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Stewart, Bird return; Storm beat Liberty in Ionescu s debut

BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) — Breanna Stewart had 18 points, eight rebounds and four steals in her first WNBA game since helping Seattle win the 2018 championship, sending the Storm past the New York Liberty 87-71 Saturday in the season opener for both teams. The 2020 WNBA season, delayed and shortened by the coronavirus pandemic, will be played in a bubble at the IMG Academy. Stewart missed all of last season after tearing her Achilles tendon while playing for her Russian club team in April2019. Jewell Loyd scored 14 points and Sue Bird — who also missed the 2019, because of a knee injury — added 11 points, hitting 3 of 5 from 3-point range, and five assists for Seattle. Sabrina Ionescu had 12 points, six rebounds and four assists in her WNBA debut. Ionescu, the No. 1 pick in April’s draft , was 4-of-17 shooting, including 0 of 8 from 3-point range, and committed four turnovers. Layshia Clarendon led the Liberty with 20 points. Neither team took the court for the national anthem and there was a 26 second moment of silence for Breonna Taylor. Taylor, an African American emergency medical technician, was shot dead in her apartment by Louisville Metro Police officers executing a no-knock search warrant on suspicion of drug possession. No drugs were found. Loyd hit a 3-pointer and then converted a three-point play before Stewart made a layup to make it 34-26 and the Storm led the rest of the way. Jordin Canada scored six points during a 14-4 run to open the fourth quarter that gave the Storm their largest lead when she found Stewart for a 3-pointer that capped the spurt and made it 80-61 with 4:44 to play. New York's Kia Nurse left the game early in the second quarter because of an ankle injury and did not return......»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnJul 26th, 2020

Laney nets 30, Dream beats Liberty 84-78; Ionescu injured

BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) — Betnijah Laney scored a career-high 30 points and the Atlanta Dream beat New York 84-78 Friday night, in a game in which the Liberty lost top draft pick Sabrina Ionescu to an ankle injury in the second quarter. Rookie Chennedy Carter added 17 points and Monique Billings had eight points and 15 rebounds for Atlanta. Laney’s 3-pointer with two minutes left in the third quarter gave Atlanta a 14-point — their biggest of the game — but New York (0-3) chipped away, trimming its deficit to 73-71 when Layshia Clarendon made a short jumper with 2:45 to play. Carter answered with a pull-up jumper and then Billings made two free throws and the Liberty got no closer. Rookie Jazmine Jones scored a season-high 20 points to lead New York and Clarendon scored 16. Ionescu, the No. 1 pick in April's draft, left in the second quarter due to an ankle injury and did not return. She had 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting in 12 minutes. Laney made a pull-up jumper to pull Atlanta within two at halftime and then the Dream scored the first 13 second-half points to make it 54-43 midway through the third quarter......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 1st, 2020

Suns rout Warriors; Curry breaks left hand

By Janie McCauley, Associated Press SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Stephen Curry broke his left hand and became the latest injured Warriors player when he fell hard in the third quarter of another embarrassing defeat by Golden State, 121-110 to the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time). The two-time MVP drove to his left defended by Kelly Oubre Jr. and with big man Aron Baynes standing solidly in the paint. Curry leapt with the ball then came down head first landing awkwardly on his hands to brace himself from the court, with Baynes crashing onto Curry's left hand. Curry grimaced in pain grabbing at his fingers then walked to the locker room with 8:31 left in the third quarter. Baynes had 24 points, 12 rebounds seven assists and three blocked shots, Devin Booker scored 31 points as the Suns jumped out to a huge lead they never relinquished. The Warriors have lost badly in their first two home games at sparkling new Chase Center. The ailing, undermanned Warriors welcomed back two players but still fell behind 39-11 shooting 4 for 17 as the Suns made 14 of their first 23 shots and 8 of 12 3-pointers. Curry had nine points on 3-for-11 shooting before getting hurt. Losing Curry, Golden State's longest-tenured player and oldest at age 31, for an extended period would be a huge blow for a young Warriors team. Golden State is struggling to start the season with Kevin Durant's departure to Brooklyn and Klay Thompson out for perhaps the entire season recovering from July 2 surgery to repair a torn ACL in his left knee. This was another rough one after an embarrassing season opener in the first game at Chase Center, a 141-122 loss to the Clippers last Thursday (Friday, PHL time) that saw some fans leaving after the third quarter. Golden State returned home with a 1-2 record and amid a stretch with five games over seven days and two back-to-backs. The Warriors trailed 72-46 at halftime Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) after falling behind 70-37 at the break in Oklahoma City on Sunday (Monday, PHL time). Golden State center Willie Cauley-Stein, who missed all of training camp with a sprain in his left foot, had 12 points and five rebounds in his Golden State debut. He checked in for the first time at the 8:23 mark of the first quarter. LGBTQ NIGHT The Warriors held LGBTQ Night with a panel following the game featuring Golden State COO Rick Welts — the first openly gay NBA executive — WNBA and Olympic champion Sue Bird of the Seattle Storm and her partner, Megan Rapinoe, of the World Cup-winning U.S. women's soccer team. Warriors coach Steve Kerr tried to connect with Rapinoe over the summer to have her speak to the World Cup basketball team he coached that went to China. It didn't work out but he hoped to get a few minutes with her Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time). "She's such an incredible athlete and advocate and Sue has been one of the best women's players in the game for a long time," Kerr said. "I know Rick is close with both of them so it's important I think, especially on a night like tonight where we're celebrating the idea of being accepting of everyone, it's great to have them here." The women also spoke to members of the Warriors organization earlier in the day. Bird and the U.S. women's basketball team play at Stanford on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). TIP-INS Suns: Phoenix beat Golden State for just the third time in the last 21 regular-season meetings. ... The Suns' 115-111 win at Golden State on March 10 (Mar. 11, PHL time) this year snapped an 18-game losing streak to the Warriors and a 14-game road skid in the series. ... Suns assistant coach Willie Green spent the past three years with the Warriors. Warriors: Kerr said F Kevon Looney, who missed his fourth straight game because of a right hamstring injury, is scheduled to be evaluated early next week by a team of specialists because of an "on-going presence of a neuropathic condition in his body, which has a direct correlation to his recent injury." Looney is limited to controlled workouts with the training staff for now. "He's frustrated and we're frustrated for him," Kerr said. ... Rookie Eric Paschall made his first career start. ... Alec Burks, who missed all five preseason games and the first three of the regular season, also returned for the Warriors and scored seven points in his first game with Golden State. ... G Jacob Evans III sat out Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) after exiting Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) against the Pelicans in the first quarter with a left adductor strain. UP NEXT Suns: At Grizzlies on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). Warriors: Host Spurs on Friday (Saturday, PHL time) in the first of two games in two nights with Charlotte visiting Saturday night (Sunday, PHL time)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 31st, 2019

Column: The revolving door at No. 1 in the world ranking

By DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer Jon Rahm is the No. 1 player in the world. The best player in golf? That depends on the week. Webb Simpson looked to be tough to beat when he won the RBC Heritage, giving him two victories, a runner-up finish and a third place in his last six PGA Tour events. But then Dustin Johnson won the Travelers Championship, renewing conversations that when he puts in the time, no one has a greater package of talent. During his two weeks off, however, golf became obsessed with super-sized Bryson DeChambeau and his 200 mph ball speed that carried him to victory in Detroit, his seventh straight top 10. And then two days after DeChambeau took a 10 — ideal for gymnastics, not so much for golf — on the 15th hole at Muirfield Village to miss the cut, Rahm built an eight-shot lead at the turn and held on for a victory at the Memorial that sent him to No. 1 in the world. For how long? Longer than Tom Lehman, for sure. Of the 24 players who have been No. 1 since the world ranking began in 1986, Lehman was there the shortest time — one week. And just his luck, he took that week off, so he never even played a tournament at No. 1 in the world. Rory McIlroy, whom Rahm replaced at No. 1, and Justin Thomas can return to the top if they win the World Golf Championship this week in Memphis, Tennessee. At least that's easier to track than two weeks ago, when five players at the Memorial had a mathematical chance of reaching No. 1. Whether the reason is depth or parity, it's become a revolving door that doesn't appear to be stopping anytime soon. Brooks Koepka started the year at No. 1, and McIlroy took over in February. Rahm was asked Tuesday if he considered them the best players in the world while they were at No. 1, and if he looks at himself that way now. “I think nowadays it's really tough to determine one player,” Rahm said. "Because yeah, Brooks is having a hard year right now. He's not playing his best. But he has won four majors in the last few years. Rory played amazing last year. It's hard to dictate one player alone. But it would be foolish of me to say that I'm not here thinking I'm the best player. “And I think all the great players out there who have got to this point are playing like they believe they're the best player,” he said. “In golf, you need to prove that every week.” McIlroy and Johnson have done that better than anyone over the last decade. McIlroy has reached No. 1 on eight occasions for a total of 106 weeks. Johnson has been there five times for a total of 96 weeks. During their longest stretches — 64 weeks for Johnson, 54 weeks for McIlroy — there was little argument. With Tiger Woods, there was no argument. Not since Woods in 2009 has a player started and finished a year without surrendering the No. 1 ranking. It was the eighth time Woods did that. Consider the 281 consecutive weeks Woods was No. 1, from the 2005 U.S. Open until the 2010 HSBC Champions. In the last 281 weeks, No. 1 has changed hands 27 times. Phil Mickelson was never on that list, and Rahm was quick to point out that playing against Woods in his prime certainly didn't help Lefty's cause. “But it still doesn't take away from what I've done,” Rahm said. “Now at the same time, getting here, it's great. I played great golf the last four years. ... It's not only to get here. but to stay here, hopefully for a long time.” Of the previous 23 players to reach the top of the ranking, seven won in their debut at No. 1. The most recent was Johnson in 2017 at the Mexico Championship, his second of three straight wins. The most timely belonged to Adam Scott, who had three chances to reach No. 1 by winning, and then got there during a week off. He returned and won at Colonial. The best was Ian Woosnam. He got to No. 1 in 1991 and then won the Masters. It's just a number. Rahm understands the world ranking enough to realize it's a product of two years, not one week. He should be proud, just as the 23 others before him. Thomas reached No. 1 after The Players Championship in 2018 and didn't play until the Memorial. He conceded to feeling a little different. “I just remember being a little more nervous because it's like all eyes are on you, and you're the best player in the world, so you feel like you should kind of play up to that,” he said. He tied for eighth. It could have been worse. Jordan Spieth missed the cut in his debut at No. 1. Adding to the volatility of the No. 1 ranking is the strength of the fields, which have been loaded with the world's best players since the restart and will remain strong with this World Golf Championship, the PGA Championship, the FedEx Cup playoffs and then the U.S. Open, all in the next two months. Getting to No. 1 is hard work. These days, staying there might be even harder......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 29th, 2020

Out of the Woods: Tiger emerges for TV match with Lefty, QBs

By DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer The purpose is to raise $10 million or more for COVID-19 relief efforts, and provide entertainment with four of the biggest stars from the PGA Tour and NFL. Another appeal to the Sunday made-for-TV exhibition, “The Match: Champions for Charity,” is a chance to see Tiger Woods swing a golf club for the first time in 98 days. Live golf is on television for the second straight Sunday, this one with the game's biggest headliner. Woods was last seen on television Feb. 16 at the Genesis Invitational, where he moved cautiously in California's chilly late winter weather and posted weekend rounds of 76-77 to finish last among the 68 players who made the cut at Riviera. He skipped a World Golf Championship in Mexico City, and said his surgically repaired back wasn't quite ready in sitting out the opening three weeks of the Florida swing. And then the pandemic took over, and there has been no place to play. This is a reasonable start. Woods and retired NFL quarterback Peyton Manning will face Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady, who won six Super Bowls with the New England Patriots and signed this year with Tampa Bay. The match will be at Medalist Golf Club in Hobe Sound, Florida. It is Woods' home course and about 20 minutes from Seminole, where last week Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff ushered golf's return to live television. What to make of Woods? His only interviews were with GolfTV, the Discovery-owned channel with whom Woods has a financial deal, and a playful Zoom call with the other match participants hosted by Ernie Johnson of Turner Sports, which is televising the match. He described his health in the April 9 interview with GolfTV as “night and day.” “I feel a lot better than I did then,” Woods said. “I've been able to turn a negative into a positive and been able to train a lot and get my body to where I think it should be.” Mickelson has missed the cut in four of his five tournaments this year — the exception was third place at Pebble Beach, where he started the final round one shot behind Nick Taylor and closed with a 75. Just like last week, rust is to be expected for players who haven't competed in two months — three, in the case of Woods. Manning, meanwhile, is retired and is a golf junkie. Brady remains employed, and this week got in some informal work with his new teammates in Tampa Bay. No fans will be allowed, just like last week at Seminole. One difference is the players will be in their own carts, whereas the four PGA Tour players last week carried their bags. But this is as much about entertainment as competition. It's the second edition of a match between Woods and Mickelson, the dominant players of their generation and rivals by name, but not necessarily by record. Woods has 82 career victories to 44 for Mickelson, leads 15-5 in major championships and 11-0 in winning PGA Tour player of the year. Mickelson won their first made-for-TV match over Thanksgiving weekend in 2018, a pay-per-view event that ran into technical problems and was free for all. Lefty won in a playoff under the lights for $9 million in a winner-take-all match. He also has a 5-3-1 advantage over Woods in the nine times they have played in the final round on the PGA Tour, most recently in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in 2012 when Mickelson shot 64 to a 75 for Woods. He also stopped two streaks. Woods was going for his seventh straight PGA Tour victory when Mickelson beat him at Torrey Pines in 2000. Later that year, Woods had won 19 consecutive times on the PGA Tour when he had at least a share of the 54-hole lead until Mickelson beat him at the Tour Championship. Woods, however, captured the streak that mattered, holding off Mickelson in the final group at the Masters in 2001 to hold all four professional majors at the same time. The banter was lacking in Las Vegas, and perhaps having Manning and Brady will change the dynamics. The broadcast includes Charles Barkley providing commentary and Justin Thomas, whom Woods has embraced, on the course as a reporter in his television debut. After this exhibition, golf has two weeks before the PGA Tour is set to return at Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas. Mickelson plans to play. Woods has not said when he will return......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 24th, 2020

LIST EM: Modern PBA Commissioner s Cup Best Imports

The PBA going back to a three-conference format in the 2011 season meant the return of the Commissioner's Cup and the Governors' Cup. For the first time since 2002, the two conferences returned, paving the way for a number of memorable imports to enter the league as a result. For this latest entry of List 'Em, we focus on the imports that came to play in the Commissioner's Cup. The best ones actually. The PBA typically allows teams to employ imports with a 6'10" height limit for the mid-season joust, but Best Import winners in this conference have come in all shapes and sizes. Let's go through each and every one of them.   2011 Commissioner's Cup Best Import: Nate Brumfield, Ginebra < In 2011, Ginebra's Nate Brumfield got the honor of being the first Commissioner's Cup Best Import since Talk 'N Text's Jerald Honeycutt in 2002. Ironically, Brumfield beat a TNT import for the award, outlasting Paul Harris for the win. Brumfield had the Gin Kings in the Finals of the Commissioner's Cup, losing in six games to Harris and the Tropang Texters. 2012 Commissioner's Cup Best Import: Denzel Bowles, B-Meg Derby Ace Denzel Bowles winning Best Import in 2012 gets lost in the mix because he actually did greater things during his first time playing in the PBA. With B-Meg trailing by two in Game 7 of the Finals against defending champion Talk 'N Text, Bowles went to the line with 1.2 seconds to go for a chance to tie. He calmly made both to force OT. In extra time, Bowles led the Llamados to the championship, sealing his place in league history with one of the most clutch plays ever. 2013 Commissioner's Cup Best Import: Robert Dozier, Alaska Rob Dozier fit right in with the Aces in the 2013 Commissioner's Cup and Alaska went on a tear, finishing as the no. 1 seed with a two-game lead from second place. Dozier was a beast on both ends, proving to be sturdy foundation to Alaska's impressive playoff run. The Aces only lost once in the playoffs, securing the title with a Finals sweep of Barangay Ginebra. 2014 Commissioner's Cup Best Import: Richard Howell, Talk 'N Text There was really no doubt on who was the Best Import in the 2014 Commissioner's Cup. Richard Howell put up monster numbers and led the Tropang Texters to an undefeated streak through the semifinals. Unfortunately, Howell's Talk 'N Text became the third victim during San Mig Coffee's Grand Slam run. 2015 Commissioner's Cup Best Import: Wayne Chism, Rain or Shine Rain or Shine sure aced its import choices in the early 2010s with Wayne Chism becoming the third Best Import winner for the Elasto Painters since 2011. Chism's versatility allowed ROS to make it to the Commissioner's Finals against Tropang Texters. In Game 7, Chism and the Elasto Painters finally surrendered the title after two overtimes. 2016 Commissioner's Cup Best Import: Arinze Onuaku, Meralco Meralco's ascent as a contender in import conferences started in 2016 when the Bolts brought a dominating presence in Arinze Onuaku. Onuaku powered his way to a Best Import win and had Meralco on the verge of its first-ever Finals appearance. Alaska put a stop to those plans as the Aces took out Meralco in the semifinals. 2017 Commissioner's Cup Best Import: Charles Rhodes, San Miguel The Beermen finally got an import to stay in the passionate Charles Rhodes. Rhodes delivered a first performance to remember, taking out longtime rival Ricard Ratliffe and the Star Hotshots in the semis before outlasting TNT in the Finals. San Miguel ended a near two-decade title drought in the Commissioner's Cup with Rhodes as Best Import. 2018 Commissioner's Cup Best Import: Justin Brownlee, Ginebra Justin Brownlee's lone Best Import win came in the Commissioner's Cup, not even his original conference. Wearing throwback inspired jerseys, Brownlee had the Gin Kings in the Finals to challenge defending champion San Miguel Beer and old pal Renaldo Balkman. Ginebra got its third title with JB with a six-game decision over the Beermen. 2019 Commissioner's Cup Best Import: Terrence Jones, TNT Terrence Jones took the PBA by storm last year and led the TNT juggernaut all the way to the Finals. In the semifinals, Jones and the KaTropa handed Brownlee his second-ever series loss in the league and effectively ended a two-way race for Best Import. However, the former Houston Rocket was grounded in the Finals, with San Miguel Beer frustrating the top-ranked KaTropa to win the title after six games.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 7th, 2020

Sabrina Ionescu, wrestler Spencer Lee share Sullivan Award

By The Associated Press Oregon women’s basketball star Sabrina Ionescu and Iowa wrestler Spencer Lee shared the Sullivan Award on Wednesday night as the country’s top amateur athlete. They are the third co-winners in the 90-year history of the Amateur Athletic Union award, following Coco Miller and Kelly Miller in 1999 and Keenan Reynolds and Breanna Stewart in 2005. Oregon women’s basketball star Sabrina Ionescu and Iowa wrestler Spencer Lee shared the Sullivan Award on Wednesday night as the country’s top amateur athlete. The ceremony was done remotely and streamed on Facebook. The scheduled program at the New York Athletic Club was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. Ionescu, from Walnut Creek, California, swept every major women’s basketball award, including being a unanimous choice as the AP player of the year. She had an NCAA-record 26 career triple-doubles and was the first NCAA player -- men’s or women’s -- to reach 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists. She was drafted first overall by the WNBA’s New York Liberty this month after guiding Oregon to a 31-2 mark in the season that ended prematurely with the cancellation of the NCAA Tournament. “This is truly an honor,” Ionescu said. “I’m blessed to be in this position and blessed to be among such great athletes and people, and to follow in the footsteps of the past AAU Sullivan Award winners. “I just want to say thank you to the University of Oregon and anyone that has been a part of my journey in the past and now in the future. Congrats to everyone that was up for this award. It’s really inspirational to be in a pool with these athletes.” Lee, from Murrysville, Pennsylvania, was 18-0 for the Hawkeyes this year as a junior before the season was stopped. The 125-pounder won NCAA titles his first two seasons. “I am incredibly humbled,” Lee said. “It was an honor to be nominated and reach the finals, so to be selected among this incredible group of individuals is pretty special. ... It is really special to be able to represent the University of Iowa. I am happy to share this award with Sabrina. All of the finalists are deserving. I am very surprised and very thankful.” Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence also was a finalist with UCLA gymnast Kyla Ross, California swimmer Abbey Weitzeil, Florida hurdler Grant Holloway, Marquette basketball player Markus Howard, Wisconsin volleyball player Dana Rettke, Maryland lacrosse player Megan Taylor and rhythmic gymnast Evita Griskenas. The award honors AAU founder James E. Sullivan. “We want to thank everyone for their participation and dedication to the presentation of this award. These are unprecedented times, but we as an organization wanted to celebrate the hard work these athletes put out there on the floor throughout this 2019-20 season,” AAU President and CEO Dr. Roger J. Goudy said. “I could not be more proud of both our recipients this year. They are quintessence of what this award represents – character, leadership and citizenship.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 30th, 2020

Column: No fans means same sport, different arena

By DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer Rory McIlroy contemplated what golf would be like without fans. This was five days before there was no golf at all. “I'd be OK with it,” he said at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, unaware the new coronavirus was about to shut down golf for at least three months. “It would be just like having an early tee time on the PGA Tour.” And then he added with a laugh, “I guess for a few guys, it wouldn't be that much different.” McIlroy had one of those early times when he was a 20-year-old rookie on the PGA Tour. He teed off in the second round of the Honda Classic at 6:59 a.m. So this will be going back in time for McIlroy, along with the rest of the sport. The PGA Tour set a target of June 8-14 at Colonial in Texas to resume its schedule, with no fans for at least a month. Even if the Charles Schwab Challenge doesn't prove to be the return, golf will be without spectators whenever it starts. Will it matter? Low score still wins, no matter who's there to see it. But it will be a new arena. “I could play without fans, but I don't think I'd play as well,” McIlroy said Tuesday on his GolfPass podcast with Carson Daly and Stephen Curry. “Especially on a Sunday, back nine, you feed off that energy. You hear roars on other parts of the golf course and you sort of know what's going on. All those dynamics are in play when you have people there." The dynamics go beyond noise, of course. Nathan Grube, the tournament director of the Travelers Championship in Connecticut, is preparing it to be the third tournament, the last weekend in June, if golf resumes on schedule. There is hope. There is excitement. There are no grandstands being erected. That wouldn't be a big problem at the TPC River Highlands, which features a stadium design and allows for good viewing, especially over the closing holes. But imagine other courses without stands, without hospitality suites, with nothing but green grass, white sand in the bunkers, the occasional water hazard. Think about Mackenzie Hughes trying to play a cut into the 18th green at the Honda Classic, only to pull it into the middle of the bleachers. He was given a free drop. Years ago, the safe play on the 18th at Doral was to put it into the grandstands beyond the green to take water out of the equation, knowing there would be a free drop. “They're not going to catch errant shots on some holes,” said Mark Russell, a senior rules official on the PGA Tour. They are temporary immovable obstructions, and they are a big part of modern golf. That's why the USGA, and then the R&A, created a number of drop zones (white circles) in front of the grandstands around the 18th hole, starting with Winged Foot in 2006, to avoid taking too much time figuring out where to drop for shots into or behind the stands. In a few cases, it allowed for a player to advance his ball closer to the hole without hitting it. Speaking of Winged Foot, consider that no fans on the course means the rough will remain just that. Phil Mickelson, as an example, has been known to hit tee shots so far off line that the ball comes to rest in an area where gallery traffic has trampled thick grass and led to a reasonable lie. (Maybe if there were no fans at Winged Foot, he would have had to play toward the 18th fairway instead of hitting 3-iron, which led to double bogey and a runner-up finish in the 2006 U.S. Open.) Fans were Arnold Palmer's best friends — literally, in so many cases, but also keeping some of his wild shots from straying too far off line. Tiger Woods once came to the 18th hole at Bay Hill tied for the lead when he pulled his tee shot. It was headed out of bounds but instead struck one of the thousands of spectators in the neck. From grass that had been flattened by the gallery, he hit 5-iron to 15 feet and made birdie to beat Mickelson by one shot. No gallery? It's happened before, most recently in Japan because of flooding. Before that, Congressional had no fans for the third round of the AT&T National because of trees downed by a wind storm. Woods, the biggest draw in golf, won both tournaments. Sound is underrated in golf, especially at scenic Augusta National. Woods spoke to studying every leaderboard so when he heard a roar, he would have a better idea of who did what. Max Homa recalled his first PGA Tour victory, a year ago this week at the Wells Fargo Championship, and how electric it was walking up the 18th fairway. The next tournament he plays will be different. “It will be weird,” Homa said Tuesday. “I imagine the first person to win, it probably will be the strangest of their lives. It sounds very selfish of us to not want to play in front of fans because it won't be electric. But people are craving sports, craving entertainment. I'd carry my bag in front of nobody if needed.” Without fans, without noise and excitement, it won't be the same. But it will be golf. And for the time being, that will do......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 29th, 2020

UAAP Season 82: No time to relax for repeat-seeking Ateneo Lady Eagles

All teams will be after Ateneo de Manila University as the Lady Eagles march into UAAP Season 82 with a huge target mark on their chests. But instead of taking it as pressure in its attempt to keep the title perched in Katipunan, Ateneo embraces it. A constant reminder for the Lady Eagles to be on their toes at all times and always keep their guards up. “Since defending champs kami, everyone wants to beat us,” said incoming third year libero Dani Ravena. “Added pressure ‘yun, but at the same time, it's motivation for us not to be satisfied with one game,” added Ravena. “Everyone wants to beat us so the next game will be tougher than the last one.” Ateneo lost three vital cogs in Maddie Madayag, Bea De Leon and Kim Gequillana after its title conquest last year in a dramatic come-from-behind Finals series win over University of Sto. Tomas, but still remains a powerhouse squad with key returnees and the addition of blue chip recruits. The biggest boost in the Lady Eagles’ title-retention bid is the presence of prolific scorer and court leader Kat Tolentino, who decided to make one final tour of duty. Joining Tolentino are seasoned players Jho Maraguinot and setter Jamie Lavitoria, who are making their return after skipping a year to pursue careers in the commercial league.   Ateneo will miss the services of heady playmaker Deanna Wong, who is still recovering from a shin injury, but will still have most of their championship core in Ravena, Ponggay Gaston, Jules Samonte, Vanessa Gandler, Erika Raagas and setter Jaja Maraguinot.   “Malaking factor ang pagbalik ng mga seniors sa amin and ‘yung improvement ng mga rookies and sophomores isang malaking bagay para sa amin,” said Ateneo head coach Oliver Almadro. Giving the Lady Eagles an even deeper arsenal this season is the integration of promising rookies led by scorer Faith Nisperos and middle Joan Narit. While the good mix of veterans and rookies combined with championship experience and support of legions of fans make the Lady Eagles a serious title contender, Almadro constantly reminds his team that a repeat won’t be given to them for free.     “Mahirap maging complacent,” he said. “Mahirap mag-settle down na nakabalik na si ganito, nakabalik na si ganyan. I’m always telling my players, it’s not about how strong you are, it’s not about being strong lang eh.” “’Di sapat sa akin yung magaling lang eh. Kailanngan talaga nandoon ang teamwork, nandoon ang effort, nandoon ang sacrifices for the team and the school,” Almadro stressed.   EYES ON YOU: Ateneo will see this season the final flight of Kat Tolentino for the blue and white as well as the debut of its prized recruit Faith Nisperos. All eyes will be on the duo as they try to bring the Lady Eagles their second straight title and fourth overall.       Nisperos showed a glimpse of what to expect from her during the pre-season as she led Ateneo to a third place finish in the PVL Collegiate Conference. The National University-Nazareth School product, who averaged 12.4 points per game with 41.46% success rate in attacks in the PVL, embraces the challenge of playing for one of the best teams in the league in the past decade.    “I just wanna do my best,” she said. “I won't pressure myself in trying to push myself too hard. Ang goal ko lang naman is gampanan ‘yung role ko sa team.” For Tolentino, who during the pre-season played for ChocoMucho in the PVL Open Conference, she will be playing a bigger role as the leader of the Lady Eagles. “My main goal for this year is to find that leadership role and show my character,” said Tolentino. “I wanna help the team using my experience the last four years. I wanna encourage my teammates to push for that same goal.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 14th, 2020

Blazers beat Heat 115-109 in Iguodala s debut for Miami

  BY ERIK GARCÍA GUNDERSEN Associated Press PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Damian Lillard had 33 points and eight assists, Gary Trent Jr. scored 22 points and the Portland Trail Blazers beat Miami 115-109 on Sunday night in Andre Iguodala's debut with the Heat. Iguodala had two points in his first game since the NBA Finals. Hassan Whiteside had 11 points and 17 rebounds against his former team, including an pair of free throws with 11.5 seconds left that gave Portland a seven-point lead. Goran Dragic had 27 points for Miami, which played without Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro. Duncan Robinson had 19 points, but just four after halftime. Iguodala, acquired from Memphis before the trade deadline, made his Miami debut in the first quarter, wearing No. 28. He made an impact with a block of Portland’s Mario Hezonja. In the second quarter, Hezonja sprained his left ankle and did not return, leaving Portland with just eight available players. After a foul was called on Lillard with 0.9 seconds left in the third quarter, Blazers coach Terry Stotts challenged the call. The call was overturned after the review, which showed a clean block by Lillard and a loose ball foul on Dragic. Lillard made both free throws to give the Blazers a 93-83 lead heading into the final period. Iguodala began the fourth quarter with an assist to Chris Silva on an alley-oop. A steal by Iguodala on the next possession led to Robinson's 3-pointer, forcing a Blazers timeout with 11:01 left. Carmelo Anthony drew a technical foul with 6:03 left and Robinson made the free throw to cut Portland’s lead to 99-94. A free throw by Whiteside gave Portland a 111-103 lead with 90 seconds left. Bam Adebayo's layup cut the Blazers' lead to 111-108 with 46 seconds left. However, Lillard answered back with a layup of his own to push the lead back to 113-108 with 25 seconds left. After the Heat had three opportunities to cut into the lead, Whiteside grabbed the rebound and was fouled. TIP-INS Heat: Sunday was the first game for the Heat with new additions Iguodala and Jae Crowder. Iguodala hasn’t played a game since the NBA Finals last June with the Warriors, but the 2015 Finals MVP has plenty of respect in the league still. “I see a winning player,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. “He is an experienced, winning player. A very good wing defender. I think he complements the Miami roster really well, with the versatility that he brings at both ends.” Trail Blazers: Lillard's recent sizzling stretch caught the eye of Miami coach Eric Spoelstra. “It’s been a little bit of a habit of mine,” he said. “We play our game East Coast time and I throw on a West Coast game and it usually ends on Portland for the last two weeks with what this guy has been doing. The whole league has been watching. They’re in a desperate situation trying to make the playoffs. You have to respect the urgency and toughness and focus that they are going to bring into every single game.” Lillard had averaged over 41 points per game over the past 10 games entering Sunday. UP NEXT Heat: Monday night at Golden State Warriors. Trail Blazers: Tuesday night at New Orleans Pelicans......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 10th, 2020

Encarnacion, White Sox complete $12 million, 1-year contract

By Andrew Seligman, Associated Press CHICAGO (AP) — Edwin Encarnación saw the young players the Chicago White Sox have and a bright future for a team eyeing a run at the AL Central championship after seven straight losing seasons. That's why he chose to be a part of it. Encarnación and the White Sox finalized a $12 million, one-year contract on Thursday, putting him in position to become Chicago's designated hitter and a part-time first baseman along with José Abreu. Encarnación is due $12 million this season, and the White Sox hold a $12 million option for 2021 under the deal, which was agreed to Dec. 25 subject to a successful physical. “I'm very excited to be part of this team, I think this team has a great future," he said. "To be here and try to help this team to go where we want to go and make the playoffs.” Encarnación hit 34 home runs in 109 games for Seattle and the Yankees last year. The three-time All-Star led the American League with 21 homers when the Mariners dealt him to New York in June. The Yankees declined a $25 million option for next season, opting to pay a $5 million buyout. He hit .249 with 13 homers and 37 RBIs in 44 regular-season games with the Yankees, limited by oblique problems. He batted .308 while New York beat Minnesota in the AL Division Series, but was 1 for 18 with 11 strikeouts in the AL Championship Series against Houston. Encarnación, who turned 37 on Tuesday, has eight straight seasons with more than 30 homers. He has 414 homers in 15 years with Cincinnati, Toronto, Cleveland, Seattle and New York. Last year he became the first major leaguer to play on three continents in one season, opening the season in Tokyo with the Mariners and going to London in June with the Yankees. “Edwin is a professional hitter, someone who makes each and every at-bat count,” general Rick Hahn said in a statement. “His long track record of power is impressive and as a veteran run producer, Edwin adds another threatening bat to our lineup, lengthening our batting order and increasing (manager) Rick Renteria’s offensive options on any given night.” The White Sox have been one of baseball's busiest teams, adding to a promising young core. Chicago also added catcher Yasmani Grandal and pitchers Dallas Keuchel, Gio González and Steve Cishek in free-agent deals. Outfielder Nomar Mazara was acquired in a trade with the Texas Rangers. Abreu, who led the AL with 123 RBIs last season, was re-signed to a $50 million, three-year deal, and top prospect Luis Robert agreed to a $50 million, six-year contract last week, clearing the way for the outfielder to begin the season in the majors. The White Sox were 72-89 last season, well behind the 101-win Minnesota Twins and 93-win Cleveland Indians. But with experienced veterans added to a promising young core, they believe they are in position to make a big jump after missing the playoffs for the 13th time in 14 years since their 2005 World Series championship. Encarnación and Grandal have five straight trips to the postseason. Keuchel, the 2015 AL Cy Young Award winner with Houston, made the playoffs four times in the past five years and won a World Series championship with the Astros in 2017. “That's obviously a tremendous track record for each of them, but also speaks in part to what we're trying to accomplish not just on the field but in terms of taking that next step in our clubhouse, and this young core not only growing together but learning how to win and learning what it takes to be successful not only over the course of the summer but well into October as well,” general manager Rick Hahn said. “Edwin's another piece in trying to accomplish that.” The veterans the White Sox added are joining a team that has reigning batting champion Tim Anderson, who led the majors with a .335 average. Yoán Moncada had a breakthrough season, hitting .315 with 25 homers and 79 RBIs. Eloy Jiménez showed pop as a rookie, with a .267 average, 31 homers and 79 RBIs. Prized outfielder Luis Robert figures to debut next spring, and top prospect Nick Madrigal might also be ready to get significant time at second base. Keuchel and Gonzalez will join a rotation led by All-Star Lucas Giolito that also includes Reynaldo Lopez and Dylan Cease. Promising young right-hander Michael Kopech is also expected to return following Tommy John surgery. Encarnación said he is “very close” with Jiménez and has been following him since Jiménez was 14. He called Jiménez “a great hitter” and praised the other big, young bats in the White Sox's lineup. “They're very smart hitters,” Encarnación said. “They have a great idea (of) what they are doing at the plate.” The White Sox designated left-hander Kodi Medeiros for assignment......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 10th, 2020

Texans roar past Bills for 22-19 win in OT

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 5th, 2020

Bulls rally from 18 down to beat Wizards in overtime

By Harvey Valentine, Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) — Wendell Carter Jr. made a layup with 9.1 seconds left in overtime, completing the Chicago Bulls' rally from an 18-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat the Washington Wizards 110-109 Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time). Zach LaVine drops it off to Wendell Carter Jr. to put Chicago ahead for good! Final in OT:@chicagobulls 110@WashWizards 109 pic.twitter.com/POo3cGg2j5 — NBA (@NBA) December 19, 2019 Zach LaVine capped a 21-3 Bulls run with three free throws that tied the game at 96 with 5.5 seconds left in the fourth. Bradley Beal hit a jumper with 0.5 seconds remaining to put Washington ahead 98-96, but LaVine was fouled on the ensuing inbound play and hit two free throws to force OT. Lauri Markkanen's alley-oop basket gave the Bulls their first lead since the first quarter, 106-105 with 1:47 left in overtime. Beal's two free throws put Washington back on top, and Isaiah Thomas' two foul shots made it 109-106 with 53 seconds left. Carter, aided by a lane violation by Washington, made two free throws with 40 seconds to go and scored the winner after Beal's miss. Beal missed another jumper at the buzzer. Markkanen had 31 points and nine rebounds, and LaVine added 24 points. Davis Bertans led Washington with 26 points, and Beal finished with 22. The Wizards led 93-75 with 8:21 left in the fourth before Carter's dunk started Chicago's spurt. LaVine's 3-pointer pulled the Bulls within 96-93 with 1:33 remaining. LaVine scored 10 points in the final three minutes of the period. In his return to Washington, former Wizards player Tomas Satoransky had 17 points. Washington led by six at halftime, and Beal and Thomas combined for three 3-pointers in a 9-2 run that gave the Wizards a 74-61 lead midway through the third quarter. TIP-INS Bulls: Satoransky was the subject of a video tribute during the first quarter. ... Carter picked up a flagrant foul in the fourth quarter. He had nine points and nine rebounds. ... the Bulls have seven straight games with at least five blocks. ... Chicago has won three straight versus Washington for the first time since a seven-game streak from April 2, 2010-Jan. 30, 2012. Wizards: Rookie center Anzejs Pasecniks had nine points and seven rebounds in his NBA debut. ... Bertans started in place of rookie Rui Hachimura, who injured his groin in Monday's (Tuesday, PHL time) win at Detroit and is out for at least five games. ... The 13-point fourth quarter was their lowest-scoring quarter of the season. UP NEXT Bulls: Visit the Detroit Pistons on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). Wizards: Visit the Toronto Raptors on Friday (Saturday, PHL time)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 19th, 2019

Pelicans languishing as Williamson s absence drags on

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Zion Williamson was supposed to be making his highly anticipated NBA debut by sometime next week, if not earlier. That looks unlikely now, given the overall No. 1 draft pick has yet to practice with the New Orleans Pelicans since having surgery to repair the lateral meniscus in his right knee on Oct. 21 (Oct. 22, PHL time). The reeling Pelicans could certainly use him. They’ve lost 10 straight heading into Friday night’s (Saturday, PHL time) game at Philadelphia to fall to 6-19, but coach Alvin Gentry said this week that he could not forecast a return date. “I don’t have any idea,” Gentry said. “I know that he’s here every day and know that he’s working his butt off. “We’re not going to rush anything with him,” Gentry continued. “We’re going to be overly cautious.” Williamson’s initial prognosis was for his rehabilitation to last six to eight weeks. This Monday will mark eight weeks since surgery. “We have been much more cautious with him in terms of how quickly we’ve ramped him up from stage to stage because he’s 19 and he’s still growing and he was 285 pounds when he had the surgery,” said David Griffin, the Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations, during a recent game broadcast on Fox Sports New Orleans. “But there’s been absolutely no setback and no other mission afoot than to get him on the court as soon as possible.′ Griffin also has said Williamson won’t play on consecutive nights in the early days after his return to he court. Caution is understandable considering the long-term potential of the 6-foot-6 Williamson, who took college basketball by storm in his lone season at Duke and who hardly seemed to have trouble adjusting to the NBA during the preseason. He averaged 23.3 points and 6.5 rebounds in four games, went right at high-respected defenders including Utah’s Rudy Gobert and had his share of above-the-rim highlights. Pelicans players say they have urged Williamson to practice patience during his rehabilitation, but they also express excitement over the effect they expect him to have when he is able to play. “I told him to play the same way when he gets back. Don’t change. Keep putting pressure on the rim and when guys collapse in, kick out for open 3s,” Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball said, referring to Williamson’s showing in the preseason. “You saw what he did” during preseason, Ball continued. “We could definitely use that.” Guard Frank Jackson said getting Williamson back will be “huge.” “Any time he’s on the floor, he’s a threat to anyone,” said guard Frank Jackson, who also played at Duke. “So we’re looking forward to getting him back.” The Pelicans’ brass, however, has sought to take pressure off of Williamson. “We expect for him obviously to inject some energy into our team and do some things like that, but we don’t expect that all of a sudden he’s going to be the cavalry and everything’s going to change,” Gentry said. “We have to change before he gets back on the floor and he would just be an additional positive thing.” Gentry said Williamson has remained highly engaged with the team, watching every practice, walking through offensive and defensive sets with coaches and even verbalizing frustration after losses. He’s even traveled to road games recently, and Gentry said a lopsided loss in Dallas last Saturday (last Sunday, PHL time) “bothered him as much as anybody.” “I do think he’ll be more of a voice,” Gentry said. “For the most part, obviously, we’ve got really quiet guys, but I don’t see him being a quiet guy. “He’s not afraid to speak his mind. It’s just one of those things where he’s just who he is and he’s a natural,” Gentry continued. “The players will embrace that, too, because he’s a good guy and he’s here every day.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 13th, 2019

Thiem beats Federer at ATP Finals; Djokovic cruises

By Mattias Karen, Associated Press LONDON (AP) — Dominic Thiem keeps getting the better of Roger Federer. Thiem beat Federer 7-5, 7-5 Sunday in their opening match at the ATP Finals for his fifth win in seven meetings with the Swiss great — and third straight this year. Thiem broke in the opening game of the match and again for a 6-5 lead in the first set after Federer had leveled at 2-2. The second set went with serve until Thiem broke at love for another 6-5 lead. Federer, a record six-time champion at the ATP Finals, then missed two break points in the next game before netting a backhand return on Thiem's second match point. Thiem also beat Federer at the Madrid Masters and in the Indian Wells final this year, but lost to him in the group stage at last year's ATP Finals. Novak Djokovic had a much easier start to the tournament, easing past Matteo Berrettini 6-2, 6-1 in their first round-robin match. But despite a near flawless performance, Djokovic still found a way to berate himself. Leading 4-0 in the second set against the Italian, Djokovic hit a backhand wide to concede a break to the Italian, and then angrily turned toward his player's box and shouted out his frustration. It was a clear sign that even at the end of another grueling season, Djokovic won't tolerate any dips in his game as he pursues a record-equaling sixth ATP Finals title. "There's no other reasonable explanation (to that reaction) than trying to play as perfect as possible," Djokovic said. "But I guess that's me, you know." It was certainly the same Djokovic that the O2 Arena crowd has become used to seeing. Although the second-ranked Serb — who won four straight titles at the year-end event in London between 2012 and 2015 — only needed to hit a total of 10 winners in the match as Berrettini's 28 unforced errors handed him an easy victory to start round-robin play. Berrettini's forehand was responsible for 18 of those errors, including two shots into the net to hand Djokovic the only two breaks of the first set. After giving up that lone break to make it 4-1 in the second, Djokovic broke right back and then clinched the victory with an easy forehand putaway at the net. "He missed a relatively easy forehand for him that gave me a break (in the first set)," Djokovic said. "And after that I started reading his serve better." Berrettini was making his debut at the event for the world's top eight players and had never faced Djokovic before. He also said he struggled a bit with the speed of the indoor hard court at the O2. "The ball is not jumping a lot, so it's tough to mix, especially my forehand," Berrettini said. "I think it's better when I have a little bit more time and the ball takes more spin. I think I started the match pretty good, but he was just better than me today." The other four-man group features Rafael Nadal, defending champion Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitispas and Daniil Medvedev. They begin play on Monday. Djokovic has a chance to overtake Nadal for the year-end No. 1 ranking with a strong showing in London. He trails the Spaniard by 640 ranking points, with a maximum of 1,500 points up for grabs......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 11th, 2019

Rookie Ladder: With Zion out, surprises take top spots

By Drew Packham, NBA.com With one injury, everything changed. When news came down that No. 1 pick Zion Williamson would miss 6-8 weeks with a torn meniscus in his right knee, the Kia Rookie of the Year race was officially up for grabs. Williamson, the No. 1 pick who was dominating the preseason and was a clear favorite to win Kia ROY, will miss anywhere from 20-30 games based off the initial timetable. The Pelicans are being cautious with their prized big man, meaning the door is wide open for other rookies to take advantage. So that begs the question: Can Williamson miss 25-30% of the season and still return to claim the top prize? If what we’ve seen so far from the rest of this rookie class is any indication, Zion will have his work cut out for him when he gets back on the court. Here’s how the race looks after the first week. * * * 1. Kendrick Nunn, Miami Heat The biggest surprise of the first week has been Kendrick Melvin Nunn, who spent last season in the G League after going undrafted in 2018. The Heat clearly saw something in Nunn, signing the guard to a deal in April, although he wouldn’t see action until Opening Night this season. Nunn burst onto the scene, scoring 24 (one shy of the Heat rookie debut record) in Miami’s 120-101 win over the Grizzlies and hasn’t slowed down since, despite Jimmy Butler’s return to the lineup. "I've never seen him look like he's under stress or pressure," Spoelstra said of Nunn, who leads all rookies in scoring (21.0 ppg) while shooting 48.6% from the floor. "He's an experienced older young player." For now, the starting job seems to be Nunn’s. Whether he keeps up this hot start will be something to watch, but he’s already winning over fans and his underdog story will only help his case. The Flying Nunn! pic.twitter.com/oRQEVth17z — Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) October 28, 2019 2. P.J. Washington, Charlotte Hornets The No. 12 pick didn’t take long to make his case for playing time in Charlotte. While GM Mitch Kupchak previously suggested the Kentucky product would spend time in the G League, Washington wasn’t having it. Washington scored 27 points and hit 7 3s in the opener, setting an NBA record for a debut. And he hasn’t showed many signs of slowing. Through five games as a starter, he’s averaging 15.8 points and 7.0 rebounds (tied for 1st among rookies) while shooting 54.7% from the field and 52.0% on 3s. Another ???? night for @PJWashington! ? 23 PTS ? 8 REB ? 76% (10-for-13)#AllFly pic.twitter.com/HwLNyoW6Jg — Charlotte Hornets (@hornets) October 31, 2019 3. RJ Barrett, New York Knicks The No. 3 pick has looked like a star, starting all five games and proving he’s one of the best shooters in this rookie class. Through five games, Barrett is averaging 18.2 points and 6.4 rebounds while shooting 47.4% from the field and 42.1% from beyond the arc. Barrett’s only issue so far is one that plagued him at Duke: He’s just 11-for-27 (40.7%) from the free-throw line. Coach David Fizdale is experimenting with Barrett at the point, with mixed results so far. First career double-double ?@rjbarrett6 went to work. pic.twitter.com/hXxyibWIO0 — NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) October 29, 2019 4. Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies Morant has had his ups and downs, but he certainly had a signature moment in one of his first big tests. Squaring off against Kyrie Irving, Morant scored 30 points (17 in the 4th) and sealed the win with a block on Irving before setting up the game-winning 3 as the Grizzlies beat the Nets 134-133 in OT. Morant is averaging 17.5 points and 5.0 assists through four games, but he’ll have to cut down on his 5.0 turnovers per game. Still, Morant’s flashes of brilliance in a big matchup earn him a top 5 spot on the first Ladder. ?? ????? in the ?? ?17 points in clutch time ?Block to send the game into OT ?Became 1 of 3 players in NBA history to have a 30+ point 9+ ast night within his first 3 games. (shouts @GrizzliesPR) @JaMorant | #GrzNxtGen pic.twitter.com/wa5LynMl7h — Memphis Grizzlies (@memgrizz) October 28, 2019 5. Rui Hachimura, Washington Wizards Hachimura is winning over fans and teammates alike with his early play. The No. 9 pick has started all four games for the 1-3 Wizards, averaging 18.0 points and 7.0 rebounds (tied for 1st among rookies) on 46.9% shooting. Coach Scott Brooks is giving the former Gonzaga forward free rein, so he should be a regular on the Ladder. “He's going to be special in this league. I think he has the potential to be a star," Isaiah Thomas said of his teammate. "I always tell him he reminds me of Kawhi Leonard when he first came into the league; big body, big hands, midrange game, he knows the game really well." Just missed the cut: Coby White, Chicago Bulls White started the season hot, scoring 17 and 25 in the first two games, but hasn’t reached double-digits since, shooting 8-for-31 in the Bulls’ next three games. Still, White has proven to be a capable change-of-pace off the bench and could climb with more playing time. Tyler Herro, Miami Heat Herro has been a key piece to the Heat’s 3-1 start to the season, averaging 16.3 points and 6.3 rebounds while shooting 45.8% from the field (36.8 on 3s). The No. 13 pick, who was tabbed “best shooter” by his fellow rookies, scored 29 points (exploding for 19 in the 2nd quarter) in Miami’s 112-97 win over the Hawks. DeAndre Hunter, Atlanta Hawks Hunter has started all four games for the Hawks, averaging 9.5 points and 4.3 rebounds in 26.4 minutes per game. This team is clearly built around Trae Young and John Collins at this point, but Hunter is sliding right into his role and his numbers should only rise as he gains experience. Matisse Thybulle, Philadelphia 76ers Thybulle’s numbers on offense won’t wow you, but the No. 20 pick out of Washington makes his money on the defensive end. Through four games, Thybulle has 12 steals (leading all NBA players) and 6 blocks, both tops among rookies. He’s had multiple steals in all four games (setting a Sixers rookie record) and two or more blocks in three of the four, even more impressive considering he’s only seeing about 20 minutes per game. * * * (All stats through Thursday, Oct. 31, PHL time) Send any questions or comments to my email or find me on Twitter @drewpackham. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 1st, 2019

Now with Clippers, Kawhi Leonard spoils Warriors fun again

By Janie McCauley, Associated Press SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Kawhi Leonard spoiled the Warriors' first game at Chase Center just as he did their farewell at Oracle Arena four months ago, scoring 21 points in three quarters to lead the Los Angeles Clippers to a 141-122 victory Thursday (Friday, PHL time) on opening night at Golden State's snazzy new arena. Reigning NBA Finals MVP Leonard shot 9-for-17 and also dished out nine assists in his second game with L.A. after leading the Toronto Raptors to their first title last season in a six-game finals against the Warriors. Stephen Curry scored 23 points and D'Angelo Russell added 20 in his Golden State debut, but the Warriors got beat up the way they used to do it against the entire NBA, even giving up a 46-point third quarter. What a dud for the Dubs as they formally opened new Chase Center in San Francisco after 47 years at Oracle Arena in Oakland. Patrick Patterson scored 20 points and Ivica Zubac had 16 points, 10 rebounds and two blocked shots for Los Angeles. In a rematch of the hard-fought first-round playoff series last season won by the Warriors in six games on their way to a fifth straight finals, the Clippers jumped to a 14-0 lead making five of their first six shots. Golden State started 0-for-6 and missed four three's. Russell's jumper at 8:23 gave Golden State its first points and he scored the Warriors' initial seven before Curry hit a triple at 6:42. The Warriors got a scare when they briefly lost Draymond Green at the 9:03 mark of the opening quarter after he appeared to injure his right elbow on a screen. Green returned to the court at the start of the second and wound up with 11 points. Curry, who at 31 is the oldest Warriors player, was 2-of-11 on three's as Golden State went 15-for-42 from deep. Golden State coach Steve Kerr is embracing the move and new arena — he's still figuring his way around the building — but noted "I'll miss everything about Oracle. It's a great place to play." Some fans left after the third quarter with the home team trailing 111-87. Leonard and Patrick Beverley were booed during pregame introductions for the Clippers, who beat the Lakers 112-102 in their opener Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time) with Leonard scoring 30 points on 10-for-19 shooting. TIP-INS Clippers: Los Angeles shot 56.8 percent in the first half (21-of-37), making 6-of-11 three's. ... The Clippers were outrebounded 23-20 in the first half and 42-39 overall. ... G Rodney McGruder missed his second straight game with a high right ankle sprain. ... The Clippers scored 58 points in the paint. Warriors: Golden State called a late timeout when it had none remaining, resulting in a technical foul. ... Kevon Looney started at center for the Warriors after working back from a strained right hamstring then dealt with right hamstring tightness in the second half and didn't return as a precautionary move. The hope had been he would play about 20 minutes with four stretches of five minutes or so, Kerr said. ... Kerr challenged a foul call on Looney late in the first half and the call was upheld. ... The Warriors had won the last three at home against the Clippers. NICE TOUCHES Newly enshrined Hall of Famer Al Attles, who will be 83 next month, took part in a ceremonial tipoff just before the ball actually went up. Attles joined the organization in 1960 and played in the Philadelphia Warriors in Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point game on March 2, 1962. Injured Splash Brother Klay Thompson, who could miss the entire season recovering from surgery for a torn ACL in his left knee, spoke to the fans at midcourt before the game. He also shared a hug and a few words with Leonard. Construction workers who built Chase Center held the flag for the national anthem. LOCKED OUT Kerr joked he might need to wear his key card around his neck even on game nights. "I've been locked out of my office a couple times after games, true story," he said. "... We're slowly but surely figuring those things out." QUOTEABLE Clippers coach Doc Rivers hardly considers Curry past his prime beginning his 11th NBA season. "I want him to get older. I'm all for the 40 Steph, I can't wait for that one," Rivers quipped. "He'll still be playing because he can shoot. He just won't be as agile I don't think. He's been around a long time. It's amazing when you think about it how quickly it goes." UP NEXT Clippers: At Suns on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) having won the last 12 meetings overall and six straight in Phoenix. Warriors: At Thunder on Sunday (Monday, PHL time) having won 11 straight road games in the regular season and two in a row at Oklahoma City......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 25th, 2019

Harden dazzles, then Raptors rally past Rockets in Japan

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press When James Harden's night was over, defense got easier for the Toronto Raptors. Pascal Siakam scored 24 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and the Raptors — in their first game since winning the NBA Finals — rallied from a 17-point deficit to beat the Houston Rockets 134-129 in Tokyo on Tuesday to open the NBA Japan Games. The exhibition game at the Saitama Super Arena, a site for basketball at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, was the NBA's first in Japan since 2003. The Rockets and Raptors return there to conclude the two-game series on Thursday. Raptors coach Nick Nurse said he liked the arena and felt energy from the Japanese fans. "We get 'Let's go Raptors' in a lot of cities," Nurse said. "It's nice to see it in Tokyo as well. Lot of Raptors fans around the world. It's great." There were plenty of Rockets fans as well, for good reason. Harden put on yet another dazzling offensive show, making his first six shots and finishing 11 for 14 from the field and scoring 34 points in 27 minutes. His final points were a pair of free throws with 3:40 left in the third quarter that put Houston up 104-87. He checked out shortly afterward, and Toronto outscored Houston 47-25 the rest of the way. "It was amazing," Harden said. "They got an opportunity to see what NBA basketball is about, what Rockets basketball is about. They brought the energy tonight. They were excited from the beginning of the game. They made us want to go out there and put on a show, so hopefully it can be that same kind of atmosphere on Thursday." Russell Westbrook played for Houston for the first time, scoring 13 points in 21 minutes in his preseason debut. "It wasn't bad," said Westbrook, the longtime Oklahoma City star and former MVP now in his first season with Houston. "Unfortunately, we didn't win. That's the main goal. But it was good to get on the floor for the first time, get up and down, try to find a rhythm. We've got a lot of work to do." Serge Ibaka scored 18 points and Fred VanVleet scored 16 for the Raptors, who played without Marc Gasol and Kyle Lowry. There are six games later Tuesday (Wednesday morning, PHL time): Philadelphia plays host to Guangzhou of the Chinese Basketball Association, San Antonio visits Miami, Memphis hosts New Zealand, Dallas goes to Oklahoma City, Minnesota is at Phoenix and Denver plays in Portland......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 8th, 2019

Barcelona s depleted squad held again in Spanish league

By Tales Azzoni, Associated Press MADRID (AP) — The absence of Lionel Messi and other injured players took its toll on Barcelona again. Barcelona's depleted squad stumbled in the Spanish league for the second time in three rounds on Saturday, drawing 2-2 at promoted Osasuna to enter the international break with only four points. Without Messi, Luis Suárez and Ousmane Dembele because of injuries, the Catalan club let victory escape after conceding an 81st-minute equalizer from a penalty kick awarded because of a handball by defender Gerard Piqué. Messi, nursing a calf injury, is yet to play in the league this season, while Suárez and Dembele appeared only in the first match, when the two-time defending champion lost 1-0 at Athletic Bilbao for its first opening defeat in a decade. "We were terrible, they got the lead and we couldn't get near their area," Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said. "We played better in the second half and controlled the game, but we can't allow the game to get away from us like that." Midfielder Roberto Torres converted the late penalty for Osasuna. He had also found the net with a neat volley less than 10 minutes into the game to put the hosts ahead in Pamplona. Barcelona rallied with goals early in the second half by substitutes Ansu Fati and Arthur. Fati, a 16-year-old from Guinea-Bissau, scored his first goal with the senior team with a 51st-minute header. The speedy youngster had made his first-team debut in the 5-2 win over Real Betis at Camp Nou Stadium last weekend. Arthur got on the board with a well-placed shot into the far corner after cutting back to avoid two defenders in the 64th. Carles Pérez, a 21-year-old starting his second straight match due to Barcelona's injuries, had a great chance to give his team the lead in the 88th but lost control of the ball with only the goalkeeper to beat. Antoine Griezmann, who scored twice against Betis, had a lackluster performance on Saturday. "We are upset because we did the hard part, which was to come from behind to take the lead," Sergi Roberto said. "There is still a lot of league left. This should come as a message that we can't lose our focus." Osasuna remains unbeaten on its return to the first division after opening with a victory and two draws. It hasn't lost in 27 straight home games at El Sadar Stadium. "The team played well and in the end we were awarded the penalty," Torres said. "It was a fair result." Before the match there was a minute's silence in tribute to 9-year-old Xana, the daughter of former Spain and Barcelona coach Luis Enrique. She died on Thursday from a type of bone cancer. The silence will be repeated for all games in Spain this weekend. OTHER RESULTS Real Betis rebounded from two consecutive losses by coming from behind to defeat Leganés 2-1 at home with second-half goals by Lorenzo "Loren" Morón and Nabil Fekir. Getafe drew 1-1 with Alavés at home, while Levante defeated visiting Valladolid 2-0 with late goals by Sergio León and José Luis Morales. On Sunday, Atlético Madrid hosts Eibar and Real Madrid plays at Villarreal......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 1st, 2019

Inter signs Alexis Sanchez on loan from Man United

MILAN (AP) — Forward Alexis Sanchez has joined Inter Milan on loan after underperforming at Manchester United. Inter and United both confirmed the season-long deal Thursday. While financial details were not announced, the teams are expected to both pay a share of Sanchez's hefty salary — the highest on United's squad. The Gazzetta dello Sport reports that Inter will pay Sanchez 5 million euros ($5.5 million) per season with United covering the remaining 7 million euros. At Inter, Sanchez will rejoin former United teammate Romelu Lukaku, who joined the Nerazzurri in a club-record 80 million euro transfer at the start of the month. Lukaku was among the scorers as Inter beat Lecce 4-0 in its Serie A opener in coach Antonio Conte's debut on Monday. For the 30-year-old Sanchez, it's a return Italy after establishing himself at Udinese from 2006-11. Sanchez scored only five goals in 45 appearances for United over the last 1 ½ seasons after moving to Old Trafford from Arsenal. He also played for Barcelona......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 29th, 2019

US Open 19: As usual, Djokovic, Nadal, Federer lead the way

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press Men to watch at the U.S. Open, where play begins Monday: ___ NOVAK DJOKOVIC Seeded: 1 Country: Serbia Age: 32 2019 Match Record: 38-7 2019 Singles Titles: 3 Career Singles Titles: 75 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 16 — U.S. Open (3: 2011, 2015, 2018), Australian Open (7: 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2019), French Open (1: 2016), Wimbledon (5: 2011, 2014, 2015, 2018, 2019) Last 5 U.S. Opens: 2018-Won Championship, 2017-Did Not Play, 2016-Runner-Up, 2015-W, 2014-Lost in Semifinals Aces: Has won 4 of past 5 major tournaments, 33 of past 34 Grand Slam matches. ... Reached at least semifinals in each of last 11 U.S. Open appearances. Topspin: At the moment, it's hard to pick against Djokovic, in general, but especially on his preferred hard courts — and when the stakes are greatest. Matchup to Watch For: Could play Sam Querrey in 2nd round, three-time major champ Stan Wawrinka in 4th round. ___ RAFAEL NADAL Seeded: 2 Country: Spain Age: 33 2019 Match Record: 41-6 2019 Singles Titles: 3 Career Singles Titles: 83 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 18 — U.S. Open (3: 2010, 2013, 2017), Australian Open (1: 2009), French Open (12: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018, 2019), Wimbledon (2: 2008, 2010) Last 5 U.S. Opens: 2018-SF, 2017-W, 2016-4th, 2015-3rd, 2014-DNP Aces: Closing in on 750 consecutive weeks ranked in the top 10; only Jimmy Connors (789) has more. Topspin: Chances of getting closer to Roger Federer in Grand Slam title chase depend on how body holds up. ... Retired from his semifinal against Juan Martin del Potro a year ago in New York. Matchup to Watch For: Plays John Millman, who beat Roger Federer in New York last year, in 1st round. ___ ROGER FEDERER Seeded: 3 Country: Switzerland Age: 38 2019 Match Record: 39-6 2019 Singles Titles: 3 Career Singles Titles: 102 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 20 — U.S. Open (5: 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008), Australian Open (6: 2004, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2017, 2018), French Open (1: 2009), Wimbledon (8: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012, 2017) Last 5 U.S. Opens: 2018-4th, 2017-QF, 2016-DNP, 2015-RU, 2014-SF Aces: 62-minute loss to Andrey Rublev this month was quickest tour exit since 2003 and left Federer with just 1 hard-court match victory on the tuneup circuit. ... Turned 38 on Aug. 8; no man that old has won a Slam title in the professional era. Topspin: Since 6 consecutive U.S. Open finals from 2004-09, has been back to the title match only once. But there's a lot less tread on his tires this time. Matchup to Watch For: Could play Lucas Pouille in 3rd round. ___ DOMINIC THIEM Seeded: 4 Country: Austria Age: 25 2019 Match Record: 31-12 2019 Singles Titles: 3 Career Singles Titles: 14 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 0 — Best: RU, French Open (2018, 2019) Last 5 U.S. Opens: 2018-QF, 2017-4th, 2016-4th, 2015-3rd, 2014-4th Aces: Has beaten No. 1-ranked player in each of past 3 seasons, including Djokovic in 2019. Topspin: As good on hard courts as clay, with only 1 major quarterfinal so far, but if the draw breaks his way, could return to Week 2. Matchup to Watch For: Could play Gael Monfils or Felix Auger-Aliassime in 4th round. ___ DANIIL MEDVEDEV Seeded: 5 Country: Russia Age: 23 2019 Match Record: 44-16 2019 Singles Titles: 2 Career Singles Titles: 5 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 0 — Best: 4th, Australian Open (2019) Last 5 U.S. Opens: 2018-3rd, 2017-1st, 2016-DNP, 2015-DNP, 2014-DNP Aces: Leads tour in match wins, hard court wins (31-8), final appearances (6). ... Reached finals at past 3 tournaments, all on hard courts. Topspin: A lesser-known, younger player who could make a major quarterfinal for first time — as long as he's not too exhausted. Matchup to Watch For: Could play Fabio Fognini in 4th round. ___ STEFANOS TSITSIPAS Seeded: 8 Country: Greece Age: 21 2019 Match Record: 37-18 2019 Singles Titles: 2 Career Singles Titles: 3 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 0 — Best: SF, Australian Open (2019) Last 5 U.S. Opens: 2018-2nd, 2017-DNP, 2016-DNP, 2015-DNP, 2014-DNP Aces: Enters on 3-match losing streak. ... Already had defeated Djokovic, Nadal and Federer before turned 21, youngest player with a win against each member of the Big Three. Topspin: Still dealing with inconsistency but serving, volleying and court coverage are strong enough for a strong performance in his second U.S. Open. Matchup to Watch For: Plays Andrey Rublev in 1st round; could play Nick Kyrgios in 3rd round. ___ TAYLOR FRITZ Seeded: 26 Country: United States Age: 21 2019 Match Record: 26-21 2019 Singles Titles: 1 Career Singles Titles: 1 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 0 — Best: 3rd, U.S. Open (2018) and Australian Open (2019) Last 5 U.S. Opens: 2018-3rd, 2017-2nd, 2016-1st, 2015-DNP, 2014-DNP Aces: Lost to Dominic Thiem in New York the past two years. ... Cracked ATP top 25 in August, youngest American man that high since Andy Roddick in 2004. Topspin: If he keeps up his year-by-year progress at Flushing Meadows, due to make Week 2 Slam debut. Matchup to Watch For: Plays Feliciano Lopez in 1st round......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 23rd, 2019