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Struggling Suns try to stay in playoff race

By David Brandt, Associated Press PHOENIX (AP) — Devin Booker is playing some of the best basketball of his career and starting center Deandre Ayton is back in the lineup after missing a long stretch because of a suspension and an ankle injury. But the Phoenix Suns are still struggling to win basketball games. It's been a frustrating month for a franchise that's hungry to get back to the playoffs after a nine-year absence, which is the second-longest current drought in the NBA. The Suns have dropped 11 of their past 14 games and now have a 14-23 record, which ranks 13th out of 15 teams in the Western Conference. “Coach always says that everything you want is on the other side of hard,” Booker said. “I think we're in the middle of that right now.” The team's toughest loss might have been the last one on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time), when the Suns fell 114-103 to the Sacramento Kings. Phoenix had a 21-point lead late in the third quarter before coughing up the advantage and losing its second straight game at home. “It feels bad when you lose games the way we've lost them,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “But as I've said before, I was under no inclination that this would be an easy task. I still feel that way. It's just going to take time to get to the point where we're playing consistently and feeling good about ourselves.” The Suns were among the worst teams in the NBA last season, finishing with a 19-63 record, but a flurry of offseason moves had the franchise excited. They added veterans like Ricky Rubio, Aron Baynes and Dario Saric and re-signed Kelly Oubre Jr., who has played well since he was traded from Washington last year. Then Phoenix started this season with a 7-4 record and optimism soared. But Booker said the main traits that led to the early success — especially a gritty, physical defense — have been missing. He added that there's nothing the coaches can do to bring it back because it's on the players. “That extra 10% from everybody is what we need,” Booker said. “I don't think we're talented enough to go in there, go down by 10 and then say we're going to turn it on and win.” Booker scored 34 points in the loss to the Kings, continuing his run of prolific scoring. The fifth-year guard is making a convincing case that he should be an All-Star for the first time in his career after scoring at least 30 points in seven straight games, which is a franchise record. He's averaging 26.2 points per game and shooting a career-high 51% from the field. But it's clear he needs more help. Ayton's recent return from a 25-game suspension was supposed to provide that help and statistically the second-year player has been productive, averaging 15.4 points and 11.9 rebounds. But his return to the starting lineup has meant other players — like Baynes and Saric — have had their roles change and the adjustment hasn't been easy. The good news for the Suns is they're still very much in the playoff race as the season nears the halfway mark. Just 2 1/2 game separate the six teams between the 8th and 13th spots in the Western Conference. But the wins have to start coming soon. “I still am pleased with the way we fight and battle and compete,” Williams said. “We give ourselves a chance every night. We've just got to learn how to close the deal.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnJan 10th, 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

Single game scoring sensations in UAAP women’s volleyball (Final Four era)

Scorers are aplenty in UAAP women’s volleyball. All teams have players who can bring in the numbers on the offensive end. Powerful wingers can pound missile after missile while middles can wreak havoc at the net either on quick attacks or kill blocks. Setters, if lucky, can put in points on top of their playmaking. But there are those who showed their great offensive prowess and carved their names in the record books.      Here are the players who scored 30 or more points in a single game in the UAAP women's volleyball tournament in during the past two decades.   ANGELA BENTING, ADAMSON UNIVERSITY She may not be the tallest of players on the Adamson University Lady Falcons side but Angela Benting can soar and score at any given time. Eleven years ago, Benting displayed her best scoring performance for the Lady Falcons in an epic match against an equally dangerous University of Sto. Tomas side. In UAAP Season 71, the Benting-led Lady Falcons faced the Tigresses in an all-important match at the close of the elimination round. The Lady Falcons needed a win to secure the no. 3 spot in the Final Four. Adamson with Benting at the helm drew first blood. But the Tigresses rallied in the succeeding sets just as Benting was then pouring on the points for Adamson. The Lady Falcon eventually ended up with then a league-best 33 points, but all of Benting's efforts went down the drain as the Tigresses walked away with a 22-25, 25-16, 27-25, 25-23 win. While Benting was doing her thing for Adamson, Aiza Maizo was working on hers for the Tigresses as the lefty unleashed 30 points in an exciting scoring showdown that Valentine’s Day in 2009 at The Arena in San Juan.    It was a heartbreaking loss for the Lady Falcons as they closed the elims tied with UST at 9-5 slate and were dragged to a playoff for Final Four place. The Tigresses eventually won the rematch for no. 3 spot. Unfortunately, neither team advanced to the Finals as then Rachel Anne Daquis-led defending champion Far Eastern University and Manilla Santos-bannered De La Salle University, who was coming off a scandalous forfeiture of games the year before, figured in the battle for the crown.     AIZA MAIZO, UNIVERSITY OF SANTO TOMAS Aiza Maizo eventually reset her UAAP personal-best two seasons later after a memorable showing against Adamson University by opening Season 73 with a bang. Pitted against Ateneo de Manila University’s Fab Five, Maizo uncorked a 32-point explosion to lead UST to victory in a five-set thriller, 25-13, 18-25, 19-25, 26-24, 15-13, on No. 27, 2010. Maizo shouldered the scoring chores for the then reigning champions Tigresses as she fired 29 off 83 attacks with three kill blocks in the match that lasted for two hours and 20 minutes. Maizo started in all sets. The Queen Tigress, whose closest back-up in points was Maru Banaticla with 12 markers, also played an all-around game with 11 digs and seven excellent receptions.   However, UST eventually lost its hold of the throne that season when DLSU reclaimed the title.     ALYSSA VALDEZ, ATENEO DE MANILA UNIVERSITY     Angela Benting’s four-year scoring record was broken by a then-sophomore Alyssa Valdez of Ateneo. The 1,784-strong crowd inside the The Arena in San Juan witnessed history unfold as Valdez exploded for 35 points in match against Adamson U. Out of her 35 points, Valdez hammered down 31 off attacks in 80 attempts. She added three kill blocks of the Lady Eagles’ 10 denials and landed an ace. Valdez also had six digs. But her feat wasn’t enough to save Ateneo as the Lady Falcons walked away with a five-set 22-25, 21-25, 25-19, 25-16, 10-15, in their Season 75 start of second round eliminations meeting last January 20, 2013. However, Valdez’s scoring record would remain as the women’s benchmark in production to this day. The Queen Eagle would again breach the 30-point mark as she finished a point shy of the duplicating her personal and UAAP record in a five-set win over archrival DLSU in Season 78 Finals Game 2 that forced a series decider. The then graduating Valdez, with their three-peat bid at stake, poured 34 points to breathe new life to Ateneo, which survived 18-25, 26-28, 25-17, 25-16, 15-11, in a grueling two-hour, eight-minute encounter witnessed by 20,126 people inside the MOA Arena on April 27, 2016.      Valdez pounded 32 attack points off 76 attempts in a heroic stand for the Lady Eagles, who unfortunately surrendered the crown in Game 3. Valdez would eventually break her career-high with 39 points in an 18-25, 27-25, 21-25, 25-21, 15-9 win over the Laoag Power Smashers while playing for Bureau of Customs in the defunct V-League on Oct. 5, 2016.   SISI RONDINA, UNIVERSITY OF SANTO TOMAS Sisi Rondina never got the chance to display her full potential in her first year with UST, taking a back seat in indoor volleyball behind another freshman in EJ Laure in Season 77. She finally got her chance to shine under then new head coach Kungfu Reyes in Season 78 as a starter for the Tigresses. Rondina reintroduced herself with an inspired performance as she fired 30 points in UST’s season-opener on Febuary 3, 2016. The Cebu pride displayed crisp attacking with 25 kills off 55 attempts and added three aces and a pair of kill blocks. But it wasn’t enough as UST bowed to Adamson U, 22-25, 21-25, 25-20, 30-28, 14-16, and came two points short of tying Aiza Maizo’s team record in points. Lady Falcon Jema Galanza was two points shy of reaching the 30-point mark. Three years after her 30-point game, Rondina surpassed her career-best and became the Tigresses’ top scorer in a single game when she pumped in a league-best-tying 35 points in a five-set game against Ateneo on March 20, 2019. Rondina pounded away as she scattered 30 kills in 102 tries and had three kill blocks and a pair of aces in a sorry 25-19, 25-22, 27-25, 25-22, 15-11, defeat. While Rondina equaled Valdez’s scoring record, Lady Eagle Maddie Madayag wrote a new standard in kill blocks with 11 erasing the nine denials established by DLSU’s Celine Hernandez in 2008.   TOTS CARLOS, UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES Power-hitter Tots Carlos tied Aiza Maizo’s scoring feat when the University of the Philippines star dropped 32 points against the Sisi Rondina-led Tigresses. With the then Lady Maroons struggling to climb the ladder in the first round of Season 80 and limping from a four-game slide, Carlos took matters into her own hands. The then third year player blasted 27 attack points off 64 tries and added three kill blocks and landed two aces in UP’s 31-33, 25-23, 25-16, 25-12, win over UST on February 28, 2018. The win stopped the Lady Maroons’ bleeding but UP for the second straight year eventually bowed out of the race for a Final Four slot. However, Carlos’ career-high production put her on top of UP’s single-game scoring list.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 6th, 2020

SUPER SHOWDOWN: Perps Bright vs UP Bright

Shine bright like a diamond. Safe to say, Bright Akhuetie has done just that in his five-year collegiate career. The Nigerian powerhouse has done just about everything outside of winning a championship as he has been MVP as well as a pillar for the rise of the University of the Philippines in the UAAP. Prior to transferring to Diliman, Akhuetie was just as much of a force in Las Pinas as he had been a member of the NCAA Mythical Team all while being at the forefront of University of Perpetual Help's continued contention. For sure, the 6-foot-8 big man has made a big impact either as an Alta or a Fighting Maroon. If you could choose, however, which version of Akhuetie would you want to have on your side - the new kid on the block once likened to LeBron James or the steady MVP who never let his community down? That is exactly what we try to determine in ABS-CBN Sports' Super Showdown. In studying the player he was and the player he is, we will be comparing them in five categories (offense, athleticism, defense, health, and leadership) with a boxing-style 10-point must system determining the decision. OFFENSE The Akhuetie of today is a more well-rounded offensive weapon than the Akhuetie of yesterday. UP's version has polished post moves and could either back down on defenders or take them off the dribble - and once near the rim, he's pretty much automatic as he made good on 59.2-percent of his inside baskets in UAAP 81. (EDITOR'S NOTE: Statistics used from here on out will be UAAP 81 for UP Bright which was his MVP season while Perps Bright will be based on NCAA 92, his year on the Mythical Team.) Akhuetie has never been much of an outside shooter, but he has become a threat even from the perimeter because he could now make plays for his teammates off the dribble as kickout passes made up most of his 2.3 assists per game. On the other hand, Perps' version, more often than not, relied on overwhelming athleticism for his offense. Back then, he was pretty clearly only newly mined iron that was yet to be forged into a sword. Advantage UP Bright, 10-9 ATHLETICISM Speaking of overwhelming athleticism, however, we would need one play - and just one play - to explain why Perps' Akhuetie wins out here. Yes, that is him taking a beautiful pass from Scottie Thompson and turning it into a thunderous throwdown even with Ola Adeogun right there with him. Just in case you have forgotten, the wide-bodied, 6-foot-8 Adeogun is one of the most intimidating rim protectors collegiate basketball has ever seen - and he was at the wrong end of a poster by Akhuetie. Nowadays, it has become a rare sight for UP's man in the middle to take flight. Advantage Perps Bright, 10-8 DEFENSE In the same way that Akhuetie running right at you is a terrifying thought as a defender, so is Akhuetie standing his ground at the other end. His leaping ability also translated to defense to the tune of 1.7 blocks per game for Perps - as compared to his 0.9 per game for UP. As the years have gone by, valuable experience has allowed Akhuetie to be more of a menace in the passing lanes and his 1.2 steals as a Maroon are way better than the 0.6 he had as an Alta. Still, the Perps version had much quicker feet that let him better stay in front of his opponents - something that the UP version would not be able to say. Advantage Perps Bright, 10-9 HEALTH However, if only Akhuetie's lower body didn't give him a tough time in maroon and green, he would most probably remain an all-around force - as unstoppable on offense as he is immovable on defense. While he didn't miss any games in his two years in UP, he did have to fight through various injuries. Most famous was his troublesome left knee which even delayed tip-off of Game 2 of the Finals by 10 minutes. For comparison, he played all games for Perps from 2015 to 2016 and was not slowed down by any knee or foot pain. Of course, the heavier minutes as a Fighting Maroon - 31.3 as opposed to 27.2 as an Alta - had something to do with that. Still, a fully healthy, full-strength Akhuetie for UP would always be a what if. Advantage Perps Bright, 10-9 LEADERSHIP Akhuetie has always been vocal - from his very first Filoil Flying V Premier Preseason Tournament in Perps to UP's most recent tournament which was the Philippine Collegiate Champions League. While his partnership with Thompson as well as Prince Eze and the Altas' Cinderella run in NCAA 92 when they almost upset eventual champion San Beda University in the semis were all impressive, they still paled in comparison to what he has done for UP. In his first year in Diliman, a 21-year playoff drought and a 32-year Finals absence came to a close. And he helped the Fighting Maroons do so all while being the frontrunner in the race for top individual player and, in the end, became the school's first MVP since Eric Altamirano in the '80s. From Paul Desiderio and Juan Gomez de Liano in Year 1 to Kobe Paras and Ricci Rivero in Year 2, Akhuetie has also made sure to tailor-fit his game to his teammates - a telltale sign of maturity. Advantage UP Bright 10-8 FINAL SCORE, 47-46 for Perps Bright.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 31st, 2020

NCAA Season 95: Pirates try to stay afloat in semis race

Lyceum of the Philippines University tries to keep up with the furious race for a Final Four seat in an all-important battle with Mapua University on Thursday in the NCAA Season 95 women’s volleyball competition at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Sitting at sixth spot with a 2-4 win-loss record, the Lady Pirates are in a must-win situation in all of their remaining games for a chance to at least force a playoff for a semis seat. The 12:00 noon encounter will air via iWant. LPU needs to win all of its last three assignments convincingly and pray that University of Perpetual Help (5-1), San Beda University (4-2) and Letran (3-3) won’t reach six wins to force sa playoff for the no. 4 spot. The Lady Pirates are coming off a sorry five-set loss to Letran but are still tipped to top the Lady Cardinals, who are on a four-game losing skid. Mapua holds a 1-5 card tied with San Sebastian College. Meanwhile, the Lady Stags shoot for back-to-back wins in a showdown with lowly Emilio Aguinaldo College at 2:00 p.m. SSC-R snapped a five-game slump with quick work of Mapua last week. The Lady Generals are winless in six games and are on a 16-game win drought since Season 93. In men’s play, the Generals gun for the first Final Four seat at 3:30 p.m. against the Stags. EAC is unbeaten in six games and shares the top spot with grand slam-seeking Perpetual. SSC-R carries a 1-5 mark. Facing off at 10:00 a.m. are the Cardinals (3-3) and the Pirates (1-5). Mapua (1-5) and LPU (2-4) open the juniors’ playdate at 8:30 a.m. while EAC (5-1) and SSC-R (3-3) meet at 5:00 p.m.     ---     Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 6th, 2020

NCAA Season 95: Lady Red Spikers out to stop skid

San Beda University tries to get out of a two-game slump when it takes on winless Emilio Aguinaldo College on Monday in the NCAA Season 95 women’s volleyball competition at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. After a red-hot 3-0 start, the Lady Red Spikers went cold to slide down to fourth spot tied with Letran. Hoping to keep its Final Four hopes alive in a very tight race, San Beda is in a must-win situation in its encounter with the Lady Generals at 12:00 noon that will air via iWant. The Lady Red Spikers suffered losses at the hands of three-time defending champion Arellano University (5-1) and league-leading College of St. Benilde (6-0). EAC, on the other hand, has yet to win a game after dropping its first five matches and is on a 15-game losing skid since Season 93. Meanwhile, Jose Rizal University is also on a mission to stay alive in the semis race in its 2:00 p.m. battle with Mapua University. Carrying a 2-4 win-loss card tied with Lyceum of the Philippines, the Lady Bombers still have a shot at a spot in the Final Four but must sweep all of its remaining games to at least force a playoff for a semis seat. The Lady Cardinals hold a 1-4 mark. In men’s play, EAC (5-0) goes for a tie at the top with reigning two-time champion Perpetual in a showdown with San Beda (3-2) at 10:00 a.m. while battling at 3:30 p.m. are Mapua (2-3) and JRU (1-5). The juniors’ pairings will feature the Brigadiers (5-0) and Red Cubs (3-2) at 8:30 a.m. while marching on court at 5:00 p.m. are winless teams Red Robins (0-5) and Light Bombers (0-6).   ---       Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles    .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 2nd, 2020

The NBA’s East is loaded at the top, and might stay that way

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press The West is used to being loaded at the top. The East, not so much. But a new year is arriving with a new look in the NBA’s Eastern Conference. The league will wake up on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) — the first day of 2020 — with six teams with winning percentages of .600 or better, the first time that’s been the case on New Year’s Day since 1998. “This is a tough part of the country, a tough part of our league,” Philadelphia coach Brett Brown said. He didn’t say “finally,” but he could have. Just last spring, Brooklyn got the No. 6 seed in the East playoffs at 42-40. This season, it won’t be inconceivable if two teams in the East reach 50 wins and start the playoffs on the road anyway — which would be amazing, considering that every 50-win team in the East since 1998 has gotten a top-four seed. Has there been a power shift from one conference to another? And can what seems to be happening in the East race last until April? “My gut feel is, I think it can,” Brown said. “To your overall question, is there a power shift, I’m biased but I think quite possibly.” That one could easily be argued. Going into 2020, the basic structure of the standings in each conference is basically the same. There’s a team that has broken a bit away atop the pack — Milwaukee in the East; the Los Angeles Lakers out West. Then there are five teams jostling for spots 2 through 6 — Miami, Boston, Toronto, Philadelphia and Indiana in the East; Denver, the Los Angeles Clippers, Houston, Dallas and Utah in the West. There’s a team around .500 hovering in seventh — Brooklyn in the East, Oklahoma City in the West. And then there’s a below-.500 team in eighth — Orlando in the East, Portland in the West. The East and West have split the last eight NBA Finals, so it’s not like there’s been a huge disparity in talent at the very top. But the West, top to bottom, has unquestionably been the stronger side of the league for some time. Things seem different now. “It’s really competitive and you have to like this,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. “You have to enjoy it as a competitor. People have been disparaging the Eastern Conference for so long. You have some really good teams here in the East and the teams are proving it.” DECADE IN REVIEW There were seven different franchises with at least one NBA championship in the 2010s, Golden State leading the way with three followed by Miami with two. San Antonio was one of the five clubs with one — but a case could be made for the Spurs being the team of the decade. The Spurs had the most wins in the 2010s, whether just counting the regular season or adding both the regular season and the playoffs together. Oklahoma City was No. 2 in regular season wins, followed by Golden State, Houston and Miami. The fewest wins? That would be Sacramento, followed by Minnesota, Brooklyn, Phoenix and New York. But a special decade-long award for futility should go to Detroit and Sacramento — the only teams in the NBA that didn’t win a playoff game in the 2010s. The Pistons have lost 14 consecutive postseason contests since winning Game 4 of the 2008 Eastern Conference finals. Other high marks from the 2010s: Most points — Devin Booker scored 70 points for Phoenix against Boston on March 24, 2017. Most rebounds — Kevin Love had 31 for Minnesota against New York on Nov. 12, 2010. Most assists — Rajon Rondo had 25 for New Orleans against Brooklyn on Dec. 27, 2017. Most steals — Lou Williams had 10 for the Los Angeles Clippers against Utah on Jan. 20, 2018, and Draymond Green had 10 for Golden State against Memphis on Feb. 10, 2017. Green’s was part of a most unique triple-double; he also had 11 rebounds and 10 assists, but only four points. Most 3-pointers — Klay Thompson made 14 for Golden State against Chicago on Oct. 29, 2018. Most blocks — Poor Chicago. JaVale McGee had 12 for Washington against the Bulls on March 15, 2011, and Hassan Whiteside had 12 for Miami against the Bulls on Jan. 25, 2015. THE WEEK AHEAD A game to watch each day this week (PHL times listed): Wednesday, Dallas at Oklahoma City — The final game of the decade, and two West teams playing well. Thursday, Orlando at Washington — The first game of the decade, and two East teams that are ailing. Friday, Toronto at Miami — The Raptors and Heat are in the thick of the race, likely surprising many. Saturday, Philadelphia at Houston — Game 5 in a 10-game run of the 76ers are facing likely playoff teams. Sunday, San Antonio at Milwaukee — Begins a Gregg Popovich-Mike Budenholzer home-and-home that ends Monday. Next Monday, New York at L.A. Clippers — The Knicks have lost 13 of their last 14 against Doc Rivers’ club. Next Tuesday, Denver at Atlanta — The Nuggets, very quietly, are rolling along. The Hawks are not. ___ Tim Reynolds is a national basketball writer for The Associated Press. Write to him at treynolds@ap.org.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 1st, 2020

Browns Garrett awaits ruling after hearing for suspension

By Tom Withers, Associated Press CLEVELAND (AP) — Myles Garrett looked composed and casual, a stark contrast to the last time he was seen in public. Stylishly dressed in a bright blue suit and black turtleneck, the Cleveland Browns’ star defensive end met Wednesday with an appeals officer in New York in hopes of getting a reduction to an indefinite NFL suspension that has temporarily ended Garrett’s season and tarnished his career. Garrett was banned last week for the rest of the regular season and playoffs, if Cleveland makes them, for striking Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph with a helmet. Garrett appealed and his case was heard by league-appointed officer James Thrash, a former NFL player, who will either lessen the penalty or put a definitive number of games on it. The former No. 1 overall draft pick spent roughly two hours in the league’s Manhattan offices before leaving with his representatives. He did not speak to the media. In the closing seconds of the Browns’ 21-7 victory over the rival Steelers on Thursday night, Garrett wrestled Rudolph to the ground before they scuffled. Pittsburgh’s QB unsuccessfully tried to rip off Garrett’s helmet before the two got to their feet. That’s when Garrett yanked off Rudolph’s helmet, swinging it and connecting with the top of the QB’s head. Rudolph avoided injury and was not suspended despite his attempt to grab Garrett’s helmet or charging at him. On Wednesday, Rudolph, who likely will be fined for his involvement, said he doesn’t begrudge Garrett. “I have no ill will toward Myles Garrett, great respect for his ability as a player and I know if Myles could go back he would handle the situation differently,” Rudolph told reporters in Pittsburgh after reading a prepared statement. “As for my involvement last week, there is no acceptable excuse. The bottom line is I should have done a better job keeping my composure in that situation. “It falls short of what I believe it means to be a Pittsburgh Steeler and a member of the NFL.” It’s unclear when Thrash will rule on Garrett’s appeal. As part of his punishment, the league said Garrett is required to meet with Commissioner Roger Goodell's office before he can be reinstated. While Garrett awaits a ruling on his case, Thrash upheld the one-game suspension for Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi, who was disciplined for shoving a helmet-less Rudolph to the ground during the melee. Thrash did rescind a $10,527 fine for Ogunjobi, who will have to sit out this week’s game against the Miami Dolphins. The Browns will be down at least two starters on their defensive line and could be missing three if Olivier Vernon doesn’t return from a knee injury that has kept him out of the past two games. Earlier this week, appeals officer Derrick Brooks, a Hall of Fame linebacker, heard Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey’s appeal of a three-game suspension for punching and kicking Garrett as he lay on the ground. The league said decisions on Garrett and Pouncey will come “later this week.” Browns coach Freddie Kitchens would not divulge who from the team accompanied Garrett to his hearing. “Myles has great representation,” Kitchens said. “More importantly, Myles will represent himself well. We’re going to continue to support him and Larry and we will not waver with that support.” As Garrett pleaded his case, the Browns are trying to regroup amid the possibility they’ll be without their best defensive player for a significant period. Cleveland is still in the playoff race hunt going into Sunday’s game against Miami. On Tuesday, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin called the incident involving Garrett “ugly for the game of football” but said there was nothing teachable to come from it because “I don't know that we did anything to make it happen in the first place.” Kitchens hopes the experience will serve as a reminder for his team to stay collected. “We talk all the time about being the smartest, toughest football team and sometimes one of those things don’t happen and you decrease your chances of winning and you decrease your chances of being successful and we want to add both of those to the mix, not one without the other,” he said. “So you have to be both. That’s a continual conversation topic and will always be discussed.” ___ AP Sports Writer Will Graves in Pittsburgh contributed to this report......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 21st, 2019

17 NBA things that have been ghosted from memory

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com On a night traditionally known more for tricks and treats than picks and rolls, it seems appropriate to do a little ghost hunting, NBA-style. We’re not talking the Ghost Ballers of BIG3 fame or even the Skirvin Hilton Hotel in Oklahoma City, a stop on the circuit that some teams claim is actually haunted. We’re thinking of things that used to be, gone-but-not-forgotten aspects of the league that lurk in the memory, even if they’re never coming back. Here in no particular order are some Halloween hoops hobgoblins that fall somewhere on the scary scale between the chain-rattling Jacob Marley and Casper: 1. Long-gone arenas. Oracle Arena, so recently vacated by the Golden State Warriors, is the latest addition to the NBA’s long list of abandoned homes. Many are gone themselves, though you still can catch a glimpse now and then on Hardwood Classics. There are too many to list, due to NBA teams moving on up to bigger, better digs over time. But a sampling would include the Cow Palace, Cobo Arena, Chicago Stadium, Boston Garden, The Forum, L.A. Sports Arena, Milwaukee’s MECCA, the Salt Palace, McNichols Arena, HemisFair Arena, Market Square, the Summit, the Spectrum, the Omni, the Pyramid, ARCO Arena/Sleep Train Arena and on and on. 2. Belted shorts. Relegated to the throwback bin, along with the more recent sleeved jerseys. 3. The six-foot lane. Heck, the 12-foot lane. The former was widened in 1951 in response to Minneapolis big man George Mikan’s dominance. Then it was widened again in 1964 to its current 16 feet in hopes of tamping down Wilt Chamberlain’s impact. 4. Commercial air travel. Some things on a used-to-be list inspire nostalgia in those who experienced them and curiosity in those who didn’t. But it’s highly unlikely any former or current players and coaches would swap today’s luxury charter flights for the way the NBA used to travel. Wake-up calls at 5 a.m. for the first flight out. Waiting out delays at the gate with the beat writers and civilians. Seven-footers folding themselves into economy class seating. 5. Obstacle-course schedules. The NBA in recent years has tried to be responsive to players’ performance needs and physical limitations, working to minimize the number of back-to-back games and four-in-five-night stretches. Didn’t used to be that way. Consider the Baltimore Bullets, who in January 1966 were put through these paces: Games in St. Louis, Detroit, back to St. Louis, day off, to Philadelphia, to Boston, home vs. Lakers. A week later, they bounced back and forth between L.A. (Lakers) and San Francisco for four games in four nights, then traveled to New York to face the Knicks for their fifth game in five nights. Baltimore’s record in those 11 games: 2-9. 6. Doubleheaders. Some teams in the NBA’s first few decades would book a Harlem Globetrotters exhibition as the night’s opening attraction. But the biggies were when the Knicks would host at Madison Square Garden a neutral-site game for two other NBA clubs. A lingering memory for some who attended: The thick haze that hung over the arena’s upper reaches, courtesy of the smokers puffing away all evening. 7. Tape-delay. It seems inconceivable in 2019 that an NBA playoff game, never mind a Finals contest, might be shown on anything but live TV. Nope. The league didn’t have much leverage in the late 1970s, before Magic Johnson and Larry Bird arrived to help goose interest and ratings. Networks forced fans to stay up late to watch games that were off before the telecasts tipped off. The practice continued into the ‘80s, with four of six Finals games in 1981 held till 11:30 p.m. ET. Michael Jordan was already creating new fans when the last tape-delayed game, Game 3 of the West finals between the Lakers and Rockets, aired on Friday, May 16, 1986. 8. “Illegal!” That used to be a frequent bellow from the league’s benches, with coaches trying to alert the refs when opposing defenses breached (or didn’t) the complicated illegal defense rules. The NBA purged most of that around the turn of the century by legislating in zone play. 9. Shattered backboards. For a while, it seemed as if backboards were exploding every few weeks in the Association. Darryl (“Chocolate Thunder”) Dawkins was the most avid crack-titioner, getting two in 1979. The earliest recorded instance came in 1946, when a Celtics forward named Chuck Connors (later more famous as TV’s “Rifleman”) shattered one during warmups. Baltimore’s Gus Johnson is said to have shattered three. Shaquille O’Neal didn’t get the glass but twice got entire support structures, pulling the backboards down to the court in his rookie season. In March 1993, against Chicago, New Jersey’s Chris Morris dunked and shattered a board without glass falling to the floor. 10. Three to make two. That old free-throw bonus was abolished by 1981-82. It made the game drag, and Jerry Colangelo, then GM of the Suns and the chairman of the NBA’s competition committee, rightly said: “Pro players shouldn’t need that extra foul shot.” 11. Phantom franchises. Oooh, pretty scary, kids, when you think of all the teams that are no more. They are rattling around in the mind long after they were supposedly dead and buried. We’re not talking just about the antiquities such as the Indianapolis Olympians, the Washington Capitols or the Toronto Huskies. The spirits of the Seattle SuperSonics, Buffalo Braves, San Diego Clippers and Vancouver Grizzlies still walk the NBA earth. Then there are most of the ABA franchises -- Virginia Squires, Utah Stars, Kentucky Colonels, Spirits of St. Louis -- that died more than 40 years ago before or in the merger. 12. Hand checking. A lot of capable defenders had their effectiveness vaporized overnight when the laying on of hands vs. a ball handler was outlawed in 2004. The NBA, in case you hadn’t noticed, likes scoring. 13. Injury shenanigans. As silly or frustrating as labels like “DNP-Old” or “load management” seem today, the reporting of injuries real or feigned used to be much less authentic. Before the inactive list, there was “injured reserve,” to which NBA teams would designate up to two players. Anyone put on that list was sidelined for a minimum of five games, and with smaller roster sizes in effect, it was a handy place to stash guys. So there was a whole lot of tendinitis and plantar fasciitis going on. This practice was snuffed in 2005-06. 14. “Play on!” Like the force-out ruling, this is a remnant of the days when the referees had and used more discretion in working their games. If a player lost the ball out of bounds but his elbow was knocked by a foe, the force-out meant the ball handler’s team retained possession. “Play on!” was a frequent order barked by refs when certain contact or violations were deemed minimally intrusive. Heavier scrutiny of the game officials’ performance and, later, video reviews now try to adjudicate everything down to the tip of a fingernail. 15. The 2-3-2 Finals format. This was adopted in 1985 as a reaction to those Lakers-Celtics or Lakers-Sixers championship series, which had the NBA universe crossing the country four or five times in a span of two weeks. Suggestions that the league was being energy-conscious, in terms of jet fuel, were part of it, too. The practice fiddled some with the notion of home-court advantage, although MLB continues to use it for its World Series. With charter flights deployed by all teams, league execs and even some of the media, the NBA changed back to the 2-2-1-1-1 format in 2014 to align with its postseasons’ earlier rounds. 16. Player-coaches. Forty men in NBA history have done it. The first was Ed Sadowski of the Toronto Huskies in the Basketball Association of America precursor to the NBA. Only two men won championships as player-coaches: Baltimore’s Buddy Jeannette in 1948 and Boston’s Bill Russell in 1968 and 1969. The youngest player coach ever was Dave DeBusschere, who took over the Pistons in 1964 at age 24 (not long after ending his second career as an MLB pitcher). The Hawks’ Richie Guerin logged the most games (372) in the role, yet was named Coach of the Year in the one season in the middle when he stopped playing. Legend Lenny Wilkens was a player-coach for two teams, spending three seasons at it in Seattle and one in Portland. And the last player-coach in NBA history was Dave Cowens, who accepted the gig after coach Satch Sanders got fired in 1978-79. None of the players wanted to learn a new system, Cowens said, so “I kind of took one for the team.” The practice died with the arrival of the salary cap in 1984, with NBA brass wary that paying a coaching bonus might enable a team to circumvent the cap. 17. Victory cigars. For obvious reasons. Probably victory vaping, too. Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 1st, 2019

5 players who could challenge for the 2019-20 NBA MVP

By Sekou Smith, NBA.om James Harden was spot on when he said he lost the Kia MVP race last season because of a narrative. That wasn’t the only reason he came up short to Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo en route to his historic season in 2018-19. Antetokounmpo’s intriguing basketball life story decidedly played a part in voters’ minds, many of whom are in the narrative business. “Once the media, they create a narrative about somebody from the beginning of the year, I think they just take that narrative and just run with it the entire year," Harden said in an August radio interview with 97.9 The Box. "I don’t want to get into details. All I can do is control what I can do, and I went out there and did what I was supposed to do at a high level. There’s only a few other seasons that anybody has ever done that before.” Blaming the media is a cop out. But there is merit in Harden’s assessment -- that the media-spun narrative surrounding a player’s candidacy for MVP has an oversized impact on the race itself. Every NBA MVP has had an underlying story that has helped push their case for the award along. Westbrook won his MVP the season after Kevin Durant left for Golden State in free agency. That season, Westbrook averaged a triple-double -- the first to do so since Oscar Robertson in 1961-62. Harden won his after finishing second twice in other bids (2015 and 2017). Antetokounmpo clinched his after turning in the finest season Milwaukee had seen since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar won the third of his record six MVPs in 1973-74. Harden didn’t complain about narratives when he won in 2018, so there’s no need to throw shade at Antetokounmpo or others for doing likewise. There will be new players who enter this season’s Kia MVP mix, which kicks off in earnest during this first full weekend of the season. We know the usual suspects: Antetokounmpo, Harden, Westbrook, LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Kawhi Leonard, Anthony Davis, Joel Embiid, Paul George and Kyrie Irving. But what about the players who should be on your radar in 2019-20? Here are five to keep an eye on: Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets “The Joker” finished fourth in 2018-19, his first season as an All-Star and his first playoff run. His true breakout MVP opportunity is this season, now that he’s established himself as arguably the best big man in basketball. Jokic must battle his own instincts to stay in the mix. He’s a better passer than most of the league’s point guards and would rather make the right play than chase individual glory. “When you score, one person is happy. But when you [get an assist], you make two people happy,” Jokic said. “I’m smart enough to know that two is better than one.” Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers Lillard’s sixth-place finish in 2018-19 did justice to the Western Conference finals run he took the Blazers on. This may just be the beginning of the prime of “Dame Dolla’s” career. While many superstars have no hesitation about seeking the most desirable destination to play in, Lillard’s devotion to Portland’s quest will only enhance his case. Lillard is one of the best point guards in the league and if the Blazers challenge for a top seed in the West, he’ll stay in the top of the MVP chase, too. Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz Mike Conley’s addition could unlock things for Mitchell. His opening-night performance proved that even when Conley struggles offensively, Mitchell can still dominate the action. A summer spent with the U.S. Men’s Senior National team may have only boosted his momentum. True, teammate Rudy Gobert -- the reigning Kia Defensive Player of the Year -- is a fringe MVP candidate as well. But a hot start to 2019-20 will fuel his campaign in ways that rim protection and low-post stability cannot for Gobert. Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves Towns hasn’t been shy about his desire to be the man in the middle of the Wolves’ franchise rebranding. Even as Kyrie Irving scored 50 in the season opener, it was Towns who was truly dominant in that game. He’ll regularly pile up nights like that under coach Ryan Saunders, who has embraced the increased leadership role Town has sought this season. The talent has never been in question concerning Towns -- now he can showcase, too. Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat While most of the summer’s high-profile free agents went one way, the always-interesting Butler did not. Given his track record of believing in the power of Jimmy, it shouldn’t have surprised us that Butler bet on himself in Miami. While it might seem like a strange choice on the surface, it might end up being a genius move if a scrappy Heat team rises in the ranks of the Eastern Conference. If nothing else, Butler will have plenty of opportunities this season to prove his elite two-way skills. Sekou Smith is a veteran NBA reporter and NBA TV analyst. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 26th, 2019

The NBA’s West race should be incredibly good this season

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press Stephen Curry knew roster change was inevitable. That being said, Curry and the Golden State Warriors aren’t changing their expectations. The five-time defending Western Conference champions aren’t the popular pick to represent their side of the league in this season’s NBA Finals, understandable after losing the likes of Kevin Durant and Andre Iguodala. But Curry said the Warriors will strive to remain what they’ve been over the last half-decade — “a team that’s feared across the league.” “Look at every era of basketball,” Curry said. “For a team to sustain this type of level of play and this greatness, it doesn’t happen that often. And when you need to retool, it may look different, but the great teams, great players figure it out as they go.” Thing is, there are so many great players — and potentially great teams — in the West this season. The Los Angeles Clippers are the prohibitive favorite to win the NBA title, at least according to oddsmakers in Las Vegas, after landing Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. The Los Angeles Lakers still have LeBron James, and added Anthony Davis. Houston reunited James Harden with Russell Westbrook. Denver and Utah bring back strong cores. Portland might have the league’s best backcourt. “You just can’t take it for granted,” Oklahoma City general manager Sam Presti said. “It’s really, really hard to win games in the NBA, especially the Western Conference, the way it is now.” Maybe harder than ever. “We want to maintain the culture that we’ve built, but we want to make sure our players are put in the best position to succeed, and the last four years we pretty much knew exactly what that meant,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “We don’t really know what it means this year. That’s why we have a lot of work ahead, but it’s exciting. I’m looking forward to it.” Houston coach Mike D’Antoni said the West will be great for fans and the league — not so much for coaches, players and owners. “Somebody is probably going to come in ninth and get fired when they shouldn’t because they did a great job,” D’Antoni said. “But that’s the way it is.” A look at the West, in predicted order of regular-season finish: PLAYOFF BOUND 1. Denver — The team that few are talking about, for puzzling reasons. They’re young, they already know how to win and the Nuggets’ win total has risen in each of coach Michael Malone’s first four seasons there. No reason to think that won’t continue. 2. Houston — James Harden is entering his 11th season. Russell Westbrook is entering his 12th. Mike D’Antoni is entering the last year of his contract. It sure seems like title-or-bust time in Houston, and the wide-open West could be for their taking. 3. L.A. Clippers — When Paul George gets back from his recovery from shoulder surgeries to join Kawhi Leonard on the new-look Clippers, this is going to be a team with frightening potential on defense. They’ll peak toward the end, and could win it all. 4. L.A. Lakers — This is absolutely not to say they’re the fourth-best team in the West. LeBron James knows it’s all about April, May and June, and he certainly isn’t going to care where the Lakers are seeded as long as they’re in the playoffs. 5. Utah — Donovan Mitchell is just starting to come into his own, Rudy Gobert is still the defensive player of the year and Joe Ingles is better than people realize. The addition of Bojan Bogdanovic was big, as was adding Mike Conley — if healthy. 6. Golden State — The five-time defending West champs lost Durant, Iguodala and Shaun Livingston — plus won’t have Klay Thompson for most of the season. But the Warriors still have Curry. Relax. They’ll be fine. 7. Portland — This is way too low, but that’s life in the West right now. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum are elite, Terry Stotts is underrated and don’t be surprised if the Blazers tweak the roster after Jusuf Nurkic returns to take a title shot. 8. San Antonio — LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan lead a team that features a young core of Lonnie Walker IV, Dejounte Murray and Derrick White. Oh, and Gregg Popovich is still there. Count the Spurs out at your own risk. IN THE MIX 9. Dallas — Dirk Nowitzki is gone, but the new star-duo pairing of Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis has enormous potential. The Mavs haven’t won a playoff series since the 2011 NBA Finals, but this season will see them get closer. 10. Minnesota — Ryan Saunders’ first full season will lead to improvement, but even a five-game leap to .500 won’t get it done as far as a West playoff berth this season. But if Karl-Anthony Towns plays 82 games at his potential, who knows? 11. Sacramento — Rick Adelman took the Kings to their last playoff appearance in 2006. Luke Walton is the team’s 10th different coach since; he has Harrison Barnes, De’Aaron Fox, Marvin Bagley and Buddy Hield, yet still faces a tall task. 12. New Orleans — Zion Williamson’s knee is already a concern, not a good sign for the No. 1 overall pick. Lonzo Ball’s shot is better and J.J. Redick has never missed a postseason. But if Williamson isn’t full-go, it may be tough sledding for New Orleans. FACING LONG ODDS 13. Oklahoma City — There is a lot of talent on this team: Chris Paul, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari, Steven Adams. If all goes right, the Thunder will contend for a spot. Or will they make more trades and collect more picks? 14. Phoenix — Devin Booker is entering his prime. But the Suns have averaged 22 wins over the last four seasons, are on their fourth coach — Monty Williams — in a span of 24 months and still seem overmatched in the loaded West. 15. Memphis — The Grizzlies’ first-round pick in 2020 is top-six protected or else it conveys to Boston. The Celtics might not want to plan on getting this one. This year’s goal for the Grizzlies? Simple: Get Ja Morant settled into his new job. WHAT TO KNOW Three-Team Ring Circus Kawhi Leonard has a chance to win a ring with a third different team if the Clippers win the title. LeBron James and Danny Green would do the same if the Lakers win it all. The only players to win a championship with three different franchises: John Salley and Robert Horry. Spurs Streak San Antonio is bidding for a 23rd consecutive playoff appearance, which would give the Spurs outright possession of the NBA record. They’re currently tied with Philadelphia with 22 straight playoff trips (the 76ers’ franchise did it from 1950 through 1971, that span starting when they were the Syracuse Nationals). Wide Open The league’s general managers have wildly different views on which team will win the West. In NBA.com’s annual preseason polling of GMs, six different West teams — the Clippers, the Lakers, Golden State, Houston, Denver and Portland — got at least one vote as the conference’s best. LeBron Milestone LeBron James has 993 games of 20 or more points, third-most in NBA history. When he gets to 1,000 of those, he’ll be the last to hit that milestone for many years. Kevin Durant may be the next; he’s got 720. Good Sign With James Harden and Russell Westbrook, Houston becomes the sixth team to have two players who each won an MVP in the last three seasons. Of the other five, four — the 1959 and 1960 Boston Celtics, the 1983 Philadelphia 76ers and the 2017 Golden State Warriors — won an NBA title. The other was the 1984 76ers......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 19th, 2019

PBA: Bolts want a top-four finish and playoff bonus

ANTIPOLO — The Governors’ Cup is unique among the PBA conferences because it rewards four teams of a playoff bonus in the quarterfinals. The four best teams at the end of the elimination round get a twice-to-beat advantage in the first round, as opposed to the Philippine Cup and the Commissioner’s Cup where only the top-two teams get the incentive. The format certainly favors the Meralco Bolts now. The Bolts have not made the playoffs once this season but if the quarterfinals started tomorrow, they’re the no. 4 seed and are one win away from making the semifinals. “The goal is to try to take advantage of the format, where the top-four teams take twice-to-beat. We’re trying to stay in that top-four,” head coach Norman Black said as his Bolts improved to 4-2 with a win over Blackwater Friday here. “With Allen Durham here, we think we can always be competitive with all the teams. We wanna take advantage of the fact that he's back here in the Philippines playing for Meralco. We wanna be the best we can this conference,” he added. The Bolts have a history of doing well in the Governors’ Cup with Durham, who is a former two-time Best Import. Meralco plans to keep that streak going and a strong 4-2 start is a step in the right direction. The playoff race in the Governors’ Cup is usually the most compelling, and the Bolts are just trying to make sure they get the job done. “We just want to win the games we think we can go out and win,” Black said. “The focus to go out there and get it done was just there tonight. It didn't really matter whether it was pretty or not. We just wanted to go out and defend and win the game, and that was really the focus,” Coach Norman added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 18th, 2019

PVL: Angels shoot for Final Four seat anew

Twice denied of a spot in the Final Four, PetroGazz tries again on Wednesday but the Angels will have to hurdle an Air Force squad also in dire need of a win to fuel its own semis drive, guaranteeing a fierce duel in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Open Conference at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan. Game time is at 6:00 p.m. and will air live on LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183, iWant and via livestream. The Angels looked headed to a trouble-free ride to the semis by racking up eight straight victories for a 9-2 card last week but the 10th win that would’ve assured their stint in the next round proved elusive as the Reinforced Conference champions dropped their last two games to the Motolite and unbeaten defending champion Creamline. PetroGazz’s losses enabled PacificTown-Army and Air Force, who are tied at 6-7 slates, to stay in the hunt for a playoff for the last Final Four seat. Army and Air Force need to sweep their last three games and hope that PetroGazz (9-4) and Motolite (9-5) won’t go over nine wins to force a playoff for the last semifinal seat. Jovielyn Prado and Paneng Mercado, who combined for 26 hits in PetroGazz’s losing 1-3 stand to Creamline in Iloilo last Sunday, are again expected to lead the Angels drive along with Cherry Nunag, Jeanette Panaga and Cai Baloaloa with top hitter Jonah Sabeh also out to atone her mediocre four-hit showing the last time out. But the Jet Spikers are also coming into the match upbeat following a four-set win over the Choco Mucho Flying Titans over the weekend that kept the former in the playoff race......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 15th, 2019

Soto lifts Nats to 4-3 comeback wild-card win over Brewers

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) — After all the heartache and close calls, all the early exits, maybe it makes sense that a 20-year-old kid who had never been to the postseason, Juan Soto, would help the Washington Nationals finally advance in the postseason. And maybe, just maybe, it makes sense that it would be this particular edition of the Nationals, a club that went from 12 games under .500 in May to playoff participant, to demonstrate the necessary never-give-up fortitude when things looked bleak. Soto delivered a bases-loaded single against Milwaukee closer Josh Hader that scored three runs with two outs in the eighth inning, thanks in part to an error by rookie outfielder Trent Grisham, and the Nationals came back to beat the Brewers 4-3 in the NL wild-card game Tuesday night. "We started off horrible, as we all know, and we vowed that we wouldn't quit," Nationals manager Dave Martinez said, talking about the year as a whole but sounding like he could have meant this particular evening. "I told the boys, 'I promise you, stay with it, don't quit, this will turn around.' And it did. And here we are today." The Nationals carry a nine-game winning streak into their best-of-five NL Division Series against the league-best Dodgers. Game 1 is Thursday in Los Angeles, and some in the sellout crowd of 42,993 chanted "Beat LA! Beat LA!" as members of the Nationals lingered on the infield with family members. The Nationals, who moved to Washington from Montreal before the 2005 season, had been 0-3 in winner-take-all postseason games — all NLDS Game 5 losses at home, by a grand total of four runs. Indeed, eight of their past nine playoff losses had been by one run apiece. This time, it went the other way. "We've been here a bunch of times. Never kind of broke through," said Ryan Zimmerman, the Nationals' first draft pick back in 2005, so someone who has been through all the disappointment. "Finally caught a break tonight." It was Zimmerman's broken-bat bloop single as a pinch hitter that helped load the bases in the eighth off Hader, who took the loss. Hader hit another pinch hitter, Michael A. Taylor, an initial ruling that stood up when the Brewers challenged, according to Major League Baseball, because there wasn't "clear and convincing evidence to overturn the call." Said Hader: "Definitely looked like it got the bat, but it also got his hand." Hader, who had 37 saves this season, also walked Anthony Rendon, filling the bags and bringing Soto to the plate. What was Soto thinking right then? "Just get a base hit up the middle," he said, "and try to help to tie the game." The runner-up for 2018 NL Rookie of the Year did more than that. Soto ripped a 96 mph fastball to right, and the ball skipped under Grisham's glove for an error. That allowed the go-ahead run to cross the plate and Soto to get to second, then turn for third. Eventually, Soto was caught in a rundown to end the inning, but that didn't matter: He had turned a 3-1 deficit into a lead, and so he clapped his hands, then pounded his chest and high-fived third base coach Bob Henley, before shouting "Let's go!" and its Spanish equivalent, "Vamonos!" "The inning was an ugly inning," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "Crazy things happen." Grisham, who has appeared in only 51 games in the majors, said the ball "came in with a little topspin, took a funny hop." His teammates tried to console a tearful Grisham with a series of hugs in the clubhouse afterward. "It's gonna sting," he said. After Max Scherzer fell behind 3-0 by giving up homers to Yasmani Grandal in the first and Eric Thames in the second, Stephen Strasburg replaced him in the sixth and threw three scoreless innings to earn the win in the first relief appearance of his major league career, regular season or playoffs. Daniel Hudson pitched the ninth for the save, getting Ben Gamel to fly out to the warning track in center with a man on to end it. "Hats off for us to for continuing to fight, because we know if we could keep it close we could have a chance at the end," said Trea Turner, who got Washington within 3-1 with a solo shot off Brandon Woodruff in the third. It wasn't until the eighth, though, that the Nationals would push more runs across. Just the sort of dramatic turnaround they pulled off this season, going from 19-31 in May to playoff team. And now it continues. "Kind of sums up our season, the way this game went," Zimmerman said. "We'll take it and we'll move on." TRAINER'S ROOM Brewers: 2018 NL MVP Christian Yelich, lost to a fractured kneecap on Sept. 10, was in the Brewers' dugout before the game. ... OFs Ryan Braun (calf) and Lorenzo Cain (ankle) were in the starting lineup despite late-season injuries. They came into Tuesday a combined 0 for 29 with 12 Ks against Scherzer and went 0 for 4 while he was in the game. Nationals: C Kurt Suzuki, who missed most of September because of a bothersome right elbow, played nine innings Tuesday. ODD FOURTH The fourth inning was bizarre. Fire alarms — false alarms, thankfully, the Nationals eventually said — rang out. The public address system went completely silent for several minutes, so the Racing Presidents mascot race in the middle of the inning went on without the usual play-by-play, and the initial two Nationals batters in the bottom half went to the plate without any walk-up music or announcement of their names. UP NEXT Left-hander Patrick Corbin will start Game 1 for the Nationals against the Dodgers, who eliminated Washington in Game 5 of their 2016 NLDS. LA won the teams' season series this year 4-2......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 2nd, 2019

AP source: Indians dealing Bauer to Reds, get Puig in deal

By Tom Withers, Associated Press CLEVELAND (AP) — Trevor Bauer’s final act for the Indians was throwing a ball over the center-field wall. Yasiel Puig ended his season with Cincinnati in another brawl. Cleveland agreed to trade Bauer, the talented but taxing right-hander, to the Reds on Tuesday night for Puig in a three-team deal that also involves the San Diego Padres, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press. The Indians, who are trying to catch the Minnesota Twins in the AL Central, also get left-hander Scott Moss from Cincinnati and slugging outfielder Franmil Reyes, lefty Logan Allen and infielder Victor Nova from the Padres, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the trade had not been announced. San Diego receives minor league outfielder Taylor Trammell from the Reds, the person said. In his last start for the Indians on Sunday, Bauer, who is not eligible for free agency until after the 2020 season, threw a ball in frustration from the mound in Kansas City over the center-field wall. The moment seemed to push the Indians over the edge with the enigmatic 28-year-old, who has one of baseball’s best arms but can be difficult. Bauer was fined by Major League Baseball for his startling heave, a person familiar with the discipline told the AP. The person spoke Tuesday on condition of anonymity because the discipline was not announced. Bauer talked and exchanged hugs with several teammates in the clubhouse following Cleveland’s 2-0 loss to the Houston Astros before he departed around 10:45 p.m. He declined to speak with reporters. The Reds did not confirm the trade, but Puig said he’s bound for Cleveland, where the club’s front office was being celebrated for not only getting rid of Bauer but for adding young, quality players who can impact the playoff race. “I’m going to miss all my teammates here,” Puig said after the Reds lost 11-4 to Pittsburgh. “This part of the year is amazing for me, being on this team and the city. Now it’s time to move forward and go to my new team and help my team go to the playoffs. ... I want to say thank you to all the city, Cincinnati. We stay next door — we’re going to Cleveland.” A former All-Star, Puig is batting .252 with 22 home runs, 61 RBIs and 14 steals in 100 games with the Reds, who acquired him in December in a seven-player swap with the Dodgers. The Cuban-born outfielder has a career .275 average with 130 homers and 391 RBIs in 812 games. He’s eligible for free agency after the 2019 season. Bauer is 9-8 with a 3.79 ERA in 24 starts this season, but he hasn’t been as consistent as the Indians have needed while waiting for two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber (broken arm) and Carlos Carrasco (leukemia) to return to their rotation. Bauer had angered the Indians during the offseason for comments he made after winning his arbitration case and pledging he would only sign one-year deals going forward. Cleveland has been looking to add power to its lineup and Puig and Reyes will help. However, Puig is facing a possible suspension after he was involved in another brawl with the Pirates just as the trade was coming together. In the ninth inning, Reds reliever Amir Garrett rushed the Pirates’ dugout and threw punches, starting a brawl prolonged by Puig. As he left the field for the final time, Puig was given a warm ovation from Reds fans. He was also at the center of a melee between the teams in April, when Puig seemed to be taking on the entire Pirates team by himself near home plate. The 24-year-old Reyes hit .255 with 27 homers and 46 RBIs in 99 games with the Padres this season. In his last 29 games, the right-handed hitter is batting .290 with eight homers and 13 RBIs. ___ AP Sports Writer Joe Kay in Cincinnati contributed to this report......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 31st, 2019

Meralco stuns San Miguel to stay alive in playoff race

MANILA, Philippines – Meralco will live to fight another day after squeaking past San Miguel, 95-91, in the 2019 PBA Commissioner's Cup at the Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday, July 17.  Imports Delroy James carried the scoring cudgels down the stretch and finished with 34 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds, 4 ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsJul 17th, 2019

Meralco's slow and painful All-Filipino growth

After a six-game, mid-conference meltdown almost totally destroyed their playoff hopes, the Meralco Bolts somehow found a way to keep themselves alive in the 2017 Philippine Cup. They did so by upsetting the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters Friday, a win that not only let them regain confindence and remain in the playoff race, but also affirmed that the team is on the right track in a slow, painful growing process. 'I think that's what we showed today, a great team effort. It's just great for the morale of the team to finally get a win, finally get that monkey off our back and know we're doing something right,' second-year forward Chris Newsome said following Meralco's 82-72 victory. 'We already got two wins more than our previous Philippine Cup so I think we're slowly improving,' he added, going back to the fact that the Bolts finished with an embarassing 1-10 record in the same tournament last season. Meralco is still limping with a 3-7 mark this year and the team's playoff hopes almost entirely depends on other teams blowing away their own opportunities to advance but Newsome says that's the least of Meralco's concern right now. The reigning Rookie of the Year emphasized growth on the side of the Bolts and just going for what the team can actually control. And part of the things the team can control is their last regular season game against Star which if they win, should at least give them a better chance to sneak into the playoffs. 'It's a long season so we don't just wanna shut down and let everything that we've done go to waste,' Newsome said who finished with a game-high 19 points vs. ROS. 'The mindset is to control what we can control. The only thing that we're in control of right now is winning our last game against Star and everything else is kinda out of our hands. We just gotta hope for the best situation. We just gotta focus on what we can control and that's our effort in practice and attention to detail when it comes to games,' he added. With Jimmy Alapag retired and Jared Dillinger just returning from a hamstring injury he suffered late last season, Meralco has mostly relied on its young core so far in the All-Filipino. This latest victory, despite the string of defeats that came before it, was a nice boost for the squad that has kept things together pretty nicely this year. 'It's really big for us because the mood in the locker room is pretty heavy whenever you're losing, especially six straight games,' Newsome said. 'We try to stay positive and we really have nothing to lose and everything to gain, that's kinda the approach that we took today,' he added.   br /> --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 20th, 2017

Heat win back-to-back games, hold off Mavericks

MIAMI (AP) — Goran Dragic had 32 points, Tyler Johnson scored 10 of his 23 in the fourth quarter and the Miami Heat topped the Dallas Mavericks 99-95 on Thursday night (Friday, PHL time). Dragic shot 11-for-15 from the field and 4-of-4 from three-point range. He also got a big offensive rebound in the final minute to extend a possession, and Johnson made a pair of free throws with 29.9 seconds left to give Miami an eight-point lead. Hassan Whiteside scored 13 and Dion Waiters added 12 for the Heat. Dirk Nowitzki scored 19 points for Dallas, which had its season-best three-game winning streak snapped. The Mavericks went 1-for-8 from the field during a late stretch of the fourth quarter and never got the lead again. Wesley Matthews scored 18 for the Mavericks, who got 15 apiece from Harrison Barnes and Seth Curry. Nowitzki made 2-of-3 free throws with 18.5 seconds left to get the Mavs within 95-92. The Heat needed to burn two timeouts before even getting the ball inbounded on the ensuing possession, and Johnson hit two from the line five seconds later to help seal the win. Dragic tied a career-best for shooting percentage when taking at least 15 shots; he was 11-of-15 on two other occasions, both with Phoenix. It was also the fourth time he was 4-for-4 from three-point range in a regular-season game -- he was 5-for-5 once, in a 2010 playoff game with the Suns. strong>TIP-INS /strong> em> strong>Mavericks: /strong> /em>Nowitzki took Dallas' first four shots. J.J. Barea scored 13 points and has reached double figures in 11 of his 17 games this season. At 32, he's on pace to average more than 12 points a game for the first time. Dallas took only 11 free throws to Miami's 29. em> strong>Heat: /strong> /em>Miami is up to 170 games missed by players for illness or injury this season, most in the NBA. Okaro White made his NBA debut in the first quarter. He was signed to a 10-day deal earlier this week. Wayne Ellington got his 1,000th career rebound and is one three-pointer shy of 500. strong>PROMOTION ISSUE /strong> A fan avoided injury when a door -- depicting a hotel room door -- on a wheeled frame fell over on her during a promotion after the first quarter. The promotion had several fans slide hotel 'keys' into the door, and the one that worked would win a hotel stay. Heat officials said the woman was fine, and the game was delayed a couple of minutes while some cosmetic scrapes to the floor were removed. strong>BOGUT CLOSER /strong> Dallas center Andrew Bogut missed his fourth straight game with a right hamstring strain. He worked out on the court before the game and is improving, though he isn't expected to play Friday (Saturday, PHL time) against Utah. strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Mavericks: /strong> /em>Host the Utah Jazz on Friday (Saturday, PHL time). Dallas is 0-7 on the second night of back-to-backs this season. em> strong>Heat: /strong> /em>Host the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). Miami is 1-1 against the Bucks, with both teams winning at home. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 20th, 2017

TNT and Phoenix face separate foes as playoff race heats up

Five teams currently have 4-4 records in the 2017 PBA Philippine Cup. At the end of Wednesday, two teams will break away from that logjam, for better or for worse. TNT and Phoenix face separate foes at the Cuneta Astrodome in hopes of trying to improve their respective playoff campaigns. The struggling KaTropa take the floor first against a confident Mahindra (2-5) squad at 4:15 p.m. with the Floodbuster looking to make in three in a row and solidify their own case for a quarterfinals slot. Since scoring a Christmsa breakthrough, Mahindra has carried on in 2017 and facing a vulnerable TNT squad, a team that has lost two straight, seems like the perfect opportunity for the Floodbuster to keep turning their campaign around. In the second game, Phoenix looks to jump back on the winning track as the Fuel Masters take on NLEX at 7:00 p.m. Despite an impressive outing against TNT, the Road Warriors failed to get anything going after falling short to Globalport, dropping their record to 2-6. The Fuel Masters meanwhile go for a strong finish after suffering a hiccup vs. Rain or Shine. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 18th, 2017

Surban, Yaoyao rule Danao MTB race

CEBU CITY, Philippines—Niño Surban and Shagne Yaoyao completed their domination of the three-leg “Race Against Drugs & Bike To Stay Healthy Against Covid” by ruling the final leg of the mountain bike (MTB) race last Sunday, March 28, 2021, in Barangay Sandayong Sur, Danao City, northern Cebu. LOOK: Niño Surban and Shagne Yaoyao compete in […] The post Surban, Yaoyao rule Danao MTB race appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsMar 30th, 2021

Final leg of Danao MTB draws record 422 racers, Surban goes for jugular

CEBU CITY, Philippines — A record cast of 422 riders will strut their wares in the final leg of the “Race Against Drugs & Bike To Stay Healthy Against Covid” organized by the Danao City Sports Commission (DCSC) Cycling Team on March 28, 2021, in Barangay Sandayong Sur in Danao City, northern Cebu. DCSC chief […] The post Final leg of Danao MTB draws record 422 racers, Surban goes for jugular appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsMar 27th, 2021