doble pa," Abueva told PBA broadcasters Magoo Marjon and Carlo Pamintuan on their 2OT podcast. "Kaya nga sinasabi ko nga sa inyo, kailangan mag-isip ako ng doble pa sa mga kailangan ko pang gawin," he added. As he tries to get his PBA life back, Abueva is banking on the lessons learned during his suspension to try and stay away from trouble. But Calvin is Calvin and his famous intensity should be a welcome prospect for a Phoenix side that struggled mightily during his absence. "Binigay ko naman yung [100] percent ko na para makita ng mga tao na si Calvin Abueva hindi lumulubog sa mga ganito, sa isang problema lang," he said. "Kumbaga, pursigi talaga, 100 percent na makabalik kasi nasa utak ka na ng tao eh. Hindi na mawawala yan kung anong pinakita mo sa liga. Kay 100 percent tinatry ko best ko para makabalik," Calvin added. — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 16th, 2020

PBA: Jones gets the last laugh over “funny guy” Calvin

Things almost got way out of hand Sunday in the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup between TNT and Phoenix. In the middle of the fourth quarter, an already-heated game reached a boiling point and Calvin Abueva literally clotheslined TNT import Terrence Jones. Jones snapped for a moment and tried to go after Calvin. Cooler heads managed to keep the two away from each other and things fortunately didn’t escalaye further. But it would have been easily one of the uglier scenes in the league for quite a while. Jones, who finished with 40 points to lead TNT to a convincing win, didn’t even have an idea who in the world Abueva was. Terrence just says his new rival was “funny” and “lucky” all at the same time. “Who’s that?” Jones said when asked what he thought about Calvin. “He’s a funny guy. He likes to get the crowd involved. I like the entertainment part of it, but he’s lucky his teammates got him away from me. Besides that, the game’s fun and I enjoyed getting the win,” he added. With teams going after him, Jones says it’s important to keep his composure and not get affected by cheap shots and actual wrestiling moves. He’s learning on the job on how to deal with it. “Like I said, it’s been happening to me all season. Coach has been talking to me about staying focused on the plays and not letting that get to me,” Jones said. “It’s a lot of cheap shots and guys trying to get a reaction from me since they saw it work two games ago. I’m just trying to make sure I’m keeping my composure,” he added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 3rd, 2019

Messi hits 50 goals for Barca, Madrid ends season to forget

By Joseph Wilson, Associated Press BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Lionel Messi scored twice to hit the 50-goal mark for the sixth time in his career on Sunday while Real Madrid put a fittingly poor ending to its worst season in recent memory after losing in the final round of the Spanish league. Messi scored his 49th and 50th goals in all competitions this season to give Barcelona a 2-2 draw at Eibar and finished as the league's top scorer with 36 goals for the Spanish champions. This is the sixth season Messi has finished as the top La Liga scorer, equaling a record held by Athletic Bilbao striker Telmo Zarra from the 1950s. Barcelona, which had clinched the league title with three rounds to play, will now look to also retain the Copa del Rey title next weekend when it faces Valencia. Its chance of a rare treble of major titles was ended by Liverpool in the Champions League semifinals. Barcelona won the league with 11 points more than second-place Atletico Madrid. It also finished 19 points ahead of Madrid, the biggest-ever points advantage by Barcelona over its fiercest rival. "We were very consistent all season long and that's what allowed us to win the league by such a comfortable margin," Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said. JEERS FOR MADRID Madrid endured the jeers of its own frustrated fans after a 2-0 loss to Real Betis at the Santiago Bernabeu. Most of Madrid's supporters have long placed their hopes on what changes the club will make to an underperforming squad in the summer. Not even coach Zinedine Zidane could find a saving grace to the campaign. "It isn't that we don't want to (play better), we aren't able to," Zidane said. "The best thing is for this to be over. We are already thinking about the future and next season." Madrid entered the match with nothing to play for, locked into a third-place finish for the second consecutive season for the first time since 1974. Since the return of Zidane to take charge of the club after its shock loss to Ajax in the round of 16 in the Champions League, Madrid has finished the campaign with a record of five wins, two draws and four losses. "The fault is ours," Madrid defender Marcelo said. "We didn't start well and we didn't finish it well either. In no way was this the season we wanted to have." MESSI'S DOUBLE Messi moved four goals ahead of Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappé — who has 32 in the French league with a round left — as the top scorer in Europe's major domestic leagues. Marc Cucurella, a Barcelona youth player on loan to Eibar, opened the scoring before Messi got his first goal from a pass by Arturo Vidal in the 31st. Messi added a second just a minute later when he broke behind Eibar's high defensive line, received the ball from Ivan Rakitic and chipped it over goalkeeper Marco Dmitrovic. Eibar defender Pablo de Blasis leveled just before halftime when he scored from distance into an open net after Barcelona goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen made a poor clearance with his head outside the area. Barcelona right back Nelson Semedo was taken to the hospital for tests after he received a knock on the head and had to be substituted. Youth player Carles Pérez debuted for Barcelona in the second half. TEAM WINS, SETIÉN LOSES The victory at Madrid didn't save Quique Setién's job. Betis announced shortly after that Setién and the Seville-based club had agreed to part ways after two seasons together, confirming weeks of speculation that he was on his way out. At least Setién's last match in charge was one to remember for the coach. Betis outplayed the hosts from the start and got second-half goals from Loren Morón and former Madrid forward Jesé Rodríguez. A long ball by Giovani Lo Celso set Andrés Guardado free down the left as he sprinted clear of Raphael Varane before crossing for Morón to score. Lo Celso then slipped a ball through to Junior Firpo, who found Jesé unmarked at the edge of the six-yard box. Betis, which beat both Madrid and Barcelona at their stadiums, ended the season in 10th place. "This allows us to finish a season that has been a bit disappointing with a victory against a team and at a stadium that will always be a nice memory," Setién said before the club announced his departure. HOW IT ENDED Champion Barcelona, Atletico, Madrid and fourth-place Valencia qualify for the Champions League. Getafe, Sevilla and Espanyol took the Europa League spots. Girona, Huesca and Rayo Vallecano were relegated......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 20th, 2019

NBA Pacers guard LeVert out after mass found on kidney

In this file photo taken on January 09, 2021 Caris LeVert of the Brooklyn Nets dribbles during the first half against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Barclays Center in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP) Indiana Pacers guard Caris LeVert, obtained in the four-team NBA deal that sent James Harden from Houston to Brooklyn, is out indefinitely with a small mass on his left kidney. The discovery was made in an MRI exam as part of a physical before the swap involving Houston, Brooklyn and Cleveland was completed, the Pacers said on Saturday. “LeVert will undergo further medical tests and more details will follow as needed,” the Pacers said in a statement. LeVert has averaged 18.5 points, 4.3 rebounds and 6.0 assists a game so far in his fifth NBA campaign, all with the Nets, who obtained him in a trade two weeks after the Pacers made him the 20th pick of the 2016 NBA Draft. “On behalf of my family and myself, we want to thank the Indiana Pacers for their support and guidance,” LeVert said in a statement. “We are grateful for their extreme thoroughness during the physical process and I am looking forward to joining the team and being part of this great organization as soon as possible.” The Pacers landed LeVert, a 26-year-old American, from Brooklyn, and future second-round NBA Draft choices from both Houston and Cleveland in the blockbuster deal. “We acquired Caris because of who he is as a young man first and foremost,” Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard said. “His basketball skill and on court play speaks for itself. We know he has a great career ahead of him. “We will support Caris through this time and know that he will join us on the court as soon as he’s able.” The Pacers sent Victor Oladipo to Houston in the swap. The 28-year-old US guard was taken second by Houston in the 2013 NBA Draft. He joined Indiana in 2017 and has been a major spark in the Pacers’ offense and battled back from a ruptured right knee tendon suffered in January 2019, returning in January 2020. “We want to thank Victor for what he gave to the Pacers through his play, his diligence in rehab coming back from a serious injury, and his community efforts,” Pritchard said. “These decisions are obviously never easy and this one in particular was hard because of our relationship.”.....»»

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

The Beast just trying to move on

A grateful Calvin Abueva of Phoenix doused cold water on the hot issue involving Ray Parks Jr. of TNT Tropang Giga, saying he’d rather focus on basketball as he resumes his PBA career that was marred by a 16-month suspension......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsNov 7th, 2020

Abueva takes on former team as Fuel Masters gun for third straight win vs Aces

All eyes will be on Calvin Abueva as he faces his former team. (PBA Images) Phoenix Super LPG hopes to build on the successful comeback of Calvin Abueva when it battles his former team Alaska on Thursday in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center. What Abueva has for an encore will be known in the 4 p.m. opener as the Fuel Masters (4-2) go for a third straight victory against the Aces (4-3), who are also riding on an impressive run of three wins in the last four outings. Unbeaten leader TNT looks to shrug off the rust factor as it aims for a sixth win opposite slumping NLEX (1-5) at 6:45 p.m. The Tropang Giga are slated to see action for the first time in eight days after Monday’s game against the NorthPort Batang Pier was postponed as a precautionary measure after facing the Blackwater Elite last week. One of Blackwater’s player is currently under quarantine after he had an initial positive result for COVID-19. He has since been declared negative in the succeeding antigen and RT-PCR tests. Abueva played as if he was not out of action for 16 months due to an indefinite suspension, posting 21 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists in Phoenix’s 114-110 triumph against NLEX. With Abueva back, many see Phoenix as a team with a legitimate chance of winning the crown, something Alaska coach Jeffrey Cariaso acknowledges. “We’re in a situation where Phoenix is already playing well, they added Calvin, who would give them an extra spark — extra All-Star. So we’re gonna have our hands full,” said Cariaso as he eyes to keep the same grit that enabled Alaska to buck a 0-2 start. Alaska is coming off a 99-96 victory over Terrafirma last Tuesday......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsOct 29th, 2020

Aljun Melecio s never-ending quest to prove he belongs

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 29th, 2020

FIBA: Mighty Jimmy and the shot that introduced Gilas to the World

This story was originally published on Feb. 24, 2019 It’s Saturday night at Mall of Asia and the arena is absolutely rocking. Eternal basketball rivals in the Philippines and South Korea are delivering another classic. Gilas Pilipinas is down to the final minute of regulation against its longtime tormentor in the second of two semifinal games. The national team is up by two, 81-79. The Philippines is hosting the 2013 FIBA-Asia Championships where three tickets to the 2014 World Cup are at stake and the winner of this particular game gets one of those tickets. Given the rich history of both teams and what it would mean to the winner, this pivotal game has gone down the wire as everyone pretty much expected. Also knowing the history of both teams in international play, Gilas’ precarious two-point lead was not safe at all. A ghost was lurking in the background and a dreaded curse felt almost inevitable. Down to the final minute of the crucial grudge match between the Philippines and South Korea, guard Jimmy Alapag has the ball and a two-point lead. What he will do will help define not only his career but the legacy of the Gilas name as a national team.   WAKE-UP CALL Even before the Philippines-Korea game, Gilas Pilipinas already had to go through one emotional game early in its homestand for the Asian Championships. In a preliminary round showdown against Chinese Taipei, the Filipinos collapsed in the fourth quarter, allowing the Taiwanese to steal a morale-boosting 84-79 win. In 2013, the relationship between the two countries hit a rough patch over the death of one Taiwanese fisherman. In an updated May 17 report by CNN’s Jethro Mullen, “Taiwan has reacted angrily after one of its fishermen was killed by a Philippine coast guard vessel.” Taiwan had frozen applications from OFWs seeking jobs in its territory and the government of then President Ma Ying-jeou demanded an apology, among other things, from the Philippines. While the national basketball teams of both countries never really had any prior animosity with each other, tension was naturally present as both teams squared off in Group A action. Gilas Pilipinas and Chinese-Taipei both entered the showdown with identical 2-0 records and the winner would take control of solo Group A lead heading into round 2. Taking a good lead into the fourth quarter, the Philippines was outscored by 18 in the last 10 minutes and the national team took its worst home loss in quite some time. “At the time, it was a huge game for us. We understood what was happening in Taipei during that particular time. We really wanted to win for what our kababayans were going through at that time,” guard Jimmy Alapag said on that first home loss in the 2013 Asian Championships. “We didn’t get the job done, and it was tough especially to lose a game like that, it was a very emotional and it was a game that we knew we needed,” he added. The crushing loss meant that the Philippines had little room for error in round 2. While Gilas didn’t have any world beaters lined up in the second round, anything less than a perfect run would have meant an early clash with Asia’s established powerhouse teams in the knockout stages. On the other side of the bracket, defending champion China, Iran, and South Korea were battling for position and were expected to finish in the top-3. That means if Gilas Pilipinas failed to finish no. 1 in its group, the national team would have faced one of those teams in the quarterfinals. Gilas picked up a crucial win over Qatar in the 6th of August and the day after, the Philippines got some help from those same Qataris as they beat Taipei in a close decision. At the end of round 2, all teams finished with identical win-loss records but Gilas Pilipinas would take over first place after all tiebreaks were considered, barely edging out Taipei. The Philippines ended up avoiding defending champion China, Iran, and South Korea and instead got Kazakhstan in the quarterfinals. No. 2 Taipei drew China and the third-running Qataris were matched up with the South Koreans. “I think that was the moment we grew up and grew closer. I think that was the lowest of the lows, just because of the atmosphere and what was going on between both countries. It kind of felt that we let our end of the bargain down, you know what I mean? We’re on our home soil and we didn’t take care of business. I think that was one of those moments where we had to really check ourselves and find a way to make it right,” forward Gabe Norwood said of the Taipei loss. “But it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. In tournaments like FIBA-Asia it’s important that you have short-term memory whether it was a win or a loss. We needed to let go of that game and continue to stay the course, keep our focus in the tournament,” Alapag added. On August 7, four days after Gilas lost to Taipei, the rift between the Philippines and Taiwan would reach a resolution and the latter country lifted its freeze hiring and other sanctions on the former. The Philippines also did issue on official apology over the death of the Taiwanese fisherman a couple of months prior and the National Bureau of Investigation in Manila recommended the pressing of homicide charges to erring members of the Philippine Coast Guard.   DARK HISTORY If the word “rival” is to be defined as a, “person or group that tries to defeat or be more successful than another person or group” then sure, the Philippines and South Korea are rivals. Both countries are rivals in the Asian basketball scene and they have been going at it for a very long time. But if the word rival can also mean “equal” or “peer,” is the Philippines really a worthy basketball rival to South Korea? The Philippines’ history with South Korea in terms of basketball is dark. Very dark. Consider the most high-profile matches between the two countries and you’ll see that the Philippine national team is just not at the level of South Korea. Or at the very least, Koreans always seem to reach 120 percent of their potential when they play Filipinos and we barely bring out 80 percent of our abilities when matched up against our East Asian neighbors. The 1998 PBA Centennial team, arguably the greatest Philippine team ever assembled, was demolished by South Korea in the Asian Games. A national team set up for gold only settled for bronze. Speaking of a bronze medal game, the original Gilas Pilipinas team lost a podium finish to South Korea in the 2011 FIBA-Asia Championships. That team squandered a double-digit lead and collapsed late. Of course, who can forget the semifinals of the 2002 Asian Games in Busan when Olsen Racela had the chance to put the Philippines up four but missed two free throws. South Korea would win with a booming triple at the buzzer off a broken play and would later take down China to capture the gold medal. South Korea is the Philippines’ basketball nemesis for all intents and purposes. A worthy adversary that always seem to emerge victorious at our expense. Still, all that previous disappointment didn’t seem to bother Gilas Pilipinas six years ago. The team was not scared and instead, they were excited even. One factor to greatly consider was that fact that the game was in Manila. It makes all the difference to play at home. “We understood the bad history that we had with Korea. We haven’t been very successful with them in quite some time but we knew from Day 1 that if ever we got an opportunity to play them at home, then we have a great chance,” Alapag said. “Man, pre-game, it was just the focus. Everybody was up for the challenge, I don’t think anybody was really nervous, I think it was just the anxiety... we wanted to get out there and do it already,” Norwood added. Playing at home had its perks for sure, but it also had its drawbacks. For all the painful losses the Philippines suffered at the hands of South Korea, it would have been devastating if Gilas actually took a beating in Manila. Stakes were extra high in this particular chapter of this long, ongoing saga. “There was always pressure, it was something that we acknowledged early. Playing at home, it’s great having that support but at the same time, there is some added pressure because you wanna make sure that you make our home crowd proud of the team that they watch and ultimately, win games,” Alapag said, making sure to note that the national team knew of the disadvantages of playing at home even before the Korea game. “It was there but it was something that we acknowledged and we wanted to make sure that we took advantage of the opportunity playing at home,” he added.   ALL FILIPINO, ALL HEART Once it was go time, the Philippines-South Korea game went about pretty normal, as you would expect any game from these two national teams. But even before halftime, an injury to Gilas center Marcus Douthit changed the complexion of the semifinals showdown. All of a sudden, the Philippines was without its anchor, without its best player. Sure, there were players on the Gilas bench that can come in and replace Douthit’s size but there was simply no one on the Gilas bench that can come in and replace his talent, production, and just overall presence. June Mar Fajardo was in that Gilas bench but it 2013, the would-be five-time PBA Most Valuable Player was just not at that level yet. It would have been easy for Gilas Pilipinas to fold like cheap furniture and succumb to the overwhelming pressure of trying to overcome South Korea to reach a stage very few Filipinos have reached before. Gilas didn’t fold and instead, the Douthit injury rallied the team even further. “Alam mo sa totoo lang, puso na lang yun eh. Nung nawala si Marcus talaga, sabi ni coach kailangan doble kayod tayo. Dahil sobrang dehado tayo kumbaga, wala na tayong import, wala tayong malaki,” forward Marc Pingris said. With Douthit gone, Ping ate up all of his minutes and worked by committee with guys like Ranidel De Ocampo and Japeth Aguilar to fill in the gaps. “As a player naman, kami nagusap-usap kami na kahit anong mangyari, lalaban kami. Yung time na yun, talagang patay kung patay,” Ping added. Despite losing its best player to an untimely injury, Gilas Pilipinas’ confidence in winning never wavered. With their collective backs against the wall, the Philippine national team played even better. Unlike the later iterations of Gilas Pilipinas, the 2013 team, aptly called Gilas 2.0, had the luxury of having actual preparation before the FIBA-Asia Championships. The amount of work that came before the tournament and the Korea game, the bond built over countless hours of training, all of that helped the national team avoid a monumental meltdown in front of a rabid Manila crowd. “We were such a close-knit team in terms of our chemistry, in terms of the talent that we had, so we felt confident even when Marcus went down early in the game. If you looked at our huddle, you had 11 more very confident guys, not just in themselves but more importantly, in each other,” Alapag said. “That just boiled down to the chemistry that we had. I don’t think any of us panicked, we were all confident in each other. We’ve all been into that situation with our PBA teams, having the ball in our hands and making a play. Knowing that we had five weapons on the floor that could make the winning play, I think it made us very confident and we were able to sustain our composure,” the former Gilas captain added.   THE GHOST AND ITS CURSE Shin Dong Pa, Hur Jae, Lee Sang-min, Oh Se-Keun, TJ Moon, and Cho Sung-min are just some players from the South Korean national team that inflicted incredible damage to the Philippines over the course of decades. The dreaded Ghost of South Korea takes form in these players and its curse is to give Filipinos the most heart-crushing loss possible. In 2013, the Ghost was Kim Min-goo and his curse was to beat Gilas Pilipinas in Manila. Despite losing Marcus Douthit and trailing by three points at the break, the Philippines started to turn the tables in the second half. Gilas Pilipinas unleashed Jayson Castro and the Blur led a blazing offense in the third quarter, finding a way to take a 10-point lead over South Korea, the Philippines’ largest of the night. But as the dust settled and Gilas holding a 65-56 lead entering the final period, an ominous figure would make his presence felt. The Korean Ghost has arrived and his name was Kim Min-goo. His curse? Beat Gilas Pilipinas in Manila. Kim was 22 and a senior in college when he made the South Korean national basketball team as a backup shooter in 2013. In nine games in Manila, Kim would play well enough to make the tournament’s All-Star team, averaging 12.7 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 2.7 assists. He led Asian Championships with 25 three-point field goals, 10 came in the last two games and five came against Gilas Pilipinas. Kim drilled back-to-back triples to open the fourth quarter against the Philippines. Later, his fifth triple — a four-point play at that — pushed the Koreans to within a point, 72-73. South Korea would take over soon after as Lee Seung-jun dunked the basketball on a fastbreak. The Ghost has arrived and his curse is in effect. “Ako pumasok sa isip ko yun nung lumamang Korea, na putek ito na naman,” Pingris said. “Pero ang sabi ko, sayang yung opportunity, kaya naman eh. So sabi ni Jimmy samin, no matter what happens wag kami gi-give up. Pinaghirapan natin to at may goal tayo, this year aalis tayo,” he added, noting the team’s goal to get into Spain and compete with the world’s best national teams. Faced with the possibility of dealing with a devastating defeat, Gilas had enough mental fortitude to keep things going. Trust your system, trust your preparation, trust your crowd, trust your teammates, and more importantly, trust yourselves. “You’re never out of the game if you’re playing at home,” Norwood said as they stared a deficit late against their destined rivals. “I think that was our mindset, keep it close and just find a way,” he added. Jimmy Alapag found a way.   BORN READY Down 73-75, Jimmy Alapag was under heavy duress when he let go of a three-pointer from the left wing just in front of his bench. It was good to go. The Philippines was back on top by one as Alapag somehow managed to get his team to snap out of an initial shock following Korea’s strong fourth-quarter rally. The stage is now set for a wild finish and Jimmy will star in the final act of what has been an incredible show by Gilas and South Korea. “In situations like that, as an athlete and as a pro, that’s the situations that you dream about,” Alapag said.  “Those are shots that you practice when you were a kid. When the shot clock is winding down, to have an opportunity to knock down a shot. It’s a shot that I practiced thousands of times,” he added. After the Philippines and South Korea traded baskets for the lead, Alapag made perhaps the most underrated play in this crazy and emotional encounter between two basketball rivals. Tasked with inbounding the ball just near underneath his own basket, Alapag found his Talk ‘N Text teammate Ranidel De Ocampo for an open look at three. Swish. Gilas leads, 81-77, with 91 seconds to go. “Ranidel was my favorite target for a very, very long time in my career,” Alapag said on the play that most people probably don’t even remember. “Once I saw that he got open, I wanted to make sure that I gave him as great a pass as possible and Ranidel has been known for a long time to take care of the rest,” he added.   THE EXORCIST “Yeah, I was right under the basket,” Gabe Norwood says with a laugh when asked if he remembers the shot that changed the course of Gilas Pilipinas as a national team. Late in the fourth quarter of what was essentially a heavyweight bout, the Philippines just landed two strong haymakers but South Korea would refuse to go down without a fight, beating the count of 10 each time. Down to the final minute of a crucial grudge match with a World Cup berth on the line, Jimmy Alapag had his hands on the basketball as Gilas would go to its halfcourt set. Jimmy will never let go of said basketball. Up two, Jimmy did what Olsen wished he could 11 years prior. Up two against South Korea in a pivotal semifinal game, Alapag received a screen from Marc Pingris, which was enough to momentarily shake off Kim Tae-sul. With some room, Alapag drifted to his left and let a three-point shot fly. Boom. Gilas leads, 84-79, with 54 seconds to go. The shot would later be remembered as the one that ended the Korean Curse, the one that finally exorcised the Ghost. “The first thought that came to my mind was don’t miss,” Jimmy said of the clutch jumper. “That last one, Ping sets a good screen and I got a clean look. It’s a shot that myself, and Jayson [Castro], and Larry [Fonacier], and Gary [David], and Jeff [Chan], all of us, we practice that shot time and time again after practice. So you know, it was a shot that I was confident in but in that moment, all you’re thinking about was don’t miss,” he added. It’s one thing to be confident in yourself and to be confidednt in your preparation. It’s a different thing to actually perform under such pressure. As soon as Alapag managed to shoot his shot, Gabe Norwood did what any other good teammate would do and got in position to get the offensive rebound. You know, just in case. Gabe got the ball alright, but he got it after it swished through the rim. “When he put the shot up, I tried to crash for the rebound but I basically knew that it was going in,” he said. “I had probably the best view, I was right under the basket. I think caught it after it went through too,” Norwood added. Alapag checked out moments later as the Philippines went to its defensive lineup in order to stop another Korean comeback. South Korea turned to its most effective shooter in Kim and as he rose up to try and answer Alapag’s triple, Norwood met him at the apex for the game’s most dramatic stop. Gabe blocked Kim and Gilas would finish things off with a final Marc Pingris basket on the other end. A historic 86-79 win was complete. “I still get chills thinking about it, to look up and see grown men just breaking down. My wife was trying to hold my kids and she was holding back tears. It was just an awesome moment, the bond that we had on that team, the stuff that we did to get prepare, I think we poured it all out in that game,” Norwood said on the monumental victory. “I think it probably didn’t hit me until the final buzzer sounded. Not just for me but for the entire team, when that final buzzer sounded, it was such a special group of guys and the fact that we could share that moment with not just with each other but the entire country, it’s something I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” Alapag added, savoring the moment of a Philippine win over Korea 28 years in the making.   THE INTRODUCTION Gilas Pilipinas would lose to Iran the next day in the Finals of the 2013 FIBA-Asia Championships. The Philippines put up a fight but Hamed Haddadi would prove to be too powerful to stop. It would take another two years for Gilas to beat Iran but that didn’t really matter in the moment. The Philippines is headed to the World Championships for the first time in three decades. The Philippines has beaten South Korea and one singular shot has allowed the Gilas name to be known around the world. Jimmy wouldn’t say that though. At least not directly in that way. “For me, that shot was the biggest for my career. But really, it was our entire team. We’ve gone through so much and that was just one particular play that really culminated the entire game and all the contributions from other guys from Gabe’s defense, to Ping’s rebounding, to Japeth’s rim protecting, to Jayson and LA doing a lot of the legwork,” Alapag said. “Everybody had their part in contribution to the game. After the shot, after the buzzer sounded, it was just a very special moment for us as a team and for Philippine basketball to show that all of the sacrifices, all of the hard work, now it’s given an opportunity to re-introduce ourselves to the world,” he added. Jimmy wouldn’t say it, but his teammates would. That shot of his that beat South Korea in the 2013 FIBA-Asia Championships introduced the Gilas name to the world. It announced that the Philippines has finally arrived. Gilas’ breakthrough overtime win a year later in Spain against Senegal — a game Jimmy pretty much decided late as well — made it known that Filipinos are here to stay on the World stage. “I would say so, it got us to where we wanted to be in the World Cup. I think we shocked some people there as well. But just the work that went in, I think it showed the country that we can get back to where we want to be as long as you work together,” Norwood said. “Yung puso ni Jimmy, grabe naman. Makikita mo maliit pero gusto lang niya talaga manalo. Ang liit pero parang lion pag nagalit eh, nandoon yung tiwala namin sa kanya. Ano pa ba masasabi mo, Jimmy is Jimmy Alapag,” Pingris would add.   [NOTES: At the time of original publishing, Gilas Pilipinas was fighting to make a return trip to the FIBA World Cup, this time in China in 2019. To secure its slot, the the Philippine national team needed to beat Kazakhstan in Astana plus a loss from Japan, Jordan, and/or Lebanon. One of the teams that can help Gilas is South Korea... ironically. Jimmy Alapag retired from national team play in 2014 and retired playing for good in 2016. He has since made himself a champion basketball coach in the ABL. Marc Pingris suffered an ACL injury in 2018 and is in the process of returning for his PBA team in the current 2019 season. Gabe Norwood is still in Gilas. He’s still an effective two-way weapon. He can still dunk and will stop your best player too.]   [Updated Notes: The Philippines beat Kazakhstan to make the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China. Gilas got help from... South Korea. The Koreans beat Lebanon on the road, allowing Gilas to advance to the World Championships outright with a victory over Kazakhstan.]   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 10th, 2020

Calvin Abueva eager to move forward from past mistakes in PBA

With his career marred by controversy and heavy sanctions due to his past actions, Abueva just wants to learn from the experience and not dwell on the negatives......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsAug 8th, 2020

Philippine Sports History: U-Tex stuns Toyota for 1980 PBA Open Conference title

U-Tex defeated Toyota 99-98 in overtime to capture the @pbaconnect Open crown on this day in 1980. Coach Tommy Manotoc and the Wranglers won despite trailing by four with 16 seconds left in regulation. It was later described as “the PBA’s longest 16 seconds” Tommy Manotoc continues to feel a sense of accomplishment 40 years after steering U-Tex to one of the most incredible title victories in PBA history. “(Beating) Toyota was an achievement that we felt like we did a lot,” Manotoc said in June when he appeared in the Usapang Basketball webinar. The manner by how the Wranglers claimed the PBA Open Conference crown on Aug. 2, 1980 with a 99-98 overtime win at the Araneta Coliseum is a good reason why Manotoc should describe it in such a way. U-Tex was supposed to be on the losing end of the best-of-five series after being down by four points with 16 seconds remaining. But in a stunning turnaround, the Wranglers were able to force the game into overtime where they were able to complete the remarkable triumph. Toyota was supposed to have the title won when Francis Arnaiz scored a layup to make it 94-90. There was jubilation all around the Tamaraws bench and their fans while the Wranglers were on the brink of paying dearly for making a curious gamble in Game 4. U-Tex trailed by as many as 21 points, but tried to mount a comeback by pulling within nine early in the payoff period. But Manotoc chose to do the unthinkable by sitting out his starters, namely Bogs Adornado and even imports Glenn McDonald and Aaron James. Toyota would pull away to force a rubber match while Manotoc dealt with the responsibility of explaining his decision. “The game was totally lost for us and it was useless fighting when I knew we could not win anymore,” said Manotoc after the game, adding that U-Tex management supported his strategy. “I told management that if we could not lower Toyota’s margin to five points early in the fourth quarter, I will be forced to rest my top guns,” added Manotoc, then just 31. “We played badly. I’m happy it happened tonight.” Manotoc, according to newspaper accounts, later said that he quoted a Chinese proverb which stated: “One step backward and two steps forward.” Criticism spilled into the opinions section of the major dailies. “No amount of rationalization will convince basketball ‘aficionados to believe the U-Tex team did not throw the game away for a consideration,” wrote Bulletin Today columnist Jesus Bigornia.  “For their dispirited showing, compounded by the suspicion they have been ‘reached,’ the Wranglers became the butt of jeers and the object of balled-up newspapers thrown onto the hard court. Even the most ardent ‘Wrangler’ fans hung their heads in shame,” added Bigornia. There was determination for U-Tex to silence the critics with a crew powered by Adornado, who was looking to add a championship to his major comeback after joining the Wranglers following a rash of injuries that hounded him during his days with the Crispa Redmanizers. There’s also McDonald, who four years earlier played a key role in the Boston Celtics’ epic triple overtime win over the Phoenix Suns in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, former New Orleans Jazz cager James, ex-La Salle star Lim Eng Beng and Fritz Gaston. But even that determined spirit looked like it would go for naught when Arnaiz’s layup gave he Tamaraws that 94-90 lead. Manotoc, however, was not giving up without trying. “Percentage-wise, medyo tapos na,” he said during the Usapang Basketball webinar. “But I said don’t give up.” James scored a quick basket on the return play to cut the gap to two. Prior to that, Manotoc, known for his emphasis on defense throughout his coaching career, had instructions to wait for the pass and go for the steal, with McDonald tasked to intercept the inbound given his athleticism. And lo and behold, McDonald got the interception off Tuadles’ inbound before getting fouled by Arnaiz, subsequently making two pressure-packed free throws that sent Game 5 into overtime. The Wranglers trailed again in the extension 98-96 but Lim Eng Beng hit a free throw off Ramon Fernandez’s sixth foul before Adornado delivered the go-ahead shot with over a minute to go. Adornado’s basket eventually became the match winner as U-Tex became a two-time champion, repeating the feat after its 1978 second conference triumph where it beat Crispa. Manotoc reflected on the previous game. “Who knows, maybe it was those six minutes of rest which gave my boys the extra strength to pull off that win. The victory certainly was a vindication on our part,” Manotoc said after being given a victory ride. For Toyota import Andy Fields, the loss still lingers to this day. “That was the worst loss in my entire career,” lamented Fields during an episode of An Eternity of Basketball weeks ago. Now 71 years old, it seems that Manotoc couldn’t still figure out how his Wranglers did it in the most unimaginable fashion. “In fairness to Toyota, they thought they had it won, which ordinarily you do with four points and 16 seconds (remaining),” he said, “The basketball gods favored us then. It’s a rarity in basketball, especially at those levels and playing a very high caliber team with very seasoned players.”.....»»

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

RK Ilagan, Baste plotting revenge on Letran in NCAA 96

RK Ilagan has one thing and one thing only in his mind come his last year for San Sebastian College-Recoletos. "Sa akin po talaga, gusto ko pong bumawi sa kanila," he said in last Friday's The Prospects Pod, referring to fellow guest Fran Yu. "Sila po (nagtanggal sa amin e) so sana mabigyan po kami ng chance talagang makabawi sa kanila." In NCAA 95, Colegio de San Juan de Letran got the better of Ilagan and the Golden Stags in the first rung of the stepladder playoffs. The Knights would go on to boot out Lyceum of the Philippines University and best San Beda University en route to the championship. Through that charge, they left in their wake several tantalizing talents such as Season MVP Calvin Oftana, "Bandana Bros." James Canlas and Evan Nelle, and Marcelino twins Jaycee and Jayvee. Among all them, however, it's apparently Ilagan who's still hurting the worst. And why wouldn't he as he turned in a career game only to be eliminated. "Lahat po yun, tsamba. Shumu-shoot kahit hagis-hagis lang," he said, recalling his 36-point outburst in that loss. He then continued, "Samin lang po doon, parang ayaw ko lang po talaga magpatalo kasi siyempre, last year na ni [Allyn] Bulanadi at [Aljon] Capobres." And that is exactly why come Season 95, RK Ilagan and the rest of Baste will be running and gunning for Letran - what a great game that will be. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 10th, 2020

Column: Johnson back to winning now after brief knee concern

By DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer It only looks as though Dustin Johnson barely has a pulse on the golf course. One moment made him a little nervous. It wasn't the tee shot that rolled toward the railroad tracks and barely crossed the out-of-bounds line, right after he had taken a two-shot lead in the final round of the Travelers Championship. It wasn't even the tee shot two holes later that was headed for the water until it landed softly enough to stay dry, even though his feet got wet hitting the next one. That's just golf. Good or bad, he moves on. No one has a shorter memory. What caused concern was his knee. Johnson missed three months at the end of last year recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his right knee to repair cartilage damage. He lost another three months when golf shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic. And then as he worked overtime getting ready to resume, the knee started acting up. He called his partner, Paulina Gretzky, on the Tuesday before the Colonial and said he was coming home. The next day the knee felt better, so he stuck it out and missed the cut. “I was nervous,” Johnson said Tuesday. “I had an MRI when I got home, and everything with my surgery had healed great. It was just a strained tendon.” Whether it was time away from golf and then an abundance of practice, Johnson isn't sure. “Obviously,” he said, “everything is better now.” Johnson won the Travelers Championship for his 22nd victory worldwide, ending a drought of 490 days that matched the longest of his career. It was more exciting than it needed to be, which often is the case with his entertaining brand of golf. After going out of bounds on the 13th, he answered with a 15-foot birdie putt and then got a rare break for him — Johnson's ledger remains heavily skewed toward misfortune on the course — when his ball stayed out of the water. One victory doesn't always signal he's on his way. One shot did it for Butch Harmon, his swing coach who was watching from Las Vegas. With a one-shot lead playing the 18th, Johnson smoked his driver 351 yards, setting up a flip wedge and two putts for the win. “He was leaking oil a little on the back nine,” Harmon said. “His bounce-back is incredible. But the key to me was knowing he had to drive it well on 18. I told him when I talked to him later, that was the part I appreciated the most. Yeah, that was just like Oakmont.” The drive on the daunting closing hole at Oakmont in Pennsylvania, reputed to be the toughest course in America, is what Johnson considers one of the signature shots of his career. It sealed his victory at the 2016 U.S. Open, which remains his only major title. Johnson turned 36 last week. There is still plenty of time to fix the one area of his resume that — with his talent — is sorely lacking. What also got Harmon's attention was where Johnson won. The TPC Riverland Highlands in Connecticut is a par 70 at 6,841 yards, hardly known as a course for big hitters. Johnson played the two par 5s in just 2 under for the week and still shot 19-under 261, his sixth straight victory with a score of 19 under or better. His 22 victories have come on 18 courses. He has won at sea level (Doral) and mile-high altitude (Mexico City). He has won on courses that reward power (Crooked Stick) and shot-making (Riviera). Pebble Beach; the TPC Southwind in Memphis, Tennessee; Kapalua and Chapultepec in Mexico City are the only courses where he has won twice. Johnson wasn't aware of this. “I think it shows my game is suitable for any course,” he said. “I like a variety of golf courses. And a lot of these courses that I didn't like then, I've grown to like now.” He paused before adding with a laugh, “And I wasn't hitting it as straight.” If there are “horses for courses,” this might make him mostly a thoroughbred. He's not alone in that department, of course. Rory McIlroy, the current No. 1 player in golf, has won 26 times on 22 courses around the world, with his only repeat victories at Quail Hollow, TPC Boston and both courses in Dubai (Emirates and Jumeirah Estates). Ditto for Tiger Woods, even if it doesn't seem that way. Woods has eight victories at Torrey Pines, Firestone and Bay Hill. He has five victories at Augusta National, Muirfield Village and Cog Hill. They are among 19 courses where he has won multiple times. That's mainly because Woods wins a lot. Phil Mickelson has 47 wins worldwide on 25 courses, with multiple wins on 14 courses. “Being able to adapt is a huge deal, play on different golf courses,” Bryson DeChambeau said. “That's what I'm trying to learn how to do. I think that will happen down the road if I just keep playing good golf, but being able to adapt in different situations and play in different conditions, win everywhere, is pretty impressive." When he's on his game, when he's healthy, Johnson is as impressive as anyone. A winner again, he plans to spend two weeks at home in Florida before returning for the Memorial. He hasn't won there yet......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 1st, 2020

Roger Gorayeb: A coach s role is also to be a father

Coaching a collegiate team especially in women's volleyball is never an easy job. For Roger Gorayeb, being a mentor to kids in their teens goes beyond the call of duty inside the court. You play the role of both a coach and a second father. What they will become in the future -- a continuing career in the sport or on a different endeavor -- the knowledge a coach will impart on them will be their guide in their chosen paths. The multi-titled mentor has been coaching since 1984. He has a wealth of experience dealing with different personalities and has touched a lot of lives in his almost four decades in the industry. What he cherishes the most is not the number of titles, accolades or success his players collected under his watch, but what these players or what he likes to call his ‘children’ have become. “Ang dami na ng mga players (na na-handle ko). Dadaan sila sa buhay mo tapos nakikita mo kung ano ang nagiging future nila maganda naman. Siyempre natutuwa ako,” said the 59-year-old coach. Gorayeb played a big role in the careers and lives of his players from San Sebastian College, Ateneo de Manila University and National University. Alyssa Valdez, Grethcel Soltones, Jaja Santiago, Jasmine Nabor, the Ateneo Fab Five of Gretchen Ho, Fille Cainglet- Cayetano, Dzi Gervacio, Jem Ferrer and A Nacachi are just some of the stars that saw their collegiate careers take flight under his tutelage.  “Masaya at masarap sa feeling,” Gorayeb told ABS-CBN Sports as he tried to put into words the satisfaction he feels while doing his passion to coach. On court he is a strict mentor, serious, all-business, but beyond that he is a father-figure to his players. “Kapag may laro o ensayo volleyball lang talaga kami. Pero after n’yan yung aming relationship 'di na coach at player,” said the PLDT coach in the Philippine Superliga. “Kapag may problema sila magsasabi na sila sa akin. Dun mo malalaman kasi kung mayroon silang hinainng sa buhay, mga times na gusto nilang humingi ng tulong sa’yo. Yung mga simpleng ‘Coach pwedeng makahingi ng pamasahe, pambili ng ganito.’ Kasi during training di mo naman malalaman yan eh.” “Mapaghihiwalay mo talaga (ang pagiging coach at tatay sa kanila), sa akin kasi ewan ko sa iba, pero ako kahit pagalitan ko ang player during the ensayo, after ng ensayo wala na. Parang barkada na lang,” added the former women’s national team mentor. “Sa bonding ninyo mapaghihiwalay mo yung pagiging player at pagiging tao ng player mo mismo. Kaya lalong nagiging deep-rooted ang aming relationship. “Sa totoo lang 'yung mga napahirapan ko sa ensayo, ‘yan pa ang nagiging close sa akin. Minsan naiisip ko nga na magsisi na, ‘Bakit napahirapan kita noon tapos ang bait-bait mo sa akin ngayon. Dati pinahirapan kita.’ Pero doon kasi sila natututo. Nagi-struggle sila tapos malalampasan nila,” said Gorayeb. Last year when Gorayeb was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, the players that he guided during their collegiate careers never left his side. “Tulad nu’ng nangyari sa akin tapos ‘yung mga dati kong player mapa-Ateneo, mapa-Baste nandyan sila para sa’yo. Bumibisita sila sa ospital,” he said. “Parang dun ko nakita na marami pala akong na-touch na buhay ng bata di lang sa paglalaro. Yung during the course of that five years na pag-stay nila namin bilang player at coach malalim ang nagiging ugat ng relationship.” “Nandyan sila sa’yo sa oras ng pangangailangan mo. Maski yung mga di mo madalas nakikita. Dyan mo malalaman na naging malaking part ako sa buhay nila kahit limang taon lang na magkakasama.” Their presence and prayers along with his family, according to Gorayeb, were his strength during that difficult time. “Itong nagkasakit ako ang daming nagbabantay sa akin, ‘yung mga taga-Ateneo ‘yan sina Gretchen, hindi umalis sa tabi ko. Yung mga players ko sa San Sebastian na dati pa kasi inaanak ko na ang mga anak nila. Araw-araw nasa ospital, na-witness nila yung nangyari sa akin,” said Gorayeb, who is still undergoing chemotherapy. He’s thankful for all the efforts his players did to help especially the fund-raising concert they organized last November for him. “Dumating si Mr. Tony Liao nu’ng umaga (sa intensive care unit) sinabi niya na, ‘O Roger alam mo ba ito, mayroong mamaya yung mga player naggawa sila ng concert sa’yo.’ So naiyak na lang ako noon kasi wala akong boses di ako makapagsalita,” he said. “Parang inaano lang ako ni Sir Tony na, ‘Lakasan mo lang ang loob mo. Yung mga players mo gumagawa lang ng paraan para lumakas ka.’ Yung mga ganoong tipo ba.” “Doon nag-sink in sa akin na lahat pala sila concerned sa akin kahit na di na sila naglalaro sa akin. Nakakatuwa kasi yun yung time na sabi ko di dapat ako mawalan ng pag-asa at kailangang suklian ko ang effort nila na ginagawa,” added Gorayeb. Now with just two chemo sessions left and a few tests to assure that his cancer-free, Gorayeb is looking forward on his return to coaching. He wants to resume his mission. “’Di pa ako magreretiro sa pagko-coach kasi ang mga bata nandyan pa. Marami pa akong dapat tulungan,” said Gorayeb. “Ako nagsusumikap na gumaling kaagad para marami pang matulungan.” “Masama man sabihin, pero kamatayan na lang ang magpapatigil sa akin sa mga ginagawa ko. Iba pa rin ang may tulong ka na maibibigay sa mga bata,” he added. Gorayeb vows that he will continue to be a father – both inside and outside of the court. For more on the improved conditon of Roger Gorayeb, read here.  --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriless.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 21st, 2020

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

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 21st, 2020

WHAT IF... Ben Mbala played his last year in La Salle

History lesson: Ben Mbala was one of the most dominant - if not the most dominant - forces the UAAP has ever seen. Winning a championship as well as back-to-back MVPs, Mbala was, hands down, the best player in all of college in his two years suiting up for De La Salle University. Technically, he had one more playing year, but decided against it to take back control of his career. This decision, coming right after the Green Archers got dethroned by archrival Ateneo de Manila University in a thrilling three-game Finals. That would just be the first of three championships in a row for the Blue Eagles who swept the University of the Philippines and the University of Sto. Tomas the following years. Meanwhile, without the Cameroonian powerhouse, the Taft-based team fell short of the playoffs the following years. Now, the green and white is trying to barge back into the playoff picture with a fourth coach in four years. It is far from a certainty that Louie Gonzalez, who replaced Aldin Ayo, would be able to hold off Gian Nazario - and active consultant Jermaine Byrd - and then Derrick Pumaren if he had led La Salle to the Final Four in UAAP 81. What is a certainty, however, is that with Mbala back in the fold, they are locks for the Final Four. And so, what if "Big Ben" played his last year in La Salle? Ateneo would remain the top-seed while Adamson University would fall to three and the University of the Philippines would fall to four. Mbala and company would then stake claim to the second-seed and the twice-to-beat advantage it entails before taking care of business yet again against the Soaring Falcons. In the other bracket, the Blue Eagles end the Cinderella story of the Fighting Maroons who would play in their first Final Four in 21 years, but would still be looking for their first Finals since 1986. With that, the rivalry trilogy would be set in motion - Ateneo-La Salle for all the glory for the third year in a row. And for the 6-foot-8 center, the rubber match would have been theirs. Asked in the inaugural episode of The Prospects Pod if they would have reclaimed the title if he had played his last year, he answered, "Yeah. I think so." Our own thought experiment, however, thinks otherwise and has the Blue Eagles getting the better of the Green Archers once more. The arrival of Rookie of the Year Ange Kouame is a brand new tall task to face for Season MVP Mbala. Of course, the now-three-time MVP still finds a way against the inexperienced Ivorian, but Ateneo's total team effort would still prove to be too much for La Salle. According to Mbala, if he had stayed, Ricci Rivero would have stayed as well and not taken his talents to UP. That means that Brent Paraiso would remain as well. A core of Mbala, Rivero, Paraiso, Andrei Caracut, Aljun Melecio, and Santi Santillan would be really nasty, but that also means Justine Baltazar would not get the room he needs to grow. They would fight with their all, for sure, but would also ultimately succumb to the Blue Eagles' otherworldly - and quite frankly, unfair - depth and balance. In the end, Ateneo still goes on to a three-peat, and counting, while La Salle just falls short for the second straight year. Mbala moves on to showcasing his skills overseas - and moves on to ribbing Kiefer Ravena that it's just a matter of time before the butt heads in the PBA. There would also be no more questions about how Kouame would have fared against the Green Archers' best foreign student-athlete. For his part, however, Mbala said that individual comparisons do not matter in basketball. "People tell me that I were there, it would (have been) a different story, but I don't do comparisons. It's not a one-on-one game, it's five-on-five," he said. He then continued, "It was not I will take the rebound and do everything I want. No, it's not that. It's not about the size, it's about the system." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 10th, 2020